Sunday, 21 June 2015

Two front teeff

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So I've had my braces on for just over two months now and we're getting along famously. Now, back when I introduced my braces to you, in Introducing: Braceface, I mentioned that my Orthodontics department was actually the Children's Orthodontics department of the University of Manchester Dental Hospital. Yes, Children's. No, I'm no minor (although I have enviously youthful skin, I must confess) but nonetheless, I'm being treated alongside pre-tweens with bad ache and bad attitude.

Follow Jordan's board Bracespiration on Pinterest.

I've always suffered with my teeth. When I was very young I used to have chronic abscesses that would last days and keep me awake. Once, my Mother ran out of frozen peas and vegetables to soothe it and I had to go to bed with a frozen sausage on my face. I woke up and it was soggy.... my teeth still hurt.

I have had countless fillings but I never had a sweet tooth and I brushed my teeth religiously. My brother, on the other hand, barely put brush to gum and his perfect pearly whites were the envy of the entire family.

Little shit.

I've always had trouble with dentists too. There was one dentist in my home town who was pretty horrific. He never let my Mum come into the surgery room and he smoked, so his hands stank and I'm not sure he ever wore gloves either! Once, he had to extract a tooth that had gone bad (oh yeah, I've had 4 teeth removed in surgery too...) but he barely numbed the tooth before sticking that mini ice pick into my gum and yanking the tooth out. I screamed a lot and Mum burst through the door and dragged me out. There was a dramatic amount of blood - like Halloween amounts. As we left, the receptionist called, "you've not made another appointment!" to which my mother responded, "I don't think we will be either," as she turned my now hyperventilating face to the receptionist, blood pouring off my chin. I must have looked like the girl from the Exorcist.

Then there was the dentist who, upon mere mention of Orthodontics, said, "Jordan has a tragic orthodontic problem, beyond discussion." I later learnt that back in Poland, he was actually a trauma surgeon who specialised in re-constructive facial surgery after road traffic accidents.

This was all pretty much whilst I still had milk teeth.

So, needless to say, I went through adolescence without braces and laughing openly at all my friends who had them. Little did I know it would come back to cross-bite me in the arse.

So, I'm 18 and University is around the corner, everyone I know has immaculate teeth and I know I've been shafted. We pick up where we left off and try the Orthodontic route. I have appointments and there are X-rays and then I totally bottle it because I'm going to University and I don't want to be the only one with braces. Again, just delaying the inevitable really. So, I go to University and have a grand old time and, guess what, people had braces and those that didn't had wonderful teeth and I looked like someone from The Hills Have Eyes

Now I'm 22 and graduating. I begin the process again, because Miley Cyrus is on the scene and she had a marvellous thing called Lingual Braces, which are affixed to the reverse of your teeth and so therefore, invisible. I enquire, more appointments, x-rays and the like and the cost, an astronomical £8,000. So, I start saving. 

Whilst I'm supposedly saving, a lovely PR friend of mine stops me at a bar opening we're at and says,  "you've got wonky teeth, want me to sort them out?" I spit out my Prosecco, ready to lamp him one when he divulges that he's doing the press for a local Invisalign Invisible Braces specialist and they could use a case study like me. Bonus.

I meet with the wonderful team and get started with the assessments. I eventually meet the owner of Smile Stylist, and he takes a look. Then he delivered another crushing blow for my gob... he said, "I've only said this to three other people in my career, but Invisalign won't help you..."

Oh for fuck's sake, I'll just have crap teeth and focus on distracting people with my hair.

Then, I'm 24 and my wisdom teeth come through so I'm referred to The University of Manchester Dental Hospital to consider taking them out. This is where it gets interesting.

They believe there's a case to enrol me on Orthodontic treatment under the NHS (i.e. which only under 16s can have) because I'm "an extreme case," - yeah, cheers love - and would require multidisciplinary treatment; both surgery and orthodontics. Basically, it seems my problem is so severe, I need my jaw breaking (maybe twice) and so the NHS step in as no private Orthodontists can perform such a treatment in this country. Amazing, right? But what's more, had I gone with any of the many Orthodontists that have quoted me thousands and thousands of pounds for treatment, they'd never have fully fixed my problem, isn't that awful?

Anyway, I was put on the TWO YEAR waiting list, but randomly expedited, and so I had the beauties popped on in March this year! So that's why I'm in the Children's Orthodontic Department for my treatment.


