My Colour Consultation with Farrow and Ball

If you, like me, have ever felt totally overwhelmed by paint charts, spent far too much money and too much time testing various (and usually pretty identical) colours on your walls, ordered the wrong amounts, or just simply got the choices so completely wrong and had to end up repainting entirely… Then, breathe easy folks… Farrow and Ball have got you!

Having experienced the aforementioned paint frustrations more times than I wish to remember, I was determined that my boyfriend, whilst coming to the end of a long and tiring house renovation, was not to have this last and final hurdle be a stressful one.  Although we both had some ideas for what colours we thought might work on each floor and room (mine perhaps being the less subtle of preferences, unshockingly…) I suggested we get a Farrow and Ball in-home colour consultation to give us both some guidance and some peace of mind on this frequently daunting mission!

Walls:  Farrow and Ball Green Smoke , with  Strong White  skirting boards and doors. 
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Within one hour of Scott our colour consultant arriving at the house, during which time he speedily analysed both the structural detailing and lighting plan of the house, and listened patiently to our haphazard thoughts, he had brilliantly helped us devise an entire paint scheme to fit both the house and our lifestyle using some of the 132 beautifully rich Farrow and Ball shades.  

We decided on Farrow and Ball's Green Smoke for the hallway (above), using Strong White for the skirting boards and doors.  In a room that is used more as a walk way than a living space, you can afford to be a little bit more dramatic and daring with your choices.

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To compliment the Green Smoke, we chose Farrow and Ball's French Grey, which we moved into halfway up the stairwell at a natural divide, and then throughout the sitting room. This is a particularly calming colour, and it has a really chic feel to it.

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We decided on painting some of the kitchen cabinetry in Farrow and Ball's Smoke Green, which once more created a real synergy and flow between each floor.  

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Whether you're veering towards the subtle or the statement, the Farrow and Ball consultants understand the particular way each paint responds to light throughout the day, and which colours and textures combine to achieve the perfect, unique scheme for your home. 

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Scott's advice was decidedly helpful when deciding on the master bathroom colours, as the light changes so dramatically in there throughout the day. We chose Inchyra Blue for the cabinets, which is inspired by dramatic skies (much like the usual view from the bathroom window!) which when contrasted with Farrow and Ball's Cornforth White, a magically versatile grey'ish tone, and the bathroom's dark wooden floors and herringbone white marble, creates a wonderfully intimate space. 

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Following up from our consultation with Scott, we received a colour fan deck with our choices and the all-important quantities of paint required to complete each room. During a time when our minds were already pickled with light switch and cabinetry handle decisions (the last few months of last year were beyond rock'n'roll, can you tell?!), having this expert and invaluable help from Farrow and Ball, and being able to confidently make our paint order, took a huge weight of our shoulders, and is worth the investment many times over! 

Now, if only Farrow and Ball did carpet consulations…

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In collaboration with Farrow and Ball

Photography: Ella Sadika

Hair:  Taylor Taylor London

Nails:  Sophie Gass

Thomas Sabo's Generation Charm Club

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From the Babylonians to Queen Victoria, the collecting and wearing of charms to commemorate milestones and honour cherished memories has been one of the most enduring of jewelry styles. When I was at school (alongside the Babylonians, it now feels!) all the coolest of cats in my class had charm bracelets dripping with trinkets; the Eiffel Tower, precious sparkly dogs reminding them of their own… Fast forward just a feeeeew years this chaaarming trend is back with a bang.

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Today, Thomas Sabo launches their Generation Charm Club, releasing an abundance of chic, beautifully detailed charms which can easily clip on to our existing Thomas Sabo necklaces and bracelets. I was amazed at the variety available and was excited to pick pieces and that were unique only to me.   

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What I really love about these charms is how easily you can switch up the combinations of what you wear, depending on how you feel.  Whether you want to wear just one, or many charms together, or in this maximalist magpie's case, layer up a few chains of differing lengths with several charms together, for a bohemian, 70's feel.  

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I was particularly drawn to the more celestial Thomas Sabo charms, immediately gravitating towards the moons, stars and zodiac charms (although, should I really be advertising that I'm a Scorpio?!)  The Vintage Moon and Star pendant, combined with the Star Mother of Pearl pendant reminded me of stargazing on my rooftop back at home in Watamu, Kenya. 

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Although I only prefer to wear mostly yellow gold, the current trend is to mix your metals, and I can really see myself embracing this idea through incorporating some silver and rose gold charms.

