Monday, 17 December 2012

Links a la Mode

Well, how lovely to be chosen for this week's round-up! This is a great selection of posts and one which I am incredibly happy to be a part of. Even if you only have a few minutes, why not pick one at random and have a read? They're all worth a look!

Strictly Fashion

Edited By Taylor Davies This week’s round up is seriously savvy. From pre-fall collections to runway shows, the submissions you all contributed this week were highly high-fashion-focused. And you know what? I love it. Last week we delved into some deep topics, and it’s nice to change things up with some thoughtful consideration of clothes and designers as well, don’t you think? Whether you want to know how to style this year’s Pantone color of the year (emerald green) or a little about the life and times of Diana Vreeland, you’ll get your fix from this week’s round up.


    SPONSOR: Arrivals: Jason Wu, Samudra, Ipanema, Versace Handbags, Salvatore Flats, Else, Peixoto, PilyQ, L’Wren Scott , Designer Sales If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE where you see “Links a la mode next week’s date (official)". The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode widget on the right side of the blog, and will be published later today. ~ Jennine

Friday, 7 December 2012

Things I have to explain to people who aren't into fashion

Fellow fashionistas, lend me your diamond-bearing ears! Do you ever feel like you're speaking a different language to those around you? Are you ever frustrated by your friend's lack of excitement over the latest high-street/designer collaboration? Or have you ever stepped back a moment from the world of fashion and found that, yes, this stuff actually is really weird? No wonder nobody understands us half the time.

As for you, friends, family, people who I tried to tell something funny about Valentino last night but then gave up after you asked 'Who's Valentino?', maybe you'll learn a thing or two from this post. If not... well you'll still have to put up with me talking in fashion language half the time, so you may as well know what I'm on about. I know that most of this stuff is pretty odd from the outside, but shed your fashion-muggle status for a moment and enjoy the weirdness.

Why I'm lugging around a magazine the size of a paving-slab
It took me a while to track down this years US Vogue September issue. In the process, I collected both the British and French editions just in case I couldn't get my hands on the American one, but as it turns out I did find it... during an English Literature trip to Stratford-upon-Avon. After I had my tall friend Imogen reach the inconveniently high spot where it had been placed, I was forced to carry it around the High Street, take it with me to an acting workshop, and have it with me as we went in to see The Tempest. The most common question I met long the way from my classmates was: "Why is that magazine so massive?!" to which I would petulantly answer "because it's the September Issue!" and subsequently be met with blank faces, as this clearly offered no explanation.

I ended up quoting Candy Pratts Price in The September Issue as I tried to enlighten them: "September is the January in fashion." It's when all the Autumn/Winter collections are shown and analysed so that we all know what we'll be wearing during the colder months. When asked why this meant it was only the September issue which was enormous and not, say, the March issue too for Spring/Summer (which it sometimes is, but not quite so big), I realised I didn't know the answer. I guessed and said it was because Winter clothes are heavier than Summer ones. Which I'm sure makes total sense...

Who Anna Wintour is
To be fair, I didn't really know who she was for quite a while, but give me a break, I was 13. It's odd how there are certain people who are only famous within a particular sphere, and then relatively unknown outside of it. The problem is, when trying to describe her role and status, you can't just say 'Editor-in-chief of US Vogue because that doesn't quite cover the extent of her role in the fashion world. It's therefore almost inevitable that you have to refer Miranda Priestley of Devil Wears Prada. Yes, there are parallels between them, but I'm pretty sure Anna's never demanded to be flown home from Florida during a hurricane or requested an unpublished manuscript of the last Harry Potter book. That I know of.

How to pronounce Louboutin/Balenciaga/Proenza Schouler
Although to be honest I'm sure I've mispronounced several of these in my time and it's only through watching interviews and documentaries that I actually learned how to say them. The problem is that when you're not properly in the fashion industry, you only ever see these names written down. This actually a serious problem; has anyone ever created a phonetic fashion dictionary? If not then somebody should.

