uk-fashion-and-lifestyle-blog

10

Lucie Loves… Fashion 

She & Him | A Saturday streetstyle afternoon in London.

What @jmgcreative and I wore…

Yesterday, we wrapped up warm to spend the day together in London town. I’m continuing on my mission to dig out pieces I rarely wear to style them differently. This is the second post I’ve done on reworking old items from my wardrobe. You can read the first here.

Back in summer 2012 I bought these amazing metallic copper WALTON flatform wedges from Topshop. They were about £50, I think.

Ways I’ve worn them in the last two years…

with floral skinny jeans here 

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with my Draw In Light dress from ybdfashion herewith pale lemon yellow skinny jeans here 
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and with my green sequin Bitchin’ Junkfood pencil skirt here.

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French girl style…

I wondered whether I could put an outfit together that would give these wonderful shoes another lease of life. After all, what’s the point of falling in love with something and only wearing it a handful of times?

I felt ‘a bit socks and sandals’ at first wearing them over pale gold wool tights, but after a while I enjoyed having the extra height of heels and all the comfort of a flatform wedge.

I added to the look another item in my wardrobe that I’ve only worn once to a posh evening do, which was this lush forest green faux fur stole. A Topshop bargain found in a jumble sale we had when I was at university for a couple of quid! The coloured faux fur complements the multi-tonal tapestry coat (bought in the Zara sale last summer) and adds a bit of extra texture too. I love a bit of layering.

I wore an old camel-coloured beret from Miss Selfridge, to add to, what I hoped could pass as, my ‘french girl’ style. My M. Hulot tan leather Prussia satchel, a pale gold button-front mini skirt from Topshop with khaki military shirt worn tucked into the waistband finished off the look.

We found this amazing street art covering a Barclays bank outside St Pancras station. It clashed brilliantly with my outfit.

What JMG wore:

When in London, you can get away with wearing pretty much anything! Just one of the many reasons I love it here.

What do you think?

Photography © Lucie Kerley + @jmgcreative

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Portobello Road

Today = strolling around Portobello road! I didn’t really get to see the market because some of the stalls had already gone. It was drizzling and cold af. So i just walked with my banana nutella crepes! so big and fluffy. yum!

How was your day? :)

7

If you have been following my blog since I first began writing all my posts in Spanish, you will know how I have became a make-up addict and fashion addict. 

Talking about make-up, I first began using MAC make-up, which I love. I use MAC when I am in Peru (because I am Peruvian, did you know?) Anyway, now that I return to my life in England, I decided to not stay inside my personal bubble and go outside and explore the amazing life on make-up. I was going to say ‘make-up artist’ but I can’t barely know how to put two different eye shadows in my face. I can do everything else pretty good though! 

I want to tell you in this post how I changed MAC for MakeUp Revolution. All started back in December 2015, I was as usually putting things in my Superdrug online trolley and I saw this amazing opportunity of 144 eyeshadow palette of MakeUp Revolution 2016 new collection for only £2.99, YES! £2.99. It was such a bargain that I knew I couldn’t let it go. (If you don’t know how the palette looks like just look at the images above) After its arrival, I was amazed to see the quality, the brightness, the presentation, everything was so unreal, it was like love at first sight. 

After that first impact with MakeUp Revolution palette, January came and with this month January Sale began. A 50% OFF selected products in MakeUp Revolution website was a must for me to get to know more about what I claimed to be my favourite new make-up brand. I bought (the list is long):

- Bronzer powder

- Primer

- The ONE foundation Shade 14 

- 10 lip products which includes lip creams (velvet laquer and ultra velour), lipliners, lipsticks and lipgloss.

- A blush palette

- A highlighter palette

- Two brushes (concealer brush and blush brush)

I think that is all I bought! I think so. I was so satisfied with all my products because the price was really good to be true, the product lines are amazing on my skin and the presentation for each one of the products are marvellous (claps for the designers). 

I want to say I now know the meaning of revolution, this brand changed my way to fall in love with make-up. 

I encourage you to try this amazing brand because I know for sure you won’t regret it.

10

Lucie Loves… Long Live Southbank

Stop! Sign the petition and save the birthplace of British street skating.

This weekend jmgcreative and I headed over to Southbank to marvel at the skateboarders and sign the Long Live Southbank petition to save their home - the Undercroft.

Every day people flock to Southbank to soak up a little bit of must-see London culture. They do it because they want to feel part of something unique. The Undercroft is just that - it’s unique and globally renowned as THE birthplace of British skateboarding. For over 40 years it has been described as “the beating heart of London skateboarding” - watch this short piece from a Documentary called Rollin Through the Decades - Directed by Winstan Whitter for Beaquarr Productions.

But it’s now under threat since plans were announced to make alterations to the Hayward and Queen Elizabeth Hall - dubbed the “Festival Wing”. 

Since December 2013, the Long Live Southbank campaign has gathered momentum and won the support of more than 90,000 members to try and stop their skate/bmx/grafitti space/creative home being wiped out and replaced with something that they hope will “deliver a larger and more ambitious arts and cultural programme for all Southbank Centre’s visitors to enjoy.”

The skateboarders and BMXers are being asked to accept a new space (that they don’t want or need) under Hungerford Bridge, 120 metres south of their near Jubilee Gardens.

My old uni friend, and pretty amazing image-maker Darren John, designed this ‘preservation, not relocation’ print to raise money for the Long Live Southbank campaign. JMG bought one for us.

What can you do?

If you’d like to join JMG and I in helping these guys save the space for us and future generations for years to come, you can object here by signing the petition: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9DNCRKK

Read more about Long Live Southbank here: http://www.llsb.com or check out the other side here: http://www.southbankundercroft.com

This isn’t just a space; it’s a piece of history and as the stickers say “you can’t move history." 

Photography © Lucie Kerley

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Top 10 tips for starting a blog...

I’ve recently had a few people enquiring as to how they might go about starting their own blog. I decided to give this some serious thought and put together a few of my own tips for starting a blog. You can tweet me your questions @LucieKerley.

