Stories of Old Travels & Simple Iced Caramel Coffee Recipe 2

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The first time I traveled out of the country — the country being Spain, where I lived for over 24 years, seldom going anywhere within or outside of it — I was seventeen, and I came to London for three weeks. I loved it, naturally, despite making poor food choices, staying with a family in Bounds Green, and probably straining my ankle by walking twenty minutes to the tube station in flats every day — and twenty minutes on the way back. There was a lot of sightseeing, a lot of walking, a lot of museum-going. I planned that trip to catch an exhibit of my favorite painter, John Everett Millais, at the Tate Britain. It was a good trip, and moving to Madrid for college just afterwards was a massive letdown.

The following summer, I took the same scholarship that allowed me to go to London — 1500€ to book an ESL course for at least three weeks. The UK was my only option for these things because I had no budget beyond the amount of the scholarship, and if tuition took up half of it, I had very little left for accommodation and flights. The thing is, I’ve always loved Europe, and wanted to see all of it, and been intrigued by England maybe most of all, so it wasn’t a hard choice to make. This time around, I picked Oxford.

I fell in love with Oxford. The way I feel about London is strong, but the way I felt living in Oxford was magic. The cobblestone streets, the bookshops, the colleges, the Botanic Garden — strolling around the city with my camera in hand, taking over five gigabytes of photos — and I wasn’t shooting RAW at the time. Under different circumstances, I might have tried to stay. I wanted to. I thought about it, though about finding jobs to apply for, but I was eighteen, I’d just dropped out of college, and I wasn’t ready to be on my own.

That year, I spent a lot of time at coffeehouses inside bookshops — the Starbucks inside Borders, the Costa inside Waterstones, the Caffé Nero inside Blackwell’s. Many of those places are gone, but I remember feeling home there. There’s something about chains that I actually appreciate: the familiarity, the solidness of it. I went to London one day to meet my best friend for the first time ever, and ate at a Waterstones in Piccadilly. I went to Brighton for two days to cap my trip, and had my usual coffee order at a Costa inside a Waterstones up West Street. The Waterstones is still there, according to Google Maps.

I kind of fell in love with that coffee order, and when I went back to Spain, to my hometown without coffeehouses inside bookshops or fancy drinks at the ones we did have, I set out to find a way to make it, and every time I did, it reminded me of being in England, a little bit. Eventually I also created a strawberry and ice cream shake — not quite a milkshake and not quite a smoothie — that will forever remind me of Wimbledon.

But when I was asked to share a recipe inspired by one of the countries in the Cricket World Cup, I thought it would be a lovely time to share my iced caramel coffee — no fancy machines, just whatever I could find in my little city — and the reason it ended up a part of my very small off-the-top-of-my-head recipe arsenal.

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The point of this recipe is that if you move somewhere they don’t sell half the shit you need, or move to a flat where you can’t use any fancy coffee contraptions, you can still make it. I got caramel syrup — golden syrup, whatever — and madagascar vanilla extract out of a cupboard in my landlady’s kitchen (I cleared this with her before using her kitchen; better lighting for photos, you see; was actually going to make a cocktail, but time ran against me and my complete inexperience in the alcohol department). I stole the milk from my flatmate, because whenever I buy milk, it ends up going bad as I just come to Starbucks every day because it’s warmer than home (and currently, until things get sorted out — apparently a cat chewed on a cable — my only access to the Internet). The coffee, however, was mine, and so was the mug and the… idea. Look, I have good intentions.

So, without further ado, what you need:

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Coffee for however way you make espresso or black coffee; I used instant like the heathen I am
Milk
Ice
Caramel syrup (sugar tastes terrible; that is one substitution I don’t recommend)
Vanilla extract (powder or on the bean or liquid; vanilla sugar is another substitution I don’t recommend)

A mug, a glass, and a machine to make hot coffee. If you have a espresso machine or a French press, use that. I just heated up water in a kettle. My beautiful mug is from Zoz Pots on Etsy.