Why thousands of people will follow some guy who takes pictures of people on the street
Street style is still a relatively new thing, and there are still several people who don't quite get it. To be fair, this is probably because they have the impression that the fashion industry always revolves around the designer shows and what they display, but it's not really like that any more. The inspiration for these designs doesn't just come from thin air (though in the case of Valentino, it does sometimes come from dreams) it emerges from what people are thinking, doing and wearing at the time. Equally, a lot of things we see on the runway aren't exactly wearable in everyday life, so it's often useful to have some stylish person on the streets interpret the trends in a way that seems reasonable. That's why Street Peeper and The Sartorialist and many others have such a huge following.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Links a la Mode

Holiday Carousel

  Edited by: Jess of Fresh Jess Season’s Greetings! Around & around we go in a frenzy of holiday parties, gift shopping and spending time with loved ones. The holidays are in full swing, and yet, this week’s Links a La Mode featured bloggers have managed to stay stylish through it all. Each month, I’m more and more impressed at the thoughtful perspective shared in your blog posts. Whatever it is that you’re passionate about, you’re all doing an amazing job in channeling that passion and bringing it to the forefront in your posts. Shine on! Enjoy the vibrant colors, beautiful sights and wonderful tastes of the season as you read through this week’s picks.  


SPONSOR: Shopbop Promo Code: Joomi Lim, Uintah, Penfield, Joie Shoes, L’Agence, Marie Turnor, Yigal Azrouel, Sandy Hyun, Melissa & Tibi Shoes If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE where you see “Links a la mode next week’s date (official)." The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode widget on the right side of the blog, and will be published later today. ~ Jennine

Well this is a lovely round-up isn't it? I'm once again honoured to be included amongst such good company. Don't forget to check out these great posts. I think my personal favourite has to be Fear No Beauty's Behind the Scenes of a Great Gatsby Photoshoot.

Monday, 26 November 2012

7 gifts which aren't objects

This week's IFB Project is to make a gift guide which stands out. I thought for a while about what I could do to make something different, and eventually came up with this: things which you can't exactly wrap up and hand over, but which make great gifts nonetheless. Some of these work as gifts on their own and others work in tandem with physical objects which you can make part of the experience. It's also a mix of ones which will cost you absolutely nothing or very little and ones which will probably be more expensive than a traditional gift.

1. Promise them a romantic home-cooked dinner
Obviously this can be one for your other half, but you don't have to be romantically involved with someone to enjoy a candle-lit dinner for two. They are a great way to catch up without any of the stress of finding a table at a restaurant and with the extra comfort of cooking your own food. Even if you're not an expert chef, there are so many simple recipes out there - I find Italian food to be particularly simple and delicious.

2. Write them a song, poem or short story
Unleash your creativity! Admittedly this is more of a one for the writers/musicians amongst us, and if you fit that description then go for it. But bear in mind: I didn't say it had to be a good song, poem or short story. It's the thought that counts right?

3. Take them on a tour of the area
Works especially well for friends visiting from somewhere else over the holidays, but I do think it's always possible to put a new twist on places you've both been countless times. Perhaps seek out the nicest architecture, or explore those side-streets you never really go down. If you live somewhere with an interesting literary history, you could take them on a tour of the literary sites then gift them a book at the end. In Winchester, where I live, there's even a website about the city's literary links, which is helpful!

4. Book tickets to their favourite play/a play with their favourite actor in
It doesn't have to take place around Christmas, in fact it could be months away, but they will be thankful for it and perhaps even enjoy the anticipation. The point is, an experience they won't forget is worth so much more than most physical gifts. Just make sure you reserve the date in their diary well ahead of schedule.

