Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Mr. Braddock: Ben, what are you doing?
Benjamin: Well, I would say that I'm just drifting. Here in the pool.
Mr. Braddock: Why?
Benjamin: Well, it's very comfortable just to drift here.

Charlotte: I tried taking pictures, but they were so mediocre. I guess every girl goes through a photography phase. You know, horses... taking pictures of your feet.


Sunday, June 27, 2010


Summertime in England. I had given up hope that this was possible.

*Edit* Tuesday am: pouring rain.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Travel is what makes me happy and always has done. That sounds trite and perhaps happy is the wrong word. Travel is the thing that keeps me going; it's like fuel. Getting on a plane, arriving somewhere and roaming, discovering new things, just sitting and feeling the atmosphere of a place. Once you know what a place is like, no one can take that away from you. Whatever kind of life slump I've ever been in travelling has pulled me out of it.

When I flew home from India I met some English travellers at Mumbai airport. They were the first non Indians I'd seen apart from our group of friends since boarding the plane at Heathrow on the way over, so that removed my usual social reserve and I got chatting to them. I learned that some of them had been roaming the world for two years.

Classic remark: "I've been wearing these shorts for two years, I just wash 'em in the sea about once a month. You gotta skank 'em out."

Apart from being incredibly deeply tanned and incredibly chilled out, they had a sense of ease not just with each other, but with everyone. I wondered what the boy with the shorts had been like before he left on his two year trip. Another guy had been in the Himalayas for 6 months, staying in villagers' homes. The usual barriers between two English people were dissolved and we passed the time on the plane together like old friends.


Some good friends have also been roaming the world lately. One, I will see next week and I intend to wring out as much as I can glean and vicariously live every story he has to tell about all the places he's been in the last 6 months or so. Another friend is about two months into the most amazing adventure and she's even managed to regularly update a travel blog with beautiful pictures and posts from remote islands and mountains. I have found myself searching "aesthetically pleasing backpacks" a few times after checking in there. It really makes me think, when I'm so excited about others' travels whether I could do it. I travel: I go and visit friends in Europe, spend time in Paris, I love doing that but you can't do it constantly (well I can't). But to put everything you need for a year into a backpack and just go - not knowing how long for or even exactly where - just to discover the parts of the world you haven't yet seen...

Where would you start?

{photo: Greg Kadel}



{First photo - can't remember: tell me! Dennis Stock (thank you!)
Second photo - Yelena Yemchuk}

Monday, June 21, 2010


It doesn't take much to make me happy when the weather's cooperating. Even though my garden is nothing to write home about, I can still find a few sprigs of jasmine, a couple of roses and this beautifully scented tree/bush thing (which may be a weed) to cut and put around my flat.

 Lately, every meal I have at home involves a variation on the same ingredients: avocado, cherry tomatoes, soft goat cheese, basil infused olive oil, salt & pepper. I find this combination to be delicious when mixed with: spaghetti or chickpeas or barley couscous or baby new potatoes. I must also drink a can of San Pellegrino Limonata every day and find myself geekily scanning Italian delis and Waitrose to find the cheapest price for it.

Lastly, I'm thinking of lodging a formal complaint with Hope & Greenwood chocolatiers. Their packaging makes it far too easy to choose a variety of truffles as a gift, then to prise the box open, eat one (or three) and reseal it without anyone being the wiser and it not looking as if any are missing. I'm particularly fond of the lavender and geranium flavour truffles, which also come conveniently pre-packaged in a sealed box for you to post to me.

*Happy summer solstice*

I wish I was there, where it was so magical, but I've got all of the above plus daylight, which will do for now...


In Issue 3, Tourist Magazine chats to Ana Kras about her furniture and photography. tourist1
This is the first online magazine that hasn't made me frustrated with the actual process of reading it (clicking,zooming etc) or conversely thinking, "this is exactly the same as a blog" (scrolling).

Grace and Lauren make me want to take a roadtrip immediately, but also give me the disconcerting feeling that I may be too old. Can you be too old for a roadtrip? Never.
(It may just be that in imagining photos from my roadtrip featuring me I assume they would be more in the vein of "slightly haggard thirty something looks pissed off after driving for 12 hours and having to sleep at a Travelodge."

Saturday, June 19, 2010


Come on, own up - how many times have you re-watched it in the past few days?

I have great hopes for Elle Fanning, purely from the withering look she gives Johnny/Stephen over breakfast after he's spent all night shagging. (Also - weird that no one knows if Sofia's new baby is a boy or girl or what the name is yet? I'll take guesses.)

