Reprezent X Lovebox Opportunity

Are you looking to gain experience within the radio industry? Think you know the content that Reprezent and London radio listeners really need to know? Do mates rate your social media prowess or are you looking to add experience to an already impressive live broadcasting cv? Whatever it is, whether you’ve picked up some experience already or you simply have the passion and energy for a fast paced and interesting industry, Lovebox and Reprezent radio could be the ones to help fulfill your dreams this summer.

A hypothetical musical tinder match in heaven, Reprezent & Lovebox are offering a full 12 week training program at Spotlight in Tower Hamlets, East London. They’ll be teaching you everything they know so that you can broadcast live from Victoria Park across the 14th/ 15th July, conducting exclusive interviews and a mash up of the festival’s highlights, which you won’t want to miss considering the lovers are celebrating 15 years of festival frolics. Across 12 weeks lucky candidates will learn how to manage social media channels, broadcast and present live confidently and how to form content that will keep fans locked in.

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Having worked behind the scenes at Lovebox myself as a social media assistant I can tell you how compelling a role it is and just how rewarding it can be to communicate with people online and face- to- face.

If you’ve got the grit and fury for such a momentous opening, then here’s what you need to do:

Film a 60 second video or write 100+ words explaining what excites you about working in radio and with Reprezent & Lovebox, the skills that make you the perfect catch, what interests you and an insight into what you’re all about. Try to think outside the (love)box and show them what you’re made of by emailing joinnow@reprezent.org.uk .

If Noisey, Fabric, Abode and Corona Sunsets are music brands that you’re aware of, or we can find you at Reprezent’s home in Pop Brixton then don’t let us down. We could hear you reporting live this July, capturing moments from some of the biggest names in music including Chase & Status, Frank Ocean, Annie Mac and Kano.

alt="Reprezent x Lovebox"

Looking for inspiration and for details of the deadline? Then head to http://www.reprezent.org.uk and http://loveboxfestival.com/ for more info.

Good luck!

Who likes to Bunga Bunga? We like to Bunga Bunga.

The phase ‘Bunga Bunga’ might raise a few eyebrows among some but forget about powerful Italian leaders and supposedly naked lady friend’s and instead imagine a little slice of Little Italy; powerfully flavoursome pizzas cooked to perfection, limoncello liquors, well crafted beer and a setting to make you forget Covent Gardens hustle and bustle.

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From humble beginnings in Battersea, Bunga Bunga has branched out, up and down, into the thriving and more central location of London’s Drury Lane, beside theatre land, shops and gran tourist-mo lanes. Walking off the streets into BungaTini, we were escorted to a table, at 8 o’clock the restaurant was quite busy, with the majority of customers eating upstairs overlooking the ground floor bar and with many diners awaiting entry into the basement of Bunga Bunga, where entertainment beckoned. The street level area was a perfect place to enjoy drinks before entering downstairs to watch the much publicized variety show. The launch night alone welcomed performances from music makers The Jersey Boys and Sheridan Smith ‘Funny Girl.’

I’d already researched the menu and actually appreciated the petite sized menu that featured starters like bruschetta, arancini, burrata, olives and octopus. I’d never heard of arancini but it’s something I could have eaten twice over, as I opted for the melt in the mouth white truffle & wild mushroom risotto balls, whilst my sister chose the fennel sausage & mozzarella balls also covered in crispy breadcrumbs and complete with side salad.

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We eyed up meat and cheese platters next but with sizeable pizza’s on the menu and a love of dessert, we edged towards the second course. If you love spice then you need to get the Piccante- a pizza covered evenly with tomato, mozzarella, n’duja, ricotta, calabrese salami and cherry tomatoes. The ricotta, mixed with spreadable pork salami made me hum with every mouthful and their not too thin sourdough base meant I wasn’t leaving the crusts to go to waste. My sister went with a classic Vesuvio pizza-  impeccably covered with tomato, buffalo mozzarella, Parma ham and rocket. These wood fired pizza’s definitely left rival brands in the shade (please please can you stock these in supermarkets or open some more restaurants.)

