December 2011 Archives

Facebook have finally launched their much-anticipated "Facebook Timeline" feature, a feature that was unveiled at the Facebook annual conference this past September. This is a major change to the Facebook user's profile and offers the chance for other users to see a history of all the user's previous status updates, messages from other users, photographs, and important events (from relationship changes to job changes). Users can also add events to their own timelines, such as holiday photographs (to an interactive map) and other events before Facebook was a part of their lives.

I started to use "Facebook Timeline" a week ago, and while I do welcome some of the new features that it has to offer, there are some other features that I greatly dislike. For example, I was unaware that all old status updates were stored by Facebook. I know that past status updates could be viewed up to a point, but after that point, the past Facebook profile would not let you go further, so I had wrongly assumed that this data was not stored beyond a certain capacity. Unfortunately, I was wrong. In "Facebook Timeline", you can see all posts that you and your friends have ever posted on your profile. Cringe. 

Seeing these past in my "Facebook Timeline" resurfaced bad memories that I would rather forget. This includes (for the past few years for me) bad experiences - such as being made to feel worthless for a couple of years due to a physically/mentally-abusive ex-boyfriend who kept weaselling his way into my life just as I was about to move on and suffering depression and anger after my position in a company (in a job that I enjoyed) was made redundant. I would rather that I could just hide all of my past posts from everyone.

For the moment, Facebook allows you to activate your "Facebook Timeline" profile and gives you the option to make changes for up to seven days. In this time, you can go through and delete old posts, but we're talking about sifting through a lot of old posts here, and the feature is slow to load. Unfortunately, security settings cannot be changed to hide all past stories; you would have to change one at a time. This would be a long process, as I have been a member of Facebook since the middle of 2007.

I do wish Facebook would allow me to control my privacy settings; I'd like some information (such as past updates) to only be shown to close friends. This also means that I will be more carefully considering what I post on Facebook in the future, as it will never 'go away'. It's a little bit unfortunate because I have treated Facebook as my social and casual hub were I can freely speak to friends and get back into touch with people and exchange friendly banter, unlike LinkedIn and Twitter, which I consider my professional hubs. Most of my friends are on Facebook, and this is our main method of communication, and I find that I speak more to my friends that I ever did in the past few years; this isn't due to me being anti-social, but it's mainly due to my busy life and the fact that I live in a different country to some of my closest and oldest friends.

"Facebook Timeline" will be ruled out to all users, so I would advise everyone to go through and delete old posts or photographs that they would rather not be reminded of. Enjoy this long task, unless you're only a casual user of the social networking website.
Pantone® have announced their "Colour of the Year" for 2012 at the beginning of December. The colour for 2012 is "Tangerine Tango" (Pantone® 17-1463), and the company have set out on a campaign to really sell the colour. This year, they have branded their website article about the colour with all things "Tangerine Tango". Fashion plays an important part with clothing, shoes, make-up, and bags displayed in the bright colour. The colour could also be used to accentuate a room; imagine a pillow, couch, bedspread in this colour or with a hint of this colour.

According to the Pantone® website (1), "Tangerine Tango" will "provide the energy boost we need to recharge and move forward." The colour is fashionable at the moment, and I feel that this colour could go a long way.

There seems to be a push for marketing the colour this year, as opposed to previous years. Last year, the Pantone® "Colour of the Year" was 'honeysuckle'. Read about Honeysuck in 2011 here: Celebrating Colour with Pantone®



Have a Happy and Wonderful Holiday

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I can't believe that it is this time of year again, already. I've failed to really get into the spirit of the holidays this year as I have been so busy at work. I'm happy to have a couple of days off to recover and relax. To all of my visitors, I wish you happy holidays. I hope that everyone has a very special day. Please keep checking back here at for more updates and entries to my blog.



