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Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts
Showing posts with label blogging. Show all posts

Sunday, 12 July 2015

A tiny camping microholiday

cute camping couple

It's been a while, hasn't it. A lot has happened since I last blogged over here. I've started a new writing project, Daily Playwright where I (you guessed it) write a play every single day. The plays are very short, don't worry. I've also handed in my notice at work - my last day is in five weeks. Everything is exciting and there's a lot of adventuring on the horizon for me. But for now, I'm just going to share a few pictures from a little tiny holiday that Dan and I went on a few weeks ago.

forest nature wilderness
into the woods trees

It was just an overnight camping trip but it was probably the most relaxing 24 hours I've had in a very long time. Work has been manic and I've been writing a play every single evening. Everything has been go go go all year, and frankly, I can't believe it's July already. I took a long break from blogging because I was disillusioned with the constant networking and commercialism. Those are huge aspects of the blogging world and I respect them wholeheartedly, but I don't know if I am able to participate on that level. As a result, I ran away and avoided blogging for a really long time. I haven't looked at my blog email in forever and I am so so sorry if you've emailed me and nor received a response. But I'm ready to dip a tentative toe back into the blogosphere and blog on my own terms again. And I'll get to your emails, I promise! ;)

cosy tent
wilderness home
hiking tea break
reading holiday book

Now that we have a tent, we're going to do a lot more camping. It's so lovely to listen to the birds in the morning and feel the grass between your toes. Plus, once you've got the kit, camping is pretty cheap. This next year is going to be an incredibly frugal one for us as I will be doing a masters and Dan will be finishing his PhD. So expect more little camping adventures on this 'ere bloggeroo.

cider break camping
enamelware mug chic

Monday, 27 October 2014

On being three dimensional

black and white glasses

Maybe it came from reading too many Enid Blyton school stories as a child, but I spent a large portion of my pre-teen and adolescent years worrying that I hadn't found 'my thing'. Each of the girls at Malory Towers had a special talent or trait for which they were known and which marked them out as distinctive and special. As far as I could see, I didn't have one of those at all. I longed to be 'the musical genius' or 'the beautiful one', and every year before the school year began, I'd make list after list of the traits I'd adopt and the way I would be this year. Time after time, I'd fail to become the two-dimensional character I longed to be, as my own human, multifaceted self could not be suppressed. Part of the problem of course, was that I had so many 'things'. I was musical, I was academic, I was energetic, I was sociable, I was a clown... And I could never decide which one I wanted to be the most. I had to pick one didn't I? Teen magazines were constantly encouraging us to pigeonhole ourselves with flow-charts and quizzes. What 'type' of girl are you?

Looking back, I am saddened to remember the anguish I put myself through as I tried to puzzle out what 'my thing' could be, and as I'd punish myself for failing to fit into whatever arbitrary category I'd chosen to strive for each time. What saddens me even more though, is that I am still prone to this way of thinking, even now as an adult. There are so many things I still want to be, even though the adult world appears to be the ever-narrowing of fields and the closing of doors. Even within the blogging world, we're told to choose a niche for ourselves if we want any chance of becoming successful. Are you a beauty blogger? Are you a fashion blogger? Are you a food blogger? Do you travel enough to really call yourself a travel blogger?

I've become really interested in how we form our identities, during the process of trying to accept myself as a three dimensional individual. Identity is so heavily attached to the idea of 'belonging', and we draw near to those who like what we like, and who do what we do, our identities like magnets. I like to hang out with people who have similar political ideologies as me, and I love the feeling when I meet someone who has read my favourite book or enjoyed my favourite song. It's important to bond with people who are similar to us, but of course there are dangers attached to marking others out as 'different'. Especially if there is a value judgement attached to that assumption.

"Be yourself" is a common thing that adults say to teenagers and young people. While I see what the phrase is trying to say, I have always found it to be vastly naive and incredibly damaging. How on earth can a teenage girl be expected to 'be herself' when she's expected to be so many things all at once, and she doesn't even really know who/what "herself" is? "Be yourself" sounds so absolute, so concrete... as though "yourself" is a fixed concept that can be distilled, put into a glass vial and held up to the light. I wholeheartedly reject that concept, although I am its victim as much as anyone else.

