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Fashion, discounts, workshops, cocktails and more at the Carnaby Style Weekender

© Stefan Jakubowski

Expand your skills at one of the workshops at the Carnaby Style Weekender
© Stefan Jakubowski

It’s time to kick off the new festival season and you don’t even have to worry about leaving London. This May, Carnaby are hosting a free, four-day festival celebrating fashion, lifestyle, food, drink and grooming. The Carnaby Style Weekender takes place on 10 – 13 May 2018, featuring a host of workshops, panel discussions and special events. There will be the chance to enjoy exclusive discounts and promotions in over 50 boutiques, bars and restaurants across the district’s 14 streets.

Model Jack McGuinness kicks off the Weekender on Thursday 10 May (6pm-8pm) with an exclusive fashion panel, featuring sartorial tips and where to find the best buys. Aspiring fashionistas can find how to get started in the industry in a talk hosted by independent Carnaby business owners James Scroggs of M.C. Overalls and Dane Butler of FINLAY London on Friday 11 May (6pm-7pm).

© Carnaby London

Sign up to a cocktail masterclass with Breddos Tacos

There will plenty of opportunities to update your look, including complimentary men’s haircuts from Pankhurst London. Ben Sherman and New Era hats will be offering complimentary monogramming and embroidery. You can also personalise a pair of the new Onitsuka Tiger trainers. Meanwhile, Nixon have created two limited-edition custom watches with only 20 available for sale. During the event, there will be exclusive discounts across the Carnaby brands, including Jack Wills, Pretty Green, Dr. Martens, OFFICE, Shinola, TOMS, Lazy Oaf and Skinnydip.

Ladies can head for a pamper with Urban Decay and Pixi offering free consultations and makeovers. Those who book in for a Detox Pedi at Cowshed can receive a complimentary Neville Travel Set, while Johnny’s Chop Shop will be marking their second birthday with live music and drinks on 10 May.

Throughout the Weekender, head to the Carnaby hub daily to try the free afternoon and evening workshops. Watch a carving demonstration in a Jamon Iberico masterclass at Charcuterie and tapas bar Dehesa. Make a collage with London’s unique souvenir store We Built This City and Collage Club London. Meanwhile, tequila lovers can learn how to make the perfect Margarita in a cocktail masterclass at Breddos Tacos’ bar. Pastaio are offering free Prosecco slushies with food orders after 9pm, while Senor Ceviche will be offering Peruvian Old Fashioneds for just £5. Wright Brothers Soho will be selling oysters for £1 each from 12pm-6pm.

  • The Carnaby Style Weekender takes place from 10 – 13 May 2018. In the Carnaby Quarter on and surrounding Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. To find out more about the weekender, visit the Carnaby London website or to book a spot on the workshops or talks, click here.

For a guide to what’s on in London in May, click here.

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Explore the swinging sixties with the My Generation exhibition at Carnaby

© Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

Michael Caine in Alfie in 1966
© Paramount Pictures/Getty Images

Coming to Carnaby this month is a new exhibition to celebrate the launch of Sir Michael Caine’s film My Generation. The London legend narrates and stars in a documentary telling his journey through the Swinging Sixties and the people he met along the way.

To mark the release of the film, an exclusive exhibition will be showcasing photography, prints and previously unseen archive footage from the decade. The exhibition has been curated by Zelda Cheatle, who has collaborated with some of the era’s biggest photographers, such as Terry O’Neill, Brian Duffy and Barry Lategan. Many icons from the film are featured, including Twiggy, Roger Daltrey and The Who, Marianne Faithfull, Vidal Sassoon, Jean Shrimpton, Lulu, Paul McCartney and The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, David Bailey, Sandie Shaw and Mary Quant. Some of the pieces on show will be Lewis Morley’s infamous portrait of Christine Keeler and the first professional shot of Twiggy.

During the exhibition, there will be two Q&A sessions, hosted by Edith Bowman. My Generation’s director David Batty will be in conversation on Monday 12 March (6pm-7pm), while photographer Terry O’Neill will be recalling his amazing career on Monday 9 March (12.30pm-1.30pm). Tickets are free and available via a ballot on the Carnaby London website.

Meanwhile, a special screening of My Generation will be broadcast live via satellite from the BFI Southbank to UK and Irish cinemas on Wednesday 14 March. Celebrating Sir Michael’s 85th birthday, the screening will be followed by a Q&A with the birthday boy himself. Limited tickets are available via the MyGenerationMovie.co.uk website.

