Friday, 24 December 2010

More Important Stuff from TED

I know I have been posting a lot of TED stuff lately, but the TEDWomen conference was so full of extraordinary, inspiring and visionary women, that it seems important to keep spreading their words around the world.

This talk is particularly significant to me, as I look to making my first steps into the working world. I am particularly struck by the data pertaining to the likability of successful women and men. I hope to be one of the women who, in whatever small way, helps to right this inequality – it seems crazy that we still have so far to go. Our minds haven’t caught up with our legislation yet. Equality still eludes us in fundamental ways.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Will Men and Women Be Warring Forever?

I am writing this while watching Hanna Rosin declare the end of the male gender. Women are getting more degrees, more PHDs, more jobs…

What I’m about to write it going to be very unpopular, but it is an observation, not a fact. Just an opinion, not an official ruling.

From Jezebel

I genuinely believe that my female friends are much, MUCH more employable than my male friends. Obviously there are exceptions, some of the most phenomenally smart and qualified people I know are male, but in general, the women are much more hireable.

Don’t ask me why, but the women I know have undertaken more, and more impressive, work experience, have travelled, have leadership skills from taking part in groups and activities since they were young. Most of the guys I know have one hobby only: sports. Football, Formula 1, or whatever, they spend their extra time playing it, watching it, and in the pub they talk about it.

They are less developed. At 21 and 22, their humour is still largely racist and sexist, they are closed-minded about interests that would make them seem less masculine, and their level of sensitivity is shocking low.

Hanna Rosin’s outlook seems extremely bleak to me. It assumes that there must ALWAYS be one dominant gender, which was never the goal of the feminist movement. EQUAL rights is what women fought for, and what we still fight for to this day; righting the millennia old bias towards men. But that is not to say that we want to take everything they had for ourselves.

I am merely picking out one point she has made about the education, emotional intelligence and employability of men leaving higher education, which is exactly the point that I am at today.

In a few months time (with a lot of hard work and a few exams) I will graduate from one of the best universities in the UK. It is my observation that while most of my male friends could talk extensively about the upcoming transfer window, or the season-wide performance of the Red Bull team, or the porn that they have recently watched online, their skills as employees are far below those of the women around them.

So, there it is. I have no doubt that as they age and mature, their interests will broaden and their outlook will adjust to be more tolerant, but in the meantime, the women are stronger candidates.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Inspiring and Heart-Breaking...

This TED talking is something that absolutely everyone - mothers, fathers, grandparent, teachers and leaders - even outside of the extreme circumstances that Tony Porter experienced as a teenager, there is so much truth in the 'Man Box' idea.

When my mother died, my father worked incredibly hard to ensure that my two brothers and I could express our feelings openly and without judgement. ALl the while, trying to remain strong for us as he grieved. But we were children. When my father died a few years later we were teenagers, and my brothers both struggled with showing their emotions. My little brother, only 10 years old, was so embarrassed to have been seen crying by his friends that he initially refused to return to school.

It broke my heart. I never felt stifled in that way. And to be unable to grieve openly when something like that happens... Well, it would destroy the best of men.

The work that Tony Porter is doing is vital to us all. As he says, "My liberation as a man is tied to your liberation as a woman".

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Under-The-Shirt Politics...

I have always looked on Victoria’s Secret ads with a totally puzzled and fairly disgusted eye. Their catalogues are famous the world over as more likely to be found covered with not-mysterious stains under a teenage boy’s bed than with pages hopefully turned down on the average woman’s kitchen table. ‘Victoria Secret model’ is synonymous with ‘Most Beautiful Women in the World’ airbrushed to a whole new level of terrifying perfection. ‘Angel’ is a laughable and insulting term for these bra-and-panties clad gym-and-salad gorging semi-humans. In a sense, however, it didn’t matter. It is an American institution; it is the American way. It was across the pond and avoidable.

But now, like all things, the inevitable American influence has washed up on our shores in the form of La Senza’s Cup-Sized Choir. Seriously, who are they trying to sell to? Boyfriends and husbands? Not only appealing to the lowest-common-denominator of the male gender, but also a slap-in-the-face Christmas gift. ‘Honey, I saw boobs on TV and thought buying the product for you would make you more desirable…’. Well Merry Fucking Christmas to you too! Why don’t I book you in for a penis enlargement?

Why is women’s underwear advertised this way? In our lifetimes, probably 90% of our underwear ownership is about comfort, support and fit. About US! 10% is about looking hot for some luck guy. If we put the power of purchase in the hands of men, what is left? We’ll all be walking around with scraps of fabric up our asses and nipple tassels under our work shirts…

There is a whole other post to be written about the fact that there is only one store in the UK that sells bras made in real sizes. Any woman who has been measured by a professional knows that hardly anyone is actually a 34B. For now, though, I ask you, WHY WHY WHY is our underwear being sold to us via men? Why is the sexy 10% of our underwear needs the only part being pitched to us?

In closing, I should make it abundantly clear that I absolutely love wearing hot underwear, the objects themselves are not anti-feminist, but I don’t see how these ads can be taken any other way…

Gobbets for a Little Girl

Over a year ago I blogged about ‘1001 Rules for My Unborn Son’, a wonderful blog started by an expectant father. It crossed my mind then and again recently that a similar thing ought to be written to an unborn daughter. As someone whose parents didn’t get the chance to impart their wisdom, I often wonder what they would have taught me. They both left letters telling their three children to live their lives well, to laugh and love and above all to find friends to rely on and to share life with. But what about the rest? This morning, going through my GReader for the first time in days, I found that Jezebel’s resident father-of-daughter writer ‘Daddy Issues’ had written a list of ’10 Things Every Dad Should Teach his Daughter’ which is a start… Maybe you’ll write me a comment, or maybe you’ll just write some down to tell her later… But what would you tell your daughter about life? Here are some of mine…

1. Saving money is important, but spoiling yourself is too. You can’t take it with you when you go!

2. Having things in common isn’t important, what’s important is finding the people who you can talk to about absolutely anything. Argue, debate, disagree… But always accept the opinion of others and always listen.

3. No art form is above any other. TV, film, literature, art, music, dance… All forms of creation have the power to move us and teach us.

4. Getting drunk isn’t a sin, but know your limits, and know when to stop. There are many times and places that it is not appropriate to be intoxicated including weddings (or really any rite-of-passage or religious occasion), formal balls, and anywhere you are trying to impress people. Drunkenness is never, ever impressive. Also, beware of starting a story with ‘This one time I was SO drunk..’ no one thinks you’re clever or funny when you utter that premise.

5. Fall in love with places. Look around you and see the incredible beauty in both city- and country-scapes.

6. Love yourself. There is a fine line between self-love and arrogance. You can never have too much of the former, but the latter should be avoided.

7. Be competitive, but be gracious in victory and defeat.

8. Always, always thank your teachers. Their job is among the most important in the world. There are good and bad teachers but their intention is always to improve your life. When you find one who inspires you, make sure they know it.

9. Make speeches. Eloquent or not, if you are moved to say something out of love, on any occasion, you should do so…

10. You do not have to believe that blood is thicker than water, but family is important. It is where you are formed, and they have known you from day one.

Monday, 15 November 2010

The Fall of Fabric

There’s nothing better than beautifully draped fabric. It flatters a woman’s body like nothing else can. Also, is that a baby bump under Rachel Zoe’s gorgeous black dress? I hope so – I just adore her and ‘Rog’!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Great News for Insomniacs!

According to a study by LSE, I must be super clever. I knew there was a silver lining to getting no sleep!

University Goes Editorial

Even though I think the styling in this shoot is a bit ‘blah’, I love the concept! Hooray for university chic! I have to say that no one in this city actually dresses this way, nor do they walk around cradling their teddy bears, however, I do love that they’ve tried to indicate that the typical ‘trackies and a hoody’ scenario can actually be dressed up to look stylish! Thank you, Elle Belgique!

Saturday, 13 November 2010

How to Wear a Scarf...

Isn't this just a fabulous way to wear a scarf? I had to share it!

Giant Polo Ponies Take Bond Street!

Perhaps we all get complacent about these things nowadays, but I was honestly starting to think that technology couldn’t surprised me any more. I was entirely wrong. I read about the Ralph Lauren 4D experience online, and thought nothing of it – 3D technology is in every cinema now and, increasingly, on TV too – and how different could one more D be?

Well, not understanding anything about the technology, this is visually stunning. I love that fashion is leading the way in this, but I can’t help but wonder what else they can do with it, while at the same time worrying that we’ll soon be walking around in a world reminiscent of Inception, with streets folding over on themselves and building appearing and disappearing instantaneously… Alarming thought for a Saturday morning!

The Official Ralph Lauren 4D Experience - London from Ralph Lauren on Vimeo.

Friday, 12 November 2010

What's On Watson?

