Thursday, 29 July 2010

Today I Felt a Bit...

image courtsey of Suo Me

More Undercut Envy...

This has made all my playlists since May - I'm a sucker for a big swell.
I've really enjoyed her album and absolutely recommend it. Great Summer listening.

In terms of the undercut, after my next job (child+1940's + shaved undercut = very wrong), I think I may just do it...what's the worst that can happen?

"There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of them."  
 ~Vicki Baum

Wednesday, 28 July 2010


Tonight I went to the launch night of Ukai, a new sushi restaurant just opened in Soho.

The champagne flowed, the sushi platters trickled and the traditional Japanese bondage act captivated (pun intended).

Actually it kind of shocked and fascinated us all.

Sorry about the iphone quality filming...

The (much younger) lady writhed around while the man tied and tightened complex knots around her body taking small breaks to stroke her.

I loved how bizarre the juxtaposition was between this (awkwardly) intense sensual act surrounded by groups of nattering champagne swigging folk, 'oohing and aahing' over each new sushi platter brought out of the kitchens.

Gotta love London!

P.S I also got a goodie bag full of Japanese treats (wasabi peas, sake, sweets), drinks vouchers and a special discount card.

Arigatou gozaimasu Ukai.

The word Shibari came into common use in the West at some point in the 1990s to describe the bondage art Kinbaku. Shibari (縛り?) is a Japanese word that literally means "to tie" or "to bind". It is used in Japan to describe the artful use of twine to tie objects or packages.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

The Cove

This weekend me and The Big One sat down to watch The Cove.

Having heard a lot about it I admit I had been putting off seeing it as sometimes I feel overwhelmed by the amount of causes out there. Plus I hate being moved to the point of anger by a documented injustice and then being left with no idea what I can do to help change the situation. 

Anyway we watched it and it was incredibly powerful, tense, fascinating and utterly horrific. It provided an insight into a barbaric practice brought about by people's increasing desire to see aqua shows - performing dolphins.

The documentary explores the fact that dolphins are intelligent, self aware, sentient beings and we could have much to learn from them rather then keeping them captive to marvel at how high they can jump for a suspended ball at Seaworld.

Another motive behind the mass slaughter of dolphins is the fact that we are eating the ocean's population. We are devouring the world's unsustainable fish, if fish as one of the main sources of protein for humans is unavailable markets will try and supply us with alternatives. In Japan a lot of dolphin meat is being sold labeled as whale meat (another contentious subject). As it happens dolphin meat is dangerously high in mercury levels making it toxic to humans, but a fisherman will need to make his money and if his fishing levels are consistently getting lower (arguably) so may his morals.

As a pescatarian for nearly 22 years I started wondering about my own contribution to this issue. I do not eat meat exclusively for animal right's issues although I am very happy not be a part of the demand that results in a lot of animals leading a miserable factory farmed life for it to end in an inhumane death. I became a non meat eater at the age of 6 (precocious I know) having read about it on animal rights leaflets. I continued eating fish as it was a condition of my mother's while I was still growing and I admit I have continued because I love fish.

But now I don't know how comfortable I feel about still eating unsustainable fish now I am painfully aware of one of the many consequences. I know that I am one person and me stopping to eat fish will not suddenly boost the ocean's fish count but you can only take responsibility for yourself.

My fish intake is almost the only source of protein I have as I am not good at ensuring I include pulses, lentils and enough cheese in my diet, however my reasoning so far is that if I identify and only eat sustainable sources of fish then I am covering my protein and sleeping easy at night.

So that's my plan...that and writing to David Cameron, the Japanese ambassador and signing the official petition registering my disgust and demanding an end to the annual dolphin slaughter of over 20,000 dolphins in Taiji, Japan.

I don't go to dolphin shows, they make me sad. Now I think I would end up sobbing in public.

I cannot convey how disturbing the footage of how these intelligent and sensitive animals are savaged is. Their desperate cries will stay with me for a very long time.  It is traumatic but we cannot turn away from everything. This should be a relatively small issue to stop - it happens in a small, secluded cove in a tiny fishing village in Japan enabled solely by corruption and human desire to see performing captive dolphins.

