Thursday, 30 May 2013

Weekend Activities

Having recently begun working full-time, I have been struck by the novelties of bank holidays. During my gap years before Uni, bank holidays were often times I still had to work, due to my jobs, but now...well now I can be one of those thrilled working people with an extra day off.

As my housemates were all leaving London I decided to join one of them in her visit to her family in Eastbourne. We wandered around the village of Battle, admired the view of the sea from Birling Gap, and rummaged through the most decadent and delightful book shop that I may have ever come across. 
City Dwellers by the Sea

Birling Gap
Camilla's Bookshop
 I love a good adventure, and whilst this one was only about two days worth of excitement, it was great to just jump on a train and get out of the City. I've been to Eastbourne once before, but it was in the pouring rain and I slept on a church floor in an industrial estate for a student weekend. Fun, but not really the kind of adventure I felt like this weekend. We finished our trip by reading the Sunday papers over coffee before heading back to London for church in the afternoon. 

An old friend from home happened to be in London, so I met with him for lunch before going to church, and we battled our way through the crowds of the Southbank, admiring the man playing the tuba with fire, and grabbing food from one of the street vendors that had parked up as part of the mini food festival. The sun was baking, and as we sat on one of the tiny parts of grass left available, I had to marvel at the scores of people you could fit on a riverbank. In the evening a few of us headed up to one of my favourite spots overlooking the City, and watched the sunset. When you get views like this, you can kind of understand why it's one my favourite places to be. 

The Shard at Sunset
The rest of the bank holiday was spent food shopping, and then picnicing in Greenwich. Though south of the river, Greenwich is easy to get to from my house, so we decided that with the sun blazing it was the perfect opportunity to sunbathe and read for the afternoon. With the help of scones and clotted cream. Obviously. 

When you live in a place with around 8 million people, you find that it's not very common to bump into people you know. Granted, near Uni that's a bit different, but generally speaking it just doesn't happen. You can imagine my surprise then to discover two friends from my course sat 10 metres away in Greenwich park! 
Green green Greenwich

Anyhow, the sun has hid itself behind clouds since Monday, and with work and such, I've not had much to blog about. Our student Connect group did pop out for pizza last night, which was a great chance to catch up with all the folk that had finished exams. This weekend there are more picnics planned, and a street party, organised by one of my neighbours! Lots to look forward to I feel. 

Until then...! 

Peace and love xo

Friday, 24 May 2013

Friday Feeling

It's been a rather quiet week, which was exactly what I needed after the madness of the last weekend. I started working full-time this week, which has been super fun, possibly because my time is really flexible and I so I've still managed to do some fun things. 

Also probably because my new office is next to Bond Street Station, five floors up with a stunning view over Oxford St. I'll try and sneak a picture next week, I was behaving myself as the new girl...! Still, it's scary, and I'm doing things I have no idea how to begin, but I am loving it. 

Highlights of the week include a spontaneous coffee with my bestie, who I bumped into whilst doing a few chores in Westfield. There's an incredible little coffee shop on the ground floor at the back, that does incredible drinks. It's a shame about the location, but makes a change to the ugly Starbucks when you walk through the front doors. 
Love a Latte

Later that evening a friend of mine cooked dinner for me and the rest of the leadership team that head up a Student Connect group at church. We're about 20-30 students that are seeking to know God better and reflect His love in our city. The team I lead with our stunners, inside and out, and with everyone so busy it's been hard to get together. Still, we had some green thai curry, a terrible banoffee pie made by moi (condensed milk DISASTER) and lots of wine. This was our view. 

Regents Canal and Canary Wharf

And now it's Friday. I'm heading to Eastbourne with one of my housemates tonight to meet her family and have a day or so in the countryside. I'm rather excited, and even though it means I'm leaving my beloved London, I have a feeling she'll cope without me (especially with the descending tourists for the bank holiday).

So, I'll update you on my adventures upon my return. Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy the extra day off!

Much love


Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Birthday Times

Last week was my twenty second birthday, and my friends took it upon themselves to thoroughly spoil me. Needless to say, I had no problem with their decision.

Wednesday morning I was woken up with breakfast and a big pile of presents, and sat in bed surrounded by my house-mates. I love gifts, there's something incredibly special when somebody chooses to give you something. My house-mates truly out-did themselves though, buying me a stunning black dress, a necklace, a watering can and some stationery. I felt 5 again, carefully peeling back the corners of the wrapping paper in anticipation. 

