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Friday, 21 November 2014

Christmas Fare | Tredwell's London

Ciao bellissimas! Happy Friday! 

I am particularly looking forward to this weekend as this week has totally been one of those. I've really struggled to shake a bout of post-holiday fogginess, and I can't wait to get away this weekend (we're going to the beach!) and regroup. 

Despite the foggy brain, this week has been peppered with lovely events. Yesterday my blogging agency W&R Network laid on a feast for our W&R family at Tredwell's restaurant on Upper St Martin's Lane. Given that as bloggers we generally work alone, it was so nice to have a proper Christmas party! We were treated to the most delicious food, and I got to catch up with some of my favourite blogging friends.
Opened earlier this year, Tredwell's is the third London restaurant of Michelin starred chef Marcus Wareing. Marcus so kindly took the time to talk to us all at the lunch yesterday, and him and I got in to conversation about the striking custom made clock the restaurant boasts. Marcus explained that he had wanted to design a wall with knives lodged in and the handles showing, but that for health and safety reasons (naturally) his design team had advised that they create a piece of artwork using knives instead. The result is brilliant - a photo opportunity favourite amongst the lunch's attendees yesterday!
For those of you that love a menu snoop, here's what we ate: 

Down the apples & pears (delicious vodka infused cocktails)

Harissa-glazed aubergine, peanuts, coriander, chilli
Chricken liver mousse, bacon jam, toast
Pulled  pork belly, ginger & apple slider

Sea bass, carrot, lentils, crispy shallots
Lamb chops, minted bean chutney, 
Gnocchi, cauliflower, sprouts, hazelnuts & Berkswell cheese
Sweet potato chips, BBQ mayo
Kale slaw

Salted caramel ice cream
Warm ginger cake, caramel, cream

Such was the lovely leisurely pace of our lunch, I had to dash before dessert to a meeting. Boo! And yes my heart broke to have missed the salted caramel ice cream. 
If you too are in an industry where you largely work alone, I highly suggest getting together with people in the same field and instigating a Christmas party! Not only is it lovely to celebrate the season, but it is a great way to network, and get to know new friends. 

Tredwell's is definitely being added to my list of preferred central London eateries. The location of Tredwell's is great, food and drinks are yum, and despite yesterday being catered for, I've done the research, and the pricing is good too!

Do you have your Christmas party coming up? Are you looking forward to it?!

Have an awesome weekend guys! 

Love, 

MB x 

P.S. I am in this week's LOOK magazine in a special shoot with New Look! You can pick up a copy until Monday - it's one of my favourite shoots to date!

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

10 Tips & Tricks For The Perfect DIY Bouquet

  

There are few things I love more than a home filled with flowers. I religiously buy blooms to stock our apartment every week, and adore both the scent and look of the flower-filled vases. I'll hold my hands up and admit that I am no flower aficionado, and I am always keen to learn more (to our local flower vendors - thank you for your patience!). Understandably then, I was over the moon when Chelsea based florist Amanda Austin, famed for top tier work with embassies, luxury hotels and weddings, invited me for a flower arranging class this weekend. 

A small group of us (which FYI was made up of some of my favourite girls) got to grips with making almost perfect DIY bouquets over the course of a couple of hours. And yes, there was tea and cake too.  Our minds boggled at the tips and anecdotes Amanda so kindly revelled us in, and we all left with minds suitably blown and our beautiful bouquets, naturally envisaging our new careers as bloggers-turned-florists. 

Below are 10 of my favourite tips & tricks for the perfect bouquet, as told to us by the  lady herself, Amanda Austin . . . 

1 - Proportions generally regarded as the best for a vase arrangement, in height, are either: 2/3 vase to 1/3 flowers or 2/3 flowers to 1/3 vase. 

2 -  To see where to cut a stem for height, place your vase at the edge of a table and hold your flower against it. You can then move it up and down to judge where to crop. 

3 - If you buys flowers in an aqua pack (the water-filled cellophane you sometimes find bouquets resting in) change the water immediately as the aqua pack breeds bacteria. FYI: this is why Amanda Austin makes all bouquets fresh. 


4 -  Always rotate the vase, not yourself, when arranging flowers.

5 - Waitrose is the best supermarket to buy flowers from. They reputably have the best supplier, buy seasonally and keep their flowers in top condition! 


6 -  Every flower has a natural 'happy face' this is the side of the flower which has been turned to the Sun and looks slightly upwards. Turn this side of the flower towards you when making an arrangement so you get the best of the flower. 

7 - The Dice Method will create a perfect bouquet every time. The Dice Method is such: always arrange flowers five stems at a time. Imagine a dice (shown below) and place a stem in your vase as per the dots on a dice; one in the middle, and one at each corner. Rotate the 'dice' and place a further five stems. Aim to cross all stems over at a central point - Amanda calls it the 'onion ball'. Follow this mathematical formula and you will develop a beautiful, balanced bouquet. 

8 -  A lot  of people remove the outer petal on a Rose - known as the weather petal - as it can look as if it is turning. This is not the case, and is in fact part of the Rose's beauty. It is a personal preference, but there isn't actually a need. (NB: I used to think this!) 

9 - Five Lilies, five Roses and five stems of green is the most popular bouquet ordered at Amanda Austin, a classic which works for every home and occasion. 

10 - Snip wood-like stems up the middle a little to allow for better water consumption. For Hydrangeas either dunk the head of the flower in water, or spray with a water spray daily as they drink from the head more than the stem. 
Amanda Austin's store on Kings Rd
If you are unsure of what type of flower arrangement will suit you and your home, have a think as to the aesthetics and designs - outside of flowers - you enjoy. As a rule of thumb, if you are more 'country' then an arrangement with more greenery will work for you, but if you are more 'city' in your aesthetic choices then less greenery and more flowers will work. Honestly, I think I am a hybrid of the two! I love a lot of the elements of the country, but aesthetically I lean towards a city vibe. 

