Friday, 2 September 2011

Valerie Corona

A beautiful accessory can finish an outfit and milliner Valerie Corona is impressing the fashion pack with her beautiful, bespoke and often limited edition designs. Available at Fenwicks, Bond Street, Valerie's designs are on-trend and range from colourful and bold - a nod to the colour blocking currently flying around the High Street, to muted and delicate - with mohair, angora, boiled wool and lace translating beautifully on a hat that looks ten times more expensive than it is. Starting from around £45, the peices include small hair accessories, to a variety of hats and even ear muffs; perfect for embracing the probably cold winter we face ahead. Why not accessorise your favourite coat and shoes with the perfect slouchie or cute ear muffs.
Look for your favourite and browse the look book at:
Interview with designer and milliner Valerie Corona coming soon.

Monday, 22 August 2011

Relationship Conundrums

I always read stories about the female quest for perfection in the media. You know the sort: Lose that baby weight; pressure to look gorgeous at the school gate; pushy mothers and competition to look the best at work/party/gym and it made me wonder where all the honesty has gone?
My main wonderment is over relationships. Over the past couple of months, I have become increasingly aware of some of my girlfriend's omitting information from their relationship gossip/woes - until they are drunk OR I offer up some snippet of information first.
I mean, when you're younger you talk crap to all and sundry and every row is the epitome of the end of the earth and you cry for hours into your pillow, bitch with your girls and kiss and make-up over a dinner at a Beefeater chain restaurant. It seems, as we have got older we are reluctant to discuss these woes as openly - "life's fine - you know, the usual. Kids at school and one's in a play and the other made a painting..." bla bla bla.
YES, but what about you?
So when a friend starts flirting with an old boyfriend on Facebook and some others pour out the details of a row, it made me question what prompted the out pour?
It seems that so many of us in our 20's and 30's are so keen to ensure we look like we have made something of our lives that the basic need to share is being kept in and bottled up, leading to a mammoth burst over a glass of vino.
As a serial divulger, I know I like to talk. I rarely share any negatives and this made me look at my own behaviour. I rarely row with boy, but sometimes I feel the need to vent. perhaps it was over something silly, but as soon the unusual negative comes out of my mouth, a little light goes off somewhere and the sharing begins. I think the learning here is to attempt to share something little, often as this could be the signal your friend needs to talk about something that could be troubling her. The friend flirting on facebook has always said she likes her own time and she respects that her hubby works a lot. In actual fact she was feeling overwhelmed with her children and feeling lonely, isolated and unloved. She has given little snippets on these prior to the big chat, but said she felt she couldn't talk to anyone as more often that not, the response from others was: 'why are you complaining?' You have a big house, nice cars, holiday once or twice a year and a man who loves you' - leaving her feeling ashamed and confused. They both work hard for what they have, but the increased hours apart from her man and negativity from other 'friends' (I suspect school-gate, slightly jealous mummies) left her in a small hole with no-one to talk to and she did not deserve that treatment.
I think, perhaps, we need to get talking and accept, no-one is perfect and be realistic - no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors - even more reason we shouldn't judge.

Care and share - that's my motto for the timebeing.

Friday, 19 August 2011

Urban Outfitters Favs

Ann Summers AW11 hosiery collection

New brand, new imagery and new product. I have mentioned I am partial to a little hosiery so these gems are right up my street. prices range from £8-12

Vanessa Bruno Limited Edition Winter Collection

I LOVE Vanessa Bruno. A few years back I had some beautiful peices from Vanessa bruno @ La Redoute - including suede slouch booties, long silk dresses and a gorgeous tailored jacket. After the house burnt down I didn't return to La Redoute to get any more bits - it just made me remember the beautiful things I had lost.
I may, however have changed my mind...

Vanessa bruno Limited Edition Winter 11/12 for La Redoute:
Blush dress £75
Brown silk shirt dress £85
Sweater with Diamante detail £85

Beautiful muted tones - perfect to accesorize with a tight maroon pencil skirt, rose gold jewellery and super high heels. I am a big fan of some of the hosiery hitting thr High Street, so why not team the dresses with beautiful stockings or hold ups.

La Redoute stockists number: 0844 842 2222

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Latest work

Ben Riggott - photographer
Shelly Vella -  Stylist
Lisa Valencia - Hair and Make-up
Art Direction - Katie Byrne
Assistant art - Sophie Barton and Hayley Fiddes

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Interview with Betty magazine

Isn't it lovely when you come across a bashed up little magazine stall and come across a magazine that is not only full of fashion, beauty and features, but interesting articles and angles that inspire you?
Well, this is how I feel about Betty magazine. When it first came out, I loved the cocktails shot so beautifully and the way a team of students had pulled together a pretty robust magazine.
So, in my quest to talk to interesting people, I have grabbed some time (with the promise of tea and cakes) with Charlotte Jacklin, editor of Betty, to celebrate issue 2.

