Graffiti Alley



Graffiti was one of the first art forms I was interested in as a kid despite at the time it was considered nothing but vandalism. As a child in the 80s I poured over books and articles of 70s and 80s NY subway art, incorporating the influence into some of my own art work now and then, intrigued by stories of gangs of artists risking arrest and possibly even life to express their art form but judged by society as nothing but vandals and degenerates!


Wherever you go, which ever city you set foot in there will be graffiti or street art as it sometimes now referred to. Some of it crude and slap dash, a territorial marking and some of it intricate and well planned out but these days these days graffiti is a little more respected as an art form.


On our last day in Toronto when we have to find something to do between checking out of our hotel and checking in to our flight, we headed down to graffiti alley in The Fashion District and I noticed a real nostalgic theme when wandering down the alley, there was a real 80s influence to some of the work.. Here is a little of what I caught my eye.
















Lodestars Anthology: Japan

lodestars anthology japan issue

What with all the switches and changes I’ve been making, I had a little think about what I really wanted to write about on here. Now I’ve combined both blogs and have a little look through some old posts, I want to get back to writing about the things I like so that most making clothes and music but I also like reading and writing (hence why I have a blog). After nearly none years of blogging I’ve come to the realisation that I don’t have the discipline to be a professional blogger nor the content, so here it is all it’s nice and shiny writing about my favourite things and the things I do, which will probably be boring to most.

One things I do love is magazines, not your weekly gossip mags, though I won’t lie at one time I did read them a lot but what I guess are called periodicals. They’re released quarterly or biannually and on a specific subject. I’ve talked about this before how I draw on their aesthetic and writing for inspiration and I want to share some of them in a bit more detail with you.

I discovered Lodestars Anthology on their 5th issue about Canada and have been buying ever since, I’m even thinking about stocking up on back issues because not only do I like complete collections and make for great Instagram pics but they are beautifully curated and worth a read. Lodestars Anthology is a travel magazine is a tri-annual publication that covers one country each issue, so far they have covered England, Scotland, Australia, Italy, Sweden and Canada.

Japan is high on my list of places to travel to, I definitely want to visit with the next few years or so and definitely need to start relearning Japanese again. I ordered this copy from Stack magazine which are a small independent distribution company that specialise in independent publications like these. Each week Thursday they pick one to be a special offer and release it at an offer price. My order initially got lost but their customer service was brilliant and I got my order soon after.

Each issue is packed with pictures and articles about culture, food, traditions, nature, you really get a feel of what to expect if you ever thought of visiting these places. I really want to visit these places after reading these anthologies, they are definitely fuelling my wanderlust!

You can grab copies from the Lodestars website or other online retail magazine outlets and also selected museums, galleries and shops.

japan cover lodestars anthology

Disclaimer: This is not a sponsored post, all goods were purchased with my own funds, all opinions are my own.


Rock en Seine

I would usually post this on my other blog but I’ve decided to leave that to one side at the moment as running two blogs is a little too much and I keep forgetting to update it anyway because I’ve mostly been concentrating this one. Anyway as you may know from a previous post we headed to Paris for Rock en Seine which is a music festival held in Parc de Saint-Cloud next to the river Seine in the suburbs of Paris. We went two years ago but this time stayed in a hotel near the park because we camped last time without realising unlike most British music festivals it was not held in a field in the middle of nowhere! Also it was a good job we did because I can’t even imagine how whiny I would have become camping in a heatwave not being able to sleep at night in a tiny sauna! That and the techno tent in the middle of the campsite that goes on until 4 in the morning probably would have sent me over the edge, so nice little quiet, air conditioned hotel away from the festival it was this time. My only regret was that the hotel was at the top of a very steep hill which require several steep sets of stairs and roads to be climbed and the heat caused me to wheeze quite badly! I think it reached mid thirties one day! On the bonus side I got quite a bit of exercise.

So each year they have a theme, the first year we went it was space, this year it was dance and I was pretty obsessed with this giant disco ball.

The festival is set in a park which means it’s a pretty small festival compared to some but it means less walking time between stages and lots of trees to shelter under from the sun. Though it was so hot they had people standing there with hoses which was nice but I was dry buy the time I got to the other end of the park.

Each year they commission artists to create a poster for each band which you can buy as a souvenir pack but I didn’t get it this time round, mainly because there were way fewer bands this time round.

Friday was by far my favourite day and we saw several new to us bands including Caravan Palace, Royal Republic and Clutch. We also Slaves who I really like and were a lot of fun. I stuck around for the Last Shadow Puppets but I turns out they’re not really my cup of tea.

Saturday was so hot that we waited until late afternoon before we headed down to the park, turns out so did everyone else and we got stuck in a queue whilst security did triple bag checks before letting people in, so we missed Wolfmother. We caught a bit of Casseurs Flowters, a french hip hop group that were pretty good but mostly wanted to see L7 and Massive Attack both who were awesome!
Sunday night we headed down even later as I was a little heat exhausted by this point but the weather was beginning to cool down. There weren’t many bands I really wanted to see on the Sunday except Iggy Pop and Peaches. We head round and got some t-shirts as souvenirs and I popped by The Disc Village, which housed several vinyl sellers and picked up a limited edition copy of Like Clockwork by QOTSA before heading over to see the sets. Iggy Pop was as amazing and I’d forgotten how awesome Peaches is to see live. I danced so much during her set that the health app on my phone recorded it as a workout!!

This year they also had cashless bracelets which was cool because you didn’t have to faff about with cash and change and made queueing a lot quicker and not worry about carrying cash or cards with you. You could top them up on line or use one of the cashless banks at the site. I think these are great for festivals.

Rock en Seine is a great festival, it’s close to the city and at the end of a metro line so easily accessible. It’s family friendly and has a kids’ zone to drop off sproglets, four stages for music, plenty of choices in the food court, and a really chilled out atmosphere. My only concern was that there was less bands than previous years which may have been a result of a cut of funding but hopefully this is just a rumour and will back again with more bands next time. I would definitely like to go again one day but I’d also like to experience other festivals around the world first.

A Wander Round Saint-Cloud

Despite it being very hot and our plans to head into the city scuppered, we still tried to get out and wander round the local area. We were also staying near another small public garden attached to a museum, which we had a wander round on the Sunday and even though the buildings were closed, the gardens stay open for people to have picnics and teenagers to mill about smoking and comparing skateboards.

Anyway here are a few shots from our little wander round Saint-Cloud, you might have noticed by now I have a little obsession with architecture and signage but I hope you like this post anyway.

Saint Cloud 17//
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Saint Cloud 12//
Garden at the Museum of The Avelines

Saint Cloud 4//
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Saint Cloud 9//
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Saint Cloud 1//
Saint Cloud 2//
Saint Cloud 3//

I hope you like my photos, however please do not reproduce without permission. Thank you x

Gardens at Musée Albert-Kahn

I should probably start a blog just dedicated to gardens that we visit on our travels because where ever we go, we always end up hunting out a botanical garden or something similar and our trip to France was no different. So the Wednesday before bank holiday weekend, we headed over to the suburbs of Paris to go to the Rock en Seine Festival (which I’ll be covering in a separate post). We went a few days early with the hope of either maybe hitting Disney Land Paris or a wander round the city on the Thursday but when we got there the heatwave was just starting and by the time we got to our hotel at the top of Saint-Cloud, the temptation to just in our air conditioned hotel room was strong!
So on the Thursday we went for a little walk around Boulogne-Billancourt which is just on the other side of the river, to look for a Sephora and something to eat and on the way back we popped into the Albert Kahn Museum which has a beautiful garden you can wander round that is split into different styles which have been restored and maintained in the spirit of their creator. It starts off with a Japanese theme, then into a formal French garden, English garden and finally a forest of blue cedars representing the Vosges Mountains near Kahn’s birthplace.
We took a little walk around the gallery and then the garden and sometimes it pays off to explore the area where you’re staying rather than hit the usual tourist hot spots. I’ve been to Paris a few times now and we always seem to find a cool off the beaten track places to visit. I highly recommend visiting here if you can, we didn’t explore the whole garden because it’s pretty big (8 acres) and it was very hot, so we mainly stuck to the shady spots but it was very serene and beautiful and only costs 4 Euros to get in!

clear waters//
carp in lillies//
wooden bridge//
There are some more photos from our visit on my Flickr account here.