Sometimes food, sometimes fashion, sometimes just life .................................

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Monday, 29 November 2010

Valentino for Gap

I was there at Dover Street Market on Saturday, along with about 7 other people, not that I would make a habit of queuing for designer fashion, just that I was in London, having coffee at the Wolseley and it was convenient and exciting! The picture of Peter Gabriel in his flower costume is because that was what the Lovely Man thought of my jacket - he says it should have "fashion victim" embroidered across the back, whilst I think it is beautiful - actually the image showes the parka style, and I bought the fitted jacket - what do you think of the collection?

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

A Life in Perfume

I read the promotional pieces in Vogue and Bazaar about perfumes and started to ponder on my own life in perfume.

So my first perfume memory is of my Dad's Mum wearing a tea dress with a purple, green and white flower print and smelling of violets - like the Parma Violet sweets which I still love now - I picked up my own version of the perfume on a family holiday - Devon Violets - sweet and cloying but probably an improvement over the rose perfume made by gathering dropped petals and steeping them in jam jars to sell from the garden. My sense of smell now more sophisticated but still loving the nostalgia from Balenciaga Paris with it's own heady violet hit.

Diptyque Philosykos a fabulous fig fragrance that I started to wear in my thirties (bought in Covent Garden Space NK) before it became the cult perfume it is now, and that I still spritz liberally when I need uplifting - we have the scented candles too (expensive so used judiciously), and when I wore Diptyque on an extended stay in Chicago, my daughter remarked that I smelled of home! I have bought one other Diptyque perfume, Ofresia which purports to smell of that flower, it is a strong peppery scent and when I wear it I am reminded of the nineties, my new job in sales, our children growing up.

Fracas by Robert Piguet - apparently you are either a Bandit or a Fracas girl, but never both. This was bought as a gift from the Lovely Man whilst he was working in a snowy Chicago and presented at Christmas in a beautiful white faux fur box. We have differing views on Fracas, in my opinion it is a heavy evening fragrance, in his it smells of tulips (do they really have much of a perfume?) and should be worn during the day.

Bvlgari Green Tea - the complimentary toiletries at Hilton Rangali in the Maldives, a delicious day time perfume which instantly transports me back to my beautiful water villa - heaven. I love Clarin's Eaux Dynamisant and Refraichissant for the same fresh daytime smell too, and have just discovered the perfection that is Liz Earle's Botanical Essence Eau de Parfum No. 1 - try it, leave it a while to warm up, you will love it.

A jump back in time and my own Mum wearing Coty L'aimant, a delicious creamy pink liquid applied with a tiny wand, a powdery sweet smell, together with the lovely scent of Yardley lipstick (why doesn't lipstick smell like that anymore - I am sure the gorgeous Joan of Mad Men wears Yardley). Then a few years later and us more affluent, my Mum smelling of Femme or Madame Rochas, and me wearing Shalimar, Mitsouku, Carven Ma Griffe in the distinctive green and white striped box - all these bought in Brown and Muffs which was the posh department store in Bradford at the time.

And then to the teenage years where the men and boys smelled of Old Spice, Burlington, Brut and then Denim, and the girls of Patchouli Oil, White Musk or Charlie.

When I was eighteen we went abroad for the first time (to Benidorm - I wish I could say that it was more sophisticated and less developed then, but no - straw donkeys, sombreros and lumumba cocktails were the order of the day) and could afford the newly launched and duty free Chanel No 19 which together with Diptyque Fig I consider to be "my perfumes".

When we married at Christmas in 1979 I wore my Christmas gift from the Lovely Man - a heady Diorissimo - the soap is still in a lingerie drawer, the perfume has never been replaced.

Of course I have skipped a few fragrances which I had and didn't get on with - like YSL Opium (too heavy, why did it smell like fresh carnations on everyone else but gave me a headache) - I have the same problem now with Jo Malone's Pomegranate Noir - I want to wear it but can't. Estee Lauder Youth Dew - never owned but longed to (I was 13 I think it would have drowned me). Thierry Mugler Angel - do I really want to smell of chocolate? Joy by Jean Patou - dropped onto the tiled floor of the bathroom at work (how guilty? the costliest in the world and another gift from the Lovely Man), Penhaligon Bluebell sploshed liberally around our bedroom by my two year old daughter (again a present, and guilty, but how are you going to prevent a child from pulling out that ground glass stopper?)

