Taking Stock Of Time

Imagine you could divide the time you’re not asleep into 100 blocks of ten minutes each. And then decide what to do with those 100 blocks. That’s exactly what you can do every single day. Time to sit down and take stock of time?

time

Most people sleep about seven or eight hours a night. That leaves 16 or 17 hours awake each day. Or about 1,000 minutes. Let’s think about those 1,000 minutes as 100 10-minute blocks. That’s what you wake up with every day. Read more: Wait But Why.

Workwear 101

Let’s face it, office-appropriate dressing can be something of a minefield. What is “appropriate” varies enormously from workplace to workplace. Strutting past the water cooler in a silk pyjama suit and statement heels might earn you sartorial points of a Monday morning in a creative office, but leave the cleaners sweeping up the entire third floor’s dropped jaws in the corporate world. Part of the joy of working in a creative industry is the workwear freedom that comes with it. So, this time around, our advice is aimed at the white-collar world, where getting it right is key, and getting it wrong can be a bit of a disaster.

workwear-fashion

First up, it really pays off to build your working wardrobe around some hardworking classic staples. Think of these foundations as an exercise in utter simplicity, Clare Underwood-level simplicity, because it is from here that all the good stuff can follow (prints, colour and personality), without undermining office acceptability. Having a handle on the staples lets you amp up the volume on days when you feel like it, and keep things sober and appropriate when the type of work day demands it.

claire-underwood-fashion

Time and time again, simple staples and accessories will finish your conservative looks neatly – and also appropriately anchor your more adventurous outfits. They offer up conservative, corporate touch points, and allow you to play with prints and textures. Arm yourself with fine block-colour merino or cashmere knits in charcoal or heather grey, navy, black and camel (every season, Cos line their rails with simple knits in a variety of necklines), and crisp white and light blue shirts. Choose a structured, subtle bag with clean lines in navy, berry, forest green, black or camel. If you’re feeling adventurous, a leather backpack with simple, clean lines can be a chic and practical option.

workwear-knits

Discover the game-changer that is owning a pair each of black, nude and navy courts. (This may sound a tad dull, but these shoes will be interchangeable with everything you own and bring your more adventurous outfits down to earth). For classic heels, the best of the bunch can be found at Gianvitto Rossi and Manolo Blahnik, with high streeters LK Bennett and Zara offering up some great options too.

workwear-shoes-courts

Make some space in your wardrobe for a selection of “no-brainer” dresses. When paired with heels (simple or fun) or chic super flats, the no-brainer dress can be reached for in the morning with no extra engagement of your pre-coffee brain, and relied upon 100% to make you look like you know exactly what you’re doing. Focus on the cut and shape first – if these are classic, nearly any colour or pattern will work.

workwear-dresses

For the best examples of these hero-dresses, look no further than J.Crew and Boden. Here, classic shapes (crucial) are combined with fun prints and interesting textures. They are also fully lined and made from fabrics that hold their shape. Pop over a tailored (see below) long line or box-cut boucle jacket and you’re good to go.

boucle-jackets-workwear

For a corporate wardrobe, there is just no getting away from the fact that tailoring is a must. It has transformative powers in both boardrooms and meeting rooms, particularly if your base outfit is more casual. It does so much of the hard work on the rest of your wardrobe’s behalf, pulling together your whole look.

blazer-workwear

For an ode to the power of tailoring, look no further than Olivia Palermo. When asked about the secret of her flawless style, she repeatedly highlights the importance of tailoring as a cornerstone of her personal style successes. The best fit on the high street comes courtesy of Reiss (an OP favourite, natch). What’s more, their already brilliantly well-cut pieces can also be altered to suit your body shape.

olivia-palermo-work-style

Massimo Dutti have the confidence to offer up colourful tailoring options, bringing much welcomed variety (and femininity) into the typically navy or black suiting arena. Their current collection also features a beautiful dark grey cinched-in wrap suit jacket that will add something fresh to your jacket collection.

