Friday, December 28, 2012

The Pleasures and Perils of Boxing Day

Or, a Story of Online Sales Shopping

Boxing Day; Happy Feet + Enchanted + How to Train your Dragon (the BBC really pulled it out the bag for the under 10s this year, I obviously include myself in this category, some great films); browsing the post-Christmas sales from the comfort of my sofa.

It was a heady combination and I possibly got a little overexcited... Also, as I get older and increasingly grouchy and misanthropic I can't be doing with the crowds and emotional stress of actual sales shopping. I would rather bring the shopping experience to me - order twenty things, try them all on with realistic lighting and the rest of my wardrobe, send back the nineteen things that look awful and keep the one thing I like. No cruel mirrors or screaming children, just fancy dress in the comfort of my own home and some precious extra free time.

Anyway, some lessons learnt and re-learnt:

1) The reason you place a big order is because there is a high chance that, at the very least, some of it will be unexpectedly bad. Often most of it will be bad. In this case I was quite lucky, lots of stuff didn't suit me but in predictable ways. Things to be wary of - fake pockets (THE WORST), poorly finished collars and hems, enormous clunky lumpeness not adequately displayed on the model, general feeling of cheapness.


2) Cheap shoes are always a false economy. This is one my mother will appreciate. These shoes look cute and it is hard to argue with £13.50 but you should argue. Five minutes of wearing these around the flat made it abundantly clearly that they would fall apart in under three months, giving me blisters in the short term and all sorts of podiatry problems in the long term.


3) Delightful as they are, cable knits and Aran jumpers are not for everyone. A tragic lesson that I apparently need to relearn every time it gets chilly. They just look so cute and snuggly. On a certain (admittedly slim) lady they even have a casual, nonchalant sexiness to them. These two charming numbers lured me in - navy cable knit for £14! and black/pink cable for £22. The navy jumper is a bit puffy at the back and the pink one is very cottony (which I like but isn't to all tastes) but generally they're sweet jumpers, particularly for the price. However, they make me look like a dumpling. Not even a delicious dumpling - a stodgy and round and lumpy and middle aged dumpling. Sad times.


4) Ditto, logo/slogan/image t-shirts. I know better. But it was grey and reminded me of my youth and was reduced to £10 (now out of stock) and I thought it might be different this time... Obviously it wasn't. My chest does not do the Nike logo any favours. There was warping, that's all I'm going to say. Also, are men's torsos really that long? Is this enabling them to wear their jeans too low? If we hemmed all of their t-shirts to the correct length one night would they be forced to pull their trousers up? Worth thinking about...


5) Just because you like something it doesn't mean you should buy it. Counter-intuitive but there you go. There are lots of things I like about this Bellfield coat which is currently reduced to a pretty reasonable £48. The blanket print is rather lovely, it looks warm and it actually is (unlike the almost entirely unlined coat above) and it has an olde worlde charm about it. Yet it did not really bond with my wardrobe... I am not a fan of organised or coordinated wardrobes in general but this is a coat. I am seduced by pictures of it but then I try it with things I actually own and it looks a little bit wrong with everything. In as far as a coherent concept of stylistic 'me-ness' exists it is not very 'me'.


 6) Resist the styling. Just because the model is wearing the burgundy New Balance kicks you really want it doesn't mean that buying the coat will magically endow you with the trainers. Disappointing truth.

7) Sales are an excellent time to re-buy. Newsflash, I know. The grey version of this shirt has already proved its worth. Not too sheer (seriously, why would I want to see my bellybutton through my clothes??Gross. Zara, I'm looking at you...), flattering drape, looks good tucked and untucked, suitable for work and home. I picked up the black version in the sale and I know I'll get loads of wear out of it. It's the only thing I'm definitely keeping! I would have picked up the Cerise and Rust colours too if they'd had my size.

