Wednesday, 29 February 2012

About a dog

A comic by my Pop

After seeing the comic I drew for my Grandmother last year, my Dad was so inspired he decided to draw one himself! Recently he gave me the finished product; a watercoloured comic entitled 'God Dog,' to go along with the lyrics to one of his favourite songs (you can listen to it here if you're curious).

Although my Dad doesn't regard himself as that much of an artist I think he did a brilliant job and I was so happy when I looked through the comic for the first time, isn't it lovely? The dog in the pictures resembles our old dog Pud, who was so sweet, I still miss her to this day.

A comic by my Pop

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Tea time


I recently discovered that many of my 'pins' on Pinterest relate to tea (glorious tea!) so I thought I'd do a mini round-up of tea related artifacts here. [If you're a Pinterest person, you can add me here!]

I'm currently drinking 'Big Chill' tea by Mr Scruff - roobois, pear and cinnamon, it's pretty good. Do you have any favourite tea recommendations?

Clockwise, from top left:
Handmade teabag cookies, Alice in Wonderland Mug £14, Orla Kiely Teapot (we can dream!) £55, Valentine's hand-made tea bags, Earl grey tea cake (really want to make this!), Tea Boy Penguin Timer - this is amazing but seems to be sold out everywhere, Vintage Tea Party book, £20, Nice to be Nice tea towel, £9.95, Morning Colour Changing Mug $29.

Monday, 27 February 2012

Hop, skip and a jump

Our B&B

Tom and I decided it was time to take a short break from the city, so we hopped on a Transpeak bus to the middle of Derbyshire. Here we stayed in a B&B on top of a hill overlooking an amazing view in the valleys below; the Monsal Dale. There is a huge viaduct which was built by the Midland Railway line but closed in 1959 and has now become part of the Monsal Trail. This means you can walk through the train tunnels in the hills and pop out the other side!

The view, oh the view

Map reading

Hope skip & a jump

Snowdrops appear

The Viaduct

Inside the Monsal Tunnel

Tom's drawings

Friday, 24 February 2012

Film Friday: Vertigo

After watching It's a Wonderful Life last Christmas I felt I really should watch more James Stewart films. So I decided Vertigo was a good place to start. I'm not sure why I'd not watched this before, as Rear Window, also directed by Hitchcock, is one of my all time favourites.

Vertigo tells the story of a San Francisco detective whose fear of heights causes him to retire early. However when his friend asks him to help investigate his wife's strange behaviour, Stewart has to oblige. Vertigo is a classic thriller which unfolds to reveal quite a few twists and turns along the way. Good old Jimmy Stewart. (Tom and I can't help but do impressions of him whenever we watch one of his films, ah..) Oh and of course the title sequence is reason enough to watch this on its own.

Thursday, 23 February 2012


I am off to the Peaks for a few days. I can't wait to spend some time in the fresh air! Have a lovely weekend, friends.

(Photo taken in Matlock Bath two years ago)

Photography Heroes

After watching the recent BBC drama about David Bailey I realised that I wished I knew more about other photographers and their work. So I thought it would be interesting to ask some talented photographers out there who their personal heroes are in the field.

First up I asked Jacqueline Tinney, who runs First Hand Photography here in Nottingham. Thanks Jack!

by John Naar

Too Much Inspiration

When I first took up photography, I thought that it was all about capturing people. The first photographs I took were portraits of family and friends and important events.

And while I have a huge appreciation for great portrait photographers such as David Bailey, perfectly lit and composed studio portraits have never been for me. Instead I loved photographs of ‘real’ people and was fascinated by those photographers who were masters at capturing ordinary people going about their business, particularly Henri Cartier-Bresson and Robert Doisneau.

Looking at the work of Cartier-Bresson and Doisneau led me towards that of John Deakin, William Eggleston and more recently, Jon Naar.

by John Naar

by John Naar

These photographers are not just concerned with people but were, and are, masters at capturing the beauty that is to be found along any city street: the shapes and reflections of windows, shadows, faded lettering, graffiti, textures and signs of urban decay.

