Downton Abbey – A review

I love period dramas, good period dramas. Give me a good Jane Austen or Dickens adaptation and I will sit entertained for hours on end. I find the eras of the past so fascinating, sometimes I wish I lived during those times…but then I wake myself up and thank God for the blessings of this day and age. There is quite a large fan-base of others, like myself, who have a great appreciation for the classics and for the quality period dramas being produced over the past decades. This fan-base has expanded greatly with the arrival of the now  acclaimed drama series Downton Abbey.

DA3_SigDownton Abbey is a television production by Julian Fellowes currently in its 3rd season. The series centres around the Crawleys, an aristocratic family who reside in Downton Abbey and their downstairs staff , as they live life through Edwardian England and beyond. The lives of those who reside in the village of Downton and the Abbey serves as a depiction of society during the early 20th century, portraying the highest and lowest classes.

When I first heard mention of Downton I couldn’t help but look forward to it. An “Upstairs Downstairs” like series will no doubt be quite entertaining, and it isn’t too often that Edwardian England in addressed in period drama – well not quite as often as the Regency and Victorian eras. Also by being created season-by-season there is an assurance of uncertainty in the plot. This program will be without debates as to whether the “original work” has been done justice because this drama remains in the hands its makers. There is no book to adapt; with every episode absolutely anything could happen. This intrigued me.

Downton AbbeyWhen the series finally came to air it was only a matter of time for the whole world to come to know of it. It wasn’t just the average period drama fanatics who were glued to their television sets; there was an even larger of audience worldwide, even those who were not otherwise interested in period films. Something about the series caught the eye of the public, and they wanted more.

What I believe strikes us about this series, is that we viewers were born in the same century that the world of Downton existed. Edwardian England may seem so distant, with expectations and etiquette much the same as those of the Jane Austen’s time, but in actual fact this period is in much closer proximity (in years) to the world we live in now. Though Downton Abbey depicts an almost fairy-tale-like world of Lords and Ladies with glittering gowns, parties, and a staff of servants larger than the household itself, we are constantly reminded of how close we are to that world. We see the use of electricity, telephones, automobiles, curling irons and evenitem0.rendition.slideshowWideHorizontal.l-downton-abbey toasters all of which are still in constant use to this day. We are introduced to characters each with different backgrounds and temperaments, like our own. We see the human struggle, during times of hardship and loss, the joyous moments that life has in store and how those living in this period dealt with an ever-changing world. There are many similarities we of the 2000s share with the 1900s, Downton Abbey has really shed a light on that.

Naturally being a drama, the program is peppered with adult concepts and at times can be shocking even to me (I’m quite delicate/old fashioned in these areas.) Not that there is anything explicit, especially considering what is out there today, but allusions to sex, adulterous affairs, homosexuality (i.e. men seenormal_s3_cast_prromo2_31n kissing on two occasions) are present and may not be for the eyes and ears of little ones – even I have the fastforward button ready. 😉 Though there are deeds of the characters I don’t agree with, the program doesn’t ask you to side with the individual in their decisions. There are times were you feel disappointment in a character and then there are times when you feel so utterly sorry for them. Every character has their faults and their virtues no matter how central they are to the storyline. Yes, even the cunning lady’s maid Miss O’Brien and conniving Footman/Valet Thomas have their share of goodness. That is what makes the show present so well, the fact that every character is human.

Sisters-Edith-Mary-and-Sybil-downton-abbey-15932497-570-364An aspect of the Downton Abbey that I personally enjoy (besides the soundtrack – I do love a good soundtrack) is the femininity of the gowns, and overall style of the women. There is even a sense of wear-ability in the trends of the era that can definitely adapted by us today. It is undeniable that Downton has made it’s mark on today’s fashion world, there have been several inspired gowns; even Ralph Lauren was officially influenced.  This is one wonderful mark Downton has made on our culture; I hope it continues to do so for the better.

Mary-and-Matthew-Crawley-Wedding-downton-abbey-32428311-2000-3000This past weekend I finished watching the 3rd season online (I couldn’t wait any longer for its return to Australia.) I must say I enjoyed this season a great deal more than the past two. Season 1 for me was an introduction, and a very good introduction, but I still needed to grow in familiarity with each character. Season 2 was very good too but I felt it lacking in certain areas. Season 3 met my expectations ^.^ I did have my disappointments, especially in the killing off of my two favourite characters – but I dare not say any more. I don’t want to spoil it for those who haven’t reached the conclusion.

Discussions about S3 will have to wait. For now we can only hope for what Season 4 has in storeDowntonAbbey3_2353968b and see then whether Julian Fellowes is able to live up to the high standards he has set for himself.

Long live Downton!

God Bless,
Gabby.

