Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Feeling Festive

It’s ALWAYS Christmas as The Portmanteau loves to say and yes, it does seem to come around quicker each year. Instead of freaking out about how little we’ve achieved this year, let's just keep downing the mulled wine and embrace it. Highlights of the season for me thus far have been the release of Mariah Carey’s second Christmas album. Her first, Merry Christmas, was definitely album of the year for me back in 1994. Part deux features an “extra-festive” remix of “All I Want For Christmas Is You” - basically the same song with some pointless jingle bells added at the start. Not much of a surprise there. As anyone who has seen her amazing Crib on MTV can attest, our dear Mimi loves to describe everything in her universe, from her “ensembles” to her Moroccan room, as “festive”.

My recommendation for some genuine festive cheer this season is a visit to Columbia Road Wednesdays where over forty independent shops will be opening for late-night shopping on Wednesday evenings right up until the big day. There’s mulled wine, carol singers and all the shops are decked out in lights. One visit is guaranteed to get you in the festive spirit. Mimi would be in heaven. NOK

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Get Access To Easy PayDay Loans

What are payday loans? Well, pay day loans can be defined as loans that are provided to employed people or working adults who may need a short term loan or cash advance. This loan will be extended to them upon application and they will get to use the money in any way they prefer. However, the loan is expected to be repaid at the borrower's next payday and hence the name of the loan.

These kinds of loans have advantages over other types of loans for various reasons. For example, these payday loans are processed very fast and an applicant may receive the money they applied for within a brief time period. This is in complete contrast to the kind of loans provided by other financial institutions such as banks and many others. Banks are normally limited by their own internal laws and government statues on how they can lend and who they can lend to. However, regular cash lenders are not limited and can be flexible in order to accommodate their wide variety of customers.

In order to apply for a payday loan, an applicant will need to qualify. However, qualifying for these easy loans is very easy. Most applicants do qualify for the loans as the requirements are very simple. Ideally an applicant needs to have a job or be employed. Any person earning a regular salary or wage is qualified to seek the loan and can apply. However, on top of the job, a borrower needs to have a form of identity such as a passport, a valid and functional bank account and be at least over the age of 18. This is because no agreement is deemed valid if it is signed by a person below the age of 18 years. The bank account is necessary as it will be the medium for receiving the money and making the repayments.

Other advantages of the payday loans include the fact that these loans do not need any collateral or any form of security. This is correct and is huge relief for many borrowers. Many regular lenders including tradition institutions such as bank would normally require borrowers with a form of security such as a car title, a land title or some form of asset such as a home.

This is not the case and people can apply for the loan even if they have no form of collateral. The salary or wages the applicants earn will act as their security. Also, there are no credit checks conducted on applicants. This means that applicants with all sorts of credit history, including those with a negative credit history will be able to qualify and get access to the cash loans. No background checks also mean people with a colorful past or any kind of past can also qualify for the loan. Such waivers are very attractive to consumers and make the loans very accessible.

In order to submit an application, a borrower needs to use a computer with an internet connection. This means there is no need to visit the lender's premises and fill in forms or submit documents. The entire process can easily be accomplished online at the lender's website. Here, the applicant will search for the loan application form and then fill this before submitting. If the form is correctly filled and submitted with all the necessary information required, then the loan application will be processed within a very short time and the money disbursed to the borrower within a short period of time; usually in less than 24 hours.

The money will be deposited into the borrower's bank account from where it can easily be accessed via the ATM or at the bank. Once the money is received, it can be spent in any way the borrower wishes. The borrower will then be expected to repay the loan within the specified period of time, usually one month or at the next payday. This loan is quite attractive as it can be discreetly applied for from the borrower's own home or within the privacy of their own offices. This sort of discretion is highly welcome so that the loan remains a private affair between the borrower and the lender.

Wednesday, December 17, 2010

Things To Know About PPI

There are a lot of things people should know about Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) and this article will cover many of the things relating to it. Read on to find out a lot of useful information about PPI.

