Category Archives: Tunbridge Wells Talent

Tuesday With NOUS

I said I was back… but this time, I brought someone with me. LIAM! Liam’s last day at his full-time job was the Thursday before last, which meant that we were able to work together full-time this entire last week, which has been awesome. Since I once told everyone to “share what you do!“, we decided to take our own advise and do that this week.  Enjoy!

TWM.August12.14.8

TWV-8K: Tuesday morning was a sombre one.  Within minutes of waking up, I had learned the news that Robin Williams had died, and that was really really heartbreaking.  After postponing some planned digital outreach until our collective consciousness had time to process and mourn, I wrote David a note and went out for a run and a ponder.

L: Sad news first thing is never a great way to start the day so I decided to stay positive by focusing on the new life sprouting in my kitchen. My chilli plant gifted to me by our mutual friend Ed is growing like crazy and this is the first thing on it that actually resembles a chilli.

TWM.August12.14.9

TWV-9

K: My run was only a short one and I was back home, showered, and sipping some hot lemon water for the start of the business day.  Though I like to start my mornings quietly at home, I’m always taking a beat on the conversations and stories that are unfolding in the digital landscape.  Starting the day in-the-know is crucial to what we do.

L: Clearly our brains are in-sync (or NSync!) as I did a little bit of skipping – my current ‘I’m too lazy to run’ exercise of choice – before getting ready to face the day.

TWM.August12.14.10

TWV-10K: Oh heyyyyyy. Liam came over shortly before 10:00 for a quick catch-up before we headed off to a meeting.  Tuesday was only our second day working together, and as we’re still in the early days of this new partnerships, we’re still trying to find what works for us and our schedules as we move forward. As with anything, it’s a process– a really fun process, though!

L: We had to take a ‘OMG, you take a photo of me whilst I take one of you!’ photo. It just needed to happen.

TWM.August12.14.11

TWV-11

K: Mid-meeting. There’s nothing Liam and I love more than a good brainstorm session when ideas– no matter how feasible– are flying around the room and everyone is excited about the opportunity at hand.  Harnessing that energy and using it to create momentum as the project pushes forward is usually the difficult part for clients, which is why we think it’s important to meet with our clients often for enthusiasm/brainstorm/rallying sessions.

L: Secret time: Kate’s photo of me is a lie, I’m the worst at taking notes and I mostly just fake it. When I do take notes, I never look at them again. We have an agreement that note taking is Kate’s job, I just throw ideas out there and Kate filters the ones that are worth noting or not. My photo: We drank delicious Perk and Pearl peppermint tea.

TWM.August12.14.12

TWV-12

K: After our meeting, we met Ed for lunch. The three of us have one of the most amazing running text message threads in the history of all text-kind, and when we’re together it just escalates into a flurry of wonderfulness IRL. People who sit at neighbouring tables probably think we’re a little ridiculous with all our joking and laughing and big-dreaming, but we don’t mind.

L: Ed’s shoes are worth photographing multiple times and yes we always have a hoot in person and in virtual land.

TWM.August12.14.13

TWV-13

K: Over lunch at The Black Dog, we talked about art, depression, our favourite Robin Williams memories and the constraints of the human spirit.

L: The Black Dog is one of our favourite coffee places in town, it is effortlessly excellent every time and they have awesome teapots that are ‘For Life’.

TWM.August12.14.14

TWV-14

K: After lunch, I went into the office. My jade plant is doing super awesome, you guys.  It makes me really happy.

L: I recently attended a charity yoga weekend with my dear friend Alice from May Yoga Massage. After our limbs were stretched into shapes and our yoga mats were rolled away, we ate the most delicious vegan feast. Long story short, these soya chucks were fried in spices as a delicious meat substitute and since then I’ve wanted to try them myself, so I popped into our local ‘shop that sells this sort of thing’ and grabbed a bag on the way back from town.

TWM.August12.14.15

TWV-15

K: Do you collect things? I do. I collect coffee sleeves from indie coffee shops all over town. I make it a point to reuse them whenever I can as I find it incredibly wasteful to throw them away with a coffee cup just because my hand touched it.  

