BA&SH After Hours: I Do Yoga & Drink Tequila...

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I have long since been a fan of ba&sh, the French fashion brand which allows us to access that effortless Parisian style we all covet, with a welcome twist of California cool, on our very own British high streets. 

Season after season, their never-out-of-style, fresh and floaty bohemian aesthetic, with its touch of rock and roll, urban chic, is the direct result of a beautiful friendship between Barbara Boccara and Sharon Krief.  Fifteen years ago these life-long, joined-at-the-hip besties decided to create the now hugely popular lifestyle brand, filled with feminine and timeless wardrobe must-haves fit for any occasion.  

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I was really excited to be given the opportunity to help spread the good word about ba&sh’s first yoga capsule collection, a collaboration with Ana Hart, a young brand co-designed by interior designer and yogini Amanda Ibgui, and her former yoga teacher and mentor Rachel Novetsky

On the first properly sunny day of the year, surrounded by show-stopping, instagram-worthy blossom trees in a nearby private Notting Hill garden (all so very "Whoopsie Daisy," Richard Curtis), I wore some of the pieces to a Jivamukti yoga class with the fabulous Dannii Jordana from the famed Sangye Yoga School.

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The perfect balance of ba&sh’s natural fabrics and feminine styles, alongside the technical support of Ana Hart’s designs, has made for a unique, contemporary and super soft collection with a deliciously cheeky edge.  In fact, the hero t’shirt I wore might just sum up ba&sh in une nutshell; 'I do yoga and drink tequila.' 

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Above:  Wearing the ba&sh x Ana Hart Kloe leggings and Moove T'shirt.

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Above:  Wearing the ba&sh x Ana Hart Moti T'shirt.

This capsule collection is created for women that love to keep fit and healthy, but also like to have a little (or a lotta) fun… Ladies who balance out their green juices with their cocktails and their warrior poses with their table dancing… Which sounds an awful lot like many of my friends!

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Speaking of my friends… I was thrilled when ba&sh invited a group of my nearest and dearest along to a special ‘After Hours’ drinks party at my local Westbourne Grove store, where I introduced them to not only the new yoga capsule collection, but also to the latest ba&sh Spring/Summer’18 designs

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Above:  Hosting my friends wearing the ethereal, metallic Pipa Dress.

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As suspected, it didn’t take my buddies long to get well acquainted with the stunning ba&sh designs (or some of the first rosé of the summer), and most predictably, shopping bags were soon filled with some seriously enviable wardrobe additions. 

Complimentary hugs were issued with every ba&sh purchase... 

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Soon after we piled into cars which took us to a private apartment on Golborne Road, my favourite road in my neighbourhood, where a sumptuous vegetarian feast and a plethora of cocktails awaited us, beside an edit of my favourite ba&sh Spring/Summer’18 pieces.  

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Each of my guests also found gifts from the ba&sh x Ana Hart yoga collection on their seats, and took home posies which made up the beautiful bouquets around the room. 

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The entire night felt dreamy; like a birthday celebration (or in my case, a 'Kellybration') where you got to enjoy all the feels without having to turn another dreaded year older…!  I loved seeing so many of my girlfriends and my energy and love levels were sooooaring (more hugs, anyone?! Anyone?!!)

Merci ba&sh for such a spoiling evening. xx

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In collaboration with ba&sh
Yoga Photography: Frances Davison
Catering and Floristry: The Hill Food Company
Hair: Taylor Taylor London
Nails: Sophie Gass

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

#RefuseTheStraw

Today is World Earth Day.  

Plastic in the ocean now outnumbers sea life six to one, with straws making up a huge part of that. I wish all restaurants/cafes/bars/clubs would start using eco-friendly alternatives (bamboo for instance), or ask their customers if they wanted a straw in the first place?! Perhaps If they charged extra for the use of them, like supermarkets do with plastic bags, we'd consciously take a moment to question if we really needed one.

Let's all start to #RefuseTheStraw! A small easy step towards protecting our planet and it's wildlife.

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)

The Tembo Collection Launch at Bronte

Last month I hosted a blogger’s breakfast at Bronte to launch The Tembo Collection (which I wrote about in detail HERE), my seven piece, Masai bead inspired bracelet collaboration with Auree Jewellery.

100% of all profits from the sales of these bracelets will go to For Rangers, a campaign in conjunction with Tusk, which directly helps the brave heroes on the front line of conservation in Africa, who risk their lives daily to protect elephants and other endangered wildlife from extinction.

Above:  With Will Carmichael, one of the founders of Auree Jewellery, outside Bronte on the Strand.

I knew the quickest and most effective way to to spread the good word far and wide, was to gather a group of my most talented digital buddies, and over a breakfast feast of pancakes and avocado on toast (natch), ask them for their help in raising some vital awareness.  Niomi Smart, Liv Purvis, Peony Lim, Emma Bates, Sarah Mikaela and Juliet Angus were amongst the 22 gorgeous ladies who arrived at Bronte, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and ready to learn more about the collaboration and its goal. 

