On the 27th of last month it was my birthday and for the first time in roughly 3 years (since my trip to China) I wasn’t in the UK! This also happened to be my first real holiday without my mum. For Ashley it was the first time he’d been out of the UK for nearly 10 years! We went to Slovenia which is an absolutely GORGEOUS country! The scenery was just stunning and the people really friendly.
But it wasn’t all fun and games, there was a reason we went was because of a Longboarding event Ash and some of our friends were attending. KNK Bear guts is a downhill free ride which takes place near Olsinca at the very bottom of Slovenia.
In all honesty I was quite nervous about him riding, it is a very steep and long hill with terrifying drops at the sides of the roads, but Ash is a sensible person and stayed within his comfort zone only having a few falls.
On the first few days of the free ride it poured it down with rain. The skaters from Britain seemed to relish it though, probably because of all the practice they’ve had this winter! The track was super slidey and they had a great time trying to stay on their boards in the slippery conditions.
Luckily, for me and my camera, the conditions soon brightened up and we had some days of brilliantly hot sunshine. Now the skaters practiced more at keeping up their speed and some we’re really rather fast! I found myself in some very dubious positions in pursuit of the perfect shot and more than once had a longboard flying in my direction. If you are watching a high speed event then posts are your best friend! I was saved several times by standing behind something sturdy, and the riders were saved by the hay bails throughout the course!
On the last day Ashley decided he’d had enough of wearing leathers, much to my disapproval, but promised that he wouldn’t go fast, instead he wanted to have a day of fancy slides rather than speed. He did get one scrape on his hip but seemed to have so much more fun that I’m glad he did it.
The event as a whole was really well run and there were only a couple of serious injuries, all the skaters seemed to have a great time, and so did I!
I just wish I could have explored the country more, myself and Ashley are hoping to be able to afford to go next year as well but to go a week early so that we can do just that!
But all too soon it was time to come back to England and, quite honestly, i’m sort of wishing I could go back to Slovenia.
I had an interview at work the first day back as there were two permanent positions up for grabs, unfortunately I didn’t manage to get it but those who did definitely deserve it. Hopefully I can at least work there again next summer, now it’s just a matter of finding a job over winter. My car insurance also came out, taking with it the money I owed for the holiday but at least I could afford it (although only just) and then I had a very bad few days of lots of little things going wrong, such as dropping half a cheese cake on the floor!
But it’s ok as I got to open all of my birthday pressies and then to play with them! My mum got me a drawing tablet which I’m so excited about and have already practiced with! It’s going to improve my digital drawings so much!
I also have so many great ideas for new items to make, and even plan to be revisiting my passion for jewellery soon, plus there’s lots of photoshoots to go on and many more exciting things for The Penguin Theory.
On the 3rd of feb i took a few pictures of some terracotta warrior statues I bought from China. I’m hoping to make a nice item from them for my shop.
On the 4th I took some more pictures of my products wrapping, this time showing the inside too.
The 5th saw me realise I could fit into the skirt I had made, despite it being designed for children, and so I thought I’d model it to give an idea of how it looks on. Just a shame that I had bad lighting, no tripod and no one to take it for me. I’m not the best with timers.
On the 6th I saw what a week of no work would do for my hands as my nails and skin looked lovely for the first time in years! I really cannot wait to get a new job.
On the 7th I was in the north. I thought the trees in my mums’ garden looked pretty cool silhouetted against the darkening sky.
On Saturday the 8th I took Ashley to Blacktoft Sands where we saw lots of marsh harriers hunting.
Today I took pictures of the birds in my mums garden. There were a few blue tits and great tits, it’s just a shame they didn’t come closer.
My photography is definitely improving, but I still have a long way to go!
On the 27th I finally finished this tie I’d had in mind for far too long and I love it! It’s already available on my etsy here
On the 28th I opened the kitchen for the second time ever and first time on my own (5am starts! Ouch!) but as I was lighting the grill I noticed it looked kinda pretty. Obviously being at work I only had my phone on me, but the picture still came out pretty cool…or should I say hot 😉
On the 29th I was playing with this adorable fabric! I think I have to buy more soon!
On the 30th I dressed up all Chinese style for a photoshoot to celebrate the new year! Ok, so I didn’t actually take these photo’s but I did think of the concept, the styling, modelled and directed the shoot so I think it still counts. You can find the post I wrote here
I did actually take a photo myself on this day (sort of, it was after midnight but I was only just leaving work and hadn’t slept yet so I guess it counts). The weather was super foggy and looked awesome so I just couldn’t resist!
