W Y, I NYFW OFC!!

(Why yes, it’s New York Fashion Week OF COURSE!)

 

Fashion week. Faaaaaaashion week fashion week fashion week. It’s just…delicious. I love fashion week every year. Usually I sit on the computer in the evenings and scour the latest collections, but I must say this year I have been, *slaps wrists enthusiastically* very preoccupied.

Now I have a free day I can delve into what I have missed so far, what I;m loving, what has surprised me, and of course, what influences am I going to be carrying forward to coming seasons.

 

KATE SPADE

I am new to Kate Spade. We have not been formerly introduced, I cannot call her ‘Katie’ just yet, but my my, WHAT an introduction. Her NYFW presentation immediately grabbed me whilst I was catching up, and mainly because of the influences she cited.

Anybody who wants to cite Liza Minelli and Ella Fitzgerald as muses, already has me shaking my pom-poms for her. The bright popping reds and dreamy rose chiffon that looks like a second skin, just OH MY GOD shoot me. The shoes. The cute but geeky block heels and flats that won’t kill me. The big, huge Cossack style cream hats that just ooze glamour when really, they probably shouldn’t; for me it’s the perfect blend of weird and girly the stuff of dreams. It’s beautiful, it’s eye-flutteringly cute, and it’s not totally unwearable. I mean, I could totally see myself in the houndstooth coat on the right there…hint…hint.

Kate Spade New York Has a New "Geeky-Chic" Look for Fall

ALEXANDER WANG

Oh wow. This was just…dribbly. Even though I like to be influenced by some more preppy, ‘art teacher’ style outfits (because they actually suit my body type), I can’t help but run with gay abandon to Alexander Wang’s presentation. It’s just everything I want and more. Edgy patterned tights with chokers. Models looking like they’ve crawled up from sewers and decided to strut on the runway. Unapologetic, sharp grubby-ness that makes me all warm and gooey, all the way down to my leaking Doc Martens. There was denim, with lots of fluffy knits and a dark palette mixed with the odd splash of neon pink. It was a Tumbler moment, most definitely.
To me, they looked liked the kind of girls I’d want to impress on a night out. The girls who I’d try and smoke in front of. The girls that would stand in the corner of a club not dancing, and that would be more alluring.
Oh, and I need this jumper.

RODARTE

I know what you are going to say. I know.
“It’s not exactly wearable everyday, is it?”
No, it isn’t.
“I thought you were going on about wearability up there.”
Well, yes, I was.
“So, you’ve just, changed your mind?!”
Yes. Yes I did.
I defy ANYONE who can look at the Rodarte collection and not want to wear every, single stitch on those model’s bodies. It’s beautiful. It’s vampy. It’s so gothic glam I want to throw up, put some lace and leather on it, then gaze moodily at it.
The sequins. The lace. The fishnets with ruffled boots is just TOO MUCH. There were huge  multi-coloured long fur coats, which nod to the 70’s resurgence, the layering is perfect for F/W 2016 AND the dark lip/bare face trend that I love SO VERY DEARLY.
Yes, I got very overexcited about this collection.
And can I just take a minute over the white, bridal looks please. They are just..wowsers trousers. I want to wear a veil now. Every day. And if anybody asks me why I shall stare blankly at their faces, for I am a lost soul.
For me, I loved the prior two designers I mentioned, but Rodarte was a real standout. Any designer that can railroad my dislike for ostentatious designs and get me strung out like a junkie, definitely has my vote.
I’m getting married in this, don’t even care.
Advertisements

THE ULTIMATE YOGI 108

My gorgeous man friend got me The Ultimate Yogi DVD selection, and for Valentines Day he completed the set with with a Manduka mat, towel and yoga strap. I’d been moaning and whining for months about my home yoga practice, how I didn’t have anything and basically had to work on a hard wood floor – not cute on them knees.

He listened. He took in. He interpreted into the best mat IN THE WORLD and the most intense home yoga pack I have ever encountered.

I am no stranger to a YouTube yoga video. I love them, I like to do my own thing if I’m only focusing on Sun Salutations, but if I want to mix it up I venture into the calming underbelly of YouTube.

I’ve done so many different videos. So many. I don’t even remember half of the lovely, tanned, (pretty much exclusively) American beauties who are Downward Dogging their ways into my heart, but I have loved and relished every single one. Some were more informative than others, some helped you with your alignment throughout and others assumed that you knew what you were doing (hah, ha…) and took you through a vigorous flow.

So, I am no stranger to being instructed through the medium of video. I know my own limitations, and I know that I can drop into child’s pose, just like any normal class.

