Saturday, 25 December 2010

Away in a manger

Have a very

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Profligacy V Serendipity

So, I am still here, despite our..well, his best efforts we failed to get re-booked. The next flight we were offered after 4 days of hanging on the phone was the 28th, I would have taken it but he has decided to try for half term. Instead I am attempting to head north for a bickering family Christmas, the problem being that our Christmas holiday comes out of our joint savings, this sojourn will be paid for by me and since I blew all my money and some on two handsome meals out I am broke, and even broker after what should have been a brief trip to Bromley to meet Kitty and swap cases for a more train friendly one. She was late, I was early, so I killed time drinking a coffee from Pret which happened to be opposite GAP, well they had a sale on and who am I to turn my nose up at cut price tat? Even the sales assistant marvelled at what good value for money my haul was!! 2 black dresses, one oh so Yojhi and one a cross breed 60's frump with Celine, plus two merino wool jumpers both working that Margaret Howell vibe. Some Picture later but my swag bag totalled £50. Not bad eh?
However seeing family means a token gift so money saved has been blown on trinkets and fripperies, but how weird that I should find so much that fitted and looked good in a shop I would never visit but for the lateness of Kitty, who arrived escorted by her step mum...ouch.

PS My sister made her connecting train from niece to Marseilles with 5 mins to spare, she took a full 30mins to catch her breath!! They then got to Paris to scenes of utter bedlam verging on hysteria, but she is 6 feet and all woman and somehow got on her train the last one that night, they arrived in London at 3.30am it was so cold the doors had frozen shut and had to be opened manually! She was at her desk the following day, that must be some bonus.

Thank you to you all for your commiseration's

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Be careful for what you wish for....

Or 3 degrees of disappointment.

Last Sunday Emin made the mistake of promising Leyla a trip to the cinema to see Narnia, he does this a lot, but the reality of a day lost in a cinema watching a mediocre 3D film then dawned on him and he decided not to go. The mistake, as I always tell him is to make the promise, better to keep it to yourself until you are ready to go, that way disappointment is avoided.
BIG fat juicy tears rolled down her cheek, it was heart breaking. He cheered her up by taking her shopping to spend her Christmas vouchers, so she scratched a small itch a bought some clothes for the holiday. In fact this last week we have all replenished supplies of undies and various sundries to take*.
Then her cousin said she would take her to the film AND a bite to eat after school on Wednesday as a Christmas treat, only her cousin came down with flu, more BIG fat tears so unbeknownst to me he only went and promised her again, this time Friday. Well it was my turn to piss on that parade, I wanted to pack and get an early night as we had to be up a 4am. So no tears this time just the weary resignation of a perpetually disappointed 9 year old.
We so nearly missed the bus to the station but made it to the airport, the queues to drop our bag off snaked around the hall and took so long I could see my duty free stroll time vanishing. I rarely fly and even rarer fly BA so I actually wanted to swan around terminal 5 but no by the time we made it we had just enough time left to spend stupid money on perfume and a lippy. Actually a lovely Clinique lippy and my favourite perfume Rose by Paul Smith, we then grabbed some food and looked up to check our boarding gate.......Well you know what happens next...Cancelled, BIG fat tears rolled down her cheeks and mine this time. I HATE BA really really hate them. Why let us get so close? We then had to wait ages to retrieve our bags and get through passport control, it was like the walk of shame. 6 hours it took to get home every time I think if where I should be and what I should be doing I get a small dull ache in the pit of my stomach. We tried all day yesterday and today to rebook but BA have taken the phone off the hook, what makes me mad is they have space on later flights but they will not transfer us. We had a cooked meal waiting for us in Istanbul now it's back to the bump and grind of life here in Blighty.
I have booked a ticket to go to York, but poor Kitty only made it as far as Peterborough today before being turned back, she too has lost a cooked meal my mother had waiting for her, plus missed a very disappointed sister.

Little sister AGAIN got stuck in a 5* hotel in Cannes this time, seriously she has all the luck, only she too was close to tears as she was stuck in Cannes with her boss plus 2 couples and could not get any flights home before Christmas, so Emin on his white stallion booked them a train to Marseilles from Nice, then on to Paris where with a shed load of luck they might make a connecting train to London.

This is Leyla's first ever Christmas in England! and my first for 10 years how weird is that?

* what a monumental waste of time and money that turned out to be.

Saturday, 18 December 2010

Farewell, untill next year...

So my little bloguettes when you read this I will be on a plane to Cyprus via Istanbul. Well weather permitting of course, we could also equally have missed our plane having got stuck in snow, or I could be stuck at Heathrow waiting for a delayed flight or we could be schlepping back home after a cancelled flight, so many options!!
I have, to oil the wheels of stress, bought some books to read, I can't face a massive tome so I have bought some light reading for the journey....and long wait.

I am currently totally absorbed by The Ultimate Guide to Mad Men, when the final credits rolled I had a huge MM hole in my life which this will plug a little, it is difficult to explain why this more then many other series rocks my boat but it does, I LOVE the music, the attention to detail, the fashion, the fact most of the characters are so flawed yet ultimately forgivable.. I could go on.. but the book is great in a very self indulgent way.

Next up Peter Bogdanovich's Who The Hell's In It
I love books about films and film stars, it's a world that fascinates me and horrifies me at the same time, that such magical world's can be created by such shallow people. I have read many, many books about Hollywood so I am looking forward to this one.

I may get inspired to cook in Cyprus by reading Elizabeth David's Is There a Nutmeg in the House? Although sadly there won't be as we are unable to leave any food in between visits for fear of cockroaches. The house is unsecure at present because of some ridiculous shutters his mother had installed, this means we have walls covered in lizard shit because they live in the space above the shutters roller mechanism, and the odd dead husk of a cockroach that accidentally wanders in.
Finally my airport lounge indulgence, I thought I would try a Peter James novel, although now it has arrived I can quickly see a PD James he aint!
These plus Orhan Pamuk's Museum of Innocence should cover most delays and the early dark nights without a television.

I always get very, very melancholic at this time of year, I wistfully gaze at the decked trees of others and wish I could stay and for once enjoy a traditional family Christmas replete with crap television and family squabbles. Churlish I know since I will instead bask in warmer climes. Once I'm there I will be less irritable I hope.

Mmmm Trees, so where are this years photographs, well best laid plans as always. The intention was to crack it using my SLR, Kitty was to be my assistant and hold the dog, we were waiting until this week for the tree's to go up and low, Kitty is in bed with flu, the weather is atrocious and already it is Friday, I could cry, still always next year and at least I will be around for longer as we are unable to fly until the 23rd, although having looked at the temperatures in Helsinki ( next years Christmas holiday destination) he may be having second thoughts!

So Mwah, Mwah, back before you know it and I may even manage to avoid a stay in hospital this time!!

Friday, 17 December 2010

Wardrobe Watch

Well I have just about cracked the self portrait using the timer, sadly I had a flat battery on Wednesday and so had to use the SLR which as I so rarely RTFM I clearly failed to put the camera on the right setting, hence the hideous orange hue.
It is quite liberating going back to choosing the clothes day by day instead of checking to see if I have a photograph in my folder already, plus you get to see the right colour tights and which jewellery I chose.


I was still a little unsure as to whether my room would still be warm so layered up, by break the spotty thermal was off and it finally meant I could dress for a normal temperature rather than the arctic conditions I have endured since moving to the new school. Just as I was about to write the list I realised it is all from COS apart from the thermal which is Uniqlo, well at least it is not all from one season! You can just see a very pretty Murano glass necklace with it.


Probably my most flattering silhouette although the button straining on the skirt might suggest otherwise, it was because I was pulling the pocket...honest!

Jumper Next
Skirt H&M
Boots Wolky

So I finally glam it up for the school Christmas dinner, the highlight of my festive social calender and the bloody battery is flat so you can't see how amazing this top looks.
I am so eating a smallish slice of humble pie here as it is from Zara! I returned the skirt on Saturday and I have amazing peripheral vision so standing at the till I catch a glimpse of spots, remember how much I coveted a D&G spotty chiffon shirt? Well I had given it little thought but spying this on the hanger my radar went mad. But NO, I thought I am not going to be sucked into the vortex of Zara's disappointing web again, NO. So I casual flick through the rack and spy XL, BOLLOCKS, NO, I walked away and decided no more the spell of Zara......So Yes I went back and thought HA, I know, try it on, it will look crap....BOLLOCKS, it looks lovely so I bought it.
Humble pie consumed.
I have read very little about Zara until this week when I had to research some information for Kitty's D&T project. It is amazing how that company operates and I have to admire their strategy. Did you know they don't advertise? and they deliberately don't produce much of each item so as to create a sense of when it;s gone it's gone so people always grab their size when they see it (hey if the cap fits) knowing it won't stay there long. This of course makes people visit more often as they have a much greater turn over of styles plus 50% of the clothes are not out sourced so they can go from sketch to shop much quicker too.
So I will be sucked into the vortex once more, but just a little wiser!
Shirt Zara
Trousers Toast
Necklace EB