So before this post becomes any more of an essay of existential nonsense, here's a list. If you can figure out who I "am", then do let me know, because I'm almost a quarter of a century old, and I haven't figured it out yet! I'm all of these... I'm none of these... I'm so much more than any of these...

I am

A writer - a diarist - a musician - a feminist - creative - nostalgic - contemplative - anxious - energetic - lethargic - melancholy - vulgar - a redhead - short sighted - fair-skinned - a digital native - a blogger - a wife - a cat-lover - a woman - a Cambridge University graduate - an ex-teacher - shorter than average - green-eyed - half-Australian - an older sister - a tea-drinker - accident prone - self-doubting - magical - an individual with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome - comedic - sociable - a foodie - whimsical - sensible - sensitive - a daughter - a travel obsessive...

So those were just a few of my thoughts. Normal posting shall resume during the week - there's a twee-as-hell banana loaf recipe coming up, so don't worry, guys. I've not completely lost it. Yet.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Behind the scenes on Owl Girl - The Blog Hop

blog secret behind the scenes

What do bloggers actually do all day? Blogging can't be that hard can it? Don't you guys just go to tonnes of parties and get given loads of free stuff?

Well, I can't speak for all bloggers, which is kind of the point. We're all different and we get up to a lot of different stuff, we've all got unique perspectives and outlooks on everything. (Funny that, what with us all being different and individual human beings...) Anyway, I was nominated by Hayley-Eszti, who is an absolutely fantastic blogger (are blog-crushes a thing? Because I think I might have one on her...), to do this little 'blog hop' challenge, which is where I get to give you guys a little insight into my creative process with this here blog! I hope you find it interesting! Oh and most of the pictures in this post are outtakes from other posts, because ~behind the scenes~...

Writing blog notes

1. What am I working on/writing right now?

At the moment, I am planning quite a few foodie posts, starting with a review of another amazing independent cafe in Camberwell, and a few recipes too. Food is a big part of my life - Dan and I love cooking together, and visiting lots of the amazing restaurants that London has to offer. I want to do more outfit posts because putting outfits together is such fun for me! I try really hard not to repeat outfits because I like the challenge. Once we've moved into our new flat, you will be able to expect a lot of home decor posts and a house tour as we about decorating our first proper home together. I mean, we've been living together for years and years now, but always in places that we've not been able to decorate! I can't wait to share that process with you!

2. How does my blog differ from others of its genre?

Like Hayley-Eszti, I don't really like to compare this blog to other people's! It makes me sad, and it doesn't do anyone justice. Some of the things I love about my blog is that it's packed with lots of pretty photos that I took myself (or that Dan took of me!) and it provides a great meeting point for some of my biggest interests: fashion, music, food, the city, craft, the countryside, travel... I feel like I can write with confidence about these things and do the topics justice. So that's what I love about my blog and my writing - I know I kind of cheated with my answer to that question, but it's my blog, so nyeugh...!

Cheeky Basil herbs

3. Why do I write what I do?

I blog because it is the apex of writing, photography and creativity. I am happiest when I'm making something, either physically, or on the internet. I can look at it and say, "I MADE that!" which is so satisfying. I've been making things and writing things for longer than I can remember (somewhere there's a cassette tape of me telling a long, long story about a princess who killed all of her prospective husbands by turning them into inanimate objects using magical powers. I don't remember making this story up but I LOVE that my parents thought to record me telling it!) and ultimately, I want my career to involve creativity. It would be a dream come true to be able to make things, create outfits, make music, write, and take beautiful photographs for a living. And hopefully with a lot of hard work from me, and a bit of help from all of you guys, that could become a reality some day!

