11/6/2017

June. Halfway through this year. All sorts of stories to tell. None of them that make any sense. It’s a bright and breezy day on Gower Street; just warm enough to sit outside with my coat draped around my shoulders très Parisienne. Perhaps it is this circumstantial outfit choice that has lead me to sip coffee for far too long and read romantic letters in French. And perhaps it is these letters that have woken a sudden inspiration to apply a tint of red to my lips. It’s all a cycle: like a chameleon, the unsuspecting human camouflages into its environment. The effect is complete in the unison of clothes, make-up, weather (!), beverage, and most importantly, je ne sais quoi. A facial expression, a specific tilt of the head to 31 or 28 degrees left. A register of voice, the exact distance your eyes focus on when you absently stare into the inexact distance.These details are all cracks in the unsuspecting human where the inside leaks to the outside world.

Another crack in the camouflage is when you finish a good book. You turn the last page, close the cover, and sit in one spot twiddling your thumbs – suddenly void inside. The chameleon cannot find a colour called ‘void’. This happened to me the other day when I closed my copy of Attrib. by Eley Williams. A new collection of short stories, Attrib. perfectly communicates the fundamental gaps in human communication -paradoxically enough.

19179295_10154454813937312_1297282581_o

Hyde Park

“The plot, yes – the condition of its being lost”, is not a condition I was aware I was experiencing until I read the line. I love it when books do that; they have the ability to explain you to yourself.

The human cracks of my chameleon camouflage are beginning to eek out into the grayscale of the streets of London and and the hard concrete of the Underground. The wall on Tottenham Court Road is starting to peel and a tint of Picasso it is hiding inside has been leaking through.

18575431_10154387812397312_76310023_o

Tottenham Court Road

And, as ever, the artistic notes of espresso keep weaving themselves into pretty patterns of white brushstrokes upon a caffeinated canvas, the steam swirling out and carrying with it a pleasant surprise for the nostrils of passers by. Another half a year looms ahead; the coffee drips into my bloodstream and seeps into this day – all the more swiftly through my cracks. Cracks, like windows opened.

19142087_10154454774492312_126282132_n

Gower Street

xox

Nelli

 

Advertisements

24/2/2017

16936129_10154168859612312_2096570299_o

Non.

Sunny morning, hot coffee, clean bed.

Je ne regrette.

Spilled my coffee.

Rien.

Throw on lipstick, black heels, and a big hat.

Edith Piaf is my soundtrack today.

16990924_10154168859597312_1348674801_o

La vie

Pick up a newspaper, maybe a baguette and flowers.

En rose.

16996601_10154168859562312_1016179013_n

Or en lavender. Muddled up like the English, brushed it off like the French. Drinking un café instead of ‘a coffee’, this morning suddenly tastes sophisticated. I calmly linger in a disguise of chic. 

Bisous,

Nelli

 

 

 

 

11/2/2017

Today I’m reading Confabulations by Jon Berger.

16667907_10154138350622312_1695205371_o

Stair railings are slides. Balconies are posts from which to scramble down or drop things.

Pages 34-35 offers a way of life I always believed in, and in this book I’ve found a mutual companion to climb balconies. Furthermore (pretentiousness means I’ve been writing too many essays), I happened to watch Love in the Afternoon (1957) the same day as reading these pages, and if Audrey Hepburn makes climbing balconies look graceful, it must be a sign.

16710447_10154138350627312_1119535430_o

falling for breakfast – flowers are always the right answer

The Art of Falling in this book draws on the careful art of clowning and the talent of Charlie Chaplin. The next day as I’m trying to be productive in the library I come across a couple classics on DVD: Charlie Chaplin & Buster Keaton – comedic pioneers the both of them. Walking home, the local Tesco has a bouquet of lilies & roses on offer quite literally one tenth of the original price. I exit the shop with a bouquet twice as big as my head, accepting that the day has brought me in for a date night by myself.

I love letting the city take me on a date. Store Street is one of those magical streets where you find everything you need on that one street.

16710390_10154138350647312_655745336_o

Flowers, Store St. Espresso, a musical serenade, Treadwell’s books, the friendly Greek deli where the owner tells you his life story upon entering.

16731222_10154138350612312_1396080018_o

Windows are for throwing things or climbing through.

16710605_10154138377332312_2136001839_o

Any step taken is likely to be  a mistake, so take it with style to distract from the probable shit.

And in my black turtleneck shirt I sip my flat white and pretend to look like I know what I am doing.

16731927_10154138350652312_674807629_o

xox

Nelli

3/2/2017: Go Lightly

“It’s better to look at the sky than live there. Such an empty place; so vague.”

