Keeping my chin up…

It’s exam time here in Venice, which means I’m suddenly spending far too much time at the library, and eating a lot of chocolate. Wading through critical essay after critical essay and finding books on the reading list that definitely were not on the reading list when I last checked it is never fun, so blogging is becoming a nice distraction for me.

It’s amazing how much I can enjoy my course when it’s just seminars and private study, and then how much I can hate it when it comes to examination and assessment – I study English Lit, and while in my heart-of-hearts I know Shakespeare is the bees-knees, right now I want to slaughter the man (so it’s a good thing he’s already dead, I guess).

I’m keeping my chin up and powering through until exams are over on the 29th January – and these are the lovely things that are helping me to do it:

  • Lots and lots and lots and lots of cups of tea (and maybe a few squares of dark chocolate to dunk)
  • Having breakfast with my room-mates each morning to relax and laugh together
  • Going for a walk around Venice each day, just for a few minutes – here’s a photo I took yesterday of the sky that made me smile:

Image

  • Finally, listening to this on repeat while I work is a seriously good way to instantly improve my mood:

I hope you all have a lovely day! How do you destress and calm down when you’re having a busy time? x

Currently Coveting…

Perhaps it’s the sudden rush of invitations to exciting and glamorous  parties (or just, ahem, a pint at the pub), or perhaps I’m just feeling indulgent, but recently I’ve been obsessing over products which drip with sophistication, elegance and luxury. The more sparkly and opulent the better. Here’s a small collection of products which form my current wish list – enjoy!

trythiswishlistSequin Maxi Dress from Topshop, (buy it here) – The combination of midnight blue sequins and a thigh-high split in this dress are what give this beautiful Topshop dress a luxuriously vintage feel. Pair it with a sumptuous red lip and a sleek updo to bring in the New Year in style.

Essie nail polish in ‘Beyond Cozy’ (buy it here) – This super-shimmery nail polish from cult brand Essie is the perfect match-all metallic. This silvery gold shade is sparkly enough for the party season, but still neutral enough to go with everything in your wardrobe. Add a clear top coat to amp up the shine even more.

Chanel lipstick in ’99 Pirate’ (buy it here) – If there’s one thing every girl needs in her makeup bag, it’s the perfect red lipstick. This super creamy and intensely pigmented lipstick from Chanel promises a red-hot siren look; apply with a lip brush instead of straight from the tube for ultimate precision.

Sapphire and Diamond Ring (buy it here) – Yes, I was casually browsing Tiffany’s engagement rings online. No, I am not getting married. Or even in a relationship. But if I was tying the not, this stunning diamond and blue sapphire ring would be my top choice in hand candy.  Future husband, please take note…

Jo Malone Pear and Freesia Candle (buy it here) – Burning candles is a great way to fill a room with soft fragrance as well as build an atmosphere of luxury and warmth. While my student-sized budget means I’ll be sticking to Sainsbury’s Own scented candles, I am currently coveting the refreshing yet heady combination of English Pear and Freesia that Jo Malone has created.

Round Button Cushion (buy it here) – It’s amazing how a few throws and cushions can transform your living space; this dusky blue button cushion from Marks and Spencer isn’t going to break the bank, but still oozes elegance. Try pairing it with a grey cashmere throw or some contrasting decorative cushions in your bedroom or living room.

This Side of Paradise,  F Scott Fitzgerald (buy it here) – My favourite novel is Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby, but this lesser known literary work still captures my imagination. Filled with the same glamour and decadence as the American classic, This Side of Paradise will not only look sleek on your bookshelf, but will inspire your mind with its tale of self-discovery and warped love.

What’s on your wishlist at the moment?

It’s All an Illusion

There are many reasons why I love my Pinterest account, but the most important one is that it helps me to find images which are really really cool. And that description is perfect for a recent Pinterest find, the illusory image series ‘I’m Not There’ by Spanish photographer Pol Úbeda Hervàs. The series was published in the spring of 2012, so it’s fair to say I’m late getting on the bandwagon, but the photographs are still modern, original and relevant.

Hervàs has written of his inspiration for this image series:

“How can we accept that we are changing?
How can we accept we hardly recognize ourselves in certain situations?
I am changing at this very moment of my life.
I do not react in the same ways I used to. I am surprised. Is that me?
These pictures are the way I see myself now.
My shadow is there but I erase myself because I don´t know who I am any longer.
The shoes remain only to make sure there is something more than… a shadow.”

These words from the photographer, laden with symbolism and questions of modern identity, really capture and encapsulate the ambiguity of the images and help to set the mood with which we are asked to view them. Hervàs’ ideas about change and erasure are particularly interesting – he uses the symbol of the shadow to ensure a sort of permanence, even though a shadow is by its very nature constantly changing (although of course, the medium of photography forbids change and transformation, holding everything an image contains in stillness).

The images all feature invisible men looking at their shadows, which spring out from their shoes, in various recognisable urban locations. One gets the sense when looking at them of a sort of modern ghost, a man haunting himself – there is definitely more than a hint of the phantom in these images, which lends them a slightly eerie quality. But, more than simply being eerie, the series is original, cool and clever (a tricky combination, but one that wins every time).

Being no photography expert myself, I’m intrigued by the practical, technical aspect of these images – how were they taken, and how did Hervàs manipulate them?

Here’s a few from the series, I’d love to know what you all think about this illusory photographs. My favourite is the swimming pool shot – I’m not sure why, but it gives me chills!

i'm not there

Creative photo series by Spanish artist and photographer Pol Ubeda Hervas.    “I’m Not There” images represent the change of Pol Ubeda’s personality:  “My shadow is there but I erase myself because I don’t know who I am any longer. I do not react in the same ways I used to. The shoes remain only to make sure there is something more than… a shadow.”

Pol Ubeda Hervas

Intriguing New Shadows of the Invisible Man

You can see more of Pol Úbeda Hervàs’ work on his Flickr stream by clicking here.

Photography Crush

I feel my first post on this blog needs to be something really lovely, something absolutely gorgeous – and I think I may have found just the thing! Here goes nothing…

During a recent session of exploring new nooks and crannies of the internet, I have had the pleasure of stumbling across the dreamy and vibrant work by up-and-coming photographer Hana Haley. Her Honeyuck portfolio  is striking in style, comprising mostly portraits and fashion shots with a fresh, quirky feel.

What grabs me most about her photographs is the colour – somehow, Hana Haley is able to strike a balance between bright exuberant shades and ethereal muted ones in every shot. She plays with light and colour in original and daring ways, often choosing brightly coloured filters or deliberate glare to create beautiful effects. I’ve not seen photographs like hers before, which is what I love so much about them – they’re almost deliberately imperfect (which of course, is what makes them so wonderful). Her work seems less about capturing detail or showing off clothes or a model’s beauty, and more about creating a specific mood, or telling a story.

While my favourites of her work are definitely the portraits, there are also some unusual landscapes which have an unashamedly and surprisingly home-made feel to them, which again sets them apart from other, more traditional landscape photographs.

Here’s a small sample of my favourites from her website

I absolutely love these photographs, what do you think? Do you guys have a favourite? Don’t forget to visit Hana Haley’s website to see more beautiful photos…

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