Monica Vinader's Friendship Bracelets


At school some of my friends were renown for their sporting prowess, their academic superiority, or their ethereal choral charms… Me? Aside from an obvious flair for the dramatics, I was pretty revered for my (…drumroll) Friendship Bracelet making skills… Oh yes, take that you long-limbed netballers!   I was always making my school pals Friendship Bracelets in their favourite colours and if they managed to keep them hidden from all the matron’s eagle eyes, all desperate to confiscate anything which might allow your uniform some colour of charisma, they were enjoyed for a long while.  

You have to imagine my joy when I realised Monica Vinader sold Friendship Bracelets. Obviously far more chic, coveted and long lasting than any of my childhood creations, these bracelets still have friendship at their core and make the perfect presents.  

A large group of my girlfriends (which includes the beautiful Charlotte and Jessica, above enjoying smoothies at Moosh with me)  have spent the last year marking our birthdays and friendships by giving each other colourful statement Fiji bracelets, which we had engraved with our initials or names (a complimentary service offered in store).   


Available in silver, gold vermeil and rose-gold vermeil, and offered in a variety of adjustable and colourful cords, with a rainbow assortment of gems symbolizing different meanings (pink for love, turquoise for peace, nude for calm, etc) if so wanted, the three designs (FujiBali and Esencia) can be worn alone or mixed and layered up together.  

Below:  There are some more expensive and elegant diamond chain bracelets now also available which are slightly more evening-dress appropriate, and I am particularly loving the recent festival and Ibiza-friendly fluoro additions which really pop in the sunshine.   

All Monica Vinader Friendship Bracelets are available in store and online HERE.

Make Up:  Charlotte Cowen
Photography:  Ross Ferguson 

My Necklace and Stacking Rings:  Monica Vinader
My tangerine bespoke Lined Notebook (from RRP. £55.00): Noble Macmillan
My Chinti and Parker Star Sweater (RRP. £350.00) and Jerome Dreyfus Igor Bag (RRP. £490.00) both available at Iris Fashion Boutique

#NoMakeUp Selfies for Cancer Research UK

Over £8 MILLION has been raised for Cancer Research UK in the last SIX days during a campaign that’s seen women flooding our social media pages with their bare-faced ‘selfies’ and donating just £3.00 via their phone.  The trend grew totally organically by each woman nominating several friends to follow her lead.  On Day 5 of my bed-bound ‘Spring Fever’ I was nominated by FOUR of my girlfriends on facebook (flowers will do next time girls… jus’saying!) but as it's all in the name of charideeeeeee…  

Cancer Research UK have said that the generous donations would allow the charity to carry out 10 clinical trials that it did not have money to fully fund last week.  Harpal Kumar, chief executive of Cancer Research UK, said: "We have been overwhelmed by the support people have been showing us through the #nomakeupselfie trend… It has been an exciting week, and we would just like to thank everyone again for their support."

Above:  What’s also great to see is just how beyooootiful all my friends look without their slap… Truly gorgeous inside and out ladies!  To donate £3.00 please text BEAT to 70099.


Lululemon's Movement Yoga Class at the Royal Opera House

I am known for many things, but my athleticism would not be one of them!  Having not moved quicker than a strut in the last decade, I was more than a little apprehensive when invited to take part in Lululemon Athletica’s 400 person Movement Yoga Class… Lets face it, that’s a 399 people to make a complete fool of myself in front of!

I was then generously sent the most comfortable, super sleek and sculpting Lululemon‘Wunder Under Pants’ (RRP. £72.00) made with Full-On Luon™ 'second-skin' fabric, and I immediately felt more confident… Well, at least I would look the part!  #AllTheGearNoIdea

My girlfriends and I made our way to the beyond stunning Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, alongside a beyond huuuge and enthusiastic crowd of self-named ‘Lulu-Heads.’  Despite originating in Canada and being the ‘go-to’ yoga wear brand in the US,  Lululemon has clearly built a seriously impressive cult following within the UK.  

The massive (and free!) yoga class was held in the Royal Opera House’s vast conservatory and with the sunshine streaming through it’s glass ceiling, we begun the hour long jivamuktiyoga class, conducted by Emma Henry and assisted by a more than helpful hoard of yogi adjusters, whilst the London Philharmonic Orchestra played live classical music. The whole experience was nothing short of euphoric and other worldly.

I will never forget the beautiful, heavenly sound of the orchestra playing ‘Adagio for Strings’ (below) during the relaxed Savasana (a.k.a 'Corpse Pose!) Prosecco and dark chocolate was served afterwards and we were all allowed to keep our Lululemon yoga mats ('The Mat' RRP. £62.00).  Exercising might not be so terrible after all… Namaste. 

Lululemon will be opening it’s first UK store in Covent Garden on the 28th of March
In the lead up, the brand will be teaming up with 13 yoga studios across London offering complimentary 'Cheeky Yoga!'  Can't get out of work to join in?  Fear not... Print out a doctors note to give to your boss from the Lululemon website!  See HERE for details. 