  • My Generation Exhibition runs from 8-21 March 2018 at 3 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9FB. Nearest station: Oxford Circus. Open Mon-Sat 10am-8pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. Free entry. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in March, click here.

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Get your style fix with London Fashion Week at Carnaby London

Carnaby London Fashion WeekLondon Fashion Week isn’t just for the high movers and shakers of the fashion industry. This month, you can get your piece of the stylish action at Carnaby London. Just a short walk from the Brewer Street hub of LFW, the shops, bars and restaurants will be taking part with a host of on-trend activities and offers.

Grazia magazine’s fashion and beauty team are relocating to Carnaby Street to produce their ‘Live from London’ issue. Visitors can enjoy free industry talks, fashion charts, lifestyle workshops. Stylish shoppers can strike a pose for the Grazia Style Hunters’ cameras and will have the chance to win a £200 goodie bag.

A giant screen on Carnaby Street will give you the chance to sit on the FROW with live streaming of the hottest LFW shows. Among the catwalk coverage will be brands including Burberry, Peter Pilotto, JW Anderson and Roksanda. Carnaby Flash Sales will also appear on the big screen so you can get on-trend.

The Carnaby Pamper-Van will set up camp on Ganton Street in the Newburgh Quarter with complimentary fashion and beauty services, including;

  • Friday 16 September

12-4pm: The Braid Bar. London’s hottest braiders will instantly re-fresh your look.

5-7pm: Illamasqua. Carnaby’s make up brand will offer their Express Yourself service. Take a polaroid snap before you leave and visit their store throughout the week for live beauty demos for their new A/W collection.

  • Saturday 17 September

12-4pm: The Kaleidoscope Girls. Glitter up with this sparkling collective fresh from summer’s festival scene.

  • Sunday 18 September

12-4pm: Colour Riot Nails.  These creative artists will complete your new season look with pop art nail designs.

5–7pm: Benefit.  Carnaby’s beauty brand will host a brow masterclass and touch up service.

  • Monday 19 September

12-4pm: Hand & Lock. Get personal and monogram your Carnaby tote bag.

5-7pm: Pixi. Give your skin some TLC mini treatments and make-up tips.

  • Tuesday 20 September

Have a bespoke fashion sketch drawn of yourself from the creative illustrators.

Meanwhile, other offers and experiences include customise your jeans at Pepe Jeans, personalised a pair of painted Superga trainers, customise your cap at New Era and emboss your Shinola journal. Office, Evisu and Sweaty Betty will be offering 20% off, while Havaianas will be knocking 30% off the price. Cowshed will be offering complimentary body lotion with purchases over £18, while Triyoga are offering 1 weeks of unlimited yoga for £30.

Party at Paul Smith with a live DJ and drinks between 12-3pm on 17 September, while Diesel will host a pop-up bar on 16 and 17 September between 5-7pm. Wrights Brothers Soho have curated an exclusive Fashion Week menu of Dressed Oysters and Champagne, while Señor Ceviche have created a stylish new champagne cocktail.

  • London Fashion Week at Carnaby London takes place from 16 – 20 September 2016. Events take place in the Carnaby London area, including Kingly Court and the Newburgh Quarter. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in September, click here.

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Fashion talks: Discounts, freebies, shopping and more as Carnaby Style Night returns

Carnaby Panel

Panel discussions on fashion will be among the special events at the Carnaby Style Night

Love fashion? Prefer a more boutique-shopping experience to the mega malls? Well, just metres away from the hectic retail thoroughfare of Oxford Circus is a rather more chilled and relaxing shopping experience to be had in the Carnaby London district. Comprising Carnaby Street and the surrounding streets, there’s a host of shops, restaurants, cafes and bars in this Soho enclave.

Returning this May, is the annual Carnaby Style Night. The businesses of the area have teamed up with GQ magazine for an evening of discounts, freebies, competitions, special events… and of course, shopping! On Thursday 5 May between 5 and 9pm, over 100 shops, restaurants, bars and cafes will be offering 20% off.

When you fancy a break from retail therapy, there will be plenty of special events on the night, including live music on the main stage, from artists including Sinead Harnett and Croox. The Carnaby Style Panel is back so budding fashionistas can get insider knowledge from Carnaby’s Creative Brand Directors and experts. Many of the stores, such as Levi’s and Cubitts will be offering drinks while you shop, while some boutiques will be hosting in-store DJs to get you in the party mood. Dirty Bones will be hosting a pop-up bar on Ganton Street, offering an exclusive complimentary cocktail.

To register for a free ticket to get your 20% off, visit the Carnaby London website. You’ll automatically be entered into a prize draw to win £500 worth of shopping vouchers plus a year’s subscription to GQ magazine.

