American dreams

I  have been wanting to share these pictures for a while but only just got around to gathering them all up and putting them on here. So here are some snaps that I have took from our USA trips this year and also a few from our trip to NYC last year.

New York City July 2015

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Some shots from the MOMA museum:

To top it all off we went to see the amazing U2 in Madison Square Gardens:

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After visiting NYC we headed down to myrtle beach for a week to catch up with friends

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Stayed in this beautiful beach house

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I already posted a bunch from San Fran but here are a few more from there and LA:HOLLYWOOD_1

And the view of downtown LA from the hills:CRW_3434

Those hills in San Fran:

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And a view from Fort Point, SFCRW_3358

A couple from the Hoover Dam:

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How could I leave out Vegas itself:

In May we went over for a friends wedding and managed to squeeze in a small visit to Washington DC.

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San Francisco

In February this year we went on an unforgettable trip around the west coast of USA. We managed to hit three major cities in 10 days, starting with San Francisco then Las Vegas for the weekend and finishing the trip off in Los Angeles. It was so much fun and we got some amazing weather for February so everyone kept telling.

We arrived in San Francisco on Wednesday 10th February after an 11 hour flight. Feeling pretty tired and zombie-like we dropped our bags off at the hotel and took a wander out into the city. We were staying downtown at the Intercontinental, it was a really nice hotel and a great place to start our trip as it gave us that bit of luxury to come back to at the end of each day. Here are my highlights from San Francisco

The Golden Gate Bridge

Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in all its glory was pretty surreal feeling seeing something so close and in person, I mean usually its something that you only ever see in books or on films. We chose to take in the view from Fort point I took my camera to get a few good shots and we took the touristy selfies  of course. Dave said why don’t we walk it? We were up so unusually early for us because of the time difference so it was quite quiet on the tourist count so we decided to go for it. It was rather windy though so we called it a day half way across. But the views were amazing so I am glad we did it. Here’s a couple of pics from the experience.

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Alcatraz

Day two we were up and about after having an early night – jet lag kicking our ass 😦 We planned our trip to Alcatraz for today and I think it was the visit Dave was looking forward to the most! He loves all them TV documentaries about prisons and how they operate and thinks the Clint Eastwood Escape from Alcatraz film is maybe one of the best films of all time! So its safe to say he was pretty psyched about this visit. I booked our tickets in advanced as I heard there could be big queues to purchase them on the day or they may even be sold out. I took a few shots on my camera as we made our way out from pier 33 towards Alcatraz island.

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The weather was okay, a little cold so we brought some thin jackets with us and had our walking shoes on ready to explore the island. We pulled up to the harbour and got off the ferry to receive a short intro from one of the tour guides. We stayed until we had all the info we needed and then we left to make our way up to the cellblock to avoid the crowds. So its the standard museum sort of drill – you get a headset and controller and stroll around the museum independently following the instructions and stories told to you via the headset, you can pause the commentary at any time so you can stay a bit longer at certain areas or stop and chat to whoever you are with and then pick it right back up where you left off. The stories are told by former cell mates and prison guards and have a very eerie manner about them, but thats quite understandable as they lived through this experience. Its quite crazy to hear the stories first hand and be in the exact spot where they happened. It was an excellent tour from start to finish I totally recommend it! I am such a sucker for real life events – to the point of when I find out about interesting stories or events I have to research them so much more. Look up the people, watch movies, read books etc! The movie Escape from Alcatraz is probably one of these such events. The way that was all planned out and took place is so astonishing and mind blowing and the thought that two of those men have been reported still alive is insane!

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Fisherman’s Wharf

Fisherman’s wharf was a lively see front area with a lot of restaurants, shops and family friendly attractions. I did a little readying up on the area prior to our trip and noted the musee mechanique – world’s largest privately owned collections of mechanically operated musical instruments and antique arcade machines. It was free admission and there were so many interesting treasures inside so well worth a visit if you make it down that way.

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From Fisherman’s wharf we decided to get the cable car back up the hill back towards our hotel. We took in the sights while on our way:

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All in all San francisco was beautiful. It was a lot to get round in just a couple of days but we did it! So happy to have visited this wonderful city on the wet coast of America next stop VEGAS!

