Monday, 29 December 2014

Here we go round the lemon tree

Outfit details:

Channeling my inner Ringo

This year I participated in Jessica at Chronically Vintage's first Secret Santa gift exchange. I've taken part in various Secret Santas throughout the years for niche interests - I used to be in one for fans of Tim Burton when I was 15, and I was part of a Disney one for a couple of years. They were forum based, but we were quite tight knit little communities and I always greatly enjoyed selecting gifts to send to like minded friends halfway across the world. I've never had real life friends who shared the same interests as me, so I always enjoyed having that experience. So I jumped straight on board when Jessica announced she was organising one!

My favourite thing about Secret Santa is although you share a common interest, you're not necessarily shopping what you know which can feel quite nerve wracking. The girl I shopped for was all about the '40s, probably the one decade I know the least about! And my Secret Santa had the same struggle but the other way around for me, but she really got it spot on and I couldn't be happier. She was so kind and sent me two nail polishes in lovely citrus shades, a beetle brooch, and the dress I'm wearing - which fits like a glove and is precisely my colour scheme. It has a lovely belt detail on the back which I tried to photograph, but it turns out taking photos of your own back isn't easy and they didn't come out so I'll have to share that bit with you next time! It's funny, I've been searching around for a "midi" length dress for a few months now and I ended up getting sent just that. I love how the fabric changes from a patterned mosaic effect to detailed fruit as you get closer. I have so many outfit ideas for it, and I love how well it coordinates with the brooch and nail varnishes. I've already put the brooch on the lapel of my jacket, and I'm itching the take the current colour off my nails so I can play with the new shades. The warmest of thank yous to my wonderful Secret Santa, and to Jessica for making it happen!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Thank God it's Christmas

Outfit details:

I got bored when taking the pictures so lets just gloss over that bit, ha! I wanted to say I haven't felt much in the mood for outfit posts lately which is why there's been a break, but that's actually a lie because this is the first outfit in about a month that's been worth photographing. I've been up to my elbows in art, the holiday season is always busy for commissions (a blessing, don't think I'm complaining!) and drawing commissions then always inspires me to draw things for myself so it turns into a cycle of just drawing and painting day in and day out which isn't something I need to get dressed up for. I used to wear all of my best clothes to college everyday and would be so heartbroken when they got stained in paint that never came out. It was inevitable and I don't know why I did it, but at least I learnt my lesson!

Christmas has really crept up on me! Because I've been locked away drawing I haven't felt very seasonal, it seems like last time I looked around it was only November and I was telling myself I had ages yet! I went out this weekend and managed to buy all of my presents in one go, so pat on the back to me for that one I think. I then spent Sunday watching my favourite Christmas movie Elf and wrapping everything, so now I'm feeling much more in the spirit of things!

My new Seth MacFarlane vinyl arrived in time too, which has gotten me into the spirit of things! For some reason the vinyl edition wasn't released in the UK so I had it on preorder from the US Amazon and it kept getting delayed. If you haven't heard Seth's music before I really urge you to give him a listen and not be put off by thoughts of Family Guy - there's no silliness here, it's just top quality swing music that's well up there with the masters. His Music is Better Than Words album is one of my all time favourites, and Holiday for Swing! certainly lives up to it.
Seth MacFarlane - A Marshmallow World  
I hope you're all enjoying the holidays!

Saturday, 13 December 2014

I wish there was a social excuse to make you a cassette tape, I'd teach you all about my life from side B to side A

Sony Walkman WM-25, Cassettes Monkees, Ringo Starr, Roger Taylor, The Doors

Cassette tapes have always held a certain kind of magic to me. It's a humble format, and certainly doesn't come without it's flaws - there's little more frustrating than when your player eats your favourite tape out of the blue, and it's regularly referred to as being the worst format ever. But I grew up with tapes and so they've always been very special to me and I struggle to let go (I'm no doubt really showing my age with this entry, oh well!). I stubbornly clung to my Walkman up until I was 14 and the shops no longer sold tapes - not even blank for me to do my own transfers. MP3 players weren't around yet, and I detested Discmans and the way they'd constantly skip if you dared move, not to mention you couldn't even fit it in your pocket. Tapes were a huge part of my childhood with mixtapes being a favourite pastime. Putting together a playlist via MP3 is all well and good, but it's too easy and doesn't have the personal touch of something you've manually recorded yourself complete with handwritten track listings.

