Tokyo Toes

For those of you who have passed through Shoreditch and popped into Spitalfields Market you will have most definitley noticed MWnails. MWnails is not your ordinary nail salon. It’s Air France interior oozes glamour and allure and its friendly, professional and very hilarious team keep you feeling relaxed and entertained. From the aeroplane seats that you find in their reception area, to their shelves which are old aeroplane windows, you experience a whole new level of ‘nailing’ from start to finish!

tokyo toes

I went for a Tokyo Toes, which for any other normal on the high street nail salon is also known as a pedicure. We were greeted on arrival by a lovely receptionist who booked us in and guided us through our colour choices. The salon stock every possible Essie colour you can think of! In addition to Opi and some lovely gel colours too. I picked a lovely dark plum Essie polish which I think was called Bahama Mama. Rashida my nail therapist was so lovely, she made me feel comfortable with no awkward silences and was so chatty and friendly the whole way through! The polish was perfect and neat, my feet were scrubbed massaged and exfoliated. They felt so brand new afterwards! Rashida also gave some tips on how to look after feet and best products to use. I waited for my nails to dry and the receptionist even offered to vaseline and cling film my feet if I was in a rush! I opted to wait and relax in the comfy chairs. I would most definitely recommend this place, you would think the price is going to be ridiculous because of the experience you get, but in all honesty it costs about the same as your regular high street salon.

If you get a chance to pop in ask for Rashida! and don’t forget to let me know how you get on!

K x

January

Oh January!! You really confuse me and this love hate relationship we have  really just can’t go on!

Does anyone else get frustrated with January? It’s the time after Christmas where everyone is poor, frustratingly awaiting paid day, nothing in January seems all that exciting and each day feels like a struggle!

At the beginning of January I was ready to go, the weather was still fairly warm – even blossom had started to grow on the trees near my flat; and the excitement of Christmas and New Years was still afresh in my mind. Now that I’m half way in I just cannot wait for February to arrive! The weather has completed changed, though the snow is beautiful the cold that comes with it and slush that follows is unbearable. Pay day seems ages away, Christmas and New Years is well and truly over and the gloominess of January just keeps on going.

January.jpg

On the left is the lovely blossoming tree and the right the beautiful snow from this morning.

So I am writing this post as a bit of a pick me up really. Although January doesn’t seem to be ending a few good things have come of the last few weeks and will happen in the next few weeks that I would like to share.

  1. I have kept up with my health and fitness routine. I wanted to go at least twice a week and have managed to go three times in the last week alone! So for me I feel this is an achievement! Although I still crave sugars and carbs, I have not had any sugar in my coffees at work, and stayed away from bad carbs and sweeties!! I actually feel a loads better without all the processed stuff so fingers crossed, post-January this will continue.
  2. Although I tried Veganuary and miserably failed, I made the most amazing vegan pancakes the other week – recipe to follow. We had them with a mixed fruits bowl and maple syrup. I promise you they tasted better than the original – even Mr M a profound meat eater loved ’em!
  3. Next week we are celebrating my dear friend Gareth’s birthday and heading over to Duck and Waffle. I am hoping it is going to be amazing especially as they are always fully booked! Will give you a review next week and let you know if it’s worth the hype.
  4. Tonight Mr M and I are going to see the amazing Kevin Hart perform at the O2. He is literally High-Larious! Hopefully that will be a lot of laughs and boring January can be forgotten…

How are you all getting on with January? What are your positives from the last few weeks?

K x

Vapiano

One of my FAVOURITE places to eat and catch up with friends is Vapiano. It has delicious food, great atmosphere and best of all you see who is making your food and exactly what goes in it.

Last week I met an old friend there, just to give you a heads up it is NOT a waited upon restaurant! As you walk in you are greeted by a receptionist who gives you a plastic credit card type card which you use to put your bill on. Then you decide what delicious Italian delicase you would like to indulge in! They do pasta, pizza, salads, calzones everything! The pasta is all hand made on site – it’s actually really fun watching the chefs churn out the raw pasta shapes!

The restaurant is laid out with all the chefs standing behind mini kitchen counters with there being a separate section for each type of food. I always get pasta, just because it is so delicious! My friend, Farhana, however got a salad which was just as good. You queue up at your chosen counter, tell the lovely chefs what you would like with any extras then they work their magic and conjure up an amazing dish right in front of you. It is extremely good value for money, I had a massive pasta and soft drink all for less than £10! You then carry your food away, perch on one of their shared tables and enjoy the deliciousness that follows!

As usual I forgot to take pictures (promise I will get better at this) but I did take the one below to remind my friend Charlotte that she’s missing out! Ha!

IMG_0972_Fotor

This place is easy, convenient and guaranteed to have something for everyone. No fuss eating at its best. I always go to the one near Oxford Street as it’s usually central for everyone, but they have locations in lots of places now.

Happy Eating!

