Category Archives: Lifestyle

The John Rylands Library, Manchester

john rylands library
This is The John Rylands Library in Manchester.

A library. (I KNOW, RIGHT?)

Stumbling across it by happy chance, The Manfriend and I spent a good hour exploring every nook and cranny of the Deansgate-situated neo-Gothic establishment.

Though a collaboration with Manc’s biggest university means it is now named The ‘John Rylands University Library of Manchester’, the initial opening in 1900 was an extravagant memoriam dedication – to John Rylands – from his widow, Enriqueta Augustina Rylands.

The space is magical and the collections that it features are sans pareil. We’re talking medieval illuminated manuscripts, a Gutenberg Bible, personal papers of John Dalton, French Revolution Broadsides and more; The John Rylands Library a treasure trove.

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Oil Pulling 101

oil pulling 101

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling – or oil swishing – is the practice of swishing oil around your mouth. Not all too fun a concept when put literally, eh?

The catch (and the reason the internet is going wild over it) is, when oil pulling is done right (see below) you experience some really phenomenal health benefits.

What does oil pulling do?

Ready for a laundry list? Many people have experienced different benefits from oil pulling, but the most common results include cleaner teeth and gums, whiter teeth, general detoxification, clearer skin, as well as an improvement in conditions like arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, eczema, headaches, hormone imbalances, infections, liver problems, and PMS.

How do you do oil pulling?

In a nutshell (get it? GET IT?!), you swish one to two teaspoons of oil around your mouth for twenty minutes at the start of your day (pre-breakfast). Though many people find it hard to ‘pull’ for the full twenty to begin with, starting at five minutes and working up towards twenty over a week or two tends to work for most people.

Similar to the concept of oil cleansing for the face, high quality oils are able to cut through plaque and detoxify the body through one of the most porous (read: dirty) places in the human body, all without disturbing the teeth or gums.

After twenty minutes, you should dispose of the residue (an ugly mix of oil and detoxed saliva) in a toilet, flush, and brush your teeth as per usual. It is important to remember not to spit it down a sink or drain (which can cause blockages) or swallow the oil (which is full of toxins and bacteria at the end of the process).

What are the negatives of oil pulling?

As long as you’re not swallowing the ‘leftover’ oil, you will be happy to know there is no harm in oil pulling. At its most extreme, the only side effects reported have been mild ‘detox’ symptoms in the initial few days; mild congestion, headaches, mucous drainage -

What oils do you use for oil pulling?

A pure-as-you-can-get-it vegetable based oil (coconut, sesame or olive work best for me).

Shop The Oils:
Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil from Fushi
Organic Cold-Pressed Sesame Seed Oil from Pukka
Extra virgin olive oil from Punta Licosa

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

Happy Towns

happy towns
This week, Twinings Infusions launched a  ‘Make Work Wonderful’ portal on The Huffington Post. With a few of my Northern friends sharing their opinions about one article in particular, I was quickly sucked into the Britain’s Happiest Workers: 10 Towns Where You’ll Find Them conversation.

Having spent the last four months enjoying the spoils of Leeds (and the surrounding areas), it was no surprise to see a few Northern towns on the list. What I did find surprising, however, was the absence of London. LONDON! Though places like Luton have the fastest broadband in the UK, the fourth-lowest pollution, and high scores in the job satisfaction and work equality stakes, it does not hold a candle to London in my eyes.

I think I brings up an interesting debate. Though I was born and half-raised in England’s capital city, London evokes complete Marmite reactions in people:

You have the lifers: Be they raised in London or not, they would never dream of leaving. They know every secret bar in Soho, their own personal Top 10 list of Best Burgers, and know how to convince a pedal-bike driver into giving them a free ride at 4am. Ahem.

You have the in-betweeners: They live in London but don’t care too much about it. The in-betweeners tend to live beyond Zone 3, will go for drinks ‘in the city’ once a month or less, and are likely to be saving up for ‘the future’ (aka the chance to move out of London).

You have the fearful: Bright lights, big city? It’s just not right for some people. I tend to forget that these people exist until I’m back in Indiana (where I went to high school). Corn fields, little city? It’s just not right for some people.

Until recently, I considered myself a lifer. Now splitting my time between London and Leeds, I suppose I’m an in-betweener. Just not an in-betweener that you’ll ever find living in Luton.

What factors do you believe contribute to making a ‘Happy’ location? Would you trade living in your favourite city for a bit more disposable income?

eBay Collections

ebay collections

I love eBay. Some of my best material finds (from rare vintage designer pieces to affordable and jazzy phone covers) have come from eBay and, though I have no idea how people manage to run shops from eBay, I am more than happy to support small businesses from around the world by heading to eBay as one of my first ports of call for any purchase.

