Monday, 25 July 2011

Grunge me up

Sneak preview people, Topshop's Autumn/ Winter 2011 lookbook...We're not really having a Summer in London so looking ahead to luscious next Season clothes is the way to go. Do you have any favourite looks/ pieces from this?x

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Marie Hatoinette

If in doubt..go for a wig with a ship attached.

I've got a wedding coming up..actually, I've got about five. Without meaning to sound like a miserable old witch, I think weddings can be a real pain.  Yes I want to see two people I care about swearing eternal love and fidelity to each other and I have no objection to drinking copious amounts of champagne at someone else's expense but what in the Fashion God's name am I meant to wear to all of them? Boys have it easy. I mean The Boy literally has two options, morning suit or normal suit. He may have to stretch his imagination to the colour of his pocket square, tie and shirt but this is nothing compared to what women have to go through.
Isabella Blow..fearless.

Don't upstage the bride! Can I wear white/ cream or is that bad form? Is a boyfriend's ex going to be there? Is an ex of yours going to be there? What if it rains? What if it's boiling (hello sweat patches)? What if it's freezing inside the church but like a Swedish sauna on the dance floor? Clutch bag or small handheld? Can you manage holding a bag, hat and glass of Pimms and smile for the bloody photographer all at the same time? Hat or fascinator? Are the same people going to be at this wedding as have been at the other ones thus cancelling out repeating outfit choices? High heels, kittens or flats? It goes on and on..

I'll tell you now..I'm going down the frivolous hat route and keeping everything else simple.  The reason for this is threefold. Firstly I've spent so much on the hat, other outfits are no longer a realistic option.  Secondly, the hat is a statement piece therefore everything else can be minimal which suits my style. Lastly, because the hat is so WOW, I don't give a fig that I'm going to re-use it.  I've spent the money and I'm going to wear the darn thing!

Wearing hats is what our royals do. It’s what differentiates them from US presidents and Hollywood. When they approach their hat duties in the spirit of one who has fifty quid riding on their headgear outdoing Victoria Beckham’s or Lady Gaga’s, it’s what’s known as a Marie Hattoinette moment. It is playing with fire and can result in things like this...
Luckily, Bea, or someone advising her (clearly having a nap on the 29th), had the savvy idea of auctioning the pretzel on eBay for charity. It raised a heck of a lot of money and we all got a bit distracted from the fact that she wore the monstrosity in the first place. Future royals who are tempted to approach the hat-wearing gig as if it were a sophisticated fashion in-joke should take note however.
Hats are problematic. And I love hats. When I was little I wanted to own a hat shop. I love trying hats on. However in reality I simply don't wear them. A simple beret in Autumn/ Winter and a giant straw brim on the beach is me. But there are times when you may need something more frivolous.
Self-consciousness is the greatest enemy of successful hat-wearing.  What to do?  The more you practise, the less silly you’ll feel and if in doubt, go for something simple with a large brim that partially covers your face You’ll have to be the judge of how far you take this. If you’re an addictive personality you may find yourself experimenting so fearlessly that you end up wearing a croissant or some man-boobs on your head and thinking it looks perfectly normal.

In the grand scheme, would that matter? Anna Dello Russo of Vogue Nippon fame, who has championed the melon-wedge and pineapple slice-shaped fascinator for seasons, carries off her fruit with such aplomb it never occurs to anyone to laugh until she’s receded so far into the distance, there doesn’t seem any point. It comes down to a matter of conviction: wear it and work it...or shirk it altogether
Yes ladies it's a quandary but here are some practical guidelines:
1. If the hat is bigger than you are or resembles any kind of foodstuff, it’s probably a no.
2. On the other hand, you can hardly ever go wrong with flowers. My stunning concoction is called the Rose Cloud and was around the £100 mark. Don't be snobby about the high street, Debenhams has a great hat collection as does ASOS.  Bundle MacLaren, who furnished a number of royal wedding guests with their Abbey moments, designs headpieces from £45 that belie their modest price.
3. Don’t be surly: if the invitation requests a hat, then I’m sorry, a hairband, sunglasses or bandanna simply will not do and not complying will make you seem graceless rather than cool.  Also wispy fascinators just don't cut it.
4. Small is fashionable. And in this instance fashionable is also practical and less damage if you take it off and shove it under the table when you run off to join the bridal party conga.
5. Keep the rest of your outfit unimpeachably simple and chic and you’ll be able to wear an outrageous hat – and I think we all know you secretly want to.  I certainly do.
I actually really like the one at the bottom...

Friday, 8 July 2011

Robes for all Occasions (Potter post)

An exclusive for Milly Fell Into the Wardrobe by Rita Skeeter. Shortly to be published in The Daily Prophet as part of the 'What to Wear When Wizarding' series.
The Boy Who Lived about to dispense fashion advice to his friend, Ron Weasley..who sadly needed it.

As you know, the Muggles have taken our most famous story of The Boy Who Lived and ran with it.*  Whilst their young stars looked great on the red carpet, it seems an appropriate moment to talk about 'wizard style'. Muggles sometimes fail to grasp is that wizards and witches have a definite sense of chic.  Few can carry off facial hair like the late Albus Dumbledore and who can forget when Dobby the house-elf led the Fashion revolution clutching a sock.  

Severus Snape always worked the minimalist look to great effect in severe black robes, cleverly cut with special pockets for wand concealment and the odd vial of potion and though some might shy away from the Death Eaters, in cannot be denied that they had some of the most superb accessories around, melting masks, tattoos and great hair.  It is devastating news that now we shall never know who styled Bellatrix Lestrange's wonderful bouffant.

