Musings and ramblings of a Jewish Fashionista

Musings and ramblings of a fashion and beauty obsessed mama. A fashion, beauty and lifestyle blog.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

The Magical Zetter Townhouse

Apologies for the radio silence! Due to having a newborn and a very active toddler, the ol' blogging went on a bit of a hiatus! I promise it will resume very soon...once life calms down a bit! I will introduce you all to my new little one in a blog post very soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to publish this review I wrote of the Zetter Townhouse, which was published in the Jewish News a couple of months ago. I loved it there so much, that I wanted to share it with you too! Enjoy and see you soon.

Claire Belle x

Imagine a boutique hotel in one of London’s most exciting and mysterious areas. Imagine a boutique hotel, so quirky, you feel as if you have just stepped into a place created by the wild imagination of Lewis Carrol. Imagine ultimate comfort, bizarre and enchanting d├ęcor and food and drink so yummy, you will never want to leave. Top it all off by throwing in delightful staff and a stuffed, threadbare kangaroo wearing boxing gloves and you have the Zetter Townhouse.

I was invited to the Zetter Townhouse, to check out their rooms, their food and their amazing and eclectic cocktail selection. Now, when I discovered that the Townhouse was smack dab in the middle of London’s Clerkenwell, I immediately jumped at the offer – and that was before I even checked out the hotel’s website.

After looking at the Zetter Townhouse’s website, it took me about a quarter of a second to book the grandparents in to babysit my little one, so my hubby and I could experience just what this stunning hotel had to offer. We arrived on a Friday afternoon and found the Townhouse very easily from Farringdon tube station. We were told it was directly opposite its sister hotel, the Zetter and we spotted the cornflower blue door of the Townhouse, with its subtle signage, which upon opening, we stepped into Wonderland.

The Zetter Townhouse welcomes you straight into a cosy and intriguing cocktail lounge – the incredible menu of which is something to be discovered all on its own. The absence of a reception area actually makes the hotel seem far more homely. We checked in and were completely smitten with the friendliness and relaxed nature of the team running the Townhouse. While we waited for our check in to go through, we had a little mooch around the lounge area. The Townhouse is described as the “eccentric aunt” of the Zetter Hotel, and when looking around, you can certainly understand why they say that! The whole hotel has the feel of Miss Havisham from Great Expectations meeting Wallpaper and iD magazine. Ultimate comfort meets The Old Curiosity Shop, where something intriguing waits around every corner.

The furniture is a beautiful mish-mash of contrasting pieces, which somehow, work together beautifully. Creepy portraits hang on the wall next to elegant landscapes and curious still lives. Glass cabinets filled with hundred year old medical equipment, old postcards, and trinket boxes and rabbits feet. Elaborate vases displayed next to a stuffed cat wearing a rather gorgeous Victorian blue dress…and that’s just on first glance! As you settle into the lounge, your eye will take in dozens of exciting eccentricities, all begging to be discovered!

The lovely Manager Adam took us up to our bedroom, where even more fun was waiting to be discovered. The stairway is one option to visit the 13 bedrooms the Townhouse has to offer, and is certainly a more enjoyable option than the lift (although that is something to see too!) The walls of the stairway are decorated with thousands of pages from original newspapers and magazines. Some dating back well over a hundred years ago. It makes the trip up the winding staircase actually a fun one, as you stop and read the pages, which catch your eye (and believe me, there are a lot!)

We were fortunate to be staying in the Townhouse Deluxe room. A room, which encapsulated the essence of what we had seen of the hotel so far, but in an intimate setting. A stunning huge bed, finished off with a head board made from an 18th Century Parisian carousel, a decadent purple armchair, gorgeous fireplace, an incredibly well stocked mini bar (including pre-mixed house cocktails) and tea caddy, a quaint desk stuffed with a stationary, an old fashioned telephone and reconditioned retro radio, a spacious bathroom with a “Raindance” shower, fluffy bathrobes and towels, a hot water bottle with a hand-knitted cover, free Wifi, a flat screen digital TV, miniature REN goodies for the bath and shower…and to top it all off, the most exquisite bath I have ever had the pleasure of seeing (or using), which, instead of being wasted in the bathroom, is positioned in the bedroom, fenced by two posters (from an antique four poster bed) and surrounded by a glittering gold mosaic wall and porthole mirror. Comfort, charm and character are just three words I would use to describe the room…but they are not enough!

