Thursday, 2 December 2010

Chanel Dinner - December 2010

On 1st December, a lucky selection of friends and clients of Chanel were invited to a St Tropez themed evening at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Although the invitation (pictured) specified a St Tropez dress code, the December snow proved too much for the guests and the usual black fail-safe outfits were out in abundance.

The evening began with some delicious canapés (my personal favourite - the incredibly long, thin cheese straws). We were then led through to the dining area, decked out with small round tables and complete with a cocktail bar and special wallpaper of the original Cruise 2010/2011 fashion show (which took place in St Tropez...hence the theme!).

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader - A Royal Premiere

On 30 November 2010, I was lucky enough to attend the Royal premiere of the latest Narnia film, Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It was a truly special evening. Not only had Leicester Square been transformed with old-fashioned lamp-posts but the swirling snowflakes transported the red carpet straight to Narnia!

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Strip waxing boutique

O-M-to-the-G! I have finally found my favourite waxing spot. I have been to many many waxing salons over the years on my quest for the perfect wax. There are some other commendable ones out there, which I will mention in another post, but for now I must tell you all about this fantastic hair removal boutique!

First, the rooms: each is themed to a particular type of wax that Strip uses. I was taken to the Chocolate room, which is decorated with gold and brown striped wallpaper and gold-gilt framed pictures of partly unwrapped chocolate bars! There is also a small plasma TV in each room, which is a great distraction from the waxing process and a good ice-breaker for anyone embarrassed by stripping off in front of their beautician! I watched Date Night during my wax, which was hilarious and provided some conversation with my beautician, Samantha. The other rooms include Berry, Olive and Manifico (for men).

Friday, 22 October 2010

The 54th BFI Film Festival - Two Gates of Sleep

Two Gates of Sleep is beautifully shot, zooming in on Nature's intricate details, then panning out to bright cloudy skies. The dialogue is sparse so that each word counts, as with poetry. Despite the short script, Brady Corbet and David Call still manage to portray a vast amount of information and insight into their characters' lives.

In the film, Corbet and Call play two brothers living in a remote shack on the Louisiana-Mississippi border. The second half of the film is taken up with the emotionally and physically tiring journey of the two brothers carrying their mother's coffin to lay her to rest in the woods. The title's reference to Homer's Odyssey highlights the difference between the two brothers and how they deal with their mother's death.  

The director, Alistair Banks Griffin, referenced Japanese and French cinema of the 50s and 60s as his inspiration. This may all sound far too pretentious and 'arty farty' for some readers but this film is certainly worth seeing for the cinematography alone.


AB x

Thursday, 21 October 2010


The Ladurée tea room at the back of Harrods is an elegant Parisian haven in the heart of London. Their light sandwiches with neat stacks of thick-cut chips are delightful for girly lunches.

It is their macaroons, though, that are truly iconic. Delicate and full of flavour, with perfectly creamy centres, Ladurée macaroons are heavenly. Rows and rows of the divine sweets are lined up behind the counter in the shop. Pistachio, rose, liquorice or vanilla - the choice is endless but whichever you choose I can assure you it will melt in your mouth in a burst of flavour.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

The 54th BFI London Film Festival - The Great White Silence

The Great White Silence - a film telling the story of Captain Scott's team's heroic 1910 expedition to the South Pole - was debuted at the Gala Archive night. As is tradition with silent films, the viewing featured live music from Simon Fisher Turner's new score featuring Simon Fisher Turner, the Elysian Quartet, David Coulter and Alexander L'Estrange.

This film was painstakingly restored by the BFI archive team in conjunction with the Discovery Channel, exactly as requested in the cameraman and director Herbert Ponting's original 1924 edit. Ponting went to courageous (and often, downright crazy) lengths to provide the English public with never-before-seen footage. The film features slides of text from his notes and diary, including detailed information on Scott and his team's tragic journey, the team's fantastic sense of humour as well as awesome footage of the icy landscape and its incredible inhabitants. I learned a huge amount about the lifestyle of the Adélie penguins and the Antarctic seals.

