Sunday, 8 September 2019

Entering the World of Digital Illustration


I have genuinely always been in awe of people who can draw and those who just have a natural artistic flair. I love arts and crafts and all expressions of creativity but have never been lucky enough to have that natural artistic flair. Or so I thought.

During this summer I decided to treat myself big style and splashed out on an Ipad Air and Apple Pencil. I'd never had any form of tablet before and thought purchasing one would help me out with my blog, give me a lighter, more efficient alternative to taking a laptop when I go off on trips and want to watch movies and I also wanted to try my hand at a bit of digital doodling. 

Since buying my Ipad, it's been super useful for all of the above and has definitely proved a worthwhile investment. But one thing that has shocked me, given my lack of natural artistic flair has been how easy I've actually taken to using it for digital art. I bought Procreate and have been playing around on it for no less than a week and it's now my fail-safe happy place. I've found inspiration all around me and have been brimming with ideas for future pieces. I set up a new Instagram for all my work and am even now considering turning it into a bit of a pocket money gainer in the near future. 

The tools and settings available on drawing apps can make haphazard creatives like me feel like they have an expressive talent and it is so good for relaxing, winding down and practising mindfulness. Of late, I've had a lot on my mind, a lot of stresses and a lot to deal with, often taking my brain and my emotions into overdrive. The one thing that has been keeping me grounded and keeping me sane is sitting and experimenting with little creative pieces on my Ipad and it's something I'd honestly recommend to anyone. It gives me the same creative and expressive release as blogging always has (hence why my blog is also my happy place) and I can so easily take it on the go and scribble as and when I please.

The digital art is something I want to expand on and hope to have prints and cards available for purchase soon, with some close friends already commissioning pieces from me. To check out what I do and follow my new journey into the world of digital illustration then please follow my new Instagram account which will specifically be for the promotion and sharing of my blog content and digital doodles. 

A lil low res sneak peek of some of my work^




Wednesday, 7 August 2019

Yesterday Movie Review






























The Beatles are one of our many British national treasures. They won the hearts of the baby boomers, conquered the world, fed Beatlemania, aided in putting Liverpool on the map and left us an entire legacy of hits. But what if they never existed? Or what if they did, but you were the only one on earth who remembered them? Well, whilst The Beatles and their back catalogue have been no strangers to the silver screen, Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle (whose work I love and who I share a birthday with, I'll have you know) have brought the music of The Beatles back to the film forefront with their movie, Yesterday which explores that very idea.

Yesterday explores a world in which, after a power surge, the population's memory of The Beatles is completely erased. Seemingly, the only person to remember and idolise them is Jack Malik, a passionate musician, desperate for a break out of his mundane day to day. Jack is played by Himesh Patel who many people would remember from UK soap opera, EastEnders in which he played Tamwar Masood. I have to add that Tamwar and his partner Nancy, were two of my fave characters so to see him starring in a major film was a treat. The film also stars Lily James and has other appearances from Robert Carlyle, Sarah Lancashire, Meera Syal, Sanjeev Bhaskar, James Corden and Ed Sheeran who should be commended on his ability to poke fun at himself at times in the film.

With his new found knowledge that the world doesn't remember The Beatles (or Coca Cola or Harry Potter for that matter), Jack toys with the idea of passing their songs off as his own. If he can only remember them, that is. The film unfolds this narrative alongside mini strands such as a love interest between Jack and Ellie (Lily James' character) and a friendship/competitive streak between him and Ed Sheeran who plays himself but is somewhat shadowed by Jack in the music stakes.

Himesh performs the songs in the movie and clearly has musical talents which until this role haven't been demonstrated. I genuinely looked up whether or not it was him performing whilst I was still in the cinema because I was so shocked. The music element to the film is one that I loved. Obviously it's built around the songs of The Beatles but music is a key theme throughout and you can tell that Jack's character appreciates music and has good taste from his posters, record collection and the fact he Googles some of his favourites to make sure they too haven't disappeared off the face of the earth.

