Weekending in London

British flags were EVERYWHERE

It’s good to get away and travel for a few days every now and then when and if you can. It gives you perspective – you make new memories from new experiences –  you meet new people –  you jolt yourself out of your routine.
Sometimes, it’s planned months or more in advance, and sometimes it’s a spur-of-the-moment trip.

I managed to do one of each to London within a month of each other. The first, in middish-May, was booked on a Tuesday for that weekend, and the second trip – just over a week ago – was planned for a few months, to go for a few days with my sister and her friend.

Katie & Lisa, 35mm Fujifilm ISO400 on Pentax MeSuper
Katie & Lisa (35mm Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400 on Pentax MeSuper)

So while my credit card and all associated finance-y things hate me right now (aaaaaargh) it was really enjoyable.

During the first trip (I was only there for two days, one night) I stayed just by Primrose Hill – a beautiful part of London. I didn’t plan where to go or what I wanted to do, I just went with the flow and having brought a lovely Pentax film camera with me, decided to just grab shots as I went. It worked out pretty well. Solo travelling (while it’s not for everyone, or even for every destination) does have its upsides – your schedule is completely up to you; where you eat is completely up to you; if you want to stop off and have a coffee and do some people-watching for an hour – it’s all up to yourself.
Solo travelling also really reminded me of how much we are constantly checking our phones etc ALL THE TIME. I had turned my data off while away, so initially felt like a limb had been removed, but once you get used to connectivity not being so instantly available, it is actually quite liberating. You also have so much more free time, with far more opportunity to observe everything around you.

Here’s a few of the shots I grabbed on the Pentax MeSuper camera – 35mm Fujifilm Superia X-tra 400.

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So the second trip with my sister and friend highlighted the upsides to travelling with friends – you get persuaded to go to places you wouldn’t normally choose to go – in my case, Madame Tussauds and to a musical – and you find that you really (unexpectedly) enjoy yourself.
Despite delayed flights and cancelled trains, we actually managed to fit in a morning in Madame Tussauds, a delicious lunch upstairs at Ottolenghi Nopi, a leisurely afternoon adventuring around Camden, a trip to Queen’s Theatre to see Les Miserables, and all amidst the fallout of the Brexit results (I won’t even go into it right now..) and the celebrations of Gay Pride!
So certainly a lot going on… 🙂

Again, I had brought along the film camera (I had a roll of film that I wanted to try out) as well as my Canon 70D. I really wanted to take a few more photos while I was there but as it turned out, didn’t take ONE photo on my Canon – after dragging it all over very humid London…. #facepalm ….

Didn’t take as many shots the second time around, but this time more of them turned out better – progress?

So again, these were taken on the Pentax MeSuper, this time with 35mm Kodak Colorplus 200.

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I think this post has probably dragged on longer than I wanted, but hope you saw something interesting ! If you’re already following me on Instagram or Twitter you may already have seen a few of these shots…

Either way, would love it if you let me know what you think 🙂

S

XO

Love loves to love love…

'Paris Syndrome' (2007) by Jun Yang

In advance of what is billed as the most romantic day of the year, everyone is aaaaaaall about the love…

So my blog post title may be a little deceptive (ha!) but who doesn’t love (wink, wink) to feel clever by quoting Joyce once in a while! If you are a little sick of sappy season ahead of Feb 14th, I cannot recommend highly enough the exhibition still running at IMMA at the moment:  “What We Call Love – From Surrealism to Now” for a very different, visual take on the whole feeling, idea and concept. Move fast though – it’s finishing up tomorrow Sunday February 7th!

According to the accompanying book published by IMMA – What We Call Love – the collection has drawn from Surrealism’s idea of love as “amour fou” (mad love) and new concepts of love from the sixties onwards.

