Wednesday, 29 February 2012

London Fashion Weekend


Last week I got very lucky. My sweet friend Meg sent me a pair of tickets to the final London Fashion Weekend catwalk show on Sunday and it was such a thrill! The stunning Somerset House created a picturesque backdrop for the event on what turned out to be a mild and pretty day. From the tents and cafes to the sample sales and freebies, my date Kinzie and I had so much fun wandering around and taking it all in. In case you're not familiar, as soon as London Fashion Week is over, Somerset House is transformed into a unique four-day designer shopping emporium complete with catwalk shows from British brands and emerging designers, beauty tips from brands like Elizabeth Arden and Essie, Chambord champagne bars and bistros from top London restaurants.

Now I'm not the most fashion forward girl, but I do love looking at pretty clothes and figuring out how to incorporate the latest trends into my wardrobe, if only in little ways. Pastels were huge during the shows from Primrose, Antipodium and Jasper Conran, along with peter pan collars. I'll be on the prowl for both trends this spring. Thanks again, Meg! x

Monday, 27 February 2012

Scenes From The Weekend


This past weekend, our cousin Riley came to stay with us and we had a wonderful time showing her around the city.  On Friday night we went out to The Butcher’s Hook in Chelsea, a restaurant which reminded me of San Francisco with its chalkboard menus on the walls, unfinished wood tables and clean white napkins. We had a tasty fish & chips starter, baked salmon with dill potatoes and chicken roast – yum!

On Saturday, we all went to Portobello Market in Notting Hill to stroll along the vintage shops, cafes and flea markets. It was crowded with tourists, but we ducked into Gail’s Bakery (same name as my favourite bakery in Santa Cruz!) for an amazing breakfast of cinnamon buns, vegetable quiches and strong cappuccinos. We passed the iconic book store from the film Notting Hill and checked out the gorgeous homes dotted along Kensington Palace Road before heading back to Fulham for an ambitious pub crawl with friends. After a few stops, we headed to the Chelsea vs. Bolton match at Stamford Bridge and watched our team win 3-0. Saturday night involved drinks at The Jam Tree followed by a dancing at a strange Brazilian restaurant in Clapham - brilliant! We were so sad to see Riley go on Sunday, but we'll see her soon enough during our April holiday in Barcelona! Something about seeing family always makes you appreciate what’s important in life. :)

The weekend didn't stop there for me as I (amazingly) had the chance to go to London Fashion Weekend on Sunday! More to come on that later this week...

Friday, 24 February 2012

Oh Happy Day


Maybe it’s because Valentine’s Day was last week or maybe it’s because Jim and I just passed seven months of marriage, but I’ve been thinking a lot about our wedding. I simply love weddings. I still regulary stalk Style Me Pretty just to check out the gorgeous soirĂ©es. Weddings are always such an amazing display of emotion and they bring a sense of pure and utter joy. From the planning to the parties to the rushed, but beautiful day, it’s just such a fabulous time in your life. You really feel so loved and supported by your family and friends and when it all comes to life, you feel this powerful sense of deep gratitude and appreciation for everyone in your life. You also feel this calming effect knowing that you’ve found your life’s happiness and you get to live with that feeling every day.

Here’s to love and a fabulous weekend!


[
Image via Style Me Pretty]

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

The Sanctuary


Last weekend I treated myself to an aromatherapy massage at The Sanctuary Covent Garden, a famous day spa in the heart of London. It's such a serene space that makes you feel relaxed right when you walk in the door. As you can see from the photos above, it’s beautifully decorated with rich textures, spacious lounge areas and modern finishes. The spa is comprised of an atrium pool, exercise pool, heat & steam rooms and lounges. It even has a sleep retreat where you lie on a bed that has sound waves running through it to reduce muscle tension and relax your body. And it's got an infrared sauna where you sit against a padded infrared light panel that penetrates into your muscles to help release tension and back pain.

The treatment menu looks amazing with everything from massages and body wraps to facials and mani/pedis. And although I didn’t try it this time around, I’ve heard the restaurant is quite tasty with seasonally inspired dishes like pumpkin & ricotta tortelloni and a spicy sweet corn chowder. The best part is that everyone dines in their robes! Can't wait to go back for a little more R&R...


[Images via The Sanctuary]

Monday, 20 February 2012

Chardonnay Tasting

Everyone who knows me knows that I love Chardonnay. From buttery California blends to oakey French varieties, it always seems like the perfect choice. Lately I’ve tried a few delicious bottles from France and South Africa that I wanted to share, along with some of my California favourites...enjoy!

Collovray & Terrier Saint-Veran Tradition is a lovely French wine with rich flavours of peach, pear and apricot. We paired it with shrimp and linguine  and a fennel pancetta salad last week, but it would go equally as well with a cheese plate. Around $24 a bottle.
Storrs Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay is one of my favourite wines, and I love that it's from my hometown. It’s a richly-styled with fragrant aromas of pear, vanilla and apple, and just a touch of toasty oak. Definitely one to try over lunch or with a cheese plate. If you're in Santa Cruz, they've got a great little tasting room that's worth a visit. Around $20 a bottle.
Rombauer is the ultimate buttery Napa Chardonnay. It’s an ideal, creamy blend of peach, melon, honeysuckle and vanilla, and it’s got just the right amount of oak. It’s amazing on its own, but also goes well with pasta, fish and chicken. Around $32 a bottle.
Meerlust Chardonnay is a wonderful gem from the Stellenbosch wine region of South Africa. It’s a bright, lively, full-bodied wine with floral notes, a bit of cream and a touch of tropical fruit. Rich but not overpowering, it goes well with grilled meats and salads. Around $26 a bottle.  
We've been drinking a lot of Sonoma-Cutrer over here as they stock it in our local supermarket and it’s a nice, well-balanced wine. It’s full of coconut, melon, apple and caramel mixed together with a bit of honeysuckle and oak. It pairs nicely with goat cheese toasts, roasted chicken and pastas. Around $25 a bottle.