Sunday, 14 June 2015

Spare a moment for Kedem

Popped to Ideal Home Show t'other day (not really anything to write home about) but had a Jewish epiphany whilst there. Let me explain.

Kedem, Dead Sea beauty products, inspired by Cleopatra's beauty regime using the sea's minerals, were there and we were cornered by a chatty sales girl when walking past looking for carpet swatches.

After a flustered recovery from the question, "any special ladies in your lives?" To which we responded "we're each other's special lady," she promptly took to washing and exfoliating our hands.

Oh my gosh. What a transformation. I've never had hands so smooth. I've been neglecting my hands of late and you can really tell. They are all cracked and manly. Yuk. So I was well into this treat. 

She first applied a gorgeous hand sea salt scrub made with peach and honey, saying "be cheap with this, I'm Jewish, so you know I'm cheap..." (I think she meant use sparingly.)

Then a cutical roll on oil with more dead sea minerals and a rich hand cream with plant extracts.

Simply divine and worth a cheeky mention here. 


Sunday, 31 May 2015

Insert 50 shades joke

Well, the boyf and I moved into our very own home in April and since then has been a whirlwind of housewarming parties, unpacking, this, that and the other. So, I've barely had time to tell you about the numerous shades of grey we've been prating around with, in a quest to bring our hallway in line with Elle Decoration.

But first, to cover off the basics, we've just bought a three bed flat in the city centre, in an area of Salford called Trinity, close to the legendary Salford Arms Hotel, and Salford Central Station (which no one knows about...) Basically a ten minute walk from House of Fraser on Deansgate. The area is very quiet, leafy and just a hop, skip and a jump from town; our very own oasis in the city and we're in love with it. We have a nice balcony, views across communal gardens and - so far - really lovely neighbours! 

Now, our flat comprises a wide entrance hallway, with two double bedrooms off the right-hand side and the master in the corner too. Then, the kitchen, leading to balcony, and the bathroom are to the left with the lounge-diner to to the rear. So, we have a big, long hallway, with none of it's own light sources, save the glassed front door leading to the communal corridor. Needless to say, it's been a bit tricky deciding which shade to paint it, especially when we had our hearts set on grey.

From top to bottom, right to left, Hinky Punk, Skylon Grey, Granite, Seersucker Suit, Heavy Mist.

We narrowed our selection down to five shades, all of very different types. We'd read in many magazines the perils of blue-based greys, green-based greys, purple-based greys and to be honest, were left adrift a murky sea of confusion (which is probably the name of another grey paint) and therefore felt it best to just slap a few samples on the wall and live with them for a week. So, we did.

It turns out we've chose (the most expensive...) a grey that goes against most of the "which grey paint" articles on Pinterest, but one that works for us. It's Skylon Grey by Fired Earth a bluey grey akin to the lightest tones found in slate rock and in a matt finish has a really modern and fresh look.

We're not finished yet, but here's a taste of where we're headed.

Here's a carefully taken photo of my hall, in an attempt to give a general feel for the look we're going for. This is the paint with a single coat (and not cut-in...)

Not my hallway, but DIY Picture ledges, courtesy of notes from nessa and her hallway.

We're on the hunt for a great mirror to hang/stand near the door and some assorted photo frames to stand against the wall on a shelf a la the ones above. We've also come across some beautiful prints of birds and insects in a cute stationery shop just down the road called Pencil Me In. They're like like Spirograph drawings and will make a nice addition to the hallway and lead into the other rooms, which will have a distinct natural theme too (I'm being cryptic because we're not sure what the other rooms will look like yet....)

I'll keep you updated on our progress, and feel free to give my Pinterest a follow too, for more home and interiors inspiration.

Shout out to the parents-in-law who did all the glossing in the flat and made the woodwork look stunning!


Monday, 20 April 2015

Designers with foot in mouth

It has been reported that Mr Giorgio Armani is the latest fashion designer to say something rather #basic and stupid about a marginalised community of people and this something has very little, if anything, to do with making expensive clothing, beauty products and fragrances.

This stupidity comes shortly after Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana of Dolce & Gabbana criticised same-sex marriages and IVF and let's not forget John Galliano's fall from grace, shall we? It seems we're running out of designers we can still wear with a sound conscience.

