Monday, 27 June 2011

A very productive weekend

So the reason my blog camera review this week was a bit lame was that I have had a super busy and very productive weekend. Saturday pm I trundled off to Temple Newsam to look after Pippa's uni friend's little boy Rhys while they ran the Race for Life together. It was very sunny out there and my chest and face went a bit red so hopefully that will tan. Rhys was a very sweet boy and I taught him to use some analogue cameras. Then his Mum Kay bought me these lovely pumps to say thank you for taking care of him!!!

Then when we got back from Temple Newsam and Dave had gone to work we decided to make the spare room more habitable for Rich (Pip's chap) coming to stay so we went to Ikea and got lots of shelving, erected it all and made ourselves a bit of a working study in the box room. I am very proud of it because we have given loads to charity, gave away free stuff on gumtree, utilised our loft space, ebayed like crazy people and generally just re-organised to give ourselves lots more room everywhere. Is it just me or do people feel better after a good old de-clutter?

Hope everyone else had a good weekend and got lots done. Only problem now is it is too muggy to sleep - covers back and windows open I think!

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Camera Review 4 - Lomo LC-A+

Tonight's camera review is a bit of a copout really as I have been mega busy since I got back from London. I am going to review the LC-A+ from lomography which I do not actually own but have shot a fair few rolls on at trips etc. I personally do not like the feel of it as much as an original LC-A because they feel less plastic and a lot more sturdy. I also love the history that comes with them and I enjoy the fact that mine has been a bit of a labour of love to get it right (which you can read about in number 1 of this series of reviews). The lens is also a Chinese made replica of the original Russian one which some people call a disadvantage as they prefer the original but to a highly untrained eye such as my own, this doesn't really make any difference. 
The best thing about this camera however, which the original does not have is that it can do multiple exposures. Now whilst I am not usually a big fan of the MX, I have seen some amazing ones of these done on an LC-A+ so it is quite a big selling point over the original. I understand that the original model can be modified using a biro lid to do MX as well but this is well beyond my simple mind! 
The price is the biggie here however, Lomography sell these at £280 brand new and I am just not sure that a plastic camera is worth as much as that, in my opinion. 
Below you can see one of my Brighton multiple exposures which I am particularly chuffed with, taken on a borrowed LC-A+.

Now my Brighton photos from my amazing day out there have been a huge disappointment. Dave and me took 8 rolls of film to Asda to be developed on Thursday and when we went to collect them, the man said 2 rolls had been a bit of a disaster. Sadly they were 2 rolls shot by me in Brighton on my LC-A and a borrowed LC-A+. It was lomo X-Pro slide film as well which is expensive and one of my favourite films in the world. They basically jammed in the machine and as a result have not developed long enough so they cannot be scanned in. I actually nearly cried. Ordinarily if something had happened and the films were totally blank I wouldn't have minded and tried to convince myself that the pictures were rubbish anyway. The worst part of this is that I can see the photos on one side of the negative and they look mostly really really good!!! I currently just can't get enough light through them to get them scanned in and salvage anything as yet. I am trying to hold out some hope and my lovely lomo buddies who are better at scanning than me have even offered to give it a go for me. Fingers crossed people!!!

Thursday, 23 June 2011

A weekend away

So yesterday I just got back from a long weekend in London, which was super relaxing and we had a lovely time, and caught up with lots of friends. The main reason for us going down was that lomography were doing a daytrip to Brighton on Saturday and we have always talked about going there. I will write about that in a separate entry. We went down on Friday night and stayed with Helen in South London, just past Croydon. When we arrived, she had already got us each a William and Cate commemorative Oyster Card, lol. All in all we had a lovely time and I think I shot about 5 rolls of film in the end. More importantly, I was very very strict with myself and did not use my digital camera at all while we were there. I am off to Asda to get my analogue pictures developed this evening so I can't wait to see how they will come out - fingers crossed. Below are a few pictures from my Twitter while I was away, all of which I did using Instagram. Apart from Brighton we went shopping, had dinner out (numerous times), drank in Camden Lock, saw some sights (Buckingham Palace), saw Cate Middleton in a car, hired Barclays bikes and rode around Soho and Trafalger. And on Tuesday before we left we had a very posh breakfast in a Michelin starred restaurant inside HMP High Down. I had seen The Clink on a TV show not so long ago and just thought it was such a great idea, I had to visit. I am dying to go back and sample their lunch menu now! Info about the Clink prison restaurant can be seen here. I highly recommend a visit if you happen to be in the area! The food was super, very cheap and the decor/service/experience were brilliant.

