Thursday, January 31, 2008


Oh! The lovely headmistress has tagged me with the You Make My Day Award. Thank you, we are so honoured (and in pretty good company too). So now I have to choose just ten blogs that make me happy? I think I read about forty blogs a day. Nope, 53. I just counted. Obviously there are my all time faves and you probably know who you are (looking at you bp) - as much a part of my daily routine as making a cup of tea or explaining to Lola the Keyboards Are Not For Walking On principle. But even with all my regular blogchums to catch up with, more blogs still manage to creep in and become part of my daily clickage. So here goes with some that aren't even on my (admittedly, infrequently updated) blogroll yet...

my polaroid blog and becoming a foodie
OK, a two in one as they're both authored by the same person. Jen, a prop stylist takes gorgeous polaroids of her props and sort of makes everything look artful and dreamy. I got into reading her becoming a foodie blog because the stories are so funny and wittily recounted - the ups and downs of trying and sometimes failing to be a foodie; but I still want to try all her recipes.

I always think there'll never be another time when I stumble upon a blog and get all excited, then read through all the archives in one go. But there always is. Interesting images, a stream of inspiration with good doses of "Oh yes, I like that too" and some "Ooh I didn't know about that".

Reading smosch is like a visual journey through a life and makes you want to move to Sweden if every day is creative and filled with meeting Camilla and Morran for fika.

a cup of Jo
I get that parallel lives feeling with Joanna where I'm sure if we lived in the same city we'd be friends, or would be constantly bumping into each other going to the same places/buying the same things without knowing.

design sponge
What can I say, I'm completely addicted to sneak peeks!

maditi likes
Most of my recent flickr/photography loves have been found through maditi.

wiksten made
I will, I will, I will one day own one of Jenny's creations. But it's also really interesting for me, as a lapsed pattern cutting/sewing student to see how someone who's not completely lazy makes things and the process behind it. Jenny would shudder if she knew about my sellotaping/stapling ways with fabric.

I know it's daft and silly; but that's why I love it.

simply breakfast
A crucial part of my morning clickage - I love Jen's photography and this also reminds me to go and eat some breakfast.

Really beautiful, thoughtful writing and pictures but rarely updated (less than once a month usually). The rarity makes it even more of a treat somehow.

So that's 10. I could go on and on...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008


I need a book. I currently do not have a book to read and this means that the insomnia could return. The insomnia was banished long ago but I still need the crutch of a really good book to fall asleep with just in case. And I have misplaced my Rilke. Did I lend him to you? Frantic searching of all the usual channels (Amazon/bestseller lists etc) brings up only one option: Harry Potter. I have never made it through a single H.P. book or film so that's no bleedin use to me. Recently I liked This Book Will Save Your Life by A.M. Homes and House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. And I re-read the Franny part of Franny and Zooey last night. Random choices, I know. Any ideas?

Monday, January 28, 2008


Due to my atrocious time management issues I spent Friday evening finishing a piece about decadent retro stylee speakeasy type basement bars and supper clubs that are kind of like stepping back in time to the 1940s or 50s. Etc. Yeah, titles aren't like my bestest skill, unless they're long and rambling and random. Editors love me for this.

After tapping away about cocktails and punters ravishingly dressed in their best 1940s get ups I was desperate to go out; but it was too late to go anywhere. I consoled myself by making an elderflower martini or two...

Equal parts elderflower cordial, gin (Bombay Sapphire or Tanqueray) and Martini Dry in a cold glass. After two of these I thought Eva Longoria was the wittiest, most hilarious guest Jonathan Ross has ever interviewed.

Trawling for images I stumbled upon the photography of Socrates Mitsios (who took this picture) on Flickr. Amazing.

p.s. For those wanting to know, my hair looks something like this.


I just bought some "I Love You" Champagne Marmite in my local Sainsbury's for £2.99. I had no idea that marmite was the new I'm not a plastic bag. I know the marmite is a limited edition and everything but um, people selling them on ebay: three of you claim to have the "rare" and "special" pot numbered 14. Which is weird as I seem to have 13 and 15. Kind of unlikely that people in completely different parts of the country would have subsequent or the CARES? Yesterday someone had two jars for sale on ebay at the buy it now price of £65 - they must have either been sold or removed 'cos they're gone. GO TO SAINSBURY'S THE SHELVES ARE FULL OF THEM. (Also available online.) Don't ask me how I stumbled upon this information. And yes, Marmite collectors I am actually going to unseal the jar and eat it. I can't really imagine how or why marmite and champagne would go well together but it's still a cute (widely available at a store near you) Valentine's gimmick.

