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How to do Fashion Week with a Baby

London Fashion Week with a Baby

With my 9 weeks old daughter, Ayame, strapped on me with a sling, Fashion Week this season was very special and a completely new experience.  As Ayame’s first Fashion Week, we only attend a few exclusive events and presentations instead of going to shows which can be very hectic at times.  I was also slightly worried about being constantly on the move with her, but luckily, she seemed to enjoy being around the buzz and basically slept through most events (it was the best background noise for her nap times)!

The highlight of our Fashion Week has to be the Aspinal presentation which had transformed their flagship store into an English garden.  With walls of flowers greeting us from the entrance, Ayame was mesmerised by the vivid colours of their new collection handbags and loved meeting new people.  As a die hard Strictly lover, I also turned into a total fan girl when I saw Bruno Tonioli there!  This Fashion Week has definitely been a memorable experience and I can’t wait to take Ayame to the next one in September! xxx

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Why the Stokke Xplory is the Best Pushchair for London

The Stokke Xplory is So Right for the City

With Ayame now over 9 weeks old, I thought it was a good time for me to post about my experience using the Stokke Xplory pushchair.  I have been using the Xplory since day 1 and I have to say, it has been one of the best decisions I have made so far with baby products.  Pushchairs are such an important and big ticket item to get and I did some extensive research on which one to buy.  There are a lot of discussions and forums on this as well, but for me, the main reason why I decided to go with Stokke is maneuverabilityfunctionality and design (of course!).   So, I wanted to break these components down as to why I think the Xplory is the best pushchair especially for London and anyone living in cities.

Stokke Xplory Pushchair in Pimlico, London Stokke Xplory Pushchair in Pimlico, London

Maneuverability – It’s So Easy to Push the Stokke Around Town!

Living in London, I knew from even before Ayame arrived that maneuverability was going to be one of the key components for the ideal pushchair.  Let’s face it, London roads are horrendous with cobble stones, multiple levels and bumps due to never ending road works and lots and lots of people to contend with.  I knew that whichever pram I chose, I needed one that is easily pushable with good steering control.  I’m also not the strongest of mummies (literally zero arm and upper body muscles!) so I wanted one that is light weight.

The best advice I got was to try out multiple prams at various department stores and baby stores.  I must have tried a dozen different kind of pushchairs and I have to say this is so key!  What I thought was going to be the one for me turned out to be so not right so I’m so glad I tested the top contenders out before I decided on one.   The Stokke Xplory was definitely by far, the easiest pram to push around and maneuver corners.  I think this makes sense given that the Xplory has been specifically designed by the Norwegian brand for city life.  It’s also got 360 two wheel functions that makes swiveling around and maneuvering through millions of people (especially around Oxford Street during New Years sales) and tight spaces incredibly easy.

I am also a really active person and get jittery when I’m cooped up at home for days on end so I wanted a pushchair that would make me want to go out.  And I have to say, the lightness of the Xplory has definitely been a god sent!  I didn’t realise this until Ayame was born, but London is seriously not a step free city with many places unreachable with wheels.  This is especially the case for traveling on the underground.  London tube stations (even the main ones like King’s Cross and Victoria) are not pram friendly with many platforms and exists only accessible by stairs or by an extremely convoluted way via lifts at the other end of the station.  People are usually really nice and help me get up stairs whenever necessary, but there has been times when I have had to try and get pushchair up by myself.  On these occasions, I really felt like the Xplory delivered.  It’s sturdy enough to deal with some banging around but light enough for me to carry its weight up some steps (the trick ladies, is to roll the wheels up the stairs backwards).

 

Stokke Xplory Pushchair in Pimlico, London Stokke Xplory Pushchair in Pimlico, London

Functionality – Connection with my Baby

One key thing to check before you decide on a pram is whether it is compatible as your baby grows.  For example, there is no point getting a Rolls Royce of a pram if it can’t be used once the baby is older.  I think the Xplory is going to be perfect as Ayame grows up.   At the moment, we are using the Xplory Carry Cot as she is still a newborn (this is an additional option so be sure to get this if you are a new parent to be!), but once she is a little older, I am really looking forward to the various seat positions that the Xplory provides.  There are 3 parent facing positions (sleep, rest and active) and 2 forward facing positions (rest and active) which I think provides the necessary variations and adaptability for each unique situation.  I am especially looking forward to raising the stroller seat higher as this should be a great way to connect with Ayame once she’s older.  Even in the Xplory Carry Cot, I really feel like we have great interaction as the cot is perfectly placed to meet my eyesight.  Being able to talk to her whilst we walk around town has been such a great experience for me.

