Brayce Yourself

A weekly column in which Emily, Susannah and I contemplate life in our 20s.

Alice

At the awkward late 20s stage, only minorly disillusioned by living and working in London

This week I have been spending a lot of time answering the phone. When I was younger I would refuse, point blank, to pick up the phone, I just hated it so much -  the thought of picking up and speaking into the unknown, to a disembodied voice who would most likely ask you questions you didn't know the answer to, or how to answer.  These days, I spend a lot of time on the phone at work and am very happy to answer calls, I don't think twice and almost relish the possible challenge that might be at the other end.

People are different on the phone.  They feel they can say things they would never say to someone's face (often rude things), even more so if they do not know the person they are calling.  Dealing with phone calls correctly is about ascertaining the tone of voice from the first Hello - are they trying to pick a fight, are they upset, are they a time waster - and it's always about maintaining a tone of complete confidence, never ever giving the caller any reason to doubt you.

I sometimes wonder if the world of catalogue and online shopping has taken in the many lost souls who once upon a time would have attended church regularly, prayed often and even gone to confession.  Nowadays with no one to listen, or no one listening without judgement, women in their hoards ring up online shopping companies and order anything and everything, cashmere jumpers, toasters, hair straighteners, dog beds.  And there is always someone to listen.  'Don't worry about the hole in your cashmere jumper we can fix that'. 'You don't like the colour of the towels you bought? that's fine we can exchange them for you'.  'Of course you look great in those glitter eye lashes you bought, blue is definitely your colour (although I have no idea what you look like) and everyone is wearing blue this season'.  They love it, they love to call, they love to chat, and there is always someone at the end of the phone willing to talk and help them with any queries they have at all, to listen, and to keep listening.  And often they get hooked, I genuinely believe there are people out there who order more, just so they can chat more.

One of my current favourite phone caller curiosities is the use of phonetics.  I will happily admit my phonetics are not excellent, and I have no problem if you say B is for Beta or F is for Freddie - these are relatable and fine.  Although I do get a little annoyed if you incorrectly correct me, 'Is that W for Whiskey?' 'Yes W for Winston'.  But the best are the people put on the spot, who must have repeated their own postcode a thousand times, and when asked to repeat it say, 'T for Cup of'.... kind of clever, I like that.   But the real treat came this week in the form of the letter 'K'.  'Did you say K?', 'Yes, K for Knee'.  WHAT?!  I was so taken aback, I had an unusual prolonged hesitation in my postcode entering, 'K for Knee'... of all the K words you could have chosen.....

And below four British Brands for this week 😍

    

Alice xxx

Emily

2 and a half years out of University, and the glamour of London working life is fading rapidly

Six Of The Best

This week I have decided to write about some trendy, vacuous stuff that looks fun:Pom poms pleaseOn trousers, jewellery, hats, anything really. These babies are going to be EVERYWHERE this summer. So get ahead of the curve and get them while you can: Topshop Pom Pom Hem Jamie Jeans and @pom_bombs  earrings. In the gardenSpring is officially here. And what better way to celebrate than by dousing yourself in a new springy fragrance? Geranium by Diptique has notes of pink peppercorn, bergamot, rose & bourbon geranium (obvs). Feel smug, smelling sweet, fresh and springy – even on a sweaty morning tube.  Geranium OdorataTwelfth Night at The National Even if (like me) your only real reference point for this epic Shakespearean saga is the film ‘She’s The Man,’ this revamp of the piece will leave you in stitches. A gorgeous, rotating set that would make even the snobbiest interior designer drool and costumes to complement, there was never a dull moment in the farce that ensued. Vintage cars, shipwrecks, yellow tights and a hot tub – what’s not to love? And for all the Green Wing fans out there – it is a dream to see Dr Caroline Todd and young Boyce reunited. Twelfth Night tickets.Making a beeline  This gadget is very cool. I've yet to try it, but I really think that it would make all bike rides a lot easier. With beeline, instead of having to stop every five minutes to consult your phone - risking your life and your phone screen - you simply clip the device to your handle bars, type in your destination and a handy arrow will point you in the right direction. No more excuses for being late! They claim to make ‘smart navigation simple’ and I think I really do believe them.  BeelineChin Chin Warm weather calls for ice-cream. Everyone knows that. This whacky ice-cream parlour, Chin Chin Labs takes its product VERY seriously. If you are looking for a 99 Flake, this is the wrong place. They freeze ‘mapcap flavours’ with liquid nitrogen to spectacular effect (or so it appears from their mouth-watering Instagram feed). Intriguing creations include stout served with a potato cake & seaweed wafer, cream cheese with red velvet fondant cake & a beetroot crisp, and rhubarb sorbet served with lemon curd candy floss. It sounds a lot like Florean Fortescue but real.Caveat – I have not actually visited yet but am very keen if anyone fancies it? Chin Chin LabsAt the pubAfter work, or weekend drinks in a summer pub garden on a warm evening. There is literally nothing better. Finding space in a nice garden can be tricky but once you do, and are settled in you will never want to leave. So get yourselves to the pub with an appropriately summery beverage, a couple of pals and hope that it doesn’t rain. Maybe even take a board game? The Leather Bottle

