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Thursday, 23 December 2010

Ads Nauseum.

Yes...this is the season to be jolly and with Xmas literally around the corner, even more reason to bombard all television viewers with designer perfume ad campaigns, old and new, in the vain hope that they will incite us to buy their product. Now there are 4 ads on rotation at the moment that I am convinced were made to piss me off on a daily basis . Most perfume ads are colourful,sexy and rich in content but with hits(too many to mention) there are also misses and these are the ones I believe have missed the point completely... I only hope I do these mini cinematic works of genius credit in describing them to you.
Picture this,James Franco all dark and mysterious uttering these remarkable words:"You're running with me..."?! Camera swings to various scenes of him looking a little uncomfortable next to some bizarre furniture while "Slave to love" is playing in the background. Suddenly it all comes to a head when you hear:..."the world is changing"to which James the Bard Franco responds: "...I am still the same..." Deep voice over for the sales clincher: "Gucci by Gucci... " What in the blue blazes was that all about? I was more inclined to call a doctor than buy the product,simply because James was looking a little green around the gills and seemed to need medical attention more than a  spritz of Gucci by Gucci.
This following one stars has-been cutie/lothario: Jude Law and his receding hair line (which is looking decidedly lush for the camera.) Music soars, a woman is heard exclaiming with her French accented English : "But 'ow will I recognize you?" Cut to simultaneous images of Jude primping himself for the RDV,images of the Eiffel Tower and to the woman wearing a ridiculously large hat .Our lad Jude responds with these following words that lack both passion and conviction: "Ahhh, don' yew worry abou' tha'..."
What a charmer, I can't stand it! Camera pans to him walking up behind the woman wearing the large hat which is either shielding her eyes from the sun or from direct contact with Jude the Lewd. The music rises as she is about to see him for the first time, he turns to look at her and what do we see...  a squinting Jude Law who seems to be suffering from either a mild stroke or a  nasty sty . Booming voice "Dior Homme "... There is nothing Dior about this ad,it may as well be for eye drops or haemorrhoid cream the result is the same:dull, lacklustre and extremely farcical. The only thing this incites me to do is get my eyes checked and seek out some elocution lessons.
Moving on :this is a double whammy starring the dynamic duo: David and Victoria Beckham for their his and her perfumes "Intimately Yours". Now you can tell this ad is aging badly and the acting is as wooden as my clogs.David, sporting a rather fetching tux, walks into an elevator and looks decidedly alluring. Victoria, trying to emote coy and sexy, spies him and joins him for a bit of slap and tickle. Her extremely shellacked hair is pulled back so tightly across her skull that she unfortunately looks like a startled grasshopper.There are flashing images back and forth of him..her...their lips..her hand flexing as though in rapturous ecstasy that is so utterly unconvincing that it can be easily mistaken for her trying to control her menstrual cramps.Thankfully the elevator door glides open, David looks convincingly caught in the act and poor old Victoria,trying to look like the cat who got the cream,comes off as the cat trying to control a mild bout of wind. Enough said.
The most painful ad in my eyes is for Pantene Pro V  the"New Aqua Light" shampoo. Every time this comes on I scramble for the remote and the mute button ... this sets my teeth on edge. The gorgeously cute and peppy Cat Deeley fills our screens with her straight blond hair... It glistens and shines as she shakes and fans it around over and over again. This is followed by professional hair model with equally gorgeous hair shaking her head left and right, fanning and faffing around while the product is explained.This is all fine and you think it is over until a  giddily giggly Cat reappears and you think "Hello? What has she forgotten?" And the next thing you see is Cat hopping up and down like a child who needs to pee while repeating ad nauseum:"SWISH!...Swishhhhh....swish,swish,swish!Hey you! Upload your swish to make a swish.com! Everyone is doing it!"... Giggle,giggle,giggle.
I just want to throw her over my balcony to see if her hair will swish on her way down.

Baah "Xmas ad" Humbug !
And Merry Xmas to you all.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Till Death Do Us....Party !

This has been an eventful week when it comes to celebrity breakups...must be the run up to Christmas and/or end of the year.
First announcement was the breakup of the 3 year...(3 years... only?!) marriage between Elizabeth Hurley and Arun Nayar, with the headlines claiming "She cheated! "
Well, as if that would make it all more plausible or credible.Why? Is poor Arun so hapless that one needs to applaud Elizabeth's prowess in pulling off the end of their marriage which such aplomb? Apparently their marriage has been over for a while now and that although "these are sad times" she seems to be  healing herself by getting her freak on with Australian cricketer and "Mask" lookalike Shane Warne. As luck would have it...he too claims that his marriage is over which conveniently exonerates the dalliance that has created the outcry. 
 Shane Warne is nothing but a bit of rough to reawaken a slumbering libido...she needed it and I congratulate her. Come on, whatever the reasons for the end of their marriage are and that is their business, just looking at things from here Arun looks like a snooze fest on a Sunday afternoon after roast beef and Yorkshire pud... That Bolly has left the woods and this will be great for both her ego and her image. Come New Years he'll be texting somebody else's wife and making a mess of things while Liz will safety pin herself into another tight gown,boobs a blazing while on the arm of a young lothario half her age...mark my word. You have been Warne-d....
Ryan Reynolds and Scarlett Johanssen have also called it quits after only 2 years of marriage,citing work commitments as the culprits.This is a great shame as they made such a gorgeous couple and one truly applauded that union.Now I fear people are also applauding its dissolution by the bucket loads: woman all over the world must be forming a queue for Ryan's heart while singing  Etta James' "At last": my love has come along..." Not that the men out there are getting a raw deal either! Two hotties released in one go...Christmas has come early.   
The breakup statement made was:"We end our relationship with love and it's with love and kindness we leave it." Don't let the door bump you on the way out...is more likely what he/she wanted to say...
For the third and final breakup,the perennial young lovers Zac Effron and Vanessa Hudgens have parted ways, having reached their relationship sell by date. The press release indicates that:"It's nothing dramatic.There's no third party involved." I believe it's more likely that he has reached a higher hollywood echelon and she no longer fitted the part nor did she feel like competing...and she simply doesn't.  From where I sit,Zac has a higher profile than Vanessa,he is more red carpet A list and his star his shooting through the heavens at warp speed. She doesn't quite have the same notoriety and hasn't really moved on from the ultimate hippy chick. To be frank,I can't quite name anything she has been in since her "High School Musical" days.  Come on,name one thing... The statement goes on to say that "they have been together a long time and that they simply drifted apart" which makes absolute sense and no one can refute this simple but honest statement. 
Zac will move on to Angelina...just kidding (she'll eat him alive or quite possibly adopt him) but definitely someone with equal A lister footing like the gorgeous Blake Lively or fabulous Leighton Meester and the fickle world will applaud that happy union.
Now...does anybody care who Kim Kardashian is now dating? Nah! I agree....I just enjoy watching her buttocks jostle for freedom within their too tight confinement and the only time I will care to hear anything about Justin Bieber is when he has shaved all his bloody hair off and joined the Hare Krishna's ...if truth be told.....not even then.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Joan Collins: From Ermine to Pantomime