Breakfast and Cards

We spent the day in South Kensington, munching on cupcakes in The Hummingbird Bakery and visiting the Natural History Museum and the V&A. One of the things I love most about London, is the free access to stunning history and culture. I've lost count of the hours I've spent strolling through the grand halls of the museums and marvelling at the world that has been captured in the cabinets. It makes my heart sing to see so much beauty in one place, and I loved spending my birthday there. 
Four different types of cake

Rhinos! But with fake horns in case of stealing.
After running home in rush hour, we threw some different clothes on and headed out to meet friends at a cocktail bar near Spitalfields. We had a corner of the bar reserved and packed as many people as possible around a couple of tables and packed it with drinks. Later in the evening, the cheesy music got increasingly loud and so we created our own little dance floor. Surrounded by such lovely friends, I was a very happy lady. 

Birthday dress

One of my besties

Over the weekend, our house threw it's first party. We use our house for numerous things, including a student community at church, and our house is forever full of people. I'm surprised when it's only the people that live here that are sat in the lounge! We bought a BBQ, everyone else bought meat and we spent the night toasting marshmallows and dancing away. Rather amazingly, a car full of my closest friends from home drove all the way from Bournemouth to London, turning up on my doorstep in what was quite possibly the biggest shock I have ever had. It's times like those that remind me of the incredible blessings that I have in my life. 
My Bournemouth Girls, all together
BBQ and Bunting
The girls I live with.

It was an exciting week. There was so much London fun, it reminded me again just why I love this city so much. I took a couple of the girls I went to school with into Victoria Park for breakfast - one of the places I consider at the heart of East London. We say by the lake, drank some of the best coffee known to man, and admired the wide green spaces. Not exactly what most people associate with an urban centre. But it's all about knowing where to look. 

It's been a rather great few days, and I definitely couldn't imagine spending a birthday better. So if you were with me, or sent me cards, messages, presents and love, thank you. I had a great time. 

Much love x

Monday, 29 April 2013

Getting Creative

Being an English student has a number of benefits. Aside from the extensive reading that I get to do (note to self: must remember this is a privilege and opportunity!) and the very flexible timetable, I also have no exams. Yes that's right. Whilst every other students seems to be revising their socks off, my work is confined to essays. Granted there have been several thousand words to write, and I've got several thousand more but all in all, I'm feeling quite relaxed.

Which is quite a blessing, as it's given me space to start an internship (and a paid job soon! I found out today!) This weekend I decided to take some to chill out after a bit of a mad week. I spent the day pottering about the house, watching copious amounts of Gilmore Girls and doing some sewing. 

I got bought a sewing machine last year, and love it. Whilst at home over Easter I bought some new fabric, and have been eagerly hoping to find some time to use it. I kept things simple, but I have a new bag and some new cushions and I'm feeling rather proud. 

Tote bag

Bedroom cushions
As said, I've been feeling kind of creative this week. Earlier today I was reading an article about how detrimental social media can be. And in lots of ways I agree. Internet friends aren't real friends, and jealous becomes an instinct when you spend hours browsing someone else's exotic holiday snaps. And yet I've found that it helps me see beauty in things that normally I would only give a passing glance to. Like these roses. Those moments of joy are extended when you take a photo, when you share it or when you return to it. And I like that. 

Rosy flowers
Anyhow Gilmore Girls has been put on again so I'm going to join the housemates in drooling over Jesse. Fictional? Meh...!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Rocking the Lobster Look

Oh gosh, it is Friday, and I am sat in front of a computer. I have been for most of the day, and as the Senate House Library database has crashed *panic and sob all at once* I am taking a break from the studying. To the blog I say!

This week has been a little full on, as I've begun working three days a week for an internship. The other days I'm attempting to complete second year Uni things...and maybe have a social life! As if. Fortunately lots of people are in the middle of exam season and aren't off doing too many fun things without me. (Some friends did go see QI being recorded this week which I definitely thought was a great idea!)

One of my favourite things this week has been the sunshine. It's been glorious. For someone that lived her life at the beach, splashing in the sea and soaking up the sun, summer quickly became my favourite time of year. It's been so many long, cold, damp months of winter, but fiiinally, the bright, glorious sun has got his hat on and has come out to play. 

And I got burnt. 

In April. 

I am now rocking the lobster look (stupid vampire skin of mine!)

