Beware of the Two-Faced Millennials

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Beware of the Two-Faced Millennials

I watched The Life of Kylie (Jenner) last week. I'm not a big fan of hers or her sister, but I was in the mood to be bitchy. I admit I wanted to have a lil moan in order to make myself feel better. She'll never know that I think she's boring or fake but it makes me feel soooo good screaming at the telly, "you're so plastic!"

Kylie pouted her way through the whole episode drawing on personal issues. She acknowledged why she is so popular on social media. Her cars, her rapper boyfriends, her mansion, her dogs, her body, her face... She knows we all want her #perfect life, that is why she is just shy of under 100 million followers on Instagram.

And then she proceeded to say how she wishes she was normal and had a mundane life. But that only led me to shout even louder "then why are you creating a new reality show? Normal people don't do that!"

I was ready to turn the TV off until she said, "I’m kind of putting up a version of myself to the world that isn’t fully me … it [criticism] doesn’t really hurt me because I know that that’s not really me."

How sad. I stopped shouting at the screen and whispered - how sad.

Wealth and fame come with a side dish of criticism. I'm sure her sisters and mother have warned her on that.

In my opinion, she tackles obloquy in a misguided manner.

Let me get this right. So... she won't show her true identity to the world because she knows she'll get ridiculed? But the majority of backlash she receives scream that 'she's fake'. Her monologue revealed she's showing her fans a fabricated version of herself.

Then that means the censure is completely spot on. She is being fake. We can tell she's not being the real Kylie and we hate that. We've seen many celebrities in our twenty-first-century life and we can spot a fake one galaxies away.

I'm sure if she acted more like herself people wouldn't dislike her so much. I know I would prefer to see the girl who used to share silly vines and experiment with fashion styles. But we don't see that girl anymore because it's easier to show another identity online. Another identity that guarantees everyone will find her perfect and sexy.

Kylie isn't the only person on social media to do this.

Don't we all hesitant to share things online because we don't want to be made fun out of?

I haven't done an outfit post on this blog for a while because I feel awkward sharing photographs of me even though I enjoy showing you my personal style.

Therefore I'd rather create a different online representation of myself because I'm embarrassed to show my genuine interests.

And then I realised. Kylie's strategy of not being her authentic self is why social media can be so damaging. People want likes and followers, therefore they create a fictitious online figure. One that looks prettier and happier. So when it comes to evaluating your life and your social media life - we see two faces.

I wish social media was a place for creativity or showing your friends what you've been doing (in a very humble approach). Not a place where it was about who's following who. Showing phoney identities to be popular. I sound like that sad girl in Mean Girls who wished everyone would just get along!

But surely, wouldn't you feel better having nearly 100 million followers (or even 1 million!) who followed you for who you are? Instead of people loving you for the person you are not. It shows that being yourself will always win.

Instead, we're playing the game.

We like to pretend we're #lovinglife when in fact we're pretty miserable. But if you think we're #lovinglife then that makes us feel a bit better. Who wants to show they're sad online? Nobody wanna see that! That's not fashun!

Beware of the two faced Millennials.

This creative outlet is meant to be for us. A place where we can express ourselves. Why are displaying fake representations? It only makes us feel worse. If the internet isn't a place where we can present our true image, then there are not many places left for us to do so.

This blog post may seem a bit confusing but all I'm trying to say is that...

I solemnly swear to always show my true emotions and authentic interests. I will not think about what others will think (Elizabeth Gilbert has definitely helped me in doing so) and never present a false image of myself online. So that means, I'm doing more fashion outfit posts and less hiding behind the camera! My two faces will be one. What you see on the screen is what you get in real life.

 I'm such a big fan of honest bloggers right now like Karina Woodburn, Chloe Plumstead, Cait Taylor. They tell it how it is. And not afraid to admit their struggles. Reading their blogs makes me realise I'm not alone and no-one has a perfect life.

*Cue in the uplifting music!*

Top - Zara
Ears - Mango
Goosebumps - From the excitement of what is to come on this blog!

What Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic' Taught Me

Thursday, 10 August 2017

What Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic' Taught Me

This probably isn't the first blog post you've read about Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic'. I call it the blogger hand book, as it gets creative thinkers out of the funk.

But 'Big Magic' isn't only for people who label themselves as gifted. It is a guide to think creatively.

Gilbert teaches you how to think diversely from our standard, pessimistic, anxious and negative thoughts.

One of her valuable approaches, out of the countless practices to live a creative life, is to expect the best instead of the worse. What happens if the project that you've been afraid to tell anyone about is actually a genius idea? You've got a blog idea - go for it - even though there are zillions of blogs out there, there isn't one that is crafted by you. Who knows, you could have the most viewed lifestyle blog! You could have a YouTube page that holds more subscribers than Zoella! You will never know unless you start creating.

But don't worry or kick yourself if something bad happens as a result of you taking a chance. Because the world will continue to spin and the birds will carry on singing.

Gilbert highlights that our fear is overpowering and prevents us from taking more opportunities.

Somehow, a woman I have never met before has grasped exactly why I doubt myself in doing more creative things. She knows that I'm afraid of what people will say about my work. She knows that I can be a perfectionist, therefore, I won't do anything because I'm scared I will fail. She knows being creativity is more than a hobby, it is essential in my life.

If you haven't read it already, I don't know what you're waiting for. It'll be your 'go-to' when you're feeling uninspired or doubtful. I could write so much more about Gilbert's work of wonder but I think I'll leave it to her.

Here are some of my treasured quotes to lift your spirits.

"But such thinking assumes there is a 'top' - and that reaching the top (and staying there) is the only motive one has to create. Such thinking assumes that the mysteries of inspiration operate on the same scale that we do - on a limited human scales of success and failure, of winning and losing, of comparison and competition, of commerce and reputation, of units sold and influence wielded."

This quote reminds me that it's not all about winning. Not every single product of your creativity has to be popular, successful or loved. She later on writes:

"Creativity is a gift to the creator, not just a gift to the audience"

If your unpopular work is weighing you down, just remember that inspiration is magic, and we should feel grateful that we can create things, good or bad.

 She wishes that her favourite writers, Harper Lee and F Scott Fitzgerald, should have written "anything and put it out there with reckless abandon... ignore the outcome." She would have loved to read more of their work, no matter if it was rubbish, she longed to have a larger collection of their novels. 

"Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don't even bother trying to be creative in the first place."

Now, Gilbert is definitely talking to me about this:

"Let inspiration lead you wherever it wants to lead you. Keep in mind that for the most of history people just made things, and they didn't make such a big freaking deal of it. We make things because we like making things."

I don't think I need to explain that one. Why do we constantly take ourselves so seriously? I stopped blogging for a while because I didn't think I was good enough. But as soon as I got back into it, I hated that I stopped. I love blogging because I can express myself, not because I want to get views or comments. It is my hobby because I love to write. It is only a plus (not essential) when I see people have read it.

"You not required to save the world with your creativity."

I told my friend Ruby that the other day. She said she wants to create films but believe that she needs to help people instead. That's so wonderful of her. So selfless and charitable. But I told her, thanks to Gilbert, that helping others shouldn't stop you from creating what you want to create. Gilbert wrote 'Eat, Pray, Love' for herself. Totally for herself. And miraculously she has helped and supported so many readers even though it wasn't meant to be a self-help novel!

Gilbert says if we base our lives on aiding others with our creative work - we will never be truly happy. There will always be some one out there who needs rescuing. That is a ton of weight to put on your shoulders.

"It's okay if your work is fun for you... healing for you... or totally frivolous. That's allowed. It's all allowed."

It's absolutely brilliant that there are people willing to place themselves last. But it shouldn't stop you from doing what you've dreamed about.

"Your own reasons to create are reason enough. Merely by pursuing what you love, you may inadvertently end up helping us plenty."

The best evidence to bloggers trying to become full-time professional bloggers is: don't do it for the money. You'll be disappointed by how much work you'll have to put in. You'll be disheartened that your views aren't increasing. So do it for the love of creating.

"The rewards had to come from the eternal results - I knew that. The rewards had to come from the joy of puzzling out the work itself... If someday I got lucky enough to be paid for my work, that would be great, but in the meantime, money could always come from other places."

Gilbert had me kissing the book when I read this evidence:

"You are free, because everyone is too busy fussing over themselves to worry all that much about you. Go be whoever you want to be. Do whatever you want to do."

This is when I realised I need to leave fear at home, tuck it in bed, and go to the party. Having fear and anxiety about what others think shouldn't be a reason to stop us from producing.

