I went to St Andrews for a day trip at the weekend. Nothing like the seaside on a grey and gloomy day. But I do love a castle. And a graveyard. Definitely should have been a goth in my younger days... Oh, missed opportunities.
Tuesday, 30 August 2011
Friday, 26 August 2011
So I promised to fill you in on my one concession to becoming a wanky Gap Yah type on my African travels... Wax print fabrics. I'm obsessed. I brought back 26 metres of the stuff, as well as a top, two skirts and two dresses. My suitcase on the way home was literally 90% African print, with the few scruffy clothes I decided to bring home with me shoved in a side pocket. I was genuinely a bit worried I'd get stopped at Customs for being some kind of importer. I feel I must point out, by the way, that the top and one skirt were courtesy of my creepy local dressmaker, who told me he was looking for a wife like me and asked me if I loved him back on our third meeting (and seemed mortally offended when I suggested that we didn't really know each other very well). So I actually didn't get much choice in whether to accept that gift, and the dress was another gift from my crazy, wonderful Senegalese "mother". In other words, I SWEAR I'm not some Gwyneth Paltrow kicking about Byres Road in my boubou, declaring "I AM AFRICAN!"
BUT, as soon as I saw these fabrics I got it into my head that they would be pretty amazing for decorating -- a secret passion of mine... Secret, I suppose, because I can pretty much never afford to indulge it. But at around 85p/metre, I had visions of mismatched cushions and throws galore. My friends, however, really didn't seem to see the appeal. Then, while we were visiting Saint Louis we had the good luck to stumble upon Siki Hotel. It's a tiny hotel in a beautifully restored colonial house owned by an expat Spaniard (the restaurant and tapas bar were excellent). Coming across somewhere that seemed fairly "hip" or stylish in Senegal was just... bizarre, to be honest, but this place was seriously my African decor inspiration, 4realzzz. Natural wood, greys and wax print upholstery, mmmm. Just when my friends had ALMOST made me doubt my (obviously impeccable) taste, too. Anyway, I realise hotel recommendations in Saint Louis du Sénégal are probably of interest to precisely nobody who reads this blog but once it's recorded for posterity that I'm going to make them, I can no longer put off making all the cushion covers/bedspreads/lampshades that are in my head. Logical, yeah? Unfortch this also involves learning to sew (the sewing machine I was bought as a present has only been sitting in my room unused for approximately three years, after all...) which could pose a few problems...
Oh, hey, P.S. did you notice my amazing 'Sacred Heart of Jesus' fabric, with Jesus' face?! Bought in a shop dedicated to religious prints, more or less paradise for a religious tat-lover like myself.
Monday, 22 August 2011
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
So after two months of shitting in holes, foregoing personal hygiene and eating seriously questionable meat (rounded off with an overnight flight then an unexpected 8 hour wait in Charles de Gaulle Airport)... I'm home from Senegal!
It's been a fairly surreal and overwhelming two months to be honest, with the more or less terrifying day where I got my degree results and moved in with a Senegalese family standing out as a particular favourite. On the other hand... I am now officially the proud owner of a first class honours degree, shameless braggart here, yep. Except to be honest I scraped it by the skin of my teeth, but my mother says I should stop telling people that.
Anyway, it's been a pretty interesting summer all in all so although they don't exactly 'fit' around here, I thought I'd share some photos, including surely the only picture of me sans make up that will EVER make it on to the Internet... Don't worry, two months in Africa has certainly not convinced me to shed any of my ~Western trappings~, I'm vain and I always will be. I have, however, acquired a tan, a love of thiéboudienne and a pretty all-consuming addiction to African wax print fabrics. On which, more another day!