A new store opening soon on Portobello is New Zealand based natural health company, Comvita. It seems an odd choice of location to me, but I wish them well in their venture as I really like the ethos behind the brand and the products / ranges look really good.
A cute way to get your pint in the morning. From what I can gather this milk dispenser outside Tus supermarket in Slovenia churns out fresh milk for 1 Euro per litre – there’s also information on the time and date it was milked.
What do I do in my spare time?
Being 25 years old and married, much of my time consists of staying at home and being domestic. But just because I’m married doesn’t mean I don’t know how to have a good time. When I’m not playing the homemaker role, I enjoy my nights going out to indie rock music gigs at a club called Spaceland. I also enjoy baking. It sooths my nerves when I’m stressed because it’s something I can do alone, and it doesn’t hurt that when I am done baking that I have a nice yummy treat to eat.
Where do I shop?
Being one of the shopping meccas of the world, there are tons of cool places to shop in Los Angeles. I like shopping on the infamous Melrose Avenue. You can find the coolest vintage shops there, such as Wasteland. If you walk the whole strip, you will hit high end designer stores such as Herve Leger and Fred Segal boutique. And if you’re lucky, you may just run into a celebrity while you are out. Last time I was on Melrose shopping, I crossed paths with Rhianna. Also in LA, we have the Downtown Los Angeles shopping district, where if you hunt hard enough you can find cheap clothes from up and coming designers. If I am feeling ambitious, I will make a trip to the Rose Bowl flea market in Pasadena (which happens every second Sunday of the month), where you can find the best vintage goods cheaply. You can basically find anything and everything at this market from vintage riding boots to antique broaches.
What is your beauty routine?
My mom has worked for a dermatologist for most of my life, so I’ve always been told to take care of my skin. With that said, every morning before I put on my makeup I apply a coat of sunscreen—rain or shine. I use Olay Complete All day Moisture Lotion SPF 15, which serves the function of keeping my face moisturized all day and wrinkle free for years to come.
To maintain a sun-kissed look (which is essential in LA), I use self-tanning lotion. A lot of women find it necessary to maintain their summer glow by tanning in tanning beds. Because the weather is always nice, California women can show off their skin most of the year. Although “fake and baking” can give a nice glow, it gives premature wrinkles and worst of all it causes cancer, so an easy fix to the “fake and bake” method is self-tanner.
Do you diet?
I am lucky that I’ve been blessed with my mother’s good genes, but I am certainly paranoid that one day my metabolism will catch up with me. I’m not a big eater as it is, but I try and steer clear of carby and unhealthy foods like pizza or French fries. I focus more on eating salads, fruits, and vegis. Being an LA native it is hard to escape the Hollywood media and their view on what is considered beautiful. I have plenty of friends who suffer or have suffered from eating disorders just because of what they see in advertisements and on television, and feel the need to look like Nicole Richie. When I am feeling insecure about what I see in print or tv, I remind myself that these women have personal trainers, starve themselves, and have a good team of Photoshop artists to make them look like a million bucks. I also remind myself and my friends that it’s important to eat right, exercise, and remember that beauty comes from within.
What do you drink when out?
Ok, so maybe I drink more than I would like to admit. But hey, after a hard day at work I think I deserve a glass or two of wine, right?! If I am feeling like a nice hard alcoholic beverage, I go for a vodka and water with lemon. I kid you not, this drink tastes just like lemon water. The only calories you are inducing are the calories from the vodka, so it is a good low-calorie option. Although I drink mostly anything, I steer clear of sugary drinks like Mai Tais, Margaritas, etc… Those drinks will literally make your waist line grow overnight. Not only are they high in carbs, sugars, and calories, they will leave you with a mean hangover the next day.
Top 5 Beauty Must Haves
- MAC Studio Fix Fluid foundation with SPF 15. If you have a crater on your face, this stuff will cover it up. It also has SPF 15, which protects you skin from the sun damage.
- Nars blush in Orgasm. It gives the cheeks a nice and shimmery pink glow. I use this on my eyes too for a natural shimmer.
- Clinique Brush-On Cream Eyeliner. This is the liquid eyeliner every woman should have. It goes on smoothly and does not smudge.
- Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser. My mom let me in on this secret early on. It removes make-up easily while cleansing and moisturizing your face. It’s great for people with dry skin.
