Jewellers en Residence….. launch party for the new Liberty Jewellery Emporium

The iconic department store Liberty has this evening opened their new jewellery showcase, “Jewellers en Residence”, and with a glass of Champagne in hand, I have been having a snoop about…..

I have (unsurprisingly, as an aspiring designer) long since suffered a self-confessed addiction for the jewellery room at Liberty. In fact the whole building is somewhat of a Mecca for me, with its perfect blend of on-trend spectacle and classic luxury. Nestled between the desperately dangerous stationery room and the awe inspiring handbag department, it’s hard for a girl with magpie-like tendencies to pass without popping in.

The showcase is a four day event, designed to celebrate the launch of the new Jewellery Emporium. There are exclusives, new collection launches, designer appearances and over 4,000 treasures on show! This evening, Carol Woolton, Jewellery Editor for Vogue, was there to open the event and offer some personal styling advice to us. Following that, there is a packed four-day schedule of over 30 events, including complimentary engraving with the purchase of Monica Vinader pieces, personal gemstone colour consultation at the Pomellato counter, and the chance to make bespoke vintage charm necklaces with Lulu Frost founder Lisa Salzer.

Me being me though, I couldn’t help but pick out some favourites…..

I’ve been admiring Aninna Vogel‘s collections for the longest time. Of all the jewellery in that room, hers is the display cabinet I’d want to walk out with in full. As part of the event, little biography cards had been put out, telling us about the designers, and it was Vogel’s that I most remember….. she’s been collecting vintage charms since she was a little girl, and her collection at Liberty celebrates all that is nostalgic and collectable. Her display cabinets are bursting like little Aladdin’s caves, brimming with vintage treasures that have been transformed into new and wearable statement pieces. Every piece is unique, and part of their incredible charm is knowing that they have a story. I would kill for a stack of her charms on a long chain, or for one of the beautiful necklaces or rings cleverly made from antique brooches! (Anyone fancying buying me a pressie should consider this amazing necklace made from a Victorian brooch…. it’s a Lily of the Valley, which is my favourite flower, and is only £250!)

Another faithful favourite is Kojis, who also specialise in antique statement jewellery. Their collection tempts with “a mixture of fine antique and eclectic pieces, from Classical Antiquity through the Golden Age of European luxury of the 18th and 19th centuries, to contemporary classics.”  Since it opened in the 1980s, Kojis has sought after, curated and sold some of the finest pieces of jewellery available, and always with an eclectic but classic eye. There are always several pieces I “need” when I pop in…. like this incredible spider web brooch…. it’s £5,500.

Newer to me though is Annoushka‘s remarkable work. Since early last year though I’ve been coveting her inspired, magical treasures. Everything is so wonderfully eclectic, and the display cabinets look rather like a particularly good personal collection from someone’s travels. The Fantasy range is especially amazing…. I love the clashing colours, over-sized features, and, well the fantasy element. This one is definitely in my list of wants…. it’s the ‘Fantasy Jungle Jumble Ring‘ and it’s £12,000.

The event runs right through into Saturday, with lots going on in store…. there’s a full list here.

Enjoy! (And good luck to those as easily tempted as me!)

Ems x

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Hitchcock’s Blackmail screening at the British Museum

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As part of the BFI‘s ‘The Genius of Hitchcock’ (which is in turn part of the London 2012 Festival), we went on Friday night to see Blackmail…..at the British Museum, no less!

We are members of the museum and so received an email ages ago to give us a heads up that it was going on. I’m so glad we did, as it was a one off gala screening and rather a ‘once in a lifetime’ sort of thing. The film was to be shown in the open air, right in front of the museum, which had been chosen because it so heavily features in the film…. So we arrived to the museum well prepared for an evening outdoors, and settled down onto the grass on and under several layers of blankets, and with some very welcome cushions!

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Blackmail is one of the Hitchcock films that the BFI has been working hard to restore. He actually made two versions of the same film, with almost the same cast and crew….one as a silent film and the other as Britain’s first ‘talkie’. The film started as a silent film, and indeed the director was said to prefer this format, which is why I was so pleased to see the silent version.

The soundtrack was provided by a live orchestra, performing Neil Brand’s specially commissioned score, and I have to say this was a real highlight for me. The music was fantastic in its own right, but moreover provided the perfect backing to the action and was certainly responsible for aiding the suspense and making me jump!

The film itself really is a masterpiece. The story of a young policeman, whose bored fiancee bites off more than she can chew when she is enticed up to an opposing suitor’s studio, I found myself compelled by the story from very early on. The film portrays a rather realistic and grimy London, although there was such excitement when the chase scene culminated right at the British Museum….. It was wonderful to se it as it was, and to recognise rooms featured in the villain’s desperate escape attempt.

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I left wowed by the brilliance of Hitchcock, and this wonderful film……and instantly wanted to see more silent films, as well as North by Northwest (my favourite Hitchcock film).

