Category Archives: Travel

Today I am 20. That’s two decades of life, or 240 months or
7300 days that I have been living, breathing and growing on this planet. Now
being 20 I’m looking back and asking myself, “well what the fuck have you
achieved?”
I’ve done the obvious as most babies do, learning to walk
and talk. I’ve gone to school, both primary and secondary, as fortunate and
lucky I am to have been born in a first world country. But what has stuck with
me? What have these 20 years of life amounted too?
      1.    STICK WITH
WHAT YOU LOVE
 It’s
one of the most important things I have learnt, not only at 19, but in all of
my life is to stick with what you love. So much so I have the words tattooed
onto my arm, in the crook of my elbow. Maybe one day I’ll tell the story of
when I received this piece of advice, maybe not. But what I will tell you is
sticking with what you love is important for our wellbeing, as terrifying as it
can be to have only ONE thing in this mad world of choice (thanks Social
Media). It doesn’t have to turn into a job, but it’s something you stick with
consistently and constantly work at.
     2.    Never be
with someone who makes you feel hard to love
Relationships are about commitment and support, as well as
love, in equal measures on both sides.
Being with someone who makes you feel uneasy, who you worry over and who makes
you question things often isn’t what a relationship is about. Transparency
is key; communicate clearly and calmly. You shouldn’t be with someone who makes
you feel like hard work, or hard to love.
     3.    WEAR THE CLOTHES
YOU WANT
Fashion is a funny thing. Trends can get confused with
personal style, so even if Vogue is telling you FLORALS FOR SPRING, wear your
black and white if it makes you feel confident. And you don’t have to wait
until you have that office job to
wear linen shirts and smart shoes, you can rock them at 16. In fact, rocking
them at 16 is super cool, so don’t listen to the mean kids at school.
     4.    First loves
are beautiful, messy things
A first love blows your mind; when it’s reciprocated it’s
indescribable. Remembering mine, the fact the cynic in me didn’t win out is
what really boggles my mind. Dating apps and sites can be fun, but there’s
something about having the very first
person
you love love you back, it
makes life sweeter. Obviously they end as most things do, but there’s so much
you learn from loving for the first time, like the important of communication
and how deep commitment needs to run.
     5.    MIXING
DRINKS IS JUST MESSY
Mixing drinks just shouldn’t be done, period. And tequila
shots are the devil. I feel queasy writing this, NEXT.
     6.    Home isn’t
always a place
You’ll find more comfort being with people who make you feel
comfortable, than a soft bed in a certain house. I have two homes and it’s
weird to consider two places on separate sides of the country one idea of home. Making home a place you keep
inside yourself rather than a street name and number is the way I’ve tried to
figure it out. It’s a feeling more than anything. My friend  Anna
Myers
wrote this piece of homesickness, which sums it up better than I have
so take a look http://www.shedidwhatshewanted.com/when-you-dont-feel-at-home-but-moms-isnt-home-either/
     7.    YOU DON’T
HAVE TO LOOK LIKE THE GIRLS IN MAGAZINES
If there’s one thing I wish I could rewind and do over, it’s
my teenage self at 16 and her attitude to food. It’s frighteningly common with
girls, wishing to look like some advertised girl in our pages of beloved
magazines. You forget they’re looking that way because of hours of makeup and
hair, exercise and a clean diet, because that’s their JOB. You forget they’re
trying to sell you something, because that’s their JOB. And you start to hate
yourself a little bit and envy the girls in the magazines a lot, but it’s their
JOB just like I a have a job and so do you. It’s something they love, which
pays the bill but you don’ have an obligation to Planet Earth to look like
that. Look like YOU; look like you WANT to look rather than what you think you
HAVE to look like. Emma Gannon wrote
this piece I feel sums it up nicely http://girllostinthecity.com/2016/02/writing-for-that-teenage-girl/.
     8.    Learn about
mental health
Because it’s normal and okay to find out your mental health
might not be in the best place. It doesn’t make you a failure or less of a
person, but it does mean you can try figure yourself out a little more and find
what helps. I wrote this http://predicamentsoflou.com/2016/01/23/how-to-become-confident-powerful-and/
on what helps me.
     9.    YOU WILL
NEVER RUN OUT OF TIME
It can feel all too easy like you’ll run out of time to get
everything you want done before your body clock hits a point of ‘no longer
young’ or as I like to think of it, ‘The Age of Getting Your Shit together’.
Happily I can say there’s no point you have to have every little thing ‘done’
so deep breaths, you’re totally okay. It might not be sorted today, whatever it
is you’re worrying about, but it will come together one day. My friend Katie Oldham wrote this fucking
fantastic piece on growing old http://www.scarphelia.com/2016/03/more-than-just-fertility-talking-ageism.html,
I recommend you read this girls.

