Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shoes O'Clock

So many shoe cravings, so little time... Black work shoes on the brain. Slippers, loafers, brogues and boots. Velvet, shiny thick leather, tassels, block heels, monk straps, hole punches. Black can be so interesting, you don't always need neon or block colours or bells and whistles.

Chuck x

Friday, August 26, 2011

Edinburgh Eats

So my photo taking habits are sporadic at best; here we have lots of pictures of one of the places I ate in Edinburgh, a couple of a few and none of most. Does that make sense? Possibly not. Almost all the pictures here are of Peter's Yard but you must understand that it was very hard not to take lots of pictures - it was totally beautiful. I wouldn't recommend the cardamom bun or the hot chocolate (both decidedly average) but the kladdkaka (a dense, sunken chocolate cake) and the passion fruit tart were yummy and the breads and open sandwiches looked excellent. Mostly though I was entranced by the Scandinavian loveliness of it all - pale wood, brown paper, black boards and minimalism, busy but quiet, handsome, friendly staff... Beautifully presented, all in all, and an excellent place to nibble knäckebröd and watch the world go by.

The picture in the top right is a really rubbish photo of Spoon. I had better ones but they all had R in and he 
wasn't willing to make a public appearance. Ignore my picture and concentrate on the fact that Spoon is a café in central Edinburgh with plenty of comfy seats and a relaxed atmosphere even in the middle of the festival. *Gasp*. I wouldn't recommend the home-made lemon and ginger tea (it was very sweet and not very gingery - I don't like mine that way but maybe it is your cup of tea? pun alert) but I've been reliably informed that the home made ginger beer is excellent. A perfect place to snuggle up with a novel and while away a deliciously decadent chunk of time without waiting staff trying to crowbar you out of the door. 

On the bottom right we have Oink - the home of hog roast. I have profiled my love for Oink before but this time we have an action photograph! A bun full of sage and onion stuffing, tomato and chilli relish and mouth-wateringly amazing roasted pork. Also, check out the cheeky bit of crackling on the side. It is impossible to eat these neatly (at least for clumsy folk like myself) but that is all part of the fun. I couldn't go to Edinburgh and not grab one of these. Imo, one of the greatest fast/slow food ideas.

Other, un-photographed eats:
  • Mum's: I have a major grievance with this place, something that grates on me badly... Where is the appostrophe!? I've put it in because I can't do without it but they need to airbrush it in to all their signs and promotional material because this is not on! I'm largely disinterested in grammar but there is a limit, people. Aside from that this is a really fun place - 70s wallpaper, top choons and many many variants on bangers and mash. I had Auld Reekie smoked sausages with chipotle and cheese mash and classic gravy; R had herb and leek sausages with classic mash and caramelized onion gravy; PB had the Auld Reekies too with the onion gravy and black pudding and apple mash because she is weird...
  • Anstruther Fish Bar: Best. Fish and chips. Ever. *Drool*
Btw, this is being auto-posted so apologies if the format is messed up. I think it is playing tricks with me and I'm not sure if it will behave... Troublesome beast. I will be hitting up my little spot of summer sun (fingers crossed), wallowing with my book and doing absolutely nowt. Woop!

Chuck x

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Bonnie Scotland

So I thought there was going to be internet in Edinburgh... I mean, I guess there was internet in Edinburgh generally but, unfortunately, not specifically. The friend I was staying with was sans internet which meant that I had dragged my 19st laptop up North for nothing other than a minor back injury. I was psyched about blogging-on-the-go, live-action-blogging, all these things but it was not to be. I did get to play on someone's ipad and I commented on a few blogs and it was awesome! I want an ipad a lot (more) now. A lot a lot. There just so cute and light and they totally wouldn't compact your spine in medically worrying ways...

Anyway, Edinburgh was lovely. The shows that we watched were a bit hit and miss but the food was excellent and that is always my priority one. The city was beautiful and we went up the coast as well and I love it so much. So quiet and peaceful. We also went to the Museum of Scotland (bottom picture) which was wonderful and there will be more on that and the eats later.

Has anyone else been up to the Fringe this year? Did you watch anything great that I can now totally regret not seeing?

