Monday, 28 December 2009

Expensive Fashion Pangs

Though there have been times when money has been so tight that we've had to share heinz tomato soup for one between two of us, my mother has brought me up with a love of quality in clothing. From the cabin trunk's worth of Nana's divine evening gowns in the loft, through mum's to-die-for shoe collection and the special childhood trips to a department store for a party dress when daddy was feeling a bit flush. I've worn beautiful childhood clothes until they really positively do not fit me anymore, taken them in to have them alterred into another outfit that will fit me, or worn a destroyed party dress as extravagant playing out clothes because I just refuse to part with it.

When I hit my decade long obsession with wearing nothing that wasn't from the 1960s I looked down upon offerings from Mary Quant for being badly made because I'd already been given a few season's collections of much better clothing that once belonged to my mother and Grandmother in the 60s.

I have a wardrobe full of evening gowns and go very over dressed to parties just to actually have the chance to wear some of them, and yet I am always seeing new things that I crave to own but will rarely get the chance to wear. ...these items are usually outrageously expensive too which plays dreadfully upon my knowledge that such sums of money are better spent on good causes.

I've been craving a Herve Leger bandage dress ever since I realised that they look better on women with curves than stick insect models, and that they do much better colour combinations than Victoria Beckham wears. The sight of them makes me sigh with desire and have to run off and eat quite a quantity of chocolate before the pain that I can't afford one becomes lessened.

The sight of this one will require more than a box of ferrero rochers to get over. It costs a mere $1050. Just think how many tins of cat food for abandonned kitty cats that would buy. I shall have to drop some more boxes of cat food into the animal rescue donation bin next to I go food shopping. That'll make me feel a bit better.

*insert wistfull sigh here, followed by the sound of gold foil being unwrapped*

These ones I can't sigh over too much, because they're made out of dead cows and that means they can never have wardrobe space in my home. But they *look* divine. And would be divine if they were vegan. As if the pain that Manolos and Louboutins only come in leather isn't enough, Alexander McQueen has to give me shoe pangs too. £525 worth of exquisitely crafted dead animal skin: Thankfully Madame Westwood now collaborates with the vegan planet saving shoe makers at Melissa on some of her footwear. Therefore the sight of the the dead cow booties can be lessened by putting on my candy scented elevated three strap Westwood heels which are all the more wondrous for being made in rubber as the style of them suggests the sort of mistress who will require wipe down fashion.

While I'm whining about McQueen that I can't afford and can't give wardrobe space to due to silkworm guilt, cow guilt and assorted cute fluffy animal guilt, here are sme other delectable items that I've been admiring for so long that I've forgotten which season they're from:

£3876 of goddess worthy embroidered silk:

£484 of screamingly neon pink leather:£1885 of silver screen starlet style woolen warmth:

£2892 of silk formed into the ultimate "you couldn't afford me" kaftan:

£1732 of draped silk chiffon that you can't possibly walk in:

£944 of silk that deserves to be in an episode of Poirot:

And the most cravable £1972 of silk formed into McQueen's Kimono dégradé mini dress:Finally Mr McQueen made something that doesn't involve the death of an animal, so I have no way of not desiring it. It is bizarrely a pleated skirt that's so perfect that it refuses to ever go out of fashion. Thankfully all £494 worth of it is now out of stock everywhere so I'm safe. *sigh*

Now I need to go sit for a while eating chocolate while wearing my Westwood heels and hugging "The Precious". The Precious is my newest Westwood aquisition.

I'm not usually into these bulky bags, being more of a 50s/60s box bag kind of a girl. And I have more Marilyn Monroe handbags than is at all sensible. ...but when I saw the huuuuge red tartan quilted Anglomania handbag with squiggle print stitching in the Westwood store in Leeds, dear Charley nearly had to carry me out on a stretcher. I was convinced it would be trimmed with leather but still looked it up on the internet so that I could drool at the image of it. Wondrously, it was trimmed in gloriously Westwood styled PVC and I wanted it. On return to the store with Charley (to buy Pirate boots) the huuuge bag I had seen was now sold out but there was a much more usable miniature version complete with quirky little rosette and orb engraved gold fittings left alone on the shelf. The shop assistants had to coax me gently in order to prise it from my fingers so that we could go try on boots downstairs.

