Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Prêt-à-Portea! A unique fusion of fashion and food

Couture and cake are two of life's greatest pleasures, so you can imagine my delight at receiving a gift voucher for Prêt-à-Portea at The Caramel Room – an ingenious afternoon tea that changes to reflect the fashion seasons. And what better place to host such an event than the 5* Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, just a stone's throw from Harrods and Harvey Nichols.

© The Berkeley Hotel, London
Remember back in February 2013 when I posted a picture from the A/W Burberry collection? Well last week I got to eat that gorgeous heart print mac, and it tasted as good as it looked! These adorable little ginger biscuits (above) were covered with caramel icing and hand decorated. So beautiful.

Other catwalk highlights turned sartorial sweets included a Westwood Anglomania inspired checked mint green macaroon, a tiny victoria sponge dressed as a Saint Laurent handbag, and a stunning Emporio Armani mousse in a shot glass topped with a chocolate swirl.

Despite this incredible selection, I'm actually more of a savoury girl, and I was equally content tucking into some delicious mini sandwiches, a surprisingly yummy watercress soup in a shot glass, and several other savoury bites – all of which were as beautifully presented as the cakes and pastries. And the best bit? Everything was repeatedly replenished until you literally couldn't eat another thing!

There were several blends of tea and fruit infusions to choose from, all served in beautiful exclusive Wedgwood China. I started with the Amazing Apple (below) before moving on to a classic peppermint.

As you can probably tell, I love afternoon tea. I think it's one of our country's greatest culinary traditions, and this really is a fabulous twist on a classic. The food was incredible and the service second to none. We took two hours to consume everything and were still given a doggy bag with some cakes to take away. Although I don't think 'doggy bag' is an appropriate term for something that resembled a cute pink handbag!

The menu changes each fashion season so no doubt I will be returning to see what Spring/Summer has to offer. I bet that Temperley London dress I fell in love with would taste great! A wonderful experience where food and fashion come together to produce something indulgent, fun and utterly delicious.


Huge thank you to Matt and Catherine for the wonderful gift!

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Music photographer Tracy Morter and the incredible RATM campaign

I recently had the privilege of editing an interview with photographer Tracy Morter for f2 Freelance Photographer magazine. She was brought to my attention as a wedding photographer but in fact she first discovered her passion photographing live bands, which perhaps explains how she successfully bypasses all of the cheesey hearts and flowers stuff and captures genuine emotions instead!

If Tracy's name is ringing a bell, it's probably because she is one half of the enterprising duo that started a social media campaign to put Rage Against The Machine's 1992 single Killing In The Name at Christmas number one in 2009. This ingenius act subsequently raised more than £160,000 for homeless charity Shelter (the band donated all proceeds), and effectively stuck the middle finger to X-factor, whose manufacture popstars had dominated the top spot for the past four Christmases.

As a big thank you to their fans, RATM played a free gig at Finsbury Park the next summer. Tickets were a challenge to get hold of (I clearly wasn't the only person who spent all morning at my desk refreshing my browser until RSI set in!), but the gig was well worth the effort and seeing them again the next weekend at Download Festival was the icing on the cake. Tracy tells me she watched them from the side of the stage with Machine Head – a surreal but amazing experience!

Tracy's passion for music is evident in her photos and I was happy to find out she had taken pictures at other gigs I had been at too. I'm thrilled to share a few of them with you here because although I can write about gigs until the cows come home, I rarely take any decent pictures! Photographing in dark venues with constantly changing stage lighting is tricky at the best of times, but when you are armed with nothing better than a camera phone and juggling a beer it is near impossible...

An Evening With Incubus 2011

Tom Morello: The Nightwatchman

I'd like to say a big thank you to Tracy for letting me share her work and if you would like to see more head over to www.tracymorter.com. Oh, and if you are looking for a wedding photographer that will offer something a bit more memorable than your typical nuptial shots then trust me, Tracy's your girl!

All images © Tracy Morter

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Happy Birthday Christian Louboutin!

