Archive for the ‘fashion’ Category

Things I want #7654

In Christmas, fashion, shopping on November 11, 2011 at 5:32 pm

I’m really organised this Christmas. I’ve already bought most of my gifts and really only have The Boy left to buy for, which I find really difficult – largely as he generally wants vintage Star Wars memorabilia in perfect condition – which, I might add, he then leaves, untouched, in a dark box so it can’t be damaged by sunlight. How very dull.

Similarly, I am a nightmare to buy for (see previous posts on the birthday of identical thoughtful gifts!) because I like so many things, but invariably buy them for myself before the big day. At Christmas that’s acceptable, right? After all, I have so many parties and nights out planned that all of the shoes and bags, dresses, shrugs and earrings that I covet from mid-November would come in jolly useful before Christmas…

Take later this month. On November 29th, a fabulous new jewellery client of mine, called LaLa Rocks will be launching. I’ve already earmarked these gorgeous blue velvet shoes and clutch for it – and I plan to wangle an armful of matching bracelets for the big event. But then I saw these sparkly beauties at Dune and spied a matching clutch (there’s a theme to my coveting, isn’t there?) and thought – well, how much more Christmassy can you get? From being the hostess with the mostest on Christmas Day to teaming with jeans and a fauz fur jacket to meet my friends for cocktails, I’d wear them to death, so I need those before too…

So they don’t help with the compilation of my Christmas List because I know I’ll end up splashing out beforehand.I think gifts have to have that element to them where it’s something you’ve admired for a while, but haven’t been able to justify spoling yourself with – something that to be fair, I do too much of anyway. It’s difficult, but not impossible…


For example, I’ve seen this cute coin purse from Tiffany, which would probably see the end of me flinging my   change into the depths of the Bag Of Doom never to be seen again, and this ultra-sparkly cocktail ring by Thomas Sabo which, again, is something I’ll admire and desire but can’t justify buying for myself – though it would be a beautiful match for my Chanel Paradoxal nail polish…

That said, since I’ve been so sensible with my Christmas requests from my parents – namely asking for new lighting for the in-progress lounge, maybe such sparkle wouldn’t be frowned on. Now, where’s my fountain pen? Dear Father Christmas, I have been ever so good this year…





Living the Langham Life part 2

In fashion, Holiday, Hotels, London, shopping, Travel on September 23, 2011 at 10:45 am

The best thing about the Langham, better than the crystal glasses in the bedrooms, the branded mineral water, the luxurious complimentary toiletries, better even than the enamelled pink and gold pens (I won’t nick stuff from a hotel so was so chuffed when they gave me one to keep!), was the bed. The gigantic super-kingsize bed was easily the best I’ve ever slept in. Comfortable enough for me, with my rigid agenda, to consider abandoning the whole of Sunday’s plan in favour of just lying in its cloud-like loveliness until checkout.

I didn’t though. Instead, we hot-footed it to South Kensington for breakfast, then visited the V&A museum. Again, a magnificent building with superb details that have you wandering around with your head spinning, the museum has more than 2 million pieces in its collections. Through Asia, China and the Islamic Middle East, we moved onto the cast courts of Europe, the Medieval and Renaissance, Raphael and sculpture collections, before heading to theatre and performance. Here, we visited famous costumes and the temporary Annie Lennox’s House exhibition, celebrating her music, her costumes and her humanitarian work.

If you loved this:

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Then this will need no introduction:

Ridicule is nothing to be scared of...