Anyway, disregarding my current tomato impression, I love the first few weeks of spring because of the change it brings in everyone. The whole of London has been outside, basking in the warmth, getting out the flip flops and donning sunglasses and big smiles. There's something about change that just gets everyone excited. This week it's felt like the whole city is buzzing with expectation, and I love it. 

On Tuesday, I did a ton of shopping. All the things that I've been in need of for ages. Like a mirror...Yes that's right, I've not had a mirror since I moved into my house in September. I think it's a miracle I've not left the house in rainbow colours and pyjamas every day really. I also bought a rug to brighten up my oh-so-white bedroom, and lots of new make up. My favourite thing is my new lipstick, which is called 'Summer Pink' which I felt was rather fitting. It looks kind of like this... 

Tuesday also involved an afternoon of gardening! Apparently, I've inherited the family love of planting things, and had the most domestic, green-fingered day, digging up weeds, turning over the soil and planting new seeds. I am incredibly excited to see things grow. Nature is a bit crazy, and I am still trying to get my head around the idea that some teeny, tiny, dots of brown might grow into beautiful flowers. 

This week I spent rather a lot of time on the Southbank. Thursday in particular, was rather glorious. After finishing work, I headed to meet my lovely friend Suzie and succeeded in distracting her from revision, for the sake of chats and discussions. Hurrah. We decided to wander along the river, getting distracted by the book market that lives outside the BFI and then walking all the way up to St Paul's to get home. I kept crossing bridges, and being blown away by the way the city sprawls so invitingly, defined by its' skyline; the financial district to the East, Westminster (funnily enough) to the West, and all sorts of arts and cultural things right in the middle. St Paul's was looking particularly majestic in the early evening light...

This week has been a week to be thankful, of some great friends and numerous other blessings. No, life isn't easy, but there are moments of outstanding beauty if you know Whose eyes to look through. 
So it may be Friday, and I may be scribbling away on a dissertation proposal (yes that is a year in advance you crazy uni!) but I am also aware that there is much, much to be joyful about.

Monday, 22 April 2013

How to do Spring

Evening all!

So I've been back in London for a week, and the past seven days have been surprisingly hectic. Uni is still ongoing, although with no structure, I'm learning that I need to get things done by myself. I managed to research and write an essay in between starting my new internship, and taking part in some exciting things with the ParliaMentors programme I'm on. 

But, just to fill you in, I had an incredible Easter break, full of the outdoors, the most delightful and beautiful places in Dorset, good friends and good conversations. It was pretty hard to leave. Here are a couple of highlights...

Trudging through the New Forest

Naturey lichen.

On top of the world in Warbarrow Bay

Lyme Regis
Since arriving back in London, I've embarked on one of those overwhelming weeks where I feel more than a little out of my depth, and whilst everyone tells me that's a good thing, it is beyond uncomfortable. In the midst of it all, I've been challenged about trust - the difference between accepting something is true, and actually letting it change you. When you get to trust in God, it means that there is a life of hope, promise and adventure available. I need to get better at not just knowing this, but putting it into practice with all of the things going on in life. Mission for the week ahead I believe.

In an ideal world, this is what we hope to see.
This weekend I had a packed day of dreaming and planning about the student group I help to run. It was a great day of strategising, looking at diagrams and chatting to our team, getting excited about what God might want to in the next six months, as well as years down the line. There's something incredibly exciting about putting these plans together in a building off of Oxford Street on a sunny spring day, the rest of the world passing by as we all sat about thinking about how much we want to see this city made even better than it is. Kinda surreal.

Housemates and cocktails - perfect combination.
  Saturday evening, a friend had organised a private party at The City of London Distillery, an incredible gin bar, tucked down a small lane in one of the oldest parts of London. We arrived slightly late, and by that time the place was heaving with people dressed in snazzy clothes, clutching cocktails and G&Ts. They make their gin on site, and boy was it good. I'd love to pop in there on another evening to see who else was about, but the bar staff were ultra friendly and that's always a plus. 

Gin Distillery
After all of that, I felt it was about time that I had a lie-in and a bit of a rest. This morning I finished the latest Neil Gaimon book I've picked up, and I can thoroughly recommend. Perhaps because it's set in London, I'm a little biased, but the way he blends fiction and reality absolutely blows me away. He writes about a 'London Below', which consists of society's outcasts, every person in the city that drops away, falls beneath the cracks, is ignored by the system. And then he creates an entire universe, showcasing skills and abilities, personalities and adventure. Needless to say I was blown away. 

My afternoon was spent sitting in the sun, with iced coffee before heading to church and then to the pub. It's been the restful day every one should get to have before heading into another manic week. 

What have you been up to?


Thursday, 4 April 2013

Weather-themed Groaning.

Whilst it is technically British Summer Time (yes apparently that happened) it certainly doesn't feel like that. I'm getting a little disillusioned with winter - it seems to be greedily demanding far too much of my year, and whilst I enjoy the first few months of good knitwear, hot chocolate and film evenings, by April I'm eager for flowers, picnics and a tan. 

Since arriving home on Saturday there's been a few glimpses of sunshine, and like the fool I am I've assumed that they've meant warmth. Apparently not. I've gone on a few brisk winter walks, through the New Forest and over Hengistbury Head, sunglasses in hand, in the hope that I don't look too ridiculously mish-mashed with all of my layers. 
Light breaks through the gloom.
An avenue of trees in Holmsley
On Tuesday I caught up with a good friend from London that also lives locally. It was so, so good to meet and talk away from the buzz and crazy environment of the City. We sat on the top of Hengistbury Head discussing life, and the things God is speaking to us about, and gazing at the horizon. There wasn't a tower block in sight, just clear blue ocean. Perfection. 
Pretend Summertime

Hengistbury Huts

Yesterday became a day to bake and relax in a friend's warm kitchen. Another London friend, but someone I've known since we were 11. It was great to see her family, and spend time in a place that I lived in almost as much as my own home as we were growing up. We made bread, and then attempted macaroons. Sadly we were lacking ground almonds, and had to lessen our ingredients, which resulted in some not very peaky egg whites. Needless to say, the cake below is not so much a macaroon, but a red velvet ring...with almond flavouring. I was pleased that we managed to salvage something out of the baking wreckage, and for unintentional cake it was pretty tasty!

Baking Endeavours
I hear that it's begun snowing in London. It makes me glad that I'm not there. I have no time for that crunchy white stuff when there have been years when I've been swimming in the sea by this time. So I'm going to continue my hibernation with some reading and a hot cup of tea. I'm not sure there's much else to be done right now!

Monday, 1 April 2013

Mercy all, Immense and Free

Since becoming a Christian about six years ago, Easter has taken a bit of a different theme for me. It's always been a fairly big family day; a day for feasting and catching up with everyone, and of course for eating a tremendous amount of chocolate. 

But, when you get to know Jesus, the significance of Easter changes dramatically. I'd say Easter is pretty much the foundation of my life. Because my life and hope is entirely based on the fact that Jesus is ALIVE. And well, that's what Easter Sunday is all about - that this man who died, crucified on a tree, came back to life, destroying death, conquering sin and giving me life. It's incredible news, and though I get to celebrate it every day of the year, Easter Sunday is always something special.

Yesterday I was back at my home church, which is always a lovely feeling. I worked there for a year, and was fairly involved before I moved to London, so there's a large group of friends that I love to visit. On arriving at the door I was accosted by two of my favourite people, charging out of nowhere to leap on me. Easter, as I said is a time for joy and celebration, and perhaps our greater awareness of what we're singing adds a new dimension to our times of worship. These two verses of an old hymn blew me away yesterday.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

After church, I headed over to my Great Aunt's house, where there was a huge roast cooking. Lamb, potatoes, the whole shebang. We settled down to the feast, which was over far sooner than I would have liked! Afterwards, we went for a walk along the beach, intending to help digest the copious amounts of crumble we had eaten. 

It was absolutely freezing as we trekked along the promenade, and the wind whistled in my ears until it felt like I had none. Far to the west, the sunlight was seen through the storm clouds and as the sun set, it was absolutely stunning. 

Eventually we headed home to watch Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader, and some other terrible film that my mum had picked up cheap on DVD that I recommend no one ever watches. 
Sadly today is grotty and grey so I'm hibernating at home with that copy of The Great Gatsby, which I have very nearly finished. 


Saturday, 30 March 2013


For the past two years (nearly) I've been living in London. This city has somewhat captured my heart with it's  skyline, markets, coffee shops and people. I have fallen in love. And I don't intend to leave any time soon.

Yet one fraction of my heart remains in the depths of Dorset. I grew up in Bournemouth (okay not really the depths, but you'll see what I mean in a minute) and my summers were spent whiling away the time at the beach, picnicing in the forest, and generally frolicking around the town trying to keep occupied. It was a good life. 

