Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Sunday afternoon strolls

Regent's Park was on fine form on Sunday afternoon. The backside of London Zoo (seen through fences and hedges) was quiet aside from a couple of circumspect looking camels.

The extensive fields inside the park were littered with people enjoying the twilight. And one particularly excited dog enjoyed a skillful Sunday game of football with his owner.

Friday, 17 May 2013

Urban scenery

When you live in a city that crawls with taxis, is built on top of a worm farm of snaking tubes, and is littered with an elaborate fusion of buildings from all centuries, you can find yourself in a constant state of sensory overload.

But every now and then, something catches your eye, and you steal a moment of beauty in this otherwise crazy, hectic world.

Strolling back from a Shoreditch flat white, I walked past this colourful scene.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

'summer' loving

At the start of every summer, Londoners go crazy booking in events to celebrate the fact the temperature might push over into double figures.

Despite one disappointing summer after another, somehow you still see that festival / outdoor gig / rooftop bar / sporting fixture / open air theatre listing and think, 'great! let's book it!'.

And so if you're anything like me, you may well find yourself on a rooftop in Hoxton, wrapped in blankets, wearing a winter coat and a hat, watching a very charming film, whilst dodging the occasional rainstorm.

Despite it turning out to be quite the opposite of a summer event, it still reminded me again why love London.

Roll on actual summer and the extensive list of outdoor events I've managed to line up.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Chickpizz anyone?

One of the joyful things about London is her vast array of ridiculously named shops. Here's one fantastic example I came across the other day.

Possibly the best bit is the image of the baby chicken standing next to the pizza. I don't think anyone really wants to see a cartoon version of what they're about to purchase...

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

That old wheel

Propped up against the sky, like a discarded bicycle wheel meant for a giant's ten speed.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Dear London

Through all the seasons, 
the rain, sun and snow, 
it's the little things about you, 
that make me love you so.

(The tunnel leading to the Waterloo & City Line, at Bank Station)

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

A quick and dirty life audit

In a fit of dissertation procrastination recently, I thought I'd do an audit of the contents of my purse.

My friend Eloise almost hyperventilates every time she sees my fabulous red purse. Partially because she's got good taste in accessories, but mainly because she can't cope with the way it looks like it's about to explode into a massive spontaneous tornado of Sainsbury's receipts and coffee loyalty cards.

So, the other day when I was staring into the pockets of my financial life, I wondered what was really in there, and what it says about a person.

Here's the answer to my first question:

1x National Insurance card
2x credit cards
2x debit cards
1x drivers licence
1x work swipe card
1x M&S gift card with about £5 left on it
1x Oasis gift card (last year's birthday present from work I've not managed to spend)
1x Waterstones gift card (this year's birthday offering from work)
1x Waterstones loyalty card
1x Boots loyalty card
1x Superdrug loyalty card
1x Nectar loyalty card
1x St John's Ambulance emergency treatment card + 1x face shield for CPR
1x Wellcome Library membership card
1x gym membership card (a bit dusty)
5x my own business cards with an old job title
1x blood donor card
1x organ donor card
1x bone marrow donor card
2x food loyalty cards

...And a grand total of eight coffee loyalty cards.

My friend at work told me today that this actually makes me a very disloyal coffee drinker.

I guess that would also make me a very disloyal flyer considering my six frequent flyer memberships..

If I was to analyse that list and think about what it says about me as a person, I'd say I like to collect things (points and stamps), but I also quite like the idea of giving things away (namely blood, organs, and bone marrow).

And I should probably go back to the gym. If only to work off all the caffeine.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Winter wonderland

It's that time again in London. A time of delayed trains, salted pavements, bad pun weather headlines, and dusting off your wellies. Yep, that's right, it's snow time.

There's nothing like waking up on a Sunday morning, poking your slightly dusty head around the corner and seeing white. Just a whole lot of white.

There's only one thing to do in this situation. Go back to bed. But after some more sleep, you have to get up and make a snowman.

For only my second ever snowman, I think he's a pretty good effort. We even had people requesting photos with him. And a dog peed on him. Surely the highest form of flattery?

Thursday, 17 January 2013

The art of growing up

This week has been a reminder to me about 'the art of growing up'.

When you're fifteen, you have all sorts of ideas about how you'll be when you're a grown up. Where you'll live, what you'll 'do', who you'll spend your time with.

One key difference between being fifteen, and being in your thirties for me, is the looming feeling of mortality. Because, after all, everyone is going to die at some stage.

Fortunately my crippling fear of death has some positive side effects. I'd like to think it makes me live life the way I (mostly) do. That life which when someone says to me 'champagne or an early night?' I'll always go the way of champagne.

I can so vividly remember the time I first watched Dead Poet's Society, and the taste that John Keating's (played by Robin Williams) speech left with me.

"They're not that different from you, are they? Same haircuts. Full of hormones, just like you. Invincible, just like you feel. The world is their oyster. They believe they're destined for great things, just like many of you, their eyes are full of hope, just like you. Did they wait until it was too late to make from their lives even one iota of what they were capable? Because, you see gentlemen, these boys are now fertilizing daffodils. But if you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it? - - Carpe - - hear it? - - Carpe, carpe diem, seize the day boys, make your lives extraordinary." 

Seize the day. Suck life dry. Live a life less ordinary.

It's most likely the only one we'll get.

So in the moments that work has ground me into the floor, or the times that I've had to reassemble the shattered remains of a broken heart, I try to tell myself a few things.

Even the hideous feelings, even the despair and all the sadness, help make you feel alive. The downs make the ups higher, hearts only break because they truly loved before, and failure only tastes so bitter because success is so sweet.

I hope that I'll never really 'grow up' in the way I used to think I would. I always want to laugh when I wear my clothing backwards to work, to sometimes stay up way too late, to have those moments when you think you might burst with wonder, amazement, and joy.

And that I'll keep choosing champagne.

Friday, 4 January 2013

New Year's Day food heaven

This was New Year's Day. At least it was the second course, after the panettone and before the crepes.

For that brief moment when I was eating it, this bacon and egg sandwich was my everything. It completed me. It made right all the wrongs in the world.