My Favourite 3 Cafes Near Waterloo, London

10524565_10204444815548093_7563580934724688723_n 08.25.15

Waterloo – made world famous by ABBA. The mainline commuter station for anyone living in the South West is a five minute walk away from South Bank, Big Ben and The London Eye. Woven in between the iconic tourist attractions lies a treasure trove of independent cafes that are not only very Instagrammable (new word?), but won’t break your bank either. Here are my favourite spots, all tried and tested many a time by yours truly.

Scooter Caffè

Enter back in time to your grandmothers living room, with dim lighting, rustic decor and beautiful coffee art. Here, you can bring your own lunch, buy a drink for under £5 and relax in a comfy armchair. Oh, and if you like cats then this place is definitely for you. There are two wondering around.

Love and Scandal

Delicious breakfasts, sandwiches and cakes that are positively healthy, Love and Scandal is a great place to stop for a wholesome lunch. The scandinavian style decor, mixed with small quirky twists (old golden syrup tins are used for the sugar) give the cafe a great vibe and is somewhere I have on my ‘to go’ list, whenever I am in London.

Riverfront Bar & Kitchen

Located in the BFI (British Film Institute), this place is great to sit in on a summers day, with stunning views of the Thames and the effortless ability to people watch. Their breakfasts are out of this world as are the cocktails that are served all day.

 

(Taken from my travel blog – The Grass is Greener).

 

The Definition of ‘Home’

IMG_4520.JPG

Pictured is me, age five in my favourite Spice Girls t – shirt in my restaurant/ house/ cafe/ den in the back garden. Excuse my facial expression, I think I was caught mid – sneeze.

My parents home is currently up for sale and they are relocating to the countryside. I get asked a lot how I feel about that. Don’t I feel sad? Surely I must – those bricks and water that sheltered me from the age of three to now (on and off) will be taken over by a new family.

The answer is no. Not really. To me, it isn’t really ‘home’ anymore. However, it does mean that I will have to find somewhere permanent to live myself. No more ‘going back home’ for months at a time to the safety blanket of my childhood bedroom.

This got me thinking of all my other ‘homes’ that I have had in the last five years – where I have gone off to with the confidence of knowing that if I happen to boomerang back to Surrey, I will have somewhere to stay.

I have had seven bedrooms in the past five years. Three in Cardiff, one in Aarhus, Denmark, one in France, two in New York and the bedroom at my parents house. I find if funny how easily I settle somewhere new, and how hard it is when I have to leave. The familiar is never permanent in life, and this is something I learnt as soon as I moved out of university halls. Your bedroom, daily routine, corner shop, neighbours – all everyday fixtures in your life, are things that suddenly change. I feel a small part of my soul is still in every one of the bedrooms I have stayed in, the ‘me’ then being slightly different to the ‘me now – simply because I have a new routine, a new ‘local’ and a very different view from my bedroom window. Mountains in France, sky scrapers in New York, hills in Denmark and  residential rubbish – trodden streets in Cardiff were once background scenes in my day – to – day life. Now I think about them in the past tense.

With my parents impending departure from the ‘familiar’ family home, I am spending every spare second looking at rooms to move to. As a freelance writer, I have the flexibility to move around the world – anywhere with a plug and a Wi-Fi code. Sometimes I think about moving back to one of my old homes. But I’m scared that going back will ruin the memories I have. People make places, not concrete and bricks.

And so the quest continues to find a place to settle where I will feel asa ‘at home ‘as I have done in the other bedrooms I have had so far in my life. How so very, very grown up.

A Trip to Petersham Nurseries – Nearly…

IMG_4493.JPG

 

IMG_4492

 

My friend Josh is brave. He drives and doesn’t get lost, ever – unlike me. We both had the same driving instructor. He shouted at me so I sacked him. He shouted at me because I nearly drove into a post. Fair play to him when you think about it now, my 18 year old self was a lot more sensitive. Even now though, I try and avoid driving when possible. It isn’t really something that comes natural to me and if anything has become a fear. People find this weird, but I think it is far more reasonable to be scared of potentially running someone over, than a small spider that can do you no harm (spiders in the UK that is).

