Sunday, 22 October 2017


Walking the streets of a new city, looking around shops and studying products as though everything is totally new to me because packaging is no longer in a language I can understand, taking nothing for granted anymore, I am seeing the world and all of its parts in a new way.

All around me I see imitation. Is anyone satisfied with being him/herself? In people, products, places it is there. It seems as though everyone, everything, everywhere strives to be someone, or something, or somewhere different. 

One of the main shopping streets here is known as the Champs Elysees of Budapest.

Why can’t we stand alone? Why can’t we be ourselves?

As I look around me I see groups of young people dress in the same way, style their hair the same, make themselves over in the style of someone else – a stranger on their morning commute, the still, serene face from a magazine, their closest friends, their greatest rivals. They wear matching bracelets, buy the same cover for their identical mobile phones, live in the same area, visit the same places.

It appears to be in our nature to mimic what we admire. To crave it for ourselves. To always want to better ourselves in some way. To be in a better place. To become that which we admire. Life is short. Perhaps it should be no surprise that we want more from it. But by wanting more do we miss the chance to enjoy what we have?

No matter how deeply it runs, no matter how great the effort to achieve that imitation, the copy is never as interesting, as convincing or as good as the original. It is the original’s very uniqueness that makes it worthy of imitation in the first place.

A crude experiment helped me realise this conclusion. Take two make-up palettes, one from a big name brand with a high price tag, the other from a high street store with a scandalously cheap price. The low end product is a blatant homage to the first. Same colours, same theme, same attempt at scenting the product, same cute presentation. Both portray an appealing picture, but when it comes to the detail the low end copy falls short. The cheap plastic casing has already broken whereas the high end metal tin is flawless. The eyeshadows themselves are an inferior product. Application is hard work for a finish that looks less polished and is not as long lasting as the original.

Before I tried either of them I suspected this would be the outcome, but I had to try. And there it is. Imitation. A desire to bring something better to within our grasp. It will always be there, because even when we know we have found something unique, something worthy of being up on that pedestal, we cannot help but reach for it.

Elloise Hopkins.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

One Week in Budapest…

Well almost a week. I arrived in my new home on Monday. Already I have walked sooooooo many miles to and from work and spent the evenings exploring possible areas to settle, have greatly enjoyed the autumn sunshine, eaten a rose-shaped ice cream and listened to a band play beside the basilica, and begun to get used to being in a place where everything beside a few high street shops is unfamiliar.

Life is officially an adventure and learning experience from hereon in.

What have I learned so far?

1) In Budapest, always look up. There is so much cool architecture and design here and if you don’t look up you are guaranteed to miss a gem, like in the photo above. I saw this while waiting to cross the street on the way to work. The photo doesn't really do justice to those paintings.

2) English is not as widely spoken as you think it would be. I will have to rapidly learn some basic Hungarian to avoid any more awkward charades-meets-Marcel-Marceau moments.

3) C&A is my new favourite shop. In the UK we lost it around the 90s but here it lives on in splendid fashion!

4) I am possibly in the best place for Halloween. There is a pumpkin festival. Yes, really!

5) The way the morning light hits the Basilica is magical.

6) Eating lunch on the bank of the Danube is magical.

7) Living in Budapest may well be magical.

Elloise Hopkins.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

Budapest: The Next Chapter…

Where have I been? What have I been doing? Why the silence? Why the distance?

Only a major life change/decision could keep me so preoccupied, and it has.

The next chapter of my life will begin next week when I move to Budapest.

That’s right, I am moving to Budapest!


Life never turns out the way you think it will.

The offer of relocation came from the day job. After a lot of deliberation, surprise, awe, joy, puzzlement, musing, major excitement, etc. etc. I decided to go.

It was the only decision I could make. No regrets. No wondering what if.

There will be ups. There will be downs. There will be the Danube and Margaret Island, there will be rose shaped ice creams and thermal spas, there will be a proper winter and a beautiful summer, and there will be enough culture and history to hopefully keep the downs at bay. I spent four days there in May and loved it. I hope living there will be just as magical.

I am moving to Budapest. Wish me luck and if you are ever there, let me know!

Elloise Hopkins.