Behind the scenes at Oliver Bonas

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

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Without a shadow of a doubt, one of my favourite home, fashion and all things bright and beautiful brands- is Oliver Bonas. I can't remember the first time I stepped for in a store, or the first time I deliberated whether I really needed that colour dipped wooden bowl (the answer my friends, is always yes)- but I know it's happened a lot since. Known for their vibrant, original and simply beautiful home and fashion (whether that's mismatched drawers, cocktail chairs of my dreams or copper detailed kitchenware)- the brand are one that make me yearn for a place of my own, and a wardrobe brimming with prints and colour...

So, after posting about my visit to the Lush factory last year, I was determined on discovering a little more about the goings on of another favourite brand. It's easy to assume there are no faces, or personalities behind the companies you adore- and that everything is done by computer, machines and factories in quiet corners of the world- so, getting to actually see and learn about what really goes on is a huge treat, and an eye opener too.

Oliver Bonas HQ What Olivia Did Oliver Bonas HQ What Olivia Did Oliver Bonas HQ What Olivia Did Oliver Bonas HQ What Olivia Did
With their offices laden with giant hand drawn inspiration paintings and prints, rainbow paper garlands dripping from the ceilings and staff (voluntarily) dressed in the seasons latest special items- it's no surprise everyone in this office is absolutely lovely- and loves what they do. I was lucky enough to speak to the ladies behind the clothes, the gentleman behind the visuals (and their amazing shop fronts)- and Olly himself, because without him- there'd be no OB!

Unlike many other high street and fashion brands, Oliver Bonas rarely follows trends. They make nods to them, sure- but each design is thought about in a more personal and timeless way- with prints being hand illustrated and based on story-like scenarios- opposed to the next 'big thing'. With their current collection inspired by seaside shores, Hawaiian sands and picnics surrounded in fruit-filled fields, buyer and designer Becky and Annalisa- talked me through the collection, talking about the inspiration (candy rocks and deck chair stripes), the photo shoot- and sourcing everything from the fabric- to each individual illustration- pretty amazing really!

Oliver Bonas HQ What Olivia Did Oliver Bonas HQ What Olivia Did Oliver Bonas HQ What Olivia Did Oliver Bonas HQ What Olivia Did
On top of that, I've always been hugely in awe of the way the brand shoots, styles and merchandises their products. All you have to do is have a peek through their website or walk past one of their pretty enchanting shop windows to see (you can thank their amazing VM Manager, Dan, for that). Their look books are the kind that I keep for inspiration (or, if you're feeling modern 'pin' online) and the way everything is styled is pretty inspirational indeed. Now just to not spend the next four hours on their website... Have I converted you yet?


3 New Artists: The Great Escape 2015

Monday, 25 May 2015

Heading to any festival requires a bit of planning ahead. Whether that's browsing the line up eagled eyed and armed with a fluorescent highlighter, scouring Spotify for pre-made playlists or simply picking up a copy of the NME and fingering through in order to find the next best thing- it's nice to be prepared- especially when it comes to The Great Escape. Largely comprised of new and emerging artists (with a few 'established' picks on the lineup)- it means listening ahead, and knowing how and where'll be best to spend your precious time (special guest Maccabees pun not intended). This year I was extra organised (for once), creating a playlist and doing a wee bit of map-reading before with Joe. I've split my picks of the weekend in to two posts (for extra listening)- so stay tuned for numero deux!

Flo Morrissey
Flo Morrissey Great Escape 2015
Flo was the first act we caught on Thursday, and possibly one of the biggest highlights of the weekend. With her set hosted in the rather magical Unitarian Church- which couldn't possibly have been more fitting, her set was so ethereal and special you could have heard a pin drop from the second she stepped up to the microphone. Standing on stage like some kind of other wordily (or pre-rapephilite) Joni Mitchell, Flo sang with velvety folk inspired vocals tied with the kind of ageless sound that merges something modern and something of another time, which is pretty beautiful indeed.

Check out Flo here

Soak Great Escape 2015
Having already held a support slot for George Ezra, and played more festivals than I can count on two hands (this probably says it all), Soak is probably only months away from taking over the world- and it's pretty stunning to know she wasn't born with a guitar in her hand (she only learnt a few years ago). Filling the gap between folk and alternative, and with rich raspy accented vocals singing of teen angst, sea creatures and growing up- there's something whimsical in the darkness of her songs and something unforgettable to boot.

