14 October 2011

Winter Cycling Wardobe Updates...

Illustration by Shelia McInnes 

Ok - so it's not that cold just yet but October is actually remembering it's October, and after that random heatwave (which took my wardrobe by surprise) it's finally showing signs of the change of season.

I love wrapping up warm when it gets cold in London, and the time is fast approaching to get a Winter Cycling Wardrobe in order. Having yesterday off work, I took the opportunity to have a look around Westfield Stratford City and discovered two things about it - 1) it's much nicer to go in there on a weekday instead of a Saturday (nightmarish busy madness) & 2) there are some decent shops in there to pick up quick fashion-fixes for my Cycling Wardrobe...

With an idea of what I was after, I'd decided to just visit two of my staple shops: Topshop and M&S. Both of which would be good for what I was looking for - Winter Boots and Cable Knit clothing.

First stop - Topshop. This was the 1st time I'd checked out the Westfield Stratford City one - much bigger than the Canary Wharf branch & lots more variety of stock. Although none of the boots they had on display really called out to me, my attention was caught by items that were not on the agenda...
Red Patent Tassel Slippers: £22
Ring: £10
Breton Stripe Sweatshirt: £26

The Sweatshirt isn't a heavy top, which means that layering it with a jacket, scarves, etc. is possible. It's not super-cold at the moment, but this should still keep me warm on the Pashley and not make me break out into a cycling-sweat! Throw the top together with a pair of Jeans (Skinny or Boyfriend cut) or some straight-leg trousers and those Shoes, and you have a brilliant Beatnik inspired look.

Next stop: M&S.Cycling with cold hands isn't the nicest feeling (especially when my Raynaud's kicks in - ask The Boy, he'll tell you how freakishly cold and colourless my hands can get), but you know me - I've got to have gloves with a bit of style to them...
Fingerless Wool Cable Knit Gloves: £12

Fingerless Gloves are a must for me every winter, especially as I'm either taking pictures, tweeting on my iPhone or doing something that involves needing bare fingers out, without freezing my hands off! Last year's winners were my Purple N.Peal Cashmere ones - but this time M&S did it. They're a simple Cable-knit affair & the Pom-Poms are a cute addition to the design. Impressed with the Gloves, I had a long wander around the store on the look-out for a Jumper in the same style, but had no luck! As I didn't want to spend the entire afternoon in Westfield, I gave up looking and headed out towards the DLR - Passing Forever 21 on the way. I must admit - F21 never appealed to me when it opened, but I thought I'd give it a quick look to see if there was any chance of finding a Jumper: this is the last thing I expected to find...
Sweater: £14.75

... that's right - a lovely Mustard Sweater for a bargain price! This will work really well teamed with a pair of my tailored shorts, coloured tights and brogues (or last years Winter Boots)... another cycling outfit sorted! I was very surprised to find something like this in F21 and felt a bit bad for never really giving the place any thought on my shopping radar. I'll certainly pop in there again to see if there are any more pieces I can mix into my wardrobe & not break the bank at the same time.

I'll still be on the hunt for more winter warmers to add to my wardrobe - it's not about being freezing cold on the Pashley when the bitter cold creeps in :)

12 October 2011

Cycles on Celluloid - The Bicycle Film Festival 2011...

The 11th global Bicycle Film Festival touched down for it London-leg last week, and thanks to the awesome girls over on Pamflet (it's an excellent Zine - if you're not reading it, you really should be...) I won tickets to one of the film screenings!

I took my 'Plus One' (The Boy) with me to the Barbican Centre last Sunday to see the 2pm screening of 'By Women About Women' - a selection of ace short films, which lead into the main feature, 'Labour of Love'. This was a documentary by Virgina Hastings, who followed the Canadian "ultra-cyclist" Caroline van den Bulk as she attempts to complete the RAAM (Race Across America) - known as the hardest endurance race in the world. I had never heard of RAAM before, so not only was seeing this film a cycling education for me, it was also an inspiring watch. Caroline is an amateur rider who put herself through an extremely gruelling race to chase her dreams of completing it in 12 days. Just watching her doing it made me tired... can you imagine doing something like that on a Pashley? :)


After the film, we had a look around the stall set-up in the lobby. The Boy bought himself a cool cycling t-shirt (will post a picture of that when I get him wearing it) and I picked-up some of the bike-stickers on offer - including the rather cheeky one pictured above with my bicycle brooch....

