Since returning from a two month adventure around South America, I have gained a new level of awareness regarding the “clean eating” trend currently sweeping the western world. This is probably because I was forced to eat, well, “dirtily” for much of my time in Brazil and Bolivia (Peru, this does not include you, you were fantastic, and I promise I will call you again sometime). Unfortunately the effects of this substandard diet did not go unnoticed; lingering spots, lethargy and a general sensation of feeling “not quite a hundred percent” were some of the physical ailments I suffered between meals of fried chicken, pastries, chips, tinned frankfurters and rather suspicious looking grey meat…

This urged me to begin a regime of healthy eating as soon as I got home, and I started trawling online blogs to find recipes for healthy smoothies and what not (yes yes health wanker, I know, go on, hit me) which was when I noticed how popular ‘#cleaneating’ really was. From Facebook to Instagram, magazine supplements to billboards, the message to “eat clean” is an almost urgent one. With numerous blogs dedicated to the cause, not to mention the vast array of disciples behind them, it seems that 2014’s new dietary trend may be here to stay.

While I openly approve of this trend, and indulge in regular Instagram hashtag trawls (#greenjuice, #healthysmoothies, #goodbyeforeverstreetcred) I have certain niggling issues with the whole shebang. Primarily, it seems that there is a worrying correlation between “eating clean” and “being thin”, two phrases which are pretty much interchangeable when it comes to much of the population, especially females. Instagram accounts too often feature a withered, bony looking claw, clutching a jar of green liquid, or stick legs sprawled out on a sun lounger with a bowl of salad balanced precariously between the thigh gap. Underneath said images sits a variety of hashtags promoting “healthy living”. In an age which already glamourises the skeleton, young people really do not need the added pressure of being told to eat in a certain way – especially not when our media culture continues to pump out the unrelenting message that we have to look a certain way, too.

Depressingly, it seems that “clean eating” is well on its way to joining the ranks of the acitivist vegans and the radical church when it comes to conversion tactics. Under the rather misguided presumption that eating healthily will change your life for the better, “cleaneating” hashtags are often found beneath photographs of lean, lithe, tanned, YOUNG bodies in order to better promote their regime. This, to me, gives the whole thing a vague air of elitism; the idea that if one creates meals from raw ingredients and religiously steams their vegetables, while documenting the whole process via social media, they are far superior to the person beside them in the supermarket, agonising over which plastic-packaged ready meal they should select for their dinner tonight (yes, the latter has been me. Yet I find this sad fact easier to accept than if I had fallen into the first category.)

However, as a young person hailing from a country famous for battered delicacies, and an unsurprising yet shocking obesity rate of 26.1%, it doesn’t take a genius to see that clean eating could have an extremely positive effect on nations like ours, whose lives in the fast lane mean being the first customers at McDonalds drive-thru. Yet equally as important is to avoid living a life overshadowed by the dos and don’ts of eating that are so readily distributed to the public – first by our government and now, apparently, by the western population. So people, don’t lose sight of the fact that as long as your diet comprises of some vaguely nutritious factors, a slice of cake won’t bloody kill you (otherwise I’d be long dead) and even if all you ate was burgers, well, it’s your life so do what you bloody well want with it. I for one shall be attempting to lead a harmonious dietary existence, where cake can be eaten peacefully with an accompanying pint of green juice and we can all just shut up about it.

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Despite the exterior facade of health I feebly attempt to maintain, everybody knows I am obsessed with cake, in all shapes and forms. I am also obsessed with retro fashion and have a certain penchant for ‘kitsch’. My sister says this means I’m just far too interested in crap, which may partially be true, but in the case of new cafe on the block Kitschnbake (you see where they’re going with this…), it most certainly isn’t.

Perched on the banks of the River Tay, sandwiched between the local pub and a block of flats, the enticing waft of baking emanating from the kitchen is enough to make your mouth water before you’ve even crossed the threshold. Inside, owner Mary-Jane has decked the place out with an eclectic mix of refurbished furniture, colourful handmade lampshades and an oak serving counter (upon admiring it, I am informed it has been sourced from eBay. My kind of lady.) Collections of vintage teapots and mismatched cups and saucers sit haphazardly in vintage cabinets adorned with fairy lights, while stacks of various flavoured jams sit tall, arranged in an old bookcase by the wall. This avant-garde café has managed to mesh modern with old school, and the result is cracking.

