30 Jun 2014

slow day

Apologies to those of you who are a squeamish about snails. I snapped these little guys on Saturday, when the rain finally stopped, as I thought their shells were pretty cool. When did snail shells get so jazzy? You'd have thought that owning a near-on red shell was tantamount to wearing a sign saying "come and get me birds, I'd make a tasty lunch!" But no, the garden was full of these stripy snails, quite clearly laughing in the face of possible digestion.

Anyhoo, I think the snails perfectly illustrate the pace and excitement levels of my Saturday - I didn't even leave the house. The appalling weather was mostly to blame but actually it was the perfect excuse to get on with some much needed wedding prep - some of it a little tedious (measuring tablecloths), some of it v.fun (making paper flowers). On sunny Sunday I took a trip to Forest Hill to see my dressmaker for a second fitting - dear lord, I am SO excited, I cannot wait to wear that dress :)

Along with watching rather too much crap TV, a couple of films and spending some quality time with Moriaty - that basically sums up my weekend. I hope yours was more eventful - what did you get up to?

26 Jun 2014

Degree Show Two at Central St Martins

Last weekend was the second half of the degree show at UAL (you can see the first half here) featuring: ceramics, textiles, product design, architecture, textiles, graphic design, fashion, jewellery design and loads more. Mitch and I went along on Sunday to see what we could see.

There was a hell of a lot of good stuff on show which was a lot easier to get to grips with than Degree Show One. I had a sneaky feeling that this would be my favourite of the two and I was right. I took some pictures but alas, the textiles design work was completely off limits for photography (which I totally understand - some of the designs in there were freaking awesome and I badly wanted clothes made out of them). My favourite bit was definitely the textile design room, swiftly followed by the jewellery - some of the designs were so clever as well as being incredibly beautiful. This is a bit of a picture overload, apologies.

Natasha Hayden's Farmyard Mosque - BA Architecture

left: Laura Daza
right: Sabrina Kraus Lopez both BA Textile Futures

Pinky swear rings(!) by Ekaterina Polikarpova - BA Jewellery Design

left: Jeewon Shin
right: Yerin Jeon both BA Jewellery

Yin Zhang - BA Jewellery Design

Maliheh Moshtaghi - BA Jewellery Design

Danbei Xu - BA Jewellery Design
This was probably one of my favourite things from the show. Each ring represents the traditional anniversary gifts given at milestones of a marriage (1-10 years, then every five until 50 which is gold). How cool is that?!

left: Mascha P.
right: G. Kim both BA Fashion
Most annoyingly, the names of the fashion students were written, on the floor beneath their work, in yellow chalk. Which meant that the writing was difficult to read anyway and made almost completely illegible thanks to people walking over it and rubbing it out. Consequently, I don't have anyone's full name from that course :(

The awesome helmet that went with the outfit on the right above

Love this knitted dress

Josephine Rose Allison - BA Ceramic Design

Iat Seng (Kevin) Yeung - BA Ceramic Design

A special mention to the BA Product Design students. I didn't take any pictures of their stuff and sadly they don't seem to have a website that I can direct you to. You'll just have to take my word for it: they had some seriously excellent ideas and products, some of which I most definitely need! Fortunately, the Textiles Design lot DO have a website. Here are some of my favourites. (All pics taken from their respective websites)

top left: Jessica Pitcher
bottom left: Rina Sumiya
right: Mei Chen

top right: Dani Greenwald
bottom right: Skye Gwillim

I really love that all the final work goes on display - it's incredibly inspiring. On the downside, it did make me question my own further education choice. I'd like to think that I'm a pretty creative individual and I probably would've had an amazing time doing a more arty degree. Of course the flip-side is that I wouldn't have met all the fabulous friends I have thanks to English Lit in Canterbury. Ho hum. But enough of my musing, back to Sunday.

We only got around to seeing the Ceramics, Textiles, Fashion, Jewellery and Product Design rooms at which point, after two hours of looking at cool stuff, our stomaches were rumbling and we went off in search of food. We ended up at the Kings Cross Honest Burgers which lacked the cute and bustling nature of the Brixton branch BUT did sell mini battered sausages with the best curry sauce to dip them in. A fair compromise I think. We finished our day in Kings Cross with a beer on the colourful roof terrace of the big chill bar before heading back west. All in all a pretty much perfect Sunday really :)

24 Jun 2014

Tuesday's Tees - DIY Sammy's Super T-Shirt

It was Mitch's birthday on Sunday and one of my presents to him was this: a DIY version of Sammy's Super T-shirt.