You have another chance to see Blackmail, both the silent and talkie versions, at the BFI in August….you can still get tickets here.

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Trying out the Lomography LC-Wide at the LoBlography Event

A couple of Saturdays ago I took part in the ‘LoBlography’ workshop, at the Lomography Soho HQ. Designed to inspire bloggers and introduce analogue photography to those who hadn’t tried it, it was a super event and I enjoyed the chance to try out a new camera.

I’ve been intrigued by the little LC-A cameras for a while, as they are so compact and give great results even in conditions I know other analogue cameras struggle with. It’s much more expensive than the likes of the Holga and Diana, at around £250 so I was glad of the chance to try it out before potentially investing.

I was lucky enough to baggsy the LC-Wide which features an even more impressive lens and the ability to half close the shutter to play around with multiple exposures. It was a little tricky to get used to how it works, being so used to the Diana which is a lot more low-tech, but with a whole film to play about with for an hour, I started to get the hang of it….. Still, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the developed photos, but here they now anyway…..
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I am quite pleased with them…. at least they all came out, despite the dull grey day and lack of natural light. And I really like some of the double exposed ones. The colours are great in all of them though I think, and where I’ve got the focus right (not that often!) they are nice and clear too. I did miss some of the fun of snapping with my Diana, but I do think the LC-A is more user friendly and quicker to pick up, mainly because of how it deals with low light and because it won’t let you forget to wind on!

There are more here on my Flickr page  too, as well as some other sets from the films I took in to be processed that day….. I’m rather chuffed with some of the shots I took with my Diana in Paris.

Ems x

 

Something from the weekend…. Mainly Shopping….

So last week I posted some ideas for shopping at the weekend, and so it would have seemed rude not to have spent at least *some* of my weekend shopping too. And so it was that I filled the weekend, mooching about various stalls and windows, as well as some lazing about too of course…..

On Friday night I made my Biryani dish again…. I added a little tumeric and fresh chilli this time and it was lovely. We spent the rest of the evening watching True Blood (now on Season 2) and sorting the stamps I bought in bulk to make things with. Rock and Roll Friday night!

Saturday started with a breakfast of waffles, banana and maple syrup, before I had a pleasant stroll to Bethnal Green. York Hall was hosting the first London A Most Curious Wedding Fair, and I met up with my dear friend (and Bride To Be), Siobhan, to have a snoop about. The hall is really quite charming, and a great wedding venue in itself. There were some great suppliers there too…. I met a couple I know I will want to use. Having seen everything, we took our ease at the tea shop, which was hosted by A Most Curious too, and we drank lovely tea from mis-matched vintage china.

York Hall for the Most Curious Wedding Fair

A friend we met on Bethnal Green Road

About in Shoreditch

About in Shoreditch

Onward from there, we made our way down Bethnal Green Road to Old Spitalfields for their monthly antique and flea market, where we met Adam too. There were some fabulous stalls, and lots that caught our eye. We were ready for another cup of tea by the time we’d made it all the way round, and so Adam took us for a sit down and cuppa at the lovely Bishopsgate Institute.

Old Spitalfields Antique and Flea Market

The Bride To Be

Tea at the Bishopsgate Institute

From there, we walked Siobhan to the station and decided to pop into the Andaz for the Girl.Stole.Vintage fair….. realising as we came up to the foyer that it was nearly 5pm and so we’d missed it all! So it was a quick stop off at Boots for supplies before heading home for another much needed cup of tea.

For dinner, we’d finally gotten round to booking a table at Rosemary Lane, the curious little restaurant just a couple of minutes walk from us. We really have been meaning to go for ages, but the excuse of Adam’s new job meant we had something to celebrate and a reminder to go. And I’m so glad we finally did. The food and service were incredibly impressive, and my starter for one was absolutely exceptional. The experience was too good to get swallowed up by my whole weekend chatting here, so I’ll be writing about it in a separate post soon (watch this space). In the mean time, here is what I ate….

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Pea, Mint and Spring Onion Flan

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Amuse Bouche of Mango, Ginger and Orange

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Rich Lobster Bouillabaisse, White Wine and Chervil

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Hot Chocolate Fondant with Caramel Centre and Orange Ice Cream

Having thought we’d be home by about 9pm, we actually didn’t get back until more like 10:30 (bearing in mind our travel time was just minutes and our table was booked for 7pm)….. it really was brilliant just to spend a whole evening over a luxurious and relaxed dinner though, so I didn’t at all begrudge the time. Still, despite our finishing our wonderful meal with a black coffee, we were pretty ready for bed by the time we got back, and so it was straight into jammies and our books to finish off a great day.

