Monday, 30 December 2013

Christmas Memories

2013 was quite a cracker, by now we would usually be sunning ourselves in St Barths and recovering from the excess. This year finances and timings have made the annual pilgrimage a non-starter.  I have to confess that I am missing that magical, balmy warmth of the Caribbean, however the silver lining is that Christmas festivities have not been curtailed by thoughts of bikinis and thigh skimming evening dresses on New Year's eve.
As usual festivities were a plenty, therefore picture taking was not, the two seem to be inversely proportional.

We ended up with around 10 little ones and about 15 grown ups.  The local Waitrose had all of their nibbles at half price AND were still doing 3 for 2 (Central London is a ghost town by Christmas Eve so pickings are rich for those with nerves of steel, who are prepared to wait it out)
The Champagne was from Aldi and according to the Which? guide is less acidic than Moet and Bollinger.  I downed nearly two bottles over the course of the evening and suffer from epic hang-overs, and yet the next day I was good to go with present unwrapping at 8am with  no headache at all.
All of the (gown-up) guests had stuck to the dress-code of 'dress up for Christmas'.  Sequins were aplenty and elegant and mainly in black which always looks expensive.
One of my friends wore a beautiful crystal necklace from Anthropologie which I loved, it looked something like this...
Another wore the long Chanel necklace that everyone covets and few own, her clever husband chose it all by himself a few years back, it is true that classics never date....
I wore a long red mermaid skirt and bustier (from Coast) with a cropped white cashmere Carolina Herrera cardigan, channeling Mrs Christmas to the best of my ability.

Christmas day is a haze of wrapping paper, booze and mountains of food.  I wore skinny white jeans, Rene Caovilla beaded heels and a beaded Carolina Herrera tunic, all the better for tucking in to seconds, thirds and the obligatory chocolate eating and films after Her Majesty's address.
The last few days have been more of the same, but we have transposed ourselves to the cottage where the green ribbons that I used for present giving have been re-cycled as decoration.  My theme was 'natural' and ribbons (mainly as this is what I found in the garage)....

 If anything stayed still long enough, it got beribboned, including every kitchen drawer knob...
 The re-used Easter wreaths....
 And Mr B (who didn't even wake-up)...

I hope that everyone reading this is enjoying the festive season, and it's not over yet, we can legitimately feel Christmas-y until 6th January this year!

Sunday, 15 December 2013


Seville has been a beautiful experience, the sun has shone and in the main squares it was 20 degrees, but since the summer shimmers at a startling 40 degree plus average temperature, the streets are built to maximise wind tunnel and shade.
The architecture is so diverse that it is almost a Disney land small world adventure (except for the fact that the buildings are each more huge than the next).  As the various invaders settled here from Romans to Visigoths to Byzantines to Moors, they each determined to leave a bigger impression than the previous.  The result is the most spectacular melting pot of styles.
The local inhabitants dress to reflect the stylish surroundings, and it is the older generation that leave the best impression. Immaculately turned out swarthy men with white hair, coloured cords, Oxford shirts and suede bomber jackets, and perfectly coiffed ladies sporting vintage furs and elegant court shoes seem to inhabit every restaurant, cafe and bar from dawn until dusk.
I am not sure if we arrived at some kind of festival time, but everyone seems to party here all of the time.
The children are all beautiful in cashmere coats with velvet collars and matching round toed shoes that come in every colour under the sun.
Thank goodness I didn't have a daughter or I might just have broken the bank in my stay.
The credit card got a bit of a hammering, but more on that later.
I never take enough pics, but these will serve of a reminder of some of what we saw..

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Christmas-y things...

My posts of late are a little sombre so here is some fluff...

Tee hee, couldn't resist it... to think that Mr B once HATED her, and now they sleep with their paws entwined.
Miss B has completed our strange disfunctional little family, if anyone has the time and is thinking about a dog, just go for it, they bring you unending joy!
Last week we walked up to Piccadilly to check out the windows at Fortnums, I think that this year they win my vote for the best in town.  The photos don't do them justice, but they are so beautiful with lots of tiny details that make you stand still and observe.  London is so hectic, it's quite refreshing watching everyone taking time and enjoying the moment, and indeed, talking to each other.

Then we headed to the Dorchester for a glass of fizz, top tip, the cheapest wine is £13 a glass and Champagne is £16, why would you hesitate?
I love Claridges, but the Dorchester is coming a close second at Christmas, the rich colours and relaxed non -judgmental service are a winner...

 The fabulous gingerbread hotel...
 I wore low heels for comfort, my coast lace dress, THICK tights and a super warm shearling (about which I now feel a bit hypocritical/uneasy after my last post!)

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Harmless fun...

Reading and writing about fashion on blogs is my escapism, I love to learn from everyone else, and use my blog to catalogue my own clothes, mainly on reread, my reaction is 'what was I thinking?' But it is all harmless/pointless fun.
And then I read this story

It's one of those awful features that you know that you don't want to read, but feel that you should, so that you are informed about what is going on in the world. I haven't included pictures in this post, as unless you choose to see it, some of these images you will never want to have in your brain.

There was a time when when on reading something like this, we would all feel futile, we know it is awful but in the scheme of things what can we do?

On the positive side, H & M and Acne have already withdrawn all of their angora products.  Imagine the power of the blogging community, if the thousand or so people who pass by me, were to write about this or email the big retailers and request that they stop buying angora products and the 10 thousand or so people who pass by each of  them email the big retailers with their opinion (and Bourbon and Pearls that's a direct appeal to you to get back to the keyboard baby!)

If you read the feature, there IS ethically sourced stuff out there, but an outfit would have to cost thousands to have that provenance.

I used to be in a big corporate, it takes less than 100 direct contacts from the general public to make it into a management meeting discussion.  The general idea is that it is 1000 to 1, so for every 1 person who does contact directly, 1000 are thinking the same but just don't bother.

It's the season of goodwill, do something to spread this message, we have so many choices, we can say 'no' to fluffy jumpers that are the result of these horrors.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Camel and chocolate...

I wrote about a new blog which looks at how to buy and wear clothes rather than just buying more a couple of posts back.  I read this post on I won't wear sludge brown about rules for colours.  I don't know anything about colour analysis, but when I put this outfit together (sticking to the rules for my 'soft' type) it definitely looked a lot better with the sludge brown scarf than with the colourful pashmina that I had planned to go with it.  Looking distinctly manly in the second pic, but the brown blends with the hair and skin tone and makes my complexion look more even without makeup.  Here is previous pic of said orange scarf and skin looking pretty drained and pale (despite tons of make up).
What do you think? Have you had your colours done? Do you shop with your colour swatches?

Saturday, 16 November 2013


For me blogs are like glossy magazines, the fun place to get away from the humdrum and real world.
But when this happens...
It feels beyond pathetic to be thinking about Christmas and clothes.
I have seen a great fundraising activity that is so easy to do and can be started within a couple of hours. I have got my gym to take part, it took about 30 seconds to persuade them.

Simply sell a small bottle of water, and once the water has been drunk fill it with coins and return.  All funds are then donated to DEC.  I saw it first at my son's school, but it's so easy to do, you don't need the labels on all the bottles. Just one poster.  Does anyone know someone at Starbucks or Costa that they could hassle to do this too?

Friday, 15 November 2013

Dressing the tree...

I persevered with a real tree, but it was so unpopular, little needles sticking upright in the carpet, showers of pine every time I did any hoovering, dogs feeling sorry for themselves with splinters in their paws. So this year I bit the bullet and bought a fake. It looked lustrous and snowbound in the pics. The reality was a little more paltry.  Do you remember the story of the little Christmas tree so ugly and unassuming next to all its beautiful neighbours? As with all ugly ducklings, my heart went out to it and I am determined to make it a sight to behold.
Bella helped, but first she had to take out the penguin....

We filled the tree with woodland folliage, fruit and flowers....
Then added lights and fun things to cover the base....

And then hearts, baubles and goodies...(complete with the angel on the top)
All sorts of random bits make it on to the tree, from first shoes, to loved toys and old crackers that were too beautiful to throw away.  The great thing is, at this time of year, when tidying, if I find something that I am really not sure what to do with, it quite often ends up hidden in the Christmas tree?

If you like something a little different on your table at Christmas, check out Frou Frou and Thomas, it is where the crackers below are from, they are works of art!

Do you work to a super stylish theme and do you think it is too early to be setting up for Christmas? Should I have been out trying to bag some Isabel Marant instead?!