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Friday's ffffound: Christmas in New York

23 December 2011

I'm flying to JFK tomorrow for a week in NYC... Happy Christmas!


Rockefeller Centre

Wood Pump NELLY SHOES

22 December 2011

Earlier this week it was chucking it down aaaaall day and night in London.  It was dark, wet, cold and bleak so some neon brights were called for, courtesy of Nelly.com...


Set up in 2004, the Swedish website NELLY stocks 750 known and not-so-known, up-and-coming labels.  With a focus on unique European designers, it's kind of ASOS purse-friendly price points and upwards including brands like Anne Sofie-Back, Bllack Noir, By Malene BirgerCheap Monday, Minimarket, Nowhere, Vero Moda and Vila.


Wood Pump NELLY SHOES
High wedge and platform in wood-like material and slightly pointed toe.

I couldn't resist these fun platform wedges from NELLY's own brand - I love the almond toe and the bright colour pop works really well with an otherwise all-black outfit.

Kristian Krokfors, Faraway

21 December 2011

I love the pale pastel colours on Pratt Contemporary art gallery's abstract Christmas card

Shiffa White Tea Moisturiser

20 December 2011

Shiffa (Arabic for ‘to heal’) is an organic beauty and natural healing brand which was set up in Dubai in 2004. After training as a doctor, Dr Lamees developed Shiffa’s first product which nourished sensitive skin by providing hydration and conditioning to firm, tone and restore the skin and body. After the success of this first product, and with her knowledge in dermatology and an interest in using natural products for holistic healing, the founder created the full range of skincare products for men and women.

Starting out in her own home, Dr. Lamees blended and customised oils to create indulgent products with luxurious ingredients such as Iranian rose, South East Asian tamanu, Indian amber, Egyptian jasmine, Lebanese orange blossom and African shea butter which are all carefully sourced from the country of origin.


I’m currently addicted to the White Tea Moisturiser which is a protective, balancing cream for normal to combination cream.  It smells fresh, feels light and the anti-oxidative green tea extract defends against the visible signs of ageing.  Hooray!  Even for spring chickens, it’s never too early to start preserving youthful looks…  Other ingredients include evening primrose oil and jojoba oil for supple skin, carrot oil to regenerate and radiate and hazel balances breakouts.

Treat yourself to Shiffa’s luxurious creams, scrubs and treatments because they’re worth the hype, price and numerous international beauty awards.

Uniqlo SS12 Press Preview

19 December 2011

I went to the UNIQLO press show earlier this month to check out the spring/summer 2012 collection.


There were plenty of simple, versatile basics and well-designed sporty separates which, in true UNIQLO style, come in every colourway possible.

soft marine-inspired, cashmere-blend stripy knitwear

stylish sportswear in a feminine palette of lilac, soft greys and monochrome. I can picture these pieces at yoga and pilates classes everywhere already...

stacks of old school airtex-style polo shirts and tees...

... in rainbow bright colours

UNIQLO has collaborated with Orla Kiely to produce dresses, blouses and shirts which will be in stores in the spring.  As you can expect from the pattern-obsessed designer, the collection focuses on retro graphic prints and classic motif patterns in bold colours.

60s Fred Perry-style striped collars on casual polo dresses

breathable sports fabrics in neon brights

Christopher Kane Bluebell Dress

18 December 2011

I went to two sample sales the other day - I didn't allow myself to buy any shoes at Nicholas Kirkwood due to pre-Christmas budgeting but the Christopher Kane prices were ridiculously cheap for designer pieces, so I couldn't resist.


I'd been eyeing up this long-sleeved Bluebell Dress (and the sleeveless version too) for a year and love the inkjet floral pattern in all its electric blue and bright green glory.


'Florals get a downtown makeover with Christopher Kane's round neck bluebell-print black satin-jersey tank dress.'


  • 100% Lycra
  • Dry clean
  • RRP £600 but guess how much I got it for? £30! Practically giving it away...

Friday's ffffound

16 December 2011

The Christmas They'll Never Forget! Cadillac advertisement from 1955  

Christmas Dinner Badges from M&S

15 December 2011

These Christmas dinner badges from Marks & Spencer are jokes.  They include Turkey carver/ Potato peeler/ Dish washer/ Head waiter/ Table setter/ The boss and would make a funny little gift for the family on Christmas Day.


Make sure everyone's involved in the party this Christmas with this set of humorous badges! From peeling the veg to setting the table, there's a task for everyone to carry out.

