Wednesday, 26 February 2014

A trip to the Devil's Arse

On Sunday we managed another trip to the Peak District, this time to the brilliantly named Devil's Arse, a huge natural cavern in Castleton, Derbyshire. In case you're wondering, it got its name from the noise and stench made by the water flowing throughout the caves hundreds of years ago. However, in the 1800s Queen Victoria was due to visit the caves, and the name was swiftly changed to the way more boring 'Peak Cavern' to avoid embarrassment. The cave tour we joined was really good and our guide Max was super enthusiastic, and made what could have been a slightly damp tour a lot more fun!

The caves used to be home to a village of rope-makers and we were given a demonstration on rope making (more interesting than it sounds!) before entering the caves, stooping through 'Lumbago Walk' to the dark and damp Great Cave. Apparently Queen Vic wasn't very impressed with the caves, but we all enjoyed our tour and afterward headed to the local shop to buy freshly baked brownies for the journey home. If you fancy a tour of some of Derbyshire's amazing caves there's quite a few to choose from around the area, including the 'world famous' Blue John Cavern. (And I fully recommend watching the caves episode of Father Ted after you get home to round off your day!)

Friday, 21 February 2014

Film Friday: The Lego Movie

: In The Lego Movie an ordinary Lego figure is chosen to protect the universe from the evil tyrant who wants to GLUE it together.. (glue is the nemesis of Lego, duh!)
Watch this if you're a fan of.. Lego would be an obvious one...
Guest appearances: quite a few famous peeps do the voices. I also enjoyed Lego Batman's role! Plus Will Ferrell pops up towards the end of the film and he's not actually annoying for a change (I'm not a massive fan normally..)
Rating: 7/10 Fun fun - not just for kids! This could've been a film just fuelling Lego's huge empire but it manages to be funny and entertaining, and I liked the way the film changed toward the end ( warned, you may get the 'Everything is Awesome' song stuck in your head. Damn, it's catchy.)

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

(Don't) Shake it like a Polaroid Picture - testing out Impossible Project film

My collection of original Polaroids..

Years ago, just before the end of original Polaroid film I discovered a brilliant polaroid camera in a charity shop on my lunch break (below). Just look at his happy grin! I took photos with my Tasmanian Devil cam at parties and weekends away and eventually built up quite a stack of polaroids that I now cherish. I love how 'spur of the moment' they are. My favourite is probably one I took of my friends forming a human pyramid in my old flat. If this had been taken digitally I don't think it would quite have captured the 'QUICK - get on top!!' moment when my friend Laura bravely (and precariously) climbed to the peak, before the everyone in the pyramid collapsed to the ground.

I was sad when Polaroid film became extinct, and ended up buying quite a few out of date films from eBay but they gradually declined in quality and the pictures became too dark to make out. So I was happy to hear that the Impossible Project were making Polaroid films available again, though sadly my budget prevented me from purchasing their film. I did buy a second-hand Fuji Instax Mini which worked very well, and the films were okay in price if bought in bulk, but I still missed using my original Polaroid camera. So last Christmas I dropped a big hint to my brother, and he kindly bought me 3 packs of Polaroid 600 film, with coloured frames! Hurrah! I couldn't wait to try them out.

Above: a new Polaroid compared to a Fuji Instax mini photo

 For anyone wondering about the quality of the film there are a few things to bear in mind before forking out..

1. They like the darkness
Unlike the old films, these ones need to be put into a dark place straight away if possible, to develop - straight into a pocket, or a drawer for example.
2. Wait... and wait
Instead of developing in front of your eyes, they take around 30-40 mins to fully develop. But this can mean you forget about the pictures you've taken, only to discover them in your pocket the next day!

3. They can be unreliable outdoors

The ones I've taken outdoors so far (above) have been quite shaky and not great in quality. I wondered if this was because there's a lot more light outside. The ones I took in the evenings with the flash came out fine, perhaps as they weren't as exposed to sunlight when they first popped out of the camera.
4. They're best for shots of people a few metres away least this is what I've found. So they are great for parties or events where you'd like to capture a unique shot of friends.
5. The colours aren't quite as vivid as they could be
One shot I took turned out quite sepia in tone, but I like it anyway! So overall the quality isn't as spot on as the original Polaroid films, but they are still worth buying and experimenting with if you share a love for all things instant. I'd quite like to try the black & white films next.

Friday, 14 February 2014

Film Friday: Inside Llewyn Davis

:The Coen brothers' latest is set in the 1960s New York folk scene, where Llewyn Davis is struggling to make it as a singer. He spends each day on a different person's sofa, and manages to inadvertently lose a friend's cat. 
Watch this if you're a fan of.. folk music, Dylan, cats, films where not a lot really happens 
Guest appearances: Apart from Timberlake, two people from Girls pop up in guest roles (Adam & Ray)
Rating: 7/10 an enjoyable film with some great music, even if it's hard to warm to Llewyn (and i was slightly disappointed by the ending). The kind of film where you want to jump into the beautiful set.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Some lovely links

The weather outside has been pretty miserable, so here's a few nice links to cheer up your day.

A beautiful dolls house decorated for a toy wolf.

A clock that knits a scarf.

Loving the made-up words project.

Tom & I recorded a cover version of a Steely Dan song we like.

Ooh my, these cheese and chive waffles look amazing.

Celebrities read mean tweets.

Reddit is a pretty confusing website because of it's clumsy layout, but I do love reading the AMAs (ask me anything), George Clooney did a recent one, as did Bill Murray & David Attenborough.

Any finally... Tom drew this amazing comic in memory of his Grandpa.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Sightseeing in the Peaks

On Thursday evening Tom & I watched the film Sightseers for the first time. For anyone who's not seen it, the film depicts a couple's trip across England, taking in the sights from the Peak District (where they stop at Crich Tramway Museum) up across the Yorkshire Dales, caravan in tow. Things then start to get a little dark as they kidnap a dog and start to get a taste for murder! Tom summed it up as a cross between Nuts in May and Natural Born Killers and it had lots of funny moments.

By coincidence the next day we found ourselves a few miles from where the film starts off, in a tiny village called Whatstandwell in Derbyshire. My auntie was looking after a friend's B&B there and invited us to stay. The cottage was lovely, with geese and chickens roaming around the garden and the view was beautiful. On Friday we explored the vintage shops in nearby Matlock, where we found a brilliant little record shop. We ate at a veggie cafe there before heading back to watch an old James Stewart film curled up by the fire. It was a really nice break, and great to escape the traffic and spend some time outdoors (with a rare bit of sunshine included, hurrah!).


Monday, 3 February 2014

A tribute to Teddy.

I wanted to write a post dedicated to Tom's grandpa, who sadly passed away this morning. Teddy was such a sweet and kind man, and when we visited him and his wife Enid in their Yorkshire home I was always made to feel so welcome. They even insisted on me calling them Granny and Grandpa too! As both my grandfathers died around the time I was born it was great to be able to share someone else's! I was surprised and pleased when I found out Teddy read my blog, saying he found it a lovely way to find out what adventures Tom and I had been on lately. Although he suffered from a long illness he was so brave and would never have dreamt of complaining and I have so much admiration for him. He will really be missed. x

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