Archive of ‘Links’ category

Brighton Treasures

Brighton Purchases

Brighton Purchases

Brighton Purchases

Brighton Purchases

My parents are in town at the moment, which is great fun. Yesterday, we set off for the lovely coastal town of Brighton. It’s full of winding lanes with gorgeous independent shops that make me want to take everything home.

Here are some of my favourites:

  • Utility Great Britain for great enamelware (see photos above), old school brushes and soaps, and quality household cloths.
  • Workshop Living with its clean design of zinc pots, creamy cotton and pastel crockery (see Instagram photos below).
  • Posh Totty for gorgeous jewellery, and surprisingly, the three vases in the photos at the top that I could not resist. You know it’s love when you’ve walked all the way back down to the beach, only to start looking up whether they have an online shop…
  • Bert’s Homestore for anything kitchen and home related. Also the source of the cute garden twine in the pictures above.
  • England at Home is full of things you don’t really need, but want all the same, from witty mugs to vintage looking phones.

It’s a good thing the thought of carrying heavy things around all day prevented me from buying more. It’s only an hour’s travel from London, so I could be tempted again!

Sports: Gear & Injuries

sportsgearI did my first bit of exercise since late November this week – apart from physio exercises, that is. On Wednesday, we went to the park to practice some touch rugby with our work team, as the league kicks off next week.

I’m in so much pain! Not only am I horrifically unfit (see above: no exercise for months), but I also sprained my ankle about a month ago, just as my hamstring was ready for action again. It had mostly healed so I decided I was good to go, but I hadn’t bargained for the uneven ground of the pitch we played on. After about three mini-twists of my ankle I realised that I should probably stop, and limped home through the park. The quad on my opposite leg thinks I’m an idiot. It’s right.

In the meantime, my ability to exercise seems to be inverse exponentially related to the amount of sports gear I buy and want to buy.

Currently on the radar:

  • These short shorts from Sweaty Betty (I have a top in the same pattern – see below – and just enough fashion acumen to realise I can’t wear both at the same time)
  • A capri in the same pattern (because it’s just so pretty, and everyone knows pretty sports gear makes you go faster/harder/longer)
  • Another pair of Inov-8 F-lites (quite possibly my favourite footwear ever)

Recently purchased:

  • This vest from Sweaty Betty (much love for the pattern – I am repeating myself – and it’s made of fab fabric to boot)
  • These Under Armour shorts (the fit is fantastic – lots of room to move, flattering, and available in lots of great colours. I went for the safe “faded ink” blue option, because I’ll be able to wear it as part of my rugby uniform, but I’m tempted by all the bright options)
  • This Sweaty Betty T-Shirt and sports bra (more proof that if it’s got a cute pattern that features the colour blue, I am a willing consumer. At least any matchy-matchy issues will be largely concealed with this combo)

Now all I need is for this ankle to shape up so I actually have a reason to wear all this stuff! Here’s to being able to play next week.

Spring Flowers and Travel

Guelder Rose

Ranunculus & Anemones

It’s been a glorious Sunday, one warm and sunny day to settle back in before going back to work, after spending a week and a half in the Netherlands. We saw friends and their kids at a pick nick in a local park, and sat in the sun, blossom petals flying by on the breeze.

I also hopped on the Overground to Hackney and visited Botany, a cool little shop I spotted on Instagram the other day. There’s nothing like being a tourist in your own (adopted) city, and I’m trying to make use of the things London and the UK have to offer more.

Down the road from Botany, I picked up a cheerful bunch of ranunculus and anemones in all sorts of colours at Rebel Rebel, which is just as well, given that I brought three new vases back from the Netherlands (and they all survived the journey – hurray!).

 

This Girl Can

One of my rugby friends recently copied a link to this post on the lovely These Girls Do blog, which I promptly started reading obsessively.

