(Flapper dress, Oasis, £75.)
So, I’ve spent the past week hunting for 1920s gear. I’ve always been a huge fan of the art deco style anyway, but as I’m off to The Great Gatsby night at Wilton’s Music Hall in a few weeks, I need something fabulous and so the hunt has begun!
(Limited edition twin frill dress, Topshop, £85.)
This is proving to be a particularly tricky task. Despite the fact that this style is hugely fashionable right now, finding anything affordable and suitably embellished is tough. French Connection have a wealth of beautifully beaded dresses starting from £200 if you have the budget. Otherwise, keep your eyes peeled for drop-waist beauties, fringed skirts and sequinned shifts.
(Pearl queen strappy dress, French Connection, £350.)
Friday was a dramatic day for those of us working in media-centric Fitzrovia. The “armed siege” (as dramatically proclaimed on Sky) rather took over our lunch-time conversation. However, we counteracted our fears over whether our office was going to be blown up, by fueling up on fab club sandwiches courtesy of one of the best locals; The Lukin.
I’ve been a fan of this rather shabby pub for some time. A bit rough around the edges, it’s less consciously cool than the other nearby pubs and as a result, gets a roaring trade from our office. And so it was, for the second Friday in a row, I found myself chomping down on their mouthwatering club sandwich.
I’m not the kind of person to EVER opt for a club sandwich. When I think of one, I have visions of soggy bread cut into triangular shapes, with rather pathetic pieces of chicken and bacon, accompanied by sub-standard salad all speared with cocktail sticks. This club is NOT one of those. A magnificant rustic sourdough loaf sliced in half containing a giant piece of straight-off the grill chicken and delightfully smoked bacon served up with skinny fries – this is the club sandwich of champions!
For only £6.70, I’d highly recommend you try it. Oh and while you’re there, make sure you sample some of the home-brand tangy ketchup – it’s spectacular!
The Lukin, 4 Conway Street, W1T 6BB.
(Sunblaze, red lace skirt, Anthropologie, £148.)
My campaign for colour continues as the rain beats down on yet another day in London. Today, I’ve sourced some rather fabulous skirts for you to moon over. As this season is all about ladylike chic and looking well pulled-together, you can’t go far wrong with a statement skirt paired with a simple tshirt or cami.
(Aztec skirt, Monsoon, £42.)
From red-soled shoes to sporting a red dress to a wedding (a definite no-no), the colour is synonymous with sex appeal and flirtatious behaviour, whether intentional or not! So, to counteract this, I’d keep the top half simple or neutral and your heels below 8cm (think a K-Middy special), especially if you’re intending to work this look in an office environment. You don’t want to give the impression that you’re on the pull!
(Carven tweed skirt, Matches Fashion, £277.)
Today is all about dancing! You’ve gotta love it. Give me a large dance floor and the opportunity for a dance-off and I’m there.. so I was in my element this weekend when I finally made it down to Bunga Bunga – the latest venture from the guys behind Maggies and Barts.
Situated in Battersea, just over the bridge from the Kings Road, Bunga Bunga is a pizzeria and karaoke bar which becomes a serious party venue after dark. It’s a lively place with a good sense of humour, kitsch decor and people who aren’t ashamed to let loose on the dance floor. But unlike the original definition of the name, there’s no swingers or corrupt ex-Prime Ministers in there!
We gatecrashed a private party in the glass-roofed Osservatorio room. The walls were covered in vintage astrological charts and peppered with telescopes. It felt as though we’d stepped into an eccentric’s drawing room! The rest of the bar was equally bonkers. From the ground floor where the barmen were dressed as pizza delivery boys to the second floor Eurovision room, it was fun every step of the way!
A word to the wise – be prepared to queue if you get there after midnight. Also, if you’ve been reading the papers recently and are going there to pick up Prince Harry – you may be disappointed. Rumour has it, he’s only actually been there once, although Princess Beatrice was there the same night as us, but you’d be hard-pushed to tell – the upstairs bar is virtually pitch black!
Bunga Bunga, 37 Battersea Bridge Road London SW11 3BA.
(Cross my heart midi dress, Three Floor, £118)
Need some inspiration for the weekend? Today, I’ve been taken by the colour-block trend. It’s grey outside so I refuse to wear a colour palette of dark, dingy colours – it’s our chance to fight back and reclaim the rainbow. French Connection recently devoted a whole promotion to breton stripes, Marni took on H&M and Whistles’ blog is awash with colourful combos. Fashion just got exciting and it’s all thanks to the block!
(Striped knit with block border, Jaeger, £114)
So, I’ve sourced some of the best colour block items around right now for your viewing pleasure. A few ground rules before you kit yourself out head to toe as Beetlejuice. It’s all about sophistication. You don’t want to look like you’ve had an accident with a paint roller so stick to a maximum of 3 colours or if you’re going for more than 3, keep it tonal. Also, don’t mix and match. Either a top or trousers, skirt or a jacket. Going all-out will result in bag lady comparisons. And nobody wants that!
(Colour contrast skirt, Karen Millen, £115)
The Alma – a popular name for a pub it seems and not only that, good pubs. I’ve visited The Alma in N1 a number of times. Great food, great atmosphere and definitely the kind of place to while away the hours with a couple of pints.
