I’ve always loved finding small, independent and alternative brands and shops. I find them quite often, but with a memory like a sieve I thought it would be good to keep a list of them on here. Plus, it’s good to share the love, so now everyone can enjoy the cool things that I’ve stumbled upon. Everything on the list is something that I genuinely love, if you find something that you think I should add to the ever growing list, drop me a line!
Clothing & Accessories
Cute, pretty and kitsch dresses, playsuits, skirts and tops from the marvellous Amy He of blog Dolls Are United. Perfect for vintage inspired looks with a quirky twist. Really affordable and good quality too. http://www.moddolly.bigcartel.com/
Found at Hyper Japan 2013, stockists and all things cute and kawaii, Japanese inspired. Plushies and Japanese nail art. The place to go for plush llamas apparently. http://www.lovejojo.com/
Found at Hyper Japan 2013. Amazingly detailed wooden and acrylic jewellery in a variety of designs as well as simple fashion in bold, fun prints. One of the best discoveries I’ve seen in ages. http://www.typicalfreaks.bigcartel.com/
Super kitsch and quirky jewellery that looks good enough to eat. Flumps, jelly babies, chocolate buttons and the likes made in Fimo. Super cute. Spotted these at Hyper Japan 2013. http://www.punkyallsorts.com/
Spotted at Hyper Japan 2013, this lovely lady makes punky, cute and kawaii style plastic jewellery. Very cute. http://www.etsy.com/shop/neonvixen
Cute, kawaii, Japanese inspired anime type acrylic jewellery designs. Pastel colours and giant designs. http://www.roxiesweetheart.co.uk/
Extremely affordable giant acrylic jewellery designs inspired by Japanese fashion. Pastel colours and bows. Very pretty and very good quality. http://www.candygeisha.com/
Handmade kawaii goodies, jewellery and hair accessories. Kitsch and cute designs with a Japanese inspiration. Spotted at Hyper Japan 2013. http://www.etsy.com/shop/kactuskawaii
Squishes, decoden supplies, keychains and snacks from this kawaii Japanese style goodies. Spotted at Hyper Japan 2013. http://www.kawaiihunnies.com/
Lots of bright colours and glitter in headbands and fascinators. As well as other geeky and comic book inspired hair accessories and jewellery.
Sugar and Vice
Big and bold acrylic jewellery for very affordable prices. Comes beautifully packaged and is very high quality. One of my faves.
More acrylic jewellery for afforable prices, lots of different styles including customisable items.
Scottish based acrylic jewellery, featuring a range of Scottish slang slogans as well as other cute and geeky items, I love the Buffy inspired collection
High quality wooden jewellery featuring a variety of geometric styles and cute, nostalgic designs too.
Kawaii and pastel cute illustrations and apparel based in Brighton
Found at Hyper Japan 2013. Their website is amazing and they stock a very wide range of cosmetics that are difficult to get hold of in the UK. A little expensive, but they have cute Japanese eyelashes and Anna Sui cosmetics. http://p2bus.com/
Cute cosmetics, as it says in the name. Quirky make up and skin care brands which are all cruelty free, vegan or vegetarian. http://www.cutecosmetics.co.uk/
This afternoon I’ve finally ticked off one of my must have Afternoon Tea experiences with a trip to Sandersons in London for their Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea. I went along to celebrate Hayley’s (London Beauty Queen) birthday, what a good choice for a celebration!
The menus are pasted into the pages of old books, with a ribbon book mark leading you to the right page. Our menu was inside a vintage copy of Pride and Prejudice. You can have your Afternoon Tea with champagne, cocktails or just traditional (and not so traditional) teas.
Sugar cubes are stored inside cute ballerina music boxes, which actually play! What a beautiful touch, don’t you just love that idea?
No idea how the waiter managed to carry this many cake stands in one go, but aren’t they the most stunning things ever? If there’s a large group of you, they bring cake stands with double portions to share or you can have one cake stand per person.
You get three types of sandwiches, sweet scones, savoury scones and three types of cakes. Accompanied by marshmallow toadstools, meringue caterpillars and a ‘drink me’ bottle.
You choose your tea flavour by smelling the four glass bottles filled with tea, presented on a silver tray. The Rhubarb and Earl Grey tea were the favourites among our group. How pretty are they?
The teapots are decorated with playing card faces and paper hats, of course! Amazing, you serve your tea through silver tea strainers into matching teacups. So perfect, the attention to detail is stunning.
This one was my favourite of three desserts. A plain chocolate tea cup filled with green tea matcha and white chocolate mousse and topped with a chocolate flower and a sprinkling of popping candy. Bizarre, pretty and delicious.
The ‘Drink Me’ bottle is super cute, it’s filled with a delicious, sweet fruit smoothie. We think it was a blend of mango and passion fruit, so much fun! Finished with a hand written label too.
The whole experience was so much fun, delicious and magical. I would recommend to anyone. It’s quite pricey, especially if you have alcohol with your Afternoon Tea, but you’re paying for the beautiful location, attention to detail, amazing service and stunning food.
I took tons of other photos on Instagram, if you want to see more, please follow me on there.
Have you had Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea?
What did you think?
Where’s your favourite place for Afternoon Tea?
Comment, share or tweet me @JayneJRead
I very nearly didn’t post these photos that Miz took for me today as I was feeling a combination of hungover, fat and tired. However, Miz (because he’s sweet and because he has to because he’s my boyfriend) assures me that I don’t look fat, I look curvy. I’m not used to being curvy.
Singapore is a mesmerising city, there’s absolutely no denying it. From the moment you get a glimpse out of the plane window you’re bombarded with green foliage and once you set foot in the airport it continues to amaze by being modern, clean and efficient. All this pretty much carries over to the rest of the city too, making it an unforgettable experience that merges the old and the new ALMOST seamlessly, however, there are a few things we need to get out of the way first.
- It’s an expensive city – There’s absolutely no getting away from that and although we’ll help you enjoy it in the most affordable way possible, it still costs way more than the rest of South East Asia. If you’re extremely picky with your accommodation, have specific restaurants in mind, don’t plan your route well or if you want to visit for the theme parks and shopping centres, you might just get a shock and end up going home penniless.
- It takes ages to get anywhere – Singapore is a tiny country and even a small island by most accounts, however, walking takes forever, mainly because you have to zig zag endlessly around busy roads and shopping centres that seem to want you to go off route. This isn’t too much of a problem if you’re staying for a while, but if you’re on a budget and can only afford to stay in the city a few nights it can become quite a tiring experience trying to fit everything in.
- It feels like Europe or America – This might seem like a bit of an odd one and might not even be too noticeable if you’re heading straight here from either Europe, Canada or America, but if you’ve already been travelling to other countries in S.E. Asia walking around Singapore can be a bit of a culture shock, maybe even a tad depressing. We’d come straight from Thailand; also known as “the land of a thousand smiles”, where strangers will nod and say hello as you walk past and where you purposefully have to go out of your way to get a dose of western culture. Singapore is not like that, the way people interact on the streets, the cars that go past and the endless sea of shopping centres (and every chain you can think of) make it feel extremely Western. That’s not to say Singaporeans are at all unfriendly, far from it, as soon as we arrived the people we dealt were courteous and service at every single establishment we went to was polite and in excellent English, you just won’t leave feeling warm and fuzzy and wanting to be kinder towards random strangers on the street.
The first hurdle – Transport in Singapore
Singapore airport is incredible, by far the smoothest service I have ever witnessed and that absolutely carries over when trying to get transport into the city. As soon as you exit passport control (where they scan your fingerprints like in some futuristic movie) you are given clear travel options and directions to buses, the metro and taxis. We’d planned on catching the metro as it was an affordable option that left us a 15 minute walk from our hotel, however, we were tired from the flight, were carrying our heavy backpacks and only had two days to see the city so we decided to splurge and catch a taxi.
The price for a taxi into the city is around 20 SGD (€12.50), by no means cheap when compared to the surrounding countries, but we got an incredibly friendly driver who gave us lots of advice about the city. It was actually the best and only conversation we managed to spark up with locals, it also meant we got to see the clean and green streets of Singapore en route and were directly outside our hotel within 20 minutes, so, although it kind of ate into our budget, I’d consider it a bargain. You don’t have to worry about taxi drivers ripping you off, they know where they’re going or have satnav and you don’t have to haggle a price or remind them to put the meter on, which makes the whole experience extremely stress free, just don’t make catching them a habit or you’ll not have any money left over for food!
We were lucky enough to arrive in Bangkok on National Day, not only was the weather perfect for taking some photos, but the whole atmosphere was absolutely buzzing! We walked quite a long way to get to Gardens By The Bay and I loved every second, especially getting to grab this snap. So many things getting ticked of my bucket list on this trip <3 . . . . . . . . . . . . #killyourcity #citykillerz #illgramers #way2ill #agameoftones #urbex #createexplore #exploretocreate #streetactivityteam #streetdreamsmag #neverstopexploring #featuremeinstagood #igersone #shoot2kill #streetshared #streetmobs #urbanphotography #streetphotography #streetexploration #urbanandstreet #imaginatones #streettogether #streetmagazine #streetmobs #peopleinsquare #moodygrams #illgrammers #instamagazine #twgrammers #shotaroundmag
Metros are the best way to get around the city without absolutely rinsing your wallet, journeys are priced based how far you go and roughly come to 1.40 – 2 SGD (€1ish) per single journey, this puts it right alongside Barcelona metro prices which I think is completely acceptable considering the type of city and how well the service works, but it can start adding up if you want to see a lot of things and especially if you’re a couple so a bit of planning and a shit load of walking can cut down on costs and mean you fit more into a short trip. When purchasing your first train ticket you will pay 10 cents extra, this means you get a ticket you can top up multiple times, but don’t fret, you actually get that 10 cents discounted once you purchase three separate journeys and on your sixth journey you actually get an extra 10 cent discount, making it completely worthwhile. There are various other tourist cards you can purchase, these might be worthwhile if you’re taking a slightly longer trip or plan on catching a whole load of metro journeys. You can purchases these from the kiosks as opposed to the automatic machines, so someone will be able to advise you on what will fit your needs best. Everything is available in English as well (it’s one of the national languages in Singapore so shouldn’t be a problem in most cases) as many other languages, so that simplifies things too.
Odd Tip – The automatic metro machines often don’t accept any bills larger than 5 SGD, so you may need change ready or head to a kiosk to get a note broken down, no problem.
We didn’t actually get any buses on our trip, but the bus stops were easy to spot and none of them seemed uncomfortable or crazy full. A quick Google search shows that they often cost less than a dollar and that routes are incredibly convenient. If you’ve personally had any experience with them we’d love to hear about it!
Odd Tip – If you are struggling to plan a trip a great website to use is www.mytransport.sg, it helps you calculate routes, mode of transport and fare cost, not just for buses but also for the metro.
Where to eat in Singapore
Singapore is bustling with good food, eye-catching restaurants and good food hygiene, so it definitely seems like a foodie’s paradise. Unfortunately, if you don’t know where you’re heading it can once again become an expensive outing which in itself can throw a damper on the whole trip, especially if you’ve been eating like a king in one of the surrounding countries previously. That being said, it 100% doesn’t have to be this way! Hawker centres are the go-to to place for affordable eating, although, bizarrely enough I didn’t come across a single place that used that phrasing. Instead, just look out for food courts, they’re pretty much in every single shopping centre and as you will soon notice, there’s no lack of those in Singapore. This might not seem like the most luxurious meal option, but once you’ve given them a visit you will be spoilt for choice and your taste buds will be going bonkers! They offer pretty much every option conceivable for between 5 – 10 SGD, which compared to any of the sit down restaurants you’re likely to come across is pretty freaking cheap, not to mention the portions are huge and the food is delicious! I ate a lot of noodles and ramen whilst there and there’s no chance you will hear me complaining!
If that’s not what you fancy you can always head to Chinatown, there’s a whole street dedicated to affordable eats which will leave you drooling and wanting more. Or you could take a trip down to Little India and get some curry for half the price you’d be paying in Europe, although, if you’re heading to Malaysia next you may want to wait a while and get it for a fraction of the cost (blog post coming up)! If you get really stuck and want some European food, you’ll be spoilt for choice, pretty much every European and American chain conceivable is available, we actually gave in and had a McDonalds on one night because Jayne wasn’t feeling well, we were tired and it seemed like a good option at the time… although I can’t really recommend that because, well, there’s so much better food around and you’re in Asia silly!