The glamorous Joan Collins has put her Dynasty days well behind her now and will be appearing in "Dick Whittington"in Birmingham over this Christmas period.She will be playing the role of  Queen Rat alongside Nigel Havers and Julian Clary. I guess it promises to be a right all romp...then again how would I know? I have never been to a panto in my life and have no intentions of breaking that long run.
She was being interviewed on a TV show called "Loose Women" on ITV and basically said that she  finally gave in when she realised she had no commitments and when her grandchildren told her to do it. 
Wow! Or maybe she was simply bored out of her whit-ttington...! See what I did there?
Then again Pamela Anderson did panto last year...what does that tell you? Not much really since Pamela Anderson's only notoriety are her boobs, Tommy Lee and those scenes on Baywatch when she is running along the beach in slow motion.Her repertoire doesn't hold a candle to La Joan...then again Mizz Collins did star in "The Stud"... many will still remember the scene on the swing?...
I had the privilege of meeting Miss Collins many years ago in Juan Les Pins while I was working  a summer job at Blanc Bleu. She walked in one morning wearing a large sun hat,a white dress, a Cartier Panthere watch and an imperious expression.She was accompanied by a tall,slim,blond man with good hair. She had just had her nails done and asked if we could show her the items that interested her.Not that Blanc Bleu was exactly Cavalli nor did she buy anything,I think she needed to duck away from prying eyes. Her boyfriend was very charming and very vocal especially when he established that not only could I speak English but that I hailed from jolly Britain. He was interested in the bathing shorts we were selling but I had to quietly whisper that they had a particular design flaw:
"I'm afraid they are a little long in the crotch."
He burst out laughing while Miss Collins seemed to fume over our shared moment of mirth as we crouched beside the bathing suit display.
"My dear! One doesn't say crotch but... crutch!"
Now that left me bamboozled and him in hysterics but I shall never forget that day and how much we laughed over those swimming trunks. As we pan back to Miss Collins...she was still not amused and rather bored now as she gave that imperious look and summoned her boyfriend to her side as they exited.
She was neither friendly,nor unfriendly she simply wafted in and wafted out still holding her hands up to dry and her head up above us lesser mortals.
Maybe her sense of humour has develop through the years and kids screaming "He's behind you" will have her in stitches and land her a Bafta....who knows.

Friday, 3 December 2010

"Santa Baby": Revised for personal use only!

Season's Greetings! 'Tis the season to be jolly and the time to make your Xmas list.
Here's mine in a revised rendition of the old time favourite "Santa Baby":

Santa Baby,slip a Birkin under the tree,for me             
I can't afford it alone
So Santa Baby,hurry down to Bond street tonight.

Santa Baby,I want myself a new pair of Choo's
Or Mou's...
Why not Manolos or Lou's?
So shimmy down my chimney tonight.

Santa sweetie, it would be heaven for a white Audi Q7,
My car has seen better days,
So Santa Baby, get down to the dealership now!

I have been so very good
Only spending what I should
But it would be so darn nice
To sip on Bollinger on ice.

Santa Baby, a Burberry avi-ator coat
Why not?
A cheaper version won't do
Santa Baby,don't drag your feet down the high street tonight.

Santa honey,fill my stocking with a Milgauss Rolex
I'll get the box of Kleenex
Don't fret!
Just hurry down the chimney tonight.

Come and leave beneath my tree
Handbags and shoes from Ol'Fendi
I really want a Peekaboo
Or something from Bottega will do
Boo doo bee doo

Santa Baby,this last little thing before I go
Some snow!
London has had its fair share...Beware!
So hurry down my chimney tonight...
And don't you dare tell me it's too tight...
I'll bloody wait for you all night....
I'll even prepare a wee little bite...
So hurry down my chimney tooo-nighttttttt.           
Boo doo bee doo

Thursday, 25 November 2010

MONTREAL:Est ce que "Je me souviens.."? Part 2

Shopping & Restaurants:

I was in a shopping mood...when am I not! But was soon disappointed by my lack of finding anything I really wanted to buy. Everywhere I had hit the mother load in last year yielded nothing this time. "La Vie en Rose", Canada's answer to "Victoria's Secrets", a place that had some good basics had now turned into "The Best Little Whorehouse in Quebec" with enough plumes to fill a birdhouse and garter belts to supply the whole of Moulin Rouge for the next 10 years. "Gap" looked despondent and downright suicidal, "M0851"this great Canadian leather design boutique I bought a handbag in last time,didn't seem to have evolved much, "American Eagle" for tshirts and casuals was frankly too youthful for even I(menswear far more interesting ) and don't get me started on shoes! I voiced my disappointment to my sister who simply replied:" Montreal isn't exactly the fashion capitol of the world..." I tried on and fell in love with a pair of Mou's but refrained from buying them at my BF's nagging behest...if he had his way , I'd be doing laundry and the cooking in stiletto heels and Agent Provocateur nipple tassels...as if! I guess it wasn't worth arguing about nor was it worth it at Holt Renfrew where I finally tracked down the Tory Burch wedge heel booties I have been coveting for months.
"Are those the ones you have been talking about? Well forget about them." This coming from Calvin Klein himself.
Tis the season to be jolly careful anyway...Recession is a bitch and then you over buy!
Shoes in general are a tricky subject in Montreal..where they lack in style and grace and trend , they make up for in function,durability as well as unmitigated ugliness. Seriously outside of Holt Renfrew, where there was a small but decent shoe department,  everywhere else was quite tricky in trying to find anything that slightly resembles a half decent looking shoe.The extreme weather conditions dictate function over fashion and that is understandable but can anyone explain these to me?....And this was somehow the standard shape we came across on many men's feet without the festive tinsel and brocade. The only term I can think of using in describing these is :a sawn off shot gun in drag.
So to recap: if you are in the market for Uggs in every shape and colour,puffa coats, puffa jackets,puffa boots, Burburry anything... Lumber shirts, waffle tops,duck boots or LuluLemon sports wear...than go nuts! If not....go have lunch.  