Now for someone that grew up surrounded by fields, ocean and space, the city doesn't always quite hit the spot. Sometimes, the silence and the peace of the countryside is exactly what I need, and after a busy few months, this is definitely the place I am at. Fortunately, my family and a few friends are still about, so I've come home for a couple of weeks during the Easter holidays.

This morning I woke up buzzing. Not just because of my phone alarm, but at the prospect of clean air and a bit of travel. It seemed to take forever to get to Waterloo, and forever and a day to grab coffee at Costa, so I only just managed to make it onto my train. And then I settled down with The Great Gatsby, the second book on a long list of 'non-uni reading'. Which essentially translates to: reading-for-fun-novels. I don't always get a lot of those. Armed with my coffee and music, I napped and read, until the grey of London turned into the grey and green of fields and clouds as I headed further south. 

One of the joys of getting the train for me, is based on the last five minutes of the journey. My great aunt and uncle live in a house not too far from a railway line. As a kid I practically lived at their house, and their garden was my home. My cousins and I spent a lot of time running around playing make-believe, but I was always super excited when a train went by. Don't ask me why. Perhaps it was the prospect of adventure, perhaps it was just the idea of a stream of people smiling as I waved at them. Either way, it was great. 

And now, as I travel home, I'm one of those people on that train. And it always makes me smile as I try and catch a glimpse of their house, and the garden that I used to know so well. 
Coming home is always a strange feeling. The tensions of old and new, familiar and different are ever present. But there is something infinitely comforting about seeing the landscapes that you've known so well, even if it is Castlepoint. I am very much looking forward to two weeks of peace and rest, catching up with old friends and wandering across the beach and fields that I have so, so missed. 

I look forward to keeping you updated on my adventures. 

Thursday, 28 March 2013

End of Term

This week has been for all intents and purposes, the final week of my second year of Uni. There's been the usual rush of deadlines, but in some strange freak occurrence, I was finished a week in advance, and aside from proof reading, I am ready and waiting to submit my 7,000 words...Hurrah!

So instead of attempting to scribble words all week, I've been trying to catch up with people and get planning for the month of deadlines that follow the Easter holidays. Oh the joys. I've made the walk to and from campus  on average twice a day, and then tried to fit in coffee dates with people. I make it sound strenuous, but really it's been a week of talking.

Today I had a day of enjoying the delights of East London. I was in Uni early, and then made my way down the road and round the corner to a new cafe. It's called Paper and Cup, and is the second branch of a great social enterprise. They dropped a flyer in our door a couple of months ago, and as it offered free coffee I've been meaning to go for weeks. Today, I finally got around to it.

There's a few social enterprise coffee shops around, and as they combine some of the things I love the most: coffee and social action, I am a big fan. Yet often there is a slightly sad compromise you have to make; not great quality coffee, or slightly tired looking décor. Obviously not huge things in the grand scheme of life. By any stretch.'s nice to see Paper and Cup doing well. Both with coffee, with space, and with their general vision and ethos. 

Guilt free caffeine fix, HELLO.

I sat down for a bit of chill time with a favourite book (I've read it at least four times before) and my free coffee. And then I decided not to leave. So I spent the afternoon there, setting up camp with one of their sandwiches and a flapjack. Very good decision, and their prices were good too! Always a bonus!

So I can completely recommend that you take a visit. I can see I will be setting up camp there in a few weeks when I have essays to write. And I'm kind of okay with that. 

One of the other delights about being in East London is the fact that my house/life is based on a road that at one end points East, with the sunrise, and the other heads West, across the City, with the sunset. Tonight the sky was looking particularly impressive, and right as I was walking home via some old east end buildings. I love this part of London. 

Tonight I've got my bake on and am making a three tiered cake for my housemate who just got offered lots of exciting positions. 

Time to celebrate!!

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A Small Sketch

If you took the game device and replaced it with my laptop, you have a perfect little cartoon of me right now. It's not that I'm really an introvert, in fact, too much time by myself sends me a little doolally (yes it's a word!) But sometimes, just on the odd occasion, I need time by myself. Normally with some TV (I've just been catching up with The Good Wife and oh how I want to be Alicia Florrick) or perhaps with a book and a cuppa. 

The past couple of weeks have been full of people, and events, and evenings running around icey London. Don't get me wrong, I love those things, and I love being busy and having things to do. Until it gets to the point where I can't hear my own thoughts and have forgotten how to process what I'm doing. A couple of hours of peace is just what I've needed. 