Thus far it has only had a couple of outings, during which I clung to it in fear it would get hurt in some way. It now usually resides in it's own super soft Westwood dust bag awaiting another outing... but I fetch it out to hug it and examine it and generalyl love it lots. It's my new teddy bear really. "The Precious".

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

The Edge of Reason

Few things in life are as blissful as being curled up in front of the fire with the kitty cats, eating an assortment of Ferrero Rochers and watching Colin Firth trying to drown Hugh Grant in a fountain while The Darkness rock out 'I Believe In A Thing Called Love'.

...yes, I'm watching the second Bridget Jones film on the telly. I love this one the best. Even though the first one has the best line:

"I will not be defeated by a bad man and an American stick insect. Instead, I choose vodka."

Thursday, 17 December 2009


Is it any wonder that a part of ten-year-old me wanted to be Madonna?

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Elf Yourself...

...or "How To Make Yourself Love Christmas Again"

Christmas always manages to put me in a really grumpy mood, but I've been slowly working on a way to ease the pain and think I may have hit upon the way to de-scrooge myself for the jolly season.

Part One - Gifts

In November buy as many gifts as possible online. Preferably from places that'll gift wrap them, add a message and post them direct to the recipient. Doing this in November gives your mind the chance to actually consider properly what people will want, and you can even ask them what sort of thing they'll like without being so close to Christmas they'll expect it.

Part Two - Cards

Subscribe to a lovely online card service and do as many of your cards that way as possible. It saves trees too so you can feel cosy in the knowledge that you're saving the planet. There's a lovely animated cards one where you can subscribe to it for a year and send as many greetings as you like: That particular one is very reasonable so you can donate some of the rest of the cost you'd have spent on cards and postage to a favourite charity. Orphanages and animal shelters will particularly appreciate gifts at Christmas. If you have a local animal shelter, I'd also suggest taking some pet food down to them before Christmas.

Part Three - Parties

If Christmas mingling isn't your thing but you can't get out of all of them, treat yourself to a lovely outfit for the event(s), something that you'll be so elated to wear that you won't actually care where you are. If you're invited to lots of things, only accept invites from the ones in the first week of December. If you know the host of the party, try and volunteer to help with something. It'll give you a purpose, make you feel good, and totally distract you from the whole party thing. It also means that you can speak to people without the difficult mingling thing and you get to run off before the conversation gets boring because you're "busy".

Part Four - Your Celebration

Have a special small gathering of your own, just you and a friend or two, somewhere nice well before Christmas. Even if you just go out for lunch together it means you'll be enjoying the company of people you care about and that's what the Christmas spirit is often about. It's nothing like the torture of a day long grumpy family Christmas where everyone is tired, drunk and overfed.

Part Five - Treat Yourself

In mid-December when the Christmas Shopping chaos is beginning in earnest, go out shopping with a friend on a late Sunday afternoon (when everyone is starting to tire of the whole weekend shopping but it isn't so near christmas that they're sticking there til the bitter end), visit your favourite shops and treat yourselves to a few things. This way you feel liek you've been involved in the "Christmas Shopping Experiance" but seeing as you've already done all yours online and the only person to buy for is yourself it takes all the stress out. A perfectly lovely experiance and highly recommended... especially if it involves a trip into Vivienne Westwood or Lush.

