Category Archive: Lifestyle

Feb 13 2015

Postcard From: New York – 7 Things I Love To Do

new-york-snowglobe-Another New York Fashion Week has begun and it’s another season where sadly I’m glued to the livestream and the social media commentary rather than being there in person. I’m lucky I get to experience London Fashion Week and I’ve even done Paris, although not as much as I would like, but NYFW always feels like the one that keeps getting away. I came close last February, but with the wedding planning it just wasn’t the right timing, I just keep hoping that the opportunity comes around again as it always seems so much bigger than LFW, not just in-scale, it has a lot more shows, but also the labels that present, and the characters that go just for the street-style. 

So to cheer myself up I thought I would revisit my snaps from November, when I got my married, which led me to this post sharing my love of New York and the 7 things I adore doing when I visit, which fingers crossed will happen next year during fashion week, well a girl can dream. 

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Of course, I enjoy doing a lot more than 7 things when I am in New York, to be honest the list is so long I decided for both my sanity in editing and yours in reading that I would just pick my fun things to do:

#1 Top of the Rock

I normally like to stay clear of tourist traps, they are generally expensive, and not normally worth the trip, however, Top of the Rock is one of my favourite things to do in New York. This city is like no other, the skyline is so memorable and the view from the Rockefeller Plaza is incredible. Don’t get me wrong, a trip up the Empire State Building is still an experience everyone should do, but Top of the Rock is less crowded as they do timed slots and it is bigger, and it gives you a new view of the Empire State building and Manhattan.

I suggest that you go on the cusp of the sun setting, then you get to see the cities lights go on, as well as get some incredible snaps of the city in the day, plus you might also be treated to a stunning sunset.  

Top of the Rock, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, New York, NY 10112new-york-top-of-the-rock new-york-empire-dinner

#2 Empire Diner 

Brunch is fast become my favourite meal to eat out, well after afternoon tea of course, and New York has some amazing spots, one of my favourites has to be the Empire Diner. They only do brunch at the weekends from 11am until 4pm so be prepared to queue, it is worth the wait but I would totally suggest getting there for when it opens as then you don’t need to worry. 

I love everything about this place from its Art Moderne exterior and monochrome decor to the food and service, and the brunch menu is delicious, especially the fluffy buttermilk pancakes, which taste even nicer washed down with a Pims cocktail.

Empire Diner, 210 10th Avenue, New York,  NY 10011

#3 Central Park

Granted not original, but if you go to New York without taking in the beauty of Central Park, you really have missed out. I go each time I visit, it is so big you can always pick out something new to see, as well as revisit memorable spots, and just sit back and take in the sights and watch New Yorkers going about their days. 

There are lot of spots I recommend from the Bethesda Fountain to the gorgeous Minton Tile Ceiling at the Bethesda Terrace, to a walk down The Mall and Literary Walk, which brings a Parisian vibe to NY, as well watching the model boats on Conservatory Water.

After a spot of lunch or drink, check out Tavern on the Green, which after a multi-million dollar renovation reopened last year and it is super. You can either relax in the gorgeous bar area with a cocktail or have a spot of lunch in the light and airy restaurant and in the summer you can even seat out on the garden terrace and look out into the park. The food here is amazing, I can’t wait to go back.  

Central Park, 59th and 110th Street between Central Park West and Fifth Avenue // Tavern on the Green, 76th Street and Central Park West, New York, NY 10023

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#4 Champagne Bar at The Plaza

If you are after someone to celebrate a special occasion, or to just toast an amazing trip in New York the Champagne Bar at The Plaza is a must. This place is pure luxury, I love the gorgeous chandeliers, the cosy seating, the vibrant atmosphere, and the views over Fifth Avenue. The menu is incredible from the various champagnes on offer to its signature cocktails, wines and if you want you can also get beer.

It’s the little touches that I adore at The Plaza from the impeccable service to the never-ending cheese, popcorn and pretzel nibbles, trust me these really add to the champagne flavour, and the fact that you never know who you might bump into, I ran into the lovely Serena Williams.  

The Plaza, Fifth Avenue at Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

#5 Sephora

When will Sephora make the jump to the UK? I love this beauty emporium, it basically stocks everything you can possible want, things you have never heard of that now you need, and most importantly things you didn’t think you needed. Its make-up counters are huge, plus I love that they give away samples a lot easier than here, but for me I always head straight to its perfume collection, especially its range of rollerballs, as I love handbag size versions of my favourite fragrances.

I also love that they do nearly everything in miniature, another addiction of mine – I love mini versions of everything, and it comes in handy when you want to test out a new product or looking for travel size versions of your favourites. There are lots of stores dotted around New York and I find myself popping into any I go by.

