Monday, 31 January 2011

The view from here

A number of blogger's often cite a wish list, and I too have in the past written a list of wants rather than needs on the premise that if I stick to just my list then somehow my spending will magically be reduced. This of course would negate the curve ball that shops throw at us and it is these off radar items that often give the most pleasure, coming unexpectedly into our wardrobe. I have not written a list for a while but if I had it would have included:
  • Red bag
  • Red stripe top
  • Amber beads
  • Barbour jacket
  • Black loafers
  • Brown brogues
  • Boyfriend jeans

I have had a red bag sized hole in my life since I gave my last one to Daisy, although it was lovely it did not house my cameras too well but was perfect for her Apple Mac, I have searched in vain ever since for another bag, primarily in T K Maxx which has by far the best collection of bags at double figure prices rather than triple. I have visited almost weekly in vain to find one, then on Thursday there it was, serendipity again, I had worked late and decided I had to eat something so detoured to M&S and glancing in T K Maxx's window, there it was, the bag of my dreams. I can spot a Mandarina Duck bag half a mile away, I don't know what it is, but there is something I love about the details they have. This one was beyond perfect, a wonderful tomato red, an external pocket for my travel card, an extended cross shoulder strap, enough space for my Pentax and internal compartments too. It's only negative was black lining,which makes finding anything a nightmare, so I bought it, a hefty 1/3 of it's original price which being leather was triple figures. So here I am ready to rock a cold day up town. with clothes that WOMAP

Although my day was all about the British Museum I did detour to Uniqlo to get some underwear, and there was my wish number two, it was perfect and since they sell boyfriend jeans I really thought all my ships would come in at once, sadly there are more Pandas left in the wild than there are size 32's in Uniqlo which is such a shame since the grey velvet ones above I wear all the time are so lovely, so I know if they could only embrace the chunky monkey market we would look divine.
I did procure the said undies though and the ginkiest skirt you've ever seen. When Leyla saw I had bought a skirt she asked how long it was, I told her it was short, she let out a sigh of relief and proclaimed that mummy's should always wear short skirts, because granny's wear long skirts!! I will now never dare wear long again!

This Image just confirmed my desire for a Barbour, except I will probably go for one in black.

This tourist, although superficially wrapped up was wearing a linen dress, she look amazing, I loved her boots.

Spotted in the British Museum where the lighting challenges any camera, was this lovely bag and coat

The room you can see was amazing, I had not been in it before, it is a Georgian library mixed up with artifacts all brilliantly labelled with narratives describing of their originsand significance, we may have let an empire go but not before taking the best bits!

You may not believe it, but I also found some amber beads, sadly not the real deal but when I post a photograph you will understand why sometimes plastic is good enough.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Wardrobe watch: Any colour as long as it's stripes.

I was reflecting when I wore this outfit what determines how much money I will spend on one particular item, you will have already gathered I am not a great one for investment purchases, people who spend oodles on a few choice pieces each year have a discipline I lack and appear not to be concerned about variety. Unlike my taste in chocolate which is conservative and pricey I am definitely at the cheap Christmas selection box end when it comes to clothes. I baulk at anything over £70, I would say my ceiling is around £50, but only if I feel it will be worn many times and will not date. Items that are more esoteric have to wait for the sale so the cost per wear factor is reduced. This jumper was £50, I will wear approx 5 times this year = £10 per wear, not good so far but I hazard a guess it will be worn for the next 5 years and so goes down to £2 per wear. The skirt I waited for the sale, it is lovely but not hugely comfortable, and if I have to 'work' it I tend to wear it less, it too works out at roughly £2 per wear, which is still a lot really, but hey what do I work for if not to play dress up.
My clothes thus fall into two categories those Still Earning There Keep & those that Won't Owe Me A Penny.
The stripes? Well that was just a bit of fun.


Jumper & Skirt COS
Necklace Me
Shoes PF Fliers


I saw a woman at the art fair wearing this dress, I had relegated it to weekend wear as when ever I wore I did not feel it was quite right, seeing her in it made me realise I had worn it as a tunic over trousers when it would be better as a dress, so I layered it over a short skirt instead and voila!

