Hanna and I made* these cute little jam jars for the TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells goodie bags this year. I guess you could say that helping clients share what they do is kinda our jam.
*lovingly hole-punched and rubber-banded each one
Hanna and I made* these cute little jam jars for the TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells goodie bags this year. I guess you could say that helping clients share what they do is kinda our jam.
*lovingly hole-punched and rubber-banded each one
Today is TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells, which means that the months of graft and hard work behind-the-scenes have finally come to fruition to create our 5th and most attended event yet. This is my second time playing a role on a TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells committee, and my third live-tweeting the day (follow us at @TEDxRTW but pls don’t point out any spelling or grammatical errors because today is stressful enough already tyvm).
This is also the second TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells event that I’ve helped sell out. Not to brag, but I’m pretty damn good at promoting events (and you can hire me to do that).
All that to say that I’ve been a little short on internet reading this week, so this round-up isn’t as expansive as it usually is. I’m sure you don’t care. And that’s fine. But here are some things that caught my eye:
I’m IN LOVE with these concrete basins/sinks made in the UK. But omgggggg whyyyyyy do companies like this never put prices on their websites?!?! I mean, I kinda get it, but a ballpark figure would be really nice.
I really want a Rose Apothecary sweatshirt but omg those international shipping fees? Ew, David.
As you can see from the photo above, I’m still on the celery juice train. Mostly because I’m insufferable, but also because I’m throwing all the spaghetti at the proverbial wall (is that a phrase?) and trying to see what sticks with getting rid of the eczema that’s decided to camp out on my eyelids and around my mouth. Ahhh stress! It’s a bitch. The Dream Cream from Lush also seems to be pulling its weight in the battle over my face’s wellbeing. And it smells wonderful too!
I’m so glad Dolly Alderton’s Love Stories podcast is back. Her interview with Stanley Tucci about love, food, and being an American in England is so wonderfully charming. I should probably buy his cookbooks, right?
Okay! That’s it! I’m gonna kick some serious ass at TEDxRoyalTunbridgeWells and then I’m going to take it really easy because this event is wonderful and emotional and completely draining all in equal parts and I’m gonna need some time to recover after. See you next week!
Today has been a pain but these waxflowers are sparking lotsa joy.
If I could have a super power, I’d want the ability to transfer my period pain to a deserving man of my choosing. Maybe not every month, I don’t want to be that cruel, but maybe, like, once every three months. Hell, I’d even settle for once a year.
I’d close my eyes and think of a man that wronged me. I’d think about hitting the bastard with the waves of nausea, the hollowing pain of the walls of my womb being scraped out like a Halloween pumpkin, and the agonising cold sweats that keep me from getting any real rest. I imagine the man suffering. Just as I do, month after month.
Just as so many of us do.
Remember the popcorn trees? Well, I’m happy to report that they’ve started blossoming. These pink snowberry blossoms made my heart so happy on our sunshiny walk in the countryside today. Here are some other things I liked a lot this week:
You can tell an American came up with this celery juice malarkey bc the daily recommendation of 16oz requires the juicing two (2) heads of celery and European Barbie refrigerators do not allow for that much celery stockpiling. But also: I’m totally buying into the woo-woo and am pretty sure celery juice helped clear up an eczema flare-up I had this week? 🤷🏻♀️
I’m absolutely obsessed with Schitt’s Creek. Read Richard Lawson in Vanity Fair talking about just how gosh-darn good the show, read Alex Jung in Vulture recounting a shopping trip he took with Dan Levy + the sartorial choices Dan makes for the cast, aaaand listen to Dan Levy and Sam Sanders have a charming conversation about the show. I love all of it.
I enjoyed Rachel Cusk in the NYT writing about driving, specifically driving in the UK. It makes me want to get my UK license even less than I did before. Which was already like basically zero.
Because it’s about to get very cold, I just wanted to tell you that these Falke socks are very good and very warm. Stay cozy out there, friends!
Very into silk scarves, German Pinot Noir and Michelle Obama’s Becoming rn.
If I’m being completely honest, I was afraid to read Becoming. I find most political memoirs to be heavy on incredibly bullshit-sounding anecdotes and the kind of aspiration quotes that your uncle who used to be a Marine likes to yell out in the middle of a junior high football games. “The difference between winning and losing is not quitting!” No thanks!
