Thursday 28 May 2009

Florence and the Machine

If you can get a ticket for Florence and the Machine at The Bloomsbury Ballroom tonight do. I went last night and it's a great venue- intimate but Art Deco.

This is my second time of seeing her and I still think Florence has the most amazing voice. Her cover version of You've Got the Love by Candi Statton just works so damn well- 100% satisfaction guaranteed every time.

Wednesday 27 May 2009

Ticket for one

I found myself at the cinema on a very grey evening with my plans to see Cheri cancelled.

I was disappointed, I had been wanting to see the film for weeks. So I decided that I may as well just go and see the film. So I was on my own, so what? I was already here, it was five minutes to the film, they had Ben and Jerry's chocolate fudge brownie- surely it would be wrong not to go.

I have been to films on my own before but not often. A very unscientific straw poll of what people (well my friends) think about this was interesting. It was those who have a noticeably wide group of friends but who are also fiercely independent who think going to films and plays alone is very liberating and very enjoyable (not all the time I hasten to add). When I think about it it was those who are rarely alone and would admit to finding it difficult to spend time alone who thought it was strange and even sad.

I really enjoyed Cheri and when I think about it those films I have seen alone, whether because of circumstance like that day or from choice (because none of my girl friends are wild about Tarantino) have all been ones I have felt a particular connection to.

When I was younger I would never have gone to see that film on my own. When my friend cancelled, even though I was already there I would have gone home I'm sure. Now that I'm older I thought 'I'm going anyway' and I'm glad I did.

That's not to say I would always want to go alone, it's not as fun beforehand picking food and it's definitely not as fun afterwards not having someone to compare quotes with or re tell jokes to. I don't think you would go to see the latest blockbuster on your own but some films are much better in the cinema and if it's something I want to see I'm going to make myself go on my own sometimes if no one wants to come.

Wednesday 20 May 2009

Light headed

Driving past the Wolesley late one evening we all remarked on the doormen with bowler hats and lamented the loss of the bowler hat in society generally.

I know they can be seen on Pete Doherty and others but I mean the loss of them on rotund city workers in pinstripe suits. I love a top hat too but there is something about the bowler.

I have always meant to have a bowler artfully hanging over one side of my dressing table mirror and never quite gotten round to it.

Now my new favourite thing to want when (if I ever) have my own place is a row of these fabulous lamps from innermost which I saw in this Saturday's Telegraph magazine.

Normally I don't go for anything comic in interior design but I think the bowler is a true design classic, like the mini, that even if it's no longer used in everyday life should still be seen because it brings a smile to people's faces. Well mine. I want one. And a flat please.

Tuesday 19 May 2009

By Redo: Chembur

By Redo's Chembur has taken my a little while to pin down but I'm starting to feel I have. It is part gourmand with very pronounced ginger and lemon notes and part sexy, with the animalic pull of musk and amber at it's core.

The By Redo website says Chembur was originally a picnic spot outside Mumbai. I admit that I have an overly romantic side which is particularly brought out by perfume- but it isn't just romance that makes me think this scent is a transporter. Much as L'heure Bleu takes me to a 1920's Paris I can have no hope of knowing Chembur takes me to grass, next to water with an enormous, unmistakable Indian palace behind it. Now I have never been to India so I don't know if such a scene is total fantasy but I don't think it actually really matters- this scent takes me to somewhere my mind longs for me to go to- and if I can't get there this is the next best thing.

The official notes for Chembur are:

Top: Bergamot, Lemon, Elemi
Mid: Ginger, Temple Incense, Nutmeg
Base: Labdanum, Amber, Musk

I would say that order doesn't necessarily give a full picture of the scent on my wrist as I type. The lemon is very pronounced and very like the tingling lemon of Chembur's perfume cousin Gypsy Water. The bergamot continues to give that cerebral, calming aspect only it can even in the dry down and the ginger is very pronounced. Were it not for the amber (which I think is the most detectable of the base notes) and the incense which is used with a light touch this fragrance would be just like an aromatherapy spritz.

