Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Arrival of snow, Valentino & dog

I love it when things happen in threes! My gorgeous, gorgeous skirt arrived last night by my trusty DHL man. It fits (although it is a bit snug) and it is beautiful. I will not enter a long and boring monologue about the quality of the garment but all I will say is, it well worth every penny. One of the best bargains I've ever had.

Then we all woke up to snow, a light smattering but it is still falling. Although in central London it is turning to sleet, in the suburbs it is still proper snowfall.

The petit garcon went straight into full loving the snow mode. He made angels in the playground and was so happy. Kids never tire of snow.

And my third delivery was a dog. A really cute shiatsu called Alfie. We're looking after my in-laws dog whilst they go off to Barbados. Yep, I feel slightly galled.

Although what with my Valentino skirt and a dog I actually think I'm in fashion accessory heaven.

Monday, 29 November 2010

go on vote...

It was all go yesterday. I had to step in last minute and wield my make up brushes which I put away 3 years ago. Gosh it was hard work, what with a late night and a hangover.

I'll be back on track asap so today I'm asking you to vote for me! I nearly won this one month but was pipped at the post by cheese makers and the like! Goodness knows why I'm pursuing an attempt at domination on Dorset Cereals but hey I like to amuse myself from time to time.

Click here!

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Dress a blogger for Hanukkah, Christmas, Happy Holidays

This weeks centre stage is Vintage Vixen. I was mindful of her thrifty ways so have avoided spending a fortune and have made sure I've got some charity shop action in!

Thank goodness for my987wardrobe.com it is the perfect place to get a bargain and have fun too. Vix is not a wilting flower with her love of colour and is the queen of creating an outfit based on a theme. I've gone with a late sixties look for our Vix.
It is short but bursting with texture and colour a sequin print dress at £9.87

Some nice thick opaque tights in black given how chilly it is! And these from Dorothy Perkins promise to be supersoft at £8.

The second hand black shoes are £6.00 from Cancer Research
The chill shows no sign of disappearing so I wouldn't want Vix to go cold.

Faux fur jacket £9.87

And as a final touch a long gold looking second hand

chain from Cancer Research for £4

Saturday, 27 November 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

From now until Christmas the shops are rammed with temptation particularly of the clothing variety. The matter of fact approach is to buy cheap when it comes to clothes as you have so many priorities to fulfil especially parties, work drinks and presents. Also unless you are going out with the same people one outfit should see you through your engagements.

Not really a high st offering but these days the internet is your living room substitute and brings many options to remote places. I've picked a my987wardrobe.com dress which has a wow factor for the festive rounds and most definitely won't break the bank - phew!

Friday, 26 November 2010


The petit garcon has a nasty cold and cough so is at home today and not at school. He's watching Tom and Jerry all snuggled up on the sofa in pjs, dressing gown, his favourite blanket and his duvet. I've cranked the heating up, it was -3 this morning and he is slowly warming up.

My best laid plans including a continuation of life laundry posts have all been abandoned in favour of cuddles and toast! Although the cheeky chap did manage a smile for the camera.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Make Do Life Laundry week - fashion forward

Given I've now recovered from my Valentino shock (thank you The Outnet) I thought I'd best return to the theme of the week. I've been looking forward to doing this post and I'm sure the Francophiles will be very pleased.

You know I've been struggling along a fashion journey (a three year one to be precise!) and I'm on the final hurdle. A year long style challenge to buy only quality and designer ones at that. The reason I think I got to this place is due to a reaction against more and against the pace of trends. Then of course I had a MA to undertake and fund so that challenged my resources as well.

What I'm trying to achieve is a step away from my high/fast fashion penchant of old towards a more considered, luxurious and classic yet stylish wardrobe. In short I'm over rad and killing it.

My favourite Coco Chanel quote is 'innovation! One cannot be forever innovating. I want to create classics.'

And do you know what she is right. There comes a point when you need some satisfaction and stability in your wardrobe. Which leads me on to a stalker-ish confession. I'm a very observant person. I never forget a face and I always take in what people are wearing. Whilst dropping off the petit garcon at school I spotted a French women at 50 paces. Everything about her style said French.