10.Travel is
the best education
The winter before I turned 19 I packed a quick bag and ran
off to London, because life wasn’t going the way I planned. I felt stuck,
desperate to get out a rut so I ran away. I complied a list of things I learnt
once I had came back, which is a pretty nice read, if I do say so myself – http://predicamentsoflou.com/2015/01/24/8-things-i-realised-in-london/.
I’m going to Amsterdam next month *screams with excitement* so I can’t wait to
come back with lots of fresh ideas and life moments. My darling best friend
Kris is currently in Australia right now; hearing her talk about the things
she’s done and seeing the change in her is incredible, it makes my wanderlust
grow. Sometimes you forget how little things can be satisfying.

11. YOU’RE WORTH
THE NICE THINGS
Just because something bad happens to you doesn’t mean
you’re a bad person. You don’t need to punish yourself for the rest of your
days over something, because in life you’ve got to learn about forgiveness.
Forgive yourself for every single thing that’s made you feel like a failure;
it’s a learning curve more than anything else. It’s brave to forgive, not
cowardly. Selflove is important, because small things go a long way. I’ve had
to learn to make peace with my past; it gets dragged around with you if you
don’t say goodbye.

12. You’re still
a girl with short hair
Growing up in a Disney Princess mad age can mean your
perceptions of what makes you a woman can become tangled in what’s being
presented to you. Long hair doesn’t make you better than girls with short hair;
it just means you can have longer dino braids. I’ve recommended this piece once
and I’m going to again, because Katie
just GETS IT http://www.scarphelia.com/2015/09/a-little-bit-more-than-just-new-do.html.
Find empowerment in short hair and fuck Disney for telling you princesses have
got to have flowing locks. Have you SEEN when Mulan cuts her hair off? Badass
as fuck.

13. RELATIONSHIPS
ARE ABOUT COMMITMENT
Commitment is something so many talk about fearing; I reckon
it’s all about finding the right person and deciding ‘yeah you’re a good egg,
I’ll keep you’.  Relationships aren’t
just for the romantics; the relationships you have with your friend and family
need constant work to keep them strong. It’s amazing how one small text message
can perk someone’s day up, so don’t overlook it. It sounds so bloody simple,
but it’s the action which is important. 
Plus it’s nice to be nice isn’t it? Just remember people have their
lives going on too, it doesn’t just start and stop when you talk. Make sure you
both have an understanding and life will go swimmingly.


14. Sleep is
important
There is nothing fun about living on energy juice or coffee,
even if you get a bit of glee managing to live on tiny amounts of sleep. I know
this all too well being a student and I’m envious of high school Lou for
getting as much sleep as she did, with as little stress as she had. Exams but
barely any coursework? *shrieks* FREE PERIODS? I’ll take them back. One of my favourite writers Beth Norton
posted this the other day and I’m taking her advice to herself, for myself. http://bethnorton.co.uk/keep-going-forward/

15. GIRL ON GIRL
HATE IS GROSS
Girl hate. It never seems to end does it? Be it the bitchy
tweets on Twitter or the Facebook posts of “I’d just like to say…’, girl hate
seems to be everywhere. I forget the world isn’t my carefully cultivated
Twitter following, where girls are celebrated frequently and happily. I love
how many strong women I follow, who are proudly supporting each other. But girl
hate can be internalised if you don’t notice it. Are you hating on the girl on
the street? I sometimes do, so does that make me a bad feminist? Read this for
the reveal http://predicamentsoflou.com/2016/01/30/am-i-bad-feminis/.