Anywho, you'll have no doubt read elsewhere by now that Mr Armani (as he is exclusively referred by the subordinates who work for him) gave an interview to The Sunday Times Magazine over the weekend, in which he stated: 

when homosexuality is exhibited to the extreme – to say, ‘Ah, you know I’m homosexual,’ – that has nothing to do with me.

Here he alludes that to dress and act in any way other than 'traditionally masculine' - what ever the fuck that means - when you're a cis-gendered male, (and, presumably, when you're not cis, can't imagine Mr Armani is up on trans* rights) is inappropriate. He also said, "man should be man."

Let's break it down for old Giorgio, shall we? As there are many things wrong with this statement, combined with the fact that I do love a list, I feel a bullet-point list is necessary...
  • The expression, or some might say, performance, of gender (such as femininity and masculinity) is somewhat separate from gender identity and to say "man should be man," in order to imply that a man acting feminine counteracts his gender identity is quite reductive and demonstrates a very narrow view of gender, which is saddening as Mr Armani is a visionary creative who has had ample opportunity to broaden his horizons and view on the world and has chosen not to. I'd suggest he go read some Judith Butler. Or better yet, hire an educated/gay/educated AND gay PR manager who can say you're being a dick when you're being one and this thing will never happen again
  • Aside from this being discriminatory towards men, and gay men in particular, what does it say about women? Does Mr Armani believe "woman should be woman"? Does this more obvious demonstration of sexism fit more comfortably with the Armani brand, or not?
  • The idea that "flaunting" sexuality is a no no, but exhibiting gender conformity is A OK is contradictory, right? Why is it OK for you to flaunt your manliness in my face, and, seemingly, your heterosexuality, when it's not OK for me to make it clear (through action or in-action) that I'm a big old bender? Cutting straight to basic logistics, how is our everyday homosexual supposed to get some other everyday homosexual to look inside his new Armani boxers if his homosexuality a big old secret?
  • If Armani is so convinced that men should be men, why did your fabulous staff paint me by numbers at the beauty counter when I, a man, reviewed your latest lipstick collection in 2012? Read more here
  • What the fuck has this statement to do with making expensive (albeit) fabulous clothing? I mean, really?
  • Who the fuck do you think is buying your men's clothing? Queens, that's who sweetumz
  • Regardless of simple economics, your right to an opinion is somewhat superseded by your duty as an extremely wealthy public figure and employer of many people around the world to not be an arse hole to minority groups. Show a little class, man
I'm a great believer in free speech, as is any other fully functioning and sane person on this earth and lemme just reiterate an oft forgotten aspect of this human right. People have the right to say whatever they want, unless what they say directly contradicts another's right to be free from harassment and discrimination. 

Mr Armani, I feel let down by you, but aside from personal feeling, I believe your statement to be ill-conceived, ill-founded and ill-judged. You have a right to an opinion and I'd stand by you in defence of your opinion no matter what it was, but you don't have the right to dictate how I or anyone chooses to live their life, dress their bodies and exhibit their idea of gender and sexuality at all and for that, you've lost a friend in me today.

In conclusion, back off bitch, I'm wearing heels...
A photo posted by Jordan McDowell (@jordanjmcdowell) on


Sunday, 29 March 2015

Twitter and #Fashion

The good people at Twitter UK sent us a box of goodies t'other day at work, and in it was a book all about British fashion and the micro-blogging network. Naturally it was thrown in my direction as everyone else dived for the stationery. 

It's forwarded by the lovely Caroline Rush, Cheif Executive of the British Fashion Council and includes insights into top influencers and how the fashion business uses Twitter and its advertising platform to reach their desired markets.

Here are some of my favourite insights:
47% of fashion and beauty followers have bought from a brand as a direct result of following them on Twitter
Top fashion influencers include individuals, like @SusieBubble, @HilaryAlexander, @Alexa_Chung and @disneyrollrgirl (read more of my live interview with Navaz Batliwalla of Disneyrollergirl here)

56% said that Twitter was the one platform where they could have a conversation with people in the fashion industry they admire versus 19% for the next closest social platform

As many as 74% of Twitter users are interested in London Fashion Week

51% of users said Twitter was more likely to offer backstage access to events like #LFW
@AdidasNeoLabel achieved over 1bn impressions for their Twitter-first AW14 campaign which saw Twitter users choose every element of the Neo Label catwalk show via Twitter voting cards

@Missguided saw a £29 ROI for every £1 on its Twitter card website re-targeting and email cross-matching campaign

52% of users said Twitter provides the experts' view on events like London Fashion Week, more than twice as likely as other social platforms

I'm not surprised by any of the statistics in this book, as someone who has both used Twitter to satisfy my personal interest in fashion as well as to meet my objectives as a marketeer (in fashion and outside fashion) Twitter is the number one platform for sharing the immediacy and right here right now feeling of fashion.

