Journalist Harriet Verney has her place in the fashion industry firmly fixed. This London Fashion Week, TOPSHOP have enlisted her to bring you insider insight from the backstage area and beyond. Follow @TOPSHOP on Instagram to get your access-all-areas pass.
From the neon lights of Soho to the headlights beaming through the venue and the flashing cameras of on-site photographers – fashion week is always defined by all kinds of bright lights. This season, TOPSHOP are taking it one step further, so have your shades at the ready…
Ever since their very first London Fashion Week show in 2005, TOPSHOP has casted the coolest girls in fashion. Back then it was Erin Wasson and Sasha Pivovarova, and other runway alumni throughout the years include Cara Delevingne, Karlie Kloss, Taylor Hill, Bella Hadid and most recently Adwoa Aboah. Who will it be this year?
So you gotta get ready for the new TOPSHOP London Fashion Week collection. Tune in at 4.15pm on Sunday 17th September to watch the show live and shop selected pieces straight after the runway.
Helping parents be responsibly irresponsible since 2013. The Real Family Rave. Award winning, critically acclaimed, internationally acclaimed. Created by parents who love clubbing, for parents who love clubbing. Dance/Create/Play – see you on the dance floor!
I had been following Big Fish, Little Fish Events on Instagram for a long while and sadly, every time an event came to London town, the date would clash with other plans… or as it happened, we ended up moving to Berlin! If you don’t already know, Big Fish Little Fish “are an independent, grassroots music and events crew that put on family raves with all the freedom and excitement of a mini-festival, right in the heart of cities and towns across the UK”.
So when we moved back, I was desperate to take Eli off to the Family Rave. Fast forward almost a year, and the same things happened – clash of dates. Then finally, FINALLY the 23rd April event came up! At first we thought we wouldn’t be able to attend because Greater Anglia are messing about with the tracks EVERY single weekend for the next few months – which means some weekends, a 3 hour journey into London (which would normally take 35 mins btw). We checked out the trains and realised it was the weekend of the London Marathon – which meant the trains were RUNNING – with no replacement buses, no random journeys. Just direct! BOOM.
Natasha from BFLF got in touch with me and mentioned the theme was ‘Popstars & Rockstars’, as part of the Camp Bestival 2017 tour. Many are now aware, Eli is obsessed with his Starman. So for him, it was a no brainer. He was going as Ziggy. He wanted the red hair and the lightning bolt face. He wanted to complete the rest of his outfit himself, of course. Natasha also mentioned a potential venue change, due to the recent happenings at the Hackney club. I imagine this was quite a stressful week between the event for the BFLFteam, through horrendous circumstances. But as it happened, they managed to be able to continue with the same venue – and what a venue to boot!
TheWringer + Manglewas really easy for us to get to. A short journey on the Overground took us to London Fields station, where it was then a 2 minute walk to the venue. Eli was clarted out in full Ziggy regalia – and loving all the comments along the route!
Upon arrival at the location, we saw the queue leading down to The Mangle. We were advised by both Natasha and Hannah that there may be a delay for entry as all bags were searched. Rightly so. The airport style security was very thorough, which is great and welcomed by all. Safety first. I was asked to try the water we had in our bag – as well as test my trusty Lipcote. We then went into the depths of the venue. It was dark, there was neon, there was a craft table (Captain Cookie Crafts), cakes and bar for the adults. PERFECT.
These events are aimed at families with young children (birth – around 8 years old) – though we definitely did see folk of all ages there!
Facepainters PHACE by Philly, were also on hand, transforming the faces of both Adults (£7) and Children (£5). Had I not already painted Eli’s face myself, I can guarantee he would have had his face decorated – we loved the designs we saw!
Parachute Dance – something that the Kid’s and Adults all love, of course.
Entry into the event also includes free glowstick and transfers. Eli chose a Skull & Cross bones tattoo, obviously.
As this event was in conjunction with Camp Bestival 2017 On Tour, there was the opportunity to pose against the photobooth backdrop (Eli needed zero coaxing). Photos shared and tagged with #CB17ontour and #BFLF would be entered into a competition to win one of 3 Family Guest Passes for Camp Bestival 2017 itself! (Fingers firmly crossed!)
All BFLF events are based on the concept – 2 to 4 Hour Party People (ha), so by 4:30pm the event was drawing to a close. The glitter cannon finale was epic and Eli proceeded to swim/create snow angels in the remnants.
