30 December 2013

adventure mode

M-adventure one complete, feels like time for another. It's been a busy month but it's great to let the mind experience new cultures (and warmer temperatures!) for a little bit. Posts are a-backing up in JJ-HQ and it means fun stories, pictures and projects to look forward to in the coming few weeks. I will continue to apologise for the lack of posting but I promise I'll try and make it worth it when I've written everything up.

Wishing you all a fantastic entry into 2014, here's to an even more delightfully sparkly year ahead!


12 December 2013

glitterati trail

The Glitteratti have hit Oxford Street and left a trail of glitterballs behind. Nice. Going to miss this view over the Christmas period but adventure awaits ahead...

Which also comes with the promise of more posts because I have been very MiA over the last month. So, watch this space.

Happy build-up-to-Christmas everyone :)

28 November 2013

gold leaves

COLLABORATION: Orla Kiely x Uniqlo

Oh how I love a good high street collaboration. Particularly when beautiful designs like this iconic print by Orla Kiely get married up with my beloved HEATTECH by +UNIQLO UK. So not only am I warm, but I was also able to blend into this golden background on a recent autumnal walk by the Thames. My parents used to enjoy telling everyone that I loved to colour coordinate everything and clearly I now seem to be taking this to a whole new level: colour and shape coordination. Either way, I have learnt that although I don't like the cold, autumn encapsulates the majority of my favourite colours: gold, yellows, greens and browns. Basically, I seem to like dressing up like I am a tree. I really need to branch out. That wasn't a deliberate pun, it honestly just came out. Oh my, maybe I am a tree! Moving on...

I loved wearing my Orla Kiely x Uniqlo HEATTECH turtle neck. It was perfect for a crisp walk along the Thames with buddies +Asad and Raj. It's a pretty recognisable print now but I still like how simple yet striking it is. A print that I think can go with any style, for any age, at any time; all of which plays testament to Orla Kiely's talent in design. This is my first Orla Kiely piece [for a very reasonable £12.90] and I'm sure I'll be incorporating more of her prints into my life in the future.

wearing | turtle neck (Orla Kiely x Uniqlo), cardigan (+UNIQLO UK), skinny jeans, tutu coat, boots (+Topshop), scarf (Accessorize) & backpack (present, handmade by the Textile Anarchist)

check out the rest of the Orla Kiely x Uniqlo range here
watch Orla's Google+ hangout QA with Carrie Harwood of WishWishWish blog here

all photos of me are by the lovely +Asad, remaining photos are by me

I think this walking by the Thames thing is becoming a tradition. Asad and I last did the full walk back in February on a crisp Sunday afternoon [when we also made a bunch of silly gifs]. He tells me it's a great running route and to be honest I should use this stretch of the Thames more often as it's so easy to get to. At this time of year, just before sunset [we timed it pretty well], the river and Bishop's park look great. Families, friends, boaters, dogs are out in their hoards and everyone is very relaxed. After our walk, we warmed up with a cuppa [Jasmine tea for me] in a cute cafĂ© and headed back home to face/avoid Sunday blues in preparation for a new week. I love these walks. They are a great way to clear your head and catch up on the week/weekend's shenanigans, which for me adds a lovely end to any week.

where | Thames Path, Fulham Football Club, Bishop's Park, Putney Bridge

26 November 2013

fiery celebrations

First off, apologies for the lack of posts it has been a busy old month. Another year has gone by and here I am celebrating another birthday. Time seriously flies but am always grateful to enter another year. Celebrations started early as I had a day off on the actual day and so ended up with a long weekend filled with my favourite things: food, drinks and good friends.

On the actual day, my birthday twin Nick also had a day off so we decided to go for birthday lunch together. We opted for Coco Momo in Kensington as we wanted to go to the Natural History Museum afterwards. There were so many delicious options. Nick ended up with the Lamb Burger [with haloumi, tzatziki & tomato relish] and I had the Honey & Soya Barbary duck breast [with bok choi & noodles]. I was also recommended the Roast Cod under "Grills & Roasts", the Miso Salmon salad and Cobb Salad. It was so hard to choose so I guess another trip in the cards! After lunch, we headed over to the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition. It's one of my favourites and thought it would be a fun birthday activity. Every year, I am amazed by the level of skill, creativity, thought and determination of each photographer. Whether you're interested or not in nature, animals and our relationship with wildlife, I would highly recommend this exhibition. It's definitely been an eye opener for me over the last few years. One of my favourite photographs of this year is of a dugong called Travelling Companions; you can check out this photo alongside others for a taster here.

