WHY YOU OUGHT TO LIVE IN LONDON AT LEAST ONCE IN YOUR LIFE

No one can quite prepare you for living in London. No matter how talented, rich or educated you are – this incredible city will forever change you. I’ve only been here since the beginning of the year and I can already feel the effects of London – and I mean that in the best possible way.

Before commencing your flight to Heathrow, however, there are many flaws to this concrete jungle that you should know about.

Rush hour is an absolutely terrifying dog-eat-dog world akin to that of a scene from the Hunger Games and it always reminds me of the sprawling spectrum of humanity through the cumulation of all our individual journeys.  God forbid you should NEVER stand on the left hand side of an escalator and lastly but most importantly – sell absolutely everything you own before  you move to London because it will suck you dry! One beer sets you back easily about R144 and you must accept the fact that you will never pay less that 7 pounds for a burger.

On the plus side, London is worth every single penny you have and there is truly nothing quite like it. It’s quite hard for me for some reason to elucidate the style that this city encompasses – it’s more of a “come and see for yourself” type scenario.

People in London certainly dress well. Very well! Men are so comfortable to wear Tweed coats and striking scarfs – and confidently walk the streets in the most stylish loafers that I’ve ever seen.  Signet rings are somewhat of a hierarchical fetish here and tend to adorn a large number of British men’s pinkies.

I have also noticed that the streets are full of people wearing the newest Nike Huaraches. When I first saw them in Dubai I remarked in disgust that they look like alien shoes – but I must admit, I have grown to quite like them.

The white Huaraches are on my lust list for sure!

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The streets are busy hum-drums of formal frantic businessmen, the pubs are little havens of overworked and fantastically interesting Brits and the shops are never-ending possibilities to file for bankruptcy.

There’s an electric energy that pulses through the heartbeat of this incredible city that simply makes it impossible for it not to change you!

Here are a few (photographic) reasons to come to London:

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Strand Street – an example of London’s correlation to a Harry Potter film set.

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Regents street – it’s quite overwhelming at first, to be honest! But it’s rather beautiful at night.

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Westminister! Founded in 980, this is by far the most beautiful gothic church I have ever seen.

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My secret weapon to the ins-and-outs of London! If you’re coming to London you need a Brit to show you the ropes. This is my fantastic British friend, Ed.

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A better view of Westminister.

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It’s always adventure time with this baby on my wrist! I absolutely love my DW.

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Pikaboo! Big Ben wants to say hello, too!

If you’d like to see more – follow me on Instagram 🙂

HH

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Things you ought to know

London is a notorious concoction of culture and class – I absolutely love it! Everything about it just takes my breath away – and the fashion is something to truly behold.

I could walk down the tube station absolutely stark naked and no one would think twice, they’d probably just nod at me and then proceed on to their next destination. So while I’ve been walking along cobbled streets and little red telephone booths – armed with my South African accent and a Laminated map torn out of my “Tour guide to London” – I’ve been aggressively ticking off things on my London to-do list. Through my pub-hopping escapades, exhaustative exploring and countless trips on the tube, I can’t help but establish a distinguished style that correlates throughout most Brits. My love of lists has therefore encouraged yet another one:

Things you ought to know before you come to London.

Disclaimer: the following list is highly opinionated and stereotypical. If you don’t agree – that’s totally up to you !

 

  1. Never judge a confident London Lass.

The ones who are willing to flaunt their legs in an H&M miniskirt when the temperature is close to snow-fall and the wind is howling directly into their face. Support them. Back them. They have more confidence than you could probably ever hope for in your wildest dreams! Let them be.

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My friend Paula and I trying to get a good shot of the London Eye – clearly we both failed haha

 

  1. Coats.

To be honest I absolutely couldn’t give a blue moon what I look like when I’m in 1’C weather– just as long as I’m warm. I started out wearing 2 layers of thermals (double top AND double bottom), a down-feather jacket, a woolen scarf and my dad’s 30 year old army jacket – and guess what? I was still shivering cold and grumpy as hell. I’m a wuss in the cold, don’t judge, but nothing can quite prepare you for the horrorful wind-breeze that sweeps through London. It’s a cold that hits you to your bones – and then eventually hits you right in the center of your soul. Therefore – do yourself a favour and get a good coat, one lined with animal fur and hot water bottles and even thermal underwear.

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Buckingham Palace Baby! To be honest I found this to be rather disappointing in real life!

