Friday, 15 August 2014

Roo's Beach - Cornwall

Where? Cornwall, UK
Exactly? Roo's Beach Apartment in Porth
Why? I was very kindly invited to spend some time at Roo's Beach House this summer. As my readers will have now realised, I have a real soft spot for Cornwall on the South West coast of England, so I couldn't resist a mini weekend break with a group of my surf-loving friends.
Best time to go? Summer, for the beaches, surfing and long country walks. Cornwall is equally as beautiful in the winter, with its picturesque landscapes and cosy pubs with roaring fires.
Me on the balcony at Roo's Beach wearing Whistle's top, Warehouse trousers, New Look boots, Topman beanie and Accessorize necklaces
Travel buddies - left to right - Cass, Lucy, Rico, Me and Ben
What to wear when you're there?
The style vibe in Cornwall is dressed down and laid back, there’s little need for heels and handbags here, more Breton tops, beanie hats and anoraks! The key word to remember when packing is ‘layering.’ The weather is changeable, sunshine one minute can turn into a thunderstorm the next, this is England after all! Pack waterproofs and hiking boots for coastal walks and bikinis (if you're felling optimistic), plus hoodies and cover-ups for a day at the beach. You might want to get a little bit more dressed up for an evening at a restaurant, but even here the sartorial requirements are very relaxed.

Skater shoes - Kurt Geiger, Anklet - Accessorize
Beach bag - Mint Velvet
Wetsuit - Neon
Where to stay?
We stayed at Roo's Beach House directly above the eponymous concept store on Porth Beach. The bright, colourful interiors are perfect for groups of friends or families alike. It sleeps 6 people in 3 rooms, with a sunny, open-plan living room, which opens out onto a beach facing balcony. Decorated with retro, surf-inspired, pop art pieces it's homely and fun. The best bit is the location right on the beach, 5 minutes drive to Newquay in one direction and the culinary fishing village of Padstow in the other. 

The sunlight streams through the windows in the living area
Roo's Beach Store is an Aladin's cave filled with kitsch accessories, make-up, clothing and homewares
Quirky interiors in store
The perfect poolside accessories - waterproof Sunnylife Beachsounds radio 
The gorgeous Roo (centre left) and crew outside the store

Cornwall - After Dark

Eating, Drinking and Partying - Cornwall
 Master Mixologist, Josh Linfitt teaches me how to create a Cos'Roo'politan cocktail
Over the last few years Cornwall has been involved in something of a culinary revolution. With an interest in locally sourced fresh produce and seafood, a host of celebrity chefs have been moving into the area. TV Chef, Jamie Oliver's Fifteen Cornwall with its modern, quirky, graffiti adorned interior is perched right on the beach at Watergate Bay, with stunning views out to sea. Over indulge in the Italian inspired menu, but don't feel too guilty, the restaurant helps fund the Cornwall Foundation of Promise's Apprentice Program, helping young, unemployed people in Cornwall train as chefs. 
The delicious new tasting menu - small tapas style plates filled with mouthwatering delicacies
Lucy and I practice our beachside posing at Fifteen
The Stable
With an impressive list of locally produced ciders, a well edited and well executed menu, comprising simply of delicious pizzas or pies, The Stable on Fistral Beach is a great laid back and cosy daytime option. Indulge in a vegan 'Billy the Kid' (cheese free pizza) or the scrumptious ham hock pie platter, whilst looking out over stunning views of the sea and the surfers down below.

The cider tasting rack
The ham hock pie platter at The Stable
 After Dark
Group selfie at The Eden Sessions
Eden Sessions at The Eden Project - Dizzee Rascal
We were pleasantly surprised to find out that Dizzee Rascal was playing at the Eden Sessions during our weekend away, so we thought we'd pop by, show our support and bust some moves in the process! For more on the Eden Project click here.
The amazing Bio-domes at The Eden Project lit up at night
And on our drive back to London we decided to stop off at my favourite spa hotel, Babington House for a spot of lunch! 
Bye Bye Cornwall...until next time xx

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Japan - Tokyo - What To Wear When You're There

Sunflower girl troop in Harajuku
Blossom and lanterns in Tokyo
Where? Tokyo, Japan
When? June 2014
Why? I've always wanted to go to Japan, so when The Chinzanso Hotel asked me to stay I couldn't say no!
Best time to go? The most romantic and picturesque time to travel to Japan is in April / May when the cherry blossom is in full bloom. September is also spectacular when the trees turn amber and gold with the changing autumnal season.
Thanks to? The Chinzanso Hotel, Harita Shah, Carl Esprit, Kyoko Shoji and Yosuke Nakajima for making my trip so much fun!

