Perfect frame

11 April 2014

Before going to Capri last summer, I imagined the perfect picture I would like to take. It was a beach full of people scattered here and there with a handful of people swimming in the sea. All seen from a cliff high above, beach-goes the size of ants, with colourful umbrellas dotting the white sand. Very vogue, you get the idea. Of course photography rarely works that way, and my case was lost from the very beginning as there are no sandy beaches in Capri. I was determined to look for opportunities to take a perfect frame, capture the moment I'd like to put up on a wall and remember what it was like being on this gorgeous island.

My perfect frame is not what I thought it would be. We went for drinks to one of the bars near Gradola beach (read rock shelf with a ladder). The sun was setting in the background and we enjoyed a few drinks and munching on pistachios. We laughed a lot because I got tipsy quite quickly as it was still before dinner and we usually skipped lunch in favour of gelato.

When it was time to go, we walked back up the steep steps to the bus stop and I spotted a lifeguard's red boat anchored near the rocks where we were sitting. It looked perfect on the background of dark blue sea and a faint silhouette of Ischia island on the horizon. I changed my camera settings to RAW and took the picture above.

When I look at it I remember the warm breeze from the sea, how content we were after a strong drink and with a prospect of a tasty dinner in one of the small Capri restaurants. Often the perfect frame is not the one you paint with your imagination, but one that finds you when you least expect it. (please excuse the cheesiness...)

Weekend in pictures

6 April 2014

^^J's breakfast

 ^^my breakfast

How was your weekend? Mine was very quiet... I guess that's what I needed. I'm on a psychiatry placement now (more on that later), which has been very interesting so far but by Friday I'm usually drained and ready for two days of not doing very much.

On Saturday I read my new issue of the Cereal magazine and tested a new bread recipe. Today we went to church and to Brew Lab for some good coffee and spent the afternoon watching "The first position" - a fascinating documentary following young ballet dancers preparing for the Youth America Grand Prix in New York City (it's available on Netflix now if you fancy watching it).

Anyway, I hope you had a relaxing weekend and here are some posts from around the web I enjoyed reading this week:

A tumblr that will always make you laugh.
The most honest blog about motherhood I've ever read.
A beautiful and candid post on loss and hope. 
Have you been to Marsille? Me neither, but we can go for a night walk in Marsille thanks to Google Maps.
This post makes me want to go to Marocco. I love the mountains and colors.
If you've ever freelanced as a graphic or web designer I'm sure you'll agree that this video is too true.  


Marta Maruszczyk aka PULPA // Designer Spotlight

5 April 2014

Welcome to a new series on my blog, in which I will be featuring up and coming designers.

Both me and J love good design. Recently I decided to follow the trends (add a prefix slow to anything and you're bang on trend these days) and to choose the items I buy more carefully. I want to be mindful of the choices I make in my day to day life and their impact on the planet/people's lives. I hope the days when I shopped in Primark are gone and that I will be able to support small producers and designers. Of course this is usually more expensive, but can also just mean a change of mindset and shopping only when necessary.

Today, I'd like to introduce you to Marta Maruszczyk- a young Polish designer behind a female fashion brand PULPA. She describes her brand as "Feminine Streetstyle" and uses neutral colours and beautiful fabrics in her work (all of the clothes by PULPA are handmade by Marta in her small flat/studio).

Jakub discovered PULPA via an interview blog called Soft & Slow (see I told you, 2014 may as well be renamed "slow"), where Marta talked about her inspirations and her home in Wroclaw.

I love PULPA and her dresses; they are very comfortable, made from beautiful fabrics and surprisingly affordable (prices vary from £30-50). I have this and this dress and if I could, I would wear them all the time.

Wearing clothes which are made from start to finish by the designer herself is a rare occurrence today, I'd never thought I'd be able to afford it before discovering PULPA.

So, what do you think? Do you know any new fashion designers you'd like to share?

Here is a link to PULPA online shop
and facebook page . Shipping from Poland took about 3 working days and cost around £5.

PS. Obviously this is not a sponsored post. All pictures copyright belong to PULPA.

What do you think when I say....

3 April 2014

... Poland?

Recently I've been thinking a lot about the power of associations. The Internet is full of trends, people tend to navigate towards certain aesthetics. The best example of that is Pinterest, which is bursting with images with highly saturated colours, white space and natural light. What interests me most though, are associations we make related to certain countries and cultures. Obviously they will be rooted in our experience of people, products, literature, art and cuisine. However I think our perception of certain countries is deeply influenced by marketing, news and media i.e. PR.

