Better Late Than Never

29 October 2014

shakshuka with smoked salmon Gail's Bakery

Time for a foodie break!  It's pretty much torture going through these photos on my computer when I'm eating something like soup in my lunchtime.  A lot of my recent eats are places I'd been meaning to go to for a while but never managed to get around to visiting.  They're all visually exciting in their own ways, Gail's because of the sheer amount of loveliness on display, Bird for it's vibrant décor with exposed brick and Bathazar for its timeless feel.  

Gail's Bakery brunch event
Gail's Bakery brunch event
Gail's Kitchen recipe book
brunch ideas
Gail's Bakery brunch event
where to find shakshuka in London


I have no idea why it's taken me so long to visit a Gail's.  Perhaps it's because I'm always spotting them and thinking 'Oooooh never knew there was a Gail's there' before going back to my business and completely forgetting to go back.  Never again.  On the morning of the bloggers' brunch I wasn't feeling too well, but wild horses wouldn't stop me from catching up with friends and trying shakshuka for the first time.  Baked eggs have always scared me purely because I'm fussy and don't like them runny but when combined with feta cheese and pepper stew, I can get on board with it.  I rarely mention goody bags, but we actually got to take some of the sourdough bread home with us, which made my lunches all the more interesting that week.   

BIRD free-range fried chicken in London
BIRD free-range fried chicken in London
BIRD free-range fried chicken in London


Interesting fact, I have a secret food related Pinterest board full of recipes and interesting places to eat but it is pretty much fried goodness.  I guess all of the 'healthy' recipes on my visible board are an illusion, in reality I crave things like fried chicken encased with waffles.  Back in the day (okay maybe on a recent night out) I've eaten some dodgy stuff that is miles away from what Bird serves.  For starters it's free range and doesn't get sickly if you eat too much.  I popped here with Winnie after deciding where to go based on Instagram, as I'm one of those people who secretly wishes that menus had pictures and I knew how much food to expect.  We ordered a mixture of pieces, wings and glazes as well as a refreshing Korean cucumber salad.  It's up there with CHICKENliquor (a.k.a Wishbone), though I may need to visit again soon just to make sure...

Balthazar French restaurants in London
Balthazar French restaurants in London
Balthazar French restaurants in London
Balthazar French restaurants in London
Balthazar French restaurants in London
Balthazar French restaurants in London


I got to experience Balthazar for the first time last week for a Lipsy fragrance event and it transported me to a world away from busy Covent Garden.  French themed but by way of New York, we sat down to a Winter kale salad with roasted butternut squash, almonds and cranberries, before tasting a cocktail inspired by the perfume itself.  The bread was also amazing here and is well worth picking up in their boulangerie next door.  Although we had a set menu, I was pretty happy with my chicken basquaise as it's something I wouldn't usually have chosen (it's a hearty sauce that is perfect for Autumn). This is the kind of place to bring friends who are visiting London or a family member who you want to treat.

That's it for this month's eats!  In November I'm looking forward to the Moretti Gran Tour pop-up, a spot of tapas and hopefully exploring what Crouch End has to offer.

Queens Of Quirk

26 October 2014

Whenever I'm asked 'Who's style do you admire?' it's tricky to give an answer.  In terms of celebrities I'm pretty picky and as much as I love seeing people glammed up to the nines on red carpets, it's everyday style I really love.  I say everyday but in reality us bloggers like to wear things like culottes and teddy coats just to go and fetch the milk.  Whilst doing my Instagram rounds I realised that the three personalities I'm featuring all had one thing in common, the quirk factor.  It's all about a dash of the unexpected whether it's trainers with a full skirt or enough pattern mixing to give Susie Bubble a run for her money.  As much as I can admire the minimalism that is rife whenever you search through the street style galleries, it's never really been me.  I'm drawn to contrasts and those who wear whatever they fancy when the mood takes them.  Since inspiration is best when it comes in threes, I thought I'd share some of looks I'm currently identifying with.  It's playful at it's best!

