Tuesday, 3 January 2012

London made lovely (again)

You* live in London six years, you think you know it all. Yeah, you've made it home by bus from Acton to Limehouse in the early hours, been to hipster bars that barely exist, sample-saled your face off in scary warehouses. You're in on London's secrets and you're unnecessarily smug about it.
But then your* friend gives you the most adorable, most innocently written, most unpretentious book all about the city and you realise you're a bit of a twat. The best things about it aren't down the dark alleys, made valuable simply through their exclusivity. The best things are the parts, museums and buildings holding history, ever there - telling a story.
As The Ladybird Book of London says, "What could be better than a fine day at the Zoo, or the Zoological Gardens, to use the proper name?" What indeed.
It also notes St Paul's Cathedral was "designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and was finished in 1710".
Such a treasure - an inspired gift. My camera has taken bizarrely dreamy, soft focus pictures - strange but very fitting...

*By "you" I mean me. Or more specifically "I".
*By "your" friend I mean my friend, Cesca.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Monday, 5 September 2011

Samba: Brazil-inspired fragrance

L'Artisan Parfumeur is launching a Brazil-inspired fragrance next month that is sure to give the autumn months some zest.  Batucuda is a combination of lime, fresh mint, Caipirinha and Brazlian vetiver. It will be available in the perfume creator's standalone boutiques, concessions and website from October 3 priced at £78 for 100ml and £55 for 50ml.


My favourite Virginia Woolf short story is Lappin and Lapinova. Originally published in her last collection - The Haunted House and Other Stories - it is about newly married couple Rosalind and Ernest Thorburn. Although in love, there is a discomfort between them, a divide. She craves affection but his stiff upper lip seems to block warmth and spontaneity. Rosalind realises he has a way wriggling his nose that makes him rabbit-esque. Thus she nicknames him Lappin and creates a female counterpart for herself, Lapinova. They imagine a secret forest together where they can throw off their awkwardness and unite as their rabbit alter egos. She feeds him lettuce and says he is a King Rabbit - a "rabbit that makes rules for all the other rabbits". This unites them as a couple and she becomes dependent on it to communicate with her husband.
Until one day, Ernest decides he's had enough. Rosalind tries to entice him into being Lappin and coming into their make believe forest and he tells her Lapinova - her rabbit self - has been "caught in a trap, killed".

Woolf ends the story with, "So, that was the end of that marriage". Tomorrow, I'll be detailing how to get the look of Rosalind.

Monday, 29 August 2011

Paranoid handroid

Since getting engaged, I've started taking handcare seriously. The diamond deserves more than chipped nails, I tell myself; the diamond should not have to put up with rough hands. And so, I've began compiling a list of heavenly hand products. At work, I keep a pot of fragrant Steam Cream next to my computer to ensure these 28-year-old fingers and palms don't look a day over 27. Just to be a little bit more self-indulgent, I have a second tin next to my kitchen sink to ensure that on the odd occasions  I volunteer to wash up my hands aren't dried out by Fairy Liquid.
Twice a week, I use Champneys Softening Hand Scrub to slough off dead skin and before applying Nailtiques cuticle conditioner, pre-self manicure. And the nails. Is there anything worse than chipped talons next to a beautiful engagement ring? Having been in this situation, I can say no. It looks hideous, but who has time for a proper mani more than twice a week? For long-lasting nails, Orly has it covered. On weekdays, I go for the brand's Bonder Basecoat, a nude shade and Quick Deep-Dry Topcoat. And weekends? Gold at the moment, but I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

A letter to rioters

Your hands killed history last night.
They beat it, burgled it, burnt it.
Stole more than just a few dvds, tvs and i-whatevers.
Those buildings, those memories - they didn't belong to you.
But you've taken them.
And we're angry.
It's us against you now and you against them.
Muddying the idea, confusing the cause,
Forcing us to ask questions -
Where were the police? What now for us? Where was the government? Will this happen again?
- when there should only be one:
Why is Mark Duggan dead?
But it's all about you lot now.
We saw you tearing it up in your hoods and masks.
Destroying, drunk on greed.
Fires and fights flickered across our screens
As suited and booted read the ten o'clock.
We huddled in our houses
Clutching mugs with nervous hands
Until sirens grew louder
Smoke got thicker
Footsteps came closer
And your wolves were at the door
Carrying makeshift missiles
And bags of stolen trainers.

Monday, 25 July 2011

A proposal and a yes

My boyfriend proposed to me on July 15 and this is our story. I'm not sure whether it's interesting to anyone except me, but here goes...
Simon and I met in 2003 when we were both working in a bar called Pivo. I was in third year at Stirling University and he had graduated two years previously. He lived with my best friend's boyfriend, had dreadlocks and was known for throwing amazing parties. I was really into books, wine and wished I could write poetry in French. Not exactly a match made in heaven, but for about six months we survived on chemistry until it fell apart. To his credit, Simon tried to get me back - serenading me outside me door, becoming a good friend and writing me a song for my 21st birthday. But I'm a stubborn lady and second chances have never been my forte so we didn't see each other for about six years...
Until last year, when we arranged via Facebook to meet at Latitude. We watched The Maccabees together in the sun with friends and I felt happier in that half hour than I had in a really long time. About a month later, he came to London to see me, told me he was in love with me and we've been together ever since.
And then. On July 15, we had been watching Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan at Latitude. He asked me to come on a stroll along the river and up to the forest. So we're walking along, and I'm thinking this is all pretty lovely, and the next thing I see is Louis from Admiral Fallow. I say: "Hello! I'm coming to watch you play tonight". He says: "Actually we're going to do a song for you just now Sara."
They started to play my favourite song of their's Four Bulbs and everything sort of started to move in slow motion. Simon got down on one knee, said some really lovely words and the next thing I knew I was crying and saying yes and had a beautiful ring on my finger. Platinum and diamond (just in case you were wondering) and currently being reduced to a size G. Apparently I have freakishly narrow fingers. Please excuse the chipped nails - in my defence, at least they're Chanel.