If you can't face the high streets in the build up to Christmas and you're a clicker rather than a queuer, take advantage of M&S's online exclusive for 25% off selected items, which expires 23 December 2011.  (There's also 50% off Christmas cards, wrapping paper and crackers!)

Percy & Reed Haircare

13 December 2011

Last night I used the Totally TLC Hydrating Hair Mask from Percy & Reed (which, incidentally, would make a great Christmas present) for the first time.  It’s a whipped, pale pink cream with lots of nourishing ingredients including marshmallow extract, coconut oil and aloe vera to moisturise and restore vitality.

Beautiful packaging with pretty illustrations

I massaged through hair from root to tip and then covered with the schexy bonnet included to create a warmer temperature, which opens the cuticle and allows the nutrients to penetrate the hair more.

I love this time of year, but one of the worst things about December – indeed all winter – is alternating between central heating and cold temperatures all day, which wreak havoc on hair and skin.  Even though sun damage is a problem in summer, it’s just as important to ramp up your beauty regime in the colder months to look after yourself and this rescue remedy is ideal as it left my hair feeling supple, more manageable and shiny.

Whistles Resort 2012 Collection Preview

12 December 2011

Last month I went to an event at Selfridges to preview the upcoming Resort 2012 collection from Whistles.  The evening was hosted by the brand's CEO Jane Shepherdson and Sophie Ferguson-Jones from Grazia.


There was champagne, macarons, a NARS nail bar and a whole raft of gorgeous dresses for that in-between-seasons lull in January/February/March when the rich and fabulous jetsetters need a new wardrobe for when they travel to warmer climes.  For those who are staying put in the cold wintry months, we can still dress the part...


The first resort collection featured loose feminine tailoring, quirky pineapple prints,stripes, spots, a muted palette including black and white, high hemlines and an amazing short suit which will be high up on everyone's list in 2012.

black lace with an ostrich feather trim

I also spotted the Lydia Lace Feather Hem Dress from the current AW11 season, which is a gorgeous black cocktail dress (above) perfect for the party season.

Jane Shepherdson, far left, talking through one of her favourite pieces from the resort collection

ASOS Checked Shift Dress

This ASOS Shift Dress in Check arrived today.  The prim pattern in green, grey and shades of blue is part preppy St Trinians and Clueless and the checks and casual sweater neckline and sleeves make it part 90s grunge.

It's work-appropriate with my patent leather tassel loafers for daytime and my suede fringed shoe boots with stacks of gold jewellery dress it up for night.


'Check mini dress featuring a contrast tartan check motif, round neckline, dropped shoulder seams, contrast long sleeves styling, wide cuffs, mini cut length, and an exposed zip fastening to reverse.'


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Friday's ffffound

9 December 2011

THE OUTNET 85% off clearance sale

8 December 2011

Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear...  I'm going straight from the office to the Christopher Kane and Nicholas Kirkwood sample sales and as if that wasn't bad enough for my bank account, now I learn that THE OUTNET's clearance begins at 8am tomorrow.  For four days only, 1,500+ styles are ALL 85% off.


I have about 25 things in my most wanted list and whichever items are priced at 15% of the original RRP are being bought. I apologise to my friends and family for the lack of Christmas presents...

Current favourite items:


Jonathan Saunders Asymmetric color-block jersey dress

'Be the picture of color-block-cool by slipping into Jonathan Saunders' sporty-chic jersey dress.'


Kat Maconie Kirsteen snake-effect leather flats

'Kat Maconie's rose gold snake-effect leather ballerina flats are a timeless wear-anywhere addition to your footwear collection.'


Issa Strapless sequined silk dress (which will be £1,100 down to £165!)

'Keep evening looks simple by pairing Issa's glittering mini dress with sky-high pumps and a sleek clutch.'


Kevia Crystal-embellished gold-plated stud earrings

'Kevia's handcrafted jewels will make a beautiful gift for stylish friends - we love the faceted crystal embellishment within these gold-plated flower stud earrings.'


Pedro Garcia Cher lace-up suede boots 

'Lace up navy suede boots from Pedro Garcia with stitch detailing, eyelets, looped tab at the top, almond toe and a 4.5 inch heel.'


Antik Batik Embellished brushed-silk dress (very Kate Middleton)

'In a delicate blush silk, Antik Batik's petal-embellished dress takes the label's bohemian aesthetic into seriously elegant territory. A compact clutch and ornate pumps will complete the look with finesse.'  Ooh and I still love that pretty Antik Batik Adeli sequined dress too.