Anyway, as the title of this post suggests, I didn’t come on here to chat about driving. Josh – brave at driving – took us out to Richmond in the car on Sunday, found a golden ‘free parking’ spot and showed me the way to Petersham Nurseries (which from now on will be abbreviated to PN)- “you will like it, I promise”, he said as I reluctantly agreed to walk across a field of cows and horses to what I could only assume was going to be a high class Nottcutts. Wrong!

From what I saw of PN, it looked lovely. Everyone was dressed so swish, everyone being over 50 or American or very, very wealthy. I asked Josh if he felt poor and he said “well no, we live nearby too” – darn right we do! Of course, being our luck and all, PN was closed for a private function, meaning we couldn’t actually go in. However, we ended up following a large group of people down a side alleyway to Petersham village, where all the gardens were open to view. It was so sweet and I have made a mental note to A, always listen to Josh when he suggests somewhere to go, B, take my Grandma there sometime soon and C, take any international visitors to Petersham – the definition of ‘great’ Britishness.

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!

The General Election And The Results

10524565_10204444815548093_7563580934724688723_n

I woke up today with a little anticipation of who would be leading this country for the next five years. I think I was in the minority who wasn’t appalled or disgusted at the outcome. The amount of press who have compared those voting Conservative to turkeys voting for Christmas is a tiny bit over exaggerated. I am no political expert, but what I do know is that newspapers are very quick to fire a gun at their opposing party, and influence the vote of their readers. Of course the campaign was one big effort to get people to like the leaders for a day or two. Do you really think Nick Clegg enjoyed going to a primary school and playing in a sand pit with toddlers? Maybe, but I doubt he would have done it through choice. I don’t think people should be quick to judge the outcome of this election until a few months into it. They may be surprised with the results.

On a slightly unrelated note. I also want to address the issue of judging others, seeing as this is a far more serious and political post than my normal random outbursts of letters and spaces. I think we are all too quick to judge something without knowing the full facts. Like the election. But also like others. Normal human beings. Today I felt great for doing something that cost me 40p. I bought a homeless man some crisps. Everyone was walking past him, looking at him like he was a piece of rotten food on the floor. He was shivering. Yes, he looked a bit fierce and I don’t think I would want to cross him on a bad day, but he was a human. I didn’t have enough money in my purse to give him anything that would have been worth collecting in his hat, but I thought the last scraps of change that I could muster together would be just enough for some kind of snack. To him, it was probably his only meal of the day and it made me feel sad for him. He was just one of the many homeless people that won’t be eating tonight and if we all took a minute out of our own heads and egos and looked around, we would realise just how small they were in comparison to others. Rather than judging other people, do something nice for them.

10271471_10203384048469579_5839587670793830318_n

Alexander Mcqueen Exhibition, V & A – Savage Beauty

photo 2

Last Friday, I felt like I was holding a golden ticket. It was indeed a sought after piece of paper, although it was an e – ticket rather than a gold incrusted piece of cardboard – something that would have been far more worthy of what it represented.

photo 1

With the ticket, I was able to see the Alexander Mcqueen Savage Beauty exhibition at the V & A museum, a collection showcasing some of his most momentous masterpieces, including his Central Saint Martin’s graduate creations that were bought by Isabella Blow.

You descend into darkness as soon as you enter through the exhibition doors. The people in front of me in the queue, who just seconds before had been nattering away, stopped mid conversation and looked up in awe.

So it was just possibly (obviously certain) a fraction as dramatic as his shows, but the dark room managed to captivate all.

