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!

A New Addition!

I have lots of fun and exciting things to blog about after the last few days, but in the mean time, I’d like to introduce you to Turtle…

His papa is Kenneth Jay Lane, but now he lives with me. Isn’t he the cutest brooch you’ve ever seen?!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Diamonds Are Forever

A few months ago I read that Sotheby’s is having a sale of jewellery “formerly in the collection of The Duchess of Windsor”. You may not recognise her by the title, but her name was Wallis Simpson. She was an American socialite, and twice divorced, when she married Kind Edward VIII. However, because she was considered vastly unsuitable, he gave up his crown in order to be her husband.

Of course there is more to the story than that. There were mutterings of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor being Nazi sympathisers during the Second World War, but in its basic structure, could anything be closer to a real-life fairy tale than a king abdicating his throne for the woman he loved?

This is unusual of me, as I’m famously cynical, especially in the arenas of love and marriage. But looking at the extraordinary jewellery that they gave to each other over 35 years of marriage, I can’t help but believe that theirs was a love for the ages.

I absolutely love jewellery. That seems a ridiculous sentence, because, who doesn’t? But I have been known to wonder around Tiffany’s and Asprey of an afternoon, with eyes as wide as Marilyn’s in ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’. What’s more I have a beloved, and ever-growing, collection of vintage and costume jewellery.

These pieces aren’t just heartstoppingly beautiful, but are also wonderfully thoughtful, like the cigarette case that Wallis gave Edward with the routes they had travelled together set in red and blue emeralds.

For their twentieth anniversary, he gave her this emerald, ruby and diamond brooch, mounted by Cartier. Heart-shaped and with a monogram of their initials and XX in the centre, it is not only a spectacular piece of jewellery, but the untarnishable and unbreakable nature of diamonds in this context is the most romantic symbolism imaginable. After all, diamonds are forever…

All images from Sotheby's

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Lanvin: Coming to a High Street Near You!

This might be the most exciting H&M/designer collaboration yet...
I will absolutely be first in line for this one.

Monday, 18 October 2010

How Do You Keep Yours?

Some say it's our shoes, others say it's our watch... But here is a pretty compelling argument that the state of our desk is the most telling thing about us.

Desk - Music and Sound Design from Aaron Trinder Film:Motion:Music on Vimeo.

Vanity Fair often runs a page called 'My Desk' which looks at the paraphernalia gathered on and around the desk of a person of note, such as Matthew Weiner, the creater of Mad Men... Enlarge

Well, here's a snap shot of mine, I wonder what it says about me...

Click here to Enlarge

Friday, 15 October 2010

Your Country Needs YOU... To Shop!!

According to The Business of Fashion, 26,500 retailers (including 15,400 ‘fashion stores’) will be forced to close before 2015! The British high street is in dire straights! WE MUST SHOP TO SAVE IT!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Autumn is SO last season...

As you, sweet followers, will be all too aware, I was deprived of Wifi during ALL FOUR fashion weeks. No New York, sniff! No Paris, sniff! No Milan, sniff! No London... Meh... Anyway, I saw a picture Sasha Pivovarova wearing the most sublime hydrangea-print romper. Hydrangeas are my favourite flower so I went on a hunt, and discovered the D&G Spring/Summer'11 collection - so beautifully, fabulously, wonderfully SPRING that I immediately fell about plotting my perfectly clashing floral-print outfits,
with hints of lace,

and a D&G GIANT hydrangea-print beach bag...

I loved everything about this collection, especially the breathtaking finale, even if the girls couldn't really walk in the shoes...
How absolutely glorious. Be gone, foul, freezing autumn! Come, beautiful, fresh Spring!!
Source: Polyvore
Romper - Zimmermann, Bag - Balenciaga, Wedges - Louboutin, Nail Varnish and Bra - Topshop, Ring and Necklace - Tiffanys

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Social Networking and the Krystal Ball

I recently wrote a features piece in the Edinburgh University student newspaper, The Student, about the effects of the digital age on our professional lives. Then yesterday, I read this story about Krystal Ball, potentially the youngest female congresswoman at 28 years old. Her age is very relevant to the story, and why? Because she grew up in the digital age, and therefore, has left a digital footprint behind her, including some embarrassing Facebook photos.

