Sunday, 26 August 2018

“Listen! The wind is rising, and the air is wild with leaves,

We have had our summer evenings, now for October eves!”

I think summer is coming back next week, but I've enjoyed the early autumnal weather while it's lasted. Today was beautifully cold and wet, and mushrooms have begun sprouting down the lane.

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Current Favourite Things ♡

I last wrote a favourites post this time last year, but I felt inspired to share a new one. They're not something I create frequently as honestly I'm mostly enjoying the same stuff over and over, but they're definately something I enjoy writing from time to time. Especially as I've been rediscovering my old interests this summer, and have been having a blast.

1. The Wizard of Oz / Wicked ➳ Something that you may not know about me is that I used to be a huge musical theatre nerd. Living in London I used to visit the West End regularly, and even after I moved away I would follow my favourite productions on tour around the UK. It feels like a lifetime ago, and like many of my interests from back then I'm not sure why it ended. I've mentioned before that I've been in the process of rediscovering old interests, back then I hadn't thought of theatre. But then a few weeks ago I had the urge to listen to the Wicked Broadway soundtrack, and oh my! I can't remember the last time I heard it, but I used to like Wicked a lot back in the day and saw it in London a few times back around 2008-'10. It's reignited something in me, and not only am I enjoying musical theatre again in general, but I'm kind of obsessed with the world of Oz! I read L Frank Baum's original novel in the space of 2 days, which may not sound like a lot but I lost my passion for reading a while ago so it really is something to be so glued to a book again! I can't remember when I last looked forward to bed time just so I could carry on reading! It's also helped me get over my art block, as I'm really enjoying drawing all of the characters and scenes and just getting back in touch with my creativity. I'm going to be popping down to London to see Wicked in London next month and I really can't wait, and now I've finished The Wonderful Wizard of Oz I'm going to attempt Gregory Maguire's book that the musical is based on (which I've heard mixed reviews on, so I hope it's not a let down!).

2. Sour Cherry tea ➳ I've always loved a good cup of fruit or herbal tea, it's both wonderfully refreshing during the warmer weather and warming and comforting when it gets colder. After my beloved Pukka Blackcurrant Beauty tea ran out I was a bit miffed that it wasn't in my local store until I found this Sour Cherry tea. Cherry is my favourite flavour in the entire world in absolutely anything, and paired with aniseed and star anise it's just everything I love rolled into one. I can't stop drinking the stuff, but at least it's good for me!

3. J-Fashion ➳ Japanese street fashion is another interest I used to have back when I was into musical theatre, and like musical theatre it fell to the wayside. Most of my wardrobe contents used to be imported from Japanese brands themselves, I was very heavily involved with my local EGL subculture, and it was a big reason of why I visited Tokyo in 2011. I fell out of love with it when EGL began to feel a bit costume-y and I fell in love with 60s and 70s vintage instead, but the past few months has seen me reaching more and more for the few Baby The Stars Shine Bright and Emily Temple Cute pieces I still have in my wardrobe. I don't think I'll be going as 'go big or go home' with it as I used to - I'm finding myself much more drawn to mori girl and otome styles nowadays anyway. But I'm certainly having a lot of fun with it, and am enjoying feeling like I'm dressing for myself again.

4. Film photography ➳ I recently bought a second (or third, or forth, who really knows!) hand Olympus OM10 camera as I've always enjoyed photography but have felt inspired to try more film. All film cameras I've used before have always been of the point and shoot or disposable variety, and I confess I'm lazy with my digital cameras and mostly leave them to run on auto. I do know how to adjust the settings, but honestly I feel there's little point nowadays as it's all become so easy. I've been feeling jaded with digital, and how I feel more focused with taking 10 shots of the same thing to get a perfect photo instead of just enjoying seeing. Although I know how to manually adjust a camera I'm still getting the hang of the Olympus OM-10, and I'm yet to get the film developed so who knows what they'll turn out like! But it's wonderfully refreshing to take one photo and walk away with the faith that whatever it turns out like, it'll be OK.

5. Record fairs ➳ I feel a bit of a cheat putting vinyl on a favourites list as it's one of those things that I'm always obsessed with and constantly adding to my collection. And I'm certainly not new to the concept of record fairs! But I've recently moved home after being away at uni, and was absolutely thrilled to see that the vinyl community has really picked up since I was last here! There's four record fairs on just next month! I'm absolutely in my element, there's nothing like finding something special digging through a crate when you least expect it. It beats eBay any day!

