A CONFUSED STATE OF MIND

Now with the lighter mornings, I wake up with a jolt convinced I have overslept and it’s the middle of the afternoon. Exasperated by the ever changing weather which is constantly catching me out; umbrella, sunglasses, gloves and hat all squashed in my bag for fear any minute now it could rain, hail or be blazing hot sun, whilst on my walk my home from the office. The topic of conversation for the past week has been speculation as to when the clocks will change, it happens the same time every year, yet we all sit in fear of whether the clocks have “fallen” back or “sprung” forward, as if it’s a conspiracy to rob us all of an hour of sleep, I’m not sure as to why British Summer Time clock changes occurs (adds to Google list for later), but anything that messes with my sleep routine can’t be good. Even as I write this post it’s Sunday morning 27th March and the clocks have indeed change, so what time is it? Did my phone update automatically? Am I late or early? Who knows and what am I doing today?

 
FullSizeRender (13)
After checking my iPhone, iPad, the internet …. Oh and the microwave, I finally trust I actually know what time it is and remember it’s the Easter weekend.

 

My confused state of mind is illustrated in my sometimes chaotic outfit choices as I layer on random items of clothing when the temperature suddenly drops or the wind decides to literally sweep me off my feet. Case and point: Good Friday, I decided to go out shooting with my sister for her trainer (sneaker) blog “For The Love Of Kicks” in preparation for world Nike Air Max day, which is a thing apparently. The sun was out which seemed to surprise us all with temperature highs of 16 degrees when a few days ago we barley reached 4 degrees in the sun. But you need not worry about me as I was well pre-prepared, at the bottom of my bag was my classic Rayban’s and I threw on my favourite cotton parker …umbrella also packed just in case.

 

Look book My Magnolia Sky

Look book My Magnolia Sky

 

Topshop cotton parker, H&M stripped jersey top, ASOS Farleigh mom jeans, Nike Roshe Run trainers, Ray-Ban sunglasses and the ever faithful Jaxon hat.

 

BRITISH SUMMER TIME
I distressed my ASOS jeans myself, interesting evening with the cheese-grater.

 

Outtakes from my shoot  “For The Love Of Kicks”

 

for the love of kicks

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It’s my Birthday and I can cry if I want to….

Tales from the forgotten festive babies…

As I wake-up I instinctively reach for my iPhone to be confronted with a deluge of messages, as to today is actually my birthday. I quickly scroll through replying my thanks and appreciation surveying who actually remembered this year, the absent messages sometimes saying more than those who have sent me an essay of words.

I have mixed feelings about this day, which marks when I first entered the world. Along with the usual issues with getting older bringing you closer to the inevitable end, it’s a feeling of excitement and genuine dread, resulting in a ball of anxious energy that fills my stomach with butterflies and awkward knots. Sprinkled with those odd moments of sadness that tinge your day, you dare not mention for fear of being reprimanded by your friends and family “It’s your Birthday… cheer-up, you should be happy”

As my 30 *coughs* something Birthday falls upon the closing of the year in that strange lull between Christmas and New Year. When most are still recovering from their festive hangover and anticipating the New Year’s celebration, I’m quietly turning a year older.

That reminds me a special mention to all the festive babies, the forgotten few whose special day is often overshadowed by the birth of Jesus. “No I don’t want a joint Christmas and Birthday gift and no you can’t owe me one after you get paid in January and no I won’t be combining my party with the New Year’s celebration and finally no you can’t use that leftover Santa paper to wrap my gift.” My middle name Abiodun literally means being born during the festive period, another blatant reminder from my parents, anyway as usual I have grossly digressed, back to the point.

Christmas wrapping paper not acceptable for birthday gifts..

 

Christmas wrapping paper not acceptable for birthday gifts..

I can’t help but take a retrospective look at the last 12 months events. The highlights include my summer in Asia, finally setting-up my blog and building new relationships. I also think about the things I’m not too happy about, it’s hard not to think of everything I am yet to achieve. In this modern age of social media it’s too easy to measure your own success against the achievements of your peers.

