Day at the seaside

This past weekend, my husband and I went to Hastings, which is on the south coast of England. It was my first time there and I was pleasantly surprised. We walked along the boardwalk, had fish & chips on the beach for lunch, and went to the fishing and shipwreck museums, both of which are tiny. Of course, we took lots of photos with our DSLRs. Here are some of mine:

Unfortunately we didn’t see any dolphins.

This photo sums up British summer for me – overcast and cool, but people are determined to eat outside under a fake grass umbrella!

Haha. ♥

Birthday wishlist 2014

Hello! This year is already half over and my birthday is approaching at the end of July. Last year I made a wishlist on here of a few things I wouldn’t mind getting for my birthday. It worked pretty well so I’ve decided to make a new wishlist for this year:

“Heavy Hangs the Head” by Taryn Hipp.
She’s behind the ladyteeth zines that I’ve enjoyed reading recently. You can buy the book on which has UK shipping. I’m not sure how else to get her book. At last resort, you can contact her. She’s @tarynhipp on Instagram and Twitter.

Ilford HP5 35mm black & white film
I love taking photos, and enjoy developing my own black & white photos in the darkroom. So this film would be an inexpensive and very practical gift!

Mushroom PVC Apron from Cath Kidston
It’s strange that I don’t own an apron considering how much I bake and cook. I’m not usually a fan of Cath Kidston, but I absolutely love her mushroom patterns. ♥

Mushroom stanley mug by Cath Kidston
I also love this mushroom mug!

The Diary of Frida Kahlo.
What it says on the tin.

The Punk Singer on DVD
It’s just released here in the UK, and I’ve heard nothing but amazing things about this documentary. Plus, I just finished reading a book on the riot grrrl scene and now I like Kathleen Hanna even more. If nobody buys me this for my birthday I’m going to end up buying it for myself because I really want to see this.

These SuAtelier Stickers from Artbox are great! Especially the Stamp & Midnight Paris stickers.

I would like almost anything from the Artbox website. Everytime I visit their Covent Garden shop, I want to buy everything. Since I’ve started writing letters to friends again, the more stationary the better!

A Caffe Nero giftcard
It would definitely be used.

& the most expensive item on the list, a new record player with a USB port and built-in speakers.
My American record player isn’t compatible with UK voltage and for a couple years already I’ve been thinking of getting a new record player. I have records that want to be played!

If none of those items appeal to you, I’d also like almost anything to do with the following: bats, narwhals, puffins, Iceland, Moomins (I already have a Moomin necklace and pocket mirror), and guerilla girls (look in the Tate Modern shop). I also like most gifts/items from Paperchase and JOY.

And of course, I like anything homemade. Whether it’s a mix CD, a drawing or something you baked, I’ll love it. Xoxoxox

handmade developed film

Over the past couple of months, Daniel and I were taking photos around London with a lomo camera + Ilford 35mm black and white film. When it was time to develop the film, we used our connections through our friend Melanie K, and were able to use the Lux Darkroom where I got a private tutorial and I developed the film all on my own! I’m happy to say every photo turned out, but I’m only sharing a handful of them here. As you can see, the results are a bit dirty (literally) but I like the graininess and the imperfections. In the world of digital and instagram (and I confess I love instagram – my username is blackbootsandblackhearts), it’s refreshing to put a lot of work into the photographic process. It makes the end results that much more exciting.


Hampstead Heath

Celebrating the arrival of warmer weather in London, last Sunday we went to Hampstead Heath and it seemed like everyone was out. It was a beautiful day. ♥

Lee Miller‘s house.

Followed by a stop at High Tea of Highgate…Their vanilla rooibos tea is amazing.


35mm photo + cyanotype paper

Below is a cyanotype that I made a couple weeks ago, using a 35mm photo of my friends Jo and Melanie, taken last summer outside Melanie’s home. With my husband’s help with getting the contrast just right in GIMP (he’s a pro at this), I inverted the black and white of the photo, printed it out onto transfer paper, put the paper on top of a cyanotype in the sun for 10 minutes, and voi la, done! I made two of these, one for Melanie and one for Jo, both as part of their birthday gifts. Technically there is a third copy that is a little blurry, so I’ve kept that for myself.

Now that I know how to transfer photos onto cyanotypes I think I will be doing this more often!

UCL Museums

One great thing about a city like London is that you can live here for years and still find new discoveries. The other day I made two, which are both museums on the University College of London (UCL) campus – The Grant Museum of Zoology and the Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archeology.

Ten years ago I would’ve hated the Grant Museum, as looking at dissected animals would be the last thing I would find interesting, but now I find it fascinating. I also thought it was cool that there were people freely sketching the animals everywhere in their notebooks. When I got home my friend Mel told me that the (literal) Glass Jar of Moles in the Grant Museum have their own twitter! So I am following them now, of course.