We actually had to resist the temptation to pop into The Bicycle Library which was parked right outside the Barbican. Although The Boy is loving his new Cannondale, it doesn't take much to lure us into discussing purchasing new bikes... especially as I'm really toying with the idea of the next bike I want to get...

Stepping away from temptation, we spotted one of CycleHoop's Bike-Cars on the other side of the street. In stunning Pink it was pretty hard to miss - and it looked fantastic! Ace to see it there, along with many cyclists using it...

It was also very nice to unexpectedly meet one of my favourite stylish cycling-tweeters - Anna of The Pineapple Bikes Blog (@Pineapplebikes) in Look Mum No Hands! The Boy and I naturally gravitated there at the end of the afternoon, and while I was busy tweeting I didn't realise that Anna and I were sat next to each other all the time! It was lovely to meet her and see her bicycle... I need to sort out a ride with her soon.

The BFF was brilliant and I hope to catch it when it rolls into London again. Massive thank you to @Pamflet for the competition tickets and an ace day :)

10 October 2011

More Cake-Loving Cyclists and The City...

What do you get when you cross the opportunity to ride around one of the nicest boroughs in London with the chance to eat some rather lovely cakes? A lot of keen cyclists attending the first public BikemindedRBKC Cake & Coffee Cruise!

After the success of the inaugural ride for invited Bloggers, me and The Boy* attended the public ride last Saturday. Tickets sold out for the event which was brilliant news! It was fantastic to see such a huge turn out for the ride (and Super-Kathryn above, checking them all in) especially knowing what an absolute treat everyone was going to get for their £5...

The meeting-point for the day was of course Pedlars for the 1st Coffee of the day and a chance to meet even more cyclists... and catch-up with friends!
It was wonderful to see some of my favourite cyclists including Sam (top photo with The Boy), Adrian (Left) and Mr Ibikelondon.blogspot.com himself Mark (right) - all of whom I'd not seen properly since the Tweed Run earlier this year!

There was a slight cycling twist to the day for us - we did the ride on Boris Bikes instead of the Pashley and the Cannondale! Due to after-ride plans we'd made, we had to leave our beautiful bicycles at home and hire these for the day. I must admit, it felt like I was cheating on my Pashley being on another bike all day, but was incredibly handy... and I have to say my Tights seemed to match the bike - one iconic London Landmark with a bike that is fast becoming another London icon ;)
Head Scarf: Tie Rack
Earrings: Topshop
Denim Jacket: Gap
Knitted Jumper-Dress: M&S
Beig Ben Tights: Henry Hollans
Bag: Vivienne Westwood
Necklace: Tatty Devine
Shoes: Topshop

Speaking of fashion - I have to mention the most Dapper Chap on the ride - Mark! His outfit along with his classic Bicycle and Panniers was the perfect combination...
... and I admit to having serious Brogue envy, even if they are Men's shoes - they were utterly gorgeous!

The route, cycling pace and the cake-stops were fantastic - but the best part about the ride this time round was watching everyone enjoy themselves and the wide range of people and bicycles who came to the event. There were mature cyclists, some very young riders and a variety of bikes - including quite a few Boris Bikes too!

It just goes to show the absolute ease of taking part in a ride such as the Cake and Coffee Cruise - it's open to anyone & you are guaranteed to meet the like-minded via Bikeminded and make new friends along the ride. 

Once again, a massive "thank you" must go to Kathryn for getting me involved in such a wonderful cycling project & I hope we get to work together on something again soon.

Further pictures from the Cruise can be viewed on Flickr here.

*and as always, a special thank you to The Boy - without your photography skills and general support, a lot of this wouldn't happen. 

8 October 2011

Creativity and Cocktails - the Tatty Devine Book Launch Party...

It has been a rather busy week so far... and I'm pleased to say that it has all been fun social events & not work related now the mad period in the office has finished!

The first thing to keep me happily busy was the official launch party for the new Tatty Devine book, "How To Make Jewellery With Tatty Devine".
(picture courtesy of Tatty Devine)

I received a tweet from Team-Tatty inviting me to the event, so I got together with my lovely Tina and headed over to the event on Wednesday evening. The launch party was held in Drink, Shop & Do (a lovely boutique that I must make a cycle return on the Pashley to at some point), and the atmosphere was fabulous. The order of the night was a Tattytini Cocktail, which carried all the hallmarks of TD: glitter (which I'm still finding on my person days later!), pretty colours and of course a unique fashionable edge... the Cocktail Stirrer doubles-up as a hair pin...! I get the feeling I'm going to turn mine into a brooch :)

Tattytini in hand, we headed though to the workshop which had been set-up in the very well decorated back room. It was lovely to finally meet Sonja (who gave me the honour of being Customer of the Month earlier this year) & chat with the other wonderful ladies of TD. The Workshop Agenda was to make your own Tape Measure Rosette Brooch - something which I was really looking forward to!

Getting to grips with making the Brooch was rather fun - we both got the hang of it (and thanks to a lot of help from Lucy which I admit I needed!) I produced my 1st very own piece of Tatty!
I couldn't just leave it at one - there was custom made Tatty Devine Tape Measures all over the table in different colours, just begging to be turned into accessories... and I had a specific reason for needing more than one of them too. In between sipping on Cocktails with Tina & trying not to prick my finger through the laughter, chatter with other guests and fun we were having, I managed to make a few more Rosettes - result.

Of course, the main event of the evening was The Book and finally having the chance to meet Rosie and Harriet, who are a huge inspiration to me as a young woman trying to make my own way doing what I love. Without doubt, they looked as stylish as ever & have given me yet more inspiration for my cycle wardrobe - and the accessories that will go with them...

With my copy of their book to hand, I headed over to them to say "Hello" and get my book signed. Now, you can call this my geek-out moment if you must, but I was absolutely gob-smacked when Rosie asked "Should this be made out to Lady Vélo then?" Goodness me - they knew who I was!

That was HUGE for me & I think my reaction must have told Rosie and Harriet that too. It's incredibly touching and an honour to know that two women who I admire so much knew who I was and what I do - and for that I will forever have this smile in my mind.

As I said, I had a specific reason for making more than one of the Rosettes... of course they make a fabulous edition to my wardrobe, but why stop at adding them to your clothing?
Even the Pashley can rock a bit of Tatty Devine :)

I love how these look on the Basket and making these, along with reading through the book, has given me more inspiration for a project that I'm working on... more on that later.

Thanks Tatty Devine for a fantastic evening... and if Lucy remembers what I said about The Boy and his Cupcakes, we're working on that for you all... ;)

3 October 2011

The Cake & Coffee Cruise with BikemindedRBKC...

After all the ideas and planning, the inaugural BikemindedRBKC Cake & Coffee Cruise took place on the 24th September. Having taken part in the practice-cycle with Kathryn a few weeks ago, I was very excited about how the event would go with the group of invited cyclists & bloggers on the day. The Boy* and I arrived at Pedlars which was the meeting place for the Cruise, and were welcomed by a scene of bicycles & a lot of chic looking cyclists! Beautiful sunshine and smiles appeared to be the order of the day as we had a meet-and-greet session outside over some Flat Whites with our fellow riders.

This was a fantastic opportunity to meet other cyclists and put faces to Bloggers & Tweeters that I follow. It was excellent to finally meet Andreas of LondonCyclist (I didn't manage to get a picture of you - sorry Andreas if you're reading this!) & Tom of I Bike London & CycleHoop, who also provided the amazing Car Bike Rack for all of our bicycles for the day! I also finally met the lovely Jemma of "Help! My Chain Came Off!" and Tillie from "Tillie & Coco" - a blog that I recently found & am fond of already.

