Thursday, 30 June 2016

Shots of Red

After confessing how nervous I was to post last month’s outfit post and receiving an overwhelmingly positive response via social media, it’s a little ridiculous that I’m once again nervous about posting this little outfit. Thank you so much for your kind messages, tweets and comments and encouraging me to continue with outfit posts. Kudos to style bloggers, I doff my hat to you.
So last week, while out for a walk I had a little accident. While admiring the scenery my shoe got caught on something and I tripped, luckily instincts kicked in at this point and I put my hands out to break my fall. I should probably point out that I went for a walk in Harrods, the ‘scenery’ I was enjoying was handbags and my card was in my hand and ‘accidentally’ found its way into a card machine which was handily around to ‘break my fall’. And that is the story of how I accidentally bought Saint Laurent’s beautiful lambskin monogram satchel. I didn’t intend to buy it you see, it just happened.

I’m actually super glad I had the unintentional foresight to buy myself a little treat. Since Friday, I’ve been experiencing the Brexit blues. I don’t think I’ve ever gotten political on the blog but it has evolved to reveal a snapshot of my life and it’s safe to say Brexit has heavily impacted my life. To say I was devastated at the result of the referendum is an understatement. It seemed so inconceivable that the majority of the country would vote to leave the EU, with its benefits for travel, free movement, trade and the economy. But the unbelievable happened. Hearing the result announced on Friday morning felt surreal. Since then, the days have been unfolding like a nightmare and watching the country I call home slowly unravel has been heart-breaking.
Since the result of the referendum was announced, the prime minister has resigned, the Labour party has launched a coup to get Jeremy Corbyn out, the pound has twice plunged to a 31 year low and the FTSE has plummeted. The economic and political implications have been swift and far reaching. On a more personal note, the increased racism across the country is extremely worrying. There’s a distinct sense of nervousness in the air, both from people of colour like myself and the many Europeans who call London home. The result has acted like validation for xenophobes which until now, have remained as an undercurrent rather than overt. Repressed racist and nationalistic viewpoints are now spilling into the fore, with reported racist incidents up 57% since Friday. That’s reported incidents, which are often a small percentage of actual occurrences. The national flag has gone from a symbol of pride to a threatening sign in one day. I’ve afraid for myself, other people of colour and Europeans who call the UK home.

I’m taking comfort in the fact that the result was announced just days ago, everything from emotions to economics are volatile at the moment. Hopefully the dust settles and my home returns to the place I know and love – happy, hopeful, inclusive and welcoming. Until then, we have no option to adopt the very British mentality of ‘grin and bear it’. Or keep calm and carry on. And in that vein, I wanted to share a little outfit post featuring the bag that has been making me smile despite the post-Brexit chaos. It’s funny how inanimate objects can elicit such joy.

 As with my previous outfit post, I’m wearing lots of old favourites along with the cherry red Saint Laurent bag. And yes, you would be correct in thinking that’s a genuine, vintage Michael Jordan jersey. During my teens, I was vaguely into basketball. Until I started dating a guy who was majorly into basketball. Suddenly, I became a Lakers fan, Kobe and LeBron were the best people on Earth and I found myself watching street ball matches and And1 mixtape tours. I found this Jordan jersey some years later at Rokit Vintage and had to snap it up. The jersey is a little oversize so I paired it with a pair of Miss Selfridge jeans that I customised myself. They were distressed before I got my hands on them and I slowly began deconstructing them until they were more holes than jeans! I finished my outfit with bejewelled heels from Rupert Sanderson. His Showgirl heels are literally my favourite shoes right now.

 Next outfit post is coming in a couple of weeks, I’m hoping the world will be a much happier, settled place by then.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Top Five: Selfridges Sale Steals

Ah, late June. My favourite time of the year. The weather is hotting up and the the sales are all going into further reductions. Just this morning, Selfridges reduced their sale prices even further. While they aren’t advertising a specific percentage off, unlike Harvey Nichols who are now at 60% off, there are some great savings to be had. I’ve trawled through the sale and put together the hottest pieces that you need to snap up now before they’re gone. 

