Life without dessert.

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smash-cake-9Adjusting to life without dessert has been an incredibly difficult and immensely lame requirement in my life of late. And, sadly for my sweet tooth, life is looking up and up and up since I cut the white stuff out.

It’s all the rage right now with more and more people becoming aware of the perils of sugar and jumping on the I Quit Sugar bandwagon. Instagram, Facebook, blogs; if you’ve not heard about it you might be living in a cave. And speaking of cave, it’s kind of similar to the paleo diet, with no requirement to do Crossfit alongside it. Don’t even get me started on Crossfit. (I should mention here a big shout out to all my friends who are currently immersed in the world of Crossfit – you are better women than I!)

I’ve been off sugar for about 3 or so months now as my body decided it just didn’t want to metabolise it anymore, and while I feel tremendously well and focused and happy with the change, living in this modern world and not being able to eat sugar is like being forced to live in the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. You know the bit, when they finally go into Willy Wonka’s factory and they’re in that room where everything is made of sugar and they’re eating the trees and drinking the river and there are giant gummy bears and everything! That’s what it’s like. Well, if you added in a castle made of doughnuts, and maybe a beach where the sand is breadcrumbs and the ocean would be a blue Slurpee. Yeah, that’s more accurate.

As torturous as it is sometimes, the name of the game is organisation. I feel like this is really good practice for if I ever become a mum. My bag is snack-central. Hungry? No problem. Nuts? Berries? Perhaps some popcorn with sea salt, or maybe some pumpkin seeds? Living without sugar is a life lesson people and I think I might be killing it.

A word of advice, don’t expect to be able to make a gluten free, sugar free cake and have it taste like a regular cake. It just won’t happen. It goes against the laws of nature. It will be dense, and it might taste weird. The sooner you accept that, the easier it will be.

Tips I’ve learned over the last few months:

1. Expect for people to not only think you’re a little bit nutty, but that you might actually be completely batshit crazy

2. Don’t ever enforce your decision on others, no one likes that and you’ll sound even more mental than they think you already are

3. Coconuts will be your saving grace. Everything’s better with coconut

4. If you want dessert, order the cheese plate

I do sound like I’m whinging, but I wish I’d had a bit more of a warning about how hard it was going to be. It’s reality really, cutting out anything that we’ve always had (and had in abundance, even if we didn’t realise) is always going to be hard and you should be prepared for it. But don’t trust me, because I don’t know what I’m talking about, if you want more information check out Sarah Wilson’s website www.sarahwilson.com.au, she has a load of really amazing information on it and she’s a much more trustworthy source of information, I mean, I almost cheated and went to the vending machine tonight…luckily it was out of order.

Remember, order the cheese plate. Cheese will never let you down. Unless you’re lactose intolerant. In which case I advise you buy Lactaid.

xx

gluten free christmas plans and my first trip to the Emerald Isle

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630-1-Christmas_Card_Photo

Tomorrow marks the 1st of December. Where does the time go? Mostly it goes to hours spent in the pub I think. Also online shopping. Certainly nowhere wholesome and rewarding like a yoga studio or serving in a soup kitchen.

Before we reach that turning point of the New Year, where we decide to quit bad food and the drink and endeavour to haul our lazy asses to the gym everyday in the rain and snow, we have a fully-fledged unadulterated 4 weeks of hardcore boozing and eating all the things that are bad for us – largely consisting of post-booze kebabs at 4am. There will be an unspeakable number of pints consumed, countless calories and very little sleep had. All the while finishing up our year at work, trying to stay awake at our desks and pretending we’re not still drunk from the night before.

awksxmas14-jpg-3155851323304718I love the holidays.

Tomorrow also marks the day that Christmas music used to start playing in the shops, however these days they tend to start in November which has resulted in several people expressing their Christmas music fuelled hate rage blackouts on various social media platforms. Nothing like some contemporary covers of Christmas hymns to get you in the spirit, right? It reminds me of that summer I worked in the mall and I had to listen to the Destiny’s Child Christmas albumn for 5 weeks straight and I wanted to stab everyone within a kilomentre radius of me.

