Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Audrey BAT 1
Audrey 2

***Happy New Year!***

Holly Golightly before/after {image source: TFS}

Monday, December 29, 2008


Eaten a succession of turkey, mayonnaise and cranberry sauce sandwiches, watched at least eight reruns of Friends, eaten the last mince pie, started craving salad.

Have you seen Two for the Road? I think it's Audrey Hepburn's least known film. She and Albert Finney play a married couple and the film charts their marriage over about ten years. It is a film about their relationship, but it's also a road movie as they take various amazing vintage cars on road trips which is where the film takes place.

In some ways the film was ahead of its time, which might be why it's not known that well. It's not chronological but jumps about back and forth in time. But in other ways it's such a product of 1967. My favourite part is when they've just driven their vintage Mercedes onto the (commercial) plane, as you do, and the air hostess is coming round passing round packets of cigarettes. Albert Finney thinks he's forgotten his passport and says; "Tell the pilot we've got to turn back." (I don't think they were flying Ryanair.)

Breakfast at Tiffany's it isn't, but Audrey is still, of course, stylish in a more natural, casual way. Her look changes quite drastically through the film; to show the time being earlier or later. Both the photos above are from when they first meet.

I'm having a bit of an Audrey kick at the moment and since I've saved about a million photos of her I'll probably share a few more. I usually hold back as it's such a humongous cliche. I was forced to (in public at least) replace Breakfast at Tiffany's as my favourite film years ago as it's just such an obvious answer. In my defense I first saw it when I was about 10 on afternoon TV and had no idea it was such an iconic film. I grew up watching it at least once a month. It was only when I got older I realised I wasn't the only one who loved it. Oh, Audrey...

{pics via TFS}

Monday, December 22, 2008


It's starting...The days when time simultaneously slows down and speeds up - everybody trying to fit everyone and everything in. I wouldn't mind a bit more of the slowing down.

Hope: that people who have to travel get to their loved ones safely; that people without loved ones to be with have a merry Christmas; that everyone finds a way to endure and enjoy their family gatherings if that's how it is. And one more wish: sn-o-o-w? (But just in England ok?)

{pics taken by me of Christmas decorations in Paris}

Friday, December 19, 2008


Oh - by devoting an entire post to the exchange rate, I made it look like that was the only thing that mattered to me. Then I tried to rectify that by posting cheesy photos; but then I felt like a dirty tourist. The truth is I haven't had much time pour le bloggage and I got over the exchange rate thing after about half an hour. Just have to be a little more careful and use trips to Isabel Marant purely as inspirational excursions. And if a small pot of tea in a cafe is £5, then I'll be asking for extra hot water and will be staying for at least an hour and a half.

The extent of freebies gained was as follows: 30% extra free on a goat cheese log, one free ginger biscuit in Kiehl's - NO SAMPLES (in the place that loves to give out free samples), free macarons, biscuits and sweeties in various shops. But that's sort of like the bowl of mints at bars and restaurants. It's free, but do you really want one?

But walking is free, walking, walking, walking. I was staying at a friend's place in Belleville this time, so traversed most of the 10th and 11th arrondissements on foot. The 3rd is my usual stomping ground and it was weird to realise that there was a vast expanse of Paris I didn't know at all.

And visiting kittens is always free. And taking photos.

I feel it's acceptable to be a shameless tourist in Paris during the winter. Any other time of year? Perish the thought. But since from Tuesday to Thursday it was cold and rainy, (almost turned to snow at one point, but not quite) most of Paris stayed at home. Walking across any of the bridges over The Seine you felt a camaraderie with the tourists; conspicuous by their red noses, cameras, bobble hats and scarves that completely mismatched their outfits - I expect they hadn't anticipated wearing all the clothes they'd brought with them simultaneously either. I couldn't help but join in with the picture taking - who was going to see? And the sky is amazing in the afternoons this time of year, even when the weather is grotty. But what a difference the sunshine makes. Everyone came out of the woodwork and it was lovely.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Within two hours of arriving in Paris I was befriended by a cat who looked exactly like Lola, slurped down a chocolat chaud even more potent than the one at Angelina and sat next to Clemence Poesy (she's always following me) in a cafe.

Thanks to the exchange rate (1 pound = 1 euro) I am poor in Paris. Everything is too expensive. I was going to buy a top in Muji then I saw that it was 39 euros - but the U.K price was 25 pounds. It's . cheaper . in . London. WHAT?

Forget about Isabel Marant or even A.P.C. Even socks at Monoprix are a little on the pricey side. Hmm, exchange rate poverty. So it seems the task ahead of me is to treat it like a challenge. This trip will now be named:

"How Much Free Shit Can I Blag in Paris?"
Wish me luck.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Whenever I tell people about the car that turned into a boat I went in when I was a child, they roll their eyes disbelievingly and pat me on the head as if I'm claiming to have ridden a unicorn or met the tooth fairy.

