When it comes to
developing a taste in music, nothing beats a fantastic first
impression. This happened to me the first time I listened to Jun
Seba, a Japanese DJ and hip hop producer more commonly known under
his recording name- Nujabes.
I remember the moment
vividly. Sitting on a balcony under a scattering of stars, the first
notes of Nujabes' 'Lady Brown,' drifted from a friend's phone, and
that was it. I was transfixed. And my tastes would be changed
forever. Opened up. I had never considered rap to be amongst my
favourite genres. I'd always lumped it into the 'could live without'
category of music. But this song, mixed as it was with a sampling of
Spanish guitar, made me feel as if my chest was about to burst open
with an emotion I couldn't explain. I'd never loved a song as
instantly, or as passionately.
And this song was what
introduced me to the brilliant musician that was Nujabes. Famous for
his ability to blend hip hop beats with jazz influences, creating a
uniquely atmospheric sound, Nujabes wove a career that touched the
lives of many before he died of a tragic car accident in 2010, at 35
years old. As in the cases of so many great musicians that were taken
before they could create more spectacular tunes, Nujabes was no
different. But the tunes he did create before his death are nothing
short of beautiful. Not only working in collaboration with American
hip hop artists such as CYNE and Cise Star to make raps, Nujabes used
samples of foreign music to make instrumentals with world music
influences, tunes so atmospheric that you could almost imagine you
were in a foreign country. That's what good music is meant to do-
affect mood and emotion. And needless to say you don't have to be a
fan of rap or hip hop to enjoy Nujabes, just like I wasn't upon first
hearing him. Nujabes is hip hop with a twist...the cool jazz and
sampling is what makes him stand out from the sea of the top 40.
Listen to the tune 'Modal
Soul' from the album with the same title, and be transported to a
South American beach at night, the air hot and heady with salt. For
the same effect, his 'Spiritual State,' with a beauty reminiscent of
a blooming flower. Listen to his 'Luv Sic's' part 1, 2 and 3, a
collaboration with Japanese rapper Shing02, to understand a true and
insightful perspective on affection. And always, 'Lady Brown,'
because no one ever wants to forget how a lover's beauty makes them
Kathmandu, capital of Nepal. A name that Swami Basho, my local yogi guide told me stood for 'Never-Ending Peace And Love.' And despite its status as a dirt-poor third world country, it still has the ability to evoke the senses and conjure up a sort of magic that only a different culture to that of your own can offer.
Kathmandu, from the outset, was a sort of madness. Hailing from the picturesque seaside city of Sydney, no amount of films or stories could have prepared me for what lay ahead upon arrival. I'd wondered what I'd gotten myself into on the cab ride to the hotel, a terrifying, smog-ridden journey through gravelly streets packed with tuk-tuks, motorcycles, women in sari's the colours of the rainbow and stray dogs. I'd gripped onto the upholstered seats and laughed, watching the driver's miniature prayer wheel on the dashboard spin around and around, apparently meant to make your dreams that little bit closer to becoming a reality at every turn.
First of all, there are no road rules in Kathmandu. It's a land of every man for their own, I'd found out. Surprisingly though, despite the number of beeps I heard (which rivalled the number of beeps from cars I'd ever heard in my lifetime) the roads were safe. In this city, there's no time for waiting on the curbside, the time was the present. And it was perfectly alright to march straight into a full intersection of moving traffic and not expect to get killed. There were no sidewalks, just potholded road and streetvendor stoops, awnings stretching as far as the eye could see.
It felt like the whole world was present, not just because of the variety of international tourists in Thamel but because of the all-encompassing racket and olfactory experiences. Old salesmen walked the streets, bodies hung with local wooden instruments with tiny bows that emitted an ancient sounding, high-pitched keen, yet was still shockingly beautiful. Incense was everywhere, so much so that it seemed part of the aura, not originating from any one location. And it was the sweetest thing I had ever smelt in my life, mixed in the haze of cloudy smog. Even now, when I catch a whiff of car exhaust, it takes me back to Kathmandu.
And the colours. Colours were everywhere, no space devoid of them. The rainbow of patterned scarves, felt items and novelty beanies in the markets, but also the scattered bunches of vibrant yellow marigolds, the saffron painted onto the temples, the dyed, blood-red rice on the pavement, snacks for overconfident monkeys. And the sunsets. Nowhere have I seen a sunset like the one I experienced on my second night there. The sky had turned the world into a haze of pink and deep purple, not just the skyline, but covering the pigeon-lined rooftops and temple-tops, reflected from the glass of windows.