But Becoming isn’t like that at all. It’s an honest, moving, and incredibly thoughtful look at race, gentrification, opportunities (and who gets them), growing up, giving a shit, and love. I’ve teared up more times than I can count, so touched by how much she’s giving us in these pages. In many ways, Becoming reminds me of Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and I hope it has similar staying power on our cultural bookshelf because Michelle’s story is important, poignant, and well worth a read. I wish everyone would pick it up and read it.
All week I’ve been fixated on the idea of buying a new cookbook. Like I just need to be whisked away to somebody else’s organised kitchen and feel soothed by the fact that their right burner knob isn’t broken and that they know exactly what to do with sumac, a spice that I bought for an Ottolenghi recipe years ago and have neglected ever since. (Does it go bad?? what are we supposed to be doing with this???)
I studied book publishing in college*and remember a professor once explaining that cookbooks are like travel books, they transport readers to a different place while opening up a world of possibility and adventure. They’re practical, but they also let you get lost in the daydream of a better life, and right now, in the grey of January, I think what I’m really looking for is an escape. I want good natural light. I want fresh produce that’s been ripened by the sun. And I want all my meals to be as picture-perfect as the life I’m trying to bullet-journal into existence.
And even though I don’t need a new cookbook (I have so many already, many of which are still fairly new and disgracefully under-used) I want one, and have my eye on this one which is actually quite cheap! Perfect for a thrifty January. This next week, I just might buy it and escape from this grey world for a little while. And who knows, maybe Ella Risbridger will tell me what to do with the rest of that sumac.
Speaking of the ever-present grey, here are a few things that sparked my interest and/or made my week a little brighter!
This is the cutest typing test. And not to brag, but I can type 85 words a minute. 💁🏻♀️
I’m so on board with Anne T. Donahue coming out and speaking the truth: Chasing Liberty was a charming and perfectly entertaining movie. Plus it introduced little teenage me to Matthew Goode and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t had massive crushes on both him and Mandy Moore ever since. Sigh.
House plant? CHECK.
Pale pink walls? CHECK.
Insufferable Millennial home design? CHECK!
I really like this article on how recessions have shaped fashion and interior design.
I would also very much like to sit in the Pederson lounge chair.
LOL’d reading the reviews of the Wenger 16999 Swiss Army Knife Giant. Be sure to forward it along to your dad**. He’ll love it.
And lastly, so much of this piece on millennial burnout by Anne Helen Peterson hit home. This brilliant cartoon about the mental load women take on in relationships by Emma Clit is mentioned in it and should be required reading for everyone in a heterosexual relationship***. And this response to Peterson’s article by Tiana Clark about black burnout is very thought-provoking and important. What a time to be alive!!
And now, having shared that last one, I feel that the pre-amble to this post is absolutely a sign that I need to CLOSE THE COMPUTER, KATE and chill out before I burn out****. Bye!
*Guess how fun it was to graduate with that degree in 2009!
**And everyone else too.
***Could someone also send this to David? It’ll be better if it doesn’t come from me.
****Isn’t it so sadistic that this thing that I do for myself and for fun is like a mini job that I put on my to-do list each week? Hahaaaahhhhhh 😱
This photo isn’t from today, or even this week. It’s from a walk I took along the beachfront in St Leondards-on-Sea in October. My business partner was getting inked and, as babies aren’t allowed in tattoo parlours, I took her one year-old out in the pram to get some fresh sea air. While I walked, I looked at the little babe sleeping in front of me, her perfect cheeks jiggling as I wheeled over bumps, and I thought about how we’re never really ready for the things life throws at us. Starting a new business, makin’ a bebe, moving to a new country, etc etc etc. There’s no such thing as the perfect time and we’ll never be 100% ready. So just do it already!
Thank you for coming to my TED talk.
I only worked two days this week before stampeding right back into the warm embrace of the weekend like a 3 year-old running into her mother’s arms after the first day of pre-school. Or I guess they call it nursery here? Idk. I don’t have kids, I don’t know kid things. Anyway! These cold grey January weekends are kinda great. The weather practically forces you to stay indoors wearing wooly socks with a pile of books and a warm beverage beside you while you scroll endlessly on your phone. What a time to be alive! But seriously, I love it. And here are some other things that I loved this week:
Really loved Patricia Lockwood’s review of Rachel Cusk’s trilogy in the London Review of Books. (I too want to know why we have to know about Clif Bars!!) I’m now 2/3 of the way through the series and am getting so much pleasure from listening to (okay, reading) Cusk’s characters’ stories. I actually think it might be making me a better listener but I haven’t seen people much lately so I might just be making that up?
