Converting London Apathetics, Eating All Day.

Have you ever brought someone to London, or a town you love, and you can just tell they hate it? They make all the right noises, but their eyes linger on the overflowing rubbish bags rather than the mishmash of architecture and people? They say they like it too, yeah, it’s nice… But deep down you just know that they didn’t quite get it- get why you write home about this place all the time?

Well, that’s how I feel about my mum and London. She’s always thought it was a great town for me, but she just couldn’t see it for herself. The crammed in coffee spots I try to convince her are all the rage, the buzzing parks that are on main road roundabouts, the eclectic markets you have to clutch your handbag through. I felt like no trip to visit me ever really gave her the ‘wow’ London had given me when I first visited (emerging from Leicester Square station like the doe-eyed nervous wreck with big dreams I was).

Regent Street

It became my mission to make her love this place as much as I did. Sure, her liking London had no impact on how much fun we had together, but I became a dog with a bone- constantly extolling the values of no-reservations-restaurants and the Oxford Street Primark (if you go midweek, duh).

Well, I think I cracked it. If you need a foolproof plan for convincing your nearest and dearest of the virtues of London, feel free to use this as a guide. Mum left town with that spring in your step that helps you navigate the tube system like a pro.

Nata tarts and two flat whites from the Soho Grind, drank and eaten in the glory of Kingly Court.

Soho Grind Nata

Soho Grind, Kingly Court

Meander through Carnaby Street boutiques through to Soho- get to the restaurant you’ve been lusting after (no bookings policy, obv) at an earlier lunch. This week’s restaurant crush was Hoppers.

Ramble on about the delights of London food scene as you gnash your way through mutton rolls, chicken heart, lamb kari, dosa and egg hoppers (or similar).

Hoppers London

Chicken heart, Hoppers

Egg Hopper London

Refuse dessert when the waitress offers, instead head to Crosstown Doughnuts. Don’t let your mum see the price list, just buy one and get out. She’d rather not know.

Crosstown Doughnuts

Go to an understated London icon- i.e. give B’ham Palace a miss, go to Liberty instead. Spend forever pointing at designer retro clocks shrieking ‘I had one of those in the 90s!’ and balk at the price tags of hand cream. Buy trinkets. Get samples. Take selfies.




Head home, nip into your local boozer for a swift half and lounge by open fire. Decide on cooking an elaborate Italian meal and venture to three mini supermarkets and a deli. Head home, eat, wine, fall asleep on the couch.

Trust me on this- the conversion rate is so far 100%.


Dispatches: A Grown Woman Tries to Make a Friend.

I used primer. I never user primer. I also used my foundation brush, instead of my fingers. Eyelash curlers in hand, I realised I might be taking this too seriously for a girl who has used the same Boots-own brand BB cream for two years and never understood the appeal of ‘nude’ lipsticks. I put the eyelash curlers back, brushed my skirt down, turned to my boyfriend and asked how I looked.

‘Like you’re going for a date’.

Good. That’s a constructive compliment from a man who’s go-to response is usually ‘fine‘. (Ah, ‘fine‘. What every girls dreaming of looking like.) Off I scrabbled, into the hazy Putney winter sun.

Frazzled as I was, I was just heading off for a Sunday brunch with a friend. The nerves- though unexpected and completely undue- had come on as I was readying to leave the house, as though this was an interview rather than a buffet. In my haste to not be late, I’d developed a bubbling uncertainty.

This was the first time I had spent with this particular person alone. What if it went, well, terribly? What if when we sat down across from the all you can eat buffet line up and had resolutely NOTHING in common?  This was increasingly feeling like a first date- like a Channel Four TV crew were going to rush on and powder my face/rig me with a GoPro any second. Dispatches: A Grown Woman Tries to Make a Friend.

They arrived. We had a wonderful lunch together- laughed and chatted and stuffed ourselves silly and plotted our next dinner party. No nerves required, whatsoever, and I almost instantly forgot that I’d felt anything silly at all.


This- this sensation- goes to show how odd I have found making friends since turning twenty. Now I do not spend time in packed meat-market clubs twirling around with a VK in hand, or have a well meaning teacher doling out group presentations, I have come to rely on work and Twitter for meeting new people, both of which come with their own restrictions (one doesn’t want to hear from me post 6pm on Fridays, one is potentially a masquerading bot).

Where do all my new friends come from now I’m post-education? Now I’m in a big city without my old reliable groups to call upon for coffees and outfit lending? Am I going to dwindle in relationships from here on in, pestering the same people on Whatsapp to go to brunch until they snap and all change their numbers, collectively, until I’m left eating avo on toast with no one?

My early twenties have been about meeting people in ways I’m not used to yet. People that intern at my work, people that write blogs I love, people that flatshared with other friends. People that are parents, are artists, are clients, are bosses, are from the other side of the world, are half or twice my age. I might not be meeting people on the same course, from the same town, in the same club and from the same background the way you do when you’re at school/university- but that doesn’t mean these relationships are any less valuable.

I think that that’s where this feeling comes about- once you hit the big two-oh and propel yourself away from traditional friendship-enducing hotspots (playgrounds, houseparties in halls, etc)- you kinda assume you’ve this friend thing nailed. Then, it dawns, that the people you have things in common with, your potential BFFs, don’t hang out in convenient hubs anymore. They’re far spread across all aspects of your life now. You have to go get them yourself.

