Saturday, 30 November 2013

much to give thanks for in november

Moustache today, gone tomorrow - if you're doing movember anyway. I wasn't  but oh man, it's been one heck of busy month - markets, live gigs, fireworks, dress shopping! In amongst all the fun (namely eating and drinking lots), there I was, trying to stick to my 4 things challenge. Not a complete success this month...

De-clutter: The flat is still a tip. These short days are anything but motivational in terms of tidying in the evenings during the week or at the weekend. I honestly cannot see the flat situation getting better in December what with a mountain of social commitments on the cards to keep me out until dark... not that I'm complaining - if I'm out a lot it means I won't have to spend as much time in my messy flat! That's the adult way to deal with it.

Health: Apart from a horrendously boozy wednesday in the third week, I've not been doing too badly with the 'consume less alcohol' plan and my caffine in-take has definitely dropped. Herbal tea and water all the way! Again, what with all the social happenings in December, not to mention Christmas itself, I'd be stupid to think that this can last. Also, I only managed to go to the gym twice a week throughout the November. My defence? Ever tried getting up for the gym at 6am when it's pitch black? I have. I've tried and failed miserably, on several occasions. So, once after work in the week and once at the weekend has been the routine this month, aiming to go three times a week in December or at least maintain the effort.

Money: Although I've not been buying clothes or other frivolous things, I did spend rather a lot on going out, gig tickets specifically, so payday really couldn't have come sooner. On the plus side I've managed to make a start with christmas present purchasing and I continued to bring my own lunch to work for most of the month - this is certainly a habit I'll stick to.

Do More New: I think this is the only goal I convincingly managed to keep up with this month. I went to see two bands I'd not seen live before (Savages and Arcade Fire), spent an afternoon at Renegade Craft Fair for the first time before trying out a completely new-to-me restaurant/bar in Shoreditch, entered a design competition, went to the Wellcome Collection for the first time, tried on a wedding dress for the first time (SO much fun) and experienced my first ever Thanksgiving!

Friday, 29 November 2013

a photo an hour (ish) #3

Yesterday was a and busy day so I thought I'd try 'a photo an hour' again... 

cuddles with moriarty

waiting for the tube at victoria

editing barbie  (she's in australia at present)

jotting down project ideas whilst enjoying a blueberry muffin

autumn leaves in chiswick

meeting my sister outside liberty because of...

2:30pm dress shopping! SO much fun :)

carnaby street decorations

The Church of London pop up shop @ old street tube station

v.late lunch: hummus & halloumi burger at Bill's (angel) 

arriving at winter wonderland for a friend's birthday.

bratwurst mit sauerkraut - YUM

Sadly, that was the last picture I took last night. I blame lots of chatting and too much mulled wine :)

Monday, 25 November 2013

around here lately

★ Reading: Journey into Fear by Eric Ambler. Not my usual genre but hey, who doesn't love a spy thriller set during WWII. I'm only a couple of chapters in but so far so good.

★ Watching: Catching Fire (at the IMAX - it was amazing); Star Trek Voyager (they still haven't got home yet), Elementary season 2, LOADS of Come Dine With Me and Fresh Meat season 3.

★ Making: Bunting for the wedding - miles and miles of it. Ok, I'm exaggerating, it's more like 30 metres but it feels like a lot more. I'm also ploughing on with my crochet blanket which I started many moons ago. 

★ Eating: Soup (and lots of it) and mince pies. The latter because...

★ Feeling: V.festive all of a sudden - lights on Oxford street, purchasing people's Christmas presents and discussing what MItch and I will be cooking for xmas dinner probably had something to do it :)

★ Listening to: I know it's early buuuuut... today, at lunchtime whilst the office was empty, I put on Sufjan Steven's Christmas Unicorn. It's quite possibly the happiest song ever.

★ Wearing: Wedding dresses. On Saturday I went wedding dress shopping. I was extremely nervous but thanks to two of my lovely bridesmaids and the v.nice lady in the shop I had nothing to fret about. It was actually a lot of fun. DMs - it got cold over the last week or so so they've been busted out. 

★ Looking forward to: As well as Christmas and a busy December, the coming week is also pretty exciting... pub quiz on Tuesday, more dress shopping on Thursday afternoon followed by a trip to Hyde Park's Winter Wonderland for sausage and gluhwein, celebrating a postponed Thanksgiving with my friend Alex on Friday (my first ever thanksgiving!) and lunch at my parents' house on Saturday.

★ Loving: Nights in with Mitch - watching tv in my pajamas, whilst crocheting and drinking camomile and spearmint tea - and plenty of cuddles with Moriarty obvs.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

the dreaded question

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7/ 8 // 9 // 10 // 11 // 12 and 12

Yup, it's that time again. Everybody wants to know what you want for christmas. As I get older I'm finding it increasingly difficult to think of stuff. Probably because, now that I am old, there's not many things I really really want, apart from a holiday, which isn't exactly something you can wrap-up and put under the tree. But, having arranged to meet my mum for lunch today, I knew that the dreaded question would come up. So, I did some thinking and arrived prepared with a small list of ideas that included a couple of things from above, as well a few good books.

