Monday, June 30, 2008


(The new) Gridskipper is reinstating the (original Gridskipper) archives/maps so you should be able to find most of my old London posts and those of all the other cities - albeit in a slightly different format.


That's how I feel this morning: all stretchy and languid (but less thin). Also, that cat is a complete Lola doppelganger (marginally less cute of course).

Valentine FC in Jalouse. The photographer is Edouard Plongeon, who, by the way, takes the most amazing pictures.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Picked the first handful of ripe blueberries for breakfast

Filed every single bit of paperwork

Was given a lovely dead mouse as a gift (better dead than alive)

Ordered a water meter

Re-styled my homemade chandelier:

This is invariably known as my crappy attempt or something; but I just bought the frame (really cheap) at Homebase and sprayed it white. For the past few years whenever I travel somewhere there might be chandeliers aplenty, I trawl antique shops and markets for the broken off bits, which you usually have to ask for.

I've got bits, let's say drops, it sounds nicer, drops mostly from Florence, Venice, Madrid, Paris and I can't remember where else now. I think there are a couple from Portobello but they were five pounds each or something ridiculous. If you buy them in Italy, you can reasonably pick up a whole haul. The ultimate frugal chic.

There's a really good source in Florence where I got masses last time, that were still lying around wrapped in pages of the Corriere della Serra newspaper waiting to be used. So yesterday I had a blissful time with my wire and pliers putting together the summer 08 version - I went with smoky purple, grey and amber, with a little blue. I'm loving that crystal "disco ball" which I bought for a friend but which was cruelly mocked, then rejected.

Now for the next couple of weeks when I'm lying in bed I'll suddenly spring up and change a bit round so it's all perfectly randomly balanced. In fact, I've already changed it since I took this photo yesterday. I know chandeliers are a little "out" now, but they never will be for me. J'adore tinkering with my little creation so much.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Loads more of my France photos here. I'm still there (in spirit)...

In Noyers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Even in deepest rural Burgundy I managed to go into a shopping frenzy (apart from the obligatory wine degustations). Vide Grenier translates literally as empty attic and all through the summer French villages take it in turn to hold their own attic clearing days, usually on a Sunday - kind of like their version of a car boot sale, only with rusty farm implements ready to be turned into cool outdoor lamps or sculpture, piles of starched vintage linens, and enamel jugs and tins of the kind Au Petit Bonheur La Chance sells in Paris for 50 euro. Now we know where they buy them.

Some of the vide grenier vendors seemed to be professionals and I don't know how it works, if you're allowed to set up a stall if you don't live in the village. Their stuff was more expensive, but generally, the actual people from the village were selling some really charming things for a euro, two euros. Well, they are French, of course their attics are full of charming, stylish oddments.

I was in male company, so felt under pressure not to conform to stereotype and clear the entire village of Yrouerre out of its unwanted junk. It was really tempting as we had a car and I had visions of starting my own antiques business. I am showing you this photo as only you will understand why I needed to buy an old aquamarine alarm clock and a rusty, beautifully designed *furniture polish* oops, edit, household cleaning fluid tin.

I also bought some espadrilles (5 euro at the ATAC supermarket in Chaource for those interested in such details) so my entire shopping frenzy cost a total of nine euros.
Um, not including wine.


I kept getting annoyed with myself because my photos couldn't do it justice. The best light was at about 10.15pm - as it was midsummer; but my camera couldn't capture that. Some of the most magical things we saw were as we drove along - seen, then gone. In the end I stopped taking my camera out because fumbling for it and trying to get a shot was interfering with my eyes taking everything in.

It was about 10.15pm when we arrived on Thursday and as we wound along through a forest we saw orange slugs and a fox cub looked right at us. Through small stone villages then winding through wheat and rape fields, the sky was shaded from pink to lilac, still light enough to see every detail. Two cats lurked at the edge of a field, miles away from the nearest farm and a little rabbit hopped along.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008


Feet: meet your new shoes. Cheap and cheerful from Zara and make all your clothes look better. How do they do that?

It's surprising that it's so hard to find any of these clips of Kate Moss in Ellen von Unwerth's film Inferno. Really bad quality but worth it to see a much younger Kate scampering around...

Aaaannnd lovely vintage/Lyell store Marie Louise de Monterey has a blog now. So if you're not in Paris you (I) can admire their wares from afar...and le sigh a little...

I'm going somewhere there are no shops and no internet (it's not Burma or rehab.)
Back on Monday - bon weekend!


Tina Chow...

{Photo source: except "Basquiat Chow Warhol": Patrick McMullan}

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


Excuse me coming over all Mary Portas and "I'm bloody right and I know everything about shopping" but she is, (LOVE her) she does and well, I am and I do. It was in fact she, who jogged my memory about the annoying Reiss credit note in my purse as Reiss was featured (as a good example) in her programme last night.

I take back what I said about Reiss. While I don't have a problem with the design of their clothing, other than it being a little over designed sometimes; I do have a problem with the bright sparks they employ in their Bluewater store. The only reason to visit Bluewater is for the ease of the experience. It's a mall. You're not going to stumble into any cool photography exhibitions or get inspired by the street style. It's so...comfortable there. The staff at Reiss however, seem to have perfected the knack of being intrusive, whilst simultaneously being unhelpful. The last thing I want in the Reiss changing room is to be looked up and down, then verbally re-styled by an 18 year old shop assistant from Dartford, when all I want is another size of the overpriced T-shirt I'm trying on.

I ended up returning the T-shirt because it had too many design features. You know when you just want a T-shirt to be a T-shirt? I don't need a grown on sleeve AND a contrasting cuff AND a weird seam detail. It's like that thing of removing one accessory before leaving the house. And come on, £45? When I returned it I was reminded that Reiss does not do refunds because it is a high street shop that is trying to be a designer shop and thinks that not doing refunds makes it classy. (Selfridges does refunds, as does Net-A-Porter.) So there I was with my crappy credit note, knowing that the only thing £45 would buy me in Reiss was another overpriced, over designed T-shirt with too many tricks up its sleeve. I meant to go to a Reiss in central London as their staff seem to be generally human and less retarded. But oh that sweet, short, non congestion charge laden drive and free parking had me won.

I walked into the shop. I picked up a couple of T-shirts in my size, neatly replacing the other sizes. I browsed. A streaky fake tanned sales assistant clocked me and scowled. I continued on my way around the (almost empty) store with an armful of T-shirts. Instead of putting them in the changing room for me or asking if I needed help she stalked me - as you would a potential shoplifter. I saw a man concealing packets of raw meat under his jacket in Tesco's yesterday. He looked like a shoplifter. Me? I look pretty much like a customer who doesn't mess up the pile of T-shirts because she once worked in fashion retail.

Eventually I headed to the changing rooms and stood waiting outside looking for help for about five hours. No one came so I eventually pushed open a curtain to find an empty changing room, at which point another girl appeared, flung the curtain back and demanded to know how many items I had; then told me I could only have four. I don't know what she did with the dress she took away and I could see no sign of her when I emerged, so she lost her employers a £160 sale. At that point of slightly exasperated mild humiliation I knew I would never buy anything from Reiss again.

Everyone keeps talking about recession, belt tightening and the credit crunch; and it does feel a little weird to talk about shopping when your gas bill costs more than a Balenciaga bag. But what has happened is that I've become more discerning about where I shop and what I'm prepared to buy. If the experience of being in a shop is unpleasant and obstructive rather than enhancing, then there are plenty of other places eager for my money. What they're doing at Reiss is a caricature of the snooty shop assistant through the eyes of an Essex girl. In fact, the staff could do with a little field trip down Bond Street and Sloane Street. They'd find that the vibe in the stores they're trying to emulate is far more pleasant and professional than the one they've created.

Monday, June 16, 2008


Hat: Melissa Odabash, swimsuit: The aforementioned Princess Tam Tam Audrey, top: the APC one (sold out), meant to illustrate the Labour and Wait proper breton one I really want, which is always out of stock, espadrilles: from wherever they sell espadrilles.

Friday, June 13, 2008


Two would be nice.
{pic and shoe from here}

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Yes. One of my imminent sprucing up projects is re-upholstering my lovely bed. It was from Ikea but they don't make it anymore. (I feel the need to pre-empt this next sentence by saying this is not some kind of covert Ikea blog ad as we are still very much an ad free blog - see owl.) My bed is so completely amazing, I couldn't love it more if it was from somewhere really fancy and expensive or had been custom made by fairies. Anyway, if you buy your bed frame from Ikea you can afford to buy a really decent mattress. Heavenly bed. So - the bed is covered in white cotton and has a really plain and comfy integral headboard which I always pin different fabrics over. But now I want to re-upholster the entire thing properly. It should be really easy as the bed is basically a square box - you can sort of see it not very well here.

For ages I've been wanting to re-upholster the frame in some kind of really blowsy, maybe traditional floral or fauna fabric - quite bold, but even a little...chintzy... to offset the clean, modern lines of the bed. I've had some fabrics in mind but this one,

called Papilio Sylphe by Osborne Little now seems to be unavailable and I can only find this David Hicks Ambrosia Rose

in another, more neutral colourway. I don't want neutral, I want colour and to put my white bedlinen on a bed that feels like sleeping in a bed of roses or vines or monkeys (on second thoughts, no) or something. This print caught my eye in the current issue of Domino.