 I may be watching way too much MasterChef and Top Chef but my heart was set on finding a molecular gastronomy restaurant in Montreal and was guided online to: "Bar&Boeuf"which only happened to be up the road from our hotel.  I was excited at the prospect of discovering some fabulous restaurant on our doorstep and even more in indulging in one of our delights. My BF chose a lovely entree of smoked trout,all beautifully arranged on the plate with dabs of this and smears of that...I was impressed and it tasted good. I was looking forward to my Heirloom tomato salad with pumpkin seeds and greens...I got a big bowl of salad..no more,no less and one that simply refused to end...salad from Hogwarts anyone?
For the main dish we both decided on the Angus tenderloin which was to be served with fries. It didn't sound very molecular...maybe the fries would actually be a fries tasting mousse!As the waiter put down the machete style steak knives we were brought our next dish . At the sight of all those fries strewn across half the plate...I'd rather hoped he'd also bring a shovel.
I picked up my machete expecting to slice through my beef like a knife through butter only to find resistance coming from tendons as thick as guitar strings. Of course my BF,God bless him, was slicing his piece like a skater on ice and enjoying every morsel. When I declared defeat and finally layed down my weapons did a  waiter sidled up to me and ask:" Madame,Is everything to your liking?"
"Yes,lovely thank you...Just a little too many fries for me and what is left of my meat is being held hostage by a tendon."
"M:Brgr/Brgr Bar" on Drummond is a fabulous joint for all lovers of the ultimate burger.I kid you not..this place is a trip. The menu in itself is an adventure and a feast of choices in how you construct the burger of your dreams. Fancy Kobe beef and white truffle shavings ? This is your place...or your basic AAA grade beef with Swiss,bacon and caramelized onions..no problem whatever you fancy is there on the menu. Knock yourselves out,the burgers are delicious,the side orders perfection: I highly recommend the sweet potato fries,the wedges are so more-ish with each yielding bite, you don't know what to eat first or where to take your next bite. A Montreal Must.
One night we were desperately trying to find a restaurant for dinner behind our hotel on Rue Saint Paul when a door suddenly opened and out popped a guy exclaiming:" Man! That was good!" We stopped,turned and looked into the window of this unpretentious restaurant filled to the rafters with jolly faced patrons tucking into steam filled plates of what looked like a down to earth home cooked meal. This was "Stash Cafe" a Polish restaurant and a cuisine I had never tasted.We didn't hesitate long after glancing at the menu and then at the faces of happy,sated people. They had us at "Pierogi"...
Pierogis are dumplings filled with either meat,cheese or cabbage and served with the most delicious and aromatic sauerkraut that has ever passed my lips.This was divine and I had to ask for more...
My BF went with potato latkes (4 huge pieces) served with sour cream and between the two of us going "mezze style" we had us a feast,sipping on beer and listening to the hearty crowd enjoying the food and each other while we all were treated to a pianist tickling the ivories and all our fancies with  renditions of Rihanna's"Umbrella",Supertramp, Ave Maria, even Lady Gaga. It was surreal and therefore most memorable and believe it or not we returned twice for lunch and weren't disappointed.
We didn't have too many "gaseous"moments due to our large intake of cabbage although my BF  firmly insisted to the contrary the following morning.He declared in no uncertain terms that I had "tooted a 5am bugle reveille" loud and clear.
 Pity it didn't deter the bell boy...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

MONTREAL: Est ce que "Je me souviens.."? Part 1

1) Hotel Saint Paul & Rediscovering the city:

My BF and I went to Montreal together in September 2009 and had a gorgeous time in this vibrant,youth filled little city with a heart of gold. The fact that we chose to return so soon should have been a deterrent but while I was well aware that we could not relive the same experiences,I was convinced that there would be enough the second time round for us to enjoy this city once again. But Montreal isn't London,New York or Paris and what you saw the first time,is what you get the second time...with a change of season,wardrobes and window dressing.
We had no problem with the dry cold or the wind that gave me brain freeze whenever I forgot my hat. What we did have a problem with was that the area in which we chose to stay in: Old Montreal with its art galleries,cobbled streets and quirky restaurants was dead calm in November. I had specifically chosen the modern,minimalist Hotel Saint Paul on Rue McGill in order for us to discover another area in Montreal. I foolishly thought that it would have the same vibe as Soho in NYC.... Forgedabboudit. The deadly calm spread up and around Square Victoria making it blatantly clear that this was very much an area that came to life during business hours Mon to Fri and that during the weekend it is tumble weeds and echoing silence. We soon  discovered for ourselves that the only crowd we were going to come across were at breakfast in the hotel. 
The hotel itself was everything we expected it to be.The free standing fire place encased in marble is a welcoming vision in itself and sets the scene for the lively weekend crowd that dine and huddle around the bar at Vauvert: the in house restaurant and bar. It draws a lively crowd and with the DJ spinnin' his tunes, I heard that the tables are pushed back for the crowd to let loose and bust their moves. We didn't bust anything other than our backs schlepping backwards and forewards to and from our hotel and civilization. Come Sunday the whole thing grinds to a halt and the place attracts a quieter crowd of diners and travellers here on business.
Our room on the 8th floor was spacious and the view was on the river and Rue McGill with a window seat to watch the world go by or not..as the case may be. With all the minimalism going on someone forgot the basics : a decent chair to sit in and that horse hair and metal contraption that requires a winch to extricate you from and a visit to a local osteopath was hardly the winning ticket although it looked very nice we stayed well away from it and its deadly jaws.  The hotel was generally quiet,no rowdy revellers nor major traffic starting up at 6.00am...other than our bell boy thwacking down the newspaper outside our door and every other door on our floor...thwack,thwack,thwack...You'd think he was bush whacking his way across the jungle!

In our bid to discover new areas, we had read that the Blvd St.Laurent was the place for boutiques and restaurants.We now knew the Rue Saint Catherine and its companions by heart and could walk them blindfolded and don't get me started on all the interconnecting malls..we were up for a challenge. It was a sunny Sunday and we had all the time in the world..before the shops opened at 11/12am. We walked up its entire length from the old town all the way up to what they refer to as the "real" Montreal:the Plateau Mont Royal,an artsy,fun area that we had visited on the last trip and loved. But I felt nothing but disappointment as we walked the Blvd St Laurent, we passed seedy strip clubs,abandoned lots with winos out for the count huddled in empty doorways. There were a handful of interesting boutiques that were either closed or not yet open.... but not enough to keep me interested after having walked several hours to the promised land only to find it lacking. My 8 year old self soon surfaced and reared its ugly head:" Are we there yet? Wherever "there" may be? 'cos it sure as hell isn't here!"
My BF lost his patience: "Is shopping the only thing that interests you? Can't we just walk and visit the area without spending money?"
By then we had reached a residential area on our quest to find "The Mile"where outdoor cafes,bookstores and mythical boutiques were to be found. It would have been perfect had we found it before a rumbling truck drove by us on the main road and subsequently belched up a cloud of black smoke all over my BF.
"I think it is time we turned back,don't you?"
And we soon found ourselves in the green oasis of the park beneath Mont Royal and its breathtaking view over the city. And that was worth the schlep.
"What do you say we walk up the mountain?"
"Are you nuts? Do I look like I can climb Mount bloody Everest when I can hardly put one foot in front of the other?"
We did go up a few days later but like civilised tourists ,taking a metro and then a bus up the mountain to stroll over to the spectacular view that overlooks the entire city...spectacular.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

FYI: Fur your information

For anyone who is desperate to acquire the "furry creature shoes" I wrote about back in September(see post :"All creatures great and worn") I am happy to announce that not only are they still available but also in the exact same position they were in the last time I spied them in the shop window: beneath the same pair of jeans ,like furry gifts under a denim tree but now with added company, a fur blanket and a fur collared coat.
Now I must exert this word of warning...I know we are approaching Christmas and the desire to acquire pets runs rampant around this time of year. Pets are for life and not just for Christmas ! So think long and hard. After all what man wouldn't want to be swathed in so much fur ? A hairless one no doubt.Was the shop open at 10.15 am for me to poke my nose in ? Strangely enough, no...Probably out late trapping the night before. Have I committed the name of this fancy establishment to memory? For the life of me,I simply cannot seem to absorb that piece of information ...My mind simply refuses in the face of such tasteless and gaudy adversity. But what I can give you is accurate directions to this freak show.
Moving on to actual fashion trends: I spied a yummy mummy and her offspring out on a Saturday shopping run in a pair of Sasquatch hairy boots. Were they Chanel...I couldn't tell you but how many designers have embraced this particular whimsy? They definitely weren't Manolo's that much I am sure of.
 She wore them with a slim pair of jeans tucked in snug and a large Louis Vuitton monogram denim Sunrise bag slung over one shoulder.... almost the same size as the kid himself and shouldered with equal pride. She managed to pull off two trends simultaneously:last summer's "waiting list" handbag with this winter's "Someones got to buy'em" boots. Not that I am a fan of these hairy paws on elegant women, but I do find them to be a visually pleasant change from the overwhelming amount of Uggs being dragged under foot like road kill. Uggs should be sold with a health warning to all those who have to suffer the indignity of walking behind teenagers and their ilk who insist on dragging their feet in perfect harmony.... Street sweepers must revel in this daily occurrence...

