Three months ago I left my leafy suburb for the big city. A ‘fresh graduate’ (a term I’m using deliberately to reflect my inexperience) with everything to play for. Not only was I keen to kick-start my career, I was going after the London lifestyle that I had envisioned having post-uni for so long. Fast forward three weeks and I’m already having difficulties with the commute. I mean the cold weather and regular delays aren’t great - not to mention the cost - but it’s the fellow commuters I struggle with. 8am, miserable faces panning the platform, and a far too many strangers having to stand closer to me than my girlfriend often does. And we stand quite close – you get my point. Now, I’m aware it’s one of those subjects that us Brits tend to get quite humdrum about so I won’t persist. Point is it needed to change, and quickly… So I bought a bike.
So day 1 with my wheels, my housemate and I hit the road. My mate happens to be one of those super-self-righteous cyclists that believes bikes are the route to world peace and spends half his life riding around town. I frequently banter him for it but now I’d become the joke: borrowing clobber and being entirely unaware of which direction I was heading in. It’s a daunting reality as you peddle further into central London as a new cyclist, brushing shoulders with buses etc. One wrong turn and you could find yourself in a very dodgy situation. Luckily I was tailing Mark Cavendish so I was in good hands.
We pulled up at a cool café aptly named ‘Look Mum No Hands’. A trendy coffee shop + bike boutique hybrid with fresh cake and bike tools, what’s not to love? We locked up and immersed ourselves in the culture there. My mate reckons it’s all part of it, hanging out with like-minded urbanites and sharing a love for the open road. I’m inclined to agree. There’s undoubtedly a tight community among cyclists in London and you can see it a mile off—unless of course you’re blinkered by the misery of TFL’s Travel Alerts Twitter page that is—and it’s exactly what will encourage me to cycle more and should urge those who don’t to start. The choice is either all against all on the train, or all for one on the bike. Sorry to go all flower child but it’s the truth and I’m pretty sure I’ve converted. Cycling is the way forward.
It feels like a big commitment at first, stepping into the unknown maybe, especially if you’re not an experienced cyclist, but it’s a change in lifestyle that is worth every pedal (see what I did there). A fit-keeping, money-saving, stress-relieving hobby that you can do on your way to and from work is a winner if you ask me. Plus, you’re on your own watch so you can treat yourself to a bit of inner-city indulgence should you need to remind yourself of why you live in such an amazing city…
Let this be an inspiration to all you seeking your slice of ‘zen’ (total togetherness of body and mind by the way) before and after work. Sometimes when you make a big lifestyle change it’s astonishing how ridiculous what you did previously seems when you look back.
As areas of London go, Chelsea isn’t exactly new news and since the advent of a certain reality TV program it lacks the cool factor of Dalston, but, edgy or otherwise, SW3 will always hold a place in my heart.
Every Saturday the Duke of York square on the Kings Road plays host to the perfect food market. Not too big nor too small, the stalls are spilling with everything imaginable from sushi to chutney, not forgetting the cookies and fudge that we couldn’t resist. We wandered the market, shamelessly eating samples from every single stall (my apologies to the chorizo man. Our self control failed us.)
We definitely didn’t eat any of this. None. At all. Promise.
Truffle honey proved my theory thateverything is better with truffle, the brownie stall required three repeat trips, and my friends amused themselves whilst I practically cried at how hot some of the salsas were.
Our longsuffering cookie supplier, cutting cookies into thirds for us to share.
Eventually I caved on my resolution to exclusively nibble on samples and bought the most delicious chorizo and mozzarella salad that I’ve ever eaten. Shamefully we decided that we were too full for the cultured section of our plan (the Saatchi gallery) and headed to Mess, the Saatchi bar and café instead.
Set in a courtyard by the gallery, Mess is the perfect people watching spot for sartorial magpies. Pretty much anyone who walks past could have just been photographed by Scott Schuman and the level of Chanel bag envy that we experienced was nearly unbearable. Whilst the menu at Mess might be a bit of a stretch for our postgrad budgets, their wine list is very reasonable and the Pinto Grigio is perfect.
Mess, after a quick downpour (well it is London after all)
Later we found ourselves unable to resist a quick look around the adjacent Zara (the best Zara in London in my humble opinion) where we topped things off with the obligatory siting of a Made in Chelsea cast member, complete with sunglasses indoors, small dog and very grumpy expression.
What has happened to Britain’s dance culture? There once was a time when the youth up and down the country would unite to dance in an outpour of raw emotion that superseded all social barriers. And not just dancing, but dancing with each other – windmills, shoulder spins and all. Granted, this may actually only have been a reality in the world of Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, but my point stands. No one dances properly anymore.
Ever since I’ve been old enough to go to nightclubs, the dancing is usually a sad state of affairs not a million miles away from school discos, with boys and girls dancing in their own little circles and interaction being spontaneous, brief and not a little awkward. At some point in the last few decades, ‘cool’ somehow got in the way and effectively killed disco. Spins and swings were replaced by a dubious range of alternatives such as ‘the shrug’, ‘the slouch’ and the ‘stand perfectly still because you’re too cool to dance’ dance. Needless to say, it’s a lot harder to enjoy dancing with people when moving at all isn’t in vogue.