This will be the 2nd year my Christmas will be gluten free, and I’ll be in Ireland with Simon and his mum. This is also the first time I’ll be meeting his mother so the pressure is on to impress. Do you know what’s not impressive? Meeting someone for the first time during a holiday heavily based around eating and having food restrictions, that’s what. Not that I’m not perfectly capable (and likely) to spend hours in the kitchen preparing GF food that not only I can eat but others will enjoy; it wouldn’t be Christmas if I wasn’t spending the majority of my time in an apron (I’m nothing if not wildly domestic, you see), but it’s still annoying.

I’m already tucking away some great recipes that I feel might earn me some brownie points, but whenever I look at the list of ingredients and I see something mildly obscure I panic and put that item on my mental list to pre-purchase in London just in case I can’t get it in Ireland. This is entirely unreasonable as Ireland is not a 3rd world country where one cannot purchase gluten-free bread…it’s not, right? I’ve never been there before and the panic is setting in and my Christmas menu is slowly disintergrating. As if Christmas (and meeting the parents) wasn’t stressful enough. At this rate my entire suitcase will be filled with xantham gum and flaked coconut.

There are also a couple disclaimers that should be sent to family and friends pre our arrival in a few weeks: 1) I have a natural sarcastic tone to my voice. It is not my fault, I am Australian, I can’t help it and I don’t even know I’m doing it. This flaw, in my otherwise perfect existence (lies!), has been the cause of many misunderstandings, like when I thanked the cab driver – “Thanks so much, that was super helpful” – and it sounded like this “Thanks SO much, that was suuuuper helpful” (you kind of lose the effect in text, but note that this should be said with an exaggerated sarcastic tone). Needless to say Simon looked at me in horror like I was a bitchy alien with 3 heads. Again, not my fault. And 2) If I am spending the majority of my time in the kitchen, helping and cooking and cleaning and what not, I swear I am not trying to suck up to you. Really I’m not. I am just like that. Honestly, I swear.

To all of y’all who are dreaming of a holiday devoid of the terrors of gluten, and are fully aware that dessert is the most painful course of all in your Christmas dinner, check out this link to Gluten-Free Desserts that my sister sent me. I feel that I will have to try the Triple-Layer Chocolate Macaroon Cake, because who wouldn’t want to eat that?!

21 more sleeps until I head to the Emerald Isle to eat potatoes and search for leprecauns. And the Guinness, oh the Guinness. Gee I’m looking forward to it. All I can say is, thank goodness potatoes are gluten-free.

Is that racist?

Now to start searching for the perfect Christmas jumper.

worst-christmas-jumper1

scouse brows – a moustache on your forehead

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I’m really tired today. To those of you who don’t know me personally, this means that I am irritable. Irrationally so. And what is the thing I find most irritating of all the things in all the land? Bad eyebrows. Scouse brows.

Scouse brow – When the eyebrows are very heavily drawn in with a black eye pencil, giving the appearance of two small furry animals crawling across the forehead. Favoured by Scouse WAGS and wannabes.

Scouse eyebrows are typically sported by Star Trek’s Dr.Spock, Fisher Price Weeble dolls, and of course the cast of Desperate Scousewives.” – urbandictionary.com

The scouse brow is to the face, what vajazzle is to the swimsuit area. Time consuming, unnecessary and downright ridiculous. Yes, that’s right girl I get the train with every morning with the white blonde hair and permanent marker on your face masquerading as eyebrows, I’m talking to you.

Living in the UK has fuelled this fire from a crackling matchstick to a raging inferno. And I know about fire, I’m a fire marshal. We watched a video about it on the course. Trust me; this is an out of control, all-engulfing fire fuelled by gasoline and polyester upholstery.

On a daily basis my eyes are assaulted by a blatant display of the complete lack of ability some people have when it comes to defining their eyebrows. Since when do you want to look like you have 2 spitfires poised for battle on your face? Madness.

I’m happy to admit that most people need to give a bit of TLC to their brows; I am definitely one of those people. With a Croatian father, known for his exceptional unibrow, I have been cursed with the burden of almost daily maintenance to avoid a dark brown version of the Hungry Hungry Caterpillar appearing on my face. Unlike my father I have no desire to let that caterpillar take over. He can pull off the unibrow with style and grace, but then again he’s 6’5″ so who’s going to tell him otherwise. But there’s maintenance and then there’s the scouse brow. You cannot compare ploughing on dark pencil in an unnatural shape to a light enhancement of the eyebrow to fill a few gaps.

