Since I can remember I’ve always been fascinated with nature, trees, leaves you name it I’ve photographed it in the city and in the heart of the countryside (definitely something to do with my National Trust membership) there’s something so peaceful and naturally beautiful about trees and the V&A curation team have captured this perfectly in their exhibition ‘Into The Woods: Trees in photography’
‘Universal Motherhood’ a journey through the lottery of birth is a multi sensory free exhibition, just off Oxford Street at Noho studios that you just can’t miss. It’s immersive, moving and a must see for the western world. Starting upstairs with a pair of headphones on, you explore the feeling of motherhood, the anticipation of birth and the many diverse circumstances women find themselves in in the run up to having a baby. The exhibition follows five expectant mothers from around the world from pre, during and post birth to document their lives before baby, their baby’s birth and their new baby in the weeks after birth including the sometimes harsh reality of motherhood throughout the world. Through voice, photography and moving image this exhibition invites you into each woman’s individual world to tell you their story. You can’t help but feel incredibly connected and protective of these women throughout their latter stage of pregnancy, into the birthing process. As someone who was born in a hospital I was almost compelled to shout at the screen – Where is the doctor? Get this woman to a hospital! and cry when a baby is born, not breathing.
Earlier this month Adam and I spent a very cold and wet Sunday morning in the V&A museum in South Kensington, London. It was the final day of their exhibition charting their latest extension at the museum and with Adam being a massive building geek (professional translation = Architect) we headed over whilst we still had a chance to see what was on display.
When I woke up this morning, hours beyond my alarm I figured I’d stay home and concentrate on those odd bits and bobs around the house before heading out to see Network at The National Theatre.
I’m trying to cut down on food waste at home (Not that we waste much anyway) I grew up in a household where you ate everything on your plate all the time, regardless of weather you liked it or not. So with a few little bits of home made pastry left in the fridge and lots of lovely fresh root veggies I threw together a few pies for lunches next week and popped a cottage pie together too as a nice winter warmer supper for when we got back from the theatre.
It’s become something of a tradition for Adam and I to head to central London a few days before Christmas for a last look at the city in its Christmas spirits before heading home for the holidays. This year we both took the day off work and made our way over to Oxford Street just in time for the stores to open. The early bird catches the worm and all that! Armed with a list of the stores we needed to visit, the things we wanted to buy and and the little Christmasssy pit stops along the way to stare at trees or lights.
I love Ikea. I mean, who doesn’t? And now I actually have my own flat I’m even more ‘pro Ikea’ the minimalist aesthetic, the matte finished and of course, the price have all got me sold.
The only downside to my ikea thirst is the fact that I live in Zone 2. To get to IKEA would take me an hour and a half and I’m pretty sure that during that time I’d kill my other half (Hi Addie!) in a car park in Croydon after taking a wrong turn thanks to google maps. Another crushing reality is that we don’t have a car, so we would have to fork our for an uber or a van to get all those overgrown plants, veggie Swedish meatballs and undeniable homeware bargains back to base camp.
So with my Dad coming to stay next weekend we’ve roped him in to drive us to Ikea for those few final bits and bobs that will make our house our home.
So here are my tips for not spending a million pounds that you don’t have, on stuff you don’t need from Ikea and also how not to kill your other half in a car park in Croydon.
1. Make a plan
Adam and I spent Saturday morning walking round the flat with pen and paper in hand, sketching out and note taking how we wanted each room in our flat to look.
Me made the purpose of the room clear, discussed what our expectations of those rooms were and came to a middle ground of what we wanted the space to look like aesthetically. It was super helpful that we’d already been collating a couples ‘house’ board on Pinterest so we both were on the same page design wise. Result.
2. Make a list
After we’d figured out what we wanted and where, we listed what we needed to buy from Ikea for what room and what we’d need tool wise to actually get it on the walls so that we can actually bloody use whatever it is we’re buying. Wise.
3. Prepare with action!
With a plan and a list we decided that it was now prime pre- Ikea time to move things into their ‘final destination’ so that when we come back from Ikea we can get things on the wall and focus organising the things we’ve bought rather than fiddle and faff about with existing furniture and belongings. Saving time and energy and that all too valuable family time that doesn’t involve dragging my dad around Ikea Croydon.
As we moved those few bits of furniture, plants and belongings into the right rooms we cleaned, hoovered and dusted making life so much easier and not to mention nicer. There’s no better feeling than a clean and tidy home.
So we’ve got the plan, we’ve made a list and we’re all clean, tidy and clutter free for the new additions to our first home!
