Category Archive: Lifestyle

Sep 04 2014

Food: Going Gluten Free With Ilumi

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Kerala Chicken Curry

Going gluten-free isn’t as hard as it used to be, it even has its own section in most supermarkets, but talking to a number of my friends who have had to cut out cereals wheat, barley and rye for medical reasons, there are still not enough tasty alternatives especially when it comes to ready meals.

That is where my seven-day gluten-free challenge with Ilumi comes in. This amazing online food store is not only a haven for great meal options for people with coeliac disease, but their products are also great for people with nut and milk allergies. Or if like me you are looking to be a little healthier and are fed up of that bloating feeling you some times get after eating too much bread.

The seven-day plan literally takes all the worries about what you are going to eat and when, plus they are super quick to prepare in the microwave. I loved that the food was delicious, of course, but also really loved the structure and ease of the plan. As a freelancer sometimes I can miss meals because I am glued to my computer, this plan meant I ate properly for a whole week.

The plan covers brekkie, lunch and dinner, and even provides gluten-free snacks, though to be honest I really did feel full after every meal that I didn’t always need them. The only downside I could see with the plan is that in the height of summer I am not sure you would want so many hot lunches, there are a lot of soups on offer, but then again I can’t rave enough about the Butternut Squash and Tomato and Red Pepper soups, they were both two of my favourite dishes.

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Tomato and Red Pepper soup

For me though the treat of this menu had to be the tasty curries for dinner, whether it was the mild and creamy Kerala Chicken Curry, the Moroccan-style Zaatar Chicken, or the spicy Thai Red Chicken Curry. The only thing I would say is don’t bother with the supermarket-own gluten-free naan bread, so tasteless and a waste of money. I also loved the addition of the gluten-free beer, Celia. Now I am not a beer fan, so to me it tasted like any other beer, but a friend did say it was less bloating.

The weekly plan, provides all your meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well snacks and beer for curry night, for £45 and that includes free P&P to your door. All you need is a microwave. It really is that easy. It is also a great way to try Ilumi’s dishes, see which are your favourites so you could just stock up on those for nights when you are after a quick gluten-free meal.

But Ilumi is much more than the seven-day plan, the shop has everything from gluten-free gravy to stir-in sauces and even offers endorsed products such as pasta and noodles. I really want to try the Sweet Soy & Ginger Stir Fry Sauce, with wheat-free soy.

Are you gluten-free? Would you try Ilumi?

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Geng Gari Curry with Butternut Squash

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Celia gluten-free beer

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Zaatar Chicken

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Thai Red Chicken Curry

**I was gifted with a week supply of Ilumi dishes to review – but as always if I didn’t like, enjoy or think you would all love it as well – I wouldn’t share it**

Sep 02 2014

Wedding: Angelina Jolie Marries In Atelier Versace

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I love a celebrity wedding, seeing what they wore, where they held the reception, but I love it even more when they go ahead and surprise us and get married without anyone knowing like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt did last month.

Since the news that they wed at Château Miraval, the couple’s home in France, I think everyone has been dying to see what Angie wore down the aisle. I think most like me were expecting a lacy Elie Saab creation, but when I heard that the actress had turned to Donatella Versace I have to admit I wasn’t surprised as she does favour the Italian label on the red carpet.

As you would expect Angie was a vision in her gown that was a little more traditional than I expected, it did have a twist though, as the custom-made white silk-satin Atelier Versace gown and veil was detailed with embroidered drawings from her six children, to really make it a family affair.

People and Hello have the exclusive to the wedding, which was attended by just 20 friends and family members, and each child played a key role in the wedding from Zahara and Vivienne being flower girls to Maddox and Pax walking their mum down the aisle, and Shiloh and Knox served as ring bearers. It sounds so cute.

What are you thoughts on Angelina Jolie’s Atelier Versace wedding gown?

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[Pics: Versace/People Magazine/Hello]

Sep 01 2014

Interview: Five Minutes With LFW Designer Holly Fulton

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Holly Fulton was one of the first fashion designers I met, we chatted randomly at the London Fashion Week exhibition, I had no idea at the time that she was the designer behind the amazing collection I was raving about. Luckily she didn’t hold that fan-girl moment against me as I interviewed her at the Fashion House of Echo Falls to celebrate her collaboration with the wine brand. It was refreshing to see a down-to-earth fashion designer, she really was lovely and fun to interview.

I didn’t have long, but we chatted designing a wine bottle, I really love the Rose one, her love of architecture, the excitement of fashion week, and I couldn’t resist asking her what a Holly Fulton Barbie would look like, it is amazing and fingers crossed Mattel reads this and signs her up!!!

What was it like designing a wine collection?
Holly: “As a designer I love to do things that are outside the realm of fashion, it is quite exciting for myself to see my designs transposed onto different products. The starting point was to capture the best of what Echo Falls does and their wines with the best of Holly Fulton, so we selected three different outfits that reflected the characters of the Merlot, the white and the rose and hopefully captured the contemporary spirit of Holly Fulton. We wanted to design something that popped out on the shelf next to Echo Falls competitors as well as a sexy feel.”

