Thursday, 1 May 2008

Where's your head (wrap) at?

It seems head wraps, ribbons and general sparkling embellishment are the raison d'etre amongst fashionista slebs at the moment. I have been observing the growing popularity of such decoration of the head with interest. Being an established fan of ribbons ( see earlier post) and a recent fan of Gossip Girl, I have been delighted to see the attention that Blair Waldorf's headgear has been getting, although I have to say the sloany pony look is not really my stuff, and the more BoBo ( see this week's Grazia, genius) look of Serena Van Der Woodsen catches my eye a little more. My perennial style crushes MK and Ashley Olsen have been spotted all wrapped up and the lovely people at have catalogued the looks of LA's finest. The best thing about this look is your hair needs to be a bit messy, so that suits me. It also seems like you can wrap pretty much anything around your bonce for different looks, day to night stylee. I particularly like Urban Outfitters' Linked Headwrap and the Chain Braided Headwrap, which is sophisticated and summery at the same time, as is the gorgeous Skinny Feather Headwrap. For a Fame feel, American Apparel's lamé headbands can't be beaten.
With this in mind, and the fact that I have £4.79 in the whole world, I experimented a bit with stuff I have hanging around - turns out you can pretty much wrap anything around your head, as I hoped! I think the fringe hinders rather than helps but I reckon it just changes the look - if your hair is short for example, it will look different to someone with Pre-Raphaelite waves. I expect one of these looks will be gracing my tete at The Boy's gig in Brizzle tonight - see you there!

Monday, 28 January 2008

Big RedBubble of love...

Newsflash! Well, to me anyway. I discovered a site called Redbubble today, and it is my New Favourite Thing. A kind of free-for-all collective of photographs, art and designs which anyone can upload and then sell through their gallery service. The designs can be printed onto t-shirst (American Apparel ones, so hopefully should be well-fitting) and they are, above all, very cheap! About £13 for a design, with about £2 shipping if you are in the UK. Pretty amazing.
I was particularly taken with the "Tweet" design by Lou Lou, a lovely little bird drawing, which I now WANT on the cranberry t-shirt. The photos are the really special thing though. Everything from personal photos to landscapes and close-ups. You can even have them printed on canvases or framed as part of their package.
I also really like their philosophy on art. Here is a choice morsel;
"I believe RedBubble is part of a revolution in the artistic market. It is about the rediscovery that art can be embedded in the fabric of society rather than spread on top like a thin veneer of Vegemite. "
Love it!

Photo coutesy of Diana Calvario @

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

It's just a little style crush...

Have you ever had a style crush on someone? I get them all the time, but I find it extremely disconcerting when it's focused on someone who is 1 day older than my youngest little sister! It starts the same as any other crush does, but is focused on the someone's style instead of their attractiveness. You get the excited feeling of anticipation, but this time it's about the next incredible accessory your crush subject. Pretty sad really, and I don't know if anyone else does this or if I'm just 'special'! My latest style crush is on my new kindred spirit Clare. I will namecheck her because I'm sure she will be excited by this. I say kindred spirit - she is the Boy's bandmate's girlfriend, and is the girl I would have liked to have been at 18, but we have similar views on everything from fashion to the band. Arty, naturally stylish and confident she makes and wears her own clothes with aplomb. Her style is a sort of cross between seventies hippy traveller and urbanite eighties, with a little vintage thrown in. Brooches at the neck, hand-customised belts and hand-made muslin dresses form part of her look, whilst another component is coloured tights and jersey dresses. Although I will feel like a creep and a 16-year-old, I imagine her festival-chic look might be forming part of mine this spring...

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Boy jeans meet girl jeans

Is it wrong to have sexual desires about jeans? The Boy's best mate was wearing the best pair of Topman boys jeans I've seen for ever the other night, meaning that I complemented him an inordinate amount. This led to slight peacock-stalking from him and a few mardy glares from the Boy, but I still can't get them out of my head. I want them! and I want the Boy to have them even more! They were a weird kind of eighties wash, punky but not too OTT and very skinny. They reminded me of the kind of wash my jeans had when I was five in the early nineties, a grainy blue but thankfully without the elasticated waistband and grass stains. If I can find a pair small enough they will definitely be in mine and the Boy's wardrobes this spring, his'n'hers style, his worn with the inevitable vest, whilst mine will look great with a checked shirt and my trusty Converses. Bring on dressing like I did when I was five!