As one of the main activists, Ric O'Barry says, “If we can’t stop that, if we can’t fix that, forget about the bigger issues. There’s no hope.” 

(I have somewhat simplified the arguments raised and discussed in the film so do watch it and form your own opinions).

"The dolphin's smile is nature's greatest deception. It creates the illusion that they actually like doing this job, like they actually volunteered for it. So the whole industry is based around this optical illusion"
- Ric O'Barry

My So-Called Memories

Having revisited a bit of Fresh Prince the other day my teenage pop culture memories started flooding back.

It began, at the beginning, with My So-Called Life.

DM Boots,
Lumberjack shirts and red hair dye 
Angela -  the ultimate emo gal pal
Ricky - a powerful insight into how confusing and lonely being a gay teenager can be
Jordan Catalano - literally my only ever 'must have him' crush, the perfect bad boy turned good with the right girl

and one of the best teenage characters ever - Rayanne.
She was one of my first style icons, I a.d.o.r.e.d her hair and was obsessed by her character, so energised, so vunerable and so complex.

I loved that show so much that several years ago I started tracking it down on DVD. I now have the full boxset of the first and only season and it still gets me. Watching it I can feel myself back in my school uniform in mum's living room, devouring every last minute.

"Sometimes someone says something really small and it just fits into this empty place in your heart."

Saturday, 24 July 2010

I have a new love...

Surface to Air $695


and alas....
...bit of despair...

But wait! What is this I find??

Not a cheaper alternative surely!?

ASOS £60

WhOoP WhOop!

It's nearly my birthday so I can merrily justify presenting myself with a certain presentable present.

I just won't wear them til my actual birthday....

"One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art." 
~Oscar Wilde

Friday, 23 July 2010

Cupcakes for All!

It was my Dad's 60th Birthday last week and as an additional present I decided to supply his party guests with individual iced cupcakes.

Raspberry flavoured icing

with vanilla flavoured 60's.

80 cupcakes later....

well 78....two were sacrificed for sampling.
"Age is strictly a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind, it doesn't matter."  
- Jack Benny

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Old Skool Tea Time

Having just a couple of hours between returning home and going out again I went straight to our goodie cupboard for crisps, a biscuit and a glass of juice.

Sitting munching I realised I was renacting my after school routine from many moons ago but something was missing.....what was it that completed my daily snack time?


And I still know all the words...I can't remember the periodic table or even any algebra but this - burnt into my otherwise empty brain.

"Nostalgia is like a grammar lesson:  you find the present tense, but the past perfect!" 
~Owens Lee Pomeroy

Monday, 19 July 2010

Swarming in Soho

On a wander through Soho today, crowds of happy snappy camera phone people caused me to turn the corner and take a lil look at what the fuss was about.

I'm sorry the picture isn't brilliant - it's bees, they swarmed and settled on a lampost right in the middle of Soho.

"A bee is as never as busy as it seems; it's just that it can't buzz any slower."
- Kin Hubbard

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Still want them....

coveting crazy

All Fired Up

I found the firescreen design I wanted to be amended!

After trawling through embroidery websites, google images and eBay I finally found a Home Sweet Home Sampler pattern that with a little adapting will be the finishing touch to our mock fireplace.

The text I want is a quote from Fahrenheit 451, the cult sci-fi book about a world where books are illegal and the fireman routinely seek them out and burn them.
Guy Montag, one such fireman starts to question the logic and morality of this and the book follows his journey of self discovery.

'If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you'll never learn.' - Fahrenheit 451

I want the borders to be flames and the house removed and instead a bonfire on the top.

So next I had to find someone who could amend the pattern for me, I started calling embroidery companies, posting comments on embroidery online forums and just when I started to despair I went to the BUST craft fair and saw the Urban Cross Stitch stall!

Urban Cross Stitch design and sell contemporary patterns (and even full kits with the pattern, canvas, threads and needles) so you can create your own urban embroidery pieces.

