Returning To One Of My Many Homes

12310492_10207441860712349_723933827673908404_n.jpg

I like the small pleasure of being somewhere long enough to be in the ‘know’. These stairs are not only the gateway to the beautiful Bute Park, but a shortcut to the city centre. I count Cardiff as one of my many homes. Studying there for three significant years of my life, it feels far more familiar than the town I grew up in.

I went there for a few days last week to visit a friend and reminisce about old times. While it was a nice time, it was the first time I had gone back there that I didn’t really feel so at home. There were so many new places, old haunts had shut down, and the students were suddenly babies, rather than being my age or older.

There is something quite haunting when you find that the familiar is slowly changing, when time interferes and injects more recent memories that somewhat overshadow those that were once held so significant. Your head can play powerful tricks on you, and nostalgia can be dangerous. In order to stop disappointment, it is so very important to create new memories so that you don’t live your life relying on the past to make your everyday seem special. As chances are, if you were to go back, it wouldn’t be as great as you would have imagined.

Advertisements

Illustrations

I have been drawing a lot recently. I think it is a great way to relax, and it is somewhat of an amazing past time, to start off with a blank piece of paper and in my case, a set of £1 paints from the local pound shop. To then manage somehow, with the flicker of your hand to end up with a finished picture is quite cool.

IMG_4227

 

IMG_4297

 

IMG_3361

 

IMG_4150

 

IMG_4141

 

IMG_4273

 

Why Art Is So Important

IMG_2212

IMG_4255

IMG_4280

I’ve recently been drawing again. A few years ago, I did art and got an A at A levels, got called stupid for not doing a fashion related degree by my teachers and instead went and did what I thought was a sensible, stable three years in Journalism. Although I had a great time and am equally as passionate about words, puns and font types, my heart has always been silently mourning the fact I didn’t pursue my main passion. Because when I went to university, I stopped drawing. I didn’t see the point of doing it if it wasn’t going to get me a job. I was silly.

I have realised recently that since picking up a pencil and scribbling a little each day on paper, that I have regained a part of my soul.

If you are passionate about something, never give it up. Even temporarily. Passions are so important and give you something to strive towards and focus on, as well as something to enjoy other than watching television and stalking people on social media. Technology has kind of killed a little bit of everyones passion I feel. But it shouldn’t be the case.

Country Life – Yorkshire

IMG_0467

A few weeks ago I went to visit my Dad who has moved to Yorkshire for a few months. Alice (pictured), my sister came from Newcastle where she is studying and we had a jolly old reunion. We went to Weatherby, a cute little town with lots of independent coffee shops, cobbled streets and the permanent smell of fish and chips. In true Northern style, there was an ice cream truck in the car park by the river – why let the minor fact of it being October stop people from enjoying such a treat.

If you end up going to York and have time to tour around, I do recommend going to Weatherby and stopping by at Filmore and Union where every type of healthy wealthy hip hop yet delicious treat awaits you. Think beetroot and orange smoothies to smashed avocado on toast to blondies with wheat grass and all at a fraction of the costs in the southern uncomfort (see what I did there – southern comfort – boom!)

 

IMG_0461

IMG_0467

IMG_0470

 

I’m Back

IMG_0753

I got a severe telling – off from a friend the other night for the lack of posts on my blog of late. Number one – if you are reading this Josh, hey look at me I am updating it. Number two, I apologise, but life has been hectic and busy and a bundle of stress and ridiculousness all in one flood wave and alas, I just haven’t felt inspired to document it.

My life in New York was exciting and fun and I mourn it everyday. However, it wasn’t reality because well, I was never really going to be able to stay. I long for the day that we can all live wherever we like and nobody no longer gives two hoots about visa control and immigration laws. My heart is still pumping around that big apple but now my head is well and truely back to the present and my new old life (or old new life) in England.

I have done a few picture – worthy things in the weeks I have been absent which I will post in a minute incase any of you wish to take a peek into my rock and roll lifestyle. I’ve refrained for documenting my daily working week of answering the phone in a posh (er) voice and being in charge of the tea and coffee cabinet.

Talking of pictures, I am now a little obsessed with drawing. I used to love art when I was at school but gave it up a good five years ago when I realised I would never get a job in such a competitive field, opting for a far more stable degree in journalism instead.. The joke is still on me to this day.

As a result, I am taking back my passion and have found myself drawing a picture each evening, after eating my dinner and walking three miles from work to home. I did warn you that my life isn’t so exciting right now..!

Anyway, I will be documenting my drawings in a post soon, and you can give me your honest opinions on if they are any good or not!

Speak soon. Sooner than before. Promise!

