Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Top 5 winter wishlist...

I must admit I've neglected the blog a bit lately. It's mostly because I've been a busy lady but perhaps it's just further proof that I get far more excited about Halloween than I ever do about Christmas!

Anyway I thought I'd put together a little Autumn/Winter fashion Top 5 with a few of the items I've been lusting after lately. (Santa if you are reading this, give the reindeer a break and let Net-A-Porter gift wrap and deliver it all for you...) As part of the Clueless generation I can't resist a tartan mini skirt, and seeing as the sun is currently shining those Ray–Ban's could be considered essential right?!

1. Rocket tartan mini skirt, £280 Vivienne Westwood Anglomania
2. 18-karat gold necklace, £1,110 Jennifer Meyer
3. Clubmaster D-frame sunglassess, £170 Ray-Ban
4. Lottie suede sandals, £450 Jimmy Choo
5. Embellished satin clutch, £2,380 Valentino

Regular blogging will now resume and I'll be back soon with reviews from Silverstein at Underworld and Tenacious D at Shepherd's Bush Empire.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Ugly Kid Joe and Skid Row at Concorde 2, Brighton

When I went to see Dinosaur Pile-Up at The Hope, I said that it was a relief to finally have a show to review after six weeks of total giglessness (sure, that’s a word). Well that was back in July. July! So you can imagine my happiness last Monday night to be on my way to Concorde 2 in Brighton for a musical threeway with Ugly Kid Joe and Skid Row.

I saw both bands at Download in 2012 (actually I didn’t see Skid Row, but I saw Sebastian Bach perform 18 and Life so near enough!) and I was excited to see them again, especially at this particular venue. Concorde 2 is a Victorian building, originally used as a tearoom in the 1800s, that has retained a lot of its original character. It’s a nice size, the sound is always incredible and although it doesn’t have any kind of camber, it’s pretty easy to squeeze your way to the front for a good view. (Having said this, a serious error in judgement meant we spent the first couple of songs wedged in the entrance to the toilets…. Classy.)

First up were California boys Ugly Kid Joe sounding as good as ever. For a band that hasn’t changed its style, and that garnered much of its original following from a borderline gimmicky song, they are undisputedly credible. Honest to God they sounded as good as you remember and belted their way through a setlist that included So Damn Cool, Neighbourhood, Cats in the Cradle and of course, Everything About You.

I think Whitfield Crane might have discovered the fountain of youth, he really hasn’t aged much. He still has the long hair, the shorts and the boundless enthusiasm of a puppy with ADHD, which was never more apparent than during a frenetic cover of Motorhead’s Ace of Spades. Despite a lengthy split from 1997 to 2009 they are back on form, and seeing them live again has made me feel a bit guilty that I still haven’t listened to their 2012 release, Stairway to Hell. Time to dig that out me thinks!

Next up were Skid Row, or at least the current incarnation of Skid Row. Although as lead singer Johnny Solinger pointed out, he has had the job for 14 years now since Bach’s departure in 1996 and the brief hiatus that followed.

Now Skid Row really is gimmicky – a living memorial of hair metal’s eighties heyday – and honestly that’s fine with me. They have some bloody great songs and if these come with a side order of long hair, bandanas and theatrics then so be it. Anyway, if you can’t appreciate a genre that encompasses Motley Crew, Van Halen and Poison then you’re probably taking life a bit too seriously! So yes they are looking a lot older and yes it was a tad cheesey, but I got what I came for – a good old singalong to 18 and Life, I Remember You and Slave To The Grind. Sebastian Bach would be the icing on the cake, after all, their best songs are arguably on their 1989 debut album, but credit to Solinger – he’s doing Skid Row proud.

All in all it was a great night and a welcome blast from the past. Hopefully this spells the end of the painful gig drought – up next are Silverstein at Underworld, which I couldn’t be more excited about, and Tenacious D.... and I’m very much looking forward to a date with KG and JB that doesn’t begin in Nando’s!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Today's Soundtrack: Rob Zombie – Living Dead Girl

What else could I possibly choose as today's soundtrack but Living Dead Girl by the one and only Rob Zombie! I saw him with Marilyn Manson at the O2 last year, but unfortunately due to my hectic schedule at the time, a review never made it to the blog. Marilyn Manson was actually a little disappointing for me. A smaller gig would have worked so much better as it just seemed a bit contrived in such a huge venue.

Rob Zombie however was incredible! Anyone who has ever seen him live will know what I mean when I say he puts on one hell of a show – the kind that actually works in a venue like the O2, which let's face it, for rock music, is totally lacking in soul. I thought Alice Cooper was theatrical but this man takes it to a whole new level...

