This was certainly one of those days where I felt very looked after indeed, I’ve never celebrated Chinese New Year but living in multi cultural London there’s always something new and exciting to experience. Both Yauatcha and Hakkasan are London’s Chinese gems, both serving very different kinds of atmosphere and grub. Yauatcha is widely known for it’s Patisserie section, shining out from the windows into Soho, it lures people in for tea and sweet treats in the day; then very delicious cocktails in the evening. Hakkasan, in London’s Mayfair, is more concealed, tucked away like a secret for only those in the know. Downstairs in the darkness you are surrounded by various screens and latticed shutters, making each table secluded and private.
So here I take you through a day-to-night guide to Chinese New Year in London, starting with Yauatcha. As it’s the year of the sheep and a whole host of macaroons, petite gateaux’s and desserts have been added to the menu incorporating sheep’s milk. But first, my favourite dish was the inspired little goldfish dumplings. All of Yuatcha’s cuisine is insanely photogenic; prepare to have your phone at the ready at all times! We decided a few things off the menu were too good not to order on top of the Chinese New Year menu, so we added traditional pork belly and scallops with lotus root, a very light and fragrant dish compared to the rich pork belly. The Yáng Walker cocktail is a must try, though beware if you have an empty stomach, it’s very strong! Yauatcha for me is the perfect getaway from busy central London, hide away with friends and just indulge yourself. The atmosphere is young and fresh; families, friends and even acquaintences dining together in one big friendly room. You can really go to town on the desserts. I suggest the more friends you take the better, for this reason ;)
Hakkasan for me is more of a romantic setting, take your partner into the dark, sultry surroundings and experience the heady rich menu. We stuck to the Chinese New Year menu this time; it’s quite full on so in typical Chinese cuisine fashion, you had better make sure you’re ravenous on sitting down! The absolute star of the show for me was the Grilled Chilean Sea Bass in honey; so delicious that I hadn’t the time to even take a photograph. DEVOURED. This is serious comfort food and the rib-eye beef accompanied by the Lilly bulb and almond prawns were both rich and satisfying. The dessert come out with its own wishing tree. When you arrive at the table you are encouraged to make a wish and hang it on the latticed shutters surrounding you using the red wishing card at the table. A tradition in China, around New Year is that villagers would visit the sacred banyan trees miles away and hang their wishes upon their branches. The higher the branch the wish was put upon the more likely it was to come true.
The New Years feast is on at either Hakkasan or Yuatcha until the 1st March.
The weekend is often the best time to catch up with friends, after a busy week who better to unwind with that your inner circle? I find the best catch ups are spent trying a new brunch spot, and pushing your food comfort zones. London is constantly cropping up with new restaurants and new menus; so discovering Umai Saturdays at Sake No Hana, one crisp, bright, sunny Saturday afternoon last weekend was a treat indeed.
It’s traditional in Japan to enjoy many dishes throughout one meal. This five course treat was started with the most delicious little bowl of sesame spinach (the only ‘salad’ I ever want to eat again!) and sparkling sake, which was a revelation to me. It’s light and sweet and almost the opposite of it’s counterpart. A delicate ‘Suzuko Usuzukuri’ sea bass sashimi followed, then the large plate of insanely delicious little sushis came out, accompanied with traditional still Sake. I had to be careful to not stock up too much as I knew what was to come!
The star of the show was the Umai (translation: Delicious) Sukiyaki with candy floss. Yup. Rib-eye beef with tofu, mushrooms and vegetables came to be cooked at the table in a cast iron pot. Whilst a delicate cloud of candy floss was carried over and placed on top or the sizzling beef. A hot sauce was poured over the top of the floss to turn the spun sugar into a sticky sauce to accompany our main. MIND BLOWN AT THIS POINT. It was a little sobering to see how much sugar went into this dish, but Hey! I said this was a treat, after all…
Then, as if not satisfied enough, out came dessert. What felt like a more classic Japanese dessert was the Sesame creme with Yuzu sorbet and blackberry meringue, accompanied by what clearly every brit wants to see for a dessert a Miso apple Tarte Tatin, so many gooey light pastry layers it was serious heaven. The light in this room is seriously too good, we could have easily sat people watching all afternoon. And we pretty much did. There’s no need to rush off, this Japanese five course sensation is to reflect their love of long, delicious meals.
Thanks Sake No Hana for having us!
It was mid way through last year when I started to get into fitness in a big way. I was really feeling the stress of running my own fashion label and I felt I needed to get out and run it off a few times a week. This strange new passion for fitness grew into something that fast overtook the need for shopping and cake binging (Hey – I work above a cafe and it’s hard to work past those little delicacies every day!). It has become something which now feels super positive. I’m feeling good about my body and my energy for work and spare time, which is awesome.
