Monday, 28 March 2011

Spring Time In London & Cath Kidston For Uniqlo Charity Tee Shirts

It's offiically Springtime and the sun has got his hat on in London Town. We all know what that means - time to start wearing t-shirts, flip flops and sunglasses (even though it's still freezing cold and the sun has most likely disappeared again by the time we've fished our sunnies out). Anyway, to help us walk prettily along the road to hypothermia, Uniqlo have teamed up with Cath Kidston to produce a range of tees. The collection redefines popular Cath Kidston classic prints through Uniqlo printing techniques and re-images them in vintage-fashion colours and a bleached antique look.

The proceeds help raise funds for the Japanese Organization for International Cooperation in Family Planning (JOICFP) - a charitable non-governmental organization. Cath Kidston and Uniqlo will also make donations from the net proceeds of sales to fund an initiative supporting a safe motherhood program in Zambia.

I have my eye on these:

£12.99 each - available instore and online.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Discount Shopping And The Half Price Gene.

I hardly ever buy anything full price. Try as I might, it just rarely seems to happen. It's so bad good, that sometimes, I'll walk up to the till with a full priced item and the sales assistant will invent a discount! I speak no word of a lie.

I am NOT a bargain hunter, bargains hunt me - like this:

I've decided it's down to something in my genetic make up (either that or some sort of supernatural anointing). Maybe I have a delightful mutation that produces a special pheromone, and maybe it's this special pheromone that triggers a 'Reflex Discounting Action' (further referred to as the 'RDA').

Either way, it means that I am usually able to get you almost anything at a reduced price (or at the full price with extras thrown in) - clothes, shoes, bags, perfume, make - up, skincare, homeware, electronics, dinner reservations, holidays... 

Go on, send me your shopping lists so we can put it to the test.

Disclaimer: I have absolutely no control over the aforementioned RDA, but just to make sure the odds are always in our favour, I also happen to possess a very long (and very secret) list of shops, websites, mailing lists etc... that offer really good discounts on just about anything, to everyone (not just those we suspect to be genetically predisposed to receiving discounts - like myself).

NB: Discounts generated by the RDA are quite often, impossible to replicate and the discount value is always, totally unpredictable. Discounts obtained via the very long (and very secret) list mentioned above, are slightly more predictable and may sometimes be possible to replicate.

Just a few examples of my recent conquests discount purchases:

Temperley London Mini Pegasus Dress - £130 (Normal Retail Price - £1250)

(Seen here on Mischa Barton and J-Lo)

RayBan 4125 Aviators (BTW these Sunglasses are guaranteed to make you like you were born cool) - £69 (Normal Retail Price - £120).

Mulberry Zipped Purse - £110 (Normal Retail Price - £180)

Toast Soft Slouchy Bag - £40 (Normal Retail Price - £155).

Jigsaw Henrietta Suede Bag - £50 (Normal Retail Price - £255).

Anya Hindmarch Luce Clutch Bag in Gold - £78 (Normal Retail Price - £245).

Lanvin For H&M Men's Tuxedo Jacket - £30 (Normal Retail Price - £79.99).

Toast Cath Ballet Pumps in Pewter - £25 (Normal Retail Price - £125).

Nivaldo de Lima Soho Purse - £11 (Normal Retail Price - £35). 

Reiss Maddi Denim Biker Jacket - £27 (Normal Retail Price - £135).

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Monday, 14 March 2011

Spring / Summer 2011 Trends and Socrates (Part 2)

Trend 2: Prints.
Animal prints, ethnic prints and bold botanical prints - seen on the catwalk shows of designers such as Vivienne Westwood, Blumarine, Stella McCartney, Kenzo, Matthew Williamson, Louis Vuitton and Prada.

Chistopher Kane


Holly Fulton

Louis Vuitton

Stella McCartney


I find prints (especially animal prints) a little tricky to get right. Get it wrong, and one could end up looking like this:

Eastenders - Kat and Alfie Moon

When ideally, one would rather prefer to look a little more like this:

I do like animal prints - done properly can be really stylish and very grown up. I'm also a fan of geometric / ethnic prints - they evoke a whole of range of delicious emotions in me. This is largely due to the fact I grew up surrounded by them. I only have to look at a photograph of wax print cotton (we call it Ankara in Nigeria), and I'll immediately have lovely memories of being about 6 and burying my face in my mum's ankara blouse. I remember the feel, the smell and even the taste of the fabric. (I used to chew on the corners of her blouses. I was weird like that). 

