"Your dresses should be tight enough to show you're a woman and loose enough to show you're a lady." - Edith Head


Linen dress - Anthropologie, t-shirt with tulle neckline - Jigsaw, skull necklace - Chloe, flats - Jones the Bootmaker, bag - Mayle


"The Italians are fond of red clothes, peacock plumes, and embroidery..."

"...and I remember one rainy morning in the city of Palermo, the street was ablaze with scarlet umbrellas" - Ralph Waldo Emerson

It's the old, old story...woman has fortune stolen by lover...woman dashes off to Paris where she contemplates suicide...woman decides that if she's going to die her lover is going to be along for the ride...woman spends the time waiting for ex-lover to hit town by shopping (at Dior, Roger Vivier, and Cartier), hanging out with Brit band, and having a decadent (though strangely life-affirming) good time...woman...ah, but that would be telling...

I'm currently indulging a girl crush on Monica Vitti...last week it was Modesty Blaise...this week 'La femme écarlate'...aka 'La donna scarlatta' in Italy...'The Scarlet Lady' in Europe...and 'The Bitch Wants Blood' in the US (there were obviously some translation issues in 1960's America). Now I just need to find the equally confusingly translated 'Dramma della gelosia'...aka 'The Pizza Triangle'.


“I've had my best times when trailing a Mainbocher evening gown across a sawdust floor. I've always loved high style in low company.” - Anita Loos

For every high, there is a low...for every mountain, there's a valley...and for every Hermes, there is a beaten up pair of Converse waiting to tag along...


Dress - Gap, talon necklace - Erica Weiner, lo-tops - Converse, bag - vintage Hermes


“Mirrors should reflect a little before throwing back images” - Jean Cocteau

It's difficult to look at Marc by Marc Jacobs' Flights of Fancy shopper without being hit by a certain amount of déjà vu...your mind going back to 2002, and the bags created by Julie Verhoeven for Louis Vuitton. The only problem being that Verhoeven's bags were whimsical, luxurious, and original...whereas their current nemesis feels uncomfortably like an idea being re-hashed purely for financial gain.

I understand the concept of "revisiting your archives" but this just feels a little off...or maybe I'm biased as I'm still lusting over Verhoeven's version...



“But better die than live mechanically a life that is a repetition of repetitions.” - D.H. Lawrence

We're getting close to the dangerous time of year...when you are so fed up with your summer wardrobe...and the thought of wearing that t-shirt or that dress again fills you with dread...awakens a sudden urge within you to buy something (anything) just to add something new to the mix. Well, buy something or dredge something up from the darkest depths of the closet...like this chambray shirt. Inherited from my mother...who had a love affair with all things Ralph Lauren during the 80's...from his "Country" label, which I'm not sure is even still in existence (RL's one of those brands that has so many off-shoots that I find it difficult to keep track)...I love its broken-in-softness but rarely wear it as it's a shade too "Little House on the Prairie" for my liking. However, in a bid to avoid L.S.S.S. (Late Summer Shopping Syndrome), I'm willing to pretend I'm running through a meadow...


Shirt - Ralph Lauren Country, skirt - Cacharel/Liberty, boots - Russell & Bromley, talon cuff - Pamela Love


“Victory and defeat are each of the same price.” - Thomas Jefferson

Everytime I purge my list of "places to check in case I find a deal" I find myself regretting the impulse. Case in point...I'd somewhat removed Gilt Groupe from my shopping radar...their clothing was heavily reduced but as the items were rarely anything that I'd have bought at full price the exercise of checking their site seemed a little redundant. Thankfully I was bored one day...I hadn't realized that they sold beauty products...and on the afternoon I visited they featured Dr. Hauschka's botanic (and organic) lotions and potions. Body oils and face care products were reduced by at least 50%...and I'm a girl who likes (rather expensive) goop.

