Roma men X fashion

Stumbled across a magazine whilst visiting Salford Museum and Art Gallery on Salford University campus the other day, the cover of which caught my eye. Love v Style was the title, a fashion magazine I thought, so I rolled it up and carried it home.

Later, when I got around to looking through it, I found it wasn’t a fashion magazine as such, but a project as part of Roma Matrix, an EU Fundamental Rights and Citizenship supported programme, working with Salford University and the University of York. The magazine explores Roma identity, including that that of the community’s young men-folk and their approach to fashion and clothing.

Portraits, photographed by Vasile Dumitru, from the Roma Matrix project, of Roma men living in and around Manchester are featured, with a short synopsis outlining how they dress and how it impacts/conflicts with their identity as Roma men. 

It’s really interesting to understand a little of this community’s adoption of western, or as they categorise it, “English,” fashion and how it can often be at odds with the practices and expectations of the older men in their community too.

Felix, 20
“I like to look good. I really like bright colours lie yellow, blue and red because they make me feel good. My jeans are from Zara, and my shoes are from Emporio Armani. The belt is Hermes. I like to wear designer things and shiny things. My watch is shiny and stands out. The necklace I’m wearing is real gold – it from my dad, who used to wear it when he was a teenager. He still lives in Romania and gave it to me when he came to visit recently. I’m his oldest son, so this means a lot to me.”

Marius, 19

“Today I’m wearing a pink T-shirt from Hugo Boss, some Nike Huarache trainers and a yellow Stone Island jacket. I love to wear very bright colours because they make me feel comfortable. I try to dress in the English style. My trousers are Polo – they are sports style trousers. I buy all my clothes in the UK, from shops in town.”


Nicusor, 22
“I think clothes matter – you have to look nice. My dad and uncles dress a bit differently to me but with time everything is changing. I’m wearing denim shorts today. My trainers are from Firetrap and the bag is from Romania. I have tattoos as well: on my right are are my son’s names, Josef and Yanis.”

Florin, 21

“Clothes are important to me because I care about my looks and style. I get fashion ideas from the TV, from Facebook and from seeing people around. My jacket is from Zara and the bag is Gucci. I don’t wear the earring in front of dad and family as they don’t really like it – I just wear it when I’m out with friends.”

Ion, 18

“The way I dress is not that important to me – I sometimes buy clothes from charity shops. Today I’m wearing a Chinese suit jacket, some jeans, a pair of driving shoes and a gold necklace. My parents don’t mind the way I dress, as long as I look respectful. It’s the personality that counts to them.”

Vasile Dumitru, in self portrait

“I used to dress a bit more traditionally but I have changed my style. If I didn’t then my friends would laugh at me and call me old-fashioned.”


Ionel, 18
“My shirt is English style, I think, and the jeans came a bit ripped. My yellow trainers are by Polo, from Ralph Lauren. I think these colours go well together. I change my hair style quiet often. In my opinion you have to care what you look like. It’s important to look smart, to show Roma are respectable.”

 Adiran, 18

“Normally I wear brighter colours than this. I like clothes a lot and feel better if I’m wearing something good. I dress very differently from my dad, who often wears suits when he’s going out. Sometimes my parents ask ‘what are these clothes?’ but the fashion is changing among young Roma guys.”

Find out more about the Roma Matrix project here


When life gives you lemons

Tom Daley is fit. Like, y’know, with muscles and stuff.

He said it’s all down to one thing.

(years of disciplined training and Olympic sponsorship)



I’ve been doing this for a week know and I love it, it’s like a morning hug. It’s calming, nourishing and does honestly give you a nice boost!

Try it!


You’re gunna hear me roar

I just wrote this blog and then the bloody thing deleted it. I want to shoot something.

Sooo, as I was saying, I am aching all over because I, like the rest of the world, has decided to get back in shape after eating way to much cheese and drinking, to be quite frank, a disgusting about of whiskey, over Christmas. As I type this I’m drinking an Avacado, Cucumber, Celery, Apple, Pear and OJ smoothie and an attempt to appease my pickled body and dull skin into forgiving me my trespasses.

// So, as well as getting back into our gym, on our morning smoothie regime and curbing my enthusiasm for Irish Whiskey, the boyf and I are feeling a little more human.

But, we’re taking it further. In an effort to eat cleaner, we’ve invested in a bumper pack of lean meats and poultry from, your friendly online butchers who deliver in chilled packages, to your door.

Darren Cravens

Before you go all suburban on me, no it’s not GM, 3D printed meat-substitute from Romanian Horse farms. It’s British Red Tractor certified, RSPCA Freedom Foods accredited, Soil Association approved, good, honest meat. You get tonnes of the stuff too, filling our 2nd freezer to the brim and therefore forcing us to eat cleaner and more high-protein food as we get back into the swing of things.

But, I’m not finished, I’m going the whole hog. I’ve joined a boot camp squad too. I know, I’m like Madonna.

