what i did in la…

Spent some time with these two.
When the Ant to your Dec lives an 11-hour plane ride away, it sucks. A lot. But on the flip side, you get to casually drop into conversations that, “Yeah, my best friend lives in LA. No big deal.” then casually swan off to see her, while reminding people that your best friend lives in LA. Because it is a big deal. Vicki worked ridiculously hard to get there and she works ridiculously hard now she’s there, and has über-important meetings with big-wigs at Fox and Universal and Paramount, and sometimes I’m so proud of what she’s achieved, I could burst. I also got to hang out with my 2yo goddaughter, who is quite simply the coolest. She’s a one-woman stand-up show, and is going to grow up to become Amy Poehler. I also loved that she kept forgetting my name (‘Auntie El’) and instead opted for ‘Teacher’.
1-What I did in LA via {what you fancy}
Checked out Venice.
I’d been to LA once before but hadn’t got as far as Venice, so that needed to be put right, stat. We walked the length of Abbot Kinney (which, to style bloggers, is retail cat-nip), meandering in and out of shops, and chattering away nineteen to the dozen. We strolled through the canals, drooled over the gorgeous cottages and wondered out loud how these people got so rich. Turns out a lot of the places on the canals are passed down through generations, so it’s not so much making money as getting lucky in the family lottery. Gah.
2-What I did in LA via {what you fancy}
Went to Shutters on the Beach.
New England decor is my jam, so Vicki knew I’d fall in love with this hotel. My ‘just going to the bathroom’ visit turned into a full-on stalking of the place… and one day… one day… we’ll stump up the obscene per-night cost and stay in one the rooms, which I’m sure are just as dreamy.
3-What I did in LA via {what you fancy}
Sat on the Friends couch.
Vicki and I aren’t just Friends fans. We’re the Friends fans. As in 17/17 on this quiz without breaking a sweat. It’s also our comfort blanket – stick on a Friends episode when we’re feeling blue and it cures all. So, getting to sit on the actual couch in actual Central Perk was a major highlight in our lives. We also saw Phoebe’s guitar, the guys’ foosball table and Monica’s see-through shirt from when she sung karaoke. Our 15yo selves’ heads exploded that day.
4-What I did in LA via {what you fancy}
Ate an In-N-Out burger.
Okay, so Shake Shack and Five Guys may have taken their sweet time and finally come over to British shores, but we still don’t have In-N-Out. I just pray to the burger gods that some day we will. It’s mind-blowingly good… so good, in fact, that there was a queue of about 20 cars in the drive-thru but no one inside the restaurant at the counter. I asked Vicki why, and she just shrugged, “People don’t like getting out of their cars.” What can I say? I get it.
5-What I did in LA via {what you fancy}
Dined at Nobu Malibu.
To those who don’t live in LA, and who read celeb magazine on a weekly basis, the city is a bit like a safari. You want to see the Big Five (movie star, TV star, reality star, sports star, singer), and if you don’t see at least one, you’re disappointed. Since the last time Vicki went to Nobu, she saw Kourtney Kardashian, Lord Disick, Adam Sandler and Miley Cyrus, she promised me that the odds were in our favour. We ate our sushi and sipped our drinks (both phenomenal) at a snail’s pace in the hopes that Taylor Swift was on her way. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, but with a view like this (on left), who cares*? We also went to The Castaway restaurant, near her house in Burbank, and it was perfect. With festoon lights, a view of the sprawling city and a wedge salad that I’d happily eat for every meal ever, I’d definitely recommend a visit.
6-What I did in LA via {what you fancy}
*okay, slightly, but hey, on my flight to NY the next day I saw everyone’s favourite Z-listers, Mark Wright and Michelle Keegan (non-Brits, don’t even bother Googling). And Gael García Bernal, who is far more talented, so let’s just focus on him instead.