Finally I have evidence. Luckily my phobia of posting photos of myself on the Internet does not extend to dorky childhood poses. So with the disclaimer that I do not currently sport this hairstyle I give you:
The Amphibious Car, Dorset, circa 1982.

Yes, that's still the coolest thing that has ever happened to me.

{photos: my dad}

Tuesday, December 09, 2008


These Sharon Montrose animal portraits have been featured everywhere, but I only actually clicked through to her shop just a moment ago. LOVE. DIE. WANT.

Monday, December 08, 2008


Or: no time, no photos, (no snow) but lots of links. Click them. x

To recap: I used to have to buy up to 40 presents for relatives each year, so my consumerism fatigue set in way, way before the current recession - oh, about 10 years before. Now we have thankfully called a halt to the madness I realise that I actually love giving gifts to people. {If you think you might be getting a gift from me and you like surprises: stop reading now.}

Back when consumerism wasn't a dirty word (last year) I did an under £50 gift guide for Gridskipper that still stands up now, (providing none of the shops mentioned have gone bust this week) if you want to go about things in the traditional way. But it feels slightly obscene to be trawling the high street buying loads of shit no one really needs, if you'll pardon my French. (This post on planned obsolescence is really worth reading too.) This year my emphasis is definitely on local and/or handmade.

I so loved making the blurb photo book I did in the summer. I do think that is the best gift you could give. For a family gift you could compile Christmas day photos over the years - mine would be of people asleep on the sofa with their mouths open. If you were doing this you would have been so on it weeks ago as blurb takes about 3 weeks to publish and deliver, Apple takes two weeks normally but you'd be cutting it way too fine if you hadn't got your arse in gear by now. (cough)

My local area was in mid gentrification when the recession hit so I'm making a point of buying gifts from the local independent shops that opened less than a year ago (one has already closed, there's a Lease For Sale sign on another and the others seem to be just hanging on.) There are three farmers' markets within a couple of miles of here so they'll be getting a visit too. If, like me, you know a lot of virile people with beaucoup offspring, a hamper is the perfect gift for all the family: wine, champagne, cheeses, chocolates, tea, preserves and specialty bits and pieces from local sources, all nestled in a wooden wine crate (free if you chat up a wine merchant) and wrapped up in a (very reasonably priced) National Trust recycled picnic blanket. Excuse me for being a Granny but the National Trust is always worth supporting.

And finally, at Christmas my inner Martha will be silenced no longer. I realise that she doesn't possess everyone so the answer to that would be to buy handmade, either via etsy of course (but check final posting dates) or to visit artists' studios which are all holding Christmas Open Studio events about now (I went to two last weekend). Even artists whose work is out of your price range will very likely have been enterprising enough to offer cards or small, affordable gifts for sale. And you get to eat mince pies and be merry in person. Being of the crafty persuasion I'm using fabric and trimmings I already had in my stash to make gifts for mes amies. I've done this for the past couple of years: gingerbread biscuits here, Xmas stockings here. I enjoy thinking up and making them; they get a personal handmade gift: win/win.

Oh and the best (and so easy to make) thing to adorn your beautifully wrapped pressies: paper roses - tutorial here.

Thursday, December 04, 2008



I took this picture from my window the last time it snowed properly in London - 2003 I think it was.

I can smell snow in the air. I know it's snowing in other parts of the country and I just It's a lovely winter's day: cold and bright. Just to see those little white flakes floating down would be the icing on the cake.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


I've noticed a lot of red lipstick moments happening lately. Maybe it's because a pop of red is the perfect hue to cheer you up on a winter's day (as long as you don't accessorize your lippy with a red nose and streaming red eyes.) As Mme Vreeland once said: "Red is the great clarifier - bright, cleansing, and revealing." It's also *in these troubled times* the much cheaper equivalent of a Chanel 2.55 bag - a classic, sound investment - but one that you don't have to feel too guilty about purchasing.

I found my perfect red; which is almost as much of a satisfyingly frivolous coup as finding a signature scent (which I always think I've found, then change my mind.) It's Saint Red by Lipstick Queen - a sheer, but bright red. It's the sheer part that makes it work I think. Most red lipsticks make me look like a goth or a waxwork dummy, but this one is just perfect. I've got brown hair, pale skin with a yellow undertone and grey/blue eyes and I'm going to daub it on an unsuspecting blonde, pale skinned/blue eyed friend who never wears red in just a minute because I reckon it'll work on her too.

{photo: crop from Vogue Paris November 08 Vanessa Paradis cover by Mert & Marcus}

Monday, December 01, 2008


I can't believe it's December.
{photo from here}