K x

 

A Stylish Step Back In Time

RS shoes

Isabelle Leather Vintage Shoes – Rachel Simpson New Collection

My friend Eleanor and I are lucky enough to be planning our weddings at the same time.  This ultimately means we get to do some great shopping together and last weekend we went over to the amazing Rachel Simpson to have a look at their warehouse sale! Their vintage inspired designs are just so beautiful! If you are planning a wedding with this theme in mind I would definitely recommend.

Although we didn’t find what we were looking for (bridesmaid shoes – extremely difficult finding one size 3 and two 7’s!!), they did however have some incredible pieces which were reduced by a huge amount! I picked up the beauties below, and Eleanor’s mum got a lovely pair too! The sale is still on at Rachel Simpson so pop on over to have a look.

What do you guys think? I am absolutely in love all over again!!

K x

Crisis – Guest Blogger

The first of my Guest Bloggers is my wonderful friend Megan who has been doing something incredible over the Christmas period. She decided to volunteer at Crisis which is a national charity for single homeless people. Below is a piece from her which talks about her thoughts on homelessness, why she decided to volunteer and what she gained from it!

Happy Reading!

K x

Homelessness – It’s not going to change – but your views can.

Rewind four years, I am newly graduated with my masters in pharmacy about to start my training year at an NHS hospital. I have just moved to Canada Water, East London with three other graduates from the University of Bath (one pharmacy and two economics) plus one politics graduate from Newcastle University whom I had never met. Young, ambitious, naïve and ever ready for a hearty debate – perhaps a recipe for disaster when moving in with a politics graduate arguably more argumentative than myself!

The topic for debate on this particular night is the homeless. Benefits, job seekers allowance, food banks were all handed out by our government like sweets – right? That was the picture I had painted from various comments made by my network of friends and family, from the documentaries on TV and my working class family upbringing.  So I confidently argue my case that there really is no excuse to be homeless in this country. Now I suspect the privately educated, politics graduate then working as a tax broker in the city shared my right winged views on this topic. But that wouldn’t make for a stimulating evening of heated discussions and so he (dis-) honourably argued otherwise of which, if you ask me, he did for arguments sake on most occasions.

Fast-forward one month from this and I am sitting outside Paddington underground station in my lunch hour with a box of homemade chocolate cupcakes topped with cream cheese icing and pink glitter with a homeless man making polite small talk. What I really want to ask is ‘why are you homeless’, ‘what’s your story’, ‘what do you do all day’, ‘do you drink, take drugs’, ‘are you at least trying to get a job’?

What exactly gave me the audacity to think I could make a bunch of cupcakes and ask these invasive questions to a complete stranger is beyond me. After the great homeless debate of Canada Water I made it my responsibility to go out and hear it from horse’s mouth itself. Thankfully my boldness quickly dispersed on approaching this man sleeping under a filthy blanket, using a suitcase packed with, quite literally, everything he owned as a pillow. We talked and he spoke a little about how he ended up on the streets. It was a few years ago and the questions I probed, how I phrased them and his responses are now a distant memory. A more vivid memory, however, was his fellow homeless companion, returning from what appeared, judging by the collection of crumpled brown Burger King take away bags she was carrying, to be a bin rummage for food shouting all means of abuse at me. I shook the man’s hand, left the cupcakes with him and returned to my secure job.

The point is I was willing to accept that perhaps there was a bigger picture to people living on the streets than lazy alcoholics. Oh crap! – I was less willing to accept that my housemate had perhaps won on this particular occasion. Well almost – After all, I had gone from having strictly no sympathy for the homeless to at least sitting on the fence, or in this case the streets, as to whether they are all just lazy alcoholics.

Fast forward to Christmas 2015 and I am volunteering at a rough sleepers centre with Crisis. The centre is buzzing it quite literally is a fine tuned operation, receiving deliveries of clothes, blankets, food, dental and medical supplies, and mattresses. People had given their time to volunteer over Christmas in order to bring warmth, shelter, nutrition and kindness – oh so much kindness – to homeless people for seven days over Christmas.

If my mind hadn’t already been opened enough to the ever-growing complicated picture of homelessness it would be after the training.  At the training I learnt all manner of facts about the homeless (web link found here) – becoming redundant and thus missing mortgage repayments is not fixed by simply signing up on the doll and getting a council house. On any one night there are an estimated 2,744 people sleeping rough across England alone, with a total of 7,581 people in London during 2014/15. There is a massive short fall of council houses and due to the strict rationing many people without dependent children cannot access social housing. 

During my time at the centre I gave manicures to grown men – I am no beautician and I have only ever received one professional manicure in my life but ad-libbed with the utensils and creams available. There were chess games, massages, arts, crafts – of course none of this is of use to a homeless individual – after all where will they hang the painting? But it created an environment of caring for one another and an opportunity to share stories.