By Redo don't seem to suggest whether their scents should be for a man or woman- but neither do they make a fuss about their scents being unisex. This can and should be worn by women, both for themselves as it is a wonderful mix of the calming and stimulating and for others because it could be something of a conversation starter. However I think Chembur would be devastatingly good on the right man- and one who doesn't necessarily hold pack with the atomiser as the lasting power is not it's best feature (which isn't something I have found with the other fragrances in the line). Sometimes I like to really notice what a person is wearing and this is one scent you shouldn't be shy to let loose.

Monday 18 May 2009

The new London Evening Standard

I think it probably comes as no surprise that I am an Evening Standard fan and was very grateful when it was saved. I know not everything was good about it but an awful lot was and is. I like having a proper newspaper for London that deals with issues for London.

Now I read the free London papers as much as the next person but they are not really something to read as your only source of news, arts or anything. They do what they are designed for very well- occupying ten to fifteen minutes on the bus/ tube/ waiting to meet someone. I would not go home and read one like I would the Standard. Neither have they been part of the fabric of London life for- well forever in my lifetime and probably for most people's. I remember loving reading my Father's Standard when he had got the train home from work- because it seemed so cosmopolitan and chic to a little girl in Surrey who was very wide eyed about London and how everything that happened there was either terribly important or terribly cool- and often both.

So last week I decided to buy the Standard every day instead of just when I needed something to read on a journey or wanted the supplement. One week in to the new London Evening Standard and I am thoroughly enjoying it I have to say. Although I don't suppose the real positivity about London can or always should last I think the idea that it's on London's side again is obvious.

I loved the Paddington bear story on Tuesday which I can't find on their website but which was touching but never sickly and really brought a smile to my face. After a long, hard day of work Paddington bears thoughts on nice days out in London and why he's come to feel at home here were like a hug and a bottomless cup of tea.

I also liked this piece by Simon Jenkins slightly changing Dr Johnson's thoughts and saying the point of earning money is to live in London- and that is why people continue to live here and work hard to do so. I totally agree with him.

So far, so good. I have been happy to part with 50p each evening and hope I will continue to be.

Sunday 17 May 2009

Bags of style

Earlier in the year I lamented the lack of handbags that I liked, even in the category of bags I can't afford but would love if I won the lottery.

Back then I got a slouchy worn black/ grey bag from All Saints which has been great.

Now I keep seeing bags I want, ones in the vaguely affordable category and in the not so. I think I might be finally seeing why people lust after bags the way they lust after shoes.

Here are my current winners:


Fendi (at Net-a-porter)

Ally Capellino



I think the Ally Capellino wins (in brown) for weekends. The Reiss bag is really stylish for the price- I'd love it black for work suit days and white for relaxed summer days.


The blog is having a little spring clean and a touch of clarity- I'm trying to have fewer labels and the colours are a bit stronger. I hope you like it.

Sunday 10 May 2009

Geranium Pour Monsieur- first thoughts

I managed to get a spritz of the new Frederic Malle scent Geranium Pour Monsieur as I flew through Liberty yesterday evening.

I have only my memories of the scent in the air and the dry down on my hands but my first reaction was- mint! sweet mint with the expansive quality of eucalyptus and the freshness of soap. As the scent dries down the minty soap is mingled with the earthy, even slightly sultry scent of geranium that I can see leads you towards a fougere (this is apparently a kind of fougere update).

I think I would wear this and I think I would be very interested in a man who did. It's like a bespoke Saville Row suite on a beautifully turned out avante garde artist or actor. Very good- and very more- ish.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Your blog is f*^£k&?" Fabulous

How lovely to be able to return and find I have been given an award with a pretty fabulous name by the ever lovely Cassandra who writes Jacob Wrestling (a blog name so good I wish I had come up with it).

So the rules are:

1. You have to pass it (the award) on to 5 other fabulous blogs in a post.

2. You have to list 5 of your fabulous addictions in the post.

3. You must copy and paste the rules and the instructions below in the post. (easy Below)

Instructions: On your post of receiving this award, make sure you include the person that gave you the award and link it back to them. When you post your five winners, make sure you link them as well. To add the award to your post, simply right-click, save image, then “add image” it in your post as a picture so your winners can save it as well. To add it to your sidebar, add the “picture” widget. Also, don’t forget to let your winners know they won an award from you by emailing them or leaving a comment on their blog.

