Monthly Archives: November 2010

Cycling Jacket

There’s no denying it – it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s dark. Some of you will have packed your bikes away for the winter, choosing to take the bus as a warmer, safer option. Some of you however, will be wrapping up each morning/evening and braving the chill. Whether or not you’re a fair weather cyclist or a hardy year-round pedaller, for those journeys when it’s raining, dark, misty or just chilly it’s worth investing in a good jacket.

For me, a good cycling jacket will be lightweight so you don’t get too hot while riding, be protective enough to shelter from the elements and also offer some sort of extra visibility for added safety. Oh, and it must be cute. Here’s my pick of the best.

Bobbins Bicycles Navy Long Cycling Mac, £80

Available in pale blue or navy this trench coat is belted for a slimline silhouette, has concealed interior pleating for extra manoeuverability (and protection of trousers) when riding, and reflective strips around the waist. There’s even a removable hood, but your helmet should be on your head, so it’s strictly for pre/post cycle dashes in the rain please.

Bobbins Bicycles Inverness Cape, £50

 

red hot

 

Apologies for putting two Bobbins Bicycle jackets in the same post, but if a place does something well… This perky jacket is described as sitting ‘somewhere between a lighthouse keeper and little red riding hood’. Could there be a more jolly description? It’s bang on the money in pillar box red, is waterproof and good lord it’s attractive. Also available in yellow, for those days when you’re bored of being a lighthouse keeper and fancy your chances as a fisherman.

Adidas by Stella McCartney, Run Glow in the Dark Jacket, RRP £150

glow girl

This might be branded as a running top, but it serves just as well for cycling. The leopard print detailing give it a fashion edge and the breathable fabric will be perfect for people who cycle hard and fast and need to regulate their temperature. The only downside for cyclists is it’s relatively slim fitting so if you’re planning on layering up, maybe go a size larger than you usually would.

New Look, Drawstring Parka, £15.99

purple rain

This doesn’t have any reflective qualities, but then it wasn’t designed with sport in mind. However, for a cheapy it will do for shorter cycles around town. It’s lightweight, will scrunch up into a tote should you want to stash it in a handbag between rides, is water-resistant and I like the drawstring waist offering a flattering cut. The hood is handy too, and the hemline has a second drawstring which can be pulled tight to keep drafts at bay. Plus it’s purple, which is rather, dare I say it – ‘on-trend’. Cringe.

PushBUTTON Oversize Drawstring Raincoat, £155

black magic

Again it’s not going to make your more visible, you’ll need to add a reflective strip for that. But the added length will provide enhanced protection from wind and rain while the tabbed sleeves free up arms and wrists should you want extra air (or want to add a chunky pair of ski gloves). Drawstring facilities mean you can lock heat in and chill out. I also like the slightly trashy plastic bag look. But then maybe that’s just me.

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Nike Town London

Imagine if you walked into Zara and the men’s and women’s clothes were hanging on the same rails? If you picked up a Boyfriend Jacket and had to make the call as to if it really was intended for the man in your life, or for you. I can’t imagine boys wanting to fight for room next to sharp elbowed girls in the denim department. Yet, enter most sports stores and men’s leggings, hoodies and tees are set up practically next door to womens.

So I was super happy when I heard that Nike Town London, a sprawling store that practically requires a compass and snacks to navigate, was relaunching with a women’s only floor. Hurrah, no more confusing jock straps for thongs and so forth (joke of course, Nike doesn’t do a g-string).

Tennis, yoga, Sportswear (that’s the fashion focussed line to you and me) and snowboarding gear is all on offer, along with a gait analysis machine, and Nike ID studio. Running togs are the only ones omitted from the ladies floor, but Covent Garden has its own running specific store now, so I forgive them. The New Year promises a Women’s Only Running Club on a Tuesday night too – watch this space.

I picked myself up a second Nike Women HyperWarm Hoody this time in bright blue, and a marl grey support top from the ‘Bra Bar’ where a rainbow of tops are lined up in varying degrees of hold-me-in ability.

Clothes are arranged with room to breath, and sections are clearly labelled so you can tell your downward dog outfits from your over arm serve ones. The changing rooms are spacious, giving enough room to swing a cat, or at lest a few overstuffed handbags.

It’s hardly a mind blowing progression for the store, but actually as we all know, it’s the little things that really matter in life. And knowing what floor to head to once you’ve plucked up the courage to enter the mouth of Nike Town London makes what can be an intimidating shopping experience, a veritable breeze.