At over 6 months pregnant, I welcomed all of these delightful comforts, as well as the subtle luxuries, which the Townhouse had to offer.

After an incredible night’s sleep, in a bed, which felt like I was kipping in a giant marshmallow (complete with 200 thread count linen) I was extremely reluctant to leave the joy of our little quirky haven to have breakfast…but my husband’s stomach had other plans, so after (another) bath, we ventured downstairs to the lounge area, where a delicious continental breakfast awaited. The wonderful staff looked fabulous in fitted shirts, bowties and braces, and we were greeted with a table laden with fresh breads, the most amazing yogurts I have ever eaten (creamy fudge and pear anyone?!) cereals, fruit and pastries, all displayed on eclectic and mismatched china – which again, worked beautifully together. Over a pot of tea, fresh grapefruit juice and a (generous) selection from the breakfast bar, Darren and I relaxed into the comfy armchairs and sofas, and enjoyed the amazing surroundings the Townhouse had to offer.

I honestly cannot fault this remarkable little marvel of a hotel. I would recommend it to couples looking for a romantic break in London, to business folk who need a place to eat, sleep and meet and to families who are looking for somewhere unique to stay, away from the hustle and bustle of Central London. The cocktail lounge, understandably, gets very busy in the evenings, but that just adds to the fun of the hotel. The amount of places to eat and visit around the Zetter Townhouse is amazing – we found it difficult narrowing down our choice, and the staff at the hotel make you feel welcome and at home. If you are looking for a captivating place to stay, eat or simply drink with some pals, then please make sure the Zetter Townhouse is first on your list!

For more information, including room rates and hotel amenities, please visit:

Monday, 23 March 2015

Urban Decay's Naked On the Run Palette

You know when you find a make up palette and you love most of it, but not all of it? Or you buy one because it has a couple of your favourite products in it, but you don't really have time for the rest?

Well, for me, it is the complete opposite with the Urban Decay Naked On The Run palette.

If you are a fan of the 3 Naked palettes by Urban Decay, then you need On The Run in your life! I was actually lucky enough to snuffle this fabulous palette in the Selfridges January was only a fiver off, but I would have happily paid full price for it, so this was just the icing on the cake really.

The palette comes with 6 brand new eyeshadows in stunning nude shades, a pretty pink blusher, a neutral bronzer, a travel size Perversion mascara, a 24/7 Glide On eye pencil in Stag AND a full size Naked lip gloss in Sesso. Wow! All packaged up beautifully in a super stylish box, with a big mirror on the inside. Not bad for £37...well....£32 if you got it in the Selfridges sale like me.

The blush is such a pretty pink shade. It has blue undertones and a gorgeous satin finish, which blended easily into my skin...lasted a good long time too! The bronzer had a light to medium tone and a matte finish - perfect for an all year round bronzer. It blended well with my trusty Real Techniques brush and was the perfect partner to the blush.

The Perversion mascara was possibly my least favourite item in the palette. It's very useful to have and its handy travel size makes it perfect to pop in your handbag for quick touch ups, but it didn't give the lift or volume I usually look for in a mascara. The eye pencil glided on easily and blended beautifully! The colour I think works well with pretty much all eye colours and skin tones - a cool toned dark brown. Gorgeous for wearing on its own or blended with the eyeshadows to create a more smokey look.

The full sized lipgloss in shade Sesso is so pretty! A warm, light plum/pinky colour with a subtle sheen - making it ideal for day or night wear. It has a semi-sheer finish and is actually not sticky...always a massive bonus for me when it comes to lipgloss.

