Friday, 25 July 2014

Latitude







This time last week we were on the way to Latitude festival in picturesque Suffolk. Sigh.

The photos aren't the best but the weekend was excellent! I've fallen out of love with live music of late; day-to-day I work in an obscure corner of the music industry so it's an occupational hazard, I guess. That being said, the chance to see some of my favourite bands (and comedians!) all in the romantic, fairylight lit forest-dreamland that Latitude is famous for being, well, it was too good to miss. My personal highlights include First Aid Kit, Haim, Bombay Bicycle Club and Valerie June, none of whom I'd seen live before. That being said, I had the most insane fun bopping about in our matching wellies at Jonny Woo's alt/drag show homage to Lou Reed's 'Transformer' (pun fully acknowledged) album.

The festival feeling has carried on way into this week and I've been incessantly listening to the playlist below. I feel like I've got my musical mojo back. Thank you, Latitude.

(Mostly) Latitude Playlist

Valerie June: Wanna Be On Your Mind
Bombay Bicycle Club: Luna
Clean Bandit: Rather Be
First Aid Kit: Shattered + Hollow
Honeyblood: Super Rat



Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Let's Go To: Glasgow


Glasgow is one of my favourite cities. Oh, I do love it so! It has a reputation for being less-than-bonny but to me it's like an old friend; unpretentious, always up for a good time, warm...in personality if not temperature! 

Of course it helps that I know it quite well, having lots of friends and family handily stationed there. As a wee lassie the days leading up to a trip to Scotland was as exciting and excruciatingly long as the build-up to Christmas. Even now, if it's been too many months since my last visit north I get pangs of longing to be there. 

So considering how much I love the place, it might be a little surprising that when I went to Glasgow a fortnight ago for a flying visit, I had decided beforehand that I was absolutely not going to post about it.


Now, I promise it wasn't because I wanted to leave you out of the fun. I was visiting for an occasion where there was going to be, and was, lots of champagne. My co-ordination is questionable even when i'm sober so I chose to leave my camera at home. But it turns out i'm a little forgetful too because when we arrived in the motherland I realized that my camera was still in my bag. I could have sworn I had emptied it. Tote bags are so full of mystery.

Of course I couldn't resist taking a few pictures of the lovely hotel we were staying at to share with you!


You really can't get more centrally placed than the Grasshopper Hotel but even if you've been to Glasgow before you probably won't recognize where the hotel is located from this angle: 


Guessed where it is yet? Beneath those glass rooftops are the comings and goings of Glasgow Central Station. Yeah, we were surprised too!


Because Grasshoppers is situated six floors up, above offices, you could easily walk past and never know the Grasshoppers was there - we wouldn't have if it hadn't been for old faithful Trip Adviser. It pays to do your research because this hotel is a gem.


I could have happily camped out in my room for the whole the visit, although that would have been, y'know, anti-social. Egyptian cotton sheets, stylish furnishings, high ceilings and lots of light, in my room at least. Along with Sky TV, smarties and cupcakes are provided but if you want something more substantial you can head to their kitchen for a hearty three course meal. I didn't get to try the dinner myself but according to my own dear mother who stayed an extra evening (jealous), it was delicious. The breakfast was a similarly tasty affair.

Now that you've figured out where you're going to stay, here's some things you should do while you're in Glasgow:

  • Mackintosh House. You've probably heard of Charles Rennie Mackintosh. His distinctive designs are quintessentially Glaswegian and he left a legacy of beautiful buildings across the city, one of which is Mackintosh House. Now part of the Hunterian Art gallery, it houses one of the most extensive collection of Mackintosh work to be found anywhere in the world
  • Burger Meats Bun. I've haven't been here yet but Vanisha vouches for this place (remember her from this post?). She knows from excellent burgers, and if you get a text from her with a lot of exclamation marks saying Burger Meats Bun serves one of the absolute best she's ever had anywhere, well that's more than good enough for me.
  • The Westend. The Westend is the 'posh' part of Glasgow and my favourite area to amble around. I highly recommend visiting the vintage shops, having lunch at the Hillhead Book Club and getting comfy on the sofas at the Grovesnor cinema. If the weather is good I love having a meander around the beautiful houses and regal crescents. They're mainly uphill so once you've done you should probably stop at one of the many cafes for cake because you need to re-energize, right?
  • Kelvingrove Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous art gallery. If you're into architecture or, like me, just like looking at pretty things, then you'll want to go just to see this grand building. 
  • The Willow Tea Rooms. Mackintosh again but this time with food. I suggest hot footing it over to Willow Tea Rooms after a look around the above. Based in two convenient locations in the center of town and both designed by Mackintosh himself,  many the original features of these picture pretty tea rooms remain intact. Even more importantly they serve the best damn coronation chicken to be found anywhere in the UK. But remember to book!  
  • Midnight walk to the Necropolis. Another recommendation from a friend, Thanks Blake! She suggests taking a 2am walk to this ghostly vantage point by St. Mungo's museum to see breathtaking views of the city by night ...although err, maybe go in a group.

