Move Along

It has been the biggest battle to write this blog post - a two month long battle and I have let you, my readers, down. I have no reasonable explanation or excuse for my long and gratuitous absence other than lack of inspiration and dedication. 

Probably how I felt on numerous occasions when I should have been writing | Columbia Road

I am sitting here at a cafe along the banks of Serpentine Lake in Hyde Park writing the rough draft for the post while simultaneously sipping on fresh orange juice, watching families walk past as they enjoy a brisk Monday morning stroll through the park, observing the vast array of wildlife - namely birds (birds everywhere!) - fly swim or strut their way around the shorelines. 

Snapshots of my morning | Hyde Park

Hyde Park

Hyde Park | Fancy a swim? 

I'm not really certain what direction of this long awaited blog post will take. Other than there is quite a lot of goings-on I must bring you up to date on. I think I will let it manifest on its own. 

Breakfast along the banks of the Serpentine | Hyde Park

The past two months I have been up to my eyeballs in exciting ventures around this city I have been quick to call home. I have also spent the last month or so contemplating what direction I would like to take my life after this initial year concludes - that is to say - do I continue my journey here in London or back home in the good old US of A? Part of me can never quite imagine leaving this sublime city but sometimes one must consider the unimaginable in order to progress to where they would ultimately like to arrive. 

My two dearest friends, Anna and Romy, and myself have spent the last two months traversing (and eating) our way around a multitude of different nooks and crannies across the city. 

A few of the highlights included a night retreating into the spicy aroma of Dishoom in Shoreditch, a Bombay styled restaurant and cafe with a dash of London cool thrown in. We spent the evening having deep laughs and celebrating Anna's recent acceptance into the Photography school at the London College of Communication.

Let the ordering begin. 

The night consisted of ordering the works, trying everything possible off the ethnic Indian menu. Cheesy Naan breads, spiced chia lattes, a slew of chicken with accompanying spices and seasonings such as ginger, cinnamon, and coriander, and topped off with dessert puddings made up of a surprising combination: pineapple and black pepper. It was a memorable, aromatic evening spent in the dimly lit room on the corner of Shoreditch High Street, an evening of eating, savoring and revelry amongst friends. 

The lovely and poised Romy - probably listening to Anna and my's nonsensical American jokes. 

Taste testing the desserts. 

Another weekend the girls and I decided, on a whim, to hop on the Overground and ride the train all the way to the end of the line, we made it to Richmond, which if you can believe, is still in London. The overcast day was spent exploring Richmond Park, which is one of the biggest Royal parks in London and also a nature preserve (so no Dad, you couldn't go hunting here). I still find it baffling as to all the treasures this city can hold. Letting the "wild" get the best of us we frolicked throughout the park exploring the lakes, climbing trees (more specifically trees that had fallen over), and trying to do our best Bear Grylls impression by attempting to track down deer - all we managed to find were a few docile dogs and territorial swans. 

Richmond Park | London

"Climbing Trees"

I did say there was frolicking involved. Or jumping. 

We unwound from the day's adventures by convening at Romy's flat to have her give Anna and myself a lesson in great French cooking 101. We spent the late evening dancing to Frank Sinatra on Spotify while simultaneously preparing a chicken and potatoes dinner - Romy knows how to do dinner right. The evening was well spent with friends and rolled into the early morning hours; we parted ways at the crack of dawn only to make it back to our respective flats to take an early morning nap. Now I know why my sleep schedule has been thrown out of whack!

Romy left us a few days after the end of term to head home to Hong Kong for break. Before Anna did the same we headed out for the afternoon to take in the city - from the clouds. Having come across the Sky Garden venue in the weekly Time Out London blog, we trekked through the Business District to the Walkie-Talkie building, fondly nicknamed due to it's keen resemblance to, you guessed it, a walkie-talkie, to catch a ride to the top for the sweeping views of Central London and a neatly designed indoor garden.

We were both glad there was a guard rail on the outdoor observation deck since it was another typically windy day, I imagine we looked like Rose at the bow of the Titanic, except slightly less graceful and there was no Leonardo Dicaprio around. What a shame.  After making back onto street level, we tucked in for some delicious porridge (more commonly known as oatmeal in the States) to finish off the afternoon before departing. 

Don't look down. 

While I have yet to come to a definite decision on where I will set my sails towards next, I have taken the time to live each day here in London like these next two and a half months will be my last. Which I believe to be a good general rule of thumb in life, as cliche as it might be, to live each day as it were your last. Because we are so small in the grand scheme of things and only have a finite control over the ways of the Universe (that is to say, not very much). One never knows where the winds will take them but I do believe we are responsible for being flexible with where they decide to take us on each of our individual journeys throughout life. It's our job, and in our best interests to draw inspiration from those that God brings into contact with us throughout our lives but to also not compare our road to others'. If we all traveled down the same road that would make for a rather crammed and slow moving path and no one would get anywhere. We do not have to have it all figured out in order to move forward, as long as we just move. 

TokyoBike | Shoreditch

Lots of Love,

Haley x


Next Stop the Future

I think I might be the world's worst blogger. I promised a post weeks ago and I have yet to deliver, please pardon me while I go hide my face in shame and embarrassment. 

Not to excuse my sluggishness in getting a new post up for everyone, London has sucked me back in to her apparent state of timelessness. One moment I feel as if time is ephemeral, like I have been back three months, and another it seems as if the sun is perpetually shining on a brisk Sunday morning. 

After a rough couple weeks adjusting to being back in town, I have successfully re-assimilated myself back into conventional society- or however conventional it can be here in electric London. 

