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24 hours in Dublin

I went to Dublin at the beginning of January to visit my dear friend, Tomás. He works as a cabin crew for a flight company, so it’s rare to catch him on land. Luckily, I booked a few days off from work just in time, so I jumped in a plane and took off to Ireland.

I didn’t go there as a tourist really, but just to spend a few days with my friend. When in Dublin tho, you can’t miss one of the seven. (The Trinity College). After a few good hours of learning with our eyes about one of the oldest universities in the world, and literally inhaling all the culture from the Old Library,  we finally decided to leave the Celtic Heaven.

Next, we went to a place called “Books Upstairs” (Dublin’s oldest independent bookstore) which I highly recommend (the owner’s sense of humour is delicious, the place is very well organised and the prices are amazing). I left there with the complete collection of lyrics by Nick Cave and “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari.

After a quick meal and drink at the Pub (The Old Mill I think it was called), we managed to identify the ugliest dress in Debenhams (I don’t have a photo unfortunately, but you can take my word for it).

Spent the rest of the night walking, revisiting the bridges I saw during the day, and taking photos in the mist. 9/10, and would come back! Also, it was very fun playing Bridget Von Hammersmark for this instant photoshoot 🙂

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When your best friend is a photographer 🙂

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50 points for Slytherin ! (O’Connell Bridge)

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Bridget Von Hammersmark in action ! (Ha’penny Bridge)

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(all the photographs featured in this article were taken by Tomás Amaro)

Sooo, when are you going to Dublin? And if you’ve been there already, what did you visit?

 Outfit:

Wool coat (custom made) 

Wool skirt (Burberry)

Wool beret (TopShop)

Turtleneck bodysuit (Zara)

Suede shoes (Dune London)

Before I go, just a little Trivia about the Trinity College:

  • founded in 1592, it is the oldest University in Ireland, and one of the Seven.
  • it has it’s own trademark colour called TRINITY PINK (a very light and soothing shade of pink)  – Can you imagine the lawyers and the doctors wearing pink in the 19th century? I think it’s amazing.
  • it’s the permanent residence of the Book of Kells, an illuminated Gospel manuscript, believed to have been written between the 6th and the 8th century in latina vulgata. (common latin) – one of Medieval Europe’s greatest treasure.
  • my favourite part, the Old Library, smells like heaven. (considered to be one of the most impressive libraries in the world – built in the 18th century, house of over 200,000 books)

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“All Adventurous Women Do”

So, what was the last episode really about? I keep telling myself that it has a level of depth that I can’t reach as a 27 year old woman, and that I will get it in time, but I’m not sure there is more to it than the obvious. [Spoilers ahead]

Long story short, the episode takes you back to the pilot, with a scene where Marnie is spooning Hannah. She promises to help Hannah in raising this child, and moves in with her. Everything that happens after is a love story – the immortal love story between Hannah and Marnie, intimacy and the motherly love that changes everything.

sourceOne of the 1st things we learn about Hannah in “Girls”, is that she’s not comfortable in her own skin, and the postpartum made her feel even worse. (btw, I think she did a good job in showing what the birth of a child does to your mind and body – the scene with her wearing the breast pump is absolutely hilarious)

For someone like Hannah Horvath, self-centred and forever spoiled by her parents and friends, this is the perfect time to burst with post pregnancy hormones and act like a spoiled brat. As always, she constantly blames others for her failure, treats Marnie like shit and has a major outburst at her mother. However, Loreen is incredibly calm and patient, and constantly demonstrates that a parent’s job is never over, and Marnie is more supportive than ever. No matter how much they’re doing to show Hannah that she’s not alone in this, her awakening comes from an incident she has on the streets with a runaway child. I believe that’s the moment when she realises, that by having this baby, she made her first real decision for life.

She may not be a good mom, but she’s going to constantly try to be the best she can possibly be for her kid. In the last minute of the finale, she manages to comfort her offspring and breastfeeds with a look on her face that suggest that she’s finally starting to figure it out, and more important, she’s starting to accept her life. There are a million ways to make it.

