Saturday, 30 May 2009

Newport to Cardiff. Cardiff to Penarth. and back again!

So Saturday was a busy day!
Basically me and some of my friends off my university course had been planning to visit a few places as soon as our workload had finished and because everything was fairly close we decided to just do it all in one massive day of fun and culture!

The weather was so hot and sunny you would not believe! It was perfect :)

I met Sam and Alexa at the train station in Newport where we hopped on a train to Cardiff. The journey takes about 15 minutes which is great because if you have ever visited Newport you will know it is quite lacking in the shopping and culture department.

When we arrived the first thing on our agenda was the Diane Arbus exhibition at the National Museum Cardiff. Diane Arbus was born in 1923 and commited suicide in 1971 she was an ingenius photographer but sadly a very troubled lady. The types of people Arbus photographed has led to her work being the subject for controversial debate. The main question is did Arbus take advantage of her subjects?
Arbus photographed people with disabilities, circus acts, nudists, transvestites and just generally people she found to be interesting. I do not believe she was anything but sympathetic to her subjects and I think she often had a connection to them. If you have not seen the film Fur starring Nicole Kidman and Robert Downey Jr then I suggest you do, it isnt accurate, in fact it is a fictional story about Diane Arbus' life, but I think it tried to capture her mindset and feelings, it is also beautifully filmed with some great 1950s costumes and sets.
I think in this film Nicole looks especially beautiful, i think the dark brown hair suits her wonderfully!

Arbus' image 'Identical Twins' sold for $478,400 at auction it is in the top 10 most expensive photographs in the world. It also happens to be one of my favourite photographs by her along with 'Boy with toy hand grenade'.
I will be honest she is not on my list of favourite photographers but her work was so profound for the 1960s and 70s because many of the people she photographed were from the edges of society they would have been considered 'freaks'. You really should go see it (especially if you are studying photography like me!)
Photobucket Photobucket
the twins are quite creepy they remind me of the Shining!
I was also suprised to see some landscapes in the collection Diane Arbus is never really associated with landscape photography so it was a nice surprise! The exhibition is on until the 31st August so if you get chance you should have a look. There are also some Monets on loan to the museum right now including Water Lilies, it was beautiful.

On the way to Jacobs Antiques (also in Cardiff) we stopped off at the Disney store, one of my favourite places haha. I really want a Sleeping Beauty towel.
There were two reasons for going to Jacobs Antiques. The first being the obvious and the second being the 2nd year Documentary Photography course at my University was displaying its work from the last semester. The work was really good but a lot of it seemed more Photographic Art than documentary (Photographic Art is the course i take).
Then to the antiques! There was a lot of memorabilia which excited my friend Sam as he loves sci fi especially Doctor Who (check the tardis outside the shop)
Photobucket this is me and Sam.
There wasn't a huge amount of vintage clothing which was disappointing but they did have an amazing collection of cameras which we stood looking at and swooning over for ages.
there was large format, medium format, twin lens, mini spy cameras, all shapes sizes and colours!

There was a lot of taxidermy on all different stalls, I am fascinated by it, I wouldnt necessarily have any in my house but I think they are kinda cool all the same. (sorry vegetarians and animal rights activists)
This is me and an angry fox, this was made in like 1926 apparently. Foxes are my favourite animals but I forget they can be really vicious and rightly so! If I was being hunted and stuffed to be mounted on a wall I too would be a little angry.
Any idea what this animal was?

Another photograph of the antiques. I like the bowler hat. and there were some nice tea sets too :)

Jacobs antiques is right by Cardiff Central Station so we got on another train to continue our day of culture.
This is Alexa and me on the train.

Penarth was a popular holiday resort during the Victorian times. It has a lovely pier where we got some yummy icecreams and sat in the sun.