I'm drawn to this trend because I find prints familiar, comforting and visually stimulating. The only problem I have with prints is I tend to want to count everything. This season, I fear that I might be in danger of being mistaken for a complete weirdo, because I might have to stop and stare at people in the streets frequently - trying to figure out pattern repeats and working how many squares or triangles or spots or stripes are on their clothes...

My take on this trend looks a little like this:

So the boys don't feel left out:

I need to go find something to count.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Dignified Idling...

Totally possible at the following venues :

The Idler Academy

(Image from

Part bookshop, part coffee house, part school. Open from 10am - 6.30pm, Tuesdays to Saturdays, so clearly aimed at loafers those of us who are free from the constraints of a regular 9 - 5. They have a decent stock of beautiful and educational books (Plato, Aristotle Virgil...), serve pretty good hot chocolate and cakes, have a shop selling old fashioned games, playing cards, protractor sets, exercise books, pencils etc, and offer classes in old fashioned subjects such as Latin, Classical Philosophy, Calligraphy, English Grammar, Embroidery, Ukulele, Life Drawing, Herb Growing... What's not to love?

The Idler Academy - 81 Westburne Park Road, London, W2 5QH. 

The V&A Reading Rooms

Part bookshop, part wine bar. Open daily from midday, the V&A reading rooms are small, intimate, book lined rooms with lots of original architectural features. A place to read, enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of coffee and shop from a large, eclectic selection of books. (They are also holding a series of informal reading and discussion evenings in March. The next one is on the 17th of March with London restaurateur Duncan Ackery).

V&A Reading Rooms - 8 Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London, SW7 2HF.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Spring / Summer 2011 Trends and Socrates (Part 1)

I'm not really one for buying or wearing clothes simply because they're in fashion. I'm drawn to the idea of fashion as a creative outlet (for both the wearer and the designer) and like any creative outlet I think it shouldn't be allowed to stagnate. It should evolve frequently or it can quickly become a little like a gilded cage. This is one reason why I think trends are handy (that and the fact that they are possibly the biggest reason why the fashion industry is so lucrative).

I'm a fan of trends as a concept, but that doesn't mean I'll buy into every new trend and the older I get, the more sure I am of my tastes and l'll now only wear things I love. More often than not, like most people, I just take elements of what's in the magazines or on the catwalks and streets and try and make it my own but I've never really thought about why or what it is about the particular trend that appeals to me on a personal level. I've subconsciously noticed four main trends this season so, I thought I'd set myself the task of critically analysing what it is I like about each trend in four separate posts.

Why Socrates? Well, he's largely credited as the father of critical thinking and self analysis but also because I like the sound of his name :)

Trend 1: Bright colours.
Lots of contrasting Jewel / neon tones as seen on the catwalk shows of designers like Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander and Christopher Kane.

Even though this is probably the trend that I'm least likely to buy into because I don't think I suit bright colours (plus, I generally prefer to blend into the background), it is also the one that appeals to me the most on a cerebral level. I never refer to a colour wheel when I work (both as a jewellery designer and as a personal stylist). Odd as it sounds, I like to let colours tell me how they want to be combined and I find it more liberating, but also more challenging to work that way. This trend appeals to me for the same reasons. I really like that it appears to be about bending the rules and deviating from the norm, but still coming up with something that works for you and is visually pleasing to others.

If I do buy into this trend I'll do it by combining brightly coloured accessories with average clothes - a plain white tee and indigo jeans with a bright yellow bag and green shoes or an electric blue dress with an orange bag and purple shoes...

So the boys don't feel left out, Ralph Lauren has a fun take on this trend - 'Create-Your-Own' Custom Fit Polos in a range of jewel tones and Vintage Officer's Chinos in lovely (wearable) colours.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011


I know it's officially Pancake Day and I ought to blog about Lent and pancakes (and I will), but first I have to tell you about cake. Specifically, cake from Del Aziz. This is a picture of a "slice" of Del Aziz carrot cake bought for me by my wonderful friend Tolu.