However, a very favourite friend is on her way over from work. We're going to cook up a storm and catch up on the past three days since we last saw each other. I expect there'll be lots to say. 

I like alone time. But only in very small doses, and interrupted with peopley-friend time too. So perhaps it's time to leave the comfort of my duvet and venture out of my bedroom...

Love xo

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Statues Come to Life

I think that ideas such as this, have become foundations for my life. 

When people ask me why I like studying literature, my response is something along the lines of.... 'because it can change things', which often gets confused looks. 

You thought literature was just for libraries or beach holidays? Wrong. It's for the public square. And I find that idea exciting. Recently I was at a lecture with Razia Iqbal, a BBC correspondent that spends lots of her time listening to people's stories and commenting on culture and the arts. Needless to say, I was somewhat enthralled.
Anyway, she was speaking at an inter-faith lecture, and mentioned that the biggest 'f' that had changed her life was fiction. She went on to elaborate, sharing how living in a closed community as she grew up, her escape and learning come for books. She also spoke about the power of storytelling, and the ways that reading of other lives, cultures, beliefs, or even an author that just describes things in a different way to you, can open your eyes. 

I'd take that a little further and suggest that when you read of things that hit you somewhere between the ribs, it can cause you to want to act, to change, to alter the systems and structures that perpetuate the chaos and disaster that you've just read of. 

I've been thinking lots about the things I want to do with the short, short life I have; the kind of things I'd like to accomplish. I'd like my life to count, that I wouldn't just be another anonymous passing person that exists, works, raises a family and dies. To me, that might be normal, but normal is boring. If I've got another 50-60 years to go, that's a whole lot of time to do some good things. 

Today at church we were reminded of something C.S. Lewis says in the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

'The snow queen has lost her power. The snow is melting, summer is on its way & those who have been turned into lifeless statues are having new life breathed onto them again.'

I am rather overwhelmed that through Jesus I don't need to be a lifeless statue. When someone dies, and comes back to life, that you might know that death has no power any longer, and can live life in it's fullness through Him, well that leaves a rather exciting future ahead. 

Bring it on. 

Friday, 22 March 2013

Just Life

The past week has been one of my most hectic. The uni deadlines are piling up as we're getting towards the end of term, and I've had events or things to do every single evening this week. 

Monday was the perfect way to start the chaos with dinner with one of my best friends. There's something so  beautifully relaxing about spending time with people that have known you for near enough forever. I cooked some chicken, made some bread and we drank some wine. Rather rustic but absolutely perfect after a day of writing essays. 

This week I also had the opportunity to go to one of the coolest events, courtesy of the ParliaMentors programme I'm on. I trekked up to North London (surprisingly far when you live out East) and went to a discussion evening with the future Chief Rabbi. The whole night was an attempt to create dialogue between London's Muslim and Jewish communities, and we were invited along to catch a glimpse, get a tour and share some hospitality. Incredible opportunity. 

After all the running around London, an interview, another dinner and some training with Church, I felt it was a good time to visit one of my favourite places in London, the Fleet River Bakery. I've written about them before, and cannot rave enough the quality of their coffee. I popped in on Wednesday afternoon as I was in the area, and though it was late afternoon, the place was heaving and I had to weave through chairs to find a spot in a corner. Definitely worth it. With some coffee and some cake I settled down to do some reading, and in the end made a long phone call to catch up with another far away friend. 

Coffee Cake, Fleet River Bakery

Other highlights of the week included a spontaneous run around Kings Cross Station to see Platform 9 and 3/4. Being a huge Harry Potter geek I don't really know how I've survived without taking a visit, so I could barely contain my excitement when we walked in. In all honesty I might have skipped. 

Overly Excited Geekiness

After such a mental week of reading, writing, thinking and such I was very much ready for chilling at home tonight, with pyjamas, wine, the housemates and An Education (which is an incredible film!)

The weekend is set to be busy, but tomorrow will be a week until I'm back home to the seaside! And as much as I love London and it has captured my heart with it's bursting streets and swirling river, I will be pleased to paddle my toes in the sea, and breathe air that tastes of salt and childhood. Bring it on.

And apologies for not writing, I've been doing some other things and blogging has taken a backseat. Soon to be rectified! 

