Nikita by Niki, Niki Mahon Interview

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Some of you by now hopefully have read my little blog on NikitaByNiki’s Acasia piece, if you haven’t you can click here to catch up. For those of you who saw how much I rated the necklace I got from NikitabyNiki I got to ask founder Niki Mahon some questions about her brand and what inspires her to come up with the beautiful pieces she has over on her website.

Courtesy of Niki Mahon ©
Courtesy of Niki Mahon ©

ME: Firstly, basics. I know your name is Niki Mahon and NikitabyNiki was started in 2014, but how old are you, and when did you realise you wanted to establish and create jewellery?
NIKI: I have very recently turned 23. I work full time as a Senior Account Manager at a mobile and web development agency in London. I have always been one to multi-task and fill my spare time with something productive and beneficial. I realised I had a genuine passion for jewellery at the age of 16 when I secured my first job at ‘Silverleaf Jewllery Ltd’, managing the store and creating unique pieces by hand. I absolutely loved this job, however pursuing a degree and securing a full time job were of top priority before exploring this avenue further and growing it into a business.

You could say as a typical girly-girl and perfectionist, I am drawn to and love making things pretty, and I am thrilled that I am now in a position in my life where I can devote my time to a jewellery brand that I firmly believe in.

ME: What or who was the inspiration behind the beginnings of NikitabyNiki?
NIKI: The best word to describe my jewellery is ‘Statement’. Although I wear dainty, delicate pieces on a daily basis, I believe when a woman dresses up, she does not need to break into her purse and buy an entire new outfit every time. The NikitaByNiki pieces aim to be feminine and flattering, yet bold enough to transform any ensemble again and again without having to worry about wearing the same outfit twice.

NikitabyNiki The Boho Collection Style Paris £25
NikitabyNiki The Boho Collection Style Paris £25

ME: How involved are you in the designing, creating and making process of your pieces?
NIKI: I currently source the pieces from trustworthy and talented manufacturers worldwide. My connections are obtained through networking, researching and travelling. Initially I sourced existing styles, however my most recent ventures involve channeling my love for drawing and design by customising and creating the NikitaByNiki pieces myself to ensure they are unique, beautiful and of a great quality.

ME: Where did the influence come from for your Boho and Rhinestone Collection?
NIKI: The Boho Collection was born first. I was so intrigued by the the London look of casual outfits dressed with bohemian silver cuffs and large statements. I wanted to branch out further and test the market with the Rhinestone collection soon after. This collection, for me, represents more evening wear, providing a more glitzy and elaborate addition to what can otherwise be a sleek and simple outfit. Naturally, I went on to further pursue those that proved to be the most popular and have the highest demand.

In April, I am going to be launching the NikitaByNiki Ring Collection which compliments both collections by combing vintage silvers and classic gem stones.

ME: Are there specific pieces from each of those collections that you think represent you and your brand the best, and why?
NIKI: I would definitely say I have some brand ambassadors within the two collections. In the Rhinestone Collection, Zahara and Aurora are solid examples of how a pieces can add the ‘wow’ factor to any look. Within the Boho collection, Paris is one that I believe to stand out on the website amongst both photoshoot and product photography.

NikitabyNiki The Rhinestone Collection - Style Zahara £20
NikitabyNiki The Rhinestone Collection – Style Zahara £20

ME: Are there any brands of jewellery, or other people who influence the designs that you create?
NIKI: Yes absolutely!

Interestingly, a lot of inspiration comes from clothes designers and gorgeous jewel encrusted wedding pieces; Zuhair Murad embellished gowns inspire me with their ability to look utterly classy without approaching the border of tacky and ‘blingy.’

In terms of jewellery, I have inspirations whom I strive to surpass. These are people and companies whom I prefer to hold close to my chest.

ME: Lastly, what do you want your buyers to feel when they wear your pieces?
NIKI: What drives me most is the feedback I get from ecstatic customers. A tremendous amount of effort goes into the final touches and packaging of each item and each order receives a small thank you note which has proven to attain repeat orders.I strive for all items to reach their owners safely, in the expected condition and for my customers to be able to wear their pieces over and over again without any hesitance.

Ultimately, I want my buyers to feel how I feel when wearing NikitaByNiki statements: beautiful, comfortable and stylish.

See what people have said about shopping at NikitaByNiki: www.nikitabyniki.com/testimonials

To follow Niki on:

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The Book of Mormon, The Prince of Wales Theatre

Occasionally I’m left speechless by a performance. This is not the case with this show. In fact it is completely the opposite to how I’m feeling. It’s been two days now and I still can’t stop the occasional laugh that brews up within me when I think back to Tuesday night’s hilarious performance.

