London Fashion Week Highlights – Day Three

My picks from day three’s collections at London Fashion Week.

Amanda Wakeley

Amanda Wakeley

Aspinal of London x Etre Cecile

Aspinal of London x Etre Cecile

Claire Barrow

Claire Barrow

Pringle of Scotland

Pringle of Scotland

Belstaff

Belstaff

David Koma

David Koma

Issa

Issa

Jonathan Saunders

Jonathan Saunders

Magaret Howell

Magaret Howell

Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou

Matthew Williamson

Matthew Williamson

palmer//harding

palmer//harding

Paul Smith

Paul Smith

Phoebe English

Phoebe English

Preen

Preen

Sophia Webster

Sophia Webster

Temperley London

Temperley London

Toga

Toga

Topshop Unique

Topshop Unique

Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Coats! So many coats! This Fashion Week coverage is making me crave some new outerwear. In entirely the wrong season to be able to buy it…so pretty though. I would also like one of everything from Sophie Webster. Obsessed.

Topshop Unique is looking good again, with some expensive looking cuts and great fabrics. I’m excited to see what trickles into the stores from this collection. Day three is my favourite day so far, I think, with some fantastic pieces being shown.

What’s stood out for you so far?

This entry was posted in Fashion.

London Fashion Week Highlights – Day Two

Here’s my picks from day two London Fashion Week.

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1205

Danielle Romaril

Danielle Romaril

Emilia Wickstead

Emilia Wickstead

Fasutine Steinmetz

Fasutine Steinmetz

Gareth Pugh

Gareth Pugh

Holly Fulton

Holly Fulton

Lucas Nascimento

Lucas Nascimento

Julien MacDonald

Julien MacDonald

Jasper Conran

Jasper Conran

J.W Anderson

J.W Anderson

House of Holland

House of Holland

Markus Lupfer

Markus Lupfer

Mother of Pearl

Mother of Pearl

Orla Kiely

Orla Kiely

Sibling

Sibling

Simone Rocha

Simone Rocha

Day two still had a lot of monochrome looks around, but we did start to see the colour and the pattern come in. As usual, I’m especially loving House of Holland. I love the retro vibe, the colours, the pattern use…yes please, one of everything. Orla Kiely is always popular with the blog crowd, and I can’t see that changing with this collection. It’s well-cut, simple shapes and very on brand. Nice work.

This entry was posted in Fashion.

London Fashion Week Highlights – Day One

I’m missing out on London Fashion Week this season (work, money, time), but as usual the coverage on the London Fashion Week website is excellent. They post daily highlights as well as a gallery of each collection. I’ve picked out a couple of looks from each collection from the first day. Here’s my highlights:

Shrimps

Shrimps

Teatum Jones

Teatum Jones

Bora Aksu

Bora Aksu

Eudon Choi

Eudon Choi

Fashion East

Fashion East

Felder Felder

Felder Felder

Manuel Facchini

Manuel Facchini

Le Kilt

Le Kilt

J. JS Lee

J. JS Lee

Fyodor Golan

Fyodor Golan

Paul Costelloe

Paul Costelloe

PPQ

PPQ

sass & bide

sass & bide

Definitely already seeing a monochrome theme developing for next season, and there are some beautiful coats and jackets being shown. So far, I’m loving Paul Costelloe, and the retro vibe of the collection. It looks well cut and is right up my street. I like Felder Felder too, although a bit sexy for most general wardrobes!

What were your favourites from the first day of Fashion Week?

Friday Round Up

Mockingbird coffee

 

Apparently I only took one photo this week. So, it’s more links, loves and lomogram for the Friday Round Up this week. Still, Mockingbird’s A-board made me smile, so here it is.

It’s been a busy one again, with a lot of change-arounds at work. I won’t go into it, but basically, I’ve got a good feeling about how the rest of my work year is going to go. My role has been polished a little, and it’s going to suit me much better. Win!

Outside of work, I have as usual been propping up the bar at Mockingbird. We did manage an adventure out for dinner with friends, a giant lunch at Cherry Red’s, and a pretty jam-packed Valentines weekend. M had to work, but we managed to fit in plenty of wine and tasty food anyway. Did anyone else do much for it? Wednesday night, M and I took ourselves for dinner at Jamie’s Italian for yet more red wine, and yummy pasta. It was surprisingly busy for mid-week, and it was nice to get away from M’s bar and hang out somewhere else for a change. There’s a definite theme to time with M – lots of food and wine! Can’t complain…

I’ve managed to break myself again this week, and have done something to my back…again. I’m doing a little better today, but have spent the last couple of days hobbling about like someone’s 90 year old grandmother. Definitely not fun. I’m so full of painkillers, I’m basically rattling.

This weekend is going to be mostly spent pretending not to mind that I’m not a London Fashion Week. Sob.

This weeks links:
Haven’t signed up for my mailing list yet? Rude! You can do so here.
A Newbies Guide to Fashion Week.
27 Signs you’re a Brown Coat.
Awesome interview with Jacqueline Wilson.
25 things every blog needs.

Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands

Matthew Bourne's Edward Scissorhands Last week, M and I went with a friend of mine to The Hippodrome to see Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands. The show, by Bourne’s company New Adventures, is a ballet adaption of Tim Burton’s movie of the same name. The production first toured in 2005 and was a smash hit, selling out all over the world. In 2o14, Bourne went back to his adaption, and revitalised it ‘for a new generation of dance lovers and theatre goers.’

As a venue, The Hippodrome is great. Friendly, efficient staff, comfy seats and a decent view wherever you sit. It did seem to be about a thousand degrees in there though, and we were all wildly dehydrated by the time we came out.

Despite the over-heating, the ballet is incredible. It is immediately recognisable as the film you know and love, with the saturated colours in the sets, the costumes and the awkward movements of Edward himself. The plot is much the same, if slightly simplified for the stage. The costumes are beautiful, and immediately tell you what you need to know about who is who with the characters. Danny Elfman’s score fits beautifully and creates precisely the right feel for each moment.

The lead roles of Edward and Kim are shared between two dancers for this season, but I think we saw it with Dominic North (who was nominated for Best Male Dancer at the National Dance Awards for this role in the 2009 production) and Ashley Shaw (hard to tell with wigs, and the website is pretty unhelpful with it’s information on who danced who). Either way, both were incredible. Dancing with scissors for hands can’t be easy, but the movement was stunning. There was something birdlike in the nervous, hesitant moves of Edward, and it was clear that North was comfortable using the scissors in his dancing. I wondered at first how the duets would work with the scissors skewering poor Shaw. I should have known Bourne would have a trick up his sleeve. The first duet, in the first half, is as expected. A dream sequence, with Edward with hands. Beautifully danced, very pretty, seemed like a clever workaround.

And then came the second half. The first half, aside from the duet, is very modern in style, with mixes of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll dancing for the teenagers and a contemporary ballet feel. The second half is more classical ballet. When Edward and Kim dance together, we get straight up classic ballet. And it was stunning.

The iconic scene with the ice sculpture was one of the most beautiful pieces of dancing I’ve ever watched. Edward danced with the scissors on this time, but there were no lifts at all. A duet without the fallback of a dramatic lift is hard to make look impressive, but oh, did it! Kim and Edward moved absolutely in sync, with ‘snow’ fluttering around them. Mesmerising. The very last duet blew it out of the water. Scissors intact, they pulled off some very impressive lifts. Watching it as a dancer, I could see the changes that had been made to allow them to do this safely. Edward held Kim much more loosely than you would usually see, and in slightly different holds. This puts most of the hard work to get the lift to happen onto Ashley Shaw, who must have abs of steel. It looked effortless and breath-taking.

The whole company were immensely impressive, bringing all the dark humour of the film into their dancing, and managing to make clear character impressions even when dancing the same steps as the rest of the company. The second half was particularly impressive, even converting skeptical M into a fan. Apparently, it’s just modern dance he doesn’t like. Classical ballet? More of that!

New Adventures are touring Edward Scissorhands until mid March. You can see the rest of the dates here. Whether you’re a ballet fan, or just a fan of the film, please go. You’ll have your mind blown.

I’ll leave the last word to the original Edward Scissorhands, Johnny Depp, “Bravo! I teetered on the verge of tears throughout.”

Cooking The Books: A Taste of Birmingham

Taste of Birmingham - Yule Log Recipe

Image from Copthorne Hotel

If Joe’s Bloggers send you an email with a challenge, you take it! And this one involved chocolate…

Joe’s Bloggers have teamed up with the Copthorne Hotel and it’s head chef, Michael Chambers, to create an epically Brummie recipe. No, not a balti – CHOCOLATE! Birmingham is the home of Cadbury’s after all. Chambers created a ‘festive’ (better late than never, right?) recipe for a Chocolate Yule Log with a Chestnut filling.

Armed with the recipe and a giant delivery of baking goodies, I set to work. At first glance, I was a bit worried. There was talk of swiss roll tins, egg separating and whipping egg whites into ‘soft peaks’. Visions of Bake Off style sobbing over egg whites swam in my head. Now, my kitchen is about the size of Harry Potter’s cupboard under the stairs, with about 4 square inches of work surface, so this was always going to be a challenge. I like recipes that don’t require a lot of space, lots of equipment or a lot of faffing about. Most people my age are getting to grips with the kitchen still, and aren’t working with a lot of space or equipment, and recipes that allow for that are fantastic. Still, I got to work.

I started well, and actually found the recipe pretty simple to follow. Separating eggs was bloody messy, but not nearly as difficult as I thought it would be. At this point, I hit a snag. The recipe needed me to whisk eggs, and I was already using my lone mixing bowl for the beginnings of the cake mix. You need a decent sized bowl to work with eggs like this, and I didn’t have one. I improvised with a saucepan, and tried not to think about the cooking for the dinner party scene in Bridget Jones. I have enough of the Bridgets about as it is… The egg whites whisked beautifully, soft peaks intact, and even withstood the old ‘holding the bowl over your head’ test. So far, so good…

Mixing the egg whites into the cake mix took about a thousand years, but created a beautiful, light mix that I could tell would make a light, fluffy sponge. It’s always nice when you understand what the recipe is trying to achieve. Problem number two. What on earth is a swiss roll tin? Is this a thing that people actually own? Do you get one when you become a grown-up, like gravy boats and pelmets? I am not a proper grown-up, and do not own these things. Hmmm…well, a baking tray must be pretty similar, right? I lined one with baking paper, plonked in the mix and put it in the oven, and hoped for the best. Next up, filling.

If you were wondering, chestnut puree does not look tasty. It looks like dodgy mushroom soup crossed with cheap cat food. With some double cream and mascarpone, it did whip up into something that looked tasty though, and I went back to feeling hopeful. Sponge out of the oven, and it was definitely too thick. It cooked through nicely and looked light and fluffy, but was too thick to roll easily for sure. Apparently a baking tray isn’t like a swiss roll tin after all…The recipe asked me to cool the sponge for two hours. By this point, because I’m baking after work and a commute, it’s about 10pm. Two hours. I decided an hour in the fridge would be fine. They don’t get two hours cooling time on Bake Off, and I’ve definitely seen them make swiss roll. It actually was fine. The filling spread on nicely and while the sponge was much too thick to roll without cracking, it did roll and stayed rolled. Back on the side.

Icing. This was where things started to get trickier. It sounded simple enough, with melting together chocolate, cream and icing sugar. But the thing refused to set at all. According to the recipe, the icing would need to cool for an hour to reach spreadable consistency. Into the fridge it went. After an hour it was thicker, but not what I’d call spreadable, exactly…I left it a little longer, before eventually giving up and hoping it would set more when actually on the cake. The icing poured over okay and I popped the roll into the fridge.

The verdict? Well, after a night in the fridge, the icing still hadn’t set much at all, and the icing sugar had begun to separate from the chocolate and cream. Not ideal! The swiss roll actually did taste pretty good. The chestnut and mascarpone filling cuts through the sweetness of the sponge and the icing, stopping it from getting too sickly. It looked a mess though. Now, some of this is my fault for making too thick sponge which cracked, but the icing’s refusal to set at all made it look pretty unappetising, rather than just a bit ‘home-made’ looking. A solid icing would have helped a lot in the appearance.

I also think this recipe isn’t really suited to a lot of home bakers. Swiss rolls are always fiddly, and nobody wants to have to use every bowl and spoon you own, which this recipe kind of calls for. Expect to spend a lot of time washing up afterwards! On a ‘starter’ kitchen, with limited space and equipment, it was awkward and time consuming. For me, there was too much slow progress – folding in egg whites spoonful by spoonful, hours of cooling time and so on. There was a lot of fiddly technique involved, and calls for thing like swiss roll tins make this much better for experienced bakers with more kit and more space! I’ll leave the swiss roll to the proper grown-ups next time.

Still…at least I didn’t turn anything blue…

Bridget Jones blue soup

 

Friday Round Up

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  1. More beer mat penguins. This time, holiday edition.
  2. Cheeky Sunday afternoon cocktails at The Bureau with M.
  3. Beautiful, BEAUTIFUL present from a certain lovely Irishman. This is Audrey Hepburn, painted (with coffee) by Jinxy Art.
  4. First Creme Egg of the year!

This week’s theme? Cocktails and eating all the things, apparently. I started out on Saturday with a visit from my mum. We had a little wander around work and the shops, before eating a wacking portion of fish and chips before going our separate ways. Pretty perfect Saturday afternoon, I think. Sunday, there was yet more food, with lunch with M, where we encountered the worst waiter of all time. Top tip: it’s generally not the best to constantly lean over diners to get stuff from behind them, or to forget to bring them any cutlery and then ignore them when they try and ask for some. We soon made up for it though, with delicious cocktails at The Bureau. Earl Grey Bellini. Sounds wrong, tastes so right.

I’m on a bit of an organising kick this week, and have alternated my evenings between propping up the bar at Mockingbird, and nights at home emptying drawers and my wardrobe. It’s oddly satisfying.

We rounded off the eating fest with giant steaks at Anderson’s (this is what happens when you hang out with food snobs…), which were amazing. I might have to sell a kidney to make up for what I spent, but for a treat? So worth it. Excellent Espresso Martini too. Nom.

I promise next week won’t just be a list of things I’ve eaten and drunk. (Lies, it probably will be. Sorry).

This week’s links:
Top 5 burger havens in Birmingham.
5 fail-safe tips for taking great blog photos.
19 things Victoria Beckham has actually said.
Five questions to ask yourself before becoming a full-time blogger.

This Girl Can

This Girl Can

 

Who has hideous memories of school PE lessons? Dank changing rooms, the sporty kids leaping about like athletic gazelles while you tried not to be noticed in the corner, picking teams? I was a reasonably sporty kid (although at the time, I didn’t feel like one…funny how your perception shifts). I went to two different dance classes a week, I played on the school and house hockey teams, I played tennis in the Summer and I often represented my school house in the High Jump on Sports Day. But I wasn’t one of the ‘sporty’ kids who played on the netball team, or could complete the Cross Country without being fairly sure I was going to die afterwards or who got picked first for teams. The fact I could hold my own with a hockey stick meant nothing. I hated PE lessons and positively dreaded them. And I’m certain I wasn’t alone in that. There are very few women with fond memories of freezing cold netball courts with some sadist blowing a whistle at you. Sport wasn’t for me, I learnt.

This idea of sport not being something for them is a problem for a lot of women. We’re worried about exercise, about taking up sport or going to the gym, because what will be people think of us? We’re taught to worry about what we’ll look like, if we try and squish our cellulite into Lycra leggings, with red, sweating faces. We won’t look like beautiful, toned, tanned fitness gurus on Instagram, and we certainly won’t look like the stunning Jessica Ennis or Victoria Pendleton did in the posters for the 2012 Olympics. We’re frightened of looking silly, or unattractive. We worry we’ll get it wrong and people will laugh at us. I can’t lift weights, it’ll make me bulky and manly. I can’t play football, it’s for boys. I can’t go swimming, I haven’t got the figure for a swimsuit. 

A new national campaign from Sport England disagrees with that. It says you can. The campaign, This Girl Can, which encompasses television adverts, posters and a heavy social media presence, is a celebration of women of all shapes, sizes and ages, and aims to encourage women to let go of their fears and just do it. No matter how red your face gets. The advert and images are striking. They are unlike any other women’s fitness campaign. The women are not athletes or celebrities. They’re everyday women, recruited from gyms and classes around the country, women at all stages of their fitness journey. I’ve seen posters featuring super fit roller derby girls right through to mum’s using exercise DVDs at home. The women are not all toned and gently glistening. The adverts show cellulite and jiggly bits, and faces pouring sweat. The over-arching message is one of ‘who cares’? Who cares what you look like? What matters is how it makes you feel.

Fear of judgement is stopping too many women from taking ownership of their bodies and moving them. This Girl Can wants to change that. For me, this campaign is fantastic. It’s focus on the endorphin high of exercising, with it’s wide range of sports represented, and the total lack of attempt to make it sexy…spot on.

This Girl Can. Can you?

Friday Round Up

Links, loves and lomograms from the last week. It’s the Friday round up!

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  1. My kind of networking!
  2. Love these Vedett beer mats. You break them up and the pieces slot together to make penguins. I may have made quite a lot of these this week…
  3. Soft curls and smoky eyes from a makeover and photoshoot on Saturday. I’ll be getting the pictures tomorrow!
  4. SNOW!

I’m so, so glad we’re at the end of January. Frankly, January can do one. It’s been dark, cold, wet and I’ve gone six weeks between pay days. No thanks. Bring on February, I say!

Despite it being January, it’s been another nice week though. I started out on Saturday with a brilliant shoot with a little difference. There’ll be a full post about all this later in the week, and I can’t wait to share the results! The afternoon was a slight contrast to the morning’s glamour, and was spent driving a remote control car around Mockingbird, which resulted in this little gem. I don’t think I have a career as  stunt driver ahead of me…

Sunday was XP, which was super awesome. The rest of the week has been busy with launch events, nights in with a takeaway and networking. No rest for the wicked…

This week’s links:
The world’s best hidden bars.
19 problems people who grew up in British villages will understand.
David Tennant joins cast of Marvel’s AKA Jessica Jones.
10 struggles all cosplayers will understand.

XP – Geeking out with Box Entertainment and Mockingbird

XP

 

Non-geeks, you can skip this one and come back for the next one. I’ve been geeking out to an extra level today. My new home, Mockingbird, played host to the fabulous Box Entertainment, for the launch of new monthly event, XP.

XP is a day to geek out, with board games, consoles, geeky quizzes and movies. This month’s was the launch day, with later events planned to run on a theme. Not being much of a gamer, I parked myself at the bar for some anime watching and some classic geek arguing. Who would win in a fight? Superman or the Hulk…any votes guys? I’m undecided.

The absolute highlight for me was the speed quizzing. Speed Quizzing is a smart phone based quiz, so no cheating! You download an app, and answer a mix of multiple choice and fastest finger first questions. When you quiz with geeks, it’s going to get competitive. Things soon got heated, with rounds on superhero aliases, movie soundtracks and general geek knowledge. I honestly cannot remember the last time I laughed as hard as I did during that quiz. So competitive, but so, so fun. It helps, of course, that my team, Angel or Spike (with Love Shack as our buzzer) came out champions. M performed the best victory dance I have ever seen in my life. My favourite moment though? A certain team member of mine yelling across the bar, “IF YOU’VE GOT A PROBLEM WITH FLASHDANCE, YOU’VE GOT A PROBLEM WITH ME!”

The whole day has had a great vibe. People came in little groups, or alone, but by the end, we were all one big group of mates, yelling and laughing and shouting. It’s been bloody awesome.

Now, obviously I’m biased, as Mockingbird is M’s place, but if you’re of the geek leaning at all, you need to get yourself to the next XP. Box Entertainment are god-damn heroes. Thanks for the best day ever guys.

XP will be held at Mockingbird on the last Sunday of the month, with the next one being on Sunday 22 February. See you there!