The "haul" arrived yesterday...lemon body oil...rosemary body oil...and a face care kit...for a total cash outlay of $5 (I had a couple of referral bonuses waiting to be used). Which means my p.t.c.i.c.i.f.a.d. list remains agonizingly long...and I feel compelled to check all of the entries because, in this case, I really did find a deal.



"Sous le pont Mirabeau coule la Seine..."

What a pathetic consumer I turned out to be...my first concern...when I heard that Prada had opened a new "concept" store in Paris...based on Guillaume Apollinaire’s poem, 'Le Pont Mirabeau'...was not "ooh, I wonder if any special goodies were created for this"...nope, instead I sat around wondering how the poem had been brought to life (courtesy of bricks, mortar, and a lavish decorating budget)...

Beneath Pont Mirabeau there flows the Seine
and so our loves.
How much must I again
recall that joy will ever follow pain?

The night hours strike and have their say.
The days will leave, but here I stay.

Hand in hand and resting face to face
through bridging arms
we watch the waters race,
the waves so weary in their endless chase.

The night hours strike and have their say.
The days will leave, but here I stay.

Love goes on and like the water's flow
it goes away.
Life continues, slow
it seems, but hope is ever violent though.

The night hours strike and have their say.
The days will leave, but here I stay.

There pass the days and pass the weeks and then
that time is past
and love won't come again.
Beneath Pont Mirabeau there flows the Seine.

To be honest, at least from pictures, I think this is one of those ideas that sounded better than it actually turned out...this looks to be more of an homage to the bridge itself (the first in the city to be built from metal)...than a physical manifestation of the spirit of lost love present in the poem...unless, that is, the "joy will ever follow pain" is the joy that you will feel from owning your purchase after the pain of handing over the cash to pay for it.


“The cocktail party is a device for paying off obligations to people you don't want to invite for dinner.” - Charles Smith

It's probably lucky that I don't have the money to allow my skull fixation free reign..."too much of a good thing" could result in the kind of Gothic nightmare that would have given Charles Addams bad dreams (from a design perspective at least).


Of course, that doesn't stop a girl dreaming...about golden cocktail stirrers topped with skulls...infinitely more appealing than plastic ones topped with pink flamingos and the name of some long-forgotten bar...or am I the only one who finds random cocktail stirrers in my handbags?



"...I like to mix and match comfortable sofas with funky items on the walls.” - Rex Rankin


Striped t-shirt - Old Navy, neckpiece - made by me, vintage furnishing fabric skirt - Barneys own label, flats - Jones the Bootmaker


"who art as black as hell, as dark as night" - William Shakespeare

I know that, for me at least, when it comes to designer bicycles...some of the thrill has gone. Initially there was the draw of something new and the excitement that comes from being able to buy something that's been "designed" and not just thrown together purely as a way of getting from point A to B...but now that everyone has their bicycle up for sale...including Urban Outfitter's Lego-ish version that allows you to choose the color of every bicycle part...including the chain...I'm getting a little jaded.

Having said that, I couldn't resist a little momento mori...in the shape of this James Perse Beach Cruiser. Matte black and retro-futuristic you feel like it should be ridden on a pathway to hell rather than towards a day of sand and surf...



“Politics: (noun) From Greek, poly, meaning many, and ticks, meaning 'bloodsucking creatures'” - unknown

It's strange...much as I enjoy the the fact that you can be immensely lazy and use Polyvore to formulate outfits without, you know, having to do anything as labor intensive as walking over to the closet and pulling out a few clothes...I rarely actually use it (could it be that it's too lazy even for me?).

Today though...stuck in the house waiting for FedEx to deliver my Prairies de Paris jacket...it called out to me. Of course, despite owning the bag and close approximations of the scarf and boots, I don't have a military dress in my closet...so, of course, I now add one to my mental wish list...and remember another reason why I usually stay away from Polyvore...