Yet despite all of the beauty, the city was still riddled with unavoidable sadness. Young boys begged at car windows in traffic jams, women, arms laden with jewellery and trinkets, followed you for streets begging you to purchase, a man with stumps for legs dragged himself along, daughter at his side. And dogs, dogs everywhere. Placent dogs, lying curled in doorways and on the sides of roads, with distinctive bushy, curled tails. They looked like the unfortunate descendants of wolves. They'd roam the streets at night in packs, rifling through the piles of scattered rubble and trash. Even having heard of this kind of misfortune doesn't come close to experiencing it. It was all you could do to press some notes into the hands of beggars and hope you made any sort of difference.
Death, in this place, seems a very obvious thing. Not hushed up, not romanticised excessively. Traditionalised, of course, but that comes from centuries of practise. I saw my first dead body while in Nepal. Pashupatinath Temple, one of the world's holiest Hindu temples dedicated to the deity Shiva, located on the banks of the river Bagmati, was lined with smoking pyres. Though foreigners are forbidden to enter the temple, the banks of the river were shrouded in the thick smoke of burning bodies. We stood on a bridge, watching the rituals. Bodies were covered with vibrant orange shawls and laid to rest on stone jetties at the waters edge. Only men were present at the ceremony. People bathed in the water metres away, washing clothes, playing with children.
Things are simpler in that land, things we take for granted do not exist, but it doesn't necessarily mean that our beliefs are gospel. In Kathmandu, it was all too apparent that something in the Western world is rotten.
Despite hardship, all I saw was smiling faces, kind greetings, humility. I ate lunch in my guide's family home, a tiny, rectangular wooden shack that housed five, and I saw no signs of discontent. I saw old men bent under the weight of loads meant for wagons, plodding up hillsides so steep that I was still struggling at the base. I saw grown men holding hands, not afraid to show due affection.
The song is accompanied by an old school video tape esc footage staring his best mate(Viceroy) along with some sick 90’s vibe effects, only adding more feel to an already moist song, dedicating his long unforgotten love to his, one and only…viceroy.
Indie Rocker Mac DeMarco’s music brings a warm vintage romantic twang which he describes as “Jizz Jazz”, so if you’re in the mood for a bit of a head bopping sing-along or even giving your ear holes a quick “Jizz” check out Mac’s latest album titled Mac DeMarco 2 , Easy Listening from a to b.
Planning a baby shower may seem a little overwhelming especially if you are doing it on your own, but it doesn't have to.
Just relax and enjoy yourself.
Here is a little checklist that helped me create a wonderful day.
Decide who will be invited - Will it be just immediate family, or will it be couples, everyone or just women.
Pick a venue - Once you have decided who will be invited it will give you a rough idea on how many people will be coming, then you can pick a venue accordingly.
Restaurant, park, hired out hall or even at home.
Decide on a theme - whether it may be a spots theme, stripes theme or even a Cherry theme, pick one!
Pick a date - I had my baby shower when i was 34 weeks pregnant, but there is no right or wrong on when you decide to have it. Just don't make yourself uncomfortable!
Also picking a date is going to depend on your closest friends and families availabilities.
Invites - My rule was to send my invites out at least 3 - 4 weeks prior to the date so everyone had enough time to rsvp.
Food - Make sure on your invites you leave a space for anyone to write if they have any type of allergic reactions to any type of food e.g gluten free.
Plan your menu i did my baby shower on a sunday after noon so it was like a late lunch, very simple just nibbles, fruits & lollies, also it makes it easy if you match the food to the theme.
Favours - before you go shopping decided on what your favours are going to be, this is one of the hardest parts. I did little jars labelled with guests names, filled with chocolate, homemade tea bags, a hand poured candle & and a handmade origami crane.
Shopping - The fun part, although do go to the shops with a plan of what you are going to buy and stick to it!
I made all my baby shower decorations from the pom poms, to the lollies in mason jars tied in hessian and raffia. It made it more fun to organise.
Prepare games - don't stress these games can be whatever you want.
e.g - my water broke who can get the gummie bear out of the ice cube the quickest and yells "my water broke" wins.
Another good one is to get people to try different baby food and guess what thy are.
Don't forget about little prizes too - soaps or bath bombs.
organise how you want your cake to look
Make a baby shower play list - very important
On the day make sure you take a camera with you!
TIP: if people ask you what you are in need of do not be afraid to ask for whatever it might be!
But most of all enjoy YOURSELF, before bub comes along.