From ’80s glam we moved on to sacred silver and stained glass, gold, silver and mosaics, and jewellery. The jewellery collections were my favourite – a vast, glittering, dimly-lit collection including emeralds worn by Napoleon’s wife Josephine. The plethora of richly-coloured precious stones, diverse shapes and sizes of the pieces, and rich heritage surrounding them only compounded my desire to go and see the Crown Jewels on my next visit.I was disappointed to see that the fashion exhibition is closed until spring 2012, but it’s another excuse to visit. The beautiful John Madejski Garden is a gorgeous retreat in the centre of the museum, the perfect spot to enjoy a drink by the fountain to break up the tour, and inevitably the viisit ended with a browse in the V&A shop, packed with fabulous cards, souvenirs, crafts and gifts. I’d been pretty determined not to buy anything if I could avoid it on this trip but I was inspired by the jewellery collection to buy a pair of violet shimmering drop earrings – they may not be as dazzling as Josephine’s emeralds but they’re quite sparkly enough for me – and a Christian Lacroix journal…I do like my snazzy stationery.

A short stroll down the road inevitably leads to Harrods, where we had plans. First, inevitably, came the scout around the Food Halls, admiring the stunning chocolates, the biscuits, teas coffees, olives and ice creams, before heading to the fourth floor and the sophisticated Georgian Restaurant, where we closed our trip with a decadent afternoon tea. Finger sandwiches, scones, green-apple macaroons, raspberry frangipan, fresh fruit tart, afternoon fruit cake and chocolate slices, served with specially blended teas and champagne… it was absolute bliss, and a real high to end on before trooping back to Euston.


It’s very difficult to keep a promise to yourself not to buy clothes when you’re in one of the fashion capitals of the world, but that’s intensified somewhat when you’re there during London Fashion Week and every single shop has pulled all the stops out to put together alluring shop-fronts to entice you inside. I did hold firm, and – apart from my V&A earrings, journal and some Harrods biscuits – I didn’t indulge. I didn’t even set foot into a clothes shop despite Adam trying to pull me into French Connection every time we passed it and I gasped with desire for the gorgeous coat in the window.

You can imagine my chagrin on returning when I discover that, not only is the coat far less expensive than I thought, but it’s also called The London Coat, and is a limited edition piece to mark London Fashion Week. If that wasn’t a sign, I don’t know what was. Let’s see how strong my willpower really is…


We’re already planning our next weekend of decadence and culture. Next time, maybe we’ll stay at a Travel Lodge, and we will go shopping!

Shoe in

In fashion, shopping on September 20, 2011 at 9:21 am

A while ago, I blogged about a pair of marvellous shoes I had my eye on. I’d been waiting for them to go on sale, but, alas, Dune were wise to my online predatory stalking and failed to rise to the occasion.

Last Monday was my birthday, and I was inundated with annoyed friends and family members muttering about the fact that I was impossible to buy for because I just buy what I want if I want it – the reason for that’s simple enough – I was turning 36, not 21. I don’t think that really warrants gifts on a great scale.

So spretty. So high.

However, turns out people actually read this, because a few days before my birthday, I opened the door to a courier and he had a Dune shoe-box in his hands. I was so excited I shut the door in his face. I obviously re-opened it and apologised, I might add. Sure enough, my best friend Donna had gone way above and beyond and bought me the fabulous stripy shoes I’d been coveting.

The next 40 minutes were a little tense as I discovered that the matching clutch had sold out online across the board – Dune, John Lewis, House of Fraser… all of them had a little ‘out of stock’ footnote beside the bag.

I tore into Solihull to John Lewis and was told by a lovely saleswoman that they too had sold out of the bag. She contacted every other branch of John Lewis, and they sadly confirmed that they too had sold out and couldn’t have it sent to the branch. Alas. Perhaps I was destined not to be well co-ordinated. No, I don’t give up that easily.


I called House of Fraser in Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham. No joy. And then, I remembered that there was a HoF in Solihull, I never remember it as it’s tucked away from the main shopping area.

Quest complete

I shuffled over and up the escalators to the shoe department, and half way up the moving stair, I saw it. On the top shelf. Gleaming in the lights, its jewel colours vibrant and all striped and silky and lovely. I think the assistant thought I was barking as she confirmed that it was the last in stock and wrapped it up for me, but she was under no illusions that she’d made me very happy.

