Wednesday, 31 December 2014

What I got for Christmas/ birthday 2014

As my birthday and Christmas are only four days apart, I decided to wait until later to write my 'what I got for Christmas' post. My main present this year was a laptop, so the rest of my presents were just littler things such as books, clothes and beauty products. I haven't featured any of the clothes I got on this post because they'll be featured on upcoming outfit posts.

For my birthday from my nan, I got this vintage suitcase, which is really lovely and I can't wait to use it when we go away to York this weekend! I also got quite a few books from various friends and family. From the top of the pile is a photography book which documents the 1940s, I haven't read this properly yet but it looks like it'll be an interesting read. I then received two art books from my parents, one on Klee and the other on Van Gogh. Both are very inspiring to look at. The one on Van Gogh features letters he wrote to friends and family, whilst he was travelling and explains the inspiration behind some of his paintings. As I saw some of his work whilst in Lille this summer, learning the story behind his paintings is fascinating for me. As an avid watcher of 'Have I Got News For You', I was really excited to hear that one of the panelists, Paul Merton, was bringing out an autobiography, I've already read it and would definitely recommend it for anyone who wants a good laugh.  The last two books are 'Love at First Stitch' by Tilly Walnes, which I'll be reviewing here soon, and a photography book explaining the history of cameras and featuring many photographers I've looked at on my A level course.

In terms of DVDs (I'm not fancy enough for Blu-ray), I got all the seasons of The Mighty Boosh, Princess Mononoke and two films I missed in the cinema when I was ill during exam season. I really love Studio Ghibli, so I'm excited to now have two DVDs that were missing from my collection! I am also a massive fan of superheroes so can't wait to finally watch 'Days of Future Past'. (Which is the new X-Men film, for those who didn't know)

I have a product review coming up, so depending how that goes, I may also do some reviews of a few of the beauty products I received for Christmas and my birthday. My friend Sophie got me some Ted Baker products for my birthday, which I love, Ted Baker products are always really nicely packaged and smell divine! Various people also gave me nail varnishes, and I especially like the colours of the Bourjois ones.

Lastly, is this notebook from Paperchase, which is right up my street with embroidered thread spools on it. I'm not sure what to use it for yet though. I'm thinking either a book filled with fabric swatches or a sort of craft journal, where I can stick in swatches and photos of things I have made.

Hope you all have a happy new year.

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Monday, 29 December 2014

Dancing Queen- young and sweet, only 17...

Sorry that I haven't posted on here for a while, there has been a lot of work for college and numerous Christmas gifts which I had to make. However, I have a fair few posts planned for the coming weeks. Today is (was) my 17th birthday and I spent it with my family, my mum cooked a gluten free lasagne and Jasmine made a delicious cake. I seem to have a new tradition of watching the original Wizard of Oz, on my birthday, as last year I was bought a sing-along edition! I think tonight we're just going to watch films and cook pizza.

I wore my new shirt and skirt that I got in the sales from a lovely shop in Tynemouth called 'Ruby and Frank'. I love their sales and have a habit of buying sought after items cheaper because they are in the small sizes! I also wore a cardigan from New Look which was one of the presents from my parents, which I've loved it ever since I first saw it back in September/ October time. My watch was a Christmas present from my Grandparents and is by 'Olivia Burton', who do beautiful vintage inspired watches. I've also been trying out a newer make-up look, I got a Bourjois set from my parents at Christmas and I love how 60s inspired it is, so I may attempt a tutorial on that. (Although I'm definitely no beauty guru!)

Lighting the candles! 
I recently spent £44 of my Christmas money on fabric, so expect two new posts about that soon! I'm thinking about doing a 'What I got for Christmas and birthday' post, and I'm also going to York this weekend to celebrate my Grandparent's golden wedding anniversary. (We're getting a photoshoot done!)

