An Internet dating service provider is now Bauer Media’s biggest external partner, I asked Londoners whether they would give online dating a try for XCity magazine.

I also looked at the history of the lonely hearts ad for the publication.

April’s sunny spell may mean hosepipe bans, but it also equals an early debut for barbecues, ice cream vans and our summer wardrobes. Lovely! Especially since Spring/Summer 2012’s trends have a major holiday vibe.

Here are the five you need in your life:

1.  Pastels

Step away from the black, navy and brown. This summer’s colour palette is of candy pinks, creamy yellows, mint greens and baby blues. You don’t have to colour block Neapolitan style though; toughen up pastel pieces with studded leather  or stay smart in a candy blazer.

Vlogger, @imjennim shows you how in the video above.

As seen on Zooey Deschanel, the Prada runway and Catwalk Queen

2. Cat eye sunglasses

Rain, rain go away, we need an excuse to wear Prada’s exclusive cat eye sunglasses bit.ly/IRUb1P instagr.am/p/JgyA0ii58p/

— Selfridges.com (@Selfridges) April 17, 2012

Don’t cat eye glasses just ooze Mad Men glamour? My favourites are Nicole Farhi’s.  Go for white, tortoise shell and black for a sophisticated look. Just add a fifties sun dress and some court shoes. 

As seen on the Dior runway, in the Whistles collection and on Jessica Alba

3. All things aquatic


Aquatic prints

“Just look at the world around you/ Right here on the ocean floor/ Such wonderful things surround you/ What more are you looking for?” Sebastian the crab, 1989.

Swap your ditsy florals for refreshing  coral reef prints and iridescent finishes this summer: Sebastian is right, under the sea is where it’s at right now.

As seen on Florence Welch on the Chanel runway

4. Crop tops

Don’t panic. Forget all images of the Spice Girls. Crop tops are more wearable than you think. Teamed with high-waisted skirts, shorts or trousers they accentuate your waist. It’s perhaps best not to wear one on the day you decide to go for a three course pub lunch though.

Vlogger, @staceyy_stace demonstrates ways to wear them in the above video.

As seen on the Miu Miu runway,  Cheryl Cole and on Fashionnotes 

5. Flatforms

Check out the flatforms – AKA flat shoes with a platform heel – you’ve posted on Twitter and Instagram this week (via Storify) They’re all the comfort of pumps plus the leg lengthening magic of heels. These have to be one of the top 10 best inventions ever. Winter’s brothel creepers will carry you through the early spring, but flatform sandals and espadrilles will be your new best friends by mid-summer.

As seen on: the Derek Lam runway and in Topshop‘s collection

Which of these trends will you be sporting this season?

PS. While you’re getting ready for a stylish summer, check out Grazia’s top beauty trends for 2012’s warmer months.

Image via Eat Sleep Work

It’s a Friday night in a crowded pub. My friend leans across the table to tell me a story: “So you know that guy- the gorgeous one with high-powered job- he texts me all the time. My inbox is so full. My phone has rung every five minutes this week. The messages really embarrass me. They all say how beautiful I am, how intelligent I am and how he thinks I’m the best person in the world. It’s so annoying.”

I sit and feign concern. I say that I don’t know how I’d cope if a good looking man complemented me every day and that it must be terrible for her. Thank god I only ever get texts from my mother.

The truth is that her tale of pain and torment is really a disguised half hour monologue on how beautiful men can’t help but fall for her. Her story is a ‘humble brag’.

She’s not the only humble bragger I know. Promoted friends complain they’re so annoyed to have to relocate to a penthouse apartment in New York. Course friends say it’s so awkward that they’re the tutor’s favourite. Loved-up friends grumble that their boyfriend is always asking to buy them things. Single friends complain that they just can’t choose between two guys who are obsessed with them.

I’m not exempt either. Sometimes I’m just too tempted to do my own PR and I can’t help but pass on compliments I’ve received.

No one wants to listen to these stories, they’re pointless and dull. They’re a sign that the story teller either has low self-esteem or a huge ego. Humble brags are an easy way to self gratify; they’re conversational masturbation and they need to stop.

If I tell you how annoyed I am that I have to work with my ex-boyfriend and then you tell me how annoyed you are that you’re thinner than all your workmates, my genuine problem seems devalued.

Plus, as you try to pretend that you’re annoyed you lie to me and treat me like a fool. It’s quite clear you’re showing off, there’s no need to hide it.

For this reason, all I ask is that if you’re going to boast about yourself at least do it with integrity. There’s no need to hide behind “annoyings”, “awkwards” and “irritatings”. Don’t be ungrateful about your amazing life. It’s rude.

I still don’t promise I’ll listen when you show off for an hour, but at least I’ll have some respect for you.

