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Wednesday, 30 September 2015

A trip to the Ballet


Ever since I was a little girl, I have absolutely adored ballet. As an adult I am on a continual quest for an ballet class within a reasonable distance and suitable enough for my (lack of) experience, whilst simultaneously pestering my twirling dance adept friend Rac to impart her skill & wisdom upon me. Girl's gotta have a dream, right. As part of my birthday this year, James managed to blag us some tickets to see Romeo & Juliet at the Royal Opera House. As expected, everything from the dancers, the costumes and the live orchestra was just phenomenal. It was actually a real treat to the senses, which sounds weird to say, and is definitely something that I didn't expect but there was so much going on, it required quite a lot of concentration throughout.  I found the first 10 minutes quite hard to keep up with - partly because I'm so accustomed to relying on dialogue to tell a story, and partly because I forgot my glasses - but after that it was impossible not get to get absorbed in the narrative, and I just loved it. If you get the chance, go and see it before the end of its run!

That evening, we stayed in a beautiful apartment in Golders Green, booked through AirBnB. the decor was stunning, it was dead easy to get into central  London on the Northern line, and the neighbourhood was a dream; so quiet with a host of nice delis & coffee shop and super close to a waitrose and a nice M&S food court, which made picking up some dinner in a rush nice & easy. We could not complain. A perfect mid-week retreat.

Much love,
L x
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Sunday, 27 September 2015

Wild Flowers & Pink Flamingos

 Somehow September has managed to sneak right past me before I've even had a chance to acknowledge its existence. How did that happen? This past month, has been filled with mini adventures, belated birthdays, family, friends and a downright busy workload that has seen me seek sleepy hibernation most evenings. Nevertheless, there have been a few spare moments for peace and tranquility, today being one of them, so I'm going to try and catch up a little!
 Having lived in Northamptonshire most of my life, I'm quite surprised that I'd never visited Coton Manor House before. No amount of pictures does this place justice. A stunningly beautiful 17th century house (owned by an older couple and maintained by a very small team of helpers, the cutest), it boasts the most charming English country gardens I've ever seen. Landscaped across different levels, it has a real Alice in Wonderland feel to it with windy paths and hedges leading to a variety of ponds, statues, herb gardens, horse fields, and fairy-style stepping stones to little unique areas of beauty.
 If you're not 100% sold on old English buildings and acres of carefully curated landscapes, it's worth visiting just to see the pink flamingos that sassily strolled around the lakes, completely unbothered by the groups of guests getting close to take pictures. Beyond the confines of the garden, you'll find meadows full of wildflowers and a magical bluebell wood, which I was so excited to see until I realised it was out of season (green-fingered I am not), but it still looked pretty impressive with its inclining vast, rows of super-tall trees.
It's definitely worth a trip if you're in the area, or would just like to experience a quintessential English period-drama style garden. Alternatively, if you ever fancy an alternative English garden experience (lets say realistic), mine and James' garden comes with over-grown flowerbeds and frogs... just bring biscuits ;)

Much love,
L x
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Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Travel // L.A + Coachella

As I sit here, wrapped up in a chunky wool jumper, listening to the rain pelt against the window, I feel like I need a bit of sunshine in my life. Summer has well and truly stuck its middle-finger up at us Brits and gone into early hibernation once again, and I’m just not feeling these Autumn vibes at the moment. So, to conclude my trip down memory lane and to cheer myself up a little, here’s the final part of my travel diary from last year’s Californian road trip…  
After a speedy zig-zag up and down the coast from San Fran to Santa Ana, my penultimate day saw us return to LA. The boys had a live session in Beverley Hills, so the morning was spent mouths a-gawping at its ritzy sidewalks and trying to spot Larry David. The afternoon we were dropped off at the corner of the Hollywood Bowl so we could indulge in a bit of kitschy tourist-ing in the heart of Hollywood. Obviously the first thing I did was squeal at the sight of every star along the along the boulevard’s pavement as if I was seeing the actual person IRL, climb the steps of the mall to get a good old view of the Hollywood sign in the hills, and buy a really tacky clapperboard keepsake which now proudly resides in the middle of my kitchen. I also gave into James’ appeal for my to buy a large coke from Mcds to prove a point that it was bigger than my face. It was and it hurt my belly. 
I don’t know if we just got lucky the day that we visited but despite all the exciting offerings of shows and the Michael Jackson lookalikes interrupting my stomp-pace with their moonwalking, the place felt so nice & chilled. Compared to London anyway, where just five minutes in the hustle and bustle of Trafagular Square is enough to make you want to hurriedly retreat into Countryside dwellings for the rest of your life. At nighttime, we headed to a BBQ in the sweetest little house perched on the hills to eat good food and drink some beers. All in all, you get 10 Lauren points, LA. I want to see you again soon. 
We went to sleep in the bus that evening and woke up at Coachella, which was incredible and so so so different to British festivals. All beautiful sunsets, palm trees everywhere, NO MUD! The heat and humidity was almost unbearable in the day, my pasty skin was hating it that I’m not sure I would have had such a good experience if we didn’t have the luxury of Temples’ air-con’d dressing room to retreat to in the middle of the day, but I did have a blast. For some crazy reason, they’d put Jay Z & Nas’ dressing rooms right next to Temples, which was surreal to say the least. One of their ‘crew’ came up to us and said, “If you’re not wasted, your day is” which as i’ve said before, is advice I’ll keep with me as I travel through life. 
I had one super weird pinch-myself moment when I found myself stood chatting with the two loves of my life (James & Julian Casablancas). I’m not even ashamed to admit that for the first time ever, I took full advantage of having an artist pass and watched Jules from the side of the stage. In addition to his solo material which I absolutely adore, he played Take it or Leave it, and it was the BEST. I had one even weirder moment when bopping around to Julian, I turned around to find the Edge from U2 in his straw fedora about a foot away from my face. He seemed like a nice guy, but I wasn’t about to give up my spot, because… Julian. 

I managed to catch the end of Warpaint’s set, MGMT, Queens of the Stone Age and then saved myself for some Nas to close the night, which was so freaking good. When it got to around 7pm when the sun was just starting to set, it had cooled down a bit the sky just looked magical. America, you sure do know how to throw a Festival. 
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