Goodbye, little car

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

It's been almost a year to the day since I bought my very first car of my own. And due to a series of crazy and unfortunate incidents that left it nothing but completely broken, there was only one place left for it to go. This morning I had to stand and watch it be towed away with tearful eyes; the saddest goodbye.

So goodbye, little car. I literally loved you to death even though you hated me. You hated me in a way that you drank all the petrol I put in you and all your wheels nearly fell off in sequence and bits of your engine blew up multiple times. You laughed in my face and left me broken down on three-lane roundabouts at rush hour and stranded in the middle of the night on motorways. But even though it was hella expensive, we had a brilliant year together and I still loved you. We had crazy spontaneous roadtrips and visited friends at 2am and we zipped up and down motorways and loved a service station or two. We saw beautiful sunsets and nearly crashed in the most awful storms and took care of each other in the snow. All those great times meant that it was horrible to watch that evil winch pick you up and dump you onto that truck like you didn't matter. It smashed your windscreen and roof and the sound was awful and I cried for you. You mattered; you were so special. I will never forget you, my first car.

(A little overdramatic but I really, really loved that rustheap. <3)

They made a statue of us

Monday, 8 October 2012


I've always written. It's not exactly my forté and has mostly (especially more so in recent years) just been something to accompany photographs when it's not long, rambly and in my private diary. But one way or another, I've always documented my life with words. So to go for so long without as much as a peep has been weird, to say the least. Call it kind of a 'block', perhaps - I like to write as honest as I can and if I can be honest right now, I haven't much wanted to be truthful for the past few months. Because for me writing can be both a therapeutic dip into a dream word, and also a sign of reality. Reality isn't something I've wanted to face much at all. Putting everything out there on paper (or in a text box) is as real as you can get in my book, and it confirms everything that I never actually wanted to happen. So this is without a doubt the most difficult and emotional thing I have ever had to write.

In July, I broke up with Phil - my other half for four years almost to the day. I ended my pretty much perfect relationship and left somebody I never ever wanted to hurt with a broken heart. And in the process, wrecked my own as well.

It hasn't been easy. It was something preying on my mind for quite a while and indeed the hardest decision I have ever had to undertake. It wasn't something that I took lightly - I fought tooth & nail for my relationship every single day because, believe me, there was nothing I wanted more than for it to work. But as it goes it all got too much to bear and when I just sat down and realised in my heart that everything was all wrong, I exploded.

I regret some things. I'm a fighter, as a lot of people in my life are aware, but a lot of the time I'm choosing to fight alone. Even in this case. Which was probably the kiss of death - you're supposed to work as a team in a relationship and I worked alone, and I regret not talking more. I've never been a brilliant communicator of my own emotions (this has stemmed from my growing up) and I guess that's at least a lesson learned for the future - I have to talk more. I also regret not conveying my feelings on certain situations in our lives, such as trying to buy a flat which I was clearly not ready to do. I'm actually pretty mad at myself for this as it's probably the most reckless, stupid thing I've ever done. A flat is a lot of money.

And so everything's changed. We untangled our interwoven lives. I moved out of our flat that we shared for almost three years, that I never ever wanted to leave. I picked up all my things, put them into boxes, and had to sift through years and years worth of mementos and memories and it completely destroyed my soul. I now live alone in a room on a hill house, also a two minute walk from my shop but in the opposite direction. I haven't unpacked my boxes yet. I can't even bear to think about tomorrow or next week or the month after - just seemingly living on a day-to-day basis, waiting to see what will happen and trying to fill my time with as many friendly faces as possible. I lived on a sofa for two months, took myself out every night - if I dared to stay in, I would just cry myself to sleep. The weirdest things still make me spontaneously burst into tears - adverts, injokes, the most unlikeliest of songs (Sum 41 & Andrew WK, anybody?) I've lost weight drastically and put it all back on again and got acne and been so sick, even I wonder how I'm still functioning. I guess I'm stronger than I've ever realised. I live for work now, which I guess could sound quite sad but it's literally been all I've had to cling onto. I honestly don't know where I would be without it. It's given me a reason to keep going.

Sadly I have not had the best time with friends or family the past few months. Most think I've either lost the plot (maybe) or had any kind of an affair (absolutely not) and I've had a hard time communicating because of that. I've divulged my feelings and thoughts which I give away like a secret and then later discovered that they're all out in the open. Completely exposed. That's not fair. And people wonder why I've basically shut down. The most unlikely unexpected people have been there to pick me up when I've been completely broken and I have no way of ever thanking them enough but I'll find a way.