Now I just need to decide what to do with these two. I want a more structured, non fluffy navy jumper so definite points to this ribbed number but structured is not 100% flattering and can I justify another jumper? Can you ever have enough jumpers? I'm picturing this with black bottoms and gold jewellery for work. I know it is supposed to be verboten but I have a soft spot for navy and black. I spend so much of my life in an office at the moment that it seems wanton and frivolous to buy anything that isn't work appropriate but these Nike tracksuit bottoms are calling to me at the moment. [N.B. I do have a bit of a Nike fixation at the moment - I need to check that they've improved their ethical practices. Anyone know?] With the correct accouterments they could be all cool and urban but they are walking a fine line. My concern is that they're so comfy I'll never take them off and I'll slowly slide into a haze of trackies, baggy, motheaten jumpers, dirty hair and no make up. It is a slippery slope and it would be so easy... No one would invite me to parties but I would be blissfully comfortable and warms. Choices choices.


 Anyway, not that I need encouragement but has anyone seen anything good in the sales? Did anyone get anything good for Christmas? I got a festival of cookbooks and a beautiful YSL lipstick that I'll try and share at some point. I just need to work out how to get this lot to the post office to return it all...

Chuck x

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Some Toons




Crazy catchy. Read - We Invented Swag: NYC's Queer Rap. Dance hard.



Unexpected but perfect. Diplo vs. the Dirty Projectors (kind of) just works. I've listened to this 3-5 times a day for the last month. It hasn't got old yet.



Rich but floating; sultry but pure; rather lovely.

Chuck x

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hot Mess Cookies


I've done quite a lot of attractive baking recently - Baked brownies, Guardian perfect chocolate cake, Jamie Oliver carrot cake with lime mascarpone icing. However, instead of sharing those (because I completely forgot to document them), you are going to get these odd looking but rather excellent car crash cookies. They don't look like much and they have almost no structural integrity but they are surprisingly moreish and addictive and interesting. They are very loosely inspired by Momofuku's compost and cornflake cookies and by the large quantity of stale chocolate cake I had sitting in the fridge.

Let me say, on the chocolate cake front, the Guardian recipe is very chocolate cake-y; it is light sponge but it is packed full of cocoa and melted chocolate and chocolate chips and then there is all the chocolate buttercream and an Oreo crumb (which is genius). I'm not a chocolate cake fan and found the whole thing a bit overwhelming but the boys at work assured me it was great if you liked that kind of thing. Even they couldn't finish it though, hence all the leftover cake I couldn't bear to throw out. The internet is surprisingly unhelpful when it comes to what to do with stale cake - it's all microwave it, put alcohol on it, add custard, blah blah blah... Not convinced. Someone somewhere mentioned putting it in cookies with no recipe or context and I decided to roll with it.

I've never been to Momofuku milk bar or even had one of their cookies so apologies if I am slightly bastardising their philosophy but, from what I've gathered from the internet, they take shit they like and throw it at a cookie and see what happens. That seems like solid reasoning to me so I did the same. The results weren't very presentable but I think they prove that experimenting is good and fun and you can't ruin a cookie just by putting more delicious things in it...

Ingredients

  • 250 g butter (salted)
  • 100 g brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt (table & sea)
  • 100 g plain flour
  • 200 g roughly blitzed chocolate cake
  • 2 cups roughly crushed cornflakes
  • 60 g roughly chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 handfuls roughly chopped marshmellows

Recipe

  1. Preheat the over to 180oC.
  2. Whip butter and sugar until pale and creamy.
  3. Add egg and continue to whip for another 5 mins until glossy.
  4. Fold in all the remaining ingredients. 
  5. Shape out large golfballs of cookie dough and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  6. Cook the well spaced cookies on a lined baking sheet for about 8-10 mins.
  7. Allow to cool completely - this is your best shot of getting them of the baking paper whole!
  8. Eat with cold milk/mug of tea/mulled wine and a plate for tidiness.