We had a quick look in the Ffotogallery because Sarah Pickering's work 'Holding Fire' was there. Sarah Pickering had given a lecture at our university earlier this year so it was nice to see her work in its intended form rather than on a powerpoint slideshow :P
I do like her current work about explosions but it was her black and white images of burnt out buildings which caught my attention. Pickering took these whilst on residency with the fire services.
We stood and looked at the books on sale at the gallery for a bit because i love love LOVE art books :)

Then on to Forever Vinatge!!! This store was mentioned in an article about South Wales vintage scene on
Its right by the Penarth train station and me and Alexa could have spent all day in there!!
The amount of wonderful hats and bags you would not believe!
Clothing wise I wasn't overly impressed, there didnt seem to be anything I liked much. But they had beaded bags from the 1920s right through, and velvet hats from the 1940s up to the 1980s! There were lots of beautiful brooches ahhhhh it was heaven! Sam got a bit fed up I think because we went round the tiny shop about 10 times picking up new things! hehe
We didnt buy anything despite the cheap prices because we are currently poor students at the end of term with no loans coming in until the end of September. I'm not holding my breath for a new job over summer because of the credit crunch people are being let go from jobs not hired! :(

The sun was still scorching and there wasn't much of a breeze even by the sea so we deciced to make our way back to Newport to finish off the day with the University's Graduate show opening night. We got ourselves some cheap wine - yuck! and had a look at the work we need to be making and improving on next year.
EEP! scary stuff, to think this time next year I will be finished university and having to make my own way in the world! After todays trip I'm definitley thinking a Museum/gallery curator would be a good job for me.

anyway hope you enjoyed the post, I went to bed at 11.30 so nearly a full 12 hour day! I fell fast asleep.
I will definitley be returning to Penarth soon, I will probably drag my boyfriend along.

byeee x

p.s all the photographs taken on the day out were by Alexa Osowski

Monday, 25 May 2009

Old Photographs

I scanned some old images in today, they are lovely.
Obviously I love photography especially vernacular pictures or 'snapshots'. I think everyone has likes looking back on old photographs.

The first picture is of my great great grandmother who was a maid in a stately home of some kind, I need to talk to my mother again because I forgot what she told me about each photograph.


This image is a portrait of my maternal grandmother (who i sadly never met) and her best friend.
I love their hair, I wish she could have taught me or my mum how to do our hair like this.


thats all for now :) x

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Disney Night

So last night we had a disney film fest! we started a bit late so we only ended up watching 3 films but it was great!

First up was Pocahontas. I remember seeing it at the cinema in 1995, I loved it then and I still love it now. The way her hair is always moving is fantastic! I also like the comedy brought along by Meeko the racoon and flit the hummingbird.
The scenery is stunning, the detial is amazing, I would probably say it reminded me most of the forest scenes from Sleeping Beauty because of the square styalized trees and the turquoisey hues.
I'm sure everyone who has seen it will tell you their favourite song is 'Colours of the Wind' and I agree, a real good Disney sing-a-long. I also really like 'Just around the riverbend'.
The version I watched had a new song too, added in the bit when John Smith is tied up in the tent and Pocahontas visits him, its sort of a ballad and although its not terrible, I'd prefer it wasnt there. A bit like 'Morning Report' in The Lion King (absolutley no need for that song its rubbish!)

At this point we had a snack break of pizza, doritos and lemonades :)

Then we watched The Rescuers, another wonderful film, but now Ive seen it when I'm older the storyline is really quite sinister! I also noticed how shoddy the animation is in regards to cleaning it up. A lot of the characters change colour during the film and have bits such as the white of their eyes not filled in at all, which kinda bugged me. Also the sketched lines are quite visible on some scenes. I still really enjoyed it though. Miss Bianca is wonderful! A real lady (mouse) and I'd love to wear her little outfits!

Lastly we watched the Incredibles, it really is a funny movie! If I had a super power I would definitley want elasticity! How fun would that be?! Edna Mode is a hilarious character!
I personally prefer 2D animation to CGI, and I'm picky about which 3D films I like but this one is a winner hands down.

We are planning another Disney night soon its great fun on the cheap!


Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Busy few days

Ive had a busy few days, with the end of year exhibition opening on Wednesday (tomorrow!) I have had a lot of work to do, finishing touches, painting gallery walls you know the drill. I'm excited and nervous, but opening night should be fun there will be a raffle of our prints to raise money for our final year exhibition and free wine ;)
Here is the exhibitions poster made by one of my course mates Craig Harper

On Friday was the University May Ball. The theme this year was Hollywood (last years was Las Vegas, there seems to be the trend). It was complete with Oscar statues and a red carpet! (me on the right my housemate on the left)
We had special guests Utah Saints, Wiley, The Zutons and Roy Walker the guy who presented the gameshow catchphrase.
The shirt he is wearing here was a prize for people who got the catchphrases correct.
The Zutons were amazing I got really close to the front as well.
They played Valerie, Why wont you give me your Love, Pressure Point and a few others.
I have the photos on my flickr

We also went on the ferris wheel and the spinny things, dunno thier technical name.

Then last night me and my friend and my boyfriend and his mate went to see Every Time I Die at the 02 academy in Bristol. The show was awesome ETID played my 2 favourite songs. I had seen them live before at TJs in Newport but it was great to see them in a bigger venue and have more stage space to really perform. Me and Alexa bought t-shirts.
Unfortunatley they didnt play as long as Gallows. By the end of the Gallows set I actually disliked their lead singer, he was spitting everywhere and being so arrogant. However in their encore they played Abandon Ship and Orchestra of Wolves and I they are my favourite songs by the band. They also invited Eva from Rolo Tomassi to sing with them on one song (i forgot the name). She can scream!! I think Ben has a crush on her haha.

After the gig I saw a Banksy! I love his/her/their? work but I'd never seen one in person. I got a photo but it as dark so i'll paste the one i saw here from google images.
How exciting!!
Then we went to the Elbow Room got hammered on wine then got the last train home. I lost my purse with all my cards in on the way back :/
so if anyone finds it please return it to me!!

anyway, ive gotta head to the gallery again then me and a few of my friends are having a Disney night, I will do a related post soon! byeeeeeee xx

Monday, 11 May 2009

Oxford Weekend

So me and my boyfriend drove down to Oxford on sunday morning. We had a lovely day walking in the sunshine and window shopping.
I tried my first ever Krispy Kreme doughnut. Admittedly I was a little bit disappointed because there wasnt as much choice as I expected there to be. So I went for the original glazed and Ben chose the chocolate covered one with a custard filling. The next disappointment was the price (although Oxford is expensive and so are 'fad' fast foods) so I wasnt really suprised. £1.10 for mine and £1.30 for Bens one.

We also went to the Odeon and watched CORALINE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I have been eagerly awaiting this film for AGES! Unfortunatley it wasn't in 3D but I might go watch it again somewhere where its showing in 3D.


The film was a feast for the eyes, if you havent visited the website already I suggest you do and watch the videos of them making the models. The tiniest knitted jumpers in the world and blossom trees made of popcorn!!

The stop motion animation is so good it almost looks like GGI.
The story is wonderful too, its creepy and twisted but family friendly and fun at the same time, (like alice in wonderland).
Directed by Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas). The film is eerie and this is helped by the music which I really enjoyed.

I wont give the story away and theres too much to really explain, but its basically about a young girl named Coraline who has just moved into a new house and is missing her old life. Her boredom in her new house leads her to explore her new home and she ends up in a paralell world. The moral of the story is pretty much 'Be careful what you wish for'.

It is very funny all the way through despite it being a bit warped. This is mainly because of Coralines weird and wonderful neighbours and a talking cat.

Im really not good at reviewing things sorry! haha you will have to see it yourself. It has made me want to read the book it was based on by Neil Gaiman though so it must be good!
Make sure you check out the website too because there are lots of fun things on it. Like this:


Button your eyes! (an old picture of me, because i had trouble loading photos for some reason)

ciao for now x

Saturday, 9 May 2009

History of Sunglasses

It has been sunny today in Wales so I thought I would post a summery blog.

The first glasses made to protect the eyes from the glare of the sun were invented in 1929 by Sam Foster. The Foster Grant company started to produce sunglasses for retail in 1930.