Saturday, 19 January 2008

This week's most wanted - Office Roper Boots

This week I am mostly lusting after Office's black leather roper boots. Having wanted some for ages, I consulted my finances, and seeing their parlous state have decided to hold back, despite the obvious lust these babies inspire. Similar beauties have been seen recently on the feet of Kiera Knightley and Kate Moss and would be a great replacement for my worn-out, disgusting old Uggs (see earlier post). However, on visiting the Office sale today in a state of desperate anticipation, I found the white version priced at £25, but sadly I must be running with a crowd as the black ones were still far, far too expensive for my sad little empty purse, hence they remain tantalisingly on the shop shelf instead of on my wardrobe shelf, and make a virtual appearance here!

Tuesday, 8 January 2008

Tie a yellow ribbon...

In the spirit of new year frugality, and talking inspiration from Suzie Bubble in her DIY section, I randomly bought £11 worth of ribbons in an online sale over the Christmas break. Now, back in Cardiff and with an assorted pack of fabric in a rainbow of colours and textures, I'm slightly at a loss as to what to do with it.
However I had some ideas. A few narrow ribbons would look great slung through the eyelets of my favourite pendants, giving me a new way to re-obsess about my huge collection of long necklaces. Or a piece of tartan ribbon tied as a waist belt or as a choker with a bow would give a pleasantly retro feel to the new season's plaid trend.
I've already started placing ribbons in lines along my wall, studding them with paper clips holding photos and my favourite 30s images, which I think creates a warm 'washing line' look in my cold uni room. Next I'm going to make woven ribbon cusion covers with my Singer to brighten up my cold uni bed, and then I'll add what's left to a diary to brighten up my cold uni days! Finally I'll save some of the best satin streamers to make a random barcode pattern on one of my white t-shirts. With all this twee, multi-coloured decoration, I'll hopefully have a much brighter, and cheaper january than was at first expected during my post-New-Year's-Eve-purse-checking depression!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

22 is the new 40

Phew! Its been long time since I last blogged but now most of the pressures of deadlines, shorthand and 8am mornings have abated for Christmas, I felt it was time to reappear. Now, Caitlin Moran has been one of my favourite bloggers since a friend introduced me to her column (thanks Lynn) and today I read with interest The pressure cooker lives of Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen.
I was interested because a. Lily Allen is pregnant which I found surprising, but I don't know why; b. because I like Caitlin Moran; and c. because I harbour a secret thought that me and Lily Allen could be best mates, if only she met me. However, I have to disagree with something Caitlin said that, yummy mummy as I'm sure she is, came entirely from a mindset that I would have expected from a less yummy, slightly jaded and jowly, granny. Her comment, "it would be hard for either Winehouse or Allen to appraise their situations with any measure of cool-headness. They’re 22, for God’s sake. Who knows anything at that age? You may as well expect a sane and productive life decision from a wooden cat," was reasonably witty but as a 22-year-old I feel I have to disagree. True, their life decisions, particularly Amy's, may not have been the best, but there is no accounting for taste. However, what has Lily done that is so bad? So she has only known boyfriend Ed Simons for three months but he's a Chemical Brother for god's sake - who wouldn't want to bed him? And accidents happen, whether you are 16, 44, or indeed, 22. Pregnancy is not the end of the world, and sometimes things are thrown at you in life that you just have to deal with. I do not say this merely as a 22-year-old who's self-percieved maturity has been wounded - although I can't honestly say there isn't a twinge of that - but because I should have thought Caitlin would have known better than to condemn a generation at the grand old age of 33.

Monday, 26 November 2007

The New 1950s

I have recently become truly obsessed with UKTV Food. It is a worrying obsession. I have started seeing Gary Rhodes and his Local Food Heroes in my dreams, started obsessing over going to Oliver Rowe's Konstam when I'm next in London (2009 sometime then) and even found my lunch-time pub chat today revolving around the Two Fat Ladies. Not good.