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Staff were good to look at and had a look of authentic Italian about them, smartly dressed and always willing to go above and beyond, we were impressed when we were swiftly moved table when a party were too close to us, knocking over a once jolly looking Peroni. The restrooms gave you a brief moment to brush up on your italiano and the restaurants walls were covered in plates, pottery, oil canvases and photographs of the historically rich and famous. As we admired our surroundings, we were lovingly brought shots of limoncello and dessert menus. Not stuffed but contently full, we decided to test our waitresses knowledge, she gave me the kiss seal of approval to go with the popular tirimasu, which was bellissimo.

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Now we don’t want to give too much away but as soon as you enter the gateway hedonism you’ll be breathing heavily and fast, gaining that same feeling most people get as they board a fun fair ride (or maybe that’s simply my childish nature.) Expect a few surprises and characters who will enthral and captivate. Downstairs is transformed into more Italian settings, with marble, statues, art and casino decor and entertainment.. don’t lose your betting chips for your chance to play blackjack. The variety show starts from around 7 but we didn’t join the booked parties until 10ish, so we missed a lot of goodies we’re sure but we’re still privileged enough to observe acrobatics and jazz singing before The Bunga Boys got tables on their feet for the hilariously loved bungaoke (hopefully you see what they did there?) Dressed in red waistcoats, varying hats and armed with musical instruments and mics, they brough classic 80’s, 90’s and commercial songs to life, whilst merry diners belted out much loved classics, including ‘9-5,’ ‘summer of 69’ and ‘I wanna dance with somebody,’ to name a few of our favourites.

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Tables were moved away and those without a seat we’re able to join in with the frivolity where the night was heading. Everybody was at Bunga Bunga for their own reasons and celebrations but the actions of staff and performers ensued that people came together, sharing cheeky smiles and glances, clutching at mics, jeering and drinking from the anatomy of ornate continental statues.

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We loved how cocktails were presented and just how effortlessly Bunga Bunga transformed the most quintessential of Londoner into an Italian national.

You can be sure to leave this conception of food, drink and showmanship in a bustle of chatter, and dreaming of gondola rides home.

Connect

https://bungabunga-london.com

http://www.facebook.com/BungaBungaCoventGarden

Written by Vanessa Carby

 

The Happiness Project 2017

Here we are, a new year, and I don’t know about you but I’m curiously excited. Now what weirdo would I be and how unoriginal for that matter would I be if I didn’t discuss my hopes, dreams, fears or goals for 2017? It’s painstakingly obvious to write about this but I’m not chatting about new year resolutions (although the book I’m about to start reading might use that word). Resolutions seem like rules; there to be broken but I’ve always been one to follow the rules, so with a remaining 361 days of the year to go, a book came to light, one I hope to follow as closely as I can, The Happiness Project written by Gretchen Rubin.

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As much as I have dreams and ambitions to be a major success in the writing world, to travel the world and meet the man of my dreams one day, I’ve come to realise that my life won’t have been a vain if those things don’t happen… if they happen in the next 5 then I’d definitely appreciate it but that’s not what I’m about. What’s most important is that I live in the here and now, feeling massive waves of euphoric happiness all year round and hopefully until the day that I meet my maker. I don’t want to be that person that lives for the weekend, that has to fill my diary with far future events in the hopes that my spirits will be lifted when I feel like life sucks.

The Happiness Project is an approach to changing your life, identifying what brings you joy, satisfaction and engagement but also what brings you guilt, anger, boredom and remorse.  The book is about identifying the concrete actions that boost a persons happiness and more importantly discovering what works for you. I’m hoping this month by month list will enlighten and enrich my life.

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According to Aristotle, (one of the many philosophers and scientists researched by Gretchen Rubin) “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.” Some might argue that procreation is the means to our being but I’d argue that we’re not likely to become extinct anytime soon, so let’s forget about our sexual organs, One Born Every Minute and instead focus on our mindfulness, after all, mental health has become so large scale, it’s only fair to focus on ones well being first and foremost.

4 days into January and it’s time to start those engines, this month is exclusively about ‘boosting your energy,’ and includes the below goals as set by Rubin-

  • go to sleep earlier
  • exercise better
  • toss, restore, organise
  • tackle a nagging task
  • act more energetic

 

I’ve not yet began the chapter, I thought it best to step into the unknown with you guys at my side but I’ll try to regularly update you on my efforts, then maybe I’ll hear of your personal Happiness Projects, who knows.

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I’d say that I’m quite an energetic person already, I enjoy exercise and my bedtime routine wasn’t too horrendous before. However I have hoarder tendencies, I leave my bedroom mess to fester until enough is enough and I procrastinate on tasks that then lead me to over analyse and overthink, thus causing me anxiety and fear.

In conclusion I’m hoping to gain a clearer head this month and to rather pathetically know where I left my keys, phone and oyster card.

Wish me luck!

 

 

Filters: The new photoshop

Remember when the manipulation of a woman’s features was only achievable by those gracing the covers of magazines or appearing in commercials and adverts. The days when we only had to compare ourselves to infiltrated photographs, when we momentarily sighed but more often than not carried on with life’s duties.

2016 is the year that I discovered my love/ hate relationship with Snapchat, after previously hating it the first time around but with a major update came some major sassy makeovers, hence force the puppy, festival flowers in hair, golden goddess crown and the “oh look my face is slim I.” I can’t say that I’ve not posted a few Snapchat selfies but it does concern me when some people solely use them when taking pictures in general.

I use Snapchat every now and again, finding myself more attracted to the damn right hilarious filters rather than the prettified ones. I can’t lie and say I don’t get that OHHHHWEEEE sensation when I look like the better version of myself but I would never want to lose who I am and what I look like by constantly using them. It made me really sad when a friend’s sister used the below shown filter, especially as she was already a rather ravishing looking beauty.

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This filter does nothing for me but works it’s magic for others!

It was just the other night that I was freeing up some of my procrastination time when I started to compare and realise just how much slimmer certain filters made my face appear. The real me just looked hideous in comparison to the dog face and the alien good looking face (as I’m going to call it.) See below.

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I’d become a thinner and less shine free version of myself! (Definitely with a smaller nose)

I really do love the the world of social media but I worry about the advances that come from within it and that we’ll be stuck in a vicious cycle of wanting to look a way that is unattainable without a filter or surgery. I for one, wait with tenterhooks to see how Snapchat and it’s family (Instagram, Facebook and Twitter) will develop and what it means for the younger generations who are extremely vulnerable and impressionable.

Bluebird Chelsea: A rediscovery

Where? Bluebird Chelsea- 350 King’s Rd, London SW3 5UU

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With it’s cafe, courtyard, bar and restaurant, the newly decorated Bluebird could warrant a visit for every occasion; from birthday’s to brunches, from dusk till dawn… we’ll certainly be making our way through their food and drinks menu over the cosy winter months.

With a recent refurbishment fuelled by designs featuring Sagrada & Celia Birtwell at the end of September, the refined SW3 eatery has not only updated their look but has given their menu a sprucing using simple, fresh and honest dishes inspired by the best of Modern European cooking, made using the finest ingredients, at the hands of chef Liam Smith-Laing.

As a perfect spot to wind up (in our case) or to mellow down, we were susceptible and willing to try some of the small plates the bar had to offer. With tantalising flavours one of our favourite dishes had to have been the green olive and artichoke tapenade with croutons, which I likened to an olive pesto dip with a thinly sliced bruschetta aquaintance. The wholesomely sized crispy tiger prawns with aioli sauce were fought over with dignity, whilst a dusting of what appeared to be a paprika and chive, and a lemon helping on the side, gave the perfect amount of zing and zang. We ended nibbles with a dish we believe will be the most ordered on the bar menu- the fried baby squid, which came with layering’s of chilli, a smidgen of garlic and a side of lime to squeeze over. As somebody who used to grimace at the thought of squid and octopus, the thin rings were bite sized enough to halt any fears and cooked to perfection.

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Not to allow the food to steal the limelight, it would be a travesty if we didn’t come back to the sheer beauty of this venue. Paying respects to it’s original heritage as the first garage of Bluebird Motor Company in 1923, it’s steel beams which stretch the ceiling to grand heights has been awoken with coatings of a terracotta and red hue. Frequented by some of the fashion houses finest and those every holidaying MIC’ers, you could be perturbed to visit, possibly believing your budget may not stretch but we must indulge that it’s affordable menu which includes early bird cocktail prices, suits small flutters and big time soarers alike! Liquorice Allsorts and Twiggy graphics adored the floors, together with a variety of chic and rather grand but suitably comfortable 60’s and 70’s chairs. The Bluebird was a mashup of colour, low lighting, background music and mid range chitter chatter and ultimately perfect for those first time meets or festive celebrations.

With seating around the bar, long tables for larger parties, booths, desks and smaller occupied tables, our weekend evening visit was brimming with sophistication, sleekness and cocktail seduction. Even if you’re not one for cocktails, the elegantly presented cocktails in floral bone china and quirky bird motif printed camp mugs, might make you lose your cool, as it made us for a brief moment. Embracing the garden and Chelsea theme Bar Manager Egzon Kastrati brought us our first round of decadently indulgent cocktails which came in the shape of the Tiffany Rose (which contained Lanique Rose petal vodka, creme de cassis, lime juice, fresh strawberries, sugar cane, topped with Moet & Chandon Rose Champagne) and the English Garden (which contained Square One Organic Vodka, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, elderflower syrup, fresh cucumber, fresh grapes and lemongrass topped with ginger beer.) Both were extremely refreshingly!

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We chose to try Bluebird Passion (which contained infused hibiscus Stolyichnaya vodka, raspberry and peach puree, lemon juice, goji berry liqueur and was topped with sparkling wine,) whilst a curved ice cube presented dried fruit to delve into, as well as the Chelsea Flower (which contained Hendricks’s Gin, pomegranate liqueur, apple juice and fresh raspberries) and had berries and pretty petals afloat it.  Definitely an extensive list of cocktails we’ll be praying to taste the sweet serendipity of at our next afternoon tea get together.

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CONNECT:

 

Twitter: @bluebirdchelsea

Facebook: BluebirdChelsea

Instagram: bluebirdchelsea

Website: http://www.bluebird-restaurant.co.uk

By Vanessa Carby

Freaky Deaky Freakshakes

You’ve no doubt seen the towering milkshake/ dessert hybrid that makes most people’s faces look tiny and child like in comparison to the mason jar full of sweets, treats and milky goodness!? Ok so we’re totally trying to make out that there is some kind of benefit to eating this Gluttonous dessert but the main reason is because it tastes so so goooood!

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The freak shake, having travelled the globe from Australia where it was invented, finally met it’s match in the Gluttony And Glutes girls when we headed to Maxwell’s Bar and Grill in Covent Garden to sample these shakes that keep bringing boys and girls alike to the yard.

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What did we order? With two shakes to choose from on the menu when we visited on Saturday 15th October (Salted Caramel, topped with caramel coated doughnut and marshmallows or the Oreo topped with Oreo biscuits & Oreo cheesecake,) we really didn’t know where to look when our prized possessions arrived. With a price tag of £7.95, you are willingly ordering a milkshake and a supersize chunk of confectionary goodness, thrown in with a dessert; almost like 2-4-1 right?! I can only liken the restaurant creators of these shakes to Grand Prix mechanics and engineers, as they threw bits and pieces together in a whirl and meant that waiters and waitresses were endlessly delivering Freak shakes two by two throughout the American diner joint.

With a whole lotta whipped cream, chocolate sauce, a few Oreo’s (because who’s counting when we stopped counting calories 5 minutes back,) a massive slab of cheesecake that makes Pizza Express dessert’s look like a diet and what felt like a litre’s worth of whizzed up vanilla and Oreo cookies… it meant that we were fit to burst as we left and you’re probably thinking we didn’t need to eat dinner, well you are indeed wrong because we had some more food to review later that day.

Tracey sampled her favourite of flavours, as she tucked into a sticky sweet ringed donut, 3 chubby marshmallows and her dinner’s worth of calories in milkshake and what sometimes felt and tasted like clotted cream. It was a tough decision between choosing Maxwell’s or Molly Bakes Freak Shakes that day but we rated Maxwell’s very highly for their less in your face exposure and marketing, which isn’t to say we won’t be trying Molly’s but we felt rest assured that our goodies would greet us swiftly and having visited the restaurant for cocktails and dinner in the past, we knew their reputation proceeded them.

Where? MAXWELL’S BAR & GRILL- 8 James Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 8BH

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What next? Can’t get to Covent Garden quick time, then no worries, there seems to be a tonne of DIY Freak Shakes readily available on Youtube to inspire your very own creation and who are we to leave it to these dairy groover’s and shaker’s?

We will definitely be bringing you our very own ‘make your own at home,’ freak shakes with a twist…

 

Stay tuned!

Great places to go on a first date By Vanessa Carby – December 15, 2014

Whether it be that traumatic first date or your undoubtedly enviable tenth, the dating world is brimming with simple, stereotypical, inspiring and blinding places to ensure your first impression is the “this ones a keeper” one.

Now I’d like to think of myself as low maintenance, easily pleased and always at peace splitting a date bill in half but for a lot of us and I’ll forgive your old fashioned tendencies I’ve pulled all the stops out of the bag, bringing you from date level bargain to bust (you can thank me later!).

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–– ADVERTISEMENT ––

Being a childish soul I couldn’t help but bring you around to the idea of Piccadilly Square’s attraction described as “an extraordinary day out.’ Ripley’s Believe It or Not will ensure that the less talkative types will be consumed by facts, finds and Guinness World records.

http://www.ripleyslondon.com/

Entry after 5pm means that tickets are an affordable £16.95 and with Leicester Square, Soho and Covent Garden a stones throw away there are plenty of restaurants to choose from, such as Chiquito’s, Busaba Eathai, Spagetti Italian and Big Easy- mixing Mexican, Thai, Italian and American Grub, just to pick out A few.

Book a table for two here: http://www.opentable.co.uk

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Now usually with the notion of a cinema date, you’d be forgiven for thinking this is a cop out but Electric Cinema have added a degree of debonair flair with their cinema beds perfect for 2-4 people meaning the double dating concept is achievable (and that everyone should behave themselves.) Sunday and Monday rates mean that you can lounge at London’s classiest cinema from as little as £12.50 per person.

http://www.electriccinema.co.uk

As a major foodie it would be out of the question if I didn’t lay praise to a few alternative restaurants because nothing beats bonding over your favourite foods or forcing someone to try something new. The Korean BBQ is something that needs to be attempted at least once, playing chef by cooking the food yourself or playing it a little safer with a performance from the chef in front of you. Koba situated in Fitzrovia offers set meals from £6.50 but for a fitting experience go all out and order something you wouldn’t usually. Your date should find this bravery alluring unless the determination falters into squeals of disaster.

Looking for more mystery? How does eating in the dark sound to you? Dans Le Noir in Clerkenwell Green offers perhaps the ultimate in blind dating, a dining experience were you are lead to your seats and offered either a meat/ fish/ vegetarian menu. From there on out it’s up to your senses to conjure up flavours and ideas without dropping too much down your front. Offering Parisian cuisine, this might be a little higher in value but just think how amazing it would be to get to know the character behind the rather hot face.

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Comedy nights

When you’re smiling, when you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.. and gets you major date points because nothing is more appealing that somebody who knows how to laugh (even at themselves.) Break the ice and laugh at inappropriate material with one of the many comedy shows across London with tickets from as little as £9.

The 99 club – http://www.99clubcomedy.com/

Jongleurs – http://www.jongleurs.com

Crack comedy – http://www.crackcomedy.com/

Theatre Land

There is always a show to see across the capital and luckily for us there’s always a discount website offering ludicrous deals. For a fraction of the price you can get down to the legendary king of pop- Thriller ticket £19.00 but if the story of one of the craziest musicians around leaves you feeling deflated then don’t worry yourself, there are further more theatre offers, just keep your eyes peeled.

www.londonboxoffice.co.uk

So with it being the most wonderful time of the year according to Andy William’s Christmas hit it would be ruthless of me not to bring you something with a festive edge. Wonderlands are popping up left, right and centre, with Hyde Park playing host to Winter Wonderland, a free entry snowball of fun and Victoria Park bringing the noise with Winterville. For the cheapskates of us why not head to a warm and cosy pub to break the ice and wet your whistle before attacking some rides, some traditional Bavarian food and mulled wine. It’s getting chilly now giving you the perfect excuse to get a bit closer. Snuggles anyone?

http://www.hydeparkwinterwonderland.com/

http://winterville.co.uk/

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To further the festivities and perhaps show off your precocious balancing skills, why not try a spot of ice skating at The Natural History Museum from £12.65, before getting geeky by exploring the museums and exhibitions close by; both the V&A and The Science museum are within walking distance.

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/ice-rink/visit/tickets/index.html

Or you could visit Hampton court palace, combining a penchant for Tudor history and skating fun- £11.50 for skating ticket and hire, plus £15.00 for access to the palace.)

http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/

The party and festival goers of us might prefer this ice skating combo at Somerset House as some of music and night life’s finest spin tunes for you to shake a leg to. Island Records, Lovebox, Ministry Of Sound and Club Le Fromage are just a few so don’t delay as these are one off events and drawing to a close.

http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/ice-rink/club-nights

If none of the above float your boat then may I introduce you  to Y Plan!, a new app that figures out what events are happening close to you, events range from exhibitions, to shows, nights out and even better for us, they include date night suggestions. So if you’ve no time to research, let the app do all the hard work for you. Look out on for discount codes across the public transform system and blag even more ridiculous deals.

http://www.yplanapp.com

Who said dating had to be hard work?

Written By Vanessa Carby

Alicia Keys: The No Make-up Movement

She may not be the first and she won’t be the last but Alicia Keys has got social media in quite a spin. The ‘In Common’ singer has been pictured and filmed going about her superstar lifestyle, with performances and photo shoots a-boot, still as bare faced as when the media took wind back in May.

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I want to proposition the opinions surrounding her freedom of choice as some appear to feel so strongly. Firstly I applaud Alicia Keys, as a house hold name around the world who has been in the music industry since 2001, it must have been either the easiest split second decision or something that she had thought about heavily. As a successful musician who would regularly be in hair and make up for music video’s, magazine shoots, award show performances and for generally going about her day to day showbiz lifestyle, it’s all a bit huh?!

Personally I don’t wear a heap of make-up, I’m happy to go naked to the gym or fluff some blusher over my cheeks and flick some eyeliner across my lids but recently I bought a basic contour kit (Barry M Chisel Cheeks Contour Creams £7.99.) Nothing quite to the scale of Kim Kardashian and other make up bloggers but after some time, I succumbed to joining the #ContourCulture. Maybe it’s not a big deal, after-all who doesn’t love an impulse buy when pay day has arrived?! Make-up consumption is different for all people and that’s something that Alicia Keys recently stressed, taking to twitter to say “Y’all, me choosing to be makeup free doesn’t mean I’m anti-makeup. Do you!” Her decision to go make-up free came after her fears of being snapped by paparazzi without her cosmetic disguise, it was then that she realised her thoughts were based too much on what other people thought of her. It’s refreshing to see this movement but it does make me bring up some of the differences of being a celebrity and being a non celeb. Using myself as an example- I’m happy to wear little, to no make- up but on certain occasions I feel it plausible to wear a little extra. Perhaps and more than likely this is due to what I’ve grown up viewing in the media but there’s certain places I’d feel uncomfortable not wearing a touch more blusher and some enhanced eyes. Situations including wedding’s, a date, an interview would make me feel anxious but why? In the example of a job interview, I would be concerned the interviewer would judge me as being lazy and disregarding how I came across. We’re taught that we should make an effort and for me, make- up is as much an exstention of making the effort, as it is to deliberating over my outfit of choice. I guess Alicia is right, I’m concerned about how others may judge me and I’ve disallowed myself to feel free from the shackles of tint, highlighter, mascara and lipstick.