As for finding my way? In truth, I don't even know what's been going through my head. It spins, and my heart hurts, and my stomach twists into knots. I don't know what all of this is for or even what I want. All I know is, I hurt my best friend. A lot. And I can never be sorry enough. Never, ever, ever. I hope someday - somehow - I can fix this. I really, really do.

Brighton up your day

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Brighton. Probably my second most favourite place on earth (& maybe soon, I'll post about my #1). I could go there about ten times a year and still find endless things to do; perpetual nooks and crannies to explore; infinite photos to take. It's an attention-seeking town of such glorious eye candy that means, really, you cannot put a foot wrong in Brighton. It makes the perfect impromptu day-trip to anybody living in London or the south-east (an hour by train or half an hour by car, go figure) or a brilliant weekend getaway with plenty of places to stay and great nights out to be had. It just cannot seem to bore me in any way and I don't know a single person who doesn't like relentless Brighton. Even when it's cloudy!


Sunday, 27 May 2012

what a pair of posers!

More sunshiney goodness! This time from the very first spurt of it earlier this week, where I found the time to jolly up to the centre of London to meet with my very good pal Bee. My BBFF, in fact - bloggy best friend forever, of course! The history of Bee and me goes back a long, long way to the depths of Livejournal in the mid-naughties and I honestly feel like we've known each other forever whenever we meet up and just cannot stop wittering. Definitely one of the best things being so social on the internet has brought me is the many friends I've gained and longwindedly, I suppose I wouldn't be living the way I do today if it had not been for meeting certain people by way of online diaries and forums. Anyway, Bee is one of the best people I've ever met in my entire life. Fact. We've both been blogging in various forms for years but when we first decided to start up less emo-ish, more serious and public blogs we decided that we would totally cheerlead each other, and thus the term 'BBFF' was born. You heard it here first, 'kay?

Coming straight from work, I was totally unprepared for the glorious sunshine on offer which is why I look like I'm dying of heat in a pair of jeans. Because I totally am. Still, we enjoyed one of the most luscious dinners ever at Byronburger and took away a couple of gorgeous milkshakes - chocolate malt for Bee, straight-up vanilla for me. The milkshakes are to die for and are worth going to Byronburger for alone. We chose a sitting-and-nattering spot of Soho Square, which the entirety of London had seemingly picked too but that only added to the wonderful joyful feeling that seemed to be filtering through the city at that time.

As my bloggy best friend forever, of course our Bee has a spot on the internet of her very own - Like A Skeleton Key - and you ought to check it out for wonderful words and hot London tips. She can sniff out things even a born Londoner (i.e. yours truly) wouldn't know about. It all makes for quirky but knowledgeable reading and it's definitely one to watch.

This post is totally sponsored* by love & friendship.
* 'kay, it isn't really sponsored.

Summer breeze

Friday, 25 May 2012

Summer = comfy shoes, long walks, discovering abandoned rope swings in the middle of nowhere, impromptu picnics every night, cold bottled beer & cider, sunglasses, amazing playlists, bare legs, laying sprawled across the grass until 8pm, unsafe cartwheels, huge smiles, discovering your bag makes an excellent beer caddy, getting into all the nooks & crannies of the town that you live in, sunkissed cheeks and great company. Blimey, and that's just in one evening! It's safe to say that I have grabbed onto this burst of sunshine with two hands and I am damned if I let go. We certainly need these rays after that pesky month-plus of rain! Have you been enjoying this sudden sunshine?

Maximum R&B

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

cardigan: primark / tee: camden market, 2003 / jeans: h&m / shoes: primark

And here, you will see me wax lyrical about a t-shirt. Yes, a t-shirt.

I can't be the only human being who has a favourite t-shirt, surely. We've all got one when we think about it. It could have been a present, it could be the most expensive & delicate thing you own, or it could be something that has lasted you many years & you couldn't bear to get rid of. My Who t-shirt falls under the latter - and also stands as one of the most precious things in my belonging. You see when I bought this t-shirt, it was late 2002 or early 2003 and my weekends were best spent hanging out at Camden Lock with my school-friends, often in possession of a bottle of White Lightning (sorry Mum). I bartered a street-side seller down from £6 to £4 - hey, £2 was a big deal in those days - to lay my mucky paws on this t-shirt which I only wanted so much because it features my favourite band.

