Sunday, 31 August 2008

Barbara Munsel

Almost beyond exquisite, I found these on the incomparable Susie Bubble blog, I just had to show them. Check out Barbara Munsel for your self

Friday, 29 August 2008

School uniform

Well now Daisy is starting her life as a sixth former she is no longer required to wear a school uniform, or is she? Had she enrolled at the boy's grammar she would be required to wear a jacket with smart clothes. The girls grammar is less draconian and allows 'smart dress' with a relaxed dressed down Friday. So I faced the dreaded shopping frenzy that was required to attire my daughter, giving her enough scope to look smart but yet have enough variety to enable her to look unique each and every day. That would be the Holy Grail then.
I did ask weather she would consider wearing her uniform for another 2 years, after all, that would be unique, sadly the idea was dismissed. So off we went to shop, oh lucky, lucky me. After half an hour in Next we realised that maybe H&M would give us more choice, an hour and a half later with NO air conditioning we left with 5 outfits, and nearly £150 poorer. Ouch.
Kitty, fired up by years of watching What Not to Wear and 10 Years Younger set herself the challenge of dressing Daisy, in what, let's face it, is another uniform, all be it less rigid in colour. The outfit Daisy put together was more appropriate for a school prom, so I introduced the idea of wearing one weird and wonderful piece together with something more sober, such as a plain cardie. Daisy likes to mix up a LOT of patterns and prints with beads and bangles so we have tamed her a little bit and if she plans the night before she should be good to go. If she wings it in the morning she will be lucky to make it to school by lunch time, trust me I know the pain.
One item of clothing that remains very elusive for Daisy are trousers, she is 5'3 and very curvy, the papers are full of various styles non of which really work except skinny jeans which are not smart enough. Why is it so hard to find a well fitting pair of trousers?

Thursday, 28 August 2008


My dream house, I wish...Emin says's when ever I come home from a good holiday I mope about sighing aimlessly. The Island was very beautiful and only Kitty was keen to return as she always gets very homesick. I can honestly say this place is wonderful, and after a week you just never want to go home. The climate is perfect. clear blue skies not too hot at 27 degrees daily. The whole Island was beautiful with just the one hotel.

Many gardens had these lovely columns which line the roof gardens and courtyards. The island does get it's fair share of rain so it was very green and lush.

Beautiful flora and fauna.

A new hat. I did not pack much and did begin to miss some parts of my wardrobe. I took bright colours but actually the sartorial feel of the place is nautical stripes because of the Marco Polo influence. It is rumoured that he was born a few islands further up. My favourite " I want that" was a red and cream heavy Jersey cotton striped skirt, heavily gathered calf length. Sadly n a woman not for sale. The best dress I saw shopping was so tiny the size L did not even fit Daisy. It was a navy and cream stripe wrap dress. Sometimes life can be sooo unfair.

fabulous pomegranates. I saw a lot of these as well as olives, apples, pears and grapes.

The chapel.
Perched high on a hill was this beautiful little chapel in the islands only cemetery. All the graves seemed to get regular posies placed on them.

All the old doorways were a beautiful green. It was apparently the only colour other than white they were allowed to use.

This beautiful church rang it's bell on the hour and every half hour, by hand, I grew to love the sound and looked forward to it everyday.

Old rooftops.

A view of the hotel, which was a series of tall houses so that it blended in to the scenery.

More delicious pomegranates. We have eaten some really lovely food over the 2 weeks. I particular the seafood was amazingly fresh and well cooked. I did miss my mugs of tea however. I never drink tea abroad because different water makes it taste strange, so I stick to coffee. I also missed marmalade on toast. The local jam was horrid. Oh and the wine was delicious too. Both White and Red which they drink with ice. I was particularly enamoured with cherry brandy which they mix with white wine like a Kir.

The pool and bay at night. The seas was better than the pool the only draw back was it was littered with Sea Urchins.I managed to swim most days whilst the girls preferred to lark about in the pool. I have a handsome collection of Sea Urchin shells wrapped and ready for school.

The ferry, being on the island you lived your life by the ferry timetable. It went to two other islands plus Dubrovnik. 4 times a day.

