Saturday, 13 May 2017

Botanical Gardens

Hello, it's me. I was wondering if anybody was still kicking about this part of the internet, now that the dust has settled and my URL expired because I didn't update it promptly, digital native that I am. Still, having experienced a little bit of aching nostalgia about outfit posting and fashion blogging on my Instagram recently, I've realised there are at least three of you who are still interested in the various shenanigans of the life of Belpo, and three is more than enough for me, frankly. If anything, too many. I've sort of been in an odd purgatory recently between wanting to peacock at an Olympic gold standard on social media and living a hermit existence away from the various online stresses. Maybe it's because the world seems to have reached a new level of bizarre and wearing nice outfits doesn't feel like enough. Maybe it's because my compulsive oversharing has all but ruined any possibility of mystique. But existential online crises aside, sometimes a pair of magical trousers and a lush green garden come together for a perfect blogging marriage...botanical 11
There have been some extremely important pairs of trousers in my life. There were the Wrong Trousers on Wallace and Gromit, an VHS (remember those?) I played to death as a child. Then there were the secondary school uniform trousers, which I always claimed were just not tight enough compared to my female counterparts, who had far cooler versions. There was my first pair of skinny jeans, in the height of the emo era, which were grey and far too baggy to constitute a real pair of skinnies. And then there were the actual skinny jeans, the tube pants from American Apparel, which were so figure hugging that they probably caused me lifelong damage and eventually ripped at the butt. And then, and then, there were these. If you had told me, five years ago, that I would be wearing yellow crop flares I would have laughed in your face, which would have been pretty rude. But over the last few years I have gotten over my fear of any trousers that aren't sprayed to my ankles and started to embrace more daring and masculine shapes. And it's been a necessary journey indeed, because these trousers are sunshine and light, and although they're more difficult to style they are instantly eye catching.
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I donned these trousers for a trip down to the beautiful Botanical Gardens in Oxford, because for some reason I'm really into plants at the moment. I wonder if this phase will last as long as my Olsen Twins, Bratz Dolls and Horses phases. I used to run a mile when my parents would try and make me take any interest in nature or learn the name of a flower, but living in a city I think you start to appreciate the natural world and its processes a little bit more. Much like the trousers, I would have scoffed at the idea of taking anything but a purely aesthetic interest in gardens and plants many years ago, but more recently, I could genuinely see myself hugging a tree. What is life if not about change and growth?
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Jacket - Secondhand
Trousers - Topshop
Shirt - H&M
Shoes - Primark
Bag - Black Cat Cafe
Sunglasses - Unif

I also need to mention this amazing jacket, my one clothing purchase from New York. For some reason I don't seem to get along with American clothing, I rarely ever seem to find anything out there that really suits me. But I picked up this gem in a junk shop in North Brooklyn for just $5, and it is fast becoming my Spring/Summer staple jacket - it goes with everything! Anywaaays, I hope you enjoy these photos of me swanning around, at one with nature...
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Sunday, 22 January 2017

Earn Your Stripes

Seeing as you're probably all snuggled up in a nice sensible jumper or under a cosy blanket reading this, or pressed up against a space heater like I currently am, you're probably wondering - why the hell are you not wearing a coat? Well, never let it be said that I don't suffer for style, and really I feel that this t-shirt is worth suffering for. Cast your minds back over a month and a half ago, where in a warehouse in East London a large amount of pastel-adorned youths and some of their enthusiastic parents fought tooth and nail to secure fluffy coats and pastel printed t-shirts with self depreciating slogans from Lazy Oaf's archives. I had decided to attend with this dream top in mind, but sadly I left with just a crop top and a couple of snapbacks (this was my first proper sample sale and I'd neglected the divine rule of GETTING THERE VERY EARLY). I'd fallen in love with this top a while ago after seeing it on my beautiful pal Pavneet, who owns a Lazy Oaf filled wardrobe to die for. I love wearing stripes and the mixture of the colours, the stripes, the adorable little frog chilling out on the front, really it was all too much for me. Eventually I found it on my trusty friend Depop and lo and behold it was mine, all mine!lazy oaf oxford 1
Top - Lazy Oaf via Depop
Bag - Skinnydip
Shoes - Primark

These photographs were taken on a colourful houses hunt in Oxford, which although a beautiful city is not known for being particularly colourful. Fortunately mum (my wonderful photographer) and I found the perfect combination of colours that fit almost exactly with my top, how about that! I paired it with this Skinnydip rainbow bag, which was again an item I immediately coveted after seeing it on actual unicorn and all round nice gal Lucie, and it actually turned up in the Black Friday sales much to my joy! People often called me rainbow related nicknames so I thought it was time to honour that with my bag choice.
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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

