Festival Fashion Guide 2016

Packing for a festival is a demon that most of us must face. Beyond trying to squeeze as much booze into your rucksack as humanly possible, as Brits, we also have to bear in mind that any attempt to look even vaguely stylish may result in pneumonia.

Beyond the whims of the weather, festival fashion is about nailing summer trends, despite the fact that you probably won’t have showered nor looked in the mirror for days. There are now some looks that are so out-dated you’d be forgiven for thinking festival sites have become time warps. You can pretty much bet your last bottle of mixer that at any festival in the UK, you’ll see flocks of young women adorned in floral headbands. The summer nymph look is inoffensive, sure, but it certainly won’t win you any praise from the fashion powers that be.

I’ve established the top fuss-free festival trends for 2016, together with some handy advice on how to embrace practicality whilst looking the part.

Do…

  • Turn to Coachella for inspiration, as the stars at this American extravaganza set festival trends for the year. See the next point.
  • Incorporate fringing. Ideally in the style of festival bag of the moment: the tan crossover Hudson by Chloé. Ditto two pieces or anything crochet.
  • Pack shoes that will keep your feet dry. It’s tempting to bring sandals, yes. But don’t. Even if the weather verges on the miraculous, your toes will thank you when they’re not being trodden on at every step.
  • Bring wellies. Hunters may have been around for years, but they’re still the ultimate festy footwear.
  • Pack a good pair of sunglasses. But not so good that when lost to a squelching mud pit you’re left feeling as though you’ve just been made bankrupt.
  • Remember your waterproof jacket. The puffa, as seen everywhere during fashion week, is very in this year. As is the bomber jacket. Be warned, if you don’t pack a coat, you may well end up wearing a bin bag as a poncho. Just saying.

Don’t…

  • Wear any expensive jewellery or your posh watch. Crawling around on the floor in a dark tent filled with hundreds of people is not something you want to be doing. Embrace cheap and cheerful costume jewellery as an easy way to spice up an outfit. If you (ladies) want to be on trend, you can’t go wrong with a choker or a body chain.
  • Dismiss fancy dress completely. As much as you probably won’t feel like ‘going all out’ when you’re battling a three-day hangover having slept in a field, fancy dress can have its uses. Take inspiration from Miss Kylie Jenner and wear a wig, it’s a great way to cover up unwashed hair. Chaps: some face paint, glitter or even an ostentatious hat will do the job nicely.
  • Risk a Native American style headdress. Sure, they look cool, but now they’re just plain tired and predictable. Plus, wearers have previously been blasted for cultural appropriation. Just steer clear.
  • Wear a onesie. The preserve of drunken male festival-goers everywhere, avoid at all costs if you’d prefer not to look like a giant baby.

Follow these golden rules, and you’ll spend the weekend channelling your inner Kate Moss or Idris Elba. And you never know, if you do play your sartorial cards right, you may even get featured in a promotional video for a cider with a name you can’t pronounce.

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Originally published in BN1 Magazine, June edition.

Healthy Baking

Attitudes towards healthy eating have changed drastically over the last few years. Concern for what you put into your body- be it wheat flour, sugar, dairy- has never been so main stream. A quick glance at #eatclean on Insta should give you a good idea of the current healthy eating landscape; natural is in, anything processed or refined is most definitely out.

Wellness warriors such as Deliciously Ella, Natasha Corrett (Honestly Healthy) and the Hemsley sisters have become household names, with their recipes that offer healthy alternatives to traditionally naughty foods proving to be particularly popular. We all love a sweet treat from time to time , so it’s no wonder that guilt free baking has captured the foodie imagination. Companies such as Livia’s Kitchen and Hardihood are leading the way in healthier sweet treats, but when it comes to nutritional value, nothing beats making your own.

In the recipes that follow, unhealthier ingredients are substituted with vegetables and other natural products, meaning you never have to feel guilty about satisfying your sweet tooth again.

1. Deliciously Ella’s Sweet Potato Brownies
Made with sweet potato, cacao and dates, these six ingredient gluten and dairy free brownies are one of the most popular recipes on Deliciously Ella’s site. They might look and taste decadent, but they’re actually packed with goodness, including antioxidant rich superfood cacao.

2. Hemsley and Hemsley’s Peanut Butter Shortbread Cookies
Jasmine and Melissa are big advocates of nutrient rich, whole foods, and with a a restaurant in Selfridges and  TV show both launched this year, clearly a lot of people . These cookies are super easy to make and feature ground almonds as opposed to traditional flour. The Hemsley’s also have their own take on brownies, made with black beans, which, rich and delicious and full of fibre, are one of my favourite recipes for a sunday bake-off (the featured image here is of my own BB Brownies!).

3. Madeline Shaw’s Sticky Gingerbread Puddings
A must try for any self-respecting fan of the sticky toffee pudding, this dessert of Shaw’s would win over even the most hardened of health food sceptics. Sweetened with date syrup instead of refined sugar, these puddings are fantastic for satisfying that sweet tooth craving without any of the guilt that usually comes with such an indulgence.

4. Madeline Shaw’s Ultimate Gluten Free Choc Chip Cookies
Another fantastic recipe from Madeline Shaw, these cookies are dairy, gluten and refined sugar free. Everyone loves a cookie, especially with a cup of tea, so these coconut oil filled treatsa are a great alternative for adults and children alike.

5. Livia’s Kitchen Raw Snickers Slab
Ok so given that this dessert is raw, it technically doesn’t include baking, but still makes for an unbelievably healthy treat.  A firm favourite from Livia’s blog, this snickers slab features chocolate, caramel and nougat, yet is still guilt-free! Great for those with even the most severe of food intolerances, this recipe is made up of completely natural ingredients.

6. Honestly Healthy Banana & Pecan Bread
Natasha Corrett is all about eating ‘the alkaline way’, so even her sweet treats pack a nutritional punch. This recipe is for a light, fluffy and healthy bread that tastes just like the original. You honestly (get it?! pun was originally unintended here) won’t notice the difference!

7. Mind Body Bowl Spiced Apple Muffins with Wal-nutty Crumble

The mind body bowl site is run by Annie, a yoga teacher and all round health enthusiast, but this particular recipe is a ‘guest recipe’, written by iQuit Sugar’s Sarah Wilson. AS with Deliciously Ella’s brownies, these muffins make use of the super food sweet potato, the health benefits of which are much extolled given their high Vitamin A content.

8. Hemsley & Hemsley’s Avocado Lime Cheesecake

Avocados have become literally indistinguishable from the clean eating movement. They are the poster child for health par excellence, you’d be hard pushed to have a scroll through Instagram without being confronted with an #avo. This sugar, flour and dairy free cheesecake utilises the creamy consistency of avocado in a fabulous example of healthy baking (although admittedly, the only baking involved here is a little bit of pecan and coconut toasting) . Super healthy and completely guilt free, the Hemsley’s have got wholesome sweet-treats down to a T.