Twitter is a noisy, opinionated, crowded, messy space. It's the BFC Tent at Somerset House just before a show, only it doesn't get quiet when the lights go down and the music starts. It's perfect for fashion!

Statistics from Nielson Twitter UK Deep Diver 2014 ("Fashion & Apparel" and "Beauty") and #Birdsignals Twitter & Vision Critical 08/2014


Thursday, 26 March 2015

10 things you can't do, when you have braces

Here's a (non-exhaustive) list of the random things you can't do when you've got fixed braces, or at least, the random things I can't seem to do any more... These things aren't necessarily what you'll find in the So, you're thinking about fixing your botched-up smile? pamphlets, and have come to my attention over the last few weeks of having #braceface.

1. Bite open, anything. Sachets of sauce, sellotape, heads off of bats
2. Bite your lip (in a seductive fashion, or otherwise)
3. Bite your nails (probably a good thing)

4. Do this facial stretch, which you never realised you needed to do, until you couldn't...
5. Suck things out of your teeth, like a boss...

6. Lick your teeth like in an toothpaste advert
7. Eat crusty bread (in case I hadn't already mentioned that)
8. Chew gum
9. Eat apples, like a normal person 

10. Eat carrots like Bugs Bunny


Sunday, 22 March 2015

(some of) The best breakfast joints in Manchester

The boyf and I have taken to a Sunday stroll into the city for breakfast of the past few weeks - and it's fast becoming my favourite thing to do. We've yet to go back to the same place twice, and it's lovely getting to sample some of the city's brilliant breakfast kitchens before everyone wakes up.

Here's a list of some of our favourites, in no particular order, to give you some motivation to get outta bed and sample the delights...

1. The Koffee Pot, Oldham Street, Northern Quarter, £

The famous orange signs, in that same burnt hue as the original Soda Stream machine, have recently been perched atop a new location. The Koffee Pot was resident on Hilton Street, just off Stevenson Square, for, like, ever, until the landlords booted them out to extend the neighbouring hostel and KP set-up shop over on nearby Oldham Street in an old vintage clothing store. I love The Koffee Pot for their Irish breakfast (with black AND white pudding!) and their filter coffee (or, should that be koffee?) because it's as no-nonsense as everything else they do, and how they do it.

2. Home Sweet Home, Edge Street, Northern Quarter, ££

A right cute place, a series of little rooms straight out of Wonderland with top notch breakfast options like Steak & Hash and the usual fry up. Expect hipsters recovering from the night before (probably in Home Sweet Home tbh, as it's not just a breakfast place) and lovely staff.

3. Moose Cafe, York Street, Piccadilly, ££

If you're planning on frequenting this place on a Sunday, expect a long ass queue (over an hour, mostly) unless you get there at the crack of dawn (like we did!) We tried for a month to get in and it wasn't until we rocked up at 9:20am that we got in and took the last available table! Why the hype? It's a Canadian and American breakfast place! I know! For those that have been to American's Denny's (Big up Highway 192 in Orlando FL), you'll know North Americans do breakfast in a special kinda way and Moose Cafe is a small slice of that pie. Pancakes, Maple syrup, streaky bacon and everything in-between. Well worth the wait.

4. Bagel Nash, Winter Garden, Manchester Arndale and Hardman Square, Spinningfields, £

This deserves a special mention, simply because the boyf loves it. To be honest, they do one thing and one thing well - bagels. But, they also consider 2x hash browns a single portion for £1. So, I'm sold.

5. SuperStore, Tib Street, Northern Quarter, ££ 

I have a love/hate relationship with this place because it's dead lovely, but their staff are a bit pants, at times. They stop serving breakfast at 12noon on a Sunday (bit harsh), but won't take lunch orders until breakfast is polished off - which can take the kitchen an age. Needless to say, we bolted on our second visit after waiting 40 minutes for a menu, to be told we still couldn't order... But, when you do manage to get breakfast, it's divine. Also, there's a grocery store in the basement (which I always forget to have a mooch around) but that's a + point, right?