The World is Abundant and Love is Manifold

I suppose it gets to the point where you have to stop apologising for not posting on your blog and just accept it is occasionally a place where you can just dump photos and a share a few sporadic thoughts. I hate to neglect my own little piece of the internet, but I guess life really has gotten in the way. Happily enough I'm writing more than ever at my current internship, and for the first time being actually paid for it - which feels like a small stepping stone but nonetheless an exciting one. And you know, I'm feeling pretty good about it, I'm grateful, but after this year I've felt a little tired, to say the least. London really has this way of sucking you in and leaving you drained, despite all the excitement it brings and my neverending awe of the city. So with that in mind it was wonderful to pay a visit after Christmas to somewhere I've wanted to visit since forever, The Scottish Highlands. And being in such a majestic, isolated environment of overwhelming natural beauty, like the kind you always expected to see painted in children's stories and never in real life, well, it got me thunkin. I'd arrived there feeling slightly overwhelmed by life and it was incredible to just be far away from everything, and see past your worries and just experience the world, just still and as it is.
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Where am I going with this? Am I about to tell you to live laugh love and take an extremely expensive trip around the world to find yourself? Nah, I guess my point, the revelation that I had, was that the world feels like a seething land mass of filth at the moment, what with all the injustice and prejudice and bad vibes maaaan, to the point that we forget that the world is absolutely all we have and it's both beautiful and scary, comforting and intimidating. And there's so much of it that we can barely take 5 minutes out of our day and our own jumbled heads to properly enjoy. It sort of took me back to *strokes metaphorical philosphical beard and puts on oversized glasses* learning about the sublime at university, this type of beauty that is overwhelming, boundless, unbelievably stunning in a terrifying way, which is not only looks to try for me but also the perfect description for this place.

The Isle of Skye particularly just has this exceptional landscape of mountains and sea that stretch so far that you honestly feel like you're at the edge of the world, even though it was grey, wet and windy, hell I think that just all added to the effect really. I never thought I'd be able to cry at a landscape, and being fortunate enough to witness and experience the world's indescribable and overwhelming beauty, but goddammit I was close. Really it means, literally, the world to look past your internal struggles and see that the trees and mountains and mist and rocks and beautiful walks with good people and adorable dogs have all been gifted to you. I guess I didn't come to this conclusion all alone, after reading (should I say bawling my mascara off) this piece of writing assumedly from actual angel Sufjan himself, I realised that a lot of the love I denied myself was all around me, and could be found in the most unexpected of places.
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And you know, not just landscapes. Having gone to stay with Katy and Eilis, it's safe to say that some people are just pure, generous, loving and kind enough to make you discard your cynicism about people. You could not find more giving, beautiful and hilarious people, trust me. I was fortunate enough to spend more time with them alongside two of my greatest friends in the world, Emily and Lucy, a friendship that has seen us travel everywhere from Arizona to Dublin to Northern Scotland right back to sitting on Emily's kitchen floor at 3am eating pasta and cheese. Whizzing past Scottish Highland landscapes in the car eating strawberries and singing along to Taylor Swift, Beyonce and Christine and The Queens was the stuff of the aspirational teen novel I should probably be writing. A proper Scottish hogmanay, jumping out of a moving car to get a photograph with a highland cow (might be a slight exaggeration), cuddles with Katy's adorable dog Bruce, grapefruit gin - these are all gifts that I suspect I might not deserve, but that I was lucky enough to experience here anyway.
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I hope you enjoyed looking at some pictures and reading some thoughts this time around, and hopefully there'll be many more in 2017, but let's be honest, don't hold out. Just on my own spiritual journey ya know.

