Sunday, 15 June 2014

Halfway Here

So here it is, the new website: 
That's where I'll be blogging from now on. Hopefully see you over there!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

end of an era

Dear Beard Today Gone Tomorrow,

Over the last couple of months or so I've been thinking about us and what kind of future lies ahead. Since April things haven't felt quite right on here. It doesn't feel like me anymore - the title isn't working for me (do I have a beard? am I someone's beard? - no to both but it's all a bit confusing) and the design feels waaay too cluttered. You were named and established at a different time in my life and, though it's sad to say, I think I've out-grown you. We've had an awesome three and a bit years together but it's time to let you go. I've no intention of deleting you and you'll be pleased to know that I'm in the process of moving over all your old posts onto my new blog (which will be ready soon)! Yes, I'm not giving up blogging (as I bloody love it) and the new space will feature much of the same type of content, I just need something a little more simple that reflects me right now. I know they say 'always pick your blog name carefully' and no-one likes change, but hey, I'm feeling positive about the name-change and more importantly, it'll feel like a place I want to log-in to and update. Plus, apparently bloglovin do this handy thing where they swap all your followers over for you so no-one need miss a thing! (Stay tuned, I'll be trying it out rather soon.)

Goodbye BTGT, thanks for being my first little corner of the internet, it's been ace :)


Monday, 9 June 2014

PIXIES @ Field Day

Yesterday Mitch and I headed to Victoria Park for Sunday's edition of Field Day. I had but one solitary goal: to see Pixies perform live. I think it's fair to say that I'm a pretty big fan but before yesterday, I'd never seen them live and had kind of written it off as a, 'that'll never happen'. But there in East London, surrounded by fellow Pixies fans, amidst cigarette smoke and flying red stripe cans, beneath one of the most spectacular sky scapes, a dream was realised and it was awesome. Wave of Mutilation, Gouge Away, Debaser, Bone Machine, Mr Grieves, Here Comes Your Man, Monkey's Gone to Heaven and of course, Where is My Mind? to name but a few were all there. Within half an hour of them playing I'd heard 5 of my all time favourites. So, so good. Plus, it was a gloriously warm and sunny day, I drank craft beer and ate churros which all amounted to a bloody fantastic Sunday evening. Hope the sun was shining where you were too!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

at present

★  Reading: The Martian by Andy Weir. I really wasn't enjoying this very much at the start but the story has certainly picked up now that I'm over a third of the way in. It's got me hooked.

★  Watching: Game of Thrones and not a lot else really. I've not spent many evenings in recently so my tv/series watching has been slack.

★ Eating: Scrambled eggs & beans on toast. I have no idea why but I seem to craving this a lot at the moment. Oh yes, and scotch eggs.

★ Drinking: Mostly water, moderate amounts of white wine (summer's almost here!) and the tastiest beer I've had in aaaaages: Anchor Saison. At 7.2% though, I can only manage two of these bad boys in an evening.

★ Wearing: I dug out one of my all time favourite tees which I haven't worn in forever on account of it actually being a little (read: a lot) too small for me, but whatever, I'm wearing it now (that's it above) :)

★ Feeling: Happy – the sun is actually out and it's warm outside; sneezy – damn you hayfever!; achy but energised – I went to Zumba on Monday and then played badminton on Tuesday, both were very fun but having not been to the gym in 3 months my body got a bit of a shock; slightly stressed – only 10 weekends stand between now and the wedding and there's still quite a few bits to do; a little smug and very relieved – I went to the dentist for the first time in six years (v.bad Annie) but thankfully she said my teeth were looking good.

★ Looking forward to: Summer! (obvs), but, in the more immediate future: potential dress fitting on Saturday followed by a night out in Kings Cross and then it's Field Day on Sunday where I'll get to see the Pixies!!! Much excitement.

Monday, 2 June 2014

cross pattern baby quilt & a weekend in essex

That was probably one of the best weekends ever! Not only was the sun shining but I spent two very different but bloody marvellous days in Essex. On Sunday we had a converging of mine and Mitch's parents at a lovely pub called The Cricketers. I was told that it was something of a big deal food-wise and it was! I had the most delicious pie (alas no pictures as I was too busy stuffing my face). If you happen to find yourself driving around the stunning Essex countryside near Clavering, I highly recommend a visit, although you may need to book in advance, it's a v.popular place.

On Saturday, a small group of uni buddies and myself journeyed to Leigh-on-Sea for our v.good friend's baby shower and to meet her (very) new baby! Her sister did an excellent job of decorating the house and laying out the cutest spread (baby carriage eggs!). I really wish I'd taken more pictures as it looked amazing. And the stars of the afternoon? Well it goes without saying, he was unbelievably adorable and my friend looked fantastic; it was really hard to believe she'd only given birth two weeks before!

A few people were wondering why the baby shower took place after the birth as I think "traditionally" (are they a tradition? I know nothing) they happen while the mother's still pregnant... Any-hoo, I think having the shower after the baby arrived was perfect – we got to meet the bubba and lavished Lauren with gifts. And talking of gifts, I managed to finish the baby quilt just in time! I seem to be making a habit of doing things at the last minute. Here's the finished blanket...

It's a pretty simple cross pattern which was actually v.straightforward to construct. Saying that though, I think I went about it the wrong way – joining long vertical strips rather than doing sections at a time – you can see that some of my points don't match quite as perfectly as they should.

The simple construction and cross shape meant that I could have a bit more fun with the quilting, trying out different designs and patterns etc. I quilted it all by hand which is what I prefer to do anyway; it's a nice break from sitting at the sewing machine. Fabric wise I just raided my stash which, for the first time in a long time, is now looking rather pathetic (I'll just have to do some fabric shopping - it's a hard life). I didn't have enough blues so I threw some greys into the mix. It was a bit of bugger to plan out but who am I kidding, I really love the planning stages and working out how all the colours will fit together.

I was super happy to find the fabric for the backing. They're little VW beetle-like cars which was perfect as Lauren got given an original beetle for her 21st whilst we were living at uni. The fabric was from Fabric Rehab but I actually bought the last 1m - talk about lucky!
The last thing I wanted to mention was the label. I know it's nowhere near perfect but my embroidery skills are definitely improving (too bad I failed to get a non blurry picture of it though)! I really love making baby quilts, not only do they  take about two months to complete (and that was me taking my sweet time) it's proper lovely when the person they're intended for really likes it. Lauren did so I was v.happy indeed :)

Hope you all had fabulous weekends too!

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!

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