Tuesday, 21 October 2014

A Masterclass with Theo Randall

What do you get the man who already has quite a lot? From previous man-present-buying experience, I have found it best to mentally file away any mention hobbies or interests throughout the year. An interest in F1 (noted. Fast car experience day) a brief dalliance with fishing (potential camping weekend away) talk of a holiday in Portofino (I’m not made of money).

Over the many years I have been wracking my brain for man presents, there is one theme to which I always return: food. Tired of sifting through the mental filing, I just came right out and asked my boyfriend what he wanted for his birthday. He said he had always liked the look of Theo Randall’s food on the telly and fancied eating in his restaurant in the Intercontinental, Park Lane. Perfectly do-able. But it felt too easy – where was the anguish? The brain-wracking? I went on the Theo Randall website to book us in. Hovering there, on the right of the tool bar, a word caught my attention ‘Masterclass.’ Genius. Theo hosts masterclasses to showcase a whole manner of cookery skills, from fish to pasta, sharing over 20 years of experience. Each one perfectly showcases his signature Italian style. Each one costs £200 per person and includes a masterclass in the morning, wine tasting with Theo’s Head Sommelier, a three-course lunch with paired wine and copy of Theo's first cookbook 'PASTA'.

It was pulling the purse strings too tightly for me to attend the class with Neil, but Theo’s fabulous PA, Maria Wrazen, kindly organised for me to attend lunch for a reduced fee.

Neil told me all about morning. They arrived at 10am and had coffee and croissants before following Theo into the kitchen. His was quite a small group (there were only five people all together) and each of them said how brilliant it was. Theo taught them how to cook several fish-based dishes which they also tasted along the way.

While the group learnt some fish-cooking skills, I attempted to cross the cobbles on Hyde Park Corner in rain and vertiginous Gina heels. Turns out they’re not called ‘limousine shoes’ for nothing.  I finally made it and fist-pumped the air at the exact same moment a handsome Sheik emerged from his dulled metallic red supercar. An excellent start.

After hobbling down the marble stairs, I joined the group, together with Theo’s Head Sommelier, to learn all about Italian wine. It was a fascinating experience – anyone would enjoy it, whether your knowledge of wine is ‘it contains grapes’ or ‘this one’s oaky with notes of coffee.’

Lunch was as delicious as expected, which began with a glass of prosecco and tasty fresh bruschetta to get our juices flowing. Next up was a mouth-watering starter of smoked eel, followed by a meaty beef main with the most flavoursome tomatoes I have ever tasted. Theo emerged from the kitchen and took time with us, telling us where our food was from, why the combinations worked and how we could achieve similar results. He is a generous man and a brilliant chef. Many of Theo’s ingredients are imported from Italy and you can tell by talking to him, that this is something he is truly passionate about. Any ingredients that have not been delivered from Italy are selected from some of the finest producers in the UK. It goes without saying that the products are seasonally selected, and the menu adapted accordingly. Dessert was a gorgeous lemon tart – the perfect end to a rich, delicious lunch.

Our group was great fun and it was with great reluctance that we said our goodbyes. We all agreed that it had been a really special day – the ultimate gift for anyone who loves cooking...or eating. We’ll definitely be returning to Theo Randall’s restaurant again soon.

To book a masterclass, call 0207 318 8747 or email Maria at reservations@theorandall.com.


Saturday, 18 October 2014

Diana or Kate? An LBD Dilemma

Every stylish girl knows you can never have too many little black dresses. The right one can take you from a meeting to a cocktail party in seconds.

LittleBlackDress.co.uk specialises in,.. yes you’ve guessed it, little black dresses. I went along to the launch of the brand’s own-label LBD collection.

To celebrate the launch, a party was held at the Oscar Wilde in CafĂ© Royal. Many glamorous guests attended, including Made in Chelsea’s Lucy Watson and fashion journalist Hilary Alexander.

