And the winner is...

30.8.10 - 19:48
I think it's about time we had a winner in the Brand Altering competition.

I really enjoyed going through all the entries (over 80!) and as I said before, there were some lovely ideas. They ranged from adding a button here and there, to making brand curtains! There were also some beautiful ideas with halterneck designs.

Unfortunately only one person can win the dress. The one I've chosen is a very sweet idea, keeping the general dress shape but adding a custom design to transform it into something unique. The whimsical theme and style work well with the dress and the artwork this person sent is also delicious! It's based on the poem 'The Owl and the Pussycat'.

Congratulations: Pandasquid

You've won a lovely (if a little drab) Baby the Stars Shine Bright JSK. I hope you'll carry out your plans and let us see! Good luck with your alterations. (please send me your email address :)

Thank you to everyone else for your hard work. It just goes to show what a bit of creativity can do for a plain dress!

The inspiration for this competition, (the blog redesign) is also nearly complete, what do you think?




Photography experiments

28.8.10 - 17:19
I got some of my pictures back this week from my film cameras, with some interesting results.
Recently I've been using my Fisheye camera and my cute little Diana Mini. I picked also up a really cheap flash to use with my lomo cameras, so I've been able to take some pictures indoors too.

First off these, these are from the Fisheye. It can take a picture covering almost 180degrees. I thought it might come out as a circle but I think this lens might have been made for 120 film, so as there's less room on 35mm part of it is cut off. I love how it bends things to fit them in.

Red filter
For this one I made a DIY filter with red acetate from the stationery shop. It's not a very subtle effect! But I think it looks cool here, like a 70's sci fi film.

Light painting
Another thing I wanted to try was light painting. For this you set the camera to 'bulb' then hold the shutter open for as long as you like. I moved the camera around randomly and this is what happened!

This effect was a bit more hassle. It's called 'redscale' and is achieved by shooting through the back of the film. In a very dark room under a dark cloth I cut off a large chunk of film and taped it back on the wrong way round.

You could do some of this stuff in photoshop, but it's great fun not knowing what is going to turn up on your film.

You can see more of these experiments on my Flickr at: flickr.com/photos/ra_life/



Thank you for all your creative thinking!

24.8.10 - 16:16
Just a quick note to say thanks to everyone who entered the Brand Altering Competition. There were some really great ideas! I want to have a good look through and make sure I don't miss any of the email entries before I make the final decision. I'll be announcing the winner on Monday 30th, so watch this space.



Super macaron review

15.8.10 - 15:35
Om Nom Nom. I tried lots of tasty treats on my trip to the capital, luckily I also did tonnes of walking so I've managed not to put on two stone in the process.

So on to the macarons. I visited four different places and as a 'control' I always chose chocolate as the first flavour and caramel as the second. And I mostly chose the small macarons where I could. I went to Laduree, Pierre Herme, Maison du Chocolat and PAUL.

Laduree Burlington Arcade and Harrods:
£1.50 each 

I found the staff at Laudree quite rude. Maybe they treat you better if you buy more?

I found their macarons to be the most delicate and had a beautiful shape. They have a thicker filling and the texture was slightly lumpy.

Laduree paper bag from Burlington Arcade.

Very uniform and smooth looking.

Pierre Herme Selfridges:
£1.85 each

The staff were helpful at Pierre Herme and talked with me about the different flavours. The macarons where slightly thicker than Laudree and very smooth. They were less cakey and the salted caramel was delicious. They had a stronger flavour.

Packaging from Pierre Herme in Selfridges.

Chocolate macaron with cocoa dusting.

Maison du Chocolat Piccadilly and Harrods:
2 for £3.50

The staff here were very nice, the shop is elegant, well spaced out and air conditioned to keep everything cool.

They like to package things up so they are a real treat.

The macarons were delicate and had a very smooth filling. They are slightly smaller than the Laduree offering, but it's more of an experience buying them.

PAUL many locations:
Large macaron £2.80

I went to the one at Covent Garden - the people are generally nice though the cafe is quite upmarket. Everything is more expensive if you eat in.

I had the large chocolate macaron, not entirley fair since it was a bigger size, but it tasted like the most divine brownie in the world. Very fudgey, but still light.

Paper bag from PAUL.

Tasty giant macaron.

My personal favourite was the PAUL macaron. It wasn't quite as delicate some of the others but it tasted great. Laduree and Pierre Herme had some very pretty packaging if you were buying larger quantities but I prefered Maison du Chocolat as a shopping experience.

I might have another go at baking my own now I know how they are supposed to taste.