Could I be a catfish? Deafness and MTV’s Catfish

For those new to MTV’s Catfish, people write into the show to find out about ‘their one true love’ or someone they have been talking to online but are unsure about.

 Intrepid host Nev (pronounced Neev) and a revolving co-host (miss you, Max!) investigate and are on the case to find out about these relationships!

As a young pre-teen, (1996 represent) I adored the Internet. Apart from feeding my pure and total obsession with X-Files and David Duchovny (yes, I printed off that teacup picture, shhh) it meant I could find likeminded people to talk to. And talk to them, I did. Originally only allowed on for one single hour (oh boy….), I eventually spent my precious hour joining email groups, message boards, chat rooms, bless you AOL.

The Internet led to me making amazing friendships, some of which I still treasure today! I very rarely told people I was deaf as it rarely came up in conversation, this was before mobile phones were popular (yesiamold) and due to the vast slowness of the internet compared to now and living overseas, it was considered de rigueur to have talk show appearances transcribed or written up to share with other fans, so I never missed out on much and never felt my deafness hindered me or held me back in my online friendships, it just wasn’t a factor.

There’s a whole different internet landscape now, with podcasts, stories, snaps and tik toks (I miss you, Vine) becoming the norm and it feels like deaf people and equal accessibility is being pushed aside. Surely as technology advances, it should be making everything more accessible and not less? But that’s another post for another day.

Catfish is a fun show and throws up real questions about connecting with others, and how much can you really connect with them if you don’t speak on the phone with them or video chat or leave voice notes? One mantra on the show is that if they don’t talk on the phone, then the other person has something bad to hide. They pretty much say this in each episode and it always leaves me throwing my hands up in frustration.

Why do they not consider that Deaf people may be on the other side of the screen, they may not feel secure enough in their own identity to admit it or if they really like the person, they don’t want to lose them through preconceptions of what a deaf person would be like, or through someone telling them they’re not worth the effort in communicating with (yes, that happened to me and that hurt!).

In fact, in its seventh season, in over 125 episodes, how have Catfish never showed a deaf person involved in the show? They pride themselves on bringing attention to causes that they rallied behind, minorities, sexuality and gender rights, civil rights, etc but not disabilities? I can only think of two people on the show I saw in a wheelchair, one just gave directions from a porch and the other was in it for getting revenge on a girl because she didn’t pay back a sum of money he gave her.

The Internet is the disabled person’s playground, we can be who we want to be, be interested in what we like, talk for hours about our favourite topics, it means our disability isn’t the first thing that people see or connect with when we engage with them, it’s our personalities… unless you’ve got some amazing thirst traps on your Instagram, then they like what they see too! I know that is the whole premise of the show, people pretending to be someone else but what if you’re not pretending to be someone else, you are you, just not disclosing your deafness at that moment in time and then it never is the right moment? I think that could be an interesting angle for Catfish to take on.

It could be another “Catfish First!” that has been their whole premise for the seventh season and yet with increasing Deaf talent on screens, I’m surprised they haven’t reached out to Nyle DiMarco, Lauren Ridloff, Angel Theory or Chellaman. I think Nev’s energy would gel really well with Jessica Flores aka LimeMoney too. These people would be perfect for the show’s audience and hopefully give some insight on being deaf, romantic entanglements and connecting with people online.¬†

Who do you think would be a good co-host on the show? Have you found your deafness has affected your online dating?

Deaf Access at London Film Festival 2019!

As a long time film fan, I’ve been excited to see that the BFI’s London Film Festival have offered English subtitled films for a few years (I was overjoyed to see End of Watch with subtitles and once even bunked off work to see Whiplash with subtitles. Worth it!) and this year has a great line up, spanning 345 films!

How to choose, how to choose? The clear marking of HOH for Eng language subtitles helps narrow my picks in this year’s LFF programme.

The festival runs from Wednesday 2nd October to Sunday 13th October across 12 venues (7 in the West End and 5 outside of the West End, including the BFI’s Waterloo venue.)

Before you ask, yes the festival does show plenty of foreign language films with English subtitles (over 100 are listed on their festival page!) they also show a small selection of English language films with English subtitles, for us D/deaf or hard of hearing cinemagoers.

The 10 English language subtitled films at the BFI London Film Festival 2019 consist of the following in chronological order and there are always more screenings to be added, hopefully!

The Peanut Butter Falcon

After running away from a residential nursing home to pursue his dream of becoming a pro wrestler, a man who has Down syndrome (Zak Gottsagen) befriends an outlaw (Shia LaBeouf) who becomes his coach and ally as they evade capture.

We stan an accessible film, as The Peanut Butter Falcon stands out from the rest of the London Film Fest pack, by subtitling all their showings of their film as well as BSL interpretation for their opening night intro and Q&A!

