Christmas in London

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London at Christmas is, by far, the most magical place on the planet. Since visiting I have developed a deep and unwavering love of how the English flawlessly pull off this widespread holiday. I’m nearly convinced there is no actual North Pole, but instead Santa holds up in a little shop on a side street of London. Between the lights along Regent Street, The Eye, the Museums lit up at night and every single square inch of Harrods there is really no comparison to anything I’ve ever seen before; Or smelled for that matter. On Westminster Bridge there is always someone selling roast chestnuts and the moment I laid nostrils on them I would have sworn I’d never smelled anything so scrumptious.

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In North America, Christmas seems to be ALL about the commercialism, the shopping, the spending, the economy boosting power of women with credit cards and men with no time so will essentially buy anything. We just survived Black Friday and here in Canada, and although it’s not the crowd control nightmare that it is in America, I still don’t like going within a mile of any major shopping centre. I won’t dwell on the details of this strange and unnecessary tradition because frankly, it’s stressing me out. Bottom line is the ‘Holidays’  here are not so much about giving people time off to spend with their family and loved ones. They’re about long hours, out-doing both yourself and others around you, and stress in general.

While in London and its’ surrounding boroughs during the weeks leading up to Christmas, I felt a certain magical charm that came from somewhere in this city. Whether it was the meat pies in shop windows, Christmas puddings on display, a light and magical snowfall, subtle twinkling lights on everything or just the general cheeriness of everyone about, it was so lovely I swear my heart grew three sizes and I genuinely felt the true meaning of Christmas.

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So now, every year I scramble around, desperately trying to find that feeling again. I walk the streets at night, I peer into all the shop windows, I brew all the mulled wine, cider and hot chocolate I can get my hands on, but something about it all is missing. There is a London factor that’s been absent from my Christmas’s for the past few years, and no matter how hard I try to infuse it into this culture, I am simply unable to recreate it.

 

It may just be magic after all.

– Hailey Jane


Should Really Give This a Name…

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Hello Friends and welcome back to Coffee and Turtlenecks!

I have the pleasure of reporting that this week is the anniversary of this mildly entertaining blog! That’s right, believe it or not, I’ve been posting occasionally here at this imaginary place on the internet for FOUR years now! WOW, I can hardly believe it. There’s a grand total of something like 109 posts, which is a terrible average of one every two months, but let’s not look into the numbers too much. Point is, I’m still here, typing away, and dancing to strange Greek music that you’re probably glad you can’t hear. Let’s pretend that I’m just doing my best to seriously research my content….A horribly overused cliché would say something like ‘The Mona Lisa took four years to complete!’, but that would allude to an absent quality of work on these pages, as well as hint at something of an ego in the author, which we all know if extremely far from the truthiest of truths.

Thanks to all my readers of the years, and the lovely comments I get from you! It’s been fun, which is why I still do it. Life motto: If you don’t like something, don’t do it. Key to happiness right there folks.

My aspirations for this blog are grand, but in reality I’m sure you can expect more random posts about the hilarious ways I embarrass myself in my day to day life. My sister and I took a trip to Chicago in September, so maybe one day when the meed strikes me I’ll share some of that experience.

Help me keep Coffee and Turtlenecks alive! Comment, Like, Follow, Twitter…Hell, you can email me if you want! I’m always up for a chat..

Which reminds me, I’ve successfully acquired a penpal from the UK thanks to this blog, and I’m happy to say that it’s going well, the recipient of my letters is not in jail and has been enjoying them very much, as I enjoy the responses!

I’m happy to chat so don’t be a stranger!

Lots of Love!

-Hailey Jane

xx

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Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCHcFYKNPVDgbeHgkGEz9ZCg/videos

Email: coffeeandturtlenecks@gmail.com

Twitter: @therealhaileyj

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/HaileyJW88/

 


How to NOT Look Like a Tourist in London

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Hello friends! And welcome back to another instalment of Hailey’s travel tips. Today I have a simple life lesson that stands no real purpose other than perhaps making you feel slightly better about yourself, but in actual fact, will have little difference and no one will really notice. Because let’s face it…it’s a crazy, complicated, ever-changing world, and no one really knows what the fuck they’re doing.

