this week #01

:: by Lizzie
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I’ve decided to try out a new kind of blog post and I’m hoping it will become a regular feature. The plan with ‘This Week’ is to, every Friday, give a little bit of a run down of my week with the use of Instagram and to highlight particular products, meals, blog posts, design objects, I’ve been particularly enjoying that week. I’m a big fan of Instagram and love using it to communicate with SMUG customers, like – minded designers and bigger brands I love, as well as with friends and family. Obviously the visual element is the most important and enjoyable when it comes in to Insta but sometimes it’s nice to be able to tell a little bit more of the story – I hope to do that here.

 

A highlight this last week was Stylist Live, an event which happened to be located in the Business Design Centre, just over the road from SMUG. And, which happened to be hosting a Q&A with my two makeup and beauty gurus – Vivianna Does Makeup and Lily Pebbles. I went along, I plucked up the courage to ask a question and Anna even asked me what I was wearing on my lips! It was of course a recommendation of hers that I picked up in New York – Cherry Picking by Wet n Wild. I had the chance to meet Anna and Lily after the Q&A and they were both lovely and really encouraging. On that note and the NYC note too, I think it’s about time I share with you my US beauty haul, which I think will be coming in the form of a video. My first video ever. You Tube here I come!

 

There have been lots of new things arriving at SMUG, as well as some hype around products in the pipeline that are due to arrive very soon for The SMUG Christmas SHOP. Here’s the lowdown on my top picks I’ve been sharing on Instagram – Quilted Cushions, Ferm Living, £78 and £82 // Gia Leather Handbag in Tan, M.Hulot, £170 // Cactus Brooch, Macon et Lesquoy, £14 // Makers of East London Coffee Table Book, Hoxton Mini Press, £30 // Black Marbled Enamelware, Crow Canyon, £4 – £22.

 

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I also used Instagram to share some images from my most recent blog post ‘A London Girl’s Birthday Treat Day’ which you can read here.

 

Most Loved Beauty Product This Week – L’Oreal Paris True Match Foundation. Earlier this week I popped into Boots to pick up a bottle as both Lily and Anna (as mentioned above) have been raving about it. The formulation has been changed, making it more blendable and light weight on the skin but with that same good, buildable coverage. It’s also more moisturising which I really like. As you’d hope, they have a colour that is a really good match for my skin tone too. This foundation is well up there with its high end counterparts but with a drugstore price tag.

 

Favourite Blog Post This Week – This week I stumbled upon the effortlessly chic blog The Chriselle Factor and I’m loving it. Isn’t she gorgeous? Check out her recent post ’11 Tips To Look Expensive’. I’m just lapping this stuff up at the moment. Obviously it’s to be taken with a pinch of salt. We can’t all manage to maintain such a polished and perfect lifestyle and appearance but she’s great and encourages me to make a bit more effort when getting ready in the mornings.

 

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Best Meal This Week – Lunch at NOPI in Soho. Because SMUG gets pretty full on (and full-time) in the lead up to Christmas, Mum and I try to get as much of our Christmas shopping done on Mondays in October as poss. Last Monday was our first West End shopping day so we booked lunch at one of our favourite restaurants ever, NOPI. New on the menu and particularly special was the Roast Aubergine with Black Garlic, Broad Beans and Basil. We were also very happy to enjoy our old favourites – Courgette and Manouri Fritters with Cardamon Yogurt, Twice Cooked Baby Chicken with Lemon Myrtle Salt and Chilli Sauce and NOPI’s infamous Valdeon Cheesecake with Picked Beetroot, Almonds and Thyme Honey. It’s fair to say it was all delicious and set us up for a very productive day of shopping. You’ll be hearing more about that soon I’m sure. See you next Friday for ‘This Week #2’!

 

a london girl’s birthday treat day

:: by Lizzie
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Firstly – huge apologies for the blogging hiatus. September was a complete fail and I didn’t blog at all! What with London Design Festival, the Islington Design District, trips to Paris and New York (it’s a hard life), as well as sourcing and prep for The SMUG Christmas SHOP, I really struggled to find the time to blog and fell out of what had become a blogging routine I was really enjoying. I’m pleased to say I’m back on top of things and shall be blogging again twice weekly from now on.

 

The good news is that loads has happened so I’ve got lots of nice things to fill you in on. One thing I had intended to blog about in September (ahem – apologies again) was that towards the end of August I turned 32. As an August baby, growing up I was lucky enough to have my birthday in the summer holidays. I always thought it was kinda weird when other kids came in to school on their birthdays and felt as though everyone should get their special day off, whatever the time of year. Many moons later and I still expect to not have to work on my birthday, so true to form, took the day off and had an eating/shopping/pampering day out with my mum. Here’s what we got up to.

 

 

E A T I N G :

 

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A treat day out for me involves a lot of food, so we planned out priorities for breakfast, lunch and dinner a week or so before. We started with brunch at Hoi Polloi at the Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. I chose it partly because of my love of the rows of bright bulb lights and planting in its oh so stylish entrance, but the food itself certainly did not disappoint. We enjoyed everything we ate – even if mum thought I was a little nuts to go for a juice made from kale, spinach and chilli. All this health and fitness research is changing me! In short, Hoi Polloi was the perfect spot for a chilled but suitably glamorous brunch before traveling into town to get our shopping on.

 

One of my go to places to stop off at when out shopping in the West End with my mum is Dover Street Market. The interior styling and visual merchandising (as well as the crazy clothing and accessories) is really inspiring and always gets me excited and reinvigorated about being a shop keeper/stylist/buyer. My absolute favourite bit though is going to the top floor for a crumble and juice at Rose Bakery. The table for two by the window is our choice spot and we are always very well looked after (spoilt actually) because my friend Knomes is in charge. Things are always better when Knomes is in charge.

