Tuesday, 31 March 2009

C & A: a Long Lost Love

When you were in your ‘tweens’ where did you go for disco-wear? I lived in Belgium at this time and the best clobber was to be found in the Clockhouse section of C & A. Back and back I went, finding something great every time-fluro green polo shirt? Found it there. In retrospect a most risqué crop top? Clockhouse!

I was damn near distraught when it closed, comforted only when I moved to Blighty and found places such as Tammy Girl and Miss Selfridge. I sought solace in the tack racks but I could never quite dislodge the memory of the wonder of C & A or, as my dear Nan used to call it, ‘Coats and ‘Ats.’ Imagine my pleasure and surprise to find a branch opposite our hotel in Barcelona! Hungover to hell, we stumbled across the road to have a look. A decade on, I could still find some great pieces: I bought a pair of white leather loafers for 30 Euros (Alexa Chung chic) and a load of great jewellery too. Okay so I may have looked a little strange in some of the Clockhouse bits but the shoes and accessories were great.

My lovely (thin like a tween) friend Nicola found a whole Coats and ‘Ats outfit: a fab little casual rock-chick T-shirt and a pair of well-fitting jeans. I had to take the loafers back in the end (I remembered that I was not quite as cool as Alexa and cannot, therefore carry off an ugly shoe with ‘nerd-chic’ aplomb!) but I loved my butterfly earrings! Bring it back, bring it back! Pics below:

The loot

Butterfly earrings for less than 5 quid!

Nicola's C&A chic

Monday, 30 March 2009

Snapshots From Barcelona

Hola! Back now-Barcelona was such a wonderful city-there was so much to see and do. I was seriously aided by my Wallpaper City Guide (seriously, they are only £4.95 and each city is a different colour-Barcelona was hot pink!) which had so many stylish suggestions for things to see and do. It saved our bacon on a number of occasions.

I had intended to do some 'street style' type posts but was rather uninspired with what kids were wearing on the street-a problem for a 'street style' feature, obviously.
Perhaps it was the strange 'middling' weather (neither really hot nor very cold) that they found challenging-obviously Brits are completely adept to this, being used to creatively layering-up for rubbish climes. Either way, everyone I saw kind of dressed the same-perfectly nicely but the same. If anyone has any suggestions of where to find great, wild fashion in Barcelona, I will happily return to stand corrected! Maybe a sort of Barcelona Pony Step? Believe me, I would love to go back there.

Below are some of my favourite 'random spots' from the trip.

Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Leavin' on a Jet Plane for Gaudi-land!

I love packing. I adore the idea that for however long the holiday lasts, one can be truly minimalist, taking only the crème de la crème of their most stylish of things. I am leaving for a four day Barcelona break tomorrow and these are my essentials.

(Top to Bottom) Freya bikini, Morrisons sun cream (seriously, why spend more on something like this?!) a Barry M hot pink mascara, a sexy Freya underwear set, my favourite pair of Viccy B D&G shades (can use the case as an evening clutch), my passport (with leather cover from a shop in Hammersmith), Issima Midnight Secret (8 hours' sleep in a bottle), Mac Studio Fix Fluid foundation (SPF15), Benefit Erase Paste, a red YSL lipstick, my lion bangle from Freedom @ Topshop, Nars eyeliner in 'Istanbul' (glittery lilac), my turquoise Marc Jacobs scarf, Dermalogica Sebum Clearing Mask (amazing for preventing a shiny, oily face in warmer climes) and my beloved Prada LG phone. And my pink Canon Ixus, not pictured as it took this picture!

Happy Holidays, See you next Monday!



A Room With a View

Isn’t it great when a story literally turns up on your door step? I was idly staring out of my Church Street-facing window yesterday where I discovered an impromptu photo shoot taking place-what do we think, are harlequin-style neck tyres the way forward? Certainly statement neckwear whichever way you swing it.

Gloomsbury Bowl

I had really high hopes for the night at Bloomsbury Bowl, Shake, Rattle and Bowl. Any pre-conceptions were of the good variety: trusted friends reported only good things about the 60's themed night. Dressed up to the nines, 60's style, I went to see for myself.

Strike 1? A horrendously dressed, hyper-sensitive door girl with an elevated sense of power. She took an immediate dislike to me after I uttered a muttered profanity questioning the rather high entrance fee (my friends paid 5 pounds I for some reason, was fated to pay seven). "You swore at me" she lied. I replied in the negative only to find her dragging a bemused bouncer to the female-jealousy-laden scene. The poor lad was instructed to "keep an eye on her" on little old me? Believe me, there were people more worthy of watching inside.

Strike 2? In an effort to calm myself after the aforementioned ordeal, it was 'to the bar' for a swift G & T. Unfortunately we were met with a long wait and a further bout of rudeness. The bar wench who eventually served us looked like she had encountered more pleasant things than our small party on the sole of her shoe. I promptly turned away to avoid her steely gaze but sadly found I was firmly stuck to the beer-swilled floor like the most reluctant of bees to honey.

Strike 3? Aggressively being ‘moved on’ whilst attempting to scribble my musings onto the back of a napkin.

Three strikes normally signify 'out': only in bowling can strikes ever be considered favourable. Despite the rudeness encountered I may actually venture back to Shake, Rattle and Bowl, if only for the great 60's music, the Grease-like Americana and to sample the bowling lanes. I'll go earlier next time: perhaps the staff only mutate into evil bitches beyond the witching hour.

Friday, 20 March 2009

Racy Lacy! Outfit Inspiration

Mmm lace. Mmm lace by Givenchy and L'Wren Scott. Wear together-why not chuck in a pair of New Look lacy leggings too. Or Primark-maybe neon ones even. Pair with a neon coral lipstick from Mac. Make it matte with a dusting of powder. Slick back your hair with gel or tie it into a high top knot. That is all.

