58 - Kiss Me Once



Kiss Me Once Tour - Friday 26th September - Manchester Arena

I've seen Kylie on every major tour since the Showgirl tour. I must admit I was never a very big Kylie fan 'til I saw her Fever tour coverage on TV and became smitten with the very showmanship of the whole affair. Visual spectacles - costumes beyond imagination, sets that look like they have been taken directly from dreams, shaken up renditions of old classics and, well, quite honestly, the dancers (which usually are some of the finest male specimens you could ever want to lay eyes on).

A stage full of 20 or 30 of the finest dancers imaginable grooving to the pop princesses tunes with some amazing visual direction by Kylie's long time partner in crime William Baker usually delivers track after track and scene after scene of delight. This time, not so much.

I wouldn't like to say whether it is due to her move to Roc Nation or perhaps a want to do something a little more subtle that means we are delivered a dance troupe of only 7 on this tour (purse strings tightened or maybe she just wants to be able to move on stage without it having to be carefully choreographed so that she doesn't crash in to someone) but it somehow lacked the energy of other performances. That having said, during Slow (I can't fully commit to that being the right track, must remember to make notes next time) I felt moved. The dancers on stage with Kylie are usually magnificently attractive and can move to a beat like no other, but with this, I was blown away and speechless. The movements were so beautifully executed, I'd struggle to think of a ballet that has such wonderfully precise grace. The other standout moment of course being Kylie's cover of "Need you Tonight", sexually charged and loaded with questions on her relationship with INXS singer Michael Hutchence.

Whilst slightly more concept heavy and a little less "showy", a good time was still had by all. Without hesitation I'll still be booking tickets on the next tour when the time comes, interested to see whether this a permanent change in direction or a blip on the radar.

57 - An Artful Life



Introducing the newest Alfies Studio stockist - An Artful Life.

An Artful Life studio and shop was set up by Interior Architect Kate Whitfield. Kate curates an ever changing eclectic collection of one-off vintage finds as well as new items, chosen for their beauty and modernity. Head on over to anartfullife.co.uk to see Kate's most recent finds, my goods are certainly in fine company - I have my eyes on a few of her items myself (Christmas present to the house maybe, my bedroom needs that vintage wooden filing cabinet as a bedside table)!

All images taken from http://www.anartfullife.co.uk

56 - The Good Life


Light up letters at The Good Life Experience
Opening words at The Good Life Experience
Log pile at The Good Life Experience
Helter Skelter at The Good Life Experience
Vintage tent at The Good Life Experience

The Good Life Experience - Hawarden, Flintshire, UK - 20 September 2014

I have long been a fan and follower of Pedlars (and more recently the Gladstone's with their "Guide to the Great Outdoors" book). When they announced back at the start of the summer that they were curating an event, of course I booked tickets.

On Saturday morning after several melt-downs about wellies not fitting and various other child-induced mini dramas, we made the short trip over to Hawarden for The Good Life Experience. It was awful, we couldn't have had a worse time and quite honestly I might be asking for a refund. Ok, I've been caught fibbing. Nice try, eh? Well, I feel like I need to do something to protect the secret of what I'm sure will be one of 2015's hot tickets.

Within moments of walking on site I found myself feeling like an old friend of Charlie Gladstone having had a welcome hug after introducing myself (I'm stocked by Pedlars now and working on something special for them so thought I'd say hello, but I'll save that news for another post...). It is so rare to meet someone willing to be open and genuine about their hopes and dreams, let alone someone willing to do so with 2,000 or so people.

With no VIP areas to segregate, it was a truly beautiful thing to be able to chat with musicians, chefs and the like with no sense at all of celebrity. The Good Life Experience had an atmosphere that was homely (with vintage bunting and flags, flowers in vases on the tables, some truly fantastic decor and campfires to huddle around) and unassuming, the perfect place for kicking back and connecting, with yourselves, others, nature and new interests.

