Monday, 30 July 2012

Summer Swimwear Review

A bikini a day keeps the boredom at bay. Or, at least, this was my excuse for some awesome new summer swimwear. Without a hope in hell of looking as good as the whippet-thin golden beach goddesses of southern Italy (“Carbs will find them”, we smirked knowingly), I went for style and fake tan over extreme dieting and exercise. And some canny angles...

I LOVED this bikini and I wore it almost every day. It was really supportive and pushed my boobies up nicely. It survived a day of jumping over massive waves and prevented me from scaring the locals with my ample 34DD bosom. The bottoms are generously cut without the ‘Nan’s knickers’ look you sometimes get with retro styles. The only thing that would have improved the top would have been the extra layer of fabric surrounding the straps (which features on my Freya bikini from last year). Although this might have spoiled the line of the halterneck a bit, it might have made for a less painful neck at the end of an active day on the beach. This wouldn’t stop me from wearing it again next summer though, as it made me feel like a glam Marilyn Monroe type. 

Now, I’m not usually a fan of swimsuits, preferring instead to bronze as much of this British flesh as humanly possible. An exception was made for a suit as glamorous as this one. Once wriggled into (in elegant manner, similar to that employed when donning hold-in pants) this suit sucked me in at the waist and turned excess love-handle into extra boob. A bit of subtle ruching over the belly ironed out any remaining issues. Whack on a pair of leg-lengthening wedges and you’re away! I’m taking this baby to Shoreditch House for some serious poolside posing; it’s too way good for the sea.

(The sarong is by Zara, by the way)

Ever since I grew boobs, I have longed for a bikini which is just like a bra. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Just the same amount of support and the same flattering cut of your favourite boulder-holder. Freya have come up trumps with this supportive option. I like the curved neckline and the fact that I could, if I wanted to, have a run on the beach. In reality, I did run on the beach once during the holiday; across the hot, hot sand to the bar for a Double Magnum. Mmm.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

One for the Cool Folk

I found out about Folk from my super stylish boss, Phil. All tailored shirts and quirky detail, they really caught my attention. Susie Lau and Steve Salter kindly invited to the launch of their first womenswear collection last week and it didn’t disappoint.

Still quite masculine, with slim-fits, tailoring and detail, I could imagine the clothes working well on someone tall and skinny but perhaps not for curvier gals like me. Like the Kooples, I put this brand in the ‘absolutely gorgeous for others but perhaps not quite for me’ box. I did have my eye on some of the knits though, and there were some great ponyskin ankle boots which I might be tempted to save up for (yes, I’m 27 but can’t afford boots. So sad.)

The nearest tube to the shop is Green Park, and it’s located in a really cool part of London which I had never seen before. There were some lovely looking restaurants and pubs there too - definitely worth a visit.

2-14 Shepherd Street

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Steele my Attention

Let me tell you about Helen Steele. Her A/W12 ‘Hot Robot’ collection is, simply put, fabulous. Her unique abstract prints grab your attention immediately, especially when they cover arresting, modern silhouettes. I love the hot pink/black/white colour palette too. If you’re looking to stand out at an event, this is the way to do it.

To create her prints, Helen films the paint being thrown through a wind tunnel then digitally alters the moving images to produce the prints. These are then digitally printed.

With a celeb following which includes Rita Ora and Jessie J, this is one designer I will definitely be keeping an eye on.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Rook & Raven

Last weekend, seeking a quieter way to navigate the streets from Goodge Street to Oxford Circus, I stumbled across an amazing art gallery, Rook & Raven. Big, airy and modern, the work on display there at the moment is definitely worth a visit. My personal favourites were by James Dawe and Cain Caser.

'Bone Structure'
Giclee print on Somerset Velvet enhanced fine-art paper
84cm x 119cm
Limited edition of 10

Monday, 23 July 2012

Gold Fingers

I bought these gold stick-on nails from Primark. The ring is by Topshop.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Art of Makeup Competition

I went along to an evening to celebrate the Art of Makeup Competition which will take place at the Olympia Beauty Show, 23rd – 24th September. Makeup artist Lou Page is Head Judge and, together with her Academy, is planning to ‘completely change the level of education in a competitive arena.

The competition will take place over a two-day period. It will start with an open arena and, at the end of the first day, competitors will be stripped down to just 10 contestants. The winner will be selected on the second.

At the event we had hand massages by Yonka and had Ardell lashes applied. We got a goody bag from Abi-O which had a voucher for a massage at Pure Beauty and Lauren's Way Instant Wash-off Glow.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Flying Without Wings

When I first heard about MW Nails, I was beyond excited. A nail bar dressed as a plane? ‘Sign me up’, I thought. I needed a pedicure before my holiday so I popped along to the new Spitalfields branch so see what it was all about.

Authentically, the treatment menu was listed on an aeroplane arrivals board and I was greeted by Christine, who was immaculately presented and dressed to look like a glamorous air hostess. I selected my nail colour (they use shades by Essie and OPI) and headed downstairs. The seat I was offered used to be in the 1st class of an Air France plane. I placed my champagne on the tray inside and relaxed while Christine went to work. She had over ten years’ experience, so I knew I was in safe hands. I found out that while the salon looks vintage, it also boasts a state of the art air extraction system.

A chance to return to the golden age of aviation, and a great service to boot. I would recommend MW Nails to anyone; all the glamour of a first class flight without leaving the ground; no Valium required!

MWnails Spitalfields 
Old Spitalfields Market
111B Commercial Street
E1 6BG

 Authentic hot towels but for your feet, not your face!
 My nail technician, Christine

Monday, 16 July 2012

Discovering Ireland

I made two New Year’s Resolutions this year. The first was to visit Scotland (I went to Edinburgh a few months ago) and the second was to visit Ireland. Happily, my housemate Laurel thought the same thing and was invited to go and review the rather marvellous Sheen Falls Lodge in Kerry. Even more happily, she asked me to accompany her.

We flew Aer Lingus into Shannon Airport and picked up our car. Then it was a few hours’ drive through some of the greenest countryside I had ever seen. The hotel was absolutely stunning and our room evoked a ‘Pretty Woman’ reaction (shrieking and jumping on the beds as soon as the Porter had left the room). Our suite was absolutely massive and overlooked the waterfall itself. There was a big balcony too which would be a lovely place to breakfast (what a hard life it is). After a quick dip in the Jacuzzi and pool, we got changed and headed down to the restaurant for dinner. A wonderful pianist played while we ate which gave a lovely ambience. The food was as stunning as the surroundings and I tucked in to a foie gras starter before embarking on a big, juicy beef fillet. Desert was eye-wateringly delicious too with a light espresso ice-cream cutting through a rich Chocolate Silk Cake (I was powerless to resist).

The next day we got up early to make the most of the good weather and went horse riding at Eclipse Equestrian and Activity Centre. It was so nice to ride in such a lush green setting and Sophie, who took us out on the hack was lovely. In the spirit of fitness, we even fitted in a quick bike ride when we got back to the hotel. After all the exertion, it would have been rude not to have a massage, so we surrendered to the expert digits of the Sheen Falls team. Feeling refreshed, it was off to the Wild Garlic restaurant for dinner. The food was astounding and very good value for fare which could compete with any Michelin-starred establishment.

It seems Ireland has even more to offer than just stunning vistas; it has culture and luxury pursuits in spades. I will definitely be returning.