- MAC Viva Glam Matte red lipsick. 1 word: SEXY!
In my spare time I tend to dither between two extremes.
Extreme number one being going out and not coming home for three days- going to gigs and house parties, friends houses, festivals and big cities. I tend to befriend people older than myself so spending a couple days in Glasgow or at some bizarre hippie festival is never really an issue with my lovely parents.
We love going to see live music- our most recent ventures being a little festival on the west coast of Scotland called Knockengorroch and a Julian Casablancas and Patrick Wolf gig or two, not forgetting the bunch of nameless ska bands we see on a regular basis.
Me my assortment of adorable misfit friends enjoy a semi permanent sofa at our favorite coffee place in Edinburgh. The Forest Cafe does cheap and organic food like humus pita breads and big pots of ginger tea! They have live music in the evenings and yoga workshops in the day time- which I am yet to attend.
Extreme number two is much less interesting and consists of sitting about in my PJ’s eating badly made potato wedges with far too much mayonnaise. I spend all day watching films, reading magazines and blogs and scribbling ideas in tatty notebooks.
Where do I shop?
My favorite places to shop in Edinburgh are Urban Outfitters, Vintage shops and Charity shops.
Urban outfitters is new to Edinburgh and although quite expensive I do shop there a lot. The interior of the shop is really beautiful and unique- it’s all bare brick walls, ancient lamp stands and mannequins, really vintage kitsch wallpapers and huge book shelves stacked high with coffee table flick throughs. Sometimes I will see an item of clothing I like but really can’t afford and I will try to find a cheaper vintage version- which involves maximum trawling.
My favorite vintage stores in Edinburgh are called Armstrong’s and The Rusty Zip- they are both hectic and full of charm and character -oh, and are very very cheap. Charity shops are so underrated! Thanks to my embarrassing and slightly pushy mother I have been wearing charity shop clothes all my life. I now have her to thank for being on the secret wonder of them. First appearances can be deceiving with charity shop clothes. I often find a dress down to my ankles and take it up to a suitable length and reveal its glory or some knackered old shoes that just need a couple buttons sewn on. When charity shopping I often come across really well dressed art students who are also after a bargain and seeing the way they dress is often really inspiring.
Magazines, blogs, music, books and films
I love love love reading magazines and keep discovering new ones recently. I really like i-D, Dazed and Confused, Pop and Lula. I started reading these overpriced wonders a couple of months ago because of their alluring covers. I love it that they don’t just focus on fashion – it’s all about film, arts and music as well. I think that reading them I feel like I’m doing more than just looking at pictures of clothes I could never really afford. Then blogs were discovered and I have been slightly addicted to reading them since! It’s far too easy to have one to many coffees and stay up until 2am reading blogs! My favorites are ‘hello mr fox’, ‘cheapskate chic’, ‘frills and thrills’, ‘lilliebe’ and ‘discotheque confusion’. I recently started my own blog which is still pretty crappy but is just a way of keeping track of media I like and thoughts and whatnot I can share with friends. I called it ‘whimsical clutter’ because its just random dreamy scraps of thoughts I’ve had and almost lost cluttered together sort of messily. At the moment I love listening to Toro y Moi, Washed Out, Tame Impala, Girls and all the classics like David Bowie, Captain Beefheart and the Rolling stones. My favorite films are Withnail and I, Performance, The Science of Sleep, Labyrinth and James and the Giant Peach. I like ancient nostalgic movies and animations. I also like some French films like Amelie, The Dreamers, Dans Paris, J’taime Paris and Belleville Rondevu.
I would quite like to write for one of the magazines I have previously reeled off and travel about the place taking pictures and writing stories or something. Thinking about the future and all the daunting prospects it will bring is pretty terrifying but the more I think about it the more I see I would probably be happy as an infamous mummy in a pretty house who can afford to eat good food and buy nice clothes. A friend of mine really wants to be a photographer and has the ambition and drive. She has worked so hard to get the money she needed to buy a decent camera and takes pictures regularly. She will round us all up and instruct us to bring our prettiest clothes and a picnic and we will all up and run off somewhere like a field, a forest or a scrap yard.