What outfit/items make you feel good?
A lace dress! I don't know why, it doesn't matter what colour or style it is I feel good. I have red ones, black ones, white ones.....I love wearing them!

Who/what/where (or all of the above) inspire you?
In fashion terms, icons of the 60s and 70s. The Rolling Stones and their girlfriends are the style I always try to reflect. I love that late 60s early 70s look.

I am mostly inspired when I am near nature, I grew up in a seaside town and I live near the country now, something about all the open space gets your creative juices flowing.

In regards to what inspires me, pretty much anything! Anyone who is individual and stays true to themselves I really admire.

How do you plan your issues of Betty?
I start of brainstorming, which then develops into a page plan. However there is no set format, inspiration and ideas come to me when I least expecting them, mostly doing really mundane things. I take photos of everything, so if I am out and about I snap it to remind me later as I have such a bad memory. My phone has over 3000 photos on it.

What made you want to create Betty?
Betty was created with my friend from university Hannah, we had similar tastes and Betty was created because there is not really a magazine out there that we truly loved, that I think has all the aspects I would like to see in a magazine in one place.
There are magazines out there I love to read, of course, it was putting the bits I loved the most together and adding them to parts other magazines didn't have and going from there.

Also I don't believe there are a lot of positive magazines out there in the mainstream, too many gossip columns and diet tips. It is not what young girls should be reading, it is detrimental in the long run. One minute something is in and the next it's out, whether it's a piece of clothing or a person, things are too easily disposable.

Which part of creation do you love most?
Seeing an idea come to life. Having something in your head and then seeing it in front of your eyes - sometimes a lot better than you thought- is great.

Do you have a style icon (s)?
Florence Welch - she always looks amazing and stays true to her style.
As previously mentioned style icons of the past, Anita Pallenberg, Marianne Faithful and everyone's mums when they were younger....they all look so chic no matter what decade!

Favourite designers?
Ooooooo a tough one!! Erdem, Mui Mui, Charlotte Taylor, Vivetta, Orla Kiely, American Vintage, TBA, Moschino Cheap & Chic.....the list goes on but these are my favourites!!
I don't think I'll ever get over Luella going under!

Best or most frequented high street shops?
I don't stay loyal to a particular one to be honest. I get a lot of things from boutiques instead. I of course shop at Topshop however I do try to limit what I buy from there.

Your all time make-up brands?
I love Chanel foundation and I have just started using bare minerals which is really good. However no-one can persuade me to stop using Rimmel liquid eye liner, a staple in my beauty bag for a decade!

Describe a look and what you would wear on a night out
It varies, depends where I am going and who I am going with. At the moment I keep wearing cropped flares or palazzo pants with a soft blouse with platforms. Lots of chains and rings, with a vintage bag. Come winter I will be back in maxi dresses and platforms for a more 70s rock n roll vibe.

Most treasured item?
My collection of polaroid’s of my friends and me and then a ring given to me by my late uncle that I wear everyday on my little finger. There was a man who knew how to accessorise!

Most recent purchase?
Velvet platforms from eBay and Leopard print faux fur coat for winter - it was to good a buy to leave (even if it is June!)

How many pairs of shoes do you own?
a lot..... but I've never counted.

Places to relax..?
At my friends farm, on a hot day there is nothing better than running around with nothing but open space.

Best things in life?
Friends and records

Fav novels/literature/books?
Valley of the Dolls was life changing for me, I read it 2 years ago and I wish I could go back to re-discovering it again. I was unreachable for a week.

Must have accessories?
Charms, whether it be rings, necklaces or bracelets, things that mean something to you are the most precious and look the best.

Fav films - old and new or want to see this year?
Almost Famous is my favourite film of all time, I can quote it word for word....I watched it at an impressionable age and have never quite gotten over it. Recently I started watching Wes Anderson films, so beautifully shot. One more to mention is Julie and Julia, i loved this film, you can't fail to be inspired after that, I was walking around with a warm glow for two days. I love it when films leave you with a feeling like that.
As for films I need to see the list is endless! I have been so busy with Betty I haven't gotten round to watching any, I really want to watch Submarine, I am reading the book at the moment and it is a hilarious laugh out loud - I can't wait to see the film.

Best places to visit in London (your secret haunts) and local to you?

