31 August 2013

the oriental meringue

They were meant to be meringues topped with berries. They're now a pretty oriental pattern. Go figure.

nails | base: spilled milk (Topshop), meringue pattern: gold (Barry M) & berries: pulsating pink (Rimmel London)

29 August 2013

the nosh diaries

nosh nosh nosh nosh nosh, pt. one
feat. | Angels & Gypsies, The Dolls House, Muriel's Kitchen & Jubo

A bank holiday without good food wouldn't really be a "holiday" now would it? Agreed. Spoilt again for delicious nosh over the long weekend, this is my adventure in a (fair) few words and pictures. Enjoy :)

all (on-the-go) photos by me

Angels & Gypsies, SE5 8TR (Camberwell)
with: +Diane, Sofia, Sam & Ella
I would never have known this little Spanish gem existed unless it was for a local. Modern tapas is the theme and this restaurant knows how to deliver. We had freshly made food from your traditional dishes with a twist (salt cod tortilla & jambas croquettas) to the more modern (mushrooms in oyster sauce & rabbit with chickpeas and spinach) alongside some very tasty Sangria. If you ever pass through or live in Camberwell, this is one to add to the list :)

The Dolls House, N1 6NN (Old Street)
with: Alexander Fabulous
On a warm saturday evening, I was whisked into a normal looking townhouse on Hoxton Square. As soon as the front door opened, I was greeted with a fabulously dressed doorman and entered a very playful dining space. With an exclusive members club and an atmosphere I can only describe as you-had-to-be-in-the-know to have found your way in, The Dolls House (pop up space from The Dead Dolls Club) feels very special. Service was quick and friendly, the menu small but perfectly formed: Roll Up! rolls which come with a variety of fillings (we chose pulled pork, yum) and the cocktails classic flavours. All in all, a nice little treat and tasty!

Muriel's Kitchen, SW7 2ND (South Kensington)
with: Ashleigh
Located right above South Kensington tube station, I have walked past Muriel's Kitchen several times and finally decided it was time to try it out. Ashleigh and I were well overdue a catch up so ordered the full shebang. I had grilled salmon, she had the lasagne and we shared two sides: bulgar wheat salad with pomegranate & butternut squash salad. For dessert, I had a berry cheesecake and Ashleigh had a brownie. The food definitely had a homemade feel and portion sizes are generous so come with a good appetite! Nana Muriel's legacy looks like it has successfully lived on :)

Jubo, EC2A 3AY (Old Street)
with: +Chris
Tasty fried chicken feast alert! Newly opened Korean canteen Jubo sits alongside Shoreditch's popular Bedroom Bar. The concept is simple: Korean-style street food, particularly fried chicken. The decision to perfect and differentiate one key dish is something I really appreciate and think is rare in the London food scene. Spain does this very well for example, and  I do feel that sometimes the simplest menu means the chef can really focus on getting it right (plus there is nowhere to hide if it's a house speciality!). Jubo Head Chef Leon has moved from a high-powered advertising job to focus on his passion - experimenting with a variety of flavours and cooking techniques, I think he's potentially found a very accessible and winning offering for the masses. Go over to just enjoy some tasty chicken (the £10 menu gets you x2 wings, x2 strips and a Korean Hite beer) or alternatively enjoy some quality chicken after a good night out at the Bedroom Bar. Either way, it will be worth it ;)

26 August 2013

three into one

First of all, apologies for the level of blur in this post - we had lighting issues but were just having too much fun we went with it. If you have ever visited my blog before, you will have noticed that I am a big +Uniqlo fan. I am particularly fond of their flannel shirts - they are versatile and super comfy. Introducing my most recent purchase: one shirt, three different check patterns. AKA the "3 into 1". Casual (I wore it to lunch at Angels & Gypsies) yet still appropriate for the evening (I later went to dinner at the lovely Dolls House), this is a pretty great all-rounder shirt. I paired it with my Zara riding-style leggings, black wellies, fun frilly socks and a statement necklace. We decided the look was almost country-meets-east-london. What do you think? My lovely friend Sofia also decided to backwards french plait my hair so that I could still keep my quiff and this is the result: a fun little up-do! 

