December seems to have flown by and I can’t quite believe we’re only five days away from Christmas! I’ve barely had time to catch my breath over the last few weeks and as well as a fantastic trip to London to see the Meadham Kirchhoff V&A Fashion In Motion show, most of my time has revolved around hitting the big 3-0. Now that I’ve almost recovered from an epic birthday weekend which included a go on a helter skelter (because that’s what grown ups do isn’t it?!), I thought I’d share some of the gorgeous presents I was given.
After blogging about it way back in June, I finally got my hands on an a-england ‘Rose With Thorn’ necklace in rose gold. It’s so beautiful and delicate in real life and definitely a piece I will treasure forever. A grown up birthday also demands a slightly more grown up wallet than my current Liberty Print Hello Kitty one so this Biba leather wallet is perfect!
Once a Manic Street Preachers fan, always a Manic Street Preachers fan so this Babycham gift set from one of my oldest friends (who’s also in the ultracool band Pris) really reminds me of my misspent youth. Coupled with an amazing mix CD (including a cover sleeve feature some of my more dubious outfit choices), this was the perfect nostalgia present.
It’s always lovely receiving presents on my ‘a bit too indulgent to justify treating myself to’ wish list so I felt like a very lucky girl this year. I’m a sucker for a good red lippy with MAC’s ‘Lady Danger’ being my go to shade (nothing like a strong lip to distract from you looking like death, a trick I employed over the days spent recovering from my birthday!) so I was glad to receive a new one to replace the rapidly running out tube in my handbag. I was also given the slightly darker matte red shade ‘Ruby Woo’ which I always debate buying when the weather turns autumnal but can never decide between it and ‘Russian Red’. I’m glad my sister took the dithering out of my hands and picked this shade on my behalf as it makes me feel very glamorous which is just how you should feel on your birthday!
Another brand I have trouble with is Jo Malone – there’s just too much choice! My friend who really knows her way around the range got me a bottle of the gorgeous smelling ‘Earl Grey & Cucumber’ cologne and my heart leapt at the sight of the little black and white box tied with their distinctive ribbon.
I’m not sure when owls became my thing (although I possibly kicked it off after buying a fantastic Lea Stein Buba Owl Brooch on eBay) but now most birthdays seem to feature them. For my 30th I was given this cute silver owl necklace from the shop at Manchester Art Gallery which matches a ring I have. I love a good art gallery or museum gift shop and my new necklace proves what amazing treasures you can find!
Completing the glam theme is this stunning Karen Mabon silk scarf. Again this is a brand I’ve previously blogged about and I utterly love Karen’s quirky designs. I’ve now got my fingers crossed that the Midnight Feast scarf from her winter collection is waiting for me under the Christmas tree…
I think it’s fitting that my final gift combines both my love of literature and, er, hot men… Pulp! The Classics is a new imprint which gives classic novels retro looking pulp fiction covers with a twist. Whether you like your Pride And Prejudice with a side order of Colin Firth’s ‘Darcy’ or, like me, the eternal youth of Gosling as Dorian Gray, the eight novels in the collection will not only brighten up any bookshelf but are also guaranteed to raise a smile from fellow commuters during the rush hour slog!
I do realise I’ve been a shockingly lazy blogger over the last few weeks. I’m blaming a combination of a very busy period at work and weather so chilly that all I want to do when I get home is curl up on the sofa in PJs and a blanket with a stack of magazines. Bliss! When the weather starts turning wintery I have a habit of doing very little but laze on weekends which means on weeknights I try to cram in as much as possible. Whilst late night shopping has long been a feature of our lives, those wanting cultural rather than retail evening pursuits generally only had theatre, film or gigs to choose between. Thankfully several art galleries and museums have noticed this gap in the cultural market and have started offering later opening hours to catch those of us who work all week and don’t fancy facing the crowds at weekends or rush round exhibitions during lunch breaks.
Manchester’s Art Gallery runs a ‘Thursday Lates’ scheme with the gallery staying open until 9pm and giving you the opportunity to enjoy a glass of wine, explore the exhibits and catch one of the talks or live music performances which are often a feature of the evenings. The Art Gallery is currently exhibiting Grayson Perry’s series of tapestries The Vanity Of Small Differences and I headed there a couple of Thursdays ago to view them.
‘The Vanity Of Small Differences’ comprises of six tapestries which are loosely based on A Rake’s Progress by William Hogarth and were inspired by Grayson’s Channel 4 documentary In The Best Possible Taste which focused on class and British life. I’ve been an admirer of Grayson’s work for a long time as I love the way he takes traditional forms of art such as pottery or tapestry and subverts them to offer social commentary. The grotesque humour often found in his pieces juxtaposes brilliantly with their delicate intricacy and to see them up close is visually stunning. The exhibition is part of a wider national tour supported by The Art Fund and I’m so glad I didn’t have to trek to London to see them! The full tour dates are below and I definitely recommend checking them out!
◾ 14 February – 11 May 2014: Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
◾ May – August 2014: Walker Art Gallery
◾ 1 August – 1 October 2014: Leeds City Art Gallery