Tarantella The Night Away!

Do you dance? No, me neither.

Not until the tarantella found its way into my life, that is. This night was up there with the most fun nights ever since fun nights began.

What better way to stomp away a bitingly cold February evening than by learning the deceptively simple tarantella steps? This fiery, traditional southern Italian dance is unbelievably fun, exhausting and hilarious. A touch of fact – the word ‘tarantella’ is another word for ‘tarantism’ – the hysterical condition following a bite from a grotesque ‘tarantula’ – now your turn for a ‘t’ word.

Let me rewind.

I went with a gorgeous, (more so than enthusiastic I might add) group of friends to what seemed like an abandoned warehouse in nondescript Limehouse, (think distressed, eery SAW shoot location if you will.)

Do not be fooled by appearances!

If the thumping percussion, siren singing and red music doesn’t seduce you then, frankly, I don’t know what will.

I hope the pictures below awaken something tarantella-esque in you enough to get your ‘jeeeeg’ on (as the Italians would say.) If that fails to stir you, perhaps the flowing wine and cosy entertainment might be enough to lure you out of your  70% off GAP pyjamas.

Watch for upcoming events here at the Jamoboree!
























Interview With Fashion Designer Bao Ta


January weighing you down? Inane sales driving you mad? Bored of the same high street stuff? Bao has that covered with his divine, vibrant creations.

May I present Mr Bao Ta who creates the most exquisite garments, every single one hand crafted in the UK, (even if the garments exude a rich, almost exotic opulence far from our British borders.)

Each luxurious design is individually created, with hand embellishment and intricate fabrication at the forefront of the Bao Ta aesthetic.


Charming, driven and funny – I spent an hour drinking coffee with fashion designer Bao Ta in the timelessly edgy Soho, London, whose talented Vietnamese mother inspired his company. (We started off in Italian Princi but the lunch-timers got rowdy so we made an executive decision to hide away in Le Pain Quotidien.)

Bao offers an intimate, inspiring insight into his journey to becoming a fashion designer of ‘accessible’ couture creating  unique womenswear items.

So, lovely to meet you Bao Ta! You came from a family of dressmakers – did this have an impact on where you are today?

Well, I’ve always beaten my own drum. I don’t know how much you know about Asian culture but they either want you to be a doctor, pharmacist, lawyer or accountant. When I was fifteen I wanted to make my parents happy so I naturally went through the Science route, but I was so miserable! I wanted to please them but at the same time it wasn’t who I was. So I retook the whole year and started again doing Textiles. It was like night and day, I thrived there! The teacher at the time saw how passionate I was. My mum, being part of the Vietnamese culture, was very talented at hand embroidering so perhaps subconsciously, my love of designing was always there.


After your final year as a student at Westminster university, you gained sponsorship from Copenhagen Fur, how did that feel?

That was very exciting as they only sponsor two people per year from the whole of London! I was picked as well as another guy from the Royal College of Art. We were flown over to Coopenhagen and stayed in a beautiful, five star hotel and – being a student at the time – I thought it was amazing and felt very lucky. We were taken to various studios and shown how everything is done in the fashion industry. Seen as my colour palette was electric blue [at the time] I got to work with turquoise mink. Copenhagen Fur have actually sponsored me again for my upcoming collection [Autumn-Winter 2014.] They sent me six mink for it: three black and three burgundy so I am excited about that.

Let’s talk a bit about your work experience: what was it like working for Cynthia Rowley?

