Monday, 26 December 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope you're all having a blissful break. We're spending Christmas at home in London; eating chocolates, drinking mimosas – the perfect all day tipple – and watching films. (Best film so far, An Affair To Remember; how classy is Deborah Kerr? How strange is that storyline? And how cornball is Cary Grant? Plus he looks as though he's been creosoted.)

Talking of cornball chaps, check out these two. The guy on the right is called Red, and he was the bell captain at The Sands hotel in Vegas; this was their Christmas party in 1958. The guy on the left has got game-on eyes to spare!

Merry Christmas!

(Picture courtesy of the AWESOME roadside pictures.)

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Clinique lid smoothies.

I've been meaning to write about Clinique lid smoothies for, like, ever! (Well, since they came out in November.) I have naturally dry skin so am always attracted to cream formulations for eyes and cheeks, especially in winter months when skin is dry enough without added powders, for that Barbara Cartland effect. There's also a really clever ceramic applicator incorporated in the tube, to cool and soothe the eye as you apply. (Clinique seem to be on a roll with their innovative applicators recently, I'm a fan.)

They are definitely a keeper! The marketing claim is that they are, 'long wearing, cream shadows that deliver crease-resistant colour that stays put for eight hours'. The colours do indeed stay on the lid and resist creasing (and I have deep set eyes that are particularly prone to this). The applicator is really soothing to the lid but not perfect for smoothing out the colour; I need to use my finger to blend.

The range of colours includes muted natural and berry shades; I like Seventh Heather and Salt and Pepper for day (a warm putty and steely grey, respectively); and Lick-Orice for night (a midnighty blue-grey, which looks really good as a smoky eye base).

Definitely a great gift-to-self or stocking filler for a friend (or girlfriend, progressive mens). £17 from a Clinique counter near you or here.

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Stowells Light – sponsored post

Wine Glass in the Park

For those of us who like to enjoy a drink or two over the festive season, getting the balance right can sometimes be a challenge. If you are anything like me, your first Christmas morning tipple is at 11am, and continues merrily through to New Year's Day. 

The worst crimes seem to happen on Christmas morning. One year, me and my mother were so busy tackling a bottle of plum wine, we forgot to switch the oven on. Another time, we greedily snaffled an expensive bottle of champagne between us, whilst everyone else was out for a walk.

So, the new Stowells Light range, with reduced alcohol and calorie content, could be an absolute godsend. The wines contain just 60 calories for a 125ml glass; about a third less than a typical glass of wine. 

Stowells have a 130 year pedigree as wine merchants and, in creating Stowells Light, they have selected good quality base wines and used an innovative alcohol reduction process to retain flavour but reduce calories and take the alcohol content down to just 5.5%.

The range includes a white and rosé option. The white is a blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and is very fruity, with a balance of acidity and sweetness – great on its own or with fish. The rosé is a youthful pink Shiraz, full of juicy strawberry, raspberry and cherry fruit flavours. Perfect with salads, as part of a healthier New Year routine.
If, like me, you're cutting back for the New Year, this could the perfect way to still enjoy a tipple. Plenty of flavour but with a reduction in the bad stuff. I bet these would be great mixed with soda water, as well. Moderation is key after all. Chin chin! 

Image with thanks to mjkjr

Monday, 5 December 2011


Back in September,* I was lucky enough to get whisked away to Paris, to celebrate the collaboration of Paco Rabanne Black XS with bands such as Kaiser Chiefs, CSS and Interpol. The project is called Be A Rockstar, so the mission of our trip was to be treated as rockstars. In Paris. The kind of mission I can enthusiastically get behind!

St Pancras Station, London

On the day of the trip we had a car pick us up and whisk us to the Eurostar terminal at St Pancras. (I absolutely love travelling from St Pancras**; the renovation of the station and hotel is stunning, and there's great food and shopping to be had on the concourse, I like Sourced Market for great coffee, pastries, and locally sourced organic bits. It's fairly priced, too.)