Of course, with the Commonwealth Games and Radio One's big weekend being held in Glasgow this summer you might already be busy in the city, you lucky things. As I said my visit was only a flying one and because of the champagne the photos are mainly write-off but here's what I wore:


My favourite Vivienne Westwood Anglomania dress from a few seasons ago and my new love-of-my-life Zara coat in cornflower blue (get it here). Paired with black heels from Whistles and gold bangles. Only the best for Glasgow, of course.
Where: The Three Horseshoes Inn, Powerstock.
What We Ate: Wild Boar Scotch Quail Egg on Welsh Rarebit x2,
Potato & Wild Garlic Soup
Triple cooked chips (cooked in dripping)
Cost: £29.50 for three people inc. one drink each
Why you shouldn't go: Limited selection for vegetarians, however the staff are very friendly and may make something to order. Worth ringing ahead to find out.
Why you should go:  Set in a very charming hamlet, the inn has gorgeous rural views from the sun-trap patio. Serves well cooked locally sourced grub and the staff were lovely. Possibly the best chips in Dorset, please report back on this if you go.
- See more at: http://www.joyforroses.com/2014/03/powerstock-three-horseshoes-inn.html#sthash.FwlGEo43.dpuf


Where: Grasshoppers Hotel 87 Union Street, Glasgow G1 3TA
Why you shouldn't say: The rooms got very warm at night, although fans were provided. Some reviews on Trip Adviser mentioned a high level of noise although I didn't experience this during my stay. There is a lack of wardrobe space if you are staying for a prolonged period of time. 
Why you should: Can't commend the service highly enough. Lots of lovely personal touches, very welcoming staff and the breakfast is fantastic. Would definitely stay here again.
http://www.grasshoppersglasgow.com/
Where: The Three Horseshoes Inn, Powerstock.
What We Ate: Wild Boar Scotch Quail Egg on Welsh Rarebit x2,
Potato & Wild Garlic Soup
Triple cooked chips (cooked in dripping)
Cost: £29.50 for three people inc. one drink each
Why you shouldn't go: Limited selection for vegetarians, however the staff are very friendly and may make something to order. Worth ringing ahead to find out.
Why you should go:  Set in a very charming hamlet, the inn has gorgeous rural views from the sun-trap patio. Serves well cooked locally sourced grub and the staff were lovely. Possibly the best chips in Dorset, please report back on this if you go.
- See more at: http://www.joyforroses.com/2014/03/powerstock-three-horseshoes-inn.html#sthash.FwlGEo43.dpuf

Where: The Three Horseshoes Inn, Powerstock.
What We Ate: Wild Boar Scotch Quail Egg on Welsh Rarebit x2,
Potato & Wild Garlic Soup
Triple cooked chips (cooked in dripping)
Cost: £29.50 for three people inc. one drink each
Why you shouldn't go: Limited selection for vegetarians, however the staff are very friendly and may make something to order. Worth ringing ahead to find out.
Why you should go:  Set in a very charming hamlet, the inn has gorgeous rural views from the sun-trap patio. Serves well cooked locally sourced grub and the staff were lovely. Possibly the best chips in Dorset, please report back on this if you go.
- See more at: http://www.joyforroses.com/2014/03/powerstock-three-horseshoes-inn.html#sthash.FwlGEo43.dpuf
*this is a completely independent review. Our stay was paid for from our own pockets and all opinions are my own. C/O items or sponsored posts will always be made clear. 

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Pop Up Vintage Fair-y Tale





Maybe you are one of those girls who walks into even the bleakest charity shop and somehow emerges with the perfect outfit like that scene in Wild Child (any one else love that film?). If this is you, please teach me your ways! We will be best friends and go shopping together every weekend, agreed? Agreed. 

If it isn't already obvious, the perfect charity shop find rarely, if ever, is found by me. Alas I wish it were, especially considering the number of times I've complemented someone on their outfit only to get a nonchalant reply along the lines of 'Oh, this? It's vintage YSL. It was, like, £20 from cancer research'. Heartbreaking.

Luckily for me because I do love antiques and vintage wares, fairs like Pop-Up Vintage are here to help. Bringing lots of really good vintage retailers under one roof, these fairs are one of my favourite places to go to on cosy, rainy days and are perfect when you don't have a whole afternoon to rummage around different stores; although just warning you now that it's easy to spend a whole afternoon here!



Last weekend I finally got a chance to visit the  pop-up vintage fairs at St. Stephen's in Hampstead. I've been to a few of their huge fair's at Old Spitafields but wanted to go to the St. Stephen's event as they take place less frequently and are a little closer to home. Although the event at St. Stephen's is smaller and you have to pay a minimal entrance fee (whereas Spitafields is free), there was an eclectic mix of stalls catering for most tastes and budgets, from retro 1970s homewares to an array of vintage levi jackets and did you notice that it takes place in a beeoutiful church?





