Abida Mian's Blog

An outlier that's living, learning and being myself…

Archive for April, 2011

Jones & Jones Fashion

Brand: Jones & Jones 

www.jonesandjonesfashion.com or www.topshop.com

From browsing the topshop website for a spring coat, I came across a brand called Jones & Jones. Designed by two sisters, their clothing is a mix of feminine designs of the 40’s & 50’s with a modern twist. I love liberty prints, and these two dresses (the Julia & Phoebe) really caught my eye. Judging by the length, I imagine it would have to be a very hot day (legs will be definitely on show) or combine with skinny jeans or Wolford’s Anna ballet-inspired leggings in blossom (£58) for a more wearable daytime look… 

Jones & Jones Julia Dress in Liberty Rose print


Jones & Jones Julia Dress in Liberty Rose print (back)



Laura Ashley Archive Collection

Laura Ashley Archive Collection Spring 2011

I’ve admired a few Laura Ashley pieces in my time, but have never purchased up until now. A brief perusal of their website the other day and I came across their archive collection.

Laura Ashley describe their archive collection:

“For an unmistakably nostalgic look, we have lovingly sifted through our archives to produce a range of dresses, shirts and cardigans using prints from a bygone era. Beautiful bird, butterfly and floral prints reference this season’s passion for Botanicals, with delicate vines, sprigs and roses sitting alongside more vivid Bouquet prints adding irresistible charm”


Laura Ashley Archive Sundress Rose


Laura Ashley Archive Print Sundress Bluebell

I’ve just ordered their 50’s style archive print cotton sundress in rose (pink). Unfortunately they don’t do a size 6, but I’m hoping that even if their size 8 is a little big, I can make a few adjustments. Can’t wait until this arrives, will look good with a bolero, wedges and a straw hat…


Yamamay Spring 2011

On a recent trip to Westfield shopping centre, I popped into a shop called Yamamay. Never heard of this Italian lingerie brand before, but I loved their pretty Spring 2011 collection. The prices are reasonable. Love the floral wallpaper, bedding, pink nails and the model is ridiculously stunning…

Yamamay Spring 2011


Yamamay Spring 2011

Birthday blues restores my faith in humanity…

Last week was my birthday, I had a rather nonchalant attitude towards it when colleagues and friends asked how I was going to celebrate. When you’re young, birthdays can be quite exciting, but as you get older, for me anyway, I’m just not that fussed. I concede that part of it is the fear of not meeting the expectations/goals that you’re supposed to achieve with age. On a more positive note, I do feel more confident in myself and know what I want now than I did a few years back…

While I tried not to mention my birthday, on the day itself, my colleagues bought me some bright flowers and Cath Kidston vouchers – I thought it was really sweet that they knew exactly what I liked! After work, I then got persuaded to dress up and went out to dinner with a friend to Hakkasan Mayfair. Elderly neighbours of mine made me a special cake. Then the next day, my colleagues children came to see me for lunch and we went to my favourite Lebanese cafe opposite Kensington Gardens, his daughter gave me a handmade card – albeit with my age on the front 🙂 Then at the end of my birthday week, I received chocolates from a client for a doing a good job.

The nice thing was that it was totally unexpected, I didn’t even want to acknowledge my birthday, yet people made the effort to make me happy – I’m very lucky and grateful 🙂

Hakkasan Mayfair

As a birthday treat, I was taken here for dinner. On entry, to the left is a bar, where I had a non-alcoholic cocktail called the Kowloon Cooler – absolutely delicious. I liked the service, the bartender was very polite and friendly. Then we went dowstairs to eat, we shared a few dishes, one of which was called stir-fry Welsh black beef (of course being Welsh had to try that one!). The food was very good, waiters were attentive but not annoying. Yes, it was expensive (eventhough I didn’t pay), but I enjoyed the food and the service. Dress-wise, everyone looked smart, I just wore a pencil skirt, white blouse and heels. Recommended.

Website: http://w3.hakkasan.com/mayfair

Arranged marriage route – why it’s rather appealing…

Given the choice, I’d feel far more comfortable faced with a set of tough exams on pure maths than having to go through the dating process. While I notice others jump from one relationship to the next with ease, I on the otherhand take my time…

It’s strange but I’m not envious of most people that I know who are either in long-term relationships or married. The men that I work with spend most of their day talking about how fit other women are compared to their partners, and admit that they avoid parties where they’re away from their wives/girlfriends, because when they’re drunk the ‘inner ****’ comes out… My ex-boss was an exception to that, he’s been married for twenty-odd years, has four children and when I’ve seen him and his wife together, he has this sparkle in his eye. He even used to call her at least two or three times during the day at work to make sure she was ok. I called him a couple of weeks ago, because an old colleague of his wanted his contact info, but my ex-boss didn’t want to call the guy because he said that when he used to work with him, he’d used to brag about all the women that he’d slept with behind his wife’s back (including showing pics on his phone). My ex-boss said he just really disliked him – my ex-boss is a rare breed of man, one of the few men I really respect both professionally & personally.

