this charming man

Over the last few months I've noticed that I'm developing a growing interest in men's fashion, particularly the return to the well-dressed gentleman that is happening this season. Men's fashion in a lot of ways is very different to women's and a recent tweet from GQ Fashion quoting Tommy Ton (@jakandjilblog), got me thinking about the lack of choices men seem to have compared to women:

"A guy can't go too far outside his comfort zone without looking like a freak."

In a lot of ways I completely agree with Tommy Ton; whereas women's fashion focuses on the revolutionary, (whether it's new shapes or textures of the season), menswear seems more about evolution. Other than with certain anomalies, ie drop-crotch jeans (or JLS pants as one of my lad mates calls them), there are few items available for men which stray beyond fairly safe boundaries of conventional dress. And even with the JLS pants, the explanation seems to be that if enough men (celebrities included) jump on the bandwagon then these bizarre styles have a way of working their way into mainstream dressing, and before you know it there's a load of blokes walking around in hareem trousers without stopping to question why (I'm waiting for someone to prove me wrong and actually pull this one off..). Take the recent All Saints phenomenon that saw half of the male population consigned to wearing their jeans tucked into army boots and you get the point I'm trying to make.

Now the majority of the lads I know are very much lad's lads who are interested in fashion but they wouldn't go shouting about it. A great example of how the unfamiliar is rejected in men's wear until it filters down happened only a couple of weeks ago.. One of them had been getting a new cardigan before Christmas with suede elbow patches and for weeks they had all been winding him up about it and telling him he looked like a Grandad. So you can imagine my amusement at discovering on a night out recently that they were ALL wearing jumpers (or cardigans) with elbow patches!!

Only a slightly different note, but still on the topic of menswear... I've recently read John Harvey's Clothes, an interesting exploration of what our clothes say about who we are. In one section of the book a passage on men's clothing caught my eye:

"Ties are like tiny catwalk shows, as if all that women's clothes may display - in bright colours and daring colours, and startling curving lines and shapes - may be performed for men in the tiny lozenge, or vertical strip, that hangs down from our necks. Of course, that display may be grossly done, in ties that should be torched on sight. But good ties are something: clearly they are the part of menswear that can show men in touch with their feminine side, as women's clothes, nowadays, have many touches of the masculine."

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Judging by my Dad's vast collection of ties this certainly seems to be the case! I'm always fascinated by how much more willing he is to take risks and experiment with colours and textures in his choice of ties in comparison to the rest of his wardrobe.

Call me old-fashioned but in my opinion nothing beats a man in a suit. Personally I'm hoping that the highly anticipated release of The Great Gatsby will help to build the growing trend of the return of the well-dressed gentleman.

Three words: ENTIRE WEEKEND OFF





Another long week, hence the silence... feel like I've spent the last few days running around like a maniac! Having been busy all week I've had the perfect excuse to continue to experiment with 'grown-up' dressing. As you can see, I'm finding this grey skirt from H&M to have become a staple of my smart workwear. In some ways it's been a brilliant week, and I've caught up with a lot of brilliant people, but in other ways all I seem to be getting at the minute is bad news. Nothing I can't handle, and nothing that a good bitching session with the fabulous J can't sort out! Luckily my weekend starts this evening, so I'm sure I can make up for the way this week has been.. On another positive note I've also just discovered my new favourite place for coffee in Newcastle, Bar 9 Coffee.


shirt: Mango, skirt: H&M, black suede shoes: Topshop, bag: Mulberry

Sunday club, minor wrist junk and Mulberry lust

Now that I'm (temporarily) free of piles of application forms, it's been nice to have a weekend of doing nothing and spending time with some of my favourite ladies. It has been a very long and tedious week in a lot of ways. However, being the eternal optimist that I am, I'm not letting it get me down.

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On a slightly different note, I can't post today without acknowledging the latest addition to the Mulberry family: The Del Rey. Described by the Mulberry site as a bag infused with the Old Hollywood style of Lana Del Rey, it's clearly destined for cult status. With the exception of the Alexa, this is the first new bag that Mulberry have launched that I've been excited about. It has definite parallels to the Bayswater but I love the more modern edge that the zip gives it. Well I guess that's another thing to add to my post-India wishlist..

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Source


jumper: Topshop, skirt: H&M, scarf: H&M, bag: Zara, watch: Michael Kors, bracelets: Tiffany's, La Vidalerie, vintage, rings: vintage.

'a great impression of simplicity can only be achieved by a great agony of body and spirit'

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Although the quote above is in reference to dancing I think it can pretty much be applied to any aspect of life. When you encounter someone who is successful, in nearly all cases they will tell you that it can only be achieved through hard work and determination. Right now it's that thought that's driving me forward and keeping me focussed. For anyone unfamiliar with it, the quote comes from The Red Shoes, starring the magnificent Moira Shearer, an amazing ballerina in her own right. Having spent the week feeling under the weather from all the vaccines, I was debating whether I was in the mood for ballet last night but I'm really glad I ended up going. Whenever I mention my dancing, people are always intrigued by it, particularly when they learn that it's ballet and I guess that's because classical ballet is such a high art form. What I love about my current teacher is how much she loves ballet in its essence. But it's not necessarily a form of dance that does need to be performed to classical pieces, which she proved last night by making us practice our adage to Etta James 'I just want to make love to you'. Art is in the eye of the beholder, and it reminded me of The Washington Post's social experiment from a few years back with Joshua Bell. Bell is one of the most talented classical musicians in the world, selling out the most famous venues in the world.. So the Post placed him in a busker's spot in a metro station in Washington DC, and guess what? He was ignored by almost every commuter that passed him by. A nice little reminder to not be so quick to judge a book by its cover, and to always keep your eyes open to the things happening around.


Happy Friday, everyone! Now I really need to go and meet Sarey, or she will punch me for being late..





photo source: ballet slippers (mine), Alfred Eisenstaedt'S Ballerinas on window sill via weheartit, Moira Shearer (photo by William Sumits), Audrey Hepburn photo

V is for Vaccinations...

It's now only FOUR (and a half) WEEKS until I go to India, and so I'm in the middle of getting every kind of vaccine you can name.. For the most part this is me erring on the side of caution.. after reading about rabies outbreaks not so long ago and thanks to the scare tactics of my local GP I am convinced I should get jabs for anything and everything!! It's only just starting to feel real that I'm actually going.. so that being said, any advice on packing/travelling light (I can see this being an issue) would be very much appreciated!

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Now, on a slightly different note, (and without making this blog sound a promo for the talents of just about everyone I know..) I ended up spending this Sunday at a little gig in Sunderland for The Sons of Bido Lito. For those of you who follow me on twitter, you may have already read the review I wrote for them for The Crack. The band were great and if you're interested in hearing any of their stuff you can find a couple of tracks here.

Newcastle through the lens of Carl Haynes

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Those of you who know me well (or are regular readers) will be well aware of my feelings about the North East, so I don’t need to write you a love letter about the region. I know very few people who are from the North East and do not take pride in that. Having stayed up here for university, I ended up befriending people from all over the country. Not one of them graduated and didn’t take a little bit of Newcastle back home with them. The region has a lot to offer and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. There’s something infectious about the inherent optimism of the people up here, and the fact that most people you encounter do want to and will try to help you if they can.

Which is why I am continually exasperated by the debacle that is Geordie Shore. Thank you MTV for reinforcing the ridiculous stereotypes which the media have branded the North East with. Yes, in Newcastle you will find girls in short skirts and five inch heels stumbling up the Bigg market with bare legs in the snow. But let's be honest, the idiots who they have put on this programme are so ill equipped to truly represent the region it’s embarrassing.* There are so many other things about the North East that are more interesting than the fact you can get treble vodkas and a mixer for two quid… which is why I like to be able to find local talent to share… then it makes me feel like I’m doing my bit to help restore the reputation of our region.

