Friday, 16 November 2012


Just, I love her. That is all.

Kate Moss looking gorgeous at the party for her book launch 15th November 2012

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Wedding of the century

Few pics from the most amazing day.

My bridesmaid dress (middle of 3rd photo) - Monsoon - similar one here
Mums dress (silver, far right in 3rd photo) - Miu Miu
Other bridesmaid dresses - Warehouse and Kaliko - similar here and here

Autumn purchases

Stocking up for winter, some autumnal pieces I have bought:

Zara - leather biker coat

ASOS - Athens chelsea boots

Zara - blouse with studded shoulders

Vintage faux fur collar. You can find a similar one from H&M here

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Damien Hirst is Tate's most popular solo show ever

Tate Modern's Damien Hirst retrospective was the most visited solo show and second-most visited exhibition in the gallery's history, it has revealed.

The exhibition, blogged about here last month, attracted 463,087 visitors, with almost 3,000 people a day.

Hirst beat the likes of 2002's Matisse Picasso, which saw 467,166 visitors, Edward Hopper (429,909) in 2004 and Paul Gauguin (420,686) in 2010-11.

Chris Dercon, the gallery's director, said: "We are delighted that so many people came to see and discuss the Damien Hirst exhibition at Tate Modern.

"It was wonderful to see such iconic works brought together in one place and to offer our visitors a chance to experience them first-hand."

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Damien Hirst at the Tate Modern

This is a little late, as I went to see Damien Hirst’s exhibition at the Tate Modern on the opening day, but it is still on (till 9 September) and I recommend it, even to the Hirst sceptics.
I was too young to remember when the artist people love to hate, Damien Hirst, first catapulted onto the scene in 1988 (just born, to be precise). But now, nearly a quarter of a century later, he is inescapable in the art world.
Damien Hirst with For Heaven's Sake 2008. Photo: The Guardian
 His large exhibition at the Tate Modern (4 April-9 September, 2012 - £14) is the first substantial survey of his work in Britain and brings together key works from over twenty years - giving those who missed it first time round a unique opportunity to see iconic works such as his Natural History series. This includes The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991, in which Hirst suspended a shark in formaldehyde. This was one of the most popular items in the exhibition - as well as Mother and Child Divided (copy 2007, original 1993), in which a cow and calf are shown in halves, again in formaldehyde. The fascination was evident - with queue to see the ill-fated mammal’s inners.
Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991 Photo: my own)
Death in the Mind of Someone Living 1991 Photo: my own
This is reflective of Hirst’s popularity, the queue on the opening day was long even for members and the excitement and hype was like no other exhibition I have been to.
The queue on the opening day of the exhibition. Photo: my own
So what draws the masses to the super rich artist’s works? His obsession with death hits you immediately, as you’re greeted with a photo of a smiling young Hirst next to a human head in the anatomy department of Leeds University (Dead Head, 1991), of which Hirst was a frequent visitor.
And that is only the start, sidle past the bloody cows head surrounded by flies (A Thousand Years 1990) and you’re met with a giant, stinking ash tray (Crematorium 1996) and a room full of medical instruments (Still 1995). Yes it’s death, more death and money that attracts the masses. But I was struck by the amount of children enjoying the works. The seemingly gory installations have a beauty and interactive nature perfect for the young and old alike.

A Thousand Years (detail) 1990
Crematorium 1996

The money and beauty aspect grows from the Pharmacy (1992) to the butterfly, spin and spot paintings until you’re met with full-blown bling of the diamond-filled cabinets (Isolation 2009-10). It’s hard to find Hirst’s death-obsession here. Are the sceptics right? Has this billionaire artist cynically exploited our collective greed and stupidity?

Isolation (2009-2010) Photo: my own
He told the Telegraph: “never let money get in the way of an idea” and luckily for him, he doesn’t have to. The works, especially towards the latter part of his career, are excessive in their cost. But despite their obsessive, gory over-opulence, there is something fun and intriguing about his works. But perhaps he’s got me too.