I’ll also have you know, I am basically an expert in what NOT to do…as every single one of these things…I have done. Perhaps repeatedly.

Let’s get started shall we!

-Avoid taking pictures of literally everything…tube stations…street signs…pigeons….bits of writing on the ground.  It can get out of control pretty quickly. Next thing you know you’ll be snapping photo’s of empty restaurant tables and what’s on the television. Then eventually wondering why you did so several years later while trying to write a blog post about it.

-Also avoid selfies in front of national monuments and playing in red phone booths. The local consensus is to just use them for public lavatory’s.

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-Ordering a white tea, will get you a black tea with milk in it…for some reason.

-A tartan scarf and Chelsea boots isn’t enough to mask your thick Canadian accent; which until recently you didn’t realize you had.

-Stand on the right for christ sakes….escalators are your friend, but if you stand on the left, you’re going to get bowled over by am unapologetic solicitor on his way to work.

-Don’t try to pull a suitcase through the paddles at tube stations. You  may think you’re quick enough, and that your luggage is small enough…but it WILL get stuck, and a scary security guard will have to free a very embarrassed you who holds up the line, while strictly instructing that in future use the doors designed for prams and wheelchairs.

-Don’t deliberately try to speak with an accent. Nine times out of ten you come out sounding like an Australian. Dead giveaway.

-Dress in layers, sensible footwear and have an umbrella with you at all times. Tourists are generally wetter than locals.

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-When walking, if you’re very serious about blending in, walk briskly and look where you are going. Gentle saunterers who are staring at the sky are nearly always mocked by passers by…not necessarily for being a visitor, but more likely because the lack of attention paid to the walkway caused them saunter right into a post.

-Standing and looking in a confused manner at the wall-mounted spaghetti factory that is the Tube Map, is a beacon of your touristy origins.

-The NUMBER ONE way to let the world know that you’re just here to visit, is after you’ve mastered the ‘queue’ and patiently waited your turn, bought your train ticket to the destination station of your choice, and are asked by the attendant for..say… 6 pound 40, you fail in all entirety to sort through your change to find the correct denomination. A pocket full of strangely heavy, oddly shaped currency baffles you and you eventually just throw it all on the counter and hope it’s enough to cover the fare and escape the judgemental eyes of the Londoners behind you. Unless of course you were smart enough to get an oyster card…But you weren’t.

Seriously though…what on earth is the point of a tuppence! And why is it so huge if it’s not worth anything!  In a world where 5p look like dimes, 10p look like quarters and a pound is smaller than 50p, I seem to have no idea which way is up anymore.

Don’t even get me started on the inappropriately sized paper money.

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Do I blend in yet??

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you all enjoyed my rendition of how to avoid looking touristy in such a fabulous place.

xx

-Hailey Jane

(Who misses London terribly and would really like to go back again…)


Goo Hoarders Anonymous

“What is it with women? By far the strangest thing about them, of all the things, is their propensity to hoard ‘Goo’.”

– Boyfriend being terribly honest

Only just now I noticed the extent of my habit, as I went to shower and reached for no less than the following products:

Sephora Cleansing Milk

Clagon Lavender Honey bath salts

Balea Ginsing Face Mask

Skintimate Aloe Vitamin E Shave Cream

iSo Toning Violet Shampoo

Joico K-Pak Reconstructing Conditioner

Olay Cucumber Body Wash

Clinique Dry Combination Skin Toner

No7 Protect and Perfect Day Cream

And I haven’t even thought about doing my makeup yet! (Which is another shitshow of powdery, gooey ridiculousness)

And look at what I did at Sephora by accident a while ago!?! Completely powerless!

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I have no idea why it’s so difficult to simplify the bathing and beauty process. My Boyfriend has one product for literally everything, and if he could get away with not using it, he would.

I have developed the inability to pass up purchasing fancy bottles of wet, empty, promises; compacts of pressed uncertainty, and tubes of pearlescent regret. Not to mention the landslide of white creamy jars of mystery goo that every company is toting as the next big miracle.

Even Queen Jenna Marbles admits to being a ‘Goo hoarder’, and I would easily believe a scary amount of the female and male populous is in the same, rather tippy, boat.