Of course the ultimate answer to the question is: a big roast dinner, lots of mice pies, several glasses of port and a few games of shit head with all the family round. Cheesy but true.

Monday, 18 November 2013

wellcome collection

With nothing much planned for Saturday, Mitch and I made a somewhat spontaneous decision to visit the Wellcome Collection in Euston. The museum is all about medicine but particularly its links to life and art.

After a muffin (a very delicious apple and courgette muffin, that was huge) and a coffee in their lovely cafe - how about that ceiling! - we headed up to the fifth floor, home to their current exhibition: Foreign Bodies, Common Ground. Six different artists spent a few months in different research centres across the world and the exhibition showcased the work they created in response to their experiences.

My favourite piece was the 'Fossil Necklace' by Katie Paterson. It was made from 170 fossils, all cut and smoothed to form tiny bead-like spheres. Once linked together, the necklace, very cleverly, appeared to chart the development of the Earth. The first beads/fossils were billions of years old whilst the last few represented the time when humans were being to evolve. Apart from the whole concept of the necklace, I also v.much liked how it was displayed: hung up in a dark room with only one light, visitors (only four at a time) were given a magnifying glass with which to take a closer look at the individual fossil spheres - yes one of them was made of amber and contained a bee! Outside the room there was a 2-D layout of the necklace with annotations so you could read what each one was. Included in the fossils was the ear bone of a whale and some fossilised dinosaur poo! Pretty cool eh?
Picture source 1 & 2, 3.
They kinda remind me of teeny tiny planets and moons in that last pic.

Another of the exhibits that caught our eye was the Pata Picha Studio created by artists Miriam Syowia Kyambi and James Muiuki. Their aim was to highlight the connection between researchers and the community involved, how they depend and perceive one another. The studio was built in Kilifi, Kenya and local residents were asked to pose using the props provided. They'd recreated the set in the exhibition so Mitch and I had a go too :)

We decided to take a quick look at the permanent collection, Medicine Now, before having a good peruse of the shop. 

I'd highly recommend the Wellcome Collection - it's a great little place that sells the cutest cuddly cells (that's athlete's foot I'm holding) and, unlike a lot of the other free museums in London, it wasn't crowded in the slightest. Oh and it has a cracking tagline.
Any (free) London gems  you'd care to share? 

Friday, 15 November 2013

Reading & Seeing 12


A lot of hoo-ha has been made about this film and for good reason. Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are part of a space crew whose mission is severely compromised thanks to an influx of debris (mostly bits of broken up satellites). And so ensues an extremely tense hour and a half of willing the survivors to make it back to earth. Yes, some of it does seem a little far-fetched at points (the Wall-E moment in particular, yet part of me actually loved this too) but for the most part you'll be so captivated by the escalating action (not to mention the truly beautiful cinematography) that it's hard to dwell on those niggly points. I've seen a lot of films that are set in space (I do love my SF as you know) but this one was different. Devastating debris attacks aside, it all felt much more real - from the (very) cluttered and claustrophobic ISS to the terrifying absolute silence of space. The zero gravity scenes were fantastic and the entire way through the space scenes I found myself gripping hold of the chair or mitch's hand (subconsciously hanging onto something grounded? possibly). At 90 mins it's a perfect length, no amount of the screen time is wasted with filler scenes, literally every minute counts. This is a film that needs to be seen on the big screen - it must be incredible at the IMAX. I repeat: do not wait for the DVD. Also on the plus side, the 3D in this film actually works.

Arcade Fire @ the Roundhouse

Despite the fact that I've been an Arcade Fire fan since the days of Funeral, that's a good 9 years ago (an after school wander into hmv to buy it on it's release date), I'd never seen them live before Monday. And, what with their growing success, I'd resigned to the fact that unless I wanted to go and watch them in a soulless and cavernous venue like the o2 arena (which I certainly did not) I'd probably missed the boat. So, when I heard (the night before the tickets went on sale) that there were two dates at the Roundhouse to see them - under the fake name "The Reflektors" - you can bet I was there at 9am refreshing my browser window, with my debit card ready to purchase the maximum of two tickets. As an added bonus to actually securing the tickets, my impatient self didn't have to wait more than a week and half before the gig! And the gig itself? It was AMAZING. Mitch and I arrived early and joined the small queue that had started to form, the shitty weather clearly kept most people in the neighbouring pubs until the last minute). Once inside we collected our tickets to the musical talents of the Mariachi band from the doritos advert - it was then that I knew that this wasn't going to be like any other gig I'd been to. Next, we were given masquerade-type masks followed by the offer of having our faces painted, which I  did, obv. before being ushered into the main area along with about 200 other people to be part of a flash mob! A lady taught us a simple dance routine to one of the band's new songs which we could then perform during the gig (which we did, obvs). At 8:45, out they came and it was awesome. I'd listened to their new album a few times and liked a couple of the tracks but hearing them live was a completely different matter. It sounds corney but they completely blew me away. They all have so much energy – you can't help but dance around and sing along, I couldn't take my eyes of them! It was very new album heavy, which, at a couple of points I thought was a bit of a shame as I'd loved to have heard some more of their old stuff (disappointingly nothing was played from Neon Bible) - but this feeling only lasted all of 10 secs because their performance was so mesmerising. We did get three songs from Funeral (Power Out was probably my highlight) and Sprawl II from The Suburbs (my favourite from that album). For those of you who aren't quite convinced about the new album all I can say is: you should see it live. It was probably one of the best live gigs I ever seen. Never before have I left a show on such an insane high. 

