Thursday, 29 June 2017


collectif watermelon jade dress, emily temple cute, orla kiely clarks shoes
collectif watermelon jade dress, emily temple cute, orla kiely clarks shoes
collectif watermelon jade dress, emily temple cute, orla kiely clarks shoes

It's been so long since I've last taken outfit photos outdoors - years in fact, not since my blog was - that I'd completely forgotten what a battle with the elements it is! I'm currently home for the summer so don't have any indoor areas with good enough lighting, and as my mum and I had spent a large part of the day fixing up the garden I thought it'd make a perfect backdrop. After spending 20 minutes having Marilyn moments with my dress and being forced to eat my own hair, I gave up and picked somewhere more sheltered only to have the sun start playing peekaboo and wash half the photos out. I swear it wasn't even windy before I went out!

This outfit feels simultaneously very me and very different from my norm. It's the first Collectif dress I've ever owned, I bought it in Brighton when I stumbled across their store. I've always admired a lot of the reproduction '50s and rockabilly dresses and the girls who wear them so perfectly, but it's never really felt for me, it's a little too structured. But as soon as I saw this perfectly kitschy watermelon print I knew I had to take it home with me. I own so many watermelon things it's ridiculous, I love a good tropical print in general, and this dress is so fun to wear. I also love the fact it has deep pockets!

collectif watermelon jade dress, emily temple cute, orla kiely clarks shoes
collectif watermelon jade dress, emily temple cute, orla kiely clarks shoes
collectif watermelon jade dress, emily temple cute, orla kiely clarks shoes

I've been home for a couple of weeks now, and it's been quite lovely. I've already been shopping for vintage while I've been here and have a haul to share soon, I've been filling up my new sketchbook (and found a fab set of artist grade colouring pencils for cheap which I'm excited to experiment with), and I've been wandering through the fields at every available opportunity. Next week is my birthday week and I have several exciting things lined up to do, including going down to London to see Their Mortal Remains again and to see The Killers live for the first time. I can't wait!

dress - collectif // cardigan - emily temple cute // shoes - orla kiely x clarks // necklace - sugar and vice // bag - topshop absolutely years ago

Monday, 26 June 2017

Early years

pink floyd early years box set

At the end of May I decided to spurge and buy something I'd been pining after for a while: Pink Floyd The Early Years, a box set containing 27 discs of their previously (officially) unreleased material from between 1965 - 1972. And after I saw Their Mortal Remains I wanted the set even more badly.

When this box set was released back in November I'd planned to hold out and wait for the individual sets. I watched an unboxing of the full box set on YouTube and had initially felt a little underwhelmed at what I felt was being sold for near £400, especially as I felt I probably only wanted the Cambridge St/ation set. So when I saw that the individual volumes had been released I jumped at the opportunity and was soon pouring over track listings to ensure I bought the right one for me. But the more I looked, the less certain I felt. Whilst I mostly wanted the Cambridge St/ation set for it's Syd material, I love the material directly after on the Germin/ation set too. And oh how Reverber/ation also looks good. And I knew if I got three, I'd soon want all of them because I'm a collector and it's how my mind works and at £40 a pop it would soon add up. So I reconsidered the entire box set, saw it had gone down considerably in price (it's since shot back up again, so do watch the ever fluctuating prices if you want it) and I was very fortunate to have savings so I went for it.

pink floyd early years box set
pink floyd early years box set
pink floyd early years box set

Honestly I fully realise how indulgent this box set is and that it won't be for everyone, but being such a huge fan of Pink Floyd it is very much for me. Holding it in my hands it's clear how much thought has gone into packaging this set and everything in it even feels nice. It covers my favourite period of Pink Floyd, from their beginnings before Piper at the Gates of Dawn (my favourite album of all time) up to just before their success with the release of Dark Side Of The Moon. It's when they were at they're most experimental, trying to find their footing after Syd Barrett and their sound after psychedelia. When they were working as complete equals, truly collaborating as a band before Roger Waters took the lead entirely.

