BACKSTAGE PASS…the lowdown


imageRemember lovely Arlie and the shoot Navaz and I did in Bristol a few weeks ago? On our West Country travels we were introduced to the nicest cafe in St Paul’s (my love of a good cafe is well documented on this blog). We arrived, chilly, under slept and slightly dampened of spirits to be greeted with a warm welcome and a super fry up.

Now that’s what I’m talking about.

We even took a couple of shots in there plus, obviously, had a good jaw about local shopping, musical mash ups and what makes a good night out. You know, the important stuff.

EMMA MIRANDA MOORE How’s your smoothie?


EMM So is this your favourite cafe? Do you come here with your mates?

AO Yeah like, it’s good for breakfast, lunch and like in the evening as well.

EMM Do you come here in the evening?

AO Sometimes yeah

EMM They had music on last night when we were walking past, do they have bands in here?

AO Sometimes, they do but I like the music they play in here anyway, in the day

EMM I’ve got too many layers on now. Where else do you go on Gloucester Road then?

AO Shopping wise I like going to RE-PHSYCO because it’s not all generic and a chain, it’s not a charity shop but all the stuff is second hand. Some of it is like reworked as well, made into new things.

NAVAZ BATLIWALLA What have you bought from there that you liked?

AO Oh I was going through a phase of, you know Fresh Prince style clothes?

EMM Yes I remember it well..

AO Well I got this mental jacket which was like, covered in patterns. And then I bought a pair of docs in there before but at Loves Saves The Day festival they got completely wrecked

EMM You did well to wreck DMs, they’re normally pretty indestructible

AO I know I wore them to a gig and like all the lacings came out and they were ruined, I lost the whole lace too

EMM You went for it at that gig didn’t you?

AO Yeah

EMM You were just right in there (everyone laughing) I like that though, if you destroy a pair of shoes you know you’ve had a good night. I’ve always worn DMs.

AO When my family and me go out, we all look kind of similar, we’ll all be in Converse and a blue jumper or whatever

NB Unintentionally?

AO Yeah

EMM Don’t you think that’s quite nice though, it’s like you belong together?

CO Er, sort of (laughs)

EMM Oh I think it’s sweet. We should do a story where the whole family is dressed the same

NB It does happen though, it’s an organic thing where you all merge into one another

EMM So you like RE PHSYCO and you come here, where else do you go?

AO Well, on a Saturday I usually head up towards town, like Cabort (the big shopping centre in Bristol) and then I’d wander up Park Street and then wander down here. At the very top of Gloucester Road there’s three floored charity shop and it’s got like a retro section, a shoe section, records, it’s really cool. It’s a Cancer Research charity shop but they’ve cottoned on that people like going to charity shops more so they’ve really made the most of it. It’s really good.

NB Clever

AO There’s another really good shop called Dutty and it sells really cool like earrings and stuff.

NB I think there’s one in Kensal Rise, near me. I think they’ve opened one in London, it’s like Dutty Girl, that’s interesting that you go there

EMM It’s vintage is it?

AO They have an underground bit which does all the vintage shirts and stuff, but the main store they sell spray paint and they do massive gold hoops but wrapped in fabric. At the time I couldn’t afford them so I made my own pair (sounds of approval all round)

EMM so much more interesting to do that

AO then I started selling them at school because everyone was like can I have a pair? But at Dutty they sell really cool patterned leggings and patterned jumpers and patterned crop tops and all that.

NB Do they sell music and stuff as well?

AO Yeah and they do events as well, like oh what’s it called, My Bad Sister it’s two sisters and they just dress absolutely mental and they do shows at the Dutty shop and stuff.

EMM What’s their music like?

AO Mental (serious face)

EMM Mental enough to ruin a pair of DMs to?

AO (giggles) Yeah. They mix like gypsy music with hip hop but then like techno and it’s just a mix of everything.

EMM Don’t tell me it’s folk core, because I’m off that

NB Are there any markets round here?

AO Yeah there’s the St Nicks market which has all the good food stalls, falafels and stuff

EMM (Starts adjusting Arlie’s hair) I look like a really over attentive mother now, fiddling with your hair in a cafe, like come on darling be a beautiful princess, and you’re like ugh mum!