massimo-dutti-blazers

Now, nothing injects more joy into workwear than a dash of something a bit more unexpected. Prints can absolutely work in the office when paired with your classic courts, simple knit or a crisp, collared shirt. H&M and Zara have cornered the market lately in affordable, printed cigarette trousers. Courts in a fun print or a punchy shade can add an unexpected touch to your classic dresses or tailoring. Love a collarless cropped jacket? Why not try it in metallic bouclé instead? Out of the ordinary, printed or colourful pieces may only last you a couple of seasons, but with your classics close at hand, this shouldn’t be a cause for concern.

bright-workwear7

Put simply, the best way to approach your working wardrobe is with one eye always on the classics. When you’ve mastered these, prints, trends, colours, shapes can be embraced and then moved on from when the time is right – allowing you to have fun with your workwear, show your personality, and keep your wardrobe ever-evolving, whilst always striking just the right tone.

cos-jumper-office

Cos Round Neck Wool Jumper          Cos Round Neck Wool Jumper

nude-pink-leather-bags-workwear

Whistles Regent Soft Leather Tote          Jigsaw Blake Leather Backpack

Mansur Gavriel Sun Leather Crossbody Bag

j-crew-workwear-dresses

J.Crew A-Line Dress          J.Crew Bracelet Sleeve Dress

J.Crew Monday Dress          J.Crew Cap Sleeve Dress

workwear-shoes-zara

Zara Mid-Heel Shoes          Zara Contrast Mid-Heel Shoes

boden-workwear-day-dresses

Boden Aurelia Ottoman Dress          Boden Sixties Jacquard Dress

Boden Marisa Dress

cos-knitwear

Cos Twisted Detail Jumper          Cos Long-Sleeve Cashmere Jumper

leather-handbags-work

Launer Judi Leather Tote          Saint Laurent Cabas Rive Gauche Leather Tote

3.1 Phillip Lim Ink Leather Pashli Tote

hm-cigarette-trousersH&M Spotted Cigarette Trousers          H&M Patterned Cigarette Trousers

H&M Cigarette Trousers

courts-shoes-office

LK Bennett Fauna Metallic Leather Courts          LK Bennett Fern Monochrome Printed Courts

massimo-dutti-workwear-blazers

Massimo Dutti Navy Blue Suit Jacket          Massimo Dutti Boiled Wool Blazer

Massimo Dutti Blazer With Tie

court-shoes-workwear

Manolo Blahnik Fawn Suede Pumps          Manolo Blahnik Black Suede Pumps

boucle-chanel-style-jackets-workwear

Massimo Dutti Short Ecru Jacket          Zara Tweed Jacket

Zara Metallic Fabric Blazer

reiss-womens-tailoringReiss Murphy Jacket          Reiss Hanako Jacket

Seasonal Showering

We know it’s essential to do the whole daily top to toe moisturising thing, but EVEN if you’ve got your central heating on full blast, it’s pretty nippy (ahem) at this time of year. So what to do? Sure, you want smooth, soft supple skin, but slathering on moisturiser post-shower is something only people with dubious sanity or a serious insensitivity to chilly temperatures would do over the colder months. Brrrrr! The solution? We love a bit of multi-tasking, so it’s all about finding a supercharged body wash which does the hard work for you.

shower

Pick something rich and nourishing, packed with skin-loving ingredients, and take a little extra time to really work it into your skin. Scented shower oils work well as they’re amazing for deep hydration, while indulgent shower creams will soften and leave skin feeling velvety smooth. Save the money on heating and spend it in the shower instead. Now there’s maths that makes sense!