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I obviously had to have a charm of my initial (love me a 'K' anything!) and with a trip to Joshua Tree coming up next month, I feel I might commemorate this with a gold cactus charm... Watch this space! 

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In collaboration with Thomas Sabo
Photography: Ella Sadika
Hair: Taylor Taylor London  
Nails: Sophie Gass

Heart 'Feel Good Challenge'

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Knowing that this time of year can prove quiiiiite the struggle for many of us (I mean, January is the Monday'ist of all the months, and February is kind of, well, a bit 'meh' too) those cheery lot at Heart (my personal antidote for all dem'winter blues) has launched the #HeartFeelGoodChallenge. Here comes the science bit; Challenge yourself by trying a feel-good activity, inspired by a feel-good song you heard played on the station.  

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I always have the radio playing as I write, and last week, fresh off the boat from Kenya, wearing 84 layers of clothes and feeling ultimately sorry for myself, Heart played one of my faves, 'Say You'll Be There' by the Spice Girls, no less. This bouncy, deliriously infectious girl power anthem is ultimately all about how actions speak louder than words, which resonates slightly, given my New Year's resolution has proved, thus far, to be mostly hot air! Promising myself I would start doing some exercise in 2018 didn't quite go entirely according to plan… 

Being a life-long member of the 'Fitness Protection Programme,' I have always struggled to commit to any kind of exercise regime, let alone enjoy any classes that I've tried.  As I get older I am increasingly aware that the health benefits of exercise cannot be denied, and a little toning here and there is always a welcome perk.  'Say You'll Be There' definitely leaves you feeling pumped, ready to leap off that comfy sofa and get moving, so yes, it happened…I leapt; A Frame gym membership was sourced, and Barre classes and Reformer Pilates signed up to...

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I have to say, despite the anticipated pre-gym grumbles and subsequent aches and pains associated with squats, the endorphins have been released, and I'm really looking forward to my next class; 80's aerobics (and yes, there will be leg warmers and a scrunchie… I may not be well versed in exercising, but accessorizing? Oh, I've got that down, people!)

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I'd love to hear if you have also taken up the #HeartsFeelGoodChallenge and started any new mood-boosting activities to help you get through these grey ol'months… And please share any 'pick me up' song recommendations you've heard play on Heart which might help keep us all stay motivated...!

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In collaboration with Heart
Photography: Ella Sadika
Hair: Taylor Taylor London  

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The Watamu Turtle Pouch

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This week I launched my second ‘Buy To Give’ collaboration, the limited-edition ‘Watamu Turtle Pouch,' (£25.00) with the wonderful British home wear designer Elizabeth Scarlett.

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I am proud to say that 100% of the profit from our limited edition, intricately embroidered cotton pouches goes straight to Local Ocean Conservation, a non profit organisation based in my home village of Watamu, on the beautiful Kenyan coast.

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Local Ocean Conservation are committed to the preservation of Watamu’s spectacular Marine Park and Reserve. With a focus on protecting critically endangered turtles, they use practical conservation, community involvement and development, education, research and campaigning to promote the sustainable use of Kenya's marine resources.

I have grown up in awe of the work that this project achieves, and have been lucky enough to help with many of Local Ocean's turtle releases, and I can tell you first hand, nothing brings more joy than watching these beautiful beings healthily return back into the wild.

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Nearly all species of sea turtle are classified as endangered, slaughtered for their eggs, meat, skin and shells.  They also suffer from habitat destruction, plastic pollution, accidental capture in fishing nets, and having their nesting sites seriously affected by climate change (which is actually a real thing, Donald…!)

Being an avid fan of Elizabeth Scarlett, and sharing such mutual passions with the beautiful Lizzie herself (primarily, conservation and sustainability - oh, and a seeeeerious love of pineapples), I’m thrilled to be working together with her to raise some vital awareness and funds for Local Ocean Conservation.

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Please Buy To Give this Christmas…  #TLCxES

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The 'Watamu Turtle Pouch' can be purchased online at Elizabeth Scarlett.

All proceeds will go direct to Local Ocean Conservation.

Photographs of Elizabeth and TLC:  Ella Sadika

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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

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)

#OOTD: 19.03.17

I have been an avid fan of the British cashmere label Wyse London since their launch in 2014, even featuring them in my first ever column in Hello! Fashion Monthly.  Their unique, but totally wearable, cashmere is flattering, beyond soft, pretty affordable and most importantly, C.O.L.O.U.R.F.U.L. 

