From London With Love

Stop what you’re doing for a minute.

September 16, 2010
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Every so often, something happens that we least expect. It’s completely out of the blue and impossible to prepare for, but in comparison – everything else seems insignificant. Suddenly mundane activities seem pointless, those worries you thought you had previously seem trivial. We are forced to to look at our lives in a different light, re-evaluate our priorities and more often that not, be thankful for the things and people we take for granted the most.

It should not take this ‘something’ to make us realise how selfish, stupid or ungrateful we are being. Sometimes, just watching it happen to someone else is enough to have a short-term effect on us. It’s happening every day, every minute, every second to people all over the world… and yet somehow, we live life under the impression that it will never happen to us. We need to banish this false sense of security, we need to stop being so naive.

Make the effort to see that someone, send that text, make that call. Don’t wait a minute longer.



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The Break Up

April 27, 2010
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Selling clothes on ebay is much like breaking up with a boyfriend. You and dress have shared some good times together, but it wasn’t working out; time to move on. Soon after letting dress go, you start to realise that other people want dress. Suddenly, dress seems much more attractive. You start to wonder if you made a mistake; your willing to take dress back…

But it’s too late.

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Indian Summer

April 11, 2010
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After receiving a refreshing dose of sunburn yesterday (with the majority of the UK being wrapped in a blanket of snow/rain/general shit weather for the last few months, the sting felt like an old friend I hadn’t seen in years) , I suddenly feel very summery.

There is however a downside to this glorious weather, for me anyway. Yes the suitcase I’ve brought for my month long stay at home might contain countless pairs of shoes and enough clothing to kit out a small country… but nothing in it is prepared for this unexpected Indian summer. And so, while I was doing a bit of online-shopping for something that wasn’t lined with fleece or made from 100% wool, I stumbled across a new phenomenon. Polyvore.

As far as I know, it isn’t a recently uncovered material that automatically adjusts to suit any climate (though that would be worth talking about) – it is infact, a ‘fashion community’.

Totally free, it allows even the most inexperienced (like me) to play around with images, mainly clothing and ‘express your style’. Three days later, I’m already addicted.

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BGT (For CUB – March Issue)

February 22, 2010
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It’s the standard set-up: A panel of judges (one possessing God-like qualities in the world of…well, ITV), a string of desperate auditionees and a hot-blooded audience. Yep, you guessed it…

Or maybe you didn’t. You’re probably spoilt for choice as to which talent show I’m referring to. There are, after all, so many of them showering the television screens of the nation every Friday (and Saturday and Sunday) night – I should probably just let the cat out of the bag.

Well (if the title wasn’t a give-away) it was Britain’s Got Talent that I happened to attend a live filming of recently. And all I can say is, thank god the tickets were free.

So I might have bailed six acts before the finish, but despite the hideously crap magicians and wrinkly acrobats, it wasn’t the sour entertainment that forced me to scoot. I was more irritated Amanda Holden’s oh-so-original “one hundred percent yes!” comments, not to mention harsh heckles from the audience.

By the time I made my swift exit, I had more respect for the transvestites-on-crutches act than the panel of judges. At least they really were original. I felt as if I had given in to ITV’s ploy to keep us cooped in front of the television every weekend.

Even though it’s thanks to shows like BGT that young (and old) people everywhere are pursuing their dreams and becoming successful, isn’t it all becoming a little repetitive? Young dance groups looking for their big break (again), unsuspecting opera singers, sympathy votes for single fathers…

Here’s a typical audition. Cheeky chappy number 3077 totters on stage (guitar in hand) and introduces himself, before belting out one of his favourite chart toppers. It’s all very average. Mid-song, Cowell and his gang interrupt this shiny young thing, inform him that it’s “just not working” and ask him if he has any other songs prepared. Cheeky chappy pauses for thought, puts down his worn out guitar and suddenly sings an old classic, A Cappella. Cue “Three yeses!” and emotional background music (usually Westlife).