6. Autumn ➳ I've been looking forward to autumn since mid-July, and now the evenings are beginning to draw in, the air is getting fresher, and the acorns are getting fatter on the oak trees each time I walk past, I can truly feel myself beginning to come alive. I love this time of year so much, it just feels so magical. I'm trying my hardest not to wish summer away, but it's hard!

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

“Some people talk to animals. Not many listen though. That's the problem.”

I've always been a huge, huge fan of Disney, but I haven't always been a fan of their treatment of Winnie The Pooh over the years. I've held Winnie the Pooh very close to my heart my entire life - I had a specially bound collection of A.A. Milne's complete works as a child that would be read to me before bed, before I learnt how to read it for myself every night. We lived not too far from Ashdown Forest, which is the real location of Hundred Acre Wood. Being able to tangle my childhood memories of jumping in the real Roo's Sandy Pit, playing Poohsticks with my mum on the footbridge, and visiting the tree that inspired Winnie The Pooh's home with the novels resulted in these stories meaning the absolute world to me because they were real. Growing up and re-reading A.A. Milne's words only reinforced their meaning as I realised how full of wit and wisdom they are.

I've always felt disappointed in how Disney have handled the characters. Up until very recently they've been treated as the exclusive domain of babies and toddlers with equally dumbed down films. I've always liked the earlier animations from the 60s and 70s, but they've really lost their way with the characters. However I've been pleasantly surprised to see them recently release some merchandise of Pooh aimed at adults in Clinton's and Primark, and have been counting down the days since I saw the trailer for their newest film Christopher Robin, which I finally saw today.

“When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it.” - Winnie The Pooh (A.A. Milne)
This is far more of a film aimed at adults than it is children, which unfortunately seemed to confuse the audience of very young kids who were expecting the usual Disney Winnie The Pooh fluff. It focuses on the story of Christopher Robin, but more so the character than A.A. Milne's real son as it deviates away from his biography pretty early on with his father dying while he's at boarding school (the real Christopher Robin was an adult when his father died, and they didn't have the best relationship. Christopher Robin was also a bookseller in Devon, not a luggage salesman in London, and his daughter had cerebral palsy which also isn't in the film.) The film never states that it's based on truth though, and I loved the fiction they created based on the character. To see Christopher Robin become weary from boarding school, losing his father, serving in the war and seeing his daughter grow up without him felt only too realistic, and made him being reunited with Pooh even more emotional. I'm not keen on films that force emotion out of the viewer, but I never felt manipulated into feeling sad as despite the fantastical element of the characters the rest of the film was incredibly realistic and relatable. And I loved the overarching message of holding onto the magic no matter how old you grow. Being a fan of Disney I've often been told by complete strangers to "grow up" as if liking things is somehow immature which I've always found a bit tragic. Just because you reach a certain age doesn't mean you have to abandon creativity and wonder and live a grey, boring life filled with work and drudgery. You can have fun and responsibilities at the same time.

I really can't put into words just how much I loved this film, every single aspect of it was perfect and I loved how it included so many quotes from the original books. The only niggle I have is some of the voices, but that's just personal preference and me being used to the old animations. Jim Cummings has always done an amazing job as Sterling Holloway's replacement for Pooh Bear, and Tigger and Eeyore were spot on too. But the re-imagined voices for Piglet, Rabbit, Kanga, Roo, and Owl just left me a bit cold. There was nothing wrong with them per se, they just didn't sound like themselves which does feel like an important distinction with such beloved well known characters. I loved their re-design so much though, and how they look just like old toys of the time period. I might even have to get a Pooh Bear of my own!

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Photo a Day #3

Monday 30th July

I've really been making an effort to try and read more this year as I used to be such a bookworm yet now average just one book a year. And I've really fallen back in love with the hobby and have a huge pile of books to read! I'm currently re-reading an old favourite The Wind In The Willows each night before bed. I love a bit of English whimsy.

