Wednesday, 16 August 2017

how to fall in love with any city

"Paris will never break your heart "

The benefits of travel are infinite. If you are lucky enough to live in Europe, we have so many beautiful cities just a short flight, train journey, or ferry ride away. 

I have spent a lot of my life visiting London. I thought of it as home and envied the tourists who walked around in such awe. It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but I had never given it the appreciation it deserved. I wish I had realised earlier that just because you live in a city or have visited a lot, you can fall in love with it again everyday. 

So here’s a list of ways to keep falling in love with a city; whether you are visiting it for the first time or have lived there youre whole life. Cities are so rich with culture and people travel from all over the world to visit them. Take advantage of being there.

Do your research

Most cities have websites or free magazines to keep you updated on what’s on. Find the best way to get information and use it. Look out for independent guides too where you are more likely to find niche events. 
If you would prefer something more longterm, pick up a rough guide. I would recommend DK Eyewitness Top 10 if you love lists. You will have probably been on Tripadvisor before to research holiday destinations, but they also have information on pretty much every town and city. Your hometown is probably on there too. 

Look closely at the buildings around you

Grace Coddington once said, “Always keep your eyes open. Keep watching because whatever you see can inspire you.” If you have ever been on a city break, you will know how true this is. 
Whether you are cycling past the gorgeously ornate architecture of Paris, or walking the streets of post-Soviet East Berlin, look out for little details that might otherwise pass you by. It is easy to become complacent and think you know your hometown inside out, but that is when you stop looking. You never know when you will notice something new that can inspire you. 
City breaks tend to be short and they consequently turn into a mad rush to try and fit as much in as possible. Take some time to slow down. The best way to take in the whole city is to book a walking tour, or take yourself on your own walking tour. 

Write everything down

You might be too busy to do this in detail whilst you are there, but take some time in the evenings to list what you have done each day. Write down snippets of memorable conversations, historical information, new favourite foods you have tried. If you do this, then parts of the city will be with you forever as you can refresh your memory frequently. 
It is useful to keep a journal at all times, even when you are not visiting a new city. Take your journal to local parks in the summer and independent caf├ęs in the winter.

Make a playlist

This is particularly important if you are going to be spending a lot of time on your own in a city. Curate a playlist for when you are walking around, relaxing in the evening and travelling from one end of the city to the other. Afterwards, those songs will always remind you of that time in your life.

Don’t discredit the nightlife

But people who want to party hard just go to Magaluf or Zante, right? You came here for the culture. Well, night life is an important part of the culture. The ruin pubs in Budapest and techno clubs in Berlin are like nowhere else in the world. If yours is a short stay, just make sure you manage to get out of bed the next day no matter how bad the hangover. Do something relaxing like taking a walk in a park or visiting an art gallery. 
Seek out bars and clubs in your hometown with the best atmosphere. Try not to fall into the routine of going to the same places every week and not enjoying it anymore. 

Try the local cuisine

Every city, no matter how big or small, has a famous food. It might be gelato in Rome, or Henderson’s Relish in Sheffield. Don’t discriminate. 

Absorb the city’s culture before you go

Cities are rich sources of inspiration so it will not be difficult to find cultural texts to explore before you go. Look out for books written there, films filmed there and musicians from there. Think Kafka for Prague, Rimbaud for Paris, Van Gogh for Amsterdam. 
If you live there, you have even more time to dig into the local culture. You probably have a good chance of meeting contemporary artists too. 

Look out for one-off exhibitions and events

These won’t be in the rough guides, so will probably attract a lot of locals and few less tourists. Find events on Facebook and look out for posters around the city and in museums and galleries. 

Start to learn the language

You might not get much further than learning how to say hello and thank you, but in most situations, that is all you will have to say. As far as anyone knows you’re fluent!

Make a plan (but don’t stick to it religiously)

Planning is obviously an important component of travelling. You will want to make sure that you make the most of the city by fitting in everything you want to do. However, keep a few hours free to wander around and find lesser known places. Have lunch at a small bakery near where you are staying. Walk down a busy street and people watch. 
Try to do something new every weekend in the city you live in. This doesn’t have to be expensive. There are usually plenty of free activities to try if you look for them. 

Stay hungry with wanderlust, and you can fall in love with any city. 

(as published on Sunday Girl online)

Saturday, 12 August 2017

cherries and wine, rosemary and thyme

Jacket and shirt- vintage, sunglasses and jeans- Topshop, boots- River Island

Ethan took these photos when I stayed with him last month. I have been craving summer walks and dreamy days spent reading, writing and talking in parks. We are finally getting some sun even though it rained all day on my birthday this week. It always seems to rain on my birthday in England. Perks of having a summer birthday. Summer is much more difficult to dress for than autumn or winter in the UK because the weather is so unpredictable. I bought the shirt I'm wearing a couple of years ago for like £3 in a local charity shop. It shines so beautifully in the sun. I am obsessed with clothing that catches the light at the moment.

I wrote about my love of the colour gold two years ago, and this love has evolved into an adoration of anything that catches the light. Shiny, yet muted pieces grab attention without being too showy. There is something expensive looking about clothes that reflect sunlight. Perhaps they remind us of metallic jewellery and other typical symbols of wealth. They are dreamlike and romantic. Satin and sequins are more commonly associated with winter and its accompanying festivities, but summer is the season that brings out the full potential of these fabrics.

