30 March 2015

CHICAGO ARCHITECTURE

Chicago is known for its architecture and the city's impressive, super-sized skyline is one of the best I've seen - I love art deco architecture and it's in abundance in the Windy City, from historic landmarks and massive public buildings to big office blocks, sat against modern glass and steel skyscrapers, iconic towers like the John Hancock Center and Willis Tower, elegant hotels and the legendary houses of architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

Chicago skyline at night


As most buildings in the downtown area were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, there was a boom in the 1880s and 1890s with new buildings shooting up in a variety of styles and original designs, including many world firsts: architectural pioneers explored using steel frame construction instead of cast iron and the "Chicago School" architects emphasised the skyscraper's vertical nature using large plates of glass, which became the first modern skyscrapers.

Chicago skyscrapers
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27 March 2015

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: PRETTY IN PINK

Pretty in Pink classic 80s movie
Friday night is movie night!  Watching this 80s classic later...

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25 March 2015

HANDS FREE HEROES

I'm not normally one to lust over the new "it bag" - (if you save up, why would you want something over-exposed and passé in a few months?) but the latest hands-free, cross-body bags from the likes of Valentino, Saint Laurent and Givenchy...  Be still my beating heart!  What's your big SS15 splurge?

Saint Laurent Classic Monogram Green Suede Shoulder Bag

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24 March 2015

FOLLI FOLLIE HEART BANGLES

Folli Follie surprised me with a pretty little ribbon-tied orange and white box on Valentine's Day.  Inside was the three rose, silver and yellow gold plated Love&Fortune bangles with an interlocking heart motif, which are perfect for stacking with my other clashing metal bracelets.

Folli Follie heart bangles

Check out the Heart4Heart collection for more girly jewellery and accessories - each piece features four hearts: one for love, one for beauty, one for hope and one for promise. All together now: "aaah..."

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23 March 2015

MEMPHIS THE MUSICAL

The best new musical to hit London's West End is Broadway's award-winning Memphis at the Shaftesbury Theatre, starring the "British Queen of Soul" Beverley Knight.  Crikey, she has a pair of lungs on her.  Over in the States, Memphis won four Tony® Awards including Best Musical, and the UK production is currently nominated for ten WhatsOnStage Awards and nine Oliviers, having opened in October 2014 to critical acclaim.

Beverley Knight in Memphis the Musical - Olivier Award nominated musical

Inspired by true events from the underground clubs in segregated 1950s Tennessee, the story follows the forbidden love between white radio DJ Huey Calhoun (played by stage star Killian Donnelly) who wants to change the world with rhythm and blues and aspiring singer Felicia Farrell (Mrs Knight) ready for her big break.

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20 March 2015

COLOURFUL CAMDEN

Pretty pastel buildings in Camden - London architecture - beautiful England
pretty pastel buildings in Camden last week
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19 March 2015

ABSTRACT EDITORIAL

The sun's coming out to play so everyone's retiring the black and dark colours from their daily wardrobe and starting to embrace a bit more spring colour. This fabulous editorial inspires a little colour clash, from pink and red or coral to pink, pink and pink.  From the February 2014 issue of Vogue Brasil, it's big, bold, crazy and fun.

Vivid pink fashion editorial with Zuzanna Bijoch Vogue Brasil February 2014
Model: Zuzanna Bijoch & Photographer: Zee Nunes

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18 March 2015

BEAUTIFUL BUDAPEST

As we loved our stay at the Hotel Parlament last time we visited Budapest, when we went back last winter we stayed at the sister property, Hotel Palazzo Zichy.  The elegant four star boutique hotel is housed in a classic 19th century building, formerly the residence of the Hungarian noble Count Nándor Zichy, in a great downtown location on the Pest side of the city in the historical Palace quarter.

Beautiful Budapest bridge

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L'EAU D'ISSEY CITY BLOSSOM

Last month I attended the launch event for the new fragrance from Issey Miyake, L'Eau d'Issey City Blossom, at the brand's Brook Street store in Mayfair.  Inspired by the fleeting moment a spring flower blooms in the city, the new eau de toilette is floral, fresh and woody with top notes of pink pepper and light lemon, a floral heart of magnolia and freesia before finishing on a white musk and natural cedar base.

L'eau d'Issey City Blossom

The limited edition packaging and bottle (the original L'Eau d'Issey design from 1992) feature decorations by French visual street artist Mademoiselle Maurice, who was also at the launch decorating the boutique windows with pretty origami flowers.

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16 March 2015

TROPICAL PRINT

The SS15 collection from Warehouse is very Céline and Chloé: a pared down aesthetic, lightweight casual separates, 70s denim, luxe fabrics like suede and a clean, muted palette peppered with botanical prints.  This palm print shirt dress brings a touch of summer to the office...  And it's soon-to-be-mine.

Warehouse SS15 tropical print shirt dress
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BORA AKSU

The Autumn/ Winter 2015 collection from London-based Turkish designer Bora Aksu, shown at London Fashion Week last month, was inspired by Oscar Wilde's The Nightingale and the Rose and the vibe was romantic, dreamy and wonderfully feminine.  Elegant lace, appliqué flowers, pussy bow blouses, preppy satin collars, intricate embroidery and billowing sheer fabrics in a palette of lilac, gold, pink, smoky grey and royal blue with gothic dashes of black.