During the three hours or so I spent attempting to cut grown men’s nails with nail clippers resembling those found inside a Christmas cracker, I met people from Lithuania, Romania, Russia, Italy and of course London. Some read story books to me as a means to improve their English, one man explained how he used to be a chef at a well know Italian chain and then it closed down – his English is poor and now he is struggling to find another job. One painted the most beautiful scenic oil painting of mountains in Romania, his home land. One disjointedly told me all sorts of interesting places to go across the UK from his days driving haulage vehicles – he had been in care throughout his childhood. He was English – so why the disjointed conversation? He was also arguing with an imaginary person sitting to his left. He is 57. The average life expectancy of someone living on the streets is 47. 

My last shift with Crisis was a night shift on the very last night the centre would be open. I cried during my walk from the station to the centre. I felt solemn. These people were no longer strangers on the street. They were humans, they laughed and joked held conversations just like my friends and my colleagues. Yet I often overlook these people in my society. After tonight they will no longer be able to sleep as deeply as they did here, with volunteers looking over them like “guardian angels” (to quote the guests themselves). No longer be able to have a shower every day, walk around without shoes on, clean shave, have their hair cut or be so efficiently served (if I do say so myself) a delicious meal by me!! 
My initial thought during the four hour training session earlier that month was would the money not be better spent if spread out over the year rather than blowing it all on Christmas? Maybe cut out the luxuries like chocolate, cake, nail polish, ping pong tables and invest it in something more sustainable.  But now, having been a part of this wonderful experience, I whole heartily believe it could not have been better spent and the guests armed with clean clothes and news shoes I am sure agree. It wasn’t hard work, it wasn’t me just trying to do a good thing during the festive period – it was a bunch of people coming together and spending quality time talking, smiling and relaxing – exactly what Christmas is all about. Will I do it next year? Absolutely! And I’ll be taking more time off work so I can do more shifts. And now as I search for volunteer projects to get involved in during the rest of the year I discover that many of these homeless shelter organisations were able to take a well-deserved break over Christmas because Crisis has taken on their work loads.

Now in the present day I realise I am in no place to pass judgement on how someone becomes homeless and whether he or she deserves my pity, aid or time. I never had any right to sit down four years ago with the homeless man at Paddington and unearth his painful past. The picture is messy, complex and there is no quick fix. There are refugees, the unemployed, domestic abuse victims, mental health sufferers, alcoholics, ex-army and yes some “playing the system” (one guest openly informed me how he wasn’t homeless as such but unless you claim or show to be so you aren’t ever going to be a priority on the ever growing social housing list). Each of them are fighting a battle – if I chose to buy someone a coffee or a sandwich and sit and drink it with them I will do so as an impartial (airing on concerned) passer-by (airing on friend) and I most certainly will not be ‘means assessing’ them!

Nude Nude Nude!

I am OBSESSED with nude nail varnish at the moment! Recently I picked up this amazing colour from Essie which you can find here! I am not sure the pictures do it justice but if you are out and stumble across a Boots then pop in and have a look. It has a pinky tinge to it but looks great with any outfit! Even the name is just fabulous – Eternal Optimist!

(Excuse my weird looking hands! I promise they look better in real life!!)

K x

Happy Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful NYE!

Resolutions… Every year I make them and, I am sure everyone can relate to this, within a week I will have broken them! So as you can tell I am not a huge fan of resolutions!

This year, however, I reflected on 2015 and thought about what I would have done differently. So I am going to set myself  goals for 2016, splitting them up into mini achievable goals (smaller ones might just trick me into keep going with them!). I am hoping you will all help keep me motivate to continue achieving them!

Goals for 2016

1. Look after me!

Work out at least twice a week. (The aim is more than twice a week but lets just go with twice to begin with!) I recently started following Kayla Itsines who has these amazing guides for working out as well as diet plans to go with them. I am using the vegetarian guide, but there is one also available for those who are not vegetarian. She also posts recipes and workouts regularly on Facebook – which are fab!!

Eat healthy – Sometimes working a lot combined with trying to maintain a social life just means that the ‘healthy option’ isn’t always easy to choose!! Mr M and I have decided to plan meals for the week including snacks and lunches etc. Hopefully this will mean I will stop buying unhealthy snacks and meals and also save some money!!

2. Become money wise

The worst habit I have is spending unnecessarily. Especially on food, shoes and clothes! So I am going to attempt at taking out some cash every week and ONLY spend that. Hopefully this will mean that I spend less and save more! This is essential as we have a wedding to pay for!

3. Figure out my career

I am yet to find my Pharmacy ‘niche’ which everyone around me seems to have already found. My current role is great and I do enjoy it, but I can’t see where the progression is; and as a very ambitious individual this is important to me. Hopefully this year I will figure out what I want from my career and how I am going to achieve that. This I feel is going to have to begin with exploring more non-conventional routes of Pharmacy  (will post about this in more detail later too).

4. Keep this blog going

This blog I am hoping will be the perfect creative outlet! I want to post at least once a week and I hope you will continue to follow me on my blogging journey. Please feel free to get in touch with any suggestions you may have for further posts!

What are your 2016 goals and how do you plan on achieving them?

‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step’ – Lao-tzuChinese philosopher (604 BC – 531 BC)

K x