eleonara carisi street style

I seem to be taking a lot more notice of the Italian influencers at the moment and when I spotted Eleonara Carisi on a press trip earlier this year, I wondered why I hadn't started following her before.  She's one of those girls that does a little bit of everything, as well as running a blog, she designs her own collection and contributes to Italian Grazia.  Her proportions tend to favour a full skirt and even when she's dressed down, there's still bits of Chanel and Charlotte Olympia to provide a bit of excitement.  I'd definitely recommend her Instagram feed for a mix of honesty and inspiration, she's not afraid to pull a face and say what's on her mind.

asos freddie street style
Now we're back on home soil and ever since ASOS came up with their snazzy Personal Stylist feature, I've become obsessed with everything that Frédérique (a.ka Freddie) wears.  Originally from Paris, she's fond of a bit of masculine tailoring but also an eye-catching dress and statement accessory combo.  There's just so much to love and she's not afraid to smile in her photos.  The culottes I spied on her Instagram feed are currently in my saved items and I'm just waiting for her hair secrets.

valentina siragusa street style
Valentina Siragusa has one of those faces that you kind of recognise, due to it being featured on sites like Vanessa Jackman and We The People, so I've only been able to figure out her online haunts recently.  Better late than never I suppose, I've followed to keep updated with how she styles her wardrobe full of covetable brands.  She's not afraid of an 'ugly' shoe and taking a risk with that 'wrong' element that may make others scratch their heads.  It's an unpredictable sort of style and I can see myself hanging onto it defiantly, even when I'm rocking a zimmerframe.
Now it's time to ask you that difficult question, whose style are you admiring at the moment?  Do celebrities float your boat or do you prefer the 'influencers' that adorn our feeds instead?  These are the only people I could say have a similar style to my own at a push, there's colours, prints and a desire to try everything.  I guess that's what fashion is for me, a means to experiment and express myself whilst actually being able to walk around all day!

The Shopping Mission

24 October 2014

how to wear a bright duster coat

Some people grow up with holidays at Center Parcs.  I was brought up going to shopping outlets.  I only know about the existence of some UK towns since they have a discount village attached and I was a seasoned shopper by the time I reached my teens; I just love getting something amazing at a reduced price.  My main aim is to find the kind of special piece that you don't know you want until you see it, something that takes luck and determination.   I came pretty close to that moment several times at the McArthurGlen shopping village up in Cheshire Oaks, but alas I wasn't just thinking of myself this time.  I had to put together an AW14 trend edit, selecting my favourite pieces for the season ahead with a £300 budget and only a few hours to visit the 145 shops.  Even though I'd visited about twelve years ago and only really remembered the Burberry and Nike stores (priorities), they've since added a few more brands to get excited/distracted by.  I now know why people love Yankee Candle so much, hello salted caramel!

fashion blogging friends
where to buy discount Nikes
Nike outlet McArthurGlen Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet
shopping in cheshire oaks
Lulu Guinness outlet store McArthurGlen Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet
best uk shopping outlets
things to try at Yo Sushi
ASOS burnt orange duster coat

Coat - c/o ASOS
Jumper - Opening Ceremony
Skirt - Topshop 
Boots - c/o Boden
Bag - Next

With a photographer and videographer in tow, I did feel a little bit like I was on The Apprentice but I'm sure that my budgeting skills would impress any boardroom.  I stuck to my formula of wardrobe staples with a twist, so my edit includes a red Lulu Guinness bag, collared French Connection skater dress, frayed denim crop top from Warehouse and a sporty pair of Nikes (that I also ended up buying for myself).  I still can't stop thinking about some of the pieces I left behind, namely the perfect AllSaints motorcycle jacket that fit like a glove.  It's definitely the type of place to buy an investment purchase if you love any of the brands and I shall be saving accordingly for my next visit to any of their locations.  Anyway forget about my shopping woes, you actually have a chance to win my AW14 edit by following McArthurGlen and retweeting this competition tweet, I'd so love for one of you to win!
cool Nike trainers

A massive thanks to McArthurGlen for collaborating with me on this post and testing out my speed shopping skills.  I filmed a video here talking through my AW14 Trend Edit and I think I've finally toned down the crazy blinking/hand actions!