Sunday, 19 February 2017

the art of Kiyoshi Nakashima and the sadness of fleeting beauty

I have loved the work of Kiyoshi Nakashima for a long time. And have been aware of him for a long time as he is from the Saga prefecture of Japan, as are my family. However I know very little about him. I have one book about him but it's in Japanese and I can't read it! So last weekend, I asked my mum to help me read it (very grateful for her time).

I have struggled to find any English information online so I'd like to provide the little I can. I only found one, very angry article about him online which upset me and I will discuss it a little further down.

I want to start with the feelings I have long held. That his pictures capture the fleeting nature of nature itself. The ever changing beauty of the seasons, the countryside, the sky. And the fleeting nature of childhood.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

The Traddock in the Yorkshire Dales

I booked a couple of nights at The Traddock (a very nice hotel) in the Yorkshire Dales because they had a cheap deal for February midweek bookings and I wanted to get away. Later I was happy to realise, the dates fell across our 12 years together anniversary! An auspicious start to our trip.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

Excellent chain restaurants for vegetarians and omnivores in the UK

Central London is pretty pricey. I often go out after work to either gigs or museums and need a bite to eat that I can afford that isn't a sandwich (I get hangry). There is so much choice and much of it is more than I want to spend or isn't very good and sometimes I don't have time to research and don't always want to chance it. Or there are places that are too cool and you can't book them and you have to queue for about an hour. Or sometimes I don't want the standard veggie option of mushroom risotto, halloumi burger or goats cheese tart and I don't want to drag my omnivorous friends to a vegetarian restaurant.

People can look down on chain restaurants, bunch them all together as cheap, poor quality, unhealthy, unimaginative, childish, mainstream, corporate. It does irritate me that there are about five Prets in the vicinity of my office and I've seen so many independent places close (though I do quite like an occasional Pret). And I hate that chains can afford to proliferate and push out small businesses who can't afford skyrocketing rents and it all becomes a circle of going to chains because that is all there is. 

That said, often businesses have expanded into chains because they are great. Affordable, delicious and consistent. They have a brand that you like and you trust that you'll get the same good food, no matter where you are. They are convenient when you just need dinner and you need it now and you don't want to research, you just want to know what you're getting.

I have three favourite chains that I can count on when I'm in that kind of mood. These are all places that serve meat but have excellent vegetarian options.

Sunday, 29 January 2017

January in moments

Neither of us felt well on new years eve so we decided to stay in, the two of us. At midnight we sat in bed with the lights off and the blind up and watched the neighbourhoods fireworks through the window. It was both celebratory and peaceful. Muffled sounds of joy, bangs, coloured sparks lighting the sky, all from the comfort of bed.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Thinking about the zoo - a day at Whipsnade

 On the one hand, zoos do valuable research/conservation work and educate us. On the other hand, the animals are enclosed in a small unnatural environment and lack stimulation. 

I think it's a bit of a grey area. One of my happiest childhood memories is the day my mum had a job for the day in Bristol, near the zoo. My dad dropped her off at work and then we went to the zoo ALL DAY. We were the first people in and the last people out. And my dad bought me a badge with a tiger on it. 

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Finding nature in North London

There are reasons to leave London (mainly the expense of living here) but despite growing up in a small town, I adore living here. I love the variety of city life, the sheer amount of possibilities, the number of people and the constant excitement of it. Nature is still essential to me though. Nature is actual life and wonder. For me it brings the peace and slowed down sense of joy that can easily be missed when you're constantly busy and flitting from work, to responsibilities, to socialising, to restaurants, bars, galleries, gigs, the gym, shops, and everything else. My 'daily' walks have brought me joy mainly by forcing me outside and putting me in amongst the changing seasons, the growth of plants, birdsong, and the delicate play of light and shadow ever creating beautiful changes in the same places.

I think most people are aware that London is pretty green and know of the Royal Parks etc and I do love those spaces but my 5 favourite spaces are a bit less manicured, a bit less crowded and a bit more natural.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

4 beautiful photographers to discover on Instagram

I love feasting on the visual and I love Instagram. I only found out how great Instagram is last year and now I'm a bit obsessed with it. SO MUCH pretty to look at! It's very inspiring. Daily doses of art and food and nature and books and other peoples lives.  That's what I use it for anyway and I thought I'd share some of my favourite photographer/artists that I follow.