17 September 2018

Vintage Pink

Goodwood Revival

It should come as no surprise I have a penchant for pink. The precise moment it became my new favourite colour eludes me, although at some point last summer, I had definitely decided it would be a fabulous idea to purchase a pale pink suit, then take photographs of said suit in an über-trendy, pink basement bar.

So when I stumbled upon a pair of opal pink Ray-Ban sunglasses on EyeWearThese, it made perfect sense that they should complete my flamingo-inspired ensemble. Although the online eyewear retailer had plenty of other popular brands and designs to choose from (especially since I fancied a very different style to my existing Ray-Ban Clubmasters), there had been little doubt my passion for pink would be upstaged by anything else.

I was made doubly happy knowing EyeWearThese also provided prescription lenses, which, given the company's history as working opticians, I had hoped would be the case. Nonetheless, it's too often a shame I come across a pair of super-snazzy sunglasses, only to then learn the brand or retailer in question doesn't offer the option of a prescription. I think we can all agree it's much more pleasant to see the world in HD quality. In the case of my new sunglasses, the world also comes with a rose-tinted filter.

Soon after my sunglasses arrived, I was eager to take my pink outfit for a spin. When Lizzie kindly invited me to Goodwood Revival earlier this month (where guests are encouraged to dress in vintage attire), I knew I had all the necessary pieces for a 70s-inspired ensemble - pink River Island suit, pink sunglasses, and a blue floral shirt from Hawes & Curtis. Yet nothing prepared me for the excitement of discovering the All Things Hair pop-up salon would match my outfit flawlessly. Please don't mind me, ladies, while I set up my self-timer and perch nonchalantly beneath this hair-dryer. It was style blogger serendipity.


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Ray-Ban sunglasses courtesy of EyeWearThese.com, however all views are my own

12 September 2018

DragWorld 2018

Farrah Moan - DragWorld UK 2018

It's September - I've moved back in with my parents to save for a house, my possessions are currently occupying two bedrooms, and there are cats everywhere I turn. I also have time again to focus on my blog (hooray!), time previously spent trundling up and down the A3 and sighing at traffic jams. And with London Fashion Week fast approaching, the prospect of sifting through a thousand-plus runway photos doesn't seem quite as daunting.

Another runway I've come to love is the drag show kind. Since my friends and I became obsessed with RuPaul's world-renowned reality show, I've begun exploring drag artistry both within and outside the Drag Race bubble. Because what stuck with me most from my hours glued to Netflix wasn't the challenges or lipsync battles, it was the often amazing transformations from man to queen - the fashion, the make-up, and the drag personas.

DragWorld at Olympia London was the perfect occasion to explore drag culture in person. There were numerous meet-and-greet opportunities, panel talks covering all aspects of drag, and back-to-back stage performances. I was especially eager to meet the stunning UK queens (Cheddar Gorgeous, Anna Phylactic and Meth to name just a few), who serve as an important reminder that drag has never been exclusive to America or reality television. And as far as looks went, might I be bold in saying theirs were unequivocally more eccentric than those of their Drag Race counterparts?

Combining inspiration from drag and makeup artists alike with my own personal quandary of gender identity, I had hoped this summer to reveal my very own drag persona. Regrettably however, a private début among close friends highlighted I still had significant "glowing up" to do, therefore many weekends have since been spent practicing make-up techniques, and - perhaps more importantly - finding a style of drag that is comfortable for me. I picked up plenty of new ideas from the queens of DragWorld, so please expect at least one drag-inspired look from my upcoming Fashion Week frolics. Provided, of course, I don't smudge my contour with my camera.