Tuesday, 17 March 2009

Liz Earle Skincare Book

Fact: the fashion and beauty industry lies to make you buy things you don’t need. I can deal with this but what I can’t stand is when they prey on our insecurities to make us buy things we don’t need. The prime example of this? Skincare products. ‘This cream may reduce signs of ageing’ yes it might, or it may not do sweet fanny adams. We all know that a bit of cream in nice packaging will not make you look noticeably younger. Even the really expensive ones may make you skin glow, make you look a bit healthier but, here’s the thing: no product can actually prevent ageing. Just when I thought I might be on the verge of causing a major scene in the skincare section of Boots, I attended the launch of Liz Earle’s new book, ‘Skin Secrets.’

Liz Earle scoured the globe to find new and exciting botanicals to put into her various creams and cleansers and wrote all about it in her new book. As I received a lovely hand and arm massage, the lovely Tracey explained all about the brand-she said that while Liz Earle understands that no magic potion will prevent aging, it is important to look after your skin and feeding it well from the inside helps (I put down my champagne and gulped the last of my mini chocolate cupcake) exercise also helps (hmm) and using products with natural ingredients will too. Yes, yes but let’s try out the products I was given and see, shall we?

So far I am enjoying the ritual of using Liz’s award-winning Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser. It leaves my skin feeling lovely and soft. The Superskin Concentrate is nice-it contains neroli oil which I like (I used to use the Decleor one before abject poverty took its toll) , it is also for use at night which I really like-minimum effort, maximum outcome. The Superskin Moisturiser is a little rich for my skin (I am but 23 years so don’t really need anything quite so rich) but I think it would work a treat on dry or ageing skin. Its fragrance free which some people might prefer (me, I love a scent or two).

Am I converted? Certainly to the cleanser. Much as I whine, I am still a true product whore and this will probably only get worse as I age and (hopefully) start to earn more cash. Obviously, by the time I reach thirty there will be a miracle cure for ageing and everyone will live forever but until that day comes, good maintenance, a lot of pretty products and a healthy bout of realism constitute my skincare regime.

Liz's book

Lovely arm massages

Olivia and Saz enjoy the yummy drinks and nibbles

Liz with flowers

Didn't know my buddy Alexander was in the book!

And again!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Trend Help

So a friend emailed me saying she needed to know the top 3 fashion trends of this season for an interview - here is my reply: you agree with my response?

Hello darling how are you?! Okay, here we go:

1.Statement necklaces:
the bigger and more elaborate the better. For extra brownie points say you love Marni's geometric drop shapes and the latest Dazed & Confused fashion shoot where the model positively dripped jewellery.

2. Global/tribal: Mixing fashion, prints, colours etc. from all over the world-think African meets eastern meets western fusion in one outfit. Reference fringing, reference mixing patterns of different scales.

3. Harem pants:
Like MC Hammer but mega stylish. Wear with a slick fitted white shirt for day, stilettos and something fitted in the evening. They’re comfortable, super comfortable and beyond accessible. Zara do a great black pair for like 20 quid. They have a tie waist which makes them even better. They make you feel like you are wearing PJs in the day: which makes them awesome.

Remember to say that each of these trends are ‘simply beyond.’ If they ask you for more say ‘safari’ and ‘metallics for day.’ If they ask about details, say ‘Giles Deacon’s scalloping’ God-I loved that. For more inspiration see style.com or vogue.co.uk. Best of luck! xxx

Saturday, 14 March 2009

St. Patrick's Day: Patrick Wolf at Heaven, March 12th

Patrick Wolf has such a magical quality about him that your eye is surprised to see legs in place of half a horse below his lean torso. A true storyteller, I was pleased to hear that his new album holds songs in keeping with the magic of his previous three. Stunning strings supported Patrick’s different musical and vocal efforts.

There were enough costume changes to rival J-Lo, from a spiky jacket at the beginning to the finest leather harness at the end. A slow strip (removing an item per song) showcased each one to perfection. Blonde hair extensions were played with then thrown into the crowd.

The new album ‘The Bachelor’ (set to be released June 1st) is darker and a little rockier. Songs included typically intriguing lyrics (I particularly liked: ‘never the maker, never the master of me’) and the new addition of electric guitar. The upcoming single, ‘Vulture’ was energetic and catchy. The Wolf also played crowd pleasers ‘Magic Position,’ ‘Accident & Emergency’ and the always rousing ‘Tristan.’

Anyone who claims men can’t multi-task is an outright liar: Patrick Wolf played a range of different instruments, sang, danced, engaged the crowd and modelled like a pro the whole way through. The only time he took a bad photo was when the gleaming dome of the man standing in front of me was accidentally captured-and that was my fault!

Tuesday, 10 March 2009

The Collectable Few: Video Shoot

When I heard that The Collectable Few were filming their first music video just up my street I was tempted enough to leave my bed. Quite impressive after about a week's going out on the trot.

The band filmed the video in a creepy old building. They looked and sounded great-after listening to their song for so many takes I thought I would hate it but still don't!

The Collectable Few's debut single, 'Missing Out' will be released at the end of May.


Armed with a bag of beers and my little camera, it was time to see what this filming business was all about:

Alex plays his part

The band's manager Badger looks on

Get that shot

Okay so it got a little boring between scenes! In case anyone was wondering, THIS is what I look like in Ray-Bans!

Emma picks a different tune

Emma being fire-hazard responsible

No jokes about being left on the shelf necessary

Candy works a ruff

It was always going to be a long night!