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Christmas draws nigh…

In Australia today is Christmas Eve. We had very hot summer’s day yesterday (38 degrees Celsius+) so the Christmas cooking and last minute shopping was moved to today. With the hustle and bustle caused by preparations, the truth of Christmas can often slip the radar.

Yesterday was the final Sunday of Advent. Last night our family lit the fourth Advent candle as we wait for the coming of Christ.
Yesterday was the final Sunday of Advent. Last night our family lit the fourth Advent candle.

On the first eve of Christmas, over 2000 years ago Our Lady who was 15 to 17 years of age, sat on a donkey exhausted after extensive traveling. She was about to give birth to Jesus, Our Lord. His foster father St. Joseph, with every plea was rejected by all the inns in Bethlehem – and so Christ was born in a stable and placed in a manger from which animals ate.  6a00d8341bffb053ef017d3e2a4e51970c-800wi

Taking time to Meditate on the lowly state that God the Son entered this earth awakens me (and all of us) to the way God wants us to live, in humility.

I pray that my heart does not reject Him as the inn’s of Bethlehem but rather, that I offer it entirely to Him; though it is  lowlier than the stable where He first entered the world.

I hope you and your families all have a blessed Christmas(remember there are 12 days to celebrate!)
God Bless you!

Gabby x

Thank You Jesus for coming amongst us, to save us!

Review: Anne of Green Gables

The Anne of Green Gables series by Lucy Maud Montgomery chronicles the adventures of Anne Shirley, a young red haired orphan girl sent to live with a middle-aged brother and sister on Prince Edward Island.

Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery has to be one of my favourite stories. I read the first novels and loved them, but couldn’t continue because of the absence of Anne of Windy Willows in my collection. Though this did not prevent me from flicking through the latter novels – yes I was quite naughty! – I’m still yet to finish the entire series. But now having obtained a copy and concluded school I look forward to finally continuing with the rest of the series.

Kevin Sullivan presented Montgomery’s stories beautifully in his adaptations, Anne of Green Gables (1985)  Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1987.) These television movies posses the beauty and essence of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s classic works, tying together aspects of the eventful first four novels of the Anne series; Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island & Anne of Windy Willows. Honestly,  these are two of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. I’ve watched them both so many times; only leading me to become more and more engrossed. I highly recommend these films for anyone looking for a good chick-flick, the 7 hour+ length (when watched together) are well worth the watching!

Thirteen years after The Sequel Kevin Sullivan went on to release a third film, Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. However this film differed from the earlier two as it completely strayed from Montgomery’s latter Anne novels. Though it is enjoyable to see the cast reunite, and Anne tying the knot with Gilbert Blythe (at last!) the overall feel of this adaptation is not “Anne,” lacking the humour and  “scope for the imagination” which we all know and love of Anne Shirley. I personally felt there was no need to detract from Montgomery’s works regarding Anne’s life as a wife and mother. Jumping forward a few decades to place Anne Shirley Blythe amidst the battlegrounds of WWI may have been thought by Sullivan as an empowering role for our heroine, but I feel that doing so displayed a misunderstanding and downplays the courageous effort and strength of a mother’s day-to-day quest to provide and care for her family – not to mention the day-to-day dramas including friends and family, ever present in his earlier Anne films and the novels. Besides watching Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie reprising their roles as Anne and Gilbert, I also did enjoy the soundtrack (I’m somewhat of a soundtrack freak!)

Once again, only four years ago, Sullivan released another Anne movie entitled Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning. This film depicts an older Anne Shirley, in the 1940s, who looks back upon her childhood prior to life at Green Gables. After thoroughly reading up on this movie, I just couldn’t bring myself to watch it. It’s plain as day that Kevin Sullivan completely abandoned the works of Montgomery in this film, via the creation of a personal history for Anne Shirley that is entirely contradictory to all that is found in the Montgomery’s works.  As if the absence of Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie wasn’t enough to turn me off! – I mean come on, they were perfect! Oh well, the first two are absolutely beautiful. I’m grateful for that! A few months ago I discovered the following tribute video created by YouTube user . It beautifully captures the love story of the first two classic films with the song A Thousand Years by Christina Perri. Quite frankly, it’s too much for me to handle .^_^ I hope you enjoy this video – and if you haven’t watched Anne of Green Gables (1985)  Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1987) I encourage you to!

God Bless.

Gabby

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A Night at Market

Today, the 1st of December, is the official beginning of Summer in Australia. We’re certainly having our fill of Summer weather over here too, with the past few days bringing temperatures over 38 degrees Celsius!

Last night I had the opportunity to visit the Coburg Market Market with my sister, mum and her friends. It was a very enjoyable night with plenty of market stalls selling beautiful wares, performances including live music and over a dozen different multicultural food stalls. It’s a great way to spend a summer night, I highly recommend it!