Honestly, I grew up listening to The Who and owned - still do - every single album and artifact involving this band, and I believe it's an institute to actually be in love with a band before you even think about adorning an item of clothing with their name on it. How many times have you seen kids wearing Fleetwood Mac, The Ramones or Rolling Stones tees, to name a few, and wondered if they can even hum a line from any of their songs. And yes, I know it's possible to come from very diverse musical backgrounds (I, for one, know this more than anybody, as the girl who was brought up on Slade, The Who, & The Beatles on one end of the spectrum, and Tchaikovsky & Handl on the other, with a lot of Spice Girls inbetween). But I also believe that with the ready availability of band-related clothing, it's really easy for anybody to slap it on in the lame aid of looking a bit cool.

So I've owned this t-shirt for the best part of 10 years and seriously, however OTT it sounds, if I had to reduce this tee to the rag pile I would be gutted. I wear it pretty much every fortnight, which would make the cost-per-wear ridonkulous by now, and it's become such a known factor of mine that for a time at college I was referred to as "Who t-shirt Kate". It's been with me through all the brilliant parts of my life; for I can even remember the days wearing it after my secondary school "graduation", on a date once, on long lazy summers with shorts drinking bottled beer in Greenwich Park, when I moved in with Phil. Plus - a super amazing plus - it's one of the few things that I bought 10 years ago that still even fits me! Get in. Not only that, but it's so easy to dress myself with; it's great worn rough or fancy, and it's the best thing to just throw on if I can't be bothered, but I'm still true to myself.

So it may be a t-shirt, but it's more than just a t-shirt, isn't it?

A crazy week

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Here's a bit of a Ronseal post for you: as in, it does what it says on the tin! I feel like I've had a proper week of it, really. A minor down, a massive high, and some good and even insignificant things things to carry the flow in between, that I feel like I just need to blurt it all out in a pile of words and photos.

You may or may not have heard about my car. My poor car! I went to Bromley with my Mum on Friday for a spot of retail therapy (very therapeutic) and on the way back, about five minutes after I left the car park, my car started smoking heavily inside - obviously this is not what a car should do! So after a bit of a frantic moment trying to find somewhere safe to pull over we found ourselves waiting an hour and a half for an AA man to arrive. What would we do without the AA? After a bit of jiggering about, he sort-of fixed my car (in the pouring rain and hail, what a saint) but it would need proper sorting out at a garage sooner rather than later. Ironically, I was super excited whilst I was driving before the mini-drama because my car had hit 60,000 miles! What a celebration from my little charmer of a car.

I got it up to a garage on Tuesday and got it back today, a hefty amount of money later. Ouch! Still, it's all healthy and working (and driving and not smoking, most importantly) which despite the hole in my pocket, counts more than anything. I took it for another spin to Bromley today, not just to show it where it sadly died just a few days before, but my meet with my bezzie Jamie for a spot of lunch a chatter-natter.

We ate lunch in Joe's Kitchen, which only adds fuel to my Pink Lemonade fire. I ordered a club sandwich which was so thick I couldn't actually open my mouth wide enough to eat it properly, so think of it more like a deconstructed club sanger. The menu for Joe's Kitchen actually had me drooling and I already know what I'm going to order next time (*cough*frenchtoastwithbacon*cough*) so I'm pretty sure I'll be back there soon.

The rest of our day went like this: coffee (caffeinated, eek), free handouts from Krispy Kremes and Auntie Anne's, more coffee, getting addicted to crack-of-a-game The Logo Quiz and trying for answers like our lives depended on them (I blame the caffeine), lots and lots of mooching and laughs and general nuttiness that you can only have with your greatest mate.

On the drive home, I stopped off at Sainsbury's which happened to be on the way and I never get to go there. Let's just say I'll be going there for all my snacks in future. I picked up these awesome flavoured almonds and some droolworthy coconut-chocolate spread, NOM. Can't wait to give that a go!

I haven't been clothes shopping for SO LONG, so I bought some bits on Friday whilst out with my Mum (I think this is the very reason my car broke down). I couldn't help it, honest! It's been an age and a day since I've set foot in a Primark so my eyes were like saucers in there; I picked up this apple top and the navy polka dot top. Then in Vero Moda, I snatched up this green beauty with white hearts plastered all over it. It's nice to have some more colourful t-shirts in my collection, finally.

