Category Archives: lifestyle

15 Actors Who Happen To Be Vegan

The vegan community is having a worldwide celebration today in honour of the cruelty-free lifestyle, which protects both our planet’s animals and environment. A noble cause, which has been a part of my life since early April this year, when I first began making steps into joining the vegan team. Although having a diet with no animal products is not something new to our history, or a revolutionary idea of the twentieth centuries, it is only now gaining friction with larger audiences through social media and documentary campaigns. So, to join the awareness day, I have compiled a small list of film actors and actresses, who may surprise you by being vegan!

Here we go:

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Whether you are a vegan or not, today is a great opportunity to throw some love into the universe and give animals a surprise cuddle! Unless those animals are venomous or super dangerous, in which case, like, send them kisses from afar.

Happy Vegan Day!

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Halloween Fever: 17 Classic Films

October is the month of falling leaves and warm, pumpkin pies. A season of windy mornings, when you can almost catch a whiff of that chilly winter air, and one of rainy afternoons to sooth the stressful, busy day. As Halloween is on our doorstep, I wanted to lay out a list of my all-time favourite classic fright flicks and hand it over to you under the cloak of witching hour.

So, here we go – embarking on a journey through the land of nightmare fuel.

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Film: “Beetlejuice”

Year: 1988

Let’s start with the king of Hallows’ Day characters – “Beetlejuice”, just be careful not to call his name three times! Otherwise, Michael Keaton will appear in your mirror and probably get super annoyed you’ve summoned him away from home. A highly imaginative, snappy and funny flick, which is not afraid to make you sit through a naughty joke or two. Tim Burton puts life into very memorable characters, creating a film that has lasted the ages.

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Film: “Edward Scissorhands”

Year: 1990

I wasn’t even around when this fan-favourite came around cinemas, but I sure do love it and so does everyone with a semi-good DVD collection. Brace yourselves, children, for this list features Tim Burton creations multiple a-time, and although his latest films haven’t exactly hit the sweet spot in box office terms, once upon two decades ago he was a true master of the craft. Sweet, heartfelt and well-rounded movie, which will make you weep and giggle!

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Film: “Ghostbusters”

Year: 1984

A film praised for its dry, snappy humour and nifty effects, we all know Venkman’s legacy one way or another. Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd and Sigourney Weaver are the leads of a ghost-fuelled adventure around New York City, which takes them to ancient spirits and fat, green blobs alike. Watch out for the impending invasion of otherworldly creatures that only our band of geeks can prevent. An additional bonus is are the animated effects, which truly send your head into the eighties.

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Film: “From Dusk Till Dawn”

Year: 1996

For the lovers of swear-ridden dialogue and George Clooney’s face, I present to you the Tarantino Delight! Crime, bar fights, weapons, gore, exotic dancers and vampires – everything a spicy Halloween party needs is mushed together in “From Dusk Till Dawn”. Plus, it will give you an immediate excuse to watch the spin-off series on Netflix, which has been gathering friction. You get the movie and the episode binges, too! Win-win. Also, everyone gets street cred for making outdated Tarantino references, right?

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Film: “Hocus Pocus”

Year: 1993

In case your Halloween party has been infested with little goblins, otherwise specified as human children, which… Let’s face it – highly plausible scenario… Then “Hocus Pocus” is here to save the day! I mean night! Three Salem witches are resurrected on the night of many terrors and and only a funky group of local teens can restore peace. It’s witty and exciting in a very charming way, so for the sake of the young ‘uns – give this film a chance!

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Film: “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”

Year: 1992

Now, we’ve already patted Burton’s back (and shall do so again), we’ve shaken Tarantino’s hand, but one mustn’t forget legendary filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola, who directed this  film back in the early nineties. It stars Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins and Winona Ryder, which should tell you how compelling the story must be, and how the looming torment is perfected. We’ve seen vampire renditions everywhere, so why not catch a glimpse of their origin – ancient Dracula himself.

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Film: “Sleepy Hollow”

Year:  1999

Nine years after Depp and Burton collaborated on “Edward Scissorhands”, this dark fantasy was born into existence. The familiar tale of a mysterious horseman who chases straying locals in search for his long-lost head, the evil demon who swings a heavy axe and reeks of death itself – brought to life on screen. Turn the lights off and grab an apple cider for the ultimate villager experience.

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Film: “Corpse Bride”

Year: 2005

Let’s play a little game called guess the director and then another one called guess the lead actor, too! No, I’m not sorry this is on the list, because it’s yet another Burton/Depp bromance brain-child, which has rightfully earned a place on the Halloween list. Honestly! I’m not being sponsored by Tim here, although I’d take a sponsorship should he like to give a film nerd some gentle endorsement. Watch the story of Victor, who accidentally finds himself married to… You guessed it! A corpse bride. Will he choose the world of the living or the side of the dead instead?

