Friday, 29 June 2012

Baby crochet

Baby blanket made using an Afghan pattern

Pink ribbon run through edging
Made with baby pink and cream baby wool yarn
Cute baby booties 

Girls red crochet hat with crochet flower attached

So I said I'd upload more stuff by Stella, and trust me there are quite a few more posts to come! Today I chose to put up these lovely little pieces which are designed for babies and young children. These are the only pieces she has made so far, which is a shame because they're uber cute! I might actually see if she's willing to make some more soon. I've tried to describe them as best I can in the captions though I'm not fully aware of all the specific patterns she has used to make these. I will find out and post them up soon. My favourite has be the baby blanket which is made using a baby afghan pattern with really sweet colours that complement each other (if I do say so myself). It's perfect for warmth and is super soft for a baby's young skin. The ribbon is an added touch which really makes this blanket what it is. I really love it. The booties are also really cute. They're like designer socks and they have this traditional sort of edge to them which communicates our Turkish culture. I'm really liking the colours she's used here, I like that she kept them bright. In terms of the hat, I kinda wish it was my size...  

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Cupcake, anyone?

We all love a cupcake, right? They're tasty, nice to look at, and bang on trend this year. I mean, who doesn't love a bit of cake anyway? Well these knitted beauties (no they're not real) are the rather cool creations from my mother. If you don't know her already, she goes by the name of Stella and she specializes in knitted and crocheted pieces, ranging from blankets and throws, pillows, hats, baby knitwear and general bits and bobs! I've decided to showcase some of her pieces on my blog in order to show her a bit of love. I've started with these just because they're SO cute and I love the fact she's used actual decor to make them look authentic. These are great as gifts or just for something cute to keep in your room or around the house. I'll be uploading more fabulous pieces from her collection very soon.

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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

She thought about the idea of what it was for one to be secure in their own feelings.
In the self, in substance, in the external.
She soon rejected this idea and thought to herself it's all good knowing exactly how you feel, to be objective about things. It would be like having this impenetrable security blanket of the mind that would block out all the horrible things, those niggling little questions. The what-ifs.
She looked out in front of her, musing on what had just crossed her mind and decided that such security also had the unfortunate capacity to block out the bigger picture. She didn't want that. At least, she thought she didn't. I'd rather be a little uncertain things, she thought. 
Though the desire to be able to have a firm belief in something did appeal to her at times. In fact it was something that she thought she had acquired as a child, naturally, from what she had seen from her parents but now it was lost somewhere. She hadn't a clue where and she didn't care much for it either. 
No, she decided against what she thought was only false hope. 

The making of Lara Croft: "forced to fight back or die"

[Content Warning]
Right, for those of you who haven’t heard already, the new Tomb Raider game will be released this autumn, with a new, younger looking Lara Croft fighting for survival in a series of dangerous scenarios, which happen to include sexual and physical violence, after a ship she was travelling on is hit by a storm and split into two.
Crystal Dynamics, the makers behind the Next-Gen Tomb Raider, provide gamers with a picture of a Lara that is “less battle hardened and a little less voluptuous” with a back story that reflects her rise to the "strong" hardened heroine with which we are all familiar with today.


It seems she’s become more than just a pair of boobs sporting some rather skimpy attire with a gun. No, no, this Lara is no sex-symbol, no sir! Because, as executive producer Ron Rosenberg explains, in this version there is some vulnerability that immediately provides her with a real sense of personality, because now "the ability to see her as a human is even more enticing […] than the more sexualized version of yesteryear".
Right, that’s fine then. That’s not patronising in the slightest.
How fitting that this Lara should be desexualised and likened to an adolescent, because as Rosenberg puts it, gamers will only want to protect her. The plot goes as far to suggest that Lara endures sexual assault.
But hey, while this may be perfectly acceptable for some, after all it is a game so why take it so seriously, the big question here is: does a female character’s personal development necessarily have to be dependent on whether or not she suffers some sort of physical or sexual abuse?
Well, of course it isn’t, but Rosenberg, maintains that Lara’s so-called “strong” female individuality comes from these intense violent situations that see her “literally cornered like an animal” and being “forced to fight back or die”.
The scene below is examplary of this and depicts Lara trying to fight off mercenaries who have kidnapped her
[Trigger warning]
 "She [Lara] literally goes from zero to hero... we're sort of building her up and just when she gets confident, we break her down again."
*claps hands* What a brillaint way to convey female charcterisation. It's not enough that she goes through bouts of violence but a sense of false hope too. Lara must literally be broken down mentally as well as physically if she is to become a tough heroic figure. In this, it seems that she has become entrapped within an idea in the media that women must be subjected to some kind of physical or sexual violence in order to be made “strong”. This weird glamorisation of rape is in itself problematic and is projecting a rather dim view of female sexuality and to the causability of a strong female individual. Some have even argued that the game is suggestive of torture and rape porn which sends out another unfortunate message about the state of female sexuality.
Perhaps I'm over-reacting here, I mean, she is supoosed to be this all-heroic female-archaeologist-adventurer. Some may even argue that the above scene does indeed communicate the seriousness of rape. But surely, by making Lara, a well renowned female sex-symbol in the gaming world, a victim of sexual assault rienforce that rather offensive link between women's sexuality and rape?

