My Week In Pictures: Cookies, Cakes, Brits and Red Shoes

I’ve had a whirlwind of a week, it feels, and have only managed to recover today and laze! I’ve been shopping, visiting fashion workshops, having cakes, baking cookies and not least, managed to get a Brits Award show!

I’ll be posting more of what I’ve been up to, but in the meantime I’m nibbling more cookies that I’ve baked and wondering whether to watch an golden oldie (The Mummy, I’m in an Egyptian mythology mood) or whether to read a book!

Happy weekendings all x

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Bow Road’s Black and White Pearly Royalty

I saw this today along Bow Road, a black and white sketch of working life on the street, including Pearly Kings and Queens. I love that this part of East London is still celebrated for it roots, no matter how trendy it is becoming (and it really is becoming more popular, there were two art galleries, a good few fashionable cafes and several restaurants within a stone’s throw from this wall).

It’s always good to see some street art while wandering about in random parts of London, this one was a huge mural that covered a whole wall, by an artist called Pang (I think that was the signature!), so I’ll be looking out for more in this area.

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A Few Simple Chinese Characters

I’ve been playing around with the ink function on my graphics tablet, and thought I’d try drawing some simple Chinese characters. I was surprised to find that although the strokes look a lot simpler to draw, they are a lot more difficult than they look! I had to re-do a lot of the lines after I made them until I got the hang of using bold, thick black strokes and direct them in the right angles.

Here’s my end result, I drew a few classic symbols with the translations underneath, that I liked because they were pretty universal. It’s made me want to try out a few drawings on paper with ink, but I’ll have to wait to buy some before I can try it out!

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The 1920s-Inspired Bridal Shower

A week before all of the wedding festivities began, my sister-in-law threw me a 1920s’-themed bridal shower, which was mainly an excuse to have one last shins-up with all the girls in my family before the real party began. It was a really fun day, with my mum, sisters (minus my eldest sister who was absent due to the birth of my newest, squishiest niece!), cousins and a couple of aunts all enjoying the dress up, good food and silly games which made us all explode in girly giggles.

You may have read about my vintage, floral, polka-dot and pearls themed bridal shower which was a few weeks before, so you can say I was already feeling a little spoiled!

My sister-in-law hosted the bridal shower in her beautiful home, and it was an amazing setting for a old-style, 1920s-slash-Great-Gatsby themed bridal shower which she decorated for and made some amazing food for.  Below is just a glimpse of the table setting – we didn’t get to put the banners up which we wanted, because all of us forgot to bring blu-tack or tape, and we didn’t want to ruin the wallpaper by using anything else! We told everyone to either wear 1920s themed costumes or just red, white and/or black to keep it simpler, and it was great to see everyone stick to the theme – I loved some of the make-up styles that some of the girls did too, dark red lips, heavy rouge and smokey eyes!

(Credits to everyphototunity for most of these photographs, and you can also see her post here as well!)

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The food was probably the real highlight of the evening – my sister-in-law and her mother are both brilliant cooks so it was going to always end in some very full bellies! I also was lucky enough to have two cakes – my sister-in-law made a beautiful red velvet cake, and my sister made a beautiful red, white and black cake with a yummy chocolate filling.  There were also some beautiful, miniature tarts, various dishes like chicken kebabs, finger sandwiches and to add to the desi mix, good old spring rolls and samosas!

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I loved the decor, and I’ll admit, I didn’t really help out with it at all because everyone else did such a great job, and my sister-in-law’s house was pretty much a perfect backdrop anyway. My eldest sister made Art Deco style banners, another sister added small touches like beads and coloured balloons, and of course my sister-in-law did the beautiful table settings, complete with matching napkins!

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The costumes everyone wore were lovely, although as usual, the babies in the family stole the show! I had a really pretty black and white striped-and-circles maxi dress which I had intended to wear, but which I couldn’t squeeze my oversized which I changed my mind about, and I ended up wearing a black lacy dress with pearl beads and a mini top hat, which was pretty perfect for me! I wish I could post some of the other girl’s costumes, but my pictures aren’t great and I’d like to protect their privacy, but everyone made an effort with feather headbands, feathered-print dresses and red,black and white dresses!

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We ended the day with lots of gossip and a raucous game of ‘pin the moustache on the groom’ which was a little embarrassing because of all the teasing I got, but also very fun because we blind-folded all the older women and made them join in! The bridal shower was fun, intimate and very relaxed, and also perfect to set the mood for all the wedding festivities which started a week later (especially as we all had to run around after the bridal shower to get the preps done!) I’ve not been to a 1920s/Great Gatsby themed party before, and it was really lovely to have one for myself, especially as it gave all of us the chance to be creative and let our inner-drama queens come out!