The 6 eyeshadows are all brand new, which is what makes this such a great partner to the 3 Naked palettes. They range from matte to sheen to sparkly and each colour is just so pretty and easy to wear and blend! Dive is a sparkly, rosy copper shade with just the right amount of sparkle. Fix is a medium brown matte shade, which was ideal for blending with other shades to make a dramatic evening look, or wearing alone for a pretty day time natural look. Resist is a golden taupe - subtle yet with enough of a metallic sheen to make it special! Dare is a taupe brown and so soft and silky and easy to blend. It is matte and is really pigmented. Stun is a chocolate brown with a more distinct glittery finish. It is slightly dryer than the other shades, but the colour when applied is just beautiful! Finally, 5050 - a shade which I first mistook for a highlighter! It's probably my least favourite eyeshadow, and works better for more subtle looks, or as a highlighter shade for the very corner of the eye.

All in all, this is a fabulous palette and well worth the price tag. The only thing I think it is missing is the double ended brush, which comes with the Naked 2 and 3 palette. This would make the palette a 10 as opposed to the 9 I would give it now. Either way...if you can get your hands on the On The Run palette, then trust me...GET IT! You will love it.

Belle x

Monday, 2 February 2015

Fixing a Broken Heart

our little man

A bit of a different one for you today.

I was umming and ahhing about posting about this, as it is a personal subject, but after going through something like this, I felt it to be quite cathartic to actually write it all down.

As some of you may know, I have an almost 2 year old little boy called Elijah. When I was 20 weeks pregnant with him, I had a routine scan, where they discovered a heart anomaly. At the time, Darren and I were terrified as, well, we hadn't expected to hear anything bad and also, we had no idea what his condition meant or how it would affect him.

I was scanned by a fetal cardiologist the next day, a wonderful man, who works at Great Ormond Street Hospital. The doctor confirmed Elijah's condition. He has a right aortic arch with a left subclavian artery and a vascular ring. I know...what the hell does that mean?! We were just left with a very confused expression on our faces. The doctor explained to us that although Elijah's heart was fine in its structure, the wiring was all a bit wrong. His aorta went the wrong way (normal hearts have a left aortic arch) and because of this, he had arteries in the wrong place and a vascular ring had formed around his breathing tube. It was a rare condition.

All we wanted to know was would he be alright? We were told that he probably wouldn't start showing any symptoms until he was weaned (about 6 months) and if he did show symptoms, then there was an operation, which could help. We were also told that a small percentage of children born with a heart condition also have some kind of genetic abnormality. We were offered a test while I was pregnant to determine if he had this condition or not. We decided against it as the test posed a small risk of miscarriage and it just wasn't worth the risk to me.

Well, 22 weeks later, I gave birth to a gorgeous and healthy little boy, who showed no signs of genetic problems or physical problems. We breathed a sigh of relief for the first time in 22 weeks. Because of his condition, we had to go to Great Ormond Street Hospital every 3 months for check ups and tests with the heart team. As he got older, Darren and I started to notice that Elijah coughed...a lot! Violent, hacking coughs, which were worse at night. He also developed a very rattly sound when he breathed, especially when he ate.

At his routine appointment last summer, his doctor decided he should have an MRI scan, to investigate the symptoms further. This was terrifying as he needed to have a general anesthetic in order to have the scan (at just over a year old and very active, there was no way he would keep still for the 45 minute scan). So, we took him into hospital for the day, shed a few tears when he was put to sleep in my arms and then we awaited the results a few weeks later.

When we went for the follow up appointment, our doctor told us quite firmly that Elijah needed heart surgery. We knew it was always a possibility, but somehow, I was not prepared to hear it. The ring, which was around his trachea was constricting it to the extent that as he gets older, he would get more and more lung infections and illnesses and there was a possibility that this might result in needing a new lung. Elijah is already so active and the thought of him having to be restricted to doing only calm activities and having to under go such a monumental surgery when he is a little older, was enough of an incentive to make us agree.

on the cardiac intensive care unit

We were told that the surgery would involve dividing the ring and repositioning the artery. It would take up to 4 hours and he would have a pretty sizeable scar. So, we went home and were told that we would hear when the date would be in about 8 weeks.

