2014 in pictures

Ibarra Salinas train

Time for my yearly wrap-up of photos, as I do every year (previous years here). This year has basically been brilliant for one main reason: TRAVEL. I’ve been extremely fortunate to visit Israel, Panama, Ecuador, Mexico and Paris – four new countries and four continents in a year is not bad going at all. Otherwise, 2014 has been an improvement on 2013 generally. Yoni has had the all-clear from the vet, there have been far fewer family/life dramas and work has been steady and fulfilling for the most part. 2015 is promising to kick off well too, with some fun work lined up, trips to Berlin and Barbados in the calendar, and my 30th birthday – and that’s just in January! Anyway, here’s the year that was…

Foxlow

January: I turned 29, celebrating with tasty food and drinks at Foxlow.

Continue reading “2014 in pictures”

2013 in pictures

I almost didn’t do my usual photo round-up this year (hence the last-minuteness!) because in a lot of ways this has been a very hard, unhappy year. We’ve had all sorts of upheaval from Yoni getting sick to family illness, relationship breakdowns and deaths. But looking back through my year of photos was actually a positive experience. Despite some really crappy low points, I did manage to fit in four holidays, a lot of crafting and sewing, gigs, more work on the house and plenty of other fun things. Still, I can’t say I am sad to see the back of it and hope that 2014 is altogether calmer. Anyway, here are my favourite photos from each month.

January: a chilly but lovely weekend in Brighton for my birthday. (For my birthday this year we’ve just booked to go to the slightly warmer Tel Aviv, so excited!)

February: A dressmaking class at Ray Stitch which kickstarted an absolute passion for sewing that’s lasted all year.

March: BARBADOS. Without a doubt the highlight of the year, a simply amazing holiday with my lovely family.

April: Efterklang gig

May: Fun/weird trip to Dungeness and Rye for ATP

June: we pimped up the garden in the sunshine

July: A bittersweet (in retrospect) trip to Devon

August: Yoni back outside again after his accident. He’s just got the all-clear on his heart from the vet which was great news to end the year on.

September: Enjoying the yums at Street Feast

October: a much-needed superb holiday to New York

November: we visited the TFL Acton Depot

December: V&A Friday Lates

You can see all my years of photo roundups since 2009 here. I’m glad I kept up my little tradition after all.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year.

V&A Friday Lates

V&A Friday Lates

Josh and I made the trip to West London on Friday to check out the V&A Friday Lates. They open the museum extra late and put on installations, talks, exhibitions and interactive sessions to complement the shows that are going on in the museum. Last Friday’s theme was “Adornment’ to coincide with the current Pearls show (I saw this last weekend too, it’s excellent) and it covered fashion and tattooing as well as jewellery.

V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates

Sadly I missed the talk I wanted to see due disorganisation, but we swung by the Skin Deep session put on by Brothers of the Stripe, where you could watch the collective doing a live drawing installation and make yourself a rubber-stamped tattoo poster to take away.

V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates

We also saw a fashion show by E Wha Lim in the Medieval & Renaissance hall. Her surreal work was beautifully complemented by the surroundings.

It was also just great to roam the museum ‘after hours’. We popped to the Japan section…

V&A Friday Lates

Happy chest is happy

V&A Friday Lates

Embroidery detail on samurai robes

… and my favourite place, the jewellery hall.

V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates

Is it just me who likes to play pretend I’m shopping and pick what I’d most like to take home?

V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates

Beautiful wheel of gems

V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates
V&A Friday Lates

I think this was the last Lates of the year, but check the site for next year’s events.

London Transport Museum Depot

TFL Acton Depot

Not much will drag me out to West London, but one that definitely will is the promise of transport nerdery. This Saturday (after spending the morning viewing the Cheapside Hoard with Kathryn – phew, culture all over) we trundled way over to Acton Town to visit the London Transport Museum Depot‘s open day.

TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot

Emerging from the attractive 1930s tube station, the museum depot is directly opposite. The first big clue is the vintage buses giving tours in and out of the entrance.

TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
Feather dress
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot

In the giant warehouse space, upstairs houses a huge collection of station signage and maps dating from the 1920s up the present day. It was fascinating to see how the map changed over time.

TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot

Some nice type specimens to spot along the way, including a plan chest stuffed with the Johnson Underground typeface blocks.

TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot

Downstairs is an assortment of cool old machinery: ticket machines, whole kiosks, signal boxes, clocks and so on.

TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot
Feather dress
TFL Acton Depot

And there are a load of old buses and tube carriages – reminding me of the Brooklyn museum. But cooler ;)

TFL Acton Depot
TFL Acton Depot

I don’t know if this is a regular fixture, but on the day we visited there were a bunch of stalls selling ephemera: postcards, old maps and brochures, decommissioned signs and stickers, and so on. We scored some great stuff: old place nameplates, a deadstock moquette seat cover and some postcards and stickers, all for very cheap.

