I am an established fashion writer and content editor with expertise in creating cross-platform, multi-channel content, researching and writing engaging features, and collaborating with creative and marketing professionals. And before that…
I spent my formative years in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, before moving across the country to obtain a B.A. (Hons.) in Psychology from Queen’s University in Ontario. Next, I spent six years at FASHION Magazine (Canada’s most-read glossy, with over 1.9 million readers per issue), including three as its Western Editor, before being recruited to become Managing Editor at Aritzia, one of North America’s top women’s fashion boutiques. Somewhere along the line, I also completed a post-graduate law degree.
Business of Fashion, FLARE, ELLE Canada, Canadian House & Home, enRoute, the Vancouver Sun (part of the Postmedia Network),Chatelaine, Wallpaper ,the Globe & Mail, the Georgia Straight, WE, and Montecristo. I also wrote and co-edited the Shops section of Time Out Vancouver: 2nd ed and have made numerous TV appearances – a highlight was talking about Vancouverites’ style for NBC’s Today Show during the 2010 Winter Olympics!
In 2011, I moved to London, where I am now Editor at THE OUTNET.COM, part of the NET-A-PORTER Group Ltd. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, and thanks for visiting! x
Email: rebecca at rebeccatay.com | Phone: +44 (0)7719 110 777
Costa Rica is probably one of the last places you’d dream of embarking on a road trip holiday, but after weeks of major indecision on whether to do a beach break, tropical rainforest adventure or five-star “no thinking required” resort vacation, my boyfriend and I decided to do all of the above.
Despite an abundance of bumpy, rocky winding roads, it is actually the perfect place for a road trip. We picked up our car at the airport in San Jose and decided to head to the Nicoya Peninsula (vowing to explore the Caribbean and more southern region of the country on a future trip).
A short drive from the ferry terminal and you’ll find a cluster of small towns with amazing surf and an incredible, relaxed vibe. A few days in Montezuma, Mal País, and Santa Teresa and you can see why the people who live here have the bodies they do: if you spent as much time surfing and doing yoga (with some lounge breaks in between) as they do, you’d have rock-hard abs too.
Other ferry systems may be more organized, but can you get a beer and plantain chips on the upper decks and watch ‘Ticos’ (as Costa Ricans call themselves) dance and flirt with each other.
Playa Santa Teresa: where epic sunsets, hot surfers, and miles of white sand come together. Can you blame us for not wanting to leave?
We eventually made our way to Monteverde, a major eco-tourism destination in the Puntarenas region of Costa Rica. The town, which has a friendly, backpacker vibe and a cooler climate than the Nicoya Peninsula, draws plenty of naturalists and tourists thanks to its proximity to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve.
We saw plenty of animals during our holiday, from cattle and possums in the cloud forest at night to baby turtles making their way by moonlight toward the ocean near Playa Grande.
One of the best parts of a road trip is the chance to stop at fruit stands along the way, many of which sell fruits we had never seen or tried before. Those round, purple fruits are star apples (“caimito” in Spanish) and have a whitish-purple colored fruit that is incredibly sweet and juicy.
Planning a trip to Hong Kong is exciting, yes, but also daunting. So much to see! So much to do! So many things to buy! Luckily, I recently had 10 full days to spend there, and though I could have easily spent another 10, I managed to get in just enough sightseeing, shopping, and eating to confidently update my list of favourite spots:
Always a must-visit, high-end department store Lane Crawford (and specifically its outpost at the International Finance Centre) is renowned for its fantastic edit of luxury and contemporary brands and fun-loving, creative personality. From teddy-bear Jeremy Scott x Adidas high-tops and a well-curated edit of popular American brands such as J.Crew and Club Monaco to a men’s Denham shop-in-shop, there’s truly something for everyone here (and if not, there’s a bevy of other luxury boutiques at the IFC to satiate).
For a more boutique-y experience, take a stroll through the newish area known as PoHo (near SoHo, of course, and apparently called this after the buildings in the area, many of whose names start with Po). Hilly and relatively calm, the area is quickly gentrifying but its quiet, quaint nature remains. Stop in and pay your respects at the Man Mo Temple, then pop into Po’s Atelier for a fresh scone and Eclectic Cool for its selection of Danish décor items, then finish at 67 Edit on Hollywood Road for fashion by a mix of Hong Kong and international designers (think Shourouk jewellery, Sophie Hulme, LeiVanKash, and more).
Where to start…
Crystal Jade at the IFC – for the world’s best xiaolongbao (steamed Shanghai-style pork “soup”-filled dumplings)
For a crazy fun day out, check out the horse races at Happy Valley or Sha Tin. The former boasts a more lighthearted atmosphere (with more ex-pats), while the latter is for serious betters and is farther out, in the New Territories.
Lantau and Lamma Islands may be better known day trip destinations from Hong Kong, but head out to Po Toi to really escape the chaos of the big city (because as much as you may love it, everyone needs a break once in awhile!). The quiet island boasts several decent walks, with noteworthy sites such as the Tortoise Back rock formation and the old “haunted” Mo family mansion along the way. Finish with a scrumptious, well-deserved seafood feast at Ming Kee Restaurant near the harbour.
After Hong Kong, we headed over to Macao, where we proceeded to eat our way through the former Portuguese colony. Stay tuned to the Kiwi Collection blog for that post, coming soon (you’ll also find some fun hotel picks for Hong Kong)!
Miroslava Duma is one of the biggest street style stars in the world, and it was pretty cool to be able to work with her as the face of the second Oscar de la Renta for THE OUTNET exclusive collection.
We proceeded to bang and rattle the hotel gate for 20 minutes until finally, a sleepy innkeeper came outside and we begged him to let us in. But our bad luck didn’t end there. Although our booking was for December 31, check-in time was still hours away and the manager insisted the hotel was full. When he finally realized we weren’t going to leave (we asked if we could sleep on the wooden benches in the lobby), he looked through his handwritten book (which was basically a hand drawn grid in a notebook) and found us a room that had not yet been changed or cleaned – but was empty. Phew! We were so exhausted that we managed to sleep, despite staying in our clothes and not getting under the covers, for fear of bedbugs.
(The couple we cabbed into town with had left to find some accommodation of their own – we later learned that they slept in the foyer of another hotel that had taken pity on them and about 10 other wandering, weary travellers!)
And yet, despite a less-than-wonderful way to begin our time at Inle Lake, our 6 nights in the area made up my favourite part of our time in Myanmar.
In the morning, we headed out and started exploring the area.
We walked about 10 minutes through town before landing at the main docks, where you can rent a boat + driver to explore Inle Lake.
We made our way to the Khaung Daing Hot Springs, where we spent about an hour. There are three pools in the area pictured, as well as a larger pool where men are not allowed, just women and children. Skeptical as ever, Elliot wasn’t entirely convinced these are natural hot springs, but nevertheless, it was a good pit stop during our first boat trip.
After a few hours, and with plans in place to explore Inle Lake and some of its towns the next day, we headed back to Nyaung Shwe to make plans for New Year’s Eve…
Which we celebrated at the Golden Kite Italian restaurant!
We then stopped by a weaving house, where men and women were making longyi out of silk and lotus. I have never seen this before, but when two segments of a lotus root are sliced and separated slowly, they produce a slightly sticky, stringy substance that can be accumulated and eventually woven into a thread of sorts. Complex flying shuttle looms constructed from bamboo are then used to weave these threads into lotus shawls, which are delicate but incredibly soft.
