Friday, 31 August 2012

Film Friday: Some Like it Hot


I recently watched Some Like it Hot for the first time, the classic 1959 film directed by Billy Wilder. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis are struck by money troubles in 1930s Chicago (during the prohibition era) and decide the only way to make their livings as musicians is to join an all-female band, dressed up as women. On their route they meet a certain Ms Monroe, and many a hilarious escapade follows.

I enjoyed this comedy, although I've never been a hundred per cent comfortable with the roles Marilyn Monroe played, something about the 'dumb' blonde character wears a bit thin. It's a shame, as Monroe was a very intelligent person but wasn't often allowed to show this on film. However I enjoyed Lemmon and Curtis immensely, and I really want to watch The Apartment soon as well. (Oh - and Curtis' accent in this film was pretty funny, we couldn't quite work out where he was meant to be from but I assume it was Britain, any clues?)
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Thursday, 30 August 2012

Lovely Links



Nice stuff I came across on the interweb lately...

1. From the people who brought you the Thrill Murray colouring book comes the Kurt Cobain sticker album! My 14 year old self would be very happy if she received one of these... strike that my 29 year old self would be too.

2. Love browsing the Underground New York Public Library. Basically a site which documents what people are reading on the NY underground. 

3. The new edition of Got a Girl Crush magazine is out, featuring some very cool creative females. (You can read it in PDF form here.) I also love browsing the website for inspiration.

4. For more Bill Murray related goodness how about making your own Bill Murray paper doll? (Pictured above.) He has quite the selection of outfits! Awesomeness. Found via Adeline.

5. I've enjoyed reading through Bianca's wedding-picnic posts - the day was full of creative ideas, like making your own moon photo prop. So sweet!
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Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Dreaming of a balloon house


At the moment I'm dreaming of floating away in a hot air balloon, and escaping the town for a land far away. I loved this embroidered journal page, by One Sheepish Girl, inspired by the Pixar film Up. I'd love to try making one myself.
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Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Wedding Photography: what I've learnt so far


A few months ago a family friend asked if I would like to take photographs for them, at their wedding in July.  Fortunately I wasn't the sole photographer, as another friend of theirs (who specialises in wildlife photography!) had offered to take half of the photos. This took a lot of the pressure off and I happily agreed to photograph the morning and the church ceremony for them. I'm not a huge fan of unnatural 'posed' shots, so I took most of the photos in a documentary style, from the bridesmaids and bride getting ready to people chatting at the reception later on.


I was initially quite nervous about capturing the 'special' moments, and this did prove to be the most pressurised part of the day. The kiss, the walk down the aisle and signing the register shots were quite nerve-wracking, and I'm glad there was a second shooter there to take some of the pressure off! Gathering guests for the big group shot was also a bit of a task! 

The morning shots were my favourites to take. Seeing the bridesmaids excitedly getting ready and having their hair done was really special. I'm really pleased with a lot of the more candid shots taken on the day too. If I was planning for another wedding I think I'd bear the following things in mind:

- Try and visit the venue beforehand to plan for light levels (this was especially tricky in the church as it was quite dark in there with very bright windows)
- If possible, have a second shooter there 
- The day gets very tiring! Make sure you wear comfy shoes!
- Get a family member/ best man to help assemble the right people for the group shots
- Try and get guests to relax in more posed group shots and let them know when you're going to take the shot
- Don't be afraid to ask children and adults if they mind having their photo taken, they're usually only too happy to say yes
- Different lenses are very useful, I wish I'd had a wide angle lense for the 'getting ready' shots, and I appreciated my 50mm lense for the low light levels shots later on
- Remember to photograph the little details (things like the groomsmen's buttonholes, the ring, flowers..)
- Have fun and don't panic too much! (Especially if you are doing it as a favour to the bride and groom)
- Set time aside to go through all the photos in the days afterwards (I took several hundreds on the day itself!) and edit any that need it


After I'd sent the photos to the couple, I was really happy (and relieved!) when I got positive comments back thanking me for capturing such special moments for them. I'd definitely like to take photos at another wedding in future (so long as I have a second shooter to help me out - hi Tom!)

[*All photos are by me, please do not use or copy without prior permission!]
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Monday, 27 August 2012

Three (is the magic number)

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Today marks three years since me and Tom first got together. To celebrate I thought I'd make a list of some favourite things we've both done over the past three years. Hopefully there are some fun ideas here that other people may want to give a go as well!

