My Soho Times Autumn 2021

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In this issue:

The New Silver Generation



editor's note let's do lunch...

The landscape of Soho looks a little different without the buzz of Al Fresco diners, doesn’t it? Still, if 18 years of living and (net)working in Soho has taught me anything, it's that lunch, not breakfast, is the most important meal of the day! Quite simply, some of my strongest connections have been made with three little words - 'Let's do lunch...' And that was the case earlier this year when I met up with model and fashion icon, Antony Fitzgerald one fine Spring afternoon in Soho. We discussed our mutual passions for promoting diversity, yet challenging tokenism. I offered Antony free rein to be creative director and guest editor of our first fashion feature. It was then that the idea for our Autumn front cover was conceived. He more than met the challenge, sharing in his own words the ideas behind his movement, 'New Silver Generation' which I believe has the potential to disrupt the fashion and beauty industry from the inside out. Stunning photography is provided by Ivan Weiss p.19. Also in this issue, we call upon the expertise of New Yorkborn-London-based retail copywriter Aimée Lopez to share some tips for small businesses as our capital gets back into the swing of some sort of 'normality p.12. Gillian Smith lets us in on what's happening In the world of Arts & Culture p.16. If you're looking for family-friendly Halloween fun this October then check out The Covent Garden Mum's fang-tastic trail just a hop-skip-throw from Soho p.50, and further afield photographer Tom Trevatt takes us on his campervan road trip to the Welsh countryside for our travel feature p.35. A whole two years has flown (no pun intended) by since I launched the pilot issue of My Soho Times. Who could have predicted the turbulence we'd be facing and the ongoing after-effects of the pandemic? From turning my longstanding blog about living in Soho into a print magazine which is less about me and more about the people who LIVE WORK & PLAY in this neck of woods - I couldn't have picked a more challenging time to venture into the wonderful world of print. And though for the first time in six editions this edition is solely digital, we'll be back next Spring with physical copies and a line of partnerships to match!

So, when are we doing lunch?...

The Soho (PR) Girl x

Kai Lutterodt Editor-in-Chief IG: @the.soho.girl MY SOHO TIMES


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19 16





06 NEW SEASON LOVABLES Don't let the shorter days leave you blue... Treat yourself to some AutumnTLC. The latest must-haves right here, right now.


Ready to get your arts and culture on? That’s good, because the autumn festival season is already upon us. We preview the best in film, music and books.


It’s time to get back to business, so listen up and learn how to get your ideas out there! Copy Unleashed founder Aimée Lopez lays it out.

. Age is nothing but a number. Meet Antony Fitzgerald’s New Silver Generation, redefining fashion as we know it… and here to stay!

39 MODEL? OVER 40? Yes you Can Model Over 40! Model and blogger Vénus Apovo shares some insight on how she did it, so you can follow suit!

41 STREET FASHION Forget the runway for a moment… Street photographer Paul Todd takes to the street to find out who's wearing what this season.


Contributing Editor: Gillian Smith @gilliansmith_ Contributors: Antony Fitzgerald @antonyfitzgerald1964 | Tom Trevatt @tomtrevatt | Iram Khawaja @iram727 | Paul Todd @streetlife77a| Liv Alice @livbyfood | Aimée Lopez @copyunleashed | Glenn Davidson @glenndavidsonphotography Design: www.Fast Cover photography: Ivan Weiss © 2021 My Soho Times. Information correct at the time of publishing/printing.

For opportunities to be a contributor or advertise with us please email MY SOHO TIMES


NEW SEASON LOVABLES Self-care Autumn picks from the editor-in-chief @the.soho.girl

Meet your new ‘me time’ hand bag essential - the NEW Alexandra Kay Time to Inhale Handheld Diffuser is designed to deliver a mindful moment, wherever your day takes you. Price: £20

The brand’s two new cleansers, Dull Faace and Dirty Faace are set to become your ‘go-to’ facial cleansers. Made in the UK, vegan, 100% plant powered using ethically sourced ingredients. From £23

Make time for yourself and find peace and tranquility with the Real Calm collection. From £7.50

This calming, evening blend of pure essential oils from the Alexandra Kay collection is designed to prepare you for a restful sleep. Comprised of seven expertly blended, pure and 100% natural essential oils. Price: £20

This landmark haircare collection focuses on creating the health, strength and rejuvenation of the scalp and hair. From £26.00



