When I can’t sleep I write poems about polar bears…

Harry is a polar bear
that lives under my bed
He didn’t like the Arctic
so he’s moved in here instead
He keeps my toesies nice and warm
and doesn’t steal the sheets
He reads me poems and epic tales
from goldilocks to Keats
Sometimes we talk of the meaning of life
while I brush out his coat
and I ask what he’ll do
when the ice caps melt
and he says he’ll just hop on a boat
Harry chases the monsters from under my bed
and guards my door at night
I like sharing my room with a polar bear
Harry, could you please turn out the light?


The alternative tea chest

This weekend a friend of mine arrived for our flat warming party and with her she brought one of the most thoughtful and lovingly crafted gifts I think I have ever had the pleasure to receive. This lovely friend has recently started working for a big supermarket and over the past few weeks had collected up every box of fruit, black and herbal tea that had been rejected from the shelves because of a small rip, or dent, or mark on the packaging… the result was a beautifully schmushed up box of delights and inside was everything from peppermint to dragon fruit, all packed up with love in a big pink box. An undeniably Lovely Thing.

Zoe's tea box

Look up

Last week I asked Lovely followers to take a moment to ‘look up’. Originally this was intended to draw attention to the glorious autumn skies that we so often forget to remember this time of year. Happily, people took the brief into their own hands and I received not only golden sunsets and cloudy skies but gilded theatre ceilings and sparkling city street lights… observe.

Sorting out and looking up…

Well now that’s better… Lovely Things has been more than a bit neglected over the past few months. In fairness I was a little busy graduating and moving house and flying to Ghana and then trying to persuade the American government to give me a visa but all that’s done now! And for those of you who missed my last post, I have just spent the last month going up and down to London trying to find a job and a house and all that sort of thing and happily, I can now say that that’s all done too! There was a great deal of doing make-up on trains and packing and unpacking of boxes and who knows how many million emails were sent but on Tuesday morning I move into a lovely little London flat, the following week I start rehearsals for my first professional acting gig and… well, after that who knows!

Anyway, I thought the blog needed a bit of a bit of love and attention. It was covered in virtual cobwebs and there was definitely a mouse living in one of the drop down menus. So I’ve spruced it all up with a nice new Autumnal background and I cannot wait to start looking for more Lovely Things to share. Speaking of which, the background photograph is one I took in Bath around this time last year. I love looking up at the moment, the skies and the sunsets and the trees and their branches just look so beautiful this time of year.  So I thought, for my first order of business, I would open up Lovely Things to my lovely readers and ask you to send in a photograph…

‘Look up’ is the brief. Send your photographs to wholelotalovelypost@gmail.com by Saturday 9th November giving your name and a few details about the photo and next Sunday I will post them all up together.

It’s nice to be back… now go take pictures of the sky!

Pretending to live in London

This is largely what I feel like I have been doing for the past few weeks. In reality, I do now have a flat in London but I don’t actually move in until early November. So, for most of October I have been doing the commuter thing going up and down on the train for auditions: attempting to understand the tube, slowly learning to love buses and last weekend, exploring Hackney.

I was staying in a gorgeous little ground floor flat in Homerton belonging to my beautiful friend Bec and her boyfriend. The place was filled with lovely old furniture, interesting artwork and to top it all off, a big comfy bed. I will hold my hands up and say that I am a massive snob when it comes to ‘crashing’ at peoples houses. I can just about do an air matress but I really do hate sleeping on sofas. It makes me grumpy. And crumpled… in equal measure. But Bec and her boy were away last weekend so I briefly borrowed their East London life for a couple of days.

I had travelled down on the Friday for a couple of auditions over the weekend and that evening, after receiving a decent sized handful of rejections all in one day, I was feeling a little less than optimistic about my impending London life . So the next morning I decided that a bit of exploring was in order, to take my mind off things, and off I trotted towards the station. My travel plans however, were quickly dashed on arrival as I discovered that there were no trains running over the weekend. “Go to bus stop M.” the lady behind the desk instructed me, and not wanting to reveal my secret actually-from-Oxfordshire identity, I smiled and nodded nonchalantly and walked off in the opposite direction… where the hell is bus stop M!? I thought. This place has a million bus stops. What if there’s more than one bus stop M? What if someone has vandalised the bus stop W sign to make it look like bus stop M? What if there isn’t a bus stop sign at all… Turns out it was just round the corner but then of course when I got there I had no idea where any of the places listed on the bus stop actually were. The top two choices were Dalston and Hackney town centre, and at that moment I vaguely remembered a Razorlight lyric that warned ‘Don’t go back to Dalston.’ So I thought I’d better play it safe and head for Hackney instead. Hackney, I had heard, is where the hipsters hang out. So I got on a bus and hopped off when I started to see large numbers of beanie hats and unusually oversized glasses – London Fields. (If you’re reading this and chuckling to yourself that that last sentence was obviously for comic effect… oh my friend. You clearly haven’t been to Hackney.)

Within thirty seconds I was surrounded by bespoke custom cup cakes and vintage dresses, gourmet street food and the smell of freshly ground coffee. The country girl in me was a little confused… everyone here is so lovely. This isn’t the fast paced urban jungle I was so worried about – this girl ices cakes for a living!? So I dutifully bowed to social pressure, bought a vintage liberty print skirt and headed off to a little independent cafe round the corner for some lunch and a coffee. The previous day’s rejections were soon a distant memory. There’ll be more auditions, I told myself. Other opportunities. And sure enough, as I sat in that little London cafe, my caffeine fuelled creative brain was busy cooking up ideas for a new music podcast, a short play that I had started working on a few days before and, of course, what shoes I was going to wear with my new vintage skirt…

I think I’m going to be alright in London. I think I’m going to be poor… especially if Broadway Market on a Saturday has anything to do with it. But if these past few weeks are anything to go by, I think I could get used to life in the big city.