After my second year I wanted to do a year out. I’ve always loved New York so decided it’d be more interesting to find work there than in England. I then started researching designers and sent some of my stuff to Cynthia Rowley [American fashion designer] and they loved it! I thought I’d learn a lot under her. I probably shouldn’t say this – but it was a little like The Devil Wears Prada! She was a bit night and day to be honest. I worked with the production team where we got to see some designs after the catwalk show. We did some pattern cutting and re-did samples. I was lucky to learn so much – with Boudicca [Haute couture brand in London] I had to hand-sew buttons – I didn’t learn anything. The first day with Cynthia, they gave me a dress and asked me to redesign it and then put it through production. So I did the pattern cutting and changed the design and then showed it to my director who passed it to Cynthia – she liked it and put it in production! I mean, that level of responsibility you would never get over here. In America, I think as long as you back up with what you’ve got they will give you the chance. If you work really hard that is: no procrastinating or wasting time.

“ I think as long as you back up with what you’ve got they will give you the chance. If you work really hard that is: no procrastinating or wasting time”

Your company then started in 2013 and was sponsored by The Princes Trust (a youth charity,) – how did this happen?

Somebody told me about the enterprise so I got in touch with them – I told them my style was namely Luxury Womenswear, and luckily this was a new thing for them. At first they were weary as it costs so much to produce. There is a limited loan and grant, £4000, which is not very much in my area of expertise. There also is an intense training course where I was taken through every single thing: business aspects such as cash flow, taxes. It was a good way for them to sift people out as many were like: “this isn’t for me!” It was a good way to see who wants to be dedicated for the long run. After the course, they then find you a mentor similar to your industry. I had a lady called Loretta (who helped bring Estee Lauder over to England in the sixties). She was great – I mean, I didn’t know how to do cash flow or a chart of my predictions and she supported me in all that. Other courses were about SEO and we even learnt how to talk and communicate with clients and create press packs. It was fantastic because all these courses were free as part of the enterprise. It took me about a year to get everything right and to create a business plan.


  And how would you describe your items within the fashion industry?

 I would say they are wearable, haute couture. They are unique, glamourous items for modern women.

 What would you say is your speciality or unique selling point  in  the items you create?

Well, all my clothes are individually hand-made in London and this sets        me apart from a lot of my competitors like [Alice] Temperley who, even        though Luxury, has her garments made in China or India. I really               wanted     to bring back the English heritage, I felt it was important to      channel that       and get everything made in London. The reason why my brand is expensive is all down to the cut. My items are wearable but there is a visible hand finish. It is all to do with how the final product comes together.


Your clothes are made from fabric that is sourced world-wide – where do you get it from exactly?

I try to go through a lot of British suppliers – but sometimes you can’t. New York has a massive fashion district compared to London, I mean –there are whole streets dedicated to buttons! When I lived in New York I was so amazed by it. In London, it’s a bit more limited, there are areas like Shepherds Bush and Berwick Street [Soho]that are expensive. I worked with Première Vision where there are six halls – tailoring, seduction, technology, sportswear: it caters for everyone. Most of my fabrics are French and Italian and famous for their impeccable standards. This sets me apart from competitors like Temperley.


Who would be your ideal woman to dress?

I love Keira Knightly! I think she is so classic but has that edge because she is so young and elegant. She adopts two worlds – she can go for something casual to something glamourous in an instant – she’s a real chameleon.

Do you think the women in your life have influenced your desire to create beautiful, modern dresses?

Well, I love dressing a woman who is comfortable in her body but at the same time who isn’t shy of showing it off at the right place and at the right time. In terms of my family, my grandmother died when my mother was sixteen and was left to look after her sister. My mother has worked hard all her life so I’ve seen how strong and how resilient to life she is. I think that reflects in my designs. I want to dress women who reflect those values.

If you had to chose a signature item, what would that be?

For me, I would say the pleats are my signature. I haven’t seen anyone do pleats like that. It is all about the manual labour and the intensive prep work.

Would you ever break out to accessories?

Perhaps later on. The thing is at the beginning you have to focus on what you are good at. You need to focus on what your unique selling point and start branching out after – you don’t want to be jack of all trades. You’ll get that trust later on. For example, on the course [at Westminster university] there were lots of girls wanting to do fashion. This one girl wanted to mix men’s tailoring with street-wear womenswear and I am thinking – they are completely different, the two can’t be combined together! It is important to specialise and move forward in one area at first.

