La Bodega Negra

Billed as the new, trendy Mexican to hit London, La Bodega Negra has two locations giving you the option of visiting the café for lunch or the underground, cryptic restaurant for dinner. L

London is having a passionate love affair with all hispanic influenced food at the moment but in my experience it can be a hit or miss situation. 
Similarly to El Camion, the evenings here have a party vibe with a DJ and you have the added novelty of walking through a sex shop but Iafter an intense day of shopping I decided to re-energise with some lunch at the cafe location that immediately grabs your attention with its bright décor of turquoise and black.

The lunch menu is relatively short and we found that it is better value if you choose the set menu of a drink, taco selection and a side rather than a selection of dishes. On this occassion I had the fresh lemonade which had a real citrus kick, the prawn tacos and a side of rice and beans.

The tacos were delicious but tiny (and I mean tiny) portions and the beans were tasteless; I did choose to have them without meat which was a rookie error in this case. My friend had the mushroom and cheese tacos and these lacked flavour and any innovation. I know vegetarian food isn’t always exciting but they could at least come up with something better than bland mushrooms and cheese.
Unfortunately for me, La Bodega Negra isn’t a new star restaurant for Mexican food.  It was £10 for the set menu which was pretty steep for a few small tacos and sides. The atmosphere and good service saved it and after hearing rave reviews of the restaurant for the evening, I think I will have to try it another time to get a better impression. For lunch, I would much rather nip to Benitos Hat or a market stall for a tasty burrito to give me my Mexican fix.



I do love a crisp white shirt, I found mine at Uniqlo and teamed it with a black high necked jumper, polka dot shorts and a beautiful ethnic necklace I found in a vintage store. Here's to colder weather that allows for layering.

Recent fun

Bowling at All Star, Brick Lane// Treats from Hong Kong//Coffee and Banana Loaf at Flat White//Watermelon fro'yo at PinkBerry//Tower Hill (feeling like you aren't in London//



For me food signifies the best things in life; it’s a way of learning about culture, bonding with family and friends and is a wonderful cathartic process to de-stress after a long day. This year for my birthday, food was pretty much the focus of all my celebrations. I prepared a three course dinner party on the day of my birthday to take the opportunity to make some recipes I’ve been dying to try and treat my friends to something that I enjoy doing ( I revel in the glamour of a dinner party with candles, flowers and wine). During my stay to Portugal, my grandma treated me to a meal by the Chaine des Rotisseurs who had a two-star Michelin chef visiting to cook a special 7 course gourmet lunch and to top it off, two of my lovely friends, who I have a huge food bond with, took me to Nopi, the restaurant by famed Yotem Ottolenghi.

I’ve wanted to try Nopi for a long time, Ottolenghi is a chef I really admire for his ability to make innovative food that isn’t too eccentric and uses a good variety of vegetables. The setting was simple and calming with white walls and dusted matte gold furnishings. We were promptly sat at our table by the window and were delighted to see a wine menu specifically promoting Team GB with some British wines.  As we’ve never tried British wines before, we were given some samples to decide and went for a lovely medium bodied red.
Every detail has been thought of in this restaurant which distinguishes it as one of the top restaurants in Soho. The gold ‘O’ is incorporated into the furnishings including the napkin rings and cloakroom tickets. The toilets are also an experience, taking you into a magical setting of mirrors jutting out like glaciers.
We chose 7 of the sharing dishes which were more than enough for three of us, although I must admit it was hard to choose as every dish looked delicious.  The service was impeccable with the waitress helping in our choice and recommending dishes as we tried to get a good balance of textures and flavours. All the dishes were delicious, from the sweet potato with figs and goats cheese to the aubergine with pomegranate and feta but the stand out dish was the savoury cheesecake with beetroot. I am not exaggerating when I say this is one of the best things I have tasted..Ever. It was melt-in-the-mouth warm cheese which went so well with the sweet beetroot, basically a dream.
We made sure we had room for dessert and shared the strawberry mess and sweet filo pastry served with plum compote.  As it was such a special occasion we also treated ourselves to some after dinner drinks and coffee.

