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Experiments with mini movies

A video posted by Em. (@ohgoshem) on

One of my favourite bits of Blogtacular was the video walk that Xanthe Berkley hosted on the Friday.

Video isn’t something that I have ever focused on in the past because, in my head, video was all about YouTube vlogs on your latest ‘Primark haul’ or your make-up regime. My make-up is basic and I am not about to sit down and vlog a haul and if I do, please punch me in the face! I really don’t want Jim knowing all the stuff in our house hasn’t ‘been there for ages, I can’t believe you haven’t noticed it’ (plus I’ve not even entered a Primark in about a year!)

But on the walk, Xanthe opened my eyes to videoing what’s around me rather than having to appear in the video. We discussed how the output doesn't have to be a long video of me talking to the screen (I can’t honestly think of anything worse) but it can be a series of little scenes from the day, or the weekend, or trip, edited together to form a mini movie. And now I think I might love video.

On the walk we wandered as a group round Covent Garden. The session started with some phone video tips from Xanthe including holding the phone landscape, not portrait so that when you’re editing it fits better, that the best ways of holding the phone still whilst you film, with your arms in close to your body for stability, that we should really invest in a tripod because handheld timelapses just don't work, and we got a list of video scenarios to look out for and filming options on our phones, like slow mo, boomerang and hyperlapse. 
As I'm an Android user, I thought maybe there would be limitations, or that the afternoon might focus heavily on iPhone features (I've sat in on some phoneography webinars and they have always been iPhone focused), but all the techniques we used to film we available on all our phones. I've played with Boomerang quite a bit, but not the other features of the video on my phone since upgrading to the S7 Edge. 

We got to play with the fabulous mirrored walls in Covent Garden, with Nikki McWilliams being very obliging with some leaping and umbrella twirling for some slow mo shots and Boomeranging, there were line-ups coming out of the mirrored corners, we experimented with time lapse and Xanthe in her yellow coat, we saw opera singers and flowers full of bees. We amused tourists and locals alike with our posing, our mass filming and the timed umbrella lunges. 

It was so interesting seeing the things Xanthe, with her experience in mini movie making, looked out for as we walked around Covent Garden. It was more the little shots she took notice of, the details, and the small movements, that I found interesting. 

I didn't make it to her talk at the actual event but Toni popped along to it and gave me a crash course in video editing with Adobe Clip which is the mobile software we'd been advised to download. It's so easy to use, you can trim your clips, edit them within the app, change the order they appear in and the fact you are able to overlay music on to the video from the app is a really handy feature. Plus there is the option to make your video and the music 'snap' together so your beats work with the movements you've filmed.

I’m not going to kid myself that I am great at video, but it’s something that I am enjoying playing with and to force myself to play with it some more, I am challenging myself to a video of my weekends throughout July, so expect to see more in my Instagram timeline. 

 Here are the other mini movies I've been playing with since I got back from Blogtacular. 

A video posted by Em. (@ohgoshem) on

What do you think? Is video something that you've spent much time focusing on? Is Vlogging your thing and should I re-evaluate it? Just got any tips or hints for me? Hit me up with your video advice!
As Instagram will no longer let you embed a hashtag, you'll have to make do with clicking here to see the videos and photos from the other lovely people that I was lucky enough spend the afternoon with (and you'll also get a glimpse at the delicious ice cream Xanthe introduced us to afterwards.)
Blogtacular video walk

'My Journey' right now other wise known as the funk my brain is in!

Last weekend I was in London for the Blogtacular conference. I went thinking my blogging cup would be overflowing when I left, but the reality is I'm now feeling a little overwhelmed with ideas but a bit empty of motivation. 

I learnt that I should be writing about my 'truth' and bringing you along 'on my journey', but the reality is that the truth of my journey isn't all that awesome right now. It's just all a bit, well, ugh!

As I write this I've just had a stressful dog walk with Flash, Melle and my parents dog Molly. Melle decide to jump through a barbed wire fence to go hang out with some horses and wouldn't come back so I had to climb through the fence, barbed wire and all to retrieve him. Flash rolled in something dead and decomposing which smelt awesome and Molly ran off through a cornfield, refusing to return, after an unidentified animal big enough to move the tops of the corn but not to be seen. All of them were nobs. 

In other areas of life my Nan has been ill for weeks, she's 89 today so she's not young. Because my parents have been away sailing I've been put in charge of keeping her alive, which would be easier if she'd listen to the doctors that prescribe her tablets. But it got so bad my so bad that my mum came home leaving my dad in Jersey, which is great  for me, because I get a bit of Nan care respite but means she's got of all the stress and need some support herself. We need to figure out how to get her some help before my mum goes back to my dad, even though she insists that she doesn't need it because I can help her enough. I can't. It's just not possible. 

