I’ve got a secret to share with you…
You can buy Pantone stationary at TK Maxx!
A few weeks ago, I decided a notebook would spark my blogging creativity and would help me note down the flashes of ideas I so often forget. Not very technologically savvy, you may think, however the Asus Google Nexus I recently bought broke within 3 weeks and is currently in the company of Asus. A notebook never lets you down.
I’ve seen Pantone colour chips used in DIY projects on the fabulous blog, a beautiful mess, and had seen Pantone products, like mugs, on Instagram. But, had never seen them in the UK…until now.
Whilst mooching in Manchester’s TK Maxx, I spied the iconic bright colours of Pantone Universe…I was drawn to it like a moth to a flame. You may have spotted that I like bright colours, so a range of notebooks in the paint chip colours for a mere £2.99 each just screams, ‘Buy me!’ This was 2 weeks ago… I’ve now filled a third of the book!
Popping into a different TK Maxx today, this time for a bag (I swear!), I thought I’d have a quick peek and I’m so glad I did! They had different colour notebooks in different shapes and sizes and even had coloured pencils! As I write this, I imagine the teachers amongst us are sharing the excitement, I’d like to hope you are squealing with glee and about to hot foot it down to your local TK Maxx. Maybe wait until the morning.
What did I buy I hear you cry? Well, a hot pink notebook for £2.99, a smaller (travel) notebook for £1.99 and of course…a pack of pencils for £1.99.
Together, they are a vibrant splash of colour and will certainly brighten up my work space and satchel!
Do you own any Pantone products? What inspires you to blog?
So, this morning, we woke up to the rare sight of bright sunshine streaming through the window. Looking out over Pendle Hill, it seemed the perfect weather to grab the camera, hop in the car and go for a drive. Little did I know that shortly after, we would be exploring a derelict power station!
Urbex. The hashtag I used today to link my pictures of the abandoned power station on Instagram, a term usually used to describe the exploration of abandoned man-made structures. For the record, Urban Exploration is not something I have ever experienced before and it’s not something that has ever crossed my mind to do. Just as an aside, when I sent my mum the pictures afterwards, her response was, ‘Is it safe?’ Bless you, mum. Truthful answer, probably not. Sorry mum.
Crawling through the gate, we entered a barren wasteland, where the station’s cooling towers had clearly once resided. Following a well-beaten path, it lead us to a building that had clearly seen better days. Closed in 1984, after less than 30 years of production, the building is now a shell of its former self. It has been victim to many fires but beneficiary of many pieces of graffiti. Entering the workshop, we both reached for our cameras like cowboys reaching for their holster in a spaghetti western. The light effect from the broken glass tiled roof was simply stunning.
Finding a concrete set of steps, we tentatively made our way to the first floor to find a maze of broken rooms littered with glass and empty spray cans. Occasionally, a flash of retro wall paper could be seen through the many peeling layers. We tried to fathom the purpose of each room as we strolled through, but all that remains is charred embers and little clues.
After climbing to the third floor, we found the roof top… and coincidentally, beautiful views. In addition, hundreds of broken glass tiles which had once been the light source of the warehouse. Each and every tile broken, explaining the shower of glass littering the workshop floor.
An abandoned shell full of hidden mementos from a long, lost era. Round each and every corner was detail that could easily be lost amongst the spray paint.
And what now? Time for a late evening stroll, this time not in abandoned places.
How have you spent your Sunday?
As always, much love,
Donna x (Or should I say Dora?)
AirBnb – my best kept travel secret
This time next week, I will have landed at Berlin’s Schönefeld airport, hand luggage in, erm, hand, and will be stomping my way to the S-Bahn, to take me to the city centre apartment I have booked in the hip district of Prenzlauer Berg.
It’s not my first time staying in a Berlin apartment. I’m about to tell you my best kept travel secret. The last time I visited the city, in April, I stayed in a gorgeous 5 room apartment, in the district of Friedrichshain, for the same price as an average hotel room. Before I spill the beans, let me take you on a room tour!
Stag adorned bedroom chic:
Street art by Jimmy Reactor on the walls of the hall:
The huge living room:
And the kitchen, which even had its own balcony.
How did I find this absolute beauty of a German apartment I hear you ask? The website Airbnb. Airbnb describes itself as a community marketplace for unique spaces. Before this trip, I’d never heard of Airbnb. I’d always booked hotels through the website Expedia until my lovely boyfriend suggested we had a look on Airbnb. Within an hour, we had found this gorgeous apartment for a bargainous price.
The website requires that you contact the host first requesting to stay at the chosen apartment. In this case, the host replied within a day accepting our request. Taking previous reviews into consideration, we handed over £280 and booked to stay at Finow Apartment.
Arriving in Berlin on the day, it took us less than an hour to arrive in the city and find the hotel. Our host, Kay, was punctual and incredibly helpful. We left a positive review on our return to the UK and will most definitely return one day on our Berlin travels.
As you can see, we were pretty smitten with the place! So next week, I’m about to try another apartment booked through Airbnb. If it‘s half as good as this apartment was, I will be thrilled!