 

 

 

But Ultimate Yogi IS NO normal class. It’s a lifestyle.

 

 

 

Your guide is Travis Eliot, a typical hunky American dude, whose voice is slightly annoying. Ok. That’s a lie, it’s SO. ABSOLUTELY. ANNOYING. But only sometimes. Let me explain.

He does this voice occasionally, and it seems to be when he’s trying to be calming during a particularly strenuous flow. Hee taaaaaaalks, just like thiiiiiis, but rassssssspy, and more foooooorcefullllll, and allllll I can focus ooooooon, is the rhythm oooof his voiiiiiiiiiiiice. He takes paaaaaauses, where ther shouuuuuldn’t be, a pause, and then carrrrries, on. Sometimes he rhyyyyymes, whilst you are in chaturangaaaaaaaaa, and it makes me, want to crrrrrrrryyyy, and screeeeeeam in angerrrrrrrr (his rhymes are better than mine).

I know that annoying voices are endemic in yoga videos. I know, and maybe I am being very harsh; this lovely man is making me the Ultimate Yogi! How DARE I poke fun at his voice, but…it’s so annoying.

Photo on 15-02-2016 at 13.44

So, voice a solid 8/10 on the annoying scale.

 

The first day on the programme you are scheduled in to do an hour of CrossTrain yoga, with a session of Hardcore and 10 minute meditation.

Now, we are all friends here so I’m not even going to lie to you and say I did the Hardcore. I’m not in the business of fibbing. And here is why: I am reasonably fit, I like to think, I do 45 minutes of yoga a day and (used to, sob) walk an hour a day to and from work. Fairly active, wouldn’t you say. But when I am greeted by the phrase ‘Hardcore’, I quietly shrink away like the very frightened slightly cardio-phobic field mouse that I am.

“I don’t do yoga to do ‘hardcore’”, I angrily thought, “I do yoga, to be flexible, and calm…and…and be strong without really trying very hard…”Ah, well there is our problem.

I was kind of under the illusion that I would magically get strong, without really sweating, by bending down and stretching a bit. I was utterly horrified that this lean, but incredibly toned man, would make me actually do a work out.

Photo on 15-02-2016 at 13.44 #2.jpg

A 9/10 for scaring new candidates into not doing parts of your programme.

 

After the session of CrossTrain I was so sweaty I wanted to cry, but I was elated. I had never felt the ‘glow’, the serotonin boost that you get from working out. I had never felt it, and never had the inclination to feel it. But I did after this session. It was gorgeous, tingly, and I had a smug face on all day.

I understood our Travis’ weird smug voice instantly.

I’ve just finished off Week One today, still a Hardcore virgin, but I’m looking forward to maybe dipping my toe in that pool next week. The rest of the classes went extremely well. The first three days are gnarly as fuck, CrossTrain, Cardio and Strength, respectively, are all nuts. I haven’t ever sweated so much, ached so much, but loved every single minute of it. Today was the Mountain Poses and Pranayama Breathing; even though I enjoyed it, I was looking for my burn. I wanted my tingly smugness back.

I would highly recommend this programme to any yogi who wants to take the next step into fitness and vitality. My skin is starting to glow, and I am starting to get more energy.

Photo on 15-02-2016 at 13.45 #2

A resoundingly positive 8/10 for the first week.

Dreaaaaams, dream drea-NOT!

Getting your dream job isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, you achieve your ambitions, or your goal, but if you’re like me, then that goal may possibly change position, in ooh, say 5 minutes?

I’m a butterfly minded child, I switch focus with each blow of the wind unless something roots me down. If I find a project interesting or stimulating, I will sit for hours and obsess to the absolute degree.

I was like that with ‘finding my dream job’. I did English and Creative Writing at University, and did pretty well for myself. I started working at a Publisher’s, paid, and was even allowed to ACTUALLY do some editing within the first month.

I absolutely loved it there, the knowledge of strolling into work in the morning, knowing that I got to read, and write blog posts for a living still astounds me to this day. I spent a whole afternoon researching Kundalini yoga, specifically the erogenous Moon Centres of women, all for a blog post. My job was cool.

I know you are all sensing a big old, juicy lucy BUT waddling on over here, and of course, you are right.

I was made redundant on Monday due to downsizing, but have been kept on retainer as a freelance editor. I will get sent Final Line Edit’s for UK authors, and I get to edit them.

Sweet.

When I got told about the redundancy, I was strangely euphoric. This euphoria lasted 2 days, until I started to come down and kind of assess my situation. I have been made redundant, but I do still sort of have a job. Right. Well, erm, what do I do now?

