Bag – Bally

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IFA Berlin with Samsung

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Announcing the newest member of the Club des Chefs

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Michel Troisgras

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Davide Olandi

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Doina of The Golden Diamonds

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Davide Olandi, Michel Troisgras, Elena Arzak and Christopher Kostow

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And a fridge about the size of my first London flat.

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Wearing: Bag – Bally. Top – Uniqlo. Jeans – James Jeans. Boots – Acne Jensen.

I will be the first to admit that I am exactly who they call a ‘bad worker’, someone who blames her tools for flaws in skill. I burn tea because the kettle is old, or, my scrambled eggs are on fire, because the stove just doesn’t… understand me. Also, I suck at blogging because my laptop is SO DAMN SLIPPERY. Yes, they call me the creative one. Lest we forget, the more you complain, the more you squirm to find a tool that will do your job better (or entirely for you). This particular ‘bad worker’ goes to IFA Berlin (trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances) and comes across a particular Samsung oven that won’t burn cookies to ash – an oven that gets you – and discovers features that will allow her to bake a perfect batch of peanut butter cookies, but also a sloppy lasagna all at the same time, and screams WHAT? NO WAY, SHUT THE FRIDGE DOOR. Now imagine, what a ‘good worker’ brings to this equation – innovators and diligent thinkers. Like Michelin starred chefs, seven of whom Samsung have appointed into a superhero club (Club des Chefs) and borrowed the passion and expertise to produce a revolutionary new line of kitchen appliances (namely, the Chef Collection). Samsung took a couple of us out to Berlin to experience this first hand, which included a cooking demonstration in the Samsung Premium Lounge by four of the chefs themselves. The ‘good workers’ bustled about, marrying cod with chorizo, negotiating temperature with the oven (the one that gets you). In the meantime, the ‘bad worker’ blamed my fork for slow eating and resorted to shoveling in as much Michellin-blessed food with my hands. It was kitchen magic, a keen partnership of master and machine – finished with a fairy-dust sprinkle of crispy shiitake mushroom shreds.

A big thank-you to Samsung for a delicious experience!

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Stop terrorizing the playground, make your own indoor swing

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Step 1
An upcycle mission

You may have seen these colours on the high-street, lining the windows in technicolour lattice of one much-adored brand of the people… Uniqlo! (Although I’d have taken McDonalds for an answer too – McCheese-strings can totally be a thing.) Celebrating their 100% Extra-fine Merino Wool collection, Uniqlo had their windows bedecked in an installation that involved meters and meters of elastic strings – seven boxes of which ended up in my cave of a flat early last week for a rather exciting upcycling collaboration.

Now, don’t let the breezy number ‘seven’ fool you, because the boxes held over four hundred rolls in 65 different shades, which is naturally 64 more than my hamster brain can compute. Mind-boggled, I called Gyu (a CSM knitwear graduate, who, for long-time followers should be familiar from previous posts) for advice. ‘Oh jeez we can build an Oompa Loompa village with all this‘ was her greeting when she stepped into my apartment blanketed with a layer of awkward-shaped rolls of rainbow strings… We flirted with ideas like tents, trampolines and canopies, and tested the strings with various tension swatches (double-crochet, knitting, weaving, braiding…). Finally deciding on building a hammock, she left me after a few lessons on macramé techniques (promptly forgotten the moment she was out the door…)

Turns out one needs a company of veteran knitters to accomplish anything as big as your body. Well, I should’ve known, I have troubles applying body lotion.

So that’s the story of the swing.

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Gyu testing single-crochet in a swatch

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Step 2
What you’ll need

Extra-strength yarn (I used three colours – 1 skein of the main colour and a bit of the other two) · knitting needles (appropriate for the choice of yarn, I used 6mm) · crochet hook or yarn needle · 7 meters sturdy rope (before purchasing, make sure to determine length by measuring height to ceiling) · 2 x stripwood (cut to 25cm long. Make sure they’re wide enough to fit the rope with enough room around) · 2 x D-rings · Optional and depending on method: Sandpaper · drill · 2 x ceiling hooks.

