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Life in E2 taught me I’m enough, and to keep icing the cake

10 Aug
The cake being my catalogue of reasons for self-love and the additional icing being love I allow in from others.
Shoreditch has been home for the last 18+ months, London’s hub of culture, art, fashion and food. You can buy errrrythang from fresh fruit and flowers to furniture, pastries and antique collectibles. Sometimes known to others as that filthy Eastend patch full of top-knot adorned dickheads…
For me, my experience of living here gave me three awesome things: 1. Lots of incredible nights I can’t remember, 2. Immunity to bullshit (although this may have been innate), and 3. A rebuilt sense of self-worth at a time when it was a little shaky – otherwise known as ‘early twenty-dom’.

Moving time shoreditch view from my room

Thought patterns I used to have before moving here:
  • What makes me happy?
  • Am I enough?
  • Am I desirable?
  • Is this as good as things are going to get?
  • I’m unhappy in my job
Thought patterns I had after having lived in Shoreditch for some time:
  • I like the way I dress
  • I’ve met and welcomed some incredible strangers in to my life, now my friends
  • I’m fun
  • I’m attractive
  • I have great friends
  • I work damn hard
Some questions I’m still figuring out the answers to:

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From Blitz to Shoreditch Vintage Festival 2012

13 Aug

It’s no secret that I am one of the most unashamed consumers going, but abreast of that – I do love a good bargain! Hence, thrift shopping is the ideal pass time.

Held at Shoreditch town hall there were tea & cakes to be had, shortly after you’d been primed and preened at the grooming parlour where you could have dated do’s and make-up. The entire hall was absolutely bursting with all types of Brit nostalgia and fashion from high-end to bargain bucket to apparel and up-cycle.

My favourite rummaging spot was the photograph stall. Stacked with pouting models and in everything from Moschino to Mary Quant. I could’ve spent the whole day there, but musky vintage waits for no woman alone.

All-in-all my purchases largely consisted of brooches & jewellery, although there was the odd nautical bowling shirt, 50 mechanical heart-shaped alarm clock, virginal white sun dress, and of course a silk tie for the papa.

Here are some snaps from my day there:

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Interiors: Love of Beauty is Taste, Creation is Art

7 Mar

Hoorah, after 21 years of life I finally have a room that I can swing a cat in – and more creative freedom than you can shake a stick at.

Work began on December 05, 2011 – a freezing unrelenting winter, and finished in mid-January when London days became longer and there began a faint promise that Summer might be glancing down from a distance, waging her warm sweet smile.

The thought behind my room is a beautiful clash between strength and fragility. The BHS ‘world craft’ collection lampshade is bold but intricate. A striking structure of black-stained canes – which create such a soft, organic picture when the light shines through it. Stretching long hair-like strands of light all around the ceiling.

The colour scheme is equally soft and strong; the key colour being grey – with the dominant colour being ‘French grey‘ (Dulux silk) which transports you to a southern French wooden shuttered chateau, complimented by a feature wall dowsed in ‘urban obsession‘ (Dulux matt) – a deeper more industrial shade of grey. The real impact is carried in the fact that the feature wall itself is the very peak of our chimney breast, perfectly angular and masculine.

Within the nook of the chimney breast I’ve compacted my entire book collection (coded by colour of course) slotted this way and that way with a sort of organised chaos.

Some other details and accents I decided needed to be pungent popping colours and textures, a bright pillar-box red felt flower petal cushion, with loops instead of tongue-like petal leaves. Plus tonnes and tonnes of pink silk and plastic Peony flowers dotted in tote bags hanging from the door, and old glass cookie jars.

My favourite feature out of the lot though, is my country kitchen picnic table (Ikea, Norden) which I use as my desk. Painted in a wipeable white coat, it consists of 6 skinny drawers, perfect for keeping candles, socks, sewing needles and thread – or any bits and bobs you can think of. The clever part is that you can fold the sucker away and it takes up the least amount of space possible.

Here are some snaps from around my attic chambre, including a rain splattered viewpoint from the window:

Treasure: Guyanese Leather-Bound Passport from 1967

12 Jan

Guyanese passport:1967 was the year

In a recent bid to clear out the loft and create some much needed living space, we uncovered hoards of little treasures along the way. Most items we found were toot to be tossed, but we also uncovered some gems that had been forgotten and lost for years.

He’s even cuter than I used to be…hmph!

Just take a look at my Dads’ beautiful forest green leather-bound passport from the first country he ever called home, Guyana, South America. A West-Indian jewel of a nation, full of things that glitter; gold, Demerara sugar and warm-natured people.

Jewel green Guyanese leather bound passport

I couldn’t resist showing off these pristine passport ink stamps and British Guyana paper stamps. Perhaps it’s simply the fact that this well worn item from the 50’s still looks so handsome after all these years (no I’m not talking about you Dad.)

One EBay seller who shares my passion for stamps and snapshots of the past, is this wonderfully curious vendor; selling his collection of stamps on six envelopes sent from Guyana to the U.S. in 1968, 1976, 1981, 1983 and 1985, and what treasures they are.