One of the first things you see is his graduate collection, Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims, where human hair had been stitched into the lining of the garments. A voice over plays on repeat  from the documentary, Mcqueen and I,  where 20 – something year old McQueen says “London’s where I was brought up. It’s where my heart is and where I get my inspiration”. It had a powerful poignant effect. Well, for me it did, and was clearly supposed to, as it was also staring back at me on the wall – just incase I had failed to hear the audio.

photo 1-26

There are 5 rooms in total, showcasing some of his most notorious pieces, including one of my favourites – his S/S ’07 dress made from fresh flowers. More hauntingly were pieces from his A/W ’10 collection that he was in the process of making before he died. This included a gold feather dress, that I had to stare at for a good few minutes.

12_1866133a

My favourite room was the  ‘Cabinet of Curiosities’. On display were over 100 accessories and garments, some unfinished. I overheard one lady describe how  “it feels like we are all sitting here in his tomb, buried with all that represents him – his clothes”. The adjectives “amazing” “wow” and “incredible” were also on repeat among the other museum goers, as if nobody could string a full sentence together – lost in the moment and the realisation of just how incredible Alexander McQueen was. He wasn’t just a designer, but an artist.

photo 3-18

There were also large screens in each corner of the room playing clips from his most theatrical fashion shows, and showcased in the centre was that dress, from S/S ’99. Pictured below.

McQ.851a–d_mcq.851.AV1 McQ.851a–d_mcq.851_v3.AV3

Oh and the other (extra) remarkable bit – Kate Moss made an appearance. Casually.

Albeit it was in the form of a hologram, a miniature version of his Widows of Culloden A/W ’06 show. I watched it quite a few times and realised just how much I love the fashion world. 

kate

When I Went To London Fashion Week (Flashback Post)

photo 1

jena-theo001a

jena-theo010a

jena-theo011a

Before I begin this post, let me just point out the difference of the 2012 S/S use of stick thin models, in the days before Cara, Kendall and Instagram.  These photos are stolen from Hello magazine as a result of my insufficient subtleness in taking photos when I was at the show. But the ticket is proof I was there, opposite Hilary Alexander who was tweeting the whole way through the show. Oh, if only I was a fashion intern right now.

I realise I haven’t written anything fabulous and fashionable on here. I guess I haven’t been around it everyday of late. When I was living abroad in France last year, I have to admit that although Parisian residents are walking descendants of Coco Chanel and pure chicness, I was disappointed in the everyday wear in my small town of Divonne. Being on the border of Switzerland, it impossible to afford anything other than a bobby pin from the majority of the boutiques, meaning the over priced H and M was the only possible place to buy clothes. I spent the year living in plain t shirts and leggins and realised I resembled (as did everyone else around me) the people in my GCSE french book from 2002. Whilst I assumed it was an old book, I realise now it was indeed representing the locals in small French towns.

Anyway, rant over – and back to present day. Now I’m back in London, not only have I remembered what patterns look like and felt it socially acceptable to clash them occasionally, but I am getting overly envious of every single FROWer – past and future, who will attending London Fashion Week. Tonights  Gareth Pugh show followed by Vivienne Westwood tomorrow would make a nice addition to my weekend. Unfortunately, my current status means I will have to watch the live Twitter  feed rather than the show itself. Maybe next year?

Back in 2011, I was lucky enough to go to London Fashion week and see two shows. One was for Jena Theo, posted above, the other – Jayne Pierson’s The Mobius Strip.

photo 2

Here were my 19 year old views back then, taken from my old blog (click on the link to view it) 

Jayne Pierson

The Mobius Strip.

Welsh designer Jayne Pierson opted for a very different approach to her LFW performance with a literal, performance style runway show.

Dancing was as natural as walking, with ballerinas replacing models.

Costume-esque atire was worn. Maxi skirts. Fishtail dresses. Oranges,grey, tan, champagne.  Layering. An articulate mix of volumptious fabrics, such as wool created interest and added to the unique ambience of the entire event.

tumblr_lrx8fpr2Ht1r2uxafo2_1280

tumblr_lrx8fpr2Ht1r2uxafo3_1280

JaynePierson_SS2012_IMG_9535-01-300x450

JaynePierson_SS2012_IMG_9588-01-300x450

Calling All Mums – Who Wants To Buy A Super Cute Handmade Dress

sew1965_logo_final-700

Before you get confused, Sew 1965 is the name of my mums new website and I am about to tell you lovely readers all about it and why you should support her.