Susannah

About to graduate from University, excited for intrepid adventures into the real world

In other news this week:

In a moment of madness I sent this email to an ice cream company. From: Susannah BrayTo. info@lakenhamcreamery.co.ukSubject: Stockist Question 10:50am 24th March 2017Dear Sir/Madam,I was curious, as in need of a tasty treat, to where the nearest stockist would be to St Andrews, Fife?Best,Susannah To put this into perspective, I am quite aware this may not be an entirely normal thing to do, especially at 11am in the morning, but, apparently I wanted some ice cream. Also to reveal the ice cream in question is stocked in Norfolk. Yes, Norfolk, as I found out is slightly too far to go to get some ice cream. All I wanted was some Rich Butterscotch or Double Chocolate Chip.Just to notify you, I do not work for their marketing team. Although if they wish to send me free ice cream I would happily accept.When I was younger, as I am sure, as any of my family will tell you I used to have a slight obsession with ice cream. Most meals wouldn’t be satisfied without it, the said flavour of choice was Mint Choc Chip. My obsession probably realised itself on weekends or weeks spent in Southwold when we would go to visit my Grandmother. As soon as lunch was polished off, ice cream would appear, and then probably an hour later I would pester anyone to take me to the ice cream parlour for my fix of Mint Chocolate Chip, generally having being coaxed on a walk before.But where the source of this unusual email comes from is the first ice cream course. As we would be served, straight from the freezer dollops of Norfolk County Ice Cream. And apparently this is what opened my eyes to the world outside of Mint Chocolate Chip - what an eye opening experience that was. I discovered that I could indeed eat all flavours of ice cream, and apparently I was dissatisfied with the quality of ice cream in Scotland, or the nauseating sweetness of the mass produced Hagen Daas or Ben and Jerrys. I expect a lack of cream might be to blame in their recipes or indeed, americanised sugar. If you aren’t aware my dissertation is essentially about how America is ruining the world, and therefore I tend to blame them for everything, realised or edible and sweet. Or perhaps I had been too often traumatised by people serving, Carte D’or Vanilla, what should be the bane of any pudding eaters life. Am an ice cream snob? Perhaps, but at least my ice cream buds are more developed than whoever decided that the French could make ice cream. No-matter how inviting your apple crumble is, all anyone will taste is the sweet joy if Uniliver happened to raise the tax on it. Please, leave the marmite and keep your shitty sweet slop.Divulging from snobbery, after racking my brains, I remember the source of this ice cream being in Norfolk and therefore set out on an internet search.Discovering the creamery was situated in Norwich, I hastily type this into google maps. A mere 437 miles one way (via glasgow obviously) is what I found, and after arriving back in Fife the day before, decided that this route was not for me. In perspective that's 7h 54m drive time and £60 of petrol. Diverting from this route I next found myself on SkyScanner, with the ease and accessibility of Edinburgh airport only an hour away. A 5.50am 3h25m flight from Edinburgh to Norwich via Amsterdam seemed pretty reasonable, made all the more appealing as I had the option of 4 hours of Norwich sightseeing before my next flight, at, 5.20pm. The price also was fantastic, all for the bargain of £335. Faced with the issue that my pots of £300 ice cream would have melted by the time I got back to Scotland I decided to click the About Us button.There, to my delight, I found:'Our ice cream is available in several farms, deli's and retail establishments such as Waitrose and Co-op. You can always call us to find your nearest stockist or you can visit our factory shop where we keep the full range of both Norfolk County and Aldous flavours. We'll be very happy to supply you and your family.’The nearest Waitrose is in Edinburgh. And somehow I thought the Co-op in Anstruther would’t stock Norfolk Ice Cream. So contact it was. To my shame I decided to email them as I thought my desperate situation would come out better typed that with spoken word. Ice Cream madness apparently knows no bounds.I have yet to receive a response.