Clock Tower at IMMA
Clock Tower at IMMA

I visited recently (having meant to take a look for several months now) and really enjoyed the range of viewpoints and art forms. Photographs, paintings, sculptures, exhibits, films, documentaries – they are all included. The exhibition features work from greats like Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Damien Hurst, Yoko Ono – to name just a few – as well as many other artists that wouldn’t be as well-known. You don’t just have to take my word for it though – Aidan Dunne of the Irish Times recommends it too 🙂

I took a few photos while I was there (IMMA always makes me want to take more photographs…) so I have included a few here for those of you that may not make it along before it ends. Let me know what you think! 🙂

'Couple With Their Head Full of Clouds' (1936) Salvador Dali
‘Couple With Their Head Full of Clouds’ (1936) Salvador Dali
I love this one. The colours, the gilt framing, the slight incline of heads towards one another.
Les Amoureux Titre by Victor Brauner
Les Amoureux Titre by Victor Brauner
'High Moon' (1991) by Rebecca Horn
‘High Moon’ (1991) by Rebecca Horn This was the piece that initially intrigued me most before coming to this exhibit. Obviously incredibly visual, it was also a very different take on the subject of love…..!
1969 Yoko Ono and John Lennon
1969 Yoko Ono and John Lennon.
Another one of my favourites from this exhibition. The first photo is ‘Bed In For Peace’ by Ivor Sharpe, and the second photo is from their wedding day in Gibraltar.
'Paris Syndrome' (2007) by Jun Yang
‘Paris Syndrome’ (2007) by Jun Yang.
This was easily one of my favourites from this exhibition. I love the strange angles, the awkward posture, their expressionless faces.
Central Nervous System (2013) by Wolfgang Tillmans
Central Nervous System (2013) by Wolfgang Tillmans
From 'Hot 100s' by Jeremy Shaw
From ‘Hot 100s’ by Jeremy Shaw
Watercolour by Michele Ciacciofera
Watercolour by Michele Ciacciofera
The Couple (2003) by Louise Bourgeouis
The Couple (2003) by Louise Bourgeouis

 

'Passion Bed' (1993) by Dorothy Cross
‘Passion Bed’ (1993) by Dorothy Cross

 

‘Make Love’ (2005) by Attila Csörgő
‘Make Love’ (2005) by Attila Csörgő
Seaweed Dress
Seaweed Dress
A still from Seamus Nolan's film, screening at IMMA as part of "F**k IMMA"
A still from Seamus Nolan’s film, screening at IMMA as part of “F**k IMMA”
A still from Seamus Nolan's film, screening at IMMA as part of "F**k IMMA"
A still from Seamus Nolan’s film, screening at IMMA as part of “F**k IMMA”

 

 

 

 

 

 

And also, if you have already been – let me know what you think!

Tickets are still available, and priced from €5-8. Students go free.

All the best,

S

XO

Gates at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham
Gates at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham

 

Photo-ing Paris

One of my New Years resolutions was to try and travel a bit more – spend less money on crap I don’t need, and use it to fund travel!

Paris is just one of those cities that everyone goes on and on about. To the point that it gets tiresome. To the point where you want to book anywhere else to travel to, because the world and their mother have already been. And bought some Parisian style t-shirt to prove it. “It’s just so beautiful”.”Oh it’s so romantic”. “So bohemian”, “Fabulous dahling” (Okay that last one is a direct quote from Ab Fab but you get my drift…)

But all of it is true. It lives up to the hype that it has created for itself. I have been several times now, and each and every time, I have not wanted to leave.

I think it’s a city that combines some of my biggest interests:

  • travel – d’oh… but seriously, I love the exploring experience, even when you have been to a city before, it’s still nice to go get (a little) lost and find all-new places.
  • food – this country knows how to cook. I mean, they REALLY know their way around the kitchen… (quick but weighty recommend for Le Flamboire – ate there. Delicious. Fabulously French, but also just plain fabulous. Just go…!)
  • wine – yep. Yeah. Mm-hmm. Yes to the wine.
  • film – every corner of this city is just constantly aching to be photographed !

So when Ryanair had a flash sale before Christmas with flights for €5 each way, it was too good to resist. (Of course, there was a Ryanair style hiccup, but that’s a story for another time…!)

Two days and one night in Paris. What to do? Given that I had been to Paris before, I figured there was no need to rush around, and that a very chilled approach was key. Soak up the atmosphere, eat as much as possible, take lots of photos of pretty things and revisit a few sights. So that’s what happened.

Here’s some of the photos (if you follow me on Instagram, you have probably seen a few of these already!) – a mixture of shots simply grabbed on my phone (Samsung S6), and some film photos, taken on a Pentax that’s from the seventies. Which is AWESOME.

Hope you enjoy!

S

XO

So the film photos first….

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Followed by the phone photos….

