1 Lots of Love, Me. | Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle | Vicky Chandler


Women under 30 are under more and more pressure...

The pressure to be successful is overwhelming, and ever more prominent in society. I have never felt as under pressure as I have now, and I don’t know whether it’s my age, the point in my life and career that I’m currently at, or other factors like the media and my comparison to others that seem to be contributing to this.

People under 30 seem to be under the most pressure, especially women. It’s not just the unwritten rules of owning a house, being married, having children and a successful job by the time we reach our third decade on earth, success is measured with variables such as sexiness, our ability to make friends, to multi-task, to be constantly happy, healthy and satisfied.


RESTAURANT REVIEW* | A little bit of Barcelona luxury at W Hotel's SALT beach club...

SALT, W Barcelona’s beachside hideaway was exactly what we needed after a manic day of sightseeing around one of my favourite cities in the world. For those of you that have visited Barcelona, you know that the winding streets can become an obstacle course, navigating locals zooming about on mopeds, tourists clambering in and out of shops and local restaurants throwing menus at you to come and try their cheap, price-fixed lunches. This means at times, it’s quite hard to relax – which isn’t a bad thing because its vibrancy is what drew us, and many others, to the coastal city. However if you’re after a little break from the hustle and bustle of city life, SALT, one of W Barcelona’s six restaurants and bars is where you need to head.


EVENTS | A night at the BBC 1XTRA Proms for a spectacular grime symphony...

by Tom Fogden

Back on the 12th August, the Metropole Orkest performed at London’s Royal Albert Hall. A pretty normal affair at one of London's most iconic music venues - probably most well known for hosting the classic Proms. However this time, accompanying the largest Dutch jazz and pop orchestra was a collection of some of Britain’s best rappers and grime artists.

Yes, you read that right. Grime and rap at the Royal Albert Hall. The unlikely collaboration formed part of the 2015 BBC prom season - and was the highlight event for fans of their urban music station 1Xtra.

If you know Vicky, you will probably be aware that her favourite rapping normally involves presents. However, I (yes, Tom, the eponymous boyfriend of Lots of Love, Me.) am an enormous fan of this type of music. Always have been, always will be. So it seemed only natural that when the opportunity to attend the event came along - I jumped at it.

The line-up certainly looked strong. Chip, Fekky, Krept & Konan, Lethal Bizzle, Little Simz, Stormzy, and Wretch 32 all performing their biggest tunes accompanied by a full orchestra. Or als je Nederlands spreekt, an Orkest.

So, what happened on the day? Well, as MistaJam, co-hosting alongside 1Xtra colleague Sian Anderson, rightly observed “there have never been so many black tracksuits inside the Royal Albert Hall.” And, rather than the usual take-your-seats-fifteen-minutes-early-so-you-can-get-prepared normally seen at the Proms, the fans poured into the venue with seconds to spare before Stormzy’s opener.

Stormzy. Croydon’s finest. The wicked skengman. Performing at the Royal Albert Hall. The world-renowned venue named for the questionable member piercing former British royal. The show started with the six-foot-plus, Adidas-tracksuit clad, grime scene darling’s ‘Know Me From.’ The crowd, predictably, went wild.

Left; Stormzy, Right; Little Simz

If you haven’t heard ‘Know Me From’, you need to catch up with grime’s recent renaissance. The samples are genuinely unique (I mean how many other music scenes could legitimately sample Shirley from Eastenders?).

Next up was Stormzy’s insanely popular ‘Shut up’ freestyle over Ruff Sqwad’s ‘Functions On The Low’ beat. And, when I say insanely popular, it’s getting on for six million YouTube views. Not bad for a video filmed in a park...

The night continued in the same vein. Banger after banger were performed to a baying crowd, who were beautifully unfazed by their surroundings - skanking and bouncing up and down. Even the "prawn sandwich" seats got involved with some questionable dancing. Ok, I’ll come clean. The questionable dancing was me.

However, special mentions have to go to Little Simz, Wretch 32 and Krept & Konan. Little Simz combined social conscience and introspection with her song ‘Wings’, which many people with little knowledge of the rap scene believe the genre lacks, and a straight grime banger in her ‘Bars Simzon.’

Wretch 32 initially appeared dressed for the front row of London Collections: Men, but then reverted to a black Adidas tracksuit for his last songs. He delivered two of the most memorable moments of the evening - firstly bringing out the incredible Shola Ama for 'Don't Go', whilst also treating conductor Jules Buckley like a god for the remainder of the night, handing over his (probably very expensive) chain.

Krept & Konan, however, stole the show. They came. They played ‘Freak of the Week’ and ‘Don’t Waste my Time.’ They conquered. It was as simple as that.

Krept & Konan

For most people, I imagine there are a few questions remaining. Does an orchestra and a rapper work? The answer is, of course, yes.

Can an orchestra replicate the electronic beats often found in grime? Not exactly, but it can give the beats a new depth and presence which transforms the sound and provided a whole new level to listening, and enjoying, grime and rap music. 