I knew, having previously visited Bronte for a breakfast meeting earlier in the year and fan-girled over the pretty pink Tom Dixon designed breakfast bar and copper light fixtures, that it was the exact place I wished to have the #TLCxAuree breakfast, and the team there could not have been more accommodating.

The tables were adorned with gorgeous wild flowers arranged by Maua London, and each guest had a personalised engraved bracelet waiting at their place, each with a calligraphy label by Sophia Vaughn

After speaking to everyone about the campaign, and why it one so close to my heart, I showed everyone a short video (below) that I knew would speak volumes louder than I could ever convey. 

“The statistics are unbearable, over a thousand rangers have been killed in the line of duty since 2003. By joining forces with Auree Jewellery and The London Chatter we hope to make a difference, raising funds to ensure that rangers are enabled with good-quality equipment, training and general welfare, including support for the families of rangers killed or injured in the line of duty. These are the men that are risking their lives to save Africa’s iconic species – it is dangerous, tough and thankless work and we must do all we can to help them.”  Sam Taylor, Founder of For Rangers.

By buying these bracelets (£50.00 - £140.00) you will directly be helping to protect elephants across Africa… Now THAT is some guilt free shopping, people! 

www.aureejewellery.com

Shop TLC's Look...

(Click on the items for direct links)

Photography:  Ella Sadika

Jimmy Choo's 20th Anniversary and Pret-a-Portea Book Launch

This year’s London Fashion Week ended on the most massive (sugar) high, with Sandra Choi hosting a beautiful afternoon tea at The Berkeley to celebrate Jimmy Choo’s 20th anniversary and and the launch of the hotel's Prêt-à-Portea book.

My table wing-women, and fellow bloggers, Peony Lim and Rosie Fortescue, and I were spoiled with raspberry filled, mini Moschino handbag cakes, Burberry trench cookies, and obviously a plethora of multi-coloured Jimmy Choo stiletto iced biscuits.

 "The Berkeley’s Prêt-à-Portea has become a well-loved institution for fashion insiders and we are thrilled to take this opportunity to celebrate a key moment for our brand and The Berkeley, with a fashionable take on the great British tradition of tea."  Sandra Choi

Below:  The room was brimful with not only champagne, but also some gorgeous friends, including Marissa Montgomery, Tamsin Egerton and Amber Le Bon - all, of course, rocking our sky high Jimmy C’s.

TLC LOVES... Jimmy Choo

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Alice Through the Looking Glass at Fortnum & Mason

To celebrate last week’s release of ‘Alice Through the Looking Glass,’ London’s much-loved Fortnum & Mason have collaborated with Disney, bringing together Lewis Carroll’s and Fortnum & Mason’s shared passions and eccentricities; visual splendour, adventure, exploration, time and… CAKE!

Speaking of cake… After seeing the beautiful windows (oversized butterflies, huge chess pieces, swinging pendulums, etc… all on display throughout June and July) and a recreation of the film in the flower-lined atrium, I took my nearly two-year old niece for Afternoon Tea upstairs.

Willow (very clearly!) loved the scones, or should I say the clotted cream, which ended up smothered on everything, including the smoked salmon sandwiches.  I mean, she could be on to something?  Maybe we shouldn't knock it until we've tried it... but, maybe let's just not. 

What hadn’t been smothered in cream, my sister and I enjoyed, alongside pots of Fortnum’s popular Wedding Breakfast Tea, created to mark the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011. The special blend is a mix of top-quality Assam and Kenyan tea, a nod to the location of Prince William’s proposal (and obviously enjoyed by Claire and I, being Kenyan girls ourselves!)

Below:  "Willow Out..."  My niece and the most sugary, chic take-away (cake-away?!)

Below:  I also spotted some wonderful Alice in Wonderland tea ware, a collaboration between Fortnum’s and Halcyon Days, and all hand crafted lovingly from English fine bone china. Adorable! (Available HERE).

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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TLC STAYCATION: Ham Yard Hotel with Sisley Paris

I recently was utterly spoilt, spending two glorious nights at Soho' s Ham Yard Hotel as a tourist in my own town, courtesy of Sisley Paris. The entire experience had my eyes on stalks (and my fingers on my Instagram!) as it was certainly the most colourful, chic and fun few days I’ve spent in a long time...

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When I told my sister and friends I was to be working with Sisley Paris they were all incredibly jealous, as the brand is a much loved staple on their bathroom shelves and in their make up bags. Founded in 1976 by Hubert d’Ornano, Sisley Paris is known far and wide for its innovative cosmetic and skincare products, using a combination of phytotherapy and aromatherapy. The plant extracts and essential oils are perfect for sensitive skin, such as my own, and I was really excited to try the amazing samples left for me in my hotel room (alongside their accompanying Biscuiteer replicas!) upon my arrival at Ham Yard Hotel.

Above:  Checking into the Ham Yard Hotel, with my two of my most favourite and trusted travel companions; My Bric Bellagio Suitcase and my personalised Tephi Garment Bag.

