Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog

Category: Inspiration

Milking It

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‘Skimmed, semi-skimmed or soy?’ is a question you are likely to hear on a daily basis if you, like me, spend half of your life queuing in your local Starbucks. It’s a question that sends my dad into a dither every time he orders my coffee whilst trying to remember my straw, stevia and takeaway cup (even if we’re staying in). It’s also a question that influenced me to try soy milk in coffee and it quickly became my preference until a barista eagerly informed me that Starbucks had introduced coconut milk to their menu.

My first thought? This girl has way too much energy for a Monday morning. Second thought? Great. Yet another milk that’s being marketed as the holy grail. Third thought? …buuut coconuts are kind of amazing, this could really change my cappuccinos forever… I really need to research the nutritious value of this stuff when I get homeEw, why am I so basic? …WHY ARE YOU CONFUSING ME WITH ALL THESE VARIETIES? AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHY ARE YOU STILL REFUSING TO SERVE ALMOND MILK?! #milkmeltdown.

I will confess to being a bit of a nutrition nerd and I do find food fascinating, so yes, I did spend half an hour reading articles about milk. I wanted to know how healthy this new coconut milk craze actually is. Not as healthy as one might think apparently.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk contains high levels of saturated fat and has approximately 63 calories per cup. The medium chain fatty acids  (MCFAs) which make up the saturated fats are easily absorbed as energy which means not much is left in the body as fat, but when you compare the fat percentage to almond milk or soya, it’s clear to see the latter are probably better for keeping the extra pounds off and keeping a lower cholesterol level. This is not to say that coconut products are not beneficial at all  – they are great for a number of things such as healthy hair, skin and even memory, but they should be taken in moderation.

I did try coconut milk in a cappuccino last week and I have to say, even though the taste was not super strong, I definitely prefer the taste of soy milk. However, I have heard from friends that it is really nice in coffee frappes and has a pleasant coconut taste.

Another thing to take into consideration, is that Starbucks use a coconut milk that has been modified to have a lower fat content and a sweeter taste. There is not much pure coconut milk in the Sumatra product they use which is similar to brands sold in the supermarkets that appear to sell low calorie coconut milk. But surely coconut milk isn’t supposed to be low in calories if it is pure? After studying the ingredients of these supermarket milks, it is possible to see they have a few more ingredients than just water and coconut cream, often including a high water to milk ratio with additives. Usually these products will only contain 8% coconut cream, hence the low calories.

Semi-Skimmed and Skimmed Milk

When it comes to skimmed and semi-skimmed milk, it is important to take into account that 1% or 2% fat does not mean that there is only a tiny percentage of fat in the beverage. The percentage relates to the weight of the milk fat. This means that if a cup of 2% milk weighs 224 grams and of that, 5 grams are fat, you would need to divide five by 224 to get an answer of 2.23%. Skim milk contains roughly 0.4 grams with a percentage of 0.

I did go through a period of drinking skimmed milk in my coffee and I can’t tell the difference to soy milk, although a lot of people are not too keen on the taste. Personally, I do like the flavour but it does leave me feeling bloated when I drink it, which is why I try to avoid it where I can.

Almond Milk

If you really want to cut down on calories, almond milk is your new best friend. One glass of this stuff only contains 60 calories compared with skim milk which has 80. There are no saturated fats but it is high in omega fatty acids which are the good fats found in fish. It also contains a lot of Vitamin E which acts as an antioxidant that is really good for protecting the skin and enhancing its appearance. Like coconut milk, the stuff sold in the supermarkets has been modified and does not contain a whole load of almonds so it is better to buy a product with the least amount of ingredients or you can even make your own, (but ain’t nobody got time for that, lets be real.)

It does contain less protein than other milk variations and calcium/vitamins are added during processing, but other than that, there are not many other dietary downsides.

Almond milk seems to be lowest in sugar, saturated fat and calories compared with any other milk, making it seem like the best option available on the market. I love making lattes, milkshakes or hot chocolates at home with it, but I have to say that it is not the nicest when added to an Americano blend – it tastes really nutty and not in a good way! It does really annoy me that a lot of coffee shops don’t offer almond milk as it is becoming a lot more popular now, but I am hoping this will change in the near future.

Soy Milk

Last but not least, soy milk, as I mentioned, is definitely my milk of choice when almond milk is unavailable. It does not have a strong taste and I like that I don’t feel bloated or full after I’ve finished a coffee. It has the same amount of calories as skim milk (80) with less sugar, saturated fat and high protein levels. There have been a few studies to show that soy products such as milk can affect hormones like oestrogen in the body and it’s been linked to breast cancer, but like every other milk mentioned, there are advantages and disadvantages and of course, it would not be sold if it was causing serious harm.

Although coconut milk is being promoted as the new health product we should all be drinking, it doesn’t mean it is automatically less calorific than other milk types. Yes, it does have its nutritional benefits, but there is currently more evidence in support of unsweetened almond milk being the better choice for controlling weight with only 14 calories per 100ml compared with 25 in coconut milk. When all is taken into consideration, numbers don’t lie.

Image via 80s-90s-supermodels.tumblr.com

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8 of the Best: Instagram Accounts

@bingbangnyc

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New York jewellery brand Bing Bang post an array of images converging modern elements with vintage. If you’re a fan of candid 70s or 90s supermodel shots, tropical foliage and amusing quotations, this is the account for you.

http://www.bingbangnyc.com

@inkawilliams

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Bali-based beach babe Inka Williams is just 15 years old but is already signed to IMG. She’s Australian/French and likes to blog on her Tumblr page in her free time. Her account completely embraces the balmy bohemian lifestyle of Bali that I was lucky enough to experience myself in May.

http://inka-williams.tumblr.com

@rubytuesdaymatthews

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Apart from being an absolutely gorgeous Australian model, Ruby‘s account is all the more attractive being that it is conducted in a diary format. Currently pregnant, the Byron Bay beauty will update her followers on the changes her body is experiencing, along with beauty, wellness and nutrition tips for other women expecting.

https://rubytuesday-matthews.squarespace.com

@tashsefton and @elle_ferguson

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These two are hands down my favourite fashion bloggers and they also happen to come from Australia (I see a pattern emerging here…).

Elle has the best beach blonde hair and longest legs I think I have ever seen. She is rarely seen without her signature cut-offs, although you can catch her in pretty peasant dresses from time to time. Tash prefers to wear distressed boyfriend jeans with striped tees and appears to be the slightly more understated of the two. Both accounts feature daily outfit details with nautical vibes – perfect for anyone who swears by a smart-casual dress code.

 http://www.theyallhateus.com

@raff_law

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When it comes to celebrities of the male variety, I can probably count on one hand the ones I find attractive (Johnny Depp circa 1998, Jude Law, Ed Westwick and a young Marlon Brando). It seems that if you don’t find Ryan Gosling or that whole ‘all-American’ look appealing, you may as well be a martian in girl world. Just to clarify, I did not cry at The Notebook and I don’t see what all the hype is about.

However, there is one male I will happily generate hype for and he goes by the name of Rafferty Law, son of Sadie Frost and Jude Law. He’s definitely got his dad to thank for his gene pool luck, cheeky London charm and chiseled jawline. Raff is only 18 but is signed to Select and has already walked for DKNY, so it goes without saying that we can certainly expect big things from the burgeoning model and musician.

@girlswithgluten

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Because who doesn’t want to see hot girls eating pizza? It also feeds my soul a little viewing all the food I can’t eat when I’m trying to eat clean and ‘carbicide’, a favourite term in my vocabulary, is 100% not happening on a Saturday night in the form of a large margarita pizza in a backstreet takeaway. I guess it’s the whole principle of look but don’t touch, right?

If you want the chance to be featured – send photos to girlswithgluten.com

@madeleine_shaw_

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Because I like to look at all the food I want to be able to cook but reality checks tell me I’m to lazy and my bank balance informs me I don’t have an endless grocery budget reserved for copious amounts of bee pollen and kale seeds.

