Travel & Design Blog - BY YASMIN METZ-JOHNSON

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

When In China Part 2: Two can play that game



During my time in China, I got photographed more times than I can even remember, by complete strangers! I didn’t know them, they didn’t know me. I wonder how many strangers’ social media pages I am appearing on? They thought it was necessary to take pictures of my family, and myself probably because we didn’t look like them (Chinese). To be honest it wasn’t so bad in Guangzhou, as the city seemed to be more culturally diverse than Beijing. However in Beijing it was a bit extreme.

We definitely could have climbed the Great Wall in a shorter time if we were not ‘papped’ during every five steps we took. At least others would ask (I think they were asking? I don’t speak Chinese you see) others were shoving their phones/cameras in your face for ‘selfies’. I seriously could not get my head around it (have these people seriously never seen black people?...In 2015!?). My sister could not stand it, as it was very surreal and by all means intrusive if you want to be left alone to enjoy your holiday. The whole experience tested my patience to be honest. They weren’t malicious at all; I guess they are intrigued by difference. Others may not see it like that, my sister certainly didn't,  but that's how I interpreted their actions. My stepdad and I were able to see the funny side and just played along. Although it did get annoying after a while when you have places to go and random people are stopping you – I’m not even famous!? (Celebrities I officially feel your pain). 

In the end I had my own coping mechanism. I thought I would capture them too in action trying to get a picture of me/us, some people on the sly, and others just incredibly obvious.

 Gotcha!
























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Monday, 30 November 2015

When In China Part 1: Guangzhou & Beijing



I’m not sure why it has taken me so long to write this post, I took procrastination to another level with this one that I won’t even mention the month I went to China. It was this year though during the summer (I know not even this season – I’m terrible).This was my first time going to Asia. I visited Beijing for four days and Ghanzhou for three days with the family. I was thinking to do this post in a compare and contrast style of both cities I visited. However, I don't think I can do it justice as it was a very short trip, and I'm sure I saw a marginal fraction of what both cities had to offer. For that reason I would love to go again and to possibly visit other neighbouring cities.

I have a cousin who lives and studies in Wenzhou which is a two hour flight journey from Guangzhou, so it was great to see her. Ghanzhou is a three hour and twenty minute plane journey from China's capital Beijing. I want to say I enjoyed Guangzhou more than Bejing but I did more activities in Guangzhou than Bejing, well GZ definitely saw more of my Renminbi that is for sure! I guess that is the beauty of travelling somewhere where you know somebody who lives and speaks the local language. 

Here is a photo diary of my time in China, let me know your thoughts/ suggestion of where I should visit next time round. Enjoy!


Rainy and humid Guangzhou


Market, Guangzhou


On the top bunk of the bullet train

From Guangzhou to Bejing - my sister and mother

Grandma's House in Guanghou




Great Wall of China



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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Renegade Craft Fair - London


Over the weekend I went to the Renegade Craft fair at the Old Truman Brewery. I hadn't been to the Old Truman since the Summer during the last of all the university showdowns like the Degree Show and Interior Educators etc. It was nice to be back, for a different cause. The Renegade Craft fair is a platform for skilful and creative individuals to showcased their handmade products and businesses. From jewellery makers to illustrators, there were a lot of impressive goods! This was my first time at the event, (my first time even hearing about it also.) and what good timing as I got much needed inspiration and ideas for Christmas gifts and my own Christmas list. In this post I have featured my favourite items I came across at the fair. Maybe you will like them too/ or know somebody who will.
Enjoy!


Natalie Lea Owen: I was initially drawn to Natalie's stand by her consistent use of 3 colours, that you couldn't miss! Natalie Lea Owen explained how most of her drawings are from her everyday journeys. My favourite is the illustrated cushion!


Jenny Sibthorp: Ever since I discovered screen printing in secondary school, I've never been able to get away! Jenny screen prints different patterns/ and the occasional fruits onto various materials from leather to linen. I loved the lemon on green leather coin purse so much I had to get it.


Jen Cogliantry: How cool are these dyed wool cuffs!? (pictured below). All of there accessories look so snug, and winter season. Jen creates accessories inspired by natural patterns using the finest material. All of the pieces are handcrafted in Brooklyn, New York where they are based. However, fear not! We can order online.


Hechizo: Hechizo are a Brooklyn based company who use a variety of materials, a combination of metals. ceramics and textiles to create these Goddess meets Bohemian earrings. I love how the earrings range in tassel sizes from small to medium. For those of us who are not brave enough to pull off the fuller and long tassels.


