Thursday, March 31, 2011


I'm very happy to present to you the latest edition of Bloggers + Cats featuring Kate Miss from For Me, For You and the lovely Wendy! *Applause*. I'm sure you've all seen Wendy on For Me, For You - and she's quite the trooper: how many cats do you know who have completed a NY to LA cross country road trip, complete with motel stays? Wendy's a bit of a quiet rock star. She and Lola could compare notes on their early years and seem to have many of the same characteristics - maybe because of that? And are we the only people without a cat hiding in the bathroom story?! Thank you Kate and Wendy!

The basics: What breed is Wendy, how old is she, how did you come to live with her, why did you call her Wendy?
Wendy is a tuxedo cat, and we think she's around three years old. My boyfriend and I rescued her from a vet clinic in the East Village in Manhattan where someone had dropped her off for surgery and never picked her up! She lived in cage for six months, so when we took her home, she got horribly sick and almost died. Luckily she came around, but it's been a struggle ever since, dealing with her obvious past of abuse and neglect. She has come so far, though!

How would you describe Wendy's personality?

She looks sweet and innocent in my photos, but she's kind of a terror sometimes. For the longest time she would attack us without warning, but she barely ever does that anymore. We've both learned all the little things she hates and to stay away from (touching her back, always pet her from behind, no picking her up!) She's recently started to cuddle and actually want to sit in your lap sometimes, which is pretty awesome! She still has her aggro moments, however.

What is Wendy's favourite food?

She loves her dry food more than anything in this world. She has NO interest in human food, plants, or anything she shouldn't eat, thankfully. But she loves food so much we had to get her an automatic feeder, so paws on our face in the morning is no longer a daily occurrence.

Where is Wendy's preferred lounging location? Does she have any signature poses?

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


Alas, poor Wiksten! I knew him well.

If I like something enough and it fits me well, I'll wear it to death. I knew it was time to look for a replacement for my bamboo Wiksten skirt when people started saying things like, "Oh, I recognised you from down the street because you always wear that skirt." It's true, I've been wearing this skirt almost daily for the past two or three years. It's my jeans. This is what it looked like when it was new and above is part of what it looks like now: lived in, is perhaps the right word! The indigo bamboo is supposed to fade and it's only a little bit frayed in places. It has really stood up very well to such intensive wearing and that's something I ask of my faves. The thing is, you never know what will become your fave in advance. I thought I'd made a mistake when I bought this skirt in a frenzy of clicking madness, trying to buy something, anything in a Wiksten update - in which items are snapped up and the shop empties within half a second (I'm not actually exaggerating). After managing to buy it I realised I had bought a skirt two sizes too big for me. Oops. So I took it in at the side seams and proceeded to wear it all the time, forever.

The problem now is, I can't find anything I like to replace it. I bought a skirt in Zara, but when I put it on for the first time it already had a hole in the pocket where the overlocker had missed one side of the fabric, then I noticed a loose thread, pulled it and the entire hem came down. I felt a bit silly hand mending a skirt I'd just bought! Oh, and however much you iron it, it still looks wrinkled. Not going to be a fave. This is why buying well made clothes works better for me. I need them to last oh, ten to fifteen years.

I have basically worn the same uniform for the past few years, but those favourite pieces are starting to look really tired: my navy Sessun booties are still very much in rotation and once the squeaking was sorted out have stood the test of time brilliantly; but my fave Sessun navy crew neck jumper is now short sleeved, rather than 3/4 length sleeved. It's also skin tight and it could do with an intensive session with a Remington Fuzzaway. I still wear it though, because it's so rare to find things I really love to wear. And my total bestie fave beige APC cashmere jumper (also worn practically daily for four years) is going to need elbow patches soon. And this is the thing, my guilty little secret: I'm always all oh, clothes blah blah wonderful, but if I look at myself I wear the same things over and over, most of which are pretty old. My favourite trousers to wear are these nondescript navy things - I think they're from Topshop a couple of years ago. I suppose I could spin them into being called "cropped cigarette pants" but actually they're just crappy cotton trousers that are ankle length. They're not interesting and they certainly aren't flattering at all, but I always have a pair of crappy navy trousers that I get attached to. I buy a new version of them every year. They're totally shit and I wear them all the time. I'm wearing them right now!