Instructions are quick, but I swear by the order of them:

1. Heat up your water / make your espresso.

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2. Add half a teaspoon of vanilla extract to your mug.
3. Get your coffee ready in the glass (or another mug, or wherever).

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4. Hit the ice against the counter a bunch of times, or break it some other way if you know how to, or if you have tiny cubes, then more power to you, tell me where you get that shit. Put the ice in the mug.

5. Add milk; fill the mug to about the midway point.

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6. Pour some caramel over the ice; a couple of tablespoons is usually pretty good, but not everyone has the same standards re: sweetness in their coffee. I like a caramel taste in this drink, but won’t let sugar near my normal morning coffee.

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7. Finally, pour the steaming hot coffee over the ice, to fill up the rest of the cup. Let it rest for a few seconds — it will help melt the caramel syrup and ice cubes —

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— and stir.

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After this, I put my caramel coffee in a travel mug and took it to Starbucks. It was actually pretty good, which surprised me given the way I sourced the ingredients and considering I hadn’t made it in a while.

In fact, I hadn’t made it since before I went and packed my bags and moved to England.

Disclosure: I was asked by Betfair to take part in the Cricket World Cup Recipe challenge.


4 Things / I’m Thinking About 4

Lix Hewett / Instagram Photos / London Photographer

Winter Greens (Rosslyn Hill, Hampstead) / an old shot from a bus to Archway / Fleet Road, Hampstead
Cozy b.young Cardigan / Staying In (ZozPots Mug) / Delivery Office Run (Hampstead)
Hampstead Hill Gardens / Baker Street Station / Haverstock Hill, Hampstead

You can follow me on Instagram at @lixhewett!

1. Transport

I try to take the bus whenever possible because it’s cheaper, but it’s nice that sometimes you can get interesting photos of streets and traffic — if the window isn’t dirty as fuck, anyway. I’m starting to memorize my route from Swiss Cottage to Marylebone, and I just end up going on manual focus and taking bokeh shots of the car lights at night. I really want to do a photo walk down Eton Avenue one day, when it’s not as cold — the houses are so picturesque — and every time the bus goes past Lord’s Cricket Ground, I look at the little park — St John’s Wood Church Gardens — and the tombstones and the children’s playground and think, “I want to shoot in there.” It is impossible to get a halfway decent photo of it from the road, though, so you’ll have to take my word for it that it seems like a cool location for a shoot. In fact, hire me and find out!

2. Mental Health

I’ve had a depressive-episode week, again, due to a payment not being due when I thought it was. It’s thrown my motivation and sleep schedule into disarray, and I’ve only barely begun to recover. The sertraline isn’t doing anything for me yet, as far as I can tell, other than quell my appetite; I no longer feel drowsy and I’m not getting any more migraines.

Every morning, it takes me two or three hours to get out of bed; I feel hopeless and dejected and stressed. Then once I get up and shower and get dressed, even before I medicate, I feel better — I feel like I can make something of myself, that I can make things work. I’m having trouble falling asleep at night again, or rather putting my phone down and trying to sleep, which doesn’t help with the lack of motivation in the morning; if I go to sleep at 4 AM and I wake up at 2 PM, that means I’ll get up at 5 PM and I was really enjoying not doing that for the couple of weeks it got better.

But I’m making an effort to be healthy despite the lack of appetite, and I did get up when I was supposed to (even if it was an hour and a half later than I intended) on Friday when I actually had to be somewhere, so it’s not all hopeless.

3. Haircuts

So. I picked up a tiny hair modeling gig off Model Mayhem a few weeks ago. Hair modeling is like modeling except way more time-consuming and appearance-changing. I went for a consultation a few weeks ago, and yesterday I went in for a dye and a cut. The dye is so close to my natural hair color — copper, and my hair shines copper already — I can barely tell it’s there, and the cut isn’t a huge difference, either, because it’s still medium length at the front, shorter at the back — Alexa Chung inspired, apparently?

