For the love of god do not put veet on your face

Tuesday, 12 July 2016



I'm usually quite sensible with keyboard shortcuts.
I've grown from amateur 'CNTRL C' to graduating millennialism with an extensive and proud knowledge of four button photoshop wizardry.
I used that knowledge in vain last night, throwing out a 'CNTRL F' with little to no caution to the wind on a friends vlog to search for my name to see if anyone had mentioned me in the comments below.
They had. It was moderately horrific.

I'm used to the 'she's fat', 'her laughs irritating', 'I'm not homophobic but she does look like a lesbian' jibes - they tickle me more than they taunt me because the lack of originality is so tiresome that it does all just feel like a bit of a lame joke.
As though my comfort had a scent, someone had clearly sniffed out they'd need to find a more creative dig.
They dug, they found, they posted.
'Christ, I was so distracted by the bird who looks like Bradley Wiggins.'

I'd never really noticed the two sizeable furry face carpets that trailed much longer than the tips of my ear lobe.
Unsurprisingly, of all the places to find self consciousness it hadn't been at a perfectly natural piece of my hairline.
But I inspected it, twirled it, mentally measured it and after a thirty minute trawl examining other girls faces at a profile angle (and then my own with a picture of Wiggins placed next to it) the idiocy started to eat me up in a way I'm usually fairly competent at batting away.
I couldn't forget it. I tried, I really did, yet it spiralled into a much longer time of wondering how many other people had seen me with my hair up and sniggered or worse, gagged a bit.

I then committed a sin equally as cardinal to reading about yourself online.
I put a thick slick of Veet on my face to veto the aforementioned issue.
You don't have to imagine too tryingly as to how that worked out for me.

Initially the thrill of such a definitive and ill advised bit of hair removal reminded me a lot of the time my best friend aged six fought with a razor as a rebellious infant in a bid to shave both of her eyebrows off. I loved the progressiveness of it. I thought she was way ahead of our time. Maybe I'd recapture that.
Forgetting that I was also six at the time...
And she didn't have to go to work the next day...
With no eyebrows.

I had to go to work today with two scratchy acid marks that were no longer carpets but abrasive doormats.

What lunacy. 
The lunacy of feeling the need to spot a totally inoffensive part of someone's body and make a public derogatory comment.
The lunacy of letting an anonymous idiot haunt you.
We all make mistakes but two that are pretty easy to avoid are one: being a prick online and two: finding weight in comments that are only there to rile and not nourish you.

The main lesson learned from this is as ever:
Putting any sort of  emotional or physical action towards what people think of you on the internet is not healthy. Not healthy for your frazzled off follicles or indeed your psyche.
The other lesson, for the intention of which I write this piece solely:

For the love of god do not put Veet on your face. 

Is internet dating turning us into gross monsters?

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

[photo by Dunja Opalko]

Oh poor, dwindling, non existent and depressing love life - how you keep me young and alive.
Your tantrums that turn from do-or-do-not dinner dates to where-the-F-are-my-dinner-invites enthral and entice me.
Or they did, when either of those were complaints to worry about, now it's much more complex.

There are many things that infuriate me at the moment and they culminate to a long list of lustlessness that the thought of welcoming anything into my life, man or indeed fluffy tailed dog, leaves me feeling on the most part- nonplussed.
Leading that loin leashing pack of date defying destruction is the app Raya.
Up until two months ago Raya was the name of a beautiful friend of mine that I'd always imagined to run around the forest singing to butterflies and writing poetry under an apple tree.
Now, sadly, Raya is known to me as the name of an exclusive dating app that has an algorithm which analyses your instagram following, creative career and good looks.
For the conscious majority of my post adolescent life (it's only been a year, take it easy) I like to think I've lived with strong morals and a sense of self that is as complimentary and kind to myself and womankind as possible. This version of me dissipated when it heard about Raya, conveniently.

I have always professed I prefer personality to looks and that I'd never judge a book by its cover (I still stand by that, even more so after writing this) but this app really caught me off guard and like the cat I was curious and hoped the creme I caught could be Harry Styles wanting to fall in love with me or something vaguely tantalising to cheer up the fact I've not had a date since November.

