Archive of ‘Words’ category

Playing catch up

Before I start feeling inexplicably guilty for not writing anything non-work related forever, let me start by saying hi. How’ve you been? I hope that those of you who do ocassionally find themselves on my blog haven’t missed me too much – in fact I’m pretty sure that the majority of you follow me on Twitter and are subjected to my word vomit on a daily basis. If you fall into either (or both) of those categories, then THANK YOU.

As I’ve been gone for a while, I figured I’d launch my new look blog with a little catch up.

February 2014

Back in February I spammed everyone who follows me on Instagram with photos from Hakkasan, where Charlie and I had our first ‘Dim Sum Sunday’ experience. We opted for the Signature menu (hello additional champagne and cocktails) and sat back as 6 equally beautiful and delicious courses were delivered to us. But February wasn’t all elegance – I also reverted back to my teenage years and went to see Taking Back Sunday at KOKO with some great friends and ended up in Burger King. So swings and roundabouts.

March 2014

March was particularly busy as Mum and I went to see Yoncé and Charlie and I celebrated our anniversary early. We like to go out and do something together rather than buying gifts we don’t really need, so I took him to see Book of Mormon and he treated me to dinner at Soho’s NOPI afterwards, which we both enjoyed, but felt lacked something in comparison to Ottolenghi in Islington. I also got to spend time with one of my dearest friends Elizabeth at the Martin Creed exhibition, where we giggled at fart boxes and danced around in a room filled with balloons.

April 2014

In April I went to Chatsworth House for the first time in years with my family. As beautiful as the house is, I could just as easily spend all day exploring the gardens. Back in London, I went to see one of my favourite bands Brand New at Troxy for the first time EVER. Don’t ask me why or how, but I’d never gotten around to seeing them before and I wasn’t about to miss them again. The gig was everything I had hoped for, although if you ever find yourself at Troxy you might want to drink a lot of water: it’s a stunning venue but the air con was non existent and I saw at least 5 girls hit the deck before Brand New even hit the stage.

I also took a trip to Leeds for the weekend to visit the girls I lived with at University and had THE BEST time. I’ve only been to Leeds on a handful of occasions but each time I’ve fallen more in love – does anyone else feel the same way? Like all great weekends away, my mini break revolved experiencing some of the best food and drink Leeds had to offer, including…

Leeds 2014

Red’s True Barbecue

As tempted as I was to try their infamous donut burger (yes, you read that correctly) I opted for a giant helping of the best pulled meat nachos I’ve ever had. If you like your meat with extra meat, GO. IMMEDIATELY.

The Alchemist

After stuffing my face at Red’s, I was in the mood for a strong beverage. My resident Leeds girl Zoe took me to The Alchemist, where you’ll find smoking cocktails, colour changing cocktails, glittering cocktails…my cocktail ‘A Night at the Movies’ even included popcorn!

The Botanist

Before I left Leeds, I got the chance to sample The Botanist’s deli style menu, which is perfectly suited to an afternoon of nibbles and drinks. The hanging kebabs looked delicious, the cocktails were great (despite slightly slow service) and the staff were extremely friendly.

May 2014

May was a blur of adventure, fun and excitement. Charlie and I went to Lisbon to stay with one of my oldest friends and had an amazing time. I wish we could have stayed for the whole month, but we had to get back to London for Charlie’s birthday surprise: Les Mis. I managed to hold it together until the interval but after One Day More, I basically cried throughout the entire second act. Towards the end of May, the nerves set in as I got ready to be photographed by Rankin! I joined 10 others who had also entered Hunger Magazine’s Selfie competition at the studio for a surreal afternoon of posing – Rankin even jumped in for a couple of fun photos. You can see the full winners shoot here and if you visit Hunger’s Tumblr, you’ll even see me in GIF form…

Rankin shoot

In June I discovered a handful of new pubs in the area thanks to Streatham Food Festival, which I only regretted slightly as I joined the inspirational Curvy Kate ladies for a photo shoot to promote their awesome new strapless bra – keep your eyes pealed for more news soon and look out for the Ultimate Uplift campaign…

June 2014

June was also the time for new tattoos. I’d wanted to get a tattooed by the immensely talented Rebecca Vincent at The Circle for a while, so when she announced a charity day for Sensory Leeds, I emailed her immediately. Now I have a beautiful tattoo AND I can feel good about the money going to such an important non-profit organisation. You might have seen my pinecone on Instagram recently as I’ve been documenting my #100happydays – I’m almost at the half way point and haven’t given up yet!

28 before 28

In previous years, I’ve written ‘Life Lists‘ as opposed to resolutions in preparation for the year ahead – writing down things I’d like to achieve every day, every week, in 6 months time and by the end of the year. From small things like improving my eating habits, to bigger moments like moving to London, this method worked for me because it always focused on what I wanted to accomplish; I never denied myself of anything and I never pressured myself into completing it.

