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So I was in the gym the other day. Like a lean, mean, workout machine (red-faced, sweating and trembling slightly). I was doing some squats or lunges or possibly some squatted lunges and I had a sort-of epiphany. I realised that these lunge-squat thingymabobbies were making my thighs strong and muscly. Not waspish and gazelle-like. Which I assume, in some subconscious, fashion influenced manner, I was striving for.

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Today wasn’t the most interesting of days for me. I woke up late, watched and re-watched old episodes of The Hills and The City, cleaned the kitchen and went into town to run a few errands for mother dearest. As I was driving along down the street, minding my own business and not really taking in the repetitive sights of my completely average town I came across a woman pushing a buggy. The woman was jogging down the street in a typically ‘motherish’ tracksuit sporting none other than high heel trainers. Read the rest of this entry »

Off surfing again this weekend. This means natty hoodies, baggy tracksuit bottoms, mismatched bikinis, ridonculous booties, bruising, seaweed hair, sunburnt hands, runny noses, panda eyes, hangovers, carbs and most importantly, an inherited surfboard. A board that is slightly chipped, imprinted with dead flies and layered in sand and sexwax. Surfing the Irish Way. So imagine my shock and horror when I spotted this trend. A Chanel Surboard. Chanel, as in Coco, as in logomania, as in squillons of squids, as in serious luxury industry. Making surfboards. Surely this is wrong?

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They look so skillful

What does the World Cup Mean to Me?

Written by Jennie, 26

When I was small, my dad had a pair of Italia ’90 boxer shorts that used to play Olé Olé Olé. They were very funny. When I think of football, I think of all the boys on the estate being mean to the girls, saying we couldn’t play football with them because we were too slow. I think I tripped one of them up accidentally-on-purpose during a rounders game and broke his arm. I know people are angry because some French man ruined our chances of being in the big competition this year. And I heard he eats frogs legs. Eew. Read the rest of this entry »

Matchy-Matchy Accessories

Let me get straight to the point, the fail is referring to my appalling lack of photos from Punchestown. I was hoping to penetrate the glitterati at the event and try and lure out some of the more left-field stylistas. Anyone who avoided the tried-and-tested matchy-matchy accessorising and ubiquitous frothy dress was worth a snap. And there was plenty of off-kilter fun to be had – jumpsuits and maxis and excellent trouser-suits and beautiful clutches and swoon-inducing jewels and fabulous, fabulous shoes. But I was too distracted with racing-rage to properly concentrate. The queuing and the waiting and the queuing and the ringing and the queuing and the leering…it was just too much.  I must point out that I arrived at the tail-end of ladies day, sober and full of rosy-tinted expectations of Elizabeth Taylor in National Velvet (I’ve only been to the races twice). So I was thrown when we were greeted at the gates by 14 year old girls staggering around bare-foot and bedraggled and champagne-stewed men catcalling their wins way above the acceptable noise limits. I had my first drink at 9pm and could only seethe in rage until that point. So in a nutshell, no photographs from Punchestown. Read the rest of this entry »

 

stella bomber. allegedly for sport, more suited to crunking in a grimy detroit club.

something has been perplexing me of late. as hordes of females across the nation prepare for various charity runs, triathlons, rounders matches, tag rugby competitions and bootcamp sessions, the sporting boundaries have suddenly shifted. no longer is there a general camaraderie and we’re all in it together sisterhood, nor is it a cut-throat sprint to the end, victorious and inglorious, but rather a my shorts are sexier than your shorts.

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Yesterday I was involved in a Herculean Fashion Battle. I was the Samson in Samson V Goliath, I was the Chelsea in the Chelsea V AC Milan, I was the Scratchy in Itchy V Scratchy. What was this unholy clash? It was Jennie V TK Max. Previously I have discussed the hair-raising, nail-biting, loveless, joyless, rollercoaster that is the Pennys Binge (or PB as I shall now refer to it). But nothing could have prepared me for the TK Max experience.

TK Max Death Ray

I was at the tail-end of a modest (almost polite) shopping trip with the Mother in Arklow’s Bridgewater Shopping Centre. It is widely acknowledged that Arklow is not the fashion capital of Ireland, never mind Wicklow, and it was only an ambling, sociable excursion with the prime goal being some eatin’ and some chattin’ on a homeward-bound detour.

That was until the luminous, vibrating TK Max sign bathed us in its holy, reddish glow. After a few conflicted seconds, physically weighing up the bloated shopping bags in our hands and the deflating cash balances in our minds, we greedily ‘nipped’ inside, like the guilty bingers that we were. And what befell our eyes? Nothing. If anyone has ever stepped inside a TK Max you will agree that it is a very anti-climactic moment. It is a gaping, white canyon with bare metal rails abandoned in disregard across the floor. A few half-hearted displays shout about ‘serious bargains’ or ‘xxx-treme discount’, but ultimately it’s like the ravaged skeletons of buildings you see in end-of-the-world films*.