After having a baby, you
want to get back into shape- well I know I do.
When I was pregnant I was
a little bit naughty with what I ate.
Here are a few tips that are effectively helping me get back on track.
Not denying myself a
little treat - It's okay to have a treat, all you have to do is
choose a healthier way to have a treat. Out with the chocolate ice
cram, in with a sweet low fat yoghurt!
– If you are out and about and theres a delicious burger on the
menu and it's served with chips – that's okay. Ask that the bun on
the burger be wholemeal instead on white, you are already lessening
your meals calories by a little over 100.
As for the chips you can
either ask you be served a salad instead, or be aware of how many
chips you are actually putting in your mouth!
Keep hydrated –
drink plenty of water to keep your body hydrated, also to flush
toxins out of your vital organs. If you are hydrated you a less
likely to be exhausted and run out of energy.
Always, Always eat
breakfast most important meal of the day.
Breakfast gives you a good kickstart
to begin your day and gives you energy. Not having breakfast slows
down your body's metabolism. When you have your next meal your body
will store the calories making it harder for them to be burnt off.
Watercolours are sexy. Not to mention the paintings produced using this sporadic, free-flowing medium. Sweeping a brush across thick, porous paper is sexy, watching a single droplet of water fall on a vibrant patch of colour and create gradiance is sexy, and most of all...putting a sodden brush in a jar of clear water and seeing the vibrant pigment float like ethereal smoke through the liquid is, you guessed it...sexy.
There's nothing quite like working with them. They make an ordinary image painted with say, acrylics, look dried and flat. Imperfections are all too noticeable with traditional mediums, and all too fixable. With watercolours, imperfections can be swept into new lines, new strokes of creativity. The first instinct is the right one. The addition of water is the key. Water is wild, water has free reign, using water in the equation of a medium is like using an extension of your aura to paint.
However, the magic truly happens when water meets pigment. Together on a stretch of paper, pigment becomes wildfire. Notoriously difficult to control because of their inherently wild nature, watercolours can seem unapproachable, but it is in this nature that the magic exists. Watercolours are transparent depending on application, and this transparency is luminous, giving pigment in their purer form time to shine.
Watercolours make the depiction of skin dewey, almost touchable. They make hair appear a free-flowing waterfall of highlights and lowlights, and the benefits don't end in the depiction of human subjects. A skyline at dusk can become a picture perfect imitation of the true to life deep blues and liquid quality of a changing sky, luminous like light through a pane of stained glass.
To live with watercolour is to remember the sporadic, changeable nature of life. Nothing can be contained, nothing can be held back, reminiscent of floodtides or summer downpours. Using water to depict a scene or subject harks back to the natural flow of things. Spontaneity
Preserveyour memories with scent- creating memorable, sensory experiences inyour spaces
It'ssomething we've probably all experienced in our lifetime, but its
still relatively un-manipulated in terms of using it to create memorable atmospheres in the spaces you inhabit. This elusive sense, belonging to the realm of daydreams and desire, is scent. We've seen it used to add that extra layer to your spaces, but have we really thought of using it to its full potential?
Scientifically,scent is linked to memory. Ever wonder why the scent of baking bread takes you back to your childhood visits to grandmas house? Why the clouds of scented fog emitted on summer nights from Jasmine plants takes you back to walking through Sydney streets with your first date? It's all in the brain. The areas of the brain responsible for smells- the Olfactory Cortex, and the part of the brain that consolidates memories- the Hippocampus, are not only physically close, but connected to eachother.
But,the trick to making this science lesson relevant to creating atmospheres through memory in your spaces, comes down to the matter of manipulating your own brain. We've all come home stressed from work or a generally difficult day, wanting to find refuge in our homes, seeking tactile comfort in a soft lounge and visual relaxation from our settings, but an additional solution can be created through a little thinking and research.
Recallthe scents that take you back to happier times, use them in and around your home to manipulate your brain into forcing itself out of stress and putting you in a different, yet familiar place. Do you miss your absent lover? Spray their cologne or perfume on your pillows to evoke them powerfully in your mind. Do you want to relive your stay in India? Seek out the musky, spicy scents in incense to float around your home.
Themasses of scented candles and oils on the market come in so many varieties that new memories can be created on a whim. Burn an oil during a relaxing winter evening spent inside- to re-evoke the memory any time you like, burn the same oil and be instantly transported. The power of scent really can be used to give another dimension to the indoors, to create layers of sensory power to your spaces that affect you in ways you never thought possible.