Friday, 30 December 2011

Five of the Best

How dreadfully lazy I have been, 8th of December was the last post..three weeks and a day ago. The work wind down, running away to the Shire, family, eating, Christmas, then Christmas recovery, it all takes time!  Now it is New Year's Eve Eve and I'm curled up writing this and listening to the Possession omnibus on iplayer (one of my favourite novels of all time).  Santa Claus has been wonderful to me and I still have a few days left of holiday, so what better time than to look back at the favourite bits of 2011, so I thought I'd do five 'top fives'.  Snooze..EVERYONE looks back at the best and worst around this time I know, but it is a good opportunity to do so, so why buck a trend?!

Thank you to every single one of you who has read me this year, it means the absolute world to me.  Every single time I get a comment and it's not from a member of my direct family, it brightens my entire week.  I skimmed over the first year anniversary of the blog back in February because..truthfully..I forgot.  It's so enjoyable writing it that I've rarely paid attention to dates except now when I've just had a wee skim through the old posts so thank you, thank you, thank you all again. I hope you've had a superb Christmas and a happy New Year is just around the corner.....x

Five Best Fashion Purchases - not in order, that would be far too hard.

1.  Black leather shorts from Topshop - they've taken me from day to night and Summer to evening, they are also the ideal not too slutty length

2.  Black suede Yarra Desert boots from Clarks - the perfect wedge heel and so comfy, it's like wearing slippers..still haven't got round to suede-proofing them though.

3.  Grey mid length coat from Zara, first mentioned in my Autumn purchases post.
4.  Cotton sundress from Cos (actually in black and mint with large white polka dots, I know that's two really but this is my list so there!) These were fantastic for both work and play and SO hard-wearing and stylish at the same time.
5.  Over sized Mulberry Alexa in Oak - my wonder bag, since it arrived in my life in February, it hasn't left my arm.

Alexa..and the Alexa

Five Best Beauty Purchases (these are not my handbag staples, but new ones I've discovered!)

1.  Laura Mercier tinted moisturiser - yes, I'm late to the party but I couldn't live without it now.
2.  Lucas' Paw Paw Ointment - awesome for pretty much everything, including the odd spot!
3.  MaxFactor Falsh Lash Effect Mascara - I still love my DiorShow but for a budget substitute this cannot be beaten.
4.  Floris Night Scented Jasmine - I love this fragrance, it hasn't replaced my Jo Malone Orange Blossom or Acqua di Palma Iris but it is an incredible bath foam and moisturiser.  The scent is unlike anything I have ever smelt before and transforms your bathroom.
5.  Temple Spa - pretty much every product I've tried so far but special mention going to the Palm Balm hand lotion, Quietitude mist (amazing on long haul flights) and Peace Be Still, a wonderful body balm.  All available from Victoria Health and Harrods.

Five Best Reads

Terribly difficult to pick five out, fortunately I keep a record of everything I read and see at the theatre or cinema or I'm sure I'd start losing track.  I know a few of these are cheating as they are whole series but it was almost the first book that hooked me!

1. The Beekeeper's Apprentice, Laurie R King
A Sherlock Holmes spin off but much much more. Mary Russell, his young apprentice will draw you in and seduce you with her spunk and good humour, plus a constant stream of damn good mysteries!

2.  Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
Needs no introduction after the film version this year. A book I didn't really get when I first tried to read it a few years ago but when I tried again, I couldn't put it down.

3.  Gone With the Windsors, Laurie Graham

This brilliant novel is the fictional diary of Maybell Brumby, a wealthy American widow who arrives in London in 1932 and discovers that an old school friend is in town: Bessie Wallis Warfield, now Mrs Ernest Simpson. A corking read and an absolute delight to those intrigued by the enigma that is Mrs Simpson.

4.  The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
I cannot wait for the film of this to come out! After scoffing at all the people reading this and dismissing it as trashy teen fiction, I ate my words after reading it in desperation why I ran out of books on holiday.  Edge of the seat stuff, make your life easier and buy the entire trilogy together so you don't have to leave your armchair between books.

5.  Must You Go? My Life With Harold Pinter, Antonia Fraser

A wonderful peek into the life of one of the most famous literary couples of our time and a heart wrenching love story. A book I shall definitely be re-reading as it is so chocca full of details, I know I will discover new ones each time.

Five Favourite Films - I adore going to the cinema and again, these couldn't possibly in order.

1.  The Kings Speech - not a particularly original choice but I make no apologies for that.

2.  Hanna - It blew me away, Saoirse Ronan's performance, the Chemical Brothers soundtrack, the weird fairytale elements of the story. Awesome.

