Wednesday, 18 May 2016

it's time for something new

May 2016 marks six years of Rambler. In that time we've achieved a lot. 

We've drank a lot of Champagne, attended some rather fabulous parties and fashion shows. We've angered celebrities, interviewed greats, (accidentally) stolen a supermodel's phone and tried all the fake tan one need ever try. This blog even won an accolade from British Vogue, so we can't have been half bad, right? 

But still, it's time for a change.

The last six years have been wonderful and Rambler gave me a space to ramble, and meet all of you. It was, for so long, the means by which I navigated my new life in Manchester and who I wanted to be. For that, and for your loyal readership, I'm forever grateful.

I don't like saying goodbye, because nothing in this world is final, (and this isn't goodbye) but what I will say is that Rambler was - and will always be - one of the best things I ever dared do. To put thought to keyboard and publish to the world may not seem like the most exciting or noble endeavour, but for me, it's everything.

So, thanks for the fun times, I hope to see you on the other side. It's time for something new.

END (and I mean it this time)

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Unexpected surprises

We've been prattling around in our living room of late, preening here, paining there and you've been kept very much up to date on our progress. But, I thought I'd spare a moment for a rather ingenious and totally accidental addition to our living room.

Way back when we were hosting a 1970s inspired Christmas soiree, we had a bare patch of wall destined to host some artwork. But, no frames. We'd not managed to find any that we liked and so it was looking like we were going to have to showcase the newly decorated living room sans artwork!

Frames, Poundland
Ink bolts, Magma, Manchester
Lamp, TK Maxx

But, I was in a Poundland picking up something stupid like table confetti or tea lights and I stumbled across some frames (for £1 each, funnily enough) which were rather brilliant. 

They're white with a grey mount inside, and a string with two wooden pegs on, for hanging photographs from. There's no glass, so it's easy to swap and change the contents of the frame - which inspired us to get creative.

Table, IKEA

We quickly popped them up and hung our previously purchased book of 12 ink bolts. Y'know, the kind psychoanalysts and psychiatrists use. They're gorgeously abstract designs that spark conversation, and you can remove the cards from the frame to read the subliminal meanings behind each one too! It was supposed to just be an interim solution, but we quite like them.

Postcards, Faber

Kathleen Lines' Stories For Girls, Muriel Goaman's Anyone Can Cook, Paul Birckhill's The Great Escape, Abetti's The Sun, Jean Conil's Haute Cuisine, Anthony Buckeridge's Stories For Boys, James Blish's Welcome To Mars, Seamus Heaney's Door Into The Dark, Alfred Duggan's Devil's Brood, T.S. Eliot's Collected Poems, Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar and Rudolf Arnheim's Film As Art.

Then, this season we switched it up, with some postcard versions of famous covers from the faber publishing house archives. They're typography heavy and blooming gorgeous. Some are obscure books I've never heard of and others are household names, like Seamus Heaney's Door Into The Dark and Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar. There's also 100 in the box, so loads more to swap in and out too! Not bad for a last minute £1 find!


Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Other Bracefaces: Tom Cruise

In 2002 crazy Tom Cruise gave his teeth some TLC with a near-invisible brace, at the age of 40!

The sofa-jumping, Oprah scaring, Scientologist - best known for being a short arse and general loony toon - is also a former braceface too. Cruise has always been a bit of a heart throb, since back in his cocktail making days (love the sock 'n shirt dance moment), so it was a bit of a shock for the masses to witness their mega star avec metal-mouth. 

Still, beauty costs.


Friday, 1 April 2016

What Shakespeare means to me

One of the greatest ever writers of the English language died sometime this month, 400 years ago - leaving behind a canon of work that would be read, enjoyed, studied and performed for centuries more. Long may he continue to inspire.

As an English Literature graduate, I have a particular fondness for Shakespeare. His playful ability to weave vast and complex tapestries with his words, intricate webs with layer upon layer of meaning, was one of the discoveries I made in my early school days that lead me to want to study English Literature at University.

 William Shakespeare effigy, Historical Reading Room, 
John Rylands Library Deansgate Manchester

"I am a man more sinn'd against than sinning."

I struggled to read as a child, I lagged behind peers in our reading classes, I found it hard to keep up in general and it was predicted that I would not necessarily reach the reading and writing comprehension required to pass my SATs. But, I always enjoyed stories and wasn't put off by my inability to articulate myself in prose or digest the written word quickly, I kept on reading.

My parents pushed me to read outside of school too, I took special lessons and had a reading coach, eventually conquering my demons, being able to read and write at the rate of my peers by the time I was to go to "big school". 

"nothing will come of nothing"
It was at said big school that I was formally introduced to Shakespeare's plays and poetry and for the first time was struck by the power of language and how - aside from delivering instruction or conjuring two dimensional images - words, syntax, grammar and even punctuation could also have a profound and immersive effect on the reader. 

 Depiction of Julius Caesar Act IV Scene III, the ghost of Caesar in Brutus' tent. 
John Rylands Library Special Collections

I had never comprehended that we could discuss language for the sake of discussing language rather than merely discussing the outcome of language. Discussing the fabric and stitching, not just the dress. It's a small revelation, but it was the catalyst to a new way of thinking for me and it had a lot to do with William Shakespeare.