instagram feed you need to follow

Here’s the thing. I have this thing with floors. And so do the masses, apparently, hence the appeal of this tile-filled Instagram account. No longer something you merely tromp over, the floor is the star attraction in this IG feed, from the sublime to the ridiculously intricate. Folks with often-stylish shoes are aiming down and snapping everything from monochrome hexagons to multi-coloured mosaics, and the Instagram community are going wild for it. Let’s face it, the goal is to one day be regrammed on this account, so I’ll just keep hunting for the kind of detail that will elicit sighs of joy. Who’s with me?
@ihavethisthingwithfloors IG account via {what you fancy}
{clockwise from top left: @cntraveler, @creativekipi, @kellouhar, @kseniajasvina, @dimitrisbairabas, @carolinarandolph, @lucylaucht, @studiomatsalla, @lodarling, @strizheus}

interior trend: boucherouite rugs

Beni Ourain… you’ve had your time. There’s a contender for your crown of ‘most likely to be found on the floors of interior bloggers and stylists’, and it goes by the name of ‘Boucherouite’. Boucher-what-now? Yeah, I know, I don’t know how to pronounce it either, so let’s just call them Moroccan rag rugs for now. And aren’t they pretty? They’ve got a lot more going for them in the hue department than Beni (although I don’t want to diss BO too much, in fact I have one in my living room and it’s not going to be ousted any time soon) and the unsual textile texture means that half the rug doesn’t stick to you every time you rest your backside on it (anyone else?). A quick perusal of Pinterest uncovered these gorgeous specimens – I love how they either complement the colour scheme of the room or add a striking focal point to an otherwise neutral palette. So Beni, old buddy old pal. I wouldn’t get too comfy. The Mighty Bouche is muscling in on your territory, big time…
{images via cococarpets, apartment therapy, casa del caso & sfgirlbybay}
So, where can I bag myself one of these boucher-wotsits? I hear you cry. Right here, my friends…
{1, 2, 3, 4}

best moments of #orc2015

Six weeks. Twenty bloggers. A variety of budgets. And that, my friends, is the essence of the One Room Challenge. Each year, Linda of Calling It Home organises for 20 bloggers to transform one room in their homes in just 6 weeks, and interior obsessives like me (and probably you, since you’re reading this) get to be voyeurs along for the ride. The class of ’15 has been strong, featuring some of my all-time favourite bloggers like Swoon Worthy and Savvy Home. I trawled all 20 of the blogs religiously, and although everyone firmly put their own design stamp on their makeovers, some made me look more lustfully at my screen than others. So, without further ado, here are my #ORC2015 best bits and the reason why they made the cut…
{Colourful gallery wall + hanging chair}
{Pastels + muted hues}
{An update on the traditional bedside table}
{Feminine-meets-masculine office space}
{Sophisticated, layered vignette for a teenage girl’s bedroom}
{Copper bar stools + cosy accents}
{A calming bedroom palette}
{Dream kitchen scenario}
{Cool greys + panelled ceiling}
{Pops of colour + Jana Bek lamp}
{Hunting lodge vibes}
{Brass taps, freestanding bath + tiled floor}
I’d love to hear what you think of my choices – any favourites?

sixty soho gets a makeover

Ten years ago, my commute to work was a hop and a skip along Fifth Avenue. As far as commutes go, there are worse ways to travel to work. Okay, so I left out the part about the smushed-in-someone’s-armpit PATH train from Jersey City, but details, details. The beauty about working opposite the Chrysler Building (again, there are worse places to call your office…) was that I was in prime hotel territory. I love me a hotel. We’re not talking your local Premier Inn, we’re talking the fancy schmancy kind that have marble floors and sweeping staircases and a jaunty concierge. And one hell of a watering hole. Preferably of the roof-top variety. So, when I heard that NYC’s 60 Thompson had been refurbed and re-branded as SIXTY SoHo, my ears pricked up faster than you can say ‘J.Crew half-price sale’. This is going to be good, I thought to myself. And I wasn’t wrong. Industrial chic, sophisticated tones, and layer upon layer of textures.
The dark window frames and patterned floor create plenty of drama…
In most NY hotel rooms there isn’t room to swing a cat. In here you could swing 128 of the beggers…
Stocked and loaded.
1,800 square feet of split-level gorgeousness… ladies and gents, the SIXTY Loft…
The Sessanta bar. I mean, seriously.
Just add a G&T and good friends.
I’ll take a week in the SIXTY Loft, thanking you kindly.
Good, right?