Darcy Clay – Jesus I Was Evil

I’m hitting all my Kiwi music favourites up on  Youtube today. In less than two weeks I’m making my regular February pilgrimage to the sweet shores of Aotearoa. I always get really nervous before a trip home – what if everything has changed? What if I’ve changed too much? What if none of my friends love me anymore? What if I decide I can’t leave again? I just become a stressed out knot of feelings. I’m not ready to leave London yet, but New Zealand in the summer is just so damn amazing…

Daily photo: Retro roosters

Chicken licken

Chicken licken… A throwback to 2005, when I went travelling with my friend Richard in Thailand. This is from somewhere in Bangkok; a flock of golden cockerels.

I feel a little bit ill to think that it was a whole decade ago we ventured into the smoggy heat, exploring South East Asia for the first time. I’ll spare you the self-portrait – but think bleach blonde hair, white t-shirts and aqua-marine cotton skirts with a hem skimming my ankles.

Spore fund

In a similar vein to 3M (they came up with the idea first) and Google’s generous 15% free time allowance,  I love Wieden and Kennedy’s idea of a ‘Spore fund‘. Basically, it’s a pot of money set aside to fund creative ideas that might not have anything to do with the agency’s day-to-day projects. One recipient put the dosh towards creating a peek-a-boo, Snapchat look-book for a lingerie brand, which is rather clever.

Miss Crofton Snapchat

Sod innovation and futures departments, I’d love to see this in more companies – even just a tiny sum could make a real difference in terms of morale and innovation.

Some things…

A little list of things I am really into right now… There’s nothing better than a personal recommendation, and these are my January picks.

Photo

The Doughnut Hatch: On Kingsland Road in the heart of Shoreditch there’s a window that serves just two things: doughnuts and filter coffee. From 9am until they sell out, there’s two daily choices of flavours which could be anything from salted caramel to lemon curd to cherry, Oreo or pistachio.

Ozone cafe, Old Street: good coffee, tick. Smashed avo and radish bruschetta, double tick. Baked eggs and beans, seconds please. This massive cafe and coffee roasters is kiwi run – possibly why it consistently blows all newcomers out of the water.

Walking/canal life:  One of the most pleasurable things about living in Hoxton is the proximity to Regent’s Canal. I love nothing more than putting on my shoes ad taking Duchess out for a stroll up or down the canal. There’s always something to see – from terrapins to cute narrowboats – and at the moment it’s particularly lovely in the evenings as all the boats start a wood-burning fire. It smells amazing, and the air is so crisp… Winter perfection.

COYO: Coconut yoghurt is amazing. I’m like a year late on this but as someone who can’t eat dairy/abide by soy alternatives this is AMAZING. My favourite is made by the Coconut Collaborative, who have very funny packaging to boot.

Kent hairbrushes: I have just spent a wild amount of money for me on a hairbrush. I’m trying to upgrade the things I use or touch daily – to make sure they‘re of quality, and that I invest enough so they last longer.  Boar bristle brushes spread the natural oils your scalp produces from root to tip, resulting in healthier, shinier hair. They’re particularly awesome for people like me with baby-fine locks.

Shoes for life: In a similar vein I’m trying to invest in shoes of a higher quality, rather than just buying some Primark sneakers every eight weeks. Brands such as Loake (UK) feature a Goodyear welted leather sole. This is a method  of shoe construction from Northamptonshire that allows shoes to be repaired over and over again, perfect for boots subjected to daily abuse from gritty London pavements.

Sadly I don’t own a pair of Loake boots (yet! The Anne brogue boots will be mine, oh yes.) but their commitment to customer service has already won me over. The store manager in Piccadilly has ordered in various sizes from the warehouse for me, texted me updates, and  has generally just been lovely.

Darkness

watery depths

As the singer Gillian Welch wrote, “Some girls are bright as the morning / And some girls are blessed with a dark turn of mind.” I like the word “blessed.” I like to think that demons can sometimes be angels, that probing through the mire, we can recognize the glint of those small things that sustain us.

– Kim Addonizio in the NY Times

(This is my favourite-ever photo/self portrait.  I still have a dark turn of mind, but I’m open to spending time with the curtains open and the sunlight streaming in now.)

by Amber Parkin