Images: Joseph Geldman, Zahra Grieve, Ellee Su
A big hello from the new Lifestyle Team at The Oxford Blue! We’re working on some really exciting things to keep you interested throughout the Long Vacation and Michaelmas! Before any of that, though, allow us to introduce ourselves with our take on GQ‘s Things We Can’t Live Without. We’ve each limited ourselves to six items which reveal our personalities, explain some of our quirks, and reveal just how bad our collective eyesight really is:
Joe – Senior Lifestyle Editor
Despite some debate, I do actually need my glasses (my long distance vision is a bit terrible), but I also probably wear them more than I should – because I like how they look. These are from will.i.am’s collection with Specsavers, making them probably the greatest thing he’s made in collaboration since his bizarre 2011 single “T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever)”, with Mick Jagger and Jennifer Lopez.
My friend once said that I was a “secret intellectual masquerading as a fake intellectual,” which I think was a compliment. For channelling these vibes, cord is pretty much perfect. They’re a bit like wearing pyjamas all the time but a *teeny* bit more presentable in public. I have a few pairs, but my favourites are these, which feature pleats (and hence gigantic pockets) and this quirky asymmetrical waistband.
Leuchturm 1917 pen
My brother bought this for me last Christmas, because I am one of those people with a strange obsession with fancy pens. The Leuchturm is a very chunky, octagonal pen which sits heavily in the hand. This makes it good for scribbling notes but somewhat less good for spinning. It comes in a range of colours but my favourite is this extremely self-important red.
At some point I will probably end up buying Airpods like the rest of the world, but I really like wearing big, chunky wireless headphones as an accessory. I think there’s something pretty cool about vibing unashamedly in public.
My nanna was always telling me about the importance of looking after my skin – advice which I didn’t appreciate until very recently. Lots of green tea and moisturiser seems to be the secret. I go through a lot of different types of tea, both black and green, but my favourite right now is this Japanese Sencha from T2 which has a hint of toasted rice.
Unfortunately I am not blessed with green fingers and have a worrying tendency to kill all my plants. I previously almost murdered a cactus, which marked a new low. Which is why these fake ones from IKEA are so helpful.
Zahra – Fashion and Style Editor
I never leave the house without my water bottle. I’ve had it for four years now and it’s got the evidence to show for it! With three separate dents in the lid and numerous scratches on the side, this bottle has been well-loved. Good for you and good for the environment.
To say my sense of geography is appalling is an understatement. In my first year I asked a friend about her recent trip to Lisbon – in Spain. For those with equal directional ineptitude, Lisbon is actually in Portugal. I couldn’t get anywhere fast without the Maps app on my phone. Safe to say that I’m not a fan of GeoGuesser.
These make my life a lot easier. As someone who is *incredibly* short-sighted, contacts make wearing make-up a much smoother process. They’re also more rain-proof than my glasses, which you can normally catch me wearing in times of stress or sickness.
Terry’s Chocolate Orange
If you’re not eating this in one sitting then you’re doing it wrong. Basically one of your five-a-day. I’m yet to find a kind of chocolate that I don’t like, but this is my absolute favourite.
Competing with the likes of Dawson’s Creek, One Tree Hill and Veronica Mars, this is the best show to come out of the noughties (trust me). Witty, feminist and feel good, Gilmore Girls is timeless. There are seven seasons and a 2016 revival to binge-watch making it the perfect show for self-isolation (trust me).
Drunk Elephant TLC Sukuri Baby Facial
The newest addition to my weekly beauty regime, this has quickly become a firm favourite. The best thing to come out of Brexit, it launched in the UK only in January. This 25% AHA / 2% BHA blend puts The Ordinary’s AHA 30% + BHA 2% Peeling Solution to shame. Not for the fainthearted.
Ellee – Relationships Editor
This one had to be first because, without my bed, I would not be able to enjoy my other essentials. Perhaps to a weirdly strong extent, I look forward to getting into bed and falling asleep at the end of the day (at some absurd time or other) because it’s a perfect ending. I either had a great day and so can replenish my energy through sleep, or my bed will provide a soft and welcome escape from a bad one, allowing me to start anew when I wake up. It’s a win-win!
I often get the urge to play, and funnily, it often happens when I have other, more pressing matters to attend to: useful procrastination, anyone? But seriously, playing the guitar is a massive stress-reliever, as my focus is shifted elsewhere and my creativity is given free rein. The elation and sense of achievement you feel once you master that song you’ve been learning is unlike anything else.
Unsurprisingly, music is one of my essentials. There is music to suit every single situation you could imagine: lo-fi for studying, Doja Cat for a confidence boost, Debussy for a misty winter morning whilst you sip coffee in a warm cardigan when you want to feel as serene and sophisticated as humanly possible, et cetera, et cetera. I’m not sure that the last one is completely generalisable, but please do give it a try and let me know if you enjoy the experience as much as I do.
Life would be even more hectic without it; anything that is scheduled will be, mark my words, marked on that thing. Whether it’s an important event or a phone call with a beloved friend, it is on the calendar, because I will inevitably forget it otherwise. Covid has, paradoxically, led to more chances of socialising and catching up with friends as it all had to be virtual, so the calendar allows me (to remember) to Zoom as many lovely faces as I can.
I feel a bit incomplete if I walk out of the door without at least two rings on. They just add a je ne sais quoi to outfits, you know? I could be wearing the most drab clothes I own, but my rings provide some sort of magical and immediate spike in confidence. Some worthy mentions in my collection of circular bands include my college marriage ring, and a replica of Anne Lister’s onyx ring.
My favourite beverage. Fruit juice, that is. Apple and mango; orange, passionfruit and mango; tropical fruit; any amalgamation will probably be pleasing to my taste buds. I will drink the concentrated, no-bits stuff, but nothing beats the partially thick and freshly blended kind. Some people think it’s a bit weird, which means all the more for me, but why wouldn’t you want something that simultaneously contributes to your 5-a-day whilst tasting great? It’s beyond me.
That’s all for now, but stay tuned for the second part of this article, coming next week and featuring Riana, Gloria, Fariha and Amelie!
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