4 October 2015

Suitcase. Party In The USA - LA

America. The US of A. Land of the free and home of the brave. (Note: You need to picture me saying this with a country and western accent.)

A couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of heading stateside to see my family. And no they don’t live there, they’re Aussie of course; but when you live in London and they’re in Melbourne you’ll actually find that LA is a surprisingly convenient halfway point on the globe. It’s been a while in the making, Dad suggested a family vacay including brothers/sisters/nieces and nephews way back in Jan and I’ve been counting down ever since…

After a late flight Friday I got to LAX the night before the rest of my comrades so after catching some zzz’s in a nearby hotel I was back at the airport at dawn, welcome sign and all, to greet the family. Here we are, all 11 of us, minus Murray who was taking the photo. All that was missing was some Lampoon style family t-shirts. Thank goodness we didn’t go that far…

Day 1 saw us tripping around LA. I’ve been before but the little un’s hadn’t so it was great to see the excitement on their faces as they took in the sights of the city.

We started with a beachside stroll at Santa Monica.

Undoubtedly the healthy/foodie arena of LA, there were plenty of organic stores and even a yoga class on the end of the pier.

Next we headed for the Hollywood Walk Of Fame where the kids were enthralled with the stars on the pavement.

I was more enthralled by the nearby In N Out Burger. My friends had all told me before I left that it was simply a must and they weren’t wrong. Delicious burgers that taste just like they’re homemade. I was certainly impressed.

After refuelling we headed up to the skyline for a closer glimpse at the Hollywood sign.

And did a quick drive by the Staples Centre – my nephews are big basketball fans.

Then it was back down into my arena for a wander down Rodeo Drive.

By this stage it was 4pm and the jetlag had well and truly kicked in so we called it a day and headed for our hotel in Anaheim. Can you guess what we did for the next two days? More to come...

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Photos by Krissie.

1 October 2015

Style It. September Celeb Street Style

With fashion week jet-setting its way around the globe this month there’s been plenty of enviable street style to choose from. From FROW-ready glamathons to off-duty models, the pavements have certainly been getting a [style] workout. Check out my top three picks below, they’re endlessly versatile in chic monochrome; each one could easily take you from morning to midnight. Accompanying coffee and cocktails sold separately…

Check out Lily Aldridge fresh off the DVF runway with those enviable curls. Love her off-duty style for inbetween shows; a jersey maxi and cool athetlic kicks make the perfect combo. Don’t forget a leather backpack and some John Lennon-inspired shades for extra style cred’.

Hollywood’s favourite European actress got it so right with this gorgeous trans-seasonal look. Diane Kruger does no wrong with a statement printed maxi; I’m loving the flowing shape. Complete the look with a cool fedora, round shades and a quilted tote.

Hot mama Heidi Klum knows it’s all about the two-piece this season; after all, everything’s better when it comes in a pair right? Offset your sleek separates with a colour pop tote and some leg-lengthening court shoes.

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Photos via Pinterest and retailers.

27 September 2015

Style It. 5 Fashion Rules That Were Made To Be Broken

Fashion is such an art. Deciding what to wear each day could easily be compared to a highly important equation. You’ve got function combining with style, daily attitude and trends, not to mention the external factors like weather and occasion that come into play.

No wonder picking out our clothes each morning is such a major decision. At least for me it is. Thank goodness we have magazines, blogs, celeb style and Pinterest to inspire us. They’re like our rulebooks… But sometimes it’s good to break the rules. It’s a bit like being in a room with a big red button that says don’t push. What do you want to do? Push it of course. Thankfully breaking these fashion rules probably won’t have dire consequences [although I can’t say the same for any red buttons].

At its core, fashion has always been about pushing the envelope, trying new things and altering the status quo, so with that in mind check out the fashion rules I think were made to be broken…

Black & Navy: Never The Two Shall Meet
Not so. In fact this dark colour combo is totally on trend for the new season so there’s no need to segregate your two most staple wardrobe shades. The trick is to keep the look simple; don’t overcomplicate it with too many details. Stick to those two shades or add in an element of white to tie it together.

Double Denim Equals Double Trouble
Again wrong, totally wrong in fact. If all the celebs embracing double denim and looking hot while doing it haven’t convinced you then I don’t know what will. You can either pair your washes to match or go for alternate shades. Either way, hot.

Don’t Wear White In Winter
I’ve always been one to break this rule. I just love my white jeans too much. Sure it’s probably not the greatest shade to wear on a wet rainy day, but if the weather’s just cold and grey then I say go for it. The trick is to make your whites look cosy, not summery. Try tactile layers, a chunky knit, touches of faux fur and some staple accessories.