Hothouse (1962)

Science fiction in it's purest form. Earth is unrecognisable thanks to the fact that it's stopped spinning on its axis. The side of the planet which faces the sun is over-run with vegetation: flesh-eating plants, trees and gigantic insects thrive whilst puny humans struggle to survive. Our race has regressed to a more primitive and green skinned state - intelligence, the ability to communicate and reproduce and our actual size have all been dramatically reduced. The story follows a small tribe of humans, and the creatures they encounter, on a journey through a completely unfamiliar future-earth. The creatures are rather disturbing, the landscapes bizarre and the situations quite frightening - the best thing about this book was that it really captivated my imagination. There's probably not much actual science behind the events leading up to the explosion of frondescence but Brian Aldiss' descriptions of the planet and it's omnivorous forests are so vivd that all disbelief is suspended. I didn't for one second wonder whether any of it was plausible, let alone probable, because you're cast off into this crazy world with nothing but the conviction of Aldiss' writing. And it is convincing. I've not read any SF quite as raw as this but I really enjoyed it.

Mockingjay (2010)

The third and final instalment of The Hunger Games trilogy. After basically inhaling the last book, this one took me quite a while to finish - partly because I opted to spend my commute knitting a scarf but also because it's just not as good. There's no actual Hunger Games for a start which, although due to the progression of the plot means that that would be impossible, means that the book lacks the satisfying structure of the previous books. Mockingjay is all a bit chaotic - rebels this, rebels that - and even Katniss is pretty irritating throughout. You're still rooting for her most of the time but you'd like to give her a slap round the face all the same. Suzanne Collins hasn't short-changed you on horrific deaths and main character slaughterings but the ending is a bit of a non-event. The saving grace of the deflated conclusion was probably that our heroine, in my opinion, totally ends up with the right bloke (even if it half-arsed thanks to his character essentially being downgraded into something v.two dimensional in this third book). Saying that though, I'm glad I read them and of course I'll watch the films (only a week until Catching Fire at the IMAX - I can barely contain my excitement). Perhaps I'm being a bit harsh as the endings of the first and second books were amazing - two out of three isn't bad.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

an afternoon in east

Another super sister saturday took place at the weekend - crafty goods and cocktails were on the menu.

First off we headed to the Truman Brewery near Brick Lane for the Renegade Craft Fair. I've missed it the last two years (for shame) so I was pretty stoked to have remembered this time. The upstairs bit of the old brewery was jam-packed with independent makers, artists and designers all selling quality and unique products. The amount of excellent stuff on offer was slightly overwhelming. If I hadn't restricted myself to a budget I might have gone a bit spending-crazy.
dinner print amused me greatly 

this stall had the best cards

these anti swallow necklaces were ace - the messages on the necklaces say 'f**k swallows' :)

I managed to get two christmas presents for other people as well as a couple of inexpensive bits and bobs for myself. I also picked up a ton of business cards for future reference (and when I get paid again). Here's what I bagged: A bookmark, this cute purse, 's is for sloth' card and two postcards from the funniest stall ever.

Other great stuff included: Ace plates from Oh no Rachio!; this vase from Scawn Studios; the mugs and illustrations of Ella Masters;  this print from Scout Editions; this ring from Moko. I really could go on forever. After two hours at the fair, my sis and I went in search of cocktails.

A short walk down the road onto shoreditch high street and we were tempted by happy hour cocktails at Barrio East. I am SO glad we went in. Not only were the cocktails very good (and cheap) but the food was lush. We ordered slightly spicy pork tacos and a massive plate of nachos (with all the trimmings). YUM. I'd definitely recommend it but get there early if you don't fancy booking a table, it got pretty busy by 8ish.

My Sunday was v.chilled - a good tidy up of the flat followed by lunch at The Joint (the obsession continues) before an evening of lazing about on the couch and a good old play with Moriarty.

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