You totes thought I had forgotten about being a moaning b**ch every Monday right? Well no, unfortunately the taste of halitosis combined with double shot espresso greeting me across my daily catch up of Perez Hilton (.com) is still, somehow, so much worse on this particular day of the week. So, instead of being a normal human and just instagraming a hilarious (or not) quote about how much I miss the weekend, I will write an exceptionally long posts about how much better my life would be if I had [insert materialistic item of awesomeness here]. Oh, and I also do the Instagram thing too. Duh.
This Monday my list is pretty long. Considering I’m professionally trained and paid to be an “editor”, when it comes to culling down the list of things I want right now I would be better labeled a “inability to prioritise-r” or maybe even “demanding”. (Who me?! Never). It goes a little something like this…
A Normal Right Leg. Can someone please fix my knee? Seriously. Not only does it hurt like hell when I both bend AND straighten it, it has rendered me unable to do exercise (but, oddly, not unable to eat large quantities), but MOST importantly, it has swollen up to the point that I can’t fit in my new pineapple skinny jeans. So I need that to not be happening.
A Wallet. More specifically, this wallet. Preferably with large wads of cash in it. The truth is, three weeks down and my coin purse (that was oh-so sweet and handy through out Asia) is now stuffed with one and two pence pieces (grumble, grumble, pointless ruddy coins, grumble), half filled coffee cards from Pret, and receipts (that I’m attempting to keep so I can start budgeting – ha). This bright, happy-making number has space for all those cards, a coin compartment, it opens out to fit all my pesky receipts (and large wads of cash), whilst being bright enough to spot in the bottom of your bag AND small enough to pop in your fave clutch when you head out for a drink. It’s totally more of a necessity than a want. Totally. (Stop rolling your eyes mum.)
All Ruby Everything. I always talk about my love for this incredible kiwi brand, Ruby. It must be so boring for you. Because I actually have a super international readership (hey all you lovelies from all over the world) and you know what? It’s hella expensive to get Ruby shipped to anywhere but NZ. I know because I’ve looked. I’ve looked, I’ve weighed up the options, and I’ve decided its worth it. (Then I put down my wine glass and went to bed). No, but in all seriousness I miss this brand a lot; the quality is great, it fits me perfectly, I love the current collection and I seriously love the next collection. I’m pretty bloody upset that I no longer live nearby. Can someone please send me this? Oh and this? Maybe these too? Hell, just one of everything. (Told you I was grand and this “editing” business).
The Petite Kitchen Cookbook by Eleanor Ozich. This girl is incredible. She’s a blogger who turned to wholefoods and general clean eating to help her daughter (who suffers from Gut and Psychology Syndrome, read her story here). She also went to my high school and I still get this weird how-can-someone-who-sat-opposite-me-in-maths-be-doing-so-freaking-well-at-life feeling every time I look at one of her recipes. Eleanor is one of the original inspirations behind the way I (try) and eat and I think her recipes are wonderfully simple, easy to achieve and always scrumptious. When the boy and I score a cute little London pad (cough, cough), the first thing heading to my kitchen will be this book. (Well, actually it will probably be boring crap like knives and forks… but you know… this is a close second).
I will stop now, even though I could go on forever. I’m starting to feel like I’m writing a letter to Father Christmas, and if I go any further with this fantasy I might start expecting things under the tree.
I’m pretty sure I’ve been a good girl this year Saint Nicholas, so please cure my Monday morning blues and…. give me all of the cool stuffs. Ta.
I once heard someone say “as long as you actually get moving, it doesn’t matter what you wear. Exercise, and all its benefits, can be achieved as long as you just go and do it”.
Well kids, that person was a big ol’ liar. For the last two weeks (since arriving in the UK) I’ve been trying (important word that, trying) to get back to my previous fitness level. With another half marathon to work towards, I’ve been strapping on trainers and heading out into the FREEZING London streets as many mornings as I can muster the courage (not many).