Would you ever be interested in applying your skills to menswear?

It doesn’t really interest me, no. I would feel restricted working solely with menswear because everything is too particular and too precise. Womenswear is fluid and changes all the time.

Can you explain to me your most disappointing and exciting moment of being a fashion designer so far?

Two years ago I planned to start out my own company with a friend. On the day we were going to get our investment, she let me down. That was during a time when everything was difficult so I would say that was my biggest disappointment. But I believe that everything happens for a reason and it made me push even more without necessarily relying on other people.

An exciting moment however…looking back, it must have been during my final year [at university] in front of the panel of judges (including the editor from Elle) where we had to show seven pieces of our collection that we wanted to appear on the graduate catwalk show (they don’t pick all final year students!) I was accepted on this show and at the end only three out of seventeen of us got press (I was on of the three!) So I got a fantastic comments from the Evening Standard. Also, seeing a celebrity [actress Jodie Whittaker] wearing your clothes is very exciting.

Do you have any advice for aspiring young designers?

I think it is so important to have hunger and determination. A friend of mine (who also models for my clothes) has that hunger – we push each other. I believe in hard work. I think you have to follow your heart and follow what makes you happy. At the end of the day it is your life and you have to stick with that life. If you are passionate about something, go for it and persevere! It will pay off.







Evening Standard press:

“One of the most commercial collections among the graduates came from Bao Ta who showed a keen attention to detail with much intricate pleating.”



“I think you have to follow your heart and follow what makes you happy. At the end of the day it is your life and you have to stick with that life”


Keep an eye on Bao Ta’s exciting progress via his website here and follow him here on Twitter: @baotaLondon.


9 Things My Mother Taught Me (And That I Wish I’d Listened To)


1) Don’t worry what people think (the people who matter don’t mind, the people who mind don’t matter, etc. etc. etc.)

2) Drink hot water and lemon before bed….no, its not the same as a fab cuppa Yorkshire but…

Apparently lemon clears skin – the vitamin C component flattens out wrinkles and blemishes (not that we have the latter or the former ever) and rejuvenates skin from inside the body. Lemon also has antibacterial, antiviral immune-boosting powers, it is also a liver-cleanser (undoing those Proseccos hurrah! and is a general digestive aid, ie: you don’t scoff during the day.


3) Don’t brush curly hair. Just don’t. Unless you want to look like you are wearing an old, backcombed wig that has been trussed up in a plastic bag then put on your head.

4) Save up and buy something you really, really like that is made of nice stuff.

5) Not to make plans unless you are absolutely sure you won’t regret it later. That goes for generic dinner plans and date plans.

6) Be discerning, always.

7) If in an awkward situation/doubt anything in any way, smile and be polite then make a mental note not to agree to see this person/go to said event again.

8) Be aware of everything and never assume (a wise man told me assumption is the mother of all mistakes).

9) Know that most things are always “exciting” (I quote my mother) and if you look at the world this way, I can promise you it will never go grey.



10 Top Stories – Quick 2014 Round-Up


1) Hair cut and a telling off here

2) Eavesdropping, Spanish Steps Style here

3) Overheard amusing conversation on the London tube here

4) 10 reasons you know you live with an Italian here

5) Magazine moment and inspiration ladies here

6) The date, nutella-dilemma and ivy embellished bars here 

aka “Why American boy when you are in Italia?

7) Jazz moment: here

8) Paris, Paris, Paris

9) New years resolutions of 2014 – being flawless isn’t always necessary or all that exciting here

10) Roman Insults, Yoga & a Revelation here


So Long Christmas And A Happy New Year!

Christmas has come and gone, decorations are being pulled down in favour of healthy, fresh food, hyacinths and other bright signs of spring. Trainers are being dusted off (ahem) and I am SO looking forward to longer, lighter days.