WAITRESS Hi, large breakfast with fried bread?

ARLIE (grateful) Yes please

Thank you Cafe Kino for restoring our equilibrium



PLACES & SPACES…unwrapping memories


Oh Summer, why couldn’t you stay?
And yet, this morning I received a parcel that brought all the warmth and light back.
In August I stayed with friends on a boat sailing round Turkey. It was every bit as nice as that sounds, jumping off the side of the boat into crystal clear Aegean water, our towels hanging up to dry on a makeshift washing line.

The towels became a bit of an obsession with us, Turkey has such beautiful textiles and the Hammam towels they had on the boat were such pretty combinations of soft colours, they dried in minutes. The younger members of our party crashed out in the shade snuggled under them like blankets. My lovely friend Leslie and I adopted a holiday hobby of searching for replicas in the local markets.

So when I opened my parcel this morning what did I find?
Two bright pieces of Turkey, nestled in there, releasing a little more Summer into the day.

CRUSHING ON…taking a bullet


I am not, I feel I should make clear right from the beginning, pro gun.
I do not think that guns are things that people should have in their houses. I do not think that Oscar Pistorius would have done so much damage (allegedly) if he had only had shouting and throwing things at his disposal. I do think that the idea of arming teachers so that they can protect themselves against potential crazed gunmen in schools is the most ridiculous idea on the planet. Once we start legislating for the loony minority we’ve all lost the plot.
But, this aside, I found myself this morning, staring down the barrel of a rifle and learning to line up my sights on a paper target with tiny numbers on. This, you understand, in the pursuit of happiness. It’s a bit cloudy at the hotel today so a group of us had gathered for a lesson and a little bit of friendly competition with some weapons. As you do. Now really, these are just air rifles but still, it’s quite an intimidating thing to be holding.
Good, says the instructor, come down a bit and to the right. He’s obviously assuming I have some sort of control over what I’m doing.
Again again.
Four shots and the card comes back, 29 points puts me in second place and look, I went through the same whole twice. Consistency! Hmmmm, what’s that stirring inside me? Aha, competitive spirit, hello my old friend.
It is the second round and the target is much, much smaller. My temporary excitement about being in second place has long been blown out of the water by much higher scores but still, I’m keen for my next go. Five targets on the square, the instructor calls “Top right” as the one to aim for. Top right? That’s minute. Two shots.
Bang. I’m getting used to the kick back, leaning in more with my shoulder. I am, as they say, “styling it out” rather nicely I feel.
Bang. Bullseye. I’m not even joking. “Professional” says the instructor, his voice heavy with Spanish accent and big brotherish teasing.

Yeah baby, that’s me, fashion sniper. Where do I get me one of these?

ON BEAUTY…le smoking


Remember this?
Well, I’d actually set it aside for a while. My head had been turned by other shiny things, I’m extremely shallow like that, and I hadn’t been using it recently. But, having only thrown a couple of things into my wash kit in the way of make up and finding this among the things, I decided to give it another go.
It turns out to be a total holiday hero.
The reason is this, the downside of using powder kohl in general is that it can have a bit of ‘fall down’ under the eyes when you apply it which, if you’re doing it on a normal, in the city worky-type face is a bit annoying as you’ve probably just undone some of your good efforts that you then have to sort out and redo. But on a holiday-y, slightly sun kissed and otherwise entirely bare face, it’s no big thing. Just wipe a bit of Crealine under each eye after application and away you go with your smidge of smudgey smokey oh this? I just slept in my mascara after a night out with those surfers attitude.

Incidentally, (and obviously) the best way to wear it if you are not on holiday is to, (drumroll please) put it on first, before anything else. Then clean up before you proceed. I didn’t say it was rocket science, but it is very satisfying once you get these things figured out.

Oh, and lastly, this photo is taken from an extremely ancient shoot I did on Miami beach.

