duo london
With so much of our shopping done online these days, I truly value a person-to-person shopping experience. Especially at places like Duo Boots.

When browsing the interwebs to find a great pair of Autumn boots, I kept coming back to Duo. With up to 21 calf sizes and 3 widths available, they offer the kind of customisation capabilities that makes a woman trust her footwear. I knew their flagship store would be worth a visit.

As you can see, my expectations were met. And then some. The flagship fitting room is – in fact – part shop, part tailor, and has a kind of ‘secret shoe room’ appeal thanks to its hidden spot in Slingsby Place.

After enjoying the kind of customer service that employee handbooks dream of, you even end up with a brand new pair of boots…or five. Ahem.

21 Slingsby Place, St Martins Courtyard, Covent Garden, London WC2E 9AB.

duo london
duo london
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covent garden
On Friday I found myself in Covent Garden with thirty minutes of free time between a meeting and a lunch date (poor me, right?). Thankfully, I love playing tourist. Creatively, I find it very cathartic to visit the places I take for granted (whether it be Laduree in London or freaking International House of Pancakes in Indianapolis) with my camera in tow.

Covent Garden is most frequently associated with the former fruit and vegetable market in the central square of the ‘Garden’ but is also one of the most popular tourist hotspots of my beloved home town. With a crowd-producing pin point on the Royal Opera House in the corner of the square, the district is actually divided by the main thoroughfare of Long Acre and – potentially my favourite overall area of London – Seven Dials and Neal’s Yard.

In the grand scheme of things I believe that you can have an incredible time almost anywhere if you secure a secret spot and people watch. Covent Garden is no exception. Though there are 13 theatres in the Covent Garden locale, the street performers and the tourists they attract are entertainment all of their own. While the courtyard space is dedicated strictly to classical music, the outer street performers typically perform one 30-minute show each hour and, on rare occasions, draw a lot of future Dynamos and David Blaines to the area.

From the London Transport Museum to Drury Lane to the high-low mix of markets and boutiques, Covent Garden is absolutely enchanting.

covent garden
covent garden
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udozi shopping app
I am a happy camper. A happy beauty-loaded camper. Earlier in the week I was invited to go on a mini shopping spree on behalf of Udozi. Though the app is still in Beta phase, Udozi is a shopping platform which helps people search for and find items that are nearest to them and available to purchase immediately. The app is currently being tested with a lot of boutiques in the London W1 area and, as a resident of the area, Udozi sent me off with £100 to see how I woud utilize the app.

Though my interest first piqued when finding out that Wolford was on the app, I decided to be practical and look for something I actually need: hair conditioner. Just a click later and I stumbled on the massive selection available at The Garden Pharmacy.

Rushing over to Covent Garden, I was truly surprised that I hadn’t discovered The Garden Pharmacy until that fateful Udozi-toting day: it is a beauty lover’s haven. Established in 1984, it is actually the longest-established store on Long Acre and one of the few truly independent businesses in the area. Being able to have a discovery experience that was both virtual and personal was a total Back To The Future moment. What did I need? Hair conditioner and a Korres lipbalm. What did I want? Everything else in the store.

Udozi – and the gorgeous shop assistants above – helped me come away with a perfect haul that included: a No Tangle brush (a million times better than a Tangle Teezer), Weleda Wild Rose deodorant (all natural, perfect scent), Philip Kingsley Elasticizer, Diorskin Nude foundation, Chanel Illusion d’Ombre eyeshadow in Emerveille, a nude Trind nail polish, and Korres lip butter in Wild Rose.

udozi shopping app
udozi shopping app

afternoon tea
Because Monday seems like an incredibly strange day for a ‘date‘, The Manfriend and I thought we would test it out. By working all of Sunday, we sedated our workaholic guilt and booked yesterday out for each other.

Living on the edge of London, it is pretty hard to find local date spots that offer more than a greasy spoon. Deciding we would work our way into Central London throughout the day, however, we created a mini adventure. Gluttons for afternoon tea, we originally planned to head towards Eaton for Doll’s House on The Hill (a hidden gem) only to discover they are closed on Mondays. In a Metropolitan Line state of mind (and hunger), we made the quick choice to head towards Uxbridge for a little pop-up shop called “The Forties Tea Room” (no website). Located in a shopping centre and boasting a strong over-50s clientele, expectations were ravenous but low.

We were pleasantly surprised. With mismatched cutlery and delicious home-made treats, the Forties Tea Room was charming as could be. Because the cafe was set up to raise money for the RAF Bomber Command Memorial and Maintenance Appeal, you have an excuse to break the diet, to boot.

After filling ourselves to the brim, The Manfriend and I headed up to Oxford Street for a spot of shopping (Jigsaw purchases revealed soon!), traipsing, and drinks.

Drinks of epic proportions. Blog readers and loved ones…let me introduce you to Adventure Bar. We escaped from the perpetual drizzle in the Covent Garden branch, but I am positive that they are all as fabulous. Happy hour is 5-7 (two for one), music is on point, staff are high on life, and drunkenness doubles as dessert. You simply must go.

afternoon tea

afternoon tea

jigsaw

adventure bar covent garden

adventure bar covent garden

Codie Young Topshop

  • Model Codie Young was accused of anorexia by ‘experts’ and journalists when overly-photoshopped images of her were released on Topshop‘s website. Codie has spoken up to dispel rumours. Why? “I’m one of those people that doesn’t take crap from anyone. I stand up for myself. I felt I shouldn’t just sit back and have someone say something about me that’s clearly not true, so that’s why I decided to do it. I just wanted to let people know it’s not OK to just call us anorexic. I mean, obviously I understand that people are going to have opinions of me because I’m a model, but it’s different to accuse someone of having a disease.”
  • Lily Allen is closing “Lucy in Disguise” – her store in Covent Garden. In August, she will be opening a new branch in a different area of London. When rumors spread that Lily’s business was struggling, she tweeted “If any other publication wants to write deliberately misleading articles about Lucy in Disguise, feel free, I WILL sue you.”
  • “What I love is this idea of a wardrobe. The idea that we’re establishing certain signatures and updating them, that a change in colour or fabric is enough. I do think that the world doesn’t need many more frivolous bits and bobs that end up left in cupboards or landfills.” – Phoebe Philo on Celine
  • Lil Wayne is planning on launching a clothing line called ‘Rebirth‘. Yes, like his album. “I just figure that I… I’m funky. I got that from my stylist, Marisa. I’m funky, like she say. I wear a whole buncha items at one time, you know what I mean? I be figuring you at least want one of them items. Like, ‘Damn, I’d love to have that safety pin he got on,’ you know what I mean? Anything. I got on these types of shoes, these shorts, this sweater… A year from now, I want all these items to be mine. Rebirth. I want—I just figure people want to be funky like me, so I got my clothing line.”

    Anja Rubic Sasha Knezevic

  • Models Anja Rubic and Sasha Knezevic got married on the Mediterranean island of Majorca. Anja wore a wedding dress-cum-minidress custom designed by Pucci designer Peter Dundas.
  • Fabio is selling half-inch pieces of his hair for $10,000 on Craigslist, along with a $500 ice cream scoop, a $4,000 tanning bed, $8,000 CD tower, and a $5,000 commemorative pizza stone. Great way to spend your allowance.
  • Vogue has a new secret website that will launch in December. No-one is revealing the content or plans for the site. Let’s hope for a sartorial social network!