Friday, 31 May 2013

Film Friday: From Dusk til Dawn

I watched From Dusk til Dawn last week on Tom's recommendation (partly him saying 'it's got George Clooney in it!') I do enjoy a good Quentin Tarantino film, and as well as writing the film, in this one he takes one of the main roles as the slightly psychopathic brother of Clooney. I enjoyed the film - until the 'twist' towards the end! Most of you have probably already seen the film so know what I'm talking about, but I found it a little bit too ridiculous from then on! Although I think it was meant to be a bit over the top..

Have a good weekend folks!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Lovely Links

New College Nottingham student Nikki Charlesworth successfully yarn-bombed the Left Lion recently here in Nottingham, you can see her work in the video above. Ace!

George Orwell's rules on how to make a perfect cup of tea "One strong cup of tea is equal to twenty weak ones" (And I agree with him that milk should always go in last!)

A selection of writers and artist tell The Guardian the role photography has played in their lives

A couple of years ago I did a series of posts entitled 'what's on your bookshelf?' It's Nice That do a similar series showcasing the fave books on the shelves of designers & artists. The archive is here.

GeoGuessr is a fun game in which you have to guess where you are from your surroundings - have a go, it's slightly addictive.

These Lego album covers are pretty funky, can you identify them? Via the Telegraph.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Turkey Time!

For my birthday week I went to stay in the coastal town of Dalyan, Turkey. It was my first visit to the country and we sure had fun.

While we were there....

We stayed in a pomegranate field (the fruit are harvested in September, but there's always pomegranate juice on offer in the local cafes)

Stumbled upon some massive melons (that wasn't meant to sound rude)

 Saw statues of Ataturk, the founder of Turkey

Ate amazing fresh pitta bread

Tom got a Turkish shave...

We saw the ancient ruins of Caunos

Did some yoga on a boat..

...until the ice cream boat arrived!

 Spotted some cute turtles in the lake

I made friends with an alligator..

And managed to draw the Turkish flag with sparklers! 


Friday, 24 May 2013

Film Friday: The Great Gatsby

I wasn't sure what I'd make of the film version of The Great Gatsby, as I didn't really get on that well with the book (i found the overprivileged characters in it a bit much, so never finished reading it). The film itself has all the glitziness you'd expect from a Baz Luhrmann project, along with a soundtrack that mixes songs from the jazz era with newer hits, to give the story a modern twist.

Overall I enjoyed the movie - I thought it got a lot better in the second half when tragedy struck! Although it did seem a little long, and sometimes the over-the-top effects were a bit much for me.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

On good friends, penpals and Weezer songs

During my younger years I was quite shy and found making new friends a bit scary, but I loved writing and had quite a lot of penpals I wrote to over the years. Reading this post recently by Bee, who recently rekindled a friendship with a penpal she used to write to, made me think about the penpals I had over the years. They included a Welsh girl named Vanessa (met via the penpals page on Ceefax of all things), a Friends-obsessed boy named James (who I met up with once to see Alanis Morrisette!), an Irish girl called Karen who made me the most amazing mixtape (where i first heard Radiohead, heh). This was all in pre-internet days, and I still love to write letters to this day.

In the early days of the internet, around 1999 (hello AOL messenger!) I made three new friends, through a shared love of the same bands - namely Blur and Weezer! At the time I was on a Blur email-list, and it was through this that I first met Caroline and Gerdien, who I still consider good friends to this day.

Ooh look! ..Caroline on a trip to London

The first time I met Caroline we had arranged to meet and interview DJ Steve Lamacq, back in his Radio 1 days, for a slot we did on Kic FM (which stood for errr, 'kids in communication'!) It was a really fun day which kick-started a good friendship (and numerous trips to see Idlewild together..)

Me & Gerdien in Hyde Park, July '09

Gerdien lives in Holland and when she came over to London one summer I got the train down to meet her and her friend, and we had a fun day going around Camden Market and picking out records. I have been to stay with her and her boyfriend a couple of times now, and Gerdien also came over to see Blur play in Hyde Park a few years ago which was really fun!

Liz, Adam and me in Hamley's in London, 2005

Finally, I met my American friend Adam via a shared love of Weezer, and we used to swap letters and mix cd's which introduced me to lots of new music, from Of Montreal to the Postal Service. Tom and I visited Adam and his lovely wife Liz in their Chicago home a couple of years ago and had a great time exploring the city.

I am so grateful for all these friendships - which often bloomed through a love of music. Did you have any penpals when you were younger? Or meet any gig-going friends through a mutual love of Weezer?!