My mum has loved making clothes for as long as I can remember. She would always make me the best fancy dress clothes for book day at school and she was there to help me make my own dresses in textile GCSE – oh how I don’t miss those exam fuelled days!

1620459_801178529926156_7915006265453919827_n

10710807_801178509926158_328953769877740170_n-1

She has now taken to making her very own dresses and selling them for a tiny handful of pennies. Although she makes these handmade pinafore dresses for babies and girls up to 4 years old, I am hoping she will be persuaded to stretch the fabric a little further and make grown up versions soon too. Anyway, she is really very good and they have been a sell out in our local gift shop. If you guys know of anyone that has a baby who would like a little dress to wear, then do check out her website!

1235892_801654023211940_4511967815006067122_n

1621711_801653986545277_3573713261433298121_n


10150560_800928503284492_2656277841870636289_n

10351166_835181833192492_1695028313144494755_n


10437330_831750600202282_4753366254074061571_n

Welcome To A New Year – Hello 2015

10906244_892679310764153_7827522573020484782_n

Last night/ year (NYE) 

Twenty fifteen – it sounds so grand and established. It seems like just five minutes ago it was the millennium and Robbie Williams was making profits on the year 2000, along with Busted. How time has flown.

I previously blogged about my uncertainty of whether or not I should go out and celebrate in what my mind, was simply another year. After a lot of thought and having watched Emmerdale (my true guilty TV pleasure), where Bernice was upset at being alone on NYE, I decided that I didn’t want that to be me. I was also almost pushed out the door by my parents who couldn’t believe their 23 year old daughter was wanting to stay in. I do admit, I still think staying in is just as nice, fun and relaxing but in the end I realised I should just go out and stop being a scrooge! This decision was largely persuaded by the fact my parents had offered time and time again to pick me up at the end of the night – an offer far too generous to turn down!

photo-1

With the sister.

10407650_886982141313964_2153636343467452753_n

I went out with my sister and her friends and I was so happy that I made the effort. Sure, I was wearing the first black dress I could find from my wardrobe and sporting unwashed, unbrushed bed hair, but it was a really fun night and so nice to spend it with my sister and meet her friends. We went out in Richmond, which seemed really fitting as I seem to have spent most of my time there recently. We went to Vodka Revs, somewhere I had been for New Years quite a few times in my teenage years!

Today I have been trying to get this blog up to scratch, playing around with the themes all morning. I even bought a new theme (my new years present to myself) but hated it so much (you couldn’t see past posts unless you scrolled to the very bottom – annoying) and so got a refund fast! I am a little in love with this new theme, but wish I could add something else at the top as the title looks so bare. Maybe if I get rich fast, I will treat myself to premium to have the power of the website God.

photo 2-16

I am currently sitting in the exact same position as I was when I wrote my blog post yesterday, except now it is another year and  I can hear my sister shouting about driving, outside I can hear the wind blowing the trees down and the only thing that is the same is my ITunes window displaying -buy now’ for Keeping Up With The Kardashians. I also have some detox tea, almonds, chocolate and my Absolutely Fabulous book by my side. This cocoon like existence is something i would normally feel guilty about, but hey it is New Years Day!

Happy New Year to you lovely reader who has read to the bottom of this post. I hope you are having a lovely, lazy day too! 

photo 1-20

How I currently feel. No caption needed. 

In 2014 I…

10487431_10152577030007268_7899847126058970855_n

2014 has been such a great year for me, and as I have previously stated, I don’t want it to end! I can only hope that in January, the loveliness and excitement of my life continues and nothing changes because quite frankly I want it to stay put! Here I am pictured above reflecting on my year!

