Leaves

red burgundy swing coat oversize maroon accordion pleat white blouse new look nike trainers black bow outside garden exterior red burgundy swing coat oversize maroon accordion pleat white blouse new look nike trainers black bow outside garden exterior red burgundy swing coat oversize maroon accordion pleat white blouse new look nike trainers black bow outside garden exterior autumn molesey wilderness forest exterior garden setting sun dusk evening red burgundy swing coat oversize maroon accordion pleat white blouse new look nike trainers black bow outside garden exteriorSo if these photos seem familiar I’m basically following the same formula from a couple of weeks ago; take one coloured coat (this time my favourite maroon number, a fiver from Deptford Market 3 years ago), head into the garden… the leaves are so lovely this time of year, what can I say! It seems every time I’m home the trees have changed colour again and I want to document it on my camera! I love this time of year when nature is in technicolour and the changing colour of the leaves are such a powerful and perennial metaphor for the passing of time.

As I was editing this post I was reminded of this set of photos featuring the same shirt and trainers. That post was from when I was last on tour in the South West with Rhum & Clay, and coincidentally I’m on tour again with them at the moment. It’s so brilliant to be able to see different parts of the country whilst in such good company! I wrote the score for the show we are performing and it is so stimulating to revisit a project I care about so much, as so often in art that’s not the case. Completing a painting, finishing a novel or recording an album all have a moment of finality where the product is finished and the time for alterations is over. Theatre is the opposite: constantly evolving and adapting to new stages and audiences, nuances and cadences never quite the same from night to night.

Facebook/Twitter/Bloglovin/Lookbookred burgundy swing coat oversize maroon accordion pleat white blouse new look nike trainers black bow outside garden exterior aIMG_8818 red burgundy swing coat oversize maroon accordion pleat white blouse new look nike trainers black bow outside garden exterior autumn molesey wilderness forest exterior garden setting sun dusk evening red burgundy swing coat oversize maroon accordion pleat white blouse new look nike trainers black bow outside garden exterior red burgundy swing coat oversize maroon accordion pleat white blouse new look nike trainers black bow outside garden exterior autumn molesey wilderness forest exterior garden setting sun dusk evening

By the Thames

london exterior view outside pretty london exterior view outside pretty Danilo Tamesis boat dock boy vintage shirt denim jacket outside Laila girl dress denim jacket outside Laila girl dress denim jacket outsideDanilo Tamesis boat dock boy vintage shirt denim jacket outsideDo you ever have those days where you end up abandoning your plans to just hang out and chat? My good friend Danilo and I somehow managed to spend the whole day hanging out on an impromptu whim and it was so much fun. We started off the Monday morning visiting an exciting new site where WOLF PACK (the contemporary theatre group I run and which Danilo is a member of) will be performing next year and then supposedly we were both going home to do work. Except we never did! The sun got brighter and brighter and spurred us on to just soak it all up and be tourists in our own city. We ended up wandering around Waterloo, browsing records and vintage clothes, eating falafel in the sunshine, pigeon-watching (far more entertaining than people-watching), wandering along the thames for a sunny afternoon pint on the Tamesis dock and strolling all the way back to the South Bank.

Danilo (pronounced “Dah-nee-low”) is one of my close friends from university and I think we are the only two to have taken the “freelance” path since graduating (as opposed to full time employment or teaching). I don’t tend to feature my friends on here (apart from James, it may as well be called James Parade) as barely any of my friends know about my blog. To be honest I doubt most of my friends actually know what a blog is!

It was such a gorgeous day to take in the beautiful views of the river. I’m not normally a massive fan of my own photography but I was pretty pleased with the postcard quality of the top photo and the garden museum was beautiful despite it being autumn already! Cheesy tourist photos were a must, and I also had to include a shot of Danilo’s amazing vintage shirt inherited from his grandparents. Thank you to Danilo for the photos of me and for an awesome Monday!