When it arrived I spent hours just looking at everything, and I reckon it'll take me a good while to get through all of the content and that's if I watch and listen regularly! There's so much contained its hard to even mentally take note of it all. I've had this for a month now and having been devouring my way through all of the contents, can say that I'm so happy with my purchase and am only gutted I didn't invest in it sooner!

pink floyd early years box set
pink floyd early years box set
pink floyd early years box set

It's spans the years 1965-1972, from when Syd first joined up with Roger, Nick and Rick (and Bob Klose who left in 1965 but recorded a few demos with the band) and contains their earliest demos, BBC sessions, and live recordings. I've read a few criticisms over the sound quality, but these are demos and bootlegs, they were never supposed to be officially released. I'd much rather hear these recordings in their original state rather than all polished up, overproduced and "remastered" (I've spoken of my distaste for remastering many times so shan't bore you with that rant!) Listening to these CDs I feel transported back in time, I can close my eyes and imagine I'm actually there and that's the kind of experience I'd hoped for from this box set. Bits of it aren't perfect, but I don't care, it's an absolute treasure trove for a fan like me.

The little books contained with each volume are made up of mostly photographs, and there's nothing new in the essay by Mark Blake - certainly not to those of us who are Floyd crazy enough to invest this kind of money on them anyway! But it's nice to have all of the same, and I really enjoyed looking through all of the prints, posters, and bits of paper memorabilia. I need to find frames for all of the psychedelic posters, I've loved many of the designs for a long time and am pleased as punch to own proper copies of them at last! There's also five reproduction 7" singles which is a nice touch. I don't own too many of their 7" singles as they're so crazy expensive. They're your typical reissue, on heavyweight vinyl with sturdy card reproduction sleeves. I like the See Emily Play sleeve the best with Syd's artwork.

pink floyd early years box set
pink floyd early years box set
Imagine seeing Pink Floyd for £1!
pink floyd early years box set

What do you think of this box set? Would you invest in something like this of your favourite band?

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Look out, here comes tomorrow

I'm really excited at the prospect of this summer, and I'm determined to make the most of it instead of procrastinating and then wondering were the time went! Next year will be my final year of university, and so really this is my last summer break of blissful freedom. So I've compiled a little list of things I want to do over the coming months before I have to delve into writing dissertations and creating final projects. When you're a born procrastinator it can be hard to get things done when there's always tomorrow, but I'm trying not to live like that anymore. It only creates it's own stress and sense of failure as days pass you by with nothing being achieved, which then leads to anxiety which leads to further procrastination. These are fun little projects that I've had bubbling around my brain for a long time and I'd only be doing myself a disservice by not achieving them, so this is me holding myself accountable!

Pick up French again. I've been learning French on and off for the past 10 years. I've tried Michel Thomas tapes, night classes, Duolingo, Rosetta Stone. I'm OK at remembering words, it's the order they go in that trips me up, and trying to remember what's masculine and feminine and all of those grammar rules. It's something I'd really love to learn though as I'd love to be able to speak a second language and am so jealous of those who can. If anyone has any tips for learning foreign grammar, please let me know!

Learn the ukulele. This is another goal I've had for most of my life. Not the ukulele specifically, just to learn an instrument. It's something I have a lot of anxiety about though because obviously like with any learning process it's going to sound bad at the beginning and the idea of loudly making a racket terrifies me stupid. I don't hold any kind of preference for a ukulele, I just felt it'd allow me to dip my toe into learning to play music and ease me into making a noise. Then I can perhaps use it as a stepping stone to move on to something else.

Walk until my legs fall off. Not literally, but I want to go out walking every single day and honestly this will be the single easiest thing to accomplish on this list as I know it's something I do already. My parents live in the middle of the countryside surrounded by fields of sheep and cows and a huge reservoir. It's bliss to wander round, I can gladly walk a few miles without even realising. It's one of the biggest things I miss when I'm away, I get such cabin fever where I live, so I intend to make the most of my surroundings.

Go car booting at every opportunity. Another positive to country living, there are more car boot sales than you can count! There aren't many opportunities for secondhand shopping outside of charity shops where I study (and the charity shops are barely worth bothering with!). It also means I get to go with my mum, and not only is she my best shopping buddy as she knows my taste to a T, we spend most of our outings laughing together. I'm already smiling at the thought of it!

Spend as little money as possible and take pleasure in the little things. I'm really trying to save money for after uni, and also just to improve my lifestyle in general. I'm becoming very disillusioned with the idea of filling my life with stuff and how consumer driven society is. I'm already trying to buy more mindfully, but it's difficult as I know I use that little buying buzz to support my mental health and make myself temporarily feel better. It's a poor excuse and something I'm trying to fix. I want to instead find joy in the things I already own, and the little moments in life all around me. To instead save my money for exciting life experiences like travel.

