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.

Monday, 19 January 2015

Appreciating The Present in Arundel

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” 
― W.B. Yeats
Whether awake or asleep, most of my time is spent on a crossroad between the past and future. I have trouble living in the present and struggle to appreciate all that is right in front of me, until it's gone.

With this in mind, I escaped to Arundel a few months ago and reached a happy compromise; it's a quaint historical town quietly situated thirty minutes from where I grew up. The River Arun is home to a family of waddling ducks and eager ducklings learning to paddle their webbed feet against the current. It has a towering castle surrounded by trees peppered with the golden leaves of autumn and family-owned shops dotted along the cobblestone streets.

Whilst one side of the market town is a child of over a thousand years of history, the other half continues to grow alongside the changing eras of our everyday lives and encompasses a healthy balance of the past, present and future,

It was here that I spent the day with only a camera in hand allowing myself to lose track of time and thought to share the adventitious snaps with you all. I coaxed myself into admiring the short-lived product of nature, instead of focusing on how the entwining paths of the past could make its consequential way into my future.

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“He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”
― George Orwell,

Friday, 16 January 2015

Lights of Soho presents God's Own Junkyard

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Stuck on what to do this weekend?

How about momentarily escaping to a world of undying neon signs in the heart of London? Lights of Soho presents God's Own Junkyard is currently exhibiting (with pieces of sale!) on 35 Brewer Street until Sunday 18th January and trust me, it's worth the trip.

Having visited the God's Own Junkyard's workshop in Walthamstow last summer, it was great to see late artist Chris Bracey's work and memorabilia celebrated in a different location and where better placed than in the belly of the beast amongst the brightly lit array of bars, restaurants and sex shops alike? The 'Topless Girls Here' sign would be most fitting.

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Take plenty of time to wander through the haven of fluorescence and allow yourself to be engulfed within the circus of lights. Everywhere you look, you're surrounded by glowing bulbs and flashing signs boasting everything from Tiki Bars, Laughing Water to Girls Girls Girls! It's a delight to allow yourself to be mesmerised in this adult funfair. Don't forget to hop downstairs too where the exhibition continues!    

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If you're unable to make the Soho exhibition, fear not! Some pieces are on display on the Lower Ground Floor of Selfridge's or visit the main stomping ground at Unit 12, Ravenswood Industrial Estate in Walthamstow.

Let me know your favourite piece! :)

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Striped Turtleneck and Ripped Jeans

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Please note: Leaving Shu out in the rain for longer than 5 seconds results in immediate shrinking and increased irritability - you have been warned.

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When deciding on the uniform for the day, my mornings can be divided into the following scenarios:

- I either delve into my wardrobe in a hurried haste with a whirl of clothes dancing in every direction before it's quickly pulled from the air and morphed into an impulsive ensemble. I've been known to (proudly) roll up to work sporting Marvel t-shirts (that are secretly part of a pyjama set but shhh!), Harry Potter tops (proud Gryffindor) or men's jumpers.

- Wake up with a pressing urge to rematerialise myself into reflect a specific mood/character-inspired attire. I only have my imagination and my knack for getting too emotionally involved with people in films/TV shows to blame for this.

For this particular day, the first option won although channeling Steve Job's love for turtlenecks did stumble into mind.

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Traditionally, horizontal stripes are hailed as an unforgiving garment designed to widen the body into all sorts of unflattering angles. However, high-waisted jeans counteracts this and saves the day; the fit reaches further past the hips until it sits above your lower abdomen, where it stays and gets to work in accentuating the figure and spinning an illusion with its leg-lengthening powers.

I may be 5'3 but with these Jamie jeans, my legs are a little less short and stout... Simply magical until I return back to normality, d'oh.

On a side note, I am experiencing a great deal of infatuation with turtlenecks right now, not just on me but on guys too... notably James McAvoy in Trance with his multipack coloured collection. Dark turtleneck, blazer and chinos? Be still, my beating heart.

Thursday, 1 January 2015

3 Options For A Lazy Weekend - Hello, 2015!

January 1st, 2015: Happy New Year!

Hope you all had the most amazing time celebrating yesterday evening! Anyone else still wrapped up snuggly in a dressing gown at 2:30PM with a mug of green tea? Please don't say it's just me.

