HAWT: Céline Dion for Vogue

Hawt = A late 1940's and early 1950's acronym for "Having A Wonderful Time."
Now the word is used on the internet as slang for something reeeeally hot.

New Life Motto:  Live every day like you are Céline Dion at a Vogue shoot... Incroyable!

After a 35-year career and a mere 250 milllllion album sales, Celine is back in the spotlight wearing some of the most exquisite couture pieces of the season in Vogue’s latest video.  

Modelling looks from all the big boys, such as Christian Dior, Valentino and Chanel, Ms. Dion (who at one point bites a nose off a mannequin whilst at the Ritz Paris… et pourquoi pas?!) has set the fashion world on FIRE and is just so hawt/haute right now. 

#OOTD: 21.07.17

Just as florals are synonymous with Spring (yes, we know, ground-breaking…), fruit goes hand in hand with the summer. The minute the sunshine puts his hat on, and the rosé has been lined up, we all seem to reach for our most zesty ensembles and juicy accessories.

Pineapples are usually our first fashion go-to, with lemons not far behind (so very D&G), and then there are cherries. Ripe and ruby red, there will always be something a little bit more sexy and a little bit more playful about this fruity print, and my faves Chinti and Parker have provided this one of our fashion five a day in droves this season.

I’m a massive fan of Chinti and Parker’s whimsical cashmere designs, and recently I was treated to the most GAWGEOUS Ivory Cherry Silk Shirt (RRP. £275.00) which has fast become one of the most useful items in my wardrobe; Cool when its hot, warm when it cool - but always lots of fun!  The shirt also has matching pyjama style trousers if you’re feeling that extra bit fruity.

 

I recently wore the shirt whilst on a #TLCVacation in Nice, staying at Les Roches Rouges. I paired the shirt with my red ASOS skirt, Dolce & Gabanna retro cat eye sunnies and my new favourite shoes; my Drilles.

These unisex, handmade leather espadrilles, created by British fashion journalist Amy Williams, are available in a plethora of chic colours (my favourites being Rio Red and Portobello Pink) are set to be THE shoe of the summer. Get ‘em while you can from Barr and Bass (RRP. £155.00).

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Photographs:  Francis Davison

Nails:  Sophie Gass 

Jewellery:  Auree Jewellery

Kiki McDonough's Jemima Collection

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If there is one thing I share in common with London-based jeweller Kiki McDonough, aside from us both clearly being magpies, its our love of COLOUR. Kiki’s kaleidoscopic use of gemstones, coupled with her amazing eye for detail, result in the most stunning statement pieces you’ll triumphantly treasure for maaaaany years to come.  

With a father and grandfather both involved in the antique jewellery industry, jewellery design might have seemed an obvious route for Kiki McDonough to have taken. However, at this time, there were very few people designing everyday investment pieces, ones which could be worn everyday, and for any occasion.  Designing show-stopping yet wearable designs soon became Kiki’s aim, and this more modern view of jewellery, alongside her love of unique, bold colour combinations, soon placed Kiki at the forefront of British jewellery design, a pedestal where she has comfortably perched for over thirty years.  

The idea of wearing your most precious jewels, your ‘Sunday Best’ sparklers, on a random Tuesday, with jeans and a ‘just ‘cos’ attitude, appeals to me hugely.  Not to be too fatalistic, but given we never know what is just around the corner, why save the enjoyment of wearing our most beloved possessions for such rare occasions? I used to save certain dresses and shoes for special events, and now I basically do the washing up in ball gowns! Likewise, Kiki McDonough’s spectacular jewels are without doubt meant to be cherished, but they are also meant to be worn – and on all occasions!

The theme of this contemporary opulence has extended into Kiki McDonough’s latest Jemima Collection, designed in collaboration with their ambassador, Jemima Jones. Inspired by their mutual love of Rome, taking inspiration from the city’s beautiful architecture, culture, style and history, this collection is characterised by the the Ancient Roman’s everyday use of striking patterns and colourful gemstones.

