Friday, 23 April 2010

A suitably manic weekend

I have recently been worrying about my age. I know this is ridiculous at the age of 27, but I feel like I haven't been making the most of my twenties. I rarely stay out late and don't do very many crazy spontaneous things these days, and I thought that was the way I liked it. But a recent bout of existential crises has made me panic about not getting enough of this stuff in before I turn 30.
Yes, I am aware this is completely ridiculous because there is really nothing wrong with wanting to sleep and eat all weekend instead of going out and taking drugs and being cerrrrrAzy. But never the less I am worried.
So worried in fact that I have accidentally-on-purpose planned an intensley manic weekend of the kind I wouldn't even have attempted at 17 when early morning starts were basically outlawed making it much easier to stay out late for more than one night in a row.
After work tonight I will be attempting to find a pirate costume as later I will be attending Miss L Trouble's night at the Barfly dressed as said pirate.
The night will no doubt be the usual mix of stress on behalf of my friend - who may or may not have bitten off more than she can chew - mild discomfort at seeing a host of old faces, lots of drinking, admiring of people's outfits and, hopefully, dancing like an idiot.
In the wee small hours of saturday morning, probably with my eye patch still glued to my face, I will wake up with a bad hangover and a serious grump on to schlep to my mum's house to be there so my cousin can pick me up at 6am with all our stuff to do a stall at the car boot sale in Kilburn again.
We should finish with the car boot at about three, at which point I will have been awake for ten hours with a hangover.
The plan then is to go home, have a shower and head to Brixton to celebrate little J's birthday before heading to the Royal Opera House to see Cinderella at an event hosted by Audi. I have been promised a starry guestlist at said event, including Jeremy Clakson, who had better stay away from me because in my worse-for-wear state his appearance may make me physcially ill.
After this I will either be heading back to Brixton for a continuation of little J's birthday celebrations, or to bed. Or possibly to another party.
And then on Sunday I have to hold myself together for lunch with mum who will want to know all about my life.
I am terrified of waking up on Monday morning as a slobbering sleep-deprived idiot with a head full of noxious drink fumes. Which is what you're supposed to do in your twenties, right?

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Jewellery ideas that are a bit silly but I like them anyway...

I have found myself with a few spare minutes this week and am not quite sure what I'm supposed to do with them. There's not enough of them at the right time to do anything worthwhile that won't see me a/ hungover b/ wracked with guilt about how much I've spent or c/ trying to get home from Chiswick, so instead I have been rediscovering some old past times. One of those is reading proper books, which I have been trying to squish in to the tiny free moments I've had over the past weeks fairly unsuccessfully.
Now I have a bit more time in the evenings I'm racing through some of my favourite novels again. The stories in Gullivers Travels may no longer seem at all unlikely after months and months spent reading the depressing or absurd stories that pass for news in the newspapers every day but they are a bit of a relief.
I'm also enjoying some time to rediscover all the blogs I used to look at. Here are two of the silliest/greatest things I have seen on the blogs this week;

Stiletto x Eric Kayser x Mauboussin via
Some bright spark at Stiletto magazine had the idea to put a 7 carat Mauboussin ring inside a loaf of bread by master baker Eric Kayser and then give it away. Nice idea but surely a major choking/tooth shattering hazard? However giving this away to some lucky customer is certainly a good way to get people to come to your new bread shop in its opening week. (This is happening in Paris by the way. But of course.)

Chewed by Tuesday (can't remeber how I stumnbled upon this one)
Chewed by Tuesday is frankly a brilliant idea for people like me who like weird things. Created by Melbourne-based designer Vivienne Gibson and inspired by Brooklyn (the place in NY, not something banal) and stationery, the first range features only two pieces - a solid silver bic penlip and a solid silver bic penlid with a chewed end. Becasue who doesn't chew the ends of their pen lids. Well, JFK doesn't, but then he is very precious about his pens and would rarely sink to the level of the humble bic biro. 

At $250 each plus postage they're more than a little bit out of my price range, but I want one, if not both, very badly indeed.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Lovely things for sale - Chanel, Max Mara and YSL on the cheap!

Moving seems to inspire the urge to cleanse in even the most hoardy of hoarders. And for me it's been like shedding a skin, I've got rid of enough stuff to fill most people's lives already. However, with a clothes habit like mine there's always something more that could go and so it is with these pieces. Sad as I am to bid adieu to designer clothing, they deserve a better life - one in which they will get worn instead of sit in storage or at the back of a sad Argos plastic rail being ignored. Like the not-always-bright person that I am, I have decided to get rid of some decidedly wintry pieces just as it finally feels like its time to start thinking about sandals and flippy skirts. So I thought instead of putting them up on ebay and getting less than they are worth, I would offer them to you, my beloved blog readers, for cheaps with the knowledge that they will go to a good home.
I apologise that my photography leaves a little to be desired and hasn't captured any of the vividness of the colours properly, especially on the YSL, but hopefully it will give you some idea of what each piece is. Please do email me and make me an offer if you can't afford the prices I'm asking. I take cheques or paypal and postage is £2.95 per item. Plus you'll also get a surprise bonus gift (but don't get too excited, it might be a perfume sample you hate).
Also, I promise that all the funds raised by the sale of these items will not be spent on anything at all sensible.

Item 1
Here we have a beautifully thick chocolate vintage velvet pencil skirt by YSL, with, and this is very important to people who like them as much as I do, nice pockets on the hip.

The label says Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche and the size label says 44, which is some sort of code for roughly a 12, although I'm happy to be proven wrong. I'm not an expert on these things, but I'm fairly sure this skirt dates form the era when Yves was still doing the designing and it's cut beautifully.

Measurements when laid flat are; waist 15"/38cm, hips 20"/51cm, length 21"/53cm, depth of pockets (very approximately) 9.5"/24cm
I'm asking £50, but if you fall in love and really can't afford it send me an offer.

Item 2
You know how the 90s are back? Well I can guarantee you that these emerald green and black Chanel shoes were there the first time round and have some pretty amazing stories to tell. They weren't originally mine, but belonged to my best friend B's incredibly glamorous mother who is still incredibly glamorous in a completely effortless Jane Birkin kind of way (no make up required).

They're still in good nick, the elastic in the straps shows no signs of deterioration and the stitched CC logo on the front is perfect with no scuffs to the leather around the toe, but we no longer have the box and the soles are a bit worn.

They're a size 41, which is a true UK 8.
I'm asking £100, and I promise to spend at least some of it on more Chanel.

Item 3
Originally part of a skirt suit that I found on one of my early-morning bargain hunting expeditions, this Max Mara Weekend jacket is a bit of a classic piece, but how many fitted wool jackets does a girl need? It is a bit sad to break it up from the skirt, but that's just how life is sometimes. Unless you are desperate for a matching wool tweed check skirt suit and want to offer me more money accordingly, I'm keeping the skirt.

Anyway, the jacket is a bit of a find. Obviously it's made in Italy (a country that makes great clothes and disquietingly pervy young men), but it's a bit like what would happen if an amazing deisgner saw a Harris Tweed jacket at some hunt in the English countryside and though, I could make that MUCH better in some lovely shades of deep warm brown and brick red. Which I suppose is probably what did actually happen. This also has great pockets.
The label says size 38, which is a pretty true 12 I believe.

Measurements when laid flat are: shoulder to shoulder 16.5"/42cm, chest 18.5"/47cm, waist 16"/41cm, hips 19"/48cm
The asking price is £70, but I will consider swapping for something equally lovely.

All of these together would make an amazing outfit, if you don't mind rocking a bit of a royal family look. Just add headscarf. However, I would recommend not doing that unless you want some pretty odd looks or Scott Schuman or some other hopeful with a camera to follow you around Broadway Market.
If you would like to buy things from far, far away (i.e. outside of the UK) drop me a line and I'll let you know what the postage costs will be.

A friend in need needs Falke

Today I got an email from Which? titled 'Affected by the eruption?'
Don't ask me why but I found this completely hilarious.
(For those of you who don't know Which? is a consumer rights and reviews magazine which I subscribe to because occasionally it is useful when trying to choose which fridge/camera/car to buy.)
Does anyone not know that all flights in the UK and across most of Europe have been grounded because of a giant cloud of volcanic ash drifting slowly through the sky from Iceland making flying conditions a bit tricky? Apparantly, yes - at least one person on our web services team had no idea what we were talking about this morning.
There are a few upsides to this situation - my editor for example is stuck on a Spanish island which only has two flights a week anyway and probably won't be back until next week now, which is a bit of a mixed blessing becasue she's stuck in a lovely sunny place but is probably very worried about the likelihood of us doing something awful to her newspaper.
Miley Cyrus can't come to the UK to launch her new film and Chris Moyles was unable to present his breakfast radio show so England actually seems a bit nicer.
I also know a number of people who have been adversley affected by said eruption.
Among them is EDF, my favourite South African Brit and part of my very small group of friends who are so close they are practically family.
She was supposed to be flying home, having spent far too long away from the bosom of her family, and was due to arrive in time to celebrate her birthday. But it was not to be.
What do you do when one of your best friends is so miserable that they have to retreat to Chiswick? You give them Falke.
For girls who like tights, Falke are a sort of secret weapon. Moderately cheaper than the other super-opaques, Wolford's Velvet Touch, Falke's cotton touch tights are difficult to beat. Impressively ladder resistant - they even survive being jumped on and clawed at and licked and chewed repeatedly by a foot obsessed puppy - and soft and as thick and black as they promise to be without feeling like you've wrapped your leg in anti-blood clot bandages. None of this namby pamby M&S pretend-we're-opaque-til-you-put-us-on-and-can-still-see-skin-before-laddering-two-minutes-later nonsense. No, these are serious tights - armour for the legs of the urban woman. 
Throw in a Mac eye-liner, one too many fizzy cocktails and a cheeseboard and you have a happier friend and a nice glowy feeling in your tummy like you've done something to make the world a slightly better place... which is much better than the sloshy feeling you usually get after one too many of those vodka and chamapgne and sugary flavouring of goodness drinks, especially if you've had to go all the way to Chiswick.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Acne comes to Dover Street