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I got the idea of the finale – but It didn’t do anything for me really. What started with topics like abortion, body image, mental issues and homosexuality, ended with breast feeding, and Hannah being walked home by the police in her underwear to her new-born child. Classic.

Overall, it was a good episode, but a very weak finale.

I was expecting to see all the “Girls” in the finale. Maybe not walking in the sunset together, but at least a continuity, something, anything. After all the drama, life changing decisions, and the “I’m gonna make it this time” speeches, at least they could’ve given me, as a viewer, a feeling. Whatever the feeling, contempt, anger, controversy, I would’ve been happy no matter what. Instead, their absence suggested that these relationships are over.

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They give Ray a happy ending. Shoshanna is engaged, Marnie is a mess like always, latching on to Hannah for some purpose in life, and it seems like the only ones who have actually made it in New York are Adam and Elijah. I really think that Jessa deserved a happy ending too, and I admit that the moment when her and Hannah had that natural talk in the previous episode made me tear up.

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As a writer, Lena is still one of my favourite gals, but it seemed that she tried too hard to reach the topics that were in “trend”, and the last season proves that. If the trends for the women of “Sex and the City” were Manolo Blahnik shoes and parties to go to in New York, then for “Girls”, these trends were addressing issues like sexually transmitted diseases, accidental dick pics, or even deeper ones, like the fear of abandonment and addiction. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciated the effort they’ve put into addressing all these “millennial” topics, because it’s my generation after all, but I think a lot of the time, the writing was inconsistent.

Episode 6  -“What will we do about Adam this time” sent me straight to “Lala land”, and I adored it. Jemima’s bathroom scene was one of the best interpretations I’ve seen in “Girls”, and I just loved the “what could have been vibe”, but I can see how irrelevant it was for the characters. That was an episode made for the viewers, the millions of people who watched Hannah’s and Adam’s love story and just wanted closure. They gave us that, and in a way, by doing so, it makes me feel like the show should’ve been called “Love story” instead of “Girls”, because they didn’t bother to do that for Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna.

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I see the finale for what it is, however, I remain indifferent. This is not because it isn’t the ending I wanted, but because it isn’t the ending they deserved. I mean, you spend so many years creating these complex characters, just to be vague about their continuity. I get that this is supposed to be the real life and I can appreciate an open ending, but you just don’t do that to your viewers. I don’t want to imagine what’s going to happen with the girls, if I would’ve wanted that, I would’ve written it myself.  It’s almost like JK Rowling would’ve ended the last Harry Potter book with “The boy who lived may have defeated Voldemort, but I just can’t decide”.

This is an episode that makes me think of a matriarchal society, and puts into perspective the old and the new, the bad and the ugly and how at the end of the day, a girl is constantly learning.

So, instead of feeling any type of disappointment, I choose to see this episode for what it is, an ode for those who decided to keep the baby.

Almost Famous Fantasy

Remember that affordable fantasy I was talking about in my previous article? While in West Wales,  I tried to recreate looks from Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous” (2000).

In this movie, the 70’s fashion is portrayed wonderfully with suede jackets, distressed jeans, fur, band t-shirts and Bianca Jagger’s unmistakable style present in the “Bandaids” (the girls who accompanied the band Stillwater in the Almost Famous ’73 Tour). These girls are wild, they don’t want to be called “groupies”, and are there for the music. All of them have their own style, but the one that I most resonate with is, of course, Penny Lane.

This is the look that inspired the photoshoot ->


I am wearing a faux fur brown long coat bought for £15 at the #vintageweighandpay

Thanks for stopping by, and don’t forget to leave a comment!

Lou Lou’s Gold

Hi there ladies and dandies,

Last Sunday, I attended Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair in Cardiff, and I’m back with some impressions, suggestions, prices, and a few examples of what you can find there.

