Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas 2011!

Wishing you all a wonderful Christmas and a very happy New Year! xx


Wednesday, 21 December 2011

City Girl's Christmas Gift Guide: Food & Drink


Hi everyone! I'm so sorry for my recent absence. I haven't been too well over the last week, and with a rapidly growing 'bump' and Christmas fast approaching, I've been one exhausted girl! You may have finished all your shopping (hoorah!), or you may have found that despite your impressive organisation, there still remain a few pesky presents on the list. Edible gifts can fill the gaps nicely and provide a crowd-pleasing choice for stocking fillers, or even a main gift. The true domestic gods and goddesses in your life will love all the accessories that can be gifted alongside. Here's my selection of edible gifts for Christmas. Enjoy!

  • Not long ago, I chose my top 'Top 10 Things to do in London' for Time Out, one of which was the Konditor & Cook cake shop at the Curzon Soho. For edible Christmas treats that taste as good as they look, Konditor & Cook have some seriously tempting offerings, including their 'Cranberries and Chocolate' Boston Brownies. Delicious! Order by 10am on Thursday 22nd December, to guarantee Christmas delivery. 
'Cranberries and Chocolate' Boston Brownies by Konditor & Cook,  £14.95 for 10.
Konditorandcook.com

  • Jermyn Street is one of those magical London addresses that exudes history. Any visit must include a stop at the Queen's cheesemonger, Paxton & Whitfield. Dating back to 1742, Paxton & Whitfield's reputation means that the tiny shop is almost always full, but once you have sampled the cheese and the staff's impressive expertise, you'll be jostling to get inside. You can also buy traditional ales to enjoy with your favourite cheese. How about a Christmas stilton? Or this Alpine Fondue Set?
Alpine Fondue Set by Paxton & Whitfield, £80.
Paxtonandwhitfield.co.uk

  • Jamie Oliver's Recipease food and kitchen shops are fantastic places to browse for gifts, whether for amateur cooks or those more accomplished. Homely gifts and simple yet tasty fare will aid those less-than domestic goddesses (like myself) in making their kitchen an inviting place to be. My top picks? Jamie's terracotta nested bowls. Or maybe some wine glasses and a carafe?
'Matti Terracotta Nested Bowls' by Jamie Oliver, £26.
Jamieoliver.com

  • Having lived in LA, I am a huge fan of California's bountiful bakeries, cupcake shops and 'cookie and ice cream sandwich' shops (my favourite!). If I was longing for something sweet, it was only one block or two until I was greeted by tantalising treats. At the Beverly Hills Bakery in Knightsbridge, the sugary taste of California is within reach. This Beverly Hills Christmas Bakery basket would make someone very happy indeed!
A Beverly Hills Christmas Bakery basket, £29 for 32 mini pieces.
Beverlyhillsbakery.com

  • Whether you prefer muffins or mince pies, the Christmas cupboards are bound to be stocked with copious edible goodies. Once your guests arrive, why not present them in the most enticing way? This 3 Tier Vintage Doily Cake Stand from Oliver Bonas would also make a gorgeous gift!
3 Tier Vintage Doily Cake Stand by Oliver Bonas, £29.50.
Oliverbonas.com




Will you be treating anyone to edible gifts this Christmas? What Christmas shopping is still on your list? Good luck!



Friday, 9 December 2011

City Girl's Christmas Guide: Stylish Accessories

Sorry for the slight delay in posting my last gift guides everybody! Here is my edit of some of the most stylish accessories out there, for those fashionable girls in your life. Of course, if you're anything like me, you might find it hard not to treat yourself at the same time! I hope you enjoy the selection.

  • I have been longing to tell you about the beautiful bags made by a lovely friend, Rachel Galbraith, under her label Bronte Bags. Combining luxurious vintage linen and leather local to Sussex, Rachel hand-makes every one; the detail and finished product are stunning. Here is one of my favourite Bronte Bag 'Shoppers', available at Rockett St George.

Silver Leather Handbag Shopper by Bronte Bags at Rockett St George, £145.
Rockettstgeorge.co.uk

Ebony and Sycamore clip on earrings by Darkroom, £35. Darkroomlondon.com

  • ASH footwear has recently become a fond personal favourite, mostly in the form of the popular ASH trainers. Casual enough to feel relaxed in, but 'distressed' in a somewhat smart way, they exude cool and could be paired with either jeans or a dress/skirt, particularly if you opt for the heeled wedge trainers.
Chestnut Virgin High-Top Trainers by ASH at My Wardrobe, £119. My-wardrobe.com

  • THE OUTNET is always a trusty site for designer bargains and when there's an OUTNET clearance sale (as from today, Friday 9 December  -  Monday 12 December), things that were never within our grasp, suddenly become so. I strongly recommend you scour the site (clearance and non) before all the glamorous goodies have gone. Accessories are a great place to start.

