Lithuania: homeland but not home

Reading Oh Comely a few weeks ago, I came across a Welsh word which made think about my feelings for Lithuania (and reminded me that I got halfway through this post in May then forgot about it…)

hiraeth -a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was; the nostalgia, the yearning, the grief for the lost places of your past

Having left aged 3 I’ve only been back a handful of times, but when asked what my nationality is never hestitate before saying Lithuanian. Often it feels a chore to visit and I definitely wouldn’t want to move back there, but I will fly to it’s defence if someone says a word against it.

On our most recent visit, we made time to see more of Lithuania than just the inside of my grandparents flat, which I think resulted in me and my sister returning more patriotic than we ever had been before.

The thing that struck me most was the contrasts this tiny country holds. We never normally venture beyond the Soviet landscape of Alytus (below) and as silly as it sounds, had never visited in Spring when the sun is out and the trees aren’t bare. The brightness of the season made even these old towerblocks look less depressing. Staying in Dzukijos Dvaras, a lovely hotel just outside the city but far from civilisation, felt like venturing into silent, deserted, fairytale woods.

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While visiting a friend we also had the chance to see sunset over Kaunas Reservoir, and I think that’s when I realised just how beautiful the country I always remember in concrete actually is, the picture speaks for itself.


To top off our manic weekend, we also managed to squeeze in some time in Vilnius before our flight. Starting in the historic Cathedral Square we walked up to Gediminas Castle, a symbol you can’t escape in the capital. Looking at the skyline, it’s clear to see how long the city has been here and how far it’s come. It’s strange to see such a mix of historic church towers, glass highrises (I don’t think they quite qualify for the name skyscraper…) and Soviet relics.

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While I will never call it home, I am definitely proud to come from this strange little country which has progressed in leaps and bounds, and that’s just in my living memory! For once, a visit to the homeland left me rested, happy and excited to return.

D&AD New Blood – Pantone Brief

So one of my aims for the year was to finally get around to entering the D&AD New Blood Awards (about time seeing as you can only do it until you’re 23!) and I did it! Granted I didn’t leave myself quite enough time to finish it the way I would have liked, but it felt great to do some creative work again. Below is my response to the Pantone brief asking me to reimagine my city in colour.

Nottingham cannot be encapsulated in one image, element or colour. I wanted to create an identity as varied as the attractions it has, which was open for all of its diverse community to use. Kinetic Nottingham aims to reflect the key reasons people interact with the city, all of which are constantly moving forward. The broken down elements can be used as buttons on a website, 3D signage across the city or simply as a logo on poster. I hope it can begin to reflect this amazing city, and would love to see how residents make it their own.

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Jan & Feb

Today it struck me, it’s the middle of March and I have no idea how it got here. Since coming back to Nottingham this year has flown by, and while normally I can figure out what I’ve been doing based on my phone photos, this search doesn’t seem to have thrown up much! All I can conclude is that I have been working a lot and nesting in my room! That said, my new year’s resolutions aren’t coming along too badly. I’ve been running nearly every week, finally finished the crochet blanket (by turning it into a cushion…see below) and no longer hate what’s in my lunchbox!

With the busiest period at work coming to an end in a week, hopefully my next batch of photos will be from more exciting places (and I will finally have a D&AD entry to post!).

2015 here I come


I’m not usually one for new year’s resolutions but I have big plans for 2015 so thought why not give it a shot. Also, writing them down makes them more real (obviously) so hopefully by putting them here I’m more likely to keep to it!

Find stability

  • I want a permanent job to stop this cycle of panic that happens every 9 months
  • To know where I will be living in a years time, not in terms of a house but just narrowing it down to a city would be nice!

Look after myself more

  • Make yoga and running part of my routine.
  • Learn to cook healthier meals, lunch in particular I need to work on.
  • Have a skincare routine, I feel like this happens in your 20s, you need an order for all the moisturisers, toners, cleansers etc!

Be creative more

  • Submit a D&AD New Blood entry like I’ve been meaning to for years..
  • Keep up my idea a week blog, maybe start with once a fortnight…
  • Make craft nights happen
  • Finally finish my blanket!

Quite a few things on the list there… so in the spirit of trying something new this year, I’ve also got these two exciting books to hopefully help me out. We will see how this goes!


Twas the season 2014

It all started when I bought a jumper with bells on…


… and came home to this beauty in the living room.


Harrods created the most stunningly intricate Christmas windows of the year.


We went on a mulled wine/cider tour of London’s Christmas hotspots.

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There was a magical night in Kew Gardens…

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…and so many more beautiful moments, both on camera and off.

Time to see what 2015 brings…


When I ran daytrips last year, the final question on the evaluation form was ‘Where else would you like us to run a trip?’ and the answer that came up most frequently, and most surprisingly for me, was Glasgow. Sure it was the City of Culture and the Commonwealth Games were approaching, but to me it had always seemed just the second biggest city in Scotland, so I was fairly intrigued to visit a friend who had just moved there. 5 and a half hours on the train later and my first surprise was that it wasn’t much colder than Nottingham!

As boring as it sounds, one of my favourite things to do is just wander about. You can google and plan all you like but often it is the views you chance upon that are the best. While she was at work, I took Friday to get my bearings and get a feel for Glasgow. The riverside was not as interesting as I expected, in most cities it seems to be the place for new developments and public spaces, but in Glasgow it seemed very much something still in development with lots of wasteland car parks running alongside. I went as far as the famous Finneston Crane (which a bit bizarrely plonked behind a Hilton hotel!) before making my way back to the city centre. After a visit to the City Chambers which was absolutely covered in Christmas decorations, we ended the day at the impressive Glasgow School of Art. You can’t seem to escape Charles Rennie Mackintosh in Glasgow so I would have loved to see his famous library, but unfortunately that was not to be.

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On Saturday we had a full tourist day planned. First we visited the Lighthouse, the view from the top of which proved how much Glasgow was still in progress with cranes aplenty. However the best view and definitely my favourite part of the weekend was the Necropolis, Glasgow’s Victorian cemetery.Surrounded by modern buildings as well as the historic cathedral such an impressive, monumental graveyard is just so incongruous in the middle of a city. Situated on a hilltop, it overlooks Glasgow and is oddly peaceful bar the hum of the nearby roads.I can’t fully decide what about it I found so amazing, I think partly the intrigue of such a unique place and partly the beauty of the elaborate monuments. Either way, for me it seemed to define Glasgow, a city with unexpected beauty.

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Although I’m still not sure it is an amazing tourist destination, I could definitely see myself living in Glasgow (if it was a bit closer to home!), it’s a happy mixture of new and old, with enough happening to keep you entertained as well as many exciting things to come.

A manic month

Since the last week of September, my life has felt like a blur. First helping out with the craziness that is Freshers’ Week, then barely recovering from that before saying yes to what life threw at me and ending up in a new job! Since coming back to Nottingham I’ve been sofa-surfing while getting to grips with my new role. I don’t know how I would have done this without some great friends who not only gave me a place to stay but put up with my ranting and scatty-mindedness!

Thankfully things are now settling down; I have a place to live, have slowly been instilling order in my new job and finally I’ve had some time to settle in and make my new room feel like home. Now I can’t wait to visit all the places in Nottingham that I’ve been missing!


I feel a bit like I’ve come full circle. I’m back to the same great organisation and city I love. My next challenge is to crack on with grad scheme applications!