Culture Cup

Thursday, 22 February 2018

“I’ll have a skinny mochachino latte grande, with extra fairy dust, matchu pichu sprinkles, topped with topaz and diamond syrup and rare Polynesian rehydrated cream”. Ok, that’s not my usual beverage of choice, but you get the jist. It’s funny how, within the last decade or so, the craze for drinking coffee from a coffee shop has exploded. So much so, that you almost seem bizarre for making a hot drink in a mug….at home! (shocking).

The topic may seem innocuous, but so much in society is these days. The effects of drinking coffee on a regular basis is often discussed, but not as much attention is given to the polystyrene cups that are used in coffee shops.

It’s so common to walk down any high street and every next person is clutching a cup of *insert name of favourite drink here. It’s almost become part of a uniform, along with a Michael Kors hand bag and the latest iPhone.

I’m a great believer in social conditioning: That is, that companies in particular control what we do, without it seeming like they do. It all started with Friends. No, not your mate Tracey from next door, but the overly popular comedy show from the 90s. The depiction of best buddies hanging out in Central Perk coffee shop was beamed across the world and no doubt ignited the desire for many of us to bring some of that Friends-magic into our lives via a takeaway hot drink. 

Ok, so let’s get a bit boring: the Oxford English dictionary definition of polystyrene is: “A synthetic resin which is a polymer of styrene, used lightweight form and film”.

Any hot liquid poured into such a container will naturally absorb any of the harmful synthetic chemicals which will be present in these materials. In other words, when we drink coffee (or any hot drink) from a synthetic made vessel, it will invariably contain residue from that material. In this case a polystyrene cup. “Yeah, but so what?”, I hear you say (not that I can really hear anyone saying that through this blog…that would be impossible). It matters because whilst it may not be as well documented as the dangers of consuming too much sugar and over processed food, it seems to me that the widespread use of polystyrene and other synthetic materials (like plastic) in our daily lives and its long-term effect on our health (not to mention the environment) is simply "killing us softly"

Of course, they’ll be those who will roll their eyes, shrug their shoulders, tut under their breath and say I’m taking things farrrrr too seriously. Yes may be, but since writing this post, I saw a story on the BBC website about the, no proven, dangers of drinking water from plastic bottles (read it here). 

I guess the point is that you don’t need to completely cut out using polystyrene cups (although I try to), but perhaps, to use a very millennial word, be more mindful, not just about what we consume, but also about the container/packaging it comes in (plastic wrapped fruit and veg, vacuum packed fish and meat, etc) and the effect these synthetic materials may be having on our health long term. 

One small solution to this conundrum is to try a reusable, glass, cup, There's this one from Planet Organic, or there's a wide variety on Amazon here. Try buying fruit and veg from a market, rather than a supermarket, where most items are cosseted in plastic. 

'Til next time my lovies :)

My wishlist so far

Monday, 12 February 2018

I've been a bit quiet on my blog, mainly because I haven't been inspired to post anything (which seems to be the norm around this time of year). However, I thought I'd begin posting with a good ole' roundup of some things I've been liking and have already put on my wish list (so far):

Its still pretty cold here in the UK. In fact last week we had a particularly ferocious blast of arctic air (not that I'm complaining mind you, as it means I can get a bit more wear out of my extensive knitwear collection). To combine those winter and spring vibes, this Cos cashmere yellow sweater fits the bill perfectly. Its a true "egg-yolk" shade and works well with a pair of tailored trousers and loafers, or block heels.

Midi dresses are en vogue and this black and starry number from AndOtherStories is a good example. It's slightly fitted on the waist and is made from a drapey viscose material, which is perfect for now with ankle boots and an oversized cardi, or for spring with flat sandals. The possibilities are endless.

Ok, ok, what would a  wish list from me be without some TOAST: I have to admit I wasn't particularly inspired by their autumn/winter 17 collection, but I'm more optimistic for their new season offerings. This Iya top is a case in point. It did catch my eye on their website, but the print seemed quite intense. However, when I saw it in store and felt the gorgeous silk fabric I was definitely sold. Its quite a loose shape, but should look good with skinny jeans and boots.

My desire to spend an extortionate amount on a designer bag is unabated, but I just can't seem to decide which bag to go far. Nothing has really caught my eye, at least not for long enough for me to spend a months salary on. Loewe is a bag brand which is more discreet then usual suspects (Gucci, Prada, etc.). I've got two on my wish list at the moment, the Puzzle and the Hammock. Both seem spacious, practical and beautiful. Lets see which, if either, I go for. If anyone has any recommendations, please let me know :)

Nothing beats a cute stripey top to inject a little fun into an outfit, so this ASOS Monki purple and white long-sleeved tee is super cute. I've never seen this colour combo before and it makes a change from the usual black/navy/red versions around.