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

"Say hello to my leedl' friend..."

I can now shop till I "frock".....in comfort and style!
Thanks Nike ID.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

"Say You, Say Me..."

Getting back to the boogie:
This story was told to me the other day by B a lovely 36 year old woman of Italian decent whom I have know for many years and with whom I have shared many a laugh over both successful and unsuccessful liaisons all in the name of love,well lust. She has yet to find the "oogie to her boogie..."
Now B has had her fair share of dates in her quest for "the one" even had relationships that went well past their sell by date if it wasn't for her sheer determination to make it work and prove her father wrong.
Early last summer she had met someone with potential,he ticked most of the boxes including ones that weren't even on the list such as:"knight in shining wet suit"....He voluntarily jumped into the filthy,fuel addled sea between boats and flotsam to rescue B's IPod that had fallen in. She was smitten...so was I! How Mr Fantastico was he? I mean who does that on the first date other than Shrek, who would actually enjoy it? My own BF would say:"Honey,I love you but there is no way in hell I am jumping in there...I'll buy you a new one." And that would be perfectly okay! 
He was an incredible kisser and soon turned out to be an incredible asshole when on the drive back after a particular dud evening out,he received a  text message at 3am and tried to pass it off as "ads".They in fact turned out to be a booty call and trying to fend for himself,he tripped over the numerous lies he had spun that he was soon caught in the web of his own making. Exit Jacques Cousteau.
B bounced back as she always does and by mid summer met her potential Oogie:X through a popular Internet dating site . They got together a couple of times and enjoyed each other's company,he:extremely gentlemanly and attentive to her needs,she:happy with all the attention. Soon the night was upon them,X invited B over for dinner and she was electric with the anticipation..it was time to take the next step. Dinner was perfect, X took care of everything ... right down to the box of Kleenex by the bed side!?...and the lace hanky artfully placed over the lampshade to create the right shade of cheesy. She told me she wanted to run...all that was missing were the rose petals and cooing doves. She didn't utter a word until X reached out,flicked a switch by his side of the bed and out popped the dulcet tones of the King of Cheese himself, Lionel Ritchie crooning:" Say You,Say Me...." to his now tepid audience.
"For God's sake! Turn that thing off!"
"But why? I find it romantic!"
"I don't...it is a mood killer and mine is on suicide watch."
They did try to make a go of it but B 's pragmatic approach to love and relationships was never on par to X's. He is hearts and roses while she is Guns and Roses...and never the twain shall meet.
And I am not even going to tell you about B and "Argyle sweater man" and his faithful side kick:man bag..... 

Thursday, 28 October 2010

In Memoriam:my mother A.Y.Yassin who died on the 28 oct.2002

It is 8 years to the day since my gorgeous, argumentative mother passed away. She had been in hospital for while and we all knew she would not be leaving.
She slipped into a coma in the early hours of the morning and then into God's capable hands, giving us just enough time to get to her and to touch her one last time. She succumbed to the cancer that had claimed her breast and the brain tumour that claimed her dignity.
Not a year has gone by when she hasn't come to me in dreams when I am distressed or in need of direction or when I feel the need to talk to her,I do..there and then.
She was my inspiration and guide into the world of fashion through her unwavering style and sophistication.She shopped like the best of them and hide her purchases from my father like a squirrel burying nuts. She was ahead of her time embracing trends way before they were considered fashionable or even acceptable. She lived large and her generosity knew no bounds,she lacked confidence in social situations outside of her comfort zone and her incapacity to communicate certain fears resulted in her anger and wrath. Her pride was her golden mantle but it too would play nasty tricks on her.She never cared for criticism,gave as good as she got and would hold on to anger long after its sell by date.She was tough but generous and fiercely loyal to her family...which was quite often her downfall. She was an inveterate dreamer,too often lost in the past and with the loved ones who had gone before her,much to our detriment. She could be beauty and the beast in one blink of an eye, her rages quite notorious that would scare the toughest in our family.
During our adolescence she longed to share our secrets while we longed to fly the coop. She encouraged gatherings of our friends when dad was away,  joining in the fun, letting us sip the amber nectar while sharing illicit cigarettes with her. 
 She was misunderstood by us, her daughters, just as we seemed to constantly disappoint her.  It was all in the timing and when it could have made a difference,it ran out on us.But when she felt safe and loved, we would bask in her smile and she would reward us with gifts,her way of showing us how much she loved us.
A day before she passed away,she grabbed my cheek almost violently and told me "You know how much I love you..."something I needed to hear as much as she did.
I know she has found peace from all her ailments and the disappointments in her life. 
She is smiling now and she is happy...I know this in my heart. Just as I know how much she loves us and is filled with pride for her two daughters.

"Death is nothing at all":

Death is nothing at all.
I have only slipped away to the next room.
I am I and you are you.
Whatever we were to each other,
That,we still are......

.....I am but waiting for you.
For an interval.
Somewhere.Very near.
Just around the corner.
All is well.

Henry Scott Holland

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

"What a difference a Dane makes..":Freja Beha Fashion's "it" girl.

 In the October 2010 issue of British Vogue,I counted 5 separate ad campaigns in which Freja appears ...something I haven't seen the likes of since the 80's and the whole "Supermodel" phenomenon. When I was in Paris I saw her gazing down at me from the huge billboards outside  mega department store Printemps, she was "the face" for their "8 jours or" ad campaign and she was everywhere. There are so many websites about her, even a blog dedicated solely to her ....her meteoric rise to fame seems to have happened over night and yet she started out in 2005.This 22 year old Danish model has taken the fashion editorial world by storm appearing in 19 ad campaigns for this season alone ...the Tom Ford ad campaign is so dark, so sensual  with such a Hitchcock undertone it visually stimulates the senses ....one of them being the desire to run and hide. 
The tattoo on her neck "float" first caught my attention way back ,followed by her very distinctive androgynous look that I hoped would not be her only claim to fame. Look how far she has come and how much her look has evolved. She is everything this new "curvy revival"is not but in her aloof way she has all our attention...like I said "What a difference a Dane makes...."
My thumbs up model of the moment.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Writer's Blog and Travel Log: Part 2

There is nothing more invigorating than waking up at the crack of dawn...waking would imply I actually got some sleep...to find myself on the 7.05am TGV to Paris, Gare De Lyon with 4 rowdy kids and their equally chatty parents behind us. And judging by the equally vocal Nino, a few rows down...I had to question whether this was in fact First Class or kindergarten? So catching up on any lost sleep was a moot point as I sat seething in my seat with extra leg room, shooting daggers at my BF who had booked the tickets and was supposed to have put us in the "Zen" section and not in an episode of Sesame Street . Needless to say,I got thorough the 5 hours surprisingly well once we passed Avignon and the Train went Grand Vitesse on our collective asses,rocking us all into a blissful sleep.

Ah! Paris....just like the song goes: .."I love it every moment of the year"...but maybe a little less at rush hour which bizarrely seems to crop up at any given moment and always when your taxi driver happens to go on the Peripherique...
We made it a point to take the metro everywhere...obviously the fastest form of transport when you decide to forgo sunshine and scenery for underground and underarms and at "Squish Hour"...well prepare yourself for an assault course of intersecting limbs,body odours and being packed in so tight that you are practically chewing on the same piece of gum the guy next to you is so enjoying.
Once above ground , my BF and I walked and shopped along the boutique lined streets of St Germain and kept right on going through St Michel , an area much populated by university students and full of life and cafes. We enjoyed the balmy weather and the busy streets as well as a healthy dose of people watching. Parisians have flair,they truly are the thoroughbreds of fashion as opposed to the circus ponies on the Riviera, so watching them in their natural habitat was a moment of sheer indulgence. Hermes Kelly bags were out in full swing in every hue and texture,new and vintage... the ultimate fashion accessory was doing its rounds with the best of them and everyone seems to have one! Jealous much? Then again the "Jypsiere"in taurillon is more my cup of tea and on my "lusting "list...have you jotted that down?
So indulging in this constant streaming catwalk was immensely satisfying for the likes of us who find fashion a little lacking in direction in our neck of the woods.Simply picture a  colouring book;Paris fashion is keeping the colours within the lines and in Pantone sequence,on the Cote it is as though the child has coloured outside of the lines in a messy felt tip blur.Trampy chic reigns supreme away from the yachts and Club 55, with subtle hints of "Pole Dancer" and "Hooters" for that added glam around the festive season. Fashion can be murder on the eyes... and it is quite frequently murdered on the Rue D'Antibes.
We continued along the Quais towards Rue du Rivoli where we happened upon a lovely new concept cafe called "Tea by The"(as in tea in french...English keyboard!) a modern take on tea and its endless possibilities. The menu has a varied selection of hot and cocktail style cold teas with mouth watering names such as:"Ginger Spicy"-hot and delicious and "Mojithe/Pinacolathe" their deliciously refreshing cold options..and let me tell you they taste just like the cocktails minus the alcohol and the ensuing buzz. I highly recommend this delightful place on: 2 Place du Palais Royal (metro stop Musee du Louvres) and the staff is young, friendly and cute in that Abercrombie kind of way...but with more clothes on and a college degree. 
NB:For all die hard fans of A&F..they will soon be opening their doors for you in Paris on the Champs Elysees (metro stop Franklin Roosevelt). Kind of beats bringing the eponymous t-shirts home after a shopping spree in NYC...then again I can hardly see a thing when I am in their store with all that dim,sultry lighting...I just about make it passed "young semi clad buff boy" at the entrance before I have to squint my way through the crowds. He should be handing out miners lamps to all the over 4o's instead of Polaroid's of his 6 pack...
To end my travel log on the same high we left Paris on , I have one last suggestion: Franck et Fils department store in Passy (metro stop La Muette...) It is a small and classy joint with high fashion designers and buyers with exquisite taste.On the first floor and in the ladies department there is a stand for "Cire Trudon" the most gorgeous candles and candle busts I have ever seen.You lift up huge glass cloches to inhale the fragrant and intoxicating aromas such as "Carmelite:old mossy walls, "Manon": fresh laundry and "Roi Soleil: the parquets of Versailles. There is nothing vulgar or cheap in the scents but an evocation of time and history so cleverly produced that you can close your eyes and hear the creaking of the wagon wheels on the cobble stones. Maison Trudon has been around since 1643 and their history is as rich as their products.
You can also visit their boutique on: 78 Rue de Seine, Paris 6e or go to their website from your sofa (minus the time travel ): http://www.ciretrudon.com/

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Tea and Sunday Tidbits...

So JK Rowling says she might be writing more Harry Potter books...That is quite exciting but knowing how long it takes her to write each book ,I may well be over the age limit to enjoy it let alone remember to buy it! 
Having said that I did come across a fabulous Harry Potter-esque book for adults called: "The Magicians"by Lev Grossman. It is simply a mesmerizing treat from the word go and a literary gift for all HPotter fans; dark and magical with a hint of  downright scary. So,if you can't wait for Ms Rowling to put pen to paper,this paperback is waiting for you . How old will Daniel Radcliff be by the time those books are made into films?
Lauren Conrad , one of "The Hills" original stars , has brought out a new book called "Style". Now every bit as stylish as she may well be for a girl her age..I sometimes feel that her token jumbo sized Chanel quilted handbag must have her rushing for spine realignment at least once a month...so what will her style suggestions be regarding handbags heavier than you?
This week has seen the announcements of 2 marriages gone sour: Courtney Cox/David Arquette and Christina Aguilera/Jordan Bratman. I am sorry to say but Jordan Bratman never quite looked credible to me as Aguilera's husband ,let alone music producer...something about his beady eyes, that beard and the worried look like someone would sooner or later find out that he is really Rick Moranis from " The Ghostbusters"...desperately seeking the gate keeper...
As for David Arquette..well,there are only so many years one can take one's husbands clownish clothing before they stop being funny.
My tea is getting cold... 

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Writer's Blog and Travel Log : Part One

I have been suffering from an acute case of Writer's Blog with nothing willing to open itself to me since returning from two consecutive weekends away.I guess it is tantamount to a mild case of constipation one develops while travelling due to a change of food and routine...
My sister and I went on our monthly trip to London where upon arrival,an hour late and under the pouring rain, we were treated to an unprecedented race of North London by the driver Saied "The Lone Ranger"in his slick Mercedes. Normally when you hit traffic on the highway, you expect to ride it out while listening to the soothing tones of Magic FM and staring out of the window in silent contemplation. What we got instead was The Stig (ex Top Gear)speeding through the wet streets, taking hairpin turns at breakneck speed while extolling the virtues of his Tom Tom navigator. Just as over talking something generally leads to disappointment, we were lead so far off the beaten track that we were soon avoiding all semblances of civilization let alone traffic.It soon became blatantly clear ,even to the driver,that we were losing the battle when we found ourselves on the very same roundabout we had just been told to exit...Tonto/Tom Tom was taking us on a royal ride.Once we finally hit Hyde Park narrowly missing hitting a cyclist in the process of a very abrupt U turn,did our journey soon come to an end.
"You see? Tom Tom told us we would get here in 45mns...and we did!"
I finally got to see the fabulous Manolo Blahnik room on the ground floor at Liberty's and it did not disappoint. Manolo himself will be in store next week (check Liberty's website for details) to sign the sole of his shoes,(in the instep obviously for longevity) ones he expects you to buy naturally and not an old pair from your closet! We had lunch at the seafood bar  in the basement,tucked within the folds of menswear.What could be finer than a glass of champagne and a tasters platter of oysters...sheer indulgence and my idea of Sunday perfection.
The rest of the stay went by at breakneck speed and soon we were back in a car barrelling up the A4 towards the airport and our version of Hitchcock's " Strangers on a train/plane"...Criss Cross,remember?
A 60 year old American woman sat beside me on the aisle seat and proceeded to hijack my attention during the entire flight. She discussed her love life and very active libido with wild abandon: "I love sex you see and have to have a lover who can keep up." No dark plots were hatched other than the murderous looks my sister gave her and upon landing she simply slipped on a pair of dark glasses,asked me whether she needed to re apply any lipstick and we parted ways...her towards a future lover and me to my BF waiting to take me home.... Criss Cross.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

No "Palermo" Italiano : Olivia Palermo,to know her is to love her?