4. How does my writing process work?

I start by making a big ol' list in my little notebook. There are so many lists of possible blog posts and fragments of ideas in there, and the lists are always growing. Sometimes something urgent will happen, like I go to an incredible cafe that I simply must blog about, or we go on a surprise holiday that means I HAVE to write a post about aeroplane fashion... But mostly I will blog about things that I think you guys would like to read. I block off some weekend time to take photos for a few posts, which usually involves a little trek to somewhere pretty, and then once I'm satisfied that there are enough photos to choose from (sometimes we take hundreds...) we come home. Dan makes me a cup of tea in my favourite mug, and I bury myself underneath a bunch of blankets to edit photos, write, and assemble my post. Once I'm satisfied, I check the previews and then publish it. Dan proof-reads it once it is live, which means I usually have to make a couple of tiny edits. When we're sure that it's okay, I promote it on social media and you guys come and read it! :)

Cat in shot! Ha!

I hope this was fun to read - I feel like I've been quite honest in this post, and I'd love to know what you guys think! Is there any kind of post that you'd like to see more of? After all, as much as blogging is for me, I want to create something that makes people happy!

I'd like to nominate Jessica, whose blog The Pyreflies is this incredible mix of gamer culture and twee fashion; Victoria from VVNightingale which is a blog packed with amazing fashion and lifestyle picks, and some honestly written posts; and Kerri, whose blog Crumbs in the Bed documents her adventures in academia and Belgium.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

This Autumn is going to be BIG

Autumn resolutions

I think that Autumn will always represent new beginnings to me, for as long as I live. While the leaves are falling off the trees and the weather is getting wetter, signalling the end of summer, I'm planning new projects and looking ahead to all of the exciting things there are to come. As a child, Autumn would be heralded by new shoes, a new pencil case, and plenty of academic milestones. Now that I'm out of education, I have to work harder to justify this innate sense of 'newness' that comes around every Autumn.

This year is going to be a bit different though as the next few months are going to be some of the busiest of my life. In fact, the Autumnal fun has already started with a surprise last-minute invitation to BloggersFestival, an exciting networking event organised by Scarlett who blogs over at Scarlett London. This was my first ever bloggers networking event, and I was really bloody nervous beforehand (and a bit during too), but I think it ended up going pretty well! I had some really interesting chats with some nice brand representatives from Urban Outfitters, Ecco, Bee Good, and loads of others too, as well as picking up some adorable little goodies such as a Lee Stafford hairbrush (which I've yet to try) and a lovely lip balm from Bee Good. The best bit for me though, was actually getting to meet an absolute boatload of really inspirational bloggers face to face, and make some great new friends. It was fantastic to have conversations with people who completely understand "Wait a sec, I just need to take a photo of my own hand" and who don't think it's weird to rearrange all of the lamps in the house to get the lighting just-so for an Instagram photo. I've really enjoyed catching up on their blogs this afternoon!

bloggers networking cards
Bloggers I met and loved: Cassy Fry, The Lifestyle Directory, Married to a Geek, Jessica in Your Ear, Miss Sue Flay, The Little Colt Posts, One Little Vice, and Captain ChARGHley!

So what else is going on in Candyland this Autumn then? Well, in a couple of weeks, Dan and I will be moving out of our little flat in central London, back to his parents' house near Cambridge for at least a month. The landlord of our current flat wants to sell the place, and the place we're trying to move to isn't ready yet, so we're going to bridge the gap in the countryside. For my everyday life this will mean LOTS of commuting and living out of boxes whilst project-managing a renovation back in London. Oh, and our cat will be staying in Brighton with my stepdad *weep weep weep*. For you guys reading my blog, this means some beautiful countryside scenery, some home decor inspiration, and maybe even a few recipes from the beautiful kitchen of Dan's parents. Hopefully, by the end of November, we'll be safely installed in our new home, and a whole new chapter of our lives can begin!

So let's talk about some of my goals through this weird old Autumn:

- Step up my blogging game - make more regular posts, and keep them exciting despite the oncoming stress-deluge.
- Cook some lovely meals for Dan's family.
- Make our new home completely beautiful.
- Start to introduce exercise back into my life. I've been holding off on the exercise front over the last few months because I've been adjusting to life with a diagnosis of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, but I've been told by several doctors and researchers that Pilates and swimming will help me, so once we've moved, I am going to get the heck ON that exercise.