As I said in a previous article, Lou Lou’s is completely different than your ordinary vintage fair. They don’t use the kilo system, it’s massive, and there are traders from all over the UK. You can actually register as a trader on their site, which I think is really cool. The diversity of products is amazing; you can find everything from stamps and vinyls – to accessories and vintage Burberry trench-coats. It’s worth mentioning that you’re not going to find only vintage items, but there are also little shops that sell new products.

The atmosphere was created by the girls from “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” singing in the background, while shoppers were roaming frantically. The light inside didn’t really help my photography, and because it was a very rainy day, the light coming from the windows was no good. Still, I’m happy I had the opportunity to get into the City Hall building, it is majestic. My first experience at Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair, in a sentence, would be – stylish people, old and new, treasure hunt, rainy day, delicious food and a desire to come back.

I didn’t have time to pamper myself with a retro hairstyle at the Lou Lou’s salon, but I took a short break for some exquisite carrot cake, and coffee served in vintage coffee cups you can probably find in your nan’s kitchen. (I always felt that anything tastes better in those cups). Overall, it was a nice experience, I’m satisfied with what I found, and I’m happy to come back to Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair.

For photographs of the event, click here!

I went there hoping to recreate one of Grace Kelly’s outfits from “Real Window”, but I couldn’t find anything similar. In all fairness, I picked the hardest task ever.

  • As you can see, I was a in a bit of a pink fever. I found a 50’s style top which I intend to wear with a pair of high waist skinny Levi’s. As for the dress, I was inspired by Emma Stone’s pink dress in Lala Land – I am pretty happy with this choice (both items purchased from Dogs & Daisies Vintage). Total = £20

  • This pair of shoes is the actual gold I found at Lou Lou’s. They’re real vintage shoes, from an 80’s Salvatore Ferragamo crocodile skin collection. In my defence, before you judge me for wearing crocs on my feet (pun intended), I want you to know that I had  no idea what I was purchasing. I only knew the designer, and that I was stunned by their excellent condition. I am sure that Marilyn Monroe didn’t feel bad wearing Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, and I don’t regret anything – they’re the comfiest shoes I’ve ever had, and they’re designed after the unique pattern of Ferragamo. Total = £6

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  • Blue is the warmest colour, or not, but it’s definitely one of my favourite colours. I bought this bright blue retro top from the Goldbrush Vintage Clothing. I think it’s 60’s inspired, but I recall seeing it a lot in the 80’s style as well. The trader was really nice, and gave us an offer we couldn’t refuse – the dark blue and dark grey summer shirts for £15. I have no idea what kind of prints I’m dealing with,  I can only see cave man drawings. Total = £23

  • A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do – especially when it comes to jewellery. I have never found a pearl necklace that looks so authentic, and this one was made in the 50’s. Its condition is impeccable, and I already have a ton of ideas for it. (since we’re in the age of the “choker”, I’m going to wear this royally).
  • The brooch pin is from the 60s and it’s gold plated. (it actually has this engraved on the back, but it’s too small to photograph – I need a macro lens). I got it for almost nothing, considering what it’s worth, and it makes me think of the Elven jewellery from Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings. Total = £25

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  • Finally, I had to feed the geek in me, and so I purchased these vintage pins. The airplane is from the Soviet Union time, and it has CCCP written on it – which is basically USSR in the cyrillic alphabet.
  • The little flower pin reminds of the Edelweiss, which is the national flower of Romania – so rare that is protected by law.
  • As for the triangle, I have no idea what’s portrayed in there, I think it’s written in Arabic. The reason I got it is because of the picture you see on it, it’s actually painted, which I find amazing.
  • The Wallace and Gromit one doesn’t need any explanation; I actually got it for Rowan, who’s a big childhood fan. Total = £4

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  • If you know me personally, then you know that my all-time favourite movie is “Empire Strikes Back”. 2 weeks ago I met Darth Vader – Dave Prowse, and when I found this “Look-In” magazine from 1980, I couldn’t say no. It has an exclusive interview with Dave + you can also see Mork & Mindy on the cover, which is the first gig ever for Robin Williams, which we all adore.
  • I have been a postcard collector for 3 years now, thanks to my friend Tomas Amaro, who is always sending me one from every one of his travels. So, when I bumped into a vintage postcard collection at Lou Lou’s, I was in heaven. I don’t know the artists unfortunately. Total = £4

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Thank you for stopping by, and hope to see you again!

Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair 19/03

Hello ladies and gents,

I’m starting my new job for House of Fraser on the 1st of April, and I’m trying to fill the remaining time in a productive way, so you’ll probably hear from me excessively over the next 2 weeks. As you well know, I recently started to nurture my passion for all things vintage, and I’m happy to tell you about this upcoming event happening in Cardiff on the 19th March – Lou Lou’s Vintage Fair. This is my 3rd Vintage Fair in the last month and a half, and I’m really lucky to be getting the opportunity to work in this environment. I will be writing about my experience there, and I will provide you an insight into the biggest vintage fair in the UK. It really sounds overwhelming when you put it like that 🙂

A few days ago, I went exploring vintage shops in Cardiff, and I bumped into Sobeys Vintage Shop in the  Royal Arcade. I met a very lovely girl there who really knew her vintage. She told me about Lou Lou’s and what to expect, and also gave me a few tips about other events and boutiques happening in Cardiff. (She has now inspired me to start a real treasure hunt and expand to other areas – Bristol, here I come!). I will write about Sobeys as soon as I get my first pay-cheque, because I want to spend some serious money in there. (so clean and neat..yummm)

So far, I learnt that Lou Lou’s is not your regular vintage fair, and the system is a bit different than the ones I have encountered before. It’s definitely not a kilo sale, and it has independent traders from all over the country. They are making this experience different by collaborating with artists, creating an atmosphere by providing music, food and beverages. I am excited about trying some gluten free vegetarian pastry – yummm! Also, they will have a beauty salon, where you can get a vintage-inspired look. I don’t know prices yet, but I will let you know as soon as I get back.

From the reviews and photos I’ve seen on the site, I expect nothing but quality service. The first 2 vintage fairs I attended had the kilo sale system, which meant I could get 2 to 4 kilos without making a hole in the budget. (£15/kilo). I don’t yet know the prices for Lou Lou’s, but luckily, I got my pay-cheque from a film extra job I had in January. I am thinking to spend a maximum of £100 (including the treats). Somehow, I think it’s better because it makes me think more than twice about what I buy, and shuts the impulse buyer in me in a little golden cage.

‎So, as you know, every time I attend a vintage fair, I choose an iconic look to recreate. This time, my muse is Grace Kelly, who I feel in love with in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”. I will never be able to pull a Grace Kelly, since that woman’s beauty was out of this world, but I will at least try to build her look. I am hoping to find something similar to her well known dress, which, I think, inspired the Christian Dior ‘Ligne Corolle’.
Grace Kelly (“Rear Window” dress)

I am realistic about this – there’s a chance I won’t find the dress I’m looking for, or I won’t afford it, so I’m going to choose as a back-up the mint green suit she wears in the same film. (this makes me think of another Hitchcock muse – Tippi Hedren – she wears a similar green costume in “The Birds”)

Grace Kelly (“Rear Window” Mint Costume)

Tippi Hedren (“The Birds” Mint Costume)

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Wish me luck and hope to see you there!

Jane Birkin Love

Hiya!

I’m happy to be back with a new iconic look I put together for you + a lil bit extra. As you well know, my main target for the last vintage fair I attended, was to recreate Jane Birkin’s hippie look – the London babe turned Parisian in the 60s, which I was totally obsessed with in my teenage years.

She’s an endless source of inspiration, the perfect example of effortless look and class, and also the inspiration for the famous Hermès Birkin bag – which I will probably afford in another life. 🙂

Last weekend I went to West Wales, and took advantage of the sunny days and all the green around me. One lazy Sunday afternoon, I realised I have some of the clothes I purchased at the Vintage Weigh & Pay, and decided to do a small photoshoot at the country side. Hope you enjoy the final results!