Clockwise from top left- Dave's Kirsy Kreme fix, sign on a door in Soho,
my William and Cate Oyster card and HMP High Down

Monday, 20 June 2011

A total Mac convert!

I realise this will not come as a surprise to most of you out there in blogland, but Mac make-up is awesome! Due to the fact that I do not wear much, and it is fairly pricey, I have always steered clear, but no more! I treated myself to a Mac Wonder Woman lipgloss in the shade Emancipation, which can be seen below. It is a pale nude/pink shade and very shimmery.

Now I am totally converted, it even feels expensive!! It goes on all silky and gorgeous, looks perfect and 2 drinks later it has not really budged! Even the brush feels gorgeous. The price might be a bit of a barrier, but if you have this gloss, you wouldn't need any others! And it smells good. And the packaging is fab. Love it love it love it love it.

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Camera Review 3 - Fisheye No. 2

When I first got my Fisheye No.2, the thing I found most difficult was remembering to always take the lens cap off when I took a photo. It turns out that I am not the only one as there are a few pics up on lomography showing the lens cap from the inside! 
Once I had this mastered I got shooting right away. At first I loved the camera, it is easy to use, has a flash built in, no need to set distance and it has long exposure capability. Plus they are at the cheaper end of lomography cameras so a thumbs up there as well. Below are some of my early shots taken on this one.

The problem I encountered fairly quickly however was that when using the flash for fisheye shots led to a dark patch in the bottom right corner of each frame. Obviously one of the best times to use this camera is on a night out in a big group of friends, but that dark spot was killing me! That is the only major criticism I had of this camera early on.

The perfect solution for me was of course the lomography ringflash. This is bascially a circular shaped flash that goes all around the lens casting an even light throughout the photo. I only got it last week but I am chuffed to bits with it and it has really got me using my Fisheye again. The shots below were experimental ones taken with the ringflash on.

Of course the ringflash at £60 is virtually the same price as the Fisheye No 2 itself so is a bit pricey but it is worth mentioning that it also fits Diana F+, Lomo LC-A and Holga so I know that for me it is a worthwhile investment, although I haven't tested it on those as yet.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Eyeko Nail Polish

the four shades I got from eyeko

Despite me saying that I was not equipped to be a beauty blogger and do make-up reviews, I wanted to write about my delight at my new Eyeko products. I got a Groupon deal for a £20 voucher to use at for £8 so I got 2 of them as I had been looking at trying their products for a while now. I was pretty disappointed when I went on the site to find that they had sold out of the main thing I wanted which was the Big Eyes mascara. I am now saving my second voucher for when this is back in stock. I was really taken in by the cute names and labels on the nail polish so I decided to get 4 of these instead. I chose "Chi Chi" which is a pink glittery polish, "Vintage" which is like a pastel jade green, "Nude" which does exactly what it says on the tin and "Cosmic"which is a black base with multi coloured glitter. And I have to say I love them all. I have been wearing nude for the last 3 days and I have not even got one chip! And that is with just 2 coats and no top coat! I have never had such staying power! All 4 shades look beautiful on and 2 coats is more than enough. The glitter shades have plenty of glitter bits and again do not chip easily. Even better is that the site has free UK shipping and the stuff came within 2 days. The bottle look tiny but they are 8.5 ml so as big as other brands really. I am all over this new brand!!! Thanks Groupon!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

And the winner is. . . . .