After a request, I have rounded up four of my favourite beauty items this Christmas that got me through the relentless and raucous party season.


In order of appearance:


1) ClarinsInstant Light Lip Balm Perfector in 02 Apricot Shimmer


A delicious, honey-textured lip gel that is soothing and adds a touch of pinky colour as if bee-stung. Nice little size for the hand bag or coat/jean pocket for much needed party/January touch ups. It softens and plumps your lips and doesn’t get stuck to your hair which is nice. Perfect for slicking on in between coffee dates/sales shopping and just a nifty, little, bullet lippy.


£ 16


Buy here


Laura MercierTinted Moisturiser – Oil Free


This delicately veils all manner of sins, (late nights, Christmas chocolates and bubbly champagne) and is big enough to be worth the spend as it lasts a little while. (Mine has so far lasted over a year). Appears completely natural on the skin and not like you’ve spent hours honing your face like a mad woman. Its moisturising quality mean the cream absorbs seamlessly into the skin so you don’t feel like you have tons of slap on.


£ 34


Buy here


NARS – Audacious Lipstick in Jeanne 9476


Luxurious, seductive and bold, this is one of the sexiest purchases you might make this end of 2015. Silky and dramatic, you’ll feel (and look) pretty remarkable leaving the house with this on.


£ 21.60/$ 34


Buy here


Benefit – They’re Real! Mascara


This is one of the best mascaras ever. It doesn’t have a weird shaped wand that promises Disney Princess eyelashes, but instead will utterly, lusciously enhance your own, thickening and lengthening each one lovingly and individually. More expensive than a lot of the high street brands but again, I’ve found it lasts a while. In this case, believe the hype.


£ 19.50


Buy here



Wintry Snippets of Home/English Countryside – Nostalgic Already

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Insta-What? & Colourful Sprouts

Have you been on Instagram at all recently?

I accidentally click on the app on my phone then remembered just in time I was avoiding the digital version of a pesty tick also known as checking Instagram every dull moment during the course of my attempted tech-free holiday (writing The Signorina excluded of course. Ahem.)

The question is, what did we do before instant access to pouty, picture-perfect, beanie-clad, eye-lash wafting gorgeous humans bouncing out of our screen in all their filtered glory? Or indeed, bikini-clad lovelies posing against trees when all you wanted was a couple of yoga tips? Or of course the ever – present ‘avocados and nuts is all I’m having’ pics.

Where are the ‘slumped against the Christmas tree after too many [insert fave Christmas nibble here]’ pictures?

Or, indeed, the ‘bundled up in granny’s one hundred year old jumpers because I left my fluffy H&M one on the side of a gate when I was chasing sheep?’

Or… ‘Me with thirteen mince pies in my mouth and still smiling’?

OR…I could go on.

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for the ‘be the best eva yet that you can be eva’ mantra and delicious, eager healthy plates of colourful food is going to be all I’m about come January.

But for now, a little more of the cheeky, “you wouldn’t catch me doing this if it wasn’t Christmas/New Year” stuff, please.

In the mean time, a piccy of tangerines and their pals parsnips and sprouts (don’t see many sprouts on the web do you?) as I like the colours.



Nutella Hot Chocolate


 Just climbed a frosty mountain? Braved the weather in wellies and a hat damp from the Christmas Day walk yesterday in an effort to feel hungry again? Perching by the fire with a frozen nose?


Nutella hot chocolate is the thing to make yourself/loved ones this Christmas, (if you haven’t already dissolved into a champagne & brandy soaked sugar cube yet that is.)


It is sweet, indulgent and cosy – so that is 3 hearty yes’s from us.


You literally just need milk, a big dollop of Nutella (per person) and something hot in which to bubble it all up together.


What are you still doing sitting there?


Letter Press Gold Leaf


Gold Leaf Christmas Cards



Christmas is almost upon us! With it the house is filling with food, fires, mince pies and an endless chain of hot drinks…

The Christmas tree in all its glory