The 31st I had finished the adorable-fabric skirt and it really is cute! I took some bad phone photo’s as my camera’s battery had died and I’d lost the charger! Oops! Lots of photo editing later and you can find the skirt in my shop here
On the first (wow February already!) I had my last day of work for two weeks! Yey for being owed holiday! I also went and bought a new charger as I will be needing my Camera on Sunday! This charger not only charges my old styled DSLR battery (my camera is a very old model) but also AA, AAA (etc.), newer camera batteries, phones and has a car adapter! It’s going to be perfect for holidaying!
Today is Sunday and I’m afraid you’ll have to wait for the photo as I’m probably out and about taking it! I’m adventuring to the centre of London for the Chinese New Year celebrations and hoping to get a few really good shots! I’ll definitely update with a blog post when i’m back and the photo’s are fully edited so keep your eyes peeled!
What have you been celebrating this week?
Today begins the chinese new year and this year is the year of the horse!
To celebrate i decided to dress up a little in this gorgeous dress I bought from the pearl market (a crazy bustling market you will either love or hate) in beijing along with a few matching accessories I made.
Unfortunately the shots are just phone quality as the battery is dead on my camera and I seem to have misplaced my charger. Oops.
I posed with this cute horse statue I got from Xian (pronounced Shi-an) where the terracotta warriors are found. Perfect with it being the year of the horse! I also have a warrior figure, I just wish I could have bought more!
For my make up I went bold with red lips and pale face inspire by geishas and a glittery gold eyeshadow with an asian inspired flick of eyeliner.
I also bought that fan on my trip to China from a little store in the forbidden city.
In my hair I wore these chopsticks along with a cute flower hair bobble I made. These flowers will soon be available in my Etsy shop so keep an eye out or contact me for more details! I don’t know quite where the chop sticks are from, I’m pretty sure my mum and her boyfriend bought them for me on a holiday where they stopped off in hong kong for a flight change over.
I also wore these chinese style earrings I made. Another pair like these should also be available in my store soon.
However, whilst you’re waiting for me to list these items (they wont be long I promise! I just need to find my camera charger) I do have plenty of chinese prints available so you too can get into the new year spirit! Just click the image to find it in my shop!
I have also some possible plans for celebrating the new year in crafting style, as long as I’m free to go to the events happening this week.
Are you doing anything to get into the New Year spirit?
Last weekend Ash and I went on a trip to cornwall to try a new sport. Cornwall is well known for it’s surf and this has been something we’ve both been wanting to try for a while so we figured why not.
A couple of friends joined us too, they also happen to be the guys we’re looking for a house with once our lease is up in a couple of months and so we decided it would be our first official house holiday (and also a chance to see if we could really live together).
Our campsite was nice, what more do you want other than a field, toilets and a shower really?
As it had been a 4 hour drive it was already afternoon and so once the tent had been set up and food cooked we just chilled out together for the rest of the evening.
The next day we went to Newquay. It was a nice relaxing day playing in the surf, building sand castles and sliding around on our skim board.
Skim boards are designed for very shallow water and literally ‘skim’ the surface. They’re pretty fun and fast but don’t expect to stay on your feet for long.
The next day was far more active as we decided to brave the surf. We had a two hour lesson with a surf school on the beach, there were cheaper ones which did whole day classes but they had all been sold out and actually in hindsight we don’t know what they could have even done with us for a whole day.
Ash was the first of us to manage to catch a wave and stand but I wasn’t far behind.
We found the hardest part was the catching of the wave, the timing and speed were difficult to get right and we were often left behind whilst the wave raced to shore.
We also found that it was extremely tiring, our arms began to ache in the first hour and the constant battling against waves to get out to sea took a lot out of you. But the moment you caught a wave it really felt like you were flying and made all the effort worth it.
We ended up renting our surfboards and wetsuits out for the rest of the day (For only £10! Bargain!) and surfed until we could surf no more! They also had a photographer who took pictures of us surfing and CDs we’re available to buy afterwards for £10, that worked out as £2.50 each as we bought one between the four of us, bargain!
We all slept well that night.
The next day we drove all the way to Wales as my mum was visiting her boyfriend and I hadn’t seen either of them in such a long time.
As soon as Ash saw the first hill he fell in love.
We met with my mum and Andy before going on a nice (steep) walk to see the Welsh countryside and explored and old castle before sitting in a pub for a well deserved pint. Wales really is beautiful country and I’d recommend anyone to go visit, the views are just spectacular.
We finished off the holiday by visiting the Brecon Beacons. We didn’t go far, just found a nice, quiet road for Ash to finally skate on with some amazing views.
