Wanderer

Derbyshire Ramblings

It seems even my passport and post-uni freedom can’t rein in my ‘workaholic’ tendencies… apologies, I’ve been working really, really hard on something that hopefully I can share online in another week or so! Secrets, secrets, secrets 😉

So, my friend Fabby came to Derbyshire a few weeks ago, and, being the lovely friend that I am, I was host and tour guide. Of course everyone who knows that I gave her a tour of Derbyshire (which is basically anyone on my Facebook who actually pays attention to my Facebook page), is wondering… why would my lovely Mexican friend fly from Spain (where she has spent the past six months) to Derbyshire??

This is why…

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The Peak District.

No one can visit England, and not take a moment to see the Peak District… and the Lake District… and various parts of the South Coast… and Oxford… and Cambridge… I could go on… what I’m trying to say is, I can’t remember the last time I met someone who has ventured beyond London and maybe Manchester/Liverpool on their visit to England. That’s not including people who are studying in England or visiting family. Venture out, people!

This fairly-spontaneous visit was definitely proof that I literally have no idea where life will take me any more. We planned her stay within a fortnight, after deciding that she was coming to visit while in Seville after about ten minutes.  It started with a conversation about our mutual love for this:

which turned into a conversation about the locations featured in this:

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a bit of a P&P expert. After all…

*wink* apparently….

But anyway, my fashionable (?) geekiness means that I therefore know that Joe Wright’s version of P&P was filmed at Chatsworth and Stanage Edge (to name a few), both of which are in Derbyshire. And having read P&P, I also know that Matlock and Bakewell are mentioned and therefore had to be added to our must-see list too… basically, P&P is Fabby’s favourite film, we therefore instantly decided that she had to see Derbyshire. And so it all just arranged itself.

Bakewell

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My camera pretty much stayed in my bag while we explored Bakewell, except for one lovely (and not at all touristy) photo of me. Besides that, Fabby was very much the photographer that day, while I was very much the tour guide, introducing her to the wonders of Bakewell tarts (oh dear, that sounds horrendously suggestive – sorry Fabby! Haha!) and quaint English villages. Matlock was another stop that my camera did not see that day.

Chatsworth House

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And Here’s Fabby!

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This isn’t feigned child-like excitement for the sake of the camera, we really were both running around the grounds like little kids. I’ve been to Chatsworth 1000 times and I still always act this way when I go there, and so to combine my usual Chatsworth excitement with Fabby’s ‘oh my god I’m at Pemberley, a location from my all-time favourite film in a beautiful part of the world that I have never seen before’ excitement.. at that moment, I loved it there so much that had I won the lottery, despite my plans for Italy, I’d have snapped up one of the many little cottages in the 1000 acre grounds of Chatsworth in a heartbeat. Then again, hopefully if I were lucky enough to win the lottery, I could afford a house in rural Derbyshire and Italy… and Paris… and London… 😉

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So Fabby has now seen the setting of this:

this

and this:

and we saw this…

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(we especially loved the ‘Please do not Kiss’ sticker, though I think Fabby was somewhat disappointed)

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Stanage Edge

The next day we walked from Hathersage village to Stanage edge, the setting for this scene:

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It was insanely windy. Even though the wind was luckily blowing North-East, I still felt like it was suddenly about to turn South-West and therefore send me straight off the edge of the rocks as I posed for snaps, just for the fun of it. It really was sweep-you-off-your-feet-windy. The sort of wind that would thoroughly enjoy blowing unsuspecting visitors off Stanage Edge and onto the jagged rocks below.

Also, to everyone *cough* Dad *cough* who claims that you need hiking boots and those scary hiking trousers with zip-off legs (shudder) to go rambling around the peaks, I found, yet again, that skinny jeans and £3 Primark lace up tennis pumps do just nicely, thank you very much. I shall never give in!

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It’s been quite some time since I last explored Hathersage Moor, and I loved it so much, I returned a week or so later for a fashion shoot, the results of which are being published in Prototype magazine, and so I’ll be keeping to myself for now. However, I do have a lovely BTS picture of me on Hathersage moor.

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Beautiful.