Well I'm going to do the second thing first. My 5 fabulous addictions are:

1) Virtually all the blogs on my blog roll (please check them out, they are an eclectic mix but I try not to include anything I don't find myself coming back to again and again- although some post more than others because I imagine they are busy bloggers).

2) Perfume. Obviously- I also LOVE watching strangers and picking scents for them. I could dream away hours on trains or in cafes doing this. I have a whole cupboard (albeit one that fits on top of a chest of drawers) filled with bottles of scent from the £5 to the... erm more... and I obsessively box all my samples and keep lists of them. You can be geeky about virtually anything if you try hard enough can't you?

3) Strawberry milk and prawn cocktails crisps. I know it sounds like a very strange- and very pink- hangover cure but it works every time- so it's my Saturday and Sunday morning addiction (note to self I will not get thinner if I keep having the pink breakfast).

4)Murder mysteries. I know they're sad but I don't care. Joan Hickson as Miss Marple is a goddess of the crime drama world and no one can get close to her in my opinion (and ITV please stop making those awful Marples... they are criminal and not in a good way, Agatha would not approve).

5)Magazines. At the moment I just don't seem to be able to stop myself. There is something about turning the first page of a fresh magazine that isn't comparable. This is particularly true of a really beautiful magazine- although some like Lula are too delicious and I fear I will spoil them and end up trying not to bend the spine as if they were a first edition. I fantasise about having my own magazine- because although I love the blog you can't take it in the bath and get it wet can you, or read with your legs up in the air, access it on a long haul flight or twist and turn it as you want. Most of all though you can't cut out the pictures, recipes and articles you love and put them in a folder for later.

So onto the blogs I am making awards for being fabulous to. They are (in no particular order).

Firstly Perfume Shrine for loads of reasons. It's one of the first blogs I found and loved, it's really well written but it's always enjoyable and most of all it's wonderful to find people as passionate about perfumes as I am.

Also to A Novice Novelist which is great blog by a writer preparing her first novel. She talks about creating the novel but also life as it happens around it. I found this blog totally by chance and just really Jayne's writing style and natural humour. She brightens up my days with the little things in life she notices.

I am also a long time fan of Scent of Abricots. Jenavira finds really interesting pictures and writes really well about fragrances and what they mean to her or do for her. I also like that she always writes about her scent of the day- because I am naturally very nosey and love finding out what other people are wearing (I'm wearing Jo Malone French Lime Blossom today by the way!)

Notes from the Ledge is a particular favourite. It features unusual scents and often discusses topics I wouldn't have thought of, it really gets me thinking.

Finally The Daily Connoisseur always brightens my day; it's sunny, always classy and elegant.

Questioning and exclaiming

I am so tired of receiving e-mails that are overflowing with question marks.

I think I was born about seventy years too late because I am one of those people who finds bad manners and bad punctuation genuinely upsetting (although that is not to say I am not guilty of both at times, I am of course allowed to be!).

If I receive one more e-mail saying how are you???? Or asking me if I know the location of something (???) or why someone has heard from someone (?????) I am actually going to e-mail back and say that when asking a question in a sentence one question mark is sufficient, unless you are asking something very serious... for example ‘what time are you coming over?’ only needs one question mark, where as the question ‘have you seen the alien space ship over the Thames???’ might justifiably have several question marks after it (although I personally would always say less is more with question marks).

I am constantly being barked out by both clients and people I am client too with very aggressive use of the question mark and I wonder when this started being okay? (?????)

There is also the fact of misuse of question marks. People often put a question mark at the end of what is clearly not a question sentence. For example 'I heard you had good weather?'. I think the misuse gets to me even more and has my inner spinster English teacher in tweeds almost leaping out of my chest, alien style (not that there is anything wrong with her- I might be her eventually so I try and cherish her) to snap a ruler over the author's knuckles and tell them that that is not correct use of the question mark!!! (For some reason over use of exclamation marks doesn't bother me nearly as much!)