Tuesday, 28 August 2012


My first experience of the famous London carnival

A glimpse of a fabulous carnival costume.

The carnival is for all ages. The older generation as well as the younger generation know how to live it up!

Raving it up at the carnival.

If someone asked me to describe Notting Hill Carnival before I first went yesterday then I would have described it as a carnival with lots of colourful costumes awash with dancing and Caribbean food. It is also an event that attracts the young crowds of London.

I was not wrong. There were lots of spectacular, colourful costumes and heaps of jerk chicken. But what I was not anticipating was the numerous street parties happening alongside the carnival and the general party / celebratory atmosphere. Whilst the carnival proceeded through the streets of Notting Hill on an array of floats, there were street parties happening down side roads which I could have easily missed if I hadn't of strayed down some side streets.

A notable street party was one run by a DJ called King Tubby who shouted out 'UNITY' several times to an excited and bustling crowd. There's no mistaking that the carnival is essentially about unity, indeed it is about the unity of a community. Notting Hill Carnival brings people together to celebrate a London togetherness and the diversity of the London community.

All kinds of people from different ethnic backgrounds and different ages were at the carnival celebrating. There was definitely a feeling of acceptance, an inclusion of anybody and everybody. That is what is so great about Notting Hill Carnival, it gives everyone a sense of belonging. People of all nationalities were dancing together in the streets, toasting to how great London and all the people are.

A 'NOTTING HILL CARNIVAL GUIDE' advised that 'If you don't know what to do, just act as un-English as possible'. This led me to wonder how it was possible for English people to detach themselves from the British reserve when we were in Britain after all. But I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to leave the British reserve at home and step into carnival mode. It's nothing that a pint of rum punch and can of strongbow's can't help!

Getting into the carnival spirit is so easy to do for EVERYONE. Whether it's by walking with the carnival or dancing to the loud music it can be done. I personally adorned my cheeks with glitter which helped me to get into the carnival spirit.

Notting Hill Carnival is a FUN carnival for everyone with plentiful barbecued food, rum punch on tap, vibrant costumes and an energetic atmosphere. It's not to be missed, and it was so good that I am already excited for next year!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey: Review

I first came across Fifty Shades of Grey on Twitter, as endless tweets appeared from supermodels and the like, declaring their love for a book entitled Fifty Shades of Grey. At first, I shrugged off all curiosity thinking 'oh this must be the latest celebrity craze and in a couple of weeks' time people will stop talking about this'.

But as the weeks rolled on the commentary on E. L. James' trilogy ceased to stop. I was finally "enslaved", like Ana Steele into googling 'Fifty Shades of Grey', discovering that the genre of the book was a lot more exciting than I first thought. OH so this is why hoards of women are reading it, I thought as I came across a blurb for the book online.

I just like many other women found myself fascinated about this book. I'm not usually one to easily jump on the "bandwagon". But, this book struck me as exciting because it focused on a subject which is normally side-lined in literature and that's sex.

From Lady Chatterley's Lover out steps its 21st century descendent, Fifty Shades of Grey. It is arguable that never before has a book caused so much controversy over its erotic content. I for one have never before read anything so openly brazen from start to finish. E. L. James does certainly not hold back, every single sexual detail is graphically explained to the reader.

Whilst, the media have been eager to label the trilogy as 'Mummy porn', I however see it in a different light. This trilogy may be porn to others, but to me it's a love story with a very erotic and shaded sex life thrown in.

Women are not necessarily reading it because they want to read porn, but because the content is refreshingly honest. Essentially, the narrative does not gloss over anything. It covers every detail acutely, charting Ana Steele's sexual encounters as she becomes thrust into an intense sexual and romantic love affair with Christian Grey.

When have we ever read a book which explains a sexual encounter in such detail? The answer for most is probably never. A lot of authors skirt around "intimate encounters", simply hinting that a couple have sex. But Fifty Shades of Grey strikingly explains every detail.

I would argue that Fifty Shades of Grey liberates women. Due to this book, more women are feeling empowered to talk about sex openly. Women no longer feel the need to hide behind the British reserve, which has made many reluctant to talk about such lewd topics.

As someone who has just recently finished reading the Fifty Shades trilogy all I have for this book is admiration. Yes, the book may not have the eloquent metaphors of classic literature, but its narrative is so utterly convincing and moving. I found it hard to put down each book in the trilogy because they are all so gripping.

Here, we have a young innocent girl with the world before her, a crazy sexual relationship, brooding hero and romantic love story. The Fifty Shades trilogy may not be the next Jane Austen but you can't deny that it has all the elements of a classic love story, bar the explicit sexual detail!

LOVE it or LOATHE it the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy has become a national bestseller, outselling the Harry Potter series on Amazon. So what do you think? Do you fancy a shade of grey or a shade of nothing at at all?

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Karl Lagerfeld's comments on Pippa Middleton.

Has the "King of Fashion" gone too far this time?

Pippa Middleton. Image from mirror.co.uk

Whilst the fashion industry falls to their knees in worship of Karl Lagerfeld, I however do not. After reading today on multiple websites that Lagerfeld has made a scathing comment about how he thinks that Pippa Middleton has an unpleasant face, I am not a fan.

Although I can appreciate the great influence that Lagerfeld has had on Chanel and the fashion industry, I think that insulting a woman is the worst thing that he can do for his credibility.

First there was his "attack" on the British singer Adele, calling her "fat" and now he has felt the need to exclaim that Pippa Middleton is ugly. Let me categorically state that Pippa Middleton is not ugly by any stretch of the imagination.

Insulting women like this shows plainly what kind of a man he is. As it is women worry enough about their looks in a society which has become so image conscious. Name me one woman that has not looked in the mirror at one point in her life and challenged her self-worth.

The comments that Lagerfeld has made have angered me because his choice words are enough to make these individual women question themselves. Think about how for days after Lagerfeld's comments, Adele must have looked in the mirror questioning herself.

Now Pippa Middleton must be doing the same...

The more the fashion industry applauds Lagerfeld the more we are sending out the message that it's OK for him to insult women in this way. In my eyes this is wrong. Yes, he may be a great fashion designer, but he's not exactly great at holding his tongue.

What do you think... is Lagerfeld in the wrong for making these comments about female celebrities or do you think that he has the right to express his opinions freely?