What Is It
Payment Protection Insurance is known as PPI but it is also known by a few other names such as loan repayment, credit and credit protection insurance. It basically protects people in the event that they cannot pay a loan back. Many events and situations are covered under it. Continue to read to find out what the pros and cons are of purchasing this.

The Pros
As mentioned above PPI can be useful for many reasons. A person will be covered if the person who borrowed the money dies or if they become very ill to the point where they are unable to make payments on the loan. They will also be covered in the event of losing their job. Being covered due to many circumstances is the biggest benefit of having this product. Life is uncertain and anything can go wrong at any given time and this type of protection can give people peace of mind in the unfortunate event that some goes wrong.

This type of insurance can also help people get out of debt because they will not have the stress of having to make payments on a loan, once their claim is approved.

Getting approved for an insurance plan is easy and the entire application process is also easy. It is also rather quick to get a decision when a person applies for a protection plan.

The Cons
Even though there are a lot of pros of this type of protection product, there are quite a few cons. One of those cons is that a protection plan can easily be mis-sold to people. There have been many people who ended up paying more money for protection.

As mentioned above overpaying for protection can happen and it happens often but the amount of money one will pay for this type of insurance can greatly vary because the lender will decide how much it will cost. The price it will cost will vary from one lender to the next lender.

Some lenders will also want the money for the insurance on a monthly basis and these payments can be high. Some lenders will want the entire premium upfront when a person gets approved for the loan that they applied for. The upfront payment can end up being very high. Sometimes a person can end up paying up to 50% of the loan amount.

Making a claim is easy to do but having the claim approved can often prove to be difficult. There have been many cases where a person has tired to make a claim but the insurance company ends up rejecting their claim. Also if a claim is approved it can take a long time for it to happen.

If a person already has a pre-existing medical condition or illness, then the policy will not cover the illness or medical condition.

When it comes to financial products a PPI reclaim is the product that is most complained about, due to the reasons mentioned above.

Who Can Get A Protection Plan?
Not everybody can get protection, as there are age limits. Most lenders will want their customers to be between the age of 18 and 65 in order to be able to get payment protection. Not only will most lenders want their customers to be between the ages of eighteen and sixty-five but they will also want to make sure that the customers are also working at least 16 hours a week.

What To Do If A Person Has Been Mis-Sold PPI
If a person has been mis-sold a plan, then they may be able to reclaim some of the money back, maybe even all of the money back. However, a person should not attempt to try to reclaim the money back on their own. There are many companies out there that can assist a person in making a claim. These companies work quickly and efficiently to get money back for people who contact them.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

It's a Boy Girl Thing

After aeons away from the blogosphere while I lived in the office planning this , I finally made my first tentative steps back onto Planet Fashion at the opening of concept store LN-CC housed in a former boxing gym on Shacklewell Lane. It's filled with things that I would probably never buy and definitely could never afford but the industrial interior dreamed up by set designer Gary Card is worth checking out as is the selection of books curated by book dealer Conor Donlon. All super groovy so The Portmanteau promptly headed to Nando's next door to take it all in. The strongest idea behind the project is how they mix menswear and womenswear. The whole concept is based on menswear but has been altered to work for girls too. JW Anderson is stocked at LN-CC and his boy/girl thing was one of my highlights of LFW, all those months ago. Overall, the 70s desert island tropicalia mood of the shows didnt grab me but J-Dubs did good with the select pieces from his womenswear collection that he mixed in at his menswear presentation. It didn't exactly hurt that the show also had the best soundtrack of the season – my song of the year, Arcade Fire’s "Sprawl II", followed by one of my all time classics, Pulp's "Do You Remember the First Time?". My favourite look was this layered, gawky schoolgirl OF that echoed Prada’s autumn/winter collection. Typical that my highlight of the spring collections is a woolly jumper and skirt combo –never been the biggest fan of summer clothes. Give me wool and layers every time. NOK

Pics:LN-CC; JW Anderson SS11; Prada in Pop AW10

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Retail Therapy

I don't have time to write a lengthy post, concerned as I am with chasing up leads and attending council meetings - it's all part of being a student reporter on a news website, don't you know. But I have two blogs I would like to share with you.