I applied for Raya with very little knowledge of what could ensue other than a friend of mine ending up going on a date with that girl who was in Kick Ass and an article circulating that Zac Efron was 'probably' on it. Any sort of probability for me was enough.
'Excellent,' I thought 'The opportunity to date someone who didn't go to High Wycombe Grammar School and is now a BT engineer.' Cruel and crass yes, true and honest, also yes.
I paid my £5.99, stuck myself on the waiting list and waited... three days.
Three days and £5.99 is a lot less time and money I've spent sitting on the Soho House membership list and arguably, I'd be doing exactly the same thing there but with an expensive glass of wine, so I didn't really care. Moral obligations now only a PO code on the end of a Paypal invoice.

Upon acceptance I hoped to find exactly that. A hoard of Joe Jonas' messaging wanting to fly me to California for a weekend of dinner, kissing and talking about how great and masterful our social influence is on the world...or whatever a first date with him is supposed to be like. (I did genuinely swipe past Joe Jonas, it was less exciting than I'd hoped.)
But instead I was left feeling like the ugliest little chipolata sausage that nobody wanted to prize out of the package and BBQ. I felt scrutinised and unfunny, chubby and unintelligent.
I felt, unsurprisingly in a sea of Z list celebrities, very normal.
A normal girl that should be swiping past Dan from High Wycombe Grammar that wants to talk about his long hard day wiring broadband boxes.
To be fair on Dan, he probably holds much better chat than any of the 'cool creatives' with nigh on 1.5million instagram minions that I'd matched with or even better than the unheard of DJ's and the ex baby daddy's of boy-bands makeup artists. It really was dull. If you want 'Netflix and chill' I'd rather you asked upfront so I could decline politely instead of having to decipher a wrongly quoted Oscar Wilde line that likens my uploaded selfies to that of a 19th century heroin.
In fact, why had having 30 thousand instagram followers suddenly given me a pedestal to stand on that suggested I was miles better than Dan? That me and all these other guys, stood on our self-crafted pedestals embellished by some tech-smart men in silicon valley, would have better conversation or more in common shouting at each other on our platforms than Dan and I might have had sat in a pub in the Chilterns? We are all just sacks of thoughts and desires, after all.

The level of egotism I'd grown was gross and almost unfathomable for a girl who's always been incredibly self-conscious and never felt worthy of even accepting a drink.
Now I was this weird ring leader whipping boys into my digital den expecting them to think I was just as funny and as cool as their actress counterparts and take me on holiday and when they didn't I was probably mentally slagging Tinder Dan off for not trying hard enough.
THAT IS SO MESSED UP!!!!!! SO!!! MESSED!!! UP!!!!

My skepticism took a break when I matched with a guy whom was in a band I'd adored for a good while. I'd always imagined we'd get on well but front row never seemed to be the right time to propose a drink or rattle on about my favourite books. This was it.
I endured twenty four hours of sarcastic grief, a lost sense of charm that swam alongside the nonchalance of a fourteen year old boy who'd just discovered his penis.
Whilst my exploits on Tinder and Happn had been mostly uneventful, they were always seemingly sweet and good intentioned, no one had ever told me they liked to 'put a pipe on their exhaust and sit in their car' for fun to see what sort of sadistic reaction it'd gain.
I started to miss being asked if my dad was a thief, if it hurt when I fell, or even something as brash an unimaginative as 'you're fit'.
Jesus wept, what a depressing sort of nostalgia.
Nearly as depressing as re-sorting my photos on the app wondering if the ones I'd uploaded weren't saying enough about my personality or attracting the right kind of guys.
It's a wonder I'm not seeing a counsellor about this or that anyone of our generation has an iota of self esteem that's not completely and utterly insane.

It's not that all guys on Raya are arseholes, I wouldn't know, I've only spoken to a few.
But churning anyone with an ego big enough to sign themselves up for 'premium dating' (admittedly myself included) into a pot of other egos, batting each other off on social following, good looks and what sort of ex reality star freelance work they do isn't going to bring out the best in anyone.
It's enticing, it's the most rough traded and nonconstructive compliment you could give anyone to download. 'Here! You're famous on the internet! Keep away from the fans and the riffraff! By the way an algorithm has decided that you are passably good looking and your social statistics are sexy! Now procreate!'
It's like going to the popular kids party at school, it sounds great but it's desperately depressing and inflated on the inside. I'd know, I held a few of them, with the deepest and utmost regret to my sanity.
Sure, it's not brilliant being recognised on a dating app (it's only happened to me twice, both times just as mortifying, alas not life ending) but 'Plenty Of Fish' for plenty of Youtubers is a solid step on a ladder of elitism that holds no benefit to anyone. Truly.