The film is a light, heart-warming typically British story based around one of our most celebrated groups of pop culture icons. Like all films of its sort, it has some of the cringe, the cheese and the over-sensationalised bits you'd expect but ultimately, it celebrates a bunch of classic anthems, has genuinely funny moments, exhibits a relatively new upcoming British acting talent and above all, makes you smile and be damn happy that a world without The Beatles is not one in which we reside. I loved it and it will definitely be one of those easy going films that I'll watch again and again.


Like The Beatles? Check out my blogs Britannia Rules the (Radio) Waves in which they feature and Solo Travelling - Living My Best Life in Liverpool where I explored their hometown and old stomping grounds.

Thursday, 1 August 2019

Yorkshire Day 2019 | An Ode to Yorkshire

On Yorkshire Day, a little creative writing piece to pay homage to all that makes this glorious county that some of us are lucky enough to call home...



"Eee bah gum" she said, "isn't it a lovely feeling, being from that Yorkshire?"
There are many things to make us proud of God's own county, that's for sure.

The beautiful landscapes and coastlines up there in Scarborough, Brid and Whitby,
The Tour De Yorkshire flying past in as much times as it takes to say "si thi."

So much heritage and history and all those crucial industries,
Mining and waterways, steel, textiles and all the best breweries.

A recognisable dialect that unearths our home soil:
"Ow do, young bairn, put wood in't oyle."

The puddings, the rhubarb, Wensleydale cheese and parkin,
The liquorice, Henderson's Relish and while you're at it, get the Yorkshire Tea mashin'.

Museums a plenty with media, mining, Armories and railway,
Not forgetting Eden Camp, Eureka! and the Thackray.

Sheffield, York, Bradford, Hull and Leeds,
A city for each and all of your needs.

Cosmopolitan hubs full of business, finance, media and culture
Places decorated with Hockney's art and Hepworth and Moore sculptures.

From gothic, medieval, Viking and Roman
The castles and ruins will leave you unspoken.

And our musical talents, sure enough would make you gulp
Def Leppard, Arctic Monkeys, The Beautiful South and Pulp.

Everyone knows with Yorkshire, what you see is what you get.
Weather doesn't do much for us though, so prepare to get wet.

Yorkshire looks lovely when captured on the big and little screen
Full Monty, Emmerdale, Heartbeat and all that's in between.

Our little county offers a lot to see and do
Lots to take in while sipping your lovely brew.

So come and visit us, for we'll not bite
And we're not coming South, we're just too tight!






Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The Lion King 2019 Review






Like many 90s born kids, one of my favourite ever films growing up was the Lion King. It was one of our most over-played and excessively worn VHS tapes alongside Matilda and The Jungle Book. It tugged on everyone's heartstrings and gave us some of our best loved Disney characters and soundtracks, soundtracks that we knew every single word to and still do. The 1994 version was undoubtedly a classic that has stood the test of time. And so, like many, I was initially apprehensive about a re-make, particularly when the sequels and go-between films weren't particularly memorable. 

However, Disney have upped the ante where re-makes are concerned in recent years and have already given some of our much-loved classics a revamp, successfully. Alice in Wonderland for one, seemed to garner massive popularity and although it's subjective and a matter of personal preference, I am a big fan of their other re-makes such as The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and although not explicitly a re-make, Mary Poppins Returns. All of these were my childhood favourites and so that provides a fair assessment of their standing.

Obviously Disney have been at the height of discussion recently after having cast for their Little Mermaid remake (on which I currently have no opinion and shall reserve judgement until having seen it) but all of the above films had also been widely discussed and scrutinised before their release. And honestly, whilst it's quite easy to get deep and analytical about Disney movies, these films still provide such entertainment and pleasure for audiences. So, with all that in mind, off I popped to see the Lion King 2019 re-make.