Apologies for the reflections – it was a very sunny day.

monkey skeleton, (literally) hanging around

Then I discovered that there was another UCL museum around the corner, all about Ancient Egypt! Those who know me know that I love Ancient Egypt and when I was a kid I wanted to be an archeologist. So it didn’t take much to find Petrie Museum which “houses an estimated 80,000 objects, making it one of the greatest collections of Egyptian and Sudanese archaeology in the world” (Petrie Museum website). HOW DID I NOT KNOW ABOUT THIS PLACE? Doesn’t matter, I know it exists now.

Walking on Gower Street between the two museums….

The Petrie Museum…

Hedgehog artifacts, which made me think of my friend Maria, as we both love hedgehogs. <3

So if you ever find yourself in London and have a love for Zoology, Ancient Egypt, or both, definitely worth a visit to these places. Apparently there is also a UCL Art Museum but I guess I’m saving that for another day. xoxo

A new journal

I’ve started using one of my old rarely-used moleskines as a new sketch journal/scrapbook of sorts. I used to make collages inside of notebooks, but now am starting to incorporate a bit of hand-drawn art into the mix. This is partly inspired by Emma as the other week she showed me her sketchbook in person and it was amazing. I’m not an illustrator like her, so I am doing my own thing. Also, I now have suddenly a use for those piles of postcards, stickers and other memorabilia from my past.

These pages are dedicated to two women I admire – the Nina Simone card is a 30th birthday card from my friend Michelle, and I bought the Rigoberta Menchu postcard at the Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway. Rigoberta won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.

I’ll be sharing more when the pages start filling up! xoxoxox

Life Drawing at the White Rabbit

This past week I attended a life drawing class in NE London. Considering I live in SW London, this is a bit of an insane journey for one 2 hour class. However, my friends invited me last week and I said ‘no’. After hearing it ended up being the best life drawing class they had ever attended, I finally said I would join them. So over an hour of train and tube journeys, I ended up at the White Rabbit Cocktail Club, where the class was being held.

I was the first one to arrive! I didn’t mind though. I talked to the instructor and he is a really cool guy. I also found out he teaches a painting class bi-monthly in Angel (which isn’t as far for me) so I may be going to that as well! Anyway, after a few minutes my friends showed up, including Emma (you can read her blog post about the night here). Even though they provided materials, I got out my David Bowie pencil for the occasion.

The class proved to be the most relaxing atmosphere I’ve experienced with life drawing. It also went by pretty fast! The soundtrack, consisting of The Smashing Pumpkins’ “Soma”, Nirvana’s “About a Girl”, and Sigur Ros’ “Hoppipolla”, only improved the atmosphere. Our model also had a sense of humour. When the instructor adjusted the lighting in front of her, she said “It’s pointing right at my fanny!!!” (Non-Brits: that means “vagina”). Everyone laughed and of course, the instructor moved the lights back!

So here are a couple of my drawings. I had only a few minutes for the first one, and then longer for the second. Considering the time constraints, I think I did alright:

What I found strange with my 2nd drawing is the pose the model gave was very strong and confident, but for some reason I drew her kind of hunched over and looking a a bit fragile. I actually tried to “correct” the drawing but nothing worked.

So, that’s my experience with life drawing at the White Rabbit Cocktail Club, and I will definitely go again! If you’re interested, there’s a Facebook group for the class.

Holga photos: April – July 2013

I finally developed some film that was in my holga cat camera. The photos span from April to July of last year, and feature photos from London, Vienna, Prague, Reykjavik and Mankato, Minnesota.

Hope you enjoy them, and I will try my best to take more film photos, and develop them sooner, this year.


Brussels and Antwerp

Last weekend my husband went to a conference in Brussels for work, and I tagged along. It was my 3rd time to Brussels and while I like the city, I admit you run out of things to do by your 3rd visit. There was a lot of wandering around, but we also visited the Musical Instrument Museum for the first time (if you are into World Music at all, you should visit) and I also went to Antwerp for the first time! I knew very little about Antwerp, but it is a lovely city and found out that I prefer it to Brussels. I met my friend Kim there. Kim is one of my oldest friends and she lives in Amsterdam, so it was easy for us to meet up. It was lovely seeing her again.

Here are a few of the photos from my trip:


Theremins and synths at the Musical Instrument Museum…

A Christmas tree made with bottles, because, why not?


Antwerp Centraal Station

I wanted one of these, nevermind they’re for little kids.

At the Fashion Musuem…

Wasbar, the landromat cafe

Inside the Maria Cafe…

….drinking Belgian beers.

Back in Brussels…

Babar chocolates!!! Babar was one of my favourite storybook characters when I was a kid.

The posh shops

Godiva praline hot chocolate!! ♥ OMG…

Jacques Brel

I bought myself macarons. 🙂

I took this photo through a window. Daniel and I were having coffees at PAUL and watching this street performer and his lovely dog. I was obviously more fascinated with the dog.

& a votive prayer at St. Micheal