I have recently moved outside of London and the three places I miss the most are:
The Commercial Tavern - the prettiest pub there ever was
Liberty - I just want to live there
And Princi's on Wardour Street for the best Cannolli's in town

Name 3 things you want to achieve this year.
I am learning to drive (at 25 it is hard!) so I would like to pass my test please.
Be able to have Betty in a print format
An visit three states in America ( I hoping to do NYC, San Fran and LA in September)

see betty here:

Follow Betty on Twitter: @BettyMagazine

Monday, 27 June 2011

Karin Andreasson jewellery

BIG fan of horseshoes and this is gorgeous. Designer Karin Andreasson makes the horseshoe look delicate and gorgeous enough to wear with a day dress or evening attire.
I think my obsession horseshoes started with Carrie in SATC - now I have a collection of about 4 or 5 and I must defo add this one to the treasure trove.
From £102

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Eco Tools eyemask

I must admit something. I have never been a fan of the eyemask. Even on long haul flights, there has been something scary about not immediately seeing something. Freaked me out a little. After my house burnt down I felt even more wary of tools to help you sleep - ear plugs, pills, lavender...anything that could possibly render me unaware or useless in an emergency (FYI - the house burnt down in the middle of the night, we were in bed and just managed to get out).
However, having had trouble sleeping since and going to a series of festivals this year, I have been sent some super festival survival kits. This has now got to be the best thing that has happened in a long time.
To offer you a little background, I usually wake up about 10 times a night and average on 5 hours sleep a night. I need about 6-7 to feel super duper.
I thought I would try this eyemask one night after a particularly sleepless night. I tentatively popped the mask over my eyes, adjusted it, accepted the inevitable jokes about batman from boy and nodded off. The next thing I know, it is 5.30am and I have slept through the night.
Weird. So I tried it again and again and have also asked boy to test this magical device. He loves it. So it would appear we are both converts. But, as ever, being the cynical old witch that I am. I decided to test It out at Isle of Wight Festival. The tent fills with light as soon as anyone lights a bloody candle or sweeps a torch across the site, so you can imagine the agony of going to sleep at 2-3am after the Foo's and being woken at 4.30am by a) sunlight and at 5.30am by a) sunlight and b) mental people.
on goes the mask and voila darkness. EXCEPTIONAL.
Highly recommended. Soft towelling fabric makes this a clean and comfortable mask. Love it.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Interview: Author Lindsey Kelk

1)      Name the celebs around your table for perfect dinner and what you would be eating/drinking.
Ooh, this is a tough one... eight is a good number for a dinner, isn't it? Let's see, for the boys I'd go Brian Cox because he's ever so clever and pretty to look at but we could talk about music as well. Bill Murray because who wouldn't want Bill Murray at the table, Alan Rickman because I love him and Alexander Skarsgard because if I cooked dinner, I deserve a treat. As for the ladies, alongside my good self, I'd have Cheryl Cole because I reckon she could do with a good feed and a nice night in, Kristen Wiig since I just saw Bridesmaids and loved it then Carrie Brownstein, guitarist from my all time favourite band Sleater Kinney and hilarious lady of Portlandia. Mainly because I love her but also because I need to apologise for the time I told her I loved her at a Bishop Allen gig. Oh, wait. That won't work, will it?

We'd go with sharey food, maybe a ton of tapas. I used to do a very good tapas spread, I could totally do it again - albondigas, garlic and chili prawns, lemon chicken,patatas bravas, tons of bread. Dessert would be sharing platters too - cookies, brownies, cupcakes, that kind of thing. That way no one has to eat anything they don't want to and those of us who wanted to be pigs (me and Bill I reckon) could stuff our faces. As for booze, loads. Loads of it. You've got to cater for everyone, haven't you?

      In the name of food – name your fav comfort/happiness meals
I love food. Seriously, it makes me so happy and living in New York, it has the potential to make me really fat. The day The Single Girl's To-Do List was published, me and my friends (yes, single girls) went to the Churrascaria Tribeca and stuffed our faces with cow. Steak is probably my favourite meal but then, when I get home sick, it's shepherd's pie. I love mash potato and something about making the shepherd's pie from scratch - sauteeing the mince, making the mash, chopping all the veg - and then force feeding my American friends with it makes me incredibly happy. Failing all else, Cadbury's Dairy Milk or Percy Pigs, depending on the mood.

3)      Give me some yummy cocktails you drink on a very, very regular basis
I'm such a lush. I love margaritas. I was in Texas earlier this year and couldn't physically order anything else. On the rocks, lots of lime, no salt. Delicious. Failing that, there's a cocktail at The Bubble Lounge in Tribeca called Bubbly Cider, which sounds incredibly trampy but it's actually delicious. Lots of apple and pear, topped off with champagne. Yummers. If I'm making the cocktails, it's Hendricks gin, Saint Germain, fresh lime juice and lemonade over ice. Mmmmm.

      Who are what inspires you everyday?
My friends are brilliant inspiration and more than one of them would be able to point to our conversations or adventures in my books. I'm shameless. Mostly, I'm inspired by the fact that I love what I do. It really does kick your arse to get you out of bed every day when you think, 'wow, I get to write for a living'. And on the days that doesn't work, that fact that I don't have a monthly pay check every month is a good motivator...