Doing it together saved arguments, confusion, time and potentially money and planning to go in the car eliminated us having a row in a car park (smart, I know) we’re now set and ready to fill our boots with Swedish veggie balls later this week and to get some shelves on these bare walls!
I will update you guys soon with our progress, in the mean time, do you guys have any tips for surviving Ikea!? I’d love to hear them!
The cabinet was grey, industrial office looking, but in seemingly good condition, I jokingly said that if it was there in the way back we’d nab it, after all there was no way I was turning back home, it was already 2pm and we’d only just left the house, so much for a day out!
Later that day…
When we were walking back to mine and Ad’s, there it was again, untouched and still available. That was that, we were having it. It may seem scummy in a world of West Elm to take free furniture off the street but this unit was in fantastic condition and was up for grabs. Living in a house without furniture Is stressful and weird, and with pay day a fare bit away (adult life ey?) and the student loan no longer in my bank account, we can’t afford to be too picky, we can however be thrifty, crafty and creative with both what we have, what we find and how we use it within the walls of our gorgeous new home.
Ad took some convincing, he really did. I was that irritating woman in the middle of a south London street talking her boyfriend into something. My dad stood at the sidelines watching, refusing to chip into the persuasion and outright refused to pick up the other end of the cabinet after I asked him. As he puts it ‘It’s between you and Adam now.’ He raised a good point.
Eventually, I reasoned with Adam that we needed a storage unit for stationary and art supplies, but equally needed something to act as a side table or tv stand in our bedroom, to make things look and feel more homely, uncluttered and tidy.
Even Adam couldn’t deny that free was a bargain, we did need the storage, the unit totally matched the colour scheme in our flat and he was sold when I said we didn’t have to keep it forever, we could use it until our finances improve ( haha,lol London, good one. ) then send the cabinet back off to the curb to be picked up by someone else in need of a free piece of furniture. The circle of London life.
So we each grabbed an end and trapced it around half a mile up the road. We looked mental. Dad just stood laughing and taking pictures. We made it back to the flat, parked the new find out front to be anti bac-ed and washed before bringing it into the house. We managed to scrub it down and spruce it up before it started to rain and hauled it up our stairs to place it in its new home.
A week or so later, we’ve polished and buffed it and really made it our own! Now even Adam claims
that he found the unit! We’ve placed some pictures on the unit, until we get around to drilling them into the wall. We’ve also placed some plants and pencils on tops. I can now easily find a pen or pencil without having to rummage through boxes!
Inside the cabinet we’ve got spare bed linen, excess and spare toiletries and stationary. Underneath
houses my scrapbooking glue, paint and magazine clippings in brown card boxes that fit like they were made to live there. It really was a a great buy. Who’d have thought a cabinet from the curb would end up sitting pride of place, good as new in our bedroom ey!?
Never look a gift horse in the mouth,
Saturday was so much fun, my dad came to stay for the weekend. It’s the first time he’s come to stay since we officially moved in and this time we actually had a bed for him to sleep in (read more about our move in shinanigans here)
Adam and I had jotted down a few ideas of things to do over the weekend, most of them around SouthBank. So we planned to show dad the sights, stretch our legs and infuse a bit of culture into the weekend…
We started off at London Bridge station, hopping over the borough market. Which honestly, is another post in itself. It’s so busy, bustling with people, food pulled high and more options than your belly knows what to do with. We wanders through, tried lots of samples and gazed at the serious array of bread they have on offer. Got to love the bread.
After sauntering through Borough Market we headed west along the river, passing clink and the eateries by the bridge. We then stumbled across an A board advertising free tours of The Rose Theatre. Adam and I are massive theatre lovers and also are poor graduates, so free stuff is always welcome to come our way. We followed the signs into the side of an office building, which underneath housed the remains of the rose theatre. It’s well worth a visit, it’s super interesting how such an old theatre was uncovered and partly preserved after so much time. It’s ilder than the glove and was where William Shakespeare tested out some of his earliest material.
We ended up in a q&a session with an archeology student after watching a film narrated by sir Ian mckellen. It was great, if a little dated and whilst I’m all for learning something new, I felt rather trapped by the never ending stream of volunteers wanting to talk to us. It was all a little too much and we found it hard to leave. Awkward. However! If your a thespian or history fan, go go go!
After making our way through the crowds, we reached the Tate. It’s always so busy and bustling, no matter what time or day you go. It’s such a wonderful space, full of art, open spaces and home of an extensive bookshop that’s full of essential reads from the worlds of: art, culture, architecture and fashion.
After pit stopping for what ended up being the smallest coffee ever, we made our way through the lower ground galleries and then up to the viewing deck. Adam and I went around this time last year when it opened, they’ve done a fantastic job, it really is a London treasure and completely free so well worth a visit.
