Monday, October 31, 2011


This is my Christmas wishlist - and all from one shop. I've been familiar with the branch of Nauticalia in Greenwich for years. It proclaims itself "the first shop in the world", being the closest shop to the Meridian line. It sells among other things: decorative ship's wheels, ship's cats that dogs always bark at in the window, green (starboard) and red (port) lanterns, compasses and a variety of other seafaring related ephemera. I'd bought gifts there for the sailing obsessed (hi dad!) and had noticed a small selection of clothing, but I didn't realise until my friend got a beautiful aran cardigan from there that they had a website - with loads of stuff I want! I'm keeping it to just a small edit of clothes here but I could browse for hours. I think I prefer this type of shop, where the buying isn't necessarily aimed or marketed at someone like me, but you can find fantastic stuff if you sift through all the randomness without the selection having all been done for you. Yes, I definitely prefer that.
Merino wool Norwegian sweater
Breton shirt
Merino wool Celtic cardigan

Merino wool cardigan


Saturday, October 29, 2011


Anyone who's been reading this blog for a long time might remember that a few years ago I studied macrobiotic cooking - it's true! That was when I was going to Paris a lot - try doing your macrobiotic cooking homework in Paris - it's like a sick joke. While I got bored with the strictness of it, felt life was too short not to have a little brioche once in a while and was frustrated with the whole needing to use eighteen different pans and thirty six ingredients from four corners of London to compose a simple meal, I must admit that it taught me certain principles and gave me skills to look after my health. This has come in handy over the past few months when I've been ill more often than well, and the only thing the doctor can do is give me repeated courses of antibiotics which even he admits probably won't have any effect and I think knocks my immune system out even more. So all I can do is eat as well as I can. I've been loading up on seasonal veg in every meal - until I was confronted with the dark leafy greens block. I know it's really good for you but I've just never known what to do with it. Kale, greens, chard - anything like that is exactly what I should be eating but I just seem to make it into a soggy mess.

I'd been looking at Ashley Helvey's blog for inspiration a lot - apart from her aesthetic, which I love, she cooks in a way I can relate to - really nourishing healthy food from good sources cooked in the unfussy way that I like. I eventually reached across the interwebs and asked her if she'd share a few ideas on what to do with greens and she was so kind to send me a load of recipes, which I'll share below. I've done the chard I already had at home with olive oil, lemon and garlic which was delicious, and now I've got masses of curly kale to play with. I thought collards were the same as chard - see the depth of my misunderstanding about dark leafy greens - they aren't at all! Collard greens are just much less available in the UK, who knows why, but I reckon all greens are interchangeable so would work with any of these recipes. Enjoy - I know I am - and feel free to leave any recipes for leafy greens of your own in the comments.

Greens with shallot and crumbled egg:

Boil two small eggs (or one large egg) in generously salted water for six minutes, add ribboned collards with stems removed, boil for an additional three minutes, strain, squeeze excess water from collards/greens with fresh dishcloth, toss with high quality extra virgin olive oil, Meyer lemon, crumbled egg yolks, and paper thin shallots. Garnish with cracked black pepper or cayenne. I added feta, but this recipe can take whatever you've got. I think it would be delicious with torn bread croutons.

More after the cut...

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I arrived at Frieze slightly irritable that due to a series of events I'd ended up going at the weekend, when the hardcore art people have gone, replaced by families with strollers, the parents of which probably studied fine art before they got jobs in media and started dressing like Jamie Oliver. This put a dampener on my intent to snap pictures of interesting looking people juxtaposed with art, which is one of the things I like to do at Frieze. Crazy art + crazy/interesting people = good fun as far as I'm concerned. By Saturday there's also an air of apathy - all the deals are done, the exhausted gallerists have switched into wearing jeans and are glued to their iphones and laptops while eating salads, not paying any attention to what's going on around them. My preference is to go as early in the week as possible, but maybe I'm spoiled since Nina took me to the preview evening last year and we were, in her words "watching TV" - just gawping at all the crazy/interesting people until our eyes almost fell out.

In the end, after a shaky start rectified by a double macchiato and a lemon meringue cupcake at Gail's, this supplemented by a quince and pear bellini and some smoked salmon at Hix, I had a fine old time - the best part was actually outside where the sculpture was. It was such a beautiful warm autumnal day, it made sense to be outdoors in the park, rather than inside what is essentially a plastic tent, however enormous.

Thank you Aesop for the tickets!

{In the picture: the earth and goldleaf piece is by Michel Francois and the silkscreen on canvas is by David Noonan}

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Anndra Neen jewellery. So insane, it might have given me pleurisy. Or that could be entirely unrelated. The sisters behind Anndra Neen also have quite a nice little flat.

Sunday, October 16, 2011


I'm doing away with the "like" for October; this month it's actual love. Maybe it sounds all swishy, but then some of these things are pretty swishy themselves. Beware that I'm about to gush massively about girly stuff.