Then there's the whole EU thing. It terrifies me that the country voted the way it did, and that the feeling that has swept across the country in the lead up to the vote might not go away. It worries me that the house we have to sell might be jeopardised. But it worries me more that my mum was so distraught at what the future might hold for ours and coming generations. (I am happy to say both my parents voted remain!)

And Jim's away at Glasonbury so I am home alone. I was supposed to be having some friends over for drinks last night but they cancelled so I had a night of putting up curtain poles, framing artwork, and puppy cuddles and refereeing fights and trying to figure out how to get my Nan the help she needs and my mum back out to her holiday. 

As soon as I figure out how to stop stressing about all these things I can't really control, when there is more umph in my life, I'll back with some learnings from Blogtacular and some other fun bits I have in my brain but can't get out.  

A House Update: The main bathroom before and after - from orange to nautical!

My dream for a long time has been a nautical bathroom. And finally I have one. And it might be my favourite room in the house right now.

Our bathroom when we moved in was an orange monstrosity - 'like weeing in a tangerine' was one description we heard. See - it was very ORANGE!
The plan for this room was that we'd make it over quickly and move on but it's never that easy is it? 

Once we started stripping the wallpaper we realised that the walls were falling apart and needed replastering (that's the story of our lives in this house!) the bath that was made for tiny people, oh and we had a bit of lead piping. 
As the plan was a quick and easy refurb, we've not switched out the sink or the toilet, and I'll be honest the plan was never to switch out the bath either, until we started having to use it and realised it was genuinely the smallest bath in the world, so to counteract it we bought the biggest bath we could and now Flash has a swimming pool at home! All of this meant everything took longer and became more of a 'job' than a quick fix although hopefully now though we'll not have to make any other changes to the room for quite a while. 

And now, it looks and feels a little bit different - don't you think? I was worried about over doing the nautical theme so I've had to reign in my nautify-ing! But I am so happy with it.   
There are a few bits of the bathroom that I love more than the rest though - the driftwood shelf, the boat shelving until, my wallpaper and the tiling round the bath.
The shelf is a joint effort between my vision and my dads brains and capability. I had a beautiful piece of driftwood that I wanted to use as a shelf, and I knew I wanted it floating, but all the options I'd seen included visible brackets or rope. So in true dad style, I gave him the wood and told him what I wanted and he came back having bought brackets from a random website in Europe (if he ever remembers where I'll update this - he is not blog friendly!), having spent an age drilling carefully into crumbly driftwood and had figured it all out. Due to the size of the brackets we used we're 100% convinced that if the house ever falls down, the only thing left would be this bit of the bathroom. 

The tiles were all installed by Jim. It was a learning curve and we debated getting an expert in to do it a few times but what is YouTube for if not teaching yourself to tile?  It's his first attempt at tiling and grouting and I think you'll agree he did a great job. I've done some tiling before and it certainly was no where near as good as this! He also put the shower screen and the shower rail up too. And now I know he can do it, there is no excuse for us not to start on the shower room next door! 

The boat shelf was the first thing we got for the house. Waaaaaaaaaaaay before we bought the house my mum found it at a local auction and popped an offer in on it, and won. It lived under the spare bed at their house for about a year until we got the bathroom to a point of putting it up. Now it houses all the bits we need easy access to.

The wallpaper is another thing that has been in my life for a long time. I've had a sample of the Mini Moderns Whitby in washed denim laying about for the longest time, and I wasn't sure that having wallpaper in the bathroom was the best idea but it seems to have held up pretty well so far. It makes me smile every single day and having the pattern mirrored on the bath screen is something I love too. I think it's the big thing that ties the room together!
In true 'Emma and Jim decorating the house' style - it has taken a LONG time to get this room sorted and it really wasn't the cheap fix we'd hoped it would be (probably down to me choosing some more expensive things for the room!) but I think it's been worth the wait, and money, in the end. What do you think? 