Sunglasses became all the rage and we havent looked back ever since!

With 1937 came the first ever Science Fiction convention and Ray Bans. Ray Bans are at the top when it comes to sunglasses, the Wayfarer, the Clubmaster, the Aviator all majorly popular styles copied by the highstreet.
The Wayfarers style is very popular at the moment with many celebrities such as Kate Moss, Kelly Osbourne and Joey Madden wearing them. They are expensive to buy as are all designer makes but if your clever you can get some cheap replicas from Topshop and Primark at the moment.
Here is Sarah Harding of Girls Aloud in a red pair

Look on the Ray Ban website it's a lot of fun you can try on their selection of shades virtually (if you have a webcam) and browse the available colours.

Ever seen Lolita? the Stanley Kubrik film based on the novel by Vladimir Nabokov. Well the film's iconic poster image is Lolita in her heart shaped sunglasses.

I got a pink glittery pair from Topshop last year paying £15, only to see them in Primark this year selling for......£1!!! One Pound!
So this year I bought a pair of red ones just like Lolita's. There is no difference in the sunglasses at all so I would recommend you pick a pair in every colour from Primark!

Here are some more novelty shade - we're getting onto Elton John territory here.
I saw these on google images and they look GORGEOUS!
Photobucket from Miss Selfridge, but again look around!

While I was searching for things to but in this blog I stumbled over this site,
There are hundreds of beautiful vintage sunglasses from the 1920s onwards and next to each one it tells you the era, make, condition of lens etc.

Im lusting after the clear pink 1930s pair by BOLLE, and the glittered frames of the 1950s. The sunglasses on sale here are great because they are cheaper than modern designer shades and yet they are on trend today.Most for less than £100.
But for you desinger fans there is a big selection of designer Ray Bans too :D

In the 1960s Ray Ban did well again with the 'Aviator' also known as 'pilot glasses'. The key features are the reflective lens and thin frames.

You can buy these all over the place, as expensive or as cheap as you like. I got a pair for £5 from a skate shop :)

White frames are also a popular choice, Grace Kelly and Audrey (who never seemed to be without a pair!)

Sunglasses were never more popular than in the 1960s
Audrey Hepburn again in here iconic role as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffanys.
and a funny pair from the 1960s

Thats all for now, I have to pack for a weekend in Oxford with my boyfriend!
Now which sunglasses do I take?
Remember with Sunglasses, BIGGER is always BETTER ;)

bye x

Friday, 8 May 2009

VE Day

It was on this day 64 years ago that the Second World War ended in Europe when Germany surrendered to the Allies.

I like this image I found on google of a celebratory Bonfire in Toronto, Canada.
The little boy in the center cleary doesnt like fireworks! hehe

I can imagine what a wonderful day this must have been. Even for the German people, I bet everyone was so happy the war was finally over.

Here is another image that I found which is not so far from my home of Coventry, in Selly Oak, Birmingham.

(Image is from
I wish communities still got along like they did in the past, I do not know my neighbours very well back home.
Obviously student living is different, we all live close by and know each other, which is lovely :)

During the Second World War Coventry was largely destroyed in air raid bombings, most notably the Cathedral, here it is in ruins.

and this is the Cathedral I recognise. The spire still remains and you can climb it on special open days, it's a log way up!

The reason Coventry was a target in during the war, was because of its many car factories (which were converted to making aircraft during the war)

I might write a bit more about Coventry some other day, I really am quite fond of it :)

bye for now x

Thursday, 7 May 2009

80s night.

So last night was great fun. We all gathered at my friends house for nibbles and pre drinks and a lot of dancing to 80s of my faves being 'I THINK WE'RE ALONE NOW' cover by Tiffany. I think the Girls Aloud version is pretty good too haha, but i do love Girls Aloud!


Then we hopped in taxis - all 20 of us and headed for Reflex.
Reflex is a chain of 80s themed bars and its fab! well the music is fab, the club is pretty grubby! But yeah plenty of flashing rubix cube disco lights and dancing poles (you will never get me drunk enough to go on one of those, i even hated the firemen poles on playgrounds as a kid).

