vampyresheep: (Default)
2017-07-16 12:21 am
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Chap Olympiad 2017

We've been going to the Chap Olympiad for around 5 years now?  Last year started with a hiccup, when doorstaff decided to confiscate all soft drinks - the irony that they didn't search for my bottle of gin, leaving me with booze but no mixer!  To avoid a repeat of that this year, their ticket still only specifying "no alcohol" I emailed to find out what their soft drinks policy was.  Got an apologetic response from Bourne & Hollingsworth, assuring me that won't be the case this year.  So to say I was annoyed is an understatement, when I got an email this week stating that whilst picnics were still allowed, all drinks other than unopened bottles of water were not.  A few complaint emails and rants/discussions with other disgruntled ticket holders on the FB page later, i was feeling 100% negative about going and not even sure if they would let me in, thinking I might be blacklisted.  As it happened, no problems getting in but how was the day itself? ....

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vampyresheep: (Default)
2017-06-23 04:18 pm
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blog posting - what is the point!

Its been a month since my holiday now but its been difficult to motivate myself continue to post my blog on the trip.  So much bad news in the world right now, its just been too depressing to focus on the positive and I've been increasingly of the belief that people only want to use social media to vent, rant, spout their opinion.  That's not to say we should ignore the horrors of the world but shouting at each other about it solves nothing.

Any attempts I've made to post anything helpful/factual is conveniently ignored, as has been any attempt of light relief. ..... the only photos that people comment upon are party/dressing up pics, is nobody interested in reading about people's travel or cultural experiences any more?  Genuine question.  I'm trying to work out the best way to compile my photos/blogs of my travels and outings.  I like having the albums to refer to on Facebook, a good visual reminder of where I was at a given time and I also like to have a written blog but I get the impression I am boring everyone by doing so!

Yes, of course there is slight ego involved - why else do we all post our holiday pics online?  I had some fantastic experiences and wanted to share them with friends, so its a bit meh when all you get is a couple of "likes" of the album the instant you posted it. Its pretty obvious that they've not gone any further than seeing the few preview pics when it's "liked" that soon! ;-)

I for one am going to make a concerted effort to take more interest in what my friends are doing in their day to day life, their travels, experiences, adventures and acheivements;  at the same time bite my tongue and avoid commenting on opinion pieces.  We appear to have lost the art of polite/intelligent debate and when anyone posts a news article, they do so only for others to agree with it, not discuss it, as anything to the contrary is seen as showing they are wrong?

And I guess by posting this, detractors will be having a bitch about my ego behind my back.  However, this wasn't intended to be a rant, I was attempting to post the next part of my holiday blog and the intro turned into what the **** is the point.

Anyway, there we are.  Happy Friday!  got a quiet weekend coming up, so at least everyone is saved from being bored by my photos for a few days!

vampyresheep: (Default)
2017-06-15 11:29 pm
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Stockholm part 2 - Sodermalm and Gamla Stan

After breakfast on Saturday we set out to explore the town.  We weren't sure how this was going to go, having discovered that the Stockholm marathon was taking place that day -epic timing!

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All the photos of Saturday morning are here

vampyresheep: (Default)
2017-06-10 05:17 pm
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Stockholm adventure

  gah, last weekend I was in Stockholm!!! How is that a week ago already.  This trip was intended to be a cheap weekend away instead of going to WGT - so not sure why we chose the most expensive city in Europe, but still, it was an adventure I was looking forward to. 

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2017-05-27 12:26 am

a tale of two dresses

Given that so much of my spare time is being taken up by my dissertation this year, any big sewing projects have been put on hold but I couldn't not sew at all, so have been making up some smaller, more practical items.  One thing I wanted to tackle was jersey, after having purchased some cute as hell fabric from Berlin earlier in the year.
Geister Party fabric
a little sewing blog under the cut )

And in future, if I am going to use this account for sewing blogs, I really should remember to take progress pics.Save
vampyresheep: (Default)
2017-04-11 12:02 am
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Berlin out of line weekender - part 5 Sunday

Sunday started with the traditional search for brunch.

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the full photo gallery of the last two days is

vampyresheep: (Default)
2017-04-10 11:23 pm
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Berlin out of line weekender - part 4 Saturday

Despite the late night, i was still awake by 9am Saturday.

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2017-04-10 11:00 pm
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2017-04-10 10:28 pm

Berlin out of line weekender - part 2 Friday daytime

Friday. Wanted to take it a little easy to save our feet before the first night of the festival. Had breakfast at the eclectic Tante Emma cafe across the river - a platter which was nothing less than a work of art, a tasty one at that!

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full gallery for the first two days
vampyresheep: (Default)
2017-04-10 10:02 pm
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Berlin out of line weekender - Part 1 Weds/Thurs

Typed up on our flight home, finally got round to posting it now......Making the most of some quiet time on our flight to actually write an LJ post. On our way home from a fab but tiring and unhealthy weekend in Berlin. Our fourth visit to the Out of Line Weekender but this one was a bit different - we weren't the only non Germans here! What was always a bands focussed event, instead took on a social aspect. Much fun but meant i didn't get to sit between bands at all.

