Nobody stays out all night anymore

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When I was a teenager back in Dublin, most “nights out” consisted of somebody’s parents being away for the weekend and the rest of us pooling whatever loose change we had to buy some truly horrific store brand vodka, which we would then share amongst ten of us, everyone taking measly sips and wincing immediately afterwards.
Invariably, these nights ended up with people getting sick, passing out, and the host having trouble trying to get rid of everyone the next day.

Then, suddenly, we turned 18, and a whole new world of nightlife was opened to us… well, partially. We were still poor, that part didn’t change.

We still managed to have fun though – be it from pre-drinking (still a primary feature in my nights out today) or be it through someone knowing someone who knew someone who was a club promoter, and therefore could get us into somewhere for free.

At the time, my best friend and I were joined at the hip. Where one went, the other wasn’t far behind. Neither of us being the shy, retiring type, we went out an awful lot and amassed a lot of acquaintances, or Club Friends, as I called them. The type of people you wouldn’t speak to all week, until it was time to send a customary “R U out 2night?” message.

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Usually these nights would turn into mornings, sometimes because we’d found an after party, but usually because we were too cheap to pay a cab fare home.

One of the nicest nights that I can remember was spent sitting on the steps of an office building, long after the clubs had closed. Myself, my friend and two guys we’d recently met. She was talking to one, and I was engrossed in conversation about how truly awful/brilliant 90s children’s cartoons were (Earthworm Jim, anyone?).

We sat on that step, barely noticing night turning into that murky, purplish pre-dawn colour and then finally the sun rising. It was only when we noticed people in suits setting out and beginning our day that we decided it was time to end our night.

The conversation wasn’t important, what we were talking about was trivial. But I still remember how nice it felt. The city was completely silent, save for our quiet chatter and the odd city council rubbish van passing by. What was nice was the companionship, entirely platonic, and the comfort we felt just sitting with one another, talking. We’d long sobered up at that point, but didn’t feel in any rush to make it home.

I don’t know is it London, is it times changing or is it me aging, but nobody stays up all night anymore. I’m not talking about crazy warehouse raves that go on til 6am, or parties you were too drunk to drag your sorry ass home from.

I mean finding someone else and enjoying the quiet of a busy city together.

What is the deal with top knots?

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I do not understand top knots. At all.

Actually, if truth be told, I don’t really “get” fashion in general. Its bizarre – ugly things suddenly get declared ‘not ugly’ for the next season, after which, they’re placed back in the ugly box and that’s enough of that.

But top knots, for some reason, seem to still be sticking around. All around Shoreditch, I keep seeing these uber trendy fashionista types wearing black cloth sacks (I think they’re meant to be dresses) and these strange knots on top of their heads. Ladies, what is the attraction? It is literally a ball of hair on the top of your head.

This week, it has been baking hot in London, and so the other night I pulled all of my hair up into a knot on my head. My boyfriend took one look at me, laughed and then grabbed the knot, saying it looked like a doorknob.

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I find it really hard to get my head around the idea of how easily people are persuaded to think something is cool or jump on board a silly trend. I see all these girls, and photos of people I know on Facebook, with their black clothes and ball of hair on their heads, trying to look impossibly cool and I’m sorry, but I just don’t get it. At all. It just makes me think of sumo wrestlers

To be honest, there’s plenty of ‘fashiony’ things that I just don’t get. I’m pretty sure I could never be cool. And I’m entirely fine with that.

Mother Inferior

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I’m pretty sure that those of you who have spent a significant time in Shoreditch will have, at some point, stumbled through the doors of Mother Bar and into a sticky-floored paradise (or so it seems at 2am), filled with wonderfully cheesy music and men that think thrusting in your direction counts as a legitimate dance move.

In fact, it was in Mother Bar, that I once met one of these thrusting Lotharios, a man named Abz who told me “If you come wiv me, I’ll get you any drink you want. You won’t have to drink pints anymore”.
Ladies, for a good time, call Abz: 1800-PINTS-NO-MORE.

Yep, I can safely say that Mother Bar has been the backdrop for many an eventful night and a giggle-filled retelling the morning after.
On Tuesday night, they opened up their new VIP area, Mother Superior. Mother Superior, contrary to what you’d presume, is actually in the basement. Just follow the creepy, bathmat-furry walls down to the basement and there you go.

It’s strange, there’s a bar and a couple of booths, and a small dancefloor down the back where a DJ was blaring out the Chemical Brothers (So not Mother Bar, I was expecting more “Too Many Man”), although the bar was serving free drinks all night, and there was at least one sleazy looking guy so that definitely helped mollify the horror of Mother Bar trying to be classy.

Mother Bar is like an embarrassing, diva-esque mother- trashy, cheesy and not really something you’d want to introduce your bosto… but if she suddenly started wearing beige and pearls, she just wouldn’t be half as fun.

It’s the tackiness that makes us love her. (Well, me anyway. My boyfriend’s still not convinced.)

 

 

Beigel Shop shuts its doors

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Brick Lane has always been famous for curries, markets and bagels. The two bagel shops, separated by a couple of shop fronts have always divided customers into two camps – those who preferred Beigel Bake and those who, like myself, favoured the Beigel Shop.

