Monday, 23 August 2010

The Hills Are Alive...

I have been absent again. I meant to absent myself, but with the mad packing, and now the repacking, I’m trying to move around at warp speed. I can only apologise. The above picture is a grouse moor that I was on the day before yesterday, I flew back from the highlands last night and I’m flying to Pisa tomorrow morning, to spend a week on the hillside below. It’s heaven there, and I get to see some of my favourite people in the world, but it means abandoning my poor blog AGAIN, and also I’m panicking about the laundry, repacking, and sorting my life out! In one week I will be back to fill your G Readers with more nonsense, fear not! Enjoy your week!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Many Faces of Abbey Lee

I’m loving Abbey Lee right now. Anyone who can be in both Alexander Wang’s first main-line campaign video AND a Gap campaign at the same time (and be convincing in both) gets my vote. Fabulous.

Saturday, 14 August 2010

"The higher the heels - the closer to heaven!”

Today has been a day of blog discoveries. Finding SSA, led me to Sandra, the Finnish beauty living in London, has fantastic personal style, I’m totally hooked! Check it out! I love this quote: "The higher the heels - the closer to heaven!"

Two Cents...

Everybody’s talking about Emma Watson’s haircut. So, quickly, here are my two cents…

I think it looks a little silly. Moreover, it seems like a desperate attempt to regain media attention when she made the move to become ordinary and attend Brown in peace. There’s a slight sense of this haircut suddenly allowing her to shed the Hermione-image, and move into a league with the other (more talented) pixie-cut actresses, like Carey Mulligan.

Plus, she looks a little silly.

So, there you go. My two-cents.

Here's an ACTUAL ordinary person making it work...

30-Covers Kate

The September Issues, which I’m sure you’re all sick of hearing about, was Kate Moss’ 30th Vogue cover. My best friend and I agreed that we’re over her. I was never Kate’s biggest fan, her style is great, and she’s beautiful, but I always felt she was a little overrated. Now, though, it’s more a case of overexposure. She’s everywhere from Topshop, to ad campaigns, to editorials. I saw this video of her when she was starting out and she’s so fresh-faced; this new bedraggled-hair, grubby-faced look… Well, there’s a sense of the old workhorse about it. I’m not saying she’s too old, I’m saying sooner or later, we’re all going to grow sick of her face.
The first cover: 1993
September Issue 2010

The Stylish Streets of London

Ever since Street Style became part of our everyday fashion vocabulary, I have wondered whether there’s a good London-based street style blog out there. Today, I found one. Street Style Aesthetic isn’t perfect, but it is varied in its coverage – men and women, designer and vintage, models and Average Joes. I’m really enjoying browsing the archives, and particularly enjoyed the Director’s Cut! Check it out!

Shear Perfection

We’ve all seen the Burberry shearling leather jacket printed here there and everywhere. I just love it. The dramatic collar, the cosy-factor alongside the high fashion-factor.

Yesterday I tried on the Topshop version, which comes in about £2,000 cheaper than the Burberry original – it’s pretty wonderful. Unfortunately, it’s still £325… So, it won’t be arriving in my closet any time soon! But those looking for a cheaper alternative to the glorious Burberry shearling, should look no further.

The Majestic Camel

I had a camel coat when I was 16. I think it was from H&M and I can't for the life of me remember why I got rid of it. There is no chance that I "grew out of it" considering I had stopped growing to years before.

The camel coat comes around every few years as the must-have fall item, and every time I look around for a high street alternative to the inevitably enviable Chloe camel coat, or the elbow-patched Ralph Lauren camel coat, or the minimalist Celine camel coat.

On the two-hour flight from Corsica to London, I was in a heavenly world of Vogue, nose-deep in the biblical September issue. I loathe flying, but for those two hours, I could have been anywhere in the world. One of the pieces of loved reading was Jo Ellison's piece about her mother's camel coat. The writing so evocative, one felt as if our own faced were buried in the gentle, soft cashmere that lived at the back of her mother's wardrobe.

Wondering the streets as autumn turns its many shades of grey, a camel coat is exactly what I need. And here's what I found. In Zara, for under £100. I think this is the beginning of an autumn romance!

Recommended soundtrack to this post: A Foggy Day (in London Town), Ella Fitzgerald

Friday, 13 August 2010


Hello again, everybody. After my week-long break, 'everybody' is in fact only a committed 3 readers, but - HI!

After a week of sunshine and wonderful French food, I am rounder and still extremely pale (which is why all of my holiday snaps will be appearing in black and white - as if it actually detracts from the luminescence of my paleness sitting next to my three girlfriends, the most tanned people in the entire world).

