Friday, 30 May 2014

Bloggers At Their Desks

A few weekends ago the lovely Jo journeyed to suburbia to photograph me and my sis for her on-going project: 'Bloggers At Their Desks'. Our grinning faces were featured on her blog last Friday, go see go see! Jo's looking for more people to participate so send her an email if you're a blogger and fancy taking part too!

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Degree Show One at Central St Martins

Every year I intend to visit the graduate shows in London and finally this year I did and brought my lovely friend Alex along for the ride! For those who aren't aware, every year UAL (university of arts london) Central St Martins opens up it's doors for a week for the general public to have a looksy around their students' final pieces for both BA and MA courses. Last weekend included work from the fine art, photography, art & science and moving image courses, as well as a couple more.

Some of it was really cool, some of it v.thought-provoking and some of it I just didn't really get, but I think that's ok when it comes to art. It's such a subjective subject; something that speaks to me might not speak to someone else and visa-versa. What is important, I think, is that we try to look at as much new stuff as possible - it's gotta be good for our brains to be exposed to new positive experiences. It's always interesting to see how other people think and how they choose to represent those thoughts in a physical form. Plus, this is a completely free show, always a bonus in my opinion (especially the weekend before payday).

Sadly the Degree Show One is now finished but the Degree Show Two is coming up next month! I'm particularly looking forward to this one as it features all the work from the textile, graphic, jewellery, ceramic and product design courses. Should be good!


I was absolutely rubbish at recording the names of the students who's work I photographed so I've just done some research and found some of them. Apologies for my ineptitude. 

Untitled 11 (bubble wrap and paint house) Yasmeen Sabri (FINE ART BA) 

Lab No.1 - Theo de Gueltzl & Octave Marsal (FINE ART MA)

Lab No.2 (etching on perspex) - Theo de Gueltzl & Octave Marsal (FINE ART MA)

New Street_London+Seoul+Oslo+Lisbon,2014" - Yeonok Jang (ART AND SCIENCE MA)

Left: Stabat Mater (chicken wire and aluminium horses) - Tess Dumon (FINE ART BA)
Right: see below

Glitter Box - Vera Bohl (ART AND SCIENCE MA)

The reluctant (35 pages of 'The Reluctant Dragon' in glass jars) and the dry ice piece both - Boris Raux. His pieces were all based around smell. He even had a piece which was scratch and sniff! 

Woodberry Down (bricks, coloured yarn and graphite) - Holly Owen (ART AND SCIENCE MA)

Left: Matter of the Heart (oil drums) - Jean Baynham (ART AND SCIENCE MA)
Right: Foucault pendulum - Roderick MacLeod (ART AND SCIENCE MA)

Paris Dakar - Ophelia Finke (FINE ART BA)

Lonely by the sea - Christine Donnier-Valentin (PHOTOGRAPHY MA)

The screen prints of Rebecca Price (ART AND SCIENCE MA)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

the long weekend in numbers

I've seen a lot of bloggers doing this lately so I thought I'd jump on board the numbers train. Seems like a fun way to break down the weekend.

6:45am - the time I got home on Saturday morning after a particularly fabulous party on Friday night.

5 - the number of films I watched this weekend, thanks to a mammoth hangover on saturday and the mostly foul weather we stayed in quite a bit. (Runner Runner - hilariously appalling; 300: Rise of an Empire - gratuitous amounts of slow-mo and naked torsos, no real plot line discernible; Robocop (remake) not actually too bad, great cast but the ending was rather flat; The Double - wonderfully shot, excellent story, great soundtrack; The Lego Movie - clever plot twist and surprisingly funny - batman was my fave.)

100s - quilting stitches done. I'm v.close to finishing my friends' baby quilt.

27% - according to my Kindle, the amount left to read of 'Everyday Sexism' - this book is ace.

Around 60 - pieces of art looked at whilst nosing around the St Martin's graduate show.

£5 - the cost of one seriously huge burrito consumed at Camden Market on Sunday.

4 hrs 14 mins - worth of music added to the wedding day playlist. Yesterday was a productive day wedding shiz -wise.

Friday, 23 May 2014

The Lake District - ENNERDALE WATER

Continuing on from yesterday's photo fest, day two in the Lake District saw us enjoy a much needed slow day. After a rather mammoth brunch we walked to our nearest lake, Ennerdale Water, picked a place to sit by the water's edge and took in the views. Some of the group braved the icy waters (crazy people) and my friend Sam even took his paddle board out. After about an hour the group split up; half went to buy some food for the evening and, en route, rescue an injured hedgehog; the rest of us decided to walk around the lake. Although I'm gutted I missed the hedgehog, I did see a little lizard and of course some spectacular scenery. What was billed in the guide books as a two and half hour walk turned out to be more like four but it was v.pretty. A massive roast dinner was waiting for us at the cottage on our return.