Happy Halloween!


Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Top 5 Halloween treats!

Inspired by the Charlotte Olympia Halloween collection that I featured last week, I thought I'd put together a Halloween themed Top 5 featuring her beautiful bat print shoes. If you aren't one for a ridiculous head-to-toe Halloween costume (don't knock it 'til you've tried it...), you can still get into the festive spirit with some fabulous spider web lashes by Paperself or this stunning orange take on the classic Alexander McQueen skull scarf.

MAC even have a Halloween makeup collection by legendary special effects artist Rick Baker, featuring items such as this acrylic paint that lasts for 12 hours. Perfect for so many Halloween looks!

1. Alexander McQueen skull print scarf, £165
2. Paperself small spider lashes, £10
3. Charlotte Olympia desiree bat-print suede pumps, £545
4. Chanel Ombre Essentielle soft touch eyeshadow in Black Star, £23
5. Mac Acrylic Paint in basic red, £16

Bride makeup look by Rick Baker for MAC


Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Today's Soundtrack: Silverstein – A Better Place

Today's soundtrack is A Better Place by Silverstein. The official video was released last week and it is the fifth track on their seventh studio album, This Is How The Wind Shifts.

The album was released in February and I thoroughly recommend getting your hands on a copy if you haven't already. Make sure you get the Australian or iTunes edition which has three bonus acoustic tracks, including my personal favourite, Massachusetts.

Silverstein will be back in the UK next month and I'm very excited to see them as it's been a couple of years now. I'm also thrilled to have a few gigs on the horizon as this summer has been a real gig drought! You know you've missed my 'insightful' reviews...

Anyway here is A Better Place. Enjoy!

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Halloween Collection by Charlotte Olympia

With Halloween just around the corner I couldn't resist sharing these fabulous shoes from Charlotte Olympia's Halloween Collection. It's a real challenge to make a pair of pumpkin themed shoes look stylish, but she has certainly succeeded. I think the gold trim and fluttering eyelashes might just be the key! This has to be the cutest footear I've seen since Marc Jacob's mouse flats...

Trick or Treat embroidered suede slippers, £495, Net-A-Porter

I must confess that I love Halloween, possibly more than Christmas. It's perfectly acceptable to dress in a ridiculous costume, consume far too many zombie cocktails, then snuggle up on the sofa and watch the The Nightmare Before Christmas whilst eating copious amounts of Halloween themed chocolate. And don't you think all of this would be made even better by the addition of a pair of pumpkin shoes? That's what I thought.

Bite Me Kitty embroidered velvet slippers, £495, Net-A-Porter

If cats are more your thing, then you might just fancy a pair of these little cuties, complete with sparkling red eyes and fangs. And as if all this Halloween themed footwear isn't making me smile enough, check out this perspex clutch! Thank you Charlotte, I'm officially in Halloween heaven.

Sucker for Pandora perspex clutch, £995, Net-A-Porter

All images ©

Friday, 11 October 2013

Flicker Fade – new song by Taking Back Sunday

I'm going to keep it short and sweet as I have a pile of books on the desk in front of me that need reviewing before the weekend, but I wanted to share this little treat for fans of Taking Back Sunday. The band have recently moved to Hopeless Records (home to some of my all time favourites – Bayside, Silverstein and The Used), and with a fall tour and a new album out next spring, we knew we'd be hearing some new material pretty soon.

©Michael Dubin

So here's Flicker Fade live at the Starland Ballroom in New Jersey. This song wouldn't have been out of place on their most recent album (which is a compliment!) but the vocal trade between Adam Lazzara and John Nolan at the end smacks of Tell All Your Friends. Personally I love this, so here's to the new album... and hopefully another UK tour very soon.

Have a great weekend!

Monday, 7 October 2013

Today's Soundtrack: Violent Soho – Jesus Stole My Girlfriend

Today's soundtrack is Jesus Stole My Girlfriend by Violent Soho, from their 2010 self-titled album (if you like this song then look it up, you won't be disappointed!). Formed in 2004 and hailing from Brisbane, Queensland, the band cites Nirvana, The Pixies and Mudhoney among its influences, and it's safe to say there is a definite 90s feel to their sound.


Their latest album Hungry Ghost was released last month and shamefully I haven't got my hands on a copy yet. I have high hopes however; they are a great band and one that I hope will come to the UK soon, because I have no doubt they are amazing live.

Now have a listen and try telling me this isn't the highlight of your Monday....

