Saturday, 7 May 2016

Interiors | S/S Refresh with Cushions

Make like the Scandis' and give your home an easy chic seasonal update for Spring/Summer. Maybe it's got something to do with the fact that residents of Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland and Denmark spend so much time indoors during those long, dark and freezing Scandi Winters that they compensate by bringing in a whole lot of light, colour, pattern and texture at the first sight of Spring.

Now that we've had sight of Spring (and Summer too going by the stunning, scorching sunshine and blue skies of this past week!), it's time to spruce up your space and give it a S/S refresh. A super quick and easy way to inject colour, texture and newness to your pad is by switching up your cushion covers/cushions.

Spring/Summer Refresh Moodboard - all images from Pinterest
Top Five Tips for S/S Refresh
1. It's time to store away your darker hued and woolly textured cushions and covers till it's Winter again. Remember to pack cushions away in plastic bags or wrapping and fold up cushion covers and store in storage boxes, adding in lavender sheets or mothballs to keep out the little pests as well as keeping the covers smelling fresh.
2. Go shopping for new cushion covers or cushions (depending on what you need), keeping an eye out for fun prints or block coloured options in lighter, brighter hues. Hot design options to look for this S/S:
- Copper accents
- Geometric prints,
- Moroccan tile prints
- Botanical prints,
- Palm tree, Cacti, Pineapple or Flamingo motifs
- Pom pom adornments
- Typography, quotes or personalisation
3. If you prefer a more traditional or classic vibe - the coastal, nautical trend is one that returns every S/S - think stripes and rope accents...
4. Get a selection of different cushions or covers in different prints, colourways and textures - either make them all super different or pick differing designs which connect in some way with each other to create contrast and interest - for example, pick a colour block cushion featuring a hue also featured in a printed one, which then has a similar style of pattern or colorway to some of the other printed designs, so you can ensure you get a scheme that is fun, stylish and coordinated!
5. Don't forget about texture - consider cushions in a variety of fabrics from cotton to silk to jute, making for an interesting theme that is both modern and cosy!

M Y  S / S  C U S H I O N  E D I T

Pineapple cushion, Tesco
Reversible flamingo cushion, Tesco
Tile print jacquard cushion, Tesco
Turquoise geometric print cover, H&M Home
Mati stripe pom pom double-sided cushion, Oliver Bonas
Grown-up floral cover, H&M Home
Botanical cover, £6.99, H&M Home
Stripe Sommar Cover, £6, IKEA
Multicolour cushion, £3.50, IKEA


Friday, 29 April 2016

Put Pen to Paper with Passion

Stationery... We all secretly geek out over it (admit it you're addicted!), we use it pretty much everyday and majority of people spell it wrong (it's station-e-ry not station-a-ry! A sureway way to drive me mad - goes hand in hand with people that write your instead of you're, or there for their - arghhh!)  You have a drawer full of notebooks yet you simply must pop into Kikki K (which has just launched in Selfridges - to add to its' already excellent stationery edit) on the way home from work (just to have a look...) and end up buying yet another one...or maybe this is just a true story!

Anyhoo, it's that time of year again - National Stationery Week - running all week until 1st May. It's a celebration of putting pen to paper, and the power of the written word. In today's super social, connected and digital world, we are constantly attached to our phones, tablets and laptops, and yet writing by hand still matters and is as important as it ever was. In fact, according to a YouGov survey commissioned by National Stationery Week, 92% of adults said they think writing by hand is important, and 97% of those polled said they believed it was important to children to be taught to write. So you see writing by hand definitely matters! Whether it's a personal daily journal, a thank you card, a love letter or travel diary, just put pen to paper and start writing!

To celebrate my most favourite week of the year, I've pulled together an edit of my current stationery favourites. You can never have too much stationery (aka my new motto and enabling mantra!).

