Friday, July 31, 2009

The post where I have a seizure and scare my friends rigid

Monday night unrolled much like any other night in New Jersey’s version of Stepford. Y & I pottered about in the kitchen: Y making a fabulous version of Julia Child’s Fondue de Poulet a la Creme, me poisoning myself with evil killer chili peppers, as I attempted to throw together a salad, and Finchley frolicking about at our feet, hoping for freefall snacks.

As we sat down for supper in the dining room, I noticed my empty water glass &, in a reflex action, I grabbed an icy can of Coke Zero from the bottom drawer of the fridge. It was only the second fizzy drink or soda in a can I’ve drunk in years. (I’m not a sweet drink person (unless it’s a raspberry martini) and on the very rare occasion I pick up a soda it’s in a bottle so I can finish it later.)

I poured it into my glass and gulped the carbonated liquid down. I’d forgotten that really fizzy drinks always make me burp – a lot. Charming. It was hot & steamy and I was dehydrated. I took another enormous swig. I knew it was a mistake immediately, as I felt a huge bubble trap in my throat.

Oof airlock! I exclaimed. Christ it hurt. I started to feel woozy. Grabbing each side of the table I clung on tight as my head swirled, my vision blurred and I started to black out.

The boys tell me I was out for 30 seconds. Apparently, my eyes rolled back in my head as I keeled to the left. Y &J raced around the table and stopped me falling. Y tried to stop me swallowing my tongue, but I bit his finger as my teeth were clamping. (I’m so, so sorry Y).

I came back to consciousness slowly, watching Pucci-esque colours merge in front of me with a sensation of being many miles removed. I was searching for a conversational thread I was part of & could not quite grasp - and then my vision cleared and I was staring at the boys asking what had just happened.

Interweb diagnosis points to a vaso-vagal syncope: the air bubble irritated the esophagus and over stimulated the vagus nerve. As I discovered so dramatically, vagus nerve stimulation causes both heart rate & blood pressure to drop: it is the most common cause of fainting, the above named vaso -vagal syncope. Some faints apparently are quite complex, and do give the impression of a seizure.

I have fainted three times before in similar situations many years ago. The first was on my first day of work as a banqueting waitress at a Moat House Hotel (the glamour!) aged 18. Not realising that they were boiling hot, I nicked a mushroom off a flat of catering food I was hefting through the kitchen.

It obviously obstructed my esophagus, and I fainted, fell over backwards, pouring boiling champignons a la crème everywhere and knocking myself stone cold on the kitchen floor. I woke up in hospital with a very nasty case of concussion.

The two other times were just straight faints, on my own in the kitchen whilst eating hot food. But I never got myself checked out as it was obvious what the problem was. I just never knew why. Until this week. Bless the lovely internets.

Poor boys: they didn't sign on for paramedic duty when I came to stay. I felt a bit wobbly like a weeble the next morning, but I think that was just low blood sugar as a result of not feeling like eating the rest of my supper the night before.

With reflection it is quite obvious that I was being punished for first time ever attempt at drinking hideous fizzy drink with supper. Quite right. Will stick with wine with supper in future like a proper civilised person should.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

More indulgent vegetable posting: Organic beets

GG & I are both very fond of beetroot/beets/betterave*. I particularly enjoyed writing that sentence as, until about a year ago, I loathed them. Scarred by school dinners and the vinegar soaked horrors that would be slapped down on our plates, purple juice running into the potato salad & tasting of earth, I had no idea that there could be another way.

And then, for politeness, I manfully swallowed a beet & goats cheese salad at a supper party. And loved it. So, when I saw organic beets at the Red Bank farmers market last weekend, I homed in.

Organic beets farmers market

Grown just five miles away, I bought this organic beet for a princely $1.12.

organic beet

It was crusted in earth and was a bugger to scrub, but the result was worth it.

beet scrubbed farmers market

Not least because it was so beautiful inside.

organic beet interiors

*delete as applicable

Object of desire: PLAY Comme des Garcons Sneakers

Commes Play sneakersLoving these PLAY Comme des Garcons Sneakers, which will land at Dover Street Market from September 10th.