On Friday, when they blow-dried it at the salon (Billi Currie on Chiltern Street in Marylebone; I’m modeling for Debbie G), I wasn’t super thrilled with it; then when I washed it yesterday, I felt a little better, and this morning when I woke up and looked in the mirror I was like, “hell yeah.” It’s very bouncy and it actually reminded me of the picture of Rosamund Pike’s haircut they threw around during my consultation, and I am into it. Plus, it’s so much lighter and quicker to wash and dry.

The actual modeling is tomorrow, Monday, at a seminar in Sevenoaks in Kent. I have to get up at 7 AM, which is terrifying, but I’m sure I’ll manage. It should be fun. I like modeling because you just go and you do something that is really quite effortless if you’re comfortable letting people make you pretty and prancing in front of a camera, which I am, and it’s done. I like the simplicity of the timeline, compared to design work.

Anyway, everyone involved is super friendly and nice, so I’m looking forward to being made up and styled within an inch of my life tomorrow.

4. Plans

Then on Tuesday I’m going to a thing I can’t find info about on google — a sewing workshop in Brent Cross in the morning, and in the evening I will hopefully not chicken out of going to the Gossip Girl-inspired gifting lounge put on by Bloggers Love. I’ve never been to any of their events, but this looked appealing. I have no idea how gifting lounges work, though. Any of you gone to any? Can you give me a rundown? I’m investing transport money in this thing so I want to get something out of it.

And then the rest of the week is mine, all mine. I’m trying to plan it out now because I know my motivation will waver, but maybe if I get up early on both Monday and Tuesday, I’ll be able to stick to the habit and keep it up for the rest of the week. If you want to help me stay not-depressed, feel free to have a look at my design portfolio and get yourself something pretty. I’m currently booking blog design for late March, but I’m more flexible with media kits and product photography and other bits and pieces.

And so: how was your week? What have you got planned for this next one?


Creative / Product Photography for Jewellery by EMS 1

JEMS by Lix Hewett / London Product Photographer

A while ago — let’s not say how long — I met up with Emma from JEMS to have a chat and so I could return a memory locket of hers I’d previously photographed (and which she got published on a magazine!) and take some photos of her beautiful, quirky unique jewelry. (You really can’t take the American out of my English; I’m sorry. I tried. It felt wrong.) We had a little walk around Belsize Park — she was in London from Leeds, for an event — and picked a spot to get some photos.

I photographed the pieces she was carrying on her, and took a few more portrait-like shots as well. I’m sharing them with you all here on the blog today. I hope you love her work as much as I do. And if you’re interested in hiring a photographer, go here or here!

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Outfit / Spy 4

Outfit / Spy / Lix Hewett by Annemari S

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In last week’s outfit post, I mentioned that I had several sets of photos from last year I kept meaning to clean up and post. Well, the other night I needed a break from thinking, and I dug into one.

These photos were taken on May 3rd last year by my beautiful, lovely, darling friend Annemari S, who is beautiful and lovely and darling, and who I roomed and spent a week with when I first came to London. She went back to Estonia and I stayed, and all we have now are these pictures. (This is where I sigh dramatically.) Psst: her name is a link to her RedBubble shop. Here it is again. Her work is awful pretty, and her use of light and color constantly leaves me in awe — by which I mean I stare at it for a while and then I go WHAT and keysmash at her.

We took this at King’s Cross station in London, where Ashley wanted to go to get a photo at Platform 9 3/4 before she headed back to the States. There was a lot of walking that day, and a no-show flat viewing, and I have a picture of me pouting somewhere in Wood Green and a picture of me looking all come hither in the British Library, because going for walks with people who are as attached to their camera as you are (of course I also have selfies) is awesome.

