(Veggie) Burger Mania at Antenna American Diner

Tomorrow's David's birthday - he chose to celebrate at Antenna American Diner, a US-inspired burger place in the lovely Crystal Palace area, where we just moved. The diner's closed on Mondays, so we moved his celebration to last night. I called the diner before and arranged for them to bring out a brownie with a candle in it (which I couldn't eat as it wasn't vegan, but David was delighted and found it delicious). The diner's Americana-style decor, super-friendly and helpful staff and cool blend of road-trippy music was a hit - not to mention one of the best veggie burger I've had since moving to London.


11 Things You Realise When You Move House

1. You have too much stuff. Yes, even you, Miss "I Only Own Five Pairs of Shoes" (by the way, why do you only own five pairs of shoes?)

2. On closer inspection, you have nowhere near as much stuff as your husband. Especially if he's a musician.

3. You CAN lift boxes.

4. Landlords that request that you vacate the premises at 8am DO exist. 

5. It's okay (I'd say advisable) to say no to that and take your time. Especially if the below should occur.

6. It's fully possible that your van will never show up. You can survive the move anyway - if you've got friends with cars (always have friends with cars!)


Me in GLAMOUR Germany!

A few weeks ago I was contacted by GLAMOUR Germany for an interview for their sustainability special, where I was asked questions about starting Vilda, shopping smart and vegan fashion tips. Which in itself is quite crazy - Vilda's not even one year old and we're making it to national magazines already! I had to pinch myself for this one.


Hello New Home

View from our new home!

Last Friday, my phone wouldn't stop beeping. This was the weekend that EVERYONE was in town and wanted to see me. And I had to turn them all down, as my Friday was spent packing up my entire life into boxes.

When you're flat sharing, your limited lifestyle leads you to believe that actually, you don't own that much "stuff" at all. Which is largely misleading, and you realise that on the day that you're tasked with the mission to pack all the aforementioned "stuff" into boxes. That's when you're faced with the stark reality: your "stuff" has completely taken over your life.

In my case, I was quite relieved to see how little of the stuff was actually mine. Most of the contents of our 25 boxes, four guitar cases and four suitcases (yep) were either amplifiers, amplifier accessories, guitar accessories, music cables, sheet music, music books and other, extremely space-consuming, things that indicated the presence of a guitarist. One that took his passions very seriously. Really, the few boxes I could claim as mine only were the ones containing books and shoes.


Specs-y Lady: On Facing Your Insecurities

Disclaimer: the below post consists of my own thoughts of MY face in glasses, not about people who wear glasses in general. I do NOT think that glasses are ugly or that people who wear them look worse than those who don't.

As a child, I thought nothing of wearing glasses. I got them when I was seven (just before my family's big move from Russia to Sweden) and I found them quite fancy, like a special accessory. I didn't realise they were considered geeky and unattractive until I started school, where the bespectacled kids were singled out as nerds just for the simple fact they were near-sighted. To be fair, I probably would have been branded an outcast for other reasons - second-hand clothes combined with a very colourful fashion sense, excellent grades but soul-crushingly bad at sports, vegetarian from age 11 and, thanks to my parents' continuous moving around, always the new girl - but let's just say the glasses didn't help.

Growing up, I learned to hate my glasses. I dreamed of being an actress and noted there were no Hollywood stars who wore specs on a daily basis...or in any of their movies, unless they were playing someone's mousy best friend. I asked my ballet-dancing friend why there were no ballerinas in glasses. I loved watching Miss Universe (I know, I know! Cringe) and noticed how there were never any beauty queens who wore glasses. Clearly, if I were ever to find fame and glory, the eye accessories had to go.

My mum, desperate to keep me from poking my fingers with my eyes on a daily basis (and looking at the consequences, she might have been right), made up some story about how you weren't allowed to wear contacts until you were 18. A quick ask-around at school helped me call her bluff and off to the optician I went, all of fifteen and a huge smile on my face. I would soon be free from the bottle-bottom shaped prison on my face.

As I have previously mentioned in this post, I was really happy to wear contacts. And since I mastered the art of popping them in and out of my eyes, I haven't been seen in glasses outside my front door since...could it be 1999?  Until this week, when I got a really bad case of conjunctivitis. I've had it before, but in many cases the infection was solved with a couple of days of eye drops and I've always kept wearing my contacts, despite doctors' advice (maybe this is why the infection keeps coming back every few years?) and everything's always been fine. This time around, though, for a variety of reasons, I saw no other choice except to follow my doctor's advice and stay contact lens-free for at least five days (the duration of the time when I was taking eye drops).

Which meant going to work in my glasses. 


Girl Model: the Naked Truth

This weekend I watched Girl Model on Netflix - I've wanted to see it for such a long time.

This documentary by David Redmon and Ashley Sabin documents the modeling industry behind the scenes as we follow Ashley Arbaugh, a jaded model scout, on her travels to Russia to recruit young models to work in Japan. 13-year-old Siberian Nadya Vall catches Ashley's attention and is soon sitting on a plane to Tokyo, where we get to follow her struggles with loneliness, language barriers and the harsh reality of the industry.

The opening scene of the film sets the tone for this gripping story. Underwear-clad teenage girls crowd together in a bare-walled, grey room for a casting. Some of them look pre-pubescent. One sixteen-year-old girl with the most chiselled, Victoria's Secret-esque body is told that she's going to have to lose some weight. "She looks 25", comments Ashley on another girl. 25 meaning old.


Cooking in Heels: Vegan Chocolate Mousse

It goes without saying that my husband is a better cook than me (he's Italian - enough said), but since I went vegan, I've discovered a whole new world of culinary wonder. I'm still a pretty bad cook, but I love dessert more than anything in the world. I also quite like experimenting. So when I saw Jamie Oliver whip up a decadent chocolate mousse in "under five minutes!", I decided that a veganised version, albeit a more time-consuming one, was next on my "let's try it" list.

And I was outright shocked at how easy it is to make. 


Fifty Shades of Absurd (and annoying)

When the Fifty Shades of Grey books came out, the thought of reading them never even crossed my mind. Firstly because, while I passionately defend everyone's right to do whatever makes them happy, in and out of the bedroom, the BDSM thing isn't quite my cup of tea. And secondly because, after reading an excerpt online, I found it - sorry EL - extremely badly written. The language was clich├ęd, the characters stereotyped and the writing was pretty much the worst I have ever had the dubious pleasure to encounter.

To whoever might label me as jealous - of course I am! Here's this woman who has done absolutely nothing to become a good writer - no research, no trial and error, no creative process, no sweating hours writing through the night - and she's living the high life as one of the richest bestseller stars on the planet! Any writer that has lived through the life-enriching experience of having to survive on 39p cans of beans (pretty much a rite of passage into writerdom) would be slightly miffed.  Unfortunately for us, the Fifty-Shady cult was EVERYWHERE. When the movie rights were sold, the mere act of logging into Twitter meant I had to endure an ever-present storm of "who who WHO will play the ubiquitous dreamboat Mr Grey?" (for a while there, I was worried Ryan Gosling might get dragged into this mess), until gorgeous Jamie Dornan was finally revealed as The One. Cue drool and swooning from women everywhere (especially in my office).

And now, the trailer for this masterpiece is out. Which means no one with YouTube will ever get any work done or look at lifts the same ever again. But while most women I know are oohing and aahing and making other noises I can't really spell, my reaction to this fine cinematic marvel can best be summarised as "yuck".