Wahaca's Day of the Dead Festival at the Old Vic Tunnels

Last week the delicious ‘street food’ chain Wahaca brought Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations to London, holding a brilliant four day Dia de los Muertos festival in the depths of The Old Vic Tunnels. The extremely emotive and vibrantly visual festival is an annual holiday celebrated throughout Mexico to honour and remember loved ones who have died.

With a traditionally painted face (above, with Jessica Pownall) which left me resembling a little zombie-panda, I indulged in the tantalising Wahaca tacos and far too many jasmine margaritas which fuelled my exploration of the vaults where an array of spooky artwork, macabre films and a hypnotic puppet show by the Theatre of Dolls awaited me. FANTASTIC music was later provided by Rodrigo y Gabriela, a Mexican duo whose vibrant energy was completely contagious, followed by the Communion DJs who both guaranteed (perhaps alongside the copious amounts of tequila served) a dance floor filled with skeleton-faced revellers dancing with wild abandon. An unforgettable night. 

Above (L-R): Theatre of Dolls and photography by Graciela Iturbide.

Above:  With the Director of The Old Vic TunnelsHamish Jenkinson.

Vogue's Fashion Night Out, London 06/09/12

Fashion’s Night Out was initially created by Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America as a way of encouraging fashionistas to hit the shops as the economic downfall kicked in. For real fashion lovers this day has become like Christmas… Well, if the North Pole were Bond Street, stockings were made by Mulberry and Santa was Alexa Chung...

Now on it’s 4th year, this global phenomenon (with events also taking place in Manhattan, Milan, Atlanta, etc) saw London’s biggest luxury stores throw open their doors after hours, inviting us all in to celebrate and shop with a glass of bubbly.  The whole evening felt like a stylish carnival, with live music blaring, show stopping outfits and fashion-friendly food from a Missoni ice-cream van, a Dak’s popcorn stall and a Hotel Chocolat pop up (apparently fashionistas and models will eat junk food – if its designer.)

I began my evening in Covent Garden where I visited the newly launched Ruby Ralph Lauren shop on King Street, the first to open in Europe.  The shop has such a fun and vibrant energy to it that I immediately got into the spirit of the night, having my pictures taken (below) holding their skull and crossbones tote and listening to great music spun by the gorgeous DJ Izzy Lawrence (above) wearing head to toe Rugby Ralph Lauren.

Next stop was the jam packed, unusually pedestrianised, Bond Street to visit Joseph where a dapper, suited and booted Henry Holland (below, in House of Holland) headed up a fashion Bingo competition.  The prizes were incredible and the cocktails were a plenty.

The epicentre of this most stylish of street parties was undeniably at Mulberry, where Vogue’s Alex Shulman and Mulberry’s Emma Hill held the official Fashion’s Night Out soirée. With goody bags, prizes, live music and a healthy dose of celebrites and designers (including Matthew Williamson, Roland Mouret, Laura Bailey and Daisy Lowe) queues to get in the shop were lengthy… to put it mildly!  Below (L-R): Joseph's Alex Eagle and her ah-mah-zing Nicholas Kirkwood shoes, and with my girlfriends Jessica, Emma and Lauren.

The official Vogue's 2012 Fashion's Night Out cotton T’shirt (top, worn by Edie Campbell) designed by London-based designer Jonathan Saunders in collaboration with The Gap, sold out at the Condé Nast Worldwide store in less than an hour.  The limited edition piece is now only available for you to own if you subscribe to Vogue (£19.99 for 10 issues) here.

The 48th Notting Hill Carnival

My favourite day to attend The Notting Hill Carnival each year is on the Sunday, traditionally known as Children’s Day.  I find the atmosphere on this day always more relaxed… That is, if you could ever find thousands of feathered, sparkly, face-painted children, a multitude of banging steal drums, and around one million revelers attending Europe’s biggest annual street party, at all relaxing... 
Whilst weaving my way through the streets (crocodile style!) with my friends, I saw this boy (below & top) balanced perfectly on a Pay and Display metre, dancing to the resounding sound of reggae music being blasted out from a nearby soundsystem. Super impressive!

Columbia Road Flower Market

Every Sunday since the 1980’s, Columbia Road, in London’s East End, transforms itself into a beautiful and bustling flower market...

Jessica and I went along to experience the heavenly scents and intense colours of this magical oasis on the sunniest of Spring days last weekend.  We were instantly surrounded by an oasis of flora and fauna; plants, flowers, seedlings, herbs and fruit trees from all over the world emitting powerful perfumes (jasmine, orange, lily, pine, rose, etc) alongside endless, energetic chatter and chants from the sellers.

The street, and its surrounding maze of small alleys, are lined with cake shops, cafes, pubs, vintage clothes shops, small art galleries and an eclectic menagerie of buskers who enthrall the punters mingling amongst the flower stalls. 

One band I watched (left) had an adorable dog tied up to their guitar case… It nonchalantly basked in the sunshine, soaking up the relaxing atmosphere, whilst its owners loudly and zealously entertained us all with some actual Sunday blues.

This market is other worldly... A thoroughly recommended Sunday stroll, coffee in hand.

Columbia Road Flower Market

Every Sunday, 8am - 2pm