 

 

 

South/North part 1

A couple of weekends ago Me and Dave ventured to North London and visited Hampstead Heath for the very first time! (Yes I know I have been here over 8 years!) I have alway thought about going but its never been close by to where I was currently living and I probably opted for a closer or easier to reach park such as Victoria or Hyde park.

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I was so glad we made it and the view did not disappoint! It got me to thinking though… When I lived back in Doncaster I still had the interest of going into the countryside and taking in views from the top of hills and I was always intrigued by interesting buildings and architecture. I don’t know what it is but it just inspires me and gets me thinking about the areas history and people who live there – kinda deep but we all find our inspiration somewhere!

So it also made me think that how it blew my mind when I came to London and these views, buildings, places were just littered across this wonderful city my 21 year old self was blown away. Even though these new places were were so different to the ones I had previously treasured the old ones still have there place. I want to share two of my favourite spots old and new that I love going back to over and over again.

Cusworth Hall

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This was the view from the top and It was the place of many a trip as a child right through to probably my last day of permanently living in Doncaster. I ventured up here for sledging, walking my dog Sparky and Barney, walks with my then boyfriend Dave and a meeting place for friends who lived at the other end of our village of Sprotbrough. On those visits with friends, the four of us would sit at the top of the hill and look out over Doncaster and dream about all the things we would be doing when we grew up and it would often end in our younger/child at heart friend Claire suggesting we do roly polys down the hill just as we had at our picnics there in primary school! You can imagine the response she got from her teenage going on 25 year old friends!

The whole area around Cusworth hall is stunning and I have seen it grow and change over the years I just wish I could see it everyday sometimes, I never thought I would miss somewhere in Doncaster when I left but this places has stood the test of time for me.

The Golden Jubilee Bridge & The Southbank

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This place to me is just magical! It has everything, Arts, restaurants, entertainment, bars, coffee shops, views, river vies, a ferris wheel and did I mention a carousel 🙂

When I first moved to London the first thing I bought is an A-Z and it was the best thing! On my own in a new city I would make my way from NW10 via foot and bus (never the tube as It was hard to gauge where you were and learn the surroundings) I would often end up here at the Southbank and explore its many attractions and secret spots. It quickly became my go to place when I had friends or family in town, just the walk across the Golden Jubilee bridge is enough to turn anyone who says London is too busy, too crazy for them to live in. I assure you this view is probably the best i have seen and it gets me every time I walk over I think to myself how lucky I am to live in this great city!

At Christmas a small market occupies the bank selling everything from mulled wine to gingerbread, in the summer there are numerous street entertainers and musicians entertaining the crowds. Near the BFI building there is usually a book stall to explore (who doesn’t love a good old 2nd hand book stall) they also sell old illustrations of famous landmarks across the country and one time I was rooting my way through the many boxes and came a across a picture of Cusworth Hall! I didn’t end up buying it unfortunately as it was in my earlier days when money could be better spent on food and bills, I often go back and see if I can come across it again though but no luck yet. There are many pop up bars, street food stalls, small exhibitions and there was even an manmade beach that took on a temporary residence during the summer months.

The London eye is probably the landmark of the area and mostly responsible for the huge crowds that gather but if you take a left when cross the bridge there is more to be had! The BFI is mainly a cinema where I have seen some amazing classic films such as Street Car Named Desire and The Man Who Fell To Earth and also caught a programme celebrating all the Disney films so managed to take in Pinocchio, Hercules, Lady and the Tramp and The Little Mermaid. There is also a lovely bar with huge sofas available (if you get there early to snag one) It’s perfect on a cold Sunday afternoon to sink into the lovely surroundings with a hot cup of tea and await your film showing. 🙂

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This is only a small glimpse into this area as there is always something new happening and taking place so I guess thats what makes it one of my favourite places in London. No matter what month there is always something to do here whether it be taking in a film at the BFI, visiting the south bank centre for its latest show/talk etc or even wandering along the river until you meet the Tate modern, new or old, skint or flush with your new pay check you can almost certainly occupy yourself here. Go visit!

