Category Archives: American in Tunbridge Wells

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sometimes I think about how much of our daily lives revolves around consumption. We consume food so we don’t die, we work so we can buy food, we spend our excess money on stuff that we want and occasionally need and as we cross things off our To Buy list, we add new items to it. We have to work harder because the list keeps growing and consuming is a tough cycle to break. Here’s a day in my consumerist life.

TWM_August19_2014_8As a child, I was quite taken with Willy Wonka’s meal gum. As I’ve grown, I’ve often daydreamed of its invention as it would make life much more productive. I’d love to replace time spent eating with time spent making, creating, and doing. As someone has yet to invent a chewing gum food alternative, I’m forced to settle for the second best: The NutriBullet. Every morning for the last few weeks, I throw a bunch of healthy stuff into the bullet and BOOM, fifteen seconds later it’s drink-able. 

Mundane drinking > mundane eating.

On this morning, my smoothie included oats, almond milk, spinach, strawberries, zucchini, and blueberries. Scoff if you must (a few weeks ago I would have), but it’s actually pretty tasty and, more importantly, totally convenient!

TWM_August19_2014_9My chilli plant has gotten big big big and is producing lots of chills, which is exciting. It’s miraculous to me what a little bit of water, some soil, and a seed can come together to create when sunlight’s involved.

TWM_August19_2014_10Lately, David and I have been dreaming about shipping container houses with ample garden spaces, hoards of plant babies, and lots of natural light. But we’ve also been thinking a lot about central city flats with small balconies and public parks. Problem is, we want both. Both the city pad and a country oasis. We want modern, stream-lined homes with energy efficient appliances and we want homes full of found objects from centuries past that are sustainably repurposed for our modern desires. We want to save the environment, but we want to get on planes and travel the world, see the sites, and take something back to prove we were there. We want both, we want it alland all this wanting is quite frankly ridiculous.

I often wonder, is all this wanting just a fixture of our entitled and over-stimulated generation or is it a by-product of being an ambitious person? I’d like to think it’s the latter, but more often than not I find myself thinking it’s the former. The wants of our generation are not sustainable. Or can we really have it all?  

I don’t think many people will be happy with the answer. 

TWM_August19_2014_11When I catch myself double-tapping my way through Instagram or clicking through the pages of my favourite blogs and getting lost in the fantasies of the lives of others, I often close my eyes and remind myself to work hard and stay humble. To chase my dreams, but keep simplicity and sustainability at the forefront. Our lives are great and we have much to be thankful for. Our worries are small and our opportunities are huge.

On the topic of huge opportunities, Liam and I are marching forward with Gradient and are constantly striving to push ourselves to grow and learn. This last Tuesday, we were especially focused on our business consumption– specifically relating to our finances and business plan. When it comes to both money and hardcore business planning, I’m the first to admit that I’m not especially great at all the nitty-gritty details, so it’s important that I find great resources to help me navigate those uncertain waters.

For business planning, I can’t recommend the book Business Model Generation enough. David initially bought it for me whilst we were living in Boston. At the time, the two of us were hatching a plan to start a social network-esque community engagement product and though our plan fizzled out, the communicative illustrations and real-talkin’ messages conveyed in the book stuck with me. Whilst Liam and I decide how to push forward with our own model, I’ve been referring to this book time and time again. And as our model changes and our business grows, I’ll likely keep thumbing through it.

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As much as I love and believe in planning, I also believe that a very important part of any business plan is to be adaptable. We never know when a client will fall through or a new acquaintance will ask us to deliver a big job. It’s important to be open to new opportunities and advancements, but to be able to think them through to fit the overall plan. That’s why I like planning with sticky-notes. Things feel in flux with sticky notes, but like building blocks, too. If something changes an a particular block doesn’t fit where it used to, there’s room to restructure and build in a slightly different way.

TWM_August19_2014_13Now, I realise that this post is beginning to sound very heavy-handed, but I promise we’re not like that. See, we like to keep things light-hearted and fun! We enjoy laughing, we like connecting with our clients and believe that no matter the price of the things we want in life, the most valuable things that we have are our relationships, our smiles, and our memories. Working together, Liam and I remind each other that the reason we’ve pioneered out on our own ins’t to Scrooge McDuck dive our way into piles of dollar bills, but because we care about what we do, we enjoy it, and we want to help others who care about what they do better communicate about their brand of awesome, too. We believe that when people care about the things they make and the people they work with– like, really care– the world is better for it. If caring were a currency, we’d be rich.

TWM_August19_2014_14But caring isn’t a currency and people like me who would like to trade on good-will, beautiful trinkets and thoughtful favours need to get wise and name a price. Then we need to deliver on our promises, send out invoices, and– more often than not– chase ‘em up. And for me, that’s the most difficult part of having a business. (Though I have to say, whenever I start to get queazy about money matters, I refer to Kathleen Shannon’s post about thinking of money as energy. So so good, though I’m admittedly not always great at it.)

TWM_August19_2014_15After our planning session wrapped for the day, we meandered our way through town. After all that capital-b-and-p Business Planninge, ducking into Chapel Place Gallery to scope out some art was a very welcome diversion. This piece, Touch and Go by Henrietta Dubrey, caught my eye. I like the tension between the two figures. They remind me of interlocked fingers or barges narrowly passing each other in a harbour.

TWM_August19_2014_16We stopped in The Pantiles, which was charmingly decorated with bunting, and enjoyed a coffee as we prepared for a meeting that was sure to be especially taxing to a brain like mine. Enter excellent resource #2: BSR Bespoke, Accountants Extraordinaire.