Price: *Slight intake of breath* £190 for the low top & £205 for the high-tops

(Click on image to enlarge)

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thunder & lightning, very very frightening

I’ve arrived safely in New York, a day later than planned, (of which more later). As the train pulled into Penn Station, the station announcer was talking about severe weather conditions. What severe weather conditions? I thought to myself as I (illegally) pushed my bike onto the up escalator and out onto Eighth Avenue, sweating glamorously in the 85F heat & 90% humidity.

As I chained up my bike outside Soho House ten minutes later I was punished for my insouciance when the heavens opened, dumping enough water on me in the 30 secs it takes to chain up my bike that my carefully curled hair went straight, my shirt was saturated (hello boys) and my make up washed off.

I’m now sitting rather squelchily in a deep velvet armchair, legs swung across the arm, with a cocktail by my side, watching the torrential rain whip horizontally down Ninth Avenue, and bounce off the cobblestones.

The drawing room here at SH is on the sixth floor of an old warehouse building which affords an excellent view of umbrellas being blown inside out, women’s skirts flying over their heads and the cracks of lightning across the sky.

So much for hanging out on the roof deck here enjoying a fabulous New York summer.

Eight best summer makeup products

This was going to be my Top Ten list, but I could only come up with eight must have summer makeup pieces: less in always more in the summer. My list of top summer body products is coming soon.

Estée Lauder DayWear Plus Multi Protection Anti-Oxidant Moisturiser SPF15
$39.50 / £29.50
I've used this ever since a bottle landed on my desk from the PR. One squirt & I was hooked: the lovely sheer, tinted coverage works on a range of pale-medium skin tones and smells of heavenly cucumber. Summer in a bottle.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in Sand SPF20 ($42.00) / (£34.26)
Slightly more coverage than the EL with a creamier texture. The Sand tone seems to be universally flattering, and it stays on all day, giving a healthy, natural glow.

In the winter I am morgue pale, so I take advantage of my fake tan in the summer to wear the coral & bright pink lipsticks my skin tone can't normally take.
My current favourite is MAC's Slimshine Lipstick in Hot 90's, a sheer, glossy coral shade (discontinued, available on eBay), but I'm also loving the sheer hot pink Slimshine Urgent ($14.50) (£12.50) and MAC's matt bright coral classic lipstick Lady Danger too ($14.00) (£12.00)

Essie Coral CarouselA bright nail varnish looks great against a tan. I try to avoid looking too matchy, so if I have coral toes, then I wear pink lipstick, & vice versa. Essie Nail varnish in Coral Carousel ($8.00) is perfect right now. (I bought a bottle which I take to the salon, so I can touch up my toes inbetween pedicures.)

Sue Devitt Malay Reef Sue Devitt Seaspray Gel to Powder Blush($20) (£12.50)I love cream blushes in the summer and Sue Devitt's Malay Reef is a sheer peachy coral-pink, which blends well into tanned skin, avoiding blusher stripes. It also comes in a handy small mirrored compact.

Maybelline great lash waterproof mascaraWith a swimming pool in my backyard this summer, I am relying on the old standby Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof Mascara in Brown Black ($4.69) I still remember the days when this wasn't sold in the UK. British magazines would extol its glories monthly, and I'd beg friends to bring it back from their holidays. It stays on for days, doesn't run and never clumps. (Can't find it online in the UK, but Boots sell it)

Whilst I am loving my Sonia Kashuk Dramatically Defining Long Wear Gel Liner in Cocoa, Smashbox's Jet Set Waterproof Eye Liner in Bronze ($22) is a waterproof, smudge-proof eye liner, which doesn't look too done on the beach & makes blue eyes pop. (I'd love to always go au naturel by the water, but my light blonde lashes and eyebrows need perking up.)

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Grilled vegetables & killer stealth chilli peppers

Making a salad for supper last night, I reached over to a platter of vegetables on the counter & selected a long lime green hot pepper.

Before chopping it up, I cut off a sliver from the end, popped it in my mouth & chewed.

Oh sweet mother of God I thought I was going to die. I swear steam came out my ears like a dragon smoking crack.

I have a super high tolerance for chili: hot sauce is just another ketchup to me, but this was something quite, quite different. Swigging wine from the bottle to try to assuage the fire (capsaicin doesn't dissolve in water, only alcohol or oil), I reflected that when we grilled the peppers for Sunday lunch they were just mildly hot not suicidally gullet scorchingly dangerous. I hadn't realised that cooking them would assuage the intrinsic heat of the pepper. Lesson learned.