Sunday saw a lovely lie in (well, I’d walked about a lot on the Saturday). I’ve been hankering after some spicy Deep South style food ever since we started watching True Blood, so we sat in bed flicking through Jamie’s America recipe book, planning dinner. We finally whittled it down to four dishes (which I’ll make over the whole week to get the craving out of my system) and so once we’d added the ingredients to our shopping list, we headed out for breakfast. We’ve not been to our local cafe at all this year, in fact not since the very start of December. So we didn’t feel too naughty scoffing our big fry-ups. Poppies Diner is just as close as Rosemary Lane, and an awesome find. The menu is very much traditional greasy spoon, but the whole place has been decked out in Hollywood ephemera and 1950s american diner touches. The food is great, and the tea excellent (loose leaf no less), but I don’t suppose it would do to make too much of a habit of this for breakfasts.

Next was the weekly shop to Waitrose…. and it is certainly true that it’s better to shop if you’ve just eaten lots…. we came out without all the little naughty additions we usually do and settled for a pot of tea when we got home. We completed the cross word as usual over our tea, and then settled on the sofa with our books for the afternoon.

Before long though it was time to start preparing dinner…. we’d opted for the Cajun Alligator with Sweet Potato and Salsa (although we’d bought some lovely pork loin in lieu of the alligator). We started by marinating the meat and leaving that for a few hours, before roasting our potatoes (with skin on, like jacket potatoes) and making the salsa. It’s one of the simpler and quicker meals we’ve tried from the book, and so in no time we were yumming up the amazing dish, along with a nice cold beer.

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Home made salsa with green tomatoes, spring onion, parsley and cider vinegar

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Cajun Alligator with Sweet Potato and Salsa

After that, it was time for a film….. I’ve been super keen to get Troll Hunter on Blu-ray after we saw it at the cinema and was aching to watch it again. So, we snuggled up on the sofa and ended the night shouting Trooooolllllll (if you haven’t seen it you really must) before cosying up in bed with books and Horlicks. Lush.

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Troooooolllllll!!!!

Something from the weekend….. back oop North: a visit to Leeds

Did you have a good weekend? I certainly did! I was so busy yesterday though that I couldn’t share it on the Monday as usual…. I couldn’t wait to put my weekend purchases to use (more revealed later!).

On Thursday morning (starting the weekend early as ever), we packed ourselves some cheese sandwiches and a flask of coffee, and made our way to Kings Cross for another trip up North. Adam’s brother and sister in law live in Leeds with two wonderful dogs, so we were looking forward to a visit, and seeing some friends up there too.

Out walking the dogs, view from our window, snuggling up with the dogs

As soon as we arrived at the house, it was straight outdoors for a walk with the dogs….. we had left behind a foggy, grey London, so it was a delight to get outside into the countryside, under a much bluer sky. On our return, it was time for tea, and we began our weekend of gluttony with scones (with jam and clotted cream of course) and smoothies (to try to be healthy). We mooched about for the afternoon, chatting, putting the world to rights etc. until a supper of garlic and chilli pasta (I must get the recipe) followed by a film.

I’m not sure how we missed Warrior at the cinema (anything with Tom Hardy is usually prioritised), but I’m so pleased to have finally seen it. When I was asked if I’d like to watch a film about cage fighting, I really wasn’t sure what to expect, but as one would hope, this film has much more to it. Telling the story of two estranged brothers, and how they transpired to enter the same cage fighting tournament, it’s impossible not to grow fond of several of the characters…… By the time of the big fights at the end of the film, I was really rooting for them. The fighting itself is pretty compelling too, and I have to say I came away thinking I really must go and see some in real life! (I believe they often have events like that at the Troxy so will be keeping an eye out!)

Smoothie, Scones, Pancakes

After a breakfast of scrambled eggs, and another walk with the dogs, Friday morning saw us walking into nearby Farsley for a few errands. As we arrived to the bottom of the high street, we were enchanted to see the old fashioned grocers and DIY shop, and as we walked up the high street to the little Post Office, I was very taken in by this charming, Yorkshire village. Having posted my parcel (another order from my Folksy shop), we took a look into a little haberdashers I’d had recommended, R.L. and C.M. Bond Ltd. I was immediately blown away by the walls upon walls of buttons and ribbons, and soon began rooting through the little baskets of vintage haberdashery. I came away rather poorer in purse, although very much richer in buttons! I couldn’t wait to turn them into new treasures, on rings, cufflinks, bracelets etc….. and so that’s what I did for most of yesterday!

Farsley High Street, R.L. & C.M. Bond Haberdashers

We made our way into town on Friday evening, to meet dear friends Craig and Sheli. It was Sheli’s birthday yesterday, so we celebrated with dinner at Little Tokyo. We’ve all been meaning to go for a while, and it was certainly worth the wait. We started with cocktails in the little bar area upstairs, next to the cute koi pond…. Sheli had their Apple Mojo, Adam sampled the Blackberry Martini, and I went for a twist on my old favourite, their Bloody Geisha. I was pleasantly surprised to find I could really taste the wasabi used in place of Tabasco, without it being dreadfully hot…. in fact I really enjoyed this version so may well try it at home!