L: I hung out with Boodle (His ‘real name’ is Gus, confusing, I know!) before a dentist appointment to have my first ever filling – ouch!

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TWV-16

K: Okay, the office really isn’t one of the most exciting places, I admit it, but is this not the coolest USB port everrrrrr?  (It is.)

L: Post filling, I looked through my Seaside Retreat film photos as feeling in my mouth came back. Most people probably wouldn’t know that film expires and the quality naturally deteriorates over time. Fun Fact: Put it in the fridge to keep it fresh! This film was stored in the fridge but not before I bought it, so the ‘fine film’ is now very grainy.

TWM.August12.14.17

TWV-17

K: Sky-gazing. I was meeting up with Liam again to prep for a meeting we had the next morning. I always enjoy looking up at The Eye of Sauron (aka my lovely neighbourhood crane) when I walk past it toward his house.

L: I love the synergy between our photos. Same sky, different place.

TWM.August12.14.18

TWV-18

K: After an entire week of working with Liam, I can say that the biggest change to our process is the fact that we get to work during the daylight hours. I mean, during the summer we’ve pretty consistently started work in daylight hours, but now we get to work in the morning! In the middle of the day! At night! During all of the times! Together!  It’s really exciting and I’m both impressed by and proud of how much we’ve gotten done this week. Even if I am kicking up my feet, sipping a beer and wearin’ my Chucks whilst doing some of it.

L: We work, we neck back beers, we’re cool like that and we have cool lampshades!

TWM.August12.14.19

TWV-19

K: When I first meet people, I like to decide what colour car they have before I see their car.  When I met Liam, I knew right away that he was a red car kinda guy. Turns out, he has a little red car. A car that is exactly like our car (though he had his first), except red. Isn’t that cute?  Car twins!

L: I went into the garden to tend to Scully the Chicken – remember Scully! We have three cats but the garden is Napoleon’s domain, who spends a lot of time looking really pretty amongst the greenery.

TWM.August12.14.20

TWV-20

K: As some of you locals may know, our favourite pizza joint recently sold their pizza place to other people who like to make pizza so we’re in a pizza void. BUT, Ed mentioned that a local pub near his studio does Italian food. When he told me this, I was like, whatItalian food? Are you sure? But yes, he was sure. It’s a ITALIAN English pub. And it serves PIZZA. And, though it wasn’t quite as good as La Fiamma, it is now my favourite pizza in the area. GIMME GIMME GIMME.

L: Yes, cats hunt, kill and bring in poor creatures that don’t conserve much dignity once the cats have set about making toys of them. This summer has been the worst for cat kills and rarely a day goes by when a poor animal isn’t dragged in as a present to us ‘servants’.

TWM.August12.14.21

TWV-21

K: So sometimes when I’m shooting TWM, there will be people who are totally weirded out that I’m taking pictures so sometimes I just take weird photos of things like the branding on the balsamic vinegar so they don’t feel too uncomfortable whilst eating their dinner.

L: Before bed I decided to do a little more film photo editing. Digital is invaluable to Gradient and my photography business but film has a charm all of it’s own and viewing images on a computer doesn’t compare to admiring the tangibility of a negative.

TWM.August12.14.22

TWV-22

K: Whenever we come home, Le Chat stalks us, but at the same time pretends to be way too cool for petting/loving/kitten cuddles. She likes to play hard to get like that. But as soon as we tucked ourselves into bed, she was right there snuggled on the foot of the bed.  She’s a big softie deep down.

L: When I am home Lord Fluffington lll (Fluff for short) is my sidekick, since becoming an old man indoor cat around 2 years ago, he rarely leaves my side. He spends a lot of time snoozing so after taking this photo I copied him and went to bed.

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.

 TWM.June3.14.18

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.)

TWM.June3.14.19

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

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

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

TWM.May6.14.8Yesterday was exhausting. I was jet lagged and I was sore from my 30 Days of Fitness efforts and I was hungry and I was tired. But I’m happy to be back in the swing of things and am happy to have my plant babies (this is my new basil) with me again.