We then went on to an itinerant market, which moves to one of five different sites depending on the day of the week and sells a variety of ornaments, souvenirs, jewellery, and other collectible knick knacks.
Our second-last stop (we also had a lunch break, and stopped at the “jumping cat monastery”, though the cats no longer really jump) was at an umbrella-making workshop.
This was also a place where tourists were invited to see the long-necked “giraffe” women of Padaung, whose necks have been elongated from dozens of heavy brass coils worn for years. It is an incredible sight, but as is the case in northern Thailand, it has become a tradition practiced not for its historic significance as a beauty ideal, but for the tourist revenue it is known to draw. The Lonely Planet suggests avoiding these workshops if possible.
Our last stop of the day: the Phaung Daw U Pagoda, which contains five Buddha statues that have been covered with so much gold leaf that they now appear just as blobs!
Each October, the local people celebrate the full moon festival by gathering here to watch a procession of the Buddhas as they’re boarded onto an enormous dragon boat and carried from village to village to drive away evil spirits.
I’ve been meaning to do a post on our trip to Myanmar at Christmas since, well, the moment we got back. And here I am, finally getting to it seven months later…
Our flight from Phuket to Bangkok was so delayed we very nearly missed our flight to Yangon, despite having allowed ourself four hours for the connection! However, we convinced them to let us carry our bags on, made a mad dash through the airport and, yes, were the very last ones onto the plane. There was an American couple that were making the same connections as us, and we later found out they had placed fifth in the CBS TV show The Amazing Race!
Our plan in Myanmar was to ‘wing it’ where possible, travelling like backpackers, but as Yangon is the former capital of Myanmar and its largets city, we thought we’d book our hotel there in advance. We arrived in the city at around 7pm and after checking in to our hotel (the May Shan, which was fine but nothing special, though the wifi in the lobby was a treat), we headed out to explore.
Nevertheless, we got to Nyaung U in one piece!
We arrived mid-morning and wandered around until we found a hotel. We had started hearing rumours in Yangon about difficulties finding accommodation (given the peak season and rising popularity of Myanmar as a tourist destination in general) and had already met quite a few single travellers who confirmed this. However, of the five hotels we stopped in at, three could accommodate us and one had room but turned us away as foreigners! Apparently, there was a religious festival happening that weekend so hundreds of Myanmar people were expected to travel to the area, with all its thousands of temples!
In any case, we ended up staying at the Eden Motel for three nights, at a cost of USD $25 per night. Not cheap – but accommodation in Myanmar generally isn’t (at least not yet).
A bustling river town with more happening than you’ll find elsewhere in Bagan, Nyaung U is where most independent travellers hang their hat (or backpack). Roaming the back roads towards the jetty or stopping at scrappy teashops will attract friendly wide-eyed looks. There are a handful of temples to see, including the Shwezigon Paya, and a lively market. Visitors staying in New or Old Bagan tend to make it here, if not for the restaurant scene (the closest the Bagan area gets to nightlife) then for the transport links.
Don’t get me wrong – we loved Bagan and had an amazing time exploring the temples by horse cart and going on a cruise of the Ayerwaddy River – but Nyaung U was hardly “bustling”!
We weren’t expecting a big New Year’s Eve party, but given that it was peak season (and three days before NYE!), we thought Bagan would be rife with other travellers who would at least be keen to ring in the new year in the traditional western way, i.e. with a toast and countdown at midnight! Not so.
In the end, we decided to spend two days exploring the region, then head to Inle Lake.
In a 230-year building frenzy up until 1287 and the Mongol invasions, Bagan’s kings commissioned over 4000 Buddhist temples. And despite centuries of neglect, looting, erosion, and regular earthquakes, this temple-studded plain remains a remarkably impressive and unforgettable vision.
Be sure to stop at a lacquerware workshop, too, where you can learn the process of weaving, painting, and decorating lacquerware, and then buy some really beautiful Myanmar pieces.
We also rented a river boat and took a little cruise down the Ayerwaddy River. This was another highlight of our time in Nyaung U – the boat engine very noisy (as Lonely Planet did tell us would be the case), but the river is enormous and really beautiful. Our boat captain even brought us to a little beach shack for a drink!
I did this little video for THE OUTNET.COM where I got my hair done, put on a metallic Christopher Kane dress, and talked about ladies who have amazing airport style.
A friend of mine said I am starting to develop a British inflection in my voice, which is a bit terrifying. I CANNOT GET Madonna syndrome! Do I have it? Do I? Watch the video and let me know.
It’s so good to be eating again!
Feeling much, MUCH better today, thank god!
I don’t feel quite like I’ve turned the corner (people always talk about feeling fantastic after a cleanse, and I’m not sure I would say that just yet), but definitely 100x better than last night.
Short post today – my juices today were:
- 11:00am: The Rehydrator. Contains grapes, strawberry, pear, apple, lime, & flaxseed.
- 1:30pm: The Eliminator. Contains green leaves, berries, mango, oranges, & acai.
- 4:30pm: The Healer. Contains banana, peach, pineapple, apple, & the “best green superfood in the world”. Not loving these ‘vague’ ingredients but this was by far my favourite juice so far. The thick banana was such a treat!
- 8:00pm: The Rejuvenator. Contains goji berries, peach, mango, pineapple & lime.
More than anything, though, I really, really miss food. And on that note, how about a few snapshots of my favourite foods?!
I also love a good BURGER. Gaaah what I wouldn’t give for a burger right now!
Burgers are pretty trendy right now (still) in London—it seems to have started sometime late last spring or even earlier, I think—but the interesting thing about burgers here is that restaurants ask how you like them done. In Canada, burgers have to be fully cooked through (health officials say the ‘safety’ of beef all comes down to its surface area, since that’s what is exposed to air—and obviously, ground beef has a lot of surface area before it’s formed into patties). Here, you can get your burger medium-rare or even rare.
I didn’t think I would like a medium-rare burger, but surprise! I do.
I’m lying in bed with my laptop propped at a really awkward angle, but I can’t muster up the energy to fix it… I feel like I’m going to die!
Day 2 sucks. Here are the juices I had today:
- 11:00am: The Rehydrator. Contains passionfruit, strawberry, orange, parsley & flaxseed
- 1:30pm: The Eliminator. Contains acai powder, pineapple, mango, blueberries, & peach
- 4:30pm: The Healer. Contains green synergy powder, green leaves, banana, kiwi, & oranges
- 8:00pm: The Rejuvenator. Contains goji berries, passionfruit, orange, mango & lime
Hopefully she’s right.
I started a juice detox today. I’m not 100% sure why – I suppose as some kind of willpower test? In any case, I’m always up for trying something new!
My Aussie friend recommended a London company, Nosh Detox, to me. She had completed two of their juice programs and liked the results (she said she noticed a huge change in her energy levels), so when they had a 50% off deal on in April, I decided to give it a go.
It wasn’t cheap: even with the discount, it cost £169 for six days of juice (you get four juices a day, so 24 bottles in total… yes, that’s a lot of plastic), which is more than I would normally spend on food in this amount of time (I’d say I buy lunch and dinner approximately six or seven times a week in total), but these kinds of things normally are a bit of an investment, aren’t they? That’s what I told myself, anyway.