After the Natural History Museum, Nick had to run to get ready for dinner so I stopped for a quick lemon-meringue-birthday-cake-to-me at one of my favourite spots Muriel's Kitchen before heading for birthday drinks at The Player. This is a bar I've always wanted to try out and thought would be a great venue to welcome in another year. I was joined by the lovely Ellie and we had a good giggle over bespoke cocktails thanks to bar tenders Darren and Giovanni. Music was great too and I'm sure I'll be back very soon :)

The next day, I got to celebrate some more with lots of good friends over Vietnamese food at Viet Grill followed by Brazilian drinks and tunes at Floripa in East London. Both venues were completely new to me and definitely perfect places to celebrate in. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food and drinks and hopefully had fun. I know I did. One theme which made it special throughout the night was how everything seemed to be on fire... the drinks, the food, flames galore! Pretty apt really as at the start of the week I had decided that this year I would paint my nails as birthday candles [check them out at the bottom of this post].

All in all, it was a pretty indulgent long weekend of food, drinks and celebrating but I guess if you're going to do it why not on your birthday. Particularly when you love food as much as I do! I had a super birthday weekend and thank all of my buddies for all the birthday love. I was surrounded by happy bubbles all weekend :)

birthday ootd [top] | lace skater dress, brown boots, frilly pink socks (all +Topshop), gold tube necklace (+H&M), black chandelier earrings (Aldo)

birthday "candles" nails [bottom] | base: mortimer street (Nails Inc), Rose Quartz Glitter (Barry M), candle: gold foil (Barry M), flame: electric yellow (Color Show by +Maybelline UK), deutsch you want me baby? (+OPI Products)

13 November 2013

storm hideout

Location | Bush Hall Dining Rooms, 304 Uxbridge Road, Shepherd's Bush, W12 7LJ

As Autumn rolled in on a rainy Saturday afternoon a couple of weeks ago, +Asad and I decided to try a new local: Bush Hall Dining Rooms. Sat proud on Uxbridge Road, and taking inspiration from the famous live music venue Bush Hall next door, this is a great little place to spend an afternoon and watch the world go by. Particularly good too when you're trying to hide out from a storm! Asad had passed Bush Hall Dining Rooms a fair few times already so it seemed about time we tried it out.

I've been veering away from too much coffee these last few weeks so on this occasion I opted for a Jasmine Silver Needle tea. Asad went for a builder's tea because he's classic like that. I was a big fan of the tea brand I had, it's from a company called Jing Tea and you can tell that it's high quality loose leaf. Food wise, I seem to be judging restaurants by their classic brunch offerings so went for an Eggs Florentine, Asad went for a burger, and later on for dessert we shared a slice of ginger cake. Our mains were good, but we both thought our dishes were slightly on the dry side. I felt my hollandaise sauce could have been smoother, more runny but that may just be personal preference. The ginger cake though was absolutely delicious, moist, packed full of flavour and went really well with my tea!

As for the venue itself, it really reminded me of a 1950s diner merged with a 1920s speakeasy. The red-white checkered floors and booths scream diner; the wooden tables and chairs, wood panelled walls and stylised bar felt like speakeasy. Not sure if this is the look the team were going for but I like it [I've put a picture at the end so you can see the potential parental heritage]. It's a really classy venue with a down-to-earth vibe [if that's at all possible], and I felt instantly relaxed inside. It may have just tugged at my love for these particular eras but I thought the details were well thought through [from the Jing tea sets and mini milk bottles to the furniture and lighting choices].