I’m pretty sure it’s the eight weeks of doing very little and the sharp change in temperature from my normal training that’s contributing to my… well.. diabolical running ability. But I also think that it’s because I’m in all the wrong gear.
You’ve heard me harp on about my love affair with Skechers. The GoRun is just a perfect match for me (and probably you too – seriously, give it a go). You can read my in-depth reviews/love letters here and here (I’m smitten). Unfortunately, with the boy watching over (aka lording over) my packing for our South East Asian adventures, they didn’t make the cut. A 10 year old, overused and muddy pair of Nikes did. With the convincing reasoning behind the boy removing my fave trainers from my pack being that “I wouldn’t mind if the others got lost/dirty”. All through our intrepid journey, the boy was right. But now I am here, and my runners aren’t, I’m in huge distress.
Two weeks of shockingly mediocre runs with bad shoes (featuring none of the right support), and my knee has actually given in, I’ve strained my ITB (google it, its far too boring for me to explain here) and I am now BED RIDDEN*.
Luckily, my one true loves are slowly making their way to me via a shipping container full of other stuff that we deemed important enough to send to the other side of the world. I imagine (upon arrival) I will probably look at the painstakingly selected items in disgust, questioning why on earth I chose to spend actual money, time and energy sending it… all except my beautiful Skechers. I will caress them. Cuddle them. Love them. And yes, I will prob even give them a little stroke. (Stop judging me).
I’m pretty sure, once reunited with my GoRuns, I will be able to whiz through my training. Right? Yeah. Its definitely the shoes and not my lazy butt. For sure.
*Okay, so I’m not ACTUALLY bed ridden. But walking is tough, going up stairs is tougher and if I want to get any sympathy (and maybe breakfast in bed) from the boy I have to say things like “bed ridden”. Ok? Cool. Glad we’re on the same page.
Is it just me, or is one of the best things about moving overseas is the opportunity to completely reinventing yourself?
When in New Zealand, I would often live my dream life out when I went to a hairdresser. It sounds crazy (it is), but my reaction to a complete stranger asking me a million questions about my life was to lie. I would tell them I was an actress, or I had twelve brothers, or I was currently writing a murder mystery novel, or whatever took my fancy that day. Unfortunately I found a hairdresser I really liked and wanted to keep seeing, so found myself tangled up in a web of lies. It’s the real reason I upped sticks to Europe. It was getting a bit hard to keep up with.
I digress, basically I like that this life change is giving me the chance to start fresh, like the first page of a notebook. And, as any good stylist knows, the best place to start when reinventing yourself is your wardrobe.
Upon leaving my studio flat in the heart of Auckland, I got rid of almost my entire floordrobe. (Apart from shipping over a few of my absolute favourite pieces). I juice cleansed my fashion “system” (but with less spinach). So, I’ve arrived ready to fill my new wardrobe with all the right choices. And I recon this list is a good place to start…
A White Shirt This closet classic is a crime to be without. It can be dressed up, or down, and easily taken from the office to…well anywhere you might want to go after the office. Mine (already purchased – it’s that important) is a crisp linen with beautiful, delicate shell buttons. It’s simply gorgeous. My favourite way to wear it is with drainpipe black jeans, chelsea boots and a chunky necklace.
Black Trousers Whether you prefer your trousers tux style, or skinny (like me), it’s important to have these. You don’t have to spend the earth, but they should fit you well. They’re pretty boring to buy, and yes those pineapple print jeans are SO much more exciting (I may or may not have bought them too*), but believe me – a pair of black trousers will see you through not only seasons, but a million different occasions too. They are pretty much the bread and butter of fashion.
A Great Handbag Now, this one IS worth spending some money on. I would say that though, because a certain handbag is by far the most expensive thing I own. But it’s also timeless and still in perfect condition despite its nearly five years in my possession. I’ve decided (look away now mum) that upon getting my dream job here in London, I will celebrate by buying a very nice handbag. Despite being swaddled with all of the worlds best designers here, I’m still going to opt for a Deadly Ponies number – those guys make the best bags around. No question. Don’t fight me on this guys. I will take you on, and I will win. **evil glares**
Ankle BootsI’ve already mentioned chelsea boots, and they are my go-to. The trick here is to start with the basics and go for a brown or black leather with a low(ish) heel. Once you have the basics covered, go nuts with any and every colour/material/embellishments that take your fancy.