Nike Town London, Oxford Circus London

Women’s only floor, floor 3

If you want to know more about NIKEiD and Boot Room experience should email iDStudio.NTLondon@nike.com or call +44 (0) 207 612 0090 to make an appointment

Visit www.NIKEiD.com/londonstudio for more details. NIKEiD is also available on www.NikeStore.com and www.NikeSportswear.com sites

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Arcadia S/S 11

I’m not a huge fan of press days. I generally arrive bang on opening or closing time so as not to eat into the working day, which means a ratio of 50 press officers to one little Daisy. Queue awkward shuffling, talking in huddles and avoidance of eye contact – that’s them not me. Unless you work for Elle or Vogue it seems you’re not worth talking to. Luckily for some brands, the collections tend to speak for themselves. Yep, it comes as no surprise that the Arcadia group has done it again – a strong and at times unexpected offering for our Spring/Summer wardrobes.

The most delightful award has to go to Miss Selfridge. In my mind the Miss S offering has been young (14 – 22) and a bit clumsy – cheaper fabrics cut into poor imitations of designer goods. Dare I say it… cheap? Not so. Next season you can expect elegant, simple silhouettes in silk, chiffon and cotton, delicate tops with hand-threaded beading, intricately laser cut leather tees and jackets and floaty flared trousers in swirling prints. Half the collection instantly went on my ‘wish list’ and left me imagining languid Ibizan nights wearing knitted tshirts and sweeping dresses in the softest of buttermilk, off cream and daisy yellow – think grown up (and I hate to use this word) boho rather than girly and twee.

Miss Selfridge S/S 11

Miss Selfridge S/S 11

Dorothy Perkin’s brought another triumph for Arcadia. In among the usual fare of low-budget denim dresses and see-through kaftans was a selection of seventies inspired looks. Notably a knee-length billowing, orange silk skirt that would look magnificent now, a buttery soft, dusty grey 100% leather jacket with undulating rippled detailing along it’s flanks and an oversized cape in the most diaphanous of vintage pink finished with tarnished gold and rose, beaded clusters – hello indigo denim jeans, hello instant summer evening elegance.

I liked these Prada-esque dresses from Wallis too, nipped in at the waist with a fuller bell skirt and wide cut straps perfect for holding up your best assets. Neat summer dresses sure to bring out the lady in all of us.

Wallis S/S 11

Saving the most anticipated until last – Topshop. The brand that keeps on giving had a few items that actually received a gasp from me – namely kitten soft shorts in faded duck egg blue and William Morris floral overlay. Not ground breaking I know, but oh so feminine, esquisite print work and the best bit – affordable. Hence the drawing in of breath.

Topshop S/S 11

Parts of the collection were less wearable – Burning Man festival inspired dresses, shorts and waistcoats in desert tones, all chunky beading and tassels. These pieces hold massive shoot potential and will look amazing gracing the pages of the right magazine, but on my back – I’ll look like a lost Rodeo cowgirl.

Finally Evans. It just fills me with frustration. I have no idea how ‘plus-sized’ women manage to dress so stylishly. At Evans fabrics were clunky, and cheap, patterns are outdated and mumsy and I only found one piece in the whole collection worth shouting about – a soft tan shirt dress in the smoothest of silk that looks like it would drape and flatter in all the right places. Why can’t they just make adapted pieces from the other collections for Evans? The range felt like an afterthought, even its positioning at the press day – sneaked into a corner – felt shameful. We can put man on the moon, surely we can make lust-worthy clothes in sizes 14 – 18?

Nice work Arcadia. And thank you for the press gift – a pretty headscarf from my new favourite high street brand, Miss Selfridge. Perhaps you could have a work with your PRs though, journalists don’t bite and if you took the time to chat to them rather than rushing off after an embarrassed hello, you might find out something worthwhile…

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Wahaca Wardour Street

I’ve not watched Masterchef since Loyd Grossman cogitated all over my post-school TV slot, so I have to admit I didn’t know who Thomasina Miers was until very recently. For those in the same boat as me, Miers is one of Masterchef’s success stories, impressing the judges with her culinary skills she used her victory to help set up Wahaca Canary Wharf.  Bringing Mexican street food to a restaurant in London has proven to a success – some chilli, a floury tortilla and some slow cooked pork later and the fourth Wahaca opens its doors, this time on Soho’s Wardour Street.

ariba!

Eats

The menu is split into three distinct sections; Street Food, Soups and Salads and Platos fuertes (bigger plates). The idea is to order 2-3 dishes of the street food per person and the equivalent of one bigger plate which can be shared or works as a generous portion for one. We particularly enjoyed the smoked MSC-certified mackerel tossed in salsa and finished with a squeeze of perky lime piled high on a crisp tortilla. There is an excellent mix of vegetarian options along with strong fish and meat dishes. Flavours were strong, punchy and lovingly crafted. Despite over-ordering we didn’t leave with that heavy feeling that Mexican food often affords.  Miers was there at the opening, gliding between tables explaining ingredients and recommending her favourite dishes. Mexican food is communal and fun and you get  strong sense of Miers’ genuine passion for food and Mexico itself when you eat at Wahaca.