Tuesday 31st July

We saw this racing pigeon on Sunday around the reservoir, and figured she'd been blown off course from the storms over the weekend. She seemed ok so we left her, but she was still there on Tuesday and looking really weakened and hungry so we took her home and set up a box for her in the barn. I'm happy to report she's recovered and is back to flying again, although she hasn't left our garden so I don't know if she's here for good! Although we could contact her owner from the rings on her legs, we felt reluctant to as it's common for racing pigeons to be killed if they're slow getting back so we're just leaving her to her own devices.

Wednesday 1st August

The weather picked back up, so Mum and I decided to spend the afternoon having a coke at the pub.

Thursday 2nd August

I've had my Creeping Jenny plant for years, but it looked like it needed a bit more light so I temporarily moved it near a window in the house which resulted in both my mum and I watering it without realising the other was taking care of it and it died. I was honestly really upset about it! I popped to the garden centre I got it from and bought a new one, and also picked up a String of Pearls plant while I was there. I had to repot both so they had drainage, so I'm hoping they settle in to their new pots ok!

Friday 3rd August

I ran some errands in the morning and spent the afternoon enjoying the sun in the paddling pool. It really is a blessing to have in this heat! Although I'm a bit fed up with the heat, I'm still trying to ensure I make the most of it while it's here as I know I'll miss it as soon as it's gone and it's so rare for it to be this glorious in the UK.

Saturday 4th August

I bought this glass cloche from IKEA a while ago and it's just been sitting empty while I decided what to do with it. When I realised my Totoro fit inside it perfectly I felt inspired to turn it into a moss terrarium. Moss is really low maintenence, and it gives the illusion of Totoro towering over the foliage. If you want to do it yourself, just make sure you treat the glass with Rain-X to stop it misting up from humidity.

Sunday 5th August

On Friday I looked up nearby record fairs only to see there was one on Sunday! I wasn't sure what to expect, but it ended up being really good. I'd been outbid on About Face on eBay earlier in the week, so it felt like fate when it was the first record I saw upon walking in. And I'm glad to finally add some Joni to my collection, I've always loved her artwork on this sleeve so much.

I haven't taken any photos this week as it's mostly consisted of fixing my computer which is pretty unphotogenic. Thankfully a brand new hard drive fixed the issue like I thought it would, but it means I've lost absolutely everything as typically I hadn't backed up. It feels like both a blessing and a curse, as it's kind of nice having what feels like a brand new machine and a blank slate, but there's so many important things such as my artwork files, that I'll never get back. And even the more trivial things like loosing all of my progress on The Sims is really gutting :(

Monday, 6 August 2018

Stood in a field where barley grows

I meant to post sooner, but my laptop unfortunately bit the dust! I’m hoping it can be repaired, and kicking myself as it’s my own fault. I dropped my (empty!) heavy mug onto the keyboard, and the impact damaged the hard drive. I’m hoping it’s just a simple fix I can do myself. Thankfully I have a desktop computer to use in the meantime, I nearly sold it before as it wasn't getting much use compared to my laptop but I've never been more grateful to have it!

I took these photos when out for a walk near where I live. It still feels too hot to be alive! I know other countries are laughing at how the UK can’t hack it, but we’re a cold country that rarely gets higher than 22°C for a couple of days of the year. We don’t have air conditioning, and our homes are built to retain as much warmth as possible. I do love summer and am trying to make the most of though, as I know I’ll be longing for it as soon as it’s coat weather again. I can’t deny that I’m looking forward to autumn though as it is my favourite season. I always start wishing for it as soon as August comes round and I can feel the days getting slightly shorter. Even if it’s still too warm, I can least wear Autumnal colours.

One of the first things I wanted to do as soon as I came home was visit the antiques malls. There’s so many here, which I really came to appreciate after living in the South West. I saw this fab 70s watch back at Easter, but it felt a little pricey at £22 so I decided to leave it. I hoped it would still be there and it was! I had to get my mum to show me how to wind it, I’m not used to watches not having batteries. I think it’s really versatile though, and suits my modern outfits as well as my vintage.

I also finally got a decent playable copy of Relics by Pink Floyd. This was the first LP I ever bought of Pink Floyd, I ordered it from Discogs and it was in such bad condition I got a full refund. I then bought another copy at my local record shop, but I’ve always been looking to upgrade it and finally all these years later I have.

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