What did you think of our party – have you ever dressed up for a 1920s theme?

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London Film and Comic Con 2014

My sister and I were able to visit the London Film and Comic Con this weekend, over Friday, Saturday and Sunday (we just went to the Saturday event, though), which was a really fun experience, especially as this is the second comic-con showe we’ve been to after the MCM London Comic Con last year. The event was held at Earl’s Court and showcased a number of things – I love that Comic Con has now become much more than just comic books and superheroes. This one covered film and TV series, comic books, computer games and also fiction books. There were a number of TV and film celebrities available for photos and signings, and also comic book artists and book authors who were in attendance, ready to sign their work.

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My sister had the foresight to buy ‘Earlybird tickets’ – which still meant queuing up but it meant that buy paying a little extra, we could get into the venue at 9.00am, which we managed to do. While queuing we saw a huge variety of costumes, merchandise and cute little children dressed up as Supergirl/Superman/Spiderman/that little girl from Dispicable Me which were a fun prelude (and a sign of who the real fanboys were).
When we finally got inside, the place was already busy and there was lots of things to see and visit. The venue was divided into different ‘zones’ for varying interests as well: the Book Zone, the Comic Zone, the Anime Zone, the Video Game zone, the Cosplay zone and Artists Alley, alongside the talks, celebrity photoshoots and signings which were going on, not to mention various raffles, stalls and competitions.

As always, this year’s Film and Comic Con was full of costumes which had been really well thought out, I loved some of the originality of costumes, not to mention the attention to details which made some of these look really good (a lot of them stayed in character too, Chewbacca spent the whole time growling and making squealing noises everytime we went past him).

The celebrities were a big appeal for us. We managed to see most of them with the exception of Carrie Fischer (Princess Leia in Star Wars) who we missed, and comic book legend Stan Lee, who was in a separate area and which we would have had to buy extra tickets for (which were expensive but still very popular!) Below are just some of the celebrities we saw, there were a lot more which I haven’t included! We recognised pretty much most of them, partly because I watch too much TV and also because some of these people were pretty cool. The celebrities all seemed really nice and down-to-earth, which was great to see.

There were also a lot of talks going on during the day with various actors and writers, my sister and I are big Sherlock fans (the British version) and there was meant to be a talk called ‘Sherlocked’ with the writers and producers of the show, which we wanted to attend. However after we took one look at the huge queue and the fact that it would be at least an hour and half wait, we decided not to go (and just stream the talk online at home!) – it was just too hot and would have made the long day longer, if we hadn’t been fasting it would have been worth the wait.

I loved the fact that there was a separate section for YALC – Young Adult Literature Con, which was apparently the first one in the UK. I’m a big book-reader and aspiring author, and it’s always great to see support out there for people who want to write. There were also a lot of names I recognised, many from books I read as a teenager whom I was a big fan of like Malorie Blackman, Darren Shan and Patrick Ness, who are pretty well-known.

And of course there were hundreds of stalls, booths and tables to buy all sorts of things, comic books, costumes, gadgets, computer games, toys and souveniers. We kept an eye out for anything we wanted to buy, but some of the things were a little pricey (I wanted a comic-book print dress but wasn’t really prepared to spend £65 on it), but it was still good to see the buzz of people selling all sorts of things.

My sister and I spent a lot of time looking at various comics, gadgets and quriky stuff, and we ended up at the table of an emerging artist, Hameed Catel, creator of kirucomics which we had a good discussion with as he told us the premise of his two comic book series (and also sold us one, which he also signed!) I really like the idea of both of his comic series, one about a young thief who is suddenly given powers, and who doesn’t behave as heroic as he should, which sounded pretty funny – the Champion of Dema graphic novel is the one we bought. He also told us about his other comic series which was waiting to be published, about a detective called Hani. We both really liked the idea of this one because it seemed more Middle-Eastern based, and also very Muslim-friendly, goodness knows there aren’t enough Muslim superheroes out there, although it’s a growing niche! The series is still waiting to be published very soon, I’ll post about it as soon as I hear more!

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We also stopped to play a few vintage arcade games, as well as look at the latest games being released (I beat my sister at Pacman, naturally). It was good to see people of all ages at this place, there were an area of old-style arcade games grouped together which gave an arcade-feel, as well as lots of computer and television monitors around with the more modern games.

 

Throughout the venue were plenty of displays, from books, TV series and films, and all pretty spectacular. I love the Sherlock set (I have no idea if its the original one, but I wouldn’t be surprised), and the Batmobile (something my nephews would love).

Because we were fasting, we didn’t want to spend all day at the Comic Con and left in the afternoon after we had spent time looking at everything and stopping again to peeki again at several celebrities. It was also a really warm day, and as we walked out of the building back to the Underground Tube station, we could see the queues of people waiting to come in were still getting longer and going down past the roads – it really was astounding how popular this London Film and Comic Con is, and how far people travelled to come.