For just over two hours, we cruised around Kensington & Chelsea at a nice relaxed pace on our bikes. Assisted by the Marshals Bikeminded had organised for the day, there was the chance to ride through the traffic & quiet back roads and have the chance to take in some of the beautiful architecture and sights the area has to offer. Of course, the main events of the cruise were the delicious cake-stops that were planned for the day - essential sweet-sustenance to keep us all going!

Our first stop was at Buttercup - a lovely little independent bakery that focuses on mainly on Cupcakes. We were treated to these dainty Chocolate and Zucchini ones, which were amazing! They were quite an intense hit & a really interesting flavour combination - certainly worth the cycle...

The next stop was one that I can't deny being rather excited about... the Pierre Hermé boutique in Knightsbridge! After having a taste of them on the test ride & falling utterly in love with the Macarons, & knowing that French Vogue once dubbed Pierre as "The Picasso of Pastry", I couldn't wait for the return visit...
The group was given an informative talk on the history of Pierre & his Macarons and was then invited to choose a flavour to taste. Although very tempted to have an Olive Oil and Vanilla one again, I simply had to try the Pistachio...
... this is my favourite flavour of Macaron and as I didn't try this the 1st time round, it was only right to sample the nutty delight... and it was absolutely delicious!

Cycling on from Knightsbridge and heading to our next cake-destination, The Boy kindly took a photo of my cycle-wardrobe for the day. I guess being so pre-occupied with sweet-treats I was a bit distracted to remember to do this! As it was a sunny afternoon, I went with a touch of yellow...
Aviator Sunglasses: Chanel
Gold Tusk Earrings: Topshop
Dinosaur Necklace: Tatty Devine
Dress: Miss Selfridge
Leggings: Topshop
Sandals: Carvela
(and if you look carefully, you can just about see my new Tattoo...)


Riding on, our next destination was Cocomaya, a beautiful Artisan Bakery which could lure you in just with the aromas wafting from the shop! 
We were treated to a lovely Sponge Slice , which was very moist and  packed with fruit... and yes, it really was as yummy as it looks!

Before arriving to our final destination, I had the chance to cycle with the ultimate Chelsea Girl blogger, who is also one of Bikeminded's Bike Heroes - the fabulous Miss KingsRoadRocks!
We swapped bikes for the last part of the ride as I was immediately taken with her Brompton when I saw it! The colour scheme was awesome, and as I've been thinking about getting one as my "wizz around town" bike (sssshhh - don't tell my Pashley I said that!), it was fantastic to have a proper ride on one. I must say, that KingsRoadRocks looked stunning on my Pashley!

Our final stop on the Cruise was another that I was really looking forward to. We arrived at Kings Road, and locked all our bikes to the ingenious Car Bike Rack provided courtesy of CycleHoop, and made our way to the The Chelsea Teapot. Located towards the end of Kings Road, this beautiful shop had the perfect ambiance for a group of happy cyclists who all needed a perfect cup of tea after a wonderful ride.
The High Tea Chelsea Teapot laid on for us was simply stunning. From the gorgeous Bone China teacups and saucers to the delicious sandwiches, cakes and cream teas, it was fantastic. I was over the moon to see that Cucumber Sandwiches were on the table, as I'd developed quite a hankering for these after having them on the Tweed Run! I hope to do a return cycle-visit to the Teapot for lunch with The Boy... we were very taken with this place along with the very warm and friendly staff.

The brilliant news is that another Cake & Coffee Cruise will be taking place on the 8th October 2011, and it only costs £5.... yes - that's just FIVE POUNDS to sample some of the finest cakes in London, be marshalled through the traffic so you can ride at a nice, relaxed pace and meet other like minded cyclists!

The Cake and Coffee Cruise was a brilliant day, and BikemindedRBKC / Kathryn did a awesome job of organising the event. The route was enjoyable, cake stops amazing & the company brilliant. It's a fantastic way to discover parts of the Borough that you may never have known before, along with finding new places to discover sweet-treats and of course, cycle away the calories too! I'm honoured that I was able to help in the planning of this event, and work with Kathryn on such a fantastic idea.

*Many thanks to The Boy for once again providing his excellent photography skills for my blog!
Additional photos (more to be added) can be viewed in this Flickr Set.