Category Archives: INSPIRE

My Loves: ‘Reversal Of The Muse’ Podcast

September 23, 2016

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reversal of the muse podcast, Laura Marling

I am a podcast junkie – I listen to them on a daily basis and love their company when walking or travelling, whilst working, when I’m doing house chores or in the wee hours during bouts of insomnia.

As I listen to them so much I’m always on the hunt for new shows to download and my current favourite new discovery is a show called ‘Reversal Of The Muse’. The podcast is hosted by the amazing Laura Marling and features Laura in conversation with a variety of fellow female musicians and women who work in the music industry.

“Reversal Of The Muse began as conversations between friends about female creativity.
In reversing the muse it became an experiment.
As a small part of the global conversation about women in the arts, it became an obsession.
It occurred to me that in 10 years of making records I had only come across two female engineers working in studios.
Starting from my experience of being a woman I began to ask myself what difference it might have made had I had more women around, if any.I wanted to know why progress has been so slow in this area and what effect it would have on music.”

I’ve been telling everyone about this podcast and I wanted to share this recommendation here. I frankly feel it’s a bit weird that I’ve never really engaged with the fact that there is almost a complete lack of women involved in the technical side of music creation, so I feel like I can’t stress enough how great it is to hear these conversations.

Each episode has been fascinating to listen to and has really got me thinking – about women in music, female creativity and gender roles within the workplace in general. If you’ve listened to it I’d love to know your thoughts !

Listen to the podcast at reversalofthemuse.com or subscribe via iTunes.

Playlist: Last Days of Summer

September 18, 2016

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the-last-days-of-summer-playlist

I’ve made a playlist of new music for these last days of summer. Hazey tracks that suit the mood of this changeable weather and  won’t quite let go of the summer vibes.

Listen to this playlist it whilst enjoying the September sun or during your last barbeque of the year. Listen to it while getting cosy at home and dance around your house while it’s stormy outside (it’s a good playlist to dance to). Listen to it in between obsessively listening to the new Glass Animals album like I am.

Track List

Animal Collective – Golden Girl
Glass Animals – Youth
D.D Dumbo – Satan
DJ Shadow (feat Run the Jewels) – Nobody Speak
Sylvan Esso – Radio
Wild Beast – Big Cat
Radiohead – Identikit
BadBadNotGood (feat Samuel T. Herring) – Time Moves Slow
Metronomy – Night Owl
Michael Kiwanuka / Nas – Rule The Wold (I Came From the City)
ANOHI – Drone Bomb Me

Follow me on Spotify.

Buying A Vintage Wedding Dress On Etsy: My Tips

September 15, 2016

INSPIRE / STYLE

Tips for buying a Vintage Wedding Dress on Etsy

It became clear quite earlier on that buying a vintage wedding dress on Etsy was going to be the way forward for me. I always had a very clear picture in my head of what style dress I wanted for my wedding but I knew early on, after peaking in a few boutiques that I wasn’t going to find what I was after on the high street. Another thing I was sure of is that I didn’t want my wedding dress to come with a crazy price tag!

If you’re looking for a wedding dress that’s unique and doesn’t cost the earth then going vintage is the way forward. One of the many beauties of using Etsy is that you are able to browse items from a multitude of different vintage boutiques at once, making finding your dream dress that much easier. I found that the best boutiques were based in the USA but that the vast majority delivery internationally. Price wise, in my experience at least, vintage dresses on Etsy seem to be a fraction of the cost of dresses in bridal boutiques. Mine was less than £200! So if, like me, you’re keen on a genuine 1950’s tea dress or whether your bridal style inspiration is anything from 20’s glamour to 70’s boho – there will be a vintage wedding dress on Etsy that could be perfect for you, not to mention one that comes with a whole history of its own.

Tips for buying a Vintage Wedding Dress on Etsy

My Tips for Buying a Vintage Wedding Dress on Etsy

Favourites
When browsing on Etsy you can click the heart to favourite any item you like the look of. Search for dresses in the style or era you’re looking for then use the favourites tool to keep track of dresses on the ‘maybe’ list; saving them for looking at in more detail later. Etsy is also very clever at showing you lovely items related to your favourites so next time you log on your home page will be full of dresses that will be up your street.

