Friday, 29 May 2015

Listen Up!

I would say my music taste, a little like a lot of my other tastes in life, spans far and wide. I'm totally open to all kinds and if I like it then I want to be hearing it a whole lot. Listen Up! will be a regular series of new discoveries, music that I'm loving right now, or maybe just rediscovered old school tunes that are filling me with that dancing feet feeling. 

First up in Listen Up! is Jess Glynne. I'd heard a lot of her songs on the radio but didn't really know much about her until I watched some coverage of Radio 1's Big Weekend. And she's a cool chick. Like totally cool. She's a red headed curly girlie with an amazing voice and a whole lot of strutty attitude. Like. A lot. I've already pre-ordered her album which is due for release in August 15: I Laugh When I Cry. 

Open your ears and enjoy (or not, each to their own and all that)

Thursday, 28 May 2015

Getting Shirty

I used to be a vest top and jeans girl, but lately I have become completely obsessed about shirts! I've found a couple of really good ones in some charity shops, a sneaky purchase from Dotty P's, and rediscovering my wardrobe now that we finally have all our clothes back, post-moving house. Every day now, it's a shirt, ripped jeans, and black kicks with no socks. Or if I'm at work, it's a skirt, shirt, and ankle boots kind of day. I think I'm a little bit obsessed...what's your latest clothing phase?

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Down in the Grumps

I seriously got out of bed on the wrong side this morning. Full on grumpy-pants. This is a most unusual state of being for me as I am usually a very happy bunny indeed, full of positivity and sunny beams of sun. Grump-y. Big style. I can't really even pinpoint a reason, but you know one of those days where just every single thing is wrong or goes wrong? That was today. 

The sun was shining so I did some washing. There was heaps of it so I did some dancing around the rockery bed to make sure that I could fit it all on the line to dry outside. Sat down to have my breakfast and 5 minutes later it rained. Big black cloudy type of rain so I had to go back out and bring it all back inside. And then I was soggy.

I went about the rest of my day trying really hard to not be outwardly grumpy, but I'm not sure I entirely succeeded. Watch out, grumpy pants is about! My sincere apologies to anyone I saw today if I was even remotely miserable to the outside world. 

The day is winding down now, and I'm still feeling a little bit down in the grumps. But not quite as much. A tasty takeaway and some Dave hugs has done the job, kind of. There's nothing for it I think but to go back to bed and hope that tomorrow I roll out of my usual side. 

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty

I still have goose bumps. 

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty is the first and largest retrospective of the late designer's body of work to be shown in Europe. Housed at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, I can honestly say with hand on heart that this is one of the best exhibitions I have ever seen. For the sights, the sounds, the atmosphere, the presentation, the beauty, the 'savage beauty' if you will. 

* Spoiler alert * If you plan to go to this do not read any further! Have you stopped? Anyone left? Let's proceed. 

The exhibition sits in one of the farthest corners of the V&A. It's a favourite space of mine and has been home to many a fine exhibition, but nothing from the outside prepares the viewer for what is on the inside. The rooms transport you from one collection to another, the mannequins booted, masked, adorned with the designs - to say clothes just doesn't seem enough. I've never seen couture so close up before and it is breathtaking. The intricate designs, the vision, the tailoring skills, all brought to life in these incredible clothes that hang like nothing I own. I found myself standing in front of so many of them with my mouth wide open, eyes wide, and trying really really hard not to reach out and touch, just to feel the fabric between my fingers... (of course I didn't do this as everyone knows that is way against the rules, no matter how much you want to - glue your hands to your side if you are in any way tempted!)

And the rooms. How to even begin to describe the rooms. From the sparkling bones with the creepy blue lightplay above you, to the red clan room where every single dress was just. simply. stunning. To the cabinet of curiosities that I am certain made me gasp out loud. I've never seen anything like it before. Floor to ceiling shelving, the exhibition designers had literally made a cabinet of curiosities, and no matter where you looked you just weren't done. The mirrored boxes at the edge of the shelving that made you dizzy when you looked down, Mahler's 5th oozing out of one shelf that made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up, and all the while iconic exhibit after iconic exhibit showing up in your sightline. Simply breathtaking. Just when you think it can't be topped, out of that room into a blackened room and a hologram that starts off as a tiny beating white light and turns into Kate Moss shimmying and spinning in a white lace creation with music that beats through your feet. By the time you reach the last couple of rooms with his final collection, you are spent, visually and emotionally. 

I still have goose bumps. And days later, when I close my eyes in bed, my mind takes me back to one of the rooms and I re-live it all over again. 

Breathtaking. Quite literally. 

From the lyrical to the practical. It's busy. Like mega-busy. Shuffling isn't uncommon. But you'll be so busy looking around yourself in awe that you'll soon forget the crowds. To say that I recommend you visit would be a minor understatement. If you can, do it. Even if you think that maybe it might be impossible, try moving heaven and earth to get to it. I truly don't think there will ever be anything like it again. Beauty. Truly Savage Beauty. 

Book tickets hereSavage Beauty tickets 

Cost: £17.50 (plus any additional moving of heaven and earth spends)

Dates: on until 2nd August 2015 

Times: various, time slots available at booking point

Location: Victoria and Albert Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL, UK (nearest tube is South Kensington)

Friday, 15 May 2015

It wasn't really but it felt like a weekend in London...

I've just come back from a mini adventure in London visiting my lovely friend, Tee, seeing some sights, walking many many thousands of steps, and enjoying the blue skies and sunshine. There's nothing better than a mini break, even if London does make me a little bit nervous these days with all the many millions of people, all rushing past you at about a hundred miles an hour, who obviously have some major emergency going down - why so fast, people? Slooooow it down a bit, take some time, enjoy the moment. 

My 4 day visit was busy busy, which fits in with everyone else apparently. The Monday and Thursday were majorly spent travelling, but the middle two days were all mine. Glorious. 

I did a shit load of walking. I know this as my fitbit told me how many steps I'd done and it was loads, way loads more than I do oop north anyway. The two big events were meeting up with my old uni friend who I hadn't seen for 3 years, and going to the Victoria and Albert museum to see the Alexander McQueen exhibition, Savage Beauty (a full review to follow tomorrow). 

Catching up with Sarah was the best! It really was as if we'd only seen each other yesterday and we struck up a conversation that didn't really stop until we said goodbye a few hours later. Reminiscing about uni days (can it really be 20 years since we started? What?), chatting about families, friends, holidays, handbags - it was just lovely. I think we both felt sad to have to say goodbye, as who knows when it will be next time. Savouring the moment, we said our fond goodbyes and I wandered off to do some sight seeing. 

There are a lot of things not to love about London, but you can't deny her beauty and sky lines:

One of my most favourite places is the Tate Modern, and I love nothing more than walking over the Millennium Bridge with St Pauls in the distance. So dreamy!

Finally, I'm sorry Victoria and Albert Museum but your glass thingie hanging over the front desk looks lovely from a distance, but in a photo, looking up? It be rude!

You see that too, right?

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Round Our Way

Bank Holiday weekend in England and in typical style it rained. On Sunday we spent most of the day gazing out of the window at the pouring rain wondering if it would ever stop. Amazingly we didn't have to wait too long as by about 4pm the grey clouds had parted to reveal a brilliant blue sky and Mr Sunshine had his hat on. Like little children who had been trapped inside for HOURS we quickly got our coats on and ran out to play. 

We're really lucky round our way to be about 20 minutes either way from beaches and coastlines to glorious countryside. This instance we opted for the country and headed to Hardwick Park. This is truly a fabulous spot for everyone, of all ages. It costs £2 to park for 2 hours (£3 for the whole day) and there are miles and miles of walking, lakes, birds, play areas, sculptures, hills to run down, cycle track to follow, and so much more, and when you're ready for a break you can call into the caff and enjoy a good cuppa and a cracking cheese scone (when it's open that is, the hours are not the same as the park opening times so worth checking if you do want refreshments). Here's the website with more info if you are planning a visit: Hardwick Park 

We had a lazy stroll around the circular walk this time and saw two swans sitting on their nests, a crazy family of geese including babies whose dad almost took a dive at us until we stood really still like statues, a bonkers dog chasing geese, teeny tiny birds, a curious squirrel, and all sorts of lovely delights of nature in Spring. One of the best things about the park is that even when it's busy, it's so huge you can change direction and end up strolling around almost alone. It's one of our favourite places to go. 

And because I never can resist taking a photo of Dave when he isn't looking...

Almost bordering on a catalogue pose *chuckles*

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Start

I think this has been a long time coming. 

For years I've had a blog with two friends (dizznfizzntizz) where we have posted all manner of things from trips to things we make and bake and a whole heap of funny bus stories in between. More recently I have found myself thinking that the voice I have there isn't really where I belong anymore. I think I will continue to write over there too, but this is to be my space, just mine. I don't know the exact direction it will take but surely that's part of the adventure... 

So who am I? Blogger calls me Dizz but in non-blogger world I'm Claire. I've just turned 40 this year, just moved into a fabulous house that I adore, and just making this big step into an alternative blog-land. This is me:

I'm a big foodie, I love to cook, bake, and enjoy the rewards. I love to garden and (not-so) secretly harbour a belief that I am Barbara Good from The Good Life. I grow lots of my own veg and really want chickens and a pig but our new garden isn't really big enough. I love to read anything and everything, watching films especially if they're a bit quirky or a John Hughes 80s film, opening my ears to all the music, singing out loud in the car, dancing round the kitchen...I could truly go on forever. Life is for living and if I can do it laughing and singing and dancing then all the better for it. 

There's more. There's always more. Come back for more.  

Sunday, 3 May 2015


Three be the things I shall have till I die;
Laughter and hope and a sock in the eye. 

Dorothy Parker (Inventory)