We had the best afternoon! I cannot recommend these events highly enough. The music isn’t too loud (for newborns, you might want to bring a set of ear defenders – but the volume was more than acceptable for toddlers). Everything was incredibly well managed, organised and maintained by Hannah, Natashaand their team. The most brilliant amount fun for a few hours – the 3 of us had a good old dance, with Eli getting the ‘big fish, little fish, cardboard box’ dance suspiciously easily…
As parents, with no local support, we don’t get out often. AT ALL. So this was a fantastic way of reliving a little bit of youth and letting our hair down – with Eli absolutely loving every second too!
Just to also highlight, you will need to take cash for additional extra’s once inside (for Face-painting and the cake stall etc), though at this venue, the bar did accept cards. We had 2 cans of beer from the bar (which does alleviate a lot of spillages I imagine!), but the cans were on the expensive side. So do bare that in mind too. We don’t get out often, so this was fine for us. Adults are not admitted unless accompanied by a child and there is a max of 3 children per adult. This made us feel very safe in a new and very dark environment. Pre-Walking infants do need a ticket, though this is free! (Bonus for new parents!). These events have limited seating (just dance!), club lighting rigs (no strobes) are used and events are busy with around 500 people at each party – which helps create the rave ambience. Each event is stewarded and risk assessed in advance – we saw lots of stewards in high-vis, so you couldn’t miss them! Buggies must be left in buggy park and are not be allowed on the dance floor.
We can’t wait to join the next event! If BFLF visits a city near you, don’t miss it. Travel to one if you can. I urge you. You won’t be disappointed!
✖️ ✖️ ✖️
Special thanks to Natasha for inviting us along to this event. This is in no way a sponsored review. All opinions my own. Some quotes and details taken from www.bigfishlittlefishevents.co.uk
Drawing on our experience as seasoned clubbers and parents the BFLF crew create anarchic, social, daft fun for all ages. Inspired by Hannah’s (the founder) lifelong love of clubbing and her babies’ enjoyment of festivals. BFLF is something we want to take our own families to – somewhere relaxed, entertaining, and where the adults enjoy themselves as much as the children and vice versa with grandparents, uncles, aunts and carers all in the mix. Raving always came from the heart, a way to express a love of music and dancing with your friends. BFLF extends that across the generations so you can rave with your family too. It’s a celebration of life, love and music.
We work hard to make sure each event is unique – different DJs, creative themes and guest artists running everything from hula-hoop demonstrations to synthesiser workshops to interactive light installations.
Our parties are held in interesting and quirky venues; clubs, arts spaces and pubs, which help create the ambience of being at a real rave.
Started in Brixton, summer 2013 BFLF now runs on weekend afternoons across the UK, and also works with other festivals and organisations (Glastonbury Festival, Camp Bestival, South Bank Centre, Edinburgh Festival, Beautiful Days, Coventry Mysteries, Kendal Calling, National Gallery, Stratford Circus, The Museum of London, London LGBT Pride, Out With The Family, Winterville, Mini VAULT, Farnham Maltings, Dreamland Margate and the London Electronic Arts Festival).
Regular events are now held all over the country including: Exeter, Bristol, Oxford, Birmingham,Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Liverpool, Nottingham, Sheffield, Leeds, Newcastle, Leicester and Manchester and many more.
I recently came to the conclusion that I have a new wardrobe void. I’m “missing” a small-medium sized, smart/casual black shoulder bag (with gold hardware). Having lost my phone, not once, but twice (and miraculously TWICE it was handed in by kind folk!) from my Chanel 2.55, I have decided I need a bag that will effectively contain my wares.
I’ve trawled through my favourites and here is my Edit of The Black Shoulder Bag – perfect for shopping to dinner to dancing, and back round the shops again.
I first saw this jumper around 2 years ago. It was being adorned by the likes of Kate and Alexa; and like my favourite fashion-people I’d also lusted after the monochrome version of the now infamous 1970 slogan jumper. Much to my family and mates’ disgustconfusion dislike, we’re big fans of the 1970’s. Fans of the fashion, music and most predominantly, the design and (Mid Century) interiors of the era. So this jumper struck more than *just* sartorial chord with me. But then I saw a Telegraph article on (aptly named) jewellery designer Sheherazade Goldsmith, and she was wearing a red version of my favourite woollen piece. Be still my beating heart…
So from then, I lusted for the red colourway. The super-soft Merino Wool. The cut and design. The design itself takes its signature motif from a book clipping that Freud used to wear pinned onto a plain jumper.