If you wanted to improve the cookies stability you could probably start by cutting down the butter but any plans that start with 'cut down the butter' make me sad so I'll leave that up to you. Definitely an interesting way to reinvigorate cake at the least.

Chuck x

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Different Festive Jumper




I want to wear this jumper EVERY DAY FOREVER. It is my Christmas jumper of choice. It is part of Lisa Anne Auerbach's glorious sweater art collection so tragically it isn't available to buy but I wish it were. I would also like a customised British version - Make Abortion Legal Across the UK. It would look amazing by the Christmas tree...

Chuck x

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Random Sunday Thought


As a generation of writers mature who have been plugged into iPods and phones since childhood are we going to lose the sounds in fiction? Is the cost of almost unlimited access to music that we are losing touch with one of our senses and condemning our selves to an incomplete understanding of our environments?

Just something I've been pondering in a possibly pretentious but nonetheless heartfelt way...

Chuck x

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

G P B, Pt. II



Because who could resist them?

Chuck x

Monday, December 3, 2012

Sacré-Cœur Sunset



36 whirlwind hours in Paris and I am awed afresh at the city's beauty and just how much you can do in a weekend when you really put your mind to it. Nap now.

Chuck x

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes




Or so the title says. Although, thinking about it, strange title and not really applicable to the film - Dorothy is arguably luckier in love than Lorelei. Anyway, it is such a good film (dubious morality aside) and I had forgotten how funny it was. Marilyn and Jane Russell's fabulosity is unforgettable but it is nice to be reminded now and again. Jane is so smart and sharp and sassy and Marilyn is just evanascent. And the clothes! Such bliss. There are going to be more posts where these came from btw, it took a lot of will power on my behalf not to screenshot every twenty seconds of every shot these two appear in...

For London-based Marilyn lovers, there is a mini photo exhibition at the National Portrait gallery. It is only a single room but the photos are lovely and it is free. Worth popping into briefly if you are in the area and fancy a face full of wonderful.

Chuck x

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Déjà Vu




Something weird has happened. Weird and unexpected. I want t-shirts with stuff on them. I did not think that this was going to happen again after that ill-fated slogan tee phase I went through from ages 12 to 15. This is exactly why you should never say never. This and actual important things... And they're so bad for me. Printed t-shirts just do not look good on people with (generous) chests. They look/make you look bulky and lumpy and mishapen no matter how much you love them. Sure, they add a dash of humour or interest to an otherwise dry outfit and, yes, think of the shoes you could pair with the above but no. I must resist. Life is cruel.

If you are lucky enough to be able to wear these t-shirts I would suggest you check out Rachael's thoughts on the subject. I will try not to resent you.

Chuck x

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Escapism





Ryan McGinley + Karlie Kloss + Nicaragua = a serious win for T Magazine (via FGR)

I'm feeling a bit (ok, quite a lot) disconnected from the internet right now. It's not personal, it's just not where I want to be after a long day in front of a computer. Which is sad because the internet is normally a place of fun, excitement and solace for me. I'm sure I'll return to it soon enough but the only place I want to be at the moment is Nicaragua. Or Morocco. Or Laos. Somewhere exotic and far far away with great streetfood and a backpack full of novels and a change of clothes.

Don't we all though, I suppose...?

Chuck x

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Woof Woof



This is the best/worst/most hilarious ensemble I have seen in a looooong time.

Glorious.

Chuck x

Monday, November 5, 2012

Food Reviewed: Morito

I haven't done one of these in ages, despite living in London, home of some of the best food in the world. I guess I have been too busy gorging on food to actually sit down and right about it. However, I feel spurred into action by a recent meal. This is necessarily going to be a two part post; part one, a largely complimentary review of a specific restaurant and, part two, a general rant about London restaurant seating policies. Here we go...

1) Morito 

I've been lucky enough to sample Sam and Sam Clark's fare on two different street food occasions at Long Table and Feast. It was heavenly. It was £5 a pop of mouth-joy. It filled me with longing to visit their signature restaurant Moro. And I will one day but for now it is rather out of my price range.  So, instead, for a special occasion on Friday we went to Morito, their little sister bar/tapas restaurant.

Once we had finally got in (more on that later) it was a lot of fun. It is a tiny space packed, somehow, with about forty covers. Pairs are seated at the bar on rather precarious stools and food is served almost instantaneously. You can watch the chefs and waiting staff navigating the very limited spare artfully, sliding scallops onto the grill and twisting plates over the heads of customers.

We had sherry cocktails which are just an excellent idea - mine had sherry, vermouth and orange bitters, R's had sherry, mint and lemonade. Definitely need to try that at home. We ordered patatas bravas and jamon Iberico and quails' eggs with cumin and salt and spiced lamb with aubergine and scallops in a sherry vinegar butter sauce and warm red peppers with preserved lemons and capers... I do love small plates, they can end up being expensive but they mean that you can eat many things. The quails' eggs were the weak spot for me but then hard boiled eggs freak me out so that is probably to be expected. Everything else was excellent. Admittedly there could have been more jamon for the price but what there was was meaty and delicious and made me want to sprint back to Madrid and the hilariously named Museo de Jamon (not actually a museum). Jamon Iberico over Parma ham, I would say. The patatas bravas were more rustic and deconstructed than I'm used to but still addictive. The lamb was my idea of heaven - dry, shredded, spiced lamb on a bed of smokey, puréed aubergine topped with yoghurt and pomegranate seeds and pine nuts and mint. It was dreamy.


2) Bookings

It took us two hours to get seats for dinner because they don't take bookings. And by seats I mean bar stools. TWO HOURS. Just let that marinate. Yes, we went off to the pub and had drinks and found ourselves snacks and came back and sat outside on a cold November night and had more drinks and were finally let in. We managed to amuse ourselves but two hours is too long to wait for anything except perhaps a flight. I actually feel like a bit of a sap for having putting up with it but we really wanted to try the restaurant and we're deeply stubborn and we didn't know the area well enough to wander off and guarantee finding a really great alternative meal. Also, it got to the point where we had waited so long that we felt we couldn't give up - it became a battle of wills. I'm not sure who won, I ate delicious food but I was cold, starving and grouchy by the time I fnally got to it. Sadly it means I will not being going back to Morito or wholeheartedly recommending it to anyone.

It seems unfair to point the blame squarely at Morito. They were just the proverbial stick that broke my back. They are simply symptomatic of an increasingly common London restaurant policy that drives me up the flipping wall - they do not take bookings. It drives me to distraction. There are so many places I want to eat but can't go to because I am unprepared to wait for more than 45 minutes. That seems like a really long time to me, anything more is verging on the ridiculous, but it isn't enough. I visited and loved Pitt Cue back when I could get a weekday lunchtime off but I tried to take a friend there the other week and was told it would be at least an hour's wait and if we weren't there when summoned then they would give our place away. My parents occasionally come to London to visit me and I want to take them to great places for dinner but they don't have the patience or the energy for a non-bookings restaurant, which seems to be all the restaurants (except you Bocca di Lupo - I love you), they and I miss out on some of the best food this city has to offer.

I don't get it. What is gained by jettisoning bookings?? Please tell me. Does it somehow cost money to take bookings? Is it the sense of spontaneity and democracy? Because that is not a thing. There is nothing spontaneous about standing around in the drizzle for an hour...

Anyway, rant over. To summarise, the food at Morito is excellent but I hate endless queues.

Chuck x

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hotties: Jessie Ware



Jessie Ware is scorching hot. She also has a beautiful, powerful voice. And she's an English graduate. I'm basically a little bit in love with her at the moment. She's a South Londoner and she loves strong female artists like Chaka Khan and Whitney Houston (an almost direct quote from her sweet Brixton market video interview with Vice) and I think both show in her music and her style. It is dramatic and bold and diva-ish - it is fueling my desire for graphic jewellery and big brows and sleek hair and lots of bodycon monochrome.