This year we arrived a day early as Wednesday flights were cheap. Got to our boat accommodation early evening, with a warm welcome and a free breakfast. :-)

Had dinner that evening in our usual Kreuzberg staple, Hasir for yummy Turkish meal - newly refurbished and new friendly staff, it was even more enjoyable than usual.

Followed by our usual baklava stop … new discovery, chocolate pistachio baklava, heaven! Back to our boat for drinks, where we were briefly joined by Susan and Hels, who were staying down the road with the rest of the British goth contingent.

Thursday we decided to explore Dahlem district, out west. As the weather was mizzly, we decided to forego the original plan to visit the Funkturm on the way and decided on the Olympic Stadium instead. A very interesting tour discovering this beautifully designed and historically significant building. Next door was another significant building, Corbusierhaus, which was fantastic to see ( for a modernist architecture geek like me anyway!)

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Link to full gallery of pics

vampyresheep: (Default)
2017-04-07 12:29 pm
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sewing with saris

Not that I have time to even think about sewing at the moment :-( I really want to make something from the sarees and indian suit kits that I've been building up a collection of.
Love this idea of making 1950's dresses from them.
However this is my real weakness in sewing, how to repurpose an item or visualise how to put it together without a pattern as a base to get me started. currently all I can think of making are tunic tops, which is a bit dull and would probably hardly get worn.


just how pretty are those!!!
vampyresheep: (Default)
2017-04-06 01:39 pm

leaving LJ

So I appear to have moved myself over to Dreamwidth. Hello! Not sure yet if I will stay here or use Wordpress but I need to get back into writing proper posts again and LJ was beginning to to build up too much baggage (not just the Russians but a redundant friends list and lack of control over it)

vampyresheep: (shadow)
2017-02-08 11:05 pm

Trip Report - Seville, part 3, Monday

Our final day. :-(

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Final day's photos here
vampyresheep: (shadow)
2017-02-08 10:35 pm

Trip Report - Seville, part 2, Sunday

Sunday - Real Alcazar and Plaza de Espana compete for my affections. the battle was probably instead won by Bar Alfalfa though.

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The day's photos: morning and afternoon.
vampyresheep: (shadow)
2017-02-08 10:02 pm

Trip Report - Seville, part 1, Saturday

Needing to focus on positive things right now, so I will actually post a trip report of my recent holiday to Seville.

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A slightly frustrating first day but still good enough to make us both fall for Seville.
Full set of photos for this day are here
vampyresheep: (shadow)
2017-01-27 06:43 pm

A break from it all!

Not been on here for way too long but a quick scan over my long overdue friends feed does make me feel its a much calmer place than FB is at the moment.  I really don't know why I keep going on there, it just depresses me.  Yes, we're living in nasty, scary times. However the anger, hateful and close-minded views all over FB (and yes I am referring to both sides here) is just making me want to scream.  Anger is understandable, however so much hate and vitriol towards others just feels counterproductive - I am more scared of the rift that has developed in this country than the politics behind it, as it feels that unrepairable damage has been done.

I'm damned if I do and damned if I don't though. If I post my thoughts on this, they get misinterpreted, which only serves to make me even more upset and if I keep to "fluff" I get accused of being shallow - or at worse a potential "traitor" who is letting my friends down. I can't do protest marches because I panic in an uncontrolled crowd and nobody needs me having a panic attack (those who saw me have a slight wibble at the themepark in WGT last year will understand this!) but I can't say this on FB as I get accused of being unsupportive etc etc.  I feel I need a break from it before I start to fall out with friends that I really don't want to lose, just through rash words written in haste.

I've also more important things to do online, as I now start to embark on my dissertation, which quite frankly is terrifying me!  A big part of this fear is the feeling that the timetable is just out of my hands - at least with the modules there were start and end dates, assignment dates etc.  This is just ambiguous.  I've not been assigned a supervisor yet.  I emailed a general overview of my proposed topic to the College before Christmas and was told it was an interesting idea but I needed narrowing down.  So two weeks ago, when the term officially started, I emailed with a "narrowed down" topic - no title yet but a summary of what I wanted to research and referenceing a few articles I've used as my starting point - and to date, no response!  According to the guidelines, we are supposed to submit our topic/draft title within two weeks (ie next Monday) and then when its approved, we have 3 weeks to submit a research proposal. And finally, once a supervisor is appointed we have up to 9 months to hand in the completed dissertation.

So now, due to lack of response, I don't know whether to start drafting the research proposal, just in case the topic isn't approved or just keep collecting literature, reading, and getting myself into even more of a panic. :-)

But anyway, that can wait until Tuesday - bringing me back to the original subject of this post.  Tomorrow morning, at "oh my god how early" Rob and I fly to Seville for a much needed short break to get away from it all.  I started to get feelings of wanderlust when we came back to work after Christmas and started looking up the feasibility of a trip to see the northern lights.  Somehow this went off on a tangent after watching Assassin's Creed, reminding me of the moorish architecture that I studied at Uni and always longed to visit, discovered it was surprisingly cheap to get to and stay in Seville and managed to convince Rob.  So tomorrow, we shall be in Dorne!*

or possibly Naboo*

*GOT filming location - aka Real Alcazar palace.  And Plaza de Espana ended up in the Star Wars franchise.