I would argue that YES it does and that perhaps the makers behind the game should reasses what it is they are trying to portray here. In no way is violence and sexual assault typically character strengthening and it is a shame that Crystal Dynamics chose this representation, out of all other possibilities, to define her as a strong female character.

Video from:

Second year blues

So, here I am, I’ve reached the end of my second year at university. I’ve probably had, what are some of the best moments of my life so far, met some brilliant people, and I am ready to bear the brunt of my third and final year (I am also looking forward to quite an eventful summer but that’s not for now!).
So what’s the problem?
Well, perhaps it’s the amplifying nag in the back of my mind telling me to hurry up and figure out what I want to do after the student safety net has been pulled from beneath my feet, only to be dragged into the dreaded reality of ‘the real world’.
I won’t lie. Up until now, I’ve been bigging it up in La La Land and avoiding the very idea of post-university life. The thought of it actually makes me want to (insert some hyperbolic phrase here). The point is I’m terrified!
So, I’ve decided to weigh up some possible options for what I could do. It can only make me feel better, right? Feel free to take note.
Perfect my CV
This is one of the first things I should do if I am to make any impact or lasting impressions to any potential employers. It’s always a great idea to regularly update your CV (something I should be doing) and check it reads well and makes you come across as a well-rounded and altogether employable individual. I’ve heard it’s even a good idea to have a couple of CVs that have been tailored towards career-specific criteria if you’re applying for more than one type of job. So, rather than using one, general, CV for several different jobs (which will vary in their applicant requirements), it may be an idea to use one that is orientated towards the type of career you are aiming to pursue by using only relevant details, skills, and experiences.
Apply for a graduate placement or internship
This is probably one of the most typical options that students are expected to go for after they finish their undergraduate degree. But it’s not just ‘a’ placement or internship I should be applying for, it’s loads! Undoubtedly, getting the opportunity to get your foot in the door of your desired field is THE ultimate dream. But it’s also a dream that countless other students have. So it’s probably best that I apply for countless work placements, countless internship positions, and countless work-experience opportunities (or just as many as I can).
So where do I start? There’s always the university jobshop that is a great starting point, as well as other recruitment websites like, and which help you access to tons of opportunities out there.
I should probably also be prepared to accept any unpaid positions… After all, as a graduate fresh from the grounds of my university campus, I guess I ought to be grateful for any offer that comes my way.
Every opportunity is an experience and if it helps me gain some perspective towards what I really want to do, then why not. It’s a great way to network and meet new people as well as giving something back. Websites like and Vinspired offer tons of volunteering opportunities that are tailored to your interests. It’s probably worth signing up for and giving it a try. (Though it might be best to make sure I can afford to work for free first).
Go straight back into university and do a post-graduate degree.
This is a very tempting idea. I feel that, if I were to take up this option I may have the chance at being slightly more qualified for my ground-breaking career than if I just had a BA. But I suppose it all boils down to the area of interest you are looking to pursue your career in. As it goes, it’s not always about the level of education you have under your belt, but the experience you have accumulated that will really help justify your employability. That’s not to say that a post-grad degree is useless in getting that all important experience. There are many which offer work experience placements that you can do alongside your dissertation. Essentially, there are two types of post-grad degrees out there which vary from taught courses to research positions. For more information, check out Postgraduate Courses if you fancy a browse through the kind of courses that are on offer. So, it's just a case of figuring out what is best.
If I was to go for this option, it would be a case of securing my grade (with lots of hard work!) and getting ready to handle yet more essay writing and yet more debt. Hmm…
Work/Travel- Business or Pleasure?
Alternatively, I could just carry on avoiding all reality and take a prolonged holiday across the globe and explore all the world has to offer! As great as this idea sounds, I live off a budget and I don’t think the ‘rents will be coughing up any time soon. Thankfully, websites like Bunac.orgCampAmerica, or Realgap offer an array of work placement and volunteering programmes abroad at a quite a reasonable price. They charge a one-off fee for helping organise all your details and handing it to all the really important people out there, A.K.A, the folk who will be employing you on your super-cool job abroad.  This is great for summer work, (getting paid whilst on holiday? Yes please!) or a gap year. It’s also great for meeting new people, gaining contacts, and most of all, an experience of a lifetime! It’ll look brilliant on the ol’ CV!
Try and start up my own business.
I think I would need a business plan first… (and some money).
Stick to my current job until I find something better.
If, like me, you’re lucky enough to already have a job, this could be one of the safest options. This also might be one of the wisest options. Let’s be honest, in the current economic climate with the current vast amounts of job-seekers, let alone graduates, it’s tough times. If I were to stick with this option, I could look for work placements, internships, etc and have a job at the same time until I finally have the success of getting that all important job!
Still not so sure?
Your tutors are there for a reason. It could be an idea to book an appointment with them and have a hearty discussion about your potential options after university. If you are aware of any employability and CV workshops taking place around your university, go to them! These are great for tips and advice which will help you get started on building your profile. Also be sure to check out graduate fairs, taking as many copies of your CV as possible! All the right people will be there, ready and waiting for you to show them what you’ve got. (I certainly shall be attending!)
See Graduate Events for more info!
Still not satisfied? Well I have one more option left and that is to check out which also goes through all the options available to you after university.
Ok, so I’ve made my list and I think I’ve covered everything I can think of. If I’ve missed anything at all, please come forward! The more options the better, eh? Because then it’s just the case of, er… choosing one.
Good luck everybody!