The green is more Kelly green than it looks - I know because this is the print that adorns a chair I always go googly eyed over at Liberty's Josef Frank section. I know it sounds weird to say that it would work in my eggshell blue bedroom but I feel quietly confident that it would. Maybe. Why am I so print indecisive?

{Top pic Living Etc (I think), middle Elle Decoration. The Josef Frank print from here.}

**p.s All is now right with the world - Louise has started a blog. {via Fashion Toast}

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I've been meaning to post these photos for ooh, about as long as I've been writing this blog. But it entailed all this taking the frame off the wall, fiddling around with it, scanning and cropping you see. Am lazy. Hadn't you guessed?

The people in the photos are my family, which is a weird thought as I've no idea who the hell they are per se, but I am assured they are definitely my people. I don't know when the pictures were taken, though I thought they had a date on the back in pencil - it was either 1921 or 1931 - and an illegible place name. That's either faded away or it was on another old photo and I got it mixed up as there's nothing there now. I enjoy the mystery and I love looking at the photos and thinking what kind of lives they had. They look pretty happy don't they? I love that the women look like they're having a whale of a time striking poses in their palazzo pants.
{photos: family photos, courtesy of me}

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Today I realised with dismay that I am getting too old for ironic clothing. I am, to be clear, 32, but it had apparently escaped me that I was to sit out the whole jumpsuit/playsuit thing and would never again buy a pair of £5 heart shaped sunglasses to be worn once for fun. This ending is not something I really ever thought about, as my preference has always veered towards the pared down, even when I was young and skinny. But occasionally my eye would spot something silly and fun and I'd wear it because it suited my mood. No longer. The funny little short poufy skirt I bought at Topshop will remain my sunbathing skirt - which to be fair is what it was intended for until I decided to wear it on Saturday night (with 110 denier opaque tights of course). I changed it for a longer, more sober tulip shaped skirt just before walking out the door. But I can't quite seem to get my head around not being able to wear anything I want to. How boring, how Trinny and Susannah. So now I know: I should have looked at the little short poufy skirt and thought, "that'd be cute for a 12 year old," instead of buying it for myself. Take this as a note of caution young readers: enjoy your ironic clothing years while you can.

I long ago accepted I am too old/wise to buy the high street versions of very high heeled clunky shoes. I'd love some enormously major heels after a year of boycotting any heels post foot breakage (no hyperlink necessary). The dilemma: the real deal are no doubt correctly balanced but cost £1,000 and will be wardrobe obsolete before long; the high street versions look the part but wobble precariously when you try one on and attempt to stand. However; one lady with unlimited access to expensive shoes manages to hilariously disprove the expensive means you can walk rule. On television. While trying to look ice cool.

There's more on this to come, I'm sure. It seems to me this phase could go two ways: Boden or Lanvin. (Better become a millionaire then.)

**EDIT** Ding! I just realised, thanks to BB and Nancy's comments, that I feel like this because I've been spending waaayyy to much time in London. Must go to Paris soon. Until then, visual therapy helps. There is hope! (Read what she says in the text.)
Perhaps I am secretly Parisian?

{Pic: Lula issue 2}

Monday, June 09, 2008


We've just been hanging around, starting a new inspiration board,

stretching, stuff like that.

**Jennine won the little shoes. The winner was chosen by Lola - don't ask - it was very scientific and had to do with cat biscuits corresponding to the entrants' names...

Friday, June 06, 2008


On balmy, chilly, sultry, rainy, sunny, dry, damp, wear sandals, a raincoat and okay then glasses too, put on sunscreen and bring an umbrella just in case days; I want to sit in the kitchen and read a good book.

Thank you Elizabeth...

{pic of Valentine F-C from Nylon}

Monday, June 02, 2008


I can't believe I haven't changed the inspiration board in my kitchen (right) for five years! This is gone now, the space left behind is sparse and empty, free of blu-tack and ready to be filled with new loveliness. Then I might actually look at it from time to time and erm, get inspiration from it instead of it just being part of the furniture.

There is nothing that desperately needs doing around here, but when I looked at my flat on the Apartment Therapy house tour all I saw was all the things I want to change. I'm sprucing things up for summer and I'll be sharing a few home projects I've dragged out of the old procrastination folder soon.


Carrie/SJP's Dior extreme gladiators (thinking a pic of them is blatantly unnecessary):

original price $770 (no longer available)

current ebay price: $2,495

asos copy: really cheap looking (£55)

steve madden copy: pretty good, much better, really, not bad AT ALL. But only available on pre-order for 24th June. ($109.95)

Conclusion: I'll be over them by then.

*And that, Olivier Theyskens, is why you really shouldn't mess with SJP.