Listen to: Wildest Moments, Night Light and SBTRKT's Right Thing to Do on which she features.

Wear: strong eyeliner.

Chuck x

Sunday, October 28, 2012

A Perfect Sunday





Julia Child / Meryl Streep / Boeuf aux Oignons made by R

The best things.

Chuck x

Monday, October 22, 2012

Pumped Up Kicks


New Balance 574 / Nike Air Max
Nike Blazer / New Balance 501
New Balance 420 / Adidas Gazelle
Reebok Princess Classic / Nike Oceania

I'm developing a bit of a trainer fetish in my old age. In a different world/on a different budget I would have a whole room for my kicks rapper-style. The dubious morality of excess aside they have the right idea. It is comfort + aesthetics + lots of walking. Living in the big smoke, night bus-ing around and generally exploring, I value a pair of shoes I can run away in. Also, conveniently, there are some scorching hot trainers around at the moment. At the top of my (quite long) list is a pair of New Balance 574s, specifically the burgundy Johnny Appleseeds, top left. They're so smart. I want to wear them with structured mini skirts and big jumpers. Delicious and like hugs for your feet.

Chuck x

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Accessories of Glory



It's all about the accessories, daaaaaaahling. Any talk of accessorising inevitably makes me think of Patsy in Ab Fab. This is obviously a good thing. The pleasures of the joyous examples above are fairly self-explanatory. They add the touch of absurdity that, in my opinion, every outfit needs...

How could you not grin regularly with these adorning your person?

Chuck x

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Article Reading Group


Be The Overflow, Pockets Full Of Stones.


  • I find adolescence and our current cultural obsession with it very interesting. I'm mulling over some thoughts about it at the moment. Rachel Monroe tackles the subject from the angle of lust and obsession in her fab article Killer Crush: The Horror of Teen Girls, from Columbiners to Beliebers. A great read. She's right - teenage girl do rock obsession like no other. For all that people worry about young girls on the internet it was also kind of made for them. I collaged pretty heavily in my early teens but  was still limited by physical practicalities. Between Polyvore and Tumblr and Pinterest the interweb has exploded the possibilities for youf collage - the above from glamorouszombie is a thing of glory!
  • Because I needed a reason to love Hilary Mantel more. Larissa Macfarquhar's New Yorker profile, The Dead are Real, is everything you could want from an author profile. Work, life, art. She started writing A Place of Greater Safety at 23 - 23! Manchester, Botswana, the Middle East. Ghosts, illnesses, history. Next up The Giant, O'Brian. Via Jessica Stanley's consistently excellent Read. Look. Think.
  • Speak of the devil... Suddenly everyone wants New Yorker style content. Only one catch: Who is going to write it? PandoDaily raises a good question. Historically the internet has valued speed and quantity of content over quality but perhaps that is changing. Apparently Tumblr wants to start paying for great writing but the closure/downsizing of traditional magazines and newspapers mean that there aren't any/enough trained writers to step up to the plate.  Part exciting, part depressing, all thought provoking. I'm not sure if I agree with everything in the article but certainly something to consider...
I haven't done an article post in ages. It's about time. So, have you read anything good recently?

Chuck x

Friday, October 12, 2012

Piercing Possibilities



I want a new piercing (hi Muv, chuffed much?). I fancy a variation on a forward helix piercing but I don't know where to get it done in London. I want to go to someone with a considered eye and some beautiful jewellery options. Really I want to go to J. Colby Smith at New York Adorned but that seems a little far to travel...

Any London recommendations out there?

Chuck x

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Fire & Knives, Issue 12



Is out now and I'M IN IT. This is very exciting.

I wrote a piece about Sunday lunch, now and in my childhood, and it has been wonderfully edited. The writing and the editing in Fire & Knives is just fab - it is the opposite of Hila and Jane's great post. You can't buy individual issues but do subscribe for a year of pleasure.

