Friday, 30 March 2012

Weekly Love: Week 99

Today marks the end of my last week living in London full time. I had my last lecture of the year this morning, and though I have my flat until June and I'll be running backwards and forwards to attend meetings, events, two exams and to see friends, I'm catching the train back to Canterbury and now getting all my post sent to my parents house. I have enjoyed London, but I think I am going to enjoy having my base this Summer in the country a lot more - can you imagine living in London during the Olympics? It would be a total nightmare! 
1. Shooting Easter campaign images for Pilgrims Nook Holiday Cottages. | 2. The truffle 'H' box from Hotel Chocolate my friend Ed gave me for my birthday. | 3. Alix made my Green Pea & Mozzarella Soup for lunch and took this lovely photo of it on Instagram! | 4. Spring themed mini cupcakes from the Primrose Bakery at the Nicole Levy A/W12 Press Day | 5. On Sunday I spent the morning shooting in Hyde Park for Havianas Espadrilles with two of my lovely readers, Laura & Laura! (The latter of the pair wrote this lovely post on the morning!) | 6. Social Media 'Like' & 'Share' M&M's c/o Ebuzzing.

What have you been enjoying this week? (Aside from all of the beautiful sunshine!)

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

An Evening With Motilo & Natasha Zinko

Last night I was treated to champagne, bellinis and delicious canap├ęs care of the online network Motilo in the Natasha Zinko jewellery boutique on Maddox Street (it joins Regents Street and New Bond Street). It was lovely to finally meet and get to know the Motilo team, putting names to faces, and to be able to check out some truly beautiful and unique pieces from a designer that I knew little about. 
Purple is my favourite colour so I felt right at home in the deep purple boutique, decked out in comfy velvet colour block arm chairs, and gearing up for Easter with egg shaped tea lights and big bunches of tulips everywhere.
DSC_0365 DSC_0349
I usually feel really unladylike eating loads and loads of the canapes at events like this, but the food was too good not to. The catering was done by Novikov, a new Italian/ Asian restaurant in Mayfair. They have never done catering before, it was a special for this event. I was a particularly a fan of the parma ham wrapped melon chunks, the little bowls of marinated and roasted vegetables with mussels and the little bowls of marinated paella, chilled and served with a perfectly boiled quails egg half.
DSC_0393 DSC_0374
One piece of Natasha Zinko jewellery I was already aware of were her now famous bunny rings. Sorry the picture is not very good, but are they not adorable? The bunny motif, as well as that of elephants and sculls ran through a lot of her other pieces.
What I was particularly interested in, however was her pieces featuring skeletons and sculls. I don't know why, but I like my jewellery to have a slightly morbid or creepy streak...
DSC_0379 DSC_0384
I thought these suspended skeletons on swings were slightly creepy and rather awesome at the same time. I love the mixture of morbidity and the childhood motif of the swing, these earrings really make me think of mortality. (Yes, I know I started to sound like an art thesis there, I used to study both art and art history - my analysis of things come out rather academic at times, you should see me around the collection of Ancient Greek pottery in The British Museum or the Wilton Diptych in The National Gallery!)
DSC_0381 What is your favourite piece from the Natasha Zinko collection? 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Places To Eat In London: The Riding House Cafe

On Saturday with my friend Rachel I decided to check out The Riding House Cafe in Fitzrovia for brunch, an all day brasserie just North of Oxford Circus. It had such a lovely theme and atmosphere, and there was so much yummy food we could see coming out the kitchen, I really want to eat there again soon!
DSC_0302 DSC_0331 DSC_0314
They had a fantastic selection of rather delicious freshly squeezed juices on offer which were a fantastic kick start to the day. I was curious about the yogurt smoothies people were ordering, though, as they were served in milk bottles with a long straw! 
DSC_0307 DSC_0320
Rachel had a traditional full English, which I will be heading back to sample, it looked delicious, and she informed me that the bacon was perfectly cooked - it looks it too! 
I had a chorizo hash brown serves with semi sun dried tomatoes, two eggs poached to perfection, mushrooms and dressed spinach. The whole thing was absolutely delicious, though it could have done with more tomatoes and mushrooms, but that is just personal preference as they were both absolutely delicious! 