  • The Carnaby Style Night takes place on Thursday 5 May from 5-9pm at the Carnaby London district. Nearest stations: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information and to register for your 20% off discount, visit the Carnaby London website.

For a guide to what else is on in London right now, click here.

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Artist Julian Opie creates new permanent artwork for Carnaby as Lumiere London kicks off

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

A moving light installation called ‘Shaida Walking’ is erected on Broadwick Street

The streets of the capital will be lit up in ways never seen before this week as Lumiere London kicks off. Over four consecutive evenings (14-17 January 2016), international artists will light up some of the West End and Kings Cross’ most iconic buildings with 3D projections, interactive installations and illuminated artwork.

To coincide with the festival, British artist Julian Opie has created a new piece of moving art to be erected permanent in the Carnaby district of Soho. Entitled ‘Shaida Walking’, the piece is a double-sided LED monolith which uses light and animation to create a ‘walking portrait’. The artwork will stand on Broadwick Street and will appear as if the female figure is walking towards Carnaby Street. ‘Shaida Walking’ will join the existing permanent art and design installations among the 13 streets of Carnaby.

Opie is one of Britain’s most popular and influential artists in the country right now, with his work displayed in galleries including Tate Gallery in London and MoMA in New York City.

Clare Harris, Head of Group Marketing and Communications at Shaftesbury, enthused: ‘Lumiere London is set to be an exceptional festival celebrating London’s unique architecture as a canvas for some truly inspiring pieces of art. We are delighted to have the only permanent piece in Carnaby creating a legacy of the festival for years to come. Working with Julian Opie, a renowned London artist, felt like the perfect match for this iconic destination.’

  • Shaida Walking will be on display on Broadwick Street, W1F, near the junction with Carnaby Street from this week. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. Lumiere London takes place in the evenings at Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, St James, Carnaby Street, Oxford Circus and Kings Cross from 14-17 January 2016. Free. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website or Carnaby London.

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Indulge your sweet tooth while savouring your fave tipple at the world’s first edible alcohol store Eat Your Drink

© Smith & Sinclair 2015

Down the hatch! Try Smith & Sinclair’s trademark cocktail pastilles at their Eat Your Drink pop-up in Soho

Those with a sweet tooth and penchant for booze… did you know you can combine both loves at once? Alcoholic explorers Smith & Sinclair, who launched their alcoholic confectionary last year, are opening a new pop-up store. Based downstairs at Benefit in Soho’s Carnaby Street, Eat Your Drink is a strictly adults-only candy store with a difference.

Smith & Sinclair have deconstructed iconic cocktails, such a Mojitos and Pina Coladas and transferred those recognisable flavours into a not-so-humble sweet. Shoppers will be able to taste, touch and smell their favourite drinks in a new physical form. Be prepared for an assault on the senses with a range of boozy experiences, such as alcoholic bubbles and perfumes to infused candy floss and cocktail dib dabs and garnishes. Among the brands working with S&S include Duppy Share, Sipsmith Gin, Firefly Tonic, Jools Drinks and Two Birds Vodka.

As well as selling a range of naughty treats, Eat Your Drink will also be hosting evening events, such as panel discussions, workshop and more. Events will start from just £5.

To receive 10% off any product between 13-24 December, say ‘put a jelly in Santa’s belly’ at the till.

  • Eat Your Drink is open from 17 November until 24 December 2015. Located downstairs at Benefit, 10 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9PF. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. The store is open daily for free, but evening special events will be ticketed through Eventbrite and DesignMyNight. For more information, visit the Smith & Sinclair website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in December, click here.

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The Refinery: Shopping, workshops and entertainment at the Newburgh Quarter’s special event

The Refinery is a one-day special event featuring the shops, bars and restaurants of the Newburgh Quarter in Soho

The Refinery is a one-day special event featuring the shops, bars and restaurants of the Newburgh Quarter in Soho

Being the heart of tourist season, shopping on Oxford Street and Regent Street can be rather stressful at this time of year (or any time!). So next time you need a spot of retail therapy, consider heading to the Newburgh Quarter. Located just to the east of Carnaby Street, the Newburgh Quarter offers a more relaxed pace, with a diverse range of boutiques, independent shops, bars and restaurants.

On Saturday 8 August 2015, the shops and restaurants of the Newburgh Quarter will be taking part in a one day special event – The Refinery, featuring offers, freebies, workshops, live music and art and more. Creatives and fashion fans will certainly find plenty of occupy them.