East Wick:  East Wick make all of the candles and melt bars in their East London studio, using Soy Wax. They have a wide range of scented candles to choose from. My favourite scent was the Coconut & Sweet Pea.. it smelt soo good!


Laura Gee: There was something captivating about Laura's stand, I stood there for a ages not only admiring her painting but her many petite clay sculptures  I think it was use of pastel colours, and the creative ombre's she has created using arcyrilic.

Some other really talented people you should check out:

Interiors/Artwork
Luke Adam Hawker: An amazing artist who uses his time waiting for the public transport, better than most people.
Pikkupotin.com: They put pots of plants in cool hanging cages, they might be just the home accessory you have been looking for..
Kangan Arora: My best friend loves everything on this site. If you are into home decor and bloc colours, I'm sure you will too.

More Jewellery..
Kilda Meadows: If you are looking for some subtle yet statement jewellery. Kilda Meadows has loads!
Saints of Bohemia: Handmade stirling Silver, what more could you ask for?
Materiarica: See for yourselves how gorgeous these art deco inspired gems are!



For more and the latest blog posts keep it touch! 

YASMIN TELLS

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Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Another Year Older..





It was my birthday on the 1st, I celebrated with two of my friends who organised the whole day to my surprise. I was very appreciative that they took the day into their hands, there is nothing I find more of a nuisance than planning your birthday/ the activity or occasion alongside the day you were born how many years ago, it is all so long. I understand why some people choose not to celebrate it as it is just another day. That being said I am glad I celebrated it! The one thing I did plan was to go the Chanel exhibition at the Saatchi Galllery, that was before we arrived to see the ridiculous 2 hour or more wait of a queue outside the gallery. ( Typical, the one thing I scheduled in for the day. Didn't go to plan). We strolled around Westminster, before walking through the Horse Guard Parade and I became pals with one of the displays horses (pictured above). My friends surprised me with a meal and some great cake at Franco Manca, where other friends from university also came and joined in the birthday celebrations. To end the evening I had one more surprise in store. Rushing to finish our pizza and cake at Franco Manca we rushed into an Uber to the South Bank just in time for… La Soirée! A circus show filled with laughter. I'm so grateful to my two friends who organised the day. Lots of love to you both!!

"A birthday is just another day where you go to work and people give you love. Age is just a state of mind, and you are as old as you think you are. You have to count your blessings and be happy."  - Abhishek Bachchan




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Tuesday, 27 October 2015

The Sky Garden




Over the weekend I made a visit to The Sky Garden on Fenchurch Street, London. Designed to be a unique space for the public to experience London's highest Garden. I try not to have expectations of these kind of installations. But with the internet only fingertips away, its hard not too.The venue has got picture worthy settings, other than that, I felt that there was not much to report on, I felt like something was missing.

The Sky Garden is suppose to unveil 'one of the best views of an uninterrupted London'. The view is impressive, I wouldn't say one of the best though. As for the experience, I am still trying to reflect on what that was exactly. From the time you make your reservation to visit the Sky Garden you are made aware that you have a one hour time frame up on the 35th floor. Understandably I learnt, as what else are you expected to do up there? To be honest I was bored after half of the hour time slot, thank God I was in good company to see through the whole hour. There are no activities for the public to engage in other than to read the label features that explain the different plants featured in the Sky garden (which you could probably do in specialising museums or even Google) and dine on overpriced nibbles. 

Although there was plenty of space for the public to integrate through, the venue still managed to feel claustrophobic to me, maybe because the scenario reminded me of passengers waiting for a delayed plane in the departure lounge of an airport. The design of the The Sky Garden spans across 3 layering floors with the garden surrounding either side of the built in the Darwin restaurant which hovers above the entrance giving diners at the restaurant an increased view of London…so you would think a better overview of the city. All that being said! The cocktails were tasty, standard London prices. I think the Sky Garden is somewhere worth visiting to make your own judgment, and maybe appreciate the experience more than I did. Perhaps its better during the evening/night viewings, perhaps not. I would loved to hear about the experience of someone who has dined there? 

Overall I just think the money spent on the design of this could have been better spent elsewhere.











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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Friday, 2 October 2015

Cahoots


The 1940s styled underground bar that is conveniently hidden amount the hustle and bussle of Carnaby Street (via Kingly Court) in London. I went here for a reunion with a few friends from uni. Despite the crowd and clearly very popular with every seating and table reserved, we still managed to find space at the bar area and try their grand selection of cocktails.


Definitely somewhere worth trying out, especially for intimate/small parties although I would suggest to make a reservation in advance.




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