Saturday, 23 February 2013

Come, Mister tally man, tally me banana : Sister Jane

When it comes to fashion I'm ambivalent. On one hand going shopping with me is a bit like 'Supermarket Sweep'. I want everything. Even the Haggis languishing forlornly in the reduced aisle weeks after Burn's Night. On the other hand, fashion 'types' annoy me as does try-hard over-thought dressing. 

My own style is a tad bipolar oscillating wildly between simple minimalism, gothic nonchalance or mad 'Miss USA pageant' OTT glamour.

But I thought I'd share a cool new brand I've discovered; Sister Jane. Quirky, bit weird, bit vintage, slightly gothic, edgy but wearable. Stocked in Topshop/ Urbies/ Asos or at their store in Portobello. The collections all have the most wonderful names: Death in Glendale, Our Golden Days, Misty Walls, Silver Spells, Red Tea....etc

This shirt (£52 Topshop) appealed to my inner theatricalism, drama queen that I am. Black silk with shiny magenta dung beetles, or at least I like to think that's what they are. It made me think of Beetlejuice. More specifically my favorite scene: The Banana Boat Song (see below)!!

59A Portobello Road
W11 3DB London(UK)

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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Your Coffee Break

So, apparently my grandma isn't the only person to read this blog.
The other day I was asked for an interview by Your Coffee Break, the online lifestyle magazine for professional women.  So off I headed, to their plush offices in Covent Garden where the lovely Gabrielle quizzed me on all things edible, stylish and satorial.
You can read all about our little meeting here... 

Monday, 11 February 2013

Tell me on a Sunday: Tom's Deli

Once upon a time, there was a girl. 
A girl who loved tea on rainy afternoons.
And taking pictures. And hats.
And warm rooms 
with steamy windows.

And it was on one such afternoon that we found ourself in Tom's Deli in Notting Hill. A.A  hadn't been back in years. I was a newbie, undergoing my initiation in his local 'hood', yo.

Tom's Deli made me think of The Emerald City and is almost a throwback to the imaginary childhood we all crave. Where glittering eyes look up at stacks of mouthwatering confectionary. Where the colours of the rainbow plaster every surface and if you close your eyes you can almost taste it. Plus the place offers a mean selection of brunch & breakfast faves, cakes, drinks, yummy mummies ...along with a delicatessen and a salad bar in the basement.

The Guinness Chocolate cake looked nondescript and not particularly appetising. But as your mother always told you, "looks aren't everything". And she is right- the cake was rich and boozy, with the perfect amount of cream cheese frosting. 

She probably also said "sharing is caring". We tried that.. but NAH... just goes to show, she doesn't always know best.

Tom's Deli
226 Westbourne Grove
W11 2RH
020 7221 8818



Inevitably we fought over who would nail the last piece. Underhand tactics preponderated and I came out on top.  Goodbye was a tense affair- luckily A.A. was going home to a basket of brownies baked by our favourite mister Pablo H (let me at 'em..let me at 'em).

I headed over to China Tang at the Dorchester for a Chinese dinner and a chin-wag with one of my best friends Fi- btw Happy Year of The Snake everyone! Incidentally, the food at China Tang was terrible and we pretty much left the lot, instead moving onto afternoon tea, more cake and scones. 

My New Metal
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Where All My Bees At?
 photo 1674086C-AC28-42CC-BAF3-71851BF3AAC2-3192-000001AE0D05B0A8.jpg  photo 0C42B9BB-26C2-4B2C-BDFF-4D8D9F2CEB7E-3192-000001ADFF79D4F8.jpg Tom's Delicatessen on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

How to Get a Date for Valentines Day ...

So you've clapped eyes on a totally lush bundle of trouble?

Eyes meet across a crowded club. Fumbling conversations, nonsensical dry-mouthed exchanges? They make you thoroughly nervous. You hope she hasn't noticed the popping vein in your temple. 

Maybe a Facebook add or even some hokery POKEry, virtual off course. 

Valentines day is rapidly approaching.  I've been playing sympathetic ear/ agony aunt to my single friends all weekend. Yes, there have been a few shockers.But there have also been a few super-squeely-AWWWW-moments. So from my wealth of vicarious (cough) experience here's a mini guide to doing it right for Valentines day...

Why Hello There....
So back to that alluring creature whose charm blurs everything else in the vicinity; who inhabits your daydreams, batting her long lashes and slinking around like a stone cold fox.

