Thursday, 2 April 2015

Motel Bauhaus Travel: London

Last week i went on a mini adventure to see friends and family in London. Having only 3 days i tried to squeeze in as much as possible, on the first night we took a walk down the South Bank just as the sun was setting and had a drink at the British Film Institute which was just lovely. The next day we went to see the Women Fashion Power at the Design Museum and it was truly brilliant, featuring over 150 years of history and how women have used fashion to enhance their power in the world. My inner former fashion student was delighted to be there. The day was completed with lunch and vintage heaven in Brick Lane, shopping at Spitalfields Market then dinner in Soho. Sunday was a quiet family day and i got to meet my new baby cousins who are just the most delightful blue eyed twins i have ever met! On Monday i went to Camden to meet an old friend and have a 5 year catch up, the weather was beautiful and we were absolutely hysterical for most of the afternoon. The weekend was wonderful and it was so lovely to see my cousin and other family members who i don't get to see that often and i can also say i've now managed to experience what missing a flight is like (oops!).

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Super Sweet 1970s Spring Look

The nights are getting lighter and the temperature is (ever so slightly) getting warmer, despite the fact it is only 7 degrees today, it is March which means spring is coming! I know we all can't wait to get back into cute dresses and sandals and not to have to worry about putting on massive coats and gloves and a scarf and carry and umbrella and extra socks incase you get caught in the rain! This is a super cute 1970s spring look with denim pinafore dressgrey thigh highs (because it's just not quite that warm yet!), Swedish Hasbeen clogssweet striped scarfsuper-sized Valentino sunnies and this delightful Zara handbag which i just had to purchase for myself a few days ago. Gelato season is right round the corner and i cannot wait...bring on Spring!

Find more of my Polyvore sets here!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Vegan Cake Round-Up


Sobriety: The First 7 Days by Megan Reekie-Kay

"Sobriety delivers everything alcohol promised"

Day 1:
 I woke with a start at 7am, paralysed with the fear, the only thought circling my mind –ending my life. Literally. I know we’ve all had bad hangovers where you mope around all day cradling a 2litre bottle of fizzy juice exclaiming “this is the worst hangover ever I want to die”. But this was different, the waves of nausea hurtling over me in conjunction with the fear which feels as if thousands of millions of tiny bugs and beasties covering my body, all over my face, in my mouth and in my brain and every time I tried to swipe them off me thousand more would fill the gap. It was hell, and even in this awful state the thought of having some drinks and ending the torment was tantalisingly appealing.  But this time I knew I couldn’t I had to ride it out, get over it and get off the drink.
I have used alcohol to make every day better than it was when I woke up, I have used it to fill gaps in time and to avoid doing important things I actually need to do. Put it this way, I’m always the person who suggests margaritas at 10am and am always game for a drink. However it has only been in the last year I have let it take over almost everything I do, I’ve let it destroy relationships, friendships, education, how people I know view me, how people I don’t know view me. I’ve been kicked out of bars, clubs, refused out taxi’s, hospitalised and sustained many, many injuries. I’ve hurt people I love and most of all I’ve just ended up hurting myself. And it has to stop. Every day for the last long while has started the same, thinking about what sort of drink I felt like and when in the day could I make it happen. Every opportunity I had to have a drink I would and if I couldn’t, I would be not be happy about it. I knew the bottles of tequila, gin, vodka, boxes of wine and ready made gin & tonic cans, margarita mix, pint cans of Stella and endless bottles of prosecco were adding up, it wasn’t until I used the Drink Aware units calculator and realised that in an average week I was consuming between 50 and 70 units. The recommended units per week for woman are 14.

Day 2:
 Having spent the most part of the previous day coaching myself through by telling myself how much better I will feel tomorrow, I was relieved to open my eyes and have the sun stream through on my face and for a split second i was deluded under the impression everything was going to be okay again. Then it hit me, the fear as brash and creepy as ever not even let me take a full breath of air before putting pains in my lungs discomforting enough to make me want to be sick. The only thing I could think of was to have a couple of beers take the edge off, try and enjoy the sunshine and forget about how I was feeling.  The day was not fun, I no longer had the physical symptoms of the hangover but I was also never no further than a few minutes away from searing panic and fear.

