Monday, December 31, 2012


I thought I'd get away without making a list of resolutions, (my procrastination being one thing I hope to conquer in 2013) but seeing some of my favourite bloggers making thoughtful posts, I'd like to give my two cents too before the year runs out in about an hour.

The last of the summer prosecco, Venice, September 2012

I won't elaborate on the "highs and lows". For the next year I want to be more consistent with my blogging (feel free to tell me to pull up my socks if I slack on this one!). I read à la garçonnière's comprehensive review of the year and found many of the articles she listed particularly inspiring, especially 'Real Talk: Am I living radically?'. It epitomises what I want to accomplish in 2013, the confidence to write radically, to listen, to learn and to be a better ally. I have spates of identity crisises with the blog, and as a personal space I want it to mean something, whatever I put here.

Another resolution: to live without fear.

I'm tired of being enclosed here. I'm wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be always there: not seeing it dimly through tears, and yearning for it through the walls of an aching heart: but really with it, and in it. (Wuthering Heights, Chapter 15).

Musing over mosaics, Brussels, March 2012

I originally wrote 'try to live without fear', but that try part was giving me an escape clause. I don't want to try, I want to accomplish. I want to find meaning in everything I do. I want to be the best version of myself I possibly can be, to find happiness, to not shut people out. I want to live up to my potential, and find it in others.

Classiebawn Castle, Mullaghmore, Co. Sligo, December 2012

Goodbye 2012!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mid-week Muse: Helen Hunt in 'Girls Just Want To Have Fun' (1985)

This was originally going to be the Monday Muse, so you can see how much I procrastinate! I watched this movie one autumn's day, wrapped up in a duvet. It was one of those evenings when you needed something so over the top, so self aware... that you immediately turned to the 1980s teen movie genre. Helen Hunt and Sarah Jessica Parker as a duo? In a film inspired by the Cyndi Lauper song? I needed no more convincing. Hopefully nether will you, dear reader, after casting your eye over these screencaps. My mid-week muse is Helen Hunt's character, but mostly just for her hair wear (if that's a word).

(That's all they really want!)

Globes with antlers? Sure why not.

These were baby dolls seated in what appear to be high heels.

So when I realised I ran out of Helen Hunt screencaps, I decided to tack these two on:

The 80s were a time when men were men, which meant by default it was acceptable to wear crop tops and white tuxes, *especially* when you were about to make a live tv appearance. And yes, that is a tween Shannon Doherty.

The movie features some brilliantly 80s dance sequences, complete with crafty stunt doubles and fade out sequences like the above.

"The film is basically interchangeable with any number of teen-steam/sports intrigue pictures from the era, complete with a hunky rebel (Lee Montgomery), a hip friend (Helen Hunt was hip?), a dorky friend (Jonathan Silverman, his generation's Jason Biggs), a snobby rival (Holly Gagnier), and a can't-stop-the-music aesthetic that feels like having an unfiltered dose of the '80s injected directly into your eyeballs." (Film Freak Central)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Happy Holidays everyone!

I hope you and yours are having a lovely Christmas, wherever you are. It's a difficult and stressful time of year for others, but you're never alone. I wish you all the best for 2013.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Shells Café, Strandhill, Co. Sligo

"We don't do fast food, we do good food fast" reads the manifesto above the kitchen of the charming Shells Café, located on the edge of wild Atlantic coastal townland of Strandhill. On the edge geographically, this 'on the fringe' mentality characterises Shells Café in Sligo itself. Beloved by surfers and locals alike, Shells unites a diverse clientele amongst the bustling four walls and chintzy tablecloths of the cosy café.

Get yer mitts around a hot cup of chocolate or the home roasted coffee (available by the bag to purchase) as you mull over the menu.

(How cool is that advent calendar?!)

Finn got the classic burger and chips, and boy, those chips! Home-cut and very crispy, as I like them! The specials are written on the blackboard, the soup changes daily, on this particularly evening it was curried vegetable, nice and warming for the cold evening.

They have a range of different specials every day, on my last two visits there I managed to miss the breakfast, which ends at 2pm. Their veggie breakfast is i n c r e d i b l e. See below, poor representation but I'm getting hungry just thinking at it, the homemade baked beans are out of this world!

As you go up to pay, I feel obliged to warn you that you are putting your wallet at further risk, as the tempting array of cakes at the counter are laid out, waiting for you to look over and make a selection.

The Shells Café cookbook is on sale at the till, or in all good bookshops. My dinner partner was so impressed he bought one as an Xmas gift.

Pictures thanks to Finn MacLeod!

Friday, December 14, 2012

It's not Christmas until you send your first card

Before I skipped off to university I used to make the family Christmas cards every year. Mostly nativity or twee winter scenes in watercolours. While I was an undergrad the motivation slipped away, my time was precious, any spare time was spent with my new college friends who 'got' me, at that particular moment in time anyway.

Now that I'm back home for the time being, my days are long, with few friends with as much spare time nearby. So five years after making the last Xmas card, I shook out my dusty crafting skills and plotted to make a card this year.

Cutting out a small piece of lino is tricky so I kept the design as simple as possible.

One the lino is cut out, it takes a few prints for the paint to fully adhere to the surface of the lino, to give a successful impression. (Printing while listening to Christmas music is the best way to go about it).

I then added some simple embellishment to the peacock to make it sparkle!

I then left them to dry overnight.

Then I wrote them up and posted them before the last posting dates for Christmas! As you can see I also printed a greeting on the inside with the leftover vinyl.

My design was inspired by a peacock decoration I bought in Liberty of London in October. The peacock was a popular symbol and decorative trope used by the Aesthetic movement and in Art Nouveau designs, I felt this tied in with my plan to lino print the image onto the card (the inclination to art & craft). I chose secular imagery because I'd be sending them to friends who didn't celebrate Christmas, or were agnostics themselves.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Santa baby...

The Cake Café Bake Book
My favourite café in Dublin have recently released a striking bakebook, aided by crowd sourcing funds through!

Bill Gibb: Fashion and Fantasy
A fascinating history and pictorial focusing on one of Britian's most innovative designers, the Scottish born Bill Gibb. Gibb was inspired by Celtic craft and design, and worked heavily in natural fabrics at his peak during the seventies.

La Double Vie de Veronique poster (Japan)
I've had this on my list for a couple of years, I dream of having my own place one day, and having this framed on the wall.

Black Victorians: Black People in British Art, 1800-1900
Jan Marsh is one of the foremost voices in academia on nineteenth-century art history, this text seems fascinating and highlights new directions in Victorian art history.

Star Wars Death Star Tea Infuser
Something I'd never buy for myself, but I like tea and Star Wars, so I love this.

Grace: A Memoir
The enigmatic Grace Coddington has recently released a memoir. Softly spoken, the creative force behind Vogue has a colourful past and I want to read all about it! Love the cover too, reminds me of **Cecil Beaton's series of memoirs** designed by himself.

Poetic Licence Women's Corporate Beauty Brogue, Size 6

Ográ Beauty Peat Face & Body Mask

Von Follies By Dita Von Teese Animal Print Set
This whole set, but mostly the suspender belt (UK 12!)