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The absolutely right place to be June 27, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Dreams, Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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Life is a complex thing. There are so many wandering paths and winding routes to be taken.

I am no believer in fate. The world is too deep, too chaotic. There are bridges spun from gossamer, tunnels and short-cuts that require you to wade through swamps and traverse cliff-edges that hang you over sharp rocks hundreds of metres below. Sometimes it all gets hard to navigate, and great swathes of time can be lost as you stumble through the briar patch. Lethargy, and fear, and sadness are all present and powerful forces, forces that exist alongside the happiness, dreams and aspirations. For fate to exist in a world so mad and unpredictable seems nothing short of ridiculous - we can choose our own paths, plural, and walk our own ways.

Still, I do tend to feel that each path, each route, has pit stops along the way. And sometimes things fall into place so neatly that it is impossible to question their rightness. Last night, watching the stars twinkle into existence in the wake of the setting sun I felt that feeling. A sense of utter calm, all the thoughts in my head startled into silence. A feeling of, by simple serendipity, ending up exactly where I was meant to be at that exact moment in time. A feeling that, right there and then, everything was utterly “right”. Everything was utterly OK.

And things will change, and I will no doubt drift in my dreams way from the exact path, and miss some of the markers on the way – but yesterday evening, in the warmth and the dark, I was absolutely in the right place.

It was wonderful.

My life in books June 17, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Books, Inspiration.
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I read Elle. In fact, I have a subscription. Aside from occasional gripes, I find it to be one of the only “fashion” mags that features intelligent and thought provoking writing, and so I keep on reading it month after month. There is one feature in particular that never fails to get me thinking, which is called (you guessed it!) “My Life In Books”.. and this is my version, about the books that changed my life.

The Lorax, Dr. Seuss.

If you had to take one book as an indicator of the person I would grow to be, it would be this. This is a conscientious moral tale in the format of a children’s story, a reminder to be careful – what we have needs care to continue.

Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks.

I read this book as an angsty deep and dark teenager. It has haunted me ever since, both as the simplest sweetest love story and as a representation of humanity at its most brutal.

His Dark Materials, Phillip Pullman.

A little part of me will always hold onto the world this trilogy created in the depths of my mind. I dream of worlds within worlds, of ghosts and love so strong it changes the fabric of your being. I dream of daemons. This book is, above all else, utterly formative and loved beyond compare.

Norwegian Wood, Haruki Murakami.

I like not talking. I like just sitting, touching, feeling the world go by and marvelling all the way. This book is just like this.. it is bitter and dark and twisted, but above all it is beautiful. All the misery and trouble are worth it in the end, and Murakami’s spectacular off-kilter style makes this a read it is difficult to forget.

Lolita, Vladimir Nabokov.

I have gone back to this dark and disturbing book again and again. The depth of the writing inspires me, the storyline is simply one of the best I have had the honour to read. Never judge, assume or claim to understand – books like this show us all the angles of humanity and the depravity and love it is capable of.

The Power Of A Compliment May 13, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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I have written about the importance of a good compliment before. However, I feel it is a topic that needs reiterating, as often as is physically possible. Saying something nice to  someone, particularly when entirely unprovoked, can be the make or break between having a good day, or a bad one. It can make an average day into something special, and it can put a smile on even the most unlikely of faces.

Today, for instance, my day was brightened up pretty much from the moment I stepped from the house. I am wearing a simple Fever dress and a Sgt. Pepper jacket – I felt slightly pretty but no more. However, as I rounded the corner (concentrating wildly on remaining upright in my heels and navigating the angle without crashing into the wall) I bumped into a temporary local who I know only as “my builder”. He’s a nice chap – always chatty, a bit flirtatious but in the most obviously harmless way, just generally a good bloke who likes to tease me about being posh.

Today he seemed particularly chatty – he stopped me as I navigated the path to check how I was and what I had been up to. Then, completely without warning, he proceeded to ask me how I managed to get more beautiful every morning? How wonderful is that?!

Sometimes people can be quite wonderful. They seem to sense when you are starting to get self-conscious, when your self-esteem is teetering on the edge of a sheer drop, and the world can go one of two ways. It can kick you swiftly up the ass so that you plummet further, or it can choose to remind you just how fabulous life is really. In this case, a quick compliment reminded me that I at least look reasonable. I still feel a little overstatement was used by a guy looking to take me out for a drink – but I am really not going to complain.

Go forth and compliment!

Spring, Strolls and Summer Dresses March 13, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics, Photos, What I Wore.
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The First Buds of Spring

The First Buds of Spring

Winter can be a long and difficult time. The deep cold nights lead into days that slip by in a dull and dismal blink, the chill bites into your bones and lingers in your veins. Chores that would be easy in the light of a summer afternoon become a tiresome drudgery. We fight through the season year after year, but come March the desire for spring and sunshine never fails to dominate our thoughts.

