Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I do love a bit of accidental art, and even more so when it fits in perfectly with my 'end of summer, feels like I have to learn to make an effort with my appearance all over again' theme.

I saw a leaf poking out from the edge of this book and when I opened it up; TA DA! This is what I saw. The image is a 1950 Vogue cover by Erwin Blumenfeld. I must have put the leaves there years ago.

I have so many sewing projects, furniture renovation/re-upholstery ideas, other crafty projects, things to sell on ebay and blog posts brewing my head is spinning. One thing at a time.

The most urgent (and easiest) project is 'sleevies'. I can't find any elbow length gloves yet, which is not fair since the shops are full of cheesy Christmas decorations already. Where are the gloves? Even though it's not really cold enough yet my little wrists get chilly because absolutely everything I own, including my trenchcoat has 3/4 length sleeves. So the answer for that tricksy transitional season is sleevies. I have some cashmere sweaters that are too old, shrunken and felted from being thrown in the washing machine to wear as anything but an extra layer under another top. I can't bear to throw them away so I'm going to cut the sleeves off to make armwarmers, (don't laugh, it'll look good, just wait!) and maybe make little vests from the body. We'll see. I'll post the results when I've done it. Hopefully before next spring, eh?

Once the weather turns cold I feel like I need more 'stuff'.
Books, more books, music, films, scented candles, comfort food, MORE snuggly knitwear, blankets, copious cups of tea. A month ago I didn't really need much, just some sunscreen and enough water to drink. A girl could get quite depressed.

My survival strategy also includes getting outside whenever the weather allows and realising that this is the time of year all those stodgy British culinary standbys make sense.

Last weekend was a Bank Holiday which equals: Double Sunday! There were good things and bad things:

The bad: Cooped up indoors being a complete misery guts and hating the rain I had to get outside in the break between two rainstorms. I went for a walk to my local park as the sun was setting. The good: The light was beautiful and it seemed like most of the neighbourhood was out walking their dogs. The cool air on my face made everything seem better.

The good: We tipped the rainwater off Duckie's roof, put it down (perhaps the last time this year, sob!) and headed out to Knole Park in Sevenoaks for a National Trust breakfast of scones and Earl Grey.

Like the little rapscallions we used to be, we spent the day climbing trees, swinging from branches and doing handstands and cartwheels.
The bad: Waking up the next morning with aches and pains in my wrists and places I've long forgotten the names of: That bit under your tricep that goes from your armpit to your elbow? The front of your thighs?

Monday: The good: Finding beloved cafe (which really deserves a whole post devoted to it) Blue Mountain open for breakfast and happily tending to the hungover masses of South East London, with big English breakfasts and cappuccinos. I had The Full Monty breakfast which includes nice thick toast so you can make a bacon sarnie as well. (No photo due to ravenous gobbling.) The bad: Feeling pukey all day because of my breakfast gluttony.

And tonight? Fish and chips mate.

Monday, August 28, 2006


I admit I have spent practically the entire summer slouching around in these Lux trousers from Urban Outfitters. In fact I have them on right now! T.M.I? I was going to post a pic of me wearing them because in the Urban pic they look so awful, but when I took one of myself in them they looked just as bad! (Except the Urban Outfitters model must be about 4 feet tall because mine come down to just below the knee, and obviously I have much nicer ballet flats.)

I call them my Lisa Bonet pants because they remind me of a time long ago when I thought Lisa Bonet as Denise Huxtable in The Cosby Show was The Coolest Person In The Universe, and at the time she wore much more extreme jersey harem pants. They are sooo comfy and perfect for working from home/blog-arsing. Not quite track pants and just about acceptable as not being pyjamas for when you have to open the door to sign for deliveries. Otherwise I'd just stay in my P.J's.

But the Lisa Bonet pants were so comfy I started to wear them out and about as well. I just couldn't take them off. And what was the point if everyone else is just wearing jeans and loafing about? That's one of the good and bad things about London. No one is going to tut tut judgementally at you for having scraggly cuticles or going out to buy a loaf of bread with just washed wet hair, but it does make for laziness. Slippery slope...