  1. Chinti & Parker pom pom cashmere sweater - £75 from £350Snapping up knitwear in the summer sales can be a very savvy investment, particularly if you’re buying premium wool like cashmere at a huge discount. Pom poms are one of the biggest micro trends and sure to continue into the autumn/winter season.
  2. Alexander McQueen ruffled silk-crepe maxi skirt - £295 from £1,995At a whopping 85% off, this Alexander McQueen skirt is a beautiful bargain. Even at the biannual sample sale, you’d be hard pressed to find pieces that were 85% off and in pristine condition. A no-brainer for black tie events, I would also dress it down with a plain tee and simple heels.
  3. Self Portrait off white knit midi dress - £50 from £295Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that Self Portrait is one of the most covetable brands on the planet. Though best known for their lace-detailed occasion dresses, their daywear is also top notch.  The off-the-shoulder trend is set to carry over into autumn/winter so this is a very savvy sale buy.
  4. Stella McCartney faux fur gilet - £150 from £965Ideal for layering up in the colder months with the added benefit of being cruelty-free, I’m utterly obsessed with this gilet. I haven’t found many decent faux fur iterations of the classic fur gilet in my travels, let alone that looks so luxe. Also available in a cream colour.
  5. True Religion Halle motorcycle jeans - £50 from £270I can’t possibly do a sale bargain round up without including a pair of jeans, premium denim is such a great investment as it lasts years. I love the super sexy skinny silhouette of these jeans, the slightly cropped length and the ankle zips.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Top Five: Summer Sale Steals

The summer sales have well and truly kicked off! I think that’s a cause for celebration and by celebration I really mean retail therapy. While payday may feel like it’s still an age away, technically you’re saving money right now. Here’s a roundup of my favourite sale pieces from the high street:
  1. Zara Guipure lace top - £17.99 from £25.99 We all know that Zara likes to *ahem* borrow inspiration from designers, this delicate lace top is no doubt inspired by fash pack favourite Self Portrait, at a fraction of the price. I’d wear this pretty top to death, whether it would be on a date with bae or brunch with the girls.
  2. Topshop Tall MA1 bomber jacket - £35 from £60Bomber jackets have been this season’s most coveted piece. With the likes of Gucci championing super luxury versions and pretty much everyone on the high street offering an interpretation, the rise of the bomber has been prolific. If you haven’t snapped one up yet, now is the time.
  3. Miss Selfridge cold shoulder blouse - £20 from £35  This top is just crying out to be worn to a festival. With its crochet detailing, elongated cold shoulders and seventies vibe, it pretty much epitomises the mood of carefree summer days. Admittedly we haven’t actually had a lot of summer days but they’re just around the corner, surely?
  4. Daisy Street Ghilie lace up sandals - £24 from £34.99Taking more than a little inspiration from Aquazzura’s much sough-after Wild Thing sandals, these Daisy Street beauties are just a fraction of the price. I love the teal colour, beautiful against a tan so perfect for summer.  
  5. Topshop Unique luxe high sandals - £55 from £125 I first spied these fluffy creatures during Topshop Unique’s SS16 show back in September. I am utterly powerless against the charms of fluffy shoes so of course I’m obsessed with these. Imagine all the Carrie Bradshaw inspired outfits you could put together with these.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Taste of London 2016

As a Londoner and a foodie, I’m ashamed to admit that I have never been to Taste of London. The first Taste festival took place back in 2004 and since then, it’s gone from Somerset House to Regent’s Park and grown into one of the highlights of the foodie calendar along the way. For the last 3 or 4 years, it’s been a must-visit so it’s pretty poor form that I haven’t found an excuse to head down. This year I righted that wrong and had the time of my life so I wanted to share my experience.
Taste of London is kind of like a festival. Except it’s a celebration of the finest food London has to offer rather than music and the inevitable mud. This year, over 40 of London’s finest restaurants are taking part, including Duck & Waffle, Roka and Cinnamon Club. There is also a huge gourmet food market, interactive masterclasses, events and activities. Sounds like a dream.

I visited Taste on Wednesday armed with a list and a ton of recommendations...well with that much food available, I had to be prepared! We eased into the evening at the Laurent-Perrier Club House with a glass of champagne to devise a plan of action in pretty boutique chalet decorated with soft white furnishings, vintage furniture and lots of greenery. We opted to chill on one of the coveted daybeds.
After working out a brief plan, we headed straight to Ember Yard to try the summer truffle, wild mushroom and pecorino croquettes with truffled aioli. I was a bit apprehensive as I’m not the biggest mushroom fan, but with that much truffle in one dish, I was confident that I would love it. The croquettes were golden and crispy on the outside and deliciously melty on the inside with just the right amount of aioli. Delicious.