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7 Things / I’m Thinking About 2

You guys, I’m so tired. I’m struggling to put this post together. I can mostly handle design, but anything that involves thinking is making me exhausted. But I’m trying! Because this is a side effect, and it will go away eventually, and it was worse yesterday anyway and at least today I got some food in me. But first things first:

Instagram: London Scenery

 
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London

To the best of my memory:

Rosslyn Hill / Foyles on Charing Cross Road (taken last month) / Rosslyn Hill
Belsize Park Gardens / Belsize Grove / Belsize Grove
Belsize Grove / Belsize Park Gardens / Eton Avenue
South End Road / Belsize Park Gardens / Belsize Park Gardens

This could have been a nice Belsize Park + Hampstead collage but then I wouldn’t have been able to share the Foyles picture I posted this week, and it’s one of my favorites. So there’s an outlier. I linked the ones with halfway substantial commentary. I’d love to write more about all my pictures, but some I have nothing to say about and some I just can’t be bothered to type on my phone for.

I live in a really pretty place, even if they insist on putting up signs with Comic Sans in it. And the anti-Tesco promo may not use an affront of a font, but the design is still — well, if Tesco brings down the neighborhood, so do those ugly signs. You can do better, Belsize Park. You’re supposed to be posh, goddammit.

Instagram: #WearYourDamnJewelry + Life

 
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Bobby pins from Starlight Woods (buy) / Necklace from Resity (OOAK; love this similar one in green) / Hampstead Group Practice
Ring from The Two Wicked Magpies / Wednesday In Marylebone / Friday at Starbucks (post)
Asics trainers c/o Sports Shoes (post) / Necklace from finntastic2006 / Candy hamper c/o Toxic Fox (now a jewelry box)
Snowflake earrings from Bonita Bellita (here + parcel pic!) / Cowl from delectare (I designed her banner!) / Makeup by Steph Lai
Cardigan in #8 and #10 c/o Blue Vanilla via etailPR

1. Insecurity

I haven’t been as much of a stickler for daily jewelry-wearing as I was at first, but I’ve mostly done things to make up for it, and on one occasion wore a cowl (more things I never wear: my knit accessories that I love) instead. I actually airbrushed out my acne in the cowl picture. I look at it on Instagram and cringe a bit, but whatever, I made the choice, I’m leaving it. That’s been the hardest part of this project for me. I never wear makeup and in fact I feel uncomfortable and unfocused with it on, so I have to find ways around it and play with angles and when all else fails, deal. I’ve posted more imperfect pictures on twitter. I’m just pickier with Insta and blog photos.

I actually had to take pictures of the bobby pins with my Canon — yep, that is a Canon picture in a midst of LG G3 ones — because my phone camera washed them out. On the bright side, my hands didn’t fall off. On the down side, I took some more at Starbucks because I wasn’t convinced and this woman across from me kept giving me weird looks because I kept taking pictures because they all sucked and I felt very self-conscious. The dark side of Instagram.

2. Makeup

The picture with makeup on is from last Friday and the Sun article I talked about here. I got my hair and makeup done by a professional, and then I was shot by a professional, and in between I took outfit photos and photos of a couple of pieces I still owed Pixiebell and basically an astounding number of selfies. I tried to repeat this on Friday, but I fell asleep. Anyway, yesterday I got an email from the article writer saying she couldn’t find it in the paper when it was supposed to go out, so I may not get paid for it, which is a bummer. I got more out of it than I put into it, but I could really use the cash.

3. Money

Honestly, I’m weirdly focused on blogging and writing as sources of income at the moment because this week I took the plunge and raised the prices on my design portfolio by about 5x plus developer’s fees. (If we’ve talked about a project before, and you haven’t decided yet but can’t afford the new rates, don’t worry — I’ll honor the price I gave you.) Those prices now match those on some of my favorite (and less favorite — people I feel on par with) designers, and it would now take one client a month for me to survive. But I have no clue how to find those clients, or get them to find me.

I opened accounts on Behance and Cargo Collective; I need to fill them out. I updated my LinkedIn. I haven’t touched my CV, but I managed the copy for my media kit, so surely I can do it. Somehow. Some way.