I arrived back to 600+ items on my GReader, and my September Issue of Vanity Fair, responses to which I am sure to post in the coming days. Of course I cradled my September Issue of Vogue everywhere I went (I might as well have been carrying a two-year-old it was so heavy) and after an extremely scary moment on the train back to London yesterday (when the large, odourful man sitting next to me took my Vogue away, flicked through it, and then returned it, while I, all the while, was trying not to cry at it's virgin pages being sullied) I am ready to tell you all about the heaven within its pages.

So, lots of fun and interesting things to come, but right now, I'm going to unpack!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

All Packed and Four Hours for Sleeping...

So, I'm all packed! The perfect capsule wardrobe in a tiny, tiny case. I may not be blogging for a few days, but if you're craving a hit, I can recommend perusing the archives... Away we go!

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

55cm x 40cm x 20cm & Nothing Over 100ml

When I booked my flights to Corsica, taking luggage onto the plane was going to cost £60, £30 each way (thank you so much, Ryanair). So, I decided to screw the extra charge, and instead attempt to pack a weeks worth of stuff into a carry on bag. The Ryanair restrictions for a carry on bag is 55cm x 40cm x 20cm, so off I went to buy a tiny, tiny suitcase. The trouble is, that my handbag has to fit into it too.

I absolutely loathe packing, so I decided to spread the horror over several days. And this is where I am now…

These are the clothes I’m taking...

(and I demand credit for waiving my usual three-outfits-per-day rule)

...And this is the tiny, tiny suitcase...

Is this starting to look like a losing formula?

Well, luckily I have done a good deal of packing in my time, and am extremely shrewd at packing things into things. So… Here we go…

Jessica Biel's Not-So-Killer Bod

About three weeks ago, my friend BBM'd me about a story in Glamour pertaining to Jessica Beil. The article, among other achievements, celebrates Biel's athletic physic and goes into some detail as to how she maintains it. My remarkable clever friends writes, "A policy of not eating (and I quote directly) 'bread, dairy, sugar, salt and not a lot of meat' is a miserable and dangerous one, which ought not to be published in even a vaguely commendable light". Of course she is right. Ms Biel, for all her admirable self-control around all yummy-tasting foods, is recommending that a good body comes at the price of a healthy diet. Of course, dieting is about denying ourselves certain things, but it is NOT about depriving oneself of several major food groups. My MENSA-brained friend closes with the cutting, and kick-ass, remarks: "Your front cover promises details of how Jessica gets her 'killer' bod; I wish at the very least that these extreme measures had been covered in a way that showed Glamour's aspirational readers that some things come at too high a cost". Some things come at TOO high a cost.

Today, Jezebel proved that sometimes the cost aren't worth a thing. Glamour published photographs of Jessica wherein the airbrushing was unfinished.

If anything were to drive home the point that there is no such thing as bodily perfection (well, not without some state-of-the-art software, and a steady hand), and that any attempt to be Jessica Biel doesn't actually get the body you see in Glamour, it is this image. While Glamour preaches about Jess' "killer" bod, the photo editors are busy at work, tinkering with the very body we are all supposed to want. It opened my eyes to the hypocrisy of 'glossy mags' even more than ever. Don't get me wrong, I still love them (that is my very own hypocricy), but in my minds eye I will try extremely hard to seperate the reality from the fiction, i.e. what is achievable through diet and exercise, and what is achievable only with the help of a MacBook.

In other news, I recently took up yoga and it is make me love my body in ways I never have before (even though my body is pleading with me to stop the torture!). THAT is the feeling we should all strive for in the healthiest possible way - not the unobtainable dream of Jessica Biel's body, especially when Ms Biel herself isn't even seeing that in the mirror...

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Confessions of a Make Up Junkie

Since I gave up Mizz for Vogue and slogan-tees for jersey basics, I have believed that make up had to be expensive to be good. In fact, for recent years, I have bought make up loyally and exclusively from MAC. Why did I believe it was better? Well, I'm an average consumer. I'm a sucker for packaging. And mostly, I have ridiculously erratic skin, and thought that expensive products would be more sensitive skin-friendly. This turned out to be misguided.

A few days ago, Friday in fact, I left the PR company where I was an intern, and was given a very generous goody bag. One of their clients, MaxFactor contributed to it, among others. As soon as I started to explore them (as soon as I got home - naturally!) I realised that this was not junk. This stuff is fanTASTIC!

