Reviews, Social Commentary

Serpentine Summer Party 2016 & Gomez – Gracia


Serpentine Summer Pavilion 2016. NHYM 

The Serpentine Summer Party is the one summer event not to miss – in my opinion. It’s the one time of year when I can pretend that I am still young/cool/fun and get a chance to dance under and with the stars. This year’s Pavilion was designed by Bjarke Ingels, a Danish architect, who has won numerous awards and designed the Pavilion to be a ‘solid wall that has been unzipped.’


As you know, the Serpentine is closely linked to fashion, with fashion models and designers all in attendance, and this year, designer-to-the-stars, Patricia Gomez – Gracia is ‘dressing me.’ Her dresses have been spotted on the likes of Carrie Underwood, Katie Holmes, Kristin Stewart, the Kardashians,  et al… So, when she contacted me for a collaboration, the Serpentine Summer Party was the ideal event.


I went to her studio and showroom in Notting Hill for a fitting and to choose a dress. I immediately fell in love with her ‘Fairytale’ dress. My choice wasn’t rock ‘n’ roll/hip/cool, it was purely instinctual; I chose it because it was the most beautiful dresses I saw.


At her studio, I saw the whole creative process and her work in progress, from sketches to mood boards and textures.


It was great seeing what happens behind closed doors of her design studio, to see the beginning to the end of a finished product. I had a lot of fun choosing and trying various dresses, leading up to the big night.


I was thrilled to wear my ‘Fairytale’ dress on the big night, it was fun, romantic, glamorous, beautiful and sexy all at the same time. As soon as I walked into the Pavilion, I was accosted by people complimenting the dress. ‘Stunning,’ ‘You are the best-dressed, hands down’ ‘Everyone else should just go home’ ‘We’ve been staring at you all evening, we love your dress’ and finally I even got a ‘Will you marry me?’ Literally, everyone was staring at me as I walked by, which was quite fun. Even the celebrities were coming up to me to tell me how much they loved my dress, from Cressida Bonas to Anna Friel  and Heather Kerzner. It was a show-stopper and it literally made me shine.


This year’s Pavilion is an amazing geometrical, square themed, structure that you can walk through and had lighting that literally and figuratively ‘lit up’ the space.


Square shaped structures. Fearne Cotton bottom right. 


Inside the Pavilion with Heather Kerzner


Sienna Miller and Jade Jagger NHYM 2016.

Of course, there were celebs galore as usual with the usual English celebs & models: Kate Moss, Sienna Miller, Naomi Campbell, the Jaggers (Jade and Georgia May), Prince Harry’s exes (Cressida Bonas and Chelsy Davy, who is much taller than I expected), Tommy Hilfiger (hosting the party), etc. etc. etc. but the most exciting star spotting was Maisie Williams from Game of Thrones!

attends The Serpentine Summer Party Co-Hosted By Tommy Hilfiger at The Serpentine Gallery on July 6, 2016 in London, England.


Beautiful Gabriella Wilde checking me out while I was checking her out. Her friend came to tell me how much she loved my Gomez-Gracia dress. NHYM 2016


Sophie Dahl NHYM 2016


As the sun set and the night descended, the colours on the Pavilion became brighter and more colourful, turning into a surreal, fantasy.


Although this year the music was somewhat of a let down (there were no big performances, which is a shame after great ones in the past by Dizzie Rascal, Pharrell Williams and last year’s Mark Ronson), the Pavilion was stunning and one of our favourites so far. We still had a fun night of dancing, mingling, drinking, laughing and making new friends through the dress.


I may not have been the most famous person there last night, but my dress was certainly voted the most popular dress of the night. Photographs do not do it justice, you can ask anyone that was there, everyone loved it. For one night, I really was in a ‘fairytale’ thanks to Patricia Gomez Gracia!




Social Commentary

Sorry, I can’t meet up, I’m Suffering From Busyness-itis


The other day, I was sitting at Egg Break catching up with a friend I hadn’t seen in a while when I answered the question ‘how are you?’ with the dreaded words, ‘I am soo busy,’ that vague, annoying, I’m-so-important, type of answer. Not really believing me, she asked me to go through my week, event by event. (I am guilty of overusing those words when I can’t formulate an interesting enough answer to that question in a concise manner). So, I went through my week, play by play, when she said, ‘Oh. Ok. Maybe you are busy.’