8 weeks later and we received his surgery date as the end of November. As his condition is so rare, I found it hard to find anyone to talk to about it, who's child has gone through a similar surgery. As luck would have it, I posted a question on a baby group on Facebook and a lady responded saying her son has the same condition and she invited me to another group on Facebook dedicated to the condition. The group has about 150 people in it, mainly parents and the majority of the members are from the USA. It was very encouraging to be able to speak to others who knew what we were going through and were going through it themselves.

Elijah's surgery date came and we were all ready to take him to hospital - after waking him up at 5am to ensure he had breakfast, as you have to fast before surgery. We then received a phone call saying they had to cancel his operation, as an emergency case was brought in and Elijah's surgeon needed to be present. We were devastated and relieved at the same time. Devastated because you build yourself up and prepare yourself for weeks for this day to come and the thought of having to do it all over again was horrible, but of course we understood that an emergency took priority. And relieved because...well...I didn't want to have to go through with it!

a routine heart echo
A week later, we were back at Great Ormond Street for his rescheduled surgery date. We were psyched up and Elijah had been marked up for the operation...when they came in and told us that ANOTHER emergency had just come in, and he wouldn't be able to be operated on that day either. I'm ashamed to say that I lost it at that point. I was also 20 weeks pregnant with baby number 2, and feeling so emotional and overwhelmed that I just broke down and sobbed in front of everyone. We were assured that they would do everything they could do perform the surgery the next day. At this point, we just wanted the operation over with. It was such an emotional rollercoaster and every time we had to reschedule, we had to bring Elijah in for pre-op tests, which included blood tests and more, so he, although only 20 months, was getting more and more scared and upset.

We went home and came in again early the next day. And this time, it wasn't cancelled.

When we had to take him down to theatre to be put under general anesthetic, it was the worst moment of my life. I knew in my heart he would be fine, but all I could think of was, what if something went wrong? I held him so tightly as they put a mask over his face to help him drift off and I couldn't stop tears pouring down my face. When he was asleep I just held him and sobbed. The lovely doctors gently took him from me and Darren and I had to wait a grueling 4 hours for the surgery to finish.

When the cardiac intensive care unit called me 4 hours later to tell us that the surgery was over and that he was on the unit with them, we rushed over and were led to his bed. We were warned that he would be covered in wires and tubes and he would have a chest drain and would be heavily medicated to help with the pain. But you are never prepared to see your baby looking ill. As I mentioned, Elijah is very active - doesn't sit still, so when we approached him and saw his little body totally still and wires coming out of him everywhere, we both broke down.

The surgery went very well we were told and he was on morphine and other drugs to help with pain. When we spoke to him, he didn't really respond, but I gave him his favourite, beloved rabbit toy, which he loves to suck on, and somehow, even though he was drugged to the eyeballs, the rabbit's foot found its way into his mouth!

He was in intensive care for almost 2 days...not long at all for such a major operation! The worst part was when they had to take out his chest drain. It was horrendous. He lifted his arms wanting me or Darren to pick him up, but we couldn't and that was heart breaking.

Eventually, he was moved onto the cardiac ward and we spent another 3 days there, while Elijah recovered like a total superstar. His wound looked like a massive shark bite, going from his shoulder blade, around his body to just below his nipple. He also had a nasty wound underneath that from the chest drain and lines in his hands, foot and neck.

The staff at Great Ormond Street were nothing short of amazing. And the children and families we met were nothing short of inspirational. We felt humbled, proud and in awe of the strength these little ones show after the trials and tribulations they go through.

already causing trouble in his hospital bed!
Just less than 5 days after enduring major heart surgery, we came home with our little heart warrior. The stuffing was knocked out of him but he was already acting like his normal, cheeky, funny self. We were told that although the surgery went well, we wouldn't know for sure how  he would be till his post-op appointment 6 weeks later. In the meantime, he would be susceptible to illness and we wouldn't be able to pick him up under the arms for about 2 months. He also had 3 different medicines to take every day for the next few weeks.

Well. He amazed and astounded us with his recovery. Apart from catching every cold and bug going around and being sore, he carried on as if nothing had happened. His strength gave us strength and we couldn't have been prouder of him.