I decided to gain some information on the subject of the scouse brow, so I could arm myself with bullets of knowledge should I find myself in the situation where I need to vehemently defend my choice to not partake in this craze. During my research into the dark, angular reality that is the scouse brow, I found one tumblr called ‘eyebrows are sisters not twins’ celebrating the scouse-ness (made up that word) of the author. I find this blog title totally hilarious. Other than that it was utterly no use to me and did not provide anything other than selfies with the author sticking up her middle finger while wearing party dresses.

There are so many tumblrs featuring selfie after selfie of pouty girls who have enhanced their eyebrow size by 3000% and given them the sharpest angles known to mankind. It appears that most of these attempts at the scouse brow were done when these young ladies were bored. I have an idea, put down the permanent marker and the fake tan and the velcro rollers and go do something worthwhile with your time, like, oh I don’t know, read to the elderly or walk the dog, or hell just got to the pub.

There are 4 simple guidelines for eyebrows:

1. They should look normal and natural

2. They should be the same colour as the hair on your head

3. Let a professional deal with the shape (clearly not a professional in Liverpool or anyone who claims they specialise in scouse brows)

4. Use a brow or eye shadow slightly lighter than your hair colour and fill in eyebrows with an angle brush.

The city of Liverpool is one that has an undeniable personality all of its own, but it is times like this that I wish this Liverpool gem had stayed in Liverpool.

Ladies, take heed, do not punish your face with the addition of the scouse brow. You will end up looking less like a normal attractive woman of society and more like a character from Angry Birds. It’s really not a good idea.

to buy or not to buy?

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The “should I buy it or should I be sensible” argument. Also known as pre-buyers remorse.

I’m guilty of having this argument with myself a whole darn lot. Most recently this afternoon. After finally possessing the ability to eat food without feeling ill for the first time in 4 days I felt like celebrating, and what better way to celebrate than with a new pair of boots (am I right?). I ventured out at lunch with my challenge in hand and launched a fully fledged new boots assault on every store in Victoria.

Nada.

There was not 1 pair that I was even remotely interested in.

After an hour of exhausting boot related searching I slumped back to my office, pret soup in hand, ready to launch phase 2 of my assault. The internet.

Oh the splendor of online shopping! So easy, so palatable, a veritable wonderland of risk and adventure. Is your purchased item going to a) fit you b) suit you c) fall apart after 2 seconds? All these questions bring an adrenaline-fueled reckless abandon to shopping. I love a challenge. 7 times out of 10 the item will scrape into the acceptable area in which you wear the slightly ill-fitting purchase until you tire of it, and the other 3 times will see a big fat fail immediately stamped on your new purchase and it will be banished to the nether-regions of your closet, tags intact, never to be seen again. Until you move house. Of course you could return it, but who wants to go to the post office?

After scouring my inbox and wading through an embarrassingly large number of promotional emails from stores and brands in search of a sale, I hit up the usuals – ASOS, Topshop, Zara, Ebay. Nothing was taking my fancy, and if it was, my size wasn’t available. The universe really didn’t want me to buy boots today did it?

Then I remembered a pair I had found online at Urban Outfitters earlier in the week before my new boot obsession had sprouted. Amazing boots by a young British Designer who really knows her shit when it comes to shoes. Oh yes, that’s right, you can see them right there (<—)

On inspecting my desired item it was revealed that YES they were in stock and YES my size was available. 2 ticks so far. Then, the price. They were more than I wanted to pay. Quite a bit more really, but then again I immediately loved them with all my heart and soul and it was possible I might die if I didn’t have them delivered the very next day.

Hence, the pre-buyers remorse.

Best way to make a decision? Consult the boyfriend.

I should preface this by saying I am not consulting him to gain permission, oh no, that’s not even a thing. I have a boyfriend who some may call an “enabler”, I just think it’s fun. He enjoys purchasing new items as much as I do. We may be a bad influence on each other but who cares, life’s too short to save up money for a boat. Plus we have no need, nor time, for a boat.

He made 2 valid points:
1) On the logical side, it’s way too much money to spend on a pair of boots
2) On the emotional (and more important) side, they are so shiny, and even at that price it makes them a steal (due to the shiny-ness)

I know what you’re thinking. The only reason I ask him is because he will always encourage me to make the purchase. Lies!

