Monthly Archives: October 2013

There’s a new Coffee Shop in Town! And this one is definitely not to be missed!

Leamington Spa is rapidly becoming overtaken by a cafe and restaurant culture. This is no bad thing in my book. Especially if we continue to get interestingly delicious, freshly, made-on-the-premises food, delivered in a cool, contemporary and welcoming atmosphere as is offered by The Larder 23.

The Larder 23 is based at 23 Portland Street, just around the corner from Music Matters on Regent Street. it used to be an curious old shop that sold crystals if anyone remembers that..?? It’s of much better use now!

A preview day was held on Saturday 12th October for friends, family and other ‘anon’s’ to sample the atmosphere, coffee’s, fresh juice’s and taster samples of their food.

First of all let me describe the design: it is impeccably stylish and simple, echoing their tag line of “a simple, honest approach”. White washed walls and dark grey slate worktops, with accents of wooden shelving and green foliage. Beautiful. Seating space is located both on the upper and lower floor, where, past the fully working kitchen, there are a couple of tables sneakily tucked under an archway creating a chef’s table of sorts – a great place for meetings and private lunch parties.






Now on to the food…what can I say…I think I may have stuffed myself! This was the sample menu kindly provided for us:







Form this mouth watering selection I sampled the:

– Spicy Corn Muffin
– Pizzette
– Dark Chocolate and Pistachio Tartlet
– Raspberry and Orange Blossom Larder Cake
– Grapefruit, Lime and Ginger Juice and a Black Coffee

Each was simply delicious; full of a sublime combination of flavours, served fresh and beautifully presented.

I could have stayed there all afternoon sampling the dishes and talking to the very welcoming and creative team behind The Larder 23, along with their guests. The atmosphere was vibrant and inclusive. In my mind the venue, the people, the food and the feeling, all added up to offer an exciting vision and inspiration – somewhere to enjoy and be part of.

Good luck to all the team at The Larder 23 – I am sure it will be an absolute success!

The Larder 23 opens its doors fully at 7am on Wednesday 16th October. This place needs to be visited and sampled by all!

Thank you.

Facebook: The Larder 23
Twitter: @TheLarder23


MFAlogo MFA 2013

This year I finally got around to attending the Midlands Fashion Awards in Birmingham, 5 years after it’s inauguration. The key aim of the Awards to to help and promote emerging fashion and accessory designers within the Midlands area, as well as to inspire new talent and enterprises.

I have been following MFA for a few years now and have spoken a couple of times with the Founder and Managing Directory of the event Jenny Eason (who is an absolute inspiration and role model in herself). This year I sensed a huge shift in the Awards presence and status. First of all it moved from the beautiful, but out-of-town venue of Birmingham’s Botanical Garden’s, to a plush but more intimate feeling venue in Birmingham’s City Centre – the Penthouse Suite in the Loft Lounge. The easy accessibility of this venue would, I am sure, have attracted more visitors, including myself.

Secondly, tickets sold out about a week before the event was due to take place – always a good sign!

And thirdly, there was a much more organised and specifically themed presence on the Social Networks. Twitter in particular seemed very well considered and planned; there wasn’t a constant bombardment of information or pushy sales chatter (this in my opinion is a definite positive).

So a combination of all 3 points created a good buzz around the event.

The show itself was well structured and choreographed nicely. The runway was long and floor level – good for the front rowers and end of runway photographers, not so great for anyone on rows further back unfortunately. However, the production team may have predicted this lack of visual as they live streamed the show on monitors around the room. Not the same as seeing the models and designs first hand, but useful none-the-less.

There were some well thought out creations and designs being showcased with a nice variety of garment, cut, pattern and structure. Mostly womenswear was presented with a small collection of menswear from Catalyst by Tamara Joseph (  Would have been good to see more menswear – maybe next year?

Young Designer Award

The winner of the Young Designer section was awarded to Sarah King who showed us some earthy and rustic designs of interesting cut and silhouette, inspired from the weathering processes on plant life. The four outfits we saw were wearable and looked of good construction with toned down hues for the Autumn/Winter season.

Incidentally, I was sat next to her parents and when she was announced as winner they were endearingly shocked, but incredible excited for their Daughter – it was a pleasure to witness that reaction.

Independent Designer Award

Fazane Malik ( was the well deserved winner of this category, displaying some skilled and elegant tailoring in her collection of catsuits, dresses and sheer shirts, all trimmed in various ways with her signature cross-hatch pattern. Fazane’s designs are incredible wearable with a hint of masculine cut but always maintaining femininity.

MFA 2014

I can only see a positive future for Midlands Fashion Awards. Next year will hopefully be even more well attended, showcasing a new selection of emerging designers who push the boundaries of tailoring, design, printmaking and creativeness.  I for one will look forward to it.

Thank you.

Photos and reports:

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