Round Up for 2011 – A Sparkly First Year

It’s  been an eventful first year for Harlequin Tea Set and I’ve certainly had a lot of fun putting together book reviews, film reviews, photographs and artwork from various sources and places. Here’s a few things that were my favourites in my posts and which were the most fun to put together – hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Favourite Photos of 2011

Links: Fistral Beach, Eden Project, St Michael’s Mount, Sensational Butterflies, Denmark, Queens Market, Blue Trinket Boxes, Plasticine

Favourite Books read in 2011

Tender Morsels by Margo Lanagan

The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino

Room by Emma Donoghue

Bossypants by Tina Fey

Londonstani by Gautam Malkani

Favourite Artwork done by myself

Dressing Table (found here)

PaintJoy App (found here)

The Underground (found here)

Favourite Films/Plays/Concerts:

Super 8 (link), Attack the Block (link) and Every Coin (link)

Favourite Artwork by others

Terry Border’s Food Magic

Machinarium: A Cute Robot

Leonid Afremov Rainbow Art


Silly Inventions: Umbrella Shoes

There’s no shortage of silly inventions (I have quite a few waiting to be patented in my wardrobe. You laugh now but I’ll be famous for my cushioned-soft hijab and table made of felt-tips yet. You’ll see.) Here’s one I felt like sharing, umbrellas for your shoes. Cos when you spend good moneys on your shoes, you should be able to protect them when you wear them out in the rain. Best of all, they make you feel like you’re floating with every floaty, wafty step.
No? Don’t want them? Fair enough.

Image Source

Fairy Tales and Long Tails: Gruesome Truths & Origins (Part II)

Back to the macabre world of children stories, with all the censored parts put back in. Here’s a few more stories as they were originally intended in the land of fairy tales (you can find the first part of this series here).

5. Mutant Hair, A Bad Hostage Situation and secret hanky-panky
The initial basics of Rapunzel remains pretty much how we’ve heard it, Rapunzel’s momma craves some variant of pumpkins/Rapunzel plants/Hershey Bars from the garden of the cranky witch next door, her hubby tries a spot of thievery and gets caught. The price is, of course, handing over their first-born (isn’t it always the first-borns) to Ms Witchy in returns for not being, well, killed. Where the story becomes a little more x-rated than the cartoons (and last year’s cuddly adventure from Disney) when Rapunzel starts getting a night-time visitor in the shape of a passing prince (I’m not sure where he was going but he never got there, I can tell you that), and where she and her princey boyfriend clearly get up to something naughty. That strumpet. Eventually Adopted-Witchy-Mum catches out ‘Punzel by her swelling stomach and her size 8s no longer fitting, and figures things out, so the hair is cut and Blondie is thrown out on her ear. Meanwhile her unlucky boyfriend is blinded by thorns after a showdown with the witch, and is left wandering in the deserts for months, unaware of the building child-support payments which are building up. Not to worry though, the couple are soon reunited, along with their twins who were also being dragged along by Rapunzel. There’s not much mention of what happens to the witch though.

6. Cross-dressing, cannibalism and savagery
Red Riding Hood is another story which had a conveniently-edited ending. A little girl decides to visit her grandmother’s house wearing a come-bite-me red hood, which attracts a wolf (notice how red seems to be an evil colour in fairy-tales? Not a coincidence) Wolfy gets to Grandma’s house first, gobbles her up and then puts on her pretty nighty to trick Red Riding Hood. And of course, being the dim-sighted (and dim-witted) child she is, RRH can’t tell the difference (must have been all those hairy warts), and gets eaten up by the Wolf. Yup, that’s the end. The Woodsman with the axe got added in later to save RRH and kill Wolfy. In other versions of the tale, the Wolf even feeds part of poor old gramma to the Red Hooded one to taunt her a little more (and there’s even other versions which suggest that RRH even strips for the wolfy to ‘distract’ him in an attempt to escape. Doesn’t work though).
Moral of the story is, children, don’t talk to strangers (or tell them where your grandmother lives).