Side note: my new favourite packed lunch (though I’ve actually been doing this since November) is leafless salad, which is exactly as it sounds: everything that you’d put into a typical salad, minus the lettuce. My favourite combination is:
- a bit of cheese
- sweet corn
- chick peas (only if you feel like it – they’re pretty filling)
- black beans (again, only if you feel like it as they’re pretty filling, too)
- a boiled egg
- roast chicken breast or tuna
I finish with either a handful of capers (for their saltiness) or a tablespoon of oil and vinegar dressing. Cut everything up into bite-size chunks – the second best thing about this salad is that you can eat it with a spoon! In fact, I started making this dish because I was sick of wrestling with those big, annoying (and often messy) leaves of lettuce every time I went to take a bite!
Back to Nosh.
Here are the juices I received for Day 1, snapped as I was making my last pasta supper:
The nice thing about this detox is that it’s pretty mindless. It’s like detoxing for dummies! Unlike some cleanses, you aren’t allowed any food, but each bottle is packed with enough nutrients to sustain you and detoxify your system at the same time.
And, as you can see, each bottle says EXACTLY what time you’re meant to drink it. It’s simple, but it’s genius!
Oh – the company also delivers the 6-day supply in two batches, so everything is pretty mindless. You just pop them in your fridge and bring the right bottles with you when you leave the next day! (This is starting to sound like a plug for Nosh, but I swear, I paid for the detox.)
I woke up kind of excited to start, but of course, as soon as you know you’re not allowed to eat, food is all you can think about. I’m not a big breakfast person (I usually just have something small, unless it’s the weekend, in which case, I LOVE BRUNCH), but I was starving by the time I got to work. The Lemon & Ginger Tonic I was allowed to drink at 8:30am (the tiny bottle in the front) didn’t cut it, and I didn’t like its flavour, either. Boo.
The rest of the day was pretty standard… the juices are timed pretty well, so by the time I was starving, it was nearly time for the next juice. Here is what was in them, in order:
- 11:00am: The Rehydrator. Contains passionfruit, strawberry, orange, parsley & flaxseed
- 1:30pm: The Eliminator. Contains acai powder, mango, pear, grapes & lemon
- 4:30pm: The Healer. Contains avocado, mango, watercress, pineapple & “green synergy powder” (the first weird-sounding thing)
- 8:00pm: The Rejuvenator. Contains goji berries, banana, berries, orange & lemon
I went for a run this evening (I was worried about going to the gym on an empty stomach tomorrow morning! And why not torture myself more while I’m at it?) and now, it’s about three hours earlier than I would normally go to bed… and I think I’m going to go to bed.
Life’s pretty boring without food.
The next five days follow the same four principles (with the same tonic each morning), so we’ll see how I feel. Keep you posted.
Haven’t had time to posting the rest of my thoughts about our Easter trip to New York, so here are the photos instead!
Also met my friend Susan for a lovely breakfast at Veselka, near St. Mark’s Place. Love this little Ukrainian diner and the little old man that served us!
Sneaky pictures of the inside of the Guggenheim… they no longer let you in just to view the grand foyer – you need to buy a ticket almost immediately upon entering, and there are about 3 security guys ready to kick you out if you’re loitering about for a photo!
It’s been more than five years since I was last in Singapore, and it was incredible how much the city had changed!
In 2007, the city was just preparing for its first Grand Prix; this time, the entire financial centre had changed and welcomed such megastructures as the Marina Bay Sands hotel (which has an incredible infinity pool more than 60 stores up) and the Supertrees — a lush, green attraction that’s part of Gardens by the Bay — are drawing loads of tourists everyday.
Despite all the newness, though, I was still drawn to a few areas:
This is a bit of a weird post after so long (sorry!), but I took these photos awhile ago and I’ve been going on and on about Soreen malt loaf that I thought I’d finally just post these here. I also had two good friends from Canada stay with me last month, and I believe both tried and liked the wonder that is Soreen….
It’s hard to describe Soreen, but it’s kind of like a really sticky, dense raisin bread, without too much raisin bread flavour. Here’s what it looks like inside:
After over two years of being in a long distance relationship between Europe and Canada, I moved to London… and Elliot and I are still doing the long distance thing. But hey, London is a hell of a lot closer to Ibiza/Mallorca (what’s two hours compared to 11?), and really, there are worse places he could be based for me to visit. Many, many worse places.
Anyway, I have just one last visit planned for the end of September, so I thought I’d share some Instagrams of my last two summer 2012 trips to the sunny isles:
A quick recap of the last, er, MONTH!
First there was the Olympics…
These were Despatie’s second Games and he didn’t do very well – but the guy cracked his head on the board and had to get 20+ stitches not 6 months before the Olympics, so let’s give him a break, shall we?
I also walked around the Olympic Park again…
I wandered the London 2012 Megastore (but didn’t buy anything)…
And then I went back to Vancouver for the amazing, super gorgeous #AdrianxMalania wedding, which took place in the massive forest-backyard of one of Adrian’s best friends, Tim.
Here’s my friend Paul looking quite dapper, taking it all in:
Elliot would probably disagree with this, seeing as I grumble about it every time he suggests it, but Sa Foradada IS actually one of my favourite places in Mallorca.
About a 5-minute drive from Deià (in the north of the island), getting to Sa Foradada means a 45-minute hike down a winding gravel road. It’s easy and I usually do it in flip flops, but the 35-degree heat definitely makes it a bit more challenging.
Here are some photos from the top of the mountain, pre-hike. You can see the winding road on the side of the tip of the island that is basically the last 10 minutes of the walk. (That’s my sister and her boyfriend on a recent European sojourn from their travels through Africa.)
There are also loads of sheep during the first 15 minutes. They roam the dry land eating grass and they run away from you if you approach them. The big collars around their neck have big cowbells around them.
And then, once you get to the bottom, we usually go eat at the family-owned restaurant first. This man, who is in his 70s, has owned the restaurant for over 40 years, and still spends his summer days cooking paella for appreciative tourists.
Today, a Canadian woman asked if I was Canadian… because she said I had a bit of an English accent. The horror! Seriously, I’m heading back to Vancouver in late August for a week, so if I have ANY SYMPTOMS of Madonna English, y’all had better tell me.
- When buying coffee, if you want a “drip coffee” (as we would say in North America), you have to ask for “filter coffee” here (although many cafés don’t actually have this). Basically, they’re referring to a French filter coffee – i.e. coffee made using a Bodum.
- When ordering an Americano or a cup of tea, you have to specify whether you want it black or white. Essentially, white means it comes with milk in it – hot milk. Cafés here don’t have Thermos’ / carafes full of a cream, half-and-half, skim, or soy milk by the sugar and other condiments.
- The middle finger: it is used here, but it’s much more common to use a two-fingered salute, with your palm toward you and a type of swipe-upward motion. Basically, imagine yourself saying “up yours” with two fingers in a backward-peace-sign, and you get the idea. (Apparently, this tradition derives from the Hundred Years War in the 14th century: English archers that had been captured by France had two fingers cut off their right hand – the fingers that drew the bow – so by flashing those two fingers, you were effectively showing a gesture of defiance.)
I LOVE the Olympics. I get teary eyed whenever I see someone win, love hearing the stories of how far the athletes have come, love everything about them.
