Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Sound

Two for two on my new 'regular feature'. Check me out...

Charlie Wilson KILLING IT on Jools Holland. Kanye isn't bad either.

She's so pretty and there's something delightfully Black Keys about this. Ace album.

Also, important announcement, you still have a couple of day's to catch NPR's streaming of Haim's Days are Gone.

Chuck x

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Words on Clothes

Things I want: slouchy, casual, cool word jumpers. 'Slogan jumpers' sounds all wrong for this new breed.

Things that my body shape will make baaaaad: slouchy, casual, cool word jumpers. Admittedly my body conspires against many such garments. Damn bosoms.

But they're so natty... Sad maths. Will just have to admire these from afar.

Chuck x

Friday, September 20, 2013

Friday Sound

I'm introducing a new 'regular' 'feature' here. Getting a bit air quote heavy there because a) I suck at regularity and b) what do I think this is? A magazine? Anyway, I'm going to try and do Music Fridays because they were a big thing at my last job and I want to keep them going. Also, I really love music - listening to it, singing along tunelessly to it, talking about it. In a dream world these posts would inspire great conversations and amazing new recommendations. In reality music posts seem to regularly crash and burn on here but it's my party and I'll play top toons if I want to.


Ray Charles. No comment needed.

I can't stop listening this. I may have a problem.

Why did no one tell me the original line up of the Sugababes were back together with a Dev Hynes produced track?? This is important news to eleven year old me.

Chuck x

Thursday, September 19, 2013

A Tale of Two Coats

It's like Dickens but with less Victorian melodrama and more mid-range Scandinavian design. So not all that much like Dickens really. As most people suggested on my last coats post, COS is rich in coats. I had a chance to pop in the other day and these two caught my eye. COS has lots of egg/bubble coats with aggressively rounded shoulders at the moment which are all very nice on the hanger or in a lookbook but, unfortunately, make me look almost totally round which is close enough to the truth for me to eagerly avoid them. These two have enough shape while still having enough room for plenty of additional jumpers. Which is good because they are basically glorified cardigans. These are not thick, heavy coats but they are fairly warm and I like to layer and I am persuading myself that you don't actually want/need a very heavy coat in London? The sleeves push up nicely and the lack of collars is a pleasant change from previous coats I have owned - I feel like they might work well with enthusiastic scarf wearing (one of my top hobbies - you don't even want to know how long it took me to track this down - tumblr, y u so unsearchable??). They're slightly different shapes but they have a lot in common. The big question is colour - green or burgundy...? In store I was 50/50 but now I'm erring towards burgundy. I like green but I love burgundy (I like my Sketchers but I love my Prada backpack - n.b. chocolate raisins may be making me a bit manic). But I already own quite a lot of burgundy so would I be able to wear my new coat with my existing clothes? But I probably couldn't wear a green coat with my existing burgundy either...

I don't know I don't know. I'm thinking about going back to buy one of these tomorrow but I'm super indecisive. What do you think? Advise me/make my choices? Please?

Chuck x

P.S. I maybe promise to be less mad in the future.

Monday, September 16, 2013


On Food Sharing:

There is food sharing that I am good at - sharing my table, sharing a meal with my nearest and dearest. I love having friends over for dinner. I love cooking for people. If you come round to mine I will feel like I've failed if you don't leave with your jeans unbuttoned.

There is also food sharing that I'm bad at - sharing the food on my plate (THOSE ARE MY CHIPS also those chips on your plate, those are my chips too, all the chips are my chips) and sharing my cooking on my blog. I would fail as a food blogger because I am too busy with the cooking and eating to take beautiful pictures. My food is beautiful and I want to spread the love and the experience and the recipes but it is always long gone by the time I think of my camera.

This is a pity but it probably isn't going to change because I can't imagine ever prioritising future mementos over current experience (the future over the present - check me out, so carpe diem). So, instead of beautiful Kinfolk style pictures of our shared repast, here is my menu:

Sherry, Prosecco, rich red wine

Parma ham, salami al finocchio, burrata caprese stacks

Arancini!! (I used the Polpo recipe which is for a zucchini risotto stuffed with mozzarella)

The melanzane alla parmigiana of dreams, frisée salad

Walnut & honey semifreddo (also Polpo)

You guys, I made arancini! It was so exciting. There are things about the recipe I would tweak (the risotto was slightly under-seasoned to my taste and I think it could take more flavour generally, also, the polenta gives a nice crunch but it doesn't really colour up when you fry it so I think I'll mix in some panko/breadcrumbs next time. Plus, I doubled his mozzarella quantities and it was perfect, less would have been stingy) but it worked and made recognisable and delicious arancini. I'm definitely going to use it again and have a play around with some different flavours and combinations. The mozzerella was all stretchy and the risotto was all unctuous and they were all finger burning and hot out of the oil and awesome... Good times.