Brayce Yourself

A weekly column in which Emily, Susannah and I contemplate life in our 20s

Alice

At the awkward late 20s stage, only minorly disillusioned by living and working in London

This week @thatcoat has been getting itself a little attention again (if you've not heard of #ThatCoat / having been living under a rock, you can read about it here and here).  Zara have rehashed the design (added a frill) and brought it out a sassy red and classic blue version for Summer.  It's still a classy coat, people are still buying it, and I got very excited when I passed a young style maven wearing it on her way to work this morning - keep sending us photos #CoatSquad (we love the new hashtag The Express) and Zara we'd still love to hear your thoughts...I met Paulien Riemis of Polienne blog fame and discovered something quite amazing for an instagram obsessive like myself - Paulien has TWO instagram accounts, one is her actual (you can see it here) and the other is a tester account.  She puts all her photos up on a private account to double check how they will look before she puts them up on her actual one.  Mind blown / what a great idea - the amount of times I think 'I'm sure that filter isn't quite right...)I have spent a lot of this week in Shoreditch - I really really like Shoreditch, there is so much going on, and it's perfect for exploring.  I am slightly obsessed with concept stores - specifically coffee shop / boutique ones and found two really fun ones on Redchurch Street - Modern Society which has a really good selection of independent brands and trendy attire, and also Kit & Ace whose shop till area is also a coffee bar with seats - such fun.Going forward, I am going to be focusing the blog on all things British, and I wanted to start you off with 4 British brands I am loving right now, do click on them below.Alice xxx Also do have a look at my Mother’s Day Gift Ideas on the menu drop down (3 little horizontal lines at the top right of the blog) 💐😍.

Emily

2 and a half years out of University, and the glamour of London working life is fading rapidly

This week I have been very disappointed that Spring didn’t arrive, had my umbrella actually turn inside out mid storm and tried sag aloo for the very first time (it was delicious). Also went all the way to Hogwarts (Watford) had some Butterbeer, loved the real Hogwarts Express and once again became sad about being a Muggle. Although I would almost certainly have been sorted into Ravenclaw ...It’s been a tough week for London but we keep calm and carry on. Is it just me, or when something like this happens, do people seem friendlier and kinder towards each other – especially on public transport?You will notice in my reference to public transport that I am still lurking in waiting list purgatory for my bike space at work … #notbitter(Literally as I am typing this, a friend sent me some bashed up selfies from a hospital bed in Rome – having been knocked off her bike! Starting to think perhaps the bike waiting list is trying to tell me something).I have also been thinking a lot about time. We think we have so much of it, it either drags or flies, we waste it or lose it, misuse it or are smug and incredibly productive with it. Ultimately it’s our time, and we should be using it to do what makes us happy. Easier said than done, but it’s about time we realised it. As youths in our twenties we are constantly being bombarded by inspirational Instagram quotes, Facebook posts and autobiographies of world-class entrepreneurs telling us what we SHOULD be doing. But what about what we could or even want to do?On the theme of time, the clocks go forward this weekend. I am incredibly resentful of losing an hour of sleep, but I love the prospect of longer evenings – one step closer to summer! Picnics, Pimms and pool parties (ok this isn’t the O.C but we can dream).Also despite the fact that supermarkets have been reminding us that Easter is on the way since New Year’s Day, as the big day approaches I for one am a huge fan of the orgy of chocolate on display. Crème Eggs, Malteaster Bunnies, Mini Eggs – there literally isn’t a weak link among them. Also if you haven’t tried the Mini Egg Easter cakes – with a lurid looking yellow cream inside, you absolutely must. They look hideous but taste delicious and are becoming increasingly elusive in the supermarkets of London. But if you track them down, it’s well worth the effort.It’s the small things … 

