Thursday, 16 April 2015

One Day. Big Little [Fashion] Lies

We’re all guilty of throwing a little white lie in there occasionally, but when it comes to fashion I think there are three big whoppers we’ve all used a little too often…

 “I can’t remember where I got it actually…”
Of course you can, you were swinging that [insert brand name] bag all the way home. It’s your most prized recent purchase. The fact is you just don’t want anyone to know where you bought it because if you tell them they’re likely to turn up to Saturday’s party wearing the same thing. After all, in the fashion world no one likes a copy cat. It’s all about individual style darling.

“I didn’t have time to change…”
Lie. Of course you did. Don’t believe anyone who says they didn’t try. They are like those people from school who said “I haven’t studied”. Of course they did, everyone studies. But to avoid seeming like we’ve tried too hard we like to labour under the pretence that we are ‘oh so very busy’ and important dashing about town whilst still looking fabulous. “Coming straight from the office” means they snuck into the bathroom five minutes before work ended to reapply make-up and spritz more perfume. Gotcha.

“Thanks, it’s vintage…”
Vintage. Code for any random item you own that isn’t a high street or designer brand; it could be from your mum’s closet, a cheapo market, a sample sale or eBay. In other words it’s a shameful fashion secret that you dress up with a fancy, socially-acceptable name. You know, because everyone LOVES vintage fashion ATM.

Games up ladies. I know your secrets…

Photos via Pinterest.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Plate Up. Spaghetti Bolognaise

I feel I have committed a cardinal sin. But I only just realised this week. I have never shared my spaghetti bolognaise recipe with you! My recipe is very simple but I guarantee it’s good.

In three years how this escaped a post I’ll never know because it’s probably my favourite meal to cook. But not to worry. All is right with the world again because here it is…

What you’ll need
200g spaghetti
500g beef mince
1 brown onion, finely diced
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tin crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¾ cup red wine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
Handful basil leaves, chopped

What to do
Heat a large fry pan and brown off your mince. No need to add any extra oil as there is plenty of fat in the meat. Once it is well browned and broken up add the onion, paprika, chilli and garlic. Then add in the crushed tomatoes, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, red wine and brown sugar. Stir well and season with salt and pepper then leave to simmer until reduced (approx. 30-40mins).

In a large saucepan boil the water and cook your spaghetti. Drain.

At the last moment toss your basil leaves into the sauce and stir together. Dish it up and serve with some grated parmesan if you so fancy.

Photos by Krissie.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

One Day. A Quick Home Visit

I’m backkk – on English turf that is, for you virtual readers I never left you. But, IRL I just had a whirlwind trip back home to Australia. For a week. Yes a week. It was hectic but it was so worth it with family and friends waiting at the other end, not to mention being somewhere that I could wear a sleeveless dress without having to put on three coats.

Sadly I’m not a very good flyer, turbulence makes me nervous, I hate plane food and I can’t sleep in a chair. Seriously. I’ve tried so so hard but it’s just impossible. On the bright side I’m well up to date with all the latest movies. Paddington (the bear) had me crying with laughter. I tried to do it silently which only made me look like a crazy person. If you haven’t seen it already I recommend you go and watch!

Anyway back to my trip, I arrived home to the waiting arms of my mummy, after a long embrace at the airport it was home to the GC for a couple of days where I squeezed in seeing every beautiful friend I could, and also got my hair done [duh, priorities!].

Denim Dress by Miss Selfridge £39

Next it was off to Noosa for a couple of days. This has long been a favourite of mine. Mum and I have been holidaying here together since I was 3. We alternated between splashing around in the pool when a moment of sunshine came, and going back to drink tea and take photos in the garden when the rain started. [Really I just wanted an opportunity to wear my new jumpsuit!]

Jumpsuit by Zara TRF £30 SOLD OUT (similar here) 

We went for strolls on the beach, shopping on Hastings Street, drank wine and shared stories. It was just a real shame it rained most of the time. So much for getting a tan [Australia how could you do it to me? I thought we were friends].

