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.

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New York Diary: The Rooftop, AKA My New Home For The Month

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Yesterday I said goodbye to my first months home in Harlem and got on the M line to Hewes Street, Wiliamsburg. I am now living in a converted factory with a rooftop at the top which I plan to spend far more time in than my room. It’s the small things.

My friend Josh has come from England for the week to visit New York (and me, of course..!) and I guess we got carried away with a photo shoot war on the roof last night.

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New York Diary: Marching In The Pride Parade With Uber = Uber Fun

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Sometimes pictures tell the story a whole lot better than words, so I am going to keep this post short but illustrate it with a bunch of happy, smiley colourful people at the New York Pride Parade last Saturday. I was lucky enough to not only be in New York when it was happening, but managed to find myself getting invited to march in it. My housemates friend knew someone who worked for Uber and they needed people to march with them. Did I want to do it? Hell yes. To make it even more fun, me and my friend Jaan managed to persuade the driver to let us ride in the taxi for the entire march. I felt like a minor celebrity, throwing Uber t-shirts and temporary tattoos at enthusiastic bystanders across Manhattan.

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I also encountered a make up faux pas disaster moment when I naively trusted my face in the hands of two strangers, below.

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My housemate also trusted them.

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The result was this.

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Thanks to a free bandana and a lot of water, we managed to erase most of this clown inspired design and took to round 2. Below.

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New York Diary: Burnt Pretzels, Rooftop Bars And New Friends

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Please note, this blog post has taken a great deal of energy from my five year old Mac. Breathing away like a 40 a day smoker, this machine is living on a lot of borrowed time. If this post is actually posted because it did not collapse while I’m pushing all its buttons then there is evidence that miracles can happen on a Monday afternoon.

Last night I found myself on a rooftop bar in the pouring rain, a venue I went to in order to seek shelter. It happened to be part of a five star hotel in Midtown and had very fancy people sitting outside. Me and my friend were not dressed for such an occasion, and with our dripping wet rain soaked clothes, we definitely stood out at the venue. It felt like the scene in Pretty Woman, and it made me laugh a little.

Making friends in a new city, especially one as big as New York can be hard. Sure, there are many people, but you have to pick out the good ones – like picking out the marshmallows in a Lucky Charms cereal pack. Hard to find in bulk. I was lucky in the first week of being here that I met some great people and as a result, settled in pretty fast. However, people work, something I am currently not doing here. I also believe you can never meet too many people. If they are weird, it’s a good story to write about. If they are nice, hooray high-five to me.

Hoping to meet people who were also new to the city, I joined a group (the internet is clever) that was designed for young people to find friends in New York. I was sceptical at first as it seemed like Tinder for friends. Indeed, the first time I met up with people on this app, it turned into a very boring and awkward affair. I was sceptical about going back on this app and assumed it really was just for weird people who had no friends. However, last night when none of my other friends here were free, I got back on the horse and gave it another try. I had a great time and if it were Tinder, I would say it was worthy of a second date.

The rooftop bar was a great place to find ourselves as even though I could only afford a Diet Coke, the view was pretty amazing. It even stopped raining at one point so we got to go out and take some photos without a window being in the way. One nice guy on the way back gave us his umbrella which seemed so overly nice for someone in New York but he was genuinely serious.

If you have ever been to New York, especially walking through Midtown, you might well have smelt burning. Obviously there are plenty or aromas good and bad to smell in that part of town, but this is a particular burning smell that you can almost taste. Well, last night we decided to buy pretzels from a stall. They tasted of that burning smell. Yes, that’s right, not only did I figure out the smell once and for all, but ate a bite of it too. I seriously recommend buying any other street food other than harmless looking pretzels.

Just before I finish this post, my laptop is thankfully behaving, I just have to note that the noisy builders next to my apartment are playing their music (standard) but the song playing right now is Rihanna, New York. Quite apt, don’t ya think.

New York Diary: Walking, $1 Pizza And Chelsea Market

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NB: Photos on this post are here to illustrate my week, but don’t necessarily go with the writing. I am not trying to be edgy, nor am I lazy, it’s just how this post is going to roll today. Ps. talking of lazy, how fitting that I am sitting down with my D.C in the first photo, that was a mere coincidence you know.

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This last week hasn’t had much to write home about, so I will keep it short and sweet. I have probably lost 4 stone in walking around the city in the sweltering heat (which I keep being told will get a lot worse, gulp). I have also got lost, literally. Far too many times. This has made me walk ever further, faster and with a stressed out mentality. Therefore, every time I do finally reach my destination, normally an hour or two later, I am in need of a big drink. Thankfully, happy hour starts at 5pm here, sometimes 2pm if you find yourself in the right spot. This means that I am never far away from a $5 cocktail of some kind. Parents, if you are reading this – do not worry, you would do the same if you did as much walking as me.