Outside For Heaven's Sake 2008

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Here comes the muddy bride at 2000 Trees

If you were one of the lucky (if not a little muddy) revellers that attended the 2000 Trees festival last weekend you may have come across a large group of over excited girls and a bride to be.

No, it wasn’t a misguided dress-up attempt - the festival’s theme was video games so I’m not sure where a bride would fit in - I was on a hen do. Being chief bridesmaid I was very aware that the thought of mud, no showers and toilets-that-have-seen-better-days might send shivers down the spine of even the most hardened gig-goers, so I decided to make sure our accommodation at least was a little more comfy than a lilo and a plastic sheet.

With this in mind, I booked three ‘bell tents’ from the lovely folks at Karma Kanvas. These consisted of three clean, large yurts each with three double airbeds, sheets and some twinkly fairy lights, between 18 of us. The festival consisted of a swamp for most of the weekend, so the grassy area around the tents was a welcome relief. We also had a nice table and chairs which is a life saver when you can’t sit on the ground. These tents are recommended if you’re more into ‘glamping’ than camping, without them I think some hens may have flown home…

Musical highlights for the festival, on Upcote Farm, Withington, Gloucestershire, included the Futureheads - I have been humming ‘Hounds of Love’ ever since - and Dog is Dead, who included a saxophonist, which always gets bonus points from me.

Although I kept away from the Cave stage (too much screaming) and preferred the chilled out vibes of the Greenhouse and the Leaf Lounge, I could see the festival caters for all tastes and most of the hens seemed happy with this. Even the pop lovers got a treat with the brilliant silent disco that took place once the music stopped.

The toilets, by festival standards, were pretty amazing - loo roll and hand sanitizer! There was a great selection of food and with a modest capacity of 4,500, you didn’t have to queue for very long. The organisers should also be commended on their green credentials, there were lots of recycling options and locally produced food.

What made the festival for me was perhaps related to the humble size. The bride to be - and the rest of us - had to do rather a lot of silly dares which I expected to be met with stony-faced snobbery. But in fact, everyone was very friendly and we even got some marital advice from a pair of festival goers that have been married 40 years.

It was: “Do lots of things together and lots of thing apart.” Sound advice I say, if one of those things includes 200 Trees Festival 2013.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Miro's 'Blue Star' sells for £23.5m

Joan Miro's 1927 work Peinture (Etoile Bleue) has sold for more than £23.5m at auction, setting a new record for the artist. An anonymous telephone bidder saw off three rivals at the Sotheby's sale in London.
According to reports, the abstract work has tripled in price since it was last sold in 2007 and fetched the highest price reached at a London auction so far this year.
(Miro, Peinture (Etoile Bleue), 1927. source: guardian)

The previous auction record for a Miro was £16.8m, set when his 1925 work Painting-Poem sold in February.

(Miro, Painting Poem, 1925. source:

Peinture (Etoile Bleue) - which translates as Painting (Blue Star) is from the Catalan artist's 'dream paintings' cycle and had been expected to fetch no more than £15m.

According to Sotheby's Helena Newman, the high figure reflected the current "unprecedented demand" for the best of 20th Century art.

The second highest price at Tuesday's event was fetched by Pablo Picasso's Homme Assis (1972) which sold for £6.2m.

(Picasso, Homme Assis, 1972. source: Sotheby's)

A Henry Moore sculpture, Mother and Child With Apple, was one of the night's other star performers, raising well above its pre-sale forecast of £3.7m, according to the BBC.
(Moore, Mother and Child With Apple, 1956. source:

 Last month -- 3 May -- Edvard Munch's The Scream became what many think is the most expensive painting in the world when it sold for $120m (aprox £76m.)

(Munch, The Scream, 1893. source:

Other pricey pieces include Picasso's Femme aux Bras Croisés (Woman with Folded Arms) (1902), which sold for $55m (£35m) in 2000; Vincent van Gogh's 1889 piece A Wheatfield with Cypresses, sold for $57m (£37m) in 1993; and Russian painter and designer Kazimir Malevich sold his work Suprematist Composition (1916) in 2008 for a measly $60m (£38m).

