Lust-List Monday

  • My summer holidays are nearing an end, which means I’m moving back to London this week (*sigh of relief*). Every year, I start afresh with my wall decorations and this year I’m coveting these type maps by Bold & Noble, a design collective founded by Jane Tobitt and David Wardle. Much more sophisticated than the posters that usually adorn students’ bedroom walls, I can see myself being distracted from assignments reading all the road names (I’m easily amused). The designs are printed on 100% recycled card, so your eco-warrior conscience can breathe easy. Type map of London, £43 (inc. postage), Bold & Noble.
  • My physiotherapist has prescribed sensible shoes. Are these Giambattista Valli loafers (£505 at Net-A-Porter) sensible enough? Probably, but the price tag isn’t. I shall have to make do with inferior models like these ASOS loafers until my funds are in a healthier (wealthier) state.
  • As you’ve probably already heard, J. Crew now ships to the U. K (with free postage until 31st October). This wool/alpaca/acrylic fisherman sweater (£85.55) is perfect for the increasingly more frequent chilly Autumn days.
  • I’ve accepted that the beautiful Mulberry Polly Push Lock from last week’s Lust-List isn’t going to happen in the near future. It’s time to move on. Sigh. This pewter satchel by Zatchels (prices starting at £99) is much more purse-friendly, and the 14.5″ version (£109) is just right for all my university essentials. Polly Push Lock, our time will come ♥
  • Boring old jumper + sparkly collar = less boring old jumper. Sequin collar, £25 at ASOS.
Apparently, metallics are my friends. Go forth and sparkle, my friends!
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A Scone for a Walk

Today, as I sat at my desk at work gazing out of the window at the cloudless blue sky (my Summer job isn’t very mentally stimulating), my mind wandered back in time to the holiday I took with my family to Devon three weeks ago. And by holiday, I mean walking bootcamp.

I’m notoriously grumpy when it comes to walking. I don’t mean stroll-in-the-park or amble-down-Brompton-Road walking. I mean proper walking; the type where you need walking boots, waterproofs, backpacks, CamelBaks, packed lunches, spare socks, blister plasters, torches…oh and foil insulation blankets ‘just in case’.

My mum and stepdad, on the other hand, are hardened walkers. They walk and walk, stopping only to exclaim how wonderful it is to be walking. Cody, the new canine addition to our family, agrees: he always ‘needs’ a walk.

Clearly there’s a conflict of interests when we go on holiday, one which, in Devon, was resolved with the promise of cream tea on each walk.

This was my first experience of proper cream tea. Rather embarrassingly, until not so long ago, I thought that a cream tea was, well, tea – with cream.

Conveniently, my favourite food blogger, Emma of Poires au Chocolat, wrote an enlightening post which cleared up any misunderstandings. She baked six (SIX!) batches of scones to perfect her recipe. True dedication. I even whipped out my phone before I started spreading to check her words of wisdom regarding what goes first – cream or jam (it’s scone-cream-jam, just so you know). I dread to think what would have happened had I not brought my phone with me, and spread jam first!

One of these days I’ll try my hand at Emma’s recipe. For now, the thought of cream tea still has the Pavlovian effect of evoking memories of pain and sweat, so perhaps I should wait a while!

Thinking about the walk/cream tea compromise made me wonder whether the walk was really just a means to an end (the end being a yummy reward). The truth is I don’t really mind walking, but only because it makes me feel good for being active, and the views really can be rewarding. But it’s not like jogging, which makes me profoundly happy in itself; not just because it’s burning calories or taking me on a speedy tour of central London, but because it makes me feel strong, powerful and in control of my body. Pain during a jog is welcome confirmation that I’m pushing my body to its limits; pain during a walk is just confirmation that I should have stayed at home.

I decided that walking, for me, is a means to an end, but the end in question isn’t a sweet treat: it’s the promise that I won’t feel guilty for not going on a walk. Oh the twisted thought processes of women! Or is it just me?

Cody’s thoughts revolve around food, walks and sleep. I know because he told me.

Lust-List Monday

Everybody and their cat seems to be doing a Wishlist Wednesday, so, to avoid any potential copycat-related catfights (ha), I’ve decided to think outside the box. I’ve come up with Lust-List Monday. I know, ingenious, right? It took me hours, don’t burst my bubble.

The name is different, but the idea is the same – ever Monday I’m going to post the things I’ll be lusting after that week. As for the word ‘lust’, I’m learning to deal with it.

Happy shopping, happy dreaming!

On This Day Ten Years Ago…

My mum picked me up after school. At home, I switched on the TV to get my daily hit of smiley-smiley kids’ programmes. My most vivid memory from that day is finding that all the channels except for BBC Two were showing the horrific events that were unfolding on 9/11. BBC Two was showing the Tweenies. What a juxtaposition.

I spent the rest of the afternoon in front of the TV, absorbing information, my mind bewildered and empty of thoughts. Aged ten, I didn’t understand the politics: the motives and the reasons that would drive human beings – people like me – to such extreme actions (to say the least). Aged twenty, I still don’t understand.

After dinner on that day, I went to see my friends. We sat outside on the pavement talking about what had happened. Our innocent, naive minds didn’t stretch far on the analysis, but, even though we weren’t directly affected by the day’s events, we felt like we had come together in a time of need. Of course, although I didn’t realise it then, I know now that we have all been affected by 9/11 to varying degrees.

