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A Life-Changing Decision... One Month In!

A Life-Changing Decision... One Month In!
As you may (or may not) have noticed, I've gone awol again on the blogging front, right after I promised it was high on my agenda. So what happened? Well... my life changed completely! After 248 job applications between September and March, I finally got offered a position! Better still, it was the only position I'd really cared passionately about out of all 248, although I was dubious about moving anywhere except back to London, the job was just too perfect to miss. Sooooo where am I? What do I do? Well, I now work at Next HQ as a trainee on the next sourcing team designing graphics and prints for childrenswear!!! Within 3 weeks of being offered the job, I'd found my dream flat in the centre of Leicester (which seems dead cheap compared to London... but 'I'm moving to Leicester were defo words I never thought i'd say), I'd popped to Barcelona for one last spontaneous dose of vitamin D and I moved in and started working.

So far I am loving it! Even if working on christmas in April is a little soul destroying. ;) It's taking a lot of getting used to sitting still all day as that's the complete opposite to my home life/my waitressing job. However, I think I've learnt more in the past month than I did in three years at uni all all my internships put together and I'm soooo glad a trainee position exists in the exact area I've always wanted to work in! My team are all absolutely amazing and adorable - it was my birthday in my second week and they bought me a huge cake/decorated my desk with balloons which was just the cutest thing ever.  It's just so amazing to be on a salary to draw all day. I'm definitely working a lot slower than I should be, but I think it's just taking me a while to get the hang of everything and I'm only naturally going to speed up with time. As for the move to Leicester, I'm not gonna lie, it's been a little lonely (especially as I still lack a wifi connection).... it's hard to make friends outside of work at this age too. If you've got any ideas, please let me know. I'm going to join the social club at work, maybe a couple of sports and the print studio in town once I've been paid again. But I'm struggling big time with my energy levels and I equally don't want to push myself over the edge and cause an M.E. relapse. Amy is just finishing up uni in Leicester so I'm hoping this means I get to spend some time with her before she moves to South Africa, but she's only just on her way back from her super long Easter hols. But luckily Ellie was in Nottingham for my first two weeks here so we could meet a few times too!

And what does this mean for everything else you know me for?? Well my instagram has certainly gone a bit quiet and is either dead monday to friday or just contains throwback photos, so that needs amending fast! London recommendations and things? i'm still popping down about twice a month (i wish it was more but east midlands fares are pretty high!!). Blogging? Probably only going to get more infrequent, but we'll see. My own illustration work? This is another priority that's high on the agenda. As I may have mentioned, before being offered a job I was working on producing my own children's homeware brand. I think that's something that's going to have to be put on hold for now as I have neither the time nor the energy - plus I obviously can't  goopen up my own children's focused brand whilst working for Next on childrenswear, it just wouldn't be allowed! However I'd still like to sell some original, unrelated screen prints and stationery/totes/pins once I get printmaking again. I think I'm going to scale down the plan and maybe open an Etsy/do a few craft fairs at some point. But for now my energy is going 100% into work. "But what about your travel addiction?" believe me, it's still live 'n' kicking. I've been on ryanair a million times a day for the past two weeks trying to get myself a cheap weekend deal, but they hardly exist!! And even though I have Luton, East Midlands and Birmingham under an hour away, everything cheap seems to depart from Stansted! :( I'm off to Morocco next month, which has been top of my list FOREVER and I'm hoping to squeeze in a weekend away to anywhere, a mini break with my travel buddies from the past two years (how weird it will be to not go travelling for the whole summer!!!?) and a trip each to see Caroline/Shauneen before the summer is out. Then maybe in the Autumn when the price goes down I'll find another cheap getaway to somewhere else high on my list (fingers crossed for Lisbon/Seville!)

This little life update turned quite long! I'll add a few photos of my flat just to spice it up a little. But thanks for reading and understanding my absence from the internet!


My kitchen and bathroom are looking equally as cute and turquoise, but I don't have photos of those to hand! And they're not tidy enough to snap up at the 4am insomniac time I'm writing this!

Much love, 

Naomi

Out&About: The Best Exhibition to Ever Land in London

Out&About: The Best Exhibition to Ever Land in London
Hello hello hello. More than a month after I actually visited this exhibition and about two months since I swore I would blog more.... it turns out that a) I'm an awful liar and b) still a terrible blogger. I've had a busy few weeks with various job interviews, mega long shifts at work, briefs, commissions,  attending a course on staring my own business, beginning to turn those plans into reality, starting my scholarship place on the Make it in Design course and also planning the first steps of getting my Gold Arts Award (ten years after doing bronze & silver!!) Not to mention trying to squeeze in developing my portfolio, having a social life and spending time with my family/friends! So please forgive me...? And I promise to not make any more promises.

