Wednesday 29 February 2012

Bill Cunningham, New York- preview at the Barbican

On Saturday afternoon I will be going to this screening at the Barbican of the new film about Bill Cunningham,the original street style photographer from New York.

I haven't seen the film yet so I can't review it yet but as someone who is hoping to get brave with their camera for an exciting project this should be perfect research.

**Edit- this film is utterly brilliant. Bill is a charming, fascinating and endearingly eccentric man who is consumed by his desire to record the beauty of clothes and street style. His professionalism and manners are beguling and I left wishing everyone could find a career that they loved so honestly. His existance is also a reminder to always leave the house looking good!**

Sunday 19 February 2012

Books: Pear Shaped

I am now the owner of a Kindle. As I said earlier today I do feel like I'm betraying books but I have also read more in the last week than I have the rest of the year so far- and that feels very good. I have made an oath that if I love a book I read on the Kindle book crack machine I will buy a physical copy of it- because it is nicer to read books whatever anyone says and if I love a book I will re read it. Also if you enjoy a book you want to spread the joy and lend the book to people and you can't do that with a download (and that my friends is worth remembering when we are paying the often cheaper online book price).

So this week I've been reading a delightful book called Pear Shaped by Stella Newman, writer, food writer and, I've learned, go to person for recipe and restaurant recommendations in London and New York.
Pear Shaped is about Sophie, a pudding developer (seriously, why don't the careers advisers at school tell you that is a real job) who is single and living in London

The book is primarily about dessert and love- with side orders of New York and London. To me this is all good, there are days and weeks when you need books like this. Books that make you smile, make you feel like you aren't the only one who has bad days at work, bad weeks at work, that tell you you aren't the only one who doesn't understand men or always do the right thing and heroines that sometimes eat toast for dinner- with added recommendations for puddings you've never eaten before (hello compost cookies, we need to meet).

Stella Newman writes a blog which features some of the delicious sounding food in Pear Shaped. You can read her blog here- though be warned you will want to start baking almost immediately.

Wednesday 15 February 2012


My wanderlust for a trip to Copenhagen is out of control at the moment and this guide to restaurants in Copenhagen by the chefs at Noma (from the Guardian) really hasn't helped.

I've never been to Copenhagen and despite having no trip booked I do periodically log on to the Noma website to see if there are tables- even for one- there never are. Ever.

I don't just want to go for the food though. I know I'm always saying it but I really do love Sweden and I want to visit the other countries of the north so much. The only thing is holiday does still in many ways say to me 'hot' and 'sun' and I don't think Copenhagen has any beaches for sun bathing or sun loungers for reading paperbacks of dubious literary quality. It does have (I imagine) fashion and Hammershoi (I know going to the Hammershoi house is probably the equivalent of going to the change of the guard but I don't care!) and jewellery shops and feelings of Nordic coolness. Plus everyone is so polite in countries that aren't here- where as here I now often feel has a lost a bit of soul (which is terribly sad and possibly just a current feeling- perhaps with some sun that will pass).

Until then- to the North!

Friday 10 February 2012

A woman's right to shoes

I've been asked quite a few times to play those games where you take pictures of your shoes but lots of my beloved shoes are actually in storage so the very high, car to bar or very flat but pastel suede coloured shoes will have to wait for another time.

This winter I am mostly wearing:

Marc Jacobs sale bargain flats- they look like Marc has been watching the scene with the Pearly Kings and Queen's in My Fair Lady to me and I love them- the point on a flat shoe is very flattering.

These riding boots are from Zara and have been my staple over the winter, leather keeps your legs lovely and warm and they go with everything. I think Zara shoes are very good value because you get actual leather shoes rather than the plastic you get for the same price point in lots of shops.

These Prada grey flats were a sale bargain this year (from lovely Liberty). I think grey is very flattering and have grey skinny jeans and grey opaques so these seemed like they'd work with lots of my outfits- that's my excuse anyway (justify, justify).

These petrol blue court shoes (they have a heel of about an inch) are from the Rupert Sanderson sample sale last summer. For some reason I'm obsessed with petrol blue this year the way I was with chartreuse green before (I have very sadly shrunk my favourite green shirt and cannot find a replacement- I really should dry clean things that say to). These are very comfortable and add a flash of colour to most outfits- I especially like them with a red dress I bought in Jaegar to keep toasty warm in.