5)      Tell us your beauty regime
As you probably know, I'm a total beauty whore. LOVE products and am terrified of waking up looking like Zelda from Terrahawks one day (outdated reference, I know). I cleanse with Elemis products, I've got the Melting Cleansing Gel in the shower and the Triple Enzyme Cleansing Wash by the sink, then for eye make up remover, I really like the Philosophy one but you get really good ones in the chemists in NYC too. I've got Bliss at the minute because I was caught short but my eyes don't really like it as much. Then in a morning, I use the Estee Lauder Idealist EVen Skintone Illuminator and Idealist Cooling Eye Illuminator - I've only had them in my regime for a few weeks but I'm obsessed. I follow that with Elemis Pro-Collagen Marine Cream and a high SPF. La Mer SPF is great and I try to pick it up on the cheap at Duty Free whenever I travel. It's much more affordable than the moisturiser and I feel like it does make a difference. At night, I've been trying Jurlique recently after a brilliant facial. I love their Herbal Recovery Gel and Night Cream, my skin feels super hydrated the next morning. And I use Elemis Pro-intense Eye and Lip Contour Cream. And that's without getting into masks, exfoliators or body products... Jesus, no wonder I'm broke.

6)      Fav places to shop in NY and UK and anywhere else for that matter
The first place that came to mind was M&S. I literally land in London, go up to my mum's or wherever I'm staying and I've already got my M&S underwear order in my head. Online research is the best. Other than that, Topshop, obviously, and in London, I love Beyond Retro for vintage but mostly, I'm plundering the high street. Primark is still one of my favourites. In NYC, it's harder to find a bargain but I never leave Beacon's Closet without something (more awesome vintage) and Urban Outfitters is a total bargain compared to the UK. Anthropologie is fantastic if you can drop on a bargain. And obviously, Marc Jacobs and Christian Louboutin in the West Village if I really want to torture myself.

7)      Absolute top books you love and read again and again
My favourite all time book is The Secret History by Donn Tartt. Read it!

8)      Same with films/TV shows (like SATC or Friends) (did you like the NY reference?)
I watch far too much TV and if you could see my DVR list, you'd think I was a 14 year old boy. WWE, Family Guy and American Dad take up  a lot of space. I love Arrested Development and I was a HUGE Buffy fan. Often watch rereuns of those bad boys. Other than that, I love True Blood and we've become Game of Thrones fanatics in our apartment of late. John Snow? Rowr.

9)      Do you cook? If so what are the signature dishes?
I do! I'm a good cook! Angela stole my Balinese chicken recipe, that's my best dish. Other than that, I make a mean batch of brownies and can pretty much turn my hand to anything. I love to cook tapas and now I'm in NYC, a nice Brit feast is always a winner - toad in the hole, shepherd's pie, sunday roast, yum...

10)   Can you do maths?
Um, no. Sorry Mr Sim/Mr Hare. I'm shat.

11)   Magazines you buy every month?
I subscribe to all the American glossies - Elle, InStyle, Lucky, Allure, Cosmo, Glamour... I claim it's research but really, I'm just a magazine whore. I usually pick up British Elle too and if I'm home, Grazia and Look are must haves.

12)   Tell us about writing – do you feel the need to writer every day?
When I started writing I Heart New York it was part of a New Year's Resolution to write every day. Now I pretty much end up writing every day whether I plan to or not, whether it's a blog post, a bit of BeautyMecca or some of whatever book I'm working on. Sometimes I go a couple of weeks without writing a word (bookwise anyway) but I'm always working. I'll be editing or doing promo or proofreading or something. I find it really hard to switch off. Plus, when I start writing seriously, when I'm about 30,000 words into a book, I find it really hard to stop and become a bit of a hermit.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

New Cid i-gel

I am definitely an eyeliner kinda gal. Since I was 12 an started experimenting with make-up, eyeliner has always been a staple within my make-up bag and I have played with liquid, powder, gel and pencil. One of my favourites is the Guerlain Terracotta Eyes Loose Powder. It offers the wearer the option of a slick, precise line or equally, a smudgy, smokey effect that looks great with dramatic shadow and neat eyebrows.
So you can imagine my excitement when I get the chance to play with the New
I opted for the Indigo and loved it. The small, slanted firm bristle brush is really accurate, making this the perfect tool for people just dipping their toes in the eyeliner pond. With one swipe you can achieve a perfect line and feline flick. 
I let the first coat dry and swept the brush over once again for a more intense colour. The colour pops and looks clean, however, like with a nail polish, a second coat always gives it a better finish.
With three shades to a pot, it allows you to experiment to your hearts content.
Buy here 
From £19

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Interview: Abi from The Zutons

