Friday, 30 December 2016

My Favourite Places of 2016 in Review (and an annual playlist.)


Everywhere I go resembles or reminds me of a film or television show scene, a book and or a song. Likewise, how each film or television show I watch, each song I listen to or each book I read resembles or reminds me of those places. Just how on a school trip to Dublin recently, I sat on the bus thinking of parallels between some of the people I know and the characters, incidents, etc. in films, television shows and or books they enjoy. Sounds strange but it really is, in many a situation, art imitating life except the art in question is not one's own. But to get back on topic, when I visit these places, I always want to keep a record of them for future reference - whether that be for artistic or personal reasons. Head-screwed-on Grace tells me to "live in the moment". Kermit Grace hisses "no. Take the bloody photo". And no, Kermit Grace, is not Judi Dench as James Bond's M in disguise. Anyhow. Usually an amicable, in-between agreement is reached, consisting of a sneaky and therefore, blurry photograph and or a later vividly-written entry in the form of a list of bullet-points. Comparable to this afternoon when Head-Screwed-On Grace protested, "You have ten days until term, Grace !" after Kermit Grace suggested dying a few sections of strands of hair pink to relieve boredom. (sorry mam !)

My 2015 into early 2016 was what everyone else's 2016 has apparently become. Horribly overwhelming for all the right and wrong reasons with a clear beginning, development, climax and conclusion. After this, perhaps I became over-critical of myself, just how perhaps, I had been too ignorant of myself up until then but my point is that its okay to realise that we all sometimes act like tossers (i'm trying not to swear. this is v difficult.), especially when sixteen years of age when  everyone acts like a tosser since (danisnotonfire-or-some-strong-London-accent-here.) the sooner we all acknowledge that and move on the better ! Lets all take a leaf out of Cady Heron's book, minus the cheesy crown-breaking scene.The sibling  turns sixteen in 2017 so I'll just proceed to burn some incense and hope for the best. Or just act whatever the eighteen year old version of a sixteen year old tosser is. My 2015 could be summarised in the pages of an almost five month long quote book (I still blame the karma of ending it a week too early for my subsequent stupidity.), the mobile phone photos of my favourite bathroom to panic in ("The Office" opposite 106, u da bom xo.) and my melodramatic doodles (guurl, you must have spent all of 2015 taking off that tear-proof eyeliner.).

In 2016, I didn't record as much since I fooled my superstitious self into thinking that I'd screw up again or something so I don't have many recorded memories from the past twelve months however, I am still sure that it was one of the best years (for me.) yet. Cheesiness (that has rambled on for longer than my normal 'feck me, I'm tired and un-motivated' blog posts.) aside, lettuce carry on to reviewing some of my favourite places from 2016 from left to right of badly-sketched above. Also, I generally describe scenes in quite a vivid and formal manner so if you receive second-hand cringe from that kind of thing (I receive it first-hand so ...) here's warning !

The Kitchen

I hadn't actually to include this until I realised that I hadn't noted any places which revolve around memories with family. Oops. But come to mention it, I really love our kitchen ! I mean before we even consider any other factors, the food is there ! And the kettle ! During golden hour - especially during the wintertime - there is such a colour to the room as the sun shines through the blinds which creates a striped pattern of shadows on the opposing wall. It makes for such interesting photographs, especially candid-style. Really, its just a 'family' space which sounds so 'duh' but still ! Even though, I do enjoy eating breakfast there alone at 6.30am in the morning, it is where we watched the news airing the aftermath to Brexit and Donald Trump becoming POTUS, where birthday presents were opened and where my mam made multiple attempts to wash her hands of my pink hair dye (thanks mam. sorry mam.). Super alliteration there.