The name of the blog is inspired by the This Girl Can campaign. I’d vaguely heard of it, seen one of their print ads on the tube, but it hadn’t really registered until l I watched the full campaign ad. Don’t ask me why, but it brings a tear to my eye.

love that it’s encouraging women to be strong, to get stuck in, tomato-red heads and sweaty hair be damned. It’s such a rare and beautiful message in a world where being female is unnervingly about looking perfect all the time, not a hair out of place, smelling of daisies. Girls stop exercising aged 12 because muscles get in the way of looking skinny. Muscly girls are butch, muscly men are hot. Women are encouraged to exercise to be skinny, not to get strong. There is something so wrong with all of the above.

This year, I finally started something I’d wanted to try for years. Rugby.

It’s messy, it’s scary at times, it fucking hurts, and there’s nothing else I’ve found that makes me feel quite so capable, quite as much like I’ve found what I was made to do (well, all of me apart from my right hamstring tendon apparently). It’s the least traditionally feminine sport I can think of, and I love it for that very reason. Rugby celebrates strength, perseverance, courage and not giving a shit about what you look like.

When I put on the number 12 shirt, it always fits a little snug around my arms. It makes me feel fantastic – too strong for this shirt, and too damn strong for the opposition. And when I get on the pitch, with the other 14 girls in my team, I know that every single one of these girls can - and will – kick your arse.

And that? That feels amazing.

That’s what this campaign is about to me. We should encourage all girls to look for that high. We all can.

What exercise makes your heart sing?

Happy Days at the Darkest Time of Year

craftcoffee

It’s been a busy few weeks. This last week especially has been glorious.

I found out my four-digit tax return is twice what I thought it would be, had a lovely dinner with a new friend, discovered that my Kindle hadn’t given up the ghost despite brief contact with my bath water, got a raise, and won a big deal award at the annual work Christmas meeting.

When they read out my name I was surprised, overwhelmed and elated. I never for a second thought I’d actually win one of the awards: there are only eight to go around and realistically, I’m only eligible for two. I didn’t know I was even shortlisted. I can barely remember what I said on stage as I accepted the award, and what I do remember wasn’t particularly eloquent, but I’ve been told it was clear I was very happy and temporarily speechless (if you know me in real life you’ll know that is a rare occasion).

I was reminded that I work at a fantastic company, full of unbelievably lovely people. The company update and awards ceremony was followed by a fancy dinner, after which the music came on. Time to dance and drink the night away.

This weekend was a write-off. Surprisingly, I didn’t have a hangover, but running around like a hyper-active, over-excited chihuahua for an evening drains the battery!

Fortunately I knew just what the doctor ordered: there’s nothing quite like the exquisite Craft Coffee to recharge. I took the picture above in their cafe earlier today (iPhone style, so it’s a bit grainy, but it shows off the lovely decorations) while getting my second day’s dose of cappuccino.

As Things Get Colder

20131123-145445.jpgI invested in winter wear just in time this year. I bought a big woolly hat that got delivered last week, and stopped by John Lewis for some gloves earlier this week. All this allowed for a trip to Borough Market and a walk by the river today.

It’s easy to give Borough a miss for all the tourists that believe the middle of the path is the best place to evaluate ones digital pictures, but you’d be missing out on so much culinary goodness. Like this spectacular Mortandela from the Ham and Cheese Company (not two food groups I’ve traditionally been known to associate with, I know, but they do tremendously good salami, plural).

I also wasn’t about to skip the mulled cider stand, which facilitated may briefly taking my gloves off.

It’s not that cold yet, but I run cold anyway, and I always find the first days of winter the hardest. Come February I’ll laugh in the face of -1*C and consider going without a coat in such balmy temperatures, but for now, it’s damn cold. And a fantastic excuse to wear my new hat, of course.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a shy armadillo that made me smile earlier this week. Enjoy!

List It Tuesday: Holiday Faves

Here are some of my favourite things about the holiday season:

20121219-203332.jpg

– Carol singers at tube stations
– Gorgeous lights in the trees lining busy streets
– Birds close to the house looking for a bite to eat cause its cold outside
– Knowing the shortest day of the year is fast approaching – it’ll be in the rearview mirror soon, as the mornings light up again
– Clear, crisp mornings (snow optional)
– Candles
– The scent of Christmas trees

I’m spending Christmas in London this year, the Londoner’s family have kindly adopted me. I’ll miss my family and our special way of celebrating Christmas, but I got to spend five days at home in the Netherlands just a few weeks ago, so that should last me until the new year.

