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New Painting – Margaret

The end of last month was my Director’s birthday. She always makes such an effort for our birthdays that I wanted us (we all go together at work for colleague’s birthday gifts) to get her something different, something special.

I thought I’d use the occasion to paint. A little nervous as obviously it puts pressure and a big responsibility on my shoulders, I did a little sneaky investigation into what her most favourite things were to decide on what to paint. My director’s daughter sent me a really cute picture of their English bulldog cross, Margaret, and so I took on the challenge – I’m normally a landscape painter so this was something new for me!

And this is how it turned out…

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Pretty pleased. Obviously as a painter and perfectionist I can always spot something else I could adjust and sometimes it’s hard to stop from carrying on. But I really liked the finished painting! And the reaction when she opened the present was lovely!

 

This is definitely the start of painting again. So make sure you come back to see new additions…and please do feel free to leave a comment. Would love to hear what you think too!

Chloe xx

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SW to stay the most sought after postcode?

SW is known to be the most sought after postcode in the UK – I know how lucky am I right, living here?! But I started thinking, as London devlops will it stay the most wanted place to live?

SW home to Clapham, Fulham and Wandsworth among others is where many young professionals choose to live when they move to London. But it’s not just young professionals who reside in this area, and it’s easy to understand why. Beautiful surroundings of Battersea Park, the Thames Path, the nights out in Fulham and Clapham, and just the life. It sure is a great place to live.

London had a population of 8.3 million last year, and with it constantly growing, london will continue to expand in the property world too, with other areas being developed and new homes being built.

A short while ago I went to an event at TNQ (The Northern Quarter) a new development being built in North London, near Colindale station – I know what you’re thinking, it sounds far out, Zone 4…OUCH!, but it only takes 31mins on the tube from Colindale to Oxford Circus!

So I donned a building site outfit and went to see how it all looked  at present, and to hear about the plans.

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Looking down at what will be one of the outside space/courtyard area

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The gap in the building so people can sit in the outside garden area and still see natural skyline! Lovely little addition I think!

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The apartments are going to have some awesome views!

They have some amazing plans, with retail developments going underneath, a tower entrance for the residential apartments on top so it won’t feel like you’re living above a new shopping centre, and some fab looking outdoor spaces in between the apartments (a total of 4 on top of the retail sector). There’s space left in the apartments surrounding the outdoor spaces  so you will still see the skyline giving a lovely open feel – overall it looks amazing. They all come with their own balconies or terrace too, and inside – WOW!

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A design of the whole building – You can see where the four outdoor spaces will be.

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A graphic design of one of the outdoor spaces – They look like they’re going to be such a nice place to chill in the summer!

They have some great schemes for buyers too, which got me thinking about my future and if I’m going to want to buy at some point how this would be the type of development I would definitely need to look into.

The developer did a speech at the event, and it was obvious how enthusiastic he was about the new development and how much the residents’ living experience meant to him. I would like to hope they will all be like this moving forward, our living experience is just as important if not more than how much money they can make!

It was a great opportunity for me to see things from the beginning, learn about new schemes and what type of thing will be competing in the market coming the next few years. It also made me realise how developments are going to start spreading around central London, going slightly further out but due to the tube systems it’s not necessarily far from central.

Other locations are going to start really competing with SW, and with places like TNQ on offer, it won’t be hard to see why people start wanting to living in North London. Luckily I don’t need to make this decision for buying quite yet, but it was great to see for future – the years are flying by…(Please slow down!)

 

Thanks for reading my post on living in London.

Chloe x

 

 

*Invited to and attended event at TNQ. All views are my own.

 

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Wireless Festival 2014

Not only did I have a fantastic Thursday evening last week with Ally, it was followed by an absolutely amazing weekend at Wireless Festival! This was the first time I’d been to a festival and I have to say it is one of the best weekends I’ve had!

We had tickets for Saturday and Sunday (we couldn’t go all three days, but heard friday was really good too – some of Alex’s friends went), and although last week we heard Drake cancelled due to illness this didn’t affect how awesome our weekend was!

Saturday

We got up saturday morning and went to Banner’s in Crouch End for breakfast. A nice hearty breakfast to start the day with enough energy to get us through with all the dancing, singing and cheering.

