26th July 2017
One of the days in Asturias, after landing and meeting Kevin in his home city, was spent in Gijón after just a short train journey from Oviedo! We were soon winding our way from the train station down to what promised to be a gorgeous shoreline, but not before we stopped for a pincho (a small bite to eat) in a bar on the way.
After one of the most delicious sandwiches I’ve ever eaten in my life (seriously), we were soon down by the harbour in all it’s sunny glory!
My first look at the northern coast
This rabid pigeon wanted our food
A closer look over the bay
We wandered first around the bay to the site of the old city, where a big green tree sculpture revealed itself to be made of hundreds of empty cider bottles – only in Asturias! From here, we went back on ourselves a little as Kevin wanted to show me another section of the shoreline, and so we wandered through the gorgeous little streets of the center of Gijón.
The cider bottle tree
A very pretty facade
Through the archway
Once we’d made our way down the centre street in the above photo, a very unexpected and awesome sight greeted us – a huge golden beach! It was full of people enjoying the hot and sunny weather, and I was quite surprised as I hadn’t expected to see sandy beaches in the north.
A view over the beach
Instead of heading out onto the sand however, we took a left turn, wandered past a coastal church, and wound up beginning our way up an incline. As we crested the views over the sea just kept getting better and better – I hadn’t realised we were heading onto a high natural jetty which gave nearly 360° views over the coastline!
A kooky little resort on the coast
A view from a little further up
Three lamp posts and the sea
As we hit the summit of this piece of land I suddenly became aware that I had managed to let my arms and face burn in the sun – the cool coastal breeze had tricked me into thinking that the sun wasn’t as hot as it actually was. I pushed on anyway and it was worth it, as a big sculpture loomed into view which is aptly named Elogio del Horizonte, or “Compliment to the Horizon”.
Where the sky meets the sea
After this we descended back down to near where we’d began our exploration of the coast, and I picked up an ice cream on the way. We were soon back in the square by the harbour, where we’d arranged to meet our friend Sara who was also in England with Kevin during their Erasmus year! It was lovely to all be reunited again after all the evenings we’d spent in England drinking and talking about how we were going to meet up in Spain one day – seems like that day came quicker than we all expected!
Back down the harbour
The troublesome trio
To take it easy and chill out, we all headed back on to the harbour to grab some cider (no surprise there) and I had my first go at decanting it from the bottle into the glass from a height of a meter or more – it’s not as easy as it looks!
Here we go…
A lovely place for a cider
Some colourful stairs along the way
After this we headed to check out Semana Negra, a literary festival dedicated to dark crime mystery and noir stories. Accompanying the celebrations were a huge market, a fully-fledged amusement park on the coast, and plenty of stalls to grab a quick beer and soak up the atmosphere – something we sure as hell did!
Traversing the fair
All too soon it was getting late and the time came to bid Gijón and Sara goodbye, but I have a feeling it was more of a “see you soon” – I was enchanted by Gijón just as I was with Oviedo. Next time, however, I’ll bring suncream…
24th July 2017
Just this Thursday gone, and after first moving to Leeds to start my adventure four years ago, the day of my graduation finally came – 20th July 2017. This meant an early morning for the Briggs family, as we all grumpily stirred from our beds at about 6am in order to pick up my tickets and get my gown on ready for the ceremony starting at 9:30am sharp.
Compulsory photograph in gown
After briefly catching up with everyone as they enrobed and ran about to take photos, I soon found myself out in the queue to enter the Great Hall with fellow graduands. My parents found a seat near the back, and after a few embarrassing photos which they tottered up to the front to take, our tutors entered and the ceremony began.
My view of the ceremony
One by one we were called onto stage to receive our certificate and a congratulations from one of the key professors in the School of Design, before returning to our seats and eventually being applauded out of the main entrance to the Grand Hall. Degrees in hand, it was time for another few photos in between the spells of patchy rain which didn’t manage to dampen our day one bit – we were all in giddy high spirits and I noted how the folder with my degree certificate in it was the most expensive umbrella I’d ever used!
There were a tonne of photos taken but there’s only one real serious one which I am happy with – I opted not to bother with professional photography of the day but I think this one taken by my dad is probably much better than anything I’d have had taken in a studio.
