Friday, November 27, 2009


If Jane tagged me to reveal seven things I love, which coincided with my shocked realisation that...I don't mind this winter* that much. So far. I've been dreading it all year, but now that the ground is full of wet slimy leaves and the curtain of darkness falls at 3.45pm precisely, the anticipated plunge into despair has not materialised. Yet. Maybe I was remembering it wrong and it's just January and February I can't deal with. So to cut the broad sweep of relaying seven things I love in general in half, I give you: things I think I might love about the beginning of winter.

1. Quiet and slow. If nature is hibernating, surely we're meant to as well. Stocking up on food and drink and staying home with a good book is far more socially acceptable in winter, so that's my excuse.

2. Fresh winter flowers for cheap from Columbia Road market: 10 enormous stalks of amaryllis for £10, 3 pots of paperwhites, each with 4 bulbs in, for £5. Who needs a Christmas tree?

3. Exploring a foreign city for the first time - one which includes an archipelago, mulled wine and possibly a voyage on an ice breaking ship.

4. English country pubs suddenly make sense in winter. Ah yes, being warm inside by an open fire nursing a single malt when it's raining outside. 4b. Wellies as daywear.

5. Traditions. As in - every year a friend and I go to the Cheshire Street Christmas shopping evening and every year we do exactly the same thing: At MarMar Co I always think I'm going to knock something fragile over, then lament not being able to buy the red and white stripy string they wrap things in, then we admire a lot of things we can't really afford. By the time we get to Labour & Wait I become paranoid that my right cheek has flushed red from drinking mulled wine. We are always surprised at how packed and busy it is in there as we shuffle around, even though it always is. By the time we reach Shelf, we have started comparing the relative pros/cons of the mulled wine and mince pies given out in each shop. (There is also a moment where we can't work out where to put our empty cups.) Then we discuss whether or not Beyond Retro is part of the evening and decide we can't be bothered to walk further down the road to find out.

6. I know shepherds aren't fond of it, but on the rare occasions I'm up in time to see it, I love a red sky in the morning.

7. Which leads me to: the winter sky against tree branches.

*I know it's not officially winter for another 3 days, but it's cold, dark and there are no leaves on the trees. It's not autumn anymore.

{All photos are mine.}


Maybe it shouldn't surprise me that after more than four years of bloggage I still find new to me blogs to add to my daily reading list (which isn't necessarily represented by my links on the left there and I must do something about that.)

The best way to find good blogs is, for me, to read good blogs, which will no doubt take you on that happy, merry path to other good blogs.

Recently, mainly thanks to links from others, I have very much enjoyed:

Daily Routines

Sally Jane Vintage


Paper Ice Cream
(which I found through a comment left here)




I can't exactly remember who led me to these (I never said it was a perfect system) but merci for keeping my inspiration cup topped up.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


I'm not usually one for re-posts, but this wonderful little film by Susan Hochbaum {via Vain & Vapid} should be seen by all (except perhaps diabetics).

Watch it - I defy you not to start hatching plans to procure a Religieuse Violette from Laduree asap.

Saturday, November 21, 2009



*The Docs I thought I'd bought existed only on a thumbnail photo in a poorly updated webshop, so my re-teenage phase was short lived. Life's SO unfair *slams door*.

*That Anish Kapoor's a clever chap isn't he? I've never been to an exhibition with such a group spirit of attendee wonderment, participation and general happy interaction with the art. Your eyes and body are battling with such confused messages, that your mind can't process anything more than to think things like, "I feel all dizzy." Which is good, as it cuts through the need for any pseudo intellectual chin scratching.

*My camera doesn't really work anymore and I'm more than ready to upgrade to a DSLR. I'm looking at the Canon EOS 1000D or Nikon D3000 (too basic?) maybe. Anything with numbers after the name both confuses and loses my interest instantly. Can't they name one the Best Category Above Entry Level DSLR That's Not Mega Heavy But Is Well Made And I Can Learn On But Keep For Years As I Improve. Any recommendations?