It looks pretty average in the photograph, but it really isn't. It is was seriously delicious but the very best thing about it was it's size! You see, that isn't a side plate it's on, that is a dinner plate - yes, it is. If you hold a slice of cake from Del Aziz up in front of your face and shine a light directly behind your head, this is what will happen:

My first (proper) encounter with the Del Aziz bakery was on a lovely snowy day in December after a pretty special lunch with some friends. I didn't have a decent go at the cake that day, but I did note it's happy - making potential. So, I put "Get cake from Del Aziz" on my to do list. Well, thanks to Tolu, I have now crossed it off my to do list and set it as a weekly alarm on my iPhone instead.

Frippery? I think not...

This Season, I'll Mostly Be Wearing...

This Season, I'll Mostly Be Wearing...
This Season, I'll Mostly Be Wearing...  (Click on the link to see details of the individual items on Polyvore)

I put together a little collage of some of the items on my SS11 wish list... Who am I kidding? I'm in the middle of a budget blowing real estate related transaction, so let's face it - the title of this post should be "If Only I had a Fairy Godmother or A Sugar Daddy".

Seeing as the only fairies I believe in are the Fashion Fairy and her little helpers, like the ones who make knitwear for Jigsaw (keep up... See previous fashion related post) and seeing as I am a good Christian girl and just the phrase "Sugar Daddy" brings me out in hives, I'm off to press my nose against the windows at Harvey Nicks.


P.S. Hopefully, there isn't a budget blowing real estate related transaction standing in the way of the rest of you buying some of these lovelies. Remember - I can shop for you! Drop me a line and permit me to live vicariously through you.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Orkney has no trees!

I just found out there are no trees on Orkney - well, hardly any. A group of islands with no trees... Fascinating! You learn something new everyday. This is an aerial view of Orkney.

I dedicate the following images to the Orcadians:

Monday morning frippery :)

Sunday, 6 March 2011


This is Asa - fellow Nigerian and super talented musician.

This is The Barbican.

Asa will be playng at The Barbican on Monday the 4th of April 2011 at 19.30. Tickets are £12.50 - £20 and on sale now on

Asa + The Barbican = FabuloCity.

A little taster of what to expect:

Style in Your 30's and Beyond

Fashion and the Cult of Youth are fast friends. Dressing to suit your age once you're past your mid 20's can often be a tricky thing to do - especially on a budget. Being "trendy" or "stylish" in your 30's and 40's can sometimes feel like a mine field with near disasters at practically every turn. Case in point - the seemingly endless stream of ladies who provide series after series of cringe worthy entertainment on the BBC 3 show "Hotter Than My Daughter".

I believe style is like a fine wine. By that, I mean it should get better (though unavoidably, more expensive) with age. There are a few High Street stores that I find help make stylish dressing beyond your 20's less of a mine field and more of a sun kissed, sepia toned frolic in the park (without breaking the bank)...   La la la la la  ...

1. TOAST: Beautiful, timeless yet up-to-date, well made, ethical clothing made from natural fibres (you know you're getting older when you start checking out the fibre content of clothes before you buy them...) No frills (except the AMAZING catalogues they produce season after season) - the secret is in the impeccable cut of the clothes and the little details that make them slightly different from the norm. Trying on IS believing. 'Nuff said.

If I were an item of clothing, I would want to be a Toast coat (or dress, or skirt or shirt...)

2. JIGSAW: Lovely, lovely clothes which are vintage inspired but always, somehow, bang on trend. Their fine knits should be the 8th wonder of the world. I don't know how such lightweight, totally non bulky knits can be so incredibly warm. (I'm pretty sure I heard that they're handmade by a team of artisan fairies who work from a secret location somewhere in rural Italy). Their tee shirts are what I call "hard working" - the sort of tees that make an outfit look like you put a lot of thought into it when really, you just rolled out of bed straight into a pair of skinny jeans and one of these beauties.

If I were a leather good, I would want to be a Jigsaw Bag.

3. WHISTLES: Slightly edgier clothes than the previous 2 labels, but with some great pieces to jazz up your wardrobe.

4. MASSIMO DUTTI: Pretty, stylish clothes with oodles of European flair. I haven't quite made up my mind about the quality of the clothes but I'm happy to shop there in the sale.

And so the boys don't feel left out, Massimo Dutti and Toast both have great Menswear ranges.


Oh, by the way, I now offer a shopping service for overseas readers. You don't have to just look and drool, you can shop - through me! Hurrah!