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The Big Bad City

Oh hai there! SJW has gone stateside for a month of travelling, so for the next few weeks I’ll be posting about my adventures… Please try to restrain your jealousy.

Since I last posted my life has been a little bit hectic (hence why I haven’t posted), between interning, dissertation, travelling and (trying) to get prepared for Americaaaa. For a little round up, I went home home to Devon for a while, spent a week in Edinburgh with my Mum and Aunt, interned, went to my Cousin’s wedding, celebrated my friend’s 21st aaaand FINALLY FINISHED UNI!! The last stretch of dissertation felt so looong, with many days being spent in my pjs and surgically attached to my laptop. I have a ‘How to Survive Dissertation’ type post drafted out, which I’ll post once I’m back home. A week later I think it’s finally sunk in that it’s all done and I couldn’t be happier that the stress is all over with; as Papa SJW has said, all that’s left now is to pray.

However, now I’m out in America and life could not feel jazzier. I flew out on Tuesday and my first stop is a week in New York. Doing a standard SJW, I left my packing a little too late… Sorry Mum! But dragging a suitcase nearly as big as me bright and early on the tube was definitely the start of the adventure. I somehow got the job of directing a couple of Romanian women who could barely speak English off the tube to find their train… As you can imagine there were some hilarious scenes of me pointing where to go and them just looking back at me with faces of total dismay. There was definitely a point when I genuinely got worried they would just follow me onto my train to Heathrow… Fingers crossed they made it! Also, big shout out here to the man at Paddington who carried my suitcase down the massive flight of stairs, you da best!

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I somehow got to Heathrow really early, only to find out my flight was delayed by a few hours. BOOOO YOU BA. Also BOO YOU to both of the security people who told me that I look about 16 / asked if I needed my Mum to approve me being searched. Naaat cool.

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After a journey that felt like the longest day of my life, I finally got to be reunited with that friend who moved to New York and all was well in the world.

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The next day we went for brunch, then went on a cable car over to Roosevelt Island, where a woman cycled past me and made my day by telling me she loved my JuJu’s! After that we embarked on a journey to candy heaven; Dylan’s Candy Bar. As a girl who is caps lock KEEN for pick and mix, I had to restrain myself to not spend all my dollars on sweets.

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We then went for a wander to Urban Outfitters, Bloomingdales and Grand Central. Obama obviously heard I was trotting the streets of New York and decided to drive by to say hi. (Yes, that really happened… Okay, he maybe didn’t say hi but we saw his car). #WelcomeToNewYork

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Today is my second day of Americaaa adventures and I headed to MOMA, the museum of modern art, which even stretched my inner culture vulture as the place is so huge. After this I met my friend and as we were walking for lunch we got invited to be in a small audience for a TV interview. I think this makes me allowed to say I’m famous now? With Obama yesterday and TV appearances today, America clearly loves me. We then went for lunch and walked around Times Square. I can hear you’re all dying to know what I’ve been wearing for this big adventure so here’s a snap of my outfit today:

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Jelly Shoes are JuJu’s (£25 from Office), which were a dissertation hand-in day treat, they’re actually so comfy and haven’t rubbed at all (I definitely have nightmares from being a child crying about my jelly shoes destroying my feet); T-shirt is from Reason Clothing; Jeans are New Look; Socks Primark; Shirt Jacket is a freshly purchased bargain which I am so proud of! Cost me $10 in the Urban Outfitters sale yesterday!

The plan for our trip after New York is to head over to the West Coast which I’m mega excited for!

Adios x

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I’ve been busy with a couple of exams, which finally came to an end on Tuesday! I’ve now completed half of my degree and only have my dissertation to write, which seems so crazy, but if I’m honest I’ve realised that the end of university couldn’t come soon enough for me, maybe I’ll do a separate post on my thoughts on that, but honestly I’m excited for the opportunity for change that graduation will bring.

