Thursday, 3 November 2011

I was recently taken on a surprise holiday to Dubrovnik, Croatia (this sort of thing doesn't usually happen to me, it was a rather special honeymoon-type occasion). We stayed in a hotel a stone's throw from the sea and had a stunning view of the Adriatic, rolling mountains and all. According to the WHSmith guide book, October is the best time of year to visit this part of the world because the weather is still pleasant enough to be able to walk around in sandals and a skirt and the millions of tourists have packed up for the summer season and left the 'Pearl of the Adriatic' in a peaceful, almost dreamlike, state.

Our week was chiefly spent pottering, sipping coffee in outdoor cafes and reading. This may make me sound like a middle-aged bore but it was just lovely to relax and absorb the culture of our surroundings. The European cafe culture may have become a little tired and overused by us tea-supping, Starbucks-aholics from the UK but when you partake in the activity in actual Europe, it's rather delightful.

We did some of the touristy things too; walking round the city walls of the Old Town in Dubrovnik is highly recommended, especially on a sunny day; taking a boat trip out to one of the islands for a day out is also a must-do activity. The country hasn't joined the Euro yet so things like meals and gifts are a little cheaper than in most European cities. The coffee is good, the wine is OK, the people are warm and friendly (and they speak English).

My favourite part of traveling is seeing a country without its glamourous touristy gloss. I think we managed to see a fair amount of the 'real' Croatia during our stay, but the most authentic part for me was when we went on a boat trip to one of the islands. We were sitting on the top deck of the boat, feeling a bit chilly as the sea air gradually wormed its way through our clothes and onto our goose-pimpled skin and we decided to venture below deck. There was an increasing stench of coffee and cigarette smoke as we neared the indoor section of the vessel and when we poked our heads into what looked like a small makeshift cafe we were met with the most glorious sight.

It was almost as if we had stumbled onto the set of an old Eastern European film; old men propped up at the bar, middle-aged men slumped against the murky windows, taking the chance to nap on the boat before starting work again at the next port, all sporting grand flourishes of facial hair and most of them smoking and drinking coffee. I half expected someone to whip out an accordion and start singing a traditional folk song, but then I shook myself and realised that my thoughts were bordering on ignorant or worse; British.

In conclusion, Dubrovnik is marvellous.


driv·el - noun: silly nonsense: "don't talk such drivel!"

Monday, 20 September 2010

I have been dabbling in the deliciously sparkling waters of Photoshop of late, and in doing so have discovered a fantastic odyssey of magical arty goodness. (I have also not blogged in a while and wanted to pop my head up with rather a pretentious wordy flourish. Did it.)

So, Photoshop. It's wonderful. I'm not an expert by any means and I learn new techniques every time I start a new project. My work at the moment is not incredible, but I think that with practice and patience I can acomplish some good stuff. The magazine the team are working on is coming on a treat, although it's difficult to stick to deadlines because of the hours and hours I sit and perfect each page, and then kick myself when it goes to print when I notice a typo that I missed due to my stupidly acute attention to detail in the design. I have gained an awful lot of respect for the people who design stuff like Little White Lies and Live & Love York, publications which look simple and polished but which contain some creatively beautiful ideas.

Here are a couple of handy websites that I've been dipping into recently for inspiration:


That's all I wanted to say really, unless you wanted to add anything? No? OK then.


What's up darlin'?

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Crikey. It's been a while. I've almost forgotten how to blog. I'm doing some fairly noteworthy things in the next few weeks so thought I'd pop my head back into the blogosphere for a while and let you know what's going down.

Firstly, it's the only day of the working year that my mum is allowed to legitimately have off from work; my graduation. This Friday. It's an odd one really, as it's kind of important on the scale of things to do going from: a regular Saturday morning watching cartoons and picking a scab on your knee to: your Wedding Day. I'd say it's about an 8 on that scale. However, despite all the giddy anticipation that surrounds the day, it's one of the things that I feel the least prepared for. I mean, what's the right thing to wear underneath the gown? How do you have your hair under the silly square contraption? Is it OK to not want to hang out with your doting parents for the entire day? Can you act about and pretend to be batman while you wear the cape? There are no rules. This is unsettling.