I do have splashes of colour in my mostly-black wardrobe and I would tend to go for red or green, unless its a vintage or leopard print (or red or green variations of leopard print!) of course.
So the red 1970 Jumper by the lovely Bella Freud is firmly on my NEED list. More or less at the top.
Freud was born in London, England. She is the daughter of Bernardine Coverley and artist Lucian Freud and great granddaughter of the inventor of psychoanalysisSigmund Freud.
She is renowned for her signature jumpers Je t’aime Jane, Ginsberg is God and 1970. Fans of Bella Freud include Alexa Chung, Laura Bailey, Kate Moss and Alison Mosshart.
Bella launched her eponymous label in 1990. Her first collection featured sexy knitted dresses in bookish colours, mini tailored suits and a small selection of shoes and bags. Bella went on to win Most Innovative Designer at the London Fashion Awards in 1991 and produced a Super 8 short film ‘Day at the Races’ as an alternative to a fashion show. Bella’s second film ‘More Clothes’ directed by Kate Garner was shot on 35mm film and showcased the SS 1992 collection.
Seasonal catwalk shows followed, then in 1999 Bella began her fashion film collaboration with John Malkovich, co writing and producing three short films: Strap Hanging, Lady Behave, and Hideous Man. In 2001 Bella also collaborated with rock icon Anita Pallenberg on Memo, a limited edition magazine featuring the AW2000 collection, inspired by the film Performance.
From March 2000 to 2003 Bella consulted for British heritage brand Jaeger, rejuvenating their image and bringing British dressing to a younger audience.
Bella’s love of film continued and in 2013 she art directed the short film Je T’Ecoute, produced by Laura Bailey starring Lara Stone, which screened at White Cube Bermondsey. Bella’s directorial debut ‘Girl Boils Egg’ is a two minute film featuring Punk, commissioned by Nick Knight for SHOWstudio.com.
2013 also saw the development of the RTW collections and expansion into the beauty market. The Bella Freud Eau de Parfum collection was launched in 2014 and has gained a cult following.
A few years ago we lived and worked in East London. We saw a lot of trends, styles, brands, come and go. But it was practically overnight that I spotted guys wearing NEW BALANCE trainers; and I’m not gonna lie, I was like “how are they even making a come back?!”. As a kid, New Balance were always a trainer that I saw as being fit for purpose, like for playing Tennis in or something else sporty!
A few more weeks went by, seeing more and more colours of sneaks popping up; and then I saw a pair of Bordeaux Red (my favourite wine no less) New Balance 574’s in the window of Albam, Spitalfields. I fell in love. I wanted them for myself, even though they were Men’s. I knew right then that my opinion on New Balance had been overturned, forever. And rightly so.
Fast forward 5 years and my almost 4 year old is loving life in his very own pair of All-Black 574’s.
For those who don’t perhaps know, Eli was born with several medical conditions – Talipes, Torticollis and Hypermobility. From before he was even born, Eli endured some pretty intense tests, scans, physio and corrective treatments (Ponseti method). He came out the other side meeting the milestones that all his pals met, at the same age (and some he hit even sooner than anticipated!). While, on the outset Eli looks ‘fixed’, you can’t help but notice just how clumsy he can be, how off-balance he can be and how crazily flexible he can be! He’s super-active and he never did learn to *just* walk – he quite literally got up one day and RAN. Eli also doesn’t sleep well – never has – since being a newborn. We sometimes excuse his lack of sleep with, “he just doesn’t want to miss out”, “he’s being a typical toddler”. But the older he’s getting, the more convinced we are that it could well be his conditions waking him and giving him jip. He’s commented recently on his feet and knee’s being sore. We were told that it’s likely he could grow up with Migraines and will get early onset Arthritis due to the flexibility of his joints. (We have his next check-up with his consultant in June).
