Month of Mayhem

December. The month of mayhem. It’s always mayhem with the Christmas chaos. But this December was particularly manic. It started off with the hell of exams, followed by my last couple of weeks in Paris; meaning that everything I had not seen/bought/visited during the year MUST MUST have to be seen/bought/visited in those few days. So that was that, I’m not even going to go into detail, it was all a blur, thank God for my camera. Anyhow, after that it was time to move back to London – more chaos – we all know my timekeeping is not spectacular, but try being totally punctual while having to carry 6 pieces of luggage down a 150-stair spiral staircase, deal with rush-hour traffic and hobble on through Gare du Nord to catch the train back home. Yes.

I arrived back in London on the 23rd meaning that all those things you leave to the last minute at Christmas still had to be done (no time to actually move in back home). So that’s when that madness began; planning menus, buying presents etc. Followed by 3 days of non-stop cooking and eating with the family.

AND THEN, the boxing-day sales…Piece of advice to everyone: Do your sale shopping online!!! Don’t leave the house until New Year has come and gone. It’s a warzone. I went to Selfridges on the evening of the 26th – it had been cleared out, there was NOTHING left on the shelves. “OH MY GOD, it’s 50% off, it’s Prada, I don’t know what it’s for but I HAVE to have it!” People go crazy, actually crazy. Something in their heads triggers and nothing in the world matters but those Balenciaga boots. And then New Year’s Eve – by which time I was wiped and so very much appreciated staying at home with family, films, food and incredible fireworks!

AND somewhere in the middle of all of that was my birthday! Anyhow, it’s all calming down now, but I’m off to Spain soon, so I’ll have to pack again…But the December mayhem is over, people are normal again, and we can all breath a sigh of relief.

Empty shelves at Selfridges

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Spring 2012 RTW Favourites

Living in Paris has definitely affected my personal style – being surrounded by effortlessly chic women AND men at all times has meant upping the ante! “Casual” in Paris means something very different to “casual” everywhere else. Not only is Parisian casual more elegant, it’s also more flattering…This is the city to make the style transition from student to professional. Learning to shop for quality pieces in less volume rather than following the weekly trends that overwhelm in cities like London and NY.

Simplicity is key; choosing items that you’re able to mix and match with ease, but are also stand-alone pieces. Mixing tailoring with knits and layers and a great pair of shoes!

So, here are my favourite looks from the Spring 2012 Ready-to-Wear collections; block colours, floaty prints, white on white, and tailoring, tailoring, tailoring.

Photos: Vogue

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Joshua Radin & Joseph Arthur – Café de la Danse

Contrary to what the name suggests, Café de la Danse is neither a cafe nor a dance club. What it is is a performance space tailored to hold small concerts, theatre shows etc. Self-described as “a place for cultural and musical gatherings”. A few weeks ago N and I got last-minute tickets to the Joseph Arthur & Joshua Radin gig, and we were so impressed!

The venue is great; intimate and atmospheric. It holds about 500 people, 250 of which are seated. The other 250 disperse around the bar on the above balcony or find a spot on the comfy persian rugs thrown in front of the stage.

I hadn’t heard of Joseph Arthur before but he’s actually been on the music scene for about 15 years. He was great; interesting/experimental/fresh… and by the end of his set he’d won over the entire audience. First off, his music could not be more complicated to perform – he was an electronic-one-man-band. He’d play his guitar and record it while adding in beats and riffs, and sing and push buttons, and whip out a harmonica…all at the same time. And if that were not enough to keep the intrigue, he’s also an artist and will paint a whole canvas on stage while simultaneously performing. It’s all quite self-indulgent but it’s impressive!

Then came the man with the most soothing voice on earth, Joshua Radin, who not only loves LOVE but also loves Paris A LOT, and so instantly felt a bond to his Parisian audience to which he kept telling all these little anecdotes about his experiences on the streets of this city – every song was preceded by this or by a story from when he was younger. And in the end it felt like we were over at an incredibly talented friend’s house, having some drinks, listening to music and having a good old chat. And his band was fantastic, everyone was having such a good time. It just felt genuine. Joseph Arthur was great but Joshua Radin stole the show.