Goop founder, Gwyneth Paltrow’s top health and wellbeing hacks are revealed in Vogue magazine, positioning HigherDOSE as one of her key products she uses to meet TIP no.3 - SWEAT DAILY...Gwynwth gives it a 10 out of 10 - can't sweat that! From £469



Get Your Game Forget the crazy world of mini golf. The new weekend and after work spot to be is Sixes Cricket accompanied by tasty cocktails, inspired gastro pub dishes and cricket simulators available for groups. Iram Khawaja gets her game on...

visit Sixes I had the chance to Fitzrovia, the world’s first social cricket entertainment venue, located in an extraordinary building. The decor resembles a modern American diner with wooden bars, checked flooring and leather coaches, along with excellent service.recollections, interviews, polls, debates on the topic, etc.

THE GAME Sixes is named after the maximum number of points you can score from one shot, so hit as many as you can! There are white batting nets across the venue with onscreen score boards. The game is accessible to all ages and abilities, with a range of different settings for total beginners (hands up - me), amateurs, club regulars, and professionals to test their amazing cricket skills. There is a selection of bats to choose from too, to get a feel for what works best in your hands. Within a 30-minute time slot, we managed five rounds between us at around three minutes per turn. Plus no sore arms from all the energy-filled hits, so don’t worry about it turning into a workout,

unless of course that’s your intent. The batting rooms are spacious with points boards all around giving you plenty of opportunity to score even if you’ve never played before. Social cricket is fun for everyone. Games can be as short as 30 and as long as 90 mins depending on the number of players in your party. TIME FOR GASTRO PUB FOOD For drinks, we ordered the Tea Time signature cocktail, a strong mix with Yorkshire tea Tanqueray 10 gin, cloudy apple, lemon, strawberry, which was a delight. If you have a sweet

tooth, the Eton Mess is a perfect way to get ready pre-game. A little sugar definitely gets the adrenaline going. With flavours of strawberry pampero Especial rum, ginger foam, brûléed meringue combined together, it makes a perfect dessert drink.

After the game, we ordered two main classics. The meat volcano sounded fascinating, presented as an erupting volcano with cheese covered pulled beef on a layer of flatbread.


ON! Written by Gillian Smith

Fancy a good laugh? For sure we all deserve one, and with Winter fast approaching we’ll be needing something to take our collective minds off the wind and cold. But fear not, right here in the heart of our neighbourhood is Soho Theatre, and they’ve made it their business to serve up a feast of funnies for you to enjoy up close and in person(s). Head of Comedy, Steve Lock, tells us more:

The relaxed atmosphere is perfect for bringing people together to socialise and enjoy some indoor sports. If you want a menu inspired by the greatest elements of British Gastro Pub culture with classic cocktails in a fun social setting, Sixes is the place to be.

‘It feels fantastic to have our three performance spaces running as they used to, and to be welcoming more people into the building every night. Our upcoming festive comedy and cabaret season features Soho regulars like Le Gateau Chocolat & Jonny Woo, cult drag artist Dina Martina with her legendary Christmas show, Natalie Palamides sensational debut Laid and new hours of stand-up from Mae Martin, Shaparak Khorsandi and Ahir Shah. We’re also thrilled to welcome new faces to Soho with exciting UK debut runs for American comics Patti Harrison and Megan Stalter, and Kiell Smith-Bynoe and Ed MacArthur’s late night musical kids party for adults, String V SPITTA.’

Sixes Cricket Club 170 Great Portland St, London W1W 5QB

Soho Theatre 21 Dean St, London W1D 3NE

The aesthetic fit the taste as the flavours of applewood cheddar, chilli, crispy onions and green sauce stood out. The second dish was beef and whisky sausage, served with Harrisa sour cream - divine in all its meaty glory. To finish off, we ordered the best bread and butter pudding I’ve ever been served with charcoal-infused custard and whisky syrup. This was accompanied by a warm cookie dough skillet with milk ice cream.



PRACTICAL MARKETING STRATEGIES FROM A SEASONED COPYWRITER As Soho starts to open and spread its wings once again, as a small business owner you may be wondering; “How do I rebuild my business’s presence and credibility to pre-pandemic levels?” “What types of marketing efforts do I need to bring back the elusive customer where street traffic once ruled?” Founder of Copy Unleashed, Copywriting Specialist for Retail & E-Commerce Businesses Aimée Lopez provides some useful ideas that you can put into practice on your own, as well as tips on how to find a writer who can help shape your written communications with your customers.