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The week began with me travelling on the Megabus for 4 hours to go to Boston. I had a friend there and some family and thought I would take a breather from the hustle and bustle of the city to go to the supposedly rival city. Boston is an okay city but it couldn’t even try to compete with New York. The buses and subway stopped at 11pm.. Even London manages to stay awake past then. The journey back was hell, involving me sitting behind a French man that shouted across the row to his friend for the entire 5 hours we were sat stationary. He also scratched his head at least every five minutes. By the end of the journey I again, needed a drink. Instead I just got a cold coffee and cursed in my head far too much. Nightmare.

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The rest of the week wasn’t much better. I’ve added the $1 pizza shop above to just be a bit optimistic – as who doesn’t love the idea of $1 pizza. Unless you are on a diet. Sorry to say that the below picture wasn’t from the same shop, I tried to trick you, did it work?

Back to depressing thoughts, I have been trying and trying to get an answer from publications I have written to both here, and in England to get some freelance work while I am here. I’m not the kind of person who enjoys sitting back and relaxing (not that New York is the place to vacate to if you want to relax), and as a result I am getting anxious about the purpose of this trip. If I get the chance to write, I will be happy and my life made. It will kill me if I have to go back to England without work and no accomplishment from being here. If you are reading this and you do work at a magazine, please be kind and give me a try. I am good, I promise.

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One of the only good things to come of my week was going to Chelsea Market on Friday. I have been meaning to go for ages and it just kept getting dropped to the bottom of my ‘to do’ list. Yes, yes, it’s a huge tourist trap but it was nice for the glitter ball visual aspect as shown above. (I guess I am actually illustrating this post far better than I assumed). I should really have taken the chance to write an entire blog post about it, seeing as it is really quite popular to tourists in England. I will go back this week. I promise.

Finally from the week,there was a bit of light hearted comic relief in my daily existence when I went with my room mate to a comedy club. She’s a stand up comedian which I think is just awesome and I had a great time watching the show. She said it was probably the worst one she had ever been too, which made it even more funny.

Calling All Creatives – I’m Making A Magazine

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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

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“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.

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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.

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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!)

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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.

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New York Diary: Understanding The Subway, Jazz Music And 4 Dollar Beer

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Awkward. 7 Eleven were caught off guard in this statement last night. 

Having lived in New York for almost a week now, I thought it would be good to document the things I have learnt so far, things that were a complete and utter mystery to me just seven days ago. Understanding the Subway is probably the most profound achievement to date. Being used to travelling on the tube in London, I assumed it would be just as straight forward when it came to the same means of transport, in a larger city. Wrong. It is actually far more logical and straight forward than the tube, when you get the hang of where you are going and if it is geographically located Uptown or Downtown. Manhattan bound or Brooklyn bound. The higher the street (eg I live near 125 street, just below uptown Manhattan) the further you are from Downtown. Downtown consists of Greenwich Village, SoHo, the Meatpacking District, Chelsea, China Town and Little Italy. To name but a few. These are all super hip areas and I will be blogging about each of them in the next few days. Midtown consists of Times Square, Harold Square (the huge shopping district where Macy’s lives) and The Empire State Building. I feel I have already outdone myself on these tourist hot spots, so will be less likely to write about them, unless I go there specifically.

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Last night, I met my friend Jennifer, who I met on the plane over here. We met in Williamsburg, along Smith Street. Remember those two words, they create alliteration so it’s not so hard. Smith, Street. It is a place you must, must go to if you visit New York and want to just find a cool bar to chill in rather than an overpriced fancy dress themed pub in Times Square (don’t get me wrong, if that’s your thing I am sure it will be ace). Whatever your taste in music, food or drink – you will find it down this road. Clover Club was really cheap and beer was just $4. So remember, Smith Street, Williamsburg is somewhere to visit if you go.

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Instagram Rehab?

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I have recently discovered the addictive nature of Instagram. I feel like an old fossil who has just stepped out into a new lease of livelihood (okay worst analogy ever, fossils are dead – I know that). Anyway, since realising the fun that can be had on there, and what hashtagging actually does ## I am hooked. Facebook is so boring, I still don’t really get satisfaction from tweeting my everyday movements and Snapchat always takes your best friends away if you don’t snap for a day – such a fickle app.

So back to Instagram. Am I the only one who gets a secret thrill, a *high five, go me* moment whenever I get more than 11 likes? Well, if not – I’ve admitted it now!

If you are now curious to see my Instagram, do go check it out.  I like to take photos of anything and everything and sometimes do that overly uncool thing of posting more than one photo in the same hour. awkward.

@Hannafillingham Ill go follow you back too – now that’s a promise!!