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

London Fashion Week SS14 – runway highlights

Picking out runway highlights from London Fashion Week this season was actually pretty tricky. It has a justified reputation as the most creative fashion week of the big four (although perhaps I’m a little biased!), so editing my favourites down to an appropriate length post was a challenge. This is by no means all of my favourite looks but a selection of the ones that inspired me the most.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Nobody is going to be shocked that I’ve included a little Vivienne Westwood – how could I not? Every season she finds a new way to seduce me, producing an amazing collection with a hint of political activism and showstopping (completely off-the-wall!) makeup. The bold colours are a great example of how to do spring florals in a non-girly way and those burnt orange flats are gorgeous. Plenty of pieces were actually quite classic in design, fulfilling Westwood’s Red Label ethos that we should ignore throwaway fashions and choose quality over quantity.

Temperley London,

This may well be my favourite piece of the entire week! It is such a beautiful shape and that print is absolutely incredible – purple flowers that graduate into leopard print? Perfection. Inspired by a holiday in Sicily, the collection was awash with trapeze shapes, striking jewel toned fabrics and crystal embellishments. With Ulrik Garde Due (formerly of Georg Jensen, Burberry, and Céline) at the helm and the Duchess of Cambridge as a client, things are looking good for Temperley London.

Burberry Prorsum

Arguably the jewel in the London Fashion Week crown, and most definitely the event's heavyweight, Burberry Prorsum shows are always much anticipated. The SS14 collection did not disappoint; classic pencil skirts were given a modern twist with graphic monochrome spots or stripes, and teamed with blouses or the perfect spring jumper – round neck, a slim fit and artfully pushed up sleeves. An incredibly desirable and accessible collection in every way but the price!

House of Holland

Never one to take fashion too seriously, Henry Holland designs are normally full of humour and youthfulness. I was quite surprised by some of the more grownup styles on offer for SS14, such as this perfectly cut rose-print shirt dress. The collection was largely influenced by Baz Luhrman’s Romeo and Juliet, which can be seen in the tattoo style prints and religious iconography. House of Holland is certainly evolving – Henry hasn't lost his cool, but these are pieces that will stand the test of time.


Always a sucker for a kitsch motif, I’m head over heels for this lip-print dress by Giles Deacon. Refusing to head down the obvious floral spring path (this is my kind of guy!) his show shunned the typical summer frivolity in favour of a melancholy vibe. Funnily enough it was this less than melancholy piece that caught my eye, teamed with Adidas superstars. I love heels as much as the next woman but these trainers are classics – Run DMC would be proud!

I'm still playing fashion catch up but will be back soon with my Milan and Paris runway highlights.

All images ©

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

New York Fashion Week SS14 – runway highlights

I have to admit, despite being a sun-worshiper who would ideally like 11 months of summer and only one of winter, it is always the autumn/winter fashion shows that get my heart racing. It is very rare that a spring/summer show seduces me in its entirety, probably due to designers' propensity to celebrate the season with pastels, florals and acres of pristine white.

This was indeed the case with the recent New York Fashion Week shows, where there weren't any shows I fell for completely, but there were plenty of standout designers and looks that I'm lusting after. So as we head into winter – I can barely see out my window thanks to the curtain of grey drizzle – let's look ahead to next spring and see what some of New York's finest have to offer.

Betsey Johnson SS14
Oh how I love Betsey Johnson! There weren't any surprises here, it was a collection of her typical 80s silhouettes and ghetto-fabulous accessories. It's all probably a step too far for the more understated New York fashionista, and it certainly doesn't cover any new fashion ground, but seriously – peach hair, fabulous accessories and a liberal scattering of leopard print? I'm starting to think Betsey Johnson collections are designed purely to make me smile!

Christian Siriano SS14

Ok, I know I implied I have an aversion to florals and pastels, but sometimes they are right on the money. At Christian Siriano it was the formal looking collar and those bright lips and matching sandals that prevented the look from becoming too cute – this is the kind of spring fashion I can get on board with. Plus it was shown as part of a collection that included graphic monochrome (want that striped skirt now please), so there was no danger of falling into that overtly-girly-spring-pastels trap!

Hervé Léger by Maz Azria

Since 2007, the Hervé Léger label has been steered under the design direction of Max Azria, a man with the tricky juggling act of staying true to the Hervé Léger aesthetic whilst moving the brand forwards. This season he mixed things up a little, still showing the infamous body-con dresses that we know and love, but adding a variety of zips that allow the wearer to alter the garment's silhouette ever so slightly. The resultant collection didn't abandon the classic bandage dress, but the slight deviations in shape and fabric – such as the flared skirts and crochet dresses – were a welcome addition.