Secondly, I'm going to Uganda. Next week. On one hand I'm completely and utterly over the moon at this prospect; I went to the same place in the country last year and made some great friends and had a really lovely time. However, I think the nostalgia setting in my brain has gone a little bit crazy and has blocked out the hard bits from last year in place for beautiful sunsets and sitting around with gorgeous Ugandan children singing songs and making friendship bracelets. The truth is, it's going to be hard. There's no running water; we have to wash out of a bucket. There's very little access to electricity; we'll have hardly any contact with friends and family back home. We'll be living in cramped conditions as a team and working on a building site every day with heavy lifting and potential for injury.

These things are all really hard to cope with, and last year I remember almost breaking down after the first week through sheer emotional and physical exhaustion. But this year, I want to approach it from a different angle, to be more outward looking and to consider the people who live in these conditions all the time. Not to be so selfish and instead, try and learn from these people's generosity and kindness. I think if I see it as a challenge not to be introspective and hard done by, and instead embrace the chance to learn from a different culture and make some lasting friendships then I will have a far more rewarding time.

Finally, here is a great track by Florence and the Machine from the new Twilight film, Eclipse. It's mega. Enjoy.


Blue Roses

Monday, 26 April 2010


Digression is the best medicine.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

The trouble with researching for a dissertation about the arts, is that you end up going off on enormously fun, yet ridiculously unproductive tangents all over the place, and end up with 300 words on paper, and nothing else to show for it.

That's going to change right now, as I share but a few of the tangenty type treats I have found this week.


Slash's debut solo album is out this week. Read a [fairly biased] review here. I am very excited about this, he proves his star pulling power by collaborating with artists such as Ozzy Osbourne, Dave Grohl, Adam Levine and of course, old pal Duff McKagen. Thanks, Slash. You're great.


Renegade street artist Banky's first ever film is soon to be released, check out the trailer, and enjoy the 'subtle' snubs to major film companies:


Rediscover Nouvelle Vague and also, this quirky little animation - a teary narrative, but really well made short.


Home, sweet home.

When I'm not living in Preston, I like to come home to York. Here is what I did this afternoon :)

I am also the proud owner of an amazing red spotty suitcase. Good day all round!


Confessions of a film snob.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Last night, I did something bad. Really bad. And the odd thing is, I really enjoyed it. I had been resisting it for a long time, I had been avoiding the temptation, with a resolute ignorance, despite many of my friends persuading me that I would like it. I was ashamed at first, but then flung myself into the moment with intrigue and excitement.

That's right kids. I watched New Moon. And I liked it.

I have always considered anything that is surrounded by as much hype and screaming teenage girls as the Twilight saga as... oh, what's the word... Lame. And I was more than ready to have my expectations met as my friends and I sat down to watch the second installment of the 'saga', and the film opened with the image of a large and intimidating moon accompanied by some crashing orchestral score that would sent shivers down any respectable human's spine. I raised the characteristic eye brow and scoffed into the cuff of my hooded jumper, curling my toes in anticipation of a massive let down, but going along with it for the sake of my lesser knowledgeable peers (a short-lived moment of arrogance - sorry girls).

Oh how wrong I was. Yes, the glittery-faced effect that Edward prances around with is a little bit rubbish, and yes the bronzed and buff Jacob is a little too bronzed and buff to be believed, but if you look past these, it really is a good film! The soundtrack is outstanding, with tracks from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Lykke Li and OK Go that as standalone pieces are just incredible and as part of the film, work, with magnificence.

Some of the shots are sublime, and really capture the indie film look, especially those of Bella looking lost and forlorn in the forest, and the lighting and camera angles lend themselves to an aesthetic similar to the fantastical element of indie successes such as Where the Wild Things Are.

So, this is a challenge to all you fellow film snobs out there. Watch New Moon. Give it a chance. Even if you do it in secret without telling anyone; it really is worth it.

And if you were wondering... it's Team Jacob all the way. Knowing wink.

This is a Death Cab for Cutie song from the soundtrack, not the best song from the film, but that's kind of on purpose. Go forth and Spotify!


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