Facebook/Twitter/Bloglovintamesis boat dock pink garden museum grave tomb stone grass flowers nature outside autumn london lambeth waterloo pigeon pavement london pet cute bird grey sitting nesting nest carousel south bank painted colours vintage retro lights london stonework pretty garden museum flowers ouside seagull by waterloo rivier thames outside exterior nature laila dress south bank arches underneath Danilo children line painted south bank

Snufkin

girl in the woods autumn forest trees outdoors exterior green coat flower floral dressgirl in the woods autumn forest trees outdoors exterior green coat flower floral dressgirl in the woods autumn forest trees outdoors exterior green coat flower floral dressgirl in the woods autumn forest trees outdoors exterior green coat flower floral dressThis post was supposed to show you my coat (new) but as I was editing the photos I found I was blurry in nearly all of them. My camera had decided instead to focus on the trees around me. I think this may have been a conspiracy between the trees and the camera; I was using another tree branch as a camera stand so there was plenty of time for them to plot whilst I had my back turned). At first I was a bit annoyed, but then I realised my camera had the right idea as focusing on the immense natural beauty in these photos is far more interesting than my coat. Just look in the first photo – the irregular pattern of the cracks in the tree closest to the camera and the myriad shades of green are far more exciting and dramatic than an item of clothing could ever be!

Recently I’ve spent lots of time outdoors marvelling at the beauty of nature (especially at this time of year) and it makes me think how impossible it is to capture those moments. You can’t paint those colours, or photograph the crisp feeling of a leaf under your shoe, or sketch the smell of the rotting conkers and leaves in the wet grass. The colours on my computer seem so dull and uninspiring in comparison. If you read this post, go for a walk today and admire the leaves. Tell me what your trees are like.

So, this is my new coat from Greece – leave it to me to go on a beach holiday and return with a winter coat! I wore it on the plane home along with a wide-brimmed black hat; when James collected me from the airport he just said “Hello Snufkin“. I was so happy; as I child I always felt a sense of kinship with Snufkin as he was an outdoorsy, rebellious, loner musician like me. I much prefer owning clothing that looks like it belongs to my favourite characters rather than just featuring them! I love my Moomin skirt but if I wore it in Moominvalley, I’d just look weird whereas with this I would fit in. I’ve got lots of coats, but I spend so much time running around between rehearsals and gigs in the cold I feel it’s justified!

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Old Town

IMG_7991arhodes old town walls exterior cobble streets stone walls day light exterior old townrhodes old town walls exterior cobble streets stone walls day light exterior old town garden purple lilac flowersrhodes old town walls exterior cobble streets stone walls day light exteriorrhodes old town walls exterior cobble streets stone walls day light exterior old townrhodes old town walls exterior cobble streets stone walls day light exteriorLaila greece rhodes old town exterior

This will be my last post on Rhodes and I’m sharing my pictures of the old city with you. My travel companion Philly and I were so enchanted by the old city that we spent our last evening there, getting lost amongst the cobbled street and staring wistfully at the beautiful displays in all the shops. Most of the roads are nameless and the city doesn’t follow any kind of grid structure so it’s very easy to lose your way. Philly and I soon gave up trying to use the maps dotted around the city and just followed our noses until we arrived at a gate.

The city was warm and welcoming in the daytime despite the imposing stone wall, but by nighttime the old town was magically lit up with strings of fairy lights. The maze-like quality of the streets was enhanced by the darkness and it almost gave the impression that the minute you turned a corner the rest of the town was shuffling itself around behind you! Most of the shop in the old town are open front, with huge archways leading directly into the display area. As we walked past we could gaze in to the colourful, meticulously laid out displays inside with shops selling all manner of items: lace, carpets, swords, honey, ceramics, gold chains, sandals, postcards, stationary, musical instruments, statues and traditional wood and leather crafts. The best way to spend our final evening in Rhodes!

Thank you to Philly for all the photos of me in this post (and my last two Rhodes posts here and here) and for being such an awesome travel companion! You can read her blog here, and follow mine on Facebook, bloglovin and twitter.

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Nightmarket

friends Camden lock yard stables market nightmarket night market clothes yellow skirt vintage cardigan denim cobbled brick street cobbles hanging out exterior london dutch pancakes food eating Danilo camden lock market camden night market food indie boys hipster exterior street london vegan food at nightmarket camden lock Laila mixed race girl camden lock market camden night market food indie hipster exterior street london fashion tape parade blog tapeparade chin chin labs ice creamLaila mixed race girl camden lock market camden night market food indie hipster exterior street london fashion tape parade blog tapeparade chin chin labs ice cream

Hello! I have just got back from holiday so apologies if you were wondering where regular posts had gone! I tend to blog about things a day or two after they happen; I know some bloggers save photos up for weeks but I find it feels really irrelevant to do so. Something else is bound to happen and I’d rather live in the moment! However, these photos deserved to go up as I keep promising more food posts about my strange diet.

