Gaining the Courage to Leave a Job

This is not the kind of topic i normally write about. I stick to travelling and happier parts of my life, but thought it was time to write a post about something that I’ve been struggling with recently.

I graduated last year with a 2;1 from Manchester University. I studied French, but always wanted to work in Fashion and PR. I chose to stay in Manchester because i knew London would be too expensive for me, and thought i would easily find a job here.

After months of searching, i got nothing. I went to interview after interview and was never selected. It was demoralising. I had no idea what to do, and had moved back home. I treated applying for jobs as a full-time job, and as soon as i had sent off another application i would wait dejectedly.

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I didn’t enjoy my summer as every minute felt like hours whilst i played the waiting game.I eventually found a job through a friend of a friend in the insurance industry. Desperate for a start in the job world and an occupation, I took it.

In writing this post, I am interested to see how many other people have struggled with this kind of issue, because as with anything difficult, we often feel we are alone in our struggle.

The job has been awful. Cold calling for 6 months then i got promoted and things got better, before being sent back to cold calling when my boss’s work and responsibilities were scaled back. I spent days on my own with nothing to do and no instructions. Literally sitting and twiddling my thumbs.

Our company boasts a large office in Bristol and in London, but the Manchester office was opened when i started. It was just me, my boss and another guy who was fired in February.

Since then, its been just me and her. An exceptionally hard and odd working environment for a 23 year old who craved a busywork day and people to talk to.

I have been more bored than ever in my life, but still i didn’t leave.

Until now.

A few months ago i decided enough was enough and pulled myself out of my stupor. I started applying for other jobs and found one.

Although its not the dream job, it is a step in the right direction. I’ve learnt so much about myself in the past few months, and found that i was letting my negativity get the better of me and almost consume me.

So I urge you, if you dislike your job but love the stability of the paycheque, or just feel like ‘no one else will employ me’ STOP IT. Start looking for other jobs and get your confidence back. Look for the area you dislike the most in your current job, and then search for a job that is better than your current position in this area.

I realised i assumed i would go from awful job to dream job in one fail swoop, but in truth you can’t go from A-Z in a day. Try reaching letter C or D; walking before you run.

I waited a year to move, and was actually really lazy. However now i feel back on track and it is only now i’ve sorted out my head that I’ve realised how much it was affecting me before. I am happier, more confident and more positive since taking control.

So, if you’ve been through something similar, let me know. All my friends seem to have gone from uni into an ideal job and i felt like the minority, so it would be good to chat to people who can empathise.

I know there are people out there who have had much worse a struggle and after going through this, I feel i have gained a better sense of perspective and lost my self pity. If you have any doubts and this all sounds familiar, I urge you to take control.

Lots of Love,

Holly

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Le Marais, Paris

I have always visited Paris in winter, spring or autumn. Going in August was a completely new experience, and transformed the city. It was more touristy than I have ever known it, but also quieter.

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Playsuit: Missguided

Shoes: Primark

Sunglasses: H and M

Parisians have two weeks off in August, so a lot of places seem empty, and a lot of great places are closed (cafe de flore i’m talking to you!). However, the big attractions are busier than ever and you have to arrive super early or super late to avoid the risk of queuing for hours.

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I arrived at Lunch on Friday, and went to meet Avery at our hotel.  We decided to walk to the Marais on our first day in a quest for Falafel,only stopping for ice cream at Laduree which we felt was a necessary fuel for the long walk ahead!

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Any blog, travel guide or inhabitant of Paris will tell you you have to visit L’as du Falafel whilst you are in Paris. Located in the Jewish Quarter of the Marais are several little restaurants and take away places selling it but L’As is notoriously the best.

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We arrived at 3 so the queues weren’t nearly as bad as prime-time lunch. You give your order to the man, get in the queue and then work your way to the window.

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Delicious warm falafel is pushed into your hands, covered in a garlicky tzaziki and pickles. You can have it spicy or not depending on your preference.

We grabbed ours and headed to the Place des Vosges, buying a bottle of wine on the way to go with our picnic (we got in big trouble for this at the park!).

