Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Insta-Outfits: The In-Betweeners

I know, it's meant to be summer but the last couple of weeks have been, let's say, mixed. This obviously creates a huge "what to wear" problem, especially as some days just can't seem to make their mind up and I'm left caught in a thunderstorm in a summer dress and sandals or attempting to sunbathe on my lunchbreak in black opaque tights...oh how I love London's weather. Here are my quick outfit snaps from the last few weeks:

Dress down Friday
Shirt: Pull & Bear, Skirt: Stradivarious (both bought in Spain last year)
Work day
Dress: M&S
Afternoon Tea at The Delaunday
Jacket: Vintage (bought in Australia), Dress: BlueInc
Dress: Primark, Shirt: New Look (teen section)
Indoor Picnic-ing
Top: Camden Market, Skirt: Vintage
Boat race watching
Top: Topshop, Skirt: Boden, Scarf: market in Tenerife
What have you been wearing this spring?

Monday, 26 May 2014

A (Bank Holiday) Weekend In The City

Another Bank Holiday (not complaining, definitely not complaining it just feels like we don't have one for ages and then they all come in one go).

Friday evening I headed to my friend C's house-warming party. Easy summer waves are created by twisting damp hair into a bun post-gym, leaving it to dry all day at work and then taking it out and scrunching a bit of hair spray through. Summer make-up is waterproof mascara due to all the eye-itching pollen in the air at the moment and subtle red lips.

I "drove" the bus home and took in all the sites of London on the way. Felt smug at only having two drinks and not being the girl who was quite literally rolling in the gutter somewhere near Dalston.

Saturday's errands included becoming a member of the Barbican Arts Centre and joining the Barbican Library - despite memories from student days, I do find being in libraries very calming (and yay, free books!). I popped into the Food Hall for some lunch and had this colouful plate.

I'm on the look out for old school furniture for my flat and bought this science lab stool on eBay - it was collection only so off I went to Clapham to pick it up. Thankfully no one tried to sit on it on the tube.

Sunday morning and no lie in for me. I laced up my trainers and power walked across town for the Bupa 10,000. This was my third year of doing the race - it's one of my favourites as the route is lovely and there's always such a good atmosphere. This year the weather was perfect and while I am never going to be a super runner (I got overtaken by an 85 year old man) I do love doing races - running with so many other people is really motivating (you can't really just decide to stop when your feet hurt a bit) and crossing the finish line always feels like a bit of a winning moment for someone who hid in the toilets during school games lessons.

Sunbathing in Green Park with my medal. It was a nice day so had a wander around the West End and did some browsing, all still in sweaty running clothes - seems acceptable when thousands of other people are doing the same.

Sushi for lunch from the Japan Centre, definitely the best take-away sushi in London. Apparently it is ok to eat salty foods after running so it was all liberally dipped in soy sauce without any salt intake guilt. The inari pockets on the left are an acquired taste I am told but they are my favourite.

Today will be spent sorting things out for mine and Hannah's trip to Barcelona later in the week (we're going to Primavera so suncream and festival appropriate outfits are required), finishing my current read (Bret Easton Ellis' Glamorama) and watching Breaking Bad (only 5 years behind everyone else).

How have you spent the Bank Holiday weekend?

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Insta-Updates: May

Finally, summer feels like it is here. May has been busy busy busy between bank holiday weekends and hopping on the Eurostar to Paris but here's what's been happening in the meantime...

1. Loved (but did not buy) this bag in Aldo. It's taken a while but I've finally realised that I have too much stuff.

2. Breakfast at Bill's - the granola is so nicely presented. Wish I could eat all my food out of little jars (although washing up is horrible enough chore as it is).

3. Koi carp in the Barbican conservatory. A nice little escape from London.

4. Tea and cake in John Lewis - my monthly freebie (and reward for braving Oxford Street on a Saturday).

5. Bought a fridge and it came with the most ridiculous amount of bubble wrap. Stood and jumped on it while hoping that my neighbours didn't think I had a bad case of wind.

