Thursday, October 31, 2013

Last Minute Halloween

Happy Halloween!

There's nothing worse than having to get dressed up in costume when you haven't had the time to really put in the effort that is required to come up with a good, creative costume.  It takes all of the fun out it.

Here are a few easy, last-minute and awesome Halloween costume ideas for when you realise that you have very little time left to pull something together:

1. Anna Wintour - a slip dress, a big coat, glasses, fur - you're ready.  Grab a Vogue to assist those less in the know.

2. HRH Duchess Kate with Prince George - pick a demure colour and run with it - heels, coat, hat/fascinator (easy to make if you can't find one) - grab a baby, wrap it in a scarf and you're good to go.

3. Daft Punk - suit and tie, gloves, boots and helmet. Done.  Although, this one really involves a buddy.
4. Other great character costumes - Cher from Clueless and Margot Tenenbaum from The Royal Tenenbaums - two of the best cinematic female characters and also very easy to pull together.

5. Google Maps - I don't know why, but this costume appeals to my inner nerd, and it doesn't look like it would actually be that hard to make.

The Group Costumes: all fantastically creative

The Many Faces of Johnny Depp

Mario Kart

Beer Pong

Monday, October 21, 2013

London Guide: Tohbang

I am relatively new to Korean food, having only eaten it now a handful of times, but I have really enjoyed the Korean that I've had in London.  The other day, I had dinner with some friends at Tohbang on Clerkenwell Road and was very happily overwhelmed.

According to its website, "Tohbang" literally means "larder," with the restaurant's mission being to unlock the rich store of Korean cuisine, using only authentic and fresh ingredients.

Both inside and out, Tohbang looks like your average London Asian high street restaurant, but the food far surpasses anything that you expect from first appearances.  The small size of the restaurant also adds to its comfort.

The menu at Tohbang is extensive, and the staff is very friendly.  The set menus are for a minimum of two people, so we ordered the vegetarian set menu and the spicy set menu for four of us, which was definitely more than enough food.  The friends that I was with have been to Tohbang several times and think they have finally figured out that the set menu is the best value for money (over the a la carte).

Each set menu came with kimchi, modum namul and pa jeon.  The vegetarian set menu (£18 per person) then came with yachae bokum, yachae twigim, jabchae and bokum bap, and the spicy set menu (£20 per person) came with goon mandoo, kanpoonggi, o-jing-o bokum and bokum bap.  The food was all very good, but my favourites were definitely the kimchi, the dumplings, and the spicy squid.

Tohbang also does a really nice lunch menu (with most specials priced at £6.90) and does take away.  Located conveniently close to where I work, I foresee eating here many times in the future.

Ratings: (numbers out of 10, £ out of 4)

Food: 8
Atmosphere: 6
Service: 8
Price: ££
Overall experience: 8

(Photos from Tohbang)

Friday, October 18, 2013

A Bit of Fun for the Weekend

It's Friday!

I have been working hard this week and am sorely in need of the weekend.  Fortunately, I have had a bit of a slow Friday afternoon, which has left plenty of time for faffing about (US read: procrastinating) on the Internet.

Here are a few things to keep you amused until the weekend begins:

40 maps that will help you make sense of the world - I seriously spent over an hour looking at this today.  I may personally love maps and infographics but, seriously, these are great.

A fun quiz from The New York Times to test how well you can read peoples emotions - I scored 32/36 and, with the average score between 22 and 30, I'm pretty much an emotion-reading master.

The 21 Unbreakable Commuting Commandments - Learn them. Live them.  Numbers 16 and 20 are my personal bug bears at the moment.  This list is London Underground specific, but I'm pretty sure the rules are of general public transport application.

More inspirational than amusing, Barnard student Lily Myers speaks insightfully on "Shrinking Women."

