Thursday, 31 March 2011


As a few rays of sunshine have finally descended upon England over the past few days, it is time to store away those winter knits and begin to dream of a spring wardrobe.

For those looking for inspiration for the coming season, despite being highly inappropriate for the British summer, Melissa Coker’s latest collection for Wren features the perfect items to further brighten a spring day. For Spring/Summer 2011 Coker created the perfect traveller wardrobe, featuring crisp white blazers, electric blue shorts, floral playsuits and cut out geometric printed dresses.

The paint splashed, watercolour print was the highlight of the collection, adding a fresh twist to basic pieces and conjuring images of bright flowers and blue skies. The lookbook offered the ideal inspiration for a relaxed summer look, with each outfit accessorised with an individual touch such as wavy beach hair, bright oxfords, chunky jewellery or cat eye sunglasses. The abundance of cheerful colours, floral prints, intricate beading and neutral layers ensured Wren’s latest offering formed the perfect summer wardrobe for those balmy days we hope will come.

Harriet Tisdall

Tuesday, 29 March 2011


Over supper last week with friends, we all came to the conclusion that the weekends are becoming rather repetitive… going out and doing averagely fun things and then spending Saturday and Sunday getting up way too late, and, therefore doing very little. This resulted in a decision to go canal boating in July… more of that another time.

We are going to have weekends like this for circa the next TEN YEARS, before we start visiting friends with babies, going to weddings and taking mini breaks to European cities. My problem with this is how to make the most of them, how to make them different, and how to make my stubborn and resistant boyfriend do anything that isn’t sitting at home watching football on a Saturday afternoon. The answer… The Goat Race.

Ah – you think there is a typo – of course I mean The Boat Race where you sit in a pub, can’t get a table, actually don’t see one man in lycra and frankly don’t give a flip about who wins… I really don’t – I mean Goat…

The Goat Race is exactly how it sounds. One goat called Oxford, one called Cambridge – and they race. This all took place at an inner-city farm just off Brick Lane. All afternoon there was music, stalls, and loads of farm animals to play with. We killed two birds with one stone and saw some friends who have moved East and now never come west. After trying to be trendy, ride a Boris bike and eat a curry from one of those stalls, we scooped up our suitably trendy East friends and headed over to Spitalfields farm. First there was a stoat race – where cute little ferrets raced through a tube. It’s sort of cruel but hysterical. And then the actual goat race. To be honest, the race itself was a let down. Just like the boat race, we had to fight our way to the front, and we only saw the goats for a fleeting second.

BUT the whole afternoon was good fun and has made me think about the use of my weekends – which when I am graced with the absence of work, are very precious.

My friend (who incidentally NEVER wastes the weekend being idle) found this in TimeOut – so yuppies of west London take note... being a dickhead might actually be cool.

Emily Vaughan-Barratt

Monday, 28 March 2011


Most of us have been to (or at least heard of) one of the many music festivals around Britain: Glastonbury, Leeds, or Reading, to name but a few. They form a staple go-to for many a student summer holidays. Festival-goers however, have probably never really given a second thought to the glut of food festivals out there. Spread across the country, they cater to whatever food or drink preferences you may have, from chocolate to beer.

Last September, I visited Jimmy’s Harvest Festival, which really opened my eyes to the delights of a food festival. This one – held in Suffolk on Jimmy Doherty’s own farm – was dedicated to food and music (what better combination, I hear you cry!). Harvest at Jimmy’s was a weekend-long delicious and melodic extravaganza with live music alongside cooking demonstrations from some of the greats: Newton Faulkner, Scouting for Girls, Jean-Christophe Novelli, Thomasina Miers and Atul Kochhar, and that’s only for starters.

The food on offer was second to none: from Jamie Oliver’s most scrummy pasta, to my personal favourite, Wahaca’s tangy Mexican market food. A converted barn and well-stocked farm shop finish off this foodie paradise with organic local produce from free-range eggs and rare-breed sausages made all the more delicious with ketchup from Jimmy’s own range of appetizing condiments.