Peppermint Inspiration

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Peppermint and candy canes are one of my favourite Christmas items. I have discovered a world of peppermint, and the photographs are below. 
This peppermint bath bomb has tiny red candy canes on top, perfect for the bath.
Don't try to eat this ring, even though it looks like peppermint
Perfect for this time of year when the weather dries out skin and lips - lip balm flavoured like peppermint bark.
This peppermint bath bomb doubles up as bubble bath or a sugar scrub.
How cute are these peppermint body butters?
Another food item I love - shortbread. Even better as it is 'Candy Cane peppermint' shortbread.
A Peppermint Swirl cozy is perfect for the holidays and keeping your drinks warm.
Peppermint bark soap sounds delicious for the bath.
9) A chocolate and peppermint cookie (not Etsy).
Peppermint candles would brighten up any house.
These table decorations are made from peppermint candy pieces.
Yummy peppermint candy from Williams-Sonoma; I love the design of this jar.
Nice peppermint-coloured cupcakes are featured in this peppermint party.
Red and white candies feature in this dessert table.
The above pictures are of a peppermint Christmas party, using peppermint and red and white in the design of the sweets and the cards and table decorations. To see more photographs, follow the link below.
The gingerbread house decorating party, above, uses a lot of peppermint and red and white colours. I love this idea.

A Taste of Christmas - Festival of Food

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Thanks to the good people at "Cooking Gorgeous", sellers of designer kitchen accessories, I won two free tickets to "A Taste of Christmas" food festival in London at the beginning of December. I had a wonderful time trying new foods and spending a lot of money on some of the best finds. The festival had everything, from areas dedicated to chocolate, wine/alcohol to baked goods, meats, dips/sauces, and kitchenware/accessories.

Part of my adventure was enjoying the Jamie Oliver restaurant, which was set up in the middle of the venue. This included being seated in the middle of a rectangular table with about  forty strangers and sharing good food and wine.


Some of my buys included gold-flaked alcohol, crackers from East India company, sausages, crackers for cheese, ginger wine, a cupcake, and curry sauce. The curry sauce is possibly the best gem of the day, (though, that said, I have yet to open the alcohol) and it has a lovely flavour. Although the curry range from this particular brand features mild to spicy curry, and I love spicy curry, I am proud to say that the curry lived up to my demands and love of spicy hot food, unlike most pre-made curry sauces. (Do not worry; the spice is not over-powering, but it uses an excellent blend of spices for the flavour.) The company is called "Heavenly Curry" (, and I suggest that you check them out if you love curry, particularly if you enjoy a blend of spice and gravitate toward the hotter varieties, which are so difficult to come by.

And lastly, one of my other buys was from the company that gave me the two winning tickets, "Cooking Gorgeous" ( The company sell everything from aprons to potholders to tea towels to cake stands. I fell in love with their tea towels, featuring Queen Anne's Lace and wheat designs. I bought one of these, and it came wrapped in a little tin with a bow, gift-wrapped for Christmas. The only problem is, I do not want to use it because it is too pretty. (The below images are of the tea towels, taken from their website.)


Inspirational Designer Cushions

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I am really loving these cushions, available from the shop John Lewis. These cushions could really add a little bit of eye candy to your couch. 

The vintage English designs seem to be a popular trend at the moment, including the printed text for the tube stations to rows of beach huts and touristy English themes, Union Jacks, and the seaside. 

I love the cushions designed and shaped as houses. I have also included a 'sweater'-inspired cushion, vintage postcard themes, and the hand-drawn designs (dogs and washing hanging out to dry).

These are perfect works of art for the home, and they don't require hanging on the wall. These make me wish I had a nice house.

Microsoft will be providing automatic updates to its browser Internet Explorer early in 2012. Currently, other browsers provide automatic updates, and this is good news for web designers and developers who have to cater for out-dated versions of the IE browser. 

Earlier this year, Microsoft announced that it wanted to persuade users to upgrade from IE6: Microsoft Persuades IE6 Users to Upgrade

The fact that users (and whole corporations) have clung onto the out-dated browser has not been good for Microsoft, in my opinion. Having an out-dated browser has probably cost the company a lot, and in my opinion, it portrays Microsoft in an un-innovative light when it comes to technology, particularly when there are much better browsers on the market, and these browsers are more standards-compliant. (Obviously, Microsoft's Internet Explorer and rival Netscape were the only two browsers at one time, and Microsoft has been a victim of developing the technology early.)