PLACES & SPACES…girls just want


Today has been fun. Today has involved driving an open topped white Saab slightly inappropriately (stay right! stay right!) around a small warm island and laughing a lot. Today was my kind of day.
One of the places we visited was César Manrique’s cactus garden. I am a longtime admirer of Manrique, I love his sense of scale and drama. I do love me some drama. His use of natural light in his home, later made into a Foundation to showcase his work and art collection, is incredible. He made a James Bond lair in a rock and theres just no arguing with that type of genius.
His cactus garden, created in an old quarry, has terraced sides, like an amphitheatre. Inside the amphitheatre, cacti gladiators, the badasses of the plant world, battle with each other for status while bonkers playful elements like that face waterfall up there, show that really, he was just a guy who liked to have fun.
I bet he would have liked my Saab. Now, I’m on the left, right?

ESSENTIALS…European legs


white jeans-1

Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to start. Oh Julie, you are, as always, so right.
There is a short list of things that I decided many years ago were essential, whatever the holiday destination. From work trip to country weekend to beach, there are a couple of things that I always find I need, or rather, that I feel a bit panicky without. These things, since you ask so nicely, are as follows: some kind of massive pashmina, (this is in fact my comfort blanket, airline pillow, extra jumper and cuddly toy all rolled into one). (Although I actually quite object to wearing one in the evening as it makes me feel slightly like I’m in too flimsy an outfit at a wedding. In Surrey.) Lavender oil, (to make my pillow smell like home) (I’ve gone a bit pillow-centric here, but bear with me) a gallon of moisturiser and a pair of jeans (or, if you’re feeling fashion today, a jean). You can travel in them, they knock the edge off your oh I’m not sure now new holiday top and if your beach based Easter break that was supposed to get you away from the biting, trying to hurt you cold in England, turns out to be not that warm either they will keep you cosy while you saunter casually up to the bar and order yourself a another medicinal whiskey.
How then, what with these strict rules and everything, did it come to pass that I ended up in the Canaries with no jeans? Error.
But in every mistake lies an opportunity and all that and this, I felt, was just the time to indulge the white jean fetish that has been gently growing inside me for about four years. (I am not one of life’s fast learners).
The issue I have with white jeans is that they also look a little bit Euro Sloan. Or, when worn in combination with any cashmere item, a little bit Yummy Mummy. I do not pass judgement on these looks and yet, they are not the ones I aspire to. Despite this, my yearning for a pair was growing as they would, I fancied, turn me into a cool French girl in a band a la Charlotte Gainsbourg. Now that is a look I can aspire to. Please.
Well, as with so many questions, Zara was the answer. I’m in the middle of nowhere currently and the shopping opportunities are few but if I know anything I know that there’s always a Zara. So quick shopping trip done and white jeans in hand, or rather, on slightly goose pimply legs and I’m gonna tell you what I’ve learned.
Number one, go up a size. White jeans should not be skin tight. This, from a girl who lives in skinninest skinnies.
Number two, roll them up a bit. Simples, but makes all the difference.
Number three, know that you do indeed now look a little bit Euro-sloany and a little bit Yummy Mummyish and not at all really like you edit French Vogue, but stop caring. Just stop.

Walk your warm legs to the bar and get the whiskies in.

AS SEEN…postcards from the edge



Apologies. I have entirely absented myself, in a Jeffrey Bernard is unwell type fashion, from this site for a whole week. I have, in the words of Withnail, gone on holiday by mistake.

I don’t mean I didn’t know I was going on holiday. I wasn’t kidnapped and bundled into a van with only a large tube of Ambre Solaire for company. I packed a bag, got on a plane, used coins that felt like not real money to pay for a car that felt like an Inception style reflection to get to a hotel, I knew I was coming. I know I’m here. What I wasn’t expecting was the drama of, are you ready? NO WIFI. Nothing doing. They said there was wifi, it’s not a retreat for over internetted types or anything like that (good lord, no) it’s just that it doesn’t work. So that’s no Twitter, no FB, no wiki, for goodness sake. Reception told me it was ‘my device’ but judging by the amount of guests disgruntledly wandering the corridors muttering about passwords, there’s a heck of a lot of people trying to use my device. Anyway, doesn’t matter does it? We’re here now.

So, there now follows a series of short posts, postcards, if you like, that I have written (entirely without fact checking) but not posted this week.

Well, it’s tricky trying to find the right stamp, isn’t it?