Little Tokyo, Bloody Geisha Cocktail

Next, we were lead downstairs to a beautiful dining area with chunky wooden tables and sunken seating. Adam and I shared a starter of perfect vegetable tempura, before our Bento box mains (Adam and I went for the tofu steak, Sheli the chicken teriyaki, and Craig the chicken katsu) all of which came with yummy rice, ginger-dressed salad and more of the wonderful tempura. Ours were about £12, and I can certainly vouch for their value….we were totally stuffed with the delicious meal and struggled to quite finish!

Tofu Bento Box, Little Tokyo, Vegetable Tempura

And we really would have left it there, had we not been presented with such alluring dessert menus….. (Japanese fortune cookies with sesame and coconut….. green tea ice cream….. ginger cheesecake with cointreau sorbet….. coconut ice cream….. lychee ice cream…..) but we really couldn’t turn down such wonderful sounding dishes, despite our groaning tummies. Sheli had a lovely strawberry sorbet, which came served in a bowl made from ice, in which were slices of kiwi and rose petals (will be copying that idea!)…. Craig went for the amazing ‘crispy parcels’ which are essentially marshmallow spring rolls (utterly incredible!)…. and Adam and I shared the delicious Japanese style profiteroles, which are filled with ice cream and topped with a yummy sweet seaweed and sesame sauce. We could not have been much more impressed…. I was particularly pleased to see Adam had enjoyed the meal, having spent time in Japan and struggling to find a good authentic Japanese restaurant in England.

Japanese Profiteroles, Strawberry Sorbet, Marshmallow Spring Rolls

The gluttony didn’t stop there though, as we breakfasted on pancakes with maple syrup on Saturday morning, before heading out to explore a newly opened exhibition at the University of Leeds. ‘Marks in Time’ opened on the Friday at the Marks and Spencer Company Archive, and is a permanent exhibition featuring just some of the amazing collection there. To celebrate the 100th birthday of Marks & Spencer in 1984, they began to collect together hundreds of historical items from all over the Company and created the M&S Company Archive. A dedicated team at the site has put together and catalogued more than 70,000 items from the last 128 years, charting the iconic brand’s history.

Starting with the company’s early years, large glass cabinets displayed cards of buttons, pretty tea cups, clocks and household necessities….. it wasn’t until the 1920s cabinet that clothing began to appear. The exhibition is a real reflection on fashion history though, as well as social history, charting trends throughout rationing, post-war optimism, and developments in food technology. True innovators, the display explains how M&S became the first store to sell fresh chicken using their ‘cold-chain’ method, and began to stock innovative new products such as Terylene and the chicken kiev!

It’s not a huge exhibition, but it is well curated and interesting, and with hands-on displays, dressing up and even a colouring in table, I’d say it’s well worth a look-in if you’re nearby. And it’s free to get in.

Next, we ventured back into town, and decided to investigate the Silver 70s exhibition at Leeds City Museum. Running until Sunday 22nd April, the free exhibition celebrates a highly eventful decade, inviting visitors to explore a house in 1970s Leeds. Filled with typically colourful and garish wallpaper and fashions, the exhibition features some very recognisable and much loved (by me at least) home wares, books and toys….. in each room I spotted memories in the form of Sooty puppets, a copy of Tufty, Fisher Price pull-along dogs, pastel coloured Tupperware (that my Mum still has!), stainless steel tea sets and that big plastic tree house toy that I think we had at nursery school.

Having been born in the 80s I was surprised to see so many things I recognised, but then I suppose things didn’t move quite so fast then….. and I’m not ashamed either, to say that I truly enjoyed the exhibition’s soundtrack of The Carpenters, Bee Gees, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac and The Commodores. I also loved the interactive elements….. design your own outfit and wallpaper based on 1970s fashion….. digging for fruit and veg reflecting the ‘grow your own’ culture and the wonderful ‘The Good Life’ show. I also got the chance to design my own Jubilee plate, next to a cabinet filled with Silver Jubilee memorabilia….. I can’t wait to see the equivalent collections for this year’s Diamond Jubilee! I wouldn’t at all mind a home filled with the gorgeous furniture and nick-nacks we saw though, and even the lime green kitchen units! Again, well worth a visit for anyone my age and older if you’re in the area.
By that time, we needed a sit down and some sustenance. We found both in the stunning Tiled Hall which sits between the Central Library and Leeds Art Gallery. Surrounded by gorgeously ornate green tiles, grand marble columns, a barrel-vaulted mosaic ceiling and the original parquet flooring (all only recently rediscovered), we ate yummy courgette and lime cake, and Caramac ginger fudge cake, along with great coffee. You can actually hire the hall for events….which I’ve mentally noted for future!

