Monday, 23 June 2014

#PeopleMakeEtsy @ETSYUK @Gailsvintage TV campaign

#support #Handmade #jewellery

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

San Francisco vs London: Food competition

Disclaimer: I am obsessed with San Francisco; I've lived in London for the past 5 years and was & born being fed (read: spoiled) by the food in Hong Kong; I don't work for Zagat or the Michelin Guide. (I wish)
So, there's every reason that people who read this & who stand by London's 'superior' food scene will think I am bloody obnoxious and/or just an ordinary person with a clouded view.

I've been told that San Francisco has more restaurants per capita than other cities- More than New York, more than London, more even than Hong Kong. But even though it's only an academic statistical outcome,  I fully agree.

Consider that SF is only 7x7 miles (Hence why their NFL team call themselves the 49ers, get it?).
There's certainly no shortage of range, type, price and method of eating a meal in SF.

If you visit SF for a week, like I did on this trip at the end of April/ beginning of May (the best time to visit, in my opinion); you can easily go around all the Michelin starred restaurants the city has to offer. You can eat 3 meals a day, everyday, all in close proximity and still leave yourself 10 options on the list which you'll regret you didn't try when you leave.


The difference between SF eating and London eating for foodies is the authenticity the local cuisine has to offer.

As far as I am concerned, there are no concessions about localizing the taste; the spice it'd use or products with the aim to recreating the dish in a foreign land. My taste palette tells me that they often surrender authenticity in London, especially when it comes to Chinese food. You will often see sweet and sour pork on menus in Chinese restaurants, replacing 'bland-looking' steamed dishes (which are actually delicious). Incidentally, to have congee in London, I can think of only a handful of places in Chinatown + Yauatcha (!!) However, staying in the Inner Sunset in SF for a week, I've seen congee on the menu of almost all of the Chinese eateries we passed by.

Anyway, let's go with my top picks - novelty ( for a Londoner!)  eats in SF

Street food

1. Off the Grid food truck market

At Fort Mason Centre/ Persidio. Off the Grid is your roaming mobile food extravaganza - bringing delicious food truck vendors with free sides of music. The Chairman Truck's Coca-Cola Braised Pork with Savoy Cabbage & Preserved Yellow Mustard Seeds is meant to be fantastic, but we've been put off by the long queue, so we went for the Lobster Roll ($14) from Lobster Truck. The verdict- don't bother with Fisherman's Wharf.

Chairman Bao 
The Queue...

                                The Roll that beats Fisherman Tourists' Wharf

2. Hays Valley ( Octavia & Linden)

Beer Garden, Food trucks, and coffee shops made from salvaged shipping containers coalesce in Hayes Valley, a beyond-stylish neighbourhood with room to breathe. Smitten Ice Cream  ($6 a pop and 5 mins wait) is made-to-order in front of you-what all the happy hipsters want!


Mission District


St. Francis Fountain (2801 24th Street) - where Patrick and Richie from HBO series Looking, had their 'morning after' brunch.

The Mission District reminds me of Brixton Village in South London- diverse, colourful, arty and just an interesting place, which non-guidebook travellers should always visit first instead of Buckingham Palace or Pier 39.

Mission is literally a collection of crossroads inhabited by many Latinos, the day time artists/night time liberals; entrepreneurs and the less fortunates... all manifested by the colourful graffiti, warehouses turned gallery spaces and independent shops. Everyone you rub shoulders with looks like they have an interesting, yet unique, story to tell. Being an amateur designer, I was truly in awe of this neighbourhood's vibes.

The amount of choice- from organic turkey sausage burgers to grilled prawn burritos to artisan oat bran muffins is overwhelming in the Mission District. We strolled (under a blazing sun)  from 16th Street to 24th Street where this cheerful no fuss Mexican eatery - Papalote is located.

View Larger Map 

Don't skimp on an additional 99c and go for the extra big three -sour cream, cheese and guacamole, whether you're going for grilled prawn tacos or the mighty Chile Verde burrito.

Honestly, when you start off with a couple of full bowl nachos and salsa which you CANNOT stop munching, the aftermath of tackling one of their burritos would make you think you just filmed a brand new episode of Man vs Food.

