Tuesday, 30 November 2010

It started with....Otazu

This photograph. I have for some unknown reason turned my nose up at costume jewellery, not for me the trappings of gilt and faux pearls, I want the real thing. I did not even get my ears pierced until I was 18 and that was only because my glamorous older boyfriend at the time wanted to buy me jewellery! For myself my first earrings were a sliver of turquoise dangling from a silver hook, I love vintage but I love semi precious stones more, I was a huge fan of bangles until children took over, I can no longer wear them and so donated them all to Mother.
Since then I have managed to afford my addiction by making my own necklaces but recently I feel there has been a bit of a gap in my collection and after a few choice words with myself realised that actually costume could be good.
I have now begun a scrapbook of desires in an effort to focus my eye when shopping, starting with these awesome beauties from here

What I particularly love is the attention to detail, even the catches are lovely.

Monday, 29 November 2010

What am I a man or a mouse?

To understand my intense irritation with myself we must first go back in time....to before Daisy was born. I had not been teaching long, it was poorly paid paid work in the early days and I needed some extra work, as luck would have it after enduring a year of working in a youth club I managed to get some extra hours working in the boarding school attached to my school.
This may sound like the stuff of Enid Blyton, but nothing could be further from the truth. The boarders wing was originally intended to house the children of service men stationed in a nearby barracks. It was in reality a children's home for the various London authority's flotsam and jetsam, unloved and deemed better off away from the family home. My task was to facilitate a homework session once a week and every other week take them on a cultural trip. Trust me I earned my money, but I also became the teacher I am today, perfecting some fearsome disciplinary procedures to protect my sanity from children who had never ever been told NO! Basic demographics were 70% boys, 95% other cultures, (this in an area not famed for it's racial tolerance) I learned how to get a bus to stop by lining my charges up hidden from view behind the advertisement hoarding, I would stop the bus with myself and one small girl visible, once the bus stopped and opened it's doors the rest of my motley crew filed on much to the visible annoyance of the bus driver. What larks we had! I did try and introduce a little culture but invariably it would end in a police station with me filling in the paper work of yet another crime committed whilst my back was turned.
Early homework sessions were hugely popular so that they could watch television after supper, I would have upwards of 50 students to supervise many of them considerably bigger than me, I developed parameters that brooked no compromise and on the whole it worked.

So WHY when when standing in Toast on Saturday did I roll over and pay £35 for a necklace I did not want? Why was I so pathetically grateful that they swapped my necklace without a receipt? The look on their face when I told them I did not have it, you would have thought I had suggested a threesome with my dog! Seriously.
I had, two weeks ago ordered a necklace I had seen in the catalogue to LOOK at, but in a flurry of guilt and gratefulness getting them to swap the other necklace I then ended paying for the bloody thing without even being allowed to see it. I felt sick, especially when I realised not only was it £10 more than I expected, but it was the flimsiest bit of chain I've not seen since pulling the chain in my grandmas outside toilet.
So now I will have to go back AGAIN and endure the humiliation of returning yet another piece of jewellery only this time I WILL have the receipt.

I found the entire day slightly troublesome, I knew it would be bad when having procured a ticket to the Grazia breakfast celebrating the Valentino collection for GAP, (YES I know I'm a hypocrite) but that frilly hoodie was lovely wasn't it? Then I realised I would not make it in time after dropping Leyla off at school. Instead I went to the V&A where I manged to loose my creative Mojo and achieved very little other than to lust greatly after the jewellery in the V&A shop, you can begin to see my new obsession can't you? Everywhere I go I see amazing jewellery to lust. I then found Few & Far which was far too bloody pricey for me, but yes, the stuff they sell is very lovely. I wandered down to look at the Harrods Christmas windows which true to form were tacky, tasteless, trash.
I then for some God forsaken reason bought a skirt in Zara so frumpy that when I tried it on at home Yohji turned in his asymmetric boiled wool suit and gave me look of such contempt that I threw it back in the bag and vowed to never darken Zara's door again.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Wardrobe watch

No matter how hard I tried I could not get a decent photograph of this outfit, It looks awful but is lovely on I did have a cashmere cardie over it for a while, the stripes are grey and black not the brown you can see here, it is also a very, very heavy jersey fabric so it hangs beautifully bit most important it was all COS free!

Jersey top Ghost
Jersey skirt M&S


I realise the photographs were rubbish so I have created a montage in an effort to give a better feel for colour.

COS top to toe I'm afraid what but no black...so I guess the challenge is no black COS! It is cold both in and out of work so I have layered a cardie over a jumper, the jumper looks very plain but like a lot of plain clothes is one of the most useful items I have, being thin merino wool it sits under cardies and dresses but also will go over thermals as well. Yet given the choice I would never choose to buy something this lacking in detail, that I did was because it was half price. I made the necklace, I love that one as it is made up of a myriad of different semi precious stones which I wired rather than threaded so it hangs better.
I am SO in love with these boots, of course now I am terrified of wearing them out, so am already looking for some others so as to rotate them more, I am SO glad I bought the bronze now.