Admit it; you know exactly what I’m talking about.

And the real issue I’m trying to highlight here isn’t that BGT is really a heartless money-making machine, or even that Piers Morgan needs to work on some new one-liners. No, the sad truth is that while the whole world sits in every weekend to find out if Stacey from Essex has got through to the next round, the real talent in Britain is being ignored.

Comedy stores, theatres, art galleries, museums, even the cinema; there are countless opportunities to experience what brilliant, established artists in Britain have to offer. And some of it is even free.

So next time you find yourself gagging over the likes of Jedward, put on your coat and step outside. When it comes to entertainment, London is number one… and we don’t need Simon Cowell to tell us that.

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Can Anna Go Lightly?

December 26, 2009
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When Anna Friel first arrived on stage in nothing but a towel and a blonde wig, there was an air of confusion. The audience, me included, had expected a Holly Golightly inspired by the iconic Audrey Hepburn; a conservative brunette dressed head to toe in her trademark colour (black, for those of you who are unacquainted) and decked out in pearls.

But you see this play is full of surprises. That is unless; you are familiar with the works of Truman Capote, the American writer responsible for creating the jewel of a tale that is Breakfast at Tiffany’s. His story about a young writer’s relationship with a good-time girl in 1940s New York is nothing short of a masterpiece. Though it was later made famous by Blake Edwards’s film version, this stage adaption stays utterly faithful to the original novella.

Forget the Hollywood movie; this Holly Golightly is a wittier, darker creature – given to singing Kurt Weill by the fire escape. She captivates men (naked sunbathing, anyone?) lives a ritzy night-life, and has a heart as big as her hat. Nevertheless, it is her compassion that proves her undoing. Though Anna may not be quite as beautiful as Hepburn, she reaches greater dramatic depth, capturing the fear and solitude that lies behind Holly’s glamorous façade.

And glamorous it is. If truth be told, I would have paid good money just to sit and admire Friel’s costumes. An array of chic yet spectacular cocktail dresses, each of them garnished with oversized accessories – the ultimate one being her ginger ‘no-name slob’ cat, who also earned himself several rounds of applause.

The man in question, William ‘Fred’ Parsons, is played wonderfully by Joseph Cross. While seeming a little baby-faced at first, he gradually grows into the role and his love for Holly is unquestionably convincing. The rest of the cast are equally as accurate – with Madame Spanella, the soprano in the flat above, providing the audience with some light-hearted humour.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s is definitely a West-End must-see, if only for the dazzling cast. Just don’t expect a grand set or impressive props – this play relies only on the Manhattan Skyline for the backdrop to such a brilliant performance.

Darling, it’s fabulous.

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London Calling

August 20, 2009
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Today = D Day

Though surprisingly, there were no Ds to be seen when I collected my results from personal-prison-of-two years, more commonly known as college (location cannot be named for obvious reasons, obvious reason being I think it’s shite). Infact, it turns out I bagged myself a place at a London University. QMUL (because I’m all about the initialisms, baby – but in case you’re not, Queen Mary University of London).

Yes, I’m headed where the streets are paved with gold, to find my own pot of gold (or at least an eventual career that will lead to said pot… Or several pots, for that matter). So here’s hoping along the way, I’ll be able to share with you my LDN adventures and escapades – because bejayzuz , where else in the world offers up such strange and wonderful possibilities?

It’s going to be a crazy three years, but I have a gut feeling I’m going to love every second. Even if I do spend lots of borrowed money on fabulous shoes. Hell, I might even have time to cram in a bit of Maths.

…I’ll keep you posted.

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The Return Of The Scrunchie

August 19, 2009
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A daring move from Topshop.

A daring move from Topshop.

Yes ladies, it’s back. Just when we all thought we’d rediscovered everything we possibly could from 1985 – leggings (a definite success, providing you don’t look like Janice Battersby), neon and acid wash, to name a few. But first to go overboard and commit fashion suicide in the form of fabric-covered-elastic was (the usually trustworthy) American Apparel.

