Thursday, 28 April 2016

Synth You're Listening...

I started this challenge - goal 29 on The List - to encourage myself to listen to music outside of what I normally listen to. I'm one of those people who can have the same three albums on repeat for months, or until I find something else New And Awesome.

This challenge probably won't be too good on my wallet, overall. So far I've only bought music of one of the artists I've listened to, but that accounts for two albums and two singles (and I've been buying music of bands I already know in the meanwhile, too!)

But on the plus side, I'm finding new acts that might not otherwise have popped up on my radar!

Here are the two new-to-me artists I listened to this week:

マイナス人生オーケストラ (Minus Jin-say Orchestra)
First saw a mention of this Japanese band in a gig lineup advertised on another band's twitter, I think.
I wasn't sure what to make of this band at first. For the most part, they are really energetic, as can be seen in a lot of their music videos (such as the one above). Their synth-rock sound gives a pretty crazy impression!
But they also have other songs with an entirely different sound and aesthetic, such as the animated 'katawa-chan no nagareboshi', which I think translates roughly as 'The Cripple's Shooting Star', in which you can hear more of the vocalist's natural voice.
I wasn't so keen on the first song of theirs that I heard, but enjoyed the rest (and the first one is growing on me. It's so bouncy...)
Minus Jin-say Orchestra Official Website

Dulce Liquido
Another of Lilia's suggestions (yay for all the suggestions!), this act hails from Mexico! Their music is electro (though some YouTubers call them 'aggrotech' and 'power noise').
The vocals sound like a whispery death metal growl, put through a computer, if that makes any sense.
This is definitely not the genre I would ordinarily seek out! Despite that, I don't think it's terrible. The repetitive beat makes it the kind of music I'd have playing in the background as I did other things, especially if I wanted to remain focused!
Dulce Liquido Official Website

That's it for this week! To see the other musical acts I've listened to for this goal, check out my Goal #29 tag. Alternatively, listen to everything I've been listening to via my Goal 29 Playlist.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Self-Indulgent Japanese

Pulled pork steamed gyoza
On Saturday, I ended up at Wagamama in Horsham with my friend Sara (who bought me food as a birthday treat, my birthday being this Friday! Thank you Sara!)

Tori kara age
I'd never eaten at Wagamama before, so we totally pigged out on tasty things. I went with Sara's recommendations on sides because looking at the menu I was completely spoilt for choice.
I'm not even kidding. I wanted to eat all the gyoza.  It all sounded so good!
The pulled pork steamed gyoza was actually a lot nicer than I expected, and when the tori kara age (crispy chicken) arrived at the table, the waiter suggested squeezing the lime into the dipping sauce, which made a really tasty combination of flavours!

Chicken ramen
When it came to the main course, I plumped for chicken ramen. This was another first for me, as I've never actually had proper ramen before. It was great to eat it as it's meant to be, rather than simply eating packs of 3 minute ramen noodles from the Asian supermarket.
Ramen is tasty and filling, especially when eaten alongside gyoza and tori kara age.
But I said we were there to pig out, right?
So of course we had dessert.

Raspberry mochi ice cream
The raspberry mochi ice cream was a great way to finish off the meal, because it was refreshing! Eating it was an interesting experience, as it's chewy on the outside but soft ice cream on the inside. Nevertheless, it was tasty!

Would definitely go to Wagamama again, though would probably only usually eat a main and either a side or a dessert, rather than the whole lot! It's too easy to be greedy when the food is good...

(In case you're wondering, 'wagamama' is the Japanese word for selfishness, or self-indulgence... Appropriate considering the food, right?)

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

What to do When the Queue at the Cafe is Huge saunter past the huge queue and head for the coffee bar, that's what you do.
And that's what my middle sister and I did, when we went into South Downs Nurseries for lunch, only to find the line for the cafe went all the way to the door.
Which might not sound that long, but the cafe is situated in a huge, new building at the garden centre, which also houses the South Downs Heritage Centre and Sussex Food Hall, where visitors can buy local produce and work by local artisans, view a number of old lawnmowers, or even take a crafting class!

Of course, my sister and I had gone there with the intention of eating cake, so we were glad to find Chloe's Coffee Bar tucked in the corner, apparently forgotten by the people queueing for the cafe.
I don't know why it was forgotten, because for a drink and a snack (they had cakes and savoury food) it's a great place to go!
I had a slice of chocolate praline cake, which was delicious, and a massive cup of tea! My sister had a bottle of traditional lemon juice and salted caramel cake, which according to her was also good!

