24 And There’s So Much More

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Birthday
Saturday was my 24th birthday! Yay! It was actually one of the most delicious days I’ve had in a while. The BF and our friend Steve had been out painting the town red the night before, so once they’d both imbibed a sustaining bacon and egg bagel and some fresh coffee we walked down Rochester High Street.
Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Clarks Brogues
Well, they walked, I pranced. I pranced down the street in my new brogues. I’m far more attached to them than I should be. It’s not very Buddhist of me. Ho hum. They’re real leather and HARRIS TWEED. I saw them featured on Domestic Sluttery, and I not-very-casually forwarded the page to the BF with the heading “WANT”. He got the hint.

In the eve, we headed to Cafe Moroc for a wonderful birthday dinner. Bear with me whilst I gush: if you are looking for somewhere in Rochester for dinner that is intimate, has great food and incredible service – go to Cafe Moroc. I’ve rarely been so delighted with a restaurant. They don’t know the thanks that is about to hit them in the face. Watch out boys…you’re about to get thanked.

Please excuse the grainy photos! The food was utterly sublime, and several bottles of complimentary fizz were provided as a surprise. It was just lovely. Great food, great wine and wonderful company. It was a life-affirming dinner, and what more could you want for your birthday?

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Birthday 2
The BF’s sister (BFS) and I having a wee cuddle
There were more bottles of wine than people by this stage, but I was very well behaved. After the food, we had another we drink in the pub across the road, and then on to Oliver’s for a little boogie. This was a bit of a mistake as the anonymous bum gropers were out in full force and my friend D and I found ourselves being manhandled on the dance floor. Ne’ermind. D is a wee lass but she can death stare up there with the best of them. She wasn’t even looking at me and I was frightened.
I pranced home (still wearing the brogues – I haven’t taken them off in three days) as 2:00am rang in, even managing to take my make-up off, brush my teeth, take two nurofen (in advance) and drink a litre of water before snuggling into bed. I must be growing up!

A Really Rather Wonderful Afternoon

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Rochester Vintage Society
The lovely Hon. Miss Amy Norris
Some of you darlings may know that I am a part of the Rochester Vintage Society, a semi-formal gathering of peoples who take pleasure and delight in celebrating the style of the 1920s to 1950s.

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Rochester Vintage Society 2

Yours Truly! I say!
We’re really rather blessed because the suburb next to Rochester is Chatham, which whilst having a reputation for being a somewhat undesirable area of Kent, happens to be home to some of the most important historical landmarks in the entire United Kingdom.
This weekend they hosted the Salute to the ’40s at The Historic Dockyard Chatham (which is a thrillifying day out in itself), and the RVS were invited to host a vintage picnic in the gardens of the Commissioner’s House. It was actually heaven. Not only were there lots of lovely people in delicious vintage attire to feast one’s eyes on, there was badminton. And croquet. And sandwiches, and gin cocktails and poetry! I even did a little scene from Brief Encounter – a film I almost die over. It was a lovely way to take a break from the sensory overload of the rest of the day.
I didn’t take as many pictures as I should have, especially the heart-breakingest moment of the day. I spotted a lovely lilac blazer (don’t laugh) that a very clever woman from Ruby Jo Vintage (sadly not online yet) had customised with navy blue velvet bows. Now without a picture I cannot convey how excellent it was, and I realise that sounds disgusting. But it SERIOUSLY looked AMAZE, and as soon as I took it off (it was beyond my purse) some bird behind me nabbed it. I can’t blame her.
We had a jolly day indeed, and I hope the RVS are able to do it again next year. The vintage movement is alive and kicking, and whilst I’ve fully embraced thrift shopping and obtaining ‘vintage’ clothing for everyday wear, I can’t deny that dressing up and re-enacting ’40s life is very appealing. I mean, this time we can do it without a blasted war, so there’s still plenty of delicious men to gaze at!

The Reality Blues

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Rochester

I’m back online after what feels like an age without a computer – mine has given up the ghost following an unfortunate incident with Dettol and someone-who-shall-not-be-named. Luckily we were able to back up the data, but essentially my motherboard is corroded to oblivion and beyond and so has essentially made it’s way to Macbook heaven. Sighburger.

Oh well. So I’m on a borrowed laptop and getting used to weird touchpads! So I’ve spent the last couple of hours catching up on blog love. What this has resulted in is a serious case of blog/life envy. That horrid beast.

It’s part pain part pleasure – I love blogs like I loved magazines. I adore looking and reading beautiful things, but when the article ends somehow I feel my life isn’t quite up to scratch. What am I doing wrong? Why am I working a job that doesn’t pay as well as hers? Why does my house look more charity-shop-cheap than retro-vintage-stylin’? Why why WHY? It seems violently unfair.