This is the plate of vegetables I bought at the Red Bank farmers market. Note the stealth killer peppers at centre stage. I've never seen purple bell peppers before, nor the teeny tiny glossy finger aubergines (eggplants) so, of course, I had to buy them.

purple peppers chilis finger eggplants farmers market

Grilled, the aubergines were a great success. I split them down the middle, cross scoring the flesh, then marinating them with the rest of the vegetables in olive oil, bashed up garlic & thyme leaves (fresh, not the sawdust dried kind). The purple peppers were less successful, fading to an unappealing greige colour on the grill. (Bottom left of platter pic below).

They were tasteless raw and pretty much stayed the same way cooked. Better off looking decorative on GG's Jordanian platter I think.

grilled vegetables farmers market

Monday, July 27, 2009

Off to Manhattan

Off to the city tomorrow. I'm sure gonna miss this each morning:


And how can I leave this?


I got sick last time I tried to go into the city, so there's meetings to take, stories to research and friends to see.

So, if you need me, I'll be on the Roof Deck at Soho House for the next three days.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Red Bank Farmers Market

organic carrots farmers market

Nothing gets me out of bed quicker on a weekend than the prospect of a farmers market. When I was on the West Coast I managed to tick off the Santa Monica & San Francisco Ferry markets to some success. The former was great as we were buying to cook a meal, the latter infinitely frustrating as I was about to drive down to Monterey so couldn't buy anything. (Bar scrummy Vietnamese lunch from Out The Door, The Slanted Door's takeout, which I ate on the steps of a nearby fountain.)

Today I made it to Red Bank NJ's little farmers market, which made up for its size by the breadth of organic, properly local and super fresh produce on offer. GG and I both bought bags of vegetables which we carted home for lunch and supper today.

garden flowers farmers market

New Jersey potatoes farmers market

yellow beans farmers market

Italian bread farmers market

New Jersey onions farmers market

The 2009 market season runs until November 22nd. The market is open every Sunday from 9am-2pm.

ps I'm now hosting my blog photos on Flickr, hence the larger size. Annoyingly, they automatically crop the right hand side of the image to fit the Blogger template. So to see any photo properly, you can always click on an image to see it in its uncropped glory. BTW I don't photoshop or enhance my pics in any way. What you see is what I shoot.

Picture of the day: Finchley

Bassett Hound puppy

Sunday: breakfast of champions, French style

I might as well accept it: I am never going to get svelte living in this household. GG, having been woken at some godawful hour by Finchley, drove to Atlantic Highlands to the best named bakery in New Jersey,

The Flaky Tartfor this pile of cellulite enhancers. Yup, that's how much he bought for THREE people.

croissant; pain au chocolat

Although I was threatened with eviction for putting Marmite on my croissant.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Object of desire: Norman Norell Little Black Dresses

Norman Norell LBD
1960s Norman Norell LBD $1000 from Katy Kane (via
Apart from its utter chic, and the fact that Normal Norell can be considered the American equivalent of the French Golden Age couturiers, the hidden detailing on this classic piece make it worth the investment. The belt, which appears to be a decorative element with two large black buttons, actually "disappears" inside the dress, where it closes with hooks and eyes at the center back, just under the zipper. This is not the only hidden design element in this dress, the low gathered skirt conceals a narrow fitted skirt underneath with a kick pleat at the center back.

Norman Norell LBD
1950s Norman Norell for LBD $950 from Katy Kane (via
A narrow satin band at the hemline is used to create the pouf or bubble look of the skirt at its hem.The vendor describes it as a pouf dress, but it is more accurate to describe it as Watteau backed.

More on Norman Norell here

Karlie Kloss: the next big thing

The most annoying thing about not being able to blog last year was not having an outlet for all the crazy things I heard & saw everyday. The second most annoying thing was not being able to blog all the trends and information that an editor sucks up like a sponge every day.

One of an editor's jobs is to always have an eye out for interesting models for editorial, and I saw faces that I was dying to write about. (And, flag wave to me, I always pick the girls who make it big.)

