Style Note: The Isabella Oliver Cape

Posted by London Darling

Yesterday was one of those cold and breezy days in London when you really need something warm and snug to wrap up in. And what better way to wrap up than in a cape. It's the perfect alternative to a winter coat. I received this beautiful one as a Christmas Gift from one of my favourite labels Isabella Oliver.

Isabella Oliver Cape

London Fashion Week Diary: BODYAMR

Posted by London Darling

The BODYAMR show was one that I was particularly looking forward to, and it was well worth the wait. The signature draping that I love still played a huge role in the collection as an abundance of luxe fabrics and beaded embellishment.

BODYAMR show

Giveaway: Win Tickets to the 2010 Vitality Show!

Posted by London Darling

The lovely team at Vitality are treating three lucky readers to a pair of free tickets! Running from 18th-21st March in London’s Earls Court 2, Vitality is the UK’s largest health, beauty, fitness and wellbeing event for women.

WIN Vitality tickets

Beauty Buzz: Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare

Posted by London Darling

I recently changed my beauty regime to include the Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, the Instant Boost Skin Tonic and Skin Repair Moisturiser. It's been just six days, and already I've seen a noticeable difference in the clarity of my complexion and the texture of my skin.

Liz Earle Skincare

It's where pop meets super cool vintage and shoppers go crazy for saddle bags and retro sunglasses: Berty and Gerty is a boutique home to lovingly hand selected fashion pieces. Since launching in 2006, the boutique has been attracting celebrities as well as a cult following amongst fashion addicts.



Owned by art graduates Mark Wearn and Emma Drew, the pair found the perfect spot to open their shop in West Yard, amidst the rock and roll environment of Camden. Widely recognised as an exquisite treasure trove, the boutique is truly a fashion stylist's paradise and an established source for fashion shoot accessories. So don't be surprised to see Berty and Gerty pieces adorning models and celebrities in magazine titles like Nylon, i-D and Wonderland.


Berty & Gerty
69 The West Yard,
Camden Lock Market,
London,
NW1 8AF

Web: www.bertyandgerty.co.uk

As you may know, two of the key colours for spring/summer is cobalt blue and teal. It graced the catwalks at Richard Nicoll SS/09 among other designers and is proving a favourite among celebrity stylists. My choices for accessorizing with these cool, fresh colours are from online accessory boutique Talullah Tu.

Based in London but delivering everywhere, this chic little shop has some fabulous pieces including style icon Mischa Barton's new collection of bags. Unique cocktail rings, stunning necklaces, bracelets to swoon over and statement handbags - I'm finding them all here.

What's even more fantastic is the prices - they are so recession friendly. So here's my pick of on-trend pieces that are rich in design but not in cost. Joy!




Web:
www.talullahtu.co.uk

With Summer fast approaching, no doubt there'll be an array of garden parties and weddings to look fabulous for. If you're searching for beautifully cut classic garments fitting for special occasions then head to Lucia Silver's studio on Notting Hill.

Private and luxurious, Silver's studio is home to a new personal styling service entitled State of Grace. This bespoke outfit design service is perfect for creating your individual look and especially ideal for brides. Her team also includes professional hair and makeup artists who can polish and perfect your final look further enhancing the sumptuous styling experience.

Be sure to RSVP to one of the weekly styling events at the studio; The 'Coffee cupcake couture club' is the session for yummy mummies, starting at 9:10am. At 2:00pm, Silver hosts the 'Perfect pastries and bespoke beautifying session', perfect for ladies who lunch. And in the evenings, a soiree of 'Champagne and chic styling' is on offer at 7:00pm - ideal for career girls and office lovelies.

So raise your style stakes and book a session with Silver's personal styling team. You'll find a treasure trove of sophisticated florals, indulgent silks and amazing vintage accessories.

Lucia Silver
Notting Hill,
London, W2

Tel: 0870 850 0350
Email: mail@luciasilver.com
Web: www.thestateofgrace.com


LBD: Little Black Dress

Date: Sunday 29th March 09
Time: 6pm -11pm

Don't we just love our Little black dresses? Otherwise referred to as LBD, it has a firm place in fashion's history, this we know. Almost every girl owns one; versatile, long-lasting, classic...cut simply, often short, sometimes backless... Yes, the LBD made popular by the legendary Coco Chanel has long been a fashionista's must have, in fact every girl’s staple.

Well imagine if you could experience that style, the same elegance and sexy sophistication in the form of an event. Think it can't be done? Think again. There's a new party night launching this weekend that promises to encapsulate the essence of our favourite little black numbers.


