Friday, 28 September 2018

United states of mind

It's been a quite the minute, four months in fact ~ but not for lack of behind-the-scenes plotting, planning, adjusting and acting (the getting sh*t done variety as opposed to the thespian one). In the process of embarking on the changes I've made over the past months, one of my unwavering short-term intentions was to get myself back to the city that initiated my new life movements♥ New York ♥  

< A visual ode to my dear mate Laura, who so generously shared her sweet TriBeCa space with me, not to mention many excellent adventures ~ the Philly day trip being a highlight >

So during my first week back in London ~ before my "savings" had depleted and life got in the way, as it tends to do ~ I booked myself a September jaunt to the Big Apple, for three weeks of work and play in equal measure (added emphasis on the play). I'd been fortunate to have fleetingly been twice through work, but this was the first time I could define my own terms, schedule and agenda. And define them I did. 

< Tuni, Alexis + a flash of Kathdy in the Filas. I met Alexis (with the fire red lips) one night on the subway ~ the J line to be precise > 

Though I set out with a clear vision of what I wanted from the visit, the path and form it needed to take was an entirely open one, free of expectations and assumptions (which, I've learned, is an approach best applied to all the things). An energising blend of creating, connecting, working and exploring, as well as a healthy dose of serendipity and surprises, the trip ticked off all of my initial intentions ~ and some. Needless to say, the likeminded humans I met along the way, old and new and in-between, were the lox on top of the extra fluffy bagel. 

< An assortment of scenes from Philadelphia, Fort Greene's Soul Summit Festival, Washington Square Park, Brooklyn's Domino Park + The Met >

Wednesday, 30 May 2018

Bis später, BB Berl ♥


Though life is mostly made up of accumulative little moments, there are occasional junctures ~ spurts, if you like ~ which induce and accelerate waves of larger, more perceptible change. Points which tangibly impact the course of your current existence. That's where I'm at.

Over the past few months, I've felt (and proceeded to act upon) that very visceral and gut-driven growth phase, to leave a lifestyle that I've steadily been building over the past three-ish years ~ and a lovely one at that. But sometimes there's a point where the sensation of uncomfortable in the comfortable sets in; the too comfortable, the too settled, the need to push myself and move forward. I was craving the challenge of finding comfort in the uncomfortable again, feeling an urge to enter a new chapter of change and self-development (see my previous, post-NY entry for the first inkling of that). So a couple of months ago I quit my job, simultaneously deciding to leave sweet Berlin for London, after what will be seven years living away from my home-home city.

Berlin has been ~ and always will be ~ a place I have the softest of spots for. I've quite literally been living my 14-year-old self's dream these past years (I still have the diary entries to prove it), and don't take a single morsel of that for granted. I also really really worked to make that teenage vision a reality; like life at large, none of it came without setbacks, challenges or even tragedy. 

It's not that dreams necessarily expire or become invalid, but they do expand and grow with you. And in order for me to truly live beyond a mere existence ~ as nice as that existence might be most of the time ~ I need to keep moving and acting in alignment with my mid-twenties self's dreams; dreams that fill a solid 90% of my brain space (and journal) every single day. 

Rather than stalling upon "completion" of past ambitions, we owe it to ourselves to listen to the voice of that very real intuition, rather than the viewpoints, projections or impressions of others. To fearlessly pursue what's right for us, right now, to build the future we envision for ourselves next. To do the inward, deep work and check in with who we are in the present, not who we were in the past.  

Which takes me to said present moment: You might have peeped some little aesthetic changes around here, all signalling a larger scale, longterm action plan for an exciting 2.0 iteration of It's Brogues ~ more of which you'll hear/read about in the very near future. But for the time being, I'm deep into cultivating the art of slow living, properly listening to my mind and body, taking time out (for the first time ever) to absorb all the sunshine, learnings and experiences I possibly can. Just living and being, creating and doing, all on my own terms.

And it's~wonderful.

That's not to say leaving will be a breeze, or come without sentimental and nostalgic feels. Berlin* (and the countless life-defining humans/experiences the city has granted me) are responsible for some of the highest highs, greatest self-growth moments and most precious memories I'll quite possibly ever encounter ~ none of which, or whom, will be forgotten or neglected upon leaving. We really absorb and become an accumulation of the people we've met and the places we've been, and I'm excited to bring (and add to) all of those as I hop into my next life phase. I'm also excited to make a new life in my old stomping ground, experiencing and perceiving a place of familiarity through a fresh, even foreign, lens. And to use it as a base to travel more from. Much more. 

The future is exciting.

*Btw! I've also given my Berlin Guide a long (long long) overdue update of some of my most loved spots in the city. Have a scroll if you like.

Saturday, 27 January 2018

New York, new energy

Extra fresh from my five-day work week in New York, the passive contentment and dim feeling of "meh" I'd been feeling of late were overruled in favour of giddy creativity, restored purpose and a refuelled drive to pursue what's next. Amidst the city that's stolen my heart – and I've resolved to relocate to post-Berlin – the "edge of epiphany" gut feelings I've been noting in my journal over the last months finally surfaced. I'm awake! I'm awake! 