The film premieres on Thursday 03 October 2019 17:15 at Embankment Garden Cinema

Followed by Friday 04 October at 14:45, also at the Embankment Garden Cinema

Concluding with Friday 11 October 2019 16:10, showing at the BFI Southbank in the cosy NFT3.

The Lighthouse

Willem Defoe and Robert Pattinson as lighthouse keepers! From the Director of The Witch!

Showing at the Embankment Garden Cinema, Sunday 6th October at 11:10am.

JoJo Rabbit

Taika Waititi as an irreverent take on Hitler!

Showing at the Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on Sunday 6th October at 14:30


Starring the lovely Henry Golding, whose favourite film is Rumble Fish, fact fans ūüėČ

Showing at the Vue West End, Screen 7 on Monday 7th October at 15:00


Tim Roth and Naomi Watts deal with the aftermath of adopting a former child soldier from a war torn country.

Showing at the Odeon Tottenham Court Road, Screen 3 on Monday 7th October 20:30

The Aeronauts

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne screaming in hot air balloons in this adventure fantasy!

Showing at the Embankment Garden Cinema on Tuesday 8th October at 11:15

Knives Out

An awe inspiring cast line up to be in Rian Johnson’s love letter to Agatha Christie and murder mysteries! Hi, Noah Segan!

Showing at the Embankment Garden Cinema on Wednesday 9th October at 11.30

Official Secrets

Matt Smith and Keira Knightley take on a moment in the history of the Iraq conflict

Showing at the Embankment Garden Cinema on Friday 11th October at 15:00

Ordinary Love

Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson deal with the spectre of breast cancer.

Showing at Vue West End, Screen 7, Sunday 13th October at 12:30

A Hidden Life

Malick! Malick! Malick! Director Terrance Malick shoots a true story of a young couple in the World War 2 resistance in Austria.

Showing at BFI Southbank NFT1 on Sunday 13th October at 19:00.

If we are unfortunate enough to miss out on tickets due to the popularity of the festival, at least it is a heads up that English subtitles will be available when the film comes out in general release, so be sure to ask your local or favourite cinema to screen them with subtitles when they come out on general release. I know I will definitely be checking out Knives Out and Jo Jo Rabbit if I am unlucky in my quest for tickets for the subtitled showings at the festival!

Ordinary Love and Luce are distributed by Universal so they should be getting a cinematic release. The Peanut Butter Falcon will be out in UK cinemas later in October as well as Knives Out which is out in November and JoJo Rabbit which is out in January.

Althought I was disappointed not to see two films that I had been waiting for, Proxima and Fonzo as they both star Matt Dillon, I am excited for this year’s line up and will be checking out some other films at the festival including Honeyboy and The Peanut Butter Falcon as I have a sweet spot for Shia LaBeouf. Noah Segan is still my movie boyfriend, so Knives Out is a huge deal for me, having seen all of Rian Johnson’s previous films at the cinema, I don’t want to miss this one!

I tend to use the English subtitled films as my shortlist for the festival so my own Must See list consists of Knives Out, JoJoRabbit, The Lighthouse, A Hidden Life and I am intrigued by A Portrait Of A Lady On Fire (which is French with English subtitles!)

What do you think you would be interested in seeing? Have you been to the London Film Festival before or seen a subtitled screening at the BFI?

This year’s LFF guide lays out the access points of interest, decoding the key to various screenings and their shorthand symbols. It also mentions how to book specific access tickets via the BFI.

8 other screenings will have BSL interpreted introductions and short q&as, you can find these and the above information at the Festival Access page as well as tips on booking access tickets. As tickets booking always opens with such a rush from BFI members and then the general public, there is often a second wave of ticket booking available and there may always be a few tickets available on standby at the ticket booth in Leicester Square or the venue box offices themselves.

Before closing this blog post, I must say that I now work for the BFI but I have been a member for many years and am glad they are making the festival more accessible to a disabled audience.

A visit to Kindred Studios

Kindred artists

A few weekends ago,  in a leafy and quiet London suburb, I followed the chalk arrows to a converted Victorian school building which is now home to 175 artists working in their own studios, as part of Kindred Studios, a new collective working space.

Kindred artists

They opened their doors for visitors to see what different artists were working on. Having seen the open day advertised on Instagram, I thought I would go along as I’m always intrigued by artists who are new to me, and I couldn’t turn down the chance to see photographer and painter Emma Woollard‘s work with my own eyes, rather than on a phone or computer screen.


At first glance, it was quite daunting to see so many varied-sized spaces being used for such different and creative mediums. Photography, ceramics, fashion, sculpture and painting were all well-represented, as well as there being several art installations.