One of my other favourite things about Autumn is the fact that my sense of style is already inherently Autumnal. I have to deal with so much, "You must be really hot" and "Why are you wearing tights?" all Summer, and in Winter I just have to cover up my carefully planned outfits with a coat... but Autumnal fashion is when I come into my own. I love it! I especially love having an excuse to crack out the kilt collection.

Back to School kilt
autumnal fashion uk

So, Autumn... come at me bro! I'm ready for you. If you love Autumn like I do, and you're a nostalgic soul, why not look at what I wore last September, or my 2012 "Autumn Resurrection".

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

August's Greatest Hits!

August favourites UK

Welcome to my second 'favourites' style post. There's been a lot to love this August, and as usual, I don't really think I came up for air at all this month, I've been so busy! I've made some new friends, been to some parties, and worked really bloody hard! That said, I am fully aware that this September is going to be the busiest month yet... But that's another post for another day.

August's most memorable moment

Portobello Road fun

This month we took advantage of the bright and sunny weather to have quite a few little outings. I want to write all about my wonderful trip to Brighton last weekend, but that only just happened, so I feel like it would be cheating a bit! A couple of weeks ago we went to Portobello Road and braved the crowds to have a truly life-changing burger and chips. I blogged about it here, so check it out if you missed it!

August's Instagram moments

gritty london kitten love
obligatory granola picture is this a lob


Despite all of the sunshine and lollipops of the first half of August, I've been much more interested in the cooler, more muted late-August vibe. I've eaten some sexy granola, changed my hairstyle for Autumn, and had lots of cosy cat cuddles as the rain beat against the window. I mean, let's face it, every month is going to involve cat cuddles, but I reckon you're all totally down for that, aren't you? Follow me on Instagram for more autumnal whimsy as the days grow shorter!

Songs on repeat in August (Click the links to listen!)

I've got a bit of an eclectic mix for you this August. My top pick for the month is a bit of a weird one, but I think it's spectacular. My stepdad has notoriously... interesting... tastes (think ten-hour-long documentaries about Belgian suspension bridges) but every now and then he recommends something to me that I end up absolutely loving.
This month, it is the song Get Amongst It by Fjokra. I can't put my finger on Fjokra's genre and I think that's why I love his music so much. Here's the "cooking video" version of Get Amongst It, cunningly titled Baguette Amongst It. Every single song by Fjokra is completely different and I find them all so compelling! Any band who makes a six foot long baguette whilst grooving out to their own music gets my vote. Still, I suspect this recommendation may be a bit of a "Marmite" one, so here's another of my favourite songs of the month: Houses by Great Northern. I found this band ages ago when searching for some Twin Peaks related stuff online, and I've been obsessed with this song ever since. It's such a great song with a really sweeping Autumnal mood to it. It's around this time of year that I start to get into 'heavier' music... I'm still a little goth at heart!

Blogs I've loved this month

I received three Liebster Award nominations this month, from three incredible bloggers: Jessica from Sweetness and Solitude, Arielle from A Simple Elegance, and George from Caramel Latte Kiss. They're all such lovely women and their blogs couldn't be more different. Arielle is, as her blog promises, SO elegant, Jessica is adorable and organized, and George is such a strong and individual person, and (fun fact!) we used to be pen pals! You should check out these blogs and let them know I told you to say hi! :)

What was your highlight, this August? And please recommend me your favourite song of the month!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

An Autumnal day out in London

Brr. It's bloody cold here in London right now. Luckily, I relish autumnal weather because it gives me an excuse to wear layers and dress from head to toe in colours like mustard, burgundy and leaf green.
ginger london girl
Every year at the beginning of Autumn, I make myself some little goals. I think it's a throwback to my school days, and the feeling of a fresh start happening in September. I don't think I'll ever shake that feeling of September being the start of something.
autumn outings london
Since we're half way through Autumn now, instead of telling you my goals, I'll tell you what I've achieved. I'd like to know what you guys have achieved too. It could be anything, big or small. Let's celebrate success!

