The Parla Pop-up is a Minimalist’s Dream

parla pop-upParla Pop-up | Nearest tube: Notting Hill Gate | Map

I get a little bit giddy anytime a favourite brand of mine expands. Especially when that brand is an independent one, with a strong emphasis on talented females. Enter Pärla, an East London store based in Boxpark Shoreditch, whom you may remember from some of my previous posts. I’ve been chatting about the brand online – and off – for a while now, which makes their new pop-up even sweeter for me.

Being the fangirl that I am, I decided to go check out the Parla pop-up as soon as it opened. And I don’t think I’m going to be the only one falling in love with it.

The Summer Parla Pop-Up

Pärla may have started with an East London store, but some of you will be glad to hear that they’re now expanding West. Yep, their special Summer pop-up is based in none other than the famous Portobello Road, Notting Hill. The new pop-up is airy, bright, and filled with contemporary jewellery and gorgeous lifestyle items (including lingerie and candles). The usual jewellery design players are all there: V Jewellery, Jessie Harris, Clarice Price Thomas, Smith/Grey, and more. And this time they’ve been joined by a few fashion designers too, such as Danielle Foster, Jody Shafton and others.

I personally can’t stop by Pärla without adding a hundred things to my wish-list, and buying several of the ones already on it. This time I added a piece of V Jewellery to my collection; a little bling to perk up the numerous ear piercings I’m stacking up. And naturally I added everything from Clarice Price Thomas and Jessie Harris’s new collections to my wish-list. It’s safe to say that the new Parla Pop-up is everything I had hoped for, and I can honestly say it’s a minimalists lifestyle dream.

You can visit the Parla Pop-up yourself at 201 Portobello Road, until Sept 3rd.

parla pop-upparla pop-up parla pop-up parla pop-up parla pop-up

2017: A Year of Self Help & Making Big Decisions?

self helpA Year of Self Help & Making Big Decisions

2017 has started a little differently than 2016. Last year I decided I wanted to say “yes” to as many things as possible. That actually went pretty well…well, in the sense that I did it. Unfortunately it also meant my social calendar became pretty hectic. I had to balance my social life and work. And I burnt myself out. So 2017 has seen me saying “no” to things instead.

Why? Because I soon learnt that saying yes, and wanting to please everyone was really not the way to go. Unless of course I wanted to stress myself out to the point where I knocked 10 years off my life.

A Year of Self Help

You see, I’m highly susceptible to stress. The last few years have seen me manage it relatively well, but sadly last year I didn’t give myself the time to re-energise. Something which is extremely important when it comes to keeping my sanity. Because of this, at the end of 2016 I saw my mental and physical health plummet. This isn’t entirely to do with my social life, of course. There was a death in my family, a close family member was taken ill, and other factors came in to play (again, thanks Trump/Brexit).

So I decided that this year I want to make some big changes, and some bigger decisions:

  • Take better care of myself
    • Both my mental & physical health
    • Be happier
  • Travel more
  • Seriously consider moving abroad
    • London life is a big contributor to stress
    • It’s something I’ve been considering for a couple of years
    • Amsterdam & Copenhagen are on the table
  • Think about buying a house
    • Ben and I have been wanting to buy somewhere for a while
    • It would give us a project to work on
    • No noisy upstairs-neighbours

I might mess up a little along the way. In fact I can almost definitely say I will. But if I keep my main goal in mind – take better care of myself – then I believe I can make a difference in 2017. And at least I can say I had good intentions.

self helpself helpself help

New Year New Me… Oh Please! | Style

New Year New MeBiker Jacket: Zara| Shirt: Mads Nørgaard | Vest: Topshop | Trousers: Warehouse* | Trainers: Adidas

We all utter it at least once a year. Whether it’s New Years Eve, New Years Day, or maybe just after you’ve devoured all of the leftover turkey and trimmings. “New Year new me”. It can mean many things, and I truly believe that people have good intentions when they mutter it. I’ve definitely said it before. And thought it a million times. But have I ever done it? …have you?

After all, we all kinda know we’re lying when we say it. Aren’t we?

New Year New Me!

Well I think to a certain extent, we do all change and grow. Just not generally all at the same time. Can you imagine the carnage if we all suddenly discovered how to better ourselves at 00:01 on January 1st? As comical as the idea is, I like to think that we all learn from our mistakes. Even if it does mean making them a few times before we realise it. I definitely have a few things I need to teach myself in 2017.

New year new me may seem silly, or redundant, but it really is a heartfelt expression. However you phrase it, we’re (read: most of us) all doing our best to become better people. For some that may be cutting down on their guilty pleasures, for others it may mean taking more risks. I’ve certainly sat down with myself and had the talk. For now it’s personal, but I hope that I can share it with you all soon. And whatever your thoughts on ‘new year, new me’ are, I hope that 2017 will be a good one for you.