At the SS09 collections back in September I kept seeing a tall & willowy girl on the runway who intrigued me. I'd seen her at the fall 09 shows during her first season but she really stood out this time round. Whatever the show, she walked with her body at an almost impossible slant, swaying slightly but gracefully with her eyes fixed straight ahead in a furious , yet other-worldly, glare. I nicknamed her the beautiful alien.
(Louis Vuitton, SS09.

At first her look almost offended me: she was not a pattern card beauty, but her sheer other worldliness began to work on me, and by the end of the season's collections in Paris it was obvious to me that she was one of the next big things.

Her name? Karlie Kloss. She's been getting a lot of industry buzz recently as she snagged the new Marc Jacobs Lola fragrance campaign and walked at couture this month - she wore the wedding dress at Givenchy - the most coveted outfit.

I reckon she is the next big breakout model (breakout from fashion insider-ness that is). Of course, she has plenty of time: she's sixteen. Never seeing her closer than a couple of feet from the first or second row in which I sat, I had no idea then that she was so young. Born in August 1992, she was fifteen when I first saw her walking in New York in spring 08. I do find this extremely disturbing.

However, I obviously wasn't the only editor transfixed by her at the collections, as she started appearing in properly major editorial from Spring 09 - mags have a three month lead time. (Having picked up i-D, a Ten cover, a few campaigns (incl GAP)

Karlie Kloss GAP& a shoot for fashion's pornographer-in-chief, Terry Richardson in British Vogue all in 08).

Karlie Kloss Terry Richardson British VogueFor Jan 09 she shot British Vogue (Patrick Demarchelier), Vogue Italia (Steven Meisel), & US Vogue for Feb 09 (Meisel again), as well as picking up an SS Dolce campaign (Steven Klein).

Here she is in a British Vogue editorial from Feb 09, shot by Lachlan Bailey:

(So don't believe the guff about British Vogue only wanting older, larger models. What they - and every other fashion magazine & photographer - want is the newest face, regardless of age or size. Given lead times, Kloss must have been either 15 or sixteen by a month when she shot with Richardson for Vogue. I wldn't want my best friend near him, let alone a teenager.)

(image from This fall she has picked up Sportmax, Pringle (again) and this ravishing Chloe campaign shot by Mikael Jansson and styled by Marie-Amélie Sauvé,

Chloe Karlie Kloss fall 09 campaignExpect to see a lot more of Miss Kloss who, against all odds & in contrast to her alien mode on the runway, is always snapped cracking up with laughter backstage.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Locanda Verde: Possibly the perfect brunch menu in Manhattan

Okay - I know this blog is coming across as food obsessed right now, but that's partly because I am in the country writing with no social life right now and partly because I am cooking. All the time.

I'm also reading a lot of food stuff on-line to assuage my restaurant cravings, and that's how I came across the new brunch menu for Andrew Carmellini's Locanda Verde, which has recently opened in a revamped space (formerly the dreadful Ago) at de Niro's The Greenwich Hotel in TriBeCa.

Gabagoul & Grana 14
Our Crostino of the Day 7
Granola Parfait with organic yogurt and berries 12
Black Fig Insalata with arugula, Asiago, and duck brasaola 12
Sheeps’ Milk Ricotta with truffle honey and burnt orange toast 11
Local Tomatoes with watermelon and smoked ricotta from Abruzzi 13

Red Mill Organic Oatmeal with stewed fruits and almonds 11
Wood-Fired Uovos Al Forno with carona beans and black Tuscan kale 14
Zucchini Frittata with roasted tomato, goat cheese, and fiore di zucca 14
Uova Modenese with cottechino hash, spinach, and tomato hollandaise 16
Soft Scambled Farm Egg Crostino with leeks, mushrooms, and speck 15

Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with local blueberries and Meyer lemon curd 14
Crispy Polenta Waffle with local strawberries and mascarpone 15
Hazelnut Crusted French Toast with Sicilian citrus salad 15

Fed up with mediocre $10 plates of eggs & potatoes that I could knock up at home for pennies, I've been running a personal boycott against brunch in Manhattan. This, however, is making me drool. It may well be the most delicious brunch menu I've read all year. The full menu & wine list is here You can read Frank Bruni's two star review in The New York Times

Foods I love to loathe

Out of both politeness and a sense of adventure, I’ve trained myself to eat most of the ingredients I disliked growing up. A lot of this has to do with my palate becoming more sophisticated as I got older: I wouldn’t touch lettuce (I used to flush it down the loo), peas or olive oil until I was in my late teens but now cannot imagine life without them.