The Masterpiece Glide & Define Liquid Eyeliner (£6.99 at Boots) and the Lash Extension Effect Extreme Lengthening Mascara (£10.99 at Boots) are really something. The liquid liner, not for those looking for a subtle line, is the best of its kind. On two separate occasions I bought the MAC version, largely because the felt-tip nib appealed to me. They both dried up extremely quickly, whereas the MaxFactor - which appeared to be dead after two applications - needs to be shaken and then it glides beautifully as before. The mascara is fabulous too. What I look for in a mascara is as much drama as possible, and this delivers like nothing I've tried before. I've been using a Chanel until now, which, again, I assumed was better for its price tag, but which pales in comparison to its high street brethren.

Also, after blogging about Topshop's make up line on its arrival in stores in May, I finally bought a bunch of it to try it out. I don't recommend the Skin Tint (£10) which I was really excited about, but which is more greasy than dewy. I do, however, recommend the Brighten pen (£7.00, called, a little overdramatically, Moonlight). I never did buy the Touche Eclat that every body raved about, but this actually IS a great product. I also really like Brighton Rock, which I bought largely because Eminé Ali Rushton claimed it was the ideal "candy-pink-geranium-infused-coral-fuchsia". I’m not sure I would go that far, but it IS fun… If you’re looking for a pale pink (I mean a really pale, four-hour-old-corpse look) then check out Barry M’s 101 (£4.25).

Lastly, as slightly in contradiction to what I’ve just said about expensive make up, I bought my first Bobbi Brown product. The SPF 15 Tinted Moisturizer (£26) is everything I was hoping for. The word ‘dewy’ appears in every summer beauty editorial and, it seems, is impossible to actually achieve. However, this tinted moisturizer business is a total revelation. What I don’t like about foundation is that it is too much coverage, but this, THIS is perfect, and perfectly dewy. It is beautifully soft on the skin and exactly the right amount of coverage to feel as if you’re not wearing ten tons of crap on your face. Hooray!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Farewell High Street, Hello Goldhawk Road...

"There are two things in the world you never want to let people see how you make 'em: laws and sausages" Episode 4, Season 1. The infinite and unfaltering wisdom of Leo McGarry.

But I'm adding another to the list. You don't want to see how a dress

is made. At least not when its made by an amateur seamstress.

My initial idea for this post was to write about making a dress for my best friend's 21st birthday party. The dress code insists that the female guests wear white dresses, and having lived through the entire process - from brainstorm to mood board, to beautiful embossed lettering on the invitation - I am all too aware of the aesthetic leanings of the host. So my options were to trawl through the rakes of every store from here to the edges of London in search for the perfect nymph-meets-aphrodite-meets-Versace-meets-Herve-Leger with a budget for, well, under £50... OR, I could dust off my old Elna sewing machine, and try to rediscover my dressmaking skills. I used to take Textiles Technology classes, and I absolutely loved them. Between the ages of 11 and 14 I thought I was going to be the next great couturier. Sadly, though, I moved schools and the classes were no longer available. So now, a decade later, would I be able to remember how to stitch pieces of fabric together to create something wearable?

The process was not pretty. I went to the Goldhawk Road for fabric - an area of London so racially diverse that at any given moment you feel you're in Pakistan, India, the East End, and Dubai. English is not the first language on the Goldhawk Road. And with this rich tapestry of ethnicities, comes a vast array of fabrics - everything from zebra-print lycra to... off-white jersey! And that's exactly what I was looking for... I do not wear white dresses. I am not a bride. Also, I am deathly pale. So much so that I practically glow. I'm luminous. So, it had to be a calmer shade of white than white.

Anyway, I have my few meters of fabric – a slightly crème coloured jersey (if all of my clothes could be made from jersey I’d be happy – I love fashion, but I also love comfort!) and four or five meters of poly-chiffon. Being not at all talented at structuring clothing, my aunt suggests I use something pre-existing and properly made to build around, so I buy a slightly scary long-line bra from H&M for twelve bucks.

Then I spend the rest of Saturday afternoon and evening grappling with fabric and stitches, breaking two needles on machine, and stabbing my thumb until it bleeds while I attempt to hand stitch the hems (apparently thimbles aren’t just for Victorian wives and junk collectors).

In the end, somehow, a rather wonderful garment emerged from the piles of jersey and chiffon… I didn’t really have an image in mind of how it would turn out, but I’m feeling proud of myself nonetheless! Obviously, as soon as anyone looks at the engineering of it they realize it’s less Project Runway, and more baby’s first sewing attempt, but as long as it can hold it together through an evening of merriment, then who cares! There is a very real possibility that the whole thing will unravel as soon as I hit the dance floor, but a little risk is what makes life worth living… Right?

Update: Photo! Check it!