The Unstoppable Nachos


 Man vs Food future episode title- Burrito

                         Graffiti walled bathroom for the aftermath...washing your hands!

Inner/Outer Sunset

 The 'secret mosaic staircase between 16th Avenue & Moraga Street, is the perfect description of Inner  Sunset -a hidden gem.

From the China/ Vietnamese town outside of the known Chinatown; to Roxie Market & Deli (500 Kirkham Street, San Francisco, CA 94122), which surprise you with a great selection of British imports*. The inner/outer sunset is certainly a pleasant unexpected encounter for foodies and shoppers.
It has no Forever 21 but it does have Starbucks. But again, it caught you by surprise how many under-estimated gems are located here and a direct bus can take you to and from downtown in 20 mins.

*Note: we went to DC for a week prior to SF, and the big supermarket at Pentagon City only ad one type of tea available -Lipton's Yellow Label. But Roxie offers a range of British teas including, the rather non-mainstream choice of Murroughs Welsh Brew.

Craw Station

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No utensils, no fuss, taking dirty eating to another level .The choices are simple: Crab, Crayfish ( or Craw fish they call in there) and prawn.

Sides are garlic noodle, fries or corn on the cob. My opinion is go straight for the Cajun sauce unless no you can't take a bit of heat. The spiciness of their Cajun is one of those that you cannot stop licking your lips and the more you do, the more it burns!

Devil's Teeth Bakery

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Everyone makes home-brewed coffee and everyone makes artisan muffins in San Francisco, so a trip to Ocean Beach's infamous Devil Teeth Bakery is for:

(1) Biscuit (?!) Breakfast Sandwich
(2) Cinnamon Bun ($4, weigh approx. 2lbs, comparable size & taste to London's very own best & bizarrely called the Nordic Bakery)
(3) It's a fantastic spot for people watching at the Parklet outside

Cinnamon Bun that looks a bit like pop up model of Australia

The Parklet

Last words: There are many good blogs and local neighbourhood guides out there, (this post is just my little humble opinion) but 7x7, Refinery29 and EaterSF are my trusted SF sites -containing everything you need to read.

So, if you are visiting San Francisco for the first time?, and want to know if wearing a hoodie is mandatory?
Can I wear shorts and flip-flops in Hays Valley, without looking like a tourist?
A few useful links to get your research started and to provide answers to some key questions:

** Next time: SF vs London: Independent shops

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Accesorising your Spring look 2013 guide - Statement & Art Deco

It’s a case of the bigger the better this season, if Balmain's oversize hoop shoulder-length earrings or Chanel’s clustered pearl necklaces are anything to go by.

1) The Minimalists' Choice: Statement jewellery doesn’t have to be fussy or at all fragile - Hermes's Bright Colour Leather cuffs and Givenchy’s sleek metallic chokers should appeal to the minimalists among us.
Hermes Spring/ Summer 2013
Givenchy’s choker 2013

2) For the Classy Ones: Statement jewellery shouldn't be just for this season one-off; they should portrait the timeless elements and be able to spark up your outfits, not overtaken it.

Chanel's Oversize Pearl

 3) For the exhibitionists: What you wear with these eye-catching pieces is entirely up to you – Dolce and Gabbana’s multi-tasselled earrings were paired with outfits and accessories just as intricately detailed, whilst block colours, OTT earrings, Epic sized cuffs and necklaces are all in order.
Dolce and Gabbana Multi- Tassel earrings

Balmain Oversized hoop earrings

Gucci Perplex Chunky Floral necklace

Friday, 4 January 2013

New start, new beginning - Are you ready for some gruelling wedding planning yet?

It's the time of the year to talk about New Year's resolutions and perhaps even acting on them?

For all those brides-to-be, I bet the one and only thing in mind is - ""Must research on Pinterest and put a scrap book together for all things wedding by Jan 10th''...

I only started my wedding research, (met with disapproval by many others) 4 weeks out from our big day.
For me, an ideal wedding makes my beloved one happy and make all our guests feel comfortable with everything on the day. It shouldn't make them feel that they're there to stick around for 4 hours of mandatory fun.

Below is my list & tips (unsurprisingly compact) for budget wedding planning in London. They will hopefully be handy for those, who don't want to break their bank nor get sucked into the wealth of web-wedding-information-sites.

