Thursday, 31 May 2012

Croatian days & nights


Today I got back from lovely Dubrovnik. If you've never been I'd certainly recommend a trip there, it was definitely one of the most beautiful cities I've travelled to! The Croatian coastal town lies on a mountain overlooking a very blue sea. Here are a few photos from our trip.. we stayed in a Bowie-themed apartment which was a great way to relax and gave us chance to cook our own food when we fancied it. Also, the view from the apartment was amazing!





As it is on a hill there are hundreds of steps to climb every day which keeps you quite fit! One day Tom decided we should climb to the top of the mountain, where there is a war museum about the Homeland wars that happened in the early 90s. It's worth a visit, as is the War Photo museum in the old town. 



On our last day we decided to try a kayaking tour, which was a lot of fun. We boated round the island of Lokrum, to a little cove where we had a break and Tom bravely tested the water in his snorkel (it was cold!) It was also quite hard work and my arms are still aching! 



I'll really miss Dubrovnik, it's strange being back in grey Nottingham but at least we have the Bank Holiday yet to come! I'll share some pages from our travel sketchbooks over the weekend too.


Saturday, 26 May 2012

Ciao for now


Early tomorrow morning I'm off to Dubrovnik for a wee little holiday. We've chosen to stay in an apartment which is named after Ziggy Stardust. Should be good! Back next week x (I just noticed i may own too many polka-dot items..)

Friday, 25 May 2012

Film Friday: Do the Right Thing

With the recent warm spell we're having, it seemed like a good time to watch Do the Right Thing, the classic film written by and starring Spike Lee. Set in a heatwave in Brooklyn in 1989, the film centres around the black community living there and their relationship with the white people in the neighbourhood. Spike Lee's character works for Sal's Pizzeria, and we see events unfold within the area until things reach boiling point and violence breaks out. I enjoyed this film a lot but the ending did throw up a lot of questions, and it was interesting to read about different real-life incidents that had influenced Lee in the writing of this film, and whether violence is ever the answer. I'd be interested to hear anyone else's opinions on the film too.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Charity Shop Finds


This week I was pleased to discover this book one lunchtime in my favourite charity shop. 'How to Draw Portraits' is a book first written in 1946, and includes some wonderful illustrations from the time, all separated into different chapters such as 'Drawing with Feeling,' 'Posing the Sitter' and 'Drawing Mother.' In the inside cover it says other books in the series include 'Drawing a Cat' 'Sketching the Ballet' and 'How to Draw the Circus'... I'll certainly keep an eye out for those now too!





Monday, 21 May 2012

Bike Gang vs the World


A while ago I planned a group bike ride for my birthday weekend. I thought by mid-May the weather would be a lot sunnier, but despite the cold (several of us were even wearing gloves!) we went a fun bike ride along the river towards Beeston. We even had a little picnic before the cold wind got a bit much and we hopped back on our bikes to the nearest pub. It was a great day out and I can't wait to organise another ride when it gets warmer (this weekend's forecast is looking up!) *Most photos taken by Tom, whilst riding precariously!





Sunday, 20 May 2012

Nice things (owl edition!)


On Friday I celebrated my birthday (the last one of my twenties, eep!). I got some lovely presents so I thought I'd share a few here.

A while ago I posted about some hand-cut books which I loved and for my birthday Tom made me this one (below), isn't it great? It's made from a lovely old book called the Reader's Digest Junior Treasury. Tom was working on it for quite a few hours and I think it turned out really well! I love the symbols on the spine too, one says 'Things to make & do.' This year was also a good year for owls! I got quite a few owl-cards and some other lovely birdy things too. I also ordered myself a little gift from Etsy, a butterfly necklace from Ladybird Likes. It came beautifully packaged with a little crocheted cherry brooch thrown in for free, I was pretty pleased!


A cute owl egg timer!

My Ladybird Likes necklace

Tatty Devine brooch I got as a birthday gift, hurray!

And finally an owl chalkboard my brother gave me!

Monday, 14 May 2012

Podcasts I like

I just thought I'd post up about a few good podcasts I've been listening to lately. This is also a request to anyone who can recommend other good ones to listen to on my way to work! Art and design related ones maybe, let me know in the comments if you can add to my rather short list! (Artwork above by Divya Srinivasan who also did Sufjan Steven's artwork)

1. This American Life
Ira Glass can do no wrong. This Chicago-based podcast documents ordinary people's stories, on a different theme each week. The stories are usually quite moving and have been known to make me both laugh and cry!

2. How to do everything
I've also been enjoying this podcast where Mike Danforth & Ian Chillag answer questions on far ranging topics such as 'How do I escape a charging rhino' or 'How do you make friends in a new town?'

3. After the Jump
Design Sponge has a new podcast which started a few weeks ago, where host Grace Bonney interviews some of her design heroes.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Nuts in May


Well this weekend the sun actually came out - quite amazing really! Yesterday Tom threw me a surprise party in advance of my birthday next week, it was lovely to see friends and we played a few games (including musical chairs!) and had a jumping competition.

And today we hopped in my friend's old mini and took a trip to Bestwood Country Park, where we spotted bluebells in the woods and had a go on the adventure playground. Afterwards we headed home and watched Nuts in May, probably the most English film you'll ever come across, all about a couple who go camping in Dorset but can't find the peace and quiet they crave. I highly recommend a watch of it, it sums up camping holidays quite perfectly!







Saturday, 12 May 2012

Nice bits & bobs

Who knew white peacocks existed? These pictures by Katie Soloker are lovely.