Sephora all over the city – check out the store listings on its website

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#6 The High Line

After some peace away from the bustle off the city then the High Line is a great place to recharge and see the concrete jungle from a new perspective. The elevated freight rail line has been transformed into a beautiful walkway, running from the Meatpacking District to the northern edge of Chelsea, and I love that it is sandwiched between buildings, sometimes so close you can spy into people’s apartments, and that it has gorgeous pieces of public art installations dotted about from sculptures to giant graffiti street-art and bleacher-like seating to view traffic, buildings and pedestrians.

I would recommend grabbing a hot drink before you go up on the High Line in winter as it can be a little nippy, also keep you eyes peeled near the Chelsea Market for a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty in the distance, I don’t know why but I get giddy each and every time I see it. 

The High Line, Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues

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 #7 Jack’s Wife Freda

 

A photo posted by jackswifefreda (@jackswifefreda) on


Coffee is huge in New York there are tons of places to go but one of my picks has to be Jack’s Wife Freda purely because it is an instagramers dream, which can also mean that it is very busy and you might have to wait to get a table. If you go here and don’t snap your coffee, your pastry and the cute slogan sugar I don’t think we can be friends anymore!!!

As well as coffee, this place also does a great breakfast, the waffles are a favourite of mine, it also has a lovely dinner menu, I really wanted to try the vegetable curry bowl last time I visited New York but I didn’t have time. 

Jack’s Wife Freda, 224 Lafayette Street, SoHo, and 50 Carmine Street, West Village, New York

What are some of your favourite things to do when visiting New York?

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Feb 10 2015

Recipe: Winter Warmer – Chunky Minestrone Soup

recipe-minestrone-2When it is cold, miserable and generally gloomy outside I kind of retreat into a little ball, well not quite but I do have a need for home comforts, warm blankets and more cups of tea than an average human should consumer to get through the day. Another winter warmer of mine is to cook up a big bowl of chunky minestrone soup from a recipe that I used to make with my mum.

I promise it is easy to cook, healthy and above of tasty – if this doesn’t help keep the winter blues away I don’t know what will!!!

Chunky Minestrone Soup
A delicious chunky winter warmer of a soup that is easy to prepare and cook. Best served with crusty bread, next to a roaring fire and a great book!!!
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Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
45 min
Total Time
1 hr 5 min
Ingredients
  1. 3 large carrots, roughly chopped
  2. 2 large potatoes, roughly chopped
  3. 1 large onion, roughly chopped
  4. 2 tbsp tomato purée
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil
  6. 200ml vegetable stock
  7. 2 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  8. 2 x 300g can cannelloni beans
  9. 2 large handfuls of macaroni or soup pasta
  10. 2 garlic cloves
  11. sprinkle of mixed herbs
  12. crusty bread, to serve
Instructions
  1. Heat the oil in a large casserole pan, add the onions, garlic and herbs, and fry off for five minutes until softened
  2. Add carrots and potatoes, stir in the tomato puree, stock and chopped tomatoes. Bring to boil and then turn down the heat and simmer, covered, for 10-15 minutes
  3. Add the cannelloni beans, cook for a further 10 minutes, and then add the pasta and let it bubble nicely for another 10-15 minutes
  4. Season to taste and serve with crusty bread
Notes
  1. When cooled section off the rest of the soup for freezing - for a quick and easy fix when you are in need of a winter warmer
Fashionista Barbie http://fashionistabarbieuk.com/

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Feb 04 2015

Haute Couture SS15: 10 Beautiful Wedding Gowns

zuhair-murad-ss15-coutureThe beauty of Haute Couture is the glamour, the knowledge that the garments take hundreds of hours to produce, mostly by hand, nearly all bespoke, and always with no real budget in mind, it is why I love it so much as it is basically pure fantasy, and it’s the wedding gowns that inspire the most.

I think this has been one of the best Paris Haute Couture Week’s for a while, truly inspiring craftsmanship that really showcased the best in forward-thinking designs, and the bridal gowns were just exquisite. Elie Saab always inspires brides with his beaded beauties, but I’ve also included gorgeous, dramatic and sexy gowns by Zuhair Murad, Ralph & Russo, Versace, and a contemporary, quirky gown designed by Jean Paul Gaultier that if I had seen it before my own wedding I think I would have totally fallen in love with that tiered tulle skirt.

So if you are currently on the hunt for your perfect wedding gown, why not take inspiration from these 10 gorgeous bridal gowns:

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Do anyone of these gorgeous wedding gowns come close to the dress you have pictured for your big day?

[Pics: Vogue]

 

Jan 30 2015

Dear Diary: Confessions Of A Tea Addict

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I am an addict, a tea addict, I can calmly say it, and it does feel good to get it off my chest, but you know even though I have already had five cups today, I know that I am not going to stop, I like being a tea addict.