I love this jumper and realised to see it in all it's glory I would have to artfully raise my arm
Jumper COS
Skirt Jigsaw
Shoes Beautifeel
Necklace Noa Noa

Well sorry this is so not very flattering, yet it is, I guess the photograph emphasises my somewhat triangular shape, but I love this retro batwing top it is a dark navy blue with some wonderful pattern cutting that creates a very narrow bottom.
Of course you see a very different image to me, I work on a wide screen monitor that stretches my photographs, I once checked my blog on Leyla's apple and could not believe how much slimmer I looked on a normal monitor!
Trousers Uniqlo
Silver rope necklace Toast

Thursday, 16 December 2010

A view Interupted

I have since the holiday to Scotland been experimenting, This time last year I was happy enough to use my Lumix but the Cyprus holiday made realise just how limiting it was and having used the SLR I realised there was no going back. However my eyesight is not what it was so I had a tendency to use the auto focus not trusting what I saw. Yes, I know there is a setting on the view finder but call me lazy so I seemed happy enough with my results.
I then read a book about one of my favourite photographers Uta Barth and in it she discusses the need to control your field of focus, it was like a veil being lifted I realised that digital photography had made me lazy and that when I was using my original Pentak K1000 I had to do everything manually and that is what made taking the photographs challenging and fun. So I turned off the AF and I have never looked back. It helps that I have two awesome lenses to help me but on the whole I am 100% happier with finding a clearer voice through the lens.
These are some experiments, my fixation with colour will never leave me I think my training in textiles is always evident as in my mind I see these as fabric designs made into skirts or shift dresses. Maybe Paul Smith would be interested!! Clearly digital imaging has transformed fashion you only have to look at the work of Peter Pilotto to see why.
I am almost in shock at the speed the end of term arrived at. Unlike last year I have no painting classes to look forward to, but in a sense that is not a problem because I feel happy enough to move forward by myself. I am taking a shed load of painting to complete in Cyprus just in case it rains every day, if it is sunny, well all the better for my photography.
I keep saying it but I really want to produce two blurb books by the end of the year, if I have resolutions that has to be one.
My sartorial style too has improved beyond all recognition thanks to the camera which rally has helped to focus my mind on what works and what just looks like a lazy dogs dinner. I would like to think I make less mistakes and I have learnt the value of using jewellery in a bolder way. It is definitely my new squeeze.
A second resolution should be to buy less and focus on better pieces, but most important of all I really should get to grips with my bank balance and stop being so pathetic as to avoid even a cursory glance at my balance but actually look at where all the money goes each month, especially with a summer holiday to pay for.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Matt Stuart

Some light relief from Matt Stuart, the whole website is amazing go see.

Monday, 13 December 2010

The view from here

Is this not an amazingly zingy colour clash? Whilst I could never wear it, on a very dull drizzly day it was a really uplifting sight.
as was this..!
My favourite word is Moose, my sister likes it so much it was what she named her cat. If anyone asked me my favourite animal I would almost by default say a dolphin, but actually there are worse things than being a moose, we managed to spy a couple of elk whilst in Sweden once, I was SOO excited and I would be equally happy to have this in my house.