Then it was back to the GC to see more friends and indulge in more delicious dinners. Throughout the week I had divine Japanese, elegant Italian, scrumptious seafood and a punchy pizza. Dad also popped up for a visit from Melbourne so there was plenty of father-daughter bonding.

Thankfully the sun decided to shine for my last couple of days so I managed to have a couple of dips in the ocean. I can’t really complain... the temperature the whole week was approx. 28 degrees. Way warmer than London’s constant chill.

Then after what felt like a blink it was back to the airport and back onto the plane. Australia it was beautiful to see you but London it’s great to be back [and to a waiting 17 degree day – you shouldn’t have!].

Photos by Krissie.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

One Day. 10 Things To Do In London This Summer

I’m not sure exactly when the change occurred but sometime in the last month my mindset switched. I went from happily bopping along with thoughts about work, play, weekend, weekday…


Summer is coming, omg summer is coming, I have to plan out my entire life for the 3 months of warmth that London will have. Every minute counts! Where can I travel, what can I do…

It’s making me rather nervous. It’s been so cold, grey and rainy for so long that I think I’m suffering from a warm weather complex. Mantra: I must make use of summer. When it only lasts for two-three months, every little ray of [mildly] warm sunshine counts.

Here’s what’s on my list of things to do in London this summer…

Brunch at Kensington Rooftop Gardens. Quite possibly London’s premier summer event, this one is an absolute must for delicious food, bottomless cocktails and breathtaking views.

Boat ride down the Thames. The majority of London’s most stunning sites sit by the water: The Eye, Big Ben, Tower Bridge, The Shard. So what better way to take in the sights than by boat?

Wimbledon. It’s shameful to say but I’ve never been to the Australian Open, so I feel it’s essential that I get to Wimbledon because I’m a serious tennis fan.

Sunset drinks at Madison’s by St Paul’s. This rooftop bar features one of the best views the city has to offer, looking right at St Paul’s Cathedral. Their cocktails are pretty darn good too.

Picnic at Primrose Hill, in Hyde Park, at Greenwich, by the river at Richmond or all of the above. Can you tell I like a picnic? I’m pretty excited to pack a scrumptious lunch, bottle of wine and rug for all of these locations. You know where to find me…

Ascot Races. Fabulous fashion, dapper men, majestic horses and a chance to spot the Queen? What else do I need to tell you?

Walk/ride along the Thames. I’m lucky enough to live right by the river so as soon as it’s warm and sunny I can’t wait to take Sunday strolls and bike rides [and stop at all the riverside pubs along the way…].

Head to the beach at Camden [yep, it’s true!]. Who wudda thunk it? A beach at Camden. Well almost, there’s no water but there’s plenty of sand, deck chairs and a Tiki Bar. Happy days.

Roof club at Shoreditch House. You’re going to need to befriend a member for this one. Tricky but where there’s a will there’s a way. This private members house has a pool, bar, kitchen and lounge all open to the sunshine. It’s my new life's mission to go.

Play croquet in the park. Something I’ve never done before but it’s an inherently British activity I feel I must do as a rite of passage.

Three months and counting…

Photos via Pinterest.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Style It. How To Dress Like A Disney Princess

Anyone else super excited for the release of the new Cinderella movie? Not to mention there's going to be a new Beauty And The Beast - my two favs of all time let's be honest (I'm such a kid at heart).

Growing up I was always in awe of Disney princesses - I wanted their hair, their bird-like singing voices and, most importantly, their wardrobes.

For those of you who have prom coming up and for the others who just love to dress up, here's my guide to dressing like a Disney princess...

When it comes to the dress, sparkling embellishments and a swishy skirt are the two non-negotiables. Everything else is up to you! You can shop my favourites here.

For your hair think big blow-out waves, pretty plaits or a perfectly coiffed chignon. Disney princesses' hair is enviably voluminous and never has a strand out of place.

When it comes to make-up a soft pink lip and anything to accentuate large eyes should do the trick. Don't forget rosy cheeks of course!

No they're not made of glass [how uncomfortable!] but you've gotta admit these shoes look a lot like Cinderella's slippers!