Cheddar Gorgeous - DragWorld UK 2018 Joshua Hubbard - DragWorld UK 2018 Jinkx Monsoon - DragWorld UK 2018 Anna Phylactic - DragWorld UK 2018 Alaska Thunderfuck 5000 - DragWorld UK 2018 Ginger Minj - DragWorld UK 2018 Meth The Drag Queen - DragWorld UK 2018

13 August 2018

Budapest

Budapest

After passing through Vienna and Bratislava, the Danube meanders lazily through the Hungarian capital, dividing what had famously been two separate cities - Buda on the western shore, and Pest on the east. Although seemingly small, Budapest is a truly handsome city, rich in architecture, history and culture. It's the kind you can lose yourself in, without much chance of physically getting lost.

Mine and Lizzie's Airbnb accommodation was conveniently located off the UNESCO listed Andrássy Avenue in District VI, which connects Erzsébet Square in the inner city with the Városliget (City Park). As such, it provided easy walking distance to many of Budapest's landmarks, as well as the fabled ruin bars of District VII.

Crossing the Széchenyi Chain Bridge into Buda, our first full day was spent exploring the historic Castle District, which overlooks the rest of the city from its hilltop perch. North of Buda Castle, cobbled streets lined with pastel townhouses lead us to the magnificent Matthias Church, splendorously adorned with brightly coloured roof tiles. A stroll southward then takes us back past the Castle and down into its formal gardens, eventually returning to the western bank of the Danube. 

Budapest Budapest Budapest Budapest Budapest

After descending Castle Hill, I then decided the next best thing would be to climb another, because I apparently enjoy punishing my friends with exercise. In all seriousness, I do forget that not everyone posesses the same grace of a mountain goat as myself, nor my mad inclinations to overexert oneself in the name of exploration. That all being said, Lizzie did admit the stunning views of Budapest from atop Gellért Hill were very much worth the gruelling 235m ascent in thirty-degree heat.

As we ventured back to our apartment for a well-deserved shower and rest, we paused en-route to explore Budapest's Great Market Hall, sited on the Pest end of the Liberty Bridge. If you enjoy pottering about Borough Market in South London, or The Covered Market in Oxford, you will find yourself immersed in this maze of stalls selling fresh produce, pastries, spirits, spices and souvenirs.

Later on, we took to the inner city in search of dinner. Aided by TripAdvisor recommendations, Lizzie and I were quick to discover that great food isn't difficult to come by in Budapest, and much of it is reasonably priced. A generous serving of tiger prawns - flambéed in Blood Orange Cointreau, might I add - at Bottega di Brontolo was swiftly followed by a cheese board and Hungarian wine tasting at Doblo wine bar.

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Day Two was significantly more relaxed - at least to the point that we avoided any more hills. Lizzie and I walked the opposite direction along Andrássy Avenue, past palatial Neo-Renaissance houses towards the City Park and Széchenyi Thermal Baths, hoping its temperate waters would alleviate the aches and stiffness we had earned from yesterday's inadvertent workout. Naturally, we failed to appreciate that Andrássy Avenue is a fairly long and straight street, therefore we were doubly in need of recuperation upon changing into our respective bathing suit and swim shorts.

The outdoor lagoon was indeed a welcome retreat from the hubbub beyond its walls, even with dark clouds threatening to break above us. After a couple of hours to warm our bones (and turn our fingertips to the likeness of sultanas), we then wandered across the park to Vajdahunyad Castle, which - although only built in 1896 - could have been lifted from the pages of a fairytale. Given I work at an architectural practice, I ought to have acknowledged the purposeful mix of classical styles used in its construction, but to tell the truth, my mind was filled with Tale As Old As Time when wandering below its spired turrets. Let's face it, English castles simply don't have the same romantic qualities as their European equivalents.

In the evening, Lizzie and I boarded a river boat to explore the remainder of Budapest from the water. Before grey clouds finally drew across the sky, we were fortunate enough to witness the Hungarian Parliament Building bathed in gold from the setting sun. A marvel of the Gothic Revival movement, it stands proudly and elegantly on the eastern bank of the Danube. Catching the last of the sunlight, it was a beautiful moment to conclude our short break in this charming city.

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1 June 2018

ICA Cheese & Wine Evening

ICA Cheese & Wine Evening

It was an exceptionally warm evening in South London, and as Maddy and I climbed the stairwell to a Southwark loft space, the unmistakable aroma of cheese wafted down to us. Our noses eagerly followed the scent to what I can only describe as a banquet, set up for a guest list of insatiable food bloggers.

Arranged by the International Cheese Awards, the evening was quite literally a taste of the main event to be held in Nantwich this summer, encouraging us foodies to sample award-winning cheeses from the UK and abroad. Following a welcome prosecco and introduction to the Awards from Chairman Chris Chisnall, Maddy and I hungrily navigated the tables laden with delicious cheeses, including Swiss Gruyère, vintage Cheddar, blue vein, and - my personal favourite - a white Stilton with mango and ginger, each of which came with a label describing the perfect wine accompaniment.

Dotted around the room were the event sponsors, whose cheeses are likewise hoping to win an award this year. Bradburys, who are responsible for numerous cheese products found in your local supermarket or department store, revealed to us their wish to replace the sandwich meal deal with cheese and antipasti platters, something which myself and Maddy especially have strongly advocated since the first sunny evening spent in Kennington Park with a bottle of prosecco and various cured meats. In fact, Maddy's enthusiasm was so very apparent, the Bradburys team gifted her their remaining Manchego.

Many cheeses and glasses of wine later, we were still in the loft, as the other guests trickled out and the event organisers packed up the leftover wares. It was with a heavy heart that I had to part with the wheel of stilton, yet staying late proved to be fruitful, when the events team actively encouraged us to take home the rest of the goodie bags. To say our fridge is choc-a-bloc with cheese is almost an understatement.

 The International Cheese Awards takes place in Nantwich, Cheshire, on 24th & 25th July.

ICA Cheese & Wine Evening ICA Cheese & Wine Evening ICA Cheese & Wine Evening ICA Cheese & Wine Evening ICA Cheese & Wine Evening ICA Cheese & Wine Evening ICA Cheese & Wine Evening ICA Cheese & Wine Evening ICA Cheese & Wine Evening ICA Cheese & Wine Evening ICA Cheese & Wine Evening

19 May 2018

Guildford Gin Festival

Guildford Gin Festival

Gin Festival, as the name may suggest, is a celebration of gin. Since 2009, when Sipsmith overturned a two-hundred year old law preventing small-batch distilleries, the market has grown exponentially. Now Gin Festival tours the country, bringing the finest spirits in the UK and abroad to the tastebuds of thirsty Britons - with help from their official mixer, Schweppes 1783.

The set-up is simple: A G&T costs a £5 token, redeemable at the festival entrance. Then head over to one of five bars and order from a wide selection of gins you likely hadn't heard of. There are also talks and masterclasses for those looking to learn more about how gin is produced, or how to create gin-based cocktails at home.

Knowing it would be impossible to sample every gin available without breaking our bank balances (and livers), Maddy and I chose gins based on botanicals we know we enjoy. Maddy, who prefers fruitier flavours, first tried a Skully Tangerine Twist, but ultimately fell in love with Slingsby Rhubarb Gin, having then bought a bottle from the gift shop. I on the other hand enjoy gins with a twang of herbs or spices, so chose a serve of Skully Smooth Wasabi with ginger ale. Yet it was my initially reluctant choice of Sweet Potato London Dry Gin which won me over that day, with distinctive aromas of sweet potato and coriander.

UPDATE: Gin Festival regrettably went into administration on 5th July 2018. To find other gin festivals near to you, please visit: www.eatdrinkseek.co.uk

Guildford Gin Festival Guildford Gin Festival Guildford Gin Festival Guildford Gin Festival Guildford Gin Festival Guildford Gin Festival Guildford Gin Festival Guildford Gin Festival Guildford Gin Festival Guildford Gin Festival Guildford Gin Festival

© Joseph Kent / www.unlimitedbyjk.com

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