Category Archives: 20+

INSIGHT : A 25 year old LA native talks about her world

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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Clinique Brush-On Cream Eyeliner. This is the liquid eyeliner every woman should have. It goes on smoothly and does not smudge.
  4. 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.
  5. MAC Viva Glam Matte red lipsick. 1 word: SEXY!

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INSIGHT : 4 Random questions for my 26 year old intern

Intern lifestyle

My name is Gail, I’m 26 and I live in West London. This week I am doing work experience for Jess at FashionBarn, and she has asked me to write a bit about my life.  She gave me a list of random lifestyle questions to choose from, and here are the four which I chose to answer.

What do I do in my spare time?

I work fulltime in a fairly stressful media environment so my spare time is very precious to me.  In my spare time in the evenings through the week, I like to come home to the house I share with my boyfriend and I like to cook a nice healthy dinner.  I find cooking extremely relaxing and rewarding and I like to treat my boyfriend to having dinner ready every evening when he comes home.  He works very hard also and he is a very grateful recipient!  This sounds old fashioned of me, but it’s not that I see it as ‘my role’ at all, it’s just that I love everything to do with cooking; the food shopping (I love supermarkets and food markets!), the recipe research and preparation and the cooking and sharing of the meal itself.

Through the week I also enjoy meeting my friends in town to go and see new bands (I have a lot of friends who do A&R for record labels which is fab!), or I will meet one of my girlfriends for a alcohol-free dinner in Itsu or somewhere similar to catch up after work.  I rarely drink through the week unless it’s a special occasion.

At the weekend I like having groups of friends around for lunch or dinner which I will cook and really enjoy preparing and researching interesting menus to try out on them.  On a Saturday my boyfriend and I have a routine where one of us will go to Starbucks to grab some coffees to bring back to the other in bed in the morning to kick start the day.  If we don’t have friends over to our house for dinner we will tend to meet friends in a restaurant and eat out in a group.  I used to go to lots more bars and nightclubs when I was younger but now I much prefer going out for a nice long dinner with friends and having a few cocktails somewhere locally after.  Alternatively we’ll go to our local cinema.

I really like escaping London and going for walks outdoors so on a Sunday I enjoy finding new countryside areas to explore (sometimes just nice London parks or if the weather is good we head as far out to countryside as we can commute to from London!)  We have a car so we plan a route to drive to places like Oxford or Kent and stop for lunch somewhere pretty on the way.  It’s nice to get out the city and breathe in fresh air and have some peace and quiet just the two of us.

I also like shopping and can spend a lot of time on weekends or days off on main shopping streets like Oxford Street browsing my favourite stores.  It’s also fun to go to large malls like the newly opened Westfield where you can lunch, see a film and shop all under one roof. I also enjoy visiting some of London’s oldest and finest luxury department stores like Harrods or Selfridges.  I find I go there more for the experiential enjoyment or browsing the food halls and enjoying the dramatic, lavish window displays and make-up counters – to browse and people watch rather than to buy.   My boyfriend is also quite up for shopping and interested in fashion which is great as we can browse around together and help pick out things for one-another.

I read a lot also, novels and fashion magazines like Vogue, Elle and Grazia.

Who do I admire and not admire?

I don’t feel that I have that many ‘hero’ icons anymore that I look up to like I did when I was younger with movie stars, etc.  I admire people’s style – ie Kate Moss as she is my style icon, but I do not necessarily admire the way she conducts her lifestyle (her childcare/love-life, etc).  I think I probably admire successful young fashion designers like Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney for what they have achieved for themselves and for the beautiful products and brands that they create.

I do think however, that there is a difference between admiration and respect.  I admire stylish models and designers around the world and could list endless glamorous men and women whose style I wish I could emulate but I don’t necessarily respect them and I feel that’s much more important.

I respect musicians like Annie Lennox and Bob Geldof who are genuine, not manufactured artists, who have risen to fame through true hard work and real musical talent and now give back financially and personally, protesting and heightening public awareness around the world for hugely important causes and issues that a lot of us choose to ignore.  They can handle their fame in the public eye without disrespecting themselves or their family’s reputations. I think they are the kind of role models young people should look up to.

What brands do you like and desire?

A lot of the brands I like and desire are fashion brands.  I love Stella McCartney, Chloe, Marc Jacobs, Matthew Williamson, Miu Miu and Burberry.

I think these brands have incredibly beautiful products as well as gorgeous branding and advertising.  I also think the designers behind them have great reputations and all seem to be very intriguing and interesting people.

I like other design brands as well like Emeco (chairs by Philippe Starck) and Simple Human kitchen/household-wares.

If I gave you £100 to deck out your fridge, what would you fill it with?

Firstly I would head straight to Whole Foods on High Street Kensington (with a big grin on my face)!