The Outdoor Gym Area

Every time I'm here, I feel such an 'adolescent'. From the outset, it resembles loitering as if there isn't much going on but that generally isn't how I remember any length of time spent there. Like I said at the beginning, places remind me of scenes so the seats in this area remind me of the ones in the park in Skins and the time I've spent here, Richard Linklater scenes since it could be seen as quite mundane or boring, but its also a reminder that days don't need to be eventful to be memorable. On one occasion, we met a friend of a friend and it was so 'random' and therefore, funny since everyone just decided to shake hands and some of my friends with beaming confidence started chatting to them as if they had known each other for years - it was brilliant ! On another occasion, I sat around the outdoor gym with other friends at night where I remember the town being so dead but so alive and so quiet, but so loud with cars speeding up, down and around. More recently, I sit on one of the seats to reflect or write. There's a Christmas tree to the top-left right now. Also, if one leans to the right, the lampshade in front appears perfectly centered to the building behind a wall.

Friend's House

It feels inappropriate (or at least I feel uncomfortable doing so.) to mention houses where I do not live, let alone describe it so obviously the latter will not be done. All I will say is that I have got to know such amazing friends here, from whom (I should probably water down the formal tone.) I've learned a lot here and I fell off an orange folding chair on the day of my birthday here. I really perfected gliding into my seventeenth year with class.

Beach by the Woodlands

My two friends and I do this thing where we experience first-hand cringe by merging our three names together and then, spend a day walking off the cringe. The first occasion of this was essentially from one seaside to the next, through woodland, beaches and rocks. All of which I had never encountered in my life. Its also worth noting that being ignorant to the kind of route we would be taking, I wore a skirt. Big oops. One of the first stops we made was to a small stretch of a beach next to the woods. It was basically one of the most beautiful and photogenic sights I had seen. The blue skies, silhouette-like trees and absence of other visitors only caused it to resemble an even prettier scene. It also reminded me of desert island images - idealistic and empty. I actually miss it so much, we didn't stop for long enough ! I want to go back !

Sunrise at my Bedroom Window

On two occasions at the end of Fifth Year, I either stayed up late or woke up early enough to catch a sight of various colours and shadows decorating my room due to a gorgeous sunrise, the orange blob being the sun shining through the blinds. The first day was a Tuesday, I think, making it the third last day of the school year which is probably why the details aren't so clear in my mind. However, the second incident - being Friday, the first day of summer - is much more of a vivid memory. Me being over-whelmed and very much awake from the previous day as a whole, didn't sleep until 6am by which stage I had procrastinated the entire early hours of the morning through but had watched Grease : The Musical so that counted as slight productivity. I took so much more photos of the sunrise which was beaming off everything at 5am in golden and grey shadows - from my bedside to my wardrobe. The ever-changing hot pinks, lilacs, blood orange and warm yellow shades of the sky were so intriguing. I could have watched them all day if the impossible had happened and the sun had never fully rose.

The Seaside in Galway

One of my favourite memories from the school trip I went on to Galway was when the majority of us went down to the seaside during dusk. The sea and its surroundings, which included many rocks and a full moon, were so serene and enchanting. The sound of stones plunging into the water was strangely peaceful in a way too. It really summed up the objective of the trip as a 'retreat' for me and it was just so settling to be there.


Above is this year's annual playlist. The quality of uploaded photos is still unfortunately grainy but we may move on ! My pen, my hand-writing size and my ideas were really competing for space with this A4 refill pad page this year. I really did go for it this year, in terms of listening to a ridiculous amount of music, some of which I had almost forgotten about. Listening to music is so important to me as when I do, I feel some kind of emotion from it - whether that be sadness, passion or happiness. Listening to music often results in me feeling even more emotionally exhausted than I was to begin with and that's what I love about it. It is also what I link to every memory I can think of and I am forever fascinated by the idea of a scene from a certain time coming to life in one's head due to a certain melody or particular lyrics being heard. 