Mushila brass and cord bracelet by MADE at THE OUTNET, £23.
Theoutnet.com

  • ASOS is a one-stop shop for lots of items, but most shoppers (or gift buyers) probably don't remember that the online giant holds a massive collection of belts. At a pinch of the price that belts can go for these days, ASOS' belts would make a fashionable and thoughtful stocking filler. Now all you have to decide: what shape, material, colour and brand would you/your gift recipient like? How about ASOS' own label?
Pastel Skinny Belt by ASOS, £6. Asos.com

  • My final choice is equal to those accessories above, because you will want to carry it around with you (although, being in hardback, that could be difficult). Carine Roitfeld, former editor of Vogue Paris, made her lasting mark on the fashion world with her indisputably chic and fearless style, represented both by her own coveted wardrobe and those of her renowned shoots. Carine Roitfeld: Irreverent is an audacious look at the woman herself and her inspiring career. Magazine addicts will love the many covers and tear sheets from Vogue et al.
From Carine Roitfeld: Irreverent at Amazon, £42. Amazon.co.uk 
My final Christmas gift guide, for all lovers of food and drink, will be posted soon!




Tuesday, 6 December 2011

City Girl's Christmas Gift Guide: Cover Girl

You can't go wrong with beauty gifts for us girls at Christmas. Whether it's a spot of pampering, or the tools for an entire makeover, there's something about the promise of a glamorous festive period/New Year that's indulgently irresistible. But, faced with an ever-burgeoning beauty market, promising younger, softer and more 'natural' skin, it's difficult to know what should make the cut. Read on for my selection of special, different and long-lasting beauty products, perfect for Christmas. 

  • While working on Vogue's Secret Address Book, I fell in love with the exquisite bath products from Farmacia Santa Maria Novella. The two London shops (1 Piccadilly Arcade and 115 Walton Street) are tiny outposts of the famous 600-year-old Florentine pharmacy and you can sense the grand history as you walk through the door. Hand-written and hand-wrapped pomegranate bath salts, perfumes and Acqua di Colonia are a must-try, for men and women.
Acqua di Colonia by Farmacia Santa Maria Novella.  Santamarianovella.com/br

  • Since I received Eve Lom gifts last Christmas, I have been a huge fan; I cannot recommend the Eve Lom Cleanser enough. A seemingly solid, crystallised cleanser, it melts onto the skin, exfoliating and cleansing along the way. The blend of four aromatherapy oils will refresh and delight. Team with Eve Lom's famous muslin cloths (1 included), and you'll feel spa-fresh every single morning. I promise!
Eve Lom Cleanser,  £30 for 50 ml. Evelom.com

  • You may not be familiar with Glossybox, but it is causing a stir in the beauty world. A mail order subscription service which you can buy for the beauty lover in your life, Glossybox will send an elegantly packaged box every month, containing 5 luxury beauty miniatures. The box also contains product information, application notes and beauty tips and tricks. The perfect chance to enjoy high-end brands and a monthly treat. There is also now a Glossybox for Men.
Glossybox subscription service, £10/month. Glossybox.co.uk

  • I was recently introduced to mineral make-up brand BellaPierre at Good Results' PR day, and have been keen to try it for myself ever since. Tuning into the trend for quality, pure skincare, BellaPierre has only been available in the UK since 2010, after the brand was developed in LA. From the gentle, super-soft foundation primer to the popular, blend-able shimmer powders, all products contain 100% pure MICA powder and no other ingredients or additives.
Foundation primer by BellaPierre, £45.  Bellapierre.co.uk

  • Body moisturisers make an unbeatable beauty gift and one of my top favourites is from trusty L'OCCITANE. Their products always take me back to Provence and the aromas, textures and quality can't be disputed. One item I always ensure is in my bathroom cabinet, is L'OCCITANE's Verbena body lotion. Its zesty lemony-ness lingers on your skin, without overpowering your perfume. Simply delicious. 
Verbena body lotion by L'OCCITANE, £18. Loccitane.com