I'll be celebrating his genius with a visit to John Rylands Library on Deansgate to soak up the literary history and see his effigy in the Historic Reading Room. There's also a co-production of King Lear (my favourite tragedy, and the source of the above quotes) on from today until 7th May at The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, details here.

Not in Manchester? You could give these articles from the New College Group a gander instead. They uncover some of the words and phrases Shakespeare introduced to the English language, words you thought you knew the meaning of until you read Shakespeare and words you may never know the meaning of. Enjoy!

Monday, 28 March 2016

SS16 Look Book: Camel Coloured Coats

Spring has sprung, just about, so I'm out of my dark, heavy, wool coat and into something a little lighter in weight - and hue - for the new season.

I have two new coats, both a shade of camel, which make for perfect transitional pieces when the weather hasn't quite made its mind up.

Both these coats have that cocky estate boy-made-good vibe going on, like they've been bought (or stolen) at a second-hand shop by some scallywag in sheep's clothing. I love them! 


Coat, TOPMAN, £150
Jumper, Pop Boutqiue, £20
Chinos, Zara, £19.99
Boots, ASOS, Sale
Necklace, TOPMAN, £10
The first is something a little formal, a coat that easily dresses up any outfit. A gorgeous cut, long-length and nice paired-back design, which makes for a timeless piece I'll cherish for years to come.


It's 100% wool, and has a nice light weight weave meaning even in the height of summer this will be a nice coat for evenings and days when Manchester plays up to its reputation and the sun is hidden from view.

I style this in the guise of an unemployed yoof in the late 1980s, determined to make use of his Dad's old over coat when headed to an interview at the local bookies. All I need is a gold sovereign ring!

I have a casual option too. In a beautiful shade of Tobacco, this coat from Bellfield is proper retro. (I'm pretty sure my dad had one just like it in the late 80s to be honest.) It's a cool bomber shape, in soft suede and elasticed cuffs, collar and hem, making it a great throw-on for days out in the springtime sun.


Top, American Apparel, £20
 Jeans, Primark, £12
Trainers, Converse, £35
Shades, TOPMAN, £12 


I style this in the guise of the other coat's younger brother, not yet worried about paying his Mam rent, and instead skiving off school to drink Lager and play pool down the local boozer with his mates.
You can check our Bellfield's mens clothing here and the bomber is under mens coats and jackets here. Also, if you're feeling cheeky, treat yourself to something and get 20% off with promo code BLOG20


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

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Other Bracefaces: Gwen Stefani

Ms Stefani was omnipresent in my teen years, it was a time she rather awkwardly resurrected thoughts of colonial slavery by appropriating Harajuku culture and when "tick tock," was a pop-song lyric not yet ascribed to Kesha.

Frank Micelotta/ImageDirect

Basically I was well into her. But, did you know that the Lady L.A.M.B was a braceface too? Back in her years with No Doubt (the first time) she undertook orthodontic treatment - get this - as a treat to herself! She told Harper's magazine in an interview that she had promised herself braces, once she got rich. Seem's Rich Girl done good on that promise, as per this little gem of a paparazzi snap can attest.

I admire her courage to grab the bull by the horns, or the orthodontics by the wires, so to speak, pioneering a step into adult-hood brace-hood with that punky style she's all about. I'd like to say my ascent into adult orthodontics was as Camden highstreet as all that, and not a wet-fart of delayed inevitability but I can't really. (read more on my life's pain and torture, here)


Wednesday, 10 February 2016

A mouth full of tools and brushes a day keeps the dentist away

I'm coming up to my 1 year #braceface anniversary soon, and what better way to celebrate than by telling you all about the insane things I put in mouth (easy tiger) to keep my nashers clean.

(well you try stringing a year's worth of tooth-related content together, it's hard!)

Aquafresh non-alcohol mouth wash, Manual tooth brush, OralB 3000 electric toothbrush body, Lush Atomic Tooth Powder, Tepe inter-dental brush, Electric toothbrush head, decorative apple #instagram, Interspace inter-dental brush, Toothpaste and Boots orthodontic wax

Yep, up to thrice daily most, if not all, of these things end up in my gob. Except the apple, that's just a photographic metaphor, forbidden fruit and all like. I'm like Da Vinci, with braces.

What's a particularly interesting product of late, though, is Lush's tooth powder. For those of you that remember Eucryl, the powder based stain remover for your teeth, this is essentially the same principal, only there are more flavours. 

I opted for Atomic, which has that peppery, savoury taste a Dentist's mouth wash has, you know the one, the pink liquid? It's a great refresher for one's teeth and suitable for braces too! Some would use instead of tooth paste, I use it as a post-paste but pre-mouthwash extra toothy treat.

I can't quite believe it's been nearly a year since I had my braces fixed, so much (not just in my mouth!) has changed since then and the process has been faster, more interesting and exciting that I had ever expected. I've actually enjoyed having the braces on and it's not over-exaggeration when I say that I prefer my smile when hidden behind metal braces and wires than I did my smile before my braces. I feel like, even with them still on and still with work to do, that I'm more confident because the main cause of anxiety is partially concealed from the world. 

I must admit though, Ifind it hard to picture what I'll look like when they come off, because even the shape of my face has changed, so I think it'll be quite a shock when I see. Which, incidentally, may be sooner than first forecast, but more on that soon!