Most people look at me like I am humble-bragging when I use those words, I mean I’m just a jobless, stay at home mum with kids in school, but the truth is, it’s really how I feel. Like my life is slipping away out of my control and I go through the motions just to keep up. It’s this time of year, when schools, parents and PTAs go on overdrive and schedule 1 million things for your child/you to do and I have lots of loose ends to finish before summer starts. My children go to two different schools (let’s call them school A and School B), and I usually try to attend most of the events.

I am a ‘YES’ person, who feels obliged to say ‘yes’ whenever someone invites me, because I get really annoyed (as you know), when people come up with ‘veiled bullshit excuses.’ So I say yes. Yes to the parents’ dinner of school A, parents’ drinks of school B, mum’s dinner school A, mum’s lunch school B, mums coffee morning school A, class drinks school B, school drinks of schools A+B, sports day schools A+B, Parent-teacher conference school A+B, readings/assembly/open days/summer parties/birthday parties (oh the last minute cramming-of-birthday-parties-before-summer is an epidemic) etc… etc… etc… And now I know I have completely exhausted you by just reading this.

I haven’t even begun talking about time spent writing the blog/organising Summer 16 Winter 17 holidays/organising playdates and doctor’s appointments/window cleaning/fixing leaks/paying overdue electricity bills (Yes, I am different to the superrich). Everyone always asks me how much time I spend on the blog each week. The answer is a few hours twice or three times a week. I need time to think about the content, write the content, meet future collaborators and think of how we can work together. That last part I really love because I get to meet so many interesting entrepreneurs with a vision, which is one of the main reasons I keep on writing. I don’t make money out of this blog, but it takes up a bloody lot of my time.

Well, that is my constant state of being these days: exhausted. These are not ‘crucial’ life or death events that I need to attend, they are events that are made up by parents and people who try to make our lives more interesting/fun/social, and I respect that. Perhaps, I should learn to say ‘NO.’ (I look at those women who tell me they aren’t going to XYZ school event because they ‘can’t be bothered’ in complete awe. Wow, if I could only do that…) But that’s just not me, and I, for the most part, end up dutifully going to all the events but sometimes (many times) I would rather stay in bed because not only can I not bear to look at my same-old-clothes closet one more time to look for an appropriate outfit, it’s really because I can’t get out of bed from pure small-talk-exhaustion.

The point is that when I tell you I can’t schedule you in until next September (which I have been known to do), it’s not because I am so important, or that I am so popular, or that I-have-so-much-to-do-you’ll-get-FOMO, on the contrary, it’s because I am a YES person, and I always think about the effort people have put into organising school parties or events, and that if it were me, I would want a lot of YES people in my crowd. Is it the schools’ and parents’ fault for over-organising or my fault for saying yes to everyone? I’m not sure. But if you hear me say ‘I’m so busy,’ just know that I am not trying to humblebrag. Most likely, I’ll be sitting in Bramley’s for yet another soft play birthday party thinking that I’d rather be having a coffee with you.




Social Commentary

Brexit: 10 Reasons to Stay


Brexit is on everyone’s mind, from all the newspaper outlets, to economists and bloggers. To the point that even the yummy mummies have gone from talking about children/exercise/holidays to Brexit at their coffee mornings. So I thought I would give my two (10) cents about it:

10 Reasons to Stay:

  1. The Economy: We’ve just clawed our way out of a recession, and with the impending Brexit, the pound is down, the FTSE is down and the OECD predicts world economic gloom if Brexit happens. Is this really what we want post-crisis?! Even the Brexiters admit it. It is evident that we will be worse off after Brexit.
  2. Jobs: It’s not just the banks who are preparing to relocate 1000s of their staff to Frankfurt or elsewhere, other jobs will be lost along the way, which of course will affect point #1. There are 3 Million EU nationals working in the UK, many of them the top talents attracted to London for its opportunities. They’re not here for the weather are they?
  3. Housing market: The housing market is already in a precarious situation and is doomed to fall if Brexit happens. Already, we’ve been feeling the strain on the housing market with increased stamp duty and other George Osbourne obstacles. Isn’t that enough?
  4. Immigration: London is the most cosmopolitan, international city in the world. It embraces people from all the world and integrates them better than any other city, which is why there are so many expats here (uhm, France/Germany/Italy/US are not known to be the best integrators there are). And can you imagine what it would do to the visa process? Have you ever waited for your nanny/housekeeper’s visa to come through? The UK just wouldn’t be able to cope.
  5. Food: Twenty five years ago, I came to London, and all I remember was a drab, grey city with terrible food. But since then, French, Italian, Spanish and even German food has invaded ‘our’ city (I now do believe that London is ‘my’ city). This is a great thing. The restaurants in London have become so good, we don’t need to fly over to the continent for proper food. All the Europeans in the food industry will suffer. We don’t want London to go back to pre-historic, dark un-foodie ages.
  6. Travel: The open borders mean that travel between the UK and the continent is easy: we all hop on a plane (Easyjet) to fly to Greece/Sardinia/Ibiza/South of France. Being in the UK means that this is easy, fluid and open. Are we really going to need a visa to go to Space?
  7. Tech: If East London wants to contend with Silicon Valley, the UK needs to let the doors open to all the techie-talent coming from Europe. The Google Campus attracts all of these young, talented techies from all over Europe who come to London for its opportunities. Let’s not close down any of these opportunities.
  8. Education: 4 university leaders agree: they are voting to stay. Nobel Laureates also agree. They cite research, staff and funding all as reasons. Surely the most brilliant minds realise the benefits of staying, why can’t all of us?
  9. Research & Science: Brexiters are overlooking the fact that Britain would lose funding for vital research in the science and medical fields. Paediatric research is hugely funded by the EU. Go ask Great Ormond Street. Or other British universities. This threatens the UK as one of the top research nations in the world.
  10.  The Capital of the World: I consider London to be the Capital of the World: it is international, dynamic, you can easily travel to the 4 corners of the world from it, and it is tolerant. Closing down its barriers will make it a worse place. I am biased, but I hope you’ll join me to stay in the EU.




Social Commentary

Playdate Rage


The other day, I was taken over by what you could call ‘Playdate Rage.’

Firstly, I’d like to be clear that I do not enjoy organising playdates, with its 15 email trails/Whatsapp frenzy/ texting/organising/re-organising/re-scheduling because of sickness/family in town/unforeseen circumstances. As a matter of fact, in my ideal world, there would not be any playdates, we would just come home after school or go to the local park/playground and play with whoever is there. Even better, I grew up coming home and playing on the beach (yes, I know, what am I doing here in London!?😉 ). So the whole ‘playdate’ thing is foreign to me. But, my children love playdates and they hear about their classmates’ playdates so I organise them for their happiness. And I do actually enjoy the actual playdates, it’s the organisational aspect that can get quite tedious.

One of my greatest pet peeves are cancellations at the last minute accompanied by silly excuses. It shows a lack of thought, respect and manners. So, when one of the mums cancelled my child’s playdate 2 hours before the playdate, I was sent into a ‘playdate rage.’ Let me elaborate: 1) my daughter had been begging for this playdate for months 2) this was the second time they cancelled at the last minute 3) the mother couldn’t be bothered calling me, it was the nanny who called with a veiled bullshit excuse. Not the day before, which could be acceptable, but two hours before so I couldn’t quickly organise a replacement playdate. The problem I now faced was a crying/tantruming toddler who didn’t understand why this child never wanted to do a playdate with her.

Playdate etiquette is that there is no etiquette and sometimes it’s a free for all, when some people forget their manners, respect and decency. Luckily, most people aren’t like this, but this model-gorgeous/celebrity/superrich mum has forgotten those somewhere along the way. I would like to tell her that ‘Yes, I know you may be too-busy-being-papped/have-a-complicated-glamorous-life/only-like-other-superrich, but frankly I don’t care, I care about my child and I’d like a bit more respect.’ But of course, this would be completely socially unacceptable and would send me straight into pariah territory. 12 hours later, I was over it, but it reminded me of all the stories I have heard over the years of ‘playdate rage’ (Just to be clear, not all Glamorous Supermums are like this, many are absolutely lovely, courteous, polite and actually speak to me).