I think this s a common thing for graduates. We line ourselves up for the ‘obvious’ career path after our degree – you did English? You will be a teacher/editor/HR manager (obvs) – but if that path ends rather abruptly you get sort of, well, lost.

I now realise my odd euphoria was being cut free from a dress I didn’t necessarily want to buy but looked really lovely on the hanger. Everyone I worked with was lovely but incredibly quiet. I spent some days barely speaking to anyone. The promises that were made to me never came to fruition. The dress didn’t look as good as it did on the hanger.

I guess what I’m trying to say through strange, thinly veiled metaphor, is that if you decide that something is your dream job, then it turns out not to be, that it’s ok. You don’t have to do the one thing anymore, hell, you don’t have to do ANY career if you don’t want to. You can make your own. I am starting to realise that I am, in fact, the master of my own destiny, and if I’m not enjoying a job as much as I thought, then only I can change that. As soon as you realise that you don’t actually have to answer to anyone but yourself, then life becomes a little sweeter.

I’ll let you know how I get on x

New year, same chilblains

The New Year has only just begun, and like every  body else in the known universe I have been thinking how I could make this year better, what I’m going to do differently, and how I’m going to grow.

It’s the same each year. You’ve eaten so much shit the past two weeks that you feel a gnawing guilt, (probably just indigestion) and feel that you have to go on a mad detox to shed the pounds of duck fat and Quality Street.

I think it’s incredibly important to see this time of year definitely as a time for growth, expansion, the hatching of new ideas for your year and where you want to be headed. However. I do think it’s incredibly dangerous for all people (not just women) to feel extreme pressures into feeling guilty about letting loose over the festive period.

From as early as Bonfire Night, we were encouraged on mass to buy in more party food than we could ever stuff into our faces, buy overpriced pieces of plastic that our children would rather play with the box (or god forbid, play with their own parents?!?!?!?), and drink so much that we end up screaming at our boyfriends whilst others lie in the street, still nursing their pint. We have been encouraged to ‘go wild’, because it’s ‘the festive season and we should treat ourselves’.

Yes. We should treat ourselves, absolutely. But ACTUALLY treat ourselves. Feed ourselves and love ourselves and our loved ones around us because for fuck’s sake life is so cruelly short to inhibit yourself and feel horrendous, all because you drank a bottle of prosecco everyday since December 15th.

So instead, this January season, I’m not going to ‘detox’ (read: starve yourself for two weeks then go on a horrendous binge mission), or cut out carbs or beat myself up for not being a good enough person. I’ve given myself the resolution of being kinder. To myself, to everybody. To nourish myself, with healthy, good food, and carry on with my yoga practice. I want to get to January 2017 and be able to look back and think, fuck, I was so healthy. I really created some nutty stuff.

I want to nourish my creativity and explore what I am capable of.

The reason why I am ranting about myself (natch) is that I want anybody who reads this (and any of my coming posts this year) not with contempt, not with jealousy or defensiveness, but the ability to acknowledge and accept what I am trying to accomplish.
I use the term jealousy not in the typical way, but in the sense of “I want to do that, I feel bad for not doing that, I want to be able to do that”; the self-deprecating jealousy. Too often, I’m stricken by the very same nasty green eyed fug. I read these amazing fashion blogs by these insanely gorgeous, incredible creatives that live in the heart of London and are just Kill.Ing.It. I want their lives; mine always seems so drab and grey in comparison, and I just want  to go through the web and skin them and TAKE THEIR LIVES.

This year = no more. I want to encourage nourishment in terms of creativity, spirituality and physically, and to realise that even though we only understand light because of darkness, we don’t have to mark our own achievements by what other people are doing. We aren’t doing really well at work because a girl you knew from secondary school is still stuck in the same job she’s had since she was 16. Maybe she’s insanely happy, she could be a manager someday and you could lose your job because you weren’t focused enough. Life isn’t about who you have the upper hand on, or who has the upper hand on you. It’s about your journey, and helping those around you have the best ride too.

I want everyone who is reading this to have an amazing year, and I can’t wait to hear what you all get up to.

 

Just call me Arnie

I’ve been thinking about bravery a lot since my last post, and it’s a notion that I’m really entranced by.

Eons upon eons ago we were entrenched in the patriarchal ideal of ‘the Brave Man’who hunted, gathered, killed the bad guy only in a pair of jeans and porking the skinny blonde who’s boobies are 1/3 of her body weight. More (I’m sad to say) in the 90s/2000s we were introduced to the Brave Woman, the woman who had babies as they built their careers, standing up and demanding that their opinions counted, or at least were allowed to be heard. Now we have the Soldiers, those who stand guard of the trans community, the physically and mentally less-able, who battle endlessly on Tumblr and Instagram as they fight anybody who utters any form of phobic remark. Glamour magazine’s Woman of the Year was Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, for the bravery she showed throughout her transition as she finally gave a high profile voice to the transgender community.