best-shower-oils

Neom Real Luxury™ Bath & Shower Oil

Aromatherapy Associates Inner Strength Bath & Shower Oil

Diptyque Do Son Shower Oil

L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil

luxury-shower-oils

Espa Lemon, Ylang Ylang & Tonka Bean Body Wash

Le Labo Neroli 36 Shower Gel

Aesop A Rose by Any Other Name Body Cleanser

Jo Malone Peony Blush Suede Shower Oil

best-shower-creams

Elemis Sweet Orchid Shower Cream

Yves Saint Laurent Mon Paris Shower Oil

Rituals Sakura Shower Oil

Roger & Gallet Rose Gentle Shower Cream

indulgent-shower-creams

Laura Mercier Crème Body Wash Ambre Vanillé

Maison Francis Kurkdjian À La Rose Scented Shower Cream

Kiehl’s Fig Leaf and Sage Skin-Softening Body Cleanser

Aerin Tangier Vanille Body Wash

shower-moisturisers

Ameliorate Skin Smoothing Shower Cream

Clarins Eau Ressourçante Bath and Shower Milk

Nivea In-Shower Body Moisturiser

Derma Remedy Intense Dry Skin Therapy Body Wash

Nostalgic Delights

What Mr William Curley doesn’t know about chocolate, cakes and desserts probably isn’t worth knowing. The prodigious Scottish chef has been named Britain’s Best Chocolatier no less than four times. He’s also a member of the Relais Desserts: an elite association of the world’s best pastry chefs. Suffice to say, Curley knows his stuff. His latest book – Nostalgic Delights – is an ode to “classic confections and timeless treats,” and it’s a must-read for Bake Off fans and sweet-toothed foodies alike. From walnut whips and curley wurlies to fudge doughnuts, Hobnobs and even Jaffa Cakes, Nostalgic Delights offers a haute patisserie take on some of our favourite childhood flavours.

william-curley

Curley ensures that every single recipe is clearly explained and illustrated, making Nostalgic Delights an accessible pleasure for even novice pastry chefs, keen to create something to wow friends and family. And recipe-wise there’s everything from the must luxurious take on Bounties and Snickers to biscuits, ice cream, cakes, marshmallows, desserts…. We could go on, and on! There are also simple, easy-to-follow recipes for ‘basics’ such as salted caramel, choux pastry and praline paste – alongside explanations of how to temper chocolate and create showstopping chocolate decorations. This is a book to linger over – with nostalgia – before taking the plunge and trying one of the recipes out for yourself. So we’re delighted to get you started with this Nostalgic Delights recipe to tantalise your tastebuds – for the Ambassador’s favourite, no less: hazelnut rochers….

chocolate-rochers

This evokes memories of a tower of gold-wrapped chocolates, reserved only for special occasions. I can picture my mother presenting a plate of these on Christmas day, for them only to be devoured within minutes; it really was a luxurious treat. I have used Amedei Gianduja in the ganache for this recipe, which is made with the best Piedmont hazelnuts, giving the chocolates a lasting creaminess. This recipe makes 80 chocolates.

For the Praline Ganache:

 
320ml (11fl oz/1⅓ cups) whipping (pouring) cream
1 vanilla pod (bean), split and scraped
40g (1½ oz) invert sugar
300g (10½oz) Gianduja chocolate, finely chopped
160g (5½oz) dark (bittersweet) chocolate (70% cocoa solids), finely chopped
55g (1¾ oz/3½ tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened

rochers

For the Nutty Chocolate:

 
500g (1lb 2oz) tempered milk chocolate
250g (9oz) roasted nibbed almonds

rochers-recipe

To finish:

 
100g (3½oz/⅔ cup) whole roasted hazelnuts
200g (7oz) feuillantine wafer, crushed
Edible gold leaf

You will also need:

 
A piping (pastry) bag
12mm (½ inch) nozzle (tip)
A dipping fork

chocolate

Make the Praline Ganache…

 
Put the cream in a saucepan and scrape in the seeds from the split vanilla pod (bean). Bring to the boil, then remove from the heat and leave to infuse for 30 minutes. Strain the infused cream into a clean saucepan, add the invert sugar and bring to the boil.

Put the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl. Pour the boiled cream over the chocolate and mix until emulsified and a ganache consistency is formed. Add the softened butter and mix well until fully incorporated. Leave to set at room temperature for about 1–2 hours.

william-curley-chocolate-recipe

To assemble…

 
Put the Praline Ganache in a piping (pastry) bag fitted with a 12mm (½ inch) nozzle (tip). Pipe small bulbs of the ganache onto a silicone-lined tray.

Put a whole roasted hazelnut onto each bulb of ganache.

william-curley-chocolate

Pipe a larger bulb of ganache on top of each hazelnut and leave to set for 1 hour in a cool, dry area.

Make the Nutty Chocolate…

 
Temper the milk chocolate and add the nibbed almonds. If the chocolate thickens, warm it slightly.

To finish…

 
Roll each bulb into a sphere and coat in feuillantine wafer.

william-curley-rochers

Use a dipping fork to dip each prepared chocolate sphere into the Nutty Chocolate. Place each chocolate on a silicone-lined tray to set for 1–2 hours in a cool, dry area. Decorate with gold leaf to finish.

