Summer has officially arrived. The sun is out with vengeance.
Every year at this time I face a massive dilemma… “to sun, or not so sun…”
I lather on the SPF 50+ (which makes me go a weird purple tinge).
I wrap my entire body in a towel when I lie on the beach (resembling a human ‘beach burrito’).
I go through tubes and tubes of ‘Fair & Lovely’ cream (google it…yes, it is a cream ‘apparently’ makes you lighter)
I always get SO dark. Do not get me wrong…NOTHING is wrong with going darker..it is just that I personally, prefer to be a little lighter. I know…I bet you are thinking ; “It’s beautiful, I wish I could be that tanned”. I’m not complaining…ok, maybe I am. I just don’t like it.
Switch off the lights and you can only the whites of my eyes and my teeth.
Each time I go home my mum yells at me; “Yuck, you are looking dirrttyyy….how will you find a husband when you are so looking so dirty?”. No mum, it is not ‘dirt’ it is just a tan (I am sure all you fellow sub-continental gals can relate).
BUT look at what I am dealing with (see pic below)….this happened on thursday morning after a mere 30 min swim at 6:30am….you can call me ‘backstrap’. Gross. Although, atleast I am rockin’ the sporty look. #fistspiration.
So, I have decided today that it is time to invest in a beach umbrella. There are some amazing umbrella’s out there. My favourite are actually from Australian company, Basil Bangs. Check out their range here – a vibrant range made from high quality fabric and available in so many colours and patterns! They collaborate with various designers and artists to create bespoke umbrellas – I just love their aesthetic and philosophy underpinning their brand.
Check out some of these gorgeous umbrellas which I have come across in my ‘research’…
I will kick start with a Basil Bangs umbrella – such vibrant colours & patterns…
Emotional, nurturing, intuitive, sensitive, moody…possessing many of the Cancer traits, I consider myself to be a Cancerian.
Cancers are ruled by the moon and belong to the element of water.
Admittedly, I usually read both horoscopes and pick which one I like best….
Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and I guess over the years I have come to believe in various elements of astrology.
Whilst I have never been a strong swimmer (i’ve heard Indians have a lower buoyancy to most), I do love the feeling of being submerged and moving through water. After all, I am a water sign.
I never really swam at school…preferred being on land. However over the last few years, I have consciously integrated ‘swimming laps into my exercise regime and my ‘buoyancy’ has definitely improved!
Growing up, our family vacations revolved around the beach, but I have never lived near the water….
until last week…
Yes, I made the move. Right near the beach. I have never considered myself a ‘beach babe’. I get way too dark, too quickly (ie. You can only see the whites of my eyes and teeth when the lights turn off) and I can’t stand on a surfboard to save myself.
But…there is just something so magical about staring out into the sea. I believe humans have an innate visual appreciation of the sea.
Many people seek out the ocean in times stress or emotional crisis. It is no wonder that popular holiday destinations are by the sea. I often wonder why this is?! Maybe it is the sheer vastness, that reminds us of the ‘bigger picture. Maybe it is the consistent movement of the water – large swells followed by stillness. Or something to do with the smell and taste of salt.
Like us, the ocean has different moods. Dark and broody. Bright and exultant. It always in flux. Never the same. Each day it is different.
I believe that humans are possess some sort of archaic magnetism to the ocean. We recognise the ocean as part of us. I guess on some deep proverbial level it is – water is the lifeblood of humans.
Being near the water soothes me. It grounds me. A dip in the salt water, recharges my energy. I also found out that scientific research proves that the sound of waves alters wave patterns in the brain lulling you into a deeply relaxed state.
It is no wonder that so many people live by or on the water. Have a look at some of these ‘floating houses’ I found …such beauties…
I came face to face with concrete very early on in life. And not by choice.
At age 2, (in true ‘red bull’ spirit) I attempted to ride my tricycle down a flight of stairs …. and laded face first onto the concrete landing.
I split my head open and still today have a scar on my forehead. (No.. its not cool like Harry Potter’s…its actually blue in colour and just acts as a daily reminder of my early battler days).
Concrete is commonly perceived as dull, cold and drab. It is often associated with depressing industrial buildings that lack any emotion or soul. I beg to differ. I believe that when applied thoughtfully, concrete can be very poetic. Some of my favourite buildings have been created purely out of concrete – creating strong lines, which command attention. There is nothing soft about pure concrete.