Hope you've all had a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Until next time

Holly Olivia x

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

NE bloggers movie night

I was invited to an event for North East bloggers last thursday to watch a Christmas film and eat food. The event was held at the Sky offices in Newcastle, so getting there involved rushing from sixth form to get changed and eat something, before hopping on the metro. It was organised by Suzanne from 'Sparkle Communications', who are a PR company based also based in the North East. Sadly, the turnout was poor for unknown reasons, but I still had a really good time!
We watched 'Elf', which I had never seen before, I tend to stick to Scrooge, Home Alone and Gremlins when watching Christmas films, but it was a really funny film and very uplifting. We were also given a goodie bag from Sky with pens, notebooks and other freebies in, and a bag of Topcorn popcorn, which was nice as college have booted up the price of it by 15p. (shocking) There was also a large buffet, which I didn't eat anything from as it all contained gluten and I wasn't very hungry.

Credit- Gavin Forster

Credit- Gavin Forster

In the rush of getting from sixth form to the event, I forgot my camera but luckily was allowed to use these ones taken by another blogger, Gavin. 
I wore a collared shirt from Primark, under my Christmas jumper with my denim Oasis skirt and boots. My hat is from Primark and was only £10, so a third of the price of Topshop hats, when I last looked. Hope you are all having a wonderful festive period!

Until next time,

Holly Olivia x

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Open studios at The Biscuit Factory

Last weekend was Open Studios at the Ouseburn, where a series of galleries and creative businesses in Newcastle opened their doors for Christmas shoppers and workshops. I only got photos from when I went to the Biscuit Factory, which is one of my favourite UK galleries, and also where I did work experience in year ten.
The gallery showcases a lot of local art and ceramics, and I was allowed to take photos to promote the event.

The above images are of some of mine and my mum's favourite work in the gallery. They are created by artist Dean Patman from found materials, so are all completely unique and also really, really cute. The anteater is one of my favourite pieces, mainly because I adore tamanduas, which are a tree climbing anteater, one once climbed my leg at London zoo and it was the happiest experience ever. However, I also love the recycled element of his work and if I had enough money, I'd buy all of it.

I love the layout of the gallery, the name comes from the fact that it used to be a biscuit factory, and I really like the exposed brickwork and busy walls full of framed work. 

The above photos are of the studios downstairs, which are only open to the public on event days. They were really nicely decorated for the festive period with baubles and tissue paper pompoms. (It made me want my own artist's studio!) After this we went on the free bus around a couple of other places, I even managed to get some Christmas presents bought and made! 

Until next time

Holly Olivia x
Monday, 1 December 2014

Festive portraits inspired by ABM

Warning: This post may sound like it's sponsored by the A Beautiful Mess blog.... (It's not)

Today I am sharing some photographs me and Jasmine took yesterday as we put the Christmas tree up. As today is a school/work day, we wanted to put the decorations up a day early- sorry.
These photographs were inspired by some of the photos featured in the A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book, that feature Elsie and Jeremy Larson.

Photo on left is from The ABM blog- here
The above photo is a comparison of Jeremy and Elsie's photograph and the one we did, I loved the idea of using tree lights as a light source, however ours weren't as bauble-like and were just average fairy lights. I used my Nikon D3200, with the flash, and a lamp in the background as a light source. The editorial process was easy, I changed the photos to black and white on Photoshop, changed the levels of black and white, and also changed the brightness and contrast of the image- wherever necessary to get a 'proper' black and white image. AKA- little grey colouring to image. 

The top set of photos out of these three, show how changing the brightness and contrast made the finished photograph more black and  white, as oppose to grey. However, this does make some of the images appear grainy- although I quite like this affect as it reminds me of film photographs. The last photos are of Jasmine, being her usual 'camera shy' self. If my memory serves correct, Jasmine was dancing to S Club 7 when I took her portraits, so that may explain somethings. One thing I really like about the Christmas period is how well me and her get along. (Not that we usually fight!) 

Until next time,

Holly Olivia x

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Easy Christmas card DIY

These past weeks I've realized that with so much work from college, the idea of posting two blog posts each week is unlikely; even though the last thing I want to be doing is college work. Consequently, my blog posts may have no regular posting schedule, although I have a whole host of Christmassy DIYs to share with you all, in the coming weeks.

My first DIY Christmas post is about making your own cards, this DIY is really easy and would also be good to make with kids.

