Friday, June 29, 2012

Catching Up

Xiao Wen Ju via Philo*Sofia
If you know the photographer please let me know - it is such a beautiful image

So I've been in a technology black hole. I had a truly rubbish weekend where everything electrical I touched turned to shit. I'm replacing everything a bit at a time but it is a slow, expensive process. Among other things that broke, my laptop charger set fire to the carpet. Super fun! I bought a cheap replacement but it doesn't really work so the question is, expensive new charger or whole new laptop? I resent the idea of spending real money on a charger but I don't particularly want to get a new laptop when my current one is still limping onwards and upwards... Eugh, boring. Anyway, that is why I've abandoned the blog recently. Sorry, blog.

Also, sorry to anyone who is waiting on emails from me - I have limited free time and internet access at the moment and I'm behind. I will catch up soon! Life is flying by and I have masses to do but I'm going to get on top of things. I want to do exciting things and be creative and enjoy myself. That's the dream, I suppose.

So what's new with you?

Chuck x

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Straw Poll

I've been wanting some new glasses for ages but it seemed frivolous to buy them when I had a perfectly functional pair already. I didn't particularly care for them but they did the job and, you know, moneyz. Then I went and lost them in a bar last week because I'm an idiot. I'm torn between excitement at the prospect of a new pair and frustration at myself for my carelessness. I guess I'd managed to hold onto them for nearly six years but still, stupid... Then I had to endure a trip to the optician to get an updated prescription and, eugh, it was unpleasant with the weird drops and the pressure and the closeness. The drops were new to me which just shows how overdue I was for a checkup and they were horrid. Has anyone else had an eye test recently? I feel scarred, that's all I'm saying.

On the plus side, my home trial from Glasses Direct arrived today and I very much enjoyed playing around with the four pairs I ordered. All of them are from London Retro because I like their styles and their price range and loads of bloggers have had them and liked them. I know they had a big social media drive a year or so ago and, look, it totally worked - I needed glasses and I thought London Retro.

I can't vouch for the full Glasses Direct service yet but I do approve of free next day delivery on the home trial. This isn't a sponsored post by the way although if anyone wants to fund my ability to see they should knock themselves out. My first impressions of the various glasses is that they are flimsier than I was expecting but I get what you pay for, I suppose. And what I am most interested in (beside being able to read all the tiny numbers and drive safely) is style because I'm shallow et al.

So what do you think? I need opinions. Obviously the Sherlocks are very bad. I'm wavering between the Fitzrovias and the Sohos. Possibly erring towards the Fitzrovias. The Sohos might be a tad too chunky? What do you think? Advise me. And has anyone bought glasses online? Any helpful tips or comments?

Chuck x

Monday, June 11, 2012

Glorious Food

Few things make me happier than food. It is the best. All kinds of food - simple and complex, restaurant and domestic, familiar and alien. This weekend I went home home and got to go to my all time favourite restaurant. The West House. I had a lovely dinner at Heston's Dinner last year but the West House wins it for me. Wonderful food, relaxed atmosphere, rural location. My slow cooked Jacob's ladder of beef (possibly short ribs in American?) with beetroot ketchup was delightful. It was like cutting through warm butter and such deep flavour... Mmm. And the iced peanut parfait with rich caramel, a crisp chocolate shell and dark chocolate sorbet! Mega yumz.

At the same time, the soup I made this weekend, also super delicious. Pretty much the food opposite of a smart three course restaurant meal but still perfect. This black bean chipotle soup was so good. Everything you could possibly want in a soup. Hearty, healthy, packed with flavour and interest. It was based on this recipe and I completely recommend it. Chipotle is the best. And black beans. They're the best too.