A Coat I’ve just purchased a textured navy coat that’s sort of a blazer come coat. It’s perfect. When I recover from the above bag purchase however, I will buy this…ok, I won’t, because unless I win the lottery I don’t have that much money… But I live in London now, so every coat dream that I’ve had to put on hold in toasty Auckland can now be played out (in my head). Plus everyone needs a camel coat. Like duh.
Ballet Flats I’m all for heels. But, if you can’t walk in them – take them the hell off. Now. Because there is nothing more painful than watching some poor woman trying to walk in heels and failing. Every inch of elegance is snatched from her. So, ladies, embrace flats. My faves are actually these. Basic, cheap, classic and insanely versatile. Plus you feel like a dancer. WIN.
Jeans This doesn’t need explaining. Even my Gran (aka my current flatmate) has a pair. If you don’t own any then you are just a crazy person. Sort it out.
Knitwear If you have a wee bit of extra cash, cashmere is the best choice. Investing in a quality fabric here will mean that your jumper doesn’t loose its shape and can be worn for years and years (and maybe some more years). Try to have at least one lightweight, fitted option in your grasp before you start introducing cable knits or crops. I’ve just welcomed this baby into my wardrobe. It may not look exciting, but the wool and silk blend is so soft, and the style means it is perfect for layering.
A Tee See this post dedicated to my love of all things tee and shirty.
Statement Bling Some people will probably disagree that this is a “staple”, but I think popping your personality into any and every look is completely vital. I don’t mean wearing something crazy, just find a piece (or a few) that work for you. I love rings. All the rings, on all the fingers, at all the times. It’s my personal statement and yours could be different, but it’s a great way to add some of you to your outfit.
Armed with this list, I’m off out to spend up large (except not – damn being a poor unemployed traveler).
*I totally did. And I don’t regret it at all.
When I turned 18 my parents gave me a watch. My parents are usually epically good present givers (like seriously good). They have instilled in me this weird desire to give the most amazing presents, which is the bore of my boys life, he is more of the head-out-last-minute-and-but-a-scented-candle type (yes, that’s a legitimate type). But anyway, I had high expectations come that particular birthday. You see, it’s kind of a big deal, turning 18 (at least for British people, in NZ it’s your 21st that everyone goes bat shit for). So when all my excitement boiled down to a thin black strapped watch with a red minute had, that did one job (a job that my phone could do whilst also texting my friends), I was shocked. Shocked and kind of upset, I didn’t understand. Had I been naughty? Was this the birthday equivalent of Christmas coal?
I put on the face you are meant to put on, and said thank you kindly. I listened to the story about how fancy the watch was, how it was a ‘Mondaine’ and based on the Swiss railway clocks (basically it was a very sort after timepeice). And I still didn’t get it.
Six years on from then and I can’t for the life of me remember what I actually wanted for my birthday. No doubt it would have ended up in the bin or broken. But this watch remains (in almost perfect nick). To be honest I haven’t worn it loads (you see now my phone does even more things whilst telling me the time), but it has been coming out to play with my style more and more.
I wouldn’t say it’s grown on me, I would say that I’ve grown into it. How was a teenager with peroxide blonde hair and a bad love affair with and overzealous side fringe ever going to see the importance (and beauty) of something so timeless (ha)? Now I look at this piece of history with awe. I lovingly waterproof the leather strap and even once got the battery changed (that’s a lot of up keeping for a girl who’s previously mentioned dyed hair quickly turned into an “ombré” ‘do of it’s own accord). What once sat in a box barely looked at, is now a common feature on my wrist, nestled between my stacks of neon beads (hey, I’ve still got a bit of that eighteen-year-old class in me).
