Hi everyone!

As part of my photography course, I have to track my development on a blog. The posts from September 2011 until January 2012 are part of a module called Project Management, for which I was required to work in a group of eight students to create an exhibition. The blog followed every step we took in order to create a successful gallery. The blog posts starting from September 2012 follow my final year on the course. I'll be documenting my research and analysis of my final year projects, as well as include notes of my Professional Practice unit - which prepares us for a range of post graduate options. Finally it also looks at a project called New Creatives, where I'll be working alongside an artists to help college students get more involved with art.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Arriving in Australia

You know when you think of Australia, you think about beautiful sunsets, kangaroos, koalas, white sandy beaches, beautiful landscapes, the Great Barrier Reef etc. Well I haven't seen any of that yet.. except beautiful sunsets. I had all these unrealistic expectations of how different Australia would be, but  arriving in Melbourne isn't anywhere near the Great Barrier Reef or in the outback etc. Melbourne is beautiful though.

We arrived last Wednesday and it was the most beautiful day to arrive on. It was 26 degrees and sunny and spring! Spring started on the 1st of September, instead of the usual 21st. We arrived at about 7 in the morning so had the whole day to get stuff done. We're staying with Kevin's step-sister, who has been incredibly nice to us and has helped us out with absolutely everything! On the first day we managed to activate our bank account so they could send us our cards (which ended up going to the UK.... ??) we got a simcard and an Australia number, we got a Myki card (for the metro) we wanted to register with medicare (they had a problem with me being dutch but having come from the UK...) we went to the South Melbourne Market (which was aaaamazing) and I think that might have been it for the first day. Luckily we didn't suffer from any jetlag since singapore is only a 2 hour time difference, but we were still pretty exhausted by the end of the day!

We're staying in the southern part of the city, although it doesn't actually feel like you're in the city. We're about a 10 min walk from everything, which is the perfect location! A 10 min walk to the left is Melbourne market and Coles (the grocery store). The South Melbourne Market is amazing, it's open on Wednesday and Friday-Sunday and it's literally got EVERYTHING - fruit, veg, shoes, clothes, make-up, meat, bread, pasta, chemists, etc etc. And everything is fresh as well! Melbourne is pretty pricey, although if you look for the deals it isn't so bad. £1 equals AUS$1.7 so everything LOOKS more expensive, but when you convert it back to pounds it's a lot more bearable. We bought a whole bag of pasta for only $1, so I think we'll survive. A 10 min walk up brings you to Flinders street, this area is where all the shops are. There are a lot of shops that I know, but a few are new to me. Cotton On is my new favourite shop. It isn't too expensive and the stuff is super comfy! There are also Subways around every corner, so I'm sure I'll be able to get a job somewhere!

On the second day we went on our first flat viewing. The system here is very different from the UK. Instead of setting a time with the estate agent to view the place, they have open 'inspections'. Everyone who is interested will go to the same inspection. It's a bit terrifying because all these people are your competition. For the first viewing it was us, and two other couples interested. At the end when you're interested in the place, you can't just say 'Ok I'll have it' and pay the bond (deposit), you actually have to hand in an application and then the land lord will decide who they like best! So basically, you can apply for 10 flats, and get rejected from all of them... It's pretty stressful. So far we've seen 6 places, both in the centre of the city and to the south, and applied for two. We actually managed to get accepted by the first application we handed in! We viewed the place on Wednesday, handed our forms back on Thursday morning and by that evening we heard we were accepted!! Panic over, now we just have to get jobs....

We've both been applying for a quite a few jobs focussing on our studies. I have applied for four studio assistant jobs and am just waiting to hear back. Now that we know where we're going to be living, I'll also be able to apply at subway and other food places, just to get me going until I get a photography related job. Once we've settled into our own place, we can start thinking about doing some more touristy things, but at the moment we just need to focus on getting a job!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Singapore 2

 On the second full day we went up Bukit Timah Summit, the highest point in Singapore. My dad was very happy to announce that there is in fact a country where the highest point is lower than Holland's highest point. Although it was incredibly steep! Instead of taking the easy route, we took a path which was a bit more adventurous and went right though the rainforest. We saw some HUGE ants, about 3cm big. Creepy. We also saw some super cute monkeys! They were right at the start, literally hanging around. They got really close the to path and were obviously expecting some food. The rainforest was beautiful. It was an incredibly humid day, and the path had really steep, uneven stairs. I don't think I'd ever been that sweaty!! Once you get to the top, you're not rewarded with a beautiful viewing point, you're surrounded by trees! But it was definitely a great, exhausting, sweaty walk!

