Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Clean up on aisle 3...

My mosaic table went the way of all flesh after I was unable to locate any tiles in just the right shade of gold. As I wandered around B&Q, I decided that black and gold was still the way forward, and that I would paint a cherry blossom design on the table.

After smashing two cans of paint right next to the checkout (what are the odds, and moreover it was just as embarrassing as it sounds!), I replaced the two cans, went home and disappeared into the garden to paint.

Two days later and seven coats of varnish, I am in love. Pictures will be forthcoming as soon as my camera is charged. Yey!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

18 Folgate Street

Image courtesy of

Isn't it amazing when you discover something so enchanting that you want to gather your things and rush to see it as soon as you can?

Today, I learned about 18 Folgate Street, a house bought and renovated by Dennis Severs, a Californian drawn to London; a man with a love of 'English light' and a clear passion for how our society has evolved since the 18th Century. But that is only the beginning.

The house has ten rooms, each evocative of a different era and poised to cast a 'spell' on those viewing the property. The intention is to create a feeling that the fictional family who live there are just out of reach in the next room. A half eaten apple on the table, shoes and socks by the looks just like the kind of place I could get lost in for hours, endlessly searching for the inhabitants who seem just out of reach.

Dennis Severs articulated his vision much better than I ever could, so I suggest you visit the website or better yet, visit the house and see for yourself. Who knows, you may just come across one of 18 Folgate Street's elusive residents.

Boo to Yoox!

*Harrumph* I have just spent the last 20 minutes combing for some delicious holiday sandals, and am so devasted to find some incredible Chloe and Prada shoes for a completely bargainous price, but in a size 40 (I am a 39). I hate the idea of buying shoes that are too big just so I can have them, but these pairs are difficult to forget!

Oh well. Sometimes it's just not meant to be...

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Feature: Tim Walker

All images copyright Tim Walker
So, I have spent the evening admiring the incredible work of Tim Walker, a British photographer who has shot some of the most memorable fashion stories in recent years.
My favourite shots are those which capture a moment of chaos when everything still seem beautiful; almost as if whatever is happening hasn't been noticed yet. It's like the photo is my earlier post today - it's a car crash, but it's completely serene. It's quite magical, in a very mad, eccentric English way.
I hope you enjoy falling down the rabbit hole and entering a world where everything that you can imagine is possible.

Bonjour, Dior!

My vintage, cream silk Christian Dior pleated skirt arrived today: it's divine! It fits perfectly and is just adorable, although still a little creased after it's journey from sunny Florida. After a long haul in economy, it is crying out to be taken for a lovely cocktail somewhere glamorous. Unfortunately, I am busy tonight, so I draped some fancy beads over the hanger to make it feel special.

This skirt has so much potential that I really don't know where to start, but I will definitely be pulling some outfits together this weekend. Whilst something chic is the obvious, I am dreaming of it with a grey cotton sweatshirt (possibly cropped) and the cute grey jersey flats I saw last week that I'd love to get crazy on with a stud gun...
Oh, I have decided to invest in an SLR so I'm going to investigate some good beginners options this weekend. Hopefully this wil mean I can avoid disaster-shots like the one above when my POS is issued a fond farewell!

Teatime with Tim Walker

Image copyright: Tim Walker Photography

After yesterday's lipstick post, I am so excited to post more of Tim Walker's photographs later. His sets are pure fantasy and it's like looking at a magical dreamscape. Much of what appeals to me about his work is it's slightly surreal quality, and I find, time and again, this is what draws me to an artist. Firm favourites like Dali, Viktor & Rolf, and Tim Walker all manage to capture something that's almost too bizarre to imagine, and I love that I find something new to look at every time, even when I've seen the same work a hundred times over.

I'll be trawling his photographs later this evening and trying my best to edit it down to my favourite shots - quite a challenge when it's as good as it is!

Stay tuned!

An inspiration hangover *yawn*

Image courtesy of

There's somthing brilliant, but also so frustrating about having your best ideas just as you're about to fall asleep. You blank your mind after a busy day and 'boom'! Suddenly, you're overtaken by something that was so far from your consiousness that you have to scrabble for the lamp switch so that you can exorcise the idea that's keeping you awake! Needless to say, I am very tired this morning!

Last night, I had two ideas I am really excited about. One is a project for this webpage and involves a bit of creativity and a lot of thought to produce something very sweet - more on this will follow when I've had some time to experiment! The second was actually a very welcome inspiration bolt on what to do with a plain old Ikea pine table that I bought a while back with the intention of doing something fantastic with it. Anyway, it's still in its original box, gathering dust in the attic.

But last night, the future looked bright for my sad old table, and my weekend craft project will be to transform it into a resplendent, glittering example of art deco design. I'm thinking of a design of black and bronze/black and grey mosaic tiles based around deco architecture - most likely the Empire State building. Anyway, it's still very much in it's infancy, but I am dreaming about it taking centre stage in our new dining room and getting very excited about it. (We're moving in about 3 weeks, at which point I'll take some before and after photos of our flat to post here!)