Top L-R: 
Marble Daily Journal, £15, Urban Outfitters - Organise your days with this super chic planner!
Let's Squawk Leather Notebook, £14, Paperchase - Absolutely love this botanical print!
Studio Sarah Ideas Journal, £14.95, Liberty London - Love this grey and pink notebook with gold foil lettering!
Christian Lacroix Paseo Arty Print Notebook, £15.50, Liberty London - Absolutely adore this stained glass inspired kaleidoscopic print!
Kaweco Classic Fountain Pen, £21.50, Quill London - This duck egg blue 'grown up' pen is so chic!
Katie Eary for IKEA Giltig Notebooks, £3 each, IKEA - Fashion designer Katie Eary has collaborated with IKEA on a bold and bright collection - these notebooks definitely pack a punch!
Kate Spade Floral Thank You Cards, £15 for ten, Quill London - Send a chic handwritten thank you notecard - you will definitely impress with these vintage floral printed cards featuring gold foil lettering
My Bucket List Journal, £20, Urban Outfitters - Get round to compiling that bucket list in this tome featuring extras such as incredible stories from inspiring people who have pursued their bucket lists!
3AM Journal, £10, Kikki K - For all you night owls that have your brainwaves at 3am, jot those ideas down in this apt journal, featuring beautiful paper and inspiring quotes.

Why not take your writing to a whole new level by taking a class in modern calligraphy? Immerse yourself in new creative skill; learn about letter forms and then develop your own lettering style at this fun and rewarding workshop. For more details of workshop dates, click here.

Beginners Modern Calligraphy Workshops at Quill London

Where is your favourite stationery from? What do you like to write? Post pics to Instagram tagging me @msns_bowstreet and use hashtags #natstatweek  #writingmatters #lovestationery #stationeryaddict #keepwriting
Fascinating must read: The A-Z of why writing matters

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Hip Happenings | Avocado Brunch Club

If you worship at the temple of avocado and dream about it morning, noon and night, then your dreams have just come true. The avocado trend has reached the highest pinnacle, joining forces with the other huge trends of brunch and pop-up experiences, resulting in the mother of all pop up events...

Celebrating the humble avocado
Calling all London based avocado brunch aficionados: the Avocado Brunch Club is here! The first of its kind 'Avo-Brunch Pop up' launches this weekend and sticks around for six dates in total at Clerkenwell's Printworks Kitchen. A £55 ticket gets you a five course avocado inspired brunch menu plus an avocado Margarita to wash it down with, followed by DJ spun weekend tunes for a post brunch boogie sesh. You'll even get your own avocado kit to take home so you carry on the party!

If this sounds like your cup of tea, take a look at the sample menu below and book tickets here. Be quick! I'll see you there...  All hail the humble avocado!


Monday, 4 April 2016

Interiors | Quick Updates: The Washi Tape Gallery Wall

A really quick and easy way to liven up a plain and boring wall with an injection of colour is via a washi tape gallery wall. They can work in almost any room and on many different wall space sizes, and you can personalise them to create a look that’s completely personal to you and your space.

Washi tape gallery wall inspiration - all photos courtesy of Pinterest
I recently updated one patch of wall in my daughter’s bedroom with a washi tape gallery wall and it took all of thirty minutes. I’m really happy with the result and it really brings a pop of colour into the neutral scheme. It really lifts the space too, taking it out of nursery territory as she transitions towards age two and a ‘big girl bedroom’!

My top tips for creating your own washi tape gallery wall:

  • These days you can pick up chic but cheap washi tape from supermarkets such as Tesco and Sainsbury's, as well as Paperchase, Hobbycraft, IKEA and of course Amazon. Start collecting washi tape in lots of different prints, colours and colourways, as well as basic colours like black and white. On darker walls, brighter hued tapes such as neons really pop!
  • At the same time collect postcards, prints, photos, personal mementoes (such as ticket stubs), magazine cuttings and even free printables for your chosen wall(s).
  • You can theme the gallery wall by subjects such as travel, fashion or quotes, or keep it completely organic and creative and just start building and see where it takes you!
  • If you want a colourful result then use a variety of washi tape in different colours, prints and finishes – I used cream with gold dots, black and white, pink glitter and gold glitter. Also, pick out the most eye-catching and colourful art to tape up!
  • If you want to unify the gallery wall with an existing interior scheme then try using washi tape in just one or two colourways – such as all black or alternating between black and white, which would perfectly complement a monochrome scheme. Pair black tape with black and white photography, postcards and quotes in black type on white background.
  • Experiment between taping corners and sides for a more casual effect, or only tape either corners or sides for a more uniform, polished look.
  • For a unique look, use the washi tape to create the frames around your artwork. You can keep the frames really simple or add geometric or chevron detailing, in either a single colourway or multicolours for a rainbow effect.
  • Use your instinct and start the wall where you see fit, then keep adding to it with your art and taping till you’re happy with the final result. You can make it as small or large as you like, and don’t forget you can keep adding to it!
  • Stand back and admire your handiwork!

Will you be having a go at creating a washi tape gallery wall? If so, don’t forget to tag me in your pics – @msns_bowstreet on Instagram or @meerashah on Twitter!

Get Creative!

Thursday, 31 March 2016

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

March Favourites

UO Tortoiseshell Cat Eye Sunglasses, £18 | I'm  a self-confessed sunglasses addict! I keep them in my handbag, car, by the front door, in my work bag,,,and will happily slip on a pair at the first sight of any sun! These are a recent buy and I've been wearing them non stop over the last few weeks - they're chic, classic and cat eye - not to mention cheap - the four C's!

Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush, £31 | One of my favourite face blending brushes, and I have a fair few! Love the fact that it's short handled and ultra soft, it means I can really get in there and blend blend blend to my heart's content! It's also very travel friendly.

& Other Stories Coconut Lip Balm, £5 | I'm a lip balm addict and I also love coconut, so in a nut shell this lip balm was made for me! On a serious note though, I love the nourishing non sticky formula, with a hint of the tropics fragrance-wise, perfect for lips just coming out of Winter!

Jo Malone Early Grey & Cucumber Cologne, £42 | I first bought this fragrance on the journey to New York on a milestone birthday, and even now when I wear it, it brings back such happy memories! Notes wise, it's the fragrance equivalent of an afternoon tea - fresh, sweet and refreshing, and perfect for Spring!

Rosie for Autograph Lip Glossy, £12.50 | Who doesn't want to look like supermodel Rosie?! This lip crayon in 'Supermodel Smile' is the epitome of 'my lips but better' - the perfect pinky browny nude - glossy and nourishing yet pigmented - perfect for everyday!

Essence Cosmetics Matt Touch Blush in Berry Me Up, £2 | This matte blush has fast become my everyday go-to. It's available at good old Wilko, and is cheap as chips, yet super pigmented and long lasting and in a shade that is universally flattering. My little secret is out! In fact try the rest of the super duper collection too...

Suitcase Magazine, The Art Issue, £6 | I'm really loving the smaller, independent indie magazines more than the big household names right now - and Suitcase is an absolute favourite, marrying together two of my favourite subjects - travel and fashion - in the most visually arresting, beautifully written way. They theme each edition and visit the most inspiring destinations around the globe, reporting back on hidden gems, city tours, the environment and so much more too. Their website and city guides app are well worth a look too. A permanent state of wanderlust has definitely set in!

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Chocolate Decadence

It's that time of year again, four whole days of bliss when you can don your comfiest lounge wear, put your feet up and stuff your face full of chocolate, and feel good doing it! So whilst the likes of Dairy Milk and Galaxy eggs will do the job just fine, why not push the boat out and treat yourself to some truly unique, decadent chocolate? Salted caramel, honeycomb, pistachio, ornately decorated, extra thick cut full of mini eggs, pink glitter or maybe even good old Ferrero Rocher in bunny form? The choice is yours...there's still time to treat yourself!

Clockwise from top left:
Booja-Booja Almond and Sea Salt Caramel Easter Egg (pack of two) , £17.56, Amazon
James Chocolate Salted Caramel Milk Chocolate Easter Egg, £14.99, Selfridges
Three Beautiful Decorated Eggs, £45, Fortnum & Mason
Hotel Chocolat Rocky Road Extra Thick Chocolate Egg, £27.00, Hotel Chocolat
Sainsbury’s Belgian White Chocolate Egg With Pistachio, £6.00, Sainsbury’s
Ferrero Rocher Easter Bunny (pack of five) , £14.99, Amazon
Crème de la Cream Mini Eggs, £16.95, Fortnum & Mason
Chococo Milk Chocolate Honeycombe Easter Egg, £9.95, Chococo
Artisan Milk and Hazelnut Easter Egg, £17.49, Amazon

Happy Easter!

Monday, 21 March 2016

Clutch Control

Nothing haunts you like the things that you added to your cart and didn't buy, and then proceeded to see everywhere... Case in point: last summer, Mango did two knockout clutch bags, both woven and monochrome, one tasseled that looked like a rug, and one with an almost tile-esque print and pom-poms and tassels. I tried on a few occasions to purchase both - the seemed to be the perfect summer accompaniments, working equally well whether beach or poolside or city-side. But alas, it was not meant to be, and despite reaching the checkout stages on several occasions, the orders never went through. I then continued to be taunted by the many, many others who had been lucky enough to get them - they were all over Instagram and seemed to be the hit(s) of the summer. In fact I still think about them almost a year on...
Elusive Mango Clutch Bag no.1
Elusive Mango Clutch Bag no.2
The good news is that H&M currently have an almost identical one to the one above. I was alerted to the fact by the lovely Lisa from Edit 58 (extremely covetable and cleverly curated interiors and home accessories) on Instagram this week, and with H&M currently offering 25% off one item with free delivery, it seems silly not to grab it while you can! It's part of the City Diaries collection, which is full of clothing and accessories inspired by artisanal handicrafts in gorgeous jewel tones and prints.
H&M version of 'that Mango clutch'
As for the other tile printed clutch, it hasn't been reissued but instead, Mango's clutch game is still strong this summer with even more covetable styles on offer, with one style very similar to the one above, see it below, it's the one I've just ordered (oops!). It's also available in navy and yellow too.

This summer's 'that Mango clutch'
I've rounded up my edit of this summer's other hip, hot and happening woven clutches below... Remember if you see one you like, BUY IT NOW!

Top Row L-R: 
Pink jacquard clutch, £9.99, Mango, available in three colours
Jute cotton blend bag, £17.99, Mango, available in three colours
Geometric clutch, £9.99, Mango, available in two colours
 Middle Row L-R:
Embroidered details envelope, £17.99, Mango, available in three colours
Fabric clutch, £29.99, Zara
Bottom Row L-R:
Black woven pom-pom trim clutch, £9.50, New Look
Boho clutch, £29.99, Mango

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

All day, Everyday: Avocado Toast

I was with some colleagues the other day and we were getting ready to start a meeting, somehow the conversation turned to avocados - maybe it was the fact that this avocado tshirt had been featured on ASOS' instagram feed the day before?! Also available as a sweatshirt...

Avocado Toast Oversized Sweatshirt, £55, Private Party at ASOS
Avocado Toast Supersoft Tshirt, £36, Private Party at ASOS
Anyway my colleagues were making fun of my addiction to avocado toast, mainly because it features heavily on my own instagram feed. Whilst I laughed along and waxed lyrical about my love for avo toast, it led me to think about how much I do love it and how I've come to to really enjoy it in a certain way... I often order it at brunch places but come away feeling like I enjoy my own version more! Avo toast may be 'trending' and be a heavy fixture on instagram and social media but I have been making it and devouring it for years!

The best thing about avo toast is its versatility - you can have it whenever (breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, as a snack) it's quick and easy to make and its nutritious plus tastes #yummy! It's especially tasty on sourdough with a poached egg on top.

Here's my recipe: Avocado Toast (serves one!)