These are actually at Camden “Night Market”: essentially just Camden Market open a bit later on a Thursday, with a slight variation on stalls and a Backyard Cinema residency (including an amazing screening of one of my favourite film, Almost Famous). I don’t follow any listings or event mail outs because in my experience anything advertised or listed as “the place to be” is never the place to be (also who has the time to trawl through all the events in London?!), but presumably Night Market was quite heavily promoted as it was heaving!

So, FOOD. I’m completely obsessed with Chin Chin Labs as you can tell from my hilarious ice-cream face; the staff always have the best recommendations and flavours change every week. I was sampling Walnut Whip ice-cream with peanut brittle in the above photos.  Later on we “shared” Dutch Pancakes from this adorable stall I’ve not seen before. Fresh strawberries and warm baked goods is so good! I’ve not had such tiny pancakes before; they were almost like waffles in texture. I also left with a massive bag from Cupcakes and Shhht who make the best crumbly cookies (treat breakfast).

P.S. I’m wearing the mythical cardigan of the sub header and also this new skirt – it doesn’t go but it arrived in the post this morning and I whipped off my other skirt and threw it on. As if I have the time or inclination to change clothes when I’m already wearing them! skirt – Modcloth, gift. Spiked lion cuff – Stella & Dot Limited Edition (similar), gift.

Danilo camden lock market camden night market food indie boys hipster exterior street london Laila mixed race girl camden lock market camden night market food indie hipster exterior street london friends Camden lock yard stables market nightmarket night market clothes yellow skirt vintage cardigan denim cobbled brick street cobbles hanging out exterior londonfriends Camden lock yard stables market nightmarket night market clothes yellow skirt vintage cardigan denim cobbled brick street cobbles hanging out exterior london nutella dutch pancakes camden market lock night food eating exterior stall nutella dutch pancakes camden market lock night food eating exterior stall friends Camden lock yard stables market nightmarket night market clothes yellow skirt vintage cardigan denim cobbled brick street cobbles hanging out exterior london dutch pancakes food eating

Cocktails

Let’s start by saying I’m really not much of a drinker and never have been. As a teenager I found adding alcohol to coke or lemonade just ruined the taste and during university I was famed for being the slowest drinker amongst my friends (on average I managed one pint  for everybody else’s three rounds). Besides which when you’re a wheat – free vegan, drinks get pretty limited (you’d be surprised how much wine is brewed using isinglass, aka, fish bladder).

However, I’ve always liked trying out cocktails, particularly when they involve unusual ingredients. There is just something about cocktails which draws your imagination in; whether it’s the interesting names (blackberry fizz sounds like the tipple of fairies), specialist ingredients (Midori liquer? Creme de violette?) or wonderful stories behind the creation and naming of a cocktail.

I thought I’d share some favourite cocktails in case you’re looking for something new to try (DRINK RESPONSIBLY KIDS)! During an impromptu house barbecue, I was assigned the dubious task of mixologist whilst the “men” got on with throwing meat at each other and trying not to burn the garden down. There’s only about 4 cocktails I’d claim to be able to make well but I gave it a go!Bloody Mary cocktail tomato juice vodka worcestershire sauce black pepper ground black pepper interior shot drinks drink food summer
Bloody Mary cocktail tomato juice vodka worcestershire sauce black pepper ground black pepper james garden Bloody Mary (modelled by James)

Ingredients: vodka, tomato juice, black pepper, cayenne pepper, lemon juice, worcester sauce/horseradish sauce, celery. This is really the only drink I can talk about in detail as it’s the only one I regularly drink and the only thing I ever go for in pubs. In my opinion I make the best Bloody Marys in town (I imagine most of my friends will disagree), probably because I am very particular with how I like them: lots of horseradish sauce which goes in first, smooth tomato juice only, ground black pepper and celery. NEVER lime as a garnish (as I have stubbornly informed hundreds of barmen across the capital) although cucumber is passable. Wikipedia has an impressive list of variations on this cocktail – has anybody tried any? A Bloody Fairy sounds horrific (absinthe instead of vodka).cosmopolitan, cranberry juice, vodka, cocktail, exterior, garden, glass, shot aIMG_5618  Cosmopolitan

Ingredients: vodka, triple sec, cranberry juice, lime juice (as well as lime garnish). Whilst the characters in Bridget Jones are fond of a good bloody mary, I’m sure you’ll all recognise the Cosmopolitan from Sex and The City where Carrie and the gang exclusively drink the rather aesthetically pleasing cocktail. I’m actually never much of a fan of these because I love cranberry juice too much. I just get annoyed at the other flavours.Cuba libre, coke, lime, drink, cocktail, dave in the garden, exterior Cuba Libre (modelled by Dave)