Today we have remembered that fateful day that shaped the world, and the unfathomably tragic loss of lives in the attacks, the rescue mission, and in the ‘war on terror’ that ensued. We will never forget those who died, and those who lived without their loved ones. We will never forget the courage, bravery and compassion; the kindness, empathy and selflessness that we have had the honour to witness in the wake of the attacks.

Back to School

What’s your favourite time of the year? For me, it’s got to be cold. Maybe it’s because I spent the first eight years of my life in a country where a Snow Day means that it’s -25°C outside (not that there’s been a light sprinkling of sleety slush), but the arrival of Autumn and Winter fills me with utter delight.

Summer isn’t for me – I can’t deal with the heat, unless it’s heat on a sun lounger by a pool or beach. At home, I’ll strip down to my underwear to stay cool. I can’t think about fashion in the Summer. I love the idea of it, really, I do. Acid brights, little floaty dresses and denim short shorts seem great in theory. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if I had model legs. Alas, the shortest I can go is a conservative just-above-the-knee, and I find that skirt/short length has a positive correlation with perspiration rate.

So there I am sweating through July, when – joy of joys – August brings with it a glimmer of hope: The September Issue. And that’s when it all starts. Suddenly my gym sessions fly by because I’m preoccupied with thoughts of wool skirts, opaque tights and leather boots. I daydream about all the layers I’m going to wear: crisp white shirts under thick knitted cardigans and heavy wool coats.

Going back to school in September used to signify the turn of season – leaving the house a couple of hours earlier than my usual holiday wake-up time used to make it seem like the climate had ceremoniously changed overnight. My mum would stop me at the door and send me back upstairs to put some tights on (“But Muuummy, I wore a dress yesterday, and I was fine!”).

More than the turn of season, going back to school also signified new starts. A new diary and pencil case, new exercise books and new teachers; another chance to neaten up your handwriting, join more clubs and do your homework as soon as you get home. Sure, the novelty soon wore off, but I approached each new academic year with the same enthusiasm as the year before.

These days I don’t go ‘back to school’, but September will always be associated with changes and transformations. It also announces a return to structure, routine, lists and timetables, and this is reflected in my tendency to drift towards sharper, more structured tailoring. In my search for new additions to my A/W wardrobe, I discovered a skirt that was wonderfully reminiscent of my old school uniform, but with a very welcome twist…

Jersey T-shirt, £89; asymmetric skirt, £55; leather clutch, £89 (all COS)

The asymmetric detail turns a dull, businessy, formal skirt into an incredibly versatile piece that I can see forming the cornerstone of my winter wardrobe. What to pair it with? The possibilities are endless. Here are my picks:

BLOUSES

[wear blouses and shirts tucked in]

Blouses (left-to-right): Whistles Colour Block Blouse, £125; Reiss Sugar Blouse, £120; Marc by Marc Jacobs Disco Silk-Satin Blouse, £250 at Net-a-Porter 

This one deserves a line of its own:

Stella McCartney white silk charmeuse satin Angela blouse, £435

Those cuffs…*sigh*…

SHIRTS

Shirts (left-to-right): ASOS Blouse With Broderie Trim And Pleats, £30; Zara poplin shirt, £29.99; Christopher Kane PVC gel-collared cotton shirt, £585 at Net-a-Porter 

SWEATERS

Sweaters (left-to-right): Hobbs Chandler Sweater, £79 (wear with a white shirt underneath); Reiss sheer insert roll neck, £89Missoni ribbed wool-blend turtleneck sweater, £260 at Net-a-Porter 

CARDIGANS

(on top of shirts and blouses)

Cardigans (left-to-right): Brora cashmere Aran cardigan, £339; Jaeger camel hair short rib cardigan, £199; Tory Burch Simone fine-knit wool cardigan, £185 at Net-a-Porter

or the student budget versions:

Openwork Cardigan, £25.99; Cable stitch cardigan, £25.99 (both Zara)

CASUAL CLUB

Mango button T-shirt, £22.90Sophie Hulme for ASOS Matte Sequin T-Shirt, £85; COS striped top, £45

METALLICS

Metallics (left-to-right): Topshop speckle leather trim top, £28; Acne moma metallic leather patchwork top, £770 at Net-a-Porter; Lanvin Chinese lamé T-shirt, £785 at Net-a-Porter

ACCESSORISE

Shoes: whatever takes your fancy. Brogues will look just as good as heels, depending on the occasion and your pain tolerance. Wear your look with conviction. If you’re going for librarian chic, do it all the way and do it with confidence!

Jewellery: I’m a huge fan of huge necklaces. I’d wear one of the white shirts (buttoned up to the top) with something like this…

Necklaces (left-to-right): Marni acetate and vinyl floral necklace, £175 at Net-a-Porter; Marni crocheted wool and chain bib necklace, £195 at Net-a-Porter; Mango braided necklace, £49.90Mango wood necklace, £29.90

…one day I’ll go all minimalist ‘less is more’ Jil Sander (maybe).

Belts: Cinch in thick knitwear. Exercise some restraint if you share my passion for necklaces. Otherwise, a grey sweater/cardigan + this beauty from COS (only £10!) = sartorial heaven.

Et voilà! Fix up, look sharp.