Twenty One | Links I Love

Friday, 22 May 2015


I'm trying to catch up with my blogging-everyday schedule, so here's some un-original content which we all enjoy. I have been finding a lot of brilliant, inspirational and just God damn funny links recently that I would like to share with you so you can think they're brilliant and inspiring too. Shall we crack on?

 - Taylor Swift's view on how Feminism is the most important movement - She kind of states the obvious but with such a large audience it's brilliant to see that Taylor is speaking out about this, probably intentionally inspiring young girls all over the world. Also how can I not mention her amazing new music video for 'Bad Blood' Girl power or what?! 

- Tom Odell wrote a song for Fearne Cotton - I can't believe that Fearne left Radio 1 this morning. Nearly every morning when I get up she has been with me, from going to school to getting ready for the day at Uni! I'm really going to miss Fearne and my morning routine really wont be the same without her. The send off she had this morning though was fabulous and if you missed it I urge you all to listen too it on the Radio iPlayer, my favourite parts were SOAK covering Led Zeppelin and Tom Odell's original song, Farewell Fearne, I'm not going to lie, I did sit on my toilet whilst shaving my legs and had a little cry! 

- Youtube: The most popular cats from its first 10 years - What better way to celebrate 10 years of Youtube than a article about the most famous cats in the world. The article features some of my favourites like Maru, Henri the existential cat and colonel meow (RIP). The article also features videos of each, which lead on to other videos and other videos and before you know it its 12 am and you've been watching cat videos all day (not talking from experience or anything) a day well spent I'de say. 

- Wear Your Label.com Ending the stigma (in style) - A brilliant new clothing brand which is changing the face of mental health. I hopefully will be buying some merch from this brand soon and I'm so excited because nothing but goodness comes from this company. Each purchase gives 10% of the profits back to mental health charities, the slogans on the clothing are hard hitting and raw but completely em-powering and positive. The whole concept of Wear Your Label is basically to wear your heart on your sleeve and therefore making mental health an everyday occurrence (which it is for some people) and ending the stigma around mental health illnesses for good. The labels on the clothes are also different, they don't just tell you how to wash and look after your clothing, but gives you tips on how to look after yourself as well, with a little tip on each label which you can look at when everything gets too much and help you to feel calm again. Brilliant! I cannot sing this companies praises anymore, they are so affordable and it's such a great entrepreneurial idea, even if you don't have a mental illness go and show your support and buy, buy, buy!  

- Tim Minchin's Graduation Speech - What a bloody clever man! I love this man and his mind and his graduation speech really made my ears prick up and I have been completely inspired by his comedy and his common sense. Go watch it, those 11 minutes might change your life, a little bit. 

What links have you been loving?



Twenty | My Favourite Artists

Thursday, 21 May 2015


I have always been a creative person, when I feel like something is bothering me I will go and create something, be it a piece of not very good artwork, a song or a poem. Most of the people that influence me in life are artists and I look up to the people that try and break the barriers of what is deemed acceptable in the art world, I basically love abit of rebellion and look up to the people that feel brave enough to make change. I didn't take art in GCSE but chose it as an A Level and hated it, I'm not sure why even to this day but I didn't enjoy it at all, I think it was because I used to have such high expectations of my work and now I just like creating things for me, not for an examiner to scowl at. 

Over the years I found various old and new artists through research and just a full interest in the subject, this list contains a little look into my favourite people from the art world, old and new and why I enjoy their work:


Dante Gabriel Rossetti and The Pre-Raphaelite Movement


 Venus Verticordia - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

It's maybe because all the models have red hair or that they were the biggest art revolution since Michelangelo, but I just love the Pre-Raphaelite so much, I one day aspire to buy one their paintings (or maybe just a copy seems as they're millions of pounds) My favourite artist from the movement is Dante Gabriel Rossetti, he spurned the movement and caused it lots of controversy when he would break into exhibitions and replace the paintings with his own (abit like pulling a Banksy nowadays). He also married one of the Pre-Raphaelite's most famous model Lizzie Siddal (in the painting above) she became his ultimate muse and he would paint her 24 hours a day, she posed for him to create one of the most magnificent paintings; well, ever in my opinion 'Ophelia' with fellow artist John Everett Millais, the rumour goes that Siddal posed for so long in a bath of freezing cold water that she actually caught pneumonia and was close to death for days. Now that's dedication!

Ophelia - John Everett Millais 

I think I love the Pre-Raphaelite Movement so much because of the colours and the way they are painted, you can see the rebellion in the paintings, that this group of aspiring artists were sick of creating the same portraits and wanted to create something more deep and beautiful. I was introduced the The Pre-Raphaelites very early on by my Mum because she always believed I was Lizzie in a past life! I love them so much that I based my whole first unit photography project on them. 