Alexander Wang

The current trend for logos and ironic statements is perhaps due to the fact that a generation of designers – Alexander Wang included – were teens in the nineties and are having a moment of nostalgia. There's no denying that the parental advisory sweater was one of the most memorable pieces in his SS14 collection; I think perhaps he enjoys indulging in a bit of humour when he's not busy in his other role, heading up Balenciaga. Another standout look was the cheekily unbuttoned button-down shirts and those rather comfy looking boxers – not entirely sure how to interpret that one for the office yet but I'm sure there's a way!

Kate Spade New York

I'm the first to admit that my wardrobe can be a little devoid of colour but there are two shades I can always be tempted by – the first is emerald green and the second is the rather in-your-face coral seen at the Kate Spade New York presentation. As usual there was a distinctly 1960s vibe to many of the looks, and a European influence referenced glamorous destinations from Paris to Monaco. Well chosen accessories toned down the more overtly feminine looks: a black leather box bag proving the perfect foil for a coral prom dress, and trainers and a collared shirt successfully taming the florals. It is a very accessible collection that screams summer fun – an image I will be keeping in mind to get me through another grey British winter.

Well that's all for now but I will be posting my London and Milan Fashion Week highlights soon!

All images ©

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me at Somerset House

Once again I’ve been at Somerset House checking out another highly recommended exhibition: Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You To Love Me. This major retrospective is the largest exhibition to date of the renowned fashion photographer’s work, and will be at the Embankment East Galleries until 29 September.

A Drop Of Red  #2 © Miles Aldridge 2001

Son of graphic designer Alan Aldridge, Miles travelled to New York in the mid-nineties and was soon shooting for publications such as W, Teen Vogue, GQ and The Face. He has established an enduring relationship with Vogue Italia and shot advertising campaigns for many of fashion’s biggest names, including Karl Lagerfeld, Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent.

Miles’ images appeal to me for very similar reasons to Tim Walker’s  – he has an incredibly distinctive style, and he treats his shoots in a highly cinematic way, often story-boarding them beforehand and never compromising his creativity for commercial gain.

I Only Want You To Love Me  #1 © Miles Aldridge 2011

Miles’ work is immediately identifiable through his use of colour and depiction of women. His images are bold and bright, filled with high octane glamour and incredible beauty, but the often blank looks on the models’ faces or the slightly uneasy situations they find themselves in, suggest something a little darker beneath the surface. For example a beautiful woman’s face resting on a pillow would be serene if it weren’t for the mysterious hand that holds it there.

This slightly uncomfortable, darker aesthetic is unsurprising considering Miles cites filmmakers such as David Lynch and Federico Fellini as influences. His ability to produce something so detailed and theatrical may also be testament to his background in illustration, which he studied at Central St Martins, and a brief stint directing music videos.

Actress  #6 © Miles Aldridge 2012

His photographs are glamorous, captivating and in glorious technicolour, from the woman on a kitchen floor poised emotionless behind a dropped dinner tray and smashed plates, to the ‘actress’ in bed, apparently having a diva tantrum over a grapefruit. In both instances the uneasy subject matter is depicted with extraordinary skill and an incredible use of colour. This is the reason I was particularly excited about the exhibition, because although Miles’ work looks phenomenal on the pages of Vogue Italia (copies of which are included in the exhibition), to see large-scale prints displayed in Somerset House’s typically understated yet effective way is a real treat.

There is something mesmerising about Miles’ photographs – that dreamlike quality and cinematic aesthetic – you just want to reach out and touch them. They draw you into an enviable world of glamour that seems distinctly unattainable, before throwing you sideways when you realise that behind the smoke and mirrors, as in every walk of life, beauty is very rarely what it seems.
The Pure Wonder  © Miles Aldridge 2005

Miles Aldridge: I Only Want You to Love Me is at the Embankment East Galleries, Somerset House until 29 September. Admission is £6. The exhibition is accompanied by a book of the same name, published by Rizzoli and available at the exhibition.

A simultaneous exhibition at Brancolini Grimaldi, features Miles Aldridge's first exhibition, Short Breaths, alongside recent work and a new limited edition portfolio. For more information visit

Friday, 6 September 2013

Today's Soundtrack: Jetplane Landing – My Radio Heart

Today's soundtrack is My Radio Heart by Jetplane Landing. You might remember my passionate love for a band called Fighting With Wire and the frustration I still feel about the fact they never truly got the recognition they deserved. Sadly they split earlier this year, but I'm consoling myself with a bit of Jetplane Landing, featuring FWW front man, the always fantastic Cahir O'Doherty.

