Lemony lace in the place

(Yellow lace top, Matalan, £16)

It’s rare that something specific captures designers’ imaginations quite like the current trend for lemon lace which I have fallen in love with. Everyone from Stella McCartney to Valentino are showcasing this trend..and even the highstreets are getting in on the action.

I love this skirt below from Karen Millen. Team with white to rock the Christopher Kane look (at a fraction of the cost) or with a black blouse as below. Classy and fresh – love it!

(Cotton lace skirt, Karen Millen, £140)

Also loving this cute shift from Warehouse – nicely structured with a built-in waist, this is great for curvy girls and has a real 50s feel..wear with a cream blazer and neutral heels and you’re ready for anything!

(Lace dress, Warehouse, £58)

Arthur and the apples

Avalon – apparently it was a legendary island in the tales of King Arthur. It was also meant to be abundant in apples. I quite like these explanations, but far more than that, I like going to the pub – The Avalon in Balham. Refined and elegant, the name more than suits it..and so it was again I found myself heading there for a sunny Sunday lunch yesterday.

The Avalon was revamped a few years ago and now boasts a fantastic dining area reminiscent of a Victorian bath-house with its beautiful while tile brickwork and airy space. There is also a large beer garden at the back which is a favourite spot for post-work spritzers in the summer. All in all, it’s certainly one of South London’s finest gastro-pubs. It’s also part of the Renaissance pub group (there’s 6 in all) – all of which are worth investigating.

We plumped for ciders and roast beef all round. (It was a blazing sunny day afterall!) Arriving within 10 minutes, the plate consisted of a giant yorkshire pudding, lashings of rare roast beef with plenty of gravy, roast potatoes and vegetables. A perfect way to spend a lazy Sunday!

(The Avalon, 16 Balham Hill, London, SW12 9EB)

Luxe sandals

It’s that time of year again! The sun is out, we’re all attempting to break out our Spring wardrobe and inevitably you are starting to reassess whether you have anything stylish (that isn’t black or a boot) to wear on your feet.

(Carvela Kute bow sandals, Kurt Geiger, £55)

I find that March or April are the prime times to pick up your summer sandals. The shops have all the best ones at this point so if you want to get ahead, buy some NOW..rather than struggle with the bargain bins come June.

These beautiful Ravel ones are top of my list. Thanks to Dorothy Perkins, Ravel shoes are back on our radar..and not only are they 100% leather, they are also super glamorous. I cannot wait to get these out!

(Ravel leopard wedge sandal, Dorothy Perkins, £55)

My tip for the ultimate in luxe sandals are embellishments and good quality materials. Currently hankering after these very expensive Moschino fork sandals in black and gold – a classic colour combination, versatile and very luxurious – these will see you through the season if you can stump up the cash in the first place!

(Moschino Fork-front sandals, Farfetch.com, £329)

A little bird told me

Sometimes you stumble across a place that strikes a chord with everyone; atmosphere, food, location – rarely do they all come together to make dining heaven possible. However, this is what Bluebird does in abundance and why it’s my favourite place to dine in London with the girls from school!

Bluebird, set on the Kings Road is part of the D&D restaurant group so you can expect a certain standard, but what’s nice about it is that you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy the food here. We’ve dined here on the Evening Standard menu many a time – £10 for the courtyard cafe or £15 in the main restaurant buys you 2 courses and a glass of wine – what a bargain!

If you’re here for lunch – I suggest sitting out in the courtyard and grabbing a burger in the sunshine while enjoying a glass of crisp white wine. Alternatively, if you’re dining upstairs, my favourite thing to do is grab a bottle of red from the bar post-meal and settle into one of the cosy areas by the bar and unwind.

For the shoppers amongst us, The Shop at Bluebird (beneath the restaurant) is a designer haven. Far too tempting after a few drinks! The only pitfall is that the crowd can be a little snooty at times – this is the KR afterall! But go armed with your designer handbag and at least you can clobber them with it if it all gets too much!

(Bluebird, 350 King’s Road, London SW3 5UU.)

It’s the pleats!

As Ron Burgundy once said ‘I’m sorry… it’s… the pleats!’ Well this time I’m not referring to an unfortunate trouser incident, I am in fact referring to the array of fabulous pleated skirts which are filling up our highstreet stores right now. They are crying out to be purchased so to purge myself of these urges, I will instead share them with you in hope that I may not be rushing out tomorrow to snap up one of the below!

(Pleated Colourblock Skirt, Oasis, £45.00)

I can’t get enough of them..ever since Whistles launched the Carrie skirt last Summer in 3 different colours, they’ve been on my radar, gradually chiselling away at my resolve not to keep purchasing the same thing. (NB. Don’t look at the Lottie skirt if you found the Carrie irresistible!) Then tonight on my way home from work, I was drawn to the French Connection poster on the tube. The one with the flippy peach skirt announcing ‘The skirt is happy’ was speaking to me! Damn advertising – I WANT TO BE AS HAPPY AS THE SKIRT!

(Mariella Silk Pleated Maxi-skirt, Glassworks Studios, £275.00)

So here I am on the cusp of falling into a black hole of pleats once again, but this season there are loads of variations on the original midi-length we all wore last summer. There’s a nice mini, dip hem, maxi and patterned ranging from cheap and cheerful, right up to designer fantastic! I hope you’ve enjoyed these..I’m off to..er..not buy any of them. Honestly!