Bora Aksu Autumn Winter 2015 Ready to Wear catwalk show

The hair and make up was delicate, with soft eyeshadow, sweeping schoolgirl side partings and long, shiny hair.  The looks were finished with big jewels and grey, black or burgundy leather shoe boots with rolled down socks and embellished with crystal brooches.  Here are my favourite ten looks from the Central St Martins graduate's beautiful show.
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15 March 2015

PIPPI LONGSTOCKING

Pippi Longstocking
celebrating Mother's Day by dressing in schoolgirl checks (Boohoo coat and Topshop dress) and plaits
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14 March 2015

Aqua Nueva

One of my favourite places to meet for drinks in summer is the Aqua rooftop bars by Oxford Circus.  I went for dinner at Aqua Kyoto last summer, then visited the modern Spanish sister restaurant Aqua Nuevo last month for the first time and we weren't disappointed.

Aqua Nueva restaurant, London

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13 March 2015

FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: BEJEWELLED

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11 March 2015

OLIVIA PALERMO IS A BABE

As if we needed a reminder.  Here's a colourful old editorial from the August 2012 issue of Tatler Russia featuring Miss Palermo wearing a red chiffon and lace gown, elegant mustard yellow blouse, fur-trimmed coat, clashing polka dots and stripes, plenty of luxe fabrics and hanging out with a tiny puppy at a florist.  It may be almost three years old, but these photos and outfits are still beautiful.

Olivia Palermo in Tatler Russia by Santiago Esteban
Olivia Palermo in Tatler Russia shot by Santiago Esteban
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10 March 2015

S FACTOR BY TIGI

Like a lot of teens, I was very much into TIGI's Bed Head range in the early noughties - it launched in 2003 in the UK and the cool neon bright packaging, delicious smells and edgy adverts made it an instant hit.

S Factor by Tigi haircare products

I recently attended TIGI's latest event for their more grown-up sub-brand, S-Factor, launching a range of products which promise all sorts of improvements beginning with 's': sexy (voluminous bounce), shiny (a shampoo and conditioner made with diamond dust and crushed pearls, apparently), smooth (rich treatments softening unruly hair), silky (a repair conditioning treatment made with sunflower seed oil and silk), sealed (to boost the radiance of coloured hair) and styled (offering a polished, glamorous finish). 

I've only just started trying out the products, but they smell of mouth-watering papaya and leave my hair feeling softer; I particularly like the Smoothing Lusterizer which tames frizz and humidity (a must for London) and can be applied to wet or dry hair.

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8 March 2015

FIRST DAYS OF SPRING

Back in London after a week of base layers, fleece-lined Gore-Tex and snow, I reached for a pair of heels and summery dresses and embraced the warmer temperatures.  Whilst this week wasn't quite cardigan-only weather, it certainly felt like the first few days of spring: little blossom buds appearing on trees, daffodils in bloom and lighter evenings.  Hooray.

London fashion blogger Emma Louise Layla in floral print ASOS dress
neon pink floral ASOS dress, red croc leather Marks & Spencer bag and black patent Clarks shoes

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6 March 2015

KAREN MILLEN FLORAL PRINT SCUBA DRESS

Well hello there, beautiful. This floral print dress from Karen Millen has caught my eye... A flattering high neckline and long sleeve cut with flared peplum hem in form-fitting scuba material emblazoned with a bright, bold digital print.  Good to wear with black tights now and bare legs in summer.

Karen Millen floral print scuba dress
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FRIDAY'S FFFFOUND: FLAMINGO

Flamingo print
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3 March 2015

TANGO FIRE

Argentine dance troupe Tango Fire recently performed their new show Flames of Desire for two weeks at Sadler's Wells sister theatre, The Peacock, which I saw one Saturday night last month.  I've seen a fair share of different types of dance - salsa in Havana, flamenco in Sevilla and in Valencia and lots of fusion ballet and contemporary styles over the years - but this was the first time I'd seen a proper tango show and it was just as I'd expected: energetic, sensual and passionate.  They're dubbed Argentina’s hottest dance company for a good reason.  They're also the world’s leading tango company and a global phenomenon with sellout seasons across the globe and a YouTube audience of 18 million, so it's a good place to start.

Tango Fire - Flames of Desire - Sadler's Wells February 2015

The cast, including World Tango Champions, comprises several sets of couples: the girls in slinky satin or beaded thigh-split dresses, fishnet tights and heels are paired with men with slicked back hair in slightly naff three piece suits in matching colours.  The group perform one-handed lifts, spins and lead dancer German Corneo's choreography in twos or fours (while costume changes took place) and altogether in ensemble pieces to a live band performing classic tango music on stage.  I would love to watch a show like this one hot summer's evening in a Buenos Aires dance hall; it felt like the real deal.  One for the bucket list.

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1 March 2015

SKIING IN ZELL AM SEE

I just got back from my first trip to Austria for a fantastic week of skiing at the beautiful lakeside town of Zell Am See in the Kitzbühel Alps.  I put my new Sweaty Betty gear and Dragon Alliance goggles to the test, tried to cover as many pistes as possible, perfected my six words of German, après-skiied like a pro and overdosed on schnitzel.  Sehr gut!

Skiing in Sweaty Betty ski gear on the Schmittenhohe mountain in Zell Am See, Austria

I hadn't been for years so my skiing was a little rusty, but my boyfriend was learning to board so was in ski school for the first couple of days so I could reacquaint myself with the mountains at my own pace.  I took a few tumbles: day one I clipped my skis at the front and arabesqued my way into a full-on faceplant, day two a beginner snowploughed into me, day three I fell a couple of times due to tired legs, day four no falls (woo hoo), day five I fell over playing around trying to go backwards, day six no falls again and on the last day I fell over at the top of a particularly steep black.  Overall I was pleased with my pretty low fall count.

Skiing in Zell Am See, Austria

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