Madeleine‘s posts are lovely and the dishes she prepares are not disgustingly healthy – you’ll be happy to see plenty of eggs, bacon and chocolate but with a unique nutritious twist. I’m also a huge coconut fan so it’s great to see her use this ingredient so much!

 As a health coach and yoga teacher based in London, Madeleine has published a book and also runs a blog and Youtube channel.

http://madeleineshaw.com

Disclaimer: The images on this post belong to the original owners and are sourced from https://www.pinterest.com. If you prefer that your image be removed, I will be glad to do so. 

Dreamy

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Disclaimer: The images on this post belong to the original owners and are sourced from http://www.fashiongonerogue.com. If you prefer that your image be removed, I will be glad to do so. 

Tough Crowd

Just like the latest trends of the season, certain issues always seem to peak and trough in the fashion industry. There are the new stories that arise, such as the celebration of the transgender community who are helping to portray the industry as open-minded and creative, but there are also the issues that after rearing their ugly heads, circulate time and again due to a lack of acceptance.

One example that has gained a lot of publicity in the past week, is the ignorance shown by designers and makeup artists regarding the use of models from a variety of races and ethnicities. Nykhor Paul, who has walked for big names such as Calvin Klein and Balenciaga, took to Instagram this week to vent her frustration at the racism she endures while in the makeup chair.  Her post can be read below:

“Dear white people in the fashion world! Please don’t take this the wrong way but it’s time you people get your shit right when it comes to our complexion! Why do I have to bring my own makeup to a professional show when all the other white girls don’t have to do anything but show up wtf! Don’t try to make me feel bad because I am blue black its 2015 go to Mac, Bobbi Brown, Makeup forever, Iman cosmetic, black opal, even Lancôme and Clinique carried them plus so much more. there’s so much options our there for dark skin tones today. A good makeup artist would come prepare and do there research before coming to work because often time you know what to expect especially at a show! Stop apologizing it’s insulting and disrespectful to me and my race it doesn’t help, seriously! Make an effort at least! That goes for NYC, London, Milan, Paris and Cape Town plus everywhere else that have issues with black skin tones. Just because you only book a few of us doesn’t mean you have the right to make us look ratchet. I’m tired of complaining about not getting book as a black model and I’m definitely super tired of apologizing for my blackness!!!! Fashion is art, art is never racist it should be inclusive of all not only white people, shit we started fashion in Africa and you modernize and copy it! Why can’t we be part of fashion fully and equally?”

Personally, I feel this is a very real issue that needs to be addressed. Why should certain models be treated differently because of their skin colour? Surely this should be an industry where change should be embraced and leading forces should be open minded?

Jourdan Dunn, the first black model to walk for Prada in a decade, also recently spoke out about the ignorance of makeup artists, accusing them of acting unprofessionally and refusing to do her makeup for shows because they were unfamiliar with applying makeup to black skin. As a makeup artist, it is your job to know how to work with all skin tones. If you don’t know how, you’re lazy and you perhaps shouldn’t be in an industry where you will be faced with models of all ethnicities.

Not that my experiences working as a Caucasian model are anything compared with the prejudice these girls face, but I have been asked on a number of occasions, due to my very fair complexion, to bring my own foundation colour with me or I will usually have a shade applied that is far too dark. As Nykhor stated, MANY makeup brands carry a variety of foundation shades so yes, I do think it unprofessional to ask me to bring my own or to have to put up with an orange face for a whole shoot. It’s not rocket science people! It goes a little something like MAC NC15. There, I’ve even done the maths for you.

Naomi Campbell, a model who has been in fashion since the 80s sat down this week to speak to photographer Nick Knight about ‘territorialism’ in the industry. Naomi refuses to acknowledge the word ‘racism’ and believes that designers may not even be aware they haven’t featured an ethnic model for several seasons. She says it is important to remind fashion figure heads this, stating that she will not stop talking about the issue until she sees a significant change.