[A foodie post (because it was just THAT good) is coming up soon.]

wearing | flannel check shirt (+UNIQLO UK, similar here), black leggings (Zara), wellies (Primark), baby pink frilly socks (Topshop), gold necklace (+Accessorize), umbrella (Sofia's!)

more fun (blurred) outfit outtakes below :)

Hair: Sofia | Artistic Direction: Sofia & +Diane | Photos: +Diane

22 August 2013

hare's got game

It's that time of the week again. Nailspiration this week has come from a recent trip with Nathan from the London Larder to a press event at The Jugged Hare (tube: Barbican). Part of the Ed & Tim Martin (aka the ETM Group) family of fine gastro pubs, The Jugged Hare stands out from its siblings because of its unique focus on game (the meat, not the entertainment).

The Concept | Game = all food served is in season which means if you can't catch it this month then you won't be able to eat it. The concept is therefore quite simple, you get to eat beautiful food that is naturally in abundance (as locally sourced as possible) which means every month you visit you will probably get to try something different and might even learn something new too.

The Detail | From the outside, The Jugged Hare may look like a normal pub but when you get inside you quickly realise that the design and feel of the pub comes with a high level of detail and quality. Elements I really liked were: 1) all wines are individually sourced from great producers or at auction by owners Ed & Tim, 2) one end of the walk-in chiller has a glass window into which you can see a variety of the fresh game on the menu that week and 3) you can attend some witty-named, tailored events throughout the coming months centred around what's in season - "dates for the diary" include: Glorious Grouse, Tweed Off, Phantastic Pheasant & Game and Fine Wine Pairing evenings.

What We Ate (and Drank) | Upon entering the press event room, we were handed a delightful little sloe gin cocktail (right up my street) and greeted with a room full of guests from all walks of life. Nathan and I decided to be unsociable because we were exhausted and just wanted to catch up (boring, I know!). Throughout the evening, we were offered trays of various delicious bites - my particular favourite was the Red Grouse Burger*, it was the tastiest little burger I can honestly say I've ever tried. We also had the house signature dish Jugged Hare (a 30-something hour cooking process involving water baths, jugs and wine) with mash and apple pieces, Breaded Grouse Legs with garlic-chilli mayo as well as yummy Mushroom Arrancini. Nathan also tried the specially brewed house "Jugged Hare"pale ale which I think he really enjoyed. To top it off, we had a mini raspberry cheesecake and chocolate torte. All very tasty.

* The Red Grouse Burger | breast of red grouse with grouse paté, red current jelly and watercress in a brioche bun | i.e. heaven in a bun

The Setting | Because I am super nosey, I asked one of the waiters if we could get a tour of the full restaurant which he kindly obliged. Richard told us about the Ed & Tim Martin ethos, how the restaurant concept had come about as well as all the little facts I've mentioned in this piece which I wouldn't have known otherwise - like the events, the glass walk-in fridge and Ed & Tim's love-slash-appreciation of special wines. Richard was extremely knowledgable and clearly a great advocate of The Jugged Hare which was lovely to see. The restaurant itself is cosy and classy, with an open kitchen and overall had a very relaxed vibe - great date venue or just to have a nice meal with friends.

Every time I travel, I always think that nowhere else does pubs quite like Britain. We definitely have a spectrum from the local to the high-end, and I have to say that The Jugged Hare is a great ambassador for British Gastro Pubs. It offers something different but still maintains that great British feel. At one point, I said to Nathan that it felt like we had been transported to a hunting lodge somewhere in the countryside, enjoying our catch of that day. Meat lover or not, this is a special place and I would highly recommend dropping in if you are ever in the Barbican area. So go on, get your Game On.

Hopefully, the inspiration for my nail art this week (and what they actually are) is quite obvious. (The bunny on my thumb looks particularly crazy, ha). Nathan and I couldn't stop with the puns all night so I will leave you with this one: This week's nail art is hare today, gone tomorrow... well, more like next week :D

nails | base: blue moon, bunny: mushroom, ears: pink (all, Barry M), eyes: spilled milk (Topshop) & trophy wife (Essie)

thanks for stopping by :)

19 August 2013

cutie koala

My new koala bag, super soft, handmade and straight off the plane from Australia thanks to +Diane is just too cute ^.^ My inner-kid was just too excited to take cutie koala out and about. As CK is grey, I decided to pair him up with my newly favourite crazy face jumper from Forever 21. Cute + Crazy = Fun, right? Seemed to make a whole lot of sense in my head. Either way, this was one of the most comfortable outfits I've worn in a while and was perfect for a day filled with yummy brunch, exploring Canary Wharf and lazing about on a lovely Sunday afternoon with friends over good food and drinks.

wearing | monster face jumper (+Forever 21), black leggings (Zara basics), white spotty shirt (Gap), cutie koala bag (Australia), smiley stackable rings (+Accessorize), wooden bracelets (+H&M)

photos by +Asad Dhunna

14 August 2013

floral coral

It's been a while since I've put up an outfit post! Hopefully this fun little outfit will make up for it. Coral is fast becoming one of my staple colours, sitting nicely amongst the core black, grey and whites :D I just think it's a lovely colour and happens to suit my skin tone well. So, when I saw this top on sale at Zara my eyes were immediately drawn to it. There is a these-are-my-grandma's-curtains look to it but the print is so statement cute that I had to have it. I actually bought my leather black shorts (which I've been living in) at the same time for a bargain total of just under £30. To top the outfit off, I felt like it needed my current favourite sunnies (also coral!), my espadrilles and a fun bowler hat and here are the results. Hope you like them :)

wearing | floral top, black leather shorts, coral and tortoise shell sunnies (Zara), black bowler hat (ASOS) & brown espadrilles (Sole)

10 August 2013

one year young

This week marks a little milestone for me: my first bloggerversary! I genuinely can't believe it's been a year already since I started this little blog of mine but here it is and it feels a little unreal. Why? Because 1) I have the attention span of a two year old so the fact I've even managed to keep this thing going is beyond me and 2) When I look through my posts over the last year, it makes me smile that I was able to capture so many lovely moments. It's been an exciting journey, I've learnt a lot (but am sure I still have a lot more to!), made some new friends, discovered great new haunts in London - and most importantly, I just wanted to say a BIG thank you to you for stopping by and taking the time to either look at, read or comment on my blog. Hope you like my Year One highlights and here's to many more adventures to come :)

nails | base: spilled milk (Topshop), candle: pulsating (Rimmel) with pink flamingo (Barry M) stripes, flame: electric yellow (Maybelline Color Show) with deutsch you want me baby? (OPI)

Blog Stats | Year One

Total posts: 79
Most viewed: backpack bonanza, let's be clear, it's a structured life, lulu emilia and me at tea, my sake journey
Most readers: UK, US, Russia, Germany, France, Canada, Australia, Netherlands, Spain, Romania

Top Fives | posts by key theme

Outfit & Lifestyle posts

1 | styled in celia & lulu emilia and me at tea - this is cheating but both outfit posts starring +UNIQLO UK collaborations with designers Celia Bertwell & Lulu Guinness are two of my favourite posts

2 | blue suede shoes - these shoes were an absolute bargain from +H&M and are my favourite summer colour this year

3 | lucky seven - this is definitely my most colourful post and favourite musing times with +Asad in one of our favourite areas of London: Notting CHill

4 | playing camouflage - another really colourful post but this time with a hint of street art discovery with my friend Adrian made for a fun little afternoon in East London

5 | snow play - I had lots of fun giggling and playing in London Snow this year, there is snow in my hair in this post!

Nail Art posts

1 | my duck adventure - this is quite a recent post and was inspired by the Chinese mushrooms as part of an amazing duck feast at HKK London with +Chris

2 | midnight sky - a simple concept that inspired me and turned out to be one of my favourite nail art to wear this year

3 | representing africa - I was feeling ambitious when I first started these nails but ended up with cute mini Africa continents on my thumbs in preparation for +WOMAD UK festival (check out my review of the festival here: day one, day two & day three)

4 | monkey business - ah my glitter phase... the glitter nail tips and monkey rings just made me smile

5 | my name is cupid valentino - these are my cheat nails (I didn't paint the hearts, woops) but they just looked so lovey-dovey-cute for Valentine's that I love them; had a super meal too!

New discoveries (events, places, designers) posts

1 | zen in the city - Book & Kitchen is one of +Asad and I's favourite places-to-chill discoveries this year and would recommend you visit if you are ever in Notting Hill and need somewhere to unwind

2 | graduate kicks - stumbled on Graduate Fashion Week and got snap happy because the outfits outside the venue were just too good to not capture

3 | sketchy style - girly fun times at my first time at Sketch for afternoon tea, what a quirky place!

4 | poodles peacocks and flowers - I live in scarves so when I discovered designer Elizabeth Kate I had to instantly add onto my wish list as her designs are just beautiful

5 | let's be clear - another designer discovery with a trend I really like (the rise of perspex), Charlotte Olympia just creates some special accessories that are fun yet classy

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...would love to hear from you as always :)

1 August 2013

my duck adventure

This week's nails are inspired by a recent trip to the beautiful HKK London with fellow foodie +Chris of tikichris. You will hopefully clock what inspired me in a bit... :)

HKK is part of the Hakkasan restaurant group. After hearing the rave reviews about The Duck at HKK when we were at Saka No Hana last month, I felt extremely privileged to be invited to try the duck tasting menu at HKK. Alix had said it was the most delicious duck she had tried and given I am a huge duck fan I was really intrigued!

Hidden away, five minutes walk from Liverpool Street, Chris and I entered a very serene haven. After trekking across London from west to east on potentially the hottest tube line, I can't explain how happy I was to arrive to such a zen, cool and airy environment. From arrival the staff were super attentive, friendly and made us feel instantly relaxed. Were we really in the middle of the City?! We sat at one of the tables surrounding a beautiful central island (where the duck would later be carved by the chef) and were introduced to our head waiter and our sommelier by restaurant manager Mehmet. With tired brain cells and ultimate trust in the team, Chris and I opted to make zero decisions and just let the experts take us through the duck tasting journey.

OUR MENU | 24th June 2013

course one | lotus and mango duck wrap
course two | cherry wood roasted Pecking duck
accompanied by | 2011 Albarino "Marinero", Terras Gauda, Rias Baixas, Spain
course three | truffle duck broth
course four | monk fish pan-mee in Italian white truffle sauce
accompanied by | 2011 Pinot Noir, Stepp & Gaul, Pfalz, Germany
dessert | salted cashew nut and milk chocolate parfait
tea | high mountain oolong

I'm not sure if my photos fully do the food and restaurant justice but hopefully they've given you a taster of what an amazing experience this was. Even Chris (who has been to many a great places) said it was probably one of his best meals so far this year. And I was just in heaven. My favourite meat, cooked beautifully, paired with the perfect wine choices, in a zen setting just made for a special experience which I won't be forgetting for a long while. My highlights have to be: the crispy duck skin, the most tender Peking roast duck I have ever tried, the smell of the truffle broth as soon as the soup bowl was opened & the refreshing first sip of the Albarino to kick-off a lovely meal. I genuinely felt spoilt and very lucky to have been invited to The HKK Duck Experience. To top it off, the chef came out at the end of our meal and signed us each our own bespoke menu - what an honour!

That evening, I went into HKK with already high expectations and the fact that I walked out with these exceeded just says it all. This is a fantastic restaurant showcasing fine dining at its best and I would highly recommend. Plus, if like me you're a big fan of duck, trust me here - you've never tried duck at this level before.

Oh, and if you haven't guessed it yet - this week's nails are inspired by course three (truffle and duck broth which came with these dainty chinese mushrooms). They were too cute for me not to love :)

For more information (and beautiful pictures) of HKK London | visit here
To read Chris' review and view his (much better) pictures | visit tikichris here
To read about my visit to Sake No Hana for a Sake tasting event | visit my post here

Thank you very much team HKK!

nails | base: mint green (Barry M), stalks: spilled milk (+Topshop), mushroom tops: mushroom (Barry M)