Now more than ever, we need to be shrewdly strategic with our marketing efforts. There is an overwhelming array of platforms available to sell your ideas and so few hours in a day

One thing is for certain - relying solely on pretty pictures posted on Instagram is not going to cut it. In this day and age, we need to diversify not only our sources of income but also our brand reach. This is not to say that you should just throw things at a wall and see what sticks. What’s important here is truly getting to know your customers and how to speak their language so you can connect with them in such a way that makes it impossible for them to say no to a purchase.


The primary starting point for your business is working out who is going to buy from you. A lot of the time, your ideal customer is not necessarily the person who will spend money with you. Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point goes into brilliant detail about this. But you have to start somewhere. First, think about how your product or service specifically fills a need or takes care of a problem for a potential customer. Secondly, what type of person would benefit most from how your business handles this pain point? This is your target market.

“Make it simple. Make it memorable. Make it inviting to look at. Make it fun to read.” – Leo Burnett, legendary ad man. If the title of this piece grabbed you, you probably already know the power of the written word. Think about it. The words that are on your signage, product tags, menus, printed materials, website, social media platforms are selling your products or services without you speaking. Words can potentially be your 24/7 salesperson. You can sell while you sleep. Who wouldn’t be interested in that? The art of harnessing the written word for the purpose of selling a product or service is called copywriting. The folks who sit behind a computer feverishly crafting words for businesses and their products or services are called copywriters. Okay, now that you are convinced of the importance of the written word for your business, let’s go over some helpful points to consider when creating written content.


Now that you have a target market in mind, what does your target audience look like and how do they speak? Look at customer reviews of your competitors. What are their customers saying and how are they saying it? This will give you an insight into how to address your target market with the written word. Keep in mind that people come from all over the world and have different levels of reading comprehension. It’s best to keep things clean and simple without using too many idioms or puns. MY SOHO TIMES



Forty-nine percent of businesses on Google My Business received more than 1,000 views on search per month (Publer). Ninety percent of consumers read online reviews before visiting a business (Invesp). If your business is not registered on Google My Business with a short and succinct description and up-to-date contact information, then stop reading this and register right this second! Google My Business is a right-hand sidebar box that appears when people search for your business or similar ones in your geographical area. It’s becoming increasingly important in any local business’s marketing. You should read each review and respond promptly to any customer concerns or standout compliment. Keep a stock of general responses to save you time. People need to know that there is a person connected to your business, so writing a personalised response from time to time - sadly few businesses choose to do this - can make the difference between a one-time and a lifetime customer.


Plan to spend an hour each day on your marketing efforts. People want to feel like they can trust you with their hard-earned money and that you share their values. One mega tip here is to sprinkle the pronoun “you” into your marketing copy. Do not start your marketing wording with “we.” Don’t focus on yourself. Focus on your reader. People want to see themselves in your words. In the last few years, with the dominance of mobile technology, correct English grammar usage is going out the window. Don’t let it! Take the time to edit your writing and check for mistakes. Download the free version of Grammarly onto your computer. Poor use of language is a killer of brand credibility. If you do not feel comfortable editing your work, hire a copywriter or copy editor.


As previously mentioned, there is an exhaustive list of marketing outlets that you can use. Quite simply, do the research, ask the questions, then go where your target audience is. Don’t kill yourself being everywhere and speaking to everyone. As a small business, you do not have that luxury. Don’t fall for the latest trendy social media platform or app if your target audience is not there. Menekşe Stewart from the podcast Creative Business Marketing with Menekşe gives amazing advice. She recommends that you focus on two marketing outlets in total, one platform that you have control over and one that you do not. For example, the signage on your storefront or a website and an Instagram or Facebook business account. Just a quick note on SEO. Search engine optimisation is something that you should definitely consider as it is a low-cost way to gain traffic to a website, but as with anything, you can’t rely solely on it to bring people to your business.


