Reader Survey & Ask Me Your Questions Leave a Comment

reader-survey

I guess it’s time to put a big “construction zone” sign on this blog, or at least admit I’m working on it. To that end, I’ve put together a reader survey that I’d love for you to fill in if you’ve got a couple minutes to spare — none of the answers are mandatory, you can do as many or as few as you’d like, and it would help me out hugely as I figure out the direction I want to take with this blog.

Click to go to survey.

In addition to the above, I’ve also included a form for submitting questions that I will be answering (if appropriate!) in a vlog or several vlogs, and may include in the FAQ (“frequently asked” of course being a figure of speech) in my upcoming redesign.

For the questions, I’d like to encourage stuff about my personal life, my situation, my freelance work, this blog, and the whole expat in London bit. But you’re free to get creative!

Ask me your questions here.

I’m afraid I’ve got nothing to give for your time, but if you leave your name and blog link in either of the forms, I’ll definitely pay you a visit — and I may put your name in the hat for some sponsor spots I want to give away during November to test-run my new sponsorship program.

Of course, you’re also welcome to enter my media kit giveaway after filling out the survey — or instead of it, mind, I don’t judge. And of course, the code YAYFALL is still valid for 10% off anything in my design shop until October 31st.

Thank you, everyone! Y’all are cool and stuff.


Recent Work: Lo Bosworth Media Kit + Giveaway! 25

Lo Bosworth Media Kit - designed by Lix Hewett (preview)

As part of my attempt to share more of my work on this blog, I wanted to show you guys some of my print design work. The bulk of it is media kits for bloggers, and it is genuinely one of my favorite things to design.

If you’re a blogger or an influencer of some kind, you probably already know how convenient having a media kit is; it’s so much easier to offer up or attach a media kit than list your stats over and over, not to mention it’s cleaner, harder to lose, and more professional — and it gives you the chance to show off your blog and branding and really catch people’s eyes.

But today I am not just showing you a sampling of my media kit design work — I am also giving away a 2-page custom media kit design, valued at £75, to one of my readers!

I’m lucky to be joined by a few lovely ladies who have graciously agreed to co-host this giveaway and introduce their readers to my work. In return, I would love if you guys checked out their blogs as well. It’s a very diverse group, which I love because it shows that media kits aren’t for just one particular type of blogger or social media influencer. Bloggers small and big can benefit from one, and I am really really excited to punctuate that sentence with one of the most recent media packs I created — my longest, my first horizontal one, and my first for someone whose blog isn’t any more important than her other social media channels.

Lo Bosworth Media Kit - designed by Lix Hewett

These are some other media kits I have designed:

Media Kit Design by Lix Hewett

And many can be viewed as PDFs on Issuu.

And without further ado, here is the giveaway!

Media Kit Design Giveaway with Lix Hewett Creative

(In the spirit of sharing my work, that is my photography, my design and my freehand writing.)

It is open until October 31st at midnight, and open worldwide to anyone who has a blog or social media influence of some kind. Basically, if you could use a media kit, this giveaway is open to you. Winner will be emailed within 48 hours of the giveaway ending, and will have 28 days to claim the prize before another winner is drawn.

Co-hosts: Marielle / This Flooded Sky · Miranda / A July Dreamer · Abbie / The Pink Paper Doll · Samantha / Coco Butter Blog · Dawn / Leroy Lime

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck! And if it’s something else you’re in need of — a blog design, some category buttons, a logo — feel free to head over to my Etsy shop and use the code YAYFALL to take 10% off your entire order!


Inspiration: Dream Kitchens With MyAppliances.co.uk 1

I’ve always wanted a proper kitchen. Not a big one necessarily, just something clean and well-equipped where I could bake without going, “oh right, the oven doesn’t work,” or, “oh right, the replacement oven doesn’t bake things evenly because it only heats from the top,” or, “oh right, I can’t fit a pie in the donut-shaped Dutch oven my mom borrowed from the elderly lady she takes care of,” or, “wait, if I want to make a pie, I need a pie pan…” (Okay, the last one doesn’t really have to do with interior design, but it’s been on my mind lately.)