You never know, I may even get round to posting photos on my return!

This wasn't intended to be a vent/rant post but evidently it needed to be done, as that is what came out of my fingers as I typed. Hopefully some photos lightened the tone a bit. :-)

vampyresheep: (shadow)
2016-03-14 01:27 pm

The Age of Redemption

so in a vague attempt to revert to posting more on here than work whinges .... last weekend we were back in Belgium, for our annual excursion to Gala Nocturna, incorporating sightseeing, beer, genever and lots of tarting around in big gowns!  this year it moved to Ghent and was announced to be the 10th and final edition.
There were some gripes about this year's theme - the Age of Redemption - about stripping back the layers and revealing the "inner you".  Other than finding the mood-board vaguely discriminatory - lots of emaciated models draped in little more than random strips of diaphenous fabric, hardly something I could get away with - I found it to be a more interesting theme than the "disney options" of previous years, with more scope for interpretation.
My scope was somewhat obtuse - redemption made me think of Klimt's Beethoven Frieze and the message of "the redemption of man through Art".  Klimt made a lot of use of gold and red, I happened to have recently purchased some beautiful red/gold fabric, and some recent photos doing the rounds of the reenactment of some of Klimt's works gave me the base idea for my gown.  Taking with it on the way a bit of Mucha, and all manner of cultural inspiration (Indian, Afghan, Romany...... what did I do in the days before Pinterest! ;-) )
The intention was a quick outfit to construct, to fit in amongst my studies, however nothing is ever simple and after various wardrobe malfunctions, I finally ended with something vaguely representing my original intention.

The other joy of the weekend was a chance to revisit Ghent - or namely its wonderful bars and restaurants.  Some of us, having been before, didn't do much sightseeing but spent our time revisiting our favourite bars.  Most significantly t'Dreupelkot - a wonderful little genever bar, featuring over 100 flavours, mostly created by the owner Pol.  We spent a significant amount of time there Friday night, allowing for Pol's mood barometer to swing from "mediocre mood" to "pretty cheerful".
Saturday morning saw a visit to History at the Movies, a little costume exhibition housed in a beautiful old abbey.

Gala Nocturna itself was housed in another beautiful abbey/monastery.  Where it sadly lacked in dancefloor space, it made up for in atmosphere and general circulation space - lots of little rooms to discover, art installations, a buffet of yummy flemish cheeses, and the usual array of exquisitly attired guests.  We also had the bonus of "one of our own" behind the DJ decks, with Paul Garside (Rosenkavalier) being selected as one of the DJs for the night, so we did have many opportunities to dance and it was with very tired feet that i was determined to stay until the very final song - which was quite emotional to hear it announce the end of an era.  Who knows what the future will bring - if not Gala Nocturna, hopefully something equally as good.  and still in Belgium!

And because smugmug has "helpfully" decided to change its photo upload format, posting pics directly here is no longer as convenient, so here a link to view the album directly

vampyresheep: (shadow)
2015-12-15 12:40 am

an update of meh!

I've not posted on here in an age.  There have been some good things but i've just been too busy to post about them and my studies this term have been so badly paced and stressful, I've had little time to do much else online.
A quick summary

  • studies stressful.  Next module finished, now to spend Christmas writing an essay.

  • work has been meh.  Had my annual appraisal last week, which was interesting.  I managed to put my case across  that I thought my role should remain as a direct report to the director when my line manager comes back from maternity leave.  Frustrating to have to report to someone who knows nothing about what I do, when I have the experience and training to make decisions myself.  My director appears to agree with me, however my job description (and grade/salary) remains in limbo until she returns as of course it wouldn't be fair to make such changes in her absence.

  • oh, and I've broken my hand.  One highlight of the past few months was our trip away to Holland for my birthday ............. so what do I go and do? Bloody fall over and fracture a knuckle the day before we fly, that's what! :-/  And now my hand is in a plastercast until the new year, slowing down my typing/studies, curtailing my sewing plans and generally pissing me off.

But I'm going to attempt to finish on a high point.  This was the place of awesome we stayed in for my birthday.  We went to Arnhem for Emporium Vernesque, a dutch steampunk convivial and our decision to go was prompted by finding this accommodation. :-)  just heaven.

Oh, and Arnhem has a giant drunk aardvark!

vampyresheep: (shadow)
2015-09-24 01:27 pm

Sunday open house part 3

Our next stop was Temple.  I'd been to their open day a few years ago but a number of our group hadn't, and it such an amazing place its worth a revisit.  Pretty much a small town/community/campus housing all the legal societies and the amazing Temple Church.
Swiped from Wikipedia: "The Temple is an area of central London, in the vicinity of Temple Church, It is one of the main legal districts of the capital and a notable centre for English law, both historically and in the present day. The Temple area of the City of London consists of the Inner Temple and the Middle Temple, which are two of the four Inns of Court and act as local authorities in place of the City of London Corporation within their areas."

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