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.