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29 October 2012

a charity firewalk (and pumpkins, mostly pumpkins)






Saturday I spent the evening helping out at a fundraising event for the charity that my Mum runs. I was in charge of taking pictures, running a tombola & helping little one's to carve pumpkins. I've never seen a firewalk before, but watching people walk over hot coals was actually pretty entertaining! I'm not entirely sure how people don't burn their feet, but no-one did and a fair bit of money was raised so it was a successful night! 

 We spent an hour or so  Saturday afternoon hollowing pumpkins out & baked the seeds on Sunday. I can't actually think of anything more delicious than warm roasted pumpkin seeds seasoned with a bit of salt and pepper. So, SO good. I've spent today drinking countless cups of tea, munching on pumpkin seeds (new favourite snack) and writing up lectures notes. Its starting to feel a lot like winter around here & I think I may need a trip to Primark for some fluffy socks & new pyjama bottoms when I get back to the city. 

28 October 2012

happening here #7


1// Wheat plants in the lab, they're getting so big! 2// Working late & watching the clouds 3// Candles on the windowsill 4// A splash of colour on a really grey day 5// The fog was like this all week, we couldn't see much further than next door! 6// My 'Where's Wally' jumper & listening to new music on the train 7// Birthday flapjack! 8// One of my girls just moved into her first place with her fiance & they didn't have any wine glasses... 9// Pumpkins ready to be carved for the charity firewalk I helped out with yesterday night 

I can't believe its nearly the end of October!! Seriously, where has 2012 gone? I feel like its absolutely flown by, it seems like hardly any time at all since I started my research project and R & I were plotting for M's birthday. This week has been a bit of an odd one, we got back late(ish) Sunday night and I was completely wiped out from the weekend. Apparently I can't survive on 6 hours sleep in 48 hours, who knew?! On Tuesday a 'quiet' drink turned into an awesome night out, and Wednesday involved an entire afternoon in the lab followed by a late train home. I saw someone wearing a team sky sports jacket & probably looked like a total stalker trying to take covert pictures to send to M (the resident expert on cycling). Turns out it was nobody important... 

I'm still loving the fact that my phone camera is working again & I haven't been able to get enough of this song recently...


This line in particular...

"And we'll hate what we've lost, but we'll love what we find" 

This weekend marks the 6th anniversary of Dad's death, and this line is so true of how I feel about everything  at the moment. Sometimes music can be exactly what you need.

What have you been up to this week? Have you felt like this month has flown by?

27 October 2012

a winter photography challenge

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diamonds
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of fog, and of a certain type of people
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Lately I haven't picked my camera up that much, I have a bit of a fear that I'm a little bit of a fair weather photographer. Rain, fog, wet leaves on the ground and gloomy grey days just don't inspire me in the same way that summer does. When I look at these images though, I love them. So maybe I just need to work a bit harder at coming up with more creative ways to shoot things - push myself a little bit. Isn't that what being an artist is all about?

So starting from today, I'm aiming for a photo a day to document my winter - in all its thick socks, hot tea & sofa blankets glory. Even weeks like last week, where the fog didn't lift for 5 days & it rained non-stop. Even when all I do all day is Uni work & sleep. Even the days where I don't even do that. I'm making it a challenge and I'm excited, and that's always a good way to start off. If you want to join me, I would love to see what you're creating - send me a link!

Do any of you find that your creativity suffers in the winter? What do you do about it? 

25 October 2012

the best birthday gift


As I may have mentioned (several times), it was my 21st birthday on Saturday. I drove down on Friday afternoon after lectures with M, R and H, we drunk beer & cocktails wearing Masquerade masks and went to bed at 4 in the morning. So good. Once I've tracked down the rest of the party pictures I'll share them, because my cake was a masterpiece. Seriously. 

Saturday morning I spent a couple of hours with Mum & Kev before everyone else was awake & Mum sent me downstairs to retrieve a particular box. I think its the best present I've ever received - my Mum is seriously awesome. You see, this box was filled with 21 things, random, everyday objects. Everything had a label attached, and on each label she'd written sweet little comments or life advice...