I can’t really think of an occasion where I’ll need to make a pig out of a lemon, but I also can’t think of an occasion where I won’t want a little lemon pig adorning the table. Lucky for me (and you, and all of us) Jacques Pépin has taught me (us!) how to make a lemon pig. Pls expect to see cutie-pie little lemon pigs when you next come to dine.
“People don’t understand the amount of studying and research that goes into greatness. But I absolutely understand it.” Rereading Beyoncé’s interview in The Gentlewoman from 2013, when she was just 31 and so damn fresh-faced. A great reminder to get your study on, hunny!
“We can look at an askew shower rail, or a bizarre slash of outlying supportive concrete, or some mildew, or a kitchen the size of an Amazon package, and go: hmm, bad. Crucially, the city's landlords and property developers do not have these traits, and so that is what divides Us from Them. They are slugs and we are falcons. We must peck them to death with our glorious beaks.” Joel Goelby’s London Rental Opportunity of the Week has long been one of my favourite columns on the internet. The first time a friend forwarded one to me, I was sitting at the bar in Smith & Wollensky on John Adams St., sipping a vodka martini and waiting for David to join me. By the time David got there, I had mascara running down my face and the bar staff was giving me a wide berth, so afraid of the hysterical woman sitting at the end of the bar. Anyway, I caught up on the column this week and belly laughed so many times. I recommend you do the same, especially if the London property market makes you want to cry.
So great to know that this old favourite/digital gem, Fuck You Very Much, is still alive and well on Tumblr. Not sure how much longer it’ll last, so clicky-clicky before it’s gone.
I love this series by photographer Josephine Sittenfeld, “Reunion”. I usually find then-and-now photo compositions like this a bit silly but these feel so genuine - like you know that Sittenfeld wasn’t asking the subjects to take up their former poses for instagram likes, but instead to show something true about the human experience, and I really like that. (Also omg little baby Ellie Kemper in her college photo!)
Aaaand lastly, If you’re a woman, you probably already know this, but, generally speaking, the medical community doesn’t give a shit about us. Or, as reproductive psychiatrist Catherine Birndorf puts it, “If men can’t get an erection, it’s a natural disaster…But very little is studied in women because of our reproductive capacity and because of patriarchy. We need to try to understand women better.” This article about the role estrogen may play in women with schizophrenia is fascinating and really fucking important, too. READ IT READ IT READ IT.
I took a walk with my friend Ed this morning, and as we passed this branch full of small white balls (berries?), he exclaimed, “Oh look, a popcorn tree!”. Neither of us knows what the tree is or whether its mysterious white fruit is poisonous or not, but Ed claims that if you drive by a large group of these shrubs (bushes?) it looks exactly like popcorn is growing alongside the road. I just love that and am really hoping it’s cheddar flavoured. 🍿
LOLz - thank you to everyone on the ‘gram for telling me these are Symphoricarpos aka snowberries. I love that almost as much as I love popcorn!
I made nineteen goals for 2019. Some are general behavioural things that I’d like to course-correct before I get too old and stubborn to ever change my bad habits/posture, and others are really specific and shit-my-pants scary in their ambition. But all nineteen of these goals are umbrellaed under a giant neon OMG STOP WAITING ALREADY AND JUST DO THE DAMN THING.
My biggest take-away from 2018 is that I’ve been letting life happen to me for like actual years. I’ve been waiting for someone to pick me out of a crowd like some Kate Moss fairy-tale and give me the things that I’ve been too scared to ask for, work for, take. By the end of the year, it became so glaringly obvious that I can’t wait for someone– a client, a new collaborator, anyfuckingone– to give me opportunities to achieve the things I want. Just as Ariana Grande is out here loving herself, I (me! myself!) gotta put myself out there to make opportunities for myself.
As someone who has read a billion* self-help books and literally co-runs a business that relies on the premise that we get stuff done, I know that I should have been practicing opportunity-creation already, and I have! But not to the extent that I could be. Should be. Want to be.
Okay so here’s the deal. For a while now, I’ve been treading water somewhere between the “swamplands of failure”, as Rachel Cusk so brilliantly puts it in Outline, and the success-filled life I imagine having before I go to sleep at night (it’s my favourite fantasy: a sexy city apartment, an organised walk-in closet, and a body of work that I feel really fucking proud of). As I’m sure you’re well aware, one can only tread water for so long, and while I’ve been waiting for a guy** with a boat to throw me a floaty-donut-thingy, my legs have started to grow tired and panic has been rising in my chest. My breathing, both literally and figuratively, has been erratic and shallow and sometimes drawing a breath almost feels like suffocating. I’ve basically been living in crisis, flailing somewhere between the “swamplands of failure” (I just love that) and the life I’d rather be living. I don’t recommend it, folks.
So, like, why am I doing this to myself? Because I’m just as afraid of failure as I am of the changes I’ll need to make if I want to get to the beachy life. While my current life isn’t too bad (on the contrary, it’s objectively pretty great!) I know that my body and my mental health can’t cope with hanging out in the middle anymore and I need to start swimming toward the shore (to be clear, the shore is away from the failure swamp). Yes, my muscles will ache and I’ll still be tired (maybe even more tired than this metaphor) but I’ll be moving forward and that will feel good. And I’m ready to feel good, damnit.
Of the nineteen goals I made for this brave new year, a few of them are about letting go of things that no longer serve me, but the majority of them simply grant myself permission to do so many of the things that I’ve been waiting to just kinda happen or for someone to tell me to do. And one of those things is writing about things like my feeeeelings, and some of the things might make some people uncomfortable, but I can’t wait until everyone dies in the apocalypse*** to hit publish, you know?
Just writing these words, I can feel my breath come more easily. And instead of panic, I’m starting to feel excitement again. Real, tingly, can’t-wait-for-tomorrow excitement. So here’s to 2019, to the old dying, to the new being born, to feeling good, and getting stuff done.
*Maybe not that many, but some.
** I’m from the midwest. I use guy(s) as a gender-neutral term, okay.
*** I want to make this clear: I absolutely do not want to live through the apocalypse. Especially if it’s brought on by a horrifying illness or zombies. When/if the time comes, I want to survive only as long as my wine reserve and then I will happily die with most of the other people, my forever-unburied corpse rotting away next to an empty bottle of good Pinot Noir and a Reidel glass.
Photo taken at Cuckmere Haven.
Closing out the year with Rachel Cusk, courageous 2019 goals, and Crémant.
I haven’t had my email notifications on for over a week and have spent more time tapping into my true hopes and desires than I have a phone screen or keyboard. This year took me to some unexpected places and reminded me that I need to be in the driver seat of life if I actually want to get to the places I want to go. And yes, it also reminded me that I literally need to learn to drive an actual car still, too.
Here’s to going places in 2019. Happy New Year. ✨
Holy moly, we made it to the end. Well, almost the end, and I’m planning to spend as much of the remaining hours of 2018 in pajamas as possible. Anyway! Here are a few things I was into this week.
“It was the year of Mark Zuckerberg because I can’t think about the love I feel for other people without wondering how it’s being used to sell me shaving cream. It was the year of Mark Zuckerberg because we don’t even talk about how absolutely, hideously sad all this is, since talking about it would mean questioning why we still spend so much time online, and, after all, we’re the people who live here. It was the year of Mark Zuckerberg because our jadedness toward the internet is really a form of grief.” This entire piece by Brian Phillips is so good. Pls read.
I’m ALWAYS on the l👀k out for new Amy Sedaris content and this tour of her NYC apartment is such a delight. Pause at the 6:36 mark for my new favourite piece of art, and if anyone knows where David is buying her bright pink kitchen roll in London, please do give me a shout.
Caity Weaver taught me about glitter and I hate it even more than I did before. Thanks, Caity!
I really enjoyed Tina Roth-Eisenberg’s talk at We Do Lectures in Wales. It’s vulnerable and moving and the Bertold Brecht quote she shared really hit home with me: “Crisis takes place when the old has not died and the new has still not been born” Damn. More thoughts on this soon.
I love listening to podcasts while should-shimmying around the kitchen so I naturally loved listening to Sam Sanders interview my #1 chef crush, Samin Nosrat, while I was prepping tacos using some smart cooking tips I picked up from her very own cookbook. The interview is wonderful. Listen up.
Photo taken at Cuckmere Haven on Boxing Day. Such a beautiful spot for a walk along the beach.
Only thing better than tacos for dinner? Tacos for breakfast.
So so thankful to have Mex Grocer is in my life. 🙏🏼
p.s. There’s a whole lotta damn good brisket under there. Feeding my heart, body, and soul right.
Our family just got a Hannah and Isla bigger and our hearts are so full. 🖤
My favourite things about Christmas:
Vince Guaraldi Trio’s A Charlie Brown Christmas
The smell of pine needles
Wearing pajamas all day
Getting up hundreds of times throughout the day to eat tiny slivers of cheese and then– lo and behold!– the entire block of cheddar/wedge of brie/chunk of stilton is gone. How did that happen?