Okay, okay, you’re busy. We get it. If you get to the point where you need to outsource the writing for your business, then it’s time to look for a copywriter. Working with a copywriter can be like a marriage or a fling. If you have a limited budget for a one-off project, you can look for a copywriter via freelance websites like Upwork and Fiverr. Do your due diligence, read reviews, research the going rates here in the UK through ProCopywriters and develop a realistic budget and schedule. If you’re looking to develop a long-term relationship with a copywriter, ask your network for recommendations or have a snoop around Linkedin. Search for marketing campaigns that you like and look up the copywriter who crafted that particular piece of work. Please bear in mind that these people are experts and are artisans at crafting the written word. Treat them as such. There is talk out there of AI technology taking over for copywriters. Sure, AI will help formulate words but unless AI technology becomes Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2 and develops a sense of empathy, then for the moment at least, copywriting jobs are secure. WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

If you’re looking to develop a long-term relationship with a copywriter, ask your network for recommendations or have a snoop around Linkedin. Search for marketing campaigns that you like and look up the copywriter who crafted that particular piece of work. Please bear in mind that these people are experts and are artisans at crafting the written word. Treat them as such. There is talk out there of AI technology taking over for copywriters. Sure, AI will help formulate words but unless AI technology becomes Arnold Schwarzenegger in Terminator 2 and develops a sense of empathy, then for the moment at least, copywriting jobs are secure.


Think of the reopening of your business as a whole new starting point on your entrepreneurial journey, even if you’ve been in business for aeons. Start with what we call a minimum viable product - a starting business model that is malleable to customer comments. Keep sharpeningand improving your business along the way from your customers’ feedback.

GoodLopez luckisona your journey. copywriter from New York Aimée retail/e-commerce City, currently based in London. She is the former creative director of SHE. Magazine. Aimée’s passion lies in crafting words to serve underrepresented brands and people. You can find her at | IG: @copyunleashed MY SOHO TIMES


Until the pandemic upended expectations on every level, culture lovers within and without the capital were reliably safe in the knowledge that, year in, year out Autumn would yield arts festivals to suit every taste. Clearly that wasn’t a thing in 2020 but 2021 is a different beastie altogether - for musos, cineastes and bookworms, the time has come to disconnect from the interweb (lifesaver though it’s been) and venture forth into a world brimming with reality. Written by Gillian Smith


Jostling for your attention over the next few months are events dedicated to film, literature, comedy, soul, singing and theatre. And that’s before we even get started on the festive season. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves here. Narrowing it down to a world of immediate gratification let’s focus on the here and now, well as the immediate future, and zero in on cinema, jazz and books. First up and already in full swing - particularly for those looking for a temporary break from the increasingly dystopian fare of streaming services - is the 2021 BFI London Film Festival. As Ben Roberts, Chief Executive of the BFI, tells us, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder and this has never been truer than for millions of film fans whose big screen fix has been in such short supply over the past year and a half.” Between the opening gala, Jeymes Samuel’s The Harder they Fall, starring Idris Elba, all the way through to Joel Coen’s take on Macbeth featuring Frances McDormand and Denzel Washington, deciding where to position yourself and your tub of popcorn is gonna be tricky. ‘Cos we’re not just talking cinema here… it’s talks, debates, XR and immersive experiences all round. And the best part is how many of these movies will be finding their way onto a cinema screen near you once the festival is done. So no need to panic if you don’t score a ticket. BFI LFF 2021 kicks off on 6th October and draws to a close on the 17th. Check it out on If, on the other hand, you see yourself lounging moodily in the monochrome of a classic Herman Leonard shot of a cool basement club (minus the wreaths of cigarette smoke of course) then the EFG London Jazz Festival is the one for you. Positioning itself squarely behind the tagline WE ARE BACK. WE ARE LIVE. #WE ARE JAZZ, this pan-city musical extravaganza features both worldclass arts and emerging stars. Live international music producers Serious are the guys and gals behind this with the idea of celebrating the place of jazz in a city at ease with its rich cultural diversity, and drawing in a multitude of venues across London.

So cutting to the chase here, who and what is on offer? Wasting no time, the opening gala night on12th November gives us Guy Barker, the UK’s premiere jazz trumpeter. Thereafter we’re talking Daniel Casimir, Archie Shepp & Jason Moran, a Tony Allen retrospective, Cleveland Watkiss, Stefano Bollani and a celebration of the 50th anniversary of Nick Drake’s seminal album Bryter Layter, to name nowhere near the number we should. EFG London Jazz Festival 12th-21st November Back to the spoken word now and of all people you would think avid readers might have fared best with the enforced solitude of the past 18 months. Not so apparently and for those missing their friends The London Literature Festival assures them that they’re not alone. Drawing inspiration from Sally Rooney’s debut novel, Conversations with Friends, this year’s assuredly non-virtual event intends to ‘dive into the joy and meaning friendship brings to our lives, as well as the challenges.’ In practical terms, this translates as a line-up of eminent authors and rising literary stars, along with readings, podcasts and awards previews. Not to mention a whole host of children’s events to coincide with half-term. Naming names means pointing a finger at the likes of Grayson Perry, Caleb Azumah Nelson,, Candace CartyWilliams, Mieko Kawakami, Clarice Bean creator Lauren Child, neuroscientist Anil Seth and many many more. They’ll be there, tomes in hand, will you? October 21st -31st Hopefully there is something here for everyone.. and if not, well watch this space, we’ve only just got (re)started. Face it folks, we’re meant to be together... The Arts Report on Soho Radio Join Gillian Smith for a montly report on all things arts and culture in and around the capital Search 'My Soho Times' on Soho Radio.