5. Buy them a web address
Know someone who has recently started a blog? Think that it has the potential to become somewhat of a success? Buying somone their own URL is simple to do but is a really thoughtful gesture.
P.S. Thanks Matt

6. Offer free use of your special skill
Web design, rigging electricals, styling, painting, fixing bikes, whatever you do, just offer to do it for free. It could be anything really, though preferably something that you wouldn't just do for them anyway because that's not much of a gift. This is a particularly good one for helping out people who have just moved into a new home, got a new job, had a baby etc. as it helps take some pressure off them.

7. Dedicate a blog post to them
This post is for Holly <3

Friday, 23 November 2012

Passion in Fashion

Alexi Lubomirski for Harper's Bazaar

Forgive the long preamble: I'm studying The House of Bernarda Alba (or La Casa de Bernarda Alba in its original form) by Frederico Garcia Lorca at the moment - it's a play centering around a mother and her five unmarried daughters in a claustrophobic Spanish town. It's known as 'a tragedy of the women of Spain', in which the women are oppressed by the patriarchal society. This is represented buy the fact that these women are kept contained inside their mother's house, all of them dressed in black against the white background, making everything strikingly monochromatic. As soon as any of them try to break out from this, for instance when the youngest sister wears a green dress, the others inform on her or enforce the tyranny of the household. While the play was written prior to the Spanish civil war, there are certainly strong indications that this was a statement about the oppression of the fascist movement. However, I think that by using the green dress as a symbol of rebellion and freedom, Lorca was referencing a universal idea. Controlling what people wear is often a symbol for the control of all their other rights to do, think, and say as they please.

Photo by me
What I'm trying to say here is that in both fiction and reality, being told what to wear is a form of control - after all, what are school uniforms for? So when we have the opportunity to break free of these constraints, should we not take full advantage of that chance? I for one think that since we live in a free society, it makes sense to dress as passionately and individually as we think.  I'm not saying we should do a Dello Russo and wear the craziest creations and colours we can find, I just think that if you follow all trends with no thought to how much you actually like the look, you won't be passionate about what you're wearing, and that's kind of sad.

Anna Dello Russo
A while back, I was in Australia feeling homesick and powerless as the London riots were happening back home. I did the only thing I could, and used this blog as a platform for my thoughts. I couldn't understand why people were tearing apart their own city in an act of rebellion without a cause, when there are so many more effective and less destructive ways of protesting. And one of these is through fashion. So that's one way to put passion into what you're wearing; support a cause you believe in. Personally, I'm after a No More Page 3 T-shirt right now, because that's something I feel strongly about.

Photo from the No More Page 3 Tumblr
But what I'm really saying here is that the ways you can express yourself through fashion are endless. You can use it to reference your favourite TV shows, books and films using anything from charms subtly inspired by the stories to all-out fan T-shirts. You can reflect your mood by wearing bright colours when you're feeling good, or even  use it to improve your mood by dressing fabulously when you're having a bad day. Practicality always comes into outfits, but if you know what kind of clothes you love, you can make choices of raincoats, sunhats, flat shoes etc. that don't compromise the excitement you feel about getting dressed.

Of course, for those of us with a limited income, it can often feel like it's easy to get excited about those gorgeous, unattainable items which we can never afford, while things within our price-range tend to be a bit boring. Well, if that's the way you feel, try going a while without buying anything new. I haven't been purchasing much lately, and I think it's actually helped me to feel excited about even the most basic new piece. I think there is a major problem with our consumerist society in that we are so used to having new things that the excitement wears off and it's difficult to stay passionate about any new clothes for a long time, leading us to just buy more and more. Going cold turkey for a month or so is a great way to rediscover the pure and simple joy of buying something special. Plus, you'll have saved a load of money so might be able to invest in something you've been lusting after for ages - much better than a quick fix of whatever's on sale!