When Eli did start running walking we struggled to find suitable footwear that supported him fully, that would aid against relapse and would keep him upright. With this all in mind, I wanted to highlight how good these trainers are for his feet; and his balance (no pun intended). They’re a great fit for him, just narrow enough. They tie quite tightly, with no rubbing at any points. They keep him more sturdy than any other footwear he has, yet they’re really lightweight. They’ve worn exceptionally well and actually still look brand new. Eli has commented that they’re “my comfy adventure shoes”. And I think that says it all! He’s really happy with them – he runs like the wind in them – and looks pretty cool too.
I ordered Eli’s 574’s from OFFICE and had them delivered within the week to Berlin. They have a massive range of Kids’ New Balance styles, in loads of wicked colours. There are also velcro versions for smaller feet… or for feet that love untying those shoe laces! You can shop the full range online here.
Another year has passed since I opened the dashboard to this blog. And my feet have barely touched the ground.
We’ve had birthday’s and Christmas, losing job’s, starting a new business, starting a new/old job, more birthday’s and the beginning of our biggest adventure yet – a move across the land and water to BERLIN. As most folk know, we love an adventure. We also love a house move (not the actual packing and unpacking bit though!) This time, we packed up our suitcases (x3) and somehow managed to get our entire home into a single storage unit and flew out of London Southend airport on 31st August; marking our 9th house move in the near-12 years we’ve been together. And definitely the most exciting house move to date.
We’ve relocated to Prenzlauer Berg, in central Berlin with work. Having been here a fortnight now, we absolutely love it! We will be registering as Berlin resident’s next week, which has so far hindered a lot of other registrations – such as applying for a Kita-Gutschein (I’ll document this process once we have one in hand!) and applying for a bank account etc. So we’ll be able to start to really settle into Berlin life once all these last hurdles have been overcome. PHEW!
In the meantime, I’ll be getting back into engaging with my blog. I’ve missed it so much. But living literally just around the corner from work and Eli’s prospective nursery, I’ll finally be able to find the time to go back to writing and reviewing – and of course, documenting our adventures along the way. I can’t wait!
Be sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with the latest: @JudyPink
In 2009 I fell in love with a ring. Not just any ring… THE ring. The Yves Saint Laurent “Arty” ring.
I was working at AllSaints HQ at the time and I generally had my head between the sheets of Vogue at every opportunity. THE ring was everywhere I turned. All stunning and gold and stunning… and gold. It also came with a hefty pricetag. Not a pricetag I could have justified on a ring, on my wage; and irregardless, said-wage was spent on endless Friday’s at the Golden Heart followed by falafel wrap en route to our apartment on Regent’s Canal (this all seems like such a lifetime ago, it’s quite nice to reminisce!)
My lust for The ring grew to another level when I accompanied a friend to the YSL store on Bond Street to ACTUALLY try on The ring for his then girlfriend… he was buying her it for Christmas. Which was lovely. I was green with envy; as you can imagine! Talk about rubbing salt into thine wounds!
Years passed and I always said, “When I pass my driving test, The ring will be mine! I will buy it as an extra special treat for my deserved achievements”. We lived in London at the time – and I was still yet to even think about booking driving lessons, never-mind pass my test!
Several more years pass and “OH MY GOD, THEY’VE DISCONTINUED THE RING”.
True story. The ring was taken out of production. It was no more. It began disappearing from all the usual retail websites. Devastated doesn’t cut it. I NEEDED The ring.
The driving lessons began back in February 2013. A mere 10 years after I SHOULD have started them, like everyone else around me. Better late than never… eh? The ring became hot topic once more. The ring spurred me on to take my first test… and the second test… and the third test… and my……… (you get the picture). I would hunt The ring down when I’d passed my test. The ring would be mine!
My birthday this year came and we went to the City of Bath for a lovely overnight trip. Eli was good as gold and I had a really lovely birthday with my little family. I didn’t have presents. That didn’t matter, I had my little family and life is for living and memories are to be made.
A few weeks ago the game changed. Mr Memoirs was fussing about upstairs. He’d been shifty about a parcel that had arrived that said “PRIVATE DOCUMENTS” on the front. I’d obviously What’s App’ed my nearest and dearest about the parcel; who all conclusively suggested that the parcel contained house deeds, or marriage documents (are they even a thing?!). I knew it wouldn’t be either, because we’re nowhere near to reaching our dream abode and we’re nowhere near to marriage (even after a decade of adventures together!).
Mr Memoirs asked for me to bring Mr Eli upstairs for his bath… nothing out of the ordinary there.
