Winter Haul

ZARA SOFT-TOUCH OVERSIZED SWEATER DETAILS
£29.99 

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H&M Cable-knit polo-neck jumper
£34.99

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H&M Wrapover top
£17.99 **Also comes in Red

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H&M Balloon-sleeved blouse
£34.99

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COS DOUBLE-BREASTED WOOL COAT £190

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TOPSHOP Scallop Wrap Top £32.00 (Black & Red)

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TOPSHOP Stretch PU Trousers
£36.00

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WAREHOUSE STAR EMBELLISHED CUFF JUMPSUIT
 £75.00

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WAREHOUSE PLEAT WRAP WIDE LEG JUMPSUIT
WAS £52.00 NOW £39.00

 

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M&S COLLECTION Patent Stiletto Heel Ankle Boots
Price £45

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London at Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, and the festive season officially underway, here are a few fun and Christmasy things to do in London over the coming weeks:

Ice skating at Somerset House:Every year Somerset House turns it’s main square into an ice rink. Tickets can be bought in advance (which I would recommend) or on the day. The setting is absolutely beautiful and I would definitely recommend popping into The Savoy Hotel after, for a drink/cocktail.

Ice skating at Natural History museum: Another beautiful ice rink in London is at the Natural History Museum. The building itself is spectacular and when you add the ice rink and Christmas trees, its simply magical. I would recommend booking tickets in advance for this, as demand is high. Click herehere to book.

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Kew Gardens: See these famous gardens light up, for the annual after-dark festive trail of lights. Click here to purchase your tickets.

Hogwarts in the Snow: Until Sunday 27th January, you can visit Hogwarts in the Snow at Warner Brothers studios, where the studio is completely transformed into a winter wonderland. Buy tickets here.

Christmas at Leicester Square is a mini winters grotto with traditional Christmas markets, delicious food and drinks, a Santa’s Grotto, and a number of great shows in the beautiful surroundings of a tradtional 1920s spiegeltent.

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Coppa club: Famous for its beautiful and decorated igloos, Coppa Club at Tower Bridge is definitely worth paying a vist for a festive drink/meal. There is also a Christmas market beside Tower Bridge if you fancied a bit of pre-dinner shopping!

Kensington Palace: Experience Christmas as it would have been in Victorian times with a host of 19th-century decorations and activities to enjoy at Kensington Palace. Click here for prices and opening times.

Carol Service: Attend a carol service at St Pauls Cathedral or the Royal Albert Hall, or sing carols at Trafalgar Sqaure.

Parision rooftop at the Queen of Hoxton: This East London Rooftop has been transformed into a Seductive Parisian Speakeasy For The Winter period. Definitely one to check out for a drink one evening.

Coq d’Argent: This hidden gem is located at the top of an elevator at tube Bank station. Similar to Coppa Club, Coq d’Argent transports you to a winter wonderland. Food is expensive but definitely check it out mid week for a glass of mulled wine

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Winterville: Located in Clapham Common, expect live DJs, comedy, ice skating, roller disco,Street Feast food, Backyard Cinema’s Christmas and more at Winterville. Tickets for this can be bought online here and it is open until December 23rd, so if you are living South-West definitely check it out.

Go to the theatre: Why not check out whats on in the theatre or in the West End,and go and see a pantomine or musical? Tickets can be pre-bought online or bought last minute on the day for reduced prices.

Sloane Square: At the weekends, Sloane Square is the perfect festive spot for food, shopping and a mulled wine at the Duke of York Square and Kings Road. With their weekend food market and plenty of breakfast and brunch spots nearby, Chelsea is lit up with Christmas lights and is a great spot for shopping and enjoying good food/wine. Definitely be sure to checkout the Saatchi Gallery too, as there might be an interesting exhibition worth attending.

Southbank Centre Winter Market:  With markets, family shows, artisan gifts and global street food, craft beers & cocktails, the Southbank Centre Winter Market is the perfect spot to eat, drink and enjoy the festive season. Not to mention it is located right on the River Thames, boasting great views of the city of London. Southbank Centre will also host additonal events including Christmas Carols on the 8th December, so be sure to check out tickets for that.