I would never suggest that any of the above isn’t brave. That’s typically the format of my posts: I suggest a notion and then I thwart it with a counter argument, however this isn’t the case. I believe each of these things to be brave, even the hegemonic ideal of The Brave Man. All because it is a term that typically was owned by men, doesn’t mean it was never accurate. For example, my boyfriend owns his own business, pays his rent and also saves me from the bad guys of my life; I’m no longer blonde but yes, my boobies do take up 1/3 of my body. All because these are big bouts of bravery, doesn’t mean that anything less isn’t; much like the ideal of The Brave Man, these huge feats of bravery shouldn’t claim the term solely for themselves.

I had an incredibly interesting discussion with an incredibly lady in my life, where we discussed anxiety and life in general at great depth. She said

“if it’s 5pm and you’re still in your pjs because you’ve been too anxious to do life at all that day then that’s alright, do some boo-hoos, watch Netflix and go get ’em tomorrow instead”.

And I happen to believe she’s right.

All because we have these huge, unattainable ideas of what ‘being brave’ should be, doesn’t mean that our every day life shouldn’t show bravery. All because no, actually, I’m not in the depths of depression, or fighting cancer, or being attacked on a daily basis for my sexuality or gender (it makes me so mad that people are getting abuse because they are in the wrong body, just, how is that a thing in today’s society), doesn’t mean that I’m not brave.

I am brave.

I am brave for trying to live my life in the exact way that I choose, and not allowing other people’s opinions to drive me. I am brave because I have dealt with some quite horrible things that happened to me and not allowing myself to be defined by them. I am brave because I acknowledge all of my weaknesses, but also love myself for my strengths.

The bravest thing that anyone can do is to kiss their negative demons on the cheek, hold them in their arms and ask them to dance with all of their positives.

download (2)

 

Passive, not aggressive

Being an incredibly passive person by nature is so much harder than many people realise. It seems like the easiest ride, the classic “I don’t care about where I go to eat or what we watch on TV,” but it’s actually fraught with potholes and loose paving steps.

For example, take my week. While I haven’t been working, I’ve found myself spending more and more time ‘vegging out’; watching telly or reading a book, Because I can’t make a decision and can’t actively go out and do something constructive. Don’t get me wrong, it is super fun, but because I’m such a weird medley of incredibly passive and nervous energy, I find myself going absolutely bananas. I can’t be inside for longer the 24 hours without wanting to jam pencils in my eyes, but choosing to go for a walk seems too difficult. Where would I go? What would I do when I get there? It’s all a big old mess.

I’ve been waiting to hear back from the dream job, which in itself causes a problem. They are taking ages to get back to me, so Old Passive Radford would take that as a ‘no’ weeks ago and left it there. Thankfully, I’m living with a go-getter, and without him constantly pushing me I wouldn’t have got to the stage in the process where I am now. He made me email them, pestering them not to forget about me. I’ve had a couple of forms to fill in and an editing test, so hopefully I hear back from them this week.

You other passive peeps know what I’m talking about. Somewhere along the line in our development, we’ve encountered incredibly strongly opinionated people, who have made us fulfilling our own dreams and desires seem wholly impossible, as it would mean putting their own on the back of the stove. Mine came not only in the shape of family members, but friends AND partners, so you can see the sticky wicket I’ve got myself into. When you surround yourself with strong, opinionated loud types, you’ve got to be able to stand your ground. Typically I can, but when I’m shoved, rather than pushed, I will happily go with the flow to avoid any kind of scene. If somebody staunchly questions my ideas, I’m the first to back down.

I am slowly getting my mojo back after a couple of rough, anxiety ridden weeks, and being able to eloquently put my own point and opinion across without being an arsehole is proving difficult. As a passive, I don’t do the whole ‘silent huff’ treatment well because I think it’s entirely pointless, however at the minute I’m finding it an easier fork to take. Recently, I’ve been so frustrated with my own brain and my own shortcomings, that when I try and voice any differing view to parents or friends it comes out as me being a bitch. I get defensive. I turn nasty. These aren’t traits that I want to cultivate, but I’m finding as each day develops I’m almost nurturing these seedlings of resentment, anger, and bubbling frustration.

Therefore, the passive has to be put to bed. To help all other passives, I have decided to be a guinea pig and try out a new method and see if this works.