For 2014 I thought I’d change the game up and challenge myself to a 28 before 28 list – a list that will hopefully make my life that little bit more awesome and maybe even improve the lives of those around me. Do we share any goals this year? Let me know in the comments below!

1. Discover a handful of new favourite restaurants
2. Travel somewhere new
3. Get another tattoo (or two…)
4. Take advantage of the theatres on my doorstep
5. Visit my home girl in Lisbon
6. Ride horses with Charlie
7. Go to more gigs
8. Make a scrapbook
9. Balance a healthy mind with a healthy body
10. Learn to knit
11. Learn how to make the perfect chicken gyoza
12. Sleep somewhere magical
13. Take a dance class
14. Make a substantial start on my savings
15. Bake as often as possible
16. Volunteer
17. Take a road trip to Scotland
18. Develop a skin routine (and stick to it!)
19. Spend more time with my family
20. Write, write, write
21. Enter more competitions
22. Cook something new
23. Host a dinner party
24. Explore London
25. Perform more random acts of kindness
26. Do the clear out to end all clear outs
27. Be inspired by Pinterest and craft more in ‘real life’
28. Spend less, wear more

Mix Tape Memories

When the lovely Laura of Make Do & Mend asked me to contribute to her latest mini project all about mix tapes and the memories attached to them, I couldn’t wait to share a piece of my collection with her! Click here to see my entry; I hope you enjoy it. Laura is open to any submissions so if you have a particularly awesome mix, drop her an email!

Mix tape

Not so well MADE

I fell in love instantly.

After stumbling upon Made.com, the site that boasts “beautiful furniture without the High Street mark up”, I found it – The Hollander. That curved frame, those long spokes…this bicycle was everything I could want, and at a fraction of the price! The RRP is usually around the £500 mark, so imagine my excitement when MADE promised to send her to me for £169! And only £15 delivery charge? There had to be a catch.”It could take up to 12 weeks as it’s being manufactured in Japan. Is that ok Miss Hill?” Ah. Well, it’s a fantastic deal for something that will last me for years. What’s a little wait time?

So, I placed my order and I waited patiently. At the 3 month mark, I began to get anxious. Sure enough, an email arrives along with an apology – they added an extra 3 weeks to the delivery time to secure extra packaging and ensure safety for the product. A little hiccup perhaps, but I was going on holiday anyway so I saw no reason to send a strongly worded email. Just my luck it arrived the day after I flew out to New York. Charlie, being the boyfriend he is, makes plans to build the bike whilst I’m away so it’s ready to ride upon my return. Not wanting to ruin my trip, he doesn’t mention the problems until I get home.

The bicycle arrived in a box that had been obviously thrown around a lot – there was definitely so secure extra packaging that I had waited an extra 3 weeks for. Inside, the front brake was unusable – it was far too tight for the wheel, meaning that you either had to remove it completely (look Ma, no brakes!) or fix it to the bike and never use the front wheel (impossible). The over all product was exceptionally poorly made, from the sketchy paint job to the rough, un-sanded frame work, which Charlie actually cut himself on when he attempted to put it together. I have to admit, I was pretty close to tears by this point, so I decided to call. And email. And call again. Customer services were so far unresponsive – that was, until I decided to Tweet them my disappointment.

Within minutes a very apologetic Claire called me with a well rehearsed speech and informed me that the batch had been met with a handful of unhappy customers and that MADE were looking into the process to ensure it didn’t happen again. I opted for a refund with a heavy heart, and Claire continued to contact me via email at every step until I’d received it. As unhappy as I was with the product and the initial customer relations, I couldn’t take it out on her – if it’s one thing I can’t stand after working in retail, it’s getting yelled at for a problem that’s out of my hands.

The moral of this cautionary tale? If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is…

Packing (like a girl)

Having never been on a *real* road trip before, I was afraid that I would succumb to the pitfall of overpacking like I usually do. Although I am a far cry from wanting to pack the kitchen sink or the cat, I will admit to being excessive when it comes to ‘just incase’ outfits and compulsive last minute additions. Sensibility is key when it comes to long haul travel, and questioning everything you pack can be helpful. The one thing I’ve constantly asked myself this weekend is:

“Do I really need to take that?”

If you’re unsure of how to pack for a long trip, or you’re struggling to condense your suitcase, here are some tips and ideas to keep your luggage light:

  • I’ve packed one pair of heels and if it wasn’t for our last stop in New York, they wouldn’t even be leaving the country. Do you HONESTLY need to take more than one pair?
  • Although I love stand alone pieces, I tend to buy the same things in a multitude of colours. Why not? If you like that little white top and you know you’ll wear it to death whilst you’re away, then buy it in the black too – especially if it will work with more than one skirt.
  • Mix and Match. This, above all things, is the idea I’ve embraced the most for this trip. Being much more visually stimulated, I started by laying out my bottom halves on the bed and then pulled everything out of the wardrobe that I thought I wanted to take. Doing this (and being honest with yourself whilst doing this) is a sure fire way to cut items out, and, if it goes with both pairs of shorts, you’re guaranteed to wear it more than once.
  • Make a list of what you’re taking as you pack. It’s an easy way to track exactly how much you’re putting in your case and it’ll make you question your choices. Do you really need 10 vests in the same colour? Having said that…
  • …don’t worry if everything you want to take is of a similar colour way. If anything, this makes mixing and matching a lot easier!