When eBay asked me to get involved with the launch of eBay Collections in the UK, I jumped at the opportunity. 'Collections' are super simple and incredibly helpful: you put the things you love in the groups/boards of your choice. With the ability to create and share Collections alongside your friends, celebrities and eBay users across the planet, the Collections are also a wonderful way to find special items that you may not know you're even looking for. The inspiration potential is endless!

My eBay Collections (for now…):

Loafer Lady: I am not sure when it happened, but I have gradually been swapping a heaving collection of skyscraper heels for the more practical option: loafers. Thankfully, running around town has since become more enjoyable and…well…CUTER! Loafers are flats with attitude, and I have no issue with that (even at 5ft 2).

Don't Blame It On The Sunshine: I have never been one to stick to a single pair of sunnies (when the sun actually arrives…ah, British life). Instead, I prefer to have a pair for my every mood. Be it Hide-my-face Hangover Specs or something to match a date outfit, sunglass superfluity is key.

Pumped Up Kicks: Shoes are to me what honey is to a bee (and I make no apologies for it…but, you know, sorry about the rhyming). With no particular 'style' set for the ends of my legs, I simply enjoy a statement, colour, or small detail that takes something from just a shoe to something special.

This One's For My Homies: Absolutely no-one I know that loves fashion lives in a boring home. Whether it is a small dorm or a sprawling mansion, our living space tends to be an exceptional reflection of ourselves. We might as well coat it in some pretty things, am I right?

A Girl's Best Friend: I'm not exactly sure why Miss Monroe chooned so seductively about DIAMONDS being a girl's best friend. I mean, DIAMONDS? Nothing gets my blood pumping like a gorgeous piece of arm candy. Be it statement or silly (see: unicorn), a good handbag deserves Best Friend status beyond any diamond.

Animalistic: We may not be able to stick LOLcats on our bodies, but we can certainly pay homage to our furry friends by choosing an animalistic item of fashion or two. I mean…cats on your knees and bunnies on your phone? That's a cuteness level I can't compute.

Pretty in Pastel: I am a child at heart. I would, in all honesty, get a My Little Pony tattooed on me if everyone around me didn't already have a bet on it. The safe option? Wear as much pastel as humanly possible (isn't it great when trends bend in your personal favour?)

Pop Ya Collar: Until recently, collars were deemed a little bit too 'kitsch' for adult wear. Cue the age of Jess Day and Mad Men revival action? The world's gone collar crazy. Peter pan collars, bib collars, embroidered, or jewelled – there is an option for every woman's individual style.

Beauty Booty: eBay is, without a doubt, a godsend for beauty buffs and make-up junkies alike. Not only is it the only place I can rely on to find my favourite Korean beauty products (hello, Liole BB cream) but it is also an excellent source for dupes and discounts for some of the world's favourite beauty products.

She's No Wallflower: I know, I know, Emma Watson made us all see the so-called perks of being a wallflower, but hear me out: IT IS FUN TO MAKE SOME VISUAL NOISE. What we wear is an expression of ourselves. Of the beauty and the excitement and the imperfections. It is liberating to be a little bit loud some times.

She Said SWEATSHIRTS!: Though Givenchy and Alexander McQueen have always done sweatshirts a little cooler than anyone else, the jumper/sweatshirt/pullover has experienced a major makeover over the past few years. The more graphic the better (though I have a strict policy against ugly Christmas sweaters).

Just Watch Me: I adore watches. While my go-to is a rather expensive rose gold arm weight, I can't help but dot my collection with more affordable 'fashion' options. As per usual, the quirkier the better. It's whatever-o-clock, babes. Time to rock an arm party.

See them all, here.

Sponsored Post: In partnership with eBay

Launching People

Well hello, opportunity of a lifetime.

Though the video above does an excellent job of laying out the ‘Launching People‘ law all on its own, I can’t help but share my excitement with you all. I truly believe if anyone has the chance to get somewhere with this collaboration, it is the music-loving and Elba-worshipping visual foodie readers of this very blog.

As you’ve just seen, Samsung have joined forces with four game-changers of their respective fields to launch and support new talent; we’re talking babe of all chefs and Sunday Times cook Gizzi Erskine, award-winning actor and producer Idris Elba, the inimitable Paloma Faith and uber fashion photographer Rankin

…at your service.

Until the 6th of March, the four mentors will be studying the project proposals submitted through (enter! enter!), each in hopes of finding a project they will be able to support one-on-one from there on out. The Chosen Ones will then go onto develop their project with one of the judges, having the entire journey documented in a television series to air later this Spring.

In Gizzi’s words: “I want to see someone that has a serious passion for the industry – I want to understand their passion and be able to see and feel it. I want to show that you don’t have to be conventional to be successful. I’m looking for someone who’s happy to break the rules – and maybe teach me a thing or two along the way. The simple ideas can be the best. But a simple idea with a bit of glitter on it is far more exciting.”

If only Gizzi would accept an undying proclamation of love as a project. Sigh.