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Film: “Carrie”

Year: 1976

Stephen King should be a part of any good fright fest and here we have a prime example with the original cinematic experience of “Carrie” – the girl with telekinetic powers whose Christian mother and mean-hearted school mates push the bar on her sanity. The reason I am recommending this above the 2013 re-make is that 1976 wasn’t trying to over-glorify the story! They made a realistic and psychologically torturing film, as opposed to a pile of over-chewed shock factor production design. Also – boobs.

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Film: “Interview with The Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles”

Year: 1994

Tom Cruise’s young seduction years and Brad Pitt’s adorable baby face really pulled through on the visual perfection side of this film. The horror and beauty of eternal life are explored deeply in “Interview with the Vampire”, alongside diverse questions of morality and the nature of humanity, which leave the spectator repelled and fascinated with the lives of these modern monsters. A classic for a reason, people! Also, I didn’t know there was more to the title, too, don’t worry.

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Film: “ParaNorman”

Year: 2012

Whoa, this list actually features something from the past five years, what an absolute turn of events here! I remember seeing “ParaNorman” in the cinema when I was in college and loving every second of it. A stop-motion animation which genuinely makes you feel like a kid again, from zombies and old curses to supernatural adventures and a group of young misfits, who come together in an unlikely battle against evil. It’s colourful, fast-paced, childish, charming and funny.

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Film: “Ginger Snaps”

Year: 2000

This is a classic audience splitter. I’ve heard both ends of the magnet, some say they hate it and other say they love it, so beware “Ginger Snaps” might be a bit of a gamble if you have a larger group in your party. I, for one, quite like the werewolf flick, which tackles high school life, love, family, suicide, depression and… Periods? Yeah, you heard me right. I guess blood makes us all a little crazy sometimes – she said, howling against the Halloween moon.

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Film: “Young Frankenstein”

Year: 1974

Why would you watch a seventies film that is  not just black and white, but also made to look like a nineteen-thirties mishap? Because it’s positively hilarious! An original parody of the overused drama in motion pictures of the past, filled to the brim with one-liners and convention twists. Mel Brooks’s baby will bring you cinematic joy in ways that you have not experienced in perhaps a very long time. Plus, one must never have  Halloween without science’s king monster – the unnatural(ly funny)Frankenstein creation itself.

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Film: “Scream”

Year: 1996

Here goes to one of the slasher world’s favourite franchise starters – the original “Scream”, hailing once more from the rather successfully creepy nineties. Bloody knives, the raspy voice of a violent stranger stalking you over the phone and Ghostface’s manipulative obsession make this thriller a Halloween winner. Wes Craven has been a legendary name in the film community, so including him in your celebration can only be the right decision. Also, knowing this film can open your eyes to so many references in surrounding culture, you’ll be stunned to the attic and back.

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Film: “Halloween”

Year: 1978

Speaking of slashers, I couldn’t possibly compile a Halloween list without the actual “Halloween” movie, could I? Another horror and another legendary director – John Carpenter, whose efforts in this flick have made it a timeless piece and a part of many collections around the globe. Here is the origin of the scream queen culture, led long and proud by Jamie Lee Curtis. I would recommend hot cocoa for this particular choice, so as to lower the fear factor.

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Film: “A Nightmare on Elm Street”

Year: 1984

Yet another franchise starter by the talented mind of Wes Craven, here comes Freddie to haunt your Halloween night and following dreams altogether. We step into a realm of non-reality where a serial killer preys on young flesh for harvest. The eighties meet horror, meet high school, meet murder. Great opportunity for drinking games galore, take it from the master!

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Film: “Shaun of the Dead”

Year: 2005

Let’s end our list on a bright note, shall we? All this slasher talk is making my neck cold, so Simon Pegg and Nick Frost burst into the scene, waving a set of random weapons around, hoping to rectify the situation! Mundane everyday life is suddenly made complicated for two best friends, when they stumble upon a zombie in their shed. From then on, we are dragged into a run for our lives and the love of Liz, ending up in an old Victorian pub called the “Winchester Tavern”. A hilarious trip into an endearing story of friendship!

And thus concludes the classic Halloween film list! But of course, all titles mentioned above are a personal choice, so if you think I’ve missed a crucial movie, please let me know. Some honourable mentions to this article include “The Exorcist”, “The Wizard of Oz”, “King Kong” and “Bride of Frankenstein”, which hold a place in my heart, but simply didn’t make the cut. I have tried my very best to not make a horror-exlclusive list, because that would just be… Well, a horror list, and to me Halloween is more than just jump scares and blood – it’s fun, costumes, family, friends and candy.

Have a very scary Halloween and always stay safe!

(and never, ever say that you would be back into a room)

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Halloween Fest: 7 Binge-Worthy Netflix Series

The wait is almost over. Mere hours separate us from a night of witches, ghosts, obscure film references and generally sexual black cats.