Hey so I hope you weren't holding your breath waiting to find out who won the freebie or you would have all been blue by now! I am happy to announce that the winner is Rosie of A Rosie Outlook (which if you have not had a look at already I highly recommend it!). I did not get Dave to select a winner in the end, I did it all randomly on excel, putting people in a random order:-

Cherry 1
Jodie-Ann 2
Rosie 3
Anon! 4
Spinal Lou 5
Dan 6
Steph Kelly 7
Rachael 8
Konni 9
Keair 10

And then I used to pick me a winner:-

True Random Number Generator  3Powered by RANDOM.ORG

I actually am really happy that the prize is going to Rosie as it was her blogging for the Loblography challenge that got me into blogspot in the first place so she is pretty much the reason I am here! Thanks for that Rosie. If you can get in touch with me so I know what colour/theme you fancy and your address, then I shall get it sent out asap. I have been so excited about the freebie I have been adding little bits to it for a week now! The notebook is just the beginning!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

My ten follower giveaway

So I realised today that I have made it to ten lovely followers and I hadn't even noticed as I don't have the follower side bar or anything! This means I can do my giveaway that I mentioned here in celebration of being in double figures. I think part of the reason I didn't notice was that I decided a while back I shouldn't concern myself too much with numbers and just value the followers I do have - which I really really do by the way, thanks guys!
Anyway I am going to give my boyfriend a list of my followers who he knows absolutely nothing about and tell him he must randomly select one. I cannot do this til tomorrow however as he is working til ridiculous o'clock tonight. I shall update again tomorrow when I have an answer.
Fingers crossed kids!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Camera Review 2 - Fuji Instax Mini

I have always been a fan of instant cameras, such as my aunt's old Polaroid in the 1980s and knew that I wanted one. I chose the Instax mini style because I like the credit card sized prints it produces. They fit beautifully into a wallet. The camera is so user friendly and I had it up and running the moment it arrived. And I have since leant it out to people around the office and they have got on with it straight away. It has several shooting modes, flash, sunny, cloudy and so on so it comes out nice in any weather. It is quite sizable and weighty so you wouldn't exactly slip it into a small handbag for a night out but when you bother to carry it around, it is great fun. The excitement of waiting for your photos feels amazing and getting a little print right away is great for the impatient soles out there. Another downside is the cost of the film so I tend to try and save mine for special occasions. The lowest I have managed to find film works out at about 55 pence per photo so you don't really want any bloopers. I would say this camera is well worth a try though and can be picked up a lot cheaper now than it used to be. Below are some examples of shots I have taken on it. 

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Blog vs. Journal

I am always neglecting one or the other. When I am blogging a lot, my actual handwritten journal ends up neglected on my bedside table and I occasional do a print out from here and glue it in. And when I am writing nice and regularly in my journal (like I ought to do every day as it helps me to gather my thoughts and get them all in order) I neglect my little blog. My journal and my blog are totally different. My blog is me rambling on about things that I want to share with the world, would enjoy feedback on and includes subjects I think people might like to read about. Also stuff I wouldn't mind if people like my parents/friends/colleagues stumbled upon. My journal includes far more personal things, things I wouldn't mention online. Nobody wants to read about money (vulgar), periods (gross) or my work (data protection).
Recently however I have not had the time to do either of these things and this only goes to show that I need to get my life more in order, maybe with some sort of a weekly timetable which factors in work, sleep, meals, uni work, volunteering, postcrossing, blogging, journaling, reading etc etc. I mean obviously this seems a bit strict and ridiculous but there are weeks where I don't do enough of the important stuff in my life and just fanny around instead. I will come up with a solution for this later this week, but I think it will have to be a proper timetable.

Monday, 6 June 2011

A little romantic gesture

Ahhhhh I just went up to my room and Dave (who has started this week working late evenings so we won't see each other for around 20 hours - for us this is a very long time!) had left a note on our bed as you can see below.