The colour green
A few other things from this week:
If Die Hard gets to be a Christmas movie, then When Harry Met Sally is definitely a holiday movie and it’s a bloody brilliant one at that. Imho.
I re-watched A League of Their Own and my goodness, I forgot what a perfect movie that is. I also loved this piece about Penny Marshall by Bobby Finger. I feel like he and I are cinematically very compatible. RIP Penny. 💔
(Side note: am I the only one who didn’t know that Rob Reiner and Penny Marshall were married for ten years? How did I not know this?!)
I loved this article about a monstrous woman who totally copied a Brazilian artist’s bikini design and is (hopefully! finally!) going to have to pay for it. I’ve said it once but I’ll say it again: People are monsters. Maria Solange Ferrarini deserves all the goodness that comes her way after this ordeal.
I went to a friend’s birthday dinner at 10 Cases in Covent Garden and holy moly I had the best beef cheek of my entire life (plus truffle mashed potatoes, you guys!). The food, the wine, the service and ambiance are all a++ and I’m already planning to take David on a date there in the New Year.
Speaking of great wine, I finally made my way to Lady of the Grapes, also in Covent Garden. Their organic wine list is terrific and the itty-bitty space is charmingly intimate and feels almost like a secret despite the endless stream of customers coming through the door. I did’t eat there, but I definitely need to get a small group of babes together to share a handful of plates and a few bottles of wine soon.
Who needs Christmas music when you have this collab between Karen O and Danger Mouse?
I’ve been stocking up on the essentials (sparkling wine and cheese) and getting ready to launch myself into the holiday season with great aplomb. This coming week I’ll wrap up my studio work, we’ll welcome family from abroad, and celebrate the marriage of David’s youngest son. It’s going to be brilliantly full-on and I’m excited to shave my legs for the first time in ages, don some festive frocks and enthusiastically shoulder-shimmy into official Chrimbo celebrations. But first! A few things to note from this past week:
I know I have like 400 black turtlenecks already but I’d really like for this one from DAI to join my collection. That perfectly tight sleeve is giving me life. ✨
I’ve been mainlining the Last Seen podcast by WBUR which does a deep-dive into wtf happened during the 1990 art heist at my favourite museum, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. It’s a fascinating investigation and still SO BONKERS THAT (spoiler alert) NONE OF THE ARTWORKS HAVE EVER RESURFACED.
Thinking about making #BeMoreJVN my 2019 resolution. Following his figure skating lessons is one of the greatest joys on the internet. The fact that he’s learning something totally new in his early 30s makes me want to challenge myself to start something I’ve been putting on hold for far too long in the New Year. Such a good reminder that it’s never too late, henny!
Tat-spiration has been coming at me hard and fast via the ‘gram. I really want to pull the trigger on getting inked next year but guys, I’m still super scared of making my mom mad. 😬
I happy-sobbed my eyes out watching Dumplin’ last night. Dolly Parton, drag, and a seriously heartwarming message. I stan.
The photo in this post is one of my favourites from this year. You you care to, you can see more from the shoot.
Hanging out in a halo of lamplight.
This week was bookended by two Christmas parties and their corresponding hangovers, and somewhere in-between I managed to do some work but very little else (unless watching back-to-back episodes of The Office counts as something, which I’m afraid it doesn’t). Add depressing winter rain and never-ending darkness to the mix, and this week has felt like one really long, really boozy, and completely knackering night out. Now that it’s the weekend, I just want to free-boob around the house and become one with my sofa. But first! The few note-able things from the hours that I was sober and conscious.
An alarming number of my friends in the US have joined MLMs and hooo boy, Facebook is even less fun now than it was before! Luckily, The Dream podcast is here to validate my MLM snark and educate me on just how dark and despicable some of these get-rich-quick “not a pyramid scheme” schemes are. YIKE.
I bought my 2019 Standard Issue No. 03 Notebook before the end of the year like some kind of organised person and I’m already looking forward to cracking it open on January 1st. I bought it in mint green instead of my usual grey, and tbh I can already tell that it’s going to make next year more cheerful. Bring. It. On.
I’ve been giving my Everlane cashmere a rest and am almost exclusively wearing this BIO DYNAMIC sweatshirt these days. It looks just as good paired with a smart skirt as it does David’s pyjama pants, and I think it’s the perfect top for the holiday season when round-the-clock drinking is actively encouraged. Not only is it comfy and cute, it’s a great gift for the wine-lovers in your life. I should know because it was gifted to me and I absolutely love it. (Thank you, Caro!)