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
Yesterday I visited Kohls and discovered a diffusion line from a designer better known for her stunning bridal collections over in the UK. Vera Wang, the much loved bridal couture specialist has a great range of clothes and accessories suitable for everyday. Wang's label entitled Simply Vera Wang is exclusive to Kohls and I instantly fell in love with these gladiator inspired Didi Dress sandals, perfect for toughening up summer dresses and skirt suits.

didi dress shoes

I've opted for the pewter colour which looks great against tanned skin, adding a little sparkle to your feet. I was particularly impressed with the price! On sale at just $28.99, this purchase was a steal! I still can't believe how extra affordable everything is in New York, compared to London's shops and boutiques. Check out the Kohls website for more information on Simply Vera Wang.

vera wang
Vera Wang, Designer

kohls



Web: www.kohls.com
Tomorrow I'll be heading over to New York for some sun, shopping and a little bit of work in between. To celebrate, I'll be dedicating next week's blog entries to all my findings and fun in NY - consider it a 'Internationally Stylish Week'. I'll keep you updated as often as I can via the blog and twitter whilst in the big apple!

New York City
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London weather has been blissful this week, the sun has been gracing us with its beams and we've thrown off our winter coats to bask in the warmth that is Spring. And when the sun comes out to play, lollies and ice creams are the most delicious accessories. Today I was in search of some gourmet ice cream and stopped at Oddono's Gelati Italiani. There's something special about this place that keeps me coming back every spring/summer.

Firstly, I love the range, the choice of flavours. In fact there are 30 flavours, including cinnamon, basil, chocolate and cognac, vodka lemon, honey, chocolate ginger and chili ice cream. The best sellers are Chocolate, Nocciola (Hazelnut), Bacio (milky chocolate and hazelnut).

I also love the fact that the family run business creates their dessert masterpieces by sourcing the finest natural ingredients from around the world: Vanilla pods from Madagascar, Valhrona Chocolate from France, Natural Pistachios from Sicily, Hazelnut from Piedmont, the list goes on. If you're ever in Kensington, this is the place to go for a taste that's best described as ice cream heaven.

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Oddono's Gelati Italiani Ltd

14 Bute Street,
London SW7 3EX
Tel: 020 7052 0732
Web: www.oddonos.com

Opening hours:
Mon-Thu 11am-11pm,
Fri - Sat 11am-Midnight,
Sun 11am-11pm
Isabella Oliver 365 - the Collection

Here's a date for your diary - Isabella Oliver 365 is having a Spring Sale, starting Thursday 23rd April until Monday 4th May exclusively online. There'll be impressive reductions in price with some items discounted up to 25%.

The luxury lifestyle fashion brand is famous for its fashion led maternity wear seen gracing the bumps of Angelina Jolie, Gwen Stefani, Jessica Alba, and Marcia Cross to name a few celebrity mothers. And with the launch of their stunning capsule collection 365, Isabella Oliver has successfully raised their profile further, making the brand a one-stop shop for must-have staple purchases.

Many of these discounts at the online sale won't be accessible in the North London boutique so visit the website to secure your style savings.

Yo! Indulgence Menu

YO! Sushi, one of London's most loved Japanese restaurant groups has launched a collection of new luxury dishes to savor, exclusively within its Selfridges’ London restaurant.

There are eight delectable menu options to take your Sushi experience to a new sumptuous level, including Hotate & Tobiko Temaki - Diced scallops, orange tobiko, cucumber & shiso leaf hand roll and Uni Gunkan - Sea urchin and wasabi gunkan.

YO! Sushi at Selfridges is the perfect way to refuel after some serious retail therapy. And with the new dishes modestly priced at just £6 each, you can throw in a glass of bubbly and enjoy fine dining that's refreshingly wallet-friendly too.


YO! Sushi
Selfridges Foodhall,
Ground Floor,
400 Oxford Street,
London
W1A 1AB

Web: www.selfridges.com

Laptop Bags and Purses available at Violet May London


As a journalist, I'm constantly on the move and there are three must-have things that I always need to hand; My MacBook, Blackberry and iPod. However in carrying such essentials it becomes quite a tedious feat to remain stylish and chic without looking cluttered and overly business like.

That's why I adore the glamourous but practical accessories available at Violet May. The London based company has an impressive range of mobile phone purses with the perfect space to hold your iPhone, Blackberry curve, storm or just about any model. And then there's the laptop cases and clutches; spacious and roomy for your notebook and yet so fashion led. All items are made from stunning Italian snakeskin embossed leather and the collection has already been featured in Vogue, Grazia and In Style.

