Saturday, 29 October 2011

Weekend Diary: London's Halloween Happenings...

Halloween is fast approaching! What are your plans? Are you dressing up? I have been asked to a party tonight, so am preparing my costume in between typing! But, if you're not having a ghoulish gathering of your own, there are many opportunities to share those screams! Here's a selection of scary Halloween happenings in London this weekend:

Experience Cinema: Halloween Screamings
Experience Cinema: Halloween Screamings, The Round Chapel
From the creators of Hoxton's Rooftop Film Club, comes Experience Cinema, where you can watch classic and cult films in unusual London locations. This weekend, huddle up in a church (The Round Chapel, Hackney) to watch one of the classic horrors, including The Omen, Halloween and The Blair Witch Project (The Exorcist was shown last night). It makes me shudder with fear, just thinking about it! Find screening times and buy tickets via Experience Cinema's website. Fancy dress is encouraged!
The Round Chapel, Powerscroft Road, Hackney, E5 0PU.

Bea's of Bloomsbury: Halloween-themed Tea Party
Bea's of Bloomsbury, St Pauls (One New Change)
If edible Halloween treats are more your thing, the beloved London café and cake shop, Bea's of Bloomsbury, is hosting a Halloween-themed tea party today, from 7pm - 10pm in their St Paul's shopOne New Change. Expect Halloween bloody punch, brain jelly, ghost cupcakes, scones with bloody jam and cocktails. Wear your best fancy dress and you might win a prize! 
Bea's of Bloomsbury St Paul's, 83 Watling Street, WC1X 8NW.

Can't Buy Me Love Vintage Jumble, Halloween Special
Can't Buy Me Love Halloween Special, at The Boogaloo
Highgate's popular haunt The Boogaloo is playing host to Can't Buy Me Love's latest vintage pop-up, a special Halloween jumble sale. With free entry from 12.30pm - 5pm today, this during-the-day event may be a fun antidote to the more horrible happenings elsewhere, and would be suitable for families too. As DJ's John the Revelator and Dave Bryant spin their rock n' roll at the bar, a pumpkin lit market will be selling lots of vintage goodies, Halloween-style, including Halloween costumes, games and pumpkin lanterns. You can also have your tarot card read.
Can't Buy Me Love, Halloween Special at The Boogaloo, 312 Archway Road, Highgate, N6 5AT. 

Images: 1) Green Nature, 2) Experience Cinema, 3) Bea's of Bloomsbury, 4) Can't Buy Me Love, Halloween Special

Friday, 28 October 2011

City Girl Reports: Jimmy Choo Icons at NET-A-PORTER

SATC's Carrie Bradshaw, wearing Jimmy Choo

Some exciting fashion news arrives as we enter the weekend! The luxury designer fashion website NET-A-PORTER is celebrating Jimmy Choo's 15th anniversary, making six of the most iconic shoes in Choo history available exclusively online to NET-A-PORTER fans. If you missed these archived objects of beauty the first time around, here is your chance to showcase some of the world's most coveted and well-crafted shoes on your feet. The classics - including the 'Marlene' feather shoe worn by Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw, as she exclaims, "I've lost my Choo!" - have been re-interpreted for today's Jimmy Choo and NET-A-PORTER customer and are every bit as iconic. I love their 'old Hollywood', starlet-inspired names. Jimmy Choo 'Icons' don't come cheap, but for fans, this capsule collection is a glamorous and enticing piece of supreme shoe history. In addition, 10% of all net shoe sales will go towards The Jimmy Choo foundation, which supports a number of charities. Enjoy!

Jimmy Choo 'Icons', Ava embellished denim and leather mules,  £550
Jimmy Choo 'Icons', Greta lamé-covered suede sandals , £695
Jimmy Choo 'Icons', Tippi snake-effect leather pumps, £795
Jimmy Choo 'Icons', Marlene feather and suede sandals, £1,295
Jimmy Choo 'Icons', Faye zebra-print calf hair sandals, £1,195
Jimmy Choo 'Icons', Lauren diamanté and suede sandals, £1,595

Images: 1), all shoes) NET-A-PORTER

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Style Icon: Audrey Tautou

Audrey Tautou, Amélie
On 17th October, the enchanting French film Amélie was released on Blu-Ray, following a re-release across UK cinemas. You can read my review of Amélie here. Aside from the magical plot, spellbinding cinematography and Audrey Tautou's delightful portrayal of the eponymous heroine, I found myself strangely endeared to Amélie's wardrobe. Although you are probably aware of my weakness for Parisian chic, this isn't the most obvious film to display it; less of an androgynous-yet-still-sexy style and more of an undiscovered, vintage femininity. However, Amélie's choice of clothes does alter as the film progresses.