Measure Up
First things first you need to know your vital stats when looking to buy a dress online. As well as the garment measurement, Etsy stores tend to include their model’s measurements too and often use the same model for all their listings. Study pictures of the model in other items and get a feel for how you’d compare. Obviously comparing yourself to a model is not normally sensible life advice but seeing how my dress looked on the lovely Consetta’s Closet model and comparing her measurements to mine definitely helped me get an idea of how the dress might fit me – especially height wise.

Make Amends
If you find a dress that is almost a perfect fit it may be possible to make alterations,
have a professional seamstress deal with anything major like letting out seams or adjusting hemlines. You make be brave enough to attempt smaller modifications yourself. For example, I unpicked bands which were at the edge of the sleeves with *extreme* care.

Stalk Socials
Sellers often post sneak peaks of items due to be listed on Instagram and other social media channels so if you see something that takes your fancy you can be poised to snap it up.

Ask Away
Etsy sellers tend to be lovely so don’t be afraid to contact them with any questions you might have about the condition or details of a dress. Ultimately they can’t make your mind up for you but I’m sure sellers would be happy to help if they can.

Duty Calls
You should expect to pay import duty if you’re buying a dress from overseas. My dress actually managed to avoid it but many an item I’ve bought from The States has not. There are details on what you can expect to be charged here. The most annoying thing about being charged for imports isn’t the tax itself but the £8 handling fee. Just remember if you do return the item you can claim the tax back.

Go For It!
Obviously, with buying a vintage wedding dress online there’s a risk that it won’t be quite perfect for you when it arrives but the end of the day if it’s not right you can always send it back or even sell it on. However, if you do find something right for you, you’ll have the pleasure of wearing something truly unique on your wedding day. Ultimately if you come across a dress you love the look of in your size don’t agonise over it, go for it!

Wedding Bride and Groom Entering Bristol Register Office

A Few of My Favourite Etsy Stores:
Concettas’s Closet – This is shop my lovely dress came from. Currently stocking beautiful vintage wedding dresses from as early as the 1900’s! Not to mention their non-bridal selection is so dreamy!
Dear Golden – A large and stunning collection of vintage bridal wear.
Breanne Faouzi – Particularly unique styles from the 50s, 60s & 70s
The Vintage Studio – Perfect dresses for your inner the Prom Queen!

In taking a chance on a vintage wedding dress on Etsy I found just what I was looking for! You can check out my bridal inspiration board on Pinterest.

I hope my tips may encourage you to at least have a look at what Etsy has to offer – do you have any tips of your own? I’d love to hear them. Oh and any tips on removing a cranberry juice stain from a vintage wedding dress would be nice too! (Whoops!)

Our Wedding: Vows & Readings

INSPIRE

wedding-readings-vows-exchanging-rings

As I mentioned in my last post, our reason for doing our ‘legal bit’ separately was to give us the freedom to have exactly the day we wanted on our main wedding day; this included the ceremony itself being conducted by one of our best friends as well as writing our own wedding vows and choosing wedding readings special and personal to us.

Vows

Technically we more adapted our own vows than wrote them from scratch. We found these vows on Pinterest which struck a chord and used them as a basis. We changed wording that didn’t work for us and then added our own few lines at the end. This is certainly a technique I would recommend as a starting point for anybody who might like to write their own but is apprehensive – it’s an incredibly daunting task!

When I was wedding planning I became pretty obsessed with finding examples of what real people had chosen (opposed to Buzzfeed-style lists!); so I’ve included both our vows and wedding readings in full for anyone who is doing their own research or just fancies reading some pretty words.

Our Vows

C: I can’t promise you that dark clouds will never hover over our lives,
or that the future will bring us only sunny days.

W: I can’t promise you that tomorrow will be perfect or that life will be easy.

C: I can promise you my everlasting devotion, my loyalty, my respect, and my unconditional love for a lifetime.

W: I can promise that I’ll always be there for you, to listen and to hold your hand, and I’ll always do my best to make you happy, and make you feel loved.