I have an extremely modest cassette collection which I began back in January when I rediscovered them. They've become increasingly difficult to buy, thrift shops seem to have stopped stocking tapes altogether recently which makes me sad. It seems as though eBay may end up becoming my only option which takes all the fun out of it. Even without these obstacles I'm sure my cassette collection would never quite meet up to my vinyl collection - even though I perhaps prefer it, mostly for nostalgia, but also because I simply like the way it sounds (as lo-fi as it may be) and I enjoy the whole ritual of it - loading your cassette tape into the deck, swearing because it's halfway through because you forgot to rewind it last time or you've put it in the wrong way round, the FF RWD struggle of trying to skip a single track. It's fun!

Sony Walkman WM-25, Cassette tapes Monkees, Ringo Starr, Roger Taylor, The Doors
Cassettes Monkees, Ringo Starr, Roger Taylor, The Doors
Sony Walkman WM-25, Cassette tapes Monkees, Ringo Starr, Roger Taylor, The Doors
Cassette tapes Monkees, Ringo Starr, Roger Taylor, The Doors, The Beatles
Sony Walkman WM-25, Cassettes Monkees, Ringo Starr, Roger Taylor, The Doors, The Beatles
vintage Sony Walkman WM-25

I couldn't resist buying this red cassette case, I used to own one in a transparent yellow with the 'Cheestrings' logo on it when I was about 8. I loved toting that thing around!

Katie Costello - Cassette Tape.

A little town up North

Earlier this week I paid a visit to York city centre to see it in it's Christmas splendor and spend some quality time with my mum. It's a truly beautiful city full of so much old Tudor architecture, walking around it's easy to imagine people from hundreds of years ago milling about the very same buildings. I don't visit very often as it's quite a few hours drive, but it's always worth it. I love that it contains so many little independent shops rather than the kind of thing that can be found on any old high street which I get rather bored with.

I know macarons have become a blogging cliché, but I do adore them. I'm a total snob though and refuse to buy them from just anywhere - when I lived in London I'd only treat myself to Ladurée and having had the best anything else is a step down. Except Bettys, Ladurée's English equal. Any trip to York guarantees I come home with a selection of these bad boys.

Monday, 1 December 2014

I only want to live in peace and plant potatoes and dream

I've got the drawing bug lately, I can't stop. I draw everyday, promising myself only a few hours, I must go to bed at a sensible hour. Oh I'll just finish this little bit - before I know it it's 3AM and I'm still drawing. My once white desk is now a big graphite smear with splotches of technicolour paint. November is always like this for me when I think back. A lot of my favourite pieces have been created in past Novembers. I wonder if part of it is to do with the feeling of hibernation as winter sets in. I also think a lot of it is left over from my school days as by now projects would of been in full swing. Old habits die hard and all that.

Art work, drawing, Ringo Starr, Beatles, Roger Taylor, Queen
Copic markers

"The quiet transition from autumn to winter is not a bad time at all. It's a time for protecting and securing things and for making sure you've got in as many supplies as you can. It's nice to gather together everything you possess as close to you as possible, to store up your warmth and your thoughts and burrow yourself into a deep hole inside, a core of safety where you can defend what is important and precious and your very own. Then the cold and the storms and the darkness can do their worst. They can grope their way up the walls looking for a way in, but they won't find one, everything is shut, and you sit inside, laughing in your warmth and your solitude, for you have had foresight."
― Tove Jansson, Moominvalley in November

Tove Jansson, Moomins

I had this book on preorder and it finally arrived, it's one I've wanted for a long time. It's a biography of Finnish author and illustrator Tove Jansson, whom is one of my biggest inspirations in life. I'm generally very leery of biographies, if I'm going to read something I'd much rather it be an autobiography. So often biographies get facts wrong or are filled with the authors unwarranted opinion. Dr Tuula Karjalainen released this book in Finland to coincide with Tove's centenary and I've been patiently awaiting an English translation. Karjalainen really knows her stuff and this book is an absolute treasure.

Tove Jansson
Tove Jansson
Tove Jansson
Tove Jansson
Tove Jansson
Moomin comic
Moomin comic
A couple of my favourite Moomin strips.
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