It was utterly fantastic.

I can’t explain to you how much I enjoyed this show, but heck I’m going to try. Here’s hoping the Latter Day Saints help me out a bit.

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The Prince of Wales Theatre is a stone’s throw away from Leicester Square as well as lovely restaurant Muriel’s Kitchen, which is a great place to stop off before the show. Check out my blog on it. It’s also opposite The Comedy Club, which I hope to check out soon!

The Book of Mormon is an ingenious production brought to us by the creators of South Park; Trey Parker, Robert Lopez and Matt Stone. It’s a musical religious satire piece that features two newly graduated Mormon missionaries, one, Elder Price whom believes his calling is in the magical place of Orlando and the other, Elder Cunningham who is a compulsive liar. A fantastic mix, which results in them being dispatched to a remote village in Uganda which is being terrorised by the exceedingly frightening General Butt-Fucking-Naked. A truly despicable human being who wears some wonderful cowboys boots alongside two lots of machine gun bullets wrapped around his upper half. Robbed by the General and made fun of by the locals the two missionaries meet the other missionaries who explain the with the wonderful help of Elder McKinley that they need to: “squash,” their feelings. The song Turn It Off is fabulous display of singing skill, humorous acting, in beat tap dancing, and some very pink waistcoats.

As Elder Price makes it his mission to leave, he is caught in a spooky Mormon hell dream featuring Hitler, Genghis Khan, Jeffery Dahmer and Johnnie Cochran as well as some rather fantastic devil onesies. When he wakes he realises that he cannot leave his companion, Rule 72, and he rushes back to try and help Elder Cunningham. Only to discover Elder Cunningham has, through the medium of imagination, help from the Hobbits and compulsive lying baptised all the villagers without Price and is now the hotshot of the Mormon missionaries.

As the Mormon President comes to celebrate the villagers being baptised all the truth comes out, through a very entertaining reenactment of the Mormon history with Elder Cunningham’s very interesting embellishments. Of course, the realisation that it was all a lie leaves the Ugandan missionaries ex-communicated from the Mormon church, and pretty stuck in the mud. Until they realise the they don’t need the Mormons, they just need each other. As with traditional soppy ending theatre performances it all ends happily, but with this musical it also ends with you laughing your socks off, and tears falling in a good way.

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There are three cast members in particular who are just fantastic in their roles. Of course two of them are the main characters.

Nic Rouleau as Elder Price is simply the best arrogant Mormon ever. He has the facial expressions that just make you cripple with laughter, and a voice that is utterly awesome.

Brian Sears as Elder Cunningham, just thinking about him makes me laugh. There is so much political incorrectness with this character but it’s not offensive, it hugely funny and Brian is just one of kind in this role. The specialness of him is magic.

Stephen Ashfield as Elder McKinley, without a doubt is my favourite. I can’t get enough of his suppression of his feelings for men, whilst simultaneously being the campiest and most feminine character. He’s entertainment factor is stunning.

Another mention should go to Gabrielle Brooks who was Nabulungi in the performance I went to see, her voice is smooth like silk and she has a wonderful range although sometimes I felt that she wasn’t completely comfortable in the role BUT and it is a big but that was only every now and then. As an understudy she was still incredible, and secretly I hope she gets more chance to play this role so she can come into her own more and more.

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GO AND SEE THIS NOW! I’ve helpful attached the website here, so you can go and book your tickets.

For more information on The Prince of Wales Theatre click here.

Muriel’s Kitchen, Leicester Square

So you want to eat out in Theatreland,London, but you want to avoid the overpriced and stuffy air that can come with some eateries in the West End. Ladies and Gentlemen, look no further then this little gem, which sits perched at the top of Leicester Square, Muriel’s Kitchen.

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This branch, one of three (the others are in SoHo and South Kensington) is perfect, if like me and my aunt you’re looking for a dainty and easy atmosphere, that serves fast but extraordinarily scrummy food. Picture it if you will, having dashed into Foyle’s Bookshop searching for a mosaic-ed map floor which seems to know longer exist since their move, desperately hungry but worried about missing the show they’ve book to see, two women scrambling around to find a restaurant. Well it wasn’t quite like that, but it was sort of close.