Before we knew it we were in a taxi zipping through the streets of Paris to Mama Shelter – of course! Where else would a rockstar stay in Paris? The hotel is Philippe Starck designed and very cool. Designed to party, really. Which we did! Love that the hotel overlooks a graffitied train track. Très urban.

Mama Shelter

lunch @ Mama Shelter

But first of all I had a little look around the local area. Mama Shelter is right next to the Père-Lachaise cemetery – perfect for communing with dead rockstars.


I found a sweet little street nearby, Rue St Blaise, which was full of galleries and restaurants. Perfect if you don't feel like venturing far from the hotel.


Back to the room for a chill – they had me at Kiehl's products.

Mama shelter hotel, Paris

Then out on the town. Loved the mirrored hallways, with a scribbled note about the coolest local thing to go to that day; a Keith Haring exhibition, wish I could've popped along.


A quick Hemingway daiquiri in the bar. (How I prefer to view life, across the top of a cocktail glass.)

Mama Shelter

My and partner in crime Isabelle OC's clunky matching rockstar shoeboots.

Mama Shelter

Stage diving Iso. The venue for the event was the historic Parisian venue La Maroquinerie. It was fascinating getting a behind-the-scenes peek at the theatre. We hung out in the dressing rooms for a bit, observing the interesting grafitti.

Back to the hotel for a late night pizza and more beer.

from tonight... dinner at mama shelter paris with @gonzague @vascellari @liviacolare and @hikari

The next day, after a predictably delicious breakfast at Mama Shelter, we were all completely bleary-eyed but bundled off in our cars to L'Espace Payot, a luxury day spa just off the Champs-Élysées. It felt extremely decadent to be right in the centre of Paris, whiling away the morning having a massage and soaking in a hot tub. Whilst sipping lemon infused water from my lounger I observed a very smart Parisian lady with perfectly preserved coiffure having a water aerobics class. Très chic, I want to grow up to be that lady. Afterwards I nipped off to say a quick hello to La Tour Eiffel, just around the corner.


All in all it was a blissful trip. I'm planning to return to Paris and relax into my trip by having a morning at L'Espace Payot. Also on my list for next time: try the hot chocolate at Angelina (Coco Chanel's favourite!).

*   before getting whisked up into wedding and moving house, hency crazy posting time delay!

** a friend of mine lives in the apartment building at St Pancras and she can order cocktails on room service at the hotel to her flat. Living the dream, or what?

Thanks so much to to Be A Rockstar. Check out their site for exclusive footage of CSS, Kaiser Chiefs, Two Door Cinema Club, Cold War Kids.

Picture credits with thanks: St Pancras, Mama ShelterPizzeria

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Innocent - the big knit.

Got one of the little Innocent smoothies hats sitting on your desk? G'waan – take a picture of it and upload it to Facebook. It takes 2 minutes and every time you upload you donate 10p to Age UK, as well as being in with the chance of winning £500 worth of Amazon vouchers. Click here to upload. You've got until Friday (2 December) to take part! And, 10p might not sound like a lot, but pennies make pounds, as my grandma used to say...

Monday, 28 November 2011

Recent pictures.

I haven't done one of these posts for ages: random pictures from my iPhone. Spans the summer, getting married, moving house...I can't believe it's nearly December. Thank goodness it has been really bright in London since the summer; it has made the onslaught of winter much more pleasurable. I'm definitely a summer person. Seeing these sunny pictures is making me feel quite sad; anyone got a lightbox I can borrow?

Parliament Hill Lido just after closing time.

Wedding photos outside The Trafalgar in Greenwich.

Ladies Day at York Races.

Train station in York. I'd been visiting my mum to steal all her jewellery for my 'something borrowed'.

From York to New York. The sunset that greeted us back in September. (Sigh.)
Pictures from a bike ride along the Thames Path between Greenwich and Woolwich.

London, from Greenwich Park.
Honky tonk pianna at the best pub in London, aka The Southampton Arms. 
Dungeness by night.


Tatou the dog and me, at Kenwood.

