Getting ready for Xmas

Christmas is a magical time, even at Hogwarts. As soon as December comes around, The Great Hall transforms into a Winter Wonderland. But did you know that the annual display isn’t forged by magic?

Xtra to the rescue

Despite Hogwarts being the home of some of the world’s most skillful witches and wizards, they just can’t quite do Christmas like Muggles can. And that’s why the job of bringing the festive spirit to the castle is sub-contracted to Xtra, the Muggle-based decoration company (you may have seen their signage, botanical installments, or catering business before?)

Dumbledore and Hagrid welcome the Xtra team to Hogwarts. Two boats were just enough to transport all of their kits. But boy was it cold out on the Great Lake, beanie hats were a must!
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LEGO for Science Communication

For this week’s SiP goes 53 we’re celebrating activist and Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Her work promoting the education of girls in her native Pakistan got the SiP crew thinking, and though there are no claims of grandeur here, they very kindly thought of me.

Science communication

See, I too am an advocate for education for all, though working on a very different scale to the incredible Malala! I am a Geologist, currently studying for my Ph.D. and trying to understand how mountain ranges are built. One of the best bits about my work is being able to share my science with others, no matter who they are or how much they know about geology. Ask anyone who has been on a Toy Safari with me where there have been rocks! So in a bid to share the wonders of rocks, minerals and the natural world, I’ve combined three of my greatest passions together in a potent combination.

Science + LEGO + Photography = SCIENCE COMMUNICATION!

Me doing science communication, stood on a box in the middle of Milton Keynes shopping centre trying to tell as many people as I can why mountains are the coolest things on earth.
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Photomarathon in Brno

It was the 15th of June, around 32°C in the shade in Brno. I was walking in the city center and searching for ideas and photos during a photomarathon.

What is a photomarathon?

This one was organized by Zoner Press, which is a publishing house. In the morning, they drew 5 words, which the participants should photograph in 5 hours in the order they were drawn. The words were emotion, game/play, color contrast, zebra and drought/dryness. (It’s a bit complicated to translate because of the possible wordplay in Czech.)

Before the time ran out, the participants were supposed to bring their SD card that contained only the correct photos in the correct order, a photo of their registration card in JPEG format and nothing else. The photos could be edited only in camera.

The idea is to make the process as simple as possible, photography in its “purest form”. The photos then were rated based on the correspondence to the word, imaginativeness/resourcefulness, originality, technical quality. They are rated by a jury. I have no idea how many people were part of the jury or who they were. It was at least the two organizers that I met on the site, but also some that rated remotely, from what the present organizers said.

My registration card which was supposed to be the first photo of the day

Photo Ideas

I was thinking about doing the photos one at a time and only start thinking about the next one after I finish the current one. But I feared that I wouldn’t have enough ideas and will get stuck on a word. So first I sat down on a bench to think about it and take some notes.

Emotion

For the first word, emotion, I was thinking about maybe happy? Or sad? Is love an emotion? Maybe a minifig with some emotional face? And I thought then – wedding!

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SiPGoesDenmark2019 – my best bits

June 2019 saw the fifth Stuck In Plastic toy safari taking place in Denmark. This time the event was extra special, as it took place at the Home of the Brick in Billund. Now, four long days and three very short nights would be too much to recount here, so instead, here are my ten favourite take aways: 

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The test

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. After a pause, she opened her eyes and nervously took hold of the controls. She’d never driven until 6 days ago. What on earth was she doing in the cockpit of an RC Car taking her driver’s test?!

Trepidation.

Lego ShtacyP had never cared too much for cars. But sometimes in life you have to take opportunities when they arise. So when the chance to take a Fast-Track RC Driving Course came up, ShtacyP didn’t want to let it pass her by.

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A Dino in the Park

The new Jurassic park set is here. I’ve been lucky enough for LEGO to have sent me the set a bit earlier to shoot.

The set

As I opened the box I was immediately surprised by the sheer size of the set, clocking up 3120 pieces! The great thing about the build is that you can share it with a friend. There’s one book of instructions for the iconic “Jurassic Park” gate and another for the star of the original film, the T-Rex.

I set to work on the big beast and loved the way you can build it up section by section. You can then click each part, such as the tail sections, together.

My wife, Helena, tackled the gates and loved the fact that she got to build all the minifigs. She’s a big fan of the Jurassic World series so she knew all the characters’ names right from the off.

The first problem to hit me after the build was how on earth I was going to transport the model out to my version of Isla Nublar!
With plenty of small pieces on the gates, and the T-Rex being pretty heavy, I knew that I had a big job on my hands.

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Buggy Review

Stuck In Plastic’s #sip_apocalypse challenge was great fun. I really enjoyed creating characters, stories, and pictures to illustrate the survivors of the doom. My work was appreciated by SiP’s crew and I ended as runner up of the challenge. One of the prizes I won was 70829 Emmet and Lucy’s Escape Buggy which I review below.

The Buggy

Although there is plenty of sand and dust here, Apocalypseburg is not a sandbox, definitely not a place to play. It’s the landscape after the battle. These special time and place require special vehicles, and under the inconspicuous name of “escape buggy” hides a monster, ready to run through the wilderness of the ravaged world of bricks.

Just look at its silhouette.

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Week 20 – Florence Nightingale

This week it’s me, @bevvypix, who is helping us out with a little write up for this week’s #SiPgoes53 Human being. This amazing lady is the iconic Florence Nightingale, OM, RRC, DStJ. She was an English social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.

Florence Nightingale was a revolutionary figure in nursing. Her dedication during the Crimean War earned her a worldwide reputation. As more soldiers were dying from infections than from battle injuries. Nightingale and a team of nurses greatly improved the unsanitary conditions at a British hospital, working night and day to reduce the death count by two thirds.

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We can live like Jack and Sally

We can live like Jack and Sally if we want
Where you can always find me
And we’ll have Halloween on Christmas
And in the night we’ll wish this never ends
We’ll wish this never ends

And in the night we’ll wish this never ends
We’ll wish this never ends

When Stuck in Plastic asked for candidates to write a review for the new Disney CMF series, I only thought about Jack and Sally, and how (or whether) they could live happily ever after.

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