And lest we forget my new jeans! Or better known as, The Green Jeans of Dreams. I've been searching high and low for the perfect fit and shade of green jeans for, literally, about four years now and lo-and-behold, I found them on the rails of Next, just screaming, "Come get me!" How could I resist? They fit so well and I love wearing them.

I also indulged in a couple more Models Own nail varnishes, which are definitely my favourite brand of them all. The coverage and consistency is so even and there is such a vast array of colours, I often have no idea where to begin in even deciding. Woman problems! I think this shade of green (it's true, I'm mental about green) pretty much quashes my perfect-green-nail-varnish desires though, and I really love this poppy shade of blue from the Hedkandi range. Wow, I feel like I'm finally 'in trend' with something. How odd!

So! If you've got this far, I applaud you mahoosively. You've certainly got a lot of stamina! And now, for my parting words, I wanted to note down in some way my big news of the week but I didn't want to do a post about it as there's not a lot to really say on the matter, and I hate to scream something so loudly from the rooftops but I want to remember feeling this elated. And I want the world to know too! So, without further ado, my big scoop of the week is...
I'm going to be a store manager!
More importantly, the manager of MY store!

I'm literally over the moon and absolutely stoked and don't even know where to begin, even though it's a role I know inside out through lots of training and practice, but tomorrow my current manager leaves for pastures new and I will be stepping into her shoes. I feel like this is the biggest work-related thing I've ever done and ever been allowed to do and I can't count my stars enough for this opportunity that I've earned. Months and months of tough work has gone into making this happen and I can't wait - really cannot wait - to get underway with this new chapter in my working life. Not bad for an East London working class girl with a handful of GCSEs!

Hope you enjoyed this everythingallatonce post. ♥


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

I do hate leaving it ages and ages to post things, but at the same time I dislike doing major or significant (to me) things without addressing them, even when the initial moment has well and truly passed. Basically, I spent a weekend in Liverpool a couple of weeks back and whilst I don't want to forget it, I already don't remember a lot about it. This is my own fault, or the fault of my party - we spent a lot of time in Liverpool doing an awful lot of nothing in the grand scheme of things and not a lot of seeing or doing (unless you count drinking and eating). When I go far to a city, especially a new one, I love to take in the sights and the culture like a proper little sightsee-r. But sadly, in this case, it wasn't really to be.

Not to worry; it just means I'll have to visit Liverpool again some time! I did at least manage to snag a lovely little meander down by Albert Dock and you know what, that'll do for now. Albert Dock is completely stunning and full of things to see and do. I can save the Tate, the Beatles Experience, and the long walks around the city for some other time. Liverpool, I'll be back!

Spring sprang sprung

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

On Monday night, I noticed that the blossoms on the tree by my flat looked extremely lively and pink. I am adamant that this is a sign that spring is well and truly on it's way, especially after all that delightful weather in March when it was almost tropical outside! Unfortunately, since then, it's been a bit of a rainy wash-out and generally quite wintery again, but that doesn't stop me living in hope for all the delights of the upcoming season. For me, these include:

♥ Lots of colourful and sunny walks and bike rides in the countryside.
♥ Picnics and BBQs for dinner sat in fields and watching the sun set.
♥ Getting right back into running and chasing lots of PBs.
♥ Lighter, healthier eating - salads, pittas, hummus, couscous, pasta and pesto, fresh fruit and potato salads.
♥ Lots of refreshing cold drinks like juices, iced teas and frappes.
♥ Being able to venture outside without a jacket or a brolly.
♥ Beautiful flowers everywhere.

Basically, I just can't wait to shake off all those winter blues and climb out of my forever-worn pyjamas and soak up all the goodness that spring has to offer! It's been a long wait but I finally believe it's ready to start.

What are you most looking forward to about spring?

Music Monday: T-Rex

Monday, 16 April 2012

Three weeks in a row! Well, I never.