Food and words and food and words. My favourite things.

Chuck x

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Adventures with Coconut Milk



Nigel Slater's simple Thai soup with coconut milk and rice noodles


Sprouted Kitchen's spiced lentil soup with coconut milk and kale

Both topped with sweet and salty chicken and fresh coriander

Apart from sporadic sun filled days it has been grey and miserable lately. I want to eat warming, comforting food but I'm not ready to start making stews yet so I have been all over soups. And I've been craving coconut milk in a big way. Life has been stressful and a bit upsetting recently and there is childish joy to its sweet creaminess. Special credit to Waitrose organic coconut milk which is by far the best supermarket coconut milk I've tried - thick and rich and not watery at all. Full fat forever.

Anyway, both of these recipes are full of enough wonderful healthy things and spice to make anyone feel better. They will cure what ails ya. Perfect for autumn and illnesses.

Chuck x

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Werkin' Girl



Despite the fact that I rarely get much of a response to my music posts I'm powering on regardless. It's my blog and I'll blog what I want to etc. My current musical crush is Angel Haze - she's 21 and she's got a filthy mouth and a way with words. Just how I like my lady rappers. She is sharp and brutal and awesome. I like. I've been listening to Werkin' Girls on repeat recently, you should give it a spin.

I'm so enjoying all the female rappers who are springing up at the moment. They have so much to say. Any favourites?

Chuck x

Monday, October 1, 2012

Juxtapositions



Visitation, 2006


She (Film Portrait Collage) III, 2008


Mask XXIX, 2006

In September John Stezaker won the Deutsche Borse Photography Prize. I think his work is beautiful and intriguing and this is really just an excuse to revel in it here. And I'm being totally topical (more or less, who cares if I'm out by a month?) which is rare. Stezaker uses found images - vintage postcards, film stills, book illustrations - to create collages that explore our fascination with images and their relation to truth, memory and culture. The results are eery and quiet but strangely lovely.

Stezaker's work proliferates across the internetz. I used to get cross when I saw his collages adrift on Tumblr, uncaptioned and uncredited, amidst carefully choreographed photos of cake, wingtip Oxfords and 1950s Paris but now I wonder if he doesn't find it interesting. There is a collaging impulse behind Tumblr even if it is largely unconsidered and, as far as I can see, he never credits his 'readymades'. He is investigates our relationship with imagery and the internet is the latest evolution in that relationship. I reckon he must be down with it.

Apparently the prize winner's work was being shown at the Photographer's Gallery until Sept 9th so I am definitely not topical but hopefully he will show in London again soon. I'm still sad I missed his show at the Whitechapel Gallery last year - I would love to see his work in person. What are your reactions to it?

Chuck x

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Burleigh-Wear



I love Burleigh crockery. I want it all. For now I only have a blue calico moustache mug but Asos is offering me an easy way in. The detail of the pattern is more Morris than chintz but the colours and effect are very Burleigh. And the shape is lovely. All very light and pretty and not particularly winter appropriate but something to think about. I'm sure someone could work it with some thick grey wool tights.

This is the kitschest post I've done in ages. It's nice to mix it up once in a while.

Chuck x

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Sunday Book: The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller

The Orange Prize is a weird one. I think it is great to have a prize celebrating women's writing but I'm unconvinced by some of their choices. To be fair, I have only read three out of seventeen of their winners - Small Island, the Tiger's Wife and this year's winner, the Song of Achilles. I enjoyed all of these, I thought they were good books, but I didn't think they were great books. Two of my favourite prize winning books, Wolf Hall and Possession (the Man Booker), are by women and they are truly brilliant. Why didn't they win the Orange prize? Sure, Possession predates the prize but why no Mantel? Presumably there are some quite specific guidelines somewhere but it all seems a bit strange to me.