Save up for an investment piece instead of just buying anything - form The Coveteur

That's all for now. Just remember: fashion is about enjoying yourself and being enthusiastic about what you're wearing. If you're just following the lead of a fashion trend you're not really that into, then surely the way you wear your clothes will be different, because people will be able to tell that you aren't confident in your style. Have fun and stay passionate about fashion!
David Dunan for Blanco

Friday, 16 November 2012

Links a la Mode

Color Stories

  Edited By: Taylor Davies Aubergine. Oceanic blue. Wedding White. For this week’s Links a la Mode round up, I focused on posts that drew inspiration or centered around color. Whether it was styling up a range of colorful pants or looking at the rise of black and white dressing, there were so many creative and cool blog posts centering on color. Take a look, get inspired and taste the rainbow!


  SPONSOR: Shopbop 40% Sale: FreePeople, Tsovet, DKNY, Watches, T-bags, Hatch, Yogawear, Sneakers, Bras & Stockings If you would like to submit your link for next week’s Links à la Mode, please register first, then post your links HERE where you see “Links a la mode next week’s date (official). The HTML code for this week will be found in the Links a la Mode widget on the right side of the blog, and will be published later today. ~ Jennine

Fashion Moriarty: Woop! I think this is my 4th time in LALM but the excitement is just the same every time. As you may have noticed I've been having trouble blogging regularly recently so hopefully this will motivate me to get my act together and start posting properly again. Congrats to everyone else who made it! I'm looking forward to checking out all of your posts.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Recurring Images: The Sea

Chris Nicholls Photography

What is it about the ocean that enthralls us? Is it the fact that we know less about it than we do about the dark side of our moon? Is it the way it is associated with a passage to a new life? Is it simply the appearance of this sparkling blue expanse which so captivates the imaginations of writers, artists, designers and musicians alike?

As with my first post about recurring image of birds, this piece will attempt to track the motifs and symbols which are associated with the sea through selected books, songs and fashion designs. I thought I might start with a few lines from one of my favourite songs:

When these sails go up
Mountains fade away
Stars come out
I'm finally free
It's only the ocean and me
In these lyrics, Jack mentions two major themes which are often associated with the sea: liberty and solitude. Perhaps the connection with freedom stems from a history of people leaving their current lives by boat and making new ones for themselves across the water. Or maybe it's because that view of the distant horizon when you're looking at miles of sea just speaks of hope and possibility.

But when you compare that to the idea solitude, they couldn't be more different. By seeing the sea as a chance to gain freedom, it becomes something which is completely uninhibited, whereas images of the sea creating solitude revolve around the water being a constricting force. In Mrs Dalloway, mentally unstable Septimus feels cut off from the world around him "like a drowned sailor on a rock". He has experienced shell shock in the First World War, and he sees this experience as a kind of death. "I went under the sea. I have been dead, and yet am now alive". It is interesting that he imagines the experience which has isolated him from other people as going "under the sea." In this case, the sea is not the salvation of someone longing for freedom, it is instead associated with the confines of death. Virginia Woolf seemed to be fascinated by the image of the ocean and it recurs in many of her other works, in paritcular To The Lighthouse and The Waves. It comes to mean many things in her fiction, but my favourite is in To The Lightouse, when the tidal movement of the water is associated with the awakening of new ideas: "It was as if the water floated off and set sailing thoughts which had grown stagnant on dry land, and gave to their bodies even some physical relief."

Folio Society edition of To The Lighthouse

Going back to Ancient times, the sea was often associated with Aphrodite or Venus because she was born from the sea foam, so perhaps we could also see the ocean as a symbol of love or desire. Several writers have made this connection. The Spanish poet and playwright Frederico Garcia Lorca litters his play The House of Bernarda Alba with images of water which represent desire.

But what has all this to do with fashion? Well, as with all art, fashion has striven to recreate the image of the natural world in countless forms. The references can range from a subtle pearl accessory to a flowing blue and silver gown. It is the ocean's mystical quality which makes it a perfect inspiration for a show-stopping evening dress, but its familiarity which lends it an air of the everyday.