 

I had made a reservation at Rita’s back in north London for din dins so we knew we had that to look forward to (mmm… fried chicken) and that crumble would be enough to keep us going until later, so gobbled that up and got on with the shopping…

 

 

S H O P P I N G :

 

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I’ve already mentioned one shop I love to go to for inspiration (side note – can’t afford anything for sale there) and I’m kinda gonna have to hail another one now – Margaret Howell. My mum is a big fan. A pretty big percentage of her wardrobe are choice Margaret Howell pieces and I’m always happy to go along for the ride. The small selection of homeware, books, magazines and even the vintage furniture are all worth a good look too. Everything is subtle, classic, beautifully made and feels as though it will last forever, along with achieving that understated chic look that it’s impossible not to love.

 

On to the places we actually spent a little bit of birthday dollar… The plan/priority shopping-wise was to focus on beauty purchases. I’ve been getting well into skincare and makeup thanks to Anna of Vivianna Does Makeup and had been making a bit of a birthday beauty wish list so the places it really went down were Space NK, Liberty, Fenwick’s Beauty Hall and Boots. My top picks/special birthday treats were as follows.

 

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Space NK – By Terry Ombre Blackstar Cream Eye Shadow Stick in Misty Rock

Liberty – Bobbi Brown Full Coverage Face Brush

Fenwick – Charlotte Tilbury Rock ‘N’ Kohl Eye Pencil in Marlene Midnight

Boots – Estee Lauder Revitalizing Supreme CC Cream

 

 

P A M P E R I N G :

 

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Birthday treat day with your mum = beauty treatment of some description no? We opted for Cowshed manicures and loved every minute. We sat in two huge white poofy armchairs next to each other and chatted away (until mum fell asleep because she was so relaxed) while the manicurists primped, preened and polished our nails. It really was the most pampering manicure I’ve ever had and I’d really recommend treating yourself some time. Loved the cucumber water too.

 

Perfect paws and beauty purchases in tow, we made our way home, each to our own flats (currently opposite each other!) so I could have a quick costume change/make up refresh and a catch up with Danny before meeting up with the rest of the gang for dinner at Rita’s. Special thanks and mentions need to go out to Ben and Gemma for the Violet Bakery Cookbook (keep your eyes open for some of the recipes being tried out for CAFE SMUG) and to Rosa and Olly for the amazing Rococo Chocolates. Having been lucky enough to read and eat these respectively, I would highly recommend both.

 

To top off and wrap up the most perfect of days and evenings, a huge platter of every desert on the menu arrived at our table, complete with candles and the whole Rita’s team singing happy birthday. It felt a bit like being a famous person! Seriously though, it was such a treat. Those Dulce de Leche Beignets! We even got a lift home with Ro and Ols (such a lazy bones, I know). What a thoroughly lovely and treat filled day. Thanks guys! What special treats do you look forward to on your birthday? And what makes your special day special to you? For me it’s spending the day surrounded by beautiful things, with beloved family and friends, in my favourite city in the world that I’m lucky enough to call home, London.

 

cromer carnival – the must do guide

:: by Lizzie
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Earlier in the summer we went to Cromer with Ben and Knomes. You can see/read about our stay at The Gunton Arms here, but I also wanted to share with you the wonders of Cromer Carnival. I’d never been to Cromer before (although I do love a bit of English seaside) and would now whole-heartedly recommend it. When should you go to Cromer? Go in August for the Carnival! What should you do when at the Carnival?…

 

C R O M E R  C A R N I V A L  –  T H E  M U S T  D O S :

 

Walk along the seafront and pier. Obvs! You’re at the seaside. Why would you not? We even took a dip in the water. Not just paddling, let me tell you. Full on submersion. Terribly English of us. Note to the wise – it’s pretty rocky once you’re in the water so bring your jellies to avoid ending up in the minor accidents wing with a broken toe. Yep, that happened.

 

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Go vintage, go car boot, go second hand! The Cromer Boot Sale put on for the Carnival was pretty great. We bought all sorts of fun old stuff – vintage badges/brooches and pins (pictured below), lovely old and slightly rusty bottle openers, epic nostalgic toys like Paymobile and metal aeroplanes, and a cute plate to add to my ongoing collection of vintage saucers and side plates. We also had a good rummage at Bookworms of Cromer and each left with a couple of new volumes (well, new for us – everything’s second hand).

 

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Have fun at the fair. Go on rides, shoot stuff off of shelves (see Knomes in the slideshow above), watch the nobbly knee and prettiest bitch contests and hold an owl or hawk if you’re brave enough! We sadly missed the vintage American car parade which I’m sure would have been epic – next year me thinks.

 

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Eat lots of seaside goodies. Come rain or shine, fish and chips are a delicious English seaside (and city) classic. We thought No. 1 Cromer was best of the bunch when it came to absolutely fresh, lightly battered, perfectly seasoned F ‘n Cs (although I’d avoid their battered pineapple – I thought it would be amazing but it was kinda meh). On the up side though No. 1 also make freshly baked doughnuts while you wait. Now listen carefully – it’s imperative that you buy a bag and share them. One ring will not be enough. Trust me. If you’re in the healthy camp then Cromer crab is the way to go. They’re famous for it! Seriously though, the doughnuts… They’re totally worth it and you can work off the calories on the Cromer putting green along the seafront no?

 

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