Tag Archives: food

The big food rant: I eat crap food and I like it

12th February 2016

FOOD RANTWhy we should all say ‘no’ to food snobbery.

It’s not often that I stray from fashion and into ranty territory in my blogs but there’s something that’s really grated my cheese recently and I feel the need to get it off my chest, and that something is food snobbery. By this I mean people deciding which foods are ‘good’ and then judging you when you eat things that aren’t.

This month’s Vogue includes an article by Californian-born Calgary Avansino decrying the lack of healthy, organic food available in the UK when she first arrived here ten years ago. In it, she expresses delight at the fact that we now have Whole Foods and that everyone is as obsessed with juicing as she is.

And she’s not the only one. Deliciously Ella, Hemsley & Hemsley, even Jamie Oliver – they’re all telling us that we should be ditching the sugary, fatty things and fill our lives with virtuous things. Everyone’s at it – if I see one more Instagram salad labelled #EatClean I’ll probably throw up my chips. It has got to be one of the most annoying hashtags ever. When I see it, I read ‘look at me, I #EatClean, I’m better than you’!

It’s not just the healthy food brigade, it’s the organic crusaders as well. A few years ago, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall launched a campaign to raise awareness about where our chickens come from and encourage people to stop eating battery farmed chickens. In the programme, he cornered working class mums about why they were buying cheap chickens in Iceland. When they explained it was because they didn’t earn much and it was cheaper, he suggested they ‘eat less meat’.

I can’t tell you how angry this made me. I totally believe in organic chicken and understand the need to treat animals fairly, but what I don’t believe in is shaming people – especially people who are less well off than you – for their choices. Hugh has a choice about what his kids eat – money buys you more options. When you’ve got less cash, that choice is made for you most of the time and you probably don’t appreciate some bossy rich guy wafting in and telling you what your kids should eat. (Even if there is a grain of truth to what he’s saying).

This is where the whole #EatClean and organic thing falls down for me. The principles are sound and of course it’s better for the environment and eating less processed food is of course better for your body – that’s not what I’m arguing about here – but what it smacks of is middle class vanity and one-upmanship. The fact is, organic and whole foods are more expensive. Putting coconut water and almond butter in your shopping basket is going to be pricier. Even fresh veggies are expensive a lot of the time. That’s a fact. If you’ve got enough dosh to eat that way 24/7 then lucky you. But if you haven’t, you shouldn’t be made to feel bad about that.

If you grew up in a home where there wasn’t much cash to go around, you’ll already understand this. My mum brought me up by herself on the minimum wage – there was no almond butter in our house. We ate veg from the market, but we also had 50p fish fingers and 12p tins of beans from Netto. Now that I’m older and I’ve got more money and opportunities open to me, I eat better – but I still love fish fingers and beans, and even the odd Dairylea cheese triangle when the mood takes me. And I don’t care what the #EatClean bores think of that.

The best part of Avansino’s Vogue article was at the end, where she confesses that she’s spent most of her life hating her body and it’s only in recent years that she’s learnt to love herself. From the pictures that accompany the article, I can tell you that she has an absolutely bangin’ body – all lithe limbs and model proportions. And yet she was miserable for ages. I’ve got a massive bum and wobbly thighs (probably a direct result of growing up on fish fingers and Dairylea, come to think of it) but I’d say I’m pretty happy with it all, for the most part. I think it’s because my mum did a brilliant job of showing me that there are more important things in life than how you look naked. When you’re struggling to scrape together enough cash to keep the lights on and food in the fridge, your priorities are a bit different, I guess.

So here’s what I have to say to all the #EatClean robots out there – well done you and all that, yeah, but stop being so bloody boring. I don’t care what you eat. Just eat the damn salad and shut the f*ck up. Thank you.

new year predictions

Bristol Fashionista’s predictions for 2016

9th January 2016

The start of the year is such an exciting time, full of possibilities. Right now, it feels like just about anything could happen in the next 12 months. With that in mind, I decided to get my crystal ball out and make a few predictions for this year…

new year predictions

What we’ll be wearing…Balmain

In years to come when people look back at fashion from now, there’s one dude whose aesthetic will be seen as leading the charge and that’s Olivier Rousteing. Balmain is hotter than the sun right now. Ruffles, mesh, bare shoulders – most of what you’re seeing on the catwalk show above is already filtering its way down to the high street and his collection for H&M last year almost caused riots! That influence looks set to grow this year – his latest campaign stars are none other than 90s supers Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer, positioning Balmain firmly in the fashion canon for years to come.

What we’ll be doing…volunteering

Giving money to charity is great but nowadays it’s also about giving your time – 2016 is totally going to be the year of the volunteer. BBC Radio 1 has already launched its #1millionhours campaign, encouraging young people to give up their time to help others.