City Girl's Christmas Gift Guide: Cosy Comforts

Over the next few days, I will be posting my selection of Christmas gifts for a variety of relatives/friends/personalities. I hope you enjoy them! As London's weather is becoming more 'Christmassy' and icy by the day, it wasn't difficult to choose my first Christmas gift theme. 'Cosy comforts' are those perfectly seasonal presents which can't help but please any recipients keen to stay warm and put their feet up over the festive period. As a mum-to-be seeking a final two months of 'me-time', I am a particular fan of this category! Let me know what you think of my choices and please feel free to suggest similar gifts below. 
  • Avoca is an Irish family-run hand-weaving business that spans one of the world's oldest surviving manufacturing companies. Available at John Lewis in the UK, you will find colourful and supremely cosy fashion and interiors, including this 'Baby it's cold outside' hot water bottle.
Dream Hottie by Avoca, £35. Johnlewis.com


Lambswool Rug by Brora, £45. Brora.co.uk

Eloise Print Oven Gloves by Liberty, £14.50. Liberty.co.uk

  • Hush is one of those irresistible websites that makes lounging look infinitely better than getting dressed up, any day. Their cashmere tunics and shawls are gorgeous, as are these Vintage Rose Pyjamas
Vintage Rose Pyjamas by Hush, £49.50. Hush-uk.com
  • If you do venture outside, Jack Wills has lots of treats for girls and boys. This Burchale Bobble Hat would look fantastic on either - with 100% lambswool, it's guaranteed to ward off the chills.
Burchale Bobble Hat by Jack Wills, £29. Jackwills.com
Girl's Fairisle Bag by The Little White Company, £16.50.
Thewhitecompany.com/the-little-white-company


Monday, 5 December 2011

City Girl Reports: Vogue's Online Fashion Week

Today, Monday December 5, marks the beginning of British Vogue's Online Fashion Week 2011. Lasting for 24 hours a day, from Monday December 5 - Friday December 9, this is Vogue's first ever Online Fashion Week, in association with Give as you Live. Give as you Live allows shoppers to raise money for their favourite charity - simply nominate as you pay for your purchase from one of Vogue's featured retailers. 
Florence Welch opened Vogue's Online Fashion Week at 9am 
Vogue's Online Fashion Week celebrates shopping on the web and the timing for Christmas present-buying is perfect. Every participating company (think designer labels like Chanel and Alexander McQueen) to high street brands (including Topshop and Reiss), is offering special online events, prizes, discounts or free gifts. Celebrity wish lists and 'favourite fashion moments' are guaranteed to get you in the mood. How about starting with Anya Hindmarch's online snowglobe hunt? Find all five globes around Anya's site and you could win this gorgeous Valorie clutch...
Valorie clutch in glitter fabric by Anya Hindmarch - to win!
In the vein of Vogue's Fashion Night In (but for a whole week!), this is another chance to be involved in an innovative, one-of-a-kind event from British Vogue ... and get that festive feeling. Here are some Online Fashion Week shopping highlights:

  • Throughout this week, Urban Outfitters will offer flash sales on products revealed every day in the Online Fashion Week blog. Until midnight tonight, choose from a selection of heels and bags, at 15% off. Shoppers will also be entered into a draw to win £500 to spend online. Checkout code: VOGUEFW.
Jute Shopper at Urban Outfitters, original price: £28

  • For any brides out there, Jenny Packham is offering a 10% discount on all items, until midnight on Friday December 9. All shoppers will also be entered into a prize draw to win a dress from Jenny's A/W 2011-12 collection, up to the value of £1,500. Checkout code: VOGUEJP01.

Jenny Packham Anisette II Bridal Headdress, original price: £305

  • If you've fallen in love with the trend for fashion illustration, why not adorn your walls with a print by David Downton or Bobby Hillson, from Fashion Illustration Gallery? You'll get free shipping throughout this week, and 10% of sales will go to charity. Checkout code: ONVOGUE.

Valli, 2008, by David Downton at Fashion Illustration Gallery,
original price: £300

  • One of my favourite footwear brands (a girl who loves her 'flats') French Sole, is offering a 20% discount on a different shoe style each day. Keep your eyes peeled to their site! Today: Large Glitter HenriettaCheckout code: n/a.
Large Glitter Henrietta in Multi by French Sole, new price: £80.80 
Lousada Heyhoe & Anthropologie collaboration, £various

To stay on top of the special offers and events (updated constantly), tune into the Vogue.com Online Fashion Week blog. Here is a full list of retailers. Many offers are time-limited, so be careful not to miss out! I'd love to hear what you buy...


Images: British Vogue.

Thursday, 1 December 2011

City Girl's Advent Calendar, December 2011

Happy December, everybody! 

