Friday, 27 February 2015

London Observations: Beautiful Buildings


   Second only to Paris, London is one of my favourite cities for its culture and beauty. It has become a hub of modern innovation, juxtaposed with examples of stunning innovation from eras gone by.

   London is not characterised by any particularly architectural style, so its mish-mash of silhouettes, materials and colours fuse together to produce a truly unique city-scape, rich in the beauty formed by the ideas of many different creative souls.

   Pictured above are Somerset House, Christopher's Grill in Covent Garden, and St Paul's Church (also in Covent Garden).

  Somerset House was designed by Sir William Chambers in 1776 as a grand public building which housed various learned societies, including the Royal Academy and The University of London. Originally a quadrangle, the east and west wings were not completed until 1856.

   Christopher's Grill, a restaurant on Wellington Street which serves rather delectable American cuisine, is housed in a Grade II listed building which was, once upon a time, London's first licensed casino.

   St Paul's Church, Covent Garden's parish church, was commissioned in 1631 and has since been well-known for its association with theater. Nicknamed 'Actor's Church', many plays have been performed under its portico - and you'll often see street acts entertaining crowds just outside.
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Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Moda in Pelle x PPQ at LFW

   Last Friday I attended PPQ and Moda in Pelle's second catwalk collab: a wonderful concoction of monochromatic hues and Gothic aesthetic. I felt as if this season's collection, in contrast to SS15, showed a completely different side of PPQ's 'underground London cool' dynamic, and Moda in Pelle really rocked the shoe-game with patent footwear featuring black faux-fur and tassels (or fringing... I can't make up my mind).

   The models looked stunning in a variety of sheer and opaque ensembles, paired with romantic up-dos and slick red lips. The entire show seemed to be a mix of The Bride of Frankenstein and a twisted, PVC-charged Wuthering Heights - in a really good way.

    A revised version of Moda in Pelle's footwear range will be available online and in stores nationwide in late 2015 (can't wait!); in the mean time the photographs below show a slice of what you should be expecting from the affordable shoe brand, as well as from PPQ.

Images via Tangerine PR
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Sunday, 22 February 2015

Asymmetric Pearl Earrings


   Since Dior released their 'Mise en Dior' earrings, I've been searching for an affordable alternative supplier of the double-backed pearl earrings. At £260 a pair (and let's just note that this is costume jewellery, not real gold or even real pearls - sigh), Dior's beautiful sets were just a tad out of my league, though I couldn't stop looking at their stunning range of colours: emerald greens, soft golds, fiery reds - they were all there, and taunting me with their prettiness.

   It's only this year that I've started seeing similar designs in high street shops and online. ASOS stock a few different pair including this peachy set, whilst Topshop and H&M also have their own versions, but Dorothy Perkins really stepped up their game and delivered the earrings in the images above. These include a gold-coloured scalloped details around the base of each pearl, and look just perfect sitting on the ear. And, most importantly, they were only £6.50, a far more reasonable price, considering you're getting pretty much exactly the same materials as the Dior pair.

   Although I can't find this particular pair online, for some reason (though they're definitely instore right now), they've also got a pair in shiny black which are also very pretty!
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Friday, 20 February 2015

Latitude Festival Line-Up 2015 - Where to Hear It First

   It may seem like summer is a world away but, really, four months will fly past and before we know it, we'll be well into wearing crop tops and denim cutoffs, and this season's 70s trends (which, by the way, are already creeping into shops if you hadn't yet noticed - Zara has a great collection if you're an early adopter). I'm hoping for an Indian Summer this year - I need a long break from the cold - so to get myself in the mindset, I'm going to talk festivals. In particular, Latitude.
*

   This year is a particularly exciting year for Suffolk's most renowned music festival, Latitude, as it's their 10th anniversary!

   Beccles' stunning Henham Park has played host to a number of successful and talented artists over the years, including last year's line-up which featured 2014's biggest underdog, Hozier, as well as chart favourites and masters of genre-fusion, Clean Bandit - two of my current musical obsessions.