Bristolians are taking this idea into their own hands with the launch of a new local site called HelpfulPeeps – you sign up with Facebook and people can post requests for things they need help with. If you have the skills, you volunteer your time to give them a hand. It’s as simple as that. It looks to still be in the early stages, but it will be interesting to see if Bristol really gets on board with this and starts helping each other out.

What we’ll be listening to…UK garage

There have been numerous lists proclaiming the ‘sound of 2016’ – mostly populated by earnest blokes with guitars who all sound like Ed Sheeran, or white middle class beardy weirdies yelping over boring electronica soundtracks. But I’m going to call it and say that the ‘real’ sound, the one people actually want to listen to, is going to be the return of UK garage. It’s upbeat, it’s catchy and it’s inclusive – great garage tunes often come from the most unexpected places. Also, importantly, you can dance to it. There’s so much depressing stuff going on in the world right now that people need to dance more than ever.

On the more populist end of the spectrum is, of course, Craig David – who else? His comeback tune with Big Narstie ticks all the boxes and references his debut track from back in the day, Rewind and, like that track, it’s one of those ear worms that just won’t leave your head once you hear it. But if you want to get the freshest new garage tunes from up and coming artists, listen to DJ Target on Friday nights from 7pm on BBC Radio 1Extra. Obviously it’s not like the pirate stations of the old, but it’s fresh and you can dance to it. If you’re in Bristol, give Ujima FM a try – they play a wide range of urban music that’s broader than most stations.

What we’ll be eating… vegan food AND Bavarian meat and pickles

speck

Burgers are so 2015. This year, the focus has shifted towards veggie and vegan restaurants. It seems all the cool kids are heading to Vx, the so-called ‘vegan junk food’ place in East Street. I’ve not yet tried it, but apparently vegan places are the new grill shacks. Hmm…

If, like me, you can’t get over your meat addiction then try Speck Brothers Ltd, a new Bavarian deli/café in St James Arcade in Broadmead. Speck is a type of dried cured ham, smoked with applewood and coated with a secret blend of spices and this is their speciality, which they serve up on great wooden boards accompanied by a selection of creamy mountain cheeses, pickles and all sorts of delicious Germanic treats. Brothers Darius and Joachim are bonafide Bavarians who import all their produce from their hometown up near the Alps, so the food is authentic and delicious. Oh, and if you’re really nice they might even model their actual real-life lederhosen for you.

For more recommendations, check out this list of new Bristol restaurant openings on Bristol247.com.

And that concludes my predictions so far for 2016. They’re not so much predictions as things I’m already doing which I think everyone else should try this year, but hey – I’m not Mystic Meg after all.

Hope you enjoyed it and feel free to post your own predictions below…

Fashionista goes to London: Sketch and Spitalfields

15th September 2015

This is the final instalment in my series of London posts. We managed to pack so much into one weekend there that I couldn’t fit it all into one post! In this post, we have lunch at Sketch and visit Spitalfields market, although not in the same day since they’re not especially close together.

I’ll start with Sketch because this was a real highlight of the trip. Lots of friends had recommended it and now I can see why. The design of this place is just out of this world!

Sketch London

Sketch London

Club sandwich and •Blackcurrant and Hibiscus tea at Sketch

Club sandwich and • Blackcurrant and Hibiscus tea at Sketch

Sketch is the brainchild of restaurateur Mourad Mazouz and Michelin star chef Pierre Gagnaire. It’s located on Conduit Street (close to Oxford Street), which makes it an ideal stop off point if you’re shopping, but give yourself plenty of time as it’s a unique experience you’ll want to enjoy. The food is, of course, sensational, but it’s the interiors in this place that really take the biscuit…

Pod toilets at Sketch London

Pod toilets at Sketch London

….just look at these space age toilets! They’re space-age pods with a loo inside, next to Victorian style hand basins, topped with a stained glass roof. How bonkers is that? The ladies that clean the loos are dressed like traditional Victoria housemaids, circa Downtown Abbey. Bizarre, but cool!

Cafe at Sketch

There’s an informal parlour, which is where we sat for lunch. It’s a mixture of brightly coloured shelves, bric-a-brac coloured furniture and sumptuous graphic print textiles. It serves tea, cakes and light bites, which is ideal if you’re just popping in for a mid-shopping trip lunch.

Parlour at Sketch

Parlour at Sketch

Bar at Sketch

Bar at Sketch

Then, there’s a fabulous plush dining room (shown at the top of this post) with powder pink booths and humorous black and white illustrations on the wall. This room is staffed by waiters in tux-style jackets carrying bottles of champagne, which adds to the more luxurious, formal atmosphere.

Next door, the Glade bar feels like a 1970s daydream, set in a garden. The bar is stocked with all kinds of cocktail-worthy spirits and the waitresses are dressed in boho style kaftans.