Anyway, for those of you who don't know (where HAVE you been?) the Fashion and Textile Museum in London is currently exhibiting a huge collection of Josef Frank's work and it is 100% the best exhibition I have ever seen.... (equalled only by the Matisse museum in Nice.) As a long time fan of Frank's work I have been anticipating this exhibition ever since it was first announced and it did not disappoint. The vibrancy and colour is absolutely marvellous with the entire ground floor just radiating with bright shades and bold patterns emblazoned on everything from hanging textiles to furniture to rugs. Unbelievably much of this work was created in the 1930s and 40s after Frank had escaped from the Nazis in his native Austria and found refuge in Sweden. At a time associated with darkness, drab colours and a lack of money, it is hard to believe that any of this incredible body of joyous work could have been emerging. Upstairs in the exhibition is a collection of Frank's watercolour paintings. As an aspiring textile designer myself, with this having always been one of my favourite designers ... I'm sure this won't be my only visit before the exhibition closes. 

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Travels: Norway (at last!)

Travels: Norway (at last!)
As I've probably mentioned a million times on here and on instagram, my bestest friend from uni moved back to Norway in August and I've been dying to visit her ever since. So when I had a couple of free weeks at the start of the year, I booked myself a trip to Bergen (via Copenhagen) for a reunion after five longgggg months! We last parted ways on the metro in Prague and were reunited with billions of hugs in Bergen bus station... it rains something like 230 days a year there, but I was totally blessed to have thick snow and blue skies everyday of my four day visit, making the scenery every bit as "Norway" as I could have wished for. You may recognise some of the residential roads/Bryggen photos from the film of Roald Dahl's "The Witches" too!

We did a lot of chillin' and chattin' in Caroline and her sister's beaaaauuutiful apartment (honestly, so much homeware envy), but on the second day we tackled Fløyen by foot to get spectacular views of the city and other surrounding mountains. There is a funicular up but it felt sooooooooooo good to get the super fresh air in my lungs and actually do something as active as summer! When we'd walked back down we went to Bar Barista for waffles  (an absolutely amaaaazing cafe-by-day, bar-by-night filled with the most eclectic 'stuff' - google it, it's beyond words) and we returned after tea for drinks until it closed in the early hours! The next day we ventured far down the tram line in search of the medieval church, it was getting dark and so treacherously icy climbing up to see it, I honestly didn't feel like I was going to make it home without a couple of broken limbs.... but it was so worth the risk to see the remarkably good condition church with its viking vibes. We've been in churches all round Europe, but none of them were anything like this! And we made it home in one piece!!! Having become obsessed with scandinavian shops in Denmark and all Caroline's funky home accessories I begged that we spent my final day browsing the shops, I couldn't purchase too much as I only had hand baggage but next time I go (hopefully in a couple of months!) I am going to just bring an empty bag for Sostrene Grene goodies!!!!!!! The trip ended with another emotional goodbye and tears all the way back to the airport, but it made me sooooo happy to be reunited that I'm still on a high three weeks later... post-uni loneliness is defo real though.




Travels: Copenhagen, Part Two

Travels: Copenhagen, Part Two
I promised part two of my Copenhagen City Guide would be posted today, but I'm just going to apologise in advance that after an all-nighter applying for new jobs, my brain is mush and this might make absolutely zero sense. Today though I'm going to talk (mostly) shopping and sleeping! It's no secret that scandinavians have fabulous design sense, but the shopping was sooooooooo much more incredible than I would have even imagined. I could genuinely write a book on how fab all the stores are, but I'm just gonna talk my four faves! The main shopping area is called Strøget and is all pedestrianised and just made me wish that they'd just pave over Oxford Street too. It's pretty much impossible to not pass through just as you're walking about the city so make sure you pop in to these:

**I didn't plan this post until I got home - hence the totally inconsistent quality/amount of photos etc**



SHOPPING:



HAY 

Hay is a fancy pants homeware store located right in the centre of Stroget. I actually went inside just to take a photo of the square from above, but I was so blown away by the beautiful design that I never got that far! I think the brand itself is Danish, they sell simplistic, but sophisticated scandinavian furniture and home accessories. The vibe was so trendy and fancy, I felt well out of place in my huge 'duvet' coat and kids bobble hat - however, I found heaven in the stationery section - and definitely outstayed my welcome browsing pencils. I think there is one of these shops in Bath if anyone is interested! :)



MARIMEKKO

One of my all time favourite surface design inspirations. I was soooo excited to find out they had an entire store in Copenhagen! Unfortunately everything was waaaaaaaaay out my price range - but so so good just to have a browse and see it all together under one roof, rather than one by one on pinterest!