Kindred artists

I remarked to a fellow open-day goer that the building physically felt like stepping back into high school or sixth form for me, but this was much more exciting, as so many creative possibilities, potential and opportunities seemed to exist in each corridor, enticing you in through their open doors.

Kindred artists

Kindred artist

I loved that it was such a natural building for artists to occupy, even down to the unisex toilets with leftover signs, high ceilings and beautiful big, high windows that let in so much light. Going up each staircase was full of anticipation as you didn’t know what each floor would hold. I was especially entranced by the ladder installation within the stairwells – such a fun use of space!

Kindred artists

On the top floor, there was a bustling crafty market held where I recognised some beautiful work from Ssstutter and Oh Deer, amongst the stallholders.
At first I didn’t have a map, so I enjoyed dipping into different rooms and seeing what caught my eye. I was especially captured by Christine Marchese’s sculptures: who knew you could create such fluidity and sense of movement with clothes pegs? Her work space was so inspiring, too.

Kindred artists

Kindred artists

I started to become quite concerned that I couldn’t find Emma Woollard’s studio, as I knew the day roughly finished at¬†5pm¬†so time was running out. I found her space tucked away on the top floor in a bright corner and it’s really quite a sight to see her work in person. Having followed her work on Instagram, I knew Emma produced stunning photography as well as the most realistic paintings I have ever seen, where her work capturing people really is quite something to behold.


 Having been commissioned by the likes of Jonny Lee Miller and Matt Dillon for portraits, her work is in high demand and it was fascinating to see different examples of her  photography and paintings hung up throughout her airy studio, which was decorated with lots of candles and beautiful flowers. I also loved spotting a Jean Michel Basquiat postcard on a beam behind a canvas.

Kindred artists

Even though it is roomy and inviting, with chairs and couches to sit on, it’s still a working space with her oils, brushes and canvases on display, including an ongoing portrait of Sasha that is still in progress. Look at that beautiful hair!


There are different wall spaces to display her artwork, with some canvases still on their easels, framed photographs hanging on a shiny metal wall and a new triptych of studies of Matt Dillon displayed on a windowsill. I was especially delighted to see those, as I first became aware of Emma’s friendship with Matt Dillon through collecting original photography of him and they were often photographed together in the ’80s.¬† They are still friends to this day, as he owns several pieces of her work and shares them on his Instagram amongst other art he appreciates.

Kindred artists

Emma’s latest project is ‘In My Portrait Box’, an ongoing photo series where people pose in a narrow box studio, and she was taking photographs throughout the weekend for those who saw her work displayed prominently on the walls and wanted to take part too. I found myself taking part and, spotting that I was nervous, Emma was excellent at coaching me through the particular seating and poses she wanted to capture. She was open and approachable and lovely to speak to.

Kindred artists

In between greeting family and friends, answering queries from interested viewers and taking more photographs, Emma kindly answered some questions for me about her work, her process and her favourite subjects to paint.


You were a model in the ’80s, did that get you interested in photography and perhaps wanting to be on the other side of the camera?
“I actually initially wanted to be an actress and went to drama school. My family are so creative in film design that I felt I wanted to do something different and fashion is a huge passion of mine, as well as travel. I always dabbled in photography and was a painter’s assistant too, studying at art school.”
Coming from a hugely creative and talented family, did they inspire you?
“I learnt so much from my father, a production designer, my mother, a set designer and sister Timna, an artist. I am equally comfortable in both photography and painting.”
Do you have any favourite subjects and what do you enjoy the most about your art?
“People are my favourite subject to work with. I love capturing their beauty, I see beauty in everyone, I love to bring out their character and personality, as well as capturing vulnerability.”

Kindred artists

How long does the process take, does it differ for your subjects?
“It depends. For children, I use photographs as the basis of the artwork, but for adults, I prefer them sitting, perhaps sessions as short as 20 minutes or up to two hours. I tell people it can take up to two to three months for a finished piece of art but that depends on the background as some backgrounds can be quite elaborate.”
Do you have any future art series or projects, I notice you are working on your ‘In My Portrait Box’ series this weekend?
“Yes, I want to continue with the photography series and eventually turn the ‘In My Portrait Box’ series into a book”.

Kindred artists

It was an honour to visit Emma’s studio, held within the beautiful Kindred building, and see her work in person. I look forward to the In My Portrait Box book coming out – be sure to follow her work on Instagram!

Kindred artists

The Kindred Studios is an amazing place to visit and they are transforming the local creative landscape for artists, inspiring local communities and hosting workshops, growing a community garden and supporting charities.

Basquiat at The Barbican

Basquiat Barbican

One of my goals this year is to try and go to one cultural event each week, whether it be the cinema, theatre, talk or exhibition.¬† I’m so lucky to be near London so its easy for me to get into town and visit different locations.