6. Made some little crispie cakes for Aisling's birthday.

7. Chicken skewers for dinner at Bill's on Clink Street (Bill is clearly the favourite man in my life right now).

8. A pre-Globe theatre mocha to survive 3 hours of sitting outside. Sarah and I saw Titus Andronicus which was suitably bloody and gory!

9. Paris purchases - French Glamour (to help me learn French because I've banned buying magazines), Sephora minis and some shoes from Antoine & Lili (oops sorry shopping ban).

10. Got my hair trimmed at Tomoyaki and Co - changing it up a bit with a centre parting and wearing it straight.

11. Bibimbap at Kimchee after watching the FA cup final with Hannah in a pub - bloggers watch football definitely makes a change from our normal activities!

12. St Katherine's Dock in the sun - definitely one of my favourite places in London when the weather is nice, so pretty and peaceful.

What have you been up to in May?

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Canal Saint-Martin

My final day in Paris started on a sunny note so C and I headed to the Canal Saint-Martin to make the most of it after a rather rainy day and a rather late night out on Saturday. And because almost everything is closed in Paris on a Sunday but, having diligently done my research, I knew that the appropriately named Antoine & Lili on Quai de Valmy would be open...

The canal is lined with leafy streets and boutique shops. It's so peaceful and feels like a world away from central Paris.
McCafe was the day's provider of caffeine. Wearing Ray-Ban sunglasses, American Apparel jacket, Oasis dress and orange scarf from somewhere.
Graffiti in keeping with the area's "cool" status.
Our nice sunny walk typically then turned into monsoon rain. I'm not even exaggerating. We ducked into the first place that looked like it might serve food while the downpour cleared. Thankfully it was a good call - this chevre salad was amazing and we were left to chat away until the weather became nice again.
Antoine & Lili did not disappoint. It has to be one of the most beautiful and colour-coordinated shops I have ever seen. If I wasn't still on a "sort of" spending ban and if I had taken more than a Longchamp bag as luggage I could have done some serious damage here. I did pick up one petite purchase but more on that another time...
The rest of the day was spent walking through the now-sunny streets back to C's apartment, Paris is rather eerie on a Sunday with all of the major stores being shut but Starbucks was open so I somehow ended up spending €5 on a soya cappuccino (worth it!). Suddenly it was 8pm, my Eurostar was calling and it was time to say au revoir and a bientot to both C and to Paris. Thank you both for a lovely weekend!


Friday, 16 May 2014

Le Cafe Des Chats

The best thing about re-visiting a city is that you can pick slightly more unusual destinations - Le Cafe Des Chats being one of them. Cat cafes seem to be in vogue at the moment (my post on London's kitty offering is here) and my friend C whom I was visiting in Paris is a cat lover so a few weeks before my visit I booked us a table (you can book via the website if your French is a little rusty - it gets booked up very quickly, especially at weekends!).

After being welcomed at the front desk we headed downstairs to a cosy underground cafe, tables and squishy sofas fill every little nook and cats are everywhere - sleeping on chairs and roaming around the cafe. The rules are simple - don't wake up sleeping cats, don't feed them human food (the cakes are far too good for the kitties, sorry!) and don't take photos with the flash on.

We ordered tea and nutella muffins which were amazing - the menu offers coffee and cake to full meals. All the food looked delicious and the prices are reasonable for Paris (you'd pay the same in a cafe sans cats!)
This little fellow peered over the edge of the stairs at us as we ate our cakes.
Optional piano playing and a handy guide to the cats' names.
The cats definitely feel at home here - our neighbouring diner had her bag searched by this one!
At 6pm it was feeding time and every cat suddenly appeared in the main room for its dinner.
This cutie was my favourite - look at its eyes! The cats are all rescue cats and its really lovely that Le Cafe Des Chats has given them a home where they have no shortage of human attention!
I made a new friend - the cats are very used to people and this one just wandered right up to me! I think cat cafes are a great idea - whether like C you're a cat lover who can't have one at home or if you're a cat newbie like me its lovely to spend a few hours around cats (and supposedly good for our health too). We said our final goodbyes before leaving the cosy cafe and heading back out into bustling Paris!
Have you visited a cat cafe?