  1. Take a deep breath when an opposing idea is put forward. Before instantly saying yes, breathe. Think about what has been put forward; is it the best idea for the situation? You are allowed to stick to your guns.
  2. Don’t get bitchy. This is more for me than anyone else, because when I get frustrated I either get silent or personal. Think, the person who you are talking to is completely entitled to their opinion, and their opinion doesn’t intrinsically mean “You are wrong, Grace”. It means “I have this thought, what do you think?” Unfortunately, this kind of defensive behaviour is born from anxiety, but it something I am starting to deal with.
  3. If you get the sinking feeling after you’ve agreed to something, just to save an argument, think was it worth it? Value your opinion enough to think that maybe you could help someone see things in a different way, maybe your way is the better one. There’s no unwritten rule that says minds can’t be changed.

Agreeing for the sake of not having an argument is never the right reason to agree to something. In itself, you are actually not valuing the opposing opinion at all; if anything you are actually being incredibly disrespectful. Alex said to me once that by just agreeing to whatever he said, I wasn’t actually listening to his reasoning for what he believes in. In not listening to him and just agreeing, I’m actually completely shutting him down, I’m silently shouting “I don’t care what you think.”

Being truly passive doesn’t mean you don’t make choices; it just means you can’t handle the repercussions.

Wine, wine, wine, Delilah?

I love making things from scratch. This isn’t purely food, or fashion looks, but is broadened to the wider sense in everything that I do. I want to learn how to make my own jam, and soon I’m going to be making a big circle coat because I’m poor and have an insatiable thirst for clothes.
Last year, Alex and I made our first lot of home brewed wine; it had to be mostly watered down with lemonade and everyone who drank it cried. The second lot we made tasted like more of a liqueur than wine, and we haven’t really been brave enough to try it since.

Now we have our own airing cupboard, we’ve started to brew again. We found that instead of doing it with actual fruit (that’s what we used for the liqueur one), we decided to use fruit juice instead. I sent Alex off with his rucksack and he perused M&S, trying to find the most outlandish juice he could find. We went with apple, blackcurrant, fig, and carrot, which did have bits in but we can sieve them out when it’s finished.

We read up on what we sort of needed to do, but again due to the nature of my “wanting to make everything from scratch, myself” we decided to wing it a little bit. There’s also a hilariously named website called What Would Jesus Brew, which we used to help us along the way.

YOU WILL NEED

  • 1x demijohn
  • 1x airlock and bung
  • 1x funnel
  • 6x empty wine bottles
  • 1x pack of steriliser
  • 1x pack of yeast nutrient
  • 1x pack of yeast
  • 2x packs of brewing sugar
  • 1x siphoning tube
  • lukewarm water
  1. First, the most important thing to do is sterilise every single piece of equipment you are going to use. It is absolutely vital that you do this, because any bacteria that is hanging out in your demijohn, or the bung, can completely effect the taste of the home brew – it could even turn it into vinegar.

IMG_0072

2. We used four bottles of the juice, but first we only put one bottle in. Then, we added 1tsp of yeast nutrient and 1tsp of yeast, mixing it round with the juice we’d already put in. We then added the sugar. Apparently, there’s a specific measurement you are supposed to use, where you work out the sugar content of the juice and then you know how much brewing sugar to add. Alex loosely worked it out as about 1kg of brewing sugar, and I wasn’t worried much about it so we went ahead. The only difference the sugar makes is how dry/sweet you like our wine; we like it medium so we only did the one bag.

3. After putting all the sugar in we added the other 3 bottles of juice, topping up the rest with the lukewarm water. Make sure you only fill it to the top of the curve, any more full it will explode during the brewing (like ours did).

IMG_0074 Really, this is a little full and it did explode a little bit during the first night. Fill it just to the curve.

4. So, you should get something like this. We put the bung in the top of the demijohn and waited. It was a bit cold in the flat when we started, and we wanted to prod the yeast along a little bit, so we gave it a bit of a hair dry to encourage the fermentation. Then, we tucked him away in our airing cupboard.

IMG_0075    Look how cute he is.

5. Now we sit and wait. It should bubble away now for 3/4 weeks, then leave it for a further 4 weeks till it stops bubbling. When you’re ready, sterilise all the bottles and cork them with your beautiful, yummy, alcoholic scrumminess. To pour it in, you can use the siphoning tube.

Making your own wine is the best fun, because not only are you making something cool for yourself, but you can also slap a bow on them and give them as gifts. As we are the poorest of  paupers, we are going to dish them out as Christmas presents; who doesn’t love a boozy holiday tiding?