1. Make a magical den

2. Write a song

3. Go dancing

4. Make a puppet version of your favourite pop-star

5. Raid the dressing up box

6. Spend a weekend on a canal boat

7. Scan in your faces

8. Have a black-out night

9. Make each other fun presents

10. Visit an old photo booth

11. Climb a lighthouse

12. Ride on a tandem

13. Go crazy on a trampoline

14. Play drums in a field full of cows

15. Practise the art of levitation
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Friday, 24 August 2012

Film Friday: Take this Waltz



Last Friday I went to see Take This Waltz, a film starring Michelle Williams (who I love) and Seth Rogen as a married couple who are content with their lives, until Williams meets a friendly man on a plane who turns out to be their neighbour. Although the plot doesn't initially sound that promising, I'd really recommend the film. All the performances were really strong and I especially enjoyed the scenes on the fairground waltzer, to the tune of Video Killed the Radio Star. I've read that opinions were quite divided on the film (and it received a harsh review by Peter Bradshaw in the Guardian but I tend to ignore his reviews!) but me and my friend both enjoyed it. It did have elements of Blue Valentine, also starring Michelle Williams but on a slightly different kilter. (And I really wanted the couple's cosy house and the loft apartment later on - wow). Has anyone else seen it yet, if so what did you think?
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Monday, 20 August 2012

Mixtape Memories by Sarah Rooftops

This week Sarah is sharing a happy mix-tape full of 80s classics, made for her by a friend a few years ago. Thanks for sharing Sarah!



My friend and former flatmate Roddy used to make me the best mix tapes. I still have stacks of them and I no longer have a tape deck with which to play them - I can't imagine ever throwing them out. He was (still is, actually) my link to grunge, indie and general alternative music and I love the ridiculous titles he gave the tapes: Sarah's Feeling 7UP Better Tape Yo!; Electric White Boy Blues; Get Into the Groovy...

Side one on almost all of them ended with a quote from an Indiana Jones audiobook, the sound of a cracking whip and ding-a-ling-ling "Now turn your cassette over!"

The one I've chosen to show you was a break from the 90s norm; this was a tape of absolute feelgood cheesy nonsense which he made me when I was going through a tough time. Even just reading the track listing can still put a smile on my face:

SIDE ONE
Huey Lewis & the News: Power of Love
Bobby Brown: On Our Own
J. Giels Band: Centrefold
Little Angels: She's a Little Angel
Lou Gramm: Lost in the Shadows (Lost Boys)
Billy Ocean: When the Goin' Gets Tough (the tough get goin')
Simple Minds: Don't You (Forget About Me)
Big Pig: I Can't Break Away
C&C Music Factory: Dance (til you can't dance no more)
Flesh for Lulu: I Go Crazy

SIDE TWO
Cyndi Lauper: Goonies R Good Enuf
Cheap Trick: I Want You to Want Me
Whigfield: Saturday Night
Poison: Swamp Juice/Unskinny Bop
J. Giels Band: Fright Night
Haircut 100: Love Plus One
Jan Hammer: Miami Vice
Irene Cara: Flashdance (what a feeling)
Warrant: Cherry Pie
Tiffany: I Think We're Alone Now
Billy Joel: Uptown Girl
Huey Lewis & the News: Back in Time
Jane's Addiction: Thank You Boys
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Sunday, 19 August 2012

Graphic novels, lately

Lately I've read some good graphic novels, which I thought I'd share here.

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1. Kiki de Montparnasse by Catel Muller & Jose-Luis Bocquet

This graphic novel tells the true story of the life of artist's model Alice Prin, later known as Kiki, who leaves her home in rural France for the bohemian area of Montparnasse. Here she became a model and muse for several well known artists. She is perhaps most famous for being photographer Man Ray's model (you may recognise this shot of her which inspired the book cover.) It was fascinating to read more about Kiki's life and I would recommend this to anyone with an interest in art and life during the 1920s - it certainly wasn't an easy life for a women growing up at the beginning of the century.

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2. Pyongyang: A Journey in North Korea by Guy Delisle

I bought this for Tom's birthday as he has a bit of a fascination with North Korea. This graphic novel documents the months Delisle spent in the country whilst working as an animator for a French studio. It's a very eye opening account of how things stand in North Korea, as well as being quite humorous. I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in one of the most secretive countries in the world.