[Images via Google]

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Love and Pretty Little Things


With Valentines Day this week, I thought it was fitting to dedicate a post to a few lovely, romantic ideas like...

1. Cookies with love notes written in pastel icing
2. Heart shaped lights for a romantic setting
3. A swirled heart cappuccino to start the day
4. Dainty raspberry heart shaped sugar cookies
5. Gorgeous light pink peony blooms

Jim and I will be celebrating with a romantic candlelight dinner at home followed by a fancy date night in Chelsea next Saturday...can't wait! Hope your Valentines Day is filled with lots of love and pretty things! 

xoxo


[Images from top to bottom via Sweetapolita, Flickr, Hershey Ice Cream, Justine Taylor, Pinterest]

Friday, 10 February 2012

Scenes from Zurich


After we went up to the Swiss Alps last Saturday, we stayed in Zurich on Sunday to sightsee and luckily got a gorgeous, sunny day. As with many cities in Europe most shops are closed on Sundays, but we were still able to most everything the city has to offer minus the shops, which is probably best since the exchange rate is definitely not in our favour! The lake and river that surround the city create a beautiful backdrop for the whitewashed buildings accented by brightly coloured doors and the sail boats and ferries passing by. You can see just how cold it was in the photos of the grand iced over fountain and restaurant chairs saddled with furry blankets that we stumbled upon while wandering around. 

To keep warm, the first thing we did was pop in the famous Sprungli chocolate shop for a few decadent treats. If you go, you must try the dark chocolate and fleur de sel caramel truffle - it's beyond good and pairs perfectly with a cappuccino. Next on our self-walking tour, we passed by Henrici's, a great coffee / bar hybrid where we popped in on Saturday night for beer and wine with our host, Ryan and a few new friends. We spent the rest of Sunday day strolling through the streets for as long as we could in the freezing weather. What I enjoyed most was just walking along the water with Jim enjoying the crisp air. I also loved how the city is so small and contained...it seems like you could really make yourself right at home. 

I've been told that summers are absolutely gorgeous in Zurich so we may just have to head back in a few months!

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Woo Week

At Porter Novelli London, we have this thing called "Woo Week" the week before Valentines Day. It's almost like a white elephant cupid where you pick someone's name out of a hat and shower them over the week with gifts, treats, quirky gestures. Today I discovered that my secret admirer had created a Twitter page dedicated to wooing me @WooingKeira. I'm so honoured! So far, my wooer has recited poems and songs, recommended hotels and pointed out that there's a purse named after me. I absolutely cannot wait to find out who's behind all this. Definitely gets you in the lovey spirit just in time for Valentines Day!



Monday, 6 February 2012

Jetsetting: Swiss Alps


Stunning. Sprawling. Almost magical. The Swiss Alps are just so breathtaking and undisturbed.

This past weekend we visited the quaint (and cold) city of Zurich and went up to the mountains to hit the slopes. Apparently it was the coldest weekend in years at a cool -15 degrees Celsius during the day and -25 at night. Our friend Ryan, who lives in Zurich, put us up at his flat for the weekend and graciously showed us around. On Saturday, we took the train followed by a bus up to Laax, an expansive mountain range in the Alps that's popular with the locals for a day of skiing. When you take the gondola up the mountain and reach the lodge, the view is spectacular with snow for miles and miles and mountain ranges spanning across the horizon.

Now onto the good part. Let me preface this with the fact that I'm very much a beginner on a snowboard and I typically stick to the bunny slopes when we go up to Tahoe. The "bunny slopes" on this mountain seemed very intermediate to me and naturally I was falling a bit and struggling to carve my way down. I ended up missing the turn to go to the next lift up to an even higher run so had to unstrap my bindings and trek up the mountain....unfortunately before it got to that my board somehow shot down the mountain about 200 yards! Of course, I was frantic and jumped after the board landing with a belly flop watching the board literally fly down the hill. Jim tried his best too, but ended up loosing his board so had to save his and forfeit mine. Jim and Ryan were the heroes of the day as they snowboarded down the hill, traipsed into the trees and found my board (and then walked all 300 yards back up the mountain!). Moral of the story is to not unstrap your bindings on an incline!

Regardless of how I got down the mountain, I can now say I've snowboarded on the Swiss Alps. And really, the best part for me was that amazing view! More to come on Zurich later...

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Pinteresting Style

Lately I've been feeling like I need to spruce up my wardrobe a bit with some brighter, more eclectic pieces despite the fact that it's mid-winter. I'm always so drawn to boots and skinny jeans with a sweater or top as my work uniform and weekend go-to outfit, but I know I could be so much more adventurous. I was on Pinterest these last couple of days and found some adorable looks that I think I could adapt to fit my style with a few trips to the Zara, Mango or Top Shop. I'm sure many of you collect style inspiration on Pinterest - it's such a fabulous way to get ideas. 

Although these girls are showing bare legs, I would definitely have to add some tights to fend off the arctic chill that's crept over London like an icy blanket these past couple of days!


Especially love this last photo which looks a bit Parisian with the stripes but also retro with the bag and carefree hairstyle...definitely something I could try and emulate one of these days. Could be a good look for Barcelona if the weather behaves....

Looks like I need to get myself to the High Street!


[Images from top to bottom via Pearls and CurlsLauralizabeth, Pinterest, Nautical and Nice,  Running On Happiness]

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