Olivia Palermo is on the cover of next months edition of Tatler and she frankly deserves the accolade. Her hypnotic and bewitching Bambi-esque gaze exudes the cool elitism she is renowned for. Being chosen for a Tatler cover is like being invited to Buckingham Palace for tea with her Majesty the Queen...total acceptance and recognition within the strict realm of the social elite and fashion glitterati. Bravo!
As Catherine Ostler,the editor, so clearly puts it :.."If you haven't heard of her (Olivia Palermo)then you are clearly over 30,have never seen The City and need to dramatically adjust your fashion antennae." Well I clearly don't fit the bill:not only am I over 30 but I know who she is having seen every episode of The City that I can name everyone in the show.As for my fashion antennae...it must be off the charts then!
I don't believe that this is necessarily a good thing, for the image I have of her from the series is that of a spoilt young lady with an attitude problem that doesn't come across as attractive. She claims,in her interview for Tatler,that editing is the reason the world at large sees her as a villainess....hmmm.
The motives of the "self important"are rarely innocent, just as their innate sense of entitlement renders them less than delightful in the eyes of the masses.
Don't get me wrong,Olivia Palermo is utterly gorgeous and polished to perfection...a feat that most New Yorkers accomplish with such ease. She is a walking ad for the Upper East Side..how she hasn't guest starred in Gossip Girl is beyond me ...she is the real thing ! A socialite cartoon image of  Cruella de Ville in YSL Tribute heels. She at least hasn't suffered from the "negative"image,her appeal amongst the young fashion forward as well as all women with taste and style has risen. She has become  Style Ambassador ...love her,or loathe her..she is here for a while.  Does Whitney Port have the same global acclaim?...enough said.
I have known Olivia Palermo's all my life and one stands out from the rest. I used to socially interact with a Middle Eastern version of Miss Palermo; just as lovely ,bred from fine stock,primped and polished with legs of a foal and the ample cleavage of a Page 6 girl. Now where they differ is in their individual approach to fashion:where one has exquisite taste and style,the other worships at the alter of a Footballers wives wardrobe...all chav and no tastic. Now just like Olivia, her barbs can be caustic,her comments loaded and her compliments dubious at best. So yep! The bitter after taste that lingers from this past friendship only defines my bias towards Miss Palermo's character. In this fickle world of fashion in which (as Heidi Klum so aptly puts it in Project Runway): "One day you are in...and the next you are a-out!" you can never let your guard down....After all "To fake it,is to make it"and God bless all those who do.
Let me add one final self indulgent word on the subject ; this is aimed at Olivia's gorgeous boyfriend Johannes Huebl and it is a line from "The way we were":
"Your girl is lovely, Huebl (Hubbell)..." And she is,she truly is. 

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Balenciaga's foray into toys


Anyone  whose fashion feathers are as easily ruffled as mine, will probably agree with me on the total absurdity of Balenciaga's lego shoes in all the magazines out now ...thankfully I haven't seen them clomping down the street in the thriving metropolis I live in...nor would I,for that matter. Thankfully gaudy reigns supreme here and these clod hoppers aren't even that!
These for me are  Balenciaga's car crash moment. I know the fashion world has produced a lot of these stacked, club sandwich like shoes...why oh why? Hold the mayo,the bacon and all the plastic..get back to aesthetics and sophistication,please! Where are we going here? Straight for Toyland that's for sure. Any little girl playing in her mom's closet will reach for the stiletto's and lose her tiny feet in them with pride...the stacked shoes will be used as a housing complex for her play mobile dolls. 
First of all they look incredibly uncomfortable to wear;the components look like recycled plastic, PVC and bits of moulded kitchen cabinets. Who in their right mind would consider this:
a) fashionable
c) man catchers :any man who sees you walking into a bar/restaurant in these shoes...and I use the term lightly...  will turn away and ignore the hell out of you and the toys you came in with.
Now if  you don't give a toss about a man's opinion on fashion and buy them for your own pleasure ...then get thee to said bar,get blind drunk and then you will see the sheer hilarity and error of your ways . At least you won't be stumbling out to look for a taxi home...those things will keep you upright in gale force winds.
NB:..can anyone tell me if they have actually seen these in stores ? I should keep my eyes open when next in London and wear a garlic necklace.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Let's give it up for: Sir Loin and Lady Gaga...

So what's the beef? Lady Gaga received her much deserved accolades and came out of the VMA's with 8 awards...good for her,she deserves them. Ok so she was wearing  every one's dinner , look at 62 year old Cher,she thought she could:"..Turn back ti-yammme" and wear that old ensemble again...like anyone could forget that fashion disaster. But meat, seriously? It only seems an appropriate apparel if one  wants to step into the vulture enclosure at the zoo during feeding time. Then again Gaga has more up her sleeves ...I just hate to think what was left on the sleeves of all those who hugged her during the ceremony. I guess it was an olfactory blessing she didn't opt for  fish .
I was invited to go see the Pussycat Dolls at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco a few years back and the best part of that for me was the opening act: Lady Gaga. This was back when she was a little rounder,her soft curves clashing with her then "Thunderbirds meet Mugler"outfits. Her prepubescent audience (comprised of spoilt, undressed 15 year olds ) were in wild rapture as Gaga thrusted her Disco Stick  at them . What shocked me most was the combination of  sexual innuendos and under age kids. What no adults in Monaco had heard of Lady Gaga that they were all indulging their "Chuppa Chups" totting offspring?
I wonder how her vegetarian and vegan "Little monsters"  feel about this outright carnivorous affront? I guess they will forgive her anything, all for the sake of artistic freedom. When you think about the PETA ad campaigns vilifying wearers of  fur...Gaga has bypassed all that and gone straight for the soft under belly or was that the rump?
 Who you gonna call?Your local butcher?
I think I'll be skipping my weekly intake of beef , I have visually ingested enough .
How about you?

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Weekend Trysts

 We too favour the Cadogan Hotel for our weekends in London when we are not staying with dad; location,location,location!
As for rooms,ours : 506 was small but quaint with a rooftop view , a queen size bed with a mattress that may well have dated back to the 1800s. If for entertainment sake we had wanted to follow in Oscar's footsteps our tryst would have more than likely sent us to hospital rather than the nearest police station. Everytime one of us tried to get up off the bed,the other would be left flailing around in the aftermath or rolling from side to side like a wave hitting the shore.Hang on a second...isn't it rather the size of the boat than the motion of the ocean ?
Didn't  even get "..a handbag" out of that sojourn.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

A restaurant without table manners.