16. Be patient
with yourself (and other people)
It can feel like a race to get everything done, because
everyone else on social media seems to have the Best Life Ever all the time.
Suffering from FOMO? Probably likely, but there’s no point trying to be like
the girl on your phone screen or work towards getting the things you you DON’T
want, Instagram just makes you think you do. Like detox teas or those shoes which always manage to make
their rounds every once in a while. You know the shoes, because everyone and
their mother has them. I liked this piece by Gemma Styles all about that Fear of Fomo http://www.thedebrief.co.uk/news/opinion/gemma-styles-nothing-makes-my-instagram-fomo-worse-than-summer-20150645068.

17. TATTOOS
ARE COOL DON’T LISTEN TO YOUR MOTHER
My mother hates tattoos, I adore them. Can you see the clash
already? It’s quietly there, the elephant in the room but I won’t ever stop
liking tattoos. Sorry, loving tattoos. Just make sure you
get them done well, because a crappy tattoo is with you for life. I screamed at
the standing price of most tattoo parlours, but it’s with you for like, so it’s
better to invest innit? (Please little brother read this and don’t get someone
to tattoo you in a garage).

18. There won’t
be a day everything is just stops
I admit it. I thought, as dumb as I am (though I prefer
naïve), one day everything would just settle down and be it. Nothing dramatic, nothing mad or important. There would just be
this moment everything would stop and I would be left to simply be. Life isn’t like that, oh man oh man
life isn’t like that. I will never have a moment at 45 and think ‘okay life is
down and dusted, everything is as it should be’. Life is constantly reinventing
you, even if you don’t clue yourself in. So I guess I’m making peace with the
fact working, simply being, is something that’s never going to judder down to a
slow stop like the old trains do, or your grandparents car. It just keeps on
going. Duh Lou.
19. EVEN LEO
GETS HIS TIME TO SHINE SO KEEP WORKING
Do I even need to explain this one? It’s probably the best
moment 2016 will see. If you treat your passions and work like Leo treats his
you’ll get the recognition you deserve one day. Hey you might even have most of
the Internet behind you when it happens? Self belief is important http://predicamentsoflou.com/2015/04/15/self-belief-and-why-its-importan/
[Edit] As I wrote this, not sat at my laptop Monday morning,
but in my head as I walked to the train station in the warm sun, I was struck
by one terrifying thought. My whole
life is in my hands.
It’s true, of course it’s true and I want to bellow it
from the rooftops. Your 20’s are your ‘selfish years’ – the years you do the
stuff you want without thinking about the concequences. They are the years you
form into a Proper Adult. My 20’s might be my ‘selfish years’ but I’ve got 20
years behind me already, grown and moulded to be the person I am right this
second. I think I started those
selfish years the morning I turned 18, I just never cottoned
on to it. I was finishing high school and my life, both future and past, were
sitting in the palm of my hands quivering with anticipation, wondering “what
will she do next?”
10 years have amounted to having my heart broken, breaking
the boundaries in my head of ‘things I can’ and ‘things I can’t, relearning my
perception of the world time and time again, especially since moving away from
my seaside home town. It’s been two years since I’ve left school and it’s flown
by. To think 10 years ago I was dancing around claiming to be an adult by 10,
when I’m 20 with no clue what ‘adult’ means to me. 20 felt like something that
wouldn’t happen to me, in the naïve way Joey Tribbiani thinks he’ll never turn
30.

I test the word twenty in my mouth, trying to get a feel for
it, tossing it like a piece of chewing gum as I think. 20. It sounds weird, not
wrong, just weird. 20. It sounds
right, It sounds like a lot of fun. It sounds like I’m settling down into the
person I’m meant to be.
If you’ve read this far, God I love you a lot. Thank you. I
feel like I have so much to more to say, but it’s too much and not enough at
the same time. I’m in mourning of the age I’ve loved the most, the decade
that’s past me so bloody quick.
But here’s to the next decade. I can’t wait to see how it
goes.
All my love, as always,

Lou xxx

Want to send an email? Contact louisenicoleramsay@gmail.com
Twitter; @LouiseRamsay_
Instagram; @LouRamsayX

 What do you get when you pair a big city, a few bottles of
wine and two single girls together?

  Trouble, of course.
There may have been a lack of Jimmy Choo’s and cosmopolitans
but a combination of luck, wine and smiles lead two girls into one of London’s
secret restaurants. Disguised as a shadowy and dingy bar just a few, few streets
off Piccadilly Circus was a restaurant that highlights just how diverse London
is.
   The style was 1920’s
American flapper meets French Renaissance. London is still doing fushion, but
it’s moved on from food to décor.  Or
perhaps the girl from way up North is just behind on the fashionable
times.  Who knows? The walls were
embezzled with gold leaf wallpaper, the ceiling high with marble pillars and
there was a Big Ben Rolex watch staring at you as you walked in. A walk to The
Host was met with my friends gasp at the beauty of the building. It was
exquisite. How did we get here? We were two students who had somehow struck
gold in a city of wonder and Brit business. This wasn’t an average meal in
TGI’s, but something more cooked up in a fairy tale.
This fairy tale was going to end in a happy ending involving
wine, laughter and a table for two. Moving with surprising ease, I opted for my
best slow accent; after all, I’d been told throughout the past year I spoke too
quickly for some to understand, being linked to a puppy with a Scottish accent.
Here, I would be calm, cool and collected. My hair was it’s most messy, my eyes
were painted black, and I looked like a good boys nightmare in a tight skirt
and leather. I looked like I ate Chelsea boys for breakfast and I was the girl
your mother warned me about. And I was going to own this if it killed me. We
were going to eat here, at the most ridiculous restaurant I had ever seen. And
we were going to adore it as two broke students in Britain’s most lavish city.
The Host was a Chelsea London boy himself; slicked back
blonde hair, fantastic jaw line and just enough power around him to show he
knew his napkins from his serviettes. In London, it’s who you know and what you
know. One false move and you’re tossed aside. The air itself tastes of
opportunity, hope and something I can only describe as a smirk of how much you’ll
get caught up in the London lifestyle, and how much you want it all. Here, all
I wanted was a table and a bottle of wine. Having it all could wait until
tomorrow.
Strolling up, I asked for a table for my friend and I in my
most flirty manner. Maybe in hindsight I was drunk on the thought of eating in
this secret hide away, but The Host had just told three women they would either
have to wait two hours, or leave. And really, if it helps getting a table,
what’s the harm? It was already seven o’clock, we had the possibility of not
being seated until nine, I had too? So I did. I not only flirted with The Host
to get a table, I did it in the most tongue-in-cheek way possible so I wouldn’t
be caught out.
   The Show itself began
with a smile on both sides, carried on with a giggle on my part and a few
misplaced stares on his, a hair toss, lips licked before ending with a wink and
a swaying walk away to the bar. 2 hours my ass. We got 45 minutes and a server
ready to give us a table at the earliest moment’s notice. Cheap move on my
part? God no. Flirting is a human response and something you shouldn’t cast
aside. When you think of how you can use something you didn’t choose (being
made sexually objective) into a thing you can take back and make it your own, it’s
a powerful feeling. Plus its fun. It’s
like when Shania Twain comes on unexpectedly on the radio and suddenly you’re
screaming how good it feels to feel like a woman, you’re totally carefree and
owning the song because damn, it DOES feel good to feel like a woman.
 Back in London, we were feeling good being woman in a place
unknown. There were people to goggle and ogle at, soft jazz playing and a glass
of wine in front of us both. Sure it might have been on of the cheapest on the
menu, but they didn’t do cosmopolitans so really, what’s a girl to do in an alcohol
emergency but order a bottle of wine? Popcorn was placed in front of us and now
and then we’d eavesdrop on two female fashion editors, chatting and laughing
over a bottle of gin at the table next to us. They were dressed head to toe in
a mixture of YSL, Isabel Marant and the blonde had a delicious looking Mulberry
on her shoulder. (FYI, keep an eye out for the November issue of a popular
magazine; it’ll be interesting and one you might fall in love with).
   Getting in to a restaurant purely on luck and
a few chosen actions can make you feel invincible. I was sitting next to two
women who had the job I’d aspired to have when I was 14, with some of the most
drool worthy clothes by geniuses I had studied of this summer. Seeing a
Mulberry handbag in the flesh is like seeing a Lola’s bakery unexpectedly;
there’s the shock then the happiness, until you’re drooling over the soft edges
and the creamy colours. Much like a cupcake, it’s hard not to reach out and
touch, to caress the fine tailoring or the beautiful embezzled metal, before
picking it up and buying in a guilt filled 10-minute window. Like a girl on a
sugar free diet, I could only sneak glances behind my wine glass or iphone and
try not to moan out of want.
           