Following his equal encouragement and discouragement, I started to make a pros and cons list in my head.

CON – they’re expensive, PRO – but they’re 100% leather, CON – you shouldn’t spend that much money on a pair of boots, PRO – but I love them with every fibre of my being, CON – they will get wet because I live in London, PRO – I’ll use waterproofing spray you dumbass, CON – they might not go with absolutely everything I own, PRO – yes they will, CON – you said you were going to be sensible about buying new stuff, PRO – shut up.

This internal battle continued for hours sending me hurtling down the shame spiral of pre-buyers remorse. Then my phone made the cute whistling noise it makes to alert me about an email.

20% off everything for 40 hours. Free delivery.

Clearly this was a sign.

And it was all over. My pre-buyers remorse was transformed into buyers elation. The universe decided it would stop being a jerk and give me a break just this once. Let’s try and ignore the fact that I spent extra for express delivery so I have them before the weekend, but that’s been justified by a solemn vow that I will not purchase any coffee next week. Not even one.

“Thank you for your order”. I’m so happy right now.

Image source: urbanoutfitters.co.uk, decorpad.com

makeup horrors and makeup victories

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This morning I saw a lady wearing bright red eye shadow. That’s right. Bright. Red.

If there’s one thing that makes you look like you have a weird disease, it’s bright red eye shadow. And how did I know it was eye shadow and not a severe case of pink eye? I saw her applying it on the train. Where do you even buy red eye shadow? And why would you?! So many questions. In my opinion you have to be super talented and possibly a Victoria’s Secret model to pull off red eye shadow.

Yes, you guessed it, the topic for today is makeup.

You know that moment in the morning when you go to apply your makeup, or ‘put on your face’ as they say; you pick up your foundation and squeeze the pump into your hand…and nothing comes out. Nothing except for a tiny pathetic little blob that will barely cover your eyelid. You unscrew the lid, shake it a bit, have a look inside to see if there’s anything left, maybe even poke around inside with a q-tip. Still, no dice.

That happened to me this morning. I had no clue I was due for a restock but it all became alarmingly clear when that pump failed to produce product. Now what. In a bid to rid my life of excess clutter, I got rid of all my old extra products weeks ago…and then I remembered, there was a sample of foundation in the new InStyle I bought the other day. All I could do was hope that the shade was even remotely suitable for my skin tone. After digging around my room to find the magazine and then finally locating the sample, I emerged victorious, ready for work with my face on, ready to face Wednesday.

I’m sure some of you are asking “why didn’t you just go without foundation for the day?” yes, this was an option. One I didn’t really give much time. I’m not proud of that. My addiction to wearing make up is perhaps rather unhealthy…I acknowledge that. Let’s move on.

In my desperate plea to conduct my morning routine as normal with the help of this sample, something amazing happened, I actually liked the product. It was slightly too dark, just by one shade, however that’s forgivable just this once, and it’s a really fantastic product, one I would never of gone for without this enforced urgency behind me. The product: L’Oreal Paris True Match Super-Blendable Foundation. Yes, super-blendable.

After it passed the midday shine-test, with flying colours I might add, I set out to go buy it at lunch. And then it passed the price test too, as it was only £9.99! I have been using a YSL foundation for the last few months, which I loved, but I must admit the cheaper price for L’Oreal is a big draw card. 

This has all happened at the right time as well, as it’s now officially autumn and I was due for a foundation tune up as the weather changes and my skin has other requirements. That’s right ladies, the changing of the seasons requires a makeup update.

I’ve never been a L’Oreal product user before, ever, except when I did that event for them last year and they gave me those free products – but I didn’t have to buy those.  This is such a great product at such a good price, I recommend you give it a try. If you want to test it out first go buy the latest InStyle and get your free sample! Hopefully you’re Golden Beige…

And remember, say no to red eyeshadow.

x

Autumn/Winter – the very best time for fashion

Winter is nipping at my Topshop laden heels.

It’s official, what we had of summer is over. The mornings and evenings have a definite chill in the air, enough to make you don a scarf and jacket to get to and from work, but as I sit in my office sipping a cup of tea while the heater under my desk blasts my ankles with hot air until they burn with a healthy magenta tinge, I do not dread the upcoming rain and plumetting temperatures. How could anyone detest the coming of cooler seasons when we have Autumn and Winter fashion to look forward to? You show me a Londoner who is not giddy about the fact that in cooler weather we will be able to remove enough clothing on the tube to reach a comfortable body temperature without succumbing to indecent exposure, and I’ll show you a liar.