Chat with Abi harding from The Zutons

Radio 1 Big Weekend. What an amazing weekend. One of the biggst highlights was getting to meet Abi from The Zutons - who I love. She is amazing...her hair, her style, her effortless chic. Top chick.
She looked amazing in her Diane Von Furstenberg playsuit and Stella McCartney pumps.
BSG: You look amazing as usual, what are you wearing?
AH: DVF and Stella; I love these two designers and I love to wear things that are different. I am a huge fan of the High Street, but to be honest, I have to look elsewhere a lot of the time cos' I like my style to be very individual.
BSG: What do you look for in an outfit?
AH: It has to stand out. No matter what. I like colourful outfits and if I see something that catches my eye I just have to have it.
BSG: Why did you choose this particular outfit today?
AH: Well, I had found this amazing t-shirt in Miss Selfridge that looked exactly like one that Dave wore for every gig. I bought it and thought, yeah I'm gonna wear this and we will match. Lucky I didn't wear it that night: I saw a girl in the front row wearing the very same t-shirt. I was mortified!
This stood out to me and I knew it would be comfy and cool too - it is so hot today!
Thanks Abi, we love you even more.
Here is the link to - I covered the event for them and had a chat with the likes of Colin Murray and Jo Whiley - when she was pregnant (looking fantastic as ever)

Interview: Lindsey Kelk

Interview with Chic Lit author and beauty mecca blogger, Lindsey Kelk

Well hellllloo...
So I managed to blag an interview with superstar blogger and author of I Heart New York, Lindsey Kelk.
Talk about living the dream - this girl is my hero.
She decided to get pen to paper, wrote her book, won a multiple book deal and is now living in New York a la her lead character.
I love her. The writing is refreshing, honest and pacey. Now, I'm not usually a big fan of Chic Lit, I have always been one of those who would prefer to be reading To Kill a Mockingbird on the beach rather than Daisy does Danny or Fanny's fanny diaries. Nope not me at all.
So, imagine my surprise when I genuinely fell in love with the character and Lindsey's inspirational writing. She rocks and I can't wait for her next installment....

What inspired you to write the I heart series...?

I was in a bit of a general rut and really playing 'anywhere but here'. I was broke after Christmas, stuck in cold, wet London in January with a rubbish boyfriend when I really wanted to be shopping in sunny New York, chasing after hot boys. Since I couldn't up sticks and leave, the only thing I could do was write about it!

How much do you resemble the protagonist Angela?
A lot at the beginning of the book. We have similar jobs, similar relationships, I just never broke anyone's hand or weed in their washbag. As far as they know... But as the book (and now books!) went on, she really started to become her own character. I'd write something and then think, 'no, that's something I'd say, Angela would never say that.' And before I knew it, she had a life of her own.

When writing about Angela's make-overs, did you use your make-up experience to make it as true-to-life as possible?

A lot of people ask if I did a lot of research for the books and by God, did I use the makeover parts as an excuse to shop myself stupid. My credit card is still hurting. I LOVE make up and write a blog,, which I started at the same time as I started writing I Heart New York. I didn't want the makeover part to be too over the top so I just wrote in what I would want to read about. I don't know if everyone gets as hot under the collar at the idea of spending hundreds of dollars at MAC as I do but, god, those parts of just as exciting as the sex scenes for me.
And yes, in case you were wondering, I am single. This is why.

How long did it take you to write the books?

I Heart New York was really quick, just six weeks from start to finish on the first draft but I was so bored and really not doing anything with my life at all so it was exciting to come home every night and write it. By the time I came to write Hollywood a year later, things had changed massively - I'd just broken up with my boyfriend, I was going out a lot more, I was busier at work - but once I got into it, I got it out in a couple of months. I write really quickly, I think because I've spent so long writing for my day job, and once I get on a roll, I can't stop. I'm completely knackered today because I was up until one writing I Heart Paris!

Tell us about your career as an editor:

I work in licensed children's books just like Angela, so I write books for brands like Noddy, Fifi and the Flowertots, Shrek and Hello Kitty. It's different to general editorial work because we actually write a lot of the books as well as edit them but that's been great experience. And who can complain about watching kids' TV and movies all day and then writing stories? It's criminal really.

When did you start your blog Beauty Mecca an dhow many followers have you now amassed?

I started BeautyMecca in 2007 at the same time as I started writing I Heart New York. They were both part of my New Year's Resolution to write every day and I'm really proud of both of them. I get about 2000 readers a month but that's going up now the book is out - the pressure is too much!

What are your dreams for the next year?

Well, I'm actually moving to New York in two weeks! I'm moving to the US HarperCollins office to work with their kids team and help develop new brands and series. It's going to be very exciting but super scary too. I need to borrow some of Angela's bravery... and hopefully she'll let me borrow Alex too. I'm going to be living around the corner from him in Williamsburg, so I'm sure she won't mind. I Heart Hollywood is out in January so I really hope that does as well as I Heart New York and (whisper this part) we're at really, really early stages of talking to people about making I Heart New York into a movie or a TV series and I would LOVE that to happen.

And finally...what advice would you give to aspiring writers who feel challenged, downtrodden and lack inspiration for the kick up the bum they need?