Asad and I ended up spending nearly 4 hours there chatting, eating, drinking tea and watching Uxbridge road go by and all for a very agreeable £15 each. All of the staff and particularly Miki, one of the Assistant Manager, made us feel very welcome despite us eating into the team's break... We were very apologetic when we realised we'd been there so long that we had gone into the start of their dinner service! However, that's just testament of how friendly and relaxed Bush Hall Dining Rooms is - and we would highly recommend visiting the team for a spot of breakfast, brunch or a pre-gig meal because it'll be worth it. I know Asad and I will be going back for more :)

thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon :)

4 November 2013

tribal prints

Location | Brixton Village

It's been a while since Emilia and I have been on an adventure. Where to go next? Brixton Village is one of those places we'd both heard so much about from various friends but had never actually ventured out too. Usually, it would come up in conversations because of Honest Burger. Either way, this must be a pretty good indication that if all else failed Emilia and I would at least be in the company of some good food. So, off we went, not really sure what to expect but excited all the same.

me | punk tartan-print dress (present from mum), leather waistcoat & brown leather boots (+Topshop)
emilia | flower-print dress, scarf, leather jacket, brown leather bag

Following trusty directions through Brixton Station Road Market and Pope's Road Market, we finally found the blue door - the only hint that existed for Brixton Village on our little route. As soon as we entered, we were hit by lots of colour and the smell of delicious food. The place is like a mini labyrinth of independent stalls, pop up restaurants and corner shops. We investigated shops selling anything from printed cloths, clothes, african print dresses, jewellery, vintage clothes to gifting bits and bobs. Everyone was very chatty and welcoming, making the atmosphere very relaxed.

After all the browsing, we decided to have a little sit down and snack on something. At this point, we realised that it was pelting down with rain outside and were very glad we had chosen a covered market to explore! We ended up having a couple of cheesy, tasty platters from Champagne + Fromage followed by yummy coffee from Federation Coffee. It was a lovely way to spend the afternoon, a really chilled out explore and now a new part of town both Emilia and I are sure we'll visit again. Be warned though, the food options are all really good so try to pre-book if you can (we sure will) or at least be prepared for a little wait; either way, I'm sure it will be worth it judging by the delicious smells and happy faces. Happy exploring!

31 October 2013

pumpkin pugs

H A P P Y H A L L O W E E N !

I've been really getting into the swing of Halloween these last couple of years. Mainly thanks to my American buddy KK (she throws the best Halloween gatherings, s'mores and all!) but also I've discovered that I actually love pumpkin carving. I like free-drawing a random pattern/face and just going with the carving flow. It's hard work, there were some red hands and some good elbow grease going into carving, but so satisfying once you see your design lit up in the dark. Have you guessed which pumpkin is mine yet? I'll give you a clue, I named him Fangy :) On the actual night of Halloween, I ended up going to a suitably halloween-y restaurant for my friend Pete's birthday. Guaca is a Mexican restaurant in Fulham. It was my first visit and I was really impressed with both the service and the food. I tried some new things tonight, 1) King Prawn Salsitas [prawns, peppers, onions and spicy sauce with rice and salad] and 2) Guaca Margarita [tequila, avocado, passion fruit, agave syrup and fresh lime juice], both of which were really really good. Fun atmosphere, beautiful skull prints on the chairs, and free-for-all sombreros if you really want to get in the mood. And to top it all off, I also bumped into the cutest trick or treaters tonight: Betty & Ben, pugs who dressed up as pumpkins. Super Halloween Chic and incredibly cute!

Hope everyone had a great Halloween :)

30 October 2013

A/W13 wishlist


It's that time of the year again. We have officially transitioned into layers-weather and I need to start looking for my beloved earmuffs and gloves. Keeping warm is serious business, particularly when your favourite temperature is in the late 20s, early 30s...

I haven't compiled a wishlist in yonks and this seemed like as good an opportunity as any other to showcase some great Autumn/Winter pieces I've stumbled upon over the last couple of weeks. Hopefully you like them too and maybe they'll give a little inspiration when planning how to wrap up in style these coming (chilly) months. Enjoy, and keep warm!

the watch | Michael Kors, MK3226, £209
why: the rich green is sophisticated, pops with the gold and works perfectly with those autumn colours; think it was love at first sight

the boots | Aldo, in black, £100
why: smart yet practical, these boots are perfect for the winter-woman on-the-go; yey to no slipping and staying stylish

the coat | Zara, in mid-grey, £89.99
why: no need to coat hunt when you can cosy up in this beautifully designed Zara bundle of warmth

the bag | Accessorize, in dogtooth, £22
why: a perfect day-to-night bag, this is a classy addition to the winter wardbrode; plus you get to sport the dogtooth and monochrome trends in one go, woop

the scarf | H&M, £12.99
why: this scarf makes me smile, love the earthy tones, and makes me want to go for long walks in the country; cosy cosy!