 

  1. British men dress well; appreciate it.

Sitting on the tube is like fashion week in itself and I can’t help but be super impressed with the level of eloquence with which British men dress. Most of them have got the rugged-tailored-gentleman look down to a tee– it’s remarkable. As I sat in the tube last week I couldn’t help but acknowledge that British men just do it well – from the quality shoes they wear to the impeccable coats that complete their outfits, it’s a job well done indeed. Tailored clothing is for British men what cigarettes and coffee are for British women.

 

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Portobello Road, Notting Hill

  1. Guys can wear scarfs, too!

I remember when my mum bought my brother a scarf a few years ago – oh dear lord did she get shut down! My brother flat out refused to wear it. Here, it’s more a necessity than anything and it looks so incredible and work-chic.

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Westminister Station

  1. No more flip flops, thanks!

British men have a serious thing for shoes – that much is clear. The uber British lad is always adorned with his leather loafers and perhaps this is a slight improvement to the guys back in SA who wear flip flops even though they clearly shouldn’t let any ray of sunlight see their gruesome toe-nails. I’ll never forget my favourite English teacher in Grade 12 telling us all how she actually left a guy on a date because his feet were just so disgusting, haha I will ALWAYS remember her telling us the story!

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St Paul’s Cathedral

  1. British women don’t care.

There’s a carefree confidence that British women behold that distinguishes them apart from the rest of the world. Since being in London I’ve acknowledged that there is indeed a sense of judgmentalism that is ever-apparent in South African fashion. British women are stoked to wear whatever the heck they want – and I really like that. They unashamedly exhibit their personalities through their clothing, it’s absolutely refreshing to be in a city that just doesn’t hold back.

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Even the Lampposts in London are feasts for the eyes

In all honesty – I have been horrified at some of the atrocities I’ve seen people wear. But I quite like that, too.  London has taught me to shake off my judgmental attitude and learn to appreciate the eccentrics of fashion that London displays to its inhabitants day in, day out. Come here with an open mind (and a large wallet, might I add!) and London will be sure to show you a good time.

HH

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GHOSTWRITER

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 Airports are fascinating conundrums of activity. As a compulsive people-watcher, it’s interesting to observe the buzzing concoctions of human thoughts and emotions and they always have a habit of making me sentimental for some reason!

I’m sitting here in Dubai Airport with my backpack firmly on my shoulders and my heart somewhat on my sleeve.

There’s something incorrigibly emotional about closing one chapter and beginning another! Leaving Cape Town has left me feeling like an unrelenting, tantrum-throwing two year old. However as I’ve sat here with a Quentin Tarantino lookalike sitting crrrreepily next to me, I’ve acknowledged that it’s unquestionably time to have a new city as the backdrop to the best days of my life. I guess I left Cape Town on the most perfect note and I’m now ready to move on and discover a radical way of living; a London way of living.

I don’t know exactly what this year will bring – but all I know is that I will say yes to anything that will force me to step out of my comfort zone. Because, ultimately, comfort zones are for suckers. Comfort zones are the root of all discomfort. There is value in routine, but rewards are hidden in the triumph over obstacles and obstacles are never hidden between the ordinary concessions of too much comfort. So, the underlying message of this – is that perhaps it’s time for the discomfort of the unknown, and ultimately the rewards of the triumph over such discomfort.

I laude you if that made ANY sense to you haha… 🙂

Anyway, keep up with my blog – this is going to be an exciting year and I have lots planned! I’ve always wanted to live in London – to appreciate the London way of not only living, but dressing too. I’ve admired the eloquence with which British men & women carry themselves and I can’t wait to learn a thing or two. I feel blessed to have this opportunity and I can’t wait to discover a few revelations about the international stages of fashion.

Now it’s time to meet the Queen, swap my bikinis for Beanie’s and kiss my Irish Passport on its toosh.

London, show me what you got baybeeeee!

P.S the title of this post has nothing to do with anything discussed above, I was just listening to that song when writing this and I thought it’d be appropriate because I couldn’t think of a title, haha!

Have a sweeeeet day 🙂 🙂
HH X

Nailed It.

They say that your interpretation of life changes when you start to write and I’ve come to accept that perhaps it’s true. Even though I don’t really consider myself to be much of an established “writer”, I acknowledge that I have one thing in common with most wordsmiths; an incomprehensible obsession with observation.