Your collections are highly influenced by architecture – what is it about architecture that inspires you?
“I love things that are quite clean, strong and quite graphic, a lot of the 20s/30s architecture and skyscrapers, and even 60s/70s buildings really just catch my eye and feed into my style of drawing and graphic sensibility. I love anything that is really bold and architecture is one of the biggest, boldest statements you can get in design, so it has always been a source of inspiration to me.”

Do you have a favourite building/city?
“I’m a bit of a fan of the Empire State building, I did have a collection where it featured quite heavily for spring/summer time and we used it in our crystal work.”

LFW is fast approaching – how is everything going in the run up to your SS15 show?
“It’s exciting and terrifying, but I always try and remain calm, because if I am panicking it wouldn’t help anybody. I am quite a workaholic so I will be working incredible long hours from now until then, but that’s part of the fun of it, still even five years on from when I started the label it hasn’t lost any of its excitement for me, it is still like the day that I graduated, it is that kind of buzz that I get. My favourite moment is just before the show goes and I see the girls lined up, all made up and transformed; in that moment my adrenalin is literally popping.”

Is the music important for your catwalk shows?
“Hugely important, I will listen to those tracks time and time again in the run up to LFW, I make everyone listen to it, we will listen to the song 30 times a day, but it is really good as everyone gets really into it. If you can get the music right you are really lucky, we work with John Drury who does all the music for our shows and it is always one of the most exciting parts of a show as it really captures the mood and enhances the space.

Can you give us a hint at what we can expect from the SS15 collection?
Very different from autumn/winter 2014. We always use different techniques and styles, and we are focusing on techniques that we have never looked at before, so I am excited to see how they come out. I think this collection will be a move on for us, the cutting is quite different so the silhouettes will create a new look for us.”

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Finally, if you could have a Holly Fulton Barbie – what would you dress her in?
“My favourite outfit would have to be the first look from spring/summer 2010, that collection that I just felt like my style just totally came together. That first look was all black and white, which is still a signature for us, I even still wear that coat.

“It would be a strong Barbie, but I think she would definitely have to go brunette and represent us dark-haired ladies. Plus she would have to have all the matching accessories, of course, the statement necklace, big earrings, possible a vintage ring and she has to wear the spiked Christian Louboutin baseball boots that were on the catwalk.”

 

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Holly Fulton’s amazing Echo Falls wine collection is available in stores now, price £6.99 each. Echo falls Holly Fulton 1 Interview: Five Minutes With LFW Designer Holly Fulton %tag

**Thanks to Ashanti aka Adorn Girl for snapping my pictures while I interviewed the lovely Holly Fulton**

Aug 22 2014

Introducing: Fashercise – For The Stylishly Fit

Fashercise 1 Introducing: Fashercise   For The Stylishly Fit %tagFor the past year I have been watching one of my closest friends and fellow fashion blogger and my partner-in-crime, Alex from AlexLoves.com taking on a new challenge and living out her dreams with her new stylishly fit website, Fashercise.

What started off as an incredible fashion and fitness blog, with the tastiest pancake recipe and honest reviews on the latest exercise classes and products, has turned into an amazing shopping platform selling some of the hottest activewear brands in the world.

With her new partner-in-crime, Cam **I promise I am not jealous**, they have selected some of the best, young, independent sportswear brands out there – from the likes of Charli Cohen, Lucas Hugh, Lexie Sport, and Monreal London. As well as a host of new names such as Dear Kate, Michi and Olympia Activewear, which do the most amazing sports bras. Plus they have the ultra cool Zoe Karssen, who I am slightly addicted to, and I have my eye on these batwing joggers.

As well as launching an online sportswear store, Alex and Cam have also completely transformed the look of Fashercise – showing a lot of other e-commerce sites out there how it should be done – we don’t just want shopping we also want to be informed with great editorial. I am super impressed and proud of them both for creating an amazing fitness platform that is just going to keep on growing.

If you like fashion, do a little or a lot of sport, want to combine both fashion and fitness with cool clothes then you have to check out their site, Fashercise. Trust me you will be introduced to some amazing new brands that will blow the minds of your fellow workout buddies.

Have you check out Fashercise’s amazing selection of brands?

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[Pics: Fashercise]

Aug 17 2014

My Style: When JD Met Tommy

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I spend a lot of my time in jeans, from skinny to boyfriend and even the odd flared cut, in dark blue, light blue, red floral print, grey, and even a stripy pair, I just love them, but this summer I have really been embracing the good weather **where the hell has it gone** and trying to wear more summery, girlie looks.

Last week, when the sun was shining, I wore this Tommy Hilfiger beauty that I found on Amazon’s dress store, yep that place where you buy books, blu-rays, and the occasional Barbie, **I call it the online shop for the three B’s**, has opened The Dress Shop, which has thousands of dresses from brands including Cacharel, French Connection, BCBG, Great Plains, Yumi and Hoss Intropia.