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3. Safe Area: Gorazde by Joe Sacco

After Tom and I visited Croatia in May I became interested in finding out more about what happening during the Bosnian war in the 1990s. This book was written by Sacco when he was a journalist in Bosnia during 4 months he spent in the town of Gorazde. During this period he interviews several people living in the area, getting a first hand view of what is really going on. Some elements of the story are very shocking and upsetting to read, but it was a good way to learn more about the politics and true stories of the events that unfolded at the time. Sacco is a masterful storyteller and artist, and has written several other graphic novels I am also interested in reading.

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4. Mother, Come Home by Paul Hornschemeier
This is a fictional tale of a father and son who are struggling to come to terms with the death of their mother. I read it in one sitting and found the storyline quite sad but affecting.

5. I also read the latest Daniel Clowes book, Mister Wonderful, which was a story about a lonely man trying to connect with someone he meets on a blind date. Like all of Clowes books, it was a visual treat!

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Friday, 17 August 2012

Film Friday: Searching for Sugar Man



This week I went to see a music documentary currently playing at the cinema, called Searching for Sugar Man. I'd read a recommendation by Sarah Rooftops recently, and I'd also heard the song the film is named after a few years ago on a compilation. So I was intrigued to find out more about the songwriter himself, known as Rodriguez.

Rodriguez never achieved any fame or recognition in his home country of the USA, but found millions of fans in South Africa after a bootleg of his album appeared there and was passed around, building up his fanbase immensely. He eventually became as famous as Bob Dylan in South Africa and was adored by many who found his songs inspiring during the era of Apartheid. Rodriguez himself never found out about his fame however, and the film documents the search to discover what happened to the musician. It was a very enjoyable documentary which I'd recommend, and has made me want to listen to more music by the humble performer himself.
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Thursday, 16 August 2012

On changes (and ukuleles)

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Last month was a strange one for me as I found out I'd been made redundant from my job of five years. It was sad to suddenly say goodbye to everyone there, but I'd felt for some time it was time to move on anyway. So I'm hoping to use this as an opportunity to find something new and exciting!

Working from home the past few weeks has been a refreshing change. Although applying for jobs takes up a lot of time I've also given myself time to start learning the ukulele (I already know the guitar and this isn't quite as tricky- but the different chords are a bit confusing!) I aim to know this Beirut song by the end of the week! Do any of you play the ukulele, I'd love any other recommendations for songs to learn? I also hope to take on more freelance illustration work and set up an Etsy shop soon too selling my illustrations. More time to be creative can only be a good thing, right? Watch this space! Lx
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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Inside the Dick Bruna (Miffy) Museum!

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One of the things I was most excited about visiting on my trip to Holland was the Dick Bruna Museum in Utrecht. In case you are unfamiliar with Bruna's name, he is the original creator of Miffy, the sweet white rabbit who is featured in hundreds of children's books. Her original Dutch name is Nijntje, and in there town we also visited a place called Nijntje Pleintje or Miffy Square.

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Dick Bruna

Dick Bruna Huis, Utrecht

The museum was a wonderful insight into Bruna's life and career as an artist. I was also surprised to see the original methods used to create his picture books. Bruna first draws out an outline on paper, then presses this onto clear acetate. He then draws over the lines carefully using black paint (drawing the lines so very carefully!). The coloured background is then made using pieces of coloured paper cut into shapes which sit neatly behind the black outlines. Having the linework on clear acetate gives him the chance to try out different colour schemes. I love the simplicity of Bruna's creations, and it was a lot of fun exploring the museum (not to mention the amazing shop!).

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miffy


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Although many people assume Miffy is a Japanese character she actually arrived a couple of decades before her Japanese nemesis Hello Kitty, who was invented as a character to sell merchandise in the 1970s. In fact Bruna expressed a dislike for Hello Kitty in one interview, stating:  "That is a copy [of Miffy], I think. I don't like that at all. I always think, "No, don't do that. Try to make something that you think of yourself" [from wikipedia]. 


Dick Bruna Huis, Utrecht

Dick Bruna Huis, Utrecht

I'd definitely recommend a visit to the museum should you ever find yourself in the area. It was fun for adults and children alike!
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Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Vintage book heaven

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On our first weekend in Deventer, Tom and I were lucky enough to be around for Europe's largest book fair. On the first Sunday in August each year the streets of the normally quiet Dutch town are filled end to end with booksellers from around Europe. There were so many beautiful vintage books to choose from. Although many were in Dutch or German there were some English choices too, but in the end I settled on a couple of gorgeous old illustrated children's books. The first, a Dutch book about a bear called Bart and the second a German tale about a little hedgehog who gets bored of hibernating and sets out to explore the outside! I do love a good children's book (and I could just about make out the storylines!)

