Tuesday, May 31, 2011


A little while ago, I, along with some fine style bloggers, went along to Mademoiselle Robot's inaugural MCM Film Club, held in the downstairs salon of the flagship store in Sloane Street (after hours of course). The theme of the night was 'breaking style boundaries', so obviously it was necessary to watch a Katharine Hepburn film. The film we watched was Bringing Up Baby, the 1938 Howard Hawks film starring Cary Grant, Katharine Hepburn and a leopard called Baby. How I could ever have missed out on a film starring Cary Grant (who I love), a large cat and amazing costumes I don't know, but this was the first time I'd seen it. The word screwball could have been invented just to describe this film, and though I would find it hard to relay the plot coherently: she tries to drive off in his car, he's a palaeontologist, but she thinks he's a zoologist, he's lost this important dinosaur bone and needs to get more funding from this rich lady who turns out to be...anyway, never mind, it's very funny and Cary Grant ends up wearing a marabou trimmed negligee.

The next film club night is coming up, but the film being shown is to be decided by you - if you can get to London for it (date TBC) and would like to come, leave a suggestion in the comments of your favourite exquisitely costumed classic film and if it's chosen, we can all watch it together. As an added bonus I will surprise and amaze you with how many marshmallows I am able to consume in two hours.

Thursday, May 26, 2011


No, of course you don't, because I barely mentioned it here! I always intended to write about my trip to the Musandam Peninsula, which is cut off from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates. (Muscat, across on the other side of Oman has an international airport and is the place holidaymakers usually visit.) But Musandam had such a profound effect on me that I couldn't quite summon the right words to describe it. I would have just written a post that said, "In awe." Well, now I've rectified that and you can read my piece over on Fathom - a most excellent new travel site founded by the former executive editor and senior editor of DailyCandy.com (currently in beta) that I'm happy to be a contributor of.

Read my article here. There's also a questionnaire with me about travel here.

*And thank you to Lauren for doing the magical connecting thingummy that she does so well.

{my photos}

Saturday, May 21, 2011


Two of my favourite actors, singing one of my favourite songs, in not one of my favourite Godard films.

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Oh, how I am spoiling you with the unbearable cuteness of kittens. Haha, it's almost cruel. This tiny pair live with Jeska from the wonderful Lobster & Swan and I am besotted with them. If they were mine I don't think I'd ever be able to leave the house without them. (In any case, since I started this series people think I'm such a zany cat freak that they wouldn't be that surprised if I walked around with kittens sticking out of my pockets. I shall perhaps place Lola in a maxi-clutch.) My favourite thing about Wallace and Marlo, apart from the whole adorable miniaturised tiger thing, is that they're named after gangsters. Enjoy - and thank you Jeska!

What breed are they, how old are they, how did you come to live with them, why did you call them Wallace and Marlo?
They are two 5 month old girl tabby kittens, with what looks like a bit of Bengal in them, we rescued them both from a cat sanctuary and it was called Streetcatz so we named them after gangsters from The Wire. The sanctuary named them Blossom and Tulip but with their wild big cat natures those would never stick!
We always thought we would be a pet free household but after living with friends and their crazy cat Marty in California for three weeks, we discovered that we really liked having a cat around and two weeks after coming home we saved these little girls and I don't think either of us have never fallen in love so fast. I have allergies and mild asthma which were both worse when I was a child; growing up my parents always had pets which I rarely played with and always washed my hands after touching, but in Cali I was fine with Marty and after a couple of weeks with these two, my sneezing stopped and now I can cuddle them all day with no worries which makes me so happy.

How would you describe their personalities? Are they friends?

Monday, May 16, 2011


Online magazines are starting to really come into their own and Collected magazine has got it just right. Launching with an issue devoted to 'Secret LA',  the founders' hometown, and with both very decent photography and writing, as well as none of those seemingly minor glitches that always annoy me like embedded links that are too easy to mistakenly click on and zoom that jolts all over the place. All of that is ironed out, which makes enjoying the features so much more pleasant. We've already caught a glimpse of Claire Cottrell's LA home on Jeana Sohn's Closet Visit, seen her work in the first Closet Visit film and now I've revisited the feature on her house in Collected about sixteen times in the past day.

My only question is, when can I come and stay? The feature also led me to Claire Cottrell's not-marketing company Academy of Archivists, which is a great idea and also my idea of the perfect website: clear and clean, but emanating personality and inspiration. It has a section called Confidence Albums: featuring people like Ana Kras and Martin Parr - and Field Trips: photographic records of London, Cap-Martin and Big Sur among other places. The whole site is well worth a good delve around in.

{Photographs by Cara Robbins for Collected magazine}


1. If you left a comment on my last post, it probably got eaten in the whole Blogger fail of last week, so sorry about that. I'm aware that this blog is probably long overdue some kind of epic re-design and change of platform (particularly since I realised Blogger is actually eating my older posts and after the three day world panic provoking outage of Blogger last week), but even if this makes me super old school and I'm still blogging on the equivalent of cassette tape, a shiny new home for Lola Is Beauty isn't on the cards at the moment. Though I'd love to have the time and energy to do something like that, I just don't. I'm kind of fond of Blogger anyway: it does what it says on the tin, (most of the time) so I shall just keep scribbling away in this old journal until Blogger is obsolete no doubt! But I am going to move a few things around a bit here - you will notice a "Lately I'm Into" links list at left: this is really for my friends who are too lazy to bother actually finding/reading good stuff on the internet, but want/need to look like they know what's going on and always ask me for personalised lists of current recommendations. As hinted at by the not very inspired title, it will change around frequently and the rest of my links are still always there.

2. I know most of you haven't been able to sleep wondering if I got my hair cut. Well - I was subjected to not one, but a number of hair interventions, in the sense of when Elton made Donatella go to rehab, rather than people randomly snipping bits off my locks. After some hardcore phone berating, one of my friends actually came round to my house to continue her case in person against me having my hair chopped off! (In retrospect - thank you.) I acquiesce - everyone was right, I'm in too much of a weird transitional phase to go round lopping off all my hair, even if it was tempting. I realised the thing that was annoying me was that after having to have it cut it was mid-length and I cannot bear mid-anything: mid-length, Middleton, mid-range - as a wise person once said, people who stand in the middle of the road deserve to get run over. I just have to stop being impatient and wait for it to grow. But I have found a third way - apparently there's this miraculous invention called a hairclip and when I use it, it looks like my hair is short, but it's still there. Who knew? So I just had a good trim and bought a Mason Pearson hairbrush, which the sound of me using makes Lola gallop at high speed into the room I'm in and assume the "I'm now ready to be groomed" position. It's hilarious. And no, I am not using the most expensive hairbrush in the world on her.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


I stopped being interested in taking photos after I invested in my huge Nikon DSLR, but way back near the beginnings of this blog taking photos every day was quite important to me, not that you'd ever know it now from my hasty iPhone snapping, Instagramming ways. Meeting Charlotte, Brian and Elle last week, who take such beautiful photos on film - and then meeting lovelies Anabela, Kate and Vic again at the weekend* - who were all wielding either a Canon A-1 or AE-1, reminded me that I'd been meaning to do a post about my dad's old AE-1 for ages.

I'd had a go with using it, but my pictures always turned out really dark (I've recently been let in on the secret of the magical "A" button so I don't have to rely on my randomly chosen settings anymore - thanks Vic!). Then the winder onner (technical term) got jammed and I had to get it fixed, which cost probably twice as much as a new/old AE-1 would. But this is the camera all my childhood photos were taken on, so I felt it was worth the cost. Then the winder onner thingy got jammed again and after about six months of pressing and wiggling things to try and un-jam it, I gave the camera to its original owner (my dad) to analyse the problem. He handed it back to me about one second later saying, "You've come to the end of the film." Oh yeaaahhhh...and I can just imagine the sniggers in the camera repair shop in Soho where I got it "fixed" before.

So yes, not exactly an analogue queen.

But I'm willing to give it a try - and look at the goldmine I've got to play with.
 Lenses and filters galore - but the real gold is the 1970s instruction manual, which is vying with my 1950s Italian phrasebook for most guffaw inducing document of its time.
 Above: because every budding amateur professional photographer aspires to the Sports Illustrated school of photography. And of course, it's the wife who thinks they should throw the instruction manual away, and the husband who sensibly reprimands her. And who has no idea how to hold a camera correctly? Actually, I have no more words for this.

"If a wall or tree is available."

{*All thanks to this, which is still on until the 18th.)

Thursday, May 05, 2011


How many cats do you know with a knitwear label named after them? This week marks our first Australian cats in the series: Primo and Ezra are the beloved cats of Elizabeth from the beautifully cultivated blog and label that bears the name Primoeza. I love this interview - their personalities really shine through, and I love that their arch nemesis is a cat called Geoff - I can just imagine him! Thank you so much Elizabeth!

The basics: What breed are they, how old, how did you come to live with them, why did you call them Primo and Ezra?

My partner and I had recently returned home from a trip to Italy when I saw a notice in a shop - a good home was needed for a red Burmese kitten because the owner didn't want him anymore. I rang the person up immediately and then ran all the way to their house! Naturally it was love at first sight. My partner and I hadn't really discussed getting a pet but I brought the kitten back with me and he made himself very at home by the time my partner came back from work.
We named the kitten Primo because when we were in Palermo, we met a man named Settimo. We were very amused by the seeming objectivity of his name, which means 'seventh' in Italian, so our first cat was named Primo in the same spirit. He's nine now.
A year later Ezra joined us because Primo was so lonely - we could hear him meowing in the intercom when we came home from work in the evening. Ezra is seven now and he's a smokey black Devon Rex, which is a curly coated breed known for their intelligence and cheekiness. I always liked the name, but much later we found out Ezra means 'helper' in Hebrew, which again is very fitting.

How would you describe their personalities? Are they friends?

Primo is very relaxed, a charming social butterfly who loves to be admired. He's very open minded and interested in the world at large. He's generous and a peacemaker. Ezra is an eccentric. He's a deep thinker, very strategic and focused on detail. He's sensitive, cautious and protective of the family. He has a very dry sense of humour.
In personality they are complete opposites but they are the best of friends. One thing that they do have in common is that they are both extremely clumsy. We try not to laugh openly at their mishaps because it upsets them.

What are their respective favourite foods?

Anything with meat or dairy. They love to eat. Primo will run to the fridge and peer in every time we open it. Ezra sits at the dining table while we eat and hopes he'll get a little treat, which inevitably he does.

Do Primo and Ezra have preferred lounging locations? Any signature poses?

They love to lounge on our neighbour's car, cardboard boxes, anything new and anything soft. Primo always uses Ezra as a pillow for his head.

What is a day in the lives of Primo and Ezra like?

Monday, May 02, 2011


Is the question that's been rattling round my hair for a while. I've spent eight years growing my hair, treating it like a piece of bloody antique lace, gently washing it with Kerastase, getting it trimmed regularly, putting avocado oil in the ends that still get split...god! Then about six weeks ago, in the throes of yet more economising, I went to some dodgy hairdresser and got the worst trim that ever was - rounded on one side, a jump up of an inch in the middle, then cut straight across on the other side. Genius. So then I had to go to the usual super expensive hairdresser, grovelling apologies for my infidelity, and get a couple of inches hacked off to rectify the damage; then suffer the indignity of blow drying my own hair in the salon because it's much cheaper. (Did you know you can do that? I wasn't the only one doing it either.) 

The upshot of this is that I feel pretty gung-ho about my hair now.
And somehow my long hair doesn't work with the clothes that are around at the moment. Every time I see a good blunt bob I think ohhh, lovely...as my straggly tails wrap round my neck and get caught under my bag strap. I saw a picture on a blog of a girl with hair cut to chin length, wearing a hat I think, with a bag, walking along - I can't find it now but I'm sure everyone knows the exact one I mean?! Then yesterday I was pondering - shall I do it - and just at that moment I clicked over here.

So should I? I won't blame you like Bernice if it all ends in tears, I promise. 

{Photos of Clé © Le Vestiaire de Clé}

Sunday, May 01, 2011


*Gin & tonic is so much better with a slice of lime, rather than lemon. How did I not ever realise this before?

*Even though I am broke as a joke and Duckie is in the garage for £1000s worth of repairs, my wardrobe is the wardrobe that keeps on giving. I haven't been shopping for ever, but over the past couple of years I'd bought things like maxi skirts, bright colours and wide brimmed raffia hats, but felt too self conscious to wear them. And I bought spring/summer things at the APC sample sale last November. Now, out they come, into the spring light.

*Blogger has been eating my posts - perhaps for months! I vaguely thought it was odd that the archive count never said I had more than 800 something posts and now I know why! Blogger is eating them somewhere in the middle, so I can't work out which ones have disappeared. So when I post this, another one will probably disappear! I have sent an SOS out into the ether of Blogger Help - not really expecting a response, not really sure what to do. Has this happened to anyone else?

*I bought a sprig of white lilac at one of the florists employed by the royal family last Thursday, the day before the wedding. Now I know they used white lilac in the wedding flowers and I think my sprig might have been a leftover.

*My life has taken on something of a Cinderella quality recently: three parts scrubbing vegetables in the basement to one part magical fairydust. Annoyingly I can't really write about it here and I don't want to go all cryptic on you like I just did. When I discover how to reverse the formula and rescue myself (without a Prince Charming in sight) it will probably be quite obvious!