The funny moment of the morning/breakfast experience – Alex tried to try something new and ordered a Jamaican breakfast. It looked delicious…

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But let’s just say, I know him too well! When it got brought out his face told it all even though he was trying to hide it. It had peppers, tomatoes and veggies mixed in with what I think was the ackee and I could just tell he didn’t want it. I started laughing…it was just too funny! …but obviously being so nice I traded half my breakfast 😀

We then walked to Finsbury park,and followed the crowds. It wasn’t too bad getting in on saturday, we got there just before 1.30pm which I think was perfect timing.

We spent most of saturday at the main stage as this is where the acts we preferred were – Obviously popping off for drinks and to use the toilets – this involved running sometimes to get back 😛 Alex actually had to go more than me too! Now he really can’t take the piss out of me for going a lot! But the urinals had a quicker queue meaning he was always waiting for me. 

Drinks weren’t too expensive (£5 a pint of cider – this is what I mainly drank. Somersby is really nice!), and we bought little bottles of wine so we didn’t have to move later in the evening when we wanted to keep a good spot in the audience.

Saturday we watched B.O.B, a little Azealia Banks, Labrinth, Wiz Khalifa, Rudimental and Kanye West who took Drake’s place headlining – yes he did do a long speech on paparazzi and looking after his family. He got some booing but I think it was a mixed reaction. To be honest it was like an interlude speech, and wasn’t too bad, even a little funny at times. Overall Saturday line-up was pretty awesome! I really enjoyed most of the acts – B.o.B was amazing and during Rudimental John Newman came on too!

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Yes it rained a bit – but it didn’t spoil the atmosphere!

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Kanye West’s intriguing set up – he wore a strange metal looking mask over his face too!

Getting out took a pretty long time and we were all being directed the opposite direction to the way Alex and I needed to leave, but as we were walking home (Alex lives pretty close!) the journey home wasn’t too bad, it was actually quite funny!

We crashed saturday night. After getting in, changing, eating a little, we were soon sleeping preparing ourselves for the next day.

Sunday

Sunday morning we had a lie in – much needed! We got up and had breakfast/lunch and started drinking earlier, also getting a few flavoured ciders for the walk there and sitting outside the festival entrance where many were picnicking for the third day.

Queueing was definitely more of a hassle sunday, so perhaps getting in a little earlier is a better shout. We managed to get in, grab a drink and head to the main stage to catch salt’n’pepa – nothing like some old school hiphop! They still know how to work the crowd and bust some moves. Obviously push it came on to…

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Classic!

We stayed around main stage (obviously with bar and toilet trips) for John Newman and J.Cole – Both amazing! – before heading to the pepsi max stage for Sean Paul. This was our first trip to the pepsi max stage that weekend, which was under a massive tent. At first I thought we would never get anywhere close, but as Clean Bandit finished people started filing out and we made our way in. It was pretty cool inside, if not a little hot due to being in a tent and it started getting a little smoky too.

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We wanted to make it back to main stage for Outkast so didn’t quite stay to the end of Sean Paul, and heard as we were walking away that we were missing some of the best tunes 🙁 But he was pretty good!

At this point the queues for the toilets were quite ridiculous and Alex had to wait a while for me – Thanks! – But we still made it to almost the beginning of Outkast. They were so much fun, and although I don’t know all their music just the main tunes, I still really enjoyed it!

We waited around then at the main stage, already prepared with little wine bottles in my bag again from the bar so we didn’t lose a good spot.

Bruno Mars headlined sunday. To some him up = absolutely INCREDIBLE! He has MJ mannerisms sometimes, and really knows how to work the crowd. Straight from his first song he had the crowd going! I loved it – It might even be my most favourite act of the weekend!

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A short clip of him singing – SO good live!

And the finale = WOW! Such an outstanding performance!

Bruno Mars finished at about 10 and Alex and I headed towards the exit for our walk home. Again the walk was so funny! And didn’t seem to take long which was good. We ordered pizza (Papa Johns is open late on a sunday too!) and drank so much water to be ok for Monday – but yes I really did struggle… the weekend took it out of me!

Overall Wireless was one of my best ever weekends! The perfect first festival experience and it was so much fun going with Alex. We’re already talking about next year… I’m hoping it’s in the same place too as apparently it’s so much better there to be able to get between the stages and bars, etc. It’s also perfect location for Alex and I – and I’m definitely booking the monday off for recovery!

I will be recommending this to everyone!

 

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Kopparberg UrbanForest

Last thursday evening I ventured to the east of London, to Dalston, for an evening with Ally at Kopparberg UrbanForest. It was Amazing!