Ingredients: Coca-cola, lime, white rum. I personally like my coke unfettered by alcohol but Dave seemed to enjoy this even if it was reminiscent of being a teenager. As you can probably guess from the name, the drink was supposedly created in Cuba to celebrate their freedom in the Spanish-American war. Ideally served in a tumbler (we don’t own any) and on the rocks (ice).aIMG_5599 cachaça, caipirinha, outside, river island, rokit, vintage, lime, cocktails, drinking, garden cachaça, caipirinha, outside, river island, rokit, vintage, lime, cocktails, drinking, garden   Caipirinha (hopefully you recognise the girl in these photos…)

Ingredients: cachaça, lime and sugar. The national cocktail of Brazil! You might know I adore Brazil and I’ve tried a fair few of these at various Brazilian events in my time. Like the bloody mary this is another cocktail I can actually “make” and in my opinion they are easy to get wrong: too much lime and it’s bitter, not enough lime and it’s a sugar punch to the front teeth, too much ice and it’s distilled. The secret is to mash up the lime with the ice first until it’s slightly crushed (you can’t tell from the terrible quality photo), then add granulated brown sugar, then pour the alcohol in last over the top and don’t over stir. A bit tricky but so worth it!aIMG_5634 Gin Fizz

Ingredients:  gin, lemon juice (or lime juice, we used both), soda water. Essentially a posh variation on G&T. I’m not a massive fan of gin but this tasted vaguely of lemonade and Dave seemed to enjoy it! Our little cocktails book listed some bizarre variations using bits of egg such as the above ingredients plus egg white (Silver Fizz), egg yolk (Golden Fizz) and a whole egg (Royal Fizz) which sounds bizarre and is also (luckily) not vegan so I won’t be making any of those anytime soon.

That concludes our cocktails discussion! Let me know if you have tried any of these and if you have a favourite cocktail (and if it’s a bloody mary, let’s compare notes). Here’s some token pictures of the barbecue, as you can see it was GOOD. Thanks for reading and follow on facebook/twitter/bloglovin if you feel inclined!!
P.S. If any of you are based in London and would like to come to a little blog celebration I’m planning in a couple weeks, do get in touch! barbecue food laid out exterior outside garden

Camden Day

aIMG_7248ImageImageLast Friday was James And Laila Day! Regular readers will probably have read about James before as we spend so much time together. In the absence of any kind of formal anniversary we decided to start James and Laila Day – one day per month devoted to not working together and instead hanging out and having fun. As it was my turn to plan James and Laila Day I decided to share some of my regular haunts with James. I live and work in Camden and it’s always been this bit of London that feels most like home to me, despite being born and raised in the south. I go for a daily walk around the markets and often stop in after work on my way home as well.

We started off the day with an amazing breakfast and then wandered down to the market stopping at all my favourite food shops on the way, including my favourite ice-cream shop. I follow a very weird diet and it can be hard to find foods I can eat, so I’m very lucky we live by some awesome health food shops.  The first couple of pictures are taken down this little road with brightly painted houses. There’s about five of these pretty coloured streets on the route from James’ house to the market, in my head I call them rainbow roads and they remind me of the town in Edward Scissorhands.ImageImageImageThe rest of these photos are from Camden Market! Camden is divided into about 6 different markets and once upon a time each bit of market had it’s own specific focus; these days they do broadly stock variations of the same thing but there’s still some individual flavour between them. The three biggest markets are Camden Locks (arts and crafts), Stables Market (subcultures and imported fashions) and Horse Tunnel Market (vintage and antiques). It was such a gorgeous sunny day and even though I visit the same places every other day, it was fun sharing that part of my day with James. I should be employed as a tour guide as I know the whole layout so well by now.

After the market we went to Honest Burgers for dinner (no photos!) and whilst the chips and drinks were amazing the no-meat option was essentially a vegetable pakora in a bap; definitely not recommended. We also went to our favourite pub and the cinema, needless to say we were pretty tired when we traipsed home later but happy and content. It’s so important to spend quality time with your friends, especially if (like me) most of your close friends also double as artistic colleagues. It’s easy to fall into the habit of just hanging out post-rehearsal and never doing activities purely for fun so I’m so glad we started this tradition. Here’s to the next James and Laila Day!ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage