May 31, 2011
May 30, 2011
May 28, 2011
On Wednesday I was not allowed to go to work because Barack Obama was visiting parliament and due to safety regulations only permanent staff were allowed to enter! How annoying! I really wanted to catch a glimpse of the President as he made his way through the House…though due to the never ending network of tunnels and corridors nobody saw a thing. How inconvenient.
May 26, 2011
May 25, 2011
Growing up I always read the paper backwards so that I could get to one of the best parts first - the comics :) I must admit that though I still do that I now cover the rest of the paper as well! I love comic strips; Lyn Johnston's 'For better or for Worse', Charles Schultz' 'Peanuts' and Bill Watterson's "Calvin & Hobbes' are a few of my favourites.
May 24, 2011
A few weeks ago I finished “Eat, Pray, Love” and fell head over heels with Elizabeth Gilbert’s witty and self depreciating style of writing. From the very beginning, she gives a characteristically frank rundown of her traveling skills: tall and blond, she doesn't blend well physically in most places; she's lazy about research and prone to digestive woes. "But my one mighty travel talent is that I can make friends with anybody," she writes. "I can make friends with the dead. . . . If there isn't anyone else around to talk to, I could probably make friends with a four-foot-tall pile of Sheetrock."
By the end of the book I felt like I myself was in desperate need of a year long trip and it triggers the thrill seeker in most; be it to try great food, explore somewhere new or simply to meet new people and learn something from them. Gilbert's prose is fueled by a mix of intelligence, wit and colloquial exuberance that is close to irresistible, and also educates the reader on some interesting facts about the cultures, languages and foods she encounters along the way. The film really does not do it justice, leaving out Gilbert’s hilarious interior monologue and battles with her conscience. I came away from this book feeling like the world is my oyster and that it's never too late to do the things you love.
May 22, 2011
May 20, 2011
Sci-fi novels and films of the last century predicted many things for us in 2011: flying cars, all-in-one body suits and getting around by teleporter...so why aren't we all living it up like the Jetsons yet? The BBC looks at how we are in fact living in a sci-fi future.
Thankfully, we're not being attacked by robots from outer space and London hasn't been submerged (yet) but there are a few predictions that have come true:
Credit Cards -Looking Backward by Edward Bellamy, written in 1888, predicted cash cards.
The Internet - Mark Twain, in From the London Times of 1904, written in 1898, imagined a communication network in which anyone could talk to and see anyone.
CCTV - Big Brother is watching you, George Orwell warned in 1949.
Lunar exploration - Johannes Kepler first thought this might happen in 1634.
May 19, 2011
The TED Prize was started in 2005 and awards an individual the opportunity to change the world by spreading a positive, hopeful message. This year the winner was semi-anonymous urban Parisian artist 'JR'. He doesn't explain his huge full-frame portraits of people making faces, leaving the space empty for an encounter between the subject/protagonist and the passerby/ interpreter. JR's wish is " for you to stand up for what you care about by participating in a global art project, and together we'll turn the world...INSIDE OUT." Read more about the InsideOut Project.
May 18, 2011
Today, the word "Barbados" conjures images of a Caribbean paradise; sandy white beaches, sunshine and an ice cold rum punch. Centuries ago however, about 170 Scottish Jacobite rebels were “Barbado’ed” after the rising of 1715 — and there are other sources of Scots ancestry in Barbados, too. From then on, Irish and Scottish thieves, prostitutes and any others who broke the law were sentenced to be 'Barbado'ed' - a brutal punishment which meant a life of hardship as an indentured servant in the West Indies. More often than not this lead to a premature death due to overwork and deplorable living conditions; the searing heat, blazing sun and days spent in the fields were not kind to the European white folk.
They were transported to Barbados by Oliver Cromwell after the Civil War and many direct descendants still live on the East coast of the island. They were nicknamed "red legs" (because they got their legs sunburned below the hem of their kilts when working in the cane fields) or “Backras” (apparently because no respectable family wanted to sit next to poor white trash in church. They were made to sit in the back pews only.)
Find out more about the Bajan 'red legs'.
May 16, 2011
May 14, 2011
Having been lucky enough to have been in Cannes for the 2009 Film Festival, I've always been excited to see the line-up and read about the season's picks. This year it seems that 'We need to talk about Kevin' - based on the bestselling novel - starring Tilda Swinton, is the critic's favourite so far and may even make it to the next award's season in the US. Another one causing a bit of a stir is Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris', saturated with a star-studded cast including France's First Lady Carla Bruni. Read more on this year's festival here or watch the nominee trailers & teasers and decide for yourself who deserves the coveted awards. I myself can't decide between Melancholia, Once upon a time in Anatolia and Sleeping Beauty.
May 13, 2011
Visit the City of Westminster and you'll be taken away by the sheer 'grandness' of it all; the architecture, the history, the culture, the tradition...But look a little closer and you'll see that London has a very well kept love story and fashion secret.
Legend has it that the second Duke of Westminster, Hugh Richard Arthur Grosvenor, was so love-struck by Mademoiselle 'Coco' Chanel back in the late Twenties after they met at a party in Monte Carlo in 1925, that he ordered all the lampposts in Westminster to be adorned with her initials, alongside an ornate W - the Duke's crest. Poor old Hugh was left heartbroken when, despite his extravagant gesture, Chanel turned his proposal of marriage down saying: "There have been several Duchesses of Westminster, there is only one Chanel".
Although their relationship did not produce the heir that Bendor desperately sought, it did create something of significance, of which ghostly traces still remain. The double Cs embossed upon the old lampposts are a final emblem of the Duke's gesture towards Coco Chanel, a silent mark of their union, and of the melding of British tradition with French couture, in a style all of its own.
May 12, 2011
May 10, 2011
May 9, 2011
May 6, 2011
Mind-blowing, awe inspiring photographs taken around the world by people as young as 14 years old. I recommend checking these out as my copies of the photos really don't show the exquisite detail! These are on show at the Royal Geographical Society in London.
Here are my top 10 favourite shots from the Winner's Gallery:
|Tibetian Monastery, Ganzi, Sichuan, China|
(Travel Photographer of the Year - Overall winner) Larry Louie, Canada
|Carrying a speared octopus back to the boat, Sulawesi, Indonesia |
(Encounters portfolio Winner) James Morgan, UK
|Djenne Mosque, Djenne, Mali |
(Travel Photographer of the Year- Overall winner) Larry Louie, Canada
|Monks preparing to view a solar eclipse, Bemri mountain, Bhutan |
(One Shot- Adventures winner) Maja Flink, Sweden
|Yak milking, Shine-Ider area, Mongolia |
(Encounters Portfolio) Kym Morris, Australia
|Filipino paaling fishermen 40m beneath the South China Sea |
(Amazing Places Portfolio) Timothy Allen, UK
|Western Highlands, Papua New Guinea |
(One shot- Adventures) Timothy Allen, UK
|Boy playing with pet shark, Sulawesi, Indonesia |
(Encounters Portfolio Winner) James Morgan, UK
|Fete Gede (Festival of the Dead), Port-au-Prince, Haiti |
(Encounters Portfolio) Jordi Cohen Colldeforns, Spain
|Emerging from a cloud of colours, Festival of Holi, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, India |
(Encounters Portfolio) Poras Chaudhary, India
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