The other night I went to another Alma – this time in Wandsworth. A pub, dining room and boutique (so it claims) hotel and found that it lived up to the Alma name in terms of quality and experience. The pub itself is a little rough around the edges – still has more of a boozer vibe as opposed to re-furbed gastro. It’s also packed with commuters so maybe worth a miss. What isn’t worth a miss is the dining room..
They have an excellent, extensive menu with more than enough exciting options to tickle your fancy. We were quite intrigued by the smoked mackerel rarebit and my heavily pregnant friend was wowed by the chorizo-stuffed corn fed chicken supreme. They also feature your standard pub grub – sausages and mash, pie, burgers…but all with a nice twist such as supplying venison sausages as opposed to pork for example.
All in all, a good place for dinner with friends and some guaranteed tasty eats. So, next time you’re at a loose end near Wandsworth Town station…
The Alma, 499 Old York Road, Wandsworth, SW18 1TF.
It may have been a while since we last spoke, but I’m back and I wanted to share my recent handbag obsession with you!
An Italian brand which has been supplying bags, shoes and accessories to the masses since 1927, Furla epitomizes understated cool without being flashy, label-heavy or as expensive as half the other designer brands out there. I love the subtle fastenings and good quality leather they use and so I find myself this season hankering after one of their beautiful bags..
Get yourself down to their Regents Street store for some lunchtime eye-candy or browse online..your choice. Here are my favourites!
(Montmartre Boston Bag, Furla, £370)
(Furla, Equestre Large Top Handle Bag, Saks Fitch Avenue, £614.19)
(Globetrotter Messenger Bag, Furla, £315)
Anyone who knows me, will know how much I love tea. Morning, noon and night – I can’t get enough of the stuff. While earl grey is my perennial choice, it’s all about peppermint mid-afternoon, jasmine before bed and perhaps the odd english breakfast mid-morning just to shake things up!
So, it was a delight to discover a new tea shop opening right by my office which has at least 30 different teas to choose from – err hello! Yes, that’s right – Yumchaa on Tottenham Street is the 4th branch of tea shop in this quirky chain. It’s all about serving loose tea to the masses in a relaxed setting and encouraging people to try something a bit different.
What I like is that there are samples of the tea leaves for the crowds to sniff to assist with the selection process. There’s everything from black teas, to green teas to white teas, not forgetting rooibos varieties along the way! I couldn’t resist the Earl Grey Blue Star which has beautiful blue flowers in it as well as smelling absolutely divine.
Anyway, if you’re looking for somewhere to relax with friends which doesn’t involve alcohol – this is the place for you! They serve yummy bagels and homemade cakes along with a small selection of coffees (if you really can’t drink tea!) It’s all about the mismatched tables and chairs, unusual wallpaper and industrial giant light-bulbs hanging over the counter. If Shoreditch did tea rooms…
Yumchaa, 9-11 Tottenham Street, London, W1T 2AQ.
Today’s obsession – blazers! A cheap one can look horrendous, but a well-lined, structured one is the key to sartorial elegance. I have been on the hunt for a new pale pink blazer for summer since my previous one died a death…for now the hunt continues, but in the meantime, why don’t you take a look at the beauties I’ve uncovered en route 🙂
(Stone fringe back detail jacket, Warehouse, £70)
A few pointers for you too – jersey blazers are a no-no. They’re supposed to smarten your look, not convey the appearance that you’ve rolled out of bed in it, creases and all. Why would you want one which looks like it’s been constructed from an IKEA duvet cover anyway?! Bizarro.
Keep an eye out for fittings. These make or break an outfit. Cheapo buttons make your jacket look cheap. Equally a badly-chosen zip, buckle or toggle will bring an unfortunate eurotrash vibe to your look. Steer clear or buy new buttons!
(Smoking suit jacket, Mango, £79.99)
Finally fabric is key. Cheap, non-lined cotton blazers from H&M have a nasty habit of gathering in all the wrong places. Scary polyester numbers equally give you a bargain-bin edge. Try to go for something which doesn’t have a shine. Also, make sure the blazer fits. Anything oversized on the shoulder or ill-fitting around the bust/back area completely ruins the lines. I’d err on the smaller side for a more trim, lean appearance. Go forth and blaze!!!
(Buckholme navy and white stripe blazer, Aubin & Wills, £175)
Long gone are the days when Shoreditch was purely a cutting-edge grimey destination, boasting raves in carparks and sketchy bars. These days, it’s less rave, more gastro and as a result there are plenty of foodie destinations to explore.
I found myself in the Owl and the Pussycat on Redchurch Street last weekend for a friend’s birthday. In the space of about 3 years, Redchurch Street has gone from being a standard backstreet with the odd gallery, to a hive of drinking and eating establishments.
All low ceilings and rustic charm, this pub emanates the east-end tavern vibe. Downstairs is full of your classic, trendy crowd and on a Saturday night, it’s heaving. If that’s not your thing, head back on a quieter night and take advantage of the original bar snacks such as parmesan chips with black truffe mayonnaise washed down with a pint of Hobgoblin.
Upstairs is the more formal dining room which they have styled in the self-proclaimed ‘Dickensian swish’ look. Here you can sample the full menu which has a predominantly fishy range of choices including oysters, white bait, mussels and crab. I’ve heard they also serve up a mean Sunday roast…and who can resist that?!
(The Owl & Pussycat, 34 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DP)