One of my all-time classic traditions on Halloween day is to spend an afternoon in the warm embrace of seasonal whiskey and sweet treats. Being a much needed mental preparation for the inevitable army of sugar-starving children, it must always, under all circumstances be carried out correctly! So, in order to honour the spirit (I’m sure there’s a pun in there somewhere) of this custom, today’s article will revolve around some spooky series you can binge watch right now on our loyal Netflix companion. Here we go:

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I mean, do we need further explanation than the title itself? Five of the six existing seasons are currently available for immediate streaming including “Asylum”, “Freak Show” and “Hotel”, as well as personal favourites “Covent” and “Murder House”. Pick the theme of your party or fright fest session from this plethora of conveniently diverse scenarios and you’ve got yourself a killer party… Get it? Because killer… I’ll get my things now…

Pro: It’s a promise of long-lasting creeps and an addiction.

Con: There will always be one horror hater on the scene.

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That’s correct, ladies and gentlemen – “Goosebumps”, our favourite nineties television series, has returned full force. A lot of middle-parted hair and bulky technology make for great laughs and a tonne of reminiscing. Remember the days when Ryan Gosling was just a suburban teen whose future got predicted by a magical Polaroid? I’ll omit the episode name. Google it over a shot of Jim Beam Apple Spice whiskey and sit back for a bumpy ride of fright and giggles.

Pro: Short episodes, perfect for spicing up a party between other games.

Con: So nineties, it actually hurts.

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If you have managed to miss the “Stranger Things” buzz – now is the ideal time to catch up and share our mass obsession! Science, mystery, friendship, love and loss all come together in the amazing mix that is the childhood of a group of suburban children. Refresh your memory on Dungeons and Dragons, sit through a hefty dose of inhumane mutant experiments and jump to the Upside-Down monsters, all in the embrace of chocolate spiders and jelly snakes… And waffles.

Pro: Engaging, relevant and well-written.

Con: Cliffhangers be cliffhangers.

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The rollercoaster of throwbacks continues, I wouldn’t dare to disappoint, and “Charmed” won’t either. The show premiered back in 1998 and ran up until 2006, so parts of it are still quite relatable, albeit an abundance of awkwardly cropped shirts and tank tops. We’ve gone through ghosts and science gigs, so let’s shove some witches back into the mix (and their super cool attic, too).

Pro: Five seasons of witch drama.

Con: Zero street cred in 2016.

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There’s a wagon approaching and just as your tickets says – we’re heading to zombie central. This witty, modern take on a low-key undead outbreak is so entertaining in its long-term plot line that it is sure to keep you connected for hours on end, but also remains to keep a snappy originality to every episode. Personally, I would recommend a nice drinking game as company, lots of red velvet cake and even more strawberry syrup for effect.

Pro: It’s often comedic as well as dramatic.

Con: Falling in love with the cast to a point of mild obsession.

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The latest successor of Hitchcock’s “Psycho” empire is this psychological (duh), steady-paced drama starring Vera Farmiga (aka lady from “The Conjuring”, you’re welcome) and Freddie Highmore (aka dude from… “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”?). Anyway! This a more relaxed Halloween type of treat, burning the fires of horror nice and slow, with lesser focus on jumpy shock factors.

Pro: Steady and intriguing.

Con: If you’re looking for jump scares – look away.

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I just couldn’t do a Halloween list and forget to include the spin-off series of cult classic slasher “Scream”, could I? No way! Also, look at that alliteration game – so strong! Is it a good series? No way. Will it do the job? … Kind of? Yeah? It has great cliffhangers and little twists towards Ghostface’s identity, which make for a great topic of argument at parties. However, don’t expect a groundbreaking addiction.

Pro: Fun who-done-it element for groups of friends.

Con: Film remains unbeaten. Period.

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Well, here we are at the bottom of my list! I hope you enjoyed this little article of recommendations. For argument’s sake, I would just like to point out that the UK availability of Netflix shows has been taken under consideration. Does your country have different series to binge? Do you think I’ve missed a pretty big title? Share them with me and we can all have a spooky discussion!

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3 Summer Face Masks for Clear Skin

I adore summer. Let me preface this article with an honest appraisal for the hotter months, because there’s nothing better than a walk on a warm night or some healthy napping on a breezy beach. It’s my favourite time of the year, I have said it before and shall continue to do so until the end of time itself However, with perks come down sides and today I am going to bring you a solution to a major one – acne-prone skin.

What happens when my body becomes overheated is that pores widen and stuff gets in their way. Naturally, this means combination skin gets a tad drier in some places and a splash oilier in others. Everything shifts into proportions that I am not a fan of, which prompted me to look up some effective recipes for home pampering. The following three picks are the remedies that made biggest results on my face. They are light and fragrant, not too heavy for summer and fun to prepare.

