the tower of london remembers

they shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old;
age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
at the going down of the sun and in the morning,
we will remember them.

well here we are, november again. in true british fashion, we all started sporting our poppies on our lapels late last week, and staring adoringly at the men and women in their fancy british legion uniforms who are now permenant fixtures inside all of our tube stations. it's that time of year, isn't it, the time when we remember.

the tower of london has been remembering since the early days of summer, in preparation for now. and, if you haven't been down to to check out the poppy installation titled "Blood Swept Land and Seas of Red", then you're definitely missing out. i wrote a little something something about the installation over on best LDN walks' blog; you can read all about it here.

lady gaga's artpop ball | o2 arena

when someone emails you and uses the words " you want to come to see lady gaga? nat's boss bought too many tickets and i've offered him a tenner each for them..." you kind of see it as a rhetorical questions. would i normally want to see lady gaga? no, probably not. would i want to see lady gaga for a tenner? yes, absolutely. so, we waited; for confirmation that our bid was accepted, then upped our bids twice, and eventually won four tickets for £60. for those of you playing at home, that's four tickets for the price of one original ticket; laughable.

i met rebekah at the slug and lettuce inside the o2 last thursday night, and we drank two bottles of prosecco and ate way too many carbs while we waited for nat and lp to join us, when we... did shots of something at the slug, grabbed a couple more bottles of wine from the bar inside the arena and went to find our seats. which were - incredibly, actually on top of the himalayas. so, so high up. actually surprised i could breathe real air up that high... haha. ungrateful much? well look, they're probably the worst seats i've ever had at the o2. granted, they set me back £15, but had i paid full price, i might have been well within my right to be annoyed.

...especially if there were four thirty-somethings shamelessly drunk and causing a ruckus in the same row as me, and i was a calm, twenty-something who really loved lady gaga. especially in that case. as it happens though, i'm preeeeeeetty sure there was no-one that fit that description in our row........

let it be said, that i love a bit of cheesy pop as much as the next person, but i have never, ever, ever in my life been a 'little monster'. as in, not a fan of lady g's, at all. i find her peculiar (obvious), and yeah ok, she's had some top choons over the years, but she's never really made me fan girl or anything. i was not expecting to have my mind blown by her - almost ten years into her pop career, i had just sort of assumed she'd be 'good' and that i'd probably 'have a good time'.

this is where i eat humble pie and admit that actually, miss thing was genuinely a fantastic entertainer, a solid performer, and - above everything else, a flippen incredible live singer. and 1 x 'good time' was absolutely had by all. despite her minor rant (including cuss words *shock horror*) about us feeling free to "eff off" if we were only there to hear the hits (we were, just quietly), because this "performance was her greatest work of #art to date", she did still perform all of the hits for her adoring fans. and, it was epic.

live music is live music, and i will give kudos, props and snaps to anyone who gives their life over to performing a show like that every bloody night. girlfriend played the piano, slowed it down and did a nancy sinatra number, sang her tony bennet duet, and just quietly, kicked ass on stage that night. she had the crowd eating out of the palm of her hand, and rightly so too.

we left just before the encore, wanting to beat the crowds to the tube. she'd been on stage almost two hours at that point, and i was tired. lord knows how she felt. 

i will now take my hat off and eat it.

my autumn uniform (apparently)

you'd be forgiven for thinking you were seeing quadruple here, but the simple explanation is, i think something akin to 'growing up' has happened and my wardrobe has somehow become a little... less 'erica' than it used to be. also, i bought the best pair of boots i've ever owned, and dayum i feel so grown up in them (and what's with the new pose?), that i've been kiiiinda dressing around them, and i've not gone a day without them since they were delivered just over two weeks. 

seriously, i never, ever, ever wear the same thing this many times without feeling a bit of a loser. like genuinely, i have enough clothes in my wardrobe to wear a new outfit every single day of the year without recycling them, and yet since receiving these boots, i've baaaaasically been wearing the same outfit/s without shame. why? cos i look totally adorable, if i do say so myself.
i will hands up admit i am not a 'trendy' person. i don't buy into the latest craze and am not a fashion victim; as a short and curvy girl, i know what i can and can't wear, and dress to flatter my shape and to always be comfortable. i'm not bothered about 'looking on trend', i am all about looking freaken cute. and warm and also comfortable. did i mention the comfortable bit? yes, well, it's important. to me.

you can pretty much count on me wearing one of three things: 1. florals, 2. polka dots, or 3. the colour pink. like, those things are a pretty much dead certainty as far as my gettng ready in the mornings go, and it will be a strange day for all when i come home after shopping with anything that doesn't somehow fit into those categories. so, it's nice to see that this new and improved, somewhat 'grown up' version of me is still sticking to the basics.

note to self: buy more fluffy jumpers, and get a back up pair of boots. 
i am going to wear these out, i can feel it.