Some foods I just didn’t know about. I gave away chips (French fries) at school dinner until I was maybe ten: because we had never had them at home, I presumed I didn’t like them. Others I just refused to try: mayonnaise, for example, until I was 18, then I couldn't believe what I had been missing. I didn't think I liked spinach or squashes (ruined by school dinners) or creme patissiere until my late twenties. Now I love them.

On the other hand, blue cheese, okra, parsnips, mashed swede, pears and aubergines (eggplant) which all used to be on my personal Index will get eaten if put in front of me, but I certainly would never choose to eat them.

However there are some foods I cannot eat without having a gag reflex. So, just for my personal amusement, here are the foods I will not, under any circumstance, contemplate putting in my mouth:

A glass of milk:
YUK. I vividly remember the taste of the milk, in those little ice cold glass 1/3rd pint bottles, that we were forced to suck up through blue straws at Primary School. Hot milk is even worse: remember the skin that used to form on top? I’m giving myself chills just thinking about it.

My utter horror of milk doesn’t extend to yoghurt, cheese or cream (mmm) or, indeed, to milk as an ingredient (I'll whip up a nice Béchamel any day), but it does include the following horrors:

Rice pudding & semolina: these are milky puddings with the texture of wallpaper paste. What’s to like?
Porridge: more milky goop. Never forgiven my mother for feeding me this for my fifth birthday breakfast. I still remember the feeling of disbelief that she would feed me this pap on my birthday.
Bird’s Custard: Slimy, smelly, milky. Lil’sis can suck this up by the bucketload, sprinkled with hundreds and thousands. But then she’s bats.
White chocolate: A pointless exercise. Creamy, milky, melty goop; usually cheap & nasty so it leaves an oily, vegetal film in the mouth. This stuff is many things but to call it chocolate is a sacrilege

Green (bell) peppers: Merely an unripe red pepper. Sour and nasty.
Tapioca: Again, it’s the milky, frogspawn-y texture thing.
Licorice & aniseed: In the same camp as far as I am concerned. Let’s add Raki, Pernod, Anisette & Ricard in there, and Pontefract cakes too whilst we’re at it.
Cooked bananas: I blame my mother’s banana mousse for putting me permanently off the pervasive taste of blended or cooked bananas. I shudder still at the memory.
Desiccated coconut. Eurgh. The hideous, slightly giving, sawdust texture. I bear this a grudge as I refused to eat coconut milk based curries for years, not realising that desiccated coconut was a filthy invention with no relation to coconut milk.
Salad Cream, margarine, Miracle Whip or Dream Topping/Whip: 4 aberrations that offend every sensibility. What? You’d rather eat a cocktail of artificial gunk than a judicious amount of mayonnaise, butter or cream? Bonkers.
Jackfruit: a bit rarified this but, believe me, I've never forgotten the rancid taste & slippery, silky fruit
Marzipan: this upsets me as I should like this. I adore almonds & almond essence, but the texture...
Chestnuts: It's a texture thing again. That mealy thing chestnuts have got going on? Eurgh.
Honey & Dates: Whilst I eat fruit continually, I have come to the conclusion that I do not like dense naturally super sweet things. And as for that weird papery/sticky/oozy thing with dates...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Tomato & mozzarella salad with basil & Dijon mustard dressing

As I so frequently mention, my mother is a brilliant cook. She has a tenacious memory for food facts & ingredients, collects cookbooks voraciously which she reads in bed at night, can cook any style of food (she prepped & cooked a fully authentic Chinese buffet for 120 people for my 21st) and taught me not to be scared in a kitchen.

Most of the day to day recipes that I carry in my head have been inherited from her. Altho when I say recipe I don't mean lists or weights as neither she nor I cook our classic repertoire by rote but more by feel and informed guesswork. This makes writing down recipes a chore as I rarely have a clue to the exact proportions of any recipe's ingredient that I use from day to day. (Bar pastry, breads & cakes of course.)