London Gets Gift Wrapped By Viv

Part Six - Decorating

If you can bear the idea, put the Christmas tree up. If not, at least put your Christmas cards up. Bluetac them around the window frames or onto doors so that they're about and making you feel loved without cluttering the place up. If your Christmas card collection depresses you too and you have a small online group that your a part of why not suggest a Christmas card list on there. That way you can put effort into sending cards related to your own special interest and recieve cards back in the same way that'll be very you and really make you smile. (mine all arrive covered with Nick Rhodes and Duran Duran pictures). If you have a shrubbery outside your house, buy one of those christmas light nets that can go out doors, plug it in and chuck it over the shrubbery. Instant pretty decorations that will make your house look cosy and twinkly when you get home of an evening yet without turning your home into a cheap immitation of Vegas.

Part Seven - Reclaiming the Christmas Spirit

My Christmassy music is Dean Martin. Choose your own beloved Christmas music that'll make you feel all traditional and cosy in the same way, but I'd recommend this:

Stick the music on, run yourself a bath and crumble in half an "Elf Yourself" bubble bar from Lush. If you're particularly grumpy, crumble the whole bar in. If you've put your Christmas tree up, light the lights. If you have an open fire, light the fire and dim the lights. Prepare yourself some mulled wine and light tea light in red tea light holders in the bathroom. Climb into the bath which will now be full of Christmas scented, christmas coloured red warm water and fluffly white bubbles. Soaking in the luxurious Christmassy bath, siupping your mulled wine and listening to Dino should start to ease Christmas in gently. When it's time to leave the bath, wrap up in a newly tumble dried fluffy towel, dry yourself infront of the fire and treat tourself with Pied De Pepper foot cream by Lush. Finally, settle down to watch a Christmas comedy DVD. I;d recommend "Elf" as it's hilarious and cosy without being nauseatingly soppy.

Part Eight - The Spiritual Bit

If you're Christian or just mildly accepting of the Christian Christmas vibe, take yourself off to church before midnight on Christmas Eve. Its not like a normal full on church service, there's just a small gatherong of people in a church decorated for Christmas. You'll sing some Chrstmas carols and come out feeling all spiritual and joyous.

Part Nine - Opening your presents

Open one of your gifts when you get home from midnight mass at the church. Open the rest when you get up sometime around lunchtime.

Part Ten - Christmas Lunch

Don't do the family Christmas if it freaks you out. Find one of your friends who also doesn't like Christmas and spend the day together. You're each others' excuse for not attending other people's homes for Christmas Lunch. Have something simple that you can cook in few minutes or zap in a microwave that's the size of a *normal* meal, then settle down in front of the telly with alcohol and an assortment of cake, chocolates and savory nibbles.

Part Eleven - The Family

Seeing as you've avoided everyone on Christmas day, do the rounds on boxing day. Always choose a few people to visit so that you can use the others as an excuse for departing when you get bored. Visit those with children either first (to get the hanging around noisy Christmas gifts over with early on and then make a quick exit as you've so many other people to go and see) or late at night when they've gone to bed. You waon't need to make yourself a meal all day as you'll have Christmas left overs forced upon you at every stop. This is when you get to eat the normal Christmassy food, but without the stress and hassle of cooking it, the washing up, or the endless left overs.

Part Twelve - The Aftermath

Arrange something nice to do with the friends in New Year so that you have something to look forward to in the new year, and use the above techniques to survive New Years events. ;)

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

The joy of music

Y'know when you hear a song performed so amazingly that it's like discovering music all over again? I love that feeling.

My latest moment like that was in the car the other night listening to Radio 2. They played a live version of Stop by Joe Bonamassa and I sat in the dark in the driveway until the whole song had finished.

I've had the pleasure of seeing Joe and his band perform live. Bizarrely it was on a night in Morecambe when the whole sky seemed to empty itself upon our heads as we walked from the hotel to the gig venue. We arrived like wet rats, dropped as much dripping wet clothing to the floor as was considered appropriate and gloried at the beautiful music gliding through the darkened venue. ...and at the end Heather and I scrambled towards the front to get a view of the incredibly talented and yummy drummer cos we're like that.

Highly recommended.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Richard Becknsale

Richard understandably being pounced upon in The Lovers film.