Miley Cyrus hasn’t helped this situation either. Her recent performance at the Video Music Awards has been one of the worst things to emerge from the pop music machine since One Direction and Justin Bieber and is a far cry from the Hannah Montana we all know and love.
As a consequence, the twerk is now sweeping across the world which – having been the victim of this recently myself I can say without a shadow of a doubt – has done nothing to improve dancefloor antics. It rather just served to leave me feeling confused and slightly violated for the rest of the night, mainly because there is no appropriate response for being twerked on. With the twerkee rendered impotent, it’s merely a more uncomfortable version of ‘the shrug’ and ‘the slouch’. Dances such as this do a service to no one.
Nonetheless, I’d still like to think that all is not completely lost. The music video has been invaluable in keeping people’s feet moving and YouTube has given certain iconic dances a new lease of life on the popular music scene. No longer are cheesy pop and the Macarena the only defenders of group dance, but a whole host of songs from the last 10-15 years that even the coolest among us can’t resist joining in with are now flying the flag.
Although still some way from the glory days of the discotheque, it’s a step in the right direction. Back in 2007, ‘Crank That (Soulja Boy)’ produced one of the best known dance routines in recent history as well as becoming the first dance ever to go viral on YouTube the first song to sell over 3m digital copies in the US. Similarly, last year Gangnam Style was the first video on YouTube to pass one billion views and remains the most watched video of all time (thankfully beating Bieber into second place).
This just goes to show how much we still enjoy bouncing around the dancefloor in complete abandon. Regardless of whether it’s considered ‘cool’, if a song in Korean that revolves around riding an imaginary horse can entertain so many people and fill dancefloors the world over, there is hope for us all yet.
So October is here and it’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Here at GR towers we’re looking forward to getting involved however we can in both a personal and professional capacity.
We have learnt a great deal about the fantastic work Breakthrough Breast Cancer do and the significant contributions they make to vital breast cancer research since we starting working for them in August. They currently fund almost 25% of breast cancer research in the UK which includes funding more than 270 scientists in the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Centre and two research units in Manchester and London. With a key focus on developing a deeper understanding of the disease, they also campaign to ensure that women receive the best diagnostic services available, as well as the correct treatment to ensure the best chances of surviving the disease.
More and more women are being diagnosed with breast cancer and educating women to recognise warning signs and seeking treatment as soon as possible is ever more important. It is for these reasons and many more that we are so keen to do our part to help fund their life-saving research.
On 18 October as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month Breakthrough is encouraging budding bakers across the UK to host their very own GREAT PINK BAKE OFF in aid of Breakthrough Breast Cancer. So, if you need an excuse to liven up the office, have something to look forward to at school or simply have some fun with friends, why not put your culinary skills to the test for this amazing cause.
Everyone at Good Relations Life is dusting off their aprons and getting ready to give cancer a good beating as we prepare for our company-wide Great Pink Bake Off. With just over a week to prepare, the competition is already heating up to find our star baker.
I have been looking for a little baking inspiration and thought I’d share some of amazing bakes I came across to help get you started.
In honour of this great city’s recent fashion week extravaganza I’m dedicating this week’s blog to London Fashion Week. I feel I’m pretty qualified to write about this – I mean, I flick through Vogue occasionally (until I get bored of skipping through adverts) and I rocked my fur gilet before Sienna Miller (circa 2004)
I do enjoy fashion week, maybe more for the celeb spotting than anything else and the random couplings that seem to crop up– Harry Styles obviously uses it as excuse to get even more women’s numbers – although some of the outfits spotted on the front row (or ‘FROW’ as those in the know, I think, call it) were questionable. I mean, it’s FASHION week people…it implies you need you to think about what you’re wearing.
I could run down the looks I liked best, although I guess that wouldn’t be as fun, so in honour of our weird and wacky designers I’ve counted down the top 5 bizarre looks that I can’t quite see catching on any time soon. Unless it’s fancy dress.
1) Sister by Sibling – I mean I’m not surprised she’s hiding her face. You can make your own version of this by cutting up your rug or throw and then attaching some cotton wool on the end
2) Belle Sauvage – I’m all for a bit of headwear to brighten up an outfit but I’m not sure what the model on the left is wearing is quite London appropriate – I can just see it getting stuck in tube doors for example
3) KTZ – Maybe not the most safe of accessories – I mean you may be protecting your eyes but could quite easily poke someone else’s out with these ram horn style embellishments. Can’t see Specsavers placing an order for these any time soon
4) Central Saint Martins – And don’t think fashion week just affects the ladies because it doesn’t. I guess we may have all borrowed our boyfriend’s clothes at one time or another – hoodies, t-shirts etc- but when it starts working the other way I guess it’s time to worry. Especially when it’s your fishnets
So September is here and it is officially autumn. Ok so last week’s ‘mini-heat wave’ hasn’t made anyone feel particularly autumnal or chilly but, sorry Florence, the dark days are definitely not over.
