Wednesday, 1 October 2014

The First Day Back and Another Look for My Pepaloves Dress

Feeling French

Hi everyone! Yesterday was my first day back. For me, the 'first day of school' you're always super organised - I have friends who swore they'd be rolling out of bed at half past 9 and wandering into uni just in time, but for me its one of the days where I know i'm going to get up on time and have everything ready, so naturally I had lots of time in the morning to get ready and make an effort. I wore my Pepa Loves dress again because it was the first day and I wanted to make that silly first impression again - my course is so big I still don't know who people are! I'd already been thinking about this outfit for a while so it was also just an excuse to wear this dress with and old H&M Beret that I didn't end up wearing last time. Of course, smock dresses plus berets demand braids, and I paired them with a berry shade of lipstick from Topshop (it's called 'Beguiled') because I was feeling autumnal and didn't fancy a red or a summery pink. I used a vintage silk scarf to switch things up, too - I want to get better at creating a different 'look' from the same item of clothing this year (student problems) - and of course because I was feeling french I had to wear my french Bensimons. 

Beret side-note: I'm still mourning the loss of my leopard beret that I had up until last winter (bought by my first boyfriend and it was gorgeous!) that mysteriously vanished. I had such a huge clearout recently that I can only imagine that it's gone forever and I miss it awfully. 

My lectures were pretty interesting - this term i'm working on a group campaign that we were assigned, we were given 'pro-choice' which as a feminist is super exciting for me. I've also already bought three sketchbooks and another marker - naughty me. My outfit, must have been well chosen too, because a fashion student stopped me in the street and asked for my photo for her course which i'm pretty sure happened about this time last year too! I love it when that happens. 

Feeling French

Sunday, 28 September 2014

The Comfiest Skirt for Getting Out the House and The Start of Autumn

Warm Autumn Casual

So today is Sunday which means Uni looms in the morning. My loan just came in today and this year I'm actually going to try and budget as this summer thoroughly washed out my savings, so I don't have that to fall back on. I've been sitting in bed planning out my weekly budget - how much to spend on bills and how much to put away to replenish my savings so I can actually buy supplies for my course, a few nights out and a few clothes! I'll be using Evernote to keep track of all my receipts and a budgeting app to work out how much I've taken out of the ban each week. 

I think I've said it before, but honestly I'm really excited to go back. I think I'm lucky to be doing a creative course because 9 times out of 10 it doesn't feel like a chore to get up and go to uni, because you're doing work that sets you up for real life. What you're doing seems important beyond 'I should really do this in order to pass' - it's all things that you can put on your website, and it's all a part of learning how to work in the 'real world'. I'm mostly ready for uni - I probably dont need any more pens for a while  but the other day I nipped out to get a drinks container as I'm trying to 'detox' and drink more water. I'm the sort of person who won't drink unless it is actually there in my hand, or I feel thirsty. After I'd bought mine, Martin decided he needed one just like it, so we nipped into town to get him one too. I was staying at his and I was just glad to get out of the house - when you're loathe to spend money sometimes it seems like there's not much else to do. When I stay at his I generally don't go too high-maintenance as curlers and lots of make up have to be lugged around to his house, so I just went with plaits and an old classic blouse, with one of my Primark bodycon pencil skirts that I waxed lyrical about last winter. It was warm enough to go without tights - although I have had to wear some once already - but it's definitely autumn looking at the orangey yellow leaves on the trees in the Arboretum. It's not long before they'll all be on the ground and crunchy underfoot. 

Warm Autumn Casual

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Organised Chaos and A Powder Blue Bargain and the Houses of the Lace Merchants

Serious Artist and Blogger Behaviour

So following my last post about my new stationary goodies, I decided to post some pictures of  my desk area which is virtually set up and honestly, I find it super inspiring. I've not actually done much work on it yet to be honest, with a lack of uni work and my doodling with pens and pencils usually happening in the bright mornings while i'm still in bed. Another factor is probably that because Martin likes my desk so much too, he has already taken over it a fair few times when he's come to stay. I have however managed to type up my last few blog posts at it, so well done me, and as you can see I've already accumulated some organized chaos on there. I think it's rare that clutter looks pretty but i'm allowing this area to get a little messy. I don't want to start losing important lists and memory sticks to the madness but I think there is a little disarray to creating. I've kept my pens organised - fineliners in a tin, 100 sharpies in one box, my 'adhesives' of different varieties in another - speaking of adhesives you can see my new tape holding up my colour chart wonderfully - and my millions of pencils and markers in another.

Despite my mess, I love the clean, whiteness to this area. I've lusted for a white desk top for such a long time, so now I have the space I bought one from Ikea with some trestle legs. I have my printer to one side, and my stack of arty books and notepads on the other. I also bought this lamp from Ikea as it is just the most beautiful thing ever, and it was all part of my 'different levels of cosy' plan - the way to make a room feel homely is to have 'daytime', 'evening' and 'bedtime' lighting that you can adjust to create freshness in the day and cosiness in the evening. As I type I am sitting with my beautiful lamp and my fairy lights as the current lighting levels.

