As part of American Tourister’s #travelbright project to celebrate their colourful suitcase range – because who doesn’t want luggage as bright and uplifting as the feeling you get from going on holiday? – I teamed up with ASOS to show you my typical travel look. No heels here! For me when I’m travelling it’s all about comfy clothes and sneakers, and mixing practicality with luxe, laid-back style.
I travel through St Pancras a few times each week and it’s always been on my blog shoot location list. Even though it’s always so busy I find it strangely peaceful to wander down the main avenue with its brick arches and glass-fronted shops and cafes – the design is the perfect mix of traditional and modern. Funnily enough, when I picked out this outfit to wear on the shoot I didn’t realise how well the colours would match those in the station. Must have been some subliminal work going on there by my clever subconscious!
This look is a typical travelling style for me. When you’ve got a long journey ahead you want to be super comfy, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo being chic. I travel quite a bit for work now and have picked up a few handy tips for keeping fly on the fly (*groan*). 1. Swap normal leggings for leather-look ones and you’ll instantly feel a little cooler. 2. Tie a check-shirt or your favourite jumper round your waist for a pop of colour or print, and you can always wear it if you get cold. 3. Sling your cross-body bag around to your front. This is an important one: it’s safer, makes your travel documents easier for you to access, and adds detail to an otherwise simple outfit. Plus, if you’re anything like me and bring half your house with you whenever you go anywhere, this way you can put the rest of your things in a backpack and still have two hands free for your American Tourister suitcase and that other all-important travel staple: a cup of coffee!
This summer I visited Berlin with German powerhouse Marc Cain, a household brand over there that combine wearable style with the highest quality materials and on-trend designs. Even though I was only there one night I fell head over heels for Berlin. It’s such a cool city, with a quirkiness and vibrant, urban feel to it – something which is definitely reflected in its diverse fashion street style. Now I’m back in London, Marc Cain asked me a few questions about this beautiful city of ours and how my own style has been inspired by it, as well as my thoughts on blogging and life …
I always feel like the London girl is a mix of preppy and cool. She loves her skinny jeans and leather jackets, and isn’t afraid to go for more boyish styles. At the same time, feminine shoes and accessories are a staple in her wardrobe. London style is definitely paired back – we love our basics! Think Alexa Chung and Kate Moss for the iconic London style.
How do you think your nationality comes across in your styling?
Whether I’m dressing for a chilled weekend or for a big night out, my outfits always have a causal feel to them. A Brit girl can be wearing the most gorgeous, elegant dress and heels, but she’ll have left her hair messy and her make up relaxed. There’s always something a little ‘undone’ about my style.
Which styles of the Marc Cain Fall/Winter Collections do you think could become bestsellers in your hometown? Why?
Every single one of your coats! Whenever I’m wearing one of my Marc Cain coats someone will ask me where it’s from. My favourite is this nude faux fur style - it’s so snug, and works equally well thrown over ripped jeans and boots in the day and a party dress and heels at night. I could also see this black neoprene coat selling out – it’s so sleek and a modern take on the (very British!) trench. But the piece that’s next on my to-buy list is this amazing blush knit – such a versatile design that’ll take me through winter to summer.
What is a good place to watch people and get inspired by them in your hometown?
Brick Lane and Shoreditch in general are great for people-watching! It’s an area with such an eclectic style, and I love to see how colourful and creative people are there with their style. Plus it’s great for doing a bit of shopping too once you’re feeling inspired!
What music are you listening to when you are getting styled?
I’ve got a pretty broad taste in music and tend to listen to something that suits my particular mood, though I’ll usually go for something upbeat in the mornings to get me excited about the day. At the moment I’m loving Kygo’s house remixes.
What is your favourite hotel, bar and restaurant in your city which you can recommend to our Marc Cain fans?
I recently posted about Citizen M in Bankside – it’s just such a cool space and a hotel that manages to combine affordability with luxury and unique design. Bar-wise I love places like Cafe Kaizen and the bar at South Place Hotel, where you can get a great drink and sit and chat with friends for hours. There are too many amazing restaurants in London to count, and I love that you can head down any side street and find some cool little independent place to try. Somewhere I’m recommending to everyone at the moment is Roti King in Euston – having lived in Malaysia, I come here for the teh tarik, roti canai and laksa when I’m feeling homesick!
Can shopping buy happiness?
No. But it can help lift your mood when you’re down, and when you’re wearing a good outfit you feel totally comfortable and confident in it’s definitely an amazing feeling.
What is a current trend you would like to have banned?
I’m really not into all the glittery pieces. It’s just a bit too over the top for me, and I’ve never worked out how to wear sequins without catching them on things and making them fall off! Maybe I’m just too clumsy for glitter!
What is the least known place in your hometown you love the most?
Whenever I have an hour or two to myself in between meetings I’ll hole up in a bookshop somewhere. Daunt Books has an absolutely beautiful interior, and the new Foyles on Charing Cross Road is full of seats and hidden corners you can hide away with a good book.
Has your life changed since you are a blogger? If yes, what has changed?
It’s changed so much! I never imagined blogging would become such a huge part of my life – I can’t imagine what I’d do without it! I now spend my time between blogging and writing. Blogging has led to so many wonderful opportunities, whether it’s travelling across the world with a brand, styling a photoshoot for a magazine, or simply getting amazing clothes delivered to me every day. But for me, blogging is more than these perks. As great as they are, the true enjoyment of blogging comes from creating beautiful content for our readers with my boyfriend Callum (he does all our gorgeous photography!) and pushing ourselves to dream bigger and better.
What was the funniest comment on your blog?
I’ve had a few weird, personal ones that I’ve had to delete! Mostly men, and strangely it’s almost always a comment about my legs/feet ..!
What is your motto in life?
Work hard, live hard. I don’t mean hard as in drive yourself completely crazy working all hours of the week and never let yourself stop for breath (though I’m totally guilty of doing this myself), but as in just really put your all into every little thing you do. Life is short and unknown, so make sure you’re spending it chasing your dreams and always trying to be the best version of yourself :) x
One of my favourite things about running Girl in the Lens is that I get to explore London in so many different ways than before. As anyone who’s been to London knows, it’s a city where stepping off the tourist trail leads you to beautiful little corners and hidden streets ripe for exploring on a lazy afternoon, especially if like me you’re a shopaholic looking for new independent boutiques to discover. However it’s also a huge city, so help is sometimes needed to help you find these secret gems – and that’s where the StreetHub app comes in! Read on to find out why StreetHub is your new best-friend when it comes to independent homewear and fashion shopping …
HOW IT WORKS
StreetHub is an amazing new app that lets you discover London’s most eclectic independent shops. It works by showing you the best homewear and fashion boutiques nearby – particularly great if you’re in a part of London you’re not familiar with – and has a feed with top product picks from all the stores that you can shop directly within the app. If you’re passionate about finding products that are a little different and quirky, or just enjoy browsing new stores, then you’ve got to give it a go! On days where I’m in London and have a spare hour or two to myself, I’ll bring up my StreetHub app and take a look at what’s near me. I’ve discovered so many beautiful new boutiques this way! If you’re a Londoner then you’ll know one of the best areas for wandering and exploring is Notting Hill, so I thought I’d share with you two gorgeous stores in this area I discovered recently with StreetHub …
This shop is a jewellery haven! Jewellery is definitely the one type of item I’ll seeking out new designers, British-based brands and pieces handmade with care and love. It’s so personal, and having something a little different to the usual high-street offering always makes me feel special. You can tell a lot of work has gone into each Kuka-me piece. Made from 100% recycled 18ct gold or sterling silver, hallmarked by the London Assay Office and with playful, unique designs that blend craftsmanship and style, their jewellery is particularly great for those times when you want to buy find a really special gift – whether it’s for someone you love, or yourself! And their shop is just beautiful, a peaceful oasis in the heart of London that will have you dreaming of faraway places with sandy shores and a warm ocean-breeze. Ahhh, take me away …
From exotic-inspired designs to ones that are all about London loving! You might have heard of Oliver Goldsmith already as they’ve been a firm favourite with celebrities and anyone who loves playful, stand-out glasses since launching way back in 1926. Even the gorgeous Audrey Hepburn was a fan! I love their quirky styles and how they take inspiration from their vintage designs – which are all on show in the shop – but update them for the modern customer with top quality materials and always a touch of whimsy. If you’re interested in design and love retro styles then their Notting Hill store is a must-visit!