What are your holiday faves? Join List It Tuesday here.

List It Tuesday: Overheard

You’d think a 16 year old girl in central London would have seen an impaired pigeon before…

Of course, it’s only now that spell check throws up that my automatic spelling of “pigeon” (“pidgeon”) is incorrect that I realise this, and the spelling error in my illustration for this week’s topic. Oh well, here’s to spontaneous illustrations with the odd error. It’s not the first time! ;) Perhaps it’s a good theme for another List It Tuesday week: words that trip you up every time! :)

Joining in – on time this week – with Aimee’s wonderful List It Tuesday initiative. To see more entries and find out next week’s topic, join the fun here.

List It: What I Love About Where I Live

Hot on the heels of my recent move to London (that’s kept me from joining in for the last two List It Tuesdays), the topic this week is What I Love About Where I Live.

  1. Big Parks. Richmond Park and Kew Gardens are my favourites, but I won’t pass up a stroll through Regent’s Park or Hyde Park if offered.
  2. The Londoner and friends. After more than a year of commuting back and forth between my social life in London and my home in Cambridge, it’s so nice to have it all.
  3. Courses. Because I’m here full time now, I can go to foreign policy/journalism lectures at the Frontline Club, sewing classes at Ray Stitch, or creativity-fuelled evening classes at Central Saint Martins. Also on the wish list: bookbinding at Falkiner’s, and perhaps a ceramics class, desperate as I am to recreate something as wonderful as this. The possibilities are endless!
  4. London Underground. By no means perfect, frequently out for maintenance on weekends, hot and smelly in summer, but my god is it a convenient way to whizz around London.
  5. Gateway to everywhere. On a train to Southampton, Brighton, or even Edinburgh; on a plane to anywhere… London makes it easy to travel, and I do love a trip!
  6. Great book shops. Everybody needs a book shop, and I’m not talking about regular chain stores such as WHSmith. Waterstones is passable, but shops like Foyles, Magma and the London Review of Books really  make my heart sing.
  7. Arts supply shops. I never did manage to find anything in Cambridge beyond the haberdashery section at the local John Lewis. In London, I’m spoilt for choice. The aforementioned Ray Stitch for anything sewing related (and copies of Uppercase Magazine); Blade Rubber for all my stamping needs, the London Graphic Centre for just about everything, the massive Paperchase on Tottenham Court Road for all my paper-based fancies, and Cass Art for a great bargain.
  8. London opening hours. Shops are open till 20:00 most weeknights. All shops. This is such a blessing for someone who used to have to race home to get to the shops before 18:00.
  9. Foodies. Independent food retailers are everywhere. Coffee shops, butchers, greengrocer’s with vegetables I’ve never seen before, bakeries. It is utterly delicious.
  10. Wholefoods. I love visiting Wholefoods for weird and wacky dinner ideas, cosmetics or yoga attributes. They’ve got several shops in London covering all my hippie-esque needs.

What do you love about where you live? Tell us and join in at List It Tuesday on Artysville here.

List It: Nostalgia

List it Tuesday, not so much on Tuesday this week. Frankly, in a week where I’ve both moved house and changed jobs, I think I get a pass! :) More about both at a later date, no doubt.

For now, I present you with this week’s List It theme: nostalgia. Autumn and nostalgia are almost synonyms in my book, and as you can see, I didn’t quite manage to contain my list to one page. However, in the interest of getting something up (versus trying to get the perfect list up and not getting around to it before the next Tuesday), I present you with a delightfully imperfect list of items that make me nostalgic, and an eternal conundrum about the final item you can’t quite see on page two:

To join in or to find out what next week’s theme is, visit Aimee at Artsyville here!

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