When I finally did my 'hi I'm a stalker but these days we get called bloggers' bit it got better. This is the coolest response ever to 'Are you French?' Her reply 'Well yes, well actually I am Parisian (but said in French the Parisian bit), not that I'm a snob' Then she laughed. I actually just wish I had La Belette Rouge on speed dial so I could do a transatlantic *sigh* and share the moment.

If that wasn't enough to make me wish I could say that to someone, I then asked her name which is Melusine. Melusine is one of the most magical names ever! She is a legendary figure in many European, particularly French and German folk legends. Melusine is a fresh water spirit of sacred rivers and springs.

The reason I had been 'observing' Melusine is because she does and has achieved the style nirvana of quality over quantity. Her Max Mara coat worn with flat black patent boots, a quality orange scarf - sometimes with her Louis Vuitton shoulder bag, sometimes not coupled with perfect grooming is a winner. She stands out not because she is fierce fashionista but due to her classic but stylish air. It is the perfect example of why fashion forward is about simplicity but style. Why it doesn't always have to be about new or innovation.

Ah the surprise detail!

The wardrobe life laundry seems to be well under way and in the right direction. If you are starting with a wardrobe sort out then you can check out my post on this here

Meanwhile I'm lying in a darkened room practising my French faining a Parisian accent stylishly of course.

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Fashion Maths and Fate

Late yesterday afternoon I finished my wardrobe sort out and purge. It left me requiring a skirt. If I'm honest I really do/did have my heart set on the Valentino for Gap one at £69.95. I love Valentino and thought it would be a good way to get some but I also felt it was breaking my year long challenge. Technically it is only a designer collaboration and Gap is high street. Then I thought could I really be bothered to haul myself to Dover Street Market first thing Saturday morning - as at least Dover Street Market isn't a high st retailer!

Bit by bit I managed to convince myself that it would be a bad idea and would be breaking my challenge. I'm sure if I had put it to the public you would have voted me OFF, mind you Wagner keeps staying on X Factor despite abominable performances.

My next step was to check out skirts on Net A Porter and Matches. I'd looked at My-wardrobe the day before. Nothing grabbed me in my price range. Then I thought I'd look on the Outnet. I'd tortured myself earlier with a Valentino red dress. I filtered my search to skirts... you know where this is going don't you ... and I stumbled upon an f****** Valentino, in my size with 80% off and in black at the length I wanted and the level of detail I wanted too. I quickly checked my bank balance and worked out the math.

Then I bloody well went for it!

And here is my new baby to be. At £136 down from £680 I'm in Valentino heaven. It hasn't arrived yet but fingers crossed it will be perfect. Okay it is double the price of the Valentino Gap one but there the comparison ends. At unit cost per wear it will pay for itself in 12 months. Oh the joy of it!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Make Do Life Laundry week - absolution

Okay may be absolution is a tad OTT but I'm so bored of writing back to basics, or basics or budget or starting point!

Henceforth I absolve you of all previous bad buys, pointless purchases and style shrieks... and I do the same for myself too.

New beginnings folks, new beginnings. I tackled the difficult subject of the female body yesterday and it was not intended to be a thesis or a definitive post. The purpose was to shake anyone out of the shackles of body watching, either theirs or anyone elses.

So now we all start again, fresh as daisies, happy with our lot and safe in the knowledge there are lots of bloggers out there to inspire us.

The point of a life laundry is to kick start a new phase, close a previous chapter and set yourself new challenges. I won't bore you with my hopes and desires but on the style stakes front I'm on my second week of a year long challenge.

Because of my work (stylist in case you don't know although I'm veering more to writing more now...) and because of my last two years spent doing an MA (I feel bereft these days after so much studying) at the London College of Fashion; I've analysed and pondered and deliberated fashion for what seems forever.

Tomorrow I do yet another interview which asks me my opinions on fashion. I talk a lot about fashion, I read a lot about fashion and yet sometimes it consumes me and I feel sick. Oh that was a bit dramatic but I do get too sucked in and insular.

My little project after only 2 weeks has been a really big help. I've extricated myself from the looking, buying cycle of the high st and apart from one shop for a client recently I've been freed from shopping. This has made me stop. I've re-evaluated my wardrobe and am in the process of an ebay sell marathon! It will take me weeks to complete and I've got to go and pick up some more stuff tomorrow I loaned to another stylist. I have no idea what!