Anyway, this year's winner. I was intrigued by the Song of Achilles because on paper, in reviews, blurbs etc. it sounds a lot like Iliad fan fiction. Now, I'm a fan of fan fiction but it is rarely literary or award winning. I don't think there have been any successful fan fiction/published novel crossovers - feel free to challenge me on that one. Still, it worked as a hook; I saw classical history and mythology, romance and the suggestion of fan fiction and I bit. Those are a lot of my top things, in life and literature, so I bought the book and enjoyed it a lot. If you have similar interests you'll probably enjoy it too.


Seriously, such a trashy cover and quotes. *Sigh*

Post-reading I'm going to go out on a limb and say the book isn't fan fiction (apologies if this is a disappointment). It doesn't fit the profile in terms of content or style. It is censored/discreet and recognisably literary. It isn't sublime but it is serviceably well written and Homer's story is wonderful. Achilles and Patroclus' relationship has been debated forever and Madeline Miller is gunning for romance and I am right there with her. The book starts with Patroclus as a child being forced to bid for Helen's hand and pledge to protect her. It follows his exile to Achilles' father's island and their childhood and adolescence together. They grow up, falling in love and becoming inseperable before destiny strikes in the shape of the Trojan war. I would say 'Spoiler Alert' but you know what's going to happen. It is tragic and heart-breaking and I cried quite a lot.

I'm not a Classicist (Miller is - she has an MA from Brown and has spent the last nine years teaching) so I can't vouch for every single element of the novel being as per Homer but the fundamentals match and it felt genuine. I would guess that her interpretations are plausible - feel free to challenge me on that one too. [I'm throwing around a lot of sweeping statements that I can't back up today, my university tutors would be miffed.] One of the things I most enjoyed, aside from all the emotions and man lurve, was how smoothly she integrated the gods. They are everywhere, walking among men as lovers and parents, yet easy to anger and careless of modern morality. So interesting. The story is told from Patroclus' perspective, fleshing out a character who is often reduced to little more than a catalyst, but this is done at the cost of Achilles' characterisation. The best of the Greeks is a bit flat. Maybe that is right though, he is only half human?

All in all, I liked this book. It was romantic and cathartic - there were tummy flutters and tears which sometimes one (or, at least, this one) needs from a book. It was a good quality light read. It ticked a lot of my boxes subject wise. It isn't for everyone but you can probably tell from this if it is for you. If so, jump on it and we can chat Greek mythology and man love.

Chuck x

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Mango and Berries


Mango at ASOS

Mango have really got their shit together this season. Lots of great, simple pieces at very reasonable prices. Aside from looking like Elizabeth Olsen, my autumn daydreams are revolving around berry tones, khaki, navy and more grey (obviously, you can never have enough grey). Autumn is on my mind a lot at the moment - it seems to have hit instantly and hard in London. The rain is vaguely depressing but at least it is honest. After an especially grey and dreary summer at least it is being seasonal and there are few things more comforting than being wrapped in a duvet with a good book and bad tv and zealously buttered crumpets while it rains outside.

Chuck x

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Elizabeth Olson is Lovely




Elizabeth Olsen photographed by Andrew Yee for the Guardian
via FGR

I would like this make up / colour palette / face for autumn.

Chuck x

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Sunday Book: Bring Up the Bodies - Hilary Mantel



I'm not going to write a review because either you haven't read Wolf Hall, in which case what are you still doing here? Go, read it now. Or, you have read Wolf Hall, in which case you will have already read Bring Up the Bodies because you understand the glory of Hilary Mantel and her portrait of Thomas Cromwell. A beautiful, stunningly humane pair of books. Heart.