Never Wear Knee High Boots With A Mini Skirt
Hello, have they heard of ‘60s style? The mini skirt and the knee high boot has to be one of the most iconic pairings from this fashion era. I will admit there’s definitely a trick to making this pairing look chic though; always go for oversized shapes and loose fits on top. Steer clear of bodycon fits with the tall boots because it can look a little trampy.

Don’t Wear Sequins At Night
Wrong. What better time to wear sequins than at night? Sure you don’t want to go out looking like a tacky disco ball but there are chic, understated ways to wear them. Try a dusting on your party dress, an embellished jacket or a jewelled top for Saturday night’s party.

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Photos by Pinterest.

24 September 2015

Suitcase. 5 Destinations That Should Be On Your European Bucketlist

When it comes to planning the ultimate European break the same cities always roll off the tongue; Paris, Barcelona, Rome, London, Berlin… Yes these places offer a plethora of sights and experiences and aren’t to be missed, but I think you’ll find if you delve a little further, there are some lesser-known gems that offer truly genuine cultural experiences you’re sure to remember for a lifetime. Check out the places that I may not have initially heard of but now I'm so glad I did...

Naxos - Greece
When to go: Summer
How long to stay: 3-4 days
A lesser known Greek Island, Naxos conveniently lies between tourist hotspots Mykonos and Santorini, so it’s certainly worthy of a stop along the way. Home to arguably the friendliest people in Europe, Naxos also boasts some truly picturesque beaches; just outside the main town, Agios Prokopios’s crystal waters easily rival those of the Maldives. With ancient ruins and the highest peak in the Greek Cyclades that was believed to be the birthplace of Zeus, there’s no doubt this island has plenty on offer.

Lyon - France
When to go: Any time really
How long to stay: 3-4 days
If you’re travelling through France then a stop in Lyon is simply a must. This historic little town once known for producing silk is now regarded as the centre of gastronomy in France. Lying on the banks of both the Rhône and Saône Rivers, Lyon has plenty to offer its visitors. From the panoramic views atop Fourvière Hill to the majestic Parc de la Tête d’Or (if it’s named after a golden head you know it’s going to be good) this city oozes charm and character.

Bruges - Belguim
When to go: December
How long to stay: 2-3 days
If you’re travelling in the lead-up to Christmas then the little town of Bruges is not to be missed. With a picturesque nature that seems straight out of a story book, this Belgian village really comes alive in December. Cobblestoned squares and laneways are filled with Christmas markets, an ice-rink appears and twinkling lights adorn the medieval buildings. Home to world class frites (fries) and exceptional waffles, you’re certain to enjoy some wonderful food too.

Budapest - Hungary
When to go: Autumn or Spring
How long to stay: 3-4 days
Get a taste of Eastern Europe with a trip to Budapest. This often-forgotten city is brimming with history and iconic architecture. Often called one of the most beautiful cities in Europe, an evening cruise down the Danube River to take in the lights of the city is essential. With an extreme climate that swings from sweltering summers to freezing winters, it’s a good idea to visit in autumn or spring. While you’re there make sure you try the local cuisine, take a trip to the famous thermal baths and don’t miss the panoramic view of the city from the Fisherman’s Bastion.

Keukenhof Gardens - Netherlands
When to go: Spring
How long to stay: Half a day
If you’re around Amsterdam in the springtime then a visit to the nearby Keukenhof Gardens is sure to be one of the best travel decisions you’ll make. The second largest flower garden in the world, Keukenhof is open each year from March to May with a stunning 7 million hand-planted flowers on display. From tulips to daffodils, hyacinths and lilies – this place is literally a flower-lovers paradise. The gardens also provide a good dose of Dutch culture thanks to its giant windmill and traditional food stalls.

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Photos by Krissie.

20 September 2015

Eat Me. Enoteca Rabezzana, Barbican

Barbican is an interesting little pocket of London; positively buzzing Monday - Friday with handsome fellows in suits, pubs for after-work drinks and skyscrapers housing much of the financial industry, yet it turns into a bit of a ghost town on weekends. However, that doesn't mean it should be forgotten.

I got word that an Italian favourite with the locals is Enoteca Rabezzana. Tucked away just behind Smithfield market, they've just launched their new menu so I thought I ought to go and take it for a spin. Not forgetting to take my new bag along for the ride as well. [Told you, obsessed.]

My beautiful Italian friend joined me which seemed highly appropriate as she's obviously an expert, not to mention she ordered for us, sounding so exotic as she spoke to the waitress in Italian. It's a language I really want to learn, particularly considering my grandfather was Italian.

As she told me "enoteca" actually means a place specialising in wine. You can see that it's definitely true here. There are hundreds of bottles lining all the walls.