My chair was the most outrageous bargain at £9 from Wilkinsons and hopefully you can just see that it is powder blue - swoon! Whoever is choosing stuff at Wilko is doing a great job in the home section at the moment. I actually ummed-and-ahhed over it for ages and was almost convinced it would be too short, but it's turned out perfect. The view, too, is actually a perfect view of the tree tops and just the tips of all the beautiful old houses around this area of Nottingham, without quite showing the studenty gardens full of fridges and bikes and rubbish. It kind of makes me sad when these grand old houses (Ours is 114 years old!) are mostly turned into student houses and the landlords do the bare minimum by way of upkeep in anticipation of them getting wrecked again by the next tenants. I want to save each and every one and restore them to their former Lace Merchant glory.

As you can see I'm wearing my Pepa Loves dress again - I wore it once more before I washed it - and I actually cant wait to get it out of the wash and play around with other things to pair it with! How do you like my desk, and how do you organise yours?

Serious Artist and Blogger Behaviour Serious Artist and Blogger Behaviour

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Being an Art Freak, Why I Love Pens and Vikings Feeding My Addiction

Shades of Cool

I think when you're a graphic designer, it's your destiny to accumulate an enormous collection (obsession?) of pens and bits of paper and material. I hate clutter, so this kind of thing is enormously at odds with my desire to not have random collections piling up around you (I didn't say I was tidy) because you end up completely unable to part with that lovely piece of packaging or lovely page from a magazine. Maybe those growed-ups have room for an incredible inspiration wall in their study, or studio, but at the moment my inspiration wall is confined to a small strip below my windowsill. In the same way, there is a longing to have every colour of those lovely markers you saw in the art shop, and a sort of desire for new materials and new ways to make things and discover, that is paramount as a creative person. You can then, imagine my delight, when checking my emails on the beach in a wifi cafe in Spain, John from Viking emailed me to see if, as a student blogger, i'd like to pick a selection of 'going back to uni' goodies. Browsing the website I was plunged into a pool of art-freaky wanting and I added everything in the whole world to my basket before painfully removing a pack of Posca Pens in favour of a Chisel Tip Sharpie. 

I chose some things because I absolutely just wanted them (see the Faber-Castell brush pens) and some because I could definitely see where I could play and experiment with things. One slightly hilarious mistake I made, thinking I was ordering one gigantic chisel tip sharpie (Hello handwritten typography experiments and easy colouring-in) I actually ended up ordering an entire box so I had about eight. I shall never be without the ability to easily write enormous type by hand again. The scotch tape I chose for the same reason I love Washi Tape, they don't rip the paint off the wall, so they are fantastic for students if you want to put your pictures up without getting into trouble. I chose the sharpener because I lose one about every week somewhere in the studio and the paint pens were sheer lust and I can see them being the next pen collection I must have. 

Though I wasn't paying for them - lucky me - I found Viking to be pretty great value and despite being 'office supply', a great source for lots of lovely markers and pens - and I imagine for more essay-based students, their printer paper would be a great shout! I actually often wonder where to get big packs of things like markers (I go through Fineliners like nobody's business) and also ordered from a art-department supply store earlier this week, so it's a great resource for arty peeps and crafters. Thanks Viking! I am completely obsessed with my giant Sharpies and have already aggressively written our house number on our new wheelie bin after someone took ours!

Art Freak
Chisel Tip Lovely Linemaking

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Drizzle and A Pepa Loves Dress and Spooky Handbags and My Favourite Shop

A New Dress, Getting Lots of Weird Looks and A Trip to my Favourite Place

One thing that people have been saying recently that's really confusing to me is 'can it just be fall/autumn already?' I feel like I follow a good few people who have tweeted or said this in a blog post already. Maybe it's because I follow a lot of American bloggers and they actually have an identifiable summer and are slightly relieved when it ticks over to autumn, but personally I am quite happy for the coming seasons to hold off a little longer. It seems to me we only had about two weeks of sunshine, even my trip to Spain was blighted by clouds and rain a few times. That said, I can't bemoan the summer too much because it did actually appear this year and being English, and living in Britain, you can't really complain too much about the lack of summer, as really, hoping for one tends to be setting the bar a little high. Still, though some people are desperate for mugs of hot tea and warm socks and wooly snoods, my anticipation of Autumn tends to be a little different. For me, autumn says 'your hair never looking how it's supposed to the second you walk out of the house' and sweaty feet in socks you thought were going to be super cuddly but now they're a little damp and your feet are probably colder and certainly clammier than before' and 'realising that none of your opaques look good with this outfit'. Maybe it's just my hair type and my sense of fashion, maybe these people are the lucky few with naturally flawless hairs and un-sweatable feet?