Christmas labels by Lazy Oaf, £5.50
I hope you have enjoyed a super start to the month. My Christmas gift guides will be following shortly, but in the meanwhile, do check out City Girl Diaries' Advent Calendar on Facebook, for a festive treat every day. Highlights will be shared here. First up, we have these gorgeous Christmas labels by Lazy Oaf. All you need to make your cards and pressies stand out and sparkle.

Lazy Oaf is an independent graphic and illustration label, combining clothing, accessories and stationery. There are some fab tees and jumpers, definitely worth a peek at their site.

Alongside Facebook, feel free to visit City Girl Diaries on Twitter - come and say hi! 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

My sister, my hero...


Romy and Michele's High School Reunion (1997)

Hi everybody, I'm sorry for the lack of posts recently. My lovely little sister* hasn't been very well, so the family has been rallying around her, bringing hugs and treats on rotation. What continues to be so inspiring, is her immense courage and determination, paired with a wonderful sense of humour and gorgeous giggling - which you will immediately fall in love with, if you are lucky enough to meet her. So, my brave and beautiful sis', I wish you a very speedy recovery and, as always, lots of laughter. These are for you...

Sex and the City 2 (2010)
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
Now and Then (1995)
Little Women (1994)
Pretty Woman (1990)
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003)
13 Going on 30 (2004)
Mermaids (1990)

How about we all take some time to celebrate our sisters, loved ones and those best gal pals who never fail to make us smile.

*(My sister will always be 'little' to me...)


Friday, 18 November 2011

City Girl Reports: Gilt.com Launches Globally


From Friday November 18, a global audience will have access to Gilt.com's members-only, e-commerce site. Having launched in 2007, Gilt.com has over 5 million active users in the USA, and will soon have many more in the 90+ countries where goods can now be shipped. This is exciting news for those of us in the UK and Europe, who have heard about Gilt.com but couldn't previously benefit. And, what were we hoping to benefit from? The allure of luxury is central to Gilt.com's story and success; many of us aspire to wear designer goods but simply cannot afford them. The solution offered by the site's founders (and founders of the Gilt Groupe) Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, is to acquire merchandise directly from the fashion houses, resulting in heavy discounts for Gilt.com's members. Selected items may be slow-selling in stores, but that certainly isn't the case online, and brands and customers are lapping it up. How does 60% off the retail price sound? Initially an invitation-only site, now anyone can be a member; all you need to do is sign up on the Gilt.com homepage. After joining, you will gain access to the daily 'flash-sales' - every day at 5pm - featuring current season fashion and accessories for women, men and children, not to mention designer treats for your home. Think super-glam sample sales, from your desk, which have been announced beforehand.

Gilt.com's designer tops
Gilt.com works with over 6,000 designer brands, including Vera Wang, Missoni, Alexander McQueen, Versace and Dolce & GabbanaEach sale lasts approximately 36 hours and there is a 'wait list' for any items that are sold out. Importantly, international Gilt.com members can take advantage of free shipping, from Friday 18 to Tuesday 22 November. And, from December, Gilt.com's app's for iPhone, iPad, Android and Gilt Mobile Web, will allow international members to browse and buy on the go. 

Gilt.com's designer shoes

Images) Thank you to Gilt.com

Weekend Diary: Reservoir Dogs Fancy Dress Party, Screen on the Green


As I write, it is almost the weekend, and by the time some of you read this, it will be! I hope you have a lovely time. If you haven't already planned your Saturday night, how about this? Tomorrow, Everyman's Screen on the Green cinema continues it's 'Retro Season' with a special fancy dress party and late-night showing of Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs. If you haven't seen this film before, you are in for a treat. Reservoir Dogs was the first feature from writer/director Tarantino and stormed into 1992's Sundance Film Festival, winning the prestigious Grand Jury Prize. Suddenly, here was an unmistakably stylish, clever and daring filmmaker, who left his audience wanting more. Of course, 'more' would soon follow, notably with one of my all-time favourite films, Pulp Fiction, in 1994. With a typically Tarantino-esque ensemble cast, soundtrack and tongue-in-cheek, yet extreme violence, Reservoir Dogs has moments of brilliance. The opening scene, showing the group of criminals chatting in a café, becomes one of those quintessential Tarantino conversation scenes; the audience is shocked, amused and fascinated by this unique insight into the criminal underworld. One of my personal favourite moments? When the group are given names - see the trailer below.