At the weekend I made a tomato & mozzarella salad for our all-American steak & baked potato supper. The obvious dressing was my mother's basil & Dijon mustard vinaigrette which can only be made in a food processor. It goes something like this:

a slug of extra virgin olive oil
a slug of vegetable oil (purists may wince but if yr good olive oil is very fruity or grassy then cutting it with a neutral oil stops it catching at the back of the throat)
2 tsps of Dijon mustard
a splash of Balsamic vinegar
a good pinch of Maldon salt & freshly ground black papper
a bunch of basil leaves, de stemmed.

Shove it all in a Magimix or similar and blend till all the ingredients are incorporated.

The mustard & oil will emulsify, so you get a lovely beige coloured, thick dressing flecked with green basil.

If it's too thick add more oil.
Correct seasoning.
Pour over a dish of sliced tomatoes & mozzarella. Avocado would be good too.

Tomato & mozzarella salad with basil & Dijon mustard dressing

New obsession: Kundan earrings

Kundun earrings I wear earrings every day, not studs or discreet hoops, but long dangly earrings which flash & sparkle through my long, blonde hair. Vintage chandeliers, Freedom for Topshop, the lovely ones that Nonsense On Stilettos sent me as a gift, cheapos from street markets: I'm not fussy.

But my absolute day to day favourites are made from papier maché & beads. I've written before about my love of these Indian lakh earrings which I have bought in Manhattan from ABC Carpet & Home's brilliant jewellery section, but, given my bad habit of lobbing them into my handbag, I've now broken them all.

Looking for replacements, I found these faux Kundan earrings on-line. Whilst they haven't displaced my love of lakh earrings, they are pretty high up on the list. They arrive tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Puppy P**n: Finchley arrives in Jersey

So lil'Finch arrived this afternoon and of course we are all in love. His skin, ears & paws are far too big for him so he feels like he's wearing a soft fur coat over his bones. His silkiness and extra folds of skin are such that he slips straight through your hands when you try to catch him: for all his little-ness, he moves like greased lightning. He has also shown great interest in my suede moccasins.

We went to the park in separate cars so we could slowly introduce Max to Finchley in a neutral space.

We needn't have worried. Max could not care less. Which is a relief, as that means no dog warfare here.

Right, I am off to lock up all my shoes.

Manbag suggestions

I met an old friend, Monsieur Avocado, for catch-up drinks (well, a chili cilantro margarita for me, a club soda for him) on the Soho House roof deck a few weeks ago. He was slinging around a particularly unsavoury ripped & shredded falling apart black nylon rucksack which, surprisingly, even he agreed needed to be replaced tout suite. (The surprise stems from the fact that I distinctly remember that, although a pretty snappy dresser, he had holes in the soles of his shoes when we dated.)

Although he continues to maintain that I wrote this post about him, (I didn't), he appears to trust my taste enough to come up with a series of alternatives to the urban backpack worn over both shoulders which I described thus:

"The quickest way to look academically challenged. It's time to leave behind the wipe-clean trappings of childhood and buy a Proper Bag."

He's now emailed me twice to remind me that I offered to come up with some manbag ideas. So, to save him turning up on my doorstep demanding the list, here are the criteria: when he's not ignoring the subway on his doorstep in Brooklyn to take $20 cabs into the city, he walks to and from work so he needs a sturdy bag to carry the astonishingly amount of stuff he he deems necessary for a day in the badlands of Manhattan. He's willing to spend what I call proper money for something good, and we are looking for durable leather, as opposed to cheaper canvas. (Altho I have included one waterproof bag for variety.) I only really like satchels for men, so that is what I have focused on.

First off is the Mulberry Barnaby in Chocolate (also comes in Oak & Black) $650 or £425 which has a canvas strap & suede interior. I rate Mulberry bags extremely highly for quality & durability. (I have the Mulberry Anthony which just gets better as it gets older. Yes, I know it's a manbag but the girl version is too small for my liking)

Mulberry Barnaby
The J Crew leather postal messenger bag $595
This is a recreation of the oil-tanned mailbags carried by the US Postal Service from 1868 until the 1970s, when the original leather satchels were replaced by blue nylon bags.

J Crew leather postal messenger bagThis is, of course, an investment piece for those with inverted fashion snobbery of the 'shiny and logos are not for the cognoscenti' school of thought.