TWM_August19_2014_17After learning so much about setting up our business, tax exemptions, and how I can’t keep buying my clients coffee/lunch and thinking we’ll just claim it back, Liam and I walked out to a beautiful rainbow. Was this a sign of pots of gold on the horizon? I don’t know, but I was feeling pretty blessed either way.

TWM_August19_2014_18With our heads full of numbers, we were happily lured into Wetherspoons for a last minute beer with our friends Sam and Scott. Sometimes I think that maybe I consume too much on the alcohol funtimez-front, but then I walk into Wetherspoons where half the occupants are basically human beer casks and feel a little better about my personal intake. Like, it could seriously be so much worse. 

TWM_August19_2014_19You might remember Sam from his TWV posts here, here, and here. Scott, however, has not done a TWV but you may have seen his face here once or twice due to his involvement in the Tunbridge Wells Writers.  Scott, in addition to being a brilliant comedian, is also the man who develops most of my film. One day, I want to take some really horrific photos on a roll of film and drop it off like “Oh, hey! Here’s another roll of film full of boring pseudo-artistic tourist photos and stuff. Kbye!” and scare the crap out of him.

Buuuuut now I’ve just given that secret away so I probably won’t do it but would’t it be so funny if I did?! 

TWM_August19_2014_20After a few bottles of beer, Liam and I headed toward my house so we could do some last minute gift-wrapping. You see, Tuesday was Nick’s birthday and we were late to the scheduled celebration.

TWM_August19_2014_21Our wild celebration started with some prosecco and Thai take-out. Fancy.

TWM_August19_2014_22The evening continued with a Disney sing-along and a deep discussion about which Disney characters and moments shaped us. We were sitting in the dark for most of the evening, which was both strange but also helpful as it gave the nature of our conversation more drama. Birthdays should always be about drama, don’t you think? It makes them more memorable that way.

TWM_August19_2014_23Liam and Nick’s three cats were not invited to the party as they are basically furry, land-walking piranhas and eat e’rything they find, regardless of whether or not it’s edible. They could smell our prawn crackers and hear our laughter so they sat directly outside the door, trying to peer through it and find a way to break in.

Keeping cats is kind of funny when you think about it. Don’t get me wrong, thinking about the amount of love I have for Le Chat sometimes makes my heart feel like it’s going to explode, but on a less personal not it’s funny that we buy these animals, feed them, clean up after them (which can be really yucky, can I get an amen?) and get what in return? Indifference. Bad behaviour. Dirty paw prints across freshly cleaned floors/tables/beds/keyboards. But then they jump on our laps and purr and give us lovely little nuzzles and somehow that is worth it to us.

TWM_August19_2014_24And the love we feel for these little creates and for the other things that we nurture and grow– like my wonderful chilli plant– it consumes us.

Consumption, people.  It’s everywhere.

TUESDAY WITH MOI

Oh, hello again!  I have been so so shit at Tuesday With Moi-ing lately.  This is largely due to the fact that I’ve been rushing through my Indefinite Leave to Remain paperwork/bits and bobs so I can stay in the country.  This involved a week of cramming for my Life in the UK test (which I totally over-prepared for) and a week of freaking out about whether or not I had enough paperwork saved to prove that I lived in the country with David for the past two years (sadly, maintaining a weekly blog doesn’t count as proof).

Somehow, everything came together and yesterday I was granted Indefinite Leave to Remain here in the UK and I don’t need to touch another immigration form for a very long time!  (I think… I should maybe double-check that, though?) Fa-la-la, yay!

Back to TWM– last Tuesday was the day after I passed my Life in the UK test and subsequently the morning after my celebratory cocktail evening.  The stress of pulling all my paperwork together was about to set in, but I gave myself one day of sport, food, friends and wine before worrying too much about it. This is that day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

TWM.June24.14.9I bought David some badass new cookbooks a few weeks ago and it was the best decision of my life. Seriously, he’s been making something mighty fine every night for dinner and I’m the luckiest lady in the world because I haven’t had to lift a finger!

TWM.June24.14.10Tragedy of tragedies, I was all out of coffee so stopped for my morning brew at The Velo House.

TWM.June24.14.11Excellent news: I finally figured out what my jade plant needs: water! Maybe that’s obvious to others, but I thought this bad boy only needed, like, two drops of water a month or something. WRONG! It needs more water than that. Now that I’m simulating a mini rainstorm for it every week, it’s in a much better place!

TWM.June24.14.12These dresses in the Isabella Grace window make me want to get married all over again. Swooooooooooon!

TWM.June24.14.13For lunch, it was a quick trip back to The Velo House with my tech shaman, Justin.

TWM.June24.14.14After lunch, I went home to watch Federer’s Wimbledon match. Being your own boss is awesome like that.

TWM.June24.14.15Le Chat tried to steal my attention away from the tennis but she wasn’t very successful. (She was very cute, though.)

TWM.June24.14.16After the match, I went back to the office and watched my officemate build some new furniture.  He didn’t F around with that little IKEA wrench thing– he went for the power tools instead.

TWM.June24.14.17And the furniture was made in no time. Hello, new desk chair!

TWM.June24.14.18Aaaaand then it was back to The Velo House to watch England’s final World Cup match on their big screen.

TWM.June24.14.19Which was, I’m sorry to say, so boring, so we left to come home and watch something more entertaining instead: The Good Wife.

TWM.June24.14.20David made a beautiful pasta dinner inspired by one of the recipes in his new cookbook.

