Sunday, 31 January 2010

Some books,some music and a sci-fi Mad Men.

Before Christmas I went on a fantastic reading weekend which I reviewed for The Guardian, run by Times journalist and Radio4 playwright Damian Barr. Damian also runs the Shoreditch House literary salon, which hosts readings by leading authors in the swanky Shoreditch House surroundings. Thursday night I went along to the first salon of 2010, where Naomi Alderman, Hephzibah Anderson and none other than Louis de Bernieres. Louis read from his new collection of stories, 'Notwithstanding: Stories from an English Village' , an achingly funny depiction of eccentric British personalities. Next salon at Shoreditch House will see David Mitchell premiering his new book on March 24th, whilst Damian will also be running a boutique Salon at Aubin & Wills on Westbourne Grove with Jessica Fellowes and Niven Govinden on Feb 18th.

Another literary salon held at my favourite member's club, Black's is in the process of compiling its second Book Club Boutique newspaper, and is looking for contributors; poems, short stories, illustrations, photos- anything bookish.Send them to Rachel at by 1st March.You can see the first issue here.

More opportunities to contribute are swimming around- is art nouveau your thing? and fashion? Then send your stuff to Cheap magazine!

And if fashion is more your thing, then send your ideas into Miss Kiki Salon whose next collection of silk scarves is going to be inspired by none other than my good friend Gabby Young- if you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know her well!Here are the details, get involved!

Make room in your diaries for:

Goddess Time.
The Goddess Guide II by Gisele Scanlon is coming out on the 4th February- I couldn't be more excited about this!Gisele's books are amazing; its like chatting to a friend who knows all the best places to shop, all the best recipes, how to decorate your house, what to wear if you've got big boobs- you name it, Gisele will be able to point you in the right direction. The books are also like little works of art, covered in velvet flock print and full of Gisele's own charming sketches.The ultimate bedside table book. You can see more on the new publication on Annabel's brilliant blog here. Her Sunday Servings really cheer me up when Monday is looming...

The Penguin Decades series is onto the 1970s, choosing "Five seminal novels from each decade from the 1950s to 1980s inclusive, with cover artwork by high-profile artists and designers." Books they've chosen include Angela Carter's 'The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman'
and the artist designing the covers is Zandra Rhodes- great collaboration. Out in April.

Joanna Newsom's new TRIPLE album!
Set to be released at the end of the month, I'm incredibly excited about this. If you haven't heard Joanna's other worldly voice and dreamy harp playing, then you've really been missing out. She has made some really gorgeous music videos too, check this one out.

A 'Sci-Fi Mad Men'?
If you haven't seen Battlestar Galactica,um, go watch it. Done? OK, now I know you're devastated that its over, but calm down- here comes the spin-off. And whats even better- apparently its not half bad. Caprica is the prequel to the Battlestar Galactica Humans versus Robots apocalypse, get ready for the hype here. Frackin' awesome!

Sunday, 24 January 2010

A Tweedy, Tarty time indeed.

Friday night Naomi and I jumped on a bus in London and headed to the Tweed party, hosted by The White Blackbird at Stoke Place. We were running a Vintage Secret dressing up room which was a complete success- so many happy customers; you can see more pics of people dressing up on the VS blog here. But I' ve included a couple of pics here- the one below is the amazing staircase at Stoke Place; I love how they've decorated the wall with antique frames.

The whole hotel was a sea of beautiful candles, fireplaces and exquisite wallpaper- you know I have a thing for wallpaper; above is the dining room.

And here's a picture I took of Naomi in all her tweed:

We taxied back to the city in the wee hours, ready to run another Tart event at 40 Winks. It was the first event where Benefit were doing the make-up and selling their gorgeous products, I want them all!!!There were also stunning dresses from Merchant Archive, and some of the most amazing headpieces by Uma Turan.

Rachel Rose Reid (curator of the Bedtime Story nights at 40 winks) also gave a Hendrick's gin cocktail making masterclass, with delicious results. Katie Halford of What Katie Did lingerie talked us through the glamour of stockings whilst Fleur de Guerre gave talks on 1940s beauty.As usual with VS stuff- more pics on the blog.

If you fancy going to vintage events like this, check out our events page and the piece I wrote on forthcoming dates for my guest-post on the LoveMyDress blog.