I guess in using Music Monday to showcase some of my all-time favourite music loves, I'm trying to stick as true to form as possible. That includes using some of the less well-known, less "cool" bands that adorn my iPod and CD shelves. T-Rex are in fact a love of mine that has stemmed from very early childhood - no lie! My Mum had these awesome clunky video cassette tapes called (imaginatively) 'Glam Rock' and, funnily enough, they contained a great collection of hits from the glam rock era in the early 1970s. T-Rex, for me, are almost what the glam rock era was all about - that brash look at me kind of music, defined in tone and clanging guitars and unforgettable choruses. Also I believe that while Marc Bolan is a legend, he is solely credited for much of the band's success and I feel that the poor old rest-of-the-band are disregarded so quickly, it doesn't really seem on. In my belief, it's the band that made Marc Bolan and all together, the brilliant sound of T-Rex.

I could give you the back catalogue and be done with that, but I've been a saint and kept it to three key songs.

I think that this is more of T-Rex than the overplayed 'I Love To Boogie' can ever offer. Ironically, this song is probably the fan favourite but never should have been: it was released in 1972 without the entire bands' permission and eventually caused them to break free from their record label. Woah. With an unforgettable, descending chorus and enough head-bopping fodder to last a week, this is definitely one to listen to.

Children Of The Revolution
EVERYBODY knows this. Personally, I feel it's absolutely timeless - a classic, but not classic-enough sounding to be a classic, if you get what I mean? I am often found arguing my case with the people who flatly state, "Er, well it doesn't sound like it was recorded yesterday..." with a simple, "Why not?" I really do think it could have been recorded within the last five years and you wouldn't be able to tell the difference. A stonking boot-stomping song that will make anybody want to dance around their living room.

Metal Guru
T-Rex doing what they do best; two-odd minutes of cheery-but-sad music fronted with whimsical, nonsensical lyrics. But they're so pretty! The Smiths tried to rip this off in the form of 'Panic' (yeah, you can hear it now, can't you?) but it'll never match up to this chart-topping performance.

Songs on YouTube here, here and here. I also want to draw you to the attention of Get It On, as this is probably the most-known T-Rex song and I'll be damned confused if you've never heard it.

What are your musical blasts from the pasts?

Worse things happen at tea

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

So, let's talk about the very unique and personal thing that is; tea. Personal not only in the way you take it (one lump or two? A splash or a glug of milk? The combinations are endless) but for many, it even comes down to what brand you drink. Some people are devout followers of PG Tips, others are hardcore Tetley enthusiasts. In this house, we are Yorkshire, and Yorkshire only.

Until this week that is. I came home from work on Monday to find this box of Clipper Organic Everyday Tea sat on the kitchen worktop. Being slightly mystified, I searched the house until I came across Phil, who was sat after his tea-foraging experience looking as pleased a punch. "It was on offer!" He exclaimed, seeming rather proud of himself. I reminded him of his duties to the church of Yorkshire but he waved them off, declaring that this Clipper tea would be lovely. Right.

Two hours and two cups later, Phil could no longer paint on his passion for Clipper tea and I heard a reluctant and glum, "It's, er, alright," when I probed him for his opinion. Inside, I was cheering - I'm always right, you see. (*cough* bighead *cough*) Don't you just find that when your usual cup or brand of tea is changed, it's never quite as enjoyable? Anyway, as I keep telling myself: oh well! Only 76 more cups to go.

These are some of my other current favourite hot drinks. I'm trying to stave off coffee because, let's face it, I get enough of that at work. Lemon & Ginger tea is one of my all-time loves - one of those flavours that I find really warming and comforting in the winter, yet equally as refreshing in the summertime. And the smell is divine! It's safe to say that I get through a box of this pretty quickly. I'm also drinking a lot of chai lattes too, with soy milk warmed in the microwave. It's perfect for a late night treat or replacement for dessert.

Not that you can tell - in fact, I don't blame you for reckoning that these are my secret stash of Yorkshire - but these two bags are my absolute babies. They're actually Lapsang Souchong, a new discovery for me. My friend J recommended it to me and I have to admit, when he mentioned 'smokey, woody, firey' as a way of describing the flavour I was more than skeptical - especially when he said, "Add milk; it will make it." So he threw a few bags my way and one morning, I took the plunge and brewed up a cup... and was instantly bowled over. This tea is unspeakably amazing; so smokey and aromatic but never at all overpowering. I would definitely recommend that everybody try at least one cup. I'm rationing my two bags as I've put myself on a tea-buying ban until I've depleted my tea cupboard.

Yes, that's right. Tea cupboard. What do you mean, 'you don't have one'?