Monday, 20 May 2013

29 Before 30: How I did

Above: me celebrating my birthday on holiday (and Tom's hand holding a beer!)

Yesterday I got back from a lovely week in Turkey where I celebrated turning 30 with some friends. I had a wonderful time and will share some more snippets from my holiday this week.

Last year I wrote a list of 29 things I wanted to achieve before this milestone (?) birthday. So, here's how I did. (Note - I deliberately made the list fun rather than excruciating! No marathons for me!)

1. Finish making the travel zines Done!
2. Find a lovely new job - this was the most important one on my list. After being made redundant last year I was stuck in a temp job and searching for something in the arts sector. I managed to find my current job  in a lovely theatre a month after writing this list, and have now been there six month, hurrah!
3. Visit Manchester's Christmas market - oops, didn't achieve this one but I did have a wander round Sheffield's Christmas market instead
4. Save enough money to buy a camper van for an exciting trip! - Not quite there yet!
5. Open an etsy shop - Done!
6. Draw more portraits for people - Just before Christmas I sold some portrait orders via my shop.
7. Cycle my bike more - now I have a new bike which allows me to cycle UP hills! 
8. Print out more photos to put into albums - need to do this!
9. Spend a night at my Nan's house, and watch an old film with her - another one I still need to do!
10. Improve my skills on the ukulele - I get easily distracted and have now transferred my musical love to the piano and back to the old faithful guitar
11. Make more handmade gifts for people instead of buying them - I need to get back into crafting
12. Hold a craft night with friends
13. Learn a new recipe 
14. Volunteer more at the New Art Exchange - after getting my new job I haven't had as much time to volunteer as I'd like.
15. Visit the new Bowie exhibition at the V&A - it's all sold out, damn!
16. Go to a zine fair - there's a comic festival called Thought Bubble in Leeds this November that Jeffrey Brown will be at, fingers crossed I can go!
17. Sell more things I don't use on eBay
18. Sell some zines!
19. Try out Nottingham's new patisserie for fancy cake and tea - not yet, though I did discover another new tea-shop, i might post a round up of my fave Notts cafes soon
20. Discover a new band  - I will tick this off after discovering the charms of Kurt Vile and enjoying some songs by Macklemore but I'm still in need of new music inspiration!
21. Finish my 50 Strangers photo project (I seem to have hit a hurdle now after person 31)
22. Hang out with my brother more  - hmm this is tricky as he is always quite busy but i did spend a fun night with him at the cinema and hope to go for a meal soon to catch up
23. Read another classic novel - although I haven't read any classics lately I have got back into reading more
24. Hold a Halloween film-night with added ghost stories
25. Send a drawing to my cousin
26. Go an autumn walk through Wollaton Park (and visit my favourite tree!) - I went this spring and it was beautiful
27. Do more freelance work
28. Visit Scotland - not yet but maybe later in the year
29. Travel to somewhere exciting to spend my birthday - achieved, yesss!

Friday, 10 May 2013

"Ladies Bike" - my early birthday present

I just wanted to share this amazing music video that Tom made me to accompany my early birthday present (a new bicycle!) He and some friends recorded 'Ladies Bike,' (to the tune of Ladies Night!), filmed especially in the Convent. Give it a watch - it's very 'Flight of the Conchords'! I am a lucky gal.

I am off on my holidays this weekend so farewell for now!

Laura x

Film Friday: Sound it Out

This week I watched Sound it Out, a documentary which centres around the last record shop in Teeside, north east England. It explores the slightly obsessive characters that frequent the shop, and the shop owners themselves who are so passionate about music. It was really interesting to hear the reasons why the customers held the shop so close to them, and why music has helped them get through difficult parts in their lives. There were some very 'Hi Fidelity' moments in the film too! I thought it was a shame that we didn't hear a bit more from female music collectors though, as the people featured were nearly all men (despite the director being female). I have sometimes found vinyl shops a little intimidating when I've stepped inside them, although they really shouldn't be!

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Just a minute | May

This month I have mostly been..

Reading Stuart, A Life Backwards

Listening to the new Kurt Vile album

Enjoying the sunshine (which seems to have disappeared today, bah..)

Watching ...I have run out of boxsets, so am waiting excitedly for Girls season 2!

Buying mosquito repellent, sun-cream and flip flops for my holiday to Turkey

Looking after Tom's dad's sweet little dog Pip (above) while they were away

Posting my zines to another creative blogger for a zine swap, hurrah!

