Winter Is Coming. But First, Autumn.

Ah Autumn. It’s here.

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I love Autumn. The Autumn – Winter seasons are my favourite. Whilst I love the summer sun, I’d take curling up by an open fire, long walks in the crisp cold morning air, hot drinks and candles, any day. I’m sure my bias in favour of the colder months stems from A) my love of Christmas and B) my birthday, but regardless, I’m a sucker for all things cozy and snuggly.

Granted, fewer daylight hours is a major setback for A/W, and I can fully understand why people hate these months. When it’s windy, rainy, cold AND dark, it can be grim.

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And yet, there is something that warms the cockles of my heart about a Saturday evening in mid-November, open fire roaring, the smell of warm soup and toasting bread wafting in through the door from the kitchen, blankets piled high, fuzzy socks, massive jumpers layer upon layer, with a warm mug of something in your hands, and the tea candles flickering.

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Nothing beats it, and it’s what I love about living in a temperate country. I’m not quite sure how I’d feel about 30 degree weather come December, it just doesn’t feel quite right!

Today I took a walk around the city centre, and for the first time in a while (thanks to the brief Indian Summer a couple of weeks back), it really felt like Autumn. I was glad to be layered up, glad I had brought my coat with me. The leaves are starting to turn to that deep orange colour, mixed in with shades of brown and golden yellow. They littered the pavement and made a great contrast to the bleak grey sky.

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Every season comes a change. A transition. What I’ve experienced in recent years is that often, somehow, with each change of season comes a feeling of transition for me personally. Whether it be from student to graduate, London to Leicester (though not for too long I hope) or even in relationship to single, all of these things at different times in my life have coincided with a change of season.

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This season the most prevalent one is by far going from a student to an unemployed graduate, and having to move from such a bustling, sprawling, massive city like London to relatively slow paced life of Leicester.

Anyone who has to move home after uni will tell you the same thing. It’s bloody hard. All that freedom and independence (not to mention student loan) is gone. And it suddenly becomes necessary not just to find a job, but more broadly speaking to find some way of bringing purpose back into your life, and to your days.

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This is no small task. And to be frank, I’m struggling a little!

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If anyone has any advice, inspirational stories, or just wants to sympathise with me please let me know!

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My only hope is that it’ll all be okay in the end. That counts as a plan right? Well in any case, I’m glad I have an open fire, a near constant supply of hot drinks and a mountain of knitwear to turn to this autumn. Because there’s nothing like burrowing down under those layers to make all your worries feel far away.

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  • Jeans – And Other Stories
  • Shirt – Vintage
  • Jumper – Zara (old)
  • Shoes – Asos
  • Bag – Vintage

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E x

 

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Third Year Reflections

I started writing this during a very boring period this summer just after I’d finished my second year. I stumbled across it, unfinished, and thought its relevance to how I and many like me are feeling now we’re half way through our last year at university made it worth finishing! So here is a little insight into my thoughts on a period in my life that has changed me and the way I see this world!

***

It has just turned July. It is summer, my second year is done, and I am broke and bored. Every day is the same. I fill in part time job applications with as much enthusiasm as I can muster (not much), I flick through sub par American crime drama after sub par American crime drama on Amazon Prime, I eat hummus, and I check my bank balance. £-97.45. Great.

Of course this narrative is nothing new. Students, complaining all year about how hard that essay on Foucault was, get to the end of their year and suddenly find themselves pining for the silent section of the library, the dusty books, the fag breaks. The student loan. And I am no different.

Approaching the end of my A-Levels I had no idea the direction that my life should take. Endlessly skipping school to attend open days, wandering around campuses, listening to subject talks, somehow simultaneously underwhelmed and overwhelmed. The enormity of the decisions I had to take becoming ever clearer, coupled with my inability to make them made for a testing time.

It is well documented that our choices and experiences in life have a lasting effect on us. Some leave scars, some heal them, and some, I believe, help turn you into the person you were always going to be. That, for me, is Sociology.

