This is the year penguins will fly.

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Who will be Crowned the Queen of May?

The Penguins Are Here! For the whole month of May here at The Penguin Theory we are celebrating all things Penguin with our month long event : May there be penguins!

To kick it all off and to celebrate the first of May and the Mayday bank holiday I am giving away this gorgeous, handmade, flower crown to one lucky winner! 

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May day traditionally involves Morris Dancing, May poles and crowning one lady the Queen of May, so I am giving away one gorgeous ‘Queen of May’ flower crown to one lucky winner, but there’s a catch. You can’t enter for yourself. Instead I want you to nominate someone to be crowned ‘Queen of May’.

Comment in the comment section or on my facebook page with the name of your nominee and why you think they should be crowned the ‘Queen of May’! 

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This can be anyone, family or friends, boy or girl, for any reason. Maybe they helped you, maybe they’ve been through a lot and need some pampering, or maybe they’re just an extremely happy person who always brings a smile to your face!

You have until the end of the May Day bank holiday (Monday 5th May, 12pm gmt) to nominate your Queen and I will announce the winner on Tuesday 6th May.

Good Luck!

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365 Project : 10th – 16th March

On Monday 10th I took a picture of this plant to send to my sister. She bought me it to say congratulations for getting my new job. I was so surprised that it was still alive I had to share it with her! (I’m terrible with plants)

On the 11th the plant was still alive. I decided to take a few closer shots as it was so pretty.

On the 12th I finally ate this chocolate lion. I’ve had it far too long and decided it was just too pretty to eat! I’m sure it tasted better when I first bought it.

On 13th I decided it was time for a haircut, but all the hairdressers around are either out of my budget or I don’t like the look of (i’m a little picky sometimes). So i decided to try cutting myself, i cut Ash’s hair all the time and we need to save money so i thought I may as well try. It’s not perfect but not too bad for a first try! Hopefully I can afford for a professional to do it next time.

On the 14th I ate some of this rice pudding i’d made. It’s so easy and makes delicious little snacks in these pots! I think this will have to be a regular thing.

On the 15th the sky looked awesome.

On the 16th I finally uploaded some skate photographs onto my facebook page. I will be writing a blog post (if I ever get a day off work) but until then you can find them here.

Next week will be very exciting with my new job starting, but i’m also working 6 days out of 7 and several 12hr shifts. ouch!

Claire x


Vandem Freeride 2013

A few weeks ago I went to an event in Exeter. It was a downhill longboarding event called Vandem Freeride. I didn’t actually take part in it as I don’t think I would be able to keep myself safe but was there taking pictures for a girls sports mag called Boardettes (you can find their facebook page here).  Ash, however, did take part along with some other members of our skating group.

Pre Skate warm up

The event was run over two days, thats two whole days of skating down a steep hill with no worry of cars.  Skater heaven.

There were hay bails on the sharp corners to stop people hurting themselves too badly and at the end to make sure they stopped before the road that hadn’t been closed off.  A bus would then take skaters from the bottom to the top of the hill again.

The start line

There were marshalls at all the corners making sure the skaters were aware of any unseen dangers by waving coloured flags and the skaters we’re scattered at the start line, a group going off after every horn that sounded.

The hill itself went on for longer than you would expect and catered for the experienced riders, bombing it as fast as they could, to the less experienced, who started slow whilst they gained the confidence.  It is quite possible to reach high speeds though, most skaters we’re hitting around 30-40mph but the top speed recorded was around 47mph!

Some crazy people even luged down the course!

There were several places you could sit and watch from the sides and there was a really nice atmosphere amongst the spectators. I was sat with another one of the skaters girlfriends and friend who is also called Clare. It was really nice to have some girly time for once and to have someone to sit with too!

Lots of sliding to slow down

Sitting at the bottom of the hill was great as everyone who came of the course had the biggest grin on their face and would immediately highfive each other and talk about the run before sprinting to the bus for another run.

Some added to the fun by dressing up!

Lots of skaters were colour co-ordinated

Later that night we retreated back to Skirmish Paintball Centre which was on the road that had been closed off and had been rented out so we could camp there. They serve hot food which was excellent, they had the usual greasy burgers and chips but then they also had pizza and chilli which were delicious!

That night there was a party complete with heavy metal, dubstep, table dancing, a massive bonfire and even cake! Skaters really do know how to party!

Yes, there was even a mosh pit.