As soon as I have pictures of the materials I plan to use, I'll post them here, along with the great guide for putting together a mosaic table from Danielle Proud's excellent contemporary craft book, House Proud.


Monday, 15 March 2010

Gorgeous vintage purchase!

I just won this amazing vintage paisley skirt on ebay and I am so excited to receive it! We booked flights to Sicily in May this week and I can't wait to wear this on a balmy evening with a one shoulder black top and plenty of gold.

Feature: Rob Ryan

Image courtesy of

I first became aware of Rob Ryan when Elle UK ran an article on his work in 2008. He is an incredibly talented artist who hand- and laser-cuts the most sublime pictures, all of which feature very sweet messages and musings that hark to a world very much removed from our own.

Above is my very favourite of his pieces, which I still haven't bought as I don't want to damage it when we move! Alison (who is also a great fan) bought me the beautiful print series If You could... which features an incredible piece by Rob Ryan, along with many other talented young artists.

In Rob Ryan's work you will find escapism and pleasure, whimsy and nostalgia, and everything he creates is a true delight to behold. You can check out Rob's blog here, and I hope you enjoy his talent as much as I do!

Pucker up...

Image: Tim Walker for Vogue UK

For me, Tom Ford is one of the most talented designers around. I almost feel that referring to him as a 'designer' is somehow to under-sell his talent. Despite it's slightly pretentious sound, I think we're much better to call him an aesthetician: someone who understands beauty, aesthetics and composition to the point where everything he does is as close to perfection as can be.

It's for this reason that I was delighted to read about his new lipstick collection. Ford describes his futile search for the ubiquitous 60s shades of fuschia and coral for A Single Man as one of the main drivers behind the range, and I am very glad he found a reason to make another step into designing for women again. As predicted, the review suggests that every single shade is the one you've been looking for all your life, so it is with great anticipation that I await their launch!

Sunday, 7 March 2010

J'adore Rykiel - Merci Alix!

I love Sonia Rykiel, and moreover, the mood she creates in her shows. The clothes are always so cute and wearable, and it's amazing to see the normally serious models laughing, dancing and being so playful on the runway. Her collections are lighthearted and made for fun. Looking at these fabulous photos taken by the gorgeous Alix at The Cherry Blossom Girl makes me feel like donning an enormous pom pom headband and skipping along the banks of the Seine, knowing that mischief and magic are just around the corner...

Point and don't shoot...

Hmmm. I have been musing on the possibility of taking photos of my outfits like any good blogger ought and so, given that today is a day of firsts, I made a stab at it, which was very quickly aborted.

Taking one's own photo is never easy, even with a timer, and I discovered that my trusty old point-and-shoot is not going to cut the mustard. After perfoming contortions worthy of the Chinese State Circus to try and fit my whole body into the shot (and making the outfit disappear in the process), I abandoned the exercise and started to wonder whether I am going to be that kind of blogger, because:

a) I hate having my picture taken
b) I never look that great in photos (maybe that's just POS, though...)
c) Is it worth investing in a great SLR to find out that it's not just POS?!
d) I need a personal photographer!

Watch this space (warning: it may be a big space!)

My first attempt!

So, I have had an amazingly fun afternoon getting the hang of sketching designs onto the croquis and colouring them in. I was so bad at drawing at school, but when I just got the opportunity to doodle, I found it really therapeautic. I can see this becoming a regular part of my routine.

The sketch on the left is an outfit I love from Dolce and Gabbana's Spring/Summer 2010 collection, and the dress on the right is the first thing that came into my head when I did some free drawing. I love how the lines from the croqui haven't taken the pastel and it looks like I've drawn in some really elaborate corsetry! I am now completely in love with this dress and wondering how far my beginner's sewing skills will take me to achieving a similar effect!

Anyone for croquis?

Croquis courtesy of
Every element of the design process intrigues and excites me, and I get a disproportionate amount of pleasure from looking at fashion sketches. These elegant figures are known as croquis and I have long held a desire to learn how to draw them and decided that today was the day.
After an hour of watching online tutorials and getting nowhere, I once again googled 'how to draw a croquis' and came across They have a whole host of beautifully drawn croquis available for free download, so I set to work tracing the one shown above into my inspiration book. My book is beautiful, and the paper is thick, heavy and in no way practical for tracing, so I found another use for today's sunshine and held it up against the window with the template behind. Perfect. My very first croqui is waiting for an outline of black ink - it's so beautiful that it doesn't need any embellishment - and now I plan to revisit the tutorials for some tips on sketching designs over the top.
Hurrah for the internet!

Thursday, 4 March 2010


This Aurelie Bidermann cuff is not at all my usual style but such divinely delicate craftsmanship is so unexpected in a metal like gold that I keep having to look at it to make sure it's not lace. The sharp contrast between intricacy and robustness makes this piece utterly desirable. Hello credit card...

Sun is in the sky, oh why oh why, would I wanna be anywhere else?

All images courtesy of

The sun has treated us to two glorious (albeit slightly chilly) days this week. Wandering through Manchester with my sunnies on, as people emerged from their offices, eyes straining in the light like little creatures post-hibernation, I started to think about my summer wardrobe, and how I immediately get more adventurous as soon as the grey clouds have vanished (although being from Manchester, they're never far away!)