It is with some relief, therefore, to finally witness the true arrival of spring. Not just the gradual arrival of watery light before and after work, or even the bobbing heads of snowdrops, but real signs that mean it is finally here.

Sunshine that warms as well as illuminates. Gambolling lambs. Swathes of daffodils and primroses dappled in shadow, tree boughs heavy with fragrant blossom. The arrival of beautifully delicate buds, green folds unfurling like butterfly’s wings fresh from the chrysalis. Life suddenly bursting from ground that before seemed dull and dead.

This weekend has seen such a transformation. It has been warm, and blisteringly sunny, the perfect weather for strolls around town, and even for ice creams in the park. The sunlight has shocked the trees into action, and seemingly from nowhere the season has switched, and plants seem desperate to put forth flowers and leaves. Bees have been buzzing from bouquet to bouquet, and families have been playing football in the park.

I sat on a bench today, scribbling this post down, and taking photos to chronicle the arrival of a new juncture. I also immersed myself in a little book of Thomas Hardy poems, and watched the play and chatter of the people who strolled around the gardens. Yesterday, having drifted around town, I posted the most over-the-top status on Facebook, so saturated was I by the magic that has been in the air this weekend:

Can I randomly say something? Life is amazing. I all too often forget, but as I wandered around town today, in the sunshine and nothing more glamorous than my own company, it all came rushing back to me. Life? Life is damn good, and I’m so glad I get to enjoy it.

Beautiful Bold Spring Flowers

Beautiful Bold Spring Flowers

Beautiful Bold Spring Flowers Up Close

Up Close!

What I Wore Dressed for Spring

And my spring outfit!

Finally, because I felt so happy with what I wore, a little outfit shot. My new favourite hold-ups from Jonathan Aston, and a cute little navy summer dress that I picked up in a charity shop. Which, for the benefit of all those who know how important this is, has pockets. I felt spring like and glamorous, and it was so nice to be able to get the sunglasses out!

I wish March 9, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Inspiration, Wordy Business.
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I wish I was lying on warm grass on a summers night, watching the sun sink below the horizon. I wish I could smell the scent of dew and greenery, and see the sky descend into inky indigo, the stars appearing in the ever increasing blackness.

I wish I was snug in someone’s arms, feeling their heat burning into my skin, listening to the pounding of their heart against mine. Staring up together at the blazing heavens, tracing patterns and shapes from light to light.

I wish I was watching shooting stars leave shimmering trails, hearing the hooting of an owl somewhere in the distance. I wish I was breathing in the smell of fresh lake air, having my hair stroked with trembling fingers, kissing and being kissed.

I wish.

Etsy Love: Your Inner Geek March 2, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Fashion, Inspiration, Vintage.
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I have been doing a bit of shopping this week, but thankfully for my bank balance it has only been in my mind. Still, I am having a lot of trouble resisting this motley collection of lovely items, all of which are channelling my inner geek in the most utterly cool way!

Velociraptors Wall Decall

Velociraptors Wall Decall

Awesome – one day I want these on my wall – they are, after all, my favourite characters from any film, ever!

Star Trek Earrings

Star Trek Earrings

Star Trek earrings! The ultimate in geekery!

Crochet Angry Birds

Crochet Angry Birds

The current obsession that is keeping me up at night is a simple and unassuming iPhone app. But now technology meets crafting, with awesome results!

Wine Periodic Table Cushion

Wine Periodic Table Cushion

Science geekiness anyone? I love that science is used to express something so… delicious!

I want to believe necklace

I want to believe necklace

Yes, yes, I am currently still obsessed with The X Files. I still want the poster on my wall – but this cute necklace is a step in the right direction!

Chameleon skull ring

Chameleon skull ring

Finally, I love this ring. I like the way it looks, and in addition it is totally geeky and accurate in size!

Ooh, what are you inking next? February 10, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Inspiration.
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I at some point want to write a post updating you on my weekend in London. My mum and I did all sorts of exciting things, and at some point I will get around to filling y’all in.

For now, however, I shall stick with something a little less demanding. Such as, tattoos.

It is true what they say about tattoos, they really are addictive. Even as you are attempting to deny the pain as a needle pushes ink deep into your skin, you are planning what you want to get next. For me this isn’t because my skin is a canvas. I am terrified about having something etched so indelibly on me, I am afraid of growth and change and making mistakes. However, there seems to me no better way to celebrate something important to me than by placing it on my body – and the highly personal nature of this means that I have a tattoo for myself and myself alone. This is why most tattoos will be located on part sof my flesh that are concealed, hidden from public view. I can reveal them if I so choose, but otherwise they are private.

