Wednesday, 23 July 2014

New Covent Garden Flower Market

 A couple of weeks ago I was looking for things to do in my holidays and googled 'London flower market'. The first result was a place called New Covent Garden which seemed to be a wholesaler and basically looked like the dream; a huge warehouse, crammed with flowers which are sold for super duper cheap prices. I was sold! I read that it was open from 4am and to come early to get the good stuff so a couple of days ago we set our alarm clocks nice and early, lined our cars with bin bags and buckets of water and set off, yawning.
 It was completely overwhelming! There were vases big enough for me to hide in, amazing props, beautiful cake stands, tissue paper, ribbons, basically anything anyone would ever need for a floral display and then some.
AND THE FLOWERS! My goodness, they were amazing! Right here was a room full of the most amazing flowers I had ever seen and they were cheaper than garage flowers. We bought a huge bunch of thirty white roses (and each one was bigger than my fist!) for thirteen pounds!!!! I couldn't believe it. I wanted to spend all of my student loan right there and then.
Although I had been wanting to go to this market for weeks and weeks, in the end our reason for going was a little sombre. My Granny died last week and so we needed funeral flowers. Although a death in the family is naturally going to impact anyone, I must say I feel so at ease with her death; my Granny was a very strong, fiery woman and I think it was distressing for everyone- including her- to see her fading physically and mentally. It feels good now that we can remember her for her strength without being confronted with her distressed weakness. That may be selfish, I don't know, its true. So like I said, the actual death didn't affect me hugely, what did was the absolute trust from my parents. I was utterly honoured that they would allow me to do the funeral flowers when I had no floristry experience. I was so touched to be able to do something for them on a day which was incredibly challenging for everyone.
I chose a mixture of whites and creamy-whites and then contrasting bold and delicate foliage. It was so amazing to put them all in buckets and just have them in our living room. I went between thinking it looked like I owned a florist to thinking Mr Gatsby had visited. As the funeral was in the morning I worked on the flowers at night time under the watchful eye of Tomcat- florist extraordinaire.
I think I did her proud.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

My Top 5 Disney Art Books- Poster Art of the Disney Parks

 When you're feeling a little low on inspiration there is nothing quite like a coffee table book; they're so big and glossy and feel like so much of a more holy experience than if you were to see the same images on pinterest. There is always at least one big art book on my birthday or Christmas list and, because I am slightly obsessed, often they will be Disney related. I love me some behind the scenes Disney action! I thought I would share with you my short list of my favourite Disney books, over a few posts. Be warned, they are very picture heavy, but then again if you didn't sign up for that I really doubt you'd be here!
 First up! Poster Art of the Disney Parks. I first saw this huge book in Disney World, however in the parks it fetched quite a hefty price tag and so I waited until I got home and bought it on Amazon. The general premise of this book is Posters for rides and attractions around the parks with a few character posters thrown in for good measure. It is a visual feast!
The book is divided into sections based upon the different lands of the Disney parks. Fantasyland is obviously the best. Obviously.

The pages represent a wonderful view into the minds of the park designers. For one ride or attraction there will often be slightly different colour themes depending upon the season and these will develop over the years as the park and ride develops to become something new. Another really interesting aspect of the artwork is that usually a subtly different poster is displayed in each of the parks, with Tokyo being the most divergent, suggesting that all the parks have their own moods and clientèle demanding different styles. I find it all really fascinating!
There are quite a few full page pieces to pour over. They have picked these prints so well and there isn't really one poster which isn't deserving of a page. When I have my own place I fully intend to buy a second copy just so I can frame some of these pages.
I also like the detail this books goes into. There is a lot of discussion about just how posters and peripheral artwork is used within the park to enhance the visitor's experience and a lot about how the role of the poster has changed over the years. There is a walk through of how screen printing is used in poster design with the different stages photographed, showing the colours layered up.

If you are a fan of the Disney visual style then I totally recommend buying this book. When people talk about Disney art work, I never really thought about posters playing an important role and yet the fact that I can sit with this book completely captivated (without even checking instagram) obviously shows that it is a really compelling medium which is more than deserving of a great big glossy book!

Saturday, 19 July 2014

DIY Flamingo Fairy Lights

Fairy lights are all very well and good but sometimes they just aren't 'flamingo-ey' enough, you know? A while ago I did a little tutorial on how to snazz up some honeycomb decorations for straws, naturally I bought many many flamingoes for this tutorial and they have subsequently just been resting at the bottom of my craft box with nothing to do. The other day I was having a bit of a clear out and I thought "hey, if they can fit around a straw they can fit around a fairy light!". I'm trying to think of some cute tropical-themed garden parties I can organise just to display these guys! I'm also tempted to make some with those little fruit picks you can get for cocktails- how cute would they be around a bar!?

You will need:
A glue gun
Some scissors
Novelty honeycomb straws/ drinks picks- you can usually buy them at pound stores or party shops but if you have no luck, there are plenty available on line.
1. Trim your honeycombs of any excess card. Usually the decorations will have a little extra card with a slot allowing you to connect the two sides but since you're going to be gluing your honeycomb you can just cut this off.
2. With your glue gun, put a generous amount of glue on one of your honeycomb sides.
3. Stretch out your honeycomb and hold the sides shut for around 15 seconds. I found a glue gun to be the most effective way of sticking as you don't really have enough manoeuvring room to really press the sides together and so it helps to just rely on the hot glue setting.
4. Keep going until you have enough flamingoes for your fairy lights.
5. Now carefully stretch the honeycomb open to reveal the space in the middle (where your straw would have gone).
6. Stretch over your fairy light and you're done!
Just a quick health and safety note! I've had these lights up for a couple of days now and keep them on for a few hours every night. I have periodically been testing whether the paper heats up and so far I haven't noticed anything worrying. I think this may be due to the quality of the fairy lights though since I've never noticed these bulbs heating up. Just to be on the safe side, do not leave lights on for extended periods of time when you are out of the room and make sure to check whether they are heating up the paper.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

DIY Painted Phone Charger

 It's almost an unwritten rule of cohabiting that when you live with a group of people there will come a time when you will stare at an iphone charger and think "is that mine?". I don't know how many chargers I've unknowingly used, stolen or had stolen over the years but I know that I get through them at a disconcerting rate. For a depressing couple of weeks I identified mine by the fraying wires at the end... but that was only before someone else said "no, mine's just as bad as that." As I could no longer identify my trusty apple juice by it's brokenness so I decided to buy a new one and make it unmistakably mine. Is it not fabulous?! I don't think I will ever miss my charger again.

You will need:
A plug
Fine sandpaper
Nail Varnish
1. Clean your plug from any grease or dirt.
2. Rub your plug all over with fine sand paper. This creates a rough surface which the varnish can adhere to.
3. Apply your first coat of nail varnish and wait to dry completely before re-coating.
4. The number of coats required will depend entirely on the nail varnish used. For this shiny varnish I used about three coats, for the blue varnish pictured above I only needed two coats as it was extremely matte whereas for the sparkly plug I must have used at least five layers for complete coverage.
One thing to note is that nail varnish can be a strange creature. The above photo was taken about two hours after I finished painting my plugs and as you can see the blue plug looks really streaky and lumpy. I decided to store my plugs and come back and take new pictures on another day as the sun was going in. Fast forward a couple of days later and the blue plug is completely smooth and matte and level (as you can see in the photo above). So be aware that touch dry is not the same as truly dry and you may have to wait a little to get the true effect.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Etsy Finds- Whimsy Milieu

A few days ago I was browsing through etsy and I did that thing where you think "Yeah I've seen enough." and scroll through madly just to see the delicious colours blurr. Other people do that right? As dozens of images flicked in front of my eyes something in the back of my mind went PENGUIN RING! THERE WAS AN AMAZING PENGUIN RING! I then spent forever scrolling back and forth until I found the above amazing penguin ring. After some careful retail research (spending too long browsing through the shop and imagining them all wiggling on my fingers) I discovered that Whimsy Milieu is a wonderful wonderful shop selling wooden jewellery and other beautiful goods. My favourite thing about these rings is they allow you to subtly indulge the burning desire to dress in fancy dress at all times. For some reason it isn't acceptable to wear a penguin onsie every hour of the day (although I fear that I am pushing the acceptability of that a little) and so instead you can wear a secret little penguin on your finger. Hehe! 
Are they not beautiful? Whimsy Milieu is run by the amazingly talented Jacqueline Chan, a designer-maker based in Australia. You can view her beautiful works on her etsy shop or through her wonderful blog here

Sea Creatures- Seal Ring, Shark Ring, Ray Ring, Bear Ring, Octopus Ring
Penguin Ring, Crown Ring, Croissant Necklace, Rabbit Ring, Pretzel necklaces.

ps If you love her rabbit ring she also does an amazing set of rabbit ear wall hooks! They are worth checking out fo sho.

This post was written in collaboration with Etsy Affiliation but all choices of content all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Monday, 23 June 2014

Elphie's trip to the beach

I think I should probably introduce you to someone very special to me. This is Elphie. She is my beloved Leonburger and she is a silly, fluffy, massive baby. A while ago we realised that she has never been to the beach and so this week we decided to remedy that. Welcome to Elphie's first trip to the beach!
The entire family tagged along too, of course. It's been pretty damn great; reading, watching Two Greedy Italians, eating big breakfasts and generally slowing the pace of life for a week. It's certainly making me feel very lucky to live in a place where I can get to idyllic spots with relative ease; it's just so relaxing.
I'm pretty sure that Elphie loves the beach...but it is often quite hard to tell with a dopey dog. She certainly seemed quite confused by the concept of sand and drank quite a lot of sea water- I suppose that means approval.
We can never walk for too long without someone taking Elphie's picture (even if most of the time it is my Mum!) because she's just so big. Today we heard her compared to a lion and a bear by various different children. Personally I think of her as more of a furry pig or a woolly mammoth.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Dance Music Videos I am loving right now

Yeah, yeah I know I don't like it when my favourite bloggers bombard me with a tonne of videos to watch either. I mean come on! These are gonna take 20 minutes to watch! Argh! But bear with me. Watch the first one then save for later, ok? Ok.

I loooove a good dance vid. I used to be a dancer when I was a teen and I still have that urge to get up and move my lil feets every time I hear a good tune. The first video has entirely captured me, I have done this dance at least 20 times in front of my mirror. It is mesmerising and amazing. The song is amazeballs too.

I I bloomin love this video. I may or may not have slung on a plaid shirt and learnt that snazzy number in my bedroom. (I totally did). This video has SUCH a place in my heart. I know it's not technically a music video but hey, there's music, it's a video. I remember practising endlessly on pointe shoes to be able to do this. There wasn't enough room in the house so I used to go out into the paved garden and cover up my pointes with layers and layers of socks to protect them. To this day I still have pairs of socks with holes at the top. So the really video to admire here is the original Robyn music video...but I think I might love the Greg James version more. The effort! The Leggings! The bored men holding torches! I can't stop laughing!!!

And a cheeky bonus. This isn't a music video but it is compulsory watchng if you're a game of thrones fan. WATCH THIS NOW. And then this repeatedly. Seriously. Put that shizz on repeat. Literally all day.