Before Christmas, I noticed that the Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican was due to close in a few weeks so I made sure to snap up a ticket for the last week of the exhibition in January.

I must admit I didn’t know a lot about Basquiat so I was hoping to learn something new, I was tempted to do the whole google and wiki learning before the exhibition but I held off as I always felt that a really comprehensive exhibition should be able to tell you about an artist as well as their work on show.¬† I’m glad I did as I learnt a lot!

Before going, my main take away from Basquiat was that he was a young, black street artist in New York who became the toast of the town with some connection to Andy Warhol and David Bowie. I also knew that Matt Dillon has some of his artwork in his own personal art collection and that he seems to be an influence on Matt’s own artwork so I was intrigued to see Basquiat’s art up close.

The Barbican is such an unusual venue, housed in a Brutal estate in the City of London, its stark concrete houses a hot house of greenery inside as well as exhibition space, gallery and a theatre.

Basquiat Barbican

What’s great about the Barbican exhibition space is that the floor has all these little rooms off a walkway mezzanine so they were able to do themed rooms for different areas of his life, displaying artworks, printed materials like magazine articles (one profile of Basquiat was written by David Bowie himself!),¬†postcards on tables within the rooms, leading back down to his larger artworks and his own reference items on the main floor. Exhibition guides advised us on where to start as we headed up the stairs armed with a map in our mini exhibition guide which detailed which artworks were in each rooms, along with Basquiat’s story.

Basquiat Barbican

My first impressions were energetic colour that draws you in and that Basquiat himself was cute. Shallow I know, but he seemed to have this energy that radiated off him in photos.

Basquiat Barbican

You first head to a room where you learn about how Jean-Michel Basquiat started as a street artist with a friend under the name, SAMO – Same old shit, and they quickly caught the attention of the NYC art press with their brilliantly poetic, witty and barbed tags across NYC. For instance, photographed on a wall outside famous NYC punk store, Trash and Vaudeville, they wrote”SAMO as an end to vinyl punkery” which made me laugh!¬† I love the distinctive way they wrote the E’s. Love that someone took the time and effort to photograph all the SAMO art they could find around the city, as who would even remember them if they hadn’t photographed them at the time? Really brings home how ephemeral and fleeting the nature of street art can be.

Basquiat Barbican

This developed into selling photocopied collaged and painted postcards, often being chased away from selling outside the Guggenheim museum even though he was able to sell one postcard to Warhol which he was ecstatic about.

As the art world took notice, he very quickly was able to put an exhibition together and they replicated that very first exhibition in one room, with his famous UNTITLED portrait series.

Basquiat Barbican

Other rooms focused on the art life in NYC fused with the emerging club life, with a wall of Polaroids from nights out as well as collaborations with friends. Jean-Michel would DJ at club nights and mingle almongst the up and coming people including Debbie Harry and Grace Jones. Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel became close friends, and collaborated on a few artworks, went on trips to support other artist friends in Europe and supported each others work. I assumed he was gay but he seemed to have various girlfriends who he went on trips with.

Basquiat postcard to Andy Warhol

Sharing a studio with friends led to artwork everywhere, all over the floor, that people would step over,  including a whole fridge that was just tagged all over, even with some Flintstones and Jetsons drawings!

Basquiat Barbican

What I found compelling about Basquiat apart from his sense of humour that came through his art,¬† was that he couldn’t work in silence, he’d have a radio or music on his boombox or have his television on in the background.

“I’m usually in front of the television. I have to have some source material around me to work off.”

.Surprisingly for a very early 80s guy, he’d already accumulated over 1000 video tapes (including David Lynch’s work!) and a tape player at a time when these were not cheap at all! He seemingly loved to consume everything that caught his interest and put it all together on canvas in his own way. He notably saw Apocalypse Now ten times in one week at the cinema! Sounds like my kinda guy..In all seriousness, I love how he took in everything he enjoyed and put it all together to make artworks based on his self identity, including his famous self portraits .

On the lower level of the exhibition, they showed his own reference library of books with topics like symbols, or African art history, everything that he was intersted in and when you saw those aspects of his education, you can read more into his own work where these motifs repeated. His work may seem primitive or childish at first glance, but actually they can emulate a lot of African folk art and it gives such a deeper meaning to his own artwork. I loved that his mother, Mathilde, took him to lots of exhibitions and museums as a child, he obviously soaked a lot up as he famously said, “I never went to art school. I just looked…” and had various Old Art masters books in his own library. He had a fun artwork with a Young Picasso and old Picasso together which really tickled me, a lot of joy comes out in his artwork, especially with his vivid use of colour and textures.