I feel as if it’s an easier step for her to take as we’re all in agreement that she is one stunning woman, come make- up or no make-up. She’s generated a buzz and used her status but truthfully would anybody batter an eyelid (apart from prying eyes on Facebook maybe, if I turned up to my friend’s birthday party?) I know I’d get stern words from my besties but if I felt that strongly I think they would respect my decisions. I don’t think I’d get as much applause if I went about my day to day business BUT if I’m encouraged to do it then who’s business is it but mine? If I go to sleep at a friend’s and wake up in the morning, will they still recognise me? YES. Do I feel exposed going out in public make- up free? No, but once upon a time I did. This was a time when I believed my skin was terrible and I was generally unhappy about my appearance… fast forward a few years later and I’m at peace with my appearance, sure make-up wacks up my confidence points but around people I know and trust, I feel no shame in going au natural. I was tempted to do a #WhatHappenedWhen blog following a week of no slap but then I decided to hold off because I genuinely don’t feel as if the results would be too life shattering but watch this space because 5th September is the first day of my #NoMakeupMovement and with Bestival around the corner (glitter doesn’t count as make- up does it?) I just might try the revolution.

I expressed that it might be easier for Alicia Keys to bin make-up but then again, maybe its been just as difficult or harder. As a singer/ songwriter  who alongside her voice, has a package that fans expect to be polished and well executed, it could have gone terribly wrong, had it not been for a team that support her and fans that adore her. Magazines could have photo-shopped her and shows could have pulled her from their line-up and the fact that they haven’t shows that this movement is far more powerful than the haters on twitter could imagine.

Some of the extreme make-up that I see on Instagram and other social media channels worries me, because before and afters appear to show two completely different people, which to me is a short step away from cosmetic surgery. People may argue that I am speaking madness and that it’s just to enhance what they’ve already got but ask yourself, would a complete stranger recognise you on your second meeting without all the slap?

Alicia Keys isn’t issuing us to remove the foundation but if young and influenced people decide that less is more and inch by inch can learn to love their natural look, isn’t that a beautifully positive message?

 

 

 

 

 

What happened when…

I did my first BarreConcept ® Workout

Where: Unit 81, Barwell Business Park, Chessington KT9 2NY

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I’d never heard of the latest fitness craze to hit the UK until I began a course of workout classes locally in Chessington. My friend and I, both lovers of spin had been tipped that Barre Concept was the newest and amazingly effective way to tone, using Ballet moves, Pilates and Yoga. With celebrity fans that include Natalie Portman, Madonna and Kelly Osborne and having a dance background, I thought this was a class I could tackle with poise and elegance.

Taking to the side of the room to rest our hands against the wall, as if at the bars of a dance studio, we would complete a medley of ballet positions; pointing and flexing our feet, pulsing in plies and delivering a torrent of fondues (which has nothing to do with cheese or chocolate fountains.) The movements would be repeated continuously for around 30 seconds each, giving certain parts of the body just enough time to burn and for me personally, just enough time to cramp. As someone who used to regularly attend dance school, let me admit that ballet was not my forte, I’m less delicate and more robust and the cramps reminded me that ballet wasn’t me in all my dancing glory.

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Just when my foot cramp was beginning make itself known and my hip began to feel less supple than my youthful mind would have me believe, we swapped sides so the controlled and balance attempted moves could be felt equally on the opposite limb. No pain, no gain after all and through gritted teeth, crazed eyes and an almost teary smile both sides were complete. What sounded like a class that would be as easy as pie, actually showed that strength and mind over matter was needed. As somebody that tends to lean towards classes with high cardio, I was surprised to break a sweat on my brow and top lip. I usually shy away from Yoga and Pilates classes as stretching is pretty much a myth for me… this was obvious when overly supple and softly spoken instructor Lesley instructed my friend and I to try to turn out from our hips a bit more (my hips have obviously been lying to me about how flexible I am.

