TLC Vacation: Los Angeles with Ingrid Goes West

To celebrate the DVD and digital release of ‘Ingrid Goes West,’ Matt Spicer’s dark comedy that satirises the modern world of social media, I was invited by Universal Pictures UK to visit some of the film’s featured hot spots, arguably some of the city’s most Instagrammable sites. 

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The film follows the journey of Ingrid Thorburn (Aubrey Plaza) who with an unhinged history of mistaking ‘likes’ for meaningful relationships, moves to Los Angeles in an effort to stalk down and befriend her Instagram idol, Taylor Sloane (Elizabeth Olsen.) What has been called the ‘Single White Female’ of the social media age, this film is brilliantly topical, and frequently makes for some super uncomfortable viewing (especially for those of us heavily involved in using social media… EEK!)

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Aubrey and Elizabeth aside, however, another shining star of this film is undoubtedly its location… LOS ANGELES. I’ve been really lucky to spend time out in LA over the years, even moving there for a few months to work with some producers when I was younger.  It’s ridiculously spread out, but each differing area has its own remarkable character and almost pre-filtered aesthetic, and having an opportunity to explore some of these places once more, as well as smugly missing the arrival of ‘The Beast from the East,’ seemed too good to be true. 

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I mean, I can’t tell you how jammy I felt to be taking off in a roomy Norwegian Air Premium seat and heading for the California sunshine, just as the first snow was beginning to fall upon the runway in my wake… #SorryNotSorry!

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I spent two nights at The Kinney, a beyond colourful and quirky hotel at the heart of Venice Beach (where the oh-so-Boho Taylor Sloane lives, no less!) enjoying both a delicious dinner on the candlelit Gjelina patio (is there a better, more comforting cure for jet lag than pizza and red wine?!) and a sunny breakfast (with avocado, natch…) and much needed giant coffees at The Rose Café which set us up happily for all our sightseeing… iPhones at the ready.  

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After popping into Clare V’s (the boutique Ingrid first meets Taylor) I had my my hair tousled by the lovely peeps at The Hive in Silverlake (no blonde Taylor make-over for me, this time!) I then, eyes on stalks, visited some key Instagram locations across the city, including the much-photographed Love Heart Staircase and the infamously pink Paul Smith Wall, with lunch at the Carrera Café, and dinner at Ostrich Farm in Echo Park, yet another aspirational filming location. 

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With my camera roll almost as full as my stomach, we then set off on a road trip, just like the girls do in the film, for an afternoon in Palm Springs and a night in Joshua Tree.

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I stayed at the Parker Palm Springs a few years back, and it remains one of my favourite hotels, so to return for a mouth-watering lunch at Norma’s (shrimp tacos, always) was a serious highlight. Originally a Holiday Inn, this mid-century mansion has been transformed by the famously eccentric designer Jonathan Adler, who’s iconic pottery I am a keen collector of. The hotel is a perfect balance of extraordinary and chic, and you’re unlikely to have seen anything like it.

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A visit to the Moorten Botanical Gardens followed lunch, a garden designed by Slim and Patricia Moorten in the 1930’s, which now boasts over 3000 examples of desert cacti and other desert plants, and has become a real Palm Springs destination.  

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Our next stop was a tour around the Palm Spring’s Art Museum, where brilliantly, our visit had happily coincided with their Andy Warhol retrospective. As if my senses were not on over drive enough, it was a total pleasure to see more than 250 of this artist’s works from over four decades, in person - the pop art in particular.   

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After an early dinner at The King’s Highway Diner at the Ace Hotel in Palm Springs (shrimp tacos on repeat, this time with Frozen Piña Coladas… Next level, just sayin’!) we headed into the desert darkness.

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The Pioneertown Motel, a must-stay when exploring the Yucca Valley. The motel is rustic, and straight out of a film set, which is of course in keeping with the real life, actual Hollywood western film set that lies on its doorstep! The rooms are simple and stripped back, and if you are comfortable with the lack of light pollution, and abundance of cool desert air, a good night’s sleep is guaranteed.