Autumn/Winter fashion is the sole reason why right now I have holed myself up in my office eating cheese oat cakes and pumpkin seeds for lunch, instead of hot, comforting, delicious soup from Pret – I am saving my pennies for fashion. I have no choice, my wishlist of items is already out of control. It appears that after poking through the shops during my lunch break the other day, I have spent my birthday money before I’ve even received it. But personally I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the glorious age of 28 than with a new leather jacket and a new coat…can you?

And now, dear readers, I present to you the trends for Autumn/Winter 2012

Winter florals – My bid to enhance my “girly-ness” will not be put on hold by winter. No, winter florals are back, and more dazzling than ever. Bright and punchy, they bring with them an air of power and opulence. There is nothing about these florals that says “little girl” or “prissy”, these are hardcore, traffic stopping florals. Dresses, heels, skirts, blouses or bags, this is a great way to add some colour to those dreary winter streets.

Erdem A/W 2012. Photo: mydaily.co.uk

 

Black Leather –

Ah, my one true love. As one who never 100% conforms to the trends of the season, I am always pleased that my leather jacket constantly remains on form. There is nothing better for winter, than leather. It’s sexy, it’s comfortable, it’s warm. What more does a girl (or boy) need? This season it’s a little bit gothic, a little bit dominatrix, a little bit vixen and a lot bit rebel. Double it up or triple it up (see post from 08.08.12 for tips!) – it comes in pants, jackets, dresses, blouses, coats or skirts, not to mention boots bags and the rest. If you are going for a full on multi-leather look then remember to keep the lines and shapes simple and go easy on the detailing. But who am I to tell you how to wear your leather? Do what you like, although if you take it too far you may end up looking like you belong more in a fetish club than on the streets with old people and children.

DKNY A/W 2012 Photo: fashionising.com

Trousers – We have those lovely pioneering woman of yesteryear to thank for the trousers this season. Why if it wasn’t for them, and some expert and iconic tailoring from Yves Saint Laurent, we might not be able to get excited about the lashings of options in the Autumn/Winter trouser department.

Thanks to the savvy designers who decide on the fate of our wardrobe, there are trousers to suit everyone. Every shape, every personality. High waisted, mid-rise or low slung, cigarette skinny, leather, wide, tailored, or slouchy boyfriend styles – it’s all there, ready and ripe for the picking. Choose bright, rich, elegant colour and lush fabrics to turn this manly staple into a part of your feminine powerhouse wardrobe.

Giorgio Armani A/W 2012 Photo: fashion.telegraph.co.uk

Waisted – Let’s all get wasted this season. I mean, WAISTED. The waist is back as the star feature of a woman’s silhouette. It works on virtually everyone; creates curves for those who don’t have any, and emphasises the curves of those who do.

Ladies, face it, men love curves, it’s proven. Thank goodness for that. I personally feel that nothing is better than an hourglass shape. Create the shape with a belt on the smallest part of your waist – belt your tops, shirts, coats, dresses – the look is smart, sexy and the epitomy of feminine. Belts are a must-have for the season so invest in different colours and widths.

If you find belts fiddly then go for peplum shaped tops or skirts to create the waisted shape, or choose tailored items with sharp lines.

And p.s. how good is that outfit? Dior really stepped it up a notch this season.

Dior A/W 2012 Photo: phreshhottnew.com

Oversized – Big is beautiful. Coats, trousers, skirt and sleeves – they’re all billowing and ballooning out to engulf you in a level of comfort we all yearn for every day. Please keep in mind that mentioning the word “comfort” doesn’t give you a licence to wear tracksuit pants or pajama’s in public – we are talking beautifully made, grown up, expensive looking pieces of fashion-society-approved oversized clothing.

This is the perfect option for those tomboys who want to remain stylish and on-trend this season. But even if you’re not a tomboy you can rock the oversized look with confidence – pair your oversized items with slimline separates – opposites do attract.