The wall test (not an actual test but a personal one) was over and so we headed to the center to continue with light weights. I really enjoyed the weighted section and was pleased that Lesley advised me to use the 1.5lb instead of the 2.25lb… don’t run before you can walk Vanessa!! We would do an array of arm movements with extended leg poses and side stretches, whilst controlling our core. It’s been said that 8-10 weeks of the Barre Concept class will effectively tone, sculpt and lift your thighs, stomach, arms and bum, which is pretty much the key parts we’re always looking to improve.

The workouts are surprisingly but amusingly challenging and as much as I felt I could give up, I was enjoying the fact that the class was so different from anything I had ever done before.

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The second to last part of the class took place on the floor and was a little reminiscent of a legs, bums and tums class. It also took me back to the Contemporary dance classes I would partake in- with movements on the floor that would look really uncomfortable from the outside but truthfully were great to strengthen and stretch. Imagine lying on your back with legs extended to one side and your arms and head reaching to the over side, you can’t? Some of these floor moves were joyous and others screamed out from the core muscles.

One of the loveliest things about this class was that Lesley gave a variety of options for certain moves which meant that those with less physical experience, with possible injuries or even those deep into pregnancy could follow the workout.

So would I do it again? YES, knowing what to expect this time and both realising and accepting that I’ve not done ballet since I was a teenager, and that the last yoga class I signed up to was back in 2010, I won’t push myself to the extreme. This is a class where you won’t fall behind if you’re not going as fast as others. Sure my body burned a bit but if I’m going to have Michelle Obama arms in a few weeks and a slimmer stomach, then sign me up for the next class. Like any class, I feel I perform better when sections become a routine, so with more sessions and more limbering up, I look forward to transforming my torso and taming my cramping toes!

To find out more about the classes at Synergy 81, check out their website here: http://bit.ly/2c4DuD6

 

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What happened when…

I wore unofficially the most worn dress of carnival?

 

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I’m talking about the RIANA STRIPED SIDE SPLIT KNITTED MAXI DRESS available from Pretty Little Thing. You might recognise this Caribbean themed dress from our favourite Barbados singer, Rihanna, a replica from her video for track ‘Work.’

I almost aborted the decision to wear this dress purely for the fact that I realised everyone who had bought this dress (and it had been on sale since around June) would be wearing it at this years Notting Hill Carnival. You know how crappy a moment it is when you’re spotted wearing the same outfit, at the same place? There’s the ‘who wore it best?’ and then there’s the embarrassment and wanting the ground to swallow you up. Fortunately for me, this hasn’t happened for many years… that’s probably because I prefer a skirt and top combo; interchangeable for multiple looks rather than the one BUT there was something about this signature dress that brought out the “I couldn’t give a f*ck” attitude.

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Surprisingly, and call me drunk, I only remember spotting around a handful of like wised dressed ladies. There were no catty remarks and there were no sly looks (that I witnessed or took notice of anyways.) Instead myself and the ladies I encountered wearing my knitted yellow, red, green and black dress were some of the most complimentary, self worthy and vivacious women I could have met . Then there were the women who wanted to know where the dress was from, which meant me detailing that the dress was originally £25, then dropped to £12, where I had a code, which meant it only cost me £9… for those that want it ready for carnival 2017 or hope to wear it before summer ends, KEEP READING!!!

Riana Dress £10 @ Pretty Little Thing

https://www.prettylittlething.com/riana-striped-side-split-knitted-maxi-dress.html

VERDICT: So basically everyone was as pretty as a peach when I wore the PLT Rhiana dress to carnival, we probably should have met up and started up our own Pretty Little Thing carnival float. Alas this isn’t the last you’ll see of the unofficial carni dress, no no no you can look out for me at One Love Festival this weekend.

 

Vanessa x