Chuck x

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Five Favourite Friday Fings

1. If these t-shirts from Atsuyo et Akiko came in adult sizes I would weep with joy. They are just so lovely and Winnie the Pooh is one of my favourite children's book characters.

2. The Scarlet Room is one of my favourite new online stores (new to me anyway). I haven't bought anything from them yet because $20+ for international shipping seems a bit steep but there are so many things I would like to buy. They're making interesting, fashion-y, well-priced clothes and I would buy anything this girl modeled - I think she is amazing! This lopsided shirt is particularly lovely.

3. This landscape/crystal painting by Russell Leng is beautiful and bargainous. Prices start at $20 for 8"x10"! I'm seriously considering adding it to my baby art collection. Having some framing issues with the pictures I've already got though so might need to sort that first... Where does one get attractive, inexpensive frames?? The eternal question. Mammoth has an amazing collection of interesting and affordable art that you should definitely check out. I can see myself browsing it semi-obsessively in the future. Via Oracle Fox.

4. This aran knit ceramic cup/vase/candle holder by Yoyo Ceramics is just plain cute. Knitted ceramics? Genius! I would like to fill my house with these. Via Honey Kennedy who likes their jay cloth range.

5. Fo' real, I want these rubber opera gloves from House of Harlot. My flatmates think I'm joking. I'm not. I've been wanting some leather opera gloves for a long long time to wear with bracelet and 3/4 sleeves but they're expensive (£30+ even on ebay). These are only £19 and they are all over the September issue of Elle. I wonder if they are a struggle to get into? They have a shop in London so I might try and visit, try them on ask some questions etc. If all goes well these will be mine soon...

I'm off to Edinburgh now and I am PSYCHED. Love that city. Am of course running quite late and need to leave five minutes ago. I hope everyone's weeks have been excellent and bring on the weekend!

Chuck x

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Bright Young Thing

I'm not a Flickr regular but occasionally I end up browsing and finding something I love. This happened over the weekend when I stumbled upon the work of lola.mgc. I don't know anything about her except that she states her occupation as teenager which is excellent. Being a teenager is an occupation in itself. It does mean she is obnoxiously young to be this talented though! There is so much young talent on the internet - it is crazy and inspiring. It makes me want to learn how to get the best out of my camera and use layers and develop my own films. Maybe I could turn my bathroom into a darkroom? That would be a totally good idea, right??

All photos c/o lola.mgc Flickr

So beautiful, yes? I love the quietness of these pictures. Lola also has a lovely tumblr that you should check out. I'm going to immerse myself in it since I have already gone through her Flickr about 19 times... Geek, moi? Noooo.

Chuck x

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

22 Britannia Road - Amanda Hodgkinson

Maybe after three years of two-books-a-week I was tired? Or, maybe it simply isn't possible to consume that many books when working full time? The latter definitely seems likely. Certainly, my reading has been in the slow lane for the last month or so. I have been taking it easy, that, or I have been ridiculously busy. Both really...

Anyway, I'm back in the saddle! I have been reading and reading quite a lot and loving it. I read a book almost cover to cover on Saturday and it was bliss. That book was 22 Britannia Road - a new book (April) and everything. And it was good; enjoyable and uncomplicated, cosy in tear-wrenching kind of way. Doesn't that make it sound like a nest of contradictions? It isn't really.

The novel tells the story of a Polish family recovering from the aftermath of WWII. Husband and wife, Silvana and Janusz, were separated at the beginning of the war and Janusz travels across the continent eventually ending up in Britain fighting for the Allies. Silvana spends much of the war hiding out in the forests of Poland and trying to raise her baby son alone and in the wild. The Red Cross eventually find these two in a refugee camp and transports them to Ipswich, where Janusz has bought a cottage and is trying to build a new life. The family craves stability and normality but the war has changed them all and secrets threaten to tear them apart.