A little taste of Guyana’s history: 1815 sees the beautiful West Indian country under the grasp of British rule. It isn’t until 1966 (yes that long) that Guyana receives its independence.

It borders Suriname to the east, Venezuela to the west and Brazil to the south.  It’s also the only English-speaking country in South America.

Famous for its gold, Guyana’s Omai mine is one of the largest gold mines in the whole of South America.

My fathers’ family who own a property in the capital ‘Georgetown’ moved to England in ’67, but I’m desperate to meet our charming and vibrant family members that reside in Guyana.

Shedding Some Thoughts

11 Oct

I’ve felt a significant change in the air of late. The days seem to drag, it seems strange, unnatural even to be waking up to darkness each day. The summer sun has closed its shutters, while autumn’s claws claim the pavements.

In the political arena we are seeing much promise from mp’s of late. Just last week – the main party conferences came to a close, with new hopes and plans to be delivered pending their victory. For the most part audiences were shown old policies with the dust blown off, but still there is the illusion of new things.

Over the weekend lots of families the world over saw in the holiest few days of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur – a chance for growth and reflection. A chance to sit back and consider what it is exactly one wants to be remembered for.

The monumental event that stirred up all this contemplation was the clear out and demolition of our garden shed. Something that has existed since we had moved in to this house 13 years ago, in my mind it symbolises the acceptance of new things.

Here were some viewpoints from the day:


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Seriously Bitchin’ Kodak Retinette – Plus Learn to Speak 50’s

7 Sep

Ok, so I have recently stumbled across quite a 1950’s gem…it’s only a stunning 35mm Kodak ‘Retinette’ wind-up camera.

What I like most about it however, was the price £5 leather bound case and all from a charity shop in Romford.

The 35mm ‘Retinette’ was a camera range made by Kodak AG in the late 40’s early 50’s in Germany, a more ‘cost effective’ version of the ‘Retina‘.

This particular version allows for a flash sync to be used when screwed in to the top, another unusual feature is the wind-up lever that is on the bottom.

It is very rare to find a winder at the bottom end of a camera, those dreaming up the shape and functionality must have been careful to craft a piece of machinery that was  a dream for the owner to use.

The slightly worn targeted view finder on this sweet 50’s Kodak Retinette transports you back to a hazy time, full of mid length skirts and brylcream.

It forces me to stop and wonder what sights were seen by this trusty handcrafted camera – perhaps cheerful picnics at the beach, days out and about looking at all London has to offer.

Perhaps she has even travelled overseas, breathed in the misty atmosphere of the Rue du Seine of Paris.

That’s the beauty of foraged items such as this, you can create any kind of tangible history you please.

You can so clearly tell the era that gave birth to this unique model of Kodak camera (1950’s) the steel finish and traces of art deco make it a real swell find.

So in honour of  50’s culture and style here are some seriously bitchin’ phrases I thought I’d and bring back.

Stafford in Colour

11 May

A bit of a grey area, Stafford is a largely overlooked hub of modern culture in a historic setting. Situated in the East Midlands (Staffordshire) it’s a town that just quietly gets on with things.

Tami and I have a stroll through St Mary’s green

The high street is rich with craft boutiques and knick knack stores, like Number 28 which offers quirky, individual gift ideas for the home and locally crafted cards, or Kalika homeware boutique, crammed with shabby chic and vintage items (which operates out of a front room).

Hidden down by the river, Jade second hand clothing boutique is where I unearthed a sequined ball gown that I’d been searching for, for the longest time, as well as a classic safari dress in black from French Connection that had to come home with me. The store also extends through to a prom, wedding and bridesmaid boutique (also vintage). The second hand samaritans at Jade are hosting a charity fashion show locally in the village, so do buy some tickets if you’re about.

Tudor house doubles as a museum along the high street

There’s even an old Victorian folklore which demands that all shops on certain streets must close on Wednesdays. Annoying if you need to pick up a spot of cod from Parkers of Mill Street, Stafford, for dinner but it certainly adds to the charm of the place.

Victoria park bridge Stafford

The 16th century thatched building that houses a family run restaurant-come tea-room called Soup kitchen  is perched down a cobble stone alley called Church street, and surprisingly enough overlooks a beautiful stone church (St. Mary’s). I must admit I have had two dates here in the past week, firstly with the boyfriend and secondly with a very dear old friend, visiting for the weekend.

16th Century Soup Kitchen Stafford

Everything is prepared and cooked on-site, the staff are always chirpy and the prices aren’t too offensive either. On both occasions I opted for their sky high puff pastry pie with veg, followed by cakes and desserts that are so naughty but too nice to pass up.

Tam looking very pensive

Carrot cake and cherry pie & custard for dessert

We topped it all off with coffee and conversation at The Grove on the other side of St Mary’s Church where talk somehow shifted to our shared love of actress and beauty Thandie Newton, which of course led to a Thandie ‘pose off’.

Thandie ‘Tami’ Newton

Thandie ‘Ella’ Newton

Here are some snaps from our wonderful day in Stafford:

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