Jumper COS
Skirt Next
Necklace 2 of mine
Pumps Peacocks

Nothing special, I do love this skirt though, I wear a couple of times a year but it will never date so will last forever, I am like that , I prefer to have a lot of clothes that I can rotate, so not wear often but wear over many, many years.
I read blogs like Metscan and I marvel at that discipline to buy less but very expensive clothes, give me £150 and my innate challenge is to get at least 4 things from it Metscan would buy one piece I envy her wardrobe yet can't change the way I am.


Cashmere cardie George @ Asda
Skirt Kew
Black top COS
Leather Obi ASOS
Necklace EB @ Debenhams
Boots Wolky

Phew, what a lot of stuff. I love how the belt has made the cardie more wearable, it is lovely hanging loose but nice to have it wrapped around, plus warmer! That skirt will never owe me a penny, I have worn across Europe and back, I find a skirt and tights combo way warmer than trousers, it is the first outing this winter for it and the boots.
I had in my mind decided the boots were too round toed and my bronze ones squarer, but the photographs tell a different story and so I am wearing them again although I still feel there is just the merest hint of orthopedic about them.
The new necklace is a triumph, it arrived in less than 24hours despite free P&P and is glass not plastic so hangs really well. When I found out Erickson Beamon had done a collection for Debenhams I was sceptical but they are better than expected given the price, this one was £15 the real thing would cost upwards of £900! what's not to love?


Jumper COS

Trousers Uniqlo

Necklace Toast

I am hoping to collect a silver version of this necklace tomorrow, fingers crossed. I had bought a green one but when I got it home realised it clashed with everything and not in a good way. Of course out of a wad of receipts dating back to the neolithic period the receipt for the necklace had vanished into the ether. Seriously, I have receipts for each and every cup of coffee I have drunk for the last two years mixed up with receipts for ridiculous sundries, but the ONE receipt I need has gone. Fingers crossed for a nice shop person to take pity on my pathetic organisational skills.

I love these trousers not least because they were a 32inch waist, this may not seem much of an achievement but it is for me, plus they need a belt! double joy.

I have 3 thermal vests on under this, I have dragged another heater into work in the vain hope of some warmth. Yes, it is a new building, No, we have no heat in our block at all. that could be because no members of office staff or management work over here, it seems only they are worthy of a functioning boiler.

I have no idea why the text has decided to double space, I am so pathetically grateful that anyone hosts these blogs that I rarely complain but the lack of a decent tool bar really pee's me off sometimes

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Merry Christmas from Selfridges

They must have so much fun doing these windows, every year they are worth a special trip, whilst Liberty's has the intimacy Selfridges has the wow factor.

This chandelier is just inspired, it was part of one of my favourite windows complete with a barbie Christmas tree.

As you can see this was my favourite window I managed to get so good images for my 'book' folder, not these ones but ones that focused on the amazing colours in this display.

I am very, very tempted to buy one of these, are they not just divine? I love this kind of thing and I guess I could pretend it is for Leyla!

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

All I want for Christmas..............

Well we all know 'I want never gets' so this list will forever remain a list of wishes, but I know I would never tire of any of them.
First up a Swarovski necklace, seriously have you ever seen anything so divine? Sadly at over £300 it will not be coming to a jewellery box near me very soon, I have however discovered a far less dramatic necklace on the Debenham's website which I am hoping may scratch this itch just a little. Second up a lovey kimono style coat from Sonia Rykiel which would keep me warm as toast on those cold Cypriot nights I will be enduring soon.

Finally a Vivienne Westwood scarf, believe it or not she has a shop in York it is always busy which is no surprise when you look at her clothes which are always amazingly cut to flatter. If I ever needed to push the boat out that is where I would go.
My sister fell in love with a dress in the shop window sadly it was Couture and not quite able to stretch across her ample arse. I have a feeling she may have tracked down the shrug that came with it as unlike my lack lustre 40 min Christmas lunch in a cold souless classroom, she gets to fly to Cannes for her Christmas bash!

Looking at this scarf I realise I made an error at college, instead of fannying around designing fabrics and creating ridiculous outfits, I should have focused on accessories. I should have seen into the future and realised there was not a cat in hells chance I would ever cope with a client based job (no, the poor fools I teach I do not consider to be clients)
Instead I should have designed and printed 20 scarves that I could still be wearing now, hah, who's the fool now?
All from ASOS

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

A very traditional Christmas

I have split up the photographs otherwise you might doze off half way through scrolling down. The following fall very much into the 'traditional' camp starting with Pickett, a shop in the Burlington Arcade that sells beautiful jewellery and luxury goods, perfect for Christmas.