P.S please do not put me down as one of those crazy ‘Janeite’ fans who read attempts to finish her uncompleted novels and Austen sequels and prequels like this:

and own a collection of gowns ready to attend balls and events like this:

*I mentioned balls ironically, but on searching for a mocking image, I found that such a thing actually exists!!!*

And will go to see films like this 1000 times and have long discussions at the end of their Jane Austen book club about how much they hope such a place will one day exist.

Worst of all, on googling for the above poster, I found this

What the…

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Workaholic

Paige

Paige 1#

Wollaton Hall is a beautiful stately home in Nottinghamshire, a short drive from my university apartment. It’s open to the public, but is fairly unheard of, and so even at this time of year, when the flowers in the garden’s greenhouse are blooming and the air smells like oranges, it’s still relatively quiet, making it a perfect location for a photo shoot. I wanted to create a shoot that revolved around the English rose stereotype to match the picturesque setting. Luckily, the staff were more than happy for us to use their grounds for our photo shoot.

It was Emma, our make up artist’s idea to add the pop of blue eyeliner to modernise Paige’s otherwise very ‘English rose’ look; rosy cheeks, pale, clear complexion, glossy hair. I chose a white dress to give an ‘angelic’ feel to her look, and we together decided to keep the black straps visible to add some edge.

These were all shot with natural lighting, the bright sunlight streaming through the windows, creating this beautiful soft lighting. It was perfect.

My other photo shoots at Wollaton Hall can be seen here and here.

Paige 1#

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Model: Paige

MUA: Emma Grant

Styling: Emma Styles

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Wanderer

My Favourite London Hotels

Today I’ve had three friends all ask me to recommend a hotel/hostel in central London, and as I started rambling, as I do, and listing places for them, again, as I do, I started to miss London. It only made sense to post something on here about it.

The Ones I’ve Stayed in in the Past:

Clink78, on Kings Cross Road. For a start, this building is 200 years old; it was once a courtroom, in fact, what is now the internet lounge was once the very courtroom where The Clash stood trial in 1978, which geek-me found rather exciting.

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All images for Clink Hostels are from here.

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I stayed here for two nights, and to be honest, I had to force myself to come back to Derby (lectures can be such an inconvenience). Prices start at £12 for a mixed/girls only dorm (boys, you don’t get the choice of a men-only dorm, though I’m sure few of you would mind about that 😉 ). There are also ‘Deluxe girls rooms’ for £15 which are a little bigger and include hairdryers, free towels and extra mirrors. I chose a ‘Deluxe girls room’, and it was just so pretty and peachy-pink; beautifully decorated and so cosy.

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Or, you have the option to stay in a private single/twin/double or triple room for £40 or, best of all, a prison cell for £50 – recently re-decorated so that it’s just as cosy as the other rooms, but they are English Heritage-listed with original prison features still in tact. I hear these are snapped up pretty much immediately though.

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I’d stay there again in a heartbeat.

As for other old features of the courtroom, the magistrates court is now an internet lounge (£3 for 14 days unlimited wifi), again, English Heritage-listed. A second courtroom is now a TV and film lounge, with some bizarre red leather sofas. Possibly the comfiest I’ve ever been in my entire life was curled up on those sofas at 3am watching lord-knows-what and eating nutella cakes. The bar is also incredible.

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Go there.

*There is also a second Clink Hostel; Clink261, which you can find on Gray’s Inn Road. I haven’t stayed at this one, but it looks equally incredible (though I’d say the decor at Clink78 wins), as you can see, and prices are almost identical.

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Blue Skies Hostel. I clearly have a real thing for hostels/hotels that are renovated somethings; courthouses, pubs, camper vans (I’m yet to find one of those), whatever.

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Photo from here.

This time, it’s a renovated pub. They need a better photographer for their website to really show it off for what it is (hint hint); beautiful. They haven’t stayed as far from the original style and feel of the pub as Clink78 have, but it’s still so modern. You’ll find this gem next to Tulse Hill station, which of course makes it a little more out of the way than some of the hotels I’ve listed here, but transport into central London is piss-easy.