Being able to adorn myself one afternoon in Kiki McDonough's striking Jemima Collection was beyond a pleasure! The designs comprise four chunky rings, six chain bracelets, six pairs of earrings, and nine pendants, all in beautifully contrasting and unique gemstone variations, including Lemon Quartz, Green Amethyst, Lavender Amethyst, Blue Topaz and White Topaz. There is definitely a style to suit everyone, but being the maximalist I am, I couldn’t just stop at just one… My initial response was to stack various combinations of these beauties all together, which I wore for a sunny afternoon wander about my Notting Hill neighbourhood, to Albert’s Club (below) later that evening, and for some very bleary eyed meetings the next day…!  The results were all equally as breath taking.

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Yes, these Kiki McDonough pieces do push the usual self-imposed spending boundaries of my ‘treat ‘yo’self’ guidelines (the Jemima Collection is upwards of £1900.00) but when you consider the amount of wear (and compliments) each piece will garner over the years, I feel decidedly more confident of recommending these investments.  So yeah, go on, treat yo’self (and me, please...?! Merci, mon cheri!)

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The Jemima Collection is available to buy online, and from Kiki McDonough’s flagship Chelsea shop.

In Collaboration with Kiki McDonough

Notting Hill Photographs:  Ella Sadika

South Kensington Photographs: Eva Salvi 

Hair:  Taylor Taylor London

Nails:  Sophie Gass

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(Click on the images for direct links)

TLC Vacation: Les Roches Rouges, Saint-Raphael

What a total and utter treat it was to be asked to stay at Hotel Les Roches Rouges during the same month of its opening.  When confronted with the beautiful azure blue sea and the stark white and deep, seductive sienna hues of this modernist, 5* hotel situated in the heart of the Côte d'Azur, the memory of my ungodly wake up call to get to Gatwick Airport simply melted away. The Welcome (and very much welcomed) Cocktail miiiiiight also have played a part in this, to be fair…

Les Roches Rouges is understated luxury at its best.  Low-key but wonderfully luxurious, unlike its well known neighbours, you can enjoy the glamour without the glitz of the French Riviera in peace.

First and foremost, I should mention the view.  The sea crashing against the rocky cliffside, and the hotel’s two swimming pools, one a natural seawater infinity pool, combine to make what I’m sure will soon become the most Instagrammed set up of the summer!  It is like something out of a Slim Aarons photography book, I kid you not.  Exceptional.

Spending a few sun-drenched days splashing in this refreshing water, whilst having a friendly team of Stan Smith clad staff waiting on my every Orangina whim, was le dream!  (Below: In Réard Paris)

My sea-view bedroom was small, but perfectly formed, with a balcony, artesian snacks (think, saucisson and nougat rather than your regular selection of Pringles!) and gorgeous, refillable Le Labo amenities. I mention that they were refillable, because as much as I love sneaking home a bottle or two of travel sized shampoo and conditioner, I love it more when hotels are eco conscious. The minimalist, yet artistic approach to the decoration felt fresh and light, the bed was cloud’esq comfy, and as an additional stylish touch, a gorgeous straw basket was ready and waiting to be used as your beach bag throughout your stay.

There are three bars and two restaurants at Hotel Les Roches Rouges, my favourite being located on the rooftop where I spent my last evening taking in a particularly other worldly sunset. The Provencal cuisine, with all ingredients sourced from local farmers, cheese makers, olive oil producers and beekeepers, is more than complimented by the array of cold, crisp wines offered (another Magnum of rose, anyone?!) I would however, say some English menus would be helpful (#BritAbroad, apologies) and perhaps a few more creative Vegetarian options. 

Above:  My blogger friends wearing their #TLCxAuree bracelets.  Every purchase from my and Auree Jewellery's Masai inspired Tembo Collection sees 100% of profits donated to For Rangers, supporting those risking their lives daily to protect Africa's wildlife. (RRP. £50.00-£140.00)

By day, if unwinding with a book, cocktail in hand lounging doesn’t suit (who even are you?)  you can busy yourself with some kayaking, stand up paddle boarding, table tennis, yoga cooking classes or a visit to a nearby, picturesque village for a wander.  In the evenings, there is live music (Gypsy, Cuban, acoustic folk rock) and cosy, open air cinema nights.  After a gorgeous massage, I can also certainly recommend a visit to the spa, you know, in the unlikely event that you just weren’t feeling relaxed enough…!

TLC ON TOUR... COTE D'AZUR SUITCASE:

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

Thank you Les Roches Rouges.

