Wednesday, November 30, 2011

xmas gift guide #2

How to endure Christmases when the childhood magic is very much a thing of the past? By mixing the best of what constitutes 'grown up' presents; silk underwear, muted block jumpers and skin cream with nostalgic stocking fillers of the past; those relentlessly amusing 'miracle fish' fortune tellers and vel-cro reflex watches. All whilst watching Grey Gardens on the sofa with a plateful of cold turkey sandwiches. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

Palm delight: Versace x H&M

I really never thought I'd lose my cool over the Versace for H&M collection. And now I say this like one half of a smarmy couple, holding hands across the table and retelling their dinner guests a 'Benedict and Beatrice' tale of the love that wasn't meant to be. When the collaboration was announced last year I took it in, but wasn't too affected, I was born too late to appreciate the Gianni heydays and have never been someone that into 'gloss' which is how I've always viewed Versace; gloss and gold and things outside of my domain. However Donatella threw a serious curveball by including a smattering of palm prints in the collection. And not just any old palm, not a hawaiian print, but one of those luscious House of Holland types, very particular and tropical with wide leaves that nod to Henri Rousseau and wave to Balenciaga S/S 2003. I've been unashamedly slobbering over such a print for a while and with no luck to be had on eBay or Etsy which is why when I actually had a little look through the Versace for H&M collection I was happy indeed and plumped for the tank and pleated skirt.

The parcel arrived this afternoon and my flatmate looked at me blankly while I stammered and ripped at the packaging before returning to Toby making some terribly inspiring point in a moral monologue on The West Wing. (Nanon watches West Wing so much that sometimes she'll make an excellent contribution in a seminar and then cringe upon realising that it came word-for-word from the lips of President Bartlett.) I scurried to my room. I've quickly assigned a 'favourite' title to the top which surprised me by being gorgeous and smooth and made 90% from merino wool and 10% from cashmere (ooh) as opposed to a plain stretchy jersey which I'd just assumed it would be. The skirt is also lovely with the tiny little gold clamps clinging onto the edge of each pleat and the absolutely brilliant crocodile print on the back of the skirt which was also completely unexpected. Overenthusiastic excitement over, I'm off to lounge beside a palm. While eating parma ham. And listening to Robert Palmer.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Happy Thanksgiving Statesiders!

I'm sort of bummed out that I won't be having the same blow-out Thanksgiving meal as last year which involved lots of hands, one 'genuine' American, 5 overly keen American Studies students and the usual turkey crisis but in the end 22 contented stomachs and sweaty elation that we'd pulled off such a banquet in a small student halls of residence kitchen. Still, the memorieez of my first Thanksgiving live on, I don't usually do 'here are my friends' style posts but these are some photographs because I have the loveliest, fondest memories from that night because it was imperfect in so many ways yet it reminds me of the beginning of lots of brilliant friendships, and over a plate laden with food is exactly where I think those should start.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

tennessee revelry

Lindsey Wixson hanging out in Tennessee car lots, in jazzy shades and roller skates!

Shot by Will Davidson for Oyster Magazine #95. Styling by Stevie Dance.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

xmas gift guide #1

Breakfast, Lunch and Tea: The Many Little Meals of Rose BakeryMarimekko x Comme Des Garcons striped top, Vintage Tortoiseshell Barrette, Zoe and Morgan Love Ring'Pillowtalk' lipstick, TopshopFortnum and Mason Turkish DelightToast tote bag.

I know for a fact that I am 'in the Christmas spirit.' I know it because instead of listening to music to 'get me in the mood' before going to see Aphex Twin on Friday night, I closed my bedroom door and listened to Mariah and Wham. And I thought of George soppily moping on that awful group skiing holiday and then I thought presents. While I fairly often think about the challenge that it must be for features writers at magazines to recreate the same articles each year, the obligatory Christmas Gift Guide is something I will never tire of. They are as exciting as those first whispers of 'Holidays are coming' on the Coca-Cola ads. And if you're lucky, they will come with pleasing titles like 'gifts for the foodie', 'gifts for the creative' or, because it's Christmas and that is when everybody wears sequins and boleros (regardless of the decade) there is also 'gifts for the glamourpuss' so that we may leaf through the pages and actually quite enjoy the self-categorisation depending on how we see ourselves.

Because I enjoy this whole process so much, like the rest of the world and his Uncle I'll be creating my own in the run-up to Christmas. It's not at all a sly ploy to suggest present ideas to my friends all in the name of 'helping other feel inspired' (it is.) Also as part of my eternal loyalty to frugality, I've tried to be mindful of mixing genuinely affordable products with those that are more treaty to avoid it all becoming a shameless fantasy and because saving a few pennies for some pretty ribbon to wrap them in is always nice.