These chocolates will keep for 1 week stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry area.

william-curley-recipe

Recipe and images extracted from Nostalgic Delights by William Curley, photography by Kevin Summers, published by Jacqui Small.

Records & Rebels, Tea & Cake

The combination of culture, cake and a glass of Champagne is one which never fails to win us over. A delicious celebration of one of our favourite decades of the last century, the Jumeirah Carlton Tower’s Swinging Sixties Afternoon Tea is inspired by the Victoria & Albert’s latest major exhibition, You Say You Want A Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970. The museum’s acclaimed show is a fascinating insight into the era-defining significance of the late 1960s, encompassing fashion, film, art and music. And those cakes?  The Jumeirah’s sixties-themed tea provides an excellent excuse for an afternoon of culture and wandering round the V&A. Or perhaps it’s the other way round!

mary-quant-sixties

Opening in 1961, the Carlton Tower was London’s first tower hotel – and one of the places to hang out, with international stars staying, not to mention legendary 1960s designer Mary Quant using the location’s roof as a backdrop for her photoshoots.  Served in the Chinoiserie lounge, the Jumeirah Carlton Tower’s afternoon tea starts off – as all good things should – with a glass of chilled fizz (we like the wonderfully afternoon-appropriate Laurent Perrier rosé) and an elegant dish of fresh strawberries.

swinging-sixties-afternoon-tea

Next up are a trio of savoury delights – the three-tiered prawn cocktail sandwich and duck liver parfait on soft brioche are particular highlights. It’s easy to forget your afternoon tea technique here and overindulge on the sandwiches, but fix your eye on the prize – those spectacular sixties-themed cakes! Our favourite was undoubtedly the Yuzu Really Got Me: an aromatic yuzu curd tart with Italian meringue topping, while the Swiss Rock ‘n’ Roll is sure to please chocoholics, and the sweet Strawberry Cake Forever is a delicate twist on the traditional Victoria Sponge.

swinging-sixties-cakes

Of course, there are freshly-baked scones served with jam and clotted cream – and an ample menu of teas to accompany. The Jumeirah’s staff will be happy to replenish sandwiches, cakes and scones – you need your strength to take in all that culture, right? While you’re there, do make time to visit the hotel’s very own miniature exhibition – organised in collaboration with nearby Harrods. Bringing the fun of the 1960’s to life, the show features photographs snapped at the hotel itself, alongside archive images and even a fantastic sixties minidress.

1960s-fashion-photography

The distance between the Jumeirah Carlton Tower and the Victoria & Albert is just enough to help walk off those sandwiches – just try not to be swayed by the temptation to call in to Harrods on your way there…

Available until 20th November, the Swinging Sixties Afternoon Tea costs £55 which includes a glass of Laurent-Perrier Brut champagne and a ticket to the V&A exhibition (worth £16). For more information or to reserve the Swinging Sixties Afternoon Tea, call +44 (0)20 7858 7185 or email JCTdining@jumeirah.com.

The Problem With Marriage

There’s something very wrong with marriage in England and Wales that you’re probably not aware of. I wasn’t until this year, when I was asked to fill out some paperwork ahead of my wedding in June. Take a look at the example marriage certificate below to see whether you can pinpoint what makes this document utterly anachronistic. (Hint: mum’s the word.)

wedding-certificate

If your eyes have studied the part reserved for parents and you’re wondering where the area saved for mothers is, you’ll be looking a long time. That’s because it’s forbidden to list your mother on a marriage certificate issued under the jurisdiction of England and Wales. Yes, that’s right: forbidden.

This astounding fact applies regardless of the type of wedding, or what kind of officiant marries you. Yet in Scotland and Northern Ireland, both parents are listed on marriage certificates. What’s going on with this seemingly un-united anomaly within an ostensibly forward-thinking, inclusive part of the United Kingdom? What about people who have no relationship with their father? Whether it’s because they genuinely never knew their father, or because they wish to preclude him from getting a name-check (no, family dynamics can’t always be fixed with a good old cup of tea and a resolute heart-to-heart), there’s a spectacularly Dickensian solution to this scenario. In the acceptable absence of a biological father, the box marked ‘Parent’ will bear the word ‘Unknown’, regardless of a mother’s solo triumph at raising an individual.

marriage-certificate

Stepfathers don’t qualify either, unless they’ve officially adopted the person in question. As for two female parents: my guess is that this is frustratingly complicated – possibly even distressing – to get around.