SCREEN HALLOWEEN Written by Gillian Smith

It’s that time of year again. Nothing can kill the Spooky Season… so shake off those summer cobwebs, throw on your Michael Myers mask and embrace the hair-raising horrors to come with Frightfest Halloween.

The UK’s Number One destination for the fantasy community is open for business once more with nine brand-spanking new features from Friday evening on October 29 to all day Saturday October 30 at the Cineworld, Leicester Square.

Laugh in the goriest places, shriek out loud time after time, gasp at the star guests and rub your eyes with disbelief at the sights and sounds on offer… ones that will live in your dark hearts forever. Because as every true horror fantasy fan knows, it’s the job of FrightFesters to keep Halloween alive and screaming 24/7, 3/6/5.

Time to go for broke, revel in all the pumpkin lunacy and raise merry hell…. it’s all there lurking in the shadows for you.


Antony Fitzgerald in his own words on creating a movment to change how we see age and colour in the fashion and beauty industry...

Photography by Ivan Weiss




2021 and walking down Oxford Street I am amazed at the number of models of colour that I see in shop windows... but they are all under 30. Where are the 50+ models of colour who do fashion? "What do we have to do make a change and increase the visibility of models like me in the UK?" I was brought up in 60’s and 70’s London. The only models of colour that I remember seeing were young people with a lighter skin tone than my own. But then I remember finding my father’s Z card in the early 70’s and, more recently, I wondered how often he worked as a model back then. It was an accepted fact that models of colour in the UK, when I was growing up, were far and few between. As I got older the industry became more inclusive. More recently, as the rise of the “Silver Fox” and “Silver Vixen” has captured the imagination of the media, I have seen many more models of colour in the lifestyle/commercial industry. But I often thought “where are the over 50 models of colour in the fashion and the beauty industry?” On a whim, I signed with my first model agency in 2014 when I was 50. Because my look was different from the stereotype of a black man, I was signed as a character model.

Desperate for a mentor to guide me, I shot with photographer and iconic model (since the 80’s) Jeff Marano. He gave invaluable advice about how and where to enter the world of fashion. It was he who encouraged me to approach Silver Agency in Paris, which was to change my career forever. Thus began my journey to seek out and bring together models of colour who could work on fashion and beauty campaigns. I shot for Gucci and for numerous fashion campaigns. I did many editorials for magazines such as Hunger, Sleek, GQ China, Luncheon, etc. I walked for Junya Watanabe at Paris Fashion Week 2019 Autumn/Winter. I often wondered why I did not see more mature models of colour. I realised that this would never change unless I redressed the imbalance myself. Throughout my fashion journey, I have met some of the most extraordinary models of colour who I believe could and are changing the industry. To that end I brought them together for a shoot to increase their visibility - and “New Silver Generation” was born. A movement born out of a new breed of model who is confident, fearless and refuses to accept the status quo - preferring to change, through persistence, how we see age and colour in the fashion and beauty industry. WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

Wearing Julia Clancey (right) Olubiyi Thomas jacket, Aro Archive (left) MY SOHO TIMES


Wearing Aro Aro Archive (left) Jewellery by Chantal Olubiyi Thomas (right) WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

VÉNUS APOVO Venus came to my attention when she approached me on a film set and asked me if she could be a model in her mid 40’s. I said “yes!” We worked closely together to build up a portfolio and model strategy. Now she is modelling full time. She has tattoos, dreadlocks and a killer smile that defies any preconceived ideas you might have about black women. I see her as the “future of fashion”, although growing up it is probably not how other people saw her. Her blog is a testament to her relatability and how far the industry has come.



