Tuesday, 3 July 2018

Top 5: ECA Degree Show 2018

Illustration work by Felicity Hamilton at Edinburgh College of Art Degree ShowSilversmithing by Jan Warnock at Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show
Performance costumes by Megan Gallacher at Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show

DJCAD Degree Show - tick
GSA Degree Show - tick
ECA Degree Show - tick

Yes, as well as Dundee and Glasgow,  I also managed to make it along to Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) for their 2018 degree show. Just call me a degree show tourist - if I could just spend the summer travelling around all of the ones up and down the UK, that would be fab, but for now I'll stick to the above three (I did also make it to Gray's in Aberdeen but was too busy snapping pics on my phone and forgot to take proper photos with my actual camera). I visited ECA on a rather hot day but with a bottle of water to hand and some dried apricot to fuel me along I managed to make my way around almost everything. I was a little thrown due to the building work meaning some things weren't in their usual places but I powered through in order to pick out and share my top 5...


1.) Felicity Hamilton | IllustrationColourful characters by Felicity Hamilton at ECA degree show
Illustrated headscarf and homewear by Felicity Hamilton
Felicity's work is full of character, colour and pattern - of course, I fell in love! And then I realised I'd seen some of this before. Turns out that Kimberley actually gave me one of Felicity's cards for Galentine's day! It's great to see students producing and selling their work before they've even gradated and I think that experience really helped Felicity's degree show work to look polished and oh so professional. I basically wanted everything from her stand and am currently trying to decide what scarf to buy first from her online shop. It's also now my goal in life to be one of her fabulous ladies lounging by the pool.


2.) Jan Warnock | Jewellery and SilversmithingSculptures based on the female form by Jan Warwock at Edinburgh College of Art
Sculptural work by Jan Warnock at Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2018
When it comes to the Jewellery & Silversmithing work I'm usually all about the wearable pieces but this collection of abstract sculptures really surprised and delighted me. The colours used are so delicate and fresh but the objects themselves carry a wonderful weight to them. Inspired by the female form and the folds and marks that we usually ignore or try to hide, Jan used her own body as her primary resource making it a very personal project. Mixing contemporary craft techniques with traditional silversmithing methods, these pieces feel modern, unusual and rather beautiful.


3.) Emily Dunlop | Fine Art
Interactive artwork by Emily Dunlop at Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2018Plant artwork by Emily Dunlop
I'm not much of a plant person but Emily's work might have changed my mind. Her plants definitely had plenty of personality. Yes, the wires may look a little messy but they allowed the plants to communicate. Touching the leaves caused them to shout out, brining to mind questions about humans effects on nature. That interactive element, plus the sterile looking tables and plastic casings made me feel bad for the plants and want to set them free/ take them home with me (even though they'd be much worse off in my care).


4.) June Cholsiri | Contemporary Art PracticeColourful baloon sculpture by June Cholsiri at Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2018
Sculpture work by June Cholsiri at ECA Degree Show 2018
June's work focuses on meditative practices, concentration and consciousness, taking inspiration from her own making process as a form of mindfulness. These precarious sculptures certainly forced me think about the here and now by making me constantly worried that they were going to fall or break. Using fragile materials and compositions, like stacked cards and balloons, creates a tension that's hard to get away from and a temptation to touch the work that was difficult to control.


5.) Megan Gallacher | Performance Costume
Performance Costume designs by Megan Gallacher at Edinburgh College of Art Degree Show 2018Performance Costume designs by Megan Gallacher at ECA Degree Show 2018
A few weeks before I headed to the degree show, Kimberley and I ventured through to Edinburgh for the ECA Performance Costume Show. It was a great presentation filled with fantastic performances and excellent music choices I was very much looking forward to seeing the pieces again. Making my way round the display I was not disappointed. Megan's costumes were ones that really wowed at the performance, with the detailing and the incorporation of lights working so well on stage, but they also looked fanatic close up with the striking print (can I have it on a dress please?) and layers of fabric.


There you go - another strong top 5 graduates to keep an eye on. I'm not sure how I'm going to keep track of all this amazing talent but I'm gonna give it my best shot. That's one of the reasons I love putting these posts together - they give me something to refer back to! I'm feeling super inspired and impressed by all the work I've seen across these shows and wish all the graduating students the best in the big bad scary world that comes after uni!

