Sunday, 23 June 2013

Barratts Sandal Wedges Review

A few weeks ago Barratts shoes kindly sent me a pair of sandals to review. Now, I'd like to say that the reason behind this massive delay is because I wanted to really test them out before giving them a review, but really I have just been super busy. However, yesterday was the perfect opportunity to take some lovely pictures in my somewhat overgrown garden.

I don't think I ever lost faith in Barratts. They were always the go-to trusty shoe shop that reminded me of those Hush Puppies foot measuring machines that we all used as kids. Plus, they have the Big Shoe Boutique, which is always good when you have size 8 feet with no arches.

I opted for these gorgeous strappy peep toe wedge sandals, which thankfully go up to a size 8. Now, I don't often wear heels as I'm already 5ft 10 and can sometimes look like a demented T-rex when I try to walk in them, BUT wedges are my friend and I find them easier to manage. Plus, I'm going to take them on holiday with me, as everyone is a bit more daring with their outfit choices on holiday, right? Thankfully my boyfriend is also tall, so I don't tower over him and feel like an oaf.

I've worn these wedges quite a few times now, and they're actually quite comfy. The thick wedge helps with this I think and the fact that my feet feel quite secure with all the straps over them. Size wise, the length is fine, but I found that they were a bit too wide in places and some of the straps gape a bit. I do have very skinny feet, so this may be why, but it's not too much of a problem as the ankle straps keep everything secure.

Overall, I think these sandals are fab and show how well Barratts combine fashion, quality and comfort.  I can't wait to wear them with floaty summer dresses and a tan. I think it's easy to head straight to Topshop or Office when you want a wedge or heel like this and forget about all the usual high street shoe stores that are really picking their game up when it comes to 'fashion shoes'. A big thumbs up from me!

And here's a nice picture of a peg.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

National Media Museum Blogger Event

Last week I was fortunate enough to have been invited to a bloggers event at the National Media Museum in Bradford. At first I was hesitant about making the two hour round trip to Bradford on a week night, but in the end I decided that it was definitely worth a visit as it held so many childhood memories.

As I'm originally from the Bradford area, the National Media Museum (or the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television as I first knew it) was THE place to go for school trips.  Everyone from my town has fond memories of all the cool, interactive and kid-friendly exhibits that showed the magic behind film and TV - especially the magic carpet ride. I've since learned that they no longer have this *sad face*.

Anyhow, I hopped on the train last Monday and made my way over to Bradford. Thankfully I remembered the way to the museum from the station (cue flashbacks of being a teen and traipsing around Bradford with nothing better to do) and the weather was really nice and sunny. Bradford actually looks quite nice in the sun!

I was greeted by the ever-so-lovely press team and then told to sample the delights of the newly refurbished Media Cafe with the other bloggers - who were all lovely of course! I have vague imaginings of what the cafe used to look like (a bit school canteen-y?) but the new cafe looked ultra slick with nice thick wooden worktops and various bits of film memorabilia dotted around. The food was really nice - lots of interesting and tasty salads and flatbread pizzas. No stale popcorn or overpriced hotdogs in sight! Unfortunately I wasn't able to sample the wine that evening, but the orange juice was perfect. The Media Cafe now stays open until 10pm, so you can grab something before catching a film.

After enjoying some good food, wine and conversation (blogger events are always a civilised affair...) we were taken on a guided tour of the museum's Bollywood Icons exhibition, led by curator and Bollywood commentator Irna Qureshi. Even though I've never seen a Bollywood film before (despite a few requests from friends) I found the exhibition really interesting. It was also interesting to pick up on some of the parallels between Bollywood and Hollywood films, but Bollywood's audiences seemed to take the idea of celebrity to the extreme, making sure they know everything about their favourite stars on screen and off.

It was great to have Irna as a tour guide, as she was obviously so passionate about the subject and gave us a great run through of the history of Bollywood cinema. I now have a few Bollywood films to add to my ever growing list of 'must-see' films!

After the Bollywood Icons exhibition, we then moved on to take a look at an exhibition by photographer Tom Wood. This exhibition displayed 116 photographs, including more than 10 previously unexhibited and unpublished images and managed to completely blow me away. He just seemed to effortlessly capture 'life' in all its mundane, yet fascinating glory. An image of two young girls drinking out of bottles in front of a public toilet becomes a story of 'who are they waiting for?', 'what are they doing?', 'are they best friends?', 'where will they go next?' whilst the clothes, drinks packaging and toilet sign cement the image firmly in the 80s.

In all of his work Tom Wood just seems to capture those little moments that encapsulate the spirit of the time in one image. I was actually surprised to find that Wood is very camera shy and introverted, despite his bold, yet candid portraiture work. I always thought that it took a very self-assured and confident photographer to approach strangers in the street and photograph them - I get embarrassed even when photographing trees and buildings!

After the Tom Wood exhibition we headed back to the Media Cafe, where we were offered the chance to catch a film in one of the three screens, but unfortunately I had to catch the train back home...

Both of the exhibitions I visited close on the 16th June, but they're definitely worth the visit if you have a spare afternoon before then. If not, the next exhibition looks equally exciting (even if it is aimed at children) which starts on July 12th. It's called Moving Stories: Children's Books from Page to Screen and tells the story of how children's books are adapted for film and television. I'm definitely going back for that! And I'd like to explore a bit more of the museum on my next visit.

On a final note, there has been some speculation in the news that the National Media Museum is facing the threat of closure, which makes me angry and very very sad. Nothing has been confirmed, but it's been stated that one of the museums run by Science Museums Group will have to close due to cuts.

If you're tired of people thinking that all National museums should be London, and you wish to save the home of Europe's first IMAX screen then please sign the petition here:

Thank you to the team at the National Media Museum for putting on this event and long may the museum continue to inspire and excite the next generation of journalists, producers, writers, creative directors, illustrators, presenters, sound technicians, editors, photographers, curators, camera(wo)men...

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