Monday, April 30, 2012

Two Cool Bags

Artist James Nares x Coach

There are arguably too many brand/celebrity/artist/designer collaborations bouncing around. Overpriced, overhyped and immediately resold on ebay - I am happy to ignore most of them. That's not to say they're a bad idea though. Sharing is good. The Coach bag is elegant and interesting and I like the clash of British institutions that is DM vs. Liberty. They have some kitschier florals available but I would go with the classic Strawberry Thief print above - more distinctive, more fun, more heritage.

Natty, yes?

Chuck x

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Two Cool Girls

Model Olivia Lefebre via Oyster. She is beautiful, stylish and seventeen. May the world be her oyster.

You think you can't love Stevie Nicks any more and then you watch this and it makes you feel all gooey. Adorableness via Vic.

Man, I have been a lackluster blogger recently. I'm being (pleasantly) torn in a bunch of different directions creatively and the blog is suffering. This makes me sad although my brain is buzzing excitedly. There are so many things I want to do and so little time. The eternal cry, I suppose. I'm not sure when things will be back on track but I have good intentions. The road to hell etc. but still. Good intentions. 

In the meantime, these girls are cool. I never have been nor ever will be a cool girl but I can still admire them from afar. That insouciant loveliness...

Chuck x

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


This + this = this (hopefully)

Now I just need to work out an elegant way to combine the two. I've tried a couple of different ways that have been unsatisfactorily lumpy but, admittedly, my research hasn't been exhaustive. I can do this. This should be within even my DIY scope. The good news is that I am already in love with the beanie. I have never really worn beanies before because the standard high street fashion beanie covers approximately 1/8 of my giant head. It turns out though that skaters have enormous heads too/wear their hats much bigger than the average Topshop acolyte. This bad boy actually fits on my head and stays on my head, no need for kirby grips or nuffink. It's like it wants to be there. And it keeps my head so warm and dry in the current abysmal weather... It's dreamy.

R says that it is so nice and I look so good in it that perhaps I shouldn't wear it out of the house. I wouldn't want to damage it after all. Luckily, my snuggly warm ears and I are deaf to his insinuations.

Chuck x

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Five Favourite Friday Fings

None of these are really new fings, they've been floating around the interwebz for a while, but you know that you're on to a good thing when weeks later you still can't bear to close the tab... (I Heart Tabs). 

Clockwise from top left:

1. LOOK at Tippi Hedren's lion! His name was Togar. I am in love. Sure, the rational part of my brain knows that it's probably not kind or safe to keep an enormous, carnivorous animal as a domestic pet but the emotional part of my brain doesn't care. The heart wants what it wants and this time it wants a giant, cuddly lion to chill out in bed with. Or in the kitchen. Or by the pool. There are photos. I insist that you go and ogle Jen's post right now. Even if you've already seen it. Go ogle it again, it will make you day.

2. I want gold nails. Not metallic painted nails - actual gold nails. I think these jewellery/beauty/accessories by Holly & Hannah are such a clever idea. So visually effective and just plain cool. Apparently they're going to be £40 a nail which means I'm not going to be sporting them any time soon (imagine if one came off!) but I'm looking forward to seeing them all over the blogs and editorials. Originally spotted on I Want You to Know.

3. Like everyone else on the internet I love Anabela's new silk scarf collection Light as a Feather. Beautiful black and white photographs on huge silk scarves - what more could you want? You can chose between ice cave, mountain, meteor and Venus. And they're nearly a metre square. I love a generous scarf. Stingy scarves are rubbish. Anyway, gorgeous.

4. Hey there, Diana decked out as Venus. You are delightful. Despite the whole Fascism thing you are still in my top two Mitford sisters. This photo is actually pre-Mosley when she was still married to Bryan Guinness.  It is part of a series by Madame Yevonde of society women as Roman goddesses. I might have to do a whole post on her because she was clearly awesome/a bit bonkers but in the meantime let us admire DM and all the pink, frothy loveliness. Via The Licentiate.

5. Just a really nice t-shirt from Dries van Noten.

Chuck x

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Lasting Loveliness

*Title Pun Alert*

As I'm fairly familiar with Florence a lot of time last week was spent revisiting old favourites (hey there, Dave). The Ferragamo Museum was new to me though. Situated below the grand store on the Arno it is a beautiful little museum dedicated to a master craftsman. Salvatore Ferragamo was born in 1898 and was apprenticed to a shoe maker at 11. He moved to America, California, Hollywood. He made the most beautiful shoes for everyone. Everyone, I says. All the films and all the stars. Classic, beautiful shoes that still look perfect. I want to wear them all! It is a lovely little museum and I would suggest popping in if you are in Florence. A brief excursion into foot fantasy.