I feel London suits winter more than summer. As a nation and a city we love to have a good scowl and moan and luckily for us our weather allows for this for nine months of a year, ideal! So to celebrate the turning of the seasons here are a couple events everyone can appreciate:
Fashion week: This doesn’t ever take place in summer, why? Because September and February are just better. But seriously for one week the capital is full of fashionistas clutching iPads and showing us mere mortals without tickets what is hot and what is not for SS14
Rugby season: Ok this is a massive contrast to my number one but the rugby season is ace. This weekend saw the kick-off of the season with the traditional double header at Twickenham. This basically meant a good excuse to drink warmish beer and tuck into a borewors roll (for all those South Africans out there Twickenham is a borewors haven on match day). Also tickets for the Arriva Premiership are reasonable and with four London based clubs we’re in for 8 months of scrummaging fun!
1. Fashion: Yup this may be similar to point number one but autumn fashion allows us all to rekindle our love affair with boots, coats and jackets. Most of my favourite outfits are winter lead. Also socks! How feet rejoice across the country when the Havaianas are put away.
Winter food: Hoorah our tummies rejoice! In September it’s suddenly ok again for restaurants to take boring salads off the menu and bring back pork belly, duck breast and fruity sauces mmmmm yum
The Tube: this has to be on here. No it isn’t ever pleasant, but from September to April it’s a darn side nicer to use!
So here’s to the evenings getting darker, leaves turning colour and winter looming!
Heading to Notting hill Carnival not the purr-fect way to spend your bank holiday? Well do not fear, if you’re a fellow pet lover, get yourself over to Spitalfields market on Monday for the Paw Pageant, an annual pooch parade to raise funds for Battersea Dogs and Cats Home!
The event has lots to offer including a pet parade, where puppies strut their stuff down the ‘cat walk’ in designer gear from Love my dog with owners showcasing designs from Oliver Bonas, NW3 and more. For those wanting to get their dog in on the action, join the canine competition where each pooch can be entered in for the chance to be crowned top dog. On top of all this, free micro-chipping is offered to make sure you don’t lose that special pup amongst the madness.
Whilst puppy parlours and pooch pampering has been on trend for a while, it seems that breeds are becoming more fashionable than the clothes and beauty regimes. This year’s top dogs have been of the wrinkly variety with French Bulldogs and Pugs topping the leader board, followed closely by Dachshunds AKA sausage dogs.
We’re a nation of dog lovers so here are some dogs to brighten your day.
The future is an exciting topic that often comes up in conversation here at GR. Whether it’s discussing the future of mobile, the future media landscape or even our role in the world of communications, it’s fascinating to think about how we may be living in 20 years.
The Design Museum, one of my favourite museums in London, is currently showing an excellent exhibition – The Future is Here, exploring the new age which we are entering through the recent and rapid advances in technology.
Sadly, I didn’t see examples of hoverboards or teleportation, but rather a revolution in how future products will be manufactured.
With lessons in 3D printing, mass customisation, biodegradable trainers and even wikihouses, the exhibition was both inspiring and eye-opening.
A particularly memorable experience was watching a robotic arm in action and for a hungover Sunday afternoon, the exhibition was perfect. I don’t think I’ve once been to the Design Museum and been disappointed. The Future is Here certainly continues this trait, go while you can!
The exhibition is on until 29th October. For more information, visit http://designmuseum.org/exhibitions/2013/the-future-is-here
This week we celebrated summer time away from the GR towers at the gorgeous Vista Rooftop Bar. We were dressed to impress and with the setting it made the perfect London combination (not to mention we avoided any torrential downpours!)
We were treated to spectacular views of London including the London Eye, Houses of Parliament and not forgetting old Nelson up on his column. We were fed delicious hand bowls of pork belly, fish and chips and delightful canapés. We celebrated all things GR with champagne to start with then bespoke drinks that were twists on favourites such as Old Fashioneds and G&T whilst dancing to a playlist comprising of all our favourite tunes (needless to say the other bar goers had a musical treat!)
All in all a great evening was had by all and we would thoroughly recommend getting up before the winter chill sets in.
Here’s to the rest of the year!
Having just come back from holiday, I have noticed a new wild trend emerging in the office…’desk safari’.
If you haven’t heard of this yet, do a quick Google and the results will astonish and entertain. This new animal craze is sweeping offices across the nation with everyone having a go at this hilarious game.
The latest internet photo fad involves lining up the heads of your colleagues with an animal body on a computer screen. The results are totally wild human hybrids unfit for the animal kingdom but very amusing!
Apparently it was started by a media creative called Mike Whiteside who was looking for ways to make the workplace more fun. So as its Friday, we thought we’d have a go in the Good Relations office to see what all the fuss what about.
Here are our results:
And finally a special creation of our own in relation to last week’s top news story: