Thursday, 27 August 2009

lace face

I think this is the latest OR earliest I have ever posted on here.

Anyway, I am off in approximately 8 hours so I better get some sleep in now. I just thought I should let y'all know that I haven't gone AWOL - on the contrary this trip has been planned for 364 days. I didn't want to leave a seal of approval as my last post, that would seem quite ironic, as abandoning one's blog doesn't seem very approval-worthy.

Damn. There is a hole in my gorgeous new lace tights. I hope that isn't a sign for the way the rest of the day will go.

Monday, 24 August 2009

approval

I'm feeling a bit funny at the moment, a result of nerves about all sorts of different things.

Whilst being nervous can be due to all sorts of different things, I reckon you can boil it down to basically one thing: not being sure if you're good enough. Not being sure if you're good enough to have passed the exams you took months ago, not sure if you're good enough for this person, that person, this task, that challenge.

So you can only imagine how good it felt today to get some approval. Not simply some approval, but an official seal of approval. Not just that, but an official seal of approval from Wendy Brandes, who is definitely good enough. I mean, just look at the earring taking centre stage on the seal's design. Proof of Wendy's excellence, and definitely a lovely way to make a nervous girl feel a little bit good enougher.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

to go green?

Today whilst out searching for a pair of boots to wear this Autumn/Winter (on which I could write a whole separate odyssey - just shout if you have any interest in hearing about that) I was dragged into the shop Fornarina.

This is one shop which definitely isn't my style. Hideously expensive, polyester and euro-trash I think you could probably sum it up by the fact that Lindsay Lohan is the face of Fornarina. Still, it was an interesting visit. For one, one of the shop assistants turned out to be someone I vaguely knew, which was fun. Secondly, I found myself drawn to a vivid green leather jacket with huge sleeves which I simply had to try on, even though I knew I wouldn't buy it. Because

a) It was £300
b) It was Fornarina
c) It was green!

I'll admit that these reasons get mildly more unreasonable and prejudiced as we go along. Truthfully, I would have probably forgiven the label. But I seriously cannot remember the last item of clothing I owned in the colour green. When I think of that colour I only have hazy recollections of having a whole wardrobe comprising of different shades of khaki, apple, jade and neon green. Apparently, it suited me. Oh, and the running shoes I bought a couple of weeks ago have some green on them, but they were the only colour on sale; I promise I did ask if they had pink.

Maybe I just over-dosed on it as a child. Maybe it's a force of will thing; a rebellion against what I was involuntarily dressed in. Thinking back, I can remember having some sort of complex about people not believing that my eyes are green, telling me that they are hazel, and me believing that this must be because they were comparing my eyes to my bright green top, which could never realistically occur in nature. Then there's the time I came into school with new red glasses and my lovely friend pointing out to me that they clashed with my green clothes: 'Red and green should never be seen without a colour inbetween - apart from on a Christmas tree!'

Either way, as you can see, none of my reasons probably made much sense.

Anyway, I tried this jacket on. For those who are curious, click on this link to see it on a model on the site.

And ohmygod I suddenly realised why my parents were obsessed with colouring my outfits in green and why my mother still hasn't stopped buying me green scarves every single year. Seriously; I am not being vain; I am normally the epitome of self-deprecation (yeah, you can ignore my blog name for a moment here...). My eyes were popping with colour. My broken-out skin - so spotty this weekend I had to be dragged out of my bedroom door - was somewhat calmed. My hairwhich people have been recently commenting has got much darker, looked more ginger than it has in years!

Wise colour lover Sal of Already Pretty blog wrote a post on colour recently where she claimed that colours can have an extreme, serious impact on how you look. My fashionista aunt was recently telling me that in her shop she always focuses on choosing a colour for a client; that it is a million times more important than anything else, even cut and style. I always poo-poo this idea. It's hard enough finding something that flatters my figure with my bordering-on-body-dysmorphia paranoia when it comes to mirrors. It's probably even harder satisfying my picky to the extent of scaring-people-away-from-buying-me-presents-pickiness taste. So I just stick to common colours like grey, black and blue (and pink! never forget pink! the feelgood properties of this colour are so extensive that you can always find something in pink!) most of the time.