Dress Uniqlo
Skirt M&S
Cardie COS
Shoes Fly
Necklace York


I got so bored with standing up I needed a change, I sold my soul to the devil to get this cardie, it is from a shop the owner of which I loathe for a multitude of reasons, but it was sooo lovely I could not resit. Why was I in there? Well it is Kitty's new squeeze since the demise of quality in Zara she now loves this place and I was with her when she was umming and ahhing about her bag, there it was taunting me, in my size too.
I have read that he is opening a pared down version for us fussy oldies, I may just check it out once in a while. Anyway I got my comeuppance as I manged to get oil paint on it and despite trying get it off with white spirit it is still there and plus it smells now! Bad Karma! plus I did not like it with those pumps either.
Dress COS
Cardie Top Shop
Necklace eBay
Shoes PF Fliers


Yes you've seen it before, a real WOMAP number, instead of a slim skirt I wore it over pleats difficult to tell but it did work.
Dress Great Plains
Skirt Zara
Pumps Peacocks
Necklace Noa Noa


Finally it has stopped raining long enough to wear some wide leg trousers, both items sitting firmly in the WOMAP camp, I love that jumper SO much.
Jumper GAP
Trousers George @ Asda
Shoes PF Fliers
Pearl earrings, not seen eBay

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Watching the weeks go by

Thursday always bites me in the arse, I seem to breeze through the week and suddenly about a gazillion posts bite the dust because I have not had time to write them. For instance I was going to discuss in great detail how difficult it is to accept the defrosting of emotional Coventry, I really want to tell him to fuck off when he starts to melt, but deep down there must remain some skerrick of love and so I after an all too brief protest I accepted the continuation of a rather lopsided relationship. He should be careful though, because when Leyla starts secondary school I will find it considerably easier to leave.
I should be truthful and state for the record that if he is a shed load of disappointment to me, I too am to him. I think he though he was getting a partner who would long to while aways hours just basking in the warmth of his companionship. Ha, nothing, and I mean nothing could be further from the truth. I am emotionally cold and fearsomely independent, frequently secretive, not to deceive but to keep some kind of privacy. He hates this, he marvels at my ability to stay in town for a whole 4 hours on a Saturday convinced I must be seeing someone!!!!! Four hours, seriously that is nothing, I pointed out he managed to entertain himself for seven days in Berlin, can he not see that is bloody amazing, not four hours in London.
He too has got to Thursday only to realise he is just watching from the sidelines, so intent is he on planning for his early retirement even he has accepted that he is failing to live any kind of life in the present, so to that end he has decided we should go out for a bite to eat on Saturday. It will end in tears I tell you, but not before I have shopped for my knee hi's in Tabio and browsed Uniqlo before meandering down to the British Museum. That is living!

Please find enclosed some mediocre images of the nicer stands at the London Art fair, my Pentax had a minor melt down at the dimly lit stands, memo to self, swallow pride and take the Lumix, it laughs in the face of crap lighting.

Oh to have a room like this!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

The view from here

It did not help that I paid for my ticket only to find a pile of complementary tickets next to the concierge desk in the Hilton next door. I had gone in to use the toilet and realised I had wasted my money by diligently buying my ticket online.
I was early and the hall was empty but for some rather hostile stall holders all glowering as the few early arrival walked around. Only one had a smile on the Caroline Wiseman stand the rest seemed to be pacing around like tigers trapped in a zoo. I appreciate It was the end of a long week and I gathered business had not been too brisk, but even so, it was a very stark contrast to the Frieze Art Fair where gallerina's busied themselves on laptop's, sat and chatted at their station and ate breakfast.
The difference in atmosphere between the two venues was stark to say the least, another difference was organisation, whoever organises Frieze does so with a military precision, what could be a perplexing maze is clearly colour coded so you are never lost and you can always be sure what you have seen and what you needed to find.
The business Design Center is a soulless hall with existing shops around the periphery, the whole exhibition is so badly laid out and sign posted that 2 hours after I left I realised I had missed the photography section, the entrance to which was stationed a woman with a clipboard which I had taken to mean it was for the planned talks only. That said it was still an interesting way to while a very cold rainy Saturday.