*UPDATE* it tastes like marmitey wine sauce. Hmm, weird on toast.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


ATM machine fee to get cash for parking meter: £1.50
Cafe macchiato to get change for parking meter: £1.20
Parking for 2 hours: £7
Haircut (including tip): £63
Lunch gobbled in 4.3 seconds to get back to car before meter ran out: £10
*Penalty charge notice inadvertently incurred on way to hairdressers: £120

Total: £202.70

Well. By no means the most expensive haircut in London. The only mitigating factor is that I quite like it. I do kind of wish I'd had more than a trim though. To console myself with receiving the notice in the post this morning (lightning fast are TfL - my *alleged contravention* was only yesterday afternoon) I went to Dover Street Market and stroked some Lanvin. In fact if I hadn't got a bloody ticket and also did not have to pay an entire year and a half's income tax in ONE PAYMENT by the end of the month I would have done more than merely stroke it. I implore anyone who isn't broke to go to DSM now - practically everything is 70% off. Except Lanvin actually which is 50% I think.

I then spent much of the afternoon alternately composing nasty letters to TfL outlining their blatant failure to provide clear signage which is obviously an evil masterplan to trap motorists into either getting a massive fine or paying the cc charge - and day dreaming about what life would be like if one were Alber Elbaz's very best friend and muse.

*the ticket was for turning right at a traffic light on the border of the congestion charge zone so as not to stray into it. It didn't say "Ahead Only" and there wasn't a no right turn sign. However, I have since learned that a white arrow in a blue box pointing forward doesn't mean go ahead but you can turn right if you feel like it.

Friday, January 18, 2008


So, so, sleepy and cosy. So sleepy that we cannot come to a decision on very important matters.

We will be awake again on Monday.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Dear Jason,
It was me playing your songs lots and watching the video with your brother in on your myspace all this time. Thanks for the CD. You probably didn't post it yourself but it's ok. The special surprise gift is good. Also, you are nice. Now that everyone knows how funny and charming and clever and multi talented you are you probably have a nice girlfriend. Oh well. I hope your foot is better. I broke my foot last year so that probably means we are soul mates but I think you have a dog and I have a cat so it might not work out long term. Your brother is also quite nice but he probably has a girlfriend too. Oh well.



I did this

I like this (via oh dear I can't remember who, tell me if it was you...)

Coincidence corner: Alix came to London and one of her photos is of Duckie!

Sunday, January 13, 2008


The Phillip Lim dress came and went. It took five days to arrive by "express" delivery. I unwrapped it from the lovely packaging and tried it on. Perfect. But as DHL rang the doorbell I was re- watching the documentary Bulgaria's Abandoned Children on Google. The film was made at Mogilino, a social care home for children in Bulgaria. I'd seen it when it was on BBC2 back in November and had thought about the film every day since. I don't know if it has since been shown in the US or anywhere else except in Bulgaria. If you haven't seen it, it's a distressing film to watch. Many of the children are mildly disabled when they're sent to Mogilino but babies who are left in cots all day and night for years won't learn to walk, their bones waste away. If no one bothers to speak to them they never learn to talk. Three of the children at Mogilino died from the effects of long term neglect and malnutrition during the making of the film. The first time I saw it, the film had just started as I was flicking channels and I sat rigid, watching in disbelief and with rising anger.

All the information on the film and the campaign is here.

I had been following the response to the film, had signed the petition, had written to my MP and relevant MEP's which - thanks to a template letter generated here takes about five minutes. But although the children at that home are now being helped, that one home was chosen to represent an average Bulgarian institution; not the best, but not the worst. Bulgaria has the highest number of institutionalized mentally and physically disabled children in Europe. Before joining the EU the Bulgarian government was given the equivalent of 30 million US dollars to address its social care "issues". I wonder what they did with it?

So when the dress arrived it was a no brainer. I had been thinking of all kinds of madcap fundraising ideas without deciding on anything. I sent the dress back and I am donating the cost of it to The Campaign for Bulgaria's Abandoned Children. It's a start.

I don't think I've ever asked anyone to do anything through this blog. But now I'm asking you to watch a harrowing, upsetting film on Google. And if you do feel compelled to write a letter, sign a petition or anything let me know in the comments. That would make me much happier than a dress ever did.

Thursday, January 10, 2008


This guide to SF by Naive makes me want to go back to San Francisco, which I last visited BBD (before blogging days). Oh Mama's, oh Dottie's True Blue, oh Miette, oh Nest. It's all there in a box somewhere: a notebook stuffed with cards and papers, coffee stained scrawls jotted down at a table at those same places. But BBD, who on earth was interested in looking at my copious travel notes? Actually, I feel a little bad about my lack of comprehensive blogging reportage from all the places I've been in the past year.

