Thursday, 30 September 2010

A Weekend in Leeds

First stop, the Victoria Quarter Arcade and my favourite shop Rose & Co. It is a vintage style apothecary selling lots of traditional tinctures and remedies as well as lots of sweet smelling toiletries. Downstairs is a boudoir full of vintage-style clothing and lingerie. The staff are dressed in old-style uniforms, my favourite was the vintage rockabilly girl with amazing tattoos

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A peer through the Mulberry window at a treasure trove of handbags

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I can't remember which boutique this was (possibly Thomas Sabo) but it had a very pretty display of jewellery

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The All Saints window displays are the same around the country I think, featuring lots of old sewing machines

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A beautiful flower shop at the entrance of the Victoria Quarter

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The Corn Exchange is another 'shopping mall' and another beautiful Victorian building. I remember being here one New Year's Eve many years ago when it was turned into a nightclub, it was a lot of fun and a fabulous venue. Meanwhile, during the day it has lots of little boutique units and a lovely restaurant in the basement. I loved the detail on the pink dress which was clothed on a mannequin outside one of the boutiques, although I can't imagine at what kind of event I would ever have an occasion to wear it. I ended up buying only this pink fan

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There were so many sweet treats that took my eye - candies, cupcakes, chocolates, ice-cream... mmmm....

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We went into Harvey Nichols department store for a Strawberry Champagne cocktail to drink alongside some marinated olives and honey roasted cashews. I also bought some boxes of Japanese sweet snacks from the Food Hall, I really love foreign packaging, especially Japanese

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And finally, the view from our hotel window, reminding us of the major industrial player Leeds once was.

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Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Wrist Warmers

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I was hugely influenced by Sandra Juto's Wrist Worms, when deciding to try and find a pattern on the internet to crochet some myself. I had already bought two pairs of arm warmers in the ASOS sale at the end of last winter, so was sure that they would be easy enough to make.

I managed to find a 'Beginner' pattern and used some Aran yarn that I already had, which I used with a 6mm Brittany hook. I'm very pleased with the outcome. I'm thinking it would be a nice touch to crochet three little buttons to run up the side of each arm but I haven't got around to that yet. Also, I'm interested to see how they will turn out by using a different yarn, hook and stitch.

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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Ocean Lemonade

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I was very excited to have been invited to the show and presentation of Family Affair's Spring/Summer 11 collection 'Ocean Lemonade' at NYFW earlier this month. Of course, being based in the UK and with no immediate plans for a trip to NYC, I was unable to go.

I absolutely adore every piece of this newly discovered label - feminine, whimsical and with delightful details, I have enjoyed very much seeing their growing popularity around the internet lately. Rebecca of The Clothes Horse did a delightful post on her visit, I think possibly my most favourite-ever post of hers, which made me fall in love with the collection even more. So I was very grateful to Nina for supplying me with these photographs so that I could feel as though I had been there, despite missing out. I hope you enjoy them too...

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All photos by Nami Tarimuro

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Autumn

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Autumn is my absolute favourite season. I'm not much of a summer person, I really don't like the sun too much, instead preferring the mid seasons of Autumn and Spring rather than the extreme elements of Summer and Winter.

And so, as everyone around me seems to have been clinging on to the final days of Summer with sandals and lightweight clothing, I have been embracing thoughts of cosy cardigans, wooly mittens and snuggly cowls. As we are now, from 23rd September, officially into autumn, I can properly get excited for all things Autumnal.

Autumn makes me want to eat pumpkin soup with thick crusty bread, drink Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes (do we get these in the UK? - I do hope so!), eat this pumpkin ice-cream and make these pumpkin chocolate chip muffins. And the US always seem to get fantastic alternative food and drinks, like these - maybe pumpkins haven't quite caught on in the UK yet.

What do you like about Autumn... is it your favourite season too?

Tabio Slideshow

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Now you know I love Tabio. I'm a big tights wearer - you have to be when you wear lots of dresses - and in fact I don't wear any other hosiery, I'm very loyal to this brand. They have every product going to satisfy my hosiery needs.

So when the lovely Ayu from Tabio pointed me in the direction of their new short video, I had to share it with you. I saw it also presented on Kansairetro - one of my favourite blogs of the moment. Click here to see it!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Malmaison - Leeds

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Last weekend, I visited the West Yorkshire city of Leeds in the UK. A couple of hours drive from where I live, makes it an easy-to-get-to city-break. I love to visit different cities to see what they have to offer. By no means my first stay, it had still been a number of years since the last time, so it was a refreshing change.

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The hotel I stayed in this time, was Malmaison. A sister hotel of the Hotel du Vin chain, this is another favourite, which I often go to in my Newcastle upon Tyne home town. I like very much the design, and as a lover of detail, this chain of hotels very much delivers. They offer comfort and style in relaxing surroundings with enticing furnishing in vibrant hues and plush fabrics.

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As luxurious as hotels can look and feel, for some reason I never sleep too well in them. I think it's the unfamiliar surroundings and little noises that remind me I am not in my own home. But although I still slept lightly, I must say that this bed was the most comfortable I have ever stayed in - it was so cosy!

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After dropping off our bags and having a quick look around the room (does anyone but me get totally excited over the mini toiletries?), we then went back down to Reception to learn that there was a 'Home Grown & Local' Farmer's Market on in the hotel. Not at all what you would expect from a boutique hotel such as Malmaison but what a novel idea, having what I would imagine as a captive audience from hotel guests with a high chance of being 'foodies'.

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The restaurant was decorated with a scarecrow at the entrance, hay on the floor and the most delicious array of fresh breads, cheeses, meats, fruit and vegetables. There was a table for the cocktail lover and a tray of canapes to nibble on over a glass of fruit punch. This set us up very well for the afternoon before heading out for shopping and cocktails.

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By the time our dinner reservation came around, thankfully the straw had been cleared away and we sat down to a lovely dinner in the cosy and intimate restaurant. We enjoyed starters of Tomato Consomme with English Mozzarella, Tomato Tartare and Creamed Brie, Apple & Salted Pecans. The main course was Salmon & Maldon Smoked Salmon Hash and Slow Cooked Guinea Fowl Breast with Summer Vegetables and a side order of Cauliflower & Bacon Mornay. My desert was definitely the best part of the meal for me, Chocolate & Muscavado Cake with Bourbon Ice-cream, so good in fact that I took absolutely no notice of my friend's, so I can't even tell you what the other one was! Again, due to dim lighting, I don't have much photographic evidence for you - but let me tell you, it was good.

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After our meal, we ended up having a coffee in the bar area with lots of girly chatter. And like the OAP's we are, just stayed right there in the comfort of the hotel, rather than attempt to hit the town on a chilly autumnal night. This did mean though that we were fresh the next day to enjoy a wonderful cooked breakfast and even more shopping. The hotel is only a 5-10 minute walk from all of the shops, bars, restaurants etc, so if you're looking for a central hotel in a metropolitan city - this is the one for you.

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