Thursday, 13 November 2014

Getting Our Goth on at the British Library and Camden

If you were to ask me what my favourite place was, it would be a draw between Camden and the British Library, both for sentimental reasons. 

Go back 7 years and you'd find a 15 year-old Stephanie adorning a heavily studded belt and checkered Vans, rocking out to My Chemical Romance in a bedroom smothered in Kerrang! posters. So I'm sure you can understand why to me, Camden was an absolute goldmine. 

The Camden Market Fire of 2008 brought heartfelt tears to my eyes. This place was a home away from home where I could spend my hard-earned Saturday job money on badges, stickers and t-shirts of my favourite bands. 

It was during this time that me and the BFF George formed our awesome partners-in-crime friendship, so whenever we meet up in London, Camden is always our first port of call. 

It was also during this time that I discovered my love for literature and all things Gothic. Studying A-Level English Literature introduced me to the world of Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein and my absolute fave, Angela Carter. This love of the Gothic lead me to discover Alexander McQueen, and hey presto - my love of fashion. 

Going on to do English Literature at university has made books an integral part of my life, so when I saw that the British Library was holding an exhibition called 'Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination' I gave a nerdy squeel, and me and George decided we HAD to go .

This is one of the best exhibitions I've been to. Not only did it allow me to reminisce over my literary education, but discover sides of not only Gothic literature, but film and culture in general that I wasn't aware of. 

Featuring handwritten drafts of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, this is an absolute geek-fest for any literature lover. I actually collect antique books, and it was so hard for me to just stand and look at the gorgeous first editions on display. They've even got a real fricking vampire slaying kit! 

We spent a good two hours in there, and I would say if you're a fan of literature, the Gothic, or anything dark and macabre. Get your tickets and go. They're only £10 and it's definitely worth it. 


Friday, 22 August 2014

Camden Bargain Buys



Ahh Camden. My home away from home. 

I'm forever discovering new and interesting places in London that fulfill my needs for the weird, wonderful and bizarre, but every time I go to London, I'll always at one point or the other find myself returning to Camden. 

Not only did it play a huge part of my childhood (yes I was an Emo/Scene Kid) but it is an amalgation of all the things I love: music, fashion, food and BARGAINS!

During the months of June/July, I got to visit Camden twice. Once with the lovely Fi Shemmans before the Cosmopolitan Superblogger Masterclass, and then with my best friend George Puddephatt for a nostalgic catch-up . 

Camden has changed a lot since I was 15/16, especially when it comes to shopping. It has definitely become more commercial. I'm not complaining, it just means you have to hunt a bit harder for those unique items. 

The t-shirt pictured above I bought from the market on the right hand side of the river, with the Vespa seating area. Because of all the food stalls there I always forget that there are shops behind them, but on this occassion Fi reminded me, and we spent a good hour or two there. The t-shirt came from a stall selling tonnes of garish yet eye-catching graphic print tees. Falling back into my monochrome habits, I fell in love with this particular one. It's got a sports luxe meet grunge vibe about it, and I could instantly picture in my head how I wanted to style it. For only £12 I thought it was an absolute bargain. 

The sunglasses were an emergency buy. Whilst waiting for George to meet me in Camden, I'd realised I'd forgotten my sunglasses, and the sun was blinding. Upon walking towards the main stables I  found a mini market on the left side of the street, with one vendor selling hundreds of on-trend sunglasses for £5. From flip-up sunglasses to oil slick, this guy had everything. I must have spent a good 20 minutes trying them on before deciding on this gold-rimmed oil slick pair. They are a proper statement and for £5 I won't be to heartbroken when I loose them (and believe me I will). 

Lastly but certainly not least are the bohemian bracelets and bindis. These came from a Middle Eastern shop just a few minutes Camden station. You can smell the incense a mile off, and the gorgeous colour scheme of oranges, reds, yellows and pinks draws you in. This shop has a pic 'n' mix system, where you grab a bowl and sift through piles of bracelets, rings, anklets and incense all priced between 20p and £1. It's hard not to go overboard, but when you see how much jewellery like this is going for in high street brands you'd be well and truly justified to do so. 

So if you're ever in London and looking for a bargain, take a little trip to Camden. Even if you don't buy anything, I guarantee it's a visit you won't forget.  


Wednesday, 25 June 2014

My day at the Cosmopolitan Superblogger Masterclass 2014

Helloooo all. 

I hope you're all enjoying this glorious weather!

