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Jesse Lili

London ↣ Montréal ↣ Edinburgh 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 // Lover of design, culture & creative living 🌿 // City explorer 🧭 // Brand content storyteller 🗝

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{Calm} We're all going to have to take things a little slower in the coming weeks (and even perhaps months). Of course what's happening with this virus is forcing us to make adjustments in our lives and compromises too, but remember if you're not worried for yourself you are lucky to be young and healthy and you must think about the most vulnerable ones for whom things are looking scary right now. Staying home, if you're fortunate to be able to work remotely, doesn't have to leave you like a lion in a cage: pick up a book, or a new hobby, do an online course to upskill, learn new recipes from the books taking dust on your kitchen's shelves (anyone else guilty of that?), tidy your closet, start journaling, get cozy with some old films, play board games, there's plenty to do if you set your mind to it 👩‍🎨 Stay safe everyone!

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{New home} Cute but flimsy scarves and the stormy weather of this past week have finally caught up with me and I am nursing a proper British cold. On the upside, I can finally pursue a career as a Jazz singer with this husky voice, so that’s always something 🙃 I should have expected it, we went out gallivanting all around town lately, undeterred by the rain and the wind. But it is so nice to get our heads around the different Edinburgh neighbourhoods and we’ve added explorations of Stockbridge, New Town, Morningside and Leith to our belt. I feel like the map of where things are (decor shops! brunch places! farmers markets!) is starting to take form in my head. And in the midst of full-time work for me and a packed schedule of interviews for Rob, we have somehow managed to find our next home 🗝 The timing is kind of crazy, it was such an unexpected, happy coincidence, and we couldn’t pass it up because it’s lovely and in our budget range and even though it’s still a rental, I can’t believe that we’re going to live in an actual house! Like, pinch me please. Moving date is in 10 days and I cannot wait to go through that green door again and make it our home.

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{Snug} My plan for today? Staying cosy while Storm Ciara is howling outside. Strangely, I had the deepest, most relaxing sleep while the rain battered the windows in the night, as if I was staying safe from the elements in a children's story or something 🏰 We had a big wander around town yesterday, exploring Fountainbridge and Morningside to get the lay of the land for when the time comes to look for our own flat. It was actually sunny until about 4pm so we made the most of it! Then we headed back home and Rob made a nice little snack board with haggis sausage rolls from the Castle terrace market and French comté, and we dived into The Stranger on Netflix, which episodes we are literally burning through. What are you enjoying watching right now? I need recommendations as we are down to the last two episodes already!

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{Edinburgh} And here we are: February came by swiftly and with it, the time for our big move. So this Saturday finally, we jumped on a plane to Scotland! If you’re keen to have a look, I'm sharing some stories of our first few days in my Instagram highlights 📽 It's been such a nice surprise because we were wondering if we had picked a place too far out of town for the first month (to be honest we booked the cheapest thing we could find) but no, it’s really lovely. It’s in Joppa, just down from Portobello, so about 35 minutes from the old town on the bus and comes with perks including the seaside just outside our front door, a cozy wood burner, and a first-class collection of board games 🙌 Settling in slowly and super excited to discover more of the city.

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{Moving} And so here it is, after 6 months in Amsterdam, we are wrapping up our local freelance contracts and heading to Edinburgh in the next few weeks 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 I'm really excited for our next adventure, I've had the chance to visit Scotland a few times and fell in love with its stunning cityscapes, traditions, food, culture and proximity to nature. On my first trip I was 17 and with my mom and sister we embarked on a road-trip in the Highlands, of which I have wonderful memories. Then Rob and I went to Edinburgh and Glasgow for long weekends before we moved to Montreal and when we came back this summer, so we've visited at different seasons (April, June and December). The next months are probably going to be busy with freelancing for me and job-hunting for Rob, as well as lots to discover and if all goes well, we'd look at moving into our own flat in April or May before the frenzy of tourist season and the summer festivals starts. Have you been to Edinburgh? What did you think? Do you have any recommendations or tips for me?

