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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Friday, 28 October 2016

How To Celebrate Halloween

This time of year makes me feel so invigorated and excited for the future. Maybe it's the leaves falling from the trees, being able to cocoon myself in my large array of (faux) fur coats, or being at one with the spirits. Probably the latter. Halloween is something I always get excited about far in advance, but because it's usually such a busy time of year, the actual event can pass me by. I always think it will be this year when I will crack out the amazing costume and make the extra effort, but I usually end up just treating myself to a Lush pumpkin bath bomb and wearing black lipstick for the day. This year, with the help of HMV, I had a chilled evening of spookiness with my friend Freyia, lighting black tea candles, eating ghostly sweets and watching an absolute Halloween classic, Hocus Pocus. It was a great way to combine the cosiness of these colder months with the celebration of everything creepy and scary, which truthfully I am always low-key celebrating (I refer you to this perfect Tweet by Lorde). But now it's time to dim the lights and surrender ourselves to Satan...sorry fun, I meant fun!
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Donning my new Kat Von D black liquid lipstick in Witches and my knock-off JW Anderson for Topshop jumper with a terrifyingly unsightly stain on the front, it was time to turn off the lights and light up the candles. Hold the candle below your chin and look threatening for an extra spooky effect.
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Second, the films. HMV sent Hocus Pocus and The Exorcist, and although I've not actually seen The Exorcist before we decided to go for the lighter option. Hocus Pocus offers up all the hilarious witch-themed misandry you could ever possibly want from a movie.
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I'd picked up this bunting a few days before from the pound shop to get the whole house into the spirit of things. Watch as I forget to take it down for the next three years...
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HMV also sent some makeup and costume accessories! It was a bit of a struggle to get the fangs into my absurdly large mouth but it was necessary for the 'I vant to suck your blood' aesthetic.
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We also had some Day of the Dead style bunting which was a colourful addition to the dark bat cave we'd fashioned ourselves for the evening.
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Freyia wouldn't let me take many pictures of her 'until she'd had a few more glasses of prosecco' but she had a wonderful goth vampire maiden look, in a sheer lacy dress and robe. It was very 'Blanche Dubois spends an evening at the cemetery' and I lived for it.
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One of the most important things you can do at Halloween is drink prosecco out of a straw. It's a time to subvert expectations and commit evil deeds, and really there is nothing that is going to get more people side-eyeing you.
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Thanks for joining us at our cosy Halloween evening, and many thanks to HMV for sending such a horrifying set of goodies. My actual Halloween will probably be spent reading my favourite weird ghost stories or wandering the streets, howling and cackling at various intervals and passers-by.

What are your plans for Halloween?

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Monday, 24 October 2016

Let's Go To The Cemetery

Ever since moving to London I've had an ongoing list of places to see and things to do. I've been here five years now so I've mostly ticked everything off and am constantly discovering all the new experiences this city offers. However, there was one place I hadn't managed to get around to visiting in the last five years, and that's Highgate Cemetery. Why would you want to visit a cemetery, you might ask. Well, it's the resting place of a number of prominent figures including Karl Marx and George Eliot, it's in a beautiful area of North London that feels isolated compared to the hustle and bustle I'm used to, and Halloween is closing in on us, so a cemetery offers all kinds of spoopy atmosphere opportunities. Laila (once a blog friend, now a irl friend for over two years) lives close so we found ourselves on our seemingly annual October outing (last year we went to the Serpentine which was a photo opportunity and a half). highgate 3
This was a perfectly Autumnal day with a slight chill in the air. Laila and I picked up croissants and coffee before coming to the cemetary, and I was amazed at how different this area of London feels to the more urban crowded atmosphere that I'm used to. It felt as if we were wandering down a country lane back where I am from near the Cotswolds.
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I guess you could say that the cemetery is pretty chaotic, or maybe it's just the seemingly endless view in front of you of different graves intermixed with overgrown bushes and weeds, with angels, crosses, traditional tombstones with cryptic inscriptions and box tombs that rise from the ground. Laila commented that when she had visited Japan all the graves were uniformly placed together in perfect alignment, a far cry from Highgate Cemetry's method. The effect is striking, as if you are being led somewhere a thousand miles from London, the weeds circling around the crosses as the tributes of the dead seem to rise above you. The angels that had been slightly disfigured through time, with absent noses and arms, were particularly unsettling.
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I conciously dressed for the occasion, reintroducing the Autumnal aesthetic back into my wardrobe. I have to say that neon doesn't really work for the colder months, so I tend to veer toward more muted pastels and burnt oranges, like this beautiful duffel coat that I picked up in a charity shop. I've paired it with my Luella skirt from her 2008 witchy collection which I have waxed lyrical about so many times that I don't think I have to do it again, but I am always down for injecting a little British rural folk-horror realness into my wardrobe (that sounds weird but I'm pretty sure at least Katya would understand). I also have Kat Von D's liquid lipstick in Ayesha, which to be honest I'm not entirely sure suits me (it would look perfect on darker skin tones but it just makes me look awfully pale), but it's so perfect for Autumn/Halloween that I had to wear it.
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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Dublin