Mary Katrantzou S/S 2012
Spring/Summer 2012 was a particularly good season for sea-inspired pieces. The catwalks overflowed with blues, silvers and seashell motifs. Mary Katrantzou's collection was an explosive tribute to nature, including dresses printed with colourful seabed scenes (see above). But her work went beyond a simple imitation of nature; she explored the way that patterns recur in nature and how this also happens in the mass production of clothing. I like how she has crossed the ideas of something so eternal as the sea with some very modern issues in the fashion industry.

The oceanographic triumph of the season though had to be Karl Lagerfeld's underwater world for Chanel. The show itself took place on a sea-shell landscape and the collection was littered with pearl accessories, foamy white creations, silky blue waves and shell motifs. The show also featured Florence Welch appearing from a shell in a kind of Venus de Milo way, bringing in those Ancient mythological themes in again, but the minimalist white of the rest of the show kept things from getting overly-archetypal. But I thought that the greatest achievement of the collection was to make it recognisably Chanel (with boxy jackets, drop-waist silhouettes and lashings of pearls) without sacrificing any of the creative vision in the process.

Chanel S/S 2012
So what have we learned? The sea is one of the oldest things imaginable, but it is also a conveyor of new ideas. It represents solitude, freedom, journeys and love. It can be a dramatic or a subtle image. Perhaps we'll never know everything about the sea, but that doesn't stop us from seeking to recreate it with words, with songs, with fabric.

Friday, 5 October 2012

I Want It! IOU Apple Necklace

It is no secret that I am somewhat of a Sherlockian (for those who don't know, that means I'm obsessed with Sherlock, the BBC's update on the classic Conan Doyle stories) hence the name of this blog. If you've read my post 4 Reason why Moriarty is better than Sherlock (Sartorially), which is in fact my most viewed post ever, then you may also know that I have somewhat of a preference for Jim Moriarty's style, despite him being an evil villain.

This awesome necklace comes in two different sizes, though personally I prefer the smaller one. It is a reference to the scene when Moriarty visits Sherlock after the trial and carves the message 'IOU' into an apple while they drink tea. It is one of my favourite scenes in the whole show so far, and the best thing about this necklace is that only people who have also seen it will know what it means. But then even if they haven't, it's still a lovely little necklace. I think I have a nail varnish shade which would match it almost exactly if I felt like going co-ordinated.

And of course, there is the possibility that owning something like this will prevent me from going mad waiting for Series 3. Actually, I think it might be too late for that...

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Film Review: Anna Karenina

What's it about?

Adapted by Tom Stoppard from the novel by Leo Tolstoy, this film tells the story of an aristocratic woman of 19th Century Russia who embarks on an affair with a young count. Don't worry if you have never read the book, since I haven't either, and I promise not to spoil the ending for you in this review.

Was it any good?

Let's just say that from the first few notes of the score and the first couple of minutes i knew I was going to love this film. You may or may not have heard that the vast majority of it was shot in an old theatre, which keeps the action enclosed but also opens it up to the best tricks of the trade from both stage and film. This makes for a piece which is stunning both visually and atmospherically. Joe Wright has done an excellent job directing it and the whole film felt like a dance; even when removing their hats and coats, the characters seem to move with balletic elegance. The scene changes were flowing and interesting, which meant that despite the running time of just over two hours I was hooked the whole way through. I really felt like I was in pre-revolutionary Russia, which I think was achieved by a combination of direction, props and Dario Marianelli's fantastic music.

The casting was, I felt, excellent but not overly predictable. It would be easy to throw in a combination of international stars and old guard British actors, but several of the parts were rather interesting choices. In particular, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who I mainly know as the would-be superhero lead in Kick Ass, was a fantastic Count Vronsky. I especially liked his scene with Jude Law, who played Anna's husband, in which both actors showed a different side to their characters. Also a special mention to Alicia Vikander who made for a beautiful and likable Kitty. Apparently Saoirse Ronan was offered the part but turned it down, and in some ways I'm glad she did, because I can't imagine anyone but Alicia in the part.