Afterwards we wandered a little into the gallery next door (especially enjoying the excellent Stanley Spencer paintings on the staircase) before heading over to snoop about the shops in the Victorian Quarter. I love the old arcades and the pedestrianised high street, not to mention the excellent selection of shops there! The Harvey Nichols window display was as impressive as ever, but better still were the windows at Mulberry which I’m sure were designed to tell Adam to buy me one of the Alexa hand bags cunningly draped over giant ice creams. He didn’t take the hint though unfortunately!

Dolls in the window at Mary Shortle, Leeds City Museum, Window at Harvey Nichols

For dinner, it had to be a trip to Bradford for a curry. We were super impressed by the extensive vegetarian options and gorgeous dishes at Saffron Desi…. the best of which was probably Vera’s Lahore Nihari Special with lamb cooked on the bone. My Channa Paneer Biryani was delicious too, and it was refreshing to see so many options for the vegetarian biryani…. rather than just the same thing as the others with the meat taken out!

Heading home rather stuffed, we settled down to watch How To Train Your Dragon, which Adam has been going on about for ages. It didn’t disappoint, and he’s probably right that it’s one of the best non-Pixar animations of recent years.

Sweet Lassi, Lollipop reward at Saffron DEsi

It was a slightly earlier start on Sunday, so that we could eat our breakfast of pancakes before heading over to the Yorkshire Sculpture Park in good time. I’ve been wanting to go for ages, and the clear day promised some good photo time. The park is a wonderful place that “aims to challenge, inspire, inform and delight”, and is visited by some 300,000 visitors every year. Open all year round, there is really nowhere like it I know of to see amazing artwork in the open air. The grounds themselves are worth the visit, and it was lovely to wander about with the dogs (who are allowed in nearly all the outdoor spaces whilst on a lead), especially on a gorgeous spring day.

There is certainly something about seeing such stunning sculptures in the remarkable landscape too, and in the natural light. I loved finding the next piece as we explored gardens, fields and woods. My favourites included Anthony Caro’s ‘Promenade’ which appears to be watching over the beautiful and expansive lake….. Antony Gormley’s ‘One and Another’ which is a surprise find atop a huge tree trunk, rather like those hidden on top of landmarks such as The Roundhouse….. Marcia Farquhar’s beautiful, giant rocking horse, ‘The Horse Is A Noble Animal’…… and Magdalena Abakanowicz’s ‘Seated Figures’ which preside in duplicated, rusted form next to the charming Camelia House. I also enjoyed spying at the menagerie through the trees (we had to take the route adjacent to the menagerie path with the dogs) and adored the almost secret grotto, Lady Eglinton’s Well, which is carved into rocks next to the reservoir damn. A little owl sculpture which used to sit above the stone dating the well to 1685 has long gone, but the spring it was built around still creates a well in front of the grotto, which was a gift to local people.

Yorkshire Sculpture Park

As we crossed over the pretty bridge back to the car park, I was reminded of one of my interviews for my degree course, which actually took place at Bretton Hall, the house in the centre of the park. The others marvelled that I’d chosen London over this picturesque setting to go to college, and I had to rather wonder why I’d not been more tempted to spend my student days there. Still, things would have worked out rather differently I’m sure, so I’m grateful for my choice. We will certainly be visiting the sculpture park again though (which is free to enter…you just pay to park) as there is so much more to explore…. I’m hoping we can go in the summer for a whole day and take a picnic to eat on the lawn. I really can’t recommend a trip there enough.

Bretton Hall and Grounds at Yorkshire Sculpture Park

We drove home via Blacker Hall Farm Shop…. we’d foolishly hoped to have lunch in the restaurant there, forgetting that it was Mother’s Day. It was fully booked of course, but we still enjoyed pootling about the farm shop, tasting home made cakes and picking up some bits to tide us over….. including what is probably the best cheese scone I have ever tasted!

After we’d returned and packed ready to leave, we snoozed away the afternoon snuggled on the sofa with the dogs. But soon it was time to head back to the station to make our way back to London. The journey passed brilliantly fast as we watched a few episodes of my new favourite New Girl though, and before long, we were home for a much needed early night!

Ems x

P.S. My proper photos of the weekend are on my Flikr page, here…..

Sorting my growing button collection back at home

Planning for a rainy weekend……

We’re set for rain this weekend, so you’ll have to plan well and ensure you have indoor plans too! Here are some of my ideas for things to do in London and beyond……

Shopping

St David’s Day True Taste Market at the Southbank Centre

In celebration of St David’s Day, the usual food market behind the Royal Festival Hall will showcase Welsh produce including lamb, cheeses and chocolate. There will be lots of Welsh products to buy as well as cookery demos to watch from the likes of James Sommerin and Rhodri Edwards.

An exhibition

Wildlife Photographer of the Year at the Natural History Museum

I love this world-renowned annual exhibition and have been going for years. Hosting the most remarkable images of nature, wildlife and the environment inside a specially built space within the museum, I adore the mixture of rarely seen wonders of the world, alongside comical and diverting images that could well have been taken on our door step. The photographs are selected from thousands of entries all over the world, and presented beautifully on backlit screens.