The boyfriend was somewhat bemused at my endeavours that night, you’d think he’d get it, but he doesn’t. I showed him my treasures and watched as his jaw dropped and he erupted. It seems, after all that, that the reason John Lewis in Solihull had sold out was because his family had bought me the shoes and bag.

While they were then returned, I did feel guilty, but it just goes to show, not only am I damn lucky, but one way or another, if you want something badly enough, you’ll get it. Sometimes twice.

Flat out

In fashion, shopping on August 30, 2011 at 8:21 am

Something strange has happened to me. I’ve bought two pairs of flat shoes in the space of a week.

I’ve long been associated with my collection of skyscraper heels, but even I am recognising that as we get closer to Autumn, I’m going to spend more time in skinny jeans and less time in little dresses, so I felt that to bridge the gap between wedge sandals and warm boots, I’d better buy something a bit more suited to whizzing around shopping centres and so on, rather than tottering – which is fine for meetings, dinners and evenings, but less so for day-to-day wear. Yes, I am nearly 36 and it’s taken this long.

And so – I’ve bought two rather lovely pairs – purple patent ballerinas and a silver beaded pair. They’re pretty – nothing special – but MY, they’re comfortable.

I’m not sure I’m a convert though, I can’t see as far and I feel like a hobbit. That said, my toes don’t get those crushing, excruciating needles of pain that threaten to topple me after 15 minutes standing upright.

Nontheless, having seen these fabulous stripy shoes at Dune this month, I’m trying not to think about them.


Since they seem to be the only summer pair not reduced yet, I’m standing my ground until they are. Even I know that I’ll only wear them indoors until next May.

Not shoes for wallflowers

In fashion, shopping on May 16, 2011 at 8:18 pm

Last year for my birthday, my fabulous friend Karen bought me an amazing pair of shoes. I’d coveted them for ages but I’d exercised enormous self control because, beautiful and vibrant as they were, they simply weren’t practical. I had, quite literally for once, nothing to wear with them.

Brilliant citrus yellow satin, set with dazzling rhinestones, these Bourne shoes make spectrums of light dance around the room, bouncing off the ceilings, the walls, the tablecloths. These shoes are not made for shy and retiring feet, they are not shoes for wallflowers.

Bourne shoes - not for wallflowers

It took me seven months before I decided there was an occasion worth wearing them for – it had to be special and it had to be dry. My Dad’s 60th birthday lunch did the job. But what could I wear them with. I decided to go for the whole clashing colours thing and wore it with a vivid cerise Phase 8 dress, I’m not sure what went wrong but I kid you not, the dress literally came apart at the seams that day; I assume it was jealous of the compliments the shoes were getting.

So when I came across this equally vivid citrus yellow top in Ted Baker last week, I knew it was a match made in heaven. I have a friend’s hen weekend approaching and my dazzling shoes and my vibrant top will look great, whether I team them with white trousers or dark jeans.

Not so mellow yellow

Of course the fact that the fabric’s so sheer and the top’s so figure-hugging that a) I needed to invest in some very expensive cK Envy invisible lingerie to wear underneath (I must stress I don’t look like Zoe Saldana in it) and b) I’ll need to diet and work out every day for a fortnight is really by-the-by.

But when I do wear my ensemble, I shall feel like the biggest, brightest flower in the garden, and leave all the wallflowers in the shade.

Catch 22

In fashion, shopping on January 27, 2011 at 10:03 am

According to ‘research’ released yesterday, the average woman has 22 items in her wardrobe that she has never, or rarely worn, and never will wear. Like, I suspect, many other women, felt the need to investigate this and hotfooted it upstairs to check out my wardrobe and find out if I was – gasp – merely an average woman.

Aha: instantly I spotted a pair of smart grey trousers that I really like, but that I made the mistake of buying when I was wearing flat shoes, so that I have probably worn them three times. I’ve removed them and given them to my mum, she’s six inches shorter than me and more inclined to alter clothes than me.

