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Zines/ Raf Simons

I love making Zines. The process of creating them is just so personal and they are, in my opinion, a beautiful form of miniature art. They have been used in the last few decades, particularly in America, as a way of publishing more controversial/edgy topics. These masterpieces may be small but they have proven to be an extremely powerful form of media.

For those of you who are unclear about what a Zine is, let me tell you that they are hard to define because they are so versatile. However 'for all intensive purposes, a zine is a cheaply-made, cheaply-priced publication, often in black and white, which is mass-produced via photocopier and bound with staples'. (taken from urbandictionary) They aim to send a short and snappy message out to the world and one of the reasons they are so popular is their size, which means they are easy to distribute.

I decided to make a small collage zine for my friend Nina for her birthday. She loves (understatement of the century) the fashion designer Raf Simons so I decided to focus it around him. Since then Raf has decided to leave Dior and so this has become more of a memoir of his time there. I love how when creating a zine you can make it so personal. I think this is why they make such lovely presents.

To create this zine I took screenshots from Raf Simons' website and used pictures from Google images. It is important to not only have figures in your zine but also patterns so you can create texture and layering, this will make your zine more interesting.

One way to tie your zine together, i.e to give it continuity, is to repeat the use of certain patterns and images, reusing discarded ends of pictures, which will probably end up as strips, and to use a colour scheme for each double page spread. Of course if you don't want to do any of this then you don't have to, it is your vine so do as you please. You can be as creative as you want to be.

If you fancy making your own zine? I used Tavi Gevinson's 'How to Make a Zine' Tutorial, which allows you to end up with an A6 sized zine. I really like this tutorial as it shows you how to make one with just a ruler, a cutting knife and an A3 piece of paper. I didn't have any A3 paper when making this zine so I used A4 which meant the end product was quite dinky. I personally prefer a smaller zine as it more of a challenge to see how much you can fit onto the tiny pages.

Love Holly x

Bristol / Gourmet Burger Kitchen

For my last university open day, in September, we visited Bristol and it was just so cool. A really trendy place with great shops and a really interesting university. I don't know whether to describe Bristol as a campus or not, as it is quite spread out, and although it is connected to the town it feels as though it is it's own little town. There is a great mixture of old and new buildings and the accomadation is really versatile.

The History course was really intriguing because it is a bit different, focusing more on 'doing' History in depth and breadth, rather than leaving the depth to the dissertation in the third year. The research seems to be really active and it is certainly a very hands on course, which could possibly make it more demanding but it sounds like it prepares you well for work in the real world.

Whilst in Bristol we had lunch in the Gourmet Burger Kitchen, which is situated on Park Street. It was my first time in GBK, although I had heard about it, so I was really excited to try it. The food came really quickly which was good becasue I had a History talk to go to, and when it arrived it was gorgeous. I just had a normal burger with skinny fries and when they say skinny they mean skinny, they were so cute.

My brother and I both had strawberry milkshakes, which we agreed were just so so nice. They were made with Yeo Valley and tasted a lot like an Ed's Shake, that just so happen to be my favourite milkshakes EVER. Another great thing about the milkshakes was that they came in HUGE containers and so I felt we got what we paid for.

The decor was really cool and a lot of the signs were styled like scrabble tiles which was a lovely touch. There was a great range of textures in the restaurant and the colours didn't look like they should work but they did! Overall it was a great experience and I will definitely be trying to find one closer to home, keeping my fingers crossed that there is one in B'ham.

If you get a chance to go to Bristol I would say visit Park Street because there are so many wonderful shops, including Cass Art, my favourite art shop ever. It is just a great shopping street.

Love Holly x

September Birchbox

For my birthday I received a subscription to Birchbox. I was so happy to finally get this as I have wanted a subscription for such a long time. For those of you who don't know what Birchbox is, it is a monthly beauty-box subscription service in which you get 5 beauty product samples and an added extra. Sometimes the samples are small and sometimes they are full sized but they are always good quality. It works just as a magazine subscription does in that you pay for a certain amount of months, I think I have 3 months, and a box comes in the post each month.

I am a sucker for lovely packaging. I am worried that when I go to university I will run out of money because instead of buying cheap I will buy pretty. The Birchbox packaging is actually gorgeous and changes every month, with each box being designed by an illustrator. I cannot express how cute the month's box was. Inside the box the products were hiding in a branded Birchbox bag, cream with mint green writing. This is a really nice touch, also it adds to the excitement when you are unwrapping it all.

