Brayce Yourself

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


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

Living and working south of the river in London, some weeks I do occasionally forget to cross over it, and I always appreciate it when someone says let's do something 'central'.  This week it was dinner close to Oxford Circus, and as it was a beautiful evening I hopped on a Boris Bike by Battersea Park and peddled north to spend some time in actual London.

 I have a big love for the shops close Oxford Circus, and I always make time for the big Topshop.  Entering Topshop for me, is a bit like entering Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, as far as the eye can see is an array of beautiful items, in pretty colours happily delighting the senses.  Handbags first in pretty pastels (this one), shiny accessories by Skinny Dip (this laptop case), and then jewellery, I always find this hardest to resist.  Downstairs bright primary colours are competing with pastels, yes please to these trousers in lavender and in green and then even further down to the basement to the wonderful world of every shoe imaginable - I have no idea how I don't already own these.  And I love that Miss Selfridge is attached - it can be hit and miss, (is it too tacky?!) but this time I fell in love with this powder blue leather jacket and these wonderful shoes......😍.  This week I heard of a customer who cried, yes cried because she thought a certain brands shop display was the most beautiful thing she had every seen, perhaps retail therapy is a real thing.....

There is however one aspect of Topshop that I find very trying indeed, and certainly not therapeutic.  Once I have enough clothes to try on, I head to the changing rooms, and once there, as one does, I tend to take most of my clothes off, in order to put the other clothes on.  But there is a moment in-between items coming off and going back on again, usually when I'm just in my underwear, when I catch a glimpse of myself in the huge brightly lit mirror, and then I can't help but look properly, and then I don't entirely like what I am seeing.  WHY do they do this?! The lighting is equivalent to Macdonalds lighting, the mirror is enormous, and really I don't need to see myself in such detail, it's quite cruel.  My general reaction is - I MUST give up the creme eggs, I MUST go for more runs, and I dash (fully clothed) out of the shop as fast as possible.  Topshop, please work on kinder lighting.

With my retail therapy hit not satisfied, I headed to Liberty, maybe my favourite shop of all time and wandered through the ground floor, I really love this print at the moment.  I found myself in the chocolate shop (apparently even Topshop's cruelly lit changing rooms cannot convince me I should be giving up the sweet stuff), and I delighted in all things chocolate.  I have the sweetest tooth and am also completely taken in by pretty packaging -  Mast Brothers, I love what you are doing, I really do. The British are excellent at making chocolate and I discovered many recognisable brands and some new, and of course, with Easter on the way, they are in full swing Easter Egg mode.  So this week, my British brands below are all chocolate makers - happy Easter Egg hunting 🐰🐣.