Have any of you had a meal at The Riding House Cafe? What did you eat? And do you have any more cafe's or restaurants in London you want to add to my stupidly long list of places to eat? 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Volcom x Boxpark: A First-Timer Guide To Visiting The Store

Do you remember my feature a few weeks ago on Californian DJ Duo Posso's collaboration with awesome Californian lifestyle and clothing brand Volcom? After I'd checked out the collection I headed off to visit Volcom's Covent Garden Store in the Seven Dials, and while I was there I heard that they were opening a new store local to me in Shorditch's Boxpark.
Now, even though it is really close to my flat, I'd never been to Boxpark at all, and before I'd Googled it I had no idea about the concept. Basically Boxpark is a series of shipping containers stacked up for five years outside Shorditch High Street overground station each containing pop up shops. How awesome is that? 
The new Volcom store is in box no. 13, head along the side of the container tower at street level to find it.
As each store has to fit into a shipping container, they are all pretty small, so I love the way the mirror down one side of the Volcom store makes it feel so much bigger than it really is. The wood panelling really reminds me of the ski lodge at Sierra in Lake Tahoe - it look me back to watching the world champion snowboarders filming in the snow park under me as I went up in the ski lift last Easter.  
Before you really start to explore the store, you really need to just stop for a moment and look up at the ceiling. Now, I really, really wish I was one of the artists who worked on this thing because it is just simply incredible. 
Next, observe the mens jeans to your left, and wish that all denim stores were helpful enough to display all of their jeans like this. 
I'm thinking of the beach here, an excuse to wear one of these pretty rad mens tee shirts with flip flops and sunglasses over your bikini? 
DSC_0114 DSC_0106
After looking enviously at the menswear, it is time to move onto the womans collections (as well as the Volcom core collection,  they have quite a few pieces from the Posso collaboration in store), but not before taking a moment to check out the sound quality on the Posso x Volcom earphones! 
DSC_0109 DSC_0126
If you're not feeling it already, the best way to ensure that you leave the store feeling totally inspired is to check out the great inspiration board on one of the back walls. It is too late to get a flight out to Coachella, right? 
Finally, take a moment to observe how awesome the shop mannequin in the womanswear section is. Usually in stores you'll see white mannequins, black mannequins or even pink ones. Only Volcom is awesome enough to have Volcom print shop mannequins! 

If you live in London and you've never been to Boxpark or to a Volcom store, I urge you to grab a friend and head over. Once you're done shopping, on the top deck you can treat yourself to anything from frozen yogurt to Mexican food and sit out on the deck in the sun! 

Friday, 16 March 2012

Weekly Love: Week 98

Spring sunshine is the most fail proof way of putting a smile on my face. This week has been a pretty chilled one, hanging out and catching up with my friends and enjoying some of the various cultural pursuits London has to offer such as the V&A, The National Gallery and the Tate Modern. I'm catching the train back to Canterbury this afternoon to spend Mothers Day weekend with my Mother and to work on the holiday cottages for a bit before heading back to London for a couple of weeks of bloggers events and my 19th birthday and dinner, before heading home again for Easter! 
1. Now Spring has sprung it is time for regular Raspberry Frappuccinos from Starbucks. | 2. The London Eye from Westminster Bridge on a sunny Saturday afternoon. | 3. Outside the Yayoi Kusama exhibition at the Tate Modern on Southbank. It was one of the best exhibitions I have seen in a very, very long time and if you are all interested in art, or you are not a big fan of art but you like to see pretty or crazy things, I really suggest you go and see it - it is worth the ticket price just to see the Infinity Room where lights, mirrors and darkness really make it seem as if you can see for infinity. The exhibition runs until June 5th. (And for more of a preview, Krisabel was brave enough to sneak a few pictures in the exhibition!) | 4. Outside the V&A Museum. | 5. An absolutely delicious chicken burrito from Poncho `no. 8. | 6. If you don't want to pay to see the whole Yayoi Kusama exhibition but still want to enjoy some of her work, in the education centre on the first floor of the Tate Modern she has recreated this childrens installation she originally put together in Queensland, Australia where anyone who walks into a totally white room is handed a sheet of coloured dot stickers and are allowed to stick them wherever they want - pretty fun and pretty awesome!

As if this post needs any more Yayoi Kusama, I really, really want this copy of Alice's Adventures I Wonderland that she has designed and illustrated. In other news, how awesome is the Super Mario-esque soundtrack? 

Also, a quick FYI, if you live in London and you love Motel Rocks, they are having a sample sale at their Great Portland Street showroom (71-73 Great Portland Street) from 10am Friday 22nd to 7pm on Saturday 23rd March!

What have you been enjoying this week? 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Blitz Vintage Department Store: Why I No Longer Hate Vintage Shopping

