Monday 30 November 2009

Your favourite animated Disney film

I was very excited to hear my current music obsession Mumford and Sons covered ‘Not in Nottingham’ from Disney’s Robin Hood carton on Zane Lowe’s Radio One show last week. You can listen here for 2 more days!

Robin Hood was always my favourite Disney film as a child- which I recall my friends thought a little strange as it wasn’t the most well known. It used to be very hard to get Disney videos and dvds which made a TV screening of any of their films terribly thrilling- but a Robin Hood showing was extra exciting to me. I seem to remember it often being on at Christmas and Easter and how excited I was every time the Bear Little John started singing at the beginning of the film. I adored Robin the fox but really it was Prince John the Lion that made me giggle as a child- and if I am totally honest as a much bigger child-adult studying the Crusades I really could never get the image of the silly cartoon Prince John whose crown didn't fit versus the cartoon King Richard, with his billowing lion mane and grand robes, out of my head when we did Richard the Lionheart and the Third Crusade.

Luckily for many parents the world over- and some grown-up kids- Disney now make their back catalogue far easier to come by so I can watch Robin Hood whenever I feel like it- and around this time of year my head does turn to family films and regressing. So some time before Christmas- or maybe on Boxing Day- there will be a big kid with Christmas pyjama’s on singing 'ooh de lally, ooh de lally , golly what a day' to herself while she wraps/ cleans up.

What’s your favourite animated Disney film?

(Picture from Amazon).

Thursday 26 November 2009

(Red) rubber soul

Have I been very slow on the uptake? Are these red rubber soles for Louboutin's not one of the best ideas you have seen (in a shoe context)?

I am very lucky to own a couple of much treasured pairs of these shoes- saved for and bought in sales. I have to say I haven't bought any for a couple of seasons, as their popularity has increased my ability to find any in a very normal 38 or 39 has diminished. Still I have a much adored, now old enough to possibly even be called vintage, pair of purple suede boots whose soles are losing their ravishing redness- these soles seem the perfect way to put the swing back in their- and therefore my- step. I'm ordering a pair. Hopefully I will be proved very right.

Wednesday 25 November 2009

Merry Recession Christmas cards

Merry Recession Christmas cards.

They're funny and they are using their humour to help people at Christmas.

Found via Found it. Loved it..

Monday 23 November 2009

Rainy day perfumes

As I stood staring at the perfume shelf this morning I wondered, what is the best scent to wear when it’s constantly raining? Lots of scents smell of rain, or try to anyway, but few work well in the kind of typical English weather we are having at the moment.

Truthfully all I can smell most of the time at the moment is damp clothes, or clothes drying on the radiator and getting that slight burnt toast quality. I had a long, glorious bath yesterday and in some way hot baths filled with the kind of healthy, lung expanding scent of pine are the only thing I’m interested in at the moment.

Still I tend to feel most things in life are improved by a good perfume and that must surely include heavy rain- for I can certainly think of lots of scents that are charming in light, showery rain- so there must be some that are wonderful under heavy grey skies filled with buckets of angry tears.

There isn’t a perfume I love to wear when everyone and everything smells of bad dog- not very many of them ‘do well’ in those conditions. Today I decided the best bet would be something with a good dose of warming, mood enhancing, wintry oils and thought Nuit De Noel would be the best choice. Thinking on it more the more contemporary the scent the less well suited it seems to be to inclement weather- so many modern scents have a heavy dose of calone or want to be terribly ethereal and whispering and on a day like today you need a scent that is going to speak up for itself, not to be overbearing but to be quietly confident and assertive. Nuit de Noel is just that- but what else would work- would warm you up but not react badly with the damp wool smell which will inevitably prevail if you leave the house for more than a split second?

No Wet, No Cold picture from

As heard on the south bank on Friday evening:

Girl 1: but I don’t feel I’ve achieved anything in my life, you’ve done so much, you do so many things, go to so many places, I never do anything

Girl 2: but you have a boyfriend so none of that matters

Girl 3 (me): sad face

Friday 20 November 2009

Button me up

The perfect buttons for a London lover- and perhaps a good stocking filler. I am toying with the idea of using these to customise a navy cardigan, sweater or coat- they'd be cute on a bag too!

Made by Cream Rose available from All things Original.

Thursday 19 November 2009

Last minute dress

I had to look business smart with literally no notice earlier this week. I found this dress in the ever reliable Marks and Spencer (although on me it is not this short). For that moment in time I couldn't have loved them more. This was just right and only £45.

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Flat out

I have alluded to the fact that I spend a great deal of my time striding around London like one Jane Austen's heroines before (heroine in the sense that I too am ruddy of complexion after walking from the south bank to the city and also in the sense that it's because I am too poor to have the carriage/ taxi all the time).

Now while I'm a heel lover- and wearer- sense and flats shoes have to prevail a lot of the time or I wouldn't be reaching any of my destinations very quickly.

I am also a lover of all shoes and think there is no less art in a flat shoe- in fact a flattering flat shoe is something I will always pay for. I can talk myself out of bright pink stilettos- don't need 'em (well much)- but perfect, low cut, dainty flats- gotta have 'em. I need them. I might NEVER see their like again.