Since my over-indulgent visit to Harvest at Jimmy’s, my search for foodie festivals to whet my appetite has been ongoing. A quick ‘food festival’ Google is enough to display the wealth of food events held far and wide. This month alone, you can feed your sweet tooth at the Chocolate festival at London’s South Bank; pretend you’re on a weekend break in Rome or Venice at La Dolce Vita Italian food and wine festival in Islington or, for the green-fingered among you, learn how to grow your own at the Edible Garden Show in Warwickshire.

In September, Blur bassist Alex James who in recent years has become an award-winning cheese maker, is hosting Harvest’s sister festival at his farm in Gloucestershire. June brings Eat! Newcastle & Gateshead Food & Drink Festival and the BBC Good Food Summer Show in the NEC Birmingham, which offers a food and drink extravaganza with contributions from James Martin as well as the ultimate MasterChef Experience with John Torode and Gregg Wallace.

But if you can’t wait to quell your culinary cravings any longer, a simple visit to London’s Borough Market every Thursday, Friday or Saturday will do the trick. In an aromatic maze of deliciousness located between Borough High Street and the river Thames in South East London, Borough Market is idyllic for any food lover, providing an enormous variety of great British and international produce from pappardelle to potatoes.

So wherever you’re located, whatever the season, there is a foodie event out there to satisfy your taste buds.

Other great gluttonous festivals:

The Great British Beer Festival 2nd-6th August

The Lakes Chilli Fest 13th-14th August

Taste of Edinburgh 1st-3rd July

Georgina Davies

Tuesday, 22 March 2011


Described by Vogue fashion director, Kate Phelan as a girl who: “wears clothes you’re not sure where they came from and puts her individual stamp on what she’s wearing”, Edith Blanche Campbell is fast establishing herself as an individual ambassador of English style.

A successful model, currently studying Art History at London’s Courtauld Institute and dating Razorlight front man Johnny Borrell, Edie perfectly juxtaposes the look of an art student with that of a musician: in a recent interview, everything she wore belonged to Borrell apart from her shoes.

Describing her icon as Danny Zuko from Grease (an example of her wit; she does not resemble a T-Bird), the model favours patterned maxi dresses, oversized masculine coats and flat sandals.

As a self-confessed vintage and Marc Jacobs junkie, Edie has become renowned for adding an individual twist to each outfit. She might, for example, pair patent red boots with a block stripe Louise Gray maxi dress.

Edie is a rarity in a world brimming with stylists and seems to dress only for herself.

With her doe-eyed, Jean Shrimpton, English rose looks, her long fringed locks and witty sense of humour, Edie’s enthrallingly, quirky individual style will ensure she is one to watch in 2011.

Harriet Tisdall

Monday, 21 March 2011


This week I would like to talk about the mind, body and soul. I don’t know about you guys but I am a sucker for the herbal remedies. I get reeled in by the idea that these little pills (solely composed of plant) are going help me lose weight, have shinier hair, and glowing skin. Does it really work? Or is it just a placebo affect?

A couple of weeks ago after professing that I had lost my mojo I decided to take on the task of becoming the biggest herbal pill junkie EVER as well as a one of those obsessive gym freaks. I started off well on by going to a 1 and a half hour yoga class. I was one of the only people to have brought their own (bright pink) yoga mat as the ones they give you that smell of feet. I was by far one of the youngest there and by far one of the least flexible.

Do NOT be fooled by yoga, it may look like a lot of deep breathing and stretching but I advise a long hot soak in a bath to ease those stretched muscles afterwards. The next day I went spinning and literally sweat out my body weight. The day after that I did Pilates, which in my opinion, even the most malcoordinated person could do. However I woke up the next morning and my abdominals were so sore it hurt to breathe.

Then came the humdinger.... Body Combat. This class was disturbing yet at the same time extremely satisfying. I was told to think of my reflection as my enemy – talk about encouraging self-loathing! I can tell you now I crawled home from the gym that night but thinking that I may become the new million dollar baby a la Hilary Swank - I have never felt so pumped in my life!

On the herbal drugs front, I am currently taking; Kelp, Cranberry, multivitamins, multi-minerals, Vitamin B supplement, Cod liver oil, calcium AND broad spectrum digestive enzymes. I wash this all down with hot water and cayenne pepper. Yuk I hear you say? Well yes. Am I feeling good? Well no. I’ll tell you why, because after having been so ridiculously healthy for the first half of the week I then found my inner raver and turned in to a party starved blood thirsty woman.