Sunday night involved more beer and table tennis as well as packing. We had an early start in the morning, thanks to a spot of rock climbing. Geared up with helmets and the most unflattering harnesses (I know, I know, they're not supposed to look attractive, they're purely functional and there to save your life) we headed to the rock face. Our instructors were really friendly, and of course knowledgable. We did a half day session which was suitable for beginners (most of the group, including myself, had never done it before). They taught us how to tie our safety ropes and belay which is when you're attached to the other end of the climber's rope, acting as their support on the ground. I was pretty good at belaying, unfortunately I was bloody rubbish at rock climbing. However, I did have a go and managed to climb to the top of the easiest route. It took me a lot longer than everyone else - it's super hard figuring out where to put your feet, and my upper body strength is basically non-existent - but I was so determined that I wasn't going to be the only one who couldn't reach the top. Fortunately (and unfortunately) my friend took lots of pictures of me climbing so I do have proof that this actually happened. Feet back on solid ground I spent the rest of the morning marvelling at everyone else's climbing skills.

There was time for a quick cup of tea before we all piled back into the cars, waved goodbye to the Lake Distrcit, and began the long-ass journey back to London. I absolutely loved the Lakes and I definitely need to come back as there's so much of it we didn't even see! The trip really highlighted how out of shape I am so I'm joining the eye-wateringly expensive gym in Twickenham until my local (and more affordable) one opens again in September. I was planning on just waiting until then but I really miss feeling fit. Also, I'm going to need all the gym time I can get if the next holiday my friends are planning goes ahead. Scotland, yes, that's right, Ben Nevis is on the cards. Apparently we'd be crazy not to as we've already climbed the 2nd and 3rd highest peaks in the UK. I must admit that climbing the last and biggest is tempting. We'll just have to see...

Thursday, 22 May 2014

The Lake District - SCAFELL PIKE

Last weekend 10 of us, most of who were part of last October's Snowdonia crew, went to the Lake District. As you might have guessed, this trip, like Snowdonia, was no walk in the park (excuse the pun), rather an adventure-filled weekend and certainly a test for my rather unfit and out of shape body. Although my limbs are still pretty achy I can happily say that not only did I reach the summit of England's highest peak, I also had a go at rock climbing! I apologise for the picture overload but the Lakes were seriously beautiful, it was hard to just pick out a few. I'd not really seen anything like the spectacular peaks and lakes before, so I veered between starring at the scenery for minutes at a time trying to take it all in and then remembering I had a camera and getting incredibly click-happy. It's proper weird being back amongst the built-up streets of London, I feel like it was another world, or at least a different country.

Our home for for the weekend was a massive cottage in the tiny village of Ennerdale on the north west-ish side of the park. We arrived on the Friday night, met the neighbours (a couple of horses), went for a pint in the local pub (our next but one neighbours) and then cooked up a big old BBQ. BBC weather had informed me that Friday was going to have the clearest skies so, thanks to one of the group who brought his telescope, we did a bit of star-gazing. The night sky in Cumbria is nothing like the pathetic excuse for a night sky we get in London - it was amazing. So amazing in fact that we actually got to see three of the planets - Mars and Jupiter which to be fair looked similar to stars, but Saturn was clearly identifiable! I mean I actually saw Saturn - rings and all!!! Ever since I was little, I've always been interested in space. I feel like I've done my seven-year-old-self proud.

The next morning it was time to hit the hills. The group had only one fell in its sights: Scafell Pike, England's highest mountain which stands 978 m (3209 ft) above sea level. As a novice mountain walker I'd say it was pretty tough going thanks to the consistent incline. However, unlike Snowdon, there was no scrambling to the top (thank god!) and we were all rewarded with the most fantastic views on the way to and at the summit. I took about 2 and a half hours to reach the top, a good half an hour after some of the group, but once we'd all arrived we got some pretty good pictures ^. Coming down was a bit harsh on the knees and thanks to the glorious weather I got rather sunburnt. Showers, a pub dinner, plenty of booze, games of beer pong, table tennis and mafia were our rewards :) As with Snowdon, I'm glad I climbed Scafell Pike but I certainly won't be doing it again.

Still to come: Ennerdale water and rock climbing!

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Tuesday's Tees - ALLRIOT

It's been a while since my last Tuesday's Tees but I came across ALLRIOT the other day and I thought I'd share. I'm a big fan of statement tees but these guys are taking it to a whole new level which their political tees. They've got a voice and it may be humorous but ALLRIOT tees have got a point.

Fells, Lakes & Aches

I'm writing this whilst lying in bed with seriously aching limbs, a slightly swollen ankle and two of the biggest blisters I've ever had. I'm having a little recovery time as yesterday evening I got back from a glorious long weekend in the Lake District. My friends and I did a hell of a lot of walking - up fells, along country roads, around lakes - and even managed to squeeze in a bit of rock climbing. Needless to say, the scenery was insanely beautiful and although I feel like I need a new pair of feet, I had such an amazing time. Pictures to come - I took a lot. Hope you all enjoyed the heatwave weekend wherever you were too!