Now, let's talk about Keira Knightley. Having never read the book, I don't feel like I'm a suitable authority to tell you whether she was a good Anna or not. However, I do feel that a lot of people go into her films with fairly closed minds, simply because she has been so successful. It's always a heavy charge to play a much-loved literary character, but I think if you can pull off playing Elizabeth Bennet without offending too many Austenites then you should be able to handle other hefty roles. in my personal opinion Keira did a brilliant job. She's the right age for the part (at the beginning anyway, it does span a few years though) and she works well with everyone else in the cast, especially the two playing her husband and her lover. In my eyes she was a perfect Anna, certainly for this adaptation. It would be interesting to know how someone who has read the book feels about her performance.

But what about the clothes?

One word: WOW. I mentioned earlier that all of the props and visuals were perfect. That definitely includes the costumes. I can see a lot of awards coming this film's way in terms of art direction and costume design. In many ways, Joe Wright has assembled the old team for this, since he has Keira Knightley in the lead role and Dario Marianelli doing the music, both of whom worked on Pride and Prejudice an Atonement with him. The same is true of the costume-designer Jacqueline Durran, who was nominated for an Oscar in both cases. Will this prove to be her third-time-lucky and earn her that Oscar win? I certainly think she deserves an award or ten.

The thing about period dramas and classic adaptations is that you can have all sorts of fun with the costumes, as long as they evoke the era. Again, the fur coats and kid gloves added to the feel of a cold Russian setting, and the opulence of the ballgowns and jewels brought the high society to life.

Some of my personal favourites included Aaron Taylor-Johnson's white military uniform, which I must say he looked extremely handsome in. There was also a lot of symbolism using colour, with Anna mainly wearing dark red or black to portray her as the fallen woman, while innocent Kitty was almost always in light blue or white. The only exception to this was a beautiful scene between Anna and Count Vronsky, in which both are wearing all white. I loved the contrast between the pure visuals and their dialogue about her being a damned woman for breaking her marriage vows.

Nothing adds to a scene of distress in a film like a huge dress to sink down onto the marble floor in is there? It's something I've noticed before in films like Marie Antoinette and The Duchess. There's just something so gratifying about seeing expensive clothes being treated like an old pair of jeans...

No images are mine and all are probably property of the filmmakers. Some images lovingly borrowed from I Capture the Period Pieces

Friday, 21 September 2012

Shopping in Paris

As I may have mentioned already, I went to Paris recently. While I didn't actually buy much there (I got a top and a pair of sunglasses while we were in Chamonix, but nothing in Paris) I did enjoy a little bit of window-shopping and wondering around the best places to buy everything from cheap but cute souvenir necklaces to top designer brands. These are just a few pictures from my adventure in one of the world's fashion capitals.

Coco Chanel in pendant form surveys the competition on Rue du Faubourg St Honore, one of Paris' best place for designer for shopping. I love her pose. It seems like she's unimpressed with al the other brands on the street.

The stunning ceiling (above) and a view of the make-up counters (below) in Galeries Lafayette. I do love a good department store, since they have all the variety of a shopping centre but something more of a personal air about them. That's made all the better when the shopping experience is in a gorgeous setting like this.

In Paris, the window displays can be outrageous, simplistic or just weird. The best ones I saw though had to be at Lanvin. Typically crazy and beautiful at the same time, they combined a series of child-sized mannequins wreaking havoc in what appeared to be a pre-revolutionary setting. I love how it struck just the right balance between opulence and fun.

And what better way to take a break from all that shopping than by stopping for a macaroon at Laduree? I wanted to bring back a box or two for friends but was petrified that they would be squashed on the Eurostar, so just gazed in awe through the window.

