Sunday, December 30, 2012


The phrase that came into my head when I was ruminating on 2012 was, I wouldn't have it any other way. The past year has been an adventure and a goodun - it had momentum, surprise, twists and turns, spontaneity; a certain non linear poetry. At the end of 2011 things were not looking even slightly good in my world. If you'd asked me in January 2012 what I was going to do this year - who I would be with and where, I would have guessed at something completely different than how it evolved. So many new things were waiting around the corner. 

2012 was all about people and places for me. I became a godmother twice, inexplicably only spent four days in Paris but went to Venice repeatedly, Rome and Andalucia. Went to my dream place Mexico on the first family holiday for 23 years. I also started going out in London like a maniac, having spent the previous years as a slightly grumpy about London semi-hermit; spent all of spring to autumn frequenting the same Hackney locales, then stopped going just as abruptly when the wind changed direction. Things moved and changed around me and I with them, in fact so fast that this blog couldn't keep up. Must find a good way to blog on the move that isn't Instagram and for it to show up here.

I started writing about London for HiP Paris, my little shop took its first tentative steps using the mantra above - to be given legs in 2013. I finally said (and repeated loudly) a firm NO to unpaid writing work, and then wondered why I hadn't been able to do that for the seven previous years. Easy. 

I cut all my hair off, went swimming in a river, watched the sun rise over the mountains, went wherever I wanted to go, ate well and drank a little too much a bit too often perhaps. The only thing I really did differently this year was just to do exactly what I wanted without worrying or over thinking it. 

At the end of 2012 I bought the first piece of original art I've bought for my home in years, a pair of mega spenny Celine shoes and a pretty dress from the Mayle pop up. I swapped my tiny black stud earrings for diamond ones, put on matte red lipstick and whoosh - I'm out the door and into 2013. I have to say, I'm excited about the surprises it might have in store.

And if you haven't read it already, here's a bonus: Susan Miller's 2013 astrology forecast for Russh magazine - available to read unedited and unabridged here.

{Credits: Inspirational wording via Jjjjound, Desire print by Louise Mann, Mayle Jeanne Coco Cloud dress, Russh 2013 Astrology Report - wish I knew who illustrated the 12 signs.}

Friday, December 21, 2012


40 Maltby Street is my absolute fave of the year for the ambience, food and location under the arch. There isn't a time of day or evening it doesn't suit perfectly. As great to pop into on market day for a snack and a glass of wine as for dinner with a group of friends. I love it.

Runners up:
Ducksoup, although I don't end up going there much because if I'm in Soho I'm usually rushing through. As with 40 Maltby the natural wines, simple shared plates and relaxed vibe wins me over - that's just what I want to have, always.

Jose for those times when you really want croquetas and don't mind crowds/standing up/perching. The staff is always very welcoming and accommodating too.

I'd rather go to any of the above, where they serve high quality food and wines without fuss, than any number of swanky, overhyped trussed up places that you can certainly find enough of in London.

Detox lunch at Rose Bakery @Dover Street Market is a perennial fave. It just makes me feel better and less ill and you can go and look at Celine downstairs after - what's not to like. Cake is also detox if it's carrot, yes?

Honorable mentions: Rochelle Canteen, Terroirs, Fernandez & Wells, various places in SE London: The London Particular, The Gantry, Handmade Food.

Claridge's - classic. Nowhere else comes close.
Bob Bob Ricard - Clear Vodianova Bloody Mary. Opulent and irreverent.

Off Broadway - beards, tattoos and cocktails.

Virgin coconut oil. I put a teaspoon of it in the bath and cook with it, though not at the same time.

Farmacia Santa Maria Novella Acqua di Maggio (special mention to the new-ish Farmacia SMN shop in Shoreditch for being lovely with friendly, approachable staff you can actually ask things like what is this for and how much is it?) Anyway Acqua di Maggio is a strange kind of liquid you splash on after a bath - I don't know if it does anything but it smells like Italy in spring.

Diptyque Baume Genereux - the hand cream the word unctuous was invented for.

Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant - the only exfoliator that doesn't mess up my skin. Also one of the many, many products bought this year on the recommendation of Lisa.

Swimming in the Serpentine (May-Sept) - why did we only discover doing this regularly at the end of August? I'm going to be there every day possible next year. Full of interesting people watching opportunities too.

Maltby Street/Spa Terminus Saturdays - the best for Saturday morning shopping with coffee and doughnut stops. Honorable mentions: Brockley Market and Brixton Village.

Roadtrips - need to do more of these next summer.

Office days at the Royal Festival Hall - let's go and do *research* - i.e. look at the spectacular view, drink tea, eat snacks, look at interwebs/magazines and call it work.

I feel like I should have a whole list of shops I love in London but I don't really. Liberty? Aesop, APC and Acne but they're not exactly London specific. I like Couverture and The Garbstore, Merchant Archive and Aime's buying on the biannual occasions I haul myself over to Portobello. Opening Ceremony is (WHY is it in Covent Garden?) a good addition. I'm surprised myself that I can't get enthused about anywhere east except men's shop Present. Oh - Artwords for magazines. However, the internet means that you don't need a one-stop shop to curate stuff for you, and for me, there have been other things that made me sartorially happy this year. Such as:

Having a brilliant seamstress at my disposal. All my dreams can come true.

Margaret Howell sample sale + Maxmara outlet in Italy = I'm good for a few years of well made classics.

New obsession with beautiful lingerie and swimwear. Half of me is like oh great, yet another insanely expensive luxury sector for me to bankrupt myself on. The other half; the one that's keeping La Perla afloat is like, well why wouldn't one insist on only the most beautifully constructed silk and French lace next to one's skin? That half is winning.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


I was genuinely shopping for Christmas presents for other people when I walked straight into the path of these Celine slippers. Burgundy and navy in one shoe? Really comfortable butter soft leather, can wear them all the time, plus enabling friend's encouragement? Then a slight wobble about do they possibly look like the kind of slippers that Boycie from Only Fools and Horses would have worn - I mean maybe, but no - and anyway is that a bad thing? The shoes were on my feet - they weren't coming off except to allow a nice girl to stuff them with tissue, put them each in protective bags and tissue and more tissue and shoe bags, a box, then a bag expertly sealed. My credit card fell out of my purse and into the machine.
There. The decisive moment.

Sunday, December 16, 2012


God, I was obsessed with Breakfast at Tiffany's between the ages of about twelve and eighteen. Some people still associate me with the character of Holly Golightly, which is odd. (Especially if you've read the book!) I sort of forgot about it in recent years, even though my standard bearer for male/female relationships is still probably the romantic friendship between Holly and Paul(Fred); as absorbed from watching this film a million times. Oh and the obsession with mens' dinner shirts, random suitcases and general wardrobe continues.
Still eminently screen-cappable.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Things that are unbleached, things that are red/cherry/burgundy, things that are APC, a hat that is small,  linen from Paris and a porcelain lampshade from Venice if you're wondering what that thing is.

Thursday, December 06, 2012


It's too early in winter to start saying I miss summer isn't it?
Ah well, timing was never my strong point. I want to do a shop update but I've been struck down by that stupid virus everyone's going on about, so it might be a few days yet. I want to do a lot of things...

In the meantime here's a new London winter post up on HiP Paris by me and two good films I watched this week (one very summery; one very wintery) while being a sickly person at home:

La Collectionneuse

La Belle Personne

No correlation between the two except FRANCE: Everyone's shagging everyone, basically, right?

{Am considering doing a Films For People Who Can't Be Bothered to Watch Them review of La Collectionneuse in the same vein as the Claire's Knee one. But you should. Watch it I mean - it's good.}

Sunday, December 02, 2012


This is but a tenth of what I ate in November, as believe it or not, I don't Instaz every single thing I eat. Compared to what really went down, it looks positively virtuous. I have no pictures of the oysters, lobster and enormous ribeye steak smothered in bĂ©arnaise at Hawksmoor - in between the Connaught cocktails and Ruinart (now known simply as Ruin) champagne - and whatever it was I drank at the Dover Street Arts Club later that night - this is usually an indicator that I've had way too much to drink. If you see photos you know I'm fairly sober. Fairly.

So in no particular order: Cocktails at Hawksmoor Air Street, lemon chiffon cake from Handmade Food and magazines,  M. Jamon's Une Tranche and lentils with ham hock? Bacon chop? at 40 Maltby Street, autumn vegetables and goat's curd at Terroirs, lovely spread at London Particular, Handmade Food sausage roll and lentils, Nordic Platter at The Gantry, Connaught drinks, yummy, amazing food at Coya - bad photos, but trust me really amazing food, josper cooked chicken also at Coya, toast and jam at the Little Bread Pedlar, can't remember which soup at Handmade Food, much needed chicken pot detox at Rose Bakery/Dover Street Market where I then had an awkward queuing for the loo situation with Alexa Chung. Bad veggie sandwich (it's got bacon in it) at London Particular. Also not pictured: 3? 4? dinner parties (there's a strictly enforced rule that Claire is not allowed her phone at the table) and oh god, so much more.

And this is the reason I have gained 10lbs in one month. TEN POUNDS.