Anyway, I wrote this blog post yesterday whilst sat on a bus for the third time, going back into Central London yet again. I feel like I spent most of my day sat on the top deck, moving at about 2 miles per hour through the streets of London. As I’m sure most of you are aware, yesterday was the first day of a 48 hour tube strike, which is planned to repeat itself next week. As I mentioned, my exams are over so I actually had nowhere to be, but I wanted to be a culture vulture and go to the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, held at the National Portrait Gallery. It’s one of my favourite exhibitions every year; I find it really inspiring and some of the stories behind the photos are truly incredible. Highly worth a visit, but be quick as it’s in its last weeks.

I planned my journey so I could just get a straight bus and then a small walk, and quite frankly I’m not really going to complain about it. Yeah all my journey’s yesterday took a little longer and were busier than usual, but I had a seat and I also quite like buses as you can actually see the sights of London, rather than staring at a black tunnel. Apparently I’m not the only one, check out ‘From The Upper Deck’ by photographer Przemek Wajerowicz, (http://now-here-this.timeout.com/2014/02/06/in-pictures-see-london-from-the-upper-deck/). However, having said this, I am truly grateful I wasn’t commuting as obviously it just caused chaos during this time. Below are some of my favourite, most crazy pictures of the chaos the strike caused.

Stratford Underground Station was like this.

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Stratford International and Bus Stop Queues; taken from http://www.buzzfeed.com/scottybryan/the-best-of-the-internets-reaction-to-the-tube-strike

I guess the strike should make people realise how reliant we are on the tube system; yeah we all complain about it (don’t even get me started on my hatred of the District Line), but really it’s an amazing transport system which needs continued investment to manage its upkeep and improvement. Usually I’m totally against Tube Strikes, as I feel the staff strike solely for improved pay, when it’s been well documented that they get well paid and get plenty of benefits. However, on this occasion the strike was in protest of the upgrade of the system leading to the closure of ticket offices. I’m unsure where I stand on my opinion on the strike, obviously I am behind them all the way if job losses are on the line; the staff are so important in the running of the tube. However, reading both sides of the argument, TFL argues that there will still be jobs for all that want to stay with London Underground; staff will be more visible instead of stuck in the offices, they just have to be willing to be ‘flexible’. So who knows how flexible, flexible is. In all honesty, it feels like the unions were quick to take action (there was a very low response rate to the strike ballot), but as with all contentious issues, communication is not great on either side. I guess it’s just going to be interesting to let the fun and games work themselves out.

Let’s just be grateful that London isn’t cut off from the world, unlike Devon. I’ve always said that the rail network into Devon is the slowest, most ridiculous thing. We still have those trains where you actually have to pull the handle to open the door; apparently electronic doors haven’t hit Devon and Cornwall yet!? Literally, the pressure to open that door in the quickest time possible is sometimes quite hard to handle (LOL, bad pun alert). However, due to bad weather Devon has literally been cut off from the world, with train tracks literally being left suspended in mid air, after the foundations have been washed away, see pictures below.

Pictures taken from: http://www.plymouthherald.co.uk/Minister-promises-look-alternative-rail-route-SW/story-20566246-detail/story.html?005

I swear this happens every time it rains quite heavily, you think they would actually do something to help prevent it. Like maybe not building the track directly next to the sea-front, or building a wall capable of defending a wave. Finally there has been news that there is some funding being given towards building better weather defences and the Government has said they will ‘consider’ alternative railway routes into the region. Really though, there is a desperate need to invest in the Devon / Cornwall rail network as a whole. As counties very reliant on the tourist trade, you think they might want to make it feel less like you’re travelling to the other side of the world when you decide to take a train to Devon. Easily accessible surely equals a boost to the economy, right? I literally have no clue how the people with power fail to see this.