…I can’t help giggling, as 80% of my friends have either Londoners, born and bred, or spend as much time there as I do and therefore may as well be, and here I am blogging about London, despite knowing that the only people who will read this will sit there rolling their eyes and saying ‘yes, Emma, we know‘. Sorry guys.

Anyway.

The Dictionary in Shoreditch. This hostel was only recently recommended to me in May by a friend, and I spent one night there in June. What is it with beautiful hotels filling their website with terrible photographs? Again, hint hint!

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Photo from here.

It’s percentage average on hostelbookers.com is 83.1%, and prices range from £21 for a 13 bed mixed dorm to £31 for a 4 bed mixed. Worth it. Best part is, the staff can always recommend great events around London to check out while you’re there, in fact, they have a page on their site purely for ‘What’s on’, from galleries to clubs to markets. Wifi is free, as is breakfast, and there are drinks discounts at certain times, on certain days, etc etc. It’s not a place to stay if you want to actually sleep and relax, though; everyone is always laughing, dancing. It’s just one big party, without the awful mess to clean up in the morning. If you wander outside at any time of night, you’ll find that the streets are still buzzing too, so seriously, don’t stay there if you want some quiet, unless you plan to bring ear plugs, though with dorms of up to 13 beds, they wouldn’t help much anyway. It’s Shoreditch; it’s expected.

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Photo from here.

Shoreditch House. This one definitely isn’t a hostel. They have some interesting rules for when you are within the club:

  • No Mobiles
  • No Cameras
  • No Suits
  • +1 Guests Only

It’s an interesting place to stay. Prices are generally £200 for a night – double room – but if you book far enough ahead, at the right time of year, it can dwindle to about £140, and I’ve heard that they can be as low as £85 for non-members, though I don’t believe it.

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Photos from here.

I much prefer the madness of Clink78 and The Dictionary. There you can meet people and laugh and enjoy yourself, rather than having to behave like a responsible adult. But for those rare occasions that I accept my age, this place is perfect. For one, look at the beautiful restaurant!

The Ones I will stay in in the Future:

So, Ace Hotels are opening a new hotel in Shoreditch London this September. That’s going on the ‘to visit’ list, that’s for sure. I imagine room rates will be pretty affordable. They’re also teaming with local London businesses, such as That Flower Shop and I’ve heard rumours about indie coffee stores, both of which will also open shop within/alongside the hotel. Personally, I’m most excited about the décor; each room will feature British Revo radios and record players! It’s so – dare I say it? Hipster. But good.

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Photo from here.

It doesn’t look like much so far, but I’m sure it’ll be amazing.

The Ritz. One day I will stay here, even if it’s only in the cheapest room, though that’s still £440 a night. £570 including breakfast! Maybe one day I’ll be able to really splash out and book the most expensive suite on their website: £3600 a night, £3660 with breakfast. Add it to the bucket list.

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Image from here.

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Images from here.

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The 3 L's

My Thoughts on Bucket Lists

*Firstly, scroll down to the bottom of this page and hit play. Read on*

I’ve just had an interesting conversation with a friend. She has just revealed to me that she hates bucket lists. And not just the term ‘bucket list’, but the whole concept of making a list of everything that you want to do in life and working your way through it.

Her argument is that if you make a list for your life, there are only two ways that it will turn out:

1) You’ll write your bucket list, usually when you’re still at school (I myself wrote my first bucket list when I was about fourteen), and then you’ll lock it safely away in a drawer, waiting until you finish school, at which point you can finally start living. And then after that you’ll wait through college… university… your first job (you apparently usually need a bit of financial security before you can start on the list)… your second job… then you get married and have kids and suddenly… you’re too old. You’re retired, and suddenly your OAP heart is striking a big black ‘x’ through half the list: skydiving, surfing, taking part in 4 deserts, etc. As for the other things on your list (and I’m just going by the 50 most common aims to appear on people’s lists), you never became a millionaire, never won the lottery, there’s still big chunks of the world that you never saw, nor have you seen most (if not all) of the seven wonders of the world. Basically, according to my friend (who I’d like to point out, is not as negative and moody as this is making out – she’s apparently only negative and moody when it comes to the ‘dreaded list’ 😉 ), you just end up angry and disappointed that life got in the way, and you didn’t complete what 15 year old you swore you would by the time you were 30/40/50. And then you forget to realise what you did achieve; you married, you had kids, grand-kids, you paid off your mortgage. ‘Normal’ achievements in life.

