Monday, 30 June 2014

City & Guilds London Art School degree show

It's degree show time and I can't quite believe that my friends children (who are not children at all) are all graduating (as is my eldest). It is so lovely to get a personal invite from someone you have known for years so it was with delight that I went along to see Ben Ford's installation for his Fine Art degree show. He had created a Duomo complete with wall and ceiling paintings - but instead of the usual iconography all the images were of him... I won't go into the thinking behind it all but it was impressive and really made me think about ego, renaissance art, advertising and modern themes of consumerism. Accomplished and amusing if you can imaging the love child of Breugal and Stanley Spencer you will get an idea. Alongside some fantastic Fine Art we also got the see the diploma students' stonecarving which was absolutely mind-blowing. It is truly wonderful to see really old skills being continued and you can see why these guys are in demand across the world once they have finished their course.

And some of Ben Ford's paintings

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Wow - Louis Vuitton campaign film with Charlotte Gainsbourg doesn't disappoint

Charlotte Gainsbourg is 42 which, although not a great age as such, is definitely not the usual demographic to be chosen to front a major fashion campaign but then the campaign for Autumn/Winter 2014 is not just any old fashion campaign either. Three photographers were asked to answer the brief which was 'classic beauty meeting creative innovation' and all three have managed to come up with a campaign that flows together beautifully. Here is the behind-the-scenes film of Gainsbourg's shoot with Annie Leibovitz and the background music is Charlotte Gainsbourg's own tracks. Looking at the fashion it really is wearable - Ghesquiere's first collection for Louis Vuitton is ageless.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Clarks - gorgeous new shoes from Autumn/Winter 2014

I know it's still summer and I am worried about my pedicure but it is never too early to covet the Autumn/Winter 2014 fabulous designs. I was sent a pair of gorgeous black suede and patent shoes from Clarks from the new season collection and they are simply fantastic. Not only are they really comfortable with the extra cushioned insole but as they have a platform they are nowhere near as high and lofty as they look. I think I could stand for a fair while in these which makes a change. So many heels are meant for sliding in and out of taxis and for sitting down in - not for spending any time on your feet anyway.

These are on the Clarks site now and are Angie Kendra for £59.99.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

James McAvoy promoting Autumn/Winter Prada campaign

There is something about James McAvoy. He isn't tall, he isn't stand-out good-looking but he does have a Scottish accent and a twinkle in his very blue eyes. Must be that then, but whatever it is he so deserves the Prada campaign seen here. Shot by Annie Lebovitz (who else) the settings are right for the actor and set the clothes off perfectly. I think you could say I am completely convinced!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Joules and Vision Express partner up for a beautifully crafted glasses range

A few weeks ago I was invited to the launch of a brand new glasses range by outdoor fashion company Joules at Vision Express. I was in desperate need of a new pair of sunglasses with proper lenses for distance vision - I only have ordinary one's for this which is no good in the sunshine! The range really takes from the designs already used throughout the Joules ranges, so seaside colours and floral prints have made their way onto really pretty and hand-crafted glasses frames in a collection that has something for everyone.

Here is a short film of the launch which features Ollie Proudlock among others...

There are 32 new glasses designs and 8 sunglasses (which can have prescriptions put in) and there is also a range for young girls too. I love mine as they have a slightly retro feel but with a curve that makes them more wearable and feminine. Not the best photo in the world but it really isn't the glasses fault!

Monday, 9 June 2014

Elmer the Patchwork Elephant turns 25 this summer!

Elmer the patchwork elephant, written and illustrated by David McKee is turning 25 which makes me feel very very old. We all loved this story and I have so many fond memories of reading it aloud at bedtime to my girls. We still have the original copy (it will never be thrown away) of this amazingly popular book. The Elmer story has been translated into over 50 languages and sold over 7 million copies worldwide - what an achievement for the colourful patchwork elephant.  25 years is a milestone and Elmer is still going strong! Here are some new ways to having Elmer in your life...

The original Elmer  - £6.99

Patchwork Elmer Lampshade £18.95  

Friday, 6 June 2014

How to eat from your garden with Tom Aikens and Pinterest

Always on the look out for food inspiration this little video from Tom Aikens is quite inspirational for this time of year.

Here he prepares scallops with things to be found in the smallest vegetable garden - I will definitely be trying this out for a summer supper sometime soon.

Baked Scallops, Sauce Vierge
3 plum tomatoes
Water for boiling
Place a pan of water on the stove to boil.
Take the tomatoes and with a knife remove the eye of the tomato and make a small
score at the base.
Once the water is boiling add the tomatoes and blanch for about 10-15 seconds
depending on the ripeness of the tomatoes .
The skin should come away when they are ready, so then remove from the water with a
spider into iced water. Leave for 2 minutes and take out of the water.
With a paring knife, carefully peel the skin off the tomato, and cut into four quarters.
Cut between the flesh of the tomato, the seeds and body so you end up with just the
flesh. Remove all the seeds from the flesh (you can place into a bowl of cold water to
rinse all the seeds out), then dice the tomato into ½ cm square and place into a bowl.
 Tomato (as prepared above)
 5 shallots, finely chopped
 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
 150ml olive oil
 15g washed baby capers
 ½ tsp whole thyme leaf
 ½ tsp chopped chives
 ½ tsp chopped tarragon
 ½ tsp finely cut basil
 20g pi"ed green olives cut into quarters then diced
 lemon juice + zest of lemon
 coarse sea salt + fresh milled black pepper
Place the olive oil into a pan on a medium to low heat. Immmediately add the shallots,
garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, sugar and cook for 10 mins so they have a li"le bite—make
sure they don’t go so$. Add the tomato and diced olive.
Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and leave for 5 minutes before adding all
the herbs, lemon juice and zest, and capers.
Season to taste and then this is ready for use.
continued...BAKED SCALLOPS
 2-3 scallops in shell per person
 1 clove garlic thinly sliced
 2g picked thyme leaves
 4g microplaned lemon Zest
 2g sea salt
 8 turns of milled pepper
 20ml lemon juice
 20ml olive oil
Place a li"le of the sauce into each scallop shell. Pop the scallop on top.
Add a li"le olive oil, thyme, garlic, lemon zest, juice salt and pepper and cook these
whole in the oven for 5-8 mins at 170c.
Once cooked, add a few basil cress leaves and serve.

Tom has been inspired by all those pinners on Pinterest who use home-grown food as inspiration themselves.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Global Gin Day with Tanqueray June 14th 2014

Last night saw an evening with Tanqueray Gin to celebrate Global Gin Day which is actually on June 14th, at The Lucky Pig W1. I love this place - it's down a flight of stairs and has so much character - all a bit Alice in Wonderland meets speakeasy really. The cocktail made for me below by the Tanqueray Mixologist was superb and served in a half pint glass with lots of ice, has inspired me to make my own.

Tanqueray gin is one of my favourites - and I am a gin drinking girl, it is my choice of spirit over and above all others if I am completely honest! Although if pushed I do think London gin is the best out of all the choices now available to us all. Gin drinking has a certain vintage feel to it but I believe that with so many amazing gin based cocktails now available it is a spirit for a new generation who are discovering all by themselves how versatile this premium spirit really is. 

The cocktail featured in my little video is the Flash of Lightening – Inspired by the Birth of 1800s Gin Palaces and  Tanqueray Global Ambassador Barrie Wilson has devised a bespoke apricot, mint 
and lemon cocktail for World Gin Day inspired by the emergence of Gin Palaces in 
the early 1800s. These alluring drinking dens offered ground-breaking serves, 
such as gin infused with peppermint or sugary cordials. 

During the reign of Gin Palaces, the slang term ‘lightning’ described a ‘dram’ of 
gin. Try this modern take on a 'flash of lightning' at the Gin Monkey World Gin Day Jazz Party

Londoners like me have long loved their gin and the city is steeped in its illustrious history from the 
debaucherous days of Gin Lane to the rise of Gin 
Palaces in London in the 1800s. Now you can all commemorate World Gin Day with one of four Tanqueray cocktails specially created by the co-owner of Worship Street Whistling Shop, London, Tristan Stephenson, Barrie Wilson (Tanqueray Global Ambassador ), Tim Homewood (Tanqueray GB Ambassador) and Dren Lala (head bartender at The Lucky Pig).

What? World Gin Day 
When? Saturday 14th June 
- Enjoy a limited edition World Gin Day serve from Tanqueray at: 
- Worship Street Whistling Shop, 63 Worship St, London, EC2A 2DU for the modern day 
Tanqueray ‘Ishikari Fizz’ 
- The Lucky Pig, 5 Clipstone Street, Fitzrovia, London, W1 6BB for the roaring 1920s 
‘Bee’s Knees’ cocktail 
- Gin Monkey World Gin Day Jazz Party, City of London Distillery, 22-24 Bride Lane, 
London, EC4Y 8DT for the 19th Century ‘Flash of Lightening’ cocktail 
Tickets: Free entry

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Janjira - the massage candle

Just had to tell you about a brilliant scented candle that also doubles as massage oil because I have never come across one before and maybe you all haven't either? The Janjira Therapy Massage Candle has a heavenly scent, mixing grapefruit, tangerine and rhubarb to soothe and relax you, then the candle itself is made from soybean and coconut oils which are easily poured when the candle melts providing you with a glorious, scented massage oil to rub into tired muscles and dry skin. A perfect gift or treat at £34.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Home news: Garden lighting from Cargo

It's been a bit of a tease this weather hasn't it? This weekend we managed a whole 6 hours in the garden and a barbecue lunch but I am hopeful that I will be sitting outside long into the evenings soon and when I do I will need some fabulous new garden lighting. Candles are my choice so these storm lantern styles are perfect for my patio and because they are from Cargo aren't going to break the bank - more available cash for cocktails then!

Mosaic Lantern, £14.99
Tealight Holder, £6.99

Steel Rectangle Lantern (48cm)

Farol Lantern (20cm)

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