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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TLC Vacation: Venice with Diadora

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Considering the Italian brand Diadora’s current motto is ‘Living Your Passion,’ there could surely be no better person to visit them in Venice than me, seeing that two of my own rather large passions involve travelling, and pastaaaa!  

Since 1948 Diadora has been creating renowned and technologically advanced footwear, initially starting out making mountain boots, and subsequently athletic wear for some of the world’s most famous footballers, tennis players and F1 racing drivers.  In the last few years, Diadora has also focussed on expanding its range of street wear designs, with a timeless range of low and retro high top trainers in an ever changing array of bright colour ways.  Over the last couple of years, Diadora has collaborated with some of the world's best stores and boutiques, including Colette, creating a series of vibrant, limited edition trainers.  I perused these exclusive styles at the Diadora HQ whilst having lunch, some Prosecco (when in Rome… or, you know, Venice) and chatting with Chairman and CEO, Enrico Moretti Polegato.  

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After a tour around the brand’s Museum exhibitions, where I met many of the people behind the brand, and learnt a lot more about Diadora’s history and style evolution, we were able to visit their remarkable in-house-factory.  With no mass production, Diadora’s emphasis is on quality and traditional craftsmanship over quantity, and it was amazing to see the trainers being made, at each of the eleven stages of their people-led production, with many of the original machines still in use and in good working order.

After being presented with two of my very own pairs of Diadora trainers, I was invited to a nearby wine tasting at the beautiful Villa Sandi (below), and then on to Venice to our hotel.  

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Excitingly, I was utterly spoilt with a night’s stay at the stunning Hotel Ca’Sagredo.  The lavish, newly renovated 15th Century palace, situated on the spectacular Grand Canal itself, is a real gem.  Did I mention it is also PINK?! 

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This half hotel, half museum, is not only home to a multitude of striking 17th and 18th Century art, but at the time I visited,  Ca’Sagredo was also playing host to the most Instagrammed piece of art this year; Lorenzo Quinn’s phenomenal ‘Support.’

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As our water taxi pulled up to the hotel, I had the most incredible view of the installation I’d seen peppered over my social media feeds for the previous six months; Two giant hands pushing up the hotel’s walls, brilliantly drawing everyone’s attention to the real threat climate change poses to this much loved, centuries-old city.  According to scientists, the beautiful Floating City could be almost entirely submerged by as early as 2100, and these hands symbolise the power mankind has to stop it.

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The next day, in the most glorious sunshine, I explored the city on foot, and was shown the ‘secret’ side of Venice (basically, less tourists and slightly less pigeons!) with a walk through the Rialto, S. Marco Square, and all the way up to the Castello neighbourhood.  After a delicious, and what seemed never-ending, lunch at Nevodi (so many beautiful courses! Wow!) I visited La Biennale art exhibition before heading back to the airport by water taxi (beats an Uber to Heathrow any day!)

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"Venice is like eating an entire box of chocolate liqueurs in one go..." Truman Capote

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Above:  *FYI. If ever you can't find me, always look for the nearest cat...

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Above: Hanging laundry: One of the unsung wonders of Venice...

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Back in London, back in the grey, and back in the real world, the trainer trend shows no signs of ever abating, so I’m thrilled I can wear my Diadora styles around and about, at work and play - A lasting memory of my fabulous 24-hour Venetian adventure.

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TLC LOVES... Diadora

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

TLC ON TOUR... VENICE SUITCASE:

Thank you Diadora

London Photography: Ella Sadika

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!

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

Photography and Film: Merrick Winter

Hair: Secret Spa

TLC Vacation: Antwerp's Square Mile with Boodles

I was so excited to recently visit Antwerp with leading British jewellery house, Boodles. As well as being well known for its chocolate and waffles, this ‘other’ Eurostar destination is also recognised for its share in the diamond trade… Chocolate, waffles, diamonds… How had I not visited before?!! 

Given Boodles’ reputation for both its heritage and creativity, it was no surprise that they had organised for me to stay at the beyond charismatic ‘De Witte Lelie,’ Antwerp’s most luxurious boutique hotel, dating back to the 17th Century.  Contemporary and stylish, this quirky hotel, with its leopard print sofas, bowls of Chupa Chups and individually styled bedrooms, is the perfect pied à terre and it had me at Goeiedag.

The Flemish capital sees 50% of the world’s consumption of rough, polished and industrial diamonds all pass through its cobbled Square Mile, and people flock there to buy the most precious and exclusive diamonds.  Boodles naturally only acquires the most exquisite gemstones, and as their guest I was able to visit some of the most notoriously private diamond cutters and dealers in the Diamond Quarter.

Over $16 billion in polished diamonds passes through the district’s exchanges each year, and after learning a lot about the industry, my day culminated in playing with an overwhelming £17 million of the most sparkliest jewels I ever did see!  

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I decided that this rather subtle 37 carat yellow diamond would make the most charming of pinky rings…!  Keep an eye out out for my imminent crowd funding requests...

After a wonderfully spoiling dinner with the Boodles team, wearing my competitively sparkly party shoes, I woke up to breakfast and Boodles diamonds in bed… What a way to wake up!! My delicate 18ct Blossom Mini Rose Gold Diamond Necklace is both youthful and elegant, and works just as well when worn with jeans and a white tee, as it does with a cocktail dress.

After a quick trip back to London on the Eurostar with Leo, I was invited to the Boodles flagship Bond Street store.  Spanning a whopping 2.500sq ft, the showroom houses a luxurious VIP apartment where I was able to try on some of the brand’s most exceptional ‘High Jewellery,’ one-off designs.

A diamond necklace and emerald ring were the two pieces which caught my Magpie eye in particular.  The exquisitely special platinum necklace I tried on features 55 ‘Ashoka’ cut diamonds, making it exceptionally rare, as only 2% of all diamonds mined can be cut this way. Exclusive to Boodles, the necklace weigh a total of 55.33 carats.  I also tried on the giant platinum and diamond ‘Greenfire Ring,’ which features an 18.7 carat cushion cut emerald from the Muzo Mine in Colombia.  Taking these beauties off was heart breaking! My inner Elizabeth Taylor has officially been unleashed... 

Townhouse Photography:  Ella Sadika

TLC Vacation: 24 Hours in Munich with BMW

Last month I went on what I can only describe as some sort of Bavarian Bonanza… 24 hours in Munich with BMW. Despite the time limitations, and the city being brim-full with Oktoberfesting revellers, I was surprised at just how much of Munich I managed to explore. 

After arriving in Munich I swiftly checked into the Sofitel Bayerpost, a beyond large, heritage-listed Italian Renaissance building that once served as Munich’s central post office right in the centre of the city.  After a bite to eat at the hotel, I was taken for a guided tour of the BMW Museum and BMW Welt.  Founded in 1973, and expanded in 2008, these two attractions continue to be really popular amongst tourists.

It was really illuminating learning about the history and future of the German vehicle manufacturing brand, and I was severely dazzled by their 125 most valuable automobiles and motorcycles.

The museum is also peppered with brightly coloured MINI Coopers, which are only my favourite cars EVER, and this visit only but fuelled the flame… I need one… Or two… I digress… Basically, car aficionado or not, this is a really entertaining and interesting experience and a great way to spend an afternoon in Munich.

Hilariously, I then got to experience the other great way to spend an afternoon in Munich… Yup. Oktoberfest! 

Donning my finest dirndl (shop similar HERE), which adorably said ‘to my dear’ on it, I made my way, like 6 MILLION other people did over the course of the 16-day festival, to one of the jam-packed Oktoberfest tents owned by Munich’s six breweries; Paulaner, Spaten, Hacker-Pschorr, Augustiner, Hofbräu and Löwenbräu.  Each tent sits around 1000-8500 people and are to be found amidst a massive village of Bavarian-style fun and games (think, Winter Wonderland just bigger and drunker…) 

Overflowing frothy beer arrived at our table, and soon we were clinking our one litre sized mugs with our neighbours (everyone is joyfully over friendly), and singing along to the thigh-slapping oompah music where we could (‘Country Roads’ was a particular favourite!)  An astounding 7.5 million litres of beer are consumed over the 16 days (that’s 3 Olympic sized pools.) I’m happy to say, I contributed to around a whooooole ¼ of those litres. LAD. 

Food wise, this is not a gastro haven.  I stuck to the GIANT German pretzels (delicious) and the bunches of radishes which were being quite randomly passed around.  Being a vegetarian, I steered away from the popular Bavarian pork knuckles, white sausages, oxen dishes and grilled chicken, and the copious burger stands to be found outside the beer tents.  

DO:  Pay attention to how you tie your Dirndl… If the bow is tied on the right side, it will be perceived that you are a taken woman, but if tied to your left, it will suggest you are single and ready to miiiingle.

DO: Wear flat shoes, and not particularly special ones - they will likely be covered in beer.  I ran into town to buy some cheapie Zara Velvet Loafers when I realised my heels would be both uncomfortable, and more than likely trashed. 

DON’T:  Put a foot wrong… Or in this case, on the table! If you do this you will be expected, in front of some 5000-8000 chanting spectators to neck your entire beer. Expect aforementioned 5000-8000 people to boo quite ruthlessly if you are incapable of such feat!

I left Oktoberfest after dark via Tuk Tuk where I whizzed around, enjoying a fast paced tour of the city, all in search of a cocktail… A LOT of fun, but I’m still more Pina Colada than Pint! 

TLC ON TOUR... MUNICH SUITCASE:

(Click on the items below for their direct links)

TIMEX Fairfield Weekender Collection Launch

TIMEX recently revealed their new SS’16 Fairfield Weekender watch collection and I was very kindly invited to the European launch.  With a night’s stay at the fabulous Mondrian London’s on the South Bank, a fun afternoon spent touring Borough Market and an evening partying at Shoreditch House, this was twenty-four hours of pure fun, food and frivolity in the capital. 

We started our TIMEX adventure with a delicious lunch held in the Mondrian’s Rumpus Room where, alongside the best possible views in London, we learnt more about the brand from the TIMEX Design Director Giorgio Galli, the man responsible for creating the brand’s watches for the last decade. It was at this lunch I was given two of the new watches, both personalised with my initials, and given my particular obsession with orange accessories, I was thrilled with my new arm candy. 

The afternoon was spent with a tour of Borough Market.  I have lived in London for years, and I was still so excited about this. I loved meeting all the stall vendors and having a taste of so many of the amazing treats available to buy (the sea salt fudge and the coconut pancakes in particular!) We ended our trip with some wine tasting and doughnuts!... Yup, I rolled my way back to the hotel to get ready for the party!

The party at Shoreditch House commenced, and alongside the popcorn and candy floss (a nod to the brand’s American heritage) there was a customisation bar for guests to choose their own TIMEX stylish watch face (which all light up I later discovered, much to my delight!) and a fun, interchangeable, colourful strap from a large selection, pick'n'mix stylie! 

In the morning, wearing my AscenoxRollingStones PJ's (a collaboration that coincides with 'Exhibitionism') feeling a little bleary-eyed and after some delicious room service (yes, pancakes covered in syrup, obviously), I made my way down to the hotel’s beyond relaxing spa to enjoy a heavenly massage before heading back over the river, and home.  Such a fun TIME, thank you TIMEX! 

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The Coronation Cup with Piaget

There is nothing nicer at this time of year than a day spent with some fun fashunnnn friends, all dressed up in our finest, watching some polo in the sunshine.  I was both flattered and excited to be invited to the annual Coronation Cup by Piaget, the Swiss luxury fashion, watch and jewellery brand, which happily coincided with a visit from NYC by my sister, Claire Eastwood, which made the whole occasion even more fun, as we were driven through Windsor Great Park, with it's astounding hydrangea (my favourite!) towards Guard's Polo Club to spend a rare day, just the two of us. 

Following a delicious three course lunch where my sister and I both wore stunning Piaget Possession rings and chatted with the wonderful(s) Camila Carill and Victoria Ceridono, we briefly (thank goodness, baring in mind the height of our heels!) all stood on our chairs and saw off silver tumblers of Royal Salute, the title partner of the prestigious Coronation Cup!  Giddly, we all then headed off to watch two of the strongest international teams in polo – England vs. South America, competing for the Golden Jubilee trophy.

Now, I’m not sure why I was seated in the Royal Box alongside Prince Charles either people, but I certainly wasn’t going to ask any questions!  After some fast galloping and delicate champagne quaffing, the crowd all accessed their inner Vivian’s and Edward’s to stomp on some divots at half time (“beware the steaming divots?”) whist being entertained by a fabulously British marching band. 

England soon triumphed, and were awarded their trophy, and we soon were awarded with a delicious afternoon tea, and later, some Pimms - my first (and not the last...) of the Summer! 

Below:  With the lovely Camila (in Dior) after the match, wearing Isolda, Miu Miu and Pringle.

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French Sole x English National Ballet

French Sole founder and designer, Jane Winkworth, has designed a limited edition, sparkly pink pair of shoe in aid of English National Ballet, an arts charity she and her brand have supported in the last couple of years. The ‘Henrietta’ style, which has a silver leather insole stamped with the English National Ballet’s logo, are a gorgeous addition to any ballet lover’s wardrobe…. And any non-ballet lover for that matter!
 
Female dancers can go through up to THREE PAIRS of pointe shoes in just ONE performance of a full-length ballet (that’s A LORRA LORRA twirls) so it’s easy to see how the girl’s pennies for pointes mount up!  As a result, the English National Ballet, which spends around £145,000 on pointe shoes every year, has set up the Pointe Shoe Appeal.  This appeal is vital to keep English National Ballet’s dancers performing world-class ballet to audiences around the UK and beyond.

French Sole’s beyond pretty pink pumps are available to purchase HERE for £120.00 and 50% of each sale will be donated directly to the English National Ballet’s Pointe Shoe Appeal.


‘Cinder Embers’ by Mister Finch at Anthropologie

I was recently invited to Anthropologie’s King’s Road gallery for a preview of 'Cinder Embers,' the celebrated British textile artist Mister Finch’s solo exhibition and book launch.  

I also managed to fit in one or three tea cups of Sipsmith/Champagne Cocktails (above) and some suuuuperb selfies with the artist himself (below).  Welllll,  it would have been terribly rude not to...

With a background in fashion, this dapper, self-taught artist from t'up North, now sews and creates original sculptures from recycled material, breathing new life and adventure into old velvet curtains, threadbare wedding dresses, vintage aprons, etc.  Not only does this make Mister Finch’s ‘storytelling creatures’ beautifully ethical, but utterly charming and magical. 

For this particular exhibtion, Mister Finch has taken inspiration from beyond his usual influences of nature and folklore, and instead draws on the story of the celebrated Parisian taxidermy shop Deyrolle. The iconic, famed store burned to the ground in 2008 and the charred remains of the stuffed animals were subsequently captured in haunting detail by investigative photographer Laurent Bochet

Fifteen soft and mysterious sculptures, including a regal crowned swan and a seven foot sly fox, will be displayed in Chelsea’s Anthropologie until January 4th.  If you can’t make it down, do buy Mister Finch’s fantastical debut book, ‘Living in a Fairy Tale World’ (RRP.£30.00), which features stunning imagery of his extraordinary one-of-a-kind creatures – the perfect coffee table addition (click on image below).