If you’ve seen my instagram the last week, you’ll most likely have guessed I’ve teamed up with Gap to try out their new fitness range; joining their January campaign #BeGapFit. I was amazed having not heard about it before; the whole first floor of Gap’s flagship on Oxford Street is dedicated to the line. Everything from running to yoga; they’ve got it covered. I love that it’s not overly branded. A little more minimalistic you could say. I find it a pain having to take a separate outfit to the gym when I cycle on a Sunday so having a bomber jacket like the mesh or khaki ones above are perfect to work out in and go out brunching or flower marketing afterwards. It feels great to work out in, the fit is bang on perfection. It’s fully replaced my old kit. Mainly the leggings which are thicker and make me feel great whether I’m running cycling or stretching.
In collaboration with Gap for #BeGapFit.
Gap are giving one lucky customer a chance to win a GapFit outfit this weekend, head on over to their twitter page to join.
Last week I had the pleasure of being whisked away to Sussex for the day to test drive a Rolls-Royce of my choosing and, oh, you know, have a look at the factory while we were at it. I couldn’t believe when the email came into my inbox to be honest, as a driver who has only ever pootled along in a tiny Renault Clio, this was certainly a dream come true. Living in London I really miss driving, not that there’s anywhere to go even if I did have my car with me, but this trip has certainly left me with dangerous life aspirations. The Wraith we were driving has stolen my heart. I’m no petrol-head and don’t pretend to understand things like brake horsepower but I do know that it was a dream to drive and be driven in. Time to start saving then.. what pension?
With the success of their channel 4 documentary (if you haven’t seen it, you must stop what you’re doing right now and go-), Rolls-Royce are launching the ‘Inside Rolls-Royce‘ exhibition this week at the Saatchi Gallery, open for just four days, it promises to be a multi-sensory experience of what the famous great British brand is all about; an insight into the extraordinary lengths required to make the worlds most luxurious car.
The exhibition launches on the 13th November – 16th at the Saatchi Gallery on The Kings Road, London.
Photos in collaboration with Rolls-Royce and The Communication Store
‘At home with Charlie May’ – Haha! Really the home is that of Shini Park; I invaded her much more photogenic house a few weeks ago to shoot a couple of my favourite cashmere Duffy pieces. I’ve been living in these knits at home, the knitted shorts are so comfortable and feel like more of a modern sweat pant really. Perfect for those nights spent outside enjoying the summer evening too. I just got back to London from a few days holiday in Devon and I made sure I spent every evening out under the stars! Now back to the grind as I have a new collection to finish :)
Duffy is available to buy on Net A Porter - enter at your peril ;)
Photos by Shini
Tomorrow I’ll be doing a yard sale with fellow bloggers Shini of Park & Cube, Alice of Alice Point, Hedvig of Northern Light, Peony Lim and Carrie of WishWishWish. I’ll be having a massive wardrobe clear out with designer and high street pieces all from £1. (Getting to the stage where I just need the space, so the more taken off my hands the better!) See you there!
Some of my favourites happenings on the gram recently. From Vanessa wearing my silk board shorts (DAYUM), to new pieces in from Stills, Beth Richards, COS and Bandhu; looking back at my favourite editorial from AnOther Magazine and many many top down pictures (the shame!) and beautiful sunsets. Absolutely loving living right here right now, London is very exciting at the moment. Seeing Charlie May popping up on all of my favourite people all over instagram and the web is the best feeling ever.
Photos via Instagram
Admittedly not the most minimal of settings, but when it comes to spring time and London is filled with cherry blossoms, the more the merrier! Especially when it comes to the interiors of Michelin starred sushi restaurants; the incredible interior at Sake No Hana has welcomed the arrival of Spring by taking over and entwining the bar with Japanese cherry blossoms. The upstairs restaurant was particularly beautiful; we sat at the sushi bar watching the incredible precision of the sushi chefs making our bento boxes. Obviously THE most delicious I’ve ever eaten, especially with the accompaniment of the limited edition Sakuratini cocktail on the side.
Photos by Michael
How apt that the modern photo diary would be instagram exclusive. I would normally lug my Mark II around; but with a full 40 piece collection to lug, and rails, and personals, the camera had to stay behind on this trip, forgive me? We were in Paris for sales and I have to say it’s the first time I really loved the city. Hanging out with people that know it like the back of their hand really is an awesome thing.
To recap. Our beautiful balcony 7 floors above the Rue Saint Honoré, living walls, discovering Uncommon Matters, India repping AW14, white shoe game, Colette, the Yohji show, Nicholas Kirkwood pearl boots, Jennifer Fisher at the Valery Demure showroom, SS14 croc bombers, cut out 3.1 Phillip Lim tees, leather slides, sunsets with Clym, and of course the new collection.
Photos from Instagram
On the other corners of the internet, some of my favourte things on instagram as of late. Little outfit details, mostly including feet, and even more so those new Nike trainers. I’ve been getting lots of enquiries as to where to get them, so I thought I’d point you guys in the right direction: on the Nike website you can create your own, I did that using the Nike Free skin. It’s super easy and worth giving it a go as it costs no more than the usual pair, you just have to be more patient with the arrival!
Photos via Instagram