Both are concerned with one of my favourite aspects of London life - the independent shop. Coming from Ireland, with its countless Spars and Centras, it was a joy to come across the little independent stores that make up London's retail landscape. I remember being agog at the sight of fruit in bowls and night shops that sell alcohol all night long (in Ireland it is illegal for shops to sell alcohol after 10pm!) when I first moved here 18 months ago. My Portmanteau other half and I would spend hours in our local grocers when we lived in Holland Park, intrigued by the dusty ornaments and delighted by the out-of-date Immac depilatory cream.
does what it says on the tin - photograph London shop fronts, duh - but the results are often beautiful, and always representative of the vast array of shops that populate the city.

Photographs: Emily Webber for London Shop Fronts

is a blog that accompanies an exhibition currently on at Chats Palace, the Hackney-based art centre. Photographer Colin O'Brien and travel writer Jane Egginton have captured Clapton shopkeepers in their natural habitat - the shops, cafes, mechanics suppliers and launderettes that operate on Chatsworth Road in Hackney. The street's landscape is changing and gentrification may be afoot (read an article I wrote on the subject here) but this exhibition manages - through arresting images and engaging text - to capture the various businesspeople that make a living on this diverse street in 2010.

Photographs: Colin O'Brien for ChatsE5/Last of the Real High Streets

Lynn Enright

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Trailer Alert

As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, we love a good trailer here at The Portmanteau. I watched the Bounty Hunter trailer around 50 times, squealing with delight as Gerard Butler mangled vowel sounds in a bid to sound American and Jennifer Aniston tried to endear us by pulling I’m-tough-yet-funny-yet-sexy-yet-not-desperate faces. Well now there’s another classic on YouTube. The trailer for upcoming “romantic comedy” No Strings Attached has recently become available for viewing. And laughing at (in a mean way). So yes Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher play really good-looking friends who have sex with each other but are not going out. You know, it’s that oft-talked about (in 90s TV programmes) concept: the “fuck buddy”. Blah, aren’t we over talking about this? Well, apparently not because the trailer asks “Can you have sex without love getting in the way?” Well yes, obviously, but probably not with somebody you really like over a prolonged time. Duh. And why would love be “getting in the way”? Pretty much everybody likes falling in love, even really attractive, busy people like those portrayed by Natlaie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. It’s disappointing to see Greta Gerwig is involved with this project because she was in the excellent Greenberg, a film that sort of looks at the same concept (well hooking up and complicated relationships) but in an original and funny way. I suppose I can sort of see why she and Natalie Portman would do it (Ashton K would obviously do anything – he was in Valentine’s Day): they want to be in a mainstream funny film that examines the complexities of relationships. And those are films that I love watching too. The only problem is that there hasn’t been a Hollywood movie that’s done that since When Harry Met Sally in 1989. And I should know. This year alone, I’ve sat through The Rebound, Leap Year, SATC 2 and Valentine’s Day in a quest to find a good rom-com. To no avail. Obvs.

Luckily for Natalie Portman, she also has another film out early next year and this one looks really good – Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan with costumes designed by Rodarte, and a supporting role from Mila Kunis. Oh, and in a trailer twist, Mila Kunis stars alongside Justin Timberlake in the upcoming Friends With Benefits, which is basically the same movie as No Strings Attached. Except for it looks funnier. Watch the trailer here. And just to hammer home the point that this is not an original concept, I would like to point out that there is another film trailer called Friends With Benefits on YouTube. And, yes, it is about friends who have sex with each other but aren't in love. Get it together, Hollywood.

Natalie Portman in Black Swan

Lynn Enright

Friday, October 22, 2010

The News

There has been a three-week break in blogging because I have started studying for a masters and my other The Portmanteau half has been busy with the day job. Never mind that we’ve been spotted in the pub, squeezed in trips to Dublin and managed to keep abreast of what was going down on The X Factor – we’ve been really busy, OK?

As part of my MA in journalism, I’ve been studying what news actually is and it seems that I may have been getting it wrong when I wrote about stuff like Rachel Zoe saying ‘literally’ all the time. Yeah, apparently that doesn’t actually constitute as news. Hmm. Well, anyway, I have other news I want to share with you now. Yeah okay not proper news but The Portmanteau-style news.

First up: Christa D’Souza has the same taste in men as me. Yeah, she wrote an article in this month’s Vogue on the subject of lust and mentioned her top three lust objects: “At the top of my list, in descending order, are the actor Michael Fassbender (see the sex scenes in Fish Tank), Nicholas ‘Skins’ Hoult and John Terry.”

I mean has she been reading The Portmanteau? Or my mind? OK so yeah MF is quite straightforwardly hot but admitting to fancying him in Fish Tank – well we thought we were the only ones when we wrote about that a year ago. And John Terry. I thought nobody fancied John Terry. Whenever I mention my crush on John Terry, people look at me with disdain. Well now I know that I’m not alone. As I’ve said before, he is quite simply, incredibly handsome. And Nicholas Hoult – yeah that’s very understandable. He’s got a lovely smile and always seems like a nice guy when I spy on him at parties.

For me this article just reinforces the point that Christa and I should be BFFs. And it seems like it struck a chord with more than just me as an extract was printed in last Saturday’s Times and the Daily Mail did a little piece on the article too.

Another girl who I should be BFFs with is actor/muse/girlfriend of Mark Ronson/generally cool French person Josephine De La Baume. I’ve often see her around at parties and shows and looked on jealously as she smiled and chatted to all her really stylish French acquaintances. I’ve stayed in the corner of the room munching on canapés as she’s glided about in clothes I can’t afford. But recently I came to notice her in a different light. I happened to be in a hotel she was checking out of, and I watched on (in true stalkery fashion) as she realised that she – or the hotel – had mislaid some very expensive clothes she’d borrowed. There was lots of checking and re-checking bags and desperate phone calls were made to staff who may have seen the dresses last. And in all of this, she remained calm. I mean I would have lost my temper. Well, actually, no I wouldn’t – I, like most people, only unleash my screaming temper tantrums on those who I love most in the world. Not random concierge staff. But I would have gotten tetchy. She, on the other hand, remained remarkably calm even though she was obviously concerned with how she’s just lost thousands of pounds worth of stuff. Celebrities are always nice in interviews but it was lovely to see somebody being so polite and easy-going when there was nobody watching. Well, nobody besides me. Incidentally, it all ended happily as the dresses turned up in the end. LE

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Boys We Fancy

Obviously we’ve been fascinated by the Battle of the Milibands here at Portmanteau Towers. (Yes, Portmanteau Towers. I know we don’t have an office – like we barely manage a blog a week, hardly enough to warrant an office – but we do live together. In a kind of high-rise building. Well high-rise for somebody from Co. Kildare.) Anyway, yes we’ve been fascinated by the Milibands because, as we’ve mentioned in a previous Boys We Fancy post, we really fancy them. I mean the story is obviously intriguing even if you don’t have a crush on Ed and David but fancying them certainly does bring an extra dimension to our interest. We’re dead jealous of Gillian Duffy, aka The Rochester Bigot, who got to sit in on Ed Miliband’s speech today and is, according to the press association (via the Guardian), going for tea with him later in the week. But we have also been busy developing other, more mainstream, crushes recently.