We didn’t drink anything, due to lack of money and not wanting to be hung over, but we still had a great time watching everyones antics.  A lot of the skaters found it fun to jump over the big bonfire.  But don’t worry even when a few didn’t quite make it over, there was a surge forwards to drag out any failures. No injuries, maybe just a few singed eyebrows and bruised egos.

The fire jumping also made for some great shots!

Because what’s a party without cake?

The next day we noticed a huge improvement in all of our friends riding.  Milan (the other Clare’s boyfriend) and Ash were both managing to pick up more speed and getting lower to the ground.

Ash and Milan after coming down the hill. Ash said he felt like he was going to throw up when this was taken.

As you can tell, Ash was sporting some Penguin Theory clothing! I made him a t-shirt and printed on an old jumper as well as printing on one of my t-shirts. I’m hoping to make more soon for my shop. I have lots of different designs in mind!

We also had a friend who was meant to be skating Vandem but unfortunately broke his leg and ankle in several places a couple of weeks before. We decided we would write him a nice message in chalk and I managed to get a few good pictures of people sliding over it.

Get Well Stel!

The whole event was really well run. They made sure that crashes were kept to a minimum, there was great communication between marshalls, when there were bad crashes the marshalls were quick to react, the paintball centre was a great idea and everyone was having a lot of fun. Seriously great job by the team and we will definitely be going next year! Hopefully I will feel confident enough to skate it by then!

Dat Slide…

One of the tamer crashes…

All in all it was a great weekend with some great company. I will have more posts soon focussing on the fashion side of skating including an interview or two so stay tuned for that!

‘Till next time!


Win a Penguin Tote Bag!

As promised May brings you lots of competitions and new products!

Here is your first chance to win, all you have to do is like and share this image on facebook to enter! But hurry, you only have until midnight on Monday the 6th (GMT)!

Up for grabs is this adorable tote bag with Picasso the penguin printed on it. It’s the perfect bag for this summer to carry all your extra bits and pieces!

This bag is also available in my Etsy shop where 20% of every sale is going to the RSPB to help the falling numbers of rockhopper penguins.

And remember to follow this blog and like my facebook page to know if you’ve won!

Good Luck!


May There Be Penguins!

I’ve been in bed for most of the day today with a horrible migraine, but it is the first of May so I can’t stay in bed all day!

As promised, today is the kick off of my month long event : May There Be Penguins!

Expect there to be lots of fun, competitions, freebies but also money raising, and conservation awareness.

Many Penguins around the world have declining numbers, Rockhoppers are one of the species in real trouble with rapidly declining numbers leaving experts baffled, although there are many factors thought to be playing a part such as; harmful algae, fishing, human encroachment, climate change and much more.

The numbers are truly frightening – northern rockhopper penguins are disappearing from Tristan da Cunha and Gough Island at the rate of 100 a day

Source : http://www.rspb.org.uk/supporting/campaigns/ukot/index.aspx

 

Over the last 10 years this represents a loss of 77,381 pairs or a rate of decline of 2.7% p.a. The recent 2010 census indicates that the population is showing signs of a recovery from the effects of the harmful algae bloom in 2002.

Source : http://www.falklandsconservation.com/wildlife/penguins/rockhopper

 

The problem is that studying birds in such remote places is expensive. Gadgets such as data loggers and satellite tags that can be used to track the penguins could go a long way to understanding why they are in decline, and hopefully help us to provide a solution.

I have chosen to raise money for the RSPB throughout the month of May, donating 20% of sales to their rockhopper penguin appeal.

What’s that you say? Don’t they just deal with the UK’s birds?

Actually they run very successful campaigns for our overseas territories as well, helping save penguins, albatrosses and many other birds, plants and animals outside of the UK. They even do work in Rainforests which even came as a surprise to me! They also sell bird food (which my mum buys regularly) gardening tools and much more for those who like to help from the comfort of their own home.

So why the RSPB?

The RSPB has always been a very prominent thing in my life. When we were younger both myself and my sister were members of the Wildlife Explorers and often went to events, meeting other kids and even some celebrities like Howie from The Really Wild Show and Dominic Wood! I have many memories of birdwatching at our local reserve with my sister and grandpa and was always excited to see a new species i’d never seen before.

They make sure that 90p of every £1 is used for conservation, in their words; ‘more money spent on saving nature and less on admin’. I like that, unlike some of the bigger charities, they do seem to concentrate more on the conservation rather than the advertising, but obviously they have to advertise to some extent.

I really believe that they are an excellent charity and go a long way to helping keep the worlds wildlife beautiful and rich.

I’ll be bringing out some brand new products and running lots of exciting competitions over the next month. I will have my first competition running before the end of this week (once i’ve recovered) so please check back soon!