A whole rainbow of Varas! Even though they're not very 'me' (ha! as if that is a consistent concept) but one day I will own a black pair.

I did say everyone... Ferragamo have the personal lasts for so many icons - Rita Hayworth, Sofia Loren, Marlene Dietrich, Katherine and Audrey Hepburn, Ingrid Bergman, Ava Gardner. It is the best of the Golden Age. Felt a bit weird perving on their feet (so small) but gripping.

The brown court shoes were made for Marilyn in Some like it Hot, the black sandals were for Madonna in Evita and the teal velvet boots were for Brigitte Bardot in something. I just want to wear all of these shoes.

Not Florence (obv). These are my Ferragamo delights c/o ebay. I don't know the era but I love all the Ferragamo details and I think they have a mid-century charm. Unfortunately Ferragamo shoes are cut very narrow and it turns out that they don't really suit my feet. They pinch something vicious so they don't get the wear they deserve. I can't quite face selling them though - they're so pretty. Will just have to get more taxis. As if.

Indulgent shoe prettiness.

Chuck x

Monday, April 16, 2012

The Sunday Book: All That I Am - Anna Funder

At school, over the years, I learnt a lot about Nazi Germany and World War Two. Our curriculum was sporadic - a smattering of the Incas here, a dash of Norman conquest there, a generous dollop of the Tudors, a respectable amount of Communist Russia, a lot of Hitler. My general knowledge of world history is embarrassingly patchy but I did five years on the Nazis. Despite this we never confronted the guilt. I knew objectively about the policy of appeasement and the Munich Pact but I'd never really considered, not properly, the lag between Hitler declaring himself as Chancellor in 1933 and European intervention in 1939. That is six years. The Night of the Long Knives was only 1934. What were we doing with ourselves? How did we look the other way for so long.

I understand the rational arguments, a world war had crippled a generation only twelve years before, but reading Anna Funder's All That I Am it is hard to hold on to that. The book tells the story of a handful of the intellectual exiles and refugees - communists, socialists, political activists, writers and journalists - who fled Hitler's Germany in the early 1930s. It focuses on cousins Ruth and Dora who manage to escape arrest and execution by the Nazis and make it to Britain and, supposedly, safety. They want to spread the word about Hitler's activities, his ambitions and intentions for Germany, his warmongering and threats to civil liberty, but their refugee visas don't allow them to engage in 'political activity'. They can be sent back to Germany for spreading the word about why they were forced to flee the country in the first place. They can be sent back to Germany for trying to tell the world about his military plans and the brutality he is imposing on his own people. Soon, tragically, it becomes clear that the Reich's power extends well past its national boundaries and, even in London, they can murder those who criticise them with impunity. The English government does nothing.

I don't know how to deal with this. Reading the last quarter of All That I Am at 1am on holiday made me feel almost sick with grief and guilt. Why didn't we stop this? How did we not do anything? The relevant information about Hitler's intentions and capabilities were made available to us so early and we did nothing. We did nothing and we failed to protect those who sought asylum on our shores. People trying to bring down the Nazis were murdered in our city and we did nothing. We didn't even give them justice in death. It's heartbreaking. And it's all true. Although the book is a novel it is based on actual people and actual verifiable events. Everything that happened did happen. Funder is a historian and she is clearly differentiating All That I Am and her previous book, Stasiland (which I also own and will be reading soon). In labeling the book as a novel she has the opportunity to imagine every breath and glance and conversation - all the unverifiable things. It allows you interact with history in a different way. It makes me want to get into theories of history and fiction but I'm sleepy and I couldn't give it my best right now. Suffice to say, it is a powerful combination, the emotional closeness to fictional characters and the awareness that these were real people.

This isn't a great or grand book. In some ways I felt that it was cold and little but that is fitting to the subject matter. Funder met and knew Ruth in Australia before her death in 2001 and the book feels lovingly researched. It is not a sweeping, grandiose novel, there is something quiet about it, but it is a vital story convincingly written. It is also a story that doesn't get told enough. I think everyone should read but I particularly think that Brits should read it. It is a part of our twentieth century heritage that isn't discussed enough. I don't know how to deal with the aftermath of it but it absolutely is something that we should be remembering and thinking about.

Not really light holiday reading but a definite recommendation.

Chuck x

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Il Ritorno

Absent again. For fun reasons this time. Just got back from a mini trip to Florence. It rained every single day but the city was as beautiful as ever and full of excellent art and ice cream. Unlike Rome, I wasn't very disciplined about photographing my various foodz but let me just say, Grom and Vivoli for ice cream; Osteria Caffe Italiano, Gusta Pizza and Pizza Man for pizza; Il Santo Bevitore for wonderful restaurant food. Mmm...

I have doubled my body weight in under a week. A good holiday in my books!