So that is two round-ups of aspects of 2016 wrapped up. 2016 has been a fairly horrible year for the planet as a whole but personally, it has been one of my better years and I am so grateful for that. Thanks to anyone who has been a part of my 2016 - whether that be offline or online - and thank you to anyone who reads Dainty Sprinkles !

Here's to the incoming 2017,

Grace x

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Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Currently playing : It's Christmas Time

Happy belated-Christmas ! The last few days have been spent by practically permanently attaching a beret to my head, eating so many olives that I may turn into one and watching too many annually-repeated television shows and films. Thanks to mam's bubble and squeak (mashed together Christmas dinner remains.) I have actually managed to incorporate the food pyramid into my day however, my current diet is still unfamiliar and disastrous. These are the times when one needs a large-sized appetite or at least the ability to temporarily adjust to one.

Christmas Day itself was one of the best that I can remember. From the food to the television (CAN WE TALK ABOUT HOW GOOD THAT EASTENDERS EPISODE WAS ?) to the look on all of my family's faces upon receiving their gifts, it was so great ! Of course, Christmas is not generally as special nor magical for one post-early childhood however, it is still such a warm and traditional kind of celebration, it fascinates me. Whilst discussing tradition, I must mention how adorable the rabbits' annual Christmas day visit to the indoors was ! Between Truffle posing in front of the camera and Plum being clearly bemused by this year's Christmas film choice of Mission Impossible - Rogue Nation, they were both so so cute ! And then there was the arrival of a lone wasp as we brought the two bunnies back outside. A wasp. On the twenty-fifth. Of December.


The photos above are from our St. Stephen's Day walk by the seaside. I never got around to posting over the duration of the final build-up to Christmas due to not only being way too exhausted to think let alone type, but my roll of film failing to develop ! Since then, I have had lots of time to practice photography and writing, although I am currently using my mam's laptop on which photos appear slightly grainy when uploaded but nevertheless !

Here's hoping you and yours are having a lovely, relaxed holiday,

Grace x

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Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Capacity

Currently listening to : Fossils

Yesterday was my second time wearing this ensemble in the past two weeks and I wanted to write a piece about it so badly that I said 'screw you' to the dreadful weather and dusk. Changing my camera settings to such a low aperture, one was waiting five seconds for each shot to take. This outfit was worn on the Japanese trip yesterday which I will write about at some stage this week. Also known as the most comfortable outfit ever and there is so much grey and tartan or chequered-print, thus making it my current favourite outfit to wear. V-necks are my latest favourite piece of clothing. I had some kind of strong opposition to v-necks when I was younger. Either they were too noughties' for me, I didn't think they suited me or someone in my family had taken a dislike to them. It was probably the 'skin exposure' aspect that turned me off them too, another reason why I have started wearing them after reading a book on women and traditional Japanese culture. In the past - and even now, many may argue - women in Japan were expected to behave and dress much younger or more 'innocently' than their age (basically that of a child.) since it was (or is.) believed to cause them to appear more moral, untainted, attractive, etc.. So I related that to attitudes that remain throughout the world in the twenty-first century. Often negative, suppressive attitudes toward women making 'crude' jokes, woman dressing like a 'slut', girls when they discover interests other than Barbie dolls, girls when their bodies and personalities begin to develop. And that is the long-winded story of how I came to begin to enjoy wearing v-necked tops. 


Since going into a third shop (I kid you not.) in search of assistance, regarding various minor, easily solved problems with my film camera, I have been taking ! photos ! on ! film ! I wish I could describe in words as to how satisfying it is each time I hear the sound of the roll moving as one photo is taken ! My heart flutters and my feelings could be summed up as that of a proud mother whose camera has just given birth to a photograph. Strange simile or metaphor. Similar to how I am currently in a race to use up this roll of film before Christmas, last night I was in a race to bake promised Christmas insult cookies for today's festivities. As I said earlier, I'll go more into detail in my next post but look how cute they initially turned out ! Add 'proud cookie mother' to my CV or resume (my words are pretty Americanised today.) too.