And one last thing- please, please vote for me in the blog award I've been nominated for- the Vintage Secret blog is also nominated in the fashion category. I really appreciate it!

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Make Your Case

Very brief post as its 6am Sunday morning and have been unable to sleep for the last few hours, but starting to feel like it might become a possibility soon. But while wondering aimlessly round the internet clicksing on stuff, I found this incredible site that lets you design (with the help of artists)your own i-phone case. You choose the artist whose style you want to mimic, then a coloured background, then you can either spray paint the artists features of handpick them individually and create a design. They cost just under $50 including postage from the States- I am definitely getting one as I swear by my i-phone cover; my phone would be dead by now without it, I'm sure-but I hate that it's just boring and black and rubbery looking. Currently totally torn between something girly (above) and something dark(below).Please help me decide!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Blog Awards and Nominations!

In a great start to 2010, this blog and the one I write for Vintage Secret have both won an award and been nominated for another each!

Thanks to Natasha Bailie for awarding me a Sunshine award!Here are the blogs I am passing the accolade onto

LoveMyDress- gorgeous vintage and modern fashion- see my guestblog about Vintage Events for the LoveMyDress readers here.

YouMightLikeThis- I do, so you might too.

Nothing Elegant- wonderful weekend links

Bloodmilk- jewellery maker blogs about the dark and beautiful

Gothic Tea Society-
More dark and lovely stuff

Pandora- Pretty photoshoots

Over it and Co - Arty schmarty stuff

Missed Connections- have gone about this before; just the cutest artwork.

Diary if a vintage girl- the definitive style bible for fashion lovers

Gabby Young's Style blog- My good friend Gabby blogs about her incredible style

Mademoiselle Robot
- More style gems

Wirrow- my old school friend's illustrations and animations always make me smile.

and the rules:

As usual with these accolades recipients are asked to do the following.....
Copy the logo onto your blog or within your post.
Pass the award onto 12 bloggers.
Link the nominees within your post.
Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

And the nominations- this is where I need your help! This blog has been nominated for the Lifestyle category in the ShrimpsSaladCircus blog awards, please if you have time, visit the page and vote for me.The blog I write for Vintage Secret is also nominated under the Fashion section- so if you have a mo, please vote for that too!Thanks so much!xxx

Saturday, 16 January 2010

Real Retail Therapy for Haiti

Tattooed Lady Print by Amanda Laurel Atkins

Giving to charity can be hard when you're post- Christmas, mid-recession broke, but Etsy sellers are making it that bit easier. You can donate to this worthy cause at the same time as buying someone's birthday present.These are some of the great hand-made pieces available whose sellers are giving all or a percentage of the proceeds to the Haiti relief efforts.Or just donate here.

Silver Peanut Ring

'Today I will' text bowl

Lavender Eucalyptus Soap

Ladies Magnets

Swinging and Hookahs at the V&A

Now calm down, I'n not referring to the kinky sort of swinging or the alternative spelling of hookahs, merely to my favourite bits of the wonderful Maharajas exhibition at the V&A. The ancient artwork is just stunning- and weirdly similar to some modern stuff- lots of prints and very stylized. One picture showed a maharaja standing on a swing with one of his wives- below the picture it explained;''when the rains came, men and women would celebrate on swings"- awesome! We don't do enough swinging these days (still not the kinky kind)- next time you have something to celebrate- have a go on the swings!Weeeee!And my other favourite image which made me burst out laughing- my mum had to shush me- was one of a man and woman lying under a blanket smoking from an Indian pipe.It said underneath 'Husband and wife relaxing in bed with a hookah' Hahahahahah!Perhaps a symptom of too much time spent with my 15 year old brother...

Even for those of you thinking,' history, art..yawn..', you'd probably change you're mind when you got to the Princely India section- a 1927 Rolls Royce Phantom is on display, as well as amazing retro furniture from the 30s, diamonds and emeralds from Cartier and classic Cecil Beaton photographs of Indian style icons like Sita Devi, pictured here.

Nowhere is the influence of the West on India illustrated better than in these portraits of Maharaja Yeshwant Rao Holkar II of Indore - in both traditional and modern, western dress, 1929.

This is the FINAL weekend of the exhibition, so go now if you want to catch it.