Another interesting point she brings up, is that she does not want younger models such as Jourdan, Malika Firth and Chanel Iman to risk losing jobs over their direct viewpoints aimed at the industry – she sees herself and older models such as Iman responsible for causing controversy on their behalf.

People can say what they like about Naomi, but she is an extremely strong individual who has done a lot of good for the industry so far and it’s great to see her speaking for the younger models who don’t have such a big influence. It seems she believes a tactful, yet strong approach is necessary to tackle this problem and is not aiming to ruffle feathers, she just wants to change the way the industry thinks.

One designer I do applaud is Olivier Rousteing, creative director for Balmain. He always used a really diverse selection of models and celebrities in campaigns and on the catwalk, such as Rihanna and Cindy Bruna. Hopefully other designers and brands will soon follow suit and realise the benefits of projecting an ethnically diverse image.

What do you think is the biggest issue in fashion right now? Feel free to discuss by commenting below.

Video via SHOWstudio youtube channel

Pride Wars

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Normally, my blog consists of pretty pictures or my opinions on various collections gracing the catwalks. Having said that, there will be the odd occasion where I feel the need to write about something that has REALLY inspired me and nothing deserves a mention more than same sex marriage being declared legal across the whole of the United States. This is an amazing step in the right direction for gay rights and I couldn’t be happier for all my friends benefitting from this monumental change in politics and society.

However, there is still a long way to go and discrimination of homosexuality is surprisingly still current. Just take a minute and imagine yourself as a gay man.  One thing you have always wanted to do is join a dance class. You put it off for years but eventually pluck up the courage to enquire at a local dance school only to be met with ‘Sorry, this is a women’s only class’. Your hopes are shattered instantly and you feel as if you won’t ever get the chance to engage in something you love for fear of being rejected or judged.  This is a scenario that happened to a close friend, although rather than take the knock back lying down, he persisted until he found a class right for him.

Just last week a conversation arose with another friend who informed me that gay men are required to be celibate for a year before they are even considered to donate blood and they were not allowed to give blood at all before 2011. This was something I was unaware of and it completely baffled me.

So a straight person can sleep with multiple partners without protection and be considered right away for giving blood, whereas a gay man could be using protection all the time and cannot? Surely there is a pretty tight ‘quality control’  testing process that happens after donating blood that will apply to everyone involved anyway? There is this big misconception that gay people are more promiscuous than straight people which is reinforced by this ridiculous rule.  Basically, ANYBODY should be thoroughly checked over before they give blood and ANYBODY can contract HIV, so this condition should really apply to EVERYBODY if it is to exist. These are just two instances of many I have heard which happened in the UK, a place where same sex marriage is legal, so why is it that other outdated regulations still exist?

One thing I would really like to see in the future is same sex marriage legalised in Hong Kong – a place I lived for two years and consider my second home. It is a shame that a place so free and liberal in many ways has not yet succumbed. Hopefully after the U.S., it will follow suite and support a community of people that made living in Hong Kong the best.

The Girl Who Went Viral

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I’m sure you have all seen the video ‘Drunk Girl in Public’ on Youtube by now. I mean, it was pretty shocking to find that one of my friends was going viral with many of our mutual friends reposting the video all over Facebook. My initial thought was, ‘Wait, this is my Jen who’s getting millions of views and a huge recognition all over the globe? The Jen who was one of my first friends in Hong Kong back in 2012?’

After watching the video, I felt so proud of her for spreading a positive message against date rape culture. Then, a few days after it went viral, it came out that the video was fake and Jen was portrayed as a cunning young actress/model who would do anything for her 5 minutes of fame.

Now, I know Jen well. She is extremely ambitious and works extraordinarily hard at whatever she does, but by no means, is she an evil mastermind that would ever have wanted the men in that video to risk losing their jobs or damaging their relationships. That just isn’t what she’s about. Never would she have okayed the video being released if she knew the full extent as to what the producers were trying to convey.

