Art & Exhibitions, Time to talk

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up at the V&A Museum

Kahlo has been dubbed the original selfie queen.

quotation taken from Sponsor’s Foreword by Craig McWilliam from p9, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up published by V&A Publishing, 2018

Frida Kahlo has always intrigued me. She is someone I had heard of but knew very little about except that she was a famous artist who created self-portraits full of colour and beauty. So when a friend offered to take me to the V&A Museum to see an exhibition celebrating this unusual artist, I jumped at the chance.

I am incredibly drawn to colour. The bolder and brighter the better and Frida Kahlo is one that seems to have embraced that within her life. I knew that she had, rather sadly, died young and I have come across some of her more famous work from time to time but otherwise my knowledge has been sketchy. This wonderful exhibition has completely changed that. It has been expertly curated, bringing together her work alongside some truly fascinating personal items of Frida’s. It really helps to bring to the life the artist behind the art. Her work was always deeply personal, an extension of her most intimate self and so it seems fitting that it should be presented to us now in such a manner.

In 1954, following her death, Frida Kahlo’s possessions were locked away in the Casa Azul (Blue House) in Mexico City, her lifelong home. Half a century later, her collection of clothing, jewellery, cosmetics and other personal items was rediscovered.

quotation taken from, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up published by V&A Publishing, 2018

Frida Kahlo’s life was filled with pain, ill health and massive obstacles to overcome and yet she was able to fully embrace her love of life, beauty and passion.  She used art to radically change the way we see the world, examining our sense of self and the world around us.  Her self-portraits are haunting and although she painted many, each one has a different feeling, a different message to convey.

As with many of Kahlo’s art works, the power of the self-portrait lies in its sense of anguish and a tense ambiguity about who is regarding whom

quotation taken from p13, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up published by V&A Publishing, 2018

As a child she suffered from Polio which left her disabled and then in her late teens an accident involving a tram left her bedridden for a year with injuries that would plague her for the rest of her life.  This is when she began to explore her artistic side and reinvented herself despite her disabilities.

Her imagine was completely of her own making, Frida herself becoming a work of art as well as the practical purpose of hiding her disabilities. Although battered and bruised she celebrated her body and turned it into a platform to exhibit her art, be it through the beautiful, bright clothes she chose to wear, the flowers taken from her garden and worn in her hair or the paintings she decorated her body casts with, Kahlo sought to bring beauty to everything.

The exhibition is interesting, full of information and fascinating relics. Visually stunning, at times it took my breath away with the colour, the stature, the intimacy. Her art was an expression of herself but also a way for her to explore her heritage, her gender, her political beliefs, and her broken body. There is so much to read into her work and the objects that we are now fortunate enough to see.

Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up offers a fresh perspective on the life story of this extraordinary artist, whose charisma and powerful sense of style continue to captivate. Specially commissioned photographs show her distinctive Mexican outfits along with her self-portraits, an unprecedented pairing that is enriched by iconic images of the artist.

quotation taken from, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up published by V&A Publishing, 2018

The accompanying book, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up is full of fascinating essays and stunning photography. If you can’t make it to the exhibition then I recommend this as a brilliant substitute. If you are lucky enough to be be able to visit then allow yourself plenty of time to immerse yourself in the exhibits. Don’t miss a thing. And do take home the book if you can. It adds another dimension to what you see within the exhibition and allows you to study it in your own time.  It not only gives greater depth to the exhibition but gives a fascinating background to the world and time that Frida lived in.

Visiting the V&A and witnessing this exhibition has allowed me to see so much more of Frida Kahlo.  I was touched by a great deal within the exhibition and the book is allowing an even greater insight.  She was incredibly talented and incredibly courageous.  Her life was short but her time still fills our world with colour, beauty and the desire to question and look within; to not only know ourselves better but to strive to be the very best, most enquiring, courageous, openminded and beautiful versions of ourselves.

The exhibition, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up, will be running at the V&A Museum until Sunday 4th of November.  Tickets cost £15 but entry is free to members.

You can purchase a copy of the accompanying book, Frida Kahlo: Making Her Self Up direct from the V&A at a special exhibition price by clicking here.