This draconian piece of legislation exists in 2016 because, basically put, it’s the way it’s always been since certifying marriages became a legal requirement around 1838. The details established back then at the start of Queen Victoria’s reign have never been changed. In 2014, the issue was raised in Parliament after a petition on Change.org was signed by nearly 80,000 people.

just-married

Like him or loathe him, this is what PM at the time, David Cameron said: “The content of marriage registers in England and Wales… require details of the couples’ fathers, but not their mothers. This clearly doesn’t reflect modern Britain – and it’s high time the system was updated.”

But as adamant as Cameron was for redress, the Home Office rejected it. Their reason? HO Minister Richard Harrington claimed that changing the law to include mothers on marriage certificates “wouldn’t allow for different family circumstances”. Which begs the question: what different family circumstances? Same sex male couples? At least the box grants male couples their gender. And what about non-binary parents?

i-do

Two centuries on since certifying this rite of passage became requisite, there are some things about marriage that have come so brilliantly far within the last 10 years; while something as quietly heroic as the work of mothers still fails to be recognised. To me, a feminist by definition for the reason that I’ve always assumed I can, it’s a sobering realisation that, maybe, we’ve still got a very long way to go.

Enter The Echo Chamber

Were you surprised at the Brexit result? Didn’t see it coming? Perhaps your Facebook timeline and Twitter stream erupted into a collective outpouring of shock and sadness when the UK voted to leave. Sound familiar? The opinions of our friends and those who we follow on social networks generally mirror our own, meaning that – thanks to some clever algorithms – we’re all trapped in a filter bubble. So how to escape the digital bubble – and access ideas outside of your usual social sphere? Enter The Echo Chamber – a groundbreaking new weekly newsletter which will make you think. Alice Thwaite -The Echo Chamber’s founder – tells us more…

echo-chamber

What’s The Echo Chamber all about?

 
The Echo Chamber Club is a weekly newsletter. We understand what the majority of people believe and we directly challenge that status quo. We don’t tend to write much ourselves, instead we curate articles written from other sources and encourage our subscribers to read them.

Who’s The Echo Chamber for?

 
It is for educated metropolitans. Most people who live in cities have fairly liberal and centrist beliefs – and The Echo Chamber Club monitors social media to understand what is being shared in this group and then challenges it.

filter-bubble

Why did you start the Echo Chamber?

 
The concept of an ‘echo chamber’ or ‘filter bubble’ has been around for a few years. Eli Pariser (founder of Upworthy) wrote a book in 2012 which showed that social media algorithms are engineered so that you see more of the stories that you normally engage with. So someone who is naturally centrist would not see stories or opinions of people on the fringe on their social media feeds.

This was once a theory, and now it’s turned into a political reality. “Quiet conservatives” were blamed for the polling industry inability to predict the outcome of the 2015 election. Most recently, Brexit took many metropolitans by surprise.

wolfgang-tillmans-brexit

For ages, I tried to think of a solution to this problem. It seemed so huge, and the social networks such giants, that it was impossible to solve. Ironically, when I removed myself from my normal surroundings I thought of an idea, and I realised a weekly newsletter might be just the thing to help people get out of their filter bubble. The Echo Chamber Club was launched merely weeks afterwards.

What can I expect to find in the weekly newsletter?

 
We like to cover things that either have a clear media bias on the subject – like issues like ‘safe spaces’, the burkini, Brexit; or subjects that aren’t covered in the media at all, like the potential genocide in Burundi.

burkini

Why should I care about seeing someone else’s point of view?

 
A lot of media organisations want to make you smarter – and we want to help with that too – but actually our main aim is to make you more empathetic. We want to help people access new ideas. Many educated people struggle with Twitter; let alone with RSS and Reddit. We’ll put in the hours of research so that our subscribers can start with the best contrary articles to their point of view. We will help with your natural sense of curiosity and adventure! In doing so, we hope the leaders of today and tomorrow will make better predictions and decisions about the future of their businesses and policies.