So I go a little deeper. Of course people blog the best bits of their life – I’m guilty of it too! I want to be seen as having a marvellous charmed life, and to the most part I do. I write for an amazing magazine, I make things, I dress up old-style and I love and have someone who loves me. But the other part exists too. The part where I can’t be bothered to brush my teeth, or my iron is covered in black crap and my skin is thowing a mutiny in a prime position just to spite me. Life isn’t perfect, and neither am I. This blog isn’t perfect, but I’m hoping it reflects a part of me and my life.

Earlier in the year I read How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran. I was ready not to get caught up in the hype, but in honesty I found it incredibly moving and reassuring. I’d forgotten that being a woman means being so many different things, but being accountable to yourself has to be right up the top. It was a real celebration of feminism, and something I would proudly recommend. In a way it gave me permission (horrible as that seems!) to actually be a real, three-dimensional person and let people see my flaws. It’s horrendous pretending to be perfect and you always fail.

My life is really amazing. At the moment it feels like six lives, and I admit that I am struggling to keep them all under the one roof. A really important life of mine has become incredibly demanding recently and I feel a bit as if I’m drowning under the weight of my own expectations. I hate not feeling in control, or at the very least competent and I’m not feeling that way now. So I need to readjust my priorities and focus a little more on that life right now. Change is coming, and this too shall pass.

So this is my mission statement to you: on this blog, you’re going to see the excellent bits of my life. You’re going to see the funs things I do, and the great experiences I have. But you’re also (probably) going to hear about it when things don’t quite go so right, or when I embarrass myself or even when I fail, look ugly, or god-forbid look fat. Because sometimes I do all of those things, but I also manage to have a fucking good time. Isn’t that what it’s all about in the end?

In Which The Full Extent of My Fanaticism is Revealed

Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Antiques Roadshow
I wont comment on the phallic ivory
It’s love, people.
Honest to goodness love
Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Antiques Roadshow 2
Can’t you tell?
Don’t you see what’s happening?
Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Antiques Roadshow 3
Can’t you tell by the furtive photographs?
The familiar faces?
Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha Antiques Roadshow 4
I’ve rarely been so excited in my short life. I didn’t just meander around the tables, oh no. I loitered. I looked as if I had something to do, or some reason at all to be there other than sycophantism. I didn’t have any reason, but I looked as though I did. Which is the main thing.

It also makes me ridiculously happy to know that I managed to get several unflattering pictures of the presenters. HILARIOUS. It’s a serious post-modern juxtaposition – being so goddamn knowledgeable and then looking like a tit in photos. SNAP.

The television show is an institution – something to rely on in an ever changing world. I may joke, but in all seriousness I really really love the show. If you did beneath the surface, the slightly intimidatingly English people are actually doing a public service by reminding us that it’s ok, nay desirable to be interested in things. We all need to stop being fixated on being interesting, and start cultivating interests into something other than ourselves. Or is it just me that reads it that way? I am all for the modern world, and I love that I live right now – but the Roadshow reminds us of a couple of core values from the generations before that are still so relevant: appreciation for craftsmanship; enthusiasm for beauty; and that objects can be truly and powerfully emotive.

I almost needed to weep a little as we walked away…

Rochester Lit Fest Garden Party

A couple of months ago, down in Kent we had a sunny weekend of truly remarkable proportions. It was a delight, and the hot-and-sweaty-ness made me reminisce of the days of yore back in the colonies. It was that very weekend that the launch party of the Rochester Lit Fest took place, in the gardens of Eastgate House. What fun!

The day was utter bliss to be honest, with readings by Philip Kane and Bill Lewis (two relatively well known Medway poets), and an open mic session where many members of the public – including the BF above – were able to perform their work in front of the audience.

There were a couple of lovely stalls, bunted! were there as well as the lovely illustrator Ben Cameron (more exciting news on Ben very soon!!) and we all got to sit in the sun, listen to music and sell some wares. What more could a girl want on a Sunday?

The BF Performs Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

What was most exciting of all was seeing the reception to the Lit Fest. It’s being run by three of the writers I respect most in Medway – Philip Kane, Jaye Nolan and my beloved editor Emma Dewhurst. I have complete and utter faith in them and look forward immensely to the events next year. I helped out on the day, and we all felt that there was this surge of interest in local literary events – over 100 people came to the event, and the majority of them stayed all day! Unheard of!

I felt so inspired, and so utterly pleased that I’ve found this lovely glorious vibrant nest of people on my doorstop who love literature and their community as much as I have grown to love them. I may even have jumped on the bandwagon and started a little literary event of my own….more on that soon…..