  • 1 cup of dried black beans
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 red pepper, roughly diced
  • 1 tsp chipotle paste
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 600ml stock
  • 1/3 cup basmati rice
  • 1 tsp cocoa
  • Juice of 1/2 an orange
  • Large quantities of mashed avocado, sour cream and cheddar to serve
  1. Cook your black beans - I normally skip soaking them for 24 hours and just boil the bejesus out of them for about 90 mins until they're soft. Is that bad?
  2. Sweat your onion and garlic in olive oil over a medium heat until translucent.
  3. Add the red pepper and cook for a few minutes to soften. Stir in the chipotle paste, vinegar, paprika, oregano and salt.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and stir well. Add the black beans and stock and bring to the boil.
  5. Add the rice and cook for 15-20 mins, until it is soft.
  6. Stir through the cocoa and orange juice.
  7. Serve with enormous dollops of roughly mashed avocado, sour cream and piles of cheddar. This is a whole delicious meal of deliciousness. There is protein, vegetable, carbs, dairy, spice. Revel in it.
All the food, all the different ways. All the happiness.

Chuck x

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Five Favourite Friday Fings

Clockwise from top left:
I've got a soft spot for classical mythology. The stories, strange and violent and ancient and magical, and the art they have inspired. Caleb Luke Lin has done a series of Artemis screen prints and they're lovely. His style is charming and I just can't resist the subject matter. Above is Artemis & Actaeon and I want it. Sadly this print is out of his store but Artemis & Orion, Artemis & Callisto and Artemis, Iphegenia & Agamemnon are available.

Elizabeth does the best nail art. Fact. I've featured her a bunch of time but I think that her Comme des Garcons nails might be my favourite to date. They're so awesome! I really need to get some nail art pens.

I got a bit overexcited when I saw Leah Goren's collaboration with Anthropologie. I've followed her work for a long time (I'm still sad I missed out on her bacon tank top) and like to longingly browse her Etsy store. I'm so glad she is getting some mainstream appreciation although I hope Anthropologie don't mess her around. One hears dodgy things about how they treat illustrators... Anyway, fingers crossed for her. The polar bear dress is so sweet and the tulips too - it's a beautiful collection. Via Honey Kennedy.

I don't know who these ladies are or where they came from but I'm a bit in love with them. They're so dapper! Don't you want to hang out with them? Wearing the Pants always have great images.

Someone who knows me well pointed out the Kenzo x Vans summer collection a while ago. She knew I would love it and I totally did. I Heart my Vans. A lot. It turns out that they're not brilliant wet weather shoes (learnt that the hard way) but they are blissfully comfy. I also really like what Humberto Leon and Carol Lim are doing at Kenzo. The net print and the colours are fun and vibrant and there are few things I love more than when fashion meets comfort. Mmm, comfort... The best. These are dropping mid-month until the end of July in Harvey Nics in the UK. Temptation.

Seen anything exciting recently?
Chuck x

Monday, June 4, 2012

Go Graduates

I really need to make more of an effort to keep up with the world's various fashion grads. You stop paying attention and you miss out on a veritable plethora of young talent. Also, I find it reassuring and inspiring to see the youf of today flourishing creatively against the odds. Go us/them!

I recently came across the work of Yvonne Lin. I don't know much about her other than she recently graduated from Ryerson University in Canada and she was a wicked way with white. The below looks are from her FORMATION collection for which there is a vaguely incomprehensible explanation here. There is architecture and algorithms and some rather hazy philosophising. Who knows? As is often the case, the verbal representation of visual inspiration leaves something to be desired. Luckily the collection itself is rather  lovely. The textures she manages to produce within a single colour are amazing - slashing, stretching, folding, multiple kinds of smocking. It makes a quite simple, monochrome collection visually exciting. I think it's beautiful.

Slashed lamb skin leather jacket / Stretch denim trousers with honeycomb smocking

Bamboo jersey top with honeycomb smocking / Pleated leather skirt

Bamboo jersey top with lozenge smocking / Stretch denim trousers with slashed leather details

Pictures c/o Artsthread

Lovely, yes? It makes me want to take another stab at uni-colour dressing (totally a thing) although not white obviously - tomato ketchup etc. Something darker and more forgiving of stains would probably be sensible. I also need to think more about complex textures. I like to mix up cashmere and leather and cotton and silk but I don't own anything nearly as considered as Lin's work and that is sad. I will be keeping my eye out for an achievable version.

*Woop* Cheer-leading for graduates. It is that time of year so hopefully I will be featuring a few more in the coming week. They deserve all the support they can get.

Chuck x