My favorite kitchens I’ve had access to in London were the ones in Streatham and Crouch End. I think all owners were foodies — Crouch End girl definitely loved to cook, and in fact one of the reasons she didn’t think we were compatible is she wanted someone who wasn’t a weird picky eater to cook for. I miss that kitchen. And her Sunday roasts. I haven’t had roasted potatoes in an age. I did have fries in Hampstead Heath, and then I moved here and didn’t have a freezer. That’s what I’ve missed the most.

It turns out however that you can keep french fries in the fridge for a week before they go bad, so I’m definitely going to do that as soon as I find some goddamn french fries. They’re always out of stock. I don’t know what’s up with that.

Sometimes I still think about how I really want a proper kitchen, though, and how I want to rewatch Julie & Julia, which is probably the first time I found myself wanting a proper kitchen in the first place, and I think about my great aunt’s kitchen that she had redone last year and the kitchen in Streatham, and I’m struck by how much I like those towers of integrated appliances where the oven is stacked atop the microwave stacked atop a cupboard. That shit is awesome and it’s so great to have the oven at eye level, like — so great.

In that spirit — the Julie & Julia spirit; I may have started reading the book, and I’m trying to push through the first chapter and see if she stops using weird mental illness-based hyberbole and metaphors — I’ve put together a collage of some of my favorite kitchen pins from my interiors board, and a wishlist of appliances from MyAppliances.co.uk that I’m certain would not only make it easier for me to bake, but actually motivate me to do it.

Kitchen Inspiration (Pinterest Collage)

Sources: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / Follow me on Pinterest!

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Weekly Wishes: Not Falling Under 1

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Last Week

 
Last Monday I shared a blog design instead of doing a Weekly Wishes post, so I’m recapping the past two weeks today. The last time I posted, I’d just come off a sick week, and to tell you the truth, the whole week following the post is better forgotten. I was behind on work, I was behind on money, I was depressed for days and I had a meltdown on Thursday.

I made it through somehow, with a little help, and last week was hard, but better. As for the goals I set on October 6, I’ve been steadily working through them. My blog redesign is becoming realer… though it’s still mostly in my head. I’ve had some breakthroughs — I’m moving the blog to my homepage, www.lixhewett.com, and I have my AmeriCommerce storefront to work on. That should have me sorted website-wise for a while. I’m also talking to a friend about outsourcing my development work to her, as my coding skills are limited and I find it quite restrictive for web design work.

My backlog plan is being worked on as well — I finished editing a shoot yesterday (absolutely can’t wait to share them! There are sneak peeks on my Instagram and Twitter), I’ve posted a couple of things I owed for months, and I keep designing and working. My blog folder looks like a camera exploded in it, but whatever, I’ll tidy up when I tidy up.

I haven’t put together a business plan or an income plan yet, but I’ve bookmarked some links off Regina’s site, so at least I have a starting point now. I’ve also been keeping up my logging of expenses into YNAB.

My big success from that Weekly Wishes post was in blogging, though — I posted an outfit and shots of my current (temporary) business cards (plus a “what’s in my bag” video!), and the week after, I posted another outfit and shared the blog design I linked above. I’ve got plans to share a media kit this week or next — and possibly give one away! Stay tuned. And yesterday I posted the first installment of a new monthly or biweekly series where I offer free advice to bloggers (and businesses of course!) on the topics of photography, design and writing. You’re still welcome to submit your link! I’ll get to all comments throughout the week.

I also may have got another little writing gig like my contributorship at Photodoto.com, this time reviewing apps and tech. Excited about that. Just need to keep going, keep working, not fall under again. At least not until I’ve built a safety net!

Today

 
It’s, er, Monday. I’m looking at my 25 Before 25 list and thinking I haven’t made as much progress as I felt I had, but I have read a book — reviewed it too, in fact! — and I read another one last night. I feel like I’ve made a ton of progress on my website and blog just by deciding I want the blog to be my homepage and the AmeriCommerce shop to be the rest of it. Simplifying! I designed a calendar template and uploaded it to my Etsy shop.