From knowing her personally, she is someone that attracts a lot of attention. She has a sweet, bubbly personality and of course, her model looks help too! I also know that after working as a PR, which involved bringing models and clients into some of the best clubs here in Hong Kong, she reached a point where the constant unwanted male attention had become too much and she wanted to leave HK for good. It must have been hard working in a predominantly male environment and it is a shame to hear that people Jen had worked with for over a  year, felt they were not obliged to be respectful to her. That’s what I love about Jen though. She has such a positive attitude towards everything and whilst she brushed off these incidents, I could tell they irritated her. The rare moments I have seen her explode, it’s been for very good reason.

I will quickly delve into one occasion where we went for dinner at a Japanese restaurant with two of her male friends who were in town for the week. I felt a bit awkward because one of them loved the sound of his own voice and was constantly asking me questions. Every time Jen tried to contribute to the conversation, he would talk over her with another question or irrelevant comment, Seeing Jen suddenly go very quiet, I thought she was angry at me. Leaving to visit the toilet, I didn’t realise that Jen had followed me in. What, followed was an eruption – luckily not directed at me! Jen was furious at this man for disregarding her opinions. Furious, I tell you.

I found it astonishing seeing so much anger come from such a tiny thing. We laughed about it, walked out of the toilets and stupidly agreed to take him out to a club, where he thought it would be funny to tell the door girls I was his ‘lover’, I barely knew the man! That would have been very quick work considering we had met 2 hours prior! He continued to make outlandish comments to anyone who crossed his path, which resulted in us washing our hands of him and enjoying the rest of our night.

The real reason I am  offering my opinion on the backlash of this video, is because Jen has written a very interesting blog post (see bottom of the post) where she gives her side of the story on it. She describes how it feels to be judged everywhere she goes, for something she had little control over. Being silenced by her agents after the video emerged as a fake, also made the situation more complicated. I think a lot of people who are quick to judge her, may not understand that models or actors have many different clauses and conditions in their contracts that make it hard for them to say or do as they please, regardless of the situation.

Personally, I think it brave that Jen has done a follow up Youtube video and the blog post, explaining the situation. Speaking out could only attract more attention to the matter and possibly more haters, but the fact that most of the written account highlights the dangers of date rape culture, makes the content even more valid.  I will now further describe my experiences and thoughts on this topic.

Out at a bar a few years ago with a friend, I was approached by a man who appeared to be alone.  I distinctly remember him asking me to come to a pool party with him and after politely refusing his offer, he offered to  buy me a drink. As my friend was walking over to the bar to join us, she saw him put something in my drink while I was looking elsewhere. Unperturbed, I drank it and seconds later, I was forcefully taken to a taxi by my friend who was in shock from what she had just witnessed.  In the taxi, I grabbed my bag back from her, and tried to leave the taxi. All I was thinking about at the time was going to that pool party. I mean, who has pool parties in the middle of winter in Bristol anyway?! The man was still lingering outside and saw this as an opportunity to take me off up the street. Luckily, we were on good terms with the bouncers of the bar and they kindly, but firmly took me away from this man and pushed me back into the car, insisting I needed to go home. The next morning, I awoke to find my wallet had been stolen and realising I had his number on my phone, I called to question him, only to be met with a load of lies, called ‘babe’ and  asked on a drinks date. How ironic right?

To this day, I am psycho about watching my drinks and although I was fortunate to have several people helping that night, a lot of people are not so lucky.  After hearing horror stories of things much worse happening from a fair amount of girls, I am surprised at how often and how real the problem is.

Another time, I was at a club in Guangzhou, China, where it was early and the club was near empty. I had just got to a table with my roommate and had not realised an old, Russian man had followed us. He kept coming closer and closer to me, slurring things that were incomprehensible, but no doubt, derogatory. When I say close, I mean, next to my face close. Moving away from him, he kept following me. Several seconds later, he pulled out 100RMB and  pushed it into my chest. I was speechless, shaken up and infuriated, What had I done to deserve this? I wasn’t a streetwalker, nor did I look like one. Even if I was, I would hope that I am worth a bit more than a mere 100RMB!