I would very much advise booking online in advance and going earlier in the morning as it does get very busy.

Until 11th March

Adults £9

To drink

Town House, 31 Beauchamp Place

Whilst you’re in Knightsbridge at the Natural History Museum, visit the elegant Town House Bar. Serving a variety of cocktails and Asian Yakatori skewers over three floors, this sophisticated venue is nestled within an ivy covered Georgian house on exclusive Beauchamp Place.

A recipe

On Saturday, I’ll be sharing Adam’s Healthy (ish) Spaghetti Carbonara recipe…. so get in the eggs and bacon.

A Film

You can still catch The Artist and The Descendents at lots of cinemas, both of which I suggest you don’t miss. We’ll be off to see the well-rated The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel though…..will let you know how it is! I can’t recommend Rampart I’m afraid though, as much as I thought it was going to be brilliant. Woody Harrelson is marvellous but I’m afraid I found the film rather dragged.

Out and about in London

The Big Egg Hunt

200 eggs created by leading artists, designers, architects and jewellers (including Polly Morgan, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Bruce Oldfield, Nicky Haslam and Mat Collishaw) have been hidden all over the capital. A fundraising event for Elephant Family and Action for Children challenges the public to try spot them all, in order to win The Diamond Jubilee Egg which is valued at over £100,000……the unique piece of jewellery has been specially crafted by Faberge, and is encrusted with 60 fine gems on an 18 carat gold egg.

At the end of the hunt, all of the eggs will be gathered together to be auctioned for charity. But I have my eye on the Le Collier Plume D’Or which has been created specifically for the Fabergé Big Egg Banquet charity auction and is one of a series of unique couture egg pendants, “created by Fabergé to re-imagine and pay homage to the artistry and ingenuity of the legendary, iconic jewelled Imperial Easter Eggs, the most famous of Fabergé works of art, and a vital part of the continuing legend.”

We’re hoping to enter the photography competition once we’ve been on our hunt….. there’s a chance to win a great Sony camera and to have your photo exhibited at Somerset House as part of World Photo London.

To help you on your hunt you can find zone maps here.

And to stand a chance of winning the big egg prize you need to get hunting soon….. all text entries must be in by 3rd April.

Good luck! And have a brilliant weekend!

Ems x

Waking up to the Oscars results…… My Winners

So I know I’m hours behind really, but I’ve woken up to a Twitter feed full of Oscars news, so I’m playing catch up on all the best bits now. Although of course I was keen to hear who had won what, for me the biggest news was who *wore* what! And so here are my ‘winners’, both those on the red carpet and from the nominations…..

I love Michelle Williams’ look anyway….her cute blonde crop is lovely and I thought she was a wonderful Marilyn. Out for the Oscars in a gorgeous red Louis Vuitton gown, she’s got that peplum and cinched waist look I adore…. and that little bow brooch at her waist by Fred Leighton is adorable too…..

More red for Emma Stone…..I’d love to try this shade (hoping it goes as well with my pale skin and red hair as hers!). The huge pussy bow at her neck is wonderful too, but possibly only works because she’s so very delicate…..

Well of course I was going to love the vintage dress….especially as it’s Dior. Natalie Portman looks gorgeous in this classic outfit…love her…..

Finally, something other than red….. Penelope Cruz wins the ‘best fairytale Princess’ prize in this stunning Armani Prive gown. Imagine dancing the American Smooth in this! Magical!…..

My Red Carpet Winner has to be Rooney Mara though. Her slight frame, red lips and perfect fringe have to put one in mind of Audrey Hepburn, and aptly dressed in Givenchy (Hepburn’s favourite designer) she looks incredible. The severe up-do and eyebrows ensure her personal spin on the look though. This is the kind of dress I long to wear, but certainly don’t have the right figure for! I would love to look like this!

And so to the actual awards…..

BEST PICTURE: The Artist

Although I thought extremely highly of some of the other nominees (War Horse, The Descendants, Hugo), I was delighted to see this black and white silent film scoop the big award. I adored everything about this film, and for it to win this is a real triumph, I think….when one considers all those people who thought it was a step backwards in film making, and those who asked for their money back at the cinema because there was ‘something wrong with the sound’!!

BEST ACTOR: Jean Dujardin – The Artist

I thought George Clooney was wonderful in The Descendants, and I’d have loved Gary Oldman to have been honoured for Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but again, I was so delighted to see an actor like this given such a prestigious award. Truth be told though, I really rather think Uggie should have won.

