Tuesday, 30 September 2008

All for only 95 cents..

If somebody asked me what my favourite book was, I would have some serious issues trying to answer it; there are simply too many wonderful stories out there to pick one. If they narrowed it down a little, asking 'What's the funniest book you every read?' or 'Which book can you read endlessly?' or 'Which interesting book have you read lately?' I would find it much easier. If they asked me which books have been able to make me cry, there would only be one or two.

The book I finished this morning (One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey) made me cry. I'd been intending to read it for quite a while, because it's been sitting on my bookshelf for god knows how long. In fact, I think the copy I read was published over 30 years ago, and has been read plenty of times, as you can tell it by its condition:

Halfway through reading, the back cover fell off. When my aunt bought this book, it cost 95 cents; I can't really think of a better way she could have spent it.

Obviously, this is a very acclaimed book and so I wasn't particularly surprised that I loved it so much (if you haven't read it - I urge you go read it now!) but it did get me thinking about what it is that makes a certain story 'speak' to you. Is it simply a very well-written novel? Or are there certain elements which make it more likely that the book will become my favourite book?

One thing which struck me is that in the past I have also loved (enjoyed is not the right word) books where the words themselves are beautiful. I would love to be able to read every language in the world, simply so that I could read stories in the language written by their author. How tough would it be to translate a book like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest?! Another thing is that the stories that always stay with me are the ones that made me cry - and as I said they are very rare. So it is co-incidence that the passage which made me cry in this book is also the most poetical? Sadder things definitely occur in the course of this story, but Chief Bromden's post-shock ramblings were what moved me to tears.

Ting. Tingle, tingle tremble toes, she's a good fisherman, catches hens, puts 'em inna pens . . . wire blier, limber lock, three geese in a flock . . . one flew east, one flew west, one flew over the cuckoo's nest . . . O-U-T spells out . . . goose swoops down and plucks you out.

In the recent spirit of question-asking, which elements are what make you love a book?

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Love Poem

A couple of my favourite poems are very wordy and evocative and passionate and epic as well as very beautiful. Maybe this is because I find it hard to get emotionally attached to a short one or two liner, which I can appreciate but which I can't get lost in. One of the hardest things about reading poems is that you don't get to spend very much time with them before they're over, and a longer more elaborate one is therefore preferable, to me anyway. One poem however, I always remember get drawn back to. Despite it being very short, it pulls me in every time.

Love Poem by Lemn Sissay

You remind me
define me
incline me.

If you died
I'd.

Which are your favourite poems?

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Decisions, Decisions

UPDATE: I'm rather proud with myself, because despite my obviously flighty and passionate attitude to fashion, in this case I've allowed practicality to reign. Being a fashion victim just isn't cool. I think I'm going for the navy coat, which has two sets of pockets, mainly for that reason. What can I say? I reckon that the fake pockets really would drive me insane. (although there's still time for me to change my mind...)

Last week, I went looking for a coat and came back with a bag. This week I came back with two coats. Now I need to decide which one to keep! Can I please have your help?

This first one is navy blue, a staple colour in my winter wardrobe. It is smart, warm, inexpensive and fits very nicely. The only issue I have is the belt, which I don't like. This could either be cut off or tied in a bow. Another thing is that it is EXTREMELY similar to my old, grey coat, which is also from Zara. Maybe also a little non-descript. Still - it's an extremely useful coat.

The second coat is a little more exciting and a little more pricey (but not much). It's from Topshop, so there are fears of seeing it on every other person on Oxford St in a couple of months. But god, the oatmeal colour is divine - although will it get dirty quickly? And you can see a glimpse of the stunning purple lining in the hood, which is naturally oh so important. The sleeve and back detailing are fantastic. But is the cut a little less classic and flattering? Also, the pockets are fake which may be liable to drive me insane.
Can you see my dilemma??? Please HELP! And no 'keep both' please ;)

Friday, 26 September 2008

Sometimes all you need...

Is a little bit of retail therapy. Personally, I am a strong supporter of the stance which maintains that retail therapy is way cheaper than actual counselling, and if less long-lasting, just as effective therefore more worthwhile. Plus you'll be a better-dressed depressed person!

Anyway, I hadn't bought anything for a long while, and I was beginning to get a bit stressed. I felt like I deserved a reward for all my hard work and some nice results, and since no-one else seemed to feel the same way.. I set off on a search for a leopard print coat as a nice pat on the back. I came back with this:


Sort of close, yes? In my defence, I'd been looking for a new bag for a while. A neutral coloured leather and roomy bag with gold hardware. Right.

Nevertheless, I am immensely pleased with my pretty little purchase. There is a BEAUTIFUL pink lining, which we've already established is far more important than the actual item. Despite the petiteness, there are plenty of little compartments so that all my stuff can vaguely fit (if I pack selectively). The colours go perfectly with my winter palette of grey and black. Most importantly this bag fits neatly in with my new aim to shop as much as possible from independent designers and as little as possible from the evil high street.