A note on the Polpo cookbook, it is very beautiful but the recipes don't necessarily jump out at you next to the bright and glossy maelstrom of internet choice. This is the first time I've done more than wistfully flick through it. Clearly I'm an idiot because it really is hard to beat brilliant Italian food. Also, the recipes are WEIRD. I spent most of my time in the kitchen looking dubiously at various mixtures and thinking it had all gone horribly wrong only for everything to come together at the last minute. Note to self: you know less than professional chefs and restaurateurs. Sad fact. That said, the quantities are a bit whack - both recipes made considerably more than the instructions suggested. I will never ever complain about too much food though + all my friends are greedy. Just, don't be tempted to double anything!

Chuck x

Friday, September 13, 2013

Coat Conundrum

I don't know why everyone complains about buying jeans. The perfect pair may be elusive but it isn't that difficult to buy a pair of serviceable jeans. NOT SO COATS. All I want is a warm, dry, single-breasted coat. It needs to be on the darker end of the colour spectrum to hide the London dirt and I would rather it didn't make me look wider than I am tall. Why is that so hard? I know that an attractive, warm, waterproof coat is an impossible dream but you'd have thought that two out of three would be do-able... Well, no luck yet but I'm nothing if not stubborn.

Clockwise from top left: Simone Rocha / Jigsaw / Zara / Topshop / M&S / Oasis

What there is an abundance of at the moment is pink coats. The shops are awash with them at every price point. And they are delightful! I have been having daydreams about that Zara number. Sadly though I would destroy these bad boys. I am far too grubby for pale colours. It would be awful - can you imagine one of these with a backpack? It would get messy.

This multitude serves as an excellent reminder of the enduring beauty and influence of Raf Simons's final collection for Jil Sander. It is perfect and eighteen months later it is everywhere. Let us sit back and remember it fondly... *le sigh* Also, any and all coat recommendations HIGHLY APPRECIATED. Let's make this happen. I am crowd sourcing this bitch.

Chuck x

Monday, September 9, 2013

Bags within Bags

Confession: I truly love 'what's in my bag' posts. I find them equal parts gripping and hilarious. I mean, obviously they're ridiculous but, when done properly, I also think they can offer a real insight into the bag carrier. I'm not going to say that I don't enjoy the clutch bag/lipstick/credit card/iphone minimalist fashion ideals but my favourite posts are the more realistic ones. I want to see what is actually in your bag - the ephemera that makes up your daily existence. It tells a story and indulges the hideously nosy part of my personality. I have actually done one of these before but it was eighteen months ago and maybe I've changed and, if not, my bag at least has changed...

So, within my Herschel backpack, as of today, resides:

  • Many pieces of paper: two To Lists, my Young Persons railcard receipt, dead theatre tickets (Edward II - interesting, slightly traumatic production), business cards, about thirty barely used loyalty cards, so many receipts.
  • Foreign currency: Some dollars I will at some point change to sterling and some Sri Lankan rupees that I can't change. Bonus - British loose change.
  • Hand cream: I am so dry. All the moisture, please. Caudalie, stocking present, very delicious.
  • Le Petit Prince notebook: Nearly finished and looking very scruffy.
  • The same crap phone: Because crap phones never break, only nice ones. Them's the rules. Btw, please don't buy this particular model. I love Nokia but this is a piece of shit. It barely works and has barely worked since day one.
  • Moleskine diary: Since clearly I can't keep track of my social life on my phone. Also, if I don't write things down they don't happen.
  • Many pens, plus one Sharpie: What if one ran out? Must have back ups. I may be a pen hoarder. Your pens are not safe around me.
  • Longchamp handbag: Bags within bags! Sometimes a backpack is too much and you want to check it but keep your essentials on your person - bring out the small bag. It also makes important things easier to find in the black hole of my backpack. Purloined from my mother ten years ago and much loved.
  • Metropolitan Museum of Art map: I only went to New York eight months ago, it is totally reasonable that I'm still carrying this.
  • Grubby old wallet, Oyster card, work pass, keys.
  • Misc badge from a wedding.
  • Marc Jacobs mirror, Lancome eyeliner, Rosebud salve, Mac lip gloss/balm in unidentifiable colour.
  • Four lipsticks (Nars, YSL, Rimmel, Revlon): Because that is a legitimate number of lipsticks to keep on your person. To be fair, that includes a dark red, a bright red, a pink red and an orange red. I am your go to gal in a lipstick emergency. Those happen all the time of course.
  • Nails Inc. basecoat, Essie Mojito Madness: For doing my nails on the go. This is the perfect green btw.
  • Clarityn, tampons, a chip fork, chewing gum: Sure. Spot the odd one out.
  • Two books (The Known World, The Omnivore's Dilemma): The Known World looks at black slave ownership in the American South and is wonderful and difficult and very interestingly written. The Omnivore's Dilemma is, unsurprisingly, non-fiction about food and eating and I've only just started it but I have been meaning to read it for years and I've heard many good things. Will try and get round to doing a review of both when I have finished them. I always like to have a fiction book on the go so when I read non-fiction that means two books. Also, I'm always very concerned about running out of reading material when I am out of the house. That is a terrifying thought. I'm just going to lay this out there - I don't understand people who don't carry reading material of some description about with them. How? What? I'm baffled.
  • Bling earrings (H&M): Probably taken off during a night off and dropped into the recesses of my bag.
  • WESC x RZA headphones: These were a leaving present from my last job and I love them so much. They are my first foray into properly expensive headphones and it is going to be really hard to go back when they inevitably die. They're comfy, the sound is amazing, the block out all the awful people on the tube...
  • iPod classic, iPod shuffle, spare headphones: My fear of running out of music doesn't run quite as deep as my fear of running out of books but it is still very much present. My proper iPod is just about dead (the battery life is maybe two hours, there is a black line across the screen, you have to hold the headphone connection to get sound out of both ears) but the iPod shuffle (another gift) isn't quite enough. It was great on holiday but 2GB is not enough storage long term. I want to listen to whole albums and podcasts and to be able to choose what I listen to. Still, good as a back up/if you just want some misc sound-tracking.
  • Disposable camera: No explanation necessary.
  • Many packets of paracetamol/ibuprofen: I rarely take painkillers but what if I was to need them??
  • Real glasses (London Retro), sunglasses (Rayban XL Wayfarers for my big face).
Also generally found in my bag: my Dopper waterbottle which looks much less swish than the website would imply but I love nonetheless, some kind of jumper/scarf, my iPad and/or a magazine because WHAT IF I RUN OUT OF READING MATERIAL!?