16523302_10154117129367312_817291756_o

Bloomsbury

The old tattered copy of Breakfast at Tiffany’s is nestled safely in my bag, in between Old English poems and apples, ready to pull out at any moment. Every time I do, it’s like visiting an old friend. And I do, a lot: the number of phrases underlined increases every day and the pages are crinkled with affection.

Maybe I have had my head up in the sky for a while, in poetry books and museums and movie nights, and in Glasgow, too.

16443922_10154117129422312_1531874663_o

Glasgow, West End

“Don’t wanna sleep, don’t wanna die, just wanna go a-travellin’ through the pastures of the sky”

Through Bloomsbury, Marylebone, Soho, Chelsea and Southbank, I run along holding on tight to my hat (once the wind blew it off onto the road and a gentleman dove after it in a heroic rescue).

I walk past Tiffany’s in said hat, and call everyone darling. I ask myself: what would Holly Golightly do? I don’t have a bathtub for a sofa but at night we order in some sushi and wine and put on the film, and in the morning I’ll sit on my windowsill and play Moon River.

16466049_10154117132657312_2049626875_o

Tate Modern

“You’re wrong. She is a phony. But on the other hand you’re right. She isn’t a phony because she’s a real phony. She believes all this crap she believes.”

I stand outside Tiffany’s, but I don’t go in. I look at the sky and think about floating. Sometimes I get the mean reds and some days I feel like running away from everything I know.

16522186_10154117129337312_498073168_o

Chelsea

“The mean reds: you’re afraid only you don’t know what of.”

But more than that there is a yearning or a feeling of almost holding something in your hands. A deep blue and a dull gray, a mixture of all things at once; everything is violet and you’re floating through that vague sky.

This is when you need a Tiffany’s. it could be anything. A song; a building full of books.

16523120_10154117129312312_88327666_o

Daunt Books, Marylebone

And sometimes, the overwhelming and wonderful entirety of London is Tiffany’s.

16466621_10154117129482312_1653327066_o

notes to strangers, Waterloo

“I don’t want to own anything until I know I’ve found the place where me and things belong together. I’m not quite sure where that is just yet. But I know what it’s like.” She smiled, and let the cat drop to the floor. “It’s like Tiffany’s,” she said.”

audrey

xox

Nelli

15/1/2017

My Day: A Representative Collection

8:53am – A Bad Start

//giphy.com/embed/zUfUCj8ZLRczK<

9:05am – Breakfast with Vladimir

To The Grapefruit

Resplendent fruit, so weighty and so glossy,

exactly, like a full-blown moon you shine;

hermetic vessel of unsweet ambrosia

and aromatic coolness of white wine.

The lemon is the pride of Syracuse,

Mignon yields to the orange’s delights,

but you alone are fit to quench the Muse

when, thirsty, she has come down from her heights.

[Vladimir Nabokov]

11:42am – Coffee with Vladimir

16106525_10154066984077312_1772575132_o

2:46pm – A Trip to the Museum

Ludgate Circus: Entrance to the City (November, Midday) c.1910 by Jacques-Emile Blanche 1861-1942

at the Tate Britain

3:20pm – A Walk in the Park

russellsq

Russell Square

5:00pm – “Excuse me, are you French?”

16107777_10154066984332312_950815943_o

Other people’s clothes

8:05pm – Tate Modern

16108048_10154066984707312_930004578_o

Glass Tears

10:57pm – Cold

Coming Home

11:13pm – Remembering We Live in London

16107794_10154066983602312_897763171_o

12:04am

what can I do

when the night comes

and

I break into stars.

-osmosis

[Nayyirah Waheed]

xox

Nelli

2017

15784933_10154936122286108_898403166_o

clear thinking

Monday Morning – Fleetwood Mac.

The sun has come out and we really did make it through to 2017.

Sunday Morning – The Velvet Underground.

The first day of the year was a rainy affair, sort of easing us out of the mess of 2016. I listened to the subdued tune, in a subdued mood, watching the cleansing rain come down outside. Later in the day, the ground became a most wonderfully shimmering reflection of the city lights.

Despite all the worldly chaos that has happened this past year, my last week of it was a peaceful and happy. Celebrating Christmas with the family was a lovely way to kiss the year goodbye. I hope everyone else got the chance to be with loved ones and throw all cares aside for a day or two.

With a lot of bright lights and some extravagant poses, here is what the holidays looked like in Helsinki.

