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So I have finally finished my Masters!  Hoorahhh!  After handing in my dissertation, packing, unpacking and packing once again, I headed to the Big Smoke to move into my new flat!  If all that wasn’t exciting enough, I also had a weekend away in Paris planned with Rachel and Emily. While we managed to hit all the tourist spots our main reason for the flying visit was to bear witness to Beyonce and Jay-Z’s last On The Run concert in Paris.  Mere words cannot explain how simply amazing it was.  They managed to fly through over 40 of their collaborative and solo hits all of which had the audience in varying states of awe, worshipping at the altar of the Carters.

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Midnight strolls around the Louvre

After spending a night unleashing my inner Sasha Fierce, there was only one thing on our minds the next day.  Burgers.  If you’re a regular to my blog, you may know that at one point myself, Emily and Rachel were on a 007-esque mission to scope out London’s best burger and while that challenge was sadly put on hiatus while I finished my dissertation, post-diss we decided to take the search international. After aimlessly wandering around Paree for a few hours, trying to find somewhere that a) was open on a Sunday and b) served burgers, we found some free WiFi and decided to head to Razowski’s which made big claims about their burger fare.  While Razowski’s doesn’t just serve burgers, I honestly couldn’t tell you what else they had on their menu.  It was like my eyes zoomed right in on the burger section and discarded all other information that was deemed unnecessary, so naturally I ordered the bacon cheeseburger.

Now, not all burgers are created equal.  Some are destined to make great, great Instagram photos, like this beast of a burger below…

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Are you salivating yet?

One bite revealed a medium rare pattie which was so gloriously juicy it oozed, mixing with the molten cheese.  God, it was fantastic.  I’d go back to Paris right now just to have that burger if I could…but alas, I’m sat in my bed in London willing myself to get up and get ready for a night out.

Can I swap Barcardi and cokes for burgers please?

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Summer is finally here!  

I feel like Summer in the UK is one of those friends that always presses confirm on a party invite on Facebook but rarely – if ever – turns up, but those few times that they show their tanned and freckled face, you can guarantee that they’ll be the life and soul.  

While the weather was hotting up I decided to make an extended trip back home to soak up some rays, catch up with friends and check in with the parentals.  Although I spent most of my time researching and writing for my dissertation I also managed to discover the best scones on the island while I was home (more on that exciting development later…).

On my last night on Guern, my dad had disappeared off to London for work so my mum and I headed out for a Thai at Sawatdi in town.  While I rarely, if ever go clothes shopping in Guernsey, the outfit I wore out to dinner was all bought (or stolen) while I was home this time around!  A St. Peter Port triumph!

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Denim jacket – Vintage Levi via Dad / Top – Miss Selfridge / Shoes – Arizona Birkenstocks / Trousers – Six Ames from Collection 21 / Sunglasses – Ray Ban

I live in my pyjamas.  I can quite happily spend a day- or days – wandering about the house in them so these trousers are a good compromise between comfort and style with a luxe silky finish.  I’ve already mentally packed them for when I head off to sun myself in Florida in a couple of weeks time for breezy evening meals by the sea.

I have been searching high and low for the perfect denim jacket for months!  I have ordered and returned so many different styles, washes and brands, even ordering an Acne tram thinking I’d finally found the one, to only be left feeling sorely disappointed when I discovered that my usual size was absolutely huge – never happens to me –and it had to be sent back!

After deciding to give up on the seemingly impossible task, my mum happened to mention that my dad had an old Levi’s jacket hanging in his wardrobe from his younger days and while I was skeptical at first, it turned out to be the perfect fit.  As a testament to the quality of Levi denim, at 43 years old, this jacket is still going strong and has retained its colour, impressive.  This one is being smuggled back to Newcastle in my suitcase.  Thanks dad!  

While I’d resisted the pull of some Arizona Birkenstocks for longer than usual, I proved to be a slave to a trend once more and picked these up on my last day.  They’re pretty practical as shoes go so they got the parental tick of approval.  For a while I’ve written off Guernsey as a no go when it comes to the shopping because of the lack of choice and some of the buyers seem to just go a bit crazy with the stock but I’m definitely going to be keeping my eyes peeled on trips to town from now on after this bumper buy!

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After our night at The Standard, we spent the next morning brunching at Brinkleys, before my mum wandered off to help furnish my brothers flat and my dad and I meandered through the streets of New York making pit stops at Barneys, St Patrick’s Cathedral and the Flat Iron.

In the evening we went to the theatre to see Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men hit the stage with James Franco as George and Chris O’Dowd as Lennie.  While Franco seemed to be the main draw for most of the audience (one person paid $1000 to meet him at the end?!) I was definitely rooting for Chris O’Dowd.  The whole play is amazing, but O’Dowd’s performance as Lennie is even more so.  It’s a definite go-see if you find yourself in the city!

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Is it wrong that this was my first ever Bloody Mary?!  So tasty, I’ll definitely be ordering a few more of these in the future.  

After our night at the theatre, the next morning we all met up with one thing on our minds; food.  

I mean, what else would it be?!

As it was the weekend, we thought we’d stray off the beaten track and head on over to Brooklyn for Smorgasburg, a food fest similar to London’s Borough Market.  After accidentally heading to Williamsburg, we took the East River Ferry over to Brooklyn Bridge Park 5.  The ferry and the walk to the Bridge Park both offer amazing views of lower Manhattan and on a hot, sunny day it was definitely worthwhile!

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All along Bridge Park, piers have been recommissioned to become outside gyms where Brooklyn residents can come together to play ball, soccer or take a dip in the temporary pool instalment.  Its a pretty genius way to use a space which may have otherwise laid to waste.

Past all the people stretching their muscles, is a load more people stretching their stomachs at Smorgasburg.  After making a couple of strategic rounds to check out all that was on offer, we decided to start off with some oysters, my favourite.  

P1010598P1010585 We chose to try a half dozen Moonstone oysters and another half a dozen Fin de la Baie oysters from the Brooklyn Oyster Party stand.  Fresh, meaty and served up with all sorts of condiments; these babies slid down like a dream.  

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Our next stop?  The Red Hook Lobster Pound stand for a lobster roll of course!  We went for Connecticut style for warm and buttery lobster with a hint of lemon sat on a bed of tasty brioche.  Simple with a big impact.  I’d become a regular if I lived nearby.

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Alas, after just two seafood style snacks, we were all full, so we waddled our way over to Brooklyn Bridge to walk across the iconic landmark.

If you’re heading to New York, I’d definitely make a trip to Brooklyn even if you don’t make it to Smorgasburg.  It’s such a cool area, with street art and coffee shops galore to explore.

I’m pretty sure this will be the last of my New York blogs as we left the next day (sob!) but if I have time inbetween dissertation writing, I might do a quick street art post as I saw so much while in the Big Apple!  I loved New York and I’m praying that it won’t be too long before I visit again to see my brother (read: shop, explore and eat some more).  I hope you’ve enjoyed my suggestions, blog posts and general musings on my trip, let me know if you have any alternatives!

Thanks for coming along!

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In the afternoon, my mum and I decided to head to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to have a look at the new Costume Institute exhibition titled, Charles James: Beyond Fashion.  Launched with this years MET Ball alongside the new Anna Wintour Costume Centre, the Charles James retrospective examines the work of one of fashions lesser known couturiers.

Now, I’ll be the first to admit that I had not heard of James before the MET Ball – this is perhaps due to the fact that the Charles James fashion house died out with its owner – but I was most intrigued to see why the Costume Institute had chosen to honour a lesser known figure in a world saturated with talent and notoriety.

As well as exploring James’ impressive catalog of work, this exhibition examines his methodical design process which married the architectural and sculptural approaches of millinery to dressmaking.  The exhibition utilises computer animation to guide you through the intricate folds, pleats and drapes of each dresses design while referencing his many influences which included the anatomical art of Georgia O’Keeffe.

While I did manage to take pictures of some of the dresses (before I knew you couldn’t in this part of the museum) I have decided to include only one image, in an effort to encourage others to discover a love of James’ talent by their own devices whether that be by an extensive Google or a trip to the MET.

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This dress was by far my favourite.  The lace overlay, the dramatic contrast of the copper and ivory and the clover leaf shape which undulates as the wearer walks knocked me speechless – a hard task.  

This is the kind of dress which you dream of wearing to the society balls which you dream of attending.  It exudes a kind of drama and glamour which we rarely see anymore but which I wish was more common.  But alas, with news that Harvey Weinstein – husband to Marchesa designer Georgina Chapman and a prominent media mogul – has confirmed that he will be reviving the label in the near future, we may soon be experiencing a comeback of glamorous proportions.

If you have any friends/relatives/partners who scoff at your appreciation of fashion and regularly debunk your belief that fashion is art, then you need to take them to this exhibition.  They will have no choice but to recount their slanderous comments and beg your forgiveness.  I’ll leave you to choose whether to accept or not.  

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My mum and I had saved our last day of our Parisian adventure for our favourite activity; shopping.  Our plan was to head to the Champs Elysees to peruse the shops which frame the famous road and make the quick half hour walk to the Arc de Triumph.

Three hours later, we made our destination a little behind schedule.  Blame it on the shops.

The Champs Elysees has everything from highstreet wonders (H&M, Massimo Dutti and Gap) to vast designer retailers (Louis Vuitton, Kenzo and Cartier) and everything inbetween (Sephora, Disney Store and a Nespresso Boutique).  Although we only left  with a couple of bags between us, I did leave with one of these little beauties…

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Dress – Topshop / Necklace – Topshop / Sunglasses – Ray Ban

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Our next stop of the day was Galaries Lafayette, the legendary Parisian department store which stocks every brand you’ve ever heard of and then more.  If you’re heading to Paris to splash the cash then this is definitely the place to be.  With everything under one roof you can go from shopping Chanel to Acne in a number of minutes and with the news that a Topshop concession is going to open in the hallowed hall, it’s just got even better.  Take some time to explore the area around Lafayette and make sure you head to Chanel’s Rue Cambon store for some cheesey photos (I’m keeping those ones under wraps!)

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Tired on our feet after spending the last three days marching around the city, we headed back to the hotel and got changed for dinner.  We ate at a smart restaurant around the corner from our hotel and after avoiding some classic French dishes I decided to brave eating some snails!

Before saying goodbye to Paris, I wanted to see the Louvre just one more time.   At night, the Louvre is all lit up and the juxtaposition between old and new becomes even more apparent as the pyramid tinkles against the night sky.

Of course, my mum and I didn’t lower ourselves to taking any cliche photos of ourselves pushing the pyramids, of course not…

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Oh okay, yes we did.  How could we resist?!

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I absolutely loved my trip to Paris with my mum, I will definitely be visiting the city ASAP to explore it’s other offerings!  As I reluctantly made my way back to the hotel, the Eiffel Tower began it’s nightly display, bidding us the most perfect adieu!

  Jusqu’à la prochaine fois!

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When I think of style icons, it’s almost too easy to picture one of the bevy of young bright things who are up and coming models, actresses or singers but sometimes it’s the people who don’t meet this profile that really capture my imagination.

Let me introduce you to Iris Apfel.

At 91 years young, Iris is perhaps not who you’d expect to be the toted as the ultimate fashion maverick, however, her eclectic outfits have captured the hearts of many in the biz, leading to a jewellery collaboration with the brand HSN, a makeup line with MAC and her own successful handbag collection titled ‘Extinctions by Iris Apfel’.

Iris was not always a member of fashion royalty; 7 years ago the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art launched an exhibition about Iris’ ability to mix couture and flea market purchases to make a pitch perfect ensemble.  It was the Met’s first exhibition of a living woman and quickly launched her into the style stratosphere! Giving us all hope, that even in our OAP years we can get our extended 15 minutes of fashion fame!

Of course, every style icon needs a trademark and Iris’ is without a doubt, her oversized oval glasses which perfectly encompass her style motto of more is more.  Iris’ best accessory is of course her husband, Carl, who shares her penchant for large glasses and fine dressing, it’s not often you won’t see him in a smart suit or paisley patterned trousers walking behind his glamorous wife of 64 years.

If you’re doing it the Iris way, don’t be afraid of acid bright colours and endless layering of both clothes and jewellery.  Ditch your sky high heels for some out there flats and pair with a bright matte lip (preferably from MAC).  

Iris is the perfect lesson in gutsy and offbeat dressing and a true indicator that fashion has no age limit.

Perhaps I’ll gift my gran some oversized glasses for Christmas this year…

JKA x

Three years ago (is it really three years?!) I travelled across America starting in New York and finishing in LA.  I did this through a company called Trek America who organise small group adventures across North America and I really could not recommend them enough, so if you’re thinking of doing something similar, check them out here!  I had an amazing trek leader, Raine and an even better group of people who were also along for the ride and I will always cherish my Trek America memories!  It’s hard to pick which place along the way was my favourite, but Monument Valley definitely makes it into the top 3 (alongside New Orleans, which I spoke about here)

Throughout the journey, Raine had been raving about Monument Valley and through my ignorance I thought that it was an art installation which was in a valley, really really blonde moment.  However, throughout the journey I learnt more about the natural landscape which, in my opinion, should be one of the Wonders of the World.

On arrival we were introduced to our Navajo guide, who showed us around the vast national park which is absolutely breathtaking.  The vivid red rocks have been the set of many a movie and you can almost imagine cowboys breaking in some of the wild horses which roam the plains.

Throughout our visit, we slid down sand dunes, spotted ancient rock paintings and made an amazing trip to the famous John Ford’s Point where it is obligatory to take cheesy tourist photos.  As night was falling we made out way to a new location where we were treated to some traditional Navajo Tacos which tasted incredible and a dance by one of the tribesmen before we ourselves got up to do some of our own dancing around a camp fire!  Our campsite for the night was under the stars, however, there was also a traditional Hogan on hand if you aren’t prepared to brave the thought of snakes.  

An early morning is a must in Monument Valley to catch the colourful sunrise and watch the shadows dance around the rocks.  After another tour around the expansive Valley we said goodbye to our wonderful tour guides and made our way towards our next destination, the Grand Canyon (you can read about that here)!  However, there was one last photo opportunity and as a beyond huge fan of Forrest Gump, I wasn’t about to let this one slide!

Some tips for Monument Valley:

– Make sure you take a good camera – mine was slightly dying after my other travels and I wish I’d had more memory!  Be prepared to take hundreds of photos!

– You can drive your own way around the national park but with a tour guide you have access to more areas and the benefit of a knowledgable guide!

– Drink plenty of water!

– Be prepared to take some cheesy photos!

– Take some good friends – I was lucky enough to be travelling with an amazing group of people from all around the world who were all up for a laugh.  Indulging in some campfire dancing and star gazing is best done with good friends!

– Make sure you see sunrise and sunset!  The Valley looks completely different throughout the day thanks to the ever changing angle of the sun so make sure you see them all!

– There is only one hotel inside the Valley, so it’s advisable to make reservations ahead of visiting!  You can check out The View hotel  here!

– There is a semi-market place set up on John Ford’s Point so make sure you have some dollars on you to purchase some of the jewellery which they’re offering!

JKA x

There isn’t a better way to spend Thursday evening than in The Ritz. Last year, my brother produced a trump card when he gifted my mum a voucher for afternoon tea at the legendary London hotel, (temporarily making him the favourite child) and my mums busy schedule has meant she’s only just been able to take up the opportunity. As my brother had given her the voucher, it was his duty to accompany my mum, however, it just so happened that I was in London and there was space for one more, so I got to gate crash their mother-son date and eat some much needed cake. Our slot was at 7.30pm, so rather than afternoon tea, it turned into an evening soiree.

Arriving early, Christine and I checked out the hotel, and I managed to take a sneaky photo of the beautiful ceiling (it’s a strictly no photo rule in the public areas of the fancy hotel – as I was quickly informed). When my brother had arrived, we made our way through to the Palm Court where we were seated in some extremely comfy chairs. The room was absolutely beautiful, however, after my first scare I decided to forgo taking a picture of another wonderful ceiling – you’ll just have to see it for yourself!

It may seem a bit odd, but I am not a fan of tea. Shock horror. It’s mostly because I manage to burn my tongue everytime I have a sip (clumsy), and I’m not always keen on the taste, so being presented with a menu of all the exotic and traditional teas on offer was a bit overwhelming. After much deliberating, I chose the Lemon Verbena, and was pleasantly surprised! I will definitely be stocking up on a few fruit teas to get me through my last year exams!

Next came a three tier stand of finger sandwiches and although my first thought was, this won’t fill me up, I was soon proved wrong, as they just kept coming. With roast ham and mustard, cucumber, classic egg mayo’s and my surprise favourite, chicken with horseradish sauce, I was kept busy munching. Cakes topped the tier, while scones (I apologise for the scone picture, I couldn’t wait to try them!) arrived later with gorgeous clotted cream and strawberry jam, bizarrely scones always remind me of my time in Borneo. Rhubarb crumbles made my mouth water, while I had to refuse some coffee cake as I was stuffed to the rafters.

The atmosphere at the Ritz was friendly, and not at all snooty like I’d half-imagined. I had a lovely time, and enjoyed my first experience of an afternoon tea, thanks to my brother and mum! I will definitely be marking a few more special occasions with more finger sandwiches and exotic teas while listening to a concert pianist!

If you’re interested in booking an Afternoon Tea session at the Ritz, then check out the website here!

JKA x

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Two of fashions most fearless women have collaborated on a new (and very hot) V magazine cover. This bondage style shoot was shot by everyone’s favourite photographer, Mario Testino and pits the two ladies as lovers, it’s very 50 Shades of Grey.

The two’s friendship was cemented by Moss’ daughter, Lila Graces’, love of Princess RiRi’s music and after a meeting at the 2009 MET Gala they became fast friends. Moss’ collab with Rihanna is both evidence of music and fashions close relationship and that the 39 year old supermodel will be around for much much longer. In the pictures there is a clear equality between the realms of fashion and music as they both take turns to dominate each other, the are a slave to one another.

Although these pictures were accidentally instagrammed by Princess RiRi back in November, this is the first glance of all the editorial and we even get a sneak peak into the shoot with a video. It just keeps getting hotter .

The issue, named Dynamic Duos will be out on the 28th of this month so prepare to feel embarrassed while purchasing this extremely risqué issue over the counter.

JKA x

Henry Holland is one of my favourite British designers.   Not only did his collections spark a popular resurgence of bright catchphrase emblazoned t-shirts, but the designer has kept a close tie with the high street meaning everyone can own a bit of House of Holland.  He’s worked with highstreet giant Debenhems on his H! by Henry Holland collection, collab-ed with Pretty Polly tights, released a sunglasses line in conjunction with Le Specs and made dalliances into footwear with SuperGa.  There’s no stopping him.  Through reading his regular blog spot on Vogue.co.uk, trawling through his Twitter and Instagram photos, I feel like I practically know him and this makes me love him more.  Best friends?  

House of Holland was among numerous labels this season who decided to stream their shows live on the internet!   You could catch a sneak peak through his own website and eBay.co.uk, allowing everyday you’s and me’s to experience instant fashion first hand!

HOH’s collections regularly cause a-buzz during London Fashion Week because of their infectious brightness, mix of prints and trademark tee’s, his clothes embody a girl who is endless fun and doesn’t take fashion too seriously.  Holland affectionately named his AW13 collection #RAVENANNA, (the best thing I’ve heard in a while) a term he penned after seeing young girls in the East End dress ‘like old ladies, wearing nighties and bovver boots’.   This term, coupled with his other two inspirations, Summer of Love ’89 and Disco Sally, had many predicting that oodles of psychedelic prints would be on the menu, and they were not wrong.  FROW-ers, Radio 1’s Nick Grimshaw, Pixie Geldof, Jamie Winstone and Daisy Lowe were treated to an eclectic cocktail of martini glass printed denim and acid orange fur lined parkas (prepare to be warm), which models strutted down a retro 70s carpet catwalk while music was pumped loudly through the venue (The House of Holland invites were printed on cassettes to mirror Henry’s belief that fashion and music crossover).  Acid greens and crystal embellished evening wear (my personal favourite of the collection was the embellished purple gown) were strewn throughout the fun collection, however, silhouettes were ladylike creating a mix of the traditional and hedonistic.  Of course, a House of Holland show could not pass without one catchphrase emblazoned piece of clothing, so a singular ‘Viva La Vibe!’ sweatshirt carried on the labels tradition and made its way onto Twitter in nanoseconds, that along with tortoiseshell shoes and the statement sunnies on display.

These clothes have boundless amounts of energy, and perhaps aren’t suitable for the normal 9-5 office job, but for a cocktail hour with a difference…

JKA x