When I wandered off Brick Lane the other day to visit Blitz Vintage Department store I had already decided two things. One, that I was not going to blog about my visit because so many people have blogged about Blitz already, and two that I probably won't even like or want to buy anything because I really don't like vintage shops, most vintage clothes or vintage shopping. However, after spending about half an hour in the store those two notions had disappeared right out the window. 
DSC_0035 DSC_0057 DSC_0046 DSC_0042
I think the reason I loved this store, while I usually hate vintage stores is because it is all so well curated. Everything is arranged by style, colour, trend, all in different areas and really well spaced out around the store, unlike other vintage stores that tend to be really crowded with stuff, which is I think the main reason why I actually enjoyed shopping there. There are also fitting rooms to try the clothes on, which all vintage stores don't always have, and everything is clearly priced, something else I loved, because I hate having to ask how much something is or spend ages looking for a price in vintage stores.
DSC_0037 DSC_0039
I think Blitz really is the place to go to in London if you are looking for vintage cut offs (or jeans or denim jackets as you can see in the firs photo as well). Most of their cut offs are made from vintage Levi's and as well as having so many different colours, cuts and fits of black and denim styles, they have fashion colour styles as well such as, at the moment bright red and pastel pink (which I picked up a pair of) all at only £20 a pair! I might be going back at some point for a black pair...
Photos from the in store photo booth - something I will be utilising the next time I stop by and I am with friends! Bizarrely, I have never actually taken photos in a photo booth with friends...
There is also a lovely vintage coffee shop in store I would have grabbed something from if I had not made a Starbucks run right before hitting the store!

Blitz Vintage Department store stocks vintage clothing, jewellery, accessories, books and homeware from the 40's to the 90's and can be found on Hanbury Street, which is just off of Brick Lane (if you are coming from Liverpool Street and Spitalfields, the road you walk down to get onto Brick Lane, just keep on walking across Brick Lane). They also offer a 10% student discount on trend collections. 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Daylesford Organic, Notting Hill

Ever since through her blog, The Londoner, Rose introduced me to Westbourne Grove in Notting Hill, I have gradually been discovering all of the wonderful little shops and eateries it has to offer every weekend. One place I really must make plans to eat at soon is Daylesford Organic.
The first thing I gravitated towards when I stepped inside was the bread in the window - it all looked delicious, and was very reasonably priced compared to what you'd usually pay for bread in higher end stores like this.  
DSC_0479 DSC_0482
All furry friends must be left outside of course!
DSC_0475 DSC_0471
Fine, buying your product like this might cost a bit more than getting it in the supermarkets, but as well as being safe in the knowledge that everything is organic, it is all beautifully presented! 
DSC_0469 DSC_0472
I adore apple and elderflower juice of any form, and if it were not for the fact I'd have had to lug it around Portobello Market all afternoon, I would have treated myself to a bottle. 
In the back they have a restaurant which I now really want to eat in, I can imagine that the food being served must be delicious, and I love an all organic fresh dish! 

As anyone eaten in Daylesford Organic before? I'd love some of your reviews or recommendations! They have another cafe in Pimlico and sell their product in Selfridges Food Hall, as well as having their farmshop and cafe in Daylesford, Gloucestershire. 

Monday, 12 March 2012

Student Suppers: Super Easy Meat Free Chilli

I love a good Mexican, but I find making Mexican food at home is tough, and hard to get right unless you're willing to get everything right out of a packet or a jar. (Fajitas? Guilty as charged.) However, I recently discovered this uber easy formula for meat free chilli that is super easy to make, super healthy and you can make in a great big pot and store in the fridge to keep you going for a few days.
Super Easy Meat Free Chilli

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Places To Eat In London: Granger & Co.

It had been a while since I had been to Notting Hill for a brunch excursion, so on Saturday morning my uni friend Evie and I decided to check out Bill Granger's restaurant Granger & Co. on Westbourne Grove. It was absolutely packed, and we had to put our name down for a table and wander the shops for half an hour before we could eat, but it was well worth the wait!
These delicious looking cakes on the counter were making me really, really hungry while we waited for our food! I would love to have tried a slice of the divine looking chocolate one with all those berries!
DSC_0033 DSC_0017
I felt like a change from my usual brunch go to of homemade lemonade or spiced tomato juice, so I opted for an iced tea. When I took my first sip I was more than pleasantly surprised, it has to be one of the best iced teas I have ever tasted. I asked one of the guys behind the bar, and he told me it was made with breakfast tea, lemon and brown sugar.
DSC_0008 DSC_0029
After a rather long deliberation over their delicious looking menu, I opted for their scrambled eggs as recommended to me by the waiter (also, another woman across the bar from where we were perched had ordered them and they looks so deliciously smooth and fluffy) with sour dough toast and a serving of gravalax on the side. It was all absolutely delicious, but I have to recommend the eggs. They are just as good as they look, really, really smooth and light, a total melt in your mouth experience!
Evie opted for Ricotta Hotcakes with banana and honeycomb butter, served with maple syrup which was something else that was recommended to us. I took a bite and they were absolutely delicious, I'll have to be going back to have a whole plate of these at some point!

Has anyone eaten at Granger & Co. before? If not, I seriously suggest you head over to Notting Hill to try it. Unfortunately, as is fashionable these days they do not take bookings, so if it is totally packed when you arrive like it was at the weekend, why not try Ottolenghi around the corner, or Tom's Deli up the road?