- One large or two small ripe avocados
- One clove of garlic/tube of garlic paste
- Lime or lemon/bottled lime or lemon juice
- Sea salt
- Black pepper
- Paprika powder / chopped chillies / chilli flakes (optional)
- Two eggs
- White wine vinegar
- One/two slices of sourdough/bread

- Slice the avocado(s) in half and remove stone, use a spoon to scoop out the avocado flesh into a bowl.
- Peel the garlic glove and use a garlic press to crush it, add contents to your bowl
- Slice the lime or lemon and add a generous squeeze of juice to the mixture
- Add a pinch of sea salt and plenty of black pepper
- Depending on if you're using, add a pinch of paprika, some chopped chilli or chilli flakes. Finely chopped onions or cherry tomato also works well!
- Using a fork, mash the mixture together roughly and stop when you're happy with the texture - whether you like it chunky or want more of a smoother paste. Taste, and add more pepper/juice/chilli if needed. Cover and set aside.
- Boil the kettle and get your bread ready to be toasted.
- Get the cooker on; in a saucepan add the boiling water and a dash of white wine vinegar. When the water is bubbling, use a wooden spoon to swirl the water to make a whirlpool, and crack each egg separately into the swirl.
- Pop bread into toaster, get a plate and cutlery out.
- I like to poach eggs for as long as the bread takes to toast - around three minutes! Once toast is ready, take out onto plate, and spoon on the avocado mixture. Use a slatted spoon to remove each egg, ensure it is drained of excess water before placing onto the avocado toast.
- Top up with black pepper
- Sit down, take a flat lay instagram photo (optional!) and ENJOY! #yummy

What are your thoughts on avocado toast? Are you a fan? Have you got a special recipe?

***Disclaimer: I am not a cook or chef or any kind of food expert, this is just my own way of enjoying avo toast!***


Wednesday, 17 February 2016

A Few Current Favourites...

Grey Supersoft MOTHER Sweatshirt, £45 | A new addition to my weekend/casual wardrobe; it combines all my favourite qualities - grey marl, supersoft, slouchy, cosy, comfortable, monochromatic, typography and comes in sweatshirt form! AND to top it off, it's a great charity initiative supporting the global sisterhood - all profits from sales of Mother designs go to Women for Women International - an amazing charity that helps women from eight war-torn regions rebuild their lives through training programmes. This sweatshirt is good in more ways than one and is seriously soft - I refuse it take it off!

Topshop Maxi Scarf in Camel, £16 | A cosy maxi scarf is a perennial style favourite, and I have been on the lookout for the right one for aaages. This Topshop one is seriously cosy, long and supersoft, for that Scandi style, scarf volume look, see Pinterest for reference.

Jo Malone Vitamin E Lip Conditioner, £23 | Being a bit of a lip balm fiend (I have amassed a small collection), this is another one I've been wanting to try for ages (obviously I've been taken in by the chic navy packaging!). I really like it - the texture is just perfect - not too slippy, yet not too thick and gloopy, nourishing enough for the bout of cold weather that's suddenly come on in London, and adds just a dash of dewiness. Winner!

& Other Stories Round Sunglasses, £12 | Nothing says Spring like a new pair of sunglasses, and I love these semi-transparent round frames in black (also available in tortoiseshell & nude). Just need the sun to make an appearance now...

Porter Magazine Spring 2016 Issue, £5 | A global fashion magazine powered by Net-a-porter, love this curated package of fashion, beauty, culture and travel, the current issue features Amber Valetta, Erin Wasson and the new beauty rules. Perfect to devour on a rainy Sunday afternoon!

Maison Martin Margiela 'Lazy Sunday Morning', £85 | A new scent addition to my collection, from the label's 'Replica' line (which recreates familiar scents and moments from various places and periods), I think this fresh, feminine fragrance captures that easy, hazy, lazy Sunday morning vibe perfectly. I'm no expert on the 'notes of...' side of things, but it definitely conjures up the smell, texture and image of freshly washed laundry and cotton sheets! Loving this as an easy, energising anytime scent.

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