Here is a selection of my favourite pieces that would shine in the sun-

Flower print blouse, Fendi, £1,250, via Farfetch

Stud earrings, Topshop, £7.50

Floral quilted jacket, Etro, £2,740 via Matches Fashion

Vinyl frill skirt, River Island, £32

Satin bodysuit, Fleur du Mal, £300 via net-a-porter

Quilted scarf, H&M, £19.99

Bodysuit, Cushnie et Ochs, £431, via farfetch

Paisley shirt, Zara, £29.99

Thursday, 10 August 2017

we contained opposing principles

In 1975, Patti Smith and Robert Mapplethorpe were drinking coffee at The Pink Teacup in Greenwich Village. Robert stood up suddenly, and said, “Let’s get out of here.” Patti followed him as he ran down the street shouting, “The light! We can’t lose the light!”

They went back to their friend’s apartment and made history. That afternoon, Patti Smith’s iconic ‘Horses’ cover was shot by Robert Mapplethorpe. Patti wore a white shirt and a blazer draped lackadaisically over her shoulder, in a pose that subtly represented the attitude of punk.

This was by no means the first collaboration between Patti and Robert. It is just one of the many stories of their friendship that has been told and retold; romanticised, mythologised, idolised. How they came to know each other has been described in similar terms. Patti sets the record straight about their first few encounters in her memoir, ‘Just Kids.’ The friends and lovers met in 1967, when New York City came alive with the vibrancy of the youthquake and Andy Warhol’s Factory. Patti had arrived in Brooklyn with no money and nowhere to stay. Her friends were no longer staying at the address they had given her. Robert was living there instead.

They didn’t meet again until Robert came into the shop where Patti worked and bought her favourite necklace. In ‘Just Kids’, Patti recalls how she told him, “Don’t give it to any girl but me.” Yet it was the third meeting that cemented their friendship, when Robert saved Patti from a date by pretending to be her boyfriend; their first collaboration. This particular meeting, Patti and Robert wandered around the East Village. Patti told Robert childhood stories and he told her that he was planning on dropping acid later. Robert found a place for them to spend the night and they read books on Dada and Surrealism before falling asleep in each others arms.

The intimacy and artistic nature of their third meeting was woven through the rest of their friendship, which is documented in photographs, poems and Patti’s best-selling memoir, ‘Just Kids.’ Defined by their unruly hair, mismatched jewellery and black clothes, the pair exemplified bohemia.  Ambitious and romantic, they moved into the cheapest room in the Chelsea Hotel to be around other artists. They inhaled the atmosphere that the late hotel is now famous for. The chaotic and drug-fuelled lifestyles of their neighbours provided inspiration, but Patti and Robert were not wild child hipper-than-thou Warhol worshippers. They were timeless dreamers trying to forge their way in the world through their art.

Beginning as starving artists and going on to achieve great success, their life together seems like a rags to riches fairytale. However, Patti’s memoir shows the gritty reality of living in New York City with no money; having to worry about being able to afford food or shelter. In the early days, they sacrificed everything they had to create art. Their unshakeable faith in each other’s creativity aided their eventual success.

By the late ‘70s, a decade after they met, Patti Smith was an international rock star and Robert Mapplethorpe was shocking the nation with the S&M-inspired photography that he is best known for. In 1979, Patti left New York and drifted apart from Robert. Robert Mapplethorpe died in 1989, but in Patti’s memoir the pair will always be just kids, a pair of creative misfits trying to beat the odds with art and love. 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

london calling

I finished interning at British Vogue just over a week ago. I am still processing the experience. It actually managed to surpass my expectations. I built it up a lot; made playlists, planned all my outfits well in advance, rewatched The September Issue and The Devil Wears Prada in preparation. I listened to 'Suddenly I See' as I walked to the office every morning, pretending to be in the latter film's opening sequence. I got the chance to speak to people I have admired for years. I spent my lunch breaks exploring Soho and Oxford Street. It was hard work, and stressful at times, but overall it was an absolute dream. Here are some photos from the three weeks I spent working there.

I bought Vogue Italia from the Conde Nast shop at the end of my first week.

Hanover Square

Bond Street

Vogue office

I saw Lana Del Rey at Brixton, and she was a literal dream.

Cocktails in Shoreditch after my last day.

I turn 20 tomorrow, and although most of my friends have already passed this milestone it still feels like a big deal. Summer is speeding by and I'm going back up to Sheffield soon for my final year. I'm spending the rest of this summer reading, working on the next issue of Pretty and catching up with friends. Tomorrow I'm going to see the Black Power exhibition at the Tate Modern. I've wanted to see it since it opened and my tutor recommended that I see it for the America and the Avant Gardes module I'm taking in autumn. I am also going to see the Morrissey biopic, which the 15 year-old obsessive Smiths fan girl in me is ecstatic about. 

I feel like I have a lot of creative energy at the moment. I hope it lasts. I am really excited to share the next issue of Pretty with you. It's the best one yet and contains so many submissions from talented people. 

I hope you're having a good summer!