Friday, 16 May 2014

the illustrated packing list: the lake district

This morning my friends and I set off for the Lake District, hopefully by the time you read this we'll be well on our way! Two days ago I made my packing list. Unfortunately whilst the south of the country is having a heat wave, Cumbria will be experiencing much milder temperatures this weekend. I'm not too disappointed as I don't think climbing a mountain in 22 degree heat would be fun at all. We've got lots lined up - a mountain to climb, the coast and lakes to see, some rock climbing and a few local pubs to try out. I am hella excited. Learning from my experiences on Snowdon, for this trip I've invested in some proper walking shoes as well as walking socks, a light weight waterproof jacket and, just in case it pisses it down, the most unattractive things I've ever seen - waterproof trousers. Hope you all have lovely weekends, see you on the other side!

Thursday, 15 May 2014

white hart lane

On Monday I went to watch my first ever live football match. Thankfully, it wasn't a league game - I don't think I could've handled the stress. Instead, it was former Spurs captain, Ledley King's testimonial match.

I had no idea what a testimonial was so in case you're also in the's like a big old send off match when a player retires. I think the money from ticket sales goes to the player's charity of choice. The current Spurs squad were pitched against a team of King's choosing all of whom had to have played for Spurs at one time. Excitingly this meant that a lot of the old greats (I say old, I just mean that I actually remember them from World Cup games) including Teddy Sheringham and David Ginola (who at 47 was still looking pretty damn fine) were in attendance. There was also a spattering of more recent Spurs players (that I recognised) - Berbatov, Crouch and Scott Parker.

As the pitch was just full of ex and current Spurs players the atmosphere was superb - everyone was in high spirits. I got to sing all the chants - not one of which was rude. I had it in my head that it'd be really foul mouthed but Mitch pointed out that it was a friendly game and that we were sitting in the 'family section'. The spectators did get a mexican wave going round on both levels which was cool and the actual football was pretty fun too. In the first half all the players bundled King and he was awarded a penalty; in the second half one of the linesman gave his flag to a spectator so he could have a go; even the ref had a bit of a kick about at one point!

Despite the absolutely shitty weather, all the players seemed to be having a whale of time. As did I :) King received an all-mighty applause at the end and rightly so. I read up about him afterwards and he really sounds like a decent bloke not to mention a stellar defender both for England and his club which he's been loyal to throughout his entire career.

Although I've watched a fair few rugby games at Twickenham, I think I've been converted! If Mitch asked me to go again I'd be more than happy to return to White Hart Lane.

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Reading & Seeing 17

Jon (Domhnall Gleeson) is a bit of a loser and wannabe musician who's seriously struggling to write a (decent) song. A chance encounter and random offer to stand in for a visiting band's keyboard player sets him off on a bizarre journey into the somewhat conflicting realms of creativity and fame. Most of the band dislike him but not Frank (Michael Fassbender). Former psychiatric patient and perpetual wearer (even in the shower!) of the papier máché head, Frank sees potential in Jon and insists that Jon stay with the band to record their album. It's a rather odd little film, in part inspired by Chris Sievey's comdey persona Frank Sidebottom who wore an oversized, blue-eyed, black haired papier maché head, but this Frank has his own story entirely. It's rather amusing in places but also terribly poignant particularly as it looks at the link between genius and madness. The cast is stellar and the music, unsurprisingly, is a v.strong presence throughout the film - the closing number in particular is bloody brilliant. A gem of a movie, definitely worth a watch.

The Wind Rises
The latest animation from Studio Ghibli tells the story of Jiro who, due to his near-sightedness, cannot become a pilot so instead endeavours to design and engineer them. Throughout his career there are ups and downs, all played out against a recognisable and troubled historical backdrop. Intermingled with world events (earthquakes and the onset of war) is the delicate love story between our protagonist and Nahoko, a girl he saves in the earthquake and is reunited with by chance some years later. The animation is utterly beautiful - the reflections in the water and the dappled light coming through the trees is so perfect. I loved Jiro's dream sequences and his conversations with Italian engineer Gianni Caproni, I also liked the way Jiro would be talking to his team of engineers and then envisage the plane above them, taking flight with the wind blowing all about them. Talking of wind, and aeronautics actually, Mitch and I have been working our way through the Studio Ghibli films and flight, planes and nature seem to be a common theme. The Wind Rises is tragic yet beautiful, something Hayao Miyazaki does rather well, too bad it's the last film he'll make.