My favourite portrait of the day
As I said, the rain seemed to only heighten our jovial spirit, and hence I present to you a few photos of us all goofing around and using the hoods of our gowns as actual hoods. Hogwarts connotations aside (we all look like we’re in Slytherin, everyone kept noting), they actually worked pretty well to keep our hair dry…
These hoods are somewhat droopy
The best poses
Pretty soon we all had to go our own separate ways, with people having lunches and all sorts of things to attend to, and so me and my dad wandered off to the library to take one final portrait in the beautiful setting of the Brotherton Library – I figured I should have one where I look somewhat scholarly or something…
Malfoy in the library
After disrobing and trundling back to our car through yet more rain, we eventually checked into our hotel for the night and headed out for some snacks, before making our way to Ox Club for a delicious dinner. After this we went out for cocktails as a family, but I managed to catch half an hour with the rest of the gang before heading back to the hotel to sleep after a long day.
Our pretty little hotel
It was a really lovely day, with an atmosphere of celebration and good fun not dampened at all by the sub-par weather which had been threatening to make us all miserable. It was pretty amazing to see such a huge formal event run like clockwork, and it felt like a lovely closing to these past four years which have taken me halfway around the globe and then some!
In the meantime I have updated my CV with my degree result, and am currently working my way through more photos from my trip to Asturias which began with my last blog post about my time in the wonderful city of Oviedo. Stay tuned!
22nd July 2017
As spontaneous as ever, and a mere 8 days before my graduation, last week I ended up jetting out to Spain for a week! After a gruelling day spent hitching a lift to Burnley train station, two trains to Liverpool, a quick wander and then a bus journey to the airport, I flew out from Liverpool John Lennon Airport to Aeropuerto Adolfo Suarez Madrid-Barajas (yes, it is a ridiculously long name for an airport). I didn’t stay for long in Madrid however, as I was soon on a bus up to Oviedo, Kevin’s home city where he’d recently returned to from Leeds.
After a reunion in the bus station, I met Kevin’s parents who had kindly come to pick me up and drop me off at their family apartment in the city. Having been awake on the bus for the entirety of the journey from Madrid to the north, I must admit that my first impressions of Asturias (the area in which Oviedo sits) were somewhat skeptical – there’s a tunnel where you enter under clear skies surrounded by arid slopes, and exit into another land of fog, rain, greenery, and a temperature that’s ten degrees colder than when you first entered the tunnel five minutes before. It’s quite a shock!
After a quick wander round the city it soon became evident that we were both tired, and so headed back home after a gorgeous meal of croquettes, patatas bravas, and a lovely mix of meat called picadillo – I even tried my first traditional hand-poured Asturian cider!
The next day we were greeted by a bit more sun and I really got to appreciate the city a bit more – starting with the view from Kevin’s flat. After this I grabbed my camera and we went for a proper few hours exploring the city…
A view over Oviedo
We spent most of the morning exploring the old centre of the city, with gorgeous streets flanked by pretty little balconets. The centre of the area seemed to revolve around a big open square which housed the cathedral, a beautiful structure with intricate wood and stone carvings adorning its facade.
I love a good balconet
The square from the cathedral
Detailed stonework just outside the entrance
Kevin acted as my tour guide throughout, showing me every nook and cranny of the city and recounting the odd anecdote from his years spent as a student in the city. One of the symbols to look out for was the flared cross of Asturias, one of which we found perched on the railing of the church.
The cross iconography
The vaulted roof of the cathedral
After sticking our heads in the door of the cathedral and then promptly retreating to avoid paying the extortionate entry fee, we waltzed leisurely through the square and then round a corner down the side of the church on to the main nightlife street of Oviedo.
The cathedral square
Here lie the remains of a door
Although Kevin had already spoken of the cleanliness of Oviedo, I was pleasantly surprised by the state of the street which lay ahead – any other visitor to the city would never have known that it was where people went to drink and party of an evening. It was spotless! A local had even taken to playing some traditional catholic music from their window, making it feel like we were on the set of some kind of epic drama as we strolled down the sloping street.
Looking back to the cathedral
Down the street
As we headed down Kevin wanted to show me one of his favourite places to go on a night out, a club called Radio, which unlike most British clubs actually looked quite resplendent during the day too. We also nipped down a few other side streets to beautiful squares and plazas, and I was enchanted by Oviedo’s quiet comfort and relaxing ambience.
A little lantern on Radio
A quiet little corner of the city
One of my favourite buildings was one of those which Kevin had told me was the most aesthetically pleasing in the city, with striking blue painted window frames glowing above the restaurant below. With a decaf coke in hand from a nearby Mercadona, I spent quite a while snapping away to try and get the perfect shot of it’s gorgeous colours!
