Monday, 19 December 2016

Let's talk about socks, baby


Whether in giant stocking or cheesy gift form, the humble sock is in many ways synonymous with the season to be jolly (falalalala lalalala etc). And while certainly a garment that’s traditionally gifted to the awkward-family-member-to-buy-for at Christmas, socks needn’t be given such an uninspiring rep. 



On the contrary: This particularly sock-centric season is one to be embraced. Amidst a spell of swaddling beneath winter coats, scarves, hats, mittens and the rest, our foot accessories of choice can provide a subtle – or not so subtle – style statement on a drab winter day. 


In combining style and substance (so practical, so warm), a pair of ostentatious socks adds a brazen touch to an otherwise understated look. Wear them how you like of course – they're your feet – but I've personally been revelling in the addition of a crop of cacti or bunch of avocados to my majorly monochrome get-up.



Apart from anything else, a little tongue-in-cheek, "unfashionable" fashion is all in the spirit of the festive season. Far from an awkward afterthought, the staple sock has duly earned its time on top of the wish list – if only because you'll have yet another reason to put your feet up this Christmas.


Photos by Leila.
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Sunday, 11 December 2016

Hello, ITSBROGUES.SHOP


A shop! A shop! I've made a little shop. itsbrogues.shop is its name, and for now the offering is simple but sweet: Lovingly hand-lettered paper goods to lift your spirits, each individually made to order with my own fair fingers.


It's been on the cards (ha) for a while now, longer than a while in fact, delayed in part due to my characteristically perfectionist proclivities and yearning to create something bigger than it needs to start out as. Not that I don't have larger goals for my petite passion project, but I had to give my brain a little talking to and stress the importance of just starting and embracing the entire process – however petite and no-frills that initial form takes. 

So here we have it: A dedicated space to purchase my paper wares, created for every occasion you might like them for. The selection you see on the site is all pre-designed, but you're also more than welcome to request a custom design! Whatever the order, I'll always make it with a lotta TLC and prettily package it all too. 

  SHOP IT'S BROGUES 

Take a little look and tell your friends! You can also stay updated @itsbrogues on Insta. 
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Saturday, 22 October 2016

Weekly Wisdom #18


“Going with the flow” is an expression that’s so embedded into our everyday vernacular that it’s easy to lose sight of – or never even attribute – the meaning at the crux of it; what it really is to create flow in our lives.

There’s a tendency for us to idealise, and then internally factualise, the way our lives ought to be: we create self-imposed blockers to life’s natural rhythm through (often unconsciously) rigid notions of what our life – and the lives of others – are “supposed” to look like. In the process, though, we’re often denying ourselves the potential to live each moment for what it is and constraining our naturally free flowing minds into unyielding, overly self-conscious constructs. 



– Julia Cameron, The Artist's Way

Take from it what you will of course, but speaking for myself: Actively inviting flow into my everyday has truly made for a more open, chilled and contented existence. Here's a petite selection of the ways you can flow up ya life:

  • Embrace moods and feelings (good or bad) as transitory – and consequently allow them to ebb and flow organically. Notably for me, this has meant not beating myself up about any “shitty” days and instead adopting them as a fleeting, natural and above all important part of being a living, breathing, experiencing, feeling human. Stop judging and just let yourself be a human, being.




  • Be open to moments of serendipity. When you look back on your life so far, how many entirely fortuitous, seemingly insignificant happenings have accumulated to get you where you are right now? When you start to retrace the instances, experiences and encounters you can apply the conditional "If I hadn't..." to, you realise how innumerable they are – and will continue to be. As Leonard Mlodinow put it in a recent On Being podcast, "The course of your life depends on how you react to those opportunities and challenges that randomness presents to you." The universe has your back.




  • Follow your intuition – there's a reason "gut feelings" are so visceral. While their accuracy can't necessarily be proven with a scientific, mathematically-minded test, trusting and listening to your intuition is such an important life skill to adopt. Relinquish (or at the very least, diminish) externally-fuelled and ego-led motivations in favour of your own internal radar.



  • Let your mind wander (and wonder). Above all when it comes to creativity, letting your funny, playful little musings just "be" and let them do their thing – without self-censorship or overanalysis – is key to coming up with innovative ideas and revelations. Don't forget to play, either [click].