4. Anxiety

The day before my agency gig that got put on hold, I tweeted, “If tomorrow goes well, I’m making a GP appointment to get back on antidepressants.” I held myself to that — actually took a while to make the decision, and by the time I made the appointment, things had gone awry. (For a not-all-that-terrible-but-hard-on-me meaning of the word.) Over the following few days, the past few weeks, I found myself needing lorazepam every single day, even the days I tried hard not to take it. Thursday and Friday this week, I was feeling better, but I knew that was all the more reason to get back on meds now — when things are bad, I just let them get worse.

Of course, I went to sleep at 4 AM the day before (I’ve been doing better at falling asleep, but not on Wednesday and therefore not on Thursday), woke up at 9, pushed the snooze button about five times… and woke up two minutes before my appointment. Back when I lived literally two minutes up the road from the practice (reason #1 I picked it), I would have managed to run there, but I knew running the fifteen-twenty minutes from Belsize Park without showering and getting something nutritive in me would kill me, so I skipped. I explained my inability to send text messages to cancel to my GP the day after, who obviously thought it was fucking weird that I have a phone I can only receive calls and texts on because it’s registered to a PR instead of me, but understood. It is weird, Dr. Patel. I know it’s weird.

So yeah, I actually checked after I missed the appointment, and miracle of miracles, someone had cancelled an appointment the next day at 11 AM. Knowing me and the way I excel at chickening out of seeking medical help when time gets in the way, I grabbed it, and I was a little late to it — about nine minutes — but I bundled up, wore leg warmers to warm my legs — never had occurred to me before, honest — and got there.

I am now on sertraline. The GP looked at the previous GP’s prescription of mirtazapine and was definitely gunning for it, but I explained my concerns and then I mentioned that not only do I have trouble getting to sleep, I have trouble getting up, to the point that up until two weeks ago I’d been getting up at 5 PM every day, and she decided on sertraline instead.

Well, holy crap with the drowsiness. I feel a little more awake today, but I’m still too tired to do anything that requires thinking, or words, or thinking. I finished a media kit draft and a blog design mockup yesterday, so I’m not too scared it will ruin me, but it was amazing. I crashed at 8 PM without eating. I had some fruit this morning before showering because I would have fainted otherwise.

My GP also referred me for counseling, which no one said anything about last summer. She thought I’d rather have CBT, partly because they’d get that going more quickly than the 6-8 weeks for counseling, but I’ve got that sneaky aversion to ‘choose to be happy’ rhetorics (even if that’s not that CBT is) and I wasn’t expecting anything anyway, so I’d much rather wait for something I’ve always thought would help me and never got to try.

5. Marylebone

From the above — I knew going anywhere without eating first would kill me because it nearly did on Wednesday last week, when I rushed to Marylebone without breakfast for a hair consultation at a salon I’ll be modeling a dye and cut for next week (unless that also falls through. You never know). It was rainy and miserable, and I tried to find a Starbucks I liked in the area but the two I walked by sucked, and then I just took a bus back to my Starbucks.

Really, for an evil corporate chain everyone here is incredibly nice. The toilet was out of order that day and I was freezing and they let me use their sink to warm my Raynaud’sed-out hands. I’ve been coming here every day because it’s good for my mental health to spend £60 a month on lattes, shut up, and I know most of the baristas by name. The other day, some dude started screaming and throwing the displays and freaked a ten, twelve-year-old girl out who was, I think, waiting for her drink (the Starbucks is split down the middle by a wall, so I didn’t see anything) and made her cry, and the baristas gave her hot chocolate and a gift card and kept checking that she was all right. I kept thinking I should do something, but you know I suck at people, so I just sat around and felt bad.