Just open your laptop, pick up your notebook and start. Seriously, there's no big secret, no magical inspiration fairy that comes and plants ideas in your head when you're asleep. Think of something that excites you and start writing. For me it was escaping my boring life, getting back to New York oh, and my massive crush on All Boys in Bands, the rest of the story just evolved as I went along. And once you start, don't stop. Don't re-read and then convince yourself it's crap, there are plenty of people out there who will tell you that. You just need to believe in yourself and carry on writing.

Interview: Almost Zara

To celebrate three years of blogging, I am re-posting a few of my fav interviews and articles. Enjoy.

Interview with Almost Zara...

Name: Zara Rabinowicz
Occupation: Freelance Journalist

How did you get started in your career? I’ve been writing ever since I was a little girl and started a school newspaper at 11 year sold, which I made myself, and laboriously photocopied every week. Since then I joined my university paper, interned at almost every magazine in London and sent my Cv to so many people that eventually one of them started paying me on a freelance basis! Perseverance pays off, and you must love what you’re doing, or the rejection will get you down!

What has been your fav career development so far?
I’ve recently gone freelance and still finding my feet around scheduling my work and meetings around working from home. It’s quite a unique experience though and I’m glad I’m trying it- who knows if I’ll go back to a staff job (probably if a dream one came along!) but am currently enjoying the freedom of being my own boss.

Do you hold any qualifications? BA in English and post grad qualification in Magazine Journalism

Advice for anyone breaking into either fashion or journalism?
Start your own blog- if you’re trying to sell yourself on your writing skills, this is a great way of showcasing them. Companies love ‘new media’ expertise so set yourself up on Twitter as well, and be as proactive as you can with applications. If they have no jobs or work experience available ask for a coffee just to discuss options- many people in the industry have been in your position and are more than willing to advise and mentor. Write about what you love and it will be evident in your copy!

Top 5 beauty must haves:
I can’t live without mascara- and am currently loving Avon Extreme Lashes. I’m a big fan of eyeliner and am find MAC do a great pencil that gives a really thick line that can be contoured easily. Sleek MakeUp also do a lovely eyeliner crayon called Kajal which is easily applied. Foundation is a must for me, and I find Clinique foundation really impressive as their range is so huge and they offer such a variety of coverages. Anti Ageing Dewy Smooth would be my favourite! I also love Healthy Sexy Hair Nourish treatment as it really smoothes down the cuticle of flyway hairs and cuts down on my drying time. I’m a big fan of hair straighteners and have a pair of trusty GHD’s but have also discovered a great new brand called Cloudnine which are just as good in my opinion.

Top 5 Wardrobe must haves:
A pair of very impractical shoes which make you feel wonderful- River Island do some great two toned heels, and a dress that always fits no matter how much you’ve eaten. I’d also suggest investing in some tights by Falke- they’re expensive but worth it and will last much longer than the cheaper variety. I’m a big fan of waist belts as they can transform a dull outfit into cinched in glory, and I really love hair accessories, as a beautiful bow or hairband can change your whole look. Not the conventional buy classic shirt and jeans advice, but these ideas work for me.

Top 5 must-read books:
Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham, a must for those who love suspense and intricate character details, Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes for a book that redefines the chick lit genre, The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan for an epic adventure tale that spans continents, anything by Ben Elton if you enjoy laughing out loud on the tube and The Handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood for a provocative and challenging tale.

Top 5 must-see films:
I defy anyone not to well up as they watch Boys Don’t Cry- a difficult but moving piece of cinematography, Grease for light entertainment and nostalgia, Sixteen candles for Molly Ringwald, The Matrix for pure adrenalin and Thank you for Smoking for the way it satirises ad men.

Inspirational places:
Thailand makes me feel warm and happy inside, and I always find myself inspired whenever I go to Los Angeles.

Who are your style and beauty icons and why?
I love how Pink and Lily Allen aren’t afraid to experiment with their style and think Madonna is a great icon of a woman who know how to evolve her style through different decades.

Fav places to holiday: I love Los Angles as the beaches are great, the shopping is fab and the people are pretty. However a recent trip to Thailand really opened my eyes to the beauty of the East and how unusual a place can be- it’s great to travel outside your comfort zone, and if you can live through a Thai toilet you can handle anything. I also loved the freedom and the variety of cultures and food that was on offer there.

Do you have any iPhone? If so, what apps do you find indispensable?
Trendtracker was very useful during London Fashion week for the daily updates and schedule, I like the eBay app for browsing on the go, and I love the ChipChick, Sugar and Engadget,
app for my daily dose of tech and lifestyle. I couldn’t live without Google maps and love the Shazam app when I’m trying to identify a song.

Fav magazines to read:
I like Company for the content, Grazia for the pictures and Men’s Health for features. I also really enjoy the Tatler beauty pages and Wired always provides me with inspiration.