I’m constantly confronted with the statement “by now I should have…..”
Been married, had a small litter of children, climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, paid off my student loan, reached my goal weight, registered my nectar card. The list is long and deep, covering a range of topics, which cloud my thoughts on a daily basis. It doesn’t help with the added pressure of comparing oneself to the “modern women”, which includes looking like a 20 year old, while having perfect children, still dressing effortlessly fabulous and thighs that defy the laws of physics. All the while maintaining an amazing career and showing the rest of us you can have it all; I’m talking about you Beyonce!

Whenever I’m feeling this way I think of the Billy Joel song Vienna.
“Slow down, you’re doing fine
You can’t be everything you want to be
Before your time”

However rather than dwelling on the things I’m yet to do, or even may never do I will focus on what is actually within my control. Firstly by asking myself the following:

Three things I have learnt about myself this past year?
Three things I will be doing differently this coming year?

Answers to the above in my next post, now I’m off to eat cake without any guilt, because it is my Birthday and I can if I want to.

Thanks to all my friends and family who despite me do all they can to make this day special.

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LOOK BOOK: SUMMER FLORALS ON THE STREETS OF SHEUNG WAN

MY HK TRAVEL DIARY PART 2

Ok so it’s my first week and I have finally acclimatised to the time difference and the high humidity. Having also mastered the MTR metro system I feel confident moving around HK, however the only issue I have now is not really knowing where I should go. Living in London most of my life, there is not much of the city I haven’t seen, I’m used to finding the most obscure and random places that you won’t find on Trirpadvisor of Timeout. Whereas in HK I was the novice, therefore had to convince my work colleague to show me some of the places he would go in the city he calls home.

So we headed over to Sheung Wan, located on HK Island close to Central. I wasn’t sure what to expect but I would describe Sheung Wan, as traditionally nostalgic mixed with modern architecture which is synonymous with HK. The ladder multi-level streets and cobbled pavements add to the charm though keep in mind when selecting footwear (fashion flats would be a good choice).

I knew we would spend most of the day out and about so opted for an outfit that was comfortable and practical for the afternoon activities.

Today I wore Summer Florals: French Connection lime chiffon top, Debenhams cut-off washed jeans, New Look floral Kimono and River Island chunky gold sandals.

STREETS OF SHEUNG WAN

The multi level ladder streets, where old meets new

STREETS OF SHEUNG WAN

STREETS OF SHEUNG WAN

So much more to come My Hong Kong Travel Diary

AFRICA IN THE CITY

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m in a quandary as to what to do with the rest of my day, having dragged myself reluctantly to the gym for my weekly punishment I was feeling in an inspired mood to get out and about (any opportunity to hit the streets with the Nikon).
Several of my friends had told me to attend August in Africa Summer Festival, presented by The Africa Center at London’s Covent Garden, a celebration of all things amazing and African inspired. However central London on a Saturday isn’t one of my favourite things, especially since the week before I made the mistake of trying to shop the sales in Oxford Street on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Let’s just say the day ended with me having to express a few choice words to a complete stranger about the importance of common sense and decency. From that point I vowed never again.

I actually love Covent Garden, it’s an eccentric  mix of old London, mixed with modern shops and restaurants, however there is a reason I avoid it on any given Saturday, due to the very high volume of people in what is considered a very small area of space. It becomes a real challenge to traverse the streets to avoid collisions with tourists and general “out of towners”, whilst trying not to photobomb every other picture. Hence why my reluctance to attend the festival, however I needed to run a few errands, so as I was going to be in the area anyway it seemed rude not to attend, also an opportunity to celebrate the wonderfulness that is Africa.

Upon arrival in the Piazza we found a large stage, where DJ Oya Bun was currently playing an array of upbeat Afro Beats to keep the waiting crowd entertained. The atmosphere was relaxed and happy encouraged by the very fortunate good weather. As I said previously I hadn’t really intended on attending the festival so hadn’t checked the timings for the line-up, a quick google search later I realised we had missed a number of opening acts, which included; Ali Kamara, Simo Lagnawi, Bonga, Taalim and later in the evening Fuse ODG.

