A very Camden Christmas Eve eve – a short story

Words

“Please mind the gap, between the train and the platform…” echoes over a dozen of heads as I step off the train on the tube station. I climb the 94 steps back to reality, up from the underground. Coats and boots fill the gaps everywhere around me, but Camden Town is not as crowded as usual. Might have something to do with the fact that today is Christmas Eve eve. For once, I thank my irregular work rota and I’m happy that I got today off. Even if that means I have to work Christmas Day…

Under the soles of slightly warmer boots, colourful words paint the ground. I stop and read the chalk poems and search the pockets of my faux-fur for a few coins but with no result. Soon, my own words start to form silent poetry on my lips.

My dr. Martens cross the road, to the way too familiar chain coffee shop.
“Gingerbread Latte, please. Yeah tall. Oh and soy milk, no cream. Thanks.” The barista smiles and gives me my change back. I make a mental note of giving the coins to the street poet.

Back out in the crisp but not too cold London winter, the smell of the coffee in my hand is hidden underneath the Christmas tree sale along the main road. They still sell these today, for totally unorganised people without any sense of structure to their life. I completely forgot, I should probably get one… Later.

Next to the fragrant trees, there are bundles of holly and mistletoe. I pick up one of those mythical green twigs and laugh to myself as I think of potential mistletoe kisses. Not happening. I buy it anyways, in complete irony, of course.
The Lock Market is getting closer, and I wonder if my boots can feel that they belong here. I can feel it, at least. I stop under the sign, stating that “we’re (very) open (minded)”, wanting to take pictures of it just as much now as the first time I was here.

Warm cider, cupcakes, crepes and burritos hits me in an overwhelming mix of scents, and a just as incredible wall of memories tumbles across my mind. Friends, vintage shopping, family visiting, first dates, second dates…
My feet keep on making their way forward and I push my mind to do the same.

Box after box with vinyl records. Elephants in rainbow swirls, followed by pink clouds and grey rain. I start imagining the songs, what the lyrics mean, what the sound would make me feel. One of the covers catches my mind off guard. It still hurts to think that I can recognise them anywhere… Your favourite band, that is. I leave the records behind and continue.

When I reach the bridge across the canal, I think I stepped in to a winter wonderland – is it actually snowing? Turns out, what looked like snow for a second is just tiny raindrops frozen in time and caught in thick fog. Just as my mind becomes heavy, the crucial moment between day and evening, light and dark, approaches. And, as expected, Christmas lights on automatic timers turn on everywhere around me. It looks just like stars, just a little more artificial than real glowing bodies in space.

And just then, I feel as if I can finally see a little bit of Christmas joy. Maybe there are actually miracles everywhere around.
~J

The Massive Blogmas Fail

Stuff, Words

So what happened to Blogmas M? Work? Yes I have to admit that it was a big part of me not writing a new blogpost every third day… I’m still trying to get used to the fact that I’m working full time in a relatively new city. It’s hard balancing that and a creative life, at least for now.

And there has also been the fact that I don’t really know what to write…

Last year my bedroom was all Christmassy and I felt inspired just lying in my bed. This year we live somewhere else. A new place where I have never celebrated Christmas before and as Christmas is a season of tradition (at least in some sense), you always eat the same food, decorate the tree with the same decorations, everything is predictable and safe. But this year is different… Our room is beginning to get Christmassy with our crooked but perfect Christmas tree Newt, and when we have days of J and I are always listening to Christmas music whilst eating either mince pies (waitrose essential are vegan) or ginger bread. 

I guess when it comes down to it I have just had some trouble visualising Christmas this year, but fourtunately I’m getting there!

➢ M

Dreamy London Winter Dates

Adventure, Inspiration

I love London. One of the many reasons is that this city is endless. Endless inspiration, endless life, endless fun. And – most importantly, at least for this post.. – endless date material! When we moved here, I started following a few blogs and Facebook pages (I know, shocker, not only my parents use that old social media..) so now I constantly see posts about “the 10 best ice rinks in London this winter!”, “these interesting pop-up bars will blow your mind” and endless pictures of all the Christmassy parks and lit-up streets.