Life gives us windows of opportunity. So next time you see said person, don't mess up. Because if you wait for the time after that they may be taken/indifferent/ flashing their chesticles in the big brother house. Literally, anything can happen.

  1. Talk to them. Most people are genuinely nice and if they seem any different, they are probably on the defensive (or insecure) either of which is easily defeated with a good cheese joke.

    What do you call cheese that isn't yours? ........
    Nacho cheese.

    At this point make sure she doesn't fall off her chair and hit her head laughing. If she swoons, it better be straight into your waiting arms.
  2.  Don't open with "How are you"..."What do you do for a living" (kiss of death right there)..."Been a long time". You are not at the hairdresser & frankly nothing says  "I'm a boring fart" more than small talk. Now there is no one size fits all formula. But a conversation that is fun, chatty, uncreepy and avoids the mundane is what you're aiming for. Don't be overtly personal- no one wants to know about your athlete's foot, religious convictions, mad Uncle Eugene or that you have 'trust issues' (yikes).
  3. And finally. If you have fun, the chat's good and the chemistry is 'on fi-yar' then it's not the time to be coy. Boys, get those digits. Right then and there.

"What should I write to Her?/Him?"

Remember the days when having a boyfriend/girlfriend consisted of neverending conversations across msn messenger and sharing a sly bacardi breezer & a snog behind the shed at someone's house party? Well here's the thing. 
I hate to say it, but now you're older. 
In the beginning, beware of the whatsapp trap. Save the verbal diarrhea for when you actually meet. This means you avoid the hazard of  ironic sexually charged emoticons culminating in a bitterly regretted selfie (awkward). This is usually followed with a whimper of calls that never come and candlelit dinners never shared. 

What does this mean? You say scratching your head..

  1. Don't beat about the bush (as much as you may want to). Make texts to the point. ...."Cancel your pretend plans on Thursday night for <insert something fun here>"
  2. Don't leave too long to text her, keeping the momentum is key.
  3. Be a witty texter. If you lack wit, then compensate with assertiveness. 
  4. However, phone conversations are hunky dory. Although I am all too aware that most boys a phone-a-phobes, but if it's something you can get over then it lays a pretty good foundation. Listen to me strategise.
  5. Lastly, as you get to know the person better it's totally cool to text loads. It's only when they are a stranger that you seek being a pest or putting yourself in the 'friends zone'.

Hopefully you've done all the above. I'm guessing she said yes? 


......As does my blog.......

The moment of reckoning...

I've always been a proponent of activity dates. Not the 'try hard' variety however.. i.e. nothing ridiculous like a couple's cooking course and wine tasting (shudder). In fact no activity preceded by the word 'Couples' and nothing you can get on a Groupon voucher. Think drive to the country. Take the dogs. Go for a walk. Wear wellies- jump in puddles. Skim rocks on a lake. Go to a pub. Chat. Easy.

But that's just me. I guess on V day most people expect the traditional dinner-chocolate-flowers routine. So here we go..

Flowers- a must. But a single red rose is a no-no-NO. She will assume you're recycling a Cuckoo souvenir from the night before; and it's naff. Also, do not purchase these at a supermarket even if you do get points on your nectar card. You can't really go wrong with Moyses Steven's and if your woman has taste- she will prefer white blooms to red

Chocolates- Erm, hello? These shouldn't be an extravagance and certainly not a gift on Val day. However, William Curley chocolate is always welcome on non special occasions.

Gifts? Different couples have different dynamics when it comes to this. So I shall remain silent on the subject, as this is a really personal thing. But what's that you say? You were thinking of getting me something outlandishly vulgar and expensive? By all means go ahead.

Some final points

  1. Remember, what really matters is that you have fun. Michelin star restaurants, caricatured romance and a grad student playing the harp are not fun. A mariachi band, weird cuisine, toxic liquor and random places are.
  2. First date? Don't get smashed (you know who you are). Save the slurred speech and puffy drunk face for a night with your boys.
  3. Talk to the person you're with as you would a friend. The whole James Bond/ femme fatale routine only works in celluloid. Be who you are...
  4. If you have a great time- remember momentum is key. Don't drag out the time between seeing each other because the whole thing will fizzle out as quickly as Tesco's Value lemon fizz. If within three weeks you've barely spoken or hung out then that's definitely the nail in the coffin for the dalliance

And after all of that... if it still goes badly......