“I got a window just to peek into a world I never had access to.” - Carmen Wurgel


One of the wardrobe staples that, in my humble opinion, you can never have too many of...striped t-shirts (at least, that's what I tell myself every time I buy another one). Currently lurking in my closet...in varying degrees of Gap-worthy foldedness (just washed, neatly folded...after a few days of "shall I wear this? no, not today", it's more a case of hastily bundled back on the shelf)...there's the full gamut...long-sleeved, short-sleeved, cap-sleeved, classic Breton blue and white, and more punk-ish color combinations. Or, should I say, almost the full gamut...because there's definitely no "is this an ironic take on atripes or a tribute to nosy neighbors everywhere" tee like this one. Methinks that the situation needs to be rectified...



“Thou shalt not have in thy bag divers weights, a great and a small.” - the Bible

As you know by now, I love a tote bag...actually, I love all bags, but tote bags make me feel virtuous as they're a less expensive way of feeding my bag habit than a lot of the other options I could mention. Especially when the tote bag in question is an expensive bag/cheap bag hybrid...like these Hermes and Chanel emblazoned totes from Oonagh O'Hagen For Browns Focus. Not your basic cheapie these have distinct fronts and backs...2-D copies of their more expensive cousins...



“When I get a little money I buy books; and if any is left I buy food and clothes.” - Desiderius Erasmus

Today was "nourish your inner geek day"...i.e. a long-anticipated visit to a once a year secondhand book fair. Of course, crawling round on the floor...negotiating the legs (and walkers) of the various old ladies you encounter...does place certain restrictions on an outfit...

On the upside, one of my book bags finally has the opportunity to be used to carry books...

Ribbon top - United Bamboo, jeans - Joe's, moccasins - Minnetonka, bag - MOMA exhibition


Repeat after me...

I've said it before...but, just in case anyone missed it, let me repeat myself...


Okay, there's probably some tarmac...maybe some loose stones...even a little shale...but, above all else, hundreds of thousands of g.i.'s...getting ground underfoot.

You may have guessed by now (at least if you're a regular reader) that I succumbed to a sale purchase...namely the Les Prairies de Paris floral jacket that I mentioned I was putting on "sales watch" back in May. Theoretically the fact that this was pre-planned should remove any feelings of guilt...in reality the period of guilt was simply extended over a few months...



“Short is the joy that guilty pleasure brings.” - Euripides

Amongst my daily online reads lurks the "guilty pleasure"...the heady mix of Brit-based fashion, gossip, and beauty that is Grazia...or, as I think of it, the perfect way to wake up (when paired with a cup of coffee).

The only troublesome part of this...apart from Mr. Heb mocking my choice of reading material (which is unfair as I work my way over to the "proper" news websites once my brain has decided to greet the day)...is that I find myself ooh-ing and ah-ing over items which will never find their way over to this side of the pond. Items like...the denim skirt on the right. Part of a styling story it caught my eye...the dark-but-not-too-dark lightweight denim...the length...the not-too-loose-not-too-tight style...and, from the Gap, so obviously not mind-blowingly expensive. All well and good until my brain kicked into gear and I remembered that US Gap...despite all of this "European design editions" talk...doesn't sell a lot of the items that are in its UK stores.

Which goes to show that Euripides was right...


“Betwixt the stirrup and the ground...Mercy I asked, mercy I found.” - William Camden

I can never decide if this skirt is a pencil with aspirations to be a bubble...or a depressed bubble pushed into suicidal pencil-related tendencies...it's neither one style nor the other...betwixt and between...a bubcil...a penub...a dream.

T-shirt - Uniqlo, skirt - Alice Ritter, hi-tops - Converse


“It may well be doubted whether human ingenuity can construct an enigma... which human ingenuity may not, by proper application, resolve.” - Poe

When the email hit my Inbox announcing Net-a-Porter’s iPhone application I have to admit that I uttered a little groan. “Oh no”, cried my frugal inner voice (the one that tries to dissuade me from impulse purchases and other financial outlays that I will come to regret in the, not so distant, future), “do I really need to be able to buy $600 suede shoes or a $1,650 flannel dress when I’m sitting on the bus...waiting in line at the post office...or performing any other activity that requires a time-wasting activity (like my usual fallback options...staring blankly into space whilst listening to music or reading a book...both satisfyingly frugal pastimes)?”