C: I can promise that I’ll see you through any crisis, and laugh with you, dream with you, build with you, and always cheer you on and encourage you.

W: I’ll willingly be your protector, your advisor, your counsellor, your friend,
your family, your everything.

C: I will promise to try my best not to make us late, to find the ‘funny’ in all situations, and make you tea every morning.

W: I can promise that I’ll try not to rush you, I’ll go to gigs with you on a Monday night, be your kitchen companion and accept that there is no such thing as watching Buffy too many times.

***

Yep, that’s confirmation in our vows right there ^^^ that I can watch as much Buffy as I like for the rest of my life! 😆

wedding readings, wedding vows, wedding rings

Readings

We really wanted to have readings from that rang true to our passions and geeky nature. I think researching words from the worlds of literature, cinema and music was one of my favourite tasks when wedding planning. I even found myself delving through our cookery bookshelve wondering if a reading of a favourite recipe would be appropriate! We decided against that, but it was fun to analyse unusual sources in the context of being read aloud as a wedding reading.

In the end, we chose readings from my favourite film, Will’s favourite book and a song from a favourite band of ours. These were ‘Come What May‘ taken from Moulin Rouge which was read (rather emotionally) by Will’s mum, an amazing acoustic performance of ‘Sunday’ by Bloc Party by one of my cousins and an extract from ‘The Amber Spyglass‘ by Philip Pullman, read beautifully by another cousin.

Wedding reading number 1.  ‘Come What May’ taken from the film Moulin Rouge

Never knew I could feel like this
Like I’ve never seen the sky before
Want to vanish inside your kiss
Every day I love you more and more
Listen to my heart, can you hear it sing?
Telling me to give you everything
Seasons may change, winter to spring
But I love you until the end of time
Come what may, come what may
I will love you until my dying day

Suddenly the world seems such a perfect place
Suddenly it moves with such a perfect grace
Suddenly my life doesn’t seem such a waste
It all revolves around you
And there’s no mountain too high, no river too wide
Sing out this song and I’ll be there by your side
Storm clouds may gather and stars may collide
But I love you,
Until the end of time
Come what may, come what may
I will love you until my dying day

wedding readings, wedding vows, wedding details

Wedding reading (song) number 2. Cover of ‘Sunday’ by Bloc Party

Heavy night it was a heavy night
Feels like we come back from the dead
Heavy night it was a heavy night
I cannot remember what I said to anyone

If we get up now we can catch the afternoon
Watch the under 15s playing football in the park
Let’s sit in St. Leonard’s in this alcoholic day we’re doing the best with what we’ve got

I love you in the morning,
When you’re still hung-over
I love you in the morning,
When you’re still strung out,
I love you in the morning,

I work hard all week, and so do you
We deserve to let off some steam
Less orthodox creeping when we need to rage through this life
There might be ones who are smarter than you
That have the right answers
That wear better shoes
Forget about those melting ice caps, we’re doing the best, with what we’ve got

I love you in the morning,
When you’re still hung-over
I love you in the morning,
When you’re still strung out,
I love you in the morning,

With you I am calm
A pearl in your oyster
Head on my chest and a silent smile, a private kind of happiness
You see giant proclamations are all very well
But our love is louder than words

weddings-reading-vows, fern details

Wedding reading number 3. Taken from The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman

She sat down slowly, and he sat down beside her.

“Oh, Will,” she said, “what can we do? Whatever can we do? I want to live with you for ever. I want to kiss you and lie down with you and wake up with you every day of my life till I die, years and years and years away. I don’t want a memory, just a memory…

“No,” he said, “memory’s a poor thing to have. It’s your own real hair and mouth and arms and eyes and hands I want. I didn’t know I could ever love anything so much. Oh, Lyra, I wish this night would never end! If only we could stay here like this, and the world could stop turning, and everyone else could fall into a sleep…”

“Everyone except us! And you and I could live here for ever and just love each other.”

“I will love you for ever, whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead I’ll drift about for ever, all my atoms, till I find you again…” 

“I’ll be looking for you, Will, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you…

We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we’ll be joined so tight.”

wedding readings, wedding vows, Bride and groom

Hope this may have been interesting or even useful. I’d love to know what you chose / are choosing / would choose!? Let me know!