My life laundry is about being on top of things going forward, which means I'm in the painful bit of updating stuff, clearing out crap and generally getting my act together.

On the style challenge front going forward I'm hopeful of being focused and eradicating my previous habits. My aim is to have a wardrobe of quality items which I will never part with because I love them so much. And I can wear them for years. If something wears out then ce la vie but I do look after things very well so barring accidents or some misfortune I should do well. We'll see.

Pearl of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom did a great post the other day about looking after your shoes. I've loved her shoe post and she is one of the many bloggers who've inspired me in some way. What or who is going to inspire you? Do you feel you need a life laundry? (I have a great visual in my head of WendyB rolling her eyes at this!)

Also I believe there is a sea change coming in how we live or approach our lifestyles. Call it my fashion bones (in the air and all that) but I watched this after the link was tweeted and just as I was finishing this post - it is interesting!

Our food system is not working - The Guardian

All images in post by Norman Parkinson (my favourite photographer)

This is why...

... I prefer quality to quantity. Okay so I love a red dress and I love Valentino. I'm currently weeping over all the rubbish things I bought, if only I'd saved my money for this moment!! Discount Valentino available on The Outnet

More Life Laundry to come when I've stopped weeping!

Monday, 22 November 2010

Make Do Life Laundry week - Body Matters

Last week I was amused and amazed by the gi-normous task facing Fashion's Most Wanted and Keeping up with Mrs Jones as they undertook a life laundry on Mrs Jones's house. Also Fashion Pearls of Wisdom had a week long special on shoes. Oh what a good idea I thought, a subject matter for a week and lets do it large and deep in a life laundry sort of way.

If you have no idea what the Make Do stands for then...here goes. In my world making do is about making do with what you've got and also being glad of that fact. It is about not wanting something to fill an emotional hole. If you've got no money then go without. And learn about budgeting and saving. If you are tired and fed up, give in and go to bed or take a rest - you won't miss out on anything. If you've got nothing to wear rearrange your wardrobe and get inspired. I'm sure you get the point. We in the West have got so used to aspiration, achievement and materialism. I'm pretty sure it is true the world over but in the developed countries it reached a peak. Basically, comparing yourself to anyone/anything is a waste of energy.

The Female Body

Let's face it models are always going to be thin and Dawn French is always going to be fat. If you get realistic and practical about the female body then the rest is easy. Your bodily functions, eating, sleeping and excreting are an everyday occurrence. There are only two major milestones in a female's life time when it comes to the body. The first is puberty and the onset of the menstruation. At this point you bodily changes can be really challenging/upsetting - this period really depends on what information you receive both verbal and non verbal. Some have easier passages than others. Some suffer more hormonally than others. The next biggest event to challenge the female body is pregnancy. Being pregnant elicits change to the female body. Our DNA and genetic imprint determine our skeletal structure which in turns impacts on our body shape.

We are all different. There are no two people alike unless you are truly an identical twin. What we have is what we have.

The issue of liking one's body

I often wonder when did people consciously think about themselves in terms of liking or not liking their body. And I mean people as a collective. Which decade or century did it happen? Have we always had this perspective of bodily image?

The trouble with comparing and contrasting is it causes just that trouble with a capital T. Ideals, images of beauty all add to the pressure of modern society. If we look at female images logically firstly the 'ideal' is always changing in the same way the way which we adorn ourselves changes. Fashion is fickle but also challenging, it keeps us fresh and moving forward. Sometimes it makes us still or reflective. Whatever goes on around us, you have to stay grounded in you. You needs to be the pivotal point. You cannot affect or change the prevailing fashion. But you can control how you respond and feel.

Why care about models?

I've never given a stuff about models or more preciously the model weight debate. Of course I care about a model as a human beings. Models are slim or not, they are of varying shapes and sizes. Mainly tall though. Perhaps because over the years I've worked with many many models I am completely ambivalent. Occasionally I do get awe struck when an individual is truly beautiful. I like beautiful things but my idea of beauty will no doubt be very different to yours. None of us share exactly the same views or taste.