The fact that we also slowly but surely start to figure out favourite places to go and things to do, gives me even more material for this blog post! So here is the list of London winter dates I’d love, weather I’ve actually been on any of them or not is up to you to judge (who am I trying to fool, really?). By the way, a side note is that “dates” doesn’t necessarily mean romantic ones. You can spend one of these dates with your BFF, squad (lol), pet, or why not just by yourself? So yeah. I might have been on a few of these, but so looking forward to doing more!

  • Ice skating! There are loads of cute places, including Hyde park and the one by Tower of London. If you want less of the cold, maybe inside of Westfield Shepherd’s Bush? Or try BUMP by Southbank, it’s a roller disco place and it looks amazing.
  • Southbank stroll! While we’re talking about BUMP, the rest of Southbank is amazing, with Christmas market, beautiful view, Rekorderlig Cider Lodge, etc. It’s my favourite place right now!
  • Walk through lit-up parks! I’ve heard so much about both Hampstead Heath and Kew Garden! 
  • Cute café chill out! I barely want to say this but ScooterCaffe. So great.
  • Winter Wonderland! In Hyde park, and the rest of Hyde park is amazing.
  • Christmas markets! There’s loads, and other markets are also great, like Camden market and Spitalfield market.
  • Starbucks date! When can you go wrong with Starbucks? Especially with all their winter Christmas specials (more about these later maybe? 😉 ) that you can make vegan!
  • Boat ride on Thames!  Might be cold but yes. Either on the River transport between stations for some easy transport combined with sightseeing, or there are a bunch of other cool things like dinner or drinks on Thames.
  • More Christmas lights+shopping! Check out the lights on Oxford street or Regent streets, etc. Or swing by Harrods for extra sparkle!
  • Theatre/cinema! So many amazing films and plays right now, i.e. Fantastic Beasts! I’ve also heard about some “outside” cinemas that are open in winter too.
  • Skyline bars/roof top bars! Who can anyone be anything than happy of seeing the breathtaking view of London? And there’s of course always London Eye too!
  • Christmas tree shopping! Just too cute – and the smell!
  • Pop-up winter shops/cafés etc! Check out secretldn.com for full list!



Most of these are very specific to right now in London, but even if you’re not in this magical city right now, you can find your own sparkle and hopefully this inspired you! There will also be a post very soon about more general inspirations for dates and activities for the winter time! 

~ J

Rain, Cats and Wine – A Short Story 

Art, Words

The onlooker couldn’t help but stop and observe, on the other side of the street five teenagers huddled together as the sky viciously kept pouring down on them. They were a strange sight, all of them completely different but somehow connected. Maybe it was the look of naïve adventure in their eyes, or maybe it was their love for the lamp lit city around them, that brought them together.
Making a move for it the girl with short black hair and short black fringe took the lead. Following her Shaun the Sheep backpack, oversized blue, red and yellow 80’s jacket the other four struggled to keep up with the pace of her DrMartens at first, but they all caught up eventually, disappearing into the Waterloo tube station.
The onlooker couldn’t help but follow, tailing after the ginger ponytail, charcoal skirt and green jacket of the girl running at the end of their odd little group. 
Dreading but also longing for the drops of water falling from the sky they all emerged from the station, The ginger ponytail quickly protecting herself with an umbrella. She said something to the girl with long blond hair, a black bomber and 90’s mum jeans, running in front of her. To the onlooker it sounded unfamiliar but the onlooker did not have time to think about it, before a car rushed by them and suddenly the ginger ponytail, mum jeans and the fourth and last girl-with a loose curly bun and green checkered jacket- in their odd equation were hit with the sudden sensation of it raining horizontally. They all stopped in a moment of pure shock in which the guy running, behind the 80’s jacket, with a buzzed head hidden under a cap wearing a black, white and red satin bomber, turned around and exclaimed “That was like something out of a movie”, before they all unfroze again. They ran around a corner and the onlooker tried to follow but lost the unusual quintet as the onlooker got blocked by all the people rushing to take cover from the still crying sky.