Once you start writing, you become acutely alert of everything about a person, a piece of writing, a song, a title – you can never merely react; but you develop a sense of interpretation that painfully notices everything. All this suddenly dawned on me today while I was sitting in Exclusive Books, reading Alexa Chung’s masterfully written work.

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I’ve always had a knack for honest people with strong opinions and that is why I’m absolutely appreciative of Chung’s book, “It“. Her book is so remarkably origional and stands out from the crowd of other self-obsessed autobiographers who can’t see beyond their own success.  The collage format of the book is entirely unique and absolutely random – paying tribute to her personality and establishing her writing voice in an uncommon manner.

In a world driven by superficiality and self-fabrication; it’s refreshing to find Chung to be so unapologetically real and honest about the fashion industry.

I highly recommend this book for anyone who’s interested in Fashion.

Hope all you fashion bunnies are having a goooood weekend 🙂 🙂

HH xx

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind :)

In one-way or another – we’re all ultimately in the pursuit of happiness. I’m only a student and my humble opinion can’t claim the solution to life’s obscurities – but I’ve been thinking about this for a while now. Aside from nice clothes, what makes you happy?

We’re all different, but at the end of the day I only need three things to put a smile on my face: God, Good mates and Exercise (Somewhere along the lines wearing a killer outfit does feature in there 😉 ).   We are theeee most self-obsessed and shallow generation – it’s important that we question what makes us happy.

Soooo, that’s pretty deep. On to the actual reason for this post: exercise clothes. After a busy day, nothing can compare to the rush of endorphins that pump through your body from an exhausting run. I’d hate to actually see what I look like when I run – maybe I’m a disjointed flamingo or maybe/hopefully I’m even comparable to an elegant feature on Baywatch? I’ll never know and to be honest I’d rather not know haha!

I was never a huge fan of exercise when I was at school and I’m pretty sure that my weak ankles are the result of the fact that I carried a bit too much baby-fat when I was younger. When I came to UCT – I started running casually and I’ll never forget this one run I went on to Rhodes Memorial.

I felt like I was on the verge of a heart attack because the entire route was uphill and I thought the veins in my throat were popping the higher I got (I was really really unfit at that stage). I left when it was pitch black, but when I got to the top it was just in time to see the sun rise. It was majestic! The kind of beauty that leaves you stuck in one place (at this stage sitting down was more an instruction from my sore body than a desire to see the sun rise) and wholeheartedly spellbound . I sat there – gasping for air and in awe that I was the only one seeing this – witnessing the gentle transition of the sky from a deep pink to a yummy orange and then eventually the city entirely light up and start its day. That forever changed my view of running and exercise in the larger sense.

Beyond the physical benefits of feeling strong and firm – exercise just keeps my mind sharp and leaves me feeling profoundly happy. I’m absolutely nowhere close to running any of the 21 km marathons that my friends regularly do – but I’m quite stoked to go for a casual run down my street in Newlands or along the promenade in Camps Bay. It’s like through the physical pain, life rewards you with some sort of beauty that leaves you awestruck and infinitely blessed.

It’s therefore essential that while experiencing this beauty unravel before you that you’re well dressed for such ventures. My mum used to tell me when I was younger that you must always be prepared to bump into the Queen wherever you go. Gym is definitely NOT a fashion show but you must, of course, always be well dressed.. 🙂

Gone are the days of frumpy boyfriend clothes to gym – research has proved that your active performance is actually improved when you’re dressed well.The Nylon/lycra blend of material enhances the stretch of the garment and can help boost your performance because of its increased elasticity and comfort. Gym clothes have become so well-engineered that I actually opt to wear them over normal clothes. It feels like you’re wearing – well – nothing.

Cotton On nailed their fitness range, “Body”. Not only is it comfortable (which is key!) and stylish, but it also functions to suit the needs of any athlete all the while being cost-efficient. Nike is my first choice because of their groundbreaking research into fitness clothing – but their clothing is, in my opinion (and student budget), quite overpriced. Cotton On’s fitness range is designed to simultaneously provide your skin with good ventilation while soaking up perspiration – and it definitely delivers on that. I honestly cannot fault them, and I’ve been using their range religiously for a good while now. Their compression pants are insane – and even though they’re SO tight-fitting, they work like magic and I even wear them to varsity (the guys haven’t noticed yet!).

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Photographed by Jason Broderick

Outfit: T-shirt: Cotton On, Compression Pants: Cotton On, Trainers: Nike – Nike Air Run.