TFL Acton Depot

I’m so glad that such an effort is being made to store all this historical stuff and show it off to the public. If you fancy visiting – and I highly recommend it – there are monthly open days and regular guided tours. Check out the site for the next available dates.

New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn

New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn

Pretty late in posting about this – took so many photos there that it was a bit of a task editing them! We visited the New York Transit Museum on our last day in town, a roasting hot day where we took the ferry down to Brooklyn Bridge, walked some of the riverside promenade (sadly under construction so not particularly attractive at the moment), admired the pretty streets around Brooklyn Heights then trundled to the museum.

New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn
New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn
New York Transit Museum, Brooklyn

The museum itself is housed in 1930s subway station. It’s a little claustrophobic (says this general Tube-phobe) and the exhibition itself is kind of dull and geared towards children with lots of interactive exhibits, but wonder awaits downstairs…

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Brooklyn on film

Brooklyn OM-10

I got back the photos I took on my film cameras in Brooklyn: some from my OM-10 and some from my Lomo Diana. For once nothing jammed or went wrong, so I got lots of good ones. I really like how they get across just how sunny our time there was.

Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn OM-10
Brooklyn Diana
Brooklyn Diana
Brooklyn Diana
Brooklyn Diana
Brooklyn Diana

Around Brooklyn

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We just got back from an awesome week in Brooklyn. It was basically the antithesis to our last holiday to Barbados: concrete instead of beaches, cocktails and beer instead of rum punch, brunches and Mexican and Chinese food, walking until my feet quite literally gave out…

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We stayed in yet another great Airbnb rental, a stylish apartment in a modern 4th storey block right next to the Williamsburg Bridge. Here’s the link to the listing with more photos. It was the perfect size for relaxing in, with cool decor and – omg – a built-in catty roommate buddy. Fluffy giant Mitt was so sweet!

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The best part about it though – perhaps even better than Mitt – were the incredible views. We had the bridge bearing down from one side and a panoramic view of Manhattan, emcompassing the Empire State Building and the Chysler Building, from the balcony. The sights were amazing at every time of day, from the golden light just after sunrise (hi jetlag) to the dusky sunset. I didn’t really think I was a views type of person – I’ve always preferred ground floor flats in London – but I really miss it.

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Oh yeah, the apartment also had a rooftop terrace for extra amazingness, though we didn’t have time to use it much.

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The location of the apartment was great for exploring Williamsburg and further afield. We had loads of amazing things in the neighbourhood from superb foody joints to cool bars and shops – I’ll write separately about all those next. It was only a few stops on the subway into Manhattan (mostly ahem, for fabric shopping, which I’ve written up on my sewing blog) but we also did the trip via the East River Ferry.

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The boat was an awesome way to see the Manhattan riverfront from a different angle and only four bucks. We caught it downtown to DUMBO as well for another day out. More to show soon!

Lomography Smartphone Scanner: Review & giveaway

Lomo smartphone film scanner

Lomography got in touch to offer me a review product, which I could then give away to one of you lovely readers. Rather than pick a camera I was rather more intrigued by their Smartphone Film Scanner

Lomo smartphone film scanner
Lomo smartphone film scanner

This nifty gadget lets you scan 35mm films directly into your phone just using the phone’s camera, so they’re ready to share immediately. The adaptable device works with any iPhone and most Android phones, and you can scan regular 35mm, panoramic, or Lomokino films.

Lomo smartphone film scanner

It’s extremely easy to use. Just feed the film into the bottom and load your phone onto the clamp at the top. Turn the dial to advance the film, snap, and repeat. There’s something quite magical about being able to view your photos this way and ‘release’ them from the negatives so quickly. It works particularly well with iOS7’s super new camera improvements.

These were taken straight off my phone with no editing:

You can also take the photos with a digital camera instead of the smartphone, for a higher res scan. These were taken with my camera through the device, again with no editing:

Lomo smartphone film scanner
Lomo smartphone film scanner
Lomo smartphone film scanner

Competition now closed, thanks to all who entered and to Lomography for the prize

If you missed out, you can buy the scanner here!

Dalston House

Dalston House

Dalston House is a new temporary art installation by Leandro Elrich in association with the Barbican Centre. It’s right by Dalston Junction station, a short walk from my house, so my sister and I jaunted down there the other day.

Dalston House
Dalston House

Dalston House
Dalston House

The mind-bending installation is a perfect replica of a period house facade, laid out on the ground with a huge mirror set at a 45-degree angle above it. So when you view it straight on it appears that the house is standing upright on the street. Then of course you can have all sorts of fun with seemingly gravity-defying poses, all from the safety of the ground.

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