All too soon it was time to come back to London. We had a really awesome trip away and we think we want to make Cornwall and Wales a regular thing (although maybe not at the same time)
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
I know, I know. I’m a terrible blogger. Christmas became a whirlwind of un-organisation and just seemed to appear out of no where for me! The New years arrived and work took over, I didn’t even get to go out and celebrate! But now it’s a new year and a new chance to work hard, improving myself and my business!
I will do a quick Christmas update soon (once all the photo’s are edited) but for now I want to look to the new year and what it has in store!
I have been thinking long and hard about my new years resolution and realised that I needed more then one. There’s so much I want to do this year to really feel like i’ve got the most out of it.
Here’s the list I finally came up with :
Hopefully with these goals I can not only make The Penguin Theory a success (or at least on the way there) but I can also have an exciting, action packed year following the other loves in my life (acting and travelling being among them).
So what are your new years resolutions this year and what are your goals?
Until next time (I promise I will resume normal blogging again now)
Happy New Year!
I’ve decided that once this craft fair is done I will be looking for a new job.
I need more regular hours, I need better pay and I need to feel like my needs are taken into account.
Thats not to say I don’t like my job and the people there and they don’t look after us (most of the time), but I have been thinking of leaving for a while and last night I felt like I really didn’t want to be there.
In all honesty the main reasons I’m leaving are because of money (especially now we’re hiring more staff and my shifts are going back down to 20hrs from working 40+ hrs) and because I’m finding the constant change in my sleep pattern is taking it’s toll.
I would like spare money to put aside so that I can afford holidays and other nice things, I would like to have a routine to my day so I feel I can be more productive. This job allows neither of these things and so I know I need to look for fresh new pastures.
The thing that has tipped me over the edge though from it being a ‘I should, but I like it here’ to a ‘Yep, I need to leave now’ is the fact that it’s so hard to book any time off. I know it’s probably because we’re so understaffed for the moment so not really my bosses fault, but I never seem to be able to book any time off. Sure I had my trip to China, but i’d told them about that in my interview and so they knew about that before I even started and knew there’d be no way for me to work. I’ve only tried booking time off twice since and both times the rota has been changed a couple of days before making it hard to find cover or even cancel the thing I was booked off for (or at least cancel with a chance of getting my money back).
This time I’d booked off this sunday for the Frost Fair in North Finchley I will be attending. I’ve put down money on a table and with 2 days notice there would be no chance of me getting money back and would have created a pretty bad name for myself with my first big craft fair.
I spent my whole shift last night trying to figure out a way to get it covered and asked everyone I could, but they all had good reasons as to why they couldn’t cover. Eventually one of the new staff agreed to swap. She’s now doing my day shift and I’m doing her close down (pretty good swap for her! Everyone hates closing down).
However this does mean I’ll be working a finish on Saturday (so wont be home until about 2 or 3am), getting up at 8 for the frost fair and then doing another finish that night. I might not be functioning at my best but I will just man up and deal with it.
I think i’m just getting tired of this job in all honesty. I love the people, I love the sociable aspect, but i’m just tired. Constantly tired.
I would like to find a new job in something creative, maybe in a small shop, or in a theatre. Sure they might not pay much better, but at least the hours might be a bit better suited (i.e. no 3am finishes as well as 8am starts). Plus I think i’d have more time to put into this Penguin Theory, or at least I’d spend less time procrastinating through tiredness (as of now it is nearly 1pm and I’ve done nothing on my list of things to do for sunday).
So if anyone out there is looking for an assistant, a receptionist, a saleswoman, even a coffee maker in London/North London. Please don’t hesitate to contact me. All I ask is that there will be no early morning finishes! (at least not on a regular basis)
‘Till next time!
I know i know, I’m a terrible blogger. I am trying to change my ways, especially now that my family have put so much into my fashion business! But more on that in my next post (It will also be posted today)…first I need to catch you up.
The reason i stopped blogging is because I went to China! My mother and I decided to treat ourselves to a nice holiday abroad, and it certainly was nice. But then I got back and the the idea of writing a whole blog about what i’d done there was too overwhelming. I wish i’d taken time to write bits and pieces when I was out there so that it wouldn’t have been so much to try and remember. Here are just a few of the highlights:
We started in Beijing which meant that we had to go see the chinese opera, the one in beijing apparently being the best in China. Our guide told us that it was ‘a must see once, and only once’. It soon became apparent why.
The music reminded me of the sound of John Cage, only with a tiny bit more structure. It mostly seemed to be just random notes or beats being played with only the occasional section seeming to make up a tune. The singing was…how can I describe it? Like the sound of a cat being strangled. It was quite hard to keep yourself from laughing in the first few minutes, but not long after it did grow quite tiresome, especially after 3 hours of it. I can see why our guide said ‘one time only’.