Someone was telling me about a mum who invited her daughter’s 6 best friends to Eurodisney for the weekend. The whole weekend would be paid for, which was quite expensive, and it was planned months in advance. But towards the big weekend, the two girls didn’t seem as close as before, so the mum actually dis-invited the child (and probably invited someone else instead), who of course was absolutely devastated. It’s the type of rudeness I cannot tolerate.

Another friend had organised a playdate for her son and another boy in the class at the boy’s house. It turns out the other boy’s mother had invited another mother and son as well but hadn’t invited her, saying ‘just send the nanny.’ The nanny went along while the two other mums caught up, excluding my friend.

And then there are those who just don’t show up. Period. No excuses. No forewarning emails.

I know it’s not always straightforward and we all cancel or exclude by mistake sometimes. But there’s a proper way and an improper way of handling playdates. At the end of the day, all we want is for our children to be happy and it doesn’t matter who is at the other end of the playdate-organisation-phone. I also hope that I am teaching my children to be kind, thoughtful and considerate. So, in the long term, maybe it’s all for the better.

Let me know your worst playdate stories!







Art16 in Photos


Art16 at Olympia. NHYM 2016.

For those who missed Art16, here’s a quick roundup of what was on show last weekend. All photographs taken by NHYM Copyright 2016.


Amazing head sculpture – one of the highlights of the fair. NHYM 2016. 


Pearl Lam Gallery. One of the top galleries at Art16. NHYM 2016.


Loved this piece. Somehow reminded me of someone I know…NHYM 2016. 


Interactive butterflies. Dominic Harris. NHYM 2016. 


Interactive flowers Dominic Harris. NHYM 2016. 


Yayoi Kusama. One of the biggest artists of the moment. NHYM 2016. 


Am having a thing for Japanese art at the moment. NHYM 2016. 


The House of Fairy Tales Charity. NHYM 2016. 


Mickey Mouse Child Friendly Art. NHYM 2016. 


Purple Dragon even had a stand. Wonderfully family friendly and creative. NHYM 2016. 






London Art Studies: 10 Landmark Photographs at Phillips


Robert Mapplethorpe self portrait NHYM 2016. 

I was invited last Tuesday to attend a lecture at Phillips on ‘Ten Landmark Photographs’ by the London Art Studies, who offer short, accessible art classes. It was timed perfectly to coincide with Photo London, a very new photography fair which opened yesterday at Somerset House and runs until Sunday (last year was its first year), and the Phillips Photographs exhibit and auction. This week, it’s all about photography (Art16 also opened yesterday, but one has to choose with less time available).


Diane Arbus. Three transvestites in evening dress. NHYM London Art Studies 2016. 

London Art Studies offer short, concise art classes for those who may not be able to commit to a 9 week Christie’s/Sotheby’s/Royal Academy of Arts course. When they contacted me, I was immediately intrigued and thought it a very good concept: pick and choose the subjects you want to learn about, when you are available. It offers classes in contemporary art, art collecting, and on topical, current exhibitions in London (for example, its class yesterday was on Georgia O’Keefe who will be at the Tate Modern this summer).


London Art Studies evening, Phillips, May 17 2016. NHYM.

I arrived at the Phillips lecture room to find a room full of art lovers, collectors and photographers, including myself. I’ve always been interested in photography but last took it seriously about 15 years ago when I took a class at the International Centre of Photography in New York. Since then, I’ve been an ‘amateur’ photographer, as we all are in the age of selfies and instagram. But photography is an art in its own right and this art fair and lecture is a reminder that it is one of the great creative mediums.


Lecturer Ben Street and photograph by Bill Brandt, NHYM 2016.

The lecturer Ben Street has all the credentials you can ask for. He is a lecturer at the Tate, National Gallery and at Sotheby’s and Christie’s. Right away, you could sense his passion and enthusiasm for art, which he conveyed in an eloquent and loquacious way. He went through the history of photography in an hour, which is a feat in itself. Photography is a very young art form, which only really emerged in 1839. He showed us photographs meant to look like paintings (Julia Margaret Cameron), and discussed Henri Cartier Bresson’s huge influence on photography and the ‘decisive moment.’ This above picture by Bill Brandt shows the surrealist movement of photography.


Robert Mapplethorpe Flowers. NHYM 2016.