What to see and do in Singapore
There’s really no lack of things to do and see in this city, the only thing that will determine how much fun you have are the dollars in your pocket, but even if you’re on a tight budget that doesn’t allow for paid attractions, you’ll have an incredible time and will be spoilt for things to snap with your camera and capture your imagination.
The first thing we wanted to see was Gardens by the Bay so we headed straight there, fortunately this involved getting a metro to a huge shopping center where we ate the before mentioned ramen, walking through a built up part of the city with incredible architecture and catching a load of shots of the incredible Marina Sands Bay building which I’d really been looking forward to. If your budget allows you could even go get a cocktail at the top of Marina Sands and overlook the city, but that would definitely have bankrupted us, so we decided to walk through the gardens instead! It’s by far the most impressive park I’ve ever been to, the electric trees they’ve build are breathtaking, but the whole park in general will leave your head spinning! It’s absolutely huge and you could definitely spend half a day getting great photos, exploring the beautiful surrounding and maybe even having a picnic (which would absolutely save you some pennies in the long run). At 7:45pm and 8:45pm the trees light up and you get a free light show, it’s pretty mesmerising, although the music of choice also gives it a bit of a gloomy feel, still absolutely worthwhile! We actually got really lucky and arrived on Singapore’s National Day which meant we saw all sorts of cool stuff going on, including an arena full of people singing the national anthem, fighter planes flying over, a helicopter carrying a huge Singapore flag and fireworks that illuminated the night sky on our walk out of the park, if you want to catch that too, it was on July the 14th, although it might be worth checking if it’s the same date every year!
Odd Tip – We’d planned on doing the skywalk, but in all honesty, it didn’t seem worthwhile as the queue was horrendous and we arrived a tad late so there’s a chance we’d be queuing for hours just to have it close on us! The majority of the gardens are free entry, so there’s no need to pay extra unless you have the budget and the desire.
Bizzare and beautiful temple in Singapore that holds Buddha’s tooth. Definitely not what I expected to find in a built up city like this. We had an awesome time visiting Singapore and will definitely be back to do Sentosa Island and all the other bits we missed once we’ve saved up a small fortune … it’s rather expensive ? . . . . . . . . . . . #streetmobs #urbanphotography #streetphotography #streetexploration #urbanandstreet #imaginatones #streettogether #streetmagazine #streetmobs #peopleinsquare #moodygrams #illgrammers #instamagazine #twgrammers #shotaroundmag #illkillers #killergrams #superhubs #urbanromantix #livefolk #shotaward #_heater #yngkillers #shotzdelight #1stinstinct #heatercentral #workfromanywhere #remotework #freelancelife
From Gardens By The Bay it’s probably worth the short trip to Chinatown, here you can eat amazing food for dead cheap as previously mentioned, but there’s also a bunch of temples to visit that are absolutely gorgeous, including the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple which holds, you guessed it Buddha’s tooth! On that same road there’s the breathtaking Sri Mariamman Temple with it’s incredible decorations, all this makes going to Chinatown unforgettable, but also a real cheap way of seeing some cool stuff without having to splash out on entrance fees or lots of transport.
Can’t even imagine how long this took to finish, it’s so incredibly detailed. Walking along China Town in Singapore was one of my favourite bits of the city, theirs great street food, the atmosphere is buzzing and you get to see some incredible looking temples. It’s pretty difficult to take a good snap of this though as it’s right by a main and very busy street. . . . . . . . . . . . . . #hindutemple #backpacking #traveltheworld #workfromanywhere #main_vision #master_shots #exclusive_shots #hubs_united #jaw_dropping_shotz #worldshotz #theworldshotz #pixel_ig #photographyislifee #photographyislife #photographysouls #photographyeveryday #photographylover #worldbestgram #iglobal_photographers #ig_great_pics #ig_myshot #shotwithlove #justgoshoot #xposuremag #icatching #collectivelycreate #wanderlust #heatercentral #highsnobiety #shotzdelight
Odd Tip – If you want to take in your DSLR and grab some snaps at Sri Mariamman Temple it requires purchasing a camera pass, but this didn’t seem to apply to taking photos on your phone; either that, or we just got away with it!