Isabelle's Cookie Monster cupcakes.
Moving day celebration at The Spaghetti House. (Must blog about this place.)

Sneak peek of new flat. Must blog about this place too! When it's all sorted. Still need shelves.
Hoops the cat. Last weekend.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Penny Dreadful Vintage.

Penny Dreadful Vintage is an online vintage shop unfailingly stocked with desirable high-end pieces. It's particularly on fire at the moment; Penny has been hard at work sourcing and updating the site. These coats would all be great sensible seasonal buys – and bargains, compared to buying a winter coat on the high street. She also does a mean line in cocktail dresses and unique pieces you never knew you wanted. Buying vintage clothes online made simple.

1. Striped wool poncho. Straight out of the 1970s, how fun are these colours? This would be so cute for a walk on the heath.

2. 1960s cream mohair coat with woven buttons. How luxurious, go-with-anything and winter-wonderland is this? Answer: VERY. Reminds me of something Rosamund Pike's character might have worn in An Education.

3. Shearling coat with mouton collar. How warm would this be? Just a gorgeous coat and so modern looking.

4. Wool mohair plaid belted coat. So au courant with that check and belted styles are always so flattering. And comforting to wrap around you on a cold winter's morn.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Winter whites and sparkles.

winter whites and sparkle

It must be the double trouble Gemini in me that's loving this curious mix of garish sparkles and minimal whites. These are a few of my current favourite things.

1) I've seen this OPI polish on some fashionable fingers recently. It's as mad as a hatter but festive and fun. OPI - The Rainbow Connection.

2) Cos city charm bracelet. Buildings, a lady walking a dog, trams and cars; all dangling from your wrist.

3) Can't stop thinking about this Alexander Wang Diego bag. It's just so perfect. Thick studded pebbled black leather. Buy me it from Selfridges.

4) I tried on these Repetto shoes but the price tag was problematic to me. They are truly beautiful; softest goatskin with a low wooden heel, as worn by Serge Gainsbourg. I found similars in American Apparel; still expensive but still great quality. (And I had a giftcard, yay.)

5) Inspired by this picture. Is it Sally Singer? I love her watch. Good old fashioned Timex.

6) Sparkling gold sequins. This Zara clutch has got to be the perfect way to ward off the gloomy November Monday blues.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Beverley bonfire night.

I went to my home town of Beverley over the weekend, to visit the fam. Happily, it was bonfire night, so we could go to see the bonfire and fireworks on the old Westwood. I've not been for years, ever since my mum's straw bag caught fire from a stray ember. A day of happy chazza shopping (only purchase was a book of Joan Baez's Christmas songs) was followed by a drink at Nellies.

Bonfire night

Then back home to change into wellies. Borrowed of course, these city folk would've just gone along in our Converse. (Which would've been a massive fail. I was up to my calves in a mixture of mud and cow pat at one point.)

Bonfire night

The narrow roads up to the Westwood were absolutely mobbed with welly-wearing townsfolk, trudging up for the display.

Bonfire night

The bonfire was huge. The crowd got all excited when it was lit, but excitement gave way to a lull as everyone became transfixed by the flames.

Bonfire night

Bonfire night

Bonfire night

Then the fireworks. I generally hate things that go bang, but they were at a safe distance. There were some groovy twirly ones, some that sort of sang a tune (really, it was weird) and then the big starburst ones that look as though they're coming towards you. Totally pretended I was in a scene from Melancholia. (Have you seen it? I loved it, personally. That final scene had the cinema in a stunned silence as the credits rolled!)

Bonfire night

Bonfire night

Bonfire night

We walked the smoke out of our lungs the next day with a walk up to the Black Mill; a mill on the Westwood that everyone walks towards hypnotically.

Bonfire night

Bonfire night

Bonfire night

Bonfire night

Bonfire night

Bonfire night

We had such a nice weekend that I can't stop looking at houses for sale up in Beverley. This lovely 3 bedroom house costs £145,000, and overlooks a green and a church. I grew up right around the corner. So tempting, after years of London flat living...