Check out Soak here

Shamir Great Escape 2015

Having been a bit of a Shamir cheerleader since I first heard 'I know it's a good thing' late last year, forcing it upon friends ('LISTEN, it's 'She wears my favourite colour everyday in her eyes! HOW BEAUTIFUL IS THAT'), last weeks set showed that Shamir is far more than just a pretty brilliant song writer (his album, Ratchet, shows there's more to his songs than just haters and beats big enough to start a party), but a pretty epic performer too. Bringing a slice of dance pop to an otherwise guitar and folk based evening (never a bad thing in my opinion), Shamir was completely fantastic and rounded up our Friday at the festival perfectly.

Check out Shamir here

Also worth a listen...

All Tvvins, Happyness, Kate Boy, Rat Boy, Pins, Aurora, Rebecca Clements, The Garden, Klaus Johann Grobe, Bully, The Beach, Asylums


The Great Escape

Saturday, 23 May 2015

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(Dress: Cloclothes, Shoes: C/O UGG, Bag: Next, Bracelets: Astrid & Miyu, My Flash Trash & Claire's)

So, it's been a week since Joe and I packed our bags (or, in my case, bloody massive suitcase) and headed down to Brighton for this years Great Escape Festival. With it being my third year at the festival I felt ~relatively~ clued up and felt excited to show Joe the ropes and catch some exiting new artists, whilst galavanting around in my favourite seaside city (we also vlogged the weekend, so if you fancy some lols, at both my poor filming skills, and awkward mumbles then head this way too)!

Now, the festival wasn't the only Great Escape going on last weekend (I have about another four posts lined up, so stay tuned). In ties with our little adventure, UGG kindly sent over a pair of their comfiest (and most summery) shoes in connection with their very own Great Escape campaign- a pretty perfect match if you ask me? Now, when I say Ugg- you say? Sheepskin? Winter boots? An ultimately impractical summer shoe? Oh buddy- let me stop you there. With these espadrilles getting serious kudos in the comfort and style stakes, I paired them with a new favourite dress designed by my uber talented pal Chloe (trust me, take a look at her pieces if you haven't already)- and made the most of the small bit of sunshine- which, let me remind you, doesn't always mean it's hot. Funny that...

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Girl Crush #2: Izy Hossack

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Izy Hossack Top With Cinnamon
Meet Izy...

At 19- I’m pretty sure Izy Hossack is already on her way to taking over the world. Having read her blog and followed her Instagram with keen eyes (and a rumbling tummy) for just over a year, it was the release of her debut cookbook, Top With Cinnamon, that had me racing to her front door (with permission, obvs)- keen to catch up and find out more about the girl who is not only an exciting, original and downright delicious chef- but a kick ass food stylist, photographer and writer to boot. Impressed? You will be. Chatting about rummaging in charity shops for the perfect props (and how buying one lone plate always looks a little bit weird), hobby sheds and stuffing yourself silly with too many enchiladas (but it always being worth it in the end)- I couldn’t wait to hear more from one of the most talented ladies on my Instagram feed (and now kitchen shelf)…

Hey Izy! So, for those of us that haven’t heard of you before, tell us a little about yourself...

So, I’m 19 I live in London, and I’ve been blogging for almost four years. My parents both cook, and my dad has an allotment, so I’ve grown up learning to cook from them. My mum is Italian American so she’s bought all of her family recipes over, so that’s how I learnt to bake. It’s all of the classic American recipes like chocolate chip cookies, red devils food cake- which didn’t really come to the UK for ages, but that’s the kind of stuff I grew up making. When I started blogging the bloggers I was reading were mainly American blogs- so the theme of mine kind of started from that. When I grew up I also had lactose intolerance, so that’s kind of the motivation behind some of those recipes too (I couldn’t eat ice cream or drink hot chocolate, for example), and I wish that’s what I’d have had growing up. It wouldn’t be like ‘Oh you can't ever eat icing again because it has butter in it!’

Izy Hossack Top With Cinnamon So, how does an average day for you look? You’re now on your gap year, so you must have some more free time!

Usually I’ll have breakfast, and then perhaps Instagram it- depending on what I’m having! That will give me an opportunity to sit down and look through Instagram, which is where I get quite a lot of inspiration from, as you can see lots of different styling and recipes. When you get used to baking, you can usually work out how you’d do a recipe yourself- so you wouldn’t need instructions (unless it was something complex)- so that’s a really easy way of getting inspiration. I also read a lot of blogs (about 300), and there are definitely a lot of people, especially in America that I find incredible. There’s one called Local Milk- and she has amazing styling, and an amazing kitchen and props!

