Monday, 27 June 2011

larking about in interlaken

The final stop (sob sob) of the tour was sunny Interlaken, where we played at the beautiful Casino Kursaal, overlooking the Jungfrau mountains. My dad and I had an Easter breakfast at the splendid Hotel Victoria, and they even offered Zumba dance lessons for their guests - thank goodness noone in Switzerland is ever likely to see me and my hilarious attempts again...

The suitably sublime interiors of the Casino Kursaal

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

clooney in como

Or so I wished. I did ask the tour guide to point out his residence, but it was in a secluded area and so, alas, I never got to meet Mr. Clooney in person.

Nevertheless, we found plenty of other lovely things to do in Como, including a city tour, relaxing in our gorgeous hotel, and eating more cannoli, of course.

Gosia and me outside our picturesque hotel

Sunday, 19 June 2011

st moritz glitz

The next stop on tour with the EUYO was stunning St Moritz, where we stayed in the fabulous Alpine Rock hotel. We enjoyed sensational mountain views whilst eating bircher muesli for breakfast, went on a walk to a breathtaking waterfall and even chanced a dip in the freezing cold lake... Whilst there we held a charity concert which raised a staggering 22,556.05 Swiss Francs for Swiss Solidarity's Japan appeal, helping victims of the recent tsunami.

Not such a bad balcony view...

Me with a chef and waiter from the Alpine Rock

Friday, 17 June 2011

designers and dolls in düsseldorf

Earlier this week I escaped Cambridge for a few days to visit my boyfriend's family in Düsseldorf. We walked around the harbour (full of wonderful restaurants and design shops) and strolled down the classy Kö, where we people watched and window shopped.

 Gehry buildings and restaurants at the harbour
One of the design shops in the harbour, where we bought one of these fabulous Barbie dolls 

We ate sushi, amazing cakes from Leysieffer, and nutella and tartufo ice cream from Claudio's (dreamy...); and one evening we went to Sub, a former underground station that's now a fantastic nightclub.

Sushi with Tino, my new Steiff teddy bear ♥

Saturday, 11 June 2011

oh hello bergamo

Yet ANOTHER stunning Italian city. Apparently Bergamo is where the savvy Milanese go for the weekend - less touristy but just as gorgeous.

The food here is sensational - huge portions of melon with parma ham, slices from giant pizzas with every topping imaginable, Grom ice cream (divine), dinky pastries from cute bakeries hidden down tiny cobbled alleyways, and a lovely dinner at Le Iris.

Friday, 10 June 2011

magnificent milan

Next stop was gorgeous Milan, where we visited spectacular shops selling opulent jewelled gloves and masks and marvelled at all the beautiful people tottering down the boutique-lined streets in their stiletto heels.

The Duomo - I could quite happily get married here...

I discovered an beautiful pasticceria called Bastianello where white and gold-clad waiters served pretty cakes , ice creams and pastries, all decorated to perfection. The Easter eggs were works of art - almost (but not quite) too gorgeous to eat.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

The Tux Redux

BOOM! My latest article for Varsity:

As we enter the throes of exam term, and find ourselves consumed by the necessity to prioritise revision over such tempting distractions as shopping for dresses, May Week might seem like a somewhat distant event. And yet, with only a few weeks until the balls commence, the need to settle sartorial choices is becoming an increasingly imminent concern. With so much to do before the big night and so little time on our hands in which to prepare, why can’t there be a fail-safe, quick-fix option amid this commotion? Fortunately there’s a black-and-white solution: ladies, let’s initiate a tux redux.

If, like me, you’ve spent this term in a library-bound stupor, relying on custard creams for sustenance and rarely exposing yourself to sunlight, your body might not be looking as honed as a traditional dress demands. Mercifully, the forgiving cut, ample pasty limb coverage and satisfactory tummy concealment of the tux provides a flattering answer to any revision-induced bodily neglect.

Moreover, the tux is endlessly practical. Ever since Yves Saint Laurent inaugurated ‘Le Smoking’ in the sixties, it’s been a timeless classic; a sensible yet sexy investment piece guaranteed to turn heads. Opting for a tux virtually neutralises every girl’s worst nightmare: the possibility of someone else turning up in the same dress. Instead, on an evening when Cambridge’s finest will doubtlessly seek to outdo each other in the sartorial stakes, the tux outsmarts the very notion of ‘dressing to impress’, oozing sophistication by virtue of its sheer simplicity.

Yves Saint Laurent’s iconic original ‘Le Smoking’, Bianca Jagger’s wedding suit, Helmut Newton’s version of striking androgyny for French Vogue in 1975

For those who are planning on some serious Suicide Sunday antics, the tux is definitely the way forward. Quickly throw it on, add a coat of red lipstick and a stroke of black eyeliner, and you can rush from garden party to ball in no time, leaving the other girls hobbling behind in their painfully impractical stilettos.

What’s more, freed from the constraints of a close-fitting dress, the prospect of an unsightly food baby will become a distant worry, whilst dance-induced sweats and early-morning chilliness can be averted by slipping your jacket on and off. Devoid of awkward skimpiness, the tux is also the perfect solution for letting go on the dancefloor, jumping into punts, and even negotiating the bouncy castle.

Even if such antics aren’t your thing, the tux nevertheless epitomises grown-up glamour. It suggests individuality, confidence and independence: another attraction if commitment to your studies this term has left you without a date for the evening. And yet, the suit is supremely sexy – we need only look to its recent red-carpet treatment at the hands of Kate Moss, Dita von Teese and Rihanna and commend their savvy decisions to eschew exhibitionist ensembles in favour of an elegant tailored look.

Kate Moss and Dita von Teese: effortless tailored chic and sexy sartorial glamour

Considering its practicality, functionality and timeless appeal, I’m convinced that suiting up is a definite tuxe-do for May Week. Without the worry of choosing the dress for the occasion, Google Nanny’s enforced regulation of my procrastinating perusal of ASOS dresses can get stuffed. Successfully suited and booted, I can forget about May Week Chic and get on with some productive revision instead – although I’m still yet to find the perfect bow tie…

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Amarena in Ravenna

After a non-stop week we had a few days' despite in glorious Ravenna.

Beautiful sunset as we arrived on the coach

The sunshine was perfect weather for wandering around the gorgeous mosaics, doing window shopping, visiting Dante's tomb, relaxing on the beach, and drinking Spritzes whilst people-watching in pavement cafés.

 My dream dress

 Dante's tomb

Concert at Teatro Alighieri

 Stunning mosaics

Cartwheeling on the beach

We ate gelato (the Amarena, Cannella and Fico flavours were to die for), melt-in-the-mouth scallops and handmade cannoli from cute bakeries, and enjoyed a fabulous staff dinner of cheese souffle with candied figs followed by John Dory with a flaked almond crust with sweet and sour orange sauce )washed down with plenty of vino bianco, of course).

Gorgeous hairstyle courtesy of my lovely Dutch friend Tessel

If only every meal ended with handmade fig ice cream from a gelateria...