The food was delicious. Ottolenghi creates recipes that savour the flavour of quality ingredients. Everything was cooked to perfection and combined with the beautiful, ethereal-like setting and stellar service, it was a night to remember.


Image sourced from The Guardian


Despite being an aficionado of all things Hispanic, Peruvian food is something I have never tried. When thinking of Latin American food, the Brazilian Feijoada or Argentine Steak spring to mind but it seems Peru also has something to shout about with its own Ceviche.  A distinct dish, Ceviche is typically made from fresh raw fish marinated in citrus juices and chilli and I had my first experience at the new Ceviche restaurant located on Frith Street, Soho.  A quirky setting of turquoise accented walls, aged black and white photos and 50s style lighting, give you the impression that you have left the streets of Soho and found yourself enjoying the delights of a bar in Peru.

The menu is hugely varied, giving you a chance to try many flavours.  Pisco, is a speciality of the restaurant, which is incorporated into both the food and drinks and so we started off with a Pisco sour to get into the Peruvian mood.  We decided to get a few different dishes in order to try as many things as possible, something encouraged by the way the menu is set into different sections. We chose some Ceviche, a rice dish, a salmon skewer and some snacks in the form of Tequeños, melt in your mouth pastry filled with cheese and chilli and Cancha, salted dried corn.

The flavours were diverse and bold and yet managed to create a balance between the raw fish and the other strong ingredients. It’s very rare to say you haven’t eaten a certain type of food but this really was unique. The raw fish, was bursting with citrus and chilli which gave a kick alongside the calmer tastes of the potato cake or avocado. The seafood was really good quality and although small, there were enough mouthfuls to keep you satisfied. Moving onto the skewer, the salmon was falling off the stick and again was full of flavour. Another favourite were the Tequeños, simple and yet so delicious, who can say no to melted cheese and chilli (we ordered another two portions of these!)

Finally, we couldn’t miss dessert and chose the Suspiro de Chirimoya, a fruit mousse with cinnamon and port wine meringue and the Encanelado de Pisco, a cinnamon sponge soaked in the pisco spirit and with dulce de leche ice cream. I was blown away by both of these desserts, the fruit mousse tasted somewhere between caramel and papaya, absolutely delicious. The sponge was also amazing and had soaked up the pisco so that each mouthful had an extra kick after the cinnamon. Dulce de Leche is always a favourite and added another Hispanic flavour into the mix, a perfect sweet mouthful to end a delicious and yet light meal.

Ceviche demonstrates the diverse and interesting flavours that Latin America offers. The quirky and yet understated setting allows you to experience Peruvian food in an unpretentious way, enjoying the delightful food and fun atmosphere.

London Menswear Collections SS 2013

2012 is London’s year: we’ve celebrated the Diamond Jubilee, are counting down to the Olympics and not to be overlooked, 2012 has also signalled the first ever London Fashion Week for menswear. This was an opportunity for London to present the designers that define it as one of the fashion capitals of the world, and in light of the recent celebrations, it seemed apt for Prince Charles to inaugurate the event. From Topman to Gieves & Hawkes, there was great variety in the style and form shown by those that chose to debut their collections.

In the tradition of the stereotypical English gentleman, classic fashion houses such as Gieves & Hawkes and Hardy Amies presented collections of well-tailored, distinguished designs. It was good to see an appreciation of the heritage that London holds, not just a focus on the contemporary talent that is on offer. As the epitome of the distinguished fellow, Gieves and Hawkes embraced the pastel trend with ice-cream coloured suits and also added accents of colour to the sensible well-structured suits with bold ties.

The high street was well represented by Topman. Combining City boy with East London, this was a collection that took its inspiration from the streets of Shoreditch. Neon shouted out from the catwalk with bright blues and pinks that contrasted from the dove grey that featured on tailored suit jackets and shorts. City boy somehow merged into skater chic, as tops became cropped, small beanie hats in bright colours appeared and bright bomber jackets hung loose on the models and yet the tailored shorts remained. Basketball was also seen to be an inspiration with numbered jerseys and a strong use of mesh within the collection. Overall, it gave the indication that next summer boys will stand bold and bright with loud colours and garish prints.

American sport was a seen to be a big inspiration for the collections, perhaps indicating the obsession with American culture that lingers in the capital. Basketball was the sport that took residence at Astrid Anderson. Taking to the catwalk in the form of a basketball team, lemon was the prominent colour and was paired with black with just the odd player sporting burgundy red or bright turquoise. Lace and mesh gave us peaks at the models’ muscular physique, whilst the shorts and trousers remained baggy.

Lou Dalton also gave a nod to this trend, but adopted baseball as her sport of choice. Baseball-style jerseys and jackets were interspersed with shorts that fell to just below the knee. Panelling was used on the jumpers and tops that enabled the use of a mix of materials and colours. At the other end of the spectrum, JW Anderson was greatly anticipated and proved that without a doubt London is the most unique fashion capital out there. He provided a collection that tested the boundaries of masculine and feminine style with sheer floral mesh, that similar to that of Astrid Anderson, featured as shirts and also as wide-legged trousers. Other standout pieces included a pink asymmetrical coat and teddy-bear cartoon like print used on vest tops.

This gives just a small overview of the designers that presented out of a very talented bunch. The first London Collection: Men embodied what the city offers. Despite such a variance in designs, this affirmed the London man to be someone who combines eclectic and yet polished outfits, embracing the diversity of the many identities of London.

Written for The 405


One to watch: Erin Hawkes

CSM, renowned worldwide for the top-class talent it produces, has named Erin Hawkes as this year’s winner of the L’Oreal Professional Young Design Talent Award.

A collection of over-sized, exaggerated shapes took to the catwalk as Hawkes channelled conservative nun mixed with hip-hop style. The lengths of the hemlines were long, shoulders big and collars high so as not to enhance the female silhouette but keep it hidden. Further symbols of traditional influences were seen with conservative hats and apron style skirts that mimicked outfits of olden times.

Hawkes then introduced low-slung tailoring, corpulent shapes and prints normally associated with 90s ghetto style. Graffiti denim, plaid and flannel were carefully used to give the collection another dimension but were somehow able to flow well with the conservative designs. A palette of dark shades of blue, violet and black were juxtaposed with white and cream, with the odd flash of vibrant print that also brought a contemporary feel to the final collection.

Last year’s winner Flamina Saccucci, with her recognizable collection of disjointed lengths and floral graphics, is now stocked at Browns focus, her designs featured in Vogue Italia in March 2012, and more recently the starlet Solange Knowles wore an outfit for the 2012 Museum of Modern Art’s party. All reminders of the powerful accolade this prize can bring. It is no doubt that like past winners, Hawkes and the other 2012 graduates of CSM have a bright future ahead.


For a long time people have been talking about Nasty Gal and in an effort to be more responsible with my money, I tried to steer clear of internet shopping .  Big mistake ( for my wardrobe ). Nasty Gal has the perfect style and easily blows Topshop and other high street stores out the park. Born from an ebay store, Nasty Gal has grown to a global site, with everything from clothes to accessories. Unique and on trend clothes are offered for all price tags so whether you want to add a small piece to your wardrobe or go full-blown and get some Jeffrey Campbell x Nasty Gal shoes, there is something for everyone. Based in the US, it really captures the Californian, hippie x trendy x slightly alternative look that we all aspire to have. The dresses range from tiny 90s cut designs to long floaty dresses perfect for the summer.  I fell in love with the jewellery, the perfect mix of edgy and hippie with lots of turquoise, gem stones and spikes. Even better, there is a vintage page on the site. Although it is expensive, and out of my price range, it offers something especially unique.


Key Trend: Crop Tops

Despite the weather giving the impression the UK has its very own monsoon season, it is in fact May and summer will be here in a heartbeat. A key trend for this season is the crop top, so rather than being distracted by the fleeting heavy downpours, distract yourself with a look at what is on offer for the upcoming season.

