Saturday, 30 January 2010

8 Years and still standing

In two weeks time we will be celebrating our 8th wedding anniversary. I never thought I would get married, let alone to a Northerner and have 3 kids by him! I am very happy and truly blessed to have reached this milestone after an eventful 2009. Maybe not saner, but a lot wiser and thankful to have D in my life to share the good times and hard times with.

Eight year gifts are Bronze or Pottery depending on which website you look up. I have put in a request for a Rosenthal dinner service in classic white porcelain. D would prefer some plates by Timourous Beasties. As he likes their graphic sense of humour. Hugely practical domestic gifts and they would help refresh what we already own. 

If we were able to find anyone mad enough to look after the kids for Valentines weekend (we got married on 14th Feb) then I would love to book a night away at Luton Hoo  . It used to be a grand stately home that has been refurbished into a luxury hotel.  

When D and I were first dating we both found out we had on separate occasions worked there, what a small world – me for a fashion shoot for party wear and him for a film shoot as a graphic set designer. It would be great to go back as a guest and have a proper wonder around the grounds and relax. I wonder if they kept the Family private chapel? It had an impressive collection of Faberge objects - really beautiful looking stuff with amazing workmanship. I still fantasize about picking up a grubby silver cup for pennies at a car boot, to later clean up and discover to my joy being by Faberge. As seen once on an episode of Antiques Roadshow. 

Friday, 29 January 2010

In my head I am singing

Loving you is easy cause you're beauti-fuuul
La la la la la la la la la la
Lala lala la la la la lala
Do a do do do Aiighhhhhhhhhhhh

Thursday, 28 January 2010

One bag good, two bags baaad

To misquote George Orwell ’ Animal Farm’ – I am seeing a lot of women carrying two handbags instead of just one. Why is that? Do they have a lot of important items that need to be carted about? Are they trying to balance the load by evenly distributing between two bags? This is a bit of a rant, as a user of public transport, space inside the cattle tin (called the tube) is at a premium. When a woman has two bags it is not OK to have both hooked over your shoulder, pushed round the back and into my ribs. 

Owning a big handbag does not make you bum look smaller – no matter what the fashion mags say. A big bum is still a big bum. You know who you are….stop the madness. Limit yourself to just one bag and your back will thank you for it.

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Bare faced

The other day I forgot my make-up bag I was franticly searching for it in my handbag on the train. Gutted what was I to do?  My face was all blotchy from the cold weather and my nose was shining like a beacon. I normally do my make-up on the train (hiding at the end of the carriage) because if I tried to do it at home Curly haired beauty would want to copy me and put some on too (but it’s a bit much for pre-school). She has her own make-up bag full of my old cosmetics so it is pretty good going for a 3 year old to have the likes of Lancome and Chanel to play with. My logic is it there will be less chance of her having an allergic reaction to the make-up as its all been well tested. It keeps her hands off my ‘good’ stuff and my rules are we wash it all off afterwards and not wear it outside of the home.

There was no way I could get to a department store to re-stock my usual brands and I really didn’t want to spend the money. I had a light bulb moment and when the train pulled into Charing Cross station I headed straight to the large Boots next door. Now I normally do premium brands like Philosophy, Bobbie Brown, Laura Mercier etc. Faced with Boots No 7, Maybelline and Bourjois I didn’t have a clue what would work on me for a quick fix. I homed in on products that were a close colour match to my normal products and scored a real result. Bourjois Mineral Matte foundation in shade 85, did exactly what it said on the tin. Using my fingers I dipped into the sample and swiped it over my face.

 It blended in very well and did a good job evening out my skin tone. I squeezed out some Boots No 17 Goddess Endless Shine lip gloss onto my little finger and applied to my lips. I kept an eye out to see if any staff had spotted me using all the testers but luckily there were a large gaggle of Japanese students distracting them. The last bit was some Maybelline cream blusher and I was all set to face the office. Phew panic over – and lesson learnt, never step out of the house without your make-up bag.  

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


I allowed myself a bit of a lunch break today so I took a little wonder around Soho to see what’s still there and what’s not. In Wardour Street there is a new branch of Byron at the old The Intrepid Fox pub. Byron prides itself as a place to go for a proper Hamburger. I’m not sure its USP is enough to make it stand out from the Gourmet Burger Company, Hamburger Union and other such places. Do people really want to spend £6.25 for a burger in a bun and £2.75 for fries? Anyway I digress – it’s a shame The Intrepid Fox is no longer a dark and dingey pub serving booze for the local colourful community. The interior is all spruced up and you can now see right into the building, with shiny glazed tiles and effiecient looking staff in uniform. It’s a far cry from how it used to be.

When I was a fashion student I used to pop into Soho to gather fabric swatches for projects. Those fabric stores must have hated us students as they always knew we were never going to buy anything. Not that I was ever like those obnoxious contestants as seen on Project Catwalk. After a busy afternoon we used to head to The O Bar next door to the Intrepid Fox for their spectacular happy hour – bring on the cocktail pitchers! One time it was so rammed we thought we would try our luck next door at The Intrepid Fox. Our first mistake was not looking like an extra from Clockwork Orange. The second mistake was when one of our group tried to order a Perrier instead of a pint (why I will never know…). It wasn’t like we were made to feel unwelcome but we really did look out of place there and it did take forever to get served as the barman totally ignored us. OK so not very fond memories of the pub but it is such a shame that  a little bit of the real Soho has now gone.  

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Signs of Spring

I have a thing for Cath Kidston , if I had my way the whole house will be filled with her cheery prints. Wait a minute, I've done that already! So something new to add to my collection - these would look wonderful on the kitchen table. It would make the home feel like Spring had arrived early.

Friday, 22 January 2010

Love from Anya Hindmarch

A date for your diarys! Visit our pop up Tattoo Parlour at the Ledbury Road store from Thursday 11th to Saturday 13th February and prepare to celebrate Valentine’s Day in flirtatious fashion with Anya Ink. Pop in with friends and be decorated with whimsical, (temporary) body art by our sexy in-store tattooist. Where will you put yours?!

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Lou Lou

Thanks to West End Mum's  tip off I bought a Lou Lou Kartell chair for the curly haired beauty on sale at Unity, its an ex-display model in glossy red for only 30 quid - a real bargain. She loves it and has been sitting on and off it last few days. She's accessorised it with a Cath Kidston strawberry print cushion and its just the perfect size for her.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Jenny from the block

I was a bit disappointed the fore-casted heavy snow did not show up today. I wore my very fabulous 1970's shearling coat to work - it has the hugest fur collar and cuffs and I always get lots of attention when I wear it. People actually stand aside to let me through so they can get a better look. I bought it many years ago at Wimbledon Car boot fair. I was pretty much the only person who could fit into it and the seller was fed up and just wanted to be rid of it as the car boot was coming to a close. Its very heavy and because its sheepskin (yes I do have a thing about sheepskin) I cannot wear a lot of layers underneath as it rides up everything plus cannot wear it when its really wet. I made that mistake once, got caught in a downpour and the coat stank for days! I was a little wary of the reaction of the folks at the office - but today they did not bat an eyelid at it - maybe they are getting used to my look(s). I must get my act together and post the outfits I have been wearing. I also wore one of my recent Warehouse purchases - the silk dress with the bright digital floral print over my black Uniqlo Heatech long sleeve t-shirt and leggins.

When I used to work at the ITN Building I left the coat hanging up on the communal coat rack - I caught one of the IT guys trying it on. Now I am tiny, but he was even tinier! He got into it and strutted his stuff, hitching his trousers and walking with a limp is a faux down with the hood attitude. I saw the funny side as he clearly loved that coat. But I never did wear it back to that office....its not flattering if a man can get into your clothes...nuff said!

Anyway back to the coat - its looks pretty much like the one Jennifer Lopez wore in the film 'Shall we Dance'. Although she mentions its vintage  and is totally distraught when a dance student drops her greasy food all over it -  those in the know snigger, as its really by Dolce & Gabbana. I truly loved this movie, I went to the Premiere and saw it twice afterwards. I managed to get tickets from the office (bless the House of Mouse) and took a girlfriend along. We had such a hoot walking up the red carpet, Tess Daly was interviewing the celebs as they were passing by. We had to stop right behind Esther Rantzen, escorted by Rob Byran, it was the year she was a contestant on Strictly Come Dancing. The people filming made us wait behind them as they didn't want us in the shot. It was a little unnerving waiting in front of the paps, fans and camera crew. As the Premiere was also a charity event - It was on over two Odeon screens with a 15 minute delay in order for the Director and Richard Gere to move between the cinemas and introduce the movie & read a sorry letter from JoLo who could not be there that night. Richard Gere - an actor not normally registering on my hottie radar, but my goodness that man, on that night made all us girls swoon. He has so much presence and charisma. I was right in the front row and felt quite flushed! We were all taking pics on our mobile's and texting our mum's. It was a great night and I bored D to tears when I got home raving about just how wonderful and warm Richard Gere is.

Monday, 18 January 2010

I had no idea Celebrity Big Brother was back on our screens until there was a little profile about the contestants in Grazia Magazine. Stephanie Beecham is in it! She is a natural beauty, a talented actress - Tenko, The Colby's (go on admit it it was a great part being Sable Colby) and more recently Coronation Street. I loved her when she was on Strictly Come Dancing. But what has she done to her face? Its a crying shame she felt like she could not grow old gracefully. Are there no female older role models left? Lets not get me started on Madonna....

A bit of extra help

QVC is my version of the shipping forecast, to have on in the background while I read, blog etc. Last night I had half an ear out during the  Smashbox 10th anniversary selection and came pretty close to picking up the phone to Q-Cut and order some make-up products to give me that photofinish. On reflection I am glad I didn't as no amount of make-up can disguise bad, sore, tired skin. Something I know that will really help pep up your face is  Dr Hauschka  Rhythmic Conditioner. It contains : Extracts of Borage, Chamomile, Witch Hazel and Rose hip help to strengthen and calm the skin and encourage it to renew and rejuvenate. These tiny glass vials should be used every night for 1-3 months. A long time in my books to get the results but it does work if you can commit the time. They are a bit fiddly to open and use but once you get the hang of snapping them open (I use kitchen towels) its a doddle. 

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Sheeps Clothing

People are funny creatures - a seemingly intelligent woman at the office who is really lovely and well-traveled did not put two-and-two together. We were talking about my vintage sheepskin hat, a vast blonde marshmallow object  that has become a bit of a talking point in the office. Sheepskin is made from Sheeps, Skin......I pointed out it was no different to wearing Ugg boots that everybody else was wearing in the office this winter. She seemed to relax a bit once she had made the connection - she wears leather shoes herself. It reminds me of the story of Pamela Anderson - a big supporter of PETA and ardent wearer of Ugg boots. Pam bless her thought Uggs were made from Sheep's wool!

I have noticed now I am back in W1, there are a lot more fur wearers out and about the streets. Fashioney/media type Students wearing vintage at the station, older women in full length coats in Oxford St (German tourists I think). Yes it has been exceptionally cold and if we hit another cold snap (as fore-casted) I will be wearing my vintage furs also. Let me re-iterate I am against cruelty to animals and don't believe animals should suffer in anyway. But some of my coats/jackets are over 50 years old and some were purchased from charity shops. Stella McCartney the most high profile of vegetarians (like her mother) does not use fur, leather etc. in her fashion collection but has been known to wear cowboy boots. When this was pointed out to her she exclaimed they were 'vintage' so in her eyes it was OK to wear. What do you think?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Day four of being back at work and I have already made a few impulse purchases SHOCK HORROR quantity over quality - but its to make up for the 9 months of being away on maternity leave and not being able to go out! The Warehouse outlet store was just up the road inside The Plaza (Thank you Tor at Fabfrocks  for the tip). I bought two brightly coloured silk dresses for £15 each (one in a paisley print the other a floral digital print) and a black leather studded double wrap belt. A little sprinkle of colour for my capsule wardrobe to see in the Spring and can also wear again for the summer months. The belt studded details should help update any outfit, as on reflection all my other belts are rather basic functional Mulberry ones. I also got a sweet little headband from Accessorize for £1.75, as all the hat wearing has left my barnet a little unruly. I couldn't find a picture of the actual dress but this one is a similar style from the current website.

It was too wet out to wear my fur coat so I settled for the forest green wool coat By Marlene Birger. Plus yellow mustard chunky knit snood (best fiver I spent on ASOS - you can double/triple it up to keep your ears/nose warm), vintage sheepskin hat and Ugg boots to schelp into the office today. A quick change of foot wear at my desk and into some heels. Finally got to wear something from my capsule wardrobe, the black pencil skirt by BCBG, grey chiffon ruffle front blouse and a navy skinny knit cardi. A very secretarial 'take a letter Miss Jones' looking outfit which is not a bad thing to give me an air of seriousness. Everyone else was drowning in baggy knits and casualness so I felt very much in charge and pulled together.

You never know who you will run into in this building which is what I love about going to work.Mickey from Dr. Who (Noel Clarke) stopped by for a meeting on our floor - he's not very tall. As I was leaving to go home, I shared the lift journey down with Nick Hancock. We were both faffing about with our bags, coats, scarves and reflections. I know, not real celebs but when I used to work in TV production (round the corner in Stephen Street) one of the day's little highlights would be the possibility of sharing the lift with Ant and Dec and listen in on them rehearsing their lines for Pop Idol (this was many moons ago). Going even further back when I used to work for the BBC I used to get a kick having lunch over-looking the Blue Peter garden.

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Clashing nicely

Today I wore my B/W houndstooth swing coat as it was my biggest coat to accommodate all the layers I had underneath. A padded gilet, periwinkle blue Chloe boucle cardigan and a crepe black bib front dress. Black Wolford cotton velvet tights, grey leg warmers and pink spotty wellington boots. Not forgetting the chunky mustard yellow snood and vintage sheepskin hat. I looked a right picture with all the clashing colours and patterns but at least I was warm and stayed dry for the long commute into W1. Once I finally made it into the office 10.50am, I took the boots and legwarmers off and swapped them for a pair of patent peeptoe heels. What drew a lot of attention was the vintage sheepskin hat. It got a lot of strokes, a few jokes 'is it alive', and is it real comments? Like real what? Once everyone knew it was sheepskin then they seemed to relax around it. Personally I think it looks like a giant fluffy marshmallow.

I did a quick straw poll in the office to sound out people's opinion on what they thought of fur - since in these arctic conditions, the only thing that can truly keep you warm is a fur coat. I mentioned before I had a little collection of furs; bought when I was a fashion student from charity shops, vintage stores and car boot fairs. I gave up wearing them due to the strong opposition they seem to rouse in people. But tomorrow I may be brave enough to wear the floor length beaver coat as I doubt there will be many egg throwers about.

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Back on the treadmill

I loved my first day back at work (yesterday) - computer not working, so no emails, the phone wasn't working, so no calls! I got to catch up and see how everyone has been and after 9 months away nothing had changed! Well I got a new desk and chair but I had to scrabble around for a notebook and luckily there was already a pen on the desk. So rather than hit the ground running as I had expected it was rather calm and serene - punctuated with a flurry of messages to IT to get them to sort things out pronto.

I did stress about my back to work outfit - dress warm for the commute in and do a quick change prior, in the loos? In the end I chose my black Ghost tea dress layered with a grey metallic leopard print cardi. A long and lean vibe with heeled black ankle boots. The dress is calf length so I was able to wear long john thermals underneath for added warmth. I needed it on the journey in but truly baked on the train which had its heating on full blast. It was quite nice to get the compliments of looking like I never have had a baby before, let alone twins. But I did have a comedy bump at the time; I looked like Mr Greedy even though I was only 6 months preggers when I went on maternity leave.