From the Burlington Arcade cross the road to another institution, Fortnum & Mason, the side windows are a stunning tableaux crammed with much to covet.

Including this chain necklace hanging on the branch below, just once it would be nice to live with someone who gave such a gift. The girls father was a fabulous present giver and I do miss that thrill of opening a beautifully wrapped present. Emin point blank refuses to participate in any such cycle of obligation, he feels that somehow it would bring into question his alpha male status. What a twat!

Finally French Sole
I pressed my nose at the window dreaming if only......are they not just edible?

I think it is fairly obvious how much I am loving London at this time of year, this Saturday lark is great fun, but primarily because we do such great festive windows, however before Christmas Day has arrived the sale signs will be up and I think there will be far less to photograph, so I am enjoying it whilst I can.

Monday, 22 November 2010

5 galleries and a birthday party

I had originally intended to go to the V&A this Saturday, but best laid plans....were sidetracked by it being the last day to catch Beatriz Milhazes show at the Stephen Friedman gallery so a new agenda was written taking in all the smaller galleries in and around Cork Street, and rich picking had arrived that week in nearly all of them.
First up was Annely Juda a wonderful space on the third and fourth floor of a town house just off Oxford Street, it is unusual for a gallery not to have a shop front but being at the top of the building has allowed the gallery to put into place sky light that opens up to allow huge sculptures and paintings to be dropped in. The light too being mostly natural is considerably better than most galleries. I had mistakenly assumed that Kossoff's work being so thickly applied and layered would be quite cloying but they are not, they are a delight, nothing prepares you for the delicacy of colour or the luminous depth of which you could contemplate all day, this one below was my favourite but all the work can be seen on the web site.
Leon Kossoff
Stephen Chambers

I saw Chamber's work at this years RA Summer Exhibition, it is surprisingly seductive and his smaller work in particular is beautifully painted. What is more astonishing is that you can pick one up for £2000 which if you factor in the amount of work is a bargain, they would be a great investment.
This show is on at Flowers Gallery on Cork Street. This one is my favourite but was sold.
Beatriz Milhazes

I think I may have missed the point of this exhibition, it was very sparsely hung and the quality of work was poor, I love her paintings but close up they look like they have been left on the pavement and trampled underfoot. I realise this is part of her working process but somehow neither the hanging or the work ticked any boxes. However I will now visit this gallery more often as it is a big interesting space.
Peter Blake

This was a real stunner of a show, On now at Waddington Galleries Peter Blake is very underestimated by the establishment the Tate should be ashamed at how little of his work it owns, luckily it does not seem to affect his output.
This exhibition is called Homage 10x5 which is his personal response to the work of 10 artist who's work he enjoys.
It is 'art teacher gold' it is what we do all the time, getting students to make a personal response to an artists work and this was brilliant, the only major disappointment was the rather sad catalogue which focused on the work of the artists who influenced him rather than what was on display. If you are near Bond Street go see, you will not be disappointed.
I ended up at The Redfern Gallery on show here are some very quiet but well considered paintings by Sarah Armstrong-Jones. I remember her at Camberwell, she managed to go on and do what I failed to do and complete a textiles degree at Middlesex. She appears to have holidayed close by me this year too, unlike me she is selling her work for a lot of money. Memo to self "Pull your finger out"
I have realised that the whole 'room of my own' was a waste of time. I cannot work at home whilst I have a small child to raise plus one doing her GCSE's so I have reevaluated my time at school and am reverting to working at work if you see what I mean. It has really rankled the lack of painting I have achieved although I have totally cracked this photography lark so I should not moan.
After Cork Street I wandered down Burlington Arcade to soak up some Regency Christmas cheer before photographing the Fortnum & mason windows. For most this would be enough but I went back to collect Leyla from where my sister collected us to drive north of Cambridge to go to my Aunts 90th birthday celebrations, 2 hours of horrendous traffic later we managed to get there with an hour to spare. 20 years it has been since I saw most of my cousins, yet it felt like yesterday. My aunt struggles to know who her own children are so I did not confuse her further by introducing Leyla who worked the room like pro, she charmed them all, young and old and really enjoyed herself.
We reconvened to the pub next door to where my mother and her sister were born. My granddad spent more time in this pub than at home particularly after the 5th child arrived! After a couple of pints we went home to London, I felt unbearably sad, I do not know whether it was was the row I had had with my sister about reading a map or that I feel sad that I see so little of my family or whether that seeing them makes you feel very mortal as we have all aged and grown apart. You have to remember we were all very close for years, only since my gran died have we drifted apart with no hub to spoke from.
Sunday I broke my 'Potter' virginity! Leyla loved it, she was only three months old when the first one came out, she has in the last year read all the books and become a lifelong fan. We ate sushi before hand where she beat me hands down with 7 blue plates + 1 green plate to my 1 pink plate + 1 blue plate!
Christmas windows to follow.....

Friday, 19 November 2010

Wardrobe Watch

AKA the week I wore the same top twice...Agh!
I thought I might focus on accessories this week, when all is said and done black is black and as it is so bloody hard to photograph the images can look a little dull..OK Dull!

Top Uniqlo, layered over another
Top Cos
Skirt Zara
I dream of working in a room with some element of heat so I do not permanently have to look like an onion.


Jumper COS
Trousers GAP
Necklace Toast
Shoes Naturalizer
I love these very, very old GAP trousers, not terribly flattering but quite quirky in length and fabric. I do not often wear shiny but I like these with the jumper which is self striped with a shiny viscose. I have loved and worn this necklace a lot, although I make quite a lot of jewellery it is quite nice to try something different and Toast do some lovely beaded ropes like this. This is a favourite because of the links.
The shoes are from a little shop in Southwold. Superficially very comfortable but after 10 min.s they pinch so I only wear them at work. Why? because they make my feet look tiny and I just love to look down and not be greeted by bear paws every day.

Cardie COS
Skirt Miss Selfridge
I wear the individual items a lot but not together this way before. You will see this skirt crop up time and time again, I love it, it is layers of very, very thin silk, it was originally a puff ball style and I found it for £12 unloved and realised if I cut the silk away from the lining I would have a lovely skirt. It is now well over 5 years old which for me is almost vintage! I have worn this cardie a lot, as for me it echoes my Yohji vibe.


Trousers Zara
Necklace Noa Noa
Pumps Peacocks
Love this silhouette it is one of my favourites, worn with the necklace I bought on Saturday it really works. These pumps were a bargain as they have red lining which peeps out, I keep them at school as being fabric they will not last 2 minutes in the rain.


Cardie +J Uniqlo
Skirt Betty Jackson @ Debenhams
Boots Some shop in Southworld
Necklace by me
Looks quite drab but the light I used has bleached the colours, the skirt is a lovely boiled wool, green and warm with the cashmere cardie.
These boots were a bargain at £20 from a tiny boutique in Southwold they are unbelievably comfortable, I could have bought them in black but I was determined to break the mould and go for something different. The necklace is a heady mix of citrine smoky quartz and glass beads.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Something for the weekend

I have always assumed, (clearly under a misapprehension) that one of the bonuses of editing a weekend colour supplement would be that fashion editor's were less likely to be hamstrung by the weighty power of advertising sponsors, but instead lean more towards targeting their readership . I thought the weekend supplements would reflect the paper's demographic and would focus on exploring that relationship in a way the monthlies could not.
My newspaper squeeze is The Guardian, but they, like the monthlies are in thrall to skinny, many, many readers have voiced concern that what is superficially a liberal newspaper still panders to the idea that a model should be stick thin, the fashion pages occasionally tick the age box, they tick the multicultural box, but do not ever think they will feature any model bigger than a size 8 shorter than than 5'10. Just how many reader's tick that box I don't know, but I would put the percentage into single figures.

Now picture the demographic for The Daily Telegraph yes, half the readers are 50+ but the supplement on a Sunday of which I have been a huge fan appears targeted at a considerably younger audience, I struggle to comprehend how alienating the fashion editorials must seem to the average reader.
This weeks fashion story was a brilliant case in point, moody black and white shots, of uber skinny young models in a gym. Not your average reader then! You see the same outfits doing the rounds in every fashion monthly, a Gucci black lace inset dress here. a low cut thigh skimming Miu Miu dress there, a bit of Burberry leather here. For some unfathomable reason the Telegraph weekend supplements have favoured the bleached flare of the flash combined with a fuzziness that quite frankly must replicate the vision of someone with macular degeneration. So the reader sits flicking through the magazine and greeted with these images she must inwardly sigh, should she squeeze her bingo wings into some lace sleeves? Would the Miu Miu cut skim her expanding midriff? Would a leather dress create just a vague whiff off mutton? Is she inspired to meet the festive season head on? I doubt it. I know these images are not a prescriptive visual list but are there to inspire but I do think there is scope for greater creativity than this. I am not going to debate that whole blogger v magazine argument but I am going to suggest that just a little more thought and a soupcon more creativity could be so much more interesting. Is reality really so dull that we can't pander to it just a little? What really saddens me is to take the photographs the team travelled to a gym in Spain!! Like there are no gyms in London.

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Taster's Choice

Is this not an inspired idea? And just how gutted was I that I found the images after the event?
Le sigh!
As some one who played endlessly with her doll's house and who likes nothing better than peeping into the lives of others this would have made great viewing. Instead I shall content myself with these images from Stephen Friedman Gallery and make sure I check it out on a regular basis. Luckily I will be just in time for the amazing Beatriz Milhazes show currently on until Saturday.