Rarely found in my bag, to my general irritation: kirby grips (where are they when you need them?), nail files (ditto), an umbrella because I compulsively lose them.

What we have learnt today: I am very neurotic and clearly have some kind of hoarding problem. Possibly the glorious weight distribution of a backpack indulges this too much. Also, you can never have enough reading material. Ever. Ever ever.

So what is in your bag? Are you this weird? Can you carry the minimum instead of the maximum? How do you do that? Will you show me pictures? Fair warning: if I meet you in real life I will probably rummage through your handbag without asking permission. I appreciate that this is a very unattractive habit but I do it almost unconsciously and it is super fun. That's probably not an excuse...

Chuck x

Friday, September 6, 2013


Photographer: Misha Taylor
Model: Anais Pouliot
Stylist: Stefanie Miano
Hair: Kazuko Kitaoka
Makeup: Akiko Sakamoto

I don't tend to post many editorials here because, you know, other sites can do that infinitely better and what do I have to add besides 'oooooh'? But sometimes I just really want to go 'ooooh'. I mean look at this. Ooooh! I am a little bit (a lot) in love with Anais at the moment and this is an especially lovely shoot. Her face. The idiosyncratic beauty of it all. I think you need that slight strangeness to elevate prettiness into something incandescent. Great brows, gorgeous photographs, dark brooding mood. Perfection. I basically want to lick it.

That is all.

Chuck x

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

On My Face

  • Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser: I know some people don't like the rosemary and eucalyptus but I love how this cleanser smells and my skin loves cleansing balms. All water based and foaming cleansers leave my skin feeling painful and tight and I never feel like cream/milk cleansers actually get my face clean. 
  • L'Oréal Skin Perfection Purifying Micellar Solution: I like to take my makeup off before I cleanse because a) my foundation trashes flannels/muslin clothes, b) I want to clean my skin as well as remove my makeup and I have yet to find a single step that successfully does both. This is just as good as Bioderma Crealine and less than a third of the price (currently on offer at Boots, £3.33).
  • Avène Hydrance Optimale Riche: This is relatively new to me but I'm enjoying the gentle and light but nourishing moisturising cream first thing in the morning. It is pleasant and unobtrusive and it doesn't seem to be upsetting my sensitive skin.
  • Botanics Organic Facial Oil: I have just finished a bottle of this and I'm considering re-buying it. That is a big deal for me since I've normally got my eye open for newer, better skincare. I'm not under any impression that this is the best facial oil on the market but it smells great and is pleasant to use and the price is unbeatable (£9.99!). This is too oily for me to use for day but my skin slurps it up in the evening and I think facial oils generally help with my skin texture.
Things I have my eye on: Emma Hardie's Cleansing Balm (I will be buying this when I finish my Liz Earle), Indeed Labs Hydraluron Moisture Booster, an exfoliating toner (maybe the Clarins one?), a rich moisturising/repairing oil or serum for night time (any ideas? I'm hearing lots of good things about Origins at the moment).

I am very interested in skincare, mostly cos I've got crappy skin. I have the worst case scenario of horribly dry skin and nasty spots. It sucks. I spent a lot of my adolescence using aggressive, drying acne products that did nothing for me except make my entire face flake off. I've since come to the conclusion that topical treatments have little or no effect on my spots, antibiotics don't work and aren't good for you and I'm unwilling to inflict Roaccutane on myself. My best case scenario is to keep my skin otherwise healthy and well moisturised and then just rock my mad foundation and concealer skills on a suitably prepared base. That is an uphill battle though since my skin is so dry and sensitive. I have yet to find any products that completely, successfully moisturise my skin but I am trying...

I could talk/read about skincare all day. I love expert and user recommendations. Do you have any favourite products, processes or sources? Caroline Hirons is obviously amazing but who else? What should I buy next? What is going to change my skin/life? (I'm all about research but I'm also totally a sucker for hope!).

Chuck x