I’ve not written on here for ages (as you can tell). I’ve wanted to, but have been at a bit of a loss of what to write – maybe my creativity left me for a while? Maybe life took over? Maybe I just wanted to hide away? Whatever the reason it’s been inactive for too long. Let’s see if I can start being interesting again…

To those who have faith in me and actually still check this blog on occasion.

Firefly. Baby

You came in to my life again
briefly and beautifully.
Dreamlike in its swiftness
ever-lasting in its warmth.

The flash of a firefly,
a vision of the future.
Serene in its allure
and truthful in its voice.

An outpouring of thoughts,
the sadness of lost time.
Powerful in its effect
yet frustrating in its presence.

Take it with you Baby.
A memory of the unspoken,
a suggestion of longing.
A memory of the past.

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last-great-climb-movie_1900x1200

Monday 4th November saw the London Premier of Alastair Lee’s film, ‘The Last Great Climb’. A wonderfully inspiring documentary about adventure climber Leo Holding’s expedition to climb the North East ridge of Ulvetanna: The Wolf’s Tooth, in Antarctica.

I was privileged enough to attend the premier; privileged enough to see and experience the enthusiasm of Leo and his team consisting of:

Leo Holding – Expedition Leader

Sean ‘Stanley’ Leary – Lead Climber

Jason Pickles – Climber

Chris Rabone – Support Climber

Al Lee – Film Director & Photographer

Dave Reeves – Cameraman

The atmosphere right from entering the cinema held a real buzz of positivity, passion and friendliness. How often do you feel that upon entering a room full of strangers?

Winding my way through the incredibly good looking and fit crowd (well it was full of climbing enthusiasts!) I sought out my old school friend Jason (or ‘Pickles’ as we all used to call him – original nickname hey..?!). He was nervous and confessed to not particularly liking being in the spotlight. This is understandable from a well grounded, northern town lad. Jason was and always is very humble about the opportunities that come his way.

After a few more words of encouragement, which no doubt didn’t help to ease his nervousness(!), Jason went off to have some press photos & the rest of us were ushered into the screening room.

We were given a short introduction by Ben Fogle who was then joined by the climbers. A few words from Leo followed about the 3 main objectives of the climb which were,

1) To successfully climb the NE ridge & summit Ulvetanna,
2) To make a film about the climb and,
3) To have a safe expedition and ensure everyone comes back home safely.

All three were thankfully and amazingly achieved. In celebration of this fact a well deserved bottle of champers was opened in a rather unique fashion by Leo and enjoyed by the team.

last-great-climb-01_1900x1200

On to the film…

Simply put, it was absolutely brilliant. It captures the essence of the stunning landscape, the team, their talent, their humour and their personalities beautifully.

The film footage & photography had been edited fluently with the teams personal thoughts and reactions interspersed with the finesse and technicalities of the climbing. The knowledge of adventure filming and skill required from Al and Dave (as well as the teams cooperation) to produce this footage was definitely not underestimated. The final effect was that of space, peace, beauty, skill, friendship and ultimately an appreciation of life.

There was humour mixed throughout, even when conditions seemed to be fighting against their climbing. It was this humour and the tight bond of friendship, trust and humility that makes this wonderful viewing. I wanted to cry at times; definitely not through sadness but from feeling heart-warmed and exhilarated. It really honestly touched me. This, alongside the fact that the whole team are so lovely, decent and inspiring really moved me.

An open Q & A session with the team hosted by the legendary climber Doug Scott  CBE, rounded off the evening, giving us more insightful stories about the trip and the teams thoughts and feelings.

IMG_3077

After managing to have a final quick work with Jason, I left the theatre with a feeling positive and inspired!

Amazing. On to the next climb…

The Last Great Climb DVD is available from the 1st of December. It can be preordered & purchased through Al Lee’s company Posing Production’s:
http://www.posingproductions.com/product.php?form_action=detail&product_id=257

Blog & photos of the climb available here:
Climb Details: http://www.berghaus.com/en/ber_2011/staticpages/ulvetanna/ulvetannaiframe.html

Ulvetanna Blog: http://www.berghaus.com/community/?cat=210

There’s a new Coffee Shop in Town! And this one is definitely not to be missed!

Leamington Spa is rapidly becoming overtaken by a cafe and restaurant culture. This is no bad thing in my book. Especially if we continue to get interestingly delicious, freshly, made-on-the-premises food, delivered in a cool, contemporary and welcoming atmosphere as is offered by The Larder 23.