The place started to fill up whilst we were finishing our food. It's a nice little place, and whilst it's within the huge hall that comprises the heritage centre, it feels cosy and private due to the display cases that are set alongside the tables, sectioning them off from the rest of the floor space. (They also mean you can do a bit of shopping whilst sitting with your tea and cake!)

If I happen to be in the garden centre again, I know where to head!

Monday, 25 April 2016

What's On Your Mind?

What's On Your Mind?

Once again I'm posting my submissions for Delightful Aberrations' photo challenge at the very last minute. See how much I win at being organised?

For week 5, the prompt x-ray caught my attention immediately...and I proceeded to procrastinate all week (admittedly, my slowness wasn't about putting it off so much as being absent-minded!)

This week I've ended up with two pictures: the one above, which is a single shot, and the one below, which is a composite of two photographs:

I See What You're Thinking
I really intended to get these pictures done earlier in the week, but that didn't happen again. I don't know where my brain is lately (at least the scans proved I have one!)
Thanks to mum for being my model this time!

Thursday, 21 April 2016

Traditional and Contemporary

It's Thursday!
Here's the new music I've been listening to this week...

An artist recommended to me by my friend Sparrow, who couldn't believe they hadn't shown me any YouTube videos before!
Kitaro is a New Age musician from Japan, who has won multiple awards for his work.
His music is soothing and inspiring; being instrumental it allows for a lot of daydreaming! As Kitaro started his solo career in the late 1970s, there's a hell of a lot of music to listen to!
I really enjoyed listening to this music, and will very likely be looking it up again in the future.
Kitaro Official Website

I think I heard about this English act through Brighton Festival's programme, and figured that since they're performing there, I'd check them out.
There's an interesting quality to some of the videos I found online, but the music itself really didn't grab me. It's simply not the kind of music I enjoy. (What can I say, I tried!)
However, if you watched the above video and enjoyed it, go plug their name into YouTube. There's tonnes more.
Tindersticks Official Website

Next week's music? As always, it's as much as surprise to me as it is for readers. I continue to surf on stuff accidentally, listen to newly-recommended acts (recommend some more!) and pick at random from a list.
This is the third week in a row where I've not been so taken with one of the acts I've heard. Am I getting picky, or is this simply bad luck?!

Sunday, 17 April 2016

E is for Exploration

E is for Exploration

This week's photo challenge over on Delightful Aberrations included the prompt exploration.

I had some ideas for this, but ended up copping out and taking a few last-minute shots. Somehow this week has flown by without my realising it, or having the presence of mind to take my camera out!

So here's my image, shot on my phone, with the saturation adjusted in photoshop!

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Crucifiction and The Crucifier

It's Music Challenge time of the week again!
The acts I listened to this week are of different genres, but have a similarity titles. Crucifixtion references, anyone?

Spiritual Bats
Saw a mention of this act on a friend's blog, so added them to my list!
This Italian band were active in the nineties until the early noughties. Their music has the kind of sound I think of when I think of goth acts, with prominent bass and drums, that typical guitar sound (which I never know how to describe) and slightly gravelly, 'graveyardy' vocals.
I wasn't particularly taken with this band's sound, despite having a liking for some goth music. Goes to show that you can't love everything from a specific genre!

Crucified Barbara
I don't remember where I heard about this band, but they ended up on my list somehow, so it could have been through Random Googling.
This is an all-female hard rock/heavy metal band from Sweden. I can be pretty picky when it comes to female vocals, but I enjoyed the vocalist's growly rock-metal sound. Accompanied by some epic guitar, thurmming bass and kick-ass drums, this is a band you can't ignore.
Crucified Barbara's music is just what this genre should be: unapologetic, energetic and full of punch!
Great music for when having a mad moment!
Crucified Barbara Official Website

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Honeycomb Crush!

Last week, Mum and I ended up going to Marram Trading, in Hurstpierpoint, for a cup of tea (and in my case, a piece of cake, because I got up late and hadn't had any breakfast!)

Mum has been there a few times with friends, but it was new to me, so I was eager to find out what they were like.

Marram Trading is part cafe part shop, so when you've finished your tea and cake, you can take a look at the beautiful homewares and accessories on sale!

But I'm getting ahead of myself here. First, the food!

