Elevate Difference

Reviews by Payal Patel

Payal Patel

Payal is at UCL studying for an MA in Gender, Society and Representation. She also has an MA in Creative and Professional Writing and a BA (Hons) degree in English. Intrinsically artistic, she loves doing anything creative, but her primary passions are reading, writing and practicing yoga and the martial arts. With two poems published in UK anthologies, she would like to have published a young adult novel she’s presently working on. She also holds a certificate in proofreading and copyediting, and as a lover of learning in general, she plans on a PhD next.

The Wisdom of Imperfection: The Challenge of Individuation in Buddhist Life

Rob Preece does a convincing job of bridging Jungian psychology to Buddhist practice in The Wisdom of Imperfection. Preece explains how Carl Gustav Jung’s notion of Individuation—the process of the personality’s growth and expansion into the wider psyche towards a potential state of wholeness, coincides with Buddhist ideas of bringing the ego into greater presence and awareness into one’s life.

Apple Spice Vegan Lip Balm

Calling all Vegans! You’re in for a treat. This Apple Spice Lip Balm I’ve got has a mouthwatering flavour that’s good enough to eat, which might happen as your tongue seeks a trace of that delectable apple spice scent. The first thing you notice as you pop open the cap is its deliciously sweet aroma, which is created out of a mixture of red delicious apples and cinnamon for supreme flavour.

BooBoo Unisex Wrist Bracelet, Orange

Functional. Fashionable. Fun. The BooBoo wrist cuff from Truth is oh-so-cool—according to me, anyway. It’s a deep orange—a colour that has grown on me over time—and has an almost faded look. Created from distressed acrylic and cotton webbing, this BooBoo is size small, fitting me with ideal precision. These genuine non-leather bands, amusingly named “BooBoos,” are manufactured in Canada by a company called Truth.

Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire

Incredible. Insightful. Inspiring. These are the words I use to describe Dragon Ladies: Asian American Feminists Breathe Fire, the pivotal textbook on the growing politics of Asian American women.

Trivia: Voices of Feminism, Issue 9

What a journal! Trivia: Voices of Feminism, Issue 9 is a beautiful and inspiring electronic resource. Thinking about Goddesses is this edition’s theme. Editors Lise Weil and Hye Sook Hwang present fourteen articles made up of personal essays and poetry complete with moving artwork and pictures. What is Goddess worship?

It Doesn’t Count If… It’s the Last One: And 204 More Reasons Why You Can Eat That

Fat is not just a feminist issue; it’s everyone’s concern. We’re in an age where good health equals happiness—not a bad philosophy, but for our society's increasing problem with the relationship we have with our food. What we consider to be fat is often misguided; bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Yet, people go on unnecessary diets and eating obsessions to attain that "perfect" Western body sold to us by the higher powers. The word diet itself has negative connotations: to not eat, to lose weight, to lose something of the self.

Smile Pin-Up Girl Tee

As soon as I fixed my eyes on the Smile Pin-Up Girl tee, my initial reaction was: simply gorgeous. When I put it on, it looked even more stunning; its wonderfully soft cotton fabric enwrapped me like a polite hug, and its earthy hue ensured an effortless appearance, with the pin-up girls motif adding just enough glamour. My second reaction was of disbelief: I couldn’t get over how perfectly the small size fit me.

Lonely Planet Southeast Asia: On A Shoestring

Published just two months before the cyclone disaster in Myanmar (Burma), questions of safety regarding whether or not to go to the politically and ethically wrought country are best answered on the Lonely Planet website.

Mineral Eye Shadow

Hypoallergenic: chemicals, preservatives and fragrance-free—this product was good to my oh-so-sensitive skin! As someone who likes to experiment with make-up, White Pearl Shimmer Eye Shadow by Jenulence was fun to try out. Especially on my brown complexion! “It looks great,” says a friend. Another agrees, “But it’s better if you wear it to a wedding or a party,” she tells me as we meet up for a morning coffee. “I know!

Art Cards

Fun and spirit cheering: I love these cards so much that I don’t want to give them away! They totally rock. Not only because the art design on one of the cards – a bird perched under a tree – is cute and effective, but also because its simplicity evokes a kind of ethereality. The art feels like a poem on a page.

Four Songs

This New York-based instrumental sextet is unlike your typical rock band. Experimental and percussive in approach, Blue Velvet’s image is organic and minimal: Their music has no vocals, no electric bass, no standard rock-drum kit and no loops or samples. Is it then worth listening to? Hell …Yeah! “Docile 1” and “Docile 2” from their EP Four Songs has a Hitchcock-style to it: strings cut harshly and are repetitive, producing a drony and eerie quality.

The Last Empress

An ancient sage once foretold, “China would be destroyed by a woman.” Historians described Empress Tzu Hsi of the Qing Dynasty as an evil leader hell-bent on the usurpation of power. This much-documented image later served to affirm the age-old prophecy. The Last Empress by Anchee Min is the sequel to the acclaimed _Empress Orchid _(2004). Set towards the end of Imperial China, Min continues the heartbreaking tale of the country’s downfall at the hands of merciless foreigners.

Small Gods

As the guitar plays airily in the track "Dodge," soloist Swati sings, “I believe in karma, I believe in brutal honesty, why do so many of you break my heart? Maybe I’m crazy …” and these words characterize not only the general mood of her debut album, but also her individuality.


The opening and strongest tracks on Venus. “Venus” and “Now You Know,” from this five-piece band from Ohio are catchy, energetic and fun, setting the atmosphere for the rest of this pop-punk album. As the title implies, the songs are about love, but so much so that it delivers a kind of monotony, which drives the listener away at times. “Blue Coat, Black Hair” reminds me of Billy Talent with its faced-paced, hardcore sound and screaming vocals.