Thursday, 28 June 2018

June Wishlist

Wishlist featuring earrings by Atisans and Adventures, pin by Finest Imaginary, tshirt by Yippy Whippy, patch by Jacqueline Colley and blanket by Kristina Micotti
1.) Eye Love You Ceramic Heart Earrings | Artisans and Adventurers
I have serious heart-eyes for these amazing earrings! They mix some of my favourite things: red, eyes and ceramics - I would love to have these dangling from my ears.

2.) Factor 50 Club Enamel Pin | Finest Imaginary
I've really been enjoying all the sunshine we've had lately but I do have to remember to top up the sun cream regularly. I have very pale skin and I burn so easily, so maybe wearing this pin would help remind me to keep reapplying the factor 50.

3.) Existential Dread Tshirt | Yippy Whippy
This tshirt makes me lol so much! I love the juxtaposition of the cheery design with the pessimistic poem - you know, for when you love colour but you still have all the feels. Also I totally remember having one of those pull-along telephone toys when I was little.

4.) Flower Power Patch | Jacqueline Colley
I met Jacqueline at Blogtacular and absolutely loved the background design and the tote bag print she created for the event. Then I looked at her shop and feel for every. single. thing. in. there, this patch included.

5.) Octopus Blanket | Kristina Micotti
It's weird to be thinking of blankets when it's so hot but this weather won't last forever and when it disappears I'm gonna want to wrap myself up these tentacles. I'm a huge fan of the design and love the red and pick colour combo.


Wishlist featuring skirt by PurpleFishBowl, shorts by Topshop, tray by Depeapa, backpack by Madlu and earrings by Baked by Lou
1.) Fine Art Collection Portrait Skirt | PurpleFishBowl
Erm.. what can I say? There's just something about this that drew my eye to it. I love the pink and green combo and there's something quite familiar about that face ;) I'd like all my outfits to be this narcissistic. I totally recommend looking through the whole Fine Art Collection. Each piece is beautiful and unique.

2.) Spot Ring Pull Mom Shorts | Topshop
I've tried to find these in my size in three different Topshops already but, as usual, they don't stock any size other than a 10. Whyyyy? They are clearly meant to be mine.

3.) Fruit Platter Tray | Depeapa
This is quite random but recently I've been delving a little too deep into the world of serving trays as I've been trying to find one for my flat.  Who knew it would require so much research? This one is the cutest of them all!

4.) Airforce Blue Urban Backpack | Madlug
Someone recommended these backpacks over on the In Colourful Company Facebook group as an affordable alternative to Fjallravens and I think they're pretty great! As well as looking good, this company does good! Madlug was set up by a youth worker and for every backpack sold, one will be given to child in care in Ireland and UK. Brilliant!

5.) Dangle Earrings | Baked by Lou
The trouble with Baked by Lou polymer earrings is that there are too many versions that I just need! I'd never miss an opportunity to wear a memphis squiggle though.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

Top 5: Lessons from Blogtacular 2018

Blogging duo Wardrobe Conversations share 5 Lessons from Blogtacular 2018Wearing Dreamland leopard print jumpsuit at Blogtacular 2018Wearing a tropical Monki shirt at Blogtacular 2018

It's been well over a week since we returned from our trip to London for Blogtacular 2018 - so that's just about enough time to process all the information we took in and figure out how we want to put that info into practice. If you haven't heard of Blogtacular, it's a conference (plus blog, plus podcast, plus online community, plus so much more!) for creative entrepreneurs, bloggers and influencers to discover new ideas and inspiration. We went for the first time back in 2015 and had an absolute blast. We've been keen to make it back ever since but life kept getting in the way. This year we weren't going to let anything stop us and got organised asap.

The event featured opening and closing note speakers with a whole bunch of workshops and talks in between, alongside a creative genius bar, market place and delicious food. On top of all that there were also fringe events (in the shape of fun photo walks and delicious dinners) the day before to give attendees the chance to meet each other before the main event. Between us we attended almost everything, splitting ourselves between the different talks and workshops and going on separate photos walks and dinners. We did A LOT and it's only now we've finally let everything sink that we've been able to pick out our top 5 take-aways. Phew!