If you want to buy your own completely unnecessary but guiltless bit of retail therapy, have a browse on the Kate Sheridan website. I bought my bag at Spitalfields Market where they sell these bags on a Sunday. There is loads of absolutely beautiful ware being sold at Spitalfields on a Sunday, including accessories with an AMAZINGLY GSOH.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

The Joker

Funny people are often very unhappy. I do not believe this to be a generalisation, considering how many sad examples there are to back up my statement, and if the said funny person is not currently unhappy then they have almost definitely suffered from depression, unhappy childhoods or tragedy in the past.

I used to hate being seen as funny, because I would get all paranoid about whether people liked my humour or my me. My ditziness or deprecating comments were a mask for what was most probably general angst but which felt tremendously important at the time. As I've grown, I feel that I've become more content, and although I am obviously not happy 100% of the time, I feel like my smiley persona is less of a persona than it used to be. Once, somebody told me that they could never tell when I was upset because I always smiled. Then I went through a period of being irritatingly melancholy. I think I've found a good medium where I can vent my unhappy moments and be able to smile afterwards. There's only one problem.

I think I've lost my funniness.

I do still make people laugh and smile and I like that. When I'm in a particularly sarcastic mood, I can be pretty witty. But I really am beginning to worry that soon I won't have any humour left. God, I realise how ridiculous that sounds now but I made a resolution to write at least a page of fiction every day and started yesterday; I was shocked to discover how terribly, horrendously angsty I sounded! Today I wrote a couple of short pieces inspired by rainbows. The first was just generally trying to be intelligently symbolic and metaphorical. Hmmm. So I decided that the second would be a little lighter. It turned into a piece of micro-fiction about a messed up little girl with a screwed up family background who ends up running away. I have decided to share it, because as they say, it is essential to be able to endure humiliation if you want to be funny. I'm OK with that:

I had a best friend, and sometimes she liked to pretend that her name was Rainbow. Sometimes it was Princess Luna India Rainbow, or Dr Rainbow Bowman, or Sparkle the Rainbow-Catcher. But mainly she just liked to be called Rainbow. On our first day at school, my Mum tied my hair back and made me wear my brand-new navy blue boots. I hated them; I’d wanted to buy the pink satin pair which would have made me look like a ballerina. A very scruffy ballerina, my Mum said. Of course, my friend was wearing her shiny red shoes which she told me her Daddy bought from Dorothy Gale. I believed her, but later my Mum told me that Sophie’s Daddy had been living in Hawaii ever since the Son of a Bitch had found out that her Mummy was pregnant.

When I went back and told all this to Queen Rainbow the Great, her purple mascara began to run and she said that Hawaii was very beautiful and when she was older she would be Queen Rainbow the Great of Hawaii. She told me that Son of a Bitch was what they called the Kings in Hawaii. Then I started to cry and my purple mascara ran too, because my Daddy was a lawyer not a King. My Mum got angry with me for wearing make-up.

Once, when my goldfish died, The Rainbow Detective told me that the Evil Witch who pretended to be a dinner lady at our school must have poisoned her, because she’d poisoned her Mummy too. I couldn’t sleep at night for three days, and then my Mum promised me that Sophie’s Mummy just had a little accident and that evil witches didn’t exist. Barbara was actually a very nice lady. The next day at school, Runaway Rainbow said not to believe her and that Adults are just very good at lying. She’d formed a plan of action: I’d bring in the new bicycle I got for my birthday (for her), and the old one in the shed (for me). Then we’d run away at lunchtime, before the Evil Witch tried to poison us too. In the meantime, we’d have to be very careful not to drink any orange juice.

I didn’t bring in the bicycles. Miss Rainbow Star was very angry and said that I’d broken the rules. She didn’t speak to me for a week, apart from once, before she ran away. The last time I saw her, Blue Bird Rainbow said to me that I was her very best friend ever. She gave me a friendship bracelet made out of daisies and said that she was going to find the Land of Oz, like the song that Judy Garland sings in the movie.

I still can’t see a rainbow without the black mascara running down my made-up face.

Hopefully my creative juices will start flowing more smoothly if I can keep this up, and maybe I'll run out of melodrama and regain a little bit of humour. I'd like to keep the relatively balanced mental state though, please.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

A Flickr of Light.

Sometimes, I enjoy art. However I am ashamed to admit (coming from an arty heritage) that a lot of 'important' art just doens't speak to me. I can look at it, appreciate the talent that would have been required to create it or maybe, in the case of most modern art, appreciate the fact that it's revolutionary. But it just doesn't excite me, or seem beautiful to me.

Strangely this apathy doesn't extend to photography. The recent bout of photo displaying websites has been heaven for me and when I was introduced to the website flickr a few months ago I became a little bit obsessed. I can spend forever admiring the different styles and obvious talent. How fantastic are the creative and adorable photos of this photographer's kids?

The weird thing is that I am also really interested in the minutae of the techniques and methods used to create stunning photography. I found this lesson on the rules of photography fascinating, despite being terrible at both maths and photography. And I love the tilt shift effect of the below photo, althugh I'm still not sure what the difference between a fake tilt shift and a real one is.

Websites such as phiary and blogs which post interesting photography such as Peachy Hollow (I love the idea of a self-portrait a day... a little voyeuristic perhaps?) are also responsible for my love for photography. Although my photography skills are still absolutely terrible, I think that sites like flickr have been responsible for me falling in love with photography, so much that I've started to look at the pretty pictures in magazines, not just the words, and finding them beautiful.