 After a lot of relaxation and swimming and cooling down, we went to Little India, which is hectic! There were men EVERYWHERE, just aimlessly wandering the streets. It was just packed with people so it was very hard to take photos. There were little stalls everywhere selling things, like these beautiful flower necklaces. It was great to walk around, but because it was in the evening, it was too busy. We ended up going back the following day and it was a bit quieter.
 We also went out for dinner in Little India. This was actually a proper restaurant - something we hadn't been to before in Singapore. The food wasn't served on a plate but on a banana leaf. There was so much food! The first thing I ate was super spicy, and for the rest of the meal that hot tingling burning feeling was with me. Nothing could cool it down! The food was absolutely amazing though, I think the photo only shows the starters. By the time all the food arrived, you couldn't see the table anymore.
 The next day Kevin and I just went out by ourselves. We decided to go back to China Town since we didn't see all of it the first time. It was a weekday now so a little bit emptier. I ended up buying some beautiful scarves and some nail polish for very very cheap. The singapore dollar is about twice as much as the pound, so $10 was only £5.
 China town is one of my favourite places in Singapore. It was really bright and colourful with lovely little shops everywhere selling everything! The food was also delicious.

We also went back to Little India, but unfortunately I didn't take any more photos there.

 After Little India we decided to go back to Marina Bay Sands, where the weird boat building is and the Merlion. It was a very different site during the day, but equally unbelievable. Towards the left of the photo you can see the clouds getting a bit grey, there were DARK grey clouds coming our way, so we went into a shopping centre to stay dry, but it ended up never raining! (It did rain massively before, but we were in the metro when that happened).

That evening we went to a seafood place. Duck is also considered seafood....! It was delicious, like all the other food we had! And as you can tell from the photo, we thoroughly enjoyed it.

On the last evening we went to the beach front. I didn't have my tripod with me to taking photos was very hard. This photo had an exposure of 1 second and I was able to hold it completely still. I'm very impressed with that! Anyway when you look out, you can just see a line of lights. You'd think it would be land, but it's just boats! It was the strangest thing.

Finally, here is a photo of Marine Bay during the day and night. It's a huge difference!! Much more glamorous at night. I really enjoyed singapore. I thought it was a million times better than Dubai and I'd LOVE to go back!! Even if it was just to taste the food. I was quite surprised because I didn't find it very expensive. Once you've got the (really easy) conversion rate it your head, you'll start to realise everything is very cheap. Especially in china town!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Singapore is beautiful.

We arrived in Singapore on the 30th of August in the evening and stayed with some family friends. This is another place where you just have to get used to the fact you'll be sweaty... all the time. It's around 33 degrees, but the humidity is 74%! It feels extremely hot, and when the air conditioning is on 26 degrees celcius, it feels cool. Similar to Dubai, there is a huge difference between the inside air and outside air as most places have air conditioning on full blast. It starts off being really nice and cool, but quickly becomes too cold! Other than that, it's NOTHING like Dubai. Singapore is a lot more real. Dubai was very American and fake with lots of walk ways and construction sites.

On the first night we went to get some food in the Singapore equivalent of a pub. It looked a bit dodgy, and in England you'd never go to a place like that! So it was incredibly surprising that it was the most delicious food ever, I think it was called Prata's! That was the start of our food adventures.....

On the first full day we went to a food market. It was incredibly busy and extremely hot, so definitely something we had to get used to. The market sold all sorts of things: durians (extremely smelly fruit), fish balls, fish heads... just normal things.... We brought home some strange looking fruits, including dragon fruit, ramboutan, custard apple and mangosteen to try. It all looked a bit strange, but it tasted nice!

After a quick swim to cool down, we started our journey into the city centre. We first had some coconut soup with all sorts of stuff in it called Laksa. It was pretty spicy and had some random things in it, but it was very tasty. We also had some lime juice. Lime juice is a really popular drink in Singapore, and they seem to sell it everywhere, we've literally had it everywhere. Some places sell fresh lime juice, which is quite sour, whereas other places just sell lime cordial which is very sweet.

This was followed by a quick visit to an indian temple. You had to take off your shoes outside before you could enter, but the ground was BOILING hot, so the 5 steps from where you left your shoes and to temple entrance was painful.. The temple was beautiful, it was very colourful and had some very interesting things in it. We then went on to view St Andrews Chapel.

Next we walked past Boat Quay on our way to China Town. It was strange to see the contrast between the small little colourful houses and restaurants compared to the sky scrapers.

China town was one of my favourites places, and I actually ended up going there twice! It looks quite modern in the photo due to the roof, but if you look at the buildings on the edges of the photo, you can see the chinese architecture. It had lots of little shops selling all sorts of pretty things and also had some great food places. On my second trip to China Town I bought 2 beautiful scarves for $10 (£5ish) and some nail polishes. The food we had there was (again) AMAZING. We had a plate of honeyed pork and spring rolls. Yum.

After China Town we went back home to relax and cool down, before going back into the city to get some food and see some more things. We went to a place called Lau Pa Sat, which is kind of like a food market. The street had been blocked off for a seating area and this is where they have the best satay! It was amazing.. again. The food was delicious but the atmosphere made it even better. Since the sun was down, the temperate was also a lot more comfortable.

After that we went to Marine Bay. This is where the strange boat building is and the Singapore flyer (looks like the London Eye). We made it just in time for the light show! It was such an unrealistic site. I've seen so many photos of this building online, but never actually thought I'd see it myself! It's the strangest building I've ever seen. The light show was beautiful, I did take a video of it which I'll post over the next couple of days.

That's it for the first full day! We ate so much food and had so much lime juice! Tried so many different things! It was incredible.