In case you haven't heard of Sammy (or his t-shirt) it was a film made in the late 70s about a young lad named Sammy, who, you've guessed it, had a magic t-shirt which gave him super strength and the ability to jump really high and run really fast. Throw in some mean bullies to get the better of and an all important race to win and you've got the gist of this pretty cute little film. Anyway, Mitch said that when he was younger he'd wanted a super t-shirt like Sammy's so...I made him one which he wore all day on Sunday :)

I drew out the tiger on paper first and then just traced in onto the t-shirt in pencil before going over it in a fabric pen. I bodged up the whiskers and it really could've been a bit higher up on the tee itself but Mitch seemed happy with it.

In case you're curious, here's the original tee in action. SUPER STRENGTH!

21 Jun 2014

pin stuff, do stuff: braided crown

Okay here's the thing: I used to have a fear of long hair. Other people's long hair. Obviously I'd never let mine get past my shoulder. I know, I know, it's completely irrational and crazy but true non-the-less. A friend of mine's mum used to have hair down to her knees - it really really freaked me out. Anyway, 10 years on and I'm over it (well maybe not knee length hair) but waist length is now totally bearable, in fact, more than bearable, I really love it!

My locks are currently the longest they've ever been and it's awesome. I can finally try out all the up-dos I've been coveting for the last few years including this which I pinned last summer. I admit that I've done a pretty botched job but it was fun taking the pictures so I'm going to share anyway. (Also, as my colour is still growing out, the braided ends look really red against my natural colour which looks pretty cool I think.)
I'm actually due have a cut next week but hopefully I'll be able to keep as much of the length as possible. Summer definitely = fun up-dos.

19 Jun 2014

Reading & Seeing 18

X-MEN: Days of Future Past
I've been SUPER excited about this ever since they released the trailers (last year?) and thankfully, it lived up to all of my expectations. Double doses of Prof X and Magneto in the form of the most awesome quartet since the old 80s/90s cartoon of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles - check. Healthy bit of time travel/messed up future where the earth is doomed and controlled by machines - check. A mix of the old characters and tonnes of new (to the film franchise) ones - check. 70s costumes - check. It was basically everything I could've wanted from an X-MEN film. The cast is fan-f-ing-tastic (Macavoy, Fassbender, Mckellen, Stewart, Dinklage, Jennifer Lawrence, Ellen Page - I could go on), the action is ace - everyone's talking about Quicksilver's scene and rightly-so (prob the best bit in the entire film) and I barely even noticed that the film was a whopping 131 mins long! Although Wolverine is at the centre of the film he, rather refreshingly, is not the focus - Macavoy, Fassbender and Lawerence are the lynch pins and it's bloody entertaining. Also, it reminded me of an episode of the X-Men cartoons where they have to go back in time to prevent machines destroying the world - I wonder if that's what it's based on... I think if you haven't watched any of the other X-MEN films you probably won't get much out of this but to everyone else: go see go see - definitely worth watching on the big screen too.

Everyday Sexism (2014)
I read this as it was the chosen book for this month's Blook Club. I'm so glad they suggested it as I doubt I'd have read it of my own accord and I tell you, that would have been a mistake. In case you're unaware, the book was born out of the project of the same name to document people's (mainly women's) experiences of sexism, harassment and assault as a means to highlight how bad the sexism problem is even in today's, supposedly more equal, society. The book was written and complied by journalist and project founder, Laura Bates. I cannot recommend this book enough. Yes, many of the experiences mentioned in the book are absolutely horrific but it's important that these stories are brought to light. We should all be aware that these things are happening to women on the street in broad daylight, in night clubs, at school, in the work place, literally everywhere. I started reading the book with the mindset that "sexism can't really be that bad in this day and age" but I was so very wrong. It is. It really really is. After reading the first 20 pages or so, I started to realise that I too had been on the receiving end of sexism within the last week. One of Bates' arguments is that certain comments and situations have become so normal (being heckled at by builders, pervy men saying inappropriate things on public transport) that I'd (we'd) just brushed over the fact that those situations are not OK and not something to ignore. It really has changed the way I think about how differently men and women are treated, particularly by the media. As well as stories of harassment, there's also some great examples of women fighting back - there are some excellent one liners which I will use the next time I'm heckled. I could literally talk about how important this book is forever but I won't. What I will say is this: I've recommended it to all my friends, so I will do the same on here.

