Mini update

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Nowadays, I spend most of my time with some sort of milk based product in my hair. If Starbucks sell it – chances are; it’s in my hair. Or, you know, my eyebrows. Or, indeed, all over my face. Admittedly this is entirely my fault – none of my colleagues seem to have to ask the question ‘do I have whipped cream on my face?’ quite so often, but at least I only burnt myself three times today. #winning.

I actually had the best time handing out frappuccino samples. I spent about an hour and a half guilt tripping my manager for making me go outside ‘all by myself’ to hand out frappuccinos ‘in the freezing cold’ (okay, that was a bit of a stretch in sweatbox-city, aka London, but I was really not happy about having to take some tiny cups out into the streets of London and try and push iced drinks on hot commuters.) Turns out iced drinks are exactly what hot commuters want, and I was basically mobbed on my way out of the door. All the tiny cups went within twenty seconds and I felt like a minor celebrity.

As well as becoming some kind of dairy-based idol, I’m working on displaying some quotes in my room and have been having fun browsing the internet for ideas.

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I love it.

Treat yo’self!

More on this soon,

I hope it’s sunny and lovely where you are! Big Love, PV x

P.s. The becoming-an-adult shebang is hitting me pretty hard right now. Someone rang our doorbell at 7pm and when I answered the door to a man who seemed to be collecting for charity, he asked me if my parents were home.
I didn’t want to make a charitable donation at that time so I gave him my biggest puppy dog eyes and told him that my parents were out and I didn’t know when they would be getting back.
But still. I sort of felt like saying “I’m nineteen and this is my house” but admittedly I had trundled downstairs in my Lion King pajamas so it was an easy mistake to make. Oh, life.
 

July/August favourites

The heatwave in London has exploded into a massive rainstorm complete with thunder, lightning, and tidal wave puddles which mean I’m lucky to get to the train station without drowning.

Which all means that I’m even more excited to go to Turkey in just under two weeks! Eeeee!! (look how handsome Rob is. I just can’t get over it)

Me ROb

Here’s my lovely list of summer goodies which are just itching to jump into my suitcase! (some of them have already cheekily found their way in there, oooops)

Summer

1: This adorable Cat makeup bag (£10 from ASOS) is perfect for all those 100ml impossibly tiny bottles of shampoo you have to stuff in your hand luggage. 2: These Pineapple pyjamas! Too adorable, I honestly have a problem with how much I love pineapples. (£18 from ASOS) 3: This awesome pair of gold T-bar sandals (£8 from New Look) are my absolute favourite colour. Plus they’re not as pricey as Birkenstock’s (which I’ve wanted for ages!)

4: iPanema flip flops. I got these for my birthday, they’re so comfy and they’ll last much longer than my previous Primark pair! 5: This slim travel wallet is £9 from ASOS and it’s perfect if you’re like me: a) disorganised, and b) prone to panic if you can’t lay your hands on your passport in under 0.0000073 seconds. 6: It’s not a pineapple, but this orange slice clutch (£10 from ASOS) is gorgeous.

7: A little pricey at £20 (from the Birchbox shop), The balance me wonder eye cream is designed to lighten dark circles (not an ideal look in summer), and keep eyes from looking tired. (Which mine do, like, 109% of the time) 8: Finally, this, ‘This works, Deep Sleep Pillow Spray’ (£16 from feelunique.com) has been recommended so highly, and I’m hoping it will help to combat restless nights form the crazy tropical heat in Turkey (okay, now I’m showing off, but, it’s gonna be so hot! I’m a little excited)

I hope you’ve got lovely summer activities to look forward to!

Big Love,

PV x

20/52 – The Shard and The Tower of London

My housemate Tom invited me to a business breakfast event hosted by the Times. It was a debate about Britain’s place in the European Union hosted by Business Editor Richard Fletcher, with Roland Rudd and David Buik on the panel, representing each side of the debate.

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 And there was food. And it was hosted on the 22nd floor of the Shard. That’s what swung it for me, to be honest. That being said, it was actually a really interesting and well organised event, and even for a political newbie like me, the lively debate was easy to understand, and the Q and A session was handled really well by the panel.

The best thing was the incredible location- The Shard is such a fancy place, and the floor to ceiling windows make for amazing panoramic views of the city, and an incredible space for seminars and meetings. I especially loved the little glass capsules tucked into each corner for ‘concentration’, ‘collaboration’ and ‘contemplation’. Tom and I spent a long time in the contemplation pod contemplating how much we like the decor and the view, and wondering exactly why somebody had decided to hang (apparently real) orchids upside down from the ceiling. A strange choice for indoor plants, but it looked awesome.