Click here to see what’s on now at Café de la Danse…And to see more video clips from the concert click here!

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To the legend that is Freddie…

Freddie Mercury – 20 years gone but never forgotten.

Click here to see the greatest live performance of all time!

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La Ballerine

The quintessential Parisian shoe.

I’ve been searching for the perfect ballet flat for a long, long time. And I’ve found them! This is where to go if you too are looking for the ultimate ballerine.

Repetto ballerines are made by hand from the softest leathers, in the same way that they would make dance shoes. Being so supple they mold perfectly to your feet. And they’re made in limited series so they feel all that more special. AND they come in every beautiful colour and texture you could wish for!

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La Parisienne

Walking home from the métro the other night I was greeted by the neighbourhood crêpe-maker, 2 waiters at the corner pavement cafés and a sweet old man I often see walking his Dalmatian. At some point I went from being the new girl on the block to being one of the locals. It feels gooooood.

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The end of the world as we know it…

Maybe this is what the Mayans meant re: 2012.

Earlier this week I listened to Slavoj Žižek speaking to Al Jazeera about the global financial and political changes taking place. He came to the following conclusion:

‎”The fear is that the alternative of Asian authoritarian capitalism is now more efficient and dynamic than western, liberal capitalism…The system has lost its self-evidence, its automatic legitimacy, and now the field is open.”

Last night, I watched a documentary called “The End of poverty?” which explains why and how we’ve come to this. I think everybody needs to watch this to put things into context.

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Chicken to the Beer

N makes delicious, and I mean DELICIOUS meals. So here’s one he made this week. A really simple recipe that’s guaranteed to make everyone drool. Who needs Coq au Vin when you’ve got ‘Chicken to the Beer’…

Ingredients for 4 lucky people:

8 Chicken legs or thighs or both!
1 large onion
4 garlic cloves (love the garlic)
2 carrots
1 large pepper
1 leek
Handful of mushrooms
1 pint of beer
4 potatoes
Olive oil
Salt & pepper
Thyme

Quantities of ingredients are entirely dependent on preferences, no rules, but you will need a large saucepan and a frying pan.

Okayyy…So, first step is to chop up all the veg. Then you can get both pans on the stove!

Season the chicken and throw it in the frying pan (in oil) until golden brown with lovely crispy skin – you can then put it aside until you’re done with the veg.

While this is sizzling away, add the harder vegetables with some olive oil into the large saucepan to soften. We added carrots and peppers first, followed by onions, garlic and leeks and lastly the mushrooms.

Cook slowly and season to taste. Once the veg is done to your liking add the chicken and pour in the beer, just enough so that it covers the chicken as it will reduce significantly. As soon as it boils turn down the heat and let everything simmer for about 20 mins until the beer has reduced to a delicious sauce.

Once you’ve added the beer to the pan you can concentrate on the potatoes. N chops them up into cubes, which is brilliant because they absorb all the sauce that way; so chop your potatoes into cubes and fry them with a bit of salt, then once the beer sauce has reduced, mix them in with the veg and chicken and let it all sit for about 5 mins on a low heat.

And that’s it! Easy, delicious, comfort food.

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L’Opéra de nuit

I love the Palais Garnier at night. It instantly evokes 19th century Paris; the gowns, the top hats, the fur stoles…

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The Egyptian Revolution of 2011

“There are decades when nothing happens, and there are weeks when decades happen.”

Lenin

I just want to say CONGRATULATIONS to the Egyptian people for showing the world the power of people and unity. It’s true, it’s only the beginning; Egypt has a lot to work on and rediscover as it rebuilds itself. But no matter how difficult, freedom and democracy are paramount. They are fundamental rights which belong to every human being. This alone is reason enough for us to support those who revolt against tyrants, no matter where we’re from!

As well as giving courage to those who are pleading for similar changes around the world, today also serves as a reminder to us who so often take these rights for granted. The Egyptian people have fought for their freedom admirably; peacefully and with dignity. And they have succeeded. GO EGYPT!

I also wanted to point out a great article which was forwarded to me this morning (Slavoj Žižek, The Guardian). Some of you may be interested in following his writing.

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