But saying that, it did have it’s good points. For one, the costumes were fantastic. They were so intricately and beautifully designed that it was hard to take your eyes off them. My particular favourite was the ‘Drunken Concubine’ who wore a gigantic headpiece which was almost blindingly sparkly! The magpie in me wanted to go take it off her head to keep for myself.
The movements were also quit mesmerising. They we’re very precise and often repetitive, but even the smallest part of them seemed to be moving with purpose. They would use tiny hand movements, sweeping arm movements and impressive leaps and always seemed in complete control of their bodies. It was the kind of movement you need to train for large number years to perfect and had me enthralled.
I probably would go see it again, despite my guides words, just maybe with some earplugs.
Of course you can’t go to beijing without seeing the forbidden city! I recommend taking some very comfy shoes if you want to go, I regret that I did not. It was really busy when we went as we seemed to have chosen a national holiday where loads of chinese flock to see the city. Many of these visitors had not really seen westerners before and we were told by our guide that to have a picture taken with us is often seen as good for their reputation. I boosted a very many reputations that day.
The city itself is huge. Just as you think that you have to be getting to the end you round a corner and see more buildings stretching out in front of you. You can’t actually go into a lot of the buildings, which is a bit of a shame, and the buildings you can look inside don’t really seem to have all that much in. There was one room, for example, which just had a giant, golden throne. Very opulent, but also very lonely.
But soon we started on what the trip was all about and over the next few days we walked The Great Wall. We started from the beginning, where the wall starts by the sea. This area is called ‘The Dragons Head’ as the wall is said to look like a great dragon snaking through the mountains. From there on we would walk sections (the longest taking around half a day) in between bus rides.
The sections of wall varied in difficulty dependant on whether it had been restored or not. We often found ourselves creeping along a narrow crumbling path with sheer drops on either side. I actually found the un-restored parts were a lot easier to walk than the restored parts. I had assumed the restored parts would be easier with their nice smooth paths and even steps, but actually this proved far more taxing as we were using the same muscles over and over. The un-restored areas forced us to scramble in sections, often using our arms just as much as our legs, giving our thighs a nice helping hand.
It was very interesting seeing these ruined and run down sections and then moving on to the tourist filled areas with kids running up and down as though this amount of steps was nothing to them. Personally I much preferred the quieter areas where I was free to look out to the scenery and relax at the serenity of it all. Very easy to do with scenery as breathtaking as it was. I would go back again just to see the rolling hills with the wall winding around them into the distance.
Another reason I would definitely go back would be for the food! As it was quite an energetic holiday I assumed I would at least lose a bit of weight…Nope. I ate so much food it definitely made up for all the exercise I was getting. Every meal seemed to come with rice and was just delicious, their crispy duck was moist and fatty, their sweet and sour crispy chicken was far better than the things we get in take aways over here (although you could taste the similarities). Everything we tasted was a treat, the only problem I had with the food was the lack of puddings.
However the food in Xi’an (pronounced Shi-an) was different. Theirs was more noodle based than rice based, but just as mouthwatering, and they had dessert!
On the last night we went to a dumpling feast which was accompanied by a show containing music and dance with some truly stunning numbers, and again with amazing costumes. All the dumplings were handmade and shaped (see above) to let us know what was inside and extremely tasty!
Whilst in Xi’an we went to visit the famous terracotta warriors. I think these are definitely a must see, but It’s doubtful that i’d go again.
The warriors themselves are very impressive. There’s so many and they all have unique faces which makes it really is quite fun looking around and trying to give them all their own personalities. There are 3 warehouses, number 1 is the biggest and i’d recommend seeing that one last. We went to number 1 first and were astounded by the numbers of warriors in there, to then go to the smaller warehouses seemed a bit deflating. I’d much have preferred to build it up gradually. There is only so much wondering around warehouses you can do though, and this is my reason for not wanting to go again. However, if they somehow manage to preserve the colour on the warriors that haven’t been dug up yet, I think I would be very interested in seeing them for a second time.
All in all the trip was amazing. We went as a part of a tour group with a company called Explore, this was actually my 5th trip with explore and so I even got a discount (it was my mums 10th and she got an even bigger discount)! I really do love explore trips and it saddens me that I might not be able to afford another trip with them for a long while. This trip was definitely one of the best i’ve been on. The guides were brilliant, the group were lovely (not even one person I could say something bad about), and the country just amazing. I would recommend it for any budding adventurer.
Of course there is so much more that I just didn’t have time to mention but was just as amazing.
If anyone is interested in actually going on the trip I took then it is on the Explore Website and Called ‘Walking the Wall’, here’s a link for your convenience.
Until next time 🙂