So, with all of the things tumbling around in my brain, what are the types of things that I am considering inking onto my body?

*Please don’t take the following as gospel. They are just ideas and inspiration, them being on the list doesn’t mean that I am about to emblazon them on my forehead or coat my body in their image!

1. The Lorax

I know this will seem silly to many, but The Lorax was, and still is, one of the most important influences in my life. The story taught me about caring for the world around me, seeing the consequences of your actions, and always having hope. For a kids book, this is pretty damn impressive! I think the tattoo would just be a ickle little thing, maybe on the inside of my ankle or wrist.

the lorax

2. Lyrics

I know that lyrics are often thought of as a bad tattoo idea, but the particular words I have in mind are the most important words I have ever heard. They are part of the long that I accredit with keeping my head above water on the darkest of days, and there is nothing more important. They are from Bell X1, “The grass is always greener where it rains”. The only question is, how would I put this on my body in a tasteful way? Along my ribs? With an image, or just text?

3. Velociraptor claw

OK so this is the geekiest option, but I actually really like the idea. Just a teeny tiny solid black raptor claw, reminding me not only of my inner geek, but of childhood and imagination. Much of my youth was spent imagining dinosaur stories and excavating fake dino skeletons in the playground. The shape would be like the claw below:

raptor claw

Who was she? February 4, 2011

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics.
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In the past few months I have been reconnecting with a few people from what, in many ways, I think of as my old life. Friends from sixth form, from school, and even from my very first primary school. Some I knew well, others not so, but the one thing that they have in common is the fact that they don’t actually know me.

You see, back then I was a completely different person to the one I am now. Looking back I barely recognise the person I once was, as life has seen me grow above and beyond that most distant of starting points, the girl I was once is a mere shadow, a vague impression of the Lauren that I would grow to be.

So, if I were to tell these old friend and acquaintances what exactly has changed, what would I say? How would I define this new me in a way that showed how far from the old I have come?

Well first, there is my confidence. I was a little shy, seen as a little odd. I never quite fitted in with anyone other than my immediate friendship group, and everyone at school seemed so far away. Now I have a strong sense of self-belief. I am chatty, and funny, and not afraid to poke fun at people. I spontaneously start conversation, even with people I barely know, and I consider myself social and nice.

I fit in with the world much better now, even though I am still completely bonkers.

Then there is the fact that I have grown-up. I understand politics, I can debate and argue. I work every day in a job that I like, and the effect this sort of life change can have is impossible to over-emphasise. I am a different person, I live my life a different way, all the responsibilities and things that come with being an adult have taken hold in the most positive of ways.

Then there is the bravery. I am about the set off around the world, alone, something I would never have done years ago. I would tell these people about the courage I have gained in setting off into the world, in building my own life, in leaving my home town and being forced to make it on my own. There is no stuttering or stumbling any more, just leaping into the future.

The girl you once knew? She is gone. Well, maybe she hasn’t disappeared completely, but she is certainly new and improved with so much more to offer.

What would you say to people who knew you years ago?

My inner geek December 17, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Fashion, Graphic Design, Inspiration, Life, Chatter & Politics, Media, TV & Film.
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Woe betide anyone who doesn’t own up to their inner geek. Or their outer geek, as it happens. What was once seen as a silly way to life your life, full of stupid facts and a certain lack of that indefinable “cool”, has suddenly become trendy. The geeks have, in a expertly calculated and complicated rebellion, taken over the earth. Probably whilst wearing capes. Where would we be without them? Without people continually demanding more from life, from the world? Without people appreciating everything from the tiny microbes under our skin right through to the things that are bigger than most human brains can even begin to contemplate?

I wholeheartedly and happily put my hands up to being a geek. I know a strange amount about birds, and meteorology. I am geeky about the idea of space, and hoping for the existence of aliens, and about watching episodes of Star Trek or The X Files back to back. I can have long conversations about the use of grammar and words, about how nice it feels to form the syllables of “Hyundai” with your tongue. I debate about human rights, and nuclear weapons, and about the validity of various scientific experiments. I dream of zombies, and I know which animals of the air, land and sea are the fastest (Swift, Cheetah and Swordfish, for those wondering – although the Peregrine Falcon is the fastest creature on earth in a downwards dive). Geekery makes up a massive portion of my life, and I love it. It makes me feel I am a tiny part of the brilliance of the world.

And so, for the geeks amongst us, a celebration. A celebration in fashion form, as it happens, although this really isn’t about my fashion geekery. A ring, featuring Gotham City in all its Gothic, dramatic and dangerous glory. Perfect. Now, if only I had $225…

 

Gotham City Ring

Gotham City Ring

 

 

Believe in Magic December 3, 2010

Posted by Lauren Cooke in Inspiration, Wordy Business.
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Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.

- Roald Dahl

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