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Waffle break!

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Catching up on some reading by the river.
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Monday, 13 August 2012

Our week in Holland

gerdien's living room

Tom and I had such a lovely break last week in Deventer, in the centre of the Netherlands. We were looking after my friend Gerdien's house and her sweet cat, Coco whole she went on a camping holiday in Austria. Gerdien and her partner Rene live in a beautiful old Dutch house in the centre of a pretty town called Deventer. On the bottom level Gerdien has a vintage shop called 'Lab Coco' where she displays her finds. She has a really good eye for picking out the most beautiful pieces of furniture. Here are a few photos from our week.

Dutch breakfast
Yummy Dutch breakfast we had on our first morning. Gerdien's neighbour was kind enough to bring us round some food as the shops had closed by the time we arrived.

Rainy days in Deventer
A rainy day through the window..

Lab Coco
Inside Lab Coco... vintage heaven!

Lab Coco!

gerdien's

Coco the cat / Lab Coco, the shop named after her!

Deventer was a really interesting place to explore, full of book shops, cool cafes and old vinyl stores. We also spent one day in Amsterdam where we found Europe's oldest comic store, wandered along canals and ended up in the Vondelpark. On our second day in Deventer we were lucky enough to be around for the biggest book fair in Europe which is held each year along its streets. I'll post up some pictures from it tomorrow! L x

In the VondelPark, Amsterdam
In Vondelpark, Amsterdam

Our last night in the attic
Our last night, taken in Gerdien & Rene's attic bedroom.
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Friday, 10 August 2012

Film Friday - Hollywood I´m sleeping over tonight


Hello from Holland! I´ve had a lovely week here so far, and just wanted to drop by to write a quick post about a film recommended to me recently by my brother. Hollywood I´m sleeping over tonight, or as it`s known by its French title, 'Jírai dormir a Hollywood'  is a road movie with a difference. Antoine de Maximy is a charming French documentary maker, who travels across the USA from coast to coast, relying on strangers he meets to provide him with a place to stay for the night. Antoine is a little like a French Louis Theroux who travels with a hand held camera, and manages to make lots of new friends on his travels. You can watch parts 1 and 2 of the movie on Youtube, it´s a really interesting glimpse into how different  life can be across the American states, which I really enjoyed watching.
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Monday, 6 August 2012

Mixtape Memories - by Adeline




This week lovely Adeline is sharing her favourite music mix with us! Thanks Lady C!


The first thing I thought of when I saw Laura's post about mixtapes, was that mixtapes are actually how we met. A couple of years ago, I participated to a mix cd-swap and Laura was my partner (I can attest Adeline sent me a great mix cd! - L). This is how I got acquainted with her lovely blog. And then last year in November, we met in person in London. That's just how magic the blogosphere can be.

However, the mixtape this post is all about, was created by another blogger: Bianca from Goodnight Little Spoon. This one was in the first letter she sent to me and the first of three fantastic mix cds. I have to say that Bianca has great taste. She introduced me to Dead Man's Bones, the Decemberists & Foster the People. I listened to this mixtape while working, I listened to it while sitting on the tram, I listened to it over and over again and I still do whenever I don't know what to listen to.

Thanks for having me!
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Saturday, 4 August 2012

Goodbye Nottingham, hello Holland!

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I was really excited when my friend Gerdien asked if Tom and I fancied looking after her house and their cat Coco, while she's away on her summer holiday. So today we're flying to Amsterdam, then boarding a train to a pretty town called Deventer. I can't wait to explore! Not to mention seeing Gerdien's vintage shop in person, it looks really lovely. I'll report back soon! Lx
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Friday, 3 August 2012

Film Friday: Beetlejuice


Strangely, both Tom and I had never seen Beetlejuice growing up. So I thought it was about time we gave it a watch! I really enjoyed Tim Burton's first major feature film - it did have echoes of Edward Scissorhands, which is another of my favourites. (Winona's character was a bit like Edward and the town in the opening sequence is very similar!) I fully enjoyed this scene, where they dance round the dinner table to the Banana Boat Song.
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Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Vampire / Werewolf

August Actually Single- Vampire for web

Recently I was asked to design the cover for a single release by Nottingham indiepop band, August Actually. The A side is a love-song called Werewolf and the B-side is called Vampire, which was a fun starting point for the design. I've been trying to decide which one is my favourite - at the moment I'm siding with the hot girl vampire! The single is released as a 'name your price' download today - and you can give both songs a listen here.

August Actually Single- Werewolf

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