I don’t have many vices, I don’t really drink anymore, I don’t do drugs, I’ve given up on the fizzy stuff, cola not champagne, and dairy and me have come to an understanding, I just have milk when it comes with a good cuppa. For me, tea is calming, it is something to break up the long stretches in front of the computer, and in this weather it keeps me warm, plus you can’t collect pretty bone china tea cups and teapots without a love for tea.

As well as being a vintage hoarder, I’m always on the lookout for new beauties, I can’t go by Whittard without looking at what they have in, plus I love their teas, from the classics to the more obscure, I have just discovered a love for rose tea, so you can imagine my glee when the brand kindly sent Paulie and I a wedding present featuring pieces from their Alice in Wonderland collection.

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I love fun and quirky and this collection features illustrations based on those done by John Tenniel depicting the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party for Lewis Carroll’s wonderful children’s book, Alice in Wonderland. The mix and match range features a selection of mugs of Alice, the rabbit and the Mad Hatter, ones with key handles, which I love, or colourful contemporary designs, as well as a tea pot, Drink Me Tea selection including my favs English Breakfast, Afternoon Tea and Earl Grey, and I noticed on my last visit a chocolate bar selection. Basically everything you would need to host your own Mad Hatter’s Tea Party!

There is something special about this collection, whether it is the fact that Alice in Wonderland is perfectly matched with a tea set, or the detailed illustrations and quirky touches with the key handle. I have to be honest, I know I was gifted this product, but this really is a great gift, and I would totally recommend to anyone who also has a tea addict in their life, especially as the range starts from £10 for a mug to £35 for the teapot.

I wonder if I am more addicted to tea or the pretty tableware. Also whether my husband knows that it is my goal in life to fill every corner of our house with pretty bone china tea cups and teapots – here’s hoping he doesn’t divorce me on reading this!!!

Do you like Whittard’s Alice in Wonderland collection?

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Jan 23 2015

Wearable Tech: The Knomo Elektonista Digital Clutch

knomo-elektronista-clutch-1I’ve had many interesting debates lately regarding wearable tech, nearly everyone I have spoken to says they aren’t convinced because nearly all think that the wearable tech products out there might be useful but they are also ugly, bulky or just too geeky to even want to wear.

Generally, this talk is directed to those smartwatches, which can read your e-mails, track your fitness, and even make phone calls, obviously not on their own! But there is much more to wearable tech than watches, there are also sci-fi like glasses from Google, which totally needs a lot more work to make them cool, as well as technology embedded into clothing, and even rings that vibrant to inform you of your notifications. Basically wearable technology can be anything that incorporates functional, portable electronics and computers into your daily life, which I am totally on board with, if only technology could work with fashion more to make them appealing.

There aren’t many I can rave about, even the Apple watch doesn’t really make that huge leap to fashionable as well as functional for me, so I am so pleased that Knomo has launched something that is useful, organised, as well as fashionable with its Elektronista digital clutch with Danish blogger Christiane Vejlø.

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This really is my kind of wearable tech, as at first glance this looks like any other black bag, it has chic gold finishings and is in the dreamiest leather, but if you look closer it folds out into an organiser for your digital devices, basically it carries everything you need to carry your desk with you on the go, which is very handy for a fashion blogger.

It has pockets for your tablet, it fits my 10-inch Samsung Galaxy Tab S, smartphone, my cables, travel card, make-up, notepad, business cards, cash in a handy detachable purse, bank cards, and even space for a pen, which I love as no matter how techie my life gets you can’t beat writing down your thoughts with pen and paper.

Oh and I nearly forgot the best bit, the clutch comes with an in-built Knomo 3000mAh battery and charging cable, so you can keep your devices charged up on the go, which I definitely will be using a lot during fashion week next month. I carry with me on a day-to-day basic a battery charger for my devices and this battery pack means I don’t have to do that, and unlike other portable chargers I have used this one is fast, has more than one charge in it, and is light.

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It has the same feel as my Knomo Knomad Mini, except it is a little bigger, comes with a battery pack, and it zips into a luxurious clutch that I can wear over my shoulder, cross-body, or as a clutch, which is great when you go straight from the office to an evening event or date.

What surprised me about the Elektronista Clutch is how much you can fit in it, as well as the pockets once it is zipped up it acts like any other bag, I took it into London the other day and it fitted my book in easily as well as my diary without it being too heavy to carry or lose its shape.

At the moment it only comes in black and only with the gold chain strap, I spoke to Knomo and Christiane at the launch and there is talk for more colours and just a plain leather strap, which I think will make this bag appeal to more people. I have even tried to make mine more my own by accessorising it with my monogrammed tags that I bought in New York from Kate Spade Saturday, I just think they add something personal to this bag that makes it even more special, especially because I use it all the time.

I have to be honest, I love black, I wear black a lot, but I think I would like this beauty to be available in all the colours of the rainbow!!!

What are your thoughts on wearable tech?