My own Unit 1 Photography Project - Inspired by The Pre-Raphaelites 

There's something so romantically tragic about the story that these paintings tell. And I really do think they should be marked up there with the best painters of all time. Their revolution marked the start of romanticism in art and created the bohemian rebellion that all artists feel in their hearts to this day. Bravo Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and you were't to bad looking either!

The Lady of Shallot - John William Waterhouse 



If you want to view some Pre-Raph paintings some are kept in The Tate in London 
And if you want to watch a great factual TV series about Rossetti and his crew (played by Aiden Turner I might add) I'll leave the link to the TV show 'Desperate Romantics' It's great!



Jenny Saville 

Rosetta - Jenny Saville


From beautiful to brutal. I can thank my A level Art for something, introducing me to this woman. Saville has been on the art scene for quite a while now and she has really gained a name for herself, her huge oil paintings are deemed as offensive and violent and hit you as soon as you enter the room (I've been in the presence of a Saville painting) they are normally of women in very intimidating poses very close to the canvas, sometimes parts are chopped off and the colours that are mostly used are blue and red. Saville's work has been praised for 'showing the true power and vulnerability of women at the same time' others believe that she exposes the woman form. Make your own mind up but all I know is that her paintings evoke something and that's what art is supposed to do. 

40 Pins - Jenny Saville

In the run up to her paintings, Saville took the time to observe many plastic surgery procedures and she even says herself that she is obsessed with the way the body can distort itself and change. I like Saville's work because I believe it shows women in a different light, a more animalistic and alien state, some would say ugly but I believe her paintings are raw enough to show flaws but still shows the beauty in the female figure. 

008 - Jenny Saville 

Jenny Saville's paintings are exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery in London 


Grayson Perry 

The Walthamstow Tapestry - Grayson Perry
Ahh this man, this amazingly talented, brilliant man. I have a huge personality crush on Grayson Perry,I first heard of him when my Mum watched a documentary about him when I was around 12 and I have been obsessed with him and his work ever since. The pieces he creates are just so beautiful and intricate and you can really tell that he puts his whole self into his works. He is also an exceptional character and favours cross dressing for big events in amazingly vivid clothes, some people would call his off the wall. I'de call him a genius. 

Triumph of Innocence - Grayson Perry

His works are mostly either tapestries or vases, however he has done the occasional painting. He also has done many programs with channel 4 and quite recently he has just created a house in Essex which I have now found out is going to be a holiday home, I would totally go and stay there! I love Grayson's work because he combines modern issue with old skills such as tapestry making and vase creating. I just love looking at his works and noticing something different every time I look at it, his art is so full of meaning but have the right amount of humour in as well, which I think is important. 

'Expulsion from Number 8 Eden Close' - Grayson Perry


If you want more Grayson, you can watch his TV Series on 4od now. 





David Bailey 

Jean Shrimpton - David Bailey

Many would argue that Bailey isn't an artist, he's a photographer, but come on really ?! Isn't that the same thing? In my opinion photography is art and he is one of the greats. Bailey was the face behind many famous fashion photographs from the beginning of the 60's, all the way into the end of the 90's, if there was a celebrity he hadn't photographed they weren't famous enough. His work is all black and white and always in portrait style, this makes his work iconic and he's the kind of artist who's photo you would recognise and instantly know it was his. 

Twiggy - David Bailey
I love Bailey's work because it is iconic in the development of photography and how powerful a photo can really be, I love seeing these celebrities in a different light with the unconventional poses Bailey makes them do and I just love the classic black and white look.


You can see Bailey's portraits in The National Portrait Gallery London 



Marina Abramovic 

Relation in Time - Marina Abramovic

I have just recently been getting more and more into Marina's work, I remember Lady Gaga going to see her and created that amazingly weird video of her shouting on top of a crystal and I thought, even for me that's a little too out there. However after watching her documentary 'The Artist is Present' on Netflix I have fallen in love with her work and the whole concept of performance art. Marina is a Russian performance artist who creates incredibly surreal pieces with real people. Her most recent work 'The Artist is Present' was made up of a white room, two chairs and a table where Marina would sit on one side and a member of the public would come and sit on the chair opposite, she would then raise her head and look at them. It sounds strange and pretentious but honeslty it's actually really moving and meaningful, trust me.

Rhythm 0 - Marina Abramovic

I like Marina's work because I like work with meaning and I just love the physical side, I believe that performance art isn't about looking at the person who is performing, but looking at yourself instead. I'm starting to sound pretentious but it's true and it's so beautiful. 

The Artist is Present - Marina Abramovic

Because Marina's pieces are performed in the present there are no exhibitions at this moment in time however you could check out the documentary about her and her work on Netflix.