I would love love love to write more about my reflections on Elizabeth Gilbert's 'Big Magic', but I think I'll leave that to you to discover more. I'm sure I'll be mentioning this book again (and I have already) throughout my writing because it is honestly a game-changer.

After each and every chapter I found myself going 'ahhh, that's so true! I never thought of it like that!'


If anyone else knows of any other books that are similar to this, please let me know!

If you already have an extensive reading list and there's not enough room for another. I'd advise you to watch this interview of Gilbert with Marie Forleo.

Photos were taken at Clerkenwell Grind.

Stagolee's Restaurant Review - Southern American Cuisine

Monday, 24 July 2017

Stagolee's Restaurant Review - Southern American Cuisine

The deep south has landed in Fulham. And it's hotter than you can imagine.

The Texan and Tennessee natives Ashley James and Jordan Harris have graced London with an exciting new flavour. Stagolee's - an authentic southern American chicken and liquor joint.

I'm tired, so very tired, of lacklustre and soul-less meals. Isn't southern food supposed to be cooked with spice, comfort and tastes just like Mama makes it? So why is London, the foodie capital lacking a true representation of African-American cuisines? We know all about their music and culture, but we cannot taste their lifestyle.

I was so delighted to have been invited to Stagolee's Restaurant tasting night. It was fantastic to have met another food blogger, Haydy!

My bestie, Ruby and I entered the hot joint leaving our calorie-counting minds behind because we were ready for the comforting taste of the deep south.

We were treated to the familiar fried chicken with mac n cheese. However, the flavours that bounced on my taste buds weren't so familiar. I thought it would be like any other chicken and mac I've had before. I'm glad I was so wrong.

The hot chicken didn't burn my mouth, as Ashley warned us to eat with caution. But I could taste the heat coming from the delicious and enticing spices. The mac was creamy and cheesy and soaked in goodness. At long last, I had an opportunity where I could try Collard Greens! I've heard about it in so many rap songs, and now I know why they're all singing about it.

After the starters, deviled eggs and cheesy crap dips, I WAS FULL. Full to the brim. No more could travel down my oesophagus.

And then they brought out a team of key lime pie and fried doughnut balls. They sat there, looking smug, they knew I couldn't resist. Somehow the key lime pie slid into my stomach very easily. Could it be the smoothness of the cream or the bittersweetness from the lime? I don't know. Ashley must have put some magic in her food.

She assures to everyone that everything on the menu is made from scratch. She was proud of that. And so she should be. Everything is guaranteed to be made from her love and passion for food. She created Stagolee's menu from her grandma's recipes. You can't get any more authentic than that.

There is one thing that makes me want to come back to Stagolee's faster than you can say, 'get in ma belly!' Moonshine. Yep, they serve Moonshine there. Remember those hillbillies in The Simpsons that always seem drunk? They're chugging on a bottle with three X's written on it. The magical Moonshine. It reminded me of whisky but less harsh and a lot smoother. Their moonshine cocktails are notoriously impressive. Jordan offered Ruby a shot of that magic and then she had to chase it down with watermelon juice. She did not even flinch - she asked for more.

And already, Ruby has been back! She enjoyed Stagolee's Bottomless Brunch. She texted me saying she got 'absolutely f**king hammered' and sent me a picture of her food captioning it 'f**k yes'.
I guess we can imagine she loved it, even more, the second time round.

I can't get the hot fried chicken flavours off my taste buds. I think that's a message I need to have a second visit. Am I an addict now? Let's call it chicken crack.

If you're ever in the West London area or need a 'pick me up' meal packed with sensational and authentic food. Go to Stagolee's London Restaurant. Also, you'll fall in love with the staff there. Their excitable personality's match the joy of the food.

Slovenia Travel Guide / Day Two

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Slovenia Travel Guide / Day Two

I am counting down the days until I go on my summer holiday. 9 days precisely. I'll be heading out to Minorca, Spain, for 6 nights.

I'm dreaming about showering 2 - 3 times a day (because the sweat will refuse to leave my skin), deciding how many flip flops I need to pack, drinking more beer than water, eating chips probably every day and getting used to constant Spanish heat.

But before I start to blog about my up-and-coming getaway I need to finish my Slovenia Travel Guide!

Day two, out of three, was the definitely the busiest day. My FitBit was confused, "I didn't know a person could do this much walking?" 

We started the morning hiring a car to travel towards the coast of Slovenia. If you've read my post beforehand you'd understand how diverse the Slovenian landscape is. Our plan was to go to Skocjan Cave and then to the old coastal town Piran. Cave exploring, then seaside strolling! All in one afternoon.

Skocjan isn't the only cave Slovenia possesses. There is an abundance of underground travelling locations in this leafy country. I've never been on a subterranean adventure before. Therefore I had no idea how frightening it would be. 

Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any photos. I don't think my camera would have been able to capture the vastness and darkness of the natural wonder. 

We entered through a man-made passage, which led us to another trail amongst weird formations that are thousands of years old. At this point, I thought that was what the Skocjan cave had to offer. Just a walking guide to see some old rocky things. What I didn't know was that we were walking deeper and deeper into the Earth. 

As the tour guide led us down the pathway, pointing out how those strange formations were formed, her voice began to echo. I could hear an immense gush of falling water. Her voice echoed even more as she dragged us further along. And then crashing of the waterfall engulfed her speech. I stood there in absolute silence. My whole back shivered, my knees shook and my grip clung on tighter to the trusted rail. 

We were standing on a cliff, in the underground canyon. 

How is it possible to find a waterfall underground? How is it possible to be underground but it feels like you're on top of the world?

I will direct you to photos of this Indiana Jones-esque cave, it gives me goosebumps reflecting on my experience. 

And as the tour drew to a close, I could see a beam of light entering the cave. I've never been so happy to see light and the sky. We took a small hike back up to the car and started another journey to Piran. 

Piran is a gorgeous Italian inspired town. This Mediterranean hot spot is rich with colour and history. Plenty of picturesque buildings right next to the glowing blue sea. And across the sea, you'd find Venice, perched right opposite like neighbours. 

This is why I would highly recommend Slovenia. It has every activity and landscape you'd want. I needed a quiet and old town after the intense excursion. I needed fresh seafood and lots of Aperol Spritz right by the water. I needed a long sigh and a location where I could rest my feet from the day's adventure.

DATE NIGHT / Pergola On The Roof, Paddington Central

Thursday, 22 June 2017

DATE NIGHT / Pergola On The Roof, Paddington Central

If you can't find me behind a computer, applying to a galore of internships and graduate jobs, then I'll probably be sipping a pale ale in a beer garden somewhere. AH - the life of a hipster in unemployment. Bliss.

You must be an Instagram rookie if you haven't seen a single picture of someone enjoying their late afternoon at one of the Pergola branches. 

I don't want to jinx this, but this may be my favourite summer in London. I think it's because I've missed this city so much when I was in Coventry. There are more and more summertime joints popping up around Shoreditch and Brixton. And for me, the most indecisive person, it's becoming harder to figure out where date nights or brunches should be at. When I pick up Time Out London Magazines, I dog-ear or tear out articles on the "must-check-out" hotspots. 

But Pergola on the Roof has been at the top of my list for a while. 

The closest one to me is the Shepherd's Bush branch right next to Westfield, which has been open for a while. But I was in the mood to check out the Pergola on the Roof Paddington Central. Paddington reminds me of busy streets, St Mary's Hospital and heaps of tourists bumping into you. Leo hasn't been there before because it's not really a place I'd show off to people. 

I heard that 'KERB' food market is incredible there, and the environment has spruced up a lil. So, why not check it out?!

As we got off at Paddington Station via Bakerloo line I saw a bunch of twenty-something-year-old girls, wearing mirrored Ray-Bans, rocking the latest Topshop floral dresses paired with white converses. They were dressed for day-drinking. 

"They must be going to Pergola," I whispered to Leo.

"How do you know?" Leo replied.

"Well, they're obviously not going to St. Mary's Hospital..."

Thus, we proceeded to follow them.

Our stalker-ish mannerisms seemed to work out well. They led us straight to Pergola! Honestly, if you really want to spend an afternoon in the sun with well-known restaurants beside you. Go to Paddington Central. They have this grassy amphitheatre seating area which looked so snug. Restaurants arrayed outdoor tables and chairs for the al-fresco lovers. It was a lovely little hub for us cosmopolitans. 