I always opt for tea when I'm in a cafe--I mean, I'm British, and I don't like coffee, so it's the obvious choice, right? It was brought to the table in a simple white teacup, with milk served in a tiny milk bottle (I love those tiny milk bottles!)
The cake I had was called 'Honeycomb Crush' or something; it reminded me of rocky road, but with honeycomb instead of marshmallows! It was super-delicious and I didn't feel a bit guilty that it was my breakfast. ;)

The decor in Marram Trading is simple and somewhat rustic. I liked the daffodils on the tables as they gave the place a fresh, country kitchen kind of feel, which is just perfect in the village!

When it comes to the shop side of things, the products are utterly beautiful, and more importantly they seem really good quality! It was great to see so many lovely things crammed in one room, and I mentally spent a lot of money (on things I have nowhere to put, therefore I didn't buy anything, haha)

There's a vintage popup shop at Marram Trading over the next month, so I may try to nip in there and take a look (and maybe eat more cake...)

Saturday, 9 April 2016



Amongst the prompts on Delightful Aberrations this week was the word edge, which I was instantly inspired by!

I would have liked to have proper 'tiny people' for this, but as I have yet to learn how to plan these things, I ended up with a tiny blu-tack man (who has since been returned to the giant glob of blu-tack from whence he came).

Since I didn't think my mum would take kindly to me sticking blu-tack on her kitchen knives, I used a knife-like letter opener instead.

The little man was super-bendy and somewhat unsteady, so I had to shoot fast before he fell over--the image above is actually a bit of a happy accident as he was dangling somewhat precariously on the edge of the blade!

Here are a couple of extra shots that I played around with:


Note to self: pay more attention to backgrounds!


Just in case photos of a blu-tack man on the edge of a blade left you reeling with vertigo, here he is on solid, flat desk land:


I think he's pretty satisfied with his adventure!

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Songs from the Ice, Songs from the Sun

This week, I listened to music recommended not by people who know me, but by YouTube and by a magazine (I don't remember which...)
Of course, YouTube makes recommendations according to a user's viewing history, and mine has been a little messed up by all the listening I'm doing for this challenge!
So YouTube's recommendation is similar to acts I've listened to previously, whilst the artist I heard about through a magazine is something I would never have looked up otherwise...

This icelanding rock/metal act was a YouTube recommendation.
The lyrics are not in English, but anyone who has been reading this long enough knows that I'm not put off by this! (I found a translation of the above song here, by the way)
Sólstafir's music has emotive vocals and a great melody and a lot of atmosphere, even without watching the video (which I am doing as I type this!)
However, the videos themselves are worth a watch, particularly the one above. They're very engaging, with narrative and beautiful scenery!
Sólstafir Official Website

Okay, so I seriously cannot remember where I saw a mention of this band for it to end up on my 'to listen' list, other than the fact it was in a magazine. Which kinda sucks, as I like to credit where I heard about these artists!
This indie rock band hails from Spain, though based on what I've heard, they sing in English.
I'm not really keen on their songs at all--the vocals don't do it for me. The vocals are good, but not the style that I like. Still, nosing on their wikipedia page it seems they've impressed music publications and professional musicians, so there must be some merit in what they're creating!
The video I included here doesn't seem to be like the rest of their music videos, which have more of a fun, documentary or home-video style. I picked this one to embed because I liked it better than the others! Feel kind of sorry for 'the man', haha...
HINDS Official Website

Well that's it for this week. Next week, maybe I'll find something a bit different (or maybe not...all depends on where I get recommendations from!)

Tuesday, 5 April 2016

An Egg for a Meerkat

Saturday would have been my Grandad's 92nd birthday. As Saturdays are also 'Nanny Days', my parents took Nanny to Drusillas Park at Alfriston, for a special day out involving meerkats, lemurs, lorikeets and more...
(Of course, I went along too!)

Lots of pictures of cute wild animals ahead!

Friday, 1 April 2016

Who Doth Wait Beyond?

"Who Doth Wait Beyond?"

Once again, I'm participating in the challenge at Delightful Aberrations!
I'm going to try and do this every week, though this week I reached Thursday and realised, 'Damn* it's already Thursday and I'm busy until the deadline...'

Anyway, this week I opted to combine the prompts chaos and reality, and came up with the above image.
I created the image using two mirrors, and took the photo using my iPhone, as it's easier to juggle that and a mirror than it is to juggle a DSLR and a mirror!
The outcome was a bit fuzzy, as I'd zoomed right in, but I think that added to the chaotic, doors-through-reality effect.
Didn't edit this much - just adjusted the levels slightly - and shot it in a square format because...the camera app is always left on this setting and I didn't think to change it.
Then I changed it, and took some more pictures, but still liked the square one better.

Hopefully next week I will get photos taken sooner!

*Word may have been stronger than 'Damn'.