I've been fortunate enough this year to visit two places that I've wanted to visit since forever - Tallinn in May and in October, Dublin. My friend Lucy was there to publicise her new book Girl Hearts Girl at Deptcon, which you should all obviously go and pick up if you haven't already, and Emily and I decided to tag along like the hangers on we are. We also met up with Katy and Eilis whilst we were there, who are probably the friendliest, most genuine, hilarious people you could ever hope to meet. Together we only had a day and a half to enjoy Dublin, which involved a significant amount of gin and a lot of bad impressions of Irish accents, and I thought I would share some of the images of the surroundings with you, alongside an Irish outfit of the day because of course...unif dublin 1
Jumper - Unif (I mean, obviously)
Trousers - Boohoo
Socks - Blackwells
Shoes - Converse
Bag - Artwords Bookshop
Sunglasses - Unif

I have had this Unif jumper since last Winter but I think this is its first big unveiling on the blog. I don't usually rate clothing with very obvious branding, but I love the mixture of primary colours and stripes on this top. It was a rainy day so sadly I had a slight clothing mishap, the colours from my bag bled onto the side of the jumper leaving me with a very unsightly orangey-yellow stain. You gotta share both your clothing highs and your clothing lows on your blog I think (but the gag is the stuff like this happens to me constantly).
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I have been particularly keen on the idea of going to Dublin since studying a few Irish literature modules at university. This is, after all, where James Joyce's Ulysses was set. Whilst everyone else went to watch a Deptcon talk I decided to steal an hour and a half walking around the city to get a sense of it. Unfortunately with no internet and a terrible sense of direction I did end up just wandering around aimlessly and getting lost countless times, but I still like the idea of stumbling upon little side streets and details that you might not have discovered before.
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A green postbox! The novelty, I am such a tourist.
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Friday, 30 September 2016

Am I The Death Of Style?

I'm just a girl standing in front of you, in a ripped skirt that I bought for a fiver off the internet, ready to express her frustration at the recent news story regarding Vogue's disdain for fashion bloggers. In an interview, Vogue editors discussed Milan Fashion Week and made a number of comments about fashion bloggers, suggesting in no uncertain terms that their presence was not wanted in the high-fashion world. Most significantly, they describe fashion blogging as ‘heralding the death of style.’

I could not have been less surprised. This is the sort of viewpoint I would naturally expect of a publication dedicated to tradition and elitism, trying to find its uncertain place in a world that is relying more and more on digital media to be inspired. It represents a deep fear of becoming irrelevant in this world, and having their own special brand of snobbery compromised. 
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Top - Lazy Oaf
Skirt - Secondhand via Depop
Shoes - Charity shop
Bag - Daisy Street via Love The Sales