The Larder 23 is based at 23 Portland Street, just around the corner from Music Matters on Regent Street. it used to be an curious old shop that sold crystals if anyone remembers that..?? It’s of much better use now!

A preview day was held on Saturday 12th October for friends, family and other ‘anon’s’ to sample the atmosphere, coffee’s, fresh juice’s and taster samples of their food.

First of all let me describe the design: it is impeccably stylish and simple, echoing their tag line of “a simple, honest approach”. White washed walls and dark grey slate worktops, with accents of wooden shelving and green foliage. Beautiful. Seating space is located both on the upper and lower floor, where, past the fully working kitchen, there are a couple of tables sneakily tucked under an archway creating a chef’s table of sorts – a great place for meetings and private lunch parties.

Larder23_01

 

 

 

 

Now on to the food…what can I say…I think I may have stuffed myself! This was the sample menu kindly provided for us:

Larder23Sample

Larder23_02

 

 

 

 

Form this mouth watering selection I sampled the:

– Spicy Corn Muffin
– Pizzette
– Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Tartlet
– Raspberry and Orange Blossom Larder Cake
– Grapefruit, Lime and Ginger Juice and a Black Coffee

Each was simply delicious; full of a sublime combination of flavours, served fresh and beautifully presented.

I could have stayed there all afternoon sampling the dishes and talking to the very welcoming and creative team behind The Larder 23, along with their guests. The atmosphere was vibrant and inclusive. In my mind the venue, the people, the food and the feeling, all added up to offer an exciting vision and inspiration – somewhere to enjoy and be part of.

Good luck to all the team at The Larder 23 – I am sure it will be an absolute success!

The Larder 23 opens its doors fully at 7am on Wednesday 16th October. This place needs to be visited and sampled by all!

Thank you.

Facebook: The Larder 23
Twitter: @TheLarder23

MFAlogo MFA 2013

This year I finally got around to attending the Midlands Fashion Awards in Birmingham, 5 years after it’s inauguration. The key aim of the Awards to to help and promote emerging fashion and accessory designers within the Midlands area, as well as to inspire new talent and enterprises.

I have been following MFA for a few years now and have spoken a couple of times with the Founder and Managing Directory of the event Jenny Eason (who is an absolute inspiration and role model in herself). This year I sensed a huge shift in the Awards presence and status. First of all it moved from the beautiful, but out-of-town venue of Birmingham’s Botanical Garden’s, to a plush but more intimate feeling venue in Birmingham’s City Centre – the Penthouse Suite in the Loft Lounge. The easy accessibility of this venue would, I am sure, have attracted more visitors, including myself.

Secondly, tickets sold out about a week before the event was due to take place – always a good sign!

And thirdly, there was a much more organised and specifically themed presence on the Social Networks. Twitter in particular seemed very well considered and planned; there wasn’t a constant bombardment of information or pushy sales chatter (this in my opinion is a definite positive).

So a combination of all 3 points created a good buzz around the event.

The show itself was well structured and choreographed nicely. The runway was long and floor level – good for the front rowers and end of runway photographers, not so great for anyone on rows further back unfortunately. However, the production team may have predicted this lack of visual as they live streamed the show on monitors around the room. Not the same as seeing the models and designs first hand, but useful none-the-less.

There were some well thought out creations and designs being showcased with a nice variety of garment, cut, pattern and structure. Mostly womenswear was presented with a small collection of menswear from Catalyst by Tamara Joseph (http://www.tamarajoseph.co.uk).  Would have been good to see more menswear – maybe next year?

Young Designer Award

The winner of the Young Designer section was awarded to Sarah King who showed us some earthy and rustic designs of interesting cut and silhouette, inspired from the weathering processes on plant life. The four outfits we saw were wearable and looked of good construction with toned down hues for the Autumn/Winter season.

Incidentally, I was sat next to her parents and when she was announced as winner they were endearingly shocked, but incredible excited for their Daughter – it was a pleasure to witness that reaction.

Independent Designer Award

Fazane Malik (http://www.fazanemalik.co.uk) was the well deserved winner of this category, displaying some skilled and elegant tailoring in her collection of catsuits, dresses and sheer shirts, all trimmed in various ways with her signature cross-hatch pattern. Fazane’s designs are incredible wearable with a hint of masculine cut but always maintaining femininity.