Friday, 7 September 2012

What's In My Bag? Sightseeing in Paris

I spent a few days in Paris recently (more posts about that to follow soon) for the first time since i was about 10. Needless to say, I've become far more aware of fashion since then. Paris now seems like that cool older cousin who you want to be like, or failing that, want to be liked by, but you know they're just too chic for you. Nevertheless, I did my best to keep up with the beat, and with my trusty Lanvin for H&M shopper bag, I think I managed to hold on my own.

Canvas bag - Unfortunately I don't live near enough to any of the H&M branches which stocked the Lanvin stuff when it came out, but I did manage to nab this (rather cheap) shopping bag which has proved to be extremely useful. It also helped me to feel a little more at home amongst the designer-clad shoppers on Rue St Honore.

Pains au lait- because while there is always the chance to stop at a cafe or patisserie, wandering the bridges of the Seine is demanding work. I maintain that it's always an idea to carry a snack for impromptu picnics the Jardin de Tuillerie. They're also less messy than croissant (seriously, how on earth do French women ever manage to eat croissants in a way that's even vaguely elegant?)

Notebook and pen - I've been writing a story set in 1920s Paris recently, and it was a great help to actually see some of the places which I've made a central part of the plot, especially since I've only seen them on Google street view before. I also think that there is nothing better than sitting outside a cafe with an espresso and writing stories as the world goes by.

Sunglasses - I stupidly forgot to bring any sunglasses to France, which made it necessary to buy these while we were in Chamonix. I like that they are completely mirrored (it means I can marvel at people's outfits without them thinking I'm being creepy) and also slightly larger than the normal wayfarer style. They're perfect for early morning runs to the boulangerie when your eyes still show all the symptoms of tiredness.

September issue of Paris Vogue - I'm trying to collect the September issues of Britsh, French and American Vogue (I have the first two, just waiting for WHSmith to get the US one in). I'll be doing another Septmember review this year hopefully, but I'll just say for now that I love the noir theme of this issue. I got the Kate Moss cover, but there are two others featuring Lara Stone and Daria Werbowy, all wearing the same beautiful Dolce and Gabbana dress.

More photos from Paris to follow soon!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

I'm off to France

Picture by Andy Key

Spending a few days in France before the end of summer, including some time in Paris. I plan on spending most of the time skipping around in a pink dress and singing 'Moi je joue' whilst buying flowers and eating tartes aux fraises.

Normal blogging will hopefully resume when I get back. I have no excuse for my lack of updates recently other than that i appear to be writing a novel and it's very distracting.

Au revoir! x

Friday, 24 August 2012

I Want It! People Tree Cycling Mini Dress

The Olympics may be over, but its legacy still lives on throughout the UK, and hopefully the rest of the world too. It has been a lovely two weeks, with a universal sense of camaraderie spreading throughout the nation, and I'm rather sad that it's now all over. that's why I went hunting for something to remember it by, and since I wasn't that keen on the official merchandise, I had to find something a little more individual.

I like this mini dress because it's really casual - I can imagine maybe wearing it with a pair of shorts while I cycle from place to place. But you could also wress it up a little for a party. It's also recognisably got a reference to the Olympics on it, but it's not too obvious, so you can just enjoy the excellent design.

And finally, as the icing on the cake, it is from People Tree (currently £28) so has been fairly traded and the cotton is organic. Fantastic.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Olympic Spirit in Winchester

The Olympic torch has already passed through, but Winchester is still getting excited for the Olympics. The whole city is covered in multi-coloured bunting and every shop window you look in has something either sport-related or a patriotic red white and blue colour scheme. 

Montezumas has this medal-themed display. Even a chocolate shop is joining in with the sporting mood!

Creative Crafts, the local place to go for paints, paper and all other art equipment, has made this fantastic window display. It depicts several Olympic sports as enacted by mini-mannequins, using only things which are available to buy in the shop. It's so clever and very cute.

You can play ping-pong (or should I say wiff-waff?) for free in the cathedral grounds. Apparently there are more tables all over the UK. What a great idea!

Around Winchester, we have several bollards painted with various patterns and designs and this is one of the latest additions - an Olympic themed bollard

The avenue of trees leading down to the cathedral looks lovely all the time, but particularly with this colourful bunting strung through it and the sun shining down.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Things I have learnt from Mean Girls

(By the way, if you haven't seen the movie you will not understand this post AT ALL. I recommend you avoid it)

If you're trying to lose weight, stay away from Kalteen bars

You will often encounter people in your life who you simultaneously hate and want to like you.

Halloween is the one night a year when girls can dress like a total slut and no other girls can say anything about it.

People don't have to be nice for you to make friends with them.

Saying 'fetch' is never going to catch on.

Don't have sex, because you will get pregnant and die!

If the limit never approaches anything, the limit does not exist.

Ex-boyfriends are just off limits to friends. I mean that's just like the rules of feminism. 

Joining the Mathletes is social suicide.

On the third day, God created the Remington bolt-action rifle, so that Man could fight the dinosaurs. And the homosexuals. 

Everyone in Africa knows Swedish.

It will always be awkward to meet a teacher outside of school. Especially if they try and make a joke 

Why say either great or cool, when you can say Grool?

When your friends says they want to lose three pounds, you're supposed to say "Omigod, you're so skinny!"

Glenn Coco is a very popular guy.

Some movies are just quotable in ANY situation

Calling somebody else fat won't make you any skinnier. Calling someone stupid doesn't make you any smarter. All you can do in life is try to solve the problem in front of you.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

American style in British culture

I made this collage ages ago when I'd just started blogging and I thought it would be appropriate to share it again today. When I made it I was going through a phase of being really into Americana. Seriously, I still have the star-print dress and baseball jacket to prove it. Anyway, it got me thinking: how do girls like me living in the heart of Hampshire - with a passion for reading Jane Austen and love of hosting tea parties - end up falling hopelessly in love with that strange collection of states across the water? Well, allow me to explain...

It's seductive
You only have to look at any Levi's campaign to see why we Brits might get the impression that America is land of the free, home of the sexy. Something about the imagery which spills out of the US fashion industry coincides with that image of young and carefree people wearing what they like because they can. It isn't just the advertising: film, music and books about High School love stories, they all tell us that the USA is the place to be for teenagers. Even though Britain's own youth culture is thriving, we'll never shake the image of the fuddy-duddy Lord Granthams of the country. We have such a rich heritage, which is great. But America... it's young and exciting.

It's all about the dream
I've been reading quite a lot of American fiction recently: Tom Perotta, John Burnham Schwartz and Jack Kerouac mainly. While they can be skeptical or dismissive of it, there is one idea which holds all their writings together - the American Dream. James Truslow Adams defines this as the belief that "life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement". This is a pretty good summary, but I think that the concept can have no fixed definition. It will keep changing as time moves on. We might have a lot of political and philosophical ideas in the UK, but there is nothing quite like The American Dream. Its promise of a better life seems to shine enticingly and draws us in (those of us who are young and naive enough anyway, and that's definitely me).

It's just BIG

Geographically, population-wise, economically, politically, the USA is just overwhelmingly much larger than dear old England. The potential which that entails is like a siren-call to people who want to make a name for themselves, be that in performing, writing, studying or in fashion. There just seem to be so many opportunities out there to get your star on the sidewalk. When the furthest you can go without falling into the sea is John O'Groats to Land's End, the sheer size of America will always be a cause of wonder to us young Brits. The simultaneous desires to both fit in and be noticed are both well-served by the vastness of an enormous country.

We all want what we can't have

Let's face it, half of the reasons I've cited are traits also apparent in British culture e.g. dressing as we please? I direct you to the punk movement. But the problem is, we all grow accustomed to the places in which we grow up. It's not that we don't appreciate all the things and places which the UK has to offer, it's just that... they're attainable. For some reason, the human mind values those things which are just out of our grasp, and in this case, it's about 3472 miles out of our grasp.