Fighting With Wire and Jetplane Landing may have very different sounds, but I'm pretty sure if you like the former you'll enjoy My Radio Heart. It's from Don't Try, their fourth studio album which is available now.... on pink vinyl. Yep, that is one sexy looking album.


Thursday, 22 August 2013

Katei Roze talks bags, berets and bizarre inspiration

To say that Katei Roze is a busy lady would be an understatement. She juggles her own fashion label with her latest venture HYC (the pop up boutique I visited earlier this month), and has just finished a stint as a jewellery specialist at Fortnum and Mason, as part of the team setting up their new jewellery department. Since graduating with a first class degree in Fashion Design, Katei has built up an impressive CV. She studied at Cordwainers London College of Fashion and trained at St Martins ‘Immersion’ course for entrepreneurs trying to carve their own niche in the creative industry.

Following work experience at Vivienne Westwood, Basso and Brooke, Alexander McQueen, PPQ, Georgina Goodman and Julian MacDonald, Katei worked as retail manager and assistant designer at Johnny Rocket London. She started selling Swarovski crystal berets in 2008 and established her vintage label House of Lalka, which has since merged with HYC. Any precious free time is spent travelling for inspiration but I managed to pin her down to talk about her beautiful bag collection.

What made you decide to start your own handbag line?
I have never been a ‘handbag person’; I’ve always been drawn to shoes, jewellery or clothes. I went to India in 2010 and needed a large hand luggage bag, so I designed one on the plane over. I bought some sari fabric as lining and gorgeous maroon coloured leather and it became the first KR handbag.
Back in London I used it every day for work and people began asking where it was from. I went back to India in 2012 and had 10 more made in carpet fabrics. I took over vintage florals and also used traditional Indian fabrics. I realised that I wanted to design bags because there was nothing currently on the market that excited me.

Is it a big leap from berets/footwear?
Berets were an easy way for me to start my label as I could work from home. Liberty made a huge order and sold out, and I will always offer them as part of my label. I studied footwear because I have always had a passion for shoes. I really enjoyed the course but in reality, making footwear is a very complicated and expensive process requiring machinery and financial backing. I learned a lot about leather and how to manipulate it, which fuelled my obsession for statement accessories. I love designing anything linked with body image and self-expression, so handbags were a natural progression. They perform a function but they can make or break an outfit, and express what kind of person you are or what mood you’re in.

What fabrics do you use and where do you source them?
I use a lot of one off vintage fabrics, mostly from upholstery or homeware. I source them from my Grandmother’s house, vintage markets, Portobello Road and my favourite vintage fabric shop in St Leonards. I love to use wet-look leather, unusual tones and shades of leather and nappa, which I get from my leather wholesalers in East London. I also visited Lineapelle in Bologna last year to source leather and findings. I love using studs, crystal zips and bright binding to set off the fabrics. The bags are made in Hackney at a very well established factory that I trust implicitly.

What inspires your current designs?
I am inspired by movement. I think it’s lovely to have a bag that moves in its own way. The tassel clutch articulates very well. I am currently designing bags inspired by medieval shapes, strong female warriors and a hint of the 90s. It’s a bizarre mix but I find blurring elements that I am passionate about, which aren’t usually combined, results in a strong design.

 Who do you design for?
My ideal customer is a strong woman who wants to get the most out of her life. Her bag is her ally; she uses it as a weapon against the world. She carries her most important ammunition for the day – it is her home away from home. My customers want to make a statement with what they are carrying. They appreciate the avant-garde, and the unique and eccentric qualities in life and themselves. They are warriors of the modern world.

Where can you buy KR bags?
They are currently available at SHOP in St Leonards Norman Road, and from my Facebook page. If you see something you like you can contact me and I will get it posted out to you. I take bespoke commissions and source and suggest fabric for my customers.

What is it like to design bags for London Fashion Week?
I have a love/hate relationship with LFW. I have worked there many times for other designers – Vivienne Westwood, PPQ, Basso and Brooke, McQueen – and it’s a buzzing place, like a beehive of creativity and egos. Sometimes it’s all a bit loud and the stingers on some people involved can be pretty nasty.
Last September I designed a range of bags for Jayne Pierson, which was showcased with her collection. I really enjoyed the process of designing for her brief and using her images as inspiration, which were different from what I would have chosen myself. It’s always challenging to create something for another person’s vision but I was proud of what I produced.