And this is where my biggest influence has come from.

“Windows, posters, signs, and writings on walls fascinate me.”

- Jon Naar

Studying photographers like Naar has given me a new way of watching the world. I look at my city through fresh eyes now and spot little abstracts of beauty. Pattern, textures and shapes that I might never have noticed before. I love to see the remnants of tattered posters, bill-boards and flyers; and faded lettering on brick buildings which give clues to the building’s former use. I have a whole new appreciation for graffiti and even tagging.

by John Naar

My photography has changed too, now when I shoot weddings, I try to capture as many details from my surroundings as I can. Old brick walls might become interesting backdrops and unusual windows and doorways might become frames for my subjects. I look for splashes of colour to add interest and diagonals and leading lines in buildings to enhance photographic compositions.

by John Naar

The downside perhaps, of this is that there is almost too much inspiration all around. I can’t switch off the viewfinder that has now become my eyes, and when I’m out I often lose track of what I’m saying because I’ve just spotted a new piece of graffiti, or a crack in the pavement which might just make a beautiful photo.


Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Out & About in Notts, Part 2

New Art Exchange

The New Art Exchange is a lovely gallery which lies in Forest Fields, right near 'the Forest' tram stop. I volunteer there when I can at their workshops which are held most Saturdays, and are completely free of charge! They are family friendly but anyone is welcome to pop along. Last Saturday I helped out at a Modern Origami class, led by textiles artist Ruth Singer.

At first the end product seemed a bit complicated (one little boy exclaimed "That's impossible!") but it was actually quite simple and by the end of the class everyone had made an origami box using recycled paper.

New Art Exchange

New Art Exchange

New Art Exchange

New Art Exchange
The end product!

Upcoming workshops I'm looking forward to include:

Saturday 17th March, 2pm- 4pm: Photographic Mosaic
Saturday 31st March 2pm -4pm: Camera Obscura
Cost: Free!

If you live locally and would like to come along to a workshop or event, more info can be found here.

Monday, 20 February 2012

One year in the Convent

Feb 2011

Last weekend marked a whole year since Tom and I moved into the Convent. In case you are curious, the building was converted from The Convent of Mercy nunnery into flats around the year 2000, but still retained many of its original features, including the beautiful stained glass windows and the adjoining chapel which can be hired out for special occasions. So far we've really enjoyed living in such a unique place and have had many fun parties in the Chapel (including a spooky Halloween - I'm already planning a special birthday idea for May!)

I realised I've taken quite a few similar photos from my window throughout the seasons, its nice to put them together and think of the happy times we have had here, hopefully with many more yet to come!

March 2011

April 2011

April in the garden

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Learning to Lindyhop

Lindyhop class

I have always had a fear of dancing in public. Recently I decided a good way to try and conquer that fear would be to face it head-on and try a dance class. This of course meant dancing in front of people without any form of alcohol to ease me in!

A few of my friends have told me about Lindyhop classes and when I heard there was a beginners class in Sneinton on a Sunday evening I thought it would be a good place to start. Tom didn't seem to need any convincing (he's pretty fearless when it comes to dancing!) so we went along last week with a couple of friends.

Lindyhop began in the 20s, and evolved from the Charleston, accompanying swing or jazz music of the time. In the drop in session we formed a large circle with a partner, danced for a few minutes then moved to the next person in a continuous circle. At first I was terrified I'd never get the moves but after a while I relaxed a bit and it was really fun. Would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in learning, maybe one day we'll even get as good as these folks!

Lindyhop Fundamentals classes start at 5.30pm on Sundays, for £3 at the Old School Hall, Sneinton, Nottingham.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Film Friday: Drive

I finally got round to watching Drive, this week. I enjoyed the film, (despite having to close my eyes during certain violent moments!) although I couldn't quite warm to either of the main characters (played by Ryan Gosling and Carey Mulligan). Perhaps you weren't really meant to though?

Monday, 13 February 2012

Out & About in Notts, Part 1

Um, which way?