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I am wearing a pair of Levi’s shorts and a no-name country pearl white blouse, both purchased at the #vintageweighandpay

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Thanks for stopping by – hope you enjoyed my little article!

 

To sleep or not to sleep

Hi there my fellow insomniacs,

Today I attended a sleep workshop at the Central Library in Cardiff, organised by the National Centre for Mental Health. The reason for this was my bad sleep pattern, which I have been trying to change for ages, but can’t seem to succeed. I’m somewhat frustrated by the eternal dark circles around my eyes and the absence of vitamin D that comes with the territory, but I’m keeping my mood up and trying not to let the “mean reds” get me.

With the help of Katie Lewis, a researcher from the National Centre for Mental Health, and the main speaker of the event, I have learned and reinforced a lot of important tricks, which I’m now going to share with you:

  1. Try to eat every day at the same hours, and definitely no food for 4 hours before going to bed;
  2. In order to set your sleep clock, you have to compromise and wake up at the same hour every day. For example – if you wake up at 7am during the week, and chose to wake up at midday during the week-end, your sleeping pattern is going to suffer the equivalent of a five-hour jet lag;
  3. It has been proven that exercising helps a lot, but avoid doing it 2 hours before bed;
  4. Your bed is for sleep only. It’s important to transform your sleeping place into a sanctuary, a place where you feel relaxed and safe;
  5. When you can’t sleep, don’t waste your time in bed tossing and turning. Get up, go and read a book, or watch tv for 15 minutes and try to sleep again later;
  6. Write down whatever is on your mind when you go to bed, so you won’t worry or anticipate. This can be your general mood or thoughts, or errands for tomorrow;
  7. Avoid, as much possible, the blue light coming from your LED electronics (laptop/phone/tablet) – a few hours before going to bed, reduce the brightness, or download apps that get rid of the blue light;
  8. Try to block street lights/noises out as much as possible. Distance yourself from artificial light, and try to get as much natural light as you can during the day;
  9. Pets can easily disturb your sleep, so no matter how cute and fluffy they are, it’s better not to let them sleep next to you;
  10. Find the relaxing sleep routine that’s best for you: read a relaxing book, meditate, listen to chill music, watch something easy.

(It is worth noting at this point that these tips may not apply to everyone, but they are a good reference to try and tailor to your own individual sleeping cycles)

I’m now going to tell you what losing sleep did to my mind/body:

  • It made my skin look sickly and irritated;
  • My vision was constantly blurred, and I now have to change my glasses because they don’t help anymore – I also developed photosensitivity;
  • It made my hair fall off;
  • It affected my self esteem and made me lose confidence in my looks;
  • It made me hate the sun and avoid getting out of the house during the day time, unless completely necessary;
  • I lost my ability to focus on conversation, and I had the attention span of a goldfish;
  • I lost the drive to do anything that made me happy – hobbies, meeting up with friends, walks on the beach, etc;
  • It gave me irrational fears, panic attacks and anxiety;
  • Through all this, it made me feel very helpless and useless.

These are only a few of the things that my mind and body have gone, and still to this day go through, but I’m doing way better nowadays. I learnt that I’m not alone in this, and I’m slowly gaining control over my life – trying to befriend Morpheus and let him take me to dreamland every night.

Part of the workshop was a fun and engaging activity, where you answered questions about your own sleep cycles and habits, which then gave you a score out of 20. If you scored high, you were a lark, which tells you that your sleep patterns are and relaxed. If you scored low, you were an owl and in the middle, there was the hummingbird which can have tendencies from both. It seems that I am an owl and Rowan is a hummingbird. (no surprises there)

I think that going to this event is the start of something, and it really gives me hope that I can live a normal life. For now, I have to change my thyroid treatment because I developed an allergy to it, so fingers crossed!

For future events and general info, you can have a look on the National Centre for Mental Health website here 

Photo copyright Laura Iancu