Check out my 'step-granny' Peggy setting her new Guinness World Record at 104!!


Should sustainable design be promoted as being 'green'???

A nightclub with an average of 180,000 visitors per year consumes approximately 380,000kWh annually. To put this into perspective, an average UK household will have an annual consumption of 4,700kWh annually.
Society puts huge pressure on the population to reduce energy and waste at home but when it comes to going out and having fun it tends to be the last thing on our minds. Given that one night club is the equivalent of 80 households according to the figures above it looks like it is something we should put considerable effort into. But does the responsibility lie with the customers to make better decisions or is it down to the design of the venue itself? A designer has the power to manipulate the user group into being more ‘green’ with or without their consent.
‘Green’ themed design has become a common feature within contemporary interiors and architecture, and is often advertised as a selling point to promote business within a building, manipulating users into opting for a ‘greener’ choice, promoting themselves as a good thing for the environment. However, is this really an attractive option when it comes to having fun on a night out? And, what sort of people would buy into it?
I posed the question to some anonymous opinionated bloggers on an international blogging forum:
‘If you were going to see your favourite band or artist at a venue, would it make any difference to you whether the venue itself was designed to have zero carbon footprint? Would you still go even if you knew that the event would have a high carbon footprint? ‘
The general opinion was that, when it comes to environmental and sustainable issues, most people would spend a little extra and sometime go out of their way to be more environmentally friendly for things in their normal routine at home and for instance, food shopping. But if their favourite band is playing, whilst they would be glad to know if they were doing something good for the environment, they would go to see them regardless of the impact it made on the world. Its all about seeing their favourite artist and having a good time.
Two separate surveys show that firstly, the user group least likely to buy eco-friendly products are females aged 18-20 (women over 50 are most likely), and secondly, whilst people aged 25-34 are more knowledgeable about the scientific facts and their own impact on the environment, their green activity is much lower than people in higher age brackets.
 ICOM’s survey shows that women are at both ends of the spectrum. Women over-50 are the most likely to buyeco-friendly products(75% of the people in this group would do so).On the other hand, women ages 18-20 are the least likely to buy such products (19%). ‘
‘Green Living Pulse shows the knowledge foes not always lead to behaviour. Individuals who answered all of the science questions correctly did report participating in a significantly higher average number of green activities-such as driving a fuel-efficient car or lowering their thermostat. However, the 25-34 age group consistently answered the question correctly, yet, on average, their green activity levels were lower than those of older respondants.’
Whilst the venue will be suitable for all adults, the main age group it will be aimed will be 18 to 34 year olds. With the younger part of this group being used to the budget culture of the recession and older members being conditioned by the disposable culture of the eighties, it’s a tough audience when it comes to ‘green’ issues.
There is hope for a ’greener’ music industry in the form of organisations such as Julie’s Bicycle. Established in 2007, Julie’s Bicycle is a non-profit company which provides training, research papers and guidance for the UK music industry as well as other arts and creative industries. They have developed a scheme called Industry Green which provides certification for venues, festivals and offices as well as CD packaging.
In order to create a successful design, it must be well-suited to its user group. The main purpose of a live music venue is to create the best experience for both the audience and the performers. How ‘green’ can you make the design of a venue without detracting from the experience? Should it be a bold statement or subtle adjustments within the design?
What do you think? Please feel free to comment.


Driverless Cars

I can't make my mind up about the concept driverless cars in the future.
On the one hand wouldn't it be great to be able to jump into your own vehicle and watch your favourite programmes on T.V. on your way into work. Or read the paper. Or send those emails you were supposed to send yesterday. In that respect it would give you 'more time'.
Also, no having to queue for expensive taxis after a night out, or worry about if you've had to much to drink when it comes to driving home. I like the idea of travelling in the comfort of your own transportation pod and not having to travel on public transport (I HATE public transport), being able to stop when you like and take a detour when necessary, or even turn and go back if you've forgotten something.
Not to mention the energy saving they claim you will make with a driverless car = cheaper and better for the environment and of course the safety claims of eliminated human error in driving.
So, yes, I can see the benefits.
However, I LOVE DRIVING! I absolutely adore my little car and love driving around and being in control of the vehicle and going a little bit too fast and breaking a bit too late and feeling ALIVE! 
I grew up being taken from car show to car show, reading car magazines and watching Top Gear. Cars are EXCITING! What could we possibly replace the act of driving with, if the future threatens its existence??? Any ideas??? What will replace that sound of a purring petrol engine when we have all been forced to have electric vehicles???
Who knows what the future holds, but I say make the most out of driving while we still can!


Amazing Street Art

Just came across this website which is a collection of street art - some of it is so good! 

Learning to create Photo-Realistic visuals

I have just finished the second year of my degree, during which I started to learn how to use photorealistic rendering programmes for some of my design assignments. By first constructing the building and interiors in Google Sketch-up, I then used rendering plug ins to create these finishes. 
I started off using a free demo version of a program called Twilight Render, and then a managed to get hold of a copy of V-Ray. As a complete beginner I'm very pleased with the results (especially as I taught myself and had no help!), and hope to continue to improve.
These are some of the images I created. Feel free to critique!!

Summer at the Barn

So far this summer I've been having a lovely time staying with my Aunt and Uncle and cousins in Suffolk. Just some pics I've taken so far in the garden....

TRY THIS.......

I have a tooth for all things bad - chocolate, biscuits, cake, pastry, batter, etc., and most food that is supposed to be healthy and good for you tastes incredibly boring to me.
However, this recipe for the healthiest meal ever (it's a medium curry) is really tasty and definitely worth a try!

World's Healthiest Meal

INGREDIENTS (serves 4)
  • 20g coriander, chopped
  • 200g fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 2 tbsp freshly grated ginger
  • 3/4 tsp salt or to taste
  • 500g low-fat Greek yoghurt
  • 4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1tsp chilli powder
  • 500g of chicken breast, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • 1 tsp garam masala


  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 grated carrot
  • 1 cup Basmati rice
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 50g goji berries
  • Handful of peas

1. Blend the chopped coriander, blueberries, ginger and salt with 500g of low-fat Greek yoghurt, and set aside.
2. Place the chopped garlic into a saucepan with the olive oil and heat on a low-medium flame until the garlic starts to turn brown - this should take no longer than one or two minutes. Add the turmeric, mix well and heat through for 20 seconds. Mix in the ground cinnamon and chilli powder and cook for a further 20 seconds.
3. Add the chopped chicken breast, and seal, stirring frequently - this should take no more than five minutes. Now slowly pour the yoghurt mixture, mixing into the chicken, and bring to a simmer on a low heat. Simmer for 10 minutes uncovered, stirring from time to time. Mix through the garam masala and garnish with extra coriander.
4. To cook the pilau place the cumin seeds and olive oil into a saucepan and heat on a low-medium flame until the seeds begin to pop - about three minutes. Fry the onion and cook until soft. Then add the turmeric powder, stir and heat for 20 seconds and add one grated carrot. Cook for two minutes.
5. Place the onion mixture, basmati rice, pinch of salt and the 1 3/4 cups of boiling water into a large microwaveable bowl and mix with a fork. Cook uncovered in the microwave for 4 minutes (700W), 3 1/2 minutes (800W) or 3 minutes (900W). Mix and cook for a further 4 minutes (700W), 3 1/2 minutes(800W) or 3 minutes (900W). Finally cover and continue to cook for 4 minutes (700W), 3 1/2 minutes (800W) or 3 minutes (900W).
6. To finish add the goji berries and peas and let stand covered for 10 minutes. Fluff the pilau with a fork, and serve.