Diary: This was August
How wonderful is it to have a three-day weekend? Frankly, it’s a perfect way to wrap up the summer and a great occasion for me to take a time out before jumping into the whirlwind that is the end of the year. I have some great creative collaborations coming to the blog in September and October, as well as a few giveaways (!), I’m planning two short trips to Scotland and Greece this October and November, the latter also being the month of my birthday, and maybe even a weekend in Paris in December to visit my sister Melissa who just moved there.
Today I’m back with a monthly roundup after starting this interesting exercise in July. It’s something I enjoy reading on other blogs and a fun attempt at recording what excites me day-to-day. I think this series is something I’ll enjoy looking back on and so just like last month, I’m keeping things simple and splitting “highlights” according to the categories of this blog. Hope you’ll enjoy reading and welcome to the last thirty days of my life:
Did you know that this month marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina? Since living in Tennessee as part of an exchange program with my university, I’ve been very attached to the American South: its literature, its folklore, its music. From Charleston to Memphis, Savannah and New Orleans, this is a region that has captured my heart and imagination with its complexities and historical heritage. There’s been an inevitable outpour of content as the 10th anniversary approached, about the trauma of the storm of course, but also about the rebuilding of the city which was at one point three quarters under water after the levees broke. So you’ll understand why I loved listening to In New Orleans, a special podcast series by Death, Sex and Money, to share five individuals’ accounts of the storm and how their lives have changed in the aftermath. You can listen to it for free on WNYC.
You might have picked up that I’m a voracious reader and this month I’ve been reading Nicola Upson’s books featuring a real-life literary figure from the 1930s as its heroine: the writer and playwright Elizabeth MacKintosh, better known under her crime-writing pseudonym of Josephine Tey. As Nicola writes, this was “a woman who was fascinated by identity; who lived a life of intriguing contrasts, split between the self-contained community of Inverness and the ambitious backdrop of London’s West End, where she numbered among her friends some of the biggest stage and screen stars of the day”. This is a fantastic series which borrows from fact and fiction, is dark and bleak at times but also wonderful in its prose and humour; I highly recommend it.
Of course I have now only one book left to read in the series and I’m hesitant to start it so naturally I copped out and switched for Station Eleven, a dystopian novel set in a future ravaged by the effects of a tragic epidemic. It follows a travelling caravan of Shakespearian actors and musicians around what used to be the Great Lakes region; it’s a surprising read, full of twists and turns, that I picked up through the blookclub, and that I’m really enjoying.
Home and Design
This has been a pretty exciting month on the Home & Design front for me: first, I learned I was nominated for an IBA Award in the “Best Design Inspiration” category which came as a wonderful surprise. Of course, the competition is stiff so if you enjoy reading this blog, I would be so grateful for your vote here, I promise it literally takes ten seconds and it’s a big help. Second, I was invited to take part in a feature on The Lux Pad, in which I’m writing about a gorgeous kitchen design by Marie-Laure Helmkampf. Finally, I hope you enjoyed my interview with Lisa McMillan. Her first furniture collection Ruthless People is really pretty cool and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next. Definitely one to watch.
If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that last week I was invited to take part in the #TransformYourRoom challenge at the Argos studio, along with fellow design and interiors bloggers Cate St Hill and Patchwork Harmony. This was tons of fun as we had 60 minutes to completely transform a room from a blank canvas to a styled personal space, with furniture and homewares we handpicked from the Argos catalogue, and within a maximum budget. It was intimidating but also exciting to be interviewed about my choices and the style I went for on camera, and I can’t wait to show you the final edited film of the challenge this October – watch this space!
You might have caught my two London-themed posts this month: one rounding up the apps that help me make the most of the city and that I encourage you to download if you’re a Londoner, the other an ode to We Built This City, an amazing pop-up shop I stumbled upon on Carnaby Street that is revolutionising the souvenirs/gifts scene and championing the creativity of UK designers and makers. I’m told they should have an online shop coming very soon, which is pretty awesome and I’ll keep you in the loop..
Slightly cheating as this is not London obviously but the Viking Coastal Trail between Ramsgate and Broadstairs. What can I say, I guess I need a Weekend Trips category on the blog, otherwise these posts have nowhere to go! If you’ve been reading me this summer, you’ll know I’m on a mission to visit all the seaside towns I can within a 2-hour journey of London (see my posts about Hastings and Margate). I loved spending yet another weekend on the Thanet coast – we had glorious weather and basically just want to move there. I have so much to show you about this trip, and I’m currently editing my first ever video (!), it’s slowly coming together.
Restaurants and Recipes
Some cool places I’ve eaten at this month: Pho Viet 68 in Shoreditch, Cubana in Waterloo, Pop Brixton, Jackson and Rye in Soho, and A Corner of the World in Bethnal Green. Clearly I should get my act together and blog a new restaurant review! Believe me there’s a lot of photos sitting on my computer and waiting to be edited and shared. Some places I’m excited to try this September: the Nordic Rök Smokehouse in Shoreditch, the British St John in Bermondsey, and the Portuguese Taberna do Mercado in Spitalfields. Have you been to any of these?
Style and Finds
Don’t judge but I’m way too excited about the new season of Project Runway. Some people are head over heels with GBBO or The Bachelor, well I find it amazingly entertaining to watch fashion designers sew and struggle and start from scratch to make and style their outfits for the runway. I stress with them and cringe with them when they get a bad review, roll my eyes when they snap at each other and just love to hear the judges critique their garments, they have the funniest comments. I totally love this show.
If you’ve made it to the end of this blog post – congratulations and thank you for reading! A little tip: you might be interested in grabbing the September copy of Elle UK, which has a 20% Asos voucher in it but be quick, it’s only valid until September 3rd. I just made very good use of it.
So tell me: What’s happened in your life this August?
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