Summer Party

IMG_2334Dress, Avoca; jacket, Sandro; bag, vintage Chanel; shoes – I can’t even remember! earrings, vintage; ring, Otazu; bracelet, gift; nail polish, Chanel Mimosa.

It’s the time of year where your diary starts to fill up with dinners, barbecues, birthday drinks and engagement parties. This outfit I find ideal for long summer evenings on the terrace, preferably with a cocktail in hand! Pair a pretty floral dress with chunky jewelry, a tuxedo jacket and a tousled side braid for a fun, but polished look.

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One of my very favourite places to sit out and enjoy the sunshine and a glass of wine in London is the rooftop terrace at Orrery. Bliss!

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London Summer

IMG_2250Dress, Toast (archive sale purchase; similar here); belt, Sandro; handbag, Tamara Fogle; beach bag, Tarango (a fair trade company, with products handmade in Bangladesh); shoes, Chanel; watch, Swatch; necklace Baccarat; earrings, Lindex (similar here); sunglasses, Anthropologie; nail polish, Essie Boat House

Over the bank holiday weekend, I decided to take some time simply to enjoy the sunshine and explore the delights of my neighbourhood. I moved to Kingston at the end of August last year, but have been so busy since that I’ve barely had any time for exploration. With London looking so beautiful in the sunshine, I decided it was about time I pulled on a summer dress and took a walk through the wisteria scented streets of Kingston and Richmond.

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IMG_2253Warm, sunny days in London are rather rare, but when they do happen, they more than make up for all the rain!

Tea and Chekhov

Autumnal Tea: smoked salmon and cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches; quails’ eggs with sea or celery salt; scones; brownies and an iced pumpkin spice cake. 

I had a fabulous time over the weekend hosting a Book Blogger Tea Party with Rachel, SimonPolly and my Mum. I felt a bit of a fraud as I can’t claim to have ever written a book blog, but I am at least an enthusiastic reader! Although I am in the same book group as Polly, have met Simon several times and have found a ‘kindred spirit’ in Rachel, it was wonderful to spend an afternoon all together, having a proper chat, laughing a lot and munching on the treats pictured above.

Simon brought along a game that he bemoaned none of his (non-bookish) friends would play; I can’t remember the name but it was lots of fun! You have a pack of cards with a book title, author and plot summary written on each of them, and everyone has to write down what they think is the first or last line of the book. These are all then read aloud (including the real first/last line) – whoever guesses which is the true one gets a point, and if anyone guesses your version in mistake for the real one, then you get a point too. Often, it was harder than you might think – for instance, no doubt everyone can rattle off the first line of Pride & Prejudice, but what about the last? I amazed myself by winning, as I’m generally useless at games, but I’m not sure how I’d fare in another round…!

Polly, Simon, Rachel and Me. 

After tea, Rachel and I went on to the Young Vic as we had tickets to see their production of Chekhov’s Three Sisters. What a disappointment! I was expecting something quite special, as had read some excellent reviews, and was still thrilling from having seen Hedda Gabler at the Old Vic (a truly fabulous production). Far from finding Benedict Andrew’s version of Three Sisters particularly radical or inspired, Rachel and I were simply bored stiff. Olga, Irina and Masha’s longing for Moscow paled against my desire to be out of the theatre. Indeed, I was only jerked out of my ennui-induced stupor when the people in front of us periodically leapt about 5 feet into the air, dramatically covering their ears whenever a large bell was rung onstage. Despite copious ‘shocking’ swear words strewn throughout the dialogue and a rather dreadful rendition of Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit, the play failed to grip.

Gala Gordon, Mariah Gale and Vanessa Kirby in Three Sisters, Young Vic, London. Image via here

Fortunately, although the production was a disappointment, the company certainly wasn’t, and Rachel and I still had a fun night out, although I hope our next theatre outing will be more successful!

All in all, it was a lovely weekend, and being in the company of such lovely bloggers has inspired me to do a bit better with my own blog. I’m currently ploughing my way through the PGCE course at Roehampton University and recently moved to Kingston so life has been a bit of a whirlwind lately, but I feel I could at least do better than a post every few months…!

And now I’m off to bake yet more brownies for my next set of visitors this weekend. Happy Thursday, everyone!

Hampstead, You’re Beautiful (Part 1)

I recently gave David Gentleman’s London, You’re Beautiful as a gift to someone, and I loved the look of it so much I had to get myself a copy too! I’m so glad I did, as this beautiful book is a must for anyone with a soft spot for Britain’s capital. Gentleman’s drawings are exquisite and wonderfully capture London in all its glory throughout the changing seasons. The book has inspired me to keep my own kind of scrapbook of my favourite corners of London. This afternoon, then, when I gave up trying to ignore the sunshine and concentrate on studying, I took my camera along with me as I went for a ramble among the backstreets of my little corner of Hampstead.

Exploring Hampstead is rather a bitter-sweet sensation for me at the moment, as I shall be moving in the autumn. Although I’m very excited about this move (and will still be in London!), I shall also be sorry to leave such a beautiful place behind. These photographs, then, serve as a reminder of my daily sights and walks during my ‘Hampstead years.’

Easter Pinks

Anna Sui dress; Tocca coat; M&S tights; Nicole Farhi shoes; Scapa bag; Swarovski earrings; vintage bracelet; Essie ‘Splash of Grenadine’ nail polish.

I’ve had a lovely Easter Sunday and am currently curled up in a chair, rendered immoveable by the vast quantity of food and chocolate I’ve managed to consume. The Easter Bunny certainly stopped by my flat this morning; besides lots of delicious chocolate, there was a small package containing the gorgeous vintage pearl and imitation sapphire bracelet I’m wearing in these photos. I have quite small wrists and have a very hard time finding bracelets that fit. My Mum in fact got this one made specially to fit me so it is already a cherished possession.

I enjoyed Easter lunch out with my Mum at my favourite pub in Hampstead, The Old White Bear.

It was quite the feast: roast chicken followed by orange cheesecake for me.

After lunch, we thought a stroll around Hampstead would aid our digestion so set off for Fenton House, a small National Trust property with beautiful grounds, boasting an orchard and rose garden. I volunteered at the house last summer so have got to know it pretty well and still love to pay it a visit.

I had in fact planned quite a different outfit for today (a primrose yellow satin dress without sleeves), but it was so cold and dark when I woke up this morning that I had to rethink my choice. Anna Sui is one of my very favourite designers, and a couple of dresses I have of hers are very rare non-sale purchases of mine. I love this dress with the mix of velvet and silk and beautiful buttons.

The coat, however, was a sale bargain purchased about 10 years ago. I think it still looks brand new and pulled it out of my wardrobe again when excitedly I noticed that one of my  TV heroines – Rory Gilmore – wears the exact same coat in later series of the Gilmore Girls.

Hmm, and now I have to decide whether I’m going to be lazy and watch an episode of a new favourite tv series or be good and workout. As there is still plenty of chocolate to get through, I’d better do something active!