My sleep schedule is still shot, to the point that I’ve now made it my goal to get up before 2 PM. I still haven’t managed. I’ve been getting up during 2 PM, i.e. before 3 PM, and that’s already a major improvement. I don’t want to push myself too much because that obviously leads to disappointment.

And on that note…

Weekly Wishes

 

  1. Straighten out what I want my blog to look like (pinnnnnning), and create a mockup.
  2. Load my work onto my website!
  3. Continue to blog daily — since the schedules I plan out never stick, just use the editorial calendar and try to stay a couple of days ahead.
  4. Write four articles for other sites.
  5. Just keep up this pace re: design and photo editing, because I know how hard it is to recover when I stop.
  6. Tap into the exciting bits of my work. I love it and I get so caught up in what I have to do that I often forget to enjoy it, and that is just not on.

I’m also thinking about running a reader survey, but I may hold out on that until the redesign so I can gauge the readability and accessibility of it as well.

So how was your week? Got any plans for the new one? Also, feel free to share your favorite blog/site designs in the comments, or if you have a board for design inspiration, share that! I need all the ideas I can get!


Quick Tips #1 / Free-For-All Advice + Ask Me Anything 15

quick-tips-1-free-for-all

Mug from Zoz Pots | Notebook by Ted Baker

I’ve been meaning to put this up for weeks, but hey — there’s no time like the present. (I may be feeling a little trippy — mixing my lorazepam with a vanilla latte had a strange effect on me today.) Welcome to the very first edition — the inaugural edition, if you will — of a feature I’m hoping to run either monthly or biweekly on the blog from here on out — Quick Tips, or:

1) Ask me anything related to the work I do, and I’ll try my best to help solve your quandary!

2) Leave a link to your blog/website/business cards/photography/bit of design work/whatever you want me to take a look at, and I’ll reply with some brief constructive criticism.

If you find yourself wanting more from my critique, you’re welcome to pre-book a blog/brand visuals consultation, where I will sit with you one-on-one and go through everything you need to do to make your blog visually perfect — from design to photography to perfect writing!

If you’re interested in hiring a photographer or a graphic designer, look no further than my design shop and my portfolio (new one coming soon!). Or look further and make an informed decision — don’t let me tell you what to do!

So go ahead — leave your link or question in the comments! I’ll be answering all relevant questions and giving critiques throughout the week, and you’re welcome to submit your links for 48 hours, until 8 PM UTC+1 on Tuesday, October 21.

Disclaimer: I am only an expert in that I have experience with these things — with photography, graphic design, WordPress blog design, WordPress in general, writing and proofreading — and have gathered some good useful knowledge along the way.


Photodoto Articles: Shooting In Manual Mode + Essays! Leave a Comment

Today on Photodoto.com, I’m sharing a starter kit/basic guide to shooting in manual mode, largely inspired by bloggers who are afraid to dive in… much like I was. Click on the image or the link below it to go to the article and see the infographic I designed — or read the transcription, because it does of course come with one. I care a lot about accessibility.

manual-mode-graphic

Shooting In Manual Mode: The Starter Kit [Infographic]

This is the first article I’ve written for the site since the previous editor left, and it marks the beginning of me writing about photography tips and tricks again. Before Marc left, I published three meta essays about photographers and the creative industry; I’m still quite proud of those, and will repost here eventually, but for now, you’re welcome to read them here:

That’s it! My previous Photodoto articles (from February) are linked in the manual mode post, as they’re guides to ISO and white balance. Next on I’ll be telling you the things any photographer should keep handy, a good three or four of which I still don’t have. But I need them, you see? Also, this weekend I’m working on my business, and there’s nothing anyone can do to stop me.

I hope you like the articles! While I’m here, I would like to share my new comment policy as well, since it was in part prompted by the comments on the photography models essay and how it all made me feel. And if you like the above articles, feel free to check out the essay I wrote for this blog on misogyny, harassment and coercion in the creative industry.

Finally, if anyone has any requests for articles from me, for either this blog or Photodoto, feel free to ask! I aim to help.

