The Secret Lives of My Dad

Firstly - Happy Father's Day!! Today I wanted to share with you a project from my final year of university called The Secret Lives of My Dad. It's a series of images that will forever be my favourite as they were something we created together as a Father-Daughter team.
As I mentioned back in April my dad is my hero, and to work with him on something so important meant a great deal to me - it also gave me some amazing pictures to treasure. While I made all the props, he created the characters (embodying them with his poses and expressions) - and we both had a lot of fun doing it!
The first character I knew I wanted to do was The Train Driver as my dad is a big train fanatic, and The Superhero was next on my list, for obvious reasons. I also liked the idea of him being a pilot too, an old-fashioned pilot with a moustache & goggles! The rest were as a result of family input.
I loved going back to basics with some of the props: papier-mâché, shapes cut out of coloured card & items raided from my fancy dress box. And Dad really enjoyed himself performing for the camera - he is the king of silly faces!
One of my favourite details in the pictures happened by accident, and that is my dad's little four-legged sidekick - Poppy. She wasn't supposed to be in them but trying to keep her away was impossible, she is very faithful to my dad. If you look closely in The Wizard picture you'll see her hiding under the wheelchair - that's because we used party poppers in that one, and Poppy (understandably) does not like party poppers!
I was even lucky enough to have a selection of these pictures at three different exhibitions the summer after I graduated, one of which was a solo exhibition and my dad was the Guest of Honour - definitely one of my biggest achievements to date!

Sadly I wasn't able to spend today with my dad but I hope you all had a great day with yours! :-)

I am part of the Greatest Team in the World!

Today is my Daddy's birthday (Happy Birthday, Dad!). It is also World Blood Donor Day - a day that will see 10% more donations than any other day this month. It is estimated that 25% of us require blood at least once in our lifetime, so it is important that enough people become donors & keep the stock levels as high as they can be!

I gave blood for the first time last year, and a few weeks ago I donated blood for a second time. And as soon as I can, I'll be doing it again! Donated blood is vitally important for helping people both in an emergency and in long-term treatment - and one single donation of 470ml can help as many as 3 people - isn't that amazing?? The blood you donate is replaced in no time too, as your body makes 2,000,000 new blood cells every second!!
Blood is rarely used whole and is often separated in to the three main components: the red cells (that are mainly used in cancer treatment), plasma (which provides a clotting agent vital to stop bleeding) & platelets (which contribute to the repair of damaged body tissue).

After my first donation I found out that my blood type is A positive - the second most popular in the country. The rarest blood type is AB negative, with only 1% of the population having it. My Grandpa was this blood group and because of how rare it is he was regularly asked to donate - he was a very special man :-)
Giving blood is quick & easy, and afterwards you get to sit with other amazing people & chat over free tea & biscuits! So why don't you become a member of the greatest team in the world too? Go oooon, do it! :-)

Recipe: Lemon Curd by Andrew

My husband likes to bake and to sometimes make cold delicious treats that sit in the fridge to tempt me every time I open the door. (He's definitely a feeder!) Recently he made some lemon curd from leftover egg yolks and below are some words & the recipe from the man himself.

Q: What to do with leftover egg yolks? A: Lemon curd.

Eggs. Sometimes they can be the irritating couple of the food world. Most of the time you want them in your life; they make wonderful company, playing off each other as if they have known one another for an eternity.

But now and then you want them alone: to enjoy the rich personality of Mr Yolk or the frothy giddiness of Ms White. They come as a pair and separation is a complete pain. Not only does one have to endure the nail biting extraction procedure (one drop of yolk and it is game over) but unless you are a wasteful cook, wantonly throwing perfectly good ingredients away, you have to find another recipe for the leftovers.
I was left with this Herculean task the other week after V made macarons. Finding different treats to use four yolks was no easy task. With this in mind, here is my (….the BBC's) recipe for lemon curd:
  • 4 unwaxed lemons zest and juice
  • 200g unrefined caster sugar
  • 100g unsalted cubed butter
  • 3 free-range eggs, plus 1 free-range egg-yolk
  1. Introduce the lemon zest and juice, the sugar and the butter to a heatproof bowl. Sit the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. Watch the mixture and stir occasionally. Wait until all the butter has melted and not a moment sooner.
  2. Tenderly and lightly whisk the eggs and egg yolk and stir them into the lemony mixture. Mix the ingredients using the whisk and then leave to cook for 10-13 minutes, stirring every now and again until the mixture is creamy and thick enough to coat the back of a fork.
  3. Take the lemon curd off the heat and let it stand, stirring occasionally as it cools. Once rested, spoon the lemon curd into sterilised jars and seal. Keep in the fridge until ready to use. Then use judiciously.
Now brb while I go dip some homemade shortbread in this bad boy! ^^

Reasons to be cheerful - May

  • Our first wedding as guests, not as Bride & Groom!
  • Left over birthday cake
  • Beautiful Tatty Devine goodies from the sample sale
  • Giving blood for a second time
  • Photographing a puppy class - OH MY ALL THE PUPPIES!!!
  • Another unexpected quick trip home, sadly not for a happy reason
  • Seeing the bluebells in Ballaglass Glen
  • Coffee & cake at Laxey Woollen Mills
  • All of the Forget-me-nots in my parents' garden
  • Two bank holidays - why aren't all Mondays a bank holiday?
  • Making it back to the car just seconds before the heavens opened
  • A ceilidh to celebrate our wedding with friends
  • A posh birthday breakfast at The Delauney & afternoon tea at Dean Street Townhouse
  • Poppy snuggles again
  • Sunday lunch, puzzles & tea at Grandma's
  • Davison's mint choc chip ice-cream with a flake, obviously.
  • Pistachios - those tasty little things cost the earth but they are so darn good!
  • Lovely Sweet Williams reduced from £3 to 45p & still lookin' good a week later!
Read/Watched/Listened to/Saw/Visited:
  • The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014 at The Photographer's Gallery
  • Taking Andrew on the London Eye & visiting the London Sea Life Aquarium
  • Andrew finally gave in & watched Footloose
  • Frozen & Tarzan - good ol' Disney
  • Re-started 30 Rock because Tina Fey is the greatest.
  • Ugly Betty on Netflix - I gave up on it kinda early last time
  • Some more classics: The Italian Job & Wall Street
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past - Jennifer Lawrence crushing.
  • American Hustle - more Jennifer Lawrence crushing.
  • Man of Steel - Henry Cavill crushing.
  • More Dawson's Creek - things are getting pretty good!*
  • The Rise of Theordore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris - completely fascinating & an enjoyable read but at 780 pages, it's taking me some time to get through...
To look forward to/to do in June:
  • Spending a day in Greenwich
  • Titus Andronicus at The Shakespeare's Globe - it's our first time going and what better show to start with but a (very) bloody one!
*It looks like all we do is watch stuff on Netflix, which we don't. Obviously we do occasionally go outside but y'know, sometimes it's nice to just stay in & watch back to back episodes of 30 Rock in your pyjamas on a Sunday. Am I right?!

The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize 2014

On Saturday, for the first time in months, I visited The Photographer's Gallery to see this year's Deutsche Börse Photography Prize exhibition. The Deutsche Börse Photography Prize rewards a photographer who is deemed to have made the most significant contribution to photography in Europe over the last year and is described as the biggest, and most prestigious, of it's kind in Europe. Every year The Photographer's Gallery plays host to the works of the nominees and as with the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, it is one exhibition I always try to see.

My favourite this year also happened to be the winner of the prize - Richard Mosse.
Poison Glen, 2012
Mosse is an Irish born photographer who now lives in New York. He was nominated for his exhibition at the 2013 Venice Biennale entitled The Enclave - an exhibition that documents the haunting landscape of the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo that is touched by appalling human tragedy; 5.4 million people have died of war related causes in the eastern Congo since 1998.
Safe From Harm, 2012
Mosse used a discontinued infrared film, once used by the military to detect camouflage, that turns the jungle war zone in to psychedelic hues. As well as the distinct aesthetic qualities, his reasons for using the expired film are primarily to challenge documentary photography and to link the subtle wavelengths shown by the film to the subtle aspects of the conflicts.
Of Lillies and Remains, 2012
"At the project’s heart are the points of failure of documentary photography, and its inability to adequately communicate this complex and horrific cycle of violence."
Triumph of the Will, 2012
He was struck by the landscape surrounding these wars, which show no signs of conflict. By documenting sites of human rights violence and rebel enclaves, Mosse wanted to engage the viewer with the unseen, to see beneath the surface.
Nowhere To Run, 2012
The exhibition is free to visit and is on until the 22nd June - I highly recommend checking it out!