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Mood and Light: Abigail Ahern's London Home

Back in August, Rue Magazine featured the London home of Abigail Ahern, interior designer and renowned tastemaker.  The darkness of her home is what strikes you first.  Then what first is only perceived as moody gives way to a playful quirkiness, as your eye begins to notice the details.

In the end, what struck me the most was the way in which the darkness of her home actually celebrates the light.  The contrast between the dark paint and furniture and the light streaming in lifts the mood altogether and creates something quite comforting. 

However, Abigail's is a design style that you have to go all-in to achieve.  Would you be so bold?

See the full feature on Abigail Ahern's london home in Rue Magazine.  Rue has also recently broken down Abigail's style to give you tips on how to achieve it.

Monday, October 14, 2013

London Guide: London Coffee Network

If you live in London (or are visiting and plan on drinking a lot of coffee), you need to know about this app.

The London Coffee Network app (for iPhone and Android) lets you track down cafes selling real coffee around London, with an easy map view, and then collect points for every £1 that you spend on a digital loyalty card. 

You won't find Starbucks, Cafe Nero, Costa or any other corporate coffee chains on this app - supporting the "Real Coffee Movement," you'll be rewarded for drinking at independent, local cafes, brewing quality beans with a personal touch and will ultimately be supporting the diversity of the high street.  You're rewarded for how much money you spend in-store, instead of how many coffees you purchase, and there are increased levels of membership, which appear to reward you at a faster rate.

The app is really easy to use.  While it hasn't quite gained momentum (a lot of the cafes listed have no reviews and people have yet to collect points there), once it does, it will be easy to find quality coffee by browsing user reviews.  The screen shots below are pretty self-explanatory:

You can even see when a cafe's opening hours are and invite friends to a meet-up.

A regular breakfast/lunch/coffee stop of mine, Fleet River Bakery, is a participant, requiring 25 points for a free coffee (so I'll be racking those up).  However, I am mostly looking forward to using the app to find new cafes in London serving quality coffee and food.  Other popular cafes participating included on the map to help you find real coffee are:

And many, many others that I can't wait to try.

After trying out the app at a new cafe, I was disappointed to discover that only the cafes that show up in pink on the map are participating in the loyalty points part of the app.  The others have only been included to assist in your quest for real coffee.  While I do still appreciate the ability to find real coffee, there are at present only around 16 participating cafes, which are spread across Greater London.  None of the cafes listed above, with the exception of Fleet River Bakery and Kipferl, are participating. Hopefully, this will improve.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Weekend Playlist

The weekend is finally here!  This week was one of ups and downs - all very busy, but some things more hectic and exciting than others. These songs got me through the mundane bits, and I will be carrying them with me into the weekend:

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The Most Fun a Bride and Groom Could Have

This wedding recently featured on Rock My Wedding originally caught my eye for the simple reason that the bride, Nat, was wearing one of my favourite Jenny Packham dresses.  I stayed for the photography.  The photos were done by Chris Barber Photography and are fantastic - his photographs really capture the personality of the bride and groom and made their day look like so much fun.

The wedding ceremony and reception were held at Lyde Court, in a 17th century stone barn in Hereford.  The couple went for a vintage Hollywood feel, complete with mismatched chairs, fringed and mismatched pink lampshades, pink poms and a working gramophone.

I love this next group of photographs of the bride and groom after the ceremony.  They look like they are having so much fun - I want to be them.

Read more about Nat and Martin's wedding, from raspberry gin favours to the great music they chose, at Rock My Wedding.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kate Spade Gets Bookish

I am a huge nerd, especially about books (see here, here, here and here, for example).  I've always loved Kate Spade's book clutches, but this season Kate Spade has introduced a whole fall line inspired by academia and all things bookish that takes this theme over the top.

By the book pendant
"Type A" silicone iPhone 5 case
Card catalogue required reading bon shopper
The Age of Innocence book clutch
Library card resin iPhone 5 case
Pencil case resin iPhone 5 case
Boys make passes at girls in glasses required reading bon shopper
Dictionary phone book

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