Michael Buble

OK so everybody fancies Michael Buble. This was illustrated by the fact that 100,000 people went to see him play in Dublin’s Aviva stadium over the weekend. 100,000 people. Ireland’s tiny so that really is a massive proportion of Irish mammies. I like to think that I am drawn to “The Bubble” – that’s what we call him here at Portmanteau Towers (I should really drop this Portmanteau Towers thing) – for sophisticated reasons. Reasons that mark me as different from all the other screaming fans. But, yeah, basically I am the same as the rest of them. I think that ‘Haven’t Met you Yet’ is an incredibly catchy song and I like his smile. I am also strangely endeared by the fact that he seems to be a yo-yo dieter. One week he’s looking svelte on X Factor, the next (like literally the next) he’s looking porky on Graham Norton. But I’m sure I’m not alone in wanting to feed him pickle sandwiches (his favourite).

Jon Hamm

I actually fancy Don Draper but obviously that relationship could only ever end in tears so I have decided to fancy Jon Hamm instead. Don Draper is a lying, deceitful cad with a drink problem, whereas Jon Hamm is a sensitive, committed guy who, according to an interview in the Observer, would have been a teacher if the acting hadn’t worked out. Cute. I mean obviously I still fancy Don Draper a bit more (who doesn’t love a lying alcoholic?) but Jon Hamm looks exactly like him and would be less likely to deceive you with a fake background and various affairs. Also – Jon Hamm is funny. Don Draper isn’t actually that funny. Jon Hamm’s funniness can be witnessed in an SNL skit he made with my other boyfriend Michael Buble. They run a restaurant called the Hamm and Buble Restaurant that only serves pork and champagne. You can't view the video over here but check it out if you're ever in America.

Tim Dowling

Tim Dowling is the perfect man. I know this because he writes a column about his life and his family and it all sounds perfect. Yes he could be lying but I don’t think he is. I think that his relationship with his wife really is that nice and that he actually does get into those very minor, easily solved and hilarious scrapes. He is also very handsome. Or at least his byline picture portrays a handsome, tanned man. And he’s American so his family get to go on amazing holidays and they could all get green cards if they ever tire of Shepherd’s Bush. OK so I know I’m coming across as a bit of a stalker now but he happily volunteers this information every Saturday so I feel that I am entitled to know. Here at Portmanteau Towers (last time I promise) we particularly like Tim Dowling’s take on Pop, the Swedish child whose sex hasn’t been disclosed. Having discussed how Pop’s parents never use personal pronouns, he goes on to explain how “Pop has a wardrobe that includes trousers and dresses, and Pop popself mostly decides what Pop is going to wear each morning.” And I just think that’s one of the cutest, funniest sentences ever. Pop popself. I would never have thought of that. LE

Friday, September 24, 2010

LFW Round Up

First stop this LFW was the PPQ show on Friday night. Last time around, even if you didn’t rate the clothes on the runway, at least the crowd was sufficiently sozzled to enjoy it all. This time, there were no free drinks which made for a slightly less merry time. Making up the front row were Paloma Faith, Little Boots, Eliza Doolittle and The Like ( I still remain completely baffled by their reinvention as a Sixties-inspired girl band.. not a good look). Half the audience seemed to be chanelling Issie Blow with bunny and Mickey Mouse ears, boaters, veils and bows all blocking the view. On the catwalk were lots of eighties combinations of tropical colours mixed with animal and mosaic prints, awkwardly accessorised with fez hats.

The fash pack went off the beaten track for the Matthew Williamson show at Battersea Power Station, the first ever designer to host a presentation at the derelict building. I could see the fashion crowd looking slightly panicked as they travelled further away from the centre of the city to this empty shell on the edge of town. A glass ceiling and white catwalk were set in the heart of this empty shell for the show, with the iconic towers an impressive backdrop. Unfortunately, the underwhelming collection failed to match the glorious setting. Matthew’s muse for this season was a girl marooned on a fantasy desert island – who just happens to have a suitcase, filled with cargo pants, safari blouses, and wide trousers and shorts with parachute-like billowing gowns her. Handy, that. Spotted front row: Sienna Miller (finally! – she’s gorgeous and glowing and tiny) Valentine Fillol Cordier, Olivia Palermo and my LFW crush for this season, Josephine de la Baume.NOK