Day 3:
 Expecting to wake up full of energy after having not 1 but 2 whole days without a drink (something not achieved in many years), but unfortunately that was not the case, I spent most of the night overheating to the maximum, waking every hour with the fear, completely congested from a cold I developed, surprise, surprise 3 days ago and in general complete discomfort. Usually Monday Is a good day, I don’t start college until 1pm so I can get up at 10.30, leave early and get a coffee but today I didn’t want know about it. I didn’t even want to go back to bed and hide from the world, I wanted to hide from myself, something only achieved after 7 large glasses of Shiraz. So I phoned the doctor and made an appointment for Friday, day 7, and went to college.
Do you know easy it is to incorporate an alcoholic drink into almost every moment of the day, every occasion can have a drink attached to it. Baileys in your coffee in the morning, ready made gin & tonic’s for the train (doubles, of course), grab lunch somewhere nice and not just have one glass of wine or 1 cocktail and be quiet and polite but instead order pitchers of cocktails and bottles of wine and fizz, get completely hammered and embarrass yourself and everyone around you. Its only ever a few hours from the first drink until you blackout. Thank god, another day over.

Day 4: 
The sun has been shining all day, outside however, not in my heart. Waking up was easier than yesterday but I am yet to spring out of bed with the energy and lust for life I should have. All normal things of the day should have been completely fine, better than average actually but inside me the fear was still there, like an nasty little creature surviving off my happiness and peace and loving seeing me suffer, enjoying it and mocking me.
I have spent the last few days thinking about making drastic choices, in the beginning ending my life then less drastic such as moving country immediately, having a baby, buying a tent and a plane ticket, adopting a dog, completely leaving my life and never making contact with anyone I currently know again and even joining the Royal Air Force. But I know truthfully that these are all attempts to run away from myself, and no matter how far you flee in the world, you can never ever escape from yourself. So I rationalised my feelings and decided to make peace. To stop forcing a life of plans and control on myself and just let the path open up in front of me by making the right choices and doing good things. Showing the world I am a good person not just talking about it, performing acts of kindness in everything I do and really trying hard to project goodness and positivity into the world

Day 5: 
 Much the same as yesterday I have no gusto for the day, sleep is not much better and I feel so utterly dull and boring. I am reminded of the Friends episode about ‘fun Bobby’. Fun Bobby was a man whom Monica was dating, he was drinking heavily and the group intervened and he got sober. But he was no longer ‘fun’ Bobby, the personality that had attracted him to Monica was fabricated through alcohol and when he was off it Monica did not find him half as fun and subsequently their relationship did not last. This is how I feel today, quiet with not much to say, no anecdotes of the previous night and not a lot to look forward too. I have made drinking part of my identity for a very long time and now i feel at a loss of what to do with myself, who to be. Even my sidebar pictures features my holding a Pimms royal (Pimms and champagne), because whats a better mixer with your alcohol than more alcohol. Usually I would think about having a drink all day and be so exited to get stuck into a box of wine or make cocktails I would literally go around all day yelling ‘TEQUILA!!!’ in excitement. Now I just think oh well I’ll just have a cup of tea then. Great fun. Not.

Day 6:
 Blackouts: When some get drunk they reach a point where they are as paralytic as they can get and usually just pass out no harm done the night is over for then. However for others they continue well into the night (or day), having conversations and interactions and making decisions and doing things but completely and utterly drunk. I have frequented this state on numerous occasions and it is the most terrifying experience the next day. You just have no clue whatsoever what happened, where you were, how you got home, how you managed to order pizza then drop it face down in your bed, where are your shoes, do you have your phone, your purse, your underwear…the list goes on. You can recall the first bottle of pink fizz, 3 pints, neat rum, a white Russian, 2 double gin and tonics, an espressotini then…blank. I have been woken by a paramedic lying in a Starbucks doorway and flung in an ambulance, I have been woken lying on the pavement by a taxi driver wanting to take me back to my house, I have been contacted on Facebook by a stranger who found my passport in the street lying next to a bin, not too many hours after I had been lying next to that bin. In all honesty, I don’t actually want to know what happens during the blackout time, when asked if I want to know what happened by others I always say no and presume the worst. If others hate me because of my behaviour and actions whilst intoxicated it doesn’t even dent. I hate me even more.

Day 7: 
This has definitely been the best day in a bad week so far, I have slept well, my cold is going away and the fear is ever so slightly loosening it’s icy grip. I am now on a course of Librium to help with the dread and despair and I must say it is working. I keep expecting to have a wave of terror and I think deep down it is still there I just can’t feel it. It’s a very welcome break from the trauma my mind has gone through this week. I still think about having a drink many times a day but I am beginning to accept that I can’t for now and maybe in the future I would like to work towards being able to have 1 or 2 drinks every now and again and develop a normal relationship with alcohol. This has been one of the toughest weeks I have experienced but I’m starting to think that maybe, just maybe, everything is going to be okay.