TWM.June24.14.21And we enjoyed some wine.

TWM.June24.14.22Whilst I worked on some introductory branding concepts for a client. Being your own boss sometimes means that you just don’t know when to turn off. (And yes, that’s totally a picture of Frodo. I like to sneak my LOTR obsession in wherever I can.)

TWM.June24.14.23And then, after so much good food and so many thoughts, David convinced me to fully switch off so we could go to bed.  THE END.

Tuesday With Moi

So I’m changing up the TWM format a little bit. I love photographing and writing Tuesday With Moi, but lately, life is getting a little crazy on the posting front.  Gradient is growing and so too are our Artists Unveiled obligations. My personal life has also imploded lately and I have a visa to sort, a brother who is– SURPRISE!– getting married in a few weeks, and a subsequent trip back to The States all planned in the next week. Unfortunately, my growing obligations and commitment to my work and my friends means that this wonderful passion project needs some restructuring, so from now on, I will be posting Tuesday With Moi and Tuesday With Vous posts on the weekend.  Hopefully this will be better for me, but also for my contributors.

So Tuesday is now on a Saturday/Sunday. Let’s do this!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Tuesday was a loony-tunes day, so most of these photos were taken a little after the hour. I’m a cheat sometimes. But this is my blog so I can do what I want.

TWM.June10.14.8

I arrived back from a trip to Switzerland (which you can see photos of here, here, and here) late the previous evening and was tired yet happy to be back home. David was in China at the same time, so Le Chat was extra excited to have me back!  Our morning began with Perk & Pearl coffee and lots of kitten snuggles. I’m always a little fuzzy until the coffee & kitten quota has been met.  <3

TWM.June10.14.9After a few days away, I felt like the flat needed a good airing.  So I lit a Temple Spa mini candle. So fresh and so clean clean!

TWM.June10.14.10Ten o’clock!  Time to get out of my Kimono and into my work clothes.

TWM.June10.14.11Summer is lovely.  When the sun is shining, I mean.  the lavender is beginning to mature and it’s about to get reaaaal good out there!

TWM.June10.14.12I bought some Swiss chocolates whilst visiting my friend in Rapperswil last week. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so I brought them to the office so my officemates could eat them. Aaaaand I ate one too. It was delicious!

TWM.June10.14.13On my way to lunch I stumbled upon some cherries. But they weren’t local so I didn’t buy them. I’m holding out for some good local cherries!

TWM.June10.14.14My real lunch was from Gusta.  It’s a local newbie and it is delicious.

TWM.June10.14.16Office. Blah blah blah blah blahhh.

TWM.June10.14.17And then I Skyped with my brother and he was like, “I’m getting married in Minnesota in three weeks! Please come for the wedding!” and I was like, “Oh my gosh, I just broke out into full-body hives and my visa is up in three weeks and I can’t really afford it and ohmygosssssh.”

But obviously I was like, “I am your sister and I will do everything I can to be there.”

Aaaaand fingers crossed it all works out. (Does anyone know anything about the process of applying for residency here in the UK?)

TWM.June10.14.18After my conversation with my brother, I was super stressed.  So I went home and went for a run. Because I’m one of those assholes now and I go for a run when I’m stressed.

TWM.June10.14.19After my run, I had to quickly get changed so I could…

TWM.June10.14.20Hang out with these two!! Yup, I met with Liam and Ed so we could head to The Grey Lady and see my girl Hannah of Kudos fame serenade us with some songs.

TWM.June10.14.21

She’s the lead singer of the band, which is called When Colours Collide. Isn’t she dreamy?!

TWM.June10.14.22After Hannah’s band finished, a local group called Mercia performed. They were pretty badass. Ed was transfixed…

TWM.June10.14.23After all the music ended, we headed home. My gentlemen friends were perfect gentlemen and they walked me to my door.  Thanks, Nick & Co! 

Since Tuesday, David has gotten back and things have gotten even crazier! But things are on the right track now… I think.  #PleasePray

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tuesday did not go to plan. So I abandoned the plan.

TWM.June3.14.8David’s left me alone again, this time to go to Shanghai. I always sleep on his side of the bed when he’s gone. I’m romantic like that.

TWM.June3.14.9When David left at the beginning of the week, I thought,Great! I have a whole week to get shit done and kick some butt! But then I accidentally triple booked myself to do All. Of. The. Things. (so so typical) and ended up feeling a little overwhelmed, instead. This peony kind looks how I felt as I looked over my Get It Done list yesterday morning. (Coffee #1 consumed.)

TWM.June3.14.10So I took a deep breath and decided on a strategy: Just put one foot in front of the other. Go where this day takes you.

TWM.June3.14.11Okay so, speaking of stress, my aloe is stressed because she hates sunshine. Everyone else I know keeps their aloe plants on a sunny windowsill and the plant is like Yeah, man, this is my jam! but mine is like, Get me off this windowsill. I’m turning orange.  What’s with that?  So I moved her to the floor. She’ll get better in a few days. This happens all the time.

TWM.June3.14.12Thank God for Apple extension cords, can I get an amen?!

TWM.June3.14.13Just after noon, the walking began. I made my way to the other end of town to meet with some Mac Men for coffee and lunch. We sat outside and experienced all the seasons over the course of two hours. Hot! Cold! Windy! Sunny!  English weather is confusing. That’s why we they talk about it all the time. (Coffee #2 consumed.)

