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Welcome to Mayfair, Bally!

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Jacket & Bag – Bally. Sweater – Uniqlo. Trousers – Zara. Shoes – Acne Jensen boots

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Carpenter’s Workshop Gallery

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Hedonism Wines

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Annabel’s chocolate cake, at Mount Street Deli

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Mount Street Deli

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Jacket & Bag – Bally. Extrafine Merino knitwear – Uniqlo. Trousers – Zara (similar). Shoes – Acne Jensen boots

Oh Mayfair. Home to old-school London opulence and playground to hedge fund boys; and reportedly – the scene to Prince Philip’s stag night, way back when. Dusty terracotta-orange bricks punctuate the neighbourhood, Victorian filigree curling around the frames. And the occasional Lamborghini, parked like boys’ bicycles on the curbs. Soon to add to the flags of the not-so-commonwealth along New Bond Street is Swiss brand Bally who, those of who will remember, my sister from another mister (in my dreams) – tucked in a corner at number 45, designed by none other than David Chipperfield Architects (of Hotel Cafe Royal, Valentino NY flagship…) In the lead-up to the store launch I worked with Bally on leading a new video series named #BallyMayfairWelcome, essentially doing what new neighbours do and knock on doors of their Mayfair neighbours, pie in hand. Of course, in some cases we ate the pies… Annabel’s chocolate cake at Mount Street Deli will change your life (TEAM CHOCOLATE) – you heard it here first. The videos are being released in the Bally blog, but do keep an eye out on their Twitter and Instagram as from the sneak peeks I’ve been seeing so far it looks a right stunner. Think leather shoe boxes lining the walls, mid-century furniture and stone stairwells…

I’m coming to realize that I never managed to share this news here, but I’ve been consulting for and managing the Bally social media accounts since July. (The amount of times I very nearly tweeted chocolate cravings and in-bus rages from that account… heart palpitations.) Do come by and say hi soon!

Many thanks to Laetitia (another sister from another mister) for helping with the photos of me. In Collaboration with Bally.

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 on another shelf – 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 shovelling 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 deliciously refreshing 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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Three ways I wear Nike LunarElite Sky Hi

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Look 1: Lace dress – Zara. Sweatshirt – Nike. Shoes – Nike LunarElite Sky Hi. Clutch – Chanel. Sunglasses – Mango.
Look 2: Coat – Nanushka. Sweater – COS. Skirt – ASOS. Shoes – Nike LunarElite Sky Hi
Look 3: Cardigan & skirt – Peter Pilotto for Target (via Net-a-porter). Shoes – Nike LunarElite Sky Hi. Bag – JinYoo103684. Bag – Kurt Geiger. Turtleneck – Uniqlo. Puffer Vest – Gap.

I don’t know what it is about my late twenties but boy am I working up a collection of trainers, each bought with the same reasoning technique that accounts for the thirty bags of jumbo peanuts in our pantry: THIS MUST BE HANDY DURING THE APOCALYPSE. It’s odd because 1) I am a hamburger when it comes to exercise (i.e I do not put the ‘train’ in ‘trainer’), and 2) I held a crusade against flats all throughout my teenage years and stuffed tissues, not only in my bra, but in my trainers as well for the wedge effect. So I came across these Nike LunarElite Sky Hi‘s, I reasoned that yes I needed another pair of trainers because APOCALYPSE, but also revelled at the fact that it was my teenage crusade manifested (Waterbra? check), in perforated neoprene and all the essential lightweight, cushioning technology of a classic Nike running model. Plus, neon yellow because I’m biologically hazardous like that.

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Broadway Market, E8

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Sweater – Gap. Grey skinny jeans- Gap. Heels – Kurt Geiger. Watch – Guess. Doorknocker ring – & Other Stories. Bag – Couronne.

Forget bed, this is what you’re doing tomorrow. Throw on a nice cosy turtleneck, pick up a flat white at Climpson & Sons (No. 67) at the bottom of Broadway Market, and work your way through the crowd. 9am in the morning is probably the best time to go for some peace and quiet, but if you like the buzz and would like to eventually end up at The Cat & Mutton pub (No. 76) for a pint later in the afternoon, then a lazy Saturday start is fine. Sourdough bread is a must, so pick one up for the week; the fruit can be a little overpriced, but they look like something out of Gwyneth Paltrow cookbook so whatever floats your boat. Drop by Hansen & Lynderson stall for a the best smoked salmon (Norwegian-caught, locally hung) on bread with sourcream and dill snack – £3 a pop – just enough to whet your appetite. My lunch is pork steamed buns from Yum Bun (Broadway school yard market), or a pot of beef pho from Cà Phê, depending on weather – the latter has a little seating area if you’ve miscalculated your outfit like I always do and regretting those heels. Post-lunch, before you make a bee-line to the salted caramel cookies (yes, those), do a little detour to Strut (2b Ada st) for the best designer vintage in the East, for it may put you on a wee diet before the day’s end. Forget Brick Lane, Strust is where the fashion-savvy East Londoners’ Chanels, McQueens and Margielas come to rest and find new owners (Sunday and Mondays are their buying days). I always have dessert anyway, a gluten-free brownie from the Happy Kitchen stall, or a red velvet from Violet Cakes. One for now, one to have later at home.

A couple more recommendations: L’Eau à la Bouche for people-watching, over a pear flan, best around 3pm. Lucky Chip (31-35 Coate St) for the best burgers in town, Rebel Rebel (5 Broadway market), for great range of flowers if you know you can’t make it to the flower market on Sunday. Off Broadway (No. 63-65) when the sun goes down and home still can wait – a New-York style bar with great cocktails and Tex-Mex nibbles. Oh and don’t forget to visit the fish tank in the bathroom. Last but not least, Noble Fine Liquor (No. 27) for natural wine and craft beer – go back for wine tasting every Wednesday eve.

All makings of a good weekend!

Outfit: Part three of styling series with Gap‘s Styld.by platform. Check part one and part two here!