Gainsbourg (Vie Heroique) - I went to a screening of this (it comes out on July 30 in the UK) and as billed, it was an almost expressionist kind of jaunt. The first film to be directed by Joann Sfar, previously known as a graphic artist, it felt fresh and I think it was the only way to make a French film about Gainsbourg without taking the 11 hour long faithful biopic route. It was sort of like a collage of snippets and moments of Gainsbourg's life, done with humour and surreal touches. I especially liked Serge's parents in the film, freaking out like a couple of teenagers about Brigitte Bardot (Laetitia Casta) being in their house. I'm sure there will be many people who won't like how it was done, or what it covered but then any film about a legendary figure is going to stir feelings up. It didn't delve in too deeply to anything but as a visually driven film it was a pretty great ride.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


We went to the crazy vintage shop near my house over the weekend. I can't tell you the name of it or where it is, but not because it's full of amazing secret treasures like '70s YSL, Valentino and Chanel (which it is) but because I want to say bad/fun things about it and I'm scared they'll track me down and kill me if they find out.

I first posted about this place a few years ago, when I stumbled through its door, curious about what this shabby looking dress agency might hold. By sheer dumb luck I was wearing crappy clothes, having just popped out to buy a Kitkat or something, which is imperative if you ever visit this place (wearing crappy clothes that is; it's up to you whether you buy a Kitkat in the nearby newsagents or not). The owner will appraise you with her well trained hawk eye and price anything you pick up based on her observations. Oh yes, they don't put prices on anything and they tend to inflate them to about double what the item would cost to buy new.

I haven't been there for a year or so because I got into a, shall we say, muddle with the owner about her coming to look at some clothes I was selling. She first pretended she wasn't interested, but I could see her eyes glimmering with greed. I was then instructed to show said garments to NO OTHER DEALERS OR CROOKS and if she found out I had shown them to anyone else the deal was OFF and she would find out because she knew everyone in the trade. She was to arrive at my house, appraise the garments, make her offer IN CASH and I had to accept it there and then - or the deal was OFF. She was extremely aggressive and exhibited what seemed like classic con artist traits, so I went away and thought about it and decided I didn't really want her in my house. I left her a pathetic little note breaking our appointment and was too scared to go in the shop again.

I have known people who have attempted to purchase hats or coats there and they have been foiled every time. I have never heard of anyone successfully purchasing something. It's quite frustrating because it hides some of the best wares of any designer vintage shop I've ever seen. At the weekend I went there with a friend and saw the same Missoni dress I had shown interest in three years ago and been told was £400. I didn't bother asking about it because the price would have roughly quadrupled in the intervening time due to inflation, overheads and me wearing Chloe sandals on my return visit. This dress is in the back room, where all the really good stuff is. We're talking couture, we're talking Valentino, we're talking LV trunks that are 80 years old, all tantalisingly just out of reach: i.e. they are displayed in a shop but you have no chance of buying them, ever.

Now we just go there for sport, like the other shop in the hood which is almost exactly like the Local Shop in Royston Vasey. I might tell you about that one. It sells such a random assortment of things such as porcelain British Bulldog figurines, tomato plants, birthday cards...it's hard to explain, it sells everything. My friend was saying if you asked them if they had any nuclear warheads they'd probably just pop out the back and get one. Actually if there's some totally arbitrary item you can't find anywhere or that they stopped making in 1953, this shop probably has it in stock, so it's actually very useful. Although it is VERY ODD in there, I truly hope the influx of yummy mummies to the hood doesn't force it out of business with their insatiable demands that every local business provide fairtrade cappuccinos. I think this is why I suddenly want to write little odes to the hood - if it does attain complete gentrification, and the ratio of investment bankers and weekend only hipsters becomes higher than the ratio of actual working artists living here (thanks, East London Line!) then it may be time for Lola and I to pack our suitcases (Lola's has polka dots) and wave goodbye....



In Capri years ago a friend and I stumbled on a perfume line where each of the fragrances had "Capri" in the name. She bought "Capri Sexy" (you had to say sexAAy) and hilarity ensued. I don't remember how it smelled, or if she ever wore it or still has it somewhere.

Thankfully the perfume industry has classed its act up a bit since then. The above images are from the campaign and packaging for two perfumes under the Memento Italian Olfactive Landscapes brand: Venice (top) and Sicily. They were shot by Laura Sciacovelli and art directed by A+design.

Each perfume is meant to evoke a particular time and place: Venice on 22 September 2007, 8am, Vaporetto to the Lido, Venice, which apparently captures the morning air, with notes of sea breeze, salt, star anise, peony, black bog-rush, sand accord, boat fuel, tourist, (ok I made those last two up) sandalwood, patchouli, amber and musk.

Sicily is 6 March 2008, 11am - Piazza Duomo, Ortigia, Siracusa, which gives you spring in Sicily with notes of neroli, freesia, jasmine, helichrysum, hay, cedar, amber, patchouli, myrrh and agarwood.

I've never seen these perfumes before but apparently they've been around for a few years. This is strange because I tend to hang out in the same places as niche perfumes, even in Venice itself and I'm sure I would have noticed these because the packaging is great, it has a cute back story and I'm a complete sucker for stuff like that.

*Edit - Memento has been renamed Made in Italy, if anyone is looking for the perfumes they're exclusive to Harvey Nichols, though I didn't see them when I was there recently.

{photos: Laura Sciacovelli - so beautiful!}

Monday, June 14, 2010


Sorry if you've seen posts appearing and disappearing. I was merely trying to upload a nice neat Polyvore set and Polyvore did something weird to the rest of my blog. Stupid thing. Anyway all I wanted to say was that if it were really summer and I wasn't shivering with a blanket round my shoulders, I would quite like to wear this outfit today:

Picture 1

Parker dress from Steven Alan, Illesteva Leonard sunglasses, Repetto Lio flats.

Friday, June 11, 2010


At an out of town shopping centre I saw a very thin, very orange young girl pushing a stroller. She wore a pink velour tracksuit with something embroidered on the back in gold swirly letters: Queen of something, I can't remember. She had tied her hoodie in a tight knot at the front so as to expose her midriff.

Yesterday on the tube at about 11.30am I saw a young black man wearing a tuxedo and bow tie. I assumed this was some kind of work uniform until I noticed his black patent winklepickers and bright red socks, his drainpipe trousers cut just so to display them.

I stood behind an elderly lady on the escalator at Green Park who was wearing a long black high gloss PVC raincoat with leopard skin lining showing at the cuffs. Thinking about it, it must have been reversible: black on one side, leopard print on the other. She had lovely beigey, lilacy coloured hair and just tucked behind her ear wore a tiny sparkly lilac hair clip, the kind little girls wear.

An arab woman and her son were in Starbucks. The son wore cheesy western clothes and MBT trainers. The woman wore full niqab but in what looked like pale pink polyester. I watched him messily slurp down his coffee, then watched her lift her veil swiftly and turn to the wall each time she took a sip of hers.

I watched a middle aged man sitting on the train opposite me, wearing a purple T shirt and black trousers, take out a compact mirror and carefully apply bright red lipstick before arriving at London Bridge.

Thursday, June 10, 2010



The other day Liselotte Watkins posted this scan of a profile on Elsa Peretti and the photograph, no - she, stopped me in my tracks. Then I read on. The first sentence is;

"She is a woman of almost awesome chic, looking as dazzling in a beat-up men's fedora as she does in a Halston ballgown."

The first thing I thought was I wanna look dazzling in a beat-up men's fedora, why can't I look dazzling in a beat-up men's fedora?!

The second thing I thought was how is it possible that Elsa Peretti somehow slipped quietly out of my mental archive of inspirational style icons, languishing as a vague memory of Tiffany bean pendants. And talking of those pendants, you have to admit that the simple organic shapes of her designs for Tiffany haven't dated at all. They are indeed timeless, as they say.

And the third thing is that thanks to Liselotte (thanks Liselotte!) I now know the scan is from a book called The Fashion Makers, published in 1978 and written by Barbara Walz and Bernadine Morris. And it's available second hand for not very many dollars amazingly. Very inspiring.

A few more pics of Elsa I turned up...
I'm off to stamp on my fedora a few times and perfect that steady gaze before I segue into the Paloma Picasso 1970s era phase I can feel coming on after this.

{photos: from top: Helmut Newton, Corbis, Jack Robinson, Hilda Moray}

Wednesday, June 09, 2010



I've been really getting into wearing long dresses. Not of the floaty printed boho maxi variety, no - the long jersey solid colour variety. I compared many, many of these at different price points and I can say with some confidence that you should buy one from New Look and no one will ever be able to tell that you spent £15 rather than £150. And I don't require a special occasion to get out the Avalon dress, which I now refer to as my ballgown. The amount of fabric in the skirt is very pleasing, and gives everything you do a different quality - as if you're wearing a casual black wedding dress - going to the loo requires hoiking a load of fabric over your shoulder, going down steps the skirt must be attended to - it's fun! But really I would like this dress Daria's wearing in Dossier. I'd wear it every day in the kitchen, to the supermarket.