Venice and inspiration

So it was my 30th Birthday this Monday just gone and Myself and Dave decided to celebrate it by going to Venice for the weekend. It was the best choice! I have always wanted to visit for as long as I remember, it always looked so beautiful and having visited a few places in Italy already I knew I would love it.

I don’t think I could have quite believed it until we arrived though, the whole place is magical. We stayed in a lovely little 3 star hotel near the train station which was perfect! Hotel Abbazia was off the main street and quite deceiving from the outside as it turned out to be quite big inside. A medium sized lobby opened up into a long hall with a bar and then there was a beautiful courtyard where you could sit under canopies or out on loungers in the sun.

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The best part about Venice is the little streets and just wondering around them, we never got lost as you just follow signs to either saint mark’s square or the train station or you could just follow the crowd of people in front of you as they will more than likely be going where you are or if not, you won’t be far from it.

Here are a few shots I took whilst wondering the streets:

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The other amazing thing I noticed about Venice is around every corner and wall you step into a painting! The views are literally out of a Canaletto painting, I remember from my art history classes back in 2002/2003 all of these masterpieces and now I can see them right in front of me – it was really inspiring and I will probably be getting out my water colours at some point now I am back and creating some of my own masterpieces.

Here are a few of those remarkable scenes for you to enjoy:

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Along with these incredible views I got the pleasure of seeing some impressive works of art in the numerous galleries that are scattered all over the city.

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I hope one day I will return to this awe-inspiring city and discover more things but for now Venice you have allowed me to enter my thirties feeling inspired by your views, artwork and history and grateful for just having the ability to discover a new place by getting lost in it.

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My road to fitness and back to football

I have recently joined a ladies football team. Well we don’t actually compete in a league we just get together on Saturdays mornings for training sessions. These training sessions involve fitness sections, football drills and end with an 11-a-side game against each other. It’s really good fun, everyone gets on and it’s not competitive just a good way to work out whilst having fun and get to know a few people. Most Saturdays we head to the local pub afterwards to have a drink and get to know each other a little more. I have only been to two sessions so far and I have really enjoyed it, more so the second time as I knew what to expect and got more involved I feel. I have still a long tway to go should I want to compete in a proper game (which they do occasionally) but for now I happy with just doing it for fun and to help my fitness.

Since returning from Dubai I have struggled to maintain a fitness routine apart from last year somewhat as I was part of a gym with my husband and we had the motivation of our upcoming wedding. This year or since March 2014 has been a little harder. We joined another gym which was great, so close to our home and cheap enough that it wasn’t such a drag every month on the bank account. But problem was as soon as the colder months hit and the dark nights it was a struggle to get to. You see it sits behind a dark road and lots of trees and when you don’t have access to a car the walk or run to get there can be a bit off-putting. So we decided to cancel our membership in January this year. I have always enjoyed long runs around our area of Wanstead and South Woodford (outskirts of London) but it can get a bit tedious and repetitive after a while not to mention if you work late its the last thing you want to be doing at 8-9 pm on a cold night!

My husband has always been into football ever since we met 13 years ago it has been the other part of our relationship and to be honest deep down I wouldn’t have it any other way. I see how much enjoyment he gets out of it, from playing every weekend, to watching it on TV, to talking with his friends/me/his family about it – It is and will always be a part of our lives and that’s okay because even before we met my Dad had cemented it into my life also. He used to coach our local boys team, Sprotbrough Crusaders. My brother also played for them and I met some of my close friends by being dragged down on a cold sunday morning to games whilst my mother had to work shifts at our local hospital. I used to hate having to stand there on the side lines next to the first aid box and that “magic” sponge and bucket! But yes there were other daughters like me who were in the same position and had to come down and watch their brother/cousin, and this softened the blow and I guess I can say this is where it started for me.