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**I was gifted the Knomo Elektronista Clutch but as always my opinions are my own**

Jan 21 2015

Instagram: 6 Fashion Illustrators To Follow

PaperFashionInstagram is more than just a photo-sharing social site, it has become a hotbed for inspiration, whether its fashion, interiors, food or beauty it is full of creative images, and lately I have been obsessed with adding fashion illustrators to my feed in the hope that their immense skill will rub off on me!!!

So, because I am obsessed I thought I would share the love and introduce my favourite 6 fashion illustrators I love following on Instagram, so you too can go ahead and fall in love with their work like me. Just click on their sketches to be taken straight to their Instagram. PaperFashion-1

@PaperFashion

New York-based Katie Rodgers is one of the most romantic illustrators with a love of high fashion ballgowns that she paints rather than draws and adorns with sequins, beads, and glitter. I really love it when she recreates red carpet looks.

megan-hess@MeganHess_Official

I first discovered Megan after I bought one of her illustrated notebooks, which led me to stalking her on Instagram, as her high fashion sketches for the likes of Dior, Chanel and Cartier are uber-glam and so, so pretty and feminine. I think out of all the illustrators Megan is who I would love to come and graffiti my home.

sofies-2@Sofies_illustrations

Sofie is a 25-year-old illustrator from Copenhagen and I adore her haute couture illustrations. Her style is sexy and sassy and in my opinion mini works of art – I would love to print all her Instagram pics out for my wall.

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@Lenaker

This Russian fashion illustrators takes inspiration from pop culture in her sketches from Rita Ora to Moschino’s Barbie collection, and I love it when she does videos showing her drawing in action.

fallintolondon@FallInToLondon

Eleni is a wonderful artist and I am so lucky to say that I have a personalised sketch of myself from her on my wall. Her illustrations are just sweet, romantic and ultra-glam. I love her portrait work but it has to be her town scenes and cherry blossoms that make me gush every time I see them.

clym

@Clymdraws

Clym is one of my favourite London-based illustrators, I love seeing him around fashion events sketching away, just watching him is so much fun as the speed in which he captures a runway look is so impressive. Lately he has been sketching menswear fashion, but he has also worked for Harrods, Charlotte Olympia, and for the Royal Opera House. I love his work.

Do you have any fashion illustrators that you can recommend to follow on Instagram? Also don’t forget to follow me @fashionistabarbie.

[Pics: via Instagram]

Jan 20 2015

Obsessions: My Need For Designer Stationery

designer-stationery-1I’ve spoken about my addiction to stationery before, I have a love for buying notepads, pens, pencils, cute erasers, and even colourful paper-clips, most of which I find too cute to even use, but lately I think I have been hitting new heights with my latest purchases that I just had to have, designer pieces of stationery.

First up, Kate Spade New York, literally the mecca for the cutest pieces that you didn’t even know you wanted, from bow-shaped push pins to micro-skinny pencils, and even a rotating phrase stamp to graffiti every piece of paper in sight, all of which are currently on my very long wish list. I added to my collection in New York these cool pens with phrases like ‘What’s the Word’ and ‘From the Desk of’, as well as these bookend notepads. The reason why, because they were so adorable I couldn’t possible leave them behind!!!

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Another favourite has to be the Christian Lacroix Papier, which I can’t help myself when I pass by Liberty’s or browsing on Amara. I love the fashion illustration collections the best and I now have a number of his notebooks as well as a cute note card set that I said was to write to friends but I haven’t quite brought myself to use them, I was thinking instead that they would make great additions to my fashion illustration wall.

For posh notepads with a touch of personality there is only one place to go Aspinal of London, I love their refillable journals with the dreamiest of leather covers, and don’t forget to get it personalised – trust me it is worth it. I have a number of them with my initials on and I love them.

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After something fun then you have to check out the Archie Grand range with their witty statements on the front, like ‘Designers I Met And Liked’ and ‘Accessories I Had And Liked’. I find these make the perfect gifts as well as day-to-day pads.

A new favourite has to be Rob Ryan’s collection of notepads, I love his intricate and whimsical artwork and it really does lend itself perfectly for gorgeous stationery that will brighten up any desk. My favourite has to be the bright pink ‘I am the notepad of’ featuring inspirational quotes on the front cover.

Other brands I’ve added to my stationery collection recently and I think you should too, yep that’s right I am enabling so I’m not the only stationery addict are: Sloane Stationery, they kind of mix the best of Aspinal of London with Archie Grand, Cath Kidston, always good for a fun notepad or pen, and Nuuna who do a great selection of handbag sized notepads, I am currently scribbling in their ‘I’d Rather be at the Beach’ notebook, well one can dream while jotting their to-do list.

Do you buy stationery just to look at or is that just me?

For more of my designer stationery selections – scroll through my picks below:

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