Deciding to eat relatively near to The Prince of Wales Theatre, meant walking through Leicester Square. And there on our right-hand side we saw balloons. Yellow balloons, welcoming balloons that called to us, and said: “Don’t worry, we’ll feed you,” and so they did. In we entered, and were greeted by what can only be described as a jumping/dancing waiter called Jack, full of energy and best of all saw we needed comfy seating. Leading us over to a sofa area, and sitting down you actually get the chance to look around, and for some reason, feel at home in the warm aura this restaurant brings.

www.crazyabouthome.com
http://www.crazyabouthome.com

I’m still now, trying to think of something I really can make a bad comment about with Muriel’s and so far I keep coming up blank. The service was incredibly lovely. Jack, the server was funny, polite and took all our orders promptly, and I’d like to point out without a notepad. Memory skills are always a good thing, especially when you remember the orders right. He was engaging, but without that oh-so-typical: “how’s the food,” that for some reason, lots of waiting staff seem to ask right as you put a piece of something in your mouth. The awkward question usually leading to an awkward thumbs up from me.

Plus, there are swinging seats.

www.murielskitchen.co.uk
http://www.murielskitchen.co.uk

Now I’m not all about the furnishings and quality of staff on this blog, I know that I need to get to food. Muriel’s Kitchen has a monthly chancing menu, which for the one on at the moment click here for.

So take a look.

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Pulled Pork Burger £11.95

This was my meal, and just looking at this picture is literally making me dribble. I could get on a train and go back to have this again, and again for possibly the rest of time. It was just scrumptious, the chips were perfectly cooked and came in a little flower pot which tickled me, almost senseless and the pork was, well as BBQ-ed as you’d ever need it. It was sticky goodness, and it came with extra sauce, which is something I always have to ask for, which is a bonus in my eyes. Less talking = more time eating. Although demolishing food has always been pretty easy for me, this meal was definitely filling. I ended up having to leave the buns because there was just so much meat. It was an outstanding burger.

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Chicken Skewers £7.99

Now this was my aunt’s food so I’m not technically sure how good it was, but the plate was clear and we were both pretty silent as we ate. Not silent in a bad way, but more the silence that fills the air when the food is too good and conversation just can’t compete. On a side note, the skewers this chicken came on is massive.

DESSERTS!

IMG_1460 IMG_1462 Yummy in my tummy.   This dessert was , so amazing. I was stuck between this Our Famous Carrot And Walnut Cake, £5.25 and some other dessert which now seems like ancient history in my mind. I’m so grateful that this is what Jack suggested because my goodness, this was a form of heaven. It was moist, it had flavour, the creamy bit on top and in the middle was just magically. And when I couldn’t fulfil my destiny in eating magnificent cake, that was just oh-so-big Jack kindly wrapped it up for me to munch right now. Honestly this cake is just wonderful, and I’m so happy I can still enjoy whilst I’m writing this post.

IMG_1464 IMG_1465 Smells good!

Di’s dessert was apparently also pretty fantastic. One moment looking and I saw this interesting looking pot containing Bread And Butter Pudding, £6, with a little side of custard that was surprisingly plenty for the dish, the next it was empty. I think I was lucky I insisted on taking a quick snap before it got gobbled. It did smell absolutely wonderful, mind.

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Everyone meet Jack! Am-dram aficionado, food interpreter, comfort bringer to the sofas, dancer, and Kylie Minogue fan. What more could you want! Oh, there’s me.

When I got home from this amazing dinner, I did a bit of research about Muriel’s Kitchen and it made me like it even more then I already did. When I read the story behind the restaurant I though it would be a really nice add to this blog, as it just so personal.

Muriel’s Kitchen is run by a husband and wife team, called Charlotte and Sam. Charlotte’s grandmother was called Muriel and according to the website: “she was not only a brave and wonderful woman but an absolutely fantastic cook.” ‘Nana Muriel’s’ Kitchen was the: “heart of her home,” and this it seems is what Charlotte wanted to bring to London. And indeed, you do feel at home in Muriel’s. The food is cooked from scratch by chefs everyday and wherever they can, they use local and ethically sourced produce; from veggies to eggs, fish to chicken everything is thought through before it hits out tables.

You can’t ask for anymore. In case you interested check out their lovely website.

Or their Twitter. Facebook. Instagram.

Johnny Sparkle Presents: Tainted Love at The Amersham Arms

One week late. Still written.

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When you have a best friend who has a stupid amount of talent you either hate them, resent them or in my case pretend to hate and resent them whilst loving them completely and only wanting them to succeed in what they do. Case in point: Louise Curtin. You may recognise her name from my yellowish tinged A Teenage Cancer – Awareness Time post I did quite a while ago.