For some time I have been wearing Jigsaw flats from last winter that are so perfect I did what I always say I will do and never do do- I bought two pairs. Sadly both have now seen better days on account of our temperate climate forcing near constant wear and my marching about probably putting them through multiple marathons- they have done extremely well but I can't keep asking them to go on or they will be lost forever and I want to keep them as they really are perfect and as comfortable as slippers.

So the quest for more has begun. In earnest. Rupert Sanderson has some delectable brogues which I can't copy to show you but are here and are lovely, dainty yet fashionable. I need them. In all the colourways. I can't really have them- though they do have very good sales at his shop.

For now, until the sales, I have bought some pleather flats that are hurting my feet and am begging the cobbler to perform magic on the Jigsaw shoes. Why didn't I buy 3 pairs? 4 pairs?

Monday 16 November 2009

Nails: faking them and breaking them

I notice hands- and feet. I am always more attracted to a man with nice hands- which can mean anything really. I was going to say lovely clean hands but actually that isn’t true because hands covered in paint or ink are attractive. Hands that are used are so interesting as well I think- where they have been defined by muscle from their work or because they are so delicate and therefore appropriate to their work- be it playing an instrument, writing, manual work, intricate work.

We use our hands so much but I'm not sure we always treat them as well as we should.

So nails and what to do with them- it's not a weighty subject but tending to nails, like waxing, takes up far too much of a woman's time and I wish someone would just invent a method of making them always look neat and lovely forever.

I have just had my first ever set of somewhat false nails soaked in acetone and filed with an electrical device to get them off. They weren't the long scary, square kind. They were tasteful gels and were the length of my own nails- a millimetre or two of white only. I thought these were going to be a wonderful idea, goodbye to nail whitening pencils and re- touching every couple of days. Hello to always pretty hands. Not so, hello to strange peeling after just two days and no way to neaten it. Really should I have anything on me that needs removing with acetone and an electrical device (that looks and sounds like it came from the dentist) voluntarily? I'm not sure I should.

In truth what I think is nicest is really lovely, plain hands with no polish at all. Unfortunately it cannot be denied that neat hands and nails look nicer and a manicure makes your hands look better- unless you have stunning hands- and who does really. In fact I quite like my hands, but that only makes it worse- because they are quite nice they should be made the most of.

Americans are far ahead of us on this- the manicures over there really do last about 5 days. I have never had one here- including the scary removal with implements and chemicals one, that lasted more than 3 days. I can do my own manicures that last 3 days- but I don't have time.

So my hands are back to being quite English again. My lovely, real nails are just painted with some nude pink varnish and they will have to stay that way until someone invents the nail equivalent of electrolysis- although does electrolysis really work or am I just telling myself it does and that one day it will be mine to stop me from going mad as I shave/ wax/ pluck away?

Friday 13 November 2009

Santa baby

Put a Coffee + Tea Maker designed by Naoto Fukasawa under the tree- for me.

Pictures and coffee and tea maker from the Design Museum shop.


I'm obsessed with the Vionnet dresses worn by Carey Mulligan and Hilary Swank recently. Just obsessed. I know they wore them a week or more ago now but the normal acceptance that I can't have gowns worn on the red carpet just won't kick in. I want them, very much. Indeed.

For more on Vionnet past and present and for these pictures go to Grazia Daily here. There's also an exhibition of Madeleine Vionnet's work on in Paris here. Sigh.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

To the unknown warrior

I remember you.

I will go on remembering you. I wear my poppy with pride and think of you and every one of your fellow soldiers every time I adjust it.

I think you of you every time I see the cold stone of the war memorials, whether they are laden with flags and flowers as they are now or when they are bare but standing tall watching over us all.

I think of my great Grandfather, who I never knew. He was lucky enough to come back, but permanently scared, unable to breathe properly for the rest of his days but no doubt grateful for every half a breath.

I think of both my Grandfathers, Uncles and cousins who fought in the next war- the one after the war that was supposed to end all wars- and would never speak of what they saw. I think of my Grandmothers too, bombed out, bravely waiting, hoping and fighting in their own way. I think of the time they missed with each other and the consequences. I think of my friends who are fighting now, for a war they probably don’t believe in but who would never say so.

I remember you all.

Tuesday 10 November 2009

Bright Star

I saw Bright Star, the new film about the relationship between Jon Keats and his neighbour Fanny Brawne this weekend. It is absolutely beautiful. I don't fully know what to write about it that would explain except to say it makes the most of the medium it is made in- and as such it is a film to be watched, every frame, every detail. For all that it is about a man who expressed himself so enchantingly through words the joy of Bright Star is precisely in it's filmic qualities; the stroking of a cat, the tapping of a wall, the falling of snow, the sound of laboured breathe, the fluttering wings of butterflies.

I found the director Jane Campion's production scrapbook online- which is the Bright Star website. I think it's captivating, the images are fascinating and delicate and offer a way through a side window into the film without taking away any of it's magic.

From the programme at the dance.