Chuck x

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Recent Eats

Chimichanga? Delicious fried burrito full of homemade refried beans, homemade green rice, homemade salsa, homemade guacamole, iceberg lettuce (the only time it is acceptable), sour cream and cheeeese. Lots of work, a bit scruffy, SO good / Peanut butter butternut squash soup - with lime and chilli and ginger and yoghurt and lots of coriander. A Hugh recipe and veritable soup porn.
Grilled harissa chicken with batata harra (my new favourite thing - little cubed roast potatoes with roasted red pepper and chilli and garlic - they go with everything) / The Guinness and beef stew I made for the current issue of Oh Comely, here with garlic fried cavolo nero.
Courgette and lots of Cheddar cheese soup - originally a Jamie recipe, rather violently butchered by both mine and my Madre's poor memories - still good. Put enough cheese in anything and it will be delicious though. / An actual Jamie recipe, spicy pork goulash. Totally delicious. Cue unattractive drooling.

In the interest of full disclosure, R made the peanut butter soup (he knows me well) and Madre made the goulash. She has got into the (truly excellent) habit of sending me back to London from visits home with Tupperware boxes full of stew. She is concerned that I might fade away. This is obviously hilarious. No way I'm complaining though, not if there is goulash on the cards...

All wonderful meals. Do follow the links if you are a big piglet like me. Also, do let me know if you've eaten anything particularly scrumptious that I should try. I love new recipes. And new eateries. My only recent recommendation is the Stratfield (Westfield-Stratford City, obv) Franco Manca which is surreal, eating in mall food courts makes me feel awkward and 13 again, but the pizza is just as good as the more atmospheric branch in Brixton. Their sourdough pizzas are the best I've had in London. So good and so reasonably priced. It is love.

Chuck x

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Musical Stylings

Ciara / Dominique Young Unique / Azealia Banks / Rye Rye / Iggy Azalea

I've been going on about streetwear a lot recently. I can't get enough of it. I think there are a bunch of reasons for that but one contributing factor has to be what I'm listening to at the moment. Lots of female rappers with awesome skillz and tough style. I love you Azealia Banks and Dominique Young Unique - you don't take any shit. Your back list and RYEot PowRR mixtape are so good that I can forgive your horrible new Venga Boys single, Rye Rye. I'm not entirely convinced by Iggy Azalea but I'm glad she's doing her thing. Ciara, you're not a rapper but you are scorching hot and you have some of the best moves out there. Seriously, killer. Her core strength and physical power is amazing. Screw being a sample size fashion plate - I want my body to do that. I also want to wear leggings, a crop top, trainers and a cap and pull it off. That's not going to happen but she is definitely reinforcing my cap cravings...

I love how strong these women are, physically and in their opinions and desires. Rye Rye is an awesome dancer too. They're so robust and I mean that in the best possible way. They're not flimsy. There are boobs and hips and muscles. And they know what they want and they can be sexy or angry and demand things. They can swear and blaspheme and rap about sex and I love it. They are perfect to stamp around London too and they make me want to toughen up my style. I want my style to be grittier and more powerful to reflect the music that is pouring out of my headphones and how it is making me feel.

It's so interesting the effect music can have on you. Do you find  that what you are listening to ends up impacting your wardrobe choices? Also, does anyone have any other tough ladies to recommend? I want them all!

Chuck x

Monday, April 2, 2012


I love note books. Here are some note books I love:

Sometimes simple is best.

Chuck x

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Article Reading Group

Busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. Hectic. Busy. Many things to do. Good. Tired. Busy. Lots of ideas but no time. No time. Busy. Still managed to read a couple of interesting bits though so hurrah for the belated return of the Article Reading Group. As ever, let me know if you've read anything good lately.

Mia Nolting print - on sale $35

  • Charlotte Raven writing on the Guardian about the lost art of not looking good. She's right, 1970s feminist responses to female beautification are not necessarily relevant or helpful to women today. We need to rethink things. She doesn't really answer any of the questions she raises but they are still worth raising and considering.
  • I bought my Pop a David Sedaris book but I've never read any of his work myself. His very very funny article in the New Yorker about French dentists is making me reconsider. I sniggered unattractively.
  • John Fram's account of living with an HIV positive partner, Odd Blood, for the Atlantic is intimate and moving. It is honest and tragic and optimistic and well worth reading. Probably everyone should read it.
  • I have negative interest in sport but David Foster Wallace's NYT article about Roger Federer is gripping and beautiful. It is Federer-as-religious-experience and it makes tennis sound positively exciting. I think that a book of DFW's essays is coming out sometime and I'll definitely be buying it. His non-fiction is so compelling. I'm slowly working my way through what is available online before I hit up The Pale King.

Chuck x