Manchester on Film…

 

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

EPSON MFP image

 

Funny how a city can host a personality before you’ve even visited. Alive in a picture of people who’ve existed there, bands rooted there, a history learnt though documentaries on times long passed.

Manchester begins in dribs and drabs of estate housing and graffiti-ed red brick, a lineage of its industrial past. But there’s a certain warmth in the grottiness, maybe it’s the familiarity to me, that I can relate it to the streets I grew up in back in Newcastle.

I meet Amy and we play a game of musical chairs: alternative bars and cafe eats, vegan diners and dive bars, catching up on the year that’s passed like no time passed at all. A friend like a sister, a soul piece, a revelation. We’re well and tipsy and happy to be in the city discussing the deepest things in life: love, ambition, purpose and growing up. It’s been six years since we were let loose on the world, finding a grounding companionship on that first night of university. We haven’t changed much but then we’re completely different people, it’s a weird place your twenties.

Film camera tour stops, another cheeky brew at Jimmy’s, spontaneous tattoo’s and canal side goodbyes. It’s short and sweet and nothing spectacular at all yet I leave a piece of me there in the heart of Manchester and watch as those same red brick factories and terrace houses pass me by.

There’s something very humble about being back in England. An appreciation I failed to have before but I’m proud of where I’m from, not for the politics, for the societal decay but for the people up in these Northern towns, of the grafters, the artists, the people who paint the streets with their wild. We’ve got a riotous little core and theirs pride to be had in that.

Love & Light, N x

Mount Moments 09…

CB7FEC15-C11C-4FC1-B1DD-E2C86387339DF0D52540-A4BC-46BA-BBEA-221DFA389B8AOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

12.06.18

Meditation. Focus on breath and body, those two components as a unity. A gentle practice but with unruly, forced intentions. I urge it to fix me. When it gets to the moment when my guide suggests I allow my mind to wander where it likes, I’m taken to a green meadow scattered with blossoms, an array of colours against a healthy green. It isn’t a tame lawn but a wild garden. I’m younger here, sprawled on my back in the midst of it all, all alone but content in the solitude, bathed in the warmth of the setting sun.

So this is where my mind wishes to reside? A reprieve from the hurricane thoughts I subject it to, soaking up the serenity I deprive it of. It doesn’t matter how much I push for that control I just cannot attain it, and the realisation of that swells in my chest, my careful breathing falls erratic and tears emerge from some shuttered space inside. It hurts me some, that I’m the one damaging myself whilst being the only one who can save myself.

15.06.18

Another adventure with El. A bundle of laughs but a lot of heart opening too. I need to get a handle on that, I’m anxious I’m becoming a bit of a burden to be around. But these people, just strangers three months ago, can’t even begin to understand the security I feel, admitting my darkness and catching a sweet glimpse of release. People hold so much power, even when they don’t realise it.

17.06.18

Paula retells her engagement with the sweetest of indulgence. There’s something timid about it, like it takes a lot for her to share this precious moment and I hang on every word she says. She’s sun kissed from her time on the island sure, but the blissful expression is something else entirely. A fraction more warmth, a little bit subdued. Paula is a romantic. gentle and kind and someone maybe a little too good for most people in this world. But it’s that tenderness that makes you triumphant that good things are happening for her, she deserves all of the pleasures in life.

18.06.18

We discuss energy and presence and manifesting your dreams like it’s small talk. I’ve known Paige for barely anytime at all, yet we discuss elements of life I barely even touch upon with life long friends. It’s odd to me that Paige doesn’t see the world as a ruthless place arranged by obstacles but instead a challenge of a platform from which we can communicate strength to mend each other in unity and conjure some kind of equilibrium. She’s a careful and grounded structure to my restless flighty one, a beacon of wisdom in this riot of obscurity.

Light & Love, N x

Glasgow on Film…

EPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP imageEPSON MFP image

The nostalgia of the train journey from Newcastle to Edinburgh. Memories planted with the wildflowers in the country. The incomparable sweetness of reuniting with a friend who beams, always, like sunshine. The magic of childish giddiness that keeps you from sleep.

The calm of belonging walking through Glasgow, that liveliness that exalted you on your last trip four years ago. The music: buskers around every corner, vinyl stores, advertisements for bands big and small, venues aplenty. From the uniform Britishness of the city center, to dilapidated store fronts, businesses too poor to prosper, to quaint hipster cafe’s and picturesque town houses. The levels of a city baring the trail of time.