TWM.May6.14.9I don’t know why, but I don’t do a lot of shopping in the UK. This is probably because time is scarce in my life and I don’t have the time to wander and find what I like. Don’t get me wrong, I have a few beloved boutiques here and there, but generally speaking I’m more apt to hunt something down when I’m in the States (especially when I’m in a familiar city) than I am in the UK.  Long story short (why am I even telling this story?), I stumbled upon these shirts at a Banana Republic in Miami and I am obsessed. Like, I’m-going-to-wear-them-until-they-dissintegrate-off-my-body obsessed. The striped one, which is my absolute favourite, reminds me of something my dad would’ve worn in the 90s. I don’t know why that’s a good thing when it comes to my very refined personal style (bahahahaa, sorry Dad), but it is. I guess.

TWM.May6.14.10Going away is wonderful because Le Chat is extra affectionate whenever we come back and if there’s one thing that I love, it’s knowing that I am loved and from what I understand, this doesn’t always happen with cats. But because Le Chat is an extra-special cat, for about a week after we return from a big trip she always becomes my shadow.  I can’t turn around without her charging at me with this exact look on her face. It makes me feel loved, which makes me feel happy. And only sometimes annoyed.

TWM.May6.14.11Someone once told me (I think a teacher is the someone in question, so what I’m about to say must be true) that an apple will wake you up just like a cup of coffee will. Yesterday, I had a cup of coffee and  an apple and you know what? I was still tired.

TWM.May6.14.12Mint water, from what I understand (or don’t understand) does not have any ‘waking’ qualities. I drank many cups of this, too, and I still felt very tired.

TWM.May6.14.13And even though I would have rather taken a nap for half an hour, I instead put on my gross old socks and some shorts and did some core and arm exercises. Why? Because I committed to 30 days of fitness and I’ll be damned if I don’t succeed! (Also because exercise usually makes me feel more awake but in this instance it just made me more tired.)

TWM.May6.14.14Speaking of exercise, this morning, my friend Ed (remember Ed?) and I signed up to run the Brighton Half Marathon next February. !!!!!!!!!!!!

I know, I’m pretty freaked out about it too. So what does the half marathon have to do with this photo? Nothing, really, except that it’s my new chilli plant that Ed gave to me last weekend. I can’t wait to see what colour the chillies turn out to be!

TWM.May6.14.15By this point in the afternoon, I was exhausted. Coffee, apples, exercise! They all failed me. I had nowhere else to turn, so I closed my eyes and called upon the powers of Queen Bey to guide me through the darkness.

TWM.May6.14.16That didn’t really work, either, so I just stared into my computer monitor (which was asleep!) and daydreamed of happier times

TWM.May6.14.17Miraculously, despite my sleepiness, I somehow made it to a train station and onto a train where the thought occurred to me that people who commute must be even more tired than I was in my current state. We’ve all seen them, commuters asleep on the train with their mouthes open and their necks rolling forward and then snapping back up, rolling forward and then snapping back up, rolling forward….

I could never be a full-time commuter, but boy oh boy can I fall asleep on a train!

TWM.May6.14.18So why was I on a train? Because I was travelling to sevenoaks to attend West Kent Networking‘s most recent event at The Chequers in Sevenoaks.  Last night, we collaborated with WKN to feature the art of local artist (and my step-son), Tom Cox, who is an apprentice tattoo artist at Life Family Tattoo, also in Sevenoaks.

TWM.May6.14.19

Tom’s work can usually be found on my walls, not on my arms, but last night we were projecting his illustrations onto bodies, à la a digital tattoo.

TWM.May6.14.20Like this!  And like this and this, too.  (By the way, the lady in this photo is named Hollie Mackenzie and her wooden sculptures are super good! I only met her last night but I can already tell that she’s super rad and totally talented.)

TWM.May6.14.21After networking with new and old acquaintances alike, Liam and I were off to see the Tunbridge Wells Writers!  We have a new exhibition at Mind Your Head Gallery coming up that will feature the group’s Lipschtick project. This is Alison (a very dark Alison… but only because the light was directly on her head and cast her entire front into shadow) and she is one of the brilliant poets who is helping us coordinate the next exhibition. We’ll let you know all the details when we have ‘em!