Monday, November 21, 2011

todd selby for zara

Zara and Todd Selby know all about lifestyle envy. They know the components and they know which boxes to tick in order to seduce those who dream of classic gold jewellry and A-framed barns in Upstate New York, and even though I watch this film with knowledge of that manipulation, I still enjoyed 6 minutes of admiring Lucy Chadwick and her fluorescent tangerine toenails. I'm not sure that this video is 100% 'Zara' for me, I associate the brand more with sharper lines and high powered jobs than artists and time divided between the countryside and the city, and it's a little self conscious in places, but it's fun watching brands experimenting with what works as they branch out into different mediums of expressing their identities. 

[You can see more of Chadwick and Duffy in the Todd Selby archives from when they lived in London, or Lucy more recently on Backyard Bill in the late afternoon New York sunshine with her ballet dancer sister.] 

Sunday, November 20, 2011


On my mind: Peeking PVC skirts and dreary days in Hawaii.

If there is one thing that Winter is really great for, it is it's ability to take a mildly obscene item of clothing, add an obligatory pairing of woolly tights (hello high count dernier), some choice knitwear and instantly tone down the previous sex appeal of the object simply with the necessity of keeping warm. This girl snapped by Mr Newton presents a summery take on the idea with her sliver of pvc, but swap the bare legs, throw on a mohair jumper, (and keep those fantastic cat eye sunglasses) and it would be perfect.

Also occupying a small corner of my brain: Hawaii. Maybe it's connected to the fact that I can't stop thinking about pineapples (yes), but I think it's mostly because of these photographs taken by Erin from Calivintage which make me wish firstly that I own a drivers license and secondly a white jeep for cruising around the gawping at the waves. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011

tom waits on kathleen brennan

I love these two quotes from Tom Waits talking about his wife Kathleen Brennan. He eloquently and romantically describes his partner and collaborator and at the same time creates a template for the 'universal rad woman.' 

  "I'm Ingrid Bergman and she's Bogart. She's got a pilot's license, and she was gonna be a nun before we got married. I put an end to that. She knows about everything from motorcycle repair to high finance, and she's an excellent pianist. One of the leading authorities on the African violet. She's a lot of strong material. She's like Superwoman, standing there with her cape flapping."

"She's a shiksa goddess and a trapeze artist, all of that. She can fix the truck...she's outta this world...she's bold, inventive and fearless. That's who you wanna go in the woods with, right? Somebody who finishes your sentences for you."

Sunday, November 13, 2011

november wishlist

fluffy jumper, reality studio at topshopleather skirt, carvensignet ring, martin margielapurple stone ring, topshop, silver brogues, zarakiehls lip balmmetals by feist.

I've already mentioned that for me Winter is a time when a reliance on material objects that are that bit more luxurious becomes stronger. It is when the urge to go to Space NK and spend ludicrous amounts of money on pleasingly packaged beauty products reaches its peak (hello dry skin) and it also explains how a leather skirt from Carven worth over £500 has made it's way onto my wishlist. At the moment all I want are shameless and shiny items of clothing, grown up jewellery and simple outfits ideally involving mohair and leather. I feel myself developing an affinity with magpies, shiny items must simply be a developed coping mechanism from bygone winters. And quite appropriate when it comes to alloy-lust, Feist's new album 'Metals' has been on repeat in my bedroom while I ponder what defined masculinity and femininity in American antebellum slave culture and hammer out word after word in what feels like a never ending cycle of essay-dom.

Note Feist's awesomely outfitted backing singers, like folksy Rosie Riveters in peachy tops and the cool hand-in-pockets stance topped off by those bleached jeans! (Reminds me of these..)

Friday, November 11, 2011

happy corduroy day!

It's 11.11.11! The holiest day in the corduroy calendar. 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

what I wore

What I wore yesterday- my friend Nanon's grey school jumper (I find myself in a 'better late than never' school uniform habit at the moment with my Marks and Spencer pleated skirt also thrown into the mix) as well as my Marc by Marc Jacobs 'I Love You' charm (I'm sure most people who ever visited the cheapy Marc Jacobs store on Bleeker St in New York own it?) on a thin gold chain received from my Mum on my 16th birthday. I also found this 'so awful it's delightful' Paris signet ring in a drawer when I returned home last week. I'd completely forgotten about it and now I like to wear it closing my eyes and pretending that I am in fact wearing the Martin Margiela version that I've been hankering after. Yes..