However, the yankies weren’t brave enough to display the controversial headgear in the accessories section…Oh no, they were spotted in a less-than-obvious cardboard ‘bin’ by the checkouts, perhaps in the hope they’d go unnoticed. And rightly so.

So, who, you might ask, refused to listen to the wise words of Carrie Bradshaw and stage such a comeback? Well, it was none other than our very own Topshop. Yes, the home of vintage chic took a turn for the worst and decided to hang those ugly fabric loops proudly from their racks. Worse still, in frightening shades of metallic purple, blue and god forbid, gold.

Now I for one can tell you I died a little at the sheer sight of the fabricated feckers, but I’d be curious to know what other self-confessed Topshop worshippers make of their return- a natural sidekick to the up and coming shoulder pads and taffeta… or a fabulous excuse to invest in a barge pole?

Fashion fume over.
Must now go and write something serious and political.

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(Stupid) Cupid Returns!

February 13, 2009
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Because there's only so much sugar-coated love we can give.

Because there's only so much sugar-coated love we can give.

As the halfway mark of this inevitably depressing month approaches (because let’s face it,  it’s been a mere thirty-something days since the festive period and we’re all left staring into our empty Quality Street tins crying ‘Where the hell did all the fun go?’) we’re faced with the prospect of another excuse to hover in the Hallmark aisle. Yes my friend, it’s here. It’s the one you’ve been waiting for…in all it’s pink-and-fluffy-sugar-coated-gift-wrapped-glory. Dare I say it? Cupid has landed.  

At this point, you’re picturing a sour faced forty-something (single, besides her cats) typing this on the Estranged Express en route to Spinster City. Well, as much as I would love to play to the part, you will no doubt be flabbergasted to know that I am in fact in a happy relationship of several years (fingers crossed I haven’t just fecked that one right up). I am also under forty. Hoorah.

Until recently, I have never had a bone to pick with Saint Valentine himself. I was happy to fly on the wings of love and hug my heart shaped pillow. But (because you’ve been waiting for the but), doesn’t it all seem to be getting a little…Repetitive? Ho-hum? In my mind, there are only so many times we can walk into Thorntons and solve the problem with personalised chocolate, so many La Senza don’t-mind-if-I-do type occasions and so many dozens of red roses. And I hope I speak for the coupled when I say, we are reaching our limit. 

Who made up this lark anyway? There is no Saint Valentine, or Cupid as it happens (but I don’t need to tell you that, unless you’re still clinging onto Santa and wishing on the Easter Bunny- in which case, I am most sorry).  You see, I thought said boyfriend and I were on cloud nine and tickled pink. And the truth is, we are! But this year, the prospect of V Day only seemed to draw attention to the sober fact that we no longer feel that fresh thirst for one another, we are no longer greeted with the jelly-legged-butterflies-in-stomach-effect upon meeting.

Don’t get me wrong, the spark is certainly still there – but the light that started it has long gone. No doubt recycling it’s chemical properties to bring about brand spanking new couples. 

So perhaps we should leave the day of love to the newbies? And maybe the spare tables and no longer fully-booked restaurants that would inevitably ensue would give them an excuse to depart from their love nests.  And the rest of us? We could breathe a sigh of relief and stop making those desperate attempts to recreate that first time feeling in order to prove wrong our irrational thoughts that being settled is just downright sad. Because it isn’t.  It’s actually bloody lovely – which is why I should probably scoot and hit Clinton’s before my other half reads this, chucks me and leaves me stricken and single on Valentines. Now that’d be another blog all together…

About author

Currently living in the big smoke, cramming my university modules in between cherry shisha, finding thrift stores and meeting strange and interesting people in the most extraordinary of places. My hobbies include experimenting with 9p noodles, reading in the laundrette and avoiding the student gym.