I’ve completed two work placements at the lovely Design Week now. Here’s a link to everything I’ve written for them. I have no idea why you’d want to read out-of-date articles by me, but there are some fun ones. I promise.

Here is a video of me running round my house finding things to sell at car boot sales. I made it for carbooted.

Image via Billboard.com

He shoved her head against the passenger window of his car. He punched her in the left eye and then drove away continuing to beat her face, arms and legs and causing her mouth to fill with blood. He told her he was going to kill her. He choked her and bit her ear and when she screamed for help he pulled over and walked away.

Neither international superstar, Rihanna nor her boyfriend, global heart throb, Chris Brown made it to America’s Grammy Awards in 2009. The night of the awards ceremony was instead the end of their relationship and the start of a police investigation into Brown’s shocking attack on his girlfriend.

Last week, it was the 2012 Grammy Awards, and the poster boy for domestic violence’s first appearance at the ceremony since the incident. Twitter was full of debate about Brown picking up the award for best R&B album and being allowed to perform twice on this macabre third anniversary of the attack. It was a tweet from a 22 year old Brit, though, Sarah that went viral.

On Sunday evening she tweeted: “I’d let Chris Brown beat me up anytime J #woman beater” and was soon joined by other Brown fangirls, dubbed “Team Breezy”, expressing that being attacked by Brown was both a price worth paying for him and something they would enjoy.

Sarah has since said that her tweet was a joke, but whether or not her remarks were tongue-in-cheek is irrelevant; the ignorance they portray is still shocking.

Jennifer Pozner, director of media analysis group, Women in Media & News said in a recent interview: “The fact you have so many tweets that are on the surface so deeply disturbing reveals how little young women understand about the actual physical dangers in dating violence and abusive relationships.”

I think, however, that are additional reasons why these girls thought that it was okay to joke about domestic violence.

Firstly, I think they confused the language describing Brown’s act of putrid violence with the language of “lad banter”. Fighting words have become sex words.  Visit free porn site Youporn and the video names you see will read “girl get’s slammed”, “hottie gets pounded” and “woman gets destroyed”. Just like bikini waxes before it, inferred sexual violence is moving from mainstream porn to mainstream popular culture, with boys on university campuses across the country are telling their friend’s they’re going to “hit that”.

Sarah’s tweet, despite reading as request for Brown to slam her head into his car door, was perhaps supposed to be a cheeky attempt at sexily telling the boys on her feed what she thought they wanted to hear.

Secondly, Rihanna’s own music and videos since the incident have done nothing to disentangle the mixing of sexuality and violence within popular culture. She collaborated with Eminem on a series of songs called “Love the Way You Lie” which told the story of an abusive relationship. The series included the lyrics: “You’re going to stand there and watch me burn/ But it’s alright because I like the way it hurts”. The lyrics were illustrated with a music video, during which pin-up, Megan Fox was beaten up in her underwear. These videos fictionalised and sexualised the traumatic real events Rihanna had experienced, turning her life into a soap opera open for public debate.

Finally and most worryingly, Brown’s Grammy success further normalises his abusive behaviour. Pop stars are role models and sex symbols who are powerful, rich and successful. By celebrating Chris Brown as a pop star, the Grammy’s are inferring that he is a role model and a sex symbol. They are saying that this man, who three years ago beat his girlfriend to a pulp, is someone to aspire to be. The win says to young boys that Chris Brown is who they should want to grow up to be and to young girls, like Sarah, that he’s the kind of guy they should want to grow up to date.

The clues are there: the fixed wheel bicycles chained to the nearby lamppost and the cloud of Swan and Marlboro smoke outside the door. From across the road though, 32-36 Shoreditch High Street is definitely a wholesalers. The dated capped fonts of the building’s faded store signs reading “Dream Bags, Import & Export” in white on navy and “Jaguar Shoes Import & Export” in red on white.

The orange glow of mood lighting gives away this contemporary speakeasy’s true identity, illuminating three long shelves of unusual liquor bottles. A stern bouncer, top to toe in black, checks belongings thoroughly upon entry, and two snarling girls – in vintage everything –appear to judge each new visitor with disdain from an L-shaped sofa by the window.

The walls are plastered in brightly coloured, giant comic strips. The ceiling’s black with shiny silver silhouettes. On the back wall, stand-alone shelves host bottles of gobstoppers labelled “eat me”. By 10pm, the dozen little round tables that fill the bar are covered in the empty glasses, tasselled satchels and DSLRs of fashionable twenty-somethings. A boy with John Lennon glasses fiddles with wax as it dribbles off candles sat in Rioja and Jack Daniels bottles whilst sylph-like girls, their eyeliner winged and jewellery statement, air kiss and coo.