From the bralette for the uber confident to the belly skimmer, there is a shape for everyone.
Designers’ showcased versatile ways of incorporating the crop top for day-wear and even evening outfits when styled correctly.
Eccentricity was embraced at the Italian brand Prada, with the iconic vintage cartoon car print
appliquéd onto tiny bandeaus. These super short tops were then combined with high waisted pencil skirts so that only a peek of golden, summery skin was revealed.
Pucci adopted a gypsy style for its Spring/Summer 2012 collection with intricate beading and long, floor length maxi skirts. Lace and sheer chiffon kept it sultry and dare I say it, a design suited for evening wear (need we remind you of Gwyneth Paltrow on the red carpet looking divine).
Dolce and Gabbana, fabulous as always, presented the smallest of crop tops that were not too far away from just being a bra. Possibly the most iconic look of the season, the designs were perfect templates for the vibrant vegetable and flowery patterns.
The trend has translated wholeheartedly onto the high street with crop tops appearing everywhere. Head to Topshop for a range of loud prints and bold colours on bralettes with Aztec to sequins and lace to nostalgic 90s cartoon print. American Apparel has a range of sheer, chiffon cropped slips in every colour imaginable for a versatile look, while ASOS offer great evening options and sporty style bralettes, à la Alexander Wang.

There is no escaping the crop top, so why not take inspiration from the catwalk and reveal a peak of your midriff for the summer. Combined with high-waisted skirts and trousers, there is no need to reveal too much flesh, in fact the secret to this look is to maintain sophistication.

As written for The 405

Dior: Secret Garden

Frolicking around the Palace of Versailles in your underwear:check. Beautiful models in couture gowns: check. Cool, edgy music: check. Itcan only be the new Secret Garden film by Dior. Almost upsettingly chic, itmakes us all dream of living in a French fairytale wearing only Dior.



Push It Magazine

I've recently started writing for a fashion website called Push It Magazine, check it out to read reviews of recent and current collections, thoughts on music, art and other interests.



Right now I have tonsilitis and as I can't eat anything but ice cream, I am craving delicious food. Living in London allows me to taste food from around the world and at a good quality. As I lay here, reminiscing about the places I have visited I thought I would write about them and inspire where I will venture next.


Anyone who knows me, knows I L.O.V.E my coffee. My recent finds for brilliant coffee have been Full Stop on Brick Lane and St Ali in Farringdon.

Full Stop was introduced by a friend and has a lovely story behind it. Pete used to run a coffee stall in West London for two years, saving up to own a coffee shop and finally, last year he opened it with his friend. This is an adorable establishment, fitting in nicely with the quirks of Brick Lane but establishing its own identity with the focus on quality coffee, and produce from local places such as the brewery down the road and milk from a farm nearby. The inside of the cafe is cute with vintage finds all over the place and is the perfect place to chill and take some time from the busy life outside. Whats great is that Full Stop opens up late every night, giving you chance to taste the homemade pizza ( they are delicious), drink some wine and catch a pop up film or other events.

St Ali is another superb place for coffee. Based in Farringdon, it roasts its own coffee which I always find fascinating. Minimalist furniture and wood flooring make St Ali feel very open and fresh, perfect for Sunday brunch. The food is also great here, with all day eggs, corn fritters and other main dishes to enjoy.

I must also mention Joe and the Juice. This brand has swept over London and quite rapidly is taking over. With branches originally in Soho and Regent St, it is now located on the Kings Road and is opening another closer to Covent Garden. More than just a juice bar, the coffee here is delicious and rather innovative with their ginger lattes that with fresh ginger added so you feel kinda healthy even though you are chugging down milk and caffeine. Now, I can rave all day about the coffee here but I can't not mention the fact everyone that works there is super good looking. The brand is from Denmark and true to their heritage, they have employed a lot of Scandinavian men (ahem, Gods may the word) to serve the drinks. I'm shocked no one has thought of this before.

Food stalls

Pizza Pilgrims is something my friend has just become involved with and is based on Berwick St in Soho. Now pilgrims they are as they create traditional and authentic pizza's to spread the word of real Italian food. Unfortunately they are only open during the week ( sucks for me as I work in the City) but I can verify that with their skill, they are possibly the tastiest pizzas you will find in Soho ( and London!). They are perfect to pick up for lunch or if you are just walking around the shops and fancy something tasty and hot.

I'll save the rest for another time, my taste buds are getting frustrated at just ice cream right now.