Drunk in the sunshine. A parade of decorated bodies, slurred lyrics and mosh pits. The unity of strangers in the sunset light screaming lyrics to a song you know so well, but which takes on whole new meaning in the moment. The heart surge when the intro to your favourite song starts.  Jumping and losing your mind like you’re fourteen again at your first ever concert, of your most favourite band. That naive certainty that your whole world exists in this songs course. The frantic debrief afterward. Weary and strolling through the city streets, your mate squatting for a piss on the side of the road, chip shop chips, zonking out as soon as your fuzzy head hits the pillow.

More reunions with friends who seem fictional now, existing somewhere that isn’t the world you created together on the other side of the world. The simple contentment of eating good food and chatting good chats. The gratitude that consumes you, being surrounded by inspirational humans that make you believe the world might just be wonderful.

The rarity of a full heart rather than a heavy one as you say “See you later”, because you don’t really believe in the definiteness of goodbye anymore, and hop on the train home, excited to be back in a city that filled you with nothing but dread for so many years.

These shots were taken on a disposable with Ilford black and white film, and whilst the disposable was fun I’d prefer the freedom and the skill involved in an actual film camera, so if you have any advice for beginners I am so very super keen to hear it!  Annnnnd on another note if you ever get the chance to see Catfish and the Bottlemen live, run with it, even if you have to sneak into the venue. One of the best live bands I think I’ve ever seen.

Love and Light. N x

15/08/2018…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My blog these past few weeks has been a little quiet. There have been shifts in my life, both place and state of mind, that have dominated my time. But I’m back at it and feeling a little reflective. My favourite posts have been the Mount Moments series for a while now, a very raw and honest look at life and travel. Now I’m back “Home” in Newcastle, England, and I want to keep that same uncut, artistic, feel to this space. Of course there will be more journeys and certainly more coffee’s but I want to embrace every element as a means to create.

In saying that, here are some very standard, amateur, shots of some pretty wildflowers found on a hike in the Cumbrian countryside.

Light and Love. N x

Mount Moments 07

IMG_2604OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

05.05.18

How do people make time to settle? Months clip by like meagre days and there’s no second-guessing when your life is passing you by, no settling for a job you hate, a place you can’t grow, people who don’t inspire you. How can you even begin to feel contentment if you don’t give yourself the fundamentals? Surely a basis to bloom, create, go mad with passion and love for all elements of your day to day life, that is the most important ingredient to self-love?

‘If we were meant to stay in one place, we would have roots instead of feet.’

08.05.18

Deep chats with empathetic souls. El feels trapped too, wants more than whatever the present has to give. We grab drinks up the road and I chat her ear off, it’s all about idea’s and feelings, the topics that make me think and leave me feeling renewed: politics, feminism, youth, travel, work, philosophy. El is a refreshing change. She’s intelligent, self-aware and she just gets it. I don’t feel pessimistic when we discuss things, more contemplative. It’s the same for all the ladies surrounding me right now. At work, they’re all a force to be reckoned with.

12.05.18

Barred, enclosed in this paracosm,

grey world ignited in rose illusion,

tinted scenes from a novel land

embraced in a fairer story.

14.05.18

You are HERE, in THIS place, with THESE people and THESE opportunities. You have THIS face and THIS body. THESE are your words and your thoughts. NOW is where life is and I hope so ardently that you won’t waste too much more of your life away in that hopeless yearning for another self, time and place.

18.05.18

They approved my second-year work visa, I met the news with no such excitement. Everyone around me is overjoyed, they know how much effort and money went into the application, how daunting the six week wait was to find out the result. But it obviously isn’t what I want. This proves that. But where to next? Home? What’s there?

 

Light and love, N x

 

A Promise to 24…

IMG_2838IMG_2841IMG_2839IMG_2815IMG_2840IMG_2807IMG_2814IMG_2837IMG_2825IMG_2834

You’ve exhausted yourself poor girl. Unable to create yourself like everyone else, unable to stop craving otherwise. You take your circumstance for granted that’s true but it isn’t you, it’s her and still you fail to make peace between the two of you. Of course you only want the best for yourself, a rich tapestry of life. Late nights with the ones you love, to get lost in grand cities, to feel so utterly insignificant that there is nothing to you but complete freedom. You want the world to ravish you and you’ve succeeded mightily at times but this is the year we try to make it stick. – Journal entry

Twenty Four is my wild year, the year I push and push until the paralysis crumbles under the pressure of my ferocity. Every day I’m taking minute steps toward it. I’m hungry for liberation, I never suited this timid creation, not with all of this abundant aspiration, this urgency for living, this need to seek out the characters in the crowd and befriend them.

“I never really understood New Year. To me, my birthday was always my chance to start over or keep on with the good.” – My work boss.

Wellington reminded me of all the things I love about living. Scattered routine, talking late into the night with exceptional humans, dancing around completely oblivious to reality, shitty places painted pretty in shades of memory. I missed my friends, I missed the adventure I came here for. The past few months haven’t defeated me, I’ve defeated me. But I’ve had some crazy reboot, less to do with a birthday and more to do with getting away for a couple days. I never knew a place could be so claustrophobic.

Light and love, N x

Nifty Nooks: Wellington…

So sorry for my little absence. Life has lacked inspiration lately so I escaped to the city to seek out the energy I was craving. Mix the gritty, character filled, streets of Wellington with old friends whom have so many new tales to tell and adventure driven spirits to help raise you from the ashes and you definitely gain a fresh perspective.

It was strange to be back in the city after seven months to find that not all that much had changed. People had of course moved on and the nostalgia was haunting in every familiar place with no recognisable face but it was wonderful none the less.

On Sunday I celebrated my twenty fourth birthday (which was bloody terrifying let me tell ya) and we all used that as an excuse to drink, dance and eat all we could. I spent a bunch of money but I laughed so much and just felt the light lift me again.

Obviously, seeing as coffee is the key to my existence, I spent a load of time sipping some of my favourite city brews. I forgot how good Wellington does it. I know I spent a bunch of time reviewing places when I lived there last year but I definitely missed out on some hot spots and I even tried some new places this time around. So here we have a wee nifty nooks round up. Do enjoy sweet little coffee beans.

Beach Babylon

Where? 232 Oriental Parade, Mount Victoria, Wellington 6011

Beans? Peoples Coffee

IMG_2821IMG_2822

These guys do everything from a classic cup of joe to vegan milkshakes to cocktails. They have main meals and cabinet food galore and the vibe is very retro and carefully cluttered like a lot of digs in it’s loudly alternative mother city. They’re on the beach front and despite the winter tempts we made the most of the delightfully rare no wind of the morning by brunching outside. A classic avocado smash on toast with some yummo vegan pesto was my hangover choice and just writing about it has me craving it again. The soy flat white was top notch too, good smooth coffee and skilled milk work. They use peoples coffee which is quite a standard choice up north but rather less so in Wellington, home of the havana roasters. Still doesn’t beat Flight or Kakako for me but still a yummy one.

Enigma

Where? 6011, 128 Courtenay Pl, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

IMG_2824

This cafe is the heart of my memories in Wellington. From plant pots of chai on a winter morning with my favourite people to late night munchies, mid night out. It’s one of those hubs for the people. I used to escape there back when I lived in the hostel at night to do some writing and grab some alone time. It’s dingy in an underground, hipster, way. Very Wellington. The coffee is pretty standard really but they do a nice coconut milk and they have vegan food both on the menu and in the cabinet. The sweet muffins are real nice and the courtyard out back is a niche little retreat. I really missed that electric no sleep mantra of the city. Everywhere in the Mount closes super early.

Beat Ugly Bagel

Where? 5 Swan Lane, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

Beans? Havana

IMG_2823

This was a new discovery, despite having been opposite my place of work back when I inhabited Cuba Street. I get the hype now, though I didn’t actually try a bagel (my mates were real satisfied). They use Havana which I’ve never been a cheerleader for but it was a good flat white none the less and I dug the energy of the place. The staff seem to genuinely have fun, shouting the orders to each other and repeating them back, dancing around behind the counter and having a top laugh with one another.

Milk Crate

Where? 35 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington 6011

Beans? Rich Coffee

IMG_2825

This spot is where you’ll find my ultimate favourite brew in the whole city. I found it about two weeks before I left back in November and made a huge effort to visit everyday because it was just that good. They’re just off Cuba Street, fronting a clean store that sells pottery and luxury clothing items. It’s one of them clean spaces, industrial looking and home to the less roguish and more pretentious city hipsters. But the coffee is fucking yum. It’s one of those rare spaces where I’ll more than happily nab a long black and enjoy every sip of it. They use Rich coffee, which is a roasters in Newtown, Wellington I do believe. And  it’s a beauty for sure. I hear wondrous things about their food too and I did spot some vegan bits flouncing around in the counter but I’ve not ventured into that territory so I can’t say. Just make sure this tops your list for city centre coffee fixes.

N x