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Sponsored Post: Shillington College

words Laura Maw

28th July 2015

Are you interested in graphic design, always doodling lettering in your notebook or dreaming up new dust jacket designs for your favourite novel?

Shillington College offers a Graphic Design Course, either 3 months full time or 9 months part time, learning skills from Adobe InDesign to typography, colour and taking on advertising briefs. With campuses in London and Manchester, you can learn to code, work to briefs and learn digital graphics all while studying in an amazing city. They also offer a short Web Development and Design Course, which is 1 week full time, or 5 weeks part time, covering styling content, designing web layouts, coding and building your own website, allowing you to work confidently as a graphic designer in both print and digital.

There are no lecture halls at Shillington: they teach graphic design through demonstrations, presentations and group workshops, with two full time teachers per class. No experience is necessary – whether you’re changing career completely or have just finished sixth form, the only thing they request is creativity and a love of design. You can learn more about studying at Shillington by attending their Information Sessions, at 11am on Saturday 29th August on both the London and Manchester campuses – more information is available here.

Find out more about Shillington’s courses at


Recipe Friday: Bel-Air's Shaved Broccoli and Almond Salad

words Tamara Vos

23rd July 2015

For the fourth recipe of the month, Bel-Air eatery offer this: a shaved broccoli and almond salad. It's useful if you have a mandolin for this dish (although watch your fingers!), but don't worry if you don't - just be sure to slice the brocolli as thinly as possible, in order for the dressing to coat and flavour as much as possible. 

Shaved Broccoli and Almond Salad. 

You Will Need: 

For the salad: 

50g broccoli, sliced very thin
50g purple sprouting broccoli, sliced very thin

15g whole almonds, pulsed & toasted
15g dried cranberries
1/4 red onion, diced

For the dressing: 

34ml buttermilk
30g cottage cheese

1/2 tsp white wine vinegar
small pinch of brown sugar

Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Combine the dressing with all the salad ingredients and allow to stand for 2 hours before serving.

Photos by Louise Hagger

An Interview with Samantha Crain

words Linnea Enstrom

23rd July 2015

What is a modern folk song? The answer could be Killer, the first track on Samantha Crain’s new record Under Branch and Thorn and Tree. Interweaving stories the singer songwriter encountered in the camps of The Occupy Movement, the song carries a political message balancing wearily on an irregular drum beat. How do you deal with war, poverty and ecological meltdown? The road is steep, but Samantha climbs her highest pitch when she calls out “Keep marching!”

With her fourth album, the Oklahoma native wants to reconnect folk music and its political roots with the lives of ordinary people. Songs like Outside the Pale, Kathleen and Killer deals with class, feminism and racial oppression through the everyday stories of complex female characters. By way of empathy, understanding and intricate guitar-led melodies, social injustice is poetically brought to light.

While briefly in London, Samantha meets me for coffee on Hampstead Heath. Surrounded by trees and screaming children, her guitar case resting heavily against the wall instead of her back, we chat about the 99 percent, equality and channelling political frustrations through music.

What did music mean to you when you were growing up?

My dad had a big record collection and played guitar and my grandmother played boogie woogie piano. It was always around and I loved it. I was a loner, and still am in a lot of ways, and music played a big part in my alone time, trying to figure out how to interact with other people and understanding how they felt. I didn’t start playing music until I was 17, so I had a lot of time before that to soak it up. It was a big part of my life as I think it is for most.

What role did writing play?

I used to write poems and short stories from the time I was six or seven years old. In school they once gave us an assignment to write journal entries and I loved it so much that I was doing it on my own. I grew up in a small and boring town. It was very flat and rural and everyone had the same upbringing and ideas. Writing was my way of thinking about the world outside of where I was. I did that until I started writing songs. I found it much more effective to tell a story in three minutes.

How did Under Branch and Thorn and Tree become a political album?

The catalyst for the whole album and its themes was the first song I wrote, Elk City. It’s the story of a single, working class mother and how she has all the odds against her. You can’t completely feel sorry for her because she drinks a lot, but at the same time she has been abandoned and mistreated. It’s a multidimensional look at a woman, which I think is rare in music. Women are either manically happy or depressingly sad and that’s the whole extent of their emotional content, so I felt I had a real opportunity to take that idea and paint women as multidimensional people. To attack sexism you have to change the whole framework for how people think and one way to do that is to start injecting women as whole, equal people in music, movies and TV. Then I wrote Killer, inspired by the Occupy movement…

Were you part of Occupy?