   This year's line-up will be announced on 3rd March 2015 on BBC Radio 6 at 11am - so whether you're listening in your car, at work or on your alarm clock radio, make sure to tune in!

   Of course, alongside the acts on the mainstage, there will be a huge variety of comedians, poets, DJs, local bands and theatre - definitely not to be missed! I'm proud to say that Suffolk has some of the best cultural entertainment outside London, so if you're looking for a weekend escape where you can relax with friends, enjoy good music and great food (Latitude offers a range of organic and Fairtrade food stalls, with cuisines from all over the world), grab a ticket and enjoy the atmosphere.


Images c/o Midas PR
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Thursday, 19 February 2015

Why Beyoncé's Unretouched Photos are Irrelevant

   If you've been on Twitter this week, or any tabloid news site, you may have noticed an article or two surrounding unretouched stills from Beyoncé's L'Oreal campaign, which was shot back in 2013.

   The photos, released on her fansite, 'The Beyoncé World', show her in close-up headshots wearing bold eyeliner and red lipstick - sans Photoshop (I'll let you Google the images before you read on, if you haven't already). Of course, the media almost jumped out of their seats at this opportunity to degrade a woman of stature; it was almost uncanny.

   Under the guise of the 'real woman' angle, the Daily Mail posted headlines such as 'Just like us, Beyonce isn't flawless' and 'Female fans rally in support of Beyonce after leaked shots reveal her spotty skin in pre-Photoshop L'Oreal ads'. On the outside, these headlines seem to support Beyoncé, but actually this is just as degrading as leaking the images in the first place. By making a story out of the photos, these news sites are increasing their circulation, and therefore promoting the invasion of Beyoncé's privacy and integrity even further. But what I'm most annoyed about is the contradiction revealed when, sifting through the Daily Mail's archive, I see a post detailing her sister's skin issues, 'Solange Knowles breaks out in angry red hives on wedding day', accompanied by a photo which was obviously taken at the wrong moment and from a deliberately awful angle. Sifting a bit more, I discover a whole host of articles focusing on picking out the flaws of celebrities - and, oh yes, they're all famous females on a night out, or at the beach, or running to the convenience shop in joggers and a hoodie.

   How can you possibly preach about being in favour of the beauty of 'real women', when you're blatantly and intentionally humiliating women at their most real?

   I'm sure most feminists will agree that the use of Photoshop by fashion and beauty brands is a key move in the objectification of women and the promotion of unobtainable standards - but we're all aware that women in magazines, commercials, films and music videos rarely look like they do in real life, because they've been warped into a universal idea of 'perfection'. And I'm pretty damn sure that Beyoncé's aware of this too, having worked in music (an industry just as superficial as fashion or beauty) for just under 20 years. Let's face it, if Beyoncé truly didn't want to be Photoshopped, she wouldn't have starred in that commercial - she's an intelligent woman, and she knows what the industry wants.

   As for bringing out the 'real woman' cards as soon as a famously beautiful celebrity has their unretouched photos leaked - of course they're real women. They were real women before they were Photoshopped, and they are real women after. Using a graphic design tool doesn't change anything. Yes, she may have spots, pigmentation, scarring, and yes we might not always see that because these aspects are usually airbrushed - but that's not the degrading part.  The degrading part is jumping on the back of these photos with the facade of celebrating real beauty in order to gain views for your news site.

   Thus, Beyoncé's unretouched photos are irrelevant to the modern woman, so much so that some of us were rolling our eyes as soon as we saw the headlines. We're not idiots. We know that we're all women, celebrity or not. We know that we have our good days and our bad days. And we don't gasp in shock and cover our mouths when we all of a sudden find out that Beyoncé or Solange or whoever is a 'real woman' because some tabloid told us so. We knew that she was bloody well real anyway.


   On a defiant note, here's an image of Beyoncé as it was intended. Real woman and all.


