Monday, 29 September 2014

ROME + NATIVE ROSE













There are a lot of things about the job of being in a band which are tough. It can be heartbreaking, exhausting, you have to motivate yourself to get up and do something every day, and then of course people might just not like your music, or even worse, not care.  

But then there are the days you're added last-minute to a festival in Rome and you get to go there for a couple of days and eat ice cream and walk around the city for hours and hours.  Those days are amazing.  As capital cities go Rome is pretty unusual. It's like a living breathing museum.  Modern architecture is thin on the ground, most of the streets are cobbled - mad respect to the many women who walk around on them all day in collossal high heels and wedges - it's beautiful to the nth degree.  It's actually almost too beautiful; by our third day there it wasn't just our tummies that were full up, my eyes were seriously knackered from gazing upon yet another ornate balcony or crumbling terracotta wall covered in ivy.  

I took my new Native Rose dress with us, I love it.  It's a patchwork of three different fabrics (which is a style the East London label really excel at), the cut is great, and I'm getting really into three quarter length sleeves.  Tell.  Everyone. 

I'm going to do another post where I talk more about the food places we went - we got very serious about pizza and gelato this time - but in one of the pictures above Jeremy is eating a candied satsuma.  That is a satsuma that has been candied, all of it, even the rind and seeds.  It was fantastic, so I'm not sure why he's making a sad face.  Maybe he was about to cry with happiness?   

Thursday, 18 September 2014

TOMMY HILFIGER READY TO WEAR SPRING 2015










He NAILED IT.  This is late '60s rock and roll dreams, but with a very 2015 twist in terms of the cuts and textures.  And so. Many. Stars.  Stars on fur, stars on sequins, stars on gauzy floaty pleats, stars on chunky wool cardigans over silky shifts, stars cut out of the hems of suede dresses...and when there weren't enough stars on the clothes they painted them on the models' skin.  Also ONLY boots, and patchwork denim?  Sure.  Hilfiger was inspired by music festivals he went to as a young 'un - watching bands like The Who, Rolling Stones and Jimi Hendrix, but he's obviously got his business head decidedly in the present day - festival fashion is massive.  Personally I loved the abundance of crochet, the capes and those Penny Lane-esque suede short hems covered up with furs.  I want to wear versions of all these outfits right now, who cares if it's nearly winter?  That's what skin coloured tights are for.

Monday, 15 September 2014

INSPIRED BY: 'PRETTY IN PINK'



THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN.  I don't think I will ever be able to do anything for Jeremy that comes close to matching how huge a favour he has bestowed upon me by allowing me to dress him as Duckie.  Duckie!  The best-dressed male teen ever!

And in case you haven't seen Pretty In Pink (why not?!) this is what Duckie, played by Jon Cryer, looks like. 


Which explains why Jeremy is wearing a checked tweed blazer with the sleeves rolled up, a pair of his striped sports socks, cuffed trousers, white shoes, loads of rings, and round sunglasses.  And of course, most crucially, a quiff.  





The best scene in PIP is when Duckie dances to 'Try A Little Tenderness' in Iona's record shop. Jeremy tried to recreate some of those classic dance moves for me.


Hot damn.

I of course got to do my best Andie Walsh impression.  Which, obviously, involves a lot of pink.  The main look of hers I was trying to recreate was something in the middle of these two...



That Korea bomber jacket - so amazing.  She wears a lot of crochet, a lot of florals, a lot of pink, big socks and white boots.  And of course some sort of embellishment, always.  I couldn't find a Korea jacket, but I did find a green one with a massive 'A' on the back - for Andie!  







BEST DAY EVER.  

Oh and in case you're wondering, this is what it would look like if Duckie was a real life boy in 2014 and had a mobile phone.  



Friday, 12 September 2014

STYLE DISSECTION: 'REALITY BITES'






I can't believe this film was directed by Ben Stiller.  Ben Stiller!  The man who gave us Zoolander also delivered the hottest slice of '90s post university counter-culture, generation Y babes, these four grunge superstars?

What a guy.

I love this film even more now that it seems nostalgic and sweetly dated.  The outrage of Ryder's Lelaina as her beautiful VHS documentary is exploited by the evil IN YOUR FACE TV channel (*cough* MTV *cough*) and turned into a disposable pithy commentary on slacker 20 somethings who like pizza.  Can you imagine?!  This was a world that was only just starting to experience the normal-people-becoming-famous-for-being-on-TV phenomenon we're now so familiar with.  The Real World was only two years old and OJ Simpson was still happily married to Nicole Brown - so we'd never even heard Robert Kardashian, let alone his daughters.  In 1994 when Reality Bites premiered at Sundance I'm sure it felt like a breezy breath of fresh (if slightly incense-infused) air.

Watching now it appears to have been the birth place for many character types - Ethan Hawke (who hadn't really done much at this point other than Dead Poet's Society) paved the way for all the emotionally troubled heartbreakers with longish hair and piercing eyes we would fall in love with over the next 20 years - many of whom he himself played.  And of course he's in a grungey rock band where he plays acoustic guitar and sings.  Of course.  He was just Jordan Catalano ten years on.

And Ryder's Lelaina could definitely be best friends with Girls' Hannah Horvath, both of them fumbling around, trying to prove their creative credentials -  "I'm the voice of a generation".  And they would have lived happily in a Brooklyn apartment with Janeane Garofalo's Vickie,  Hannah and Vickie swapping vintage dresses and coloured tights and moaning about their crappy day jobs - Vickie is a manager at Gap.  They would all hang out together and dance like this:


Speaking of those vintage dresses... The style in this film is amazing, which is of course why we're here.  I think Vickie might just be a wardrobe genius.

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

LOUISE'S PRINCESS BIRTHDAY CAKE









OK so this was the first time I used food colouring in a cake, and it was also the first time I iced the sides of a cake.  But when you have the chance to bake something to celebrate one of the greatest angel Princesses to ever walk the earth, nerves over new techniques and ingredients seem insignificant.  The angel Princess in question is Louise, we've been best friends since school, went to university together (I basically forced her to go to Goldsmiths with me), lived together for years, and now she manages Summer Camp.  I feel lucky to have several awesome women in my life who I'm very close to, and Louise is one of them, a source of constant inspiration and strength who I love with all my heart.  And DAMN is she gorgeous.

At the moment Louise is very into pink, so I wanted to do a cake that represented her adoration for that particular hue.  The sponges in this cake are supposed to range from white to dark pink, which soooorta worked.  Look, this won't be the first time I bake with food colouring - I've got a taste for it now - and I promise my skills will just get better and better.  And my icing more neat - I used three different shades by the way, not that it's particularly easy to tell.

Here is the recipe below, it's very simple, you just need lots of bowls.  I made four sponges, so I mixed the following and then divided it into two, and then baked it.  Then did exactly the same again but added more food colouring to the second batches.  You'll see what I mean...

INGREDIENTS
So two times:
125g self raising flour
125g caster sugar
125g butter
2 eggs
pink food colouring (I bought two bottles - and make sure they're for baking not just for icing)
1tsp of baking powder
2tbsp of milk.

For the icing inside the cake:
Raspberry jam - about four tablespoons
300g icing sugar
100g butter
1/2 tbsp of milk

For the icing outside the cake:
425g icing sugar
150g butter
1 tbsp of milk
pink food colouring

METHOD
Heat the oven (mine is a fan one) to 150 degrees centigrade and line two 20cm cake tins with greaseproof paper.

Mix the butter and sugar together until the mixture is super creamy and full of air.  Add the eggs one by one, mixing as you go, and I always put in a tablespoon of the flour to make sure the eggs don't curdle.  Sift in the remaining flour and baking powder, mix carefully with a metal spoon, and then weigh the mixture (I just weighed my mixing bowl).  Pour half the batter into another bowl.  Put a tablespoon of milk into two glasses.  You can then add your food colouring to the milk.  The instructions on the packaging of the food mixture will tell you how much to use, I did the darkest pink sponge first, adding about six drops, then the second darkest I added four.  Pour the now pink milk into the separate bowls of batter and stir in gently.  I added a bit more food colouring as they looked quite pale - making sure to remember which was which!

Bake the two sponges in the oven for about 15-20 minutes, or until the surface of the cakes spring back when you press on them lightly.

Leave them to cool then make the second set of batter in the same way, but using no food colouring in one sponge, and only two drops (or equivalent) of food colouring in the second sponge.

For the icing - you can play around with this as you might want pink icing inside your cake.  But I kept my icing inside the cake white by mixing the icing sugar and butter together and then adding the milk until the consitency was right.  I put this to one side.

For the icing outside the cake I made the icing the same way as above then divided it into three and added differing amounts of food colouring so I had three shades of pink icing.

To assemble the cake I made sure all the sponges were the same height - you don't need to worry about the top one as it's nice if that's domed.  When they weren't the same height I took a bit off the top with a knife.  Then I iced them with a tablespoon of jam and some of the white icing and stacked them on top of each other.

Outside the cake I used a palate knife to smooth on the icing for a sort of tie dye effect.  I find dipping the knife in a glass of hot water as you go helps make the icing spread on more easily and with more control.  Then I covered the whole thing with silver balls, edible daisies, and royal icing spelling out 'Louise' for a ridiculous pink cake fit for a Princess.