I think watches are making a come back. I think the world of fashion is starting to welcome these gorgeously simple and functional pieces back into its life like a long lost lover. It’s the Baby G trend of the 00s, but with less pink plastic and more rustic leather. Ladies, throw away those cellphones (ok, don’t be too dramatic here, maybe just chuck them in your bag) because a sign of the real fashion elite is no longer a stunning pair of Louboutins, but a designer (somewhat oversized) watch.
Or maybe I am just getting old enough to finally appreciate a “classic”. Shit. Pretty sure it’s all down hill from here.
NB A terribly belated thank you to my parents, who seem to have (yet again) aced it on the present giving. Even if it took my class a few years to catch up.
I usually update you guys on the amazing cuisine in Auckland, but (as you may have picked up) I’m not actually IN Auckland currently. As the boy and I travel, we’ve had a checklist, a kid of culinary ‘to do’. Not masterminded by me (I’m having a hard enough time trying to tick “paleo” off as is), but from the boy. Our adventures have be a sort of foodie tour of South East Asia, with decisions on places to stop being made purely based on where historically makes tasty noms. My personal tour guide is quite partial to hawkers markets, or street vendors (despite every warning against this) and I’ve found it to be one of the best ways to truly chuck yourself in the deep end, (both culturally and digestively) and discover the real essence behind a city. So, for my readers in this area (or my readers heading this way), I give you my two favourite street markets spots (so far).
Gluttons Bay – Singapore
This hawkers centre is very well documented, but still, it deserves the hype. What serves as the ‘creme de la creme’ of Singaporean street food, bands together to create a buzz of finger lickin’ traditional fare, right on the (rather breathtaking) water front of Singapore.
When we headed here we completely lucked out and happened upon an installation art exhibition (that quite literally lit up the sky) going on along Marina Bay too.
For this, our first Friday traveling, the boy decided we had to have the most decadent looking dish available, chilli crab. This is a Singaporean specialty consisting of an actual whole crab just hanging out in a pile of delicately spicy, full bodied, tomato sauce. It was swimming in so much of the stuff I swear it had died by drowning. Paired with sticky rice and crispy sweet buns for my dinner date (no sexual reference intended), this messy but oh-so-much-fun dish left us wanting more.
Other notable Singaporean dishes worth a try are chicken rice, oyster omelet and carrot cake (which is neither a cake, nor contains carrots – who ever named that was on something whack).
Soak up the sounds of Singapore whilst sipping on a coconut, but be prepared to fight (like really, really hard) for a table.
Night Markets – Trang
This little spot was almost over looked! We only stopped in Trang for one night (as most do). It’s a sort of transit town for tourists heading to Thai Islands. Lucky for us, our one night also happened to be a Friday, the evening the small patch of town right outside the rundown train station (and, it turns out, our equally run down digs for the night) comes alive with food, fashions, and odd trinkets galore.
Eating here was like dinner and a show all rolled up into one, with small elderly ladies making fresh roti, whole fish slung on coals and squid kebabs going round the barbie. Everywhere you looked there was something amazing to watch and some new oddity to taste. Often food choices were a bit of a lucky dip, not understanding the offerings (just the price – the price always seems to be easy to translate), but none were a disappointment.
I settled on a papaya salad, mixed up in front of my eyes (and allowing my control over spice levels – thank god), fried quail eggs and big chunks of watermelon for dessert. Needless to say, I was one insanely happy camper as this was my first proper healthy style eating since we had set off on our travels. Also, all that probably came to under $2.50 (NZ), leaving plenty of money for other things (these “things” may or may not have been a new handbag*). The boy, who doesn’t give two hoots about healthy, went for spicy squid, quail egg money bags (we are yet to discover where all the quails were hiding) and a sweet roti filled with banana and covered in not only chocolate, but sugar and condensed milk too (aka heart attack on a plate).
I don’t know whether it was because we had absolutely no expectation of this little town, or because the food was spectacular, or because I finally felt nourished in a healthy way, but this was one of my favourite food memories on our adventure.
*Ok, ok, they were definitely a new handbag.