Returning Home And Finding A New Normal

IMG_7176

As always, I apologise for my lack of posts in the last few months. Time seems to get in the way of well, time. It just kind of grabs you and drags you forward in leaps and bounds to another month, another chapter of our lives. Okay, I will stop with all this ‘deep talk’ now. But seriously, how can it be September already?

photo (5)

Since my last post, I have been on a plane, been fed dog food (above) – I mean really, would you even let your dog eat this? And flew in the air miles and miles away from the life I had built over the three months I lived in New York, and returned to the ‘normal’.

Those of you who have lived abroad before, or even simply been away for a long time from your home will understand why the word normal needs to be quoted as such. It is impossible to just simply return home and say ‘oh that was a nice trip, anyway how is everyone’. Not in reality anyway. Although I guess if I think about it, that is what I have been doing.

IMG_6601

The thing that gets me is when people ask me ‘how was your trip’, as if I had just been away for a week and have come back with a tan, a memory card of photographs (that are all duplicates of my Facebook album) and a few parent friendly stories to tell the dinner table.

I always find it easy to adjust to new surroundings, but a hell of a lot harder returning to the same familiar ones. Last year, I lived in France for a year and it took me a good three months to recover from that. When I say recover, I just found a new way to enjoy being in the same old place again.

IMG_7033

IMG_7732

Moving from the big lights of the city that literally never slept to a small, suburban town is quite a change. In my current ‘home’, the transport comes infrequently, I don’t have a car and very few people I enjoy spending time with live anywhere near me. This means that at weekends, Eastenders, long country walks (that basically go to the supermarket to buy crisps and then home again as it almost always rains) have become my new best friend.

 

New York Cafe Review: Black Brick, Williamsburg

photo 4

Finding a reasonably priced coffee shop in New York is a difficult task. There are only so many times you can go to Starbucks without feeling insanely guilty that you are missing out on a far more inviting environment while you get your caffeine fix. Bedford Avenue, Williamsburg is notorious for its many rows of coffee shops and bars, and even thought I live so very near by, I always end up some place else.

Today was different and I made it my main task of the day to go and check out a new cafe. Black Brick (300 Bedford Avenue) was rated highly on Yelp and so I thought I would give it a go. The fact it only had one $ sign meant it was even more worthy of a visit.

photo 1

photo 2

photo 1

photo 2

photo 3

photo 5

I ordered an iced Americano for $3 and it wss pretty damn good. I have found that a lot of coffee in artistically decorated (a polite way of saying hipster run) cafes, especially in Brooklyn is terrible. This coffee tasted great and was strong without sending my brain onto the treadmill. I also overheard the man behind the counter talk about his passion for coffee and how he must like, taste every bean to know what suits the blend. So you know, a bit obnoxious maybe – but at least he got it spot on! You can also buy a selection of cakes and pastries, all for under $5.

The only downside I will say about Black Brick, is that it has very slow, barely there wi-fi. I had gone there to do some blogging, catch up on my emails and do some much needed writing. However, this was all virtually (well un – virtually in this case) impossible as a result of no world wide web to hop onto.

A cafe for admiring the interior (there are plenty of magazines, a few type writers and plenty of tables for large groups), drinking good coffee or simply a place to go to for a reliable to – go coffee. However, don’t make the mistake of lugging your laptop there, as the vintage inspired interior stretches that one bit further to the technology use.

New York Diary: 4th Of July Fireworks, Island Hopping And Flea Markets

Scroll to the bottom for text.

photo 4

11709668_10206535636577312_6666016610990314031_n

11695930_10206535637537336_5939533097420123232_n

photo 1

photo 1

photo (3)

I apologise for the lack of blog posts this last week. My friend came to visit for a long but fast period of time and now voila we are in July. How does that happen?

I have added the photographs  first so they can do the talking. I had such a great week exploring New York for the first time all over again. My friend was so good at finding new places and doesn’t have the talent of getting lost like I do, so I got to see far more of the city in a much shorter time spam (it normally takes me a good two hours to navigate my way to the desired destination) – it was telling he went to Scouts as a child, if only the nineties was as gender neutral as it is now, then maybe my Brownies would have taught me how to read a map rather than how to bake a Victoria sponge.

We celebrated 4th of July on top of my new rooftop (well not mine alone, but still). A lot of the people from the building came and hung out up there so I got to know some of my neighbours, such an uncool NY thing to do, but hey it was 4th of July and everyone was wearing red, white and blue. Why not break the mold. We got to see the Macy’s fireworks minus the crowds and had a jolly good time.

We explored many of the side streets of my area and discovered a great flea market by the pier, a mier twenty minute walk away. Click on the link if you are a bit of a hipster and want to check out some vintage clobber. I have to admit, my favourite thing was the mac and cheese at the food stall, as the clothes are very over priced, but it’s great for photographs.

Talking of photographs and fast forwarding to today, I have to tell you all about a ridiculous farcical thanks to Instagram, Hipsters and a cafe – Two Hands, down Mott Street. After my friend found it on Instagram, we decided to check it out on account of it’s cheap coffee and cute looking straws. Little did I realise that the whole of New York’s excited hipsters would also want to do the same. Angela if you are reading this, don’t worry, we are definitely still not hipsters, just hip!

