I doubt a crystal ball could have predicted the tumultuity I witnessed in the corner booth of Lucky Voice Islington.
For a fraction of a moment (maybe even A Moment Like This by Kelly Clarkson…), I genuinely believed I had left a private karaoke room and entered a parallel universe.
At the start of a uncharacteristically large ‘night out’, I was befuddled to witness 10 out of my 11 companions inoculate the evening with more liquid courage than an impending 2-hour sing-song deemed sensibly necessary.
With a number of less-than-impressive musical theatre years under my belt, I found it hard to believe there was only one other – obviously wonderful – human in our hesitant tribe who liked the idea of singing/shouting all their favourite songs with friends as much as I did.
Alas, the onset of bottomless Prosecco emboldened a change in tune. Or a tune whatsoever.
Once we passed the inevitably awkward hump of initial song selections (8,000+ spanning current hits and oldies mean you’re spoilt for choice), the X Factor versions of every single one of my formerly tentative podmates erupted across the microphones.
What was lost in Instagram Stories’ 24 hour cycle is forever imprinted in cerebral pools of 90s DIY megamixes, surprisingly perfect Tinie Tempah renditions, and countless espresso martinis (thanks, in large part, to the booth’s ‘Thirsty’ call button).
Next time you’re finding it difficult to convince your friends to a little private karaoke merriment, steer them towards Lucky Voice and let the rest take care of itself.
Unlike the famed Covent Garden original, The Ivy‘s new Tower Bridge restaurant is tempered, brasserie-style rendering of all that the holding company have earned their reputation on; notoriously attentive service, beautifully British comfort food, and an arguably more fetching
potpourri of patrons.
Determined to put the restaurant through its paces on opening night, my dinner date and I headed for the south side of Tower Bridge and settled into their undeniably handsome new digs for a fully-fledged menu investigation.
Perusing the selection over chilli, coriander and lemon-sprinkled Gordal olives and Prosecco, we eventually decided on Atlantic sea scallops (with pea purée, broad beans, lemon zest,
sea cress & crispy shallots) and Yellowfin tuna carpaccio (with tomato, watermelon, ponzu dressing, miso mayonnaise & toasted sesame for less than £10 – an absolute steal for both the quality and area).
Diving further into their moreish Yellowfin offering, I then opted for their seared and sesame crusted fillet (with shaved fennel, edamame, wasabi sauce and daikon cress) while my date gushed over her 7oz grass-fed English steak; a covetable border to truffle & parmesan chips, green beans & roasted almonds, and Béarnaise (natch).
As the evening chill approached, we wrapped ourselves in the alfresco terrace’s complimentary blankets and ate dessert (crème brûlée and frozen berries) as a stunt aerialist bathed herself in a sea of Tower Bridge-ogling tourists beside us.
Before this meal, The Ivy has felt – dare I say it – predictable to me. Tower Bridge is exactly what the brand needed to shake things up and get a new generation of London-loving foodies through the door.
Now that I have mentally burned* the five outfits I spent four months living in, I have rediscovered the long-lost joy of getting dressed in the morning. So much so I set myself a little challenge to only wear clothes from one brand for a full work week.
A week on, I enjoyed this challenge so much I feel I may have to do it more often. This time, however, let me introduce you to my personal micro wardrobe from WearAll…
What I Wore:
(Outfits featured in order of appearance)
1. The Alison Off Shoulder Floral Flared Skater Dress (…which I especially, narcissistically, love for sharing my middle name. This dress received at least one compliment everywhere I visited on the day.)
2. Brooke Plunge Off Shoulder Bardot Jumpsuit and Morgan Oversize Distressed Acid Wash Denim Jacket (The cosiest jumpsuit and jacket in the history of the world).
3. Sophie shirred crop top and Jaden Check Print Cigarette Trousers (I loved this look the most. I actually had back to back meetings this particular day so loved that I could throw a white blazer on when needed and transform something a little revealing to something adorably work-appropriate).
4. Zoey Boyfriend Jeans and Harper Off The Shoulder Gingham Top (I actually loved these pieces individually but couldn’t deal with them together in photographs. Being curvy, each item looks better paired with a tighter or more structured counterpart).
5. Aaliyah Denim Lace-Up Corset 3/4 Sleeve Shirt Dress (Hello, new off-duty staple)
There are few places in this world as intoxicatingly vibrant, inclusive and diverse as New York City and nowhere else could compare as the crescendo of Lela Takes The Crescent.
Ironically, the cross-country sleeper train adventure also marked the five year anniversary of my first trip to the Big Apple as a Sex and The City repeat-obsessed twentysomething. A trip that had such a profound effect on me I have designed countless excuses to return to the city every time I cross the Atlantic.
I know Manhattan well. Very well. I know where the local foodies eat (don’t worry – a food guide is coming shortly!), which streets to avoid when tourist-dodging, what residential buildings have better views than the Empire State, and then some.
But I didn’t know it like I now do after Accomplice The Show.
Accomplice New York – an immersive theatre adventure through downtown Manhattan – was the irrefutable highlight of my time in the city and one of the best ‘tours’ I have ever experienced.
Without giving too much away, Accomplice blends all the best parts of theatre and scavenger hunts so seamlessly you feel as though the journey is a fundamental part of the city’s unique and ever-altering complexities. Like Mission: Impossible. Albeit with less risk and more alcohol.
Over the course of three hours, the city’s iconic streets become part playground, part playhouse. With some of the most hilariously quick-witted actors to guide you along the way.
Whether you’ve never hit US soil or you’re a New York native, I can almost guarantee you a fabulous time. I will cherish the adrenaline-pumping afternoon spent with Accomplice for my entire life.
(Note: All photos featured are a selection from Accomplice and my general time in the City to keep spoilers at a minimum. The starting location will be revealed a day or two before your event via phone call and varies dependent on the show of your choice.)
As a petite woman with non-petite extremities (we’re talking boobs and bums here, babes), I have always found fitness wear rather aggravating. Sports bras tend to do one of two things; 1) suffocate me or 2) look amazing but offer absolutely. Until last week, I had resigned myself to believe my typical HIIT-intense routine would keep me in baggy shirts and tiny shorts while my yoga-loving friends could parade around in Instagram-worthy bra and legging sets.
Then I found Simply Be’s uber curve-friendly offerings and had an epiphany; buying a sports bra in my actual bra size and a higher neck could almost make a sports bra modest as outerwear on a curvy woman.
I have ran, jumped, danced, and burpee-d in this new wardrobe addition and could not be happier. No mothers covering their children’s eyes in parks, no discomfort, and no more crazy sweat-filled cover ups.
What I Wore:
Puma Clash leggings
Naturally Close High Impact Non Wired Print Sports Bra
Smith & Canova Mint blue leather handbag
White Nike Air Huarache Run Ultra Trainers