Image via Purple PR
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Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Bring Me A Higher Love


SUNGLASSES - ASOS / COAT - H&M / DRESS - BOOHOO / JUMPER - VERO MODA (similar here) / BAG - NEW LOOK / SHOES - BOOHOO
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Sunday, 15 February 2015

What to do after Valentine's Day

Picadilly Buses - Photograph by Art Style Love

   So the most romantic day of the year is over, the roses have already started wilting and that heart-shaped box of chocolates is empty (bar the Turkish delight/coffee/orange flavoured few). What do you do now?

   Well we all know that, like a dog isn't just for Christmas, love isn't just for Valentine's Day - so why not extend the festivities with some of these simple ideas:

S A Y   T H A N K   Y O U

   Sometimes, when we're caught up in our busy routines, we forget to say thank you to those who have made the extra effort to make us happy. If your other half has made you feel special this February 14th, saying thank you with a little gesture can make them feel special in return. This can be anything from writing out a thank you card, to cooking a dinner for two - and this works both ways (so if there are any guys reading this, we love to hear the words 'thank you' in any shape or form).

H A V E   A   M O V I E   N I G H T

   Whether it's with your friends, or with your partner, relaxing and watching a film with some nibbles and drinks is one of the best ways to wind down after putting in the effort for Valentine's Day. Maybe you went out last night with the girls, and you're regretting being roped in for that extra shot of Sambuca, or perhaps you and your other half consumed one to many glasses of wine over dinner - put your feet up, dim the lights and let your thoughts rest during your favourite flick.

E X E R C I S E

   Consumed a little too much yesterday, foodwise? If, like most of us, you pushed the boat out for dinner and went for three courses with a bottle of wine, and chocolates to follow, you might be feeling a little overindulged. There's nothing wrong with clocking in a few extra miles on the treadmill to make yourself feel better - we all do it.


   I'd love to hear about what you got up to during Valentine's Day, whether you were an anti-Valentiner and spent the day as normal, went out with your friends or celebrated with your partner - let me know! And, if you're interested, below are a few photos from my loved-up day out with my boyfriend in London.

Theatre Royal Haymarket - Photograph by Art Style Love
OOTD - New Look Polo Neck & H&M Jacket SS15 - image by Art Style Love
Reclaim Love in Picadilly Circus - Photograph by Art Style Love
Burgers at Gourmet Burger Kitchen in Westfield Stratford - Photograph by Art Style Love

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Thursday, 12 February 2015

Weekday Wishlist | Lustworthy Lingerie

T O P   R O W

1. Harness Bralette by Oh So Lovely Intimates - £34
2. Satin & Lace Bralet by Topshop - £24
3. Lace Bra by H&M - £12
4. Techno Lace Bralette by Luisaviaroma - £42

M I D D L E   R O W

5. Triangle Bralette by For love & Lemons - $99
6. Crochet Triangle Bra by Stella McCartney - £52.25
7. Nude Penelope Bra by L'Agent - £50
8. Silk & Lace Underwired Bra by Stella McCartney - £49.50

B O T T O M   R O W

9. Lace & Mesh Plunge Bra by L'Agent - £22.50
10. Khaki Lace Bralet by New Look - £9.99
11. Longline Lace Bra Top by River Island - £14
12. Lace Triangle Bra by Mango - £17.99

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Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Eat Bread, Lose Weight?


   To good to be true? Actually it's pretty simple.

   This is Dr Zak's famous Protein Bread*, a product new to the well-known sports nutrition brand, Myprotein, where I go when I'm feeling like I need a health and fitness kick (and then get distracted by the photos of muscly guys - swoon). Its title speaks for itself - the bread is full of nutritious proteins. 30g per two slices, to be precise.

   To get a little more technical, the protein in these loaves come from wheat protein isolate and pea protein isolate acquired through wet-processing, which enables a higher yield of protein. The wheat flour used in baking the loaf comes from wholemeal flour, so it's suitable for vegetarians and vegans, but sadly this isn't one for you gluten-free folks (although Myprotein do offer a range of gluten-free proteins!).

   Because of the high quantity of protein-rich ingredients, this is a pretty heavy loaf of bread, weighing in at 850g. Each individual slice is far more dense and springy than your typical supermarket-bought bread.

    This is where the weight loss aspect comes in.

   Because the slices are more dense, you'll feel fuller for longer. Just like porridge, soup and pulses, a sandwich made with two slices of Protein Bread will take your mind off that mid-morning/afternoon/evening slump, cutting out cheeky sugary snacks and thus helping you to lose weight. Like I said, simple!

   I've been eating two slices of Protein Bread with peanut butter and sliced apple for my breakfast, and I've genuinely noticed that I'm not feeling my usual hunger-pangs around 10am. Sure, I haven't yet lost any weight (this is more of a long term thing), but I'm satisfied in the knowledge that I'm snacking far less than I used to.


   If you've bought Dr Zak's Protein Bread and aren't sure what to make with it, here are a few ideas you could try to jazz up your lunchtime sandwhich:

   Avocado and chicken open sandwich

   Toast two slices of Protein Bread until lightly browned. Spread a layer of low-fat mayonnaise onto each slice. De-stone, slice and peel one avocado into chunks and layer onto each slice, then slice some cooked chicken breast into strips and place on top of the avocado. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

PB & J

   If you're not American, chances are you haven't experimented with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Simply spread jam onto one slice of Protein Bread, peanut butter on another, slap together and eat!

Roast Pork and Pickled Cucumber

   Quickly pickle some cucumber slices using vinegar, oil, brown sugar, salt and pepper, then layer onto buttered or light-mayo'd Protein Bread. Slice some roast pork and layer on top of the cumbers, placing another slice of bread on top to finish.

Beetroot, Spinach and Goat Cheese

   Butter two slices of Protein Bread, then evenly spread a tablespoon of goat cheese onto one slice. At this point, you can add a few raisins for sweetness, but it's up to you. Chop up a beetroot (I prefer pickled, but boiled is okay) and layer on on top of the goats cheese, then wash a small handful of spinach and garnish over the beets. Place your second slice of bread on top.

* In partnership with Myprotein
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Sunday, 8 February 2015

French Cuisine | Valentine's Day in London


   Les Trois Garçons

   This restaurant has a decadent, almost veering on gaudy, interior that will transport you back to 1920s France via a tremendous collection of stuffed animals and jaw-dropping ceiling decor (including cascading handbags, of all things).

   Formerly a pub, the ironic opulence of the decor isn't the only thing you'll remember; the food is just as lavish. Choose from a succulent spice-cured venison, a delicious fillet of sea bass with savoy cabbage, and a host of other continental dishes and sophisticated wines.

Address: 1 Club Row, E1 6JX
Telephone: 020 7613 1924


   Bar Boulud

   If you're a fan of the watch-the-chefs-cook-your-food kind of restaurants, Bar Boulud is the perfect eatery for your Valentine's dinner. You'll get a view of the open-plan kitchen where zen-calm chefs will prepare an extra delicious (albeit expensive (£115)) Valentine's Day menu with options such as creamy lobster bisque and linguini, garlic-infused roasted halibut and, for dessert, tarte au chocolat (one of my all-time favourites).

Address: Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, SW1X 7LA
Telephone: 020 7201 3899


Boundary

   On the corner of Shoreditch's Redchurch and Boundary Streets lies an intimate, trendy eatery that serves innovative, modern French cuisine at surprisingly reasonable prices (just £25.50 for the three-course set menu). Enjoy a tastebud-tingling lobster thermidor, French duck breast or a stunning vegetarian dish of courgette flowers, baby peppers and quinoa tortellini, all while watching the skilled chefs from your seat.

   The furnishings are a little on the clashy side, with 3d-patterned flooring, exposed brick walls and a ceiling depicting illustrations of star signs, but we'll all be too loved up to notice, right?