Last year I went to: Paris, New York (baaaadddd trip - shudder, best not mentioned) Paris, Madrid, Paris, Venice, Vienna, Dubai and Oman. I still haven't composed my thoughts or had time to sit down and write about the United Arab Emirates and Oman. I absolutely loved it - even Dubai which I was completely prepared to hate. Nope, loved it and had a wonderful time with good friends, getting along famously with four of us sharing a one bed flat, a car and a slightly odd Omani apartment for a week that felt more like a month as we did so much.

This year I don't think I'll travel as much. The one place that's been niggling at me for years is Japan. Every year I vaguely say "next year" as it seems like such a huge trip to plan (and save) for. I'm overdue to put in an appearance in Florence, my old home; and I'd like to visit Lisbon and the west coast of France.

But that's it. At the moment I'm nesting. I repainted the bathroom, (you will never guess what colour - I'll show you soon) I may yet purchase a new oven instead of a plane ticket (or a dress).

Yet I'm not certain that the wanderlust can be tamed so easily...

{suitcase from Couverture}

Monday, January 07, 2008


Nobody, but nobody should ever try to live in the public transport black hole of South London without having a car. Especially not over the new year period. Every train, bus and rusty old held together with brown packing tape mini cab will smell of and will more than likely be covered in congealed vomit. The vomit upholstered mini cab will have a rude and surly driver and will cost £10 for a two mile journey.

During the hour and a half by public transport it takes to get from South East London to East London to pick up your repaired darling little motor from the hospital, you will very possibly be unavoidably compelled to call another passenger a motherf**king c**cksucker when he shoves you out of the way to get the only spare seat.

And then all will become calm as your car is returned, the engine starts without the RAC performing open heart surgery on it and you traverse the same distance home by car in twenty three minutes. Duckie, I love you. We're back on the open road again and never shall I take having a car for granted.

{photo: Norbert Schoerner, UK Vogue January 2005}

Friday, January 04, 2008


I forgot to mention my very favourite ever Gridskipper piece so far called Getting Serviced in London. Not those kind of services silly, but the title doesn't hurt the Google referrals. It's just that I am a wee bit obsessed with finding a dry cleaner who doesn't destroy my clothes, a shoe repairer that doesn't just tack on the first bit of heel they find lying around even if it doesn't match etc etc. But did you know there's actually a place that will pick up your clothes at the end/beginning of each season, repair and dry clean them, then store them until you want them again. They'll even send an item by taxi immediately if you suddenly want to wear it. Genius if you've got the dosh which I haven't.

Next up is Peace and Quiet in central London - kind of self explanatory really. Do you ever get a sudden attack of city fatigue? I only get it in London. I'll be walking down Oxford Street or wherever and I just can't go any further. The crowds, the tourists, the noise, the grime. I want to be physically removed and put somewhere quiet for a while to rest my brain.


Yes please.

Thursday, January 03, 2008


The Phillip Lim dress began teasing me sometime during the autumn of 2007. I was in Paris and popped into AB33 in rue Charlot. I had seen the dress before and had previously dreamed of buying the whole AW 07 collection. I gasped when I saw it; one of those occurrences where the dress was more likely to become an urban dress myth, never to be found in an actual store. I tried it on. Soft fabric, it fell perfectly, was indeed the dress of my dreams.

I retired to the little Japanese lunch place in the red kids market to mull it over. 310 euros, well I didn't actually have any money but it wasn't that bad, certainly cheaper than London. I went back to the shop - looked at the price tag. NOT 310 euros you spanner, easy to get confused when there's the 3.1 of Phillip Lim 3.1 right next to the price. The dress was 500 and something euros. I walked away.

Some months later:
Flipping through Grazia yesterday, scanning for daft errors, I came across a photo of THE DRESS on sale at Browns. Springing into action I logged onto Browns to find it was actually the less nice version with buttons, not THE dress at all. But I had the scent and the chase was on. Matches had it; I bought it without hesitation over the phone after their website clunked out on me three times - 30% off. I had that nervous feeling you get when you've bought something you shouldn't have. But hey, there's got to be some fun purchasing to balance all the drabness out, right? Oh dear, then I looked at Net - a - Porter. Quite a bit cheaper, should have checked there first. So I bought that one as well and cancelled the other one. I expect the glut of dresses available is because plaid must be considered deeply uncool now that it's been "in" for a bit. I, however have a long term commitment to plaid so I don't care. I GOT THE DRESS. Well, unless some kind of freak accident befalls the courier...

*before I read this back to myself I had been labouring under the misapprehension that I wasn't addicted to clothes anymore. I am a lost cause.