Wearing Nico Didonna (left) Jewellery by Olubiyi Thomas, Joel Adama (right)


CHETAN JHA I was introduced to Chetan through a mutual friend. He is 50 years old now and as a younger man he modelled for major fashion brands. Now with his worldly experience clearly visible in his physicality, he has returned to modelling, with the New Silver Generation shoot showcasing his unique look. He agrees that the more open the media is to supporting mature, diverse models that can represent some of the top global fashion brands, the more likely it is there will be a demand for them. With increased profitability, it would be a game changer in the fashion and beauty industry.



Wearing Nico DiDonna (left) Aro Archive, jewellery by O J (right) WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

GLORIA SIMON As soon as Gloria contacted me, I knew that she would be in huge demand. A sixty plus dark-skinned woman with a white afro and brown/blue eyes, she stood out. She has defied the stereotypical grandmother role in favour of “The Great British Sewing Bee” and campaigns for Charlotte Tilbury and Space NK. She has changed the industry definition of the term “silver vixen” by being herself and not conforming to type. MY SOHO TIMES


Wearing Aro Archive (left) Skirt by Ruth Eaton, blouse and scarf Aro J (right)


CLAUDIA COULTER I call Claudia my “latina femme fatale”, she is hauntingly beautiful. We met for the first time at a shoot in Oxford. We talked for hours on our way back to London. The next time I saw her was in a TV commercial for JD Williams. She truly demonstrates that not all models of colour have the same skin tone, hair texture or even features. Her presence in the industry shows that models of colour are not just one skin tone. We are all different. It makes a nonsense of tokenism and stereotyping. MY SOHO TIMES


I think that some of the obstacles to older models of colour are that they are often seen as urban or lifestyle rather than high-value, aspirational or glamorous. Some agencies appear to apply a quota to the number of models of colour that they have on their books. I have heard too many being told “you have a great look but unfortunately we already have someone else with a similar look”. And yet, often you will see multiple caucasian models with a remarkably similar look within the same agency. The words of my friend and fellow model of colour Sanjay Prabhakar comes to mind, "Passion and persistence." Tokenism is particularly divisive because it allows only a tiny trickle of models into the industry and prevents diversity amongst mature models of colour. The New Silver Generation shoot clearly shows that as models we have different looks under the banner of “models of colour”. To put us all in the same campaign and market it to a broad cross-section of society is good business strategy. We are not all the same. It reminds me of the campaign I did for Happy Socks with my friend Evon (known for JD Williams). They used only models of colour and it worked because we all have a very individual look. Ground-breaking for a fashion brand. A lesson for everyone. I am so proud to have shared that experience with her.

The New Silver Generation is here to show that it is not about the skin colour, age or body shape, it is always about the person. “So why are older models of colour invisible”? Because older models of colour in the UK are under-represented in fashion magazines, fashion shows, boutique and premium model agencies and the fashion and beauty media generally. The challenge to brands is to reach out to a more diverse target audience using older models of colour (who reflect a changing ethos post the Coronavirus Lockdown), rather than relying on outdated stereotypes. “People” sell products, not “stereotypes”. We want the fashion and beauty industry to recognise this so that there is no need for initiatives like New Silver Generation. Challenge tokenism by being “fabulous, aspirational and groundbreaking”. Show your support for colour and age diversity within the fashion and beauty industry by following us on @new.silver.generation #newsilvergeneration Words by Antony Fitzgerald Photography by Ivan Weiss WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK


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Food blogger Liv Alice @livbyfood attends the 2021 Goldern Chopsticks Awards... It was an honour to be invited to the fabulous Golden Chopsticks Awards at the Marriott Grosvenor Square, hosted by the legendary Gok Wan. The evening was a wonderful, heart-warming way to recognise all the incredible, innovative and resilient UK businesses that have not only made it through truly the toughest year on record for a long time, but also come out of the other side boasting some spectacular achievements. The fabulous all-star ceremony hosted an array of A-listers, VIPs and celebrities, from Tallia Storm and comedian Suzy Ruffell, to Chef Chris Baber and Sarah Owen MP, along with some of the biggest influencers in Oriental food, eminent food writers and prominent community leaders. There were 20 award categories with a significant number of deserving nominees from across the UK, all of whom turned up on the night in the hope of bagging an award. The categories ranged across the restaurant sector, suppliers, food writers and individuals - all judged by a talented panel, including the likes of Jeremy Pang and icon Ken Hom OBE. Nominees were spread across small food trucks/ street food vendors, independent restaurants and larger chain specialists. My personal favourite was the lovely team from Little Viet Kitchen, who truly melted our hearts with their acceptance speeches - and they managed to score two separate gongs!