Festive afternoon tea: Afternoon Tea is definitely a traditional, British event, and so many of the cities top spots go all out decorating for the Chrstimas Season. My suggestions are as follows: The Landmark London at their Iconic Winter Garden, Fortnum and Mason, The Savoy, The Kensington (Beauty & the Beast themed) , The Connaught, The Langharm x Liberty, Claridges and The Ritz.

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^^^ Fortnum & Mason ^^^

Santacon: Kicking off on December 8th is the annual Santacon event. It is essentially a convention of santas (groups of men and women dressed like Santa.) It is basically a Santa themed pub crawl in the centre of London. Checkout santacon.info for more information

Backyard Cinema Christmas Labyrinth: Watch a movie at the beautiful Christmas Labyrinth. Walk the enchanted tunnels to the indoor cinema, set in a festive woodland, in the heart of the Winterville Festival. Watch the film under a blanket and on your own giant beanbag, with a mulled wine and a mince pie.

Breakfast at Dalloway Terrace

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Pub Roast: Try a Sunday roast in one of London’s great pubs.

Winter Wonderland: Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland includes ice skating, show, roller coaster rides, street food stalls, festive bars and live music. Buy your tickets here.

Shopping: for festive shopping I would recommend Covent Garden or Oxford Street, but be prepared for crowds, particualrly with the latter location.

 

A Guide to Hong Kong

I recently visited the amazing city of Hong Kong. The perfect balance of East meets West, this city has both the skyscrapers of a modern city, as well as the history and culture of a traditional Asian country.

How to get there:
The airport runs a fantastc train serice directly from the airport to Kowloon. From Kowloon station, I would then recommend getting a taxi to the place you are staying at.

When you are returning to the airport to go back home, you can actually check in your luggage at Kowloon train station, meaning you are luggage free, before you even get to the airport. Tickets can be pre-bought online, or at the station itself.

 

Things to do:

The wonderful thing about Hong Kong, is that everything is easily accessaible and no more than 30-40 minutes away. You can be in a modern rooftop bar, influenced by Western society, then you can hop on a bus and be at the beach or at a Buddhist monestry. If planned well, Hong Kong is definitely a place where you can squeeze in a lot of activities in a short period of time.

 

1.The Peak:

This brings you up to the highest hill in Hong Kong, Victoria Peak, where you can see spectacular views of the whole city. If you ar eplanning to get the tram up the hill, I would recommend getting there early in the morning to avoid long queues later on  in the day. Alternatively, it is possible to also hike the peak.

TIP: try to go on a day with clear skies or minimal fog so you can get great views of the city.

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2. Hike the Dragons back:

Unfortunately due to timing, we didnt get a chance to do this, but it is recommended across the board as something to do when in Hong Kong. The Dragon’s Back is a ridge in southeastern Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, between Wan Cham Shan and Shek O Peak. The hike is about 4 hours in total so bare that in mind when planning, allowing additional time to get to and from the location.

 

3.The Big Buddha/ Po Lin Monastery:

The Tian Tan Buddha is definitely worth a visit, but bare in mind vicious queues. My recommendation is to get to the gondala early in the morning and also to get the Crystal package as it means you can skip queues when coming down from the mountain. If it is foggy when you are vistiing the Buddha, dont be put off by this, as you will still be able to see all the attractions once you get up there.

You can also check out the beautiful Po Lin Monastery once you are up there.

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4. Repulse Bay:

A 12 minute taxi from central Hong Kong is Repulse Bay, a beautiful beach off the coast of Hong Kong. With fantastic restaurants and bars along the coast and right on the waterfront, its hard to believe that this place is so near the skyscrapers of central Hong Kong.

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We went to a beautiful resturant called Classified, which serves Western food and is the perfect spot to relax, eat and enjoy a glass of wine/rose.