One of my favourite pieces that was so striking was a very simple, stark self portrait in silhouette.  Lacking the colour of his famous pieces, I found it so compelling and almost emotional to look at?  Plus the imposing frame it was in, housed on a black wall really drew your eye to the image.

Photo credited to Camille Watercolours at her own blog here 

What I love about art is that it is literally so visual and accessible as a deaf viewer, there was a lot to take in. There were a few videos in various rooms, there was one I really wanted to watch that had interviews with Andy and Jean-Michel together and it was lovely seeing them talking together. I wish I’d known what they said but there were only two headphone sets and the exhibition guide in the room said there were transcripts available downstairs but as I went around the rest of the exhibition, I’d forgotten about them. I wish the Barbican had thought to subtitle those videos, because then ten or more people standing around watching one video would gain more insight into what they were saying in a two minute video, rather than just waiting for two people to stop listening and pass the headphones over.

Basquiat Barbican

The gift shop was fantastic with a range of books and artworks replicated on postcards, tote bags, shirts, magnets and even a fancy silk scarf! I picked up an enamel pin of Basquiat’s trademark scribbled crown.¬† I wish I’d bought the exhibition catalogue but I couldn’t justify it at the time and feel like the exhibition was a full on immersion of his artwork, enough to tide me over.

Basquiat Barbican

Kudos to the Barbican for putting together such a comprehensive and full exhibition with so many different artworks and paraphernalia from Basquiat’s life and career, as well as his life with his friends.¬† I’m really glad I managed to get a ticket to go!

Basquiat Barbican

Leaving the exhibition, I found a Banksy piece that referenced both Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. outside the Barbican’s famous tunnel walkway. So fitting for a street artist himself to make this tribute!

Basquiat Barbican

I loved that Keith Haring was a contemporary of his and a friend. I knew Keith Haring’s name and artwork growing up so I was quite surprised that I hadn’t learnt more about Basquiat in the past, but it seemed he shone brightly but for a limited time due to his drug addiction that sadly claimed his life in 1988.

A few days after the exhibition, I stumbled across a new series on Sky, called AUCTION, showcasing modern and contemporary art auctions at Sothebys and Christies. In the very first episode, Sotheby’s auction off an Untitled 1982 piece from Basqiaut, a lovely large colourful piece, an art consultant says how he looked at it in person for so long, he felt like he left with “his eyes bleeding”. Gasps of disbelief rippled through the auction room as bidding opens at 57 million dollars. These auction audiences are not newbies, many of them would be seasoned veterans of the auction world as collectors, buyers and sellers alike.¬† The audience’s phones were out to capture the last bid as the Basquiat Untitled 1982 went to a Japanese bidder, for 98 million. Ooof, imagine the commision fees on top!¬† ¬†….. I checked….. $110.5 million all in total. Wow.

It had originally been bought by a collector in 1984 for $19,000. No wonder people go into art for investment purposes!

It was quite emotional after having seen the depth and range of his artwork on exhibition, to see a piece be sold off and for so high. I hope the buyer displays it proudly somewhere for people to see and I wonder how Basqiuat  himself would have reacted?

Basquiat Barbican

4 things I learnt from Drew Barrymore’s book, Little Girl Lost

As Drew Barrymore covers the new Instyle with the ultimate throwback, reinacting some of her ’80s looks, I wanted to highlight her first book, Little Girl Lost, co-written with the king of Hollywood celeb tell alls, Todd Gold.

It’s a moving book, as other than fun accounts of working on set of various films, Drew recounts her difficult relationship with her mother and their struggles with each other during her turbulent childhood and teens. During her well publicised battles with drink and drugs, Drew entered rehab twice before the age of 14.  It is worth a read if you can find it!

I got my copies from Drew Barrymore fans, thank you Ashley and Misti!

*Drew recounted how her friends lured her to a surprise 10th birthday party at Limelight, by saying Matt Dillon would be there.  “When I learnt Matt Dillon was just the bait, and not actually there. I got angry… for like half a second.  Maybe I was spoiled but I had such a crush on him.”

*She went to Rob Lowe’s 20th birthday party, heavily made out with his little brother, Micah and had her first slow dance with Emilio Estevez.    Hashtag goals! Mmm, Emilio.

*Her first romantic kiss was with none other than the yummy Breckin Meyer.    Get it, Young Drew!  Breckin has a pseudonym in the book as…. Brackin… Good work, Mr Gold.

*Before the premiere of  Firestarter, Drew spent two weeks at Stephen King’s house in Maine, where he made “the best french toast!” He also told Drew and his kids made up ghost stories each night in his attic office. You know they would have been creepy!

In the early ’90s, Drew also worked at Mickey Rourke’s kiosk, Mickey and Joey’s as a side job whilst she auditioned.

I really enjoy Santa Clarita Diet and look forward to a second series in 2018! Plus, wouldn’t Drew be a great cameo in series 3 of Stranger Things?

