Friday 21 November 2008

Experiments in where to live #465

So the plan to get myself adopted failed. After the whole 'getting kicked out of one of the shittiest flats in bcn' incident:

a stay of almost a couple of months at the 'dads'' has provided a much needed regrouping and restabilising experience. Amazing food, lovely caring people, Mexican hot chocolate, my YouTube addiction fuelled and encouraged, on-tap help with my lesson plans, massive collection of DVD's and documentaries, wifi and so much feng-shui'd calmess that whole relaxing hours go by without me noticing their disappearance. I'm not sure what the legalities are regarding a 36 year old and a 29 year old adopting another 29 year old, but whatever the case, it would probably upset my mum, so I decided not to start the planned 'Dads please adopt me' campaign afterall.
So once again I am submerged in a state of flat hunting. This time I at least have a pretty damn good idea about what different areas, even different streets, are like. However, trying to figure out with what type of people and what kind of lifestyle you desire is a little trickier. Like many people my age I'm sure, I'm in a strange limbo of still sometimes feeling the unignorable urge to go out and get slaughtered in cool bars and talk random crap to friends and strangers, but I also sometimes just want to cook a nice dinner and have a relaxing, comfortable night in somewhere clean and relatively peaceful. It's an intriguing dichotomy that makes flat viewing even more difficult.
Nevertheless, flats still need to be viewed. Price is obviously a key factor. I'm either aiming at getting a double room somewhere nice and old with enough space for sewing, OR a smaller room somewhere possibly less nice but still old, and using the subsequent savings to share the rent on a small sewing workspace/studio with my mate Harriet.
Check it out, this is one of the many uninspiring and frankly depressing rooms that falls into my (limited) budget:

When Daddy Isi saw the image he declared it reminded him of Van Gogh's bedroom painting:

Similar furniture, carpet, colour scheme... There's some crazy inspiration derived for interior decorating going down over here in bcn! Excuse me, I must go flat (mental style) hunting.....

Monday 17 November 2008

Experiments in how to live #3769

After what is a strong contender for the best weekend so far in bcn, today the inevitable happened: Monday rocked on up. With it brought the necessary evil of work. So if you will indulge me, I'd like to discuss my present take on that old chestnut.

When I first moved to bcn I spent a long time figuring out how I wanted to support myself. There were lists, diagrams, bar graphs and pie charts. Drawing upon lessons learnt from my varied, extensive and commitment-phobic employment history, I decided I would be happiest by cobbling together a collection of sources of income, rather just having one steady job. So I sorted it thus.

The most fixed element of my working scenerio is being a canguro (literally a 'kangroo', i.e. babysitter) for three families. Basically I get paid to hang out with kids and talk to them in English. As a result my colouring-in and plasticine skills are getting pretty strong! I also blag a bit of English teaching. And last but by no means least, I research fashion trends for a forecasting company based in NY. I'm their 'man' in bcn (except I do womenswear). It's very flexible and fits nicely around my other work, and general weekly whims and desires. It's ironic that someone who doesn't buy new clothes spends so much of her time in clothing stores and changing rooms! Here I am in my natural habitat:

Now, I could warble on about the down sides of my self-cultivated employment situation, but the main point is that I feel I've achieved the level of freedom I personally need for my mental health. And although it can get pretty tiring and a little lonely, flitting around the city as I do means I have a connection and relationship with the city that I think it would take office-bound peops a lot longer than four months to achieve (no offence office-bound peops). It provides me with the opportunity to make fascinating discoveries (e.g. I know where you can buy the TINIEST croissants possibly known to man) and provides constant visual stimulae that sometimes I like to record:

PLUS, when my sewing stuff arrives, the application of a little more self disaplin and time management should result in a whole lotta time for creating. That's it in a (chest)nutshell.

Monday 3 November 2008

Back to School Uniforms for 29-year-olds

Jeez! I swear five minutes ago it was so hot I was having four showers a day and spending large chunks of the day in my pants. Now, it’s WELL autumn! Having got over the initial temperature change shock to the system, it’s actually quite exciting. Let me explain...

This time of year, I always find, is an appropriate time to get a year older. So I got on that last week and turned twenty nine. (How did THAT happen?!.) As with other (personally) significant occasions, I always see my birthday as an opportunity to take stock of where I am at, in terms of my life and goals, and to reassess, consolidate and push forward. Autumn has such a ‘back-to-school’ vibe, a real re-focus and knuckle down feel after the frivolity of summer. Plus it makes me want to buy a new pencil case and set square!
This year is no different, in fact maybe the above statements hold even more truth this time round. This summer I wound up in a new city (not to mention new country), one not particularly known for it’s lack of summer indulgence. I spent July, August and indeed most of September finding my feet, discovering Barcelona’s treasures, meeting heaps of new and mostly amazing people and generally attacking the experience I had set up for myself. Heady, if sweaty, times. October I spent working out how to survive and support myself, basically carving out a sustainable life here, and rounding up the month by having a thoroughly awesome birthweek (that’s how we roll round here).
Also, I have some pretty strong perceptions of what I want for myself and who I hope to be by the time I was thirty (who doesn’t?). At this point in time, although I feel I have laid some solid foundations, due to the breadth of what I hope to achieve combined with some unforeseen setbacks I have sustained, I feel pretty far away from those aims. I’ve got some work to do.
For me, a big part of how I feel is linked to how I present myself. I don’t see appearance and presentation of self, and creative and (I hesitate to use the word) professional success as independent spheres. Obviously, I understand this probably holds more truth for those in my chosen specialism.

So, let’s get on with the pretty pictures! I aim to create a more cohesive and vaguely more mature vibe. I reckon a shortcut to that could be to deploy a killer dress. Here's some fine examples I'm feelin' at the mo.....
Imagine this APC one with some red or grey opaque tights and slouchy boots. Hmmmm.. Nice little bow detail to offset the potentially stark overall feel, me thinks.

Such a violently strong option for day or night, I feel a bit weak. Should also receive a special award in the 'Nicest Sleeves Ever' catagory.

A vintage beauty. Frilly sleeves with matching hem ruffle? On paper this doesn't work, yet there is evidence to the contrary:

A strong contender for the nicest dress, if not garment, ever to appear on Burdastyle. Uber simple A-line with supremely interesting and perfectly executed bib detail. Good job I was sitting down when I first saw it. (Made by ultra-talented London based Burdatyle member Christine).

So there you have it peops. Inspiring dresses to make me inspired to make dresses in which to feel inspired, maybe to make dresses!

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