Revitalised and back at it, I doodled some words to capture my feels. NYC you soon.  

Pens: Artline 200, Papersmiths
Notebook: Bullet Journal ⚡️

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Lena Söllner's girls

While I've always been into self-expression through style (and had an ongoing preoccupation with fashion at large), I've never quite mustered the guts nor skill set to delve into the art of actually creating the garms I clad on my body in. Which makes my awe and admiration for the humans who dedicate their craft to making clothes all the greater. 

Case in point is Lena Söllner, who recently commissioned me to capture her latest collection – after spotting my work for fellow fashion student Farah Sydney, funnily enough. As I touched upon in my post about Farah, the soul satiation is my sole motivation behind any photography side jobs I agree to take on – so if it ticks my creative boxes and involves good people, I'm in. 

Here's a little curation of the outcome. 

Location: Prince Charles, Kreuzberg

Sunday, 27 August 2017

The art of doing nothing

It's no coincidence that our most hectic life phases are often synonymous with our lowest levels of productivity. I say this from both first- and second-hand experience. The bigger the to-do list(s), the more overwhelming the "dos" become – so you don't. And yet we continue to perpetuate the normalisation, not to mention glorification, of being too busy to just be.

How many times have you been asked the small talk classic "how are you?" and responded with the equally anticipated "tired," "busy," or some other synonymous variation? We're all guilty of it, and this isn't to dispute that you're actually tired or busy. But: constantly reminding yourself (and others) of that fact does nobody any favours.

Far from enabling original, engaging conversations – which can (and should) be an incredibly energising part of our day – this type of chat encourages an unhealthy ping pong match of one-upmanship, as if feeling exhausted is the pinnacle of prosperity. It exacerbates the equation of cool with a life practice that's unsustainable, draining and – paradoxically – inefficient.

Working hard and working incessantly are not one and the same. Much more pivotal are the intentions and purpose in the act of doing – the quality of time utilised – rather than the quantity of hours spent being a hotheaded busybody. We've never had so many technological "aids" at our disposal, and yet we find ourselves in a relentless cycle of meetings, multitasking and mobile apps. Having the space to focus on just one task, see it through and, above all, do it well, can seem like an unattainable luxury.

In short: the all-pervasive "no days off" mentality is detrimental to a long-term healthy mind and body. The societally imposed synonymity between working 24/7 and being successful is more harmful than helpful. On the other hand, granting your (one and only) body the time to stop, feel, process and recover is an essential means of restoring the energy and headspace to perform at our best – and in turn, get more done.

I'm tired of our tiredness. We're all busy. Not having enough time is the new black – it's up to us to buck the trend.


Sunday, 23 July 2017

Cashew cream carrot cake (VG + GF) 🥕

I never met a carrot cake I didn't like. The perfect amalgamation of savoury and sweet – also, part of your five a day, kinda – this beautifully textured baked treat is an ideal accompaniment to any afternoon tea date. But why share?

If you're not in the business of dietary requirements, that's quite alright: rest assured you'll still very much enjoy this vegan, gluten free, refined sugar free variant on the root veg-based cake classic. And health! 


> 250g buckwheat flour (spelt would be nice too)
> 200g coconut sugar 
> 4 tsp cinnamon 
> 1-2 tsp nutmeg 
> 1 tsp Himalayan salt (my preferred choice, but don't make a special trip to buy it if you just want to use the salt in your cupboard) 
> 3-4 tsp baking powder 
> 200-250g carrots, grated
> 150g apple puree 
> approx. 50ml plant/coconut oil 
> optional extras: sunflower seeds, raisins, chopped walnuts 
> a loaf tin, well greased


> 150g cashews, soaked and drained (I pop mine in a bowl of water overnight, but a couple of hours will suffice)
> 1-2 tsp vanilla extract 
> 2 tbsp agave syrup (or maple, if you fancy)
> 2 tbsp coconut oil
> 2 tsp lemon juice
> a splash of your chosen milk (I use oat or almond)


1) Preheat the oven to 180°C. 

2) Combine all the dry cake ingredients (minus the coconut sugar) in a mixing bowl.

3) In a separate vessel, whisk together the apple puree, oil, sugar, milk, and vanilla extract.

4) Pour the liquid mix into the bowl of dry ingredients, and whisk together thoroughly – get as much air in as you can! 

5) Add the grated carrot (and optional extras if you're including them), folding until thoroughly combined. 

6) Put the cake mix into the greased loaf tin, then pop in the preheated oven for approx. 35 minutes. 

7) For the frosting, put all the ingredients into a decent blender (my NutriBullet works great) and pulse for about one minute – until a smooth, creamy texture is created. Once made, put it in the fridge for 30-60 minutes.

8) When the cake has completely cooled, generously spread the cashew cream on top. 

Have your cake and eat it.