My coursework has been equally electrifying the last month. Working around the brief of defining what the future for media will hold, moreover how it will effect the future of the fashion industry and fashion itself. Now, if you ask me that is a pretty blanket statement to cover, when faced with the future it is indeed an interesting and awesome thing to try and fathom, there are infinite possibilities to what the future could have in store. Alternatively one could be largely specific and presume most of our futures most certainly hold death, but that was just a little too macabre for me. 

Where does one even begin to decipher what the future could be like? It has been an interesting journey to discover my own thoughts on the matter. One that has led me to books that discuss time relevancy, the Universe from Nebulas to Black Holes, human connectedness and the possibility of a disconnect. I have read Stephen Hawking, watched films, seen art galleries, and studied photography styles and experimented with a few as well. The amount of research one can do on a single topic is endless. Each new strand of information contributes to yet another strand that builds upon a massive web of knowledge and inspiration to create a project on and bring personal understanding to something otherwise incomprehensible. I will let you know when I come to a definite conclusion; although that is a bit of a loaded statement considering one is always learning and growing throughout their life, so to say there is a definite conclusion to anything would be almost adverse. 

 On the social and adventure front, there has been a lot of exciting experiences that I have the pleasure of getting to share with you all. 

I had the great delight of getting to accommodate and see my lovely friend Marie from back home in the States one weekend. She is currently residing in Newport (near Shropshire, for clarification, since there appear to be several Newports around) for a term-long study abroad. I'm always one who enjoys seeing a familiar face and it was thrilling to get the chance to see Marie. I set off to plan a weekend to show her the city without becoming too overly "touristy." 

I gave her the true London experience on Saturday, after awaking from a night out for perfectly cooked chicken and crisp beer, I took her venturing down the long stretch of the South Bank on the Thames. Big Ben, the London Eye and general people watching were all in order. The real kicker was the weather; 32 degrees fahrenheit, rainy mixed with a bit of snow for fun and we were set. Marie and I did not let that deter us, continuing our exploration on through St. James's Park and over to Buckingham Palace to have afternoon tea with the Queen. 

Ok so there was no tea with the Queen, but we wistfully imagined what it would be like as we took shivering pictures through the barred premises. We did however, get to enjoy the warmth of Gourmet Burger Kitchen (a increasing favorite of mine, so naturally I had to introduce Marie). Filled to our capacities with burgers and still some of the best fries around, we trekked back to my flat where we promptly took a three hour cat-nap. 

Rejuvenated for Sunday festivities, we took the day to explore the museums of London (walking with the Dinosaurs) and inadvertently found Smith's restaurant, along with some of the best pancakes/waffles/french toast I have ever had the pleasure of eating. If you haven't guessed by now that I have a bottomless pit for a stomach, surely by the end of this post you will have an understanding of how much I eat. Since I seemingly couldn't decide between the three options, Smith's so kindly created the Lumber Jack Stack, where I was able to get all three... Perfectly adorned with maple syrup and a bit of bacon on the side, it was what I could only label as the breakfast of champions. Marie settled for a stack of the pancakes complete with bacon and scrambled eggs which looked quite delicious as well. Don't worry Mum, I made the clean plate club on this one. 

No English meal is complete without a good cuppa tea.

The holy grail of breakfasts.

Natural History Museum.

I had to bid Marie adieu on Monday morning and get back to the daily grind of classes, always delightful to see a friend, and have the chance to be a bit of a tourist in my own city for a change. Throughout the week I had the anticipation of another adventure to keep me (conveniently) distracted from coursework, and that was a day-long get away to Cambridge with my sweet and close friend Anna. 

We woke up early Saturday morning, grabbing our coffee from our favorite cafe, before making our way to the Liverpool Street Train Station to catch our departing train. With plans to mosey around and get lost in the historical town, we also had plans of a mini, experiential photo-shoot working with Polaroid film. We couldn't be happier with the weather that greeted us that day, slightly chilly and a thick blanket of fog that clung so closely to the ground it looked like one could scoop it up with their bare hands, truly an ethereal setting.

We had a humorous train ride over, landing in the train-car full of boisterous Aussies, only to later find out they were the Australian National Rugby team on their way to play a game against Cambridge. It was jokes all around the whole journey over, also getting an invite to join them at the pub later in the evening, we sadly had to decline due to not wanting to miss our return train back home. 

Once we arrived, we set straight out to explore and get lost along the way. Stumbling into beautiful campus courtyards, weekend markets, and also narrowly avoiding getting run over by the copious amounts of bicyclists that zoom from place to place, it was shaping up to a memorable day. 

We ended up getting convinced to hop on a river tour, which in the end was not a horrible decision. Anna even got to drive a bit, before she rapidly ran the boat into the side of the canal. Learning a slew of "fun facts" from out boat driver along the journey, such as my personal favorite: "When Lord Byron attended Cambridge he was accompanied by his pet dog, to which the school said he must be rid of immediately due to the rule of no domestic animals on campus. So he promptly returned with a bear." 

We snapped Polaroids throughout the day, each of us falling in love with the style of photography. The frozen-in-time effect the photos give, and the instant tangibleness of the photograph were just a few reasons. What I truly loved about the Polaroids was the thought we had to put into each shot, due to the fact that the film was expensive and limited, the photos instant and therefore could not be edited. The composition, frame, etc all played a part in deciding just how each shot was meticulously planned out. 

It was a truly enriching day, ending over coffee and purposeful conversations while waiting for our return train. Thankful for the day-long escape, but equally thankful to be able to return to another spectacular city at the end of the day.

Snapshots of TIme.

I'm crossing my fingers that this post was at least worth the unnecessary wait. Love to all,

Haley x