There were some inspirational Soho champions taking home prizes too, including the always innovative Inamo (for Best Fusion Restaurant) and the classic and well-loved Din Tai Fung for their drool-worthy dumplings! I even had the chance to sit next to Afra Willmore and hear all about her work before she stepped up to claim the Rising Star award for her mum blog. Gok Wan MBE, co-founder and host of the awards commented, ‘What an amazing night, bringing together the good and the great from the oriental food world in one room, with finalists covering the broad spectrum of East and South East Asian food - from Chinese, Japanese and Thai to Vietnamese, Malaysian,Filipino and Korean. It was fantastic to see so many accomplished restaurateurs in the room, alongside the rising stars of the future! It was a real honour to host!’ A truly humbling evening of joyous celebration, fabulous food and highly talented nominees. Huge congratulations to all the amazing winners! To see the full list of both winners and nominees visit MY SOHO TIMES



Calling the Welsh Countryside

When foreign destinations flipped colours more often than a faulty set of traffic lights, it was time to take the road less travelled. Tom Trevatt took us along on his campervan voyage out of London...



The Welsh countryside had been calling for a while. I have family in North Wales and memories of heather covered mountains and salty sea air were enticing me back, especially over this last eighteen months when travel has been if not impossible, somewhat fraught. I decided I needed a short road trip up the country, visiting a number of friends, family and attractions along the way. Oh, and I needed to climb Pen y Fan again – the first time was over twenty years ago. Organising trains and accommodation for a journey that might need to change last minute, just seemed like too much hassle, so I opted for a campervan from Camper Tribe. I’ve been enamoured by van life for a long time and Camper Tribe have some adorable VW Campervans. They have just the right amount of quirkiness and convenience, the pop top roof providing much needed headroom for me (I’m 6’1) but not too large, meaning I didn’t get stuck down narrow Welsh lanes (too often).

Somehow, I managed to find the only sunny week this summer in which to travel, dodging the storms and floods, instead enjoying the scorching heat. It was a welcome break from London life, the stale indoor air replaced by the fresh breeze blowing off the Irish Sea as I traversed the country, starting in the Brecon Beacons and gradually driving up to the Snowdonia National Park. I got my Pen y Fan climb done in blistering afternoon heat, and made the mistake of running back down (or I did until my legs were buzzing so much I could barely walk). My thighs were burning for the next three days – I don’t recommend exercise. I stayed in some gorgeous campsites with lovely green views, and drove through mountain passes from my childhood, retracing the drive my parents had done countless times with me in the back seat. A lot and nothing has changed since those early days. New roads, but old buildings, and even older rock formations. WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

Forestry and lakes that I would have loved as a child now took on a different complexion – they became aesthetic; views to photograph rather than just marvel at. Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon) has been a draw for tourists and mountaineering folk for decades, its mystical nature and imposing grandeur means it stands out as a climb to aspire to, unless you take the train to the top. I did neither of these things. My burning thighs meant walking more than ten metres was painful so, Rhita Gawr’s grave will have to wait until the next time I make it to Wales. But I did go for a lovely drive around the horseshoe, and took some stunning photos. Then it was straight to Barmouth beach front to share fish and chips with my family, watching the sun go down over the bay.

My Welsh road trip was made possible by the kind folk of CamperTribe who let me take out one of their flagship VW Campervans, a little gem of a vehicle that got a lot of attention in the campsites filled with much larger motorhomes. As I drove back to London, I contemplated whether I should buy one, probably not (they’re pricey), but now I know where to hire one from, I can head into the countryside whenever I like! Words and photography by Tom Trevatt |Instagram @tomtrevatt Looking for an Autumn get away? Escape to the wild this Autumn with Camper Tribe from £115 per day. Visit



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énus Apovo is a force of nature... . in every sense! She exudes an aura of confidence through her eyes, her wide smile and most of all her silver locked hair - and not just in her images - but in real life too. There's a familiarity about her that I can’t quite put my finger on, then it dawned on me - she looks like me my sister, my mum, my aunties - a line up of the charismatic, richly melanated, dark-skin women I didn't grow up seeing in the media. And though Vénus has only been modelling professionally for just over a year, perhaps it's that 'like fine wine' maturity of being comfortable in your own skin that makes her so memorable. Of course, if Vénus does look familiar to you, it could

!04 revO

Cu o Y seY

D O E M L n a

Written by Kai Lutterodt Photography by Glenn Davidson

also be from the long-as-your-arm list of brand campaigns and TV commercials she's recently been featured in: TFL, The DocuSign, The Bias Cut - the first age-Inclusive independent online style boutique, and of course - the My Soho Times front cover feature creative directed by fellow mature model, Antony Fitzgerald and shot by Ivan Weiss... Just to name a few! At 48 years of age, Vénus is proof that age really is just a number - so yes, You Can Model Over 40... and do anything else for that matter, as shared in her blog - with tips and interviews with pros on how to make it in the industry... Now that’s a role model to follow!