Susannah

About to graduate from University, excited for intrepid adventures into the real world

This week Susannah has written a piece on her visit to the Tempietto in Rome during her university Spring break

A Harmonious Observance

Location: Rome, Italy.

The Morning of 12th March 2017.

This weekend I visited Roma, to see a friend who happens to be working there. However, what I don’t think she expected was me to force her to go and watch the sun rise at San Pietro in Montorio, or more famously the location is known to hold Bramante’s Tempietto.

The Tempietto is a highly underrated and almost entirely perfect part of Rome, and, as I discovered even better at dawn. One of the more fantastic parts about this purely simplistic and somewhat majestic building is that it is seems to avoid the draws of crowds of tourists. Leaving a visit to be one of reflective calm as you look back over the glory of Rome. As yet, I have failed to mention, the San Pietro in Montorio also holds one of the best views of Rome, although not one of the highest, and I am sure there are more majestic ones, to be able to hold Casel Sant’Angelo, St Peter’s and slightly controversial ‘Wedding Cake’ all in one eye range is truly remarkable. And, even more an ode to Bramante, when you see the various Dome’s peeking above the Roman roofs.

I have been before, but determinedly feel as if a trip to Rome without a visit is incomplete. However, this time I was determined to see the structure at dawn. And, even with danger of beginning to sound monotonous, it really was well worth the visit.

To precede such an occasion my friend whom I was visiting in Rome, Cosima, spent the evening out accompanied by various others. However, when the time came to head home, around 4 o’clock in the morning I suggested a visit to Piazza Navona to delight in the empty Piazza at night. Already ticking through my mind was the possibility of making it to 6.30am for dawn, I may have craftily looked up the time of the rising sun- so my aim was to fill the time until then. Piazza Navona soon led to a 24 hour cafe, where we revived ourselves on cups of tea and speck sandwiches. And such we found ourselves wondering home, where I informed Cosima that we would be climbing the up to visit the Tempietto and the sun. After slight protestations, I persuaded her that as we were already awake it would be silly not to. And, as we found out it really wasn’t very far away as we were staying in Trastevere. So with full energy restored we bounced, with quite a large amount of running up to the top of San Montorio. Upon the hill we were greeted by a fantastic view and were able to wish Good Morning to the Tempietto. Not a soul in sight we sat on the wall and waited around ten minutes for the sun to come up over the eastern hills. We found at that point not, much necessity to talk and instead listened to the tolling half hour bells, and the whizzing of vespas of those winding their way on early work routes through the city. To confirm, it was certainly worth it, and both of us had a sense of achievement when lazily strolling back down the hill towards the warm comfort of bed, being greeted on the way down by those tending to dogs early morning needs, where, half an hour previously had not been a soul inside, suddenly found single figures with their furry friends on mass. Sad to report on the option of another mass, that although we made plans to attend in Piazza Navona, we blissfully slept through the 11am starting time- leaving our sins for another week.

A bit about:

The Tempietto, is regarded as the epitome of the High Renaissance, for its simplistic and symmetrical form, commissioned by Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. The Spaniards still hold this part of Rome as the structure abuts the Spanish embassy.  What made it unique in 1502, was the use of the hemispherical dome. Dome making, perfected by the Ancient Roman’s was an lost art form, until Brunelleschi, applied it to Santi Maria del Firori in Florence about a third of the way through the 15th century. It was not until Bramante that the hemispherical Dome that, now makes up most of the Roman skyline, was rediscovered in his formation of the Tempietto. The structure was built to mark the spot where upon St Peter was martyred, however, in a Renaissance and Classical mix up, they sadly got the wrong hill.