View of Mount Fuji from the Bullet Train (photo by Harita Shah)
Yep! That's me!! Dress like a geisha for the day in Kyoto
What to wear when you’re there?
Tokyo is without doubt one of the most stylish cities I have ever visited. The locals are so on-trend, it feels like they’ve just stepped off the pages of a fashion magazine, even if they’re just out shopping or on their way to work.

Whether you dress in an outlandish, eccentric fashion like the infamous Harajuku girls, suited and chic like the city slickers and salary men or opulent and feminine like a geisha, as long as you look stylish you’ll fit in perfectly.

This gorgeous Harajuku girl accessorised with homemade cigarette packet earrings!

The Boys

Cool couples 

The Harajuku girls
Cool girl working the 'my little pony' look 

Where to shop? The streets of Tokyo are filled with quirky boutiques, shops and retailers. For high end designer shops head to the luxurious tree lined streets of Omoto Sando.

If you take a little detour off to the back streets of Ula (which runs perpendicular to the main stretch of Omoto Sando) you’ll come across a much cooler, home grown style of clothing. Think edgy Japanese aesthetic.

Circus Store in Ula
The best place for street style spotting is Takeshita Street. Grab a smoothie at one of the roof cafes and watch the outrageous Harajuku Girls in full-kitch ensembles go by.  Make sure you take your camera! Want to join in the fun and fancy dress? Visit one of the many Photo Booth stores frequented by Japanese teenagers. 

Kyoko and I couldn't resist the photo booth shop on Takeshita Street
Mount Fuji

Japan - Tokyo - After Dark - Restaurants, Bars, Clubs

After dark? Restaurants and Cocktails.
The two busiest and most fun areas to go out in Tokyo are Shibuya and Shinjuku.

The world-renowned Shibuya Crossing is a sight to behold. It’s Tokyo’s equivalent to Times Square, filled with neon lights, hoards of people and bustling shops and bars.

Tiny lanes of Golden Gai
Nearby the back streets or ‘lanes’ of Golden Gai (the red light district) house tiny, sake, drinking-dens with seating for small groups of 8 to 10 people. It’s a unique experience and worth a visit. Be warned though, the sake is much stronger than you think! :)

The Robot Restaurant
There are thousands of quirky and unique drinking experiences to sample in Tokyo, ranging from karaoke bars, fancy dress theme venues to The Robot Restaurant pictured above! Enough said.

The affluent Rappongi area famed for art galleries and high end boutiques, houses one of the most spectacular views of Tokyo. Take in the panoramic 360 degree view of the Tokyo night skyline from the stunning Sky Deck at the Mori Art Museum (above).

The interior at Gonpachi
Then head round the corner to traditional Japanese restaurant Gonpachi (which inspired the fight scene from Kill Bill). Complete with authentic rustic style cooking, rice paper screens and bamboo booth interior, it’s a Tokyo celebrity haunt!

Me at Gonpachi Restaurant
Trump Rooms, Tokyo (photo from Timeout Tokyo)
Clubbing and late night drinks
End the night drinking experimental cocktails with a view at the Park Hyatt New York Bar, as featured in Lost in Translation. For late night drinks and a spot of dancing, house music fans should head to Womb or to hang out with Tokyo's chic party set, try out the opulent Trump Rooms!

Neon lights of Shinjuku

Japan - Tokyo - Sleeping

Where to Stay? Chinzanso Hotel, Tokyo
I stayed at the stunning Hotel Chinzanso, just on the outskirts of Tokyo, famed for it’s immaculate gardens, pavilion and over 700 years of history. Built as a beautiful oasis of calm in the heart of Tokyo, it was lovely to come home to the serenity of the hotel.

Original antiques and ceramics fill the elegant interiors and fresh flowers adorn the stunning garden hotel.
Garden views from the bathroom window
Breakfast is served, the view of the pagoda from my room
We had a spectacular six course dinner at Mokushundo, Tokyo’s top traditional stone grill restaurant set within the grounds of the hotel. The set menus include seafood and meat specialities, including the delicious lobster which was my favourite (above). The flavours are subtle, fragrant and the courses are beautifully presented with edible flowers and leaves.
The classical exterior at Mokushundo Restaurant