Adventures in “adulthood”: The problem with Pret

For all its crushing ubiquity, high-street chain Pret A Manger is convenient, with varied, changing and seasonal choices, cutesy marketing, simple packaging, an apparent do-gooding ethos (it has a Pret Foundation and donates food to the homeless), friendly staff, fast-moving lines and actually tasty – although pretty unhealthy, I think, actually – food.

It’s also right next door to my centrally-located office.

Which is, frankly, the only way I can even come close to explaining how much of the following it makes up:



Infographic: Coffee drinking in LDN vs NYC

Like, a LOT. (From the fabulous

I love coffee. I mean, this is the minor (yet verbose) emotional breakdown I suffered when I realised some time ago that I was regularly drinking instant rather than filter or espresso coffee due to a lack of options at my then-work. I pay stupid sums of money to Pret a Manger pretty much every morning for my caffeine fix, yet consider my habits among the more restrained of many.

I also harbour dreams of one day going to work and live in New York for a bit – when I was lucky enough to go a couple of years ago, it seemed like a city that would be fairly exhilarating to get to know…similar to London in many ways (frantic, bustling, public transport, shops, restaurants, bars, late-night cafes) but different in so many others (all-night pie shops, huge chemists selling all manner of random foodstuffs, yellow cabs, wide boulevards, hot-dog and pretzel street vans, fire escapes, numbered streets, skyscrapers…oh and also Diet Snapple, which I HAVE NEVER SEEN in the UK but loved when I was in NY).

Cue, infographic uniting these two life joys. Lovely.

Things that do not surprise me:

  • 80% of Londoners drink coffee daily
  • I drink about the same as the average (2.3)
  • London’s most expensive cup is a *lot* more than New York’s (SIGH)

From Now. Here. This – TimeOut London

Rape threats and Twitter: My article on online abuse

I explain why I felt the need to write an article about online abuse towards women for my journalism Masters XCity Magazine, including interviews with Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Laurie Penny & Helen Lewis

*Tweets shown based on real tweets; not actual tweets received

*Tweets shown based on real tweets; not actual tweets received

Rape threats on Twitter, women being targeted for their apparent sexual attractiveness, anonymous social network users who seem to think any woman (or man, but less so) who dares to speak or act in a public space deserves anything they can throw at them, utterly repulsive, offensive or sexist or otherwise.

Even typing those sentences makes me sigh; makes me angry – haven’t we done this already? How many times does it need to be said for people to realise that targeting people in this way is completely and totally not OK? And not only that; that it happens, that it’s a problem, that women suffer it daily; fear it daily, and that it genuinely shuts down discussions and only adds to the prevailing bullshit idea that women are whinging harlots merely overracting when someone disagrees with us? And that basically, we need to ‘play nice’, and as women, sit down, be quiet and look pretty?

Well, apparently more times, and more again, if the past few days are anything to go by. This is a minority issue, sure (few men, I am certain, would think the behaviour of such ‘trolls’ is acceptable) but the minority are currently ruining it for the rest of us.

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My old Matthaie Café story in the Richmond and Twickenham Times :-)

So I wrote this thing on a local building near me…and the local paper agreed to publish it. Exciting times (even if perhaps me, my mum and dad form three of the whole five people who actually read it – the circulation is 61 000 a week but there was a Find Fenton the dog competition on the page before mine so…haha). Incidentally, though, the paper has been in publication since 1874, which makes the history geek in me very happy!

Here’s a screenshot – hope it’s legible!

Many thanks to Rachel Bishop at the paper for being so willing to read and publish this 🙂


Why I’m a feminist

In my life, I could view gender struggle as something that ‘happens to other people’. So why do I feel such a strong need to view the world from a fighting, ‘feminist’ point of view? Because it’s only by understanding what happens when gender equality is not upheld that I can appreciate just how lucky I am, and therefore how important feminism still is

Feminist doormat

Sound familiar?

You know the scene.  A few glasses of wine have been had, and a discussion starts. And yet again, I take a feminist viewpoint on something, and see the issue irrevocably coloured by its gender politics. And yet again, I find myself having to justify my stance, to women as often as to men. I find myself having to justify why feminism is still relevant to someone like me.

‘Why are you a ‘feminist’, anyway? Isn’t that all about bra burning and stuff? Why do you even need it, it’s so outdated?! You’ve got the vote and equal pay, haven’t you/we? Women go out to work nowadays, you/we can get divorced, have access to the Pill, get abortions, men do housework, look after the kids, I mean, what more do you/we want? How often do you/we get cat-called in the street? Maybe other women do, but you/we hardly ever do, right? And didn’t you hear that story a while back about how even builders don’t think shouting out at women is OK anymore? Think how much better you have it than women around the world! I mean, honestly. Are you just looking for something to get angry about?’

And despite the seriously frustrating nature of these questions, it’s not always that easy to give a proper answer.

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