Monthly Archives: April 2015

May I introduce you to “Spring-spiration”

Yesterday was May Day and that means it’s officially spring. I have celebrated by carefully sifting the couture web for the best of this season’s inspirations. Some of the dresses cost more than my current yearly income, but as Oscar Wilde said, “We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars.” Or, avant-garde organza.

Below is a selection of the most fun, fantastic or fashion-forward pieces I’ve found. I will do a post of more affordable fashion soon. In the meantime – enjoy!


Delpozo embellished faille and organza gown £6,500

Inspired by the work of artist Josef Albers, this gown plays with the traditional prom dress form by adding a quirky modern design of conch shells. Keep make up and hair very simple, perhaps a bun and neutral tones on your face so that the dress rightly claims the centre of attention.


Ashish Sequined silk-georgette gown £2,520

This sequined dress drapes ravishingly over the body thanks to its bias cut. It is both luxe and provocative.


Halston Heritage Cross front plissé-chiffon gown £520

This delightful gown is demure yet whimsical, in a fresh mint green. Perfect for outdoor events.

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Alexander McQueen Kansai Kite printed silk-satin gown £3,995
Alexander McQueen Laser-cut leather sandals £695
This silk-satin kimono is inspired by Sarah Burton’s own personal collection of kimonos and features a bold black, red and blush design. The dramatic slashed sleeves create movement. Pair with the label’s laser cut sandals for an explosively chic look.
Marchesa Notte Embellished metallic brocade gown £1,470

Arme de L’Amour Rose gold-plated ear cuff £140

This stunning metallic brocade gown is embellished with beads, sequins and 3D fringed floral appliqués for a truly awe-inspiring look. It needs no embellishment save for a subtle ear cuff to add a modern twist to the classic Dior-referencing shape.
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Marchesa Notte Appliquéd tulle mini dress £730
Be sexy in this navy tulle design, with a pretty flared hem. Team with sultry eye make up and slicked back hair for an intriguing evening look.
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Alexander McQueen silk-satin gown £1,985
My favourite of this selection. Crafted in Italian silk satin, the gown is unlined for a luxurious feel and billowing movement. A lesson in old school Hollywood glamour, it needs nothing but a slick of dangerously red lipstick and loose waves a la Kim Basinger in LA Confidential.
1.Junya Watanabe Cropped faux patent-crocodile jacket £430
2.Christian Louboutin Pigalle Spikes 85 leather pumps £845

3. Lulu Guinness black lips Perspex clutch £245

Three eye-catching items create a tough yet playful look, with Junya Watanabe’s futuristic structured jacket and the sugary orange spikes of the pumps showing the best of modern innovation. Wear with a simple white tee and black jeans to let what’s on top do the talking.

1. Splendid wilder washed-chambray jumpsuit £340

2. Christian Louboutin Vagachina 120 leather and suede mules £745

A casual denim jumpsuit is the perfect foil for these daring and wild accessories: the Spring 15 collection sunglasses that will no doubt attract imitators and the surreal fun of the Louboutin “mirage” heel.

1. Alexander McQueen cotton pique shirt dress £1,135
2. Acne Ilona shoes £490

2. Finds + Wouters & Hendrix gold-plated necklace £145

3. Alexander McQueen The Heroine textured-leather tote £1,595

Pleated sleeves and added drama elevate this shirt dress above the rest. Wear with Acne’s striking graphic heeled shoes, a witty necklace and a vibrant violet bag for the freshest, chicest Spring look money can buy.
Erdem Alda guipure lace gown £4,760
A Victorian-inspired, delicate lace gown creates understated, eccentric femininity.
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Pictures from around the world (and further)

The last week or so has been tumultuous, with audacious heists, appalling natural disasters, civil unrest and volcano eruptions. See the photos that have caught my attention, from the terrifying beauty of outer space to remorseless frogs.

hubble 1

As the Hubble telescope prepares to celebrate its 25th birthday, The Guardian has published spectacular images from its quarter-century history that show the awesome, explosive majesty of our universe. The above photo is a composite of chaotic activity in the region of the Carina Nebula known as ‘Mystic Mountain’. A three-light-year-tall pillar of gas and dust is being eaten away by the brilliant light from nearby stars. Jets of gas are also being fired from within the pillar by infant stars.

