Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Selfridges, Oxford Street

I love Selfridges.It's one of my favourite stores ever! Department stores are still in full swing over here and they are very impressive. I love wandering through it early on a Saturday before all the shoppers turn up. These are just a few photos from my last trip. The new shoe gallery is amazing and the displays are just lovely. It's just a special place full of amazing treasures.

Denim Casual Uniqlo Video

The second Uniqlo fashion video went live yesterday! I am really happy with how it turned out. There's one more that will be up next week! I will say that I was inspired by this one and went and bought a pair of jeggings which are leggings that are styled to look like skinny jeans. The pair I bought from Uniqlo look like real jeans, they've got functional pockets on the back so they aren't just stretch pants :) If you like skinny jeans then these are a godsend, because they are so comfortable and easy to get on.

Enough about that! Enjoy the video and thanks for watching what I get to do at work :)

Friday, 20 August 2010

The final countdown


I've got Minnesota on the brain big time. I can't believe that we fly out on Wednesday. I am just so excited about this trip! There are so many things that I am excited to do. All the people I am going to get to see, all the food to eat.....

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

Life in the UK test

I am happy to say that I passed my Life in the UK test! I took it on Thursday over at the Brixton Library. The best part was while I was waiting to pay the fee this totally drunk Scottish guy wandered in and started mouthing out. When asked if he needed any help he just turned the air blue. It was mental, but what I would expect to happen in a public library in Brixton.

The test didn't take very long to complete, under 10 minutes. It was only 24 questions long, but I am glad that I spent time reading the book and taking a few practice tests online. 

I thought I would feel massively different after passing the test, but I still feel pretty American :)

Brixton Market

This is why I love Brixton

I love Brixton and this pop up shop is one of the reasons why!  I am really looking forward to this pop up shop put on by the Zombie Collective. They are putting on a one day pop up shop selling prints and other art, plus free workshops for adults and children, including bookbinding and face-painting.
That's my Saturday morning sorted!

Monday, 16 August 2010

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Nina's vintage hair parlour

I went to get my haircut on Saturday at Nina's vintage hair parlour. I was well due for a cut and decided to spice up my style. I am in the long boring process of growing my hair out and lately it's just been pulled back in "messy" bun. So I turned to a very stylish lady for my hair inspiration....Miss Bettie Page. Before I had the cut I deepened the color of my hair. I had it lightened for the summer and it was time to go back to my natural darker color. I went with a warm deep brown and not the full on black. I just can't get away with it being too dark.

I went to see Nina and she sorted me out. I love going to her salon, it's so lovely and vintage :) Just as I got there a woman was having her done up to look like an ice cream cone!

I'll post up some photos tomorrow, but I've got the full Bettie fringe and cut. I've still got some short mid layers that I need to grow out, but Nina thought it should only take about 4-5 months and then I'll be all set!

If anyone out there is after a vintage hair do, then you should definitely check it out. It's worth the money, Nina is wonderful and you'll look amazing. I am very happy with my new style :)

Won't you be my neighbor?

When you live in a big city you usually don't get to know your neighbors. I've lived in three other flats before this one and I certainally never got to know anyone until I moved to Brixton. I've been thinking lately that maybe that's not a bad thing

About a month back Matthew and I were in the flat unpacking. Out of the blue we had a knock on the door. We both just sort of stopped dead in our tracks and looked at each other. We had no idea who would be knocking on our door. My first thought was that maybe we had the music up too loud and it was a neighbor coming to ask us to turn it down.

Turned out that it was the  lady across the hall coming round to pay us a visit. She introduced herself briefly before pushing past Matthew to enter the flat to have a look around. I will say that she isn't in her right mind, but is very friendly. She was wearing a bathrobe with no sash and nothing underneath! She was kind enough to adjust it from time to time when she noticed that it had come too far open.

Once inside the flat, Marcia, asked if she could have a cold drink. This request really caught me off guard. It's just a bit strange to have some invite themselves in and then demand a cold drink. I poured a glass of water as she walked across the room to sit herself down at the kitchen table.

Turns out she was in a mental hospital for a while when she was living over in America and that she also suffers from vicious pain after falling off a bus. We sat and chatted for a spell before I told her that we needed to finish unpacking and would it be all right if I walked her back to her flat?

I didn't bother me that she came over. I think she must be pretty lonely living on her own. It was just so unusual. She's been back a few times since then, for  much shorter visits. She usually isn't interested in talking to me if Matthew isn't around. That could be because Matthew usually will giver her a few pounds. 

Sometimes she'll knock on the door once we've come home and we just ignore it. Although she'll knock for ages since she knows we're in. After several minutes of repetitive knocking she takes a hint.

