Category Archives: Fashion

“And the city itself was just a glow on the dark earth” Monica Ali

As I said before, I’ve just read “Brick Lane” by Monica Ali and I totally fell in love with it. I borrowed it from the library only because I liked the title (lately I’m only looking for novels set in London) and it was a positive surprise. It’s a choral novel even if the main point of view is Nazneen’s, a Bangladeshi woman relocated to London through an arranged marriage to a man nearly twice her age. The books tells her story, but also many other of the people of Bangladeshi origin she meets, with a look on what happens in her country of origin through what’s happening to her sister Hasina. The book is not properly set in Brick Lane, maybe “Mile End” would have been a better title, but if you’re familiar to that part of East London, there are many places that can be easily recognised. The plot is pleasant and interesting, characters are well depicted, the descriptions are vivid and the reader’s interest is always kept alive. I loved seeing the main character growth: at first she’s submitted to her husband, unhappy and prefers taking refuge into her past and happy childhood rather than taking pleasure in daily life. Then she learns English, she starts earning her own money, she gets a lover who helps her to see over the four walls of her apartment. In the end she realizes who she is and what she wants to be, so she gets rid both of her husband and lover and opens a sewing workshop with some friends of her and finally fulfill her desire to ice-skating even in a sari.

If you want to visit Brick Lane you have to hop off at Aldgate and walk for a 5 minutes. Besides the street art, the first thing that strikes the attention is the Old Truman brewery, once home to London’s largest brewery and now location to a hive of creative businesses like independent shops, galleries, markets (only at the weekends), bars and restaurants.

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If you keep walking along this long lane, you will find The Cereal Killer Cafe that sells over 100 different types of cereal from around the world. You can eat there and they have vegan and gluten free options.

Another well known place is the Beigel shop, open 24/7 whose menu is focused on beigels (not bagels, it keeps the yddish pronunciation) baked in the traditional Jewish style (it’s being boiled in water before baking, a step that produces its crisp crust and moist, chewy interior) with  a lot of tasty fillings. It also serves pastries, cakes and sweets as well as white, rye and black bread. It’s not expensive, but it has no gluten free option.

If you raise your eyes, once you pass under the railway bridge, you will see the 123 building that is a four-storey mini department store packed with recycled clothing.

And on the less known part of Brick lane, just crossed Bethnal Green Road, there’s Tatty Devine my favourite handmade jewellery shop, where you can find some original, playful, colourful, laser cut acrylic things. There’s another shop in Covent Garden, but I use to go there.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Brimful of Asha- Cornershop

“I was so thin I could slice bread with my shoulderblades, only I seldom had bread” Charles Bukowski

There is something I’m always reluctant to talk about and it’s my unintentional weight loss. And while everybody seems having the opposite problem and struggles between diets and gym courses, it’s hard to say that I’m losing weight without dieting or increasing physical activity. To be completely frank, I never went to a gym, I love to walk, but the closest I can ever be to a sport, is yelling at the tv while watching football, rugby or golf.

So I never talk about this, because people won’t understand, they will probably say that I’m lucky and because I noticed that skinny people are often body shamed by being called unhealthy, bunch of bones or anorexic. Should I be ashamed of my skin and bones (just to say it in Coldplay’s words)? According to the nasty looks people give me on the beach, I should and that’s so unfair.

The real problem is not being fat or being thin, but looking at the others’ bodies to imitate them or to criticise them. No one is bearer of an absolute truth, let alone the perfect body type. So, look at yourself and yourself only, lose or gain weight only for health reasons or if you (and only you) like your body and stop thinking that people like underwear models are an evil example.

So here it comes the second part of this post: visiting Victoria’s Secrets store in London. I know, I already blamed those who go to London only to show their purchases in popular places, but in my defence, I have to say that I buy my underwear in the kids section and that I was dragged there, by someone who thought I would have loved luxury and invisible panties. Let me say that lace thongs are a big NO from me, since it’s like having a rose stem in the middle of the butt cheeks, but if you fancy sexy lingerie, here’s my tips.

There are three Victoria’s Secrets stores in London: one, I’ve never been to, is next to Brent Cross area, another one, the most famous, is located in Central London at 111 New Bond Street and you can get there by hopping off either at Bond Street or Oxford Circus station. It’s not hard to find, just a cross street of Regent’s Street.

 

 

The third store is inside the Westfield Mall, next to Sheperd’s Bush Station. Well, to be clear, there are two shops: the classic and bland Victoria’s Secrets and the Pink store for younger women that has cuter and more comfortable items (according to me). Anyway both have workout clothes, tank tops, underwear… just in a different style.

 

 

So, if you like this brand and you want to wear something sexy (and expensive) for a hot night under London stars, here you are. And don’t ask me what we bought, I won’t tell you: it’s a (Victoria’s) secret.

 

 

TRACK OF THE DAY: Little Things – One Direction

 

“There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us, and not we, them” Virginia Woolf

A few days ago I saw a video of a man complaining against women’s clothes sizes, his body was average and he said he wore a Medium. That T-shirt fitted perfectly to his wife who, instead, had to buy an XL in female clothing.

First of all big up to such a concerned husband whose aim was to point out how a wrong concept of sizes makes girls feel uncomfortable. Second, this confirm my theory: I have the same upper body size since I was 15, I have many T-shirts at my parent’s place from that lapse of time that still fit me perfectly and they’re an XS/S an Italian 40/42. So, how’s that possible that now I have to buy a Medium?

I went to one of those franchisees for young girls with a friend because a wanted to try on a nice pink shirt that was in theshowcase, but with the Small I could barely breathe, so I asked for a Medium. The shop assistant looked at me as if I asked for a dragon egg, then disappeared in the storage room and then came back saying in a disgusted voice “in THAT size we only have brown items”. As if to say ” you’re a fat whale who doesn’t deserve to wear cute colours”. Then she asked to my friend if she needed something and she answered laughing that she wanted a large, but that she’d better shut up”.

So, girls and women: don’t let a number or a letter define what you are. Don’t think you’re fat only because you wear a large: I weight 50kg and I wear a medium.

TRACK OF THE DAY: Big girls cry- Sia

“I can’t think without my glasses” Vivienne Westwood

Except my love for the iconic Vivienne Westwood, I can safely say not to follow fashion and I dislike fashion bloggers and those who praise them; I don’t need anybody to tell me what to wear.

I have a flat and uniform way of dressing, and yet I have an insane passion for striking prints and bold colours, I really like them (on the others, of course). This reflection on fashion is born from the fact that Tom has recently started wearing the clothes of a young British designer (just 24 years) whose menswear collections are an explosion of colours. My favorite thing is that, not only the company is based in London, but that all production takes place in England; creative process and manufacturing take place in one country as opposed is happening to to many Italian fashion brands.

As well as I support Indie artists, I speak willingly of this designer called Rachel James, her past collection was inspired by the world of flowers, but now she is working on new prints and judging by the shirt that Tom displayed in Las Vegas last night, the result will be amazing. Good luck!

 

TRACK OF THE DAY: Vogue- Madonna