Grace x

Saturday, 17 December 2016

On Celebrating Commercial Christmas


Christmas has never been a real religious occasion in my house or life, in general. Bar aspects of the first dozen years of my life when the majority of my house still went to mass and I attended a Catholic primary school - and up until recently, it was slightly impossible for either of the two not to be incorporated into your life, here, in Ireland. For the Western World as a whole, Christmas became less of a religious festivity decades, if not over a century, ago. Heck, if Christmas was ever meant to be solely based on religion, it would be held in July - if I remember right from a piece I once read in primary school, regarding the changing of dates ? I have always been fascinated by the consumerisation of such an occasion. Moreover, the project I have been working on for the past year in history class takes place during the early years of mass-consumerism and touches on how it impacted on the continuously changing and reversing roles of women so I thought it would be interesting to write a ramble regarding the modern celebration of Christmas.

Anyhow, Christmas ceased to a exist as an exclusively religious event following the process of the focus shifting from mass-production to mass-consumerism. This, thus, creates the consumer society and as gathered, Christmas, plays such a part in this as well since those to the forefront of consumerism were (and still are.) white, American, Christian men. The consumeriation of such a celebration can be summed up into several points ; most notably Victorian England, the amalgamation of U.S Christmas traditions and that of European immigrants, the preference of the arrival of Santa Claus to the birth of Jesus, mass-consumerism, war and mass-media. For some, the Christmas we celebrate nowadays may not be to preference, with regular accusations of the 'true meaning' being lost. However, its one of the few occasions to maintain its traditional appearance. Christmas is so important nowadays, not for religious reasons, but for the role it plays in the fast-paced twenty-first century. There's something about the short space of time in a thirty hundred and sixty-five day year for the society of an internationalised world for so many to travel home or afar - whether that be on motherland or abroad - to visit relatives. The luminous lights that gleam from wall to wall, branch to branch and street to street, adding to the warmth created in colder, shorter, darker days. The hustle and bustle of shops and uplifting moods all around. Even when one's autistic, prone to meltdowns which generally create a dent in the festivities by taking place on Christmas Day. Or on any kind of holiday-related outing or occasion. Even when the nature of 2016 have put too much of an emphasis on the value of material good received at Christmas for so many, have put so many out of their homes and even when so many give up their day to serve society,   Christmas is still - for many - the most wonderful time of the year. An occasion that has been altered to be inclusive, creating warmth in the hearts of so many around the world.

I probably haven't got even half my points across in this post - nor have I checked them for grammatical errors. What I do know, however, is that this has ended on a very cheesy note,

Grace x

Sources : 1 | 2 |

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Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Afternoon Glow

Currently listening to : Christine F

These photos are a little different to the ind I usually take so I'm unsure of how I feel regarding them but here we are anyway. I'm trying to slowly creep festive subjects into my photos although its not entirely going to plan. Sunday's attempt (above.) included a Christmas star that I usually leave on a shelf in my room but thought it would add a more enchanting effect to the mushroom photos. Cue bad-angled shots and a soiled star. I've also been playing around further with the white balance settings on mam's camera. I love how the various fluorescent modes used for this set cultivate a kind of old-feel, as if they were taken on a film camera.

Speaking of film cameras ... On Saturday, I went to Dublin to look around an open day. Not only did I find the most amazing coffee shop (they have heaters outside, the coffee is affordable, I see the crepes as hats.) but I also went into the Camera Centre about my film camera and they untightened the contact, thus it finally works !  Then, I spent the rest of the day with shaking hands due to overexcitement in addition to coffee and maple syrup overload. Why can't sugar and I be friends ?

I've just finished watching episode two of This Is Us by yelling "No no no ohmygosh no" at the telly. Another television show series to watch, another several weeks of my life - poof ! into thin air !

Also, this was supposed to be the post where I stop writing tripe ?

Grace x