     For all those aficionados of the Wizard of Oz, you will know that Toto was Dorothy's dog and loyal companion ..it was also how we were treated at the aptly named restaurant "Toto's" in the heart of London's chic Walton street.
We had originally wanted to go to Scalini's,but as it was fully booked our hotel receptionist wholeheartedly suggested Toto's which is  in the same area and apparently equally good if not a little more casual. Fine.
Now we are true foodies,we love nothing better than a fine meal served with a fine wine and are more than happy to pay for the top notch service one expects in these establishments. We would have had a warmer reception upon entering McDonald's on Brompton Rd than what awaited us upon entering Toto's.
The manager was on the phone,audibly irate and had his back to us. While waiting for our table to be ready,we were relegated to a corner table  in outer Mongolia,adjacent to the neglected bar that may never have actually seen a barman let alone any atmosphere .There we dutifully sat, a little unnerved by the abrupt reception but nevertheless still naively optimistic. We weren't offered a drink but there was a bowl of rubbery looking olives that may very well have been rubber judging by their sheen and consistency.
We were finally escorted to a nice big round table slap in the middle of the hustle and bustle,once the manager had angrily torn himself away from the phone and could muster the semblance of a smile.
"Would you like anything to drink?" he asked.
"Could we see the wine menu please?"
We got water and the menus, the wine list still bizarrely absent. After another two polite attempts and once the order had been taken, did it  finally appear. It was as if we had absurdly demanded to see the Magna Carta.
The bread basket made its round,the wine appeared and the starters were served...we fell into the mutual silence of the hungry.
Then things took a dramatic turn for the worst just as our main meal was served. We had almost finished the bottle of wine by then, when the headwaiter appeared by our sides and it wasn't to ask us whether we wanted another one. The empty bottle was removed and this man with more hair than sense seemed hell bent to get a head start on inappropriately clearing away certain items on our table.... while we were still eating! The excruciating part was watching him extend his arm across my partners plat without so much as an "excuse me,sir"... as if an act of  such gross misconduct could be excusable. We were rendered speechless...but either it was because as a group we are way too polite for our own good or simply because we were eager to see what could possibly happen next. What we did mutually agree upon was our shared desire to get  the hell out of "Dodgy"...and fast!
The bets were on as to whether dessert or coffee would be suggested (they weren't) ... I had a distinct feeling as to what would happen next...and it did not disappoint.The waiter sidled up to my sister's husband and presented him with the bill.Ever polite my Italian brother in law looked at him and quietly said in Italian ,in case anything got lost in translation:
"Would it trouble you at all to at least bring me an espresso?" The waiter withdrew his arm as if it were scalded and sheepishly withdrew the offensive item all the while mumbling that he was told to do so.
No one came forward to apologize for the sub standard behaviour, let alone the shoddy service or to offer us a conciliatory drink. We politely paid the bill and walked out.
As far as we are concerned, Toto can trot on back to Oz...we'll find Dorothy a better ,far more classier companion.
Seriously, do not bother going ... nothing there is memorable apart from the headwaiter's absurd amount of hair.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

All creatures great and worn...

 Ever seen a pair of caged shoes? I have... and now so can  you. These are a pair of men's  fur shoes : "Marmoset Moccasins" anyone ? They have to be locked up at night not for their safety but for yours,for fear they may scurry out and join the rat race in the busy streets of London. Now why these were ever conceived is beyond me,what worries me more is who on earth would be caught dead or alive wearing them. I mocked the "Sasquatch feet " boots from Chanel but these are a sight for sore eyes and I haven't even mentioned the rest of the fur fest on show in this men's boutique opposite Harrods. Alternative fashion so far off the radar that no one will miss it apart from the animal itself.
So not to dwell too long on this abominable creation..let me leave you with the icing on the cake....the matching "man bag" .Yes!You saw it here first... now will someone please call the RSPCA.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

SHOES GLORIOUS SHOES ! : onstage for your pleasure

I am very excited about this show , even though the odds of my getting to actually see it are slim...(as I live in France)..so I will rely on your comments to let me know how fabulous it is.
This show is nothing but pure genius, not only does it feature one of our greatest passions: SHOES but it also permits us to see them in poetic motion; on stage dancing and bopping away but... on somebody else's feet ! We come out of it  unscathed and blister free but having felt the sheer elation nonetheless. A feast for the eyes for all shoe lovers and a rollicking good time to boot...Genius.
It promises to run the gamut on a whole range of shoes from trainers to crocs, to the sublime Louboutins and Ferragamos...yep!..now I have your full attention. I get that you may not particularly favour the crocs way of life, I have the same aversion for Birkenstocks..but frankly the whim and whimsy of it all promises one humdinger of a show.
 How about this : plan a day out visiting Selfridges' new shoe emporium during the day...maybe buy a  pair  and in the evening show them off at Sadler's Wells on your way to your booked seat to see the show! Perfect shoe outing for any woman .
In a nutshell expect : 32 musical numbers , over 250 pairs of shoes , 12 hot dancers , 5 incredible singers and a live band.
NB : Please don't hang around backstage waiting for a discarded pair of Loubous..tut tut tut.
To find out more or simply book, go to : http://www.sadlerswells.com/


Sunday, 29 August 2010

Coffee,Cakes and Creative License

If you happen to be wandering down the streets of Paris and find yourself  in the 10th arrondissement , ask your self  this: 
Am I  jonesing for a coffee ?   
Could  it accompany a piece of cake ?
Why don't I revamp this old coat ?
Let loose your artistic  freedom and get yourself to the Singer station at " Sweat Shop ; 13 Rue Lucien Sampaix, Paris 10eme."
In this cafe you can eat , drink and sew up a storm on the sewing machines available . You can  join workshops , learn how to knit or simply while away a rainy afternoon creating  your new and exclusive wardrobe without a care in the world.
Check out their website for more details and information: http://www.sweatshopparis.com/
...the only one sweating is you and the other like minded punters ...don't let the name scare you!

Thursday, 26 August 2010


This is bloody typical , just as my trip to London is both sorted and imminent , it still manages to fall short of a major event unfolding at Liberty of London on the 8th of September 2010.
The shoe master Manolo "i want me another pair" Blahnik is collaborating with Liberty and has created a limited edition collection of shoes designed especially for this department store  using their eponymous fabric . There will also be speciality items  such as  gorgeous "shoe print" scarves , candles and more.
Now if a pair of shoes is a little out of your range  don't despair ...there are also cushions , shoehorns and ...now this may sound as weird to you as it did to me but here goes anyway : Christmas decorations. If anyone cares to decorate my tree with a yuletide pair of Manolo's , who needs gifts !  That'll be a 39.5 , thank you very much.
Obviously a MB candle wafting scent around your living room just won't cut it when you would rather be strutting your stuff in a pair of  limited edition  Manolos...But , hey! Beggars can't be choosers and you really can choose something else that bares the designer's signature .
There will  be an exhibition of Mr Blahnik's work for all die hard fans and he will also be overseeing the window displays that will lead us up to the holiday season ...so "Santa baby... hurry down the chimney as soon as bloody  possible ."
I foresee queues , a mad frenzy of epic proportions and for once it  won't be  for a fridge during the Harrods sale. Maybe it's just as well that I will be missing opening day..by the time I come back to London,  there will no longer be my size available and maybe , if I am lucky, I may just find  one silk scarf left , cowering  in some  hidden corner.
Now Get thee to Liberty of London!