Today was one such autumn day which threw my previously ultra-sassy, voluminous and smoothly waved locks into the look you see here. It was just a drizzle, so it could have been a lot worse (and I was wearing real-life clothes that I'd made a super huge effort for so I was unfailingly optimistic) but don't you just hate when that happens! Martin told me I ought to get hair like his and I invited him to swap but he didn't think blonde curls would be his kind of thing. Still, I was determined we would have outfit pictures because I got this fantastic dress from Pepa Loves that I really ought not to have bought, but I have been longing for a sailor smock for so very long. The dress itself  is a lovely quality, a lovely heavy denim (for a dress, it's obviously not jean-weight) with a lined skirt, and it slips on over the head. Best of all, it has two fairly generous pockets. It's super playful and girly so I went with some doe-eyed liner, my black 60s handbag that appears to have sort of spookily disappeared into the door and these little bow-adorned shoes from a little shop in Coventry called Kilikili. I was so excited I wore it crinkles and all (and also, we don't actually own an iron yet.. student life...)  and took these pictures in front of this fantastic wall/signage on the way home from Oriental Mart, which is Chinese-food-fantasy-land. I have been learning to cook more and trying to wring recipes out of Martin and family, and it's been really fascinating to learn a lot more of the ways of home-cooking Cantonese style that is far beyond the stuff you get in a takeaway. I love going here and investigating all the different foods that are so alien to me, and I usually buy something that I want to try or do actually need. The shop is so tiny that it feels like such a treasure trove, especially the cake and biscuit aisle where there are hundreds of varieties of Pocky (if you've not heard of Pocky, you might have heard of Mikado) Somehow on top of that they managed to fit in a bubble tea counter, where i'm headed tomorrow to make some human contact with some people I missed very much over summer.

A New Dress, Getting Lots of Weird Looks and A Trip to my Favourite Place

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Beatniks and Dressing Up and Inside Rain

Beatnik Style

Hi everyone! So today my first flatmate officially moved in so I am no longer begging Martin to let me stay over and vice versa for fear of a scary, lonely house. Things are beginning to return to normality, for instance, the other day I actually got dressed in real clothes and made an effort. The last few days were really the tipping point for it to feel like I am living in a home that just needs a few tweaks, rather than a building site! Sadly, just as I began to get that feeling, I was sitting on the landing working on making some art for our walls, when I heard a dripping sound. The drips turned to splats and I realised water was raining through the light in our hallway. Cue panic, crying and hyperventilating and calling my dad, who came up the next day to fix it. The issue was a leaking bath pipe, which is now safe and not-leaking, and tomorrow might be time to try turning the downstairs lights on! Lucky us! 

Amidst all the chaos, I'd had some lovely trousers delivered by Aislinn from Boo Boo Kitty Couture. I wore them into town (ignoring the water issues) for some more house-related shopping - I now have a lovely chair for my desk - and I felt like going for a more beatnik-y vibe as I am still feeling a bit too DIY-y for skirts and dresses.I had to add in my bensimons though as I am already wearing them thin! I know things will be different when Uni begins though, so I'm excited to get back into the swing of dressing up properly. Still, it was nice to make an effort regardless of not being in a dress, I just know these trousers are going to be perfect for the colder months, now to stock up on jumpers to pair with them! 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Moving In, Painting a Bed Frame, and Lots More DIY

The Bedroom

So, if I thought I was existing day-to-day in my allowed-to-get-messy clothes and no make up before I moved, nothing prepared me for arriving in my semi-building site home. I settled into my room pretty quickly, a lot of it was just assembling things and tidying up. The insane amount of life-laundry I did whilst packing made everything so much easier. It was so liberating to get rid of so much detritus! One of the most labour-intensive projects for this room was the bed. I bought it off eBay, secondhand IKEA and originally black, but I could see its potential and decided to paint it a matte-ish white to mimic the Downton Abbey servant/hospital beds I adore. My fantastic desk lamp (and desk) were also IKEA, but that enormous, fantastic standing lamp was from Dunelm Mill for the measly sum of £20! I've already had several people ask me where it's from. Inadvertantly, the house is looking an unusual mix of industrial vs different eras of vintage. I think perhaps part of it is the undeniable white-wash everywhere along with the charcoal carpets. These two areas are the only two areas that are finished enough to show, there's still a few boxes lined up against the wall waiting to go to other areas of the house, or onto shelves. My next projects are flitting between the living room and kitchen, and waiting for my dad to bring his drill up at the weekend to fix the last few things and get some shelves up. Frustratingly, everything takes longer than you expect it, but the good news is that Tesco is bringing me a van laden with food tomorrow, so a well-stocked fridge might bring me back to a greater sense of normality.

The Bedroom


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