Love and peace xxx

Friday, 1 February 2013

Garden State

Fridays are unfortunately my busiest day at Uni. My timetable this term is decidedly terrible, with late afternoon classes and lectures all day Friday. The bane of my life is a three month module about research and dissertation planning. Today, in a group of six, I was the only one that had done the reading, and consequently had to perform like a dancing monkey and give my vague, undeveloped thoughts as legitimate ideas. Bit of a nightmare. 

Today I marched into Uni, armed with a flask of tea, nearly fell asleep in the lecture half of my class on rhetoric, waking up to discuss Princess Diana and the dramas surrounding her life and paparazzi nightmare. It's a class that I really enjoy, but being talked at for an hour about Aristotle is enough to numb anyone's brain into sleep. A coffee injection over lunch gave me strength to survive the killer three hours this afternoon.

Sadly the caffeine survived until I arrived home, at which point I completely crashed and was forced to nap until my brain returned to a vague state of normalcy. 

Having decided to spend the evening in as a house, it was the perfect opportunity to educate my housemate in the wonders of Garden State. Having become one of my favourite films when I first saw it, a few years have passed since I watched it again. This time it was even more magical. The soundtrack, the weirdness, the general delights of Zach Braff. I mean really, what isn't there to like. 

I've said it before, and I'll say it again, the screaming in the rain part, well, that is one of my absolute favourite scenes of all time. In any film. I need to go find myself an infinite abyss to shout down. In the rain. With a nice man. If you can organise any of the above, I'll be a very grateful Londoner. 

Oh If You Insist

...One teeny, tiny, new post. This is one of my favourite quotes, from a phenomenal novel by Michael Cunningham called The Hours. 

If you haven't read it. Wait. Go read Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf (work through it, you'll survive) and then pick up Cunningham. He will blow you away with his talent and his cheek. And his genius.

'She could have had a life as potent and dangerous as literature itself.'

This is Michael Cunningham.
With glasses like these, how could you resist his
genius words.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Recent Reflections

This weekend I took a brief visit back to Bournemouth, leaving London for a couple of days to visit the family and attend my friend's engagement party. I wouldn't normally head back so early into term, but it was a lovely opportunity to hang out with the mother and sister, and visit the coast. On Saturday we drove east to a local little market town called Lymington, and poked around in the stalls and shops. I bagged a bargain, and picked up a Hilary Mantel book for just a pound! and bought some beautiful prints of Dorset to remind me of home whilst at Uni.

Saturday evening was spent with friends celebrating the engagement of one of my oldest friends and her new fiancée  There was lots of pizza making, cake and charades. Very, very fun, and great to be together with people that aren't often in the same place at once.

Before I had to dash back to the City though, there was time for a quick trip over Hengistbury Head. Still one of my favourite places, with it's view over Bournemouth and Christchurch, the choppy sea, and the rows of beach huts. It is one of the things I miss most about living in East London where wide open spaces are hard to come by, and are inevitably surrounded by offices and ugly high-rise housing. 

Hengistbury Head, Bournemouth
I was fortunate enough to make a coach that got me back to London in time for church, which was just exceptional this week. The preach was all about stories - how our lives are stories, and yet we're invited to live a bigger story, a more exciting adventure, by becoming characters in God's story, in the great story of all the earth. Anything to do with literature is obviously going to get me from the start, but it was just the most beautiful look at the invitation God gives to his people to live as part of something that is so much bigger than any one individual. We were looking at a passage in the Gospels where Jesus calls the disciples, and I was blown away that he didn't offer them safety, or worldly security, but he did promise them adventure through a relationship with Him. 

The evening was finished off with some student training on working out what you want to do in life. Always helpful, and always needed. As a result, some friends and I grabbed some wine, some chocolate and our notebooks and went and chatted and dreamt about the lives we want to live. It was the best end to a lovely weekend. 
Wine and chocolate to inspire dreaming
And yet there was some incredibly sad news I heard over the past couple of days too. Not directly affecting me, but someone I'm very close to. And in amongst all my reflections on life, I've been faced with the unexpected, by the fact that life is not infinite, at least not in this world. And neither are we masters of it. 

In the face of all that, a quote from Lord of the Rings which was referenced in church on Sunday, has stuck with me. Our stories are always going to involve conflict, they would be very dull tales if they didn't, and yet in the face of conflict, there is hope; a promise of grace. 

“I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself! Is everything sad going to come untrue?” Samwise Gamgee speaking to Gandalf.