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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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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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

Look Book: Green Trousers, Boots and Leather

The lure of the three day weekend, is enough to get anyone excited and out the house. My best friend Steph has invited me out for a late lunch, and though the sun is out the weather is in somewhat of a confused state.

Today I wore: New Look Leather Jacket, Michael Kors Watch, Topshop multi-stack rings, ASOS Jersey green trousers and my favorite Topshop block heel leather ankle boots.

Look Book Leather jacket Look Book Leather jacket

Stacked rings and sparkley things

 

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

Look Book: Early Summer In London

 

It’s mid-April and London is experiencing a mini heat-wave. I’m talking highs of 23 degrees, which to most brits is practically tropical temperatures, coupled with the fact it’s not even May, the hope of a great British summer is contagious.

London in the sun is something everyone should experience, the city and the people that reside in it are transformed. You can smile at strangers, eat alfresco and a hard working day easily blends into an easy hazy evening spent with friends.

I rediscover long forgotten places of interest as I happily wonder the city streets, in no hurry to rush home from the usual cold and rain.

I’m wearing: Leather Biker Jacket New Look, French Connection Breton Stripe Top, ASOS Mom Jeans and of course my Ray Ban Wayfarers, Michael Kors Slim Runway Leather Watch

 

Biker and Stripes

Bond Street London, heading towards Sotheby’s Auction house

Biker Jacket and Stripes

 

Flowers and the Checked Shirt

Early Saturday morning just after the rain.

It’s one of those weekends where I have everything and nothing to do, nothing I would want to do, but many things I have been avoiding. I need to leave the house; no I must leave the house…… weekly flower shop it is.

Today I wore: Topshop Ponte High-Waist Jeggings, The Pink Coat Jonathan Saunders for DebenhamsASOS Check Shirt , Office Leather Chelsea Boots, Accessorize Tan Leather Bag and Daniel Wellington Watch.

Flowers and Checks

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