Friday, August 25, 2006


1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn to page 18, find line 4. Write down what it says.
Yeah, I'm always callous at the end. and I'm a genius when it comes to irony.
(Rinko Kawauchi, The Eyes the Ears)

2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can...what do you touch first?
Furry ear.

3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
Repeat of The O.C.

4. Without looking, what time is it?

5. Now look at the clock; what is the actual time?

6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?

7. When did you last step outside?
Twenty minutes ago between my car and the front door.

8. What are you wearing?
Pansy print pyjama bottoms, a grey T-shirt, a silver necklace with a tiny star pendant, a purple blanket and stripy slippers.

9. When did you last laugh?
Last night when Caroline laughing was making me laugh.

10. Seen anything weird lately?
The backs of my knees in the Topshop changing room mirror.

11. What did you dream last night?
Ha ha, oh God you don't want to know.

12. What's on the walls of the room you're in?
Eggshell blue paint, a huge painting that belonged to my grandmother, a convex mirror that belonged to my other grandmother and some other things that didn't belong to either.

14. What do you think of this survey?
I like it but 13 is a good number too.

15. What's the last film you saw?
Streamside Day - part of the Pierre Huyge Celebration Park exhibition at Tate Modern.

16. If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy first?
A bodyguard.

17. Tell me something about you that I don't know.
I never iron my clothes, and they look fine.

18. If you could change one thing about the world, what would you change?
One thing?

19. Do you like to dance?

20. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?
Gia maybe, but I'll probably change my mind.

21. Boy?

22. Would you ever consider living abroad?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


I know it's all about charcoal and grey this autumn/winter but colour co-ordinating with the sky is taking things a step too far. I want to escape, and the weather forecast for the next ten days predicts...more rain.
For now I escape by looking at lovely things and trying to resist buying them...

Jo Riis-Hansen's jewellery. I love the birdy.

High waisted jeans - controversial I know, but bear with me. Cut well like these wide legged ones by Grey Ant from Le Train Bleu they can be super flattering - as long as you have a waist. They elongate your legs and just think, no more builder's bum or chilly draughts blowing around your midriff. Cosy AND chic. Eh? Eh? I am sensing some resistance. 'Tis futile.

Okay I bought this book. For educational reasons. I blame you Ms Spinach! No one else to blame for the behind the scenes Marie Antoinette book though. Amazon just gives me twitchy credit card fingers.


I/we received a lovely package in the post from the U.S of A...

...from Cori for the flickr photoswap

I love them! Thanks Cori...
You can see her other photos here.
And all the photoswap photos here.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

VENA CAVA, VENA CAVA, VENA CAVA... the name I keep hearing everywhere, repeated like a mantra. I like the A/W collection but what I really, really like is this:

Super loveliness from the spring/summer collection. The photographs of it are perfect.

via Lena Corwin


I am such an innocent. So naive. There I was reading a blog I've been quite enjoying lately when it struck me. There was a cheery post nestled amongst the rest that was promoting an item so incongruous that I realised: DING! This person is being paid to promote some old shite disguised as something they are personally excited about and interested in sharing. This really bothers me. I don't mind too much if blogs have ads. It's not for me but I wouldn't go as far as labelling this an Ad Free Blog - although I like what Keri Smith does and that owl symbol is kind of cute. With ads you can see there's an ad at the side, and there's the content. Which is separate! Are blogs really going to go the way of many magazines and become thinly disguised advertisements? Does everything have to be stripped of integrity and turned into commerce? This lovely bloggy space isn't about that, that's why I bloody read them! Which is not to say that I don't enjoy blogs where artists or other creative folk show their work which is for sale. That's a different thing entirely. The thing I'm bugged about is the same way I'm bugged because a thirteen year old will go out and buy a lipstick credited in a magazine as the one used on Mischa Barton. When I know full well that the make up artist has used something completely different but needs to namecheck whichever brand she's getting free products from. It makes me CRAYZEE.

I think the reason this niggles me so much is because being something of a professional consumer and shopaholic, I regularly mention products I like. (So A.P.C should be shipping me the entire A/W collection for free just about now?)