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After the seminar, we headed across the Bridge and down to the Tower of London. It’s a really gorgeous area, right next to the river, and although it costs £18 (£18!!!!) to actually go into the tower, nobody will stop you from heading around the outside (towards the pier) where there’s an ice-cream bar, benches in the sun overlooking the Thames, and great views of the castle (which is actually such a cool and impressive structure, which seems so out of place in the middle of London!)

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Just past the bridge from this lovely spot is St Katherine’s Docks. A calm secluded spot, frequented in the summertime by families and sunbathers relaxing on their boats. There’s a small row of shops and cafés, and a tiny Starbucks ideally located next to the water. It’s actually such a nice place, I really really loved it. I can’t get over how nice this area is, (as you can probably tell). It’s so worth a visit.

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Before you rush over to the Tower of London to enjoy the gorgeous weather, head over to the Times+ website (click here) where you can see Tom and I in pride of place (scroll through the pictures until you get to the last one. That’s still sort of pride of place right?) and read more about the event we went to. I’m sort of an expert on the EU now. #winner.

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Big Love,

PV x

T-shirt to Crop Top DIY

It’s actually so hot in London I’m feeling the need to complain about it.

Boooo.

Anyway, I have this huge weirdly shaped t-shirt which, due to my hoarding tendencies, I have been hanging on to because I love the whimsical watermelon design. I like this watermelon themed shirt so much that I decided to make it wearable by transforming it into a tied crop top which I can wear in Turkey (not long before I go – eeee!)

I’m really happy with how it turned out, and I’m happy that I got to hang on to the shirt, because I really do think it’s so cute – the buttons are shaped like watermelon seeds! (yep, lame, I know – I don’t even like the taste of watermelons – I think the heat has made me insane)

Here’s how I did it:

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First, work out what length you want your t-shirt to be cropped to, and mark this on the back (turn the t-shirt inside out first if it has a bold pattern) with a pencil. On the front of your t-shirt, create a ‘V’ shape, and cut out both, leaving approximately a centimetre to hem later.

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Your shirt should now look like a strange sort of swimsuit. This is good.
To make the ‘ties’ on the front, simply cut a straight line from the bottom of the ‘V’ which ends in line with the sides of your shirt.

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All that’s left is to sew a small hem around all of the newly created raw edges, and you’re good to go! It really is that easy. I’ve ruined an incalculable amount of t-shirts by ‘experimenting’ with scissors (actually, encouraged by the success of this t-shirt makeover, I ruined a perfectly good vest just this afternoon by trying to create a macrame effect.. oops), but this method is pretty foolproof, and easy to do in under an hour.

Plus… how cute is that watermelon design?! I need to stop…

Big Love,

PV x

19/52 – Box Park, Shoreditch

I was supposed to post this post yesterday but instead I sat in the garden and ate ice cream. Awkies. (Or, as my sister would say, ‘Nnnnaughty’. Actually she’d probably say awkies too. Such a refined creature <3 )

Anyway, London is total, full-on, heatwave-city at the moment. Everytime I step out my front door I worry that my face will melt off. This being said, with the help of a large iced drink, and some serious determination, I made the ten minute walk from my workplace on Liverpool Street to the Boxpark pop up which stands next to Shoreditch High Street station.

Constructed out of huge shipping containers stacked two storeys high, the small complex is certainly a haven for a certain kind of hipster with a penchant for really good thai food. Each shipping crate is a tiny pop up shop – often a miniature version of a niche online store, although there are some big players and popular brands represented too.

Just five minutes from Brick Lane (specifically Brick Lane Beigels, awww yissss), the complex is ideally located, and surrounded by some pretty rad graffiti which means it’s definitely worth a visit for a shopping trip with a bit of a difference, or just to grab lunch in the sunshine.

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One of my favourite stores was this lovely little gift shop, #TuschUndEgon, full of all sorts of strange and wonderful little gifts, prints and sculptures.  I love these ‘See no, Hear no, Speak no’ gnomes. Even though they’re totally hideous, they’re gold and the more I looked at them, the more I started to find them kind of cute. Just me? And these tiny frames with Starwars lego mini figures? So cool (and probably super easy to DIY!)