Above are my hazy summer day picks, and in this elevated mood of mine, I can imagine wearing the whole lot together (I know, I know, the bustier is a step too far, but it's just so cute!) I am also dreaming of the Kors platforms with chunky grey tights now - remember the Silverado shoes in Chloe's Autumn/Winter 2006/7 collection? Heavenly...

Clockwise from top left:

1. Clutch, Jimmy Choo
2. Bustier, Marc by Marc Jacobs
3. Cuff, Philippe Audibert
4. Sunglasses, Linda Farrow
5. Shoes, Michael Kors
6. Jacket, DVF
7. Skirt, DKNY

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Only three days until 'Christmas'...

I have absolutely zero time to write anything non-work related at the moment, so I'm quite happy that we're in between Milan and Paris and I can take a very quick breather from obsessively looking at catwalk reports: phew!

As is becoming obvious, I have a slight Viktor & Rolf obsession (three posts, three mentions and counting) and I got ridiculously excited at the above photo posted on their Twitter page this morning. It's the same feeling I used to get when I saw my presents under the Christmas tree, and I would give anything to have a sneaky peek at what wonders hide inside those boring boxes. I'll be tuned in for showtime on 6th March!

Monday, 22 February 2010

Comfort vs. Style

From top: February wishlist - images courtesy of and Topshop
Sports luxe at Alexander Wang, Spring/Summer 2010. Source:
Shirts galore at Viktor & Rolf. Source:
Since I started working for myself in October 2009, I have spent the vast majority of my working days in my office at home. As painful as it is for this girl to admit, I have really let my standards slip when it comes to putting together stylish yet comfortable looks for everyday, instead being lured by the pull of what was once my style nemesis: the sweat pant.

When I worked in a company office, everyday was an opportunity to dress up, and I favoured a kind of deconstructed Mad Men style: a classic pencil dress with ridiculous heels and clunky accessories; a strapless prom dress over a shirt, all cinched in with an elaborate waist belt. Essentially classic office basics with a twist. The look still managed to be conservative and office-appropriate, but it was edgy enough that it satisfied my need for expression (a favourite example was after the House of Viktor & Rolf exhibition, where Al and I were so inspired by the shirt above that we vowed that our outfits the next day would comprise a minimum of two shirts and basically as much V&R craziness as we dared brave!)

When I was 17, my friends marvelled at the fact that I didn't own a single pair of jeans. My early style definitely pulled inspiration from the Old Hollywood films and trashy 80s TV that I used to watch with my Grandmother: Katharine Hepburn-refinement mixed with Joan Collins-glamour (Joan gets credit/blame for my love of over-the-top costume jewellery) This was the late 90s, and I found that casual dressing was almost a step too far: that it was almost too difficult to work out how to make my friends' core pieces of t-shirts, jeans and Converse work in a way that spoke to me. I have long since given in to the pull of denim, but my latest project is to find a new home-working wardrobe that marries those two apparent opposites of comfort and style.

Clockwise from top:

1. L'Agence Black Jersey T-shirt dress
2. Tapeet Crochet Sandals
3. Vionnet Cuff
4. Falke Knee High Socks
5. Topshop Oversized Grey Jumper
6. Michael Kors Mini Short
7. Alice + Olivia Striped Skirt

Sunday, 21 February 2010


From top: Balancing the model at Viktor & Rolf, Spring/Summer 2010. Source: Dominique Charriau,
Isabel Marant, Autumn/Winter 2009/10. Source: The Fashion Spot

After a particularly hectic week at work (read: furious report writing and 3am finishes), I started to think about how achieving the perfect balance has such a profoundly positive impact on my state of mind. A balanced life for me isn’t necessarily one that is divided equally across different things, but one that has just enough of everything to keep me smiling.

After several seemingly endless months of searching, Peter and I finally found the most perfect Georgian flat in my beloved Crystal Palace (pictures will follow soon). Georgian architecture encapsulates all of the features that, for me, create the perfect home: high ceilings; huge windows with lots of natural light; symmetry and a general sense of harmony. The style somehow manages to strike the ideal balance between grandeur and comfort, and I am already researching interiors and counting down to April when we move in.

When it comes to fashion and style, balance represents something else entirely: it’s the need to offset a voluminous cardigan with the skinniest jeans; the most daring heel with the simplest dress; or about pulling together lots of pieces to create something so crazy or so simple that it just seems to work: basically fashion yin with fashion yang (for this in extreme form, see Viktor & Rolf's Flowerbomb Spring/Summer 2005 - two completely contrasting concepts rolled into one show). Those are the outfits that make me happiest. Above are looks from Viktor & Rolf and Isabel Marant. Whereas the latter manages to create that quintessentially, slightly 'off', relaxed French style, Viktor & Rolf show the need for balance in a characteristically extreme and whimsical form!

In life, it’s about offsetting the everyday with the escapist, and that’s how this blog was born. I hope that through reading this, you’re inspired to find that perfect balance in your life, whatever that may be.