You can also follow me on facebook and twitter for more updates.

courtesy of the RSPB

courtesy of the RSPB


Katy Jade Dobson Art

I was 3 hours away from my home, my legs we’re aching after running up a steep hill and I was all dolled up in a pretty party dress and heels frantically trying to get in touch with a friend.

It all started weeks ago when my friend, and artist, mentioned an evening event at a gallery her art was being shown at. In passing Ash suggested that we surprise her and turn up to the gallery without her knowing. I looked at my Rota and I finished work early enough on the day to be able to get there just in time, plus I had the day after completely off!

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So then it was a waiting game. I couldn’t wait to see the look on her face when we just randomly turned up, and I very nearly told her of our plans several times. I was just too excited!

On the day I finished work at 4, then I had to run some errands, post some packages, pack my bags. By the time we left it was 5:30 and we we’re definitely now in a rush. The drive was surprisingly easy, just the A1 for most of the way. We got there and it had seemed like the event had been cancelled, katy wasn’t replying to texts as she was other wise occupied so we decided to walk to the gallery anyway.

As expected it was closed, eventually I rang Katy and asked if she minded two people imposing themselves on her. She was very shocked but luckily seemed delighted that I had travelled to see her.

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The next day myself and Ash left Katy to go to and open up the gallery before joining her later in the day after a bit of breakfast and sightseeing.

Her gallery really looks amazing. I knew her paintings we’re gorgeous, but they look even better in person than in the photographs! The colours she uses range from natural earthy tones to bright dazzling rainbows. Every painting uses colour to great effect, really catching the eye. The subjects are superbly drawn in a messy but elegant way, really giving life and movement to the pieces. I know I may be biased, but I really do love her Art and I believe it speaks for itself.

Whilst I was there I decided to do a little interview with her:

CR : What did you want to be when you were younger?

KD : Well originally I wanted to be a horse, then a tooth fairy, and then an olympic gymnast, but I’ve always wanted to be an artist. Always, always.

 

Photo courtesy of Katy Jade Dobson Art

 

CR : That is adorable! So what was it about Art that interested you? 

KD : Well, I would say its whatever is suggested in art, the small things like a glance, or a certain positioning, or the way that not everything is recorded in a painting but it is suggested and you can fill in the blanks yourself in any way you want.

CR: What inspires you? 

KD : Sometimes, before I am inspired by the subject, I am more inspired by the want to paint something of a particular nature (powerful, strong or soft and calm) and then the decision the work on a particular subject and the research behind that is then the inspiration to actively get up and do the painting. I’m also inspired by artists like Odilon Redon who can work in dreamy and ethereal ways, thats why my work isnt always an accurate depiction of a scene, I like to add a dreamy quality to it.

 

Gorilla by Katy Jade Dobson Art

 

CR : When you’re not painting, what do you like to do? 

KD : Painting is quite a solitary process so I like to be around friends a lot. I like to go out for walks when it’s sunny, walking a dog,  going out for food and drinks or getting inspired by other artists.

CR : What have you found to be the most challenging with your art? 

KD : The process, the development and the actual physical act of the work seems to be very fluid and not exactly easy, but without its challenges. On the other hand, the part i struggle with is the side that I cant control as much, such as the material i am working on, if it takes a knock it effects the final piece. I am learning to see what materials work best to keep the longevity of my work to a high standard, i dont want that to compromise the work that is on it

Stag by Katy Jade Dobson Art

CR: What can we expect to see from you in the future?

KD : Oh gosh! Well I have lots of ideas for collections, some conflicting ideas but all seem to relate back to my own style. As I experiment with other materials to work on I might see a shift in technique and therefore, maybe, some new styles. But for now I am still figuring that out, I will have to see what happens in the future and how my work translates into prints and merchandise.

You can see Katy’s Elegant Mess Exhibition at the Sam Scorer Gallery in Lincoln until the 14th of April. Or if you don’t live close enough you can follow her wordpress here, find her facebook page here and her official site here!

Photo Courtesy of Katy Jade Dobson Art


Giveaway help!

I’m going to be running a competition in the next week but am having trouble deciding on the prize to give away. 

The choices are a funky Tie or a cute Tote Bag but I can’t decide which! 

Maybe I should give the winner a choice of either one? (I will be making both eventually anyway)

Please help me decide which by either commenting on here or choosing an answer on this poll on my facebook! 

And of course don’t forget to follow my facebook, twitter and blog for the actual competition 😉 

Thank you!

‘Till next time!