Big Apple Brixton

As winter well and truly owns the November skies, it’s nice to see venues keeping up appearances. Formally Brixton Beach, this South London rooftop is bringing the Big Apple to the big smoke for an appropriate seasonal makeover.

Located above Pope’s Road, this interpretation of the concrete jungle we all know and love has done a great job in capturing the big lights, bold signage and stateside vibes.

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Though you can leave your passport at home for this American adventure, you might confuse yourself for being in an airport when it comes to security checks. Lets face it, most of us are quite accustomed to feeling like a modern day Mary Poppins when heading anywhere midweek. But unless my hard drive, an old metro copy and my empty tuppaware are criminal, there was really no need to get bicep deep in my tote. Unless she felt compelled to attempt a dig to the Statue of Liberty. Because that’s what that level of privacy invasion felt like.

Keeping up with the weather is difficult for any establishment. But being a pop-up, outdoor (but covered) venue open for the duration of the colder months, you’d think they’d take that into consideration when deciding how many heaters it’d need to keep the premises warm. Yes, I know that’s virtually impossible with a canopy roof mid November, but I can tell you know, three aren’t quite suffice for several hundred people to gather around. Unless you’re down with that level of privacy invasion. It’s certainly a way to make friends…

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In an attempt to keep warm we wandered around, exploring all Brixton’s answer to New York has to offer. Quirky rooms dressed as a vintage Barber shop, a Chapel, a Record Store and Peep Show are available to hire complete with tables, chairs and fun decor. Though we didn’t have one ourselves, we were told that if booked, your drinks are ready on arrival. Plus, each is combination lock operated and only your party is given the code. Meaning that you can come and go as you please without the fear of an American gangster breaking in.

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Now for something that’s usually my favourite topic: FOOD. On a Thursday evening, only three out of the four vendors were open – meaning Pizza was out of the question. With a sterling choice of Mac to the Future, Plucky’s or Burger Bear – it was chicken that I felt my tastebuds would thank me for most. Turns out, my stomach was not quite the fan. When ordering my food, the guy who appeared to be in charge of the stand was beyond rude. Myself, along with the girls I was with, were completely taken aback by his attitude and manner. We had to ask if it were okay to order… We ordered… He silence led us to ask whether we had made our orders… And then ten or so minutes later, our burgers and nuggets were ready on a heated bar – awaiting their arrival of chips. The chief brought the basket over from the frying pan and began serving them equally onto our portions – HELPING HIMSELF TO SOME TOO!!!!! I mean without sounding too much like Joey Tribbiani… But I’m not sure we ever gave the okay for sharing our grub. It’s not common practise. And that’s because it’s just plain rude!!!! Shocked, we sat down and began to tuck in… To a very short-lived meal. We had uncooked chicken nuggets and the salt in the chips made it feel as though we were sipping seawater on the side. Not ideal.

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Either this vendor needs a stern talking to or another street food pop-up should take its place. Because when faced with the question of did it #CrackMyBitchFace, that’s an easy no. I mean shivering whilst mentally begging the chip-stealing chef to leave my burger with a couple of mates isn’t really something that encourages a positive look upon my face. And in hindsight, perhaps my resting bitch face was the reason as to why he took it upon himself to be a chip scrooge. When such effort has gone into smashing the mulled wine recipe and making the place look good – it was definitely a bit of a shame.

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Chronicle 4: Queen Elizabeth II

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When it comes to faces we see on a daily basis, this lady kind of trumps them all – apart from our own reflections of course.

If she’s not in your back-pocket making up the ‘head’ side of your loose change, you’re licking the reverse of her head to send post. We’re ever so familiar with Her Majesty, but we’re not ones to take such an iconic face for granted.

The only time I’m called royal is when I’m being a pain in the arse. Meaning I don’t have any first hand experience with Britain’s most prestigious family. However, when you’re reppin’ the country, handling corgi bills and have to put up with the recent moronic decisions politicians and your public have made – you’ve got to feel the pressure somewhat. Not to mention hearing your grandson has made the news – only fearing it’s for the wrong reasons. Sure Harry’s stint in Vegas was a couple of years ago now. But poor old Lizzie – she remembers it like it was yesterday.

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Let’s not forget, she’s a great-grandmother. You try accepting you’re the glue to the three generations of family beneath you. Of course it’s going to make you feel your years. And quite frankly, with all the forced smiles she’s had to pass on to the world over her reign – her face, more than anyone, deserves some down time. I can’t imagine how sore those cheeks of hers must be.

We salute your neutral expression Ma’am. And we’re well aware that whilst appearing royally peeved off, you’re probably just throwing back to the polo game in the summer of ’92. What a hoot one had. Or just wondering whether Jeffrey is going to put on a spread of quail’s eggs for breakfast tomorrow morning. It’s all relative.

On the contrary she’s got a lot to be smug about. She owns a palace, is the only person in the UK allowed to drive without a license and travel without a passport. Plus, she has a pet Jaguar she keeps at London Zoo. Casual. So when you next see our queenie looking as though little George and Charlotte have just scribbled all over her draft for this year’s Christmas speech, let’s just give her face the benefit of the doubt it so rightfully deserves.

 

REFORMER PILATES: EPOCH FITNESS

Always one for trying out a new exercise class, Reformer Pilates at Epoch Fitness caught my attention. Probably because, in all honesty, I’d never heard of it before. For someone that’s never participated in any form of Pilates or Yoga, but a keen gym-goer, I was excited about getting stuck in. (The typical thoughts of a girl prior to forcing her body into unnatural shapes.)

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Call it doing your homework, curiosity or just plain sensible – I had a cheeky Google pre-class. ABSOLUTE ERROR. The machines looked like torture beds and Google Images kindly displayed a selection of photos that I can only describe as a contortionist’s library. Cheers Googs.

The classes are held in the Fitzrovia Centre – a little random – but you’ll know when you find the correct room, as you’ll be confronted with 8 torture beds. The instructor was friendly and explained the class to a few of us beginners, including a quick demo of the Reformer machine. Towels and bottled water were provided, which was definitely appreciated and a nice touch.

The lesson is made up of squats, lunges, press-ups and core toning – with the springs underneath the reformer machine creating the resistance. As the class is quite small, the instructor is able to observe, help and correct you when you aren’t quite nailing it. And don’t worry, they’re used to sweaty backs.

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Things not to expect:

-An easy hour

-Getting it right first time

-Flattering positions

Things to expect:

-Burning thighs

-Thinking “20 more? You’ve got to be kidding me”.

– Walking like a penguin the next day

Turns out, the only similarities that the reformer machines hold to my initial description of torture beds is that you spend the lesson lying down. They aren’t half as bad as they look. Quite the contrary, you might say, as you’ll leave having been introduced to muscles that you’ve never met before.

Did it #crackmybitchface? Well, I’m pretty sure during the class my face didn’t look that approachable. When one’s left leg is indicating South East and one’s right is pointing to South West, whilst your feet are hooked into resistance straps; I ask does anyone look cheery? (Those that are in to kinky bedroom antics need not answer that.) But after feeling the burn 24-48 hours afterward, I was certainly smiling on the inside: NO PAIN NO GAIN, right?