With cosy cardigans, straight lines and tomboyish combos, Tautou's wardrobe was perfectly 'cast' for the role of Amélie. There are Audrey Hepburn-esque moments of flair too, notably during Amélie's 'secret disguise' game of seduction...

Audrey Tautou, Amélie

Of course, the beautiful and talented Ms Tautou could wear anything and make it work: feminine, masculine, in-between, smart, casual, and utterly glamorous. She knows what suits her colouring, delicate frame and 'pixie' Parisian persona, but yes, she looks just as fantastic in her pyjamas. Here's a selection of some stylish Audrey Tautou moments on screen, and off...which is your favourite?

Audrey Tautou, Coco Before Chanel

Audrey Tautou, Priceless

Audrey Tautou, Coco Before Chanel

Audrey Tautou, by Peter Lindbergh

Audrey Tautou, Paolo Roversi

Audrey Tautou, Dutch Marie Claire, June 2009

Images: 1&2: Leave Me The White, the rest: Audrey Tautou, Tumblr.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

My 'Cupcake in the Oven' Massage

You may remember a recent post, where I promised to elaborate on the goings-on in my social life. Well, if the title of this post hasn't already given it away, here goes: this City Girl is expecting a baby. Having kept the news from my corner of cyberspace until now, I am excited to share it with you, particularly as this blog has - hopefully - maintained a personal perspective from day one. As a mum-to-be for the first time, the last few months have been an entirely new, unique and sometimes bewildering experience, full of ups and downs, moments of overwhelming joy and seconds of sheer panic (Tip number 1? Stay away from Google!). Finally, I am very pleased to be able to write about it here and hopefully in features elsewhere. Where it fits into the wider context of City Girl Diaries, I will share stories with you (check back soon for a post on maternity fashion). However, just as I continue to write for magazines and websites on a variety of topics, this will not become a pregnancy blog - there are too many fantastic ones already out there. And, although there may be no more champagne-schmoozing at late night events (for a little while), I will continue to explore London and its many fashionable, cinematic and cultural offerings.

Hopefully, today, you don't mind me sharing one pregnancy-related story with you. Deciding that my body desperately needed a pick-me-up, and my mind a total escape, I began researching antenatal massages (one of the more relaxing ways to use Google as an expectant mum..). Seeking a professional, affordable and friendly salon, I soon came across Cupcake, a sanctuary for mums and mums-to-be, offering everything from a luxurious spa, to pre and postnatal personal training, to a relaxing hangout for parents and children. You can find Cupcake Clubs and Spas in Putney, Parsons Green, or Wandsworth.
Cupcake Club and Spa
At this stage in my pregnancy, all I longed for was a soothing, specialist antenatal massage. And that's exactly what I got. Walking into the serene 'Treatment Rooms' of the Putney Cupcake, I imagined myself transported on holiday, and, as I completed the comfortingly detailed consultation form ("Would you like music during your treatment?"), all aches and pains seemed already less of a burden. Having chosen the 1 hour Cupcake in the Oven Massage, I was soon sinking into the warm, raised, hydrotherm bed, relishing this indulgent head-to-toe pampering. Extremely comfortable, escapist and high-quality, the Cupcake in the Oven Massage was as delicious as it sounds. No change of position is required, so you can lie back safely and enjoy. It might sound strange to imagine hands slipping underneath your back to massage it, but it felt remarkably therapeutic and effective. 
Cupcake Treatment Rooms
There are many treatments on offer for mums, mums-to-be, dads and non-parents too. You could even arrange a girly day with the Girlfriends' Celebration Package. Treatments are priced for members and non-members; here's Cupcake's price list. And, during October, there is an additional 15% off. After your treatment, don't forget to stop by the Cupcake café and sample the delicious homemade chocolate brownies on your way out.

Cupcake Putney, 10 Point Pleasant, London SW18 1GG. Tel: 020 8875 1065.

Images: 1) Love Bakery, 2) & 3) Cupcake.

Monday, 24 October 2011

City Girl: Déjà vu

City Girl at London Film Festival: The BFI 55th London Film Festival
City Girl eats: Breakfast at The Wolseley, Piccadilly
City Girl at the cinema: Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris - Review
City Girl Reports: Versace for H&M, A/W 2011
City Girl's Weekend Diary: Clerkenwell's Vintage Fashion Fair

Friday, 21 October 2011

Weekend Diary: Clerkenwell's Vintage Fashion Fair

The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair, Sunday 23 October, 11am - 4.30pm.

Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

One of London's most beloved vintage fairs, the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair feels like an exclusive yet affordable day out, with fairly priced items from UK-wide dealers. It's just £4 to enter and you'll find vintage clothes, shoes, handbags, gloves, textiles - you name it and it's here - from the 1800's to 1980's. 

Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair

There will also be an 'Alterations Booth' and a 'Tea Room' with luscious sweet things and 1940's salon music from Patricia Hammond and her Lovely Parlour Band. And, don't miss 'The Vintage Salon', for a '1940's Up-Do' at 11am, or a 'Movie Makeover' at 2pm. Finally, Naomi Thompson of Vintage Secret is on hand, to guide you through your vintage style from head-to-toe. It's a good idea to book these extra attractions in advance, which you'll find on the Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair Events Page.

The Clerkenwell Vintage Fashion Fair, 11am - 4.30pm, The Urdang, The Old Finsbury Town Hall, Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4RP (nearest tubes: Angel or Farringdon).

Thursday, 20 October 2011

City Girl Reports: Versace for H&M, A/W 2011

Dress, £69.99

Back in June, H&M announced its next designer collaborator for autumn/winter 2011 and the news was big: Donatella Versace would design womenswear, menswear and (limited) homeware collections for the popular high street chain. Now, the date for your diary is fast approaching. Expect crowds and queues aplenty when Versace for H&M arrives in-store, from 17 November 2011. I imagine excitement will share the intensity of previous H&M collaborations, which have included Stella McCartney, Karl Lagerfeld, Roberto Cavalli and Lanvin. If you're lucky enough to land a coveted item before it's sold out, you will be the epitome of Italian glamour in Donatella's daring dresses, wild prints and statement accessories (heels and jewellery). 

Leather shoes, £69.99

If minimalism is your thing, then Versace for H&M may not be, but if you're desperate for affordable access to one of the world's most iconic brands, look no further. Prices are a little steeper than usual H&M stock, but clearly it can make an exception for such high-profile pairings. Maybe it's time to inject some colour and luxe into your winter wardrobe? Versace for H&M will be available at over 300 stores worldwide.

Here's a sneak peek at Versace for H&M, autumm/winter 2011:

Silk dress, £79.99

Silk dress, £79.99 and leggings, £24.99
Cushion, £34.99

Silk dress, £129.99
Silk scarf, £24.99
Silk skirt, £69.99

Excitingly, Versace for H&M will not end here. The duo have confirmed a pre-spring collaboration, due in shops from January 2012.

Images: British Vogue (visit for the full lookbook, including menswear).

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris - Review

Hi all, I promised I'd return with a review of Woody Allen's latest film, Midnight in Paris... which I loved, by the way! Coincidentally, the French film channel Cinémoi asked me to write about the film for them, so here's the link to my Midnight in Paris review on Cinémoi's Facebook page. I would love to hear your thoughts on the film. What did you think of Owen Wilson? Of Woody Allen's portrayal of the 'city of lights'? If you haven't seen it yet, you can find all London cinema showing times here.

Owen Wilson, Midnight in Paris

Image: Cinémoi

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Breakfast at The Wolseley, Piccadilly

Hi everybody, hope you're having a great week so far. Sorry for the delay in posting - I am hoping that our disastrous internet over the last few days has finally sorted itself out! Now on to more fun things... This weekend, I was lucky enough to enjoy a wonderful breakfast at The Wolseley. It is one of my all-time favourite things to do in London (featured in my Time Out Top Ten list), and makes for a particularly special Sunday brunch. Is there any better weekend activity?

A chef prepares The Wolseley's famous Viennoiserie

Located on Piccadilly, just a few steps from London's beautiful Green Park, it's impossible not to feel like you're making a grand entrance as you walk through The Wolseley's impressively ornate doors. Several years ago, I actually believed that The Wolseley was a luxurious hotel, similar to The Ritz, close by. When you stand outside and are greeted by a doorman, you'll see why. The sparkling, Parisian-esque black and white tiles actually remind me of my beloved Hotel Lutetia. In fact, The Wolseley was originally a prestigious car showroom, commissioned by Wolseley Motors Limited in 1921. The architect, William Curtis Green, drew on Venetian, Florentine and Eastern exotic influences, which are as present and stunning today. The pristine, dazzling decor contributes to the ambience that feels both exclusive and welcoming, lively and relaxing. Later, the building was owned by Barclays Bank, before Chris Corbin and Jeremy King (of Rex Restaurant Associates) secured the site in 2003. Since then, The Wolseley has become an "all-day café/restaurant in the grand European tradition" and one of the most elegant places to dine in London. Breakfast is a famous treat and has even inspired a book (with mouth-watering pictures) called simply Breakfast at The Wolseley, by the food critic, A.A. Gill. 

Breakfast at The Wolseley, by A.A. Gill

So what is breakfast like? The menu at The Wolseley is extensive, diverse (it will surely cater for every taste), and extremely high-quality. Served on exquisite, old-worldly glass, silver and branded crockery, you will feel like The Queen, yet the delicious food is reasonably priced. The continental selection features The Wolseley's famous home-made Viennoiserie, Bircher muesli (one of my favourites), Caramelised Pink Grapefruit, a Bagel with Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese, or a Fresh Fruit salad, which I started with at the weekend. Alongside a few mugs of tea!