Among the activities are:
· Denim Masterclass at Levi’s Vintage Store
· Denim customisation workshops at Evisu
· Clay workshops and Piñata making class at Lazy Oaf
· BBQ Grill Masterclasses at Kua ‘Aina
· Learn the art of the perfect espresso with all day demos at Department of Coffee and Social Affairs
· Gin tasting at Cubitts
· Shave and finish at Gentlemen’s Barber Pankhurst London
· How to apply lashes and create the perfect brow at Lash Perfect Lash Bar
· Master the art of the bow tie at Peckham Rye
· Live screen printing at new store Supremebeing
· Trend talks with famed tailor Mark Powell

There’ll be the chance to pose in Lomography’s instant photobooth, listen to acoustic music at Laurel Wreath by Fred Perry, enjoy a free craft ale at the White Horse pub (by registering online), as well as entertainment from spoken-word artists, brass bands and acoustic musicians.

  • The Refinery takes place in the Newburgh Quarter (surrounded by Foubert’s Place, Marshall Street and Ganton Street), Soho, W1 on Saturday 8 August 2015 between 12-5pm. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby Street website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in August, click here.

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Spirit Of Soho mural: Celebrating the history and characters of Soho

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The Spirit Of Soho mural stands on the side of 9 Carnaby Street overlooking Broadwick Street

Various areas of London come and go as the ‘trendy’ new postcode to visit. However, one that has remained an eternal draw to Londoners and visitors for decades as a playground for both is Soho. Bordered by the shops of Oxford and Regent Street with the theatres of Shaftesbury Avenue cutting through it, Soho today retains a mix of its old and new haunts – with iconic venues and restaurants such as Ronnie Scott’s and the Gay Hussar sharing the same roads as the inevitable chain restaurants and coffee shops.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

The right panel features (top to bottom) the Palladium, Carnaby Street and Ronnie Scott’s

Back in 1991, the community of Soho created a mural at the western end of Broadwick Street to celebrate the characters and venues which make the area so special. Crowning the mural is St Anne – who lends her name to Soho’s church in Dean Street – with her skirt forming the streets and lanes of Soho. Dotted around are dogs and hares, harking back to Soho’s origins as royal hunting ground between the 16th and 17th centuries. In fact, the word Soho is believed to have come from an old hunting cry.

Representing Chinatown in the south east corner of the skirt, is the pagoda and Lee Fung supermarket, while the western borders features a depiction of Liberty’s department store with its iconic Tudor-style timber frame. On the right panel of the mural, popular Soho spots are depicted including the Palladium, Carnaby Street and Ronnie Scott’s, while the left panel features an artist in his studio (believed to be late animator Bob Godfrey MBE), fashion stores and international restaurants. Among the streets of Soho you may well recognise one of the Groucho Brothers – likely alluding to the iconic Groucho Club on Dean Street.

At the bottom of the mural is a huddle of notable Soho residents and clientele, including revolutionary Karl Marx, artist William Blake, poet Dylan Thomas and jazz musician George Melly. When the clock (which was restored in 2006) strikes on the hour, look carefully to see Marx sipping a can of Coca-Cola, while opera singer Teresa Cornelys winks at her former lover Casanova, who returns the favour by blowing her a kiss. Marx actually lived in Dean Street in the 1850s with his family, above what is now the Quo Vadis restaurant. During his time in Soho, Marx and his wife suffered the loss of three of their children in infancy, while he also wrote his proposal for the Communist Manifesto in a room above the Red Lion pub on Great Windmill Street. Meanwhile, Teresa’s parties at her home, Carlisle House in Soho Square were legendary in the mid 1700s. She fathered a daughter Sophia during an affair with Italian playboy Casanova, who used to visit the house.

Next time you’re in Soho, why not pay a visit to the mural and see who you can recognise. Aim to visit on the hour for the very subtle animations around the clock.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

Animated: As the clock strikes the hour, watch as Karl Marx sips Coke, Teresa Cornelys winks as Casanova, who blows a kiss back

  • The Spirit Of Soho mural in located on the Berwick Street side of 9 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9PB. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus.

For more of Metro Girl’s history blog posts, click here.

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Ta-ra to tourist tat! Buy a London gift people will actually want at We Built This City pop-up shop

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2014

London Skyline necklace from Mona Mara (left) and Lundunar cushion by Kristjana Williams (right)

There’s no shortage of shops selling London paraphernalia, but how much of it is actually any good? There must be 100s of thousands, if not millions of tourists who have brought home a tacky product saying ‘Made In China’… so not very British at all! In the run up to Christmas, a new pop-up shop is set to change all that by selling London souvenirs made by homegrown talent.