The Internet Explorer browser also been a sore point developers who build the websites and who are forced to spend extra hours getting the website to function and look reasonable in the browser. (An article describing extra time to cater for IE6 is provided here: How Much Time is Spent Debugging for IE6?) Also, it is a sore point for users who perhaps are using the out-dated browsers and have trouble accessing some websites, perhaps websites where the developer consciously made an effort not to support out-dated browsers. These users are not getting the same experience while using older versions of Internet Explorer. 

Creative Vintage Christmas Decorations

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Hopefully the following will get you into the holiday mood. I admit that I have not really had the time to absorb that it's nearly that time of year again; I've had a couple of busy months and a busy year. While my body does not seem to have really absorbed the fact that it is almost December 25th, I have been forcing myself to listen to some Christmas music and look at other ways to get into the spirit. The following images and posts have helped. 


(All images above were taken from the respective websites, credited below.)

These tags, made from card and embossed and tied with red ribbon, can be used to put onto gifts or to hang from the tree. I love the text art with the decorative fonts: 'love', 'cherish', 'trust'.

This shop sells many nice wreaths, including the one pictured. The wreath can be scented in a large variety of scents, including peppermint, gingerbread, sugar cookie, cranberry, and mulled cider.

I love this embroidered snowflake ornament; the wooden frame is painted grey so that it looks like metal.

I have never seen or imagined felt toadstools on a Christmas tree, but I think that these would really look good. They are so cute.

Instead of a typical chocolate advent calendar, you can now stuff your own with your favourite items and hang it. I love that this is a banner. It's a great new idea.


(All images above were taken from the respective websites, credited below.)

These Christmas ornaments made of rags printed with Christmas songs, such as 'Silent Night' and 'Joy to the World' are pretty.

Hand-made out of clay, glitter, and snowflake detailing, these pine tree ornaments remind me of winter and of trips skiing down mountains.

I have seen cushions made out of sweaters, and I also love these Christmas baubles made out of sweaters. They look so cozy.

Painted wooden house ornaments make a unique Christmas decoration.

Based on the Harry Potter series, these wooden doll tree ornaments feature the popular friends from the books: Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

I like these Christmas-themed pillow cases.


(All images above were taken from the respective websites, credited below.)

Still looking for some ideas for Christmas wrapping and for making your own ornaments? Check out the wonderful ideas below. If I had time, I would be making these.

I love the gift wrapping and the ornaments made out of this washi tape.

These tinel swizzle sticks would make any cocktail Christmasy.

Here's an article about ornaments made out of washi tape, like we saw in the above post. You can also fill these glass baubles with tinsel. (One Christmas, I bought an ornament filled with shimmery green tinsel, and this year, I bought a couple filled with gold and silver confetti.)

Create your own advent calendar to stuff with goodies and hang in your house.


(All images above were taken from the respective websites, credited below.)

I love this idea. This article explains how to create a treasure hunt advent calendar made out of a paper chain. Clues written inside the chain links show where the gifts can be found. Genius!

This article explains how to create your own holiday tags and provides the printable graphics for you to recreate these.

Make your own hot chocolate tree ornaments by filling a glass bauble with hot chocolate. Yummy.

Use this colourful string to decorate your gifts.

Pantone Christmas Ornaments

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Perfect for the graphic designer, web designer, or design geek are these colourful Pantone Christmas ornaments. However, these will not be available until 2012, but they will be available next year from:


I also thought that the following little gift box ornaments were cute. These ornaments could work well as little gift boxes or advent calendars to hang on the tree. The boxes can hold a bit of chocolate or a surprise. These were initially designed by Purpose ( for Greenford Printing to give to their clients with a panettone cake. 


In addition to the Christmas ornaments, there are Pantone-inspired cards and gift bags. 

Last year, Raw Design Studio ( created a project (Christmas by Colour) for people to associate new colours for the holiday season, other than the greens and reds and whites of Christmas. These were sold as posters and Christmas cards to benefit charity. Some of the names, associated with a colour, include: 
  • Mince pies
  • Sprouts
  • Mulled Wine
  • Batteries Not Included
  • Nan's eggnog
  • After Eights
  • Bank balance
  • Yellow snow
  • End of the sellotape
A photograph of all of the colours is below.


Gift bags, gift boxes, and Christmas cards for this year can be found at:
Note there is a plain, solid colour style, and there is another style with a snowflake pattern.