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Sadly we arrived at the motel on one of the two nights a week where neighbouring bar and renown rockstar/cowboy/rock climber hangout, Pappy & Harriet’s Pioneer Town Palace was closed! This, coupled with having to set off early the next morning, rendering us unable to explore the film set, has left me with valid reasons to justify a return one day…

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After a stack of Cross Road’s Café pancakes (next to some dubious taxidermy), we headed towards Joshua Tree National Park, where my boyfriend had visited to rock climb only a fortnight before. With 8000 climbing routes and 2000 boulder problems, the epic landscape, fascinating variety of plants and rare opportunities to sleep under the stars, have all created a truly world-class climbing destination… Oh, and the perfect Instagram location…!  As demonstrated by Taylor and an eager Ingrid in the film, we also had our moment to capture some Coachella vibe #OOTD’s amongst the yucca trees...

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There are also some vintage stores, such as ‘The End,’ worth dropping in on before leaving Joshua Tree.  Despite not finding my dream cowboy boots, I did find a vintage Italian umbrella which was too adorable not to take with me on the road. 

With Downtown LA (‘DTLA,’ for those in the know) mid-way through a real rebirth, with exciting restaurants, galleries, and hotels opening throughout, its currently a really great, buzzing place to stay, and after all that dust, and travelling, it was pretty euphoric to walk into my beyond spacious, and achingly cool studio suite at The Ace Hotel.  With a roll top bath, record player, a guitar and water provided in cardboard boxes, I became hipster by default. Cool. 

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The next morning, after one giant lie-in (and hangover), armed with green juice, we hiked to the Hollywood Sign. Kidding, we took an Uber...

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After obligatory photographs were taken, a spoiling lunch (of, you guessed it, shrimp tacos) at The Ivy Restaurant in West Hollywood ensued. Totally sceney, and totally worth hustling your way into for the eclectic décor and people watching-alone, but I can also thoroughly recommend the Key Lime Pie! 

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Here is a little video of these fabulous few days in LA...

TLC ON TOUR... LOS ANGELES SUITCASE:
(Click on the items below for their direct links)

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In collaboration with Universal Pictures (UK), Discover LA and Greater Palm Springs CVB, with thanks to Norweigan Air.

Photography: Myself and Erin Wyatt.

Nails: Sophie Gass.

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FitFlop x Habitat for Humanity

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I moved to my flat in Notting Hill three years ago, after a short but tumultuous period of bouncing around from house to flat, and at one point, hotel room to friend’s sofas. Although still an ongoing process, slowly making this little one-bedroom flat, with its creaky black floor boards and New York loft style exposed brick and sky lights, my own, has been a total joy. Saving up for things has taken time, and in some cases, some extreme willpower (fixing windows over buying new shoes, for instance, takes the strength of an ox…!) and the arrival of my long-lusted after jade velvet sofa of dreeeeeams this month, just in time for my impending hibernation, has been a triumph.

My bathroom is covered in Matthew Williamson for Osborne and Little butterfly wallpaper, my wardrobe, in House of Hackney colobus monkeys, and Jo Malone candles and photographs of my beloved niece Safari Willow and nephew Zac cover most of the surfaces. Monkey book ends, giant coral prints, a Rosanna Lonsdale zebra lamp, and my framed Guy Malin leopard balloon photograph all remind me of where I’m from in Africa.  Stepping into my flat after a crazy day whizzing around London, throwing off my boots, popping on my slippers and attacking some Jaffa Cakes, makes me feel calm, cosy, and safe…

Basically, I feel at home. 

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I know, the word LUCKY springs to mind. Especially when one in five people across the world are living in slums or substandard housing, propelling them into a grinding cycle of poverty. When someone lacks a home, their health, well-being, educational prospects and ability to earn a living all become affected. 

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With this in mind, FitFlop are supporting Habitat for Humanity this year, a global non-profit organisation which helps build homes for families in need around the world, offering them strength, stability and self-reliance through much-needed shelter. 20% from each purchase of a pair of FitFlop House Slippers, in all their cloud-like double shearling and fluffy pom pom glory, is made to Habitat for Humanity

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Since 1976, Habitat for Humanity has worked tirelessly to provide access to decent housing for families in over 70 countries. From building homes and providing villages with clean drinking water, to natural disaster relief and micro-finance, this organisation have amazingly helped over 10 million people worldwide.

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The FitFlop House Slippers are available in two different colour ways, and I was immediately drawn to the charcoal grey pair with midnight blue pom poms. Not only have I practically not taken them off, but several of my friends have already gone and bought themselves a pair after seeing mine. With Christmas fast approaching, these make the perfect ‘Buy to Give’ present… Even if that present miiiight be to yourself… Hey, no one’s judging here! 

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Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, this pair of beyond comfortable, limited edition LOVE Slippers also see 20% from each sale go to support Habitat for Humanity’s life-changing work. What’s not to LOOOOOOVE, huh?!

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 “At FitFlop, people put their hearts and souls into making the world’s best ergonomic footwear, because they believe that if you want to live an inspired life, you’ve got to start with a great foundation.  And while a great pair of shoes will improve your life, a safe decent home is the ultimate foundation.” 

Marcia Kilgore, Founder of FitFlop.

 

“We’re really excited to be partnering with FitFlop on this venture. Both of our organisations are passionate about making a sustainable difference and FitFlop’s vision for solid foundations aligns perfectly with ours.”

Naomi Rothwell, Habitat for Humanity GB Corporate Partnerships Manager

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In collaboration with FitFlop

Photography: Francis Davison

Hair and Makeup: Secret Spa

#FITFLOPxHABITATFORHUMANITY 

An Evening with Monica Vinader and Jenny Walton

I recently attended an after hour’s dinner at Monica Vinader’s flagship store in Chelsea during London Fashion Week, to celebrate her Signature Bangle Collection and collaboration with Jenny Walton.

Global fashion icon Jenny (below), the Fashion Director of global street style blog, The Satorialist, has created six hand drawn and painted illustrations inspired by the coveted, now cult, bangles.

"I'm most looking forward to people seeing the beautiful illustrations and the fun ways we have made them come to life with videos and gifs. I also love the concept behind the project, of the different places you could wear such a beautiful bangle. It's simple but very chic, so you can easily wear it shopping with friends, stacked for an evening, or on a day trip to the beach."  Jenny Walton.

I wore Orla Kiely's Bubble Organza Sylvie Dress, the Anine Bing Havana Velvet Bag I am pretty much surgically attached to right now, and some Zara ‘go-with-EVERYTHING’ Leather Mid-Heel shoes.  My hair was inspired by the models I saw at the Emilia Wickstead show, and created at Duck & Dry.

The bangles are incredibly versatile, perfect for stacking together, and also engravable.  Using both strong, clean lines with flowing curves, the design of the bracelet, available in a wide variety of choices, is the perfect combination of both modern and feminine.

See Full Collection: HERE

TLC Loves... The Monica Vinader Signature Bangles

Signature Wide Bangle

Signature Thin Bangle

Signature Diamond Bangles

Jenny's illustrations are on display at Monica Vinader's Chelsea Boutique until October 11th.

#TLCComp: Jess Collett Milliner Summer Illustrations

Everyone must know by now that I loves me a Jess Collett felt trilby, rendering me virtually unrecognisable in the Winter months without one firmly affixed to my head. With the London sunshine fiiiinally playing ball and putting its very own hat on, Jess’ summer styles, from her neon, pom pom adorned straw trilbies to her beyond creative, dramatic headpieces, are ready to take centre stage. Whether you have upcoming weddings, races, regattas or are simply heading to the beach, this Notting Hill Mad Hatter has got your back… or, you know, head!

 

As you may remember I organised a competition to find an illustrator to create some backgrounds for some of Jess’ most event-worthy pieces.  Thank you to every one for your wonderful submissions, I’m thrilled to announce Parisian illustrator Habile Buston has won a Jess Collett made-to-measure summer trilby worth £220.00 after designing these fabulous and vibrant interpretations of my impending summer fun! 

