Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Blogs that make you go whoop

I follow a lot of fashion blogs and I love reading them all. But there's a few that when they pop into my Google Reader make me do an inner "whoop" and make me smile every time. Perhaps it's their style that speaks to me, perhaps their writing, or their photographs - or all these and more. But every time one of these bloggers updates their little sunny corners of the blogosphere, I smile.*


Helen's baking's just as sweet as her style, plus I have really enjoyed her home interior posts recently too!


Just how beautiful is Gillian? I love her cute-but-with-a-goth-edge style. Particularly her going out outfits!

Polka Dani

I love that she did Literature at Kent, where I taught, and I love her perfectly pretty makeup looks - she's responsible for my recent obsession with lipstains!


Sarah's blog is just sheer awesomeness. I love all her dresses, of course, but even more, I love the way she writes - she's just. So. Funny.

Dolly Clackett

I really am in awe of Roisin's dressmaking abilities, and her Melissa cherry heels! Her outfit posts alway brighten my day (and have me scouring Ebay).

T Rex and Tiaras

Char is another talented dressmaker but also owns a prodigious number of beautiful frocks. She's the only person who's ever made me wish I was taller (but not a baller) because of how graceful the gal looks in a frock. She also shares my love of novelty prints!

Esme and the Lane Way

I love this vintage inspired Aussie fashion blog, her dresses are beautiful and I love her penchant for pairing a ladylike 1940s dress with massive chunky platforms.

Frocks and Frou Frou

Lili always has me hankering after Etsy custom made dress sellers! She has a great eye for colour and I deeply covet all her Chie Mihara shoes!

*I could just list ALL the blogs in my reader, because they pretty much all make me smile or think or covet or drool, otherwise they wouldn't be there! But we'd be here a while. These are just a few of the many I love (and if yours isn't listed it isn't because I don't love it!!)

Which are the blogs that make you go whoop?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

The Tempest, The Globe, Tuesday 8th May 2012

It is a little perverse and a little wonderful that the first play I've ever seen at the Globe just happened to be in Bengali.

But it's one of those places I've always meant to go, and I guess it took the Bangla-patriot in me to get me there, but really, The Tempest performed in Bangla at Shakespeare's Globe isn't something I could have missed. Nor, it seems, could a large chunk of London's Bengali population, judging by the audience - it was quite brilliant to see a sea of brown faces, saris, hijabs and beards filling the Globe.

This somewhat unusual event was part of the ambitious Globe to Globe festival, which is hosting 38 non-English language interpretations of Shakespeare plays by theatre companies from around the world to celebrate the World Shakespeare Festival and the forthcoming Olympics. The acclaimed Dhaka Theatre Company has been on the drama scene in Bangladesh since 1973. Whilst most of their works are original compositions, their adaptation of The Tempest showed the quality, originality and innovation they're known for in their home city, to a world audience.

Dhaka Theatre's production was, first and foremost, terrifically entertaining. I think The Tempest was a perfect fit for a Bangla Shakespeare (though I still think Lear could be made into an incredible modern Hindi cinematic tragedy, of Omkar/Othello proportions). Not just because of the storm that opens the play - but also because of the magic that's central to it. Magic that is as malevolent and mischievous as it can be delightful and enchanting, a magic that is embedded within the natural landscape. Ariel is a familiar figure to anyone who knows Bengali stories about djinni. And the "postcolonial" readings aren't lost either: Caliban's tale was at one point used to gesture to the Language Movement, and the costs that Bangladeshis well know of having your language and your freedom curbed by a powerful stranger from afar.
The Manipuri drummers that spun and beat throughout the play (in the green on the right above) were spectacular and truly thrilling, but perhaps a little excessively used to punctuate the dramatic scenes. I would have preferred a little more dialogue, a little more of the Shakespeare translated into Bangla. I wasn't too sure about the removal of the bitter from the original bittersweet ending (I had Fanon's words about freedom having to be taken not given, in my head as Prospero benignly set Caliban free). But the comedy was well done, the quasi-jatra physicality translated very well, and the set was as charming as could be hoped for with a production that was only in situ for two days.

It felt very special to be there, particularly during the curtain call when acclaimed actress Shimul Yousef grasped the outstretched hands of the appreciative audience, and one of the actors ran back onto the stage wrapped in the Bangladeshi flag. I wonder what Will would have made of it all? I hope he would have smiled to see the sheer reach of his work, and have approved of a piece that captured The Tempest's playful, magical heart.