As we drank our second bottle of wine and ate our desserts,
it occurred to me just how truly amazing this moment was. I had my best friend
across from me in a beautiful French restaurant I had managed to blag us into,
in the most vibrate city I’ve ever been in. As fairy tale this felt like, this
was my life right now. We had launched ourselves into the unknown and found
Nirvana. We had a band in front of us playing French jazz softly enough I could
still hear it, but not so much to overpower the conversation. There was a
waiter on the edges of my view in the most subtle manner, that I only
registered him when he refilled our glasses or took our plates away. It was the
intimacy of it all, having so much around you yet feeling in a bubble of your
own creation. I had someone I had bared so much of my soul to, and she to me.
There was no falseness, no drama and no bitching of people or situations. All
there was in this moment was her laughter painting the room warm yellow and
music soft enough to match her heart.
In this wonderful world, there is so much we can get caught
up in; our thoughts, our social networking, our fears, our actions or inactions
and our hopes for the future. We spend so much time tangled up in things in our
heads that when a moment so beautiful happens, we either don’t register it or
we let ourselves be sucked into the joy of being present.  I urge you to let yourself be submerged in
the present, when the moment is so perfectly fairy tale. Take a moment to sip
your drink and think just how wonderful it is to be experiencing this moment;
let it wash all over you and mark you forever. Give up on your fears, your
hopes and your emotions to the moment in front of you. Be reckless, be free
with your heart and open up to things you haven’t addressed quite yet because
of fear. Let yourself experience so much the world has to offer and detach
yourself from the things you’re holding purely for the sake of holding. There
is never a good enough moment than the moment of realisation to give in or up
to the things that surround you.