My Favourite Albums of 2016 So Far

August 8, 2016

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5 Albums I'm Loving

We’re now over halfway through and it’s shaping up to be a pretty good year for new music in my opinion, so I thought I’d share my favourite albums of 2016 so far from releases from the first half of the year.

Anohni Hopelessness

 

 

 

 

Anohni – Hopelessness 

‘Hopelessness’ is the first album under the name of Anohni, formally Anthony & The Johnson’s. The beautiful and at times heart wrenching vocals coupled with really interesting, luscious electronic track production make this a pretty spectacular album.

Beyonce_-_Lemonade_(Official_Album_Cover)

 

 

 

 

Beyonce – Lemonade

If an album’s not on Spotify there’s very little chance I’m going to buy it to be honest, so despite the buzz I didn’t get into Beyonce’s latest when it first came out. However I recently caught a screening of the accompanying ‘Lemonade’ film on Sky Atlantic and now I’m hooked. Like seriously hooked – I. Can’t. Stop. Listening. To. Bey.

damien-jurado-visions-of-us-land

 

 

 

 

Damien Jurado – Visions of Us on the Land

Considering this is his twelfth album I’m not sure how I’ve managed to not be aware of Damien Jurado up until now! I love the sprawling, psychedelic Americana feel on this record. A great album to lose yourself in on headphones or perfect summer driving music.

David Bowie_blackstar-album-cover

 

 

 

 

David Bowie – Black Star

After his death I couldn’t really bring myself to listen to ‘Black Star’: it felt too raw and morbid. I sobbed my way through my old favourites instead. I think it will always be a hard record to listen to in some ways knowing that he recorded and release it knowing that it would be his last – but also… how awesome is that? What a beautiful parting gift he left us with.

emmy-the-great-second-love-album

 

 

 

 

Emmy The Great – Second Love

Emmy the Great’s first two records are some of my most listened to albums so I was pretty excited for her long-awaited third album. After a five-year gap ‘Second Love’ has quite a different feel to Emmy’s first two albums, but I’ve been digging the new sound and the new songs sat perfectly next to her old ones when I saw her live earlier this year.

Golden Rules Golden Ticket

 

 

 

 

Golden Rules – Golden Ticket

When I’m not listening to all this indie and folk I love a bit of hip hop and Golden Ticket has been an album on heavy rotation this year. A super groovy collaboration between a London based producer Paul White and Floridian rapper Eric Biddines, the later has this brilliant Andre 3000 sort of drawl which I just love.

last-shadow-puppets-album-everything-you-come-expect

 

 

 

 

The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect

After seeing them at Bristol Summer Series at the end of June ago I’m having quite a The Last Shadow Puppets moment and it’s not all because of Alex Turner’s hips (really). ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect’ is a great rock & roll album.

laura gibson empire builder

 

 

 

 

Laura Gibson – Empire Builder

Although she’s not someone I’ve come across until recently, the latest album from Laura Gibson has been a big favourite of mine over the last few months. Putting me in mind of the likes of First Aid Kit and Alela Diane, Empire Builder is definitely a record to add to my ‘one day I’ll live in a cabin in the mountains‘ playlist! Beautiful, melancholic folk at it’s finest.

Matthew and the Atlas Temple

 

 

 

 

Matthew and the Atlas – Temple

More beautiful, goosebump-inducing, folky sounds; the second album from Matthew and the Atlas is just pretty darn lovely.

Savages adore life

 

 

 

 

Savages – Adore Life

It took me a while to get into Savage’s second album but now I think I prefer it to their brilliant first ‘Silence Yourself’. When only some loud music will do to fit my mood, Savages are my go-to, and if you haven’t had a chance to catch them live, do it – Jehnny Beth is hands down one of the best front people I’ve seen!

 

You can listen to all my favourite albums of 2016 so far (bar Beyonce – sorry) on Spotify. Along with my top records I’ve also been digging the new albums from Radiohead, Daughter, Cait Le Bon and Lail Arad. And with new drops just arrived or on their way from the likes of Bat For Lashes, Metronomy, Glass Animals and Avalanches I think 2016 is gonna be a good album year indeed! Do feel free to follow me on Spotify here to see what I’m listening to.