To discover these and plenty more unique shops and boutiques in London, download the free iPhone and iPad StreetHub app. If you aren’t an Apple user then don’t worry - they also have a great website too where you can search for stores and browse and shop just as you would with the app! With Christmas fast coming up, I’d definitely recommend giving StreetHub a try. It’s such a fun way to discover gifts that are totally unique and special, as well as exploring new areas of London and rediscovering familiar ones in a new way x
Sometimes I wonder if I was a man in a previous life, because clothing-wise I tend to gravitate towards masculine shapes and casual silhouettes. Slinky skinny jeans are all well and good, but if they’re ripped? Even better. Boots that are military-inspired always have a special place in my wardrobe. And coats? Make them oversized and menswear ready, thank you very much. Of course I enjoy more feminine shapes and styles too, but that’s the beauty of fashion – it’s just dress-up for grown-ups, and today I feel like being a boy (not that there is any distinct identity a ‘boy’ should have. Thankfully gender roles are increasingly being seen as fluid, and fashion is following suit. I’m just talking in a general sense here about typical male and female wardrobes). Tomorrow my princess-mode might kick in and if I tried to wear the same outfit as today it would just feel wrong. It can take a while each morning to dress as I need to get a feel for what mood I’m in, but if you’re like me and have a style that seems very mood-dependant you’ll know how fun it is too waking up in bed every day wondering who you’ll be dressing up as this time … x
Luckily for us London is only a hop, skip and a jump away (*ahem* a twenty minute train ride), but if you’re not within easy reach of the city then it can seem pretty daunting trying to plan a trip that won’t break your budget. The capital isn’t renowned for affordable hotels, especially if you’re after something rather more style-conscious than a Travelodge and with a lot more luxe for your bucks. That’s where CitizenM comes in. They are all about affordable luxury with clever modern touches, and design that fuses technology and beauty. This summer, Callum and I checked in to their Bankside location for a little one-night getaway of our own …
The beauty of CitizenM Bankside is that it manages to feel like both a modern design museum and private little hideaway nestled at the centre of a bustling metropolis. For two tech junkies, one of the best things about the hotel is the clever use of technology – super easy computer check-in when you arrive that barely takes a minute, tablets to control the lighting in your room (there’s a range of pre-set themes catering for any mood you might be in), a huge catalogue of music, tv and films all from the comfort of your hotel bed. Everything is sleek and intuitive. It’s little details like this that make the hotel feel ahead of the game when it comes to functionality and affordability: they’ve used technology to keep interaction with staff at a minimum but without sacrificing your experience. The bright, fluro decor and playful touches – my favourite is the giant bookcase in the shape of a book – add a great deal of personality and give the hotel a unique, iconic feel.
And yet you somehow feel utterly at home at the same time. You’ll be so cosy in the uber comfy XL king-size beds you’ll never want to leave your room (thankfully late check out is an option at a small added cost!) and when you do you can lose track of time enjoying the hidden courtyards, chill-out areas and bar. There are so many areas to discover, each with their own individual style. Even in the height of summer on a busy weekend the hotel felt calm and spacious – no doubt the other guests had the same struggle we did leaving our bed! After check out, Callum and I even got a spot of blogging done in the cool dining room-come-workstation over coffee and a few naughty morning pastries. Ah, if only all working days could be like this … x