NB: in celebration of this, I added a new tag: Art Attack, for posts which are solely about the traditional sense of art, but of course one could go on on to argue that films, fashion even food and anything beautiful is in fact art. Therefore my whole blog would an art blog, so I deleted the tag and replaced it with Pretty Pictures. Naturally, not all pretty pictures will be filed under Pretty Pictures, so if you're looking for a post about arty stuff, it's probably under 'my cultural education'. Thanks.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Furnishing

Around a month ago, I asked for somebody to come up with a makeover plan for my blog. The general consensus seemed to be that it was fine the way it was, so I left it (albeit a little disappointed at not being able to use my badge). But recently I've started to add things, a header, more labels and today the 'things to ponder' gadget. I thought it was quite cute but it may have to go because of the annoying ads it comes with.

There's another new thing the side, titled 'What's making me happy'. Every so often, I'll change the image up there to what's currently making me happy. Right now it's memories of Mr Hartnett. I quite like the idea of furnishing the blog rather than going for a drastic makeover. It's sort of like moving into a new house; you don't change it completely, you just slowly start adding some personal touches.

Beauty and the Books

The Guardian is surely a newspaper after my own heart. The latest Guardian Weekend, which I co-incidentally picked up on the tube (I normally read the news online) was a fashion and literature special, with an interview and accompanying shoot of the lovely Emily Mortimer dressed up as her favourite literary heroines. Here is one of the looks, no prizes for guessing this one:

There was also an accompanying 'fashion-spotter's guide to literature' which was nicely entertaining and led me to start thinking about my earliest fashion/literature memories and realising that a lot of them co-incide.

The first books I can really remember reading to myself and loving are the Enid Blyton boarding school books. Mallory Towers, The Naughtiest Girl At School... I loved them. Maybe this can explain my affinity with the preppy side of fashion: striped blazers, argyle socks, pleated skirts.

But my very very favourite book when I was younger was Ballet Shoes. I simply worshipped it and must have read it at least 10 times. When I try to analyse what made me love Noel Streatfield's work so much, I begin to notice how much attention she pays to what the characters are wearing, where they got their clothes, even how much they cost. This is a description of making white frilly organdie frocks for an audition:

'Nana went out at once for the stuff, and as soon as she got back, she cut them out, and Mrs Simpson, Sylvia, and cook formed a sewing club to help her. Cook made the slips, Mrs Simpson whipped the frills, which took hours, and Sylvia made up one dress and Nana the other.'

Maybe it is my adoration of Ballet Shoes which has fed my love of ballet pumps (I have a pink satin pair) and impractical silk dresses. Even the austere Jane Eyre takes pride in her simple grey silk dress, a garment which has always stuck in my mind as something I'd like to wear.

Whether there is a direct correlation between my style and the styles of my favourite literary heroines is definitely very questionable, considering the fact that I do not own a single green velvet dress (Scarlett O'Hara in Gone With the Wind owns plenty), even one trench coat (a necessity for Holly Golightly) and have a distinct lack of ethereal Rodarte-style fairy costumes, which most of my childhood heroines would have worn. However it was interesting to realise that there is one thing that many of my favourite literary characters share: an interest in clothes.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

wordle

Blogs are collections of words; on the website wordle.net can create a colagge of the commenest words on your blog as of late. This is mine:

I really love it. I've always been unsure of what to make my blog's header because no picture seems to quite encapsulate it - it's fitting that only words will suffice. think I have finally found my header.

Even movie stars get nervous...

Last night, I saw the much awaited play Rain Man aka Josh Hartnett vehicle.

I could go on about Adam Godley's amazing performance, Josh Hartnett's amazing naked chest and what was predictably an amazing night. But there was one thing which stood out for me, something scarily pertinent after yesterday's discussion about perfect flaws: Mr Hartnett's performance. Throughout the first interval, I saw the poor rich movie star stumble over, mistake, rush and repeat his lines more than I have ever seen in any other play. In the second half, he was actually 10000x times better; his nerves had probably calmed down a great deal, but of course I could not help but forgive him instantaneously. In fact, I found myself fall in love with the thespian more violently than any viewing of Pearl Harbour had inspired before. As I kept on repeating to my lovely friend, it was incredibly endearing. Josh Hartnett gets nervous too! Awww...

(a star-struck pretty face who is going to go back and tell Mr Hartnett how much he's improved)

Saturday, 20 September 2008

A perfect flaw

Everyone sees perfection in a different way, but I do know that it's very rare to find someone who subscribes to the absolutely pristinely perfect Stepford-wives perfection.

To be frank, it's all just a little bit too creepy. Real people who haven't been replaced by murdering robots simply can't have perfect teeth, perfect hair, perfect bodies, perfect skin, perfect clothes and a perfect smile all the time. Nevertheless, whilst society insisting that imperfect is better, more sexy, we are still implored to try and acquire the perfect teeth, perfect hair, perfect bodies, perfect skin, perfect clothes and a perfect smile with bombardments of cosmetic surgery ads, the latest anti-wrinkle products, pictures of Amazonian models.