Friday, 20 August 2010

Banyuls or Bust !

Have you ever stared down the barrel of a long week end away and thought : "Nah!I just don't fancy it?" Or :" Fancy it? I can't even pronounce it?!"
Well that's what was awaiting me last weekend when due to an invitation to attend a baptism, I had to bite the bullet and shut the hell up.
Our destination was Perpignan for all intents and purpose but more specifically a snoozing seaside village by the frontier of Spain called "Banyuls sur Mer".
We left at 6am and I unashamedly slept through the better,longer half of the drive awaking for a pit stop that involved croissants and a moment to re-align my spine.We made good time and got to a sunny Perpignan late morning,enough time to visit and grab some lunch.If you have never been to Perpignan and this is coming from someone who lives not far from the downtown thriving metropolis of Cannes.. it was a pleasure and a relief  to get away from the showy summer crowds and get with the locals in this lovely town. I will not get technical with the history of it all,as frankly I didn't delve into that whatsoever: I looked, shopped and ate in that order.
 We had lunch at a local restaurant called "VIP"...the name had nothing to do with pomp or glamour and more with some Catalan saying I didn't quite catch.We chose the "plat du jour" which consisted of a "piece de boeuf " home made mash and green beans." Saignant? (Rare)" asked the waitress. " Non. A point svp (medium)" we replied. And "saignant " it was.Now what piece of beef it was, still remains a mystery,I needed a hacksaw to cut through it and being rare...well,the end result looked like something out of the "Texas Chainsaw Massacre."
We were now but 40mns or so away from our final destination the "Thalacap Catalogne/Institut de Thalassotherapie" or as I fondly like to remember it as "Welcome to Shutter Island ".
Located on a cliff and over looking the sea , the building itself eerily looked very little like an "institut" and more like an institution, "Girl Interrupted "anyone? Once we got passed the basic of basic reception area ,we headed half heartedly to our cell,I mean room. To say that the decor was spartan would be like saying that Liberace's wardrobe came from H&M and I am using the word "decor" liberally here for lack of another one.Everything that needed to be there was in wrought iron,luckily the windows were spared. There was no a/c but thank heaven's for the electric fan that made enough ruckus to wake the dead and muffled the endless screams coming from the room above ...and I don't doubt the need for escape or sedation,but this came from a baby..go figure.  Now this would be the right time to say that we managed a room change to one identical , one floor up from garden level. Actually there was no garden to speak of other than boulders and cigarette butts, so the partial sea/ traffic view was somewhat of a relief. We did score a mini bar..OK an empty one,but one that enabled our tepid bottle of water to cool in a day and a half.
The bathroom came  complete with bathtub suffering from a mild case of mildew,but I must say it was clean,as was the sterile room. There was not one single product ,no bar of soap,no plastic shower cap,no mini shampoo or conditioner...nothing. What was left by the side of the sink was a tiny plastic bottle with a liquid soap that was labeled "for hands,face and body" as well as floors and walls.The toilet was the piece  de resistance, it was in a separate room with a rather large water boiler suspended ominously above it.Luckily we are not tall but even in sitting positions:knees hiked cheek to jowl , our heads barely skimmed the top of that blasted contraption. I can honestly tell you that when nature called,one went in with his life in his hands,heart aflutter.
The spa was surprisingly packed, with old and young folk alike,all could be seen shuffling to breakfast and all hours of the day in their "Thalacap"bathrobes and blue rubber slippers.Now if we were really lucky ,we would be regaled by the sight of full regalia including the rather fetching blue and white stripped cotton swim cap.Like that is a look anyone can get away with. We were given our kit on arrival: bathrobe,towels,swim cap and rubber slippers...and we returned it half an hour later.The clincher,like I needed one, was that men were not allowed to wear swim shorts but had to sport the rather fetching speedo/banana hammock ...now add a gold chain to that and a pompadour and one can almost picture me with a rather shorter version of Elvis.
You must be puzzled as to why we would book in a spa and so readily give up our rights to all facilities and treatments... because couldn't find any other place to stay.
On plus side , breakfast was included ...Joie de Vivre: not.
Outside of spa,the weekend was a blast!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

CHANEL-LING BIGFOOT:Fall 2010/Winter 2011 Collection

Having read somewhere that the formidable Karl Lagerfeld had imported a 265 ton iceberg from Sweden (his inspiration being the ICEHOTEL in Lapland) for his fall 2010 /winter 2011 collection for Chanel , I stifled a yawn and thought "showmanship extraordinaire." If the late Alexander MQueen could get away with robotic paint sprayers,fake blood and "frightnight" to get the audience gasping,why not an iceberg. Seeing the collection emerging in the fashion magazines and in the boutiques...I had  to YouTube the show to see for myself  what on earth lead  Chanel ,my wallet weakness, down the road  to Sasquatch Fashion. What I saw frightened me.Not only seeing gorgeous hemlines dragged in water but the "Guinea Pig " colours of the "faux fur"on the 3 models in the opening of the show. Did they show it off with flair...sure. But gorgeous models looking laughable in giant Guinea Pig attire, complete with boots and hood...Yikes.
 It is nice to know that Mr.Lagerfeld has relaunched the desire to get to the bottom of the whole BigFoot myth..is he really out there? Well you can either stomp around the forests of the great unknown in search for him in your faux fur trousers and boots or start a designer Sasquatch frenzy complete with the "double C's" for authenticity.Having said that, peel back the scary and you will find some traditionally gorgeous pieces,the very essence of Chanel with twists of whimsy. 
Now,back to the iceberg... if only Mr Lagerfeld could have airlifted the rest of it and flown it over that blasted unpronounceable Icelandic volcano , he would have sparred us all the ensuing mayhem and thousands of pounds in travel costs.
On the plus side,at least the floors of the Grand Palais catwalk were buffed to a shine...all that water and the "swiffer" faux fur action from the boots...

Saturday, 7 August 2010

My Devil Wears Zara Part 2

My trips to shimmering Paris during fashion week have always been momentous one way or the other,be it seeing Amy Wino/Winehouse live,up close and personal at the exclusive Fendi event, to mark the opening of their boutique on Ave.Montaigne back in...feb 2008 or simply queueing for almost 2 hours with my "devil" to get down and dirty with the mad masses at a discount designer shoe sale...only to appear an hour later dishevelled and disoriented with absolutely nothing to show for it other than bruises and a bleary eyed demeanour...it all remains clear as a bell in my mind ,something I shall always remember fondly.
One afternoon, as I was strolling with a colleague along the Faubourg St Honore between shows and after a rare lunch break that didn't consist of grab and munch on the run, she stop and exclaimed:
Heads turned,she never was soft spoken and rather prone to over enthusiastic exclamations that bordered on the loud. There was Valentino strolling ahead of us ,perma-tanned and sophisticated in his light grey suit,  recognizably coiffed and hooded eyed.
"...It's Yves Saint Laurent !"
Towards the end of our stay, as we strolled content and sated after another "day full" in a "weekfull"... , my "devil" and her merry women;her then stalwart team of a few, one voice suddenly broke the silence: " You know what was really disappointing this time?...The collection in Zara."