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We munched our way through and sat on the grass, soaking up the sunshine and catching up on our news. Then we saw the clouds (seriously look at that inky sky!)

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We were caught in a downpour and ran to nearby shops to hide.

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The rain soon past and we meandered through the streets. The Marais is the perfect place to buy gifts for people at home and simply to shop. The shops are small and boutique style, quintessentially Parisian.

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It’s great that now days shipping exists so you can have your favorite Mariage Freres tea delivered, however it does take away from the slight glamour of picking up a candle or perfume that you can only get in Paris and using it sparingly until you get you know you are going to return.

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As daylight faded away, we decided to head back to our hotel (Francois 1er just off the Champs Elysees). We walked through the Louvre and the Tuileres gardens. The tourists had faded away, leaving the locals sitting in groups chatting away animatedly, sharing cigarettes and reading their books.

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As we reached the fountain, our feet tired and dusty, we saw the sun setting in the horizon, just behind the Place de la Concorde. It was a magical end to my first day in this perfect City.

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Cafe Pinson

I’ve been awful at posting recently. I have left my apartment and am in between places (so internet is scarce), have been looking for a new job and going to interviews (think i have found one) and then jetted off to Paris to see my American bestie for a few days, so its been a super busy time.

However, I have an absolute gem of a place for you, in the heart of the Marais, Paris 3eme (apologies for the lack of french accents, they aren’t available on this keypad!).

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I found Cafe Pinson when i lived in Paris. It was an LA style, gluten free haven in a world of cheese, bread and garlic butter. A green juice to balance out the copious amounts of red wine we were consuming. It was a ‘best- kept secret’ back then, but on my return i learnt it now has opened 3 branches in total across Paris, so you can get your vegan fix in lots of different arondissements!

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My favorite, the original can be found at 6 rue du Forez and the website is here : http://www.cafepinson.fr

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You can’t book, but tables normally pop up pretty quickly. It is a boho style setting, and has a simple home-made organic menu.

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I used to go for lunches which would have two ‘starter’ options and two ‘main’ options to choose from. This time Avery and I went on a Sunday, and were told there was one menu ‘le menu brunch’ which you could have for 25 euros without a juice, or 27 with a juice (remember this is Paris!)

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We opted for the with juice option to cleanse our sins, at which point they brought out beautiful french bread with a pot of homemade jam and a pot of home-made almond chocolate Nutella butter type thing.

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Which was AMAZING. I could have eaten pots and pots of it. Like pooh bear with his honey, i could have become an almond chocolate bear over this stuff.

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Next came the main. A bowl of goodness featuring home-made tzaiki, a herb madeline, lentils with beetroot, a perfect runny hardboiled egg and little potatoes, with the most delicious dipping sauce.

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At this point our juices also arrived (a green concoction of cucumber, lime, ginger and celery) and we helped ourselves to large mugs of Pukka detox tea.

This was the great option with lunch, on the side there were large jugs of hot water (sitting next to 5 different types of pukka tea bags, or coffee or hot chocolate). This was all unlimited, so you could have your coffee and your matcha green tea at no extra cost!

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On finishing our mains and clutching our bellies (its amazing how full good food makes you) we were presented with little plates of fruit, yogurt and home-made granola and a tiny breakfast madeline, which was my personal highlight (yes i did smother it in what was left of the almond butter).

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We rolled out of our chairs and onto the streets, determined to walk off our brunch, which is an easy feat in Paris as everything is so walk-able. Each arondissement leads onto the next, and the streets intertwine in a way that means every time you visit, you see something new.

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If your planning a trip to Paris, take good walking shoes/trainers and be prepared to be exhausted every evening. Try not to take the metro too much and just get lost in your wandering. And of course, give Cafe Pinson a go and let me know what you think!

Provence Moments

Day two in France started the same as ever other day there; with beautiful wall to wall sunshine.

The cicadas are permanently chatting to one another and this sound (which at first you think will be annoying) gently fades and becomes a backdrop to a relaxing and peaceful day.

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I have a theory that most of them hide in that large tree….

My parents and i sat by the pool and chatted and read. Occasionally the heat becomes too much and we roll from sun-lounger to pool.