Photograph: Hubble Space Telescope/NASA/ESA

hubble 2

An iconic Hubble image: named “Pillars of Creation”.

Photograph: Hubble Space Telescope/NASA/ESA


The most comprehensive picture ever assembled of the evolving universe..

Photograph: Hubble Space Telescope/NASA/ESA


Messier 92 – one of the brightest and oldest globular clusters in the Milky Way, containing some 330,000 stars.

Photograph: Hubble Space Telescope/NASA/ESA


Star cluster Pismis 24. The bluest stars are the youngest.

Photograph: Hubble Space Telescope/NASA/ESA



Male moor frogs mob a hapless toad in a pond. The image was runner-up in the emotions category of the Society of German Nature Photographers’ 2015 wildlife photographer of the year award.

Photograph: Katharina Becker



A member of a rescue team takes idols from a fallen temple at Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Square, Nepal, to a safe place.

Photograph: Xinhua /Landov / Barcroft Media


An earthquake victim carries her baby on her back as she stands outside her makeshift shelter in Nepal.

Photograph: Adnan Abidi/Reuters


hatton garden

Thieves drilled this hole through a 50cm-thick concrete wall to access the vault at Hatton Garden Safe Deposit in London. The opening – 25cm high and 45cm wide – allowed them to bypass the vault’s reinforced metal doors. An estimated £200m of diamonds and jewellery were stolen between 2 and 5 April

Photograph: Metropolitan Police/AFP/Getty Images



In Medellin, Colombia, it is common to see mannequins with extra large breasts and bottoms, due to the prevalence of  surgical enhancement.

Photograph: Maneula Henao


A demonstrator jumps on a damaged police car in Baltimore, during unrest following the funeral of Freddie Gray, who died in police custody.

Photograph: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters


A fire rages in Baltimore, as emergency services try to cope.

Photograph: Lloyd Fox/ZUMA Press/Corbis


A volcano in Puerto Montt, southern Chile erupted twice, sending up vast clouds of ash.

Photograph: Alex Vidal Brecas/EPA


Guardian problems: “I am 73 and can no longer orgasm with my vibrator”

I was amused to see this article in Pamela Stephenson-Connolly’s Sexual Healing weekly column in the Guardian’s G2. I was even more amused to see the comments underneath, which ranged from the helpful: “Check the batteries, dear” which has subsequently been removed by moderators (boo!); the pious “I’m glad that my Nan just had a glass of sherry and went to bed in her declining years!” (to which the obvious answer is, how do you know that’s all she got up to?); jokes: “Two old ladies driving down a cobbled street on their mobility scooters. “I haven’t come this way before”, said one. “it must be the cobbles, dear” said the other. “Let’s drive round again” ” and a fair few from charmed/incredulous/randy old men.

The title is unashamed click-bait but it is hilarious, and why shouldn’t she enjoy herself? Older people use the internet and mobiles, why shouldn’t they enjoy the full array of what advances in technology offer? Incidentally, I have no idea how to tag and categorise this without wandering into a tricky area, so I’m just going to leave it.

TV Review: Masterchef final

Masterchef may as well be renamed Mastercaress, for the amount of hugging that went on. Especially with slight, sweet, eccentrically moustachioed Tony, who for some reason proved irresistibly huggable to everyone, especially the chefs. Although the show ended with an awkward three-way hug with Emma and winner Simon embracing and Tony lurking, trying to get in on it.

Another series, another monumentally sentimental, over-wrought final. They could have cut at least half an hour from last night’s final (BBC One, 8.30pm). Did we really need to see Simon fastening his sock suspenders? The winner was announced to a soundtrack of an excruciating cover of Take On Me, turned up obnoxiously high in the mix.

So, the final three each produced a three course meal in three hours and sat in front of John and Greg, who surpassed themselves in pouring hyperbole over the contestants. Although, to be fair, the food looked amazing. Emma cooked her signature Middle Eastern style with an essay of ingredients (sumac featured heavily) in her scallop starter, lamb tagine main and tart pudding. Tony unnerved Greg with his fish and fig starter combination, almost pulled it back with his “regal” guinea fowl and finished with a selection of parfait, the blackberry one turning out grey and looking more like something you’d find in a stationary cupboard than a Michelin-starred restaurant. Tony scored points with me by using alien-vegetable romanesco -google it, it’s awesome. I felt for Tony, he was fantastic but there were a few too may bum notes for him to win. In the end it was adorable-faced, Oldham-based data man Simon who triumphed and rightly so. His plates of octopus, pigeon and tutti frutti looked like works of art.

And that’s that. I enjoyed this week’s final episodes, where the contestants worked with bombastically eccentric Italian chef Massimo Bottura, who is always entertaining, and joined a couple of crazy Swedish pyromaniacs in their Stockholm restaurant. I’d be willing to see more of sexy Gustav and his smoked tomatoes on my screen. I’m astounded that Tony’s moustache survived the whole process. Yes, it’s well-trod television ground but it still entertains me, I think because of the high-camp seriousness with which everyone treats what is basically rustling up tea for two gluttonous middle-aged men . No one’s curing ebola here, but you’d never know that from the histrionics, gurning and sweating. And that’s just the judges. A drama-drenched production as always.

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Don’t Miss: Indigenous Australia at the British Museum

This is the first major exhibition of indigenous Australian art the UK has seen. Indigenous Australian culture is one of the oldest in the world, having survived for over 60,000 years and has been influenced by one of the most vast and extreme landscapes on our planet. There is something a little magical and other-worldly about Australia – with its animals that don’t exist anywhere else and its scorched, moon-terrain outback – so art inspired by that world should be worth a look, especially since many of the objects on display are from the British Museum’s own archive, collected during the early colonial period (1770-1850) and have never been on display before. There are also specially commissioned artworks included.

Indigenous Australia runs until the 2nd of August, £10 for adults, free for under 16s. You can find more information here


Pearl shell pendant with dancing figures, Kimberley region, Western Australia



Pukara, Roy Underwood, Lennard Walker, Simon Hogan and Ian Rictor, Acrylic on canvas, Western Australia, 2013

Don’t Miss: Bombshells and gangsters at the BFI

The BFI Southbank always has interesting things on and this April and May are no exception. There’s the director’s cut of Bladerunner to tantalise cult sci-fi fans… The 1982 classic – where haughty rebel-bot Rutger Hauer (below) runs amok – still looks eerie and modern today, and tackles philosophical questions amidst the action and special effects. Tickets are available for showings up until the 28th of April.


The Killers is a 1946 adaptation of an Ernest Hemingway short story from director Robert Siodmak. Seductive and bleak, it stars Burt Lancaster as the Swede, drawn into a dangerous world by his feelings for a fickle gangster’s moll Ava Gardner. Ava demonstrates exemplary smouldering (see below). Showing on the 4th and 13th of May.


Federico Fellini’s follow-up to La Dolce Vita (pictured below), 8 1/2 (1963) is cited as one of the greatest films ever made. I just wanted to show some underrated sirens. We are well acquainted with images of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe but what about Ava Gardner and Anita Ekberg? Bombshells who are just as bombastic but considerably less known. Showing from the 1st to the 28th of May.


Robert Siodmak’s Cry of the City (1948) is a clear precursor to Martin Scorsese’s work, about a hoodlum (Richard Conte) and cop (Victor Mature) who knew each other as kids. The hoodlum is determined to clear his fiancée’s name for a jewel robbery. The blurb describes a lively cast of shady characters including a “memorably sadistic masseuse”. The mind boggles. Showing from the 17th of April to the 27th of May.

Finally, best name of these picks goes to Two Thousand Maniacs, an example of “Southern gore” from 1964 about vengeful Civil War ghosts. Showing on the 7th and 10th May.


Was this article just a flimsy excuse to show some cool film stills? Perhaps. You decide.