Monday, 14 May 2012

School shoes

There are lots of versions of Clarks Magic Key style shoes about at the moment, in growned up sizes. Some of the fully "growned up" individuals amongst you might raise a stern eyebrow at this trend, possibly referencing Young Adult in your concerns.

Nevertheless, I can't help but love them, even if I'm now about 4x the actual age I wore this style most. To be honest, Clarks has been selling similar styles to sensible-shoe-wearing folks like myself for a good few years in the shape of various clumpy Active Air styles (my burgundy patent cross-strap clumpers being my very favourite day to day shoes), and so they're not a huge departure from what some people wear day to day. They're practical (kids wear them for a reason!), they're kooky-sweet and they're a sturdy alternative to the often pathetically unsupportive ballet pump, and I do love the nostalgia-factor. I think they go perfectly with little printed dresses and cardigans, just as I paired them in my ode to Bernie.

Back to School

T strap shoes
$110 - topshop.com
Ymc flat heels
$278 - asos.com

Anyway, so here's a round up of the different versions around on the high street at the moment.My favourite so far have to be the navy Shellys' version on the left (but in red) - they're real leather, unlike the shiny red Schuh ones, they're not super-clumpy (the Red Or Dead ones are like having dreadnoughts strapped to your feet) and the T-bar is just right (the white Topshop ones and the YMC navy ones just look a bit too orthopaedic and not quite cute enough).

And here's the original ad that made so many girls' walks to school infinitely better as a result of a genius little bit of marketing:

Weirdly enough, it seems impossible to get these actual styles in larger-sized kids' sizes now. Which is a shame because for the smaller-footed among us, it'd be a much cheaper option than any of the above. But I'm guessing it's all about the Kickers loafers now. (I'm so *down* with them kids.)

Saturday, 12 May 2012

OOTD: The Leopard Who Came to Tea

I'm still to fix my proper camera but I have started to like my clothes and appearance a bit more again, so I thought I'd get back into OOTDs even if they're just basic phone camera-mirror jobs. I paired my beloved and oh-so-versatile People Tree teacup print dress with leopard, rust and my new yellow Clarks' pumps, and despite Bartimaeus loathing both the dress and all things leopard, conceded that I looked "cute." An achievement?

Teacup dress, Orla Kiely for People Tree, cream long sleeved T shirt (unseen), Dorothy Perkins, leopard cardi, H&M, tights, Asda, yellow cutout pumps, Clarks, rust pashmina, stall outside Russell Square tube.

I love these shoes - the sunny shade cheers me up every time I look down at my feet!

Friday, 11 May 2012

The Entrepreneurial Rabbit

I've just begun my first business venture since I was 17 (when I had my own jewellery business and made over £300 in profits selling made-to-order pieces in the office I temped at).

It's really early days but today was market research day and things are looking really positive. I guess I've always been an entrepreneur in some ways since that teen venture (as pompous and Dragons' Den as that noun sounds!) - I've had so many ideas for businesses, but I've never had the guts to see any of them through. I'm an overly cautious person that always sees the downsides in things and I'm very scared of taking risks.

Luckily, Bartimaeus is pretty much my opposite in this respect. When I had this recent idea (more on it when I've got started!) he encouraged, wheedled and badgered me into taking it seriously. Even earlier this week, as I prepped for my market research, I was totally terrified. It's really quite nervewracking going up to random people you don't know asking them if they'd want to try something out and fill in a questionaire.

But, I am so glad I did. The basically-anonymous feedback has been so glowingly positive, I'm beaming from ear to ear. I can't remember the last time I got a buzz like it. My mind is buzzing with ways to improve, build, develop what I've begun.

I'm sure a lot of you also have ideas like mine - things you don't see out there, or, just as importantly, things that could be just that little bit better (one of the most eye-opening things I realised was that you don't have to reinvent the wheel. If something's already been done - it's actually better because it proves there's a market). But too often perhaps we are that Rabbit in the headlights - discouraged by all the possible downsides, terrified into not moving.

So the moral of the story is: listen to your inner Bartimaeus sometimes.*

*when he reads this he is going to be absolutely INSUFFERABLE to live with...