Alexander McQueen 

Kate Moss's Hologram Dress - McQueen

Again, a fashion designer, but in my eyes an artist. I have always loved this man and this man's amazing clothes, they are art in themselves. Alexander Lee McQueen was a fashion designer who worked for many labels such as Gucci and Dior but rebelled so badly in the fashion world they kicked him out and created his own label. He is famous for his 'bumster' trousers and his melancholic interest in death and all things macabre. He is also famous for his catwalk shows, which have been described as 'a production in themselves'. Unfortunatlely, McQueen did leave this earth in 2010 but his reign of rebellious fashion king still lives on to this day. 

The Armadillo Shoe - McQueen

I love Alexander McQueen's work so much because he literally changed the face of fashion. He came in with this not-giving-a-fuck-attitude and just flipped the whole concept of what fashion is upside down and avoided all the pretentiousness that he could have been caught up in and I applaud him for that! My favorite collections of his are 'Highland Rape', 'Widows of Culloden', No 13 and VOSS (I could go on forever) 

VOSS - McQueen

I love Alexander McQueen so much that I'm off to London in July to see his exhibition at the V&A and I cannot contain my excitement! 


I could go on forever talking about art and who I love and what not, but my fingers are literally starting to hurt typing because I'm so passionate about everyone I've mentioned! There are many, many more influential people in the art world that I look up to and aspire to be like but I will literally be here for a whole week. I may do a second one of these posts, possibly. I hope you have enjoyed looking into who I love in the art world and I encourage you to go and view some art if you can it's a beautiful part of this world.

Who are your favourite artists? I would love to know.  




  










Nineteen | A Not So Blue Monday

Tuesday, 19 May 2015


I know it isn't a Monday but I'm still taking it easy after my debacle. Here are things that have made me particularly happy this week:

- My Birthday, apart from the debacle I had a brilliant day beforehand. Gareth came round and made a cake for me, coconut and vanilla yes please! I then opened my presents which were perfect in every way; he got me the Calm book by Michael Acton Smith and based a present around a particular chapter. I've been stressed lately he noticed that and that makes me very emotional so I'm not going to write about it! I got an array of gifts from Lush, an adult mandala colouring book, chocolates and some decaffeinated tea and many more brilliant, personal gifts. The day was then complete with catch up episodes of Game of Thrones, the last Hobbit film and a glass of wine or two. I couldn't have asked for a better day.


How was your Monday ?


  

Eighteen | The Past Six Days

Monday, 18 May 2015


I'm not really sure how to begin this. I was doing pretty well with this blogging-everyday-in-May lark but alas, this past half of a week has been a little hellish. It was my Birthday on Wednesday which was spent decorating my cake and being truly spoiled rotten by my boyfriend. Everything was well in the world and Thursday got off to a good start as well, I just pottered around the house until it was time for work, I met a few horrible people at work but that was completely normal and I was in a great mood, we then got ready that night to go out and I was excited about the prospect of having a proper night out with not only my friends but my boyfriend. We had a great pre-drinking session and headed off to the pubs and clubs and all that, when we hit the last club, I have to say I was pretty drunk, but I knew exactly what I was doing (bare this in mind). 

I popped to the toilet and that's when everything went black and I fell to the floor in a haze of dizziness and confusion, I couldn't get up, I couldn't hear myself speak, all I knew is that this wasn't my doing. I had been spiked. My Birthday and someone was kind enough to spike my drink with a very vicious date rape drug. I will write a full post about this at some point but lets say from then on the night wasn't very pleasant, I managed to not go to hospital, I was looked after by everyone and got put to bed, it could have been a whole lot worse, but it has still shocked me. The next day I spent nurturing the worst hangover I have ever had, it was like double the amount of pain and regret I normally feel when hungover. 

I only properly recovered yesterday as the drugs stay in the system for 72 hours. I am now terrified of even taking a drink in a bar or club and trust no-one, many people told me that I needed to go out again to the place where I got spiked before it is too late and I would feel like I could never go there again. My brain works like that you see, when something bad happens somewhere, that's it; everytime I go to that place the same thing will happen again, even though I know this is completely illogical it doesn't stop me thinking it. I did go out, but stayed off the alcohol as I still felt very strange and woozy, I drank green tea and watched everyone around me have their personality changed as they got drunker, it was an experience and I can't say I enjoyed being sober on a night out because you feel tired earlier and extremely aware of your bad dancing, but I'm proud of my self that I can feel like I don't need to drink to have a good time. 

This experience has opened my eyes and I have needed many days to recover from it, sometimes things happen to you which you never thought would. Getting my drink spiked was one of them, you can never be too careful. 

I hope you understand the reason for my absence. I'll be back bright eyed and bushy tailed soon I'm sure. 