There was not only a waiting list of an hour to even have a seat in this tiny little venue, but the people waiting were enough to put me off adding my name to Joe’s list and finding a far less pretentious one. We did just that. But let me not forget to tell you about one particular girl in the queue.

“Let me tell you about my name, it’s like so funny. You see, like, I actually have four names (side note, so do I, but who really cares), and they are all like the names of alcohol, which I think is just so so funny. Stella, Suze, Jack Glenn”.

Revolutionary, not.

I am so glad we found a nicer, cooler cafe that actually had wi-fi. That was the other thing, despite being NY famous from Instagram, Two Hands didn’t even have wi-fi. Pft.

Calling All Creatives – I’m Making A Magazine

22 (1)

Hello lovely readers of my blog and anyone that stumbles upon this on cyber space,

I feel a break in my New York Diary posts is a little unsatisfactory to my OCD blogging tendencies, but I am hoping it will be worth the eye ache in grand scheme of things.

For months, I have been putting ideas together in the hope of making my own magazine. Another one of those “I’m going to change the world by the time I’m 25” people, I know, I know. It’s just a hobby, hopefully will one day turn into something more – but either way, I would love to have creative wonderful people on board with me.

I am looking for any writers, photographers and travel enthusiasts that are wanting to work with like minded people. Oh, and if you are living in New York, thats an even bigger bonus as we can meet and discuss this over gin.

Please email me: hanna2212@hotmail.co.uk or comment below if you are interested in doing something super fun and cool with me.

New York Diary: The Real Deal – Bed Bugs, East Harlem And Finding Sanity

photo 2

“You’re so lucky your in New York”, is something I’ve been told a lot from various people back home. Don’t get me wrong, from the little time I have been here (just over a week), I have met some amazing people, seen a great deal of the city and partially found my feet (there is still a long way to go, but they are slowly coming out of hiding).

It would be very easy for me to type overly exclaimed sentences on every blog post I write, only mentioning the snippets of my day that filled my heart with joy, happiness and a sense of awe from being in such a great city. However, that wouldn’t be right. There is a lot of bad that comes with the great, and I think honesty is the best policy. So here goes. Want to know the real deal of life in New York? Lets start with the subway. Yes, it runs 24 hours a day, which is incredible. But unlike the tube in London, it comes far less frequently. The other night, I had to wait 40 minutes for the next train to come. I then had to change twice more with a lot more waiting time squashed in between. As a result, it took me two hours to get back home. I think it might have been quicker walking. Another thing is the smell. My oh my. It is so unbelievably packed with people all day everyday, that by noon you really don’t want to be hovering around it for more time than you can help. The smell has faded these last few days, which makes me suspicious that I have just gotten used to it.

photo 3

As an outsider, I have also noticed a huge cultural language barrier. As a super polite English person, I find the directness of New Yorkers startling. When I arrived at my hotel last week, the receptionist looked at my passport photo and exclaimed “my, you look so much better in person”. I guess that is nice, in a backhanded kind of way…

Although Instagram (my addiction) manages to perceive an idealistic brightly coloured visual documentation of your life, I have managed to carefully edit out some of the everyday unattractive elements of my experience so far in New York. For example, my legs are hidden in any photograph of myself. If you were to see them now, you would be in for a treat. I have a mix of bruises of all shapes and shades, bites and scratches. Climbing balconies, questionable bed bugs (I am praying they are mosquito bites) and clumsy walking are now part of my everyday existence and appearance.

photo 1

Another thing people don’t seem to get is that although I am staying in Manhattan, I am actually in Harlem. Although it is a super nice part, the West is best and all that (it just rhymes, I don’t really feel like that for everything – although I am sure Kayne likes it – boom!), I have managed to find myself in the East far too regularly. Without wanting to insult anyone that lives there, I will just point out that walking along alone at night that side of town is not that glam.

I am also still getting used to things like the tipping culture, getting people to understand my sarcasm rather than mistaking me for a very self deprecating posh girl, and getting used to people coming over and telling me they like my voice. Having said this, I have met some pretty awesome people who I hope I will stay friends with. As a good friend of mine would say – its not all bad, give yourself a pat on the back (and a slice of pizza – sorry, I just needed a link to my next photo!)

photo 4

The point of this post really, is just to say that just because I am (anyone is) having a great time somewhere, it doesn’t mean that filtered photographs can represent the daily changes to your routine, the jet lag and cultural barriers that you face when moving somewhere new. For most of the time these things are exciting, fun and at times damn right tragic, but they are also just part of my new normal, my reality. Travelling/ living abroad is great fun, but its not luck that gets you there, its how you go about making it work.

photo 5