Events, treatments, activities all get featured here, in the lifestyle section.

A Day at Selfridges

It all started because of the heat.A Day at Selfridges

My Japanese grandmother is in town, and the heat of the city was beginning to get to us. Yes, it is hotter and more humid in Japan, but all the buildings are heavily air-conditioned, and our tiny flat had nothing of the sort. So we got the train into central London in search of cooler air, afternoon tea and souvenirs, and ended up at Selfridges. My grandmother made a beeline for the Cath Kidston section, which seems to be wildly popular in Japan – the kitschy flower and retro-style prints that are so quintessentially British have a great appeal over there. If you are ever in doubt as to what to buy a Japanese high-school girl, Cath Kidston would be a pretty safe bet.

It got a bit dangerous once we discovered that the department store accepted Japanese yen. As a late birthday present I was treated to a Michael Kors Selma handbag. For Christmas I’d been given the Jet Set Travel Tote, which I am rarely without – however its large size often meant I was filling it with unnecessary things, and the lack of a zipper always made me slightly nervous on the tube, so the Selma was a welcome addition.Michael Kors Selma I also got myself a new pair of loafers from Office. I bought some Oxblood ones for work last year and wore them until they got unbelieveably tatty. These grey ones are perfect – comfy, cute, and great for the office. The colour is unusual too, but not too ‘out there’ for work. Office loafer extravaganza

We moseyed round for a couple of hours and headed up to Aubaine on the second floor for a few refreshments.

A Day at Selfridges A Day at Selfridges

It was a really lovely atmosphere – we shared a pot of the Ceylan, and I had a couple of mini macarons. My grandmother had a scone and it was all delicious. The lunch menu looked amazing too, I’d definitely want to go back!Tea at SelfridgesScones at SelfridgesMacarons at SelfridgesAubaine, Selfridges Aubaine at Selfridges

I had a really lovely time at Selfridges – although we went midweek during the summer holidays, it was definitely calmer and less crowded (and not as full of tourists!) as some of the other department stores can get during this season.

Mashups I’ve loved this week

Homemade toffee popcorn cupcakes, made with my new stand mixer. These were salty, sweet and had fudge in them, too.

toffee popcorn cupcakes

Getting my blog in a printed form, thanks to Vistaprint! I love having photos and memories in a lovely coffee table book. Cheekily got myself a mug with the blog logo on it too, so I can write posts while drinking some coffee out of this mug and feel like a BOSS. The website was easy to use, and came out beautifully – makes me miss the days of photo albums, there’s something so lovely and luxurious about being able to physically touch images on paper.

islandbell mug islandbell photo book 2014-07-13 17.24.42-2 Vistaprint photobook

This video. I love how the two different videos work so well together. It’s been stuck in my head all week.

Misfit Shine activity tracker review

One of my New Years resolutions this year was to become healthier – to eat better, and be more active. Since graduating from university and working in an office, it’s easy to let weight creep on, and be tempted by the constant flow of office drinks, lunches and crappy breakfasts. Despite this, I have been doing quite well – I plan meals in advance, and go to the gym three times a week. This has saved me so much money, but it’s also been a great way to relieve stress. While I’m not the healthiest person in the world,  I have gradually been making small changes to offset my physical inactivity between the hours of 9 – 5: I take the stairs up in tube stations, and opt to walk instead of getting on the bus  (that is, if it’s not raining!) Little changes really do add up, but I wanted to see how much – and so my hunt began for an activity tracker.Misfit shineMisfit shine

If I’m going to be wearing something everyday, it needs to be aesthetically pleasing or it will drive me mad. This is what initially attracted me, and helped me to decide upon the Misfit Shine – practical and sleek, my Champagne coloured disc has attracted the attention of many, and has been a great conversation starter.Misfit shine

This little disc is powered by a battery which needs replacing every four months, and connects to my iPhone wirelessly through bluetooth. Through the iPhone app, I set myself a daily goal based on my height, weight, age and how much physical activity I do. It’s based on a personal target I’ve set myself, and by tapping the device throughout the day I can see how far along I am in reaching my goal. My personal goal equates to something along the lines of an hour and 45 minutes of walking, but I can meet my goals through various forms of activity. I wear my shine on my wrist on days when I go swimming (it’s waterproof!), or strap it to my sneakers with the magnetic clasp on days I decide to use the bikes in the gym. At the end of the day, you sync the Shine to the app and you can see how many steps you’ve taken, calories you’ve burned and ‘points’ you’ve earned throughout the day.