Even people who believe that they are being unconventional are trying to channel a form of perfection: a unique yet wholly fashionable look which, whilst not conforming to the Stepford ideal, is perfectly cool in itself. I have previously admitted and moaned about the fact that we're all trying to look perfect, including myself.

Still, I can't deny the appeal of a flaw. Actress Jo Joyner, who played sexy Beth on the TV series No Angels, admits that her admired 'sexy strut' is actually an unavoidable product of a faulty hip. I find gap teeth inexpicably beautiful, modelled here by Vanessa Paradis, who is with the desirable Johnny Depp and is pretty much universally accepted as beautiful. I have had braces for a while to fix over-crowding and recently I've acquired a little gap in between the two front teeth, and I have to say I LOVE it. I'll be sad to see it go.

I also mentioned here an overweight character who is seen as the most beautiful in her society. It's a shame that the whole point of this idea is that they're all really messed up and have created their own ideas about perfection, but still an interesting thought.

It's often agreed that complete perfection is unattainable. But if flaws can be perfect, then so are we.

Friday, 19 September 2008

Relaxation

You may have noticed that recently my posts have been a lot less long-winded than usual; I'm finding that I have to resort to more and more braindead TV watching in order to cope with the hecticness of everything else, whenever I have a moment. But tonight there's nothing on that I really want to watch and I've got a couple of free hours. I considered typing up an idea I had, but it required a lot of scanning, waiting, writing, googling...

Perfect formula for relaxation! Of course, in the end getting the photo to load took as long as typing up a post would have but anyway... here it is: pretty photos (seriously - Italian Vogue's editorals are amazing and I actually plan to write about that in more detail), some nail maintenance, a nice BIG cup of tea and my lovely PC.

What's your perfect relaxation formula?

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Best. Quote. Ever.

However many revolutionary and inspiring lines I will hear, I am always going to stand by the simple yet infallible logic of the wonderful Elle Woods (Legally Blonde).

“Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people just don’t shoot their husbands, they just don’t.”


Happiness is a complex issue and you can spend hours debating the best way to be happy. Actually, this over-analyzing tends to decrease your happiness. That's why I'll always turn to this marvellous quote, from one of my favourite films - which I'm actually extremely knowledgeable about since I wrote an A* graded essay on why Legally Blonde is feminist film at its best.

(Today I went for my first proper run. It was fun!)

thanks to enc for spotting the typo!

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Creature Comforts

I absolutely love watching a fantastic new film, experiencing the thrill of not knowing what will happen next and relishing every moment, because I know I will never watch it again for the first time. Nevertheless, if I enjoy a movie, there is little doubt that I will rewatch it, probably within days. I always do this and I'm not sure why; maybe it's the ability to notice things that you don't observe the first time round, or knowing the outcome and sort of being able to relax rather than be all tense, or simply getting to experience whatever makes the film so great again.

My favourite films to rewatch are the ones from my childhood. I was never a fan of cartoons but I did love Snow White, Cinderella and Lady and the Tramp. Every time I watch them, my heart breaks because I instantly forget that inevitable happy ending. I don't think I've ever watched Lady and the Tramp without having to fast-forward the bit with the dog-catchers. Whenever I see Cinderella, I have always marvelled at her beautiful hairstyles and different costumes. Some things never change.


Equally beloved are the film versions of the wonderful Roald Dahl's The Witches and, of course, Matilda. No horror movie will ever be as scary as the Grand High Witch or Ms. Trunchbull.

And of course, there are the tear-jerkers. Whilst Titanic and The Notebook have both left me completely cold, I have never failed to be moved to tears by A Little Princess, Madeline or The Sound of Music. On a rainy day I can always turn to Dick van Dyke for some entertainment with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang or Mary Poppins and Grease is still my favourite soundtrack.


I may be able to appreciate the ethereal beauty of a film such as Picnic on Hanging Rock, or the cinematic accomplishment and phenomenal acting of the grand Oscar winners like There Will Be Blood. But I doubt I’ll ever watch these films more than once, maybe twice, unlike my favourite films from my childhood.

I know it's silly, but sometimes after watching a truly fantastic film, I feel sad, because I don't think there'll be another quite so perfect. But of course this doesn't matter, because I can always just watch it again.. and again.. and again. What are those films that you just can't help but rewatch a billion times?

Monday, 15 September 2008

Isn't it what's on the inside...

Isn't it what's on the inside that counts? As a girl, who is also a teenager, and interested in style, I do spend a lot of time thinking about beauty... as this blog may suggest. And whilst I am pretty much world renowned (amongst my friends anyway) for saying incredibly un-PC and shallow-sounding things, I am often just being my tactless and honest self. I really believe, and not without reason, they all place just as much (too much?) importance and spend just as much time pondering superficial pulchritude.

Gah, that paragraph was way too wordy. Basically we're all totally vain and obsessed with superficial beauty. But does enjoying beautiful beings, including super-fit boys mean that you can't enjoy spirituality too? Do we have to be completely and utterly detached from the outside to understand and value the inside? I am certainly much more content in those moments of life when I'm completely absorbed in a song or a book or a person. Whilst some of my greatest pleasures involve admiring beautiful, there's always that little twang, an unpleasant feeling which I suppose could be slight envy, coveting the unattainably beautiful. But it's all superficial isn't it? There is nothing magical about any of this stuff I covet. My friendships, the ones with the people who I don't mind seeing me in my scruffy colours, are magical and although they don't tend to get me access to the hottest parties they do create some of the happiest times.

This post is becoming terribly cyclical. It goes like this: Are we too shallow? No, it's only natural at this age. But shouldn't we try to be more spiritual? Yes - but we can still wear nice clothes. But - but - but -

OK, I'll make a confession. This post was basically just born out of a desire to post photos the linings of the clothes I wrote about here (they wouldn't load before). So yeah - don't you agree, it's what's on the inside that counts?


Sunday, 14 September 2008

Hello @ 21.21

I have to apologise for being a truly unfaithful blogger. Around midday today, I got back from a moderated hiking expedition; I passed! I suppose that therefore the lack of posting yesterday and this morning is perfectly excusable, but I got home ridiculously early (did the hike this morning in a crazy 3 hours, without breaking at all! yay! I suppose it compensates for the 1 hour 'detour' we managed to take yesterday) and instead of resting, unpacking and writing, I immediately went back out for a spot of much needed retail therapy.

-Now of course I am completely and utterly cream crackered, and have not even written the history essay I was planning to. I think at a certain point it's simply impossible to get work done so I've resigned myself to those rambling off-to-bed posts which used to be semi-regular. Having said that, this is a Sunday night, as they were originally planned to be!

-What did I buy today? Surprisingly, no clothes. Thankfully, the sun came out for our trip, as did my cream trousers and summery florals in the hope of a last-ditch attempt at dressing for summer. This means that there weren't actually any clothes I was compelled towards; too sunny for the winter clothes my mind has already switched to.

-Anyway. Stopping off at Selfridges, I bought two books. One classic which I've been wanting to read for years and am planning to read alongside a group of friends next month: Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) and another which I simply couldn't resist for the adorable front cover and wonderful name. My favourite French word is pamplemousse.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Madame-Pamplemousse-Her-Incredible-Edibles/sim/0747592314/2
I like to think that my reading diet is well-balanced and varied. I also spent forever with a fantastic book about costumes in Hollywood (I think it's this one), all the way from the start of film history to Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. I don't know why, but these things fascinate me so much. In general, I'm not a big fan of 'coffee-table books', finding them obscenely expensive and collectery. Does that make sense? At the till there was an obscenely rich buying I think three of these so-called coffee-table books, totalling around £150 which they paid in cash. Nosy, moi? I'm not even going to go into the hideously tacky ensemble of one of the lucky ladies for fear of sounding like a total bitch

-Apart from the books, most of it was pretty menial purchases; some nail polish remover because I am fed up of not being able to remove the two-week old paint on my nails, a lovely new fountain pen (to write my masterpiece..) and a sports bra to wear on my first ever proper run in a couple of days. Right...

-Ooh and I got my glasses adjusted and can now happily wear them. Phew! I was worried that there would be a sad ending to the spectacular story for a couple of days there. So, the moral of this post? Tiredness breeds intense materialism which is actually incredibly uplifting and helpful in forgetting about an unwritten history essay.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Spectacular Story

'Scuse the terrible pun. In case, with the punniness in mind you still can't figure out what this post is about, it's the story of my life, told in relation to my glasses (sort of similar to when I described my life in terms of hair but, if it's possible, even more materialistic). It's been a tradition for a few years now that every year, around July, I get a new pair of glasses. This year the transition has been a little late, but finally my lovely new lenses are resting happily on my nose.

It all started when I started wearing glasses around six years ago. I got the first pair which fit my mini face and soon realised how very much I hated them. Ever since I have harboured a disproportionate hatred for metal frames, which you'll probably notice in the timeline on the right. It's always been difficult to find nice plastic frames which sit well on my face (my current ones are still not perfect, they keep on slipping down and I think I'll have to have them adjusted) and the next brown plastic pair, though dull, fit the job. As a result, I actually bought these frames twice; they're the 2nd and 4th on the timeline. In between the brown glasses, I had a marvellous pink pair of Ray Bans which broke after about a month.

After that was a pair of very distinctive Joop! glasses which I got cheap at a co-op. I loved them at first but soon realised that I couldn't wear green any more without looking like a christmas tree. The glasses you see at the bottom were the pair I've been wearing up until today and I still love them very much and plan to continue to wear them sometimes, something I've never done before. Maybe starting to wear contacts helps because you don't get so fed up with the necessity of wearing them day in day out? Whatever it is, I'm glad, because they were pretty expensive for a relatively unknown but fabulous brand: ProDesign Denmark. But for a while now I've been wanting something a little more exciting, arty and I've also had a long-lasting hankering for some clear plastic frames. This was intensified after seeing the oh-so-cool Jeremy Darling on Dirty Sexy Money sporting a pair. But after trying on a ton of pair, I decided on something a little more detailed. Cue:

[pics deleted]

Thursday, 11 September 2008

A Day in My Life

Last night I saw a performance of modern dance; Matthew Bourne’s Dorian Gray at Sadler’s Wells. It’s loosely based on Oscar Wilde’s gothic novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, transferred into the present. The infatuated painter Basil Hallward has been transformed into a lustful photographer and the mysteriously beautiful portrait of Dorian, locked into the attic is now this:

An advertisement shown on a large billboard, for a brand-new perfume; Immortal, pour homme. At times the set and dancing were beautiful, at times the actions and scenarios hilarious at times it was also very dark, such as in the final scene when Lady H finds Dorian lying dead and moments later photographers burst onto the scene to capture the fallen It-boy’s dead face. But at other times, they just failed to pull it off (mainly when a cheesy overscore started to speed up to illustrate the mounting passion of a scene).

In this respect, the events that occurred for me today, echoed the dance. It has been a strange day, one full of moments of complete serendipity jarring with the daily grind of school life. The lists have again started to take over my existence, after a wonderful month or so of banishment; I have been forgetting too much too often and have simply had to resort to listing it all.

Of course, once you’ve written the list and realised how much there is to do, essential pleasures such as relaxing for an hour with some nuts and an episode of Desperate Housewives become guilty. Today at school, when we stopped everything we were doing for one minute in memory of 9/11 for the first time in the day I wasn’t doing something, even those more inactive things which somehow still seem to sap the energy.

There were still plenty of little treats to help the day push forward, like bite-sized chocolates which give you an extra oomph, a burst of energy. The effect however isn’t very long-lasting because there is simply no time for basking in it.

Despite this the small pleasures in life are no less beautiful. Today, my teacher seemed to have lost track of time and let the class go 10 minutes early. On my way to the bus, I felt a strange urge to start running; co-incidentally I was wearing trainers, a backpack and a sports top and a little thing like breaking into a run was made easy, when any other day all sorts of niggles (wrong shoes, heavy shoulder bag…) would have arisen. So I did run, and as I reached the main road a bus arrived. One I would have otherwise missed. Elated, I got on the bus and by the time I was home, of course, not much felt special. A 40 minute walk, comfy new contact lenses, a surprisingly high score in a subject you don’t like at all and serendipitous event like catching an early bus may not last very long, but I’m going to enjoy them as much as I can.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Good Deed of the Day

I know that it's highly unlikely that I have a single reader who hasn't recently read WendyB's witty and exciting blog and already knows all about this, but I thought as my good deed (sort of balancing out the Harper's Bazaar I stole, um borrowed, from the art room at school today) I'd link to the auction held by witty, exciting, generous etc etc etc blogger WendyB.

CLICK HERE

As well as doing a good deed by winning, you'll be winning a better version of immortality. The type which doesn't involve seeing all the ones you love die, the world around you wither and suffer and change beyond recognition and your favourite Uniqlo jeans being discontinued. Plus you get free jewelry, and the knowledge that you did a good deed, in helping to raise some money for the Nielson family, who were recently severely injured in a plane crash (read what happened here on the New York Times).

Seriously though, I am really touched by the absolutely stunning generosity and non-judgemental attitude shown by the human, not just online community when showing compassion for strangers. xxxxx to all the wonderful people who inhabit the universe. Soppy, moi?

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Aren't rules for breaking?

Hi. That's me, by the way, cropped artistically because my nose looked a little twisted, sort of like there was a bad smell under my nose. I wonder what that bad smell could be... maybe Trinny & Susannah's odourous rules???

Apparently, they have this fool-proof system, whereby you take out all the clothes in the colours you wear most often, 'put each item up against your face - and see what it does. Do your eyes look brighter? Your dark circles worse? Does your skin look radiant or does it go totally flat? You will soon know which shades of which colours are best for you'. Sound like totally ingenious, enlightening advice? You can click here for more.

It gets better. Say you want something a little more personalised. Some individual guidelines, which stretch a little farther than 'see which colours make you look prettiest'. No probs! They'll divide you into one of three categories (yep, that's three whole categories we beautiful and unique humans comprise of) and give you your own personal colour palette from which you can build your own entire wardrobe!

I am WARM.

Warm

People who fall into this category are easy to spot. The majority have some red in their hair, from rich brown through to auburn or ginger - there may even be some strawberry blondes.

When women in this category go grey, they are desperate to have their hair coloured because it can take on an unattractive hue. Their eyes might be blue, but not that bright turquoise blue; eye colour is more likely to be brown, hazel or a duller green. Their skin tone might be a little sallow or freckly, but generally not dark or mid brown.

Yep, that's me, as the above picture clearly demonstrates. But hang on a minute, dear T&S are telling me my hair will look awful grey.. oh well, let's see what other kind and encouraging advice they have to offer.

This colour grouping looks truly appalling in black; it is their worst colour by far. Navy comes a close second...Grey is not great either, as it will totally wash out their complexion.

Great, so wait, does that mean I have to throw out 99% of my wardrobe and every single garment in my preferred colour of blue? Plus all the hot pink which makes me happy? Does that mean that I have to dress like a Boden lady 24/7?

I've come to realise that T&S, Gok and every 'Which ... suit my ...?' guide out there realised that we don't all want to wear wrap dresses and cinched in belts to 'accentuate our waists'. Come on, if I'm going to be following any fashion law it will be the Mean Girl's rocking rules.


(seriously, coolest. game. ever)

Monday, 8 September 2008

I want a pony

The truth is, I've never been particularly fond of horses and I've never asked my daddy for a pony. I once had a horse-riding party and it was horribly frustrating seeing how much better than me all the other kids were. I don't like riding in horse carriages because they smell a little dubious and I always feel so sorry for the horses being whipped. Riding hats are so itchy, and also hugely disgusting when you have to rent them... and don't even get me started on jodhpurs. Yes, the diluted Balenciaga version may have been fashionable at one point but they will never flatter me and you will never find me in proper jodhpurs either (I.E. purple leggings)


In fact, even the whole cute equestrian chic bordering on preppy look which you can buy pretty much head to toe from the infuriating Jack Wills which is doing the rounds doesn't particularly appeal to me; the closest to horse jewelry I've ever got is a sweet little seahorse pendant (which soon broke). With all this background information on offer, it may be a little easier for you to understand my shock when I started to notice a pattern in the boots I was being attracted to.

Clockwise from top left: Dorothy Perkins £70, Office £100, Belstaff £295, Marks & Spencer £79

Predictably, the Belstaffs are the most yummy (I know, 'yummy' should be strictly restricted to kids describing their nuggets and chips but seriously, would you not eat those if you could keep them once they'd passed through the system???) but also the most unattainable. The M&S pair are out of stock, the Office boots are a little too high and pricey and the DPs are likely to look crap in the flesh. For now I shall have to console myself by reminding me that normally horse riding boots actually have a tendency to look more like this:

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Loving the Lining

What are the chances that I catch a stomach bug and then another one barely two months later? Well I did and this time I think it's even worse that last time; but now I think it's starting to get better (touchwood) and I thought about what I wrote last time:
And the silver lining? At this rate, I'll be looking like Kate Moss.
This time, I completely lost my sense of humour and my little sister had to remind me that 'now you'll be really skinny'. I actually think that I would rather be morbidly obese than ever have to experience stomach pains again, but it is nice to think that everything can have a silver lining. And in the throes of my misery yesterday, I thought of a way of explaining the unfortunate reason for my posting break without making it into yet another of those apology/filler posts which I fear are becoming all too common. I could celebrate my love of linings!

Yes, dropping a couple of kilos is a nice side-effect to illness, but my far preferred type of lining comes on the inside of clothes. This is my favourite jacket, not just because of the fit and pattern but also the stunning leopard print silk lining:


I had a couple of other photos of my beloved leather jacket and some pretty shorts with equally lovely linings. But my computer is playing up similarly to my gut, so I suppose I'll just post this before the whole thing goes wrong...

Thursday, 4 September 2008

All dressed up...

You may or may have not seen this post in its original form, entitled testing and at various stages of its existence featuring tiny photos, pixellated photos, and finally this. I am very proud, because I have finally figured out how to re-use pictures in my picasa web albums on my blog. SO economical - I have only used up 6% in almost so many months... well not quite, but you know...

However I suppose I have to be economical in one way, because in terms of completely unneeded evening wear, I am happy to splurge and acquire as many unsuitable dresses as possible. Almost a year ago I was willing to spend £50 on a dress (it was in sale!) for its sheer beauty and impracticality, as well as the fact that it reminded me of one of my favourite films. It doesn't matter that I haven't yet worn it; I am still loathe to spend a couple of pounds on some decent socks, which I wear every day.

Fortunately I have come to the decision that being all dressed up with nowhere to go is indeed a sorry state of affairs, and with nobody I know willing to go and get married so that I have somewhere to wear a posh frock, I am just going to have to accept that I will be grossly over-dressed and wear one of my posh frocks to the theatre. No you did not just misread my sentence, I did say one of my posh frocks; plural. Because not only do I own the evocative £50 bargain, but two other equally all dressed up dresses although these are slightly more excuseable since they were free courtesy of the old stock in my lovely aunt's dress shop. Nevertheless, I am faced with a problem. On average, I find myself with enough courage to take the plunge and go out 'grossly over-dressed' around once a year. But I have three options to choose.

The first is the one I actually paid for, justifying my purchase with ideas about dressing it down with thick tights, a black top underneath and some chunky black boots (plus it comes with a detachable slip which ironically I've actually worn loads!). Yep, that failed. Still, there's a chance this dress could be saved from the realms of eveningwear and converted to extra-special daywear, on account of the slightly less dressy material..

The middle dress is the one I have had the longest, hence is the most neglected. It is also the single big-brand that features in my wardrobe, other than spectactles and nail-polish, which I don't think really count. It is... whisper... Burberry! I could also go around with the label sticking out, which would be quite nice too. On the downside, this one is the only one to have been worn out, in public, when I went to see a film 'grossly over-dressed'.

The last one is my most requent acquisition, which suggests that maybe she should get a quick airing, before she becomes stale. Don't ask why this is the only dress with a gender, perhap it's the fairy-like quality which makes me feel like she isn't quite right for the dirty and polluted city centre on a chilly winter's day.

So here I am, all dressed up and not quite nowhere to go, but not ENOUGH places to go. I think I'll just gaze at my pretty dresses a while longer and try to forget the misery. Maybe you could help me choose?

No Place Like Home Part II

I realised that if I don't write this now, I doubt I ever will, because I'm so absolutely terrible with intentions to write something. If I don't write it immediately, it will probably never get written and if I stop halfway, it will probably never get finished. Case in point. Nevertheless, I shall try to write it down.

The month which has just ended, August, was an unusual month in some ways. One thing which stood out is that in 30 days I slept in two big cities, one beach town, one seaside village and a countryside area.

When I was much younger, I used to dream about living in the countryside; being allowed 5 dogs and my own mini tractor to drive around the fields. Then I got a little older and since then I've always been determined that I'm an 'urban girl', most at home in a big city where there is plenty of fashion and a million and one things to do every night. But recently (and that's very recently, as in this past month) I've enjoyed swimming in the sea so much, and floating on boats in the night, and relaxing on the sand. Before my seaside holiday I hadn't been swimming in over a year, because I hate swimming pools so much.

And then I came back from my holidays and sat at home with nothing to do, so I rang my friend and we just went out into the city. We spent a whole day just doing all the things which London has to offer, and having a great time. I got home and thought that maybe the seaside and the countryside are just holiday pleasures and I am an 'urban girl' after all... oh how that phrase makes me cringe.

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Liv has the answer...

Am I seeing double? One of these photos of Liv Tyler was taken in 1994. The other was taken 14 YEARS later in 2008. That's right, YEARS not days, or even months.

(I think jealousy of Ms Tyler might be more acceptable than of a doll..)

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Spammering

I am ashamed to say that looking at my blog archive and seeing:

September (1)
August (25)
July (28)
June (33)
May (42)

I feel a sense of alarm, a disappointment in the lack of symmetry of it all. Of course, the whole thing can be justified; in May I was experiencing an acute attack of verbal diorrhea on starting this blog, realising I had a whole lot of ideas to write and a whole lot of revision to avoid. Then June and July, with relatively normal post counts, since I was always hoping to hit around the 30 mark. August's decline can be explained with my two week holiday, where posts were only scheduled for every other day. And September, well it's only the 2nd and this is my 2nd post. Nevertheless, I don't want there to be less posts this month and so I thought I might as well do a little spammering. I'm not even sure if that's a proper word but it basically means I'll take all the advertising requests I've had and put them up. I'm feeling virtuous. Besides, this may actually be useful to somebody, as well as making my blog archive count more 'beautiful'...

Lensshopper.com - a guide to contact lenses online. I think I might have received this one on account of this admittedly unusual post.

www.fanatiquefashion.com - Fanatique Fashion is a combination of a blog and an online magazine. A place for in-depth fashion writing and general creativity. The site is completely self funded and non profit. Embarrassingly, I haven't actually got round to checking it out yet but it could be interesting.

Abazias.com - a diamond shop. Probably as a result of one of my jewelry/jewellery posts. They probably forgot to read the bit where I mentioned that I'm not a huge fan of diamonds!

http://www.storeadore.com - Store Adore is a guide to
the best shopping boutiques in major US cities, complete with store profiles, customizable shopping maps, and discounts. Store Adore is described as ³Zagat meets Facebook²- a shoppers encyclopedia of top boutiques written by locally based authors from cities such as New York and LA. Store Adore is a girl¹s best friend when it comes to advice on boutique shopping, and a wonderful resource for travelers as well as locals.

212DRESSINGROOM.com and 212/BLOG an online boutique that creates an innovative merger of editorial content and online retail commerce. The 212/BLOG is written for the progressively minded fashion community, and was created to promote fashion and art from a New York perspective. Content is added through live feed daily highlighting industry news, reviews, and commentary with a glamorous edge. The 212DRESSINGROOM.com boutique will make its official launch in Fall 2008. In the meantime join the coterie of fashion eccentric contributors for the launch of the 212/BLOG .

Jealous of a Doll...

Today is my final day of freedom before going back to school. I know that as of tomorrow, I will have to start working properly if I want to do well. I hope that I will still have time to blog and comment as per usual at first, but it will probably take a while before the backlog of work which is sure to accumulate will start to go out of control but anyway...

So, on this last day of freedom I have decided that I will determinedly do nothing. This has allowed me time to think about my weekend trip and realise that perhaps a lack of mental stimulation has left me a little crazy; I am jealous of a doll.

Actually, two dolls: France and Marianne. These are the two dolls which I saw yesterday when in Windsor, visiting the Windsor Castle. If you want a full background of who they belonged to, why they were given to them etc etc and etc, you can find the history of France and Marianne here:

The Royal Collection

All I can say is that these two royal dolls have a more stylish wardrobe than anyone I have met in the flesh. Their jewelry is Cartier, and their clothes are made by couturiers including Lanvin, Louis Vuitton and Herm├Ęs. What most impressed/made me jealous was ensemble in particular, which was based around a leopard print fur coat. I have previously written of my desire for one of these, at least once. These damn dolls not only have a leopard print coat, but matching gloves, hat and a bag. I am only now beginning to realise the absurdity of my envy, but I shall try to justify it to you with the only pictures I could find of France and Marianne (not only are their wardrobes extremely covetable, they are also very exclusive).