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All in all we had a good day, and it was interesting to meet various fans who interpreted film, TV and comics in their own way. I don’t think I’m as big a fan as some of the people who attended, but it was fun, and who knows, maybe next time I’ll go in costume!

Beautiful Intricate Pattern Art by Valetina Ramos

I came across these beautiful pieces of art and print work by  talented artist Valentina Ramos, who uses ink with paint colour to create beautiful, flowing pieces with quirky animals, colourful flowers and intricate patterns – and I love everything I’ve seen of hers.

Valentina mixes bright, pop colours with lines, swirls and details which result in a beautiful explosion of colour, and designs and prints which remind me of retro mehndi designs or funky wall art (imagine these on your bedroom walls – or as mehndi designs on your hands!).

I love how well this all work – intricate, detailed designs, bright colours and some quirky, cute subject matter (there’s prints about armadillos and camels, come on!) – it’s easy to see why this is so likeable.

You can see Valentina Ramos’ other work on her website, her blog and her Facebook group – have a browse, her work is beautiful.

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All images do not belong to me and are from Valentina Ramos’ website.

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?

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All images belong to Alex Konahin

Weekly Photo Challenge: Let there be Light

I’ve posted before about the values of light in photography, and I haven’t really changed my opinion since my last post. I though I’d focus this post on landscapes and castles (especially since I’ve been to a few beautiful castles in the past!) to show how light can be importantly, although this depends on how you use it and the end effect it gives.

I find that castles give interesting variations

1. Rochester Castle
This was a fun castle to visit, mainly because of of all the rocky places to climb and the dark hiding places. When I visited, the weather was pretty overcast so gave all of my pictures an overall gloomy, dark look. I think this went well with atmosphere of the castle, so I chose to go with my ‘no-flash’ philosophy here and liked what I ended up with – the dark crevices and corners were just as dramatic and effective as the rocky walls and open windows. So i think this is a great way of showing how light can also be effective when there’s not a lot of it.

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2. Hever Castle
I liked this castle because of how green and lush everything looked (although it helps that I visited in summer time). I haven’t edited these pictures at all, because there was no need – everything looked beautifully colourful and the lighting for these landscapes are just perfect to me – they set off the colours well and the shadows are still part of the picture of make it more ‘3D’. This is opposite to the pictures above where the focus is shadow, here light is more illuminating and brings out the colour more.

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3. Leeds Castle
I visited this beautiful place with my family, and have a lot of fun memories here, because there is a lot of atmosphere, beautiful peacocks and a giant maze to discover. The pictures below show a mix of light and shadow, and again are unedited, which has an almost romantic effect on the features of the castle. I also like the fact that the light doesn’t hide the flaws of the castle, like it’s cracks, but uses the shadows and lines to add a bit of character.

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Over the years, I’ve gotten into the habit of not using the flash on my camera to make use of the light and atmosphere in a landscape – and the pictures above only show my why this works for me. I’d like to play around with flash lights and colours to see what I can end up with, but I think for me, no-flash will always be the way to go!

Part of the Weekly Photo Challenge for this week

MCM London Comic Con 2013

I mentioned before that I visited the MCM London Comic Con, which is a big comic convention that takes place in London twice a year. While it’s not as huge as the San Diego Comic Con, it’s still pretty popular, and draws a huge crowd with interests in drawing, comics, gaming and various films.

We spent the day looking at comics and merchandise for sale, meeting comic book artists and seeing hundreds of fans in costume (known as ‘cosplay’), and generally had an interesting day. I’ve always wanted to go to a Comic Con but have never had the chance, so it was a different experience for me to see various different groups of people get together and have fun.

Here’s a few pictures of the hundreds I took, some of the costumes we saw were just mind-blowing, with some really great detail. I don’t have a single favourite costume because there were far too many, but among my top favourites would be a girl dressed up as Cersei Lannister from the tv series Game of Throne (and looked spot on!), and a girl dressed as Storm from the X-Men, white contacts and all!

Stik Family Art

Stik art – literally an artist who draws bright, colourful and oversized stick men with a message. I like the simplicity of this artist’s work, and like Banksy, his work is in random places, the artist is elusive, and usually has a message. This is one that I saw of a Stik family in Whitechapel on the corner of a road (next to a dessert place, may I add!), although I don’t think there was a so much of a political message with this one. I was annoyed that it had been spoilt a little with random tags and stickers, although I suppose that’s what happens when it’s street art.

You can see another Stik piece that I saw a while back here on the door of a pub, which I LOVED, although I’m keeping my eyes peeled for more!

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