Sentosa Island is another one of Singapore’s main attractions and one I’m sure lots of people plan their trip around. It’s a bizarre island off Singapore that seems to have been built up with only fun and big spending in mind, in fact it’s also known as “The State of Fun”, which kind of made me cringe and for some reason it reminds me of Pleasure Island from Pinocchio. Although there’s lots of things that appeal to me on the island, I was rather put off the idea of travelling half way across the world to experience something that seems extremely Western and available elsewhere. That being said, if theme park rides, sea life centers, trampoline parks and thrill filled days out are the reason you go on holiday, this may just be the perfect fit for you, as long as you have the bank balance to handle it. I won’t go into prices of things there because there would just be way too much to cover, fortunately, you can get all the info you need of the official Sentosa Island website.
Getting to the island is pretty simple, there’s a ton of access routes from a shopping centre called VivoCity which is right across from it, meaning if you don’t actually want to go, you can still see it from afar. As we didn’t venture onto it I can give much detail on how to get around and what the best attractions to visit are, but the previously mentioned websites will help you determine a route, fair, attraction prices and itinerary. We would love to visit on another trip, with a bigger budget!
We actually spent a fair amount of time in VivoCity as it had great food, an awesome rooftop garden and the best arcade we’ve ever visited (so far), we spent quite a bit of time playing arcade games, winning tokens and swapping them in for sweets, so if that’s your kind of thing, we’d definitely recommend checking it out! The prices aren’t cheap, but they’re also not extortionate and if you go during a quiet period you can get an hours unlimited play for around 30 SGD, which might seem a bit much, but once you realise how many of the games give tokens that you can swap in for goodies it becomes pretty worthwhile. Right next door to the arcade is also a great sweet shop, so we kind of made up for not going to Sentosa Island by getting our sugar rush on.
Singapore is also famous for its Zoo which apparently has won a shit ton of awards and if Gardens By The Bay is anything to go on, it will be absolutely stunning. I’m generally very against zoos and get pretty uncomfortable the times I’ve been pressured into going to them as an adult, but rumour has it that this particular zoo treats animals well, gives them plenty of space and is generally well regarded. Still, I’m not sure how I’d feel once I was actually there. Either way, we were there on a weekend which means it would have been absolutely rammed, plus, we didn’t have the time or budget to get there anyway, so I wasn’t put in an uncomfortable situation, although I know Jayne would have loved to see some Pandas and there was part of me that liked the idea of the photo opportunities that would have come up.
There is obviously way more to see in Singapore, but those are the bits that stood out to us on our short trip, if there’s anything we missed, let us know, I’m sure we’ll head back once we’ve saved some extra cash, ideally enough for a cocktail at Marina Sands, although, that might take a while!
Where to Stay in Singapore
Accommodation in Singapore is expensive and prices go up pretty quickly if you leave it till last minute, although we could have been affected by National Day happening that weekend, so it’s probably not the best representation of prices and availability. We stayed at Champion Hotel, it was clean and tidy, the staff were nice and it was affordable compared to other parts of the city. It was also on a road where the buildings have been protected so that they keep their traditional look, all in all we had a great stay, although, the room (and the bed) were a tad smaller than what we’d become accustomed to in the rest of South East Asia. If you’re on a medium budget we would absolutely recommend staying there, but it’s always worth having a look at Agoda for some comparison.
Odd Tip – Singapore has cracked down heavily on Airbnb listings, if you search on the app we noticed that a lot of the accommodation that comes up is not in Singapore at all, rather, across the border in Malaysia, which would absolutely ruin any plans you had, add a load of travel time and probably cause some issues having to go back and forth through the border and the accompanying security checks.
Anything we’d missed or anything you would add? Send us an email, we’d love to hear from you! If you want to help us along exist in Asia for a little longer, you can purchase something from the CMK or Food Scouts shop or watch out for our upcoming Patreon scheme. For more Sout East Asia blog posts, browse our Odd Odyssey category and stay tuned to find out about our YouTube channel which is coming soon!
If you haven’t ever watched Adventure Time, what are you doing here? There are ten seasons to watch of the epic Cartoon Network show from the brain of Pendleton Ward, sadly it’s come to an end now. Well, luckily for all of us, the team behind the Land of OOO have all gone on to make other brilliant cartoons and have inspired others to continue on with animation innovation. Now, we’ve got to remember that cartoons aren’t always just for kids. Many of these shows have just as many adult fans as children and some of them might be best saved for when the kids are older. Don’t be fooled by the colourful, simplicity of cartoon design, the stories are just as detailed, enjoyable and important as their real-life counterparts. We haven’t even touched on the endless world of anime in this article, it’s just too vast! So, here are eight animated television shows that we think you’ll love it you’re a fan of Adventure Time. Hopefully, you’ve seen some of them already, if not, enjoy!
Break for a cartoon nostalgia moment….
I’ve always loved cartoons from watching old Felix the Cat or Looney Tunes cartoons with my Grandad’s, growing up playing make believe inspired by X-Men and Ninja Turtles, to years of family time spent watching The Simpsons which evolved with teenage years into South Park, Family Guy and American Dad. Bring on the digital age and a vastly broader choice of channels, online content and new ways of discovering cartoons, my fandom for animation is still going strong. That’s just my animation adoration in brief, without touching on the weird and wonderful worlds of indie comic book spin-offs, Salad Fingers, Happy Tree Friends or my long-lasting love for stop-motion animation, heeey Pingu!
So, what do we watch now that we’ve watched every episode of Adventure Time a gazillion times? Here’s our list…
Over the Garden Wall
Originally aired in 2014, this dark Victorian inspired gothic fairytale has recently landed on Netflix. Created by Adventure Time alumni, Patrick McHale, the Emmy winning 10 episode series features the voice talent of Elijah Wood, Melanie Lynskey, Tim Curry and Collin Dean. Although we would love to see another series of Over the Garden Wall, this story of two brothers will take you on a heart-wrenching journey filled with magic, evil and talking bluebirds fits neatly into one series. A handful of whimsical musical numbers breaks up the darkness. It’s beautiful, it’s creepy and features some ace voice talent.
This sci-fi animated adventure landed on the internet a year before a certain sweary American, created by Adventure Time’s head honcho, Pendleton Ward. You’ll find Bravest Warriors series 1-3 for free on YouTube channel Cartoon Hangover with an additional one available on a Federator streaming service. You can basically expect Adventure Time, in space with a healthy amount of swears and adult humour thrown in, but without crossing the line in terms of taste. Enough whimsy and randomness to appeal to Adventure Time fans, enough cheeky humour to appeal to adults. There’s plenty of new adorable characters to fill in for BMO too, hello there Jelly Kid and Cat Bug! For even more cartoon discovery, hang around the Cartoon Hangover YouTube channels for things like Bee & Puppycat and many more.
Cartoon Network’s first show created by a woman comes from another ex-Adventure Time staff member, Rebecca Sugar. The story follows little Steven Universe, a human/alien ‘gem’ and his unusual family consisting of the Crystal Gems; a team of freedom fighting rebels from another planet stranded on Earth to protect it from takeover by the Diamonds. You’ll also meet Greg, Steven’s ex-rock musician human father who still lives in his touring van. Remember British rapper/musician Estelle? Well, you’ll hear her speaking and singing as the character of Garnet. The show has become particularly popular with the LGBT+ community for its diverse representation of love, relationships, identity, mental health and friendship, all of which is additionally reflected in the show’s diverse creative team. And equally, not completely free from fails and controversy.
Trollhunters: Tales from Arcadia
Based on the novel Trollhunters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus, movie genius Del Toro heads up this multi-award winning Netflix Original animation from DreamWorks Animation. In case you didn’t know DreamWorks are the clever folks behind Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and How to Train Your Dragon, so you know you’re onto something good with this team. The story follows James Lake Jr. and his high schooler friends as they stumble upon the world of Troll Market and Arcadia and accidentally become embroiled in the traditions and politics of the Trolls and fighting evil. This series is also one of the final works of young actor, Anton Yelchin as the lead, who sadly passed away in a freak accident in 2016. A handful of the final episodes of the current series feature the also brilliant, Emilie Hirsch in Yelchin’s place.
The Amazing World of Gumball
If you’re into the surreal and sometimes trippy moments of Adventure Time, you’re probably going to dig Gumball. Created by French-English, Ben Bocquelet, The Amazing World of Gumball was the first show to be produced by Cartoon Network Studios Europe, based out of Germany. The main storyline is your standard American style ordinary family scenario a la The Simpsons, except your protagonists are a blue cat called Gumball and his adopted goldfish brother Darwin. Gumball is an incredibly colourful show that mixes just about every possible type of animation style and texture and likes to be very self-aware and experimental whilst maintaining a massive appeal to children.
Star vs. the Forces of Evil
Following on from Steven Universe, here comes the first Disney XD show created by a woman and features a strong female lead and diverse creative team. You may recognise the voice of lead character/princess Star Butterfly as the voice of Sue Heck from sitcom, The Middle and if you have any nerd credentials it’ll make you smile to hear Alan Tudyk on the cast too. The story follows Star, a slightly irregular princess from Mewni as she stumbles around Earth fighting evil (obvs!) whilst trying to figure out humans. The design of Star vs. The Forces of Evil is very harajuku kawaii inspired with tons of nods to subcultures and a very catchy ska-inspired, almost annoying theme song.
Regular Show creator, J.G Quintel got his intro to animation when he won a Nickelodeon short film competition as a film student, he went on to successfully score a long deal with Cartoon Network with this offbeat sitcom format, Regular Show. Essentially It’s Only Sunny in Philidelphia animated, except your leads are a bluejay and a racoon and they work in a park, not a bar. Expect simple scenarios that quickly and consistently escalate into surreal, sci-fi inspired adventures with tons of pop culture references and quotable moments. Inspired by the likes of The Mighty Boosh, The League of Gentlemen (British comedy series), Beavis and Butt-Head and 1980s rock music, Regular Show is anything but ordinary but may be an acquired taste.
You’ll recognise the voice talent behind the Gravity Falls heroes as Kristen Schaal (Flight of the Conchords) and Jason Ritter (The Event) in this cute adventure about The Mystery Shack in the mountain town of Gravity Falls. Creator, Alex Hirsch started his cartoon career down the same path as the majority of the above, working on Thurop Van Orman’s The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack for Cartoon Network. That’s still on our watch list, but for now, check out Gravity Falls on Disney XD for mysteries that run two seasons and run over into a series of graphic novels.
Do you have a cartoon recommendation for us? If you’re looking for more tips on what to watch next you might like our list of 5 Animated Movies to Watch or check out our Film & TV category for the rest of our watchable articles. You can comment below to get involved or drop me a tweet/Instagram note via @JayneKitsch.
Time for another indie brand gift guide! This time I’m going with a solar system or space theme because I’ve seen SO many awesome creations under this umbrella. Whether you’re a science fiction nerd, a science geek or just a lover of black, metallic based prints and patterns I think you’re going to dig what I found this week. To make things even more useful, try wearing my first four suggestions at the same time to go full on themed with your outfit, something that I love to do myself. The Sugar & Vice necklace is the second version of one of their classic designs, I have the original incarnation of this necklace and it’s one of my most worn items! Massive love to all of these amazing shops, designers and creators for continuing to be awesome!
- Solar System Flared Handmade Dress by Silly Old Sea Dog £99
- Handmade Acrylic Solar System Necklace by Sugar & Vice £25
- Solar System Hair Band by Janine Basil £15
- Space and Astronaut Tights by Virivee £21.34
- Space Food Ice Cream or Ice Cream Sandwich from Firebox £6.79
- Space Themed Odds Socks by Many Mornings £7.48
- Kawaii Planets Wrapping Paper by Asking for Trouble £4
- Sterling Silver & Stone Solar System Ring by Rockcakes from £359
I love sharing my internet finds with you, so if you spot any indie designers and makers that you think I would dig or would like to be featured on my site yourself, get in touch! You can email me via my Contact page or get in touch on Twitter or Instagram @JayneKitsch.
I’ve been a Tatty Devine fangirl since the very start and I still miss Lady Luck Rules OK (Leona from Lucky Dip Club’s jewellery brand), indie jewellery has always been something I’ve dug. Whether it’s at a local craft fair, browsing the Etsy or scoping out independent gift shops on my travels, acrylic jewellery is always something that stands out to me. Some girls prefer diamonds and gold, I prefer plastic. I don’t know what that says about me. I do love the endless creativity and colourful creations that acrylic jewellery designers are able to create. As an added bonus, generally the prices of acrylic jewellery are more accessible too, meaning you can add a statement piece to your collection without becoming penniless. Here are just a few of my favourite acrylic jewellery shops that I think you should check out.
Sugar & Vice
If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you should already be familiar with Sugar & Vice. A pretty large chunk of my most worn pieces are from this Canterbury based duo and I love them very much. Sarah and Matt have been collaborating on acrylic jewellery since 2007, so have tons of experience delivering professional quality products with speedy service. They have a brilliant permanent collection of designs of all sizes & styles as well as releasing seasonal collections at least twice a year. You can find out more on their main site or shop via their Etsy too. They also offer custom options and also sell enamel pins and other accessories, they’re very affordable and do run occasional sales, so keep an eye out, there’s one on right now.
This one is especially relevant if you are Scottish or have a love for Scotland, I stumbled upon Bonnie Bling at Renegade Craft Fair in London a few years ago. Based out of Glasgow and founded by graphic designer, Mhairi Mackenzie, Bonnie Bling have been making witty, big and bold acrylic jewellery and other accessories since 2010. Many of the designs are Scottish themed, so will have a special hit of nostalgia there. I love that Bonnie Bling has stuck to a theme and found success with it. Bonnie Bling also offers a custom bridal jewellery service as well as making homewares too.
I Love Crafty
If your aesthetic is more pastel, pretty or kawaii I think you’ll really love I Love Crafty. Based in Bristol, I Love Crafty is the creation of Laura Hunter, an ex-film student who was looking for a creative way to make a living (sounds familiar, haha) she launched her jewellery brand in 2010. Expect shimmery textures, mermaid things and a Disney princess aesthetic with this brand, it may not be for everyone but I dig it. I particularly love the I Love Crafty collaborative pieces with Dutch illustrated brand, Pony People, who also make the most adorable patches, pins and stationary.
This creative duo hail from Valencia in Spain and I’ve been drooling over their designs ever since I found them on Instagram. La Vidriola, which I regularly misspell, is the Spanish word for moneybox. Less established than some of the other brands on this list, they’re quickly growing a following with their limited edition and elaborate designs. You’ll be seeing prices more in line with Tatty Devine with this brand. However, the intricacy and originality of many of their designs helps you justify the spend. I have such a long wish list for this brand, it’s just slightly out of my personal budget, but I hope some of your will love it as much as I do.
Another brand that I’ve followed ever since finding them at a craft fair is Finest Imaginary. The brand is the creation of UK based Kim Lawler, founded in 2007. What started out as a focus on acrylic jewellery has now expanded into homewares, patches and enamel pins, all taking inspiration from the natural world and the simple pleasures of life. I’m still smiling about how fun her acrylic burger coaster set is, especially complete with its packaging. Clever lady, show her some love!
There are plenty more acrylic jewellery businesses out there that I LOVE, you’ll find some more in my Indie Love category or by using the search bar. If you spot one that you don’t think I’ve featured before, leave me a comment or get in touch via email or @JayneKitsch on Twitter or Instagram.
Here’s another brand that I can’t even tell you how I found them, it was another stumble upon on Instagram style story and I instantly fell in love. La Vidriola are based in Valencia in Spain, but ship worldwide, they’re made up of Pablo & Blanca, essentially a Spanish version of the awesome Sugar & Vice but with their own look and aesthetic. I haven’t shopped with these guys yet, but the wishlist is as long as my S&V list.
Scroll to the end for a cheeky discount code…
Ok, so the blog has been a bit slow of late. I’ve been pondering a lot of things and trying to figure out my next direction. I’ve written some articles about it, but I haven’t published them anywhere just yet. So, I felt like I could use this space as a way to promote indie brands, shops, creators…etc, just like I used to so often back in the day. Creativity is important to me, being creative is hard work and having a creative business is even trickier.
I kinda feel a bit weird about Black Friday and Cyber Monday being a thing in the UK now which is supposed to be the post-Thanksgiving sales, it is just a big marketing excuse for companies to make more money and genuinely fuels a bit of insanity of people buying pointless stuff that they don’t really need. However, it’s not just the big corporate brands out there that are taking part now, so I wanted to take some time to highlight some of the small, indie and alt brands that are out there that would appreciate your money quite a bit more than those big companies.