Saturday, January 21, 2012

usa phone diary #1

After spending 2 days in Boston I'm now in Amherst, Massachusetts with my stomach full of clam chowder and my fingers slowly giving themselves up to frostbite. Here are some of the things I've seen, eaten and done since arriving. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

There's Something About Sidney

Sidney Williams in 10 Magazine (Spring Summer '11).

Has anyone else noticed more and more plastic carrier bags appearing in magazine editorials as props? I like it. It's a kind of 'Hey, the Jil Sander bag is cool, but I have these ones underneath my kitchen sink too.' approach. I actually know someone who took a plastic bag to a club after her handbag broke. True story. 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ice Cube on the Eames

"Before I did rap music I studied architectural drafting" Who knew!

via 2 or 3 things I know.

This is an old version of the Eames Lounge Chair we have at home in Bristol. It used to be my Grandpa's and I think he bought it in Habitat in the Seventies, unable to afford the original Eames design. I've always loved it so much, though we don't tend to sit on it much these days as without the ottoman footstool you feel like you're falling backwards into a black hole every time you sit down. (It takes admirable ab strength to get back up again.) But I like the idea of one day reuniting it with a footstool and sinking into it again maybe with a gin and tonic and a tall stack of magazines at my elbow.


After what feels like the longest wait ever, today I leave for the United States. I'll be spending a semester studying in Massachusetts and couple of months traveling around afterwards. The blog will continue as normal, there'll probably just be more pancake stack coverage. If anyone has any must-sees or tips for Boston (where can I find the best lobster roll?) please do sling them my way. See you on the other side!

Monday, January 16, 2012

crushing on holiday style

I can't stop thinking about Emma's Haitian holiday snaps over at Anywho. There is a fine art to holiday dressing and Emma's approach is completely up my street. Those sherberty Stine Goya trousers paired with these Nike Lunars are what dreams are made of! 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

weekend wishlist

On a side note, I think I may be the last person in the world to have jumped on the Arrested Development bandwagon. It feels like when I was 10 and had an awful realisation that after years of turning my nose at at houmous I actually loved it. That sort of, 'man, I've been wasting time' feeling. Still, better late than never. All I want to do this weekend is guffaw at back to back episodes and then awkwardly replicate Buster's behaviour when forced to socially interact. 

Friday, January 13, 2012


A few things on my mind: Taking a trip to California to visit my friends studying at Berkeley and UC Santa Cruz, a desire which has been further increased after coming across fantastic blog A Restless Transplant, written by a guy who has jacked in his design job and set off on a road trip around America in his VW. Think lots of beautiful photographs of coastal california (and the verdant landscape of the pacific northwest too..) Green bomber jackets as worn by this Susanna via Hel Looks. The Giles Spring/Summer 2012 collection which I've only just seen it and have been completely wowed by. All of those metallics and beautiful swan prints! I've never had any idea what sort of dress I'd like to wear if I ever get married but I think Giles's laser-cut silver number comes pretty close. Lately I've been wearing my puffa jacket a lot and really loving it, so particularly appreciated the puffa shot on Stevie Dance's blog. Also thinking about the 90s tortoiseshell sunglasses on the Topshop website and lobster rolls. I've never even eaten a lobster roll but I'm experiencing a ridiculous craving for seafood at the moment after reading this post by Vanessa Jackman and reading about the Lobster Roll eatery in Amagansett, New York. 

Eley Kishimoto Flash Case

Hey guys, check it out. It's me holding a shiny new Eley Kishimoto laptop case. A proper laptop case! That's like, a really grown up thing to have isn't it? When you spend money on something that's just going to look after your possessions and stop them from getting scratched or being treated without consideration. Like a babysitter just for your technological stuff. Whatever next, blow dries and mortgages?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Faith

I've been eyeing my friend Jack's Northern Soul sweatshirt for ages and given that he's going to China for a few months and I'm off to America I figured now was the time to buy it without having to fight him for 'wearing rights' in Manchester. The inside has that 'soft as a baby's bum' fleecey quality to it, sure to disappear after a few washes but lovely to stroke for now. It's also refreshing to actually own a jumper that isn't a solidly hot commitment of wooly knitwear. Instead I can relish it's sweatshirt material and chuck it on oversized with skirts and mood dependent, hardy heels or trainers. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mr Touitou

Fantastic interview with APC's Jean Touitou over at Interview Magazine. But of course it's fantastic. I don't think it would be possible to read a bad interview with Touitou, he always manages to slip in a few thought-provoking gems. 