We also have neighbors who live downstairs......these people like to shout and row a great deal. They aren't the kind of neighbors people are excited about having. They have two small children who when they're not being yelled at by their parents are out playing naked in their filthy garden. 

I can see their garden from my bedroom window and it's just a complete pit. Littered with junk and bicycle wheels. Not a nice place for kids to play at all. Plus they've got a dog who digs up everything in the yard, which is why I am  guessing it's just all dirt back there now. 

I had a bad feeling about these people when we first came to look at the place. Their window blinds were all bent and crazy looking...which I took to be a bad sign. In some ways I feel really back writing about these people,like I am betraying their privacy or maybe I am just scared they'll find this post and start knocking on my door. Although I seriously doubt that, I get the feeling that they wouldn't even know what a blog is.  They are pretty horrible and I feel bad for the kids.

The man and woman had a big fight today. Crazy swearing and some pretty filthy things were said, with lots of door slamming in between. Sigh......

I just try to ignore them and get on with it. I love my flat and hope things don't get worse. We'll see how it goes. Marcia has asked if we'll get her some tshirts in America. She calls me beautiful Yankee girl :) We'll bring some back for her, to make up for the times when we don't answer the door :)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

State Fair here I come!

Here's Taylor and me at the MN state fair back in 2008. We both look so young! I wasn't married yet and Taylor hadn't left to teach English in Japan. We were fresh out of university and ready to take the world by storm! 

A lot has happened since 2008 and let's just say that I am tickled pink to meeting back up with Taylor at the fair on the 26th of August. Taylor is home for a summer visit and we were keen coordinate our trips so we could go to the fair together. The funny thing was that Taylor hadn't even bothered to check the fair dates and he was going to be back to Japan before it even started! He came to his senses and changed his plane ticket :) 

I'll have to say that the last time at the fair was a bit of a whirlwind. Matthew and I arrived in Minneapolis and we went straight to the fair with Taylor that night. I usually don't like to arrive at the fair after 5 p.m. We were also dog tired after the flight and I spent too much time sitting on the bench resting my eyes instead of feeding my face. We didn't get enough eating in, which was sad. Matthew enjoyed it, but he's going to really enjoy this year!

I find this photo to be very telling. I have a special State Fair ritual that goes back many years. I like to start out by getting a chocolate milkshake in the dairy barn and then enjoy that whilst admiring the cows. It's how I start out every fair visit and I can't wait to do it this year. 

Even though we arrive on the 25th we've decided to go the following day for the reasons that Taylor so eloquently outlined in an email to me:

I say we hit up the State Fair on the 26th for three reasons:

1. It's the opening day so the bathroom facilities will be fresh.
2. It's Thrifty Thursday which means that admission is $9 instead of the normally exorbitant $11.
3. The streets and sidewalks will be at their cleanest - allowing for the smoothest and most obstacle-free motorized cart journey.

Oh yes, did I mention that we were going to be renting motorized carts??????

Friday, 6 August 2010

A big old update!!

I spend a lot of time thinking about blogging lately, but I've been a busy bee and a bit blog lazy. Then the longer it was since my last post the harder it was to write, because I felt like I had all these back posts to write. So I was over the moon when I saw on another blog a person in the same predicament and they did a nice little update post. I liked it so I am going to copy it. They did a nice little update post to catch themselves up after a period of blogging inactivity, so I am doing the same!

Moved to Brixton!

I love living in Brixton and being south of the river. Before we were living in a flat with another couple in Shepherds Bush. The reason for living with other people was that I was too cheap to want to pay London rent, which is very expensive. It wasn't a matter of not being able to, just that I couldn't come to terms with seeing that huge lump some going out every month for a place we didn't own.

After a while I came to terms with it and wanted us to live on our own. Our flatmates were good people to live with and it allowed us to save some money, but I wanted our own space. After a while I just felt like I was staying somewhere and I wanted to be a bit more settled. I also wanted to live in a different part of London. We had lived in Chiswick before and I was ready to live beyond West London. Shepherds Bush is an ok place to live, but it's not very exciting.

My mate Mary and her friend Sara moved to Brixton and since I knew a few other people who lived down that I way we followed suit. So happy we did. I really like it, in a lot of ways it reminds me of New York.

I also am in love with my flat! It's a nice two bedroom and it's got stairs! I've got an upstairs in my flat, that's just too cool. I am slowly getting it all decorated. I love that it's our place and did I mention I can see the pub from my kitchen window and that Mary lives just around the corner?