Thanks to the demise of geocities I have lost many of my ancient websites. Seeing as so many people were using the Richard Beckinsale one for reference I've re-launched it here. No fancy bits, just lots of the info I've collected together on his career in film, television and the theatre, a bit of his poetry... and some lovely photos.

So the question now is... are these photos a way to entice you into the website or is the website just an excuse for me to post some gratuitous Beckinsale pics?

Richard on the stage in Funny Peculiar. Yes, some lucky so and sos got to seem him live on stage draped precariously in a dressing gown.

A still from the film Rentadick. No, it's not like that despite the name and the image. Nor is the TV series or film of The Lovers. Richard's a very serious actor I'll have you know.

...well, okay, maybe not that serious.

Anyway, for those of you who've managed to miss Richard all together (this being all the non-Brits I imagine. In the UK we're all raised on Richard's comedy TV shows), he's the late great father of kate Beckinsale who sadly died very young in the midst of a most promising career.
For more info... check out the website. It's very basic as it was one of my first creations, but it's informative.

Rock Couture vs Juicy Couture

This review of the newest Juicy perfume is just too funny, words and video:
Juicy Couture Couture Couture

I have realised that maybe I have to cut JC a teensy bit of slack in that it's not designed for me, it's designed for spoilt squealing American teenage girls. Smashing Grandpa is for me. It's designed for for spoilt shrieking rock'n'roll women of decadent tendancies. Juicy is for the teens who don't have an edge yet and I pray that they will grow up and discover true rock'n'roll and also learn that drawing graffiti on portraits of Queen Elizabeth I is just plain WRONG!

Alas Smashing Grandpa is worn by "Posh Spice" who I have always been growly about for not actually being the slightest bit posh. And I'm still mourning their loss of Leslie Gardner and searching in vain for an alternative "slogan tee" outlet.

Gardner's new stuff for One World still has the beautiful shapes but the edge and wit has gone to be replaced by mumsy floweriness. Nauseated. :( I suppose she's just grown up. I refuse to grow up and still want clothes designed by the Westwood adoring designer for New York's glam rock scene who read Miss Pamela's groupie memoir and moved to California "to meet bands" and started the Smashing Grandpa line while she was there. Alas One World Apparel just pales into insignificance.

And yes, I've already tried the JCDC tees with the cute drumkit logo on the back... and I'm bored already. Smashing Granpa did wit, beauty, decadent elegance and rock'n'roll ege all in one. And the shirts often had puffed sleeves, and subtle naughtiness that I could wear in front of my dad without him noticing. I mourn them heavily.

The stupid fur wearing Olsen Twins have moved seamlessly from Smashing Grandpa to Juicy Couture, growing out of edge and into fluff. Surely that's backwards. Are they getting younger as they get older?

I wonder if I'm one of Smashing Grandpa's most devoted followers? Anyone who's seen into my vast t-shirt drawer would certainly testify that I'm a contender. For those who haven't, here's a bit of an idea.

Here I am with the lovely Chloe (lead singer of The Handcuffs, check them out, they ROCK) in one of my many Smashing Grandpa jackets. They're uber comfy, have puffed sleeves, are flatteringly corset shaped for girlies like myself who have curves (how difficult is it to design clothing for women with a waistline vastly smaller than their hips, bum and chest, I mean really?! Come on fashion designers, get with it!) and they have fab things on the back of them. My two pink ones (yes, two) have butterflies on the back. They're not the same. One butterfly is blue, the other is black. Trust me, I needed both. I wear them a lot. One day I will have worn them all out and I shall cry. I also have them in black, olive, green, purple and possibly some other colours that I've forgotten about. The others have art nouveau godesses or rock'n'roll crests on the back. They're lovely. I even used to wear the appropriately coloured ones when working for the National Trust so that I could look lovely in the middle of the woods. Everyone else looked appropriate for being in the middle of the woods. I had pink walking boots, skinny fit jeans and a corset shaped jacket with a goddess on the back of it... and crazy pink eye-make-up. Who says the National Trust is old fashioned?! Ha!