Draw every single day. Make messes in my sketchbook and to stop being such a perfectionist in my work. I get far too precious about my sketchbook, as if I'm expecting someone might flip through it so it has to be perfectly presentable at all times. I want to remember that my sketchbook is for me alone, and to learn to have fun again with my art. To learn to draw quickly and unconsciously, instead of being so caught up in the idea of perfectionism and every mark being deliberate that I'm too scared to even start.

Read more books. And spend less time on social media. Social media is important to me, it allows me to connect to others, form friendships, and express myself. But I've realised I've become a little too dependant on it. I'll have every intention of reading a book, then sit and look at my phone instead, mindlessly flipping back and forth between apps. I'm already making steps towards changing this and being more selective with which platforms I spend my time on, but it still needs improvement. I used to love reading and it shames me how little I do now and how my attention span for it seems to be shrinking. I may even share the occasional book post on here, we'll see!

Do you have any goals for this summer? ❀

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Sewing a new dress

The fabric of this dress is my most favourite I've ever bought. Although I have two boxes stuffed to the brim with vintage fabric, I don't believe you can ever have too much and will sometimes have a little browse through eBay to see if there's anything going cheap. This was one such find, and for only £4! I simply adore the pastel colour scheme, and how the pattern is on the border between mod and psychedelic. It's a vintage polycotton so I knew it would make the perfect summer dress, and I didn't want to over complicate the design so the focus remained on the fab pattern. So a trusty tent dress it was!

I didn't measure how much of the fabric there was before I began chopping into it, but there was literally just enough for this dress pattern and my headscarf. The only remnants I have left are the tiny little moon shapes from the neckline.

I had a real pig of a time trying to sew this dress, and I'm still not sure why everything kept going wrong. My machine just hated the fabric for some reason and it kept messing with the thread tension, and it was also like I'd just forgotten how to construct a dress. I don't know if it's because I'd just finished sewing something complicated so was perhaps feeling cocky at such a simple pattern I thought I could blast out in a couple of hours, but I lost count of the amount of times I had to unpick the seams. It's all worth it though because this has quickly become one of my favourite dresses, and one I'm sure to get plenty of wear out of this summer. I just love a tent dress.

dress and scarf - handmade // necklace - 1960s vintage // shoes and bag - orla kiely

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Museum of Witchcraft

museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall

I'd been meaning to visit The Museum of Witchcraft and Magic ever since I knew I was moving down this way, even more so since getting my car three months ago. It's only an hour away from me, so as I'm going home for summer this weekend I knew I'd better go soon.

I really wasn't sure what to expect from the museum, but I really enjoyed it! I've been practicing witchcraft for over 15 years and was really pleased with how varied the museum is. It didn't focus on any specific religion, in fact some of the displays even showed more crude rituals performed by everyday people, and even Christian forms of magic and the sheer hypocrisy of them persecuting witches for centuries when they're blessing magic water.

museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall

The first part of the museum focused on the stereotypes of the witch figure and how she's portrayed in media, before going into the persecution, torture and murder that so many fell victim to in the 17th and 18th centuries. Although it was mostly women who were targeted, it made an important point that men were also accused and punished. I liked that it also listed all of the known people to have been killed for practicing witchcraft in the UK. Worldwide the total figure is 50,000 which is a vast amount when you consider how much smaller the population was. Knowing figures and seeing the listed names really reminds you of the human element, that this happened to actual people and isn't just morbid legend.

The mannequin is wearing punishment devices of the time period. I found the head brace the most interesting, the woman would be locked into it and there was a piece of metal that would go into her mouth to hold her tongue down so she couldn't talk. It was used to punish both witches and "nagging wives" alike.

museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall
Voodoo dolls from around the world
museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall
museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall
museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall
museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall

Some traditional remedies, which included snakeskin and ground human bones which was apparently considered good for epilepsy. I found the two headed piglet wet specimen on the far right interesting, it was either stillborn or died shortly after birth and was preserved as pigs are considered good luck, so a two headed pig had to be extra lucky. Pigs are one of my favourite animals, but I never realised they were a good luck symbol. Suddenly piggy banks make so much sense!

museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall
A "wise woman" with all of her magic tools, which are mostly items found around the home to avoid suspicion.
museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall
museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall
museum of witchcraft, boscastle cornwall
This section got a little bit Wicker Man in places
Divination and scrying. 
There were sections and displays for literally everything, every time I thought I was coming to end of the museum I'd turn the corner and there was another room to look at. I was really impressed with the whole thing, it wasn't too basic or niche for people with long term interest, but also wasn't too advanced to be beyond the interest of someone with no former knowledge. I definitely recommend giving it a visit if you're ever in Cornwall!