The conclusion I come to is more of a farewell and a lengthened sigh, instead of throwing my keys to Hollywood over my shoulder and running Adidas Original clad back to Tinder, filled with revive for good ol' Dan and the other Tom's and Jack's who he went to school with, I've decided to digitally deliberate no more.
No more terrified first liners, no more angling lists of pictures of myself looking 'sexy and coy but the kind of girl you'd want your mum to meet', no more bullshit that literally only leaves you feeling like aforementioned chipolata and still dateless.

See you at the bar, I'll be flicking my hair the old fashioned way.







What AM I Wearing?

Friday, 29 January 2016



Jacket - Topshop // Shirt - Zara // Jeans - Marc By Marc Jacobs // Shoes - Adidas Originals Stan Smith
[Pics by Dunja Opalko

"There are only two people I can imagine wearing something as ridiculous as that and it's you and- oh, no, it's only you."
An overly supportive pal uttered upon watching me and my Big-Bird-Meets-Enviromental-Activist get up sashay into the room (one does not walk in mustard feathers, one sashays, obvs.)
Do you know what's so great about wearing such loud clothes? You can't hear overly supportive pals who don't 'get it' over the top of them. 
Could I be wearing any more colours or textures? No.
Do you really want to give me a massive cuddle and stroke my patches and ruffles (oo-er)? Yes.
Which sort of settles this sartorial safari really, doesn't it?




The not so anonymous Alcoholics

Monday, 25 January 2016

Photo by Dunja Opalko

I like drunk me. I am the mad, chatty, adventure seeking aunt that parades around your house at a Christening with a straw sailing in a bottle of Cointreau.
At dinner with friends it's 'I dunno let Charly pick the bottle,' or 'of course she's ordered another drink!'
Comments of which I've always worn on my claret stained lapel as though they are shiny merit badges of my fun, sociable nature.

I stood proud to be the last one to bed, the last one at the bar, and the last person in Tesco on a Wednesday night panic buying a bottle of £6.99 reduced from a tenner just in case. Just in case of what I've never been sure, but that just in case always managed to explain itself enough for the bottle to be opened.

I've ruined a lot of drinks for myself, vodka is the December of 2012, white wine is the February of 2014, rum is the mornings of 2010, but red wine seems to have stayed faithful to me throughout.
It's nurtured me in time of need and it's smacked me on the back with congratulations when I've succeeded.
It's chased cheese and confessions and beautiful moments between friends and has been the solder on the clasp securing those friends as best friends.
Until I woke up.
Until I woke up nearly every day in the last few months of 2015 with the sinking regret that I'd sunk enough bottles to call a friend in New York and admit I had a problem.
The regret I live with now is not that I'd been so candid but that I can't remember a single word we'd exchanged in that phone-call or in any previous phone-calls that month because I was blind drunk.
For him in that moment and beyond I am eternally grateful, I should've been met with a disgruntled sigh and a pissed off demeanour but from the little that I remember, I was instead met with the voice of someone who said that I was brave, that I was worthy and that I was capable of getting through this. An unwavering emotional intelligence that I'd be nowhere without.
I was balling my eyes out and afraid and suddenly glaring a light over my love that was no longer a quixotic utopia but instead a dirtied anxious alleyway with walls I didn't know how to scale.
Admitting I had a problem almost felt like I was giving up my favourite part about me- being the fun one. Slowly out of the slurred I realised I was 'fun' at parties but didn't recall drinking alone as I did ever being 'fun'; it was snotty, depressing, scissor marked numb.
It wasn't 'fun' googling 'how to get more drunk without alcohol' nor was it 'fun' having people notice I'd replaced the vodka in the kitchen with water because I'd drunk it all and was too embarrassed.

Initially I was attempting to block out this strange feeling in my body that I refused to register as depression, which seems idiotic for someone who knows they suffer with mental health issues.
But self medicating always seems sensical at the time or else so many of us wouldn't be doing it, wallowing in it, injecting it, snorting it, swallowing each and every last drop, even sadistically half enjoying it.
It's like someone telling you that you could step outside and feeling the grass under your feet is the best feeling in the world but not being strong enough to leave your house to see it and painting your carpet green instead to see if you could experience it the same.. You think it'll replicate what you're looking for but in reality it just leaves you in a huge mess and is ultimately incredibly stupid. Nobody wants paint on their carpet, particularly not the person you're living with, who coincidentally also doesn't want to be living with an alcoholic.