My fellow groupie soul sisters in The BBAs all wear Smashing Grandpa, and Penny raided my stuff when she came to visit so here she is in a few more of mine:

As a side note she also looked totally gorgeous in some of my Dollyrockers collection:
The lace dress looked so stunning on her that I sent her home with it.
BBAs obviously favour the line Leslie Gardner launched inspired by Miss Pamela, so here's just a teeny tiny few of those from my collection:

Admittedly, it looks sooo much better on John Taylor, but then it would. ;) He's also cheating by accessorising with a Miss Pamela. And fnally a rare one.. of me and my daddy. I'm wearing the fab "Dancing with tears in my eyes" shirt which is probably my most worn Smashing Grandpa shirt.

Mother took the picture. She went to sit comfortably in one of the carriages while we jumped in the front to got over excited about all the controls and the fire and everything, breathing in vast lungfulls of joyous sooty, oily smoke. Dad and I like steam trains. Deal with it.
Daddy has also built himself a miniature steam engine. It works and everything, I'm so proud. I did paint a picture of him with his steam engine but he took it home before I could take a photo of it. At least he likes it I guess. Anyway, he's almost finished with his scary miniature steam lorry and the matching trailer, so I live in anticipation of more pics of his finished work.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

What a doll!

Hearing of the new Barbie "Ladies Of the 80s" range I couldn't help but go and investigate. The Blondie doll really doesn't hit the spot, but the Cyndi Lauper one is verrrry cool:

While checking it out I saw what has become of poor Ken these days. He's now a Donald Trump bewigged sugar daddy with a poodle and outfits made out of furniture:

I blame the fact that he's now started hanging out with Gela and Pamela from the evil velour tracksuit manufacturers Juicy Couture. Their dolls come complete with defaced portrait of my idol, my Queen, Elizabeth Tudor. As if velour tracksuit selling dolls complete with dead-animal accessories couldn't incite my displeasure enough.

Also fell across a super scary non-Barbie issue doll of Luscious Lucius Malfoy from Harry Potter. As it's based on the incredibly dishy Jason Isaacs it should look like this:

But for some unknown reason it looks like this:

*shivers* So, as far as celebrity dolls go I say go for the utterly beautiful Franklin Mint Marilyn Monroe (which is the only doll I have but sadly only with the red sparkle and pink dresses from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes) or for this ultra sweet rock'n'roll pairing:

Or the ultra fab Roman Holiday doll from the Pullip range:

If I were a little girl now I'd be going crazy for the Korean Pullip dolls. They totally rock. I would have chosen this one as little girl me:

And I'd have then bought it a boy toy. Being unconventional as I am (I was utterly disgusted with the one male doll given to me for my many Sindys and Barbies - overly tanned, overly normal-formal Pilot Ken. Yuck.) I'd no doubt choose this one. Yes it's a boy doll, and ohmygod if it isn't the doll form of Nick Rhodes:

I'd buy it the Westwood-esque bondage trousers from the girl doll range as well as these outfits for gigging in:

OMG, doll with a ruff! :D I could then buy it a proper girlfriend in the form of Barbie-Meredith, both modern and 1950s versions:

Barbie Meredith would then have to wear the outfit my own childhood Perfume Pretty Barbie had because it somewhat resembles Mr Rhodes' lovely ex-wife's wedding dress:

(poor Barbie had been kidnapped by the doll form of Warren Cuccurullo in that picture so that he could take her home and have his wicked... um, tea party with her)
...meanwhile, seeing as the Durans are getting all the girls, Ken dresses up for an audition with Spandau Ballet:

I'll stop messing about now. The dolls I kept falling across while looking for the 80s Barbies were just too hilariously Duranned not to share. ...and for those who will mourn the loss of the Juicy dolls when I am Queen of the universe and ban them, fear not for Pullip have made a sort of Gela doll too which kind of rocks: