Reflections #3: Blogging Like a Pro, Flat Lay Collages and Grand Designs

Reflections #3 November review // Dutch Girl in London

It is the last Sunday of the month, so time to catch up with you again. What have I been up to this month? Where have I been? What films, bands and exhibitions have I seen? Who am I? (just kidding, haha) Find out in Reflections #3 as I look back on the month of November.

Upping my blogging game

These last weeks I’ve been mostly devouring websites, reading up on blogging strategies to use for my fairly new (blilingual) travel blog Done That Been There. Let’s face it, if you’re a new travel blogger on the block (try to say that a few times in a row!), it can be a great challenge to get noticed in this oversaturated niche. The fact that the blogging business has changed drastically over the last years doesn’t particularly help either.

After many days of absorbing all this information, I’m now dreaming about things like SEO, keyword research, Pinterest pinning schedules, and Google Analytics. My head is spinning with so many new and fun ideas I want to implement on my new site soon. I’m not sure if I want to revamp my Dutch Girl in London website at this point yet. Let’s first see if I can work my magic on my travel blog. If my newly acquired knowledge indeed proves to be successful, I’ll make sure to share the knowledge!

In November I wrote the following blog posts

Reflections #3 November review // Dutch Girl in London

Films and TV series I recommend you (not) to watch

Just like every month, I spent almost every evening either in the cinema or on the sofa watching a film or bingewatching TV series. Some films utterly surprised me, while others were utterly rubbish. Here are my recommendations for films and TV series to watch, or not.

Netflix

  • Great News, season 2
  • The Sinner, season 2 (absolutely recommend!)
  • The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: surprised to see the latest Coen brothers project on Netflix already!
  • Den of Thieves (This heist movie starring Gerard Butler as a tough detective was a pleasant surprise!)

Documentaries

  • Generation Wealth: offers a great sneak peek into the lives of some of the world’s richest people.
  • McQueen: the moving and tragic story of one of the most exciting fashion designers of our time, Alexander McQueen.

Meh, not that great

  • Apostle
  • Mile 22
  • Sorry to Bother You 

 

New in the cinema

  • Smallfoot: fun animation
  • Bohemian Rhapsody: must-see!
  • Widows: Not your average heist movie
  • A Star is Born: I enjoyed the first 45 minutes. Too bad there were another 91 minutes after that.

Alternative

  • An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn: from the director of the 2016 strange little film (and already cult-classic) The Greasy Strangler. This film has more of a story to it and fortunately less gross nude scenes. I did miss the memorable catchphrases in this film though. Guess you can’t have everything.
  • Juliet, Naked: based on a music-themed  novel by Nick Hornby, but this time (unlike High Fidelity) told from the female perspective. Featuring Ethan Hawke, Rose Byrne and Chris O’Dowd.

 

Let’s talk art

After his massive exhibition at White Cube Gallery last year, German-born artist Anselm Kiefer returned again last month with his installation For Vicente Huidobro: Life is a parachute voyage and not what you’d like to think it is (2018). Kiefer is actually one of my favourite artists. He makes large-scale installations, often using lead and natural materials. Having been born in 1945, just at the end of WWII, his works often refer to the dark history of his country. 

Reflections #3 November review // Dutch Girl in London

The other rooms at White Cube had works of Doris Salcedo on display, all dealing with the themes of mortality, grief and mourning. I was especially impressed with the large-scale installation Palimpsest (2013−17). Written in either in sand or water drops were the names of 300 immigrants who’ve drowned during their attempt to flee to Europe from Africa or the Middle East over the last 20 years. Seeing all those names written out in the huge gallery space was very confronting. It makes me realise how fortunate I am for having grown up in Europe.

Reflections #3 November review // Dutch Girl in London
Left: Anselm Kiefer // Right: Doris Salcedo

More art & culture this month

Early this month I visited the expansive exhibition Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War at the British Library. It brought back the inner nerd in me as it reminded me of the fact that I studied Old English at uni (and proved to be very good at Old English grammar.) I will be writing a review about this blockbuster show soon!

And finally, this month I also saw the curious exhibition of the neuroscientific artworks by Pierre Huyghe at the Serpentine Gallery.

Creative inspirations

Each November the independent book fair Small Publishers’ Fair takes place in London’s Bloomsbury. This was my first visit and wow, I was really impressed by the number of visitors! I was even more impressed with the beautiful publications these small publishers put together. Most of the books and products on display were true works of art. I admire the love, creativity and energy these publishers put in their work. It definitely inspired me to return to my own art practice! One of my recent projects is making flat lay collages for my travel blog, making use of all the ‘stuff’ I collect during my travels and bring home with me. I now finally found a purpose for all these random ‘souvenirs’ as they also hold so many memories that are valuable for writing my travel stories.

Reflections #3 November review // Dutch Girl in London

Personal stuff: nursing hubby

This last week has been quite the week for hubby. First of all he made an appearance on the famous architecture TV programme Grand Designs. Together with architects Chance de Silva, hubby had been working on VEX, a striking house in north London. The house is currently in the running for the RIBA House of the Year Award. In this week’s episode of Grand Designs, hubby spoke about the permanent sound installation he made for VEX. You can watch back the episode online here.

After his appearance on national TV, hubby’s now recovering from surgery. After suffering from extreme pains for months he was diagnosed with having a ‘frozen shoulder’. This type of injury will heal itself naturally, but this can take up to 3 (painful) years. Let’s hope the operation will indeed have the desired result!

Where have I been this month? At home! Freezing…

Although I enjoy travelling, I also love staying at home. Nothing beats sleeping in one’s own bed. And nothing beats being nice and cosy at home. If you have heating that works that is! Here’s the thing. Hubby and I had the brilliant idea of replacing our authentic cast-iron radiators with more efficient, modern ones. 

A brilliant idea indeed, but unfortunately this project didn’t go smoothly at all. To cut a veeeeeery long story short: instead of the expected 2-3 day job, it took nearly 1.5 weeks. Various reasons, such as: wrong size radiators, damaged radiators etc etc. This wouldn’t have been the worst were it not that the work took place during the coldest week in months. So not the best time to be out of central heating and warm water. It got down to an average of 12.5 degrees Celsius indoors, brrrrrrr…

Then more things broke and failed working over the last months (such as the internet which is quite crucial for our work), but I won’t bore you with that. I think you get the idea: this month was rather challenging. I know these are just first-world problems, but let me tell you it’s not pleasant at all to be so cold in your own home. BUT… the good news is that it’s all resolved now and the new radiators are keeping us nice and toasty indeed. Phew! Happy end after all!

What did your November look like? I hope it was less ‘painful’ than mine, haha!
Until next time again!
Zarina xx