August 25, 2015

Lifestyle | Stick Out Your Personality w/ Mikado


If you hadn't already noticed, I'm a big advocate of eating what you want when you want. I have no shame in saying that for me, almost every day involves chocolate in some shape or form. And when it comes in at a mere 11 calories like Mikado sticks do, well, that's even better.

I hadn't had Mikado in years until an enormous box turned up on my doorstep - ironically as I happened to be arriving home from the gym. Nostalgia swept over me. I've got many fond memories of eating Mikado as a kid with my brother. Swords fights were involved, as was sticking them up our nose if I remember correctly.

As you can see, I got a little carried away with my Mikado - who doesn't put their chocolate in their hair for safekeeping? Now it's your turn. Mikado are offering up prizes for the best #selfies uploaded to Instagram eating their chocolate sticks and including their handle @Mikado_UK and #MikadoBy. Tag me (@ItsaLDNThing) in your selfie too as I get to pick my favourite to win one of the prizes. Head over to my #MikadoBy selfie here.

This post was written in collaboration with Mikado.

August 22, 2015

Health & Fitness | Getting Back On It


Nike clothing* | Nike Air Max 2015 c/o Footlocker*

 Photographs by Toni Tran


Getting on the exercise bandwagon is hard. There’s that extra hour of sleep to be had in the morning. You’re tired post work and there’s that half bottle of wine in the fridge. There's that documentary you read raving reviews about all week waiting to be watched. Let’s not forget the damage on your bank balance of a gym membership and all the gym gear that you definitely need before you can think about working out. 

So, you splash out on the expensive kit, give up your sleep in the morning or swap your evening ‘me time’ and exercise finally becomes an integral part of your life. Then it all goes wrong. You get an injury or for some reason or another, you aren’t able to exercise for a significant amount of time. Perhaps you miss a few work outs and then missing a few workouts turns into a few weeks and a few weeks becomes…you get where I’m going. You fall off the bandwagon and you’ve no idea how to jump back on.

Enough of the metaphors. Not being able to exercise for any period of time sucks no matter the reason. Your body gets out of shape ten times quicker then it took to get into shape. Your legs forget how to pick up your feet to run. Your arms forget how to raise weights to lift. 

I’ve been there and it was a bloody difficult couple of months. I packed on the pounds and didn't do all that much bar feeling sorry for myself. Then finally when my body had recovered from illness and was ready to get on it again, I didn’t want to exercise because I wasn’t as good as I was before anymore. Lets just say it took a while both mentally and physically. There's still work to be done but hey, good news - anything is possible and while it’s daunting, getting back into shape isn’t as hard as it seems.

Lift The Self-Pressure

Yes, it’s frustrating that you can’t run as fast as you could or lift as much as you used to but why would you be able to? The expectations of returning to exercise and being as capable as you were before your break are ridiculous. It’s a huge amount of pressure to put on yourself mentally and honestly, you’re simply setting yourself up for failure. Appreciate just being able to exercise again and the rest will eventually follow.

Put Away Your Fat Clothes

I rely heavily on exercise to keep my weight in check. Remove the exercise and everything goes to shit. My clothes become tighter rapidly and I resort to baggy clothes that only make me look larger. Once you can start exercising again, ditch the comfortable clothes. Tight clothes look and feel awful but that waist band digging into your hips is also a constant reminder to get out and exercise. 

Still Ditch the Scales

I’m not entirely sure how many times people have to hear this before they take note and while I understand why you’d put your faith in those digits you see before you, get rid of your scales, they’re not your friend. Go old school and use a tape measure. Muscle is heavier than fat. You might lose half a kilo of fat one week but gain a kilo of muscle. You step on the scale and all of your hard work for the week is crushed when you see the figure as half a kilo heavier even though you’ve probably lost an inch or two somewhere.

Be Mindful of What You Eat

Again, stating the obvious but you know that old saying that abs are primarily made in the kitchen? Well, it’s true. Likelyhood is if you’ve been feeling sorry for yourself and demotivated you’ll have been eating more rubbish than before so cut the crap and quickly see results. There’s nothing wrong with exercising to eat but exercising to over eat rubbish is a different story. 