A bar sits below the rows of spirits that can be seen from outside, peppered with paraphernalia; a chainsaw squeezed in next to the whiskies and cognacs. Chalkboards list cocktails: “Sayam Brides” and “Black Cherry and Chocolate Old Fashioned Red Stags”. Behind the bar, a nosed-pierced boy pulls pints of Red Stripe. On the other side, an Amazonian girl in a geometric print dress arches her back as she flirts with the owner of an ironic beard, barging those trying to order drinks out of her way.

Indistinguishable electro music is replaced by Joe Goddard’s “Gabriel” and suddenly Chelsea boots and boat shoes start to pound down a crosshatched metal stairway on the left, past the spot-lit Jaguar Shoes mugs with £20 price tags, and into a bare brick cellar.

Dim lighting hides the mottled floor and ceiling of the cellar. The murmurings of customers and the shaking of cocktails are drowned by chest-pounding bass. Big screens show an odd mixture of footage of Pierce Brosnan movies and the words “Rasta and resistance” in flashing neon pink. Down here it’s hotter and busier. Boys, wearing fisherman-jackets over hoodies over granddad-knits over long-sleeved tees, grumble as they stuff layer after layer of their autumn/winter 2011-12 wardrobe behind industrial radiators for safe keeping. Girls tie natural waves into top-knots and tug at their patterned tights, but by 10.20pm it’s too warm; time to go outside for a roll-up.

Phone in one hand, drink in the other: this won't end well

Did you, like me, spend New Year’s Day in bed, perusing the Blackberry to pass the time between sleep and a rather too literal sense of purging the old year?

It was at the height of the New Year headache that I found the texts; some of the most embarrassing messages sent. I promptly deleted the number of their recipient, his digits consigned to the debris of 2011.

It’s nice to have a fan club you can group message when you’re bored, [please tell me that’s not just me] but you have better things and better boys to do with your time and and the new year is the ideal time to make room for them in your phone’s memory.

Rather than deleting the familiar, almost comforting, oddities of the phonebook [‘who’, ‘weirdo’, and ‘housekeeper Hatf,’ where would I be without you?] delete these boys, the ones you know you shouldn’t text:

1. If you don’t recognise their name, cut them. Either they’re boring or very ancient history so texting them now would just be cringe.

2. If he fancies you but you find him even vaguely annoying then see him later. You’re only going to text him for attention and then break his heart when you organise to meet up and decide to watch Step Up 2 instead at the last minute.

3. If scrolling through your past conversation is like scrolling through your own personal monologue then you should probably let him go. Just admit it, you fell crazy in love with him and he probably sacked you off to watch Step Up 1,2 and 3 on various occasions.

4. If the last time you met up you did something hugely embarrassing and reading his name makes you feel sick inside then for your own sake, delete him. Examples include; vomiting on him, pulling one of his friends or sending him an awful drunken text to which he replied ‘Righhhht…’

5. If you’ve only been on one date or only slept with him once then it’s time to say goodbye. Even if you’ve been trying to meet up, you obv live too far apart, are too busy, or just don’t give enough of a shit about each other for him to be worth keeping.

Oh, and don’t worry if he’s ‘the one’. He’ll text you again some day, when you can send a mega-casual reply like, ‘soz babe, deleted my numbers, who is this again?’

By Kate Lloyd and Poppy McPherson

Tom Allsop made this video of Chiswick car boot for Carbooted last week.

Apparently school furniture is selling well. Get stealing kids.

I worry that because of this article, Rick Edwards now thinks that I’m a precocious dick. I thought I would make it up to him by supporting his campaign for a real life knighthood. Below is a list of reasons why I support the campaign. It is not exhaustive.

1. Alan Sugar has a knighthood and he tweets nonsense, Rick Edwards serves the Twitter community with tweets of cutting wit.

2. Rick Edwards is very good at grammar, spelling and making his hair look swooshy.

3. During Rick Edwards’ time at T4 he helped soothe the weekly national hangover.

4. Rick Edwards’ first name is Rick. Rick is a shortened version of the name Richard. Many kings have been named Richard, making Rick Edwards king material. A knighthood is only a modest request from someone of such kingly calibre.

5. Rick Edwards’ surname is Edwards. Edwards is the plural of Edward. Many kings have also been named Edward, making Rick Edwards at least triple king material (Richard, Edward, Edward). Seemingly then, a knighthood is only a modest request considering he is clearly the rightful heir to the throne.

6. Rick Edwards was previously a model and therefore would look very nice on stamps if at some point he did have to take on the role of king.

7. Rick Edwards is very tall and therefore able to see problems that need solving from very far away.

8. Rick Edwards is very tall and can reach things that are very high.

9. My friend met Rick Edwards in person when she was working as a runner and said that he was very lovely.

10. Rick Edwards presents a great, light entertainment show called Tool Academy which airs on Tuesdays at 10pm on E4. The show greatly improves the lives of both contestants and viewers. I can vouch for the latter.

@katelloud

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