Category Archives: American in England

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

This post is two days late.  I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me.

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I’ve been rising at 7:07 lately.  A strangely specific time, perhaps, but I like setting my alarm for odd numbers rather than round ones.  It increases the urgency of waking up for me.

The mornings are dark now and I like sitting in bed with my laptop, a mug of hot coffee, and my twinkle lights whilst the room grows light around me.  I’m still a long way off of being a ‘morning person’ but I’m getting there and I like that.

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The To-Read list grows daily, but tip-top right now is Tree of Codes by Jonathan Safran Foer, which I picked up in Boston and have yet to delve into (it’s a little daunting, right?), and the beautiful book A Sky Full of Kindness by Rob Ryan which my dear friend Caro (remember Caro?) gifted me on my birthday. Helena Bonham Carter describes it as “A bedtime story for every age” and that’s an endorsement I can certainly get behind!

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I decided the night before to work from home in the morning and then take the afternoon off to meet a long-lost friend in London for lunch. Every single time I’ve gone to London in the last two months, it’s rained. I’m starting to think I’m cursed, you guys…

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But I’m tough. I can live without sunshine.

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Surprise surprise!, I ended up stopping in the office to work on a project for an hour before jetting off to the station. Here’s the rainy day view of my office neighbours. Hi, guys!

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And here’s me galloping to the train. Hi!

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And here are some pigeons. Hiya, pigeons!

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One of the things I miss most about America is Mexican food.  “We have Mexican food!” my British friends say as they pour cheese sauce over Cool Ranch Doritos, “We love nachos here!” No bueno.

Wahaca is one of the very few and far between  places in the UK where my Mexican-tooth is satisfied.  It’s been so long since I ate authentic(ish) Mexican food that I can’t really 100% tell you if it’s for-real-good or just okay-good, but I’d like to say that it’s pretty damn good. Plus they make delicious margaritas.  My friend, who’s a food snob in the best way, seemed to enjoy it so I think I can definitely recommend you visit one of their locations should you journey to the Big Smoke. Plus the guacamole at Wahaca isn’t puréed, giving it a banner of gold stars in my book! I mean, WTF is with the puréed guac in this country? It’s an outrage!

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After our late lunch, we wandered the streets of Covent Garden.  I wanted to buy an umbrella to fit in The Bag as well as a few surprise gifts for David at Muji, so we window-shopped our way over.

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Though I’d been planning all day (and preparing myself mentally) to take a commuter train home, I chickened out last minute and ran for the 5:01 to Tunbridge Wells.  I knew David would be on that train and felt an almost frantic need to be near him, which is strange as I’m usually the last one to leave the party, even if the party is just two people walking through Covent Garden and catching each other up on the last three years of their lives.

Once on the train, I found David and sat beside him. Turns out the two of us spontaneously bought each other little presents. This book, Creative Confidence, is what he got me.  It’s written by two brothers and the first page alone made me get a little teary. I’m looking forward to properly tucking into it!

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As we bolted under the dark railway bridge right before reaching Tunbridge Wells Station, David and I discussed taking a taxi home from the station. I think it’s silly to take a taxi as it only takes nine minutes to walk, but David wasn’t keen on walking and as we both had lots to carry, I gave in and accepted the ride.

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Back at home, David prepared to go for a swim with his son, Ben.  They were starting on a new fitness kick together, which I was supporting with great enthusiasm.  I sipped tea whilst waving him out the door.

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But then my tea was kind of boring and I felt frantic again.  Felt like I was unraveling, much like this twine, and that I had to do something.  I was supposed to go to see my Tunbridge Wells Writer friends, but last minute decided not to. Instead, I texted Liam asking if he wanted to meet for a last-minute drink at our local pub and, after he replied in the affirmative, I walked out the door.

This is when I break my rules and start using my iPhone to take photos…

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I got a call from Ben around 8:20 saying that David wasn’t feeling well and asking me to come home.  I’m going to be totally honest with you and admit to finishing my entire glass of wine and some most of my cheese plate before entertaining the idea of “rushing” home to check on my man. As someone who felt awful and even puked on the first big (still quite small) runs they went on, I assumed David simply felt unwell because his body wasn’t used to exerting itselfAfter almost twenty minutes had elapsed (I’m the worst), I rolled my eyes, corked the bottle of wine I was sharing with Liam, and headed home.

Much to my dismay, David was legitimately very ill.  He looked pale and complained of a strange sensation in his chest.  Not a pain, per se, but an uncomfortable tightness that braced his chest and brought tension through to his throat.  Ben and I insisted we call the paramedics.  They came just before 9:00.

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Before I continue, I’d just like to note that every experience I’ve had with the NHS since moving to this country has been terrific.  Sure, I’ve heard the horror stories, but I’ve never experienced anything but genuine, good-hearted health care professionals giving me a good service.  I’ve never felt the care here is any worse– or better– than it is in the States.  The only difference, which is pretty radical, is that anyone can get health care here. That’s really powerful, I think. People aren’t ashamed or scared to go to the doctor here. They go because they can, they go because they need to.  It’s just really healthy. >Observation over.<

After running a few tests in our bedroom, the paramedics told us that we’d be taking a trip to the hospital. I didn’t think too much of it until they asked us to pack a bag for David to spend the night. With his bag in tow, we relocated to the back of the ambulance to run more tests.  For some reason, I couldn’t shake the feeling that all of us were just playing pretend.  The paramedics asked us questions about what did for a living and we talked a little about Breaking Bad.  We compared smartphone models whilst they injected David with drugs. It was all very strange but very normal, too.

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But when we got to the hospital, things started to get real.  A nurse pulled the curtains around David’s stretcher and asked him to strip down before escorting me out of the room. They told me they were running more tests and would collect me when they were finished.

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In the meantime, David’s sons, Tom and Ben, joined me.  We were all very thankful for our iPhones in that period of waiting. And I was really thankful they were both there, too. Waiting is so much nicer when you have company. (You, dear reader, should be thankful that I made these photos black and white because the colours in the hospital are OMG awful.  I can’t even describe the colour of these chairs without wanting to vomit. For real. And that clock? Atrocious!)

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Around 12:30, a doctor came to tell us that David was ready to see us. I can’t remember who told us that David had suffered a heart attack, but someone said it and I didn’t believe them. No, that was not a heart attack, I remember thinking.  Heart attacks mean you fall on the floor and are short of breath and feel like you’re being stabbed. I’ve seen movies, I know what a heart attack looks like!  We walked into the cardiac unit and found David on a bed with a naked chest and monitoring devices everywhere.  He was high on morphine and in good spirits but also, starving. A nurse found him a piece of coffee cake (coffee cake?!) and I embarked on a mission to find something more substantial.

The first vending machine I found on my hunt was filled with chocolates and BBQ and steak-flavoured chips. No. I journeyed on to find a vending machine full of frozen sandwiches that could be heated in a designated microwave. I didn’t have enough change to buy the Mediterranean Vegetable Panini so I caved and got him the knock-off egg and sausage mcmuffin.  The only thing I’ve found truly appalling about the hospital (because let’s be real, most hospitals lack aesthetic appeal) is the contents of their vending machines. That food is certainly not suitable for sick people! Heck, I don’t even think that food is suitable for healthy people. So yes, I fed my husband a goddamn sausage & egg muffin sandwich hours after he had a heart attack. I’m not proud of it, people, but my hands were tied.  :(

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The ambulance ride to the hospital didn’t seem to take long but the drive home took ages.  Who knew Ashford was so far away?! Certainly not I.

One thing I’ve realised  in the past few days and is now of the utmost importance in my mind is that I need to learn to drive in the UK. I cannot for one moment handle being reliant on others in moments of great need. My step-sons have been amazingly accommodating and gracious as they take me back and forth to the hospital these days, and I’m thankful for the lifts, but I am so over being a damsel in immobile distress.  I must learn. I will learn.

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Finally, home. Alone. I slept on David’s side of the bed that night, though slept might not be the right way to describe my repose.

Tuesday. You were a beast!

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After visiting David in the hospital on Wednesday, Ben said, “This has been the longest 48 hours.” I agreed. Then it occurred to me that it hadn’t even been 24 hours yet. It’s been a long and challenging week and we’re all tired.

That being said, we’re all okay, too.  We were scared at first, obviously, but David’s doing great and will be released from the hospital later this afternoon. We’re counting our many blessings every chance we get and are so incredibly thankful for our family and friends who have supported us through this– from the uncertain OMG?! phase to the Do you mind if I just ask for a hug and then go home and take a nap? phase, which I’m still in, to be honest. Hugs are the best. They get you through a  lot.

As I write this, David and I are both looking forward to many happy and healthy years ahead. My goal of being more like Lucy Liu and less like Drunk Kate just became a lot more real and we’re excitedly planning a more balanced lifestyle. Who knows, this little hiccup could be the greatest thing that has ever happened to us!  Our minds are firmly planted on the bright side.

Onward and upward! And thank you thank you thank you for reading, my dears. Honestly, it means the world to me. To us.  xox

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

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Operation Wake Up Early has been relatively successful. I woke up just after 7:00 yesterday and did some writing and planning whilst Le Chat slept on my feet, keeping them toasty warm.  With David gone this week, I’m extra thankful for my kitty cuddles.

(Sorry, I just have to add that a part of me dies every time I write “kitty cuddles” but I can’t stop because I love them so much and oh my gosh is this what being a mom is like kinda?!)

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For my birthday last week, I was gifted a film camera (!!) and film to use with it (!!!).  Film is precious. Much like Charlie’s bar of Willy Wonka birthday chocolate, I know it’s something that must be used in order to be enjoyed, but I feel a great burden to not waste it or be frivolous with it. As a defect of my personality, I run the risk of keeping this film forever for fear of wasting it on a silly subject only to find it one day expired, so I was thinking some friendly reinforcement would help me get out and start using my new camera.

My idea is this: Film Lover Photo Walks in Tunbridge Wells! If you love shooting film and like walking, let me know and let’s arrange a walk with some like-minded friends! And maybe you can give me some film photography pointers, too…?

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You Guys, meet The Bag. The Bag, meet You Guys.  The Bag is my super perfect, beautiful, always-there-for-me friend.  And You Guys are my totally fun friends who constantly make me smile.  I think the two of you will really like each other!  Talk amongst yourselves whist I go top-up my drink… Bisous!

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Seriouse Face Time: my friends are way too good to me and I’m so thankful for their (and your!) kindness and support. My office-mate, Martin, who has to put up with me all. day. long. got me a blackboard mug for my birthday. Every morning (when I’m in the office) I’m going to write or draw something on it and either Instagram or tweet a picture with the hashtag #mymorningmugshot. Make that a latte with an extra shot of creativity, I guess!

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Obsessed with autumn. Obviously.

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I hate throwing styrofoam away but I like making friends out of it! Meet Jim. He just ate a pomegranate.

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Obsessed with autumn, take II.

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This table sits there all day and dares me to eat my lunch on its matte black surface.  But I don’t. Instead, I eat my lunch hunched over my keyboard like all the other civilized people…

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Pretty sunsets these days make me want to be like, so I guess my work here is done… but then I look at the clock and realise it’s only 4:00 and I cry a little inside. #WinterIsComing

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I didn’t explicitly mention it last week on my Birthday Resolutions edition of TWM, but I have big plans for my business this year.  The first step?  Hiring myself to re-inspire my outpouring of unique and useful engaging content. The number one challenge my clients have is not knowing how to talk about their own awesome work, so I’ve decided to lead by example and take on the task of being more open about my own awesome work.  Yesterday, I published my first business-related post in a long time.  I’ll be honest, it was exciting but also a little bit scary.  Take a look!

>Pitch Time< Blog posts! Tweets! Newsletters! + and all the other fun ways you have of communicating with your people! What do they have in common? They all need interesting and engaging targeted content. If you’re someone who struggles with knowing what to say and how to say it, I’m here to help. And right now, I’m offering complimentary 30-minute Skype consultations to anyone who’s interested in digitally expanding their outreach. Interested? Drop me a line at kate(at)ladykatherinesims.com.  >Pitch over<

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Washing dishes with my rings off. Living like a single lady for ten minutes. Oooh, la-la!

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You know when you wash dishes and tidy the kitchen so you can cook dinner and then by the time you finish you’re too lazy to cook so you go to La Fiamma instead?  That’s exactly what happened last night.

Right now, the restaurant is completely decked out for Halloween, which is adorable. My stomach also thought the cheesy garlic bread and pizza were adorable, too.  So much so, in fact, that when I had finished, my stomach sent my brain a message that read: “Yumyumyum. I love it here so much that when I die, I hope I wake up to find that La Fiamma is heaven!”  Sooo cute, right?!

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After a delicious dinner it was time to go to a very special Fright Night meeting for the Tunbridge Wells Writers. We were running a tiny bit late (I was carrying a pizza baby, remember?) so I snapped this photo as we walked past Trinity Theatre. Spooky, no?

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Oh, the writers!  They are a lovely group.  We crowded around a candle-laden table in a function room at The Black Pig and read bone-chilling stories that were written by our very own talented members. In this particular photo, we have the ever-wonderful Jess reading her piece.  Her presentation skills are spooktacular (sorry, I had to) and her story was creepy in all the right ways!

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My fellow North American in the group carved this pumpkin for us. Wasn’t that sweet of her?  You betcha it was!

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After listening to something like 15 stories, I couldn’t help but feel that something wicked this way was really truly coming and I was already anticipating the nightmares.  In fact, I was almost to the point where I would’ve sold my soul to a witch if it meant that David would magically be whisked back to England to sleep by my side so I guess you could say I had a case of the creepy crawlies real bad.  I mean, take this picture, for instance– can you see that tiny ghost?!

(The frightfully fantastic story that I couldn’t get out of my head last night was by Simon Jon Cox and you can read it here: Atoc. But be warned, it’s not for the faint of heart!)

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But David was not magically in bed when I came home last night.  But do you know who was?  Le Chat! And with her nestled beside me, I drifted into a surprisingly lovely slumber.

As always, my dear sweet reader, thank you for sharing my Tuesday with me. xx

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Yesterday was my birthday eve.  I tend to get nostalgic around the time of my birthday and wind up thinking a lot about where I am personally, emotionally, and professionally.  As I’ve always believed that the beginning of the calendar year– which is essentially just one cold, dark hangover– is a terrible time to make resolutions, I instead make resolutions on my birthday.  Today, as I share my Tuesday photos, I’ll also share some of the things I’d like to work on in my 26th year of life.  (Spoiler Alert: it basically boils down to the fact that I just want to be more like Lucy Liu and less like Drunk Kate.) Enjoy!

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First and foremost, I’m going to really try to be a morning person this next year even though doing so basically goes against my nature. You see, I like to think that I’m far more energetic and creative in the evenings but really, drinking wine on my sofa and reading Gawker until two in the morning does not count as being energetic or creative no matter how ferociously I’m opening tabs and clicking through pages.  Ergo, I have come to the conclusion that I could use my time much better by waking early, starting work earlier, and exerting my energy whilst the sun is still out.

When I was young, I read somewhere (probably the back of a Wheaties box) that Michael Jordan always woke up when his alarm went off.  Even at the age of ten (okay, fifteen…?) I was able to recognise that as the super-human power it so clearly is. So, to take a tip from Mr. Jordan, I’m incrementally setting my alarm earlier and earlier and plan on settling on a 6:45 AM wake-up time here in the next few months.  Please pray for David as this transition from night-owl to morning person will definitely be a tough one for him.
#DontTalkToMeUntilIveHadMyCoffee

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David has brought it to my attention numerous times in the last year that I’m kind of a slob. The fact that he and I essentially live like students and don’t have real furniture (as I touched on last week) doesn’t help, of course. But this year, I am going to get organised. And yes, I’m going to stop leaving my clothes at the foot of the bed. Okay, David?!

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Stop and smell the flowers! Stop and crunch the leaves! Stop and take a photo of the gorgeousness all around you! When I started Tuesday With Moi I was going through a difficult time. I had just moved to England and was finding it really challenging to figure out what I wanted to do and how I wanted to do it. I had lost my naturally optimistic edge and found myself getting really negative about my environment and life, so I started TWM to focus on the good.  Once an hour, on the hour, I would focus my lens on something beautiful around me and in doing so, I hoped to start mentally focusing on the beautiful, the good, and the inspiring as well.

Happily, my ability to look on the bright side was restored and now, after over a year of shooting TWM, I want to focus my eye and my mind on another challenge, living in the moment. More often than not, my mind is 15 steps ahead of my body. I know exactly where I want to be in five years but have no idea where I’ll be tomorrow.  I want to pace myself a little better in that regard and start paying more attention to the here and now instead of the long-haul.  This year, I don’t want to wake up on Monday mornings wondering where my weekends went– instead, I want to maximise my productivity and enjoyment and focus more on doing awesome, fun, and good things now. RIGHT NOW.

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You know what else I’d like?  I’d like to spend more time in nature.  I’d like to be able to inhale and pinpoint the different scents of each season.  Lately, as I wander down the sidewalk, I’ve been trying to focus more on scent.  The evergreens are especially fragrant, as are the soggy acorns and wet leaves that sludge under my feet.

Did you ever see the movie French Kiss with Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline? In it, he asks her to smell bits from the different plants that grow in his family’s vineyard and he tells her what each scent is– mint, lavender, chili, whatever.  To be honest, I’m a little fuzzy on the specifics as it’s been over ten years since I saw the film, but what winds up happening is he then gives her a glass of his family’s wine and she can then pinpoint the scents in the flavour.  Not only is that 1) the most romantic thing ever! it’s also 2) a good thing to know and appreciate in life.  I’d like to know more about how the different elements in the fields around me influence the makeup of our lives and the food I enjoy.  I want to eat a more seasonal diet and spend more time in nature, silent and observant.

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And I’d also like to make more art.

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AND I’d like to eat my lunches (real lunches, not just a few handfuls of nuts) somewhere other than my desk.

(Please note that I missed my 13:00 picture because I was in a meeting and didn’t feel it was appropriate to ask my client if I could pause going through his web copy with him so I could snap a quick photo. I hope you understand.)

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Whilst I make goals for my birthday every year, I’m not always great at keeping them.  This is because I don’t monitor my goals constructively.  This year, I’m changing that.

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Lately, David and I have been thinking a lot about moving… Again! But this time, not quite so drastically.  In fact, we want to stay in our lovely little town, but ideally we’d like to live somewhere with a little more space. Open space, that is.  And big windows, too! I want light– lots of light!– and I want a dog, which our current building’s association doesn’t allow. So yes, moving.  Exciting!

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Now that I’m older and wiser I should probably start being a little more well-behaved at work so Martin doesn’t glare at me from behind his monitor anymore… Let’s put well-behaved on the list then, too.

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Here’s something we all need to work on (providing we’re in a relationship) and that’s being a better partner.  This birthday card came in the mail yesterday and it made me chuckle because I didn’t change my last name when I got married.  Kate Cox. Ha– that is so not me!  No, no, I will always and forever be Kate Sims as I am very fond of my surname and think I’d have an identity crisis if I changed it.  That being said, I do love being married to Mr. Cox and really should be better at doing all those wonderful things that married ladies do. You know, like vacuuming, mending socks, and keeping thoughts about how useless he is when he forgets to turn on the towel warmer! to myself. Little things, you know…

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I hate it when the sun sets early and walking through town at 8:00 PM feels like walking through town at 11:30 PM.  It’s just so depressing and sometimes a little eerie, too.  Last night, as I was walking to meet with my writer friends, I stopped to take this picture and a drunk young(ish) man came up close to me and asked me if I was okay. “I’m fine, thanks,” I said rather curtly as I lifted my camera to my eye and focused the lens.

“I was just trying to look out for you,” the man said in an aggressive tone that seemed to indicate that I, an able-bodied young woman alone on the street in the darkness and holding an expensive camera, should have fawned on him for showing attention to my well-being. And it was in that moment that I thought– which happens now and again– along the lines of if this man came at me could I outrun him/kick his ass?  The answer, in this case, was probably yes as he was small and appeared quite intoxicated, but there are some times when I stand next to a man (David, my Giant Husband, for instance) and look at how tiny my wrists, hands, legs, whatever are compared to theirs and think of how little effort a person of that size would need to really hurt me.

Whoa, don’t get the wrong idea here– I’m not living in fear or thinking every man I pass in the night is going to hurt me– I’m just trying to say that I want to be prepared should it ever happen.  This is one of the many reasons I’ve started running.  I want to be able to run far and run fast.  I want to be able to know the difference between running an eight minute mile and a five minute mile and then be able to push my body to different speeds as if it were a machine. I want to able to run five miles without stopping by the end of the year and even though I’m not even halfway there yet, I think I’m going to make it.

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This one sucks, but I want to start to drink less.  Yes, folks, you heard it here first– I’m cutting back.  I, Lady Katherine, a wannabe cocktail connoisseur, am going to reel in the awesome sauce.  Not completely (Oh God, never would I ever), but a little bit because, let’s be honest, I don’t need to drink half a bottle of wine every time I want to veg out and watch some Project Runway.  #SadTruth #TrueTruth

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Hanging out with my Tunbridge Wells Writers friends yesterday and listening to their awesome projects and their passion for their writing made me realise that I need to actually start dedicating some time to creative writing.  What used to be Wine Time can now be Writing Time or Reading Time or general Creating Time.  Doesn’t that sound like a Fun Time?

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But the time I spend with friends, will always be a really special time.

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This is totally superficial, but I’ve decided that I want to start wearing mascara again this year.  I haven’t worn it for months because I’m lazy, but to be 100% honest, I think I look a little more alert with a swipe of mascara on my eyes so I’m going to start wearing it again.  What brands do you recommend, ladies?  I’d love suggestions for something that won’t wash off in the rain/snow/tears, please.

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And finally, I want to invest in nice things that will last for years.  Like my new bag!  I’ll tell you more about it soon. Promise!

And that, my friends, was the last day of me being 25.  Here’s to a whole new year together! xx

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

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David and I woke up one day this past weekend, looked at our dresser (and the surrounding room) and decided that we both kinda/sorter live like students. So, Operation Get Our House Sorted is officially underway! As I tried to coax myself out from under the duvet yesterday morning, I dreamed up ways to make our room more comfortable. Getting rid of this dresser and doubling the size of our closet is pretty high on the list.

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Autumn light and laptop keys. Yes, trusty Methuselah is still carrying on in her steady, occasionally rainbow-wheely way.  I keep threatening her, saying I’m going to get a MacbookAir soonsoonsoon! but she sees through my threats. She knows how much I love her.

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That being said, actual changes– not just those pertaining to my laptop– are on the horizon.  Like changing my socks, for instance!  And oh, what a fun change this will be!  Over the weekend, David surprised me with two pairs of socks by my favourite sock company, Hansel from Basel (which I also wrote about here).  Hansel From Basel is an awesome LA-based company and David found these pairs at the shop at Bluebird in Chelsea.  I’m in love.  Obviously.

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But I wasn’t quite ready to initiate a new pair of socks yesterday. Instead, I wore these tried and true silk beauties (also by Hansel From Basel) that are my absolute favourite.  They’re really cheerful, these polka-dots.

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I have lots of projects on at the moment and all of them have a box. This requires a lot of time thinking in the box and out of the box. Accepting the box. Being one with the box. Breaking down the box. You know…

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To be honest, I’ve been feeling a lot like my pen holder lately: jammed full. one of the biggest things I’m working on changing (which does not yet have a box) is restructuring my days so I can maximise my time, my space and my productivity. I need to be less jammed full and more fulfilled.

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I also want to maximise my time with David. Lately, he and I have been passing each other like ghosts in the night. He’s gone before I’m up and I’m sliding my key in the door just as he’s going to bed. When I chose these two rings as my wedding rings, I wanted them to symbolise two people working together but moving separately through life. The together bit of that needs a little focus these days. Marriage– it’s a balance. And it’s work*.

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This is a snippet of a personal project I’m working on. I’m still in the story-boarding phase but I like where it’s going. I only have a few more weeks to get it done (!!!), so I’m hoping to share it in early December. Get excited, people!

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This time of year is full of changes. Changing light. Changing leaves. Changing seasons.  Being born in October, it’s no wonder I’m addicted to change.

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Beautiful things from LA seems to be a mini trend in this post. This, my friends, is a gorgeous letter from my friend Natalie, who always has the best stationery and lives in– you guessed it!– LA. This was a very welcome piece of post to receive as I’ve been missing her like crazy lately. Love you, Natalie!

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After work, David and I left for the train station as we were off to have dinner in London with the ever-charming Peter of Artful Consulting.  It was nice to have some Together Time on the train. Modern romance, le sigh…

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And within the hour we were at London Bridge. Isn’t this flower shop the cutest? I don’t buy enough flowers– I should at that to my To-Change list.

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Upon our arrival, our gracious host offered us delicious hors d’oeuvres and wine.  But the best part? The conversation.

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You know those evenings where you talk with someone and it’s exactly the conversation that you needed to have in order to reinforce everything you’ve been thinking, obsessively mulling over and challenging yourself to commit to paper?

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Last night was one of those evenings. Everything from my obsession with kraft paper to my plan to fill my life with meaningful clients, collaborations and content was confirmed.

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You know, every time I go to London I fall a little bit in love and daydream of living there. Wouldn’t it be great to… I think as I walk past restaurants I want to try, shops I’d like to explore and galleries full of curiosities.  London is great– so great!

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But Tunbridge Wells is really great, too.  I’m not yet ready for a change that big.  But maybe one day, because wouldn’t it be nice to….

As always, dearest reader, thank you for letting me share my day with you.  And remember, if you would like to share a Tuesday With Vous, scan the details and get in touch! I’d love to have you.
xx

*Don’t worry, Mom, everything’s fine. Promise!

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

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The previous night was the Launch of Artists Unveiled. We had a terrific party at La Fiamma (culinary artists extraordinaire!) featuring the work of Chris Burke, Ed Liddle, Caro Spinette, Liam Rogers and Chooc Ly Tan.  This scroll featured charcoal and chalk portraits of partygoers by Chris Burke. You’ll see some in a moment… 10

When David bought an iPad a couple years ago I wasn’t super into it.  But then I downlaoded the Paper by 53 app and bought an Adonit Jot Pro stylus and now I love it. Our case is by Gräf & Lantz and I love that, too! 11

Sharpies taste the rainbow…. 12

At our launch party, Chris Burke sketched portraits of some of the attendees. This is his portrait of Liam. His head isn’t really that big IRL. Promise.
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However, this is exactly what Ed Liddle is going to look like when he’s a silver fox.  FOXY!14

The days lately have been grey. Autumn is here. It’s my favourite time of year! 15

At our launch, we had props with a camera set up for people to use to take their picture with.  Ed made this awesome paper crane.  I keep it on my desk now.  16

See you in Minnesota, November! (p.s. How talented are my friends who made their invites themselves?  They’re so creative! Check them out– Facet & Forge!) 17

Oh, yeah. So running is something that I do now.  I don’t hate it, but I’m not to the point of loving it yet, either.  I’ll probably write a post on running (jogging/walking/struggling) sometime soon because I know I would’ve found it useful as a beginner.  So look forward to that!  Or don’t. Whatever.  18

Riding in cars with boys.19

Liam and I stopped at Art Pull together last night.  This was my favourite piece.  It’s by Diana Poliak and is called the ‘Stalking Stork’.  I love how primitive it feels.  So textured and strong.  I love the vibe.  IT MOVES ME. 20

Back at home, I unrolled the scroll that was on one of the tables at the launch asking artists to ‘leave their mark’.  Here’s the mark of Will Charlesworth of Inquisitive Cows and Widow Burpy21

Speaking of Widow Burpy, this photo was taken as we were on our way to her house! As is tradition, we watched Breaking Bad with her and her husband, Justin (aka my Tech Shaman). 22

On this particular night, we were watching the series finale.  It did not disappoint.  In fact, it was the most perfect ending I ever could have imagined. SPOILER ALERT: Don’t do drugs. 
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Then we walked home.  This is the Eye Of Sauron which watches us always and forever as we sleep. And as we wake, too. The Eye Of Sauron is building condos.  Of course.  

And that, my friends, is Tuesday With Moi. Glamorous? Perhaps not. Fun? Absolutely!  If you want to share your Tuesday (which is great if you’re a freelancer! small business owner! person with a creative eye!), please get in touch. Find all the details here right here! and then email me and we’ll become BFF.  xox

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, September 24th, 2013

This is going to be short and sweet.
Edited to add: HAHAHA just kidding!

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I realised this week that my favourite jacket is (gulp) ten years old.  It’s just a cheap jacket that I got at a store in Brussels when I lived there as a teenager. And whilst it’s kind of sad that I still wear it all. the. time. I think it’s quite fabulous, too.

But lately, I’ve come to accept that maybe it’s time for an update/addition to my jacket collection, so I’m looking for a local seamstress to work with in making another jacket similar to this in a beautiful grey wool.  I have a few amendments I’d like to make to the design, too, so if you know a talented local seamstress who’d be up to the challenge, please let me know!

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Le Chat’s a creepin’.  Morning snuggle sesh, initiated!  (How crazy is that bushy tail, right?!)  10

The mornings this week have been wonderfully foggy and totally gorgeous. (Think the end of Pride & Prejudice where Keira Knightley wanders through the fog in her fab long-coat and Mr. Darcy gloomily walks toward her in his own long-coat.  FATE!)   11

So I adopted this Ladybug last week at work.  She (because they’re all ladies, right?) must’ve gotten too close to a light because one of her polka-dotted wings was burnt and shriveled, which made my heart break. I’ve been keeping an eye on her for the last couple days so when I found her dead on Tuesday morning my heart obviously broke again.  After this photo was taken, I let her fly one last time out the back window and into the graveyard below.  :(

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I’ve been working on a very exciting project recently and these are some of the words that we’re meditating on as we share the ethos of the company.  My elephant is really happy about it. So am I.

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Coming back from lunch it became very real to me that ohmygosh it’s autumn.  Sing it with me, It’s the MOST wonderful time of the year!!!!

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As much as I’m like, YAY YESTERDAY WAS SO FUN!, really, it was kind of frustrating.  Just one of those days where technology was against me and random details were hanging me up.  I kept eying the sharpest utensils on my desk and wanting to gouge them into my eyes.

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So. Because I was kinda like Ugh. about work I did something I’ve never done before and filled out one of those surveys that you’re every now and again prompted to fill out when you’re at the register of some conglomerate.  “Hi, I’m Brian! Welcome to Best Buy and oh! You’ve been randomly selected to fill out our survey! Just go to BestBuy.com and….” Whenever this happens I’m all like, yeaaaah, no.  BUT, Patrick at M&S was really nice and showed me the cute certificate he gets for having customers fill out surveys and brag about him, so I thought what. the. heck. and I did it.  I hope Patrick gets another certificate to carry in his wallet and to cherish forever and for always!

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Oh, hi.

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Some people have stress balls, I have stress penguins.  Sometimes I just shake the penguins really hard and make the water all frothy when I need to let off some stream.  I did that right after I took this picture, actually.

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And then I went home and lit some candles to reeeeeelaaaaaaaxxxx.  Mmmmmmmmmm.

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I used the last of our farm-fresh tomatoes in making this. They’re mind-blowingly delicious. I hope we can get our  hands on a few more before the season’s totally over.

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On the way to TWWriters!  HI AGAIN!

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My jacket & scarf on the table at The Black Pig. It’s an Indian summer and it’s too warm for such things!

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Talking, Part I.

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Talking, Part II.

After enjoying a wonderful evening with my writer friends, who I hadn’t seen in over a month!!!, I went home and caught up with Breaking Bad.  Obviously, BB was sooooo absorbing that I forgot to take a midnight photo.  Please forgive me.

xox

i suck at everything (or is this just my jet lag talking?)

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I’m still jet lagged, it’s 1:00 AM and I’m tired (but not that tired) and I didn’t do any of the things I wanted to get done this weekend.  I didn’t:

  • Go to the farm shop and buy lots of fresh produce + the amazing rhubarb jam that I love and am currently out of  :( 
  • Finish the invite for our Artists Unveiled Launch Party or do the other 45 things I must do for our little site / cause. (Liam, you’re the best for not sending me abusive emails about all this!)  
  • Find out whether or not the Tea Tree Oil I’m putting on my face is actually doing anything– and if it is, is it good?
  • Sketch a family portrait for my best friend who just had a baby!!!
  • Research new beds  (After staying in amazing king-sized beds in America, it has become all too clear that our DOUBLE-SIZED mattress is basically the cause for everything bad in our lives.  No joke, it’s the worst. I’m pretty sure 4 hours of sleep on a normal, good mattress = 9 hours of sleep on ours.  It’s so bad.)
  • Exercise  (hahaha! but seriously…)
  • Read Kinfolk, which I bought in the States and have been carrying with me, unopened, for the last week and a half
  • Written about the surreal melancholy I feel every time I go to The States and then come back.  I can only imagine it’s like having an affair in that I am so in love with both places but need them for different kinds of fulfilment.  It’s so confusing / heartbreaking / amazing / perfect.  I don’t know.  I JUST DON’T KNOW.
  • Get rid of my mustache which is growing like ivy all over my face, I swear.  :(

I’ve also been really bad at taking pictures lately.  In fact, I’ve been terrible at doing anything creative, meeting personal deadlines, and cleaning. Seeing as autumn has always been a time of reflection for me (something engrained from my school days and the dawning of a new academic year), I have a good day or two of re-evauluation and goal-setting ahead of me. And one of those goals will be to spend more time on this space. Because right now, this is awful.

BUT OH MY GOSH YOU GUYS, APPLE SEASON!!!!!

Okay, goodnight.

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

Oh, my!  It’s that time against,  isn’t it?

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Sometimes I wake up early.  Here I am anxiously waiting as the water boiled for my first cup of coffee.  Because Monday was a  bank holiday, the start to my week was a little off-kilter.  When my 7:00 AM alarm went off I thought, “Dear me. Tuesday? Camera time!”  Et voila.  8

Weekly plant inventory: My cilantro is growing beautifully, my basil (which is a store-bought transplant) is pulling through the shock of its new soil, but whatever I planted on the far left (mint, I think?) is being a very poor sport.  Such a poor sport, in fact, that I gave up and threw them away later in the day.  Also, my window need cleaning.  Filthy!
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I started reading Stoner on Monday and I’m just over halfway through.  David read it before me and recommended it, so I was skeptical of how good it would be.  It’s a perfectly mundane but totally captivating novel.  And very well written.  Suffice to say I’m loving it.  10

As per usual, I postponed my arrival to the office until I had a sufficient amount of caffein to ensure I wouldn’t snap at anyone.  Again, because this Tuesday felt especially like a Monday, I was really out of my element.  My to-do list weighed on me like a crushing burden and I maintained the dreamy lethargy of a long weekend all day long.  Not a particularly good combination, though the light on the floor in the office was quite pretty.  11

My colleague, Martin, has coat hangers at work but never hangs anything from them.  It got me thinking about all the strange things that we have at our desks but never use.  All the stuff in our lives that we have but never use.  Life does have a way of accumulating around us, doesn’t it.  12

Along with the accumulation of stuff, this lack of time has been a theme in my life lately, too.  Time!  There is never enough.  Never enough time to sit quietly, to get work done, to seek inspiration or find the time to exercise the body.  Time, it is scant.  It is precious.  It is evasive.  I would pay good money to have more.
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But luckily, there is always time for tea.  14

On Monday, I had the great opportunity to spend the day with a fantastic woman and artist who I knew in Boston and is right now visiting London. Together, we chatted about art and the act of making.  We walked through the city, shared a beautiful meal, and shared a bit of ourselves with each other, too.  Spending time with her was so inspirational and it reinforced, too, how I want to move forward with my career and the things I’m doing.  I want to focus on more creative endeavours as I move forward.  I would like to spend less time at a my keyboard.
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Three o’clock is wasp hour in the office.  I don’t mind wasps or bees, but this one was particularly loud as it buzzed through our space. I tried to shoo it out the window but it just wasn’t interested.  Poor thing.  16

Light coming through the opposite window.  The days are getting shorter.  In yet another way, time is running out.  17

On days when I’m tired or have a lot to accomplish, I find myself more and more often dressing to match my Minnetonka Moccasins.  It’s kind of sad, actually, as they don’t especially fit my out-of-house wardrobe, but they’re just so dang comfortable and sometimes I just can’t help wearing them to work (or elsewhere). Guess I’m just a Minnesotan girl deep down, after all… 18

You know those days where you just crave something warm and lovely?  That was yesterday for me so I made myself some miso noodle soup before settling in to complete some work on the sofa.  19

And whilst I got on with my work, David got on with his.  This is his business face.  #Sexytime.
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And then the clock struck eight and I realised I was late to the Tunbridge Wells Writers gathering. I passed this glorious lavender patch as I made my way into town and the world glowed blue around me.  Lovely! 21

My wonderful friend Sam (remember Sam from here & here?) is putting on a local film festival called the Electric Lantern Festival the first week of September.  I, unfortunately, will be in America for the duration of the festival, so please be sure to attend in my stead and then tell me all about it!  Or maybe even Skype me in for a few of the screenings…  That would be fun, right! 22

Speaking of Sam, for all the latest on the festival, follow ELF on Twitter.   There will literally be so. much. to. see.  Though I can’t promise all of it will be as great as Sam’s profile… 23

After much joyous laughter, I made my way home and to bed with high hopes of rising again early to complete this post in the soft morning light.  I’m sorry to say, dear reader, that my plan did not work out as I thought it would and I apologise for posting this so late.

Please forgive me.  xx

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

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I felt like being a little square yesterday and I think David’s shirt, hanging from the closet door, is what prompted my preference for squares.  So here you have it, the first square TWM. 9

I bought this rhubarb jam a few weeks ago at a farm shop and I kid you not, when it’s gone, I’m going to cry so many tears.  It is delicious.  When I stir it into greek yoghurt, I’m transported back to my kitchen in Brussels where I used to eat the best rhubarb yoghurt known to mankind.  We bought it from this little milk truck that came to our Sunday market and the yoghurt, white with rhubarb compote settled at the bottom, came in small glass jars that I’d wash out and bring back the following week when I bought more. It was magical.  Rhubarb jam.  I love thee.
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I’m growing herbs from seeds!  It’s so exciting to see them inch up higher and higher every day.  I waited for what felt like forever for them to breach the top of the soil, but now they’re growing beautifully and will soon turn into delicious additions to salads, pastas, omelettes and roasts.  Everything, really. Delicious in everything!  I think this pot is cilantro.  I think….11

I’m very particular about my pens.  For years, I’ve been using Pilot G-2 0.38 pens in black but I just can’t find them in that size here in the UK. (Before you say it, yes, I could probably just order them online but I think it’s a little obnoxious to order just one pack of pens online. Plus, ordering online totally takes the fun out of the hunt.  It’s too easy. Boring.) Anyway, Muji to the rescue!  I now have lots of skinny pens in colours (blue! light blue! red!) and one not-so-skinny pen in black (they didn’t have it in 0.38 at the time, sadtimes) and together, they make me very happy.  Hurrah! 12

I’ve noticed lately that it’s really important for me to take short breaks away from my computer a couple times a day.  You know, work solidly for 90 minutes, then take a 20 minute break to do something that doesn’t involve a screen.  One of my new distraction occupations is combing Le Chat.  I comb her for about 10 minutes a day, which she used to hate but has come to love.  No lie, every time I comb her, I collect a giant ball of hair like this one.  Not only is the Le Chat getting prettier, my carpets are also a lot less hairy, which is fantastic! Can you imagine having fur like this?! Crazy.
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Yes, I’m one of those weirdos who still buys CDs.  I’m like an old man that way.  Yesterday, I was having a grand time listening to Dave Brubeck.  It’s great getting-it-done music, actually.  Now that I think about it, I guess I’m like an old man in lots of ways…
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On my way to the office, I noticed that the construction site on my street now has a giant crane!  They’re building condos, I think.  Go figure. Better sell our flat before some identical new ones pop up! 15

This was weird: for my three o’clock photo I was standing at the window looking for something to take a picture of when a man who was walking down the drive toward our building stopped about forty feet away and stared directly at me.  After about three seconds of straight-on staring, I decided to move further into the office, but he just kept looking up and so I continued to inch further and further away from the window until finally, about a minute later, he turned around and walked back up to the main road, never to be seen again.  It was quite startling.  Whilst hiding from his gaze on the other end of the office, I took a picture of this chair.  Very interesting, I know… Moral of the story: people be crazy. 16

View from my post-it note covered desk.  17

A peek at a Recipe Book mock-up I did for Yophoto.  Also, they’re having a sale right now (20% off all 20x20cm Printed Cover Books with the code 20off20 at checkout) so be sure to pop over if you’re interested in making a photobook (or recipe book!).  Personally, I love the idea of a recipe book.  I love cooking (or, rather, I love when David cooks) and love taking pictures of our homemade food and I think making a bespoke cook book full of your favourite at-home recipes is a fantastic gift idea! (And now you all know what I’m getting you for Christmas, fa la la la la!)
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Since I’ve been brushing her, Le Chat has fallen even more in love with me.  I had to barricade myself in a wall of books and bags yesterday so she didn’t harass me as I was finishing up some work on the couch.  She really is so needy.  Le sigh… 19

After closing down my laptop for the day, I walked to Camden Road for a Private View at Art Pull20

Yesterday through to Saturday, August 31st, Disgusted! will be in the gallery.  Mike Flight is the gent behind the show, which is a collection of street art and graffiti.  I couldn’t find their facebook page, but if someone illuminates me with its identity, I’ll be sure to update it here.  21

Remember Ed and Liam?  In this picture, they’re my fun, disapproving friends (let’s call them Will & Grace) and I am their loud, inappropriate brunette friend (let’s just call me Karen).  We’re a great team! 22

And yes, SURPRISE, we went out for a post-art gallery drink to talk about some things we have in the works for Artists Unveiled (so much is happening). Thanks for the photo, Liam! 23

And then we stayed out way too late and had to get kicked out of the pub.  Story of my life & THE END.

Thanks for taking a moment to check out this week’s Tuesday.  Remember, if you’re someone who kinda/sorta/totally would like to contribute to Tuesday With Vous, you’re more than welcome to do so.  Just check out the details and send me an email (kate at ladykatherinesims.com).  I’d love to feature you and see what you get up to!

Artists Unveiled

I’ve been far away and distant.  Like a lover who you can tell is uninterested in the relationship but won’t admit they’re uninterested.  ”No,” they say, “I’m happy, I’m cool. I still love you… Wait, is that what you asked?”  You know how it goes.

Anyway, my friend Liammy other man, and I are starting an art festival, my other preoccupation. It’s called Artists Unveiled and it’s coming to Tunbridge Wells in June of next year.  I’m really excited.  We’re both really excited!  So if you’re an artist in the area, get in touch ’cause we’d love to talk to you!  Oh, and follow Artists Unveiled on Twitter, too.  Don’t ask questions, just do it.

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Speaking of artists, I have a really exciting Tuesday With Vous scheduled for tomorrow so be sure to come back and check that out.  <3