TWM.June3.14.14When the sun came out, we ordered water (mint water! Thanks, Cake Shed!) and counted the iPhones on the table.  There were four. There were only three of us…

TWM.June3.14.15After lunch, I put on my Artists Unveiled/half-marathon training hat and met with Ed. We first made a visit to Perk & Pearl for some coffee and a catch-up.  (Coffee #3 consumed.)

TWM.June3.14.16And then we went to The Black Dog.  (Tea consumed because of coffee overload.)  Ed is reading this rad book he picked up at Oxfam last week. I won’t surmise to know all of the philosophy behind John Holt‘s work, but from what Ed was telling me, the guy was pretty gung-ho about a Libertarian-esque learning idea where teachers could teach what they wanted and the market would dictate what was taught and who was a capable teacher.  I thought the following quote was pretty badass, too, especially because it pretty much sums up my attitude about the Social Media Coaching we offer over at Gradient:

“It must always be the first and central task of any teacher to help the student become independent of him, to learn to be his own teacher. The true teacher must always be trying to work himself out of a job.”

As I see it, if you’re not teaching people to be capable and self-sufficient at what they do, then what’s the point?

TWM.June3.14.17After a brief visit home, I headed out to hang some work at Stefania’s, a one-month old cafe and bakery on Camden Road.

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At Stefi’s, we helped Richard Hays take his work down (he’s preparing for his South East Open Studios opening!) and  ogled her breads/cakes/general deliciousness. (Coffee #4 consumed.)

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And then we helped Scott Heasmer hang his art in the space.

TWM.June3.14.20The art is very abstract and colourful, which is quite the juxtaposition to Stefi’s more shabby chic aesthetic. Does it work?  Stop in for a slice of cake (and a coffee) and decide for yourself!  (We think it looks pretty rad.)

TWM.June3.14.21After all that art hanging, I was hungry (and a little hangry, to be honest).  Instead of just going home to eat a bowl of popcorn for dinner, Liam forced me to come to his house for a more substantial meal.  I’m forever indebted to the men in my life who make sure I eat balanced meals. They are too good to me!

TWM.June3.14.22The dinner was delicious and we had a great time laughing and planning and sharing whilst we ate.

TWM.June3.14.23Back at home, I settled on the couch for some digestion and internet catch-up.

TWM.June3.14.24And then I took some time to watch Le Chat sit on the window sill.  Le Chat has never been outside and never tries to escape, which fascinates me.  She’s quite content to just sit in our flat and occasionally meow on the windowsill whilst moving her tail back and forth like a metronome. Last night, I watched it move back and forth, back and forth, back and forth until finally, it was time for bed.

xx

Tuesday With Moi

Over the weekend, I was hanging out at our Artists Unveiled sound exhibition in the Corn Exchange when a friend came by.  She noted my stuffed up nose and sleepy eyes and then made an observation, “You get ill a lot, don’t you.”  I’d never really thought about it because growing up I was always a hearty Midwesterner and I really didn’t get sick very often.  But since moving to the UK, yes, I do get ill a lot.

David thinks this is because of “The Damp” in the air.  Damp is a thing here.  The Damp.  It lives in walls, it causes chest infections, it chills us to the bone when really, it’s not that cold. But I’m not convinced that The Damp is to blame. I think I might just be softening and becoming a little less hearty now that I’ve been displaced from the good old Midwest for so long.  Or maybe I’m just a whiner. Whatever the reason, fact remains that yesterday was a sick day.  And today was one, too.

TWM.May27.14.8I’m loving my morning strawberry harvest.  I love waking up every morning and seeing how many strawberries have ripened over night! The idea of growing my own food is getting more and more appealing and I’m yearning for a garden the way some people yearn for babies. GIVE ME PLANT BABIES, PLEASE!!

TWM.May27.14.9I bought these beauties at Darling & Wild last week and it’s been a pleasure watching them slowly unfurl from tight little knots into beautiful, loose blossoms.  I firmly believe that fresh flowers make for a happy home and peonies will never cease to put a smile on my face. Even when I’m dying on the coach. 

TWM.May27.14.10I was out of almond milk so I popped to the grocery store to get some– and to also buy a big huge box of tissues. This is me rockin’ my Kathleen Kelly sick at home in a trench coat look. Those pockets are great for carrying a million tissues!!

TWM.May27.14.11Tea time all day loooooong.

TWM.May27.14.12Remedy me.

TWM.May27.14.13The French Open through Wimbledon is one of my favourite times of year. There’s no better soundtrack to a day than that of tennis balls firing back and forth across a court. And there’s no better eye candy than Roger Federer.

TWM.May27.14.14Lunch. The more something looks like a pizza, the more I’m going to love it. I’ve been really good at feeding my cold. Like, really good. Now that 30 Days of Fitness is temporarily off the table, I’m probably going to turn into Jabba the Hutt in no time.

TWM.May27.14.15So many beverages and so much kleenex.

TWM.May27.14.16Outside lurked THE DAMP. This whole week, THE DAMP. I swear, I could write a horror story about it.

TWM.May27.14.17And The Damp and all the tissues were too much for me, so I decided to take a nap.

TWM.May27.14.19After I woke from my nap, I hustled down to Fuggles for a meeting. For a few hours, I put my game face on and talked all things branding, strategy, and planning with an exciting new start-up.

TWM.May27.14.22When I got home I was drenched in THE DAMP so I took some time to dry off on the couch while David flirted with Le Chat. Le Chat looooves David. It’s so sweet watching her watch him, sometimes. Then we went to bed.

And then I woke up still sick.

