Here are some new things I tried in January 2018 that I enjoyed. I hope that something may be of use to you!
1. Productivity & Life Improvement
De-bobbler. If you hate shopping, love your existing sweaters, and start to look a little homeless by January because the bobbles have been building up since October of last year… this Fabric Shaver is for you. Best invention ever, it shaves the bobbles off your sweater without creating holes.
Monzo Card is the card from “The bank of the future” which logs all my spending in an app with a decent user interface. I’ve practically retired my air miles credit card in favour of this to keep my expenses under better control. And because it’s debit, this feels more real when I spend £££ so I’ve been hunting for better bargains including getting an extra 10% off a dress at the mall (from £120 to £108), bargaining down a sales manager to give me a better discount on some new climbing shoes (from £110 to £92!), and asking a cashier at Boots if she could put back a new Bourjois foundation I was about to buy but honestly didn’t need.
Bainbridge Accountant Tax Services. Alistair Bainbridge = accounting saint. I’ve gotten my American taxes submitted! With a convenient zone 1 location the down to earth service from this friendly team of detail orientated financial assistants has turned my accounts around whippet fast. I send them a document and like lightening — they action the document in seconds. It’s craaay-craaay! So happy I found them.
Permed eyelashes. Every morning when I wake up my eye lashes are standing at attention. I look so damn pretty without even trying. Seriously, if you’re a woman on the move hoping to look more awake in less time drop that pathetic eyelash curler (aka instrument of terror) and cough up £70 to get this done every other month. I met Vanita Parti who founded Blink Brow Bar at a lunch and ever since, I can confirm her teams are the best trained in London (trust me, I’ve tried loads of places). But stay away from the products they try to upsell (like brow gels), these are crap.
Stress Free Perfume Oil. My sister sent this to me, I’d seen perfume oil’s mentioned by vlogger Valeria Lipovetsky but wouldn’t bother buying any myself. Now I put this on every evening right before bed and for me and my dog Roger it’s a scent of “relaxing bedtime”; smells like Vick’s Vapour Rub, which I love.
Veganuary (Vegan + January). I did my best, learned a ton, and have slowly moved to a solid plant based diet with the help of Rich Roll’s podcast and books. I am shocked at my ability to lead a happy life without cheese, yogurt, ice cream and did I say cheese? :-) My east London office is in the epicentre of vegan-friendly eateries, so I am fortunate to have easy access to tons of exciting new foods including the vegan milkshake from Pret, vegan cake from Kontior & Cook, and nut-based cheeses. Now when I go to Whole Foods I am comfortable with powders, spices, and vegetables I didn’t know about 4 weeks ago like Spiralina, Kimchi, Maca, kale, and much more.
Every £1 you spend is a vote, and every time I want something non-vegan I think “What message will I be sending if I buy this?”. Between the environmental benefits for our planet, not hurting animals, and having a more toned body — I can’t find a reason I would go back to my old ways. Even Roger is now eating vegan dog food. In the name of full disclosure: I’m still happily eating sushi because I have no qualms batting a salmon to death myself or going fishing or aqua farming.
Pillars of the Earth. Not gonna lie, it was a slog at times to get through 1,000 pages (401,000 words) but once finished I have never missed a book’s characters like Pillars before(even William Hamleigh!). Starting to think I could handle reading War and Peace at 587,300 words. In short — 5/5 stars, strongly recommend for anyone with an inclination towards historical fiction, Game of Thrones, or political intrigue.
Gap. Only £30 for women jeans! And I bought a men’s Oxford shirt in white for £11.50 that I love to wear with a roll neck underneath. So smart, such quality, such good value! Honestly, I wonder who goes into those fancy stores at the mall and blows £200 on jeans — who are those people? Where are they coming from? And where do they get that money? I have tried some of those fancy jeans in the past but they never have “long” jeans in stock for my freak legs (26” waist + 32” legs = v difficult to find clothes).
3. London Stuff
Restaurant M. The ultimate steak for a millennial inclined power lunch, Restaurant M Threadneedle St surprised me with modern interiors and well proportioned private rooms for intimate dinners. There is also a brilliant games room with a couple of pool tables and a gorgeous bar (I saw many whiskeys!). I was disappointed to see absolutely no women playing pool, and my party wasn’t chilling at the bar so I wasn’t in a positive place to rectify this injustice. Also, when I sent my dinner back because it was tasteless (I went for beetroot risotto — I know, dumb choice if I wanted flavour!) they were so gracious in delivering me an alternative without making a big faff about it.
Brigham Ellis Covent Garden is the best sport store for climbing equipment hands down. Buying new climbing shoes this January, I have toured EVERY notable sports store within London and must say Brigham Ellis has the best selection, thorough stock, top tier service, and a clean environment. I would ask they improve their in-store rock wall for testing shoes though, only a few crappy holds available. They also sell SureFoot ski boots which have revolutionised my ski position with the custom foam — if you’re in the market for new ski boots do not look at anything else, you’re simply wasting your time.
Glengarry Glen Ross is a play which reminded me of all the reasons I don’t like most theatre and didn’t particularly understand my Tisch art school classmates at NYU. But even in disliking it, I found an interesting lesson in perspective because this play has won SO many awards — it’s clearly loved by many and something in my heart/brain just doesn’t click with it — despite it being business related! The characters weren’t given a chance to become enthralling, the “crisis” simply didn’t matter, and honestly the name was confusing and what the guys were selling (real estate in… Florida?) never made much sense. Christian Slater is still quite good looking though I think, certainly ageing well (maybe could use a hair transplant if we’re being critical). The characters are obsessed with new business leads and I thought it fascinating how far marketing and customer relationship management systems (CRMs) have come to elevate these old fashioned challenges of 1992.
Indian restaurants galore! I went to the ever so trendy Dishoom Carnaby Street for the first time with my friend Prab and wow, its as amazing! Served tapas-style means I get to eat even more variety of food (always a plus!); there were gorgeous interiors, an open kitchen downstairs with attentive staff upstairs. I also tried out Masala Zone Covent Garden with quite bright decor and dolls floating above your heads while you eat. Honestly, sounds freaky but it was wonderful. The care of the management in this chain restaurant impressed me to no end (managers in suits wiping tables for a second time just because!) , genuinely strong competition for the Cinnamon Club which is another trendy, modern Indian Restaurant in Covent Garden (it’s fab).
The Yatch London is a giant event space and it’s dirt cheap for a corporate membership. I don’t recall exact numbers but something like £450/year for a corporate membership and then they take £100 off that towards your first bar tab. Only draw back is that it’s at Temple which can be a pain to get to IMHO.