Every building in some way or form utilises concrete for structural purposes. I just love the way concrete can step out from behind the (metaphorical) ‘walls’ and become the main feature. The architectural underdog prevails!
Concrete fits perfectly with an Industrial design style. Exposed concrete combined with timber and copper creates a distinctly urban feel.
Whether it is polished or finished, I love the rawness of concrete.
Concrete is not loved by all. Treehugger blogger Llyod Alter argues that; “Concrete is just about the worst material going; it is heavy. And in a world where we worry about our carbon footprint, the manufacture of cement is responsible for 5% of the Carbon dioxide produced every year”. It is an interesting take and reinforces that every material has its own pros & cons when it comes to application. (Read More Here)
However, of late, concrete seems to be transcending the realm of architecture and sweeping the world of fashion and accessories. Concrete is inherently a very versatile material. Subsequently, from bags to jewellery to vases, concrete is increasingly being used as a form of artistic expression.
My friend Mel’s family owns a chain of pubs in Melbourne and they just renovated their fifth Melbourne venue ; “Prahan Hotel’. Designed by Techne Architects, it is a concrete lovers dream – 17 concrete pipes, weighing between four and seven tonnes each, climb the side of the pub’s classic 1940s facade. Read more about it here on the Cool Hunter. I must to book my next trip to Melbourne ASAP – I need to see this!
“The use of large stacked concrete pipes for the street façade of the addition struck a chord for multiple reasons,” state the architects. “They have a depth and can be interactive, they have a dramatic, sculptural quality, they reference existing internal circular motifs and they suggest stacked kegs or barrels.” (Via Domus).
In anticipation of my visit to the world’s concrete jungle (aka NYC), I want to spread my love for concrete it is many forms.
Concrete is sweeping the lighting world. MInimalist designs with clean lines. I love the above lighting – Heavy is a collection of thin-walled, cast concrete lights by Benjamin Hubert available as a pendant, desk or wall light.
Concrete tiling adds texture to a space. The above Concrete Collection is designed by photographer Tom Haga who photographs raw and refined concrete walls, raw cinder block walls and even graffiti, in locations right across Norway. The high-resolution images are then transformed into wallpaper.
Israeli designer Shmuel Linski created an espresso machine called Espresso Solo using concrete as the primary material. He wanted to make a desirable consumer product for the kitchen from concrete to complement the other more typical uses of concrete in our kitchens such as walls or countertops.
Countless hours of embarrassment (yes, I once ripped the entire back of my shorts whilst jumping over the fence to retrive the ball…and yes, I have run the wrong way…many times)
BUT I DID IT!!!!
YES….last weekend i SCORED my FIRST FOOTBALL GOAL.
It wasn’t exactly the scissor kick that i had imagined it would be. But who cares? It went in..
My celebration was also not how I imagined. Instead of pulling my jersey over my head and doing the ‘aeroplane’ move….I CRIED. Yes, tears uncontrollably welled up. I was just overcome with pure joy. I honestly, have not felt that type of happiness in SO long.
I had finally done it. The intense happiness lasted for at least 48 hours. In the supermarket, I walked down the aisle smiling to myself (slightly creepy…i know). In the shower, I fist pumped the air. In the car, I pumped up Ricky Martin’s ‘Living la vida loca” and sung my heart out. I also…admittedly…watched the ‘Bend it Like’ Beckham film clip on youtube…on repeat.
I do not mean this in a self-depricating way. just seem to battle, through life a little.
Here are some examples. Just last week;
My drink bottle leaked in my handbag ….3 times…in 48 hours.
My entire bottle of tea tree oil spilt on my phone…whilst I slept. Woke up to a small BP oil spill on my beside table.
I accidently signed off a work email…”Look forward to touching you” – I forgot the words ‘base’ & ‘with’ after ‘touching’ (It was to a 60 year old male client). Epic mistake. Highly embarrassing.
Little did I know that the weekend was about to reveal my Number 1 ‘Battler Moment’ of 2013 thus far.
To celebrate the ANZAC day weekend, a group of us (my friends who I met on a Fishing Derby earlier this year…. don’t ask) ventured to Morning Peninsula in Melbourne to go ….. ‘Tree Surfing’. It is essentially, is a high ropes school camp activity .. on steroids.
It was 100% pure G-rated fun. Ok, maybe 98% G-rated, as the harness was a little ‘handsy’!
At first, I was pretty nervous. I was laughing on the outside…but inside I was crying with fear. As my confidence gradually began to build, I decided that I was going to tackle the ‘Tarzan Swing’.