For those with a smaller budget, and with less tendency to over-analyse their purchases, may I suggest the above bag's little brother, the J Crew Artisan leather messenger bag $225, made to a traditional Florentine craftsman's design,

J Crew Artisan leather messenger bagWee Birdy first alerted me to Mimi's bags, so here is something for my British readers (altho she can ship abroad too). This is the Mimi Baggins in waxed oilskin £177

If money really is no object then the deerskin Prada Cervo Messenger Bag $1,750 is an investment buy. Prada leather is always beautiful and, unlike many of their competitors at similar price points, Prada bags last & last.

rada Cervo Messenger Bag

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

New Topshop denim collection

I am not known for my interest in jeans. Sure denim can be useful: in the summer I have plenty of denim short shorts for mooching, and even some Bermudas to wear with heels and a blazer, but jeans? I have maybe three pairs in rotation: some wide legged ones from Gap to wear with Converse & a leather biker jacket, skinny Topshop Baxters that I wear in winter with boots/wellies/whatever I am wearing on my feet to avoid the bone-chilling NY cold, and some rolled boyfriend jeans for slouching around in.

But really, I'm just not a jeans girl, preferring to wear shorts or dresses as for those with good legs, an indifferent middle and an ample bosom, jeans aren't often enormously flattering. That doesn't stop me wanting to wear them tho. I have plenty of pairs in my storage locker, testament to the fact that I have tried - and failed.

And then, of course, there is all the wishful thinking I do. I get releases sent to me that look as if they may hold the key to my jeans antipathy and I imagine myself in the looks on display -but, truthfully, I would need a bucket of Polyjuice Potion to wear the majority.

Today's bout of wishful thinking was courtesy of the Topshop press office who sent out their autumn/fall denim manifesto this morning. They rather optimistically believe that
"For AW09/10 TOPSHOP has all your denim needs sewn up. Whether you’re looking for an
ankle-grazer, a straight-leg, a boyfriend jean, a jogger or the ultimate skinny; with styles featuring rips, slashes, studs, acid washes, paint drips or even sequins, TOPSHOP has your perfect pair."

Moving swiftly past the proffered denim jogging pants, & the promise of a 'denim harem pant' - yes, really - for later in the season, as surely only those who really believe what they read in magazines, are possessed of boundless self-confidence or those under eighteen will wear such things, I swiftly realise that to be cast as a Topshop jean aficionado, the wearer must possess the extremely lithe & toned legs of a supermodel.

The keys styles are:

The Jamie £40

Made from super-stretch denim, the ankle has Topshop’s narrowest ever circumference, 17cm. Washes will include pale grey, faded blue, black & indigo.

Topshop Jamie skinny jean
The Pullon Jegging £35:
A pull-on jean/legging hybrid with an elasticated waist and drawn-on fly/pocket detail. Versions include ruched sides, stirrups, zips and slits, in a variety of colours & acid washes.

Topshop jeggingsThe Cyber Panel Skinny £45
Features zips by the front pockets & raised linear graphic panels at the top front & on the knees.

Cyber Panel SkinnyThe Anti-fit £40
Loose around the hips, for a comfortable fit with a tapered ankle. (Surely only for the EXTREMELY brave, as the loose hips & tapered ankle will give the dread carrot leg effect to all but the skinniest Minnies)

Topshop anti fit jeanThere's also a knitted denim jegging, and promise of various ripped/shredded/studded skinny numbers. And Hallelujah, Corey - a boyfriend jean and Martha - a classic straight leg make an appearance in the core collection and are worth a look.

But, if you want to sport a fashion forward pair of jeans this winter, according to Topshop, you'll need matchstick legs and a bucketload of confidence as skinny is the only way to go.

Finchley the Bassett puppy update

So Finchley arrives in Stepford tomorrow. The boys were sent some up to date photos today along with the instructions on how to care for him over the first few months. Apparently his paws and ears are so disproportionately large that he trips over them constantly, & his growing skeleton means that he has to be carried upstairs and over steps until he is a year old.

However, given the photographic evidence below, I'm more concerned about his apparent predilection for chewing* up the available flora. Stepford was constructed in the middle of a forest and it would appear that the backyard will present as one large smorgasbord for lil'Finch.

Bassett hound puppy
Let's hope no one in the vicinity of Stepford is growing pot. Given that expression, the last thing he needs is more dope.

* Am also a trifle concerned for my shoe collection.