Exploring colourful corners of London on the Blogtacular photowalk

1.) Taking time out to be inspired is a must
We each went on a colourful photowalk on the Friday before Blogtacular: Kimberley headed to North London for a look around Camden with Natasha Nuttall while Helen headed south for a trip around Peckham with Emma Jane Palin. These trips were all about exploring new places, finding some colourful street art, taking fun photos and chatting...lots of chatting. It was great getting shown around somewhere new by someone who knows the area and we really enjoyed taking lots of photos just for the hell of it (though mostly for Instagram - prepare to see a lot of these photos popping up on our feeds over the next few weeks!) This kind of group exploring is a great way to get to know people and be inspired by different places. Taking time out to visit new places is certainly something we'd like to do more of and if we can do it with a group of other colour obsessed folk - even better!

2.) Take risks and don't give a shit
If there was an overarching theme to the talks, it was that you have to put yourself out there. This may mean being vulnerable with personal content, having a go at that scary first Youtube video or chucking out your old Instagram theme for something entirely new. Tiffany Han asked us all to think about how much truth we are willing to tell our audience, and demonstrated that the best ideas are often inconvenient for us. Coasting is easy. It's pushing your own limits in terms of ideas and comfort that get the juices flowing. In her Creative Compelling Insta-stories talk, Laura Jane Williams advised not to give a shit about messing up when we first try talking to the camera . Much like yesterday's news, it's forgotten about in seconds as our audience moves on to consume the next person's content. And Dominique Davis said in Finding your Photo Style that she never would have had #allthatisthree if she hadn't impulsively added what she thought was a one-off photo to her Instagram grid.

Colourful stalls at Blogtacular 2018

3.) Edit!
This was a strong message from two of the workshops: In SEO Happy with Elaine Malone, editing was important to make posts easy to find and to be clear about the post's content, while in How to Write Awesome Blog Posts with Greta Solomon it was all about making posts useful and telling a story in the best possible way. Sometimes, just sometimes, we have the tendency to waffle on. Trying to write posts in a short period of time can actually mean they turn out longer because we don't have the time to go back over and edit out said waffle. While we do enjoy writing in a chatty style and don't think we'll step away from that, we know everyone's busy so getting to the point quickly is always a good idea. Also it might mean we're more likely to spot those stupid spelling mistakes that have us kicking ourselves after we press publish!

4.) Be inspired by what your obsessed by
This was a point made by Tiffany Han, who opened the conference with a inspiring keynote speech, and it really struck a cord. It's something we always try to do but seeing it written down somehow made it seem all the more important. It got us asking the question of ourselves - what are we obsessed by? The answer: colour, independent brands, dressing adventurously, building relationships and having fun! We hope that comes across already but we'll be making a conscious effort to ensure we're always on the look out for inspiration and sharing our obsessions - let's all be geeks together!

5.) Let's get physical
We love the internet. We spend A LOT of our time on the internet... probably a bit too much, but we love how it helps us to connect with different people - people we probably wouldn't just happen to come across in our daily lives. But all the likes, thumbs up, clicks and DM chats just can't compare to meeting people in real life. Blogtacular gave us the opportunity to meet some of our internet favourites in the flesh and make friends with a whole new group of people who we are now avidly following online. Having those IRL conversations makes us feel more invested in these awesome people when we see their faces or products pop up in our feed. Yes, chatting to so many people in such a short space of time took a lot out of us but it was so worth it. We really hope we can meet up with these folk again in the real world!

Blogging and creative inspiration from Blogtacular 2018

There you have it - our top 5 tips from Blogtacular 2018. We really did have a lot of fun and met some amazing people. Blogtacular are taking a break from the big conference next year but will be hosting a number of smaller events and we can't wait to find out more. There's also the Blogtacular podcast which is full of amazing advice from some fabulous creative folk.

The goodie bags in the first photo and the photo background in the second and third pics were designed by the wonderful Jacqueline Colley - go check out her lovely things.

