Tag Archive: London

May 09 2013

To Do In London: Afternoon Tea At The Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge

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I think I am going to make it my goal to go round all the fancy hotels in London and try out their afternoon teas, I just love all the delicate cakes, the gorgeous scones and the cute little sandwiches, if I could eat it every day I think I would. So when the Millennium Hotel invited me to try out their new menu I jumped at the chance, especially as I would be munching my through the menu with some of my blogger pals.

When considering afternoon tea options location is nearly as important as the food itself, the Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge is perfectly situated down the road from Harvey Nichols on Sloane Street and just round the corner from Harrods, and what’s better than a spot of tea after a day of shopping.

Unlike a lot of other afternoon teas I have experienced in London this was more relaxed, I am not sure whether that was because I was surround by friends, or the Tangerine Cafe Bar, which has a modern decor with lounging comfortable chairs. However, as it is attached to a bar be aware that hotel guests might be watching football, which is what was on the large TV while I was there.

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The menu itself was very traditional, a tray of sandwiches containing egg mayonnaise, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and ham and pickle, as someone who doesn’t like salmon or ham I was a little limited, however the egg one was pretty tasty. A tray of scones, a selection of incredible crafted cream cakes, and all washed down with traditional English Breakfast tea.

Once the sandwiches are all gone then you can move up the tiers, well that is what the etiquette coach at the event instructed, my opinion is eat what you like, when you like, afternoon tea is however you like it.

The scones, which come in plain and raisin varieties, with the occasional chocolate chip were delicious, the only thing I could add is that they need to provide more clotted cream and jam, I do like to pile mine high. Though to be honest the middle tray, which is always my favourite, did make up for the lack of cream with its exquisite chocolate feast of a chocolate éclair, a profiterole, a chocolate and cream sponge cake and a chocolate cup filled with mousse. A selection that could be a little too chocolatey for some, I on the other hand love chocolate so really enjoyed it.

Overall I did enjoy my afternoon tea, which was a little strange to be eating at 8pm, and for the price only £20 per person **until the end of May 2013** it is certainly value for money, it just didn’t have the excitement of The Sanderson or the variety of The Berkeley, and sadly no one does traditional afternoon tea quite like The Wolseley. However, if you are planning a Knightsbridge shopping trip it is a great alternative to Harrods or Harvey Nichols.

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**Thanks to the Millennium Hotel in Knightsbridge for inviting me and for Sherin, AshantiLucyNathalieKate, and Faye for being such great company.**

Mar 27 2013

To Do This Easter: The Lindt Big Egg Hunt

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Last month when walking through Covent Garden one morning I stumbled upon rows and rows of giant Easter eggs and I couldn’t resist snapping piccies of my favourites.

Much like the painted cows, the elephant parade and the funky telephone boxes that have graced London over the years, this Lindt Big Egg Hunt is not only showcasing some amazing pieces of work but is also in aid of charity, Action for Children, as once the egg hunt is complete the eggs go up for auction.

There are over a hundred eggs dotted around Covent Garden, each with a different design ranging from Humpty Dumpty to Peter Rabbit, Dora the Explorer, a few dedicated to the Beatles, and there is one covered in foil an ode to the classic Easter egg!!!

My favourite though has to be the ‘Crush’ by Annie Kevans featuring portraits of Britney Spears, Brooke Shields, and Michael Jackson. I love Britney’s Disney ears.

The eggs will be on display until April 7 and there is even a giant Lindt bunny.

Happy egg hunting!!!

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Mar 10 2013

Sunday Fun: Columbia Road Flower Market

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An area of London that I have only recently over the past year or so really started to appreciate has to be East London – the Shoreditch, Spitalfields, and Brick Lane area, I think it is because I have had more time to wander, take in the cute shops, snap pictures of the incredible architecture and street art, and mainly because I have such great friends who rave about the area.

While my mum was down I really wanted to check out the Columbia Road Flower Market that takes place every Sunday, I have seen the flower market used for many a style post location, well why not a floral backdrop is pretty, and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about and see all the pretty flowers.

