Pretty fillies

by Amber on April 5, 2014

Nothing like seeing real clothes-horses wearing millinery finery at the UK’s Aintree Races… There’s something quite sardonic about these photos. See more at The Guardian.

Horse in hats

Horse in hats

Aintree horses

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That time in Morocco

by Amber on March 11, 2014

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Smells in Morocco
Verbena tea
Charred wool
Hanging jasmine
Two stroke engines
Cat piss

Sounds of Morocco
Crackling call to prayer
Throb of motorbikes
Cigarette sellers jangling bells
The clack of shoeshiners knocking their wooden brushes together

I found these notes from 2012 on a piece of paper floating around my bedroom. I feel like I haven’t travelled enough, seen enough, tasted everything out there. (Literally. Pass me the plate of coconut ghribas.)

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Window Canteen

by Amber on February 8, 2014

http://www.codeforsomething.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/window-coffee.png

I really like Hackney Road. It’s gritty, it’s lively, it has a lot of shoe shops per capita, and it’s where the bar is… but it isn’t quite gentrified to the point where you can find a decent coffee any which way you swing your limbs. So it was a delight to find Window Canteen,  a cosy little outpost amongst all the heels and trainers. While the place is named for the walk-by coffee service they offer, Thom and I chose to sit in and sip our flat-whites in quiet contemplation – him, pondering the frothing qualities of soy milk, me – admiring the cool installation of raindrops by Studio Mufufu*.

No food on this visit, but lunch looks lovely judging by the other reviews. Small, simple, and a real DIY spirit. I’ll be back.

Window Canteen
276 Hackney Rd, Hackney
London, E2, UK

* “Mufufu is a mimetic word that represents a chuckle in Japanese. It is the overflowing, involuntary smile brought forth by an epiphany, a light bulb moment.”

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Let’s do the time warp again

by Amber on February 7, 2014

I spotted this little laundromat on Whitmore Rd, Hoxton, while out walking around our neighbourhood. It’s been closed for nearly five years, but not a thing has changed since the day the door shut. Aside from some saggy ceiling panel stalactites and newly formed mountains of dust, that is.

Hoxton Time Warp

First thought: Would love one of those retro blue dryers… Second thought: This would make a good bar…

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My Friday pick – an oldie but a goodie. Such athleticism!

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Storm warning

by Amber on January 20, 2014

waiting at the bus stop

“Once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”

— Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

(An old photo from Auckland, waiting at the bus stop in the rain. A weather system from oh, five years ago.)

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Daily photo: the fox of Hoxton

by Amber on January 19, 2014

Photo

An early riser spotted in Hoxton this afternoon, just before sunset. A brave little fellow (or fellow-ess?), the fox didn’t blink at any of the passersby. Likewise, they didn’t see him either, wrapped up in their own little worlds of late-for-work, what-should-I-buy, head-phones-on. It’s good to breathe deeply, take things slowly and see some nature in the city.

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Mini craft project: pinboard

by Amber on January 7, 2014

This is the part where I get all Pinterest on you. I picked up this cork board for £1 in a Salvation Army jumble sale on Saturday morning. A little masking tape and some gold spray paint, and voila, a board worthy of pinning. I’m actively trying to train myself to see the possibility in old goods, rather than buying everything new. I think this fits the bill – and I’m pretty chuffed with the results

Photo

Photo

TIP: If you’re going to make one of these, rule a line down the centre of your board in pencil before starting. You can then use this line to align the apex of every chevron.

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God’s Own Junkyard

by Amber on January 3, 2014

God's Own JunkyardLast September, news got out the God’s Own Junkyard, artist Chris Bracey’s shrine to all things illuminated, was being closed after developers purchased the site. Cue hordes of people, including myself, high tailing it to Walthamstow to see the collection before it was dismantled. Thankfully, a new home has been found for God’s Own Junkyard – resurrection!

Here are some snaps of our visit to the original site (on its last weekend), a feast of glorious, blinding neon:

100yearsGod's Own Junkyard God's Own Junkyard God's Own JunkyardGod's Own JunkyardGod's Own Junkyard
God’s Own Junkyard

Unit 12, Ravenswood, Industrial Estate Shernhall Street
London, E17 9HQ, UK

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To be frank

by Amber on January 1, 2014

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In 2013, a lot happened. It was not a sedentary year by any means.

I roamed the world: Brussels, New Zealand, delightful Istanbul, Switzerland and Italy by train with my mum and aunts, Amsterdam, Gothenburg, back to New Zealand for my darling sister’s wedding, and then to Boston.

My main man opened a bar (more on that soon!) and I bought an apartment in the South Pacific. We hung most of the art in our London flat – a minor victory for the lazy renter. I discovered I really, really like sanding and varnishing, and email design. I am not ashamed to say I acquired at least 20 new-to-me vintage dresses either. I’ve managed my finances better, explored numerous new recipes, and oh yes, the year we open a cocktail bar, I stopped drinking. How ironic. It’s been 8 months now, and well, I don’t have a hangover today so I guess that’s a bonus!

That said, some things didn’t go so well. I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety for a good chunk of 2013, and I didn’t really manage a “work-life” balance. I didn’t write very much or take as many photos – which is a shame because these two things really are my ‘outlets’. Forget about jogging, I think I went for two runs in the last year.

So, a few resolutions – they seem to stick better when you make a public declaration:

- Expand my horizons: practice my French
- More making: complete one personal creative project a month
- Capture: a photo a day on Instagram
- Stretch: a daily writing practice (beyond my professional work)
- Slow down: always a challenge, but I’ve been baking my own bread – how else can I slow things down in my daily life?
- Less consumerism: more thrifting, more recycling, more Kiwi ingenuity.

Here’s to a fresh new year! Wishing you all the best.

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