Halfway

At the start of the year, I blogged about resolutions and what they mean to me. I came across the lovely Kathryn Sharman who stated that “they [resolutions] always seem to involve unrealistic dreams and/or punitive measures of denial or restraint, which is never a good way to start a year and is invariably doomed to failure.”

Instead, she advocated making a ‘Life List’ for the year ahead. Below is the mid year update of my aforementioned list, and I have to say that I’m rather pleased with what I’ve achieved!

Every day, I would like to…
Make someone smile and improve my eating habits. Both of these declarations can be attributed to moving in with the boy. He is a wonderful cook (I’m not ashamed to tell you that he is far better in the kitchen than I am) and perhaps this is a tad too cringe worthy, we make each other smile every day.

Every week, I would like to…
Do something creative – aka keeping up with the blog. Although my posts have been a little scattered this year, I think I’ve succeeded in posting more frequently. As well as staying creative, I aspired to continue seeing my closest friends (which has been successful despite the extra mileage between us) and discover something new about myself. Well guess what? I actually LIKE going to the gym! I joined as a precursor to my summer adventures where I want to wear shorts without tights and not feel like that girl who should not be wearing shorts without tights.

In 6 months time I would like to….
Be living in South London (tick) and make the best cupcakes. I have been told that my red velvet cakes are yummy by numerous friends and family – and I’ve been bribed into making them for more than one birthday party! I also have a more extensive book shelf now thanks to combining my collection with Charlie’s.

Before next year, I would like to have…
Paid off my overdraft – an unavoidable assertion but one thing I loved being in the position to do. I also passed my driving test a few weeks ago!

Overall, the list is pretty fulfilled, which comes as a lovely surprise at the half way mark. With my road trip across America in 5 weeks time I’ll have crossed another ambition off the list, and I’d like to think that the rest will follow suit. You never know, perhaps the boy will treat me to the *ballet before the year is out (*hint hint).

A Resolution…

Upon revealing to friends at work that I despise new years resolutions, I have to admit that I received a few glares. Why do so many of us make these ridiculous of-the-moment promises to ourselves? The whole notion of doing something simply because time has passed just seems a little…distorted.

I came across Kathryn Sharman on the Oh Comely blog and whole heartedly agree that “they [resolutions] always seem to involve unrealistic dreams and/or punitive measures of denial or restraint, which is never a good way to start a year and is invariably doomed to failure.” Instead, she advocates a ‘Life List’ which revolves around “bite-sized declaration of aspirations and accomplishments” for the year ahead. Being the type of girl who jumps at the chance to write a list, here are my personal goals for 2011.

Every day, I would like to…
Make someone smile
Improve my eating habits

Every week, I would like to…
Do something creative – take a photo/draw a cat/write a review
Make time to see a friend
Discover something new about myself
Go for a walk

In 6 months time I would like to…
Be living in South London
Own an SLR
Be able to make the best cupcakes
Have a more extensive book shelf

Before next year, I would like to have…
Paid off my overdraft
Been to see the ballet
Passed my driving test
Achieved something I am proud of
Travelled to America

Get A Life: “With her nose stuck in a book”

This week marks a truly amazing celebration in my opinion – National Reading Is Fun Week!

I have been a little slack in all things recently due to working, traveling and being ill. Whilst drawing and writing blocks happen maybe once or twice a week depending on my mood, reading block happens once or twice a year and it baffles me as I love nothing more than curling up with a book and becoming someone else for a while. Nothing beats escapism, and I find it hard to relate to anyone who doesn’t enjoy reading something. Anything.

In a bid to shake off my reading block, I have reverted to reading a couple of things this week, each as different as the next. I began the weekend with a little mystery in the shape of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes as the stories are beautiful as well as being easy to pick up and read within 10 minutes. Today as I’m off work sick I wanted something dog eared, basic and fun so I pulled out some Young Adult books. Continuing with the profoundly passionate, I have a thick collection of Bronte novels to drown in over the weekend (Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre and Agnes Grey) which I’ve been looking forward to, especially as I picked it up for £1.50 in second hand store. What are you reading a the moment?

P.S I was most upset to find that today is Eat What You Want Day. Unfortunately I haven’t been able to participate in this to my full ability as I’m currently fasting for a blood test! Somebody eat a cookie for me.

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