breakfast | the ginger pig - hoxton

rebekah and i both woke up early on sunday (what extra hour, huh?), and were both feeling a little less-than-ave so decided the best way to kick our impending colds in the balls before we head to norway this weekend, would be to feeeeeed them, and take them for a walk. with a last minute decision to head east, the 'where though?' decision was very much left to rebekah to decide; i just needed to know where we were meeting.

i met her just after 11 at hoxton overground, and we wandered up to hoxton street market and across to ginger pig. i've read some great reviews about the cafe, but never been, so was excited to get in and get something to fill my pie hole. strangely, the only menus on the tables were the 'breakfast drinks' ones, which offered such options as 'bloody mary' and 'espresso martini', and although it was prrrrobably after midday somewhere in the world, we were keen on something a little less... alcoholic.

we each grabbed one of the freshly pressed juices - hers, something with ginger and carrot, mine - something with banana and strawberries (and bloody delicious), before making the crucial decision about what we were going to eat. it was still pre-midday, so we were on the breakfast menu (which is not correct online, but here's the brunchy one for variety). nevertheless, there were big choices to made - pancakes or corn fritters? smoked salmon or haddock roe (ew, no)? 

well, i went for the corn fritters, poached eggs, smashed avocado, smoky bacon and grilled tomatoes. and the only thing i regret is not asking for the bacon to be cooked extra crispy, because... that damn meal was sensational, but the bacon was not the one. it was kind soft and squidgy, and it was difficult to know which bit was meat and which bit was fat, and at least when the fat is crispy, then i don't care. it made me feel a bit... special... inside. 

the fritters though - incredible. who doesn't love a bit of sweet corn in their breakfast? the (incorrect) menu calls them sweetcorn and courgette, which is probably right, because i can't see them offering more than one kind of corn fritter, can you? there was lots of suspiciously green bits in the fritters, so it very could have been courgette. whatever it was, it was good. and, we all know that avocados just make everything better, right?

but maaaaan alive, those portions were insane. for a pre-lunch meal (let's not get carried away and call this breakfast when it's clearly not a bowl of cereal, okay), it was enormous. it took me two attempts to clean my plate, and even then, no. there was no chance. rebekah tried to help by eating one of the fritters, but... there was just so. much. food. a bit of a waste, but really reasonably priced, so i shant complain.

for the two giant plates of food, three juices and a coffee, we paid just over £15 + service each, which, is pretty good i reckon, right? so, if you ever find yourself stuck in hoxton, and fancy a big brunch or just a yummy juice, a warm cafe and some free wifi, i'd definitely suggest heading down to the ginger pig cafe. do it, and thank me later.

what's in my (new)(incredible) bag

when this ted baker 'odele' tote bag* turned up from repertoire uk last week, i was pretty excited to style it up and show it off in all it's glory... but, the thing i really noticed about it once i'd unwrapped it from it's bubble-wrap shell, that  the majority of my other bags are definitely lacking, is the size. and the best way to show off the size of something? prove how much 'stuff' it fits in it, obviously! and, everyone loves a nosy, don't they? 

look at all that stuff indeed! there's enough room in this whopper for two shades of lippy, one paw paw ointment and the emergency eyeliner, as well as my marc jacobs compact, spare bobby pins and travel hairbrush (for the necessary fring maintenance, obvs) because there are three, three different compartments for all your beautifying needs! plus, there's one internal zippy compartment for all the secret lady business (you know what i'm talking about, girls) too!

the essential passes (work and travel) and 'things' like keys and hand cream and pain killers live in one of the external compartments for easy access, while the headphones - giant as they are, and my sunnies and purse - also giant, live comfortably in the main pocket. and still, with all that inside, there's remarkably still plenty of room for...
this giant piece of picture-taking kit that turned up mere days after my birthday from what can only be described as one very, very generous and thoughtful friend back home. i was too scared to use it for such a long time, especially to take it out and about with me because i just didn't have anything i was comfortable carrying it around it in. but with the amount of room in this ted baker beauty, a.k.a "the prettiest bag ever", i was able to finally lug it out with me over the weekend.

so really, what more could you want in a bag? except maybe a longer strap; i'm so not used to having to actually carry a handbag anymore - all my bags are satchels or cross-body bags, and it's so damn annoying having to carry something so damn heavy in the crook of your arm (or, if you're lazy like me, then carry it by hand), so a longer strap so i could wear it on my shoulder would be ideal. fashion isn't always practical now, is it?

many thanks to repertoire uk for giving me the chance to finally get out and use my birthday gift properly! there are so many fab brands available at already-discounted prices (vivienne and ted to name a few) online, and the already-generous folk behind the scenes have gone and done the unthinkable and whipped you lot of a discount code of your very own to use for a further 10% anything you like - use the code BEINGERICA10 at the checkout to take full advantage of their generosity.

now tell me; are you a cross-body bag or shoulder bag kinda girl?