As I write this I am watching Nigella Lawson pout at the camera before lowering her enviable lashes to a misty close-up of goujons of sole. Earlier I actually cooked something, a risotto out of my "Cook Yourself Thin" book, which went down well with the housemates. Before that I was reading the New Urban Gardener's blog at Times Online. At the weekend I watched Saturday Cooks, as Saturday Kitchen wasn't on, and missed Sweet Baby James while Anthony Worral-Thompson gurned at me.

Yesterday I made the boyf not one but two homemade meals, just for coming to see me, one of which was a full roast chicken. He ate well, and I sat proudly looking on like a Stepford Wife, or, more horrifically even than that, Anthea Turner. Something strange is definitely happening to me.

I think its some kind of nesting syndrome. Having finished uni I've got kind of fed up of moving around, living in virtual squats, and being content with packet soup on pasta serving for a gastronomic delight. So now I feel all old and graduated I want to learn to do it properly. Plus, the boyf had just driven quite a long way so I felt that was a legitimate excuse to exercise my UKTV Food gleanings. I feel like I should be eating take-out sushi whilst wearing Prada and living in a stainless steel and faux fur bubble. Instead, all I want to do is get a dog and a sofa, and live with the boyf whilst cooking things. Is this a natural urge? Its not one of the ones they warn you about in pre-prubescent lessons. Perhaps I will write to Gordie and suggest that domestic urges be taught about in schools, because in today's world of high powered females it's a lot more scary to feel like you're going backwards in the Delorean than to find hair in places you didn't expect.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

Goodness gracious me, I'm a Vase!

I found myself alone in the house tonight, and so, taking advantage of having shed the three male housemates, I indulged in some true girly TV. Hollyoaks, America's Next Top Model and Trinny And Susannah Undress The Nation were on the menu. It was amezin, as Scott Mills would say. Truly Amezin. And I found out something about myself; I'm a Vase.
Trinny and Susannah are re-categorising women's shapes. They have classified women's typical shapes into twelve separate sections - The small-waisted hourglasses, cellos and vases, the waistless bricks, columns and apples, the large thighed bells, pears and skittles, and the big-breasted lollipops, goblets and cornets. Harsh though it may sound, it actually worked and I almost hate to agree with them but it is a much better way of working out what suits you than a size sticker on a rail.

The nation has a love hate relationship with Trinny and Suze, so I was wondering how it would go down when they attempted to undress it. However, women really do go on this show of their own free will, as my prematurely returning housemates couldn't believe. I personally regard them as a bit of a guilty secret - I have not one, not two but three T+S books stacked somewhere at home. They are entertaining, and despite the methods, know what they are talking about when it comes down to it. Posh and brash they may be, but they never criticise a woman's looks, or shape, only her clothes. And lets face it, 9 times out of 10 on makeover shows, thats only a good thing.

The funniest part, though, were the pagans who attempted to stop T, S and their assorted gaggle of household objects from scaling the hill to give the Long Man chalk figure of Wilmington a sex change. Hmm yes. They changed him into a cornet, a pear, and apple and an hourglass successively, despite the humming pagan ring and druidic glares emanating from the bottom of the hill. One of them was especially pissed off when Susannah suggested that he could wear a wider belt. He was pretty much an apple, breasts and all.
Great telly all around.

Fun and (drinking) games at the PTC Awards

Last week, five colleagues and I were lucky enough to be picked to attend the PTC New Journalist Awards in Westminster. Held at the decidedly swanky Millenium Mayfair in Grosvenor Sqaure, it was hopefully a taste of things to come for us budding journalists from little old Cardiff. After a rather dazed coach journey - four hours next to a stinking toilet is not my favourite way to travel - I straightened out my new Topshop pencil skirt and trotted along to the hotel. By this point we were pretty starving, and also late, so when we were immediately split up and siphoned off into different panelled rooms we really were confused.