2) Or, you become so obsessed with your bucket list that you do the exact opposite; life revolves around doing the ‘out there’ stuff; again, skydiving, learning to surf, crazy endurance races, etc, and instead, you never find time for the other side of life: work, friendships, relationships, and so you never marry, never have kids, never settle down, and you’re still a ‘renter’ when you turn 50 because you’ve never stopped fixating on the ‘amazing list’ long enough to think about growing some roots. So then instead, you end up lonely, with no property to call your own, and nothing but memories, photographs, and souvenirs – with no one to show them to.

She paints a pretty grim picture, wouldn’t you say?

And now for my opinion on the matter.

I love bucket lists. In fact, not just bucket lists – I love lists. As someone who was born without an ‘off switch’, they keep me organised, they help me to remember every single one of my crazy thoughts and ideas when my mind is working like a runaway train and I can’t physically start and complete every single idea before the next one comes along. And, best part, when I do need to take some time off and find myself distracted, list-making is the best sort of procrastination, because think about it, when I finally reach a point when my mind body is screaming enough! I can grab a pen/laptop and scribble out a to-do list, and then suddenly, that list turns from procrastination to motivation and boom, I’m off! And as I already have a list there ready, all I have to do is get to work!

But I’m getting off track slightly. Bucket lists.

I probably fit into a much more cheery option 2). I’m 21 years old, and I’ve already completed my first bucket list, and written out a whole new one. Granted, list two may well take longer than seven years to complete, but I’m just proud with myself to have already completed one 58-point list by my twenty-first birthday. My bucket lists (and my day-to-day to-do lists) keep me motivated, they keep me busy, and it gives me something to aim at each day. Recently, I’ve realised that I’ve spent most of this year simply existing – not meaning to sound really cheesy. I’ve thrown myself into work, pushed too many creative projects to the back-burner, and I pretty much forgot how to have fun and to enjoy life. And I ended up completely miserable. I hid my new bucket list away and I dread to think how many days of this year have been wasted.

And then as recently ago as mid-July, it all hit me while I was in Portugal. I spent one day wallowing and convinced that I’d completely forgotten how to genuinely laugh and relax and have fun, two days figuring out what it is that I want in life so that I can set a goal and start working towards it, and two weeks now dragging myself upwards out of that depressing little hole of a life. And now, I feel so upbeat, and so happy, and so positive, motivated, energetic, and excited for the future.

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How I’m feeling today.

I’ve written a ‘second half of 2013’ bucket list. Yes, maybe I focus on my bucket lists a little too much, but I think I’ve re-balanced my life and I’ve started living life spontaneously and equally ticking things off the list again. The way I see it, it’s good to have goals, and to aim to tick something off the list on a regular basis, but equally if something comes up, a spontaneous opportunity, I say yes. Something that I stopped doing for a long, long time.

And then if I think ‘oh, this crazy, spontaneous opportunity that has just arisen, this is a bucket list-worthy event… I add it to my ‘completed’ bucket list.

That’s my list secret. I always keep two; a ‘to do’ list, and a ‘completed’ list. Otherwise you end up sitting there, staring at the list that you’ve just written, be it a to do list, or a bucket list, and it all just looks so overwhelming. There’s so much to do, or so much that you want to do, that it suddenly doesn’t seem possible. There’s suddenly not enough time.

Buttt, if I have two lists, and I can see that I’m already part way there.. brilliant.

Of course, shopping lists are the exception.

As for my friend’s belief that by focusing so much on the things on my list: I mention it again, skydiving (done it) and visiting China (haven’t done it) and everything else I want to do in life – most of which is travel related – I’ll end up alone in a rented apartment full of photographs and souvenirs with no one to show them to. That doesn’t worry me. ‘Get married’ and ‘have kids’ are definitely not on my bucket list, and I’m not about to add them to it just to guarantee that someone is going to be there when I’m 70+.

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PS. R, you’re such a miserable git today 😉

Here.

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