Surprisingly, this is the exact ploy that hooks you. I was overwhelmed by the sheer apathy of the environment and I had made my mind up that I would not be a TK Max customer. I casually strolled up to the ‘Absolute Last Clearance Super Discount Below Cost Price’ rail and started flicking. And then I saw a top for €4. And then another one. And then a DKNY top for €7. And here was a Nike Sports Bra for €3 – and this was only the Casual Top rail. I suddenly spied the Evening Top rail, The Day Dress rail, the Evening Dress Rail, Casual Jackets, Activewear, Jeans, Trousers…it was endless. The system was all making sense – I felt like I had just discovered Pi on a broken abacus. So I grabbed a trolley (I was wondering why they had trollies in TK Max – I thought it was a little undignified…but the penny finally dropped) and started ripping things off hangers and dumping into the trolley. Ooh yes, I’ll have that cropped jacket please. Yes I already have a few cropped jackets, yes it’s white and sequinned, but it’s only €9. I could wear it with the black jumpsuit, with the pink bubble dress, I could wear it on the date on Friday, I could wear it for lunch with the girls tomorrow. And what about this dress? It’s actually hideous, but maybe hideous in a good way? In an ironic way? It is Calvin Klein after all and it’s only €15 and in fact, I could wear it with the cropped white sequinned jacket, so I should probably buy it, just in case I can’t find anything to wear with my white jacket. And a parka – I should probably get a parka. I don’t need one, I don’t particularly want one, but it’s only €40.

And on and on this vicious merry-go-round. Maybe I should get these tracksuit bottoms. I have loads, but you can never have enough right? And what about a cap? A Billabong cap? I don’t wear caps, but it could be good for jogging? And the beach? I mean Billabong is all about the beach and if they have a whole section devoted to caps, I should probably have one. And they have reduced yoga mats and skipping ropes. In fact, they have a whole discounted sports equipment section. I am training to be a personal trainer…maybe I should just buy an entire home-gym now? I mean, look at those savings. It’s almost irresponsible not to buy these resistance bands and ergonomic ladies dumbbells.

In a fit of panic, I start accessing this most incoherent shopping bounty in my trolley and realise that I cannot afford all this. So I try to locate my mother for some straight-talking. And then I spot her. She too, looked drugged, and was brandishing a clutch of skirts, bikinis, underwear and…resistance bands. A yelp doesn’t even begin to cover what came out of my mouth. So with unprecedented strength of mind, I abandoned the trolley and walked straight toward her. ‘ I need out’. I’d like to say she frogmarched me right outta there, but nope, I was left in charge of buying someone a present and told we’d be on our way ‘in a few minutes’. I thought if I had a specific goal it might lessen the evil TK Max grasp. That was not to be the case. This time I drifted back to my mother with an even more extensive array of tops and dresses, and because I had passed the previously unseen underwear section on the way, I was also laden down with an arsenal of briefs. Most entirely unsuitable, but in the spirit of massive discounts, all were considered fair game. Then we started to queue and I spotted the kitchen utensils.

Two hours later we departed TK Max. I had acquired a slightly-too-big sports top (only €4!), a(nother) lace top, a garlic crusher and a fairly innocuous bra. My mother had claimed resistance bands, a nautical dress for the youngest sister, a t-shirt, a bikini (that we debated for ages. Was it really worth €12? Would you buy it if it wasn’t discounted? Is the bikini even necessary? All futile questions. The decision was made once the massive red discount sticker was spotted) and some slightly suspect Tommy Hilfiger swimming shorts for my father. Slightly suspect in that they were a) probably too small, b) looked like boxers, c) were suspiciously similar to a pair my father already owns, and d) above the threshold of what we considered a discount.

This may seem like a harmless bounty, but I must stress that I am BROKE. We had already purchased a few things beforehand and our mission was simply to find food. Two hours later TK Max chewed us up and spat us out. And I had to exert more self control than I ever had in my life. I don’t need a second lace top, a bra, a sports top or a garlic crusher. It was just TK’s way of asserting his dominance in the Extraordinary League of Shopping.

* 28 Days Later comes to mind here. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if they used TK Max as one of their locations…

I did not ever imagine I would have such difficulty in writing a piece for the blog. This is my fourth attempt and its been as arduous a task as childbirth*. I decided I would write about Cycle Chic. I’ve recently become the proud owner of a new bike and I figured (quite arrogantly) that this was a sufficient credential for me to write on this topic. Ha! As if. It’s akin to me assuming I’d be a whiz at dental surgery simply because I brush my teeth every day.

I had heard of the concept of Cycle Chic, but had done little to explore the topic, until this opportunity presented itself. And almost immediately I was awed at the sheer scale of what I’d undertook. Cycle Chic is MASSIVE! IT’S EVERYWHERE! How have I not realised this until now?