(Cecile Stripe Pleated Midi-skirt, Whistles, £125)

Take a timeout

I work in Fitzrovia, which for those of you who don’t know is media-central just north of Oxford Street. It’s buzzy and vibrant and there are more than enough bars, restaurants, cafes and sandwich shops to tickle your fancy..one of those places is the cute and relatively unobtrusive Sardo Cucina.

Sardo Cucina is an Italian coffee shop – an offshoot of the original Sardo Canale restaurant based in Primrose Hill. It’s perfect for a quick coffee or for grabbing some freshly made pasta, a slice of pizza or a panini. Small, but perfectly formed – it even provides Italian newspapers for the customers – a sure sign that even native speakers themselves frequent this coffee shop.

I visited on a sunny afternoon and it was a great way to escape the bustle of the main streets and take a time-out during a busy day. We tried the torta di riso (rice cake) which is a bit of a speciality. It is unusual, but delicious to taste – composed of risotto rice and rice flour which creates its unique flavour. Delicious.

So next time you’re looking for some peace and quiet and some good food, try Sardo!

(Sardo Cucina, 110 Whitfield Street, London, W1T 5EE.)

Diane’s style lessons

I’ve never been one to cite specific celebrities as either an idol or style inspiration, but it has recently come to my attention that there is in fact one woman whose effortless style is something I have continued to admire subconsciously for some time. As a result, I wanted to share with you my favourite style moments from the beautiful Diane Kruger. I’ve never seen one of her films, but hey the woman knows how to dress…

What I love about Diane’s look is that she always looks well pulled together, but without having styled herself within an inch of her life. She uses good tailoring and complements it with sharp shoes, loose hair and simple accessories. The winning combination – easy!

This outfit is super cute – boyish, but without losing too much femininity thanks to the the placement of the bow tie and the expanse of toned leg on display! Also a huge fan of her two-tone shoes – very S/S 2012!

Now this is formal-wear at its finest! The gorgeous blue silk skirt and sequinned bodice make this a real showstopper. Diane works a structured top half, but softens the look with the flowing cobalt skirt. It’s classy, but again, not overly fancy or attention-seeking. LOVE!

And my two favourites – the killer red dress with excellent shoulder and belt detail which add interest. Contrast that with the off-duty slouchy shorts and lace top. Diane, we salute you!

Japanese in Geneva?

I recently visited Geneva on business and finding ourselves exhausted and weary after a long day travelling, we opted to dine at our hotel, which some may say is a risky business.

Not so much at the Movenpick, for their Japanese restaurant Kamome is ‘the best in the region‘ according to the front desk, but as it turns out this isn’t far from the truth and we tasted some of the best sushi any of us had ever had.

Seated at the sushi bar, we had a prime view of the expert chefs making an incredible amount of sushi at breakneck speeds. All were beautifully presented on platters made of ships or accessorized with fans of leaves which had been cut out in doily-style patterns.

We started with a range of sushi including california, spicy tuna & avocado and plenty of pickled ginger. It was fresh and delicious – basically everything you could ask for from Japanese! Next course we opted for teppan yaki meat – duck for two of us and beef for the other. All beautifully cooked (pink at our request) with stir-fried vegetables and rice, the dish was light and full of flavour.

Definitely recommended for those staying in Geneva on business, especially if you happen to be situated near the airport! Take note though, this is Geneva, so NOTHING is cheap. You can expect for spend around £60 per person for a meal such as this which includes a couple of glasses of wine! Ouch.

(Kamome, Route de Pré-Bois 20, 1215 Genève, Switzerland)

Minty madness

Pastels are everywhere right now, however I can’t seem to quite get my head around wearing baby blue and powder pink – it feels a bit twee.

(Berenice Bejo in a mint green gown at the 2012 Oscars)

However, the one Spring shade I have taken to is mint. Since Berenice Bejo stepped out in a beautifully jewelled mint gown at the Oscars, it’s been taking over my wardrobe rapidly. Mint is beautiful, mint is elegant and fresh and mint is the go-to trans-seasonal colour! Here are a few beauties I’ve spied. Enjoy!

(Koko soft leather ballet pumps, Topshop, £40)

(Lace dress, Zara, £49.99)

(Leather Pippa bag in Mint, Modalu, £195)

Head east for Vietnamese

These days, there are certain areas of London which are synonymous with particular cuisines. Take Stockwell, did you know it was a haven for Portuguese cafes? There are some brilliant ones. Likewise, the Kingsland Road in East London have a plethora of Vietnamese restaurants within a one mile radius. Here’s where you’ll find Song Que.

Having tried more than a few in this area, I can safely say that Song Que is the best. The beauty of Vietnamese is that it has really clean undertones. Where Chinese is heavy and gloopy, Vietnamese capitalises on fresh flavours from simple ingredients and good seasoning. Song Que has got this down to a T and as such delivers a delicious feast in exchange for a small amount of cash. (Under £10 for plenty.)

All green and white decor, the sparse interior doesn’t offer you much comfort (and the loos are REALLY basic) but if you want good food with a big group of friends, you can’t go far wrong here! Be sure to try one of the hot and sour noodle soups – these epitomise Vietnamese cooking, but watch out for the chillis. There are also some delicious stir-fry options and crispy pancakes which you should taste. Now I’m hungry!

(Song Que, 134 Kingsland Road  London E2 8DY)