Additional Photography: Emma Horeau

Nails: Sophie Gass

TLC Vacation: Global Day of Discovery, Paris

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I was recently invited to Paris by Renaissance Hotels to celebrate their fifth annual Global Day of Discovery.  This hotel group is known for helping its travellers really experience their destination, something so frequently missed out on by those with a busy travel or work schedule, and for one day a year 170 of their hotels, across 24 countries, assist in helping you uncover the real soul of the location you’re visiting.  As Audrey Hepburn once said, “Paris is always a good idea,” so how could I miss such an exciting opportunity - one that would really immerse myself within the city, and not just within it’s bottles of wine and baskets of baguettes, as previous trips have witnessed!  This time, I was set to truly experience some authentic local culture that makes Paris unique.  

After arriving in Paris on the Eurostar (still never gets old), we were collected and taken to the Renaissance Arc de Triumph Hotel.  After a quick change and turnaround (I obviously needed to don some stripes and apply some red lipstick… ‘Cos Paris, innit?!) I was taken for the most tasty, colourful and inventive lunch at Balagan, the latest offering from the team behind the Experimental Cocktail Club.

With famous Israeli Chef Assaf Granit at its helm, this new, stylish restaurant and cocktail bar officially opens in June, in the Renaissance Vendome, and it should not be missed.  Make sure to try the amazing polenta starter and the tuna tatar wth tomatoes and tobiko yoghurt before the staff, accompanied by loud music, all join together to create you the messiest and most fun deserts… Think, chunks of cake thrown with wild abandon onto a tin foil lined counter top, followed by handfuls of watermelon and blueberries, a scattering of nuts, and giant spurts fruity syrups and lashings of cream! How very apt that Balagan means ‘Joyful Bazaar’ in Hebrew!

After a walk in the beautiful sunshine around the surrounding area, I have to admit I maaaaaay have then spent most of the afternoon in Sezane#DésoléPasDésolé

TLC LOVES... SEZANE

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

After another quick change (so little time, so much Paris), and another quick change after that (zip issues with my dress), we were entertained by some dancers in the lobby over champagne, followed by Parisian beatboxers over more champagne, in a coach headed towards the Eiffel Tower.  Oh, did I forget to mention?!  The six Renaissance Hotels in Paris came together and threw an exclusive party a the sought-after Salon Gustave Eiffel in the Eiffel Tower and THAT’s where I was headed.

Aside from getting ABSOLUTELY SOAKED by a freak thunder storm (if you watched my InstaStories that night, you might remember my hurricane of a hair doo and complaints over my soggy Jimmy Choo’s!) the evening was what dreams were made of; incredible and rare views across Paris, the City of Light, and a fun party involving a lot of glitter, a lot of bubbles, and many, many extraordinarily good looking stubbly men. I mean… They were EVERYWHERE. If you’re single Ladies, head to Paris, that’s all I’m gonna say!!  

The next day, a Renaissance Navigator, an expert in local neighbourhood activities and local gems, took us to the Fondation Louis Vuitton

Not only was it as fabulous as ever, but I was able to visit the Art Afrique exhibition, which was exhibiting one of my all time favourite photographs in all its glory, 'Nuit Noël’ (below).  Captured by Malian goat herder turned photographer Malick Sidibé, in 1963, three years after Mali's independence from France, and a time of hugely euphoric cultural and social change.  I just love the vibrant intimacy of the couple jiving under an African night's sky, still both in their Parisian best (she, sweetly barefoot), surrounded by beer bottles on the concrete dance floor.  

Before heading for to catch the Eurostar home, we headed for the Place du Trocadéro. You can’t come all the way to Paris and not get the money shot, after all!

TLC ON TOUR... PARIS SUITCASE

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

When in Paris... I love French beauty products (*and pastries) and I have a lot of love for cool cat (and daughter of Serge and Jane) Charlotte Gainsbourg’s new khaki packaged NARS collaboration - the make up brushes are firmly on my Wish List. Also, if I could eat the new Sisley Paris Black Rose Cream on toast, I would.

An unforgettable journey, Merci Renaissance Hotels!

Net a Porter 2017 Summer Sale

Summmmmer Tiiiiiime... And not only is the living easy, but the Net-a-Porter’s sale has kicked off!  To save you some time (and timing is of the essence when it comes to this) I’ve curated an edit of my favourite pieces - much of which you've seen me wear myself over the last few months.  In undertaking this task, i might also have made myself veritably bankrupt... I couldn't help it... That unobtainable digital shopping basket suddenly got a whole heap more obtainable!  Anyway, it's not what your spending, it's what you're saving, right?! RIGHT?!

Hover and click on the items below for their direct links.

TLC Vacation: Montenegro with Octavia Hix

I was recently whisked away by Octavia Hix to beautiful Montonegro for a fun filled few days.  I got to explore the country’s dramatic coastlines by speedboat, its breathtaking views over wine-tasting, and its Unesco-listed old town of Kotor (all very Game of Thrones), ALL whilst getting to wear some of the designer’s newest, silkiest designs. Spoilt, much??... Da!  

I wore an Octavia Hix dress on a trip to the Caribbean last year, and was really excited to get my mitts on some more.  Founded by sun-kissed sisters Vix and Hattie Clark, Octavia Hix really do create the most timeless, ageless and elegant printed silk dresses, which you can even wear as over sized shirts with jeans on chillier days.  The prints are inspired by their travels and their upcoming marble print was designed with Montenegro in mind.

I flew out on British Airways to Dubrovnik, where we were swiftly collected and driven across the border to the Regent Porto Montenegro, our glamorous new abode.

The Venetian-Renaissance inspired hotel is located inside the exclusive Porto Montenegro complex, neighbouring an abundance of chic cafes, restaurants (TLC TIP: Head straight to Byblos for the most amazing Lebanese feast) and designer boutiques, a sprawling Yacht Club (with the most INSANE of infinity pools) and it overlooks a picturesque 450-berth super-yacht marina… I mean, I obviously fitted in perfectly, darrrrling!

As well as having its own in-house bakery (the dream), the Regent Porto Montenegro is home to a cosy library bar, a delicious Mediterranean/Fusion-Asian restaurant, and the most heavenly spa, one I was lucky enough to visit on my last evening for an amazing massage. 

Two real highlights of the trip included taking in the amazing views over wine tasting (my new favourite hobby) at Castel Savina (TLC TIP:  The Castel Savina Merlot is ACES. Two enthusiastic thumbs up!) and our boat ride around the atmospheric Kotor Bay.  

Despite not being the sunniest of boat trips, the billowing clouds rolling over the bay, in all its wild, brooding beauty, was incredible and I loved weaving around the dramatic maze of cobbled streets in Kotor’s walled in medieval old town, which incidentally is brim full with stray cats… I’m not even kidding.  The whole town FREAKING LOVES CATS, and every shop and restaurant leaves water and food out for these descendants of seafaring felines, and there are even designated shops exclusively selling a plethora of cat clobber. Basically, I think I’ve found my people…

TLC ON TOUR... MONTENEGRO SUITCASE:

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

TLC Staycation: RHS Chelsea Flower Show with The Dorchester

Whether you know your Acer Saccharinum from your Liriodendron Tulipifera (which I don’t either FYI…) you don’t need to be an avid horticulturalist to LOVE the prestigious Chelsea Flower Show. The Royal Hospital Chelsea annually transforms its grounds with stunning floral displays, with world renowned designers creating show stopping, cutting edge gardens, creative floral artwork and frequently unusual floral displays. It’s a much anticipated date in every Londoner’s diary, and one that allows for a few stolen hours of pure browsing bliss in the sunshine amidst the plants and the sculptures.

Imagine the next level excitement I felt therefore, to not only attend this year’s show (tickets are like gold dust), but to also be invited to preview The Dorchester’s Afternoon Tea pop up before all the rest of the floral folk and fancies. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough (and lets not underestimate my notorious love of cake), but I also got to stay at The Dorchester the night before in a maaahooosive suite – AND be chauffeur driven around in my very own Rolls Royce convertible Dawn. Yes, I know, Cinderkella had it goooooood.

My stay at The Dorchester was, as ever, dreamy, with my highlights always including wallowing in their bathtub (the deepest in London, in case you wondered) and of course, ROOM SERVICE. Is there anything more luxurious than having your pancakes, bathed in Maple syrup, wheeled into greet you first thing whilst still in your fluffy white towel robe at The Dorchester?! I think not.