Undeterred we decided to explore the festival further, more importantly, do some shopping, which was perfectly timed as we managed to catch the beginning of an on the street fashion show, showcasing African inspired contemporary fashion, all put together by Vou Brown, fashion boutique located in North West London (I will be visiting in the near future)

Africa Summer Festival

 

 

The Men’s fashion did not disappoint

 

After the show we were able to shop the looks straight off the cobbled catwalk. My purchase of choice being an Ankara print turban, for those days when my hair is not looking quite ready for outside eyes and fabric covered earrings by Gitas Portal to add to my already too large collection.

African Summer Festival 2015

 

Overall the afternoon turned out to be a fun day it was nice to see young and old experiencing Africa’s finest. Showing the continent is more than a news headline but is rich with colour, culture art and fashion in its many evolving forms. Also a great precursor to next week’s event of Africa Fashion Week London, which I’m sure many of you will be attending.

Let me know if you attended the festival, your comments and feedback  are always welcome. Don’t forget to subscribe to the blog and follow me @mymagnoliasky

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Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings, Friendship disection

Those that know me well will know that I have been brainstorming the whole concept of friendship of late. We dedicate so much time to analysing our romantic relations and there is a deluge of literature dedicated to being a better wife, parent, employee; but very little in reference to being a good friend.

It’s so easy to take real friendship for granted and forget even the strongest of bonds need time, effort and a little love sprinkled on top, to renew that union you share for the next 10 years.

So when Steph invited me out for a late lunch I jumped at the chance to hang-out with one of my best friends, on a sunny bank holiday with the stress of work long forgotten.

The lunch was not just about the food, though it was delicious and we happily overate with willful abandon. No we were here to work, I enlisted Steph’s input and advice to help me formalise my thoughts around the subject of “Friendship” by the end of our meal we had dissected and categorised the different friendship types, from the “faux plutonic friend” to the “default group buddy”. Too much to write in this post, which lead me to the conclusion I need at least a whole post dedicated to the subject matter if not an entire series.

Anyway back to today’s lunch, we found ourselves at Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings in Clerkenwell London, a relaxed eating environment serving all day breakfast and brunch.

For full details of what I wore, see my LOOK BOOK.

Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

The all day brunch menu has something for everyone

We ate the full works breakfast with a “side” of pancakes
Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings
Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

Tropical print chairs

The indoor conservatory/ green house
Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

Steph’s dress encompassed the botanical tropical theme beautifully “happy accident”
Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

Stacked rings and sparkly things.For full details of what I wore, see my LOOK BOOK.

Bourne & Hollingsworth Buildings

Travel Diary: Return to Bangladesh, Dhaka, June 2015

Bangladesh is the world’s second largest manufacturer of garments, most of which are supplied to many of the brands you and I wear. Working in the fashion retail industry means I have become a frequent visitor to the country, more specifically the capital Dhaka. It’s early June, meaning the temperature and humidity is high, as soon as I stepped of the plane I was greeted by the heat, reminiscent of an open oven door in a hot kitchen.
Dhaka city itself is a living contradiction; from the high rise modern buildings, versus the simple shacks many of the city’s residents still live in. On the roads the traditional rickshaw riders have equal standing against the larger buses and shiny 4×4 cars. The common thread being everyone’s desire to beat the traffic and not to be caught in the dreaded “JAM”.

The readymade garment industry in Bangladesh is still relatively new compared with its other competitor countries such as China and India. However the growth has been exponential, making Bangladesh a strong contender in the market of fashion manufacturing.

This growth hasn’t come without its challenges with recent tragedies such as the Tazreen factory fire and the collapse of the Rana Plaza building, highlighting the need for resource and investment to support this rapidly growing industry.