(Picasso, Femme aux Bras Croisés, 1902. source:

(Van Gogh, A Wheatfield with Cypresses 1889. source:

(Malevich, Suprematist Composition, 1916. source:

But these works pale in comparison to Jackson Pollock's eye-wateringly expensive No. 5 (1948) which he sold for $140m (£89m) in 2006. In the same year, Gustav Klimt's Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I (1907) sold for a whopping $135m (£85m).

(Pollock, No. 5 1948. source:

(Klimt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I 1907. source:

Monday, 19 March 2012

Yayoi Kusama at the Tate Modern

82 year-old Yayoi Kusama’s colourful, large, all encompassing works are, at first glance, fun, vibrant and exciting. Delve deeper into the Japanese artists’ paintings, sculptures and installations and you see an overwhelming struggle with obliteration, patriarchy and self-space spanning over six decades.

Kusama is Japan’s most famous living artist and made her name in New York in the 50s and 60s when she produced flowers with spiky inners and threatening red caves -- seen currently at the Tate Modern’s exhibition until 5 June.

Since 1977 Kusama has lived voluntarily in a psychiatric institution, and many of the works shown at the Tate are marked with obsessiveness and a desire to escape from psychological trauma. In an attempt to share her experiences, she creates installations that immerse the viewer in her obsessively charged vision of endless dots and nets or infinitely mirrored space.

It is after the Tate reveals this fact that the works become more disturbing and Kusama’s mental illness is highlighted with the repetitious, hallucinogenic, ominous nature of the spots and phallic, spongy white shapes covering inane objects.

She is renowned for her “environments’ and this exhibition is one after the other, with seeminingly no escape.

As the 1960s progressed, Kusama moved from painting, sculpture and collage to installations, films, performances and ‘happenings’ as well as political actions, counter-cultural events, fashion design and publishing.

The exhibition includes Kusama’s iconic film Kusama’s Self-Obliteration 1968, capturing this period of performative experimentation -- one of the more disturbing parts of the exhibition!

The last work -- before which a Tate worker asks if “you have seen the whole exhibition?” prior to letting you in -- is a new installation and a highlight of the exhibition for me. Infinity Mirrored Room - Filled with the Brilliance of Life 2011, is Kusama’s largest mirrored room to date and is filled with hanging lights changing colour creating infinite space and movement.

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Pete Doherty exhibits blood paintings

Lead singer of rock band Babyshambles, Pete Doherty, is showing paintings created with his own blood at a new show in Camden.

On Blood: a portrait of the artist, displays artwork from the British rocker Doherty’s 2009 solo album Grace/Wastelands, as well as several canvases at the Cob Gallery.

Doherty -- who has been linked with a string of drug-related arrests -- told the Independent recently that he developed his “arterial splatter” technique by squirting his blood with a syringe onto a canvas. The paintings include elements of college and written lyrics and poetry written by the former Libertines star.

The show's co-curator Rachel Chudley told Reuters: "If you look at art through the ages, the subject matter has always been life. We all die and painting in blood is a reminder of our mortality. It's a universal media. I don't think there is anything gory about it."

According to sources, prices range from £4,500 to £8,000 for the original paintings and £500 for limited edition prints.

The jury is out, I am yet to be convinced I’d pay that much - but, according to reports some have sold already!

(pic source: Rolling Stone)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

First detective novel ever published

The British Library has today published The Notting Hill Mystery by Charles Felix, widely considered to be the first detective novel ever published.

Originally serialised between 1862 and 1863 in the magazine Once a Week and then published as a single volume in 1863, The Notting Hill Mystery has not been commercially available since the turn of the century.

pic: "He said he was not drunk, but the policeman found him lying on the doorstep" © British Library Board

For years, many considered the first detective novel to be Wilkie Collins’s The Moonstone, published in 1868, while others have proposed Emile Gaboriau’s first Monsieur Lecoq novel, L’Affaire Lerouge. However, The Notting Hill Mystery can truly claim to be the first modern detective novel and pre-dates both of these by several years, according to the British Library.