 

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Top 5: GSA Degree Show 2018



I was so sad to see the news at the weekend that another fire had devastated Glasgow School of Art's historic Mackintosh building. There were actually tears in my eyes as the pictures filled the screen. I'm not sure why I felt so effected - I didn't study there and have only visited a couple of times but the thought of such an amazing building (both in terms of aesthetic and what goes on inside it) being ruined again when it was so close to reopening is just heartbreaking.

I'd already written up this post last week and have been in two minds whether to share it or not. I've come to the decision that it's important to celebrate the work of these awesome graduating students and hopefully this top 5 (a tiny selection of the work on show) will introduce you to some great new artists and designers to watch , so here goes...

After the DJCAD show, my Scottish degree show tour continued with a trip to Glasgow School of Art. This is one I don't manage to get to that often so I was excited to check it out. Split across a number of buildings, it was a bit of treck to get round everything I wanted to see but it was worth the sore feet. There was an excellent mixture of work on show, with some particularly strong photography. This isn't usually an artform I gravitate towards (strange considering how many photos I take) but there were some great images that really captured my attention. There was plenty of other great stuff too, making it yet again a struggle to pick just five. But here we go, in no particular order...


1.) Flannery O'Kafka | Fine Art Photography

So here's some of that interesting photography I was talking about. I'd seen one of Flannery's photos on the poster for the degree show and it really made me want to make the trip to see the rest of the show (it was the one of the white mountain lion, in case you were wondering). I love the composition of the photos and the way they're displayed. There's something ordinary about them and oddly disturbing at the same time - I like that.


2.) Claudia Sabina Veneroni | Textile Design

I'm a big fan of a bit of embellishment and Claudia's work had it in spades. Wild and unusual prints are covered in detailed beading, stitching and sequins. I don't even want to think about the time that went into this very full display! Her designs tell weird, wonderful and surreal stories, all centred around her travels to Hong Kong and then exaggerated to pack a real punch. I want to see all the garments in the fashion illustrations become a reality and then make their way into my wardrobe, please.


3.)Sophie Daw | Silversmithing and Jewellery

Sophie's work was also quite abstract. Looking at it, the pieces aren't obviously items of jewellery but there was something about the textures and colours that really drew me in. All of the collection is extremely tactile and I had to do my best not to just stand there stroking it all like a weirdo. I can totally imagine wearing one of these pieces and taking comfort from touching and fiddling with it. I like the accidental look and quality of these pieces - the fact that no two are the same. There's something very un-precious (is that a word?) about this that made them stand out against the precision and clean lines of some of the other work on show (not that I don't appreciate that too!).


4.) Vilte Fuller | Painting and Printmaking

Talking about wanting to touch the artwork, I had to put my hands behind my back to stop myself from touching Vilte's images. They look like paintings in these photos but they're actually printed on velour. Sassy! I love how wonderfully hedonistic her characters/ subjects are and the odd bits of detris scattered around her space were integuing little tit bits. I've seen a photo of one of her works as a pocket square and I want it so bad!

5.) Lucy Lamort | Sculpture and Environmental Art


The #MeToo and Time's Up movements have featured in a number of degree show displays this year and that's a good thing in my eyes. These are not just moments, these movements are rallying cries for actual change, and Lucy's work caught that idea perfectly. Her wall hangings and prints feature bold text with sentences like "YOUR SYMPATHY IS PERFORMATIVE" and "MEN 'EXPRESS CONCERN' WOMEN 'WHINE'" highlighting differing standards based on gender. The banners and prints made me think of protest placards and I especially liked the one above about making bad men into muses. The way it's repeated really made me stop and think what it meant and question why that's something society does. I also love how much space the wall hangings take up, causing the words and thoughts to take up space too - as they should.


There you have it, my top five from this year's GSA degree show. There were so many more that I could have included - special mentions go to Andrew Sutherland, Helen Robinson and Hyelee Yeo -  but I have to stop somewhere.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Top 5: Ways to Relax with Apex Hotels

Scones and chocolate ducks at Apex Hotel Dundee Elemis products in the You Spa

We were recently invited along to Apex Hotel in Dundee to try out some of their new Elemis treatments in the Yu Spa and to indulge in a spot of afternoon tea. An afternoon of relaxing and pampering? We were so totally in! When was the last time that we had the chance to actually take some time to ourselves? Turns out it had been a while. With working full time, blogging and trying to keep in touch with friends and family, it can be tricky to find some time to just chill. This was the perfect opportunity to do just that and it got us thinking about they key ingredients to make the most of this...