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Blog Tour, Middle Grade Fiction, Time to talk

My Dad, The Earth Warrior by Gary Haq

Today I’m delighted to be taking part on both Tales Before Bedtime and Tales Before Bedtime Juniors in the blog tour for My Dad, The Earth Warrior by Gary Haq.  I’m particularly honoured today because it is not only publication day but is also World Environment Day.  Now this is a children’s book and normally I would review books for children on Tales Before Bedtime Juniors (previously Story Makers) but I wanted to share this here too to mark the fact that it is World Environment Day and it’s a great book too. 🙂

My Dad, The Earth Warrior is funny, insightful, unique and full of fantastic illustrations.  Not only is it fun to read but it’s also full of important messages and touches on issues that young children have to deal with today from grief, loneliness to concerns about fitting in.

Hero’s dad hasn’t been quite the same since his mum passed away.  He disappears into books leaving Hero feeling a little lost and at times forgotten.  He wants his dad back but things go from bad to worse when a bookshelf collapses leaving his dad with a rather large bump on his head, his memory lost and convinced that he is an Earth Warrior who must do whatever it takes to help mother earth and the fight against a ruthless energy tycoon.  Much to Hero’s horror it seems to involve being naked quite a lot.  Follow Hero as he tries to keep things together AND keep his dad somewhat clothed.

This is a book that celebrates knowledge and how being aware gives us power and the ability to change things for the better.  It is also a book that will make you think twice about the impact each one of us has on the world today.  Yes, we can change the world.

This is a super book to share with emerging readers and newly independent readers too.  It’s fun to read but it’s also a great book to raise awareness with our children about the environment, the world we live in and the impact we have on it.  But that’s enough from me… here is a little more about the book and some words of wisdom from the author himself.

My Dad, the Earth Warrior - coverHero is an ordinary boy who wants nothing more than to have a normal dad. But Dad is only interested in reading his books and filling his head with useless facts. Then one day Dad has a freak accident and wakes up claiming to be an Earth Warrior sent to protect the land from a ruthless energy tycoon. Hero is forced to go along with Dad’s new personality. 

But when Gran mysteriously disappears, Hero and Dad embark on a dangerous adventure. Can Hero save Gran and get his old dad back before it’s too late? 

My Dad, the Earth Warrior is a heart-warming tale of a boy and his dad who reconnect their distant relationship and set out together on a mission to save Mother Earth. It is a story of personal growth, environment and discovering the warrior spirit that lies in all of us – written with humour sure to make children laugh out loud. 

Written by leading human ecologist Gary Haq and publishing to coincide with World Environment Day, the book addresses issues of our changing climate, heatwaves, flooding and the need for action in an engaging way which will inspire all young readers to be eco-warriors. 

So how can you become an Earth Warrior?  Here are Gary’s tips…

Gary Haq
Gary Haq, author of My Dad, the Earth Warrior


How to be an Earth Warrior!

Today is both World Environment Day and the official release day of my children’s book, My Dad the Earth Warrior. This is a story about the relationship between a boy called Hero and his Dad who have grown apart since the death of his mother. One day Dad has a freak accident and wakes up claiming to be an earth warrior sent to protect Mother Earth…

The Earth is our mother, our life-support system, our home. We depend on it for the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat. It provides us with shelter and warmth and all the materials that allow us to live our lives to the full. We need to take care of it, protect it, and make sure it’s in good shape, not only for ourselves but for future generations. We can all be earth warriors and take action to protect Mother Earth, so why not join the tribe and become one yourself? Here are some handy tips on how you too can be an earth warrior! 

SWITCH OFF 

Turn off lights and electrical appliances when not in use. This saves money on electricity bills and reduces your carbon footprint too!

CLEAN YOUR PLATE
Food waste has a big impact on climate change. If it ends up in a landfill site, it will rot and release methane (a damaging greenhouse gas) into the environment. So, only take what you need and finish your plate. 

TURN DOWN THE HEAT
If you’re cold, wrap up and put on a jumper rather than turning the thermostat up. This saves energy and carbon. 

GROW YOUR OWN 

Growing your own fruits and vegetables will help prevent CO2 emissions from trucks, planes and ships that your bring your food from far away. 

PLANT A TREE 

Planting a tree can help remove CO2 from the atmosphere and help tackle climate change. 

REDUCE 

Reduce the waste you produce in your daily life. For example, by using a refillable water bottle or cup rather than buying a new plastic bottle each time. 