I would buy some beautiful fresh fish and shellfish, mussels and langoustines and nice fish like monkfish or bream perhaps so I could make a yummy seafood feast.. these are pretty expensive products and not what I would normally afford myself to buy!

I would buy some of the nicest cheeses I could find, some strong Roquefort, Manchego, Camembert, Brie and Apple Smoked cheddars to create a cheeseboard to quaff with good red wine.

I would buy some lovely Italian Prosseco and some delicious cuts of meat cold cuts to create a Spanish charcuterie board from… some Parma ham, chorizo slices, morcilla and Serrano ham slithers which I would accompany with spicy chutneys and relishes … mmmmm!!!

I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth but if I had some money left over I would buy a big punnet of fresh organic strawberries and raspberries and some Cornish clotted cream… heaven!

This wouldn’t all be for one meal of course, but what a decadent fridge-full of food.

Oh, and I think I may also need to add one or two bottles of Pepto-Bismol too, for our tummies following our consumption of all of the above!

INSIGHT : What I Ate Today – English Consumer

Actually, what I ate for 5 days…..

Gail, 26

Lives : West London

Size :  10

Monday 19th Jan

Breakfast

4 Small handful of chipolatas  with ketchup 

1 Soya strawberry yoghurt pot (Alpro) with fresh blueberries and mixed seeds (Food Doctor)

2 Pints water

Vitamins – 1000mg VitC, Multigenics multivitamins, Vitamin E & Fish oils

Lunch

¾ carton Mediterranean vegetable soup (Tesco’s own brand) 

1 Handful cashew nuts 

1 Piece of smoked cheese

2 Pints water

Dinner

2 Leftover homemade lamb meatballs 

1 Small piece of cauliflower/green bean/broccoli gratin (homemade)

1 Salad – mixed leaves (rocket/watercress) with tomatoes and basil/olive oil and lemon juice

2 Pieces low-sugar chocolate

1 Gin and slimline tonic

About 6 pints water from company water cooler – no coffee – 1 green tea

Tuesday 20th Jan

Breakfast

1  Soya Strawberry yoghurt pot (Alpro) with handful of blueberries and 1 chopped banana 

2 Pints water

Vitamins – 1000mg VitC, Multigenics multivitamins, Vitamin E & Fish oils

Mid morning

1 Cup of regular tea with Soy milk (Alpro)

Lunch

1 Grilled chicken breast with little bit of mozzarella

1 Beetroot salad

1 Handful of cashews

2-3 Caramel nut clusters (brought back from a colleague’s trip abroad)

1 Pint of water 

Dinner

1 Lentil Dahl

1 King prawns tomato and coriander sauce

2 Cups peppermint tea

5 Pints of water (from company water cooler)

Wednesday 21st Jan

Breakfast

1 Soya mango yoghurt pot (Alpro) with fresh blueberries and one chopped banana

2 Pints water

Vitamins – 1000mg VitC, Multigenics multivitamins, Vitamin E & Fish oils

Lunch

1 Beetroot salad with tuna-mayo (with Aspall organic cider vinegar)

1 Tomatoes with fresh basil

1 Red apple

Mid afternoon snack

1 Small bag of cashew nuts

Dinner

1 Greek Salad with grilled pork sausage 

Thursday 22nd Jan

Breakfast

1 Grande Soy Chai Latte (Starbucks)

1 Banana

Vitamins – 1000mg VitC, Multigenics multivitamins, Vitamin E & Fish oils

Lunch

1 Tuna and tomato salad with Food Doctor mixed seeds

Afternoon snack 

1 Small bag of peanut M&M’s

1 Satsuma

Dinner

1 Tomato beef ragu (homemade) with grilled mushrooms and grilled peppers

1 Green salad

Friday 23rd Jan

Breakfast

1 Soya yoghurt pot (Alpro) with blueberries and mixed seeds.

1 Red apple

Vitamins – 1000mg VitC, Multigenics multivitamins, Vitamin E & Fish oils

Lunch

1 Egg and watercress salad, mixed seeds

1 Peanut butter with red apple wedges

Dinner (cooking dinner for my best friend at home)

1 Chicken breast with haggis stuffing (Burn’s weekend!)

1 Leeks 

1 Turnip and carrot mash

1 Sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream

2 Glasses white wine

Is this typical of what you eat most days?

This has been a fairly typical week for me diet-wise, although I am quite broke as it’s the end of Jan so I am eating out less (I would normally go to Itsu or Wagamama’s at least once through the week with my colleagues) so I am doing more prepared salads myself at work.

Ultimate Comfort Food?

Sharing a big American-style sausage/veg pizza (like Domino’s) with my boyfriend

OR

Oven roasted jacket potato with cheese and beans