You’ve grown up in a really foodie household, did you have any memorable meals growing up, or any special moments?

Well, I remember the first time I was baking alone was when my mum was out- and I decided to bake some rice crispy treats. I must have been about ten, but I felt like such a rebel melting stuff on the stove! I was doing it really quietly, but when mum came home she wasn’t mad so it was like ‘Ok! I can bake myself now!’

Ah that's amazing- especially whilst the rest of us were probably doing Tom and Jerry box cakes! In terms of your book (which I'll talk about more in a minute)- did you style everything yourself too, as well as bake it all?

Yes! I did the photography too!

Izy Hossack Top With Cinnamon Which is pretty amazing in itself- I feel you are definitely a woman of many talents! Are there any favourite recipes in the book?

The one I tell everyone is Swedish chocolate cake, and it’s just one that my mum, who has this family recipe book, wrote down and acquired over the years. It’s Swedish name is something like Kladdkaka- which translates as sticky chocolate cake, and it’s basically just this brownie slash molten chocolate cake! You just melt everything in a pot, and then put it in the oven for twenty to thirty minutes, and it’s done. It’s really good for entertaining, because everyone loves chocolate- gooey chocolate- and it’s so easy to make!

It sounds amazing… How long did it take for your to curate all of the recipes? Are they ones you’d collected- or ones you’d worked on especially for the book?

I’d been saving some up from that year, as I’d been thinking that I might go looking for an agent, or a publisher- so would keep some recipes aside just in case. Some were from my mums recipe book too- so there’s a recipe for cornbread, banana bread (which I changed) - and then the chocolate cake. So some are family and some I’d developed.

Izy Hossack Top With Cinnamon Are there are chefs, or women in food (or otherwise) you look up to or admire?

There’s a woman called Kerry Diamond, and she set up this magazine called Cherry Bombe in New York with her friend, and she’s dedicated it solely to women in fashion and food. I think it’s incredible how they're seeking out all of these different women in the industry- but finding all of the people that probably don’t get a lot of recognition and putting together a really nice piece of literature. It’s bi-annual so they take their time to curate everything, which is really nice- and I think she’s doing amazing things. Things are definitely changing, and there is more exposure for women working in the food industry, which is really cool.

In terms of cooking dinners- if you could cook dinner for anyone- who would it be, and most importantly- what would you cook?

Well I think the person would have to be Ruth Reichl, who’s autobiography I’ve read- and is an amazing food critic. She was a critic for the New York Times I think, and was there for about ten years and is hilarious. I think cooking for her would be amazing, and then reading about it afterwards about what she’d written would be great. Although her pieces are short they’re really informative, and interesting to read- so I think she’d be on my guestlist. In terms of what I'd cook, I think I’d cook are these shredded chicken enchiladas, where you take chicken breast, and cook it in this tomato sauce whilst you’re putting in smoked paprika, cumin and add spice to it too. Keep cooking it for half an hour, and then shred it up like pulled pork and roll it up with tortillas and sauce and cheese and bake it. I made some with my friend, and we literally made four but were full after one, but were like ‘these are so good, we have to keep going!’

Izy Hossack Top With Cinnamon In terms of cooking and ingredients- what are the ones you couldn’t live without?

I think maybe dark chocolate. I’m obsessed with 70% dark chocolate because you can use it for chocolate chips- which is so much better than actual chips as they make amazing melting puddles, or you can make a ganache for a cake, melt it and put it into a cake, or you can make mousse or ice cream- it’s just so versatile, and has such a good rich flavor as well.

Is it your biggest comfort food?

Hmm I’d say either pancakes or French Toast- I love breakfast food! If you use bread with raisins and cinnamon swirl in it too, it’s so good! I put so much cinnamon in the batter that it looks burnt- just all cinnamon!

Are there any place you go to for inspiration, or any favourite hideaways to eat in London?

Actually just up the road there’s a place called Hally’s- and is so nice, and is one of the few places in London – despite a lot of places opening up, that has a proper Californian Australian vibe. Think lots of smoothies, avocados and fresh brunch. I saw it on Pinterest first, and then was like ‘that’s in my Borough!’ I also just went to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen to try out their new Sunday lunch menu- and you can literally get a whole chicken for two people- and it’s such a nice interior as well. There’s lots of natural light, and they have the big Brooklyn style windows which are great for photos if you’re a photographer too!

Finally, what’s next for Izy?!

So I’m going to New York to do an internship with Food52, for two days a week- but am staying there for a month- so will mainly just be out eating at places in New York!

Izy Hossack Top With Cinnamon

You can check out Izy's beautiful blog here 


25 Before 25

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

What Olivia Did
Although next month I turn 22, I figured I'd need a little more than 12 months before I complete a lot of the things I'd like to on my '25 before 25' list. See it as a bit of an epic (and perhaps over-ambitious) 'to do' list, which will perhaps encourage me to get my bottom in gear every now and again and get out there! Some things are definitely more achievable than others (put it this way, I'm more likely to drink more water than write a book)- but a girl's gotta dream, right?

1. Get a tattoo
After deliberating this for the last couple of years, I think I'm almost set on what I'd like. I won't say too much (because I'll probably change my mind)- but it's only something teeny, but something I'd like to definitely have done! Joe and I have spoken about getting something when we're in New York this summer, so that could definitely be an option...

2. Save up. A lot.
Whether that's for the one day 'big day', a little pad (or a shed in London), a bit of travelling or even just because- I'd like to be a little more regimented with my saving- even if it's just for a rainy day, because the cold hard truth is that I really don't need another button up skirt.

3. See some more of the US!
My family and I spoke about this earlier this year (in light of a couple of big family birthdays in the next couple of years)- and decided we'd love to do a mini road trip in the U.S- which is pretty blooming exciting! I'd love to see Palm Springs and Salvation Mountain (and have also never been to LA)- so would love to tick some more U.S destinations off of my list!

4. Do a run- and not just for the bus...
It probably won't be a marathon (although wouldn't that be amazing)- but to be able to run more than just for the train- would be something I'd love to achieve. There's talks of me doing a little something next month in London (which I hope to do for charity too)- so watch this space!

5. Give savoury cooking a better shot (and improve my recipes)!
I love cooking. It's no secret, but sadly my #bakewithliv hashtag doesn't get half as much use as I'd like it too, and I'd love to become a better cook. From savoury dishes, new recipes and tastier cakes- I'd love to improve on my culinary skills in the next few years. Whether that's investing in lessons, or just taking more kitchen time- it's on the agenda!

6. Learn do DJ (no lols, ok)
This has been something I've mentioned to a few people in the past, and it's something I'd love to to. I doubt I'll ever be DJing on the White Isle (the thought alone makes me belly laugh a little)- but to be able to learn a new skill and incorporate something I'm so passionate about (music) would be pretty amazing.

7. Become a yoga queen
Or something like that ; ) mainly because I need to get a bit fitter, and it seems like something achievable I could perhaps start practising at home, soooo....

8. Bloody catch up on Game of Thrones (and Breaking Bad)
You have about 3 years Liv that should be enough. Just stop getting distracted and do it. Winter has come (and gone, and come again).

9. Continue to put time into my blog
... and try, if only a little, to nuture it and help it grow. I'm not business minded and I don't have a strategy behind my place on the internet- but if I can keep putting the love that I am into it now, then I'll be a happy lady.

10. Learn a new skill
... or perfect something you love doing. be it photography to cooking, try and really excel at something- and enjoy doing it more in your spare time- you don't always need to be on Twitter Liv, just saying.

11. Perfect my blog layout and archives
Hopefully this will be done by the end of this year- and in light of my blogs 5th birthday- what better way to celebrate!

12. Rinse my Young Persons railcard
I am lucky enough to have the little card of happiness in my purse that is my YP railcard. It gives me 1/3 off of UK train travel- and when it expires when I'm 25 I hope to be able to say that I truly took advantage of it and saw as much of the UK (at a slightly discounted rate) that I could!

13. In a dream world, it'd be 'have enough for a mortgage'
- so maybe I'll pop this on here for optimisms sake (and to maybe remind myself that maybe I don't need that handbag) because one day it'd be nice to have somewhere that was totally mw own. But again- it's nice to dream big!

14. Go on a girlie holiday!
I'm lucky enough to have a handful of fantastic girlfriends, and I'd love to be able to go on a girlie holiday with them. Maybe not all together at once, but to go on some 'out out' nights and make some more special memories. SOPPINESS OVER.

15. Write. A lot more.
Because that's why I started this blog and I love doing it.

16. Take a ballet class
Mainly because I think my 5 year old self would appreciate me giving it another shot as a fully grown adult (and without having to drag my nan on to the dance floor with me), plus after seeing The Nutcracker last year, I felt very inspired to give it a shot!

