The Art of Slow Living: Is It Possible In London?

slow livingSlow Living: Is It Possible In London?

Several years ago I decided to up and change the way I looked at my approach to life. Basically I wasn’t happy. I decided that I was moving too fast, and I needed a break. That meant looking at the way I live, and the everyday things I do. A lifestyle and mentality rebrand, if you will. But let’s be honest, nothing is that straight forward. And is it even possible to incorporate slow living into a London lifestyle?

Slow Living in London

Over the past year I set out to try and find a way to bring the lifestyle concept of slow living into…well, my life. Our society is based on fast fashion, fast food, and even fast lifestyles. If you’re not living fast, then you’re not living at all. At least that’s what people say. I soon realised it wasn’t going to be easy, and the hardest part was figuring out what ‘slow living’ even meant to me.

  1. Stop being so materialistic. I told myself it’s good to have nice things, but it doesn’t mean anything if they have no value, and I don’t mean monetary. I’m talking about objects/experiences that have meaning. Like the expensive pair of sneakers I had wanted for years, which I finally bought myself with the first pay check from my new job.
  2. Quality over quantity. Whereas before I probably bought myself an item of clothing or went to a new restaurant every week, now I do it about once or twice a month. I put more thought into what I want/need, and the design and quality of the piece. I’d rather spend a little more on something that lasts longer and works better, than buy a bajillion items that don’t.
  3. Enjoying the little things. Because sometimes having a G&T by candlelight at home with my friends is much more mentally rewarding than going to the latest ‘on-trend’ bar, and wasting a ton of money on overpriced drinks.
  4. Slowing down my lifestyle. Admittedly this has been the hardest step out of them all, and it’s something I’m still working on today. A lot of people in London can’t (or won’t) grasp the concept of it, and it’s understandable when you live in a city that pulls you in all directions. After a rather successful end to 2016, the first half of 2017 was pretty rough for me. But I’m now trying to get myself back on track again. It may take some time, but if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

You can follow my attempt at ‘slow living’ and read more of my help posts here.

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The Parla Pop-up is a Minimalist’s Dream

parla pop-upParla Pop-up | Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate | Map

I get a little bit giddy anytime a favourite brand of mine expands. Especially when that brand is an independent one, with a strong emphasis on talented females. Enter Pärla, an East London store based in Boxpark Shoreditch, whom you may remember from some of my previous posts. I’ve been chatting about the brand online – and off – for a while now, which makes their new pop-up even sweeter for me.

Being the fangirl that I am, I decided to go check out the Parla pop-up as soon as it opened. And I don’t think I’m going to be the only one falling in love with it.

The Summer Parla Pop-Up

Pärla may have started with an East London store, but some of you will be glad to hear that they’re now expanding West. Yep, their special Summer pop-up is based in none other than the famous Portobello Road, Notting Hill. The new pop-up is airy, bright, and filled with contemporary jewellery and gorgeous lifestyle items (including lingerie and candles). The usual jewellery design players are all there: V Jewellery, Jessie Harris, Clarice Price Thomas, Smith/Grey, and more. And this time they’ve been joined by a few fashion designers too, such as Danielle Foster, Jody Shafton and others.

I personally can’t stop by Pärla without adding a hundred things to my wish-list, and buying several of the ones already on it. This time I added a piece of V Jewellery to my collection; a little bling to perk up the numerous ear piercings I’m stacking up. And naturally I added everything from Clarice Price Thomas and Jessie Harris’s new collections to my wish-list. It’s safe to say that the new Parla Pop-up is everything I had hoped for, and I can honestly say it’s a minimalists lifestyle dream.

You can visit the Parla Pop-up yourself at 201 Portobello Road, until Sept 3rd.

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Has London Made Me A Brutalist ? | Style

brutalistTop: Zara | Culottes: Warehouse* | Bag: A.P.C. | Earrings: COS | Watch: Paulin Watches

Being English often comes with the stereotype of being super polite, and not always saying what you mean. For a lot of people – including myself – this is pretty accurate. Of course this is also accompanied by the habit of saying ‘sorry’ to inanimate objects, or anyone who bumps into you. As well as an extremely great sense of humour, I’d like to add. So you know, it has it’s up and downs.

But living in London is another thing entirely. You see, us Londoners apparently have a whole other stereotype attached to us, and it ain’t a nice one. In fact I often wonder if London has made a bit of a brutalist over the last few years. 

London Life & Becoming A Brutalist

Living in Japan was pretty easy for me – a society full of etiquette and strong manners, most of which are similar to English ones. But even in my short time there I picked up a few new habits. Little things like gestures, and words that explain things you can’t express in English. So if I was able to pick these up in such a short amount of time, it seems only logical that I have picked up some new traits since moving to London 5 years ago.

Everyone tells you that you’ll change once you move to London. The general consensus outside of the big smoke is that Londoner’s are rude people who only look out for themselves. Personally I don’t think this is true. I do think you have to have a harder shell here (commuting is a bitch). And even though I can’t just start up a conversation with the stranger sat next to me on the bus, my life is full of friendly, kind, and generally awesome people. All of us Londoners.

So maybe it’s true to a certain extent, but at the end of the day I don’t think I’ve lost myself. Because truth be told my personality is still about 50% English, 50% Londoner…and 10% awkward weirdo.

Check out my previous style posts here
Photos of me are by Van Anh Le Thi

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Girl Power Doesn’t Come with a Price Tag | Style

Girl PowerTop: Zara | Culottes: Zara | Necklace: Crux | Earrings: COS | Sneakers: Adidas Superstar

I’ve been wanting to write a post about fashion and feminism for the longest time. But every time I put pen to paper – or fingers to keys in my case – I find myself with writers block. See, I’ve got all these ideas and opinions going around in my head, but I just can’t seem to write them down. Well, in an articulate way. Somehow I don’t think ‘feminism is good, innit’ really gets my point across.

Girl Power Doesn’t Come with A Price Tag

You see I have such conflicting views about the fashion industry and feminism. Let’s be realistic, the fashion industry is still pretty behind (read: archaic) when it comes to equality. But at the same time, fashion helps empower people everyday. And of course there are some really awesome designers out there fighting for equality in different ways. Shout-out to Chitose Abe, The Reformation and Sharmila Nair – and that’s only naming a few.

Then there’s the controversy behind Dior’s recent Summer 2017 collection. Should we all be wearing t-shirts that declare just how proud we are to be a feminist? Sure, why not, there’s no harm in it either way. But girl power shouldn’t come with a price tag. And if it does, it should certainly be for a higher cause. Or bluntly put, a £490 t-shirt should at least donate part (or all) of their proceeds to a charity working towards equality. Otherwise you just come across as a brand that’s capitalising on something that negatively affects people’s lives everyday. Which let’s be honest, wouldn’t be a first for the fashion industry.

So you do you and wear your girl power t-shirt, or trousers, dress…whatever! Because whatever you wear you’re still a feminist, and that’s pretty kick ass. But Dior, you can stuff your ‘feminist’ t-shirts, I don’t need them. I’ll wear my feminism on my sleeve without the price tag, thanks.

Check out my previous style posts here

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The Bright Lights of Soho (and How to Shine) | Style

Lights of SohoBiker Jacket: Zara| Dress: Zara | Bag: Knomo London* | Boots: ASOS

We all want to shine. Whether it’s within our friendship groups, our career, or when walking down the street (bad examples are bad). But how can we stand out when everyone else is trying to do the same? I thought this recently whilst lost in the bright lights of Soho, during London Fashion Week. At this time of year London is awash with people wanting to be snapped in their latest garments. Everyone is hoping to shine a little brighter than usual, but it’s so easy to get lost in the crowd. At least that’s how it can feel for a lot of people.

The Bright Lights of Soho

London can be a confusing place. At the worst of times it feels like you’re just one small cog in a big machine. But at the best of times it can feel like the city was made for you, and only you. As though you are your own Holly Golightly, and if you just walk around that next corner you’ll find the beginning to your story.

Sure we can’t all be Audrey Hepburn (if only), but we don’t need to be. I happen to think that we all shine in our own way. Whether that’s because you feel damn confident in your new Zara dress, and you won’t have anyone tell you otherwise. Or maybe it’s because you returned someone’s wallet, and brought a little hope back to their day. Don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean we should all walk around like special snowflakes. No one likes a special snowflake. But it does mean that we should delight in what makes us different, channel it, and work it.

Check out my previous style posts here.
Photos of me are by Van Anh Le Thi

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I’ve got the travel bag…I mean bug! | 2017 Resolutions

travel bagMini Beauchamp travel bag by Knomo London *

Last year I made some travel resolutions, only they weren’t really resolutions. You see I’m not really into that. However I do like to set myself little goals and challenges throughout the year. Not only does it keep me motivated, but it gives me more of a purpose when I have something to work towards. In recent years, my main goal has been to travel as much as possible.

In 2016 I ticked off:

  1. Tokyo, Japan
  2. Osaka, Japan
  3. Kyoto, Japan
  4. Pembrokeshire, Wales
  5. Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. Naples, Italy
  7. Sorrento, Italy
  8. Barcelona, Spain
  9. Paris, France

It was pretty damn awesome, and I loved every minute of it.

I’ve got the travel bag…I mean bug!

Let’s get a little practical for a minute. Travelling, especially when you only have cabin baggage, is not easy. I’ve been trying to hone my suitcase packing skills in recent years. I wouldn’t say I’m a pro, but I don’t do too bad. Of course having a trusty travel bag that you can take on your holiday is super important too. I like backpacks because I can easily shove all of my stuff for the day inside (read: camera, snacks & phone).

However I’ve always gone towards large backpacks. These can be difficult when the airline you’re flying with only allows one cabin bag. So this year I’m swapping my big backpack, for something a bit lighter – the Mini Beauchamp by Knomo London. It has a ton of pockets, which means I can fit a whole bunch of stuff inside. It’s also small enough that no one is really going to make a fuss about you bringing it on the plane with your case. Not that I’m suggesting people ignore this rule, but a tiny backpack never did anyone any harm, right? And if you are caught out, you can always pop it inside your perfectly packed case.

2017 Travel Resolutions

So what’s in store for 2017? Well I already have plans to visit:

  • Cyprus
  • Slovenia
  • Aarhus
  • Copenhagen

and possibly:

  • Sweden
  • Norway
  • Amsterdam
  • Prague

Phew, that’s a lot. Anyone would think I’ve got the travel bug.

Keep an eye out on my travel tag for more!

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My 2016 Style Evolution aka The Year of Living Stylishly

living stylishly

It’s the end of 2016, and I think we’ve all had pretty much enough this year. Still, some great things have come out of it too. And I prefer to look back on the good stuff, rather than the bad. So it’s time for my annual style evolution post. Or as I’m so aptly naming it – the year of living stylishly.

2016 Style Evolution

I’ve always wished for a time where I could feel stylish from day-to-day. Not for anyone else, but for myself. I love to play with fashion, and when I look good, I feel good. This year I’ve made a real effort to only purchase quality items. This means saving up for items I’ve coveted or simply found (luckily). On my recent trip to Copenhagen I bought a few staple pieces, and I’ve worn them at least once a week since I got back.

It’s safe to say, my wardrobe is now full of items I can easily turn into a smart-casual look. After all, you never know when you’re going to meet a friend for ‘a drink’ and end up at an after party with Richard Ayoade (this actually happened).

The Year of Living Stylishly

In last year’s style evolution post, I said my goal was to be happier in my style. I think I’ve done pretty well, and I really do feel it. My style has become slightly more refined – if I do say so myself. Black and stripes have been prevalent, oh and I lost my favourite Blake Ldn beanie. Obviously it’s been a year of fashion ups and downs.

To be serious for a minute though, it has actually been a tough year for me. Even so, I’m not letting it get me down. Fashion is a great escape for me, and I hope I can continue to enjoy it all the way through 2017.

Check out this year’s style posts here.

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