Lizzie Stewart has started a new research blog for a project she is planning for her Masters, all about objects and their significance. She is asking people to submit images of objects important to them, which she'll then select from to illustrate. Looks like it'll be a really nice project.

Louise Lavendar aka NekoMentsu is currently asking for submissions for a zine project she's starting all about animals. If you'd like to contribute anything about a favourite pet, or any memories or illustrations of animals just drop her an email.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Film Friday: We Need to Talk about Kevin

Last night I watched We Need to Talk About Kevin, a film which revolves around the life of a mother (played skilfully by Tilda Swinton) whose son Kevin is... a handful to put it lightly. As he grows up his behaviour grows out of hand, and yet his parents still refuse to act and punish him properly for his actions which ends up leading to a tragic and disturbing conclusion. I thought the film had some great performances and the subject was very thought provoking. Though the film kept darting from one time period to the next which sometimes made it a little confusing to watch, and the ending seemed to come quite suddenly. (And Tom couldn't take the father character seriously as he was played by John C Reilly!)

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Books Q&A


Janet tagged me today in this book Q&A which I'm only too happy to oblige with, to help get me out of a slight blogging rut that has crept over me lately. I do partly blame the weather as a lot of what I posted revolved around getting out there and photographing things and I just haven't felt like it that much lately. Anyway here goes.. (I may cheat slightly and exclude a few of the questions that I can't answer! And I've tried not to include many graphic novels though they are my usual favourites to read.)

So, the rules:
1. Post these rules
2. Post a photo of your favourite book cover
3. Answer the questions below
4. Tag a few people to pass the Q&A on to: I'm tagging anyone who fancies it :-) Let me know if you do in the comments below.

What are you reading right now?
I just finished How to be a Woman and returned it to the library, swapping it for two travel guides to Croatia where I'm heading in a couple of weeks! I enjoyed HTBAW although I think it started off well and didn't quite keep to the same level (there were a lot of words in CAPITALS too!) Though I do agree with most of her points on how important feminism still is!

What 5 books have you always wanted to read but haven’t got round to?
I actually made a list on my blog here! I'd forgotten some of these actually, it includes It Chooses You by Miranda July, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, plus I'll add on IQ84 by Murakami.

What magazines do you have in your bathroom/lounge right now?
Oh Comely's latest copy has just arrived!

What’s the worst book you’ve ever read?
Ha.. erm! Maybe something by Elizabeth Wurtzel but I'd probably count it as the best at the same time.

What book seems really popular but you actually hated?
I actually didn't enjoy The Lovely Bones that much, I couldn't really get inspired by the characters and the ending got on my nerves a bit. But I know a lot of people adore that book so I'll stop there!

What’s the one book you always recommend to just about everyone?
Blankets by Craig Thompson. Okay it's a graphic novel so I cheated a bit but it's mine & Tom's favourite and I think it's just a very beautiful book. That and Winnie the Pooh...

Where do you usually get your books?
Charity shops, sometimes from Amazon... and the library if they have it!

Where do you usually read your books?
On the bus to work normally, sometimes before bed.

When you were little, did you have any particular reading habits?
I used to be an avid reader when I was a kid, sometimes I pretended to go to sleep when my parents checked on me so they wouldn't notice me staying up all night to finish a book (usually by Enid Blyton...) Yes I was a nerd.

What’s the last thing you stayed up half the night reading because it was so good you couldn’t put it down?
Oh..! It's been some time actually so perhaps it was when I first read Norwegian Wood.

Have you ever bought a book just because you liked the cover?
Yes many times. I don't think it's anything to be ashamed of really! There are some beautiful book covers out there... (vintage ones in particular)

What was your favourite book when you were a child?
When I was quite young I loved anything by Janet & Allen Ahlberg, like Burglar Bill & The Jolly Postman. I also loved the Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson and The Magic Faraway Tree books by Enid Blyton. And of course Where the Wild Things are (sad to hear the author Maurice Sendak died yesterday, he was such a unique author and very funny in interviews). I still love children's books to this day!

What book changed your life?
This may sound a bit weird but when I first read the Bell Jar it had a big effect on me, I was on holiday with my family as a teenager and suddenly began identifying with Sylvia Plath rather too much!

Who are your top five favourite authors?
George Orwell, Jean Rhys, Francoise Sagan, Craig Thompson, Douglas Coupland maybe too, though I've not read any of his books in years.

What book has no one heard about but should read?
Um perhaps Keep the Aspidistra Flying as people tend to read the more well known ones by Orwell but I really enjoyed this one too.

What are your favourite books by a first-time author?
I liked Bonjour Tristesse by Francoise Sagan & I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith is another favourite of mine. 

What is your favourite classic book?
Probably the Catcher in the Rye.. I don't really read many books written pre-1930s though, oops.

Friday, 4 May 2012

Film Friday: Mannequin

I had some high hopes for Mannequin, an 80s comedy starring Kim Cattrall as a shop mannequin who comes to life. Unfortunately that's as far as the plot seemed to go! The rest of the film felt a bit of an 'add on' which is a shame. Though the soundtrack was pretty good... (and how has Kim Cattrall managed to look the same for the past 30 years?)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

A letter to the future


At the weekend I visited an old family friend who moved into my old family home after we had moved out. He said he had an envelope for me they'd found lodged in the chimney. Inside the envelope were two letters, one from my brother, aged ten at the time and the other from me, three years older. On the envelope was the date, 18th December 1996. The letters were addressed to whoever found them in the future. Mine had a little drawing of myself and questions for the finder. But my brother's is my favourite. I might hide the letter back in a chimney and hope robots come across it in a few thousand years..

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