I didn't know anything about Boscastle other than it was where the museum was situated, but it's absolutely breathtaking. After I was done at the museum I climbed the cliff and sat at the top to eat my lunch with the sea breeze in my hair and both of these views on either side of me.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Art supplies

Today I wanted to share a glimpse into my favourite art supplies I use to create my illustrations as it's something I get asked about a fair bit. Also I just really love talking about art supplies, they're my favourite thing in the entire world and I confess to owning far too many.

Also I'd just like to preface this post with a reminder: the materials don't make an artist - hard work does! I've seen a lot of artists create amazing things with cheap kids supplies, and I've seen a lot of people make bad art with really expensive supplies. Having the best stuff won't make you able to draw, you need to actually practice and learn how to use it! I don't say that to try and intimidate, my intention is the opposite. There can be a lot of snobbery around art materials and it's ridiculous. Just practice with what you have and learn how to use it well. That's how I learnt, through sheer hard work. Although I have some pricey things now, they're things I've built up to and invested in as part of my career, but they're by no means things you need to have to create good art. And if you tell yourself otherwise you're just putting up excuses for not practicing!

As you can see from the above, watercolour are my paints of choice. It's funny, I'd never in a million years think to call myself a painter yet I definitely am. I guess it's because I mostly paint illustrations rather than traditional styles.

I own two Winsor & Newton watercolour sets - the one I've owned for the longest time is the little pocket sized which you can see is well loved. I recently treated myself to the huge set which contains all of the colours and as you can see I'm yet to use it, but as I've been using this brand of paint for years already I know I'll love it. I also have the 36 set of Kuretake Gansai Tambi Japanese watercolours. These are very nice, well pigmented paints that I enjoy using a lot and highly recommend, but I don't really enjoy them any more than I do the Winsor & Newton. I definitely prefer pan style watercolours to tubed or watercolour inks, but that's just personal preference.

I have an array of paintbrushes, but these are the only ones I really use and I'd recommend them to anybody. They're a great little variety, and it's just the right amount to take on the go. I like to have a big fluffy brush to do washes of colour, and the smaller two are better for detail. I really love the slanted brush as it can cover different sized areas depending on how it's held so it's really versatile. My tiny little 3/0 brush is what I use for outlining and detailed work, and I also use it with ink to outline illustrations as well as watercolours. And then the flat chisel brush right at the end has a silicone "brush" head and is what I use for masking fluid.

Next up are my essentials for my portraits! I have a tin of pencils of different softness grades, the ones I use most are 5H, 2H, HB, 2B, and 5B. I like to put different washi tapes at the ends of the pencils so I can tell which is which at a glance. Paper stumps are one of my favourite things, I own them in just about every size and I blend everything so they're incredibly important. I also have to have sandpaper to file them clean, and I like to have a clean paintbrush on hand to brush away any loose graphite. It's really important not to use your fingers to blend and wipe things off the portrait, partly because as you'll know if you draw your hands get covered in graphite fast. But also your skin has natural oils and you don't want that getting onto your work and leaving grubby marks.

Erasers are just as important as the actual pencils, half of my portrait drawing is carving light out of the darker patches of a drawing and it just really helps add depth. Putty erasers are fab because you can tear bits off and form them into the right size, and because they're tacky they lift the graphite off nicely instead of rubbing it away which creates a better texture especially for skin. But my Tombow Mono Zero eraser is the real star of the show, and I honestly don't feel like I could draw portraits without it. It's like a mechanical pencil but an eraser, and it's only 2.3mm thick so you can be incredibly precise.