Over Christmas my doctor had increased my dosage of medication to a somewhat terrifying amount after reading an email I'd sent to her wasted at 4am; another cry for help.
It felt strange that during my ritualistic approach to drinking (at its worst, two bottles of wine, maybe some brandy, probably a gin and tonic) every evening, these nights started to crack tersely from feeling incoherent and blissed out to a heightened awareness that what I was doing had potential to be a much bigger, scarier, difficult problem if I continued to pursue it with the passion that I pushed with.
There was a spattering of clarity. I grabbed hold of it. Placed it out in front of me and decided to confront it.

Living in a shell that tried to swim upstream oarless against a sober current was difficult and floating mercilessly along a red wine river felt calmer. As though that action no longer felt like a choice but an easier survival, giving up my evening fight to mellowed out seemed an obvious and action-less ritual. It is now lying on my sitting room floor in the pitch black, eyes squinting at a half dimmed screen with a migraine so heavy it feels like it could hollow out my left eye I realise that my 'non choice' from the night before has left me unable to choose anything other than the decision to stop being so frivolous with the way I look to preserve my sanity.
Intoxicating numbness only paves for a much more shattering reality. It's very hard to do anything that performs self love with a hangover let alone with a gaze that's constantly flirting with an unopened bottle at arms reach. I have loved drinking for all of my adolescence but I have fallen out of love with it upon the realisation that it's made me find it impossible to fall IN love with myself if I am to continue waking every morning as I do, I think it only fair I do with the decision to not hate myself as much as I did yesterday. otherwise, really, what's the bloody point?

I'm now attempting to create a much healthier attitude.
Every evening I ask myself if I could face a hangover the next day, if having one glass of wine really will only be just one glass of wine. What, in that moment, is compelling me to pour a drink? I wake up every morning with a decision to do or to not, a frame of mind that had escaped me for so long and I am making a conscious effort to reclaim. It by no means has been easy but I am confident that it's worthwhile. My friends and doctor are aware and have agreed to give me a wake up call if and when it spirals again. But for now, each day as it comes, slightly happier than before, slightly less inebriated than the last. 

What AM I wearing?

Tuesday, 5 January 2016

Top & Skirt - Topshop // Knee High Boots - Kurt Geiger // Necklace - Accessorise // Jacket - Nick Grimshaw x Topman
[Pics by Dunja Opalko


For when your tinder match is taking you somewhere niche in Dalston and you want to get your legs out without freezing your nipples off. Knee highs and leopard print don't have to be all that Kat Slater when you've got delicate jewellery.
"It's getting a bit chilly!" He'll say.
"Do you want to borrow my jacket?" He'll say.
Nah, you've already borrowed one off the boys in this Nick Grimshaw x Topman bomber, 'cos you're incredibly 21st century and don't need a man to keep you warm. Just one to design your outerwear.  

The Amsterdam Journals - Final

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

As my ankles swing and kick at my now almost defunct carry case, I realise why I've not seen a single lady in heels other than the reflection of my own suede pointed toes in puddles.
Amsterdam, I notice all too late into my trip, is not the place for anything other than a good pair of New Balance's with your jeans rolled up an inch above. My red jump suit feels a little sad and my feet a little sore, but my sartorial efforts are as ever an effort that I have grown to love begrudgingly.

I clack through the front doors of Morgan and Mees in West Amsterdam, check into the first room on the first floor and collapse in a heap in the middle of the bed.
For the first time since I've been here, I am alone, properly.
Not alone in Max's house, not alone a canal away from brunch with Raya or drinks with Kelvin and Peter but completely and ineffably alone for the next twenty four hours.
It creeps around me for a while as I open the doors onto the balcony, unsure whether to settle into lonely or rested.
The internal barometer ticks onto rested, wavering over excited and I kick my shoes off and get stuck in.
The evening grows dark and cold quickly, so I shut the balcony doors and dance around my room to 'Back To Me - Moonchild' and slide onto the bathroom tiles to disrobe and get ready to take myself on a date.
Oh sweet, sweet hotel bathrooms, how I love you so- but none more so than this one.
Expensive smelling conditioners are nailed to the tiled wet room, muted corrugated glass contorting shapes of light over my knees and collarbones as I step in and I slip into a long awaited silence of clean. It's one I'd always imagined to have in my own home one day.
It is a push to leave my room for the evening, but the restaurant downstairs with its gentle wafts of pasta and wine and the hungry din of metal pans in an open kitchen are enough to pull me back through the glass key doors and down for dinner.

