Archives for category: Artsy

Grace Coddington stares up at me as I type. Her pale skin intricately lined with experience and a no-shit determination emphasises the piercing pin-point eyes. They stare up at me from my thumb while I deal with the praises and complaints of the nation.

it sounds a bit odd doesn’t it? I suppose it is really. To have an idol on your thumb. Let me explain.

Whilst wandering the open road of Regent Street, I was asked whether I would like the face of a woman of influence as a nail wrap. Was it free? The lady who answered had a 20s bob cut and bright pink lips. Yes. Great. Out of the images that were available, I chose Grace.

Artist Phoebe Davies has collaborated with women’s groups across the country in order to question the attitudes of women today and to explore the expectation of female figures in society. After accepting the portable art and walked off on my way, I began to wonder what this little figure on my thumb meant to me. Any woman (or man come to that) who have met their own expectations and who are able to say truthfully – I have done well for myself  – is someone who I hold with the highest respect.

Grace Coddington – “All I know is that if I continue in fashion, no matter what, my head will always remain firmly attached to my body.”

Bam. That’s it. She creates for fashion and for herself.

Dorothy Parker, an American  writer and poet I have recently discovered wrote prolifically about the life and the loves of people – real people. She sculpts her characters with such masterful fingers that the reader can hear the charge of the voices and see their faces – drunk, debauched, depressed but always animated – “But I shall stay the way I am, Because I do not give a damn”.

Delicious rebelity to remain truthful to yourself.

Words of wisdom from wise women.

What has this got to do with food? Can we eat words? No. Do we read food? No. But we consume both.

Creativity can come from all over the place and with both of these incredible women producing work that remains fresh and beautiful, there is the constant hope that food can be created with this continuous excitement.

Food of Fortune

Broad beans, Courgettes, Lemon, Godminster Black Pepper Brie, Parsley, Mint, Lettuce


Rosie x


A deep, personal journey through the technology of the mind, Defrag focuses on one man’s struggle to “defrag” his own memory in order to process the trauma of his past. Previewed at Sprint Festival 2012 and presented as part of the Futureshock Festival, Defrag tests the boundaries of intimacy and expansiveness in contemporary theatre.

The Camden People’s Theatre is located on a busy London street, yet a friendly glow emanating from an open doorway is the only clue that you are in the right place. Once found, though, a warm welcome and a complimentary glass of wine is served in a foyer as comfortable as your own sitting room. The contrast between this and the theatre is striking; a perfect place for “mitigating the space outside”, the small and bleak space is a blank canvas to be interpreted.

Although the rampaging noise is a constant reminder that we are, in fact, in a theatre and not in the subconscious mind of a struggling character, writer-director-and-performer Tom Lyall endeavours to capture the audience’s attention through a tight and witty script.

An introductory monologue aids the start of our journey by relating the similarities between the human mind and a computer programme. In the act of defragging the mind, a technology enthusiast wistfully imagines how it would tidy the “filing system of the mind”, creating a fully functioning and faster processing machine.

Centre stage is Tom, a broken man who obsesses over a programme named Madeleine. A relationship develops between them, and as humankind is faced with the end of the world, Tom faces a dark struggle to choose between the technological and the human world.

Heavy in metaphor, deep in meaning, but light and effortless in performance, Lyall acts with absolute dedication and expression. The lighting by Cis O’Boyle has great impact to the overall ambience of the play, adding symbolic definition when the meaning was lost. Sadly, this happens often and though the intelligence and skill behind this piece is clear, the character of Tom sometimes appears unrelatable.

This said, the intimacy of the Camden People’s Theatre is the perfect setting to experience this clever and thought-provoking play. Script and space join together to confuse, yet fight to engage our senses.

Verdict: •••

Rosie Hillsdon

Defrag will be at the Camden People’s Theatre until 15th December 2012. To book tickets and for more information, click here.