However, once we were in it was a different story. I really wish I was in one of the other groups, as the first speakers I got to see were Tom Dunmore of Stuff Magazine, and Michael Harvey of TopGear who were talking about multi-platforming and 'brand'. Strange man-jargon aside, this was a great session and I would have liked to have seen the start of it!
Michael Harvey is, to be honest, a bit of a legend. Hints suggest that he is slightly renegade in his post at BBC Worldwide and he certainly seemed so in person. He swore - to be expected - and mumbled a bit, but was generally entertaining even *gasp* without a powerpoint presentation! I watch Top Gear religiously so found it interesting that he was talking about how the brand relies somewhat on Jeremy Clarkson, and how personality is so tied up in brand. Especially when my favourite is the Hamster. But I see what he means, as Top Gear without Jez would be a bit like Russel Brand with a No1 cut, or a shake-free Ozzy Osborne - OK, but without its USP.

Tom Dunmore (quite apart from being surprisingly fit, and reminding me of Ollie Rowe the Urban Chef, another crush of mine) was really entertaining, mainly because he too swore and showed us funny videos. He said that they had really had to pull their socks up at Stuff with the advent of online, particularly as their first attempts at a website were, as he noted, pretty shitty. I did wonder though if with a prevalence of women in the room and his repeated appearances on Radio 1's Jo Whiley show, whether Stuff was having to revolutionise itself and move away from the lad's mag persona. A quick look at the magazine or website will tell you this hasn't happened too much, but I'm sure that with more and more pretty gadgets out there, the female interest will be growing every day. Unfortunately I didn't have much time to ask my question, as we were hustled along to the next session, a pattern which was to continue until lunch.

Next it was on to the imaginatively titled "What do high heels, building design and thrashing rock music have in common? No, not an architect dressed in drag at a Metallica gig!" session. This was led by Scott Rowley of Metal Hammer and Classic Rock, Ali Hall, who launched Look this year, and Amanda Bailleau of BD, an architects B2B mag. They all said pretty much the same thing - that you have to know the reader and learn by trial and error - except Scott Rowley who sort of contradicted himself by saying all this and then saying that the reader doesn't really know what they want. So I think we had to draw our own conclusions out of that session, but I did enjoy seeing Ali Hall as I read Look quite a lot. I was surprised that she said that they expressly have no sex content in the magazine, to concentrate solely on shopping, until I realised that I buy it for exactly that reason before any clandestine spending spree. Again, there was no time for questions, as we were shifted on to session 3.

Session 3 was the ethical bit. John Sanderson, director of Environmental affairs UK, at UPM kicked off the session with a talk which revolved around a strange but effective metaphor - that ethical printing and sourcing of a magazine is like the 'balanced food plate', with a 'healthy' amount of virgin and recycled fibre. He compared fully recycled paper to a diet, and said that you cannot live on recycled paper alone. This was interesting and thought-provoking but of course, as a cynic, I couldn't help but wonder how much his business would lose if print disappeared. Next was Alison Carter of Printing World, with a short talk which contained a lot of figures and therefore left my un-numerical brain flailing a little. However, then we were on to lunch, and my, was that an affair.

Bearing in mind we had been up since 4.30am and not eaten anything, 1pm found us a little dizzy. Several free glasses of champage, rose and bucks fizz later, and we were even dizzier. We spent the meal playing a drinking game by betting on a winner, if you won the others had to get the gist. Lunch was quite nice apart from the coconutty/eggy concoction pretending to be a creme brulée. My tutor Jane was nearly sick. All in all it was very fun, and one of those uncanny meetings with someone I used to vaguely know at uni who was sat at my table just compounded the hilarity, and drinking.

So, a little sozzled, and with a slight telling off from a pompous man at the tube station (if you will sit in a train station pub, what do you expect apart from drunk people in suits? Its hardly a private members club) we were back on the coach with the fetid loo. Unfortunately this time we were sitting nearer to it, so I spent most of the journey straining to do the crossword and three sudokus over the shoulder of the man next to me, and trying not to be that annoying person on public transport who butts in to your private puzzle. By the time we got back to Cardiff he was practically tenting his jacket around the paper to hide it, and I had started to get a tiny hangover.

All in all a great day out!!