TWM.May6.14.22And just as the day started with new plant babies, so too did it end.  This is Alison’s brand new aloe plant, which was gifted to her by our fellow writer, Lucy.

After that, I tucked myself into bed for an early night and slept soundly until this morning. I’m no longer exhuasted. THE END.

Thanks for reading and remember, if you ever want to share your day with me (and everyone else, too!), please have a read through the contributor details and get in touch! I’d la-la-la-love to have you!

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

TWM.April15.14.6

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.

TWM.April15.14.7

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.

TWM.April15.14.8

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

TWM.April15.14.9

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.

TWM.April15.14.11

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

TWM.April15.14.12

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.

TWM.April15.14.13

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!

TWM.April15.14.15

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.

TWM.April15.14.16

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

TWM.April15.14.17

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.

TWM.April15.14.20

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.

TWM.April15.14.22

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.

TWM.April8.14.20

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 Vous: Ed Liddle

I got a little joyful (drunk) at a work dinner last night so I didn’t get around to posting this at my regular time (sorry, world!), but it’s up now so YAY! This week, we’re looking into the life of local artist, and my dear friend, Ed Liddle.  Ed’s funny and talented and courageous. He’s a doer and a maker and is always up to something interesting– whether it’s making a delicious lunch, camping out to see Prince in London, or listening to vinyl and painting in his studio. I adore Ed and I really think you will, too.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Name: Ed Liddle  //  website  //  twitter
Location: Tunbridge Wells, UK 
Occupation: Artist & Bhajia maker 
Camera Used: Canon 100d with a 40mm pancake lens

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This is the first thing I see and hear every morning. It’s my circular ‘was once white is now cream’ Panasonic radio alarm clock. Received as payment for building a gate for my brother and his wife about 8 years ago, we stumbled upon it on eBay and its been with me ever since. This orb like beauty has travelled with me from place to place and I know wherever I am with it by my (bed)side mornings are potentially a little easier to bear.

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I’ve been looking at the curtains for quite a long time, listening to the radio. Slowly waking up. Today is going to be a long day.

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Whilst living in halls at University my flatmate Rob was (and still is) really into hot chilli’s. So he grew some seeds and ate the chilli’s. (Other versions of this story are available) Several months later, having expressed an interest and helped him re pot the chilli plant a couple of times- It grew to be quite a beast – I received a ‘grow your own chilli plant kit’ from his mum, Sue. <3

So urm, nearly 4 years later I decided to plant them.

So good so far. (in this hour I also had two slices of peanut butter on toast and an earl grey tea FYI)

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So introductions. I’m Ed and I manage an organic hot food business. I travel around with our wagon pitching up at local markets, events and festivals to cook and sell Onion Bhajias and Pakora. More details and a cheesy photo can be found here -à www.motherbhumi.co.uk. The rest of my time is spent making art. I studied Painting at Brighton University and since graduating have been living and working back in Tunbridge Wells, my studio located in Southborough.

Today I’m headed to Lewisham Art House to finish installing the next exhibition my work will be shown in. So I thought the wheel of my car would illustrate the fact I’d be travelling. Lily the cat had different ideas.

EdLiddle11 I’ve arrived at the gallery, just waiting for friend, fellow artist and exhibitor Liam Kean to arrive so we can continue to crack on with the install. Here’s some tools to a)prove we are manly and use drills etc and b)show we did some work yesterday.

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The build up to an exhibition is always busy, working backwards from the install date to make sure you’ve got plenty of time to make the work that you’re happy with but also when working with paintings to make sure they are dry. It’s pretty easy to ruin a work during transportation and install, because something is still wet.

Here’s Liam looking uncharastically weary/confused. I imagine he was saying something like ‘I can’t work under conditions like this, Ed you’re too much.’

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The gallery we are exhibiting in (Lewisham Art House) is a joint artists studios, project space and gallery. The building it’s housed in used to be an old library and there’s lots of lovely original doors, windows. Great stuff to photograph. So why resist?