Contact me at info[at]luciekerley.co.uk to book a one-on-one consultancy and personal coaching session on starting your own blog and/or getting to grips with social media, etc. I’m London-based and happy to travel or do sessions remotely, to suit your needs.

1. Be realistic

Don’t expect to earn any money* or Kardashian-esq fame* overnight.

(*or at all, in fact.)

I do my blog as a hobby - this way I can write about what I want, when I want and not necessarily about what other people want. I do my ‘day job’ to earn my ‘bread and butter’ money and have my blog as a sideline, not because it pays well - although, I admit there are definitely perks to having a blog -  but because I love it. But I guess I’ll always be a photographer, first and foremost, and a blogger second.

2. Only start a blog if you are going to be committed to it

A blog is like a relationship. Give it some love and it will flourish. Ignore it and it will die a death. There’s no point in being half-hearted in your blogging efforts - if you don’t care about it, why should anyone else?

3. Do a bit of research - in fact do lots

Think about content, style, tone of voice, audience, etc. Look at the people who already do what you’re planning to do.  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • How will I stand out from the crowd?
  • What can I say that hasn’t already been said?
  • What’s my unique selling point?
  • Why do I want to do this?

Your USP is what will set your blog apart from the millions of other blogs that are already ticking over rather nicely. After all, what is the point in being a clone of everyone else?

Pitch&Post is worth a visit too, it’s a must-read for bloggers who want to work with brands - and vice-versa, and go about it in the right way. Founder and top blogger, Anna Hart of South Molton St Style, has put years of personal learnings and experience into creating a one-stop-shop of blogging genius!

4. Read fashion magazines - Learn from the best

My regular glossy fashion magazine reads are ELLE UK, British Vogue and Company Magazine - I bought a subscription to ELLE UK and British Vogue a couple of months ago and have not looked back - this way you’ll never miss out on new season style inspiration.

Tip: Look at the bloggers these fashion magazines recommend. Follow your favourites on Twitter, share those favourites with your followers and also check out Instagram and Pinterest. Inspiration comes in all shapes and sizes.

 

5. Look at the blogs you read - what do you like about them?

Is it the way they write? Is it the photos? It is the amount of text they put with their photos? Is it how often they update them? Is it the variety of stuff they write about?

Tip: Take your time to plan your posts. Invest in your blog - research different platforms and themes - wordpress, blogger, tumblr, will you use YouTube? and so on. Buy a decent camera. They aren’t cheap so save up if you are serious about buying a good DSLR camera. I use a Canon 5D MKII with a 50mm f1.4 lens. It cost an arm and a leg, but the photos it allows me to produce are sooo very worth it.

6. Write about things that GENUINELY interest you - this way it’s easier to be enthusiastic

Tip: Look at what products/brands you use/wear on a daily basis - review those - give your opinion.

For ideas think about:

  • What products do you carry with you at all times - tech, make-up, sentimental stuff, fashion accessories?
  • What’s in your make-up bag?
  • What do you wear when you go out - clothes, shoes, make-up, hair products, etc?
  • What do you wear on a day to day basis - again, think: clothes, shoes, make-up, hair products, etc.
  • What new brands would you love to try and what makes them special?
  • What events are you going to?
  • What musicians do you love listening to?
  • What creative people, artists or things inspire you?

 

7. Make sure you link your social media profiles

Make sure that your Instagram account is linked to Tumblr (in the sharing settings) and that your Tumblr is linked to your Twitter and - if you want to do so - add your blog’s Facebook page. It will help you build a following by directing traffic (readers) to your blog. Make sure you add Google Analytics to your blog too. It’s a great way of seeing what posts are popular and where your visitors are from.

Tip: When writing your posts, make sure you link to relevant products and the brands you are talking about on your blog - use their twitter handles to mention them if you’re sending your post to twitter. (That’s where I get most of the traffic to my blog, via twitter, google - direct traffics - and Facebook.)

 

8. Make sure that you proofread your posts

Good grammar, spelling and punctuation will help your blog to stand out from other (often poorly written) ones and will make people take you more seriously. If in doubt, look for wiggly red lines under words and see what you’ve misspelt. Ask a friend or a relative to cast their eye over your blog post and see if they can help spot any glaring mistakes. There is also a great plug-in for Chrome called Ginger, which is a grammar and spell checker.

The lovely Liv Purvis of What Olivia Did is the queen of please and thank you. Show your followers a little appreciation and it won’t go unnoticed. After all, manners cost nothing.

9. Be professional

Don’t 'bad mouth’ other brands, bloggers or people. You don’t want something you’ve said to come back and bite you on the a*se one day. Be openminded and willing to collaborate with other creatives. You’ll meet some fantastic and awe-inspiring people.

Love this gal! Amy from Wolfwhistle.org who I met at the Daloo3a event.

The gorgeous Danielle aka @Fashionista Barbie, Reena Rai of Fashion Daydreams and Sherin Malick of the Hi Fashion Site at LFW.

10. Network Network Network

Make friends with other bloggers, go to events, set yourself up a LinkedIn account, a social media version of your CV. A place where you can list all of your skills and build connections with people in the industry(ies) you wish to work.

If you are interested in doing some 'Blogger Outreach’ type stuff, sign yourself up with agencies like Brands on the Blog Best British Bloggers or Bloggers required. You can also join an affiliate marketing network such as Linkshare and promote the brands you love that way, you can sometimes earn commission too.

If you’re good and learn how to use Twitter to put yourself 'out there’ and teach yourself a bit of SEO (search engine optimisation) too, you can sometimes get yourself spotted by some fantastic Creative, Social Media and PR agencies. 

I started blogging as a hobby, dabbled around with sending my fashion and lifestyle-based Tumblr posts to Twitter and eventually got approached by a creative agency who offered my the chance to become the Resident Blogger for a local shopping centre. I lived ( yes it was hard work, but very fun) the role for two years - blogging about fashion, reviewing restaurants and beauty reviews and  events - before finishing to start my new job down in London.

And guess what?