I love flowers, I love arranging them in all my pretty vases, I love giving a great bouquet they always make friends and family smile, and I just love looking at them – whether that is in a garden, a book, or on a flower market and I just adored the eclectic mix of flowers and people at the Columbia Road flower market.

Luckily my mum and I went last week, when it was fairly mild, sunny and definitely not snowing like today, and I think the sun shining even if a little cold makes the flower market a more pleasant experience, if not a little/a lot busier.columbia road flower 6 Sunday Fun: Columbia Road Flower Market %tag columbia road flower 5 Sunday Fun: Columbia Road Flower Market %tag

The market is open from 8am until 3ish, we got there around 11am and it was busy, but if you are after a bargain or two I would suggest heading over around 2pm as the traders drop their prices and you can pick up some gorgeous flowers. The market basically has everything you could want from bucketfuls of tulips in every colour imaginable to roses and daffodils, to tropical flowers and even mini trees, shrubs, herbs and bedding plants. I basically wanted to leave with a truck load full!!!

As well as the sweet-scented market there are also a host of independent shops, galleries and vintage shops on Columbia Road alongside the market as well as on the surrounding streets – think pottery, incredible artworks, vintage clothes, jewellery, as well as a retro sweet shop called ‘Suck and Chew’ I am still working my way through my alphabet sweets.

The only thing that I wasn’t thrilled with was the lack of cafes, the ones there are tiny, were packed and I like to sit and enjoy my cup of tea – but trust me this is the tiniest of gripes. If you love flowers, have always dreamed of being a flower arranger like me, just for the inspiration you will love this market.

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The other thing I love about East London has to be the street art, there are so many talented artists that really do make the streets vibrant. I instagram a lot of pieces, so if you love street art as much as I do make sure you follow me on there – but here are a few of my favourites near Columbia Road flower market.street art east london Sunday Fun: Columbia Road Flower Market %tag street art london Sunday Fun: Columbia Road Flower Market %tag street art london  Sunday Fun: Columbia Road Flower Market %tagstreet art london dove Sunday Fun: Columbia Road Flower Market %tag**All pictures taken by me, Fashionista Barbie**

 

Mar 08 2013

Inside ‘& Other Stories’ In London

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So after six months of anticipation speculation, a little confusion, and plenty of hype from the fashion crowd, H&M’s new high-end label, & Other Stories, finally launches in London today and last night I went to the preview, checked out the collections, picked up a few treats and generally became a fan in a matter of minutes.

Before I arrived I have to be honest I wasn’t sure what to expect, I know there have been a few teasers, but really what did they tell us other than it was quite similar to COS, I pondered the price ranges, which are closer to COS than H&M, and I was even asking myself whether the high street needed another H&M/COS spin-off. Basically, a lot of my hesitation about the brand had to be the name – why ‘& Other Stories’, which for some reason I have a hard time saying it always comes out ‘another stories’ or ‘other stores’ – it just didn’t have a fashion feel about it.

Last night all those hesitations totally went out of the window, H&M can call their stores whatever they want especially when they make make them like this. For me ‘& Other Stories’, which is being billed as a ‘one stop shop’ is more than just clothes, which to be honest wasn’t the main focus when I was looking around, this store is about all the added extras that make up a great look – the bits I love, the handbags, the jewellery, the incredible shoes, and I literally fell in love with the beauty emporium – more than 40 nail varnish colours, gorgeous skincare, cute make-up palettes and a body and bath range that I can’t wait to try.

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As with the branding and the minimalistic approach to the marketing the store itself has a striped back industrial feel that I am calling warehouse chic. I loved the bare floors, the exposed walls, the white finishes, the scaffolding staircase, and the incredible lighting rigs acting as spotlights – as well as the graph paper lined counters, the glass cases and the mannequins.

But what caught my eye walking around were all the postcards featuring the products styled up – it was like one of my favourite fashion magazines had done a shoot with all my favourite pieces. They not only showcased the items in a different light, they inspired me to want to wear something news, and they highlighted the added extras – which for me is the pull of this new store.