EdLiddle14

Time for lunch. Before installing, both Liam and I had a rough idea of where work would be placed, having made some trips to see the gallery before. However things always change when the work is placed in the exhibition space. So at this point in the day we haven’t yet got anything up on the walls, or objects built. We’ve spent the time moving pieces about, discussing the ideas behind the work and trying out different combinations of display. It’s both exciting and daunting that whenever you install an exhibition, there is the potential for several very different exhibitions just from the way in which you install the show. (WHAT did you eat I hear you say? I had a pizza I made last night. No quality ribs or chicken for me!)

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We’ve pretty much decided on where things are going so time to attach mirror plates to the paintings and get them on the walls.

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The last bit is always quick, in the last hour or so everything is up and its onto clearing up. The glamorous side to being an artist, I seem to always be sweeping floors. (Tiny violin plays in the background). I take tools and unused wood out to put them back in the car. Can’t resist another door photo.

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Exhibition installed, I am now headed into central London to meet my friend as we are going to see a talk at the Royal Academy. I catch a train from New Cross Gate to London Bridge.

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Lewisham is a bit of an awkward place to get to and from (the places I’m going to and from, anyway) so instead of getting the tube all of the way, I get off at Waterloo and make a quick stop off at the Southbank Centre to have a tea. I truly love the Southbank Centre and depending on what time you go to get a coffee/tea/drink there, the view of the river and the London skyline changes dramatically. There are also lots of people who meet there for what I can only call ‘creative power meetings’ its great though as you get to overhear lots of conversations. Todays conversation consists of a group of three; an old lady, a middle aged man and a young girl. They are dramatically conducting a read-through of a play, making edits and notes all the while. **Readers beware** to attend or hold one of these meetings Apple products ARE necessary. I saw a man on an ‘hp’ laptop sitting in the corner. Needless to say the rest of us shunned him.

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This is my friend Holly. We meet at the RA to attend an ‘in conversation’ with Anselm Kiefer. Kiefer is undoubtably one of the world’s greatest living painters and one of my favourites, so as soon as I heard about the event I booked a ticket. Holly also loves Kiefer, but it had sold out by the time she went to book a ticket. Don’t worry though, after being put on the waiting list SHE GOT IN.

Holly and I studied our Art Foundation course at Maidstone togther and we also both went to Brighton University. She studied Architecture and is currently working in an architects practice in London before she continues on to study for her Level 2. Holly’s work is fantastic and her work can be found here. She also had some really exciting news to tell me, however all I can say is watch the One Show on the 21st April.

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Kiefer in conversation with Tim Marlowe was funny, sharp but most of all truly inspiring. His energy was boundless and he couldn’t help but make jokes and laugh all the way through the talk. I’ve tried to sum up the evening and have deleted each try so I shall simply add in a quote he dropped in when asked whether he always wanted to be an artist.

“At first I thought I’d like to be Jesus. Then I thought, the Pope. Who’s better? But then I realised, Artist is best.”

At the end we waited for everyone else to leave, meanwhile a queue had formed and suddenly people had armfuls of books for him to sign. It was slightly embarrassing, mainly the fact that each person had about 4 books each and wanted Kiefer to sign them. “Sign this one to eBay please” Each to their own. I did however go and speak to him and tell him that I enjoyed the talk. I also shook his hand. Of course I haven’t washed it since.

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So after the talk I headed back to the station. Somehow I managed to get on an extremely slow train back to New Cross Gate, stopping at a mere 14 stations from Victoria. Here’s a picture of a man looking a little like I felt, and I know you cant see his face but his shoulders and neck tell me he’s feeling bewildered and tired. Don’t worry about me though, on the train I managed to read and eat my bargain basement 40p croissant from M&S.

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14 stops later, via Timbuctoo I walked up to find the car and drive home. Check out that dash. 0-60 in 1 minute 24.

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Remember that 40p crossaint? Well I also bought a ready meal whilst in M&S. Before you sharpen you pitchforks, remember I made lunch and it’s been a real long day.