Friday, March 25, 2011


I stretched out reading Patti Smith’s book Just Kids, about her life with Robert Mapplethorpe, for as long as possible. I read about a page a day, wanting to extend my time hanging out with Patti as it were. I could pick any of the countless ways the book inspired me, but Patti’s descriptions of how she dressed at significant moments in her life have stayed with me. I often feel misunderstood in my love of clothes and style - to admit that often makes people assume you simply love going shopping / consumerism - something I'm not particularly interested in at all. Patti’s approach to dressing is more the way I think of it - her references and imagination plus well loved treasures, imbued with stories and life that make them memorable years later. (Though it’s better not to be too nostalgic - as I’m reminded every time a beloved piece of clothing bites the dust.)  Below are some excerpts from the book relating to dress that I particularly like. Reading them tells a story of its own.

[Patti and Janet Hamill] "We had stood in line for hours at Sam Goody's to purchase Blonde on Blonde, combing Philadelphia in search of a scarf like the one Bob Dylan wore on the cover."

"We cut our long skirts to the mini-lengths of Vanessa Redgrave's in Blow Up and searched for greatcoats in thrift stores like those worn by Oscar Wilde and Baudelaire."

©Linda Smith Bianucci
"At twenty years old, I boarded the bus [to New York City]. I wore my dungarees, black turtleneck, and the old gray raincoat I had bought in Camden."

"Even Capezio’s, a store for classic dance attire, wouldn’t take me, though I had cultivated a good beatnik ballet look."

"My favorite object was a modest necklace from Persia. It was made of two enameled metal plaques bound together with heavy black and silver threads, like a very old and exotic scapular."

"My uniform for Scribner’s was taken from Anna Karina in Bande a Part: dark sweater, plaid skirt, black tights, and flats."

"Robert had bought me a white dress for Easter, but he gave it to me on Palm Sunday to assuage my sadness. [About Martin Luther King’s death.] It was a tattered Victorian tea dress of handkerchief linen. I adored it and wore it in our apartment, a fragile armor against the ominous portents of 1968."

[At the El Quixote] "I was wearing a long rayon navy dress with white polka dots and a straw hat, my East of Eden outfit. At the table to my left, Janis Joplin was holding court with her band."

"I approached dressing like an extra preparing for a shot in a French New Wave film. I had a few looks, such as a striped boatneck shirt and a red throat scarf like Yves Montand in Wages of Fear, a Left Bank beat look with green tights and red ballet slippers, or my take on Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face, with her long black sweater, black tights, white socks and black Capezio’s. Whatever the scenario, I usually needed about ten minutes to get ready." 

Thursday, March 24, 2011


This week's Bloggers + Cats would not have happened today were it not for my extreme dedication to cat blogging! I've been without internet or land line for the past two days, and I'm set for five more days without it, thanks to BT, who have informed me they're not obliged to refund me anything either. Thanks BT! I hate you! Anyway let's not turn this into an anti British Telecom rant, but just to forewarn you that this is the third cafe I've bought a cup of tea at so I can use their wi-fi today and only the first where it has worked. And I'm not the kind of person who thrives on the buzz and noise in cafes for my internetting. I need earplugs and blinkers. So apologies if I post pictures of bicycles by mistake, or post the interview backwards or something.

SO. I am indeed very happy to have Famapa's cat Little Mo on the blog today. Whenever I see a picture of her on My Funny Eye, her poses and expressions always remind me so much of Lola. She is the svelte version of Lola. I loved hearing more about her - such a little character - which you can tell from just one look at her. Thank you Famapa - innit!

The basics: What breed is Little Mo, how old is she, how did you come to live with her, why did you call her Little Mo?

She's half-tabby and half who-knows-what. Her mum was a tabby, but we have no idea who Little Mo's dad was (her mum got around, hehe). She's a senior catizen at 15 years old, even though she still looks like a kitten. She was my husband's cat before we met, in fact she was born the year we got together, so she's as old as "we" are. Looking at her it's hard to believe she was the runt of the litter: as a tiny kitten her hind legs were lame. My husband gave her the name, as her mother (who in turn was my mother-in-law's cat) was called Mosie (Mo for short, and later called Big Mo to avoid confusion). There was a character in EastEnders called Little Mo a few years back, and people wondered if we'd named her after her... The nerve!