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PS if you’re subscribed to my blog, the photos possibly are not displaying if you’re reading your mail on a mobile device. But you can check them all out here 🙂

 

 

Trying out my new camera

Having recently acquired a new camera – a Canon 70D – one of my 2016 resolutions was to put it to as much use as possible, and improve my photography through practice, practice, practice, some more practice…! I have always felt that so much is learned through trial and error, and have found this to be particularly true for me – in all aspects of life! It’s all very well and good to get things right on the first go, but my experience is that my mistakes have spawned my best learned lessons.

So on that happy note(!), I vowed to do away with all the usual excuses – cold, sickness, laziness –  and take the camera out on a little walk-adventure as often as I can. Two weekends into the new year, and so far, two photo walks done.

I have chosen a few photos from the two days here, and hopefully some of these posts will show some progression….. ! Haha! I tend to be quite hard on myself and critical of the photos I take, so seeing any kind of improvement would be great 🙂

Here’s a little selection of photos over the two days – would love to hear what you think!

S

XO

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Monday January 11th

Today has been a very sad day.

For a whole lot of people. For his family, friends. For those who worked with him down through the years. And for his fans. A broad spectrum of people from all different walks of life has mourned the loss of David Bowie today.

For all sorts of reasons.

Some will remember with fond memories dancing to his music when it was first released. Others, like myself, will have only discovered his creations later. (“Let’s Dance” changed everything for me)

Having only just gotten to hear his new album this weekend just gone, it just seemed so surreal that he is actually gone. He had been around, and recording music throughout my lifetime to date, so for me personally, I just couldn’t quite believe it at first.

His legacy is immeasurable, having inspired so many people around the world through music, art, fashion, film. The back catalogue of collaborations is a testament to how he currently sought to evolve, improve, push any and all boundaries. He was an innovative, driven and brave individual who has certainly left his mark behind.

Lots of people who are far more eloquent than me will write and eulogize his death over the coming days and months, so I’ll just leave it to the man himself to sing us out with Lazarus.

RIP David Bowie

Dipping my toe back in..

So the blogging thing hasn’t gone all that well for me so far. It’s a little here and there… stop and start… hit and miss.

So. I figured out that perhaps brevity is my friend. Where procrastination is not.

Sooooo a lot has changed since my last post, but let’s start off light. While I have always had a huge interest in photography since I happened across some of the work of Robert Doisneau, it is only in the last little while that I have actively tried to learn more about the technical aspects of the art.

Trial and error seems to be the trick. But it’s a very rewarding way to pass the time as well. It’s gotten me to venture out in all sorts of weather in pursuit of certain pictures, out on hikes, into music festivals, even just walking down streets I’ve never noticed before. Getting paid for my photography in the last few weeks was something I never thought would happen, but it did!

Anyways, now I can hear myself rambling, so I’ll just leave you with a few of my favourite photos of late – check me out on Instagram too, I post (almost) daily, let me know what you think!

S

XO

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Rush Hour on O’Connell Street
Silhouettes@SmockAlley[1]
Silhouettes at Smock Alley
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Downstairs at the CHQ building
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Hands in the air for Jamie XX @ Metropolis

Street Art in Dublin

More and more pieces of street art are popping up all around Dublin at the moment. Particularly in the city centre, MURO Street Art‘s recent event left behind some wonderful works. While some on the corner of Greek Street have been sprayed over – *Boo!* – the bigger pieces are still available to see along the Luas lines near the Four Courts stop.

Street Art DublinStreet Art Dublin Street Art Dublin

I love to see that they have painted these wonderful pieces on buildings that were falling into disrepair and making the area look quite derelict. Literally blank canvases!

Street Art Dublin

What I don’t agree with it is the fact that these are being looked at as graffiti that needs to be painted over…

Street Art Dublin

There are plenty of other spots around town to spy other creations. Some buildings in Templebar are quite colourful, and there are lots of other finds around town as seen by Ekaterina Smirnova here.

Colours - TemplebarPavement Art  - Lord Edward StreetStreet Art Dublin - Kilmainham

Street art certainly seems to be more of a growing trend (not just in Ireland, Athenian street art here ) as more boomtime purchase buildings are being left untended, with increasing demand for art space, but not much of anything in the way of support for aspiring artists..

I personally like it;  I love to see all the various methods of expression. It also goes to show that you don’t need a massive budget to produce something special.

