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The Year of The Monkey

February 16, 2016

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Photos by Ben Gibson.

Happy Chinese New Year!

Chinatown in London is a hub of activity. I’ve always been a bit curious about it since I was a kid, and it’s little home nestled on the edge of Soho makes it the perfect place for a weekday stroll, and a bit of people watching. The local restaurants and shops were preparing for Chinese New Year celebrations this Saturday just gone when Ben and I wandered down there last Thursday, and I loved witnessing the decorations be placed.

Coat – ASOS 

Skirt – Forever 21

Top – ASOS

Boots – Boohoo*

Necklace – Regal Rose

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This year is the year of the Monkey.

2016 on the Chinese calendar is a year of the Monkey, and it starts from February 8th to January 27th, 2017. The Monkey is number nine out of twelve animals in the recurring twelve year Chinese zodiac cycle. This means the year of the Monkey happens every twelve years, and weirdly, the Monkey years are all actually multiples of twelve, too.

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Chinese astrology means that each year is associated with a Chinese zodiac animal sign, and also one of the five elements. This year it’s a Fire year! Both the sign and the element of your birth year are said to affect your personality and destiny. To symbolise a bit of fire and also work with the warmth in the Chinese lanterns, I thought my new suede skirt from Forever 21 would be a perfect little ditty to wander the streets in.

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I just adore this skirt, and it was only £9!

Forever 21 is full of bargains and this skirt was a total steal full price at just £9. It featured in my Forever 21 haul on my main channel last week, and you can click here to see what else I got! I teamed it with my ASOS faux fur coat – that I bought because I wanted to look like Macklemore – and the result is quite warm colour-tone wise as well as actually toasty warm wise!

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There’s nothing better than being a tourist in your own city.

I never get tired of London. I might have left living in the centre for a happy home on the outskirt, but I’ve been visiting London since I was a little kid. My parents are keen adventurers and love travelling, which is definitely where I got my travel bug from! They used to take me and my sister into the city at the weekends, for museum wanders, walks and all manner of things. I got so familiar with the tube that as I got older and ventured in by myself as a teenager, I felt like I knew my way around the tube network confidently and easily. I’ll always thank them for that.

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I even bumped into some sweet readers and took a selfie.

I love meeting you guys IRL. I hope that doesn’t come across braggy, because it’s not. I don’t mean for it to be anyway. I love chatting to people and getting to find out what everyone’s up to, how their day is going and it’s nice to be a part of that. It’s always the utmost pleasure getting the chance to bump into any of you – so if you do spot me don’t honestly ever hesitate to say hi. I’m always down for conversation.

Pocky sticks are total bae.

If you’ve never tried Pocky sticks, pick them up! They come in so many different flavours and they’re genuinely really tasty. I love snacking on them. Being outside this window of the Chinese supermarket and seeing them tempting me did not help during this shoot…!

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Chinatown can be a bit of a beast to navigate if you’re after some good authentic Chinese food. Don’t get me wrong, it’s lovely, but not all the restaurants have sat well with tourists on visits. I’ve always eaten either at the Wong Kei – cheap, bit dated interior and staff can be a little…short, but good food for the price – or the Imperial China – bit pricier but nice food. No complaints here. I’ve heard great things about the duck on offer at Four Seasons but not got round to trying it myself just yet. Round the corner is Sichuan restaurant Bar Shu, also worth a visit.

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I often buy my green tea from Chinatown.

I find that in the supermarkets, you can pick up tasty green tea for cheap, and also in bulk. I often head into the shops to see what they’ve got and usually end up coming away with a box of green tea, and some Hello Panda biscuits!

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Anyway, I just adore this photoset.

I’d highly recommend a little people watch and walk down China Town, especially right now with all the gorgeous lanterns for new year. Happy New Year to anyone celebrating it, and if you’re not, why not mooch down into the area on your next London trip to explore for yourself.

All these photos were shot by Ben Gibson and I think they’re gorgeous. We shot three other photo sets, so there’s more to come. What do you think of this outfit? Let me know in the comments!

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