Monday, 14 July 2014

Behind The Scenes with ELLE UK

For those of you who remember back at the end of 2012, I won a competition with ELLE Magazine and River Island to style a shoot with the ELLE UK team. After nearly a year of travels and months of emails later, the call sheet came through.

The shoot would be an ELLE Promotion for high street brand Warehouse who are going through a reinvention period for themselves with new buyers, a new Oxford Street store and new bold choices for A/W 14.

The location was Lock Studios along the canal in East London, my role was Stylist Assistant under ELLE Stylist and Market Editor Harriet Stewart, there would be four looks to be presented in a three page spead for the magazine's September Issue.

The first thing I tweeted on the day was of course breakfast, which was delicious. Followed by tips from Hair Stylist Heath on getting the best from the models hair on the day (wafting a board constantly while the photgrapher snapped).

I can't give too much away yet on the final looks but here is are a peek of what you can expect to see in the September Issue, available at the end of July. I'll share a few short videos and some more styling shots once the issue is out. I can't wait to see it in print!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Getting to know you: Barcelona, Spain

With my beau turning 26, I did the rather romantic gesture of booking us a three night break to Barcelona as a birthday surprise. Both his mum and boss were in on it and I'm chuffed to say he was 100% surprised at the revelation.

Jeans ~ Miss Sixty, Top & Bag ~ Dorothy Perkins, Jacket ~ Market, Sunglasses ~ Vintage
Barcelona for those who haven't been, is one of the most beautiful European cities around. It has a romanticism to it that you'd expect from Paris, with SO much art and culture at every turn. It's wonderfully Spanish - which may sound odd as I know it's in Spain. However I've had family holidays in Spain as a kid, where you don't hear a word of Spanish and every restaurant serves a 'full English'. Not here, no no. Barcelona has tapas dishes served at every turn, paella, sangria, estrella beer - all of the favourites you want to try during your visit while practising your GCSE Spanish phrases with the locals.

We stayed at the Fira Europa (train station name) part of town at the Renaissance Fira Hotel which was stunning with its rooftop pool at 25 floors high. The breakfast each morning was fantastic and set us up until late afternoon/early dinner.

As the world cup was on we made sure we soaked up the football vibe here and there at backstreet bars and our hotel lobby. Icing on the cake for my other half was the Nou Barcelona football stadium tour we stomped through - I was thinking about getting a mocha and heading to the Picasso museum the whole time (the things we do for love eh).

If anyone's heading to Barcelona or thinking of going this Summer and would like some tips on places to go to eat/drink and be merry, let me know and I'll share my favourites with you.
Likewise, if anyone has any recommendations for me for my next visit (because four days simply wasn't enough) - please share the love!

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Chelsea Flower Show ~ My Style Diary

It hasn't yet been a month in my new PR role at BrandAlley and I've jumped in the deep end with a week long event at Chelsea Flower Show with our Italian Renaissance show garden. It was an absolutely fantastic week in which I became buddies with the darling Amy Willerton and took a Chelsea Selfie with Jennifer Saunders.
I also proudly wore a hat a day, each one bought from a charity shop - proving there isn't a look you can't achieve without London's collective charity shops which I am an absolute advocate of. Here is my style diary (you can tell which days had a photographer on site and which days I was left to my own devices):
Dress: Hybrid
Hat: North London Hospice charity shop
Shoes: New Look
Dress: North London Hospice Charity Shop
Hat: Oxfam

Dress: Laura Ashley
Hat: London's Air Ambulance Charity Shop

Dress: Cancer Research charity shop
Shoes: Converse at BrandAlley
Hat: Traid

Hat: North Londons Hospice charity
Top: Cancer Research charity shop
Jeans: Calvin Klein
Scarf: Joules from our BrandAlley goodie bag
Jacket: Karen Millen
Here is our stunning Bronze Award Italian Renaissance Show Garden, designed by my dear friend and gardener Paul Hervey Brooks (and team).

Monday, 31 March 2014

Getting to know you: Nuremburg,Germany

While travelling, we made friends with an awesome couple who lived locally to us, myself and Anna even worked together at Kathmandu. On weekends, we'd hang out playing cards, going on countryside trips, casino nights, dinner dates.

Since returning home, our friends have made the move to Anna's home in Germany to live there for a year before deciding where they'd like to settle down. Me and my beau made the trip over to celebrate her 30th birthday with family and friends and had a splendid German adventure in the process full of great food, people and sights.

I had no expectations of Germany, it's not somewhere I had on my wish list of places to visit and so I was pleasantly surprised at how beautiful and even romantic the city of Nuremburg was. The old town had cobbled pavements, bridges and street lights to set a mood of both London's own Covent Garden in summer nights and Italy's Rome steeped in history.

Nuremburg's castle was a highlight, as was the main square with the most beautiful and grand cathedral.
Food consisted of pretzals, salted and plain. Chicken schnitzel for dinner at a locals favourite, the size was enormous, spilling off of the gigantic dinner plates.

Our friends lived a town away in Weiden, a short train ride later we were in a new part of Germany, just as picturesque and quaint.
The next day, a family member took us on a tour of an ex concentration camp in Flossenburg, an experience I'm glad to have had for the history and understanding but which I will probably never repeat as it was pretty horrific. Such an honoured tour for our short time in the country.

I can't wait to return to Germany and explore the cities of Munich, Luxenburg and nearly Belguim. Any tips from travellers, holiday goers or locals who have been already, please do share!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Getting to know you: Rome, Italy

I set 2014 off in traveller style by booking a last minute trip to Rome, Italy with my five oldest friends. I've been to Rome before and loved it so was excited to reconnect with the cities history, food and people.
It didn't disappoint. In fact I ate better than I ever had before, including a delicious lobster pasta dish at my favourite restaurant Ciao Bella (I can call it my favourite now as I've been on both occasions).

I especially enjoyed St Peters Cathedral where I unloaded my heavy heart with prayer, stepping outside in the square to a gorgeous sunset cutting through the otherwise miserable grey sky.

A bummer was getting robbed while out and about at the Colosseum and having to spend far too long at a local police station filing a report and borrowing money from my bestie, I tried not to let it dampen my spirit and enjoyed each evening 'happy in the haze of a drunken hour'.

 For those thinking of a little trip to Rome, here are some tips, tricks and highlights:

  • Book your flights and accommodation separately. It will work out better than any of the 'deals' Groupon offer you and at least you can source your own diggs.
  • If it's a short trip make use of the 3day travel card, cheaper than buying daily tickets. Plus if you're there for four or five days you can spend one or two exploring your local area - especially if you're central to some of the attractions.
  • Please, please, please keep your bag and purse out of sight when wandering. I was to naive as I thought I was well travelled but thief's at tourist attractions are experts. Keep it back to front or even better under your coat.
  • Definitely visit the Vatican Museum, it's such good value to soak up so much history. If you're a little tight on cash, you can enter the church and cathedral at St Paul's without buying a ticket and this alone is breathtaking.
  • Dine out somewhere fancy at least for one evening. When in Rome and all that...
  • Wander the back streets and see where you end up, Rome isn't as big as London and you'd be surprised how much of it you can see on foot. This is great for finding little cafes and details of the city you might otherwise miss.