A backless Mango dress, one of three I bought for a Christmas party in 2009 and felt massively self conscious in. On closer inspection, it’s actually lovely, so perhaps it was more to do with the very unpleasant company I was in – I seem to recall leaving said party at the earliest possible opportunity to escape. I’m keeping it for now.

A long red Whistles dress, cut to make me look voluptuous and hourglass, but in reality makes me look like the biggest pear you ever did see… duly consigned to the charity shop bag.

Two pinstripe skirts – can’t recall the last time I wore either – so one for me, one for the bag.

Two (very expensive) TM Lewin shirts in black and purple,, bought during a month of hefty pitches. It’s been at least 18 months since I wore them… but I can’t bring myself to get rid of them due to the sheer cost. I might seek the services of stylist Emma to get more wear out of them. Come to think of it, the four suits taking up valuable space haven’t been worn in months, but I’m loath to dispose of them and then have to spend another £200 when a crucial pitch arises.

I’m beginning to see why I have so many clothes and yet always grumble ‘I have nothing to wear…’

The denim skirt that I wouldn’t dream of wearing at home, but seems to become a staple piece of holiday-wear when it comes to something to pull on over my bikini… maybe one more holiday?

I have (had) 11 pairs of jeans, only five of which I ever wear… and any number of identical, albeit in a rainbow of colours, cami tops.

After stashing my handful of clothes – 16 in all – in a bag I cast my mind back just four months when I moved house… I seem to recall giving three sacks of rarely worn clothes to charity then too, along with six pairs of shoes.

But then I opened a whole new can of worms. Am I dull?

On closer inspection, I do seem to lack imagination at times. Apart from a few exceptions, I do seem to have a whole host of tops, all identical, in four different colours, rack upon rack of jumpers with the same detailing but in myriad shades, and tons of forgiving tunic tops to wear with leggings and jeans.

That explains why I always feel a bit blah, a bit dull. The really ‘wow’ clothes in my wardrobe – and there are tons of them, gorgeous dresses in different shades, different styles, different fabrics, different lengths, aren’t really everyday wear. But that’s my decision – when did it stop Miss Carrie Bradshaw?

Hmmm… Maybe I need to reinvent myself and become The Girl With The Great Dress. Even if it is only Thursday.

A little sparkle goes a long way

In cinema, fashion on January 18, 2011 at 4:52 pm

Since January’s shaping up to be such a bleak month so far – cold upon infection upon virus for my part – it’s difficult to motivate myself to make the effort. One of the problems with working at home is that unless I have a meeting, it’s too tempting to layer up my leggings and cosy knits.

And since the only place I’m going is the cinema, it doesn’t exactly call for skyscraper heels and slinky dresses. As a rule it’s jeans and little tops, or a jersey dress and boots if I’m really pushing the boat out. But if there’s one thing guaranteed to dress it up a little, and to attract more than a few compliments, it’s this necklace:

Caritaz clover pendant

The piece was a gift from my client Caritaz – the business created it to raise funds for victims of domestic violence, and 25 per cent of the cost of the pendant is donated to Refuge to support the charity in its work with abused women. So not only is it a glittering fashion statement, it’s also a symbol of support for those women.

It’s a great cause, and one that everyone who admires the piece is really impressed with.

The reason it attracts their attention in the first place of course is because it looks familiar… they’re always sure they’ve seen it somewhere before… and isn’t it like the one…

Carrie Bradshaw

Oh yes – it’s Carrie Bradshaw’s accessory of choice in Sex And The City 2.

As it happens, SJP isn’t wearing Caritaz’ piece; her necklace is gold, but she was the inspiration for this necklace, and being a silver gal, I much prefer it.

Based on the amount of attention and compliments I’ve received, it should be selling strong.

If you love it, buy it here.

Green with envy

In cinema, fashion, Hollywood, Uncategorized on January 18, 2011 at 10:45 am

In the style stakes, the first quarter of the year is always a great way to launch the year – January sees the stars shrug off the blues to strut their stuff at the Golden Globes, closely followed by the BAFTAs in Fenruary and the all-important Oscars in March.

