London is a hive of activity at the moment, what with London Fashion Week & the London Design Festival it isn’t hard to find a catwalk show, party or design talk to attend.

 It is a great time of year to live in London and working in Clerkenwell we are surrounded by design showrooms who during the week of 20th-25th of September are celebrating design by holding events, installations, talks & debates and last night Fay and I took ourselves off to Galleria illy.

 “Coffee and culture have shared an inseparable bond that has lasted for centuries” and after a successful stint in New York, Milan and Istanbul the pop up celebration of all things illy has made its way over to the UK.  Hosted by lighting and furnishing designers FLOS & Moroso the space is a celebration of illy, it’s love of art, culture and science and above all it’s passion for the finest coffee.

 Last night we attended a coffee training session – it only lasted for an hour, but in that time Marco our tutor for the evening taught us the essential skills needed to make the perfect Cappuccino, Latte & Macchiato.  We didn’t use roast and ground beans we used pods something i’ve always thought were a waste of money and bad for the environment, but i’ve since changed my mind and am now putting an illy pod machine on my Christmas list!  Such a quick and
efficient way to make a coffee with limited waste and added experience, I felt like a proper barista; of course an hours class isn’t going to make me a pro, but it has made me think about the coffee I drink.

 The American inspired chains that are swamping our high streets have quickly turned us from instant coffee lovers to coffee connoisseurs (or so we’d like to think), but they are so focused on selling, charging crazy money for products that aren’t even that great, that they have forgotten about the taste experience.   Am I expecting too much from my coffee experience, I don’t think so.

Despite my new found love for the illy pod machine I have started to drink a lot more instant coffee in a bid to save money.  I normally just buy whatever is on offer in my local supermarket, but last week I decided to go for something different, Nescafe Gold Blend, and do you know what I was pleasantly surprised.  In my honest opinion instant coffee all tastes pretty much the same to me so it doesn’t really matter what I buy, but this time I was pleasantly surprised with my brand switch as there was a notable difference, the smell, it smelt great!  It wasn’t until I put the jar back in the cupboard that I noticed a little sticker on the side –  ‘new richer aroma’, the brand got me before the marketing did.

Coffee is so sensorial, from the sound of the grinding machine, the water boiling or the fresh seal popping, to the smell of the beans roasting and the coffee brewing; as an instant existing in this category can be challenging, how can you compete with the out of home experience, or the in home pod machines?

There may be lots of competition but there is also lots of opportunity as Nescafe have identified, to tap in to our senses and to offer consumers a greater experience. In doing so Nescafe have reinforced their quality coffee credentials with me and made me want to buy them again!

Someone stick the kettle on.


The Perfume Diaries

I just spotted this on LS:N and searching the net there seems to be quite a bit written about it, ‘The Perfume Diaries’ is an exhibition being held at Harrods, curated by expert ‘nose’ Roja Dove.  It is  all about the perfumes that have been inspired by different world events.   A series of talks and events will be taking place throughout the exhibition which runs from 28th August – 2nd of October, and some of the worlds most famous perfumuers will feature, talking about their famous works.

And when you have filled your nose with the scent of Vanilla and Bergamot you can go and enjoy afternoon tea with an array of cakes inspired by the exhibition.   ‘Cakes will include Grace, a miniature loaf cake inspired by the French town of Grasse, known as the perfume capital of the world. Shot St Honoré is a fruit cream dessert in a shot glass with added lemongrass and coconut. Little Violet is a tiny tartlet scented with violet essence’

Looks like I have my weekend outing planned…. tea anyone?

Yesterday I had a consultation with fragrance specialist Roja Dove in the beautiful Urban Retreat in Harrods.  To be honest I did not really know what to expect from the man described as the world’s sole ‘Professeur de Parfums’.  Would I be intimidated by his flamboyance, his expertise?  Well, just a little…. but  it was a fascinating experience from which I learnt a great deal and by the end of my hour with Roja I did almost part with my hard-earned cash for a piece of perfume heritage.  Thankfully I saw sense however and refrained from the £175 price tag and the recommendation to ‘buy two to store away for a special occasion’.  I’m just grateful that I didn’t end up falling for the most expensive perfume in the world, if I remember right I belive it retails for the small sum of £115,000!  Valentines day gift anyone?

During the consultation Roja took me on a journey starting with a brief history of smell. Continue Reading »

For years we’ve popping up our bread half way through the toast cycle to check its just the way we like it, peering over the top to make sure the edges haven’t burnt, narrowly missing singeing our eyebrows off.

Obtaining that perfect piece of toast hasn’t been an as easy task especially when we all  have such high standards.  Just read the requirements from some of my work colleagues and you’ll know what i’m talking about…..

“Caught just before it starts to darken, white and pale caramel coloured”

“crispy golden on the outside, fluffy inside with burned bits round the edge”

“I am very particular about my toast.  I prefer hand cut bread, evenly done with a nice golden brown colour.  It mustn’t be too overdone and if it’s too lightly done it’s too soft”

“Golden brown evenly toasted all over . To ensure its evenly brown I frequently peer into the toaster to check how its coming along”

If only we could see whats going on inside I hear you cry!!

Well take a look at this………

Continue Reading »

Luxury in 2010

Last night I attended a networking evening held by the lovely people at LS:N Global

For those of you that don’t know who they are – LS:N is an online consumer news and insights network set up by The Future Laboratory.  In its simplest form the guys at LS:N provide news of whats going on around the globe in fashion, interiors, architecture, design you name it they are on to it and last night they held a fascinating evening at The Connaught Hotel in London.

The topic of the evening was luxury and the way the evening was set up was a bit like speed dating.  6 tables, 6 speakers, 6 minutes all we had to do was sit and listen.

Continue Reading »

Its been a long time

Firstly – Happy New Year!

Its been a while since my last post and for that I am sorry – Ive never been one for new years resolutions  really, but one for 2010 is to blog more, even if its not big posts and just photos – i’m going to be more active!

2010 is a big year for me, I’m getting married in June this year and with that comes lots of fun and excitement and also lots of thinking and reflecting – a new chapter in my life, how did the last one go, what will the next one hold?

At the moment my fiancee and I are in the process of putting together a playlist for our band.  We are thinking of the mood of the night, the songs that mean something to us and how we want to feel / our guests to feel throughout the evening.

Its got me thinking again about the power of song.  You can travel between a really uptempo energetic number to a more romantic, subtle tune and create a real clash of emotions – it just happened to me as I sit at my computer.

Listening to Marvin Gaye, Aint no mountain high enough I was feeling really cheery and then Des’ree, kissing you came on and it was like being dragged through a sea of emotion in a split second….. Now I don’t really want that to happen on the big day, ill be a blubbering wreck – not such an attractive look!

At the moment, our biggest challenge is deciding on what our last song is going to be.  We want to leave people on a high….. Ive got a few ideas, but if any of you can think of a good suggestion, let me know.

KT x

Via Creativity Online