This morning I am not beating around the bush. There is no witty way to package it, and no amount of clothing lusting to cure it. The only thing to cure my mondayitis, is coffee.
You can throw gorgeous, designer dresses at me until I look like Joey from that episode in Friends when he wears all of Chandlers clothes at once (minus underwear), but it won’t do. Because all I want is a real caffeine hit.
It’s barmy outside and I want to walk around naked (I hear its inappropriate or something). But I don’t care. Halfway through this glorious trip, and the only words that are falling out of my mouth right now are complete gibberish and sound (or look) something like “blahblahblah CRAZY HOT LIKE A CRAZY THING blah”.
Between overnight trains, jet lag, and nights that are screamingly hot, sleep is at an all time low. I am craving the taste of my sweet local brew to pump me full of the energy needed to see me through this incredible Cambodian morning.
Next time you are in Auckland, hit up my three favourite coffee joints for your glorious taste of a “proper coffee” as my mother puts it. (A “proper coffee” being one made in a fancy machine, rather than that “instant stuff”.)
Rad This Mount Eden spot is the new kid on the block, and they use Wellington born Flight Coffee in there technicolour cafe. These beans have a deep, caramel-y hit to them and my pick off the menu would have to be the classic Latte. The endless creamy milk will lap up the richness of the shot. Also worth a note, are the scrum my smoothies.
Twenty Three This little gem was right next door to me, so I had a wee soft spot for it. Not only are the brunch options stella, but the short black is a must try, and the amazing staff will know your order after only a few visits.
The Espresso Coffee School A ‘gift economy’ cafe (basically, you pay what you think your item is worth, rather than having a set price – food included), which has a rotation of uni students all learning the ropes of the coffee machine. This a pokey place is always stuffed full of business men and suit clad ladies on their way to work, not only because it’s cheap (or you can make it cheap), but because, under the watchful eyes of the owner, those kids are making pretty damn good baristas. Go there and try the kiwi traditional Flat White for a “proper coffee” with a full bodied flavour. If you don’t like it? Don’t pay!
You know that phrase, the one featured in like every sappy 90s love song (or any love song at all for that matter), the one about not knowing what you’ve got… ‘Till it’s gone? Well I’m suffering from that a little right now. To friends and family back home – you can stop that head of yours getting any bigger, because I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about lemons.
Yup. Do you know how hard it is to hunt down a damn lemon in Asia? I don’t know if I’m looking in all the wrong places (and yes, I looked in fruit shops, supermarkets and even asked at restaurants), but I could barely find any. This doesn’t sound like much of a drama right? Well, I guess it’s not on the scale of life events (weddings, children and lemon draughts will probably make my obituary), but it has made me realise that lemons are one bloody brilliant fruit.
For the last 12 months in NZ I’ve been consistently guzzling a glass of water with the juice from half a lemon and a tablespoon of Apple cider vinegar every morning (except a few hungover occasions that we won’t talk about). To be honest, I didn’t really understand the good it was doing me. I just kind of did it, because (like any good blogger) I read somewhere online that it’s super duper for all things digestive and helps out your skin too. (And yes, if the internet told me to jump off a bridge, I probably would do that as well).
As much as I wanted to squeeze 9 weeks worth of lemons and ACV into my luggage, the boy had already been lenient with my packing quoter (he double checked the necessity of each item in my bag and even let me keep the third pair of shoes), so I decided to test my life – lemon free. Well, you know what? My life is oh-so much better with a little acid in the morning.
Even just a few days in from my morning ritual hiatus, I notices more spots. A week in and my skin tone was hella blotchy, and food was aching my tummy (this could also be because I’m traveling south East Asia… Or, you know, lemons are magic). Three weeks in and I’m reminded of my sixteen year old self, and not in a good way (in a hormones expressing themselves through my pores sort of way).
As well as doing wonders for your skin, lemons claim to boost your immune system (with all that tasty vitamin C), balance out your PH levels (aiding healthy digestion and knocking out toxins) and even reduce inflammation in joints!
