Currently Coveting


 

I am just about clinging on this month so I need every materialistic comfort I can get my hands on to see me through. Surrounding myself with pretty things is just the ticket to beating these January blues and a good book (namely ‘Not That Kind Of Girl’) is also required, especially during this so-called ‘digital detox’ I’ve imposed upon myself. Luckily for me Lena Dunham’s witty writing style is perfect bedtime fodder and the make-do tea lights (more on those in a minute) are on point too in setting that sleepy-bye-byes mood.

 

A couple of things here are Christmas gifts from my Husband (that man truly gets me) but before I wax lyrical about my latest Mary Quant scarf let me draw your attention to the cute personalised stamps I acquired from NotOnTheHighStreet. I must confess, I’d never ordered anything from there before although I’ve always been intrigued by their wares. I’d intended to give out edible gifts at Christmastime (hence the stamp) but unfortunately due to my absolute self-confessed stupidity I listed the wrong postcode meaning it (along with the requisite cellophane bags) didn’t arrive in time. Ugh. Idiot. Thankfully I’ll still get good use out of them but I was infuriated (at myself) at the time.

 

Onto the scarf then. Another absolute beauty sourced online and given to me by my wonderful Husband… I adore Mary Quant and this colourful option is going to get so much wear during the summer. I’ve been playing around with different ways to style it although I think I’ll probably end up using it most as a headscarf. What can I say? J’adore.
 



 
The charm bracelet was a ridiculous (like, five quid ridiculous) bargain I found at a terrific vintage jeweller’s in Derry called The Whatnot. They have sooooo much incredible stuff in there, I could seriously spend hours browsing the shelves. We were actually on some official earring business (my Dad was buying my Mum’s Christmas gift) when I spied it out of the corner of my eye and knew I had to have it. I kind of feel like it’s an homage to our London days, even though it wasn’t actually bought in London. And I can’t deny, I did come over all nostalgic for those happy years we spent in the capital although I’m not sure how much fun it would be now. Rose tinted glasses, eh?

 

Herbal teas are where I’m at and Yogi is a fav brand of mine – this one was Sweet Chai and it has a real spicy kick to it. Sometimes I add a splash of soya milk and a teaspoon of agave but today I enjoyed it ‘au naturale’. I also love how each bag comes with a philosophical saying or quote. This one read:

 

In distant travel you learn about yourself

Too true.

 

Having just recently discovered my skin type is ‘dry’ (and what with this winter weather wreaking havoc with my skin) I was desperate to find a natural solution. I did some research (YouTube is a wondrous thing!) and Argan Oil came up a lot, so I knew I had to try it. I’ve been using it solidly since before Christmas (I apply it after removing my make-up in the evening) and now I’m a total 100% Argan Oil convert – it really does live up to the hype. Whereas before I was waking up in the morning with a tightness in my skin, it now feels soft and supple and totally hydrated. If, like me, you also suffer from dry skin then I honestly can’t recommend this stuff highly enough. The brand I went for was Dr.Organic, which can be purchased at Holland & Barrett. Go try it ! Now!

 

Oh, and those simple glass tealight holders once contained scented candles. All I did was wash them out and I must say I really am quite taken with them. That’s my kind of recycling! What are you currently coveting? Leave me comment below.

 

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Storm’s a Comin’

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I think the weather is totally in tune with my emotions of late – huge swells, moments of calm and in between not really knowing what might come next. Whilst the weatherman (or woman) can often be wrong, they got it spot on this weekend; although on Saturday I was hardly taking heed. Despite storm warnings and the knowledge it may be borderline baltic (oh, and it was!) I ventured into St.Ives in a knitted gettup, that contrary to how it may look, did not keep me protected from the elements. Rookie error. Although, as ever, the light was insanely bright – hence the sunnies… in case you’re thinking they were solely for posing purposes.

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Yep, it looks like I haven’t quite got the hang of this coastal dressing melarkey just yet or maybe a part of me is still in denial – we ain’t in Kansas London anymore. Now that comment may seem as if I’m missing my London lifestyle but the opposite is closer to the truth – I’m bedding in nicely to our new existence, and am slowly getting into the Cornish groove, which namely means lots of long walks and braving the bracing wind on a regularly invigorating basis… bring it baby!

