Wednesday, 27 May 2015

My Weekend Down South and The Confinements of Social Media

Sometimes, the best adventures stem from the roots of nostalgia and the branches of familiarity.

Over the bank holiday weekend, I took a trip down to the south coast with an explorer's bag, a camera and plans to create new memories with old friends.

These photographs are a collection of postcards captured over the past three days, each one a snapshot of the people and places that put themselves on the map as the reasons why I'm happy to return home.

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Living beside the seaside with the backdrop of the South Downs means a palette filled with the seasonal colours of nature painted this weekend's canvas.

I pulled on my walking shoes (note: Nike Roshe Runs are the definition of the phrase 'walking on clouds') and strolled through a nearby park towering with willow trees surrounding by a boating lake. A sign told me that it was One Eyed Jack's territory with his army of pirate boats but aside from a trio of ducklings taking their first paddle on the gentle waves, the gentleman in question was nowhere to be seen.

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Politeness will get you everywhere - although in this case, it would be at a slower pace. I also positively told my feet to not run astray and to walk slowly through the restricted areas.

After drinking in the views, I hurried back to be reacquainted with a wagging tail and an affectionate lick. We had long conversations (mainly woofs and gruffs) catching up with each other's adventures before I refocused my attention back to the humans and attended to our rumbling stomachs.

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We passed peculiar signs...

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and I filled a morning with an early brunch of vegan cakes, savoury scone meze platters and full-bellied squeezes with a truly beautiful soul that I'm honoured to call my best friend. We exchanged tales, whispers and stories over a teapot of Moroccan mint tea before rolling home promising to repeat it all again in a month's time.

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You'd think that amount of food would have been enough, wouldn't you? My appetite had other ideas. Come evening, I found myself sitting cross-legged on my friend's bedroom floor being surrounded by our favourite things. We ate pizza filled with the cheesiest of crusts, BBQ-laced chicken wings and drunk swigs of cinnamon whiskey to the soundtrack of Game of Thrones and The Breakfast Club (until I bleated mid-movie to him for a Harry Potter marathon where I proceeded to quote the entire film between mouthfuls of food. Classy one, me.) before our phones rung inviting us down to a Sherlock-esque pub in Brighton.

We hopped on the train to The Globe where stacks of board games and a 90s soundtrack greeted us. We spent the following hours competing with Scrabble and Trivial Pursuit washed down with goblets of gin and shots of spirits.

We laughed, danced, sung and spelled words laced with innuendos until 3am before we stumbled into a taxi that guided us back to our warm beds before waking up to an afternoon family barbecue. More food? I forgot to warn you that it was a weekend of indulgence.

Note to self: chilli Doritos on top of a spicy burger will forever be one of my better ideas.

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Before long, my 72 hours by the seaside came to an end. Waving goodbye, I jumped back on the train as we hurtled along the tracks back to the city accompanied by a suitcase brimming with the past weekend's entertainment, ready to be unpacked and revisited at a later date.

In a society confined by the walls of social media and constant online attachment, this weekend made me realise the importance of the physical forms of communication that no paragraphs of emojis could possibly replace. In other words, here's to reconnecting with old friends and family. It was good to be home.
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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The 'We Know Your Order' Pizza Illuminati Vest

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It's fair to say that this vest has a pizza my heart.

Once upon a time, a hangry maiden perused ASOS with a tummy singing for the cheese-topped pie and clapped her eyes on a piece that made her heart (and stomach) sing with glee. She waved her magic wand (debit card), beckoned for a horse and carriage (thanks, DPD) and welcomed the new arrival to her accommodating kingdom (wardrobe). It was an inevitable beginning to a pretty darrrn good love story... aside from the glorious moment that happens when I'm getting a slice of the action in real life.

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Once the initiation process was complete, it was time to assemble.

Impatient by nature, I overindulged by layering black over black and texture on texture. I flew into the billowing cardigan, slipped on the knee-high leathers and pleather shorts, slung the 90s choker around my neck and finished off with the pizza in illuminati armour. They're only (il)logical choices, huh?

Note: wearing a pretend cape in public can cause the following side effects:

1) You will become a Shuperhero...
2) ...and start spinning around in public singing 'we can fly, we can fly we can FLY'
3) Your full-time photographer and part-time best friend Umit will nervously laugh, grimace and then slowly back away.
4) And you'll reply with 'what's wrong? you want a pizza me?'
5) Repeat the process x5

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Yeah, I'm lucky that I have friends at all.
Now, who wants to go for a pizza?

----------------------------------------------------

OUTFIT:

American Apparel Circle Cardigan
New Look Pleather Shorts
Topshop Choker 

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Feelin' Blue

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In an ideal situation, I'd be waltzing into work dressed in my Pikashu onesie or my matching 'Donut Disturb' set (complete with Simpsons-esque sprinkled doughnuts shorts, I'll have you know). Until then, oversized clothing will have to fill the void as being the closest thing to wearing pyjamas out in public.

It can be hastily thrown on over a casual uniform of black, act as a shield against London's unpredictable weather and hug us as it lazily slouches against our bodies until we're coaxed out of its embrace to the tempting calls of our Gryffindor PJs.

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Mixing textures is our wardrobe's way of playing cupid. It takes two unlikely pairings, grabs them by their sleeves and presents the idea with a gentle nudge that opposites attract. The leather shorts and boots are rockin' the notion of slipping into something outside of our comfort zones, whilst the denim shirt is rollin' with an easygoing nonchalance and a carefree attitude all whilst subtly flirting with the idea that the combination of the both may not be as frivolous as it first seemed.

It's all very rock 'n' roll.

...or this has all been a fanciful spin of words that overanalysed a morning ritual of pulling a top and bottom from the wardrobe with a hurried 'you'll do' before running out the door with keys and my 'secret super spy' playlist in hand.

p.p.s. still holding out for a Pikashu onesie outfit post.

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Outfit Details:

Oversized denim shirt - Monki
Black V-neck top - Zara
Pleather shorts - New Look 
Blue trim socks - Topshop 
Leather ankle boots - Topshop 
Earrings - H&M

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Back Dressed As A Victorian Paddington Bear

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Before I launch into an enormous verbal hug with the lot of you, I'd recommend sitting back with a hot cuppa tea and a big appetite for words. 

I'm pretty darn excited about returning to this cosy online home -- I mean it, I have a suitcase full of backlogged posts from these few months of internet vacation ready to be unpacked.

See the big ol' grin in the picture above? Imagine that expression topped with a messy pineapple bun plopped onto the top of my head whilst sitting cross-legged with an oversized t-shirt and House of Cards playing in the background. Oh, don't you worry - I've still been rockin' the glamour since being away, it's good to be back.

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How best to reintroduce an avalanche of outfit posts than with one I deem as my 'Victorian Paddington Bear' ensemble? I'd attempt to explain the reasoning behind this pairing but in all honesty, I think East London has truly taken me under its wing by unleashing a creative burst of colour and textures into my wardrobe each morning, just in time for a bleary-eyed 8am browse.

The yellow coat hails from Joy and I turn to it on days that I feel particularly nostalgic to transform back into an 8-year old version of myself. I imagine flying through cobbled streets with a messily chopped Asian mushroom haircut; my mother is running behind me cursing in Chinese whilst clutching at my two sisters' hands with our book bags in tow.

14 years later, the only thing that's changed is that I'm the one trying to keep up with her as she sails through Oxford Street and Chinatown as copious amounts of shopping bags and boxes of mangos/peaches/persimmons dangle from our fingertips. She'd later ask us to snap a picture of her for Instagram/WeChat to alert her followers of the bargains she had discovered that day.

'One mango costs £2 or for £34,500, you can get 20,000! SUCH A GOOD DEAL.' (true story)

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As for the Victorian doily, the scallop edging and crochet pattern peeks into the material underneath to transition the outfit from a child-like combination to a slightly matured adult composition. After these photographs were taken, I skipped back to the office and promptly walked into a door.

Yes, I most definitely look like a responsible lady to be trusted with all sorts of serious stuff.