Loving the New Lush Christmas Packaging

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I recently made a trip to one of my favourite shops, Lush. For those who are not familiar with this chain of shops, Lush create a variety of soaps, shampoo, lotions, and other items to use in the bath. Their items are made in Poole, England, and they market their products as being natural and Earth-friendly.

I've always enjoyed the Lush packaging and brand. However, they have really inspired me this Christmas with their new packaging. For the Christmas season, Lush have switched their trademark yellow bags (for putting bath bombs or bubble bath bombs into) for Christmas-styled bags that double-up as gift bags. That way, the items do not need to be wrapped with Christmas wrapping paper. The little bags include the "To/From" gift tag, which is printed directly onto the bag. This saves paper (and time), so it was a great idea to introduce this, and it is also in line with their Earth-friendly theme.

What inspired me the most about the new Lush design for the packaging is the paper gift bag. The gift bag features a candy cane printed onto the bag, and the handle completes the candy cane design. I love it.


On another note, the candy cane stick seems to be popular in England at the moment; a couple of years ago, candy canes were nearly impossible to find in England. This year, I have seen them for sale in shops and many other places, including StarbucksStarbucks sell individual candy canes at the moment. I love peppermint and candy canes, so it is good to see them widely-adopted by England now.

Inspiring Photos of Dungeness, Kent

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As we were visiting some friends who just up the road a couple of minutes from Dungeness, I thought that it would be nice to get a glimpse of the old lighthouse, which was shown on the map. 

Bear in mind that I was unaware that Dungeness is a nature reserve, as well as home to a large nuclear power station and strange, almost baron landscape of this area of Kent. There are also two lighthouses. When we arrived, it was dusk, and I saw several silhouettes of small sheds and boats moored on the stoney beach. The houses on the road through Dungeness stared out to sea and had been made from old railway coaches. 

I absolutely loved this place because it was a hidden gem, and I did not expect to see this baron landscape with the little sheds and amazing photo opportunities. It was as if I had gone back in time or had landed on a different planet. Yet, I found Dungeness to be inspiring and full of character - quirky instead of simply another soulless place.





Teddy Bear's Picnic in Pogo Forest

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Although I've never really been a fan of teddy bears, I have to admit that these little fellows, from PogoShop (, are very cute. They are created in a log cabin in the forest (in South Carolina) from wool sweaters and bamboo fill, and each one is different and has its own personality.

The Red Bull Canimation competition entries have been submitted, and voting is taking place in the various categories. Don't forget to check out these creative videos. Competition winners get the chance to work alongside professionals or win merchandise.

The competition information and a list of finalist entries can be viewed on the Red Bull website:


Some of my favourites include:

In Chris Butcher's 'Inspiration From Emptiness', a can becomes a race car. I like the animation here, but the film could have been edited and have been much shorter by only showing a few of the clips of the tabs creating the race car from the can.

"Red Bull: New Heights" by Kensei Thomas is a nicely-executed drawing of a girl finding the energy drink on the ground and flying over scenery. The colours are subtle, and the pacing is done well. I like the music, and the entry feels Japanese-anime in style.

"Canimation" by Marc Moynihan is a short drawn animation that features a hiker who disturbs a growling bear from hibernation in a wintery forest. This one appeals to my sense of humour. I just love that bear's growl.

"RedBull Canimation - Breakcans" by Tom Stanton features a dance-off between a Red Bull can and a generic brand. I like the idea.

"Red Bull Canimation" by 'Garden Shed Productions' features a can morphing into various objects (plane, man, race car), and this is executed well. 

Chloe Rodham's "Skyhound" is a fascinating animation, and her style of animation is unique and a breath of fresh air. The pacing is fairly good, but I felt that some of it could have been edited down. I loved the idea of the greyhound chasing the can, and this had me sold. I don't think that the can turning into the rabbit offered much, or the greyhound somehow acquiring wings without catching the can, but the creativity is there; I loved that the rabbit, greyhound, and bull made up the constellations. This is one of the top pieces, for certain. 

Sarah Jones' cute "A Canimated Christmas" features Santa and his task of delivering presents to the world's children with the help of the energy drink. The pacing was good, and the animation was executed well. I like the unique animation style, and it's a cute and festive entry.