I seem to have an increased interest in jewelry everytime winter comes around, it's one of those subconscious lusts that hits when Christmas is around the corner and when luxurious items are a million times more appealing; cashmere and puppies and perfume and piles of fluffy untouched snow all combining to create the ultimate seasonal dream with Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman romping in a corner somewhere (optional). 

winter fantasies

Jourdan Dunn, Joan Smalls and Hailey Clauson covering i-D Magazine Winter 2011. Simultaneously boosting my Christmas excitement (how can rollnecks, sports thermals, puffa jackets and the cosy title 'warm up' suggest anything else?) and looking like they've stepped straight out of the Bobbie Brown Teenage Beauty book I used to own, with nude faces and eyeshadowed lids and all-round healthy countenances. These three covers are winter fantasies-they're what the cold months would be if central heating didn't try skin out. As the 'Winter Warm Up' issue it's also packed full of feel-good mantras Jane Fonda would be proud of, imploring exercise, endorphins and toothy grins. "Keep it loose and breathe deeply!" "Early to bed, early to rise, keeps you healthy, happy and wise!" Whether this well intended tone is put into practice or treated as a voyeuristic calorie burner there is one thing we can all agree on, I'm sure. Jourdan's eyebrows. Those eyebrows..

Wednesday, November 09, 2011


A five day break back home in Bristol was just what I needed. The mid-term University fatigue has kicked in, with a piling workload and seasonal colds synchronizing for minimal production. But catching up with my Mum, eating well, wrapping up for the huge bonfire on Bonfire Night (which ended up looking eerily like some sort of 'villagers come out to witness witch burning' ritual with the vast circular crowd surrounding the fire), going to Mark's Bread on Saturday morning for a french stick warm from the oven and enjoying the late afternoon pink light from my garden were some of the simple pleasures which have energized me now that I'm back in Manchester and balking at the combined work count of my essays with 'I'm His Girl' by Friends playing on a reassuring loop.

Saturday, November 05, 2011

bonfire night!

red beanie, alexa chung for madewell, metallic nail varnishfur trimmed mittens and spotty jumper all topshop.

 It's bonfire night! Tis a night for warming your face right up close to the flames, gobbling hog roasts and toffee apples and swaddling yourself in knitwear while you 'ooh' and 'ahh' over the fireworks. I really, really love bonfire night and I'm home in Bristol to celebrate by doing all of the above in the park next door to my house. 

Thursday, November 03, 2011

on rotation

1. Jumper, River Island. Dress, secondhand. 2. Le Monde top, Zara. 3. Parka, Urban Outfitters.
4. Shirt, Urban Outfitters 5. Top, Zara. School skirt, Marks and Spencer. 6. Snakeskin shirt, denim shorts and Birkenstocks all secondhand.

Some items I've had on seri-ous rotation recently. Serious rotation as in verging on a "is there nothing else to wear?" crisis but for now still in positive territory. During my stay in London last week I met up with Charlie from Urban Outfitters and was allowed to choose a few items. The old 'like a child in a sweet shop' idiom may be cliched but in this case it is wholly appropriate. Afterwards I padded quietly out of the shop, mentally executing a self defence strategy to deal with the security guard I was sure would pounce at any moment and wrestle me to the floor. Luckily all was okay and I managed to avoid any Peaches Geldof shoplifting skurmishes (haw haw haw). Instead I left with a couple of pairs of boots to fill my wardrobe's shoe void, a pretty lace bra, a shirt and a big parka coat which has been sheltering me from the Manchester chill since.

 Also getting lots of wear is my Le Monde top from (who'd have thought?) Zara. It hangs so well which is something of increasing importance these days as my boobs have jumped a cup size in the last year and I've learnt about the daily trials of maintaining any sign of silhouette. (Don't even get me started on wearing knitwear) I've been wearing it lots to seminars, tucked into my Marks and Spencer school skirt or with simple black Topshop jeans and Birkenstocks.

On a final note, it's taken me this long to realise the joys of the coat hood. 20 years! Why has it only just clicked? But during a relentless period of rain last month in Manchester (about 10 days!) it was my saving grace against the downpour and also a cosy insulator which is particularly welcomed as I'm not a hat person at all. The parka count is steadily increasing around Manchester University, the sea of khaki green is reaching laughable levels. At first I wondered if it had been added to a 'must have' list of items distributed to Freshers along with reading lists, a sort of 'You're in Manchester now, so make like Ian Brown, FAST!' conspiracy, but now I understand, we all know about the powerful warmth of the parka hood.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

tis the season

While waiting for my train at the station earlier I had a little mosey at the magazines in Smiths and was bowled over by the Vogue UK December issue in all it's glossy glory. A sexy head-to-toe shot of Gisele as the bearer of the news "Tis the Season!", this is exactly what I want from a Christmas cover; 90% glamour, 10% tackiness in that early noughties, Carrie Bradshaw sort of way. If it's Christmas, I want balloons and metallics and something that screams 'party!' with a nod to vaguely trashy decadence. Hurrah!