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The orb welcomes me to bed. Lamps, all about cosy lamps.

I’d love you all to come and see what I’ve been working on at the Lewisham Arthouse. The exhibition ‘Awkward Conversations’ runs from 2-13 April and is open Wednesdays-Sundays 12-6pm. Or join us for a drink at the late night opening on the 4th April. www.edliddle.org

I’m also showing at Perk and Pearl’s Mind Your Head Gallery in Tunbridge Wells and you’ve got 9 days more to go and see that. I hope our paths cross again! X

Tuesday With Vous: Matt Harquail

Matt is lovely. He and I both do work for the best local magazine, Kudos. He’s the photographer who shoots all their dreamy images, and I handle their social media. Over the past few months, Matt and I have gotten to know each other and I’m incredibly fortunate to be collaborating on some projects (which we’ll be talking about soon) with him and the magazine. And today, I’m lucky enough to have him as a contributor to Tuesday With Vous.  Now let’s see what he gets up to!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Name: Matt Harquail  //  website  //  blog  //  twitter
Location: Crowborough, UK
Occupation: photographer for commercial and private commissions
Camera Used: my spare, a Nikon D510N

0800

I’ve already been emailing from Bed since just after 7. This is my dream catcher. They say that the web captures bad dreams and the morning sun burns them away.

It’s from Canada and hand made by First Nations of the Mi’kmaq people. I picked up my dream catcher while on a family tracing holiday in New Brunswick Canada, Last year.

Every morning I am reminded of my heritage as my grandfather held and my Canadian Family still hold Mi’kmaq Native status.

You wouldn’t think it when you meet me but, I am eligible to have Native status & I’m currently looking into getting it. I’m in my office. My difficult daily commute after breakfast consists of walking up the stairs and stepping into my small office.

0900

On one side it’s all digital with my PC named ‘The Beast’, and on the other is an area for creating including my darkroom which is all packed away.

The image is one of my great ideas! Each time I complete a task big or small I write it on a different coloured sticker for each day and put it on the wall. it’s a great way to track what you’ve been doing and Today’s colour is yellow.

1000

I have a shoot at 11:30.

Preparation is so important! You hear of photographers failing to do their job because they didn’t think to prepare everything the night before and make sure they have everything they need.

I layout my equipment the night before the shoot, on the bench and charge batteries if need be. Then about an hour before I’m due to leave I pack it all up so I’m ready to go knowing that I have everything I need.

When I get back it all goes back on the bench to be stored and then I can double check it has all come back with me.

1100

I’m en route to Oxted in my battered Golf called Rocky to photograph my subject. I love the roads to Oxted as we used to take this road to the M25 when we went to visit my Gran.

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So here is my Subject, a kitchen?! Yup, it can’t always be awesome fashion shoots! Most of my work is commercial, including products, interior/exterior panoramas, corporate head shots and manufacturing processes.

Myself & the lovely people from Causeway Joinery who built and fitted the Kitchen, are just giving the space a spruce up, as it’s easier to spend the time here then it is to correct it all in post production.

1300

Keeping in the TWV time frame here is the shot I was taking at 1pm. It’s of a fully electric hinge that opens and closes the cupboards for you. Neat huh?

1400

All wrapped up! My client is happy with the images after seeing them on the iPad, so it’s time to go home. It’s really great to do this as any missed shots can be taken there and then.

This is the railway bridge in Oxted. There are traffic lights on the other side and I always stared out of the back window of my parents car and admire the craftsmanship that went into making each support and rivet.

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If you Whizz past on the way to Edenbridge you might miss this beautiful view overlooking East Grinstead.

I’ve I always noticed it and if I’m passing and have the time, I like to stop and admire it what ever the weather!  

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Finally home, here’s a food picture. It’s time for lunch!

I love my food and cooking it too. I make a point of having a good meal at lunch, pasta with Parma ham onions and Red peppers, Yum!

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Back to work after a lovely lunch. This is The Beast and has the images downloading and backing up from the earlier shoot.  Next up for me is cutting the behind the scenes feature for Kudos that will show what goes into editing the Fashion feature.