6. Hampstead

I had high hopes of editing some photos from the time I went to the delivery office in summer and photographed the whole walk in various waiting rooms yesterday, but I didn’t have to wait more than a few minutes at the practice and the hospital pharmacy I thought I’d have to wait at was closed, so I killed my shoulder with my laptop for no reason. And boy, did I kill it: I had to pick up a GHD parcel from Best British Bloggers at the delivery office in Hampstead too (hence the motivation to edit those pictures from summer), so it was quite a lot of walking. Later that day, when all the drowsiness was high, I bee-hopped around picture folders and edited two pics from a walk from Hampstead Heath to South Hampstead, and they are so fucking magical I may try and get a Fairytale of Belsize Park post going. It’s not like I wouldn’t have to split up the pictures anyway. It’s a rare photo walk I come back from with less than seventy pictures for keeps.

Dear god, I did not set out to write a post this long. My bad! How was your week?


Creative / Design / A Classic Notion Media Kit 16

IT’S A MIRACLE! I have finished (and started! Starting was the hardest part!) my own media kit. It only took a year since the first media kit I ever designed for someone else, and me feeling like I may want to start pitching brands instead of waiting to be contacted. It took me ages to dig into it, but I was excited about the self-portraits I got on Friday, and somehow I decided which person to write the copy in and once that was done, everything came together fairly nicely without too many bumps in the road. (I may have redesigned the second page roughly five times, but that’s par for the course for print design with me.) I even got to put a credits footer on it, which I bloody love because I love crediting people and I think it looks super professional, plus it’s like, the right thing to do and shit.

I spend a lot of time designing media kits for other people and sort of going on about how convenient they are, but with most of my work, I have to go out on a limb and hope that’s true because — well, it’s not like I can afford myself, and I’m doing fine. Ish. But wow, I’ve been feeling the lack of a media kit really, truly heartily these past few weeks. I’m so happy I finally have one at the ready, and I love how it pretty much showcases all the things I do — print design, photography, modeling, copywriting — at once on top of informing people about my blog.

Media Kit Design: Lix Hewett Lifestyle Blog

See a larger version on my portfolio.

If you’d like a media kit design, feel free to contact me through my portfolio or purchase directly through Etsy. If you’re based in London, I can give you a special price for a media kit + portrait shoot, too. Get in touch!


Outfit Post / Snug 13

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Snug

 
I haven’t posted an outfit in a good long while — since Halloween, in fact. I’ve got several sets of photos from last year that I keep meaning to dig in and clean up and post, but I haven’t got round to it yet. Some of them are from nearly a year ago, which means the outfits may be season-appropriate when I post them. I’ve never been a trend person, and I haven’t had the opportunity to play with my personal style, so they’re not even out of date — for me, anyway.

Last Friday I got a chance to finally try to set up in the living room of my flat — technically not my living room, as I rent a room, not the whole place. A couple of months ago, though, I asked my landlady if I could use it to shoot, and she said it was fine as long as I asked first — which of course it took needing a place for a stylist to do my makeup to happen. I just, my sleep schedule, y’all. I also thought it would be at least mildly cold even though the sun comes in hard through the windows, which is why I wanted to use the living room to shoot in the first place — my room has very convenient white walls, but the lighting is terrible. Also, I hate white walls. But I couldn’t find the motivation to try the living room on my own, and thinking it would be cold didn’t help.

But I needed it on Friday, so I asked, and it all worked out, and I got my hair and makeup done by Steph Lai for a silly Sun article I picked up off the #journorequest hashtag on Twitter. Before and after the photographer arrived, I took the chance to do my own shooting. There was a lot of light and background and focus testing involved, and by god, I need a remote, but it was awful warm, and I got a few things done. This outfit post is one of those things.

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Life / Sports (and) Shoes: An Education 4

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Asics Running Shoes c/o Sports Shoes

This could be a review; I did say one of the reasons I wanted to start with a picture this month was so I could write them, if needed. But it’s not. It’s just a story, and a bit of an opinion piece.

Here’s the short of it: my relationship with sports, exercise, working out, all that stuff — well, it hasn’t always been good. I used to avoid all physical activity like the plague. I was bad at it, and I thought it was beneath me.

My relationship with sneakers, trainers, running shoes, whatever you want to call them, is also tricky; it was involved in one of those incidents that you carry around for years until you realize it was shitty on someone else’s part and you are fucking done feeling guilty about something that happened when you were fourteen and why are people still expecting you to take responsibility for a grown adult man’s behavior? But my mom reads this blog, and I don’t want to go into that. Maybe some other time.

Under normal circumstances, this entire post would never have crossed my mind. But of course, my circumstances are what they are.

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I ragequit gym class during a written exam the last year I had to take it. I can’t remember what was going through my head at the time, or why I would choose to give up on a subject when doing something that was the opposite of my problem with it. But quit I did: I got up, told my teacher I’d make up the subject in September, and went home.

For many, many years before that, gym class had the dubious honor of being the only subject I’d ever got a failing grade in. Fifth grade of elementary school, when I was nine, I’d failed a trimester in it. I believe the grade was called “Needs Improvement” at that point. It was primary school, after all. It wasn’t the kind of subject you made up, so I just kept going and passed. But gym was always my lowest grade, a barely-there pass in a sea of As and Bs.

I hated it. I did the bare minimum. You know how people always talk about being the kid who gets picked last? I was, but I didn’t give a shit about that. I just didn’t want to be there. I didn’t want to run around my gym until I felt like I was going to throw up — which didn’t take very long because gym class was the only kind of exercise I ever got. I didn’t keep it up during summer, and I didn’t supplement it. I didn’t see a reason to put myself through that kind of pain.

A few years later, when I started getting tachycardia every other day, I was extremely conscious of my heart rate. But even before that, I had no endurance, and I couldn’t handle the workout. A time or two, we got to play sports and I didn’t hate all of them — I remember enjoying baseball in primary school, a sport we never touched on in high school. I remember not absolutely hating field hockey. I remember liking basketball except for how much my hands hurt when it was cold. Volleyball was always out-and-out painful.

Of course, when I was a teenager, I just felt small. I felt weak, and I hated gym class because it was so hard on me. I thought I should be able to handle the kind of exercise everyone else did. I thought there was something wrong me. It took me a long time, even after quitting, to realize that the whole thing was just messed up.

Here’s the thing: I was weak. I had low endurance. The way you build strength and endurance is slowly, starting at the bottom, taking baby steps. You don’t start where everyone else is, because that’s a surefire way of making you feel not good enough, and that’s never been a motivating thought for me. I do well when things go well, and I collapse under failure.

Not only was gym class designed to hold everyone to the same standards at the same time regardless of physical shape or external training, but I never once was given suggestions to improve my state. It never occurred to me that exercise could be fun, feel good, if you picked the right activities and built up to it. I didn’t find this out until August of 2012, when I got into watching gymnastics and on antidepressants both at the same time. I quit writing and watched a lot of TV on my iPod in bed when the sun was beating down hard on my room and my old overheating laptop, and I started exercising. It lasted until the end of the year, but it was a huge eye-opener.

I always meant to go running at some point. I still never have. But I know that if I decide to do it, I can build up to it by improving my endurance slowly, taking baby steps, with exercise that doesn’t make me want to throw up.

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I didn’t have a pair of sneakers from the time I quit gym class to sometime in 2012. I’ve been wearing that one pair every day since it got cold in London. Now I have another one to switch things up.

I picked this pair of Asics running shoes because the colors on the website reminded me of the Avengers. I guess that’s how you get me to do things: give me a media consumption reason to care. I started exercising because I was watching women’s artistic gymnastics, and I was fannish about it, and then I was fannish about Make It Or Break It and sometimes exercised while I watched. I actually bought a t-shirt once just because it said Payson on it, even though it had nothing to do with gymnastics; it was some kind of telegraph facsimile. But it’s still a t-shirt I wear on a regular basis.

The red on the shoes is pinker than I expected, but they still feel great on my feet.