If you want to learn more about Drew’s childhood or her life up to date, follow The Drewseum and their extensive archive of items relating to Drew. They have a fantastic and moving biography all about Drew on their site.

Drew also has another book, Wildflower but it’s more different chapters and stories from her life, rather than a chronological follow up to Little Girl Lost. I hope to add Wildflower to my bookshelves soon, especially with its lovely blue cover in paperback. It’ll look great alongside my copies of Find It In Everything and Little Girl Lost.

Need some fannish wrapping ideas?

Got you covered here at Eighties Teen Dreams, albeit a bit late, but better late than never!

I love wrapping, this year I’ve slacked a bit but there’s nothing more fun than personalising a present with someone’s favourite fandom as an extra personal touch! I wanted to show some fun examples that you can use!

I couldn’t find any Star Wars themed paper in time to go with this cute gift bag, so the closest I got was a lovely holographic constellations paper… ehh, close enough!

I put together this Scream themed package for a friend of mine. I used the backside of some fancy wrapping paper, (as I couldn’t find any pure white) used¬† left over from Halloween fake blood spray and a Billy Loomis badge from HorrorscopeOfficial, pinning together some festive ribbon and I was really pleased with how it came out.


You can personalise the wrapping paper itself, a few companies let you print custom designs which I was looking into as the delightful Missy Boop did the most amazing Outsiders themed wrapping paper (and matching gift tags to boot!) for me, that I just had to have to wrap books last year!¬† Unfortunately I couldn’t find any companies to print it in time for me, so I just ran it off on the home printer but I was so pleased with how it came out. Again, with the themed pin holding together ribbon.


People underestimate how much a plain colour really pops in wrapping paper, if there are several small items grouped grouped and tied together, especially it’s a lovely golden sheen.

I like using different textures and materials, having a variety on one gift can help it look special as long as it’s themed in colour, overwise it could be overdone, but heck, it’s Christmas, put EVERYTHING ON.¬†¬†Matte star on glitter tag on holographic foil? Yes please!¬†


Talking of everything, don’t sleep on those massive Pat Butcher earrings that you see in the shops that you’d never wear, but they’d be the perfect touch for a ribbon or keeping a gift tag on a giftbag!

I’m obsessed with movie enamel pins and can’t stress how much these really elevate a present even if you use cheap ones as an extra touch on a gift tag. (Thanks Primark!)


I especially loved the way these small Karate Kid pins add some much needed flair to plain ribbons on a gift box! Who else is excited for the new Cobra Kai series next year?!


If you don’t have any themed pins, you can always use coloured washi tape to envoke a theme or colour scheme associated with a fandom. Here, I used some Twin Peaks colours, obviously the wrapping paper does most of the work here but thought the taped gift tag just added an extra touch.



You can also use stickers, cut out pictures taped onto the wrapping paper, stamping using a cut out shape from potato, foam or pieces of rubber lino for homemade stamps! Have fun and your gift recipient will be excited before they even open the gift!

A look back at Sam Taylor-Johnson’s Crying Men

Tim Roth Crying

For international Men’s Day, I thought I would mark the occasion by posting a few of my favourite photos from¬† a series, Men Crying, by acclaimed film maker and photographer, Sam Taylor-Johnson.

Daniel Craig Crying
Daniel Craig Crying

From 2002 to 2004, after Sam had battled breast cancer, as an ‘exorcism of tears‘ she photographed actors crying, a mix of old Hollywood actors as well as young up and coming actors at the time. It was a revealing look at some actors you may not have seen cry on screen and raises questions about how masculine vulnerability is portrayed on screen, as well as how society has drummed it into men not to cry.

Forest Whitaker Crying

When I first saw the series, the most striking image to me was Michael Madsen’s. I had always known him as the tough guy, the heavy, so it was different to see him more vulnerable, even more so with his fingers splinted.

Michael Madsen Crying

International Men’s Health Day raises awareness of issues that men face, focusing on male awareness and improving attitudes towards mental health as¬†suicide is the largest cause of death for men under 45.¬† Campaigns spread awareness of testicular, prostate and breast cancer as well as highlighting positive role models.

Laurence Fishburne Crying

As time goes on, I hope men will find it easier to talk about their feelings, open up with their concerns about their own health and get the help they need.

Robin Williams Crying

Here are some links for more information, services and helplines. 

The Calm Zone – Campaign Against Living Miserably

The Samaritans – Small Talk Saves Lives

Prostate Cancer UK РStop Prostate Cancer Being A Killer

Testicular Cancer Research UK – Let’s Beat Cancer Sooner

Images sourced from Sam Taylor-Johnson’s website.¬†

The Justice League Lairs – An immersive installation!

Justice league

Last week, Warner Brothers hosted a two day pop up installation in the beautiful Lethaby building that used to house the old Central St Martins College of Art and Design, in London. They spent two weeks transforming rooms into different characters hideouts to showcase movie used costumes, set dressing, production art and props!

Justice league

I headed to Holborn to check this out and I wasn’t disappointed, it was a great look at the characters hideouts, to see costumes and props up close and even have your photo taken as part of the Justice League lineup! This was a green screen experience and I just took one look at the photo they took and made them delete it!¬†¬†Later on in the day, I had a good giggle at the Justice League filters on facebook, the Aquaman one was hilarious¬†and who knew the Bat cowl would make your eyes pop?!

Justice Selfies

As well as being a beautiful old building, (swoon, those staircases and tiles)

Justice league

the college was actually used as a filming location for The Justice League, with an upstairs floor standing in for Gotham’s police offices, with their lovely high ceilings and arched windows in view! They detailed this with two production shots in the hallways of the installation, unfortunately it was hard to get a photo without the lighting glare, but you can see the distinctive architecture in shot.


Justice league

The first room I checked out after my green screen fail, was Diana’s lab! As seeing Diana in the Louvre in Wonder Woman was one of my favourite scenes, I loved the detail that went into this room in particular.¬† I believe the mannequins in each room had real screen used costumes on!

Justice league

Justice league

Justice league

Justice league

Justice league

The next room I explored was Cyborg’s. As I admittedly know nothing about this character, I was intrigued to learn more and loved seeing a familiar lab name here!

Justice league

Justice league

Justice league

After Cyborg, I entered the Flying Fox, a new aircraft in the Bat arsenal and boy, was it imposing!

Justice league

Justice league art

We see you, Clark Kent ūüėȬ†

Justice league

I next ventured into the Flash’s warehouse hideout as Barry Allen mixes New York hipster student vibes with some serious heavy duty costuming and tech workspaces.

Justice league

Justice league art

Justice league

There was honestly so much to look at, I think this was the room I spent most of my time in (and not because Ezra Miller did a photo shoot there!), just looking at all the many small details including the raven scrawled on the whiteboard and the Tesla photo on a desk.  So many tantalising details that I wonder will be seen on screen when the film opens!

Justice league

Justice league

Justice league art

There was also a merchandising display, you couldn’t buy any of the items but I loved the range of clothing for different ages and genders especially the Bat hoodie (eee, those ears!) and the Lego sets looked so tantalising waaaay in the back.

Justice league

Justice league

Last but not least is Aquaman’s Icelandic haunt! A proper rustic bar, that has smatterings of Welsh all over, the amount of detail to look at behind the bar was quite staggering! Missing some scampi fries, though.

Justice league

Ooh, another easter egg! 

Justice league

It was a fantastic day out and really made me intrigued for the movie, its a shame it was only open for two days, there was a lot to see and fun photo opportunities to take part in!

Justice league

Will you be going to see the movie, do you have a favourite character?

Thanks to the Premier PR staff for talking to me and sharing tidbits about the installation, it was a lot of fun and glad I was able to get tickets from See Film First!

Things are getting Stranger… Topshop x Stranger Things

A week before the second season of Stranger Things started airing on Netflix, we noticed strange things occurring around Oxford Circus, well, stranger than usual! Bunch of mouthbreathers…..

Stranger Things x Topshop

Topshop’s flagship store in Oxford Circus was turned into a fun portal to Hawkins, Indiana as they installed a Hawkins Arcade, Castle Byers, a peek inside Joyce’s living room and viewing the inside of the Hawkins National Laboratory, where you could test your own telekinetic skills on a Coke can. Loved the bikes on top of Topshop’s entrance!

Stranger Things x Topshop

To publicise the breakout hit from Netflix’s new season, Topshop launched a range of licensed clothing and accessories, in collaboration with Stranger Things and Netflix.

Stranger Things x Topshop

Topshop gave out stickers, keyrings, tote bags to buyers as well as opportunities to win signed shirts.  Fans also could enter to win tickets to an in-store screening of the first two episodes of Season 2 the night before they aired, hosted by Barb herself, Shannon Purser.

Stranger Things x Topshop

I went along on the first day they opened and marvelled at all the fun installations, talking to staff and seeing people’s excitement at the merchandise and the installations all around the shop.

Stranger Things x Topshop

I really enjoyed the  Hawkins High School character lockers, a fantastic bit of mini set design and kudos to whoever put them together!

Stranger Things x Topshop

Nancy’s locker

Stranger Things x Topshop

Aw, Barb and Nancy’s photos in Nancy’s locker.

Stranger Things x Topshop

Jonathan’s locker – loved the photography details!

Stranger Things x Topshop

My favourite interactive part was having a chance to play Pac-Man in the Hawkins Arcade alongside other arcade games, I made the most out of my tokens!

Stranger Things x Topshop

Stranger Things x Topshop

They had retro styled logo shirts, themed Funkopops, lunchboxes, backpacks and some great sweaters. I loved the artwork of the kids on their bikes but they only had it available as a t shirt in a Men’s sizing as the ladies section only had it as a sweater. I knew I wouldn’t wear it as much as a sweater so I picked out the fun retro Hawkins Power and Light shirt as well as a Hawkins Tigers logo shirt!

Stranger Things x Topshop

It didn’t stop there as the Underground turned into the Upside Down with artwork and posters all along Oxford Circus.

Stranger Things x Topshop

Stranger Things x Topshop

Stranger Things x Topshop

I love seeing fun publicity and marketing tie ins like these and they just help bring a show or film to life for fans who will enjoy it, share it and make it more effective as a campaign. As they had the Lab window to test the telekinetic skills, which was fun for people taking part and watching,

Stranger Things x Topshop

I kind of wished they’d had a photo opportunity in the living room with Joyce’s iconic christmas lights and maybe an axe?

Stranger Things x Topshop

Off to start Season 2, do you have a favourite character? I love Sheriff Hopper!

Daydreaming with Stanley Kubrick : A flashback!

As the weather gets brighter, it’s always nice to look forward to exhibitions being held in London over the summer months.

As it’s a cool bank holiday weekend, I thought I would look back at an innovative exhibition I visited last year, as I want to share some of the amazing installations they had.

                                       DAYDREAMING WITH STANLEY KUBRICK


I loved seeing all the different art forms, especially themed around Kubrick’s movies and career.
I’ve often wished we would have a permanent gallery in London, to feature artists with themed briefs like these, such as Gallery 1988 in NYC and LA. Going through their exhibit pages is always a joy.
The only closest thing I can think of is Little White Lies doing an exhibit of Victorian inspired art on Guillermo Del Toro’s films when promoting Crimson Peak.
Somerset House also did a shortlived screenprint art exhibition themed on their outdoor summer screenings slate, so I hope they do that again this year as I missed it last year! Cassandra Yap’s Dracula print is a thing of beauty.
It was a beautiful sunny day when I walked up to Somerset House which really is a fantastic venue for exhibitions, with lovely rooms off long corridors. I was lucky enough to get a ticket for one of the last days it was on and I’m glad I had the chance to see this in person.


Entering the corridors was eerie as straight away, you were transported into Kubrick’s film worlds with the overlook carpet winding all around the corridors. Totally a hit on Instagram!


The pile of fireplaces was creepy and the radios scattered all along the corridors, I think were emanating static noises?


One room had lots of different artwork on the walls, a taxidermy piece inspired by A Clockwork Orange, a Harland Miller artwork and a huge wall dedicated to a Kubrick baby photo, with a quote “the most terrifying fact about the universe is not that it is hostile but that it is indifferent…”

My favourite of the hanging art prints were the Clockwork Orange print as well as this Full Metal Jacket one.

One room that I kept going back to was the teddy bears room, with two giant teddy bears dressed as a Clockwork Orange Droog and accessorized with Lolita sunglasses and lollipop.

I think it was the neon, I love a bit of neon.

“when you talk about love, you make me feel invisible”

I also loved the shelves with lots of glass, all etched with Kubrick film titles or quotes. I thought this was very effective as well as a metal maze for The Shining.

A ‘breathing’ camera really unsettled me, as well as the lifesize Kubrick wax figure which was tucked away in an alcove, all on its own.

Another more subtle piece that was a favourite, was one that I don’t think many people noticed as it was tucked away in one of the staircases. As you entered, they had lines from The Shining script all around the staircases, interspersed with lights. I wish I could have seen how effective it was in low light, but this was one of my favourite parts of the exhibition!

After this, I was inspired to see more art and make a full day of it, so I trekked to see Jeff Koonz at the Newport Street Gallery, marvelling at this empty mosaic fountain I found along the way.


I was not disappointed, look at this beauty of a Balloon Monkey!


and the sheer SIZE. I was in awe.


I ventured home along the south bank and popped in to the Festival Hall see their “VENTRICLE” artwork by SOFTlabNYC, which had caught my eye from outside. Look at the sheer colours shining in the light, it was beautiful


I got the train home from Waterloo, where they had installed a giant STAY PUFT marshmallow man breaking through the floor and had slime all over the security cameras, a fun promotion for the new Ghostbusters movie, much along the lines of the Jurassic World raptors promo they did the year before.


Somerset House has a lot of fantastic exhibitions and events lined up for this summer, so I look forward to venturing out to a few more!