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I love France because unlike somewhere tropical, which feels like a fantasy to me, this way of life somehow seems like less of a dream. One day when i’m old and grey i would love to end up here. With a husband or just several dogs, chatting to the locals and watching the world go by.

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The hotel is so sweet. All white-washed, the rooms are old fashioned and scattered around the hotel. There are only about 25 and each has its own individual character and style.

It’s just bed and breakfast, but they do a few snacks at lunchtime.

At 12 nearly every day we would order a glass of rose and sit on the terrace.

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I don’t get to see my parents that much as I live in Manchester and they live in Lincolnshire. I try and visit whenever I can and especially in the summer I love going home and getting out of the city.

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But basically I have just taken to crashing their holidays whenever I can…..

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I would love to tell you that I did cultural things like visit Cezanne’s chapel, or the Picasso museum or the Fondation Maeght, which are all nearby.

However as I was only there Friday to Monday, I was incredibly naughty and didn’t experience any of those things this time.

But hey, that gives me a good excuse to go back next year…. right?

What I did experience was a wonderful dinner and setting at at a restaurant called Toile Blanche.

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Its a boutique hotel and restaurant and is the perfect place to go a deux…..

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The buildings are a stone colour and the linen white, and this combination only accentuates and reflects the beautiful golden evening light.

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The food was exquisite too. Combinations like asparagus, feta and watermelon (you can see a peek of this above, but my family do NOT let me take pictures of food haha)

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I recommend this hotel if you are after a couples break, and want to be able to have dinner without leaving your hotel. However if you are travelling to the South of France and looking at staying here, do rent a car.

The hotel is just a little too far from the main town to be able to walk, so you will be limited to a taxi and there really is so much to see nearby.

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The best thing about going away with your parents (after spending time together) is how relaxing it is. No going out on the town and forcing yourself to drink after a large meal.. no falling in at 3am and waking up feeling like death in the heat.

Just being able to fall into bed and fall straight asleep, which happens so easily on holiday.

I wish England were sunnier… but hopefully the weather is looking a bit better this weekend.

Saving the best photo till last… remember I said my parents hate food shots? Well here’s a picture of a cake that i managed to sneak whilst they were looking the other way….

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A moelleux au chocolat. Molten chocolate inside a delicious chocolate cakey exterior.

Totally worth it…

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Summer Light

I just came back from a long weekend in the South of France.

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My family visits the same area every year; Saint Paul de Vence/ Vence/ Antibes. Its my parents favorite place in the world, and one of mine as well.

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We visit an area heralded by the jet set in the 1920’s and 30’s. The Fitzgeralds, Hemmingways, Murphys and Picasso all stayed in this area.

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As i get older and seem to appreciate things like a beautiful view, bath tiles and the way the sunshine changes the dimension of the surrounding area, flooding it all in bright white sunshine one moment, then golden, angelical hues another.

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I can see why painters like Cezanne and Renoir came here to paint, and why their surroundings inspired them, though unfortunately for me I have no artistic talent, so will have to make do with describing it to you!

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Mark Twain once said ‘France has either winter nor summer nor morals’ and whilst out there i read ‘Villa America’ by Liza Klaussman.

It was a great novel, set in the south of France and entered around the Murphys, a couple who were the best friends of the Fitzgeralds, Picasso and Hemingway. A novel which reflected the craziness of their era. My holiday was extraordinarily ‘beige’ in comparison to their wild exploits, and not for the first time, i found myself wishing i had been brought up in the roaring 20’s.

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We quickly settled into the French way of life. They are relaxed and slow-paced. We meandered up to the town each morning and sat in ‘Cafe de la Place’, a little cafe/bar overlooking a boules area.

We watched the world go by every day complete with a coffee and a croissant. Dogs run wild and scamper up to your table. Owners follow behind calmly muttering ‘Jacques! Viens-ici!’ and you smile at the slight resemblance between each pet and its master.

After breakfast we would wander back down the hill and to the pool

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Where my dad would desperately try to photobomb me.

But more on that tomorrow; now i have to go back to work for the afternoon… dreaming of that crystal blue pool and lazy mornings!

Sunday Strollin’

I have found the perfect jumpsuit!!!!!!!!!