Sartorial style was thin on the ground, I suspect because it was a Saturday, but here are some I spotted.

Not only do I love the greens with the ubiquitous brown brogues, but this image has inspired me to invest in some patterned knee hi's. I have decided that this is what I need to update my cropped trousers, a look we over in Blighty have embraced to survive the relentless rain, no palazzo trousers here.
I have shied away from brown recently yet I like this outfit.

Not sure about the height of the boots but I am a sucker for some stripes especially with the green cardie.

My favourite colour combination, not necessarily to wear but I love the acid pink next to grey and the moss green.

The bag is great fun.

As are these socks.

I like the leather belt worn with this coat and the proportions of her silhouette.

Coat off....Love the stripes and that gorgeous antique bag
Coat on, I am now hankering after some loafers.
More stripes, I really liked how she had layered them.

Another reoccurring theme has been stripes mixed up with animal prints which works very well, I could not do the leather shorts but think they look amazing on her.

Monday, 24 January 2011

David Chancellor & Tom Martin

I had no real idea what to expect last Thursday when I went to the NPG for some twilight inset, but I struck lucky as they had not one, but two photographers to speak to us, all very informal as there was only about 15 of us there.
The first to speak was The Winner. David Chancellor, a very laid back almost laconic speaker who had clearly worked hard to get this far. This image did not happen overnight, it is not a one hit wonder as his website will testify to. He spoke with very measured tones about the world he photographs in and it all made so much more sense after listening to him. He is my age! and is only just begining to reap the reward of some serious hard work, this image is opening many doors for him within communities who are normally quite closed and susupicious.
To summerise very briefly, this image was the cummulation of spending two weeks with the sitter and her family, he stayed with them night and day on their hunt which went on for two weeks, when this shot finally presented itself to him he cleared her family from view and asked her to stay still and not smile, he had 10 mins tops before the sun set with no extra lighting so she had to keep very still.
It takes a gifted photographer to keep his head with that time frame and he uses a large fomat camera with film. He pays for all his flights and keep out of his own pocket, I have not a clue how he does this, probably through the sale of prints or commisions. It was a brilliant way to learn how to unlock a photograph, which I had been less than apreciative of before.

Second up was a much younger enthusiastic photographer who will take any job going as long as it facilitates his own work. So to get this image he worked as an E.U photographer and managed to befriend the prison warden of a local jail in Burundi into letting him in to take these photographs, he too had less than 5 min's to get this shot, they are not all friendly and it was pitch black in this room, he manged with just his camera and a hand held flash. The warden lost his job soon after. The story behind these jails is to say the least traumatising, men and women locked together the woman are raped regularly and so end up having their babies in these stinking conditions too. No food is provided and the jails are so small they have to take it in terns to sleep. The smell you can only imagine. Tom Martin is drawn to prisons having spent the day in one whilst caught crossing a boarder illegally yet there is no call or outlet for these photographs, they are neither newsworthy or an art form he is just driven to take them regardless. I spoke to him afterwards he sends on average 3000 emails each home visit touting for work he said no one ever comes to you you have to go to them, I will never be discovered I will have to start putting myself out there if I want anyone to see my work away from this blog. On the back of this image he has got an exhibition later this year, but despite the extra publicity it is a very tough life being a photographer.
So all this and a free Pimm's too, the NPG stays open late on Thursdays and has a bar open till 9pm, it is a great way to mix art and have a chat. I have two more sessions booked!

Friday, 21 January 2011

Wardrobe Watch

The exam papers arrived this morning I turned 8 questions around in 2 hours which was something of a minor miracle, I am now working on the last paper at a slightly more leisurely pace.
Last night was amazing and worthy of it's own post next week, suffice it to say I met two amazing photographers who spoke eloquently about their work I then rounded off an amazing evening with a free Pimm's, who said being a teacher was dull!