And of course, the final touch: a prince.

Now jump in your carriage and away you go! The ball awaits...

Photos via ASOS, Miss Guided and Pinterest.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Style It. March Celeb Street Style

It took me a while to pull together this month’s top picks. I don’t know if it’s because the celebs are all in hiberation to beat the bitter chill of March, or if everyone was feeling a little less fashion savvy because they’re over winter and ready for spring [thank god it’s here now]. Either way, it doesn’t matter because I found my top three, check them out below and see how you can recreate them for yourself...

Jeans by Ted Baker £89 || Turtle Neck by River Island £16 || Sleeveless Coat by Miss Guided £55 || Bag by Topshop £49

My favourite Kardashian Kendall Jenner knows how to work easy, luxe layers. This weekend ensemble is so something I would wear. She nails the off-duty-model look with carefree style; the sleeveless wool coat looks cosy yet chic and I’m a big fan of black skinnies.

Bag by Michael Kors £130 || Trousers by Reiss £120 || Top by Sass & Bide £150 || Shoes by River Island £35 || Coat by Yohji Yamamoto £1,579 || Sunglasses by River Island £13

Ah Karlie Kloss, with long limbs and a ballet background you were built for fashion. When I saw this look, my involuntary sigh was one of sheer friendly jealousy because she just always looks so good. And she’s wearing my favourite palette. The crisp white trouser looks so smart with the longline jacket and sleek accessories. It’s like American-meets-Parisian.

Bag by Topshop £40 || Jeans by River Island £45 || Flowing Top by Somerset £59 || Crop Top by Topshop £26 

I haven’t seen or heard much from Kate Beckinsale lately but you’ve gotta hand it to her, she knows how to do chic airport style. I certainly never look that great at the airport, not to mention those glam curls. A floaty blouse under a cropped knit perfectly blends feminine-urban style, and I love her designer tote. Us mere mortals will have to settle for a lookalike.

Photos via Pinterest.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Eat Me. Abeno, Bloomsbury

Okonomi-yaki [ok-o-nom-i-ya-ki] noun. A Japanese savoury pancake.

How I went 24 years without knowing this one I’ll never know. Okonomi-yaki = delectably delicious.

Abeno is a Japanese restaurant specialising in Okonomi-yaki. With two locations in London and the rest in their home country of Japan, Abeno claims to be “Europe’s only specialist Okonomi-yaki restaurant” – and I can concur that these guys know what they're doing.

Not usually one to enjoy pancakes I was a little sceptical but thought I’d give it a go and I’m so glad I did. If you’re trying this cuisine for the first time then Abeno is the place to do it. Their specialist interior is designed with teppan hot plates on every table so your delicacy can be cooked right there in front of you.

A mixture of eggs, flour, cabbage, vegetables and your chosen protein; your Okonomi-yaki comes together before your eyes in a matter of minutes – just like a pancake! When it’s nice and golden brown, it’s topped with seaweed, Japanese mayo and a special Okonomi-yaki sauce (this stuff is ridiculously good) in a swirl and a flourish. Ta-da!

These are flippin' good. 5/5

Where: 47 Museum Street, WC1A 1LY London
Bookings: recommended, although you can try your luck
Phone: 020 7405 3211

Pictures by Krissie.

Abeno on Urbanspoon

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Suitcase. Budapest, Hungary - Travel Guide

To be honest, travelling around Eastern Europe was never high on my list. For some reason, in my mind I had grown up with a negative perspective of those countries, thinking they were unsafe and not a place to visit. How wrong I was because my first experience was great. Hungary’s Budapest is amazing. I have surprised even myself to say that I think this trip was my favourite European short break to date. This intriguing city is full of fascinating contradictions, a very particular culture and so much history.  [Fun fact: it’s actually pronounced Budapescht.]

Honestly, I’m not sure I can encapsulate the sights of this city into words, but I hope combined with pictures you get a sense of this fascinating place. At the heart of Budapest lies the stunning River Danube, dividing the city in to two sides that were once named Buda and Pest. We arrived and headed straight off to the city’s Free Walking Tour, this is the same company as the tour I did in Rome) again I would highly recommend it. It’s such a fantastic way to get the lay of the land and our guide Zoltan was full of interesting titbits and cracked some pretty funny jokes.