After Ember Yard, we headed to Trishna. I’ve never been to Trishna before but I’ve heard great things. The thing is, my bar for Indian food is very high – think high then raise it a little bit! My mum is Indian and a brilliant cook so more often than not, Indian restaurants always fall short. One of my favourite snacks is aloo chat; at home I’ll usually have three helpings…then maybe a little bit more later on. For those who have never tried aloo chat, it’s a lip-smacking mash up of potato, chickpeas, Marsala spice, tamarind and yoghurt. The flavours really contrast but also complement each other. Trishna’s version was utter perfection. It was so good I went back twice and I’m booked in to go to the restaurant next week, on the strength of one dish. I can’t wait to try the rest of the menu.

From Trishna, we headed to my old favourite Duck & Waffle where I spotted none other than Executive Chef Dan Doherty working in the kitchen. I’ve never seen him work this hard! While the majority of people were using this opportunity to sample the famed signature dish, I opted for the Crispy Polenta, parmesan and polenta croquettes with black truffle. Truffle and croquettes seemed to be a mini food trend at Taste. The croquettes were lovely but I actually preferred the ones at Ember Yard by a whisker.

 The final dish I tried was the daily special – hand-picked each day by Joe Warwick. Butchies were the first restaurant to be picked and I opted for the Butchies halloumi slider with guacamole and smoked chilli mayo. It seemed that everyone else had the same idea as we had a 35 minute wait for the sliders after placing our order, by which point expectations were sky high. I’m pleased, and surprised, to say that the slider was phenomenal. Probably the best vegetarian slider I have ever tasted and more than worth the wait. They currently at Broadway market so keep an eye out if you’re around the area at the weekend…or go out of your way to visit them. You won’t be disappointed.

I am absolutely kicking myself for not getting down to Taste of London sooner. I can’t think of a better way to spend my evening than tasting dishes from the best restaurants in London while soaking up the sunshine. I will say though, as a vegetarian I was slightly disappointed that not all restaurants had veggie dishes. Props to the guys I visited for their scrumptious creations but it’s a shame that Cinnamon Club, Sushi Samba, Jose Pizarro and Roka among others didn’t cater for vegetarians. Despite that, I’m already looking forward to visiting Taste of London next year. 

Friday, 10 June 2016

The New Hair

When you think about it, we invest so much time, effort and money into our hair. It’s crazy. I’ve spent over half my life getting my hair cut and coloured into various shapes, styles and shades at a dozen different salons. For the last 6 years, my hair was entrusted into the capable hands of Joe Mehmet and his team at Joe’s Salon. Under Joe’s guidance, my hair has had balayage, pink extensions, been dyed blonde and back to brown while my hair grew to waist length and was chopped into a shoulder grazing bob. There’s not much that we didn’t try out. Sadly, Joe and his wife Rex retired from the hairdressing game earlier this year. Distraught is an accurate description of my reaction, but I couldn’t be happier for them and the next chapter in their lives.
While Joe’s Salon is still open under new management, I knew it wouldn’t feel right heading down to the salon on Sloane Avenue and not be greeted by Joe and Rex. The place is still the same, the staff are still the same but for me, it just wouldn’t be right. Aside from the expert hair care, the thing I loved most about Joe’s was that it felt like home. I’d always end up staying for a while after my appointment was done, either half an hour or a couple of hours. It’s safe to say the bar was set high, but I knew just the guy to trust my hair to. Enter Adam Bennett.

I first met Adam Bennet years ago at an event at a salon in Covent Garden. This was during the blonde years. Adam was in charge of giving me a gorgeous Great Gatsby-inspired hair style and created the most incredible braided updo I’ve ever seen. We really hit it off and kept in touch via social media, as you do. Adam is what I would call a hair genius. His approach to hair is almost scientific, as he’s as experienced in Japanese precision cutting as he is Italian freehand. His consultations feel like an actual consultation, rather than just asking ‘What do you fancy today?’ he assesses your hair type and lifestyle to make sure you have the dream cut.
I recently visited Adam in his salon at W hotel, nested in a private suite in the AWAY Spa. The space itself is bright white, beautiful and a little sanctuary just a hop, skip and jump away from Leicester Square. Adam started my consultation with an assessment of my current hair colour. He really liked the existing colour but just wanted to tweak the tones and break up the colour with some lighter slices – just pulling it all together. I was very happy with this so Adam started work, while we chatted away about everything from mutual friends to Beyonce.

 When Adam had finished the colour and given me a bouncy blowdry, I saw exactly what he meant by ‘pulling it all together’. The colour wasn’t dissimilar to the colour I walked in with, which I actually quite liked. It just felt more refined and polish. I couldn’t point out exactly what Adam had changed but I knew he did something; it was just more expensive looking. I couldn’t be more thrilled with the colour and I’m already looking forward to building on the colour next time.
Adam’s salon is based in the AWAY Spa at W London.
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