15658622_997294027043714_133574837_o

15725786_10154918331876108_304103378_o

15725806_10153994731672312_1690224639_o

15824213_10154026689487312_132615672_o

15857059_10154026695632312_1255852332_o

15877876_10154026690037312_2031178111_o

15878048_10154026698482312_1912232761_o

 

“So we beat on, boats against the current.” –The Great Gatsby

Never mind the rest of the quote. This’ll do.

15824312_10154026688222312_1372222451_o

Goodbye 2016 – still wearing a party hat because life is a party.

xox

Nelli

 

19/12/2016

15631436_10153981845102312_42381537_o

Life looks lovely and a little frosted-over from my windowsill. The top of the Shard is disappearing into the fog outside, and inside, Joni Mitchell has been spinning on the record player on repeat. A couple candles, a cone of lavender incense, and a steaming cup of coffee look as mesmerizingly twisted as Joni sounds, and become nearly as foggy as London town. But in a warm way.

By the time the record gets to ‘River’, I’m far away in my head, walking along the Thames. And when I get outside into the Christmas-fluster, and down to the Thames, I’m singing along, quietly, then loudly, in my head. I wish I had a river…

Stereotypically enough, it’s been freezing here. Inside, that is. I’ll sit in my room and watch the cloud of my breath as I exhale. I’ll get out of bed but not leave my duvet behind for fear of turning blue (not Blue). Regardless, we survive. Endless cups of tea, coffee, and mulled wine. Blankets of wool and of friends. And we dance. We dance, we forget to feel cold.

It’s all in the spirit of Christmas. The shops are one big jingle and ugly Christmas sweaters keep popping up. It’s all a happy excuse to watch too many festive films and eat too much chocolate, and to spend too much time making everything look as sparkly and pretty as possible. Today I’ll be coming home for Christmas; hopping on a plane up North. All the bright lights, gift giving, and the moment I spied a gentleman on the street giving a warm meal and surprise package to a homeless man – all these things are making me swell up with a sort of glowing feeling, excited to be with family.

Perhaps what I’ll miss most in my London home is this windowsill. It’s supported me, it’s got my back through many dark and cold days. It’s inspired many songs and stories. It’s offered me a place in-between: between inside and outside, between two different worlds I exist in.

So here I am perched, tracing the drops of condensation on the window. I’ve listened to the record enough times to move on to this cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=czd5w7IGYIQ and am continuing to devour my book of choice for the day, Brief Lives by Anita Brookner.

“One must be authentic if one is to be anything at all.” –Brief Lives

15631084_10153981844957312_810023759_o

Wishing you warm and merry,

Nelli

(xox)

 

16/12/2016

Today I woke up unable to fathom getting out of my warm marshmallow of a bed.

15536814_10153972889242312_1691170954_o

Today is foggy and fleeting and all things F. More films than books – Four Weddings & a Funeral, specifically. I mean, how funky is this sweater? I’m a fan.

sweater

not to mention the floppy Englishman

My Frank Sinatra box-set and flannels. Flat whites and frenzied essay writing with friends. Fries (sweet potato) and flowers (as per usual).

15592301_10153973424527312_415573523_n

worth getting out of bed for

 

15595874_10153973394412312_861404028_o

I live in second-hand clothes these days

15555300_10153972889292312_1678210233_o

it’s an art

They say people naturally and subliminally form patterns wherever they can. Sometimes I feel it’s true and sometimes things just feel right, fall into place, and fit.

Now I’m off for a night of festivities.

xox

Nelli

10/12/2016

I haven’t written on these pages in a while. Still alive and kicking, though. Still caffeinated. Most of all, still staying afloat in the whirlpool of London. Life as it stands right now while I sit in the Scooter Cafe petting the cat and matching the mismatched interior can be summed up as follows: I’m exactly halfway through my first degree and the best book is The Book of Longing by the late, great Leonard Cohen.

It is – surprise – gray and drizzly outside. Some days I am drizzle too; today I’m thinking of all things bright and colourful. Today I am orange and flowers and popping: popping in to say Hi, I hope you’re all fine and popping with colours amidst the city grime.

15423535_10153953231807312_538907399_n

The Book of Longing

15409665_10153953231847312_1879587128_o

Waterloo Bridge

15491659_10153953230947312_1865302645_o

Me, rushing underground

15409980_10153953231222312_938534854_o

remembering it is pointless to rush – Kensal Green Cemetery

15409451_10153953231432312_920834209_o

pink & slow 

15292694_10153953233282312_984996162_o

pink skies – Bloomsbury

So the days bring whatever they may and all I know for sure is what I am today.

15388594_10153953232797312_640745127_o

Somerset House

xox

Nelli