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Gonna write another travelling song… 6 weeks of London, Edinburgh, Aviemore, Dublin and San Francisco

12 May

london to the highlands.jpg

 6 weeks ago, I moved to London. It seems like no time at all and like forever all at once.

To put it all in perspective (for my own sanity really), here’s the last 42 days in numbers…

  • 400 miles driven to London, with 30 boxes, 2 sideboards, 2 Parker Knoll chairs, 3 suitcases of vintage china.
  • 2 cats transported; number of times they yowled/objected, only 2.
  • 1 flat, left behind, all empty, ready for someone else. 1 flat found, so very different, but falling in love with it anyway.
  • 13,226 miles travelled back to Edinburgh, to Aviemore, to Dublin and, eh, San Francisco. (Yeah, spot the odd one out there.)
  • 55 Underground journeys, 84 Overground journeys, 36 normal trains, 1 boat ride down the Thames and 1 bus journey.
  • 2 weddings attended, 
  • 3 books read on my morning commute, only 1 one of which made me tearful in front of a carriage of people. (Note to self, sad books are not for reading in public.)
  • 28 days without a bed, 42 days without a wardrobe, 41 days without a mirror in the flat, 41 days where I’ve had potentially crazy hair or wonky eyeliner. 
  • 28 days without wifi, spotify, netflix. 42 days without blogging, the longest break I’ve had in 4 years. 
  • 1 day wearing a fake fur coat; 3 days wearing sunglasses and sunscreen; 38 days wearing summer clothes with black tights and winter boots.
  • 1283 photos snapped, 96 of street art, 9 of random neighbourhood cats, 6 of our local fox.
  • 36 hours spent catching up with old friends, 149 hours meeting fantastic new people.
  • Number of times it’s felt odd living in London: 0. 

And for those who prefer pictures to numbers (that’ll be me then), here’s some random snaps of the last 6 weeks.

adventure guide

Adventure Guide…

  neon legs

My neon legs at the Meridian Line…

san fran up and down - convo pieces

 San Francisco… and my shockingly long hair

shard shadow - convo pieces

The shadow of The Shard on a sunny morning…

mindthegap-convopieces

I read a story about the widow of the actor who was the voice of the ‘Mind The Gap’ announcement… one of those beautiful, bittersweet ‘Up’ style stories that makes you smile and sad at the same time.

dear face – convo pieces

 San Fran street art… and the Google bike (which I fell in love with)

photo 5

InstaMax photos of a epically beautiful wedding

london eye - convo pieces

The London Eye snapped from the middle of the Thames (I was on a boat!)

blossom, blue sky - convo pieces

Blossom and blue skies in San Fran

aviemore - convo pieces

Mountains and blue skies in the Highlands

in love with a lamb - convo pieces

Falling in love with a lamb at the Southbank, London

travelling cats - convo pieces

Two cats leaving Edinburgh…

mydreamhadyellowinit-convopieces

Snapping street art in San Fran…

tube... conversation pieces blog

Waiting in the Tube…

wishyoumissedme-convopieces

Bittersweet street art…

courage... conversation pieces blog

Positive advertising…

london sun set - convo pieces

The sun setting on a glorious London day…

new home card - convo pieces

Our first new home card…

P.S. If you’ve been so lovely as to send me a message about meeting for tea/vintage shopping/general hello-ness, I’ll be replying soon!

P.P.S. Extra points if you recognised the title of this blog post was inspired by Bright Eyes’ Another Travelin’ Song. It’s been stuck in my head now for 3 days straight!

P.P.P.S. Photos of me in San Fran by Miss_Glassy.

London’s calling… 4 sleeps, 40 boxes and so, so, so much sorting to go

25 Mar

adore.. conversation pieces blog

So, yes. We’re moving. To London. On Friday. This Friday. In three days and four sleeps. Eeeeek!

packing... conversation pieces blog

The last while has mainly consisted of this…

1. Sorting out 6.5 years of interior design magazines. Why? Why did I have so many? I think my local dentist and doctor are fed up of me turning up to donate magazines now.

2. Packing really sensible, totally essential things like my vintage tin globes.

3. More packing… The rule is anything we ‘quite like’ isn’t coming. We have to love it. Again this explains why I’ve mainly packed prints, globes and books so far!

4. Doing so much clearing out, dropping off at charity shops, gifting things to friends. And regretting having a top floor flat with every box we carry down!

cat in a box... conversation pieces blog

Some members of our flat have really enjoyed the packing process… mainly the Velveteen Cat. As seen here with her favourite cook books.

likes boxes, doesn't like boxes - conversation pieces blog

The Fox-Owl-Cat has been less of a fan. (She has a crippling fear of boxes. Like my fear of clowns but box-shaped.)

foxowlcat vs bubble wrap - conversation pieces blog

She’s also not a fan of the copious amounts of bubble wrap that have appeared around our flat lately. This roll did not pass the examination process.

do i... conversation pieces blog

Me… I’m looking forward to being moved and having a kitchen again, instead of things waiting to be packed.