Top 5 websites to visit:,,,, and

Music you can't live without:
Anything poppy and funky- like a mixture of Britney, Pink, Tiesto and Ian Van Dahl.

What is your signature dish?
Vegetarian chilli!

What are you working on right now?

Frantically trying to get my copy in for deadline whilst sketching out the draft of my novel.

Where do you hope to be, personal and professionally in five years?
In five years I hope to be happy and living in Los Angeles, writing columns for major web and print nationals and working on my third book.

Friday, 27 May 2011

DIY denim. Yes please

Caught wind of this fabulous new product - so much so, that I may have to purchase for my cousin's 16th birthday. She is a creative little thing, who loves a pair of drainpipes, so expect she will love this.
Brand, Bristols6 have come up with a nifty way of altering and customising your denim to your exacting standards and not that of the 'average' being. Genius.
Tape for measuring, buttons for extension, pencils, pumice, paints, stencils - awesome. You could go to town on almost anything. 
Buy here: for about $30


I have to share these with you.
My new Loubou's. Courtesy of the sample sale on Monday.

I don't really have anything else to say...

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

and now Tinie....

Does it get better and better?
The genius team at Hop Farm Festival have announced another sterling act to the line-up for Sunday, July 3. TINIE TEMPAH. 
Yes, you heard right. Not only will Prince be joining Morrissey, The Eagles, Ocean Colour Scene, Death Cab for Cutie, Chrissie Hynde, Lou Reed, Iggy and the Stooges, but the urban outfit Tinie, who recently collaberated with Ellie Golding. Ellie will be performing at another Kent Festival, Lounge on the Farm in July also. Tinie Tempah is notching accolades quicker than footballers' and their super-injunctions, so catch him now, while he rocks with Prince. 
FYI - reported on the Prince tour back in 2007 and having seen some amazing acts in the years I have been reporting, he is by far one of the best. Outstanding. I did not sit down for the whole gig at the 02 and had to hobble onto the river taxi with very achy feet.
Let's hope that happens again! 
Happy dancing!

Lounge on the Farm, Canterbury

Festivals in Kent seem to have had their ups and downs. When I ran the entertainment pages for the Kent Messenger's flagship paper, we were always invited to a plethora of events across the county. I cannot tell you how many Clubclass nights I went to (countless) and how many emerging artists I watched with a cider in hand.
I had a great few years reviewing bands, plays, comedy shows and the like and made some great friends along the way.

There have however, been a couple of howlers that spring to mind. Zoo8 was one of those gems. Mark Ronson and Scroobius Pip were awesome and I interviewed them both - charming. Acts not turning up however, not so charming. Dizzee Rascal was apparently told he wouldn't get a penny and following him, countless other joined the queue.
Electric Garden's debut was short lived in 2006-07 - an old friend worked on this event and it was a fantastic, well executed dance festival that had loads of ravers creeping out of their shells.
Lounge on the Farm rocked up in 2006 and has only got bigger and better.
Lounge on the Farm is an awesome tribute to the sights, sounds, tastes and brilliance of Kent. Featuring up an coming acts making their festival debut, interspersed with established acts like The Super Furry Animals, Mystery Jets and Roots Manuva.
Food comes in the form of locally produced genius and according to the website, suppliers include: Godmersham Game, The Butcher of Brogdale, Hedgers of Canterbury, The Goods Shed Butchery, Griggs of Hythe, Simon the Fish, Ripple Farm Organics, Monkshill Farm, Dumbrells, Hinxden Dairy, Dargate Dairy, Walmestone Growers and many more.......
I was lucky enough to attend in 2007 and 2008 and had the most amazing time. This year promises to be even bigger. The line-up includes: Ellie Golding. Katy B, The Streets, Echo and the Bunnymen, Devlin, The Vaccines, Cast Example, Annie Mac, DJ Zinc and the Scratch Perverts. Around 50 more acts are rocking the stages and with the introduction of a shiny new main stage, Lounge on the Farm can only get bigger.
I am beyond excited.