Now, onto my Pergola on the Roof review. 

We arrived at the desk, obviously we weren't organised enough to have reserved a table but luck was on our side. We perched at a table-sharing wooden bench in the middle of bars and street food spots. Our favourite Patty & Bun and DF Mexico resided there. Hand on heart, my most loved burger joint HAS to be Patty & Bun. And I don't know where to get a better taco than DF Mexico. 

Beer, cider, tacos, burgers and sun. You could see the excitement welling up in Leo's and my eyes. 

Pergola was ramo (Leo's word for packed and busy)! So many groups of people chatting and drinking their weekday blues away. There was a point when I felt like I was in Made in Chelsea. A swanky group of socialites decided to stand instead sit and waved their champagne flutes around. Leo asked me if 'that guy in the blue shirt' was famous. I shook my head. He just looked like your very attractive and oozing with confidence typical Chelsea boy.

I could have spent more hours people watching and digging into more street food. I would love to try the Raw Press plant-based dishes. I know Leo would want some oysters from Decatur. 

The only let down was the drinks menu wasn't extensive. I don't think the drinks were overly pricey because I do understand that comes hand-in-hand with rooftop bars. But, as it is a rooftop bar I would have liked to experience an array of craft beers, or more exciting cocktails than your regular Pimm's or Aperol Spritiz (even though I can't get enough of that bitter orange stuff!). 

Overall, I don't know of other welcoming, fun and trendy rooftop bars quite like this one. I would definitely go back! Definitely. And next time I will eat more and drink more.

Pergola on the Roof, summer's hotspot. 

I realised I didn't take a picture of the actual bar, so here's one from Pergola's Instagram!

Personal Shopping in Topshop

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Personal Shopping in Topshop

This time two weeks ago I was invited to Topshop's launch of Personal Shopping. 

It was the hottest day I've ever experienced in the West Midlands. And my denim mini skirt begged to make an appearance on this glorious day. 

I love it when I can go to events and bring along friends. What's a better way to spend a summer's evening than sipping on cocktails and having conversations all about fashion? They could not say no to this invite. 

When we arrived to Birmingham Bullring Shopping Centre, we headed straight to Topshop. Their massive store was buzzing with excitement. Funky and party music welcomed us as we entered the store.

Some of you may know that a few exclusive Topshop branches have Personal Shopping services. 

Yeah, you heard me correctly. There is a specialised Topshop stylist who can show you the 'must-haves' and the 'got-to-buys' that suit your style. It's all about you! Whether you want a gorgeous holiday look, need some inspiration for your work wardrobe, or willing to jazz up your personal style. This Personal Shopping service is much more reliable than dragging your partner or friend around Topshop asking for their opinions. We all know they just want to sit down or get out promptly.

Topshop's Personal Shopping experience is completely complimentary. Yeah, you are definitely hearing me perfectly fine! You don't have to spend any money to receive their personal shopping service and advice. 

In Birmingham Bullring Topshop, the stylists showed me and my friends what's in store for summer trends. Floaty and floral Topshop dresses, gingham (of course) and casual khaki jackets are in for summertime. Has anyone seen those shiny silver boots they have in store? My gawddd, I NEED them.

I had a conversation with my friends about what I want to wear this summer. I'm all about off-the-shoulder tops and crop tops, but ones that don't show my whole stomach. High-waisted trousers, mini skirts and floral but tighter fitted dresses. 

If you wanted to use Topshop Personal Shopping, you can book an appointment and highlight what your style is and what you're lusting over. But if you're like me, and can't put a finger on what your exact style is, I'd suggest creating a mood board or a Pinterest board (have a look at mine!) This way it can highlight aspects and certain items you've been eyeing up lately. I've placed a few inspo outfits below of the kind of styles that I'd be searching for in Topshop.  

I honestly think this is the most effective way to change things up if you're feeling uninspired about your personal style. We are so likely to pick the same-old garments and become safe in our styles. This experience gives you a new perspective and reveals clothes that you may have never tried on before. 

Also I forget to say you'll get your own spacious dressing room. How gorgeous do they look? Plus, you can do group personal shopping! Imagine, you and your friends planning a 'girl gang' look for your Ibiza holiday? All your outfits coordinating together like Little Mix. It may sound super cheesy but your Instagram would look fiiiiiierce!