Lastly, a coat which will see you through to Spring: Of course, the UK is known for its temperamental weather and having a light, waterproof, parka/raincoat on standby is a must. I just spotted this khaki parka from ASOS yesterday and I can imagine it will be making its way into my wardrobe sooner (there's only so far I can take my wool coats into spring, without getting odd looks).

Do let me know what you've been loving lately, as I love the idea of depleting my bank balance even further..haha.

Happy Spring everyone!

The Knit - List

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The weather here in the UK has become decidedly colder, which means only one thing: Knitwear!(and hot chocolate, but this post is about knitwear..haha..but just to say that Costa's festive cups are super cute as per usual). I have compiled a list of the "knits-to-know" and I may have thrown in a few cheeky extras at the end.

This is not in any specific order in terms of price, but snugglyness (a technical term of course):

The Texas song "Halo" is just what this sweater is like...a halo around the skin. It's light and cosy and great for work and play. Toast fares favourably in this regarding, as knitwear is what this brand is known for.

I'm not usually a fan of fully acrylic knitwear, but Topshop has nailed it on the cosy front. Their oversized funnel neck is an exception to my own rule. It looks and feels like a cloud and I style mine with blue jeans.

Although red is the colour of the season I think now that the red frenzy has peaked, it calls for more of a subtler nod to the trend (in my humble opinion of course). Yet another piece of Parisian chic in the form of Vanessa Bruno's gold button striped sweater will keep you toasty and on-point....result!. Black Friday will soon be upon us, so it may be worth holding out for a few more weeks to see if

Cosy Cos also provides knitwear and scarves that you will want to keep on all day long. I myself, have a number of pieces from Cos, which I wear practically on rotation. Here's a few to add your mental wish-basket. What can be more comforting then a sweater dress, great with boots and flats alike. This one may seem a bit sack-like, but it screams effortless cool (and will hide a post-pizza tummy).

Does Christmas Jumper Day strike fear into the hearts of the style-conscious?. If it does, this sweater from Mango, has all the embellishment, but none of the cheese. For those who are brave enough to go full-speed "jungle bells", head to Topshop for their Xmas special. If you really wish to invest in something more seasonal, then N.Peal is a safe bet. Cashmere is what they do and this Jewelled Fairisle Cashmere number has "Seasons Greetings" written all over it.

Lastly, a few little extras which I will definitely be enveloping myself in over the next few months: this Toast green Donegal cashmere scarf will add a pop of colour to any dark outfit. Green is a lovely autumn colour and there's a shade out there that'll suit everyone. Saint Laurent is not an obvious choice for scarves, but their appliqued scarf has subtle branding and would make a nice treat for yourself, or a fan of the brand.

That (Black) Friday Feeling

This time of year should definitely be more about spending time with family and friends, rather than spending money, but one can't deny that shopping has become as much a part of the festive season as Christmas pudding and the Queen's Speech. Black Friday is the newest addition to the shopping calendar (thanks USA) and it would be rude not to take part. If nothing else, it provides an opportunity to save a few quid on Xmas gifts and perhaps even give the money saved to a good cause (?).

In order to make the most of Black Friday, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to ensure you get what you want.

- The details: This year Black Friday will be on Friday 24th November 2017.

- If it's fashion you're after, then I suggest going in store to try on the item/s and select the size you want well in advance. I know from experience that this can really help in the middle of a scrum on the day. Just pick up the item and head to the till. Job done.

- Try online: Online shopping has come a long way and can save time, money and serious injury than heading out and braving the crowds on Black Friday week. If you're a die-hard shopper, there are bargains to be had by hitting the (online) shops at a time when most of the country will be sound asleep (wimps!)

- Fuel: To have enough energy to be able to shop effectively, you need fuel. No, not a guzzle of petrol, that would be lethal, but rather food to give you the stamina to carry on, whilst those around you are suffering pangs of fatigue and despair. A good breakfast should provide you with the strength you need to carry heavy bags laden with treasure (or that new top from New Look).

- It's not just for a day - Black Friday has gradually moved on from a one day event, to discounts and offers being spread throughout the week, so there's even more opportunity for success.

So that's it for another Black Friday post: I will, of course, share my own acquisitions and I hope its filled with promise, joy and success for all!

2 Pieces of Toast

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Usually I'm all over the latest offerings from Toast, but this season I've been a bit more reserved. Saying that, there are two...yes...just two, items from the new collection that have really caught my eye (although, I'm sure this will increase when their Christmas collection is revealed).

This skirt appeared on my radar, not just because its velvet (love!), but the shape nods to the midi length which seems to be hot right now and can be worn with boots, or dressed up with heels (may be even with socks???). Now, my new "shirt love", is this slightly cropped number, which is in the most comfortable material. The rich teal and navy shade looks great for the office with black tailored trousers and the length of sleeves means it can be layered over a thin knit for extra warmth. Both of these pieces are a bit on the pricey side (Toast is more of a high-end high-street brand), but if its quality you're after and not the fast-fashion of today, Toast is the place to go.