Yesterday was Christian Louboutin's birthday, and seeing as he has brought so much joy to the feet of women worldwide, I thought I'd mark the occasion by sharing a few of his current designs. The AW13 collection features plenty of regal colours and gold embellishments, which were brought to life in Louboutin boutique windows using elaborate displays inspired by Ancient Egypt.

The collection also includes this year's new So Kate pump (possibly the ultimate stiletto!), with its classy super-slim heel and pointed toe. It is reminiscent of Louboutin's original Pigalle, but slightly more modern and sleek.

1) Miss Loubi spiked patent-leather clutch, £995
2) Estanado patent-leather ankle boots, £675, 120mm heel with 10mm platform
3) So Kate suede pumps, £395, 120mm heel
4) Daffodile crystal-embellished suede pumps, £3,795, 160mm heel with 60mm platform

Louboutin and his iconic red soles are instantly recognisable, but here are a few facts that you might not know:

  • Before setting up his company in 1991, Louboutin worked for Charles Jourdan, Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, Maud Frizon and Roger Vivier.
  • The shade of red chosen for his soles was inspired by an assistant in the office who would wear the same vibrant colour on her lips and nails every day.
  • The Louboutin red is officially registered as Pantone shade 18-1663 TPX.
  • His single biggest client is Danielle Steel who owns more than 6,000 pairs.
  • He refers to his six-inch heels as 'bed shoes' as you can only lay down in them.
  • One New Yorker reportedly told her husband that the Christian Louboutin who kept appearing in their bank details was her gynaecologist!

Happy Birthday Christian! Here's to many more years of fabulous footwear to come.

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Silverstein at The Underworld, Camden

28th November 2013

I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is the most excited I had been about a show in a very long time. Not only are Silverstein an amazing live band, who haven’t been in the UK for a few years, but their latest album This Is How The Wind Shifts is nothing short of fantastic.

©Deanna Wordley, courtesy of www.soundscapemagazine.com
Normally it’s pretty hard for a band to make you fall in love with an album in the same way as the first one that drew you to them. They can keep making music you love, but that first album you fell hard for always has a certain magic that is near impossible to beat. However a couple of listens of Silverstein’s latest offering had my gig-buddies and I exchanging looks which said, ‘is this actually as awesome as I think it is?!’ To which the answer is, categorically, yes.

Formed in Ontario, Canada in 2000, Silverstein have released six studio albums and cite Dead Kennedys, Green Day and NOFX as influences. They are the kind of band that can successfully cover a whole spectrum of emotions in one carefully crafted album, from the heaviest screams to the most beautiful melodies.

They had stuck to a very similar set list for the first leg of the tour, but the European portion came with the promise of a few changes. So five weeks ago I was at The Underworld in Camden, filled with excitement and festive beverages (mulled cider? winter Pimms?… erm, yes please!)

Clad in a NOFX denim jacket, Shane Told filled the venue with his powerful vocals, keeping the audience hooked from start to finish. We grabbed ourselves a good position; towards the back but with a perfect view that was unobstructed by those bloody Underworld pillars! The energy was electric.

Opening with Your Sword Versus My Dagger and moving straight into the incredible Massachusetts, they played a good mixture of old and new material. They even included a few songs that, in my humble opinion, had been missing from recent set lists, such as a personal favourite Vices, cleverly sandwiched between A Great Fire and Broken Stars.

Another addition was guitarist Paul's beautiful rendition of Arrivals and the entire band's subsequent delivery of Departures – both highlights from the latest album – followed by Giving Up. This section was a nicely executed change of pace, which only served to hype the crowd up more for the powerful finale of My Heroine and Smile In Your Sleep which followed.

The band returned on stage for an encore of To Live and Lose followed by Smashed Into Pieces. Aside from To Live and Lose, the last few songs were in fact the one thing that barely changed throughout the tour. And although elsewhere the changes were welcome, here I was glad that they stuck to the tried and tested. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it – and these songs are far from broken.

I hope Silverstein will be back in the UK soon. I’ve seen some great bands at The Underworld, but this was one gig that will be very hard to beat.


© Rock & Runway

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