So that’s what I’ll be doing, and I’m not going to let myself make it weird. Brunch, anyone?


In defence of being a ‘fangirl’.

As a grown up- which I am, broadly, depending on who you ask and how much toothpaste I’ve spilt on my shirt- it can be a little bit embarrassing to be such a fangirl.

I’m plagued by enthusiasm for bloggers and vloggers, which is an odd problem for someone masquerading as a functioning adult. But today, instead of chastising myself, I’m here to reclaim fangirling. Reclaim it for the adults, for the over twenties, for professionals. Fangirling is ours too.

The stereotype of the fangirl is usually this: emotional pre-teen, surrounded by Zoella merchandise, weeping over Zayn and forming a Twitter army against anyone who says a sponsored post was lame. Neurotic, naive and gullible.

Feminist side note time! Isn’t it super cute how we mock and lambast young girl’s passion? It’s a good job young boys don’t get into Twitter fights over football matches, or spend their money on celeb-endorsed products, otherwise we’d have to bemoan their interests and passions too!

But here I am. With bills to pay, a nine to five, having had a serious conversation about pensions already, flushed with excitement because a blogger RT-d my tweet. Is this pathetic? Am I doling out undue attention to narcissists?


No. No I am not. I refuse to have my excitement and enthusiasm crushed. Unlike the tween Belieber, the #Zalfie screenshotter, I am an adult. And the good thing about being an adult is that I can look anyone who is too-cool-for-school about everything square in the eye and say ‘Fuck off. I don’t care’.

Bring me your faves. Tell me your OTPs. Show me your edits. Send me your screenshots of your tweets being faved. Join me in a chorus of ‘I love your work!’. I want it all.

Let’s lose the attitude that showing nerd-like enthusiasm for anything, being excited, squeeling, or eagerness is a negative. Firstly, it devalues the work, creativity and effort bloggers and vloggers put in- a damnsite more than various ‘real’ celebrities. Secondly, please stop treating joy as lame.

I contend that ‘fangirling’ is joy in action. Joy, and being joyful, is supposed to be uncontainable. It’s supposed to be happy. It’s fucking joy for god’s sake. And just because I’m past sixteen doesn’t mean I can’t revel in it- even if it’s over meeting someone with a million Instagram followers.

I recently met two bloggers I have been reading for years at The Quarter Club: Satisfaction Salon. When I spotted them- and this is no exaggeration- my heart jumped. I’m not ashamed of that- two women I admire and had never spoken to before were yards away from me, ripe for my giddy hugging, and I fangirled.

In all honestly, I was made up- but I wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t accepted the joy offered to me by fangirling- and I’ll be damned if that was denied to be for the sake of being ‘cool’. That ship has sailed, sonny.


I’m a feminist, and I think we need to get over the Protein World adverts.

*deep breaths* I’m Farrah, I’m a feminist, and I think we need to get over the Protein World adverts.

I’m a feminist. I strongly believe that women are not treated as individuals in a plethora of ways, from catcalling to cultural marginalisation and under-representation. I believe that objectification is a ‘gateway sexism’ to the dehumanisation of women, leading to cultural acceptance of the mistreatment, belittling and violence women face. The Protein World advert, imho, is dangerous as well as lame.

In the weeks following the unveiling of the unimaginative, over-trodden sexualised and controversial tube ads from the ‘marketing pioneers’ behind Protein World, everyone (it seems) has formed an opinion on the billboards that literally highlight the value of a woman through June to August as her tits, froo, and the skinny bits in between bright yellow.

Protein World advert

As you can probably guess, I’m not a fan.

I don’t like that it’s a weightloss pill. I think diet pills are icky and the advertising is manipulative and boring- and to be honest if it had been an advert for a bikini rather than literally a body type, I probably wouldn’t have even raised my bushy eyebrows. These ads validated people who think if someone is fat, they’re unhealthy. They made women whoa ren’t a size 8 with grade A+ boobs (i.e. nearly all of us) feel less wonderful that day. But we need to get over it.

Protein World advert

A policy I’m trying to live by is to choose joy. It means walking on the sunny side of the street, not throwing a hissy fit when someone at work has used the last teabag, and changing my mindset to be more positive. It’s working wonders for me, and I think it’s a way of life that people who live on the internet could benefit from.

The advertising world is full of creative media types that don’t try to benefit from negativity. I spotted this advert from Whole Foods on my way home the other day.

Body Positive advert

The drama caused by Protein World’s lame ass ad- which invoked no creativity or interesting brand identity other than ‘douchebags’- saw their profits soaring. Our anger is rewarding bad behaviour.

Instead, and maybe this is naive, but we should reward creativity, positivity and responsible brands with our praise.

Punishing brands doesn’t work if it just gives them free PR and a limo ride to roll up to the bank to. We can do better than that. We can demand for offensive crap to be taken down, but we can also prove to brands that we will respond to, and appreciate, messaging that isn’t designed to make s us feel like sweaty, ugly slobs.

Body Positive


By moving past the crap, rather than waving our virtual pitchforks at it, we can send a message to brands that pissing us off isn’t good enough. If we want to stop being made to feel like this, we have to make a decision to use our anger in a constructive way, and to diminsh the power these shitbags have over us. We need to show more love for the good stuff out there. We’ve got this, guys.