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What I definitely don’t regret about this outfit is the headscarf. A Christmas gift from my Husband, it’s a genuine Mary Quant (isn’t he clever?) and I am officially in love. Scarves and me go back a very long way, and I have a ridiculous collection of them, but this one has superseded any others as my fav…. the print and palette are perfection in my opinion. Too bad I was practically frozen to the bone, which somewhat impaired my nonchalant St.Ives swanning enjoyment that would usually include some imaginary scenario that involves some of those old school St.Ives artists of yore (how I heart thee Barbara Hepworth) – or, more appropriately given my writer status, Daphne Du Maurier. That’ll ruddy teach me to forfeit the raincoat and wellies, won’t it?

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what i wore… cardi/sweater/skirt/shoes (non-leather)/scarf/bag – vintage … sunnies – wildpony (Falmouth) … tights – topshop … knitted scarf (synthetic fibres)/h&m

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Suffice to say the weather took a turn for the worse right after these were taken and we headed back home (via Portreath – well, we had to have a nosy) to hole up whilst the waves did their worst – at times like these I’m kinda glad I don’t live right on the beach, even though that’s my ultimate dream. My mood too went ever so slightly downhill… you know, the usual; feeling inferior, thinking that everything I do is a wee bit crap in comparison to so-and-so and such-and-such. Nothing a good soak in a hot bath and a brisk walk the following day couldn’t fix but those moments of doubt are never too far way. Instead of giving in to those ‘why bother?’ moments I invariably dust myself down and get back on the metaphorical bike, hoping that these ridiculous thoughts will keep getting less and less. Unfortunately though, I fear it’s the price one pays for working in the creative industry (there’s always someone better, smarter, more talented) and so all you can really do is to just keep plodding on in the hope that one day, it will mostly make good or, at the very least, make some sorta sense. In the meantime, I’ll always have St.Ives.

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Instagram Moments

It’s been a while since I did one of these posts so I felt like one was definitely due. I’m still stir crazy about instagram so here’s a weeks worth of my filtertastic pics….. I have a thing for all things nautical so when this parcel came in the post I was just a wee bit ecstatic to find the gorgeously tissue wrapped gift adorned with these super cute anchor stickers. Seasalt sure do know how to make a girl happy! The lift at work has become the perfect place for me to take full length outfit shots without having to trouble my poor Hubbie. I was definitely channelling my inner Land Girl that day. Love a good headscarf, me.New York Fashion week is underway and London Fashion Week is scarily close. I think I have things just about under control at work (crosses fingers and toes) and I’m really excited about this season – my third fashion week, yikes! In particular,  I am chomping at the bit to witness this incredible retrospective catwalk show featuring the designs of Mary Quant, Ossie Clark and Vivienne Westwood to name but a few. Stellar stuff!

If you were curious as to what was in the pretty anchor clad parcel above, it was these gorgeous turn up pea green jeans. Seasalt is one of my favourite brands and these fit like a dream.  I’ll be doing a more in depth fashion post dedicated to these lovely trews over the weekend.

There I go again, taking pictures of myself in the FT lifts! It was a leopard print kind of day  – any excuse to wear this jumper, it is the comfiest thing I own. I wish Zara made them in other colours/prints, I would stock up for sure. Sadly I have never seen another one exactly like this style. The skirt is vintage and I paired the whole outfit with ma black sparkly brogues. Ta da!

Oh my, this dinner was go-od. Vegan shrimp and grits isn’t exactly a staple round here but I have made it a few times. It’s such a satisfying dish with plenty of spice. I think a few more tweaks and we’ll have a monster vegan hit on our hands.

I couldn’t believe how many people stopped to compliment on my shirt today, it went down an absolute treat. This is one of my go to outfits – what you can’t see are my indigo flares, which keep it just the right side of casual. It’s practical, comfortable and smart, so perfect for the office.

I am addicted to this tea right now. Licorice and peppermint are a match made in herbal tea heaven. Just the right amount of sweetness that really hits the spot mid afternoon. I also like it after dinner. And mid morning. Okay, so it’s good anytime of the day. Pukka are my favourite tea brand, the flavours are quite intense but super delicious. Plus the boxes are pretty – ah, such a sucker for packaging!

This is actually what I wore last Friday and granted it’s bright with a captial B. Most people tend to dress down on Friday – it seems to be a thing in offices. I find it a little odd but that’s just me. It also makes me want to ramp it up a bit just to go against the grain….maybe I went too far this time?!