What are your goals for the brand?
A trade show in Paris next year, Premiere Class/Tranoi, and I’d like to get stocked in boutiques in the UK, Europe and further afield and have my own showcase at London Fashion Week. I’ll be travelling to source fabric and interesting clothes/homeware to use on my bags and sell at HYC, which I plan to re-open in London. I would love to have a well-rounded brand like Cath Kidston, but a very eccentric, rock and roll version, where everything is a little more exotic and edgy.

Top 3 songs for your studio soundtrack this summer:
Iggy Azalea – Work; Avicci – Wake Me Up; The XX - Crystalised


Thursday, 15 August 2013

Top 5 Sunglasses

It's that time of year again... I'm clinging desperately onto the end of summer and refusing to believe that it's almost at an end. And although bikinis and flip flops will soon be stored for another year, sunglasses are the one little vestige of summer that we can enjoy all year round – because even in England the sun still shines in winter! Occasionally.

So here is my top five: A mix of high and low-end to suit every mood and outfit, from classic Ray Bans to Top Shop's slightly outlandish cat eye (or should I say cat ear!) frames.

ONE: Pink perspex magnifique, £226 by Dita
TWO: Clubmaster half-frame acetate, £125 by Ray-Ban
THREE: Sheba eared cats eye, £20 by Topshop
FOUR: Green metal square, £16 by Topshop
FIVE: Animal print acetate, £146 by Stella McCartney

Friday, 9 August 2013

Today's Soundtrack: The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus – Face Down

Today’s soundtrack is Face Down by The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus. It’s a song that I had actually forgotten all about (shame on me!) when the other day my good friend Grooveshark suggested that I might like it. That little dude knows me so well…

For those of you who aren’t familiar, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus formed in Florida in 2003 and four studio albums (and one or two line-up changes) later, they are still going strong. If you like Face Down then I suggest you track down the album, Don’t You Fake It.


Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Hotter. Younger. Cooler.

“There is always somebody Hotter, Younger, Cooler” states the press release for this unique pop-up shop in Rye, East Sussex. Well ain’t that the truth! But if you fancy your own little taste of something HYC, I suggest you take a trip to what may well be the historic town’s first pop-up boutique.

 HYC is a joint venture between my good friend and handbag designer Katei Roze, and her good friend Britainy Rae, a former London-based events planner. It showcases apparel, homeware, accessories and artwork at both high and low price points and all stock is limited edition or one off. This is particularly appealing when, let’s face it, we’re all a bit sick of the generic overpriced stock being churned out by high street chains.

I finally had the chance to pop in last Friday and the shop looks great. It’s a rather fabulous mixture of bags, vintage clothes and shoes and customised denim, alongside designer jewellery, beauty products and some beautiful cushions, neatly embroidered with poetically offensive slogans. (Britainy assured me that the most offensive ones were kept out the back! I’m intrigued and very tempted to commission something obscene…)

Thanks to Katei and Britainy’s impeccable taste and natural creative flair the shop is a treasure trove of all things HYC that are beautifully merchandised, with something new to discover in every corner. I was impressed to find that in addition to Katei’s handbags and Britainy’s T-shirts and customised denim, they are pioneering emerging designers such as Serbian jewellery designer Milena Kovanovic – some from London and some right on the boutique’s doorstep in East Sussex.

I’m currently under a self-imposed shopping ban which is painful to say the least, but I couldn’t resist one of the wooden letter rings (below) which are a guilt-free £3.50. The boutique will only be in a Rye until the end of the week but when HYC pops up in its next location I will be well prepared for my plastic to take a battering.

If you adore Katei’s leather bags (below) as much as I do then stay tuned, because I will be featuring an interview with her very soon, where she reveals the inspirations behind her gorgeous designs and shares her hopes for the brand’s future. In the meantime head down to HYC, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

HYC Pop Up Shop, Turtle Fine Art Gallery, 26 Landgate, Rye East Sussex

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Jack Daniel's Swiss Liqueur Chocolate

I’ve successfully managed to go almost an entire year without letting my passion for Jack Daniels infiltrate this blog (and I still maintain that my Jack Daniel's Honey post constituted hard news), but I feel this discovery is worth sharing with my fellow enthusiasts.

My husband returned from a business trip to Switzerland recently with a little gift for me – a bar of Jack Daniel's liqueur chocolate. Who knew that existed?! I think the Toblerone has overshadowed this one...

