Wet Windows & Whimsical Flower Drawings

This is what we do when going on rainy journeys in cars with big windows that are misted up – draw swirly flowers and write silly jokes in backwards-writing.



The Animal Applicance Kingdom comes to John Lewis

I saw this amazing Christmas-themed display at John Lewis a few weeks ago and loved it, animals made purely from household appliances, electrical goods and random furniture. I love the cute quirkiness of all of these animals, and especially how well crafted they are – I can certainly  see how they’ve tied this display in with their Christmas advert.

Here’s a few pictures (or several!) of the different animals which have been created using some brilliant creativity and a lot of imagination – my favourite are the penguins but there’s so many more which are just adorable.


Rainbow Mosaic Lantern Mondays

I’m fascinated with lanterns, chandeliers and light hangings which are beautifully crafted and slightly unusual – which is probably why I love going to Middle Eastern restaurants that have luxury decor (must be the magpie in me). I loved this beautiful mosaic-style lantern which I saw in a Turkish restaurant recently, hanging close above my table.

I’d love to buy these and hang them all around the house in random places, but knowing my luck they’d all crash and break onto some unlucky passerby. Still, it’s a good Monday for beautiful things : )


Weekly Totes Magotes Links

It’s holiday season (not yet for me though, I still have two days of work before the holidays!) – here’s some links to enjoy before the holidays where you’ll be too busy watching xmas tv and getting harassed by kids!

10 reasons why this blogger isn’t Batman. Or why I’m not either, for that matter.

This is so cute, Malcolm MacDowell and James Earl Jones in an advert talking about the totes magotes hottie mchotterson Ryan. There’s a few more which are cute too (like this one!)

Instagram through history – I love the Abe Lincoln selfie.

13 amazing Christmas decorations (gotta love the Star Trek one with Darth Vader in front of a manger).

I love this – after the ‘Happily Ever After’ bits of the Disney films – sang by a talented Jon Cozart in the style of Disney songs – but be warned, it’s a bit depressing (you might also want to switch the subtitles on to understand all of it!)

10 of the weirdest books of all time. Self explantory really.

The funniest things on the net in 2013 – according to the Huffington Post (some of this stuff is amazing though!)


A Bee.

I got very lucky with this shot – I spent about 20 minutes stalking a bumblebee (from a safe distance) while it hovered over a small field of flowers. I’ve spent the last few years increasingly wandering around with a camera-phone, digital camera, Polaroid camera and DSLR camera – and this serendipitous picture remains one of my favourite shots.

So here’s a shot which is close to my heart – a lone bee buzzing around pretty flowers (perhaps a reflection of me hovering over flowers while passer-bys wonder what the heck I’m doing).

IMAG2253Part of the Weekly Photo Challenge – One

London Lights and Disco Balls

I know, I know, I haven’t been posting recently, but worry not, I haven’t abandoned you all! I’ve been studying for a driving theory test for a few days and finally got it done and over with today (I passed, thank god!) – which made me think about the whole driving thing and why I didn’t do it earlier (I’m lazy), whether I think it will be a valuable skill (it will) and whether I would recommend it to others (most probably, unless you’re lazier than I am).

In the mean time, here’s a view of London’s busy Bond Street which I managed to snap a quick picture of to capture all the pretty lights (which looked a bit like disco balls, but I still like them) and busy traffic. Didn’t manage to buy anything, but saw plenty of goodies in the windows!


Beautiful Handrawn Ink Art by Alex Konahin

These beautiful ink-drawings are created by Latvian artist Alex Konahin, who draws detailed images using fine-liners, Indian ink and dip pens. I love this style of intricate, beautiful art, it looks painstakingly drawn, incredible neat and beautifully finished – and the mixture of ordinary animal imagery with the detailed patterns gives an almost whimsical, art-noveau style to it.

I find this style of art inspiring, its already making me want to doodle patterns all over the pages and see what I can come up with (perhaps it can be practise for henna patterns, imagine these on your hands!)

Alex Konahin’s beautif work can also found here on Facebook, as well as Instagram and on Behance – what do you think of this style?


All images belong to Alex Konahin

The Mystery and Magic of Great Stories

“The secret of the Great Stories is that they have no secrets. The Great Stories are the ones you have heard and want to hear again. The ones you can enter anywhere and inhabit comfortably. They don’t deceive you with thrills and trick endings. They don’t surprise you with the unforeseen. They are as familiar as the house you live in. Or the smell of your lover’s skin. You know how they end, yet you listen as though you don’t. In the way that although you know that one day you will die, you live as though you won’t. In the Great Stories you know who lives, who dies, who finds love, who doesn’t. And yet you want to know again.