Blogs, Youtube, Facebook and email i guess are my main sites. I really love the site ‘style like u’ where people with great wardrobes rake through them and talk about them for you. Facebook is a really great way of sharing pictures and sending out invites to events. The instant chat is annoying and temperamental but can be helpful when you want an immediate reply from someone.
My favorite look for models at the moment is the flat messy curly hair with a middleish parting – I love models like Lara Stone, Abby Lee and Georgia Jagger for their big lips and gappy teeth. The actress Anna Paquin also has the gappy teeth thing going. I love slight imperfections in people. Sometimes it’s the imperfections that make them look perfect. I love fish tail plaits in blond hair and red lips on pale skin. I really love the knackered old boots with bleached out jeans and baggy vests or ankle socks and a little nautical dress or night gowns and plaid shirts. I love mixing different eras together. At the moment I really love mixing sort of victorian under garments and nightwear with nineties grungy boots jeans and over sized shirts hoodies and jackets. I love high heeled lace up ankle boots that look to big for the body they are attached to and little blazers. I love bleached out and over exposed photography and really fantastical set ups like Tim Walker does.
Who do I admire and not admire?
I really like Coco Sumners style- I’ve seen her wearing pajama tops as day shirts which is completely off the wall but I really like her staple of little denim cut offs, a stripy t shirt and a tartan scarf. I don’t know how she makes it work but she does!
I am fairly relaxed with my beauty routine- I don’t even think what i do has much routine. Really it all depends on things like whether I have had enough money that week to buy another face scrub or gel or whether I am at a friends or extremely tired. Usually I will take off my makeup with a basic wet wipe and then rinse my face with cold water after brushing my teeth but its not exactly like that leads to amazing skin as I don’t actually have amazing skin. My skin usually improves by not using posh skin products and just drinking lots of water and using a good moisturizer. My favorite moisturizer is a really thick and heavy butter from Crabtree and Evelyn. It’s nutmeg, cardamom and coco butter or something equally yummy. Living in the cold and windy Scotland can lead to really icky dry skin if you’re not careful.
For about two years I have permanently used what I believe to be the best concealer in the world. It’s just a Max Factor Pan Stick except it is so very thick and smells great. Its actually not very kind to your skin but it does hide all the imperfections I can’t be bothered dealing with. On my eyes I only really wear mascara these days and I’m not fussy as to which brand it is or anything. I usually wear bright red lipstick on a daily basis just to brighten up my appearance and give my boring school uniform a bit of a kick.
I go through fazes of hating my figure – the enormous hips my dear mother kindly gave me go in and out of fashion with me. Sometimes I will do everything I can to hide them and other times I will want to accentuate them to their…umm most accentuated? Most of my friends have really speedy metabolisms so they don’t have to worry about anything…but a couple of friends have really unhealthy dieting habits. When I diet I live off tuna fish, salad, dried and fresh fruits and nuts but that never lasts very long and I always cave in to cravings. Most friends just cut out most of the food they need to live off which also never lasts long. It just ends up that when we go out they do daft things like drink vodka (on account of it being less calorific than wine or something) on an empty stomach. So I have basically just came to the conclusion that everything I do and eat, I should do and eat in moderation and I should stay healthy and alive!
STRATEGY : What Wholefoods Kensington Should Do…1. Increasing Sales in the Downstairs Takeaway Section
I do love Wholefoods Market but I’ve got a lot to say about what they should be doing to make their Kensington venture more successful. In fact, 2 years ago I wrote them an analysis and recommendations report outlining just those ideas…and they liked it enough to invite me in to discuss. Thanks guys! I’ll post those notes at a later date but to start with, I wanted to share some new ideas about how to increase sales in the downstairs takeaway section (I got some of this inspiration from a recent trip to the US).
On the ground floor there is a takeaway section – with the emphasis on 3 banks of DIY build-a-box salads and other food fayre. There is a large choice of hot food, cold food and a whole area dedicated to no-oil healthy things. The idea in principal is great but it just doesn’t work.
Why not? Let’s look at a successful example.
If you visit the WFM in Venice, California you will see packs of bronzed hipsters and families eating from a similar (if not much bigger and more exciting) takeaway section in their store. It’s seen as a convenient, wholesome, healthy and delicious alternative to cooking at home. The food is delicious, the choice expansive and there is an outside dining area where customers eat (they also have the good fortune of fabulous, year-round weather). There is a huge car park for easy accessibility and loading. Friends of mine living in the area ‘dine’ at WFM at least 3 times a week. Eating here is not considered the cheapest option, but is by no means prohibitive either. I guess you’d call it a cool and vibrant hangout.