SOSTRENE GRENE

I hadn't heard of this one before, and in fact stumbled across it as a total accident.... BUT IT INSTANTLY BECAME MY NEW FAVOURITE SHOP EVER. I've since found out that they are all over Europe (including England's first - Nottingham!) so I am totally astounded that I've never heard of or seen one before! They have vibes of Tiger about them in the stock itself, but with a heavy homeware focus and a bit more 'trend led'. The dimmed lighting and wooden boxes/shelving used to display everything makes it seem mega posh, but the prices are dead cheap - not just for Denmark! Unfortunately you can't order online, but it's well worth checking out if your next holiday destination has one!



and of course, FLYING TIGER COPENHAGEN

How could I miss out TIGER?!! My favourite shop ever (well until I saw sostrene grene) - an average day in London for me would include visiting at least three branches! So how excited was I to be visiting the HOME of Flying Tiger Copenhagen? The very first thing I did after checking in was run to their flagship store, on Strøget. It was spread out over THREE FLOORS and so so so so nicely designed with absolutely everything you could ever hope or wish for! The layout was still typical Tiger, but with elements that totally poshed-it-up a bit like these shelves. Honestly like all my dreams had come true under one roof. 




SLEEPING:


GENERATOR HOSTEL

I may have nicked those second and third pics off their website because apart from that one of the staircase mine were pretty pants. But at least I can now claim I'm linking you because they have 20% off at the moment with the code WIN16 - and they operate in most major cities around Europe, including London!! I was in Copenhagen alone, so I booked myself into the cheapest hostel I could find, which was the "Generator" hostel... it was actually heavenly!! As with absolutely everything in Denmark, the design was on point. These pictures show the communal areas - which were alive and buzzing 24 hours a day. There were loads of people travelling on their own also, so the atmosphere was really sociable and I met some amazing people! The rooms were pretty basic - but still clean and well designed! There was lockable storage for your stuff both in the room and down in reception. Also unlike every other hostel I've ever stayed in, your bed was made for you and there were two showers within the room. There were also options for quite affordable private rooms if you're going as a couple etc! Highly highly recommend - good price, great design, amazing social events!





MISCELLANEOUS:


LIQUORICE

I love liquorice, especiallyyyyy the salted variety. In fact it was one of the things that I was most excited about visiting Scandinavia.... the HOME of salty liquorice. But wherever I go, I have to try the ice cream - its pretty much the only rule I live by when travelling! I couldn't find anywhere selling scoops of ice cream - pretty understandable, considering it was minus seven degrees, but I did find a liquorice lolly!! Probably the only photo ever of a gloved hand holding ice cream haa!




COPENHAGEN CATHEDRAL

I realised that I missed this one out of the part one post, but it's worth a visit. If you're an early bird like me, you'll find very few things in the city centre are open before 10am, or even 11am. However the "Church of Our Lady" as it is officially known, opens its doors at 8am and there's no admission fee unlike the cathedrals of every other major city! It's got a definite scandi-feel to it, being bright and airy with lots of white and wood and modern lighting.




PALADS TEATRET

Another randomer, I posted this wall on instagram and lots of people were asking where it was (presumably so they can also instagram the wall!!!) it's actually a cinema called Palads Teatret, right by the central station. 


Next up, Norway!

Naomi









Travels: Copenhagen Part One

Travels: Copenhagen Part One
Hello hello hello. It's a few weeks into 2017 now (how did that happen!!?) and I think I'm finally ready to pick my blog back up again properly. It's been several months because I've been busy interning and working and working on a few secret design projects but I'm back with a fresh layout and a lot of ideas... I think I've figured out how to mash together travel and art stuff in a way that's just 'me' and my 'lifestyle'.

The other week I took a solo trip to Copenhagen for a few days on my way to Norway. I'd promised a number of people I would go with them but when I found £3.99 flights it was too good to miss... that being said if any of you are reading this I WILL STILL GO WITH YOU! There is so much I didn't get to see/do and there was such an outdoorsy feel with lots of stuff which I think would be much better enjoyed in summer and not in minus seven degrees. When it comes to exploring, the adrenaline within me means my stamina goes above and beyond and I honestly didn't sit down for 18 hours on my middle day in Copenhagen. There are few cities I have ever fallen in love with quite SO quickly as Copenhagen (ok... maybe Barcelona, Budapest and Florence) but the vibe is perfectly creative, chilled and everything is soooooo beautifully designed - buildings, graphics, shops everything! I'm going to spread this out over a few posts, today's being my highlights of things to do.






The Design Museum
Easily my favourite thing of everything I did in Copenhagen! The Danish Design Museum is free for under 26s and contains a comprehensive collection of textiles, furniture, posters, products etc etc. Of course my fave bit was the fashion and textiles rooms but whilst I was there, they also had exhibitions on what we can learn from Japanese design and a room dedicated to 'the Danish chair'. Pretty sure half my enjoyment just came from the absolutely gorgeous simple scandi style interiors, the grey walls, simplistic plinths and floors perfectly offset all the items on exhibit. (The gift shop was beautiful tooooo.)



The Worker's Museum
Confession: I actually only went into the Worker's Museum because I was walking by and desperate for the loo. But I had a great time and genuinely highly recommend it. This was actually one of the only things I had to pay for on my whole trip, but if you're into social history like me it's really worth it! The museum takes you through the introduction of workers' rights and the affect they had on living standards, via the story a working class Copenhagen family. I have to admit I didn't really understand what was going on in some rooms as there were limited signs with English translations. The bottom floor had exhibits of modern political movements, whilst the cafe sold only retro refreshments!





Superkilen
The metro in Copenhagen is really pricey but the city is pretty compact and you can walk everywhere. However, the walk to Superkilen was pretty long - it's worth doing it above ground though because you pass by not only Copenhagen lakes but the nicest selection of cafes/little shops the whole way down Norrebrogade. Superkilen is a park of sorts, divided into three sections (red, green, black) and to celebrate the capital's diversity, it holds a collection of items from around the world - you can download an app to get info on the background of all the random bits and bobs. 




Go to Sweden
(I actually forgot to take any photos, so this one is a google special just to illustrate my point about the awesome bus journey!!) Malmo is a short trip from Copenhagen and probably easier than visiting anywhere else in Denmark. You can get the train 24 hours a day, but as that was pretty pricey I opted to take the bus, which takes a much more scenic route across an ocean bridge anyway. I didn't really have a plan once I got there (and totally forgot I'd need different money!!), so I just pottered around for an hour or two before getting the bus back. But it was really cool and a totally different vibe!




Get some perspective at Tarnet Tower
The tower at Christiansborg Palace is free to go up and open fairly late compared to other attractions so you can see the city at day or night. I think I turned up at about 8pm on a Thursday and there was no queue at all so I went straight up. There aren't any really tall buildings in the city centre but there are a couple of other options of towers you can climb, including the church at Christiana and the Round Tower, but as those both charge and aren't as central I'd recommend Tarnet.





The Botanic Gardens
Yet another free attraction! The Botanic Gardens were a lot like a mini Kew but without the mega entrance fee. Definite must if like me you are silly enough to go in January and need to warm up!




Christiana Freetown
The former military barracks have been created into something I'm not even sure how to describe, a community spirited creative area which is completely pedestrianised and independent from the Danish government. It is filled with brightly painted homes, arts venues and structures made from reclaimed materials. As very few things in the city centre are open in the mornings, I spent the (coldest) sunrise (of my life) walking around Christiana. You are advised not to take any photos in the area, so  out of respect the only one I took faced outwards across the water. 






See the Sights from "The Danish Girl"
One of the best films from recent years, The Danish Girl really does show Copenhagen's best bits - including the rows of yellow ochre houses on cobbled streets "Nyboder" and the famous harbour area "Nyhavn".


Other Art Galleries/Museums
The Louisiana Museum of Modern Arts a short train ride away on the coast this museum was sooooo much better than I expected, I'm not usually a fan of modern art but this museum really did it "right", Statens Museum for Kunst (national art museum) - worth remembering this is open late on Wednesdays, as is the Kunsthal Charlottenborg. 




Part two coming up later this week!


Naomi