To find out more about The Echo Chamber, head to the website. You can subscribe to The Echo Chamber’s newsletter here – and check out previous newsletters here. Break free from the filter bubble!

Motivation 101

The holidays have ended and summer has come to a close. No, there is not a bank holiday in sight until December – and when you realise that is three months away, you’d be forgiven for wanting to hide under the duvet. So, want to get your motivation back but not sure how? Here are some easy strategies to help you get back on track!

motivation

Remember why you’re doing things

 
Be it work, life or anything in between – remind yourself of the purpose behind every action. What is the why behind your job? It could be as simple as paying the bills so you can survive whilst you look for a better job, or as fulfilling as it being your calling. Even in your day-to-day life, you can put the why into anything to bring more motivation to it. Why do you do laundry? So that you can have clean, fresh clothes and smell good (and personally, I also find it quite meditative to hang the laundry up to dry). Why do you exercise? So you can be healthy, feel more energised and eat more treats (at least that’s one of my motivations ;).

Identify where you’re going

 
Knowing where you want to get to is the first step to going anywhere. What is it that you want to achieve? What goals do you want to reach? What is your dream scenario when it comes to work and life? When you remind yourself of this, you will feel motivated to take the steps needed to get there.

motivation-tips

Interact with people who inspire you

 
Follow them on social media, read their books, or meet them for coffee. Think about why they inspire you and how. Discover how they got to where they are today, and how you can learn from them. Personally, when I’m feeling stuck, I sometimes use questions like: “What would Oprah do in this situation?” (Yes, I find Oprah incredibly inspirational!)

Schedule Exciting Things

 
Take 15 minutes to brainstorm an idea you want to put into action. Go check out the new coffee shop that’s opened. Schedule a lunch date with your uplifting friend over lunch break. Read that book that you’ve been meaning to read for months.It doesn’t matter how big or small the thing is, as long as it’s something that excites you and gives you something to look forward to.

how-to-get-motivated

Create moments to relax and recharge

 
Ironically, in order to get motivated and to stay motivated you also need to have downtime when you are not doing anything. As a human you thrive on balance and need just as much time to recharge and recover as to do things that move you forward. Sleeping is an obvious recovery time but it’s not enough (especially because most of us don’t get the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep a night). Book time in your calendar to take a bath, read a good book, get a massage, or simply to just be.

Adapt Your Exercise

 
If you’re feeling lethargic and low, don’t force yourself into intense ashtanga classes or circuit training – unless you know they make you feel better. Normally, it’s good to match your exercise routine to your mood to slowly nudge yourself out of it. Feeling high? Go to a fun ‘Dance like Beyoncé’ dance class to further boost your positivity. Feeling low? Do some nurturing yin yoga or take a gentle stroll in the park to turn your low mood into a contented one. Feeling frustrated and stressed? Go do some cardio like a spinning class or boxing workout to release the negativity.

motivation-exercise

For more insights like these, sign-up for free updates from Susanna Halonen – the Happyologist, at www.happyologist.co.uk. As a happiness coach and author of Screw Finding Your Passion, she can help you to build and live a life you love.

The Information Overload

We’ve never been so connected, thanks to endless social networks and constant content sharing. So why does it feel so meaningless? Endlessly absorbed in our phones, forgetting to look up, to actually interact with each other. What have we become? And where on earth are we going? Andrew Sullivan’s powerful personal account isn’t a quick read – but it’s a necessary one. Make time to read this – and take time to have a think.

information-overload

I Used to Be a Human Being. An endless bombardment of news and gossip and images has rendered us manic information addicts. It broke me. It might break you, too. Read more: New York Magazine.

Roaldspiration!

Today would have been Roald Dahl’s 100th birthday.  A master storyteller, true creative wordsmith and a man with a boundless imagination, what better way to celebrate his centenary than with a look at some of his most magical quotes from those books you read and read again as a child. They’re every bit as powerful and inspiring now as they were then… 

roald-dahl-100

12 quotes from Roald Dahl books to live your adult life by. There’s a whole lot of wisdom in those treasured childhood tales… Read more: Radio Times.