I’m not usually the biggest fan of chocolate liqueur because it doesn’t really satisfy either craving fully. If I want chocolate then I want to eat a solid bar, and if I’m in need of a whiskey fix I want more than the miniscule amount that can be crammed into a square of chocolate. But Jack is Jack, and therefore this is different... and it’s divine. One minute you’re eating a delicious piece of chocolate and the next you're tasting Jack Daniel's – and it’s not a stingy amount either! It’s amazing, and if I have one complaint it’s simply that the bar isn’t bigger.

Please accept my apologies, I know this is a pretty pointless blog post if you’re not a Jack Daniel's fan. But it is potentially life changing for those who are and that, my friends, is a risk I am willing to take.

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Today's Soundtrack: Tigercub – Centerfold

Today's soundtrack is Centerfold by Tigercub. As I mentioned the other day, I saw them supporting Dinosaur Pile-Up at The Hope in Brighton and they were bloody brilliant. I rarely catch support acts thanks to my predilection for prioritising food, but I'm glad this time I did, because they are a great little discovery and it's nice to be championing a local band for once.

Image ©Tigercub

Tigercub has an EP out which I'm devastated I didn't pick up at the gig and haven't been able to track down elsewhere. For the time being all I've found is two songs on YouTube and frankly I want more! They are playing the Green Door Store in Brighton this Sunday so well worth checking out if you are in the vicinity.

Expect big things from Tigercub.


Monday, 29 July 2013

My latest bag crush from YSL

Occasionally something crops up in my inbox that is so beautiful I am instantly smitten, and this little number from Yves Saint Laurent is the latest in a long line of bag crushes for me. In fact it's so beautiful that it has already sold out on Net-A-Porter, although I believe you can add it to your 'wish list' list to be notified if more become available.

I'm not at all surprised it's so popular, it really is the perfect bag. The black leather, 24cm width and shoulder strap make it a practical choice, while the gold logo and tassel ensure that it still has that classic YSL glamour. I can't even be sad that it's sold out either, because at £1,190 it was always way out of my league. Sigh.

I've done a bit of virtual shopping and come up with some very affordable companions for this piece: gold jewellery, studded boots and bright red lips and nails. It's a classic look. Although the beauty of this little bag is that it would go with just about anything... if I only I could get my paws on one!

ONE: YSL cassandre leather shoulder bag, £1190 from Net-A-Porter
TWO: Smashbox be legendary lipstick, £15.50 from Boots
THREE: Stud heel platform shoe boots, £29.99 currently £18 from New Look
FOUR: Revlon nail enamel in Revlon Red £6.49 currently £4.49 from Boots
FIVE: Angel wing earrings, £69 from South West Ten

Saturday, 27 July 2013

Dinosaur Pile-Up at The Hope, Brighton

That’s right, I actually have a gig to review! I was beginning to get slight withdrawal symptoms as the last show I went to was Senses Fail way back in May (I kept my promise to see them again in the UK after the drunken LA debacle). So happily on Saturday night I found myself at The Hope in Brighton in the presence of the mighty Dinosaur Pile-Up.

This was made even more exciting by the fact it was my first live Dinosaur Pile-Up experience, and you always remember your first time! Minds out of the gutter people, you know exactly what I mean…

Dinosaur Pile-Up was formed by frontman Matt Bigland (formerly of Mother Vulpine) in 2007 and if Wikipedia is to be believed, he chose the band’s name based on that moment in King Kong where a stampede of dinosaurs trip and roll down a hill, causing what can only be described as a dinosaur pile-up. Matt decided then and there that it would be the name of his next band and he delivered on that promise.

Debut album Growing Pains was released in 2010 and was my introduction to the band. It immediately drew comparisons with nineties grunge (never a bad thing in my book) but was by no means lacking in originality. You may remember Hey Man which I featured as Today’s Soundtrack back in May, well one listen of that and I was hooked.

Growing Pains has been a mainstay on my iPod for a while now, so naturally I had high hopes for its followup Nature Nurture, which was released last month. It had a lot to live up to and honestly on first listen I wasn’t sure it quite cut the mustard. (Trust me that is no insult, it just means it was hovering somewhere around ‘brilliant’ rather than ‘genius’ in my mind). But turns out it just needed a few more listens and now I’m obsessed.

As if the outstanding music isn’t enough, you have to love a band who are selling vinyl and cassettes at their merch table. These guys understand presentation and I’m a sucker for that kind of attention to detail.

So back to the gig. The Hope is a tiny venue in Brighton, in fact the word venue is a rather grandiose way to describe a room above a bar. It was dark, cramped and about 100 degrees – the kind of gig where even propped up against the bar there is only a handful of people between you and the band. You might as well be on stage with them.