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Style icons

I have three main style icons at the moment, one rather obvious, and the other two perhaps less so (depending on what you watch). I would've added Emma from Glee but sadly she's had so little airtime recently that I've hardly got to see any of her quirky-prim-sponsored-by-Anthropologie-goodness in the last series. Disappointing. I do hope the wedding makes up for it in enough twee sweetness and pastels!

Anyway, first up is an icon I've had for years, Zooey Deschanel. I used to take printouts of her hair to the hairdresser with me! I love everything about her, and pretty much everything she wears. I found the first episode of New Girl rather painful, and stopped watching but I have a hankering to return to it simply because of the dresses and the hair perfection. (A thirty two year old woman shouldn't really gush like this about a random Hollywood actress, really.)

See, here she's wearing lopsided bunny ears, HOLDING a toy bunny. I like to think we'd be friends in real life, but I'm properly in embarassing fangirl territory now.

My second icon leads on quite appropriately from discussions of "embarrassing fangirl territory" and  has a lot to answer in my purchasing of sensible clumpy shoes. This is Bernadette from Big Bang Theory. I love "Bang" because of the reason I loved Whedon's Scooby Gang, because I am a geek, a nerd, a weirdo, all the way through. I have never been, and never will be, cool. And I love that. I can't imagine how exhausting it must be to be cool! There's a cosiness to knowing you're a geek. And even though it's repetitive, patchily written and fairly mainstream, that's essentially at the heart of Big Bang Theory. I love Bernadette, she's squeaky, pint-sized, curvy, wears hairbands and cute floral dresses with cardigans and clumpy flat shoes, and she appears really sweet and cute but has a surprising edge to her. Can't possibly think why I like her so much then!

Finally, my favourite style icon from Bollywood has for a long time been Sonam Kapoor. If by some Cinderella-style miracle, I ever was made cool, this is what I would love to wear. Clashing colours, sophisticated, feminine dresses, quirky jewels. And the best eyebrows ever? Beautiful! In the sea of shiny tacky bodycon that is Bollywood fashion, she soars heads above as chic, modern, elegant.

Now three outfits inspired by these icons of mine!




Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Beauty wish list

I have quite a long list of beauty products I'm "lemming" in Makeupalleyspeak at the moment so thought I'd write them all down in an effort to start eliminating things! What's on your list?

makeup wishlist

1. Clinique Chubby Sticks new shades - I LOVE my Chunky Cherry one so much (I'd say it's in my top 5 all time favourite lip products, of which I have many). I'm particularly excited by the orange, purple and bright pink shades, especially as the current range are quite muted and don't offer many options for pigmented lips.

2. YSL Glossy Stain in Pourpe - I tested one of these out at John Lewis and it lasted hours. I'm loving bright violet lip colours at the moment and this will be lovely for summer.

3. NARS Lhasa - I need to have this tried out on me before I would consider investing, as I'm somewhat concerned it won't show up on my lids, but in theory, this lavender taupe shade just looks so very pretty indeed.

4. OPI Pirouette My Whistle - I love the pearlescent hexagonal glitter in this, so very delicate.

5. MAC Satin Taupe - I'm clearly loving taupes on the eyes and violet on the lips at the moment!

6. MAC Sable - another staple shade I feel I'm missing out on.

7. NARS concealer in Biscuit. When I got foundation matched with my now-beloved Sheer Glow, the MA also used this on me and it lasted and lasted. Once I've ploughed through the two incorrectly matched MAC concealers I have to laboriously mix together every day (in exactly the right proportions) this will replace them. And cut my makeup routine down by a good 5min!

8. OPI Go On Green - after years of loving dusty cream polishes, I'm really loving fleck, jelly and shimmer shades. This looks so delicate and lovely - I love the idea of it worn very sheer, for just a hint of iridescent beetlewing colour. (But also layered over dusty purple and teal shades).

9. Hermes Eau de Merveilles (one of the three versions). The wonderfully wise Fragrance SA in Liberty suggested this for me as a summer fragrance, and I was a bit sceptical but kept sniffing and sniffing at my wrists hours after testing. I love the very clear orange blossom note, which is heady, exotic, sweet and fresh at the same time.

10. Sleek Ultra-matte i-Divine palette. I have hardly any matte shadows in my collection and I think the dark palette would be rather useful paired with all my shimmer shadows.