New job as a Social Media Strategist at WAX 

I've been with WAX since April and things are brilliant. It's a great team and I've got some fun and challenging projects to work on. I am producing a series of online fashion videos for Uniqlo, it's been really cool. We used Twitter to find people to star in the videos and it was the first time I've produced a live video. It's been great working with @ollyscope on the editing and graphics. It couldn't be better and I love Uniqlo as a brand so it makes it good fun. They will be released mid August. I've been also working on an account for Priemer Foods, which is great. Lets just say that I love going to work and since I get to work on social media strategy it's a dream come true :)

New role as the Who's Your Momma programme director for SheSays UK

I am super excited about this! She Says really helped me to find my feet when I was looking for my first job here in London. I had a great experience with my mentor and have a lot of love for this amazing network of women so I was very honored to be asked to take over as director of the Who's Your Momma mentorship programme. I am passionate about mentorship and networking so I am looking forward to helping others in the industry.

Alessandra Lariu one of the She Says Cofounders was featured in Fast Company! There are so many talented and creative woman that I've met through She Says, it's global so you should definitely check out if there's a group in your area or start one yourself!

Holiday to Minnesota and New York

Matthew and I are going to be in Minneapolis from the 25th of August until September 8th and then to NYC for four days before heading back to London. I can't wait to see everyone and eat some hot dish!

Back to Blogging
Now with this update post out of the way I am ready to get back to the blog!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Back to the States!!!!

The last time I was in America was May 2009. It was a for a  long weekend to attend a wedding and it seems like a million years ago. I've thought a lot about going home for a visit over the past year, but to be honest I felt really hesitant about it.

I was really afraid of how I would feel if that makes any sense. While it would be great to see everyone that I had missed so much I worried that I would be really sad once I came back to London. So I stayed away. I thought it would be just too sad to have to say good bye to everyone.

They say in many articles about adjusting to a new country that there are different stages that an expat goes through. Even though I decided to live in London I still went and am going through these different stages.

Stage 1 - Excitement
The individual experiences a holiday or 'honeymoon' period with their new surroundings.
. Feel very positive about the culture
. Are overwhelmed with impressions
. Find the new culture exotic and are fascinated
. Are passive, meaning they have little experience of the culture

(Oct 2007 - August 2008) Stage 1 happened when I first arrived to study in 2007 at LCC. I loved London and found everything to be amazing and I liked how different it all was. I would say that I was definitely in the honeymoon period up until I came back married and ready to really live in London. Up until that point I had been studying and having fun. I did miss home, mainly the people, but it didn't bother me too much.

Stage 2 - Withdrawal
The individual now has some more face to face experience of the culture and starts to find things different, strange and frustrating.

. Find the behaviour of the people unusual and unpredictable
. Begin to dislike the culture and react negatively to the behaviour
. Feel anxious
. Start to withdraw
. Begin to criticize, mock or show animosity to the people

(October 2008- February 2010) Stage 2  kicked in when I arrived back from the States to live here properly. This is when I started my job search and was trying to find my feet. I felt irritable and isolated and at times even hostile towards other people. I was tired of being different. I missed the comfort and familiarity of where I was from. A lot of things felt challenging and annoying. I also was really feeling very homesick at this point. This was a rotten stage to be in.

Stage 3 - Adjustment
The individual now has a routine, feels more settled and is more confident in dealing with the new culture.

. Understand and accept the behaviour of the people
. Feel less isolated
. Regains their sense of humour

(February 2010 - April 2010) Stage 3 began for me just about the time that I decided to leave my job. I finished my job on the last day of February and then immediately the next day I went on a week long skiing holiday with Matthew, his brother Thomas and our friends Ali and Becky. That was a fantastic trip and I knew when I got back that things were going to be different. I felt like I had overcome a hurdle and was moving on. It was a great feeling! 

I don't know how to really explain it, but I felt different as a person.

Stage 4 - Enthusiasm
The individual now feels 'at home'.

. Enjoy being in the culture
. Functions well in the culture
. Prefer certain cultural traits of the new culture rather than their own
. Adopt certain behaviours from the new culture

(April 2010 - present) Stage 4 I can't tell you how happy I am to be at this stage. Don't get me wrong. I of course get homesick and miss my friends and family and at times feel uncertain about things, but I feel the love and excitement I once had for London again. I feel so much more alive and happy about everything now. I love my job and where I am living, things are falling into place due to hard work and perseverance.

Of course moving through these steps wasn't as clear cut as I've made it out to be in this short post, but looking back I can definitely see myself experiencing them.

So I feel really good about going back to Minnesota for a visit and all that I've achieved since I've been in London. I never really thought it would be hard to adjust to a new country, but it does make you a stronger person. 

I can't wait to be back and see everyone that I've missed so much.
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