Nearly 10 years later I still shoot my outfits twice a week without fail. I do not do so to be classed an "influencer" or to gain thousands of followers but because I still love fashion and creating outfits as much as I did in this picture
Tuesday, 30 May 2017
5preview. The fantastic Emeli who founded the label and is still the head designer there today indeed was the first person to encourage me to take outfits snaps and start a blog after I had sent her a few of me styling up her super cool tees to win a competition, living at the time on a farm in the middle of nowhere in East Sussex. I was dressing then like I do to this day (which some may call a little eccentric or weird) anyway every day so thought why not and followed Emeli's advice which is how stellaswardrobe.com was born.
Monday, 29 May 2017
Thursday, 25 May 2017
Monday, 22 May 2017
Thursday, 18 May 2017
Wednesday, 17 May 2017
NOVOTEL CANARY WHARF - THE NEW HOTEL AND ROOFTOP BAR WITH THE BEST VIEWS OF LONDON THAT NO ONE KNOWS ABOUT (YET)
As any regular reader of my blog will know I am sucker for a good rooftop bar and skyline view once summer hits and have regularly complained of the sheer lack of them in London compared to New York. Yes, there are a few notable exceptions- Netil 360 and Frank's Cafe in particular have been firm favourites of mine the last couple of summers, but they simply don't have that certain sense of glamour, sophistication and most importantly viewpoint that NYC's skyscraper hotel bars offer (a favourite of mine Le Bain for example is located on the 18th floor of the Standard hotel) and which I have been missing ever since. One of my best friends is equally obsessed with that elusive rooftop drink in the sunshine enjoyed whilst admiring the best a skyline has to offer and has kept his eye constantly open for anything nearing what we got to experience in New York in London. One day he showed me a very promising new opening he had stumbled across while scrolling through his instagram which..you've guessed ...was the newly opened Novotel Canary Wharf and as life sometimes seems full of strange little coincidences I was invited by exactly this hotel just a few days later to test it and Bōkan, it's in-house bar and restaurant, for myself.
But before I go into more detail of what made it so truly special it is also interesting to consider the hotel's location. Canary Wharf is of course the financial heart of London much in the same way that Manhattan is in New York. It is also a place I have never really made an effort to explore. Why? Well in my eyes it is either heaving with banking types, waiting to splash their cash on booze after work and show off during the week, or pretty much deserted at the weekend when the offices are shut. That perception however changed once we had dropped off our bags of in the room, swiftly gobbling down the complimentary and rather delicious chocolate fondue that was waiting for us there, and had some time to explore the area a little more. Indeed the shiny skyscrapers and wharf over which you have to take foot bridges to reach the different areas of Canary Wharf gave this all a very unique and metropolitan feel. I didn't feel quite like I was in London anymore but in the best of ways.
We were left rather thirsty and hungry after our little explore and also more than excited to finally see the rooftop view we had first spied on Instagram with our own eyes. Located on the top three floors of the hotel, Bōkan didn't let us down, not only serving some incredible food and drinks but offering some of the most spectacular and awe inspiring outdoor views across London I have ever seen. We were very lucky with the weather on this occasion, with clear blue skies and sunshine which of course only made the experience even better, but even if temperatures don't quite deliver you can still enjoy the view to the fullest as two of the floors serve as indoor bar and restaurant with huge windows offering an equally stunning skyline view. We made use of those amenities and tried some fantastic cocktails and sophisticated food offerings (my highlight was a stunning fish and shellfish medley served with a saffron foam) but I would quite happily come here just to enjoy a simple glass of chilled rosé, taking not only the views in but also the seriously cool and once again NYC inspired interiors that are more edgy Boutique establishment than chain hotel.
What makes Bōkan even better is the lack of crowds. While you'd be fighting over a bench at Frank's, here on a Saturday night there was plenty of room to enjoy a drink and even the possibility to reserve. Of course Novotel has only just opened its doors to the public and in a way it pains me to share this hidden gem with you but as far as rooftop experiences go this is as good as it gets without the crowds of better known spots and the pretentiousness of more Boujee options like Duck & waffle or sushi samba.
Novotel Canary Wharf fully succeeds in not only bringing an air of New York rooftop cool to London that is actually affordable but also does a lot to add a cool factor to Canary Wharf as an area. I had one of the most fantastic weekends in a long time here and will be back to enjoy that rooftop before the rest of London realises what it is missing out on.
Monday, 15 May 2017
Thursday, 11 May 2017
Monday, 8 May 2017
Thursday, 4 May 2017
Tuesday, 2 May 2017
I have been patiently waiting for Monty's Deli to open on Hoxton Street for months now. What deserves this level of anticipation you may ask? Well I had quite simply fallen in love with the Jewish deli culture discovered on my trips to New York in the last couple of years. These often unassuming delis just had a certain warmth about them and served hearty, delicious Jewish fare that no matter how bad your day was always managed to leave you with big fat smile on your face once you had tucked in and somehow made everything seem a little better.
My absolute favourite back in NYC was Russ & Daughters, a deli set up by a Mr Russ in 1914 and kept open over the decades by his lovely daughters stepping into his footsteps, in my eyes at least serving some of the finest brunch and bagels one can find anywhere in the world. I have been dreaming of their offering ever since, particularly craving their fantastic brunch option of "Lower Sunny Side"- a dish served at their cafe around the corner from the smaller and takeaway only deli, consisting of two fried eggs, Gaspa Nova smoked salmon and potato latkes as well as their chewy yet delicious bagels filled to the brim with cream cheese. Yet sadly and rather bizarrely London simply did not offer anything nearing this sort of offering let alone standard. Monty's first permanent site however was thankfully finally about to change that.
The duo behind Monty's, Mark Ogus and Owen Barratt, were inspired to start this venture by Ogus' grandad, who, you may have guessed, was called Monty and who grew up in East London's flourishing Eastern European Jewish community during the 1920's, a community that traditionally loved nothing more than good nosh (or food to you and me) and celebrating the ritual of eating within their families. While the East End Jewish community began to slowly disperse around the country and indeed the world in the decades to follow, the traditional family recipes of curing meats, making pickles and shaping bagels were thankfully passed down through the generations and at Monty's are once again used to feed and please the masses in a unique and delicious way that needs to be preserved for generations to come.
Indeed Monty's clearly is a labour of love, not only because it serves dishes that have been prepared by the same families in the same way for generations, no, this restaurant is also basically built on the loyalty of its patrons. Starting off by selling different kinds of salt beef sandwiches at the foodie mecca that is Maltby Street market, these guys successfully ran a crowdfounding campaign which raised enough money to enable them to open the Jewish delicatessen and proper dining destination which London so desperately laced and heck they couldn't have done it better.
In fact the finished space easily holds its when compared to the likes of New York's Russ & Daughters- a 21st century take on those distinctive 20th century delis dotted around New York, chic yet inviting and aware of it's heritage. It's the kind of place you'd want to to take your best mates, your mum AND your grandparents, in fact anyone worthy of sharing a great and warming meal with that you won't forget in a hurry. There is a takeaway bagel counter which I am going to be frequenting on more hungover occasions when only a cream cheese and lox bagel will do, a beautiful counter space and a long line of booths that once again reminded me of New York in the best of ways. We settled in a booth this time, ready to explore Monty's weekend brunch menu (though they serve an equally enticing dinner menu during the week that showcases Eastern European culinary roots with nods to Monty's American deli counterparts).
Of course it is the salt beef sandwiches that Monty's is already famous for amongst the London foodie scene, and rightly so as my dining companion couldn't stop gushing about how fantastic hers was, with a variation of this classic to suit all tastes on offer here, whether you like your salt beef quite simply on rye with mustard, with added Sauerkraut for heat or with a little bit of added cheese, though I am pleased to say there are also plenty of menu options for none meat eaters like me as well. Indeed my bagel, baked to chewy perfection, filled with a generous helping of smooth cream cheese and topped with the dreamiest lox (lox being a slightly less salty, more luxurious and silky alternative to smoked salmon traditionally used in Jewish delis as bagel filling) was one of the best I have ever had even when compared to what's on offer at the bagel shops tourists flock to in NYC for supposedly being the best of the best. Served with a surprisingly delicate and delicious pickled cucumber salad which came sprinkled with capers, it was simply divine. On the side we enjoyed some proper, none greasy, fries as you seldom find them in England, dipped in some Russian dressing for extra zing, and in my case washed down with some fittingly fresh orange juice. For me this was as close to a dream brunch as one can get especially when I thought I'd only be able to enjoy something of a similar standard after a 6 hour flight across the pond.
Monty's is truly one of a kind, serving heartwarming, unpretentious and delicious food that makes you happy, preserving a culinary tradition and dining experience too wonderful to loose and not share with the world. Take your loved ones asap, you won't regret it.