I went straight over and met Phil, explained what I was looking for and he wasn't phased at all.  A few emails later and I should be able to see what Phil's come up early next week. How exciting!

So watch this space....

"It destroys the craft not to learn it"
- Irish proverb

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Urban Poetry So Far

As previously blogged I have a design concept for our new flat - Urban Poetry and it's starting to come together.

So the idea is to mix vintage and urban styles creating 'urban poetry'.

I particularly love the black swallows I found in Urban Outfitters. The postcards in the frames are of people that The Big One and I find inspiring - mine so far are Debbie Harry, Frida Kahlo and Virginia Woolf is about to be replaced with Vivienne Leigh.

The week before last we found and bought a beatiful 1930's mirror - something I have always wanted.

Just below the mirror is a fireplace which has been boarded up, in a rather ugly/obvious way so I bought a wooden fireplace surround from Ebay which I am priming and painting eggshell white tomorrow.

I am now on the hunt for vintage tiles which I will lay on the floor inside the suround and put candles on making our own contemporary fireplace.

As the piece de resistance I am going to embroider a fire screen but in keeping with my design concept I had decided that I wanted to embroider an urban design rather then the traditional flowers/home is where the heart is sampler.

The search began, I wanted to find a traditional style design which I thought I could then find someone to adapt for me....

'It is easily overlooked that what is now called vintage was once brand new.'
- Tony Visconti

Bloomin' Bustacular

So last weekend was BUST, the independent craft fair and it was fabulous! My lovely friend, I shall blogname her, 'Ink' (as she's a fantastic illustrator) and I arrived in the nick of time to get a free goodie bag each - bonus!

Hawkandfallow's stall with Pure Harte was a sight for sore eyes, beautiful displays of handmade cards, lace collars, vintage crockery, handmade many delights!

There were rows and rows of stalls all selling handmade, customised, vintage inspired treats, Ink and I went round at least 3 times as there was so much to take in but eventually we pur-chased....

I bought this gorgeous notebook designed and made by Kali Taylor Mittman.
Each notebook had a different colour lining. I loved how the back of the bicycle is on the back of the notebook...ah simple pleasures!

I also fell deeply in love with a huge amount of Dan Hillier's pieces and after circling his stall several times.....

settled on the 'stag gentleman' on wood.

P.S My goodie bag was full of business cards,

sweeties, a brooch and a brilliant magazine called 'Oh Comely' which I am yet to properly sit down with but from the first few flicks feel we are going to become great friends.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

So VeRy Tempting.....

Kurt Geiger Winslow Tan Shoeboot £130

But I must resist!
....for now...

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Dinner with HawkandFallow...

yes, I've hopped on the Hipstamatic trend train.

Last night I was at HawkandFallow's house for a spot of (delicious) dinner and a good old yarn.

I was very excited to be allowed an exclusive sneak peek at the GoRgEoUs wares she will be debuting at the latest Bust Craftacular. What a treat! They are all so incredibly beautiful that I couldn't help but touch everything. I was like a lickle gal in a sweet shop of delectableness.

I shan't spoil the many surprises she has up her embroidered sleeve as you must put in an appearance on Saturday (York Hall, Bethnal Green, 12-7pm) to see for yourself but I took a couple of pics to tantalise your crafty tastebuds.
Envelopes made from 1940's catalogue pages protecting greeting cards made from vintage rent cards and playing cards, tied together with pretty ribbons.
Bottom - Notebooks made from Victorian programmes.

Me and The Big One went to the last BUST (just before Christmas) and returned laden with amazing and beautiful objets du désir....most were gifts.....a gift for me, a gift for someone else, a gift for me....

"Love of beauty is Taste. The creation of beauty is Art"
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Why The Big One is The Big One

I have had a request to explain The Big One's moniker. There are fears, apparently, that without explanation, some people will feel that he is in some way deformed by gigantism or some other similar accelerated growth condition.

The Big One is simply bigger then me.

not life size

He is a foot taller then me (I'm aware the picture doesn't represent this fact) which I feel is a substantial amount - enough to justify being termed 'The Big One'.