Let me solemnly declare that I shall never and have never promoted or recommended anything on this blog that I am not totally into, and if it's a product I have paid for and tried it myself. And IF (wow I'm really ranting) I ever got a freebie in return for a review I would make it totally crystal clear that was the deal. AND what's all this shit about mentioning certain keywords to get more traffic? Seriously. Who does that? I'm sure if I checked my stats quite a few people would've dropped in via Google because I mentioned Charlotte Gainsbourg the other day. I mentioned her because I am kind of excited about her new film and album. If I wanted to do that I would talk about the "sexy housewife" look a whole lot more.

So, Bliss Steep Clean. I bought it, I tried it. It works.
When the weather was hot and sticky I'd come home feeling like city grime had somehow worked its way into my skin. No amount of cleansing or exfoliating helped. So I decided to have a 'Steep Clean' treatment at Bliss Spa. Having steep in the name should serve as a warning because it costs ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY BRITISH POUNDS. It's one of the most expensive treatments they offer. It's their 'problem skin' treatment and I'm sure they know that people with problem skin will do anything to make it better. That's the only possible reason I can think of for the price being so high. So if you have one make sure you fill the pockets of your robe with the cupcakes Bliss provides in the groovy chill out area, (where they play SATC on a loop) and drink as many smoothies as you can stomach. Maybe even pilfer the robe?

I settled for buying the Steep Clean at home treatment instead which comes in at a slightly more reasonable £32. It's in a tube and it comes out stripy blue and yellow like toothpaste. You have to rub it together in the palm of your hand until it goes uniformly green to (here's the science bit) activate the enzymes. It smells pleasingly of papaya and pineapple but doesn't appear to actually contain any. You massage it into your face and leave it for 15 minutes before wiping it off with a warm cloth. You're supposed to use it no more than once a week and I've used it four or five times so far. And you know what? It works. My skin looks brighter and clearer, more fine textured. It's a MIRACLE. No, it's not that amazing but it has evicted the stubborn grime from my pores. Oops, there's the doorbell - it must be FedEx with my two year supply of Bliss products.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Now THIS is a rumour I can get excited about for a change...

...For about five minutes. In the Telegraph article Jane Mayle says both that she's not very good at having bosses, and that she never looks at archives when designing - which is kind of something one would do with the Chloe archives at one's disposal. Is she absolutely ruling it out or is it just nerves? How would you feel if you had gained a solid reputation amongst the fashion cognoscenti by doing your own thing, your own way - keeping it small for years, and suddenly this big old carrot was dangled in front of you? You'd probably be terrified. Of failure on a huge scale, of not thriving in a corporate big business environment. Of not actually wanting the life that a job like that brings. This is obviously all conjecture on my part, but since I mentioned Jane Mayle only yesterday - along with the fact that her clothes have until now been so hard to get hold of here in the U.K and the fact that her shop in N.Y would be one of my first ports of call next time I go there, makes me think that if she found a way to feel comfortable taking the Chloe job people would respond well. Her design aesthetic would be a perfect fit, but would she?

Friday, August 18, 2006


Me: I want to see that new film Gael Garcia Bernal's in

C: Who?

Me: Cute little Mexican guy

C: The one who was in that Ananas Peperones film?

Me: That's him

C: Oh yeah? Who directed it?

Me: That guy Michel thingy who did um, Eternal something of the er...

C: Thingummybob

Me: Yeah, and he did all those videos for um, you know...whatchamacallit

C: Should be good

The Science of Sleep (trailer here) isn't out in the U.K until 2019 - no actually it's November. But it's out in France so I'll be able to see it very soon in Paris. Vive La France and doesn't he look cute, I mean doesn't the film look good?

Charlotte Gainsbourg's in it as well. Her new album sounds lovely, although when I hear her and her sister Lou Doillon speak in English it freaks me out a bit. I always think they should sound husky and French, not like escapees from St Trinians.

Sunday, August 13, 2006


If I could choose to look like anyone at this moment in time it would be Jessica Miller in the current Paul & Joe ads. I need that shirt, hair, eyeliner and a piano ASAP. I had to look a while before I realised it was Jessica Miller, she's usually made to look so hard edged and rock chicky.