For this DIY you will need;

  • Acrylic paint in black, white, brown, red and orange (or red and yellow)
  • A paint pallet
  • Paintbrushes in various sizes (I use a multipack of 22 for £2.99 from The Works)
  • Card in your chosen colours
  • A ruler
  • A pencil
  • Glue
  • Pens or a lettering stamp kit 
Step one- to use the black and brown paint to thumbprint ovals onto the card, these will form the bodies of the birds. 
Step two- use your pinky finger to dot white on the black circles, and red on the brown circles, to create the 'belly' of your  robins and penguins.

Step three- using a pen, or a small paintbrush, add the eyes and legs to the 'robins'. I dotted white onto each for the eyes, then added a back pupil when the paint had dried. I also used a very small paintbrush to add legs, which were just 'fork' shapes. With the black paint, I painted little triangle shapes for the beaks as well. 

Step four- Using orange, black and white paint, add the details onto the 'penguins'. I used a small paintbrush to add the orange beaks and flippers, which were just three lines all coming from the same point. I did the eyes the same as before, for the robins.

Step five- I cut around my three birds on each bit of card, this created thinner strips, which I used on my final greetings cards, you can cut them out how you want though. Fold a piece of card in half vertically, then glue the painted birds onto it. Draw lines with a ruler and pencil, marking how tall you want the finished cards to be. Cut along these lines.

Step six- Hand-write or use stamps, like I did, to write a greeting inside. As my cards were small, I couldn't fit the whole word 'Christmas' in, so just abbreviated it to 'merry xmas'.

I really hope you enjoyed this post and will be trying out the DIY for yourself. 
I also have a Christmas Pinterest board here, if you want to see more festive projects. 

Until next time

Holly Olivia x
Sunday, 16 November 2014

Kirkley Hall Christmas market and zoological gardens

There isn't a suitcase upcycling post this Sunday again, I am swapping the posting days around for this week as I haven't had much time to add more to the project. Today me, my mum and my sister headed to Ponteland for the Christmas market at Kirkley Hall. It cost £3 per person to enter and this included free entry to the zoological gardens, where we saw alpacas and lemurs.

The market itself, was set in the grounds of the very pretty Kirkley Hall, there were some stalls in the courtyard and around various other marquees in the premises. It was nice to see so many small businesses selling their makes and bakes, as well as Christmas trees and gifts. I really wanted to buy some of the hog roast for lunch, but the servers were using the same tongs to handle the bread and meat, so I didn't want to risk it, I'd say this was the only downside of today, the only thing I could find for me to eat was a gluten free salted caramel brownie from The Brownie Bar, it was really tasty but didn't have enough of a salted caramel flavour for my liking. I did find gluten free dog treats, which was annoying as there was more choice of food for gluten intolerant dogs, than for people.

The zoological gardens at Kirkley Hall are actually for students who want to work with animals in the future, although they are also open to the public. We saw porcupines, alpacas, donkeys, snakes, lizards and monkeys, among many other animals, As well as this, there was a 'petting barn' for children to be able to see the farm animals more closely. We had a definite soft spot for the guinea-pigs, as we'd kept pet guineas for years until Albert sadly passed away earlier this year. 

Jasmine was up for holding a bird of prey, I did want to hold a Barn Owl, but the queue was basically a free for all, so I decided not to wait. Jasmine and I, also went on the (very fast) ferris wheel,and sang along to the Christmas music at the top of our lungs- which I'm sure was pleasant for everyone nearby!

I wore my coat from Primark which I talked more about here, a woolen A-line skirt from Beyond Retro with a jumper I made last year when I had the flu, the pattern is in Mollie Makes issue 31, which is available to buy digitally on the App Store. My tights are from Marks and Spencer and my boots are new from Primark- they cost only £18 and are so comfortable and warm! My rocket necklace is from the very talented Kate Rowland, and it one of the only pieces of jewelry I wear. I took my oh so loved leather camera bag from Reid and Hamilton with me for the day to carry my camera and hoard of 'just in case' gluten free snacks. 

We left at about 2:30pm with the Christmas tree we bought my dad, as he couldn't be there, and began the trek along the muddy field back to the car. The market was a really fun day out and definitely put me in a Christmassy spirit, now I just want to drink spiced hot apple juice and watch Christmas films. Hope your weekend has been as good!

Until next time

Holly Olivia x