Role Model

Ever questioned if you have what it takes to become a model? Paris-born-Londonbased model Vénus Apovo has been there-done-that.. and blogged about it! Take note! Make the decision - and stick to it: Modelling is time consuming. Between building your portfolio, answering requests and going to castings, time can be very tight so don’t go into it lightly. Do not take things personally: When you start, it can be tough to take the nos. It is not personal, agencies are often waiting to see more of your work, so keep on asking. Be proud: I used to be embarrassed to say, “I am a model” for fear of getting nasty comments and all the prejudices attached to the word 'model'; truth is now I don't care anymore. I'm proud. Be Polite: I say this because some people think that being a model means they are better than others. Not so. Be nice and polite, knowing that it should be a life rule anyway. Network: Do not be shy on set and talk to people, it can lead to great friendships and amazing projects and the day goes so much better when you communicate. Don’t be afraid: This is a cool job, there is no need to fret. Mature modelling has an advantage - you are experiences enough not to take any nonsense! Have fun: You are at a stage in life where you know yourself well enough to want only what’s good for you. This job is a playground, enjoy the games. Personality is Key: Your face tells the story, make sure it is seen. Follow Vénus Apovo's journey at IG: @venus_a_officiel MY SOHO TIMES


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@streetlife77a captures the styles of the season....



MEGAN Wearing: Shein Inspiration / Icon: Dodi

SHIA Wearing: Vintage; Puma, Kangol Hat Favourite Brand: Gabicci

JAMES Wearing: Topman, Asos, Camden Market Cap, Custom T-Shirt from @Girthofvenus Style Icon: Luke Jefferson Day

CECILIA Wearing: Hemès, Zara, Fendi Bag Style Icon: Lilly Rose Depp


CLAUDIA Wearing: Mango, Abercrombie Style Icon: Cara Delevingne



EDON Wearing: Ottolinger and Zara Favourite brand: Rick Owen


CECILIE, IDA, LINE Wearing: H&M, Berskha, Nike, Adidas, Global Funk, Drop Dead Favourite style: Modern Street Emo Style / Bring Me the Horizon Band

ZAIDA Wearing: Indian Coat from Madrid Market, Uniqlo Favourite Brand: Celine

BOBMUCK Wearing: Vintage Style: Punk Rock

LUMI Wearing: Marco Polo, Urban Outfitters and Vintage Style Icon: Stevie Nicks MY SOHO TIMES


GEMMA, EDE, ANN’MARIE Gemma wearing: Chi Chi London Style Icon: Rihanna Ede wearing: Ted Baker Style Icon: Damson Idris Ann'Marie wearing: Chi Chi London Style Icon: Tracee Elis Ross WWW.MYSOHOTIMES.CO.UK

JOSEPHINE JONES Wearing: Own design (New Season) and Eeyore backpack Style Icons: Marianne Faithfull, Penelope Tree, Jean Shrimpton



MARC Wearing: Farfetch, Mariano Napoli Favourite Brand: Marc Powell SONIA & ANDRZEJ Wearing: Vintage, Zara, Prada glasses Louis Vuitton Bag Favourite brand: Versace

NURIA AND CARLOS Nuria wearing: top by H&M, skirt by Topshop, shoes Timberland Style icon: Blake Lively Carlos wearing: Antony Morato vest, Sfera boots, shirt & trousers by Easy Wear (Spanish brand from El Corte Inglés) Style Icon: Ryan Reynolds

MICHAEL Wearing: All Saints, Beaumont Studios, Doc Martins, Dickies Style Icon / Look: Berlin Club Scene / Urban Rave Look


ANNABELLE Wearing: Jacket is St John Sport Collection by Marie Gray, Vivienne Westwood Skirt, Zara Bag Style Icon: Vivienne Westwood



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