The surprise element of Birchbox is something I am really keen on because you never quite know what you are going to receive. It is fun to try out the new things that you receive and experiment with them. Birchbox works in a very clever way because if you like something in your box you can order it from their website, which appears quick and easy to use. Such a simple but clever concept!

Here is a quick list of what was in my box this month....

1. Laura Mercier - Face Polish - £26
2. bliss - foot patrol - £18.50
3. Laqa & Co - Cheeky Lip Pencil in Humble Bug - £17
4. John Masters Organics - Citrus Neroli Detangler - £16
5. Benefit - the POREfessional: license to blot - £15.50
6. The Birchbrush - £5.99

I haven't had a chance to try it all yet but from what I have tried my favourites are the POREfessional Licence to Blot by Benefit and the bliss Foot Patrol, which smells gorgeous. Overall this is a great service and if you are stuck on what to buy a friend for a birthday then this would be a perfect gift to get them, a gift that white literally keeps on giving, every month.

Love Holly x

Exeter / Bill's Restaurant Review

Last month I went, with my family, to Exeter for their university open day. This is the second time I have been there and I really love the university and in particular their History course, which just seems to have so much choice. We got to the university just after midday and because I had been to their previous open day we didn't have loads and loads of stuff to look at. I spent the afternoon wandering around the site and deciding which accommodation I wanted to live in. It was only afterwards that I remembered that I needed to get an offer and the grades before I can move in, oops!

We also had a bit of an explore of the town, coming across a little street called Gandy Street which was full of really unique shops, such as Sobeys Vintage, which was simply heaven. Gandy Street is just off the main high street of Exeter, down the side of one of the largest Urban Outfitters I have ever been in (I wanted everything!). I feel like this street was sort of a mini version of the lanes in Brighton and this was confirmed when we came across a restaurant called Bill's, which I believe began in Brighton.

Bill's was wonderful. They were really busy so we were worried that we weren't going to get a table and would have to find somewhere else, but they managed to squeeze us in upstairs. The decor blew my mind away, it was just so well done with a sort of distressed organic look. It was rustic and had a lovely charm about it, with lots of interesting things to look at, for example as you went up the stairs the waterfall light was made out of large cans for, what I think was, olives. Basically whatever they had done, it worked and I loved it.

So onto the food. At first when I saw the menu I was like hmmm this all looks very healthy, I'm not sure I want any of this, however once I started reading the descriptions I quickly changed my mind. We ordered a Butcher's Board to start, which to be honest to me sounded a bit gross but my mind was changed when it arrived, with favourite being the sesame crusted lamb kofta. Alongside this we ordered some kale crisps because we had heard that kale is one of the new super foods, supposedly very good for you. These were actually surprisingly yummy. I think I liked them because they were quite salty and it covered up the taste of the kale, so it tasted good and made me feel healthy because I was eating kale, it is a win win situation on the crisp front.

For the main course I had, as I so often do, a burger, which as burgers go was quite nice. What I liked about it most was that it wasn't too big, I hate it when restaurants make huge burgers, or huge portions of anything to be honest. Firstly because I feel like they are trying to make up for something by giving you huge amounts and secondly because when I, inevitably, can't finish it, I feel bad for leaving food. However this burger just the right size I was able to finish it and so I left without guilt.

There isn't much to say about pudding apart from it was great and I really recommend that if you ever go to Bill's that you have the warm mini cinnamon doughnuts. Overall we had a great meal and the staff were really friendly, I would definitely go back. And hopefully if I get an offer from Exeter it will be our go to place when the parents come and visit.

Love Holly x

On the Music Front

Petite Meller's music video for her song Baby Love is just so cool, I love how weird it is and that you can't help but watch it when it is on. I first saw it on holiday in Lake Garda, we were watching the music channel because it was one of the few interesting English channels. This was definitely one of my favourite tunes this summer and really got me in the mood for sunshine, such a shame that the weather has now turned against us! At least Petite can keep us in the mood.

I was excited to hear, listening to Radio 1 on the coach the other morning, that Sam Smith is doing the theme tune for the new James Bond film, it made my morning. I know not everyone likes Sam Smith but I think he is so talented and will make an excellent job of it. He will definitely do the legacy of James Bond soundtracks justice.

On hearing Impossible by Lion Babe for the first time my immediate reaction was of dislike, however this song is actually really good. It is completely different to the sort of music I normally listen to, but that is what I like about it. It is fun and I think that Lion Babe have a bright future ahead of them.

Love Holly x

(photo credit: consequenceofsound.net)