Check out my previous style posts here.
Photos of me are taken by Van Anh Le Thi

New Year New Me New Year New Me New Year New Me New Year New Me New Year New Me

Sorry but Christmas style ain’t my thing…

Christmas styleBiker Jacket: Zara| Jumper: COS | Shirt: & Other Stories | Trousers: Warehouse* | Trainers: Adidas

Every year I try to convince myself that I can do Christmas style. It’s either “buy that sequin dress” or “pop on that Christmas jumper”. But it always seems like I’m putting on a bit of a show for others. My problem is I get Christmas fever – it’s a real thing, trust me. I love the anticipation, the food, the mulled wine… And with the hype of the season – and all of the Christmas parties – my style is inevitably affected. I feel like I have to make the effort and dress up, otherwise I’m letting people down. And let’s be honest, my personal style is not exactly what you’d deem Christmas style friendly.

Sorry but Christmas style ain’t my thing…

This year was no different. I was searching for an outfit for the Christmas party, and of course I wanted to buy something new. But I took a minute to stop and think about it. The party was going to feel no more or less like Christmas if I came dressed in a glittery all-in-one or not. Let’s be honest, the only way it could be more Christmas-y is if I turned up in a sexy tree costume (how is that actually a thing?!). So I stuck with one of my favourite LBDs. And you know what? The party was amazing.

So no, you won’t find any Christmas jumper posts this year. Nor will you see me in sequins – as hilarious as that would be. I guess what I’m trying to say is, you shouldn’t feel pressured to “dress-up” or put on a ton more make-up than you would any other time of year. If you fancy going all out, then go for it. But don’t let anyone tell you that you have to “coz it’s Christmas”. You’re fabulous just as you are. After all, this is the time of year to reflect, chill out, and eat a ton of awesome food. And what better way to do it, than dressed in something that makes you happy.

Check out my previous style posts here.
Photos of me are taken by Van Anh Le Thi

Christmas style Christmas style Christmas style Christmas style Christmas style Christmas style

Hand Cafe – East Village London’s Little Secret

hand cafeHand Cafe | East Village | Nearest Tube: Stratford | Map

It is my firm belief that everyone should have a local cafe. Cafes are the perfect place to lose yourself in your thoughts, contemplate life, or just enjoy a damn good coffee. When we moved to East Village in Stratford, the cafe offerings were pretty sparse. And by sparse I mean the closest (decent) cafe was in Homerton. That cafe was 46b Espresso Hut.

I’d been a few times when I was in the area, but it wasn’t close enough to become a ‘local’. So you can imagine my surprise when one of the units near our apartment put up a sign saying a new cafe was coming. But this wasn’t just any cafe. This was Hand cafe – 46b Espresso Hut’s younger sibling.

Hand Cafe – East Village London’s Little Secret

I really have nothing bad to say about Hand, so this post is going to be one of those genuine glowing reviews, that don’t come about too often. They’re dedicated to bringing good coffee and high quality food (using local ingredients) to the people of Stratford…and anyone who fancies paying a visit really.

From toasties to shakshuka, it’s anything but the usual foodie fare. The colourful yellow and purple dish below? That’s bacon, avocado and egg on sourdough. They’ve got the ‘traditional’ dishes down, but they’ve added their own special flare to them. My favourite is the Hand Granola; the fruits change based on what’s available and in season, and the added touch of bee pollen and mint adds a whole new dimension of texture and flavour to this breakfast staple. Trust me, you won’t bore of the food here.

More than just coffee…

I visit at least once a week, and often see the same faces (as well as new ones). Eva and Dom spend a lot of time getting to know everyone, and always greet you with a smile. And it’s not forced. These are genuine people doing something they love, and sharing it with those around them. Their hard work and determination has really helped cement Hand as – in my opinion – the best cafe in East Village. Hand cafe is a gem amongst a growing community. I think I’d even go as far to say it’s the heart.

Check out more: Where to Eat in London

hand cafehand cafe hand cafe hand cafehand cafe

Is Dominique Ansel London Worth The Hype?

dominique ansel londonDominique Ansel London | Bakery & Cafe | Nearest Tube: Victoria | Map

I headed over to Dominique Ansel London this weekend, much like the rest of London. Well, at least that’s how it felt when we saw the queue and the distinct lack of table space. Still, we waited it out, like the good little foodies that we are. But was it worth it?

Dominique Ansel London: Is It Worth The Hype?