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A couple of units further down, #PlayfulPromises had a gorgeous selection of dresses and bikinis, as well as some really nice underwear and accessories. I found a gorgeous pansy print bikini, and I adore those pink dresses, especially the floral print one. They seemed so reasonably priced, and such high quality – it’s really nice to find something that’s a little more unique than high street options.

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#BeautyMart has a fantastically curated selection of make up which you wouldn’t necessarily find on the high street – and it’s displayed so temptingly! The bright colour mix in this pop up is such a great example of why these miniature shops make such a cool shopping experience. The beauty mart capsule is like a little wonderland of fluorescent skincare (Yes, I realise what I just said, and yes, I know it’s lame). The #Marimekko store is similarly enticing, and although it’s realllly pricey, some of the smaller items like the mugs or notebooks would make really lovely gifts.

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If you’re hungry, and you’re sick of bagels (pfft, like you could ever be sick of bagels), the top floor has a great seating area in the sunshine, and some great restaurants offering thai, mexican and fusion foods, as well as some cafes and even a cute little pie shop. (Am I the only person who would never eat a pie from a café because #SweeneyTodd ?)

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I hope you’re making the most of this gorgeous sunshine! I’m spending my days making frappucino’s for fraught business people and impossibly large groups of Italian school kids, but you could probably achieve the same effect by ruthlessly throwing milk all over yourself, and then deep conditioning your hair with syrup and chocolate chips. It’s a super good look.

Big Love, PV x

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Begin Again

(I got to see two amazing films this week, The Fault in Our Stars, and Begin Again, and I thought I’d share my thoughts – go watch them if you can, they’re both definitely worth seeing. )

Begin Again

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This film starts with a bit too much of Mark Ruffalo’s nearly-naked body. He’s very hairy, but totally rugged and a little bit cute, so I suppose that’s okay. Mark, who plays Dan, an ageing record producer with a drink problem, soon becomes an ageing ex-record producer with a drink problem, no job, and a moody teenage daughter who lives with his estranged wife, Miriam, and enjoys playing the bass guitar loudly and tunelessly while radiating teenage angst.

Meanwhile, Greta, played by Keira Knightley, arrives hopefully in New York with her boyfriend and song-writing partner Dave (Adam Levine), only to find herself broken hearted three weeks later as Dave gets signed to a record label, and leaves to go on tour, growing an awful beard and leaving poor Keira to move into the delightfully chaotic little flat owned by her friend and aspiring music producer, Steve* (James Corden).

Greta and Dan meet at rock bottom, and as Dan convinces Greta to let him produce an album for her, after stumbling across her at an open-mic night in the east village (and slurrily assuring her that he is a record producer, and not a homeless man – why women in films agree to these kinds of things is quite beyond me), their business partnership turns into a really adorable friendship, which was probably my favourite aspect of the whole film. The chemistry is perfect, and the pair seem to have a real affinity, and affection for, each other, bonding over a mutual love of music, and a shared passion for the purity of recording, without the over-production and over-management of a record label.

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With this in mind (and having just been fired from his job at a record label), Dan suggests an ‘outdoor album’, and using a makeshift setup in the back of his car (courtesy of Steve – played hilariously by James Corden), he and Greta, along with their band, (an adorable motley crew comprised mainly of  bored musicians poached from music schools, where they are sick of playing ‘f**cking Vivaldi’) travel across New York City, creating an album which is filled with the sounds of life and summer.

I have to say I absolutely loved this film, it is funny, it has great character, and, although I am a great lover of Hugh Grant films myself (just don’t tell anyone!), I found that Begin Again had a lot more to say for itself than some of the more cliché productions of its genre. Most of all, I think this is because it is not a ‘romcom’, and although it explores Greta’s complex relationship with her boyfriend, and Dan’s complex love for his wife, it is primarily about the friendship between Dan and Greta, and Dan’s attempts to rebuild his relationship with his daughter Violet. It is not a love story, it is a story about love, and that is so refreshing, and pretty heartwarming to boot.

Although James Corden is fantastic, and it is impossible not to like him (as always), I worry that he is cast here as the ‘jolly friend’, and I would have liked to see his character developed beyond this categorisation. There are a few cringey moments, such as the incredible bass solo which Dan’s angsty daughter suddenly produces, which creates a neat cinematic bonding moment with her Dad but is a little unbelievable, especially as Miriam stated pretty explicitly in the previous scene: ‘she’s terrible at guitar, Dan. She really is terrible.’  However, these are all things which only occurred to me upon reflection, and they didn’t impact at all upon how delightful and uplifting this film is. The music is fantastic, the setting is beautiful, and Dan’s scenes, especially one mid-recording where he bargains with a group of kids to try and get them to keep the noise down, and ends up giving them each ‘five dollars, two puffs of a cigarette and a box of matches’ – genius.