The view from the boat on the way to the island of Kolocep.

The view from here.
Well it very nearly did not happen. We had checked in online so I did not rush, more fool me. The train we caught to Gatwick stopped outside of London Bridge for 50 min's before moving again. 30 min's later and we would have missed our flight. It was points failure, and what made the wait worse was that other trains were moving around us, so ours was the only train delayed. I have never been so close to a mental breakdown, ever, although I am frequently the last one to arrive this cut it too close for comfort.
I had a massive Migraine for 2 days after we arrived. Lelya and Kitty bickered non stop for 2 weeks but the facilities were so good they managed to entertain themselves for most of the time. I saw a lot of crap DVD's in the evening as well as a couple of good ones including Little Miss Sunshine which we all enjoyed. I read a lot of books (well a lot for me) and generally unwound. We kayaked round the island which was exhausting but gave us some spectacular views
The holiday was wonderful. I have a few more photos of Cavtat and Dubrovnik to post later, but for now I am washing and putting away clothes ready for my return to work on Monday.

Monday, 11 August 2008


This is my small collection of 'Hot Country Tops' last seen in Egypt, I could not wear such leary clothes in England but it is nice to wheel them out for more southern climes.

Cardies and beads for the over zealous air conditioning you seem to encounter in the restaurants. I love my 'Bertie Basset necklaces.

It just is not possible to 'carry on' with 3 kid's but I am trying to pare my suitcase to a reasonable amount. We are going to a small island off Dubrovnik called Kolocep tomorrow so posting will be lite. The hotel has Internet access but as I will be chief mediator between the fighting clans of Leyla and Kitty my sanity may be somewhat impaired, we shall see..

Where is the handbag?

I caught the end of You've Got Mail last night, New York looked wonderful. Meg Ryan's clothes were lovely, but where was her hand bag?
I have just emptied mine to wash it for the holiday and photographed the contents, above is the absolute minimum, it does not show the camera or newspaper that I cannot leave the house without.
Yet Meg Ryan happily skips around with just a key, no purse, lip gloss, zilch, sounds liberating but I could not do it.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

Virtual coat shopping

Roksanda Ilincic £1,060
from Net a Porter
Completely and utterly my favourite, It only comes in sizes 6-12 and the 12 was sold out! I think the blocks of colour would be very slimming.

Poltock & Walsh £600
I love the girlyness of this, probably not the best shape to throw over a cardie though.

Lainey £1,620
This awesome beauty could be mine if I oops forgot to pay one teeny weeeny mortgage payment. Cashmere and just sooo totally snugly. Would not fare well in the rain, but I guess if you can afford the coat you probably do not go outside much.

The cheapest and the most practical I love the patch pockets and the shape is lovely too.

See by Chloe £520
all from Browns
Last night I played fantasy coat shopping. Surprisingly few choices even when the budget is unlimited. Some of the prices are eye watering, and yet all cost less than one of my monthly mortgage payments. Oh the price of bricks and mortar.

Saturday, 9 August 2008

It's Raining....again

Pac a Mac from Millets
Lisa's first suggestion is fine for an emergency but probably looks very cheap once on and where is the hood?

Lisa's second suggestion from M&S
I am not a fan of Parka's, in my opinion they draw attention to my worst area, the middle age spread, so potato's and sack spring to mind. Also a tad youthful?

Aigle Stanway from Barnack
Well if this isn't straight out of Bill Oddie's wardrobe I will eat my hood. I would feel instantly very very old wearing one of these. Grim

Since watching The Queen recently, I have been smitten by the idea of wearing one of these beauties from Barbour, coming in at £249 not cheap but I love the cut of the one on the left very flattering. My mother has a lovely Barbour from Mulberry sans hood as are these. I think you are meant to buy the hat.
My father who was a palaeontologist always had a Barbour. He would live in his, and get it rewaxed rather than 'break in' a new one so maybe it is fate.

Lisa Armstrong writes in the Times
You would think, given our elemental circumstances and magnificent seafaring history, that the British would have the wet look down par excellence. We do not.
Matters deteriorate with maturity. It used to be that some time after hitting their late fifties, women would age themselves 30 years by adopting tight little perms that made them look like hydrangeas – hydrangeas that not even Alan Titchmarsh would fancy. They don’t do the perms any more. They just raid Bill Oddie’s skip for wet-weather gear.