I was so lucky to visit the Rolls Royce Factory a few years ago, and have to say, they really are ALL the hype and more. People literally stop and stare as you drive past, wondering who you are… Ummmm, Kelly Kardashian, OBVs. The car’s unparalleled craftsmanship is matched only by its beauty, and it really is a total show stopper. I couldn’t have asked for a better day to be whizzing around in a convertible, with the sun blazing down upon us, although I soon realised why ladies ‘back in the day’ took to wearing head scarfs…!

The show is attended by around roughly 157,000 visitors each year, so imagine what a treat it is to have a sneak peak before the masses arrive...

The Dorchester pop up was everything you would expect and more, and by 11am I was two scones down and mid way through their signature Chelsea Flower Show cocktail, ‘Her Majesty’s Cup’ (below), served from a floral teapot! The elegant, quintessentially British pastries and flower arrangements were exquisite, and I really had the opportunity to relax, kick back and smell the roses - not just Instagram them!

Here is a little video of my day...

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(Click on the images for direct links)

Thank you to The Dorchester, Rolls Royce and the team at London.

Photography and Film: Merrick Winter

Hair: Secret Spa

Chelsea In Bloom x Bloom & Wild

Last week Chelsea was indeed in BLOOOOOM.  The theme of this year’s annual ‘alternative’ floral art show (lets face it, ‘dem Chelsea Flower Show tickets are like gold dust!) was ‘Floral Safari,’ and the shops and restaurants of Chelsea were all filled with the most creative of wild displays, all competing for several coveted awards.  

Bloom & Wild, the hugely popular letterbox flower delivery service and leading floral stylists, teamed up with Club Monaco, creating a stunning Borneo inspired installation at their Sloane Square shop.  With cascading lush greenery with intermittent flashes of bright, tropical colour, you could wander around on the scout for wild (albeit more fragrant than ferocious) exotic wildlife.

From camouflaged frogs to cheeky orangutans and elusive clouded leopards, a ‘safari guide’ was on hand to add to the interactive experience, and being from Kenya myself, with a true passion for wildlife, you can only imagine how much I enjoyed exploring this jungle.

I specifically loved the stark contrast of Bloom & Wild’s rugged combination of palms, ferns, over grown vines and moss, set alongside Club Monaco’s clean and modern Spring styles. The neutral-heavy Club Monaco outfit I chose to wear also served to highlight this.

Bloom & Wild, most deservedly, won the People’s Champion Award, as voted for by the public – Congratulations!  

In Collaboration with Bloom & Wild

Photography: Tom Griffiths

Hair:  Secret Spa

Nails:  Swanky

Boden Icons Summer 2017

If you haven’t heard about Boden Icons before, you are to be entirely forgiven, mainly because the hero pieces of each of the limited edition, capsule collections usually sell out within minutes, with a good 90% of all stock having found happy homes within mere days!  Last season I had my beady eyes on a beautiful, cream embroidered skirt, and when I was inevitably too slow off the mark and missed out, I vowed to be more prepared this time round!

When I previewed the Boden Icons collection a few months back, it was the embroidered Rita Skirt which really stood out for me.  The stunning, intricate embroidery (also found on the skirt’s matching Rita Jacket), was inspired by a vintage jacket discovered in Portobello Market last year, so I felt it only, my new Boden Icons suede Martha Heels in hand, to hit those same streets of Notting Hill, to give it its first lil'shimmy...

This more premium and unique, 24 piece Boden Icons collection was inspired by the 1920’s and is all exquisitely crafted by hand. Each piece is really individual and regardless whether you prefer something structured, flowy, lacey or ruffled, there will be something here to turn your head... Just be quick - Only a few hundred of each item have been produced!

Above:  Wearing a Walton Gold Russian Wedding Ring (RRP. £295.00) and the 9ct Gold Satao bracelet (RRP. £140.00) from my Tembo Collection with Auree Jewellery (100% profits of entire collection go to For Rangers and wildlife conservation across Africa - See More Here), with the Angled Marble Gold Cuff (RRP. £155.00) and Totem Gold Cuff (RRP. £135.00) by Edge of Ember.

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Shop the full Boden Icons Summer 2017 Collection HERE.