This film will make you happy, and if that’s not a reason to go and see it, I don’t know what is.

 

(L-R) KEIRA KNIGHTLEY and MARK RUFFALO star in BEGIN AGAIN

Big Love, PV x

*Nobody in this film has a particularly interesting name. Dan, Steve and I’ve already forgotten the other one. They should have been called Rocket, Zodor and Tyrion. #justasuggestion …

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Above: Violet angstily eats ice-cream with Greta (in a scene which is actually really sweet and funny. Hailee Steinfield plays Violet so perfectly.)

The Fault in Our Stars

(I got to see two amazing films this week, The Fault in Our Stars, and Begin Again, and I thought I’d share my thoughts – go watch them if you can, they’re both definitely worth seeing. )

The Fault in Our Stars

‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars.
But in ourselves, that we are underlings.”

Julius Caesar (I, ii, 140-141)

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You know how sometimes, you just want to sob so hard that you’re afraid you’re going to choke? Nope? Just me? Well, if the urge ever strikes you, The Fault in Our Stars is really, properly, tears-streaming-down-your-face-and-making-your-t-shirt-soggy, just plain sad. It’s heartbreaking. But that’s how you know it’s a good movie. It really, really makes you feel something.

John Green has created an unexpected sensation with his most recent young adult novel, based around the crazy adorable love story of two teenagers on the brink of adulthood, and the friends and experiences which they have along the way.

Except that Hazel and Gus both have cancer. And that’s the thing about cancer. It’s not a fantasy foe which can be vanquished with some uplifting music and moments of sudden epiphany. And that full on sucks.

But don’t think for a second that the film is not funny. It is witty, and clever, and joyful, and Gus, who literally bumps into Hazel (and then into a door) at ‘Cancer Kid Support Group’, was actually massively annoying to me at first because he is so cocky, (in one of his first scenes he casually puts an unlit cigarette to his lips, and explains to Hazel that it’s a metaphor – ‘you put the killing thing between your teeth, but you do not give it the power to kill you’. If I was Hazel I would have told him that it was a stupid metaphor and a waste of money, but..) but he won me over, and by the end I think I was just as much as love with him as Hazel was.

The pair exchange adorable text messages, favourite books, and eventually, despite Hazel’s declining health, travel to Amsterdam to meet the author of ‘An Imperial Affliction’, Hazel’s literary obsession.

Shailene Woodley, the actress who plays Hazel, is dazzling from the start, and the chemistry between Augustus Waters (‘Gus’, played by Ansel Elgortt) and Isaac (Nat Wolff), his on (and off) screen best buddy, is absolutely perfect, and leads to some heartwarming (and heartbreaking) scenes.

4   Above: Shailene Woodley (Hazel), Nat Wolff (Isaac), Ansel Elgort (Augustus), John Green (Author and all around badass) are greeted by an adoring audience as the cult novel is turned into a box office hit.

Without going into too much detail about the plot, (no spoilers!), I can say that it is a funny, tragic story which explores the enormity of being alive, being in love, and if you have ever been seventeen, or head-over-heels for anybody, it will make your little heart happy to watch Hazel and Gus as they fall in love with each other. And then you’ll cry. You’ll cry a lot.

Ultimately, what is so uniquely heartbreaking is that it is just so unfair. There is no hope of a happy ending here. I think I was crying for a solid half hour at the end of the film because I knew what was going to happen, and I knew there was no saving grace. The writing engages deftly with the audience’s emotions throughout, (at one point I found myself both laughing and crying), and this truly is John Green at his best. Although it is really sad stuff, it’s a film which is definitely worth seeing. The Fault in Our Stars is amazing – as a book, as a movie, and as a portrayal of teenage love; the explosive, tragic nature of loss, and the brutality of cancer in young people (and, in all people). It might make you ugly-cry in front of a cinema full of strangers*, but that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt. **

*(luckily a- it’s dark, and b- they’ll be sobbing into their popcorn too)

** from, An Imperial Affliction

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#ontheblog tomorrow – Begin Again – another amazing film, with much less sobbing and more James Corden (although admittedly also much less Shailene Woodley, who may have to be my future wife… ) Big Love, PV x