colour theory.

It’s July. I have a lot going on in July. First: my collection with navabi! I wanted to create a coherent capsule collection of wearable, everyday statement pieces that will look great together and when worn with neutrals. I’m so happy with how this collection has turned out, and I feel so lucky that I work somewhere that allows me to take part in such amazing projects with such talented people. I worked with my colleagues Janina and Julia in the design team to come up with the range, after creating numerous Pinterest boards to figure out what I wanted the collection to look like…

If you want to read more about the logic and thinking and context behind this collection, I did an interview with Marie Southard Ospina for Bustle, which is actually a great piece and I would recommend you read it here!

Below are some photos of my designs, modelled by yours truly, shot by my boss Dan Barker, who is not a professional photographer, and is in fact a marketing dude, yet somehow manages to make me look really nice in every photo he takes of me while also allowing me to look like my True Self.

But most importantly: you can shop the collection right here!

 

simple sunday.

There aren’t many things I look in my wardrobe and think ‘wow, I could really do with [insert item here]’, but a black t-shirt dress was one of them. I got paid on Friday and decided it was high time to rectify the shirt dress situation, so I picked up this one from Monki. I got it in an L which is now sold out but I feel like an M might work for smaller plus sizes. Or just do the old classic of adding the size you want to your saved items and watching like a hawk until one comes back in your size.

I love this dress because it’s so easy to wear and I can wear it all year round with different accessories, shoes, makeup, jewellery etc. Yesterday I wore it for lunch in Walthamstow and teamed it with my all-time favourite sandals from Dr Martens (I got them in 2014 and have never found a more useful summer shoe) and my new Tatty Devine name necklace.

Dress: Monki
Sandals: Dr Martens (also in white and tan)

My name necklace is the new pink pearl acrylic from Tatty Devine and I’m already getting so much joy out of it!

eating my way around London.

It’s no secret that I love eating in London. People often ask me for recommendations of where to eat out, so I thought I would compile a post on my favourite things to eat in this fair city. These aren’t necessarily my favourite restaurants or cafes, although there’s a lot of overlap, but more the things I take enormous joy in eating. Here goes…

Nduja pizza at Zia Lucia

Fate smiled on me when it decided I was going to work one road away from some of the finest pizza in London. There’s nothing I like more on a sunny day than turning to my boss around 1 o’clock and saying ‘… are you… hungry?’ and he knows what I’m really asking is ‘do you want to go to Zia Lucia and sit on a pavement table and spy on people and eat the nduja pizza?’. I love this pizza. I’ve had nduja pizzas at other places and honestly, Zia Lucia has spoiled me. I had one from Yard Sale in Walthamstow and was just like… where’s the nduja? I love that Zia Lucia never skimps on the toppings, or the flavour, and has some of the nicest staff in London.

Zia Lucia 

Tarte tatin at Brasserie Zedel

I really like going to Brasserie Zedel. It’s been the site of some really lovely evenings in my life. It feels special but not too fussy, and I feel like I always have a great time there. It’s in a super-central location and is in a space so huge you almost wonder how it can exist in London. Although I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve had there, I’m always saving the best ’til last. I’m much more into savoury food, but the tarte tatin at Zedel is just wonderful. It’s rich, delicious, caramelised, flavourful. I just adore it.

Brasserie Zedel

Hot wings at Chick’n’Sours

It’s no secret that I love Chick’n’Sours. I think people on social media think I have some kind of sponsorship deal with them, but the truth is, I went once in November 2015, and have just kept going back. I love it. I simply love it. I take everyone there and everyone leaves happy. The cocktails are brilliant. The fried chicken is brilliant. The blue cheese and buttermilk dip is brilliant. The chips are brilliant because they taste like Burger King chips used to taste. But most brilliant of all is the hot wings. I’m so not into the macho bullshit stuff of eating extremely hot food to prove how cool you are, but Jesus, these wings are something else. As well as being hot (but not too hot!), they are just like being punched in the tongue with flavour. They’re crunchy on the outside, juicy on the inside, extremely messy and absolutely incredible. Get involved.

Chick’n’sours

 

Wiener Holstein at the Delaunay

If I could only eat one genre of food for the rest of my life, I would probably choose the kind of food you get served at Brasserie Zedel and the Delaunay. French-Austrian-grand cafe food. Unfussy, heavy, satisfying. I love my very occasional trips to the Delaunay. It’s got a beautiful interior, a menu of exactly the kind of food I like, and feels so special. It’s also home to one of my favourite menu items in London: schnitzel. They’re huge, covering the whole plate (I’ve only just learned that there’s no need for a side, because I will not have room), and the one I particularly love is served with anchovies and a fried egg. It’s just so utterly wonderful it makes me wonder why schnitzel is not on the menu in more places. This is the most expensive item in this post, which is why the Delaunay falls into the category of strictly the most special occasions.

The Delaunay

Lychee tea at Biju

I’m never sure what constitutes authentic bubble tea, so I’m just going to call this ‘lychee iced tea with jelly bits’. It’s light, refreshing, fun to suck the jellies through the big straw, and, lifehack: the lids are vacuum-sealed on after the drinks are made so these are perfect to buy at the shop on Old Compton Street and sneak into one of the nearby cinemas for refreshment, because you can put it in your bag and it won’t leak until you stab the lid with a straw.

Biju

Ganbian chaomian at Etles

Silk Road in Camberwell is a famously great home of cheap London eating. I would happily trek down to Camberwell for dinner, but now I don’t have to. In Walthamstow, where I live, there’s a restaurant that does food from the same region to similarly high standards but without the queue, without the rush, without the slight feeling of stress that always tinges a Silk Road visit. Etles on Hoe Street is my favourite place to eat in Walthamstow, and my favourite thing to eat there is the ganbian chaomian, which is beautiful, springy noodles served with beef. It doesn’t sound super exciting but the flavours are just wonderful, and it’s so satisfying. I honestly can’t recommend Etles enough, and I feel so lucky to have it in my neighbourhood. If you want to read more about the food of this region, have a look here.

Etles

Breakfast at the Regency Cafe

I say ‘breakfast’ but I really mean everything. I could probably eat every meal at the Regency and be happy. But, I love breakfast, and as I elaborate in great detail in this piece I wrote and performed for Voices At The Table last week, I have very specific desires when it comes to breakfast. The Regency is the best place to fulfil those desires. It can be slightly stressful if you try to go on a weekend morning, or if you get to the counter without knowing what you want, or if you don’t get cash out before you go, but if you play the Regency game right, you will have the most delightful morning. One of the happiest London moments was when I bumped into one of my best friends at the Regency having breakfast with an American friend visiting London as I was having breakfast with a different American visiting London. Truly bringing people together. Oh, and Marco, the loud shouting man with a beautiful head of grey hair, is one of the greatest men in London.

The Regency Cafe

Roasted red plum ice cream at Gelupo

One of my favourite things to do in life, yes, in my whole life, is to go to Gelupo, buy ice cream, walk down Archer Street and sit on the round bench outside Ham Yard Hotel (my favourite place to drink a cocktail in central London, by the way). Sitting on the bench, I get to watch lots of interesting people coming and going from the hotel, sometimes famous people, mostly not famous people, sometimes people I know, mostly no one I know. It’s just a lovely courtyard space that’s perfect for sitting on summer nights. If I’ve ever sat in Ham Yard with you, eating ice cream or drinking bubble tea, it means I probably think you’re cool and special. The ice cream I like to eat there is Gelupo’s roasted red plum, which is a rarity on the menu but when it’s there, it’s just the best thing in the world. If it’s not there, I’ll happily go for any other fruit flavour. Gelupo is much better to eat outside than in the slightly cramped, brightly-lit shop, but the ice creams and sorbets are A+.

Gelupo

Salt beef bagel at Beigel Bake

I honestly and truly do not care if you like going to the yellow bagel place on Brick Lane or the white bagel place on Brick Lane. Personally, I go to the white one, because it’s the one I used to go to with my dad when I was little, and old habits die hard. Either way, if I could only eat one last thing from anywhere in London before I die, I would want it to be one of their salt beef bagels. Enormous, delicious, too big for my tiny mouth, and less than FIVE ENGLISH POUNDS, they are a true work of art.

Turnip cake at Joy King Lau

Dim sum is one of life’s greatest pleasures, and my favourite place in London to indulge that is Joy King Lau. I don’t know if it’s the best place, but Chinatown is kind of overwhelming with options, so it’s become my default place. My favourite thing on the menu is this, a greasy crispy delicious concoction that I honestly can’t get enough of. I know I’ve done a terrible job of listing meat-free dishes in this post and this is no exception, because it comes studded with little bits of sausage. Delicious.

Joy King Lau

Tonkotsu ramen at Tonkotsu

If you’ve followed me for two years, you’ll remember the horrible accident I had in Tonkotsu one night. I won’t go into details, but I had an accident involving a chair and my nail, and it was thoroughly unpleasant. Even that wasn’t enough to put me off. I go for the big, satisfying bowl of Tonkotsu ramen with delicious pork belly and the tastiest broth imaginable. This is what I will be eating for dinner tonight.