Address: 2-4 Boundary Street, E2 7DD
Telephone: 020 7729 1051


Bistrotheque

   Thoroughly more hipster than any other restaurant on this list, Bistrotheque is set in an airy, white space decorated with warehouse-style pendant lights and painted brick walls. The professional, welcoming service will show you to your table where you can choose from surprising combinations of Gallic and American foods such as pig's cheek with Boston baked beans, and beef burgers with gorgonzola rarebit.

   In terms of pricing, food portions on the á la carte menu tend not to correlate with the cost of the dish, so I'd go for the set menu which offers three reasonably sized dishes for £20.

Address: 23-27 Wadeson Street, E2 9DR
Telephone: 020 8983 7900



Kettner's

   First established as a restaurant in 1867, this Soho-based Georgian style restaurant and bar is always filled with people buzzing with anticipation. Expect all the traditional French favourites with a modern edge, such as the Toulouse Bangers and Mash or the Roasted Winter Vegetable, Cashew and Cheese Wellington.

   Prices start at £12.50 for the risotto, going up to £29.50 for a whole lobster. Not too bad IMO.

Address: 29 Romilly Street, W1D 5HD
Telephone: 020  7734 6112

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Friday, 6 February 2015

Kiko Radiant Touch Highlighter Review


  Highlighters are a tricky product. They can either leave you with a rather ghostly iridescence, or a dull, plasticy sheen which melts off by lunchtime. Kiko's 'Radiant Touch Creamy Stick Highlighter' is somewhere in between.

   It's an easy-to-use product that twists up from a tube and can be applied directly to the skin. It's subtle, but can produce an effortless glow in the right light, perfect for summer nights when the light is warm and low. Blend in with a finger or a brush, and apply a second layer if you like your highlighter to be slightly more obvious (we can all go a bit mad with highlighter when it comes to getting ready for a night out, but the subtlety of this product keeps you from looking like a disco ball). 

   At £8.50, this is an absolute steal compared to other products of a similar caliber such as Benefit's 'Watt's Up!' (£24.50) or NARS' 'The Multiple' (£30). And you get almost twice the amount of product. Now that's value for money.

   Watch the video below for more info, as well as a demo of the product!

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Thursday, 5 February 2015

Weekday Wishlist 05/02/15

1. Shearling Biker Jacket by New Look - £54.99
2. Faux Crocodile Ankle Boots by Boohoo - £25.00
3. 'Wet' Jumper by Alexander Wang - £695
4. Faux Leather Trousers by Mango - £34.99
5. Drape-front Dress by Topshop - £40
6. Belted Coat by Cos - £150
7. Mint Green Leather Backpack by Meli Melo - £550
8. Silver Trainers by Superga - £50
9. Grey Tube Skirt by Zara - £15.99
10. 'Fashion Killer' T-shirt by Bershka - £9.99
11. Sunglasses by ZeroUV - $9.99
12. Gold Plate & Pearl Bunny Earrings by Aamaya By Priyanka - £195
13. Lace Bra by L'Agent  - £60
14. Grey Coat by Monki - £65
15. Alexandra Boots by Dr. Martens - £93.17

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Tuesday, 3 February 2015

January 2015 Fashion Haul


   This is my first fashion haul of the year, and what a year it's been so far! 

   I've recently bought into the polo neck trend, so beware of the amount of polo neck tops and dresses that appear in this video. Also on the agenda are cleated boots by Boohoo, sunglasses from ZeroUV, and a rather gorgeous camel coat from Missguided, amongst others - let me know your thoughts!


1. Oversize Round Sunglasses by ZeroUV*
2. Key Hole Sunglasses by ZeroUV*
3. Cat Eye Sunglasses by ZeroUV*
4. Cleated Boots by Boohoo
5. Polo Neck Midi Dress by Boohoo
6. Polo Neck Tunic by Boohoo
7. Sleeveless Camel Jacket by Missguided
8. Black Polo Neck Top by New Look
9. Polo Neck Mini Dress by New Look
10. Faux Fur Clutch by New Look
11. Real Leather Tote Bag by New Look
12. Pink Duster Jacket by H&M (not available online for some reason, even though it's current season)

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