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Thank you so much for reading my article today! If you try some of these recipes out and want to leave any feedback, please do so in the comment section! But even if not – have an amazing summer. Everyone is beautiful. Much love.

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10 Tips for Holiday Preparation

It’s finally the heat of summer! Good, old June has rolled up on our calendars once more, making way for tank tops and sun lotions. Well, if you live anywhere outside of London, that is, because all we get here are less clouds and more rain! But anyway, the perk of June is that most of us begin planning holidays and beach retreats. Dreams slowly surface of careless, sunny days next to the water, where a good book and a cold drink are the only worries you’d possibly have. So, inspired by this, today’s article is designed to allow for your ideal trip to happen smoothly. Being a forgetful bunny is something I, myself, suffer from, so the importance of good prep is always priority numero uno.

Here are ten of my tips for a better holiday preparation!

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1. Checklist everything!

In fact, make a checklist of the checklists you need to make! Okay, maybe that’s a bit excessive, but a few simple reminder notes are always welcome. I normally make a clothing list, an equipment list and a necessities list, because those make a nice foundation for eliminating any mishaps and forgotten chargers! But go nuts, twist your lists around the specific holiday requirements you have and start filling those out.

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Bonus tip: Start your checklists early! I begin mine a whole month before departure, just to make sure I have enough heads up if purchases need to be made, or if specialised equipment has to be acquired. Giving yourself space is the best addition to a complete checklist.

2. Weigh your suitcase. 

Most airlines allow for 20 kilograms of luggage, and that sounds like a great, big variety of stuff. Absolute mountains to pack, right? But consider this – a suitcase could weigh up to 7kg, which pretty much takes up a fourth of your overall allowance. Now, most of you could easily skip this step if all you’re packing are bathing suits and kaftan dresses, cause those are like negative weight. But should you plan on carrying diving accessories, wetsuits, shortboards or any potential objects that could end up shifting the scale – I’d recommend knowing your numbers.

Bonus tip: Soft suitcases with aluminium handles are some of the lightest ones on the market and they are largely available in travelling stores. If your present luggage bag ends up being a hefty bite, save it for smaller trips and invest in a skinnier one. They are also better for bulky packing in the winter ski season!

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 3. Check the health boards.

Sometimes there could be a flu that you need to be aware of, or a specific virus making its way around your holiday spot. So to avoid catching it, make sure to read up on any news or information concerning outbreaks in the area. That way, if you need a quick boost to your immune system, there’s plenty of time to supplement with vitamin C. Alternatively, depending on how exotic you’re aiming for, check if any vaccinations need to be made. Equatorial regions tend to have a slight bug and mosquito problem, which is another point to bare in mind. Nothing ruins a good trip more than itchy spots all over your body! Plus, they don’t tan well. Do a bit of research and save yourself a basket of unwanted trouble. Seriously.

Bonus tip: A good place to do research is the Travel Health Organisation website, which has live outbreak alerts and country-specific data. Check it regularly before the trip and all should be swell.

4. Get yourself a countdown.

Countdowns are great should you need a gentle reminder of time. If you’re going on a physically challenging trip, such as a hiking trail or a long sail, a great idea would be to bulk a little and prep your body for the strain. Keeping an eye on your regime is made much easier by paying attention to the weeks or days that you have left to train. Trying to chisel the perfect beach booty? Great! Set regular goals in your countdown and experience first hand just how motivating they can get.

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Bonus tip: The best place to keep said countdown is an in-your-face spot, which means either cell phone or desktop computer. For my mobile (Android), I normally use Countdown Days by SMSROBOT LTD. It has very nifty widgets and looks pretty!

5. Leave a key behind.

This tip is more concerned with the safety of your home while you are away than anything else. Call up your best bud and ask if they could harbour a key to your house or flat, just in case any documents have to be acquired during your holiday or if you are waiting for an expensive package. It also allows them to water your plants, DVR your favourite shows and make sure everything stays nice, clean and safe!

Bonus tip: When I say leave them a key, I do not mean hide it under the mat or over the door frame, okay? That is the absolute opposite of safe and beware of the claws! Hang it on a pretty keychain, maybe the one you got from Italy when you were on that family retreat, and hand it over in person. There, emergencies avoided!

6. Spring clean.

Talking about house and garden, why not have a little clean-up in the week before you leave? That saves a tonne of trouble when you get back, because the last thing you’d want after a long flight and heaps of heavy luggage dragging… Is to come home and worry about the laundry and dishes. Do future you a favour and keep things presentable. The next time you shout home, sweet home, it’s gonna be for a happy reason, not a daunting one.

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Bonus tip: If you’re willing to take the extra step, get all washing machine and home clothes on stand-by. That minimises the efforts even further!

7. Get your tech in check.

If you’re like me and one camera is never enough, or maybe there’s an entire bag dedicated to electrics and accessories, then make sure to double up. Stock up on extra batteries, film roll, brush up on your lenses and screens, make sure everything has caps and appropriate cables. Any power banks that you like to carry around should be fully charged and ready, tripods should have their plates and screws, water housings should be sparkling clean. Those are the basics, don’t be afraid to spread your wings and be the tech geek, I know you can be. Just make sure no necessity is left behind.

Bonus tip: I use a USB cable with multiple extensions such as this (put here for demonstration purposes, I actually own a different one) with my power bank. It saves you trying to untangle all of your larger, separate cables on the go and they are usually very light and compact!

8. Budget planning.

You’re already splashing out on a great vacation and an exotic location. There’s no need to splurge beyond the point of no return, because that would only cause you stress along the way. So, in order to prepare for the trip, do a little finance maintenance. Calculate the maximum you’re able to spend on the entire duration of your holiday, and then split it around your days accordingly. Some days might need more, others could need less, it’s up to you to decide. But, for anyone wanting to be mindful of their savings – this tip is a must.

Screen Shot 2016-06-14 at 17.34.40Bonus tip: Portion your money in envelopes labeled with the days they correspond to. Don’t unseal a new envelope unless its day has come. Doing this creates an amplified sense of boundary, which is helpful when keeping on a lower budget. Obviously, shall emergency cash be needed, rip those things up, but in other scenarios – stack them tidy in your luggage.

9. Familiarise yourself with customs.

Knowing the local community can make your holiday much more rewarding and joyful. A habit perfectly acceptable in England could be offensive in Thailand or Greece, even if it happens to be a minor one such as pointing a finger. Do you slurp your food or do you eat quietly? Should you be barefoot or are shoes a sign of respect? Different cultures might have different answers to those questions, so sit down one morning, sip a cup of coffee and spare a few minutes for some healthy research.

Bonus tip: Basic interactions are also a good area to explore. What I mean are things like how much to tip your waiter and how to compliment your butler. When you make other people happy, simply with professing knowledge of their culture, you will make yourself happy, too.

10. Weather check!

I left this tip for last, because it seems very obvious to me. I’m going to Cuba in September, so it should be hot, right? Or I’m heading for some ski adventures in December, the Alps always have snow. Here’s where you could very easily slip into disaster. For example, summer means hurricane season for a lot of tropicScreen Shot 2016-06-14 at 17.41.00al and equatorial areas, so it would be a grand idea to have a look at those rain prognoses! Heading for a snowboarding feat could be hard if it has ceased to snow or there are raging storms. Connect this tiny research exercise with my previous tip and you’ll be good and ready for a great holiday.

Bonus tip: Sometimes, weather forecasts could be very vague if you’re having to check them months in advance. What I do in these cases is pay a tiny visit to TripAdvisor and read up on other people’s experiences in that time of the year. Maybe they could prep me even better for what’s to come.


Well, here we are at the end of my tips. Hopefully these inspired you even a little bit to go book a gorgeous holiday right this instant! Everyone deserves a time to enjoy themselves and relax away from the world. You should do the same!

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A Carnivorous Traitor: My Choice In Veganism

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Rewind the tape back seven whole days, when the plate on my table consisted of chicken strips, spicy wings and mayonnaise dips. You’d find me munching on a Five Guys burger or a Domino’s pizza, blissfully ordering KFC cheesecakes for dessert with a hefty side of milkshake. A diet, which had been hammered into my brain since early puberty, when I’d reach for anything cheap and easy, as opposed to forming consideration in nutrition.

As Dr. Alejandro Junger would gently put it – I had stopped eating food and was instead surviving off of food-like products.

Now, going back into my family history, we find an abundance of farms and countryside traditions. I grew up in a small town, where everybody had animals and most suppers consisted of according derivatives. We had cold, harsh winters where grandmothers would stack beef cutlets and can chicken soups to attempt and preserve our warmth. This lifestyle had been passed through generations for hundreds of years. Our animals were treated with respect until the day they were too old or too ill and would have to be put down. Only then did we find a reason to consume them. Mostly, cows, pigs and chickens were a part of the community’s agricultural system, limited as it was, and they helped us grow tomatoes and potatoes. Whenever a herbivorous friend passed, we couldn’t afford to waste their food source. Grasping only what the Earth gives you can be an exiguous find, especially high along the mountain ranges. Long story short – we made do and that meant meat.

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Today I find myself in London, among twenty-three million other citizens. An overcrowded city, which is struggling for air and space. Supermarkets and independent sellers have to compete with their prices in order to feed as many people as possible. This means that sometimes their farms turn into factories and morality becomes a weakness, rather than a strength. Large hangers equate to increased simultaneous production per single farmer, which thereby reducing labour costs. Push safety laws to their very brink and you can feed the “produce” hormone-infused supplements, rather than natural ingredients like grain, seed and plants. This forces animals to grow faster and bigger, making them suitable for market early, which once again speeds up the manufacturing process. We no longer put them down, we slaughter them by the hundreds of thousands.

The result is a dark room with a sea of chickens, whose breasts are so big and swollen, they collapse to the ground, unable to carry their own weight. Cows fed and milked in metal cubicles, where all bodily functions can be made in one standing position. Pigsties left ridden with feces, kept perpetually dirty despite their confinement. These are some of animal farming’s severest cases and I would like to acknowledge that not all holdings are like this. To me, the very idea of such existence, even on a small scale, is more than disappointing – it is increasingly frightening. But I shan’t make this article about cruelty, I don’t wish to make it a propaganda-like piece or word it to be perceived as such. This is merely my own journey and reasoning to change.

If you are interested on learning more about this side of the topic, however, I could recommend a few good watches, which are conveniently available on Netflix. Some of them include “Hungry For Change” (2012), “Food, Inc.”  (2008) and “Food Matters” (2008). Probable exhibition of unethical animal treatment is present, so do beware if you are on the squeamish side.

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My lengthy opposition to becoming vegan was that plants are also organisms. Just like us, they breathe and rest, they feed and grow. So what justifies killing a vegetable more than it does a cow? One argument, which has been presented time and time again is that flora has no brain. It has no thought process. Despite this, we need vegetation to survive on this planet, because we rely on the oxygen it produces for us. Do those two balance each other out? Maybe.

Another is that humans were designed to be primarily herbivorous. Let’s take a look at our distant cousins – the chimpanzees, who have a similar digestive system to ours. They are omnivores, meaning to feed off of anything their habitat provides. Upon closer inspection, we see that equates to the vast variety of plants and fruits available to them, alongside small insects. Occasionally, chimps have also been known to hunt mammals, the key word here being, you guessed it – occasionally. We are wired in a very similar way! Another mammals’ meat could be eaten often, but not as a primary source of protein and nutrition. It is a part of our evolutionary make-up to hunt and feast, but that does not mean there are no other options for humans to be healthy as a species and even gather benefits from a plant-oriented existence.

For me, frankly, there is no winning side. Animals get treated badly, plants have been notoriously abused with chemicals for a multitude of years, humans incorporate both of them into the production machine. However, I cannot expect to survive with longevity and vibrancy on a diet purely consisting of meat. So, the scales have weighed in the opposite direction, which now makes me a vegan.

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It all boils down to one accident, which happened not so long ago in a kingdom called England. I was standing in my kitchen, contemplating some late lunch recipes, when I decided to make roast chicken. It would feed me for at least two days, which meant I could concentrate on other things in the meantime. So far, so good, I have made roast chicken with sea salt a million times before. It is perhaps the easiest way to make a delicious and simple meal.

I took the whole chicken out of my fridge and went to wash it off in the sink. But as I opened its packaging and ran the cold, tap water, a sudden wave of emotion came over me. I felt sad. No, I felt horribly sad for this poor animal, who I had never known or been friends with. I hadn’t grown up with it or pet its feathers. It was a chicken, which had never seen me either, who now lay dead in my hands, because I wanted a quick bite for lunch. I felt strangely ashamed and selfish, but I carried on with my day as if nothing had happened at all.

I lived with meat for another few months, until last week came around, when I woke up in the morning and decided that today was one of change. I would begin a new lifestyle, supporting animal rights and dignity the best way I knew how to – through caring for them and not consuming them.

Please, do not take this as a call for action. No one in my family or friend circle is vegan or vegetarian and that is okay. I am not here to attempt and convert anyone into a new non-dairy, non-egg, non-animal religion. I respect your choice, whatever that may be. Supporting animal rights can be done in many different ways, being vegan is simply one of them. And when I look back through the years and wonder how it all started, I’ll come back to this article and remind myself why I began and where I was headed.

Thank you for sticking with me this Tuesday!

See you next week.

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Ugly Bodies: A Business

 

 

 

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There is a rather frightening statistic that only 4% of girls and women around the world consider themselves beautiful. If we quickly crunch the numbers in that equation, our results would lead to a total of 3.5 billion women self-conscious of their looks, out of a 3.6 billion total female population.

Furthermore, 7 out of 10 girls believe they do not measure up to a standard, or alternatively to a friend or family member in the appearance and performance department. That’s a seventy percent not only self-aware, but arguably self-critical to what could be a harmful degree.

Men have a similar issue, with 80.7% regularly engaging in “body talk” and expressing dissatisfaction with their own muscularity. In a recent study, researchers also discovered that 51% of school boys aged in the 11 to 14 bracket report low confidence in their body image. Doesn’t that make for a sad thought?