The recent BBC documentary on Vogue touched on their uncomfortable standing in an ever-changing world. It felt as if Vogue was just picking up on internet culture, like a parent reluctant to try out new-fangled technology. They disregarded Kim Kardashian then decided to invite her to talk at an event just a few months later, they use social media but explicitly ban the use of emojis. With this in mind it’s unsurprising that fashion bloggers represent the worst nightmare for Vogue, young women so fiercely in tune with social media that they are carving out fashion careers for themselves. And it's not just fashion. Many share intimate details about their experiences with mental health, sex and their bodies, a sort of confessional "oversharing" culture that contrasts against Vogue's rather stiff upper lip.
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Of course,when they are talking about fashion bloggers, they are not talking about the kind of blogger I perceive myself to be and the community I have found myself in. They are referring to a vapid, sleek haired caricature who lives off daddy’s trust fund and totes the latest handbag, who calls themselves a blogger but really only updates her Instagram account once a day. The truth of it, which Vogue knows full well, is that regular blogging takes a lot of time, digital media insight and fresh new ideas, which they seem to be all out of. When you tar all bloggers with the same brush you’re inevitably going to create some backlash from young people who are able to find a voice through blogging, who find satisfaction through self publication and who treat every new purchase like it’s gold dust. 
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It leads you to wonder what exactly Vogue’s problem is with fashion bloggers, and I think it’s a bit deeper than they’ve tried to imply. To refer to young women as ‘pathetic’ and ‘desperate’ for daring to walk on the same Somerset House cobbles as them each fashion week reeks of misogyny, perpetuating the idea of the stupid vacuous girl who lives for fashion, exposure and money. But you're not like the other girls, right Vogue? Yet this is the magazine put the rich sons and daughters of famous people and the Royal Family on a pedestal, who only feature the most expensive of clothes in pages and pages of advertorials. The sentiment is clear, your prestige does not come from what you are able to make of yourself, but who you know. 
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The classism is pungent too. In the interview they talk of bloggers ‘who preen for the cameras in borrowed clothes.’ Vogue would clearly like to see the fashion world go back to better, classier times, when everyone who could afford to wear beautiful expensive clothes did and everyone who couldn’t kept their mouths shut and fawned over the richer women preening for the cameras. But now it is an emperor in new clothes situation for foolish bloggers who are supposedly not intelligent enough (or rich enough?) to appreciate them. 
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It’s a far cry from the blogger’s world I know, one that certainly has its dramas but also thrives on supporting each other, championing creativity and finding empowerment in sharing your words with more people than you ever thought possible 30 years ago. A community that loves style but who are also mindful of what is going on around them and aware of feminism, politics and ethics. It’s certainly not perfect in terms of diversity and accessibility, but the days where only the richest, whitest and skinniest are given the opportunity to appear in stuffy fashion publications are over. We are taking it upon ourselves to create our own fashion idols, playing dress up with borrowed clothes and sharing our experiences on social media.

This is a society where anybody can become a star and make a name for themselves, where you don't have to wait to be picked up by a fashion publication to have your work seen. There is so much empowerment in that. Having spent much of my childhood cutting out scraps from fashion magazines (that my mum would often fish out of the local communal recycling bin) I pray that print media can hold on even as digital takes over. But an awareness by fashion publications of the ways in which things have changed is so crucial, and an ability to offer something other than snide comments even more so. 

To wear elitism and classism as a badge of honour, whilst also expecting the younger generation to embrace you with open arms, is asking too much. You cannot have both, Vogue.

(Thanks to Freyia for taking these photos).

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Monday, 26 September 2016

The Mum Dungarees

You know what they say, paint some houses pretty pastel colours and you'll see a flock of fashion bloggers rushing to the scene, desperate to take some upgraded OOTDs. Far as I know nobody has ever said that but it is the cast iron truth, and I'm certainly one of them. If you're a London based pastel house fan you've probably had tip offs about all of the prime locations,whether it's that candy painted street just off Portobello road, or this beautiful street 5 minutes away from Camden market. As usual I was rocking a frankly absurd amount of yellow so it made sense to take some snaps outside a house that reflected this aesthetic. lovethesales camden 1
I'm wearing these amazing dungarees from Monki. I don't wear dungarees that often but I really love this pair, I felt like a cool mum who likes to paint in her spare time. They remind me of an anecdote from my own mum about her obsession with wearing dungarees when she was pregnant, I guess they give you that extra tummy support right? Not that I need that. I'm not pregnant mum I promise.
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Top - H&M
Dungarees - Via Love the Sales (Monki)
Shoes - Nike via Asos
Sunglasses - Unif

These were kindly gifted to me by the lovely people at Lovethesales. They curate sales from hundreds of online shops, so that you can shop them all in one place, including a Barbour sale and a Michael Kors sale. I always get really excited by sales and and can often be found rummaging through Topshop sales racks and elbowing anybody who gets in the way, but it was nice to be able to shop from the comfort of my own home. I immediately made a beeline for the Monki at Asos section because I've never been disappointed by any Monki items I've bought, and it's always nice to convince yourself you're a cool Scandi girl (like Tove Lo) rather than a slightly buffoonish English person.
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Thanks to Leigh for taking these photos!

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