My first love is: matte velvet. I've never been that drawn to shiny things. The walls of my flat are painted in flat eggshell, the woodwork is matte enamel paint - I'm just not a gloss type of person. Perusing the new Chanel nail colours for autumn I was not convinced by Quartz and Peridot: not very flattering to my skin tone and very reminiscent of the metallics from Urban Decay and Hard Candy in the nineties, which wasn't that long ago. . .was it?! OK, maybe I'm ancient, but I've seen all that before.

By far the best offering is the mat velvet top coat - it's also in its way a frugal chic purchase as you can use it on top of any nail polish and it will turn it completely matte in seconds. Hours of fun, you have no idea. First of all I was doing a kind of French reverse manicure thing over oxblood red, keeping the half moons shiny with matte tips - then I went for just matte. It makes the polish look like it's fused to your nail, which is somehow very smart. More matte nails here. (D.V. would be so into it - you know she claimed in her memoirs to have been the true unsung inventor of commercial nail polish.) Then if you put hand cream on, it turns a kind of burnished half matte - let's call it satinwood if we're sticking with the Dulux theme - but you can just put another coat on to re-mattify it. I think I've already used half a bottle, which by the way is also extremely handsome to look at, being matte black. I also bought the Chanel Rouge Allure Velvet lipstick in La Somptuese - a matte brick red. But if I wallop on a highly pigmented lipstick like that, I just look like Cruella de Ville or a goth - so I smudge it on lightly with my finger. This is the first Chanel lipstick I've bought since they brought out the click release opening and I don't care what anyone says: design matters. It's so pleasing to use - the iPhone of lipstick case design.

Girly onslaught over.

My new winter peacoat from. . . my family friends' attic, where it had been hanging for 30 years having been bought as part of the school uniform for their son's short lived attendance at boarding school at the age of 12. It was a mean, horrid school so he got out of there fast, and the coat was never worn. Possibly noting that I wear navy every day, they thought I might like it and they were right.

Mat topcoat AND old/new/old button = efficiency.
Being a boy's coat, rather than a man's the proportions are perfect and the cuffs just hit on my wrists. When I had it dry cleaned it lost a button so I changed them for the buttons that came from the WWII military great coat D's mum gave me years ago in Italy. (I sadly had to part with the coat, but I kept the beautiful buttons.) So happy with my new old winter coat with the old new old buttons.
Sewing helper

Bill Cunningham New York. It's frustrating to write about films here, because release dates differ so drastically worldwide and people are reading from all over. I know this film was released months ago in the US, but it doesn't have a release date in the UK until February 2012 for some bizarre reason. I was able to watch it yesterday, and again this morning. It's hard to even put into words, but honour, ethics, kindness, joy and singular vision are the ones I wish I could arrange into something coherent to describe Mr. Cunningham as seen in this documentary. This film was so moving and poignant. It had me in pieces.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Friday, October 07, 2011

Thursday, October 06, 2011


Bloggers + Cats returns after an extended summer hiatus - listen, you can't make cats stick to a schedule when there might be patches of sunlight to recline in or plant pots to sit in. OK, it was me sitting in the plant pot, I mean extending the summer break. 

I first admired Andrea's cats on flickr - so much personality - and I knew I'd hit the jackpot when on locating her email address I discovered it was also cat related. Eliot and Ezra are like a comedy duo - though for the life of me I cannot tell them apart, so I'm not even going to attempt captions. Thank you Andrea!
What breed are they, how old, how did you come to live with them, why did you call them Ezra and Eliot?
They are long-haired tuxedo kitties (that’s my best guess, at least), and they are about 2.5 years old. My mother found them in need of a home at our local vet’s office, and decided that they’d be great company for me in my new studio apartment when I left for college. They are named after poets, of course! I was an English major.

How would you describe their personalities?
Ezra is a bit of a cowboy, with a feminine side. He’s always stomping around the house, but he’s got a timid meow and a wispy tail that he shakes around a lot. Eliot is more difficult to describe; he’s unpredictable and wild-eyed. While he spends much of his time running away from noises and my roommates, he’s also probably the sweetest cat ever once he warms up to someone.

What are their favorite foods? Ezra likes salmon skin a lot. He usually finds it in the trash bin. Eliot will eat anything, but favorites range from prosciutto to straight up garbage.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011


At Gare du Nord on the taxi queue sprint from the Eurostar I see a driver holding up a sign for "Mr J. Cocker." No time to turn around and look for him, that line waits for no one!

On the Pont des Arts Diane von Furstenberg is wearing two watches and saying, "Ahhh, on de breeedggee?"

Fashion people who'd packed at the beginning of fashion month pre-Europe wide heatwave were still committed to wearing heavy wool and tweed full autumn/winter looks - and in one case admirably tolerating a wintery leather dress. In 33 degree heat.

The trees at Place Dauphine are gone! So sad. They had some kind of chestnut tree disease. They've been replaced by saplings, but still what a shock.

A proper post will be forthcoming once I get my film developed - but don't expect much fashion coverage - once in Paris my priorities quickly became "resting" and "refreshments", then I had to cut my trip short by four days.

Sunday, October 02, 2011


The recently opened to the public National Archives garden early yesterday evening. 
At a party at Candelaria later on. Mmm, tacos, mmm weirdly spicy yet cucumbery cocktails.
Somewhere in a mist shrouded northern France early this morning.