I've been umming and ahhing over the Paul & Joe Sister collection as it trickles into stores here and there are some pieces I really like, although their website does not do anything - especially that gorgeous in real life trompe l'oeil top in look 3 justice. I think I'll reserve judgement until I go to Paris, where I'll have a proper look at everything at the enormous Paul & Joe emporium in Av. Montaigne - where I'm only going to buy a make up bag. What? Why is that funny?

Still on a bit of a frivolous fashion tip today since being thrust back into the world of work these past few days. I know, work - outrageous! I can't stop thinking about this Phillip Lim coat in Selfridges (sold without the funny fur bit). And those grey brushed herringbone tweed wiiiide M.J trousers with braces (suspenders to U.S people) we used, I need them.

I think I'll go and do something mundane like change the cat litter before I start saying things like "that's so a good look" and "camel is really not my colour; however I think I can work it if I add some interest at the neck".

Save me!

EDIT: Bad cat mummy! I was so wrapped up in fashion frivolity I left Lola outside during a thunderstorm. She is now wrapped up in towels, if a little sniffly.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


It took the promise of Deborah Turbeville to finally get me off my arse and over to The Wapping Project. I'd been meaning to go there but never quite got round to it. The chance to see D.T's work up close and not just on the glossy pages of a magazine was the incentive I needed. I was expecting The Wapping Project to be a bit wanky and pretentious to be honest. A converted hydraulic power station, it sits just behind the river Thames on a cobbled street, amongst shockingly expensive, beautiful wharf and Victorian loft conversions. Unfortunately Wapping also has its fair share of heinous crimes against architecture - known as the 'Luxury Executive Riverside Development'. I feel sorry for the aesthetically sensitive millionaire folk who live in the nice converted wharves on the river but have a view of these hideous floating casinos. Well, actually not that sorry. The Wapping Project is also bang opposite the oldest riverside pub in London, The Prospect of Whitby, which is pretty damn lovely, with a long zinc bar and a beer garden on the water.

So - I arrived at The Wapping Project just around lunch time (you can park there for free and it's not in the CC zone - total bonus) expecting it to be full of braying pseudo creative types who long ago sold their souls for a luxury wharf and a custom BMW, tapping away at Macbooks whilst simultaneously eating and talking on the phone. But no, it was completely empty and I was welcomed by the sweetest staff who enthusiastically told me all about the exhibition, the space and the lunch menu. And wow, what a space! Sunlight streaming in from all sides, I can honestly say this was the most beautiful former industrial building I've ever set foot in. Just really, completely stunning. Still with rusty girders, peeling paint and cracked tiles, the soul of the building was intact - you know when you go somewhere and it just has a really good feeling? I can't explain it better than that.

And Deborah Turbeville's work sat so perfectly within that space, the graininess, the detail of the individually worked 35mm negatives blown up to a huge scale, against the background of this building...I had to go round twice. I'll stop gushing for a sec and show you some photos I took...

I was already a big fan of Deborah Turbeville's work so it was great to see this and get the back story. It put the work of what I had previously considered a somewhat mysterious visionary into context. In a very condensed nutshell the story goes that 'discovered' by American designer Claire McCardell she worked as her sample model/assistant at a time when McCardell was the most important designer in the U.S. Diana Vreeland then gave her a job as an editor at Harper's Bazaar but it soon became clear that "she had a special vision that could not be contained". Richard Avedon took her on as his protege after she showed him some of her photographs taken on a shoot she was styling. Her six month training with him was the only photography class she ever took.

I feel I don't want to refer to D.T as a fashion photographer, although there's nothing wrong with being one. Her 1975 'Bathhouse' series published in American Vogue is iconic as is her work in Vogue's Italia, Paris and U.S and other magazines over the years - but her photographs are not really of fashion, they don't scream it. They are pictures of people, in haunting, dreamy settings. The clothes are most definitely not the main character. She says "Fashion magazines should be about raising the standard - but now because of the demands of advertisers they have to stoop to fit in with everything else." Amen.

I loved the way the images were shown, some blown up as canvases, but others collaged together loosely with pins, or hung on taut wires with bulldog clips, along with quotes scrawled in pencil on parchment paper. I felt I got much more of an insight into her process by it being presented in this way. The antithesis of your average, 'if you blow up any bog standard ordinary photo and stick it on a blank white wall in a gallery setting it will look great' mentality.