This girl is super talented at most things like contouring, looking after animals with popped eyeballs, sending considerably hilarious Snapchats, and unfairly being one of the most musically talented people I have ever met. The fact that this talent she kept hidden for more then half our friendship’s lifespan is a point I don’t want to get into, why didn’t you tell me girl? But take my word for it, she is special. Enough bigging-up this post is about an actual gig I swear.

Recently she invited a few of us to a lovely Valentine’s gig at, the artsy and not somewhere, I thought, I would usually frequent London pub called The Amersham Arms. To me it’s totally hipster but you know what I’ve decided I loved it, their burgers were just so good and the live music that Johnny Sparkle (I’m still not sure who he is) provided in this wonderful live band area was brilliant. Of course the promise of tequila shots and my recently new developed love for Kopperburg was the icing on the proverbial cake.

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I have to admit here and now, that I can’t remember or recall all of the bands that played, yes I’ve got their names written down and I will do my best to attach videos or songs of them performing if I can find any, but really there was only three groups that to me stood out like a zebra in a pack of cheetahs. These three were insatiable. Just so good. Of course with my biasness I’ll start with The Baby Blues.

My little Lou’s band, THE BABY BLUES hit off the night at 7:30ish and mateeeee, they were simply amazing. I know technically speaking I’m as biased as they come, but really if I didn’t want to big them up I wouldn’t. I’d keep the big Mouth (yes capitalised) shut tight. For me, nothing is better then Lou, Dave and Mike covering The Pretty Reckless’ My Medicine which they did with an absolutely beautiful performance. The video I’ve got for them isn’t so wonderful, I apologise sincerely as by this time I’d had a few of the old Kopperbergs and it cuts out, but it does showcase the talent these guys have as a band, especially a new band. They’ve been together for no time at all really, but if this is what they are coming out with now wait till its been few months. I’m so excited to see what these guys will come in with in the future.

Photography courtesy of Layzell Photography.
Photography courtesy of Layzell Photography.

Holy Moley, with a big slice of cheesecake can I introduce my next favourites. I pretty much embarrassed myself in front of these lovely ladies the first time I met them as I was doing, if I remember correctly the shuffle, which wasn’t actually a shuffle but more like having a fit whilst standing (no video to follow unfortunately). NOVA TWINS, Amy and Georgia were just “insert word that can be used to describe something out-of-this-world incredible and amazing”.  I hate that I have no words to describe these girls but seriously they are wonderful. Pretty much everything you want from a female duo, empowering with fantastic outfits and talent to kill for and some absolutely unreal beats. I salute you. I’m sorry I can’t actually find one whole video.

CRUMS, are a bunch of talentedness. This boys; James, George, and Ash (I think those are their names!) were so fun to watch and you could tell they were having an amazing time on the stage. However I will point out one thing, and that was until I had a little Facebook stalk I seriously only thought there were three of them on stage? I have no clue who I’m missing from my line-up!  Without a shadow of a doubt they are not my normal taste in music, as they’re a bit grungy/punky and I’m a Taylor Swift diehard fan, but I did almost turned. For me another plus of these boys was one of their mums, who was going round with the biggest proudest smile on her face selling £3 CDs of Crums’ work. This to me is what makes a band a band, their fans. And this mum was the biggest. I, of course bought one of the CDs which is proudly sitting in my car’s stereo. We even had tequila shots.

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Crum’s mum, the girls and me after Tequilas. So cute!


There were three other bands that performed that night, and for perhaps obvious reasons, see above pictures I don’t truly remember a lot about that, which is totally my fault. So I’ve spent the past three hours researching the other bands to make sure I can include them in this post. Each of the band contains some wonderful musical talent and you would be idiot, like I was to miss them out.

First up, MOURNING BIRDS. These lads are totally talented. I really try to be open-minded about all types of music, and it pays off when you see music made like this. The band is made up of Jimmy Gilder, Sam Mitchell and Bill Williams. I find them pretty alternative.

NATIVE PEOPLE, now I’m hoping and I think I know I’m right but they just seem to professional and kind of a big deal that these were the guys who performed at The Amersham Arms. I found someone saying well done to them so that’s a good start plus I found picture evidence but they don’t say they played, it’s so confusing. But I’m 99.9% sure these are the same guys. If so I don’t know how I missed them. It’s possibly I was dancing in the other room?! They are pretty amazing though. I’m totally obsessed with this song, Calm Forever.