With plans for a walk on the seaside later followed by a cinema trip to watch Paddington, my plans to stay in my pyjamas have been bookmarked to be revisited again in a few hours time. The extended festive period between December 25th - 4th January seems to be a bit of a grey area, doesn't it? Weekdays and weekends are blurred into a prolonged stretch of lazy days thus every day feels like, well, a Sunday. With that in mind, below are three options of how I'll be spending this weekend before it's time to head back to work in the city.

Option #1: Duvet Day 
(it's a Shu National Holiday, don't you know?)

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Pyjamas kept on, cushions and pillows propped up and PlayStation controller in hand with Seasons 1-5 of Chuck for afters. Oh, I do love my duvet days. As a firm believer that humans should be able to hibernate in the winter months after Christmas until spring arrives, this is the closest option I'll get to achieving it. I'll be hanging up my adventures in these cold blustery winds and you'll find me burrowing into a bundle of blankets instead. 

I'm now half tempted to build a fort out of cushions and blankets and deck out my pretend castle with the fairy lights from the Christmas tree. Now, that's an idea...

Option #2: Smart Casual 
(i.e. thrown on with a quick slick of lipstick)

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Lace top - Zara (on sale now!)
Pleather trousers - ASOS
Barely there heeled sandals - Primark
MAC Russian Red lipstick

For the occasions where fancy attire is required, this is my go-to option of looking smart with minimal effort involved and all black outfits are my favoured uniform in answer to the January blues. The black lace and crochet detailing are feminine, the billowing material hides a multitude of chocolate-shaped sins, the pleather trousers provides texture to an otherwise monotonous affair and it's all wrapped up with a quick slick of red lipstick. The easiest outfit to pull together and no one will be any the wiser.

Or there's always... 

Option #3: A repeat of last night

living room picnic

For New Year's Eve, a living room picnic was created with blankets draped on the rug and plush cushions plonked down as seats. We ordered a banquet of Indian food, arranged an array of our favourite tipples and prepared ourselves for a sci-fi movie marathon. We allowed our minds to escape to alternate realities all whilst laying comfortably with poppadoms in hand. It was a very chilled out evening filled with all my favourite things and one that I'm keen to repeat - who needs dinner tables anyway?

So it seems like my lazy weekend plans are a go! Who's with me?

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

NYE Outfit Ideas: The 2-Piece Pencil Dress

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It's December 31st - the 365th day of 2014!

Last year, we welcomed in the new year at a Back To The Future themed night at The Haunt in Brighton. The venue was bursting with film memorabilia, floating hover boards and classic 80s anthems blared out from the speakers. When the clock struck midnight, a chorus of HAPPY NEW YEARs were bellowed across the room over the top of Doc and Marty McFly costumed heads. It was a brilllliant night.

The year before that, wrapped up in our thermals and bobble hats, we lined ourselves along the embankment and marvelled at the cascade of fireworks cartwheeling themselves into the skies above us. A soundtrack of sparkles and bangs lit up against the backdrop of the Thames and London Eye.  

Should we exist in an alternate reality where I'd be attending a spy-themed black tie event, this 2-piece pencil dress would be my weapon of choice. Exuding elegance, glamour and sophistication with a sensual twist, it's the perfect garment to reinvent myself as a silver screen 1950s siren ready for an evening exchanging witty one-liners through smirking red lips.

Alas, this year, we're fast forwarding our mental age by 50 years with a chilled evening of our favourite board games, films and a feast of our favourite foods. Pyjamas may be involved... with a bottle of fireball cinnamon whiskey and Irish cream fuelled hot chocolate. We're in for a wild night, ladies and gents. 

Despite staying indoors, I'm actually excited for tonight's plans. There's always a collective pressure to be assembled within a gathering of drunken strangers all partying into the early hours of the night - but this year, I'm taking a step back to unwind and fully enjoy my favourite simple pleasures through the comfort of a roaring fire. I can't wait to count down at 11:59 being surrounded by great company with no chattering teeth involved. Have I turned into an old lady overnight?

Whatever your plans may be, stay safe and have the best time bringing in the new year! Here's to 2015 being the best year yet - I can't wait to unfold new adventures :)

Now... who's turn is it to roll the dice?

2-Piece Pencil Dress - ASOS
Spring Break Silver Heels - ASOS
Rimmel Matte Kate Lipstick in Wine 107