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Oh 2019, you’ve been a funny old one. Made of change of hearts and yearning and let downs and questioning and discovery. If anything, you’ve taught me that change is the only constant in our lives. I seem to have an aptitude for taking decisions that rock the boat and this year has been no exception. Whether this comes from fearlessness or naivety, I don’t know, but one thing is for sure, pushing myself out of my comfort zone always comes with growth, even when it doesn’t come easy. I’ve learned so much these last few years which were peppered with challenges and I’m so grateful for all the living and the laughter, the friendships, the adventures and the experiences, whether they were painful or pleasurable. Life is too short and you have to embrace both the highs and the lows because it’s the journey that shapes you. . . . I’m so excited for what this new decade holds after a transitional year. The last 10 have been a crazy, wonderful slice of life with my move to London after my masters, finding a place to call home, a family of friends who left me with a treasure chest of memories and an enduring bond. Professionally, I grew into a confident and creative young woman who built a career from scratch that she didn’t study for and that satisfies her love of words and problem-solving. I said yes to everything and also learned to say no and take it slow as the years went by and my priorities shifted. I travelled and explored the UK, France, Portugal, Croatia, Menorca, Canada, the US and Mexico. I indulged in my love of culture, going to see plays and concerts and exhibitions and festivals. I’ve worked on passion projects, trying my hand at music, photography, blogging and podcasting and celebrated successes with each new experience.  Most of all, I was blessed to find a love that is so passionate and nurturing and kind that it swept me off my feet and has only grown in the last 7 years, allowing me to take every step with a best friend and a partner and a lover that has my best interests at heart always and gives me so much strength and confidence and joy. . . . Today I look at the next decade with a heart filled with gratitude and trepidation. Happy New Year!

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If you're a lover of old buildings and a culture vulture like me, I have a few great places to recommend for your next visit to Amsterdam. The @internationaaltheateramsterdam has a wonderful café and regular plays and talks in English, the @pathe Tuschinsky has a great film program and will make you feel like you stepped back in the 1930s (you can do an audiotour of it to learn about its history too!) And finally @theatercarre which features some shows in English including musicals and has really cool retro decor 🎭

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Sharing an imperfect picture today as I embrace the darker days inconvenient lighting, rebellious hair strands and reflection in the mirror because hey, I put lipstick on and when you work freelance, that's something worth celebrating💄💪. Working with brands and influencers, I feel like my eye is trained to appreciate super slick and aesthetically-pleasing social content and that's great but I dont want to always second-guess myself about the pictures I share on my feed. Do you ever get that too? I think it's an occupational hazard and at the end of the day I have to remind myself that it's not that important 😉

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Winter weekend walks in Amsterdam 🍃🍂 First of December already, and we have finally booked our tickets to go spend time with family for a few weeks at Christmas, Rob in Wales and me in the South of France. Left it until the last minute pretty much! We have an inside joke that we never get to decorate the flat we live in with festive bits because we're always jetting off and that we'll definitely do it next year. 7 years together and it's always for next year 😉 At least this time we have the excuse that all our nice home decor from the London flat is still packed in boxes from the Canada move two years ago and waiting for us in the attic at Rob's parents. But you know what? I really *really* hope next year that's it, we are in our own little flat again, everything unpacked, feeling like we are creating a home and that we've put down roots after all the adventuring. That's my official letter to Santa 📃🎅

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I love discovering our little Amsterdam neighborood of De Pijp 🔎 It's very lively with cozy cafes, trendy shops, cute and affordable bars and restaurants as well as a regular street market on Albert Cuypstraat. And all of that within 5 to 10 minutes walking distance! One of the great surprises for me is how Amsterdam is a big city but really it's small. After living in Montreal for two years which is very much on a North American scale, I really appreciate being back in a walkable city and I hardly ever take public transport anymore because everything is a short walk or bike ride away 🚲

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The start of a rainy weekend in Amsterdam ☕ But that's okay, this week we got our two big cardboard boxes full of cozy knits, cardis, jumpers, scarves, beanies and winter coats we had shipped from Montreal to Rob's parents in July so I need to go through them and reorganize the closet a bit for the change of seasons 🍃🍂 How do you feel about the slow onset of Christmas-themed content online? Are you in the school of "it's never too early" or "let us enjoy November please"'? I'm not going to lie, I was first in line to check out the M&S and IKEA Christmas ads that just came out 🦖

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Turning around and realizing Fall is here 🍂 The months are sneaking up on me, I can't believe we came back to Europe this summer and that we have been living in Amsterdam for over 4 months already. I swear, where does the time go? 👵 Right now we're enjoying the change of seasons and trying to fit in some more exploring in the city and beyond, like this weekend in lovely Utrecht. We're talking quite a lot about the future too, trying to figure out what we do after March when our 6-months flat and work projects here wrap up. It's a little up in the air 🧘‍♀️ With both of us being able to freelance, we are lucky to have flexibility, but I feel like sometimes a lot of options means a lot of mind knots, or is it just me? 😉

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