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Feather brain

I have obviously got too much time on my hands as I have now come across this in Matches a Hockley feather stole. It reminds me of something Rhianna might wear, totally luxe looking and pretty fabulous too.

How well it would keep looking when worn for jaunts to the playground remains to be seen. But it was freezing today and felt like minus -2 in Crystal Palace. Why I thought it would be good to go see the dinosaurs with the curly haired beauty was lost on me. It is deceptively hilly round there and even she remained strapped in the pushchair while I huffed and puffed around the frozen lakes.

Spot the difference

OK I am being a bit lame here, one of these Mongolian sheepskin stoles is 49 quid from Karen Millen and the other is 93 quid and by Vanessa Bruno. Do I go for designer or high street??? Will it become a keep forever piece or a once worn and forgotten item relegated to the dress up box...

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Away Days

On bright cold sunny days like today I wish I was away in Europe. Maybe in Vienna, sipping hot chocolate and eating pastries. Fat chance of that happening in the near future. But it reminds me I need to get a new suitcase. This Cabin upright bag in the red car design by Orla Kiely would be perfect and is on sale. I already have this print in a medium sling bag (which I use as a nappy change bag). I just love the cheerfulness of the design and in baggage claim it would stand out from the rest suitcases.

I also bought from the John Lewis sale the bed linen in Moss and Orange ready in anticipation for the twins rooms when they are older. Much cooler than all the other stuff around for kids. Mmmm yes I know they are only 9 months old now but they will grow up very quickly!

Friday, 1 January 2010


Last night's celebration was a hoot; in these save and splurge times we ate Tesco's roast pheasant served with stuffed courgettes, parsnips and carrots. Dessert was M&S chocolate fondant with chantilley cream washed down with two glasses of pink prosecco from Waitrose - not a bad substitute for the real bubbles - Billicart Salmon Rose - THE best pink champagne for celebrations. I even managed to stay up past 1am which is a real feat considering the last four months I have never managed beyond 10pm as a lie is no longer feasible with 3 tots. So with a clear head and empty roads I took a trip on the A3 to visit a good friend A and her new baby. Now I hate that dual carriageway - I always panic that I will accidently forget to turn off and end up all the way in Portsmouth. My present for the new mum (3 day labour and ventouse) was Guerlain Midnight Secret, a true saviour for the skin/sleep in a jar and a pair of Robeeze  baby shoes. These baby shoes are so cute and with their special designs they cannot be kicked off, so hugely practical. As there is nothing more irritating than hunting around for a missing baby shoe. The new addition was a real darling and at 4 days old had a full head of hair. A had to sit on a rubber ring and we talked at length about the whole ordeal but I reassured her it will become a distant memory and happier memories will fill its place. Baby's first smile, first laugh, first words etc. If I had still dwelled on what happened to me 3 years ago with the curly haired beauty, I would never have had a second/third baby. As I too had a 3 day labour (3 midwife shift changes, legs in stirrups, you name the drugs, I had it all). I could have married that anesthetist when he arrived!    

Of course I didn't tell her that I wasn't going to have any more kids - but most people assume I won't, as having three is enough - one each and a spare. The twins early arrival was so unexpected and filled with such fear. I still get the chills from the memories of not hearing the second baby cry. But he and his brother have come on so much, showing their lively personalities. It will pass as they hit their development milestones and we can relax a bit. So far they are consistently 2/3 months behind their actual age. So in a way I am glad 2009 is well and truly over and look forward to what 2010 has to offer.

I go back to work in 10 days and am so looking forward to being in W1 again. Without the temptations of Primarni/Hennes/Zara/Mango during my maternity leave. Its been a real revelation/hardship not having my usual instant shopping fix. But I have been able to really assess what I truly need/want. and save a bundle. Next on my must have list is a classic watch. I lost out last month on an Omega Constellation watch up for auction (by 10 quid - gutted! No it was not on Ebay but from a reputable auction house) now I think I shall hold out for a Jaeger Le Couture Reverso watch. I can dream! Aim high, aim BIG for 2010 sweetie