Sketch London

We only had a light lunch so I can’t speak for the rest of the menu, but even their humble club sandwich was unlike any other sandwich I’ve tasted. It was so rich, with surprising flavours and presented like a work of art. I’m not usually one for poncy food, but this was truly special.

Afternoon tea at Sketch

Afternoon tea at Sketch

What we ate:

  • Sketch club sandwich (£10.50)
  • Blackcurrant and Hibiscus tea (£4.50)

(They also had a marvellous selection of cakes which looked delightful, but we didn’t have room for any that day!)

Now on to Spitalfields – which is north of the city and best visited on a Sunday, which I believe is the ideal time to see the famous market. There, you’ll find an array of fashion stalls, as well as antiques, homewares and, well, all sorts really!

YSL Tribute sandals at Spitalfields market

YSL Tribute sandals at Spitalfields market

The vintage stalls were among my favourites because they housed some real fashion finds – this pair of YSL Tribute sandals were among the treasures there, but alas it wasn’t to be as they weren’t my size. It’s quite pricey when I compare it to some of the other vintage markets I’ve been to, because they know that it’s popular, but there’s usually a deal to be done if you know how to haggle.

Spitalfields market

Spitalfields market

One of the mistakes we made was going there after breakfast – there are so many yummy food stalls there with cuisines from all over the world, so go with an empty stomach and make sure you fill up on delicious treats!

Vagabond wine shop at Spitalfields

Vagabond wine shop at Spitalfields

And that concludes my little tour of London. If you loved this, check out my previous posts from this trip:

We’ll be back in Bristol in forthcoming posts, so if you’ve come looking for Bristol Fashion, don’t worry as we will get to that!

 

Fashionista goes to London: Carnaby Street and Chinatown

8th September 2015

Mr Jones and I celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary recently by taking a little weekend trip to London. Despite his protestations, I insisted on some shopping, but we mixed that with Chinese food, which works for us both…

The market at Covent Garden

The market at Covent Garden

Monki boutique on Carnaby Street

Monki boutique on Carnaby Street

Carnaby Street was popular in the swinging sixties and today it’s a mix of super brands and the cool, young boutiques it became famous for. Benefit has a beautiful little shop there, and close by there’s Monki, a playful clothing brand that features uber blogger Susie Bubble as its covergirl. Their style is fashionable and functional, with long-line coats and boyfriend jeans among their staples. I liked the designs but couldn’t find much to suit my petite frame and girly predilection, but their store design was just so cute, I had to go inside.

Rainbow stairs at Monki boutique

Rainbow stairs at Monki boutique

Rainbow stairs at Monki boutique

Rainbow stairs at Monki boutique

Their rainbow staircase in particular looks like a dream I once had. I’d love to do this in my house!

Just down the road from Monki, if you’re looking for a London souvenir but want something cooler than a tacky ‘I heart London’ T-shirt, make sure you stop off at We Built This City, a cute little enclave of creative goodies in Carnaby Street.

We Built This City on Carnaby Street

We Built This City on Carnaby Street

Graphic print wrapping paper at We Built This City

Graphic print wrapping paper at We Built This City

80s stairs at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

80s stairs at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

East London graphic artist Camille Walala has given this place an 80s inspired graphic twist, with patterned staircases and tutti fruity displays. Some of the décor actually reminded me of Betties + Baldwin’s in Bristol – it’s got a touch of rockabilly chic about it. Plus, they sell loads of cat related paraphernalia, which of course is my idea of a good time.

Colourful London merch at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

Colourful London merch at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

Colourful London merch at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

Colourful London merch at We Built This City on Carnaby Street

Mr Jones’ idea of a good time is eating, which is why we also went to Chinatown as part of our London trip. Not many people know this, but I am actually a quarter Chinese (my grandpa on my mum’s side was from China), so this might explain why the sight of dim sum makes my heart happy.

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

We went to Wan Chai Corner on Gerrard Street for lunch. This isn’t the most glamorous place in Chinatown, but its simple, greasy spoon café-like décor belies a menu of pure Chinese foodie gold!

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

We had a tough time choosing from the huge dim sum menu, but we decided to go for some fishy options because it’s different to what we would usually have at home and they sounded delicious. My personal favourites are always the steamed buns and prawns, but the octopus curry was pretty special too. The prices are also amazing – we spent about £22 in total for the two of us, which is fantastic value in London.

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

Dim sum at Wan Chai Corner

What we ate
(Dish names might vary on the menu, prices between £2 – £4 per dish):

  • Deep fried crispy squid with chilli sauce
  • Grilled turnip cakes
  • Prawns in pastry with sesame seeds
  • Spicy pork dumplings with peanut filling
  • Octopus curry (not pictured)
  • Steamed chilli buns
  • Jasmine tea

If you loved this, check out my previous post from this trip: Fashionista goes to London: Shoes at the V&A museum