*I'm seriously considering moving to another country so I don't have to endure every single person I come into contact with incessantly droning on about X Factor.

{picture of Anouck Lepere by Greg Kadel - I really hate posting other people's pictures but my camera is broken and I worry you'll get bored if I don't throw in a few images.}

Friday, November 20, 2009


I've given myself a sore throat. I get it when I talk too much but I'm not expressing myself well. All that blahblahblahing gone to waste.
I am going to be quiet now.

This is one of the reasons I like writing. Although I type quickly, the connection from brain to keys is more natural than the connection from brain to mouth. Speaking = spouting forth, overflowing, the stop start of talking. Words swirl in my head and fall out derailed. My personality comes through in writing, but my half garbled explanations and whirlwind tangents of spoken words leave me feeling frustrated and misunderstood. Then I feel upset at being misunderstood. I don't often delete or hugely edit anything I've written (I might delete this though!), but I very often wish I could delete words that have spilled from my mouth. Have you ever heard anything like it? It's not that what I say is offensive or rude, just that it doesn't represent who I am very well. Has anyone ever experienced this, and more to the point, having identified this trait, why can't I shut up?

 {old photo taken by me}

Monday, November 16, 2009


Until now, my experience with Kerry Taylor Auctions was of selling a lot in one of her auctions on behalf of someone else. A little background info on Kerry Taylor:

"Kerry Taylor joined Sotheby’s in 1979, at age twenty and went on to become one of the youngest auctioneers in their history. After creating and managing the Collector’s Department at Sotheby’s Chester, she moved to Sotheby’s New Bond Street in 1986 where she re-established the Costume and Textile sales. Kerry later became Director in charge of all Collector’s areas, special theme sales and celebrity sales."

She now runs her eponymous auction house dealing only with clothing and textiles (they held the Daphne Guinness auction amongst many others), both at her own premises and at Sotheby's. She continues to work with Sotheby's as Textile Consultant. In other words, the woman is a rock star of the clothes auctioning world.

At the last auction I went to, the sense of excitement I felt at being able to touch, try on and even potentially own incredible pieces from every decade of the 20th century was invigorating. For me, it's like being in a fairytale - opening a box full of perfect condition Chanel two tone ballet flats and wondering about the life of the person who owned them. Everything has a story and clothes somehow hold them in their seams. I didn't dare bid on anything, though I saw the true prices vintage dealers pay and realised how inflated they are at retail. It made me determined not to pay full whack for anything at a vintage store ever again.

But I don't think there'll be too many bargains at the upcoming sale on December 8th. Any of these clothes take your fancy?

"50% of the net proceeds of lots 283-331 will be donated to the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund."
48 lots of clothes belonging to Audrey Hepburn, from the wedding dress for her 1952 wedding that was called off, that she asked the dressmakers to give to the poorest girl they could find (who went on to have a long and happy marriage)
to a simple striped mariniere top that comes with a picture of Audrey wearing it.
Kind of beats obsessively trawling Google image search for photos of Audrey to put in a folder on your desktop. I was lucky enough to meet the Audrey Hepburn black dress from Breakfast at Tiffany's when it was auctioned at Christie's a few years ago. Nothing compares to seeing something like that in person. So the thought of seeing what looks like half of AH's personal wardrobe, with authenticating documentation, makes me feel a little faint. This of course includes lots of Givenchy haute couture, much of it made especially for AH. Hubert de Givenchy said of her sense of style; "All the responsibility for the way Audrey looked is hers. She made the selections.” And if you take the time to read through the notes, lots of snippets about Audrey, not just her style but how she conducted herself can be found (such as giving boxes of her clothes to her first official fan, who became a lifelong friend). They build a compelling picture of her seemingly impeccable character.