Tip 1) - Blog: THE ONLY blog & styling inspirations site I read is London Bride.
As my wedding day hit 4 weeks and counting,  I've realised that Californian weddings automatically will look good  because of the weather; you don't really need styling that much. But with our beloved London weather, it's another story.

This site is local, truly British, and with loads of wedding services links, filed under categories so you won't lose the plot.

My very own tips for the Big Day itself:

Tip 2)- Venue: Wandsworth Town Hall (ceremony)
The Wandsworth Town Hall is a real hidden gem for those living in and around London. It's a Grade II listed old Victorian town hall  with beautiful and unique space, which is hard to find in London.
We also had the webcam services for a small additional fee. This allowed our family and friends access to a URL to watch us exchanging our vows around the world in real time! Digital government services these days, eh?

To find out more:

Brewer's Inn, Wandsworth
We used the Moroccan summer room for our pre-reception drink ( All part of the package!) and the spacious yet cosy dining room, which holds 40-60 people + a dance floor: What more do you need for a lovely reception?

Their staff are uber helpful and the food was acclaimed as the best wedding food most of our guests had tasted. We had a taster menu 2 weeks before the wedding, and literally ate our hearts out! We later went home feeling relieved thinking our wedding will be awesome in two weeks.
They also have a small number of fantastic layout guest rooms with a full breakfast provided next day after your wedding. Bliss!
Ask for Julian and his wife Joanne ( the landlords of the Inn) to tailor your wedding reception from there! 

Tip 3)- Photography

I highly recommend a chilled and relaxed Swede (they all are, aren't they?), who doesn't order you how to pout or pose in the shoots. At the end of the day, you are already stressed enough about many other things, so being scolded at or forced to pose unnaturally shouldn't be one of them.

We loved that he was basically one of the guests; he had fun and captured the most natural moments of the happiest day of our lives. Not only the two of us, the grins and happiness on our guests' face are one of the best gifts for us.

Check him our here:

Tip 4)- Flowers

I only had to give florist, Catherine Russell two keywords - 'White & Sparkly'; then she managed to put together the stunning bouquet, which didn't drown my petite frame, nor overshadow my beloved dress (and new husband, of course!) She also crafted beautiful matching button holes for the groom and best man, which the two blokes were very happy about. ( It doesn't happen very often, mind you!)

For the reception arrangement, they are very classy, shabby chic vintage inspired buds, that fits right in to the dining room of the Brewer's Inn cosy environment. Not pretentious, just warm & classy.

For enquiries:

Most important Tip 5)- Dress:

My very talented designer bestie, Sami & Sita from Australia, hand-sewed the French lace specially for me on a dress from  her latest collection. It's elegant, classy and relaxed. It's so versatile I imagine I could wear it again, with a different colour silk sash and rock up to a 1920-themed party.

Check out her step by step DIY guide or get in touch if you want yours to be uniquely tailor made.
Shop online and get a special courier to UK:

Tip 6) - Jewellery:

Israeli Designer Illona on ETSY ( sells all thing shabby chic and vintage.
I fancied some little gems and gold to add spark to my vintage lace classy dress, stumbled across this shop on ETSY and with their lovely vintage chic design, I decided to look no further.
Her helpfulness and speedy courier service made the 4 weeks count-down to wedding day life much easier.

For alternative Jewellery selections for UK online shopping chicks for bridal jewellery, check out
Gail's Vintage latest vintage-inspired bridal collection

Due to launch on 7th Jan 2013.

Friday, 21 December 2012

The Asian Designer force to watch - 2013 collection (Part 1)

Jason Wu 2013 Collection preview

Continuing his India-far east touch of Pre fall 2012 collection; he finds his way to subtly use leather & lace, creating a provocation style in Spring Summer 2013 runway look, as show in #NYFW

                    5 Key pieces: 

Backless black apron dress with laser-cut flowers at the hem 

 Rare appearance of long awaited Carolyn Murphy
 Dominatrix shoe
   Fitted nude sheath with a point d'esprit bodice

Deep Red Lipstick

Wait until 7th January exclusively online on ( for affordable, contemporary line by Jason Wu - Miss Wu

Asian contemporary fashion design with affordable price