"Being rich is fine, but there should be a limit to it... For many in this business, if they can make something and multiply it by nine, it’s like having a shot of heroin in the arm, a kick. I don’t have a kick from that. I get off on running the company, making a decent profit, paying people fairly, and having more than a decent life for myself—but that’s it."

I've been thinking a lot recently about the ways in which people approach business. How to do something that works financially whilst staying true to your own values and interacting healthily with others along the way. In other words not being wooed by the big bucks when it's at odds with a healthy lifestyle philosophy. It sounds obvious but I really think it's much easier said than done. Jean Touitou appears to have it sussed. I like that he lets his employees use the A.P.C studio for band practise because he likes seeing amps and music equipment being carried through the office as a reminder of creativity.

I don't have any clear or concrete resolutions for 2012, but chilling out a little bit (tempering the internal monologue and tendency to over think things) is something I'd like to do. Working hard while remaining calm and able to switch off when necessary. So Jean Touitou is my Poster boy for 2012. Along with The Dude.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

personal wears

top, topshop, dungarees, secondhand.

It's probably been over a year since I last wore my dungarees. But today I slummed it in the library like a dungareed bumblebee listening to Chic and it felt good.

Monday, January 09, 2012

Hobbies and The Hobbyist

When I was younger any sort of 'hobby' generally consisted of sitting quietly in a corner and drawing. I would draw people for hours on end, creating networks of invented families and communities on sheets of paper, their names and jobs and pets and likes and dislikes written next to them. That's pretty much all that I remember drawing when I was younger and sometimes I'd write stories about these characters too.

Unlike with many other hobbies there wasn't really an visible end point, I'd just keep on drawing and I think it's because of this that I really like the idea of conventional hobbies, the type that require input and then you can finish and stand back and admire before starting, if you wish, all over again. I'm interested in the sort of hobbies that people had at school, especially the ones that were fitted into a weekly schedule. My Mum tried to get me to 'do stuff' when I was little but a couple of failed gymnastics lessons, a muddy football match as a 5 year old and a sprinkling of non-plussed piano lessons never came to fruition. (I never practised the piano and preferred to spend the lessons talking to Ms Gowdy in her lovely big Clifton house with the big cream carpet that you had to take your shoes off before walking on.) I was never that bothered about extra-curricular activities and my Mum was never one to push so instead I returned to my drawing with a relieved sigh. I did join the Brownies when I was 7 and I remember enjoying that. I liked that to get badges I only had to do the things I enjoyed anyway, like writing short stories and baking and this all suited my preference for hobbies that were non competitive and you could just take your time with.

Hobbies aren't something I think an awful lot about now. But when I start talking to somebody who has a distinctive hobby, I always want to hear more. People with a passion are naturally attractive and when it's something that seems unusual or based on skill or maybe just something you haven't considered for a while it's always interesting to hear more. Often hobbies are only consciously considered in a boring context, plucked from the air in an obligatory way when writing a CV. 'Travelling, socialising, cooking...blah blah..' Pretty much everybody likes those things, myself included, but what about the hobbies that take a greater level of input and commitment? I commit to writing this blog and I have done for a long time but it's not necessarily a 'skill based' hobby. When I think of skill based hobbies, I think of crafty hobbies, like my Aunt who makes amazing quilts  or maybe something like 'Horse riding' or 'Fishing' because those were the kinds of hobbies we learned to say in French lessons, inferring they were the approved activities of pen pals.

Other peoples hobbies are inspiring, especially when they make you focus on your own, or the things you'd like to know more about. They also make you think about time management and how to make the most of your time to do the things you really want to do rather than just idling away hours on crap. And that's massively liberating, especially when it involves turning off the wi-fi and returning to 'the real world' to fully concentrate on something. I like the idea of calming hobbies like doing puzzles or hobbies that involve ticking things off a list. The brilliant DJ Derek has his own hobby, aside from reggae djing, that involves visiting all of the Wetherspoons pubs around the UK; odd but cool, he just hops on a bus and visits each one.

Opening Ceremony and Twin Bike teamed up to produce the Hobbyist series which documents the hobbies of well known creatives, and I really really love it. The chosen hobbies range from needlepoint to cars, showing that hobbies can be something requiring total concentration or none at all. Every time I watched one of these videos I loved it more than the last. Watching Lake Bell zooming around Hollywood in a shiny red 600-horsepower car to the Knightrider theme made me gasp "I want to be youuuu" and I can't even drive and have never, ever been interested in fast cars. On the other hand Max Osterweis of Suno has a more obscure hobby, a sport called 'Ride and Tie', a cross-country event that involves two team mates and one horse and is awesome in an equally alien way.