Sadly, as this article from Time Out writes, the latter has closed its doors today, after being evicted. I always preferred this smaller shop and its amazing selection of not just bagels, but cakes, pastries and samosas. Both bagel shops are delicious, but I just always found myself more drawn to Beigel Shop over Beigel Bake.

 

Let’s hope this isn’t the last we hear of them!

On women and working

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Today, I heard a fact: out of the 20 world’s richest women on Forbe’s rich list, only one of them, Wu Lajun – a former journalist, engineering graduate and real estate developer, did not inherit her money from either her husband or father.

While I don’t mean to discredit these women, many of them are now running companies they inherited or contributing to charity etc, I found it surprising that the idea of being a self-made million/billionaire is a title almost exclusively reserved for men.

In my family, my mother is the one who has held the traditional “breadwinner” role. Both of my parents work, I mean no disrespect to my father, who is one of the hardest working people I know, but in our family, traditional gender rules have not applied.

My ex-boyfriend was in a similar situation, his mother was in a position with a higher earning potential than his father’s. By the time their fifth child came along, it made more sense for his father to be the stay at home with the children, while his mother went to work. And this worked for them.

These days, it is almost impossible for a family or a young couple to get by without both partners working. More women are entering into education than would have been the case in our grandparents’ generation. I’m currently a student, in a very male-dominated discipline. Out of 200 in our year, there are 15 females.

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For someone like me, having the mother that I do and studying a science, the idea of being the ideal Stepford wife is bizarre. I can’t imagine being the perfect wife that has an immaculate house, perfect hair and dinner on the table when Hubby gets home. I commend the women who manage to keep a home and a career, but on a personal level, I can’t imagine feeling fulfilled not pursuing my own dreams and career aspirations.

I once knew a girl who placed a large amount of importance of finding a “rich guy”. She would meticulously plan her weekends, mapping out what she considered the swankiest cocktail bars in the city, choosing them by prices, neighbourhood or location to large banking firms. Her outfits would be planned to the last detail and she’d have an entire sugar daddy scenario planned out in her head. The last I heard, she was still single and unemployed.

For the women on this Rich List, I don’t know any of these women personally or what contributions they have made to the career and successes of the men in their lives, but I do have to wonder, for people like the girl I knew, why are some women still focusing on finding a “provider”, rather than being a provider for themselves?

Marrying rich is all well and good, but given that almost 50% of marriages these days end in divorce, what happens if you call time on your relationship, and all you’re left with is some handbags and a souvenir shotglass from that fancy trip to Antigua last summer?

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Little boys are given Lego and Meccano and things to build with and create something with. Little girls are given pretty Barbies and kiddie makeup sets with weird peel-off nail polish. Men are shown magazines with other men with high flying jobs, fast women and pretty cars (or is it the other way round?), while women are told how they can ‘please yo’ man’ or how to lose weight, perfect their eyeliner or what clothes they should be wearing right now.

Even amongst women I know personally, there are still quite a few who place importance on looking pretty, on finding a man, on losing weight, but these same women don’t ever speak of their own career aspirations or longer term plans. I just find it difficult to see why women don’t think more highly of themselves and want more for themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not attacking anyone here. There are plenty of women who just don’t know what they want to do and haven’t figured it out yet, or women who choose to be mothers or choose different kind of routes for themselves, and whatever makes someone happy – that’s fine. But I do think women should be given more encouragement and believe that they can do whatever they want to do.

There are some truly amazing women out there, and I’d just like to see more.

As ever though, these are just my own views, and it’s an interesting topic – if any of you agree, disagree, have an argument or have your own experiences, I’m always interested to hear it, so please do drop me a comment!

On an evening in NOLA

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The other night, my friend V and I met for drinks. We hadn’t seen each other in months and V wanted to celebrate his new job. I suggested we go check out NOLA, a New Orleans inspired bar above Bedroom Bar on Rivington Street.

NOLA is small, and tucked away at the top of a staircase above Bedroom Bar.
When V and I walked in, we were the only ones there. And it was already 9pm. Not the best start.

The bar itself is a little bigger than my living room, but it’s very pretty, the decor was lovely. The dim lighting and candlelight made for a lovely atmosphere, and had I been on a date, rather than with V, I’m sure this would have been even more appreciated.

The cocktail list is interesting, although, as with many places in Shoreditch, a little overpriced.

All in all, it’s a lovely bar, and I would go again, although next time on a weekend night perhaps. Being the only ones in a bar is somewhat depressing.

http://nola-london.com

Fishy Findings in East London

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Recently, I happened upon Wholesale Tropicals, a very cool shop on Bethnal Green Road that sells tropical fish, and these teeny tiny little turtles. The third picture up there in particular made me laugh – it looked like the fish version of a wife and kids visiting Daddy in jail.

It’s a ‘blink and you’d miss it’ kinda place, but if you get the chance, do go in and check it out. I could spend hours delightedly watching all the fish they have.

http://www.wholesaletropicalsaquatics.co.uk/