The result was an hour and a half of pure unadulterated Dinosaur Pile-Up. A passionate performance that almost made you forget that you were sweating pure beer and had been forced to switch to pints of water – a performance that blew not one but two amps!

The crowd was a sea of topless sweaty guys, the staff was standing on the bar shouting at guys hanging from the lighting rig one minute then moshing with them the next, and regardless of technical difficulties and a crazy audience (largely made up of the support bands I believe) they kept playing like pros.

As you know I’m not a fan of huge venues, and after a few O2 experiences, Brixton Academy seems decidedly cosy, but for once it was nice to re-live the teenage years and see a band play a venue the size of my living room and really give it their all.

I didn’t just see Dinosaur Pile-Up last week, I quite literally lived and breathed them. When we finally pushed our way outside we were sweaty and bruised but grinning like idiots. My god they kicked our arse. And you can call me sadistic all you want, but I loved it.


Ps. We caught some of the support from local band Tigercub and they were fantastic! Well worth checking out. @_TiGERCUB

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Amplified T-shirts and the mythical square-shaped woman

As you’ve probably figured out by now, I’m a big believer that music and fashion go hand in hand. So why oh why are good band T-shirts so hard to come by? Great prints aren’t an issue, all my favourite bands have awesome designs, it’s the fit that’s the problem. Next time you’re at a gig, swing by the merch table and take a look at the women’s T-shirts. I’ll bet you any money you like that you can’t find a flattering one.

Presumably most people are under the assumption that women are either completely square-shaped or that girls who go to gigs plain don’t care about the way their clothes fit. I’m not sure which of these two notions offends me more, but it’s safe to say that no matter how much I love a band, I won’t be wearing their T-shirt if it’s too short, too wide and printed on cheap fabric that will change shape beyond recognition after one wash.

I’ve digressed a little… this post wasn’t meant to be a rant, but a way to share the solution with my fellow non-square band loving women. The first lesson took me well over a decade to learn (not sure why common sense evaded me for so long!) but it was life changing: ignore the ladies stuff and buy a man’s extra small. It will be longer, narrower and so much more flattering!

This solution works fairly well at gigs, but if you’re looking for a few classics, my personal recommendation is that you head over to Amplified Clothing. They have a good selection, a great fit and a range of T-shirts, vests and jumpers for men and women. It also feels much more respectable than when your average high-street chain stocks band T-shirts on a whim.

You know what I mean… you happen to see a great design and you're sorely tempted to make a purchase because for once the fit looks great, but you don’t. Because you know that up and down the country the very same T-shirt is being mass purchased by an army of tweens who have no idea who the fuck Nirvana were, nor an inclination to find out.

If anyone else knows of any places to buy band T-shirts for girls who care about clothes I’d love to hear about them! In the meantime let’s hope bands get their act together. The fact that several guys have thrown men’s T-shirts they bought at gigs my way because the size or fit was all wrong just goes to show…. I’m not just being a total princess, boys care about these things too.


Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The Beautiful Paris Sketchbook by Jason Brooks

The book that I want to share with you this month is the beautiful Paris Sketchbook by Jason Brooks. His stylish work is instantly recognisable and his clients have included Revlon, Veuve Clicquot, Vogue and Elle to name just a few.

My review from My Creative Diva magazine is below and if you want to check out more of Jason's work visit

Jason Brooks is one of my favourite fashion illustrators, so needless to say I am smitten with this book, which is essentially his love letter to one of the greatest cities in the world. Paris is synonymous with glamour and nostalgia, and both are perfectly captured through Jason’s eyes.

He brings the city’s architectural icons to life in his unique style; the Gothic grandeur of Notre Dame, the proud Arc de Triomphe, the enormity of the Louvre and of course the greatest icon of them all, the Eiffel Tower. Smaller but no less important Parisian icons are here too, from the Art Nouveau style of the Metro stations to the patisserie windows piled high with cakes and macaroons.

This is a beautifully presented book featuring detailed linear sketches, stylish silhouettes, vintage postcards and famous quotes. Further chapters are devoted to travel, shopping – fitting for the birthplace of so many iconic fashion houses – and the many cafes from which he would sit and sketch the world as it went by.

Jason’s style flits from whimsical storybook to high-octane glamour at the turn of a page and although I haven’t been to Paris in many years, this is exactly how I remember it – beautiful, charming and forever calling out to you to return.

Paris Sketchbook by Jason Brooks, £17.95
ISBN 9781780671055

© Jason Brooks, Laurence King Publishing Ltd.
© Rock & Runway

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