I haven't even mentioned the food have I? Well The Wapping Project is known for the food. They do Sunday brunch which I will probably never experience since they stop serving it at 12 noon. I won't lie - the food is expensive. They do lunch, afternoon tea and dinner during the week and brunch, lunch and dinner at the weekend. It's all completely open plan so I watched the chef preparing my lunch - I just took a starter and that was £7.75. But does the gushing stop with the food? Nope. I had scallops with pancetta on a pea puree which again sounds a bit pretentious and wanky but pleasingly complemented the pea green tiles on the wall. Pretentious or not, those were the most perfect few mouthfuls I have tasted for a very long time. In an 'if I was on death row that would be my last supper' way.

So yeah, The Wapping Project was ok, I suppose.

Deborah Turbeville
The Narrative Works Photographs (1975 - 1997)
Until 14 October 2006
The Wapping Project
Wapping Hydraulic Power Station
Wapping Wall
London E1W 3ST
12 to 10.30pm daily - Sunday to 6pm


Picking blueberries from your very own blueberry bush...

and eating them for breakfast...

Monday, August 07, 2006


Things I should have taken to Fruitstock but forgot:
Sunglasses, sunscreen, a blanket to sit on, non alcoholic liquid refreshment, a straw hat, a baby/toddler and cumbersome buggaboo stroller.

We drank and drank, and danced and danced with the sun beating down on our necks.
I was able to piece together the events of the day because I somehow filled my camera's entire memory with photo's of random humans. Apparently I was stalking a girl in a yellow dress and various blokes wearing sunglasses. I do not remember any of this. But the evidence is all there on flickr.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Well it seems it was our blogiversary on Tuesday! There I was, gadding about with lovely boys, feeling quite celebratory anyway. Later at home Lola was trundling around at my side and striking adorable poses for me to photograph wherever possible - and we forgot! I thought it was in October as that's when I started posting regularly from Paris. That was such a fantabulously inspiring time. But before then, the first tentative (not very interesting) post was on 1 August 2005. It seems like an age ago. Do you know, I actually had DIAL UP then?! One year (and a few days) later I'm happy to be a blog nerd. I can't believe how much things have changed in the past year, and for the better.
In fact only happy, happy, goodness has come from blogging.

Er, what happened to the celebration cupcakes I baked?

Thursday, August 03, 2006


Are you going to Fruitstock this weekend? I'm going to Fruitstock! How nice are the people at innocent smoothies? Fruitstock is free and it's full of good stuff, much like their smoothies except they're not free. After missing Fruitstock every year so far on Saturday because that's when the Puppini sisters, Nouvelle Vague, and the legend that is Norman Jay (MBE Your Majesty) are playing. I may tootle around the farmer's market, or do a bit of knitting or yoga - but seriously, by Pimm's o' clock you'll be more likely to find me staggering off the Pimm's bus in the general direction of the flirting tent.

Regent's Park
Sat 5 - Sun 6 August
12 noon - 9pm


Yes it's that time again. I just booked my ticket for my next trip to Paris in early September. I'm only going for a few days but I still get that little tingle of excitement every time, even though it has become a kind of normality to be back and forth, and my last couple of visits there were, ahem - mixed. I have a back log of kick arse places I didn't have space to mention last time because I kept posting about how I wanted to kick various Parisian arses. So I might post about those places in anticipation. The best feeling I ever have in Paris is in discovering somewhere absolutely new to me. I think I still have a kind of fantasy Paris in my head that exists from before I ever set foot in the city, and which I'm still searching for.

I already have a long list of places I want to go next time thanks to the lovely blogosphere, including the Balenciaga exhibit at the Musee de la Mode et du Textile - thanks to BP for the heads up. And thanks to Julia in both her guises, I have a good few places to check out via The Flaneur by Edmund White. There's always, always somewhere new. You could live in Paris for years and keep discovering new places.

So, here's a plan: If anyone has a favourite place in Paris that I may not have been to, it can be as out of the way as you like - a cafe, bar, museum, shop, street - anything - let me know via the comments or email me and I'll check it out and post about it, thus allowing you to actually be there vicariously! Kind of.