Once Amanda had demonstrated, our class was invited to chose a style of bouquet to try their hand at. I chose to create a dark rose bouquet with  wild-looking violet-hued flowers, and deep Wintery tones. We used flower oasis to create our arrangements - not nearly as scary as it looks! Following the Dice Method every one's bouquets quickly came to life, and it was so lovely to see how, although all following the same instructions, we all injected our own personality in to our take-homes. 

My Wintery bouquet is now taking pride of place on my coffee table, and I am so excited to keep up with the tips and tricks Amanda taught us for future bouquets!
My finished bouquet!
Now taking pride of place at home!

Amanda rounded up our class with a final note of advice: "there should always be enough space for the butterflies to land". Such a beautiful sentiment, and one which wholly conveys this warm, lovely business and the team behind it. 

Are you guys going to try your hand at your own DIY arrangement? If so, do you think you are more Country or City?!

I am still catching up with all of our news, business and pics from New York but now we are over the jet lag hurdle (so hard on the way back?!) I can't wait to write it all up and share with you guys!

Have an awesome day all!

Love, 

MB x

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Blue Accents | NYC

Leather Jacket (Worn Underneath): Karen Millen | Sleeveless Coat: Karen Millen | Scarf: Becksondergaard c/o | Jeans: Frame c/o + Similar | Trainers: Nike + Similar | Bag: Russell & Bromley Old + Similar | Hat: Similar + Similar 

With all the short-haul flights I've taken this year - and the prerequisite accompanying hand luggage only - I’ve become pretty savvy at packing light. Perhaps you'll understand my excitement then at the prospect of a long-haul flight with hold luggage for NYC! Packing heavy?! Bring. It. On. 

Before Ols and I left for New York, I hunted around for NY-appropriate items. I wanted to look polished, and felt that if any city was deserved of dressing up, it's New York. One store in particular came up trumps: Karen Millen. Seriously, A/W perfection! If you haven’t visited Karen Millen recently, get yourself in to a store, or online, pronto. Karen Millen have been repositioning themselves for the past few years, and I feel they’ve come full circle. They are rocking it. 


Some of my favourite Karen Millen pieces right now include the much coveted sleeveless coat, this sassy disco blazer and this snake print dress, all of which came with me to NY. Each of these pieces are easy mix n’ match items, and come in colours which are both fun and Winter friendly. Disclaimer: this is not a sponsored post, I’m just genuinely head over heels for Karen Millen right now! Total #BrandCrush. 

If you should find yourself in London soon, you MUST visit the Karen Millen Brompton St store. The recently revamped space is one of my favourite destination stores in London. The interiors are beautiful, and totally remind me of what a shopping experience should be - luxe but not alienating. The Brompton St store also hosts a fabulous Karen Millen Atelier where you can have certain Karen Millen items custom made, or customised. I was lucky enough to become the proud owner of one of the Brompton clutch bags which was custom dyed in an evergreen hue for me. Unfortunately the clutch service is no longer available however there are new customisable items per season, and I can whole heartedly attest to the Atelier’s quality. 

OK so Karen Millen fan-girling aside. I wore this grey and blue look on our penultimate date in New York. Oli and I walked from Soho, across the Williamsburg bridge, and on into Brooklyn. The day was perfectly sunny and the wind was cuttingly cold. I honestly felt SO invigorated by our entire time in NYC, I was just grinning like a madwoman most of the time. Given that it was so freezing on our visit, and we were walking every where, I ended up wearing my Nike trainers, and the sleeveless gray Karen Millen jacket most days. 

Yes, despite the large hold luggage allowance.

| Shop The Look | 


Now that we are back home, I am having a blast checking out all of our photos, and planning our next NY visit - we can’t wait to go back!

I’ve still got so much to share with you, but for now, I'm headed to a couple of early Christmas store events - back in London! 

Have an awesome day all!

Love, 

MB x

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Coming Home

Oli and I at our friend's wedding earlier this year

Ols and I returned from NYC on Monday morning, and have been basking in two days of extra holiday since.

Extra holiday?! Say what?!

Let me explain . . .  prior to this year, when we both began to work full time for ourselves, we used to return from a trip away, and head straight back to work. We would often choose the latest possible flight - theoretically, prolonging our holiday - and then spend the remainder of the week in a jet-lagged, post-holiday-zombie-like haze. Not good for us. Not great for work either.

I know it seems counter intuitive, and even indulgent, to tag on an extra day (or two!) of rest following a break away, especially as holiday time is so precious when you have an allocated amount per year, but we've found that having a lie-in and re-setting your body clock allows you to work better once you do head into the office, and it helps with the shock/commiseration of coming home.

One day would be enough I imagine, however Ols and I took an extra one yesterday as we celebrated our six year anniversary!

*Pause for big goofy grin*

Given that we had such an incredible - busy - time in NYC, we were both chuffed as chips to curl up in bed for a jet-lag-induced lie in, head to breakfast in our favourite local haunt, and lounge the day away.

I have SO much more to fill you guys in on from New York, but for the moment I'll just say this: we have had the most incredible time away, completely re-inspired our thought patterns, and seen so many great friends and places, but coming back to our little apartment and celebrating six years together, has reconfirmed how wonderful being home is too.

Hope you guys have all had a great start to your weeks! Can't wait to share more from NYC!

Love, 

MB xx
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