I really don’t mean to bombard you with numbers and exercise those rusty arithmetic muscles! The point of this article is to hopefully incite thought and conversation about the reality of bodies and the boundaries for beauty! I won’t force you to whip out the old Texas Instruments, but I might attempt to shed some light on the ongoing issue with self-worth and the way business controls all.

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You’ve heard the media being blamed over and over again. Although their involvement in the glorification of certain body types and features is undeniable, there’s a bigger culprit hiding in plain sight. Beauty companies make profit out of making you feel bad, that’s just a highly effective way to make capital. Granting the public painful self-awareness is such corporations’ biggest, quickest way to Christmas bonuses and monthly remunerations. It’s you versus money, and to a stranger that choice isn’t too difficult. Their system’s been working for decades and you know what they say – if the machine ain’t broke… Why fix it?

The logic is very simple – you walk down the street, you clock a billboard with a model. She’s sporting a gorgeous cherry red lipstick and that makes her face look absolutely phenomenal. Do your lips look like that? No. Do you want them to? Of course! That chick looks amazing and is obviously successful enough to be considered the optimum lip image. So, the closest you could possibly resemble her is by buying the product she’s wearing and hope for the best. I’ll take this time to coin the phrase “pretty by association”, because that result is more than likely to be your outcome. The beauty company who has paid for the media to spread that image gains profit, while you leave with the idea of  flawed features.

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I feel the need to clarify this, because when I was a teenager roaming the internet, I had no idea how the hierarchy was structured. I thought it didn’t matter, I wasn’t interested in finding out. The damage was being done whether I knew that key piece of information or not. But my twenty-one-year-old self is here to tell you it’s vital to be aware. There’s nothing inherently wrong with anyone’s physique, there’s just an astonishingly lucrative business of giving consumers lasting insecurities. There is no hard-set societal opinion behind the sea of Photoshopped, doctored images that circulate our streets and devices. Those messages do not come from our population’s widespread appeal, but they are given to us as such. They are sold to us. For money.

Let’s give it a quick (and loose) comparison with pornography. Erotic films are not a realistic depiction of sex and the public knows this. You walk into the bedroom with a lover and neither of you expects a three-hour bang session of perfectly timed ejaculations and endless supply of sheets. Although the majority of men and women don’t seem to realise this, everyday advertisements work in the exact same way.

Nobody expects us to fit a mould, but that inflamed sense of self-criticism in the back of our mind. The modern consumer is a lot more savvy with the internal mechanism of media, enabling them to have a more realistic approach on self image. However, teens and young adults have a harder time considering the bigger picture of influences, especially so with the flood of unrealistic depiction that surrounds them. I, for example, had more than a serious case of tunnel vision, which ultimately translated into – look like this person, or stay home. Having pores and stretch marks had become a deal breaker to my happiness and social success. It’s inescapable, because it’s meant to be! This means we’re sacrificing mental health for the survival of a Capitalist structure, which is not to say there is a grand flaw in Capitalism’s design. But it does make us question the decline of morality and ethical treatment. Does that ring like misplaced priorities? It should!

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However, just because someone creates a mould for their own monetary benefit, that does not mean we need to abide by it. Companies cannot physically force you to buy their products, because that would be illegal. Psychological extortion, on the other hand, is a fine line. Showcasing flawless models of people, which have been digitally altered to perfection, sells units.

A diversity of realistic bodily features does not gain exposure for that particular reason. When was the last time you saw a L’Oreal commercial with an ageing woman, who has beard fuzz or liver spots? Point to any internationally recognised clothing brand such as Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce and Gabbana or Gucci – the kind of brands who can afford to surround your environment. Do they proudly show diversity and if so, how much? Do they actively promote a variety of genetic make-up?

Even sports companies like Adidas and Nike fall in that category. Even though they celebrate an athletic physique, which is a step forward in the catalogue of body types, their athletes normally receive some sort of pampering to aid their appearance. This could be either through the use of tanning, make-up or post-production alterations. Notice how many of their “characters” carry natural features such as body hair, cellulite or veins.

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This Reebok advertisement is a good example to look at. I picked it, because it manages to illustrate a good amount of points at once. Let’s start with the fact that every woman has a full face of make-up on. Take a moment to appreciate their perfect hair and lack of sweat. The purpose of the portrayed exercise session is to demonstrate that females can look gorgeous while they’re attempting to burn off extra calories. So why would we, as viewers, want to appear ugly, when we can obviously be appealing?  You buy the leggings, because they make this athlete’s legs toned and firm. You’d want that! The top really accentuates her waist and makes it slimmer. Of course you’d need that! You wouldn’t want to be flabby and unsightly, God forbid you seem like there are flaws you’re working very hard to amend.

But here’s the bottom line. We’re human. We are not necessarily going to look like a fine selection of models, neither are we expected to. Just because Reebok needs to forward their business for profit, it does not mean you have to change yourself to accommodate them.