Castle chic

Castle chic

Leeds and Rochester castle are rocking their chic new images once again this year. Not satisfied with offering a gorgeous place to visit, steeped in gory and spectacular history, their new theme is urban chic. A clever and innovative way of opening their doors to younger generations who may see castles as boring and outdated. Wrong.
When you're a kid castles seem fun and exciting - knights, sword battles, canons, war and a plethora of kings and queens walking through the corridors.
As you hit those self conscious teenage years, the appeal of a castle or anything remotely educational can seem like a bit of a bore and quite frankly, anything that involves being dragged round anything that doesn't involve music, celebrities, fashion, food or films, then it can seem pretty shabby.
On that note, enter the clever bods at Medway Council who introduced the Castle Concerts some years ago. McFly, The Saturdays, Will Young and Status Quo have graced the stage at the castle and rocked away to hundreds of (I suspect) revellers, most under the age of 40.
What clever, coolcats they are. With a fantastic location, with a huge ground to accompany and easy access from the motorway, Rochester is the perfect place to draw people in from around Kent.
The tourism is brings to Rochester and the surrounding area is just as phenomenal. Want antiques? Visit Carters, Fieldstaff or Memories - each stocked with treasures that will leave you in no doubt of Rochester's link with Dickens. fashion is rife in Rochester also - with at least five or six independent fashion boutiques, including Rocket, a favourite with students.
If you're a foodie, fear not, the offering in Rochester is diverse. From brasserie Topes, to Elizabeth's of Eastgate to Raj of India you are spoilt for choice. Sweet shops, craft havens, bakeries and of course Baggins, Britain's largest second hand/rare bookshop. As you enter, it smells beautiful - like a library that has been shut away for years and is finally coming to life. Bliss for a bookworm or vintage hunter.
Don't forget the museums and other attractions - Dicken's World is just down the road.
This year, Peter Andre and N-Dubz will take to the stage, so what are you waiting for?

The same applies to Leeds Castle. What a rocking line-up of events this year. They have applied savvy marketing to a castle that is traditionally associated with weddings, school proms and other events based around the castle. They have slowly introduced theatrical events - like Jane Eyre, a production I covered last year and other plays, like some favourites from Shakespeare. The classical concerts always blow me away - the James Bond classical was immense, with a helicopter and speed boat adding to the drama of the evening.
This year the Leeds has Live at the Castle, a concert filled with the likes of The Wanted, Alexandra Burke, Eliza Doolittle, Aggro Santos, Stacey Soloman and heaps more.
What's more, you can fill up on some literature with performances of Austen's Sense and Sensibility and Shakespeare's A Midsummer night's Dream.
Every year seems to offer something new and exciting and gets bigger and better every year.
Castle Chic is the new word on my radar.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Silvena Rowe

You may have heard of Sivena Rowe. I know I have. She is the chef with the big voice, big chest and even bigger talent for cooking amazing food that leaves you feeling as if you have realised you have fallen in love.
That moment when, as you met your loved one, you cannot help but smile and stare at the ground to hide the excitement in your face as you approach them. The butterflies that grip your stomach with such ferocity, you can hardly breathe.
Silvena Rowe inspires that sort of feeling.
I had the pleasure of meeting her at The Mayfair Hotel last week and was given a tour round her new concept (it can't be called a restaurant, it is far more impressive) which opens tonight.
Quince is a fusion of the "beauty and scents of the Eastern Mediterranean region." and as she described her vision, you could tell she had thought about every aspect of the experience. All material used has a meaning - vintage glass, velvet, smoked mirrors - she wants to customer to be falling into that world - the world where you and your lover exist. No-one else matters. She described it as the place where 'lovers could meet' - delicious, naughty, forbidden and just being taken round the rubble that was Quince in the making, you can see what she is trying to achieve.
A quote from her wikipedia page reads: "The Orange and Orange Blossom Baklava dates back to (1494-1566) and was said to be a favourite of Roxelane, the one-time Harem girl who became the wife of Sultan Suleyman the Magnificent."
Says it all really.
Silvena herself has worked in the industry for almost 20 years and has written six books and is a regular on Saturday Kitchen.
Excited to get tasting and will be back with a review super soon.
PS - she has amazing hair.
Here is an amazing recipe from BBC Food website:

Honey and za'atar-glazed spring lamb with salsify and wild garlic purée


For the za'atar
For the lamb
  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 2 tbsp finely grated fresh root ginger

  • 3 tbsp clear honey

  • 4 x 125g/4½oz spring lamb tenderloin, trimmed

  • 4 tbsp butter

For the salsify and wild garlic purée

Preparation method

  1. For the za'atar, mix together all of the za'atar ingredients in a small bowl until well combined.

  2. For the lamb, add the cumin, ginger and honey to the za'atar mixture and mix until well combined. Rub the mixture all over the lamb tenderloin.

  3. Heat the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the lamb and fry for 6-8 minutes on each side (for medium), or until cooked to your liking. Remove the lamb from the pan and set aside to rest on a warm plate. Reserve any cooking juices left behind in the pan.

  4. For the salsify and wild garlic purée, drain the salsify and place into a pan. Pour over the water and milk and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bring to the boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering and cook for 20 minutes, or until the salsify is tender. Drain, then place the salsify into a food processor with the butter and cream and blend until smooth.

  5. Heat the oil in a a frying pan until smoking, add the wild garlic leaves and fry for 1-2 minutes, or until just wilted. Stir the wild garlic into the salsify purée and season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

  6. To serve, spoon the salsify and wild garlic purée onto four serving plates. Carve the lamb into thick slices and arrange alongside the purée, drizzling over some of the reserved pan juices.