1.) Take some time out
Being 9-5ers in our day jobs, sometimes it's nice to take a day or even just an afternoon off during the week. Weekends can be busy so taking a Monday off for our visit to the Apex was a total treat. Helen enjoyed having a lie-in while everyone else was heading to work, while Kimberley celebrated the end of a work project by leaving the office at lunchtime. There's nothing quite like some out-of-office time.

Gluten free and vegetarian afternoon tea at Apex Hotels dundee Five Ways to Relax

2.) Treat yo' self
Getting a proper pamper is something we don't do often enough. And trying out a new treatment is not something we're very good at as we tend to always stick to our faves. So it was great to get to try something new at Yu Spa. Helen got a Super Foods Facial, while Kimberley enjoyed the Yu Spa Face and Body Sensation.

The Super Food Pro-Radiance Facial included all the cleansing, toning and moisturising you would expect along with two masks (including a peel off one - always so satisfying), a scalp massage and an arm and hand massage. Bliss! The arm massage was a real treat (who knew there could be so much tension in arms!) and the masks provided an amazing fresh faced feeling. Having a minimal face care routine, it felt wonderful to have someone concentrate on that area for an hour.

The Face and Body Sensation doubled up a massage with a facial, starting with a hot stone back and leg massage, followed by cooling gel, then onto an express Elemis Advanced Anti-Aging Facial. Since Kimberley has sensitive skin, she opted during the consultation to swap out the peel off mask for a gel one (similar to a sheet mask) and a cleanser, exfoliant and moisturisers suitable for sensitive skin. The facial with scalp massage was surprisingly relaxing and top of Kimberley's wishlist. In fact, these photos are bare faced.
FYI, it turns out that stone massages involve being rubbed with small heated stones (not just placed on your back like markers, as posters suggest) and it just felt like warm hands.

Both treatments left us feeling super relaxed and glowing - that glow was even commented on as we bumped into a friend just after we left!

Kimberley of Wardrobe Conversations enjoyin gluten free afternoon tea in Dundee Five Ways to Relax with Yu Spa and Apex Hotels 5 ways to relax number 5 eat something tasty

3.) Switch off
Not only were the treatments themselves incredibly relaxing, so was the environment. Spending our working days staring at computers, our evenings staring at laptops and the rest of the time glued to our phones, it can be really hard to truly switch off. Using the facilities gave us time away from all that and their poolside no phone policy meant we weren't tempted to spend the time photographing and scrolling. The rule is in place to stop people feeling self conscious in their swimwear which is great, but the time offline was a nice bonus.

4.) Chill out and get caught up
Getting some time to use the spa facilities also gave us time to chat and catch up without any of those distractions mentioned above. We chatted in the hot tub, we chatted in the sauna, we chatted on the loungers, we chatted in the pool. We did a whole lotta chatting! A lot of the time when we get together just us two we spend most of it talking blog so it was nice to take a break from that and just catch up on everyday life stuff., especially when we got to do so in such nice surroundings. If you haven't seen your bestie for a while we can thoroughly recommend organising a spa day together for maximum opportunities for gossip, chat and deep conversations. We often do it when international friends come to visit because you can talk guilt-free for hours.

5.) Indulge in some good eating
We never hang out without some form of food. Since Kimberley discovered she's coeliac, eating out can be a bit of a minefield. We usually stick to the same few spots so it was great to discover that Apex Hotel do an excellent line in gluten free afternoon tea. Many of the items were the same on both cake stands, or good alternatives and there was not a brownie in sight!

Relaxing with afternoon tea and Elemis spa treatments at Apex Hotels

Thank you to Apex Hotels and Yu Spa for having us and making us feel so welcome. You can take a look at all the lovely treatments they offer here - we can't wait to book back in!