What new albums are soundtracking your life at the moment?

Yonder Collective Dinner – Encounters

June 7, 2016

INSPIRE / NOURISH

On a rather wet evening in May 2016 I joined a group of Bristol based creative-types who gathered for the third Yonder Collective dinner. The theme for the event was ‘Encounters – encountering ordinary things in unexpected ways’.

Yonder Collective Bristol laid tableYonder Collective Dinning Tablle

For me, the first encounter of the evening was discovering the hidden gem Salt Cafe Deli, whose beautiful, light space in Hotwells provided the perfect setting for the event. At the heart of Yonder Collective dinners is the idea of collaboration with a group of people coming together to curate each event from the food to the decor. Using the theme as inspiration two large dining tables were decorated simply and stylishly. Designer Lyzi (of Being Little) elevated the menus and place setting from the ordinary using geometric and 3D shapes. These cool designs were complemented by centrepieces of geometric terrariums – each one handmade especially for the evening by the oh-so-talented Palyglass.

Perhaps the most surprising encounter for me was how much I enjoyed the drawing workshop which saw us encountering our own features in an unexpected way. I was slightly apprehensive at first but quickly got into the fun self-portrait exercises lead by Elinor John.Yonder Collective Bristol Palyglass Yonder Collective Bristol Drawing Workshop

The food for this Yonder Collective dinner was provide by Griffet Catering, whose delicious seasonal menu perfectly captured the theme of the evening. The canapés which wound their way round the room were as intriguing as they were delicious. Fresh, crisp baby veg in smoked aubergine puree delivered on trowels, smoking boxes containing hops flavoured crisps, mackerel lolly pops and the prettiest morsels of edible flowers all provided the perfect talking point to break the ice with the first companions we found ourselves seated with. Not that the flow of conversation needed much encouragement!

Yonder Collective Bristol Edible Garden Yonder Collective Bristol CanpesYonder Collective Bristol Lamb Chops

Moving seats twice during the course of the evening was a great way to get a chance to meet a wider variety of people. As we enjoyed a fantastic main of Spring Lamb, a delightful dessert of Doughnut and rhubarb and a few glasses of wine I found myself sat next to designers, bloggers, teachers, makers, business owners and photographers. Topics of conversation were wide and varied ranging from creativity and business to our favourite spots to eat in Bristol and connecting through social media. In fact the latter was a topic that came up again and again as it became apparent that most people present had discovered and connected with Yonder Collective through Instagram. Social Media is my profession but also quite a passion of mine and being in a room full of wonderful people who had been brought together through its connective power brought joy to this Instagram addict’s soul! (You can see me snapping away in the photo below 😁)

Yonder Collective Bristol from aboveYonder Collective Bristol Place Setting

Forging new connections and feasting on amazing food was the most wonderful way to spend an evening at Yonder Collective and I left feeling energised and inspired by the creativity and the passion of the people I’d encountered.

Visit the Yonder Collective site for more information and to sign up to find out about future events.

The evening’s creative team

Yonder Collective founder Emma Chapman-Burnet
Photography by Kym Grimshaw
Illustration by Lyzi Unwin
Terrariums by Palyglass
Food by Griffet Catering
Drawing workshop with Elinor John
Creative Consultant – Rebecca Storey

All wonderful photos featured (apart from the last) by the awesome Kym Grimshaw who’s lovely food blog On The Plate should be added to your bookmarks post-haste!

So Fresh, So Green

May 15, 2016

INSPIRE

Montpellier Train Station In the Rain

I’m one of those annoying people that genuinely quite likes a rainy day. During the inevitable downpours which followed the recent glorious weather everyone seemed to be lamenting the change in weather like that was it for summer; whereas I was feeling pretty chirpy and especially marvelling at how the word suddenly seemed so green. And of course documenting the fact through my iPhone…

St Michael's Hill St Michael on the Mount Without, Bristol St Michael's on the Mount Without Front

Over the last few years I feel that I have been much more aware of the changing of the seasons than I used to be. I knew it was all going on of course but I’m sure I didn’t notice in the same way the signs of spring as they appeared… the bright daffodil blooms being followed by beautiful blossoms which in turn give way to all this luscious green.