Being social media-savvy and knowing how to blog, tweet, photograph and write, got me this job too. If you are looking for work, always check out the Guardian Jobs site for any new creative, digital and social media or community manager-type roles that might be on offer. My last two positions were found on there and they were pretty amazing.

Bottom line:

If you work hard and be nice to people, you never know what might happen. 

** If you have any more questions - or if you have blogging tips of your own that you’d like to share - feel free to get in touch, post a comment or send me a message. I’m always happy to help. **

Thanks for reading.

Lucie x

 

***

UPDATED 25.01.2016

A little update in response to a lovely question I received via email. I thought it might be useful to share my reply.

Q: “What kind of websites can we use to create our blog? We’ve tried using Google’s Blogger and found it impossible!”

A:  I hope you’re both well. I’m glad you liked my post and found it helpful.

There are a vast number of blogging platforms to choose from and websites that will help you design how your blog site should look.

  1. I use Tumblr for my blog lucieloves.co.uk and have done ever since I started blogging a few years ago now. I like it because it’s very simple to use and there are a multitude of theme designs to choose from. There is a great site for Tumblr themes called Mike Did This. http://mikedidthis-focus.tumblr.com/ I can link my Tumblr to twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc and edit it when I’m on the go.
  2. Wordpress is also good. Take a look at sites like theme trust - they do some great 'responsive’ designs. Basically this means your blog is accessible on ANY device. Which makes sense really as I’ve found that most of my blog traffic  comes from Twitter, so it’s good to have a website that looks ok on mobile too. http://themetrust.com/
  3. Also, have a look at Blog Milkhttp://www.blogmilkshop.com - they do very nice themes for Blogger.
  4. There’s also SquareSpace. This also looks very good: http://www.squarespace.com/
  5. Habari* http://habariproject.org/ 
  6. Simvla* http://simvla.com/
  7. Concrete5* http://www.concrete5.org/

It’s worth buying your own blog URL domain name and hosting too!

e.g www.lucieloves.co.uk

Try Heart internet or 123 reg to buy a domain name. This way your blog looks more professional. More like a website as opposed to just a hobby. 

NOTE: It actually might be worth researching your blog name ideas first to check if a url is still available.  You can also set up an 'info@xxxx.com’ type email address for your blog here too. This way you can try and make sure that you choose one which will let you have the same Twitter, Facebook and Instagram username - if not already taken. 

TIP: Add Google Analytics code to your blog to track visitors and see what content has proven popular.

(*I’ve not used/tried these ones, so cannot say how good they are.)

Hope this helps.

Lucie

****

Want more? Read this great article called '12 Reasons You Won’t Make It As A Blogger’ by Ashe Robison.

Update: Sunday 17 November. I recently did an interview about getting started as a blogger here: http://www.starti.ng/posts/view/25

9

Lucie Loves… How to make Hot Apply Jerry.

Fancy an alternative to your usual cocktails or mulled wine? Try this delicious spiced rum and cider concoction.

To make…

Pour one part Sailor Jerry’s spiced rum and two parts cider into a large pan. Add a couple of cloves ( 2 or 3), add some cinnamon sticks, heat gently and serve.

I made this on Saturday before my family and I headed over to Christmas at Kew to see the illuminated trail. It certainly warmed our cockles. A big thank you to the Sailor Jerry team for sending me a bottle to try out the recipe. It went down a treat.

Read my previous post for full recipe details and find out how to make a delicious pecan pie to go with your tipple.

Photography © Lucie Kerley

Lucie Loves... Film // A Bigger Splash exclusive screening at the Picturehouse Central cinema

I hadn’t been to any of the Picturehouses until a fortnight ago, seeing the utterly mesmeric, ‘The Assassin’ at Picturehouse East Dulwich. Now, after a kind invitation to contribute on Lucie’s blog, to the Picturehouse Central to see ‘A Bigger Splash’ at an exclusive screening, showcasing stills from the film and a drinks reception… fancy!

When you arrive at the Picturehouse Central, feels like an old tube station, but on closer inspection, it’s a lovely little place, filled with cool artwork, neon lights and classic cinema light box listings. There’s a café where you can grab a bite to eat, chill out and have a nice post-film discussion!

For me, the drinks reception was welcoming and I met my friend Chris there to look at some nice looking stills on showcase, but without any information, it felt perfunctory. It wasn’t until we entered the screen that we got giddy with excitement, there were bags on our seats with all sorts of stuff we didn’t need.

But then… what’s this lurking at the bottom… A DVD, YIPPEE!!!! I got ‘L’eclisse’ and Chris got ‘The Two Faces Of January’ which immediately set our expectations for the film.

There was a nice little intro, but really, we were too giddy giggling at our new nail varnish and Hush vouchers to listen, but the presentation was mainly on the aesthetic of the film and the fashion, which – for the right audience – is really rather impressive.

A Bigger Splash is good. It’s an indulgent film that looks fantastic.That is personal with its actors (none of which, leave anything to the imagination, Fiennes’ penis deserves a separate credit for itself!) but suffers from deplorable, affluent characters that made it hard for Chris and I to empathise with. 

That said, the performances are very, very strong, particularly Tilda Swinton’s Bowie-esque rock star, Marianne Lane. Apparently it was her creative suggestion to have Marianne struggle to talk after an operation, a device she uses to great effect. A rambunctious Ralph Fiennes threatens to steal the show though, and has gained notoriety for his amusing dance number to the Rolling Stones, the best scene and most fun you’ll have in the film. However, A Bigger Splash does lose its way and credibility in its third act which makes for a poor finish.

I love films – mainly watching them in a well-behaved cinema, on as big a screen as possible – but what’s great about Picturehouse is it’s screenings of arty films that are shown in smaller, more intimate surroundings, the sort that one may not find in larger chain cinemas.

Thanks to ThinkJam for the invitation, I hope they get more exclusive screenings to films that don’t get such a wide release nationwide.

If you want to visit the Picturehouse, it’s late notice but I implore you to take your date this Valentine’s day to see True Romancewhich is one of my all time favourites, I promise you’ll love it!

