Blue Monday: Embrace The Blues In North London
Written by: Sophie Taylor
The formula published to explain why Blue Monday exists makes little to no mathematical sense. It looks pretty though.
Apparently the date was originally devised by a travel company using weather conditions, rising debt levels, time passed since failing our resolutions and decreasing motivation levels. According to their research, the third Monday of January is when most people start looking into booking holidays.
I know I’ve popped a few plane tickets in shopping baskets online, irrespective of my bank statement / time off.
But what if, instead of forcing further debt on ourselves with a holiday and wishing the whole of Winter away, we embrace these blues? Travel doesn’t magically make you happy.
Often we feel depressed as a result of circumstance. Sometimes it’s a hormonal imbalance. At other times it’s a more permanent illness that we have to live with and learn how to cope. And it sucks.
But we’re not alone.
Whether we go out, stay in, drink or stay sober, here’s how we’re going to shun a travel agent ad campaign and be miserable right here in North London.
You don’t have to go dry. Unless you really want to do it yourself, enforced sobriety usually ends down the pub in shitfaced defiance.
Screw you dry January! You rasp, downing another shot of wine, alone. Then along comes the sober light of day again bringing his friends: Mr Crushing Paranoia and Ms List of Neglected Responsibilities.
If you like a pint on a cold Winter’s day, have a pint. If you fancy spending the afternoon in new craft beer shop on Stroud Green Road, do it. Equally, if you feel it’s time to give the booze a break, go for it. Find strength in numbers and join the January wagoners or be a maverick and start next month.
It’s up to you, not a hashtag or preachy online article. Ahem.
Have some sex. What! You cry. If only it were that easy! Or, What awful advice, you frown, sex doesn’t solve everything!
No, it doesn’t, but it does happen to withhold a plethora of health benefits that can help boost your energy levels, immune system and mood, both temporarily and long term. Check in with yourself emotionally of course and make sure you’re both (or all) on the same page and no one’s getting hurt.
While a slutty rampage through North London may not be the answer, a session of quality love making with someone you fancy the proverbial pants off can do wonders for your self esteem, stress / anxiety levels and even sleep patterns, ironically. Of course, some anti depressants and depression itself can lower (completely crush) libido. The underlying issues need to be tackled first. Read this handy article for a few ways to get in touch with yourself first.
Whether it’s to decrease your midriff or make you feel less deflated, nutrition is your best friend. Well that’s what Instagram says. Already switched off? I know the feeling, but even the act of ‘making the effort’ can improve your mood for a bit.
Getting out, choosing some extra ugly chunks of ginger and squashy avocado, chopping them to bits and blending up a disgusting green concoction can.. well, it can be pretty vomit inducing actually, but there are more hearty and tasty recipes out there. Have a look at our yoga buddy, Kate Oate’s blog and insta for immune boosting recipes or peruse London based nutritionalist, Christina Moi’s healthy Asian inspired recipes.
CBA cooking? Try our top suggestions for vegetarian food in your area. I enjoy fannying around Mother Earth health shop on Highbury Corner and imagine the nourishingly beautiful creations I’d knock up if I could be bothered. Then proceed to blow my monthly food budget on one slice of organic cheesecake. It’s good for me, alright?
That pizza you felt so bad about isn’t going to ruin your life. Ordering takeaway every day might not help, but allowing yourself a bit of what you fancy does your sense of wellbeing a world of good.
Have a look at local, Olivia Potts’ food blog for inspiration and wonderfully fatty recipes. After deciding being a Barrister wasn’t for her, Livvy realised her love for cookery. When her mum died in 2014 she found it surprisingly therapeutic to start baking and then, to write about it. She soon became a food writer for the Spectator and is currently gaining a patisserie qualification from Le Cordon Bleu, no less.
Her pinned tweet and life ethos reads, ‘NOT 👏 EATING 👏 CERTAIN 👏 FOODS 👏 DOES 👏 NOT 👏MAKE 👏 YOU 👏 A 👏 BETTER 👏 PERSON’ which is fabulously dramatic and true.
Read through her recipes and get lost in her life stories whilst you’re there. You’ll find a heart warming tale of finding love via Twitter as well.
I don’t necessarily mean out out. Usually the last thing you want to do is venture outside when you feel like a limitless grey blob. But it’s funny what a tiny bit of oxygen can do.
So before you go ordering an expensive canister from eBay, get a hit of the stuff in Clissold Park. Look at all the dogs and get jealous at their carefree existence. Call someone. Breathe. Lie on the grass, get scratchy and wonder why you came outside in the first place. Have a stretch. Power walk back to your home comforts. Grab a coffee on the way from Sapid. You don’t have to fill your days with achievements and big social outings.
Hungover on top of everything else? Find our top four places to embrace it in North London.
Make plans. Cancel them. Get an injection of dopamine when you do. Feel guilty for a bit. Beat yourself up over not making the effort. Watch a boxset of crap and forget about yourself. Catch yourself in one of the characters and feel a punch in your stomach as you’re reminded about all your problems and flaws. Pull the duvet in, order a pizza, eat your feelings, feel good for a second, feel fat the next, throw the box at the wall. Promise yourself you’ll go for a run tomorrow. Lay out your trainers with a line up of all your best intentions.
It’s a cycle we know well. Don’t punish yourself for not going out in the first place. Let people know you’re being a hermit and that it’s not personal. Cook some nice food, watch a good film you’ve been meaning to see, record that ridiculous guitar solo. Make the most of hermit time and treat yourself well.
This too shall pass bitches. We’ve got this.