Presented in the form of diary entries, family letters, chemical analysis reports, interviews with witnesses and a crime scene map, the novel displays innovative techniques that would not become common features of detective fiction until the 1920s.

The author, Charles Felix, used Felix as a pseudonym. His real name was Charles Warren Adams and he was a journalist, traveller, lawyer, and the sole proprietor of the firm Saunders, Otley & Co as well as the author of Barefooted Birdie and Velvet Lawn.

The book is available here!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

World renowned artists come together to support Shelter

More than 40 of the world’s leading artists and designers including Jake and Dinos Chapman, Grayson Perry, Antony Gormley, Julian Opie and Patrick Hughes have come together for an exclusive art exhibition in support of charity Shelter.

Shelter -- a housing and homelessness charity which runs a helpline, a network of housing aid centres and works with the Citizens Advice Bureau -- has created the exhibition which centres on the theme ‘Up My Street’.

Artists have donated pieces inspired by a street that has particular significance to them, drawing on characters and buildings as well as personal experiences and memories.

Patrick Hughes, Cloudy Heart

The exhibition aims to raise awareness of the thousands of families in Britain struggling to find and keep a safe and secure place to live. Every two minutes someone faces the nightmare of losing their home and Shelter is there to help whoever’s next, according to Shelter.

Original pieces of photography, street art, sculpture, graphic design and painting make up the diverse collection. Other artists involved include photographer Miles Aldridge, street artist Eine and DC Comics illustrator Frank Quitely.

All artwork will be auctioned in aid of Shelter. An online gallery of the exclusive artwork will be available to view at from Monday 27th February, with the opportunity for people to bid on the artwork remotely.

The collection will be on display in a free exhibition at The Conningsby Gallery in London from Monday 5th – Thursday 8th March 2012.

Anthony Gormley, Super Ego

“We’re delighted that so many talented people have come together to support Shelter," Tracy Griffin, Shelter’s director of fundraising, said. "This exhibition highlights that home is not just about bricks and mortar. The people, sense of security and wider community make it so important to each and every one of us.

“In these tough times homelessness really can happen to anyone. We hope that people will get bidding to help us raise vital funds.”

Birmingham-based painter Patrick Hughes said the charity is close to his heart. "Having a roof over your head is something we should all be able to take for granted, and most of us do," he said. "However, not everyone has a place they can call their own. I hope this exhibition will make people think about the importance of a home and raise awareness of Shelter’s work.”

Julian Opie, Roadscape

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Hidden Gem

After travelling to a few places in my gap YAH, I fell in love with the cultures of Asia and South America. But what I forgot is how lucky we are, in the UK, to be so close to some amazing places in Europe.

On booking my summer holiday last year to the Greek islands, my expectations were not particularly high. I wanted sun, sea, a tan and possibly some Ouzo thrown in for good measure. But what I got was an insight into a diverse culture, beautiful landscape and Ouzo - for good measure.

First stop admittedly was a little shabby - we flew in to Athens and got the train (it is a LONG way from the airport) to the main city where we stayed in a hotel where for some reason scantily clad girls liked to stand on street corners. Must be some kind of tradition.

Despite this, and the sheer amount of tourists around the monuments, you can't deny the spectacular sight of the Acropolis and the amazing view of the city.

After a few days we got the train and boat to Santorini. The island is basically the remnants of a huge volcano - which made the largest of all the Thira region/ cyclades islands - south east of the mainland. This was my favourite place. We went in September, so it was pretty quiet but this suited us and I recommend it if you don't like fighting for views. Staying in a little hotel near the beach we got a mo-ped most days and explored the rocky terrain, sampling meze treats and burning our shoulders. Bliss.

The 'red beach', Santorini

Next stop was Ios, a lot busier and more of a party town - but taking a boat trip led us to an untouched rocky hillside vilage.

Last, possibly least, was Mykonos. The apparent 'celeb hang-out' was over priced and over sold. But our guest house was lovely and there are some great restaurants.

I think you can tell there's a clear winner. But Europe and its delights should never be under estimated by the hardened traveller, even if India is next on my list...


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