As we sipped champagne and cocktails, we perused the rail of dresses. Each one is inspired by a different celebrity and I found myself struggling to decide which one I liked most. There was Kate, named after Miss Moss. It was a skin-tight, off-the-shoulder style with feathers at the top. Then there was Diana, modelled after our beloved princess, it was ruched, sexy and also off-the-shoulder. Diana or Kate? Kate or Diana? I’m seriously tempted to buy both. Christmas party season will be here before we know it, and it pays to be prepared. Fortunately, all the dresses sit around the £100 mark, so buying more than one is possible.

Which will you choose?


The beautiful Oscar Wilde bar

My gorgeous stylist bud Ellie looked amazing

I hung out with the models (that's the Kate dress on the right...). I wore a dress by Bastyan.


Friday, 3 October 2014

TONI&GUY Mainstage Event

Every year, TONI&GUY host an event for their employees and press. This time, the event was held at the Copper Box arena in Hackney Wick. I was so impressed at the overall production. My friend Becky and I couldn’t get over the incredible videos which were shown between employee awards. The hair show was fantastic, with the looks grouped in to different themes. We both loved the white theme, and were particularly impressed with the chic haircuts shown. The whole thing was incredibly feel-good and inspirational. Ella Eyre performed for us and her energy, feisty nature and wild bouncing curls made her the perfect choice for the event. Another great TONI&GUY experience.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Jonathan Saunders

An incredible show venue is a double-edged sword. On one side, it gives your collection a sense of drama and occasion, but sometimes, it can overwhelm the pieces you’re showing. I feel this happened at Jonathan Saunders’ Spring/Summer 2015 show. There were some exciting pieces; a cobalt blue ruffled dress and a slinky, shiny gold number, but on balance, I felt that the muddy neutrals and blues faded against the breathtaking backdrop of the British Museum in Russell Square. The overall range didn’t catch my attention as much as his previous collections. I wonder if my perception would change at a more intimate showcase.

Queuing outside

In the grand venue

A star-studded FROW

The blue and gold dresses were the best in my opinion. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

David Koma at London Fashion Week

I’ve admired Georgian designer David Koma’s work since he first graduated from Central Saint Martins. I was excited to attend his London Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2015 collection at Somerset House. Brightly coloured neoprene dresses fitted like a glove with stand-out pieces including a heavily Swarovski-embellished pencil skirt and crop top. I loved the approach but felt like the collection could use some more variety – there are only so many neoprene body-con pieces a girl can wear. The bright colours were great thought, and the styling was typically slick.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

To Bob or not to Bob?

I love the idea of long, mermaid-like locks, but for some reason, whenever my hair reaches a certain length, I possess an all-encompassing desire to chop the whole lot off. I have no idea why. This fashion week, I explained my issue to the team at the TONI&GUY team. Every season, Toni and Guy set up camp in Somerset house, to attend to the tresses of journalists and bloggers. We learn about new products and try out some of the styles that the TONI&GUY team have been creating backstage for the London Fashion Week shows. It turns out that the ‘fake bob’ is a big trend and, they offered to show me how it was done.

After washing my hair with delicious-smelling shampoo and conditioner from the Label.m ‘Hair Therapy’ range, my stylist cut me a style with lots of layers – the perfect way to keep the length of my hair but giving it a new lease of life. She then added some protein cream and rough dried my hair. She paid more attention to the front, blow-drying it forwards before pushing it to the side, creating a fashionable low side parting.

When it was dry, she sprayed some Label.m Texturising Volume Spray into the roots and backcombed. Then came the creation of the fake bob. My stylist rolled the back of my hair under, securing it tightly with an array of kirby grips and wider pins. When she was sure it wasn’t going anywhere (the backcombing seriously helped) she started to pin the remaining sections under too. When the desired shape had been created, she started pulling a few sections out to make it look more natural.

The end result was so realistic, then when I texted my boyfriend to show him a photo, he thought I’d gone for the chop. He was relieved to find it was all a trick (it’s true, all the men I know prefer long locks!). TONI&GUY came through again, creating a look which made me feel great, even when running the gauntlet of ubiquitous street-snappers and hot young things outside the London Fashion Week tent.


Preparing for the chop

The desired effect

Cut complete

I do still love it long!

The roll at the back formed the structure of the fake bob

The end result!

Realistic, no?

Still a bit tempted to do it for real...