Things I have achieved so far this Autumn
- Got a permanent job in an online content team for a well known print publication.
- Went to the Holocaust exhibition at the Imperial War Museum with Dan and sparked some interesting conversations between him and his family about his ancestors.
- Dressed as an Axolotl Princess for Hallowe'en.
- Hosted two parties
- Did lots of housework
- Wore plenty of autumnal outfits
- Did a lot of writing.

girl in wind london
autumn outfits cold weather
I'm off to Budapest for a long weekend the day after tomorrow. I'm pretty excited! I've been before, but it was a school trip and I may not have been paying as much attention to my surroundings as I could have been...!
So guys, let me know what you've achieved this autumn, and we can all feel very congratulatory together. Or have a look at what I was up to last autumn!
Coat and Dress - Topshop
Necklace - Tatty Devine
Tights - New Look
Socks - I DON'T KNOW! I'VE OWNED THEM FOREVER. MAYBE H&M?
Shoes - Office 

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

How to Enjoy Long-haul Flights

I love flying. I especially adore long haul flights. The longer, the better. I love aeroplane food, I love in-flight entertainment, I love aeroplane seats... I am completely loop-the-loop crazy about aviation, and I'm not ashamed! I'm not going to lie, one of the aspects of our honeymoon about which I was most excited was the long plane ride over to Asia! So here are some of my top plane-ride enjoyment tips, interspersed with photos I took on the plane to and from Hong Kong last month...
airplane window twilight
1. Wear comfortable clothes! One of these days, I'll show you my favourite plane outfit, but what it boils down to is, layers, nothing tight, and wear shoes you can slip on and off!
2. Book a seat that makes you feel more comfortable. I love the window seat because I like to lean against the wall, and I love to look out of the window whilst we are slipping through the night sky. Some people prefer the aisle because they can get in and out easily, and they might not like seeing out of the window! You can even book seats with extra leg-room on some flights and airlines. Do some research and find the best seat for you - You're going to be sitting in it for long enough!
airplane interior photo
3. Pack a little bag in your big bag! I like to have all my bits and bobs nearby, so I have a little bag inside my big bag, which I take out upon boarding the plane, and put under the seat in front of me. My big bag goes in the overhead compartment.
4. In your little bag, pack your see-through zip-lock toiletries bag, so you can have that on hand during the flight. I usually carry hand sanitiser, moisturiser, lip balm, deodorant, and makeup wipes in mine. I don't bother with in-flight makeup, although I kind of envy those who do. I always wished I was a bit more high maintenance!
airplane window london rain
5. Scope out the in-flight entertainment as soon as you're on the plane! Have fun planning a little viewing schedule for yourself! Plan it around meal times, and don't feel guilty if all you want to watch is comedy, or action movies!
paradise island hong kong from the air
6. Take little walks. Even if you're in the window seat! Suck it up, and ask the person in the aisle to let you past! Have a little wander to the loo, stretch your legs! Peek at what other people are watching on their tiny screens! Look out of the emergency exit window... grab a snack! Loads of airlines have snacks in the galley so you can pick them up whenever you like. Pro Tip: Cathay Pacific often has cup noodles. If you buzz your little buzzer and ask for noodles, they bring them to you, even in the middle of the night!
airplane window sunset ice
7. Accept that it's cramped, and you're stuck there. Treat it like a bit of down-time. You're neither here nor there! You don't exist on planet earth at that moment, and so you can do whatever the hell you want! You are cocooned in a magical metal beast, flying through the sky, and your only obligations are to curl up with a blanket (ask for an extra early on in the flight or they'll all go!) and watch crap telly!
What are your best in-flight enjoyment tips? Or do you hate flying? Let me know in the comments, if you like!

And check out this post about travelling with a disability written by Hayley-Ezti!