   

Twelve | Farewell Teens

Wednesday, 13 May 2015


It's my Birthday tomorrow and I am feeling reminiscent of my teenage years. I'm turning twenty which means logically my years of being a teenager have ended, yet realistically I still feel sixteen. It's quite a shame I think, that twenty is not a benchmark age like twenty-one is, it does mark the end of an era so to speak and can seem quite a daunting time for people about to hit it. I've always been an old lady at heart, even when I was a young whipper snapper (I'm doing it now you see) I would always have opinions and complain about the weather, people think that it's bad to be old before your time but I really think my old woman attitude has made something of me. It definitely effects my sense of humour, I'm forever saying that I am old before my time and my friends just laugh but completely agree because most of them are too, which is fun. We'd normally much prefer a quiet night in with wine, pajamas and a film than a bustling night out with shots in a nightclub. We like to sit in front of screens and complain (I still think we would be brilliant for Gogglebox). 

Being twenty to me has it's ups and downs side, first your moving up into adulthood gradually and hitting this age can make you feel responsible for your own future and it has really caused me to think about what I actually want in life, which has lead me to think about travel. It has also though left me very reminiscent about the past and sad that I am moving away from the age group that helped define me, where I partied and studied and fell in love. Where I went through some, let's say strange phases (#Emo) but experimenting with these has helped me find who I want to be and a great appreciation, still for My Chemical Romance. I also cut all my hair off during my teens and it really surprised me that today it comes just past my boobs, meaning it has been a long ol' time since the curly bob look I sported for around two years. When I think about it though, nothing drastic has changed. I'm always still naive in thinking that at the dawning of a big Birthday you wake up and feel older and different but I'm not at all different, my life is still the lovely trundle along the road that it is, I'm still with Gareth, I've still got two cats and I still enjoy the occasional MCR song now and again. So basically I am still the same person, teenage Ciara has not disappeared  and that's a good thing because I don't want her to leave just yet. 

How did you feel turning twenty ?



    

Eleven | Foxes Cafe Lounge Carlisle

Tuesday, 12 May 2015


Because Carlisle is a pretty small city, there will always be that one place you go back to for food and drink, Foxes is that place for me. I first stumbled across this little cafe when I went to an open mic night one evening with a friend, this is before I started uni and after that one night we would go every Friday and sing a few songs. So I knew when I moved to Uni this would be a favourite place of mine, since then I have taken everyone I know here and they all love it equally. Every time we go shopping now, it is a must to stop off at Foxes for nachos and a milkshake. I at first need to apologise for the terrible camera quality, all these photos were taken on my phone because I am too much of a wimp to bring my larger camera to public eating places, sorry.   




The place is decorated in a really quirky way with an overall foxy theme. The floors, tables and banisters are wooden and in the corner there are leather sofas in case you don't want a meal and just want to chill with a drink. There are multiple things on the walls like guitars and even two bicycles and many signs with funny, quirky quotes. There are fox themed cushions everywhere, fox pictures and even children's books on the back of the dining chairs that are also fox themed. 



Because the cafe also hosts open mic and movie nights regularly, there is a lot of sound equipment around and guitars and ukuleles on the walls. They don't get in the way though, the amps just add to the musical ambiance and there's nothing better than sipping a milkshake surrounded by musical instruments while Johnny Cash and John Lennon play through the speakers. The  menu at Foxes is pretty small, making the quality better and they don't seem to offer chips (which I personally like because it makes their food different from the rest) They offer an all day breakfast quirkily named 'The Full Fox' and a beautiful veggie breakfast called 'The Herbivore' I completely recommend that by the way. They also do sandwiches, burgers, baked potatoes, soup and salad which all have veggie options. Their drinks are what they are known for though, from their famous Berry D smoothie which contains every single berry known to man to my ultimate favourite the vanilla milkshake; yes it's boring for some but it is the only milkshake I will drink and foxes makes it so special, served in a milk bottle with a squirt of cream, delicious! And to make things better they also do their own blend of coffee, I'm not a coffee drinker myself but Gareth recommends it thoroughly. They have also just began to do takeaways for drinks, which makes it to easy after a hard day of work to pop into Foxes and grab a milkshake, mmm. 



   


  Since last year the Cafe has grown in popularity and you can tell from the vibe when you walk in there now. They have had to hire more staff by popular demand and the people they hire are so, so friendly, it's like walking into a home with friends. They recognise their regulars and make normal, friendly conversations, nothing forced and you can really tell that they love their jobs. Foxes also have quite a large following online, with their twitter and instagram feed shown on a television in the cafe. You can follow them here and here if you are local and would like to try their food. 



I love this place, I can't keep away, I don't know if it's the friendly atmosphere, the music playing or the food and drink. I think it might be all of the above really. I urge you if you are local to Carlisle to pop down and sample some of the things they have on offer, you won't be disappointed.

Ten moons for you Foxes. 

          ☽ ☽ ☽ ☽  





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