Located on Soho’s iconic Carnaby Street, We Built This City is a new pop-up selling a unique collection of London gifts, accessories, ceramics and art prints from British artists and designers ranging from £3 to £200. The store will appeal to Londoners and international visitors alike, with products such as London Postcards from Sir Peter Blake, skyline ceramics by Cecily Vessey, exotic London globes by Kristjana S Williams, Gherkin cushions by Charlene Mullen, London Willow pattern teacups from We Love Kaoru and Literary London prints by Run For The Hills.

As well as selling souvenirs and gifts people will actually want, We Built This City will also host events and workshops in their ‘art grotto’ basement. Events will include London Gin Masterclasses from Shake Rattle and Stir, an Arty Party with Made in Arts London, Christmas wreath-making and ceramic up-cycling with The Indytute and an evening of new London-inspired Christmas hits from St Etienne.

  • We Built This City is open from now until 10 January 2015. Located at 11-12 Carnaby Street, Soho, W1F 9PQ. Opening hours: Mon-Weds: 10am–7pm, Thurs–Sat: 10am–8pm and Sun: 11am–6pm. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. For more information, visit the We Built This City website.

For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

To read about another Soho pop-up shop, Gods Own Junkyard, click here.

For a guide to Christmas markets and fairs in London, click here.

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Kua ‘Aina review: Hawaii comes to London with this sunny burger joint

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Bringing the sunshine to London: Kua ‘Aina in Soho

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

The informal, surf shack vibe means for quite an intimate space for diners

Thai, Indian, Mexican… the average Londoner has probably tried most of these. With the capital such a melting pot of different cultures, you don’t have to leave Zone 1 to travel around the world – in culinary terms anyway! However, there’s a new region of cooking in the West End – Hawaiian. Now, being a US state, we tend not to associate Hawaii with its own cuisine, but given it’s located so far away from the mainland, of course it has its own food.

This is where we come to Kua ‘Aina (which means ‘back country’) – a Hawaiian restaurant which is the first UK branch of the original of the same name back on Hawaii’s North Shore. It opened in late 2012 on Foubert’s Place in Soho – a prime location just off bustling Carnaby Street. A friend and I booked a table for a cold March night and were immediately cheered up by the bright yellow exterior. Once inside, we were greeted by a waiter dressed in a Hawaiian shirt (of course!) and shown to our table. The restaurant had a surf shack meets diner vibe with wood panelled walls, retro Hawaiian posters, pattern lampshades and the odd surfboard mounted on the wall. The relaxed, informal atmosphere and strong Hawaiian themed interiors definitely helps with the whole escapist vibe so you can imagine you’re in warmer climes.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Delicious: A chargrilled mahi mahi (dolphin fish) sandwich with monterey jack cheese and grilled pineapple

The menu is pretty simple, with burgers or sandwiches the main meals on offer, served in baskets. My friend opted for tuna steak sandwich, while I had a mahi mahi (dolphin fish) sandwich, which were chargrilled and served with salad, with many sauce options. I topped my mahi mahi sandwich with Monterey Jack cheese and grilled pineapple – well, I wanted to go for the full Hawaiian vibe! It tasted absolutely delicious. Chips can be ordered separately with a choice of sweet potato fries and skin-off fries. I must admit, while I did love my fish sandwich, my chips were lukewarm, which I should have complained about, but didn’t. Adding to the holiday vibe, you can order pitchers of beer, Sangria, white wine spritzer or cocktails. Rarely, we opted for soft drinks, with my friend ordering a smoothie. Imagining it would be freshly made, she was disappointed to find it was a bottled one you pick in the supermarket, so we found ourselves wishing we ordered the pitcher instead, it would have been a bit more fun!

Service was friendly and quick, although the amount of tables in the small venue mean you are really packed in closely together. While I enjoyed the food and interior and found the place good value, I think it’s more of an informal lunch venue, rather than a place for an occasion. I think families, students and young professionals will particularly enjoy Kua ‘Aina. It’s very good value, and for those looking for a tasty burger that’s a little bit different from your usual burger chains, then it’s a good option.

  • Kua’ Aina, 26 Fouberts Place, Soho, W1F 7PP. Tel: 020 7287 7474. Nearest tube: Oxford Circus. For more information, visit Kua ‘Aina’s website.

To read other Metro Girl restaurant and bar reviews, click here

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2013

Surf’s up! Pacific artwork, surfboards and ’50s pin ups decorate the interior

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