Mmm this does look a little dull, but I rather like it, very simple probably did need a necklace, I struggle to wear jewellery with stripes but this image does suggest it needs something.
Top Warehouse
Skirt H&M
Pumps Peacocks

I wore my best suck-it-in tights and still I can see the hint of a paunch, SO irritating, I realised that this dress need something other than tights. The last time I wore it with tights I felt like I had two pipe cleaners dangling below a chunky cuboid. I then saw that Stella McCartney had pared a similar long line tunic with very narrow trousers and I was struck by how much better the proportions looked so I tried it and voila much better,
Dress COS
Ruched loose leggings Uniqlo
Boots Fly
Necklace Starbecks


I was out on a trip with the students and had a very pale grey outfit planned, but you know too many greys that do not match look pretty grim, so at the last minute threw this on, I did not like it much, not sure why as it looks fine.
Tunic COS
Trousers Uniqlo
Boots Wolky
Necklace eBay


I have been itching to give this a go but all I can see is a big fat spotty Cumberland sausage! Le sigh, still I don't have to look at them and it felt great.
Dress COS
Top Uniqlo
Shoes Naturalizer


Very slouchy, no? Those trousers always ride up when I wear knee highs, so irritating, still I like it so who cares.
Light grey top COS
Jumper Mandolin
Trousers Toast

Thursday, 20 January 2011


It is said that the worst day of the year was this week, and I must say despite putting a brave face on it the endless hours walking to and from work in the dark and in the relentless rain have definitely taken it's toll on my cup half full attitude to life. Despite staring over an emotional precipice I am nothing if not determined to overcome the gloom and to this end I am going to a talk about the Taylor Wessing Photography prize at the NPG tonight and tomorrow the private view of an amazing sculpture exhibition opening at the RA. Oh and I might just turn up on the right day for the Art London Fair on Saturday!
I can't possibly leave this blog on such a ridiculously maudlin self indulgent note, so to bring a smile to your face check out this amazing website. just the home page is a delight. I have done a print screen for you but would happily have this as a screen saver except I would probably not get much work done.

Talking of work, having had a bit of a lull lately thanks to the incompetency of our exams officer our GCSE exam paper arrived late and so now I am preparing one of my monumental PowerPoint's for the GCSE students as well as writing a shed load of reports, on top of this (and yes, I too hear the dulcet tones of a distant violin) I will have the A Level to get ready not in a leisurely four weeks but one. Thank you exam officer for your supreme due diligence!

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

I am an ostrich

A pretty gutless one at that.

To preempt my current mood I will tell you a brief story that pretty much sums up my total inability to face up to the here and now.

Many, many moons ago in my early years of teaching I had a hell of a journey to get to work, but I was bright eyed and bushy tailed so when one morning I fainted on the train, did I go home? No ,Did I visit a doctor? No, I got up from the floor sat down on a proffered seat not a little embarrassed and carried on with my journey to work.
Two weeks later I am in my classroom, lunch is nearly over and I feel a sharp almost unendurable stab of pain in my abdomen, soon after some students come to talk to me about their coursework, I pull myself together and discuss what they should do and they left happy. I still felt dreadful so I slunk to the bathroom splashed some water on my face but failed to perk up. A teacher spied me and gave me a quizzical look, despite a brave face I eventually had to concede that I felt crap, so I made my way down stairs to the cloakroom to lie down for a while. The school secretary phoned my soon to be husband to see if he might care to collect me, he declined of course far to busy and it was certainly too far for him to come despite his entire career being based around visiting future supermarket sites across the length and breadth of England for a superstore. The secretary then took matters into her own hands and decided I should go to hospital, soon after my arrival it was ascertained that I had neither blood pressure or a pulse. I was, unbeknown to me less than an hour from death. They saved me of course, just in the nick of time, my body went into clinical shock and the rest is history.... Oh, go on then I'll tell you, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy. See, had I visited a doctor I probably would have been saved from the embarrassment of leaving school during lunch on a stretcher.

My point is? I am an ostrich in both my physical and emotional lives, I think if I put it to the back of my mind it will go away, fix itself. I never learn, that was the second time I have been hospitalised and twice since! I even put off having a lump in my breast checked, how thick is that?