During dinner, over looking the empty seat in front of me, its space filled with 'If You Feel Too Much', my notebook and a bottle of house red, I'm forced to remember what's brought me here in the first place.
A few days prior to booking my flight and arranging my adventure I was left somewhat startled by the end of something that had just started. C'est la vie, c'est la god damn my bloody vie because I am bruised bitter and bored of this notion now. I imagined by this point I'd be hapless and ruined in my own self pity but as I flit my glances from the empty to seat to the impossibly perfect date setting around me I feel unusually free. I don't know whether it's the fit waiter that had just served me my spaghetti vongole (which was delicious) or the fact that instead of being under my duvet back in London crying my eyes out I was making my way in a beautiful city, staying in a beautiful hotel, writing everyday like I'd always hoped I would be. I'd come out on top. I was absolutely, one hundred and fifty five million percent- living the dream, alone.
And okay.
And being served by a fit waiter.
I could hardly wait to get back upstairs, making a quick side tour to the bar for another glass of wine, I unfolded the spare duvet from the cupboard and made a den on my balcony overlooking the canals.
Four hours later I'd written just over 13,000 words, drunk three more glasses of wine, a cup of orange and jasmine tea and eaten six pieces of shortbread.

In the morning I reluctantly packed my things, said goodbye to the room that I know I will model my one day apartment around and popped for breakfast.
I love cheese. I love ham. I really, really like freshly squeezed orange juice. They nailed it.
The restaurant looked somewhat different to how I'd remembered it from the night before, quiet and bright, each painting showing faces I'd not registered previously. I felt calm, I felt full, I felt home.
I can't recommend Morgan and Mees enough. An utter sophisticated beauty without the pretence. Truly, quite perfect.

I recorded a piece called 'I Fell In Love When We Fell Out' at 2:36am whilst there, which you can listen to here -






Finding Magic In My Skin

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

How weird is skin?
This weird casing that keeps all our stuff together.
It's so magic.
There's this stuff on our body that protects us from falling out all over the place. Mental!
It's absolutely wonderful. What a miracle we've been bestowed!
So why do we spend so much time prodding it with such disdain? Pulling bits back, pinning this here and trying to shrink things between fingers there.
I know it's more the stuff inside of it, the numerous blocks of butter and lard we've watched TV shows stack on a table to show us what we're prodding and hating and crying over.
I don't know about you, but I don't think there's much magic behind butter, or lard, but there's still magic in knowing that we are this solid tangible thing kept together by skin.
I rarely see that magic, I don't feel it very often nor do I tend to think I deserve to.
That other girls and their skin and butter (or apparent lack of) deserve to celebrate that magic more than me. 
A fool that I am, a fool that we all are for joining together on this opinion.
Learned fools and tricked fools, we were smart and in love until bigger greater fools told us there was a more perfect vision.
We saw this idea and bent it into our own until we lost love and lost knowledge and became miserable.
I remember being eight years old and letting the idea that 'some people are much more thin and pretty than me, it's not fair. That's why I don't fit in.' whirr around my brain for hours every time I caught a glimpse of myself. 
I had this thought all throughout the summer and know that at a party next week I'll probably feel the same. I hate that I even know that language. It's not constructive, it's not conducive to anything other than feeling depressed in the only magical thing I've been given as a certain- my body!

A boy some weeks or months ago (the fact that I can't remember when is indicative now of the irrelevance) told me my body drove him insane. Tiny sparks flew around my conscious thoughts and I felt beautiful. I left the next day and forgot how to feel that way again, it didn't matter how often I looked at myself, I couldn't feel what he had told me. 
I saw this as an opportunity to prove to myself I could make myself feel that adoration or approval. That my own body could drive me crazy with magic.
So I blocked the thought. Every time I ran my fingers over my thighs I'd snap them back, for every negative thought I'd replace it with one that screamed how able I am.
For every hour I'd usually spend googling new diets or juices, I used to read a book. 
In the space of two weeks I got through six books and felt marvellous.
I had a lady, Dunja, who is not only the most exquisite photographer but also the first person to ever make me look at myself and feel good, take some photos of me in my skin in my bestfriends house.
So even if I looked at them a week later or in twenty years time, one day through different eyes I could realise how magic it was.
From being the most self conscious body hating fiend, to sharing these photographs with you - is a breakthrough and one I wholly recommend you allow yourself to experience for yourself.
It's not about finding thin or finding curves, it's about finding happiness and that's rooted long before and far deeper than either of those things.
That's magic.

Follow Dunja: WEBSITE - TWITTER - INSTAGRAM
All underwear: Freya Lingerie 
Kimono: Vintage
Shirt: Greg's, probably TopMan.
 

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