"Sphereballs - Red Bull and the Broken Telly" is a short animation by Damian Tasker. In the clip, Red Bull fixes a broken television. The tongue-in-cheek approach and the voices reminded me of the current brand's television commercials. It does remind me of the company's real advertisements. Well done.

Nadia's "The Bag Snatcher" is a comic-book style (Scott Pilgrim comes to mind) drawn animation featuring an elderly couple who defeat a bag snatcher with the help of the energy drink. I felt that this could have been edited down, but I loved it. Oh, and something about the animation reminds me a little bit like Family Guy.

"Canimation entry: Redbull: Architectural flight" by Rob Johnson features a series of drawings of buildings with the can. This one was different, and I felt it was a creative idea, but the drawing could have been a little more bolder to stand out a little better perhaps, as I felt that it is a little bit forgettable. I loved the idea, though, and I loved the drawings.

Days Out: Tunbridge Wells

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A visit to Tunbridge Wells was made in the autumn. Tunbridge Wells was a famous Victorian town, and it was made famous for its natural spring. The following photographs were taken in the Victorian city, the Pantiles, which boasts a parade of shops and cafes. The springhouse remains on at the end of the covered parade. I had tea at one of the cafes, and the area was perfect for a sunny stroll.






I love books with sketchy illustrations, such as the travel sketchbooks I discovered a few years ago (Review: City Sketchbooks). I've recently seen Julia Rothman's illustrated farm book, called Farm Anatomy, on the Internet. 

The book consists of several drawings and sketches that Julia spent a year putting together. The book covers items, such as cuts of meat to identification of vegetables to types of machinery. Julia was inspired to work on the idea for the book because her husband grew up on a working farm (1). The illustrations and text work well together and provide an artistic view of farm life, and it works well as a coffee-table-book. 

A picture is a thousand words, and I love how hand-written text and images come together to complete this book.


1) Rothman, Julia. Introducing Farm Anatomy. [August 31, 2011].
I first became aware of the concept of 'infinity' and the 'Droste Effect' at an early age. I never really thought much about it or about what it meant. (One of my school mates had a Sesame Street lunchbox, and on the lunchbox was an image of a the characters in a classroom with a lunchbox on a desk, and the lunchbox featured the picture on the lunchbox, and another picture featuring the same picture, stretching into infinity.) I managed to find an example of the image and posted it below.

I became more aware of this concept about five years later, when I was probably about ten years of age. The animated film The Mouse and His Child, based on the book by Russell Hoban, was on television. For a children's film, I'd consider it to be pretty dark, and I suppose that is why the film has stuck with me all of these years.

A theme throughout the film was about the concept of infinity, and this was represented through a dog food can label (known as Bonzo Dog Food). The dog food label showed a picture of a dog with the dog food, which contains a label of the dog food, stretching into infinity. When asked how many images of the dog there were, also referred to The Last Visible Dog, the child mouse managed to look beyond and saw himself (in the reflection of the can). Other concepts throughout the film touch on the concept, such as the wind-up toy mice as walking in circles (until the wind-up key finishes, of course) and their fortune being told by a frog that the enemy they met in the beginning will be at the end of their journey - full circle.

The dog food label stuck in my mind for many years, and judging by searching the web and viewing comments from other viewers, this made an impact on nearly everyone who had seen the animation. 

This concept is also commonly known as the "Droste effect" or mise en abyme. The "Droste effect" was coined after the effect used on branding by a Dutch cocoa brand Droste in the early 1900s. The package contained a picture of a nurse holding a package of the product, which contained the package of the nurse, stretching into infinity. The effect was used in a Pink Floyd album, and it is also used in Land O Lakes (below) butter packaging, and the concept was used in many works of art by Escher.


The effect is also known by the French term, "mise en abyme", and was used in artwork, medieval illustrations (religious artwork and illustrations) and also in the Shakespeare play, Hamlet, with the idea of a "play within a play".

(Note: Images sourced by product designs and illustrations found on the Internet; unable to provide a source for these, but the copyrights would be owned by the Sesame Street and Land 'o' Lakes brands. The last illustration from The Mouse and His Child is from


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