Driving electric cars during a super fun Scalextric match in the Racing Room in the Dragon pub. (It's amazing as they've built a mini Nottingham town surrounding the track. Sadly my camera died that day and I didn't have chance to photograph it!)

Has anyone got any good 'holiday' book recommendations by the way? I'm going to see if the library has a copy of IQ84 but any other recommendations would be great!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Things I still haven't mastered by the age of 29

As my 30th is approaching I've been thinking about seemingly 'adult' skills I should have picked up by now, and those I have yet to master. Here's a few that still need work..

1. How to apply make-up with proper brushes
2. How to walk in heels (although I don't actually own any)
3. The art of small talk
4. Knowing what to write in wedding cards (same goes for expectant mother cards!)
5. Whether or not it's safe to reheat rice
6. Sports
7. How to react to compliments
8. Anything to do with pensions/mortgages (eep!)
9. How to make the perfect omelette
10. How to stop biting my nails

Anyone got any of their own to add, to make me feel better? ;-)

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Five Blogs I Love

in the Hard to Find Cafe

Some of my favourite bloggers are doing a blog challenge this month to blog every day in May. I decided this would prove a bit tricky for me as I'm on holiday for a quarter of the month but some of the subjects are great so I might pick and choose from them as the month goes on! Today's is to choose 5 blogs you love. I have lots of inspirational blogs I like to read so it is hard to choose just five, but the following ones are the blogs I get happiest about whenever there's a new post!

1. Like a Skeleton Key
It is actually Bee's birthday today (happy b-day!) so I thought it was appropriate to pop her lovely blog in the first spot. Bee has a wonderful down-to-earth style of writing, and reading about her recent travels in New York and LA has given me serious wanderlust. Not to mention her descriptions of various eateries which make my stomach rumble!

2. That Kate
Kate's photos are always a delight to look through and I love reading about all the special places she visits.

3. Words that can only be your own
Janet's blog has become a firm favourite of mine. Janet writes about a range of topics like books, music and crafts and her blog is never boring.

4. For Me, For You
Another blog I love partly for the beautiful photos, Kate Miss is a designer and jewelry maker living in Los Angeles and has a knack for sharing great music, recipes and other design related topics. Her recent photos of the desert really made me want to travel there too.

5. Goodnight Little Spoon
You can always count on Bianca to make inspiring and creative posts. This lady has many talents, including painting and collage and is currently expecting her first child.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Film Friday: Broken English

Broken English stars Parker Posey (who i think has a bit of a cult following) as Nora, a woman in her thirties, stuck in a job she doesn't enjoy, who goes out with a series of men who are all wrong for her. Until one night at a party she meets charming Frenchman Julien. They spend the weekend together until he has to depart for Paris. Nora has a bit of a freak out and decides not to go but then has a change of heart and whisks herself off to Paris to find him. Without giving away too much of the plot, there are lots of echoes of Before Sunrise/Sunset in this film (*spoiler alert! - the last line in Broken English is apparently the same as Before Sunset!). Although I found Julien lovely, I couldn't quite decide if I liked Nora or not. I did enjoy the film, but  it didn't quite hit the mark; perhaps as I felt slightly let down by the ending.

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

The Merry old Month of May

A list of things that excite me about this month....

1. Holidays. In a few weeks we depart for a week in Turkey - I can't wait!

2. Birthdays. It's quite a few of my friends' and family's birthdays in May, as well as quite a 'big' one for me in a couple of weeks! I plan to drag out my birthday for at least three quarters of the month just for good measure.

3. Sunshine. Some may disagree but my Dad always says that May 1st is the first day of summer, so I'm hoping the cold evenings will disappear and there will be more time for bike rides and picnics this month.

4. The release of Before Midnight - okay so it's only released in the US this month but that means a UK release can't be too far away, right?

5. Enjoying the outdoors before hayfever hits me in June. Need to make the most of inhaling the scent of blossom and grass before everything makes me sneeze!

6. Not one but two Bank Holidays, that can't be bad!

7. We are dog-sitting for Tom's dad this weekend, and looking after Pip, the sweetest little dog i know.

8. This weekend for a friend's birthday we are having a go at Scalectrix in a local pub, should be fun!

9. I'm currently working on a playlist of songs that make me happy, to play at my birthday shindig. This means looking through all my favourite songs from the 80s and 90s (and wondering what Chaka Demus & Pliers song is best, ha..)

What are you looking forward to this month?
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