Have a good weekend!


Halloween Style: Little Witch Costume Leave a Comment

witch-costume-1

I have this admittedly ridiculous problem where I don’t like parties, but I love to dress up. Cosplay is obviously the best option, but costumes and cons are expensive, which is why closet cosplay is always on my mind — dressing up in your day-to-day life using items that you can wear in the rest of your day-to-day life is a winner in both my heart and my budget.

But sometimes it’s fun to really, properly dress up, and I like that modeling allows me to do that. In that spirit, a while back, I was sent a witch costume — a tiny colorful witch costume with a Playboy logo on the ribcage. I’m not much for sexy Halloween costumes because they don’t remind me of anything, and like I said, I’m into cosplay — and what I like about that is portraying characters, not generic archetypes. Generic archetypes bore me to tears.

But I saw this costume and I immediately thought of two things:

  1. Bubble Witch Saga, the kids version
  2. Sabrina the Teenage Witch, the cartoon version

Plenty of reason to play around with it, right?

It got a bit cold before I was able to get the shoot I really wanted in, but I did have a shoot with photographer Darren M Gomes one night in Hampstead/Hampstead Heath, and we did get some cool shots!

Photography: Darren M Gomes
Model, Makeup, Styling, Some Retouching: Lix Hewett
Witch costume c/o Joke

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An Autumn Wishlist With LoveSales Leave a Comment

lovesales-wishlist
Anthropologie / AllSaints / Fenn Wright Manson / Boohoo / ASOS / Hollister / Habitat

If you know me, you know I don’t do a whole lot of shopping. It’s not that I don’t want to — I am absolutely the kind of person who gets a thrill from getting nice new things, and I’d definitely do a lot more (online) shopping if I had any sort of budget for it.

One thing I’ve noticed when I do shop, though, is that sometimes I’ll think, okay, I could get this if it went on sale, and sometimes I’ll bookmark it, and then completely forget to check back, because let’s be real, I don’t have time or the presence of mind to pay that much attention to a piece of clothing on the off chance it’ll go on sale with stock in my size when I’ve got money to buy it. At this point, if I can’t afford something, I write it off for good.

Enter LoveSales: a sale guide that shows you every sale that’s going on from your favorite retailers, as well as allow you to save things to your wishlist — which can be conveniently divided up into boards — and notify you when the price drops.

lovesales-website

You can add a bookmarklet to your sidebar to add products to your LoveSales list as you windowshop online, and set your email frequency to weekly, daily, or never (if you’d rather check manually when you’ve got money to shop!).

Besides a long, long list of clothing retailers, LoveSales also features sales from home and furniture retailers — hence the chair in the board above! Which is currently 20% off — which is rather a large saving considering the original price is £650. Meanwhile, the jeans, black dress and cardigan are all on sale at over 60% off.

I’m really hoping this site will stick around and still be there in the future when I’m a little less choked financially — I can see myself using it on a regular basis. I get a little thrill of excitement just thinking about it.

See, I told you I totally like to shop.

Disclosure: This post is a PR collaboration.


Reading: The Almost Truth by Eileen Cook Leave a Comment

Cover from GoodReads

Cover from GoodReads

I’ve been a fan of Eileen Cook since I read my first book by her, Unraveling Isobel. Unraveling Isobel has a little bit of mystery set on an island near Seattle with a side dish of stepsibling romance, so obviously I was hooked. Her writing is simply and engaging, just how I like my YA, and it’s extremely easy to read and read and not put her books down at all. Seeing as my attention span is limited, this comes in handy.

After Unraveling Isobel, I read Unpredictable, which was awful. You can read my review on GoodReads, which is appropriately tagged “enraging fail.” The main character is painfully lacking in self-awareness, and she pulls all these awful stunts that are unnecessary at best and plain old gaslighting at worst.

But I’m a sucker for YA (Unpredictable was adult), and I like to read things by authors I already know are capable of writing things I like. So after Unpredictable, I read The Education of Hailey Kendrick, which, despite some casual slutshaming here and there, was a freaking joy. It has a love triangle that’s more like a quadrangle, and it makes it work. I love when books do that.

So next I picked up Getting Revenge On Lauren Wood, which I believe is the book Eileen Cook is best-known for writing, judging by how it always says “Author of Getting Revenge On Lauren Wood” under her name on all her other book covers. Getting Revenge on Lauren Wood is revenge fantasy, which I find impossibly eh, but it’s revenge fantasy moored in high school tropes, which I find impossibly comforting. I was pretty into it from the beginning, and then it went better places than I thought it would. It was just nice lighthearted entertainment.

I read all of these books in 2012. Yeah, it’s been a while — and it’s been a while since I read a fiction book at all. But I was scrolling through my ebook library on Saturday night, and feeling a bit giddy looking at all the covers since I finally uploaded all my ebooks to Google Play Books, and my eyes fell upon The Almost Truth.

I basically inhaled it.

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Annotated London: Areas Where I’ve Lived And What I Made Of Each 35

areas-of-london

The first two months I was in England, I basically moved every other week. And I didn’t know where in London I wanted to live, so I was open to a lot of areas — and did a lot of widespread flathunting that had me going places for flat viewings where, in retrospect, I would not have liked to live. Even though I didn’t end up at any of those places, I still got the chance, for lack of a better word, to live in a few different areas in a very short amount of time, and I thought I’d share my impressions with you.

Belsize Park

1. Belsize Park/Chalk Farm (North West) / April 28—May 5

I’m splitting the area here because I’m not sure what it actually counts as. Annemari and I booked a twin room in a hotel on Primrose Hill Rd, just around the corner from Adelaide Rd, and the closest station map-wise is Chalk Farm, but we walked to Belsize Park Station on a daily basis because it was a much nicer walk; Chalk Farm is really boring. I’m not actually sure what’s there, though I know there’s a big Morrisons down there somewhere. On the opposite side from where we were.

Anyway, I basically fell in love. It’s not super well-equipped compared to other areas, but there’s a really nice Starbucks on England’s Lane, some small shops, a rather ugly Tesco, and on Haverstock Hill where Belsize Park Station is there are a lot of cafés and a Budgens and a pharmacy/beauty Boots and a bookshop and whatnot. Not too far off there’s Hampstead and Hampstead Heath, and if you walk south you hit Primrose Hill, though I haven’t been there yet. (Annemari and Ashley went there the day I took lorazepam and accidentally napped from 11 AM to 2 PM.) The bus connections are fairly good, though you mostly have to take two buses if you want to go somewhere off the Camden Town—Holborn—Pimlico path. But then you’ve got the northern line at your disposal, and even taking two buses takes a fairly short time to leave you anywhere in central London, so it works out.

The area just off Primrose Hill Rd, on Adelaide Rd and Fellows Rd, has a few council houses that look extremely uncomfortable — I went to a couple of flat viewings there and I would have been grossed out of my mind to live there, despite the flats themselves being perfectly nice. But other than that it’s just gorgeous — lots of pretty doors and steps and railings and green. It’s residential, so it doesn’t feel as London-y as other areas, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

1.5. Marylebone (Central) / May 5—May 6

I didn’t get to live here, but I was around quite a lot my first week in London because it was where Ashley lived. I loved it a lot, a lot a lot, at least until I spent a night at a hotel and realized it was incredibly noisy. Even with the window shut I could barely hear my mom on Skype… or sleep. I would have got used to it, I’m sure — I got used to sleeping with construction work outside the window in Hampstead Heath — and in fact, even when I closed my flathunting search to North West London, I kept an eye out on that area. Presumably there are better soundproofed buildings than the last-minute hotel room I found on Expedia for £40, but even if there weren’t, it would still be fucking Marylebone, which is beautiful and London-y and full of shops and restaurants and activity in all the best ways.

West London

2. Ladbroke Grove (West) / May 14—May 21

This was interesting to me — I wasn’t used to walking ten minutes to everything yet, so the walk to anywhere with shops or cafés from the street off Harrow Road where I lived felt extremely long. It was actually seven minutes to a massive Sainsbury’s, and you got to walk over a canal to get there, so I don’t know what I was thinking.

Ladbroke Grove itself is a bit messy, but the numbered avenues off Harrow Rd were urban residential, with really good bus connections to the city. Notting Hill is fairly close, and Shepherd’s Bush has really good train and tube connections. It’s also really kind of nice at night — or at least the street just outside the station and some of the streets I saw from the bus back home from there are.

So it was interesting in the sense that I wasn’t used to walking places yet and I had a travelcard and was still going to flat viewings all over, even once going all the way to Mile End and coming back on a bus to Bank to take the tube from there. I was so proud of myself because I went back home using a different route — I wanted to see a little bit of the city, and Bank is so pretty (and eerily dead) at night.

I wish I’d taken more pictures. It wasn’t the nicest, but it was all right.

Streatham

3. Streatham (South) / May 21—May 30

Streatham taught me everything I know about overground trains. I was there catsitting, and it was miserable out all week, and I was tired and exhausted so I slept a lot, got some hot food in me, and began the slow, uphill climb of catching up on work. That’s where I finished (most of) the design for The Luminous Kitchen, on the couch in the living room with a kitten on the back.

It was a long way to London on the irregular trains, and halfway through I managed to get a place for two weeks with potential for a lease, so I didn’t venture in much. I think that happens a lot when you live in the suburbs — it happened (happens) to me in zone 2, even, though part of that is the fact that I work from home and don’t have to go anywhere, so spending money on transport is hard to justify. I’m working on it. But it was good for me to take it easy in Streatham, with a lovely one-bedroom flat and a kitten both all to myself for the week. I think I only ended up going to Streatham High Rd twice, and the first time I just kept walking and walking and ended up in Tooting Bec. It was exhausting, but I found my way back and also the path I was supposed to have taken, which was a weird lane with a couple of tunnels and whatnot. Super charming, actually, and once again, I wish I’d taken more pictures. I also think I’d feel differently about it now that I’ve got used to ten-minute walks.

I didn’t feel all that safe walking around there, or walking from Streatham Common, but there were families around and it wasn’t bad. The houses were nice, in a less posh residential way than Belsize Park or West London, but nice. I really liked the train stations. I got to stop at Clapham Junction a couple of times and, all right, that station wasn’t much to look at, but I got there by bus when I headed over with my luggage and the outside of it, even when it’s pouring, is just stunningly beautiful in a completely different way than most of London or the residential areas are. It was good to find that out, and to see Fulham Broadway, which is also awfully charming, from the bus. I also learned more about Wandsworth and Balham and even Surrey, though obviously I never went that far. Never went further than Streatham Common on the train. But it was a good experience.

Crouch End by Lix Hewett Photography

4. Crouch End (North) / May 31 — June 13

I went to a creative industry meet-up while I was living in Crouch End and when I told someone that was where I lived, she made a face. I… don’t get the aversion to Crouch End. I thought it was wonderful. The transport links are a bit questionable, but I got used to the more sparse train timetables in Streatham, and if you use public transport on a daily basis, a weekly or monthly travelcard would make the extra transfers and additional fares unnoticeable. If you’re okay with it taking an hour or so to get to central London, and I was at this point, it’s more than worth checking out.

My two favorite things about this area were the brick-heavy architecture, all these beautiful, beautiful houses and greenery around, and the Crouch Hill shopping area. There was a big Sainsbury’s near where I was staying — it was just near Harringay station and they have a megastore on Harringay Green Lanes — but the Crouch Hill Broadway has everything. It’s also lovely to walk around in. It’s this little, super well-cared for village, of sorts, and the street is lined with supermarkets, local and chain, and coffeehouses, and restaurants, and butchers and grocers and banks and everything you could possibly need.

The one minor problem is that the hill is very hilly indeed. The streets are steep as fuck. But they’re also awfully cozy. The whole area felt like its own little bubble. And I was super into that.