What gets me every time on this matter is the fact that the Government has previously baulked at the £100 million price tag of improving the rail network into Devon, yet this is a fraction of the £30 billion being ploughed into the HS2 high speed link from London to the North. When they already have high speed connections to the North, this seems ridiculous. I swear it just feels more and more like the South West is falling off the edge of the Earth; in my hometown they are also closing the local airport. Don’t complain about a bad economy when people can’t even easily access the region.

If only the local paper could channel their dramatics into issues that matter, rather than posting (albeit hilarious) stories about the local shop chasing some poor lad who stole some condoms (my favourite comment on that story has to be ‘Must of been a posh date’, #stayclassyPlymouth) or a post about Wayne Rooney tuning in to Plymouth based TV channel God TV to take his mind off Manchester United’s loss.

All in all, let’s be grateful the London transport system isn’t down for the six weeks the railway into Devon is likely to be; I think Londoners would quite literally be going wild and killing eachother in rage by then.

SJW x

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Hometown Glory.

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while, I know all you avid fans have been sat awaiting my next post! Don’t forget anybody can follow me, just enter your email in the follow box on the right hand side ;). I’ve been busy finishing off the last week of university, happily celebrating it’s over for a month and getting ready for Christmas. This time off has included a couple of trips home; one just for a weekend for that ultimate yearly event, the work’s Christmas party.

No, this was unfortunately not a Christmas party for Slapdash, I’d probably be a little lonely in a room on my own even though I am such a party animal. I work during the holidays for my family’s business back home in Devon, and considering we currently have 9 offices, the party is a pretty big thing. My brother and I travelled back together from London and I’m just going to side-track onto a little rant about how blimming annoying travelling is! WHHYYYY is Devon so far away and so hard to get to from London?! Why does it take me longer to get home than my flatmate who lives up North? David Cameron, I know you’re reading this, so please, build some fast trains which go to Devon. Thanks. It might even help the economy, you know.

Now, as a student you probably travel around more than you have ever done in your life. This has not made me any better at packing. I had to travel across London to meet my brother during rush hour looking like a frigging donkey carrying my entire life with me. When I finally met my brother I was in a mega grump and threw some bags at him to carry, although he refused to wheel the floral suitcase along…

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Back on the road I was a happy bunny, cheering myself up by chowing down on my large snack selection.

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We made it home that evening and the last thing I asked my Mum before I went to bed: ‘What’s in the fridge?’… Yes, I had so much choice to wake up to the next morning, I needed that long to contemplate to make sure I got the choice right. I also ate my lunch the next day in my pj’s on the sofa watching Gogglebox, the best programme evaaaa, which definitely deserves its own blog post soon.

That Friday evening was the big event and this years theme for the party was Hollywood; a great excuse to get overly dressed up. I wore a Topshop dress, New Look heels and a River Island necklace.

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Safe to say it was such a good night, there was a three course meal, the decoration looked great, particularly those amazing seat covers, and the band was really good! I’ll leave it at that, but here are a few snapchats from the night.

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On the way home the next day, myself, my brother and my brother’s girlfriend decided that the golden arches were calling us, and I slightly accidentally ordered myself a feast…

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Whilst eating I started chatting about Blackfish; a documentary about the treatment of the killer whales in SeaWorld. If you haven’t watched it then I highly recommend you do, I might even write a blog post about it, as even though I am in no way an animal lover, it was highly moving. Whilst discussing Shamu, the whale show at SeaWorld, my brother had a horrific realisation: ‘What?! You mean Shamu isn’t just one whale?!!’. … ‘No, Shamu is the generic name for all their whales’. After laughing hysterically so long my stomach hurt, I felt like I’d ruined Christmas for him. Oopsy.

So much happened that weekend I’d love to write it all but it’s probably only funny to me! Since then, I’ve enjoyed my time in London before once again returning back home for Christmas and I’m currently writing this whilst I’m meant to be doing dissertation work and revision. I’m planning on editing a video blog (and possibly some bloopers) and uploading that, so watch this space for more SJW.

Enjoy all your Christmas parties! Over and out x