^^ Slowinski National Park, Sand Dunes

 I tried to remember what was my perception of Great Britain before I moved here. I remember reading Wuthering Heights, The Importance of Being Earnest, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde and of course Jane Austen in high school. Oh, how I loved the descriptions of misty fields covered in heather, cold country houses with high ceilings and dogs lying by the fireplace. Harry Potter books sparked by imagination as I thought they described the life in the famous British boarding schools.

In short, I thought Britain was a very romantic country, where people valued tradition and were very formal in their interactions with others. Was my idea of Britain shuttered when I moved here? No, it wasn't. If anything I was pleasantly surprised by how hilarious the British sense of humour was and slightly shocked by the clubbing and drinking culture among students, but this could be just my naive 18 year old self, who didn't really party that much in high school.

I still think Britain, and Scotland even more so, is a very romantic country. All Scottish people I've met love their country and are very proud of it and the Highlands exceeded my expectations in terms of the scenery. So my associations with the UK were correct, the literature and films (side-look at my Bridget Jones and Harry Potter DVD sets) did it justice.

This brings me to a question for you: what do you think when I say Poland? It's an unfair question, I know. English literature, and culture in general, is much more accessible. The truth is, most people I've met associate Poland with the WW2, and I can't blame them.

^^Tatra Mountains, the last picture is the Valley of Fife Ponds (me and J first talked while hiking up to that point). [Source of the last picture in this set: Phil Evans]

Some will mention how odd our language sounds or that their cleaner/plumber/joiner is Polish. More adventurous will add they really liked the sausages they found on the Polish shelf in Tesco. Or will praise the cheap beer they tasted in Krakow on a stag do.

You will not find blog posts about an awesome slide on a Polish playground, parenting styles in Poland or how to dress like a Polish woman (side-look at bloggers who are convinced that for all things sexy, wise, well-designed and beautiful one should look no further than France and Scandinavia).

What do I see when I close my eyes and think about Poland, I hear you asking.

I see warm summer evenings, sitting on the porch outside our house and looking at the starry sky; me as a child and and my grandma walking to the local bakery to buy fresh bread; families with young children and babies in slings and baby carriers hiking in the Tatry mountains; sitting by the dinner table for hours eating delicious food and chatting during family gatherings. Driving for 7h to the South and skiing with my siblings, then asking dad for change for hot chocolate and sausages in the hut at the bottom of the slope; going sledging  in -20 C cold and coming back home for tea with lemon, our cheeks red from the freezing temperatures.
^^ Traditional house design for the Tatra Mountains region

I see the twinkling candle lights, thousands of them, on the cemeteries where everyone goes to visit graves of their deceased family members on All Saint's Day; Zelazowa Wola Park (birthplace of Chopin) where we used to go for long walks when I was little; countless cafes, food-trucks and foodie markets in Warsaw which has changed over the last 7 years beyond belief.

^^Afternoon by Vistula, Warsaw

^^Milicz Ponds, Poland

I realise that my associations are both idealised (because I'm writing this feeling slightly homesick in my hospital accommodation room) and nostalgic, but I bet many Poles would find themselves nodding in agreement as they read this.

^^Suwalski National Park, Northern Poland

So. what's the conclusion of this lengthy post? The conclusion is that I wish Poland was better at branding and advertising itself.

We are a beautiful European country, with sandy beaches, rocky mountains, breath-taking scenery, hot summers, cold winters, difficult but incredibly rich language and literature, and people who love life and their motherland yet always seem ever so slightly embarrassed about certain aspects of what it means to come from Poland.

Pictures source: all pictures (apart from 1) are from the Flickr by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland


1 April 2014

Definition // In meteorology, haar is a coastal fog. Haar is typically formed over the sea and is brought to land by wind advection. This commonly occurs when warmer moist air moves over the relatively cooler North Sea causing the moisture in the air to condense, forming haar*.

Edinburgh is a foggy city. Sometimes you can hardly see the next person walking in front of you on the pavement, so this wasn't the most extreme case of haar I've seen.

It adds to the atmosphere and makes me wonder what was it like to live here during medieval times.

It's also one of those things that people of Edinburgh unite over (at least in my mind they do), that makes you feel like a part of this city because you know that it happens and when it does you know where it comes from.

"Aah, It must be because of those two warm days we had last week.."

* source

The Wild West in Morningside // Edinburgh Walks

On Sunday we explored a little-known part of Edinburgh..