What strikes me is that model's have to worry about their weight and their looks as much as most women. I really haven't got the time to talk endlessly about how we end up with our views of ourselves, our bodily images etc. It is a massive subject with much thought upon the subject to fill a library. However if you want my top tip, admire models or dislike them, but don't think about them or about being like them. It is a waste of energy. And lends to body dysmorphia.

I look fat or I hate that on me

When you put clothes on the body some days it looks great and some days it goes a bit pear shape. Sometimes when you are shopping you put a garment on and it looks great, another time it looks awful.

To the first I say hormones. To the second I say there are loads of clothes out there.

Bodily weigh does impact on what you wear. I will talk about weight in the next section but how clothes fit is simple. The trouble with ready to wear or off the peg garments it is a lottery. You are wearing an approximation, not an exact fit. With clothes you have to go with what you like, what suits you and what fits you. Again there is plenty of choice and sizes. All you have to do is to choose not to take it personally. Try things on, be open to new ideas and most importantly think you look good whatever you wear.

Plus men don't care about the specifics of your figure or what you wear. If they do have an issue with their body then it is because of something lacking in them and they are being horrid - walk away. They have to fix themselves. Or their upbringing lends them to a certain preference - but when it about taste of clothes not nit picking over your bum then just shrug your shoulders. Early on in my relationship with Mr MDS I asked him would he date a Page 3 girl, to which he replied yes! I wanted to be all indignant but I laughed - it is just about him feeling good if he went out with a Page 3 girl. It was his ego, the peacock element. Men are bound to look, men are bound to fantasise - don't you?

Diets don't work

When it comes to the body don't try to follow a calorie cutting or food specific diet. If you really want to lose weight based on the fact you are factually overweight, then there is only exercise and fuelling correctly that will get it off. Note the factual bit!

I only base things on how clothes fit and how much of a tyre I get round my middle. I've had children so I'm going to be a bit lumpy and bumpy. I do exercise and I've just started to use a personal trainer but that is mainly because I want to be pushed. Left to my own devises I wouldn't be able to shift my tyre. It is pure vanity that is driving me to tackle it. My weight doesn't go up but I've not lost the excess I put on a while back so I want to tackle it.

What I do know given I eat a lot and don't diet is exercise regulates your body better than any diet. If you do exercise like walking, swimming, cycling and running in the fresh air you'll be amazed at how you don't want to each as much. It is the combination of endorphins and being outside that fulfil something, probably emotional needs which are often causes of eating.

The worst diet ever has to be the Atkins diet. I still roll my eyes at that one. Imagine a diet that tells you to eat saturated fat when we know it is the biggest cause of heart disease. And then the Atkins chap went and died of a heart attack! It amazes me that people still buy into it.

There are only 3 books I could ever recommend on diet given they are about food choices not dieting. They are the only 3 books I have because they are useful for me in respect of my personal styling work. I don't have a nutrition book because I know what foods are proper healthy foods - we all do. I'm mainly vegan but very occasionally I do eat fish, meat or dairy. I actually ate a sausage, a German bratwurst, for the first time in ages on Saturday at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. It was perfect with mulled wine and German potato dish. And I had a tiny piece of chicken when I cooked roast dinner on Sunday. I love goats and feta cheese so I'm not going to deprive myself but it is only occasionally.

The 3 books are
I can make you thin by Paul McKenna - purely habit changing and focused on acheiving not deprivation. Really good if you like suggestion to respond to.

Can we live 150 years? by Mikhail Tombak - this is not for the faint hearted as it is pretty hard core. He does love the old no food combining thing but what is truly useful about this book is the idea of giving your body a service. When I get a weekend to myself I'll do the liver detox!

The China Study by T.Colin Campbell - this is the holy grail of dietary advice. It is the sort of book that will change your life or have you reaching for a hamburger. I love it. It is a wonderful read and it's impact on me was greater than just diet. However, not everyone will be swayed by his evidence and arguments.

So what next

Thank you if you've got this far, as it is a long read for a blog post! The purpose of this post is to get you to take stock of you now and lose any habits that are holding you back in respect of body image.