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We got in at Dalston Kingsland station and it’s not far from there, only a three minute walk. You walk down the high street and it’s on the left, down a small side street – Keep your eyes peeled, it’s not the easiest to spot from the high street. I’m also going to admit I’m not the biggest fan of Dalston (please don’t judge! I’ve actually never been on a night out there so perhaps that would change my views), but as soon as you’re through the security guards on the gate, it doesn’t feel like your in Dalston at all – So perfect for all!

You enter into a sort of square where there are tables in the middle of four stands selling food and cocktails. The Jerk stand looked Amazing and I was a little gutted we didn’t eat! (saving the pennies for other occasions this month!) – You should all know I’m a HUGE fan of Caribbean food (thanks to my boyfriend – he thankfully introduced me to the wonderful world of Jerk Chicken and Curried Goat!). The tables were pretty full already at 7pm so if you’re looking to sit, always best to get there early. Everyone seemed to be having a great time already!

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As you walk through the square you come to a big stage with the Kopparberg bar. This looked fab! We grabbed two Kopparberg’s which were very reasonably priced (only £5 a bottle) and sat and caught up on what had been happening over the last couple weeks – there’s always so much to talk about…LOVE IT!

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The stage and standing area under cover to watch – rain will not be a problem here! Just the way I like it. 

The first act came on at I think it was 7pm – Just Julia – we were half listening whilst catching up, but she sounded really good. We then popped out to use the portaloos (which actually weren’t that bad! You always expect absolutely horrendous toilets at these, well I know I do!), before heading back to the bar for another Kopparberg. I did have a little browse at the cocktail menu but nothing really jumped out, these were pretty reasonably priced too though!

We moved to the front of the stage ready for Ryan Keen who came on stage at 8.30pm.

Now Ally was the one of picked thursday evening as the day we should go, having seen Ryan Keen previously and managing an event where she got him to perform, she told me how good he was and it didn’t take much selling – I do normally trust Ally’s judgement 🙂 . I don’t know why though, but I did not think he was going to be as good as he was. Think Ed Sheeran, now think better!

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Ryan Keen’s drummer – yes he just uses the box he’s sat on and those cymbals! 

Ryan Keen was amazing. The way he played the guitar is like nothing I had seen before. It’s difficult to describe, you really have to watch him (Click here for a youtube clip – Watch closely at the guitar skills about a minute in!). He was joined by Gavin James too for one song – Royals – which was actually out of this world. The harmonising and way they performed together, is just too good for words.

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I managed to film a little clip:

Once they finished performing, Ally and I headed back to get the bus as we knew it would take a while to get home, but it’s open til 11pm in the week and later at weekends. We’re already planning over next trip back – actually Gavin James is performing on 17th July so thinking that will be the date!

Would love to hear about your experiences of Kopparberg UrbanForest or any other London based music/food festivals you recommend – Leave me a comment 🙂

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Birthday Present Shopping – Why do you have to be SO Stressful?

July is my busiest birthday month, well from the end of June to the end of July.

Boyfriend’s mum’s, two of my closest friends, my brother’s and my boyfriend’s followed shortly after in August by my mum’s! And you know what this brings on…a month of present stress!

Everyone knows present shopping is a pain. Ok, so I love christmas shopping, and wrapping presents now that’s another thing entirely – I was in awe at Selfridge’s elves (Gift wrap service) last year! I love wrapping, obviously I should have been in that team! – I am a complete perfectionist over wrapping! I also feel like over christmas everywhere is selling gifts and in complete competition with one another, so they offer so much choice right there in front of you!

But birthday present shopping is different. After Christmas when you have got them what they really want, then what do you get someone. There’s only so many paintings you can do for one person, or candles someone can own surely?! And I find shops just aren’t the same with gift ideas throughout the rest of the year.

Even websites like ‘Not on the High Street’ and ‘I want one of those’ recognise present shopping is hard, trying to make it easier with their search options for ‘Gifts for Her’ or ‘Gifts for Him’. But I find they’re still not always easy to find something from, especially when you’re not entirely sure what someone might want!

Luckily this month I already have my boyfriend’s sorted – you will all find out at the end of the month, I’ll be sure to tell all! This year we did experiences rather than presents, all very exciting! But that’s a big weight off my mind.

But this week I have been trawling the internet for ideas for his mum’s – yes I’m running late on this one! And I have a couple ideas for the others coming up, but still coming up short. hmmm…I better get my skates on, I can’t give everyone their birthday presents a month late!

 

Do you find birthday present shopping stressful? I’d love to hear what you do to help 🙂

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