Finally, a necklace to drool over in the window of Paul Smith. it is difficult to see but inside the beads were little toy plastic insects!
I have survived a weekend of Mother, as always she was unwell so it was a case of pandering to her needs whilst ensuring she felt it was worth the trip. She had baulked initially that we had booked J Sheekeys but thank God we did because it is officially my favourite place to dine, despite the almost comical staff and even more comical diners, there is something very magical about this place. Mother did sadly however manageto embarrass me by loudly asking if we should "move on" having spied the prices, she then ordered two starters I swear just to make a point, it was her Christmas present and we wanted it to be special, why can't she just enjoy the moment? I know she has spent far more on far less in the past. Despite this and Kitty's refusal to join us even though it will be her only time spent with my family this Christmas and New Year the evening was a triumph not least because Leyla was very entertaining and after a large glass of wine I gave up caring.
The food & drink were a triumph.
Sunday, after a lovely lunch was somewhat marred by a visit to the Estorick collection. In my head I had envisaged a lovely regency house filled with Italian art and furniture a bit like Fenton House in Hampstead I was looking forward to some Modigliani and Morandi, nothing could have been further from the truth. We were met by a soulless house not much bigger than the one I live in. It was empty of everything but a few very very horrible paintings hung against cheap whitewashed walls I felt violated! A lesson learned always send someone in to scout the place before dragging guests around.
Now I have to tackle the packing as we fly away next Saturday

Friday, 10 December 2010

Wardrobe watch mash up

So having been snowed out of school last week my sartorial style crumbled into a bag lady mash up, nothing to be proud of but my house is cold, the main problem I have is once I have donned enough layers I can barely move my limbs! You will notice towards the end of the post that I have finally worked out how to take a self portrait using the trusty Lumix on a tripod with the timer, I never thought I would get a decent picture because of the lack of light but with one studio lamp burning my flesh away it is possible to get a half way acceptable photograph. however before that here is last weeks.

So the snow was falling, time to get out my lovely wellies, the ones I bought in Scotland, they have been brilliant and Toggi appear to do other kinds of riding boot too which may just fit my fat calves. The dress is a thin cotton but layered over thermals and wool tights and worn with a cardie it worked well.

Dress COS
Cardie Uniqlo
Tights Falke
Boots Toggi
Necklace by me

Tuesday this week

I found this cardie whilst searching for a lost hoodie for Daisy, I think I gave up wearing it when I caught a glimpse of myself and thought I looked like an American Football player, however I decided to give it another go.

Dress COS
Cardie Great Plains
Vest Uniqlo
Pumps Peacocks


What a mess these photographs are but the outfit was perfect, yes photographs can lie! I like the bronze boots with the bronze necklace, that is the problem though the boots clash with my silver jewellery.

Skirt H&M
Necklace Betty Jackson for Debenhams


Yeah finally cracked it,

Jumper Toast
Skirt +J Uniqlo
Necklace from a really lovely shop near The British Museum I thought I had a close up shot of it but deleted it by mistake, it is woven silver something I have always wanted.

Friday last week

Not in a million years did I ever intend to wear this in public but I knew I was going to have to wear the boots that snag my tights so these were going to have to take the bullet for me, I took the photograph ages ago after visiting the Japanese fashion exhibition it was my homage to Yohji! I'm pleased I wore it now.

Dress Great plains
Skirt M&S
Tights M&S

Friday today

Sadly leaning back highlights my paunch! still never mind, yes, these are bare feet, we have underfloor heating so my feet feel like they are going to combust all the time, plus those bloody trousers ride up when I'm wearing knee highs so I took off my socks.

Jumper Massimo Dutti
Trousers Zara
Necklace EB

Not a brilliant week but now the heating is back on at work maybe some sartorial style can be restored.

Thursday, 9 December 2010

My room 'Selby' style

So visually quite cute but in terms of facilitating my Mojo, nil point. The care I lavished on getting this room ready you would not belive, I don't know what the matter is really, Instead I will bring the paints back to school tail between my legs and carve out a few hours each week in my office.

Alpha male never one to miss a trick money wise has decided to move his hideous sister and her vile children* in next year so he can rent her house out for a couple of years,, this way he can squirrel away even more money to invest in even more property. Can you believe it? No one likes the idea apart from him because as I explained he controls everything and so never has to compromise, stung by this he did at least attempt to justify his decision but could not other than to say I could have a new kitchen. I did not tell him to shove it but did mention that his sister is such a leach and her children so utterly destructive it will be us that have to leave once he has saved up enough money for a deposit on yet another house to mortgage. He of course declared this is nonsense, but it is an ill wind coming this way and I for one will not be coming home early once they arrive.

Having written this a few days ago I realise I sound more irritated than I am, I'm used to his behaviour, we have been together for 13 years which is the longest of any of my relationships, It has never been an easy conjunction of minds but we have agreed we are in it for the long haul and I believe him.

I have learnt from reading many, many blogs that I am very lucky and instead of dwelling on the negatives blogging has taught me to focus on what good can be extrapolated from any experience, which is what my intention will be. Less time in the house and more time for photography, plus I may screw an ipad out of him. Meanwhile due to contractual obligations at work we will finally be going on an adventure next Christmas, yes I know it is a long way off but for me half the fun is in the planning so I am finally getting to Helsinki...Yeah, via Berlin of course but even so how cool is that? Yes seriously how cold? Plus I have convinced him to rent a flat for our next stay in Berlin so we can feel more like a local, so you see some of the fringe benefits are worth it...mmm aren't they!

* I use the word children in the loosest sense of the word both in their twenties they should be old enough to have buggered off but instead cling to their mother despite fighting almost daily. On the plus side they do both work.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

The view from here

Joyous beauty from Miu Miu, truly a window to drool over..

A surprise window was Vanessa Bruno, not because it was particularly festive but because it really nailed a couple of 'looks'.

So as a nation we spend millions of pounds replicating in plastic the white Christmas we all crave and lo when it arrives we grind to halt quite literally. Cost so far to us has been one burst pipe and the collapse of our only recently repaired guttering. Mother declared that York too had become a slippery nightmare I mentioned that walking the dog was grim without sliding humiliatingly along the pavement, of course as always it is FAR worse where she is, if I have 1 inch of ice she has 3. She is the only woman I know who feels the need to play the 'My Dick's Bigger Than Your Dick' game. So looking forward to her visit on Saturday....

Last Saturday Leyla and I spent a magical hour at St Martins-in-the -Fields for the family Christmas carol concert, she was very excited about seeing an organ!! nope, I don't know why either, but she loved it so much she counted the pipes. She sang her heart out too and I almost wanted time to stand still it was such a perfect moment, after I took her for a pizza, when quizzed as to what she enjoyed the most, Harry Potter + sushi or carols + pizza she declared it a tie. Maybe, just maybe she has turned a corner.

I had fortuitously ordered just before the snow fell 2 awesome pieces of thermal kit from Uniqlo. These leggings for slouching around the house.

and this top which lets face it could have been designed by Rei Kawakubo herself. It looks amazing layered under other tops and dress. Talking of layering having perfected the art of layering 4 items without looking too much like Mr Pilsbury Dough, they finally fixed the heating, I'm sweltering now!!, well warm in 3 layers rather than 4 but still I now have to rethink my wardrobe AGAIN having just bought another much thicker black cardie to warm up in!!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Collage: featuring Julie Arkell & Peter Clark

Many moons ago when life was simpler and I was less sidetracked by the lure of blogging I would while away the odd free period by dabbling in some collage, like beading it can be very therapeutic pasting and layering. I have a huge collection of different papers being a bit of a magpie, plus my mother was good at saving the wrappings from her purchases and my sister would bundle up Chinese packaging from her previous job.
I did mention that I was hoping to sell some of my work, mostly this old collage stuff, but when I tried to book a table for a local Christmas fair it transpired they were fully booked last April, but now I know I will make sure I am first in the queue this next year.
When I went to scan these bits I realised I had far more that I previously thought so I will have to do something with them as for now I am wrapped up with painting. I have a tendency to do small batches of something before getting bored and changing focus.

I have many, many different kinds of these fans, I happen to love the shape of fans I did some small like this one and some huge A1 sizes ones.
This tiny collage is one of my personal favourites, it is so simple but seems to resonate in a way many of my others don't. My main problem is I tend to overwork them so they become to busy.

Second to fan shapes are the shapes of kimono's, I am obsessed with all things Japanese and it is my number one wish to visit Japan before I pop my clogs.

below is a collage I quite liked, but from an era I have left behind.

Whereas this was my most recent collage, unfinished it was meant to be the start of something that went unrealised. I quite like the simplicity of it now, but will at some point take it a bit further.

On Saturday I decided it was time to meander around Fitzrovia, there are some lovely small galleries and 2 seemed to feature collage, I have loved Julie Arkell's work for years but have become so wrapped up in photography that she had dropped from my radar but a visit to the always lovely Contemporary Applied Arts meant I could see some of her most recent work which did not disappoint. I just love it's quirkiness and I love how she looks like her figures too!

Julie Arkell

Julie Arkell images from here, here & here

Then around the corner at the Rebecca Hossack gallery was an exhibition of one of my other favourite contemporary collage artists Peter Clark, The dog collages have to be seen to be believed they are so very, very cleverly put together
Peter Clark

Peter Clark images from his web site & Rebecca Hossack Gallery

Monday, 6 December 2010

Lost...3 days of my life, when found, please return to...

Most people would cheer and hang out the bunting once released from the onerous duties of teaching, but oh, not me. Instead I sobbed into my blanket of snow and schlepped home knowing that I would achieve nothing as long as Alpha male managed to get under my feet and irritate the life out of me. All that man seems to do is mooch about the house eating and watching tele, well actually he does have the odd spurt of work, but not enough to keep him out of my bloody hair. The problem with being stuck at home is I invariably end up walking the dog and cooking and looking after Leyla, (what I categorically failed to achieve is any of my own work, my room of my own has failed.)
Still, what amazing walks they were, very beautiful ,crunchy, crisp snow and the silence....
In fact it was a kind of deja-vu moment from last January when I ended up back to work just to sit down. After two day cooped up I escaped to the big smoke, not a trace of snow to be found it was like a different world, the the foot of snow I had left behind just 20 min's away.
I had a ticket for GSK Contemporary, at first I thought the show was mediocre, but actually I was wrong, it was really good, what didn't work was the venue, the problem with Burlington House is it is so very beautiful inside, it fights for attention and always wins. it worked better as the Museum of Mankind where the ancient artifacts tended to merge seamlessly with the period detail, put anything contemporary in there and it is swamped. So really this would be a great exhibition had it been shown at the Barbican.
Afterwards I mooched about town before meeting Lucy for a pre theatre bite to eat at the much anticipated Deux Salons. I didn't like it much, actually the service was fantastic as is the space and they sell the best value dry martini ever. What I hated was the food, cooked by men for men, far too much meat and served in a pan which I hate. I ordered my favourite duck confit only for it to arrive with half a sausage AND a piece of ham hock! Plus what the hell were plates invented for? I realise it is a cunning device to avoid washing up and also to keep the food hot but even so.... I also had indigestion all night not least because we had to run over the bridge (why am I always late?) to Season's Greetings on at The National, 3/5 for me but very entertaining nevertheless.
So enough about me, lets get down to some visuals for you to skim...
First up one from last week, LOVE her style.
On the street Islington
Me all wrapped up
I realise that I was wearing 3 different coloured leathers....mmm, not good. It's funny how when the cold arrives sartorial style goes out the window, I get very experimental when I'm cold! Could those boots BE any less flattering? But oh so comfortable.

After GSK Contemporary I walked down Savile Row, I rarely go in the week so I was fascinated by seeing all the tailors working in the basements below

The shops upstairs are very grand too!

I saw this woman walking towards Bruton Street and loved her style, so no surprise that she walked into Issey Miyake then.

These dresses were at the Barbican exhibition, I loved them then and love them now, so clever.

In stark contrast My Sartorial god Yohji was layering up big time, I covet all these clothes hugely.

Miu Miu

What larks to be had here, you know those Keystone Cops movies where everything runs a little faster than real time? Well picture the scene at Miu Miu hours before the opening...

Piles of bags

Vats of chrysanthemums.

Cleaners polishing..

Random people watching

beautifully dressed assistants styling.
The next day the chrysanthemums had gone... replaced by mannequins, more tomorrow on that window.
But now onto Jermyn Street
It's at times like this I want time to stand still, London is so lovely at this time of year, yes I know I said that last week but I need to remind myself how lucky I am to have this, I don't covet what's inside much... OK, maybe just all of Yohji, but I do love peering in. I had said last year I would focus on corporate Christmas trees this year but I have been too sidetracked so a few shop ones may have to suffice, I do love this one with the red buses.
Then down to Covent Garden, this street was just a back water a year ago, look at it now, it runs down the side of COS and look stunning at this time of year.

More tomorrow. Now to catch up on all of you...