Why do I need these things? Why do I keep wanting more and more of basically the same brownish powders, thinking the next thing will be the last I’ll ever want? Who knows… (I ponder as I happily browse the MAC website for quads and brushes…) Is there a support group for this I wonder? Probably Youtube….but tutorial videos only make my habit worse.

There are upsides to this condition, which I’ve ardently rationalized to myself, of course.  I don’t have to worry about how big my arms or thighs may look in a particular lipstick, make-up fits everyone! It’s also a fun and exciting purchase that really doesn’t take up a lot of space. Some people may not see this as an upside, but as a human being who just moved every single item she owns into storage or a small bedroom, tiny yet nice things suddenly have a certain pleasant appeal.

The long as short of it is, it’s a thing the world wants us to do, and the majority of us are more than happy to play along. It’s no more useless than the parts for broken cars my Boyfriend buys, or the plants my mother puts in the garden every year that will inevitably die in the fall. If it makes us happy and doesn’t hurt, or even really bother anyone else, then that is reason enough to continue our business in the gooey bubble that is our lives.

Goo hoarders rejoice, and embrace our slippery, sparkly way of life!

-Hailey Jane

No Judging!

xx

 


Fairy Lights: A Night at the Fair

 

 

 

“The skies they were ashen and sober; […]

The leaves they were withered and sere;

It was night in the lonesome October

Of my most immemorial year.”

-E.A. Poe

                                                  From Ulalume

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“Tis the last rose of summer

Left blooming alone;

All her lovely companions

Are faded and gone;

No flower of her kindred,

No rosebud, is nigh,

To reflect back her blushes,

To give sigh for sigh.”

-Thomas Moore

                                                               From ‘Tis the Last Rose of Summer

xx

-Hailey Jane

 

All photo’s captured on my Canon Rebel T3i

 

 


Bored Carnival Workers: A Study in Images

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*All photo’s captured with my Canon T3i

-Hailey Jane


How To Enjoy The Perfect Latte’: Part II

Alternate Title: How To Actually Make a Latte’

Knowing your way around an espresso machine, take the double shot espresso handle out, empty it with a few bangs if it’s full, scrape any excess grinds out and then fill with extra fine ground espresso grinds.

Fresh Espresso

Tamp and twist firmly with a tamper until it’s packed perfectly then attach it to the espresso machine with a quarter turn to the right. Place the desired coffee holding vessel underneath and begin to pour the shot.

Gorgeous Crema

While the shot is pouring, steam your milk, whole milk for a flat white, 2% if for a regular latte and skim for those strange people who like them skinny. Soy or Almond Milk steams slightly differently, we’ll just pretend no one asked for that today. Fill the steaming cup with a bit more very cold milk than you will need, add a thermometer, then put the steam nozzle all the way to the bottom and turn on the steam by turning the nob to the left.

A barista steams milk for the 'Barista Throwdown' competition.

Open it nearly all the way and slowly raise the nozzle to the surface of the milk, and tilt the cup to get a swirling motion going in the milk, as the volume increases hold your position until the temperature of the milk reaches 140 degrees F, be particularly careful not to exceed 160, it’ll burn the milk. Remove nozzle once the correct temperature is reached and there is evidence of the microfoam you’re looking for, the soft tiny bubbles that leave the top looking like thick wet paint. Skim milk will naturally look less creamy, and if you’re doing a cappuccino feel free to steam with harder foam, bigger bubbles by lifting the nozzle slightly out of the milk while steaming for quick bursts.

The owner of the cafe foams milk for waiting customers.

Once the shot is done pouring, grab your milk and a spoon if desired and pour the milk over the shot. Use a spoon to separate the milk from the foam as you pour, or just pour more quickly and wait as it separates in the cup. There will be a bit more foam this way.

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To achieve the latte art design, tilt the mug and pour onto the side of the mug then in strategic motions, breaking through the espresso crema (or film ontop), wavering and wobbling the milk rhythmically then cutting across the top of the circles made will produce the iconic heart or rosette shape in your latte. Garnish with cinnamon or cocoa if desired, now sit back and enjoy your home made perfect latte!

Now repeat 100 times a day and curse the uselessness of your joint major Honours Science Degree in Psychology and Anthropology.

Latte’ Art Tutorial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NItrlTwbvAU

.NOM
-Hailey Jane