Tag Archives: dailies

Don’t Look Back, The Past Has Nothing To Say

24 Jul

Life is a funny thing. When we are living in the moment we feel our emotions with full force; when we are unhappy we can never see that there will be light at the end of the tunnel, when we are in love we can’t picture life without that euphoria, and when we are happy we can’t imagine any other way. We believe wholeheartedly in our youth, and the spot in which we stand right then and there.

But isn’t it amazing that when we have the power of time on our hands that we look at things in a different light? I spent some time reading some very old posts if mine this week, with the view to work out how my writing has improved and how I can strive for more, and I felt myself wanting to turn back to hold my younger self’s hand and tell her everything would feel better soon.

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Maybe it’s the invincibility of youth. Maybe it’s the nativity of younger years. But maybe we can learn from how we felt and how we reacted, and pull it forward to make ourselves better people.

I have had so many emotions running through my veins; the fear and adrenalin of striking out – ending a relationship, moving to a new city, leaving a job. Vie felt devastating sadness of ending relationships that I thought would last forever, both romantically and platonically (and more recently felt a shadow of that sadness when I read through posts from during those times) and I’ve seen extreme joy – the birth of my god-daughters and the pleasure of watching them grown into tiny people and experiencing their unwavering love. I’ve felt the winds of change and the waves of destiny; stepping off a plane in a country I’ve never been in and being aware of the opportunity in front of me and the chances I might have, and all of these things have shaped the person I’ve become.

Now I’m a bit more serene, yet a heap more confident in myself. I don’t care so much about what the world thinks about me, but am more confident in my belief in myself and being comfortable in my own skin. And I’ve learnt that however forceful the feeling s, however intensely you feel it, it will dissipate. It won’t vanish, but you will come to get used to it, and it will feel like an old friend. Comfortable and consistent. I miss my Granddad each day and although it creeps up on me sometimes and I feel it as keenly as the day he died, mostly it hugs me and holds my hand and I smile wistfully.

How has your life and experiences changed you as a person?

Progress With Purpose – Living Life Intentionally

15 Jul

A year or so ago I wrote a post about “Living Life Intentionally”, which you can read here. It was inspired by other people’s passion and need to live their lives with purpose, and something that I wholeheartedly embraced.

Then, in November last year, I lost my Granddad. A beloved man, he had an opinion on everything and was the encyclopaedia of life that I consulted daily. I miss him horribly, but it was only then that I felt I had to commit to the life of living my life with purpose, and not letting one day fade gracelessly into the next.

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And 2014 has delivered on my living of life. I have travelled, visiting San Diego, California in February and Bergen and the UNESCO protected Bryggen Harbour, Norway, in March. May saw me in Vancouver, Canada, and during the month of June I lived in the West Village of Manhattan, New York and spent a month working in my company’s office there.

But it’s not just limited to travelling. I have embraced new classes at the gym, visited new restaurants and sampled things from the menu that I have never tasted before, said “yes” to strangers reaching out the hand of friendship and moving me out of my comfort zone and gone on new experiences such as walking tours of the city and macaroon making classes. And I’ve loved every second.

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Still to come, I have booked a trip to Paris, a city I have always wanted to but never visited, booked a pork pie making class, planned a tour of London’s tea rooms, and am currently planning a trip to Iceland for the northern lights in November and a Christmas in (possibly) Bali. Last weekend I dined in a restaurant called Archipelago (review to follow) which is said to be the most unusual restaurant in London, boasting python carpaccio, zebra jerky and crocodile, and I’m constantly working new experiences into the mix.

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Do one thing every day that scares you, and live life with purpose. Its fleeting and you might just find it has slipped from your fingertips.

What’s your favourite example of living life intentionally?

Whats The Deal??

29 Jan

Deal sites.

I’m obsessed with them. There, I said it.

On an almost daily basis, I will go through said deal sites and look at what they have to offer me. And on the whole, I find some fantastic bargains. I have had discount contact lenses, dinners out for 2 and even a holiday through these sites, and on the most part I am fairly happy with them. Granted, we did bring the average age on the holiday down by 50 years, and enjoyed some rather eclectic cabaret singing, but there was 40 degree heat, a pool and a beach, and some relaxing memory building with my best friend. Which is all you really need in life, right?images

But recently I have been left a little disappointed by the deals they offer. I recently booked a deal for me and the boy to go and have a seafood platter dinner (with lobster, what more could you ask for) and when I called to book they never picked up. Eventually I got the cleaner, who wouldn’t pass me over to anyone else or take a message for me. Right. I called Groupon and complained and they returned the money. All good.

Then last week I excitedly found a deal to Reykjavik (a place I have always wanted to go) and a friend who would go with me, and excitedly booked. For days after I emailed to reserve our spot no one responded, and calls were often met with the engaged tone. Again, when I finally got through, they tried to charge me extra (“The time you have booked for is VERY busy”) and also tried to send us out on days different to those we had booked, and from an airport miles away. it culminated in me very calmly stating that it was false advertising, and the lady at the company (I’m too much of a lady to name names) hanging up the phone on me. Perfect customer service, right there.

I’m kinda gutted. I had my heart set on exploring the wintry tundra of Iceland in my ski gear (because I don’t use it for skiing, do I?) with my BFF. And now, if I want to, I will have to organise it myself for a higher cost. I don’t mind doing that, don’t get me wrong, but when it’s a flippin good deal, it’s all a bit disappointing when it’s too good to be true.

What are your thoughts on deal sites like Groupon? Would love to hear about your experiences.

Eating My Way Around: Burger Lobster, London

28 Jan

I’m a foodie. When I say that, I would like to caveat that I am not one of those foodies who thinks that there should be a big plate and not a lot of dinner on it, nor am I the type of person that eats things like ‘seafood foams’ or ‘chicken basket’ (the latter sounds slightly more like the fare you would expect in KFC rather than a Michelin star restaurant, but I digress :) ) I simply love food.

Doesn’t matter what food. There is very little I don’t like. Living in a city like London, I am like a child in a sweetshop. Spoilt for choice on interesting cuisines to nibble on or places to visit. I have a list as long as my arm of restaurants I have heard about on the grapevine, and I like to go and see as much as I can.

In 2013, I crossed off some really good ones, including Shaka Zulu (Camden, London – read my review here) and Balthazar (Covent Garden, London) but this year I am upping the ante and eating my way through London, one mouth-watering morsel at a time.

This weekend, we visited Burger Lobster in the City, one of the 5 of this chain in London. The premise is simple, there are no menus, you simply have the choice of burger, or lobster (with the added bonus of a lobster roll). You can have the lobster grilled or steamed, but they are the only choices (the cocktails menu however, is pretty extensive!).

Simple. Perfect. Having heard great things about the lobster roll; a brioche bun stuffed to the brim with dressed lobster, complete with fries, side salad and an amazing lemon and garlic butter sauce, I plumped for that. And I wasn’t disappointed. If you ever come to London then you need to get yourself there and try it out. its by far the best lobster I’ve had in a while, plus its nice to have it all de-shelled before its plonked in front of you (I know I’m a heathen but it prevents me from getting covered in it).

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The dessert is pretty simple too. There are 2 options, and they change regularly. The white and dark chocolate parfait was AMAZING – all in all, a fantastic lunch.

For an additional secret tip, I recommend visiting the City location on the weekend. Soho always has a line right round the block during lunch and dinner sittings, but with the weekend being mostly closed in the city, the tables are a lot easier to get and there isn’t much need for a reservation.

Where are your recommendations for fantastic places to eat out?

People Are The Biggest Problem Faced

27 Jan

Customer service. Its something that we love and hate in equal measure, and flip on a hairpin at the slightest notice. If done well, someone going above and beyond their job role to help you out and deal with your grievances quickly can brighten your mood and give you renewed belief in humanity.

Done wrong, and it’s a right nightmare.

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We have a local supermarket that is much cheaper than the others, and for this reason, they do things a little differently. At the till point, you are sped through like you are part of a competitive trolley dash, and the staff are rude to the point of you actually inconveniencing their lives.

The funniest was the other day when I was in there buying a few bits, and the guy on the till, who sported a “duty manager” badge, spent the whole time distractedly talking on the phone. He was so distracted that once he had put my items through, he forgot to ask me to pay, and started ringing in all the groceries from the man behind. I can be charitable, but there is no way I’m paying for a complete stranger’s weekly shop.

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could get customer service for your life? Some of the most difficult things that we experience in life are often made better on the advice of others, os wouldn’t it be great if you had a dedicated line you could call up to put you back on the straight and narrow, and help you stay motivated / achieve your dreams?

Just imagine. Your New Year’s resolution is to cut out something, and make your diet far healthier. You know what you should be doing in theory, but wouldn’t it be perfect if you could jump on Skype and talk through with someone to give you hints and tips that you hadn’t thought of? Or maybe your dream is to travel the world. If you could drop an email to someone with your hopes and dreams, and them come back to you with realistic ways to achieve your goals, wouldn’t your life be so much easier?

Just a thought.

What would you get life customer service help with?

Biscuiteers Blogger Meet Up, Notting Hill

17 Dec

When Lauren from Aspiring Kennedy emailed me about a blogger meet up, I was dubious. I find these things really awkward, talking to people I don’t know and trying to find a common ground, when essentially we have all been grouped together over such an ambiguous love, words.

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Biscuiteers, physical location in London’s Notting Hill

But when she mentioned biscuits, I was there. I mean really Lauren, you should just lead with that!

I’m so glad I went. What I experienced was the cutest little shop, Biscuiteers, and a collection of really lovely girls all icing biccies to their heart’s content, and getting covered in sugar syrup in the process.

There were pre-iced ones so we didn’t feel like total idiots, and we iced bauble and Christmas tree shapes, trying desperately to make them look even a little like the ones the lovely ladies who work there had crafted. Not so lucky in my case, but I had fun all the same!

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DIY Gingerbread house. SHUT. UP

The shop is darling. They sell all sorts of iced cookies, from day of the dead masks, to Superman, to an entire nativity crafted out of buttery biscuitness. Sadly, my godforsaken iPhone has died since the event so I am having to borrow photos from the other girls there to give you a visual idea, but if you ever find yourself in Notting Hill, go forth and find them. You will be plunged into a biscuity heaven!

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Biscuitty montage courtesy of ruthlgarner.com, who is a whizz with a camera!

I also met some lovely girls there, including Ruth from The Planned Adventure, Becca from Urban Flipflops and Amber from Amber Nouveau not to mention the lovely-as-ever Lauren who writes over at Aspiring Kennedy, and orchestrated the whole event. Check them out, all well worth a read.

Happy Holidays!

Ice, Ice, Baby

10 Dec

I feel like I have been living in the capital long enough now to not consider myself a tourist. I tut when people come off the tube and stop on the platform right in front of me, and I have a serious sense of urgency when someone is standing on the wrong side of the escalator. It’s totally ridiculous and unquantified, but just like black bogeys, London changes a person.

Every now and then however, I like to jump on the tourist bandwagon, grab my camera, and go loco. Especially this time of year when the twinkly lights sparkle above the streets and the smell of winter is in the air. I develop a sense of camaraderie unseen through the rest of the year, and happily bump shoulder to shoulder with the ten million other people in Covent Garden wanting to experience the Christmas cheer.

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Me hooded up and defended against the ice

The IceBar recently generated that kind of touristy wonder for me. I have heard people talking about it and visiting, but I have never made the time to go for a visit myself. After the skiing incident, I don’t particularly like the cold, but with London coming over all Christmassy I felt I should join in.

And what better way to do something you want to do than by buying it for someone else? (I joke, the boy did want to go, but I also had a vested interest myself :) ) So I booked tickets.

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Team Ice Bar

Below Zero, London is fun, I’m not going to lie. The experience of queuing to get hooded up in a midnight blue hood with fur round the edge and mittens makes you very excited about the prospect, although the space is a bit small for the amount of people they try to cram in. The entire bar is made of ice, including the glass you get your cocktail in, which is included in the price. As I am super clumsy I had to be very careful about frisbee-ing my ice glass off the bar and losing my drink (I paid for that, goddamnit!) but on the whole its a one-off experience which would be great if you had visitors in town.

Have you been to an IceBar?

Halloweeny Round – Up

1 Nov

I love Halloween. The fake blood and the sense of camaraderie makes me happy, and this year was no different. The girls and I planned a small gathering of friends and booked a night at the London Cocktail Club – one of my favourite bars in town, who were polled as having a Halloween Spooktacular with themed cocktails and bar staff that go bump in the night. Perfect.

We assembled with a plethora of outfits; I went as Dead Riding Hood, the boy as Dracula, and various other outfits including the entire line up for KISS. We were excited.

Turns out, London doesn’t really do fancy dress. We walked into the bar to a sea of men in suits and women in jeans, and stole the show by waltzing to our reserved area (one step ahead, London crowds) and boogieing the night away to classics such as The Monster Mash.

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The (not so) Wicked With of the West

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Dead Riding Hood and Dracula

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KISS!

How was your Halloween?

Pull On A Cracker! (+Competition!!)

29 Oct

There was a time in my life where I pretended I hated Christmas. The lights, the weather, the snow, the carols – I hated every minute of it. But that was borne out of being a) a stroppy teenager with far too many angsty hormones and a penchant for black, and b) being the product of a broken home (cue tragic violin music and teary wails) and Christmas being more like a military operation rather than an enjoyable eatathon and sort of birthday celebration, depending on how you look at it.

I now look at it this way. IF (and I say that to keep the happiness of all of you) Jesus was a real person, I respect his birthday attitude. I would like a birthday eve, birthday and birthday recovery day, so Jesus, I salute you.

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I also love the magic of the season. I’ve mentioned before so many times that the look on the little ones faces when they think Father Christmas is coming absolutely makes it for me, and they bear no thought to the fact that if one fat man could make it round the world delivering presents in one night then it would call into question the whole air travel issue, and also a real security problem for police forces up and down the country. Not to mention the fact that A&E would have to be on high alert come Christmas Eve, in case a family left the fire on.

As I, and the girls, get older, I love Christmas more and more. This weekend I bought bath flutes for Poppy as one of her presents (which I am really tempted to try out, you know, JUST TO SEE IF THEY WORK) and I attended a Pre Christmas launch event with George at ASDA, packed full of a selection of THE most fun Christmas jumpers.

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I obviously bought some.

The range that they are offering is fantastic, with reindeer, and Christmas puds and Santas a go-go. I bought some delightful reindeer and snowman jumpers for the little ones, and seeing as the boy and I plan to have a terrible Christmas jumper competition, I bought his too. The rules are; you are to pick the most offensive and embarrassing Christmas jumper for the other, and these are to be exchanged on the first of December. Points will be gained for:

  • Best choice of horribly tacky jumper (for the buyer)
  • Points if you are able to wear that jumper in public (points to the receiver)

We will also have to wear aforementioned Christmas jumpers on our Christmas day.

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But back to the preview event. It was to showcase their selection of novelty jumpers, and I was pretty amazed by the range. The ladies jumpers are soft and really well made for their price point, and I also fell for a load of the men’s ones, as they are decidedly unisex, and a snip at £12 – £18. It made me think twice about supermarket clothes ranges, as the George range is really gorgeous, and it always helps when the novelty ranges are affordable. No one wants to spend £50 to dress up as a Christmas pudding for the day, do they?

And here’s a tip – they ship to more than just the UK. Snap them up while the mince pies are still hot!

And I’m offering the chance for one of you lucky people to win one of their range – all you need to do is go onto the George Novelty Jumpers section (click here), choose a jumper and let me know why you love a Christmas cracker! If you tweet this post (mentioning @lillyheart999 and @georgeatasda), you will get an additional entry, and I will post to anywhere in the world (no one likes to be excluded!)  I’ll announce the winner on the 16th of November so make sure you enter!

“Close Your Eyes And Clone Yourself, Make Your Heart An Army”

22 Oct

This is a story about a man and a girl, from different sides of the world, a decade separating them in birth, and three and a half thousand miles. Never the twos paths did collide, until her 22nd birthday, when a friend handed her a carefully wrapped box. When she opened it there were three CDs inside, of a man she had never heard of, and she was assured that if she listened to all three of the CDs in their entirety, something fantastic would happen.

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That girl was me, and as you know, I don’t like change. I liked all my old music, so why would I spend a chunk of my night listening to (yet another) guy who thinks he is good at the guitar, and giving it a go? I also am completely stubborn, so the idea of introducing a new CD that I hadn’t chosen myself was an alien one. I’ll have to admit, it was a brave present choice for a girl with a stubborn streak a mile wide.

I lay on my bed, with the light off, and I listened. I followed the album order and playlist, and duly switched CDs when they came to an end. All the while I was sitting patiently, something was happening. My friend had been right.

I fell in love with a sound, a voice and a soul, and now John Mayer would be my desert island disc. I’m pretty sure that if I was stranded on an island, I could get through life if I had his albums stored safely somewhere, ready to call upon when I wanted to feel happy, or sad, or calm, or to relax.

This weekend, our paths finally crossed and I got to see what all the fuss was about for myself, when I went to see him live. I had missed out on the last time he visited London as I had an early flight to catch the next morning, but this time I was lightning quick when it came to booking tickets, and had almost forgotten, until I saw the box in my diary (I’m a pen and paper kinda girl) to warn me of my plans for the following weekend. I have never really appreciated live music, failing to understand why people enjoy it so much, but suddenly I got it. My sister laughed at me as I sat forward, perched on the end of my seat in sheer excitement, and stomped and sang through all my favourites. I was even captivated through the songs I didn’t know, listening to the sound of the guitar and feeling like I finally got it.

You know what? I don’t care if he isn’t your taste. We were all created differently for a reason, but we all share one thing. A passion for something, or someone. Everyone has a song; a band or a classical piece that transports them somewhere, and for me John Mayer ticks that box. I loved every minute of it, and when I got home I was too wired to sleep, singing in the shower and planning my next time to see him. I know people judge him on his lifestyle rather than the music he makes, but I have no interest in that at all. As long as I can sing along, it makes me happy!

What band or song gives you this feeling? Share your passions!

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