Comfy, flattering, pretty…. check. Can wear in the day or at night… check.

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Able to chase around madly after a dog… check.

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It’s from H and M and was 34.99. A great transitional piece, i wore it at the weekend for a BBQ. Perfect no matter what the weather, it’s a great transitional piece.

Cool, light and loose enough fabric to wear in the summer, but also covers you up a bit, so if it does start raining you don’t feel like an idiot (I’ve made this mistake today, packed for a sunny trip and ended up having to wear a little white summers dress on a rainy day!).

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I’m also obsessed with the colours and the print, which were the first thing that caught my eye. I love the green and pink together, and think it looks really unusual.

H and M have since brought out a top in the same print, which works if you love the colours but don’t dare to go for the all in one.

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Seriously Daisy, get in the picture.

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Finally….

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And here’s an awful, posey selfie (I don’t know why i’m squinting so aggressively) one of me so you really can see the print..

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I’m a bit of a pear shape, and other jumpsuits i’ve found have seemed to accentuate this, or make me look a bit bottom heavy. This one really falls in all the right places, but if you want it a bit tighter i suggest going a size below your usual.

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Green Fingers

Going home is one of my favourite things to do, especially in summer.

The city feels like a concrete jungle when its hot, Manchester in particular. There are no roof gardens or wide open spaces in the centre and it can feel a bit oppressive.

My family live in the countryside, and as i get older i appreciate it more and more. Whats more, i appreciate our garden.

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My parents put so much work into it and as my Mum is retired, it has now become a full-time job for her.

As a youngster, i used to skip about amongst the flowers with no appreciation for the dedication that goes into choosing colour-schemes, planting schedules, feeding, dead-heading…

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So i thought it was time i showed some appreciation for their efforts and photographed their hard work.

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Learning ‘how to’ garden is something i think comes as you get older and consider having a house of your own.

But although i desire a pretty backyard, i don’t think i can ever achieve what they have managed here (it has literally taken about ten years to get it to this level).

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I’ve made my Mum swear she will keep growing peonies (the above flower) because i want them in my wedding bouquet…..

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Home is now a haven for me, as i guess it is a lot of people as we get older. It feels like a holiday to come back and spend time with my family, and i treasure the moments i can.

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Daisy the dog had to be included as she comes with the garden…..

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Again, although i don’t pretend to know much about gardening, i see my parents frustration when it is super windy, or hasn’t rained in a while… as it affects all their hard work.

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It also attracts a plethora of bees and butterflies, which i never see in the city…

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Have a wonderful weekend

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Maxi Basics

I recently bought a maxi dress from Boohoo. A simple black dress with a twist, as it incorporates the new ‘lace up’ trend, which makes it a tiny bit more exciting than a regular jersey dress.

As we speak, Boohoo have 20% off all maxi dresses so get over there now for a weekend steal!

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Perfect for when you aren’t quite sure what the weather is doing, and those inbetween days when you are just lounging in the park but may end up going for drinks/ grabbing some food and don’t want to be too casual.

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My outfit is styled down more than i would like, i was trekking across Manchester to my boyfriends flat across cobbles, so wore my trusty converse…. but i think this outfit would look a lot better with some strappy sandals or cute flip flops.

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Sunglasses were a H and M bargain, i bought them for Parklife festival, ready to lose them in the mud but i have managed to hang on to them and they have become a favorite!

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Bag is also H and M: a great beach bag that comes in every colour under the sun.

You can find my Maxi Dress here : http://www.boohoo.com/page/search?q=lace+up+maxi

Happy shopping x

L’Oreal Sunkiss Jelly

Review : L’Oreal Sunkiss Jelly 03

A few days in the sun changes your hair. You get lovely, natural streaks and it looks glossier somehow, lightened in a way you can only dream of recreating at the salon, let alone at home.

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After reading about L’oreal’s new offering, a non-bleach jelly type product that you can cover your hair in, or gently work through sections to give a softer, balayage or ombre look. It contains peroxide, which helps hair to lighten, or so it promises: in the sun or via the heat from a hair dryer.