The people were friendly and as I was a very obvious foreigner I did attract some curious stares, especially in the more remote areas just outside the city.
People Bangladesh Dhaka

People Bangladesh Dhaka

I have an hour to spare so I accompany my colleague to a food market, while she shopped for dinner.
Food Market Dhaka Bangladesh

Fresh produce is easily available, supplied by the surrounding farmlands of the city.
Bangladesh Food

Bangladesh Food

As we drive out of Dhaka city, leaving behind the beeping car horns, crowded streets and congested city life, I get to see the other side of the country. Sprawling forests, green farm land and most importantly quiet empty roads, a complete contrast to the city center.
Bangladesh

My London: Brick Lane shopping

After filling our stomachs with what seemed like all the pancakes at Hoi Polloi Restaurant, Ace Hotel (see my previous post), it made sense to go for a walk to try a burn off some of our very large brunch. So myself and my friend Carina headed over to Brick Lane only a few minutes’ walk from Shoreditch High Street.

 

 

Brick Lane is an interesting place, where you will find some of the best curry houses, vintage shops and street art which line this very unique street. The street style fashion is amazing to observe from 90’s throwback, 80s punk and modern day mod-tailoring. There is a high concentration of people wearing Mom Jeans and a 2.8 average jaunty hat ownership per capita (note these statistics are completely fictitious though probably not far-off).

Brick Lane Vintage shops offer an array of retro fashion, though not the cheapest but you will be spoilt for choice.

Our first stop is the ever popular Rokit Vintage and Retro Clothing Shop, which has everything from old school Puma sneakers to cut-off vintage Levis 501’s.
Rokit

 

The Vintage Market Brick Lane.
Indoor market with various vendors all under the one roof.

Carina tried on this hat for so long I thought she actually had bought it, at only £15 it was a bargain.
Brick Lane Vintage Market

 

 

Today I’m Wearing: Topshop Parka, H&M printed blouse, Daniel Wellington Watch and Vintage Silk Scarf from my trip to Hong Kong.
Topshop with Vintage Silk Scarf

Brick Lane BookShop
I’m not sure when William Shakespeare wrote Othello, he had “MR T” in mind, but I think it works.

We accidentally happen upon a Street Art tour group, and decided to tag along for a moment, which is another great thing about Brick Lane the art is everywhere. Round every corner or side street you can find another piece more thought-provoking than the last.

As the afternoon sun starts to dim we head back to Liverpool Street Station to catch the tube home, I’m very proud of myself having controlled my urge to buy anything, but there is always next time.

Brunch at Hoi Polloi, Ace Hotel

Those that know me well, know I love a leisurely brunch on lazy afternoon, catching-up with friends whilst enjoy good food. On this gloriously sunny afternoon I met with my friend Carina, location Hoi Polloi, Ace Hotel, Shoreditch.

It was my first time visiting Hoi Polloi, though I had been to the Ace Hotel on a number of occasions. The entrance to the restaurant is not the most obvious, as you make your way through a florist or if like me who got very confused the neighbouring bar. Once inside I was delightfully surprised by the spacious yet intimate space. The Art Deco touches, mixed with the soft leather booths and paneled wood, resulted in a comfortable and inviting dining environment. The menu was presented as an old newspaper and our table water is served in old glass milk bottles.

 

However the highlight of the day was the string quartet playing some of the best pop classics, myself and Carina found ourselves pausing in conversation to enjoy the music. I have heard Beyoncé Crazy in Love a million times, but I got to enjoy it as if for the first time and found myself wanting to sing along.

The clientele were what as expected for this part of London; think bearded, clad in denim and ironic take on fashion representative of East London.

I ate stacked pancakes topped off with bacon and maple syrup, undoing all the good work I had done in the gym that very morning. Though there was no remorse as they were wickedly delicious, certainly worth another visit.

Hoi Polloi Pancakes

The staff were friendly and we didn’t feel at all rushed to hurry-up and leave, in fact we could have easily spent the whole afternoon hanging-out and chatting.

 

For more about Hoi Polloi Restaurant visit: www.hoi-polloi.co.uk

 

Hoi Polloi, Restaurant Review