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I’m a bit late in posting this but a belated Eid Mubarak! It’s was a lovely long weekend for us, filled with good food, three different cakes, and lots of naughty toddlers, presents and sweets.

Here’s wishing you all a blessed celebration, and Hajj Mubarak to those of you who were lucky enough to make it this year.

 

We’ve been enjoying some late summer weather recently (although we haven’t been enjoying the humidity!), so I thought I’d post the view from my office window. There’s plenty of buses, trains and pedestrians below (there’s a train station and a bus station nearby) but I thought I’d crop out the hustle and bustle and focus on the serene, beautiful blue clouds : )

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I love it London has an art-themed ‘hunt’ over each summer for people to find an follow – one summer it was giant eggs, another it was giant elephants, and another year we had rickshaws designed by fashion designers – not to mention many more things to find!

This summer we had the BFG Dream Jar Trail – based on the BFG film which was released last month, where ‘dream jars’ designed by celebrities all over put their childhood dreams into manifestation inside giant jars, which were then placed all over London, as well as other major cities in the UK like Glasgow, Cardiff and Birmingham.

My sister and I thought we’d try our hand at finding some, and decided to follow one of the six Dream Trails to find jars – nearly six hours later and with very tired feet, we managed to find around 12 (it would have been 13 but one got removed from it’s spot due to vandalism, leading to me and my sister wandering around in a park in a daze looking for it). We started at Bond Street and the edge of Hyde Park, worked our way up to Leicester Square and China Town, and walked up to Embankment and Victoria before we stopped.

I loved the creativity of these, and thought they were a great idea, and they were very popular with the tourists and the kids!

Here’s the Dream Jars we found – but you can see all of them here – a great tribute to the genius writer that is Roald Dahl : )

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My sisters and I have always loved things that remind us of our 80s and 90s childhood, and we love how these are recycled and re-interpreted in today’s media and fashion. One of the things we all remember having was troll dolls – ugly-but-cute dolls which brightly coloured long hair for us to style (and accidently cut) into funky shapes.

With the new Trolls movie being released in October, I’ve been seeing a surge of funky-haired dolls everywhere – including these pretties below in makeup store Mac, which was releasing a range of Troll-coloured makeup! The makeup itself was a bit too bright for me but I loved the different coloured trolls and their hair!

Worth the trip to memory lane!

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I have always loved looking for quirky buildings which add a little character to London – and Sokol Bookshop does just that. This is a bright red bookshop I found while wandering past in Chelsea which looks more like a giant, old-school Toy Store, adding a splash of colour to the area. Interestingly enough, this bookshop specialises in medieval texts and manuscipts, which I saw a glimpse of in the window display.

Is it me, or does this book-store seem like something found in the middle of a traditional European village?

Weekly Dali-Disney Links

Time for the weekly links!

So these look cool – trainers which can let you upload any digital design on the surface, so you can change them to match your outfit! ShiftWear sneakers – there’s debate about whether these are a scam or not, but it’s cool idea! You can see a demo here as well.

The famous Salvador Dali and Disney made a short movie together – and it’s available to watch more than 50 years after it was made! You can watch it on Youtube now – it’s got the signature Dali style to it, very surreal and dreamy, but I kind of loved it.

Buildings designed to look like other things – some of these are bonkers.

Smart-ass vandalism, gotta love some of these.

I thought these were brilliants – a gif of 11 actors and their most iconic film roles summed up.

Harry Potter – re-done by Pencilmation! The entire movie done in two minutes in a pencil, cartoon style. Check out their other movies too (I love the Ghostbusters one!)

I thought this was interesting – a photo series by artist Baljit Singh to highlight the mentality of dowry in Asian culture, and how this can affect a girl’s life from a young age.

Cat heads placed on owl bodies – it’s weird how well some of these fit.

Gemma Correll’s guide to the mundane, everyday worries of life.

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I love wandering around London and looking for art-work – street art, sculptures and giant landmarks – so Camden is a beautiful treasure trove for all of the beautiful art work scattered around the town. I won’t write too much, as the pictures really do speak for themselves – dreamy landscapes, satirical cartoons, and bright, rainbow colours pieces covering the whole wall of buildings.