I'm sure when I post this I will remember more perfumes from my past, how about you - what are your fragrance hits or misses?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Not Happy

Another odd post but I would appreciate your thoughts. My parents were recently called into their GP Surgery for a Health Check, what actually happened is that their medication was changed from the branded dose prescribed by their separate cardiologists, to a different less effective and more toxic generic drug. I understand that this was done covertly - as though it was like for like, without any health check to speak of, and the result of this was that a week later having taken the new drug, both of them had severe pains in their legs, my Dad couldn't make it to the gym because of the pain. Another appointment was made (they regularly complain that they can't get appointments without a 2 week wait, but on this occasion the appointment happened within the week). They were told that the NHS has to save billions of pounds and that they have to take a cheaper medicine than that prescribed by their cardiologist, their medication was changed again, this time to a lower (and much less effective) dose of another drug.

I feel very angry about this, my parents have worked and paid tax and national insurance all their lives, they have had private medical insurance too, and my Dad has been treated for colon cancer privately - they have saved the NHS enough money already! The result now is that they feel they should not bother to take the drug at all, where previously they were happily complying along with their Omega 3, garlic capsules, aloe vera etc etc. Just to put this into context, the drug they were taking was a potent statin to lower their cholesterol and prevent them from having a stroke, or a heart attack. If in the near future either of them should have any sort of cardiovascular event, then their GP will have some detailed explaining to do.

Monday, 8 November 2010

Gap and Valentino

The Zara Dress

Danni Minogue in the J'Aton Couture cream lace
The River Island sequin skirt

I am absolutely desperate to own some of the Gap/Valentino collaboration, it is just as you would imagine, a mixture of feminine frills and soft cargo - I have trawled the internet for a photograph but cant find one yet, it apparently launches on 27 November, at the Oxford Street branch of Gap - perhaps it will be available on line too. I am going to be in London on that weekend, but will be at a wedding (the one I am slimming for so that I can wear my chosen frock and feel good). There are photos in this week's Sunday magazines, and in either Vogue or Bazaar, in the meantime I have bought a fantastic skirt from River Island which will be perfect for lots of Winter occasions - I can even see myself cooking Christmas lunch in it - from the photo above it looks gold, but the overall effect is more black/bronze, very versatile and not bad at £49.99.

I also tried out Zara Online and was really impressed with the service - my dress arrived beautifully packaged and wrapped in tissue, unfortunately the fit was poor - the look I was aiming for was that in the Danni Minogue picture, the look I got was a bit too bridal, even over skinny jeans or leggins, it has to go back, and actually I think that Zara has gone a bit pricey considering the quality - I bought a cashmere sweater in a lovely pale blush colour and after one very careful hand wash it looks like something from a jumble sale - it may have to go back too, the Zara one was the same price as the cashmere in M&S but nothing like the quality.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Evening Classes

This is my cake!

Well I have just finished a course of 5 evening classes on Cake Decoration - for no other reason than they were offered gratis to people living in rural areas of Wales. I fancied brushing up on stuff I learned in my teens, and what do you know it pretty much came back to me albeit with a bit of a struggle against the less steady hand and the dodgy eyesight. We may be able to pay for a follow on course which I would love, in just 5 weeks a group of us managed to produce a fully decorated cake complete with sugar paste roses, leaves and royal icing shell piping. Mine is going to be a birthday cake for the lovely man on Sunday - although it is a little on the feminine side with lilac and ivory roses - I added a treble clef symbol to make it a little more fitting (he plays guitar, clarinet and saxophone) - photo to be added once it is taken.

Anyway, the purpose of the post is to say that I have really enjoyed actively learning again, last year I took up skiing, this year cake decorating, who knows what next year (I do have a yen to try pole dancing or burlesque or both but that sort of thing doesn't really happen up here in Wales as far as I know).