Do What You Enjoy and Start With That

If you like running, run for a little while before you start anything else. If you’re a swimmer, get up and do some lengths in the morning, every morning. Remember what it was about exercising that you loved.

Make a Clear Cut Schedule

I gave myself two weeks of running and working out by myself in the gym before I had the nerve to go back to classes. Ideally, you should just throw yourself back in, no matter how out of shape or awful you’re feeling. My schedule looks a little something like this: Mondays - 1Rebel Reshape or Flywheel, Tuesdays - 5K to 10K run, Wednesdays - Abs class/gym, Thursdays - 1Rebel Reshape or Flywheel, Friday or Sunday - 5-10K run. Sometimes it's more, with a yoga class or an extra run thrown in, but it's very rarely less.

Use Social Media To Spur You On

Get the Nike running app and post on Twitter or Instagram every time you run. The idea of having to post my run and my pace on social media pushes me to run more often and faster. Put up progress pictures. There's always the worry of what other people think but it’s unlikely people will think you’re being a dick and honestly, if they do screw them - they know where the unfollow button is if they can’t hack.

Make The Gym Your Hangout

I’m not saying do this forever but there’s nothing wrong with swapping up a catch up with a friend over a sweaty Pyscle class instead of a mojito. While you’re getting back into the swing of things, you social life will suffer but it’s only for the short-term.

Finally, Remember That You Only Get Out What You Put In

It’s really that simple. Work hard, sweat a lot. Everything else will fall back into place by itself and you really will feel #betterforit...

August 12, 2015

Lifestyle | #BTS with Microsoft Surface


Microsoft Surface* | Moleskin x ASOS notebook* | Sandro candle

I've been meaning to sit and write a post about carving out your own career for a while now and as luck has it, Microsoft Surface asked me to get involved with a YouTube film they were creating for young people and school leavers exploring the opportunities available to them once school is over. During filming, I met some incredibly talented, young influencers. From an actor to a lawyer to a free-style footballer, all who have a large social media following but very different careers - some of which didn't even exist ten years ago.

Behind the scenes on set with Microsoft Surface
Whether you're at school and deciding on your GCSE options, mulling over your AS level results or older and stuck in a job that you hate, there are so many paths you can take next and it's important to give them some consideration.

It's not a lie when parents say that school days are the best days of your life. You spend all day every day with your best mates, forming relationships and experiences that will shape you to years to come. There's also that little bit of learning and homework thrown in too, obvs.

I was never one of those kids who excelled at one subject but I was quite good at a lot of things. GCSE's were fairly easy - I just dropped the subjects I didn't like and was still left with ten subjects to me to spread my attention across. A Level was where I stumbled. How did you pick four subjects that would equally enable you and disable you from certain careers. I loved chemistry but I loved English too. I dreamed of being an actress and got involved in every school play but I spent an equal amount of time with my head in a book about philosophy or psychology. I played around with making my own clothes in between guitar and singing lessons.

Some people are extremely lucky knowing exactly what they want to do. Want to be a doctor? Go for sciences. Want to be a banker? Economics and maths. Yet for most of us, it's not that simple. The world is at our feet and whittling it down to one career is a challenge.

How did I chose? Well, I ended up picking 5 subjects instead of 4 whilst looking at the bigger picture. I was almost sure I wanted to be a writer of some sort so I stuck to subjects that were essay based (Philosophy & Ethics, English Lit and Psychology) with a couple of subjects (French and Textiles) thrown in to keep me interested.

The subjects got me into a great undergrad journalism degree at LCC and then I continued on to a very specific MA in fashion journalism at Central Saint Martins yet, to this day I don't have a specific job title and I'm never really sure what to say when I get asked what I do. Some days you'll find me a interviewing a musician for a publication, others I'll be the one styling the musician for a shoot or gig and others I'll be in front of the camera myself. On a Friday, I might be running or in at an exercise event, and the day after you might find me in their Chelsea store, behind the decks spinning tunes.

We live in a world where it's become incredibly easy for multi-talented people to follow more than one career path. Daunting as it may seem, the world really is your oyster.

This post was written in collaboration with Microsoft Surface. You can watch our Microsoft Surface YouTube video here: http://tiny.cc/milliecotton_doanything
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