That is their mystery and their magic.”
― Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things


China The Middle Kingdom: A Golden History

I went to a Chinese exhibition a while ago, which focused on the China and it’s Dynasties (otherwise known as Zhōngguó or The Middle Kingdom), with varying clothes, artefacts and antiques from different eras. I loved the beauty of this period, the delicate, detailed art and the elegance in all of the artifacts, from the clothes to the engraved furniture, and even in the detailed warm masks and the beautifully quirky tea-pots!

I won’t say much more, as the pictures below can do most of the talking – but I will say that I thoroughly enjoyed this exhibition, China has always been a country which I’ve been fascinated with and it’s always nice to see things that I’ve read in books come to life in the museums!


Superman: True Brit

Superman: True Brit is a silly, tongue-in-cheek satire about what life would have been like for Superman if he landed in Britain instead of the USA to live the American Dream. This book is a part of a series of ‘Elseworld comics which take DC Comics superheroes and takes characters out of their normal settings to theorise their alternative lives (for example, there’s another Superman novel called ‘Red Son’ about Superman landing in Ukraine to become U.S.S.R’s hero!)

Superman: True Brit is more of  a silly, light-hearted version of the story, with puns and plenty of poking of fun at the old British boys – although that’s to be expected with a graphic novel co-authored by the writers from Monty Python! So here’s a quick review-slash-recap of the graphic novel (*be warned, there’s spoilers ahead!*), I enjoyed reading this graphic novel simply because the idea was pretty funny, and it has crossed my mind a few times that Superman may have been a different person in a different country, rather than the all-American boy.


So we start off with an alien baby landing – in all places – in the heart of the British Empire (or not quite), Weston-super-Mare, where he is found and brought up as Colin Clark; taught to mind his manners, suppress his powers and not scare the farm animals.


His adoptive parents play their part, satirising middle-class British values (perhaps in the 1900’s, can’t say society is like this today!) with a social-niceties, paranoia about the neighbours and reminders to always wear clean underwear.


In the meantime, Colin meets his girl-crush, Louisa Layne-Ferret, a Page 3 girl and ambitious journalist (with a convenient resemblance to her American cousin Lois Lane, who we also meet later on!), and has a fe20131117_125344w mishaps at school (such as playing cricket a little too fiercely and impaling a school-fellow with a cricket bat. Oh dear).


Soon after (and inevitably), Colin is unable to suppress his powers and finds an outlet for them instead – in his alter-ego, Super Man, dressed in disguise to appease his parents while saving the country from disasters.



Soon however, he is set three challenges by the skeptic public and his less-adoring fans – which of course turn out to be typical British complaints (and also satirical comments about British society!) The first task turns out to be to make trains run on time – Superman solves this by speeding up the trains and introducing the train staff to schedules (“Radical thinking!”)

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The second task turns out to be to reduce waiting times for hip operations, which Superman ‘solves’ by advising surgeons to play less gold and work more. Of course.

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The third and last task is challenging Superman to raise the quality of BBC programmes – which he resolves by scaring BBC executives into less ‘dumbing-down’ of television and more shows for  under-30s age gap.


Despite all of this, poor Superman falls into more trouble, with the Bat Man out to get him (the previous victim of the cricket bat incident), the editor of the Daily Star out to defame him, and worst of all, his parents trying to run away from the embarrassment of their son being Superman.


On top of this is the news that the ‘Three Impossible Tasks’ that he apparently succeeded in have had some negative results, meaning that Superman has to pay fines, gets further bad publicity, and his love life is not working out with Louisa quite how he wanted it.


Eventually though (although slightly predictably, and in a very Monty-Python-ish way!), there’s a happy ending to be had, and Colin Clark reveals himself as Superman to avoid being black-mailed, and urges the public to stop supporting both the Bat-Man and the slimy editor of the Superman-hating newspaper. I loved this comment at the end, where Colin resolves to change his name – to Kent Clark.


And Superman goes back full circle to say he is emigrating to the US for new opportunities (not before some references to The Rutles and a few digs at British society), changing his British-flag costume for a more recognisable one, complete with a Christopher Reeves-ish hair-curl.


Overall, this graphic novel was certainly a lot less serious than the other DC comics I have read – and certainly, it’s not meant to be taken seriously. I liked the humour of it, but found it a little clichéd at times when it came to British traditions (I can’t help but wonder whether Americans still view us British at tea-and-crumpets-with-the-Queen types, although I did like the depiction of Queen Elizabeth in wellies and a crown!)

This is certainly something for Superman fans to read, especially if they want to get away from the dark tales that Superman sometimes comes across (and even Batman fans, which has plenty of dark humour and depressing stories!) Although this may not be to everyone’s liking, and some may find this a little patronising, it’s good for a few chuckles, and it certainly gives a good send-up of British media and culture.