Words & photos by Patrick Waggett

8

Lucie Loves… saying yes!

Our very neon engagement and 2015 wedding plans.

There were four key ingredients to JMG’s proposal, all of which mean something very special to me:

  • Tea lights - I’m a candle obsessive
  • Explosions in the sky - playing softly in the background
  • A bespoke ‘Your hand in mine’ neon sign
  • JMG - down on one knee

It all happened quite unexpectedly on Friday 18 October 2013. Friend’s may laugh reading this - I’d been dropping some pretty elephant-sized hints for a good 12 months or more - but I really did get the shock of my life!

We’d been together for precisely… 

*quickly goes online to look for some sort of calculator to work out how long we’d actually been together*

5 years 8 months and 2 weeks when JMG asked me to marry him. We met in my last year at uni in Birmingham and it was one of those crazy all-consuming kinds of love.

In my wildest dreams I never imagined that it would happen in the way it did.

I’d thought it might have happened when we were on holiday in Greece - island hopping our way from perfect sunset to perfect sunset. No. Or horseback riding through the waves? No. Or maybe on my birthday, when I turned the grand old age of 28? Erm? No. 

Oh?

As it turned out, it happened when I was feeling (and looking) my most crappest having had a kidney infection for 2 weeks. I was on my way home from a Doctors appointment to get another lot of antibiotics because the first lot I’d been prescribed had done bugger all.

Anyway, I got back to our flat about 4:30pm on Friday afternoon and as I opened the door - which leads straight up to our flat - I noticed that little tea light candles had been lit and were placed on every step leading my way up the stairs.

My first thoughts…

“Aaw, how nice. But I had a bath this morning? It’s a bit odd (but sweet of him) to run me another one?”

What actually happened…

I trundled up the stairs, following the candle lit path leading to our bedroom. I saw JMG standing there waiting for me all the while thinking: “Aaw, he’s finished work early to see me because I’m not well” and then quickly looking to the right of where he stood and noticed that there were candles on the top of the dresser arranged in an extraordinary fashion.

It all happened so fast.

I then realised that there was music playing in our bedroom. It was one of my favourite songs: 'Your hand in mine’ by Explosions in the sky. JMG had introduced me to them when we first got together and I had fallen in love with that song in an instant.

He took my hand and said something along the lines of:

“I love you very much and I want to be with you for the rest of my life. I want to know if you’ll marry me? I’ll even go down on one knee if you want me to? Actually. I’m just going to do it.”

*gets down one one knee*

“Lucie Kerley, will you marry me?" 

Oh my flipping 'eck! I was  actually going to cry - what a sap!

"Yes!” I squeaked! 

He stood up and kissed me and we fell back onto the bed in one giant embrace. A bit of a hot mess - a mixture of laughter and happy tears streaming down my face. I’ve never experienced a feeling quite like it. It was quite honestly the best surprise of my entire life. And it had all taken place in the quiet comfort of our little London flat. Home.

It wasn’t until a few moments later that I noticed our bedroom was bathed in a strange blue light. I looked up and saw a ginormous neon sign spelling out 'Your hand in mine’ balancing on the bedstead. I couldn’t believe it! It was perfect. How had I missed it? I’d always said that one day I’d love to commission a neon sign. That very sign. I was over the moon.

He explained that he hadn’t bought me a ring because he was terrified of choosing the wrong one. (I’m quite fussy about what I like you see) and so he’d got me a sign made to propose to me with that instead. It was brilliant. And the best thing about it was that I didn’t have a bloody clue that he’d been planning it since August!!

So ladies and gents, what I realised is that when the time is right, the time is right. It doesn’t matter where the proposal happens as long it’s the right person that’s asking the question. In life we don’t get that many surprises - so make it a good one! Pay attention to the little things and the big ones will follow.

What’s next?

We’ve started saving up and planning our 2015 wedding. We’re currently toying with the idea of a Midsummers celebration, around June time. We’re pinning ideas to a secret board, researching wedding venues, pricing up catering ideas, looking at decorations, planning our music and guest lists… Oh yes, and I’ve started looking at dresses - only online - I’ve not made the leap to trying any on yet. Watch this space.

If you’ve got any wedding hints and tips, do’s and don’t’s from your own big day, we’d love to hear from you. Or if you’re planning your own wedding - best of luck to you!

2014 is going to one busy year.

Photography © Lucie Kerley

10

Lucie Loves… Lifestyle //
*Sponsored post* Happy Valentine’s Day to… me

Sunday looks like a blot of the calendar. A grey cloud threatening to burst and rain on my parade. 

This is my first ever Valentine’s as a single girl. Fact.

The funny thing is that I shouldn’t give two hoots about it – for the past eight years my ex and I never really celebrated it – it wasn’t his thing. We’d go out for more hot dinners than we would stay in and cook. So date nights became just a way of life. It’s how we rolled anyway.

But, now that things have changed, and I don’t even have to make the excuse: “We don’t celebrate V Day, because we tell each other ‘I love you’ everyday.” 

Blah blah blah…. 

Now though… February 2016… I feel like I’m at high school again… sitting in my class… wondering whether anyone would be my secret admirer that year… wondering whether I’d get a Me to You bear and/or a single, cellophane-wrapped romantic gesture thrust in my direction, from an equally embarrassed looking Romeo. 

No, I didn’t, incase you were wondering.

I’d go out for Valentine’s Day meals with high school boyfriends, and once… I almost got a bottle of Tommy Girl perfume as a gift… but apparently it smashed shortly before he could give it to me. It may just be a coincidence but I’m sure we broke up not long afterwards. Yes, Tim Limb, I’m talking about boy you! Ha!

But, saying that, I’ve never really been that sentimental about cards. Unless the message inside is a handwritten declaration of their undying love… But all the same, I’ve sent a few in my time. Once to my old childhood next door neighbour who I had a massive crush on for about 5 years in primary school. I’m not sure if he ever knew it was off me?

But, this year, it’s very different. I’m channelling my inner Carrie Bradshaw-meets-Samantha Jones character with gusto, (obviously, as any hot-blooded single girl living in London would do…) but, in this instance, I decided to have a mate date with my friend James instead. He’s a hoot.