The usual jubilation surged as the castle intro began and the sparkly logo appeared and straight after, just like the original, the Circle of Life began. This opening straight away seemed identical to the 1994 version and then on in, much of the film was too. Which in one respect is brilliant because if too much had altered, it really would have faced scrutiny and it would lose the nostalgic aspect which is what we all buy into in the first place. I think the photo-realistic technology is fascinating, much like when I watched Jungle Book, also directed by Jon Favreau, I was in awe of that. But whilst it is fascinating, there were points about it that I disliked, which I'll touch on later.

From a casting point of view, I think it was good and I think the voices fit perfectly with the characters and particularly loved that James Earl Jones reprised his role. I think Seth Rogen and Billy Eichner did Timon and Pumbaa really well also and provided some of the personality we know and love from the first. I was also happy that all the well-known songs were included. But, I wasn't really a fan of the alteration of Be Prepared which was one of my faves from the original but, you win some, you lose some.

One thing I thought about after having watched it was that the characters possibly had less character this time round. This could purely be because we have the original so well-etched into our minds but I think that the photo-realistic imaging, whilst fascinating, takes that over-exaggerated caricature element away and so makes the characters much less expressive.  I also think some of the cast of the original were just so perfect for those characters such as Nathan Lane, Whoopi Goldberg, Jeremy Irons and Rowan Atkinson. For those reasons, I think it lacked some of what the original had, but at the same time it's rarely known that a re-make would be better than the original anyway.

Overall, the 2019 Lion King satisfied a deeply nostalgic itch and provided positives and negatives, which are hard to put into perspective when the original is so iconic and moulded into our brains. It's definitely worth a watch if you're a fan but as most would predict, nothing will ever beat the 90s version. 



Saturday, 20 July 2019

National Video Game Museum - Sheffield

The National Videogame Museum - Sheffield


If you're a sucker for a museum, an absorber of popular culture and have grown up loving video games or having at least one or two firm favourites from your youth (Tony Hawks Pro Skater 2 and Tekken, if anyone wondered) then you will love the National Videogame Museum in South Yorkshire. 

The NVM is a relatively new addition to Sheffield as it recently relocated from its original home in Nottingham. Based on Angel Street in the city centre, the museum is home to a range of different video gaming set-ups based around particular themes such as 'gravity and 'made in Sheffield', to name but two. It also houses some of the world's best loved video games from the industry's beginnings through to our modern day and all of these are completely free to play once you have paid for your admission.

There are old school consoles and games, newer consoles and games, arcade machines, multi-player set-ups, differing editions of particular games such as Super Mario, Sonic and Donkey Kong. There are also displays of familiar gaming memorabilia and artefacts from over the years.
The museum also has a lab area where you can test out a number of design, creation and development facilities and there is also a café and gift shop on site too.

Admission to the museum *costs £11 per adult, £9 per child or £35 for a family of four and after that, you can come and go as much as you please throughout the day with your wristband and can play on all the games for free. At the moment there is also a Groupon** deal on the museum with a significant discount on tickets on certain dates so be sure to check that out should you wish to visit soon. It is super easy to find from the train station and no more than a 10 minute walk, if that. The museum is *open Friday, Saturday and Sunday but all week during school holiday periods.

*At time of posting, please check out the NVM website for most up-to-date pricing and opening hours
** Limited time remaining Groupon offer, check availability

I recently took my 11 year old brother as a birthday treat and we both loved it and totally lost track of time, playing on every game there was to offer and snapping pics with the huge Sonic. Our favourites in the NVM were the Sonic set-ups, (particularly the original), the Street Fighter arcade machine, classics like Tetris and Space Invaders and a funny little snowball game that I've totally forgotten the name of but it had us giggling our faces off, trying to pelt each other's player with pixelated snowballs.
It's definitely worth a visit and I only hope that it can build more funding to expand further, acquiring more games and more artefacts as although me and my brother absolutely loved it, we both saw it as more of an arcade than a museum. Would love to see more of the history, info and timelines of video games, how they've adapted and developed and how our relationship with them is altering. 
But still, a proper little gem in the heart of Sheffield, go forth and check it out!