I know what you’re thinking. What is this girl’s beef with Emma Watson? Well, I’ll stop trashing her when she stops giving me material. Firstly, let’s not kid around, I was seriously disappointed to see her on the cover of Vogue this month. First Cheryl, and now this? But more disturbing than that are the outfits our dear Watson has been sporting on the red carpet over the last couple of days. So, you don’t have style, so what? You’re in Vogue bragging about having £25m in the bank, so HIRE A STYLIST!
This is not just a moan, though, I have suggestions…

You want to wear black lave? That’s fine! How about this DAY Birger et Mikkelsen Lace dress? No silly feathers, no visible bra, and no call for disastrous fashion tape applicationsTiffany’s jewellery for seriously chic sparkle, a Lulu Guinness clutch for a touch of English rock’n’roll and Louboutins. The make up is great, we’ll leave that alone.

If I could dress you however I liked, though, you’d be wearing this…

The most amazing Oscar de la Renta dress you, or I, or anyone, has ever seen, columnar, the height of elegance. Understated jewellery from Tiffany’s (bracelet from charmandchain), Louboutin shoes and a Swarovski crystal-covered clutch. A red carpet look that says, ‘Look world, I’m all grown up, and worthy of the cover of Vogue’… And not a bra strap, feather or shred of tit-tape to be seen…


Monday, 8 November 2010

Indian Wedding

Etsy is such a treasure trove – I could spend forever browsing! I thought I’d share these with you, aren’t they striking? Gorgeous.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

The Art of the Trench

There is nothing better than a classic trench coat. One of my flatmate recently showed me a gorgeous vintage Burberry trench that made me lusty for one of my own. Mr Sartorialist, Scott Schulman, undertook a project for Burberry called The Art of the Trench, which is super cool, but outside of the realm of Burberry are these babies, also utterly enviable. I may have to invest, I think. With the right layers, I might avoid freezing to death in the brutal Edinburgh wind!

Friday, 5 November 2010

St Tropez Hair, Scottish Weather

I’ve wanted to lighten my hair for a really long time. I dyed it a deep reddish-brown over a year ago, and as I patiently wait for it to grow out, I’m taken by a feverish desire to go light, light, LIGHT! Friends have said that my hair-moods reflect my state of mind, and I think, to an extent, they’re right!

A while ago, I saw that Rachel Bilson had unusual colouring, and then about a week ago, I saw this piece about Leighton Meister and immediately made an appointment at Daniel Hersheson to get uplights or ‘Baliage’...

I have come to realise (after the Hair Horror of 2010) that it is worth not cheaping out when it comes to hairdressers, and Amy proved me right. She did a beautiful job, and I’m absolutely in love with it! Hooray for sun-kissed hair in rain-spattered, freezing-cold weather!


Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Paris vs. NYC

This is such an adorable blog – a great addition to any GReader! Exploring the differences between these two fabulous cities. I just love the illustrations...

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


By this point, I’m sure you have all seen the wonderfully bizarre video premiering the Lanvin for H&M collection (including an alarming shot of a plus size model on a treadmill...). Here is my wish list. You’d better believe I’ll be first in line for these on the 23rd! I can’t get them out of my head! I MUST have them in my wardrobe!!!




Breaking (Old) News

I had no idea! Baz Luhrmann is making a movie of ‘The Great Gatsby’! I have mixed feelings about it – ‘Romeo + Juliet’ is one of my favourite adoptions, but how will Gatsby fair at the hands of hallucinogenic Luhrmann-mania? What do you guys think? Genius? Or slaughterer of classic literature?

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

To Do...

I am an obsessive list-maker (see below for recent examples!) and...

...I think this might be the best to do list I’ve ever seen... It was written by Johnny Cash and is up for auction here

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Definitely One For The Christmas List!

I've written before about my longing for a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk (I mean, who doesn't have it high on their 'things I want' list??) and now LV have kindly compiled 100 Legendary Trunks into one glorious book. Some day, my volume of the book will be perched atop one of the trunks it depicts, which will be used as a coffee table in my divine London home... Siiiigh!

A Room (or Several) of One's Own

In my Edwardian lit class today, we were talking about children's literature - and Wind in the Willows in particular (I know, it's a tough life). It's a book which champions the home - there is comfort and safety in the nests and warrens of the animals. I have had images of interiors piling up over the last few weeks - every so often I get hooked on the interior design blogs, and I dream about having my own place one day and making it perfect - what can I say? I'm a nester!

Images from Ralph Lauren Home, DesignSponge and around and about!

Bibliophile II

I was told that my penultimate post was too self-indulgent, and the reader that told me so also bought me this image from the FT Weekend – his dream library.

He also, however, knows full well that he doesn’t have enough books, so perhaps this book wallpaper would be a wise investment…

I think Nigella’s might give all others a run for the title of dream library. Isn’t it incredible?

But these others all have one fatal flaw – no comfy chairs. This, which was one of my first posts, still wins the prize – comfort, beauty and functionality, the complete package.

Monday, 25 October 2010

A Rare Indulgence in Self-Pity of the Acutest Kind

Today my flatmate told me that her sisters college application will be unlike everyone else’s because she hasn’t know any grief in her life. For a moment, I had to stop and think how little she must appreciate that.

Tonight, I stumbled across the amazing obituary of the father of a friend of mine, and began wondering if any had been written about my Dad. I have a copy of the piece that appear in PRWeek on his death which moves me on every reading, and drives me to be someone similarly revered for business acumen and excellence. Of course, he wasn’t written about in the national press, but I did find this: a piece about his band, a joke among colleagues.

I also read in this mornings Metro that a pill is being produced which might be able to kill cancer cells and leave health cells alone, and all I could think of was, it’s too late for some…

I suppose I came to this space, MY space, my humble blog, to say that what I remember is this…

A fiercely competitive, passionate, sun-shiny man, who wore beautiful suits and colourful shirts and ties. I remember sitting on my parents’ bed and helping chose the shirt ties combo, and he would unwrap the chosen item from its cellophane dry-cleaner’s wrapping.

At this time of year I especially remember long, chilly walks through Battersea Park, kicking crunchy and sodden, crimson and amber leaves with a small, welly-clad foot. And, sheltering from the autumn wind,, watching England play rugby, and the volume with which my father would celebrate their success (as if it was his own).

I remember sitting in the back of endless car journeys with my brothers, each of our faces glued to a Game Boy, and my father yelling, “LOOK! Look, Chaps! Isn’t that a lovely view!” as we drove through the shires, or the Loire. I remember sitting in the back of his red Mercades convertible, driving through fields of sunflowers as the sun set, and I remember finding him crying after the death of my mother. I remember his dancing (and so do his friends!) which made me turn purple with mortification (in hind sight, I wish I had joined in). I remember his temper, which terrified me as a girl. Spilt juice was the most likely catalyst for yelling. I remember being treated like a princess when I went to visit his offices, and working with Harry, the graphic designer, to superimpose his face onto other people’s bodies.

I remember, as if it had happened ten minutes ago, the final words I spoke to him.

Sometimes it does seem quite fair. But I will always be fiercely proud to possess the same DNA as James Maxwell.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

An Interactive Guide to my Week...

I’ve had an amazing week, full of new and fascinating things. I thought I’d share some of these wonderful things with you, dear readers.

First and foremost, I went to see the breathtaking Alvin Ailey dance company. I have, really, no words for what I saw. It was one of the most powerful experiences I’ve ever had sitting in a theatre.

I also discovered the hilarious comedy Modern Family – absolutely the funniest thing on TV. I also had my annual screening of You’ve Got Mail, my favourite movie to watch in the autumn. Meg Ryan, Tom Hanks, New York and book stores – an unbeatable combination!

I have also fallen in love with the poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson and, to a lesser extent, Robert Browning. If you’re interested in psychotic, sexually depraved, phenomenal poetry, I highly recommend Tennyson’s Lucretius!

In the blogosphere, I discovered the a-mazing Letters of Note. Brilliant, hilarious and fascinating – especially learning about Dorothy Parker and the Algonquin Round Table.

I also insist that you all immediately buy Benjamin Francis Leftwich’s EP, ‘A Million Miles Out’ which was released on iTunes today. In fact, here’s a little playlist for your on this fine Sunday:

Atlas Hands – Benjamin Francis Leftwich

What I Wouldn’t Do – A Fine Frenzy

The General Specific – Band of Horses

Billionaire – Travie McCoy (feat. Bruno Mars)

Eyes – Rogue Wave

Mine – Taylor Swift

Not Big – Lily Allen

Beethovens 5th as Salsa

I also visited the Kate Spade Pop-Up Store in Covent Garden and bought this amazing, exclusive ‘London Calling’ bangle

I also went to a hilarious production of Hay Fever by Noel Coward, in aid of Jo’s Trust, which is the charity that my father established after my mother’s death (read my thoughts here).

I managed to finally see the Impressionist Gardens exhibition at the Scottish National Gallery on the closing weekend – it was packed, which was a shame, but there were some really breathtaking Kimts and Van Goghs in the ‘After Impressionism’ rooms.

Goodness, what a week! Full of laughter, movement, art, dance, poetry, shopping, music and joy! I hope you are all finding life as astonishing, varied and beautiful as I am… Happy Weekend!