Click on the following link to be taken to The Upcoming magazine:

The Haunch of Venison is renowned for its support of internationally acclaimed artists working across a wide range of eclectic art forms. On her first UK solo exhibition, Patricia Piccinini displays her reality-meets-dreamlike sculpture inThose Who Dream By Night from 28th November 2012 to 12th January 2013. Her past exhibitions include the critically acclaimed RelativityWe Are Family and Hold Me Close To Your Heart. She has also had solo exhibitions in Australia, Spain, Peru, the United States and Japan.

Currently living in Australia, though born in Sierra Leone, Piccinini’s art world is a hypnotic examination of humankind’s relationship with technology. The artist aims to depict the modern day reliance upon science as a way to explain the complexities of what it means to be human. Juxtaposing these ideas with her fascination of biotechnology and gene therapy, Piccinini has created works that allow us to relate to the strange, fleshy sculptures that without this narrative cannot be easily explained.

Downstairs, with the regal shape and structure of a sphinx, a mound of skin and a glistening orifice is displayed on a bronze plinth. A combination of both revulsion and respect is demanded by this hybrid sculpture; its nudity evoking a sense of vulnerability. The Carrier, a life-sized fibreglass sculpture of an old lady being lifted by a naked half-animal, half-human male is the main focus of the upstairs gallery space. Like all of the sculptures, the figures are created with such astonishing realism that we are compelled to edge closer, examining every hair, every mole, every wrinkle on the skin. The workmanship by Piccinini and the fabricators who apply these effects with such scientific precision, lends itself to further the objective of the artist’s work. Both ugly yet oddly compelling, it is our ability to relate to these alien forms that is most disturbing.

Haunch of Venison at 103 New Bond Street is a cool but intimate space in which Piccinini’s work appeared at ease. Providing the freedom to see the sculptures and artwork from all aspects further coupled the peculiar relationship between the viewer as the human, and the art as technology.

Though Patricia Piccinini’s work may not be entirely to everyone’s taste, the works offer a chance to see art and technology collide in a truly original way. It is well worth a visit.

Verdict: ••••

Rosie Hillsdon

For further information about Patricia Piccinini visit her official website.

Those Who Dream By Night is exhibited at Haunch of Venison, New Bond Street, from 28th November 2012 to 12th January 2013.

Click on the following link to see some awesome pictures by Sarah Tsang:

For the first time in 150 years, the V&A’s astounding collection of furniture is on display for the public on 1st December. From the beautiful to the bizarre, from the functional to the downright uncomfortable, curators – Nick Humphrey and Leela Meinertas – have worked with architect Graeme Williamson from NORD architecture, to create an exhibition that encourages us to see the history of art and design that make up the objects that we use every day of our lives.

Either side of the tall and serenely lit space, perfect examples of furniture have been handpicked to show the complex techniques of carving, upholstery, lacquer and many more that have contributed to Western design and style. Accessibly positioned on a white background, the objects are strikingly framed by a dark surrounding; for there is something almost magical about the way that these fully-functional objects have been presented. It feels as if you are small enough to fit into the numerous draws of a seventeenth century table cabinet, exploring the little personal histories of this quirky and very charming collection. With 90% of these items being from the museum’s own archive, this seems to have been created as a labour of love. “This is not a gallery of famous names”, Nick Humphrey says. “This is a furniture biography”.

Humphrey, Meinertas and the wonders of NORD have taken into consideration the temptation for us to reach out and touch the precious objects. Glass cabinets and brief descriptions are replaced with audio clips, films and interactive screens showing close-ups and 360° photos. Even the bright, young things of the Techno Age will be blown away by the “Materials Table” – a 3D information and interactive table top that allowed the visitor to see how and why various architectural materials were used to make up the new gallery.

So, who is it for? Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts? Table fanatics? Experts of polypropylene? Well, it’s for all of these people really. But most importantly, as a museum for the people, the V&A have created an exhibition gallery for anyone who has an interest in shape, colour or texture, or for those who just have a curiosity in the way things are made.