1700

You might have noticed that my Desk is super high up? This is because I’m trying out standing up while working. Also Maali having stolen my office chair might have something to do with it.
I’m still editing. Videos take ages!

1800

Work is done for now. So time for a bit of fun, I brew my own beer under the stairs, and today after one week it’s completed the primary ferment so now it is ready to be Kegged! 25 litres of lovely beer! :)

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COFFEE! I love to drink mine out of a glass, some think it’s strange but I think it tastes better.
Strong black and no sugar is how I like it – just in case you want to make me one!  I make it using a paper filter, Perk & Pearl style.

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…and the beer is kegged! It takes a while as you have to make sure everything is sanitised and then doesn’t smell of sanitiser. This is my 8th brew and should be drinkable in just over a week. The keg’s name is a play on my surname, Harquail.

2100

Finally time for some Dinner, albeit not healthy and I’m working again! A healthy kebab, a treat from the Parents, much appreciated indeed.

I’m a proud member of The Champions Chapter of BNI We’re a referral generating organisation who meet every Wednesday morning for breakfast and to pass business between each other. We’re a group of 18 at the moment and I’m the membership coordinator. I’m doing my meeting preparation while chilling in front of the TV.

2200

I should really be in bed as my start is at 5:30am. But no, because I am a ‘Night Owl’ I have had a brainwave!

I get to shoot features for the awesome and local; Kudos Magazine including the fashion features. I decided to label all the pages featuring my work, and use it as a promo tool for my work and Kudos too! 

2300

Still doing it. Sticking in all of these labels takes forever, nearly done though.

2400

Finally bed time! The last thing I do is write down goals to achieve for the following day, that way there are clear targets and you get most of them done early on.

Doing Tuesday With Vous for Kate’s blog has been a lot of fun. It gives you the chance to really think about what you get up to on a normal day. You can see that a day as a photographer isn’t always fashion shoots and beautiful locations.

Hopefully you can take something from what I’ve written and I look forward to doing another one when I have lots of shoots with beautiful fashion people, and stunning locations!

If I can help with ‘Developing Your Vision” please feel free to get in touch!

Cheers,
Matt

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!

Tuesday With Vous: Caro Spinette

I’m so so so excited to have my amazing friend Caro share her Tuesday with you today! She and I met through Artists Unveiled (we have an event coming up next Wednesday, by the way!) and immediately became great friends.  She’s so so talented and funny and wonderful, and French, and I absolutely adore her.  And I think you’re going to love spending a day with her!

Mardi 4 Mars 2014

Name: Caro Spinette
Location: Tunbridge Wells
Occupation: Artist and Awesome French Tutor
Camera Used: Fujifilm Insta Mini 20 (2002)

midnight 1 midnight 2 midnight 3Tuesday With Moi started unexpectedly early, as I looked at the clock and realized what time it was… I was too busy making the most of my last few hours with my bff, the one who has the power to remind me of the kid buried deep inside the control freak I’ve grown to be!
Tuesday started to the sound of Dan‘s trippy ambient guitar playing, and a soap bubble contest. As you do.

6am

6am-2

The alarm went off 30mn ago. I’m tired and moody. It’s dark outside. Looks like it’s wet too. Great…
That cup of coffee is my superhero. First it’s coffee. Second, it’s in my favourite cup. What more does one need in the morning? Simple things, but simple things that help me cope with the daily traumatism of getting out of my warm and comfy bed.
Time to manage my nervous wreck of a best friend. Leaving in 30mn.

7amHeathrow, here we come!
I’m keeping the English driver awake with some good ol’ sing-along-y tunes, from Simon & Garfunkel to Toto (S’gonna take a loooot to drag me ‘waaaaaaay from yooooooou), whilst the Italian is snoring at the back. Not much sleep she said. Some last minute panic and tears instead, punctuated with some “WHAT THE F*CK AM I DOING???” and some “OH-MY-GOD-OH-MY-GOD-IT’S-HAPPENING-OH-MY-GOD”.
Emotional. Rollercoasted. Indeed.