We had his post-op appointment a couple of weeks ago. All looks good in terms of the surgery, but Elijah's coughing and noisy breathing has not improved, so his surgeon has referred him to see a colleague of his, a respiratory specialist and it is possible that he might need further procedures or treatments. We just have to wait until we see him.

So his journey is not over and, although we are disappointed that there might be further procedures down the line, we are so, so proud of our little boy. He truly amazes us as did all the little ones we meet when we are at Great Ormond Street. We also feel extremely lucky that his condition is one which can be treated. There are so many heart conditions and others out there who aren't as fortunate and we are very grateful that Elijah's can be treated.

Thank you so much for reading this crazy long post. I felt I really wanted to write it all down, as a way of release and also in case there are any other parents out there reading this, who's child needs to have surgery or has been diagnosed with a confusing condition. Know that you are not alone and there are always so many points of support, from friends and family, to strangers on Facebook groups and those you meet at hospitals.

We are obviously firm advocates for Great Ormond Street Children's Hopsital and they have a charity set up for donations and fundraising. If you would like to learn more and possibly donate, just click here.

Belle x

Saturday, 31 January 2015

Beauty Sale Finds

I'm not really a sales kinda girl.

I actually hate the sales. They are busy, loud, crowded, hectic and stressful and having a 6 month baby bump makes it all the more necessary to stay away.

So this year, I decided I would check out what some of my favourite beauty and fashion spots had online. First stop - beauty. I decided to be reserved and only checked Selfridges and Space NK (aka the mothership). I thought I would share with you briefly what I picked up and then over another couple of posts, I will share them with you in more detail.

So my first venture online was to Space NK. I have always wanted the gorgeous Laura Mercier bath and body sets but I never really felt like spending upwards of £40 on indulgent bath treats for myself! So when I spotted the Honey Musk duo set - with bubble bath, body creme and honey spatula - at HALF PRICE for only £15...well, it went straight in my virtual shopping basket.

Next, I spotted something from Lipstick Queen. I have never bought anything from Lipstick Queen, but I have heard some amazing things. I saw the Liquid Asset set of 3 lip glosses, featuring a stunning nude, a bright popping pink and a vampy red. Whereas I am more of a lipstick girl, I thought my collection could do with some high quality lip glosses. Again, this set was £30 and was reduced to half price. So in the basket it went! Now considering this is still available on the John Lewis website for full price, this to me was a real bargain.

Next was the Selfridges beauty sale. There was so much in this sale that I actually got a bit bored going through the dozens and dozens of pages. I filled a basket quickly and in the end, I had to do some serious editing. Which...was a real challenge!

I ended up purchasing the Laura Mercier eyelash curlers, a MAC black liquid eyeliner favourite new palette, Urban Decay's Naked on the Run - a limited edition palette from the Naked range, featuring 6 new eyeshadows, a bronzer, high lighter, blush, eyeliner, mascara AND a lipgloss, all in the famous naked colour ranges. This is definitely getting it's own post as I really am in love with it. It was originally £37 and I think I got it for £30 in the sale, which isn't that much of a saving, but as I had my eye on it before the sale, I knew I had to just get it!

The Selfridges beauty sale didn't have as many bargains as the Space NK sale, it had more like a few pounds off each product as opposed to a decent percentage off, but if you have the time to scroll through the many...many pages, you will be sure to find some good deals.

So as I said, more details coming soon, but in the mean time, did you find any amazing bargains in the sales?

Belle x

Monday, 26 January 2015

I'm Baaaaaaaaaaack!

Hello blogging world!

Well, what can I say. I am a very naughty blogger.

I haven't blogged since last summer and I have missed it so much! The reason? Well...reasons really. Where to start? A new job as a Content Editor, raising my toddler Elijah, having my house extended and moving in with my parents for 4 months, moving back in and reordering the entire house, oh, and falling pregnant again! Yay!

So yes...I have been pretty busy and sadly, blogging fell by the wayside, which I really regret but I am on a mission to bring Belle of the Ball back to life again. At least until the new baby arrives and takes away all my free time.

So, please forgive me for my absence. I have missed you and I hope you have missed me too. I will be back very soon with lots of fashion, beauty and life news.

Until then...thanks for checking back in and not forgetting me :)