We all know one of my favourite colours is rainbow (‘rainbow-leopard’ to be specific…) and it just so happens, that amongst a love for stars and neon, Wyse London also shares my penchant for a bright, joyous, multi coloured stripe. Their charcoal grey, slouchy Ines Jumper (RRP. £180.00) and Lucie Loungers (RRP. £195.00) are now my GO TO outfit for hanging at home and for strolling around Portobello, and they're sure to become like a second skin on my upcoming skiing trip.  A winning combo of comfortable yet stylish, I challenge you to find something else as effortless and relaxed, yet wholly luxurious and fun.  

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Photographer:  Ella Sadika

Hair:  Ruuby App.  Nails:  Sophie Gass

#OOTD: 17.03.17

When I broke my wrist earlier this year there were VERY few things that were capable of cheering me up. Realising that in a miserable post-Gilmore Girls world I could still watch hours of Matt Czuchry by starting seven seasons of The Good Wife was one, and this Topshop Duster Coat was the other.

I first saw this coat on some cool cat at Portobello hotspot, The Electric, one morning during a meeting. I assumed the over-sized, colour blocking coat HAD to be designer - the maximalist sizing and the colour clashing just seemed too fashwunnn to be easily (or financially) accessible – so I quickly moved my thoughts back to my pancakes.  I saw the coat a week later whilst perusing Topshop’s website, which was OBVIOUSLY a sign, right?!! I mean, I basically manifested this coat back into my world, and at a jolly decent price… It had to be mine. 

As predicted, I absolutely love it, and with Spring toying with us, seemingly unwilling to stick around and play ball, this colour block Topshop Duster Coat is warm enough for London’s current chilly situ, but not too wooly or faux furry that I feel like I’ll melt on those rare, but gloooorious, sunny days.  EVEN better, this coat is now in the sale (reduced from £129.00 to £65.00!) so move QUIIIIICK!!

Now, excuse me, must get back to Cary Agos… (*I still love you Logan Huntzberger!)

Topshop Duster Coat RRP. £65.00

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Photographer:  Ella Sadika

#OOTD: 18.01.17

I do love an eclectic mix, but this particular concoction of leopard print, cashmere, pink and brocade might just be up there as one of my favourite clothing cocktails to date. 

I immediately fell in love with this woollen ASOS coat and the contrast of its powerful leopard print faux fur alongside the lady like dusky pink is elegantly eye-catching.  I have always loved Shrimps coats, and one day I willllll have one, but this one is so affordable (especially now, in the sale) and I’m mostly wearing it paired with complimentary berry colours and neutrals.  These plum coloured Donna Ida dungarees worn under an oatmeal cashmere Chinti and Parker ‘Good Girl’ jumper (now also in the sale) definitely let the leopard print details of the coat do all the talking/growling.

I’m wearing these brocade ASOS Hena Heels as much as I can, day or night, and even with some plain black socks if too chilly (which let's face it, it is!)  These have to be the most comfortable heels, and made from the most monarchical of textiles, there is something so brilliantly grand about them.  

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Photography: Ella Sadika

#OOTD: 28.11.16

In celebration of her tenth birthday, Donna Ida created the dungarees of my dreams; the Eliza’s!  Skinny, relaxed and in a coated plum jam colour (loves me some burgundy at this time of the year!) these dunga’s are perfect for my day-to-night lifestyle, pairing them with a cashmere jumper and trainers during the day, and a lacey top, heels and lipstick (I recommend Tom Ford’s ‘Bruised Plum’) by night. Another total Donna Ida hit, which also just so happen to match my Samburu Trust beaded ankles! Clearly meant to be!

Donna Ida Eliza Dungarees in Coated Plum Jam (RRP. £210.00)

I took my Eliza’s for a wee spin around ma’hood, wearing the new metallic threaded Bella Freud 1970 Instarsia Sweater (think, traditional Bella, but after hours) and my new, mini cross-body Meli Melo Rosalina, inspired by Sicily’s traditional wicker baskets - I'm obsessed. 

Meli Melo’s woven leather Rosalia collection come in a variety of shapes and colours (see full collection HERE) and I ummmed and aahhed over the light tan and the black in the mini size for over fortnight, visiting the store on Portobello around five or six times… I finally decided on the light tan and haven’t looked back since. Not only did I not own any bag in this colour, but I love how well it compliments the darker clothing I am emanating more towards, now I’m preparing for hibernation!

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(Click on the items for direct links)

Photography: Ella Sadika