A dark leader of the pack is the former Death Eater, Lucius Malfoy. An inside source has revealed that when the Dark Lord took over Malfoy Manor, Lucius put many of his robes away in secret storage. Well who can blame him. Style over solidarity some might say.
For the young witches reading this, I feel I simply must put myself forward.  Whether I am taking notes with my quick quotes quill, reporting at a trial or even going about my daily business, my trademark hair, glasses and attire have become rather legendary in the wizarding world, second only to that icon of the twin-set, Dolores Umbridge.

A source from inside the Ministry said, "Dolores was a robes fanatic. She would get samples of pink tweed sent over from Madam Malkins at the beginning of each Season and have her clothes made up to her specific designs. She wore a lot of pink, I think this was to distract from the darkness inside her". That's as maybe dear readers, but few could work the colour like Dolores Umbridge. you know I have a very special relationship with Harry Potter. I was, in fact, the first journalist to write about him and had exclusive access during the Goblet of Fire tournament. 
Quidditch robes in the flattering red of Gryffindor house.

 Potter's style is questionable to say the least, although one is fairly limited in school robes. 
Dressed up for the Slug Club dinner

 Now he has left Hogwarts however perhaps he will be more advenurous in his fashion choices. We can but hope!  Next week, I'll be interviewing Olympe Maxine of Beauxbatons, Giant Fashion - A Big Problem?

Please enter our caption competition for the image below! The prize for the best entry will be dinner for four at The Three Broomsticks!  Good Luck!
A previously unseen picture of Potter exclusively for The Daily Prophet.

*A portion of the profits from the Potter franchise have come to the Ministry of Magic but as they don't deal in wizard gold, it is difficult to know whether the magical community will reap the benefits

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Comfort eating (and dressing)

Duvet and Ice cream..sometimes it's the way forward.
My goodness, what a long gap from posting!  I had a smashing holiday but came back to some rather distressing family news and a mountain of work which has rather buried me recently.  You know sometimes when horrid things have happened or you've been really busy and suddenly you get some time to yourself and all you want to do is bury yourself in your bed with a hot chocolate/ red wine drip, a bowl of cheese and mashed potato and the box set of the West Wing?  Well I did that and then I sort of did that via clothes.

Comfort clothes for me are ancient blue jim jams from Primani and a stolen sweater from the Boy. In Yorkshire, they are pair of red flannel checked bottoms and a grey Harvard hoodie that should be owned by someone who is about 6 foot tall and 4 foot wide.  Not exactly hot stuff I can hear you thinking dear readers.

Something else that I find comforting though (when I actually manage to leave the house) is shopping.  Obviously not crazy Summer sales shopping, elbowing tourists in the face down Oxford Street, more pottering around a quiet town and happening upon a few purchases that seem to come out of nowhere and make me happy.  This is exactly what happened to me last weekend and what's more they are classics, things I'll wear again and again and I wasn't even looking for them.

H and M Conscious Cotton Collection
This is a stunner at £19.99 from Huh and Muh, reminds me of a gorgeous peasant top that Chloe did a few seasons also doesn't make me look a buxom milkmaid, always a winner.  Then came the real bargain..
....these lovely tailored shorts from Isabel Marant.  They are in a lovely dark grey linen blend and have flattering back pockets and a cute elasticated waistband.  Perfect for work or the weekend..and they were £69 as oppose to £217 full price. BOOM!

And finally, not something I often post about but a joint passion with fashion and cooking (and eating). The wonderful Liberty London Girl frequently puts up recipes she has tested and enjoyed, so I thought, why not share a few with you. I gave up carbs before Marrakesh....(bonkers I know but after all, this was a serious pool/ bikini holiday) so when I got back, naturally all I wanted to do was stuff my face full of bread, rice, pasta and tatties and this is one of my all time favourite recipes by the domestic goddess herself.  In her own words, here is Nigella with her Lemon Risotto.....*
Because we all look like this when eating pasta...
This is comfort food on so many levels. For one, risotto has to be one of the most comforting things to eat ever. What's more, although everyone goes on about the finicketiness and crucial fine-tuning involved, I find risotto immensely comforting to make: in times of strain, mindless repetitive activity - in this case, 20 minutes of stirring - can really help. What you don't want to do is make risotto for large numbers of people, which is why I've indicated that this serves two.


  • 2 shallots
  • 1 stick of celery
  • 60g unsalted butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 300g risotto rice, preferably Vialone Nano
  • 1 litre vegetable stock (I use Marigold stock powder)
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 unwaxed lemon
  • Needles from 2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 egg yolk 
  • 60ml (4 tablespoons) grated parmesan, plus more to sprinkle

    60ml (4 tablespoons) double cream

    Maldon salt to taste
  • Good grating pepper, preferably white
    Serves: 2.
    1. Put the shallots and celery into a Magimix and blitz until they are a finely chopped mush.
    2. Heat half the butter, the oil and the shallot and celery mixture in a wide saucepan, and cook to soften the mixture for about 5 minutes, making sure it doesn't catch. Mix in the rice, stirring to give it a good coating of oil and butter. Meanwhile, heat the stock in another saucepan and keep it at simmering point.
    3. Pour a ladleful of the stock into the rice and keep stirring until the stock is absorbed. Then add another ladleful and stir again. Continue doing this until the rice is al dente. You may not need all of the stock, equally, you may need to add hot water from the kettle.
    4. Mix the lemon zest and the rosemary into the risotto, and in a small bowl beat the egg yolk, lemon juice, parmesan, cream and pepper.
    5. When the risotto is ready - when the rice is no longer chalky, but still has some bite - take it off the heat and add the bowl of eggy, lemony mixture, and the remaining butter and salt to taste. Serve with more grated parmesan if you wish, check the seasoning and dive in.  *Between you and I, I often put add piles of rocket on top with a drizzle of garlic oil to garnish and double as a salad..and if you have carnivores, a handful of king prawns is a treat as well!xx