A lovely colour scheme
The world’s most gorgeous blue
As the day wore on we headed further looping around the streets of the city centre, passing even more gorgeous buildings such as the town hall and exploring even more quaint little streets flanked by shops, nightclubs and residential blocks. We eventually wound up at a square with a sculpture in it which was rather unimaginatively known as the umbrella when translated from Spanish, and which Kevin told me was used to hide from the Asturian rain when people are out drinking on the streets.
The town hall
Kevin chilling on the streets
This is probably called the umbrella square or something
After that we began to make headway back to the flat before having some snacky food for the evening. On the way though we encountered an open church door and wandered in only to find that a lot of the religious figures and pews had been covered in plastic sheeting whilst renovations to the building were ongoing. I thought this gave a rather eerie quality to them and snapped a few photos…
Creepy covered idols
The entrance to a covenant
Another cute rincón
After dinner that evening we headed to Kevin’s friend’s place for some drinks before hitting the town, where we sang and danced up and down the same street we’d been to earlier! It was a lovely evening, but the next day we had to take things a little easier than we’d hoped seeing as we only managed to get back home at 5am! Oops…
The next day we explored the more commercial side of the city, with Kevin once again showing me more of Oviedo’s sights and scenes, including an unsuspecting gofre (waffle) stand where we got the most amazing freshly cooked waffles loaded with cream, dulce de leche, Nutella, and syrups of every flavour under the sun. We then sat in the pretty little park and I did my very best to shovel mine into my face without dropping the toppings all over my white shorts – amazingly I succeeded!
The best waffles in Spain, I promise
A view in the park
More modern style architecture
That evening, instead of heading straight home, Kevin took me towards the train station and we began to climb the side of what seemed like quite a pointlessly steep hill. I was wondering why we were headed up there until I got to the top and caught a glimpse of the city behind me – it was quite breathtaking. A little further up we also stumbled upon a church, which although seemingly abandoned had the telltale sign of a recent wedding – a pool of rice on the floor outside the door. Strange.
A rest after each flight, I presume
A pretty awesome view
A church and some rice
The two following days were spent in Gijón and up in the Asturian lakes, which were so beautiful and full of adventure that I’ve decided to dedicate two upcoming blog posts to them rather than try to squeeze them all into one. After those though came my final evening in Oviedo, when me and Kevin went to grab some pizza and then walk home, but Kevin took the time to show me one last thing before I left – a Roman church which is apparently the oldest standing building in the entire city.
The facade of a seriously old church
My time spent in Asturias and Oviedo was absolutely phenomenal, both thanks to Kevin’s impeccable hospitality and the gorgeous places that we visited during my time there. The people of Asturias are some of the loveliest I’ve ever met, and the weather although a tad wet allows for rolling hills of lush greenery which other parts of the country miss out on. It reminded me of being back home here in England, but with a definite Spanish charm and a tonne of amazing food, the quality of which I’m not sure Burnley will ever be able to match.
Stay tuned for further photos and news from my trips including Gijón and the lakes!
3rd July 2017
So in case you guys hadn’t figured it out by the passing of my final year degree show, my time at the University of Leeds has finally come to a close after I began four short years ago. Not to get all sentimental, but I’ve been scrolling back through my blog posts and one of the largest from first year (which can be found here) has reminded me about all the crazy things which have gone on since I left home.
There’s been the various trips to different parts of Europe and even a hop across the big pond to visit New York with the university. There’s been countless hours of university work to build up my portfolio, and plenty more hours spent chilling out with some of the best people I’ve ever met! There’s even been my year in industry where I was lucky enough to work with the fab team at Erretres over in sunny Madrid – it’s been a wild ride.
But back to business, I just got back a batch of photos from my film camera, and most of them document the launch of the degree show – our last official university even before the big graduation day. Talking about graduation, today I received my final grade, and I’m over the moon to have been awarded a first-class honours degree – now it’s just a case of finding a nice shirt to wear when I go up and shake hands with my certificate!
Last minute preparations
Everyone begins to arrive
The Smith family portrait
I also have a couple of photos from when my parents came to see the degree show and I took my dad out for some Father’s Day lunch – detailed in this blog post.
Me and my dad
Chilling outside Ox Club
So the next time you’ll hear I’ve been in Leeds will most probably be for my graduation on the 20th July – I’ll be sure to bring plenty of photos – I’m trusting my dad with my camera for the day so we’ll see what he manages to capture!
All that’s left to say I guess is thank you Leeds and everyone I’ve met along the way – it’s been great. Onwards to new adventures!
25th June 2017
So just before leaving Leeds we were all rearing up and ready to launch our Degree Show, a public exhibition of some of our best work from the past four years of university. The show was titled “Alchemy”, and was led up by two of my housemates, with Isabel acting as Creative Director and Luisa as Project Manager. I must extend many thanks to the two of them, and many others, for their amazing work in pulling the show together.
Having submitted some images for my page in the catalogue, and a design for my large poster on the wall, I nipped in during the last few days of preparations to lend a hand to the committee who were working hard to get everything in place for launch night. My first assignment was to help with the trimming some of the final boards to go on their frames, with Rhea working the knife like a pro.
A face of cutting concentration
I was then tasked with figuring out how to create and mount the wayfinding signage after Izzy had completed the design of the system. Me and Luisa ended up bringing maths into the mix – cue memories of sitting in high school maths classes wondering when anything would come in useful…
Once everything was in place it was time to put on a snazzy shirt and head back into university for the launch party, which took place on Thursday 15th June. With Luisa’s family flying in from Germany and my whole house exhibiting work, it was a lovely evening, with the networking conversations flowing almost as much as the free wine.
People begin to arrive for the launch
Just in the foreground of that photo, on the corner of the table, you can see the distinctive green glow of the business cards I have been busily making recently. This was the little spot where I showed off some of the physical work I have produced over the past year, both in university and during my spare time.
Some of my print work
Above you can see the multicoloured booklet set I created for my Pearson project, the neon green business cards I made by hand, the signature red and black pages of the Briggs Report project, and a little photo book which is part of a project which I have yet to announce publicly… Something to look forward to!
Soon after the launch the Briggses were reunited as a family as my parents and sister came to visit the show, where we tried and failed to be on our best behaviour…
My sister and dad enjoying the show
Afterwards me and my sister treated my dad to a surprise Father’s Day lunch at one of my favourite brunch spots, Ox Club, before we all headed home for an evening together.
Brunch with the family
Since then I have had to return to Burnley, where there’s the extraordinary task of condensing four years’ worth of worldly possessions into one room waiting for me every evening – bring it on!
22nd June 2017
As I graduate soon I thought it’d be probably wise to get myself some business cards made, but with me being pernickety I decided that I was going to make my own so I could get them exactly as I wanted. I decided it should include the two most prominent features of my personal branding: the lightbulb logo and a vibrant shade of green.
This time however, I decided to max the green up as far as it would go – neon green.
The component layers of my business cards
To achieve the effect of my bulb lighting up in the neon green, and to add a tactile element to the design, I decided to laser cut the logo out of black card to layer over the neon paper I bought. The first step was to laser cut the sheets of black card, including small circles in each corner for alignment later on, and then glue these to the neon card.
Once this had been done, I aligned the printed thick white card to the rear of these sheets, and then cut out the individual cards using guidelines printed onto the white card.
To add a little bit more pizzazz and intrigue, I then piled these cut cards up and carefully sprayed each side with bright neon green spray paint. The result I found to be quite effective, and even more striking when business cards are stacked up to be taken by the public.
Spraying the cards and ruining our kitchen gloves
Some cards at my degree show
I am very pleased with the final result, which although quite basic in complexity, manages to be very eye-catching with it’s stark neon green and black colour scheme. Needless to say I put a huge pile of them out at the launch of my degree show (blog post on this to follow soon) and the next day all but one had been taken – not bad!
The cards in all their glory
As mentioned, there’ll be more news of my degree show and upcoming graduation very soon – as well as more photos which I have just today picked up from being developed. Prepare for some lovely photos of lots of random events from the past few months!
17th June 2017
Some of you may recall that a few weeks ago me and Kevin jumped in the car which my parents had left me for the week and had a spontaneous day out exploring the lovely city that is Liverpool – all detailed in this blog post. As usual, I took both of my cameras and I’ve just got round to scanning in a few photos which I took on my old film camera whilst there…
We mainly used the camera down at the docks, arguably the most photogenic area of the city. Kevin did a good job of taking some of me but the faces I’m pulling in them are rather unfortunate so I have gracefully decided not to burden you with them. For now then you can all have some more of the waterside…
Looking over the water
Kevin at the water’s edge
There’s also one last sneaky shot, which was an attempt at macro photography of the lovely falafel meal we had before heading home – it didn’t come out great but I like the colouring.
Falafel and obligatory green stuff
If you liked these photos, there’s some I took in Portugal (including a spot of urbexing in an abandoned hotel), some I took around Leeds as summer rears its unfamiliar head, and some from Berlin and Nürnberg which I took a while back.
13th June 2017
Just last week I thought I’d head back to Burnley for a couple of days (once again) to take some photos for my portfolio and update some of the outdated ones on my website and social media. I’ve had one of me sitting in my room for ages, and now two years later I can reveal that I have managed to stand up – as you can see in the new photo below. That’s progress for you.
Now standing amongst the green
I also tried out a new style where the only light comes from an array of green LEDs – I’m actually quite happy with the result but it does seem to come across as a little bit too mysterious…
Who is that dashing man?
Whilst at home I ended up being whisked off for a day out with my mum and dad where we managed to visit IKEA and make a stop off in the lovely town of Hebden Bridge for a cheeky glass of wine in the evening sun.
Got myself an IKEA hat and now I am cooler than you
Unimpressed by the wine it seems
Once back in Leeds it’s been hectic preparations for our Degree Show – if you’d like to come along then you can find all the details here! This Thursday I’ll be attending the launch and I’ll report back with a few pictures no doubt.
To procrastinate during all this preparations I decided to do some baking again for the first time in a while, and after shoving every sweet and sickly flavour and ingredient into the mix I present to you all – the double chocolate cake with choco buttercream, dulce de leche, and salted caramel icing.
Luisa cannot wait for this cake
Anyway, it’s back to the daily grind for now, but I’ll be sure to update when I have a few more tidbits to share this weekend! Until then, I leave you with this video of Mireille Mathieu singing Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien – I am somewhat obsessed with it for some reason…
2nd June 2017
As I mentioned in my blog post centred around my time in Burnley, we have also been enjoying the sun back over in Leeds too, and so one day I got a bit stir crazy and decided to head out with my cameras through the student area of Hyde Park. I took with me my digital Canon and old manual Praktica film camera, and I had the film developed quite quickly thereafter, and so for once I can bring you both the digital and the film scans at the same time.
Summer study days
Heading out past the law school
The sun creeps into the park
The film camera once again yielded some lovely shots, including the one above where the sun has created a lovely halo on the film. For more photos from the camera you’ll see them throughout this post but also some shots from Portugal and Germany which I have uploaded in the past.
The layers of Hyde Park history
The sky rolls in over the moor
Pretty much the entirety of the student population had crawled out of their Hyde Park houses and flooded onto the moor to enjoy the sun, and I wandered through pretty aimlessly to soak up some of the heat.
Students on the moor
The sun begins to set
I then re-entered the gloriously messy student housing area and took a couple of photos on the old camera which compliment the redbrick aesthetic of Hyde Park, including the only gaslit cinema still in existence in the UK – Hyde Park Picture House.
The picture house
I hope you enjoyed having a snoop through the student area as much as I have living there and taking the opportunity to stave off my cabin fever – it was lovely to actually leave the house after some busy deadlines!
1st June 2017
Over the past few weeks England has been mysteriously graced with some lovely sunny and warm spells, and throughout this time I’ve been having to nip back home to Burnley every now and then for one reason or another. At one point Kevin came to visit, and besides taking him to see the huge Tesco Extra and Home Bargains, we went for a lovely wander over the rolling hills of Hurstwood.
Is this the entrance to wonderland?
During our walk we encountered the World War II era bunker which has sat alongside Gorple Road and fascinated me for as long as I can remember. Once we’d confirmed that there weren’t any sheep taking residence inside, we had a snoop around inside.
Kevin explores the bunker
I left quite intrigued as I’d never done any research about the purpose of this bunker, so that evening I did a bit of online reading and it turns out that it was built as part of the Starfish site programme during World War II. These were large-scale decoys which used fires to simulate cities, with the hope that German planes would drop bombs on these rural sites rather than on the cities themselves. The bunkers were built as observation/control centres for the operation. Pretty cool to discover that a bite of history like this has been sitting on my doorstep for all these years!
Inside the bunker
Outside of this I had a lovely stroll with my friend Amber, and was drafted in to make some tapas-style food for the rest of my family as my sister was visiting from university to do a bit of revision in the sun. I eventually made some chorizo in red wine, stuffed courgettes, patatas bravas and a chorizo selection – all of which went down a treat with some homemade lemonade!
Now I’m back in Burnley again, but this time for less interesting activities – I have to take some headshots for my portfolio and clear out my room ready to combine the contents of 4 years of living in two different places. Quite the challenge!