It was by far the scariest swing in the whole course. It high…very high. It was not for the amateur ‘tree-surfer’.It required a free falling jump off a platform and the co-ordination to catch a net on the otherside. With my (false) sense of confidence….I thought I had it I the bag. I was all set up and I jumped off the platform……
Instead of reaching and holding on for the net on the other side, I grabbed it… and let go…
I was now stuck. In no-mans land. Between the platform and the net. It took me a moment to realise what had happened…then I heard the laughter. I looked up, my friends and other random bystanders were holding their stomachs laughing.
(Yep that is me…just hangin’ out…whilst everyone looked on)
It was not funny. I had the biggest wedgie of my life.
The instructor told me to do breaststroke toward the net. With vigour, I pretended I was in a pool. Little did I know…he was taking the piss. Breaststroke was not going to get me anywhere. Only something like this could happen to a pure battler. (Note: The instructor helped me get down, after the amusement had died off). Meanwhile, some days later I still have brusing and the aftermath of harness chaffing. Not pretty.
Jokes aside – I loved the feeling of being so high up. My mind drifted to tree house design and the integration of ropes and even swings into interiors.
Here is a round up of some design inspiration, derived from my experience of ‘tree-surfing’.
I attended Laneway Festival yesterday – despite the grey clouds and intermittent rainfall.. it was a fantastic day!
Walking amongst the crowds, I spotted many unique outfits. Despite it being 18 degrees, there were many bikini-clad girls (even when the closest beach or pool was atleast 15km away) & also a lot of bejeweled bindi’s on foreheads…namaste?!
One fashion accessory which is synonoymous with music festivals (and summer in general) is of course the trusty pair of sunglasses. Protecting your eyes, hiding your eyes, dressing up your eyes…sunglasses are multi-functional & can improve your cool factor by 67%….or so they say.
Not in my case.
I always have difficulty in choosing a pair of sunnies. I have a small & narrow face – which means majority of trendy sunglasses always end up transforming me into a bug on steroids.
I recently met Nick Campbell (an eyewear collector turned designer) who designs the most amazing sunglasses ranges – his designs are bold, striking and possess a unique aesthetic. You can’t help but love them!
If you are an eyewear collector or just love sunglasses check out some inspirational images on how sunglasses can be displayed…
Last week, I underwent some serious hair removal, bought a slurpie from the sleven (7 eleven) and packed away my winter warmers.
Yes I know, talking about the weather is boring and should be reserved for awkward elevator and photocopy machine conversations.
But, in an attempt to maintain my mental and emotional sanity I have to share…
False Summer. What a tease! It gets me every year. I should know better.
But as the weather warms up – I can’t help myself – I bask in the sunshine, lather myself with sunscreen (at the end of summer, I am SO dark you can’t see me when the lights go out – only my eyes & my teeth….scary stuff), frolick down the street in a summer dress.…..only to wake up 3 days later with frost on my window and freezing cold winds.
False summer. It tickles my neck. It warms my body. It is a tease. And should be illegal.
No more negativity. Instead, I will share some beautiful ‘summer’ inspired places & spaces….just viewing them, warms me up!
I love industrial style. Raw metal. Harsh lines. Inherent function.
Within the last few years, industrial style has really been embraced.
Last weekend, I visited Cockatoo Island – a place renowned for its industrial aesthetic. I honestly had such a great day. I loved eating caramel muffins, (and channelling my 12 year old self whilst playing ‘grip ball’). I loved viewing the amazing Sydney Biennale installation artworks. But something which really captured me was….
I know it sounds bizarre, but for some reason, my camera was magnetised to the rust that lay unashamedly on the stairs. On the walls. On the drain pipes.
You can’t escape the burning red rust on Cockatoo Island. Its part of the landscape. Rust is often seen as flaw, a blemish, as an ugly outcome of of a purely scientific reaction. For me, it hold a sense of beauty. It’s a sign of history. It’s natural. It’s memorising. Call me crazy, but have a look at some of my pictures and tell me you don’t think the same…..
Here are some random industrial style spaces for you to perve on as well…
I can’t help but laugh when I see it…until it happens to me.
Yes, it happened to me yesterday.