Chuck x

Friday, September 14, 2012

Go Graduates



Photography: Nikolay Biryukov / Make-up and hair: Marina Keri / Model: Laura O’Grady / Styling: Olga Kuryshchuk / Fashion assistant: Bella Catling
It's fashion time again. I'm not feeling particularly excited yet but perhaps this is because we've only had New York so far. I always find NYFW a bit of a snore. There are a couple of shows that I'll keep an eye on (Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Alexander Wang, Rodarte...) but, for the most part, I find it too beige and safe to be thrilling. That isn't to say that there aren't masses of nice, wearable clothes on the runways and in the showrooms of New York but there's not much that gets my blood racing. Possibly it's misplaced patriotism but London is where it is at as far as I'm concerned. Young talent and young brands doing creative and exciting things. Funding opportunities and a willingness to test boundaries and push taste forward. Being different. I am actively looking forward to next week's shows. 
Central Saint Martin's is really a flagship for young British talent and this photo shoot focuses on the work of current students and graduates. It's such a high quality shoot, the clothes and styling look great, the model is weird and beautiful - nothing about this says university production. An excellent way to get in the mood for LFW.
Chuck x 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Female Spaces

It's already hard to remember but three days ago the weather in London was fantastic. It was scorching hot and the skies were clear and blue. It was beautiful if rather uncomfortable on public transport or in garden-less flats. I found an escape though - a perfect way to spend our (probably) last day of summer. I swam in a pond.

To clarify, at a brilliantly clever friend's suggestion, I visited Highgate Ladies' Bathing Pond. People have been swimming in the Hampstead Heath ponds since at least the 1860s and I doubt much has changed. The ladies' pond idyllic, if rather difficult to find. we were sweaty and rather cross by the time we finally found it, after trekking up and down the poorly signposted Heath for over an hour. It was probably for the best though since the water was cold and, despite the weather, it was busy but not overcrowded.

A warning sign declared the water 'opaque, cold and untreated' and all of these things were, undoubtedly, true. Luckily you could climb or dive in without ever having to touch the bottom, which was my worry. No algae or duck poo either. It was bracing (what my family calls 'fresh') - deeply unpleasant at first but if you kept moving it quickly became bearable and even pleasant. The water washed away our accumulated London sweat and we slowly baked dry in a sunny opening in the trees afterwards. Bliss.


Photo via Liberty London Girl who is also a big fan

Or of things I found most interesting about the pond was that it was women only. We walked past the mixed pond and the men's pond on our way to the ladies' and the atmospheres were very different. The mixed pool was raucous and overcrowded with noisy youth showing off to each other; the men's pond was quieter but their was still a lot of posturing, flirting and assessment going on. There was no posing at the women's pond, just a lot people chilling out, chatting quietly, napping or reading books. There were women of all different ages and backgrounds peacefully sharing space. There was probably an above average amount of toplessness going on but no one was really interested. I was delightful and relaxing and I found it very relaxing.

I don't know if it is my life style but there aren't any female spaces in my life, I don't think. The office, pubs, restaurants - they're all mixed, as they probably should be. There are private spaces but that is different; the occasional changing room but they are transient. Maybe there are still female spaces with religions but I'm not religious. Perhaps I should discourage and disdain the division and gendering of space but it was so peaceful and lovely. I want more.

Do you inhabit or enjoy any female spaces? What do you think of the idea? Less philosophically, Londoners, have you been to the ponds? Do you want to share the love?

Chuck x

Thursday, September 6, 2012

In Store Surprises






I'm actually quite impressed by the latest crop of in store magazines. Sure, they're not going to be winning any Nobel prizes but they're very well designed, there are some good editorials and even the odd interesting article. And they're free. This is solid content and design for nothing. They are completely on brand and, I think, such a smart way to advertise and connect with your consumers.

Highlights of the latest COS and Topshop mags: the Inspiring Art of Collecting, Willy Vanderperre shot editorial, mood boards, make up tutorials, sneak peaks, an intriguing interview with the grandparents behind i-D. I haven't read an i-D in years, I clearly need to pick one up because Terry and Tricia Jones sound right up my street - sensible, thoughtful, enthusiastic people. Very interesting.

Do pick these up if you get a chance. The Monki magazine is cute too. I'm not sure who else is doing them - any recommendations?

Chuck x