Maybe it’s getting older or a stronger desire to seek out nature amongst city life, but in truth I think the shift in awareness is actually an interesting by-product of my ever increasing love of iPhonography and the desire to share snippets of my life in pretty little squares on Instagram. Like being more aware of the seasonal change in surroundings, I look at everything in a slightly different way these days – noticing the colours, the light and moments happening around me as I go about my daily life. If something catches my eye I may well get my phone out and snap away but also often I don’t. I understand where the argument that our constant craving to document can take one out of the moment is coming from but for me I disagree; I believe the potential for a perfect shot actually makes me more present.

Rainy Day King Square Bristol

What do you think my fellow insta-obssessed? I’d love to know if the #JustGoShoot mentality has had an effect on your world view.

Follow me on Insta at @_charlieswift or for more off-the-cuff snaps I’m on Snapchat as charlieswift.

Discoveries

April 3, 2016

INSPIRE

Blue painted potting shed

Sunday Best is a monthly series where I share the best links, bits & pieces I’ve found on my travels around social media and the web.

Kicking off with my 30th and a surprise trip to Bruges March has been pretty hectic – trips away to visit family, house hunting. All good fun of course but I’m welcoming April and hoping it brings a chance to slow down and recharge before summer time begins.

Here’s a few things which caught my eye in March…

// One of my favourite jewellery brands Wolf & Moon have released a lovely new collection.

// I love Wild Garlic season!

// Now That’s What I Call Music compilations ranked from best to worst.

// Emmy The Great’s new album Second Love is beautiful. It was a joy to see her live again in Bristol this month.

// I think this letter exchange is a wonderful idea.

// Not sure about this year’s Glasto line up.

// I want to make this Smoky Chipotle Hummus

// Powerpuff yourself!

Playlist: Signs Of Spring

March 22, 2016

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Cherry Blossom Against Blue Sky

Here’s one I made early… I created this playlist last year but have been falling for it all over again now that spring in the air. For me this sweet collection of tracks captures the joyous but changeable nature of the season; with plenty of weather references thrown in for good measure.

Check it out and save to your Spotify playlists via the player below.

Track List

Alex Turner – It’s Hard To Get Around The Wind
José González – Leaf Off / The Cave
Alt-J – Taro
Laura Marling – False Hope
Graham Coxon – Perfect Love
Got A Girl – There’s A Revolution
Sylvan Esso – Dress
SOAK – Sea Creatures
Ibeyi – Weatherman

My last playlist: Women On Womanhood

Wish List: Anthropologie

March 16, 2016

NEST / STYLE

Anthropologie Montage Of Items, Denim Skirt, iPhone Case, Trainers,

I received lots of lovely presents for my 30th earlier this month, including a bit of cash and a rather generous gift card from the parents in-law for Anthropologie. Plus when you’re a signed-up Anthro obsessed subscriber like me the store sends you a voucher for 15% off in your birthday month. So as it’s seems like an ideal time to treat myself a little here’s a few things I’ve been eyeing up. Decisions, decisions.

I’m really not one to buy clothes that often so I try and buy pieces that are versatile and I know I’ll wear again and again. The Joline Denim Skirt seems like a great item for transitioning between the seasons (does it sound like I know what I’m talking about?) and I think it’ll look great dressed up or down… or with these Azteca Trainers – which I’m kind of obsessed with. I just got a new iPhone 6s so a practical but pretty case is a must.

The clothes are great but it’s the Anthropologie Homewares section that really sets my hear a-flutter. I have a lot of time for their quirky, colourful ceramics and just take a moment to appreciate the beauty of that Dreambirds Casserole Dish. I mean, it’s probably too pretty to put in the oven… but that’s not really the point is it? Finally, I have no space for, nor can I afford one at the moment but one day a bar cart like this Delaney will enter my life and make all my Madmen themed cocktail hour dreams come true!

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