The point that I’m trying to convey is – rarely can we trust our eyes, and when an entire planet is looking at the same pictures and stereotypes, that becomes an issue. When does reality become too deluded? When will we prioritise people instead of money?

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The spark of doubt in the back of your mind – the question whether you’re worthy, whether you fit in a category or match a standard – that equates to money. Your self-awareness has a price and there are thousands of companies waiting to set it. While public images may revolve around somebody else’s beauty ideal, in the reality of things nobody expects ultimate perfection. The same way you appreciate other people’s quirks and flaws, someone is appreciating yours. In our age of media and entrepreneurship, it’s easier than ever to wound others for profit. If the world is proving to be a harsh and judgemental place, the least we can do is be kind to ourselves and spread that to the next person.

None of us are perfect, but all of us are beautiful.

 

 

Like this post? Disagree with what I’m saying? Please don’t be afraid to put your thoughts as a comment below.

Follow my blog for more articles about lifestyle and media.

Have a good one!

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Mango’s Killer Jacket Game

To all my peeps in London, with love, comes this highly targeted post on the topic of jackets! We have been experiencing what I could only imagine is an Arctic chill and there is no sweeter escape than spending some cash on a new coat. It’s a matter of survival, after all. Let’s be real.

Wanting to sniff some lucrative deals around, I embraced on a journey through the new collections. What I stumbled upon was a treasure chest. The same golden nugget we are sharing here today – Mango’s amazing spring/summer jacket line! Obviously by some sort of cruel mistake, I seem to have ignored this brand for a number of years, only to re-discover it this month. Just in time for the perfect, little splurge! Here are some of the apparel feasts, from the fashion gods, passeth down to us – mortals!

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What I’m looking for in a new jacket is specific shades and colours! This season I’m betting on the all-neutral wave with a random pop of colour, first of all, the black and white hype second, and thirdly – an unusual pattern style. As I mentioned in my “Fashion Block” this month, tiny, repetitive structures are in, being accompanied by equally exaggerated imagery. While the first set of coats were a more beige and brown tone, I’ve picked the second stack in greens. Both of them will give you a little elegant note, while remaining the signature fresh rebellion stamp.

Next, we move on to the blacks, followed by pieces with floral detailing. I think I’d be wise to invest in both. My finances argue.

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Top Picks: Topshop’s Karlie Kloss Inspo

Imagine you had a day off. Maybe it’s the weekend, maybe you called in sick so you wouldn’t have to face Susan from accounting, the possibilities are endless. It’s pouring rain outside, thus creating the conditions for a cosy afternoon in bed. You make an obligatory, slash complimentary, mug of coffee and sit on your computer. From then on, the browsing of clothing and make-up begins. Am I right? Totally.

So, having found myself in precisely that situation this morning, I went on Topshop. My intentions were to check what they have in the new collections. Turns out, to my excitement, that they are doing a Karlie Kloss collaboration! Without further ado, here are my top inspiration picks!

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Here we are. If only clothes from online retailers could magically appear inside of my closet, this world would be a slightly better place. By slightly I mean a lot.

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The Cool Trainer | JAN/16

Lately I have found myself in a bit of a predicament, ladies and gentlemen (mostly ladies though, let’s be real). Alongside this year’s resolution to acquire new style, there has arrived a fascination with shoes. I can no longer be satisfied with a bimonthly pair of Vans and I can hear my bank account crying tears of poverty. Nonetheless, investing in a nice, well-made pair of foot candy is going to become a part of my life. Having fed off that inspiration, I come to you today with my top picks for Jan/Feb trainers. We all like being comfy, we all like an easy style. So, dig right in.

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The first Common Projects X shoe fits perfectly into the grunge comeback we’re expecting this and next month. Anything that a couture Nirvana would wear, you want! Secondly, we have classic black trainers with a pop of blue/green. Oversized patterns and small, repetitive ones are equally featured in Vogue and Elle. Thirdly, a must-have Vans species, which is a necessity in any closet. Universal and easy to style. What more could you need for a lazy day out?

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These last Hender Scheme kicks would be perfect for February, which gives me enough time to save up money for them. As Miu Miu’s new SS/16 collection has proven – dusty pinks are the way forward.

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Here come the eighties. Whether you go for an all-white Nike, which you can pair with anything black and white for a trendy look, or the popping D&G reds, there’s no hit and miss. Add playfulness with your formal casual office outfits, why not? Life’s too short to play it safe with shoes and I encourage all forms of experimentation strongly.

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We talked about patterns, right? Oversized, minimalistic, juxtaposing, repetitive, anything goes. Honestly, these red and blue Tory Burch trainers are to die for. Someone get me a half-way-birthday present, please! I’ll pay you back in hugs and kisses.

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