I have to confess to having been too intimidated by the uber-coolness of it all to attempt to actually go into Dover Street Market.
I know that for a London fashion-fan this is a bit like being a political journalist that has never voted or a plane spotter that has never been to Heathrow airport, but seriously that place is scary.
However, the street it is on is rapidly turning into an intriguing destination for people like me - sort of like Bond Street's younger sister who has just come back from five years spent moving between Paris, Berlin and the best bits of Scandinavia after a brief stint in Japan.
And now I think it might be about to come my own personal nirvana, because Acne are preparing to open a four storey flagship shop on Dover Street in July. Four whole storeys of Acne. That's four storeys of joy as far as I'm concerned.
Inevitably it will be another scarily cool place, so Liberty will remain my favourite shop as it is the least intimidating, most comforting shop in the whole world and smells of expensive lavender. But I have made a resolution. I will not be intimidated. I will face my fears. And I will even go into Dover Street Market.
This will probably all end in tears of some sort or other. Mr Bank Manager, you have been warned - perhaps you might want to stop offering me credit cards now?

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

An unhealthy relationship

Apologies for the radio silence, but I have been busy with life - moving house, a ridiculously demanding job and the small vestige of a social life I've managed to cling on to have taken up all my time.
Moving out of the parental home (years later than I should have) has been a bit of a wrench. Packing all my beautiful clothes into two giant market bags was a bit upsetting too, as is not having any proper clothing storage. I can not convey how much I hate having my carefully curated wardrobe hanging on cheap plastic Argos rails, but at least they are now unpacked.
Anyway, the new house is beautiful. The people we are sharing it with are very nice - let's call them M&S as those are their initials and it is also very apt given we have moved to the middle class nirvana of Queen's Park and there isn't a useful abbreviation for Farmer's Market. They have a lovely puppy and a haughty cat who I am determined to win over. Everything works in the kitchen and our bathroom is so pristine it looks like a hotel bathroom.
Of course, to live somewhere lovely costs money, and sacrifices will have to be made. So it's bye bye high street, bye bye Liberty and bye bye ebay. At least for a little while. Or maybe just until i can't bear it any longer.
Some people would say that my relationship with shopping is a little unhealthy. My mother certainly thinks so. She suggested that I just not buy any clothes for three months to rebalance my finances and if I couldn't do that then I had a serious problem. Perhaps I do. But it's not a problem that is hurting anyone, is it? And as long as I reign in my spending habits a bit, stick mainly to the chairty shops and car boot sales and only visit Liberty to drink tea and gaze at things longingly rather than impulse buy in the beauty department, we should be fine. And I won't want to bite anyone's head off or feel too miserable.
Sometimes mother just doesn't know best.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Ricardo Dourado 2011

We're not even half way through 2010 and most of us are still waiting for spring to hit, but some designers are already showing their 2011 collections. Fashion is weird like that, but other people have explained the reasons for this, and the problems it entails in these must-have-it-now days of the internet and instant gratification. I can't be bothered to rehash.
Anyway, the important thing here is that one of my new favourite designers, Ricardo Dourado, has shown a 2011 collection in Lisbon and has, once again, created a collection I covet almost painfully. And this time the models look a bit less tiny and fragile (we're talking relativities here), meaning the clothes look better on them. Hurrah!

I would drool over this video, but having only just got my laptop back after a water/tinned peach juice disaster (thank you Apple genius bar for working your expensive but extremely calming magic) I'm scared of getting water on it.

What I love about Dourado is that his designs exude simple quality, but they're not too scarily grown up. Occasionally clothes grab you and make you want them not only because they're lovely but you can also see exactly how they would fit in your wardrobe and improve it instantly by making your cheap things look more expensive with very little effort. Sadly, his clothes are too costly for poor old me, especially because I've just handed over two very large cheques for the deposit and first month's rent on two rooms in a lovely house in Queen's Park. Huge kitchen and adorable puppy - not ours obviously, we wear too much black to actively seek out a small excitable thing that will shed hairs everywhere - included.

Of course, that said, I'm still being a bit naughty - Cos wool sack mini three quarter sleeve dress in the sale, I think I love you.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

What on earth is going on?

I have just been reading about the American Apparel rummage sale arrests and am slightly appalled. Firstly, why on earth where there thousands of people there? Did AA really have no idea what was going to happen when they started telling everyone and their mum about the event?

Also, why is it that in every other country this mediocre retailer, which relies on soft porn for its advertising campaign, can have this kind of event without sparking a riot? What are we Brits taking that makes us think it makes sense to get up at 6.30 in the morning or earlier to go to Brick Lane, queue in the cold and the rain to buy something already not that expensive at a slightly reduced price out of a cardboard box whilst battling with hoards of other people when we can get exactly the same thing from a nice warm shop for not that much more.

I know the rummage sales are usually fun, I went to the one in Berlin and it was very low-key - maybe 20 people in a square digging through some boxes, and there were a few bargains if you're into American Apparel. Yes, it was fun. But it wasn't worth queuing for. And it certainly didn't merit a scrum worthy of police security.

Can we please start behaving like relatively normal people now? Thanks.