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Paris Snapshots

As the Eurostar pulled out of St Pancras station on Friday morning I couldn't help but feel excited. As excited as someone who's woken up at 5am and hasn't yet had any caffeine can be. This was my sixth trip to Paris so I know that it's a ridiculously expensive, tourist packed city that four visits out of five so far has poured with rain and yet... who cares, it's Paris! My friend C lives and works in the city so with the promise of lots of catching up and absolutely no visits to the Eiffel Tower I waved au revoir to London...

Flowers in St Pancras Station
Eurostar essentials. Read Fight Club on my Kindle because context inappropriate reads are my favourite.
Lunch o'clock.
Saturday morning poured with rain. I went for a run and happily dodged tourists while not caring about being wet.
This seems to have got a bit out of hand.
BRB just charging my car. How the future looked in 1990.
The tip of Ile-de-France is my favourite place in Paris.
Notre Dame sans hunchback.
Ran back along the Seine conjugating French verbs as I went. Je cours, tu cours, il court, nous courons...
The only place to be quand il pleut des cordes...
The view from the roof of Printemps
Because you're still a tourist.
Have you been to Paris?

Saturday, 10 May 2014

Dinner At Mildred's

Soho is hardly lacking in dining options but on a Monday bank holiday a fair few of them were shut, including 10 Greek Street where my friends and I were intending to dine at but met outside it to discover that it was definitely not open.

My friend P suggested that we try Mildred's instead as she'd been there before and rated it highly. Thankfully it was open as it's been on my list for a while. Mildred's is a vegetarian restaurant offering a really wide range of foods (which did make it rather hard to decide what to have) which span global cuisine but are all meat free. There are some vegan and gluten free options too making this a great venue for veggie and vegan friends who usually get stuck with the dullest dish on the menu. The restaurant is tiny and appeared very cramped as we navigated our way to a table in the corner but once seated it didn't feel like we were squashed in - despite a large number of diners packed into a small space it wasn't noisy and natural light floods in from the skylight making the small space feel light and airy. The close proximity of tables also meant we were able to check out what other diners were ordering before making our choices:

My friends both went for burgers, the halloumi burger with sweet potato fries and the "burger of the day" with regular fries. Both got the seal of approval - especially impressed that my meat-eating friend rated the veggie burger highly. Almost everyone in the restaurant was eating a burger when we walked in and they did look pretty good. The burger of the day changes daily (duh) and on our visit was made of red rice. I am feeling burgered-out of late and have sworn off them for a while so had the aubergine tagine. The tagine was lovely - just the right level of spicyness. Our waitress was super friendly and happy to explain all of the foods to us - for meat-eaters there are some things on the menu that you may not be au fait with but I get the impression that Mildred's attracts a real range of diners, from super strict vegans to meat-eaters just looking for something different. For Soho the prices are really reasonable - mains are around the £10 mark. The desserts looked amazing but sadly we were all too full from the mains but I am definitely tempted to pop back and just have pudding.

Have you tried Mildred's?


Saturday, 3 May 2014

Spring Things

I've declared it bare leg season, even if the weather doesn't quite agree.

Skirt: Topshop, Tshirt: Zara, Blazer: ASOS, Sandals: River Island, Bag: Dooney & Bourke via Beacon's Closet
 Between April showers, London is starting to feel spring like. I bought this ASOS fluro blazer last summer but only wore it a couple of times - classic pieces in crazy colours are pretty much my favourite thing to wear so this ticks the boxes nicely. My bag was picked up in Beacon's Closet in Williamsburg a couple of summers ago and forgotten about until I moved flat a couple of weeks back and found it. It's garish and multi-coloured with embellishments and tassels - so un-"me" that I can't help but love it.

Thanks to Sarah for being my photographer.

What are you wearing to see in spring?

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