Trying to shake off the feeling of losing something valuable the onlooker couldn’t help but imagine where the 80’s jacket, cap, curly bun, mum jeans and ginger ponytail hade gone. The onlooker imagined them in a fairylit pub with brick walls and a cat roaming around, a place only a few people knew about, a place for writers and enthusiasts like themselves. The onlooker imagined them ordering drinks, talking about the 80’s jacket and the curly bun’s stay in Paris-books, bottles of wine and Shakespeare and co- and their upcoming month in the same city- Halloween, a tiny apartment and even more wine- as both girls sipped on a glass of their favourite drink which seemed to magically refill every time the curly bun reached for her bag. The onlooker imagined the cap passionately talking about politics, immigration, brexit and the hopes of the future, a future where their generation was the one making the decision, a generation of change. Lastly the onlooker imagined the mom jeans and the ginger ponytail devouring every second of every conversation, realising that moving might have been one of the best decisions  they have ever made and maybe just maybe they wouldn’t go home next year, but rather keep moving, keep exploring.

➢ M

Over A Month

Adventure, Words

When I started writing notes for this blog post, we’d been living in London, the city of Fog and Tube, for a month. Right now, it’s been over a month. In some ways this place is still very new, we just arrived with our lives packed up in our 20 kg bags. But in other ways, it feels like we’ve been here forever, it’s almost starting to feel like home (not “home”-home but still somewhat of a home).

It’s really difficult to explain how life has been this month (and a bit). This is an amazingly interesting and new experience. I feel like I’ve already learned a lot, about myself, about London, about other people and about the world.

But I’m not done with London. Will I ever be? Probably not. I can’t imagine leaving yet, how stressful, weird and tiring it has been. Will I ever leave? Probably, but I don’t want to.

There’s still a few (or a bunch of) things we need to sort out or I need to get done. Like a proper home. And my bank account. Etc. But things actually seem to be working out. We both managed to get jobs. We got NI-numbers. We will be fine.

Even though my job that I got here is not the most glamorous or challenging, I really like it and the place is so different, and it works.

It’s cool. Life is cool. But it’s also very strange, and new. I think that is a good thing, in fact. It’s the circle of life. And yes, I am currently listening to Disney music on the Tube to work. Soon I’ll be out in the London fog again.


~J

and pictures are proof

Adventure

I think I’ve mentioned it here before, but if I haven’t: photos and videos are very important to me, especially when I’m traveling. I get the whole “wanting to experience the moment first-handed, not through looking at a screen to get the perfect shot”, but at the same time, if there’s a way for me to remember and cherish how incredible a moment is – why not? And as long as you don’t let your inner travel photographer take over your trip completely, I don’t really see a problem with it. (I apply this to concerts and shows as well, fun to have some parts on film to remember, but not fun to just look through my phone and not seize the moment to actually experience it! There’s a fine line…)

Anyway, how I come to think of this was… I was actually trying to figure out what to blog about, probably trying too hard to find an interesting topic, when I realized that I have so many photos from our trip to Britain last summer! And not only photos, but videos especially! I might have lost my memory card with everything from China and other places (for now at least) but I still have everything that’s on my phone. My goal was to put everything I filmed together into a proper video, but even though I actually made YouTube videos before (or tried… multiple times) I’m not very good at getting those kinds of things done. I just looked through the footage and.. wow. It’s so unreal, we’re actually moving there this autumn? Really? Wow! I want to go now. Sometimes I forget how much I loved it there, how much it felt like home. That’s when I get the most scared and unsure about our decision to move there. Is it the right choice to leave everything I know as my reality now, to get to this new uncertain place with no place to live or work, without friends or family close (except for my favourite friends M and K of course, and they do a really good job of replacing both other friends and family)?

Next time I get this scared for the future, I’ll only have to look through the footage again and I’ll be certain. This is the right choice. I might be giving up everything I know for a while, but it’s for the best reasons – to find my place, give my wander heart what it wants and most importantly… to be happy.

(And who knows? Maybe there’ll be a video with everything I filmed in London/Brighton last year, very soon? We’ll see what I can do… Until then – here are some photos!)

~J