17. Go strawberry picking!
Pretty self explanatory!

18. Host a supper club
Even if it was once every month for a few friends- being able to learn to cook different meals and courses, and then share them with the people I love sounds like a great idea- and gives the perfect excuse for catching up!

19. Eat my way around Italy (or, EATALY)
I'm desperate to see more of the country, and anyone that knows me knows how much I cherish pasta, meat, bread and pizza (although, undeniably, there is more to Italy than that)- so can you possibly imagine a better holiday? Nope, I can't either...

20. Worry less
Another one that pretty much explains itself- but something that can help make life so much easier. Worry be gone!

21. Drink more water
- ultimate to do list, right?

22. Pass my driving test
My wonderful (and perhaps overly generous) instructor said that I could be at test level by the Autumn (for a girl who's manoeuvres are better than her driving that's probably saying something)- so I'd love to be mooching about in a car by then! Bring on British seaside road trips a plenty!

23. Have a day of playing tourist in my own city
Considering I've never been to Buckingham Palace or the Houses of Parliament, I'd love to take a day out to go full on tourist in London. Whether that's doing an open top bus, posing for photographs in Leicester Square (okay, I'm only joking there)- or eating at Angus Steak House (again, another porkie)- I'd love to take a day and properly discover London!

24. Write a book
It may never be published, it may be a story, or it may be a guide- but I'd love to write enough by the time I'm 25 to have something worthy of having the word 'book' put to it. Be it a zine, novel or anything else, how amazing would that be?

25. Be excited for the future
and enjoy every moment! Life is short, precious and exciting- so make the most of it with the special ones around you.


London Loves #2

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Although initially this was going to be a little longer than just two favourites (I've recently discovered some new favourite East London loves)- I thought I'd put up a 'How to do a staycation in London' post instead, which may be a little more interesting, but will be coming up verrrry soon! However, to tide you over I thought I'd pop in a couple of places I've visited lately and loved- both of which are absolutely perfect to head to when the weather is beautiful, so fingers crossed this sunshine stays (she says typing away in her back garden)...

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Now, I know you should't judge a book by it's cover, or a cafe by it's shopfront (unless you know, it has broken lights and letters missing)- but having walked past this place several times on Clapham Common, and even stopped to snap an Instagram picture before having ever tried the food- I was pretty excited to head into Tart a few weeks ago. Specialising in, you guessed it, Tarts- this place takes pastry based lunches to a new level- with their ham hock and salmon and pea numbers having me at hello. Not only that, but they do absolutely delicious homemade asserts too, all exciting in flavour- and totally affordable to boot. Plus, if you fancy heading out on to the Common on a beautiful day- they offer Tart picnic baskets too- so you can enjoy the best of both worlds- huzzah!

25 The Pavement, London SW4 0JA

Vintage Salt
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Having previously visited the Selfridges rooftop restaurant during another of it's pop ups, I could think of nowhere better to grab a bite after my talk there last week, than at Vintage Salt (thank you all to everyone who came by the way)! Situated at the top of the department store, with views across London- it's current incarnation is the delicious Vintage Salt- a restaurant inspired by Cornish fishing villages and the great British sea, which, for a city central eatery is pretty refreshing! With a menu spanning from everything from fresh fish (I had the Earl Grey salmon salad which was beautiful), to classic and seafood based burgers and light salads- there's plenty of choice, and a pretty bloody excellent dessert menu too (let's just say the words 'chocolate burger' play a part)...

Selfridges, 400 Oxford Street, London


Spring Blossoms

Saturday, 16 May 2015

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(Dress: Bershka, Bangles: My Flash Trash/ Claires Accessories and Astrid & Miyu, Shoes: Next)

You didn't really expect me to go all year without posting a blossom fuelled blog post, did you? Did you?! Although this year the anti flower-power police seem to be on patrol (which, in fairness is understandable, as Instagram is a sea of pink petals- no?) I couldn't help but track down some cherry blooms in one of my favourite London Parks (albeit one of the last trees), in a new favourite denim dress (because I don't have enough of those)...

This time of year is always difficult when deciding what to wear (as I type I'm back in the tights club after moving out of an oversized knit)- so being able to wear something sans coat is pretty nice. I was kindly introduced to this Bershka number by my wonderful neighbour (who spotted it after I was coveting another AC x AG number)- and I swiftly headed in and picked it up. It's a shop I don't often frequent, so discovering a new high street gem (which I believe is from the Zara family)- is a treat indeed, so take note ladies!

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All photographs on this blog were taken by me (unless otherwise stated), please don't pinch them without asking and crediting to my blog