Whether an hour or five minutes are spent in the Dr Susan Weber Gallery, it is well worth a visit – a magnificent permanent addition to a museum that is dedicated to art.

Verdict: ••••

Rosie Hillsdon

 For further information on The Dr Susan Weber Gallery, visit the website. 

With the help of Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, a mega-bowl of mincemeat is on the mingle…



I’m not going to mention the ‘C’ word as it’s way too early. But it’s feeling (and smelling) distinctly autumnal in here…


Rosie x

Delia’s Cheese-Crusted Scones with Smoked Bacon and a MEGA amount of Butter. What a way to start a weekend!

First of all, I would like to apologise for the shocking title of this post. It is Sunday and a week of office talk has numbed any gram of wit I possess. For this reason, I turned to the help of my boyfriend who responded, looking ever-so-pleased with himself, with this idea. I didn’t have the heart, nor the sense of humour to turn him down!

Delia’s ‘Cheese-Crusted Scones’ from my mum’s ancient copy of Delia’s Book of Cakes, take me right back to Saturday mornings when I was tiny.

Mum at that time was one of the babes (and also the youngest) out of the local WI group. She would make what seemed like thousands of scones, biscuits and cakes and luckily we’d get to taste a few – just to make sure that they weren’t, you know, ‘poisonous’ or anything.

Brian Matthews was on the radio, I’d been made a stonking cuppa, and the fridge was stuffed full of leftover cheesy bits – I’m afraid I couldn’t resist it. (I ran out of cheddar and ended up squishing up bits of brie in instead! It worked just as well.)

Who knew Delia could be such a babe? Check out this vintage clip of the Queen of Cakes herself. I’d bake many cakes for a pair of dungarees like this. – I used plain white flour, a little brie and a healthy pinch of paprika to go INSANELY well with the smoked bacon.



Rosie x

Yes! I have a job! One whole week of soggy feet and broken brollies running about job agencies has earned me a job in an office. But I’m not going to describe it in great detail. Firstly, because there is not a huge amount to describe. It’s computers. Buff files. Databases. Cups of tea and the ‘Treat Trolly’. And a very numb bottom from sitting for too long on a wheelie-chair – the novelty of which lasted approximately 27 minutes.

I bought a new outfit to suit my Mad Men-like image of clipping around an office with hussy-hips, a sassy little pencil skirt and immaculately coiffured hair.

An office job is NOT like this. Ignore your imagination. It will try to deceive you.

I wore my heels on the first day before making the sensible decision to save them for future interviews. BUT this is all experience and it allows me to save money AND get to grips with office terminology for the future – (“It doesn’t like it” in relation to a temperamental computer/printer/fax machine is the most annoying yet.)

I judged the 21st-century-workplace-fashion-code situation wrongly.

This was not the last misjudgment.

I also misjudged the complexities that having a lunchbox would bring.

Day 1 – balsamic vinegar, feta, peppers, lettuce and tomato salad box = inquiring faces + comments on healthiness

Day 2 + 3 – small snacks, nuts,seeds and dried fruit + crackers + banana = motherly expression + guilt

I didn’t even contemplate the effects that my lunch choice would have on others. Though I have given my feet a break, I will not let my eating habits be changed.

My revision? River Cottage Lunch.

As of next week I will challenge the status quo of the office and will try to come up with something edible that will make me actually excited to eat it. I will NOT be daunted by other people’s snack-a-jacks and brown bananas.

Or anything of the Treat Trolly…though the apple crumble slice did look very good.

Challenge set. Full stop.

New para.

New subject.

As I write this, 50 Shades of Grey is the most talked about book in the world (probably). I am intrigued. But due to me being as difficult as Microsoft Access, I refuse to venture into the stagnant world of WHSmith until I learn whether or not I will receive any form of ‘literary’ gratification from reading it. Do I dare?

Or should I stick with Polo of the Middle Ages, Pillars of the Earth? (I was going to link that up to Mr Follett’s website but I find it is a turnoff somewhat…)

Never judge a book by its author?