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Jewellery & Accessories:

As ‘& Other Stories’ is anchored around personal style rather than trends the jewellery and accessories really do have a prominent position in the store, which for me is amazing as I hate having to find the darkened corner to pick a new sparkle to jazz up an old look. From industrial heavy necklaces to dainty rings and adorable bow cuffs, having the jewellery and accessories dotted around the store mixed in with the ready-to-wear pieces really does help build an outfit.

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Handbags:

As you know I love a good handbag but I find the high street lacks in the quality department, I am drawn to a number of designs in Topshop and Zara but the quality just isn’t up to the standards of my designer varieties, well I think ‘& Other Stories’ is going to become known for the place to buy a leather handbag that is made well, looks different, I loved all the scalloped edging, and is affordable. Bags I loved last night ranged from £55 to £195 – all leather, all beautiful, and all guaranteed to hurt my credit card!!!

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Co-Lab:

So H&M has become known for their designer collaborations with the likes of Versace, Karl Lagerfeld and Stella McCartney, well ‘& Other Stories’ have decided to collaborate with a range of up-and-coming designers to enhance its own brand pieces. You have a gorgeous collection of leather embossed handbags designed by Los Angeles-based designer Clare Vivier (pictured above), I am in love with her yellow cross-body bag, super chic transparent brogues from Abigail Lorick Im, and incredible sexy lingerie from The Lake and Stars.

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Another hot draw to ‘& Other Stories’ is going to be the footwear department on the second floor, filled with edgy sculptural pieces, black mules with chunky heels, vibrant flats, and to-die for wedges and ankle boots. There was so much to choose from – but these were my favourites – I need these bright wedges in my life for summer!!!

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Beauty:

Finally but certainly not least is the beauty department and probably one of my favourite aspects of this new store. It is unusual for a high street brand to place so much on the beauty but ‘& Other Stories’ have put together a beauty section to rival any department store. Centred around the philosophy that ‘every look starts with a healthy skin’ this section has everything you could need make-up, skincare, bath and body products, brushes, nail varnishes, the list is endless and all products are presented in minimal packaging that is just divine.

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Sorry for such a long post but as you can see there is lots to see in the store and if you are interesting in seeing more of the collections head on over to my Facebook page as there are over 100 piccies from last night’s event. Plus head back over the weekend as I will be doing a more detailed review of the beauty offering which I can’t stop gushing about!!!

If you are in London head on over to the store on Regents Street – and don’t forget to let me know what you think of the new brand from H&M.andotherstories 51 Inside & Other Stories In London %tag andotherstories 39 Inside & Other Stories In London %tag andotherstories 50 Inside & Other Stories In London %tag andotherstories 128 Inside & Other Stories In London %tag

**All pictures taken by me, Fashionista Barbie**

 

Mar 07 2013

To Do In London: Sanderson London’s Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea

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My Mum and I have been to many afternoon teas over the years, most of which have been quite traditional – finger sandwiches, scones, clotted cream and a few cakes, well as an early Mother’s Day treat while my Mum was visiting I thought why not try something a little different and that is when I came across the Sanderson London’s charming Mad Hatter Tea.

The beauty about this themed afternoon tea is that it mixes the traditional with the surreal of Alice in Wonderland in perfect measures. You still get the scones, which I kind of missed from the Prêt-à-Portea At The Berkeley, granted not quite traditional, as they change daily when we went it was a chocolate scone and a cheese scone, both delicious. You also still get the sandwiches, rolled instead of fingers, but spinach and lemon breads made them incredible and the rainbow colour palette totally worked with the theme. Plus you can still choose a traditional tea, which is made magical by the addition of a paper crown to the gorgeous Luna & Curious tea set.

The magic of this afternoon tea is in the details and most certainly the sweet treats – there is the ‘tick tock’ Victoria sponge clock, strawberries and cream marshmallow mushrooms, an incredible chocolate tea cup filled with green tea mousse, as well as adorable carrot meringues served on a bed of pea shoots and the divine ‘Drink Me’ elixir, made from layers of passion fruit that you slurp out of an apothecary bottle, which is hard not to do without making a noise!!!