And the point of this post is? I have spent 13 years burying my head in the sand thinking surely this relationship will get better? Sometimes it does, having just completed just over a year sans conflict I kind of dared to think we were good to go, then of course I open my big fat mouth and voiced what seems to me an innocuous concern and KABBOOMB no pyrotechnics just the clinical emotional shutdown from the days gone past. The problem? My opinion did not tow the party line and as far as he is concerned that means we are not working together for the same great and the good future goals. And once again I am left wondering how I have managed to squander the best years of my life on morons masquerading as men.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

I thought it was just me

So how much do I covet this outfit? I am a recent convert to the men's collections, Marni being the best one so far this year. Don't the boys get just the loveliest colours?

I would also like this shopper for the summer.

and this coat for next year, better start saving then.
Alternatively pray that COS too has seen these and given them a spin.

So I am not alone in my addiction, I was however stunned when I was told that despite it originating from the mothership H&M in Sweden there are no branches there! I often wonder how I ever managed without COS, I have always coveted most of what I see in there and it helps that much of it fits. I guess I just had to do a considerable amount of schlepping to get what now takes me half an hour to find in there. Like Searching For Style I take armfuls into the changing room and just enjoy the fun, it is not all good but it's as close to heaven in a shop as I will ever find until I win the lottery that is! Then it's Marni all the way....Oh and Dries....

Monday, 17 January 2011

London Calling

The view from here

So asking a security guard where the art exhibition was only to be told it was next week wasn't in the least embarrassing, not a hint of feeling small there then, so with tail firmly placed between my legs I slunk onto a bus to....

Sloane Street

I had nothing planned, no idea of what was on and worse no money, so what to do? Where to go? A light bulb lit up when I saw a bus going to Sloane Square, I remembered I had not made it to The Saatchi gallery before Christmas, now was my chance especially as expecting to spend the day under cover I was woefully under wrapped for a walk around town. I did walk little though, how could I not, the photograph above was taken on Sloane Street, a real blast of colour on what was a really dull miserable SOB kind of day.

My Friday at work was horrible, I wanted desperately to stay in bed, my cold had turned into 'man flu' but I had agreed to teach some sixth form workshops so crawled in dosed up with Lemsip. One of the discussions of the day centred around how much the students look forward to wearing there own clothes once they are in the sixth form. They enjoy a sense of individuality denied them by other local sixth forms that insist they wear a suit. I agreed and described the various tribes the students fall into.

One tribe you will never ever see in my school is this one.

All across SW1 this is the uniform of choice, as is this one.

Seen outside the Saatchi gallery.
No tribes here though!

If my body is ever scraped off the floor after an accident you will always be able to identify it by these three rings, one for each of the insignificant men in my life.
Me and Idris Khan

These amazing pieces below were all in a vitrine by Tessa Farmer, such exquisite cruelty!
That I got these images at all is a testament to how amazing the lens I use is.

Maurizio Anzeri

I discovered this artist's work last year and I used it to inspire some year 11 students with surprising success. They really love his work and relate to it easily, I had only seen images on the Internet so was amazed when I saw that Saatchi had bought some, rude though it sounds I never had him pegged as some one with any taste what so ever, his choices of art are bold but rarely focus on quality such as this. In the flesh so to speak they are even better than I had anticipated, the delicacy of the threads over the aged images is so beautiful and complex, oh to able to afford one myself!

So not such a bad Saturday after all then, the only down side is going home to the 'house of gloom and doom'.
Friday was a triumph, we went to see A Flea In Her Ear, very, very funny and despite the loss of its main 'star' vehicle, brilliant. We had been upgraded, I, being a complete cheapskate had bought tickets hanging over the balcony of the gods, however it had rained so hard that our seats were wet from a leak in the ceiling so we were moved to the stalls, seriously, my arse has never been so royally pampered by a seat in the theatre before, 8 rows back we were, I could even see the spittle fly! Leyla did struggle to see despite sitting on both our coats but truly loved every moment despite some of the humour being rather close to the edge. So I guess with some judicious choices she will be a great theatre buddy.