It all started on the Thursday evening when I could hardly move my arms due to excessive air punching. I went to the KOKO club in Camden to see the Darwin Deez. One pint of cider and I was anybody’s; downing the tequila shots and preparing to throw myself on to the mercy of the crowd on which I was going to attempt to surf. Needless to say the crowd were having none of it.

Saturday I found out I was somewhat of an entrepreneur and managed to sell 2 antique cigarette cases at Portobello market. I made 60 smackers! I then of course bought 100 quid’s worth of vintage handbags... mustlearntobudget. This all lead to Saturday evening which is all a bit of a blur but one hell of a good night. Thank you Sacha Harrison! I think we should have “business meeting dinners” more often.

So the verdict on herbal remedies is that they are magic – I’ve totally got my mojo back plus I have shinier hair. I recommend them to everyone except if you suffer from wind – they can be a hazard when commuting on a busy underground...

Just as a little post note, I would just like to express my love for my 2 tone brogues. They could be called spats but they’re way too pretty for that and spats are for boys. Therefore they have been named brogats.

Cordelia Rosa

Saturday, 19 March 2011


I’m a serious Asian cuisine lover. There are so many great restaurants out there from Thai to Chinese but now it’s so easy to cook great Asian food at home.

I’m a big fan of a good Thai curry. Since I first made my own Thai curry paste I find it very hard to be satisfied with the shop brought stuff! Although there are some seriously scrumptious Thai curry pastes in the supermarkets - red, green and yellow - it is so simple to make your own. The best thing is that you can whizz up a big batch in the food processor and then freeze it in small sandwich bags! It takes zero culinary skill and the results are divine. Needless to say everyone’s mega impressed when you can boast that you made the curry paste from scratch. My favourite is a red Thai curry paste made using the following ingredients:

3 Red Chilies

2 teaspoons of coriander seeds

2 tablespoons of chopped fresh coriander

3 teaspoons of cumin

4 stems of lemongrass

3 shallots

3 teaspoons of fresh ginger, grated

4 garlic cloves

Juice of 2 limes

Zest of 1 of the limes

2 tablespoons of paprika

You simply toast the coriander seeds in a dry pan before crushing them in a pestle and mortar and then whack it into the food processor with the rest of the ingredients and whizz it up. You can then use it as a marinade for meat or a basis to a Thai dressing.

For a yummy Thai curry I fry off the paste in a frying pan (adding more chili, depending on who you’re cooking for!), then add a can of coconut milk, some fresh coriander, a dash of fish sauce and let it bubble away for ten minutes or so to thicken. Put it to one side until you’re ready to use.

Add whatever meat/fish you’re using to an ovenproof dish and pour over the sauce and pop in some vegetables. I like to use chunks of butternut squash, aubergine and mange tout.

Put this into an oven pre-heated to 1900C for about 25mins and serve with rice, quinoa or bulgar wheat with a scattering of fresh coriander and squeeze of fresh lime.

The oven-cooked method I use (rather than in a wok on the hob) gives a thicker sauce and is also great to make ahead of time or for a dinner party so you’re not slaving over a hot stove at the last minute, away from your guests!

Still on the Asian theme, last night I made a delicious beef stir-fry with egg-fried rice. So quick and easy but so great as a mid-week supper or again a dinner party.

I sliced a steak - I used fillet but you could use any cut - into thin strips and popped them into a bowl with a good squeeze of honey, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, a drizzle of olive oil, a tablespoon of sesame oil, the juice and zest of one lime, 2 cloves of garlic-crushed, and a dash of fish sauce before seasoning generously with black pepper. With this recipe I find that one good-sized steak is enough for a stir-fry for two.

Meanwhile I cooked some long-grain rice, drained and let it cool. Flash fry the marinated steak strips in a really hot pan and then remove and keep warm under some foil.

Next, I cooked some vegetables in the same pan (I used mange-tout, julienned carrots and spring onions, mushrooms and bamboo shoots). In another frying pan pour in a little oil and add the rice, when the rice is hot, crack an egg in the corner of the pan and scramble it with a spoon as it cooks and then mix it all together: super duper quick and easy egg-fried rice.

Finally pop the steak back in the pan with the vegetables to heat up an then serve on top of the rice! You can play around with this recipe each time adding a finely chopped chili for some more heat, adding different vegetables or using chicken instead of steak. Easy Peasy.

Georgina Davies

Wednesday, 16 March 2011


Last week Lily came around for supper and it was a dash to the shop (Waitrose) and then home to whip up something mega quick, easy but healthy and delicious. Hmmmm the problem was making something to fit that criteria without it involving dough or some sort of massive influx of fatty carbohydrate.

I know you probably know this already but Waitrose have these recipes that I’m sure are created for the culinary inept yet enthusiastic types like me. And what’s more, one serving will be no more than £2 at the most. In my eyes this is pretty cheap considering last time I went to Burger King to save money, the greasy buggers charged me a shocking £8!

Due to the fact that our usual suppers end up as burnt carnage Lily and I were more than pleasantly surprised when the end result was delicious.

Rosemary-roasted squash with ham hock and lentils is probably the best damn thing we’ve ever made. And if Lily hadn’t eaten it all it would have made a brilliant lunch type salad thing that would have made my work colleagues think of me as a modern day Delia rather than a tragically young Bridget. Not a chance. Here’s a video if you want to try it at home. You might find the woman a little irritating to start off with but just remind yourself of the end result!

Sacha x

Monday, 14 March 2011


For the past two years, Guillaume Henry has breathed new life into the seventy year old French house of Carven creating sophisticated, affordable collections that have seduced the fashion industry.

Henry’s Carven woman is ladylike and proper; choosing skirts over trousers, favouring collars, nipped in waists and longer hemlines, although she always adds an eccentric twist. After last seasons Parisian muse, for autumn Henry continued to develop his intellectual signature, channelling Simone de Beauvoir and Lee Miller to create a ‘bonne maniere’, stating ‘it means to be properly dressed; I can’t fight what I like.’ The ladylike silhouette was the highlight of the collection with nipped in jackets and mid length skirts mixed with naughtier elements such as a barely there velvet bra.

Models emerged from behind baby blue doors clad in cropped leather jackets, tartan frocks, duffel jackets, Lennon inspired glasses and stacked loafers inspired by the cult nineties classic Clueless. The collection contained a palette of black, navy, mustard and burgundy mixed with tartan, stripes and paisley prints. As always, Henry added a twist to classic items; skirts came in lampshade shapes, jumpers had animal motifs and coats had fur sleeves.

What is so refreshing about Guillaume Henry’s designs is that he is able to perfectly balance classic pieces with edgy fashion (such as the tartan dress with nude lace on the bust), ensuring that his most ardent fans will return to the label again and again. Henrys work may not be the most revolutionary, avant garde collection to have emerged from Paris fashion week, but in terms of what a woman wants to wear on a daily basis, Carven has come out top.

Harriet Tisdall

Saturday, 12 March 2011


My mate Davina Clowes has set up her own little business called Zokish which sells really cute (for lack of a better word) illustrated greeting cards. Just something different and fun…wow...greeting cards… I am starting to feel awfully grown up!

Check out her facebook group here:!/group.php?gid=5385142211&v=info

Sacha x

Thursday, 10 March 2011


Lover released the lookbook today for their Autumn/Winter 2011 offering, ‘A Dance for One,’ inspired by the ballet. Featuring a palette based around nude hues injected with musky pinks, pale charcoal and a flash of burnt orange, the collection contained the ethereal, casually romantic pieces the label has become known for. Nick Briand and Susien Chong included Lover staples such as delicate lace dresses, simple silk shirts, pleated shorts and folk blouses alongside more directional pieces such as a crotchet jumpsuit, the perfect seventies flares and an oversized camel coat. The pleated nude maxi skirt, bright orange shorts and blush pink silk a-line dress were only a few of the collections highlights (plus seemed perfectly suited for any aspiring ballerina). Each look was perfectly accessorised with every young girl’s fantasy, silk ballet shoes teamed with a artfully messy bun adding the perfect counterpart to the delicate clothes. Fans of Lover’s ethereal, feminine collections will not be disappointed with the designers’ latest offering; once again Chong and Briand have created stunning, wearable pieces in luxurious fabrics that one cannot help but lust after.

View the full lookbook here.

Harriet Tisdall

Sunday, 6 March 2011


Very happy to wake up this morning to the completed music video I worked on with Director/ Producer/Editor Richard Hunter for Chapter 24. As a make-up artist music videos are always fun to work on - high energy, high caffeine and all done in a couple of days! Just hold your breath, hope that the song you're about to hear 100 times doesn't induce trepanning, and get ready to de-sweat your band at regular intervals. Hey - I didn't say it was all glamour, but Chapter 24 were great and singer Claire's riot grrrl image allowed me to be a kid again and play with rainbow shades of MAC glitter and heavy black liner - it was bliss indeed!


Chapter 24 - Blisland To Cry from Richard Hunter on Vimeo.

Ruth Pease

Friday, 4 March 2011


Penang is a multicultural business and tourism hub in the North West corner of Malaysia sometimes referred to as; ‘The Pearl of the Orient’. From as early as the 15th

century traders from the regional 'archipelago' brought produce to be sold from Penang onto European, American, Arab, Indian and Chinese ships. This is how it began to develop its name 'Pinang' (areca nut). In 1819 when Sir Thomas Stamford Bingley Raffles founded Singapore, Penang was left to flounder. The city then recovered from its decline in the late 19th century becoming an export centre due to the development of The Federated Malay States Railway. The commodity crashes as the result of WWII devastated Penang again, but it was after the war in year 1957 that Malaysia became an independent country and George Town – Penang’s capital – gained city status. George Town was established by Briton Sir Francis Light. He had come to Penang in 1786 and bought out locals by firing a cannon of coins into the jungle.

In the 8 or 9 months that I’ve lived and worked here now, several experiences have challenged my preconceptions on life in South East Asia.

Penang has an impressive collection of buildings, particularly early 19th century Anglo-Indian structures and 19th century South Muslim architecture including mosques, houses and shrines. Outside of China Penang is one of the biggest 'showcases' for Chinese shop houses and temple architecture, with varying degrees of 'local' and European influence.

'Penang offered great opportunities for Chinese craftsmanship at a time when China was in political upheaval. The Cantonese built their district associations and the Hokkiens built their clan associations - institutions which played important roles during the years of large - scale immigration.' (Streets of George Town Penang by Khoo Su Nin, P19).

Recently I celebrated Chinese New Year here, which is the celebration of a new 'Lunar' year as opposed to the Gregorian calendar - this is why Chinese New Year happens at a different date each year! There is also 12-year cycle of animals and a 10 year cycle of heavenly stems. It all links to the zodiac (does any one read a monthly horoscope?) It gets complex, but apparently the lunar calendar and idea of horoscopes was believed by Einstein, and 'lunacy' was lost in British culture during the Victorian era. Who knows? Chinese New Year is a 15 day celebration and is also a big family and community driven occasion. There are dragon dances, lion dances, prayers and other rituals such as handing red packets of money to unmarried people (I got approx £6), sharing mandarin oranges then throwing them into the sea. Because of the large Chinese population in Penang the experience has been fantastic. One of the highlights has been the food.

The ‘Kek Lok Si’ one of Penang’s best known temples is lit by candles at night during CNY. On the 8th night prayers and chants take place at midnight and the atmosphere around the religious temples becomes quite mystic. So at dusk on the 8th day myself and 5 others went to see The ‘Kek Lok Si' light up. The temple is set into hills inside a valley so we climbed up the opposite hill and sat in a lettuce field, an unofficial spot known to the underground circle of photographers here (sarcasm). As it got darker prayer calls and faint city noises became louder but my focus was on the brightening glow of the temple. We started our shoot and it was one of my most memorable experiences in Penang so far. Luckily a colleague is a national award winning photographer who trained in New Zealand. And it’s advisable to find one alike if considering attempting this kind of activity as there are risks to shooting from a clearing inside jungle, such as Cobra's and several species of poisonous toad. ‘Kek Lok Si’ translates to 'temple of extreme bliss' it is quite a beauty and a must see if you are ever fortunate enough to be in Penang. I will always remember it as a blanket of gold melting into the surrounding hills.

Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Mairead x

Images copyright to Mairead Gillespie.