This may be my downfall...

(The sale starts on Friday 9 December at 8am GMT and ends Tuesday, December 13th at 9am GMT.)

L'Occitane Delicate Cherry Blossom

6 December 2011

Last month I went to a L’Occitane event showcasing their latest festive collection and I was given a beautiful Delicate Cherry Blossom Collection boxset.


The range focuses on the delicate feminine fragrance of the Cherry Blossom tree and the products are displayed beautifully, wrapped in orange tissue paper in a bright pink patterned gift box which is ready to go straight under the Christmas tree.

Eau De Toilette (100ml), Shower Gel (250ml), Body Lotion (75ml), Cherry Blossom Soap (50g) and the Cherry Blossom Hand Cream (30ml).

The French beauty brand stumbled upon a traditional sweets factory in a little village called Tourrettes-sur-Loup in Provence which inspired the sugary, mouthwatering products in the Christmas gifts collectionThe Délice des Fleurs collection features fresh, sweetly-scented floral products with a hint of vanilla, mandarin and berries so it smells good enough to eat.


Another great present idea is the Trio Délice des Fruits Collection of fruity products inspired by citrus-scented delicacies and treats.  Or go for the international best-seller Shea Butter Hand Cream which softens hands and cuticles and is invaluable in the cold winter months making it a perfect stocking-filler.

I’m a big fan of L’Occitane (I’m still using the Peony Eau de Toilette fragrance which I was given last year). I love that the products are made from natural ingredients - there aren’t any nasties to irritate sensitive skin so they suits all skin types, making perfect gifts.  

Christmas Roses

5 December 2011

George Condo at the Hayward Gallery

4 December 2011

The George Condo 'Mental States' exhibition at the Hayward Gallery is the American artist's first major retrospective, featuring 80 works split into three sections: Portraiture, Mania and Melancholia and Abstract-Figuration.


I suggest banishing those early winter blues before the exhibition closes next month by visiting some charming, humorous oddities like this cookie monster-type character portrait.  Stare at it long enough and you'll laugh.  His mental state is cheerful.

Red Antipodular Portrait, 1996 Oil on canvas, 152.4 x 121.9cm

Condo's art is rooted in the traditional painting style but his subject matter is very much modern, inspired by 20th-century comics, cartoons and his crazy imagination.

The Hayward is also showcasing Pippilotti Rist's 'Eyeball Massage' exhibition, which is immersive, mesmerising and downright mental.  Both are a must-see.

George Condo: Mental States, the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre

18 October 2011 - 8 January 2012

Friday's ffffound: Serge Mendjisky's NYC Skyline

2 December 2011

One of my favourite collage photographs from Serge Mendjisky.

Moroccanoil For Life

1 December 2011

Hello my name is Layla and I am a Moroccanoil addict.  I can hear you tutting and rolling your eyes because everyone’s a Moroccanoil convert, or at least everyone who’s tried it is, but it’s a recent discovery so give me a break!


I had my hair done during Vogue’s Fashion Night Out and the stylist recommended Argan Oil products to make my thick, wavy hair a little less unruly.  And she was right; you work a small amount of the Original Oil into damp hair and it leaves smooth, silky, shiny hair without leaving a greasy residue like heavy serums.  Argon oil (from the nuts of Argan trees commonly found in Morocco) is the active ingredient which is an antioxidant, a UV protector and controls frizz as well as salon treatments.

I also rate the Hairspray - sod Elvive, this is the best I've ever used.  My hair is soft to touch, feels natural and the invisible hold is so flexible there’s certainly none of that horrendous crispy 80s Maggie T feel you get with most hairsprays.  So I'm sold. 

Moroccanoil Hair Treatment, from £26 and Moroccan Oil Hairspray, from £16 in salons

Ashish Sequined Silk Cropped Pants

30 November 2011

Ashish’s Autumn/Winter 2006 collection was my first front row catwalk show – which was an amazing experience as AW06 is still one of my favourite collections to date – and ever since then the Indian-born, London-based Ashish Gupta’s work has made my heart all aflutter.


Ashish is all glamorous sequins, neon brights and tacky, humorous slogans.  It’s fun, frivolous fashion and these mid-rise, sequined embellished silk cropped pants from The Outnet hit the spot for eschewing the typical cocktail dress for a unique party season outfit. 

  • Gunmetal grey
  • 100% silk
  • WAS £775 NOW £348.75 (£55% off)

Friday's ffffound: Christmas party

25 November 2011

Daniel Galvin at the Corinthia Hotel

21 November 2011

If, like me, you’re constantly striving for glossy, polished hair then you need to pay the new Daniel Galvin salon a visit. Immersed in the luxurious, marbled 5 star Corinthia Hotel in the heart of London, the second Daniel Galvin salon recently opened as part of the uhmaaaazing ESPA Life spa.



The spa team is on hand for manicures or pedicures right there within the salon making it a one stop shop for all your pampering needs.  If you want to pull out all the stops for an event, you should visit the ‘Ultimate Movie Makeover Room’ (pictured above) which Oscar-winning make-up artist Lois Burwell helped create.



The room has an old-fashioned barbers chair surrounded by mirrors, TVs, iPads and comes complete with lighting designed for make up.  It's a world first and is created to offer complete discretion and privacy to visiting celebrities, actors, actresses and privileged salon guests.
 

The interiors strike a balance between opulent and extravagant and calming and relaxing, with a neutral palette of earthy brown tones and clean, white surfaces dotted with fresh orchids and lots of sparkling glass, chrome and polished mirrors.



I spent last Saturday morning there and emerged, for the first time in ages, looking “done”.  I had a nourishing Detox Miracle Solution treatment, which contains Vitamin C, removes pollution and seals the cuticle for super shiny locks.



A film producer lady commented on my swishy, baller blow dry in the lift leaving the salon and another nice girl complimented my do just outside of the hotel lobby.  Two comments from complete strangers in the space of a few minutes is reason enough to book a return appointment…


Daniel Galvin at the Corinthia Hotel London, Whitehall Place, SW1A 2BD

Friday's ffffound

18 November 2011

Monsoon Lolo Lace Tunic Dress

17 November 2011

I walked past Monsoon on Upper Street last night and saw this delicate dress at the front of the shop and fought the temptation to go in...


The Lolo Lace Tunic is a fully lined gorgeous colour block tunic in emerald green lace. I'm glad that I didn't go into the store, because there's a 25% off sale on at the site until Sunday!  Enter code MONNOV25%AF and check out the festive style guide for more gorgeous Christmas party dresses.

MAWI Jewellery London sample sale

The hottest jewellery label around, MAWI, is having a huge sample sale with up to 80% off retail prices next Friday 25 November in London.  How am I going to explain my lack of presents for friends and family? "I'm sorry but I had to have the Triple cluster beetle necklace (below) - it was £810 down to £300, so I hope you understand..."


9am - 8pm, Friday 25 November
MAWI STUDIO, 2 Nimrod Passage, London N1 4BU
See you there!

Richard Herring: What is Love, Anyway?

16 November 2011

I went to see Richard Herring last night because, despite going to Edinburgh Festival five times and seeing lots of comedy in London, I had never seen him before. Even though his mission for his latest show was, rather depressingly, “to destroy love”, I laughed my socks off* as it was resonant, well-written and very funny.


Inspired by his previous Fringe show ‘Christ on a Bike’, after which he claimed that it was foolish to mock religious people as we all believe in “made up nonsense” to get us through life, he chose to explore and attempt to define the irrational notion of love in all its blind faith glory.

Anecdotal and honest, Herring flitted between the romantic and scientific as he discussed different types of love and what they mean. He spoke about his first girlfriend (at aged ten, his first "relationship" lasted four breaktimes), the love of his life (his current girlfriend) and ended the gig with a heart-warming story about familial bonding.

Having grown up on Fist of Fun and seeing Herring amongst infantile comedians on TV, I was expecting a fairly puerile show but it was personal, reflective and I’d even go far as saying at times profound.

At Soho Theatre until Saturday 19 November 2011 and touring nationwide in 2012

*not literally; I was wearing tights.

Furla Leitmotiv Bag

15 November 2011

It might down to excitement for the gaudy, glitzy and juuuust about right side of tacky Versace for H&M collection, but I'm strangely drawn to Furla's Leitmotiv bag.  The Italians really know how to work those in-your-face bold prints...


Doctor bag in PVC treated canvas and satin lining. This year’s Leitmotiv for Talent Hub collection is inspired by the fascinating world of tarot cards. The protagonists are the ace of cups, as symbol for harmony, honesty and joy, and the jack, representing intelligence, vitality and courage.