Now if you follow me on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram, you'll know that on Monday I attended the Cosmopolitan Superblogger Masterclass with Next. This was a last minute, spontaneous thing, as I only found out about the event last week through the amazing UK Bloggers Facebook group.  I'm learning more and more that to become a successful blogger, you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone, go meet new people and basically say 'Hey! Look at me!'You never know who you'll end up talking to and what opportunities may come off the back of it. 

So I booked the ticket instantly, only to then panic that I'd be going to what I imagined would be a rather intimidating event alone. However, this is where groups like UK Bloggers really come in handy. Not only is the community friendly, supportive and helpful, but it's a great way of meeting like-minded bloggers. It just so happened another girl - lovely Fiona Shemmans - was also going to the event, so we got chatting, and arranged to spend the day together in Camden, getting to know each other and talk blog stuff. How cute is that! 

Me and Fi met early in the day and headed straight over to Camden for some culture, food, shopping and photography practice. Camden has had a very special place in my heart ever since my 'emo' days all those years ago. It's changed a lot, but it's one of those places where every visit is different and exciting. After spending an hour or two getting lost in the maze that is The Stables, we went to get some grub from my favorite part of Camden; the Global Kitchen in the West Yard. This area is separate to the food vendors inside The Stables and is tucked away on the left side of the Gilgamesh restaurant. In my opinion, the food here is better, fresher and more inspiring! With so many award winning cuisines to choose from, we spent a good 20 minutes deciding what to eat. In the end we decided on Food in the Middle's Roti House : Pakistani street food consisting of naans filled with the companies own recipes. Me and Fi bought one tandoori and one masala wrap so that we got a chance to try both. Oh lordy were they good! We were enjoying ourselves so much that before we knew it, it was time to head over to the Millbank Media Centre for the event! 


Superblogger Masterclass
When Fi and myself arrived, there was a lovely outdoor set up with wicker sofas and brightly colored cushions, however we were the only people there (we did arrive a good 40 minutes early). Soon enough though, a trickle of people started to arrive. We got talking to a few, discussing what our blogs were about and how long we'd been doing it for. Surprisingly, a lot of the people we spoke to were new to blogging just like me, so it was a relief to know that we were all in the same boat

Another girl named Alison came and sat with us and told us about her food blog (, and as we got talking, it came up in conversation that just like me, she is also Greek. However, the coincidences didn't stop there, as it turned out she is at the same university I went to (Uni of Kent) and we actually know the same people. So obviously we hit it off straight away, and when everyone was called in to get their complimentary glass of champagne, Alison, Fi and myself all went in together. 

After a good 20/30 minutes of sipping champagne, getting to know each other a little bit more, having our pictures taken and trying to stop the bubbles from going to our head (yes I did sneak in a cheeky second glass) it was time to go into another room for the talks. 

The panel consisted of Fleur from Fleur de Force blog, Kat Williams from Rock 'n' Roll Bride blog, Next Social Media Manager - Vicki Fogwill, Founder of Zen Optimise - Joe Williams, Head of Content at Zen Optimise - Ali Luke and Cosmo's Digital Lead - Kate Lucey. 

The talks started with each member of the panel introducing themselves and talking about what they do, what they're going to be talking about and how they got into their chosen careers. Kate Lucey then went on to interview the panel on a variety of topics ranging from how to stand out from the crowd, how to monetize your blog, and social media benefits. The talk then went over to the audience, who over the space of half an hour had a chance to ask the panel any pressing questions they may have. 

The event for me really wasn't what I was expecting. The atmosphere was a lot more relaxed, which I was quite happy about, and there wasn't so much of a stiff networking atmosphere, just a chance to share with others your excitement in being involved in the world of blogging. For me the talks were a mixture of priceless advice and stating the obvious, but it all depends on what research you've done and how long you've been watching/reading other bloggers. There were some absolute gems of technical advice which I know I'll make use of, but other than that, I found the talks to be more of a motivational tool than do's don'ts and how-tos. Leaving the event, the best thing I came away with was knowing that if you're polite, friendly, enthusiastic, determined, have some great ideas/content, and can write in a way that is attractive and engaging, then brands/PR will be interested in working with you. Oh and don't forget the whole stepping outside of your comfort zone thing. That's important too. 

I do not regret going at all, in fact I feel the complete opposite about the event, but it is an event that you only really need to go to once just to pick up those few gems of advice, maybe ask a few vital questions to your fave blogger, but most importantly, get comfortable meeting new bloggers, making friends and experiencing something new! 

Stay tuned for my next post, which will contain all the advice and tips I made notes of during the talks, for those of you who weren't able to attend the event : D

Steph x x x