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5. Star Ferry:

This is a boat service that brings you across the water from Kowloon to central HK. It is definitely worth doing, so you can see how many of the locals commute everytday. From memory,  it is the equivalent to about £1 each way, and you get a great view of both sides of HK.

6. Rooftop bars:

Rooftop bars really are the hidden gems of Hong Kong. It was only by meeting someone who lived and worked in Hong kong that I was able to gain insight into the best rooftop spots in the area. These bars are normally at the top of residential or office buildings, making it impossible to know that they even exist.

Here are my favourite spots:

  • Eye Bar Hong Kong
  • SEVVA
  • Wooloomooloo
  • Ozone at the Ritz-Carlton ”The Hightest Bar in the World”

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^^OZONE BAR

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^^ SEVVA

7. Ladies Market:

For anyone who loves cheap designer knock offs, the Ladies Market is the place to go. Be willing to haggle as you can definitely get prices down, you just need to push.

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Where to eat?

When it comes to food, Hong Kong has both traditional Asian restaurants, as well as modern, Western cuisine. We chose to do breakfast/brunch in more Western places, whilst trying more traditional Asian cuisine in the evening times.

 

Commissionary (Traditional Western Brunch Spot, Central HK)

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Chom Chom

Chom Chom was our first restaurant in Hong Kong, and definitely set the standard for the days to follow. This tiny resturant can be heard from the streets outside, with its queues out the door and blaring music. The food is Vietnamese and absolutely delicious – not to mention they also do incredible cocktails! We had to wait for a table when we arrived, but the staff are very helpful and ask you to grab a drink whilst they try arrange a table for you. This spot is definitely full if expats, so it is more western-infused. The food is not cheap but I definitely think it is worth the visit, particualrly on weekends.

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Bars to checkout nearby: The Woods & The Old Man

 

Tim Ho Wan

So while I was reseraching restuarants in Hong Kong, Tim Ho Wan kept coming up as a recommendation. This is the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world and is famous for its traditional Dim Sum.

However, I am going to be honest, once I actually tried the food, I realised it was not for me. The texture is quite slimey and one of the traditional dishes is chicken feet, which quickly sent me running out of the place!

I don’t have any regrets though! When you travel so far away, I think it is important to try local and traditional food, even if you don’t end up liking it!

 

Missy Ho’s

On my final night of exploring Hong Kong, we went to the ‘up and coming’ area of Kennedy town. Missy Ho’s had come up as a recommendation quite a few times for great cocktails and a quirky atmosphere. The food was simply stunning! Mainly Japanese/sushi, the plates are smaller in size and perfect for sharing between 2 or more people. Like Chom Chom, this place is not cheap, but you definitely get value for your money.

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Supabowl

For a healthy breakfast on the go, I would recommend Supabowl. This is a tiny Acai Bowl café in Wan Chai. There is no seating, so bare that in mind if you intend to go there. However the bowl is delicious and definitely worth it, if you like that kind of food.

Sabah Malaysian Cuisine

For something a bit more local, you can try a curry house such as Sabah Malaysian Cuisine in Wan Chai. This restaurant is always busy, so be prepared to queue. The food is local and delicious, but expect heavy currys.

 

TIPS:
  • Download Citymapper so that you can get around Hong Kong. It is free to use and will give you the best and fastest routes to get around Hong Kong.
  • Pre order your Hong Kong dollars before you leave, or get a Revolut card. However I would recommend having both card and cash on hand at all times just in case.
  • Taxis:  taxis are quite cheap but only take card. UBER is actually more expensive so I would recommend taking local taxis. Taxi drivers also do not speak English, so if you can translate your location in advance using Google translate then definitely do so.
  • Public transport: public transport is really cheap in Hong Kong, and pretty easy to navigate. Given the Western influences, all the signs in Hong Kong are translated into English. If you are there for a significant period of time, I would recommend getting an Octapus card which you can top up as you go.
  • Forward plan as best you can: Hong Kong is unusual in that the country is split across water, so when you are researching things to do, try and divide it by location so that you are not hopping back and forth all the time.