Soon I was getting involved in the newly established Richmond hill school girls team! It was quite a thing. There was about 8-10 of us in the beginning and we had caught on to a bit of a trend. We all followed football and tried to get involved in the boys games on the field at play time. I don’t know how it started maybe it was that era in the late 90’s of Manchester united, David Beckham and the other superstars coming into the lime light or just the fact we felt we could be as good as the boys, our brothers etc. I mean don’t get me wrong I was a very girly girl in the midst of all this I was still going to ballet and dance classes every Thursday and Saturday. It wasn’t about being “one of the boys” it was about getting involved in something and being part of a team and ultimately having fun with it. So our small girls team grew and other girls in our year started to hear about it and wanted to be involved and before you know it we were going over to another school in the area to play a friendly game, the team or school was ELLERS!  I remember showing up there, my Dad had driven me and a couple of my close friends to the school. He was so proud and I was so proud because he was a manager of the Crusaders! I mean people knew my Dad in our village because of this. He probably should have been our manager but we were lumped with our school teacher Mr Arthur for whatever reason. I can’t actually remember him talking to us as a team, giving us a team talk or any inspiring words to be honest but hey he was our manager figure and quite frankly we all knew what we had to do on that field. As soon as we got out of the car at the ground my Dad got straight to it and got us all in a circle to do a warm up game of head catch. This got us all going and ready to face our first proper game! We got battered by Ellers to be fair. I remember one opportunity for myself. I was clear, running towards the goal, shot in sight, a defender was on me but too far to bother me. I could hear their team cheering for their goalie as I set my sight on the net. I shot on target but she made the save. I was slightly disappointed but I had a taste and It was a thrill for a moment. We went away from that game tired but we all enjoyed it. We played a couple more games, tournaments and matches. Ellers were always our rivals and I can quite distinctly remember them being probably a foot taller than us at the time. (They probably weren’t but things seem so much more exaggerated as a kid)

Doncaster Football

I went to a few “football days” over the coming years cause my Dad knew people at our local club Doncaster Rovers and got involved in most things my brother did with football. This kept us occupied most summers and I was even in the local paper for it! But as high school years approached I and my friends lost interest in playing the game and other things took over appearance, fashion, boys. I got involved in Netball in my later years of school and really enjoyed the team element of this and thought about carrying it on for a while but my eventual career and social life took over again.

For the years through college sport and exercise were not a part of my life which is probably something I regret but if I went back now I probably wouldn’t be able to convince my 17-21 year old self this. I am now an established Digital Art Director working in London for the past 8 years as well as a break year in Dubai with my then boyfriend and now Husband, Dave. I began a heavy (for me) fitness regime whilst in Dubai as It seemed like the perfect time to transform myself. Lucky for me Dave was a qualified personal trainer! I think he was quite shocked but happy and excited when I turned to him in our first few weeks and said, “I want to change my body, please help me”. He loves a challenge and Is very passionate about fitness and wellbeing. He is so knowledgable and driven at his job (health club manager) and I know he is guiding me in the best way possible. In little over 4 weeks I could see the change in myself and body. I felt alive and healthy it was quite a feeling and something I hadn’t experienced for some time if ever. I mean I have never been a gym person in the past but the feeling it gives you is unreal – it’s totally worth it! The best thing about doing all of this is that I could do it with Dave. It became our weekly activity together, we really looked forward to those Friday morning gym sessions then going to a nice restaurant in a beach bar area after knowing we had really worked so we could treat ourselves once in a while. This continued whilst we were in Dubai for a year and I am so glad I woke up from being lazy and just thinking I could go through life and my body would take care of itself. All those times I used to think well I am a slim person surely that’s enough and I can eat whatever I want. Well it isn’t the truth. Listen early 20 year olds – It’s gonna get harder for you to stay in shape, do yourself a favor and start now 🙂 you will feel a whole load better for it, look after your body. In June 2013 we returned to the UK for a number of reasons but one of the main at the time was we were getting married and wanted to be closer to family so that they could enjoy the day with us. As I mentioned previous myself and Dave tried hard to maintain our fitness lifestyle and did as well as we could in the run up to the wedding.

It seemed that I had reached a point as I did when we moved to Dubai that I wanted to change things up a little. Yes I still loved going to the gym but it was often on my days off in the week I could only make it or on a saturday whilst Dave was playing football. I craved some sort of group activity and something more fun and energising than the same routine in the gym. I think Dave first suggested why don’t you look into ladies Football teams whilst we were in the local one Saturday evening. I googled a few times, “ladies football”, “ladies non competitive football” but often I was finding mixed teams and teams at the other side of London. After more searching we came across the Ladies East end academy. This is a group set up by a guy called Naz Ahmed he is joined by another also FA qualified coach Addison. It is the only ladies social football club in east London. It’s for all Ladies from age 16 up from various backgrounds and abilities. The aim for anyone joining is to socialise, learn and keep fit. There is no commitment required and they even try to get us involved in friendly games should we wish.