I'm a marker fiend, they're my absolute favourite thing to draw with hands down. I have every colour in Copic Ciao and a selection of Copic Sketch. Having used both types of markers, I like them both the same and find little difference in them apart from the price and colour range. My favourite aspect of Copic markers is that you can buy the ink to refill them, so they never really run out. My black is what I refill the most, and that refill ink I've had for about 5 years so it lasts a long time too! The colours are just really nice with Copic, I've used a lot of different brands and the other inks just don't compare. Copic can do a true pastel, and they can do a vibrant, punchy hue and they just blend together deliciously. They also have brush tips, which is the most important thing in a marker.

I also have a large selection of Prismacolor markers, I believe I have around 100 of these and I've had them around 10 years (and they're still going strong!). You can't buy Prismacolor markers in the UK, I imported all of these from the US because it was so long ago when there was less on the market. Although they get much less use from me since I bought my Copics, I still really like these pens. They are hardcore vibrant, Prismacolor do not do pastels or gentle washes of colour, they are the original go big or go home. Whenever you see Yellow Submarine art from me, I'll of used Prismacolor markers, they're really perfect for psychedelic styles. Because both the Copics and Primacolors are alcohol based they also blend together seamlessly.

Although I'm stating how many of the markers I have, you do not need this many to use markers. They're my primary medium so of course I have a lot, but I think there's also a real freedom in only having a handful and keeping to a select colour palette. When I'm on the go I love picking out just 6 or so of my favourites and seeing what I can do with just those.

And with markers you of course need a good fine liner! For a simple black line I love Uni Pin Fine Line, they're one of the cheapest fine liners yet also one of the best. They are a true black, and I can draw over the lines with my markers and the ink won't ever bleed! I do like the Copic multi liners, but I only buy them for what I can't get in the Uni Pins, which is nibs (the Copic goes down to 0.03mm and also has a brush tip), and also the pen colour as I particularly like the grey and sepia for when black lines are too harsh or a bit boring. And my pencil case would never be complete without my Uni Ball Signo white gel pen, which is perfect for adding highlights and picking out details. It's a true opaque white ink which can't be said of many gel pens, and I use it with everything, whether drawing portraits, illustrating with markers, or painting.

As for paper, my favourite sketchbooks are Pink Pig. They're cheap, they have high quality cartridge paper that withstands a wide variety of materials, and they're spiral bound which is always my preference. For non sketchbook work I use Daler Rowney Smooth HeavyWeight. This is what I draw all of my portraits on and all of my marker work, and it takes water colour pretty well too (although not as well as actual watercolour paper, obvs)

I do not recommend Leuchtturm1917 sketchbooks as the paper seems to repel pencils and everything else bleeds through. It's been a year and I'm still not over that. If you want a Moleskine, make sure you get the sketch or watercolour versions or the paper is too flimsy.

I do hope this post helps anyone who might be wondering what tools I use and taking a little peek into my studio, and might help inspire you to try something new. Art is such a rewarding hobby, and for me personally is so therapeutic in keeping my mental health in check. You don't need to be at a certain skill level to give anything a go, and you can only ever get better at anything through practice so never be scared to try!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

The door into summer

Although you wouldn't remember it looking out the window now, it's been positively balmy these past few weeks and given a true taste of summer. I finished uni for the year two weeks ago, so thankfully I've been able to get out and make the most of it. It's crazy to think in September it'll be my final year, and having to begin things like dissertation research hasn't quite sunk in yet. I've picked a question I'm passionate about though, so hopefully it won't feel too much like work.

Although it been so warm, I'm still in that winter mindset of being nervous of going out without a jacket so layering has been helping me ease into it. You may remember this skirt from a haul post back in February, and it's been my absolute go to item this Spring (and I'm amused to see from that post that I'm wearing it exactly as I predicted I might!). I'm really digging midi lengths at the moment, I usually prefer mini skirts but I love the ease of this length and it how still allows me to show off my shoes!

I own a ridiculous amount of suede vests by now, but I really couldn't resist picking up this one when I saw what beautiful condition it was in. I wouldn't be surprised if it's deadstock, it certainly has no signs of wear or any softening of the suede. When I opened it up to check the label I instantly thought of Vix from Vintage Vixen and was sure I recognised the name from her blog - I was right! Although it was in absolutely perfect condition, it also absolutely stunk of smoke and took a few weeks to air it out completely. I'm so pleased with how well it fits me though, it's my exact size.

skirt and vest - vintage // top - glamorous // sandals - asos // necklace - thrifted indian silver
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