WHITE ROOM, very confusingly on Youtube as The Basis Band, it took me the longest to find out anything about them. Honestly I get so confused so easily. Anyways this five-piece band are, at least to me totally interesting in the way their music sounds. I haven’t heard anything like it, so I don’t really know how to describe it but check out this video. It kind of creeps me out in a good way?

Matthew Bourne’s Edward Scissorhands

IMG_0186This blog is about a week late but I’ve been so busy driving up and down the country it has literally come as soon as I could. I think the fact that I’m still so inclined to write this blog really shows how much I feel for Matthew Bourne’s stunning choreographically beautiful interpretation of TIm Burton’s Edward Scissorhands.

Although this performance was utterly breathtaking I will acknowledge that after the first act I was a tad disappointed. I’ve been thinking about how to explain this disappointment and I think finally, after this week of contemplation and reflection it was because it was odd. I’ve seen the film and I know the story so maybe that’s the problem, but I think it had more to do with the fact that I didn’t feel connected to any of the principal dancers during that first half. I’m not one to dwell on something and I would never leave a performance half way through but from eavesdropping at the bar it did seem a running theme with some of the older audience members as well.The first half wasn’t what I expected however, I have to bear in mind that generally I had the same thought on my last views of Bourne’s interpretations of Sleeping Beauty and also, in sense with his Swan Lake.

BUT, and this is massive but hence the capitals, I would urge anyone who believes in the beauty of ballet but also who has open-mindedness towards ballet mixed with modern dance or who just enjoys a good show to go and watch this performance at Sadler’s Wells. The first half yes I was a bit umm and ahhh but the second half is where the magic of Bourne truly lies.

The second half was unbelievable.

The choreography was just so unique and was so well put together with each member of the company performing the intricate patterns they made with not only their feet but arms as well perfectly. I don’t give standing ovations often. But hold on when I tell you the second half took you on an emotional journey of sweet little Edward Scissorhands. I’m not going to ruin the story for those of you who have never seen the film starring Johnny Depp but emotions that this ballet brought out of so many people was incredible. The man behind me who had been dragged there by his girlfriend stopped kicking my seat and leant forward, and the women in front stopped talking.

Matthew Bourne produced a piece of genius with this production. The first half is a teaser for what comes next and that to me appeared to be the ultimate combination of dance and acting skills. The principal dancers had facial expressions I had never on ballet dancer before. There was fear, jealousy, love and hate and it was all portrayed by these talented people and absorbed so fully by the people watching.

I don’t like to mention outstanding cast members usually, maybe because I feel that it takes a company to put on a show but, oh my. Edward (danced by Liam Mower) was a truly terrific. He just had the perfect amount of naivety mixed in with he dance moves. He was funny and sweet and if he’d been a real life boy would probably be the perfect somewhat half dead man for me.

Brilliantly most of the music, although there was some different pieces was recognisable from the film as Danny Elfman’s. Putting that touch in really made this piece seem as though Bourne wasn’t trying to outdo the film but instead work with it to provide a different kind of Edward Scissorhands.

On a somewhat note, I saw this with my dad and although he’s as lovely as they come in my 22 years of seeing ballet after ballet with him I have never seen him give a standing ovation. But he was up first. Now that, that is really saying something.

Tim Burton, it’s time for you to eat your heart out.

Edward Scissorhands is on at Sadler’s Wells until January 11th. For tickets click here.

To purchase Tim Burton’s film click here.

Here is the cast list on the day we saw this amazing piece of dance:

Edward – Liam Mower

Peg Boggs/Old Kim – Etta Murfitt

Bill Boggs – Jack Jones

Kim Boggs – Katy Lowenhoff

Kevin Boggs/Young Edward – Alex Sturman

Charity Upton – Mikah Smillie

Major Franklyn Upton III/Reverend – Gareth Charlton

Darlene Upton – Nicole Kabera

James Upton – Tim Hodges

Tiffany Covitt – Daisy May Kemp

Brad Covitt  – Edwin Ray

Candy Covitt – Katie Webb

Chase Covitt – Leon Moran

Joyce Monroe – Saranne Curtin

George Monroe – Daniel Collins

Bunny Monroe – Bethany Pike

Gerald Monroe – Harry Francis

Esmeralda Evercreech – Katelyn Severn

Reverend Judas Evercreech – Dominic Lamb

Marilyn-Ann Evercreech – Mari Kamata

Gabriel Evercreech – Tom Clark

Gloria Grubb – Stephanie Elstob

Manny Grubb – Chris Neumann

Sandra Grubb – Cindy Ciunfrini

Sheldon Grubb – Gavin Persand

Conductor – Benjamin Pope