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I can't help but be in two minds about this story. I want to support her in saying that this was a youthful folly, that it doesn't mean she wouldn't make a great congresswoman. But not only is this not exactly ‘ancient history’ in the scope of her short life, but let's also look at some maths…

She's 28 years old. She graduated from college in 2003. The man with her in the 'embarrassing' Facebook photos is her ex-husband. She is now married again and they had a daughter in 2008.

So, sometime between graduating 7 years ago, she got marriage, wore a stupid costume and posted the pictures online, got divorced, got married again, became a mum and then decided to run for congress. While also nurturing her business career…

It seems to me (and I am not an American voter!) that in her short life, Ms. Ball has been fairly impetuous.

It doesn't exactly take a genius, let alone any person with ambition, to realise that any embarrassing pictures from their 'youth' are potentially damning and damaging. If it is necessary to be in the embarrassing position in the first place, then why not destroy the evidence?

I admire her for running, and also for how she has handled the situation – I just don’t know how watertight her argument is. She simply isn’t old enough to shrug off her youthful mistakes, and she certainly appears to have a rocky personal history… Is she a good role model for young women? I can think of better stories to inspire…

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Kate Spade Crosses The Pond!

Yet again, I’m getting excited about an American store crossing the pond! I constantly get seduced by amazing Kate Spade things from Mrs Lilien’s blog but the store is only a POP-UP! Kate Spade is only open between October 13th and November 10th! Which means shopping a LOT in a very short space of time… Credit cards at the ready!

Kate Spade Pop-Up Store, 7 Henriettaa Street WC2E 8PW

Spotted on Sacramento Street

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Purely to Cleanse my iPhoto

A selection of shots from around the place, apologies for failing to record from where exactly they were gleaned! I band on about it, but I find Street Style so inspiring...

Where are all the women?

This blog has too rarely been a place where I have expressed my views on things other than fashion. After a lengthy hiatus, during which time Virgin Media has failed me, and I have failed my readers, I am back, with the following question:

Where are all the women?

Forbes’ list of the 100 Most Powerful Women was published a couple of days ago, and yesterday I finally had the wifi to study it. The list, which ought to be a celebration of the rising number of women in power, was more disappointing that cheering.

Firstly, where are all the BRITISH women? Of course Forbes is likely to have a strong US bias, and it is unmistakably at work here, however, there is only ONE woman on the lift from the UK. Predictably, HRH Queen Elizabeth. Now, don’t get me wrong, I like the Queen a lot. But I’m sure she’d be the first to acknowledge the fact that she’s far from self-made, she got to where she is by being born. There are also some ex-patriots, such as Anna Wintour, who is probably an American citizen by now, but who was once a daughter of Albion. There are also those functioning within the UK, such as Angela Ahrendts the CEO of Burberry. However, there are exactly ZERO examples of women from the UK gaining power from their work. I won’t go into the make up of the list, which (alarmingly) places the Speaker of the House BELOW Lady Gaga and Beyonce…

Secondly, Forbes’ list of the 400 Richest Americans, they acknowledge, is only 11% women, and the majority of those have inherited their money. Only four were ‘self-made’.

President Obama addressed some of the issues facing women in business when he addressed the summit for the Fortune Most Powerful Women, which interesting includes a difficulty to raise capital. Unfortunately, he chooses the adjectives “tall, good lookin’ and strong willed” to describe his wife and daughters. Now, I am a stickler for rhetoric, but, really? He couldn’t have come up with anything better? “Smart”? “Driven”? “Impressive”? Because, “tall” and “good lookin’” are two things they had nothing to do with (and he had everything to do with, in the case of his kids).

Now, these last two paragraphs have been US-based. Sure, Ed Miliband yesterday named several women in his new cabinet, but I am adamant: it should not be usual that there are women qualified for these posts. I don’t think it’s solely the fault of a patriarchal society that women too rarely reach these positions of power. There needs to exist an ambition within my generation of women to reach our full potential in the workforce, to break the glass ceiling where it still exists, and to prove ourselves EQUAL to men in ambition, work ethic and, eventually, power. It isn’t the fault of men, if women aren’t willing to try. And this message, it seems, needs to reach the women of the United Kingdom, because we, as a group of women, are embarrassingly underrepresented on the international stage.