It really really made me go all gooey and I audibly went "ahhhhhh" so loud that Pip came running through to ask me what the deal was. I like how unromantic Dave is because it means when he does something so tiny, it has a really dramatic effect. And I am not a particularly soppy person, so him being unromantic suits me really but it was a lovely thing to come home to.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Camera Review 1 - My Lomo LC-A

The first camera I am going to review for my new series (which I mentioned a few weeks ago and never got off the ground!). I had coveted an LC-A+ ever since I became a member of the Lomography community and saw the beautiful yet unpredictable lo-fi images it produced. At a cost of £280, I had to put it on hold until I had a slightly better job. When it came time to buy, I had done a fair bit more research and decided to go for an original model, the LC-A because although this does not include a multiple exposure switch (I am not a huge fan of the MX anyway), it comes at less than 1/3 the cost and features the original russian made lens rather than the newer cheaper chinese model. It also feels a lot more robust, weightier and just better made. It also means that you can set your own aperture, whereas the newer + model only has auto mode. I got mine off ebay after doing a fair amount of research on the subject. I chose a seller who was patient with all my questions (he even hand wrote me an idiots start up guide) and seemed to know a bit about cameras. That is not to say I didn't encounter a few teething problems.
As soon as I got it out the box at work, I loaded a roll of Ilford XP2 and started shooting, rushed to Asda that very evening and had the roll developed - only to find it was all blank. Then once I figured out why (batteries most likely), I got those replaced, learnt what the LEDs actually meant and then it was onwards and upwards! Except I still couldn't get the LEDs to light. A quick tightening of the connections and I was up and running and took my new toy to a trip to London that weekend, but then this happened:-

The light leak was fairly horrific and I couldn't understand why. It was off to Flickr for some advice and at this point I found out the seals were worn and needed new foam. This was all fairly easy due to the magic of ebay and in a few days I had a pre cut pack of foam and some bamboo sticks.
And now I have run a good few rolls through her, I couldn't be happier. For the £82 I paid, I am so glad I got the original model as I think the new one would have been an unnecessary expense. The only downside to this one is that the ISO only goes up to 400 so I don't know how I will cope without using her in the winter, or prey that we have at least a few sunny 400 iso days through the duller months. I would recommend this camera to anyone, it is easy to use and never fails me. Long exposures are easy to achieve by covering the light meter and with an active hotshoe it is also great for flash photography. 

Above you can see some of my favourite shots taken over the last 6 months with this camera. I see no valid reason not to get one!
*For any bloggers out there who have not heard of lomography and the community there, please check it out. It is one of the friendliest places on the world wide web and I am so so glad to be a part of it.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

When life takes over

God I have been such a rubbish blogger lately and not updated at all! And my last update was a copy and paste jobby so that barely counts. I apologise to any readers I have may have actually obtained in my absence, life just got so busy for a few weeks that I almost got left behind. There were a fair few things I didn't even blog about yet that I wanted to so that is a bit sad too! My trip to Portsmouth being one of them and secondly the whole news about Bin Laden and my asking to redeploy at work. I will aim to catch up this weekend as Dave is at work and I am home alone with the Sky plus box and 2 bits of uni work to complete and hand in. The first mad thing going on has been Dave's job. He has finally left Woodlands so fingers crossed no more angry depressed fiance, which has to be a good thing! In fairness he is now going to work at Nandos as a cook which I think he feels a bit rubbish about as it is minimum wage and a lot of the people there are a lot younger than him but I said if he is happy there (which he really seems to be so far fingers crossed). 

I have done quite a bit of uni work this week, handed in an essay and got really involved in the online forums/discussions which I think is a really important part of distance learning. I was worried about falling behind but now that Dave is working at all different times I have a lot more time to do my studying, which is what I have been doing this afternoon.

Also my work life has been very very dramatic this week. Firstly there was the tragic incident with Liam Shackleton on Tuesday. I ended up working at the police station til late in the evening which was very very sad and stressful. I still feel pretty upset about it all and I am thinking about visiting the site later this evening to lay a tribute, even though it is kind of none of my business.

And then yesterday I had a very hectic day at work indeed when one of the offenders let loose in reception with a knife. Fortunately no-one was hurt but it went on for a while and was a bit stressful. Last night though I went to a gig straight from work and I watched John Cooper Clarke, who is a 63 year old poet/comedian/performer and it was a right laugh. I shall leave you all with this little video of him reading his famous poem, Twat.

Enjoy, and take care.