A tube of glitter reminding me to sparkle & an elastic band stating that "Flexibility is the key"


A rubber with advice about mistakes, a bag of chocolate Magic Stars - "Because you are a star" & a tube of Starburst - "For the times you feel like you will 'burst' if you don't share something with me!"


A tube of glue & cotton wool - "To cushion the rough times ahead"


A lightbulb & an address tag - "So you will always find your way home"


Eye drops that remind of the importance of vision & a bag of Marbles - "To replace the ones you have lost"


Tealight candles & a bag of breakfast tea, because "Life's biggest problems, start with the smallest solutions"


A paperclip - "To hold things together, even when it seems everything is falling apart" & a sheet of sandpaper - "To remind you that life isn't always smooth"


A stone wrapped in ribbon with the caption: "You will never trip over a mountain. It is the small stones in your path that will cause you to stumble. Carefully step around these stones in your path and you will find that you have crossed the mountain"
& a particularly poignant photo with photography advice:  "There is only you and your camera, the limitations in your photography are yourself - for you are what you see"


A toothpick that reminds me to "Always pick out the good in everyone - including yourself" & a London Underground map - "The world is your oyster full of exciting people, places & cultures all waiting for you to discover them"


A Lego brick with wise words about dreams - "Dreams are built bit by bit, but there is no limit to their size - so dream BIG" & a lock and key with a Confucius quote  "The will to win, the desire to succeed, the urge to reach your full potential - these are the keys that will unlock the door to personal excellence"


Have you ever seen a more thoughtful 21st birthday gift? I'm trying to come up with a really fun way to keep all the labels - some of them having writing on both sides so sticking them in a scrapbook isn't really an option. Any ideas?

What's the most thoughtful gift you've ever received? 

23 October 2012

getting back into blogging

Lately I've been a little bit absent from the blog, I could make excuses and say that my life has been busy (which is true), but in reality I've just been spending my time doing other stuff. I'm not even sure what that 'stuff' is, I seem to be spending an awful lot of time doing nothing in particular at the moment. Last night I sat down and figured out a kind of 'schedule' to help me fit everything in, I realised that in all reality I have plenty of time to do everything I want to - I just haven't been making the best use of my time the past couple of weeks.

I also haven't really felt inspired to sit down and write and I don't want to force myself just for the sake of publishing posts regularly. I think the weather has a LOT to do with it - its completely miserable! I don't tend to take as many pictures when the weather is bad & it just feels weird to me to blog without having pictures to share. That said, the past couple of days I've really felt the need to write, so I think I'm back in the game.

Its weird how much I miss this little space when I'm away for a while.

What have you been up to recently? How do you deal with bloggers block? 

18 October 2012

inspirational photography: Julian Bialowas

here
here
here
here
here
here
here

Sometimes when I feel uninspired with my camera I need to distance myself from other peoples photography, find my own vision, my own 'spark'. Other times I just need to find the right images to fire everything back up again. At the moment? It's definitely the latter. These are just a few of my favourite from Julian Bialowas (see more here), that are really pushing me at the moment to develop my eye for pictures. Sometimes I get frustrated with my landscape photography because it feels really flat and one-dimensional. It's easy to blame this on the location - claim that the picture seems boring because the scene is, but I know that this isn't true. 

When I look at other photographers work, I always try to take something from it. Always. It helps me to really narrow down what appeals to me, so that I can incorporate it into my own work. What do I take from this? That the simplest things can be made interesting with the right vision. 

Its a good lesson people. A very good lesson. 

16 October 2012

happening here #6

 I can't believe its been almost a week since I last posted! Crazy. Times. I've promised myself that I'm going to get my schedule sorted out this week - somehow I've ended up in a bit of a 'finish dinner and watch TV mindlessly' rut and I'm not okay with that! I've also promised myself that I'll actually take my camera out of the bag this week, I haven't used in ONCE in the last week... It's making Project Life a tiny bit of a challenge! I have however figured out how to get slightly better pictures out of my phone, so I've been snapping away with that. My phone contract comes up for renewal in February and my only requirement for the next one is that it has a decent camera. Its a bit of a pain having to take my big camera everywhere with me and completely unnecessary for the little snapshots.

So, in fairly terrible phone pictures, this is what life has been like...