Please feel sorry for me. :(

Tuesday With Moi

Finally….

First I was busy (so busy!), then I was sick and busy, and now I’m just sick.  But I am here!  So let’s do this.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

TWM.May20.14.8I bought a strawberry plant last weekend and have been waking up to little red strawberries every morning.  They’re tart and lovely and I’m ever so happy to have a strawberry plant as part of my indoor garden.

TWM.May20.14.9David and I are becoming quite the grown-ups lately.  In addition to scoring a new vintage table on eBay last weekend (which we have yet to pick up), we also purchased a lamp. Now we need a lampshade, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves!!

TWM.May20.14.10Le Chat always gives me the sweetest goodbyes.

TWM.May20.14.11Desktime.

TWM.May20.14.12I need more visual interest in my office.

TWM.May20.14.13My dear friend Caro gave me a new phones case a while ago.  I have this bad boy in both black and blue now.  I dig it, though I must confess that I actually use it as a wallet/change carrier rather than a phone case.

TWM.May20.14.14In-office meeting. Queen Cat presiding.

TWM.May20.14.15Hanging with Liam, yo. We had two Artists Unveiled exhibitions launching this past weekend as part of Unfest, so we were busybusybusy with plans.

TWM.May20.14.16Yellow tape!  One of our exhibitions was a sound installation in the Corn Exchange and Liam and I were meeting to specifically go over details for this piece. One of those details was exactly how we were going to use our yellow tape to add visual interest to the sound experience.  This is how we ended up using it. It was great to see people actually lay on the body outline, close their eyes, and experience the sound in the space.

TWM.May20.14.17Next on our Grown-Up Things To Buy list is a bookshelf… We really really need a bookshelf!

TWM.May20.14.18I’ve been feeling less than picture-perfect lately so I treated myself to some new Temple Spa skincare. My girl Lucy at No6 Clinic introduced me to the brand and they keep my skin silky soft.

TWM.May20.14.19And then, after doing my wifely duty* of spending our money, I did my wifely duty of putting on some laundry.

TWM.May20.14.20But I did not do my wifely duty of making dinner, so we went to La Fiamma instead. This is our pizzascape. It was delicious! 

TWM.May20.14.21Still light at 9 PM!  These days are my favourite days.

TWM.May20.14.22Kitten. Again. I closed out the night with kitten snuggles, poetry formatting, and meeting prep. Just like a rock star!  <3

Soooooo that was my Tuesday.  I can’t believe my next one is already tomorrow!  xx

*Wifely duties, LOL.  I know my sarcasm doesn’t always come out in these posts, but please know that I am 100,000% joking when I allude to wifely duties and all that jazz.  Because really, gender roles do nothing but cramp our styles.

Tuesday With Moi

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 

TWM.May13.14.8Scrolling through Instagram with a coffee in bed and missing the homeland so so badly.

I woke up yesterday morning and boy oh boy was I sore! Since starting my 30 Days of Fitness, I’ve been very much into the Yoga Studio App and have been practicing with a selection of classes on my no-run days. The class I did on Monday kicked my ass.  Or, more specifically, it kicked my back which was so so so sore!

TWM.May13.14.9I’ve really sucked at eating breakfast at, like, breakfast time this week.

TWM.May13.14.10Exciting news!! The passion project I started with Liam, Artists Unveiled, is featured in the new art-inspired issue of Kudos!  If you can’t get your hands on a copy, you can read it here.  We collaborated with the wonderful Matt Harquail (remember Matt?) and the Kudos Fashion Editor on their Love Fashion feature, too.  Check it out from page 28. So exciting!!

TWM.May13.14.11Yesterday was a crazy day. One minute it was all blue skies and the next it was dreary. This is the divide.

TWM.May13.14.12Death Part I: My jade almost died when I was on holiday. When I came back, her leaves were all mushy and weird. I think she’s on the up-swing though. She’s looking better. (Someone, help! Mom?)

TWM.May13.14.13Sorry, I just can’t help myself… So excited about this Kudos feature!

TWM.May13.14.14Death Part II: Around 1:30, I went home for lunch and ate some leftover Indian food. After said Indian food was finished, I was still hungry so I made myself two boiled eggs. I don’t know why, but for some reason, whilst eating the eggs, I had a *danger* flash.  They didn’t taste or smell bad, I just had a feeling that something was up.  When I looked at the egg carton, I noticed that the eggs had expired in February.  FEB. RU. ARY.

Naturally, I texted this photo to David and was all like “OMG ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?!”

TWM.May13.14.15Then I had a meltdown and spent too much time swivelling around in my office chair, waiting for massive diarrhoea and vomiting to start and then for the dehydration to set in, which would eventually lead to death.

TWM.May13.14.16But just as I was on the cusp of dying of egg poisoning, my friendly fresh veg delivery people  who I buy my eggs from told me some crazy news: They recycle their egg cartons!  I love recycling and I love eggs. Suddenly my symptoms all went away and I felt fine. It was so weird! 

TWM.May13.14.17Thanks to my remarkable recovery, I was able to keep my coffee date with Matt.  (Remember Matt? Again?) We went to my new favourite between-my-house-and-office cafe, The Velo House. Matt ate a pink cupcake and I had a chocolate croissant because I am a man. Or more of a man than Matt, anyway.

(JKJKJK MEN CAN LIKE PINK TOO I’M JUST JK.)