RECYCLE AND REUSE 

Recycle your waste and think about using second-hand items or swapping things you no longer want rather than buy new. 

WALK, CYCLE OR TAKE THE BUS
If it’s safe, then consider walking, cycling and taking the bus for short trips rather than going by car. 

SAVE WATER 

Consider how much water you need when washing and brushing your teeth. Try not to waste any by leaving the tap running too long. 

SPREAD THE WORD
Encourage your friends, family, neighbours and teachers to do their bit and become earth warriors too! 

***

Gary Haq is an earth warrior whose day job is saving the planet. He is an associate researcher at a prestigious global environmental think tank and a research scientist at a European research centre. He tries his best to be the change he wants to see in the world and hopes to inspire others with his stories. When he’s not involved in his own eco-adventures, he likes to write, read, learn languages and explore new cultures. Gary lives with his wife and young daughter, and spends his time between York, England and Laveno, Italy. 

It’s been such a pleasure hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for My Dad, the Earth Warrior and I thoroughly recommend sharing this book with your young readers today. This is our world and it is important we look after it and teach our children to do the same.  Looking at Gary’s advice I can honestly say that I am well on my way to being an earth warrior too.  I love this planet and its beauty fills me with joy every single day.  If we each do our best to do just these little things, then I believe we can all make a big difference.

There is so much more I could write about this book and the subject matter but for now I urge you to take a look at this fantastic book, Gary’s website and World Environment Day by clicking on the links below.

Discover more about Gary by visiting his website here: www.garyhaqwrites.com 

Follow Gary on Twitter: @drgaryhaq 

He’s also on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/garyhaqauthor

Find out more about World Environment Day: www.worldenvironmentday.global 

I’m absolutely delighted to be able to include a sample from My Dad, the Earth Warrior.  Just click on the link below:

Sample_from_MyDadtheEarthWarrior_Gary_Haq_

Thank you to Gary and Hannah Cooper for inviting me to review My Dad, the Earth Warrior.

If you haven’t taken a look at Tales Before Bedtime Juniors yet then why not take a look now and maybe give me a cheeky little follow. 🙂

 

Time to talk

Tales Before Bedtime for Children becomes Story Makers…

For some time now I have been posting articles and book reviews for both children’s  and adult books on this blog but in an effort to make both sites easier to navigate for you, my reader, I have decided to move all my children’s activity to my Story Makers blog.   This will be the home for all my reviews for children’s, teen and young adult books plus information on my Story Makers Creative Writing and Storytelling Workshops.  I do hope you’ll follow my journey – literally, please click the link above and hit the follow button to the right 🙂

My aim is simply to share my love of books and stories that I hope inspire both children and adults to read.  Along the way I plan to introduce you and celebrate many wonderful authors and their stories.  And maybe even share one or two of my own.

Time to talk

International Women’s Day- A celebration of me – a woman. :)

Today is international Women’s Day.  It’s a day to celebrate women.  I am one of those.  I’m not a man. I’m not gender-neutral.  I’m a woman. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.  I am proud, sensitive and caring.  A nest-builder, a loving parent, a go-getter and a dreamer.  I’m ambitious and I want all my dreams to come true.  I work hard yet can be lazy as hell. I love anything that sparkles, brightness,  flowers and the colour purple.

I am strong and brave yet can feel weak and fearful.  I love watching ballet and listening to classical music,  a bit of Ed Sheeran or the Foo Fighters.  I adore chickflicks but also Die Hard,  Lord of the Rings, The Matrix and The Bourne Trilogies to name but a few.  I am independent,  capable of getting the job done but it’s also great to be taken care of once in a while.  I want to be treated with respect and I love it when a guy holds a door open for me or my husband walks on the road side of the pavement.  I love chivalry and am also chivalrous.

I am different and yet have many of the same hopes, dreams and fears as anyone.   Don’t ever tell me ‘I can’t’ because I’m a woman – tell me ‘I can’ because of who I am. I’m blessed to have in my life some truly wonderful inspiring people, male and female but for today to all the ladies out there, young or old – live your life, never stop reaching towards your dreams, you are amazing just the way you are and never, ever let anyone make you believe otherwise or tell you ‘you can’t’.

DSC_0033     pippi