Other great events on at the moment include stylist JohnnyBlueEye's 'Love for Sale' at Machine A- Johnny's hand-me-down vintage and designer fashion and art for sale- go between 4 and 5 pm if you want to catch Johnny performing or having tea with his friends in the window.
The White Blackbird are running another country house party- this time the theme is Tweed!You can currently win tickets over on our Vintage Secret blog-just leave a comment.Good luck!

Friday, 15 January 2010

Follow Fridays

So I have recently been sucked into the heady world of Twitter, and am gradually learning the jargon. Initially, I thought that people telling each other to #FF must mean something very rude, but no!Its just a friendly shoutout telling your followers who they should follow this Friday.So, as its Friday, I thought I'd do a sort of blog Follow Friday- the sites and blogs that are doing it for me at the mo:

Mademoiselle Robot- long time friend of Vintage Secret has done a lovely preview of our next Tart event and interview with Naomi here. Her blog is just full of gorgeous stuff and great style tips, she is oh so French and really has that'je ne sais quoi'.. Twitter ID:
LoveMyDressBlog - Discovered this gorgeous blog and blogger through Twitter, and am now set to write a guest post for her- will let you know when. Annabel is super enthusiastic about vintage fashion and weddings, documenting them beautifully e.g here- I want those tights so badly!(you can get them here.)Annabel also blogged about my Palpitations shoot and dedicated this action-packed post to me! Find her on Twitter:
Other Blogs I'm glued to right now: Dark and beautiful This is largely a blog of beautiful fashion photos where models get their tits out. Sounds sleazy, but actually all the images are incredibly stunning and remind you just why everyone is so obsessed with boobs cos they are SO pretty!!! Journalist and author India Knight never fails to fascinate with her quirky posts. Also a great one to follow on Twitter, she is witty as hell. Heard about this one from India, and am completely in love. Artist Sophie Blackall is inspired by messages on 'Missed Connections' websites. Her pictures are so cute, and full of so much hope and optimism that maybe these people somehow ended up getting together. You can also get prints of her work from her Etsy shop. Lovely picturey site.
Betsy gives great weekend links which will keep you inspired for days- Vintage Secret was one of them last year.

Of course so many non-blogger people to follow on Twitter too- lots of great musicians keep in touch with their fans that way- follow who I'm about to start working with on something incredibly exciting- whole new post for that, possibly even a whole new blog...

Also the Correspondents who I interviewed last night for the London Fashion Week issue of Station magazine. Here they are relaxing on the bed at Black's after I had had my filthy way with them.

Hope this has convinced you to tweet if you haven't before- please do follow me, Vintage Secret, and Run Riot. Have finally mastered our new CMS for the VS website, so our Observer recommended events page is up to date again- check it out. (FYI, I figured out how to use the new CMS before my bfriend who is Head of IT- I WILL NEVER LET THIS GO!)

Monday, 11 January 2010

Let's get the party Tarted!

Well, we are onto our 3rd Tart event at 40 Winks, and we still have many great puns up our sleeves!On top of that, this year we are embarking on an exciting collaboration with Benefit cosmetics- my favourite make-up ever!I sent them a completely speculative email when Tart was first being launched, and they LOVED the whole concept, and are now sending us their very own make-up artists.Sweet! Read my proper blog post about this year's offerings here, and some of the brilliant press we've had so far here.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Beautiful Bugs

Thought I'd give you an update on the goings on at The Last Tuesday Society. In their new gallery/shop on Mare street you can catch the first Strange Attractor installation. SA has made a name for itself showcasing unpopular culture- the weird and the wonderful in the form of talks, shows, screenings and performances.Visit The Little Shoppe of Horrors before the 31st January to see a wide range of media (painting, drawing, photography, sculpture, sound and video) from both trained and untrained artists. The assembled exhibitors all share Strange Attractor’s fascinations with inner space, craft, science (natural and unnatural) and the fantastic.

I was thrilled to see Tessa Farmer amongst the artists on show- I absolutely LOVE her creepy wasp- riding, skeletal fairies- reminiscent of the darker origins of fairy and goblin folklore, before they were sweetened up for the nursery. Her pieces were previously exhibited at The Natural History Museum and perfectly complement Viktor Wynd's enthusiasm for taxidermy.Its the sort of thing that would make my mother say,'its not very nice, is it darling?'which of course it isn't,but its also so grotesquely fascinating that you can't look away.