Is it a gimmick? Hmm. This one is tricky. It might seem gimmicky, but it works. It really is something that you have to see/hear to believe. But once you do - you will become a classirap convert like Vicky and I.

Photography Credit: BBC/Mark Allan 


EVENTS* | KidZania London: A city run by kids... [VIDEO]

Can you imagine a city run by children? Where kids roam the streets catching baddies, putting out fires and grabbing breaking news for the local paper? How would you feel if your lunch was served to you by 10 year-olds, or if you saw your 5 year-old getting a tattoo with their savings? 

Well, it's no longer just seen in Bugsy Malone, KidZania has landed in London and my oh my is it a must-see. Nestled at the top Westfield Shepherd's Bush, KidZania is a haven for kids aged 4 to 14 (although younger kids are welcome to the play centre). But it's more than just a day out or another theme park for children; it actually offers kids the opportunity to learn. 


BAR REVIEW | Step back in time at Smith & Whistle...

Nestled in the hub of busy Mayfair, the Park Lane Hotel's newest bar, Smith & Whistle, oozes 1920s charm, art deco interior and the sophistication you'd fully expect from a drinking establishment in the heart of London's most wealthiest areas. 

Inspired by the fictional story of Detective Inspector Smith and his pursuit of high-class criminal Mr. Whistle, Smith & Whistle represents the hotel bar on Park Lane in which the two men find common ground. 


LIFE | End of era, and ready to start my new beginning...

3 weeks I’ve been absent from my blog. Lurking around in limbo between education and work. And now I’ve finally reached the end of the road of full-time education…

Two weeks ago I graduated from Cardiff University with a First Class Honours, a moment I had been waiting for for a long time. It wasn’t just the past three years working for my degree, but the past seventeen of my educational career that seemed to be living up to this moment.


RESTAURANT REVIEW | The Great British Mayfair

You wouldn't expect this tiny, quirky restaurant to sit just off Oxford Street amongst a plethora of tourist-driven eateries. Nestled down a side road off of London's busiest street, The Great British Restaurant in Mayfair prides itself on delivering fantastic, quintessentially British fish and chips.


INTERVIEW | 5 minutes with Gemma Cairney at BBC Radio One's Big Weekend...

So a couple of weekends ago I headed to Radio One's Big Weekend for Grazia to see and chat to some of the fantastic artists and DJs performing and working over the weekend. I caught up with the fabulous Gemma Cairney whilst I was there, who was full of exciting news as she joins BBC Radio One's The Surgery this June! It was really funny to interview Gemma as when I interned at Company, I was in fact transcribing the interviews SHE was conducting with some of the hottest music stars! Here's what she had to say about being a BBC Radio One DJ, mental health and feminism! 


LIFE | Guess who's back, back again...

To say I've been absent is an understatement. I think I was a bit delusional when I thought at the start of my third year at uni I'd be able to keep my blogging going to the extent that I'd hope. But then I didn't predict HOW HARD the final year of my degree would be.

I also didn't want to just post content for the sake of it. I'm really passionate and proud of my little blog and I don't want to just post a 'wishlist' or 'I love this new nail polish' just for the sake of it. It's something I like to take a lot of time over.


I officially finished my degree on Friday and then spent the weekend reporting for Grazia from Radio One's Big Weekend, and now it's just a bit of a whirlwind as I'm back at home, applying for jobs and ready to start my career.

I also think this is the time I'm going to get stuck back into blogging. I'm not sure what direction I want to take with it at the moment - I still love my beauty and my fashion and that won't stop - but I want to get a bit my personal, and a bit more opinionated again. I miss that.

I'm so excited, but also apprehensive to see where my career is going to take me. I had the most wonderful three years at Cardiff University but I'm glad I'm back now and just ready to jump head first into a job doing some I love.

Thank you for being patient, and sticking around. I've still kept up to date with everyone's blogs despite not doing my own and I'm glad to see the blogging world is as colourful and as fun as ever!


LONDON | My top tips for navigating the city on public transport...

A Welsh friend of mine is moving to London, and she asked me if I'd do a blog post on what to expect and any tips that I could give her. 

Being a native Londoner has its advantages. I know how to navigate the tourists, how to walk around the city without using a tube, and the pubs with the best prices. So in this blog series, I'm going to offer my advice on what I think is important when moving, or even visiting London. This is especially important for those doing internships, just moving, or on a long-term trip.

I'm sorry if at times it may come across as patronising, but I'm writing this for someone that has little or no knowledge of the London public transport system! 

If there's anything you'd want to know, please let me know!


LIFE | The real world has arrived, and I'm not sure I'm ready...

Today I made my last ever drive from home to university. As I crossed the bridge from England into Wales and saw the all too familiar 'Croeso i Gymru' sign it sort of sank in ... it's happening. 

There's 18 days until my dissertation is due in, 33 until I've finished with all assignments, and only 84 until I (hopefully..) stand on stage and collect my degree at graduation day.


I've shown countless sixth form hopefuls around on Open Day, all who are eager to start their University career, and it doesn't actually seem that long ago that that was me. But fast forward three years and I'm currently sitting in bed, writing this blog post at one of the only times this week that I've found it possible due to my workload. 

