Three things that aren’t top of my Christmas list:
1. Ugly walking boots
2. Maps that take over 5 minutes to fold up and re-fold
3. The word ‘hiking’
And so what follows is strange.
In what has been accused of being the most middle-class holiday possible, I’m going walking around South East England for a week.
Well, it’s less of jaunt and more of a mission to go from one side of a county, all the way across and into another. See here:
I’ve found the perfect way to bribe myself into thinking this is a great idea:
Part one involved giving all my money to The North Face as they’re one of the only brands to react to the Guardian’s hard-hitting 2010 exposé entitled: “Why is outdoor gear so ugly?”
“You want to buy something that makes you feel like you can take on the wilderness, that you are protected and empowered. On the other hand, you don’t want to look like a berk.”
Less of that. More of this.
Part two is called Boutique Hotels, and this form of self-bribery I can get down with.
The plan’s to spend a day or two in Canterbury in a small converted Fire House-cum-pickle factory. If it doesn’t have an elaborate and unnecessary back story, we aren’t staying in it.
After Canterbury we’re heading a quick six hours down to the closest point to France, St Margaret’s Bay to stay in a house that looks suspiciously like Kew Gardens’ Victorian greenhouse building.
Then after a four hour jaunt along the coast to pop into Folkestone’s trendiest pad (judgmentally not assuming too much here but expecting to be pleased regardless) and then it’s the longest coastline walk which leaves us in Rye eight hours later.
Luckily The George in Rye is waiting. I don’t know where to begin describing this but as what is potentially the sexiest little hotel in the UK, I plan to lie in bed for two days swaddled in duvet refusing to move (sneaking out only to investigate tiny bookshops).
Life lessons via Google Maps.
It also seems that Google Maps may not hold all the answers. This may turn out to be a life lesson.
A problem with my generation is that if Google Maps says there’s a walking route, we listen without question. At the weekend, two days before leaving we’ll sit down with a map and mark out the final route. The planned route will likely involve much more weaving and less planned than on the map. But it will be possible.
Let’s dress ‘failure to prepare’ and ‘blind enthusiasm’ up as ‘an adventure’.
I imagine these google-map-predicted timings may be optimistic and do not factor in impromptu unnecessary photoshoots of blossom and cats, pub lunches, and slow walking with sore toes.
I will save reflecting on how this became classes as fun at a later date.
For now I am putting on the brave face.
Hopefully I will be by the sea this time next week.
The city feels alive with running. From last Monday to this weekend, everyone’s coming together. And I can’t wait to make noise at mile 21.
There were enough spray paint fumes to scare small children away from our little marquee, and enough pencils, scissors and excited cutting up of things for it to feel like we were all seven years old again. Flash back to art attack East London style. (The results are secret. They’re aired tomorrow.)
Covering the floor in wood and cardboard. Cheer Dem Crew signs are go.
Tomorrow London will wake for 9am. Even me, who does not believe too much in such times existing on Sundays.
Mile 21, stand by for some serious noise.
I’m going to come away itching and ready for my own very long run.
I once had a boyfriend who had an old rowing boat in his garage and loved old wooden speakers. It was infectious. His love of playing incredibly loud Pink Floyd and Mars Volta, perhaps less so. But I’ve always loved old speakers since.
My last pair came from a little shop in Exeter. A man who loved old records and old speakers even more so owned the shop. If you loved sound, he’d play you his favourite songs and select his favourite pair to play it to you on, discussing bass notes for hours. The walls were filled with speakers. It was a wonderful place.
The pair I bought from this shop met their match at a London house party which broke my heart. I had to throw them out this month as their connections loosened and they gave up the gentle murmurings of sounds.
I’ve always imagined a house with lovely old speakers in. But never with the cables draped around the floor (I’m like a fake minimalist). So here’s a new solution which I love.
No wonder it’s been stormed with backers. Another good Kick-starter.
I’ve eying up a pair of Ditton 15s at the moment. However good this project is, I might wait until I’m nice and old and never have house parties. And I’ll have to hide my wooden amp in a cupboard. But then I’ll buy lots of these and dance about gleefully.
The first day of spring is attempting to deliver on its word. It’s sunny this morning. Sunny enough that you found that you found out, not from someone’s instagram but by sunlight bursting through the window. And it’s kept it up for a good thirty seconds.