It should be noted that deserts haven’t been overlooked. Unexpectedly good was the baked vanilla cheesecake, which Miers explained had been whipped before entering the oven for a light, lofty texture as delicate as fairy breath.

Decor

Swimming pool blue, sea shack yellow with splashes of fiery red. Wooden topped tables for four, high benches, a bank of floor to ceiling windows and mosaic tiling give the vibe a laid back, fun, contemporary feel. A relaxed, canteena like atmosphere  and layout lends itself to post shopping eats, informal lunch meetings, early evening/late night munchies, pre-theatre belly filling and catch-ups with the girls.

Tequila

Forget  salt, lemon and what tastes like nail polish remover. Tequila at Wahaca is there to sipped, sampled, smelled – you can shoot it if you will, but expect smooth layers of flavour and a warm after burn rather than a desire to yank out your own tongue. Try the Tequila Experience, a story of four spirits to complement your meal, our favourite was a Blanco infused with Sangrita: cold, clear tequila muddled with orange, grenadine and spice, like a Mexican Bloody Mary.

Give me more

These days it seems just opening up a restaurant isn’t enough. The world demands Eco credentials, art adorned walls and a management who give half their profit to a Charity in outer Mongolia. With this in mind Wahaca doesn’t disappoint. Miers is a big advocate (as we all should be) for operating in as sustainable, green and ethical a fashion as should be. For each Torta sold 20p is donated to Ednica fund, supporting the homeless in Mexico City, the restaurant also donates all excess food and food is sourced on either a local or Fair Trade basis wherever possible.

Flying the flag

Is Mexican food having a renaissance in the Capital? Try these out for size and let me know what you think.

ElCamion, 25-27 Brewer Street, W1F

Run by Terence Conran’s son, this colourful bar plays host to 38 types of Tequila, all 100 per cent agave and the best plate of nachos I’ve ever eaten – opt for the ones with the pulled steak strips, mouth meltingly more-ish.

Boho Mexica, 151 – 153 Commercial Street, EC1

I’m yet to eat here, but for a trusted review you can do worse than Time Out

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Ninety Eight Bar and Lounge

A few months ago I wrote a piece for Daily Candy flagging up a fanciful new members bar on Curtain Road – Ninety Eight Bar and Lounge. Since then the bar has changed its exclusive tune and, luckily for all us ragamuffins, it is now open to general public.

Daily Candy; 19.05.10

Discreetly tucked under the somewhat grimy Curtain Road the three-roomed haven is wash of white, vintage pink and gilt, opulent French furniture and quirkily-dressed chairs. Despite its basement setting, a glass-roofed piano room means that by day it’s flooded with natural light and come evening becomes an atmospheric and intimate venue. The decor is fun, frivolous and artfully directed but without taking itself too seriously – an unexpected treat in an area pre-occupied with appearing ‘cool’.

On the launch night the clientele was a mix of art buyers, well-heeled ladies and Hoxton creatives (natch). The perfect spot for a post-work cocktail, daytime client meeting or sophisticated evening with the girls. Think fur lined seating, ostrich feather lamps and jars of Italian marshmallows and you’re getting close.

By Day

Behind the bar you’ll find expert mixologists (upstairs there’s a specialist mixology room which can be hired out), serving up bespoke cocktails. Owner Kathy Morrell certainly has an eye for style and this extends behind the bar – with bottles of weird and wonderful tonics from around the world all waiting to be sampled. Morrell’s personally concocted ‘infusions’ are the ones to look out for – Daisy recommends vodka with homegrown lavender for the ladies and brandy infused with the finest Cuban cigars for the gentlemen – intense and unusual flavours that will shock and delight in equal measure.

It’s Ninety Eight Bar and Lounge’s Sunday Vintage Sessions that we’re most looking forward to – high tea, prohibition cocktails, 30s bangs, black and white movies and tunes around the old Joanna, keep an eye on the website for full details www.ninetyeight-bar-lounge.com – a nice alternative to a pub quiz, roast spuds and (yawn) turkey over the festive season.

Ninety Eight Bar and Lounge is a veritable wonderland in the heart of East London – perhaps they could dig a rabbit hole that leads to the fantastical Calloo Callay a mere tumble away so we could all bypass the rain and the, er, Elbow Room crowd.

In a November of damp days, long chilly evenings and soggy feet we all need a little magic, why not find yours down the spiral staircase at 98 Curtain Road, EC2A.

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