….and that was my week. Hello weekend, I’m ready for ya!

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Quantified!

Let me tell you about a girl named Mary. Or rather, let me not, seeing as it might just spoil this totally amazing read for you and that would most certainly be a travesty. Not only because it details the incredible and fascinating life of one of the most influential and defining designers of our time but also tells the tale (in her own words) of an all round good girl done good.

The thing that surprised me least about this woman is that she likes to have fun, and lots of it. Good clean fun, I might add, which only makes her stories better – no ‘tripping out man’ nor ‘summer of love’ shenanigans here, thank you very much. It’s the best of the swinging Sixties and the best of fashion all rolled into one.

Oh, and anyone who surmises that most of the people who hold the title of ‘World’s Best Dressed Woman’ are in actual fact ‘squares’ is alright by me – just goes to show that not a lot has changed since the Sixties either….not naming any names mind.

I already knew me and Mary had something in common. We both attended Goldsmiths College and loved every minute of being there. Obviously I was aware of this prior to my application, and as well as being enthralled by the long list of impressive alumni – John Cale being just one of them (I mean, hello?!) who also happened to be married to another favourite designer of mine, Betsey Johnson, but I digress…., I was eager to be part of an institution that practically breeds (or maybe it just attracts) individuals. I knew I needed to be amongst these people. Trust me when I tell you the infectious creativity at Goldsmiths cavorts controversy and if anything that Quantified mini skirt did set some tongues wagging!

Quant’s passion is so utterly palpable throughout the book, I literally could not put it down. I was engrossed in her thought patterns, how she churned out design after fabulous design, picking up those essential industry skills as she went. For me, having just started out on this path, this was a must read at the best possible time. I can’t tell you how much Mary’s words have inspired and also comforted me – I now realise I don’t have to know it all in five minutes flat, how the hell could I? This is an industry that takes years to understand but Mary did it all with such abandon it’s hard not to get carried away with her free spirited approach to life and fashion.

I lapped up every word of this autobiography and subsequently found myself trawling the internet for original pieces in my price range, which led me to wonder why Quant isn’t still a big hit designer like she was back in her heyday of the Sixties and Seventies. Initially I was quite saddened that her brand hasn’t evolved like others but ultimately I feel her contribution to fashion is still so prominent today it hardly matters. You just need to look at the shapes, details and skirt lengths to realise that virtually nobody can match Quant when it comes to influencing current and I dare say future trends.

Her impact on fashion is truly astonishing and I for one am just grateful to have shared a little bit of creative space with her, albeit it a few generations apart. I’m pretty sure some of that Sixties Quant vibe is still lingering about those chequered Goldsmiths hallways and long may it last.

A fashionable woman wears clothes; the clothes don’t wear her.

Quant by Quant is currently available to buy at the V&A Museum Shop

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Instagram Moments

My favourite time of year is upon us and I am fully in Halloween mode. We bought our first pumpkin of the season on Friday and have been relishing eating comfort food and drinking apple cider all weekend. 

My Sister is touring with Don McLean (of American Pie fame – the song not the movie) over the next couple of months and I’ve been helping style her look for the stage. Orla Kiely provided much inspiration and we found several outfits that fit the bill perfectly.

We visited our beloved Cornwall the weekend before last for a friends wedding. St.Ives is utterly breathtaking and has inspired so many writers and painters, it’s hard not to fall in love with it a little bit more every time I visit.

I’ve just finished reading Quant by Quant (review to come!) and can’t get enough of pinafore dresses. I’m getting more daring with the length of my skirts too. Heck, I’ve only got a few more years left in which to do so without raising eyebrows so I’m going for it.

I need and must and will work at this magazine if it is the last thing I do. It is sheer perfection – from the features to the styling to the, well, everything. And would you just look at this cover?! It brings joy to my soul.

Roll out some thawed ready made puff pastry. Slice a cooking apple as thinly as you can and dredge  each slice in cinnamon sugar. Layer the apples, overlapping, in two columns, top with raisins and freshly grated nutmeg. Press down the edges with a fork and bake in a pre-heated oven (200 degrees celsius/400 fahrenheit) for 20-25 minutes. Serve with ‘ice-cream’.

Sometimes I like to be a tourist in my own city – I live in London for pete’s sake, it’s a pretty awesome place to be…although I occasionally have to remind myself of that. Like today. This is the route the bus takes from my flat to central London. Nice, eh?

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