Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Byredo Rose Noir Review

At some point over the last year, I all but stopped wearing perfume. I’d have a quick spritz before a date or night out but on a day-to-day basis, I’d go fragrance free. It’s not that I didn’t like perfumes, I just felt like I was at a bit of an impasse in my fragrance journey. I started wearing my first scent in my teens, alternating between the latest Impulse body spray and So..? perfume, both compulsory for 90s teens. As I grew older, my taste evolved to actual perfume and in university my signature scent was J’Adore by Dior. Post-university, I opted for Tom Ford fragrances; their rich, sultry scent was a definite upgrade from mass market perfumes. But then I found myself at a bit of a crossroad, wanting something a little more special but not yet ready to dip my toe in the lavish world of private blends.
The problem was that I wasn’t a perfume connoisseur, I didn’t know much about which notes I liked or which ones settled well on my skin and the only exposure to new perfumes was through magazine or TV adverts. Fragrance adverts are a funny thing; they weave such lavish and creative stories without actually describing anything about the actual product or its essence. In hindsight, I was ready for a brand which solely focuses on perfume, rather than a fashion house or celebrity who is looking to tap into the lucrative fragrance market. Typically these brands shy away from traditional marketing channels so they aren’t so well known, they’re small, niche perfume brands so naturally their budgets won’t stretch to billboards and double-page spreads in Vogue.
When I started discovering niche fragrance brands such as Creed, Clive Cristian, Le Labo and Byredo, it’s like a whole new world opened up to me. A new, daunting world but one I was keen to learn about. After a trip to Harrods fragrance room, Byredo was my clear favourite. The niche perfume house combines Eastern and Western influences, the minimalist Scandi bottle design is representative of its Swedish founder, Ben Gorham, but the evocative scents were inspired by his mother’s hometown in India. The resulting fragrances use the highest quality raw ingredients from around the world, which are then assembled and blended by hand in Sweden.
My long-time pal and beauty guru Daniela Morosini actually suggested Byredo’s Rose Noir fragrance; she wears it and thought it would be perfect for me. As the name suggests, it’s a rose scent…but not as you’d know it. Byredo takes the traditional sweet saccharine notion of a rose and tarnishes it with a dark, intoxicating edge. It opens with cheery, carefree notes of grapefruit and freesia which give way to floral heart notes of rose damascena, violet, jasmine and lily of the valley. Earthy base notes of cistus, moss, musk and patchouli are grounding with a decadent animalic scent. Rather than being a straightforward rose fragrance, which has been done to death, Rose Noir is a multifaceted scent which gradually unfolds as you wear it, totally captivating you in the process. I’ve been wearing it for a week now and I think it’s safe to say I’m addicted! I can’t wait to explore the rest of Byredo’s fragrances.


Friday, 25 November 2016

Top Five: Puffer Coats Under £150

Winter isn’t coming; it’s here and here to stay. It’s not all doom and gloom though; one of this season’s must have coats is the humble puffer, aka a duvet with sleeves. I can barely contain my joy that it’s now acceptable to cocoon yourself in a duvet coat to face the bitter cold. Previously languishing on a pile of fashion faux pas, along with UGG boots and leggings-worn-as-trousers, the puffer coat has been given a super luxe makeover this season. Worn super XXL at Marques Almeida, shiny at Raf Simons and given a decadent twist with silk and embroidery at Alexander McQueen.
The high street are, of course, quick to catch onto a surefire hit. Various iterations from long to cropped, classic black to punchy primary colours, there’s a puffer coat to suit everyone. Here are my favourite picks under £150:
  1. Monki puff coat - £65his is my very favourite! I adored the soft pink colour which seems to have sold out but this dull saffron is a good alternative. I love the longer length and shawl collar. It would obviously look great dressed down but I would also wear it with a chic little black dress and heels as a total contrast.
  2. River Island Studio cropped puffer jacket - £90I love this deep burgundy cropped-yet-oversize puffer so much. The colour is so rich and perfect for the colder months and it has a hood, ideal for protecting your hair from the inevitable frizz-inducing winter showers. Due to the cropped, voluminous silhouette, I’d pair it with jeans and heels for a cool off-duty look.
  3. Ivy Park oversized puffer - £119 This puffer ain’t for the fainthearted. It’s long, it’s oversize and it’s shiny silver. But it’s a thing of beauty. It’s a real statement piece; Beyonce wasn’t pulling any punches with this coat. It looks super cosy too. I would love to see this casually slung over a beautiful cocktail dress.
  4. Topshop pink satin puffer jacket - £99  Proving puffers don’t always need to be boring, this Topshop iteration is super cute and feminine. In fact, it reminds me of a pink marshmallow…in the best way possible. I’d wear it with mom jeans and heels to give the saccharine jacket a bit of edge. Bonus: pink is a huge trend for SS17!
  5. Zara long quilterd down coat - £119  Trust Zara to throw out the most fashion-forward puffer on the high street. The oversize quilts are slightly reminiscent of the Marques Almeida runway coat while the huge, almost funnel-like collar is very Raf.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Review: Self.Styled by Andrew Lycett