Etsy Picks #3: Fantasy In Your Footsteps 2

etsy-picks-3-fantasy

1. New York Photo Print by Lisa Russo / 2. Wildflower Necklace by Ines Rocio
3. Emerald Oversized Cardigan by BVLifeStyle / 4. Felted Woodland Collar by filcAlki
5. Wooden Leaf Stud Earrings by vadjutka / 6. Fairy Wishing Candle by the Evergreen Nest


5 Things / I’m Thinking About 13

THIS BLOG

 
I’m changing my approach to blogging for February. It’s not going to be overly different from your end, I don’t think, but it feels different to me and that makes it exciting and fun and when something is exciting and fun, I’m allowed to run with it.

Basically, I was on chookooloonks.com the other day, and Karen has started a #365daily project where she snaps and posts a photo every day. I’ve been going over the idea in my head for a while, how it would fit into my current blog and whatnot, and I realized that:

1. There’s not much of a blogging routine for something to fit into anyway; this blog was dead for most of January.
2. I don’t want to take new photos as much as I want to get through my backlog.
3. My backlog is full of things I would like to post anyway, like portrait and fashion shoots, travel-related bits and whatnot.
4. Posts I normally sniff at — reviews, in particular — seem much more substantial when you approach them as a beautiful photo accompanied by musings on whatever the photograph is about.
5. I don’t have to stop posting ‘normal’ content; I can just do the ‘starts with a photo’ approach on any days that I don’t have regular content ready to go, and use the ‘starts with a photo’ approach to create regular content like outfit posts and longer photography posts.

I’m trying this for February and seeing how it goes. It means this blog may come off more journal-y than usual, and if I know myself, I may get weirdly embarrassingly existential a time or two. Forgive me if the seventeen-year-old snob in me comes out. She’s got issues.

MY LIFE

 
1. Instagram

I’m still doing this consistently, which is a wonder and a half. But I’m loving it anyway.

This Week On Instagram / February 1, 2015 / Lix Hewett

My regular Starbucks / Sunset over Lambolle Place / Angel Station
Coffee / A street in Covent Garden / The National Gallery / ___ / Cat

#WearYourDamnJewelry:
Umbrella earrings: JEMS / Guitar pick pendant: Greenleaf Pick Company
Leaf earrings: Promethean Design / Umbrella necklace: JEMS / Envelope necklace

2. Context

I had a design gig for a PR agency starting last Tuesday — that’s what I was talking about last week when I said I had a reason to keep normal-people hours for the following two weeks. I stressed about everything I could possibly think of to stress about, got there on Tuesday and had most of my concerns relieved, and then at the end of Wednesday, I was told my project had been put on hold. I’ve been depressed all week, because the money for the two weeks would have been a lifesaver, and losing the prospect of it hit me really hard even though I’m nowhere near as badly off as I was for most of last year.

That’s where the Angel station picture came from. The central London photos are from two Tuesdays ago.

3. Upsides

Having to get up at 7 AM two days in a row made me tired at night, which means I’ve been going to bed before 2 AM — often by midnight — all week, and getting up during daylight, if not proper early.

Working full-time made me realize I can get a lot more work done than the amount I operate (and budge) under if I focus and have a lot of time to group and regroup.

I got to meet Ashleigh and it was awesome to have someone to talk to. I don’t get a lot of that irl these days. I also happened to stress not at all about it at any point, which was strange because I usually start worrying I’ve said something stupid or embarrassing five minutes into meeting someone, but that didn’t happen with her.

Working full-time made me realize I can handle and in fact would like a regular job. Part-time, preferably, but I want one regardless, and I want to look for one, and one of these days I will crack down on my resume and start applying. Hopefully this week. I’m still terrified of spending a ton of money on transport and not getting an actual job at the end of it, but I might as well try sending my CV in for things and see what happens.

4. Expenses

I added up my expenses for January and it’s £885.45 total, which isn’t fantastic but given £740 are rent and bills and the rest of it is evenly split between groceries, toiletries and Starbucks with a small amount for transport for a job, I maintain that I should focus on making more money, not on spending less.

And how was your week?


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