It was hard to just choose one out of thousands, but it was easy to find this short-sleeved blue and white checked dress using Amazon’s easy-to-navigate search for the ‘Occasion’ with dresses for work, evening, special occasion, and casual, which is so perfect for summer dresses. You can also ‘Shop by Trend’ choosing from lace, fit & flare, colour pop, pastels, or just white, basically they have a dress for everyone and for all occasions.

What I love about this dress is that it can be dressed down with gladiator flats and a matching skinny belt, or with fancy black heels and a statement necklace, it really is a versatile piece for my wardrobe that will definitely be perfect come winter time as well.

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I actually wore this for a day lounging in the park reading magazines and listening to music, which was the perfect opportunity to try out my new bright blue Monster N-Tunes headphones. I love the on-ear style, especially these ones as they are lightweight as well as being super comfortable with the padded cushions. I also loved that they come with tangle-free cables, you probably don’t believe me but trust me they really work, it is one of my pet-hates having to untangle my headphones for 10 minutes before being able to use them.

I also got to take out my new Moschino case out for my Samsung S5, this case is a limited edition style and features a peace pattern, and I love that it has a handy card pocket on the inside so you just need to take your mobile out with you on a night out. The only thing I need to get use to is the flip style, it makes it a little uncomfortable while on the phone. The best bit though is when you close the case it also turns the screen on and off, so saving battery, which is always needed with me!!!

Want to see how jealous JD got of Tommy scroll down to the bottom for a great photobombing gif!

So what do you think of my Tommy Hilfiger dress and new gadgets?

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My Style: Tommy Hilfiger dress, Amazon (c/o) // Flats, F&F // Skinny belt, New Look // Watch, Citizen (c/o) // Bracelet, Links of London // Glasses, Retro54 // Samsung S5 Moschino case, Samsung (c/o) // Monster N-Tunes Headphones, Monster (c/o) // Straw bag, Cath Kidston // Black cat accessory, just a regular moggy!!! //

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Aug 07 2014

Video Loving: Temperley London’s Enchanted Summer

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Every wondered what it was like inside Alice Temperley’s romantic, fairytale-filled world? Well this short film, shot by the designer’s brother Henry Temperley for Net-a-Porter does just that, by showing off her exquisite gowns as well as her stunning Somerset home in the lead up to her annual Enchanted Summer party. 

Directed by Alice, the short film really is a gorgeous way to show off the designer’s limited edition Temperley London dresses, worn by some of the brand’s muses including Laura Bailey, Caroline Issa, and Jacquetta Wheeler, who are all wearing designs created exclusively for Net-a-Porter.

One of my favourite shows at London Fashion Week is always Temperley London, mainly because you are guaranteed plenty of gorgeous gowns to swoon over, and this video brings those exquisite pieces to life in such a beautiful, ethereal and fun way. I have to be honest I totally want to be on that guest list – that party looks fun.

But unlike other fashion films, this isn’t a campaign video, a behind-the-scenes of a fashion show, this is a moving-image boutique, as shoppers can click on the dresses or accessories they wish to buy and they will be added to their personal ’boutique’ all without interrupting the film. Net-a-Porter really do know how to get people shopping luxury fashion – but don’t blame me if you want everything you click on!!!

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I love all the pieces from the folky floral embroidered skirts to the chiffon-appliquéd tulle gowns and the hot pink lace-paneled pleated crepe maxi dress, but for me it has to be all the wedding-worthy gowns that caught my eye, which isn’t a surprise given that the summer party had a White Magic theme.

Shop my 10 favourite wedding-worthy Temperley London gowns on Net-a-Porter:

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Which gowns caught your eye?

[Pics: Temperley London/Net-a-Porter]

Aug 06 2014

Wedding Inspiration: 5 Wedding-Worthy Braids

My braid Wedding Inspiration: 5 Wedding Worthy Braids %tagMy wedding is less than 3 months away, the venue is all sorted, so are the dresses, the shoes, the food, and generally most of the big stuff, which means now I am focused on finding the perfect wedding-worthy hair-do to go with my fabulous dress.

I have a great hairdresser in Carol at Toni & Guy in Cambridge who has been trying out new things with my hair each time I go and get my hair cut. We’ve tried a crown of braids, relaxed curls, and this cute side braid pictured above. I have liked them all, but they aren’t quite right, the only thing I am certain of is that I want braids, I don’t know why I just love that they are romantic and princess-like, and seriously what more could you want on your wedding.

It is because of my obsession of braids and the search for the perfect wedding style that I now have a Pinterest board dedicated to them and I am addicted to going through one-million strong Instagram account @InstaBraid, which you can probably guess is all about braids.

They’ve posted nearly 2,000 times so it is hard to choose just five wedding-worthy styles, but I think you will agree all these beautiful braids would look amazing on a bride. I think I am going to need a few more hair styling sessions with my hairdresser before I can commit to the perfect braid.

Do you like to see brides rocking braids on their wedding day?





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