Ben Whishaw's notes

All images from the Bright Star website here. Except Keats and Fanny in the woods from the London film festival website here and Keats and Fanny in the house from The Observer here

Monday 9 November 2009

Travelling souls

I stood on a very crowded northbound Piccadilly line train last week with my head phones in and my cross face on. I was feeling grumpy about the lady who was insisting on crouching down next to me for no obvious reason and had her head in my back and the guy next to me who kept shifting about and saying sorry for bashing me- don't be sorry just stand still I thought.

I don’t know if it was my exposure to the mystical, magical and very friendly Cornish coast recently or the wise words of Marcus Mumford in my ears but as the train driver announced that mind the doors didn’t mean hold the doors my agitation completely subsided. I realised that the tube I was on was carrying hundreds of souls and that they were probably all as difficult to know anything about from looking at their outer shell as mine was. Of course they all hated being pressed up so closely, the lady probably didn’t mean to have her head in my back and the man didn’t mean to bash me or he wouldn’t keep apologising. I felt lots of love for the hot, sweaty tube too- for carrying us to our destinations safely- so many important hearts and minds- even if those hearts or minds were only important to one other living thing- hurtling along those dark, Victorian tunnels.

These thoughts aren’t especially original. Of course it stands to reason that you cannot judge a book by his cover or a woman by her shoes. Likewise although the tube it’s at once hot and harbouring the most chilling arctic winds; it’s often closed and somewhere you might like to leave your sense of smell at the ticket barriers, it really is what gets most of the city moving to the pubs, gigs, cinemas, fancy and not so fancy restaurants, to work, home, to friends and even to far away lands. It carries us through ancient earth as it carried our ancestors before us and it will probably carry on carrying people long after us, even if it will most likely still be mostly closed all of the weekend…

Poster above from the London Transport Museum shop here.

Sunday 8 November 2009

Books vs Cigarettes

I'm reading Books and Cigarettes by the indescribably wonderful George Orwell.

At the beginning of the piece George Orwell tries to calculate the worth of his books. What struck me, what I wanted to post about, was the fact that he didn't include paperbacks! I suspect that in Mr. Orwell's day they must have been rarer or printed later but I was still so surprised- especially in the context of my recent post about only needing paperbacks to be happy- well in terms of books anyway.

George Orwell is perhaps the writer I admire above all others, especially in terms of style. He says nothing that does not need to be said and his every word, whether he is writing fiction or articles, is necessary; it's as if he's writing for me. If he didn't feel that paperbacks counted then perhaps virtually my entire book collection doesn't count. That probably isn't what he means though, I'm sure it's just a change in the times- but that's interesting in itself isn't it- that it's really such a luxury to buy a hard back nowadays- certainly for my friends and peers anyway.

The book is bliss by the way, of course; it's ideal to carry in case of extended waits for buses or friends as it's a slim volume of joy and it would be a fantastic stocking present if your mind, like mine, had turned towards parcels and you know what.


Thursday 5 November 2009

Paperbacks and postcards- An Education

An Education is a British film in every sense. Set in the early sixties with a screenplay by Nicky Hornby based on a memoir by the journalist and writer Lynn Barber. It is a dramatic film but with a lightness of touch. I had been anticipating it’s release ever since I saw some stills of the cast in costume but confess I thought it might be a triumph of style over substance initially- I was happily surprised.

Lynn Barber’s character, here called Jenny and played by Carey Mulligan, attends a private girl’s school in Twickenham. Somewhere that now feels more like London than the suburbs but back in the early sixties, in a Britain that was closer to the second world war version than the free love one we think of, Twickenham must have felt as far from London as the moon.

The film raises lots of issues. I suppose one of those is just how long the war had an effect on everyday lives; Jenny’s parents live in it’s shadow and perhaps as a consequence live somewhat vicariously through their only, beloved daughter.

For me, as the first in my family to attend University despite not being the brightest, most intelligent person in my family by some way, it reminded me just how recently it is that anyone, especially any female, could think of going to University whether for financial or other reasons- and really what a privilege it is.

I enjoyed all of the performances. Carey Mulligan is rightly being highly praised- perhaps it’s the benefit of being mostly unknown, although I don’t think so, she really ‘is’ Jenny- and she makes her likeable despite effectively being a very self- absorbed teenage girl. However this is an excellent ensemble cast with Alfred Molina and Emma Thompson being particularly pitch perfect in their roles, Thompson is suitably terrifying without being one dimensional and Molina is heartbreaking at times. I must say too that Rosamund Pike not only gets the pick of the beautiful costumes but she is very funny!

I wouldn’t wish to give anything away but there is an exchange between Jenny and her English teacher- played, again very sweetly and deftly, by Olivia Williams- later in the film which has stayed with me. Jenny remarks on how lovely her teacher’s things are and I suppose she is seeing her teacher as a person for the first time- and seeing how similar their tastes are. Jenny’s teacher replies that all her books and pictures are ‘postcards and paperbacks’ with a sigh and Jenny replies ‘that’s all you need’. Really it’s true paperbacks and postcards- and blogs and certainly tickets to the cinema- especially to see absorbing films like this- can feed your soul as much as beautifully presented hard backed volumes or oil paintings on your wall.

Picture from Wikipedia here.