Misfit shine

I admit, when I first got the device over a month ago I became a woman possessed. I was obsessed with meeting my daily goal, in the same way David Sedaris became obsessed with his FitBit in this New Yorker article. I walked home from the office for over two hours on a day I’d been particularly inactive, and would be consumed with guilt the days I wouldn’t meet it. I’ve had it a while now, and have chilled out considerably. I love my shine – it’s oddly comforting to know how much I’ve been stomping around, and is a gentle, encouraging reminder to get out and be a little bit more active.

It also tracks your sleep, which is a feature I like, and tells you how many hours of deep sleep you’ve had.Misfit shine

The only downside to the product is that it can’t tell the difference between steps – you use a lot more energy going up flights of stairs (136 steps at Goodge Street station!), and the fact the device doesn’t always respond to my tapping (of course, only when my friends ask me for a demonstration of the device I’ve been raving about), but with the exception of those two points I absolutely love this nifty gadget and would really recommend it.

My shine, which I got here: Misfit Shine comes with a magnetic clasp (for your shoes) and a sports band (for your wrist). I’m currently coveting the rather stylish necklace and leather band accessories!

Anyone else have a good experience with their activity trackers?

Weird Science | Rooftop Film Club, Shoreditch

As part of my birthday present Mr. A took us out east to Shoreditch. Our relationship is built on the most solid of foundations – a mutual love for cheesy and ridiculous ’80s films, so an outdoor screening of John Hughes’ Weird Science seemed particularly apt!

Rooftop film club, ShoreditchQueen of Hoxton, Shoreditch Rooftop film club, ShoreditchRooftop film club, Shoreditch

The last time I went to an outdoor cinema in the UK was a few years ago when I went to see Ghostbusters at Spinningfields. It had chucked it down then, but that was Manchester – surely London in July would be a better bet? While I had dressed up and looked fairly glamorous (in an attempt not to look too scruffy next to the fashion forward yet casual Shoreditch crowd) the elements were against us, so for most of the evening I ended up looking like this:

Rooftop film club, Shoreditch

Although initially freezing, there was something oddly satisfying about watching a film wrapped up in a blanket under a poncho – it reminded me of going camping. The venue offers barbecue before the film screens, so we had a burger each with some rather healthy looking and lovely sides, which tasted very nice until it all got a bit wet. The rooftop of the Queen of Hoxton was decked out in cheery summery festival vibe and it was all rather sweet.

Rooftop film club, ShoreditchRooftop film club, Shoreditch Rooftop film club, ShoreditchRooftop film club, ShoreditchRooftop film club, Shoreditch Rooftop film club, Shoreditch

We were given headsets and sat in our deckchairs, and settled in. Despite not usually feeling the cold, I doubled up on blankets as I was incredibly chilly, so if you do go I suggest wrapping up warm!

Rooftop film club, ShoreditchRooftop film club, Shoreditch

The film was mad, and really enjoyable – even if slightly non PC by current standards – a very young Robert Downey Junior has a little role in it, too!

Although we had a lovely evening, I guess I’m not sure if we have the right climate for outdoor cinema. In the Mediterranean perhaps, but the past two experiences prove to me how ambitious of an endeavor it is. But who knows – it could be third time lucky!

Rooftop film club, Shoreditch

BGO’s Blogger Casino Night for WWF

On Thursday night I attended my very first blogger event, invited by the Joe’s Blogs Network and BGO. It was a casino night, with croupiers teaching us how to play roulette and blackjack. I had an amazing time, and once I arrived at the event and the butterflies in my stomach feeling had faded away I had such a laugh. It was incredible to be among several bloggers who I already followed, as well as to see some new faces too – I have a lot of reading to do!

BGO CasinoBGO meetup

It was a great night, with the winning formula of unlimited prosecco, pizza and the adrenaline rush from the roulette wheel. We were given some credit and all proceeds from the event went towards supporting WWF, which is such a great and worthy cause.

BGO BGO Meetup

BGO Casino Night

Some of the lovely ladies from the event – check them out! Skylish, Miss Geeky and Squibbvicious

BGo prosecco BGO blackjack

BGO Casino night

Thank you to Joe’s Bloggers and BGO for having me – I had a blast!

BGO Casino Night