Friday, 2 October 2015

New York Diary, part 1 - Brooklyn

Now that the jetlag has worn off (after a mere 13 hour sleep, ahem..) I am excited to share some photos and recommendations from our six days in New York! A friend of mine moved to Long Island to work for 8 months, so this seemed like the perfect excuse to revisit New York. The first time I visited was in 2002, on a trip with university so I was keen to go back and explore the city to see what's changed.

We decided to spend our first three nights in Brooklyn. After a lot of searching on Air BnB (tip: book early as places get taken very quickly in New York!) we found a wonderful apartment in Greenpoint (here if you're interested in visiting). The owner, Mary Q was super friendly and she had impeccable taste. Her apartment was filled with interesting objects, vintage coffee cups and great books as you can see in the photos.

Scrambled eggs on our first morning.

Mary's place was unusual for New York as she had her own private patio outside! We climbed out of the window and ate pancakes and maple syrup under the trees.

Tom and my friend Laura strike a pose at Mary Q's...

Just on the corner was a great coffee shop called Eagle Trading Co. The list of veggie sandwiches was amaaazing...

It just so happened that Mary's place was just a few blocks from Hannah from Girls' apartment, so we thought it'd be rude not to get a photo on the stoop...

We also made a trip to Grumpy's, where Ray works in the show... it was a bit further out, and yes the staff did actually live up to the name, ha.

On Saturday there was a food & records fair held by Brooklyn Flea, next to the East River. There were some amazing food stalls, and I had probably the best veggie hotdog of my life from the stall below! YUM.

We were then intending on grabbing a beer from the Brooklyn Brewery, but due to the massive line outside we headed into Brooklyn Bowl next door which was also fun!

After that we went for a drink in the lovely beer garden at the Spuyten Duyvil bar, before heading to somewhere Tom picked out... Barcade! Even if you're not a massive fan of arcade games, you'll definitely enjoy this place. We discovered playing Ms Pacman, Frogger and other old games whilst tipsy was really rather fun! Although getting the subway back to Greenpoint proved rather confusing afterwards. Plan your routes before drinking, people!

Overall, staying in Brooklyn was great. When we first got off the subway in Williamsburg I was a little overwhelmed by the amount of people lining the streets in many hipster guises, but once you get away from the crowded areas there's lots of brilliant bars and great views of the city across the river, so I'd love to spend more time there. Part 2 of our trip, exploring Manhattan, coming soon!

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

To blog, or not to blog?

I realised lately that I took an unofficial 'August break' from my blog.  Lately I've started to wonder what place traditional blogs have in the ever-changing digital world. With the popularity of 'micro' blogging sites (such as Instagram) which are easy to flick through in a moment, is the popularity of blogs starting to wane?

I've really enjoyed blogging over the past seven years. Through this blog I've made new friends, been on adventures and documented moments I may otherwise have forgotten about. And I still enjoy visiting my favourite blogs. Yet, I'm starting to wonder whether it's worth continuing. Like many people, I work on a computer daily and when I get home from work I enjoy escaping the screen. Most blogging advice tends to re-emphasize the importance of 'blogging regularly' but this often isn't possible, and days, weeks and months can go by without the inspiration hitting me to blog. So for now, I'm getting out my sketchbook and will curl up in front of the Bake Off and wait to see if inspiration strikes...

Friday, 14 August 2015

Film Friday: Song of the Sea

Plot: Song of the Sea is a beautiful new Irish animation, about a young boy called Ben and his sister Saoirse, who can turn into a seal. The tale is based on Irish legends including the legend of the selkie.
Guest appearances Brendan Gleeson voices the father.
Overall: Song of the Sea was a very sweet tale, and probably the most visually stunning film I've ever watched!


Friday, 7 August 2015

Film Friday: Inside Out

Plot: The latest Disney-Pixar film, Inside Out  travels inside the mind of a little girl called Riley, who has to adjust to life in a new town. We see her emotions, Joy, Sadness, Disgust, Anger and Fear struggle to cope as she has to get used to a new school, friends and home.
Guest Appearances: Amy Poehler is the brilliant voice of Joy, Mindy Kaling is Disgust & Bill Hader is fear. Kyle Maclachlan plays the dad. (We also noticed Flea's names on the credits!?)
Fun facts: The plot bears a resemblance to The Beano's Numskulls comic strip (which was a favourite of mine as a kid). They recently wrote a strip poking fun at the movie, you can see it here.
Overall: I loved Inside Out! It made me laugh and cry, and despite being a family film was a really clever look at how we process emotions and memories.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Bathroom makeover - Before & After

When we moved into our new house back in March we were lucky that most of the walls and decor were nice as they were, so we didn't need to change that much. However I thought the bathroom walls could do with a little spruce up, partly because there were holes left by a previous cupboard and partly because I thought a warm blue would look better than the sandy colour the walls were painted in before.

Painting was actually really fun and didn't take too long at all! We chose a duck egg blue colour which I'm really happy with, and found some travel posters of Nottingham and (Tom's home town) Peterborough on the Science Museum site, which has some fantastic vintage posters in categories like space and natural world.

On a trip to London a couple of months ago I couldn't resist a visit to Anthropologie. Their home and kitchen section is a-mazing, full of beautiful hand painted crockery. I wanted to buy ALL the things, but it would have pretty much broken the bank so I decided just to treat myself to this hanging planter, and I really how fresh it makes the room look.

I looked through my collection of 1950s magazines (bought from a shop called Granny's Treasures in my student days in Hull) and found a rather nice toothpaste ad to frame. I also found an old magazine rack for sale in our local Sue Ryder, and Tom thought it would go well in the bathroom - everyone needs a copy of 'The Superstars of Rock' to read on the loo right?! Although Boy George's face is perhaps a little intimidating...

I'm really pleased with the final bathroom. Now we just have our bedroom, the kitchen... and perhaps the attic to do! One step at a time...


Friday, 31 July 2015

Film Friday: Love and Mercy

Plot In Love & Mercy, Paul Dano and John Cusack both take on the part of the Beach Boys' Brian Wilson. Dano stars as the younger Brian, as he works on Pet Sounds with the band while Cusack stars as Wilson in the '80s when he's being taken advantage of by his psychologist Dr Landy.
Guest appearances Paul Giamatti stars as manipulative psycho-therapist Dr Eugene Landy, who controls every aspect of Wilson's life, administering 'medication' and forcing him to write new songs.
Overall I really enjoyed Love & Mercy. At first I was a little dubious about whether Cusack resembled the troubled Beach Boys frontman, but I thought both Cusack and Dano were great in their roles. I loved seeing the 'Wrecking Crew' musicians working on songs in the studio with Wilson at the helm, which reminded me what a musical genius he really was.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

All Aboard for Indietracks!

This year was my fifth visit to Indietracks Festival, a brilliant indie-music festival that takes place every July at Midland Railway Centre in Derbyshire.

It's always a special weekend, and this year I went with Janet, who also blogged about her experience here. We were lucky with the weather as Saturday was actually dry for the most part, meaning we didn't need our raincoats, hurray! We had a really fun day riding steam trains, watching bands and eating yummy food.

Miniature railways are included...

Butterley Station is manned by a group of friendly volunteers and train enthusiasts. 

Doing what bloggers do best (and excited to be in 'First Class'!)

Approaching the site!

Watching the excellent Feature play the indoor stage... 

The merch tent never fails to surprise!

 Amaaazing pizza..

Farewell Indietracks for another year!
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