These things have made me smile this morning:
These origami lamp shades from Etsy shop Nellianna are so summery and yellow. They’re like a home-made version of a 1960s Chase and Sorensen sexy scandi light that lives in a second hand shop in Hackney Downs (and whose cost goes up based on each of these keywords) – but more fun.
Lovely silly happy dub by Easy Star All Stars. An instantly happy song that makes me want to dance around and cook.
Photo by deliciousdays
A couple of years ago when I’d just moved to London, Regent’s Park had some beautiful tree houses just casually set up. There were workshops going on, and you could climb up and walk around them. They were magical and felt like a small piece of middle-class hippy Brighton (where I’d moved up from) had come to the city.
The same folks behind the tree houses had another project. Tiny birdhouse clusters. Another thing of beauty. They don’t say too specifically where they are and I’ve been meaning to hunt them out for months. Today we happened across them hidden in broad daylight, hidden up a tree.
They are “wonderful moments of joy” says PenguinEggs who has spotted them three times in different places across the city and very much likes getting excited when other people do too. The best installations might the ones that don’t shout.
This evening after work some cretin cycled up to me, grabbed my phone and rode off with it on a tiny BMX. It was not, as the picture suggests, David Cameron. He is just a useful visual aid.
But look here. You don’t say “That’s nice, I’ll have that thanks.” I am from the countryside where this sort does not happen. (It probably does)
So London, here are 5 ways muggings can be made more exciting:
1. Use a superior mode of transport.
Not a tiny BMX. Perhaps a monster truck or at the very least a very noisy motorbike.
2. Showdown, V1.
Don’t disappear into the Underground. It is important that we track you down using fancy Apple iStalk products which allow for either a deep internal debate or at least a showdown. Possibly to culminate in a dramatic leap onto a disappearing barge.
3. Unusual circumstances.
Do not get mugged whilst looking like Mugging Poster Girl 101 with headphones in, smugly tweeting on my way to a trendy bar.
4. Dramatic chase
Victim to wear running shoes not heels to allow for dramatic showdown version #2.
There is a terrible space in the world for bags that fit laptops in. Bags that fit laptops in and can be worn by women, whilst allowing women to look like women.
Having a new and fancy job with a shiny macbook pro is super. Having client meetings is super. Lugging it between the two is less so. It has alerted me to the crisis on modern-day “ladybags” and their inability to handle a computer larger than a telephone.
You may gather I have a new backpack.
Ally Cappelino does a hands-down gorgeous line in bags. They are beautiful, practical, loveable things made my someone who clearly likes good things.
It makes me feel like both an adult and a child. It even has a “pen department”. Whilst they call this the “discreet phone pocket” it is clearly made for pens and nonsense. It is impossible to wear without feeling like a child set to walk to school on their first day.
This must become mandatory on every bag. It is easily one of the finer things in life.
Orla Kiely’s just ridiculous this year. I hadn’t looked beyond their towels last year and that’s definitely changing now.
It’s all whispy 60s beehives, strong shapes and casual glamour. Honest rather than twee.
The Orla Kieley instagram’s looking like a world that I’d like to step into.
Though I have a suspicion that my Orla Kiely world might end up a bit less like this:
And more like this:
Cracking timewarp of an Instagram, too, if you haven’t spotted it.
I am now going to list four good reasons why I cannot and will not get over how great this is.
Here begins the list:
1. Highly practical functionality: “Tomorrow might be nice to know, The day after is already a bit far away and everything else is whatever. Authentic Weather app is for right now, for the fucking moment.”
2. 100 different answers for 100 different temperatures. (Hmm)
3. Some nice blunt reasons as to why:
4. It uses a rude word.
What a jolly good weather app, hooray!
In a very small shop near Brick Lane are some very nice shoes.
Tucked down a street full of shops that sell unnecessary middle-class goods, a cafe you can never get a seat in, a place that serves very good coffee is Tracey Nuels. Inside it are shoes hanging on strings from the ceiling. We saw it for the first time this weekend and stopped and stared. Other people stopped to see what we were staring at. And then from nowhere, a large gaggle of people were all staring in the shop, too.
The shoes were beautiful. Broguey and heely, I will have to go back and stare at them. They aren’t cheap but they are lovely.
I’m smitten. They even make me want to wear pastels. And they’ve found some strange chocolate hands on their blog.