Introducing the Sunday lounge night, aptly name LBD - bringing sexy back into serious music on March 29th. Featuring fresh cuts and old school gems... classic lines with modern twists. It's where fringe meets pop culture. It's freedom from genre... you can have it all. Basically put, LBD is very, very LONDON. Expect a playful vibe; the odd special guest, with tables laid with surprises and delights.


11 Market Place
London
W1 8AH
29th March 6pm -11pm

Web: www.virb.com/LBD
Web: www.marketplace-london.com

Main Image credit: Hannah Marshall AW08, girldir.com


Date: Friday 27th March
Time: 9 am -7 pm

The Margaret Howell sample sale tomorrow. There's up to 80% off retail price on womenswear, menswear and furnishings for the home.

Howell's career in fashion spans some thirty years - she's a veteran of lived in chic. I love her relaxed, natural style and this seasons collection has a great mix of masculine tailoring and sporty shapes that are actually versatile enough wearable all year round. With such impressive discounts on offer, you can afford to make some good investments and stock up on spring wardrobe staples.



The Music Rooms
26 South Molton Lane
London, W1


This London fashion designer never ceases to delight me with his eclectic style and harmonious fusion of textures. His creations are smart, sexy and feminine but strengthened with a balance of tapering and tailored lines. Louis de Gama - the East London resident who launched his first collection 9 years ago, consistently fuses unlikely partnerships between leather and silk chiffon.

Having graduated at the University of Westminister he went on to work with bespoke tailoring company Salvatore, this before a successful stint at fashion house Boudicca. Since the start of the new millennium, his designs have been stocked at discerning boutiques in New York, Tokyo, Athens and Lisbon as well as his own store - LdG, located on Brick Lane.

The LdG Spring/Summer collection is one of my most coveted style offerings of this year. It's so cleverly put together: a series of dreamy dresses, vampish and yet saintly - accentuating the silhouette whilst being gracefully fluid. I simply must pay homage to the genius it is. So here are my pick of the best pieces.

Check out the hint of body con shaping and the gorgeous layers of chiffon and silk. Who wouldn't feel and look amazing in one of these?




LdG by Louis de Gama
5 Cheshire Street,
London E2 6ED
Web: http://www.louisdegama.com

Isabel Andraca!

A big congratulations to Pretty Stylish London reader Isabel Andraca who won tickets to The Vitality Show at Earls Court. Don't forget to sign up to the blog for the latest news, exclusive offers and your chance to win the next competition coming soon!



Today I've been browsing venues to host the mother of all Hen parties for my friend who's getting hitched in the Summer. And at the top of my shortlist is the very cosmopolitan bar - ruby lo.


Located in the heart of the west end (near Selfridges), this basement venue has a dark and sexy décor, serious sound system and a lively vibe. Yes, this venue is the ideal setting for the party's Malonos and Martini theme. The bar also has an impressive drinks menu - you simply must try their Lychee & Rose petal martini cocktails!

Oh and of you're into your Drum n' bass classics then head down to swerve night on Wednesday the 25th of March, where resident DJ LiquidFunk Master Fabio and guests will be enticing you to get into the grove and throw some shapes on the dance floor.



Ruby Lo - W1
23 Orchard Street,
London, W1H 6HL

Tel: 020 7486 3671
Web: http://www.ruby.uk.com/lo/

As I sit here writing this post, I'm tucking into the most indulgent chocolate cake ever. Whilst helping a friend shop for her wedding today, we stopped into Bea's of Bloomsbury for inspiration and to sample their famous desserts.

We ordered the three-layered cake consisting of rich chocolate filled with a dark bitter sweet truffle. I was so smitten with the taste that I simply had to take another slice home! (Desserts are my guilty pleasure).

The Bea's of Bloomsbury menu ranges from cupcakes, tarts, cookies, brownies and layer cakes. So there's something to satisfy every type of sweet tooth. What's sweeter is that they also do their bit for the environment by recycling all packaging and baking with energy efficient induction cooking methods.





It's no surprise then that Bea's has been shortlisted in Time Out's Best London Tea Rooms. I for one can taste why. The fine Valrhona chocolate that generously featured in my cake and Square Mile coffee that accompanied it made for a truly delicious experience.

By the end of our visit, my friend decided that she would place a dessert order for her wedding reception. And I've happily obliged to be her 'cake-tasting buddy' to help sample the favours available. I just hope that by the end of it all, I can still fit into my wedding outfit. Wish me luck!

Bea's of Bloomsbury

44 Theobald's Road
London WC1X 8NW
Tel: 0207 242 8330
Web: http://beasofbloomsbury.com

Hours: Mon - Fri 8 am to 6 pm | Sat 10:30 am to 4 pm

I've been keeping a close fashion eye on London of late, and it's quickly become apparent that many of us are keen to add a bit of retro style to our modern wardrobes.

Yes, we've officially entered into a moment that I like to call 'retro remake' - a happy medium between on-trend pieces with a hint of vintage (without necessarily buying authentically vintage) If you get my drift?

So today I've been scouring the high street for affordable retro remakes, and I've found some great looks and vintage inspired accessories. The prices are ideal for 'credit -crunch shopping' too.

Retro clutch, £24.99, TK Maxx

Retro diamante vintage sunglasses, £3.00, Primark
This is such a steal! Love it!


Paisly print maxi dress, £55, Wallis


Main Image Credit:

Stripe Cardigan £22, high waist jeans £28 and Tan Wedges £40 - All from Next



I've discovered a fantastic lip colour and pencil combo just in time for Spring. Perfect Rouge lipwear by cult beauty brand Shiseido comes in a fresh palette of pinks and reds. The stick features moisture-holding oils that give a boost of hydration for soft, supple lips and the lip pencil creates the perfect pout with anti-smudge technology and a handy blending brush tip.



Science stuff aside, I LOVE the smart, sexy design and I'm hooked on the shade called sweet pea, it makes my lips pop with gorgeous colour. There's bound to be a shade you'll be fixed on too. See for yourself at perfect-rouge.com. Oh and check out the cool music as well, if anyone knows who the artist is, please share!


Available at Harrods, House of Fraser, Fenwick John Lewis and Beauty Base
Web:
http://www.perfect-rouge.com

Smythson of Bond Street is in my book, the ultimate retailer for luxury stationary and smart accessories. Synonymous with timeless luxury and discerning design, their accessories make a fantastic gift for lovers of classic style.

I've been browsing Smythson purses for an inspired gift for Mother's Day and I've added this gorgeous Mara brown photograph purse to my wish list. The photo display is great for adding Mum's favourite image of you as a child or present day. And I love the luxuriously rich dark chocolate print and the gold finish.


Whilst browsing for gifts, I couldn't help but look at possibilities for myself! I saw this delicious raspberry crocodile print travel vanity case and swiftly added it to my wish list. It would be just perfect for my trip to New York next month.



Naturally such luxuries inevitably come with an equally luxe price tag. However, like so many other Londoners, I'm strictly watching the pennies. So it's good to see that Smythson also feature a selection of products for under £100. Click here to view.


Smythson
40 New Bond Street
London, W1S 2DE
Tel: 020 7629 8558
Web: http://www.smythson.com

Image Credits
Continental Photograph Purse
From £335.00
Mara Brown
Travel Vanity Case
From £1,370.00
Crocodile-print Raspberry leather.


The Vitality Show is coming to town on Thursday the 26th of March. The well-being event promises to be bigger and better than ever with even more top beauty brands and plenty of pampering on offer.

Pretty Stylish London teamed up with the organisers of Vitality to give away 2 tickets to the 10th Anniversary show.

This competition ended on Friday 20th of March, 1pm.

http://www.thevitalityshow.co.uk

For a chilled and sumptuously relaxed afternoon with mum, take her out for some quintessentially English afternoon tea. The Covent Garden Hotel is my favourite place to enjoy scones, clotted cream and essential Earl Grey whilst taking in the glamorous surroundings of hotel's Drawing room. Tea can also be served in the Brasserie Max or the Library - each featuring a unique classic interior and charm. Let her eat cake!


Available daily between 3pm and 5:30pm

For reservations and further information call 020 7806 1000
or email max@firmdale.com

Covent Garden Hotel
10 Monmouth Street
London WC2H 9HB

Web: http://www.firmdale.com

For the latest Mother's Day events and offers in Covent Garden, visit: www.sevendials.co.uk


Date:
26th -29th March

Finally Spring has arrived!.. Summer is just around the corner and soon it'll be time to have toes out, bare legs and glowing skin on show. To get the latest beauty goodies visit the Vitality show at Earls Court. It promises to be the perfect place to find your Spring/Summer beauty buys including cult collections like Jo Wood Organics.

Aside from stocking up your makeup bag, there will also be relaxation and spa zones, with leading massage therapists and beauticians to preen and pamper. Experts will be providing nutritional and well-being advice as well as the latest industry secrets to looking fabulous. And if you're still feeling the winter blues, shake it off with an energetic workout or dance class at the Zest fitness Park.



Vitality dares you to go bare!
Celebrate National No Makeup Day 26th March 09

This well-being event is impressively in its 10th year and kicks off on the 26th of March, which is also National No Makeup Day. So to mark the occasion, the Vitality show is challenging women to spend a day without makeup. The first 50 women brave enough to visit the opening show au naturel will be rewarded with gorgeous benefit goodies to treat themselves the day after! Are you up for the challenge?

Tickets cost £14.50 in advance or £17.50 on the door, so grab your girlies, or take mum along for a post mother's day treat and make a day of it.


Earls Court 2
Earls Court
Warwick Road
London
SW5 9TA

Opening Times:
Thursday 26th March, 1pm - 9pm
Friday 27th March, 10am - 6pm
Saturday 28th March, 10am - 6pm
Sunday 29th March, 10am - 6pm


Booking Hotline
: 0871 230 5569
Web: www.vitalityshow.co.uk

For a truly unique gift this Mother's Day, head to Floris, London's Purveyors of Perfumes & Toiletries and enlist the help of one of their perfumers to create a bespoke fragrance just for Mum. Floris, originally a family run business was set up in the late 1800s and is one of London's most celebrated perfumeries offering made to measure fragrances.

Floris Fine Fragrance Customisation

Choose from their wide range of starting fragrances and add additional new ingredients to your selected scent. You'll receive a 100ml custom blended eau de parfum of divine smelling essential oils and floral essences. This bespoke perfumery service has a luxury price of £100 but well worth the spend if you intend on giving a gift that is spectacularly special.


Floris
89 Jermyn Street,
London SW1Y 6JH

Web: http://www.florislondon.com


Here's a fresh take on confectionery this Mother's Day: If your mum is a chocolate lover, then a gift subscription to Hotel Chocolat's Tasting Club will treat her to new and authentic chocolate boxes every month.

I absolutely love this idea - unique chocolates are created every month, delivered for Mum to sample. The new recipes are made in separate, fresh batches and delivered exclusively to tasting club members.


Inside each tasting box is a selection of rich chocolates and textures including ganaches, pralines, truffles, white, milk and dark. Memberships are available from 1 month to a year and smartly presented as an embossed scroll, tied with elegant ribbon.

Prices from £16.95
Delivery available to UK addresses only.

Web: http://www.hotelchocolat.co.uk
As it's Mother's Day on the 22nd of March, I'll be dedicating much of this week's blog entries to highlighting activities and alternative gift experiences perfect for spoiling mum!


Seven Dials Flower Arranging Workshop
Flowers are the standard gift for Mother's Day, this we all know. But for a more creative floral gift, the Seven Dials Mother's Day Flower Arranging Workshop is just the thing to give mum an inspiring, hands-on experience.

The workshops, hosted in association with Sweet Pea floral Design promises to be an intimate lesson for mum to get a comprehensive guide to creating floral masterpieces. From essential tips on colour palettes to advice on how to keep flowers in excellent condition, Mum will be given insider knowledge over the course of two hours. She'll be given the opportunity to create a beautiful bouquet or an eye catching centre piece with the assistance of Sweet Pea's team of industry experts.

Priced at £50 per person, the sessions also include tea, cakes and a goody bag to take away. Book online at www.sweetpeaflowers.co.uk

Workshop dates:
Saturday 21st March
Sunday 22nd March

Times available:
10:30-12:30 pm
14:00 -16:00 pm

Seven Dials
Covent Garden,
London WC2
Web: http://www.sevendials.co.uk

Located in South Bank, overlooking the River Thames, The National is a house of three theatres hosting a number of cutting-edge and cultured productions. Loved for its traditional yet contemporary charm, it is also home to musical performances, exhibitions and artistic installations throughout the year.

Between the three auditoriums - the Olivier, the Lyttelton and the Cottesloe, the theatre can have as much as eight productions in repertory at any one time. From new playwrights to the jazz bands - it's extensive programme aims to reflect and represent the diversity of british culture.


If you have an opportunity to visit this month, you're guaranteed some great productions on offer. Showing in March is Burnt by the Sun - a story of sexual jealously, political mischief and retribution, set in Moscow and under Stalin's rule. The play has received critical acclaim, having been given a 5 star rating by the Independent and 4 stars by the Daily Telegraph.

Also showing is a new play by Samuel Adamson entitled Mrs. Afleck. This production explores the true to life conflicts and clashes between marriage, in-laws and the test of love.

And on March the 26th, be sure to check out the free musical performance by Philip Clouts Trio, a jazz musician with South African flavour. Seat prices start from £10.

Scene from Mrs. Affleck

Scene from Burnt by the Sun


National Theatre
South Bank,
London
SE1 9PX
Web: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk
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