1477615_708928025786044_1845525736_n

1554463_708848249127355_574865150_n

I started 2014 in Paris, where I went with my sister Alice and friend Heidi, from Finland (we met while au pairing in France and both decided to meet up for New Years. Paris hello). We had a great time and me and Alice took advantage of the free 24 hour metro service on New Years Eve and ended up at the Eiffel Tower at 12.50 exactly. It was wonderful. 2014 also saw me visit Barcelona, Copenhagen and many French villages, Swiss cities and Croatian islands with friends from Canada, Morocco, Denmark and Australia. It was a blast. Highlights from my trips and life in France include drinking Absinthe at 22nd birthday parties, getting lost and finding a vintage market in Barcelona, eating tapas and drinking wine in Annecy, going on a rather adventurous weekend trip to Chamonix, riding on a boat in Croatia, reuniting with friends from all over the world in Copenhagen, swimming in the lake Geneva and venturing out to Montreux Jazz Festival night after night because we simply couldn’t get enough of it.

1904238_10152485248539923_889823501793933063_n

Boats to Yvoire, France from Nyon, Switzerland.

10501966_10152608422732268_7579170619914811743_n

Some of the au pairs, Geneva.

10494606_10152608463312268_2132488543988994133_n

Montreux Jazz Festival, with Birdie (Denmark) and Christine (Canada).

10530927_10152203365511569_3117212602357783158_n

By the old fountain, Geneva.

10247389_312136288937078_9160347275517531133_n

Boat rides in Annecy.

1901438_10203034496571000_909474429_n

Barcelona.

10272235_10203728281272072_375438540_o

Barcelona.

1656134_10202857225979346_1504672700_n 08.43.00

Snow in Chamonix.

10391375_10204128670564666_349187223750542105_n

Croatia.

13881_331286677022039_737725088761450681_n

Bain De Paquis, Geneva.

When I came back to England, I started an internship at Prima magazine that was extended from one month to three. I liked it a lot and got to go to lots of fun press events including a preview at Harry Potter World (where Kirsty Allsop, Mary Berry and Amanda Holden brushed past me). I also went to a Starbucks Christmas coffee tasting day, tried many a cocktails that both lit up and smoked, went ice skating at The National History Museum and drank champagne with Amy Childs. Thanks Prima! I also took the risk and cut my long hair into a bob, something I have been wanting to do for years! I attempted to cut it while in France but with terrible results and just as it was starting to grow again I listened to all my instincts and booked an appointment with a decent hairdressers and have been happy with the results ever since! I am a new woman! My year ended as nicely as it started, with December being packed with festive fun. My birthday and Christmas were a great success and I am just hoping that next year will be just as fun, happy and adventurous!

10155316_301151253368915_8825358876473520859_n

More boat riding in Annecy.


10154225_10203384043629458_861339822597297440_nInterlaken, Switzerland. 
10291215_10152069762971569_5745715235734403325_nLadies night in Laussane, Switzerland. 


10456110_10152558901432268_8209488809966479181_nBain de paquis, Geneva. 

10547689_10152693122949923_1129061130116904965_n-1

Sister visiting me in Geneva.

10277784_10203384055189747_2218821730509753491_n

Finding a free bar in Bern, Switzerland (miracle)

10521762_10203892478380009_1428156387852179992_n

Couch surfing in Basel, Switzerland wearing white before a colour festival.

10372158_10205065210817587_6816010285152159678_n

23 Birthday on a still boat, Richmond.

photo 2-15

Christmas, Home.

I can only hope that another year older means another year better. I don’t want to age just yet thanks mother nature. So in 2015, I have many hopes some more ambitious than others. I would like to get an actual job (after my intern I have been temping in offices whilst freelancing here and there) and I would also like to live in New York for a few months. I would like to carry on learning Danish, polish up on my French and save enough money to move out at the end of the year. Failing the job and moving out aspects of my year, I would like to move to Denmark as I know I will be very happy there! Finally, I would like to build up my little tiny speck of cyber space dust – this lovely relaxing space online. I find it so nice posting about my day on here and even nicer than some of you even go and like my page. I hope to develop the content and make it as interesting and enjoyable as you readers will let me!