Staying in a hotel one mile from where you actually live feels strange enough, but doing it on your own is even stranger. These photos are a visual record of me wandering the lonely corridors of a new boutique hotel between the hours of 10-12pm. I would describe the decor as handmade but not cheap, minimal but not clinical. It has the feeling that money has been spent on the things that matter.
The rumours are true: a cheese festival exists and it’s coming to North London. This Sunday. Be there or be … cheese-less I suppose. But you’ve gouda get there early: If you’re as keen as brie and one of the first fifty fromage fondlers to show, you’re in the running for a free bottle of Black Cow’s pure milk vodka. Traders will be setting up stalls along Islington’s Chapel Market: from the Raclette Brothers and Mac to the Future to La Fromagerie and The Cheese Truck.
Dream Talk. It’s like Dream Phone, but not at all. Artist Emma Alonze and musician Andy Becker have joined forces to collaborate on a (possibly prophetic) new sound art project. Londoners are invited to take a moment out of their daily commute, routine or journey and immerse themselves in a narrated collection of dreams. Taking three years worth of forty winks, Alonze has gathered and narrated a chosen few to be set to an ambient soundtrack by Becker.
Holy smoke, her nipples are on fire! Somebody pass the woman an extinguisher. Wait, why is she climbing into that giant margarita glass - does she not know it's highly flammable? She's going to need to be doused with a sizable portion of aloe vera gel at this rate, the poor lamb.
If there's anything the new moon today has told us, it's that it's time to be our true selves. That's what my horoscope told me today anyway. But what does that mean exactly? It means that if you want to eat honey loops for lunch, you 100% can. It means if you feel like learning how to make a bouquet instead of working on your tax forms, you 100% can. It also means if you want to learn how the deep throat (singing technique) you don't have to explain yourself. You're keeping it .
Our exclusive meeting with Eroc: the Beyonce of the skateboarding dog world. Eroc the french bulldog is making waves. With fans like Tony Hawk, BBC Radio and over 30k followers on Instagram (and counting), Eroc has also become something of an online sensation. His viral status comes and goes, randomly popping up on online social media channels every now and again to generate hundreds of thousands of views and clicks via the likes of Buzzfeed, Time Out and rogue iPhone filmers.
We all have our own ways of dealing with life when things get shitty. Having a big cry and getting it all out can be incredibly therapeutic, and even more so when we find ourselves repeating the same line over and over through the tears. “He’s a dick!” or “I’m not a bad person!” These little lines of reinforcement help us push through the crappy feeling. Sometimes we might even revert to a hearty little stamp on the floor / kick of some unsuspecting object. It feels surprisingly satisfying when the rage sets in and we feel helpless.
This Friday sees the release of Malian master musicians, Trio Da Kali’s new album Ladilikan. Fusing rich, expressive vocals with traditional instruments like the balafon and bass ngoni, this is a beautiful mix of ancient Mande culture and contemporary Malian sounds. Luckily for us North Londoners, we have the opportunity to see the trio play live in the rather fitting ethereal surrounds of Stoke Newington Church next month.
Walking along Monsell Road in Finsbury Park, we spy the charming exterior of a shop looking like something out of a children’s book circa 1932. Beneath a green and white striped awning, a whimsical new world of mini animals awaits. Once inside we stumble about the store in hushed awe, reaching over a book of minuscule carpet samples/ family of miniature otters to tap a tiny bell.
Whether you’re looking for something to entertain your kids, your friends’ kids or that particularly large man child in your life, you might just have lucked out. Snug are hosting an open air screening of The Incredibles next Saturday evening. There will be tasty sourdough pizzas from Sodo Pizza (Upper Clapton) and ultimate authentic curries from Rice n Spice, Northwold Road.
Coming soon to a Tufnell Park near you is a whole new vegetable patch of delights / wheat field to run vicariously through. It’s time to get excited for Ceremony: a brand new bar/restaurant serving modern British veggie cuisine. Although the website remains tantalisingly mysterious, you can glean more info from their well stocked insta.
Sound baths, pit parties, fake cheese and nipples, these are a few of our favourite things, said no one ever. Bored of drinking down the pub every evening? Unlikely, but bare with me. Sometimes you just want to let down your hair, shake it off and do something down right odd of an evening... followed by a pint at the pub.
It’s been a few months since the last instalment of Online vs Offline. I deleted Bumble, Happn and Tinder, flirted with the idea of match.com, went to a friend’s wedding, heard the vicar call my name instead of the Bride’s and reflected briefly on the crushing inevitability of my own spinsterhood before realising everyone was laughing in the pews and I should probably join them.
Gluten-free cake consumers, vegan cheese enthusiasts, craft beer connoisseurs, lovers of pies and drinkers of tea; your time is now. Buy food of a quality & variety you can’t easily find in the shops, from organic meat to vegan cheese, fish caught that morning to pickles which have been fermenting for months, at Stroud Green market.
Who’s up for free entry, free cake and free folk (except for a jaunty little hat that is passed around for donations)? Get down to The Finsbury this Wednesday eve for a little mid week hootenanny and celebrate some of the best in new live music from the ‘acoustic, singer-songwriter & indie-folk scene’. Host with the most, Zoe Konez (“Ridiculously talented, Konez handles her guitar like she was born with it” - For Folk's Sake) will be deftly introducing each act from gin soaked folk popster herself, Penniless Cove to German indie band, Kalon.
What if you could mix the joys of your local Sunday car boot and all it’s dog perving potential with your favourite vintage clothes shops and high end antique markets? Within the sparkling depths of Dalson’s former ABC cinema, you’ll find The Big London Flea: London’s largest indoor vintage market.