Have you ever used Airbnb? What did you think of the apartment? Has this post tempted you to try Airbnb?
Cold War Kids – The Ritz, Manchester
Occasionally, there comes a gig listing where the support at makes you raise a smile. Milo Greene did just that. The sight of their name as ‘special guests’ spurred a happy jig and made me look forward to this night even more so. To me, the term ‘special guests’ is an ironic nod to a stage warming, nervous, ‘could go either way’ band.
However, Californian band, Milo Greene couldn’t be further away from this. Captivating and astounding with ethereal harmonies and stirring guitar melodies. Not only musically talented, their token lady, Marlana Sheetz (who even has a cool name), earned British Brownie points she she confessed her love for Angela Lansbury of Murder She Wrote. Let’s be honest, her beach tousled blond hair had me fan girling from first sight.
Radio 6 favourite ‘What’s the Matter?’, Sufjan Stevens cover ‘Chicago’ and personal favourite ‘1957’ had the crowd eating out of their hands. I don’t know if you’d agree, but it’s not the well-known songs that capture an audience, it’s the unfamiliar songs that make or break a support performance. Supping a pint of Guinness, Milo Greene entertained from as soon as we arrived (you’ve seen the hotel I was staying in, right? Can you blame me for arriving a little late?) until their final chord. Brilliant!
My musical appetite had well and truly been stirred and the 30 minutes before the main act slipped by (as did a Guinness or two) and before I knew it, Californian hipsters, Cold War Kids were on stage and straight into a first song, I confess, I don’t remember nor liked. The lead singer, raising the arm and flopping the wrist to the beat of the music, irked my pedantic side.
In addition, thou shall not like a band just because they become popular. ‘Hang me up to dry’ sorted the new fans from the old timers. Looking around, some fans may have been as young as 8 in Cold War Kids’ early days. If there was ever a hashtag to describe this phenomenon, I’d say #myfirstgig (alternatively, #bitterness).
Pushing on through the set, familiar songs and crowd pleasers rolled out, some I greeted with moderate enthusiasm. Standing just two rows back, what struck me was the static nature of the crowd. Calmness greeted the band’s rockier hits, and efforts to stir a crowd reaction was met with a mirrored ‘Bruce Springsteen’ arm or the pigeon head bob. Announcing that this was the final night of the band’s tour, the intense exhausted look in the bassist‘s eyes made me recognize that these men were husbands and fathers, facing the end of a huge tour simply going through the motions.
A poor set list, Bruce Springsteen ego and exhausted members of a band equated to a mediocre, missable gig. However, I’d like to point out…I was in the minority with this opinion it seems!
Enjoyed this band post? Check out what I had to say about Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and Veronica Falls.
The life of a busy, busy bee
They say life is what happens when you’re busy making plans. When in reality, life is what happens when you’re too busy to make plans. The previous two weeks have been no exception. Work has been incredibly hectic, but thankfully, so has my social life. Here’s a snippet of what my camera spied on our adventures.
1. The Singing Ringing Tree, Burnley.
Blowing a gale and lashing with rain, Burnley’s panopticon was certainly singing. Bowing to the wind’s tune, the metal pipes created an eerie, discordant melody of sorts. Rumour has it, the tree rarely sings. Lucky me. Needless to say, the weather ensured that we didn’t stay long, just enough time to capture a quick photo whilst we had it to ourselves.
2. Towneley Hall, Burnley.
The Tudor jewel in Burnley’s crown, Towneley Hall was hosting an flower festival on the day we visited, however the gardens were open and a fresh, Sunday morning walk ensued. As a lover of Tudor history, it’s definitely a place to be revisited to see inside.
3. The Palace Hotel, Manchester.
Steeped in history and dripping in grandeur, a one night stay in a suite was just what the doctor ordered. Read all about my amazing stay here.
4. The Dream, St Helens.
Built in 2009, The Dream is the work of Spanish sculptor, Jaume Plensa. Built on the embers of St Helens’ coal mining history, the 20 metre head is coated in sparkling white dolomite, as a contrast to coat. It depicts a young woman meditating. Heading up at tea time, on an overcast Saturday, we were lucky to experience the dream by ourselves. You may have spotted this if you drive on the M62.
5. Cold War Kids and 6. Milo Greene
Definitely a band to love for their recordings, Cold War Kids were pitch perfect but just didn’t do it for me on the night. Milo Greene, however, were completely different. Soothing, ethereal melodies. Winner.
7. 8. Hebden Bridge
Bank Holiday Monday and the sun was shining. As UK residents will know, this rarely happens. I’d say it was on par with a blue moon! So, a visit to Yorkshire town, Hebden Bridge, with friends, was perfection. Basking in the sun, we watched the world go by as a man explained that every thing in nature had a balancing point. Tediously and carefully, he placed jagged rocks on one another until they balanced beyond belief. Vintage shops, thrifting in charity shops, Yorkshire Dales ice cream and Vegan lunch = perfect day.
What have you been up to of late?