The arrival of Ayame has definitely led to adjustments in our life, but at the same time, I think it is really important that where possible, you keep your lifestyle so that your looking after yourself as well.  A happy mummy means a happy baby!  For us, this has meant that whenever possible, going out for dinners at night and brunching at cafes during the day.   So, we have been taking Ayame in the Xplory to a lot of restaurants (seriously, don’t be afraid to take the pram with you as most restaurants accommodate for pushchairs).  Ayame is quite a social girl and I think she really likes to feel like she is involved in our conversations so I love how the Xplory fits in small spaces and is at table height.  I think the Xplory will be absolutely perfect once we can use the active seats when she is older as well.

 

Stokke Xplory Pushchair in Pimlico, London

Design – It’s so Chic!

The design of the pushchair was definitely going to be a key component for me.   As the main mode of transporting a baby, the pram literally is like an additional body part which goes everywhere with you.  I therefore knew that whichever pram I decided had to have a design which I liked.  The Scandinavian design aesthetic of the Stokke Xplory really resonated with me.  I love how it comes in so many different colours and seat kits (like its winter kit complete with insulating canopy and sheepskin trim) which makes the Xplory so versatile and perfect for ever season and weather.  To fit with the London architecture, I decided to go for the pram with the silver chassis (they come in silver and black) in the grey melange colour.

Stokke as a brand also focuses on designing products which are ergonomic and comfortable.  I really think this is such a n important philosophy for baby products so I can’t endorse their products enough!  I also have Stokke’s high chair so will be talking about this in another post soon!

So, for all of the above reasons, I think the Stokke Xplory is the perfect pushchair for London!

Check out the Stokke Xplory here!

Styling My Looks with Magnum Double Ice Cream

Dare to Go Double

Summer is my favourite season of all in London. As the sun comes out, London transforms into a beautiful city where people seem to be happier and where so many exciting new events seem to be taking place. I also think London becomes even more magical when people are eating ice cream and personally, hearing the tune from the ice cream van always makes my heart skip a beat.

I truly believe there is something mystic about ice creams. No matter how bad or awful a day you are having, ice creams have the ability to lift your spirits up and make your day 100% better. So I was beyond excited to hear about Magnum’s launch of two new flavours for the summer, the Magnum Double range. The exciting new flavours come in Double Raspberry and Double Coconut. I have been trying both ice creams from the Magnum Double range since their launch and have come up with style looks to compliment the two flavours.

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Double Raspberry

Magnum’s Double Raspberry is a smooth raspberry ice cream dipped in chocolatey coating, luscious raspberry sauce and Magnum Classic chocolate. It is a divine and indulgent summer treat!

The Double Raspberry is quite punchy with a very luscious raspberry sauce so I think this flavour is perfect for when you are in need of a pick me up to continue through the day. My Double Raspberry look is styled with my favourite boyfriend jeans and a pastel pink blouse, which compliments the colour of the ice cream. I think this look is casual yet chic – perfect for lounging around in your flat or running errands around town.

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Double Coconut

The Double Coconut, which is a velvety smooth coconut ice cream dipped in chocolatey coating and a layer of luscious chocolate sauce, covered in cracking Magnum chocolate. Talk about mouth-watering deliciousness!

I think the Double Coconut has a softer flavour with a very rich, yet smooth coconut ice cream and so my look for this flavour is a girly white lace dress ensemble.

I would love to hear your thoughts on my looks and which flavour you prefer! I love both flavours, but I think the Double Coconut is my preference as the coconut reminds me of tropical getaways and blissful summer days.

Magnum Double Coconut Ice Cream Magnum Double Coconut Ice Cream

Magnum x Moschino

I’m sure you’ve heard already, but Magnum has also been working with Jeremy Scott and Moschino to release a special edition bag capsule Magnum x Moschino. I’ve been wearing the pink bag all around town as it is such a fun and whimsical addition to my wardrobe!

Magnum x Moschino Bag Magnum x Moschino Bag

The Alpina Gstaad

A Luxury Boutique Hotel in the Alps

Gstaad, Switzerland | A Preferred Hotel

With a panoramic train ride from Montreux easing us into life at the quintessentially Swiss mountain resort of Gstaad, I knew my stay at the Alpina Gstaad was going to be memorable.  Designed in a classic chalet style with a mix of traditional and contemporary Swiss interiors (including a vast collection of notable art), the Alpina Gstaad is the epitome of discreet Alpine luxury.  Each space within the hotel incorporates woodwork expertly crafted by regional artisans to create a chic and inspiring atmosphere.

As I settled into my room with a balcony overlooking Gstaad’s panoramic views, it was quiet evident that the Alpina Gstaad was going to be one of those places where I can completely relax and recharge.  With only 56 rooms and suites, the hotel is an oasis where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and concentrate on yourself with the magnificent Bernese Alps as your backdrop.

Filling my stay with activities all centered around wellbeing, it felt as though my days blended into one restful memory.   The Alpine experience provided by the Alpina Gstaad was simply beyond all my expectations.

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Recharge Your Senses  at The Alpina Gstaad

As a world famous ski resort, ascending upon this exclusive Swiss resort in the summer months might be an unexpected choice for some.  However, with unspoiled Alpine areas and spectacular views of luscious greens, a summer stay at the Alpina Gstaad might just be a life changing experience for some.

Summer at the Alpina Gstaad is all about finding serenity and recharging your senses.  With the Six Senses Spa at the heart of the hotel offering world renowned treatments designed to indulge your senses (including treatments incorporating Tibetan healing methods), summer at the Alpina Gstaad is truly a sanctuary away from home.  For anyone wanting to get away from the stresses of everyday life, be sure to take advantage of the personalised wellness programmes that can be tailored made for your entire stay by considering your lifestyle related concerns and wellbeing goals.

You can also take advantage of the outdoor pool (set at a soothing temperature of somewhere between mid 20 and 30 degrees) and soak up the Alpine sun or indulge yourself at the indoor pool complete with spa facilities which include a jacuzzi, sauna, flotation room,  hammam, salt room and twelve treatment rooms.

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Dining at The Alpina Gstaad

If gastronomy is high on your list of expectations from a great standout hotel, then you are at the right place.  With two Michelin starred restaurants, Sommet and MEGU, the Alpina Gstaad is sure to satisfy your culinary desires.

Orchestrated by Michelin starred chef, Martin Göschel, Sommet boasts an unique menu which pays tribute to exceptional produce of the Swiss Alps.  With wellness at the center of its menu concept, each plate is presented as a base vegetarian dish which can then be enhanced, if desired, with a selection of meat options.  The tasting menu is a must try and with a superb offering of wines (including 400 rare vintage bottles hand picked by the head sommelier), each course can be perfectly matched with complimentary wine.

As the first Japanese restaurant to arrive in Gstaad, MEGU boasts a contemporary, yet authentic menu which is an exciting addition to the Alpina Gstaad.  Headed by Takumi Murase and Tsutomu Kugota, both trained at MEGU in New York, the restaurant presents dynamic Japanese dishes that takes you on a culinary journey and exploration of traditional and unique ingredients from Japan.  If you decide to go for a selection of seasonal sushi and sashimi, be sure to order some sake – including some special rarities imported exclusively by the Alpina Gstaad.

The Alpina Gstaad houses some cosy dining options as well such as the rustic Swiss Stübli where you can enjoy traditional Swiss raclette and fondue.  But for the ultimate indulgence, I highly recommend the Alpina Gstaad’s room service, particularly for breakfast.  With balconies and terraces overlooking the Swiss Alps attached to your room, breakfast ‘in bed’ is not only spectacular but completely relaxing.

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Take a Trip Outdoors

Take advantage of the Alpina Gstaad’s great outdoors as well by participating in yoga and meditation classes set in the hotel’s grounds.  Or, if you fancy venturing off the resort, spend a day at Arnensee Lake which is about a half hour drive from the Alpina Gstaad.  There, try out some water sports like paddle boarding and enjoy the most delicious barbecue prepared by the hotel whilst gazing at the sun setting beyond the mountain terrain.

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A Panoramic Journey to The Alpina Gstaad

To complete your journey to and from Alpina Gstaad, I highly recommend taking the The GoldenPass Line train  route with its base in Montreux.  The tourist oriented route takes passengers aboard a traditional train with panoramic views of the Swiss Alps – a perfect way to start and end your stay at the Alpina Gstaad.

Alpina Gstaad, Preferred Hotels

Thank you to the Alpina Gstaad and Preferred Hotels for a wonderful stay!

For more information, visit Alpina Gstaad’s website here.

The Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa, Lausanne, Switzerland

A Legendary City Hotel in Lausanne

Lausanne, Switzerland | A Preferred Hotel

From the moment I sat down waiting for our Swiss Air flight to takeoff from London, I couldn’t contain my excitement for what lied ahead on my journey with the Preferred Hotels.  Our adventure began in Lausanne (about a 50 minutes train ride from Geneva Airport), home of the International Olympic Committee and based on the shores of Lake Geneva.  As we arrived at the Royal Savoy Hotel & Spa, the warm welcome of the staff immediately made me feel as if I had found my home away from home.

Re-opened in 2015 after years of extensive renovation and conservation work, the Royal Savoy is a legendary hotel dating from 1909.  As a refuge for royalty and aristocrats (such as the home for the Spanish royal family in exile), the hotel has a fascinating heritage and holds significant importance in Lausanne’s history.  Now with the historical building and the newly constructed garden wing, which houses its penthouse suite and its 1,500 sqm Spa du Royal, the hotel is a melting pot of traditional and contemporary style.

From the stylish decor to room service, there is a distinct sense of quality which can be experienced throughout the Royal Savoy.  But most of all, what I enjoyed about the Royal Savoy is that it truly felt like an oasis of tranquility in the heart of Lausanne.  Situated conveniently in the city’s harbour district with panoramic views of Lake Geneva and just a short walk away from Lausanne’s old town, the hotel is ideal for travelers seeking to explore the city, but with a desire to escape from the hustle and bustle as well.

Royal Savoy Lausanne, Preferred Hotels

The Spa Du Royal

After day trips to the center of Lausanne and its surrounding vineyards, the Royal Savoy’s modern spa was truly an oasis of relaxation.  With an indoor and outdoor pool, a ladies only spa area, vitality pool, hammam, sauna, steam and relaxation room, the Spa du Royal was quite simply, the perfect place to rejuvenate my tired body.

My biggest recommendation is to make sure you allow for some time on your trip to simply lose track of time at the spa and book yourself in for a massage or cosmetic treatment as well.  Having had major troubles with dry skin since becoming pregnant and with effective skincare range, my prenatal massage single highhandedly made the most significant improvement to my skin to date.  After my treatment, my skin felt truly moisturised with no flakiness or redness – seriously, one of the best massages I have ever had and a must try!

Dining at the Royal Savoy

The Royal Savoy has two main dining options, the Brasserie due Royal and the Sky Lounge – both a fantastic addition to Lausanne’s culinary scene.

Just as its name suggests, the Brasserie due Royal offers traditional local specialities, but with a modern touch.  For anyone looking for a relaxing culinary experience and a way to enjoy the season’s best ingredients, this is the place to be.  Created by Michelin starred chef, Marc Haeberlin and executed by the Brasserie’s team lead by Executive Chef, Julien Krauss, the seasonal menu is an aude to regional ingredients and reinterprets traditional brasserie dishes with a contemporary flare.  My recommendation is the signature perfect egg, which is arranged to fit each season, and the selection of cured ham from the Valais region.  Be sure to also take advantage of the fantastic breakfast spread offered at the Brasserie each morning too.

For anyone looking to be wowed, the Sky Lounge might just be the perfect place for you.  Set on the sky terrace at the roof of the Royal Savoy, the Sky Lounge features a breathtaking 360° view over Lausanne, the Lavaux region, Lake Geneva and the Alps.  With a menu inspired by exotic culinary traditions spanning 5 continents, each dish is unique taking you on a world of discovery.  I highly recommend exploring the cosmopolitan menu as you gaze upon the sunset over Lake Geneva.

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Explore Lausanne

As the fourth largest city in Switzerland and the headquarters of the Olympic Council, Lausanne is a stunning city on the shores of Lake Geneva.  Wandering through the hilly streets of the old town with its medieval buildings and a 12th century Gothic cathedral is a postcard perfect way to explore this historical city with numerous photo taking opportunities.

For anyone seeking to learn a little bit more about the Olympics, the Olympic Museum is an interesting and educational destination which I found extremely moving (some of the stories behind the athletes and the incredible achievements made by the Olympic organisers definitely got me teary at times).

If you have a little more time to spare, I highly recommend a day excursion to the Lavaux vineyards for wine tasting.  As an Unesco world heritage site, there is nothing more romantic and memorable than sipping on Switzerland’s renown wines as you gaze upon Lake Geneva.  For a spectacular ending to your day excursion, take the paddle seamers around Lake Geneva back to the Royal Savoy – a truly memorable and almost fairytale like experience that shouldn’t be missed.

 

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Thank you to the team at the Royal Savoy and the Preferred Hotels for a wonderful time at the hotel!

For more information on the Royal Savoy, click the link here.

My Big News! Announcing My Pregnancy

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There’s been some big news that I’ve been wanting to share.  About 4 and a half months ago, I found out that I was pregnant!  After weeks of what I thought was a mild stomach flew, it suddenly dawned on me one night at dinner that maybe, just maybe, there might be some other reason behind my constant nausea.  We both looked at each other and thought, nah, can’t be.  But as soon as we got home, the first thing I did was to rummage through our bathroom cupboard for that stick.  After what felt like eternity, my heart thumping and a cold sweat forming on my forehead, the result was pretty conclusive. The plus mark was clearly visible!

We had discussed this a few months back and decided that it might be nice to start trying.  I could not think of anything more special than being able to add a mini-us to our little family with him.  I don’t think either of us actually thought that I would however, get pregnant so quickly.  To be honest, as I’ve had some health issues in the past, I thought this might take at least a year and potentially require multiple rounds of IVF.  So as the realisation slowly dawned on us, I have to say, I was slightly unprepared for the news, but definitely elated and relieved at how lucky we were.

I am proud to announce that I am now 20 weeks preggers and starting to feel the baby’s light thumps and wiggles.  I could have announced a lot sooner, but after reading up on ‘how and when to announce’, I felt that I wanted to keep this between me and my partner for a little longer.  Being 5 months, I’ve had the chance to do some initial research and feel like I can confidently share my experience with you and other fellow mothers-to-be.

So from this point onwards, stay tuned for baby updates and my thoughts on being pregnant!

PS: these photographs were taken by my baby daddy in Ibiza as the sun set over the horizon.  I could not be happier to be able to share these moments with him.   The fact that he took them makes these photographs even more special.

Photographed by Baby Daddy in Ibiza, Spain

NARS Makeup Tutorial

NARS Makeup Tutorial

Nars Covent Garden Boutique

Ever since I was a teenage girl and my mum started using NARS’ Multiple (the original multi-purpose stick for eyes, cheeks, lips and body), I’ve always associated NARS as a revolutionary makeup brand that brought imaginative artistry and professional makeup techniques to women everywhere.

As NARS’s first European standalone boutique, I was over the moon when I got the chance to visit their Covent Garden boutique for a one on one session with its boutique stylist, Clayton Reid.  The personal styling session was such an intimate way for me to learn about NARS’s new season collection and tips on how to apply makeup.  Starting with a NARSskin consultation, Clayton gave me a step by step guide on how to maintain my skin and how to prep it before apply a full-face of makeup.  Inspired by Francois Nars’s life in Polynesia, Light Reflecting Complex range includes algae extract from French Brittany and French Polynesian seawater – all kinds of moisturising minerals and goodness that enhances radiance J  I particularly loved how the Aqua Gel Luminous Moisturizer instantly boost my skin and made it look luminous.

I have been looking for a foundation which instead of masking your face with layers and layers of products, enhances your natural beauty and keeps the skin looking translucent. So one of the most exciting revelations from my session was when Clayton said that NARS has a full range of tinted moisturizers which works just like foundation.  The Pure Radiant Tinted Moisturizer is an oil free formula that provides a translucent veil of colour and sun protection whilst reducing the appearance of dark spots and blemishes.  As a firm believer of less is more, this tinted moisturizer was exactly what I have been looking for.  Not only did it keep my skin hydrated, it felt light on the skin and think it really brightened my complexion with a natural glow. This is highly recommended for anyone looking for an alternative to harder sitting foundations!

In keeping with my desire to find a natural look, Clayton did a fantastic job of choosing pallets with bronzed and warm blush tones for my final look.  I felt my face was illuminated and shimmered without looking as if I had multiple layers of makeup and I absolutely loved how Clayton expertly used NARS products to enhance my natural look instead of modifying my base features.  In a sea of contouring tutorials and illusion makeup, I truly felt like my session at NARS was a breath of fresh air and a reassuring sign that makeup should be a way to inspire self-expression and a way to show your confidence.

Thank you NARS for a great experience!

For more information on NARS Covent Garden Boutique’s services, click here.

Shop all my NARS look now!

Spring Blush Tones

Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat Mariko Kuo in Jaeger camel coat

Wool cashmere boyfriend coat | Jaeger , Jumper | Gestuz
Serpenti handbag | Bvlgari , Ankle boots | Acne Studios

Photographed by Moeez Ali