  • Don't plan everything – this is coming from the most serial of list makers and day planners. While structure, routine and preparation are of course a beneficial means of getting shit done and feeling on top of things, one of my personal revelations – which has helped me chill out so much in recent years – is the thrill of spontaneity. I realise for certain personality types this might seem like a total no-brainer, and almost too easy to implement, but for me this is a massive one. In so many ways, life and its events are entirely out of our control, and letting go of a "set in stone" sorta mentality is incredibly liberating. An impromptu brunch with friends beats cleaning your flat any day.



  • Practice action over activity. While the two terms are often used interchangeably, there's a decisive distinction to be made – action being the preferable of the two. As Osho puts it in Creativity, "Action is moment to moment, spontaneous; activity is loaded with the past." That is, in action you're relaxed and responsive, whereas activity is a restless, often mindless undertaking that detracts from the here and now. It's no surprise that in a society that glorifies busyness, activity is often the default setting. This can have self-destructive kinda consequences. Action > activity. 

Saturday, 24 September 2016

A visual diary: 5 days in Lisbon



Anyone who's known me for more than a minute will be well-acquainted with my inbuilt need for regular spells of solitude. As sociable as I love to be – above all with my favourite few – my energy reserves swiftly deplete if I don't take (see: make) the time to get a little inward and prioritise self-nurturing once in a while. 
No doubt the rest of the introvert crew will be familiar with this feeling!




Although I do incorporate little solo "dates" into my everyday, over the past year or so they've been shoehorned in amongst non-stop adulting and general life madness: it's a modern luxury for us to make it our pure focus and intention. While I take none of the aforementioned madness for granted – I'm more than content with my present reality – I'd recently felt the ever more intense and urgent yearning to just. switch. off. from. everything. No screens, no work, no habitual routines, and most importantly for me: no social media. 


My recent Lisbon jaunt gave me just that: A total mind/body/soul kinda reset, made up of solo exploring, reading, journaling, morning runs, enough sleep (a rare occurrence of late), amazing foods and even a spot of sun worshipping. When it comes to much-craved getaway time, it really is a matter of quality > quantity. 




– A LIL GUIDE – 

Since I only went very loosely by the (intentionally few) recommendations I sought beforehand, my list of Lisbon loves is by no means exhaustive, but I definitely hit upon a bunch of standout spots worth shouting about. 
Sharing is caring n all that. 



Liv'in Hostel
The space I called "home" during my stay, Liv'in deserves a star for each of the five nights I stayed there. Amazing staff, sweet suites (I had my own little mezzanine room), ideal location and a super sociable setup. I'll be back.




Fábrica
Just a five minute walk from my accommodation, Fábrica served the best brew I had in the city by far. A must-go for anybody that loves a fine bean. 



LX Factory
A concentrated crop of creative outlets and general delights, LX is a must-see for little culture/coffee nerds like myself. Particularly recommendable are: Wish (slow coffee house and concept store), Café na Fábrica (lovely location for food/bevs), Mag (cute container feat. fabulous publications) and Ler Devagar (iconic-looking bookstore – dreamy to peruse). Special mention goes to the gorgeous Sunday market too, where I picked up the most adorable pins and patches. 




Belém 
Just a little further down from LX Factory is darlin' district Belém, set right by the water and full of cute cultural nooks. While there, I hit upon: Second Chance (petite outlet selling 50 cent coffee, handmade illustrations and second hand garms), MAAT (Museum of Art, Architecture and Technology) and the quaint circular chair constructs, where I perched peacefully for a good hour.




Sintra
This photogenic town was one of the most recommended spots I garnered before I left, and it was easy to see why! With historical, cultural and scenic goodies in abundance, Sintra made for quite the day trip (and people watching stint). 



My final find of the trip, I fuelled up here before catching my flight back to Berlin – and was so happy I did. Their plant-based lunch buffet and super fresh juice were a delight, not to mention their garden area (where I closed my eyes and pretended I didn't need to rush off to the airport immediately afterwards). 



Cascais
Hands down one of my favourite day excursions (I hopped on the train there two days in a row). Apart from scoring a sunny glow and the most delectable dark chocolate gelato, this beautiful coastal town is also home to what quickly became my most-loved food find of the trip (see below). 







House of Wonders
Very aptly named, this veggie dreamland comprises of the most gorgeous rooftop overlooking Cascais and amazing – amazing – plant-based plates, sweet treats, fresh juices and customer service. The "Garden Mezze" plate was everything. 





While I appreciate that solitary vacays perhaps aren't everyone's idea of a good time, I will gently stress the unadulterated bliss and respite that can be achieved through solo wanderings (and wonderings). And if you're dithering about where you might seek that spell of single-handed solace, Lisbon should fo sho make it onto your hit list.  


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