If your bikini line needs a wax you get it done or not. We all need to adopt the same pragmatic approach to ourselves, how we feel about ourselves. It is a sad fact but you are the only person in your body. Even if someone cares and loves you - your mind, your perspective, your sight is yours alone. Only you can guide and steer yourself. Be pragmatic if you want to life laundry your body or body matters.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Ebay delights

Over the next few days I have a number of great items going up on ebay. To wet your appetite I give you a preview. Please note the first item are a wonderful pair of Helmut Lang trousers gifted to me by Queen Marie of Kingdom of Style. I asked her permission before listing them as they are a joint fund raiser by us for Sister Wolf and her leaky roof.

And a Jimmy Choo for H&M leather dress, see the one shoulder thing is still current. Come back and buy this after your failed Lanvin for H&M excursion!

Dress a blogger for Hanukkah, Christmas, Happy Holidays

After our fun and frolics last Thursday and the fact this blogger bought me a much needed G&T, how could I not pick the lovely Claire of WaceyStyle to fantasy dress for the festive season.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

High Street Pick of the Week

Sometimes you need to add a bit of wow and that doesn't always mean a mad bad purchase. A splash of colour can work wonders to transform your mood and a garment.

This dark red rose corsage for £6.00 from Oasis is just the ticket.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Sharing Spring/Summer wear

A perfectly pleasant evening was spent in Kentish Town last night as I went to view the Isabella Oliver 365 S/S collection. I had a meandering day of introspection starting with porridge in Starbucks.
Then later with a G&T, although I would like to clarify this was with Claire Wacey and she bought me it as a belated birthday drink in lieu of a dirty Martini.

As the initial glow of autumnal air and the pleasure of wrapping up for winter fades, I always find a level of introversion sets in. It explains why we wrap up in lounge pants, over sized cardis and cashmere socks (in my perfect world not necessarily in reality, it is called work in progress) and sit watching films, the TV or reading a book.

It was quite hard to make myself step out into the night air and more so as it meant North London. As things go it was a worthy excursion. Especially for Cybill in Perth as I've found the perfect dress for her!

The forth coming 365 collection continues with an air of simplicity in the cut, ridiculously wonderful quality in the material and 'easy breezy' garments to wear. The main aspect of the 365 range is you can't go wrong. Whatever item you like, when you put it on it, it will 9/10 fit and feel fabulous. There were 9 items I wanted immediately and 4 others I wouldn't say no to.
I think I love the feel of the clothes so much it creates more confidence in respect of wearing. I also like the fact that the pieces have longevity. Of course I couldn't resist a dress up - it was such fun!

Wait for it...

If only this dress was available now I'd be serving Christmas luncheon in it
Wonderful combination of chiffon and sequins - yummy!

Great breton boatneck top and shorts - could wear them all year round

Truly all that glitters is gold

Ok Brad - do you think I could give Angelina a bit of a run for her money, say if you bumped into me in Venice next Summer?

Claire Wacey and the Isabella Oliver team talk 'Matt Cuddles'

You can take the girls out of South London but we can't wait to get back!

Well if the band is playing you gotta dance!

I'm staying in tonight wrapped up reading a book and dreaming of the summer, oh and Matt Cuddles.

Sharing inner thoughts

I'm in a creative mood and mainly living in my film head. For some reason I'm having an obsessive Plein soleil (1960) moment. It is a film that exudes style in the execution of cinematography, music and costume. It is more dark then the later Matt Damon, Jude Law The Talented Mr Ripley (1999). Although Patricia Highsmith loathed the ending of Plein soleil as it differed from hers.

Or perhaps maybe I'm having a creative crush on Alain Delon.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Fab Fairtrade feature

Yesterday I sent the petit garcon to school in a yellow polo top and paid a pound for a banana to get him in the school gate. It was a wonderful fund raiser and he came home with an 'I support Fairtrade' sticker on his school jumper. It was so cute!

Now had I known the style stakes on fairtrade were being upped I'd rather have been dressed as Lisa Butcher as above in this wonderful photograph taken by Trevor Leighton. Mind you the weather wasn't on my side but my hair was being blown around like that.

The full feature is in the Daily Telgraph

Gap gets good...again

Gap is one of those stores which veers between really really good and sometimes plain awful. On Monday I stepped into its Oxford Street store near Selfridges and it was a winter wonderland. Stocked with splendid cashmere items, pretty party gear with a nice bit of edge plus gorgeous knitted scarves and hats.

It was so hard not to succumb to such temptation. I felt like asking you all for a get out of jail free card for one day!