Lou x


Tinder. It has the infamous reputation for late night hook
ups and the new place to find casual sex, with the few souls genuinely looking
for a swipe into a real relationship. I’ve yet to hear someone tell me “we met
on Tinder” without a look of pleased shame, promptly before never mentioning
said person ever again.
To say I was interested in the legendary app was well,
wrong. I found it repulsive, judging on what someone could hastily write in a
bio coupled with a few chosen Facebook photos didn’t appeal me. I’d rather bump
into someone that would lead to coffee, or a cheeky smile leading to a
dangerous number of drinks and a lot of laughing. Romcom at heart? Maybe.
Naïve? I don’t think so. My lack of participate in dating apps wasn’t stopping
me from meeting guys, but rather not having a buffet of options to sieve
through one afternoon. It seemed tempting however, to experiment with an
app I’d swore never to install. Would I corrupt myself? Could this lead to a
swiping left addiction? God, would I go back to Scotland with Tinder happily
installed in my phone, leading to men around me popping up from my school days,
a barrage of poorly constructed pick up lines and a puke-inducing number of
winky faces? The thought made me shudder in the English heat.
I found myself pressing on the GET button in the app store
as I shuttled back to my flat, after a bottle and a half of wine consumed and
an evening in a 1920’s French restaurant, with my best friend cackling
encouragement in to my ear. She chose my photos with meticulous care as I created
the bio. I simply wrote “24 hours on London’s Tinder. Tell me a story or secret
you can’t tell anyone else” and started to swipe. And swipe. Aaaaaand swipe.
Every other moment my phone would let out a delighted beep
to let me know I had a match with someone I’d only swiped a few minutes before.
It seemed as far forward London was with dating apps, there were still a few
active members on Tinder. The response was overwhelming and sickeningly
pleasing. I ended up getting a few interesting stories between the cheesy pick
up lines, stale hellos and sexually loaded queries of WHY I would want a story
from them *wink wink nudge nudge*.
First was St Clair*, a French graduate who had come to
London looking for adventure and ended up falling for his co worker. His taken co worker. As he told me how much
he was hurting and how beautiful this girl was, I felt overwhelming relief that
someone wasn’t coming on to me for once. I was getting somewhere with my search
for secret stories. He stuttered slightly with English but the intense love was
definitely French. The story was brutal, beautiful and something I hadn’t
expected to get. He was utterly in love and keen to spill.
“Does she know?” I dared to ask.
“She’s kissed me” he replied sadly.
  I spent the next
hour stammering out replies to other responses as I took part in an Agony Aunt
Hour for poor St Clair, working through the its and buts of his complicated
situation. She was in a relationship with another co-worker and had made no
indication to leaving him for our French lover, but had kissed him in an office
party a few weeks ago. Drunken mistake? For sure. Slightly 500 Days of Summer?
Completely.  St Clair was in the first
100 days or so of his Summer experience.
  Next was Sam*, a Pete
Doherty claiming lookalike with an obvious cigarette addiction and a cheeky
smile. His open message was funny enough to make me smile and his replies were
even better.
“What makes a good story?” he’d asked after a while.
“Something that contains strong emotion,” I told him.
“Why do I feel like you’re part of a story and not the
listener?”
“Who says I’ve not got stories of my own?” I quirked back.
“Alright. So let me be the listener for you. Fuck my
stories, they aren’t as interesting as a girl giving herself a Tinder time
limit.”
  I grinned, “that
isn’t what I’m requesting here Sam.”
“I know.” He replied easily. “But let’s trade.”
  And with that, we
traded stories like they were Pokemon cards, warily at first until he was
confession to drinking more than he was earning and I was sighing over life
complications. London may be a big city with seeming endless
possibilities, but Sam was feeling the pinch of Rich Versus Poor having to
cater for large-scale celebrity events and never receiving a grateful thanks.
The first few times were excusable, but after the thirtieth celeb bash, he was
feeling himself fraying.
  “It’s like they
can’t see me,” he moaned. “I’m a f*cking human being, be polite to me, be
decent for f*ck sake.”
 Rich didn’t buy
manners and in the public sphere of waiting, a kind word or a warm smile can
make the next 4 hours of a shift be eased more than a quick drink of something
strong.
  “I’m as disposable
as their bloody napkins” he commented forlornly. “It feels so pathetic.”

And it was here it
hit me how much pressure London presses down on the struggling and the unsure.
Connections help make the successful and without them, one can feel like
they’re drowning in missed opportunities. Sam came here for his music, something
that was an art to him. The closest he’s gotten to showing his creativity is
making paper swans out of napkins, only for them to be destroyed a few moments
later by a drunken celebrity.
 
We ended on a sombre note as my Tinder time limit came to an
end, and it felt like losing a friend. I had spent on and off 24 hours
experiencing London’s Tinder and my agony aunt session was done. I had been a
blank page in a diary people could scribble on if they were so willing, and
after too many advances and too little tales of happiness I uninstalled the app
with a sigh of relief.  

People hold a lot
of secrets and a lot of worry; very few were ready to open up but once they
did, it was like letting water run out of a dam. We all have things we don’t
want to share with those we’re close to for variety of reasons; be it fear, embarrassment
or the inability to vocalise how much we may have mucked up.  Men held more secrets and emotions than one
could perceive them to, and I have a notion that even in London, the idea of
masculinity is still fragile and prominent than ever. Feeling an ease with your
fashion choices doesn’t really mean emotions are ready to be bared for those to
see.

Lou x

These are just a few of the hundreds of photos I took in London of things that caught my eye walking about. From Notting Hill and Portobello road to Shoreditch and Brick Lane, I walked and travelled by tube to get a freedom of exploration of this great city. Surprisingly it started to feel like home.

As you can tell, I have a huge interest in architecture. London is such a massive spiralling city that end area really has it’s own character, from the vintage shops of Shoreditch and the spray paint walls filled with art and political opinions to Chelsea and the tastiest lunch I had at The Good Life Eatery.  And if you’re in London soon, I can’t recommend the V&A exhibit on ‘Disobedient Objects’. It’s eye opening to the protests across the world and incredibly humbling.

Hope you’re all having a lovely day you lovely people,