That particular night I was wearing a mid length black dress which was form fitting, but the only skin I had showing was about 3 inches of my legs. I don’t dress provocatively in the daytime or when I go out, I also rarely wear dresses. Even if I did, why does that give anyone the right to touch, leer, or harass me in such a way? What was most shocking from the ordeal, was that the workers there were nearby and watched the whole thing, chuckling to themselves, Did he get barred? No. Unfortunately, he was allowed to stagger freely around the club whilst I was left on edge for the whole night. But I guess in the eyes of the workers, this Russian man had money so it made it okay.

I barely went out after this – not just because of that one incident, but because the club was one of the creepiest places I have ever set foot in. It was dated, dingy and disgusting,  Every man in there was only there to look at models and spike their drinks and believe me, I am not being dramatic. It really was quite something.

The handful of times I went out, it was to have a couple of drinks with my Brazilian, Dutch and Russian flatmates, but throughout the evening, a number of lecherous men with sunglasses (think vintage Versace circa 2000) would approach with glasses of champagne, trying to lure us to their tables. Even after profusely refusing their champagne, they would push it into my hand causing me to immediately pour it away. Unfortunately, a roommate of mine spent a lot of time at this particular club, as she enjoyed the party lifestyle her first modelling trip brought. She could always be found at the table of one of the shareholders of this place, and would frequently talk about him fondly. One night her drink was drugged, supposedly by him, but luckily, she also had a support system that brought her home and looked after her.

It really goes to show that these things can be done by anyone, even those that we trust. It tends to be done by people who are in a position of power, whether it be wealth or authority. They seem to feel the need to abuse this power, taking what they want, when they want it. Jen also explains her experience of having her drink tampered with in her blog post which was done by her club owner ‘friends’.

Even catcalling, which may be seen as innocent by some, can make women feel victimised. My family home in the UK is located near to a large building supplies store, and I get stared at every time I walk past. It ‘s not  just me either. My mother also gets leered at, and I’m pretty sure anything else wearing a skirt. I was even asked at age 14 by an older builder there, ‘Why are you wearing trousers today? You usually wear a skirt!’ whilst on my way to school. I hate having to walk past this ghastly place when I go back home as it does make me feel intimidated. Why should we, as women, be made to feel like that? This behaviour in certain men really does need to change (please note that I saId CERTAIN MEN and not ALL MEN).

Hopefully,  I have been able to shed some light on the more important issue surrounding the video and I really commend Jen for speaking up and drawing attention to it too.

Jen’s Blog Post

The Body: Anna Fedorovna

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Scrolling through my newsfeed this morning on my way back from the gym, I noticed an inspiring Tumblr post from my friend Anna. Anna has been modelling for several years now, and in my opinion has one of the best faces I have seen and one of the sweetest personalities out of anyone I have ever met. Although I have not seen her for two years as we met in Seoul, I know  she has given birth to a beautiful baby boy named Noah, 14 months ago and is now living happily in Mexico City. As a side note, she also enjoys posting gorgeous make-up tutorials online in her free time which are definitely worth a look and you can find via the link to her blog at the bottom of the page.

What was interesting about this particular post that popped up, was not only the insanely impressive snapshots of her in a bikini, but her amusing and encouraging outlook on the topic of post-baby bodies. Anna counts breastfeeding, food prepping and running around after Noah as the main factors contributing to losing the pregnancy pounds, although, she does admit that she is fortunate her body has not changed too much – I’m sure her model genes help somewhat too!

It’s lovely to see she’s encouraging women to stop being so pessimistic about the changes their bodies inccur after childbirth and takes the view: ‘My body was able to make a miracle, my son was made out of my flesh and blood! If that is not a reason to love our bodies, I don’t know what is!’ I am not looking to have children any time soon and have yet to experience such changes, but I think this quote will really motivate women everywhere to start thinking differently about themselves.

To read more about this topic, visit Anna’s blog here: Anna’s Tumblr

Image via http://anniefedo.tumblr.com