The lecture also included Robert Mapplethorpe, who photographed ‘beauty,’ from naked people to flowers, and Bernd and Hilda Becher who photographed industrial Germany. These fetch tens of thousands of pounds at auction. Some of the great quotes I took away from that night were ‘photography is like enhanced vision, it makes us the see the world better than in reality,’ ‘an iconic photo is so much more than itself, it represents something bigger.’ Finally, ‘every photograph is nostalgic, it is a moment in time, it is you in the past’, and ‘photography of the dead keeps them alive.’


Peter Beard NHYM 2016. 

After the lecture, we were invited to visit the Champagne reception and photography exhibit in advance of the photography auction. The exhibit had a wide range of illustrious photographs, but also had a strong emphasis on fashion photography’s impact on our general culture (coinciding with Vogue’s 100th).


Peter Lindbergh Supermodels NHYM 2016. 

The London Art Studies classes are a great way to learn in an informal, social environment in short, concise classes. The lecturer was excellent and the set up was lovely (although it started a little later than was supposed to, which would have been fine apart from babysitting issues). I thoroughly enjoyed it, and loved learning in a different way. At university, part of my curriculum involved Art History, which I loved. It taught me the appreciation of art, and for those who want to learn more, this is a sweet and succinct way to go about it. Recommended.

London Art Studies:




Restaurant Review: Black Roe

‘Do the Hokey Poke with Me…’ 

Black Roe 

4 Mill Street

London W1s 2AX


Most Photos Courtesy on the Internet. Apart from the Shake and Bake. NHYM 2016. 

Design: 4.25 stars

Ambience: 4.5 stars

Food: 4.5 stars

Service: 4 stars

Overall: 4.25 stars

When I told Mr.X we were going out for Hawaiian food, he looked at me like I had told him that we were going out to Pizza Hut; clearly not impressed and hinting that it was a bad idea. To him, Hawaiian food evokes images of anything with a pineapple on top: Hawaiian pizzas, fried rice topped with pineapple or chicken kebabs – with pineapple. Little did he know that the newest trend to hit this side of the Atlantic is Poke (the U.S. has had this trend for a while already, but it has now swum to our shores). I told him to trust me, I am now a bona fide restaurant critic after all (the pressure was now on).


Poke is the Hawaiian version of ceviche: raw cubed fish marinated in garlic, sesame, soy or other spices on a bed of rice. Black Roe, the first Poke bar in London, comes from Kurt Zdesar, the man behind Chotto Matte, a popular restaurant serving Nikkei food (Peruvian-Japanese) and also the man who was responsible for bringing Nobu to London. So, we owe a lot to him.


When we got to Black Roe the other night, Mr. X was quite surprised. There were no Hula dancers or Hawaiian shirts in sight. Instead, we entered a cool, dark lit restaurant with black and white max-sized photographs on the walls, neon signs about silence and cozy leather booths. All very Soho. And not at all what he was expecting. The dance music was blaring and we wondered whether this place turned into a night club after midnight, which we would have loved.


But let’s talk about the food. It was excellent and was the main attraction of the night. The yellowtail Poke dressed with spicy garlic salsa was just delicious, with perfectly balanced flavours and was as fresh as you can get in London. The asparagus tempura, which Mr.X wasn’t originally quite keen on getting, had the right crunch and flavours, satisfying the entire table. Each of the mains we ordered was very good and tasty; the grilled spatchcock chicken with corn salsa, cajun style seabass with pineapple salsa (yes, there had to be some pineapple hidden somewhere) and the Bison rib eye steak with yuzu soy hollandaise.


My photo of the Shake and Bake. NHYM 2016. 

For dessert, we almost went for the ‘shake and bake’ which deserves its own menu and website given its enormity, but we opted for the conservative tarte tatin, which was good, but not quite as thrilling as the shake and bake. The other dish we didn’t try but deserves its own menu and website was the Lobster Mac ‘n’ Cheese served in a huge lobster shell. Looked delish.

When we left the restaurant, Mr. X couldn’t stop raving about it and showering it with praise. ‘…one the best restaurants I have been to in ages…’ ‘…great restaurant, the food is outstanding…’ I couldn’t help but feel quite smug about it, given how unenthusiastic he was at the prospect of going. He is now a full-on Poke-convert, preaching about it to anyone who will listen. For once, I can be the one who can say, ‘see, you should always trust me, I’m always right.’ Which doesn’t happen very often.




Black Roe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato