Thursday, 28 October 2010

Reworked Vintage

On a rainy afternoon, Beth, Suz and myself had the joy of strolling around the Forum shops on Division Street.I love this little hidden area of unique shops and am pleased to see it's not changed much in a year (although one cute vintage shop has been lost to a guitar shop, boo hoo) but there are still some gems to check out. 

Here's a photo 'write up' of the best two.

Flock Boutique

 Syd & Mellory

As most of you know, this past summer I set up my own pop up boutique which ran for a week in July and a week at the beginning of September - with rather 'casual' hours (sitting in a shop for 8 hours is not to be underestimated!) Anyways the homemade vintage feel of Flock Boutique and Syd & Mellory is something that I love, and definitely a style I would emulate had I done the shop for longer. All it takes is rummaging through some fully stocked charity shops and flea markets, discovering some classic items, dusting off the sewing machine and having a go customizing them....I say this like I've ever given myself more than a weekend of time on a 'new project' such as these but one day I will sit down and try and make my own collection - who knows Sophie's Swag may take off ;) 


Friday, 22 October 2010

Dolphin Update - Already!

Email just in, some great action towards putting an end to these animal crimes.

"Bulletin from the cause: "The Cove" - Save Japan Dolphins
International Dolphin Day – in Japan for the first time!

What a difference a few days make. We started out last week dismayed at the news that more dolphins had been killed in The Cove. By Friday, we were feeling more encouraged than ever. You all went to work! You made calls, went to Embassy and Consulate offices, and in Japan, the best yet, many people came forward for the first time to demand an end to the brutal hunts.

Save Japan Dolphins volunteer Kyoko “Kiki” Tanaka presented 163 signatures from Japanese citizens - most throughout the Wakayama region (where Taiji is located!) – to the Japanese Cabinet offices. The fact that Japanese citizens are now organizing and demanding change is tremendous. To read more from her go to:

And it didn't end there. People from all over the world showed up to peacefully protest at Japanese Embassy and Consulate offices - Miami, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, New York, London, Toronto, Ottawa, Dublin, Cape Town, the Philippines, Canberra, Hong Kong, and more.

A huge thanks to all of you who attended an event or made calls. We’ve uploaded pics here:

Ric O'Barry

Campaign Director

Save Japan Dolphins/Earth Island Institute "

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Extra extra read all about it

Today George Osbourne announced the latest budget cuts for the coalition government and surprisingly I got sucked in. 

It's something we probably all should follow a bit more - so....I thought I'd have a go at summarising the basics and what might affect 'us'. Don't hold me liable if it's not quite how it turns out ;)

 Higher Education
With what we feared most (and the recent controversy that surrounded Nick Clegg here in Sheffield) it appears there are going to be cuts to spending on higher education funding - potentially cuts of 40%!

Police Cuts

 Apparently the 'crime and justice' departments are going to have to endure cuts of 4% per year...hmm let's hope they don't turn to fluffy Ann Summer's handcuffs and HOT FUZZ style policing.


There are rumours that train fares are going to rise (even more!) and the Chancellor announced increases of '3% above inflation for three years from 2012'...doesn't seem too horrendous but we'll have to wait and see what figures that works out as.


One of the scariest parts is the projected plans for job cuts in the public sector. It was announced that the public sector will loose 500,000 jobs by 2014. 500,000. That sounds disastrous for us students who will then be out in the big, bad world looking for work. These laid off employees will then be applying for work within the private sector, which following the recession, isn't exactly offering a lot of job opportunities. I'm not really sure what hope there is to offer on this...get the best CV possible, do all the 'extra curricula' things you can fit in and make a plan B!

It's not all doom and gloom, this equates to 8% cuts over four years within the public sector yet the private sector employs four times the amount of people as the public sector. So by my maths, if the private sector takes on just 2% more employment...they could surely cover the employment deficit. We'll have to wait and see if I've got that sorted! 

Finders Keepers

I don't know about you but for me - if the conditions are right (i.e. if you're not lumping around a big bag and it's not too darn hot) I love a good hour rummaging through some vintage, second-hand piles and seeing what you can discover. I've learnt to buy things I'm only 'realistically' going to wear as I have a tendency to get very carried away!

Yesterday was a perfect example. Having not been shopping in Sheffield for over a year, I was delighted to discover a new 'rummage shop' along Division that actually has no name!

It wasn't a day for purchasing but there are certainly some gems to be found. A return trip will be on the cards very soon.

The only downside is the pricing - sometimes these vintage buys can end up quite pricey and yet still not in the best condition. There were some good bargains to be had - beautiful jackets, well-leathered bags and some very fruity blouses - all with a tale to tell! 

Here are some treasures found by Suz, Beth and myself...only a few to start.

Get with the lingo

For something a bit more up-beat (excuse the pun), I thought I'd show you the craze going on in the good ole US of A.

It's called Turfing or Juking and here's the low down:
Turfing is a dance that uses glides, bone breaking tutting and krumping floor movements. There is controversy as to the origins of this dance - between the Flex and Turf, the traditional east coast vs west coast argument that has cropped up with these two dances.

‘Get hyphy’ or ‘go dumb’ are terms used when dancing to dubstep music which is the preferred music of the turf dancer.

It's kinda like hip-hop cross hardcore ballet landed some work on the big screen..think you could pull it off?

Pretty creative eh.

Ps: Whilst we're on a video post, here's a pretty unique story and a rather splendid song.

Aloe Blacc worked for the consultants Ernst & Young until the recession hit and he got laid off. However, with a soulful voice and some good resourcefulness he's turned his hand to music and produced a pretty sweet track. "I need a dollar" Check out the vid.

Ciao for now x

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Dolphin Dilemma

Like the typical tourist travelling through the US, I have visited a number of Sea World attractions and seen the spectacular killer whale and dolphin shows. However, having finally watched the documentary 'The Cove', I'm now in a bit of a dilemma about the whole thing. In particular, I've given real thought to what my views are on the Cayman Islands (my home) now having dolphins in captivity and housing two separate dolphin facilities. It is continuing to make a market for dolphins in captivity and supporting the capture and slaughter of these animals...not so great.

For those of you that haven't seen it, 'The Cove', is an academy award winning documentary that was the first to uncover the horrid and gruesome dolphin slaughter that occurs in a secluded cove in Taiji, Southern Japan.

"The Cove follows an elite team of activists, filmmakers and freedivers as they embark on a covert mission to penetrate a remote and hidden cove in Taiji, Japan, shining a light on a dark and deadly secret. Utilizing state-of-the-art techniques, including hidden microphones and cameras in fake rocks, the team uncovers how this small seaside village serves as a horrifying microcosm of massive ecological crimes happening worldwide. The result is a provocative mix of investigative journalism, eco-adventure and arresting imagery, adding up to an unforgettable story that has inspired audiences worldwide to action." (synopsis)

Here's the trailer:

The process of capturing these dolphins involves a large number of local fishermen heading out to sea, disorientating the dolphins by banging metal pipes in the water and herding the panicked animals into a natural cove. Nets are then laid and the dolphins are trapped into the confinements of the cove.

The next stage requires various 'expert' trainers and traders to enter the water and select the dolphins they wish to 'save' in order to train and sell to corporations all across the world for up to $150,000 each!

The remainder that are not selected for sale, are then brutally massacred. There is no other way to describe it. They are harpooned by men standing on small tin boats and the entire slow and horrendous procedure fills the cove full of blood.

These pictures barely depict the horrific crimes that take place for 6 straight months every year. The slaughter season runs from September to March and according to reports in Japan, about 20 bottle nose dolphins were caught within hours of the launch of this year's season, which began earlier this month.

The stupidity of all of this is that the slaughtered dolphins are then being sold as food to the Japanese people - to markets, restaurants and even school cantines. Dolphin meat carries an extremely toxic level of mercury that of course leads to an array of medical illnesses. Mercury poisoning is nothing new to the Japanese as there was a very famous incident of industrial pollution and mercury related deformities in the 1950's. Expectant mothers living near to the town of Minimata ended up giving birth to newborns with horrific, unnatural deformities as a result of their contact with the toxin during pregnancy.

It is obvious both Japanese corporations and the government benefit from the 'harvesting' of these dolphins yet at what risk to their own people; never mind their own ecosystems.

The star and pioneer of The Cove movement is Ric O'Barry, who himself was the former dolphin trainer in the 1960's for the hit series Flipper, has recently presented the US Embassy with a petition signed by 1.7 million individuals across 150 countries in order to stop this annual slaughter of dolphins. However it is still continuing.

Similarly with the slaughter of minke whales, the Japanese government does not accept the wrong doing of these actions. To have this many animals brutally massacred each year, now in the 21st Century, is something of a joke. 

But it is not. The pathetic protection offered by organisations such as the IWC (International Whaling Communities) mean that countries such as Japan can easily worm around legislation against whaling and continue to do so under the clause of 'scientific research' and instead are selling this meat for consumption, and upholding this horrid industry.

This is ridiculous, and it is only thanks to ACTIVE activist such as the Sea Shepherd team, that whaling is contested and brought into the public eye. For more information on Anti-Whaling action, check out the latest series of Whale Wars and follow the protestors attempting to bring a stop to whaling in the Antarctic.

(I'm hooked!)

In the meantime, please take a minute to see what you can do to put an end to these brutalities. It just shouldn't be happening!  

What can YOU do?
1) Join the Facebook Cause -

3) Text Dolphin to 44144 

4)  Even make a donation

5) Check out to follow the team in Taiji as they go along.

Phew. Sorry this is perhaps not the most uplifting of stuff, but it is pretty important to support causes such as these in order to try and change the practice of some pretty horrendous 'businesses'. It does affect you: your holidays, your dream travel destinations, your natural world and hopefully your conscience x