TWM.May13.14.18To work off my chocolate croissant, I enjoyed a short (but very enthusiastic) walk home. Full disclosure: I did not work out yesterday.  In fact, yesterday was the first day on my 30 Days of Fitness challenge that I didn’t make time to exercise. Why? Because I could hardly bend over and thought that it was probably better for me to just do some passive stretching throughout the day rather than over-exert myself and wind up with an injury. Injury prevention… that’s a type of fitness, right?!

TWM.May13.14.19After stopping at home to catch up with all the Beyoncé drama, I walked over to Liam‘s to drop off some Perk & Pearl coffee I had for him. On the way, I got caught in a rain storm (that’s fitness, right?!). And then I saw this rainbow which made the whole thing worth it.

TWM.May13.14.20Liam and Nick just finished all the seasons of Breaking Bad and now they feel like they’re living for nothing. Know the feeling? Personally, I remember it well. I would’ve kissed up to a Heisenberg coffee mug to console my sadness at the time, too.

TWM.May13.14.21After ditching my work husband for the night, I went home to my real husband. He was lovely and adorable in his Christmas pyjamas. PLUS, he made me a wonderful chicken dinner which had Le Chat very jealous.

TWM.May13.14.22Speaking of Le Chat…

I wish I could say that I went to sleep very early on in the evening, but I didn’t.  Instead, I watched three episodes of douchey Suits with David and then I read tons of stupid comments about Beyoncé and Solange because I am a very deep person. I didn’t photograph those wonderful moments because I didn’t want you to be jealous. You’re welcome.

THE END.

xx

Tuesday With Moi

I’m on holiday in St. John this week so rather than bore you with photos of all the beauty that surrounds me, I decided to save and publish a belated Tuesday With Moi.  Last Tuesday, I had the great pleasure of spending the day with Joe, the owner of Perk and Pearl.  Liam and I are putting together a video series with Joe to help showcase his terrific range of goodies (tea! coffee! chocolate!) and give his customers a more in-depth taste of his Willy Wonka-esque brand.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

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A day with Joe starts early.  Seeing as I’m someone who likes to linger in bed and wake up slowly, a 5:45 alarm was a bit of a shock to my system.

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We started the morning at Joe’s house and then walked with him and his dog, Buffy, through Calverley Gardens (so beautiful and dewy in the morning light) and to his shop on the other end of town.

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The first coffee of the day was bold and beautiful. And so so soooo necessary.

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Breakfast was a selection of pastries and goodies from La Roche.

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One of my favourite things about Joe is that he’s always pushing forward and thinking outside the box.  From the Mind Your Head Gallery he opened in the back of his shop (and which Liam and I are lucky enough to help curate as Artists Unveiled!) to his bean art and ever-changing window decor, he has an incredible ability of keeping his space fresh and exciting.

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Working with Joe is great because you know that there’s always some rocket fuel close at hand should your engines start to slow.

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I’ve always loved working in a shop.  I love the steady-stream of people coming in the door, I love chatting to customers and getting to know their tastes and rhythms, I love the way that each day is different.  At noon, two VIP customers came in– Joe’s wife, Emma, and his daughter.  Together, the three of us decided to start the Royal Tunrbidge Wells Converse Club.

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This is Buffy, the shop dog.  She’s very quiet and nervous and adorable.

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What happens when you’re in a coffee and tea shop and you need an afternoon pick-me-up?  You snack on chocolate covered espresso beans, of course!  I’d take them over M&Ms any day!

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This Tuesday was also a big day as it was the day our new Mind Your Head Gallery exhibition was being installed!  Remember my friend Ed?  Well, he was picking up his work from the first exhibition and stuck around to crack jokes and help carry in some of the work for the new exhibitn, too.

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Spying on Joe as he talks with customers and grinds some beans.

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When 5 o’clock rolled ‘round, I couldn’t believe how quickly the day had flown by! We had loads of great video from the day but needed to finish the voiceover.

TWM.April15.14.18

After a day of hustling and filming and recording, we bid farewell to P&P and to Andrew Bruce’s beautiful photography that was hanging on the walls.  His stint in the MYHG is divided into 4 parts.  The first part finished on Tuesday but the second one is now installed and, from what I understand, looks amazing!  If you’re okay with dead animals, I think you’ll especially like it!  (Sorry, that sounds a lot more serial-killery than I wanted it to, but yeah, there are dead animals in his work but it’s cool. Not gross. Promise.)

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After lugging all our stuff back home, Liam and I treated ourselves to a glass of wine and re-hashed the day.  Andrew’s Private View was taking place the following day so we needed to nail down details and finish some plans. Our work is never done.

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We also went through some black and white film that I had developed (some of which I used in last week’s TWM!).  Some of that roll was used on a trip we took to Dover, and Liam used the photos in his Liam Says post over on the Gradient blog last week.

TWM.April15.14.21

After David arrived home, we all realised that we were starving. Being a terrible home-maker, I hadn’t prepared anything to eat so we all decided to head to SuCheera for dinner.  SuCheera is a terrific Thai place in town and I’m infuriated that it took me almost two years of living in Tunbridge Wells to find it.  Luckily, my dear friend Caro introduced it to me in her Tuesday With Vous and had drug me along for dinner there the week before.  Everything is delicious and the service is amazing.

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After a glorious dinner and much laughter, we finished off the wine and headed home.  And for the first time in forever, I tucked myself into bed before 11:00 PM.

THE END!  Now, back to the pool!  I might be back here before my holiday is done, or I might be passed out on a beach… who can say?  Either way, you can follow my travels over on Instagram should you so desire.  xx

Tuesday With Moi

I made a rookie error when prepping for last week’s Tuesday With Moi; I forgot to check with my local film processing company, Redbox Cameras, to see how long it takes to develop a roll of film.  Long gone are the days of 1-hour film developing (apparently), so I had to sit tight and twiddle my thumbs until Saturday when it was ready for pick-up.  But!– tragedy of tragedies– I wasn’t ready for pick-up on Saturday, so I waited until today to collect my film and voila! Here it is. Kodak 100 Tmax in black and white.  And you know what?  I think it was worth the wait.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014. 

TWM.April8.14.8David was away in Vegas all last week which meant I woke up alone, the sun shining through my window and my body spread diagonally across our amazing bed. Oh, I haven’t told you about my amazing bed yet, have I? Well, it is ginormous and the frame was made by a talented man named Tom Robinson of Steady-On Designs.  I’m going to borrow one of Liam’s wide-angle lenses at some point to take some photos for a proper post about the bed because it’s really great… But enough about the bed and back to TWM!  With David gone, I woke up extra well-rested. (JK DAVID I LOVE YOU.) (No, but seriously.)

TWM.April8.14.9After having two cups of hot lemon water, I was ready to move onto my latest obsession: Tulsi Tea from Perk & Pearl.  It’s so good.

TWM.April8.14.10After completing some work, I was wandering around the flat in my towel post-shower and was trying to decide what to wear. I had three meetings scheduled around town and I needed an outfit that would suit all of them. Conundrum!

By the way, my eldest step-son, Tom, is an apprentice tattoo artist at Life Family Tattoo in Sevenoaks and painted that cool crow on the left.  His work is really cool and if you’re braver than me and want a tattoo/like tattoos, give him a follow/contact him on instagram!

TWM.April8.14.11My first meeting of the day was with the ridiculously talented illustrator/puppet maker/artist, Jessica Exall. Liam and I are so so lucky to meet a number of incredibly talented artists through Artists Unveiled, and Jessica is one of them. Her work is enchanting and I was beyond thrilled to have the opportunity to meet with her and page through some of her work– which included two fantastic children’s books and some scribbles that are so good they belong in museums!

TWM.April8.14.12See? Amazing. She and I were meeting on this particular morning for the specific purpose of talking about an upcoming collaboration.  I won’t give it away, but a tapir plays a starring role.  <3

TWM.April8.14.13Whilst with Jessica, my second meeting of the day cancelled on me, so I took the opportunity to stop at The Bicycle Bakery for a coffee and some bread. Jamie also let me watch him make some sausage rolls whilst I was there. And no, that’s not a euphemism.

TWM.April8.14.14After the bakery, it was time to go home and squeeze in a few [much appreciated but unexpected] hours of work. Sometimes people ask me why I don’t work from home all the time and this is why: Le Chat is a needy girlfriend. And she’s jealous. And she sits on my keyboard.

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A couple months ago, my basil and cilantro got all dry and weird so I ripped them out of the soil and planted new seeds. And look! Growth!

By the way, if anyone knows of great plant/herb blogs, do point me in their direction… I can keep dessert plants and my bonsai alive but herbs always seem to get weird on me?

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Do you guys remember Kimmy Gibbler from Full House? Well, I’m the Kimmy Gibbler of Perk & Pearl. I’m always stopping in like Heeeeeeey, I’m heeeeeeere! and Joe acts like he’s happy to see me, but really he’s giving me this look and is all like, Oh no, here we go.

Joe’s the owner of Perk & Pearl, my favourite place to buy tea and coffee (and chocolate). He’s also the man behind the Mind Your Head Gallery, which Liam and I help curate as Artists Unveiled (we have a new exhibition launching this Wednesday, people!). And okay, maybe he likes me more than Tanners liked Kimmy, but I can promise you that I’m real good at being the annoying American neighbour next door!

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Okay, so what was I doing at Perk & Pearl? Well, I was meeting this gent. HI MATT HARQUAIL!  (Remember him?)

TWM.April8.14.18Matt and I were pounding the pavements (ahem, sidewalks) of Tunbridge Wells in search of stylish people to feature on the Fashionista page of Kudos. We saw loads of stylish people whilst we were out, but they were sadly dressed more for winter than they were for spring, so we couldn’t feature them. :( :( :(

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So we had a glass of wine and then left, feeling a little dejected after an unsuccessful photo journey.

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As I’m rarely left on my own, when I do have the house to myself I turn into a total slob (i.e. more of a slob than normal) and just eat some tortilla chips chased with a few glasses of wine and call it dinner. (Total goop diet, I know…) But on this particular evening, Liam and I were having a very important G.S.D. (Get Shit Done) meeting and he was kind enough to cook me a real meal and give me wine on top of that. #DoubleThumbsUp! To kick the meeting/hang-out sesh off, I finished a post I was working on about not being afraid of new/big opportunities.

TWM.April8.14.21And then we listened to music, went through some photos we took at a wedding the previous weekend, and caught each other up on projects that we’re working on. Liam’s a super-trooper right now and is working full time and is killin’ it on the AU-front, and working on tons of Gradient projects. He’s amazing. I’m so so lucky to be working with him.

TWM.April8.14.22His husband, Nick, is also amazing. On top of having a full-time job and being a badass libertarian in our local council (am I allowed to say that, Nick?), he also writes a great blog, writes for The Huffington Post and is working on multiple novels. As we like to say at Gradient, “Don’t stop get it get it!

TWM.April8.14.23After we talked about work stuff, Liam showed me his newest workout moves.

TWM.April8.14.24And then, after much laughter and a short (but sweet!) Beyoncé sing-along, I wandered home and snuggled into bed with Le Chat.

And that, my friends, is the super-sexy life of a short-term single lady who is doing her best right now to juggle all the balls.  And no, that’s not a euphemism.

Thanks for reading! xx

Tuesday With Moi

Whenever I take personality tests, my score teeters between being an introvert and an extrovert.  Whilst I lovelovelove being out in the world and meeting new (and old) friends, I really treasure my alone time and use it to store energy and seek inspiration.

This past week, I had a work and social calendar to rival the Queen’s (as in Queen Beyoncé, obviously).  Between book club, networking, going away parties, art parties– which you can read all about in Mrs. Anke’s Ladybits, breaking iPhones, and a busy (and exciting) work week, it was go-time all the time.  All this buzzing about meant that I didn’t have enough me-time to cut my toenails, much less put together this TWM post so by the time Friday rolled around, I felt acutely allergic to my laptop and in desperate need of a wine-induced hibernation.

After two lovely days of lazing about Cox Quarters and eating good in the neighbourhood, I’m happy to report that my fembot batteries are again charged and I’m finally back to blog-posting babeland. So what did I get up to this past Tuesday?  Take a look!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014 

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Being an expat, I’m all too aware of the precious moments I’m missing by living across the ocean.  Being in England, I miss out on birthday parties, weddings, baby showers and boozy brunches (amongst other things) but I’m so so thankful to be alive in the age of social media so I peek inside all these precious moments and feel, in a small way, that I’m almost there experiencing them.  Every morning, I look forward to checking Instagram and double-tapping my love like some modern day Morse code.

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Drinking lemon water and getting some work done.  I try to drink at least two cups of hot lemon water before my morning coffee. Then, once my coffee is finished, it’s time to pack up the home office (i.e. make the bed) and head into the real office.  Working for yourself is fun!

TWM.March11.14.10Did I tell you that I’ve been knitting a sweater?! You can read all about exactly what I’m knitting over on the Gradient blog and soon (so so soon!) you’ll be able to see what I’ve knit! That’s right, folks, I’ve already finished my sweater! All I need to do now is stitch it up, but I’ve sadly misplaced my knitting/sewing needles and am going to have to wait until I can get to the fabric store to properly finish it. But that’ll be soon– so soon!– and I’m so excited to wear this finished garment into the springtime sunshine!

TWM.March11.14.11Speaking of new clothes, I’ve been diligently breaking in my chucks over the past two weeks and am very excited to see them getting dirtier and a little more worn in.  I’ve never had a pair of sneakers like this before and whilst I can’t help but feel like a toddler when I’m wearing them (partly because they’re a size 3.5, what?!), it’s great to have a pair of shoes I can kick-around in that won’t need to be re-heeled every two months. Huzzah!

TWM.March11.14.12Gardening in the office. Goodbye dead leaves!

TWM.March11.14.13Our current art offering at work. I seriously need to remember to look into framing that thing (top secret) that I want to frame for that wall… Someone remind me later, mkay?

TWM.March11.14.14My friend, Hannah, started a local magazine called Kudos last year and their third issue came out at the beginning of the month. I think it’s absolutely beautiful and am really pleased to see a local magazine that skews a little younger.  Plus the magazine’s totally free, so be sure to get your hands on a copy ASAP! (Edited to note that our friends at Perk & Pearl have copies available.)

TWM.March11.14.15Office shadows. I’m loving the light these days!

TWM.March11.14.16Tea time at Fuggles!

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Ed and I try to get together once a week to talk art and hang out. On this particular meeting, we were designing a poster for one of his upcoming exhibitions and going over details for the launch of Artists Unveiled‘s co-venture with Perk & Pearl: the Mind Your Head Gallery.

TWM.March11.14.18Ed, who you can tell is a real artist because he wears paint-splattered clothes, is one of the three artists whose work is featured in the teeny-tiny Mind Your Head Gallery.  Their work will be up until mid-April, so be sure to stop in Perk & Pearl for a coffee and take a look whilst it’s there!

TWM.March11.14.19After saying goodnight to Ed, it was time to zoom off to West Kent Networking and rub shoulders with some new and old friends. This guy falls in the former category.  His name’s Jamie and he’s the man behind the very new Bicycle Bakery on Camden Road.  I haven’t been in yet, but I’ve heard amazing things and am definitely planning to stop in for a treat later this week. Yay, carbs!

TWM.March11.14.20WKN this past week was at Signor Franco, which is always a pleasure to visit.  The service, the space, and the snacks were all impeccable. Three hearty thumbs up!

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After networking, it was time to visit the Tunbridge Wells Writers. Prior to this meeting, I had only been to see them once since the beginning of the year, so it was especially lovely to catch up with everyone. <3

TWM.March11.14.22David met me at the pub to remind me to eat something (a packet of crisps is a meal, right?) and to whisk me away at a normalish time so I could be to bed early. I had a very busy day on Wednesday and wanted to get lots of sleep in preparation for it.

TWM.March11.14.23So naturally, I had another drink when I got home.

TWM.March11.14.24And I flipped through my new copy of Cereal whilst sipping some tea.

TWM.March11.14.25And then I knit until 1:30 in the morning. But that counts as an early night, right…?

So, that was my Tuesday. Which felt like a week ago… I guess because it probably was!  Anyway, thanks for reading and remember, if you ever want to contribute to Tuesday With Vous, have a look at the details and get in touch!