We always end up taking the stairs when at the Tate because the lifts are always too slow and far too cramped! There’s a break in the staircase that’s become our photo backdrop. Each time we go we snap a photo. Perhaps this will be something we do to track our age, haha.
Funnily enough, I was wearing this backpack last time I had my photo taken here.
The views from the Tate are stunning and totally free. It’s a fantastic viewing platform, wrapped around the building, allowing you to see North, South, East and West. It’s much clearer than the Sky Garden or The Shard, whilst it’s probably not great if you live in view of the platform and can’t walk around in your pants due to the tourists , it’s a beautiful way to see more of the city skyline.
After the Tate we headed over to St Pauls, over the bustling millennium bridge and into the St Pauls area of the city.
Wimbledon was on, so we stopped for a gander, then waited a lifetime to get on the table tennis tables that are there. We never did get on the table tennis tables, but we did see a pair of love birds sharing a discarded sausage roll. London wildlife ey?
We’d walked a long way and it was pretty warm, so we finished the day with a beverage by the river, the perfect end to a relaxed day chilling and exploring with my two favourite people.
Catch up soon,
Borough Market, a place full of flavour, character and London charm. When I asked my Dad what he fancied doing whilst he was staying with Adam and I for the weekend, his first suggestion was borough market, with Adam and I being massive foodies, we were sold, so when the weekend arrived, off we went to Borough Market.
It’s got an old industrial vibe, despite the new glossy entrance the one you go through if you’re coming in from London Bridge. The building, just like the food stalls are intriguing and worth stopping to have a look at- and don’t forget to look up!
We’d had a pretty massive breakfast, but that didn’t stop me with the free samples. From fudge to cake, pies and pate; i was interested in anything and everything.
Borough quite clearly had something for everyone. From Vegan, Gluten free and juicing options, the place was packed with all different types of people, all eating all different types of food from all corners of the world.
We’d sort of wandered straight into the sweet stuff: jams, meringue, melon pieces, fruit salads and cakes and a whole host of drinks stalls, selling iced teas, cold coffees and homemade lemonades. It was a foodies dream desert destination.
Moving towards the mains of falafel, hummus, burgers, wraps, lasagne, curry and stir fry, it all smelt amazing!
There’s also a fresh food section full of fruits and veggies for you to take home and cook yourself. There’s a whole host of strange and unusual, specialist foods and ingredients like asian mushrooms, Spices and tomatoes of every kind on offer.
It was amazing to see so many foods, so many people enjoying those foods and getting to try things you wouldn’t otherwise get the chance to. We really enjoyed our time at borough market and will be back for a full breakfast, lunch and dinner sometime soon! I’d highly recommend visiting if you’re in town, you’ll find all of the world best food favourites all under one roof!
We were exploring the rest of south bank for the rest of the day, you can read about what we got up to after borough market here.
With the most important thing of the day done, we picked up some pastries from Waitrose and an Americano coffee for me and hopped on the bus towards Chelsea. I’ve spend loads of time in Knightsbridge / Kensington area but not too much time in Chelsea, so we went off to explore…
After hopping off at Sloane Square station, we wandered into Duke of York Square to have a mosey through some of the stores in there. They’ve got a fantastic COS, LK Bennet and Joseph and they’ve got Aesop opening soon. But the jewel in the crown is by far their Zara. Its the tidiest Zara I’ve ever seen and I’ve seen my far share of Zaras in my time in fashion! It’s a pleasure to shop in and has a cute little homeware section too.
The Duke Of York Square also houses lots of restaurants, bars and The Saachi Gallery. It bridges the gap between Sloane Square and The Kings Road and brings you out at the park. It’s such a lovely space that is the perfect lazy Sunday destination.
We pit stopped at Holland and Barett to get aloe vera gel for Adam’s sunburn, then bought some factor 50 to prevent the crisping. It was really hot and being so fair, we were starting to feel the burn. We had no choice. We stopped and stood in the middle of kings road applying suncream to our faces, when in the Royal Borough ey?
After exploring the shops, we headed down some of the sides streets, the more residential looking ones to get a glimpse of the architecture and take a breather from the crowds. The houses were beautifully pruned and painted in pastel colours, a gorgeous street that must see a lot of snap chat and instagram attention!
After a few snaps and a browse in John Sandoe books, the treasure trove of books in Chelsea – Got to love a good bookshop! The smell is amazing! We decided to head back to pick up the telly and call it a day, heading home in an Uber, shielded from the sun and ready for another layer of the Aloe Vera.
Who said adventures aren’t glamorous!?
We’ll be sure to head back to chelsea again soon – do you guys have any recommendations?