The Martian (2014)
The self-published book that was bought up by a publisher and re-released which then was bought by a movie studio who are now making a film of it. This had a lot to live up to and, after a pretty shaky start - I nearly gave up at 11% - it was a pretty enjoyable read. Nothing beautifully written or wonderfully descriptive, I didn't get any real sense of what the Martian landscape was like or how our protagonist, abandoned astronaut, Mark Watney, really felt about anything. It read more like a movie script with much of the narrative taken from Watney's log. There was a lot of 'science speak' - making oxygen, growing plants, removing carbon dioxide - which was lost on me and much of what happens to Watney probably isn't plausible but hey, why ask to many questions when all you want it a bit escapism from the daily commute? Unsurprisingly, this was a v.quick read and though I did ultimately enjoy it, I have a feeling this might be an instance where the film is better than the book...we shall see.

Slaughterhouse Five (1969)
I reached the grand old age of 27 before finally reading this classic by Kurt Vonnegut and I'm not sure why I waited so long! The narrative follows the disjointed life of Billy Pilgrim who time hops, quite randomly, through-out his existence. One minute he might be experiencing his time as an American prisoner of war in Germany 1945, the next, accepting the role of president for the optometrists association in the 1960s and the next in bed with his new bride on his honeymoon. As well as his time travelling capabilities, Billy is also abducted by aliens (the Tralfamadorians) and placed in their 'zoo' to be observed. Despite these fantastical aspects, it's the parts of Billy's life that take place during WWII which are the most haunting, particularly the fates of the American PoWs and the civilians of Dresden. The nonlinear plot, means that you sometimes need a couple of lines of the next time hop to find your bearings. It also gives a sense of what it must feel like for Billy being shunted around and dropped at assorted points on his timeline. Although it has time travel and aliens throughout it didn't feel overtly SF, war and it's affects seemed to play a bigger role. It's one of those books which I would've loved to have studied at school. It's also full of that famous (most tattooed?) quote: so it goes, which almost collects every, seemingly isolated, incident together. Something I'd recommend for sure.

17 Jun 2014

Tuesday's Tees - World Cup

Sadly, and perhaps unsurprisingly, there's a lot of crap World Cup related tees out there at the mo. However, I have found these three which are rather nice and not so obviously football related!
1 // 2 // 3

16 Jun 2014

a 90th birthday tea party

Yesterday we threw a tea party for my Nana in honour of her 90th birthday (which is actually today)! A neighbour of hers just so happened to be caterer, specialising in tea parties so all the beautiful tea cups and tea pots, (as well as all the food) in the pics were provided by his company Foodsmiths. Oh my god there was so much food - finger sandwiches (including the best cheese and onion ones I've ever had), scones, sausage rolls, quiche, meringues with cream and raspberries, plus three different types of cake (apple, chocolate orange and, my fave, raspberry red velvet)! Many of the guests at the party were little old ladies (friends of my Nana obvs), who really don't eat v.much so there was plenty for me, Mitch and my sister to guzzle. And guzzle we did along with Prosecco and later, plenty of cups of tea. My friday and saturday nights were rather boozy and revolved around watching the World Cup so the tea party was the perfect, chilled out conclusion to the weekend. Hope you all had a good one too.

15 Jun 2014

new beginnings

So here we are. Welcome to my new little plot on the world wide web.

You might notice that the change isn't all that massive (header style etc) and, as I mentioned in my note to my old blog, I've not got any plans to alter the content - yup, I'll still be wittering on about my weekends, what I'm making and the books I've read - and so the biggest change is the name. Halfway Here kinda relates to that feeling, fairly common in people in their 20s (and 30s, Mitch informs me), that there's not enough time to do all the things that we want to do before it's too late (whenever that is). Last summer I had a bit of a massive freak out about time pressure - get married, buy a house, see some more of the world, progress career-wise, have a baby...? After talking it through with Mitch, real life friends and internet friends, I calmed down A LOT. Their thoughts and advice led to some excellent points: try not to worry about the future, you can plan things meticulously but a lot of the time plans change. Instead, focus on the now and all the great stuff happening to you in the present. Although I try to remind myself of these wise words, my mind has a tendency to wander off and worry about things way down the line (where will be living in a years time? is a constant). And that's why I'm Halfway Here. I'm attempting to re-train my brain - less worry about the future, more time for the present. I'm slowly working my way back to now and getting the most out of what each coming week has to offer; there's so much good stuff going on and I want to take in as much of it as possible :)

12 Jun 2014

end of an era

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 :)


9 Jun 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!
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