Celine AW 2012 Photo: viviid.thesweetstruggle.com

Oriental –

The last real oriental-inspired trend that I can remember was back in the mid 90’s. There was an abundance of tshirts with dragons on them, people had started getting more chinese symbol tattoos and I believe girls were quite partial to wearing chopsticks in their hair. I had a khaki tshirt with a dragon on it which I paired with blue camoflage cargo shorts. Good lord. Don’t give me a hard time, it was 1997.

This oriental trend is far from the mistakes we made back in the 90’s. It is rich and opulent, with obi belts, judo-style jackets, cheongsam-style dresses and kimono jackets. The fabrics are embroidered, Chinoiserie print or brocade, but all items are a far cry from traditional ceremonial Eastern items – this is Eastern dressing for the modern Western woman.

Proenza Schouler A/W 2012 Photo: taistoisoisbeau.com

Cobalt – All blues are not created equal. Especially this season. To illustrate my point, let’s think back to Meryl Streep’s monologue in The Devil Wears Prada, when she gives Anne Hathaway a talking to about the importance of knowing your cerulean from your blue…

“You go to your closet and you select… I don’t know… that lumpy blue sweater, for instance because you’re trying to tell the world that you take yourself too seriously to care about what you put on your back. But what you don’t know is that that sweater is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean. And you’re also blithely unaware of the fact that in 2002, Oscar de la Renta did a collection of cerulean gowns. And then I think it was Yves Saint Laurent… wasn’t it who showed cerulean military jackets? I think we need a jacket here. And then cerulean quickly showed up in the collections of eight different designers. And then it, uh, filtered down through the department stores and then trickled on down into some tragic Casual Corner where you, no doubt, fished it out of some clearance bin. However, that blue represents millions of dollars and countless jobs and it’s sort of comical how you think that you’ve made a choice that exempts you from the fashion industry when, in fact, you’re wearing the sweater that was selected for you by the people in this room from a pile of stuff.”

Snap.

Knowing your blues is very important. And this season the blue featured is cobalt. My personal favourite and the friend to brunette’s everywhere. It goes with everything – black, navy, red, purple, leopard print, you name it. It’s the new statement colour for winter, taking over from the forest greens, browns and greys we’ve seen in the past. Bring it on.

Lanvin AW 2012 Photo: nowfashion.com

Purple – Royalty, luxury, however you look at it, purple is one colour that exudes wealth and stature. Sticking with the trend of jewel tones that we’ve seen a lot of over the last year or so, purple is featured in head to toe looks this season. A colour once reserved for the elite, it is now accessible to even the plebs of society, however that doesn’t make it any less special. This, with cobalt, is another colour of the season – wear it in prints, with your cobalt, all over, match your eyeshadow and your handbag to your purple outfit, and play with different shades to avoid a matchy-matchy look.

Armani Prive A/W 2012 Photo: fashion.telegraph.co.uk

Countryside – A trend that is sure to get my friend Jess excited is the countryside trend. Featuring all our favourite country classics – jodhpurs, big chunky knitted jumpers, tweed tweed and more tweed, plaid and sturdy riding boots to keep our feet dry from the English rain – these items are in the earthy tones one expects to see on the wealthy as they go shooting pheasants in the country. It’s Autumnal and comforting, allowing us to rug up and still look chic. As a new addition to England, I, for one, am very excited about embracing this trend.

 

Ralph Lauren A/W 2012 Photo: fashion.telegraph.co.uk

Layering – This makes sense for the cooler seasons, no? Layering, it’s a Londoner’s best friend. You never know what the weather is going to do here, you just know that at some point it will be cold, hot, raining & windy. All at different times. And all when you least expect it. Layering is the wardrobe saviour when dealing with the unpredictable English weather, and this season it’s about combining all your favourite items and wearing them at once, because why not? One look that featured heavily is a skirt worn over slim, cropped pants. This is a slight throwback to the 90’s but done in a cleaner, sharper way. For other items to layer, look to cardigans, coats, jumpers, scarves, vests and any other thing you can think of. Make sure it’s comfortable, mind where you’re adding bulk and remember to include some slim line pieces in there to keep things looking fitted and chic.

Marc Jacobs AW 2012 Photo: graziadaily.co.uk

And that’s Autumn/Winter 2012.

What is the one thing that goes with every single one of those trends? That’s right, leopard print. You know I’ll be decked out in leopard print this season, as I am every season. What can I say, it just works.