Fitness and lifestyle coach Darren Craven hosts a boot camp style, high intensity workout class our of Proper Gym in Ancoats and I’m going to be hopping over the city once a week for 3 months to partake in the classes, get my home-work for in my own gym and receive some one-on-one training too, all for the benefit of your entertainment on this here blog.

So, expect more from me on my training trails soon!

This post was written with my disclosure policy in mind here.


5 Braces Of Christmas Past

Yep, I’m still a #braceface, still shining from the gob like I’m chewing tinsel. When you’re tucking into your Christmas dinner, I’ll inevitably be picking Snickers Celebrations out from under my wires. Festive.

Still, I won’t be alone this Christmas, (aside from the billions of regular folk undergoing Orthodontic treatment around the world) there will be a barrage of braceface action on our screens this Christmas to watch out for too. Who knew Christmas TV was the best for braces?

1. Linnie McCalister, Home Alone (1990)

Not only is she a fellow braced bitch, but she’s a diva with a ‘tude too!


2. Darla, Finding Nemo (2003)

She’s sporting something a little more severe than I’m putting up with, but girl’s owning the ortho.

3. Marcia, The Brady Bunch (1969)

Marcia got her braces in the first season of the hit 60s/70s TV show, let’s just say she didn’t take to them straight away.

4. Girl With Head Brace, Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

She said “My boy, I think someday
You’ll find a way to make your natural tendencies pay”
You’ll be a dentist
(Be a dentist)
You have a talent for causing things pain
Son, be a dentist
(Son, be a dentist)
People will pay you to be inhumane
Whilst the Dentist may have once given me nightmares, now I’m a card-holding member of Orthodontia, I can’t help but feel a little pang of love for the brutally horrific things he does to his patient’s faces. *sigh*
5. Toe Thompson, Shorts (2009)

Finally, a guy in the list! This scene is from the opening of the movie, where our be-braced brethren cleans his mouth-gear. 

A Very 70s Christmas

We hosted a little soiree t’other evening, to mark the festive season and for an excuse (as if we needed one) to have a little drinkipoos with friends before we all go our separate ways for Christmas. 

Christmas tree and a Holiday Armadillo…

Thankfully, the parents had been to stay the week before and in that time painted and wallpapered our living room, bringing us one step closer to realising the vision we have for the space.

Now, as you’ll remember from my post a couple of weeks ago, the decision to go green or go orange was causing chaos (in my mind), but I can now reveal – we went for orange. The warmer, less severe choice of the two, with the Farrow & Ball Indian Yellow complement on the surrounding three walls.

Glassware and ink-spot artwork gallery 

Whilst the room isn’t nearly finished yet, it’s a start. Next up, we need to find a fabric we like for the curtains Mama will make us, we need to give the paint a third and final coat (when the decorations are down in the new year) and then we need to replace all our furniture – starting with the sofas. But, we’re well on our way. 

To celebrate the 1970s contemporary inspiration behind our décor, we served a retro spread for our guests. Mature cheddar and pineapple on sticks, home-made mince meat puffs, pigs-in-blanketcocktailsausages, mini quiches and puff pastry pies, “assorted party mix” and a gorgeous spiced apple Christmas punch in glass punch cups a la your grandmother’s Boxing day buffet.

“Do you know what they call Bombay Mix in Bombay?… Mix.”

Merry Christmas!


Weird gift ideas

Don’t you just love a Christmas gift straight out of the ordinary? Cuff-links and ties are all well and good, but here’s a list of things you wouldn’t expect to get this Christmas.

Now that’s something worth writing. 

Because egg boxes are ugly. 

Cute design by illustrator, Julia Gash. Bobby is one of Julia’s two cats, together Bobby and Jimmy are a source of inspiration for Julia’s designs.

Moccis (pronounced Mock-Keys) are luxury hand-sewn Swedish moccasins for padding around indoors in.

Made by Nat in her Cornish studio, all Thrashion jewellery is made using traditional woodworking techniques with broken skateboards and silver.

Watches like you’ve never seen them before. I don’t even know how this one tells the time!


Things I want

Yep, I’m obsessed with interiors right now, because we’re decorating our home, so here’s some things I want St. Nick to bring me BECAUSE I’VE BEEN WELL GOOD!

Linea at House of Fraser
Marks & Spencer Home
Clas Ohlson


Who’s hue?

Oh dear oh dear, the boyf and I are in such dilemmas. It’s autumn (nay, winter!) and we’re once again turning our attention to décor after a summer of drinking Prosecco on the balcony. Only, we have a very clear vision in our minds – but when we try to articulate this, or indeed paint it on the wall, we get all confused and then just put Netflix on.

Our living room is large, dual aspect, has newly glossed skirting, door and door frame (thanks in-laws!) and we’re looking to go 1970s contemporary-retro. Think mustard coloured glassware, sideboards and shag rugs.

We’re going to implement a tried and tested formula, one statement wallpaper to three parts painted wall, and are stuck on the combination of colours.

Option 1, Trippy Orange 

This paper is a right statement, and we love the mix of burnt orange and deep chocolate. It’s warm and cosy without being stuffy. Still, this paper would work well when papered all over a sparsely furnished room, but despite the room’s size and ability to pull off such a commitment, we’re only looking to paper one wall. So, that begs the question, which colour do you paint the remaining three?

The paper even features in Two Broke Girls!
We’ve toyed with a few muted yellows, to really hone in on that yellowish tinge so beautifully reminiscent of the 70s.

India Yellow is absolutely beautiful, the kind of earthy warm yellow you see in North African towns or south Spanish villas. It goes well with the warmth of the wallpaper, but is it too much in the way of yellow?
We also like Sudbury Yellow from Farrow & Ball too, a slightly lighter yellow, but still as warm and thick.

Option 2, Green force

The other option we’ve been toying with is ditching the oranges in favour of greens, which is incidentally the colour we best like for upholstery.
This moody green and mocha combo is at once freshy modern, but still harks back to a time of outside loos and cermaic ducks on the wall. We love it.

But, once again we come unstuck when it comes to the paint we want to combine it with.

Salty Peat, Valspar and Conifer, Colours
How much green is too much green? Will it be too cold? Will it be too dark? Oh the questions! Wish us luck!



Popped by the multi-award winning Foundation Coffee House off Stevenson Sq. in Manchester’s Northern Quarter t’other day. Why? For a brew, of course.

Thermos are celebrating being all good at keeping things warm and wanted to talk hot coffee with us in a hot space. The team at Foundation are hyped-up caffeine fuelled coffee manic connoisseurs, what they don’t know about coffee, isn’t worth knowing.

They took us through four unique brewing processes that each make a different kind of coffee. The processes were as bizarre as they were over engineered, but it was fun to watch and learn more about coffee.

I had no idea there was so much to it.

The four methods the team showed us where, Balance Syphon, Syphon, Aero-press and V60, each a totally different way of brewing coffee and not something you’ll find in your local Starbucks. Note, never mention Starbucks, flavoured syrups or even sugar in front of these guys. They’re serious about coffee and won’t stand for it.

Syphon brewing is a bizarre one that almost amounts to witch craft. Basically, the coffee is popped into the top bit, and the water in the bottom. Then a flame is lit and boils the water, once the water reaches boiling, the vacuum created sucks the water up a spout and into the top compartment to mix with the coffee before falling back down into the bottom, ready for drinking.
How utterly ridiculous. (read: amazing)
Verdict: the coffee was weak. Not much time to brew.

Then there was this contraption. A Balance Syphon. So, much like the other Syphon, this kinetic wonder houses the water in the metal basin, where a flame underneath boils it. Once boiled it tips and the water rushes through into the glass jug to mix with the coffee before swooshing back.

Absolutely mad. (read: I want one)

Verdict: The coffee wasn’t great.Once again, a little weak.

Then there’s the Areo-press, an equally over complicated process to get a brew. (Anyone just fancy a Nescafe?) Here the coffee is popped into an air tight telescopic thingie and water poured in on top. Once sealed you pop the contraption over your cup and push down really hard until the water seeps through the coffee. 

Insane (No, really)

Verdict: The coffee was alright actually.

The best brew was the simplest. The V60 is your standard filter coffee contraption where the coffee is popped on top of a pot and water passes through both it, and a filter paper, to make a gorgeous brew.

Verdict: The coffee was divine.

Large flask, Thermos, £30.95

Cheers to Thermos for an enlightening and buzz-filled evening and check out their new range of flasks to keep your brew hot. They made our welcome coffee at 6am and served it to us from these flasks, pipping hot, at 7pm. Amazing.


You are here

We’ve been tarting up our new home since we moved in, but at a snail’s pace because our priority has been enjoying summer on the balcony!

Now it’s autumn though, our attention has turned back to décor and the hallway we need to finish off before moving onto the living/dining room.

You can catch up on our painting here and our up-cycling here

Manchester Doodle Map, David Gee, Pencil Me In, £42 (framed)

Now, Pencil Me In is a gorgeous shop, that I’ve mentioned in posts before. It’s on Chapel St, very close to our home, and represents part of an indie renaissance around the £360m regeneration area of Salford Central and New Bailey, skirting the River Irwell and Spinningfields. Along with Lupo, the italian coffee shop, Kings Arms and its theatre space and the Salford Arms, the strip is getting known amongst the hipsters.

The store stocks gorgeous stationery, prints, gifts and all manner of wonderfully cute things, including lovely doodles by local illustrator, David Gee, who, incidentally, is based just above the store!

David’s illustrations adorn ceramics, phone cases and come in the more traditional framed print form, and the boyf and I fell in love with this monochromatic doodle map of our fair city, Manchester.

It works perfectly well on an otherwise barren wall, breathing a little humour, sense of location and place within the welcoming foyer to our home.