They played the Baywatch theme 'I'll be there' Wham 'Waake me Up before you Go Go.....' and lots of other great 80s cheese!

Unfortunatley I didnt charge my camera but I nabbed a few photographs off my friends so here we are:
Me as Madonna from Desperately Seeking Susan and Alexa and Julia


I was wearing red lippy at the beginning of the night, but 4 strongbows later it had rubbed off and I was too drunk to reapply! :(

Here is a pic of a group of us, we had glam rockers, punks, neon brights! Such a fun theme!


anyway i'm off to watch television. bye x

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Bits and Bobs

I was browsing the internet today and i came across something that sparked childhood memories. Oh Penny! was a toy much like polly pocket but bigger, she had moveable arms and legs and blonde pigtails. (I believe in the U.S she was called Oh Jenny!)
I remember my older cousin having the Three Gables family home and the Tree House and I had the market day set with the Flower Lady and the Grocer......well look what I found on eBay!


(photographs are from eBay and google images)

I hadn't seen these for years, and Im pretty sure all the pieces of my set are lost or broken. I have a sneaking suspision that my cousin's lot might be at my Grandma's house though! Next time I am home I shall try find it all!


I don't know about you, but I find it weird when I think that other people have the same things as me, I know its going to happen with lots of things but it still. It amazes me to think that another little girl had the exact same Oh Penny! grocery cart....

Completely off topic, I'm going out tonight for a friends birthday. The theme (as with students there is always a theme for each birthday) is the 80s! whoop, so I'm going as Madonna (as she dresses in the film Desperatley Seeking Susan)

photographs will be posted!
bye x

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Essay Finished!

My essay is finished!


I now just have to print and frame my photographs for the Exhibition on the 21st.

Monday, 4 May 2009

Bank Holiday Fun!

The title to this blog is misleading because I am currently eyes deep in my essay on German Architectural Photography (not fun). Ive written 3134 words of 3500 so I'm not doing too badly. However progress seems to have slowed down and I can't get back into it, another trip to the uni library is needed. I only have until Friday to finish.PANIC!

I realise for a photography student i dont talk a lot about my photography work so heres a bit more of an insight. I am very interested in Architectural Photography and in my opinions the Germans are the best at it.
Bernd and Hilla Becher are one of my favourites here is an example of their work
Photobucket Bernd and Hilla Becher - Water Towers.

Researching my essay Ive come across a lot of German photographers I hadn't previously heard of such as Laurenz Berges

and Jorg Sasse. I love this image
(yes i know its not architectural) both Sasse and Berges were taught by Bernd Becher at the Dusseldrof Academy.

I also just wanted to mention The Duchess because I finally watched it yesterday, (no one would see it at the cinema with me!) same as Young Victoria.... now i have to wait months until it comes out on DVD! I find it really unfair actually because I'm always getting dragged off to see films I have no interest in by my boyfriend.


The Duchess, beautiful costumes as expected, i am a huge fan of 18th century fashion and decor.
I never used to like Kiera Knightley, i used to find her constant pouting and over the top english accent annoying, but I must admit after watching Atonement and The Duchess, she is growing on me considerably.
Her portrayal of Georgiana Cavendish Duchess of Devonshire was wonderful. The Duchess' marriage was a very unhappy one, she ended up having to share her husband with her best friend Lady Elizabeth Foster.
Georgiana's life is often compared to the life of Marie Antoinette there certainly are many similarities (i love the Sophia Coppola film starring Kirsten Dunst, you should watch it if you havent already). Also Princess Diana was an ancestor of the Duchess of Devonshire...more paralells?

Georgiana was at her time one of the most fashionable women in England, and she used her 'celebrity status' to help popularise the Whigs party.
The film is very sad, but worth watching, the cinematography is wonderful.
This is a portrait of Georiana by Thomas Gainsborough and a film still of Keira Knightly in my favourite of her costumes from the film.(her campaign outfit promoting Charles James Fox)


anyway thats all for now :) cya x