Artwork by Ash Mackenzie

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Benefits of Microadventures by Christopher Keyes

By Christopher Keyes, From Outside Magazine, Mar 2015 

"What’s new?”
Lately, this polite attempt at small talk has been my kryptonite. It may seem benign and friendly, but to me it sounds vaguely like a challenge. As in: Is your life interesting or not? I’ll mentally scroll through recent days, only to see a blur of hectic mornings, school drop-offs, a lunchtime run on the same old trail, piles of e-mails, dinner, bedtime stories, toothbrushing, lights out. The lack of immediately recalled highlights always leads me to the same dreaded response—“Not much, what’s going on with you?”—followed by a brief existential crisis. Is there nothing new happening with me? Am I a soulless automaton?
You get the picture. As the editor of Outside, I work at a place where I’m inundated by cool trips and inspiring adventures, but I spend a lot of hours lamenting the fact that I don’t have time to embark on any of my own. Then a friend pointed me to the website of Alastair Humphreys and blew up my can’t-do paradigm. An itinerant traveler, author, and motivational speaker, Humphreys preaches the gospel of microadventures, quick outings that offer “something different, something exciting—but cheap, simple, short, and on your doorstep.” Spontaneous weeknight campouts with friends. Running your ten-mile commute instead of getting in the car. A full-moon hike on your favorite trail. Humphreys’s blog is loaded with ideas for bite-size novel experiences to snack on all week long. Never mind getting overwhelmed by planning an ambitious weekend escape. As Humphreys rightly points out, most of us have nine-to-five obligations Monday through Friday, but they’re sandwiched by five-to-nine blocks that we tend to neglect.
Inspired, I grabbed the kids after work one Friday night, bought a few slices of pizza, and marched them up a mellow peak behind our house. Olive, six, and Cash, four, complained the whole way up, but once fed we watched an epic sunset, and they were laughing the whole way down. The impromptu outing seemed to recalibrate the weekend.
The following week I walked them to school, including a ­novel route up a dry riverbed where we collected stones along the way. After our first big snowfall, I skinned up the Santa Fe ski area on a Monday morning before work. I recruited seven friends to join me for a Wednesday night run up two of Santa Fe’s steepest mountains, Picacho and Atalaya, by headlamp. Atop the latter, we posed briefly with proud smiles, the city lights twinkling behind us, feeling like we were getting away with something. The day after Thanksgiving, instead of using the long weekend to relax, I took Olive and Cash two hours south to Socorro, New Mexico, to see the thousands of sandhill cranes that migrate each year to the Bosque del Apache. I’ve wanted to see that spectacle for ten years but could never seem to find the right window of time. We got it done in 24 hours—and squeezed in a detour to a trampoline park and a legendary diner in Albuquerque.
Each of these excursions was inexpensive and quick, yet I remember all of them distinctly. Am I happier? Probably. Studies have shown that humans are hardwired for adventure; when we make unfamiliar choices, our brains reward us by releasing dopamine, a key neurotransmitter effecting positive emotions. If nothing else, by slotting in just one or two micro­adventures per week, I’ve found a way to mark time instead of just logging it.
So what’s new? I’m glad you asked. Last night I slept at the top of Sun Mountain.

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Corporate Social Responsibility- Animal Products at home: Cruelty or fashion?

As all companies are encouraged to take responsibility for their impact on the community and the environment, many have done so in order to protect their image and ensure their desirability to the public. This usually manifests itself in environmental factors such as waste and pollution reduction and social factors including being involved with charity work and the local community. Many companies love to do this, it is very valuable for them to be seen as transparent, responsible and ethical however many organisations don't and operate in very sketchy industries shrouded in much ethical controversy. Picture a log cabin in a snowy landscape, interior decor in soft greys and neutrals with varied textured fabrics to create a cosy atmosphere and perhaps a cow hide dressing the floor or being hung from a wall. Sounds lovely but the reality is not and the organisations involved? They couldn't care less. After department store, John Lewis was asked about the reindeer hides it sells the store commented saying that "the income was useful to the nomadic communities that produce them" however they did not disclose what proportion of the rugs sale would actually go back to the producers. The sale of these products contradicts the company's no-fur policy which caused further outrage from Peta, who campaign against animal suffering and cruelty products. 

Introducing: Esther Perel, Relationship Therapist Extraordinaire.

"In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence." -TED