Shopping List
Big Stuff - Wallpaper - Mini Moderns Whitby in denim ** Paint - Dulux Timeless bathroom paint ** Bath/shower-tap mixer/bath screen/radiator - Victoria Plumb ** Tiles - B&Q. **

Smaller bits - Mirror - Ikea ** Blind fabric - Trago Mills, Falmouth (the blind was made by Jim's Mum) ** White Wood Storage Unit - Dunelm Mill ** Anchor towels and bath mat - West Elm ** Boat storage unit - found at an auction by my Mum. ** Fish hook - found at a market in Binic, France. ** Driftwood shelf made by my dad **

Random accessories - Most of the accessories were found around the house or gifts, but to the best of my knowledge  - Fake flowers are from TKMaxx (their fake flowers are amazing btw) ** Jug as a vase was a gift from a friend ** The gaslamp is from Toast a long time ago ** Candle in the pot is from Sainsburys ** Anchor jar from Next ** Glass storage jars Matalan ** Boat on shelf Matalan ** Rock from Portscatho beach **

The Sheffield Creative Guild

Late last month Jim and I attended the launch of the Sheffield Creative Guild at the super cool creative space The Roco. I'd heard a little about the guild as one of our friends has been involved in launching it and I'd been following his tweets, so we thought we'd go along to the launch and see what it was all about. 
I do love the premise of the guild from their website it says that the vision for the guild is
…Creative people of all persuasions from across the city, getting together, in a community without walls, tribes or hierarchy: sculptors will connect with graphic designers; artists will meet dancers; animators could collaborate with digital coders. We could join together in one shining, self-sufficient hubbub of creative energy, of making and doing, giving and taking, learning and teaching, and thrive. As individuals, as businesses or organisations, as a whole sector, we’ll benefit from joining up, swelling in number, giving and getting so that we are all stronger, enhanced, supported, celebrated and visible across our city and way beyond.

In a city as full of creatives as Sheffield, this is is a fabulous idea. Giving people, no matter where they work, whether it's their day job or creative love on the side, some where they can gather with like minded people who can help and support them. And also giving them some strength in their numbers, giving them a little more power than they might ordinarily have working on their own. 

The launch party itself was a fun affair, giving us the opportunity to get to see the beautiful space that is the Roco, local artists exhibiting work, bands, DJ's, a well stocked bar, the chance to try some locally-made VR technology, and we got to make a little art too! 

A video posted by em f (@ohgoshem) on
I loved playing with this machine, it's a gyroscope that makes art with a biro and the weight of its own parts, and no two pieces are the same (just don't call it a giant spirograph - it doesn't go down well!) Jim and I came away with a 'drawing' each and they're so different but both equally cool. I can't wait to get them in frames and on the walls in the hallway!

I've not signed myself up as I am not flush enough that the moment but it's something I'm considering for later in the year when I have more money. If you're Sheffield based and you want to join the Creative Guild pop along here and sign yourself up (it works out at only £6.66 a month)and absolute bargain I'd say.

**(All images bar the instagram video curtosy of Sheffield Creative Guild from their launch party because I was too excited wandering about and being in a virtual reality to take any. Soz!)**

Weekend adventures with Flash and Melle

Last weekend we took advantage of the extra long weekend and we drank too many cocktails, had the obligatory bank holiday BBQ (that was more of a bank holiday smoker session with some burgers thrown on at the end) and went on a fun outing with the pups.
Living on the edge of the peaks has it's advantages because we don't have to go far to get to pretty places, but as Melle is still really a puppy, we don't want to make him walk too far yet (even though he would never stop if he had the choice), so we settled for a couple of hours tromp round a some of the local reservoirs and a bit of a left over BBQ car picnic.
After a super sunny weekend the Monday was a bit overcast, which is much better weather for a long walk with these loonatic dogs. I worry about them when it's too hot because they run about far too much and they don't seem to slow down even when they are panting a lot!

Plus, my walking boots are fleece lined and are pretty warm in winter, let alone in summer (i need to recify that I think for summer)!
I fell compleately in love with this feathery grass - after some tweeting for help, I found out it's called Eriophorum, or cottongrass. Isn't it cute.
After a weekend of over indulging it was great to get out and have a walk that felt like it was doing more good than our usual wander round the park, plus it's rather pretty up at Redmires so that makes for a lot of moments to stop and take photos. Mostly of the dogs!

Flash is the cutest when I am lagging behind to take photos. He'll run off with Jim and play with Melle but then he'll dither about running back to me, making sure I am actually following them. It's like he's rounding me up. 
It was also Melles first proper venture into swimming (he's paddled a lot) which was awesome to watch, although it was a bit worrying when Jim threw him in the reservoir and he started swimming in to the depths of the water.We were wondering which one of us was going in after him until he started to come back, but after one swim, that was it, we couldn't get him out of the water!

You can follow more puppy spam on Instagram @_Flashpuppy

*Don't panic - we checked the water for the blue green algae before launching him into it!

Recent reads

"Truthfully, I don't think murder is necessarily as bad as people make it out to be. Everyone dies. What difference does it make if a few bad apples get pushed along a little sooner than God intended? And your wife, for example, seems like the kind worth killing."