The film is due to be released on DVD and shown on the Discovery Channel in 2011. Not only is the film fascinating and moving but I think we owe it to Scott, his team and Ponting to see this film to benefit from the footage from the expedition for which the Polar Team sacrificed their lives.


AB x

Saturday, 16 October 2010

The 54th BFI Film Festival - I Am Kalam

I Am Kalam is a heart-warming film with an important message. Based on the traditional tale of the Prince and the Pauper, Nila Madhab Panda's film tells the story of a poor boy, working in a road-side chai stall, with a humble dream: to go to school.

The film is backed by the NGO Smile and profits will go to the excellent cause of Indian's education system.

Madhab Panda was incredibly humble when he kindly stayed behind after the film to hear comments and answer questions. He was also commendably cheery, despite having had to mortgage and subsequently sell his house to fund the film. It certainly has the AB stamp of approval - spread the word!


AB x

The 54th BFI London Film Festival - Conviction

This October marks the 54th annual British Film Institute Festival. For two weeks every Autumn, the BFI showcases a fantastic range of films, including incredible selections from its archive.

Conviction was the first one in my diary for this year's festival. Hilary Swank's commendable performance resulted in a deeply moving film. Conviction is based on a true story of a man, Kenny Waters, jailed for 18 years for a crime he did not commit. His sister (Swank) devotes her life to freeing him and, after qualifying as a lawyer, she believes she has found the answer. I do not want to spoil the plot as I urge you to see this for yourselves!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

The Low-Down: Liquid Eyeliner

I L-O-V-E liquid eye liner. I was doing the flick way before Amy Winehouse came on the scene and it crept onto the catwalk (remember Chanel's models with their dreamy fly-away beehives and thickly lined feline eyes back in 2007? It's pictured below in case you don't!). As with mascara application, I am a firm believer that anyone can learn to do great make-up if they familiarise themselves with their facial features. I first started experimenting with eye liner when I was about 13/14 years old because I had to do stage make-up for ballet performances. It was a disaster so I bought one pink and one lilac kohl pencil eye liner from MAC to practise with. These were both beautiful with my green eyes and were much better to play around with as mistakes weren't so obvious.

I did not master the art of applying liquid eye liner until a fellow dancer told me her technique (which I explain below). Since then, I have often gone back to the classic flick for a night out. I have stayed loyal to Rimmel's liquid eye liners (it was the first I tried) but also use Shiseido's in grey. A friend uses YSL's so I can vouch for theirs too. I do not think this is something you need to splash out on, though. 

Do test before you purchase by drawing a line across the back of your hand (not on your face - you don't know where it's been!!). The line should be opaque and glossy. Many will come out grainy, blotchy or too dilute. I also recommend that you get an eye liner with an applicator like a felt-tip and not a brush. These are much easier to handle and, because of their tapered shape, allow you to draw a better line and control the thickness.


The hand-shake is a universal greeting and our nails are one of the first things that people notice about us. Today I will explain exactly how to care for your nails and I'll also share with you some of the best products on the market.

For those of you lucky enough to have the budget for regular manicures and pedicures (the ideal being monthly full-on services and a weekly file/polish change). The Nail Station on York Street (near Baker Street tube station) is great. Do be careful if your nail technician tries to use metal tools, particularly cuticle clippers. I find these can sometimes make my delicate nail beds bleed!! Also take note of or ask about their tool-cleaning methods - some salons re-use soaking water. Yuck! I am not a fan of Nails Inc, but they do have handy in-store nail bars at Harvey Nichols, Topshop etc. 

AB's Delicious Blueberry Sponge

 I am not the kind of cook who diligently follows a recipe gram for gram. I prefer to taste, feel and sometimes guess my way to culinary success. I inherited this cooking style from my mother, who is such a domestic goddess, she makes Nigella look like a novice.