I was actually on tour at the time and I was going from city to city and every time we went to a new city, we would go down to the Occupy park and hang out and talk to people and get an idea of why they were there. I was hearing different stories and most of the people I ended up talking to were women. Killer is universal and doesn’t use a lot of pronoun and could represent anybody involved in the movement or who agrees with it, but in my mind it’s from the perspective of a woman.

Are you intentionally using everyday stories to reach out to more people?

The idea behind the album was to give a voice to people who usually don’t get to share their stories. The majority of those people are everyday working people who don’t have time to sit down and write a song, poem or book because they are working and trying to feed their families. With Elk City and Outside the Pale, I got a glimpse of such stories and felt that it was my responsibility to write it down to get their voices out. And it’s my life too. I wait tables to pay the bills when I go home. I grew up working class, my parents are working class and my friends are all paycheck to paycheck. It’s what I know.

Outside the Pale challenges racism, class and white privilege. How did it come about?

The phrase “outside the pale” or “beyond the pale” originally referred to a fence post and everybody who resided outside of that was considered unclean and immoral. It was basically a poverty line. Bringing that into modern day, it’s ironic how it translates. I find it really interesting how this small group of elite, rich, mainly white men can control what’s moral, right or correct for this giant group of the rest of the world who I feel are more passionate, giving and capable. Outside the Pale is the story of all those people in late night bars talking about The Man and not understanding how this Republic we were supposedly given to elect our own officials and govern ourselves turned into an oligarchy. The song is about those frustrations. It doesn’t deal a whole lot with the answers, because that’s something I and others are still trying to figure out. Sometimes it’s good just to get people on your side and involved in a conversation for a common interest.

What role do you think music plays in politics nowadays?

I think it’s making a comeback, especially in hip hop, but there was a long time when it wasn’t an issue at all. With this album I tried to paint pictures of lives affected by social injustice, because empathy is how people tend to change their minds or get involved. Rock, pop and folk are to a larger extent fed to a middle class population and it’s important to include politics in those types of music, because those are the audiences that have to become more aware of the situation. When music and art removes itself from people’s issues, it just becomes boring and bland... The humanity of music and art pops up when you get to the heart of people.

Samantha Crain’s album Under Branch and Thorn and Tree is out now.

Photos by Mafalda Silva.

Recipe Friday: Bel-Air's Vietnamese Crab Cakes

words Tamara Vos

17th July 2015

The days have been hot and muggy here in London. By the time I arrive home in the evening, sweaty and bedraggled, my stomach is screaming for something refreshing, tangy and light. 

This week's Recipe Friday from Bel-Air eatery is for Vietnamese crab cakes. They're very simple to throw together and will reward you with their freshness and taste. The accompanying salad - part of which has been pickled - works wonders too. Once pickled, the carrot and daikon last for days; you'll be whipping it out for every meal. 

Vietnamese Crab Cakes 

You Will Need: 

80g white crab meat
80g brown crab meat
115g sweet potato, peeled and finely grated

15g Panko bread crumbs, plus extra for rolling
15g spring onions, thinly sliced
1 egg yolk
1 small clove of garlic
A small pinch of dried chilli
7g Ginger

1/8 tsp fish sauce
1/2 lime, juiced & zested
groundnut oil for frying

One. Blitz the garlic, chilli, lime zest & ginger and add to the crabmeat.

Two. Add the sweet potato, spring onions, eggs and breadcrumbs until the mix is thick but doesn’t feel too wet.

Three. Add the fish sauce and adjust to taste. Allow to sit for 1 hour before portioning into 80g patties.

Four. Roll in panko breadcrumbs, then shallow fry until golden, or bake in a hot oven.

Five. Serve with a salad of shaved fennel, pak choi, thinly sliced spring onions, and picked carrot and daikon (a recipe for which you can find below). 

Pickled Daikon & Carrot

260g carrots, peeled
480g daikon, peeled

400ml rice wine vinegar
260ml  water
160g unrefined caster sugar/ agave
8g ginger
1 segment of star anise
5 coriander seeds

One. Thinly shave the carrots and daikon and salt for 1 hour in a colander. Rinse and spin dry. Place the shaved vegetables into sterilized containers.