Here, then, are a few highlights of my Olympics so far – they’ve only been on for two official days, but we had the amazing chance to watch the Opening Ceremony dress rehearsal on Wednesday (two days before the real deal), so my Olympics experience has been going on a tiny bit longer.
The Olympics start this week and I’ve just been told that I get to go to the Opening Ceremony dress rehearsal!!!!! Aieeeeeee!!!!!
Unfortunately, I won’t be allowed to take photos but as it’s only two days before the actual event, that’s ok, STILL SO excited.
I seem to be the only person living in London that is excited (the tourists are excited, but everyone else is grumbling about the traffic, the inconvenience, and… the tourists), but I don’t care. I love the Games!
Blame it on the weather, but I’m feeling peevish and cranky. Here is my current list of things that annoy me:
- weird British pronunciations. Not so much when it comes to names that are not pronounced the way they are spelled (i.e. the town of Reading is inexplicably pronounced “Redding”, while Chiswick is “Chissick”, but I’m fine with these), but these words:
- urinal: pronounced here as “ur-eye-nal”. Urine is still “ur-in”, so why suddenly the long I?
- router (as in an Internet router): pronounced here as “rooter”. Ugh, although this one is slightly more forgivable.
- and many others I will add to in the coming days
- THE RAIN
I do, however, like these photographs of London in the rain. They are so gloomy, it is almost hilarious! Source: these are all from the Urban 75 blog, which features photos from “Brixton, London, Wales, New York and more”.
Weekend recap! On Friday, I met a friend for lunch near Vauxhall and spotted these lovely, colourful tiles at the tube station…
Love the swirl, wave detail on the top row pairs (especially the nude flats with his signature rounded heel), and the mix of bright blue and vermilion on the bottom row.
A few of these pairs (i.e. the ones with the laces) look a bit more ‘traditional’ Nicholas Kirkwood.
These shoes feature Swarovski crystals, and I bet a few bride-to-bes will be putting these on their wish lists. As someone who owns a few pairs, I can honestly say that Nicholas Kirkwood shoes (even when they are five inches high) are actually, really comfortable. Definitely not as narrow as Louboutins, which I love. (I’m sure my podiatrist back in Vancouver – yes, I have one… TMI? – will appreciate their width, too.)
Starworks also represent Tucker by Gaby Basora, a brand I first fell in love with after buying a blouse at The Block in Vancouver’s Gastown. Gaby designs all of her own prints – how great is this lipsticked-angry-woman print for Resort 2013?
Another series by Tucker – love this chunky yellow knit. What a great way to brighten up a drab fall day. I need one of these!
And on to Roksanda Ilincic, who is probably one of the most beautiful fashion designers and best embodiments of her own brand. I love her signature lantern sleeves and wool crepe – it’s a combination that gives her pieces so much amazing volume, but keeps them light and comfortable at the same time. Definitely on my wish list.
And yes… she is launching a children’s line! SO ADORABLE. This little rack of little clothes was enough to make even the coldest heart feel broody (which is what they say here in the UK to describe someone whose biological clock is a-ticking away).
And on to Jonathan Saunders. How ’70s does this coat feel?!
Let’s breeze through the rest – some new, lighter fabrications (seersucker!) but still-sporty silhouettes from Lisa Marie Fernandez swimwear…
Wild, bright, and always-amazing digi-prints from Peter Pilotto…
Another amazing piece by Peter Pilotto. This dress is made from layered mesh (with an inner lining), so it feels light and sporty, while its print is nothing if not elegant.
We also saw Will.I.Am, Nicki Minaj, Example, Kasabian, and a couple of other random acts, but the highlight for me was seeing Jay-Z – even though I saw him a month ago at the O2 arena. This time, he brought along Rihanna, M.I.A. (uh, amazing!), AND Kanye West.
You’ve probably seen loads of other coverage of Hackney Weekend (Florence and the Machine, Azealia Banks, Rihanna, Lana del Rey and David Guetta all played on Sunday) – so I’ll skip over the rest, but seriously, it was amazing.
The next day, we went for brunch at Dishoom, a Bombay-style café near Covent Garden.
This was my “Full Bombay” breakfast, which was a delicious take on a full English breakfast, with Akuri (spicy scrambled eggs that are apparently an Irani café staple) on toast instead of poached or fried eggs. I’m craving this again now.
I was walking to Tottenham Court Road station the other day (which, before I moved to London, thought was a fictional name from Harry Potter) and chanced upon this big, open space that reminded me a bit of the street markets in Singapore.
Lo and behold, that is exactly what East Street is going for.
In addition to a menu that includes traditional dishes from Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Korea, Singapore, and Malaysia, they have a shelf near the front displaying a few essential ingredients, too.
I was glad to see that these weren’t exorbitantly priced. I bought a very large bottle of sweet chili sauce. Yum!
East Street has an “Eastern Express” lunchtime menu where, for £7.95, you get:
A choice of:
- Korean chap chae, sesame-scented fried glass noodles with shiitake, cucumber, carrot, chili, and optional chicken
- Thai tom yum soup with prawns, straw mushrooms, and glass noodles
- Japanese “gomoku yakisoba”, which are noodles fried with prawns, chicken, red pepper, carrot, and bean sprouts
- Indonesian nasi goreng, which is a spicy fried rice (we eat this in Singapore, too)!
AND a choice of:
- 3 pork gyoza
- 3 “tod man khao pod” (Thai corn fritters)
- “goi cuon” (Vietnamese rice paper rolls, or “summer rolls” as they seem to say here)
- miso soup
I don’t know how authentic the chap chae was, as it was only the third time I’ve ever had it, but the servings were enormous and I thought everything was delicious. Next time, I’ll try the Singaporean spicy chow mein off the regular menu and let you know how similar it is to the dishes you get in hawker centers.
… a winter coat. They say you don’t live in London for the weather—but I think I naïvely thought “they” were referring more to the mild, rainy winters than to the lack of summer (or, for that matter, any change in seasonal temperatures at all).
It makes this glorious weekend in late May all a very distant memory…
Unfortunately, I have been a bad sister AND a bad friend!
She and her boyfriend both up and quit their jobs (well, she finished her master’s: she’s smart like that) in January and are spending the next 10 months travelling through Africa. Insane—and way braver than I will (probably) ever be.
So apparently, Yoobi is London’s first “temakeria”. I happily chanced upon this little corner restaurant (38 Lexington St. in Soho) on my way to work in a café—and it reminded me of Michi Sushi in Vancouver, a cute little “sushi on the go” restaurant right at the corner of Granville and Broadway.
Someone told me (I think it might have been one of the guys working in the restaurant!) that temakerias originate in Brazil… but, er, somehow I doubt that (Japan, no?!). To this person’s credit, however, if you google “temaki”, there are a surprising number of hits from Brazil.
Tuna tartare temaki: £4
See you there soon!
Mind the Gap!
Seven months into living in London and I already barely hear the “Mind the Gap” announcements and am basically immune to the horrible squeal between Paddington and Edgware Road stations.
But never mind: the tube isn’t so bad, otherwise. And check out what we chanced upon!
(Ok, so this was actually two months ago, but I only remembered my plan to post this after I lost my good ol’ Telus BlackBerry and discovered that these photos had somehow made it into my iPhoto anyway.)