If you've made it this far -- allow me to gush some cheesy appreciation to thank you for being so patient and for stickin' around. Thank you for taking a little moment of your day to read these crazy nuggets of words tumbled straight from this strange ol' mind of mine. It truly does feel good to be writing again.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

A Day In The Life of Shu's Brain and Its Logical Thought Processes

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The series of photographs above capture a story tale of cliches.

Let me talk you through each of them and we'll see if you'd still want to be pals with me afterwards:

A grand 2cm of snow graced London yesterday. In my revitalised 7:30 post-shower state, I tried to materialise my inner chants of 'DO YOU WANNA BUILD A SNOWMAN' into an outfit. Goodbye flimsy playsuit, hello oversized woolly marshmallow knit with cricket jumper detailing. In true 'ZZZ' fashion, I rolled with the bedhead, pulled on my Dr Martens and joined the sea of caffeine-deprived commuters whilst secretly mumbling Frozen lyrics to myself.

Within the hour, I had a pipin' hot bowl of porridge sprinkled liberally with goji berries, cacao nibs and a spoonful of almond butter. This was followed by a chocolate orange brownie because life is all about balance. I needn't have bothered with my daily bucket of joe consisting of two espressos and a mug of filter coffee as I have a growing suspicion that I've grown immune to its powers. Naturally, the only way to remedy this is to double the dose with quadruple espresso-fueled gulps every morning. Did I mention that I'm also an incredibly logical person?

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Come lunch time, my full-time best friend, part-time photographer/foodie pal/person I repeat 'only let me have ONE glass of wine and NO PIZZAS TOGETHER AT 3AM' to every week coaxed me on a trip to our local health food shop for pretentious organic treats that promised us eternal youth and spiritual souls. Yes, I'm that person. I lap this stuff up and armed with wasabi kale chips and a mango chia pudding dangling from my arms, we scouted a suitable location for a quickfire outfit shoot.

This brick wall complete with a political message that ached our brains to read was perfect.

"Just hold your finger on the shutter as I prance around." 
"Oh honey, please. I have a photography degree."

That's pretty much a summary of our friendship.
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If that isn't enough, we're going to see an Icelandic band in an East London pub tonight. With our priorities in order, I've already consulted Google and sent across a list of places to eat. Don't worry, no superfoods are involved - only thick doughy pizza crusts straight from a woodfired oven to our rumbling tums. I'm already dreaming about bathing in mozzarella.

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With all of this in mind, are we still friends? 

  Dr Martens Serena Boots | White Wool Jumper - ZARA | Mulberry Evergreen Tree Slim Wallet

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Winter florals | Notting Hill

"I was within and without. Simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life."  -- F. Scott Fitzgerald 
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Notting Hill is magical.

I spent last weekend exploring the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, an area I was previously a stranger to, and consequently spent hours mindlessly wandering around in an awed daze. It's a mixing pot of generations gathered in celebration for the city of culture. Amid the rows of brilliantly white Victorian townhouses nestled among Ladbroke Gardens, it opened up a gateway to the enticing calls from Portobello Market. I was excited to finally visit the weekly carnival of ancient treasures buried among velvet-lined boxes.
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There were antique shops aplenty, each boasting an overflow of glittering jewels, silver goblets and bronze chains collected from all corners of the world. Leather bounded books and preserved comics were shuffled in an organised chaos with collectors gathering around eagerly searching for their favourite classic reads. A faint scented of nutella crepes lingered in the air, each time emphasised when a hungry tourist sailed by happily clutching one in hand.

I eavesdropped haggled conversations clinging onto every word between vendor to buyer; I gazed lustfully at gemstone adorned rings and antique trinkets before dragging myself away to a scolding conscience exclaiming, 'hurry along nowyou already have far too much and it's quite frankly enough'. It's most definitely an experience that I'd like to indulge in more frequently from now on.

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Fear not, I didn't turn into Olaf the snowman by wearing just the attire above. I immediately hid under a roomy bomber jacket and unattractively wrapped a blanket-like scarf over myself (thus resembling Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother) shortly after these photos were taken. Exclusive confessions behind the scenes there! Oh, the things we do for outfit of the days... seriously life-changing stuff here, guys.