Two. Bring the water, sugar and spices slowly to a gentle simmer. Take off the heat when the sugar has dissolved and add the vinegar. Leave to cool completely.

Three. Once cool, pour the pickling liquor over the shaved vegetables and refrigerate for at least one day before serving.

 Photos by Louise Hagger

Oh Comely's Paper Craft Workshops at Wilderness Festival

words Laura Maw

15th July 2015

This August, the Oh Comely team are taking a trip to Wilderness Festival, Oxfordshire, for something very exciting: we’re joining up with talented paper artist Lydia Shirreff to host paper craft workshops!

We think the Wilderness line-up is looking pretty incredible this year. It's the only place you'll see Björk in the UK this summer and there's music by Ben Howard, Roisin Murphy and many others. All that in addition to delicious food stalls; theatre performances of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland; talks on how to write a novel and workshops covering everything from willow weaving to jewellery making. Oh, and paper crafts by yours truly! Which takes us back to Lydia Shirreff, our expert paper crafter and workshop leader. 

Lydia Shirreff makes paper sculptures for set designs and editorials, having made beautiful paper designs for Vogue, Lush and many others. For our Wilderness workshop, she'll take you through the steps of making a festival headdress or some gorgeous bunting. You can work from her set designs or fashion your own.

Oh Comely's paper workshops are running on the following days: 
Saturday 8th, August: 1:30pm - 2:30pm and 3pm - 4pm
Sunday 9th, August: 1:30pm - 2:30pm

Come say hello and get creative with us! Tickets are £12 and available here.

What Makes You Feel Good In Your Skin?

words Laura Maw

15th July 2015

What makes you feel good in your skin?

Living in the middle of nowhere (with one very unreliable bus) in Dorset meant that I often walked long distances along main roads and through forests just to reach the nearest town. Walking changed the way I saw my body: it became something practical and strong, rather than something aesthetic. Very little makes me feel healthier or better about myself than a good, long walk along the beach on a winter’s day.

For our next body-themed issue, we’re looking for short pieces (around 2 or 3 sentences) on what makes you feel good about your body. This could be anything: hiking mountains; decorating your skin with tattoos; dancing in a club or cooking and eating a delicious lasagne for dinner.

Send in stories of what makes you feel good in your skin, in 2 or 3 sentences, to by the 27th July, and we’ll print our favourites in the upcoming Body issue.

Photo by Chris Ford.

Oh Comely's Body Issue: A Casting Call

words Liz Seabrook

14th July 2015

The theme for Oh Comely's September issue is the body, and it’s for everybody: you, me, all of us! And what better way to celebrate than to involve our readers in a portrait shoot by our lifestyle editor, Liz Seabrook.

For a chance to be photographed, all you need to do is to send a little about yourself--what you do, what you like, who your heroes are--and a recent photo to with the subject headline 'casting call'.

The shoot will be taking place in Herne Hill, south London, on Saturday 1st of August. We can’t wait to meet you.Photo: Hannah Murray, by Liz Seabrook, July 2014.

Recipe Friday: Bel-Air's Raw Root Salad

words Tamara Vos

10th July 2015

Whilst the summer months have the most incredible range of colourful ingredients to offer, it's easy to lose your appetite or to know what to eat as temperatures soar.

This recipe from Bel-Air for Raw Root Salad is healthy, summery, and best of all refreshing; it's the perfect lunch or supper accompaniment to see you through the heat. 

Raw Root Salad

You Will Need: 

50g red beetroot, shaved
50g gold beetroot, shaved
50g choggia beetroot, shaved
50g orange carrots, shaved
50g yellow carrots, shaved
50g black carrots, shaved
30g breakfast radishes, sliced
50g banana shallots, sliced
50g red cabbage, shaved
50g red apples, sliced
65ml apple cider vinegar
20ml lemon juice
1 small handful of coriander, chopped
1 small handful mint, chopped

If serving straight away, ombine all the ingredients and mix together well. If preparing ahead, mix together everything but keep the beetroots separate in a different bowl, and add together twenty minutes before serving.

Photos: Louise Hagger