How would you describe Little Mo's personality?

She's never been a particularly social cat (to say the least). She's choosy with who she likes and gives her love to. In her old age she's become far more cuddly and friendly, and the timing couldn't have been better. You see, she hates kids, and with the arrival of our son 16 months ago we were a bit worried about how she's get on with him. However she's surprised us, and is incredibly patient with the little guy; she even lets him hug her and yank her tail, usually at the same time.

What is Little Mo's favourite food?

Monday, March 21, 2011


I know that to the untrained eye, it might look as if I post the same pictures of cherry blossom every year. I swear they're different photos. I have a compulsion to keep 24 hour watch, to measure the trajectory of it, to take pictures of it at different times of the day and night, to walk along gazing upwards at a particular frond. The darker pink blossom isn't out yet, then the lighter one will start to fall on the pavements, looking like a snowdrift. I know, I'm repeating myself - I said something like that before. But it's so magical, I can't believe I'm lucky enough to live in a street where this happens every year. But this year, the cherry blossom also serves to keep Japan uppermost in my thoughts.

I won this cherry blossom print by Abby Powell from Elizabeth yesterday who bought 10 of them to give away. $8 from the sale of each print goes to the Japan relief effort. And all the proceeds from the sale of this print of Shinjuku at 20x200 benefit the Japan Society's Earthquake Relief Fund. Here you can buy Hello Sandwich's gift wrapping zine and all the proceeds are again, donated. Jean Snow has a round up of goods being sold to raise funds for the relief effort here. And these are just a few...

To see so many independent artists, who aren't exactly making millions themselves, giving up to 100% of the profits from the sale of their work to Japan's earthquake and tsunami relief effort has given me hope.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


On Friday I spent the entire day on the phone and responding to messages, which was pretty amazing. I looked out of the window and saw that my camellia had its first bloom, which made me really happy. Which means I must be getting really old. J brought me pink / lavender roses, then in the evening I watched Waste Land with O and ate a steak. You must watch Waste Land - I will do a more comprehensive review of it but if you haven't already, I am ordering you to watch it and you will love it, I promise. You might cry, but you'll love it. I was also given one of these - which I will be using on the day I'm sure - but I shall treasure it until then.

On Saturday morning C took me to Albion for brunch: dark ruby blood orange juice - freshly squeezed of course - and a full English breakfast. We popped into the teeny tiny new APC shop in Redchurch Street where the shop assistant looked younger than my oldest piece of APC. I stroked this bag, then C bought the obligatory item at Labour & Wait while I considered and rejected a broom due to the implications of travelling on the East London line carrying it (I do look a bit witchy at the best of times and what with the super moon) and we didn't drink coffee at Allpress but I ate a slice of Basque cake - almond with a stripe of custard through the middle. We looked at the Syd Barrett: Art & Letters exhibition for a bit, then I went home and had a nap, due to the 2 year old dive bombing off a sofa (I imagine - or dancing on stilts)  in the flat above me between 6.30am and 9am that morning.

Thursday, March 17, 2011


This week on Bloggers + Cats we have sweet young Fritz the cat, who belongs to Olympia Le-Tan. You'll often catch a glimpse of Fritz's little face on The Olympia Press, which Olympia updates with dispatches from her world, which includes making insanely amazing book-clutches, recently making a short film with Spike Jonze, being a first rate cat mama and generally being the Queen of Felt.

Thank you Olympia - and Fritz!

The basics: What breed is Fritz, how old is she, how did you come to live with her, why did you call her Fritz?

Fritz is not of any particular breed. She is 8 months old. My sister gave her to me for my Birthday in October. She is called Fritz like the Robert Crumb cartoon Fritz the cat.

Fritz the day Olympia got her

How would you describe Fritz's personality?

She is the sweetest cat ever. Very cuddly and very playful.

Fritz and the Smiths

What is Fritz's favourite food?

She only likes one kind of food which is Purina One Natural Balance.

Where is Fritz's preferred lounging location? Does she have any signature poses?

Fritz has a round Mr. A cushion that she likes to lie on. She generally is curled up into a little ball.