P.S – When buying your next gym outfit, however, make sure that if you’re buying more into the garment’s brand than the garment’s purpose – it might be a matter of fitting in, not getting fit. And that’s just not worth it!

Would love to hear your thoughts 🙂

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HH XX

Pencil it in

Ambition is something that distinguishes you as a cut above the rest – and proves to be significant in the success of pretty much every entrepreneur and businessman or woman. As any other ambitious university graduate, nothing can compare to the terror I have for next year.

2016 is essentially the year most of us start working – and that means no more “I’m a student” excuses. My plan for the big year include making full use of my Irish Passport on the streets of London and the realisation that I better start thinking about what the appropriate thing to wear to work would be – because I’m definitely not going to be cheeeeelling on Clifton 4th all day. Gone are the days of food court banter, last minute cocktails with friends, lazy afternoon naps and doing whatever I want whenever I want – it’s time to not only act like a grown up, but look like one too. Alas, the pencil skirt has apparently come to the rescue.

I’ve always hated pencil skirts – in my eyes they were the guy in the corner with bad breath and the classic go-to piece in every “mom closet”. However, most girls tend to change their minds every two seconds, as have I – and seeing that the working world only allows for an inch above the knee – pencil skirts have become the saviour of any working gal’s closet. They’re the sartorial uniform that’s never passé and you just can’t go wrong with.

When I look around at my friends and I – we definitely aren’t part of the “pencil skirt” stage of life – but we’re close. Our jeans and T-shirt stage is soon to be over and 2016 is the year that many are signed to different companies, departing from student life and taking our first step into proper adulthood.

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Photographer: Jason Broderick

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OutfitWatch: Lacoste Man (stolen from my brother, haha!), Crop Top: Mr Price (only R40 – you’ll thank me later), Pencil Skirt: Top Shop, Flatforms: Zara.

To be honest – I think any prospective boss would find me rather inappropriate if I had to pitch up to work in a revealing crop-top with cut outs in it – but you get the jist of it. Judging by the latest Paris fashion week – it’s not what designers put in to their garments, but what they leave out which matters now. Linear cuts and geometric shapes can create a sculptural dimension out of the simplest silhouettes. Love love loooooveee!

Side note: pencil skirts look fundamentally better when worn with stilettos – but seeing that I almost broke my ankles when I wore mine last, I thought I’d steer clear of those for now.

Stay tuuuned, Cape Town fashion week is this weekend, so absolutely excited to see SA’s design talent.

Hope everyone had a lovely weekend 🙂 Back to the grind baby!

HH XX

Stolen cupboards of the best kind

Theft is acceptable under absolutely no circumstances — but exceptions can be made when it’s your own family. I’ve regularly taken advantage of my dad and brothers’ excess of clothing and I can’t help but appreciate some of their toss-outs. “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is basically the underlying message of this post.

I’m really not a fan of hustling through used clothing shops – but I think that vintage clothing actually exemplifies the significance of fashion.

Fashion has massive connotations as being an industry fuelled by folly, vanity and indulgence – when in actual fact it’s occupied and driven by some of the worlds most creative and intelligent people. I don’t know how designers like Ellie Saab, Alexander McQueen and Vera Wang are able to create style phenomenons that leave an everlasting impact on international trends for decades. 

It is without a doubt the most narcissistic, image-obsessed industry on the planet –  but it’s always sort of “dumbed down” when in actual fact it should be elevated to a greater degree than what it is.  I think that the level of self-obsession apparent in fashion is quite frankly disgusting – but aside from that, so much talent has gone in to making garments that often proceed to define an era or a moment in history.

The fact that something worn decades ago is still somewhat valued today highlights how good clothing never really goes out of date.

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My dad had this Trench coat (above) hidden in his cupboard and he was going to throw it away when I interjected and relinquished it from the SPCA’s claws. It turns out that he actually had it in the Army – which explains its masterful ability to shield me from the absolute horror of Cape Town’s winter. The funniest thing is that when I was at the shops with one of my mates the other day, someone actually approached me and asked me if I bought my jacket from Topshop –  I couldn’t help but laugh in her face.

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 It has a million stains on it and is an XXXL but there’s nothing better than a comfy oversized sweater. I think that every girl has either a hoodie or a sweater from an ex boyfriend trophied somewhere in their cupboard! 

So I guess one man’s trash really is another gal’s treasure.

HH XX