I fell crazy in love with Ham Yard Hotel.  I’m sure you could see on my Instagram account, Kit Kemp’s magnificently vibrant, British interiors are a social media dream.  You feel like you in a Wes Anderson film and everywhere you look there is something unpredictable and eclectic which catches your eye.  From the butterfly and drift wood crocodile decorated dance floor, the bowling alleys, the neon signs, quirky art and the television IN MY BATHTUB (below right), it was a total joy to refer to this hotel as ‘home’ for two nights… As a consequence, my once fabulous flat down the road from this hotel, now seems just a wee bit ‘Meh!’ 

Above:  Wes Anderson, much?! Just call me Margot...

Above:  Wes Anderson, much?! Just call me Margot...

Above:  Driftwood crocodiles and 3D butterflies on the dance floor, next to the bowling alleys (below). Just amazingly fun. 

Over the course of the two days we got to dine at THREE of my favourite restaurants in London; the suntrap that is Petersham Nurseries, the celebrity trap that is Chiltern Firehouse and the delicious taco haven that is La Bodega Negra. I know… My job does NOT suck (#SorryNotSorry) and despite being just a few days late to spot pre-Oscar Leo at Chiltern, it was great to chat with the other bloggers and the Sisley Paris girls in such fun locations over one (or three) cocktails. London at it’s very best! 

The beautiful  Petersham Nurseries  (Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10)

Above/Below:  Too soon for rosé  ? Not when at the Petersham Nurseries (Petersham Rd, Richmond TW10).

Below:  The obligatory shot taken in the ladies at Chiltern Firehouse (1 Chiltern St, London W1U).

The obligatory shot taken at  Chiltern Firehouse  (1 Chiltern St, London W1U)

Above/Below:  With the formidable Juliet Longuet and the rest of the lovely GIRLS GIRLS GIRLS at La Bodega Negra (9 Old Compton St, London W1D).

We spent our second day all together at Christine d’Ornano’s S.T.U.N.N.I.N.G West London home.  It turns out I’m actually neighbours with the glamorous Global Vice President of Sisley International, and let me tell you, there isn’t a house nearby I’d prefer to turn up at to borrow some sugar!  After a presentation introducing us to the brand, revealing it’s family-run history, and demonstrations showing us the latest Sisley Paris skincare and cosmetic additions to the brand, Christine hosted a delicious lunch for us.  

After lunch, behind velvet doors (when I grow up I'm having these in my house!) we were all given a make over, using Sisley Paris products, by the fabulously talented British make up artist, Tania Grier

 I was very impressed by all the naturally active products I tried, and by their chic aesthetic (obviously being from Africa the zebra print had an obvious appeal!) but there were obviously always gong to be some favourites which I thought I would share with you...

1.  Black Rose Cream Mask (RRP. £95.50):  My sister had already warned me this would become a ‘must have’ after I’d used it once, and she was right.  Known as a cult product in France for it’s nourishing, rich anti-aging benefits, you apply a generous layer for up to fifteen minutes before blotting away any residue (of which I had none of because my greedy face ate it all – yum!)

2.  Phyto-Lip Twists (RRP £29.00) I am well known for loving a bright lip, day and night, so these were always going to be a real winner for me.  Appearing like a tinted balm, but with the strong pigment of a lipstick, and the shine factor of a lip gloss these fun, chubby Lip Twists are as hydrating as they are long lasting. Ideal and in my handbag at all times. 

3.  Phyto-Eye Twists (RRP. £29.00):  I love how easy these are to apply, and they are perfect to use either as a thick eye-liner or a smudgy smokey eye. Enriched with plant-based active ingredients, so your delicate eyelids are protected, the Eye Twists are waterproof and available in multiple colours which all compliment each other so well (you’ll end up purchasing quite a few…) but Lagoon and Topaze were my faves. 


4.  All Day All Year Moisturiser (RRP. £236.00): Jam packed full of antioxidants like Apple Skin Extract and White Willow Extract, this heavenly product shields your face pollution, sun, and every day environmental toxins. Swoooon… My hero! 

TLC ON TOUR... SOHO SUITCASE:


(Click on the items below for their direct links)

Thank you Sisley Paris! Bisous xx

Aerin Beauty's Mediterranean Honeysuckle

What better way to encourage Spring along, than over a randomly sunny afternoon spent surrounded by heavenly blooms, a gaggle of gorgeous gals and a feast to celebrate Aerin Beauty's new fragrance.  Fashion Me Now’s Lucy Williams (below) recently invited me to one of my favourite restaurants, Petersham Nurseries, where over the most delicious of lunches, I was introduced to  ‘Mediterranean Honeysuckle.’  With hints of jasmine, grapefruit, Italian bergamot, lily of the valley and mandarin oil, to name just a few, the scent evokes sun-drenched afternoons whiled away on the beach, and alongside the spoiling Prosecco jelly, we all felt quite transported... even if only for an indulgent couple of hours!  Thank you Lucy!

Above:  With Missoma's Marissa Horden, Lucy Williams and Stylonylon's Julia Rebaudo.

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TLC LOVES.... Aerin Beauty's Mediterranean Honeysuckle