I was thrilled to bits to see that Colin Firth, who I raved about last week, deservedly won his Golden Globe for best actor in recognition of  his portrayal of George VI in The King’s Speech this weekend – and has today been tipped for a BAFTA on February 13th, one of 14 awards the movie’s been picked for.

And pregnant and perfectly formed Natalie Portman was awarded best actress for her performance in Black Swan. I was keen to watch the movie until I read a series of comments on Twitter yesterday, with the Telegraph’s Hilary Alexander describing it as ‘Saw on Pointe’ and any number of other fashionistas referring to it as dark, demonic and very, very scary. Yikes.

But Portman didn’t just win in the acting stakes, she well and truly stood out as one of the most fashion forward ladies of the red carpet. Her beautiful draped Viktor and Rolf gown was elegant, flattering and different to a whole line of stunning, sparking and stylish pieces.

Natalie Portman = Perfect

The competition was fierce, and I was pleased to see a whole rainbow of colours – scarlets, sunshine yellows, pretty pinks, and beautiful blues. For me, though, the gorgeous greens had it – Catherine Zeta Jones, proud as punch of her husband Michael Douglas, who recently announced he’s beaten throat cancer, looked stunning in her dark green Monique L’Hullier gown, while Angelina Jolie’s slinky green Atelier Versace number was simple but stunning.

Black Swan’s Mila Kunis was radiant in an emerald Vera Wang creation and Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss looked gorgeous in her green Donna Karan number.

Perfect accessorising for Angelina

I want one! (The Monique L'Hullier, not the veteran actor)

Vera Wang proves a hit for Mila Kunis

Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss working Donna Karan

As a rule, the stars shied away from the tried and tested black number, though Olivia Wilde’s and  Eva Longoria showed how it should be done. Wilde’s sparkling Marchesa gown was the stuff of fairytales, and Longoria’s Zac Posen backless fishtail creation was unusual and a perfect fit for her perfect frame. I’m not so sure about Halle Berry’s corset-based Nina Ricci sheer skirted number though.

Olivia Wilde looked like a fairytale princess

Simply stunning

Not my bag

If there was ever an excuse to book a posh night out and try and channel a little red carpet glamour, it’s right here. I’m dusting off my Louboutins as I type!



Retail resistance

In fashion, Holiday, shopping, Travel, Uncategorized on January 15, 2011 at 11:37 am

I’m struggling…

Two weeks have passed since I pledged not to buy any clothes until the end of February. I realise now that the key to this is wearing a blindfold at all times.

It began because I have a £79 credit note from Phase Eight (from one of the returned new year’s eve rejected dresses) so I thought: ‘Free money. Must be spent.’

Sadly, the goods I’ve come across come to around five times that, kicking off with this fabulous ensemble:

Look how cosy. Look how pretty. Look how practical.

Unfortunately, I fear that my dreams of looking like this stunner would be left in tearful tatters given that I’m not 6ft and oh-so-slender. Plus, I keep telling myself, I can’t use my credit note online anyway…

However, one website leads to another, and after falling for a cute and very wearable top on, which is barely an extravagant expense, especially in light of the 15% limited time discount the site’s offering, I wavered, but so far have insisted to myself that it would, nontheless, be cheating to indulge.

And from there, it was just a hop, skip and a jump away to Next, where I found these infinitely less practical and less seasonally appropriate dresses: a white, floaty maxi dress which I think epitomises effortless chic on a balmy summer evening (yes alright, probably not in this country, and my thoughts will stray to holidays pretty soon…), a shorter, sexy, summery little number covered in butterflies for special nights out, and a stylish layered LBD that would look amazing with the OTT Louboutins that Adam bought me for Christmas.

And now, how I long for them…

monochrome chic

layered and lovely

floaty and flirty

Sigh… time to step away from the computer…


In fashion, gym, health on January 12, 2011 at 9:21 pm