Over the last 10 years, the concept of personal style has changed dramatically. Thanks to the proliferation of blogs, street style and Instagram, our sartorial choices have never been scrutinised more closely. Fashion industry insiders, and those trying to break in, are no longer simply dressing for themselves; personal style has now become a platform and a career itself. Digital media has had a dramatic impact; 10 years ago it was ludicrous that one could forge a credible career in fashion purely through posting pictures of their outfit online. And yet here we are, with armies of fashion bloggers across the globe adored for their personal style landing collaborations with brands, fronting campaigns and making a career out of how they dress.
For a blogger and someone who works in digital for a luxury retailer, I’ve welcomed this change. I know first-hand how hard bloggers work, one person publishing houses who write, edit, art direct, model and market their personal brand. That’s no easy feat, which is why I took offense at US Vogue’s recent attack on bloggers. It’s incredulous to think that Sally Singer, Creative Digital Director at Vogue, called out bloggers for changing outfits and being paid by brands to wear top-to-toe looks, declaring “you are heralding the death of style”. Alessandra Codinha, Fashion News Editor at, chimed in to call out the peacocking and “bought-and-paid-for front row”. Interestingly, both of these editors can be spotted in street style shots from the shows and neither of them acknowledge their peers being dressed by brands, ostentatious press trips which inevitably result in glowing editorial or the editorial bias to advertisers. People in glass houses…

In the context of personal style, this brouhaha questions the authenticity of bloggers, influencers and industry insiders. On the other end of the spectrum, social media has democratised the notion of personal style. While trends will inevitably still exist, the notion of what is “in fashion” becomes more diluted each season. For me, this is the most interesting development in personal style. Like many others, I’m much more inspired by what real people are wearing, rather than what designers have dreamt up in their ateliers. There’s a huge difference between fashion and style. Less consumerism and buying the must-have piece this season and more nuanced styling – it’s not the shirt but how you’re wearing the shirt, what you decide to wear the shirt with.
This is exactly what photographer Anthony Lycett explores in his new book – Self.Styled. The book is a “colourful celebration of expression, diversity and individualism through personal style”. Anthony approached people from all walks of life who are renowned for their personal style, from DJs to historians. Each person was asked to style themselves in two looks, one to represent daywear and the second to represent eveningwear.

 I’ve poured over the book and really enjoyed seeing familiar faces from the London fashion scene including Pandemonia and Daniel Lismore as well as people I’ve never heard of but undoubtedly have incredible style. Each set of photographs is accompanied by a quote or quote interview giving an insight into the subject’s personal style and what inspired them, giving an unique and subjective view on personal style. The book has been really inspiring; it’s a great resource to flick through before getting dressed. I always end up seeing my wardrobe with fresh eyes looking for inspiration to reinvent myself for that day. Isn’t that what great style is all about?
Self.Styled  by Anthony Lycett is available to buy on Amazon.


Friday, 18 November 2016

Mingalabar, Myanmar!

I’ve had enough about writing about how cold and miserable it is so I’m off! For the last couple of years, I’ve made a habit of booking a cheeky winter break, coincidentally when the weather is perfect! This year, I’m off to explore a lesser travelled country – Myanmar. I’m flying into Yangon today and over the next few weeks, I’ll be visiting Mandalay, exploring the temples of Bagan, hiking from Kalaw to Inle Lake and finally ending with a well-deserved rest at the beautiful Ngapali beach. I have a couple of blog posts scheduled while I’m away but if you want to keep updated with my adventures, follow me on Instagram.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

EatFirst's Festive Feast

Last week, on a dark and grey Tuesday evening, still reeling from the US Election result, I managed to find a little sanctuary to help me forget about the woes of the world. My long-time blogger friend Ashanti, of the fabulous Adorn Girl blog, chose the perfect night to host a festive supperclub in partnership with EatFirstLondon’s first online-only gourmet restaurant. There literally is nothing better for lifting your spirits than a feast of Christmas comfort food, a beautiful setting and great company.

The supperclub took place at the gorgeous Dead Doll’s House; Ashanti transformed the top floor into an exquisite private dining room with the most decadent, Instagrammable table as a centrepiece. Utterly dreamy. I was really glad to catch up with Head Chef, Benn Hodges, over a glass of his Aussie Eggnog. He has an incredible career, being named ‘Chef of the Year’ in his home country Australia, before hopping across the ocean to work at Michelin-starred London institution The Ivy and Roka, one of my favourite restaurants. It’s safe to say his background set the bar for the evening very high!

Benn was appointed Head Chef of EatFirst back in January 2016. The concept is super simple, the restaurant is online-only, therefore unlike other food delivery services, each dish is designed to be transported and delivered. This really piqued my interest, I’ve ordered via delivery serviced before only to be let down with lukewarm food which hasn’t survived the bike delivery intact. Each dish on the EatFirst menu goes through rigorous development and is freshly hand-prepared by London’s best chefs. The meals are cooked and arrive chilled, with a three-step meal card for heating, plating and eating. Simple!

Our supperclub was to celebrate the new festive menu, which launches on Friday 18th November. The menu is full of Christmas classics as well as indulgent Thanksgiving-inspired desserts. I was super pleased to find tons of vegetarian options on the menu, from the truffle mushroom soup with walnut crumble and parmesan scone to the Portobello mushrooms filled with spinach, goat’s cheese and herbed crumbs. My absolute favourite was the truffle mac & cheese, I actually gasped out loud when I had my first bite. We also feasted on piles of sides – the roast potatoes were crisp to  perfection and the glazed parnsips drizzled with organic honey were divine.

The festive menu is out this Friday. Check it out by either visiting the EatFirst website or download the app, which is super easy to use. EatFirst currently serves zones 1,2 and 3 with 45 minute delivery slots from 11am-2pm for brunch or lunch and 5.30-10pm for dinner. Yes, I said brunch. That amazing development team have worked their magic so you can order perfect poached which are delivered to your door. With or without a delicious Bloody Mary mix. They are actual angels on Earth.

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