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Now, I really do recommend testing elastic tension for the swing seat by knitting up a square swatch before starting the project, and putting your entire weight on it. You might find that your yarn, or even knitting tension calls for some mini problem-solving/improvisation. Alternatively, this project can be done with cotton fabric, which can easily be sewn around the stripwood.

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Start by knitting the swing seat – cast on 30 stitches and knit in moss stitch (Mine shows garter stitch) until work measures the width of ONE thigh – the seat will expand when sat on. Cast off. (If adventurous, try the herringbone stitch and knit until work measures about 30cm)

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1. Drill two holes big enough for the ropes at each end of the stripwood, leaving at least 1.5cm space around the hole. 2. Bind the knitted work to the stripwood using the Crocet hook or knitting needle. 3. Insert one end of the rope through the hole, and make a knot. 4. Loop the rope into the D-ring and hang onto ceiling, then repeat step 3 once the length is determined. Repeat on the other side.

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Step 4
Swing & tips

The best way to determine how high the swing should hang is to measure it about an arm’s length higher than your normal dining-room chair. That way, the swing seat will extend to a natural hanging-length. Adjust the rope knots for length if too long. Depending on the type of rope, you will need to secure the edge with duct-tape or seal with a flame. For mine, I wrapped a bit of yarn in a different colour over the duct tape for visual effect. Consider adding tassels or wooden beads to your swing if that’s how you roll.

I personally live in a flat with a mezzanine so I hooked the D-rings to the upstairs bars and let it hang it that way, but do purchase a strong ceiling hook if you wish to hang on the ceiling. Alternatively, skip the D-rings and simply loop the rope around the hook or bar.

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In collaboration with Uniqlo; Photography – Park & Cube aka tripod

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Shoes – Adidas Energy Boost

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A Skinny Latte at monmouth Coffee
27 Monmouth Street, WC2H 9EU

Coffee-connoisseurs the world around swear by Monmouth coffee – witness how proper lattes are done and don’t forget to take home your own bag of coffee beans to sniff when sad.

Trench coat – Burberry. Bag – Saint Laurent ‘Lulu’. Top – ASOS. Jeans – 7 For All Mankind. Shoes – Adidas Energy Boost

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oysters at
the delaunay
55 Aldwych, WC2B 4BB

Sure, they’re known for wieners. Lots of different type of wieners. In fact, go for wieners, but the mittel European vibe at the Delaunay is not complete without oysters on ice to start.

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Burgers at Shake Shack
24, Market Building, The Piazza, WC2E 8RD
Dress – StyleNanda. Denim Jacket – Pinko (Similar). Bracelet – Monica Vinader. Shoes – Adidas Energy Boost

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Your search for the best burger is over. The cheeseburger topped with Niman Ranch all-natural applewood smoked bacon, chopped cherry pepper and ShackSauce goes famously with a side of crinkle-cut fries and a pint of Oreo shake is match made in heaven. And, as one Sheldon Cooper would say, the burgers come with a satisfying meat-to-bun-to-condiment ratio. (Avoid peak hours unless queuing is a hobby)

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2A THE MARKET BUILDING WC2E 8RF

Burberry’s first stand-alone beauty store, with looks straight off the catwalk. Try the radio-frequency identification-enabled platform that matches your skin tone to a colour, preeeetty fascinating.

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go for a run on victoria embankment
victoria embankment, WC2R

One of the best running routes the city has to offer, the riverside embankment. Opt for an early morning jog when the streets are bare from tourists. Up one bank and back the other, follow signage, or not. I usually follow the smell of breakfast. Beats views from any gym treadmill.

All clothing – Adidas

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In collaboration with Adidas UK; Photography – KrisAtomic. Layout & Art Direction – Park & Cube

Blazer – Zara (similar). Culottes – ASOS. Shoes – Gianvito Rossi. Belt – Vintage LV

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Necklace – Amulette de Cartier

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Necklace – Cartier. Top & Trousers – Louis Vuitton Icon. Scarf – Zara. Bag – L.K.Bennett. Shoes – ASOS.

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Necklace – Cartier.

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Above: Hat – Chanel. Sweater - Zadig & Voltaire. Necklace – Cartier. Watch – Larsson & Jennings. Heels – Malone Souliers

There’s an urban myth that flight attendants look for neatly-dressed passengers in Economy to upgrade into Business class in order to balance the weight of the plane when the flight is under-booked. That, of course, is not the reason I wear heels when I travel. I am the passenger that has breadcrumbs all over her chin and sweater before take-off because I genuinely believe that I will starve and die before they bring out the food trolley. I’m also the passenger that is virtually invisible because she’s reaching under the seat for a fallen Skittle.

ANYWAY. I may have briefly touched up on this before, but the more I travel, the more I realise how much I’m addicted to the first 24 hours of a journey: the flurry of packing, pre-flight jitters, and the view out the plane/train window, then finally landing on foreign soil and cataloguing new scents and sounds into memory. From a certain point I started to dress up for it, like I would to any anticipated event, like a good show – figured I’d be sitting for hours in the plane anyway. While I don’t think I’ve yet fully mastered the art, so far these tricks have worked for me: Frothy cashmere, a great pair of heels you can easily slip out from, and single, fuss-free jewellery like the Amulette de Cartier that won’t bring down the entire airport.

In Collaboration with Cartier; photography by KrisAtomic; Location: Booking Office at the Renaissance Hotel.

Jewellery – Monica Vinader

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Primrose Hill, London

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Jewellery – Monica Vinader

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Jewellery – Monica Vinader

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Blouse – Iris & Ink. Skirt – ASOS. Heels – Gianvito Rossi (Similar here). Bag – Saint Laurent ‘Lulu’. All jewellery – Monica Vinader

You’re about to be let in on a secret that Londoners won’t openly share unless prompted and poked with a heated walking stick. I’m sharing this because I’m an inherent traitor (stems from life-long state of being an expat) and also could do with some brownie points with my readers after a month-ish long hiatus. Best burgers in London? Lucky Chip. Best toilets in Mayfair? The Connaught Hotel. < You might want to pretend you’re pregnant.

Recently I took a couple of my favourite engravable* pieces from Monica Vinader to spend a summer afternoon in North London as part of the new Jewel Coordinates campaign, which was a chance to verify: Best summer hangout? Primrose Hill.

I know, the name doesn’t ring a bell – it’s not known like Shoreditch, Notting Hill, or even Brixton – but I can guarantee you know all the residents. They say, one can’t swing a dead cat in Primrose Hill without hitting Jude Law, or Kate Moss. So picture this, midsummer afternoon, twinkling bracelets stacked up one hand, dainty stacking rings on the other, and a binocular around my neck. (I kid…) Not to say that Londoners flock up North to the little pocket of immaculate macaron-coloured townhouses to gawk at celebrities – the actual Hill itself is in fact London’s best panoramic view across the city, with the occasional squaaawk from the tropical birds that reside in ZSL (the zoo) across the road lending a feeling that you’ve successfully escaped the city. Sprinkle in a sighting of Eliza Doolittle at the florist and Gwen Stefani pushing a pram out the pub, and you got yourself a summer blockbuster. You don’t even need to be faux-pregnant to enjoy this bit of town.

*While I have my hubby’s nickname engraved on my own Esencia Friendship Bracelet, I confess that I was this close to engraving the Domino’s Pizza telephone number…

In collaboration with Monica Vinader; Photography by Park & Cube; Shots of me by Michelle Bobb Parris.