For the record, he's not such a BIG (hee hee) fan of his blog name especially as mutual friends have started referring to him by it.

"You have to think big to be big"
- Claude M. Bristol

P.S Happy Birthday J-Row!

Urban Dictionary Definition of J-Row - (NOUN) An aspiring artist of music. He speaks in a F.O.B. manner (Filipino on Bacation) on accident sometimes. He is too tall for his own good because he keeps injuring his most precious of limbs and cries about it all day long.


Monday, 5 July 2010

Look What the Big One Found...

Loves it!

Janelle Monae, Tightrope (Wondamix) feat. B.O.B & Lupe Fiasco


BIG fan of Robyn since her last album. Downloaded 'Body Talk Part One' the other day and CANNOT stop listening to it. Love her tone, lyrics, style and attitude.

Seriously wanted her shaved undercut hair circa Cobrastyle.

Spoilt for Choice

We (moi et le Grand Un) have some of the best friends anyone could wish for!

One of our good friends....I shall name him....Espagne....has recently been assisting a landscape gardener and he claims he has caught the gardening 'bug'. Our new home came with a garden, our very own garden yet it is a horrible mess of gravel and weeds. We had been planning to somehow turn it into something beautiful when along came....Espagne! Having heard about our project he has offered his new and  invaluable services and skills and has been clearing out the existing wreck and prepping it for whatever we choose to turn it into.

He has been turning up, in his own time and getting stuck in. It already looks unbelievably better! He has pretty much returned it to a blank canvas and has now asked me to consider the type of garden I want, the flowers and plants to get and he will turn my vision into a reality!

What an amazing gift! I keep asking him if we can offer him something, anything! A fridge full of treats if not dosh but he insists he enjoys it and wants nothing in return.

So I have been thinking and mulling away to come up with my ideal garden. I kind of already knew what I wanted (cottage style with natural border elements) but having never been a green fingered one, frankly I was a bit intimidated by the task at hand, but now, now, I have someone to guide me through it. I couldn't be more excited!

These are a few pretties I saw today to add to my nursery shopping list.

"A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy."
- Luis Barragan 

Summer, Summer, Summer!

Me and The Big One spent today at Knebworth with family celebrating his nephew's 5th birthday. It was a gorgeous day, the sun shone, the breeze blew, the picnic was never-ending and the games (football, rounders and kite-flying) kept everyone thoroughly entertained.

We had never been to Knebworth before and highly recommend it as a top picnic spot - the entrance fee allows you access to the grounds, the gardens, the castle and the adventure playground fort. Fun for all!

"Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language."
-- Henry James

Sunday, 4 July 2010

My Bible...

I am currently reading (for the umpteenth time), 'The Girl Who Walked Home Alone', a personal biography of my all time professional idol, Bette Davis.

Charlotte Chandler interviewed Ms Davis over many months before her death in 1989 and simply presents; their conversations (about her upbringing, her studio life and her relationships), synopses of each of her movies and anecdotes from the many people who played a part in her life and career. It is fascinating and bursting with quotes from the sharp tongued star.

I find her so inspiring, she achieved such an incredible career against the odds. She was raised by a strong and determined single mother who after being abandoned by her husband, faced many nearly dire financial struggles. Finally making it to Hollywood after struggling to make ends meet in rep theatre, Bette wasn't considered 'Moviestar attractive' and so had to fight the studios (and often the directors) to be recognised as a highly accomplished actress.

It's a battle that is still being fought in the industry. The fact she conquered and redefined the Hollywood stereotypes fills me with hope for my career. Despite her many professional and personal hurdles she became one of the greatest and most celebrated actresses in the world.

As an actress, her contained and almost repressed style to emphasise her character's vulnerability is a skill I constantly reference. As an individual, well what a lady! Not afraid to speak her mind or to be unpopular in order to stay truthful to herself and her beliefs.

"Hollywood always wanted me to be pretty, but I fought for realism."
- Bette Davis
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