I’ve been really into the TEXTURE of my clothes lately – I’m not 100% sure why, but I think it has something to do with getting tired of all the high-street, crappy polyester clothes out there. In fact, I’ve basically stopped going to H&M and Topshop: as much as I appreciate fast fashion, I’ve completely gone off of it… not such a good thing for my bank account, although it does mean I’m buying fewer items in general.
Anyway, I think feeling so many crappy fabrics in these types of stores gave me a craving for interesting, more “authentic”-feeling materials.
Monday, May 7 was a “bank holiday” here in the UK (stat. holiday in Canada – yet another little language-ism I feel the need to share) – May Day, officially. I went to visit Elliot in Spain, which was more eventful than normal.
On Friday night, we went to Pirates (Reloaded) with some of the Mallorca Rocks reps and guests – it’s a dinner show with a sexed-up version for adults that features, obviously, a pirate theme and acrobatics-type numbers. It’s one of the main attractions in Magaluf, which has a lovely beach but is far more known as a playground for 16-20-year-old British lads on their first vacation away from their parents (for you North Americans, think a bunch of teenagers on their first trip to Cancun or Vegas and you get the idea.)
Then, on Saturday night, we went to a launch party for McQueen Ibiza, which has just opened a new location in Mallorca. I was told this was a party to celebrate “adult toys”, which was no, NOT sex toys but stuff like this:
In Palma, there was also a little festival / market this weekend – I think it might have been for the Feria de Abril, but I’m not sure.
My favourite little stall was a “Pulperia”, which was selling Pulpo a la Gallega, a signature Spanish dish. SO fresh and so delicious. I want some now!
News blast: Opening Ceremony is opening in London this July!!!
Ummmmm… like I need another reason to shop. For those of you who haven’t been to an Opening Ceremony in New York, LA or Tokyo, it’s an amazing store / retail concept that sells a mix of its own house label and established or emerging designers. It also collaborates with people like Chloë Sevigny and brands like Rodarte, Pendleton — who some people say was “revived” as a result — and Keds.
Each year, Opening Ceremony also features the “unique commercial and cultural character” of a different country in its stores on its website, etc. The country for 2012 is Argentina, and there’s some cute stuff on OC’s site from Argentina right now.
But I’m more excited about the London store opening in July!
It’s officially Thursday here in London, and it’s only been one full day, but it feels like ages since I got back from a short weekend away in northern Spain.
Maybe it was the insane rain today (seriously more torrential than anything I ever saw in Vancouver), or perhaps the fact that I lost my personal BlackBerry and saw my productivity drop by about 20% (all those emails that require just a short “perfect, here’s my address” / “what date will this be launching” / “here’s my answer to that question/edit/query you sent me” were waiting for me every time I opened my laptop instead of already answered on my network-less tube journey!), but god, am I ever glad it’s already Thursday.
Anyway. Last Friday evening, I met Elliot in Madrid, from where we drove straight to San Sebastian. Elliot originally wanted to go to Galicia, but
I complained and nagged until eventually, we decided to go to San Sebastian and explore the Basque region a bit instead.
Alas, the weather was crappy in San Sebastian:
So many interesting sedimentary rock formations!
A pretty bride, not at all bothered by the rain. She had a cute little white rabbit fur stole on.
This is the famous “Wind Comb” art piece by Eduardo Chillida, placed at the end of the bay, at the foot of Mount Igueldo, in 1977. The third sculpture is in the direction I’m facing in this photo.
And, of course, we ate. I gained about a stone (which is just over 6kg, for you North Americans), I think! I could eat these little bocadillos every day, and pretty much did on this trip. Crusty white bread and fatty Iberian jamon… yum.
Elliot doesn’t like them. Isn’t he crazy?!!!! It drives me insane.
San Sebastian is also known for its high concentration of Michelin-starred restaurants, but I’m saving those for another little writeup. The Mr. and Mrs. Smith guide has a pretty good roundup here, though.
For some reason, we had been under the impression that Bilbao would be industrial and a bit dull (save for the museum), but we were completely surprised.
Beautifully landscaped, great architecture throughout and some good restaurants: definitely a very livable city.
We liked this building, which was modern but with a single wall that had been preserved from the original historic façade. It turns out the “Metropolitan” is an enormous health and fitness club.
And, of course, a few shots of the Guggenheim:
Ever wondered what the surface of the Guggenheim looks like up close (or, for that matter, the Disney building in Los Angeles)? I did. Also: it’s titanium, in case you were wondering…
Just sitting in Dublin airport, waiting for my trip back to London…
I’ve been here, visiting Kildare Village, for the past few days doing a photo shoot for the June issue of the online magazine I’m editing.
It’s been wet and windy (note: “windy” in the UK can also refer to being gassy… obviously, in this context, I mean windy as in the wind blowing through the trees and messing up my hair) and I have made a few observations about the Irish:
1) They are very proud – of their land, of their country, of everything.
The customs official asked, upon entering the country, if I’d be back often, to which I replied, ‘probably not’. This sounds snooty but it was barely 8am (meaning I got up at the ungodly hour of 4:30am to catch my 7am flight!) and in my tired state, I was simply being honest.
Anyway, his response to this was “you just try” with a cheeky little twinkle in his eye. This made me smile.
2) Not surprisingly, many of them are anti-English. One man told me that Ireland had been “occupied by terrorists” for many years. Someone who heard him thought he meant the English; someone else thought he meant the IRA. I don’t know which he meant, but I do know I need to
learn brush up on my Irish history.
Here’s another example of how the Irish like to do things their own way:
This tea tasted very similar to the English variety of the (almost) same name.
3) Apparently, red hair is not an accurate Irish stereotype. I made a comment about seeing lots of people with red hair (what?! I did!), and a friend told me that a more common, “actual” Irish look is dark hair and pale skin. What I was referring to was Scottish. Right.
4) Many (or at least it appears as such) English people have never tried Guinness. Weird, right?! In my first year at Queen’s University, I’m pretty sure I thought it would make me cool if I liked Guinness – so for a (very short) while, before I moved on to vodka redbulls or tequila shots (barf), I drank Guinness when we went to bars and pubs.
OK, off to find some grub before I fly!
So in my ongoing quest to find a decent consignment store (next step: shipping things back to Canada… which one friend from Calgary who now lives here does quite regularly), I came across this wonderfully tacky red silk Escada shirt.
I repeat: red, silk… with a swirly cowboy-esque black pattern and a gold button. Check it out.
I also found these little birdies at a “charity shop” (I forget what we call them back home, but I don’t think it’s “charity shop”. Secondhand store, maybe? Donations store?). They are mega random but they were only £2 for 12 so naturally, I bought 24.
After my recent post on how glorious it is in London when it’s sunny, today was one of those all-too-common grey days. It reminded me of the last time it was super rainy, when instead of moping around drinking tea all day, we headed out to see the Wallace Collection in Marylebone.
The Wallace Collection is a museum in an old London townhouse, with galleries and rooms filled with art, sculptures, and paintings. All the stuff was essentially once the private collection of “the first four Marquesses of Hertford and Sir Richard Wallace”, the son of the 4th Marquess. (I put this in quotations because I don’t actually know what a marquess is. Wikipedia tells me it is a rank below a duke but above an earl.)
Anyway, the collection was left to Britain by Sir Richard’s widow in 1897. It’s a pretty incredible collection, and gives a pretty good glimpse into what it must have been like to live in the 18th and 19th centuries.
London: the sun does come out here after all!
SUCH a great, beautiful weekend. Elliot’s last for awhile, and even though he’ll get more sun back in Spain than any Londoner (or anyone, really) could ever dream about, it was so nice to get out in this city and see how glorious it really can be! Also funny: how nice everyone suddenly becomes.
This is London Fields, and it actually seemed much greener in real life. A few hours later, when we passed it again, it was JAM packed with people, all lying around like seals on a beach.
We then passed a portion of Regent’s Canal where a little canal boat had been transformed into a makeshift bookshop, with its owners eating a lovely little meal on top.
It was really cute – not sure if you can see the gingham tablecloth (or the fact that the guy was wearing a studded belt with some kind of bike top / leather vest), but their little picnic looked delicious.
We then found The Dog & Wardrobe, a little vintage furniture / housewares shop next to the canal that, as it turns out, was mentioned in a recent issue of Time Out (which I saw when I got home). It was like a tiny, mini version of the Sunbury market – I wouldn’t be surprised if they got some of their great finds there.
I’m not a huge fan of outfit diary-style blogs—all I can do when I’m scrolling through them quickly is think, ‘how embarrassing’ or ‘how awkward for the person taking the photos’.
That said, going to fashion week these days involves a lot of prepwork: putting outfits together, packing (which I didn’t have to do this season, thankfully), and figuring out how long your feet will last in a certain pair of 5-inch heels. Some girls I know even take snapshots of their outfits so that getting dressed for a 9am show is that much more painless, but I generally just enter the week with a few ideas of specific pieces I want to wear and then go from there.
Blah blah blah. Here are a few of my outfits from fashion week, as they appeared on a few sites that cared! (Thank you!)
Of course, one of the fun (and also slightly stressful) parts of fashion week is all the insane street photography that goes on… but I’ll post about that later this week.
Today I ate pho with Michelle Bobb-Parris, the brill fashion (and, yes, street) photographer behind whoisbobbparris.com.
We have some interesting similarities:
- we are both Canadian
- we both like to eat
- we both did law degrees (although to her credit, she practised for 2 years here in London)
- we both ended up working in fashion
And she took this cute Instagram shot of something I always do whenever I use chopsticks that have come wrapped in a paper sleeve. It is a hidden talent you may have not known I possess.
Went on a quick trip to Barcelona last week…. and for all the times I’ve been to the Mercat Santa Caterina, I have never eaten at the big market restaurant that’s on the end / part of it!
For some reason, it’s always stuck in my memory that a friend of mine, Grace, once told me that if I lived in New York, I would be able to buy amazing clothes for really cheap. This was years and years ago, when she WAS living in NY and I totally envied her access to the most amazing sample sales, flash sale sites (Gilt didn’t ship to Canada back then), blah blah blah. I think I might have also just returned from a trip there, where I spent about $600 at the Barneys warehouse sale (the best sale in the world, I think) and got about eight things. Unheard of.
Anyway, I have learned that this is also the case in London. No big surprise there.
Months of living extremely frugally, without a regular paycheque, means
I’ve completely gone off the deep end again I’ve done a lot of research and am amazed at how easy it is to find designer stuff on sale here. It all makes the high street stores slightly unappealing… although I’m still not immune to the power of Topshop, Zara and H&M—especially since they all have e-commerce here in London and I can scratch my fast-fashion itch without having to brave Oxford Circus.
Anyway, here are my favourites (perhaps in time for any of the fashion pack who will be in town this weekend for the circus that is London Fashion Week):
I love the architecture in London—all the variety of it, the old buildings that keep on giving and being used, the crumbling brick, and how grand everything (okay, almost everything) manages to look, regardless of the state they’re in.
I passed this row of houses the other day in Belsize Park, which is a lovely area in northwest London (and also the area where Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin live).
Sod Travel Thursdays – today is Travel Tuesday! (I suck at keeping to a weekly schedule.)
We headed out of the city to the Cotswolds over the weekend, which is an enormous area that includes six counties and 790 square miles. For Vancouverites, it would be a bit like going to the Okanagan—it’s a general region, encompassing a few different cities, except in the case of the Cotswolds, it’s only 90 minutes away and there are more villages and tiny towns than proper cities.
Just got back from a lovely weekend in the Cotswolds (yes, it snowed buckets but nothing unlike what we saw growing up in good ol’ Calgary)!
Photos of the trip coming soon, but in the meantime, some shots from my birthday dinner at Momo in Soho. I’ve been wanting to go to this Moroccan spot for awhile (not to be confused with the Japanese restaurant of the same name here in London), and I was not disappointed:
Not feeling so sorry for myself today… birthday day is always better than the night before your birthday (unless you’re under the age of 23, I think). Thank god for that.
Yesterday, I had cupcakes; today, I had a cupcake and got a few lovely presents. Tomorrow, we’re heading to the Cotswolds (a kind of weird, icky name for a supposedly beautiful part of the country) for a little weekend getaway. Yay!
Tomorrow is my birthday and I feel old.
Not so happy birthday!!!
But no, I take that back—I am happy to be living in a new country, I am grateful for my new, fun job (more on that later), and going through a new adventure that this time last year, I didn’t really think would ever happen. But right now, I don’t want to think about my age. I am not in the mood for aging gracefully!
Apparently, it is impossible for me to take some nice photos of my house in a way that actually conveys what it looks and feels like (the rooms always look crappy and small!), so here, instead, are a few random detail shots.
Random finds from the last Granger & Hertzog film prop hire clearance sale. In England, when you rent something, you say you “hire” it. As in, “we got a hire car for the weekend” or “we hired a car for the weekend”.
Anyway, Granger & Hertzog specialise in unique and bits of furniture that can be rented for set decoration. Once a year (generally in November, I think—I’ll let you know later this year), they have a big warehouse sale and some people line up in advance because it’s mega cheap.
We got this random fretwork acrylic table for £5 and the bulbous lamp next to it for £10. I also got this cool, stacking container thing which stores some of my jewellery, and a round, silver TV bench. Everything cost £50 altogether. The colourful thing on top of the table is a pompom garland I bought for our Christmas tree. I decided it could stay out since it’s not red and green, but haven’t quite decided what to do with it yet.
Come visit and see it all in person!
Last week, after months of liking British cuisine but not LOVING it (minus a few amazing Thai “takeaways” / takeout and a really delicious Indian NYE meal), I ate at what very quickly became my two new favourite places for food.
First is the Riding House Cafe, which reminds me a bit of Vancouver’s Café Medina—they both have that friendly-and-cool-but-not-pretentious atmosphere that is perfect both for brunch with the besties and a work meeting. I had eggs benedict, but I’ve been dreaming of the chorizo hash brown that my dining buddies Jessica and Fiona both had. I sense another visit coming up this week.
For dinner on Friday, we went to Polpo, a Venetian bacaro (a term that is, apparently, hard to define—but it’s basically a meeting place with a warm, friendly atmosphere). The room reminded me a bit of Café Medina’s older sister, Chambar, except that it serves cicheti (side dishes) and small plates.
Best part, though, is that it is completely reasonable. We had olives, a plate of three different crostini, all piled high with various delicious toppings, lamb chump, flank steak, a beetroot salad, roast potatoes, three cocktails and a half litre of wine, and two desserts, for around £80.
The only downfall to Polpo is that they don’t take resos… and, not surprisingly, reasonable prices + great atmosphere + a cool but not try-hard-y crowd = 90-minute waits.
Both restaurants are in Soho and are part of a family of successful properties (another similarity to Medina / Chambar). If you come and visit me in London, don’t be surprised if I take you to one or both of them.
You wouldn’t expect two people who are native English speakers, from English-speaking countries, to have a language barrier. And yet, when Elliot and I first got together, it took us ages to properly understand each other.
Every time I said “really?”, he said “yes, really” in this weird, semi-sarcastic, semi-confused voice, and it wasn’t until later that I realised that this was just my North American way of expressing surprise / disbelief, not me actually questioning the truth behind something.
Anyway, over the weekend, we headed north to Leicester, a town of about 300,000 (although on our first visit there, Elliot told me it had 3 million!!!!! I very swiftly kiboshed this idea) to visit Elliot’s brother’s family. We passed through all the little towns and cities, which made me think of just how UN-English British English is. For example:
Leicester = “Les-ter”. As anyone who’s ever made shepherd’s pie (or cottage pie, more probably) will know, a whole bunch of letters just seem to disappear when you ask for Worcestershire sauce. Same goes for Leicester, Bicester, and Gloucester… and probably many, many more. The C just seems to disappear, and you’re left with Lester, Bister, and Glosster. WTF?
A couple of the other North American vs. British spellings and just plain weird pronunciations that came up on the drive:
- curb vs. kerb
- Warwick = “Warrick”
- Marylebone = “Marl-ee-bone”
- oriented vs. orientated
Just got back from a weekend away filled with family and kids ranging from 3 months to 12 years—and all the activities involved (burping and cleaning up sick, dressing up dolls, going to a football / soccer match, and being woken up at 7:30am). Exhausted!
In the meantime, home sweet home.
We haven’t left London in awhile (if a month can be considered awhile), but we are potentially heading up to Leicester (pronounced “less-ter”) this weekend to visit some of Elliot’s family, so hopefully, I come back with something interesting to report.
In the meantime, check out the
little trip to Japan sushi we made!
There are some pretty amazing restaurants here, including a ton of fantastic cheap eat options and too many Michelin-starred restaurants for my bank account to handle, but the one thing I am really missing is sushi.
Gone are the days of the $10 lunch combo box at Sea Monstr Sushi that made you so full you (almost) felt like you didn’t need dinner and yet, returned for the very next day. Sure, there are good Japanese restaurants but they are way more expensive, and the fish just doesn’t taste as fresh. Recommendations more than welcome.
In any case, we decided to make our own sushi at home. Here are the results:
To think that a year ago, I didn’t know what “high street” meant…
I had breakfast with a lovely fellow Canadian today, and the two of us trying to describe Aritzia (she misses it dearly) to her British colleague made me think of all the brands that don’t exist here and vice versa.
But first, “high street.” High street basically refers to boutiques that are literally, on the high street—which are, essentially, main streets. In Vancouver, Robson Street would be a high street; in Toronto, Queen Street would be one.
What’s more, high streets here very often literally have the name “high street” in their name. Example: High Street Kensington, the main shopping street in—you guessed it—Kensington. This isn’t always the case, of course—Oxford and Regent Streets are definitely high streets but aren’t named as such.
Anyway, high street fashion brands are those that can afford the rent on these busy thoroughfares: think brands like the Gap, Urban Outfitters, Topshop, H&M, and Zara. Of course, luxury brands can afford high rent, too, but obviously, they want to maintain their position as, duh, luxury brands, so tend to group together in more posh areas. It’s all pretty self-explanatory. So onto the list.
Here are a few high street brands I’m surprised don’t exist in Canada yet (and please do correct me if I’m wrong!):
CoS – my favourite high street brand; CoS supposedly stands for “collection of style” and is actually owned by H&M. It’s still trend-driven, but much more quality-oriented (“orientated”, as they say here in England) and way, way less “fast”.
The Kooples – I’ve been seeing the Man Repeller wear a lot of this brand lately, so am guessing it is Stateside, now. My second favourite of the high street brands, the clothing is very British in its styling but the company was founded by three French brothers. Fréres.
Kurt Geiger – Pronounced “guy-ger”, with two hard Gs, this is a shoe retailer whose specialty, it seems, is producing runway-inspired footwear, with the odd exact-copy thrown in there for good measure. My friend Alexandra of Searching for Style did some research and found that Kurt Geiger, the company, has managed to strategically place itself in every major (including luxury) department store as it controls all of their respective shoe departments! Not sure how it does this—more research required. Stay tuned.
Next – I find this high street brand kind of shitty, but it seems to do quite well here.
Dorothy Perkins – see Next.
Mango – I know there is Mango in Canada, but seriously, only in Toronto still?!!!
New Look – Slightly better than Next—it has an ongoing collaboration with Giles on its side.
There are probably at least ten more, but let’s move on to popular brands that surprisingly, don’t seem to exist in the UK:
Old Navy – There’s a Gap on every other corner, and a Banana Republic, too. Why no Old Navy?
Lululemon – I’m not surprised the other major Canadian brands (yes, Aritzia, but also Joe Fresh) haven’t opened here yet—after all, they just opened big shiny stores in New York—but Lulu has been in the States for AGES and there seriously seems a big gap here. Its main competitor, besides the usual sports brands like Nike and Adidas, and from what I’ve seen so far, would be a brand called Sweaty Betty… which I think is an unfortunate name (but there are some nice workout clothes).
Bebe – I hate this store and think their clothes is mostly crappy, but I’m still surprised there are no Bebe stores here.
BCBG – Did you know BCBG stands for “bon chic, bon genre” (good style, good attitude)? I’m not sure this would qualify as “high street” as their price point is a bit higher, but I’m still surprised there are no BCBG stores here. They do have good sales.
Club Monaco – The brand I miss the MOST. They sell some of it at Browns, an amazing, high-end department store (with an equally amazing outlet store down the street, which I literally stumbled upon! I was en route to the Sassoon Salon down the street to get my bangs trimmed and WALKED INTO THE WRONG STORE!), but it’s much more expensive and I miss being able to use my press discount.
When I was about 14, my mom started taking me to Danielle’s Consignment Boutique in Calgary, where we’d drop off our clothes and have a browse around for any goodies. In Vancouver, I started doing this at Front & Co., which had a rule that meant you had to stay in the store while they sorted through your things (which often meant you ended up finding something else you wanted to buy).
Since moving to London, I’ve been on the hunt for a similar store. I’ve sold a few items on eBay, but consigning generally just takes less work. So far, I’ve discovered a few things:
1) Designer consignment stores here tend to be called “dress agencies”.
2) Pricing is determined much differently. In Canada, prices are determined solely by the buying team, with the exception of high-end designer items, when they might ask how much you paid and whether you’re comfortable with a particular price. At Pandora, an established store in Knightsbridge (the quite posh locale of Harrod’s), all prices are agreed upon by you AND and the store, and only after this do you leave your items there.
3) Same goes for sales. At the Front, price tags are date-stamped and everything is reduced by 20% once it’s been on the floor for a month. At Pandora, I assume that things don’t go on sale unless you’ve pre-agreed to it.
4) Consignment stores are generally better organised in Canada. They don’t seem to like organising shoes by size at dress agencies here!
I also found another series of stores in Notting Hill, called Retro Man / Retro Woman. They have TERRIBLE reviews, thanks in part to their peculiar “we buy everything” policy, which basically means they’ll give you ONE PENCE if they don’t like something. They also have a cash or trade policy, where they’ll give you double the cash value of your things in vouchers for any of their stores.
I’ve decided the only way to make this work without feeling ripped off is to itemise every single item I bring in and pre-determine an acceptable cash / voucher total. Last week, I brought in 9 items (2 pairs of jeans, a pair of waterproof oxfords, an old Phillip Lim skirt, and some other random stuff) and got £200 in trade. I ended up taking these two items and the rest (£20) in cash.
This weekend was fairly uneventful – Saturday was a day of errands, with one of Elliot’s friends visiting from Ibiza and a delicious dinner at Ducksoup (typed “dicksoup” there at first, by accident… Freudian typo?!). I had rabbit rillette and cornichons, followed by cuttlefish risotto with squid ink. There’s something deliciously weird about eating a plate of rice in a very black sauce.
I love how tiny and homemade Ducksoup feels (there are only a handful of tables; most people eat at the bar), but wish they would write their daily menus a bit more neatly. But whatever.
On Sunday, we headed to our friend Lucy’s house in Esher for Sunday Roast. This is an actual, proper noun THING here, needing capital letters and everything. Of course, we have roasts in Canada, but it isn’t as entrenched a tradition as it is here. Think of it as a full Thanksgiving dinner, every Sunday. We haven’t cooked one yet, but we’ve gone out for plenty, at pubs with names like “Duke of Wellington”, “Prince of Wales”, “Rose and Crown”, and so on.
I was going to write about consignment stores in London, but seeing as how this post has ended up being all about food, I’ll save that for tomorrow! I’m also on two deadlines today, so that’s enough procrastinating for now.
As you can see, I’m trying to instill a teensy bit of order on this blog, so Thursdays are now, henceforth, Travel Thursdays.
Thanks to everyone for your kind tweets and comments on my last post about Mango. He is and will be missed.
It’s hard to follow a post like that with one about fashion, but I actually started compiling this, my first installation of “Wish List Wednesday”, on the weekend. But then, that was also before I headed to Liberty, one of my favourite department stores here in London, where today, I found that half the store was on sale and the other half was full of brilliant, colourful things that had arrived for spring!
Not surprisingly, my wish list changed. Here is the newest version.
1) Isabel Marant‘s latest hidden-heel sneaker, the Willow.
Upside: I liked the Bobby from last season (but needed some convincing), but LOVE this new colour.
Downside: Too bad everyone else has come out with fashion sneakers now, too.
2) Christopher Kane rainbow dress from Resort 2012.
Upside: how impossible would it be to NOT be in a good mood wearing this?
Downside: likely to be one of THE most-spotted (and only wearable once) dresses of fashion week.
When I left Canada, my intention was to return in February to pick up my little orange tabby, Mango. He had received his rabies shot and gotten his pet passport in August, but UK pet immigration laws state that animals must have had their vaccines for 6 months. I left Mango in the very kind, very capable and loving hands of Caitlin, who I’ll be forever indebted to for agreeing to adopt him until February.
Unfortunately, I woke up one morning in November to find an email from the Granville Island Vet Hospital with the sad news that Mango’s kidneys had started to fail. After two nights in the hospital, a few teary phone calls and a futile search for a cheap last-minute flight back home, we had to put him down.
Mango was the sweetest, most affectionate cat that I ever met. I’ve never (and still don’t, really) thought of myself as a cat person, but I was truly in love with Mango and his loving head butts, stubborn orange hair—I’m still finding it on my clothes!—and little (sometimes big) meow.
He will be dearly missed.
Thanks to Caitlin, his vets Anna Wallace and Bill Ignacio (seriously amazing, those two and their team), and everyone who has cared for, pet, and loved Mango as much as I did. Thanks also to the Granville Island Vet Hospital for making a donation in Mango’s name to the Pet Trust Fund, an organization that helps support learning, research, and health care at the Ontario Veterinary College.
Before Christmas, Elliot and I took the opportunity of living in London to do a bit of travelling. I don’t think Europeans realize how lucky they have it. A 4-hour flight from London can get you to a serious handful of countries; the same flight from Vancouver doesn’t even get you to Toronto!
First, we went to Copenhagen, where we tested out Air B’n’B (a site where you can rent someone’s apartment rather than staying in a hotel) with wonderful results. Our lovely apartment was in the Nørrebro area, which was great for getting to most areas of the city.
Next, we took the train to Edinburgh, Scotland, then hopped on a “luxury” bus with about 30 excited Spanish visitors for an English/Scottish-Spanish wedding. We drove through massive sheets of wind and rain—what one newspaper called a “weather bomb”—to get to Inverlochy Castle. Passing huge trucks flipped onto their sides and dozens of trees ripped out of the ground (one actually tore the right-hand mirror off our coach!) was a bit unnerving.
I’ll post some photos of our flat in London soon, but we’ve been doing some redecorating, so it’ll have to wait until after that.
From far, the installation looks a huge pile of sunflower seeds—which is apparently one of China’s most prized exports—but up close, each and every single seed in the 5-ton pile was hand-painted and hand-crafted from porcelain by specialists in China. According to the installation notes:
“This combination of mass production and traditional craftsmanship invites us to look more closely at the ‘Made in China’ phenomenon, and the geopolitics of cultural and economic exchange.”
As usual, there were tons of paparazzi everywhere—at LFW, the crazier your outfit, the better. (*Note: bragging alert*) Here are some of the photos I found of myself. I was especially pleased—chuffed, as we’d say here in London—with those on the Harper’s Bazaar and Telegraph sites.
Love this swan reference at Giles and the metallic blazer. It felt very Christmas-y, though.
Before moving to London and after leaving Canada, I spent two months in Spain, with the idea of relaxing, enjoying being jobless and (relatively) responsibility-less, and waiting for Elliot to finish up the Ibiza and Mallorca Rocks season.
Here are a few snapshots to summarize those two months:
Let’s start with the move. I had started mentioning the possibility of jumping ship and heading overseas to friends and family back in the spring, but given that I started a new job in January (as Managing Editor at Aritzia), I don’t think that many people took it seriously.
It wasn’t until I actually booked my one-way ticket that it started to sink in. Packing was a nightmare… every time I’d pack a box, I’d find more stuff that needed to be given away, sold, or donated. Huge thanks to May, Shannon, Sunny, Jamie, Connie and Samantha for being such great helpers!
Here’s a shot of the West End-style sidewalk sale I hosted across the street (Holly Lodge, the lovely 1907 building where I lived, doesn’t allow sales on its lawns).
Let’s try this again, shall we?
For those of you that know me, you might remember that I started a blog awhile back, linked it to my portfolio site, and then failed miserably to update it regularly.
But let’s just forget about that.
Now that I’ve been living away from Canada for 4 months (2 months in Mallorca, Spain, and now 2 months in London), I thought this could be a way for people back home to “stay in touch”, for people here to get to know me, and well, since I’m currently a full-time freelancer, prevent me from getting bored.
So – welcome to my blog, and stay tuned!