Happy shopping everyone xx

the rantings of the glutarded

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Hands up if your body is weird about food (right now my hand is up as high as I can get it, like when you were in school and you really wanted to get picked to answer a question, mainly so you could show off).
 
For my whole life my body has been weird about food. What I thought was normal was apparently far from it. It just took me about 26 years and multiple tests to figure that out. So now as a bonafide glutard, (a fancy, and mildly inapproriate, way of referring to the gluten intolerant), life had been cruising along with less digestive flare ups, more regular intervals of being able to breathe (aka all the time now), and the general maintenance of good health…until recently.

I am nearing my 28th birthday (no freaks out at all, I swear), and while technically I am sort of a ‘grown up’, I am certainly not acting like one when it comes to food and my general health. Here’s the thing – I can’t eat gluten. Plain and simple. It makes me really very sick. I know this. I’ve experienced this time and time again. If I eat gluten I cannot breathe. I cannot digest. I cannot stay awake. I basically turn into a bloated narcoleptic who gasps for breath like someone on the verge of death. Pretty clear signs right? Clear enough to warrant not eating that mini muffin in the office kitchen, yes? No. Apparently not.

I am now working in an office in the UK and if you are unaware of the smarmy undertones of that fact then let me bring it to light for you – in all UK based office environments there is an abundance of sweets. Tea cakes, flap jacks, muffins, biscuits, cake and chocolates. I resisted for a while, but lately I have been sneaking a flap jack bite here and there. I know I shouldn’t, but I hate feeling like I’m always missing out.

I was just sick of the same situation, where I was in the kitchen, making myself a cup of tea and someone would come in and help themselves to a delicious sweet treat and offer me one, to which I would have to reply “No thank you, I can’t eat it”. Why? they ask. And once again I launch into the story of the perils of my reaction to gluten when it meets my body in a dietary punch up, (in this case gluten is Katie Taylor and my body is the Russian girl she beat the piss out of), and then I answer, for the 75,000th time, those inevitable questions:

“So, you can’t eat bread?” – No. “What about pasta?” – No. “So that means you can’t have cake?” – Nope. “What about pizza?” – No chance.

“So not at all, like, ever???” – No.

Those questions are always followed by the same look – pity. But not just any pity, no, we’re not talking about the generic, flippant pity one reserves for people who buy clothing without trying it on and then have to go all the way back to the store to exchange it; we’re talking about an all encompassing pity that shoots out of their body like streams of light and wraps around your body and whispers in your ear “I am so sorry, I could never give up those things, your life must be so shit”.

There is an element of self-pity that comes with being a glutard which I think is fueled by those looks. But mainly I’m guilty of making it a big deal myself.  All those pieces of birthday cake politefully, but regretfully, declined. The dinner at a friend’s house who has forgotten about the gluten allergy and made pasta, which cannot be consumed without being followed by a week of discomfort. And the worst, the very worst of all – the pizza ordered at 1am after boozing. Nothing makes you feel more self-pity than watching your friends each delicious greasy pizza while you sit there concentrating on your post-booze hunger with no relief in sight because you forgot to pack a museli bar or some nuts in your handbag. Then there’s the fact that instead of saying “No thank you” when someone offers you a delightful gluten-filled treat I say “No thanks, I can’t eat it“.

There are people who go gluten free as a detox, and those of us who cannot have it but would give our big toes to be able to eat it again (imagine, previously gluten intolerant people sans big toes, running unbalanced and haphazardly toward the bread aisle of the supermarket and gorging themselves on a loaf of Wonder White bread). To those of you who refuse gluten by choice, I have no words for you, perhaps just a quizzical and baffled look.

This glutard is making a choice, here and now. I will resist the cakes. I will read labels with care and precision. I will ask questions. I will not pity myself. I will not let my intolerance define me. And I will stop talking about it (maybe…but probably not).

Now I really want some cake…

I can do anything I want, because I look good in leather…

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For those of you unfamiliar with the work of Cody ChesnuTT, do yourself a favour and look it up so you can listen to “Looking Good in Leather” while you read this post.