My cakes are highly acclaimed so I thought I would share this particular one with you, as it went down particularly well (and fast, which you can tell by the fact I didn't even manage to get the whole cake in the photo, above!).

Three Times a Lady

Unless you've been living in a cave, it should not be news to you that lady-like fashion is BIG this season. It didn't come as a surprise: the moment Mad Men hit our screens I could sense it coming. The beautiful clothes and retro decor were even better than the mysterious plot lines.

My personal heroes this season are Louis Vuitton (above - doesn't Christie look amazing!? I NEED that dress!!) and Prada (right  - be still my beating heart...I am in shoe heaven and below). I can't get enough of LV's A/W10 campaign - all gorgeous full-skirted dresses and demure leather gloves. I'm all over Prada's collection: models pose with conservative yet sexy up-do's, decadent dresses featuring frilly detail at the bust and flirty but practical checked coats with fun button detailing.

I am made up of several fashion personalities: the demure lady; the chic androgynous gal; the glitter-loving, floral-print-wearing girl's girl; and the sexy senorita. Growing up, I yearned to wear all of the outfits I put together in my head yet found that often they were too old for my age. I am ecstatic that not only am I old enough for them now but also the demure lady in me is bang on the money this Autumn.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Knit Wits!

Wool is IN for A/W10. Dolce & Gabbana have given the classic Fair Isle sweater a revamp with their chalet-chic collection (see picture, left, courtesy of Net-A-Porter). Prada showed cosy over-sized jumpers cinched at the waist with skinny belts and placed woolly Alice bands over their models' volumised up do's (pictured below). So, my fashion darlings, I suggest you cast aside your preconceptions and get KNITTING!

Knitted gifts make fantastic presents. Not only will the lucky recipient be touched by the personal element and all the effort you went to but it's a good way to save pennies in these less-than-affluent times.

Now, I've been craftily inclined from a young age but I noticed a few years ago that knitting was catching on. Even celebrities started getting their needles out at every opportunity - I remember seeing pictures of SJP, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Uma Thurman knitting away between takes.

Mascaras - splurge

I was born with porcelain skin and light brown hair and so naturally am obsessed with mascara. Mascara gives my otherwise invisible lashes depth and defines my green eyes. I thought I would use my first post to share my opinion of the many, many mascaras out there that I have tested and also give a few tips on the application process.


Benefit's BADgal mascara is amazing. It does have a large brush so you may have problems applying it if you have small eyes (on this, see Dior, below). 

If, however, you are blessed with Bambi peepers like yours truly, then go for it! It's cheaper than the premium brands but gives excellent volume, length and curl. Although I haven't used it in a while (purely because I keep being given mascaras), I remember it being fantastic at maintaining the curl obtained using my trusty eyelash curlers. 

I would not recommend using this during the day, unless you go for the Kim Kardashian/ Cheryl Cole/ Eva Longoria uber glam, high-maintenance look 24/7.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Alexander McQueen A/W 2010

I was lucky enough to be invited by Net A Porter to their offices at Westfield shopping centre to an intimate viewing of Alexander McQueen's A/W 2010 collectible items. Net A Porter presented seven dresses in total, which will be available on their website at the end of October.

 Look 2 is a printed jacquard dress with bulletted duchesse skirt. The print was inspired by three paintings from Heironymus Bosch, 'Earthly Paradise', 'Garden of Earthly Delights', and, 'Musical Hell'. The metal sequin embroidery covering the bodice refernces Byzantine Mosaics.

My initial reaction was that the skirt reminded me of a combination of the curtain from my childhood dressing table and my university gown. I also thought the skirt was a few inches too low, and would cause a McDonalds effect to the posterior. However, after viewing the film of the catwalk presentation (screened for us by Net A Porter during the viewing), I realised that, of course, the skirt is placed perfectly. Any higher would be catastrophic for the hips.

Price £12,420.00