Rosie x

English with...Summer Show!

Students of English are secretive beings. If anyone happens to be about (!), then be sure to call in to witness a rare bombardment of creativity shown off from the Chapel Lecture Theatre at Tremough Campus.

Poetry. Essays. Stories. Plays. Audio. Is this what is almost called a symposium? Who knows! Top stuff.

There is also free wine.



Yesterday was a fantastic and beautifully sunny day. and yes, it was FULL of culinary delights! In our usual try-as-many-coffee-shops/restaurants-as-we-can-possibly-afford, Jessie and I had several cups of coffee of various degrees of deliciousness, as well as visiting some wonderful ‘places of interest’.

Here’s a little run-through of our wanderings, with some links. All places mentioned come HIGHLY recommended. What a lovely place Exeter is!

I was met at Exeter St. Davids by Jessie and her dad, local story-telling legend, Kevin Cotter. He was equipped with his story-telling hat, (straw with several magnificent feathers bobbing in its brim as he led the way to the car), as he said he would drop us off in town after visiting a local school. What a dad!

Off we wandered through Exeter and stopped at The Plant Cafe.  A vegetarian deli/cafe/restaurant, we shared a lemon and crunchy polenta cake, which was lovely. From our table outside, we had a view of the Cathedral as well as the historical buildings surrounding it. We also had a great view of the local drunks, semi-permanent fixtures of the Cathedral grounds. They were completely harmless, and were just out enjoying the sunshine (Did I mention it was sunny?)  as much as we were!

After feeling ever so slightly intimidated by the row upon row of sparkly windows in Princesshay, we headed away from the torment of the hideous high street and towards the beacon of culture, the Royal Albert Memorial Museum.

I could have easily spent a whole day there. Instead of rows of identical dresses and printed jeans, there were glass case upon glass case of the most intricately original butterflies, beetles (some male and female species as small as a nit) and the famous Gerald the giraffe, which towers above the tusks of a stuffed elephant. (FACT OF THE DAY: Rumour has it that the tail of the giraffe, a resident of the museum since 1920, was mislaid, and now has a carefully painted replica, courtesy of some poor bottomless horse). After 5 years of refurbishment, the museum has been quirkily curated to encourage the interaction of the observer. Not all additions make perfect sense on a brief wander, yet the entrance, painted the most phenomenal pink, marks the old building with an immediate vibrancy that demands the notice of the modern visitor.

We were hungry… I was whisked off to The Exploding Bakery on Queen’s Street where we tucked into tomatoey-oniony-rocketty focaccia, a middle eastern spiced chickpea soup which was accompanied by a hunk of soda bread (the hunky assistant was just as tasty!) Dodgy puns aside, everything that we ate here was absolutely delicious. The soup was full of flavour, the spices fragrantly refreshing on a hot (yes, hot!) day. And at just £3 for a cup and the bread, it was perfect. We stashed the bread in our totes to feast on later.

We then weaved our way down little and large streets old and new, to find the Book-Cycle. Situated opposite the House That Moved (another barmy story to research later), the unusual charity book shop works on donations that are used to send books to children in developing countries. An allowance of three books a day, the price you wish to pay from goodwill. I’m not sure on the proper details, but please check out this website and be inspired by it. Surely it can’t just be books that the success of this ethos is limited to… The upstairs room in this fascinating shop is well-worth the visit – just being in it will make you want to read!

A final note. Kevin works for an Exeter based company called, Love Local Food. The not-for-profit business seeks to encourage the positive effects of shopping in local businesses, in order to create a community that cares about the origin of its produce.  I am absolutely thrilled to have one of my recipes on the website now! The (Non-Stinging) Nettle Quiche was trialed for my children’s recipe book and voted by a trusted group of hungry students as the tastiest. Have a look at it here on the Love Local Food recipe page. Enjoy!