He, She and It (1991)
Set in the not so distant future, earth is a scarred husk of a planet largely thanks to the effects of global warming and war. The human race still exists but it's fragmented. Depending on their status, people either live in the protected (and privilaged) domes of the multis - gigantic companies which run everything; the glop - a sprawling sector, home to most of the remaining population and rife with gangs and crime; or the free bases - self contained towns which are run and protected by the citizens that live there, independent of the multis. Although many animal species (and people) have died off due to the sun's strengthened radiation, one thing that has remained, and has only become stronger is technology. The Net (cyberspace) is at the heart of life in this new world. It's where people from all walks of life can communicate with each other. It's also the primary source of entertainment and information storage. As you've probably guessed, this is deliciously SF. The actual story follows Shira an ex-multi employee who returns to the free town of Tivka to live with her grandmother (and expert security software programmer), Malkah. But the talented Malkah has been working on another secret project, a cyborg. A cyborg built to resemble a human - physically and emotionally - but with the strength and stamina of a machine and it turns to Shira to socialise it. It's been described as feminist fiction and I can see why, the female characters steal the show, particularly Nili - a scout sent from an all-women community cut off from the rest of the world. Although the women have their flaws, the male characters (aside from Yod, the cyborg) are weak in more ways than one. It was great to read about some really meaty and gritty female characters and something which I need to do more of. I've got Beyoncé in my head now.

Last week I went to the bloomsbury theatre at UCL to see three youtubers put on a live show. And those ladies were: Hannah Hart of My Drunk Kitchen; Mamrie Hart (no relation) of You Deserve a Drink; and Grace of Daily Grace. I confess I'm not totally up on my youtube channels but I'd watched quite of few of Hannah's videos and a couple of Mamrie and Grace's. My friend Alex (who's way more clued up about this stuff) got the tickets. Once we were in our seats I looked around at the audience and noticed that I was probably one of the oldest people there. However, as soon as the show started I knew that my old age had no detrimental effect on the crazy antics happening on the stage. It was pretty hilarious. I've not heard so many puns packed into an hour and twenty minutes before - those american ladies love their puns. They also (as you may have gathered from their youtube channel names) like to drink. V.silly and smutty as hell - a good show indeed. Here's Hannah's music video about a carrot onesie (featuring Grace and Marmie).

Thursday, 8 May 2014

BHW bits & pieces

The bank holiday weekend went something like this...

On Friday night Mitch and I went to see El Dorado at the Arcola Theatre just off the Kingsland Road. It was meant to be a black comedy but it was seriously dark so I didn't laugh much - it was v.good though! A small but compelling cast, minimalistic set with excellent use of sound and lighting. The bar attached to the theatre was pretty cute too and sold the tastiest crisps I've ever eaten. Afterwards we went for pizza at Bite (they picked the best cheeses for their four cheese pizza - not enough places are ballsy enough to wack on some gorgonzola).

Saturday saw us head to Rivington Street to buy Mitch's wedding suit. I had a feeling that going to a proper tailors would be hella intimidating but the guy at Mr Start was v.patient and super helpful. We were also given beer to drink whilst Mitch tried stuff on which was cool and kinda reminded by of wedding dress shopping. In the evening we went to a friend's birthday. Not only did he make his own bread but the most a-mazing dip (cream cheese, tomatoes, mushrooms and other stuff - I need the recipe). It was a hilarious night of plenty of booze (including Mitch's signature punch), food and a good old game of mafia.

Sunday started out very chilled - lunch with my nan, some sewing (finished the top of my friend's baby quilt) - but come the evening it all went down hill. Moriarty hadn't come out to play for the last two nights so on Sunday I decided that that was long enough. I took the lid off his cage to find that he was curled up in his nest and v.poorly indeed. I know it must sound crazy, getting upset about a hamster but he's our little hamster and seeing him like that was unbelievably upsetting. Frantic googling of his conditions lead us to the same advice: take him to the vet. Amazingly Mitch found a 24 hour one so we made Moriarty as comfortable as possible in a shoe box and drove him over there. The vet was impressed with how active he was (Moriarty had perked up somewhat in the car and waiting room) and prescribed him antibiotics and some 'recovery diet'. On sunday night I couldn't sleep and I woke up with my stomach in knots. Moriarty made an unusually early appearance on Monday morning and thankfully, seemed much improved. By the evening he was climbing the roof of his cage - the medicine seems to be doing the trick!

Certain that Moriarty was in a better way state than the night before, Mitch and I went out to buy a few essentials for our long weekend in the Lake District (and a rucksack which I didn't really need but it was only 12 quid and I bloody love it). The rest of the day was spent being incredibly productive and ploughing on with wedding-related stuff.

So, although Ronny O'Sullivan didn't win the snooker and the bank holiday weekend felt, at times, more like an endurance test than a relaxing long weekend (I certainly didn't feel well rested coming back into work on Tuesday), I'm just glad that it was sunny and Moriarty is on the mend.

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