Last night’s Met Ball – My Thoughts..

Last night’s Met Ball Gala was as always, a celebrity-packed affair. Held at the Metropolitan  Museum of Art, the guests certainly made quite an effort. Some, however, took the punk theme a little more literally than others..!

I think that those that stuck closest to the theme unfortunately didn’t quite pull off their respective looks, and possibly just lacked a bit of imagination.

Miley Cyrus and Madonna were definitely top of the list in this regard!

Photo from justjared.com
Photo from justjared.com

What can I say? Miley looks like she has been waiting all her life to go to a punk party. The end result? She looks like a spoilt brat with a bad attitude.

Photo from justjared.com
Photo from justjared.com

Madonna looks like, well – where do I start? Ok, first of all kudos to any 54-year-old stepping out in an outfit like this – that takes cojones..! 🙂

 

Some of my favourite outfits had elements of punk, but kept their own personal and individual styles.

Photo from justjared.com
Photo from justjared.com

Love the slick of lipstick on Rooney Mara – makes the whole outfit so much more edgy. And that dress – wonderful.

Photo from justjared.com
Photo from justjared.com

I’m not usually a big fan of Kristen Stewart’s style, but this colour really works on her, and her androgynous look really helps her pull off this Stella McCartney jumpsuit.

Photo from justjared.com
Photo from justjared.com

Emmy Rossum has managed to punk up this whole ensemble with fantastic smoky-eye make-up and a great braided up-do, showing off her fantastic bone-structure in the process. Predicting great things for this girl.

 

 

Next up: a few honourable mentions go to a few who looked amazing – even if they “forgot” that there was a theme…

Photo from justjared.com
Photo from justjared.com

 

Emma Watson’s cut-out, cutaway black dress was just edgy enough, without going over the top. The simplicity of her hair and make-up ensured that she looked the essence of elegance.

Photo from justjared.com
Photo from justjared.com

 

 

 

Zooey Deschanel  looked simply radiant. Veering away from her normally kooky look, this white one-shouldered design highlighted her pretty  features and great figure perfectly.

Photo from justjared.com
Photo from justjared.com

Ashley Greene’s dress had a bit of a dress-up feel about it, but teamed with glossy locks, and incredibly slick make-up, it all just works quite well. The opulence of the gold-flake style waist really brings the dress bang up to date.

 

 

 

 

Last but certainly not least – her Honourable Fashionable Self – Sarah Jessica Parker once again quite certainly stole the show, and lets us all understand why she quite simply still remains a style icon years after SATC wrapped up.

Photo from dailymail.com
Photo from dailymail.com

Til next time folks,

Shar

XO

Street Art or Graffitti?

On a recent trip to Greece for a wedding of two friends of ours, we spent an entire day wandering around the streets of Athens.

My husband lived in Athens for ten years, and as a result knows the city quite well, and would in many respects regard it as home.

Having been there myself several times, I too have come to love the city.

It’s hustle and bustle, the noisy comings and goings, the “ella malaka” to be heard everywhere over the sound of traffic – I had come to like this within an ancient city with so much to offer.

Leo and myself at the Acropolis in Athens back in 2010.

Our most recent trip both saddened and angered me.

I was sad to see this once proud city slipping to its knees, a shadow of its former self. The atmosphere in the city is tense – people who once walked with eyes firmly ahead, proud of their city and what it stood for, now walk with their heads down, eyes downcast on the ground. The city is much quieter than when I have been previously, everybody just seems to want to keep their head down and stay out of trouble. Yet there is a undertone in other parts of the city, where you feel a vague undercurrent of something much darker at work. People are angry, and a lot of that anger has materialised on walls, buildings, windows, billboards – any surface available – where the feelings of Athenians are expressed in the absence of any real presence of anybody listening to what they have to say.

Theodor Adorno said

The task of art today is to bring chaos into order.

If Adorno was right, then the artists of Athens will have to put in a good few extra hours.

My question is – does this freedom of expression help or hinder? Does a daube of paint expressing hatred of the police assist the people in getting on with their lives? Or is it simply inciting more bad feeling?

Some of the articulations are certainly beautiful, and created by genuine talent. Some messages however may be doing this city more harm than good.

I for one, hope that things will only get better for these wonderful, warm, funny and proud people, and certainly, sooner rather than later.