I’ve made no secret that I’ve tried online dating. I grew up with the Western perception that relationships are based on the notion that you meet someone and it’s ‘love at first sight’, and that the Asian custom of growing to love someone was outdated. I’ve been on many dates, but only dated a few. I’ve never loved anyone though, you see I think people use that word far too loosely.

Last week, I attended another one of my friends weddings. She’s a British born Indian and her husband is the same. It was my little chat with her after the ceremony that got me thinking why my relationships never worked. Before she met her now husband, she dated a few men (who were non-Asian), one she was absolutely in love with. I met him a few times, he was very good-looking and clever. I remember the first time she introduced me to him, I noticed he was eyeing me up which I felt a little uncomfortable about. I never mentioned it, but I just had this feeling that he wasn’t as besotted with her as she was with him. Anyway, I remember a year after that, she called up crying that she caught him flirting with someone they both knew on facebook. She was even considering taking him back, but I told her that she was much better than that. Not long after, a family friend introduced her to a well-educated British-born Asian guy. His family like hers are really lovely. They got to know each other and a year later they were engaged. A lot of non-Asian people who read this may think, god that’s quick! However, if two people are at an age where they know what they want out of life, then why not. I asked her whether her relationship was any different to her past ones, and she said that when you date an English guy, normally he doesn’t appreciate certain aspects of Asian culture, and there’ll always be this barrier. Although admitting, she didn’t initially fancy her husband in the way she did her ex, she has grown to love him, they understand each other, have similar interests and she trusts him implicitly. I remember when she first told me that she was engaged, I was hesitant (was she just settling for second best), but the more I’ve seen them together, the more I notice the way her husband’s eyes are transfixed and sparkle (just like my ex-boss with his wife) when he sees her. I know he’ll look after her, and that’s more important than animalistic passion with nothing else…

My Asian friends seem to have more solid relationships than my English ones. In contrast, an English friend of mine has been on/off with her current boyfriend for years. I don’t like him and neither do any of her other friends or family. They’ve both slept with other people in between.  Not to sound prudish, but I find that a little off-putting. I’m a firm believer that if you’ve broken up more than once, then there’s no point in getting back together, there’s no stability. Then there’s a single English friend who said that she’d met a guy that had everything she was looking for but couldn’t see a future with him as the sex wasn’t good – my eyes rolled at the shallowness of the conversation 🙂

The problem I’ve had dating the conventional way, is that English men in my experience are culturally different. Quite a number of them want to spend most nights going to pubs (and I don’t drink), are more obcessed with their careers than having a family, and a lot are divorced/have baggage.

Call me old fashioned, but I want to meet someone that also has parents who are still married (I see that as a good sign), doesn’t have kids, is educated and culturally diverse and wants a family-life – you don’t really find that in London. Without sounding conceited, I’d like to think that I’d make a great life-long partner. I’m well-educated, thoughtful, kind, extremely hard-working, loyal, and like to look after myself 😉 I also don’t believe in cheating, I never have and can say truthfully never will – Asian women (rather than men) are generally the most faithful, again part of the culture…

At the wedding, ears-pricked when I said I’m ready to get married and have kids. I had older women coming up and mentioning that they have single sons. I already have two Dr’s, a partner of PWC and a barrister interested – perhaps it’s time for me to settle down with someone of a similar cultural background…

Thomas Pink Sloane Street

My experience was the complete opposite of the previous reviewer on Qype. I needed some nice fitted shirts for Spring/Summer, but the style I wanted was out of stock in my size, so I visited their Sloane Street store. Although they also didn’t have a size 6 in store, a really friendly female assistant said she could order it in and it would take a couple of days to arrive. I was also unsure whether I could fit into a size 4, so she ordered both sizes for me to try. When they arrived, I walked down to try them on and decided that because the style ran a bit big, the size 4 was a better fit. Unfortunately the assistant packed the size 6 and I didn’t realise her mistake until I got home. I called up the store, and they apologised and offered to deliver the correct size for free at my work address. I was impressed with the way they handled the situation, but in the end I just went back down there. The assistant was very apologetic, and let’s face it, we all make mistakes! I’d definitely go back when I need more shirts 🙂

Check out my review of Thomas Pink – I am kensingtonabida – on Qype