The answer that even my conspicuous consumer inner voice (the one that considers shopping as a hobby) had to give was “no”.

No one really needs this app...but (like most things that you don't actually need) it's kind of fun. The images are small...but not too small to see the detail of the clothes...the overall look is pretty slick...and, after some random button pressing to see what's hiding where, it's easy to maneuver around in. Though, thanks to the aforementioned random clicking, I did discover that if you click on the shopping bag icon without actually, you know, "shopping" the following message appears..."Unfortunately your shopping bag is empty".

It's subtle...but your wrist has been slapped...you know you made some social gaffe...like using the salad fork to prong your fillet mignon...a faux pas that should be remedied immediately...by buying something.


"Bury me in my leather jacket, jeans and motor cycle boots...goodbye" - Sid Vicious' suicide note

If there's a 12-step program out there for non-leather motorcycle jackets I really need to find it...fast. Not content with being the proud owner of Heimstone's silky/lurex version...and APC's crisp, navy cotton number...I'm now pondering this option in pale gray terry cloth.

Yep...that means I'm so far gone down the road of moto-dom that I'm actually weighing up the pros and cons of something which could be classified as "biker goes to the beach" or "Gidget meets the Hell's Angels"...

Now do you see why I think I might need a little help?


“Life is too short to be small.” - Benjamin Disraeli

I hate to be the grinch who stole summer but we’ve got to that point in the season where the streets are filled with short wearers and I, for one, would like to lodge a complaint.

Now I’ll admit up front that I fall very firmly into the anti-short category; it has to be faced that in the majority of instances they’re just not the most flattering option. Some people (we’ll call them Experimental Group A) look incredible in shorts; walking goddesses in abbreviated trews. The only problems is that E.G.A. would also look good in a brown paper bag and, as such, are a tiny subset of the population.

Sadly, the rest of us fall into Experimental Groups B-Z; Group B comprised of those with marginally less perfection in their lower limbs and, at the other end of the spectrum, Group Z being those of us who, even in the sweltering depth of summer, refuse to be parted from either some thick opaque tights or a pair of (full-length) pants.

There’s no shame here, Group Q probably look like a dream in a dress and Group M are, in all likelihood, divine in a drop-crotch. But, simply because it says July on the calendar, there’s a feeling that everyone must wear shorts. Perhaps it’s time to take a short break...


“When I first met Mick he wore jeans and those Seventies ribbed, tight T-shirts, and I absolutely loved that look." - Jerry Hall

As much as I love the seventies feel of these wide-legged jeans they're one of those pieces that are irritatingly hard to find anything to wear with...t-shirts (especially tighter ones) can be a little too "Three's Company" for my tastes...and other combinations can veer terribly close to skateboarder chic...

Then it occurs to me...something that is supposed to be a 'basic' has suddenly become a lot of work...

Wide-legged jeans - Rag & Bone, plaid shirt - Ralph Lauren, bag - vintage Hermes, hi-tops - Converse


"Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful." - William Morris

On the whole, I'm not someone who delights in home repairs...anything beyond changing a light bulb or hanging a picture and I'm out of my comfort zone...and heading towards the phone to call a plumber or electrician. Of course, I'm then subjected to withering disdain when the aforementioned plumber comes to do the work..."this is easy, you could have done this yourself"..."of course you think it's easy!", I want to cry, "you're a plumber!"..."your 'easy' could quickly turn into a flood of biblical proportions in my hands".

A set of these William Morris patterned tools, however, might entice me to take a few tentative steps into the land of DIY...


"...the blue that will always be there..."

"Sun-bleached bones were most wonderful against the blue - that blue that will always be there as it is now after all man's destruction is finished."

Georgia O'Keeffe


Jacket - Heimstone, t-shirt from a Paris street vendor, pants - Prada, flats - Jones the Bootmaker, bag - Vivienne Westwood


“A budget is just a method of worrying before you spend money, as well as afterward.” - anon

I don't know if it's thanks to the economy...if the constant onslaught of doom and gloom prophecies are finally getting to me...or whether my plan to think before I buy is actually (gasp) working...but recently I've found myself visiting websites...ogling the massive reductions and...rather than snapping up a few steals and deals as I would have done in prior years...taking a virtual stroll through the aisles and leaving (virtuously empty-handed)...

Everything's "nice" and "cheap"...both dread words because nice is about as insipid as you can get and cheap is relative (if it started out at $850 and it's now $220 it's certainly massively reduced...but is it "cheap"?)...but, until that magic moment when something jumps out at me as being "special", it's proving remarkably easy to ignore all of the inducements to shop.

Is it me? Has the Scottish frugality in my genetic make-up finally taken over...holding my other emotions hostage? Or is anyone else experiencing a certain lethargy when confronted by the current sale extravaganza?


Barbara Kruger - Untitled (I shop therefore I am), 1987


Swallows and Amazons Forever!

It's impossible to tell from my photograph but the globular bird house with the sitting tenant actually contained 3 or 4 baby sparrows (apologies...one of my pet peeves is when people use nursery language to describe things...but, according to Google, a young sparrow is called a "host" and the sentence "actually contained 3 or 4 host" didn't make a lot of sense) which thrust their heads out, mouths open, indiscriminately whenever any bird flew near...

Infinitely more impressive...especially when compared to my inability to form a sentence around the word "host"...was the birdhouse's architecture...


Striped t-shirt - American Apparel, sailor top - United Bamboo, jeans - Joe's, hi-tops - Converse


"The lustre of diamonds is invigorated by the interposition of darker bodies..."

"The lustre of diamonds is invigorated by the interposition of darker bodies; the lights of a picture are created by the shades; the highest pleasure which nature has indulged to sensitive perception is that of rest after fatigue" - Samuel Johnson

I’m not going to claim that this post is anything other than fantasy...but then...don’t we all need a little fantasy in our lives now and then? Especially when it features diamond-encrusted skulls...though, when I think about it, that’s probably just the stuff that my dreams are made of...anyway...I couldn't resist showing these images from Dior Joaillerie's latest collection..."Roi et Reine".

They're over-the-top...and more than a little tacky...but then I think we all need a touch of both of those in our lives on occasion as well...



"...it's the French version of punk which means a kind of bourgeois..."


Today's quote pretty much sums up everything that I wish my outfits could be...a little French...a little punk...a little chic...and, just a little bourgeois.

Vintage t-shirt with velvet pattern, paperbag-waisted skirt - Isabel Marant, flats - Jones the Bootmaker, bag - vintage Hermes


"Your body is a temple, but how long can you live in the same house before you redecorate?" - unknown

I’d never get a tattoo...I’m too big of a coward about physical pain and, more importantly, the tendency to change my mind at the drop of a hat doesn’t bode well for anything with that level of permanency. I do, however, love the imagery of classic tattoos...anchors, hearts, the ubiquitous "Mom", and the I'm-going-to-regret-this-in-a-few-months "insert boy/girl friends name here"...I love them all, just not permanently emblazoned on my flesh.

A rug however is a completely different matter...


"Another summer has thrown its corpse on my floor." - Henry Rollins

When it gets this hot I feel like I should be wafting around exclaiming "my, but it's warm in here" in Scarlet O'Hara induced tones...instead, as I'm not really much of a wafter, I'm falling back on the colors and patterns that seem to comprise my summer uniform this year...namely blue and red...and stripes, stripes, stripes.


Dress - Hengst, t-shirt - American Apparel, brooch - Johnny Loves Rosie, glitter flats - Me Too


"Art is like baby shoes. When you coat them with gold, they can no longer be worn." - John Updike

You’ve heard of the Age of Aquarius...and the Winter of our Discontent...well, we appear to be entering the pre-Fall of the Golden Shoe. As evidence of this occurrence I ask you to take a look at the two pairs below from, respectively, Phillip Lim's new shoe collection (photographed on a 70's bachelor pad sheepskin rug for I know not what reason...his Fall collection was more 60's youth than desperate swinger) and Pour la Victoire.

I like a gold shoe...correction, I like the idea of a gold shoe...I've never actually owned a pair...though my preference is for cracked and crumbling, slightly distressed gilt as opposed to a full-on mirror shine. So, while I like the concept, I like the idea of buying a pair of jazz flats and spray painting them gold a whole lot more...



We have a winner...

Thanks to everyone who entered the drawing for a pair of Current Elliott jeans. I was hesitant about doing it at first...and I know that some of you weren't keen on the idea...so I was happy to end up with a good number of entries. Don't expect a mass of drawings from now on...but if I get offered something as a giveaway that I would like to receive...like these jeans (I'm very envious of the winner of these puppies)...then I'll hold another one.

The drawing was conducted by Hebden, Hebden, and Hebden...ie I wrote the names down and placed all the entries in a hat and Mr. Heb kindly consented to do the actual drawing.


And the winner is...rumibean! Congratulations, I'll be in touch soon to get your mailing info...


"Like glimpses of forgotten dreams." - Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Based upon ludicrously scant evidence...aka a fleeting glimpse of the Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin image below...I have high hopes for APC's Fall/Winter collection...there's something so alluring about the whimsical-60's-moody-French scrapbook feel...the hint of stripes (and, is that a ruffle I see?)...I can't wait to see more...and to grow my bangs a little longer...wear dark eyeliner and lipstick...and sit in a field for a little while...



"It's a deal, it's a steal, it's the Sale of the fucking Century!" - Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

There are people who have a long history of finding the most amazing vintage pieces...at equally amazing prices. I'll say here and now that I am not one of those people. I do own vintage, but I've either inherited it or paid a fair (in some cases more than fair) price for it. There have been none of those "Antiques Roadshow...I found a Rembrandt in my attic" moments.

Until now.

I've been lusting over the Hermes Constance bag for...well, basically as long as I can remember. But I thought my love was going to be of the unrequited kind...I may be a bag addict but even I draw the line at buying a handbag that costs the same as a used car or the gross domestic product of a small island nation.

Then I stumbled across my "find"...she's had rough-ish life (soothed by one application of saddle soap, hopefully cured after a few more)...but I think I may love her more because of that fact. Of course, the bargainous price that I picked her up for doesn't hurt either...



“He was a great patriot, a humanitarian, a loyal friend - provided, of course, that he really is dead.” - Voltaire

Depending on how you look at it this outfit is either very "4th of July, let's go barbecue something and set off a few fireworks"...or..."classic French casual (nice handbag and Breton stripes)"

Oh, who am I kidding...stick some bunting on me, I'm a walking celebration...


Striped top - Dover Street Market, raw-edged skirt - Anthropologie, glitter flats - Me Too, bag - Mayle


"The devil dances in an empty pocket" - proverb

I hate to say it but...Guardian...we really need to talk. When Jess Cartner-Morley did a video on how to wear denim skirts I could sort of get behind it (she partnered it with a striped top and, as this is one of my favorite combos, who was I to argue?)...when she did 2 minutes and 36 seconds of in-depth reportage on how to wear slogan t-shirts I could fondly reminisce (and think of the pile of vintage Katherine Hamnett sitting in my closet)...but, this week, you hit a low when you tried to eek out a video on the profound topic..."How to dress: Dresses with pockets".

Much as I love a D.W.P. (or its abbreviated cousin the Skirt With Pocket) do we really need a video on this topic? Is there anybody who needs to be told that a D.W.P. are great because they allow you to...um...put your hands in your pockets? What's next, "Pants...they're cool because they cover your legs on those days when you're feeling grotty"? The most depressing part of this is that I'm drawn to these videos like a moth to a flame...or a voyeur near the scene of an accident...I want to look away, but I can't.


"Bad news goes about in clogs, Good news in stockinged feet." - Welsh proverb

I feel a little ashamed right now about the number of clog jokes that I've made over the years (generally of the small...Dutch...mouse variety). I'd love to say that this remorse was occasioned by a new found love of mice...or dancing on staircases...but no, once again, it's avarice...as I find myself besotted by, not just clogs, but...dear God help me...biker clogs. As I type this I have to add that I fully acknowledge that they're the evil spawn of a Hell's Angel and a hippie and, yet, I can't help but think that they make other (saner) biker boots look a little...tame...in comparison.

Really the only think holding me back from buying a pair of these Frankenboots is my dislike of discomfort...I'm having a hard time with the idea that spending a day walking around on wooden platforms is going to be anything other that hideously painful. Which led me to wonder if anyone out there has any clog/wooden soled shoe experiences that they'd like to share...



"You know, I think as you get older, the snake is more chic than the leopard." - Carine Roitfeld

Rather annoyingly I have decided that I'd like a large, smooshy, python (well, decent faux python...I'm not Rockefeller) clutch. I say r.a. because I saw just the thing several months ago at Club Monaco but was feeling a) cheap, and b) not in a shopping mood, when I spotted it and therefore passed it up...and am left kicking myself.

Naturally because my heart is set on large and smooshy...everything I come across now within my price range is small, envelope-shaped, and incredibly stiff and hard. The fashion Gods are obviously punishing me for my former moodiness.


The World According to Billy Joel...

"Shades of grey wherever I go
The more I find out the less that I know
Black and white is how it should be
But shades of grey are the colors I see."


Linen shirt - Uniqlo, cardigan - Fred Perry, skirt - Acne, flats - Coach


"A woman should never be seen eating or drinking, unless it be lobster salad and Champagne, the only true feminine and becoming viands." - Lord Byron

It's recipe time again...even though I'm a "cold weather, hearty dish" kind of a girl I find myself venturing into the kitchen this summer...mainly in an effort to find some salad-ish dishes that can be made in batches, thrown in the refrigerator, and eaten over the course of a few days (thereby cutting the actual time I'll spend en cuisine overall). This dish is remarkably light considering the pork and pasta it contains and perfect for hot days when you're hungry and need something more than a few lettuce leaves staring up at you from your plate...


Heat some olive oil in a frying pan and add the pork and 2 of the cloves of garlic. Season them with salt and pepper and cook until the chops are browned and the garlic caramelized. Take off the heat, set to one side, and (once they've cooled a bit) chop into small cubes.

In a good-sized bowl whisk together the yoghurt, the final clove of garlic, the red wine vinegar, and some salt and pepper. Add the cooked pasta, chopped peppers, onions, basil, and pork, and mix until everything is coated. Cover bowl with cling film and place in refrigerator until needed.


If, like me, you're indulging in a little herb gardening this year the basil can be swapped out quite successfully for a little greek oregano (or whatever other herb you're growing).


"...And don't mention Frodo or the ring..."

"Lord Denethor is Boromir's father. To bring him news of his beloved son's death would be most unwise. And don't mention Frodo or the ring. And say nothing of Aragorn either. In fact, it's best if you don't speak at all, Peregrin Took." - J.R.R. Tolkien

As much as I love modern jewelry I have to admit that, on a day-to-day basis, the pieces that I get the most wear out of are...(depending on your point of view)...vintage...antique...old. Well made...generally of a better grade of material than I could afford if I bought something similar that was newly made today...with the occasional reminder of its former owners (usually in the form of a few knocks and blemishes that show that both the piece, and its f.o.'s, lived it up a little).