Officially opened in November, owner Mary-Jane is a person whose passion for Kitsch matches her flair for baking, which of course is how the very concept of Kitschnbake was born. Entirely self-taught, her obvious talent and creativity is shown through both the interior of the café and, of course, the delicious array of cakes that I can no longer pretend this review isn’t about.

From Peach Melba to Victoria Sponge, mint chocolate brownies to marshmallow cheesecake, tImagehere is a myriad of sweet treats to satisfy all intensities of sugar cravings. In other words; if you want it, Kitschnbake has well and truly got it.

As a lady with a notoriously sweet tooth, my delight at the opening of this local business is beyond words. My waistline may have something to say about it, but the ckerb gives Kitschnbake full points and bonus ones for the place’s amaze deck-out. A truly fabulous addition to Newport-on-Tay.

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I always try to retain as much as interest as possible in local happenings around my area (the hub of excitement that is North-east Fife) and I’d like to kick start this blog by posting a little piece about my friend Dot Sim, who also just happens to be a fantastic jeweller whose pieces have accessorised many an outfit of mine. View Post

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As a great believer in the “ain’t no school like the old school” religion, (although not, I hasten to add, to the point of donning open toed shoes and floating around Camden Market plugged into a dusty walkman), I am a big fan of the “vintage to vogue” comeback that has been gaining a steady momentum for the past decade or so. To the extent that I often find myself reflecting nostalgically on bygone eras. The roaring ’40s and wartime glamour, the swinging London sixties and (well of course), Madonna in the ’80s, nonchalantly munching her way through several bags of Cheetos as she walks through the scenes of Desperately Seeking Susan. I basically long for every decade except those that I have physically existed in (soz ’90s. Make it up to ya, noughties.) And I don’t think that I am alone.

Living in an age of rapid technological modernisation and forward-thinking in areas ranging from iPhone number X to bionic limbs, I can’t help but notice the apparent equal growth of interest in all things old. The market for vintage cool has soared in the past decade, from high street additions of antique shops, fairs and ‘boutiques’ to people who actually organise ‘vintage’ parties, comprising of adults of the noughties sitting around clutching cigarette holders, fingering necks draped with pearls with painted red ‘O”s for mouths, in an attempt to recapture the glamour and mystique of the ’20s, ’30s, ’40s and ’50s that has sadly but inevitably demised in a society rapt with technological obsession.

We all have that one large, dusty and almost intimidatingly old photograph album in our house. The one that’s been pored over countless times but which still, on every opening, brings with it the same feeling of thrill. A photographic tardis, the album uncovers to a Facebook-infected age a more coveted time. A time when one’s single wedding photo would often be the only visual stimulus of an entire decade. When photographs were captured because of something, rather than just because.

For some reason things tend to look more appealing when a ‘vintage’ filter is applied. Is this because we, as a generation brought up surrounded by technology, actually ache for a simpler time? It appears that while technology has given a lot to the world (information at our fingertips. And eBay) it has, is, and will continue to destroy the very beauty of the object, and everything attached to it. Cobwebs and all.

It seems, therefore, that the only possible way of combating the sickness that I shall term Phantom Nostalgia, is to embrace the new. It ain’t all bad, and while Tinder as a dating app is largely less romantic than perhaps meeting a stranger on a misty train platform, and old soup stains and splashes on an iPad recipe book would mean a swift trip to the Genius Bar, there are many good things about the modern world – never-ending bubble wrap has been created in Tokyo (zomg, though) and Norway has brought us the invisible bike helmet (still not convinced).

We must not forget however, that the only true reason we can fully appreciate the vintage movement is because we can admire it  from a vantage point – the future. So while we hoard those secret desires to be the object of an iconic ‘summer of ’69’ photograph, we can at least play make-believe with the ‘Valencia’ Instagram filter (a poor substitute, I grant). However it allows us to fall back into the comforting arms of our smartphones while we’re at it. Because let’s be honest, none of us could live without our techno bits and bobs, no matter how cool our granny’s photo album looks, and as my very own grandma Jean would say, “ye cannae have it all”.

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