One of my favourite jewellers, Kelly McCallum is similarly inspired by nature and death, decay, combined with precious metals and stones.

If you're after something less disturbing, head to the Last Tuesday Society's renaissance masked ball at the V&A on 29th January.Expect music, performances, fashion shows and prizes for the best mask and costume. The fabulous Dan Cruickshank (father of wonderul make-up artist and colleague of mine Bella) will be giving tours of the renaissance gallery, and my personal favourites, The Little Theatre of Dolls; have a look at some of their fairytale work here. I like the bit where the perfume lady goes 'pouf,pouf, pouf' !

The Story Machine from Raisa Veikkola on Vimeo.

Saturday, 9 January 2010

Ones that got away!

Yesterday I was lucky enough to get a behind the scenes taster of Gabby Young's music video for her next single ' Ones that got away'. Filmed in the stunning ex giraffe- house (!)
at 1 Park Village East, the video is a riot of colour, with Gabby wearing a dress that perfectly complemented her butterfly- filled hair. Check out her amazing multi-coloured manicure!

Of course the reality of filming is always a lot less glamour, a lot more keeping warm whilst wearing nothing but a very thin dress you're not allowed to sit down in and a whopping great pair of Balenciaga heels, but Gabby was still smiling when I left!She was in the very capable hands of director Stephen Bell, and stylist Jakob Brondum, who expertly tackled a dress that didn't want to stay up- which could have made for an altogether different sort of video!

Jakob and Dress vs Gravity....

Doing her make-up and hair was Jennifer Nash ( assisted by Hannah Esaias) who has created amazing looks for Gabby in the past, like this orchid face-tattoo which is one of my faves

I'll leave you with this image of Gabby trying to achieve just the right amount of wind..harder than it sounds!!!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Laughing Elephant

I have recently found someone possibly more obsessed with List making than I am, as illustrated in her most recent blog post(here's another great site for list addicts if you need a fix!) In this last entry,Tara also recommended an American site called Laughing Elephant which I've just spent hours trawling through as it indulges my passion for entirely unnecessary but beautiful coffee- table books, vintage children's illustrators, journals,stationery, giclee prints and stickers. Oh, and mermaids.

I was utterly useless this year and never got round to posting ANY Christmas cards, so am going to spend one of these snowy weekends 'catching up on my correspondence' a la Austen and getting in touch with everyone I neglected during the festive chaos.Other great sites I'll be ordering from for quirky stationery are Shelf, Rifle and Lapin and me.

Where better to start the list making of 2010 than in a vintage style French Cahier?

Thinking about Valentine's Day already?My man and I don't really celebrate it, but I'm considering sending my girlfriends these very twee vintage notecards.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Big Love?

When I heard that V were doing a plus size issue, my first fear was that they would just be using fashion industry definition 'plus size'- thats a size 12 and up to you and me. Yup. size 12. But actually, they seem to have used ladies that do qualify as plus size even to non-fashiony types- huzzah! However- and this is the big but(t)- is it really ok to do novelty issues? There's been huge controversy in the past about all black model issues- is it patronising?Is this like, ooh, look, the fatty girls get naked! Bless.
Personally I think there's a bigger problem. These pics are JUST as unrealistic as the normal size zero stuff- there's surely just as much if not more airbrushing; I can assure you that if you're a size 14/16 like me there are plenty of stretch mark/cellulite/broken vein/gravity related issues that would mean I didn't look anything like these shots if I got my kit off. Also how are they all so curvy everywhere but still have killer cheekbones?I need to learn how to do my make-up like that. If you look into the world of plus-size modelling you'll find there are very strict rules about how fat you can be and where- you have to be super tall for a start, then have certain ratio fatness in certain bits of your bod. Which means that ultimately, you still look like a model, just on a bigger scale. In real life, most women aren't built like that- I know people with size 16 tops and size 10 bottoms, or people with a whopping arse but no tits. C'est la vie.

I know its as unrealistic a demand as the problem it faces, but couldn't we have some, you know, normal looking people?Yet even as I say this I hear the journalist/PR voice in my head yelling 'The NORMAL issue?No selling point, no selling point!' And the fact is that we all like to look at beautiful people.We just need to learn to separate fact from fiction.
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