Case in point...this adorable banded agate signet ring from the mid-1800's...just when you think that nothing could be better than the scrolling gold...and the ring's "ornate collegiate" feel...you look inside and see the word "Beloved" engraved there...



"It is light, comfortable, grotesque, and deceives the enemy..."

"Even Mr. Chamberlain himself takes pride in England's honorable uniform, and makes the army down there wear an ugly and odious and appropriate disguise, of yellow stuff such as quarantine flags are made of, and which are hoisted to warn the healthy away from unclean disease and repulsive death. This cloth is called khaki. We could adopt it. It is light, comfortable, grotesque, and deceives the enemy, for he cannot conceive of a soldier being concealed in it."

"To the Person Sitting in Darkness" - Mark Twain (decidedly not a fan of khaki)

In the normal course of events I would be right behind Mr. Twain in my loathing of "the khaki"...probably a result of all those years of having to work with the constraints of corporate summer dress codes...codes which seemed to think that warm weather clothing began and ended with khakis (pressed) and a polo shirt (presumably Ralph Lauren and laundered to within an inch of its life).

This particular pair, however, are the non-khaki...Japanese...high-waisted...with comfortingly Humpty-Dumpty dimensions. Not the most flattering pants in the world but (much as it pains me to say it) perfect for warm weather working...

Ribbon top - United Bamboo, pants - Junya Watanabe, checkered flats - Old Navy


"...a lady could not be expected to travel comfortably under such conditions..."

"It was all very well for an Englishman like Mr. Fogg to make the tour of the world with a carpet-bag; a lady could not be expected to travel comfortably under such conditions." - Jules Verne

I suppose it was inevitable that when "the great travel bag hunt of '09" finally came to its conclusion there would be no travel plans on the Hebden horizon. Still, after months of finding bags that, in the words of Goldilocks, were "too big, too small, just not right" I'm so relieved to have actually found the bag...my bag...that I'm happy to just sit and stare at it for a while (though, for numerous reasons, a trip of some sort would be nice).

Given the fact that my other "good" travel bag...a behemoth, large enough for Mr. Heb and I to use when we moved to another country...is from Italian bag Gods Mandarina Duck...it's probably unsurprising that my quest ended with another of their bags. Along the way I may have been drawn to more "fashion" bags but, ultimately, I was looking for something that both looked good and was (gasp) functional...a decent-sized carry-on that would survive mis-treatment (both from me and the various airline employees it would come into contact with)...made from a relatively lightweight material that wouldn't reflect every stain that came its way...and of a shape that suggested that my clothes would reach my destination relatively wrinkle free.

The Isi travel bag can be carried by hand...over the shoulder...or slung across the body (the perfect option if, like me, you have the upper body strength of a child)...with an inside pocket...an outside pocket...a 38 liter capacity...and made of a waterproof treated nylon fabric. Sadly their website only offers the bag in a rather murky sage color...I was lucky enough to find mine is in a comforting, go-with-anything, shade of black.



"And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks." - the Bible

Thanks to susie bubble...and the link she provided last week to Not Just a Label's July eShop offerings...I've had several things on my mind recently. Not least of which is this little gold plated camel by German jeweler kvast...part of their 24 Carat Pets collection of discarded toys and trinkets which have been dipped in gold and bound in silk ropes.

My long-time love affair with camels...and my twin love of all things shiny...was causing me to seriously consider a dip into the Hebden finances when I suddenly remembered something that was lurking in my jewelry box. A small brass pig...originally used as a lucky dice holder but with enough space, once his head was flipped open, to hold a folded emergency $20 bill...with a cord passed through the ring in his tail he took the edge off my animal craving (though I'm still experiencing a certain amount of dromedary desire).



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