In the less delicate category are these faux cowboy boot type ankle numbers from Accessorize. I saw them when I was having a general look around, they do have some hidden gems- they are made of very nice soft leather and were 70% off!

Finally these ankle boots are, believe it or not, from Marks and Spencers. They are very high (there's a built in platform) but bizarrely very comfortable and again they go with the grey obsession. They were in the sale too (there is a theme emerging here isn't there, buy shoes in the sale and you will be able to buy more shoes!).

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Skincare: Keep the Peace by Philosophy

Keep the Peace is a new range of skincare from Philosophy for those who suffer with redness and have sensitive skin.

I am a long term fan of Philosophy and when I visited America more I always came back with a cocktail cabinet full of their shower gels (Margherita is a particular favourite). I like their little sayings and affirmations- they can lift you on a grey Tuesday morning when all you have to look forward to is being shouted at by an angry client. I have never used their skincare before though (however I'm a long term fan of their make up remover which is very soothing for my extremely sensitive eyes which are irratated by most removers including all wipes that say they are for sensitive skin- so I have always been curious about their other products).

As I've said before I have very pale skin and as with all English roses I do tend towards redness. I also have sensitive skin which can be dry (and is very dry this winter, especially after the ice and snow this weekend). I also find I get dry skin when I'm stressed- which can be anytime of the year!

I don't usually use samples or kind offers of products in skincare precisely because my skin can become irratated easily and I try not to overload it or upset it! However I have always liked Philosophy and this sounded made for me, so I went for it.

The moisturiser smells lovely and is a light consistency (which I appreciate, products for sensitive skin can be heavy and this actually makes it worse- making a layer of moisture over the problem, not helping it). When first applied I found my skin became warm and a little red for a couple of minutes, this wasn't unpleasant but rather like applying one of those face masks you get in Europe (and Superdrug!) that are brightly coloured and warm your skin. That sensation goes very quickly and I was left with moisturised calm and softened skin.

I am lazy and can sometimes miss a day of moisturising, this product works far better if you do use it every day (because it is light) and if you do that it's very good indeed. I haven't had any reactions or problems and the dryness and redness have been better with this product than most others (I'm still quite devoted to Dr Haushka rose cream but it is heavy, especially in the summer, and can interfere with applying make up). So I'm very pleased and would genuinely recommend this to other pale reds like me.

NB. You will need to use another spf (that is also true of the Dr H and many sensitive products, I think sun block may be an irratant in itself as I usually find it isn't included in organic or sensitive products).

(Disclosure: I was given press samples of the moisturiser and mask in this range).

Tuesday 7 February 2012

The perfect afternoon tea

From Orange Pekoe- Tea Heaven in Sw13.


I am on only child.

If you are not an only child I suspect your default idea of me now is that I was spoilt, that I'm not very sociable and that I don't know how to share.

If you are an only, or a parent of one, you will feel differently I imagine. Like the child at a school who speaks with an accent on the first day the only and the only child's parents tend to over compensate for the above reactions (the child at school normally sounds local by day 3). So it was drummed into me as a child that I was spoilt (I was of course, most children are, but I was always told if I knew I was spoilt then I hopefully wouldn't be too insufferable); I went to an activity almost every day after school when it was unusual, to make sure I wasn't unsociable or awkward (that particular stereotype is especially silly as clearly the only child attends far more grown up parties and goes to far more events alone and therefore learns much earlier to bound in and say hello) and I come from a mostly happy family (anyone who says their family is perfect is fibbing in my opinion).

Still I find only children and sibling relationships fascinating. The love hate of siblings is something I don't understand at all, though I wish I could. Also, despite all the efforts above I do really enjoy, even crave, time on my own. Though saying that there are times when I feel like I am quite alone in a wider sense and that is sad, but I can sit in the house by myself or get lunch for on quite happily really. I do of course know only children who are the total opposite of me. I do also think as time goes on I am a bit more unusual than other people, rather quirky, but I might have been like that anyway.

The onlyness, which is how I think of it, is perhaps the reason I'm not good at making relationships last, I expect something fairytale even now. Onlys seem to be very work focused too and I'm not sure how healthy that is. I'm a very true and loyal friend and I imagine that's because I don't have brothers and sisters to worry about or care for and perhaps I project those feelings onto friends.

Still I don't know anything else and I embrace being an only- and one day I might write a guide book to prove we aren't weirdos!