There are so many beautiful buildings dotted around both sides of the river that you simply must see like the Royal Palace

St Stephen’s Bascilica

 the Parliament building (this one at night is a definite ‘wow moment’)

Fisherman’s Bastion for incredible views

Chain Bridge

and the Matthias Church.

Also check out the boots monument by the river which acts as a poignant reminder of the Jews who were shot into the icy water during WWII. Chilling stuff.

The Jewish quarter is a real eye opener and quite possibly one of my favourite things I saw in Budapest. The pictures say it all. This area is completely untouched since WWII yet is completely lived in. All the ruin-like buildings are occupied and even more interesting is that you can see bullet holes as if the war happened yesterday.

Around the corner from here you’ll find Szimpla Kertmozi, a ruin bar which Lonely Planet listed as the third best bar in the world. Step inside and you’ll see why. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen before; multiple levels with an eclectic mix of household furniture all housed in a run-down building that looks like it might crumble at any moment. Cool.

When you’re just about walked-out, ensure you take yourself to the Szechenyi thermal hot spring baths to soak your tired limbs. Built in 1913, these pools are known to have healing powers thanks to their thermal springs. Great for a soak, and the majestic building provides a great photo op too!

The Vajdahunyad Castle which is just across the park is also a must-see. I felt like I’d stepped into Beauty and the Beast.

We timed it so that we were in Budapest for their National Day holiday which provided an extra cultural boost to our visit. On Sunday 15th March we proudly took to the streets and marched along with the music band and soldiers - it was clear we were the only non-Hungarian people but who cares!? We saw Hungarian dancing and listened to the President’s speech (of which we didn’t understand a word… never mind!) before heading off to the many special markets.

As far as cities go, Budapest isn’t that big so you can use your legs to get around town and see most of the sights. Having said that, there is an underground metro system and the guys at the ticket desk do speak English so they can explain the system and offer you a map. We used this to get to the Szechenyi baths which are up the other end of town. Taxis are pretty cheap so they are also a good option for getting around. You can expect to pay around 8,000 forint (approx. £20) to get from the airport to a central hotel. And finally, make sure you take a cruise down the Danube at night. It’s a spectacular sight.

The food here is an interesting melange with a range of great venues to choose from. From traditional Hungarian street stalls to very upscale restaurants – I was impressed. You’ll also find plenty of authentic Italian restaurants around (who wudda’ thunk’ it!?). And Ramenka does great ramen!

I tried a few traditional foods like langos (flatbread with filling)

 and kurtoskalacs (cinnamon chimneys).

On the whole I wouldn’t say their national diet consists of the healthiest things – it’s largely fried dough and sausages, but good all the same!

I was also really impressed by the décor of all the cafes and restaurants. Everything looks very upmarket – props’ to their shop fitters, you guys are doing great.

On the whole, the food and drink here is definitely cheaper than in London. My friend and I dined at Nobu one evening – we were thrilled that our bill was about half the price of the London venue – mind you it was still exxy but when it’s Nobu you don’t mind. Heaven.

Extra Tips
Be aware that the currency in Hungary is the Hungarian Forint, whilst they do accept Euros in some places you generally won’t get a very good exchange rate so I recommend travelling with the local currency. On the plus side, everything is cheap. You can probably work off a budget of £40/day very comfortably. Hotels are also a steal so why not treat yourself to something 5 stars for around £100/night (thanks Le Meridien!).

Hungarian is a strange and complex language (the only word I managed to learn was “cheers” – “egészségedre“), but most locals speak at least a little bit of English. I found the people in this city to be so friendly, they won’t try and take advantage of you and are always happy to help. It was so refreshing.  I can say with 100% confidence that Budapest is a fabulous place for a city break, forget everything you’ve heard and go with an open mind and a smile. Both will get you far.

Photos by Krissie.