1// Interval hot chocolates for Matt's birthday 2// Random close up shot of my handbag 3// Writing up lecture notes (lots of time spent on this) 4// Half of my research project plants 5// I love cables 6// Lecture notes in the dark (yes, I do always have a mug of tea when I'm working 7// Waiting for the train home 8// THE most beautiful sunset, the photo's I took just don't do it justice 9// Driving home & stopping off at a service station. 158 miles down, not too far to go.

This last weekend was a bit of a whirlwind of trains home, days out, party planning, catching up and driving back up north. I feel like I was home for about half an hour! This week is going to be a little bit crazy but things should calm down after my birthday this weekend. I love it when life is busy.

What you you been up to this weekend, anything exciting?

10 October 2012

frankly: on self reflection



This time of year is always accompanied by a lot of thinking for me, I'm never sure whether its the changing of seasons and the reminder that things are constantly moving, the reminder of past events or the fact that I turn another year older. Regardless of what triggers it, October is always a time of reflection. A time of uncertainty, questioning, dreams that are up in the air & intangible and introspection that is deep, sometimes uncomfortable and, at times painful. It's the type of introspection that forces you to dig deep inside your soul and really look at yourself, where you are, who you are and where you want to go. It's healing.

It's inspiring. To know that I have so many options, but it can also be overwhelming. Lately I've been receiving a ton of emails from the University Careers service about finding employment post-graduation. They don't really apply to me - I'll be back here again next year doing my Masters - but they do make me think. When I first applied to Uni, I had a plan. A good plan. I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life and University was the first step to achieving that.

But now?

Now I don't have a plan. I'm not sure what I want to do with my life when I graduate. The career that I envisaged for myself I'm no longer sure that I want. Earlier this year this was a huge problem for me, it really got me down that I didn't have a 'plan', because I really like plans. At the moment though, I'm entirely okay with not having a plan. I'm studying a subject that I love and I think that's all that matters right now. I have a long time before I have to worry about it, so I'm letting it go.


Breathing out. And letting stuff go. Its good, so so good.

07 October 2012

happening here #5



A lot of time has been spent here this week. I really wanted to hit the ground running with my research project & I'm really enjoying the background reading - which is a big help! I'm so pleased with the topic I'm working on and I think its going to be fascinating when we start getting results in. Everything's planted up now, so I have 6 weeks to get all the theory and background together before we have to start with analysis. Not so fascinating is sifting through soil for 5 hours... hello blisters.

This week has seemed crazy-busy, but then again, I've slept a LOT so it probably just seemed like I had less time to get everything done! When I'm feeling under the weather I just want to sleep all of the time & I've learnt that I just need to give myself that rest if I want to recover quickly. So although I've kept on-top of all my uni work, everything else has taken a bit of a back seat! I've unintentionally taken an internet-break the past few days - I'm glad that I don't always feel the need to be online. I find it pretty scary to read about people who become addicted to the internet, they must miss out on so much 'real' life.

I have a feeling that the next few weeks are going to fly by! It's M's birthday on Tuesday & I'm heading home for the weekend. It feels like I've been away a lot longer than 3 weeks so I'm really looking forward to it. I'm then back home again the following weekend for my birthday party with M, R & H in tow. Its going to be a good couple of weeks!

How's your week been? Anything exciting coming up in the next few weeks? Also... any advice for me with my research project? Any advice/tips would be awesome!



01 October 2012

recap: September


September was cramming in time with friends and family before returning to Uni. It was finishing off summer craft projects & long, muddy walks with Zak. Celebrating a friends 21st & making her an owl at the new place that opened up in town. Drinking tea on the back step & doing a lot of planning. Afternoons spent researching flights & backpacks & a few hours spent writing birthday invites. A 4 hour drive back to this place & showing the youngest brother my city. Trying to convince our landlord that water running down our walls is not okay. Staying up too late, laughing hard & having ridiculous conversations. Hanging out with the Zumba girls & handing out 800 leaflets at the Activities Fair. Finding new places & realising how close we are to the countryside. Planning my 3rd year project & emailing backwards and forwards to sort out my timetable. Long Skype conversations with Mum & planning trips home. Sorting grown-up stuff like utility bills & broadband deals. Meeting the ES freshers & having an awesome night out.

September, you were awesome.

How was your September?
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