8am 2 8am 1We’re FINALLY getting closer to Heathrow, according to Tom-Tom.
The sky is blue. I forgot how great that feels.
Perfect day for the Italian to leave on a positive note and start a new adventure elsewhere!
I love airports. I love watching planes in the sky too.  There’s always something special about it, like a silent promise of an awaiting paradise.  The growing sensation of that promise makes you hungry deep inside. Hungry for adventures, travels and discoveries. With the ongoing aim of finding that perfect place that will make you feel whole.
That’s what airports do to me. They remind me that I don’t travel half as much as I used to or should. They make me aware of that hunger again.

9amHeavy smoker’s penultimate cigarette.
Nicorette patches at the ready in her hand luggage, just in case she loses her sanity before landing in San José.
The clock is ticking and I try to focus my mind on simple things… But am fully aware that this coffee and fag moment will probably be the last one we share for another year and a half.

10amArrivederci Amore Moi.
There were tears, but tears of joy!
“You’re ready”, I tell her.
I’ll probably never be a mother– by choice–, but this is how I imagine it feels like. That’s how, I can imagine now, my mum felt the day we said Aurevoir for the first time at the Eurostar terminal in Lille, 7 years ago.
Here we are, and we’ve worked towards this special day for a few years now.
Panic and sadness are suddenly replaced with the realization that her dream has finally come true. I’ve never seen someone work so hard for their dreams and being so grateful when they come true.
She repeats that she’s incredibly lucky. I know it’s not down to luck and I know how much she deserves it. I know exactly what she had to go through to get to this day, in this airport. Heathrow Terminal 4, Tuesday 4th March 2014, 10am. She’s finally ready. A reminder on a sunny day of a dream worth fighting for is definitely the kick I longed for this year.

11Made it back home. All these emotions have knocked me out.
I try to focus on the simple things, again. Shapes on the wall.  Looks like spring is on its way.

12pmMy body’s begging me for some relaxing time: back to square 1 (6.00am).

2pmForced myself out of bed. Traumatised again… WHERE’S MY COFFEE? IS IT TIME FOR SCHOOL??
I’m spending a fair amount of time dozing around the house. I stop in front of the mirror. I love this view from this very angle. Moving this mirror there was definitely a great decision.

3pmI was planning on getting some work done today.
I was not planning on feeling so exhausted today.
Work didn’t happen.
Baudelaire will have to wait. Sorry, Charles!

4pmI’m French. It means that I was born with a good dose of arrogance.
And I’m arrogant enough to not care about my arrogance.
My point is, I’m a great cook. And this banoffee pie is simply aaaaawesome.

5amOh no, it’s work-o-clock…
Because leading the life that I lead means that when you’ve decided too take the day off, you still have to work. No artistic work this morning, no office work this afternoon… but I now have to put my French Teacher cap on and bam, off to my lesson.

6.00
I teach young children, so no picture for this one. You’ll just have to believe me when I say that these kids were on FIRE!!! I mean, not literally, but whatever they’re having, I want the same! Man, I’m glad I had that nap earlier, I’d be dead by now!

7pmI spot this crazy lamp in Darling & Wild on Camden Road on my walk back.
This shop always has the best window displays, and even more so at night!
Plus, seeing it open on my way to work is always one of the highlights of my week, as it means it’s Thursday and the weekend is on its way!

8pmWe planned to have a proper celebration and eat somewhere nice tonight, as it’s our anniversary. But man, those kids totally killed me and by the time I got home, I was dead to the world.
Take away from SuCheera it is then! Like I’m gonna complain…
Thai green curry with coconut rice, a red wine from Stellenbosch, and some Boardwalk Empire on the screen.
Simple things are generally the best.

9pmFalling asleep…
It takes a great effort to decide to go to bed and I stop on my way to contemplate my work space… I’m shutting up the guilt of not having done any work by keeping my mind focused on all the things that I will get done tomorrow.
Mountains of work.
Oh dear, only makes the sensation of exhaustion grow.

10pm

Finally made it to the bedroom, and this is what the world looks like when I’m tired.
Ready for sleep.
Ready for sleep.
Ready fo…