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) đŸ„•

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.   

Sunday, 21 May 2017

The fashion statements of Farah Sydney

A little while ago, I promised myself to only agree to photography gigs that nourish something other than my financial status; that feed my soul rather than my bank account. Not that creative work shouldn't be valued in a monetary way – not at all – but when it comes to my own passion pursuits, away from my full time weekday work, I want to be investing my time into projects that elevate myself and others on a deeper kinda level. My recent shoot with upcoming fashion designer Farah Sydney ticked aaall of those boxes. 

While there are doubtlessly downsides to social media culture, it's pretty indisputable that – when used consciously and moderately – channels such as Instagram provide a platform to cultivate connections that extend beyond the online environment. They can be a place to cultivate a network of likeminded, lovely humans who share their own talents and symbiotically raise the talents of others. So when Farah slid into my DMs the other week and asked me to capture her new collection (feat. models she also stumbled upon via IG), my interest was immediately piqued. 

On speaking to Farah, it became clear that fashion is more than a superficial accessory to her. It's a means of pushing forward her own values; creating garments with a cause. As an unapologetic proponent of female power and straight up egalitarian, aligning myself with Farah's vision (and helping her realise it) was a no-brainer.  

From the quality of the pieces to the equality imbued into their fabric, every element of the collection was thoroughly considered and created with care. Inspired by the magic of diverse skin tones and perspectives, Farah's work is a product of love at every level. Hate isn't welcome here.

Location: Aufbau Haus, Kreuzberg 

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

A mini city guide: 4 days in Copenhagen

The slightly awkward seasonal spell between winter and "proper" spring often signals the need for a little environmental refreshment; it's easy (and totally normal) to feel a bit low and crave some fresh surroundings to elevate your mindset. My recent four-day getaway to beautiful Copenhagen – accompanied by my equally beautiful cousin Ellen – provided just the pick-me-up I'd been pining for of late. 

Despite never being to the Danish capital before, its all-pervasive loveliness came as no surprise: many a friend had advised me how suited it was to my personal weaknesses – good food, design, culture, coffee, nice humans, etc. That being said, I couldn't have predicted just how much I'd fall in love with the city and its dreamy offerings. Aside from being exceedingly jammy with the weather (), Copenhagen really was hard to find fault with.

A perfect combination of the usual city suspects and a healthy dose of nature, not to mention an impeccably high ratio of aesthetically-pleasing people (and puppies and architecture and the rest), Copenhagen encompassed glee-inducing travel touchstones in abundance. Though I'd researched and kindly received lists of must-see spots beforehand, much of our favourite places were serendipitously happened upon. I felt it only fair that I pay it forward and share them with ya, should you find yourself there in the not-too-distant future (which you simply must). 

The accommodation: We stayed in CPH Studio Hotel, a super well-connected, friendly, aesthetically on-point aparthotel setup with a little gym, café and rooftop terrace. Recommend biiig time!

In no particular order, here's a little-ish list of the shops, cafĂ©s, cultural spaces and hangouts we went to and loved:

 GRØD // I'm not ashamed to say that we found ourselves in this glorious grain-filled spot every morning for breakfast. A porridge lover's paradise. 

 KAKTUS KØBENHAVN // If you know me even a tiny bit, the mere name of this succulent store-cum-ogling spot will suggest why it made me weak at the knees. Since it's tricky to fit cacti into cabin baggage, I left with a canvas bag memento (it would've been straight up pr*ckish of me to leave empty handed).  

♥  LOUISIANA MUSEUM OF MODERN ART // This cultural gem was hands down the most recommended location I received before hopping on the plane to CPH, and with good reason: it's simply the best. Well worth the train trip! 

TORVEHALLERNE // A street food market with all the goods, Torvehallerne provides an abundance of options to nourish yo'self amidst all the city cycling/walking. A few fave stalls: The Coffee Collective, Resso, GrĂžd (obvi), Laura's Bakery, LĂȘlĂȘ Street Kitchen, PalĂŠo, Retreat, Stalks & Roots, Vita Boost.

♥ ASSISTENS KIRKEGRÅD // The famous burial place of Hans Christian Anderson, this idyllic cemetery is a must-go space for a slice of city calm. Far from being morbid in character, it has a tranquil, meditative quality that leaves a special impression. 

SNEAKERS & COFFEE // Two of my favourite life items in one petite place – and they were playing Otis Redding when we visited. Tick, tick, tick. 

RETRO NØRREBRO // A good-feels, non-profit, volunteer-led cafĂ© haunt which also serves as a rolling exhibition space. The perfect mid afternoon chill spot. 

ASTRID OCH APORNA // Ellen and I were wooed in by Astrid Och Aporna's vegan hotdog sign on NĂžrrebro's JĂŠgersborgadde and left with stomachs full of the most delicious cruelty-free fast food around. Vegan or not, a sample of their menu is a must!

♥ MANT // A dreamy stockist of stationery and plants. Yep and yep. 

♥ PALERMO HOLLYWOOD // Kudos to the buyers here: Palermo stocks a beautifully curated collection of lifestyle, literature and gift wares in an exquisitely designed space.

♥ KOMPA' 9 // A friendly, cosy coffee haunt with a homey interior and a good food offering too.

HAY HOUSE + MINI MARKET // From future home interior goals to the slightly more attainable Mini Market stock, Hay House is quite the wonderland for anyone with a weakness for sweet sweet design. Coincidence that Hay rhymes with yay? Naaay.

STILLEBEN // Yet another interior store to set our hearts aflutter – we visited two of their shops while in the city – Stilleben provides an ample dose of design inspiration. Leaving empty handed is hard. 

♥  SUPERKILEN // A hallmark CPH destination, you've no doubt seen a snapshot of this iconic-looking skatepark and play area before – even if you haven't set foot (or wheel) in it before. A veritable outdoor wonderland. 

♥ STORM // Easy on the eye (less so on the pocket), Storm is a lifestyle store with – characteristically for Copenhagen – an impeccable line-up of design, art and fashion goods. The magazine display is a must for anyone with a penchant for publications.

 JOLENE // If you're on the hunt for a vibrant night time nook, Jolene – indeed, the meatpacking district in general – is your place. 

♥  JÆGERSBORGGADE // This isn't a shop or cafĂ© per se, but rather a must-see street in the NĂžrrebro district (opposite Assistens KirkegĂ„rd), where you'll find lovely food/mooch sites aplenty.