When Virgin Experience Days got it touch regarding their #SharetheLove campaign, it gave me the perfect excuse to treat my mate and prove that you don’t always need a date date to have fun as a single person.

My friend James and I went to a cocktail masterclass at Met Bar, tucked inside of COMO Hotel on London’s Old Park Lane.

It costs £70 for two people and lasted around an hour. We arrived and were greeted by the lovely Lorenzo, who chatted to us amiably, asking us a few questions to work out our level of mixology expertise and to suss out what alcohol we preferred.

Bourbon.

Gin.

Old Fashioned.

Bramble.

Done. Decision made.

Anyone who knows London well will understand how expensive it can be to buy a decent cocktail. The value of the experience covers a private tutorial and two cocktails each.

It’s a really good idea for people celebrating a birthday or special occasion, visitors to London who want to pre-book some interesting experiences or even a date date or mate date like mine.

Virgin Experience Days cocktail masterclasses run 7 days a week from 3-6pm. 

What cocktail would you make?

Book your cocktail masterclass for two or check out other exciting Virgin Experience Days here.

Check out Virgin Experience Days and #Sharethelove on social media: 

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post in partnership with Virgin Experience Days. Sponsored posts like this, or features done in collaboration with a brand, are selected carefully, to ensure that they are a good editorial fit for the Lucie Loves blog. Paid posts enable me to do more of the free and non-profit work that I love, and continue to bring you the most varied and lively content possible. 

Photography © Lucie Kerley

10

Lucie Loves… Life
The great escape // Lucie and Roz’s ultimate road trip

This probably isn’t the blog post that you were expecting.

My life right now couldn’t be any more different from what I imagined it would be like this time 6 months ago, when I was about to get married to my partner of 7 years.

Right now, I’m scraping through each day, each moment, each emotion that surfaces. I’m trying to figure out what went wrong. How did I get to this point?

The truth of the matter is this: I’m going through a separation from my ‘new’ husband. JMG and I are no more. After years and years of growing up together, our marriage lasted just 5 months. It’s been difficult trying to come to terms with this latest life blow, and I’m doing all that I can to keep my head above water.

For the past 7 years I have poured everything that I am into my blog. I’ve shared so many highlights, many of them very special, treasured, and personal moments. And most of them have included JMG. Until now.

Right now I’m starting anew.  A new chapter. A new page. A new future. A new independence. A new everything. A new me. And I wanted to do it with as much honesty and integrity as I can. I wasn’t sure how or even if this is the sort of post that I should be sharing on my blog. But then I realised that you just can’t sugarcoat things to make them look/sound or taste nicer on social media.

I care so much about the work that I do. The experiences that I’m fortunate to be able to experience and share on my blog. I have no idea how to measure the impact that my content has had on my readers over its lifetime. My only hope is that by doing what I do, and sharing as I go, that some of you may have been inspired to try new things, visit new places, feel more confident, take up a sport or a hobby that you didn’t realise you would be so good at or enjoy so much.

As anyone who has been through a breakup from a long-term partner – or perhaps has gone or is going through a separation or divorce will know – it’s a pretty cruddy time.

I have wanted to bury my head in the sand. To stay in bed. To block out everything. But denial gets you nowhere. I made a decision at the very beginning of the breakdown of the marriage (end of September/early October), that I would not be hateful and would not become bitter, like so many divorcees often are. I cannot afford to waste the energy on negative emotions. I need to keep on living. I need to be strong.

However, the irony is that even when you are feeling at your lowest ebb, normal life carries on. The world will not stop turning because your’s is falling apart. Fact.

I’m incredibly lucky to have had round-the-clock support from my family and friends during this turbulent time. Through everything they have dug deep and remained true to me. Despite feeling angry and betrayed themselves by the situation, they have kept me (and themselves) composed, and respected my wishes for no drama.

There are no words quite succinct enough to describe how much the people closest to me really mean. A thousand thank yous wouldn’t cover it. You guys are my lifeblood. Through tears and laughter. I love you to pieces.

As days, weeks and months pass I have slowly gained perspective. At first I felt like my whole being was weighted down. I was questioning everything. Doubting myself and my abilities.

It’s been a very yin and yang few months. I’ve felt the highest of highs, professionally after being crowded YDLA’s Social Media Consultant of the Year and named as one of The Drum’s 50 under 30 women in digital in the UK, and the lowest of lows, personally. But then again, you can’t have everything. Chin up.

And so, with the aim of getting my life back on the rails, I accepted my friend Roz’s offer of a spa break in Cornwall. Roz is the funniest woman I have ever met. Laughter therapy guaranteed. The dates for the trip happened to coincide with two very interesting blog opportunities, which would not only challenge me emotionally, but also psychically and creatively. It was just what I needed.

An escape.

The first bit of blog good fortune to be bestowed on me was the chance to test drive a new Peugeot 108 for a week (blog post coming soon!) My characterful getaway car safely secured, I agreed to drive myself and Roz to Cornwall. The only problem… I hadn’t driven in over 3 years and so was petrified! But then I thought to myself, if I don’t get back behind the wheel now, I’ll never do it.

The second bit of blog good fortune to offer me a chance to escape London was from the guys at popchips. popchips believe that everyday should be filled with fun and uplifting activities. So when they contacted me recently, inviting me to get involved in their latest blogger competition to celebrate the launch of their sea salt and bbq multipacks, I was intrigued. The challenge: enjoy six days of uplifting moments with a £500 budget to cover the costs. No great hardship, you think?

Broken heart aside, I threw a random assortment of clothes and a Joan Collins-esq swimming cozzie (much to Roz’s amusement) into a small suitcase and, armed with an array of magazines and Lena Dunham’s book Not That Kind of Girl, I was ready for anything. Well, Cornwall anyway.

Uplifting moment #1

Date your friends. A fabulous bit of advice from a fellow heartbroken mate of mine. When all else fails and you’re feeling lost. Spend quality time with your best mates (pub location optional). It’s the perfect pick-me-up.