My umbrella turned inside out whilst walking to central station. I could feel eyes burning on me. I don’t really know why I find it so embarrassing – or why I find it so amusing when I see it happen to someone else. I think its the combination of the flaying arms as you try to push it back ‘down’ and the sense of powerlessness against natures elements…
After this ‘episode’, I threw out my umbrella (where other broken umbrellas lay to rest) in the bin and escaped the rain by continuing to walk through the infamous central station tunnel. As I walked through the crowds of people, I suddenly noticed something…
96% of the people walking through the tunnel were were black/grey or other drab colours. Myself included.
Its been raining for a couple of day now. The sky is grey. The clouds are heavy. And I have come to the realisation that …People dress for the weather. Yes, that may seem VERY obvious. But, more specifically people choose they colours according to the weather. As soon as it rains, people start to wear drab colours .
I am guilty of it – I am always hesitant to wear something bright when it is cold with dark clouds outside. It’s psychological, but I just feel a little strange rocking the neons when it is raining!
Solution to the problem: After walking the length of the tunnel, I stopped at the newsagent and bought the BRIGHTEST UMBERELLA ever – (it doesn’t look that birght in this pic – but its hot pink!) see below…I love it!
So for all you out sydney siders there (and whoever else who lives where it rains) whilst it may be dreary out, here are some colour images to brighten up your day!
A scientific paper proving that Indian’s lack buoyancy in water must exist- if not, then one should definitley be written.
Yes, I am guilty of generalising, but I’m yet to meet an Indian who is a very strong swimmer (If you an excellent Indian swimmer and reading this – I apologise and congratulate you…). Our physic doesn’t help us – brown chicken legs and an abnormal amount of bodily hair – not good for ‘gliding’ through water. Also…not helping our case is our belly (more often than not) is filled with a heavy substance (ie. some sort of curry or milky chai).
Despite that all odds are against me, lately (with a bung leg) I have taken my chicken legs to the pool, in an attempt to swim some laps. Admittedly I have had a few hiccups – After being hit in the head, I got cursed at for not ‘staying in my lane’ and developing a nasty bruise on the bridge of my noise…realising I had been wearing my goggles upside-down (yes, it is possible).
Surprisingly, I find it quite meditative. There is something about submerging your body in water….you are literally weightless, a sense of calmness descends upon you…as you swim its just you and your breathe…
So that led me onto thinking about what kind of cool designed pools must exist out there – here is what I found…
Balconies as pools – such a great use of space. Although, you wouldn’t want to be scared of heights! Want to have a dip? Its located in Mumbai at the Aquaria Grande – a 37-story residential skyscraper.
Sydney has been robbed of a summer – it has rained…continuously. From drizzle to downpour, the heavens have refused to close over. a few years ago our concern was the drought, now it is the floods – it is like Sydney has developed a monsoonal tendendancy.
Nevertheless, over the ‘summer’ I have slowly come to accept the rain – or rather accept it as a source of inspiration.
Heavy clouds, steel grey sky, colourful umbrella’s, drips of water running down a window …from a visual perspective rain is a beautiful thing (ofcourse, when viewing it from inside or undercover).
See below for some ways rain can be a source of inspiration within the interior…
A wonderful tropical outdoor rain shower attached to the master bath – I guess the weather man doesn’t call rain ‘showers’ for nothing!
How cool is this Cloud Silver Rain Lamp, designed by Tadao Shimizu. It is an interesting lamp which takes the shape of a cloud with rain. I love how it is so delicate & with the soft light coming through the natural paper, it sense of feeling refreshed.
Cloud paper couch – This couch by Japanese designer Tokujin Yoshioka uses paper to exprexx the texture of clouds through industrial material. I believe it is reminiscent of clouds in the sky and flow of water!
“ [A house] is a tiny glimpse to a comprehensive summation of how one chooses to live. It is always, in some way, an industriously contrived portrait of the self”
I stumbled upon this article today on Architizer and it resonated with me. It’s one of those articles you read & can’t stop thinking about – it discusses how a house is medium of self-expression.
I too, believe that inside your home you are your true self; you relax, you let go of inhibitions (yes, I too am guilty of casually wandering through my house naked!) and you gain a sense of pure safety – the outside elements of the world suddenly become distant; your home becomes your ‘bubble’. Inevitably and sub-consciously, your home is an expression of your true-self.
See below for Architect Moon Hoon’s latest work – an eye-catching pink and white candystripe exterior, which hides the seven-stories that reside within.
I love the way it contrasts the surrounding environment – in everyway possible…colour, shape, form, texture….
Glowing yellow light against the pink…makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside!
You would definitely not expect the interior to look so modern, bare and…white!