The thing that drew me to this novel was the feral child aspect. Actually Aurek isn't feral so much as rough around the edges and unaccustomed to society or strangers. He makes bird calls but he can speak and adjusts to life in England surprisingly quickly. Still, it is an interesting twist on an established genre. I have contradictory feelings about the Second World War as a basis for modern novels - it is dramatically appealing and weirdly comforting (I've talked about this before, a misspent youth reading When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit and A Little Love Song among others means that WWII gives me the warm and fuzzies/blissful cathartic weepies and it is becoming increasingly distanced and there is a lot of misplaced nostalgia etc.) but also cliché-ed and overdone... It does make for a reliably good read though.

This book didn't change my world and I probably won't remember it in 1, 2, 5 years time but it made for an enjoyable Saturday and would be a good holiday read. I did have a little weep towards the end. Recommended if: you enjoyed The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, it isn't as insubstantial or comic but it is in a similar vein. Although there is something history-lite about it Hodgkinson is relatively sympathetic and the occupation of Poland hasn't had much coverage in this kind of fiction. Good.

Sorry this isn't very eloquent. I am using my eloquence on my latest day job and it is definitely having an adverse effect on the blog. Also, our internet has been mysteriously absent the last few days for no apparent reason. Seems to be back now though...

Chuck x

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Five Favourite Friday Fings

1. I'm really enjoying the Zara TRF AW/11 lookbook at the moment. I'd never really taken notice of TRF before but now, bam! It is feeding into the whole Tomboy Style, J Crew, New Mod, Wearing the Pants thing that I am LOVING and I just can't get enough. Via Because I'm Addicted.

2. I have had Devendra Banhart's 'This Beard is for Siobhan' stuck in my head all week. So. Good.

3. Le Train Bleu is an independent shop with an interesting mix of stock including this Newquay dress - sweet, stripy and very reasonably priced at $86. Also, the model is gorgeous.

4. I heart slipper/loafers. A very hard thing to search ebay for though. You can't imagine how many people are actually listing slipper slippers. I will buy many things second hand but I draw the line at slippers (I think?). If I was feeling flush and as if I wanted to buy some first hand slipper/loafers though I would go first to Osborn. These Cinderbella Smokin' Loafers are relaxed but beautiful. I would like to wear them everywhere. There is a lovely video on the making of their shoes on their blog too.

5. Colenimo's AW/11 collection is lovely and restful and takes vintage inspiration in the best possible way. With my giant head I'll never be pulling off (or, in fact, putting on) cloche hats but the colours and the collars are sweet. Muted tones, full skirts, housecoats, knee socks... Their current collection is delectable too. Via Honey Kennedy.

I had a lazy day today reading books in bed, magazines in the bath and blogs in front of The West Wing. Perfection. How about you?

Chuck x


LOVE (hearts)

I caved. It was just too enormous to resist. I have been an un-believer, shall I be converted? Will report back.

Chuck x

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sweet Pastoral

Maltby Market Stall / Poppies and Posies / Jan van Huysum c/o The British Museum via The Snail and the Cyclops
Amy Merrick / Maltby
Poppies and Posies
Amy Merrick / Maltby
Amy Merrick

There is some wonderful flower styling going on at the moment. Amy Merrick and Poppies and Posies are among my favourites. I love their use of wild flowers and unexpected elements. They make me want to scavenge beautiful and odd plants and flowers from around London and attempt to arrange them artistically in jam jars.

I'm also strangely craving cow's parsley. How about you? Do you have a favourite wild flower? I'd also nominate dog roses and apple blossom.

Chuck x

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Recent Eats

Panzanella - the internet doesn't seem to have any consistent recipe for the tomato and bread salad and none of the ones I saw suited me so I cheerfully made mine up. This was prompted by a 'reduced to clear'  bread sticker and subsequent bread excess. I roasted my bread with olive oil and garlic and left it to soak with roasted tomatoes and peppers and fresh tomatoes. There was also basil and balsamic and plenty of classic Mediterranean flavours. A cheap and delicious use of leftovers.

Raspberry tart - the Maison Bertaux wouldn't make my London Top Ten list (overpriced, unfriendly, poor iced coffee) but it is rather picturesque and the patisserie is beautiful and reliable, if not revolutionary. Also, the history is interesting - it is 140 years old!

