If you’ve happened to stumble upon my earlier post “Utopia HQ“, you’ll know how much I love beautiful National Trust property Wallington House, previously the much-loved Northumberland home of the unconventional Trevelyan family.
Among Wallington’s quirky curiosities is the gorgeous Doll’s House room, which lovingly displays 18 houses, the oldest of which dates to 1835, and which includes the Hammond House, with 36 fully furnished rooms, 1,500 pieces of furniture and 77 china faced dolls. The Hammond House has electric lights in every room and even had running water! No trip to Wallington is complete for me until I’ve spent some time gazing through the tiny net curtained windows, and peeking into the often busy world of the dolls. I hope these photos give you a little taste of this life in miniature. Continue reading Life in Miniature→
Just wanted to share this delightfully pretty illustration with you, courtesy of the lovely Waltz in Water. Her blog is full of cute illustrations like this – “Cat Shoes”, “Les Triplettes” and “Carrie Bradshaw Lied” are also fabulous!
This week I went to the beautiful Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle’s historic independent filmhouse, for dinner and a movie with friends. The film in question was Brian Wilson biopic Love and Mercy, and within minutes I knew it was going to be one of the best films I’d ever seen. As a lifelong Beach Boys fan, I was aware, of course, of bandleader Brian Wilson’s creative genius and history of drug taking and mental health issues – but the extent to which these are intertwined and the horror of what Wilson went through mentally is mindblowing. Continue reading Film Review: Love and Mercy – The Life, Love and Genius of Brian Wilson→
I’ve been following Sansei Life for a few months now and I often visit to explore her blog and chill out for a few minutes with her beautifully simple and peaceful posts. In her own words: “Sansei Life! A blog exploring and learning about the Asian community in Denver. When I was much younger I tried a new Japanese restaurant in Arvada called Namiko’s for a sushi snack. It was very good. I got into a conversation with Yuri the owner and she ended up offering me a part time job on weekends. I spent most of the first evening running to Yuri asking her what the various dishes were and what was in them and what they tasted like. In exasperation Yuri asked me if I was Japanese! She could not understand how a Japanese did not know simple restaurant fare.That is when I really understood that I was a Sansei out of touch with my culture. I am ready to experience and learn about today’s Asian culture”.
Ikebana (生け花, “living flowers”) is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, More than simply putting flowers in a container, ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and draws emphasis toward shape, line, form. Another aspect present in ikebana is its employment of minimalism. That is, an arrangement may consist of only a minimal number of blooms interspersed among stalks and leaves. The spiritual aspect of ikebana is considered very important to its practitioners. Silence is a must during practices of ikebana. It is a time to appreciate things in nature that people often overlook because of their busy lives (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikebana).
Washington DC, dawn 2003. “Record digger” Dori Hadar was hunting for rare vinyl at a local fleamarket, when he discovered boxes containing 38 albums by an unknown soul singer named Mingering Mike. “Can Minger Mike Stevens Really Sing?” screamed a hand-painted cover in bold capitals. “The Outsiders are Back” proclaimed another. The collection was comprehensive, including several greatest hits albums, free single giveaways, a Bruce Lee tribute album and collaborations.
But why was Mingering Mike such an unknown, when he had a huge body of work behind him, recorded under numerous labels such as Mother Goose and Fake Records? As Hadar began to delve deeper into the boxes, he realised that the discs, far from being in poor condition and scratched, were actually pristine – and made of cardboard. Whoever had made them had taken enormous care to paint the cardboard black, draw on grooves, and create an entire recording career, all in their imagination. Continue reading LifeStories – Mingering Mike→
A couple of weekends ago I took an afternoon trip to the lovely Wallington, Northumberland, a grand National Trust Palladian mansion with an interesting – and political – history. As the rest of the UK was gearing up for the General Election, Wallington turned the clocks back to the 1929 election, when the house’s owner at the time, Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, stood as the Newcastle Central Labour candidate for the second time. Through a series of installations and displays throughout the house and gardens, “VOTE” told the story of Charles’ political career and socialist aspirations. As I wondered around the house, I stumbled across a room entitled “Utopia HQ”, where Sir Charles’ former estate office had been transformed by the awesome November Club into his 1929 campaign HQ. Continue reading Utopia HQ→
Remember those cute paper dolls that used to appear in Bunty and Twinkle when you were a kid (or if you’re a guy, rolling your eyes at your sister while she played with them)? Well, they’ve had something of a makeover. Gone are the innocent dolly dresses and matching accessories, to be replaced by on-trend Elsa, Solange Knowles and Walter White (including missing trousers and pink bear) – I love it! Here are 10 paper dolls to get you started – and don’t worry, I’ve included some classics too, because where would we be without Bunty?
If you live in the Northern hemisphere like me, you’ll be more than ready to throw off your winter blues, and with them your cosy, snuggly blankets and pillows, and let some Spring lightness and brightness in.
I’ve bought a couple of things from Made over the past couple of years – their designs are just so different to anything on the high street (that I could afford). Two years later and I’m still in love with the Pierre Paul Pariseau limited edition printed canvas which hangs in my living room:
Australian singer/songwriter Sia has been around for a long time, but I had never really heard of her until her intriguing performance on this year’s The Voice UK, during which her face was obscured by a bizarre long wig that looked like a modern reworking of a 1970’s lampshade. Who the heck is this? I thought, whilst being slightly mesmerised by her haunting vocals and electro-pop sound.
A quick search on Wikipedia revealed some interesting snippets – her music incorporates hip hop, funk and soul; in 2014, she was ranked the 97th richest Australian person under the age of 40 by BRW magazine; she is the niece of Colin Hay from Australian group Men at Work; and she performed as a background vocalist for Jamiroquai. Recently Sia has written hits for Rihanna (Diamonds) and Beyonce (Pretty Hurts), as well as for Britney Spears, Katy Perry, Kylie Minogue, Christina Aguilera, and Rita Ora. Continue reading LifeStories: Who is Sia?→