I have tracked down Lisa's suggestions, see above, and surely her fruitless search answers her own question. My mother has spent the last 7 years searching for something smart to wear when it rains. Not too heavy and preferably with a hood. It is the Holy Grail. They either look like cheap imitation macs, or, once they are the real deal, they become as heavy and cumbersome as coats. It also difficult to square the compromise needed between town and country. As I have a long exposed walk to work everyday a new coat is a priority this year so what is it to be? Burberry for town, Barbour for country. The search goes on.

Friday, 8 August 2008


It has been a while since I have been to The Barbican or Moorgate. What a transformation, once a rundown back water, this area has piazzas and cafes everywhere. We sat behind the station drinking a coffee just as the office workers were going to lunch. (Imagine pouring a kettle full of boiling water down an ants nest.) I could have watched them all day. Most of the twentyomething women wore Roland Mouret style dresses with a cardie or jacket. Nearly all wore high heels sadly very few could walk in them. The overall dress code was very much smarter than I see in the West of London and yet within fairly restrictive parameters the outfits were very inventive. I could have snapped away for hours.

Thursday, 7 August 2008

Victor and Rolf

As a child I had a few old prewar dolls, mostly bald, probably second hand from an auction. but for some reason I liked the solidity of them so I never hankered after a Tiny Tears or other more synthetic creatures. Later instead of a Cindy or a Barbie I chose a Daisy Doll which was endorsed by Mary Quant. The clothes were super trendy but I tended to make my own which gave me far more pleasure. I very nearly studied fashion instead of textiles but bottled it at the last minute. I still do not know why since I was consumed by a love of fashion from a very early age. But something felt wrong so I switched and went to Camberwell instead and the rest is history. I love the idea of making dresses for dolls rather than the dolls themselves which I perceive to be a bit unsettling. The dolls in the exhibition were great and a wonderful way to illustrate the clothes.

Photo and lots of info from here
My favourite collection. Each collection has a wonderful story behind it, but this one I would love to wear. I am developing a bit of a 'thing' for red shoes The most elegant woman I have seen for a while at the Tate Modern was elegant in black, but the outfit was lifted by a pair of red ballet flats. Today again I saw a similar aged woman with wonderful loose black trousers and jacket worn with a wonderful pair of Red Think! mules it worked perfectly.

photo from here

Again as a small child we travelled across Europe and spent a long time in Holland. I crazed and crazed for a pair of clogs and finally on the last day my parents caved in. I did not take them off all day, by the end my feet were in agony. There is no breaking in wood, bruised and sore I put them away only to be made to wear them the next day at my Grans so all my relatives could see me prance around wearing my new exotic foot wear. Never again. This painful memory came back to me when I saw these beauties. Wood and high heels. It makes foot binding look like a less painful alternative!

The House of Victor and Rolf on at the Barbican
Fabulous exhibition.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008


All photos from Elle

I love this bag from Yohji Yamamoto, I may go for brown instead of black this winter.

I need boots this winter a new pair is long overdue. If only I could afford these beauties from Ann Demeulemeester.

This has to be the most covetable coat of the season, whilst I would stretch to buying this Agnes B does not stretch to fit my frame. Most of her clothes seem aimed at a size 6, 5ft 2''

Just the most perfectly stunning dress of the season from Kenzo.