Porcini & Pancetta pasta bake - this recipe was from Simon Hopkinson's The Good Cook show. I know he has been getting under a lot of people's skins but this was delicious. I got a lovely birthday present in the shape of a big jar of hand picked and dried mushrooms (porcini and others) and this was a perfect showcase for them - creamy and mushroomy, luxurious but not over-powering. It went down a storm with my friends!

Raclette - Kappacasein have been forced to leave Borough Market and their new home is a bit tricky to find but it is worth it if you are a cheese fan (which I totally am!). The raclette, which I had, was good but the toasted cheese sandwich, which R had, was divine. It required super human levels of restraint not to run away with it. Super yumz.

Chuck x

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Five Favourite Friday Fings

a) Even ignoring the 'brilliantly boring' clothes the new APC lookbook is a thing of glory. Just a lovely thing to look at. It makes me want to organise my wardrobe chromatically (and buy up the whole of APC). Damn their website being closed! Via The Guardian.

2) Simply a beautiful white dress. From Loup Charmant and available here.

3) I've only just seen pictures from Edwin Oudshoorn's latest collection and this floral cape is totally beautiful. Apparently the collection is inspired by a Pink Triangle survivor but I don't think that is particularly clear from the clothes. I also question whether that is tactful/in good taste. I don't think that art (and fashion?) necessarily should be limited only to what is tasteful but this does make me slightly uncomfortable... What do you think? In other news, the last known Pink Triangle survivor Rudolf Brazda has died aged 98 and I need to watch Paragraph 175. Anyway, the cape is lovely.

4) How had I not heard about the Errol Morris documentary Tabloid (follow link for trailer)? More to the point, how had I never heard of Joyce McKinney?? According to the tabloids she kidnapped and raped her Mormon boyfriend and then possibly went to prison and maybe cloned her dog! The woman sounds bonkers, the film looks hilarious and it is definitely on my To Watch list. Thanks Cat Party.

5) I know that some people class lavender as an old lady scent but I am rather fond of it. A nice peppery lavender or a soft, powdery lavender is a fine thing. Scent aside it is a lovely looking plant and I have been thinking about buying myself some for my windowsill for a while. Alkemie's lavender bangle is similarly beautiful and would look lovely with so many things, for example, the Loup Charmant dress...

I am very happy and full of curry. Londoners, have you been to the Lahore Kebab House? I might write about it some time - it is sooo good! I love Indian food (gross generalisation, sorry), it makes me happy. My sinuses are so clear! Technically the Lahore is a Pakistani grill. Either way, delicious and BYOB. A brilliant and dangerous idea.

Anyhoo, I hope you are enjoying your weekends.

Chuck x

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Referencing Asos

I was flicking through the latest Asos magazine and two pieces in particular jumped out at me - the Asos Midi Pencil Skirt with Front Split and the Asos Textured Knit Jumper. Partially this is personal preference; I like pencil skirts, I love knitwear, I feel myself increasingly drawn to bright colours as if to enlighten my mundane workaday life. Partially though it was because both items triggered a waterfall of exciting fashion references. Interestingly, none of these references, either direct or fundamental, are particularly on trend or contemporary (i.e. 'this season'/three months). 

For me, the skirt is straight up Joan Holloway. Janie Bryant, the costume designer and stylist for Mad Men, has spoken about how she chooses to dress Joan in strong, clear, jewel bright colours and the Asos skirt comes in the Woodbine, Cobalt and Claret, all gorgeous and beguiling statement colours. It screams sex but the midi length gives it the suggestion of modesty. It is lush and Joan would work it! So that is Asos referencing Mad Men which is obviously referencing the late 50s-early 60s.

And then, the jumper is obviously Prada (to me). It is part Pre-Fall 2010 and the textured jumper that Susie wears so well and part AW10 and the chunky blue knits from that collection. Lara Stone looks irresistibly delicious in lots of Prada in the 'Sweater Girl' editorial styled by Grace Coddington for US Vogue. This remains one of my favourite editorials of recent years, it is just so blissfully lovely! I might have to try and track down a copy of the September Vogue on ebay at some point... Anyway, so Prada's AW10 collection was strongly influenced by Mad Men and its era which leaves you with Asos referencing Prada referencing Mad Men referencing the late 50s-early 60s. Phew!