{In advance of the sale, there is also a touring exhibition visiting New York and Paris. All details are here. All pictures from Kerry Taylor's site.}

p.s. There is other stuff in the auction too, if you're interested in Marie Helvin's '80s body con dresses and Chanel bags in every colour imaginable etc etc - the usual.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


Precisely 20 years ago I was the 13 year old owner of: classic black 8 hole Dr Martens, Doc Martens shoes, many pairs of Chelsea boots: one black, two oxblood (bought from a riding school to ensure authenticity) a pair of cut down Chelsea shoes and my favourites - a black pair of Chelsea boots I got a cobbler to put 2 inch heels on, thus creating that first flush of teenage smugness at having something everyone at school wanted but couldn't buy and could only attain by blatantly copying my idea. Then there was the biker boot phase, the only ones of the above I still have, and still can't bring myself to wear (too many connotations) or part with. But all of those shoes: practical, authentic, timeless in some ways.

I don't mind the '90s revival at all, as I've mentioned here before. Good memories. But the late '80s - early '90s were my very early teens and a dark place that was. Not your usual half arsed teenage angst. So it may have taken two decades to look at my boot of choice back then as...just boots.

I said I'd never buy them again, but 20 years later I find myself buying a pair of Dr Martens. Don't misunderstand: I groaned when Daisy Lowe started fronting the ad campaign a couple of years ago and Aggy was wearing them with ballgowns. It was kind of like, oh that. Kids today huh? Not going there again. As this summer waned I felt unmoved by any fashion-y shoes and had my eye on a pair of RM Williams dealer boots that I thought might be practical, comfy and low key for winter. But then...

At what's left of Borough Market I'm distracted by a girl's feet - just for half a second. They're Doc Martens boots all right, but more subtle: slightly pointed with a flap of fringed leather at the front. An hour later I'm in the DM shop being told they were from spring summer 09 and are no longer available. And no longer a fashion choice in any way, which is perfect. Later that night in a haze I search the internet for stray leftover stock in my size but can only find them in white. I'm not going that far. Eventually I find a pair in black on an extremely dodgy looking site I've never heard of and take the plunge, giving out my credit card details to what may be an internet crime ring praying on unsuspecting sold out shoe addicts.

Now I can see the connections: 1. my sudden interest in Depeche Mode and watching 101 (which was 20 odd years ago) with them all wearing Doc shoes with white socks. Also, the Anton Corbijn promos from 1987 are really inspiring me. 2. My car CD player breaking, leading to me dragging out a box of cassette tapes from the depths. I haven't started listening to The Cure yet, but it's only a matter of time. As long as I don't get it into my head to complete the journey by indulging in any mind bending recreational pastimes, I don't think re-visiting this era in a purely sartorial sense is such a bad thing.

...Except that I actually feel moderately sick after opening the vault, as it were, and writing this. Don't worry, the Docs will be worn with my Baby I'm a Star dress - I'm not planning to disappear head first into the teenage abyss completely.

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Schmaltzy, attractive, entertaining, sabotaged.

Awesome*, touching, laugh/cry, gripping.


Beauty, melancholy, romantic, sad.


Haunting, humour, honest, captivating.

Frustrating, detached, abrasive, motiveless.

Cute, faux indie, cute.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

ONLY... asked me a while ago to blog for them about style, ideas and inspirations - which I'm always more than happy to blather on about. The posts that have been published so far are here, here and here.

{photos by me}

Saturday, November 07, 2009


*Eating soda farls with butter and red fruit jam made by French nuns that C & J brought me back from their French roadtrip. It's delicious and makes me feel holy.

*Considering going to the Depeche Mode concert at the O2 next month - on my own. No one I know likes them - or not enough to buy a ticket. But I'm not sure I can live with the knowledge of them playing live in such close proximity while I'm at home 3 or 4 miles away painting my toenails or something. This line of thinking is even stranger considering I don't like crowds and therefore haven't been to an arena size gig since I was 11 - when my friend's dad (who was into Chuck Berry and Elvis) kindly took us to see errr, Bros (how embarrassing) at Wembley Arena. I still remember us up in the nosebleeds, my friend's dad with his fingers lodged in his ears.

