Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Champagne light....

All images from backstage at Three as Four's Fall/Winter 08 show.

Monday, March 30, 2009

And in a puff of tulle, she vanished....

I saved this picture months and months ago because I love it. I don't particularly like veils but this one is so crazy I'm smitten. I can just see the bride ordering it from a veil maker (veilier? Tulle Artist? Froth Fancier?) "no bigger, I want it bigger. Big I tell you! Big! Huge! Enormous! Yes, now you've got it. Thank you."

The fact that she is fixing the veil in place with hairspray is just too brilliant.

After a long hibernation I'm starting to feel stirrings of interest in weddings again. It's been a while but I think I'm back.

Photograph by Jessica Claire.

Painting the roses red....

"We're painting the roses red, we're painting the roses red! Not pink, not green, not aquamarine! We're painting the roses red!"

Who's been painting my roses red?
Who dares to taint
With vulgar paint
The royal flower bed?
For painting my roses red
Someone will lose his head.

Oh please, your majesty, please! It's all his fault!

Not me, your grace! The ace, the ace!


No, two!

The two, you say?

Not me! The three!

That's enough! Off with their heads!

Images of silk and merino wool scarves from Radici,
Quotes from Alice in Wonderland. The first from the book, the second from the 1951 film.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Spring forward.....

"The idea of British Summer Time (BST), also known as Daylight Saving Time, was first proposed by a keen horse-rider, William Willett, who was incensed at the 'waste' of useful daylight first thing in the morning, during summer. Though the sun had been up for hours during his rides through the local woods in Chislehurst and Petts Wood, people were still asleep in bed.

In 1907 he published a pamphlet called The Waste of Daylight, outlining plans to encourage people out of bed earlier in summer by changing the time on the nation’s clocks. He spent the rest of his life fighting to get acceptance of his time-shifting scheme. He died in 1915 with the Government still refusing to back BST. But the following year, Germany introduced the system. Britain followed in May 1916, and we have been 'changing the clocks' ever since."

Information for the National Maritime Museum. Photo by me.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Today we were here...

I didn't want to come home.

I did though.

Heaven via Knight Frank. Yours for the merest, most modest sum....

Thursday, March 26, 2009

A little summer sun dress...

(thank you for all of your kind and comforting comments yesterday. You're lovlies. xx)

Through Lobster and Swan I have just discovered Joules Clothing. And their dresses, which are a riot of summer happiness and English granny chic.

Two months ago I would have been sneaking that first spotty sun dress into my shopping basket immediately because who will miss thirty five pounds? But the new me is trying to be good and has vowed to try really hard to buy organic/fairtrade/friendly to the world clothes from now on. And the new me is broke. So the new me will content herself with gazing longingly at the pictures and imagining that she lives somewhere warm enough to wear a sun dress.

(some of these dresses might be for little people. I also like imagining that the very biggest little person size might just fit me, if I squeeze tight.)

All images courtesy of Joules Clothing.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Distraction and comfort

When you're alone
And life is making you lonely,
You can always go downtown
When you've got worries,
All the noise and the hurry
Seems to help, I know, downtown

Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city
Linger on the sidewalk where the neon signs are pretty
How can you lose?

The lights are much brighter there
You can forget all your troubles, forget all your cares and go
Downtown, things'll be great when you're
Downtown, no finer place for sure,
Downtown, everything's waiting for you

You might have noticed that the tone around these parts has been a little woebegone recently. That despite lovely things ahapenning and lovely people abounding, the air has felt a little heavy, a little sorrowful. I've been trying to keep cheerful but you see, my Grandad is sick and I am sad, and try as I might I just can't keep my chin up.

The Boy and I are Up North for the week, staying with my Gran and visiting my Grandad in hospital. Relief at finally being here to hold hands, hug tight, give love, keep company fights with a constant desire to run, to hide, to find somewhere (preferably sunny, with a cocktail and a masseuse) where everything is ok and one of my very favourite people in the world is not in hospital, not dying.

But I don't think that this is one of those situations, unlike say... a bear attack, where running away would actually help (all bets are welcome on who the first person will be to leave a comment telling me that when a bear attacks you would be an idiot to run away, that what in fact you need to do is play dead, shout 'bad bear' or sing Copacabana at the top of your voice because that really scares the crap out of those big furry bastards.)

I can however run away temporarily. There are places, very certain places that help. When we're at home, ikea is my Downtown. The palace to organisational devices instantly distracts me, reassures me and calms my worried soul, assuring me that there is order in the world, that chaos and unpredictability can be banished, if only for the couple of hours it takes to follow the well sign posted path, testing the best sofas, resting in that bouncing chair that The Boy oohs and ahhs over but I tell him is just too damn ugly to ever find a place in our home, opening and closing the drawers and cupboards in those perfectly formed, never used kitchens and uttering a sigh of contentment as the drawers slide silently shut on their magic, cushioned rails.

I buy the same things every time - glass jars in all three sizes, energy saving lightbulbs, cafe style tumblers and a birch photo frame. Sometimes a plant pot. You can never have enough of any of the above.

I don't even like ikea though. Most of their furniture is nothing but offensive to the eyes, as durable as if it were made from weetabix and destined to end up in landfill within five years. The teenage staff with their pest-control blue and yellow outfits and their 'do I havvvvve to?' expressions make me growl with irritation and that all pervasive smell of meatballs and hotdogs has turned my stomach ever since my aunt who's a nurse muttered 'that's exactly what gangrenous flesh smells like' when we were standing in the queue.

And yet when it feels like life is going to overwhelm me, like I'm drowning in a sea of uncertainty and the ability to Just Keep Breathing is starting to slip away, ikea is my life raft. Which does of course indicate that I'm nuts, because who but those people that live in white boxes filled with white shiny furniture and organisational devices hidden behind white lacquered doors on silent hinges is actually calmed by ikea?

However as we are Up North, there is no ikea. The nearest ikea is 166 miles away. Which is probably for the best as we have about 18 of those damn tumblers, the kitchen counters are filled with glass jars, all of the lights are lit and I can't afford any more photo frames. (Oh god. The nearest ikea is 166 miles away and the Boy and I have been discussing moving Up North one day. Would I even be able move 166 miles from ikea? That would make it a seven and a half hour round trip each time I have an anxiety attack. Not including shopping/recovery time. And I don't drive.)

While there may not be a Palace to Organisation, there is my favourite shop in the world, a shop a million times better and the polar opposite to ikea. An antique shop, in the countryside, down a lane lined with fields, filled with sheep, who have just had lambs, who bounce in the air and make me smile. The shop is divided between a church where the furniture, fashion and fireplaces live and three outbuildings filled with china, linen, jewellery, antique cameras, old postcards, countless other intriguing whatsits and swallows nesting in the rafters. And there's a courtyard, littered with a collection of vintage toy trucks and tricycles, rocking horses and tin cars, sitting there as if they were abandoned this morning when the children were called in for lunch. Or to sweep the chimneys, or whatever it was kids did back when toys were made of tin, not plastic.

And this place is my heaven. It too calms me on days like today when it felt like a world that is supposed to be solid was threatening to start crumbling. A slow walk through the mounds of furniture, stacked high but not nearly high enough to reach the vaulted roof of the church, not nearly high enough to touch the beams. Finger tips traced across polished wood, carved stone, cast plaster. Chairs with three legs, burst cushions, escaping springs. Ceramic bed pans and foot warmers and the wardrobe from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, bursting with furs that make my stomach crawl with fascinated revulsion. Lace veils with holes in them, kid gloves that have never been worn. Velvet top hats and army uniforms, bath tubs with cast iron feet and deep deep sinks from gutted farm houses. And on and on it goes, each item with a history, a soul, fragments of the person who owned it embedded in its makeup. And with each thing a reassurance that something remains, something survives, not everything brakes and sometimes, even when it does it is still beautiful, still valued.

Ethnic jacket

All photographs by me.

A box arrives...

A box arrives. 'What's this?' says your boy. 'Who has been sending you flowers?' 'Flowers?!' squeals you, 'someone sent me flowers?!'

Someone indeed has sent you flowers. A riotous bunch of orchids, so beautiful so colourful to sit on your desk and make you smile. Someone has sent you flowers to wish you luck with a new endeavour, to show you they believe in you. They make you smile. You are reminded once more of just how very lovely people are.

(Thank you mummy.)

(You are feeling soppy this week, and a little pathetic. You only use the word mummy when you're feeling pathetic. Or very excited. You promise.)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Pink dress, part II....

Girl + Boy +Dress were so happy that you liked the pink dress, they wanted to answer your questions about said frothy, feathery, ruffley, fruffly delight.

The dress, as British connoisseurs of pretty dresses recognised, is from Reiss. Reiss is my favourite shop, their clothes are simple (even when they're fruffley), beautifully designed and made, elegant and so comfortable. And expensive, let's not forget expensive. I'm currently fantacising about a £55 t-shirt. And convincing myself that spending £55 pounds on a t-shirt is a good idea. You know, an investment and all that. An investment t-shirt. Despite the fact that I've never owned a t-shirt that hasn't developed holes within 6 months. But maybe that's because I've never one that cost more than £20, maybe a £55 t-shirt would be immune to holes? Maybe it's a magic t-shirt? Oh, did I mention that it's white? And I stopped buying white t-shirts 6 years ago beacuse the armpits and cuffs all turned suspicious, non-white colours. But now I'm going to stop talking about armpits and get back to pretty dresses...

The dress was from last year's collection and eagle eyed readers spotted that it was indeed on my Christmas party dress wishlist. It was available in beautiful pale pink and a very luscious and regal rich purple. There was a skirt to match. And there was an elusive black dress with big bird sleeves that I never managed to find in a Reiss store.

There were a tonne of these dresses in the post-Christmas sale (which irked The Boy somewhat, given that he's a god boy scout and bought it early) and I think that is because while a lot of people might look at this crazy lady of a dress and touch it an stroke it and say 'wow' and maybe even try it on, there aren't many who look in the mirror and think 'yes, a thousand ruffles around my bottom is a very good idea, I'll take it.'

So while The Boy didn't quite pick it out all by himself, he did decide to buy it all by himself. As we know I don't really do hints. Well not out loud, that would be undignified. I do however post every pretty little (and big) thing I fall for on my blog, in the vain hope that one day, by magic, it might appear in my eagre little paws. Of recent birthdays, christmases and just beacauses this technique has been proving surprisingly effective, which makes me a Very Lucky Girl.

I have no idea what to wear my new pink dress with (or to for that matter, I have more of a jeans and wooly jumper lifestyle at the moment). My initial thought is to pair it with a black, delicate as tissure paper cardigan from urban outfitters, opaque black tights and some rather snazzy black and white mary janes that are my favourite shoes ever. But is that a little... blah? Does this delightful fruffly creation deserve better than a cardigan and thick black tights?

Opinions please, on two things. One, what should I wear the dress with? Lets forget for the moment that I don't have an occasion and just delight in playing dress up. And two, how much would you spend on a white t-shirt? A really really nice one, with long sleeves and silk trimmings. But it's still white. And a t-shirt. You are wise ladies (and gentlemen? Is there a gentleman there? Even just a little one, at the back somewhere?) and I would love to hear what you think. Thank you.

All photos by Me.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Lovely mummies...

Happy mother's day to my lovely mummy, all lovely mummies and all lovely mummies to be.

In Britain that is. I hear that you Americans have a different mother's day. Not to be confusing at all.

Mother and Child, by Picasso.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


These incredibly pretty recycled glasses by YAVAglass are doing bad things for my resolution to stop spending money on things I can't afford. I realised recently that I have been shopping under the illusion that if the things I buy are for the house then it doesn't count. And while that has been fun it's not doing anything at all for my bank balance or our ability to buy things we actually need. Like food and heating.

And so I will resist. But it hurts.

Recycled soda bottle glasses by YAVAglass, via Marley and Locker.


Sometimes, it isn't colour that is needed.

Not vibrant splashes of life joy but quiet, calm beauty. A reassurance that everything will be alright. That there is order in the world.

Toast knows that.

They are very very clever.

All images courtesy of Toast