But I loved this green on me so much that I am seriously considering reversing the ban on green. There is, of course, the slight problem that I have just bought three tops none of which contain green, and today a grey pencil skirt, and somehow I doubt green boots will have the same effect. Maybe I'll just start by wearing of those green scarves.

Friday, 21 August 2009

once more an encore

This title is a little bit of a lie. It implies that this time I am back again from a camping trip, for the last time. It fact, in only a couple of days I am off again. But I feel that I may be teetering on the brink of boring you with my holiday snaps, so I promise that this is the last time I do it.

For how could I resist, when it is so much easier to upload a photograph, which can convey everything about a moment with a simple focus on the lens, one single click?

Sometimes, even the blatant lack of a good photo can tell you everything you need to know. I could write three thousand words about the three hour walk/run along the Cornish coast, or I could share one of my fuzzy, unfocused and generally shit photos, taken on the home stretch, as we began to complete the U-shape we had taken and draw a line across the top with our footsteps, and I was so tired I thought I might fall asleep walking.

I could tell you about our obstinate desire to see a Cornish castle, and share an anecdote about the amusing disappointment we came across. Or I could show you this:

Still, photos can lie. I am pretty proud of the deceptive angle I managed to capture the castle at, which almost makes it look quite grand:

I could warble for hours about how very close we were to nature; how the smell of cow dung even permeated our sleeping hours. But isn't this prettier?

And I don't think I could describe a seaside village any better than these photos could:

OK, that's a bit harsh. Bare feet are still quite charming even if walking along asphalt roads. Admittedly, there are some nice wares sold amongst all the tat; I got a skinny grey leather waist belt from a leather shop open at 9PM for £1.99.

And sometimes a photo is just way cooler than I, or my words.

Plus, I just realised that I have written 8,390 words of the story-in-progress. Sounds quite impressive, no (except for the fact that it has been in progress for way too long)? So I hope you'll let me off for this one!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

top-up

This weekend (which is when I wrote this post, deciding that at least one pre-scheduled post whilst away was necessary if I was going to make any attempts not to be a completely lazy blogger) I finally managed a succesful shopping trip.

By succesful, I mean a trip where I return with clothes which I had at least vaguely planned on buying, which I like and which will be useful. By succesful, I mean the anti-thesis of last weekend's shopping trip where I returned from a search to top-up my wardrobe with three pairs of new knickers, albeit very nice knickers which were 3 for £6.99, and a book for £1 in a closing down sale. There were a couple of times this weekend that I began to waver a little; I came very close to buying some gorgeous neon nail polish from Essie, and then later some sparkly rings in Ollie&Nic.

But I was strong.

I came away having quite literally topped-up my wardrobe, on several levels:
  • All three items I bought could be worn immediately; in fact, as I didn't go straight home but spontaneously stayed over at a friend's house, I did wear one of my new items the next day - a black t-shirt with gold studs on the shoulders.
  • I set off shopping with the vague idea of a new look for Autumn/Winter - something a bit edgier with drapy blacks and greys and coarse fabrics. Of course, this is never going to happen in my wardrobe, as evidenced by the violet cowboy shirt and stripy pink jumper I bought. These definitely negated the dark edginess of a black t-shirt.
  • And of course, on a punny level, I did top-up. All three purchases are tops of some sort which will be perfect for adding tons more possibilities to my wardrobe. With my black top I can be dark and edgy. With my pink stripes I can be warm and cute (I did try to get navy but they didn't have my size... it's fate and the power of pink*). With my cowboy top, I am finally conceding to plaid (again, I did try to get a black and grey flannel shirt but I was just too hot).
And best of all, now that my wardrobe is entirely top topped-up, I can now begin to top it up with dresses (to layer under the cowboy shirt), top it up with cute skirts (to wear with the stripy top) and top it up with boots (to wear on my feet...)