Compare this to the UK version. I rarely see anyone eating from here. I have on several occasions tried the food and have been thoroughly disappointed with the flavours (unlike my US experiences which were always very pleasurable). There are some delicious dishes such as the Chickpea Chana and Spelt with tomatoes but many are bland or too greasy (ironic for a health food store). I tried some of the chicken satay and tofu bars from the deli counter and they came cold, hard and congealed. Before ordering I’d asked if the satay was fatty and was non-passionately told that it wasn’t as it was made from a chicken fillet. However, when I bit into the meat, I encountered lots of fatty bits.
What else isn’t working?
Sales in this area are hampered by the customers’ perceived expense of the food mixed with ‘fear of the unknown’ : the food looks like canteen food but the prices seem designer….and as a weight-based pricing system it’s difficult to know how much you are spending. It doesn’t feel comfortable or fun choosing food if you think you are going to be whacked with a large bill at the end (particularly if it then doesn’t taste amazing). And unlike sandwiches or other takeaway items, you can’t return your food if you think you’ve spent too much – once you start making up your box you have to pay for it whatever.
The last point that I’d like to make is that the area lacks vibe. As I will go on to mention in future comments about ‘What Wholefoods Kensington Should Do’, vibe and experience is the key to making the store a success. M&S and Waitrose have organic and gourmand to rival WFM but they do it in their own chic, upscale way. People pay those prices because it feels great / special / luxurious to be shopping in those stores. The lower priced supermarkets and discounters such as Asda, Tesco and Lidl offer food at unbeatable prices – it feels great to get goods at special prices. And so Wholefoods must attract customers not just on the strength of its amazing grocery offer but on the special All-American atmosphere, great customer experience and first class customer service.
What Wholefoods Market Should Do to Increase Sales in the Takeaway Section
We can’t change the weather or add a huge carpark to the store but there are measures which I believe will make a difference.
1. Offer set price boxes so the customer knows what they are paying for. If this is too drastic, lower the prices!
2. Improve the recipes and aesthetic appeal of food offer. I know WFM don’t like to compare themselves to competitors but the food offer at Planet Organic is far more appealing and healthy looking.
3. Create a ground floor dining area adjacent to the takeaway banks (currently a hamper section). This would encourage lunch time eaters into the store and attract night time eaters who want a fun and easy dinner meal. This area is wasted on hampers and makes an ideal dining proposition because it’s a cosy space (unlike the rest of store) plus people can see in and diners can see out (hey we have a vibe!). I know there is plenty of room to eat takeaway upstairs but the sheer thought of going up another floor is off-putting (particularly if you’re in a rush). In fact, by adding space downstairs, eating space upstairs can be reduced making way for an expanded (and currently very poor and uncommitted) gifts area (my thoughts for this will be revealed in the next post!). A final point is that consideration should be given to the tables (away with the school-like designs of upstairs) – I think communal tables and a small amount of 2-seaters in rustic or innovative materials would be good.
A downstairs dining area would create an unusual fast (vibey, American, west-coast) and slow (quality, personal, special) environment.
Proposed Dining Area
A little while ago I blogged about the new food packaging and merchandising at Starbucks. It was a thumbs up from me as I love the simple black background and white chalk aesthetic. It looks like Tesco dig blackboard chic too…check out the their Finest Restaurant Collection range….very similar.
I noticed that both Radox and Palmolive have bought out limited edition African themed shower gels – are these brands testing a new direction perhaps? Radox African Escape contains ingredients such as Rooibos, Mandarin Oil and Baobab to relax and restore. The packaging has quite a manly feel. Palmolive Madagascar Sunset and Marrakech Sunrise are enriched with Ylang Ylang and Frangipani flower extracts – this is definitely more female-orientated.
I think this could mark the beginning of more African inspired personal care – particularly as it works well for both sexes. As a note, it’s interesting to see the use of Rooibos (Red Bush Tea) in the Radox products because it’s not such a well known ingredient in the mass market…it doesn’t have the same all singing all dancing benefit profile (yet) as its popular friend, Green Tea.