BEST ACTRESS: Meryl Streep – The Iron Lady

I’m a little disappointed with this result….. although I didn’t get to see The Iron Lady because it was on at our cinema for such a short time, the reason we didn’t rush and prioritise it was the appalling ratings and reviews. Based on what I have seen though, and the reviews, I’d have thought that Rooney Mara for The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo would have been a good choice. Although my choice certainly would have been Michelle Williams for My Week With Marilyn (I actually found myself forgetting I wasn’t watching Marilyn, she was so good!).

BEST ANIMATION: Rango

I’m so pleased Rango beat Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots to this award…. it’s restored my faith a little, as I wouldn’t have been surprised if either of those two had won.

BEST ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: The Descendants – Alexander Payne, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash

Ever so pleased that The Descendants got to take something home….. although I’d have been happy to see Tinker Tailor Solider Spy (Bridget O’Connor and Peter Straughan) take this too.

BEST ART DIRECTION: Hugo – Dante Ferretti and Francesca Lo Schiavo

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY: Hugo – Robert Richardson

As much as I thought these were easily deserved by The Artist and War Horse, I do believe Hugo was the superior in these categories and I think it’s apt that this visually stunning film received these and the other more-technical awards, including BEST VISUAL EFFECTS (Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning).

BEST ORIGINAL SCORE: The Artist – Ludovic Bource

I adored the scores for Hugo, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and War Horse, but for originality and cleverness I’m pleased with this win.

BEST COSTUMES: The Artist – Mark Bridges

And my only reason to lament Hugo not winning this one, is that I was so in love with the costume for Isabelle (and will be copying it for certain). Berenice Bejo’s outfits in The Artist were wonderful though, and I’d happily wear any of them!

So, all that’s left is to present the Ems’ Special Award for Life Time Achievement…… which of course goes to Uggie. I was so pleased that he made it to the Oscars, after there was talk that he’d not been invited! I think that in honour of his wonderful performance, remarkable PR, and his impending retirement, an award was certainly deserved (even if there wasn’t a suitable category!). He is certainly my ‘overall’ winner though!

I hope you were pleased with the results and enjoyed watching if you managed to stay up for them!

London Fashion Week AW / 2012…. My pick of the trends

I have never considered myself at all trendy, in fact, probably anything but. I love thrifting, vintage shopping, charity shops, mixing and matching etc. far too much. But at the same time I adore fashion, and to me, the trends of London Fashion Week are a taste of things to come…..here is what is going to be on the High Street soon and what you’re going to want.

Whilst I never go in for a whole trend and clothe myself top to bottom in Top Shop’s very best ‘now’ look, I am definitely prone to a little peer pressure….and because I could happily shop every day and collect a wardrobe the size of the entire United Kingdom (if only) it’s pretty hard not to succumb to the impressions of a trend or two.

And so it is with great excitement that I look out for the offerings of London Fashion Week and I find myself aching for a huge shopping session. I’m not one to be swayed too badly though, and will always pick out as many ‘never in this worlds’ as ‘wants’, and so here is my little round-up of my favourite trends to come out of London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2012….and a little about those I certainly won’t be hankering after too!…..

The Peplum

Perhaps because it has its roots firmly in British Fashion History, I’m ever so keen on this trend. A cute and chic frill over a skirt, or from the waist down of a blouse… it’s so deliciously vintage. Not to mention the wonderful effect it has on those of us with proper girly figures…..

Peplum at Burberry Prorsum, Mary Katrantzou, Stella McCartney

Cinched waists, bows and belts for an hourglass figure

And along those same lines, I will always be grateful to see the hourglass figure featured in a season’s trends…. blessed with large hips and a defined waist, I love the little bows and belts cinching in the waists and providing a voluminous skirt beneath…..

Cinched waists, bows and belts at Burberry Prorsum, Erdem and Stella McCartney

Big Knits

I can’t always be girly and refined though, and my current winter uniform of over-sized jumper and leggings is both comfy and practical. And, if it’s on the runways, it can’t be *that* slobby!…..

Big Knits at Acne, Mary Katrantzou and Jonathan Saunders

Leggings

And speaking of leggings…. True, on the runways they weren’t so much a comfort feature as a chic alternative to tights….and seen with longer length skirts and heels rather than minis and pumps as they have been, I’m keen to take this look on……

Leggings at Clements Ribeiro, Issa and Bora Aksu

Winter Florals

It goes without saying that the spring trends will feature girly florals, but I’m delighted to see some here for winter too, which is of course when we really need some cheering up and colour lift……

Winter Florals at Erdem, Giles and Temperley London

Military

I like this because it’s feminine but not girly….. I’d love to invest in a really good military style coat this year, and one with a good waist-hugging belt would be splendid…..

Military at Burberry Prorsum, Top Shop Unique and Alexander McQueen

As for the not-so-likelys…. I really can’t see me picking up the padded hips seen at Beradi, McQueen and Mary Katrantzou (I have enough in that area already thanks)….. nor am I keen to accentuate my chunky calves with the mid-length skirts seen at Roksanda Ilincic and Top Shop Unique…… and it’s a definite no to the loose leather trousers everywhere! I’m not yet taken with all the purples on show, but then I said that last year about orange and then became obsessed with it…. It is more likely though that I’ll take advantage of all those lovely pink hues, like those at Holly Fulton.