Hampstead Heath

5. Hampstead Heath (North West) / June 13—September 1

Living in Hampstead Heath made me put my foot down about where I wanted to flathunt, because everything else paled in comparison to Hampstead and Belsize Park, and I mean, I was still up for Marylebone and Crouch End, but I’d rather find a place I could walk to and save time and money that way, since that meant I wasn’t going to flat viewings at opposite ends of the city and wasting hours upon hours on public transportation with the same likelihood of failure I would if I stuck to an area I already knew I liked.

Hampstead Heath is a lovely, lovely area to live in. The houses between Keats Grove and Hampstead are full of charm, and the little roundabout south of Hampstead Heath station, and South End Rd — it’s so lovely, especially in autumn, with its multicolored leaves and the two red phone booths in the middle of the road, and the Marks & Spencer (small) supermarket and my favorite Starbucks of all the Starbucks I’ve been to. I never got around to trying Le Pain Quotidien, but there was that, too. And it’s walking distance to both Belsize Park and Hampstead. You get to Belsize Park down Pond Street and the Royal Free Hospital, and there’s a little shortcut between a children’s school and a church that’s all leafy and lovely. Hampstead is a little harder depending on where you are — I was at the bottom of South End Rd, so it was uphill, but the walk was nowhere near as steep as Crouch End. Roslyn Hill has some of my favorite houses in the area but absolutely nothing useful for a good while, so it gets a bit exhausting.

My impression is that within Hampstead and Belsize Park, the closer you get to the Heath, the earlier and calmer the nightlife gets, and it’s not like the area’s a party zone. At all. Not even close. But it was funny to me that Starbucks there was always dead on Sundays (my assumption: family day, rest day), whereas the Starbucks on England’s Lane is always dead on Fridays. Skews a little younger/less settled the closer you get to Chalk Farm. I could absolutely be wrong, though.

But Hampstead Heath is beautiful. As far as transport, it shares a lot of buses with Belsize Park, plus the 24 straight to Pimlico, which is the poshest fucking bus I’ve ever seen in my life. I love it. The inside is designed with the same sensibilities as a hotel. And wherever you are, you can get to a tube station on the northern line fairly easily, plus there’s Hampstead Heath, which is the overground and has trains from Stratford to Richmond — also pretty handy.

Basically, it’s awesome. And I kind of miss that roundabout sometimes. And the Starbucks.

Belsize Park

6. (back to) Belsize Park / September 1—now

I can’t believe I ended up here after all. I was a mess for a lot of the summer, even as I tried to get back on track with my work and venture into photography and modeling, so my budget was still a disaster. I think at the end of the day I had as much of a chance focusing my efforts here (with invaluable help from my friend Maria, who saved me from insanity by scouring through flat listings for me so I wouldn’t get caught up in it and have a breakdown) as I did spreading them further out, and it made sense to me on basically every level. Better stay somewhere I want to stay, you know? So I can accumulate stuff, so even if/when I move out to another place, I probably won’t want to stray far.

I’ve ended up on one of the streets Annemari and I walked down to get to Belsize Park Station — remember how I said we did that because it was prettier? Yeah. My section of the street in particular is just — yeah. And if you turn the corner just outside my building, there are some seriously lovely flat blocks. They’re not amazingly fancy or anything, but they look cozy and well cared-for, and some of them have lovely driveways that I would love to shoot in.

It’s quiet, and the houses are beautiful in an old, lived-in sort of way, and there’s a lot of greenery and a lot of people walking dogs and babies. There’s always a few people around but not very many, and it feels safe. I really love it. I love going out when it’s warm, and I love going to the supermarket at night on Haverstock Hill with all the lights on from cafés and restaurants and the people milling around without making any fuss. There’s a glow from the station and some of the houses on the street I usually walk down make me think of Peter Pan.

It does sometimes feel like I’m in a different town entirely because I don’t get to London much, and when I do the contrast is very sharp. But Camden Town is half an hour away by foot, and I could literally walk through Regent’s Park and be on Great Portland Street in under an hour. One day I’ll do that. One day. When I’ve made a dent in my photo backlog and feel comfortable adding a whole lot more pictures.

I’m really, really happy. I still can’t believe it’s where I ended up.


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