Fritz on her favourite cushion

What is a day in the life of Fritz like?

Sleeping, eating, playing, sleeping, playing, eating, sleeping.

Do you have any amusing/weird/cute Fritz moments or stories you'd like to share?

She has fallen into the bathtub (a full bathtub!) twice!

Fritz thinking about what to read

Quickfire round:

Birds or mice?

Neither for the moment

Sunlight or radiator?


Tap or bowl?


Lap or laptop?


Snuggling or stretching?


Cats or humans?


{All photos © Olympia Le-Tan}

Monday, March 14, 2011


Having seen these cute little bobby pins from J.Crew that I couldn't find anywhere in London, I did what any resourceful girl would do and made them myself. I painted all my favourite nail varnish colours onto the ends of some bobby pins I already had at home (3 thin layers is best). They look exactly the same as the bought ones!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


The new spring/summer collection from Toujours Toi & Family Affairs is online now and below is the press text I wrote for it. Looking at the clothes and re-reading it makes me want summer. Now. Preferably in the south of France.

For the spring summer 11 collection, Ocean Lemonade, the Toujours Toi & Family Affairs heroine is exploring the South of France with her old battered suitcase. She is feisty rather than sweet and a little defiant – feminine, but not girly. She often doesn’t brush her hair. She goes wherever she finds the carefree pleasures of summer on dusty back roads scented with lavender: picking up tomatoes, olive oil, honey soaps. She collects feathers, picks cornflowers and wildflowers to put in a jar on a scrubbed wooden table. She makes lemonade in a glass jar, uses whatever she has to hand and freestyle bakes something delicious, ties it up in a picnic knapsack and heads to the beach, singing along to Jonathan Richman: “That Summer Feeling: Memory comes taunting, you pick these things apart they're not that appealing, you put them together and you'll get this certain feeling, and that summer feeling is gonna haunt you one day in your life…” Spreading out a colorful beach towel, she stays until night falls, watching the stars, drinking rosé and eating raspberries.

Wherever she lands, people want to invite her to their kitsch parties, in villas with chandeliers and colorful cocktails out on the balcony. True Blue by Madonna wafts along on the air and a crappy transistor radio crackles with sentimental Italian songs. Her dancing shoes are thrown in the old suitcase, and she’s on the night train to Bari just as everyone realizes she’s not there anymore.

The collection is made up of everything our heroine would need to put in the old suitcase on her travels: the exactly right mix of polka dots, exotic florals, lace, sheer, black, blue and pink. The Arles floral skirt for walking along dusty lavender scented roads, The Milky Way or Room With a View dress in black silk chiffon with polka dots for other people’s parties, the short babydoll lace of the Science of Sleep dress and the most exuberant expression of summer freedom in the Strawberry Fields jumpsuit, which comes in a heavy crepe searched for far and wide for its Biba/Ossie Clark quality that drapes perfectly.

All the fabrics in the spring/summer 11 collection are those that feel good, have the right weight and movement. Silk blends are used for the exotic flower prints; there is also silk chiffon, heavy crepe, and cotton twill to give the more structured pieces the feeling of soft denim.

Thursday, March 10, 2011


Today on Bloggers + Cats we have Brak and Alfred, who live with super lovely Laetitia, AKA Mademoiselle Robot. Laetitia is another founding member of the crazy lady cat club, which basically involves everything you'd expect: secret handshakes, clandestine meetings and conventions and an entire code language which cats can understand. I have yet to meet these two plucky felines, but I predict a lot of cat visits in my future and I need to know more about Brak's rubber fixation.

Merci, Laetitia!

The basics: What breed are they, how old, how did you come to live with them, why did you call them Brak and Alfred?

Brak and Alfred are both moggies. They are also both black and white with socks. They are both going to be 5 years old in 2011. Brak in May and Alfred in September.

Once I settled down a little in London, I longed to have pets again. I had briefly had a puppy but my former (mental) flatmate made me give him away so I was petless for a long time... Until one day I decided it was time to get a furry companion again. I spent days and days looking on Gumtree for kittens, or even young adult cats. I had even picked one I thought was the one when I came across a picture of a really sad looking little kitten. Being a bit of a Mother Teresa for any animal that looks like it may need help, I decided I had to have him.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011


This is for the many, many people that land here after Googling "baby shetland pony". I feel bad that I'm not providing more examples of them. Will try harder.