All in all though, and without having been to a single show….I’d say that this year’s London Fashion Week has thrown up some very useable trends. Now just to get shopping!

Plenty to do this weekend…..

The Met Office has promised a bearably chilly and sunny weekend, so a bit of adventuring is in order I think…….

An exhibition…..


Grayson Perry: The Tomb of the Unknown Craftsman

I’ve raved plenty about this incredible exhibition, and I must be at least a little right to hold it in such high esteem because its success has seen the run extended….. but it’s your last chance to go this weekend! I really can’t recommend this exhibition enough to anyone who enjoys art, craft, textiles, history and even just an expertly curated exhibition. You can read more about it in my post from when I visited. It’s £10 for adults to get in, but there are no advance tickets left so arrive early to grab one of the 200 available on the door each day from 9am…. or (top tip!) become a Member and get in for free at any time!

A film……


Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy: BAFTA Tour 2012

I was delighted to see that this, one of my favourite films of last year, is on again at the cinema…. so much so that I actually may go again! If you missed this first time round you really must go and see what is a wonderfully thrilling film…. it’s showing at Cineworld in the West End at 18:30 on Saturday.

Some shopping…….


Hyper Japan at Earls Court

I think our Saturday will be mainly taken up with sushi, sake, anime and manga, as we head over to Earls Court to celebrate all things Japan. The event incorporates the UK selections for the European Cosplay Gathering and World Cosplay Summit, as well as 2012 sake and sushi awards. Also on show will be stalls of Japanese street fashion, as well as an exclusive presentation by Rupert Faulkner of the V&A about their forthcoming exhibition on the influence of British fashion on Lolita street fashion. It’s on from Friday to Sunday, and you can get in for £6 if you book in advance for Friday, or for late afternoon entry on Saturday or Sunday.

To eat………


I’ll be sharing my recipe for Bloody Mary Tomatoes on Toast on Saturday, which is one of my favourite weekend lunches….make sure you have vodka in!

To drink……


Archer Street

This back-street treasure is a new addition to the ‘South Soho’ area, and has to be one of my new favourite places to drink…… maybe because it feels rather like a chic private members club, or perhaps (rather conversely) because it makes me feel like I’m in Glee as the waiters perform impromptu numbers as will. The main room upstairs is fresh and comfy, with a rather ‘Miami’ feel to it, whilst downstairs is a cosy Alpine-lodge-esque snug. The cocktail menu is all you could hope for, and as the first exclusive Billecart-Salmon (yum!) bar in London, the Champagne list is certainly up to muster.

Out and about in London…..


The Fourth Plinth at Trafalgar Square

Unveiled today is the latest Fourth Plinth commission, by the Scandinavian duo Elmgreen & Dragset. ‘Powerless Structures, Fig 101′ portrays a young boy astride a rocking horse and is said to
celebrate ‘the heroism of growing up’.

Hope you have a wonderful weekend! Let me know what you get up to!

Ems x

Stylishly Patriotic…. Union Jack crazy for the Diamond Jubilee



What with the Royal Wedding last year, and the upcoming Jubilee and Olympics, there’s never been a greater excuse (in my life time at least) to celebrate all things British. Amongst all the souvenirs and paraphernalia though, it’s our splendid Union Flag that will remain my fondest nod to the festivities. With more street parties, special commemorative dishes, and already busy media attention for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I’m looking forward to plenty of red, white and blue…..and here is a sampling from my current favourite Pinterest Board, celebrating our wonderful flag…..


What could be more British than a pot of tea….especially one emblazoned with Union Jacks like Emma Bridgewater’s……



I can’t think of many places more British than my beloved Liberty….and amongst their Best of British offerings, it’s this gorgeous necklace by Stella Macartney I’m most after….



I actually have this stapler….when I found it I couldn’t disguise a squeal of joy for its shiny Union Jack glory….

Source: unionjackshop.co.uk via prettypretentious on <a style=’text-decoration: underline; color: #76838b;’



Of all the lovely Union Jack cushions out there, this is certainly my favourite to date! It’s a *Jack* Russell….wearing a Union *Jack* scarf….LOVE!



I’ve been after a Roberts radio for ages, and this one has got to be the best!….



Our flag is so iconic that it can keep its identity in any colour….I adore this stunning Liberty print quilt….



And almost any colour goes for this beautiful ribbon too, which I love in the traditional colours as well as the shades of green and grey….



The chances of me riding any kind of bicycle are slim to none, but perhaps this could tempt me…



And no British celebration (or any of mine for that matter) would be complete without the BUNTING… The Cotton Bunting Company has the best quality selection I’ve ever found and it’s this I’ll be hanging up everywhere come June!