 

Enjoy xxx

London: My September/October Restaurant Picks

Emilias Pasta

Right on the water at St Katherines Dock, this hidden gem is the perfect restaurant for small groups or a party of two. Producing homemade, Italian pasta, the food is absolutely delicious and very reasonably priced! Not only that, but St Katherines Dock is the prettiest location, hidden away in the heart of central London. You can also book this restaurant, however seats outside/by the water are served on a first come first served basis.

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Plot

Amongst the chaos of Tooting Market is Plot, a British restaurant focused on small plates served in a small, clean-lined setting. This small restaurant is not to go unnoticed, as the food is stunning and super unusual! The menu is small but you can choose from a variety of plates.

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NAC

I came across NAC’s famous Dulce de Leche pancakes on Instagram, and knew I had to go and try them. This French bistro does brunch, lunch and dinner, serving a mixture of modern plates. I tried the restaurant for brunch and cocktails one Saturday afternoon, and would definitely go back to try another menu! The service was great, the food was delicious, and needless to say those pancakes were sensational! As NAC is in Mayfair, dishes are on the pricier side, but it is definitely worth the visit!

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Boqueria in Brixton

My love for tapas never seems to end, and Boqueria in Brixton and Battresea is no exception. This restaurant is perfect for larger groups, who love to share delicious tapas. The menu consists of traditional Spanish tapas and the food is yummy – another restaurant I will be returning too in the future.

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Via Instagram: @boqueria_tapas

La Farola

I recently came across this spot in Angel by chance, and will definitely be heading back! A Tapas restaurant in the heart of Angel, this cosy spot is perfect for either a couple or small group who are looking for non-expensive and delicious food! Their weekend brunch menu is also meant to be fantastic, so I will definitely be heading back to try that soon!

Suggestion: Why not make an evening of it and head to The Everyman Cinema (Screen on the Green) after your meal for a luxury cinema experience!

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The Apple Blue Patisserie

On the corner of Balham tube station is a hidden gem for coffee, pastries and brunch! Whilst on my daily commute to work, I would walk by the Apple Blue Patisserie, curious as to who the are and what they do! Now, this place is my favourite spot for my americanos and oat milk! Not to mention, their cakes are also works of art!

I also recently tried this place for weekend brunch, and the food was delicious! The staff and really friendly and you can sit both inside or outside, depening on your preference!

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September Beauty Favourites

 

The Ordinary Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 30ml:

This product is amazing for hydration! Hyaluronic Acid (HA) can attract up to 1,000 times its weight in water and can be applied either in the morning or evening before your other face creams. This product also contains Vitamin B5 which also enhances surface hydration. If you have dry skin in any way, I would highly recommend this product! The Ordinary products are also so cheap for what they are, given their concentrated formulas. Available on ASOS.com, beautybay.com and feelunique.com.

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Wetbrush:

Similar to the Tangle Teaser, the Wetbrush was created to be used on both wet and dry hair. Hair is weakest when wet, and pulling at it can snap it like a rubber band. This is why you should brush with a tool that gently loosens knots without pulling or breaking hair. I cannot get over how great this product is, and have really found a difference in the condition of my hair. I have also recommended it to friends who have said they love it! The standard brush is £12 but I recently found them in TK Maxx for £3.99! Also available on cultbeauty.com, beautybay.com and boots.com

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The Ordinary Retinol 0.5% in Squalane 30ml £4.90:

This water-free solution contains 0.5% pure Retinol, an ingredient that can reduce the appearances of fine lines, of photo damage and of general skin ageing.

Retinol not only works by stimulating the production of newer cells, and thus has great anti-ageing properties, but also works to reduce dark spots, hyperpigmentation, skin effects from hormonal changes and blemish/acne scarring. By putting the product in squalene it means it is less abrasive on the skin. The brand recommends putting this product on at night and it always use SPF if you are in solar exposure after use. Available on ASOS.com, beautybay.com and feelunique.com.

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Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder foundation 40 ml:

Over the past year and a half, I have stopped wearing foundation during weekdays, as I like letting my skin breathe Monday to Friday. However, for weekends and events, I like to wear foundation for fuller coverage. Overall, my skin is quite good and tends to not take too well to heavy, matte foundations. So I began my search for a light-weight foundation, that doesn’t dry my skin and provides me with long lasting coverage.

I had always heard great reviews about CT foundations, so I decided to try their Light Wonder foundation, and I have honestly not looked back. Finally I have found a foundation with light coverage, a dewy finish and a product that blends into my skin rather than sitting on top of the surface. I wear shade 5, as I would always wear fake tan at weekends. Available on CT website or feelunique.com.
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Brunch, Brush and Bubbles

Last Saturday I spent a wonderful day in London’s Notting Hill. The day started off with brunch at The Dayrooms Café. A tiny café, 5 minutes walk from Ladbroke Grove station, this little gem is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. The menu is a mix of traditional brunch food, with a few alternative dishes thrown in there too. The service was excellent and the food was delicious, although if you go at peak times, I would imagine you will have to queue. We went slightly after midday, and managed to get a table immediately.

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From there, we walked 10 minutes to The Eagle pub, where the Brush and Bubbles afternoon was being held. Brush and Bubbles is a project for people of all creative abilities, to be able to create something wonderful (whilst sipping a glass of bubbly!) The founders love the idea of bringing people together and encouraging them to be creative.

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Their classes are not about being ‘good’ at painting, but more about people coming together to chat, paint, drink and enjoy. I went along with two of my girlfriends and we had such a fun afternoon! The class is super relaxing, and the artists are there to guide you, regardless of your ability. At the end of the class, you walk away with your own masterpiece, on canvas, that you can bring home!
The class is £35 to do and I would definitely recommend it to anyone living in London or paying it a visit anytime soon! You can buy tickets online on their website http://www.brushandbubbles.com/londontickets.

London: My August Restaurant Picks

I am always trying to explore new and exciting restaurants in London and the list seems to never end. Here are my favourite restaurants I have tried in the last month:

Hispania: Spanish Tapas

I absolutely adore tapas, and London is bursting with great Spanish tapas restaurants! I came across Hispania through an old work colleague of mine, who I was meeting for dinner one evening. Directly beside Exit 6 at Bank Station, the building alone is spectacular! With beautiful, high ceilings and fantastic service, Hispania ticks all the boxes before you have even tried the food! The menu is a mix of tapas and main dishes, ranging from traditional tapas, to tapas with a more exotic twist. The menu is fairly standard in terms of pricing – it isn’t cheap, but it isn’t extortionate either. It also takes bookings!

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Flour & Grape: Cheap and cheerful homemade, Italian pasta

Bermondsey Street strikes again! It seems, when it comes to food, that Bermondsey Street can do no wrong! Flour and Grape is located about an 8-10 minute walk from London Bridge station, and is every pasta lover’s heaven! All their pasta is made from scratch and has a range of dishes from prawn linguine, to tomato and aubergine rigatoni. The food is amazing value and they take reservations for lunch, but dinner is walk-in only.

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Cinnamon Bazaar: Twist on Indian Food

I actually came across Cinnamon Bazaar by chance, while in Covent Garden one evening and I will definitely be returning! An Indian based menu, the food was absolutely fantastic and ranged from both small to large dishes. The food is very reasonable and not too heavy, like traditional Indian food. I would definitely recommend getting a few of the small plates and trying different dishes from the menu!

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German Gymnasium:

I am not going to lie, when I heard I was going to a German restaurant recently I wasn’t entirely convinced, as I am not the biggest fan of German food. However, having been to this restaurant, my opinions have completely changed. A converted Gymnasium beside Kings Cross station, the building is simply stunning. The food is quite unusual but absolutely delicious! Prices are on the higher end of the scale, but if you are making an evening out of it, it is definitely worth it! You can enjoy this Mittel-European inspired menu for breakfast lunch or dinner, and late night glamour at the chic Meister Bar.

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