For anyone who remembers him, I haven't seen Billy for a while and his friend Thomas was evicted from the land he used to graze on ages ago. But I will pop along the mews today and try to get an update on their whereabouts/health from the rag and bone men who own them. (They drive vans these days, they just continue to keep horses because they've always kept horses.)

I feel like the above paragraph contains the makings of a Dickensian drama.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Spring is coming and nothing can stop it. Time for some spring cleaning and home re-jujjing (I'm sure that's a word). From these pictures one can conclude that I need more rugs, I would like a kitchen big enough for a table, I want to lie down, and Chloe Sevigny's flat in the East Village is forever an inspiration.

{1. Lauren Soloff's granola visit from LA in Bloom, 2. My photo, March 2008, 3. Malin Elmlid's table on Freunde von Freunden, 4. Montmarte's thrift store find rug, 5. La Sevigny's place shot by Lele Saveri for Apartamento magazine, 6. My photo, March 2007, 7. Bolig magazine.}

p.s. Everyone is talking about International Women's Day, thanks to it falling on the same day as pancake day! So I don't have to keep going on about it this year, phew...

Sunday, March 06, 2011


I'm a little bit obsessed with the blossom season of the plum trees that line my street. In a couple of weeks time, we should be living in a world of candyfloss pink and walking on a carpet of petals, that look like pink snow and glow white in the dark.

{Last year}   {The year before last}

Thursday, March 03, 2011


It's Thursday, and that means it's Bloggers + Cats day. Today's featured feline is Lula, who lives with Elle from the superb Diana Mini Love and Everything Reminds Me of You. I love doing something that I classify as work, which involves me uploading photos that make me exclaim things like, "So. Tiny. And. Little."(See below.) Thank you Elle, and thank you Lula for being so adorable. You'd never know about her little habit to look at her...

The basics: What breed is she, how old, how did you come to live with her, why did you call her Lula?

Lula is an 18 month old tabby and white moggy. She chose me, rather than the other way around. When I went to see her litter, she clung onto me like a little spider monkey, dug her kitten claws into my coat and refused to let go. I named her Lula as I'd picked up the magazine of the same name that morning and it just seemed to fit. (Recently, Anabela of Fieldguided told me that Lula means 'squid' in Portuguese. Which I think is very cute.)

How would you describe Lula's personality?

She's like a lovable crack addict. I nicknamed her Super Hans (a character in the UK comedy Peep Show). She swings from cuddles, to acrobatics, to ninja stalking, to crazy lunatic jumping, to completely comatose every half hour or so. Despite being a bit bonkers at times, she's a very sweet little cat.

What is Lula's favourite food?

Wednesday, March 02, 2011


*My hot pink velvet Venetian Furlane slippers - bought in Venice last autumn. Traditionally worn by Friulian people, then adopted by gondoliers; the soles are made from bicycle tyres and you can get them with lining made from recycled pinstriped shirting. I think my friend D used to have these when I lived with him, because wearing them gives me an inexplicable desire to drink Lapsang Souchong and smoke a pipe.

*Trois Couleurs magazine. I believe this is the free magazine of MK2 cinemas in France and it's not bad at all. This issue is all Sofia Coppola, all the way through. I wish more magazines would commit fully to a single subject - there's not a word or picture in there that's not Sofia related. I asked Nancy if she'd seen it on her Francophone travels and like a star, she tracked it down and sent it to me!

In the magazine there's a section visually comparing scenes from Sofia's other films and another comparing films that influenced Somewhere with scenes from it (above). The picture on the left is of a scene in Chantal Akerman's film Jeanne Dielman...where the camera is fixed for long periods, while the viewer watches the protagonist performing routine daily tasks in real time - something utilised all the way through Somewhere. On the right is the scene where Cleo makes Eggs Benedict at the Chateau Marmont in Somewhere.

*Thursday (that's tomorrow) is always Bloggers + Cats day, in case you hadn't noticed. I'm so happy to discover that you're all just as huge cat freaks as me...We've got some really good ones lined up!