Make Up: Charlotte Cowen
Dresses: Matthew Williamson Archive. 
Photographer: Janie Airey

The Duchess of Cambridge for British Vogue

Vogue celebrates their centenary issue this month, and only went and scored HRH The Duchess of Cambridge for their cover!  This is the first time Catherine has consented to being shot for a magazine, and what a debut.  The magazine’s June issue (out now) features seven photographs of the Duchess near Anmer Hall (the Cambridge’s house in Norfolk), taken by Josh Olins, and styled by Lucinda Chambers (and I Imagine also by Kate herself) in fairly accessible, simple clothes worn to reflect her love of the countryside. 

On the cover Kate is seen wearing a Burberry trench coat and white jacquard shirt, with a vintage hat from Beyond Retro.  Other clothes worn include a striped jersey from Petit Bateau, 70’s-style flared denim dungarees from AG Jeans, Dune knee-high navy boots and a checked shirt from Cabbages & Roses.

By choosing British Vogue for her first-ever cover Kate is following in famous footsteps. Princess Diana famously graced the cover of the magazine four times (1981, 1991, 1994 & 1997).  Alexandra Shulman Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue said: “To be able to publish a photographic shoot with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has been one of my greatest ambitions for the magazine.”  

Shop HRH The Duchess of Cambridge's Vogue Looks...

The shoot was a collaboration by Vogue and the National Portrait Gallery – of which the Duchess has been patron from 2012. Two of the pictures are now currently being displayed in the gallery’s exhibition, ‘Vogue 100: A Century of Style.’  The exhibition runs until the 22 May 2016 (BOOK TICKETS HERE).

Hello There: Boyarde

I was recently introduced to Boyarde who is well known for her vibrant pop-art infused aesthetic which she gloriously paints on any canvas, as long as it’s not paper!  With her popular monogramming technique, or ability to create bespoke characters and sayings to your preference, London fashionistas went into a frenzy towards the end of last year, vying to have their tote bags personalised by the artist. 

During London Fashion Week and Frieze London, Boyarde held a special exhibition at the Hyatt Regency, where several of her hand painted handbags, belonging to various tastemakers and fashion bloggers, were displayed in all their bright, shining glory.  I was lucky enough to be asked to participate, by having my newly customised, dove grey Smythson Panama North South Tote displayed alongside bags belonging to Charlotte Olympia and Laura Bailey (below).

I had decided on having one of Boyarde’s ‘signature divas’ on my bag, the African Queen herself, Katherine Hepburn (a Smythson fan herself!) who we decided to colour in similar tones to Smythson’s Panama range; emerald green and red. Playing on my African roots, and OBVIOUS love of The Lion King, my sassy lil’diva hollers out, ‘Hakuna Matata, Sweet Cheeks!'

Not many people get to swing their phone and keys around in such a beautiful piece of art! 

Thank you Boyarde and Smythson xx

L. K. Bennett SS'16 Breakfast

Earlier this month I was utterly spoiled by the wonderful peeps at L. K. Bennett, alongside a gaggle of my fashunnn faves, with a delicious breakfast at the stunning Mondrian London’s Rumpus Room, hosted by Brand Ambassador, the formidable Alex Meyers

We were given a sneak peak at the upcoming (predictably gorgeous) SS’16 collection (the over-the-knee boots will be a BIG hit, and are firmly now on my wish list) and each given a ‘goody bag’ to end all goody bags; a brand new L. K. Bennett Mariel Bag, hand-painted with our initials by esteemed British artist, and TLC Fave, Boyarde.  I meeeeean…!! You can only imagine our excitement!

Above (L-R) Clockwise:  Alex Meyers, Pippa Vosper, Kelly Eastwood (TLC), Anna Hart and Laura Fantacci. 

My bag was in orange, a favourite of mine for accessories (LKB had clearly done their homework!) and I couldn’t wait to hit the streets (whilst also wearing my prized Fianna Suede Ankle Boots) to give it a twirl. 

Shop TLC's LOOK...

After all of our bespoke Mariel bags had hit Instagram, there was such a demand for these gorgeous, bespoke bags that. L. K. Bennett decided to run a competition to win one, hand-painted with the winner’s initials.  Sign up on their mailing list HERE to automatically be in with a chance of winning. 

Street Style Photography: Ella Sadika

'An Afternoon With Audrey' at Le Caprice

The National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Portraits of an Icon,’ the must-see exhibition celebrating Audrey Hepburn, teamed up with Le Caprice this Summer, and with only a few days left to go, I was thrilled to be invited to ‘An Afternoon with Audrey.’  For an amazing £35 pp, my girlfriend Kalita and I were spoiled with a delicious lunch (with a glass of bubbles, naturally) at the iconic London restaurant before heading to the gallery to enjoy over 70 images of the beautiful and elegant Audrey, taken by all the photographer greats; Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Terry O’Neill, Norman Parkinson and Irving Penn.  

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With images spanning from her chorus girl days, to being one of the world’s most famous actresses and fashion icons, to her admirable philanthropic work in Africa in her later life, Audrey truly deserves her title of 'icon.'  A stunning wall of vintage magazine covers, original film stills and truly special archival material (such as her old, pink ballet slippers worn in the 1940’s, below) add to the whole experience.

An Afternoon with Audrey’ is available Monday-Friday between 2.30pm-6.30pm until October 18th. To book call 020 7629 2239 and quote ‘Hepburn.'

The Conran Shop opens at Selfridges

The Conran Shop have opened an interiors haven within the illustrious and iconic lower ground level of Selfridges, and on the last night of London Fashion Week, my friend Rosanna Falconer (below, draped in glittering Matthew Williamson, as per) and I attended the launch.  Surrounded by a beyond stylish edit of multi-coloured gadgets and gizmos a’plenty, it took ultimate strength (of character, and at times pure manhandling) to not buy everything in sight after a glass (orrr two) of champagne. A go-to destination for note-worthy gifts and investment items for your home - Keep me away, this could be dangerous! 

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TLC LOVES... THE CONRAN SHOP

Above:  I'm more than a little obsessed with these Medium Cactus Vases (£37.50) and Large Cactus Vases (£59.00). Next pay cheque, they're MINE! 

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SHOP TLC'S LOOK...

Jimmy Choo's 'Choo Hound' Launch

This summer Brazilian artist Rafael Mantesso and his Bull Terrier, Jimmy, collaborated Choo to launch ‘Choo Hound,’ a capsule collection of leather accessories featuring playful images of his Bull Terrier Jimmy. The collection included tote bags, purses, cosmetic bags and iPhone cases, not to mention the limited edition leather dog collars which sent the Lapdogs of London into a frenzy. 

To celebrate the collaboration Jimmy Choo’s Creative Director Sandra Choi, alongside Olivia Palermo, co-hosted an adorable tea party at the newly opened Ivy Chelsea Garden (now a firm favourite of mine.)  The entire garden had been transformed by the brilliantly creative Polar Black Events, with the monochrome style of the collection reflected in the setting’s aesthetic, complete with a central doggy fountain!

A traditional, yet quirky, afternoon tea was served, which included delicious iced dog-bone shaped biscuits, Slush Puppies (of course!) and paw-print lattes.  Adorable!! 

Below:  Despite many of the fashionista guests attending with their gorgeous canine counterparts, there was really only one guest of honour… internet sensation Tuna, the chiweenie (Chihuahua and Dachshund, who knew?!) from L.A with over one million Instagram followers (@tunaMeltsMyHeart) who was at the time 'summering in London!' Tuna, you really did melt our hearts… LOOK AT THAT SWEET LITTLE FACE!!

Below:  The amazing shoes and handbag I wore for the event... Swooooon!! 

TLC LOVES... JIMMY CHOO