  • Perfect Little Egg Sandwich – £5
    Looking more like a Filet O’ Fish when it arrived, I was skeptical. However this light sandwich was actually pretty delicious (no shade FOF). The flavours pack quite a punch, and are kinda quizzical at the best of times. But I liked it. I think…
  • Croque Monsieur – £10.50
    £10.50 (not incl VAT)! For a croque monsieur! I’m sorry but this is ridiculous, especially when you find out that it tastes no different to those you’ve had at half the price. Coming from a French chef/brand, this is a big let down.
  • Liquid Caramel Peanut Butter Mousse Cake – £5.90
    Not only is it beautifully presented, but it’s heaven for a peanut butter lover. The base fell a little flat (soft and wet), but I half wonder if it’s because we didn’t eat it until the evening. That said, I’d expect a freshly made £6 cake to last a couple of hours.
  • Lime Me Up Tart – £6.20
    This was recommended to us, and I can see why. The sharp flavours contrast perfectly against the myriad of textures. This is a fun one. You need to pour the mixture of sea salt, juniper and brown sugar into the groove and squeeze fresh lime over to make an instant caramel. Silly, unique, genius.

Final thoughts? 

The store is beautiful, the staff knowledgeable, and the menu enticing. However I can’t say I was majorly won over by Dominique Ansel London. I still really enjoy his fun and contemporary outlook on the art of patisserie. And it’s safe to say that you’ll definitely find something different on your visit. Your pockets will be a lot lighter mind you. The prices on the menu don’t include VAT! So if you want to sit in – if you can find a seat – it’s gonna cost you a bit more.

The whole thing just feels a bit anti-climactic. You could blame the cronut (which still sell out quickly here). Dominique’s sudden catapult to fame has left everyone wanting more, more more. And unfortunately I don’t think he can catch up. Still, I’d give him the benefit of the doubt and try again. Maybe.

Check out more: Where to Eat in London

dominique ansel london dominique ansel london dominique ansel londondominique ansel london dominique ansel london dominique ansel london dominique ansel london

Let’s Test the Honor 8 Camera! | Review

honor 8 cameraTesting the Honor 8 Camera in real London life situations

Does anyone actually remember a time before smartphones? No, me neither. As much as we all hate to admit it, our phones are a big part of our lives. I for one will admit that I feel lost without mine. That isn’t because I feel the need to constantly be doing something with my fingers. No. It’s because I feel disorientated if I don’t have a camera on me. That may be confusing, so let me explain myself…

The Honor 8 Camera: A Review

When I’m buying a new phone there’s only one thing I care about besides calls/text. The camera. Honestly, truly (anyone who gets that reference is my new BFF). I can’t live without a camera, and luckily nowadays I don’t have to, because every phone has one. However not all camera phones are created equal. So when I heard about the new Honor 8 and all of it’s shiny camera features, I just had to test it out!

Check out my review, and I photos took with the Honor 8 camera below.

The Tech

Following with previous models, the device holds a dual camera with two 12 MP sensors; one RGB sensor to capture colours and one monochrome sensor for detail. Minus an optical filter, the monochrome sensor captures three times more light than normal, improving the dynamic range of the image and reducing noise – even in darkness – delivering unparalleled picture quality.

On top of this, the Honor 8 camera supports an extensive set of functions and filters, from light painting and beauty mode to panorama frames, slow-mo, food mode, HDR, super night and water mark.

The Photos

We could talk tech all day, but does the Honor 8 camera pay off? Well I took the Honor 8 out for the day around East London to test it out. I took colourful photos, food photos, close-ups, even photos of moving water. I really put the camera through it’s paces.

The big screen was really helpful in framing my photos, and tapping on the screen brought up a selection of editing tools to help get the perfect shot. I was a little worried that the screen would show a preview of an image that wouldn’t actually translate to the photos. However the photos came out clear and sharp. The Honor 8 camera captures colour in an amazing way. The colour you see in front of you, is exactly what you see in your photos too. That’s not something a lot of camera phones can do. Probably the most remarkable was the photo I took of moving water. The image was ridiculously sharp; capturing every ripple and bubble. Colour me impressed.

Final thoughts?

The Honor 8 camera is seriously a massive contender for the best camera on a smartphone right now. I was blown over by the sharpness of the photos, and how crisp the colour was. And that’s just the basic camera! I don’t really take selfies, but the beauty feature is definitely a bit of fun. As is the ‘food camera’, which brightens and saturates images slightly – to bring the most out of your food photos. The pro camera is definitely useful for those who already know their way around an SLR. However it might be confusing for those who are new to these kind of tools. The night mode and water mark features are also quite exciting, and I’ll definitely be checking them out.

If you’re after a new phone and a camera is a big part of your decision, you should definitely be considering the Huawei Honor 8.

You can buy the Honor 8 at Three.

——————————–
The Huawei Honor 8 was gifted to me by Honor, however all views, photos and words are my own.

honor 8 camera
honor 8 camera

Honor 8 Camera

honor 8 camera