Tonkotsu

Any cake at Maison Bertaux

It’s a real institution. I don’t go as much as I used to, but Maison Bertaux has been such a happy part of my adult life. Year-round, I know there’s a place in Soho that I can sit and read and meet friends and eat cake and that there will be lots of interesting people to spy on and that I’ll have lots of sugary tea and a cake filled with cream or chocolate. I once left a pavement table without paying and went back in a panic the next day because the thought of getting barred from Maison Bertaux was too horrible to contemplate.

Maison Bertaux

Plot twist.

I feel like there was a point maybe two years ago where I kind of plateau-ed in terms of beauty and makeup: I figured out what finishes and products and shades I liked, and since then my makeup has been pretty consistently great. But that doesn’t mean I’m not still learning, so I thought I’d do a short post about three beauty plot twists that have occurred for me this year…

Cool tones look great on me

Based on absolutely nothing in particular, I got it into my head that I could only wear warm tones. Maybe it’s because of my green eyes and the way that warm, burnt reds and oranges look amazing on them. But I discovered this year that cool tones, especially highlighters, are totally delightful on me. On holiday in LA, I let a Sephora makeup artist put Becca Prismatic Amethyst highlighter on me (because why not) and I was totally taken aback by how well it worked on me. It blends into my skin better than warm-toned highlighters, and it feels like it really lights my skin from within. I’ve also got really into cold brown lipsticks like MAC Stone, MAC Antique Velvet and Illamasqua Moth (as I mentioned in my lipstick greatest hits post!)

The evidence: MAC Stone lipstick

Becca Prismatic Amethyst highlighter

 

I can deviate from my foundation

Once I figured out that I have dehydrated skin and that everything I put on it needs to be adding moisture, glow and radiance, I’ve really settled on wearing Nars Sheer Glow foundation. I repurchase it when it runs out and considered myself totally faithful to it. But I ran out recently and I’m trying to be more vigilant at living within my means. So instead of just coughing up for a new Nars foundation, I borrowed a foundation from my mum, who had ordered it online and not ended up liking it. Hers was from Beauty Pie, and if you’re a member, it costs less than £5. I was expecting to use it for a week and hate every minute until I got paid and could afford to replace my Nars. But payday came and went, and I was still using the Beauty Pie (which was one sixth of the price). It does everything I want it to: great coverage, never cakey, never drying, luminous, radiant, balanced. And for a fraction of the price that I was paying before.

The evidence: Nars Sheer Glow

Beauty Pie Everyday Great Skin foundation

I CAN wear liquid eyeliner

It took me a long time to figure out that the reason I have to work hard to make eyeshadow seen on my eyes is that I have hooded eyes. Maybe this was why I always struggled with liquid liner, but I also think most liquid liners are not ergonomically designed and are generally quite hard to use. As well as this, I find that having long nails means it can be hard to apply stuff accurately. All that changed when I bowed to pressure and tried the Kat Von D Tattoo Liner. People had told me about it time and time again, and I just hadn’t bothered. Liquid eyeliner was for other people after all. But one day, again in Sephora, I picked one up and swiped it across my lid, perfectly ready to take the whole lot off when I made a mess. But I didn’t. In one stroke it gave me a straight, even line. I bought it on the spot and, out of 20+ applications, have only messed up once when I was particularly stressed and in a rush. I’m converted.

The evidence: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner in Trooper

 

And that’s that! If there’s other beauty stuff you want me to write about, just tweet me!

Also going to do another plug for my podcast, which I’m just loving so hopefully you will do.

feeling myself.

I’m kind of stressed at the moment. I feel like I have a lot going on, which is exactly how I like it, but when stuff doesn’t go my way or projects are slowed down by stuff I can’t control, I end up feeling really wound up. Sometimes that translates into feeling dissatisfied with my appearance, but I’m relieved to report that today, my makeup went right, my outfit looked great and I feel in control of at least one thing.

I’m wearing the ASOS Curve jumpsuit. It’s extremely sold out but I managed to nab one by keeping an eagle eye on my saved items and when one came back in my size, I pounced. This tactic has never let me down yet! I was worried that this jumpsuit was going to look bad on me because I have big hips that I thought would be uncontainable by this material, but it honestly fits perfectly. Blessed!

Jumpsuit: ASOS Curve (thirsty for jumpsuits in general? ASOS has loads I want)
Sneakers: Evans
Necklace: Tatty Devine (old season)

On my lips is the brilliant Colourpop matte liquid lipstick in Mars…

One of the things I’ve been working on, that I am at liberty to discuss, is my new podcast! It’s called Hello Friend and it’s just me talking to all (or at least some of) the interesting people I know, trying to get a legitimate forum in which to ask people questions about themselves and their lives and their work (which is my literal favourite thing).

So, here’s the link to the podcast, and please listen + subscribe wherever you get your podcasts!