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Living in England means that the hairdryer option is the best bet for most of us, but I did put it on and leave it for a day, making sure that during my lunch hour and after work I was outdoors in our summers cloudy sunshine… (so I’m not sure how much exposure it actually got!) I have blonde hair, lifted in certain places by the sun. I therefore chose shade 03, which is recommended for light to very light blonde, but there are 2 other shades; recommended for dark blonde to light blonde and from light brown to dark blonde.

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I have however, read of certain brunettes who have used the product, and have had successful changes, but I always worry about going from brown to blonde at home (my cousin did this and ended up with green hair and I had to accompany her to a 5 hour stint at the salon).

You can use it on damp or dry hair so its perfect if your on holiday and want to give it a little boost (goodbye sticky lemon juice!!) and are advised to apply it every 2/3 days.

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I haven’t done before and after pictures because the effect is too subtle for the camera, although I did try. However, I would recommend it to give a little ‘at-home-summery boost to hair’. I did notice a slight difference, (although unsurprisingly my boyfriend and housemate did not) however if you want to go for a ‘WOW’ effect then stick to the ombre kits. It mimics the way your hair would look after a morning in the sunshine, and is perfect the day before a party. I also think as mentioned above the effects would be better when you can be in the direct sunlight for a morning (so maybe on holiday.. but remember to be careful around chlorine!) Let me know what you think of the product!

Denim Playsuit in the Heatwave

Anyone living in the UK will know yesterday and the day before were swelteringly hot.

Living in Manchester, everyone i know has been complaining about the weather this summer, the rain, wind and lack of sunshine seems to have left everyone completely unprepared for the heatwave that hit England!

Our hottest 1st July ever, it was that kind of humid heat that means you never feel clean, and everyone seems tired and sluggish.

I was lucky enough to get back from a few days in France with my parents yesterday, so had the morning off work.

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C and i decided to make the most of the sunshine, and debated endlessly over what to do, as we wanted a sun trap, and not many places in Manchester get the sun for more than an hour, before it creeps behind a nearby building and is hidden for the rest of the day.

After much deliberation, we remembered HOME. The new, improved and moved (several metres down Deansgate) Cornerhouse.

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Wide open spaces in the sunshine, complete with cafe serving delicious coffees, wine and beer.

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Although we went simply for the outside seating, Home is so much more than that.

It describes itself on its website as ‘for curiosity seekers, for lovers of the dramatic, the digital and the deeply engaging’.

It is a coffee shop, a bar, a cinema and a theatre. It shows its own selected version of the films released at the moment, and often old classics as well. Foreign films can also be found here, and tomorrow night  (8pm) there is an ‘Amy Q and A’  with Chris King. This is a screening of the new Amy Winehouse biopic, directed by Asif Kapasia who was the genius behind Senna (if you haven’t seen it go on amazon now, it is a wonderful insight into the life of the legend), followed by an audience with the editor of the film (King).

There is also an exhibition on at the moment  called ‘The heart is deceitful above all things’ (sounds ominous) which runs until 26 July.

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Admission is free, but unfortunately C and i arrived too early (10am) and the exhibition is open from 12pm, so we will have to give it a go another day.

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Now, for my outfit details….

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I’m wearing a playsuit from Topshop which is perfect for this weather. Easy and casual enough for a day date, but could definitely be dressed up at night with a pair of killer heels.

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The fit is super flattering, and it is really lightweight. Would also work well over a bikini!

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Sunglasses are from Ray-Ban. I’ve had them for years and still love them to death, a classic worth investing in.

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Shoes – also Topshop, and ridiculously comfy. Also a way of embracing the gladiator trend without going the full knee-high hog as it were….

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We sat outside for an hour, before deciding we were desperate for some food.

We fetched some menus, and i eagerly searched for my favourite eggs-florentine and found it on the breakfast menu….

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Only to be told that they didn’t serve food outside, and we would have to go to the indoor restaurant upstairs…

Which made our next move easy, croissants in the park it was!

Next time, i really hope the weather isn’t good, because the food does look amazing! If your in the area and fancy some food/ drink /sunshine or culture, HOME is the place for you.

http://homemcr.org

Check out their website above and let me know what you think!