I’d like to give a shoutout to my lovely friends, Mary-Anne – who prompted this post – and Elisha – who wants leather pants more than anyone I know, but who lives in Dubai, where it is always too warm for said pants. It’s the age old question: “Can you layer leather?” (try saying that 20 times really fast…)

We all know double denim is a tremendous gift of fashion – to all the haters out there, YES, it is tremendous, you’re wrong, and it’s not just the fact that I live in East London that makes me love it so, it’s just a fact – but leather? Well dear readers, can you layer leather? The answer, quite simply, is yes. Of course you can. In order to avoid looking like a biker riding a hog, some sort of dominatrix, or a 90’s goth throwback, avoid the following:

1. Leather vests (or waistcoats as I now call them in Ye Olde England – and only the old man biker styles are not permitted!)

2. Assless leather chaps

3. Over the thigh high heeled boots

4. Studded leather cuffs or chokers

 

NOTE: All items featured in the images above SHOULD be worn. Frequently.

Nothing is better than leather and studs, and it’s easy to get carried away because they go so well together, but when layering your leather, keep it simple with your additional pieces – pair it with something more feminine and you’ll look more chic and less like you’re supposed to have a green mohawk and a safety pin through your nose. Add a touch of print, sequins or colour to lighten the mood and you’re done. If you’re bold enough to go with the leather bralet top featured here, just promise me you’ll pair it with a leather jacket and jeans.

To cut a very long blog post short – Mary-Anne: Layer it up x

(Images sourced from Topshop & Asos)

high street vs. designer

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I know that plagerising designer pieces is immoral, and bad for the fashion industry. I also know that you get what you pay for when it comes to designer pieces. There is no disputing the fact they are always made with better materials and last longer, but real life and the everyday job rarely gives one the opportunity to indulge in such items.

Fashion-love-at-first-sight occurs often with me, and it was inevitable when I laid eyes on the Chloé Susan studded ankle boots. But who can afford £865 for a pair of boots? Certainly not me. And unless this blog really takes off and people want to give me free stuff to write about it, (not going to happen…), I’ll never own the cream of the fashion crop.

Which is why I am always so happy to find a gem like this. On my way to work this morning what do I see in the window of Office? Well, let’s call them what they are shall we? Rip-off Chloé Susan studded ankle boots. For 80 quid. Just a measly 80 quid. If you ignore the fact that the details don’t quite match up, one could easily live with the rather spectacular plagerised version of these boots. They are the best high street version I’ve seen so far, and trust me, I’ve been looking. Plus they have a fantastic name – Nighthawk – who wouldn’t want to wear a pair of Nighthawks? Totally badass.

Here’s hoping they’re still available on pay day! Hmm I wonder if Office do lay-by…

And her face showed no sign of any spots…

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There are a couple of reasons why I started this blog. Firstly, I was kind of sick and tired of all the folders on my desktop, holding images, notes to web links and god knows what else, that I had kept in the hope of not forgetting them and going back to them at some stage when I was lacking inspiration or needed a beauty tip. This blog is essentially a place to store all of it and get some memory back on my hardrive.

Secondly, I emailed my best friend the other day about this product and the email truly sounded like a ridiculous rambling blog entry, so I thought why not just do it? I have so many friends living in countries that I do not currently reside in, and this will at least give me a chance to send little tidbits and ideas to them.

Enter Mario Badescu Drying Lotion – the world’s best pimple fixer-upper (that I’ve found so far).

If you, like me, are prone to the odd pimple here and there, and you obsess over it’s presence and think that every one you see is just staring at that hideous bump that is easily the size of Mt Krakatoa – read on.

For years I kept seeing this product mentioned in magazines while I waited at the doctor or the denist, and I never had the sense to write down the name of it because I was convinced I couldn’t possibly forget something so brilliant; but of course I didn’t remember it and years passed with the odd pimple completely ruining my life (dramatic, no?). Then the other day I stumbled across it on a beauty blog, promptly went to an online store, paid extra for express delivery, and voila! Proud owner and convert to Mario Badescu’s Drying Lotion.

Lately I have been finding myself resting my chin on my hand at work out of sheer boredom, as I stare blankly at the computer for hours on end…which means that my chin and cheek areas have been rather disturbingly resembling a failed game of minesweeper. Not really the look I’m going for. But this works. Overnight. There’s a stronger one if you’re really unlucky and shit gets way out of control (the Buffering Lotion), but the regular drying lotion is perfect for the every day.

If you have this already and failed to pass on it’s praises I will be most disappointed. If you don’t have it, buy it. It’s worth every penny.