Until I went into the bedroom. On the bed was a card and a box. The card was a Belle and Boo belated birthday card. The box was a jewellery box… and inside was… THE RING.
A belated birthday gift from my boy’s. I was stunned. I was completely gobsmacked once more at the lengths Mr Memoirs does go. And I am so so lucky!
Goodness knows how Mr Memoirs sourced it. But my god, he did good! It fits perfectly. It shines perfectly. It’s a perfect piece of art. It’s perfect. I am in love.
“Shy bairns get nowt”. For those who don’t understand what this means… I shall explain! This well known phrase (an overused phrase by oneself!) translates to: a shy person doesn’t get anything without asking for it.
I absolutely LOVE this mug. My dear friend Christie bought me it for my birthday this year, but due to Royal Mail being HORRENDOUS the birthday gift not only arrived smashed to smithereens but as we were out at time, it was put into a food caddy that was FULL of food at the time. (I honestly don’t know where to begin with that one!).
A few weeks ago, we went back to Newcastle for the first time in 6 years, where we had once lived for 4 years, to visit our lovely friends Christie (who sent me the mug!) and Adam. Our Motherland is a 1 hour drive from Newcastle, so we used a lot of Geordie lingo to begin with, but living in Newcastle gave me a proper tongue from the Toon! This mug is perfect for me and I couldn’t wait to get it replaced!
I managed to get the mug back Daaaaaahn Safff in one piece, I’m hoping it remains the case!
Wot Ma Like is an ingenius brand from husband and wife team, Jo & Nick Burrows, who set up the Geordie Mug company initially, before expanding the dialects to include accents such as Yorkshire, Scouse and Manc to name but a few. Their items are definitely one-of-a-kind and make such great gifts and treats for your home. We’ll definitely be purchasing more items for ourselves and others! I do love to give Independant, small and local brands a shout out – so if you’re a new/small/local business, please do get in touch!
You can find my “Shy bairns get nowt” mug as well as other Geordie products on their website: wotmalike.co.uk and you can follow them on Twitter @wotmalike
I can hardly believe it. Our darling little boy turned 2 on Wednesday!
We had a wonderful day celebrating. We started off our day at 5:30am, (as we do most days!), we had lovely cuddles in bed before heading downstairs. We’d set the living room up the night before, ready for Eli to pounce bright and early the next day. We sauntered down the stairs and said a big “1, 2 3… HAPPY BIRTHDAY!” as Eli entered the room. He stood completely still, mouth gaping, in utter shock! It was amazing. We must have stood there for a minute before he gathered that all these bright and exciting presents were actually for him! It was so sweet. He spent the entire morning overwhelmed, not quite sure where to look or where to run to next. It was amazing to see him opening presents this year, and even better when he realised what was actually beneath the wrapping paper. Just the best feeling in the world – I could have watched him all day, as he was just enjoying EVERYTHING. He even blew out his candles himself this year! (I spent the day previous baking his cake – never have I ever been so stressed in the kitchen in all my life! Blog post on the cake to follow).
We went off to the Big Smoke a little later than anticipated due to the present-opening overload. The weather forecast was torrential rain for the day… but it was bright when we got to London Zoo; and swelteringly hot by mid-afternoon. We went to Colchester Zoo for Eli’s 1st birthday last year… think we may make a Zoo visit it an annual thing for Eli’s birthday as he absolutely LOVES the animals! To the extent that he cried when we would leave a section of the zoo to move onto the next area! His highlights were definitely the giraffe’s, hyena’s, goat’s (!!!) and all the different monkey’s (takes one to know one!).
We had a very full day at the zoo and Eli had TWO naps! TWO! We had a not-so-good experience at Strada in Camden and headed home – we didn’t get in until 10:30pm! Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun!
Eli is the happiest little boy who loves adventure’s. It’s incredible seeing him grow – I never thought we’d actually be able to see it happening before our very eyes, but he is developing every single day. He completed our lives he arrived on 6th August 2012 and we couldn’t be prouder parents. Eli is quite literally magic.
Our precious boy, always ask questions – always be curious. We love you to the moon and the stars and back!
Here are some snaps from Eli’s 2nd birthday celebrations!
FINALLY got this beautiful Clare Nicholson print up in Eli’s room today; after having it resting against the wall for months! (It did look nice against the wall to be fair… looks much better hung though!)