*Planning how best to cosy up in the two American Vintage cardigans and mohair jumper I sensibly snagged instead of a weirdly complicated dress at the sample sale yesterday. Buying them mostly "because they'll be perfect for going to the cinema in," which frankly is about as exciting as my social life gets at the moment.

*Pondering how when I was styling I got invited to press days, which I usually couldn't go to and were mainly a pain because if you had a job on and needed samples that day, you couldn't get through to anyone because of the bloody press day. I've been getting invited to press days because of this blog for a while, and I've made a concerted effort to go to some this past week (hi Chanel!), though it sometimes feels weird. I've gone full circle - the insider that became an outsider.

*Congratulating myself for not buying the Ann Demeulemeester boots I'm obsessed with, which were either way too small or way too big (and saving myself the £560 I don't have anyway in the process.)

*Desperately needing a new camera! No pics from me but here are some by Marcio Simnch {via Feaverish} and more to see there.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009


There's something funny about hairdressers - they're always having turf wars and slanging matches. This is why I feel I must name no names. You never know when someone might come at you in a dark alley with a pair of scissors or wallop you with a heated straightening iron. If you try to find a hairdresser by looking at reviews online, half of them are written by employees pretending to be customers saying how wonderful their own salon is and the other half by their rivals trying to slag them off and promote their own salon. That must be what they're doing while your colour's developing. Why is there so much spite and vitriol in the hairdressing world I wonder. Ever had a favourite hairdresser leave the salon and tried asking for their contact details? Best not to risk it.

I really do not enjoy going to the hairdressers but I'm strangely compelled to spend an inordinate amount of time discussing my hair. I've done the rounds of London salons and recently defected from a painfully trendy East London salon I'd been going to for a few years. It was always relaxing, no one ever asked me if I was going on holiday or anything banal like that. They'd make you a cocktail, had good music and magazines but my hair became alarmingly layered even when I could hear myself each time pleading for no more layers. They even told me my hair would look horrible without extensive layering. That was when I dumped them and plumped for the swishest salon in Mayfair. I imagined discreetly eyeballing some A list celebs with their foils in, perhaps a supermodel or two. I imagined luxury, a slight feeling of intimidation. I did not imagine footballers wives with horrifically plumped up features trotting around in gold platform clogs. I did become curious about the woman sitting next to me with the YSL Muse bag, the Chanel shoes, the jewellery that would bankrupt a small nation. This was more like it, she looked kind of European...."Naah, I wannit more baaackkcombed dunnn I? Like BIG awwiiighhh?" was what emerged from her well maintained mouth. There was an elderly woman who looked like Iris Apfel having her hair coiffed into an enormous bouffant, a manicurist and pedicurist worked on her simultaneously. She was more Mayfair - in my memory there's a Pekingese dog on her lap, but I might be imagining it in retrospect.

The whole affair was quite confusing - there were many people to tip - different people who took you into a room to take off your coat, another put on your robe, took you to your seat, washed your hair, took you to your seat, got you a drink etc etc etc. But the hairdresser removed all the horrid sharp lines of the layers and I finally emerged with a fantastic haircut - I'll overlook the fact that they placed A HEATED ROLLER in my hair (for volume!) which was the first and last time that's ever going to happen. Four and a half months later I need a trim. I had been trying to save money which is how I ended up with the home hair dye disaster, the dregs of which I'm sure they'll be able to sort out. So really the expensive Mayfair hairdresser works out cheaper than my local hairdresser and half the price of the East London place where I'd need a trim every six weeks. And the human scenery is much more luridly compelling than a bunch of pasty faced hipsters lolling about. This time I will be prepared for the baffling array of tippable services and I won't bother to dress nicely. I won't even need to moderate the bits of my accent that go all Sarf London on occasion. Perfect.