None of these references are shiny shiny new but I think that is nice. Great ideas, be they in academia, art or fashion, should have more than a three month life span. These ideas and images, characters and colours, have stayed with me, maturing unhurriedly in my sometimes hectic mind. The initial adrenaline fuelled hit of lust has deepened into love. I still think that Joan's costumes and Miuccia's collection and Grace's 'Sweater Girl' editorial are just as wonderful, if not more so, than when I first saw them. Basically, I'm thrilled that Asos are remembering and referencing back 18 months and 50-60 years. Bring on slow fashion!

Asos / Joan @ Say your Right Words / Asos / US Vogue Sep 10

Gosh, there are some beautiful women and clothes here. I would like to be/wear them all!

Chuck x

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

La Garconne Fan Girl - Adventures in Polyvore

Man, La Garconne on Polyvore is a black hole of awesomeness. It brings out the very worst in my compulsive scrapbooking habits. I keep physical scrapbooks intensely but intermittently - I can't scrapbook casually, I'm an all or nothing kind of gal. I will go through phases of obsessively collecting everything that vaguely attracts me, painstakingly cutting and pasting them into gorgeous collages that I love and that inspire me and then feeling artistically drained. Clearly I don't have the makings of a real artist - no stamina! I will then go back to normal, efficient, practical life until my magazine pile gets out of control and the cycle repeats itself. I do similar things with Polyvore and although the finished results aren't as picturesque at least the process is much tidier. No slithers of magazine cuttings getting absolutelyeverywhere, no covering myself in Prittstick (or even better SprayMount - I LOVE SprayMount!).

La Garconne is particularly dangerous because I feel the need to include and save everything. Absolutely everything. They have the most perfect product selection - many gold stars for their buyers. I just want it all, I want to wallow in their general aesthetic and their specific choices. So many wonderful muted colours and interesting fluid fabrics and the jumpers! Don't even get me started on the jumpers... Anyway, here are just a few of the outfits I want to wear with just a few of the pieces I want to own.

Gorgeous Grey a La Garconne

Ladylike a La Garconne

Intellectual Lounging a La Garconne

Weekend Brunch a La Garconne

Maxing and Relaxing a La Garconne

Dresses for Every Occasion a La Garconne

All of the clothes are available from La Garconne and some of the accessories are too. Click on the pictures for more details.

Chuck x

P.S. Margheritas do not aid blog editing.

Monday, August 1, 2011

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous

Well, two very different kinds of sublime rather...

I caught the Glamour of the Gods exhibition of Hollywood portraiture at the National Portrait Gallery on Saturday and played with the pigs at the Mudchute City Farm on Sunday. Variety is the spice of life. I loved the photographs and would highly recommend them. I have heard criticism about the pop-up stand in the middle of the exhibition but I was so absorbed by the pictures that I didn't even notice it. I found the collection of photos completely hypnotic - such beautiful people and settings and clothes and composition and prints... So many familiar faces in new lights. I don't claim to be an expert on either old cinema or photography but I do really enjoy both given the opportunity. I tumbled out of the exhibition woozy with nostalgia and wanting nothing more than to curl up with a glamorous cocktail/cup of tea and a stack of MGM classics. It also made me want to re-read the Scandals of Classic Hollywood columns on the Hairpin. They're excellent, gripping and truly juicy, if you have the time to read something fairly substantial (for the internet). The recent Elizabeth Taylor column was particularly good, revealing lots of things I didn't know - Angelina is such a pale imitation! Taylor appears in some beautiful photos in the exhibition and I felt quite connected to her. I know nostalgia can be fraught with political snares but if you are willing to temporarily overlook that in favour of knock out beauty and romance then get thee to the NPG. Delightful.

The farm was delightful too, in a slightly grubbier way. I didn't catch this fine gentleman's name but the Tamworth was called Molly. I did worry about her getting sunburnt in the gloriously hot weather. We romped around and played with the goats and cuddled the sheep and generally enjoyed ourselves. It wasn't quite like home but it was a hilarious touchstone. Also, definitely worth it for the incongruous sight of cows wandering about in the shadow of Canary Wharf.

Any plans for this week?

Chuck x