A quick go on the google box brings up two amazing blogs that trade solely on Cycle Chic, the first being http://www.copenhagencyclechic.com/. This was started by the man who is rumoured to have developed the phrase “Cycle Chic”, and has been described as “The Sartorialist on two wheels” by the Guardian – heady praise indeed. A quick peek at the site and you’ll be greeted by photos of lots of really cool, fashionable people, on really cool, fashionable bikes, looking fabulously cool and gorgeous. It’s enough to make you sick. In a good way, of course.

The second blog worth mentioning is http://londoncyclechic.blogspot.com/. This blog appears to be a bit more fashion based. The blog entry for 16 March is solely about a range of gorgeously cute helmets and this leads me neatly to my next section.

After viewing just these two blogs, I realised just how out of my depth I was as a commentator of Cycle Chic. So after much faffing around, and some very, VERY bad writing, I decided to get very egotistical and just talk about Cycle Chic as it relates to me.

I started using my bike again about two years ago when I was living in Dublin. I’d grown weary of public transport, and yet was far too impatient to walk anywhere. So I decided to take my old bicycle out of the shed in my parent’s garden and get back in the saddle, so to speak. I had no pride in the bike, it was merely an object to take me into work and home again. And because of the lack of consideration for how my bike looked (it was a rusty piece of crap), I therefore had absolutely no consideration for how I looked while on it. Even now I shudder when I remember the state of me. Like many other Irish cyclists, I wore cycling clothes while on my bike and changed once I got to work. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this option and I’m certainly not trying to put down people who choose to do this. My problem lies solely with myself and how truly terrible my cycling clothes were. Grubby old tracksuit bottoms tucked into socks (so they wouldn’t catch in the gears – the horror, THE HORROR!), an old t-shirt and a rainjacket. Throw in the obligatory hi-vis vest and awful, AWFUL helmet and you’ve got a sight for sore eyes.

But things have recently changed for me. I’ve gotten a new bike. A shiny, happy, sexy beast of a bike – the mere fact that it’s mine, makes me cooler. And since getting this bike, I’ve started to pay a lot more attention to how I dress when I’m cycling. And I’ve become aware of Cycle Chic, fairly succinctly defined (by Wikipedia, who else) as the culture of cycling in fashionable clothes.

It appears that I am way behind the times, and that cycle chic has already gained a niche in Ireland. November 2009 saw the second Cycle Chic fashion show in Cork City, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a third in 2010. The website for the 2009 show still lists all of last year’s exhibitors and a quick look through some of the websites left me coveting a few choice pieces.

My absolute number one must have include this incredibly cute helmet from www.cyclechic.co.uk

Sexy Safety

There are also lots of other sites with fantastic clothes for cycling in, cute baskets and bicycle accessories, not to mention amazing bikes. Definitely worth checking out.

As for me, this will certainly not be my last entry about Cycle Chic. I’ve unleashed a fashion monster with this topic so be sure to stay tuned to the blog for more.

* (a slight exaggeration)

Put your hands up in the air if you have been shamed and disgraced by a cold and draconian overlord in the Ryanair queue, demanding you pay extra for baggage. Standing over you, brandishing the metal luggage contraption, features frozen in pure hate (hate for you? hate for the uniform? hate for o’leary? hate for the luggage rack? who knows. it might be mild incontinence) barking at you that your bag is too big/too long/too colourful/too old-fashioned to board this Ryanair flight without crossing his palm with some sheckles. And as you stand there, with the anger ringing in your ears and the flush creeping over your features, desperately shuffling things around about your baggage, you concede defeat and pay the damn €40.

Put your hands in the air also if you have schlepped an archaic and grotty gym bag around with you only to face a daily barrage of problems? The handle snaps, your shampoo leaks into the gaping black hole of the bag; a bag devoid of handy separating functions to prevent this exact kind of accident? Your runners don’t fit and so you carry them separately – but one day you leave them at home (thus missing your spinning class), another day you leave them at the gym (thus worrying somebody might lift them. they are the latest pair of aerodynamic-superair-max-triax-hero with inbuilt bouncability and GPS tracking technology) In fact, you might say that this bag stands in the way of you and Rihanna’s physique.

Well fear no more, I have found the perfect remedy: LeSportsac. Every size, every colour, every discernible taste. In fact, where have you been all my life? They have handy little zippered sub-pockets to hold everything but the kitchen sink and have excellent strap support.
Ryanair – 0.
Style – 1.

for all you fashion-forward surfers prepare yourselves for a serious surf-style collaboration. Cynthia Rowley got together with Roxy to create 40 high-end pieces for surfer chicks. collection includes cossies, graphic-print dresses, hoodies and pencil skirts…the latter of which im sure makes more sense in the workroom than on the beach? its fun to think that a big name designer (with a minor surfing obsession) has created an action wardrobe for the beach. especially when, emerging from the sea, concussed from the surfboard, with mucus coming out of every orifice, seaweed glued to your face, and your whole body a mighty bruise, you can look  like you’ve stepped off the catwalk. thanks cynthia.

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