Overreaction? American Apparel Ads Banned in the UK

The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) has banned eight advertising images featured from American Apparel’s campaign in October 2011.
The images included semi-naked women modelling knickers, socks, and sweaters in, debatably, various provocative poses that exposed their breasts or buttocks.
According to WWD, the ASA received a single complaint about the images which deemed them ‘offensive, pornographic, exploitative of young women and inappropriately sexualiz[ing] young women’.
This sparked an investigation led by the advertising watchdog into the retailers advertising campaign. Though since the release of the images on the internet back in October they have already been transferred to the advertising archive and are no longer in use.
The retailer's website maintains that their "ads have always been indicative of a time and place in American Apparel's identity" and the brand defended its campaign stating that the imagery was “not graphic, explicit or pornographic but was designed to show a range of different images of people that were natural, not posed and real.”
American Apparel further argued that the images “were less and certainly no more sexual in nature than a large proportion of images of other companies” and that the images featured "real, non-airbrushed, everyday people", and that the vast majority of them were not professional models.
The ASA, however, argued that the images were ‘gratuitous’ with the images of the young women mainly focusing on their breasts and buttocks rather than the actual products themselves.
In this, the ASA ruled that the images ultimately demonstrated a "voyeuristic and amateurish quality […] which served to heighten the impression that the ads were exploitative of women and inappropriately sexualised young women".
One particular image survived the ban because it was "only mildly sexually suggestive" and shows a model dressed in a sweater and white underwear posing on a bed with her legs spread apart.

Similarly the ASA also received complaints about David Beckham’s online digital posters of his H&M advertising campaign for men’s underwear. They rejected the complaints stating that the posters did not feature "explicit nudity" and that they were "mildly sexual at most". Some may beg to differ as the images illustrate Beckham sporting a rather skimpy pair of tighty whities with his muscular torso on full display.

Is Beckham’s advertising imagery really less provocative than those of American Apparel? One could surely argue that they are just as distasteful, or indeed fashionable, as one another. Perhaps it is just so the case that what one would consider a magnificent piece of art, or in this case advertising, is another person’s piece of trash. After all, they both feature semi-naked models and both serve to advertise underwear.
One could go further and ask if the marketing tactics of advertising have gone too far this time. It is only too clear that today the objectification of the body is vigorously exploited in the ethics of advertising, with these two instances only a minuscule proportion of all the hundreds and thousands of other marketing campaigns that use sex and the body to sell.
What are you saying ladies?

Was Karl Lagerfield's comment a bit too much?

Here’s a classic example of when a seemingly harmless comment becomes starkly contentious and offensive (or was it?)
Earlier this month the outspoken German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld caused quite a stir with his controversial remarks surrounding the six time Grammy winner, Adele.
In an exclusive interview with Metro Paris the Chanel designer stated: “The thing at the moment is Adele. She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice.”
At least he complimented her talent, but fans of the British singer were outraged at his arguably reckless comment.
Lagerfeld is known to have had experienced weight problems himself and is now recognised for his notorious “Karl Lagerfield diet” that allegedly helped him lose 92 pounds in 13 months. What's more is that he has previously criticised overweight women before in a debate surrounding his use of ultra-thin models on the runway. He defended himself and his fashion line stating: "What I created was fashion for slim, slender people."
Adele stood her ground in an interview in More Magazine asserting that: “I've never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I'm very proud of that.”
Lagerfeld attested ideas sparked off by his comments in another interview with the Metro, apologising to the singer and claiming that his words were taken out of context. He said: “I’d like to say to Adele that I am your biggest admirer. Sometimes when you take a sentence out of the article it changes the meaning of the thought.”
In hindsight, some might say he is a little too outspoken with further comments surrounding German men: “If I was a woman in Russia I would be a lesbian, as the men are very ugly.”
Whilst Lagerfeld may consider himself innocent, the actual question lies in the very nature of the comment. When is it OK to criticize someone's body image and when is it ever OK for a fashionista such as Lagerfeld to announce his actual opinions on overweight women? Is it OK to simply state such things without expecting an adverse reaction, or are we too 'sensitive'?
Ironically enough, Lagerfeld also shared his thoughts on politically correct language, deeming it a bore.
It’s not surprising, really..
Adele on the other hand looks fabulous! Just check out her latest cover for Vogue!