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God Bless,
Gabby

It’s Over!

The 2012 Year 12 exams have concluded, which means that I have officially finished school FOREVER! Woo-hoo! The whole year had build up to those final examinations, so now that they’ve  passed is like a breath of fresh air.

Leading into the exams, I spent about a month at my Grandparents house. Doing this allowed me to re-focus and re-organise myself  far away from the internet’s clutches (because Grandma & Grandpa’s place = no internet whatsoever.) I had time to sit down and revise everything without stressing too much – they let me spread all my work all over their dining room table which, when I did, looked like a bomb hit it. Grandma & Grandpa even drove me to my remaining classes AND to every exam with time to spare. It was lovely to spend time them, they were so good to me. Break time was spent either watching Old movies on Fox Classic, Grandma’s Bollywood DVDs (Aishwarya Rai and Aamir Khan FTW!) or lifestyle programs with my Grandma  –  andof course munching on her Anglo Indian cuisine. We also had a few short items, my favourite when we bought 3 new fan-tail goldfish for Grandpa. Going to Mass at their newly re-built parish Church was also a lovely treat ( built in a style quite similar to an old country church.)

Grandma’s meat curry with, dosais & salad

Sitting here now, thinking about how it’s all over just feels crazy. I don’t have anything school related nagging me. It’s pretty amazing how all the study notes that I invested so much time into + all those expensive text books can go from being so extremely important throughout the year, and then when exams are finished BAM! they’re just pieces of paper to be recycled. (O.o)

From gold to garbage

I have so much more time and I don’t know what to do with myself. I guess now is the time to do all the things I’ve been so avidly planning on these past years. I need to help out at home (of course), catch up with friends who I felt I haven’t seen in decades (hehe) and indeed, get a job. Oh! and Christmas is on it’s way with Advent beginning this Sunday, so there is know doubt of the upcoming busyness  (in a matter of days, I dare say.) Christmas cooking/craft here I come!

But  for now it’s just time time to relax.
Watch out world,  Gabby’s Back!!
God Bless!

An Update- School, Career & Vocation

Wow, it’s been so long since I’ve been on my blog!
Anyway, here’s a bit of an update:

School:

Well it has been a busy year, especially since I am completing my last year of school – Year 12. In Australia the school year coincides with the 12-month year, meaning that as the year draws to a close so does school. We Year 12 students are almost finished (only a few weeks to go,) I just can’t wait for it to be over! The year has gone so fast, and Year 12 has definitely taken school to the next level. So often, in the past we’ve been told about how stressful Year 12 is; those stories were definitely accurate.

At enrollment, I chose 4 subjects: (which is the bare minimum requirement)
English Literature,
English Language,
Information Technology Applications
Business Management
these subjects alone have been difficult to keep up with, I can only imagine how difficult it is for those with 5 or more.

Career:

The last two to three months have been quite helpful in regards to finding what I’d like to do, career-wise. For the past year or two I’ve been pretty confused and overwhelmed about all the options available. I’m interested in so many things and I just couldn’t bring myself to choose one definitive path to follow. I also didn’t want to be rushed or pressured into the wrong decision either, especially since it is encouraged that students apply in the second half of Year 12, in order to get a place.

So after a long period spent praying and researching, and talking to the Careers coordinator, more and more came into place. The University Open Days, Course Info Sessions & Career Expos arrived in the middle of the year and were surprisingly more helpful than I anticipated. I’ve taken every opportunity I can in investigating the paths available.

After much deliberation, I decided to look into design. I’ve always enjoyed art/design/creative activities. The area of Visual Merchandising has particularly caught my eye, since it involves several design areas, the construction of your designs, and then watching it come to life. Also the fact that it has become an important part of how businesses/events advertise and present themselves really interests me, as I would like to get involved in Business.

Successful application to the course requires an interview and folio. I don’t have a folio compiled at present but I’m looking at a four day course geared specifically at those applying for the Diploma of Visual Merchandising. The course delivers instruction on preparing a folio in order to apply for the Diploma.

I continue to pray that this is the right route to take. Please Holy Spirit continue to guide and inspire me!

Vocation:

I’ve felt for quite a long time a calling to Marriage. I’m not in a relationship at the moment, nor have I been in the past, but I’m only 18 and I’m not in a hurry if God isn’t. I’d rather wait for the right guy then rush into a disagreeable relationship. I’ve offering prayers to St. Raphael, St. Maria Goretti, St. Philomena & Our Lady and of course the Holy Trinity for guidance.

Anyway that’s about it for me at the moment School-Career-Vocation-wise.

I hope you’re all well! Thank-you for taking the time to read.

God Bless,

Gabby x

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