There is so much potential for variety in other peoples hobbies and the fact they're so personal makes them extra interesting. Hobbies tell you a lot about a person and also what they want to get out of their interests- switching off, creating or bettering their bodies and minds. I urge you to watch the Hobbyist videos-I'm posting all 5 parts of the series because they're all inspiring and also because they're hilarious in parts (I'm looking at you, Dean Spunt from No Age on your nerdy 80s scooter.)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

Jalouse does Spoof: Une Fille Comme Les Autres

Matthew Frost and Jalouse Magazine have created "Une Fille Comme Les Autres" a clever and hilarious spoof video which lays out the successful formula for the classic viral lookbook video and absolutely hits the nail on the head! 

I've spoken before about online viral lookbooks and videos for brands and how they end up being a bit of a advertising heavy lifestyle pornfest. (Think the Todd Selby for Zara video featuring Lucy Chadwick) I'm of the view that it's great to experience a bit of glossy voyeurism and as long as you realise (as with any other advertising) that it's a healthy portion of branding rather than a 'real life' film showcasing of somebody just from the love of the directors own heart.

 Jalouse's parody is brilliant with Matthew Frost narrating as a Woody Allen style marketing dude, brainstorming ideas for the quintessential lookbook video while Ashley Smith skips around Paris acting out them out. 'We should feature a super hot chick..that model Ashley Smith and the title...Une Fille Comme something-very 60s, Godard, they love that shit..' The video proceeds to follow the typical formula of sexy yet natural girl wandering aimlessly yet with purpose; through bookshops, grinning with friends and miraculously changing outfits every few seconds with plenty of product placement in the process. 

High five to Jalouse for poking fun at the modern day lookbook, which we often find ourselves falling head over heels in love with, while managing to follow, with a large portion of irony the exact framework to make us coo. 

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Heattech and Names

One of my oldest friends Lily is in town this week. We met at the age of 5 and bonded over our mutual hate for each other whilst fighting for the affection of a friend in the playground. We like each other more these days but don't get to see much of each other after she moved to Edinburgh 5 years ago. But she's in town and while out for drinks last night she gave me a little present-a name necklace she picked up whilst in India last year! A name necklace, one of those classic items wedged at the back of my head that I knew at some point I'd like to get around to buying but never have. But Lily got it for me and that makes it a million times for special (partly because she never bothers with birthday gifts. Even those she receives from others; she accidentally and spectacularly smashed the Chinese teapot I gave her last year mere seconds after opening it!)

I don't buy new clothes that often, my frugal brain always seems to mentally slap my hands away when they're caressing items in shops. But when I find something that works well I often end up wearing them for multiple days in a row sort of trotting along to myself thinking 'this is going really well, isn't it?' So a couple of new purchases; along with all of my new 'temperature appropriate items' (hullo puffa jacket, hullo hat and gloves, hullo vests) I bought a couple of heat tech tops from Uniqlo as well as some (not so temperature orientated but still a much welcomed addition) royal blue cords from the Topshop sale which have padded out some lacklustre corners of my wardrobe. 

The Uniqlo top I went for is from the men's department and because the fit is so nice I've been wearing it most days as a t-shirt. It is the perfect 'tight grey top'; the neckline neither too low nor too high, lightweight and flattering without being too tits-a-go-go. It is snug without being sweat inducing (ever) and I think I'm going to have to stock up on a few more because I like them so much and they're so easy to chuck on.

And about the cords...I know I made a slightly high and mighty declaration the other week that I would never dabble again in Topshop jeans but that was after a bit of a teary session in one of their changing rooms; it's much better when you can just go home and order a pair online, saving yourself from the horrified look of the sales assistants when you ask if they can get another size for you. Plus unlike their other jeans these cords are highwaisted and I mean highwaisted for real, no fanning around on that crucial muffin top cut-off point and I always find their others do. Perfect for tucking some soft heat tech into.

Wednesday, January 04, 2012


Be right back! Posting may slow down a little while I have essay hand-ins and attempt to work out how on earth to pack six months worth of loot into my suitcase before I leave for America in two weeks. 

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

New Years Eve

New Years Eve was a good one, but spending the whole of the next day in bed watching TV (and sharing an all round Big Fat Quiz of the Year realisation of 'Oh, Jamie's a bit of a burke isn't he? That's a shame..' ) with my ladyfriends and making a big old macaroni cheese together in the evening was probably my favourite part.

Sunday, January 01, 2012