MFA 2014

I can only see a positive future for Midlands Fashion Awards. Next year will hopefully be even more well attended, showcasing a new selection of emerging designers who push the boundaries of tailoring, design, printmaking and creativeness.  I for one will look forward to it.

Thank you.

Photos and reports:

www.midlandsfashionawards.co.uk

http://www.professionalphotography.me.uk

Just write [right]

During lunch today I was asked by a most lovely friend whether I was still writing my blog posts. The answer was of course no. I haven’t written here since last September! This is not good.

I found myself asking why I wasn’t writing any more, because I suddenly remembered how much I used to enjoy writing posts, whether it be about an event I had been too, some cool art exhibition, some amazing fashion inspiration or about life in general. I remembered the feeling of catharsis it gave me; it calmed me down, it made me feel happier and more positive. So why wasn’t I writing? It didn’t make sense…

As I approach a big change in my life, a potential exciting, but a whole new unknown era, I thought now is a good a time as any to start the writing again. If only for myself and no-one else. And already, writing just this short piece, it feels good, it feels right.

So, my lovely lunch companion, if you are still signed up to updates of my blog, and are reading this, then thank you. Thank you for making me write again. You are one of very few people who can influence me this way, to make me believe in myself.

As we both move on, I will miss you, for sure.

 

#FNO

On almost a whim I went down to London after work on Thursday 6th September for Vogue Fashion’s Night Out. I’d applied for tickets for the Alexander McQueen Party and thought it is an opportunity not to be missed. So I hopped on the train for a fleeting visit to our amazing capital.

FNO, an event that supports the charity Refuge, has been running for 3 years now and has become a key date in the fashion calendar – with many cities across the world taking part hosting their own events. It’s a celebration of fashion and retail, but also of food and drink and music all mixing together to generate an exciting spectacle of fashion, creativity and fun.

I headed straight to Regent Street to take a look in Cos. Those who know me, know that it would be virtually impossible for me to go to London and not pay a visit to Cos! (I bought a few things…) Oh and enjoyed my fist two glasses of champagne of the evening too… :)

There was already a real buzz of excitement around this whole area; Regent Street, Conduit Street, Bond Street and Old Bond Street. Queue’s were forming outside many stores and boutiques, with expectant groups hoping to see some new product previews, enter competitions for some truly fabulous prizes, to take advantage of offers and discounts offered and generally to soak up the atmosphere alongside thousands of like-minded people all out to celebrate fashion.

Venturing over to Old Bond Street, you could feel the buzz growing – bands playing, music blaring and crowds gathering. The street was shut off with carpet laid out, a Burlesque Band and performers were parading down the street who then went on to perform throughout Burlington Arcade. I actually got goose bumps walking down Old Bond Street – it really made me smile. The atmosphere was ace. I stared in astonishment at the queue for Alexander McQueen which spanned the length of the street. I thought I had to at least try to get in to the store so I queued for 30 mins or so – however I knew I would have been there all night and there were other places I wanted to go.

So I walked over to Covent Garden to go to the Opening Ceremony pop up store and their Korean themed street party. SUCH a cool place! Great music and an awesome collection of clothes including an ace Gitman Bros shirt..! Met some great people – all seemingly of the same enthusiasm and excitement for the night.

I was only down there for 3 hours or so but I was totally enraptured by the whole event. I absolutely loved it! Next year I will spend more time there for sure and will try to get as many people to come with me as possible – for I am certain they would enjoy it as much as I did.

What a fantastic concept though – for most people the world of fashion is experienced mainly through high street and online shopping, and magazines, which although inspiring and exciting in their own way, do not actually ‘involve’ you a massive amount. However Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out allows everyone to join in and be part of the celebration of Fashion. Just brilliant.

So who is coming with me next year?? 

Vogue Fashion Night Out

Alexander McQueen

Opening Ceremony

Radio Silence

Apologies for the radio silence for the last week or so. I have been mental busy.

Plus I have been trying to get over lost love. Dramatic I know! But it is just making me want to sleep – and sleep is not really conducive to writing is it…?!

What I should do really is write when I wake at 3 or 4 in the morning when my thoughts awake me, preventing me from sleeping any more. I then usually have a good couple of hours to be productive. This would obvious be much better than allowing the same thoughts to repeat themselves over & over again, until I eventually have to shout at myself to stop; ’stop it Alison. Stop thinking!’

So that is what I will do from now on in and hopefully start writing some more. I have a whole bunch of things ready to write about too – I just need to get on with it now and stop being silly… :)

Anyway.

xx

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