7. Coma, Rape and enchanted curses
The story of Sleeping Beauty has had a lot of parts tweaked, and rightfully so because there’s a lot of questionable content in the earlier versions. While the beginning remains the same, with the Princess falling into a coma (or “deep sleep”) because she pricks her finger due to a curse, what happens afterwards is not so much a dream come true but a waking  nightmare. A passing prince (they’re always passing, where are they all going?) falls in love with Sleepy on the spot and decides he doesn’t need her to be awake, and just has his way with her, resulting her getting pregnant, TWICE. The princess is eventually woken up by her suckling babies, after which I imaging she has more than a few questions to ask. As if thats not enough, in true Jeremy Kyle form, her baby-daddy comes back to bring her and the kids home – but forgets to update her on a tiny little detail of him already being married until they get there. Understandably, Wife No.1 is in a stabby mood and tries to kill them all, but gets foiled by her hubby. In the end, Sleeping Beauty lives happily ever after with her polygamous, rapist husband. In other versions, Wife no.1 is replaced with an evil mother-in-law who isn’t happy with the new bride, although she too is thwarted and throws herself into a cooking pot in defeat. Yikes.

8. Ex-wives, Secrets and Zombies
The story of Bluebeard is not a typical Disney one (by the way I lied about the zombies, that was just to grab your attention), but it’s still a pretty disturbing story. The story follows a wealthy aristocrat appropriately called Bluebeard after his blue coloured beard (as good as name as any, I say). I’m pretty sure they didn’t have hair-dye back in those days so blue was certainly quite a conspicuous colour. Bluebeard marries a pretty young thing and brings her back to his house, warning her not to open the door to that tempting, spooky room at the back because he won’t be a happy bunny if she does, and he’ll KNOW if she opens it. So being a typical woman, Wifey decides to not listen to silly ole hubby and look inside the Forbidden Room. Cos, you know, what’s the harm? Waiting inside for her though, are the corpses of all the women that Bluebeard married in the past, and then consequently killed. Chop and change, and all that, fickle man that he is. The floor is covered in blood and generally, it’s just a mess down there. So Wifey, knowing that her husband is planning the same fate for her plots to escape with the help of her sister and two passing gentlemen (or in some versions, their brothers), and manages to escape with their help. Bluebeard, is of course killed.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways that the violence and x-rated content has been disguised from the original tales. There are several morals and reasonings which can be taken from these tales, yet these become altered once the stories are edited, and the meanings become slighting distorted or even ambiguous.

More horrid stories coming soon, folks! In my  next post for this series, I’ll be looking at fairy tales and stories which are from the more exotic parts of the world, and different cultural values attached to these. Any suggestions?

Weekly Kissmuss TV Links

It’s the Christmas holidays (finally!) and for that one time of the year where it’s socially acceptable for masses everywhere to overeat more than our bodies can take, and indulge in some seriously good television. Or just watch that annual showing of Oliver Twist and The Snowman.
Here’s some links for you all to enoy during the advert breaks.

Here’ some Xmassy fun to be had, Elf Youself! (No I’m not trying to swear at you in a clever way, it’s really elf-related), it’s great fun : )

Not sure what to make of this, but I’m a big penguin-fan, and whatever floats their boats, you know.

Some people should not be allowed to use the internet unsupervised. Here’s the dipsticks who manage to make themselves unfriendables. I’m pretty sure I know a few of these people…

We’ll all be in a sticky kidnapper-y situation at some point in our lives, let’s face it. Here’s a buncha fun tips on how to avoid being squished into a car boot. There’s fun diagrams as well!

Kim Jon-Il will always be rememebered by us fondly….as looking things. Have a look at the power of his eyes and what he, well, looked at.

Here’s some Christmas Tree ideas in case you’re looking for something different this year…

Lastly, here’s a few things to make you feel older than you already do. My xmas present to you this year : )

Happy holidays and enjoy the rest everyone, be sure to let me know what you plan to do! x

A Foggy Perspective

It’s freezing outside in a way that makes us run to comfort our cold noseys with hot tea and aloe vera tissues (what…I like the smell!) Here’s a picture of the foggy fog outside, right from Canary Wharf and it’s business-y buildings. I love this picture because of how it makes the buildings seem to recede into the sky itself, and seems to look a bit more dramatic. Time to buy a pom-pom scarf methinks!

Furniture Fashion – awkward drawers

Here’s an interesting (and wacky) concept that I’ve come across recently – fashion designed to look like furniture. Mandy Rep, I’m guessing, is a fan of both fashion and furniture, so what better but to combine the two? I’m pretty sure most of this is just a design concept and is photoshopped, but it’s still an interesting idea, although if there was a clothes range like this and you wore it in public – be wary, someone may try to sit on you. Or try to stash something in your pocket-drawers. I’m not so sure that the fashion-conscious public would be receptive to this one, but it’s worth a look anyway.

Images from