Monday, June 07, 2010



This is a picture Anna took of me trying on bracelets in Deogarh, Rajasthan, since a couple of you mentioned the jewellery there. They were made by the man selling them and the price depended on how heavy the piece was. His 10 year old daughter was a whipsmart businesswoman. I chose just one (can you guess?) and I haven't taken it off yet. (The mehndi on my hands is because we were there for a wedding.)

{photo: Anna Bozza. Check her flickr, I'm sure she'll be uploading more of her amazing pics from our trip to India.}

Talking of jewellery, Vanessa alerted me to these insane resin rings by Triian. Vanessa also has some equally insane spiked rings in her shop. I could really damage someone with one of those.

And I must have missed this interview in Dossier with Randi Mates, the woman behind Aesa jewellery. It's always interesting to see how people get into these things, then when you know, it all makes perfect sense.


A random selection of my India photos that I'm fond of for one reason or another. The photos I have were mostly hastily snapped while flying round a corner in an auto rickshaw or out of a window. The thing is that the most incredible moments were ones I don't even have pictures of, all the moments happened so fast and piled up on top of each other. Arriving in Udaipur: seeing a woman in a beautiful sari with a pot of tarmac on her head repairing the road, men selling unidentifiable produce from wagons by the road, 5 people on a motorbike, 35 people on the roof of a jeep, an elephant on the bridge. The first night on the roof of our hotel having dinner on low cushions, cooked by a boy on a rudimentary bunsen burner contraption, looking out over white lacy castellated rooftops and the lake palace; the hot wind blowing like a huge hairdryer, flocks of enormous bats filling the sky, a full moon and fireworks going off all around.

Saturday, June 05, 2010


1. A ticket to Paris. (Done!)

2. Where I will purchase Merci linen bedlinen - it's really overpriced but I haven't seen anything else that compares to its overdyed slubby gorgeousness, so what can you do.

3. A one day course at Nikon to tame the beast that is my camera.

4. I would really like this Mociun ring, but even better I would like to find a ring like the Mociun ring in London or Paris that's not as expensive.
5. New bumpers for Duckie: rust is so winter 2009.

6. A ticket to Lisbon, including some time at the coast somewhere (maybe Estoril?) you can sit on a beach, swim in the sea and that's not tacky or too touristy. Preferably paid for by a travel writing assignment. (Am I getting too cocky now?)

7. A suntan - and fast, whichever way. You will understand that in India one covers one's entire body with clothing and in 50 degree c heat smothers exposed areas (face, hands) in sunblock. But there are shorts that need wearing here and a tanned face and milky white body just looks odd.

8. A ticket to Field Day Festival and the knowledge of what time Phoenix are on so I can just turn up for them.

 9. That the about to be re-named Le Bouton makes this linen dress in grey again for summer. I've been dreaming about it since last year - I think that means I'm allowed to get it.


There are children and animals everywhere. Take a photo of a child and ten, twenty more appear, all posing for the camera and swarming around asking for more. There are camels pulling marble slabs, donkeys with sacks of bricks on their backs, elephants carrying god knows what. Monkeys hang out on a wall under a tree. There are goats and dogs and cows wandering casually in the streets amongst the auto rickshaws and motorbikes, the cows especially safe in the knowledge that no one will harm them and they'll be fed. I still managed to get headbutted by one - thankfully its horns went either side of my torso but I'm sure being headbutted by a cow signifies some kind of terrible fate in Hindu culture. Oh, and the cats: small and skinny, Egyptian looking with big ears, constant loud miaowing - it took all my willpower not to smuggle a kitten home.

Friday, June 04, 2010


India was more extreme than I could ever have imagined - overwhelming, intense, stimulating - a million different feelings at once. Andrea left a comment before I left which said; "Your brain and your eyes and your heart never seem to agree on what you're seeing. You will fall in love and out of love one hundred times a day." I couldn't have put it better than that. I'm home and have had a bath which turned the water dark grey, am marvelling at how Lola is the size of 8 Indian cats and have downloaded 527 photos which I have no idea how to arrange at the moment. Here's a taster for now... In Rajasthan the only colour in the landscape comes from the clothes people wear...

{my photos}