So, if you fancy seeing Reservoir Dogs for the first (or hundredth time), Everyman's Screen on the Green cinema is kicking off the party at 11.30pm tomorrow night (Saturday 19th), serving Mr Pink and Mr White cocktails - do you know who's who? From Reservoir Dogs soundtrack, K Billy's Super Sounds of the 70's will be playing, as the competition for best dressed commences. Time for your sharp suit, skinny tie and dark shades! The night is bound to be lots of fun. In the meanwhile, enjoy the trailer below  (sorry if you can't see the full width of the screen; you can access the Youtube trailer here).



Everyman Screen on the Green, 83 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 0NP. You can book your tickets to the Reservoir Dogs Fancy Dress Party here.

Images: Thanks to Everyman Screen on the Green.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Daniel Galvin Hair Salon, Corinthia Hotel London

Corinthia Hotel London, Lobby Lounge

While working for British Vogue (on Vogue's Secret Address Book), I discovered many fabulous places in London, uniquely special in their own right and well worth a visit. Narrowing down was no easy feat. But, when we were considering the forerunners for our 'Hair' category, it was clear that the Daniel Galvin salon at Corinthia Hotel London, should be featured. Although I wasn't able to visit personally at the time, I have been desperate to see it for myself ever since. So, it was with much excitement that I entered the opulent, marble-encrusted Corinthia Hotel London on Saturday. A tour of the Corinthia Hotel to start, I gazed longingly at this stylish destination (and smart breakfast laid out for guests). Interiors are stunning from every angle, as natural light floods through the open, reflective and high-ceilinged spaces. Venturing downstairs to the spa, my expectations were high. Needless to say, they were very much met.

Daniel Galvin Salon, Corinthia Hotel London

The Daniel Galvin salon at Corinthia Hotel London, is the first Daniel Galvin salon in London since the opening of the Mayfair flagship. Two years in the making, it bears all the hallmarks of the renowned Daniel Galvin experience: technical expertise, excellent service (and loyal devotees), and a serene, luxurious sanctuary. The Daniel Galvin brand couldn't be more at home in the Corinthia Hotel London. With just nine hairdressing stations - all very slick with equal lashings of marble - exclusivity and privacy are key, without compromising on the 'friendly feel'. Although, if you do want total anonymity, 'The Ultimate Make-Over Room' offers a secret salon, just for you, whether you are preparing for a special date, or movie premiere. Designed by Oscar winning make-up artist Lois Burwell, this intimate space is beloved by actors and actresses, who can be groomed from head-to-toe, while watching TV or chatting on Skype. Impressively, 'The Ultimate Make-Over Room''s Kino Flo lighting can imitate everything from on-camera HD to outdoor lighting, ready for those pesky paps.

The Ultimate Make-Over Room, Corinthia Hotel London

Back to my hair! I had kindly been invited to try a 'Detox Miracle Solution' and blow dry, which were utter bliss. As a pregnant lady who's growing by the day, any pampering is welcomed, but sitting back and having someone bring out the glow in my lacklustre locks, with a head massage and canapés along the way, and I was one happy girl. The Detox Miracle Solution, safe for pregnant women and all hair types (apart from grey), contains pure Vitamin C, entering the hair via the cuticle to remove all traces of London pollution, before closing the cuticle to leave a transparent-like shine. It is also highly effective at revitalising coloured hair, perfect for me right now, as I have paused my colour during pregnancy. Of course, Daniel Galvin gained fame as the guru of the colouring world, so there are many colour services available should you wish, including a pre-blow dry 'Vegetable Colouring/Tint', designed to disguise rather than cover any grey hairs. 

Daniel Galvin Salon, Corinthia Hotel London

After my Detox Miracle Solution had washed away, I enjoyed a blow dry at the hands of senior stylist, Graham Hamps. His years of expertise and enthusiasm for hairdressing were palpable, and despite battling with my very thick hair, it was soon looking more luscious and healthy than it had in a long while. Graham and the team also take appointments for 'up-dos', so I am very tempted to return for the Christmas party season. For some reason, I haven't posted a picture of myself on the blog until now (although you'll now find one in the 'About Me' section), but I wanted to share a photo from my indulgent morning. Please forgive the fuzzy quality... but that may be no bad thing, until the rest of me is looking as beautiful as my hair!

After 'The Detox Miracle Solution' and Blow Dry. What do you think?

City Girl Diaries was a guest of Modus Publicity.


Images: With thanks to Modus and Daniel Galvin at Corinthia Hotel London, Whitehall Place, London, SW1A 2BD. Tel: 020 7321 3060. danielgalvin@corinthiahotellondon.com


 
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