And while I’ll miss our home here (we’re renting it out rather than selling it), I’m super excited about getting to make a new place home. I’m weird like that I guess!

gold... conversation pieces blog

And the good news is… that we have found ourselves a flat down there. For us and our two furry companions.

We found it on Saturday which was cutting it a bit close but hey we like to keep things exciting!

(I must admit finding a flat was a whole lot more difficult than I’d imagined it would be. Even with my little sis doing viewings for us, which was extremely helpful… as trying to pick a flat to rent in London, while you live in Edinburgh and have cats, was a bit tricky!)

belle adventure... conversation pieces blog

So… in 4 days, we start our new adventure. I’m excited, impatient and sort of nervous, in that weird can’t sit still way. (You think this would help with the packing of boxes but no!)

The drive to London with two cats is going to be ‘interesting’ I’m sure, but it’ll make for a funny story hopefully later on.

Then in 5/6 days, if any lovely Londoners fancy a cuppa, well, that will be infinitely more do-able!

Tuesday Bluesday… a YOKE screen print giveaway

7 Feb

A friend has a theory that Tuesdays are worse than Mondays.
Mondays you expect to be kind of Monday-ish.
But then Tuesdays just sort of sneak up on you!

With that in mind, I thought today would be a good day
to do a little giveaway with the lovely people at YOKE.

 I first spied their work at the DCA in Dundee and have been
coveting their We Can Move Mountains print ever since.

Their work start life as beautiful papercuts
before being turned into gorgeous screen prints.

So for the giveaway, they’re offering you
a screen print of your choice.
{How cool is that? Rather I say!}

All you have to do is:
leave a comment here with your best joke
(and say what your fav YOKE print is).

******

To start us off, here’s my favourite ever joke:

I went to a zoo the other day.
There was only a dog there…

It was a shitzu.

(Boom, boom!)

Ahem… hopefully you’ve not all died of laughter!
You have a whole week to enter then Mark & Zoe
of YOKE will pick who makes the comment
that makes them smile the most.

Let us know if you tweet/blog about the giveaway too.
Not that the judges could be swayed of course!

Good luck! And happy Tuesday!

Saturday I'm smitten… with NYC

12 Nov


Back in September
I uttered those exact words
(without the asterisks).

We’d just discovered that the other half
had not one but two weeks less holiday
than we’d thought. So any idea of a big
long honeymoon/sunnymoon/whatever
was totally fubarred.

Then I started thinking… where can you go
for a week that will be blooming brilliant?

Simple. New York City.

So we went. We ate, walked, laughed.
We got a little sunburnt. We got blisters.
We had what we called ‘the best holiday ever’.

Here’s part 1 of my favourite snaps.
They make me want to go back
there right now. Oh f*** it.

View from the top of The Rock.
(Much shorter queues and a better
view than going up the Empire State.)

Loved the design of this coffee place.
Can’t imagine it would be good with a hangover though!

One thing I remembered from previous NYC visits
was how good the thrift/junk is… I’d been stalking
Brooklyn Flea on twitter before going. And then Thriftola
said it was a must-visit so it would have been rude not to!

Owl cookie jars, vintage suitcases, retro pots…
all sitting on a wooden door table!

The vintage crates which I was seriously considering
trying to put in my carry-on luggage to take home!

The oh so covetable blue Mason jars
for only a couple of dollars each. Sob.

Vintage milk bottles… I had to buy something
so I bought one of these. Oh yes, I went all the
way to NYC and bought a milk bottle!

He he… didn’t see any puppies though.

So many letterpress blocks…
so little room in my suitcase.

Was quite taken with this old movie poster…
even though I plan on living until
I’m rather old thank you. 

The best veggie hot dog ever… Honestly.
This one had spicy ketchup, jalapeno mustard
and crushed salt and pepper crisps on it!
We came back for seconds later in the day.

A little hipper than the usual ‘I <3 NY’.
Or a little more hipster?

More graffiti… including a slightly scary fox.
I also so loved these big frogs!

One mighty strange thing about this trip
was that I drank coffee… every day.
Which is more coffee than I’ve ever
drunk in my entire life. Ever.
But how could I not when the logo
is so darn funny?!

I love NYC. Word.

Next time… a bit more of Manhattan.
Plus maybe some Diana shots if they come out!

Happy Weekend everyone xx

*****

First image by junkskull

Thrifty finds… and a shifty tiger cake

24 Oct

I have a cold. The kind that means you can still get on with life
as long as you have a lifetime’s supply of tissues by your side
and copious cups of yucky blackcurrant yuckness.
So if this post makes less sense than normal,
I’m blaming the Beechams or the cold bugs!

*****

Anyhoo…the other weekend, we did a spot of charity shop hunting.
And for a girl who’s technically intolerent of milk, I appear
to be acquiring milk jugs. And the odd sugar bowl.

And the odd sugar jar too.

The woman in the charity shop did not get
why I wanted this… always a strange one that.

But I think it makes a great new vase.

Even if I do say so myself!

Not from a charity shop the next set…

In fact, this is a Japanese tea set that belonged
to my other half’s Aunt. It looks like it’s never
been used, it’s that pristine.

It’s left us wondering though…
did his Aunt visit Japan and buy it there?
We really don’t know. If anyone’s relative
has a similar set, do let me know.


We also have a second Japanese set from her too.
And again no idea where or who she got them from.

Not strictly a vintage find here…
except that we got these cakes from
an old school bakery.

One of the advantages of feeling under the weather
is that you ‘need’ a shifty tiger cake of course.
Its expression makes me laugh so much.

Of course, after this much sugar, I had a temporary high
and put up my new print. Yup, I’ve had enough of the
‘everything is going to be ok’ style prints.

Ok, so maybe I don’t feel fantastic right now
but the print makes me chuckle
(in amongst the coughing and spluttering!).

Right, I’m off to watch Downton Abbey
with a hot chocolate and a blanket.
Actually that’s quite fantastic after all!

*****

Anyone found any thrifty finds recently?
Or have a sensible suggestion for
my burgeoning milk jug collection?
(Or a nicer suggestion for a cold remedy
than blackcurrant bluckness?)

P.S. I will be getting back to the Weddingnesday
and I Do DIY posts when I have half a brain again.

Ten years ago…

11 Sep

Ten years ago, I was living in LA.

Ten years, I woke up to the phone ringing…

My Dad saying “Zoë, wake up, America is on fire.”

Ten years ago, I switched on the TV
minutes before the second plane hit.

*****

Hours later, with nowhere to go,
I went out into the empty streets,
where lit candles were now perched everywhere,
and walked to Santa Monica without even thinking.

The beach was the busiest I’d ever seen it.
But also the quietest. Just people sitting on the sand,
some silent, some silently sobbing.

I sat down, and watched the waves roll in and out.
I couldn’t speak, I couldn’t cry, all I could do
was hold my now husband’s hand so tightly and
think of all those people… especially of those
people who held hands at the end.

*****

Image by sixthandmain

Friday I'm in love… with caravans

2 Sep

Since we came back from minimoon,
I’ve developed a bit of a crush on caravans.

Just after we got back, I opened up the Cath Kidston
magazine to discover an article on buying caravans.

It seemed like a sign.

(Despite the fact it was also the same weekend
as some tossbag trashed our car. Ahem.)

The problem is… we live in a flat.

In the middle of Edinburgh.

Not ideal for keeping a caravan I know
but sometimes it’s nice to dream about these
things without worrying about the logistics.

Anyway, I was pondering what
it is I like so much about caravans…

And I came up with two reasons. (Well, three really.)

1. Very happy childhood memories of caravaning
with my Nana, my Papa, my cousins, my cat.
Fuzzy felt, listening to the rain on the roof
and drinking sweet tea with nettle stings on my knees.

2. And this one came from the same Cath Kidston mag…
“a caravan is another room to enjoy doing up,
without moving house”. Well, if that doesn’t
just sound like something I would say!

3. As well as my very happy childhood memories,
a caravan is now where I have been
at my happiest as an adult too.

In my Dad’s wedding speech, he wrote a sonnet
(yes he made people cry with his speech!)
that ended with the words
“It sounds like rain on a caravan roof.”

And then he spoke about how my Nana
would have loved that we were starting
our married life in a caravan.

Not only because she loved caravans but
“because it’s also a perfect metaphor for a long successful married life.
She would have agreed it’s about joy and disappointment shared,
up close. That’s a real test of any relationship
but the key thing to remember is, come rain or shine,
all you need is those you love and those who love you back.”

(I said he made people cry.)

So this Friday, I’m truly utterly, smitten
with the idea of us having a little caravan
of our own… and you know one day
we might even make it a reality.


Happy Friday everyone xx
Hope you all have lovely weekends.

*****

P.S. That little yellow caravan?
It has the most stylish interior
I’ve ever seen for a caravan!

*****

1. and 3. via snailtrail (via guardian)
2, 5 and 6 scanned from cath kidston mag
4. caravanolic (via pinterest)
7. and 8. enjoycupcakes (via urbanfarmgirlandco)

Weddingnesday… wishful thinking

4 May

In around 6 week’s time, I’m meant to look presentable.

Bridal even…

Which might explain why my rebel without a cause self
is hankering after the following things that  I kind of wish
I was brave enough to do for our wedding.*

(*I may still do them one day.)

1. My something blue?

How gorgeous is Doe Deere’s hair?
Every time I see this picture it so makes me want blue hair… and curls.
(Damn, my naturally straight, dark hair!)

2. My something daring?

I do love this dress by LoveJune.
(With a back that low and a bust like mine it would be daring!)
But what I love is that tattoo… not everyone’s cup of tea I know
but I’ve been looking for an excuse to get a second one for some time,
and getting married seems like a reason to do something permanent!

3. My something fun?

I wear tights all year round. I love tights.
I love one with hearts, dots, patterns, colours… if I could find
a pair that went with my dress I would so do this. (That said,
I don’t want to look like a children’s TV presenter on the day!)

*****

What about you all? Is there anything
you kind of wished you could of done
(or wish you could do) on your day?

*****

1. DoeDeereBlogazine  via here 2. LoveJune via here
3. Alison Conklin via Ruffled via here

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