Rosie x

Sundays at home are my favourite days. I don’t really think about the threat of Monday morning, because the steam rippling over all the downstairs windows and the smell of roasting potatoes distracts me. Sunday means time out with my Dad, who smells like ‘garden’, listening to dodgy 1970s psychedelia in the car and a walk around Chilbolton Common in bare feet.

Sundays at University, because of this reason I suppose, are my least favourite days.

Today however has been different. Today I slept in until half past 9. This doesn’t seem very late, but for someone who finds it difficult to wake up any later than half past 7, this was a  beautiful feeling. I might add that this was the result of 2 pints of ale last night – an enjoyment that can be blamed by 3 years spent socialising in Cornish pubs rather than townie clubs.

Hangover free but relishing the excuse to be grumpy (suffering the Sunday Blues), I receive an inviting text from some gorgeous ladies to go for a coffee to Espressini – a relatively new espresso bar situated less than 100m from my front door.

(This stunning photo is courtesy of Espressini Café’s Facebook Page *please let me know if there are issues with using this picture*)

Espressini  is owned by Rupert, whose Hoxton-Fin haircut looks with every habitual sweep, as if it reveals the secrets of half of Falmouth.  Upon entering, you are immediately acknowledged as an old friend. After just 3 visits, he had remembered that I drink my coffee black. Though the other baristas are very friendly, I am always a little disappointed when Rupert does not serve me – he is the King of Coffee, and if missing, the full experience of Espressini is ever so slightly incomplete. Today is one of those days, but no matter. I am with Jessie, Meg and Amy – 3 of the loveliest ladies in Fal. So all is well.

The blackboard is full of scribbled writing, describing in every detail the level of strength, the depth of taste and the complex layers of flavour that embody the specially chosen coffees. I always think that I’m going to confidently declare exactly what I want, pronounced perfectly. Instead I panic slightly at the amount of choice and blurt out “The El Salvador one please…urr…filter please”. I have chosen the elaborately titled – ‘El Salvador – Maute Sion Estate Carton Tapacurl-Ahuchipion’.  I am not sure which is the title, the place or the flavour, (or even if all that is spelled correctly) but the posh filter cups and the little filter sleeve look so professionally tailored for the coffee’s purpose, that I’m not really that bothered. I am tempted by the fig brownies…

The coffee is delicious. The citrussy flavour tumbles around my mouth, changing and developing so remarkably quick that my tired taste buds can’t keep up with them. But I am warmed, and my grumpiness begins to subside.

I eye my way around the café space. An ancient wooden counter stretches across the compact shop, a jigsaw of fixed and re-fixed pieces. The furniture coincides with this carefully arranged mix and match. Just opposite the counter is My Chair. It is red, high-backed and quirkily patched with a green and dark blue stripe. It is the chair that when I’m in it, legs curled up beneath me, it makes me feel as if I am part of the furniture of this super-stylish, but comfortably unpretentious café.

A group of art students sit Ohmigod-ing on the next table. On our other side, an older couple read their Telegraph in content silence. An odd bunch, but no one is out of place. There is a feeling in the coffee-scented air of everyone privately believing that they have been the first to ‘discover’ Espressini.

As the chatter surrounds me I forget how strong the coffee is. I order another, a Cuban blend with notes of cocoa this time, and 10 minutes later my foot begins to unconsciously  tap. Phwwww!


I started writing this at least 2 hours ago – before I thought walking around Falmouth with a tote full of ingredients for bread and butter pudding, was a good idea. Now I am back by my window watching the sun go down over Falmouth town and feeling slightly relieved that my bloodstream is gradually decaffienating.

From the many seaside-inspired cafés that are regurgitated for the benefit of tourism, Espressini stands alone to welcome anyone – student, local or tourist – to feel as if that chair, that coffee and that friendly welcome is exclusive to you. The coffee of course, is absolutely incredible. But just the one cup is perfect.

TBC. Rosie x

*Find Espressini @ 39 Killigrew Street, Falmouth, Cornwall, TR11 3PW

Cure for the Sunday Blues: Coffee, Friends and Laura Marling