I downloaded this book because it was set in Boston and we were heading on holiday there, but I am so glad that I found it.

The story starts with a man and woman, Ted and Lily, having a drink in an airport lounge in London. Ted has just found out his wife, Miranda, is having an affair with the man Ted has employed to build his beach house. By the end of the (boozy) plane ride back to Boston, Ted has had the seed of murdering his wife planted in his head by Lily. And it’s an idea he can’t get rid of!

So Ted calls up Lily and they hatch a plan. But because this is a book, and it can’t be that simple, it gets pretty complicated. Miranda has a plan of her own, the police get a bit too involved and well, Lily has had a bit more of a past than she is letting on about. Basically killers become victims...victims become killers!
The novel switches between characters POV’s through the chapters and we see their past too which is really effective as when you feel you’re missing some details from one story, they’re revealed in the next.
Definitely worth a download if you like suspense filled novels with lots of twists and turns. Read this!

"I've been following her for the past few days. I know where she buys her groceries, where she works. I don't know the colour of her eyes or what they look like when she's scared. But I will."

Another holiday read I’ve not got round to writing about (Jet lag leave you with a LOT of time for reading)
When Mia Dennett doesn’t turn up for work at the school she teaches at, her family, her Dad, James, a powerful Judge, and her meek mum, Eve, start looking into her disappearance.

On the night she disappeared Mia had gone to meet her boyfriend, who cancelled at the last minute, and had drunkenly ended up going home with a man she meets in the bar, Colin. Unfortunately she gets far more than just a one-night stand as Colin had been paid to abduct her and deliver her to a notorious criminal, who had planned to hold her for ransom. However, Colin decides to not go through with the original plan and he takes Mia to a woodland cabin where the two of them hide from the men who had paid Colin to abduct Mia. Whilst at home her parents, and the detective assigned to their case, Gabe, try to figure out what has happened to Mia.

Again, this is a book that shifts not only between the perspectives of characters in the book, but also between the present day and the events that lead up to Mia going missing. And there are a lot of twists and turns in the book that leave you wondering what is going on. Just a heads up, I didn’t see the ending coming at all!  It’s definitely worth a read if you like this kind of book!
“In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can back scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold for family of five... In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it.

In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge.”
So, I’ve not read a Jodi Picult book before, and I thought they were girly trashy books so reading this I was surprised that it wasn’t. Especially as the cover is a bit pastel-ly too!

The story follows a group of teenagers trying to come to terms with a shooting massacre in their school, by one of their fellow classmates. Ten students are killed and another nine are injured.

The book switches between the story of Josie Cormier, who was found after the shooting in a pool of blood and Peter, the killer, the one who did the shooting.

From Josie’s point of view, she was found in pool of blood in the gym, with no memory of what happened, but knows that some of the blood she was found in was that of her boyfriend, Matt. She witnessed the killings, but she can’t remember what happened and her mother Lacy is trying to reconnect with her teenaged daughter and help her remember what went on in the gym.

On the other side we see the story from the side of Peter and his family. We see the destruction that was caused by his actions and what has lead him to the point of turning a gun on his classmates.

Given I thought that it was going to be a romancey, girlie novel, (based soley on the cover and chosen as a break from the suspense novel I seem to be reading) I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be another mystery sort of book.

“And then like Pandora, opening the great big box of the world and not being afraid, not even caring whether what’s inside is good or bad. Because it’s both. Everything is always both. But you have to open it to find that out.”

I read this as I’d missed the month that we read it in book club and the general consensus was that I should read it.  

I don’t think I am giving anything away to say that this book is about zombies. But we’re not talking zombies in the Walking Dead sense, these zombies are a little bit different. And the book is a little bit different in how it portrays the zombies. Here we get the story from the perspective of a zombie child – a caring, intelligent zombie child, Melanie.  

As the book unfolds we learn Melanie is in a facility, a school almost, with other zombie children who are there, learning and being studied, in the hope that the scientists studying them can find a cure for the disease. And as the most intelligent of these kids, Melanie is not only the prize possession for the staff in the lab, but she has a special place in the heart of her teacher, Miss Justineau, too.  

As the story unfolds it becomes less about the fact there are zombies, and more about what it means to be human, or alive. And the fact that being human might not automatically make you better than a zombie.

It’s described as a thriller, but I am so glad that this book was far more than a thriller. It was sweet and thoughtful and interesting and there was some suspense, but it was more about human emotion than action. I loved it. 

What have you been reading lately? Anything I should add to my must read list?