An Edwardian teapot, for sale in The Wolseley shop

Moving on to the hot selection, you can have eggs any way you wish, Grilled Kippers or a Caviar Omelette (this will set you back £60), but I would strongly recommend 'THE ENGLISH'. Absolute perfection, with every sauce you could hope for in delightful silver pots and lots of toast and butter.

'THE ENGLISH', The Wolseley

Afternoon tea at The Wolseley is also well worth a visit. And, when I finally try out lunch or dinner, I will report back! Whenever you plan to go, don't forget to call early to book (usually the same week is fine). Enjoy!

The Wolseley, 160 Piccadilly, London, W1J 9EB. Tel: 020 7499 6996.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

55th BFI London Film Festival: Opens Today

Starting this evening with 360, the latest film by director Fernando Meirelles (City of God, The Constant Gardener), the 55th BFI London Film Festival kicks off its two week reign over London cinema screens. This year, there is a spotlight on British national cinema, accentuated by the opening and closing night gala screenings - the latter being Terence Davies' The Deep Blue Sea - along with, as usual, a wide range of international films of varied genres, from established to emerging filmmakers. Overall, the programme contains 300+ features and shorts, with interviews, Q&A's and masterclasses, to name merely some of the accompanying events. 

The Deep Blue Sea

Although BFI members and non-members have been busy booking their tickets, there are some left to buy, either via the BFI website (if you are a BFI member), by phone (020 7928 3232), in person at the BFI Southbank Box Office, or at the cinema itself. Most films will be shown at the BFI Southbank, or at one of the big West End cinemas, in Leicester Square. Prices start at £10.50, or £7 for weekday matinees. 

Aside from the opening and closing night films, here are a few of my personal highlights, from the 55th BFI London Film Festival. Even if they appear to be 'Fully Booked', you can opt for stand-by tickets at the cinema, 30 minutes prior to the screening:

The Ides of March, a sharp and engaging political drama directed by George Clooney, starring himself and a brilliant cast to include Ryan Gosling and Philip Seymour Hoffman.

The Ides of March

50/50, an original story of friendship, love and the twists and turns of living with an illness, with Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Seth Rogen. You can book here for an on-stage interview with the two actors. 


The Descendants, Alexander Payne's first feature since Sideways, also stars Mr Clooney as a father rediscovering his relationship with his teenage daughters. Critics have already praised the film's emotional complexity, sensitivity and deftly-drawn characters.

The Descendants

Carnage, a tightly scripted film of four Brooklyn-based characters (Kate Winslet, Jodie Foster, Christopher Waltz and John C Reilly), shows Roman Polanski moving from satirical storytelling in the political sphere (The Ghost), to the domestic. Adapted from the play, The God of Carnage. 

And, here are the films nominated for The Best Film Award at London Film Festival 2011...

Are you planning a trip to this year's 55th BFI London Film Festival? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the programme, or the films you have chosen to watch.

Images: BFI

Monday, 10 October 2011

Déjà vu: 03/10/11 - 09/10/11

Good morning everybody! Hope you have a wonderful week. Here is a quick recap of last week's posts...

After a stint working for British Vogue and a crazy personal diary, City Girl Diaries returns, with some photos from my sister's Parisian wedding weekend (and here's a whole bank of images from my recent trips to Paris, via City Girl Diaries on Flickr).
The Boulevard Raspail market, St Germain, Paris
When Time Out asked me for my favourite London experiences, I finally narrowed my list down to just ten. What would feature on yours?

A tribute to the inspirational and revolutionary leader, who made such a mark on the world, particularly via his work for Apple and Pixar.

As the long awaited film arrives in London cinemas, I planned my weekend trip. Review to follow.

Midnight in Paris (image via Cinemoi)

Ben and his 'partner in crime' Fliss, have taken up the challenge to experience every activity on Time Out's 101 Things to do in London, in time for the London Olympics. Read more about their story here.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Blog Watch: Where That Ben Went

I was recently asked to take part in Time Out's 101 Things to do in London - Bloggers' Picks. Following my post and a Twitter 'meet', I discovered Ben Wallace and his brilliant idea for a new blog, Where That Ben Went. Along with 'partner in crime' Fliss Fontaine, Ben is working his way through the entire Time Out 101 Things to do in London list, including some of the Bloggers' Picks, to finish in time for the London Olympics. A worthy read, this sizeable challenge is paired with an energetic, fun-loving approach and unmistakably London layout, including videos of places visited. It will certainly make you wish you'd had the idea yourself, which is just how I felt watching the excellent Julie & Julia a few nights before! Good luck Ben and Fliss!
Here are links to the blog, Where That Ben Went and Twitter feed.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License