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Sunday, 13 November 2016

Ippudo Review

You'd be forgiven for thinking that this blog is turning into a food blog, and although I'd love to get paid to eat delicious food and write about it, I think I will probably stick to clothes. Plus, my own restaraunt reviewing abilities don't really go further than 'oh, this is nice' and 'what's the cheapest wine on the menu?' Still, when the lovely people at Citizen M offered to wine and dine me for an evening, I wasn't about to let that opportunity slide. Maire and I headed to Ippudo at St Giles place to try out some of their Japanese ramen and have an afterwork catch up like the career women we are.
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Turning up at Ippudo I was really impressed by the fact that it is basically a glass box, it felt far too swanky for riff raff like me! The massive windows for perfect for people spotting and generally made the atmosphere feel really comfortable and open. We cracked open a bottle of white wine and ordered some starters, which I cleverly photographed halfway through eating because I was far too busy eating it and got carried away. Maire went for anchovy cream cheese and I chose Goma Q, cucumber drizzled in sesame dressing. It doesn't sound like the most exciting starter in the world but it was seriously, seriously delicious. So good that I still fondly look back on it and I'm even considering trying to make it at home myself.
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For the main Maire chose a couple of small plates and I went for the veggie ramen, which I had been so excited to try! I dug in with my chopsticks, which are usually a bit of hindrance for me as I'm completely inept (also, white) but it was seriously good and very filling. It was mainly fried tofu with thin noodles, spring onions and bean sprouts all in a mushroomy broth, which meant there were so many flavours going on (particularly garlic which I love the most).
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Ippudo is perhaps on the more expensive side, with small plates costing around £8 each and ramen mains coming in at around £12, but no more than anywhere else in Central London. Generally the place has such a lovely atmosphere, the food came quickly and the staff were so polite, attentive and friendly to us. I'd say that it's absolutely worth it if you want to have a relaxed evening sampling some authentic Japanese food, and I definitley will be visiting again!
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Thanks again to Citizen Mag for sending me! Check out their original review here and Ippudo's website here. 

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Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Becoming Vegan

I've been thinking about writing this little update post for a while, but there's been a few reasons why I have held myself back. Mainly I guess because I will be covering facts and expressing opinions that ultimately don't match up to the way I currently live my life, and worrying about the kind of response I will get. If I've learnt anything over the past 10 months it's that the choice not to consume, use or wear animal products is a controversial one. It goes against everything I have ever been taught about food and lifestyle more generally.
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Since, it's World Vegan Day, I wanted to talk about my current relationship with food and processing the information I have actively sought out over the last few months. It started with my friends. I noticed that some of them had adopted vegan lifestyles, a thought that had seemed so extreme to me before that I could barely concieve someone doing it without crumbling into a pile of shrivelled bones. After this, I looked to Youtube and noticed a thriving vegan community on there, one which urgently shared opinions and facts that, perhaps begrudgingly at first, made sense to me. I couldn't hide from the facts anymore, I could no longer be apathetic. The mass suffering and brutality that we inflict on animals almost every second of the day is beyond imagination.

Each year we kill over 56 billion farm animals for food. These animals are often kept in tiny cages for the duration of their short lives. Cows are branded with fire and have their horns chopped off whilst still conscious. We let these animals live in intense suffering because we feel that they are beneath us, not as intelligent, thus they deserve to be tortured and murdered. The concept of ethical omnivorism falls flat when you consider that you are taking the life of a creature, entirely uncessarily, who probably understands what is happening to them. What is this all for apart from just habit and profit? Humans do not have the same characteristics as other omnivores yet most of us eat meat.

For milk (and cheese), mother cows are kept pregnant constantly, causing irreparable strain on their bodies which leads them to die much earlier than their life expectancy. Baby cows are ripped from their mother at birth and taken to be reared for slaughter. The mother understands the loss of her child and will shout out for their lost child for days, and all of this just so we can drink the milk meant for the baby cow. For eggs, male chicks are ground up as they are of no use on the production line. There is no justification for this level of cruelty.
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Alongside this animal agriculture is one of the top causes of greenhouse gases, uses up astronomical amounts of water and is a significant cause of deforestation. Strangely we never hear about this. In terms of health, a meat-heavy diet strongly increases your chance of developing heart disease and cancer, and the meat itself is filled with hormones that can cause all kinds of other problems, from cancer growth to acne.

This obviously doesn't make for pleasant reading, but these are some of the factors that have led me to change my diet. Although I can still only define myself as a vegetarian, I am making small steps everyday so that I can live a lifestyle that no longer supports the staggering exploitation of animals and destruction of our earth. In this time I have found a lot more peace within myself (sorry to go all hippy-dippy but its true) and truly learnt to enjoy vegetables, which I honestly thought would never be the case. Because my options have now been limited (although not nearly as much as people would lead you to believe) I have also learnt to appreciate food in a way I never have before, savouring the experience of finding a new vegan restaurant or discovering that something I love is vegan. Generally I am trying to become a more mindful person and the food that I consume is a significant part of that.

We have the ability to greatly reduce animal suffering and the strain upon our earth. By becoming vegetarian and vegan you can quite literally save animal's lives and reduce your carbon footprint. Really there is no better time than now to make a change.

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