We went for a Gewürztraminer from her region in Northern Italy. I first tried this kind of wine on a wine tour in New Zealand. It's really an intriguing flavour that doesn't taste like anything else. Almost sweet but yet not. It's mellow with a slight tang. Try it!

We ordered an assortment of dishes to share. All were delightful. From bread, cheeses and meats to tuna carpaccio with figs and a pear salad. Also, I'm now an aficionado at putting honey on my parmesan; it's the Italian way. Try it, it's incredible.

We also had the day's special; home made pasta with truffles. It was beautiful. You really can't beat home made pasta.

So simple. So delicious. Make sure you stop by. 5/5

Where: 62-63 Long Lane, Barbican EC1A 9EJ
Bookings: Recommended
Phone: 020 7600 0266

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Photos by Krissie.

Enoteca Rabezzana Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

17 September 2015

One Day. Hello Autumn + The Must Have Coat

It’s official, autumn has struck. But to be fair summer really only lasted about a week here in the English capital so it’s not like I should be surprised…

It’s definitely that time of year where one needs to shift from a summer wardrobe to an autumn one. Already I’ve felt the need to stock up on the essentials like jeans, knitwear and ankle boots.

My most coveted new season purchase? This robe coat.

Robe Coat (so popular it seems to be selling out and restocking online each day, try in store if you need) // Cami // Jeans // Shoes

It’s everything I’ve been lusting after. If it came in black I’d also buy that one in a second. It’s so cosy with a wrap-style that looks equally stylish when open. The wool-blend is so lush and I can’t get enough of the oatmeal shade.

Last weekend when the wind whipped up I took it for a spin around London. I think it fits in perfectly don’t you?

Like any day in London, the heavens decided to open at one point but we just worked with the rain and embraced it. After all you can’t beat that view.

This vintage black coat has gotta be my close second favourite. Particularly when adorned with a gorgeous little Chanel brooch.

Coat similar here and here // Brooch

So, farewell summer, it was nice to know you. I’m headed for grey skies, wind, rain and maybe even a smattering of snow… But at least I’ll do it in style.

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Photos by Krissie and @curioussophia.

13 September 2015

Eat Me. School of Wok Supper Club, Covent Garden

Friday night in London and I found myself in Covent Garden with a cheeky little invite to London's favourite Asian cookery school; School of Wok, for a supper club.

For those of you non-city-dwellers who may not have been to a Supper Club before, allow me to elaborate. It's an evening where like-minded foodies get together to share a table and some food, while the chef pops in and out to discuss the meals with you. I guess you could say it's like a homey restaurant.

You know I love food and cooking (probably in equal measures) so it seemed like the perfect way to spend my evening. Dinner kicked off at 7pm so we arrived early and took a spin around Covent Garden Square to see the Heartbeat balloon art installation beforehand. All 100,000 of them. It's really beautiful, so definitely pop down to see it before it finishes at the end of the month.

By then our tummies were grumbling so we strolled back through the streets towards dinner.

Dress (surprisingly inexpensive considering all the comments it receives!) // Boots // Bag

Now can we all just take a moment to do a collective "ooh" and "aah" for my new Chanel Boy Bag. Two years of lusting after one and I finally took the plunge.

Honestly I'm totally in love. Can you tell? I can't stop looking at it.

Ok fashion-moment over. Back to the important stuff. The food.

Our chef Jeremy Pang welcomed us with real warmth explaining he loves these evenings as much as us because it's an opportunity for the chefs to "cook whatever they want!".

We popped some champagne, got to know our table comrades and before long our appetiser had arrived. A little nibble of street food-style spring rolls to get us excited for more.

Next up were Korean-style marinated beef skewers. Unfortunately no picture of this one, sorry, we were all so excited to dig in. I can however guarantee that they were fabulously tender. A quick chat to Jeremy in the kitchen and I learnt his secret; they're marinated in pear overnight which contains an enzyme that tenderises.

By now we'd popped some wine and were happily engrossed in conversion when the next two courses showed up. A thai style warm pork mince salad and a tempura aubergine chilli tomato curry both served with coconut rice [of course!] and a song tam salad.

Can I just say, yum! These were honestly so good, particularly the tempura aubergine. I think I need to poach Jeremy to cook for me at home.

Just when we thought we couldn't fit in another bite, dessert arrived. Black sesame balls and chocolate ice-cream. The perfect way to finish a feast.

I've got to say it was such a fantastic evening. Next time you're thinking of going out to dinner I would highly recommend a supper club. It's a great alternative to the usual meal with friends in that it's got a great social feeling and the food really is first class. Book your own visit to School of Wok here.

This post was sponsored by School of Wok. Thank you for having us.

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Photos by Krissie.