Sod's Law

In a nut shell Sod's Law is lighting up a cigarette and then watching your mother come round the corner. My sister tried to hide her habit well into her thirties, so that if we were at a loose end waiting for mum somewhere she would light up guaranteeing my mum would arrive the next second. It worked nearly every time. Thankfully she finally gave up last year.
For me Sod's Law is to be caught without something to read. I read obsessively, others listen to music on trains, planes and buses I read. Newspapers, books, magazines. Agony for me is to run for a train and forget my book. Sods law will mean that the train is delayed or gets stuck in a tunnel. I know I should just enjoy the view, but it is often a view I have seen many times. Last week I went to meet the girls off the bus from Oxford. I rushed into W.H.Smith grabbed a magazine and went to wait. Only to bump into them as I left the station. What a waste of £3.30. The magazine was so awful it defies belief. I now know why, since reading various blogs I have a much better understanding of how magazines work and the hurdles that are jumped over just to get them on the shelves. So the whole advertisement, editorial ratio often means the same dress seen again and again. This year it appeared to be that red Alexander McQueen number.
The same designers get a huge amount of exposure, whilst others languish unseen. Last night I was able to trawl through the various 100 or more ready to wear collections on the Elle web site. So many clothes with so little exposure, at least the web gives them a window. Whereas before they would have had nothing. Blogs too are very good at highlighting designers I have never heard of, and I suspect/hope that the credit crunch may get us away from the aspirational bag and into smaller labels. We shall see.

Monday, 4 August 2008

I should be...

Here is one I prepared earlier.

Well I promised so much, I have done zilch. I am not happy with myself, I could never work from home I would achieve nothing. Well apart from read and mooch aimlessly about washing and cleaning. Note to self,

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Fumiko Nazawa

Beautiful images.
More from here
I often wish I had photographed my Gran's house after she died.
We were all so shocked at the suddenness of her death that emotions were to raw to focus on doing anything other than deal with the aftershocks. But looking at these photographs reminds me of how, what looks like the detritus of life, can look so beautiful.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Cachemireet Soie

wonderful blog here

Miroslav Tichý

Miroslav Tichy
12.06.08 - 15.08.08
Michael Hoppen Gallery

He stole intimate glimpses of his subjects through windows and the fences of swimming pools as well as in the streets, sometimes finding himself in trouble with the police. He would often draw intricately on each print in pencil embellishing the images with his lines or reworking them in other ways, Tichý would also sometimes include a card frame around the prints and decorate those too.
You can read a brilliant article about Tichy and his work in today's Guardian here
For me his work embodies the fragmentation of Robert Besanko with the amazingly transient qualities of Aaron Rose another photographer who built his own cameras and printed his own images, with his own concoction of chemicals.
I would love to go and see these amazing photographs, but they are a casualty of my holiday which I go on, the same week.

Friday, 1 August 2008

to crop or not to crop


layered short

or chignon elegance?

The battle of my hair has never been a pleasurable one. Often messy (henna) often painful (perms) rarely pretty and never won. As a child having once too often been referred to as 'laddie' I refused to have it cut forever after, eventually my long unruly locks were reined in by two very tight painful bunches. The eldest of three I was always first in line for brushing, my youngest sister got off lightly as all mothers anger and irritation had been expelled into my bunches, so she left with a ponytail. Mothers moods could be measured by the height and tautness of the bunches cinched into two homemade bobble's. As a teenager I entered the world of experimentation, from a Purdey to a perm and DO NOT mention the fringe. I have not one but two cow licks that you could surf home on, nothing will tame them, I would sleep with sellotape in it, gel it, mousse it, spray it, all to no avail. I spent my late teens back combing for Britain trying to get the elusive 'Big Hair' Then Trevor Sorbie paid me to model and so straightened my hair and chopped it into an extreme post punk style. After which I grew it, cut it, grew it, cut it, grew it, cut it. You get the picture.
I have tried layers, a bob, pinned it up, plaited it, straightened it with GDH's and finally almost imperceptibly I gave up and a pony tail became my default setting.
My hair is neither straight, nor curly, just a fine, messy, tangle of erratic waves. No, not cute bed head, just plain flat head. So when the other day I was standing on the platform at London Bridge I noticed a very chic fiftysomething, her clothes were great and the whole thing set off with a wonderful Judi Dench style crop. Should I? Could I?
Then Yesterday I saw an even more uber chic fiftysomething, this time all in black with a thick matt gold rope choker all set off with an awesome steel grey chignon. Should I? Could I?
I suspect my chic crop would look like a teenage boy's bum fluff without copious styling products, plus it would need a hugely expensive stylist to cut it beautifully and often. So the latter will probably win by default, just think of the work out my triceps will get practising, cool hair plus no bingo wings. Win, win.