The Mad Hatter’s tea party doesn’t stop there as what would a tea party be without jelly, which is exactly what the Sanderson also thought as well as they have a ‘Jelly Wonderland’ where you are greeted with very unusual jellies made in Victorian jelly moulds, and if you think I am exaggerating one of them was made of lavender.

For two hours we sat, giggled, oohed at the goodies, snapped away at all the cute touches like the sandwich plates featuring zebras and birdcages, the vintage book menu, and the music box holding the sugar cubes, and I even forgot that we were sat outside, granted with heaters, but still outside, I really don’t have anything negative to say about the whole experience.

It was enjoyable, delicious, and left me wanting to do it all over again!!!

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Mad Hatter’s Tea is daily from 11am – 5.30pm and costs from £35 per person. I would recommend booking and if you want to check out the menu click here.

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Feb 15 2013

Party: Cambridge Satchel Company’s London Store

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On Wednesday night I went to a party that was fun, chic and uber-friendly, which I find is becoming a rarity and it was all down to the amazing Cambridge Satchel Company who were celebrating their debut store in Covent Garden.

Located in the cool Seven Dials area, on Short Gardens, I do love wandering through this area at the boutique sized stores, and this gorgeous handbag brand is the perfect addition. The store itself is incredible, it literally has ever colour imaginable on display from wintry Ox Blood, which apparently is one of the best sellers, to vibrant neon shades for summer and girlie pastel colours, that I adore and basically every colour of the rainbow and it was heavenly.

As well as gushing over which colour I wanted to buy next, I already have a neon pink and a pastel pink version, the store also launched its ‘Bloggers Lounge’, which the brand has done as a thank you to the bloggers who catapulted the brand to the dizzy heights we see now – how nice is that. So bloggers will be able to connect to the WiFi, grab a cuppa, and even borrow a bag – I have my eye on a cobalt blue one – basically a place for bloggers to hangout.

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As well as great company, music from DJs including Sophie Ellis Bextor, one of the best bits other than the incredible chocolates, the chunks of cheese, and the bubble had to be these cute Cambridge Satchel shaped jellies – too cute to eat – my favourite was the glittery version.

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If you haven’t got a Cambridge Satchel yet, why not, but want to check them out in person than buy them online, now you can – head on down to the friendly shop in Covent Garden and let me know which colour you buy!!!

 

Feb 04 2013

To Do In London: Prêt-à-Portea At The Berkeley

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I love afternoon tea, the cute sandwiches, the adorable cakes, and I am a sucker for gorgeous bone china tea cups, so when Stylight *a new fashion community that you need to check out* asked me to join them and a few bloggers at The Berkeley I couldn’t say no.

Nearly all the major hotels in London offer afternoon tea but The Berkeley have combined my two loves fashion and cake with their Fashionista’s Prêt-à-Portea, which puts a new twist on the traditional English afternoon tea. So out with the scones and clotted cream, which I have to admit I missed a little, and in with cakes and biscuits that resemble catwalk designs from the likes of Marc Jacobs, DvF, Prada, Burberry Prorsum and Giambattista Valli.

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One of the most impressive cakes had to be the Yves Saint Laurent ‘Cabas Chyc’ crafted into a green Victoria sponge cake handbag, which looked as good as it tasted. Then there was the Burberry Prorsum layered praline and chocolate mousse trench coat teamed with a violet umbrella, just don’t each the stick, and the delicious Giambattista Valli red macaroon, which had a cute rose on the top. I just wish I could make cakes like this!!!

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If the cakes weren’t enough I fell in love with the Paul Smith tea set featuring a gold trim and his signature stripes, I would love to add this to my collection. Plus this hotel has one great florist, the foyer was decked out in gorgeous orange and pink dipped roses, which looked perfect against the backdrop of the fire place. This is a hotel I would love to stay at for a stay-cation.

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Do you love afternoon tea? If you’ve enjoyed a good one recently share with me below as I am always looking for new places to eat cakes and sip tea!

 
Prêt-à-Portea at The Berkeley is served everyday from 1pm – 5.30pm, prices start from £39 per person.
 
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