Alice xxx



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

Boom Boom Shake The RoomSitting at a desk all day can’t be good for us. So this week, I decided to shake up my exercise routine with a bit of spinning. So I’m not a complete couch potato, but I’m also no Paula Radcliffe. Sometimes I go to the gym, run when I have time and obvs cycle to work. But I wanted to add a little extra, so I found my nearest spin class and boldly signed up. 8am on a Wednesday morning in Holborn – nae problem!When my alarm went off at 6:45am I was horrified, I felt sick – I try my best never to see such hours of the day, unless catching a flight. I seriously considered going back to sleep but it was light, and I was already awake, so I hauled myself out of bed. Luckily I remembered to bring my water bottle, stole a banana from one of my housemates – and hit the road.My destination was Boom Cycle in Holborn. A trendy spin studio where they blast loud music and shout inspirational things at you to distract from the voluntary torture you are undergoing. I wasn’t going into this blind, I had been to Psycle on Great Mortimer Street before and knew what was waiting for me.I got the tube from Barons Court to Holborn, and only got slightly lost before finding my location. The first thing I noticed was how helpful and nice everyone was. The staff at these ‘clean eating’ ‘healthy’ ‘inspo’ fitness places can tend to be a frosty bunch – but these guys were great. I was assigned a pair of the funny shoes, given a towel and a locker and headed for the changing room. The changing room was trendy, not as swanky as at Psycle (but you do pay £2 more per class, and last time I went Millie Mackintosh was there – so it’s a slightly more flashy crowd) but perfectly nice. I think these places must have a partnership with REN as they have so many of their products which are just a-mazing. Boom also had lots of inspirational quotes stuck on the mirrors ‘You Look Awesome’ etc – I was pepped up and ready to go!The class started bang on 8am and I was surprised how few of us there were, perhaps the trendy fitness fad is dying (fingers crossed). If you haven’t been to such places before, imagine a small nightclub, complete with mirrors and a few spin bikes thrown in. It’s relatively dark, and the music is very loud (for the motivation – duh!) There was also a scented candle …Approximately 10 minutes in I was intensely regretting my decision. Despite only cranking up my resistance the bare minimum, I still felt like my legs were made of lead and I was going to collapse. For those of you who haven't attended spin before, it’s not just cycling. The inspirational fitness guru sits on a platform facing her sweaty congregation and tells you when to turn up (or down) the resistance, when to stand up in your saddle, or sit down. It’s basically a lot of bobbing around which is actually VERY tiring.There are also the weights. Usually I would have chosen the lightest weights for myself – but at Boom Cycle they assign you weights, and I was too much of a nervous newbie to question it. As such I was lumped with some extra heavy ones, which I subsequently struggled with during the bicep curls etc and could barely feel my arms by the end. I’m sure it was good for me though!About three quarters of the way through the 45 minute session, I actually started to push through the pain and start to enjoy myself. It did get easier, and the music was excellent. There was a moment they switched off all the lights which was a bit disorientating – but by the time the last song came on I was feeling like a regular Bradley Wiggins.I hobbled back into the changing room, grateful for the REN shower products and quotes on the back of the shower door.I was absolutely ravenous for the rest of the day, and kept smugly telling anyone who would listen that I had been to a spin class BEFORE work. And despite all my complaining, I will probably go back....


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

'Adrian Brody joins Peaky Blinders’ Blinders is rapidly becoming the hottest spot on television, Adrien Brody is jointing the gritty Birmingham drama.People love, oh so much to comment on the accents of the actors in this show, either Irish or brummie and it does make me wonder where he will fit in. Perhaps the Americans are getting involved in fray. The show is expanding and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.Peaky blinders from onset showcased an impressive cast, Cillian Murphy, Helen McCroy, Sam Neil and Annabelle Wallis are the big names who make up the cast. An Irish man and a Londoner both playing brummies, a Kiwi and another Londoner playing the Irish. Where does Adrien Brody fit in? Odds would say not an American, so maybe he’ll pick up a Russian accent on the way over. The Russians were introduced in Series 3 when they pressed the refresh button on quite a few characters.The cast also introduced Tom Hardy and his real life wife Charlotte Riley in Series 2 so this show really is snowballing. Hardy plays London gangster Alfie Solomons, while Charlotte plays one of  Thomas Shelby's love interests. Where do you go next? This was Hardy’s first step back into television with him leading the questionable Taboo affair. That really just felt like an Ode to Tom Hardy rather than anything worth watching. Jonathan Pryce’s character seems to be on  aserious vendetta that he is only able to  express through swearing. Welcome to the post-Game of Thrones world where if there isn’t incest or extensive swearing it won’t clear the first round with the producers (even for the BBC). I relish the idea of Governor Swann the kindly but cowardly character in Pirates of the Caribbean, unjustly killed by the East India Trading Company, being reincarnated in Game of Thrones as a religious fanatic only to be blown to bits by another crazed character, to be reincarnated back as the head East India Trading Company. Life has dealt a hard hand and with that track record I certainly would have something to swear about.In all honesty I think this is where Tom Hardy should further his career: for Thomas Shelby is tough but maybe he’ll get to break Adrien Brody’s American or Russian nose in a standoff. Somehow I think they are not going to be the pals in the show, too much bone structure for one.Peaky Blinders should be out sometime this year, although they have a intensely annoying un-reliable record for bringing the show out inconsistently.Fun fact: John Shelby and Michael, Polly’s Son are brothers Joe and Finn Cole in real life.