Black Berry Purses available at Violet May London

Violet May's founder, Claire Collins knows all about juggling business with leisure. As a successful business woman herself, she saw a distinct lack of luxury business accessories that a woman can carry to post-work engagements and look fabulous. So Collins set about producing an ultra stylish range of luxury accessories that she knew 'busy bees' like myself would love and cherish. The brand boasts quite a fashion following with model and business mogul Elle MacPherson leading the way.

Finally! Gone are the days of cumbersome executive cases and awkward phone covers - these beautiful business accessories enhance rather than detract from your style, making it far easier to look professional and still the fashionista.

Elle <span class=
Elle MacPherson with her Gold Python Blackberry Purse available at Violet May London


Violet May London
Tel: 020 7253 2048
Web: www.violetmaylondon.com

Image Credits:
Elle MacPherson image sourced at blog.violetmaylondon.com
Hotel 41

There are many luxury hotels in London, some contemporary, some cutting-edge, others more traditional. But for a charming, classic and quintessentially English experience, check in at Hotel 41. Located in the heart of London, 41 sits directly opposite the Royal Mews, just behind Buckingham Palace. The area is quiet, intimate and just five minutes from Victoria Station. It's a place known to be treasured by high profile individuals and celebrities seeking a discreet getaway without leaving the city.

Once inside, you'll find a striking colour scheme of monochrome (trendy and yet traditional). However, no two rooms are alike - each of the 30 rooms and suites have been uniquely designed with its own individual look. And there's no risk of the black and white theme looking clinical or bland - the theme has been cleverly enriched with mahogany furniture, open fireplaces and luxurious ornate finishes for a sumptuous, romantic feel. Amongst the room's traditional features, you'll find all the in-room amenities you'd expect from a 5 star hotel; wide screen plasma TV, iPod docking station and wireless internet.

Hotel 41 excutive king room

But it's the warm hospitality of the concierge team that proves to be the icing on the cake. I recently had the pleasure of an overnight stay and the staff were on hand to ensure every bit of my visit was a home away from home experience. From receiving a welcome glass of champagne at check in, to the evening turndown - they really do look after their guests.

I loved the idea of the 'honesty bar' - the area where guests can help themselves to the tipple of their choice. And the invitation to 'plunder the pantry' - an evening snack time where guests are encouraged to feast on complimentary light bites in the Executive Lounge.

With the sheer decadence of the décor and the thoughtful touches that helped further enhance my experience, it's no wonder that the hotel has been voted No.1 in the UK*. 41 is a truly special boutique hotel, prepare for your expectations to be exceeded.

Hotel 41 decor

*Source: Tripadvisor's 2009 Travelers Choice Awards

Hotel 41
41 Buckingham Palace Road,
London, SW1W 0PS
Tel: 020 7300 0041
Web: www.41hotel.com
London College of Beauty Therapy

It's not everyday that we can treat ourselves to luxuriously priced beauty treatments, especially nearing the end of the month when we're watching our bank balances. Thankfully, you won't need spend a fortune on facials and pedicures if you visit the London College of Beauty Therapy (LCBT). I recently discovered that inside the college, you can book yourself in for top of the range treatments at a fraction of the expected cost. The college salon is one of London's best kept secrets!

How much would you expect to pay for a top notch manicure? £45 - 65? Well at LCBT, the price for a luxury 1 hour long manicure is a mere £13.50. A pedicure is surprisingly the same price and facials start from only £20. This is so handy for the Summer months when skin should be glowing and toes need to look fabulous. Aside from the popular beauty treatments, there are massage therapies and targeted body treatments available to pamper and relax you; such as the highly sought-after Vacuum Suction treatment, which is considered the ultimate detox for the body.

Top quality treatments at ridiculously low prices? I simply couldn't keep this secret to myself, it would be selfish to do so. Book your treatments and start saving!

London College of Beauty Therapy
47 Great Marlborough Street,
London W1F 7JP


Tel: 020 7208 1302
Email: salon@lcbt.co.uk
Web: www.lcbt.co.uk
jazz café

I'm a big music fan and the place where you'll find me enjoying it live is London's famous Jazz Café. Located in Camden and showcasing some of the hottest, jazz, soul, and world music artists, it's a fantastic groove spot.

With acts like Mor Karbasi (the divine Israeli alternative folk singer), Trilok Guru, (Indian composer and master musician) and UK hip-hop crew Breakin' Bread performing shows all in the same week, the Jazz Café is host to an impressive range of performing artists.

Aside from the music line up, the Café also has a menu of culturally rich cuisine on offer at the restaurant, from Spicy Chicken with Rice N' Peas to Thai Style Sword Fish and Stir Fried Egg Noodles. If you've never been to the Jazz Café, you're missing out!

Mor Karbasi at Greenbelt Festival
Mor Karbasi

Jazz Cafe
5, Parkway,
Camden,
London, NW1 7PG

Web: www.jazzcafelive.com

Pretty Stylish London has a set of Figs and Rouge Rose Garden beauty products to giveaway to one lucky reader. This luxurious set is a gorgeous vintage-inspired natural & organic body care range, packed with nourishing botanicals from the traditional English garden, helping to restore your skin’s natural blossom. The set is worth £25.00 and includes a hand-poured rose candle, Rambling Rose Bath Soak and a Vintage-style Seed Pack.

Figs-and-Rouge-Gift-Set

You'll love the luxury scented candle encased in a handmade glazed pot, and the soak is perfect for long, relaxing baths. When your candle is finished, you can open Vintage-style Seed Pack and sprinkle into the pot to create your own unique garden. All this lovingly presented in a beautiful gift bag. Available at Love Eco.

Sorry this competition is now closed.

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Monique Luttin Millinery

Remember when Victoria Beckham wore a fascinator to David's MBE ceremony back in 2003? She seemed to spark a millinery frenzy. Well it was around the same time that trained architect Monique Luttin relocated from Melbourne, Australia to London. She set about a career change, transferring her architectural skills into fashion and producing cutting-edge millinery creations.

Victoria Beckham fascinator

Victoria Beckham wearing a fascinator, at David Beckham's OBE Ceremony in 2003

Since launching in 2007, Monique Luttin Millinery is fast becoming a household name in London. Her headpieces are acclaimed for successfully merging on-trend fashion with classic appeal. Designs feature striking colour schemes and oh so pretty accents; dipped in lime green, aqua blue and softer hues - adorned with feathers, ruffles, flowers and lace. In my opinion, Monique's millinery work is truly charming. I especially love the pillbox designs and cocktail hats that frame the face without overpowering.

Monique Luttin fascinator

The ready to wear pieces for hire and bespoke millinery designs are high in demand. And with the recent launch of her new bridal collection and DIY workshops, Monique Luttin is definitely one to watch in 2009.

Whether you're looking for the perfect hat to complete your party outfit or you're getting ready to wow at the races, be sure to enlist the expertise of Monique Luttin.

Visit the website: www.moniqueluttin.com

WIN! A bespoke Monique Luttin Design
For your chance to win a bespoke fascinator, designed for you personally by the millinery expert herself, follow or RSS this blog for news on this fantastic competition open to subscribers only, coming soon!
Pretty Stylish London has teamed up with ethical fashion and lifestyle boutique Love Eco to give you 10% off everything online just in time for Easter. Yes, we are good to you!

Just quote 'prettystylish09'.
Valid until 30 April 2009.
Visit www.love-evo.co.uk

A Peep of Chickens, Doorstops


Love Eco &quot;This T Shirt is Green&quot; Tee

As much as we care about the environment and hate the idea of melting glaciers, the threat of animal extinction and global warming, it's fair to say that many of our fashion choices aren't exactly eco-friendly. So I was excited to hear about the launch of Love Eco - a new ethical online shop that features highly fashionable eco clothing, accessories and fantastic products for the home.

It's the next big thing in eco fashion, taking online shopping to new ethical heights. The concept is simply to provide a place where people can shop for products that reduce the impact we make on the world. Love Eco showcases the best eco-friendly products available, in one place, so we don’t have to search for it.

Love Eco Chocolate Brown Clutch
Eco Button Clutch

There's a little something for everyone at Love Eco, from vintage accessories to quirky tees. I'm particularly impressed with the Eco Button Clutch in rich chocolate brown. This delicious looking soft leather clutch features lime vintage buttons and is lined in a glamorous lime silk. Made from 100% reclaimed leather, the bag is a limited edition and in huge demand right now.

The Eco Bucket Bags are another winner for me, perfect for throwing everything in! All eco-alternatives are handpicked, tried, tested and supplied by trusted ethical sources. Eco-friendly fashion has never looked so good.

Web: www.love-eco.co.uk
So far I've been highlighting all things pretty, stylish and London in this blog but today I'm starting a new series of entries under the label 'Internationally Stylish'. Here I'll feature luxe spots, great places to shop, beauty and fashion across the globe. I hope this new addition to the A-Z of contents will be of great interest, especially for readers across the seas and equally informative for UK based followers.


80s Purple Pictorial


My first internationally stylish entry is dedicated to 80's Purple - the incredibly cool online boutique making a big impact in the U.S., Japan, Australia and more recently the UK. Its cultivation of high style meets urban chic fashion over the last five years has made it a household name for the fashion forward.

Setting this boutique apart from the rest is the vast spectrum of labels hosted under its cyber roof. Some labels are well known, others more underground and cleverly brought to the fore. You'll find simple day pieces from the likes of Cheap Monday, party frocks by Charlotte Ronson, shape rich outerwear by Candy and Caviar and iconic accessories by Hysteric Glamour. This among hundreds of other brands.


80s Purple Pictorial2


I love the look book on the website too, capturing the uber coolness of the boutique and working as added inspiration for its customer base. Check out their campaigns and latest items at www.80spurple.com.

Image credit: 80's Purple pictorial www.80spurple.com/lookbook

Yesterday I dined at Quilon - a south Indian restaurant situated discreetly on Buckingham Gate. As a person who loves interior design and impressive décor, I would have to admit that the restaurant's surroundings didn't have the immediate wow factor, but the interior was warm, relaxed and suitably welcoming.


Personally, I really enjoy Balti Lamb, a Biriyani or some Butter Chicken and I was looking forward to sampling the restaurant's take on these dishes. Perhaps somewhat naively I assumed such dishes were sure to be on the menu. However Quilon features a healthier, modern Indian cuisine, unlike any other Indian restaurant I've visited to date.

According to chef Sriram Aylur "Quilon serves progressive Indian cuisine, not fusion..." So instead of thick, cream laden curries and nans, there were plenty of fresh sea food, roasted meats and light curries with freshly ground chillies and pistachio. However I did recognise a familiar Malabar Lamb Biriyani on the menu, which tasted sumptuous, if not lacking a little more bite.

My husband on the other hand quite liked the idea of exploring new cuisines. But I'm sure you can sympathise, that when you're feeling intensely hungry (as I was), the last thing you want to do is take your taste buds on a journey to the unknown! Yet I was pleasantly surprised that my starter of Pepper Shrimps (tried for the first time) was exceptionally delicious and I enjoyed the Malabar Paratha; a slightly sweet flat bread that accompanied my main - all washed down with a refreshing Apple Mojito.

The price on the other hand had taken us both by surprise, a bill of nearly £100 was delivered to our table at the end of the meal, covering just two courses and without a bottle of wine. Naturally I anticipated the menu at this Michelin star restaurant would be priced at the slighter higher end of the spending bracket, however, I never expected it to reach as close to the double zeros as it had. In my opinion Quilon is a good choice of restaurant to dine on a special occasion where a luxury splurge is in order, but not necessarily a place you visit on a whim.

Quilon
41 Buckingham Gate,
London SW1
Tel: 020 7821 1899
Web:www.thequilonrestaurant.com

Image credits: © eivmain via www.squaremeal.co.uk

Date: 3rd April - 5th April
Location: Southbank Centre Square
Admission: FREE

This weekend is a celebration of all things cocoa confectionery with the chocolate festival at the Southbank Centre. This delicious event is a must for all chocolate lovers out there.

Feast your eyes on demonstrations and workshops lead by master chocolatiers. Satisfy your chocolate craving by creating your own chocolate masterpieces and discover the partnership of chocolate with savoury foods.

With plenty of cakes to sample and chocolate art pieces on display it's going to be a very tempting experience.

Southbank Centre Square

Southbank Centre
Belvedere Road,
London, SE1 8XX
Web: www.southbankcentre.co.uk

Happy April to all Pretty Stylish London readers! The sun is shining in London town and I'm feeling in a fun and sparky mood. So I'm sharing some happiness with this fantastic offer of up to 40% off fragrances at online retailer ASOS.

There are sweet pickings of fine fragrances available to choose from. My perfume of choice today is Moschino's Hippy Fizz; a cheeky, fruity, floral scent that sets you in good stead of the summer months ahead.



If like me, you like zesty aromas, you'll love the grapefruit undertones matched with delectable raspberry leaves and May Rose. The packaging is equally delicious. The colourful, Russian doll-like bottle looks fabulous on the dressing table among, beauty pots and jars.

Moschino Hippy Fizz, 30ml
Was £23.00 Now £18.00 (today at least!)
Available at www.asos.com
UK delivery only
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