3.  We Need to Talk About Kevin - Loved the book and was worried about the film despite the wonderful pedigree of Lynne Ramsey and Tilda Swinton

4.  Midnight in Paris - a beautiful bubble of a picture that I randomly saw in New York with the Boy on a romantic night out. Allen back on form but also fab for anyone who adores fiction, the Left Bank and well..Woody Allen.

5.  Shame - It's not a 'favourite' as such but it has haunted me and compelled me to tell everyone to see it. I was fortunate enough to see it before it was released at a BAFTA screening. Seriously..I'm still thinking about it, but be warned, it isn't an easy watch.

Five London Moments

1.  Moving into my new flat, not something you can all share perhaps but definitely a highlight!
2.  Hanging out with deer in Richmond Park with two dogs and one best friend on a beautiful sunny day.
3.  Various suppers at Moro, Hix, The Wolseley, The Duke of Cambridge and Les Trois Garcons.
4.  Watching Madame Butterfly on a giant screen in Leicester Square whilst it's playing live from the Opera House with a plastic bucket of Pimms.
5.  Again, not a 'favourite' but certainly one of the most memorable moments of the year was attending a memorial service for the incredible Josephine Hart at Westminster Abbey. A service and a lady that I will never forget.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Watch Your Wallets - Sample Sale alert

You’re going to need a schedule to hit all of these goodies today: pick up some sculptured shoes, fluoro dresses, sexy under-garms, ready-to-wear Erdem, and a Lee Broom statement lighting piece all in a day’s work. For maximum benefit it would be good to have a stringent timetable and a willing chauffeur…also a ma-hoo-sive wad of cash.

  • Nicholas Kirkwood, 10am-8pm (and Fri 8am-8pm), The Music Room, 26 South Molton Lane, W1K 5AB 
  • Christopher Kane, 11am-9pm, Mercer Street Studio, 16 Mercer St, WC2H 9QE 
  • La Perla, 10am-6.30pm, Hornvale Ltd, 22 Newman St, W1T 1PH 
  • Erdem, 1-8pm (and Fri 10am-6pm), The Future Gallery, 5 Great Newport St, WC2H 7HY 
  • Lee Broom, 3-9pm, 93 Rivington St, EC2A 3AY

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Flat Pack

Kristen Stewart's trainer clad foot at the premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One. PHOTO: REX

I've never disguised the fact that I am a flat shoes girl.  I like the fact that I can skip and potentially run away from ninja attackers should they pounce. I also think that heels are not a prerequisite for a smart evening do.  That's not to say I'm anti giving myself a bit of a lift and yes, they do make my legs more Bambi like but I'm always happier in something that I'm comfortable in. The problem is that the majority of my shoes are French Soles. "Spolit cow!" you cry, "why are you whinging about having piles of expensive shoes in pretty colours?!"  I am NOT moaning, I love them dearly and have collected them and cared for them for many years but, although smart and great for that day to evening switch..newsflash...they aren't great in the Winter and London has suddenly got chilly.

I'm not a huge fan of knee high boots (a bit Sloaney pony for my taste), my Westwood pirate boots are perfection but tan leather (not practical) and my mannish brogues are all in suede!  Now I do like a wedge shoe boot and my Clarks Yarra deserts in black are great to take you from day to evening but again they're suede too and what to do when it's freezing, wet and/ or snowing and you still have to go to work or head out for the night?

You could do a K-Stew, as I'm calling it.  By the time the credits rolled on the London premiere of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 , the latest offering from her fanged-up franchise, Stewart had made herself an Everywoman. How? By swapping her staggeringly high Jimmy Choo heels for a pair of well-worn Nikes halfway through proceedings, an act of comfort-comes-first rebellion which many women, including me, would applaud. But, why not wear flats in the first place Kristen? Save yourself the drama and your bunions buy opting for the smart flat like these ladies..

I have to admit that if the weather gets really bad, my navy Hunters are my absolute standby but for smart and practical I love my Melissa by Vivienne Westwood Chelsea boots. Made of plastic which gives them a patent sheen, they go with pretty much everything.  When I wear my Hunters, I'll put a pair of pretty flats in my bag for when I get to work but with these, I don't have to!  Another good investment are a decent pair of woolly tights..I have pairs in black, grey, plum and cable knit...all from Marks and Spencer's!  If you're under 5' 5" like me (although I claim to be absolutely on the nose of 5'5" WHICH I AM) you can still shop in the school uniform section and save yourself a few pounds!

Finally, the lovely Ms Stewart also did a quick change at the Los Angeles premiere of her movie, swapping what look to be the same pair of black Choos for..yup..trainers again.  Give the girl a pair of French Soles for goodness sake! Who says you have to wear heels to be smart? Join the Flat Pack.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Nesting of the most helpful aids in moving house.

Now we have finished wrestling with IKEA flatpack and done grown up things like bought a new tv and Le Creuset and a sofa etc etc, I can get down to the serious business of nesting.  Nesting can be a full time occupation, it should involve cashmere, hot chocolate/ mulled wine and The Killing box set.  Annoyingly, our internet is not up and running yet so I'm pulling a bit of a sneaky by blogging in my lunch hour at work. Naughty, naughty.

Things I love about the flat so far - mounds of storage, especially wardrobe storage; MY (our) things everywhere, be that Venetian mirrors, the Boy's contemporary art, a store cupboard full of ingredients, having a garden, lots of book shelves...although we still need more!

Things I don't love - ummmm..not having a bath! But I was aware of this and must not whinge. Showers are more energy saving and my best friend lives literally around the corner so I have a tub on demand.

Pre and post move I have certainly been paying more attention to interior design blogs. Aside from the obvious like The Selby and Closet Visit, I've also discovered The Style Files, Ikea Hackers, Apartment Therapy.. especially good if, like me, you like a good nose around people's houses.  Money is a bit tight at the moment as the flat was completely unfurnished. This was wonderful in a way as we can make it completely 'ours' but also a bit 'aaargh..we have to buy everything!!'. It was things like a TV, hoover, organising the Internet etc that came at us a bit out of the blue aside from the obvious sofa, kitchen table and chairs etc.

Having a garden is a real bonus, especially in London.  Ours is paved and a decent size and the previous tenants left us all their garden furniture which was marvellous! I envisage buying lots of herbs and potting them beautifully (as above) but I think it might be more prudent to wait until it gets a bit warmer!

What makes you happy about where you live? I'll get back to fashion is pay day after all and a small splurge might be in order!

Monday, 28 November 2011

Different Hat

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players:
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts...."

So I have swapped from love to another like the floozy that I am.  Recently guest blogged on the fabulous bible for theatre goers that is Sans Taste.  If you fancy a change from fashion musings, do check it out! Bit late posting about this but that's what moving house does to a girl..brain melted.

The Wire fancy dress reunion had not turned out as planned..

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Pyjama Party

Ladies, we have to be WAY more brutal than this

There's been quite a lot going on at the moment - crazy amounts of work, NY trip, Yorkshire trip (yes..these were fun but also quite manic), more work and..oh yes...I'M MOVING HOUSE ON FRIDAY. More than this, I'm moving in with The Boy. Living with one of Them..not on my own as I have done for many years. It's exciting and scary all at the same time but, to be honest, I haven't had a huge amount of time to think about it.  I've been too busy trying to clear out stuff, Ebay stuff (actually my wonderful Mama has been doing that) and trying not to freak out.  I have three of my best girlfriends coming over tomorrow night to help and am extremely grateful.  I see it as a sort of pyjama party, but one where there will be wine and we will hopefully achieve a lot and put lots of things in boxes and suitcases.  Also pyjamas are causing big beeps on the fashion radar at the moment.
Jim Jams from Louis Vuitton's Cruise 12 collection

I'm in two minds about them. In one way, I want to embrace them, being a huge fan of nesting and luxe lounge wear generally, but many don't fall into this category.  In some cases you can actually look like you are wearing pyjamas and you ran out of your bed to a party. I'm talking about you Rachel Roy. I don't care if you've put red lippie on and managed to brush your forgot to set your alarm and pegged it to the One Day premiere.

Sometimes you could just be in a rather jazzy suit...Pippa Holt, contributing editor at Vogue (left) manages to look quite put together and I like the bed hair. The same applies to Caroline Sieber, although hers do look like more traditional pjs.

A lady who does seem to rock this look is Lauren Stephenson, the PR director of  You can tell they're pyjamas and give her snaps for being frightfully on trend but you also don't get the fallen out of bed look.

For me, although I would adore some traditional men's pyjamas for Christmas and have been hunting for the ones that Audrey Tatou wears in Coco before Chanel, for me they will remain an item to wear round the house, perhaps lounging elegantly on my new sofa or I just have to get through the move...

Must remember to keep smiling! x

Monday, 31 October 2011

Two Tims - Halloween Special

“One person's crazyness is another person's reality.” 
Tim Burton

Happy Halloween folks! Maybe not as big over here as it is in the States but still an excuse to get your spook on and dress up as fantastically as you wish. In honour of the most dark of holidays, here a selection of fabulous images Walker did a couple of years ago, inspired and featuring Tim Burton. Such an extraordinary blend of beauty and creativity with Gothic darkness creeping around the sides, I find them an endless source of inspiration. I'm sorry I've been off radar for a couple of weeks, there is a reason that shall be revealed next time.  In the meantime, enjoy these fabulous images! Mwahahahahahahahahahahaha!

“Any fable or fairytale has some sort of reality in it. That's why I think I love the form of fantasy or fairytale, is that you're able to kind of put things in there and let people sort of, discover their own emotion, discover their own sort of feelings about things. Or make their own lessons from it.' 
--Tim Burton 
At the Movies 
Nov. 17, 2005

To finish, one of my favourite moments of all time from Edward Scissorhands...

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

I heart Autumn - Part 2

Well, I think Autumn's here least it's not 28 degrees any more! Instead it is mild, with the leaves forming burnished piles in St James Park and me craving to get back to Yorkshire like you wouldn't believe. I reach a point sometimes when I have to run out of the city and fortunately, I'm heading back this weekend, hurray!

When I last did this post I was on a quest for knitwear.  I have to be honest, jumpers have foxed me...I'm still on the hunt AND another confession..I found almost everything I want at Cos..expect the big one, my new Winter it is...

Quite clearly, that's not me in the picture but my gosh, look at that coat.  The gorgeous soft grey colour, the almost shawl like collar, the way it has no fastenings which makes it appear more streamlined, the way that it is formal and yet, casual at the same time.  It has more than a hint of Isabel Marant but I think it's better.  Not just because it's cheaper (although that's an undeniable help!) but because I actually think the quality is better.  The three people I know who own IM coats have all suffered from the same issues..stitching coming away and bobbling. I thought I'd stick with my old favourite and Zara, you've done me proud.

So to Cos. Every Winter I have searched for the perfect jumper dress. Well, thanks to Cos I've found them.  If they had been made in five different colours, I'd probably have bought all of them but as it is, my wallet (and rent money) is weeping a sigh of relief.  This jumper dress is made from soft merino wool and tapers slightly at the hem creating a loose cocoon shape, it's also a wee bit oversized which is perfect for me as I don't really do cling! Available in Cocoa and Grass Green, the darker shade is perfect for everyday with flat mannish brogues and the bright green is smashing on a sunny, crisp day paired with leggings and my leopard French Soles.

I really do have a weak spot for dresses, I think it's because they pretty much always do day to evening, because you can always through them on and boom! You have an outfit. This last one above, a dark charcoal cotton with a boat-neck and leather pockets, t'was love at first sight. Thank you Cos yet again.

Finally, I think I'm going to splash out on some beautiful knitted accessories from Yokoo.  If you haven't discovered her yet, you really must.  This is what I'm leaning towards...

But possibly in Plum, Fig or Taupe....How can anyone resist a cowl scarf called the Snuggler?!  How are your Autumn/ Winter wardrobes progressing? Has anyone found the ultimate jumper or is it just me? What about accessories? Let me know!x

Friday, 30 September 2011

Some Like It Hot

"I wish I could play her for the rest of my life" Michelle on Marilyn

This post was originally going to be about part two of my Autumn wardrobe but as I write this, it's currently 28 degrees in London and frankly, it's thrown me into a bit of a tizz. I was mentally prepared for nesting, wearing knitwear and tights and crunching through mounds of brightly coloured leaves in my Hunters...instead, I'm back in Summer.  Grooming has been shifted to top of the priority list and sundresses have been shaken out of storage.  My Autumn wardrobe post will have to wait.

However, there is nothing like a bit of style inspiration for a Friday and I was blown away seeing these pictures of Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe. It's been said that you can be divided into two camps of style, those fans of the gamine, beautiful Audrey or the megawatt smile and curves of Marilyn. I disagree, I love them both..two of my favourite films of all time are Some Like it Hot and Funny Face. I've day dreamed about being both, it depends on my mood and they are both captivating in their own way.

You can imagine my excitement when I heard about this film..Directed by Simon Curtis My Week With Marilyn is based on Colin Clark's diaries which depict the making of the 1957 film The Prince and the Showgirl which starred Marilyn Monroe and Laurence Olivier. The cast includes such stellar names as Kenneth Branagh as Olivier and Eddie Redmayne as Clark himself.

With Dougray Scott as Arthur Miller

It is Colin’s brief encounter with Monroe as her confidant, protector, and almost lover that gives My Week with Marilyn its tender heart. Dougray Scott stars as Monroe’s aloof husband, Arthur Miller; Dominic Cooper as her anxious business partner Milton Greene; and Zoë Wanamaker as her Svengali-like acting coach Paula Strasberg; there are also  stylish cameos by Simon Russell Beale, Sir Derek Jacobi, and, as Dame Sybil Thorndike, the great British treasure which is Dame Judi...or 'The Dench' as I recently heard Tom Wilkinson refer to her as.

All photographs by Annie Leibovitz and the full Vogue interview with Michelle Williams by Adam Green, here.  I'm off to sizzle and have a glass of champagne in honour of Marilyn/ Michelle, any excuse! It is Friday after all.