So, when I stumble upon these citrus fruits on my journeys around the orient, Im buying as many as I think will stay good, and strapping them to the side of my already overflowing pack. I’ve even started using the juice directly on a pimple to clear it up quick (when I’m done drinking it obviously).
To all you people who are spending up large on fancy name skincare brands that promise to rid you of acne for life, save a buck or two and go to your local grocers* to pick up some lemons. Maybe some apple cider vinegar too – but that’s a love story for a different day.
*unless your in Asia, then good luck to ya!
My time as a Fashion Editor is often spent in pursuit of the archetypal wardrobe must have. And, although I can never quite cut that list down from my 387 strong clothing collection, to some what more manageable number (like 10), there is one piece that I’m even more convinced than ever should be in everybodies (men and women alike – hell, maybe even small dogs too) closet… I’m talking (of course) about the classic T-shirt.
This Monday, like so many before it, I felt like I had nothing to wear. My traveling pack has began mimicking my everyday wardrobe; it’s stuffed, scrunched and piled high with a tousled mix of clean and dirty clothes (and some “undecided”), all of which just don’t seem quite right for the day ahead. But you know what would fix that? Whether you too are living out of a suitcase, or a badly organised wardrobe? The perfectly fitting, loose but not-too-loose, T-shirt.
For me it would fix the dilemma that comes with temple touring – it’s so freaking hot, but you have to cover your knees and shoulders (and it would be an added bonus if you could still look cute for those travel pictures). For you it would master the art of looking chic and sophisticated at work (pair a crisp white tee with a well fitted blazer then layer up the statement necklaces).
Basically all sartorial choices would just be so much more enhanced with a T-shirt shaped partner.
So, please T-shirt gods, set me up with a good scoop neck, cuffed sleeve, boyfriend fit, and I will be forever in your grey marl debt. And officially snapped out of my Monday morning blues too.
It is Monday, although (just to rub it in) days of the week are kind of smooshing (yup, that is a word) into one big unidentifiable blob right now. After four blissful nights at a beautiful beach resort, I have not one tiny inkling of Mondayitis… but being the lovely and giving human that I am (hey – I saw that eye roll) I’ve been thinking about some nifty things that could brighten the start of your week.
I’m about to head onto an overnight train from Ko Lanta to Bangkok, to see my family. (Yes, yes, I can hear you all gasping… I’ve only just left them, how am I already homesick? Well, don’t underestimate the power of my “mummy/daddies girl” combo. If the boy would let me, I’d probably try and fit them both in my back pack.) My mother is celebrating a pretty big birthday (woop, woop – happy twenty first mum) and as a family, we are coming together in Thailand to have a knees up just for her.
To keep up with these celebrations, I thought I would do what every good daughter does for her mother on her birthday – disobey her. You see, my mother used to tell me that tattoos were for sailors or prostitutes, and animal print was tacky*. Well, last year I got a tattoo, so I guess it’s time I whipped out my best Mrs Robinson impression, don’t you? Leopard print has long since left the realms of cougar-only wardrobes and has been seriously welcomed into the fashion elite (not that it ever left Donattela’s life).
Just like Kate and Wills’, denim and leopard is a match made in heaven. The love affair between two heavy duty fabrics is the fashion equivalent of a commoner marrying into the royal family. The play of dressy vs casual, of plain vs out there, and of workwear vs um…play-wear… (?) strikes a brilliant balance. Taking the simple pairing of skinny jeans with a classic white tee and throwing on some (fake) animal skin heels really shakes up your look and lifts your style game. Other noteworthy partners for your lovely leopard pieces are camel (think traditional style trench) and leather (think texture combination to die for).
So, this Monday, in order to fight off your morning blues I suggest you all (maybe not you dad) throw on some animal inspired prints and act like Pippa isn’t the only hot piece of ass.
*Now, before I start getting angrily worded emails, please note that my mother has a fabulous sense of humour and this is a running family joke. NOT a comment meant to make sailors, prostitutes or wearers of animals cry.