Don’t get me wrong, there have been many times when I have sat, colossal reading pack in front of me, and questioned not only my judgment, but my sanity too. “Why would you do this to yourself” I mutter. These waves of self doubt and existential crises were no doubt brought on thanks to the likes of Judith Butler – sometimes she may as well have been writing in a dead language for all the sense it made to me, Weber – I’m still not entirely sure about his stance on bureaucracy – I must have blacked out during that 9am lecture – and so on. But there was always something bigger, something more important, I felt, about what I was studying, it was a feeling that has gotten me through the three-hour exams, the endless essays, reading lists and those early starts. It was the feeling that no matter how confusing or abstract what I was trying to get my head around was, the fact remained that everything I was reading had been written to try and help us make sense of the world around us, and to provide a way of making it a better place.

I have no idea if I will be able to live my life fully according to the beliefs and philosophies that sociology has granted me. Hell, I don’t even know if my career will even remotely relate to what I have devoted three years of my life to (scary thought). But I’ve decided that that’s okay. Sociology has gifted me with a strong sense of what is right and what is unquestionably wrong. It has also taught me that sometimes, there is a grey area amidst the two, and it’s okay to acknowledge this. I believe in the basic goodness of people, I believe in true and realized equality, I believe that just because things appear fixed and immovable, it does not mean they are.

Today, when I look out at the world, often my gut reaction is despair, fear and cynicism. It’s easy to be cynical – to give up on the world, detach yourself from it, as if refusing to acknowledge your place in the world somehow prevents you from getting hurt by it. But it doesn’t. So I say we might as well form beliefs, opinions, we might as well argue and debate with each other, disagree furiously or agree whole-heartedly. Stand and fight for those beliefs, guard them with all your might. Let no one tell you that as you age the passion of youth dies away. Passion, strength and morality relate in no way to how many years you have walked this earth.

I hope that with age, rather than a fading of the strength of my beliefs, what comes is a greater and deeper understanding of the complexities of their lived realities; an understanding that it is okay to not live by them every single day if you can’t manage it. That it is okay to have your beliefs shaken up, shifted and reimagined by another’s words. The ultimate lesson Sociology has taught to me is that to have opinions and beliefs, for me, is vital – it helps to define me, my place in the world, it guides my choices, actions and the ways in which I treat anyone I meet; but as well as this, and even more significant is that it has taught me that having my beliefs, actions and opinions questioned and challenged every day, either by the world around me or the people I share it with is even more important if I’m to be the best possible version of myself.

E x

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A day out with Mum and Dad

Living independently is great, but as a young 20-something in a big city with zilch dolla, it can get rather draining from time to time, especially when you’re drowning in essays and dissertation work like I am currently. Sometimes a top up of TLC and unconditional love is just what you need to get you back on track.

Luckily for me my Momma bear and Papa bear only live about an hour and 15 away from London up in the Midlands and so yesterday they popped down for a day out in the big smoke with their eldest.

As we got up to some pretty lavvly stuff I thought I’d share it with you along with some pics of our day out in London!

SO. The day started oh – so – very early – as I met them at 8.30am (N.B. as a sociology student at an arts university I may have forgotten that such a time existed), at St. Pancras station, from there we popped over the road to The Great Northern Hotel for a spot of breakfast at their restaurant Plum and Spilt Milk. You don’t have to be staying there, or book a table to enjoy the foodie delights either – score! I had a buckwheat crepe with coconut yoghurt, mango, and agave syrup…YUMM, along with a fresh mint tea.

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After a leisurely breakfast catching up properly  we headed underground to catch the tube to Moorgate in order to have a wander round  Old Spitalfields Market. Due to the ludicrous time Mum and Dad arrived in London the market was still being set up as we arrived, so we ventured in to Leon for a coffee.

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Having never been there before, and seeing it pegged itself as a “naturally” fast food restaurant, I was pleasantly surprised by the lovely interior! Quirky and funky, it was relaxed and a very pleasant way to spend an hour or so.

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Once the markets opened we tootled around, ooing and aahing at the products on offer. If you’re looking for something bespoke, vintage or unique, this market is the place to go. Its a Christmas gift haven with everything from slogan tees, cloche hats, handmade leather bags to vintage shirts and artisan street food.

Once Mum and I had exhausted all the window-stall shopping, and dad had gotten sufficiently bored of trying on hats, we headed over to Hyde Park to get well and truly christmassy at Winter Wonderland.

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It took us a while to find the Christmas Market or Bavarian Village as its called within the walls of London’s Winter Wonderland, but once we did, it was well and truly Christmas in the Toms household. After pottering around soaking up the Christmas cheer, it was time for food!

For food we headed back down south of the river to my turf – Brockley. One of the brightest jewels in the Brockley crown is The Orchard.

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The cosy bar and kitchen boasts seasonal cocktails, heavenly burgers, walls lined with books that upon request customers can swap with one of their own if they spot something they fancy, and an almost cinematic fish tank – cinematic in that the fish seem to captivate staff and customers alike with their bizarre behaviour – everyone is very concerned about the tiny clownfish-looking tank resident who hides in the corner looking rather forlorn! I settled in with a melt in your mouth burger and a peach iced tea, and it. was. Deelish.

So there you have it! A classic Toms day out – food centric and Christmassy as hell! Links to menus and info below!

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The Great Northern Hotel – Here

Plum & Spilt Milk – Here

Old Spitalfields Market – Here

Hyde Park Winter Wonderland  – Here

The Orchard website – Here

E x

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Want a Boyfriend? Get a Cat.

‘Ello all,

Just a quick tongue in cheek post today, I’ve been wanting to do an (awesome) outfit post for the last week or so, and was waiting on a flashy new camera for that exact occasion. Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be and the
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For those of you who don’t know. I’m a fan of cats. Don’t ask me to walk past one on the street without cooing and stroking and making a plethora of baby talk chit chat and/or weird noises with my mouth as I try in vain to get the cat in question to love me. Processed with VSCO

Now, this mad city I call home is notorious for, at times, making people fee a little lonely, isolated, and…well…like you need to jump on a train and escape to mum and dad’s for a while. The long dark nights of Winter definitely don’t help, especially when you’re a singleton. Online dating has made it easier than ever before to find yourself a spoon to warm the cockles of your heart  – and bed- but sometimes, it just ain’t that simple. You find yourself bored on tinder dates and unwilling to give up your independence along with all the benefits of single life for anyone less than Ross Poldark (if you don’t understand that reference, get google imaging NOW). Surely there’s a nice middle ground? Something to tide me over until good ole’ Ross Poldark comes a knockin’? Mutual affection that never gets needy or codependent? No awkward and ultimately unsatisfying bedroom antics? Feeling free to live that single life in London to the max without feeling the need to send that text to your ex at 11pm (we’ve all done it)?

I have the answer, and the answer is cats. Read on to find out why:

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  1. Cats will always pay you attention – you’re the food giver, the ear scratcher, the tummy rubber.
  2. Whilst you know the love they show is purely self serving, you don’t mind, because you know it’s exactly the right amount of love that you need right now. Any more and you may as well have a super needy boyfriend.
  3. Its a no strings attached kind of thing: you don’t need to call them, reply to their texts quickly, because cats don’t care. They also don’t know how to call or text.
  4. The most they can do to hurt you is ignore you when you come in from work late because they had to wait an extra hour to be fed. No heartbreak in sight sister/brother!
  5. Because they’re known for their surliness, its even more heart warming when they actually act like they don’t mind you being around –  that head butt you know is a sign of affection, keeping you company whilst you’re ill and crying at your door every morning so they can come and sleep on your bed – granted – that one’s annoying. But it’s the thought that counts.

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So there you have it. Cats can do it all. Keep your lap warm, be your furry alarm clock, sit on your phone to stop you texting your ex, and warm the cockles of your broken heart until it aint’ broken no more – and, because they’re cats – they do it all with a level of sass us mere one life mortals can only dream of.

Eleanor  Ft. Darcy and Tiz x

 

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