Dominic has been boasting of his axe throwing skills and Eve of the "great big whirly slide". She wants to sing in the London Bulgarian Choir when she's older and I'm pretty sure his desire to become an Olympic archer has grown. We all have a new found love of s'mores and Best Made Co.

Thank you, Gladstone's and Cerys Matthews, for graciously welcoming us to share in your dream of a day filled with good music, campfires, conversation, food, learning, getting back to basics and for your belief in living the good life. Thank you for the chance to meet and converse with so many new people, and for wanting to coax those permanently glued to a screen of some sort, back into the wild. The Good Life Experience was a gentle reminder in not only how to live the good life, but also a lesson in humanity and soaking in life with every ounce of your being.

Boy doing archery at The Good Life Experience
Loose Lips Tea at The Good Life Experience
Music Marquee at The Good Life Experience
Cerys Matthews Campfire at The Good Life Experience
Caroline Gladstone's campfire cooking at The Good Life Experience
Bill Granger at The Good Life Experience
Pedlars at The Good Life Experience
Littles on a boat swing at The Good Life Experience
Cerys Matthews sing along at The Good Life Experience
S'mores by Best Made co at The Good Life Experience
Axe throwing at The Good Life Experience
Dad-ventures at The Good Life Experience

55.3 Photo-shoot with Lucy Little


Alfies Studio - Northern Flower, Manchester
Alfies Studio - Northern Flower, Manchester
Alfies Studio - Northern Flower, Manchester
Alfies Studio - Delicate fern
Alfies Studio- Found urban gardening
Alfies Studio- Found urban gardening

The final set of images to share with you from my recent photo-shoot with Lucy Little Photography.

Flora has been a big part of my heritage and history, something that I've grown up with and love to this day. I often head on down to the florist for inspiration for adding to my botanical range and find myself capturing lots of botanical images on my phone (theres nothing like focus to realise how diverse your local landscape is) whilst I'm out and about, I'm so glad to have been able to include this in the visual narrative that Lucy captured for me.

One of my favourite parts of the shoot... the last two photos. An urban allotment/garden on the edge of a car park in inner city Manchester. A true thing of beauty to see things being grown in such an urban space.

55.2 Photo-shoot with Lucy Little


Alfies Studio - City Streets Portrait
Alfies Studio - City Streets Portrait
Alfies Studio - City Streets Portrait
Alfies Studio - City Streets Portrait

More images from the Manchester photo-shoot with the lovely Lucy Little Photography.

With Alfies Studio being a one-woman-show I really wanted something a bit different from the average work-place bio shot. Something that shows a little more of my personality and who I am, tells my narrative. Those were the driving points behind the shoot.

I'm not afraid to own the fact that my business is solely mine. I'm glad to be past the days of trying to cover up that fact in my business descriptions with the generic "we". Solopreneurs, you know what I'm talking about, change anything that says "we" into "I" - immediately!. You own it, you've earned it, be proud of what you can do singlehandedly and be happy to champion your individual status.

I've coached new businesses with this point whilst designing their identities and hit a point where I realised that I wasn't actually following my own advice and was in fact using "we" in all of my descriptive areas. I've learnt that it doesn't matter so much how something might be perceived (I worried that being a "me/I" rather than "we" might put people off or make them think I wasn't worthy in some way in the early days), the truth always wins out when it comes to attracting your people and dream clients. It's who you are and what you do that matters, not the size of the business you own or how many staff you have.

I'm making quite a statement with the style of photography. I know that dark and brooding urban cityscapes or even florist shops (thats the next post) aren't everyone's cup of tea. That Converse high-tops with a vintage Dior tux jacket may horrify some people. Therein lies the beauty of the thing. The people that it all screams amazing or awesome to, they are my kind of people.

Whether you own your own business and struggle being "I" or find yourself typically trying to crowd-please in every day life, don't. Just be you. You are brilliant, just as you are.

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