I had a really lovely afternoon discovering these, and will be re-visiting soon enough to look for more – the ones below aren’t even all of the photos I took!

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Jane Shemilt’s debut novel Daughter encapsulates every parents’ fear – the day that their child doesn’t come home. Jenny seems to have the perfect life – the perfect neurosurgeon husband, three high-achieving children and the perfect career – until her youngest child, 15-year-old Naomi goes to her school play one night and never comes home. As the hours turn into days and months, the police don’t seem to be getting anywhere, and Jenny is forced to re-examine her relationship not just with her daughter but the entire family. Fresh-faced, education-focused Naomi who apparently doesn’t like the taste of alcohol, doesn’t smoke and barely wears makeup is soon u51GCAP+U-qL._SX330_BO1,204,203,200_nravelled throughout the course of Jenny’s memories and the investigation into the disappearance as not being all she seems. The fact that her daughter has been keeping many secrets from Jenny is just as painful as her disappearance, and likewise, Naomi’s twin older brothers, Ed and Theo, seem to be hiding a few secrets of their own – and what of Ted, Jenny’s perfect surgeon husband?

As Jenny discovers more secrets about her daughter’s life, we see how she begins to see her own failings as a mother, and even the problems she has having with her career and marriage. I had a little bit of a gripe with the approach of this novel, which is intended to make us question the idea of parenting, although this perhaps may be to make the reader see the age-old question of whether a working mother can be a good parent – and the guilt that comes with this. Throughout, Jenny asserts that she has been a respectful mother who has given her children space and privacy, and yet there are glaring signs that this has gone wrong, her children have felt neglected, and that she doesn’t have a clue who her children really are. Again, there is a suggestion that it is never easy to know which is worse, being a ‘helicopter-parent’ or being a laid-back parent who gives their child too much freedom and independence.

The only thing which lets this narrative down is the structure – which alternates between the days leading up to and the immediate aftermath of Naomi’s disappearance, and a year later when Jenny is spending her Christmas in an isolated cottage, still searching for her daughter. While this is designed to explore memory and make us see scenes from difference points of time, it also was a little disappointing because it meant that every clue and lead found in the weeks following the disappearance led nowhere a year later. The Then and Now structure works for some novels but not this one – mainly because it makes the build-up slow and undermines the tension.

Without writing in any spoilers for the book, I will say that there are a lot of interesting twists and turns in the novel, although I wasn’t satisfied entirely with the ending of the story. A lot of other readers have agreed with me that the characters and their actions aren’t entirely believable, and that there are times when the characters don’t feel realistic in their actions. At times Jenny becomes a spoilt, middle-class trope for the modern parent who is too neglectful, which makes it a little harder to sympathise with her – yet it also seems that she is vilified so that she is made out to be a bad parent. This is also underscored by the fact that we never really meet the missing teenager herself – Naomi comes across as moody, secretive and mysterious by the people who think they know her.

Overall, this novel is fairly thought-provoking – can we ever completely know the ones we love? Jenny’s seemingly perfect life is only that on the surface, making us question whether it is possible to have it all – the perfect career, family and marriage. The general message of Daughter is that we don’t always know our families – particularly our teenage children – as well as we think we do.

Caught a little wildlife this morning, which I was lucky enough to find in my back garden – plenty of flittering butterflies floating in and out and lots of bumblebees as well. I didn’t managed to get many pictures of the butterflies because they were a little too quick for me, but here are two of my favourite shots : )

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I love getting presents (who doesn’t?), and I especially love getting presents from other countries. I’m lucky enough to have friends who bring me back presents from their holidays, and I thought this was pretty cool – sweets and chocolates from Japan from great friend who now lives there. This isn’t the conventional stuff either – this was the quirky wasabi-flavoured nuts, Kit-Kat you put in the grill to cook, and almond-flavoured hard sweets. Some very funky flavours, but fun to explore and of course, I loved the colourful, bright packaging!

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