It doesn't seem quite real that in less than a month I'll be thrown out into the big, wide world, just like that... seventeen years of full-time education is over and the biggest, and scariest, chapter of my life awaits. 

More recently I've found myself looking back on photos from my first week as a fresher at Cardiff University, my face displaying eagerness, apprehension and excitement all rolled into one. I literally had no idea what to expect, in my immediate family I was the first to go - I was carrying the torch for Higher Education. 

First year was quite bumpy, I was finding it really hard to settle in, and part of me was worried that I wouldn't be cut out for university life. I was in a long-distance relationship, I'd never really been away from home before, and I wasn't as into clubbing as I used to be. However, over time it got a lot better. University shaped me as a person - I fell in love with my subject, my boyfriend and I are still together, my parents and I are closer than ever and on the way I've picked up friends for life. 

In fact, I look back on my university experience now and I'm petrified at leaving the comfort of student life that I've known for so long. It's time to get my bum into gear and actually find that writing job that I've worked so hard to aim for, that I've thought about since I was a little kid writing fake newspaper articles in my spare time. 

Where before I thought I had so much time, the real world has come around a lot sooner than I thought. 

Anyone else as scared as me?


LIFE | A letter to my younger self...

Dear thirteen year old Vicky, 

Hold in there girl, it’ll be a bumpy ride but you’ll come out of your teenage years a smart and successful woman. 

For the next few years of your life you will find it hard to love yourself - other kids won’t be very nice to you, but you need to make sure you don’t believe them. Their words will hurt, but they’ll make you stronger. Yes, you’re overweight, you have a big nose and not very good skin - but you lose 6 stone, your skin clears up… and well, your nose, you’ll realise that’s a part of you and it’s not as big and as bad as you thought. 


FOOD | Courgetti spaghetti for a carbless alternative to my guilty pleasure...

So last week I showed you some really simple breakfast ideas I like to do, but this is an individual recipe for the BEST carb substitute EVER.

I'd been toying with the idea of substituting pasta for courgette for a while, but the other week I decided to go for it for the first time, and wow how pleased I am with the results.


FOOD | Some healthy breakfast ideas to get you back on track...

After struggling immensely with maintaining my weight loss whilst I embark on the last few months of my degree, I've done a serious U-turn, and I'm now back on track with it all. 

I know better than anyone how hard it is to struggle with your weight. I have the most awful relationship with food, and I've always used it for comfort and boredom (which is never a good thing!)

I find the thing that helps me the most is to Instagram the food I've been eating. I know it sounds really stupid, but if I'm sharing with people what I've been eating, it makes it a bit easier to create super duper healthy food! However, since doing this I've had numerous people ask me about some of my recipes and ideas - so, I thought I'd share!


LIFE | Feminism, vlogging and dissertation panicking...

Whilst I hate leaving my blog unattended longer than a few days, I've had to neglect Lots of Love, Me. more than I'd like to in the last few months because of how busy I've been. 

If you follow me on Twitter you'll say that I've been having mini breakdowns every so often about my dissertation and the fact that I finish university in 3 months for good. I have SO much work to do, alongside applying for jobs, and doing my writing work on the side - so unfortunately my little blog has been feeling a bit left out. 

But I thought I'd give you a little run-down of what I've been up to! 

For a start, I've started vlogging! Yep, I've finally caved into the peer-pressure, and have filmed my very first vlog. I'm quite nervous because I worry so much what people think. But then I thought, what's the worst that could happen, people say mean things about me? Ha, already had that one from my shenanigans back in November, so need to fear that anymore! 

As well as this, I spoke last night at Wales' Reclaim the Night march. It's a walk through Cardiff city centre to seek justice for rape victims and those who have experienced or are experiencing male sexual violence. It was so empowering to be walking alongside friends and strangers of all genders and ages, I'd never been on a demonstration before and it was so incredible to be part of such a loud movement. 

After the walk, a few guest speakers had been invited to do a short talk, and I was honoured to be one of them. I spoke about what it's like to be a student feminist, the problems we face trying to get people to associate with the term, and the rise in lad culture at university. 

I'm now at home in London for the weekend as I have a job interview on Tuesday (eek!) and just to spend time with my family. I've had lots of London Fashion Week invites in the post, but I haven't been very well, and with that and the huge work load, I've decided to give it a miss this season. 

And finally, I've got some really exciting collabs coming up that I can't wait to share with you! I'm going to be doing a fitness feature in the lead up to summer, especially as I myself have been a bit too relaxed on the whole diet. I'll also be asking you to help me pick a dress for my ball from a selection of some beautiful ASOS numbers - which I am SO happy about and excited to share with you.

So whilst I have been a bit anonymous, I promise I am still lurking about - I still read my favourite blogs, and some new ones, daily... and I will be back, just maybe a bit sporadically for now! 

If you want more information on the Reclaim the Night march, please go to the Women's Aid website for some more information: http://www.welshwomensaid.org.uk/

My first vlog, on a red carpet, golden smokey make-up tutorial, will be up in the next couple of days! 

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