Saturday, 28 May 2016

The Glyndebourne Experience: With an Anthropologie Garden Party

I have lived in the UK now for nearly 14 years and I had pretty much thought I had seen it all when it comes to the social scene in this part of the world. However, earlier this week I had a true "pinch me" moment in being exposed to what has officially become my favourite social event of the summer. Picture this: a country house, men in tuxedos, women in gowns, picnic tables spread out across lush green lawns surrounded by fields of frolicking sheep, champagne flowing freely and an opera house waiting to provide you with stellar entertainment for the evening. Such is the way of life for those who frequent The Glyndebourne Festival Opera

We made our way out to Glyndebourne on a Thursday afternoon. I was invited by Anthropologie, to take part in the night to remember and we were to have a few surprises from the brand along the way. Our train departed London Victoria at just after two and we arrived at Lewes station at just after three. It's about a 5-10 minute cab ride to the actual house, so our feet officially set onto the grounds at around 3:30. While the opera doesn't actually start until 5:30, guests arrive early to set up elaborate picnics with friends and family on the surrounding lawns of Glyndebourne. 

Our picnic, we learned, had been set up for us already. Upon arriving, we were led through the beautiful countryside to our table and chairs, which had been set up with a view of the beautiful lake on the grounds. We were most certainly spoiled with a table set by Anthropologie for the occasion. Glyndebourne's own champagne was being poured upon arrival and we sat and took in the beauty of our surroundings as we sipped and marveled at how 14 years had passed and somehow never before had this been a part of FFG's official summer event calendar. 

To start with, it should be said that The Glyndebourne Festival Opera is not an event people take lightly. This is a serious night out, from planning one's attire to inventing the perfect three course meal to accompany your pre-opera, intermission and post-opera socialising. I, as you might expect, wore all Anthropologie (all details of outfit and table settings below). Compliments were passed back and forth between the women in attendance on their ensembles. My choice of a bold yellow seemed to go down a treat with the regulars. And, as one would expect, our table setting received a great deal of attention. I think we were most definitely classified as "women in the know" with a set up that was on par with the finest of diners in the area. The only thing I wished we had brought was a set of candles. Yes, there were dozens of diners that took the opportunity to make this a romantic evening, complete with a dining experience by candlelight. I can't possibly put across in words how very Jane Austen this whole experience is. It truly does feel as if you have stepped back in time in one of the most romantic centuries in existence. I could have stayed there forever. Alas, the night's true entertainment was just ahead.

At 5:30pm, the bells rang to alert guests that the Opera was about to begin. We left our table and picnic basket and made our way over to the concert hall. Naturally, we stopped for one glass of champagne with friends on the grounds before making our way to our seats, just in the nick of time. The opera of the night was Rossini's Il Barbiere di Siviglia, and let me just tell you that we had been forewarned that we would be seduced by Figaro's swaying hips. Hips aside, I was completely seduced by the whole experience itself. The opera is truly a beautiful form of art that I do believe everyone should experience at least once in their lives. This emotional rollercoaster ride, all shared through song on the stage, is beautifully set to live music from the London Philharmonic Orchestra and saw much laughter, many tears and more than one moment of true and complete adoration for the talent displayed on stage. Before we knew it, however, the production had come to a halt to allow us all to rejoin our picnic parties and indulge in the beautiful picnics that had been provided by Glyndebourne for the evening. 

Awaiting us at our Anthropologie picnic table was a surf and turf setup. Didn't I tell you this wasn't your ordinary picnic? My guest and I shared plates of lobster and beef, with sides of fresh tomatoes with mozzarella and new potatoes. Dessert was a very typical english setup - strawberries and cream, as well as an elaborate cheese plate. And of course all of this was being washed down with more decadence - champagne. See where I'm going here with the "pinch me" moment. With the British sun setting over the patchwork hills of England and the sounds of lambs roaming around the fields, this just couldn't possibly have been a more incredible moment to remember. 

As 8:30 came around we were once again summoned into the Opera House to see how this epic romance would end. Now, it must be said that there is a reason why Glyndebourne itself seems so hopelessly romantic from the start. It's foundation is actually found in a love story. In the early 1900's,  John Christie, owner of the manor since 1913, was holding regular amateur opera nights in the organ room on the estate. This is a room you can still enter today on the grounds. In 1931, soprano Audrey Mildmay attended one of the evenings and left with the owner's heart. Christie and Mildmay were married that June and during their honeymoon they attended several opera festivals in Europe, which gave them the idea to start one of their own at Glyndebourne. 80 years later, here we stand. 

Of course, a lot has changed in 80 years. For starters, Glyndebourne receives 100% of the energy needed for the company from a wind turbine on site. And, what started out as a relatively small gathering of people has evolved into a theatre that now hosts 1200 guests for each performance. Ticket prices, I imagine have increased as well, ranging now from £10-300 now, and selling out regularly. Although that doesn't mean Glyndebourne isn't constantly trying to engage the masses. The opera tours around the country, as well as showcasing performances in 200 cinemas. They even have a special scheme for the under 30s to try and attract and keep a younger audience. They've thought of everything. 

People of the world - this is an experience not to be missed. I must say it now has an official place on my calendar, whenever I can get tickets!

Thank you, Glynebourne and Anthropologie, for a true night of magnificent memories. 

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Friday, 27 May 2016

Styling Caroline Flack for Speedo

Caroline Flack Speedo
A few weeks ago, I got asked to come on set with Caroline Flack and style the super celeb in some outfits based around the Speedo Sculpture swimsuit collection. The idea was to showcase ways in which the suits could translate into outfits when you step away from the pool or beach this season.

Now, I have to start by saying that I have a bit of history with Speedo, but it has very little to do with my fashion history. When I was younger, my sport of choice was competitive swimming. I more or less spent 50% of my waking life wandering around in a Speedo one piece. This was actually my official "wardrober," if you will. And I loved them. Of course they were the best for competitive swimming, but they also had a way about them that truly slimlined the body - which was needed to achieve faster times while swimming. I remember always thinking they should jump into the wide world of leisurely swimsuits (if that makes sense). So I feel it's sort of a wink from the universe that I would get a call to work with Speedo and Carolina Flack on a new initiative focusing on body confidence and a new look and feel for the brand. You can imagine that when the call came in, I didn't have to think twice before asking them what time they wanted me and where. I might have also cheekily asked if I could get a sneak peek at the suits in question - and this is where the real excitement began. 

The new collection is called Speedo Sculpture and it does just about everything it implies. This is a bathing suit line that is all about aiding in body confidence - as Caroline Flack talks about in the style video below. Speedo Sculpture has all-over body shaping, tummy control and bust support. Need I say more? I want the whole collection for my debut on the golden sands this summer. Bright colours, new flattering shapes and fabulous jungle inspired neon prints guarantee that this a one piece collection that is designed for all ages.

For years I thought that as women we get to an age where you are forced to wear a one piece - it isn't a decision you want to make. But I do believe that's been because the styles haven't been right, or at least right for me. Speedo Sculpture has me genuinely excited and a little less intimidated by the beach already. 

Now - for those of you looking to style your suit this summer, from lounger to lunch, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1. Dress to impress - I'm a firm believer in the power of the dress for the easiest way to go from poolside to luncheon. Throw on either a kaftan or a simple shift dress, tie your hair back in a ballerina bun and add earrings or a statement necklace (with some massive black glasses) and you'll find yourself the most glamourous woman at the bar asking for your tiny umbrella cocktail (we're on holiday right- has to have a tiny umbrella!).

2. Separates are your best friend - I do not enter any tropical destination without a great pair of shorts and an oversized white button shirt. Either worn separate, or together, this is striking combination of outfit solutions. Jean cutoffs are preferred, as they're cool, casual and oh so "island," but they are most definitely not everyone's cup of tea. Find a pair of shorts that matches perfectly with your Speedo Sculpture suit and the pairing will look like a match made in heaven (just check out Caroline wearing this ensemble above).

3. It's all about body confidence - At the end of the day you could be wearing absolutely everything, but if you aren't wearing a confident smile, it's all going to look rather disastrous. This is why, of course, getting yourself into an ensemble where you feel amazing is perhaps the most important ingredient in this style recipe. Start with the suit and find a cut and colour that is flattering to you. Here are just a few from the new Speedo Sculpture range:
Speedo Sculpture
4. Contrary to what your momma told you, stripes are a girl's best friend - This summer, whether you are wearing stripes on your top, your bottom, or from head to toe, this pattern of dress is a definite style lifter. As you'll see on Caroline, above, striped trousers are an instant match for bright colours. This suit is perfectly complimented by an easy fit trouser sporting some serious sailor stripes. This was most definitely my favorite look of the day.

Now, go forth and sun yourself in elegant ensembles! And visit Speedo Sculpture for some serious style contenders for summer fun!

Fashion Foie Gras worked in collaboration with Speedo.

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Thursday, 26 May 2016

£10 Rose Gold Mirrored Sunglasses


A while ago I was on one of my usual browses on eBay for some boots that came out in Topshop 10 years ago or clicking around looking at endless original vintage band t shirts that are being auctioned off for £300+. Seriously I can't believe how much original band tee's retail for. Im gonna be keeping some of my shirts just incase one day my collection of Brand New tshirts puts my kids through college.

Anyway, Basically I somehow ended up looking at sunglasses. Naturally of course because I have a huge problem and need to go to sunglasses rehab. Or maybe someone should just stop me using my Paypal account. I cant be the only one who feels like using a Paypal account doesn't feel like real money? Yup. Cool. Not alone then.

I've had a hankering over getting some rose gold shades for a while but I never really looked into it. Like most things I buy I think I saw them on someone on Instagram and was like make a note of that shit because you need it in your life. But like most things I forget or gets added to the list a

It was approximately 2 minutes between my clicking the link, logging and checking out after locking eyes on these.  I picked up the silver too because you know, I have no self control when it comes to buying things ever.

For a tenner these are a real bargain as I think they look much more expensive than they are. Im p. sure they are a rip of some expense/high end frame but I wouldn't even know where to start looking. Dior maybe? Idk.

They feel a touch cheap, but nothing major. If you're a sunglasses snob then these wouldnt be for you, but if you're looking for a fast fashion affordable major key pair of sunglasses then I would recommend these bad boys. They look so good on and I always feel super sassy in then. A+

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Outfit du Jour: Gingham shoe worship

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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Best Matte Foundation for Summer

My base of choice rn is the Nars Velvet Matte Skin Tint - If you've watched my Youtube channel you may have seen me use it a fair few times in videos and I think I even hailed it as one of my monthly favourites but I thought I'd expand a lil more on it as to why it rocks my world right now.

Ever since Laura Mercier mercilessly reformulated Silk Creme without any warning (actually I did know it was being changed I just didn't want to admit it to myself, sigh) I've been on the hunt for a new base to hail as my holy grail. Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation is up there, but its not quite right. However this Nars offering is definitely my foundation of the moment.

It sort of reminds me of the Jouer Matte Moisture Tint which is my usual favourite summer base. Although a sudden realisation has prompted me to wonder if it's similar in formula or comparible. I need to go through my collection and see if I still have one lurking around in my stash. I have a feeling I actually used it up last year though which is a bummer. But basically think of a tinted moisturiser but knocked up a few levels in the coverage stakes.

I find a good buff or pat (as Im now converted to the beauty blender side) into the skin with a dab or two of concealer and a dust of powder, although I don't think you really need it. You're good to go. Think light-medium-buildable coverage with a soft glowy matte finish. Not flat matte but like a sort of glow-ish matte. It's super creamy and blends so nicely into the skin without looking like a mask so thats always a good thing.

Overall Im a big fan of this, but that's evident from the amount of times it pops up on my channel. I think it's one for more oily normal skin types as drier skin types might want something a lil bit more moisturising. It's a would reccomend from me!

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The best hair extensions in London: The solution for short hair that longs to be lengthy

I've been pretty open, over the past couple of months, about how much I miss having my Lady Godiva hair. It takes cutting it all off to realise what a security blanket it was for all that time. Don't get me wrong - totally a liberating thing to do - but, I don't think I was emotionally ready for the change. Let's be honest here, no one died, my hair just went slimline. It happens. I was ready for the long wait of regrowth. I'd settled into the fact that the next year would be spent on keeping my hair in the best shape it's been, so that the new long hair would be shinier and more fantastic than ever before. But then, I received an invitation by email to try on a different solution for size.

Enter my good friends at Harrods and a new friend in the form of Extension Professional. I had been invited to meet with the founder and explore the new service that was on offer for the first time in Harrods' award winning spa, The Urban Retreat. Whenever I get an invitation to the Urban Retreat I never say no. I have discovered more groundbreaking beauty treatments here than in any other salon/spa in London. They have a reputation and for good reason. So, along I skipped to the launch of Extension Professional. More or less I was headed in for a head full of extensions. Only, these aren't your average hair extensions. 

For starters, Extension Professional's offering at Harrods isn't for permanent hair extensions, but rather hair that you clip in at your own convenience. The clip-ins are 150g of the highest quality human hair that are only just starting their journey to being your perfect match as they arrive in box, at your side, in the salon. For my fitting, my stylist perfectly matched the colour to my colour before doing anything else. They even offer a service whereby they will match your colour exactly by colouring it the same way your real hair is coloured, from dip dye to bright hot pink. The pieces are then put in place and examined in detail. Then, the scissors come out. As we all have different needs, as far as length and style, the Urban Retreat aims to make these extensions exclusive to you. After they are fitted, they are cut and styled exactly to your specifications. So whether you are going for luscious long locks or just looking to add a little volume to your current length, the clip-ins can be amended either way. Pretty genius, if you ask me. 

The whole Extension Professional service is bookable now at Urban Retreat at Harrods. Prices start from £199 and the extensions will last the test of time (if you take proper care - don't worry, they give you a full course on what's needed for maintenance). At the moment, I'm saving mine for special occasions, so look out for them dotted here and there in style posts! 

Fashion Foie Gras was given a complimentary service by Extension Professional and Urban Retreat. 

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Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Alexander McQueen

Today I'm wearing Alexander McQueen

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See you in HEL


I am spending this week in Finland, as we welcome Helsinki New, our own take on a fashion week. The series of days is being kicked off tonight by a spectacular known as ‘Match made in HEL’ a fashion show that of seven designers from Asia and Europe, showing at Helsinki-Vantaa’s airport runway. What? Yes. I am so proud of this extraordinary event that will bring guests from all over the world to witness the models walk down on what can only be described as the biggest and longest catwalk on the planet.

After being a Londoner for 7 years, I wanted to bring a little of my English politeness together with my Finnish roots. So I took the latest creation of Bora Aksu, who is representing UK in today’s show, for a little stroll in the woods. I ended up looking quite patriotic - draped in our national colours, lost in the newly reawaken Finnish forest. But what could be better than that, honey, I’m home.

I will be live streaming the Match Made in HEL runway show today at 8pm. Local time (GMT+3) Or 6pm. In the UK, on 5 inch and up Facebook wall, see you in HEL my darlings!

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The "To-Do" list guide to Monte Carlo, Monaco

My first exposure to Monte Carlo came at the tender age of eleven, technically speaking. I was home in bed with a high fever (probably strep throat or some kind of crazy bug you get when you are young and catching everything under the sun). It was the weekend and I was feeling miserable. I crawled into bed in the afternoon, in my parents room, and my dad came to lay next to me and switched on the TV. Just the weekend before we had watched my first "old movie." It was Paper Moon, starring Tatum O'Neal. Obviously my dad had remembered how much better I felt, snuggled up and enjoying cinema classics. So, he switched on the TV and I was mesmerized as I watched Cary Grant and Grace Kelly speed through the roads of Monte Carlo. I was a smitten kitten. At that moment, age eleven and with a temperature of 101, I made a promise to the universe that I would one day go there and feel every bit the superstar that Grace Kelly looked in the film. 

So, finally at the ripe old age of 36, I made good on that promise to myself and the universe. I may not have had Cary Grant by my side, nor was I driving a sports car with the top down (although this is in the works), but I did do quite a few things, that I think, Mr. Grant and Ms. Kelly would have greatly approved of during my stay. And while I was doing these things, I made a mental list of what exactly a tourist of the Principality of Monaco should do upon their arrival. Here's your top ten list of what to do with a weekend in Monte Carlo(with a few pics thrown after it all for good measure):

1. Travel into Monte Carlo by helicopter
Now I know what you're thinking - it's just as easy to drive or take a train from the Nice airport, so why would I take a helicopter? Well, my friends, first things first - it isn't anywhere near as expensive as you think it is. Ok, it isn't cheap either, but you are looking at around 150 euros for an experience that is well worth the investment. I mention this because I thought helicopter travel would be something I could never dream of doing, mainly because I had no idea of the cost. Well, now you do and you can make an educated decision. For seven minutes you are flown on what can only be described as the most luxurious arrival vehicle touching down in the Principality. You have the best view of the city and the easiest form of passport control I've yet to encounter. 

2. Rent or borrow a car to drive the Grand Prix track
Now, I did not do this on this visit, but a plan of action is in the works. I actually felt wrong leaving Monte Carlo having not done this. I can't tell you the number of times I've had to watch the Grand Prix with my dad and brothers at home and now, being in the city and not driving the famous hairpin turns, it all seems so wrong. So find a friend with a Ferrari, or take you rented Honda and make the turns.

3. Coffee or an ice cream sundae at Cafe de Paris
Cafe de Paris is legendary, mainly because of the location of the cafe. It sits on the other side of the famous Hotel de Paris and runs perpendicular to the famous Monte Carlo Casino. In short, it offers a view of the action that you won't find anywhere else. Sit and sip your coffee as you watch supercar after supercar pull up to the hotel or casino and hand over their keys to the happiest valets this side of the UK. Ok, it's also pretty famous because their sweet treats are somewhat epic in nature. Basically, it doesn't matter about the price. You are paying for the show going on around you as much as you are the beverage or dessert in front of you.

4. Stroll the Avenue Princesse Grace
Once said to the most expensive street in the world, this is a place to view new and old architecture alike, as well as to stargaze and dream about who may be living inside apartments that cost as much as $17,750 a square foot. But, don't let your strolling end there. Monte Carlo is an easy town to visit by foot. There is plenty to see, both inland and on the shore - and new things popping up all the time.

5. Nobu at the Fairmont Monte Carlo
This just has to be done. Nobu is legendary, and for good reason. Not only is the food superb, but you're always going to see a familiar face sitting in the restaurant. This is Monte Carlo, and Nobu is one of the best restaurants in the world. You do the math. It's a dinner worth dressing up for.

6. Stay out until sunrise
You'll find that every nightclub, worth going to, in Monte Carlo, has a policy of opening late and closing at sunrise. Yup - that's the only official closing time - when the sun comes up. Seems the night is meant for Monte Carlo fun and the city wants to deliver an experience you won't forget. From Jimmy'z to Sass Cafe, this scene has something for everything. You just need enough nights to find your perfect match!

7. Get historical with the Prince's Palace of Monaco
You can't go to Monaco and not at least try to stop by and say hello to Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, right? It would just be plain rude. So, make your way up to the Prince's Palace and pay your respects. There are some great places for selfies and a killer view of the city. 

8. Shop til you drop!
If you come to Monte Carlo with more money than you know what to do with, you're going to want to go shopping, right? Well, don't expect to run into a Gap or a Zara after your coffee at Cafe de Paris. You are surrounded by top end retailers in the Carre d'Or. Everyone from Chanel to Yves Saint Laurent has a shop here and they are all too happy to help you spend your hard earned cash. It should be noted that even if you aren't in line to buy a Chanel bag, the window shopping in this part of the world is second to none. Get out there and give the designers a whirl. 

9. The Exotic gardens and observation cave
The world seems to be obsessed with succulents these days, right? Well, Monaco has one of the most impressive collections of succulents in the Exotic Gardens with an impressive view of the city at its feet. You need a little culture while in town, right?

10. Grab the tour bus
I have always said that the best way to start a tour of any city is with a quick ride around on the local tour bus. Even if you just take this to get a lay of the land, it's totally worth it. Monaco has a The Monaco Grand Tour. Jump on in your first morning in Monte Carlo and make notes of all the places that are of interest - to each their own and my list might just not be your cup of tea. Then take that list and plan a course of attack for however long you're in town. Easy peasy!

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