Don't you love these milk bottles with the vintage adverts? If only I could paint I would have bought all of these and kept my brushes in them. If you want to get your hands on one you can still buy them here from the Emma Loves store on Etsy.

Most of the gorgeous clothing in my photos are from the Prudence Pear Tree stall run by Sophie and her sister-in-law (who's name I didn't catch, sorry!). They're super friendly and had a massive collection of to-die-for dresses, definitely one of the highlights for me and I'll be keeping an eye out for them at future fairs. You can follow them on facebook here. I cannot believed how restrained I was by not buying one or more of the dresses, how unlike me, although that might have been something do to with my bank balance after an ASOS haul I had earlier in the week.

I didn't leave completely empty handed, though...

From L to R: Dragon's Breath Ring Clarice Jewellery; Coral Effect Ring Bimba Y Lola; Silver Mexican Ring Janet Matthews Antiques and Collectable Jewellery.

The silver Mexican ring above on the right was singing it's sweet, Spanish siren song to me all afternoon. I visited the stall at least four times dithering over it and the kind people at Janet Matthews Antiques and Collectable Jewellery let me have it for the money I had in my pocket, which wasn't all that much. I'm really glad I bought it as I haven't been able to stop admiring it all week. I also bought this sweet little heart dish for the tidy sum of £2.50 and it's currently accommodating some of my favorite rings, listed above.

Where are your favourite Vintage haunts? Anyone else excited about getting their mitts on Dawn Porter's guide to vintage This Old Thing coming out later this year?

Friday, 21 March 2014

World Down Syndrome Day.

Usually my posts, or at least those hundreds of posts which haven't yet materialized but are safely stored away in my ideas book, come about through the photos I've taken, the adventures I've had or the food I really, really want to eat...those last posts aren't going to be drying up any time soon! My point is that while I love sharing snapshots of my life, I've never felt compelled to share the deeply private moments - the nitty-gritty. But lately I've been reading some blogs that do do this, and while I still adore the shiny, professional-looking ones that first enticed me into the blogosphere, it's been refreshing to read posts that at times read like journal excerpts. So, I decided that since this space belongs to me (although you've been kind enough to visit me here and read my bletherings); today I will be writing a few lines of something that isn't traditional 'lifestyle' but very much a part of my life. Thanks for reading x

Today is an important day for me because today is World Down Syndrome Day, which is both a lovely and saddening reminder of a person greatly missed.

It has been over two years since my Aunt Janice passed away. Janice had Down Syndrome, which wasn't why she died, at least not directly; but did play a big part in how she lived and is deeply ingrained in our family history. It's a cliche but she brought us together in a way no other family member could hope to do.

It wasn't until after she had gone that I started being more involved in the Down Syndrome community on social media albeit not in a hugely significant way; following support groups, liking a post here and a writing a encouraging comment there. At first it felt like a small way to show support other people who had similar experiences to ours but it was mainly a way of keeping connected to Janice when I didn't feel able to let her go. 

It is my experience, although not a rule, that when someone you love has a 'disability' it makes you a more compassionate person. It can also show you how wonderfully compassionate other people can be. Of course, this isn't the case with everyone and sometimes people who haven't had to deal with disability before are awkward beyond belief when confronted with it. I suspect that this social awkwardness, aside from all the health and mobility disadvantages having some disabilities can bring, plays a not insignificant part in why people living with disabilities are more likely than the average to feel marginalized, isolated and ignored. Sometimes we fear what we don't know or perhaps are afraid of saying the wrong thing, this is why World Down Syndrome Day is so important to me. At the very least I hope it will open up conversation about disability making it less of a 'taboo' subject; at best, today will give people with Down Syndrome the social acknowledgement they deserve and a platform to discuss their needs.

I hope, perhaps most of all, that today will help spread the truth that while people with Down Syndrome are shaped by their syndrome, as we are all shaped by our experiences. This is a community of individuals who are significant and valuable. This wonderful (but weepy - just warning you!) video below discusses expresses this far better than I can:


Being part the wonderful Down Syndrome community made up of carers, friends, family, volunteers and those living with Down Syndrome, has made my life better through support, laughter, love and inclusion. Not only because this is what Janice brought to my life but through the societies and websites that so reminded me of her when she was gone and had a place for me even then. I hope that as a society we can return this compassion and inclusion to people with Down Syndrome and other disabilities.

If you'd like to know more about world down syndrome day please take a gander at the links below:
http://www.worlddownsyndromeday.org/
https://www.facebook.com/Circle21
http://www.downssideup.com

A thought provoking article about Disability in the UK on Liberty London Girl:
http://www.libertylondongirl.com/2014/02/28/guest-blog-upon-how-we-treat-the-disabled-in-the-uk/