Uplifting moment #2

Pretend to be Thelma & Louise*. Head out on a road trip with one of your girlfriends. Revive your senses. Scare yourself silly with tiny country lanes and (unintentional) off-road driving and experience the kindness of strangers as they try to navigate you home to safety without the pesky sat nav.

*But without the guns or violence.

Uplifting moment #3

Go explore. When staying in a new town or village, find a pub with a roaring open fire, make friends with the staff and listen (wide-eyed) to the local gossip. Fill your belly with over-sized pub grub and laugh your socks off, but be sure to indulge the resident cat.

Uplifting moment #4

Be a mermaid. Explore smugglers caves, listen to the waves crashing against the shore and find a good rock to perch on to take in the view and free your mind. Polperro is a very magical place.

Uplifting moment #5

Experience Mother Nature at Eden Project. We were astounded by her beauty and had our minds blown with science. If we’d had it our way, we would’ve been whizzing down the zipwire at 60mph, but unfortunately it’s only open at weekends. :-(

Uplifting moment #6

Indulge. Indulge. Indulge. After a long country drive, a night of tear-filled heart-to-heart talks and bottles of wine, pamper yourself. 

Full body massage: tick. 

Rose facial: tick. 

Manicure: tick.

Final thoughts…

My break in Cornwall was just what the doctor ordered. It pushed me to move forwards and was peppered with wonderful little moments that I will treasure forever. The people Roz and I met on our trip were some of the kindest ever.

One of my ultimate highlights was when we finally made it to Polperro. After driving for 45 minutes down some of the tiniest lanes you’ve ever seen. Through thick fog and disappearing daylight, around blind bend after blind bend, up steep hills and down narrow streets. It was quite a challenge. We realised having finally made it to the harbour, that we hadn’t actually eaten anything but light and crunchy popchips since our fry up that morning at breakfast.

We found the cutest little bakery, which was just about to close and bought two freshly baked scones with Jam and Cornish clotted cream. A complete bargain at £2.94 for two! Perfection.

You sometimes forget how different things are outside of London. I guess it made me realise that life won’t always feel like doom and gloom. We’ve got so much more to live for and look forward to. It was definitely a very uplifting week.

Photography © Lucie Kerley

**Disclaimer: This post was made possible because of the very generous offer of a free test drive of the new Peugeot 108 and a £500 budget from popchips to spend on a week’s worth of uplifting activities. If my post is chosen (out of five other bloggers) as being the most uplifting and fun week, Roz and I will win two free flights to California, home of popchips. Now, if a free trip to California doesn’t help mend a broken heart, I don’t know what will! ;-) Share the love please peeps**

Find out more about the Peugeot 108 and popchips. Or pop over to popchips.co.uk and for all the latest news, become a facebook fan or follow them on twitter.

About new multipack popchips…

Tasty snack brand, popchips, has launched multi-packs of two of their much loved flavours, sea salt and barbeque, so you can enjoy the same great taste every day with only one trip to the supermarket.

Delivering a naturally delicious, lighter snacking alternative, both flavours are available in multi-packs of six packets of 23g for daily enjoyment.

Never fried, never baked and containing half the fat of any other crisp, both flavours contain tasty natural seasoning, packing a punch without sacrificing on taste.

Perfect for people on the go, these new multi-packs will be sure to give your taste buds a spanking!

Both multi-pack flavours are available at all nation retailers, with an RRP of £1.99

5

Lucie Loves… Food //
Cheeky Chinese New Year meal at Cha Cha Moon 

2016 is the Year of the Monkey, so off I headed to Cha Cha Moon on 15-21 Ganton Street for a “cheeky” Chinese New Year’s meal.

Cha Cha Moon has a Wagamamas-esque vibe to it: big communal benches, a buzzing atmosphere and delicious food. There was also a decent amount of time between each course, leaving enough time to chat to friends, rather than being turfed out the second you’ve stopped eating – my pet hate.

The evening consisted of a set menu of Singapore Char Kway Teow with Prawns (a spicy noodle dish with quite a kick to it), a side of Green Beans in a traditional spicy seafood sauce – which for me was actually tastier than the main. 

However, the pudding was the real crown jewel: it was a soft banana wrapped in crispy roll with Crème de Leche ice-cream and red bean paste. The ice-cream was so delicious that I actually ordered seconds – with the rationale that I am being vegan for Lent and so am getting my dairy fix now! This was followed by a fresh banana daiquiri, a bit like an alcoholic smoothie; I wasn’t quite sure about this, although I did drink it all just to make sure!

All of the above was a mere £19.99, and I can assure you that they are not stingy on the portion sizes; in fact I went to bed looking like an Orangutan. Chinese New Year is on Monday 8th Feb and so if January 2016 didn’t go according to plan, see it as a test run and head down to Cha Cha Moon for Round 2!

For more details or to book your Chinese New Year meal visit: chachamoon.com

Words & photos by Karis

10

If you love vintage, you’ll love Notting Hill and Portobello.

If you’re thinking about having a wander down *sings* Portobello Road! Portobello Road!

Do it. 

Here are a few of my favourites photos from when I took myself and my DSLR camera to Portobello Road Market.

It was Bank Holiday Monday, I was still feeling a little under the weather and needed a pick me up. I decided on some ‘me-time’ (partly because the Tubes were disrupted and I couldn’t get across - easily - to East London to spend the day with my friend Marcos.)

With JMG over 100 miles up north and not available at my disposal, I went for a walk to:

  1. indulge my senses
  2. unleash my creativity
  3. swap my fashion blogger hat for my documentary photographer hat
  4. satisfy my hunger for a nutella and banana crepe
  5. be charmed by the many lovely stall holders and folk who greeted me on my journey. 

Smiles all round.

If you fancy a visit to Nottinghill and Portobello Road, check out the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea website for more details.

I was quite surprised how quiet the streets were on Bank Holiday Monday. I was expecting Portobello Market and Notting Hill to be heaving with tourists? But no. It wasn’t the usual Euston Station free-for-all I had anticipated. How refreshing.

There are some lovely well-known boutiques like Cath Kidston, along with the likes of All Saints, Kurt Geiger and Religion. However, the beauty of Portobello Market - as it often is with any market - is the joy of the undiscovered. Take a peek at my blog post about my visit to Columbia Road and Broadway Markets - another weekend must-see!

The vintage clothing, 1930s enamelware, old signage, letterpress lettering, old maps, harris tweed, clockmakers, knob shops, art galleries, antique shops, street food and home-made iced lemonade. It’s wonderful.

One of my favourite such shops was Chloe Alberry (pictured above) which featured a vast array of beautiful door furniture, colourful glass bottles, vintage tiles, cabinet hooks and mirrors, and many more curiosities.

To get to Portobello Road, I searched google for directions and quickly realised that my local 295 bus from Hammersmith to Ladbroke Grove would drop me close by, in under 40 minutes.

Check out the TFL website for Tube details on how to get to each of the London Markets.

Photography © Lucie Kerley

10

Lucie Loves… Food & Travel // 
Fancy tapas lunch at ESQUINA, Singapore

My trip to Singapore was quite the foodie adventure. I was very lucky to be invited to have lunch at ESQUINA, tucked away on a corner of Jiak Chuan Road, in Singapore. Here are a few photos of the restaurant interior and delicious tapas, that I hope will make your hearts swoon and your mouths water.

After my gourmet dining experience at POLLEN restaurant, in the Flower Dome at Gardens by the Bay, I was intrigued to see what else the Unlisted Collection had up their sleeve.

On arrival at ESQUINA, I was introduced to Barcelona-born, Head Chef Carlos Montobbio, who at just 28 years of age, has already over 10 years of culinary experience under his belt.

Carlos is known for his ‘artfully crafted rendition of Spanish tapas’ – I couldn’t wait to see what dishes he whipped up for me.

Grilled Spanish octopus, Jerusalem artichoke, burnt onion and oyster leaf

Spanish omelette, confit onion, potato, crispy bread, olive oil and caviar

I started off lunch with a glass of sangria, topped with a layer of foam – an ESQUINA speciality. The casual eat-at-the-bar seating means that on quiet days you can talk to the chefs, and marvel at their craft, as they prepare each dish fresh in front of you.

The staff at ESQUINA sit down each day and eat together, each taking in turns to cook up something new, something not on the menu. Carlos told me that at the weekend he will head to Tiong Bahru Market to shop for ESQUINA goods and also his personal groceries, before heading to Tiong Bahru Bakery for breakfast.

He explained that one of the greatest challenges that chef’s face in Singapore is getting their hands on the right ingredients. They have to rely heavily on imports. For instance, things like oysters and meats have to be ordered a week in advance.

Preparation: Saffron paella, pan-fried red snapper, chorizo and snow peas

Back in 2004, La Tasca was the first ever Spanish restaurant that I’d ever stepped foot in outside of Spain. Date nights, in my late teens, eyeing each other up over a bowl of patatas bravas or a little dish of paella… *sighs*

It was nice enough, but nothing compared to the tapas I got to try on holidays to places like Barcelona and Mijas.

Everything about the Spanish way of life, the glorious sunshine-filled days, the freshness of the food and communal way of eating together (often until late at night), to the siestas and the beautiful people. It’s a far cry from British life – our wet winters and often colder ways.

My visit to Singapore opened my eyes as a travel blogger. I wasn’t expecting there to be such a huge variety of great places to eat. I can honestly say that my dalliance with Chef Carlos’ Spanish tapas at ESQUINA, was another real comfort food experience for me. Decadent emotional eating was exactly what I’d recommend for anyone who, like me back in October, was still getting my head around the blow that my ever-so short marriage was now over. 

There’s something pretty special about selecting dishes from a menu and then watching your food being prepared and cooked in front of you. It feels almost voyeuristic. Food porn at its best!

Perched at the bar, on ESQUINA’s famous upcycled-tractor style seating, I was more than ready for a big fat Spanish lunch. ESQUINA is the perfect place for a solo-traveller to grab lunch, or even arrange a date night. Sat beside me at the bar were two British expats, colleagues, having a leisurely lunch together. They too were very impressed with the food.

ESQUINA is like the cooler, hipper, younger sister to sophisticated POLLEN. ESQUINA, lets her hair down. POLLEN wears hers pulled tight into a neat chignon. ESQUINA quaffs sangria by the glass. POLLEN sips champagne, delicately.

The rough and ready, industrial, unpolished interior of ESQUINA brings a little bit of Spain to Singapore, with a few British twists thrown in – with the art and vintage signs that adorn the walls.

The average (hungry) couple dining at ESQUINA are recommended to order between 6-8 dishes, enough to share between two. Wherever possible, ingredients are locally-sourced, and always freshly-cooked each day.

Chorizo croquetas with piquillo mayo

My own love of food and hospitality, I guess, boils down to my love of all things design-related. I love seeing the end result. The care and consideration that has gone into every dish. 

Oyster, jalapeño ponzu, salmon roe and pickled ginger flower

It fascinates me to see Chefs so lovingly craft each dish. Arrange them on a plate – like a work of art – only to be devoured by diners moment later. 

A painstaking love of food. Passion, and pursuit of excellence – for perfection – is a trait that I greatly admire.

In contrast to their communal seating and open kitchen, ESQUINA also has a private dining area upstairs, which seats up to 25 people. You can book a table at ESQUINA online. There’s a real buzz about that place, one not to be missed!

Photography © Lucie Kerley

10

Lucie Loves… Fashion //
Jigsaw x Audrey Louise Reynolds SS16 collaboration

One of my favourite things about the pairing of art and fashion is that you never really know what to expect when those two beautiful worlds collide. 

I went along to Jigsaw’s Duke Street Emporium to find out about The Creators Project, an experimental collaboration, which aims to bring together design and craftsmanship.

Audrey Louise Reynold’s is a New York artist who has worked with Jigsaw’s in-house design team to develop a very special print-making technique to use rain to imprint the colours of natural ingredients, such as wild blackberries, dandelion, weeping willow bark and pale pink crystals on a specially commissioned collection.

I told Audrey – a beautiful, tall, willowy brunette – that she reminded me very much of Pamela Love (a proper #girlcrush of mine!) It turns out that Pamela is actually her best friend. I was in awe!! 

“I find that collaborating with nature leaves so much up to chance.
I think there’s something much more beautiful about that than anything I could calculate on my own.” ~ Audrey Louise Reynolds

My favourite piece from the collection is the digitally-remastered multi-coloured rain print dress, as seen on Audrey herself. The limited edition collection, curated carefully across rails, consists of a limited run of just 50 pieces. 

Essentially, buying an item from the Jigsaw x ALR collection will be like owning a piece of art. No two garments are the same (apart from the digitally printed pieces). What to expect: simple, classic shapes so that the prints are the things that dazzle. Slouchy tees, long-line maxis and camis. Perfect spring/summer wardrobe pieces.

“Jigsaw has a heritage of linen product and for SS16 we were feeling a real passion for the fibre and its relevance as a contemporary product worth celebrating in a new light,” ~ Sally Graveling, Head of Design, Jigsaw

On arrival at 55 Duke Street, James and I were really impressed with the beautiful store. It has a cafe vibe and sells Aesop too!

Endless flutes of Prosecco and botanical cocktails were served, created by the talented Mr Lyan, an array of edible floral canapés and other delights kept guests well-fed and watered.

“We associate rain with dreariness but all that is beautiful relies on it. Imagine how exotic rain could be if we coloured it.” ~ Audrey Louise Reynolds

Audrey’s pieces are as unique as each drop of Brooklyn rain. While many of us want to hide indoors on rainy days, Audrey sets to work at her Brooklyn loft, making the most of the earth and elements to create her unique art.

Audrey is a self-taught pigment expert, artist and (like me) a colour fanatic! From soft cotton cashmere and silk to Irish linen pieces from Irish family-run supplier Baird McNutt, the collection reimagines contemporary ready-to-wear fashion.

I’m a huge supporter of British fashion brands, and work closely with Young British Designers to support new and emerging talent. I feel Jigsaw’s latest brand – and the introduction of The Creators Project – is exactly the kind of thing that would turn me from just an admirer into a real Jigsaw fan.

Audrey completes the story: “I find that collaborating with nature leaves so much up to chance but it’s kind of the way we live our lives. So you can control it to a certain point and then you put it in the wind or you put it in the water or you put it in this thing that will change and morph it in never twice the same way. I think there’s something much more beautiful about that than anything I could calculate on my own.” 

My friend’s and I (the generation that saw Topshop get good) always viewed Jigsaw as one the brands that was always still slightly too old for us, slightly out of reach, in terms of both price and style. However, my latest visit to the Duke Street Emporium, has made me a complete convert! I literally wanted to buy/wear everything. Whether it’s me reaching 30 or the brand’s design team getting younger, I don’t know? But I like it. 

Check out the Jigsaw lookbooks here, and tell me you do not want to buy any of it? I dare you! It’s so pretty!

Photography © Lucie Kerley

10

Lucie Loves… Food & Drink //
#TBT The House of Peroni Autumn Residency

2015 was awash with some pretty amazing blog trips, events and opportunities.

One such event was The House of Peroni Autumn Residency ~ a popup experience with something to appeal to all the senses.

Making a temporary home for itself in Brick Lane, London from 29th October - 25th November at 152 Brick Lane (E1 6RU), The House of Peroni gave me an insight into Italian home life, without having to get on a plane and fly to Italy.

It was a month-long event, allowing curious city dwellers to explore a specially transformed space, and basically, eat, drink and make themselves at home.

As pop-up events go, this was pretty spectacular. Everything from the way the industrial building had been dressed, lit and filled with music – to the endless Peroni Nastro Azzurro-infused cocktails, created by award-winning mixologist at The Langham Hotel, Simone Caporale, and delicious Michelin-starred food made for a fantastic, yet alternative evening out in east London.

‘Vita all’Interno’ - means ‘a life lived inside’ - and The House of Peroni residency definitely allowed you to feel like you’d just stepped across the threshold into a domestic scene in an Italian home, strewn with very beautiful people. It was very well done.

“The experience, curated by Gingerline’s creative founder, Suz Mountfort, and immersive storytellers, Reuben Feels started in the heart of the home. Guests entered the warm bustling kitchen and were greeted by delightful smells and a never ending dining table. From there, they were invited to explore and enjoy the airy laundry room inspired by Italian couture, and try one of Peroni Nastro Azzurro’s innovative serves, whilst relaxing in the autumnal covered terrace area.

Guests were also able to curate their very own personal experience, by obtaining a key which opened the door to a variety of authentic Italian experiences hidden within the event. It was rather dreamlike – revealing a new world where nothing was quite as it seemed.

Other notable talent brought in to make The House of Peroni experience as memorable as possible included Michelin-starred Sicilian chef Accursio Craparo, surrealist art director and set designer Rhea Thierstein, and Italian paper installation artist, Francesca Signori.

Guests were also able to purchase exclusive keys from the pantry to unlock secret rooms within the Residency. Each key took its holder on a journey of discovery with delicious surprise infusions revealed along the way:

* Bedroom: Upon unlocking the bedroom, visitors will be able to taste Rhea Thierstein’s surreal interpretation of a dream and enjoy a Peroni Nastro Azzurro infusion created by Simone Caporale

* Wardrobe: Purchasing an additional key enables visitors to continue their journey through the mythical wardrobe where they can try on extravagant paper accessories created by resident paper artist Francesca Signori and capture their experience with their friends and keep forever

* Snug: In the final key experience, guests will be able to relax and unwind in the sumptuous snug area, and reflect on their experience before creating their own infusion, guided by our mixologist maestro

For a quick run-down of my other 2015 highlights see this post.

I look forward to seeing where next The House of Peroni takes residence.

For more information visit: thehouseofperoni.com

Photography © Lucie Kerley