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This brief delve into my past and journey to now is not to say everybody needs to work out and exercise or me trying to push fitness or being healthy down your throat it is more for me to outline my full circle and to say, whatever you choose to do, to look after yourself and make your mind and soul happy make it something that’s fun and not a chore, after all you only live once and you only have one body to live it in, look after it! (quote stolen from my husband and motivator Dave Taylor).

Tasker Taylor Designer Spy..

So in the past year things have been pretty hectic – Me and Dave got married! So I am now officially Lisa Taylor – no longer a Tasker…

The wedding was as they say the best day of our lives. We had some of our friends come over from the states to help celebrate! They came over a week before so we could hang out in London and show them some cool stuff seen as they made the long journey. The day itself was beautiful sunny/stormy Yorkshire day 🙂 all our family and friends there and a simple, yet personal ceremony and reception.

We have gone over over and back on forth about where we want to settle in the UK we even nearly made the move to back to Yorkshire but right at the last min it just didn’t feel right and so we have decided to remain here in London. We are lucky enough to have stumbled on a great area and found a wonderful apartment. Not many people have heard of it and those that have believe it is so far out of London but for us 40 mins on a tube to Oxford St really isn’t that bad! So hopefully this will be the start to our married life and for once and for all becoming southerners! haha

I have also decided to go it alone in the freelance world and set up my own company. So far so good I have been getting in steady work for some great clients and really enjoying the choices I can make in terms of who I work with and projects that I get involved in.

Here are a few visual memories from the last few months wedding, London, friends and all!

I got the chance to travel to Barcelona with Samsung to launch the S5 at #unpacked 2014 Here is the team in the "war room"
I got the chance to travel to Barcelona with Samsung to launch the S5 at #unpacked 2014 Here is the team in the “war room”[/caption]

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Got to try some amazing food!

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This was the view from the apartment we stayed in.

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So March came and it was already time for my hen do! My girls put together a lovely weekend for us all in London!

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So March came and it was already time for my hen do! My girls put together a lovely weekend for us all in London!

Some of our friends came over from the States for our wedding. They stayed with us in London for a week, so we could hang out for a bit before the wedding.

Me and my dear friend Angela got to go to our first gig together CHVRCHES at the Forum in Kentish town!

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Here she is on the tube with her sweet Boyfriend Michael or Z as we call him who was also Dave’s best man.

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Some shots of the Boys!

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Many a tube journey was taken!

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A lot of Vintage shopping/browsing!

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In Doncaster we took them for a game of bowling before a night on the town! DTC!

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They got to meet my lovely maid of honour/sister before the wedding and some of our friends.

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The day finally came and these two were on hand to help me with my dress!

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We got some really odd weather of thunder storms hail and bright sunshine! But the sun was out for the pictures thank god!

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The boys trying to not look too nervous before their speeches 🙂

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Everyone enjoyed a dance! Including my normally shy little brother Jamie 🙂

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The photobooth went down a treat!

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My friend Claire actually moved to Leeds so we went to sample the cocktail bars of course!

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Me and the Husband finally got to see AWOLNATION!

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Got very cheap tickets to a festival which included Arcade fire in the lineup!

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Started a photography project on our local area – Wanstead

More to come soon!

Dubai

So another chapter has ended for now I guess. Me and my now Fianceé have decided to leave Dubai and return to London. We have been there for over a year now and experienced some pretty amazing things! I will always appreciate what it did for us as individuals, professionals and of course a couple.

I am very excited to begin our life together (again) in London. I have worked with some pretty amazing people over in Middle East and met lots of different types of people, been introduced to different customs and ways of life also. I can’t explain in words how much it can fulfil you to experience something like this as a person I feel so much more mature and appreciative of things that never really mattered to me too much before. So okay without sounding all emotional and sentimental I shall share with you some visual memories that I have gathered over my time in Dubai. DSC_0404

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