So that being said, let me introduce Carl Haynes, a very talented local photographer and a good friend of mine, who shot these photographs. Two of the images (the third one, "Newcastle Nights" and the last, "Zoom Tyne") have just been announced as winners of the Big Metro Competition!


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newcastle nights


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What I love about Carl's photography is that he really shows the region at it's best. His photos have a raw quality that gives a very honest portrayal of the North East, and I think his passion for it really shows. He somehow manages to capture the beauty of Newcastle without glossing over it's industrial roots, and captures the spirit of the city. Plus his photos do not include public urination or vomiting, both of which can usually be found in the media's representation of the North. I'll let you be the judge but personally I don't think it's too grim up North. If you want to see more of his photos, you can visit his website here.


* Just to add to my Geordie Shore rant, can I draw attention to the fact that one of them is from Sunderland (making her a Mackem like me, not a Geordie- and if you know anything about the region, you will know that there is an important distinction there), and then there are the ones from Teeside. For those not so hot on geography, if you totally disregard Sunderland and Durham (the two cities in between) then yes Teeside is located right next to Newcastle...

taking notes

Ok, I'll admit it's a bit soft but is this not the best notebook advert you've seen, ever?


Field Notes: Red Blooded from Coudal Partners on Vimeo.



Being a writer and self-professed compulsive list maker, there's nothing I love more than nice notebooks. But then I've always loved looking at other people's scribbles. It's a little voyeuristic about it. A few months ago Tina did a great post on her travel moleskine. Major notebook envy. Very kindly she included more photos that you can see on her flickr account.. perfect if like me, you enjoy taking a peek at other people's scribbles...

'we wore stolen hearts, vintage souls'

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I hate to admit it but I'm kind of pleased about the drop in temperatures of late- I'm not quite ready to abandon my hope of getting some proper snow this year. After all my Vivienne Westwood wellies are feeling a tad neglected... I also think it's a bad reaction to pastel overload. I mean don't get me wrong, I like pastels just as much as the next person, but I really have no desire to wear peach jeans (or pink for that matter), or look like a Care Bear just vomited sherbet on me. Nor do I want to look like a sporty barbie... I know we're hosting the Olympics this year but come on! I think I'm definitely leaning more towards the twenties and fifties trends!

P.s Had my first vaccines for India today, and treated myself to the new Vogue (not so sure about how I feel about the Lana Del Rey interview), Company (seduced by Chung on the cover, and intrigued by new matt look and cheapness), and a bag of Marti mushrooms for being such a brave little soldier...

satchel: Cambridge Satchel Company, fur hat: Cotton Love, sheepskin coat: vintage, jumper: H&M, skirt: Urban Outfitters, boots: Urban Outfitters

Peanut butter fudge cookies...



Sunday is not the day to be buried under a pile of job application, visa forms, and vaccination information sheets. Unfortunately this is exactly where I have found myself for the majority of the weekend. So obviously the best way of coping with being busy is just to get on with what you need to do, right? Or you could spend your Sunday reading the paper, drinking coffee and making peanut butter fudge cookies. Three guesses which way I chose to spend my day...


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The cookies by the way are AMAZING! And if you want to give them a whirl you can find the recipe here. The fudge sauce recipe is here.. as if I needed any reason to love Zooey Deschanel more than I already do!

Femme fatale, always on the run. Diamonds on my wrist, whiskey on my tongue...

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Like the rest of the world, I have found myself becoming a little bit obsessed with the enigmatic Lana Del Rey. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about her that fascinates me so much. The amazing hair (from her Bardot style barnet in Video Games to her Veronica Lake waves)? The perfect pouty lips? The cute but husky little Jessica Rabbit voice? It's like someone just plucked her out of another era. And now she's set to grace the cover of British Vogue for March in Louis Vuitton? Amazing. Mario Testino can do no wrong.





Just on an end note, how are people feeling about the disappearing act GFC will shortly be doing? If you aren't already following, I'm on Bloglovin. If you are too then let me know!

cover image from Vogue.co.uk, video uploaded to youtube by LanaDelRey

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