*you'd find tons of evidence testifying to the therapeutic power of pink on this blog, but the blog search I have installed doesn't work at all. You'll have to trust me on this one for now, despite a current lack of scientific proof. Or you could tell me why the hell my search isn't working??

Monday, 17 August 2009

sub-categories

I am off again!

Only this time I feel way too busy to be going on holidays again. With every morning that I wake up at stupid early o'clock because my biological clock hasn't yet adjusted to holiday sleeping-in time, I wonder if I will sleep in at all this holiday before it's back to school and waking up at stupid o'clock somehow seems leisurely.

Normally when I am busy or stressed I make lists; I am so busy that I have begun to make sub-categories for my lists. Here is an example of one categorial list:

CLOTHES
Sew:
  • Epaulettes back on dress
  • Neckline on top
  • Hole in cardigan and tights
Get dry-cleaned:
  • Yellow dress
  • Pink dress
Buy:
  • New bra and sports bra
  • T-shirt dress

If this is one sub-category, only try to imagine the complete list.

See you soon!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

bandals

One way you could measure the extent of somebody's fashion-forwardness could be to see how many items of 'morphed' clothing they owned.

That could include the all-in-one jumpsuit, or maybe a leotard. But to an even greater extreme, you could look at their attitude towards clothes which are of so uncertain classification that we have to create new names for them.

Such as 'shoots' - the name given to the recently fashionable morphing of a shoe and a boot for those who are so fashionably experimental that a simple shoe or boot would be unimaginably boring.

Or maybe the 'jegging'. A combination of jeans and leggings, these are for those who can find no skinnies quite outrageously tight enough, who are cool enough to pull off denim leggings.

I have never been one of those people. However my aunt, who not only lives but works fashion, is. She arrived at the airport this week in those loose-crotch style trousers which are currently fashionable. Only she bought her trousers seven years ago - that is how fashion forward she is.

She came bearing gifts.

These are my new silver 'bandals'! So named, as they are a morphing of boot and sandal.

They make me want to, as evidenced in this photo, jump around. They are the most fashion-forward fashion items I have ever owned.

I will probably wear them tucked under jeans.

Friday, 14 August 2009

some pictures and words

BACK. Back from

Long lazy days in a tent which turn into long lazy nights in a tent


Trying to work off some of that laziness with power walks along the coast

Stomping across a pebbled beach is not dissimilar to half an hour on an elliptical trainer at high intensity (only with better scenery)

Then lying on the pebbles for hours, getting sunburn without noticing because of the strong wind which makes you feel cold not hot

Reading books bought at a local secondhand bookstore. One for 75p, 25p cheaper than the price on the back cover. The other in pristine condition (at time of purchase; the front cover is of course now bent and permanently creased), half the original price

Being on a constant search for the next meal

That might mean a greasy fish and chips shop, a quaint tearoom or maybe an attempt to collect some berries at a P.Y.O

Before giving up and picking a couple of the best punnets from the farm shop

BACK. Back to

Toilets where you can touch the door handle without fear of picking up a fatal disease.

Internet. TV. Overload.

A bath and clean hair.

Bed.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

country living

Today I am off to the countryside for some non-internet camping fun!

I will be sporting clothes a little different from my usual urban style. Think, more over-sized fleece with leggings and converse that LGD (little grey dress) and pumps.

This weekend my cousin gave me a small bag of unwanted gifts, including a white DKNY jeans skirt and a pink polo shirt. I am thinking both are suitably un-me that they might actually get an outing this week.

See you soon, sports!

Saturday, 8 August 2009

culture vulture

The moment I was free of work, I stepped on the tube to go see the film Coco avant Chanel.

Even though while I was working, I continued to read - more than normal actually, with the commute providing hours to read; write; watch 'hard-hitting TV drama', such as a rather dreamily shot history of Penicillin and TV series The Street.

But all these things are things which can fit in neatly to a tight timeframe: a lunch hour, a train ride, a couple of hours in the evening.

Now I am free to allow my activities to fill up time, and so I headed off to the cinema, where I was treated to a great film. Although I can see the flaws in the film, with its slightly disjointed ending, it was a pleasure to watch. Today, of course, I am sporting monochrome, and tomorrow probably stripes too.

However today's matinee adventure was much more exciting. On the optimistic off-chance last weekend, I typed in my membership details to the National Theatre to see if any of the sold out dates of sell-out production Ph├Ędre would become available to me. To my intense surprise, I found two seats in the second row, which with my under-25s membership made the tickets cheaper than dinner out. I got them before even finding someone to take the other seat.

Wow. As my friend said to me afterwards: you always wonder why some actors become so famous. It's because they're actually really good.

Of course, there are some exceptions, whose faults are only highlighted onstage (read: Josh Hartnett). But there are also certain things you can only appreciate when you are literally a couple of metres away from them (read: Dominic Cooper's arms).

I noted that this play is touring first to Greece then Washington D.C. If you're lucky enough to be near either of those two locations, I recommend you book yourself a ticket!

Thursday, 6 August 2009

smooth

Today, the amazing Sal asked her readers on her blog if they had buyer's remorse. My reply was something along the lines of OMIGOD yes; I am the epitome of the remorseful buyer.

Normally my remorse with stylistic purchases works along the lines of finding the teensiest tiniest fault within my purchase.

For example this bag which I fell in love with, had the perfect occasion to wear it to, and was a complete bargain. Having walked out of the shop and down the road to the market, I took it out to gaze at it lovingly. I noticed the tiniest of marks on the bag. Cue: my friend begging me to ignore it because she desperately needed the toilet, me waiting outside the toilets getting so impatient that I went down there, washed my hands and came back up, me practically running down the road to be greeted by a rather puzzled shopkeeper who rubbed at the mark and pointed that it had come off. And that, hello, goatskin is fragile, and that maybe I shouldn't be using a magnifying glass to inspect it.

Or maybe my well-earned gorgeous owl necklace, which I put it on as I stepped out of the shop and strode along the path brightly. As I strode, I felt the pendant bounce against my chest. WHAT was I thinking, I sighed to myself, buying a necklace which thwacks you as you walk? How ridiculous I must look...

I could go on, and on, and on. Really I could. The September Vogue issue I finally bought yesterday after months of waiting (more on that this weekend, actually!). The umbrella I purchased as the heavens opened as I stepped out of the office today - and it's not like I even have another umbrella (which isn't broken).

It came to a head this lunchtime though, when in the roasting sun (yes I am talking about the same day; remember this is England we are talking about here, where all the seasons can make an appearance, and indeed today did make an appearance, in one day) I noticed a van selling smoothies and frozen yoghurt. Originally I was going to go for a cheaper juice, but I could not resist the allure of a smoothie added protein which would be perfect for my upcoming final aerobics class. I was absolutely sold when the cute smoothie guy said he could remove the pineapple ingredients no problem, making up my favourite combo of strawberries and bananas and yoghurt.

And my god did my heart begin to race when I realised I didn't have enough coins and they couldn't take cards. My smoothie was already mixing. It was at this point that buyer's remorse set in - at the point when you no longer really have a choice. It was like that with the bag too; I had already tried it on, left the shop, tried it on again; it was now or never. And the necklace shop, where the poor lady had fastened onto my neck almost every necklace in the shop and I had exclaimed how much I loved this one. And the umbrella, when as soon as I stepped onto the streets, the steady downpour began to quieten to a softer drizzle.

Fortunately the lovely man offered that I could take the smoothie and give them my money later on in my lunch break. Sweating in the heat, as soon as I took the first sip as I walked along to the cash machine I was sold. All my reservations about price (steep) and calories (probably not even that steep, but what can I say; I'm neurotic) melted away. I felt a warm glow as I handed the man the money and he smiled and said 'what an honest customer!'. Somehow, choosing now, drinking now, paying later and drinking some more seemed to reverse the effects of buyer's remorse.

Or maybe it was just a really good smoothie.

Tuesday, 4 August 2009

exploiting your resources

I feel a little bad having lapsed a bit in blogging ferocity, and now coming on here and doing a SOS post*. But I have a feeling that the small questions I have asked myself today would be ones you could very easily answer. So I am going to put one to you today, and maybe one tomorrow too. I have been readily exploiting my resources at work anyway, doing that obligatory helping myself to certain resources; helping myself to teabags aplenty; helping myself to a notepad from the stationary department once when I had an idea I just had to write down, and I'd left my notebook at home. Most relevant to this post: helping myself to workouts in the basement gym whenever I can. If I am going to miss anything about that work, it will surely be the cross-trainer, the exercise balls, the dumbells and most of all the 2x weekly aerobics class.

Today was my last aerobics session working on abs and arms. I was determined to at least try to memorise the exercises which do not require equipment I don't have; of course now I can only remember the ones which use balls and bells (although of course I have absolutely no idea what they are called...). Actually that's a lie; I can remember the push-ups and the planks perfectly well. How could anyone ever forgot those nightmares?

Lying on the floor when I got home, hoping that somewhere in my muscles there might remain some memory of the exercises I did barely 3 hours ago, I instead remembered the fabulous gym bunny bodies that I know quite a few of you lovely readers are blessed (read: work damn hard for) with. I wondered: which abs/arms exercises do you do without exercise equipment? I vaguely remember something about putting your arms behind your neck, lifting the shouders off the ground and doing some crazy shizzle with your legs... alas that is as far as my recollection goes. And if you do do these exercises, do you do them with a trainer so that you don't break your back as I probably would end up doing? How on earth do you have the memory to remember all the moves?

*basically a label for posts which fall under the category of cheekily exploiting my readership and asking questions with the entire selfish purpose of getting the answer; no interesting debate etc etc, just you saving my soul with your knowledge. Click here to see all posts in this category - it's never too late to reply!

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Part III - formulated and foiled

Come on. You can't seriously tell me that you didn't guess what part III of my action plan to combat the red shift taking place in my wardrobe would be, could you?

Well, if you didn't, stylish readers, I am disappointed in you. It was the most natural progression possible! It was... going shopping!!!

Of course, nothing is ever as simple, especially when it involves recreating style, ensuring functionality, not emptying out the bank account and doing all this during the month of August aka The Season of Dead Fashion.

So, naturally, I began to make lists, in the corners of discarded spreadsheets and at the back of my Moleskine diary. Most of the items are along the lines of:
  • Hardwearing riding-esque winter boots
  • Dark drapy top
  • Grey cardigan or jumper
(i.e. clothes which are impossible to find in the summer, even when said summer consists of clouds and rain)

Even though I have not actually been shopping, I have browsed through several shops. The clothes I have seen are not particularly inspiring, and I have noticed myself being distracted by other attractions, such as a huge grey patent purse (down from £225 to £60 - bargain!, right?) and these:

In the past few days, I have suddenly begun to take note of shop windows. SALE signs scream loudly; I follow their call to be met with a disappointing jumble of 'bargains' which at half price are only ridiculously expensive as opposed to hideously expensive. But there were a couple of cool displays, it has to be said.

Mostly though, I was distracted by the painfully fashionable people which seem to be everywhere, pointing and laughing and jeering at my jeans and my cotton t-shirt (OK maybe that last bit is paranoid imagining, but the first bit is definitely true; everyone else is way more stylish when you're shopping).

Still, never fear. I am now biding my time for the September rush of new season clothes, which I can justify at full-price as I know they won't go into sale for at least four, maybe five months, by which time I will have worn them to death, obviously. And in the meantime, I have put Part IV of the plan in motion...