It's always a bit hard to get going after the Christmas and New Year period; the dark nights get me down and money is sparse! So I decided it would be nice to start a new series on here documenting all the fun things Nottingham (and further afield) has to offer. There are loads of great places to visit here that don't cost a penny and I am looking forward to discovering new ones in the next few months. Hopefully it'll form a rough guide to Nottingham and throw up some ideas about fun things you can try out in other towns too!

Super secret hideout!

Part 1 - Rufford Country Park
On Sunday me, Tom and a couple of friends bundled into a car and went on a little road trip to Rufford Country Park. The place promised much; a ruined Abbey, a Camera Obscura and sculpture trail. But what we really wanted to find when we arrived was the animal graveyard! (It was slightly strange when we found it - one horse grave and some working dogs buried in the woods by the family who lived in the house a hundred years ago! Hmm..) There was still quite a lot of snow so our toes started to get a little cold, but luckily we stumbled across some wooden huts in the forest. Perfect for snuggling up inside!

What have we here?


Camera Obscura
This is what the Camera Obscura looked like..

And the strange view inside!

Orangerie, snowed under

Snow bear

Rufford Abbey has lots to offer including a Craft Centre and a nearby lake to walk to in warmer months.

Location: off the A614, 18 miles north of Nottingham.
Open daily from dusk til dawn.
Price: Free!


Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Willard Suitcase Collection

A while ago I stumbled across this collection of photographs of some suitcases left by patients at the Willard Asylum in New York between 1910 and the 1960s, taken by photographer Jon Crispin. The contents of the cases are fascinating, and provide a unique glimpse into the lives of their owners.

Here is a bit more background info by the photographer from his Kickstarter page about how the project began:

"In 1995, the New York State Museum was moving items out of the Willard Psychiatric Center in Willard, NY which was being closed by the State Office of Mental Health. It would eventually become a state-run drug rehabilitation center. Craig Williams and his staff became aware of an attic full of suitcases in the pathology lab building. The cases were put into storage when their owners were admitted to Willard sometime between 1910 and the 1960s. And since the facility was set up to help people with chronic mental illness, these folks never left. An exhibit of a small selection of the cases was produced by the Museum and was on display in Albany in 2003. It was very moving to read the stories of these people, and to see objects from their lives before they became residents of Willard."

You can view the rest of Crispin's photos from the ongoing project here.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Winter in fisheyes


I took some photos on my fisheye camera over the New Year period and just got the roll developed. I still get excited collecting photos from Boots and finding out what was on the film, perfect moments that may have been forgotten about otherwise. You can't beat it!


the Matt hatter

New Year's Eve

Snowy Saturday, Leeds

Train back from Leeds


Friday, 10 February 2012

Film Friday: The Graduate

I recently rewatched one of my favourite films, The Graduate. In case you don't already know the plot, it surrounds the life of recent graduate Benjamin, who is confused and bored with life until he gets involved with a friend of the family, Mrs Robinson. That is, until a meeting with her daughter starts to confuse matters slightly.

Dustin Hoffman is brilliant as Benjamin (the role was apparently intended for Robert Redford which would've made for a very different film) and provides some real comedy moments. It also concludes with one of my favourite ever endings to a film, topped off with a beautiful soundtrack by Simon & Garfunkel which perfectly sums up the time period.

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Something sweet for Washi Tape fans..

Wowee, it's a washi tape printer! I want one. Also love the fact they look a little like fortune cookie answers when printed...
[Seen via petit pot, more details on where to find them here]


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Silver Screen Society

Above: Mon Oncle by Alex Pearson

Silver Screen Society is a site which brings together groups of designers to create artworks inspired by classic films. Each month a new film is chosen, and a group of contributors is asked to interpret them. I thought I'd share a few of my favourites. See the rest of the designs here.

You can also watch a video of the process Alex Pearson used for this beautiful illustration above from Mon Oncle here.

Sleeper by Eva Galesloot

Mon Oncle by Andrew Kolb
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