Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Yup, I'm Impressed!

“There is no strong performance without a little fanaticism in the performer."
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Purl City : A Yarn Addict's Heaven

A few weeks ago I found the pearl that is Purl City Yarns, a boutique yarn shop, in Manchester's Northern Quarter and it is an absolute treasure trove for any yarn enthusiast!

I had popped in to have a peek and was quite literally blown away by the incredible range they have on offer. None of your 'normal-verging-on-boring' standard's here, instead treats galore of unusual brands, huge ranges (all clearly sectioned and labelled into yarn weight categories) and simply stunning locally hand-dyed yarn.

Louisa Harding name a few...

During my first visit I was struck by how relaxed and friendly it was, there were two ladies on the comfy central sofas knitting and chatting away. I was greeted, asked if I needed help then left to wander when I declined. I felt like my eyes were as big as saucers taking it all in. 

Eventually I asked to be directed to any local yarn and Vicki took me straight to the locally hand dyed WildFire Fibres range, it was so beautiful I could not resist and picked a skein for my Afghan blanket. We had a brief chat about the shop and I explained that I try to find local yarn wherever I go on my travels and how happy I was to find such gorgeous local DK yarn...

It turns out Vicki is incredibly modest as doing a bit of research on Ravelry once I got home, I discovered that she is the talent behind that very yarn, Wildfire Fibres!

Red Alert 

This last weekend I took The Big One along for another visit so I could take some pics and he could pick some yarn for his new beanie...for which I have the following brief: Long-ish, not too tight, but not too slouchy...wish me luck!

We picked 2 skeins of squishy-gorgeous Drops Karisma in Charcoal and reluctantly I pulled myself away from all the delicious yarns on display and headed to the till.

There was a customer ahead of me who revealed she was a new knitter, both the ladies in the shop were so warm, so welcoming and encouraging. They told her all about Ravelry and the events they have in the shop.  Now I know this probably sounds like obvious customer service but I can't tell you the amount of times I have been patronised and made to feel generally inferior as a young knitter. So despite having such a superior range of yarns available, on both the occasions I have visited Purl City,  I am happy to say that is where the sense of superiority ends!

Vicki recognised me and she and the other lady (didn't get her name!), proceeded to tell me all about a new yarn they are launching in the shop this week. Possum! Yes real Possum, as in the New Zealand animal. They explained that due to being so destructive to New Zealand's environment and therefore being annually culled, their fur had been going to waste and so have since been spun into yarn! Purl City are throwing a New Zealand themed evening on Wednesday night to celebrate the launch which I am hoping to attend.

Now if that doesn't convince you that this is not your normal yarn shop I don't know what will!

"If I stitch fast enough, does it count as aerobic exercise?"
- Author unknown

Monday, 23 May 2011

REd CaRpEt, REd CaRpEt!

This weekend it was the Cannes Cinema Against AIDS AmfAR Gala, which apparently was the most successful yet, raising $10 million for the fight against AIDS. It also produced a pretty fine red carpet turn out with some seriously swish frockage.

Kirsten Dunst in Chanel Haute Couture

Gwen Stefani in L.A.M.B

Janet Jackson in Haider Ackermann

Salma Hayek in Gucci Premiere

Tilda Swinton in Haider Ackermann

"I believe that this could very well be looked back on as the sin of our generation...I believe that our children and their children, 40 or 50 years from now, are going to ask me, what did you do while 40 million children became orphans in Africa? "
- Rich Stearns, President of World Vision, US


I wanted to say 'hello' to all my international visitors. I get very excited at seeing how far away my little blog gets accessed.

Most recently I have had visitors from Belarus, Norway, America, Canada, Germany, India and Yemen!

Thanks for reading, I'm delighted that you are!

You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.
-Walter Hagen

Back on the Boot Search

A while ago I pur-chased these beauties from Urban Outfitters.

We fell in love and soon found that we had the same friends - my dresses, jeans, shorts, everyone loved them but then....they tore! The front section literally tore away from the sole and despite several desperate pleas for help at various cobblers (all rebuffed) I have to accept that it is over.

We didn't have long together, not even 6 months....due to losing my receipt UO couldn't refund me...

I have mourned them (after living in denial for a while and risking toe exposure while wearing them) and now it is time to move on. But who can replace them?

Head over Heels Dune £65
Office £85
Office £88

Urban Outfitters £38

Pied-a-Terre £150

The search continues....

"My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud."
- Henry Rollins

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Well I Am In A Strange New City...

We had a 3 hour break in rehearsals today and one of my cast mates innocently said 'Fancy coming to Urban Outfitter's wi'me?" - Not really, she said, "with me" but I thought I'd establish the fact I am currently 'up north' in Manchester.

So, I said, "Weeeeel, I'm supposed to be being good and not shop, but what does a lickle peek hurt..."

So off we went.

And yes, you guessed it I pur-chased, but from the Sale section only.  I returned to rehearsals with - 

Pinafore Skirt - Pins and Needles £22 
Tape Stitch Jumper - Sparkle & Fade £20
So it turns out I am in fact, badly behaved 'up North.

"The best way to behave is to misbehave.”
-Mae West

Sufjan Stevens = Amazior!

The Big One arrived from London on Thursday so we could go and see the incredible Sufjan Stevens play at the Manchester Apollo. I was introduced to Sufjan's music with the brilliant album 'Illinois" a veritable feast of orchestral American folk.

He has since released an album, 'The Age of Adz' that could be best described as Intergalactic Pop which, until his gig I was unfamiliar with. I had listened to snippets and been a tad put off by all the synthesised style but listening to him perform it with his terrific band really changed my mind. 

With an incredible blend of earnestness and witty self awareness, he explained the inspiration behind this album (a seemingly huge departure from his previous work), that his parents had raised him to believe they were Star People, visitors from another planet, here to inhabit a human body and experience life on Earth. 

And my goodness, he really put on a show, the music was still epic and complex, the costumes were...neon, the backing singers doubled as hipster dancers with some pretty endearingly odd routines, reminiscent at times of moves children create in their living rooms to perform for their parents. His keyboard player looked like something out of Hair, the musical. There were incredible visuals heavily featuring work by a schizophrenic artist called Royal Robertson which were so beautifully animated I felt quite mesmerised while floating away on his musical star journey. 

At times it was peculiar, even verging on uncomfortable at the finale. He was so engrossed, so entirely in his own world, seemingly unaware that the audience hadn't reached the same state of musical euphoria but it was always engrossing, always brilliant. 

My favorite part was the encore section, he came back out dressed normally having shed his day-glo space man all-in-one to play some of his biggest folk pop hits. At the start of his final track, "Chicago" without explanation, he put on a red striped helmet, some white bubble sunglasses, his tin foil wings and as the balloons were released from the ceiling, he danced. This time we were all dancing and as I watched this awkward musical genius who had bravely played tracks we weren't really there to hear, as I watched him dance in his helmet and wings, I felt so moved by his sense of freedom. It was like watching a little boy who was so awkward outside of his talent become liberated within his own world. 

I realised I was crying, it was so beautiful and it felt so special to have been permitted to witness it. We may not have 'got it' all but I think every one of us in that audience recognised his genius and appreciated him sharing it with a crowd that probably observed more then we got involved. It was impossible to deny how incredible he is and how magical the world he lives in is. It's very much his world but it was great to visit if only for a little while.

c/o The Guardian
c/o The Guardian

"I don't think my music is important, I don't think it's changing the world, I don't think it's art. I just think it's music. It is what it is."
-Sufjan Stevens

A Weekend in Manchester Part 1

This was the first weekend I stayed here in Manchester and The Big One came up to explore it with me. We had a terrific time, we went to see the amazing Sufjan Stevens on Thursday night (see well deserved dedicated blog post), then Friday after rehearsals we stayed in to watch The Omen (the original of course).  But on Saturday after a sufficiently luxurious lie in we went exploring.

We started with The Manchester Art Gallery which is currently hosting a terrific Anish Kapoor exhibition called Flashback. I had never seen his work before and was quite literally 'mind blown'. It was so intense, so exciting, so challenging in terms of optical illusion that I could barely take in the Victorian collection we saw afterwards.

The gallery was really lovely and entirely free including the exhibition. We liked it so much that we stayed for lunch which was also pretty marvellous.

A 'Manchester Brunch'

After filling ourselves right up we headed to the People's History Museum to swot up on the Cotton Industry during the 1850's (the time the play I am doing is set). Another great and free museum that I would thoroughly recommend. Loads to see and take in and lots of fun interactive bits.

From here we headed to explore The Northern Quarter. A really fun and cool area of Manchester full of independent boutiques and cafes. They have converted the old Fish Market into an Art & Craft centre full of designers whose little studio spaces double as shops to sell their handmade wares. I took some lovely pics but...The Big One has just got on his train back to London, in a hurry, and I forgot to rescue my camera from out of his jacket. As soon as I get the images I shall post them up.

After muchos wandering we felt justified in stopping to have a lickle tea and cake at a lovely little cafe North Tea Power.

pretty pretty plates!

We then headed to Ancoats so I could revisit a fantastic yarn shop I had found the previous week, again I took lots of photos on my camera not my phone so I'll have to write that post another time....

From there we went to the cinema to watch Attack The Block, written and directed by the brilliant Joe Cornish of 'Adam & Joe' fame. It was really really good, I was scared, laughed and was throughly entertained.  Ratings!

Now you're probably thinking, gosh it must be time for more food and yes! It was! Don't ask where we put it all cos I genuinely have no idea but somehow we managed to put away a LOT of delicious Chinese food at Red Chilli.

What a full to burst day! On our way back to my digs we decided Manchester is definitely a great city, so much so that I am tempted to pur-chase one of these before I return to London in July...

"Manchester's got everything except a beach."
- Ian Brown

Monday, 16 May 2011

My 'Must-See Film' Queue Just Got Longer...

This looks good. I hope they haven't put all the good bits in the trailer....

Timberlake and Diaz....tres intriguing!

Plus the Louboutin Ronfifi's are LUSH!

"Good teaching is one-fourth preparation and three-fourths theater." 
~Gail Godwin

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Somewhere, Somehow, Someday

I really want to see this...


“Everyone in my family is in the film business; I knew I wanted to be creative and it was important in my family to be artistic."

- Sofia Coppola

Tuesday, 10 May 2011


I finally watched this the other day. I didn't know much about it before seeing it which was perfect. I found it really engaging and felt it raised some very interesting points about our modern day cyber social world.

I recommend it. Watch it if you can but then don't spoil it for others.

"And there are those people who are catfish in life. They keep you on your toes. They keep you guessin’. They keep you thinkin’. They keep you fresh. And I thank God for the catfish, because we would be dull and boring if we didn’t have somebody nipping at our fin." 
- Vince Pierce

Monday, 9 May 2011

Home Delights

I went home this weekend to see The Big One and the Tabbies. 

I had a delivery of 'Pinks' from Crocus waiting for me to plant in the garden, a package of baby wool for the baby blanket I am knitting for the bump known as Herbert and I felt so happy to be home I baked a batch of blueberry muffins. The Big One had made me delicious short stack blueberry pancakes the previous morning so it seemed only fair.



"I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself."
- Maya Angelou

Sold Out!

Second week of rehearsals this week, so far I have been struggling a bit. The language is so different, almost like Shakespeare and I've found it hard to sight read and be able to play and explore the scenes whilst still relying on the script. I need to learn them so I can get on with it but it had kind of knocked my confidence a touch, plus the material is so dense. I'll get there but I hope it's sooner rather then later!

Last week we were taken to see the venue. This is a site specific production and it's taking place in an old Victorian Mill. The space is incredible and I feel really excited to be a part of what looks like potentially a truly amazing production. Other people must think so too as we found out on the first day of rehearsals that the entire run is sold out!

Here a few sneak peek pics I took last week.

The play will take place in real time as the sun goes down which means it'll be mainly naturally lit but also means it'll be cold! I have already requested thermals...

Costume fitting tomorrow!

"It takes very little fire to make a great deal of smoke nowadays, and notoriety is not real glory"
- Louisa May Alcott

Frock Watch!

 A very belated post on the annual Costume Institute Gala aka The Met Ball. There were some fabulous outfits, the ball served as the opening for the Alexander McQueen exhibition, 'Savage Beauty'. 

'Glamour' was definitely in attendance...

Madonna in Stella McCartney

Yup, Madonna. She has not made my best dressed list for a w-h-i-l-e but this is a stunning dress, I love the colour and the elegant embroidery down the sides and the nod to a train. It's a stunner.

Diane Kruger in Jason Wu...with Jason Wu
Sexy, glamorous and chic, plus with the designer on her arm for bonus fashion points.

Kate Winslet in Stella McCartney
Ah Kate, when does she ever get it wrong? So effortless!
Lea Michele in Escada
I normally find red dresses quite dull, they are generally a contrived attempt to show off your 'wild side' on the red carpet. However there are exceptions and this is one of them for me, I'm not sure why but I like the structure and the styling. She looks confident and contemporary in it. Shame about lady casual behind her ruining her shot and the fantasy that it's all glamour glamour down at the Met...

Anna Dello Russo in Alexander McQueen
Ok so I'm not a huge fan of the egg/nest hat but I love the fun of the outfit, the tailoring is beautiful, the embellishment and it's chic dress up. Plus I always appreciate when a gal chooses a great alternative to a traditional red carpet dress...although having said that, somewhat controversially I am NOT a fan of short dresses on the red carpet, don't ask me why - I guess I'm just old fashioned like that.

Christina Ricci in Zac Posen
Talk of dress up drama! This is amazing, so contemporary yet so Gothic Victoriana. I do think her hair should have been more 'up' to compete with the drama of the dress. This is a pure indulgent dress up dress and where else can you do that if not the Costume Institute Gala?! I really love the exo-skeleton structuring.

Ok this is my favourite of all I saw....

Michelle Williams in Miu Miu
I just LOVE it. It's a beautiful matt black, contemporary and yet classic, signature Miu Miu and the embellished swallows are so beautiful. The belted waist, the gathered dropped sleeves. Contemporary elegance. I could wear this all day, every day. Divine.

In a last nod to Alexander McQueen's genius -

Florence Welch performed in Alexander McQueen
She looks like an ethereal fire nymph, it's incredible.

All photos c/o

"Clothes and jewellery should be startling, individual. When you see a woman in my clothes, you want to know more about them. To me, that is what distinguishes good designers from bad designers."

.- Alexander McQueen
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