Get your finger on the pulse

Tired of reading about some must-buy item in your favourite magazine or on your favourite blog, only to find out it's sold out quickly in-store, and even more quickly online? Well, someone has devised a way to keep you up to date, with very little effort on your part.

Shop Pulse is a new website that launches on Monday. The site is a compilation of all the new items from a selection of high street and designer retailers. You can browse through the images, or filter by category (bags, accessories, clothing, shoes) or shop by price. You can also filter by high street or designer.

The site is updated daily, and you can look at what was new yesterday, last week, or last month. You can also sign up for the Shop Pulse Edit, which is basically a newsletter of highlights sent to your email address.

Could online shopping get any easier?


Inspired by nature...and Glasgow

If you're looking for some jewellery, and you'd like something a bit different, check out Abigail A Percy's designs. I stumbled across her website through her blog, which gives you a nice wee peek into her inspiration and observations of Glasgow.

Her jewellery is handmade, and from what I saw, very much inspired by nature. I particularly loved the hollyhock silhouette necklace, but it's all very pretty, with Abigail's use of bright gold and soft, sorbet coloured stones. And, according to her blog, there's still enough time to order items from for Christmas.

Pure snuggly luxury

I bought some grey Ruby & Ed leg warmers off ASOS yesterday, and they arrived this morning. I couldn't resist, as they were £20 marked down from £50 in the Outlet section of the website. They are amazing. I put them on under my wide legged trousers, and they feel like a cuddle. Like I've wrapped my legs in warm purring kittens. Okay, that's a weird image, but they're LOVELY.

 And they'll be perfect in my Dad's old, cold, London flat on Christmas, as all my flannel pjs are too short for me.

But this I vow: I will never, ever, wear them over tights with a skirt, a la image to the left. Never. Ever.


Oh no it's another gift guide

Okay, ubiquitous gift guide time. It is December after all, and despite the plethora of guides, advice and assistance out there, people do still struggle to find the right present. So here's a list of suggestions based on what I like to give and receive:

For music lovers
Get ahead of the sound technology curve and get your loved one the super stylish Audio Chi headphones - with a retro design, and futuristic sound quality, these beauties offer the best of both worlds. Plus, a pop-up store has just appeared in Prince's Square, which means the only problem you'll have is choosing which colour to buy.

For phone lovers
Knomo has introduced a range of iPod and iPhone covers that would work equally for men or women, but if you really want to splash out, you could go for the Apple range from Mulberry. Yes, my phone needs a wee £150 bag all its own.

For glamorous girls
Poppy King, the Lipstick Queen, has introduced Chinatown, a new range of chubby lip pencils that cover lips in a translucent red, pink or orange hued sheen. The woman at Space NK assures me the coverage lasts for ages.
For winos
Wine is always a great gift, if you know that the person you're giving it to does like it. For great wine advice, visit Snooth, a sort of online resource/community/shop for people who love the vino. There are all sorts of articles on different varieties of wine, so you're bound to find something for all tastes.

For people who sparkle
Astley Clarke is the place to buy beautiful, unique, designer jewellery. This green fluorite nest ring or these pink freshwater pearl stud earrings should do the trick.

If you're buying for a man, how about these red chalcedony cufflinks? But watch out gentlemen, the ladies will be sneaking these onto their own french cuffs.

For the eternal child
One of Christian Louboutin's Barbies is finally available on Net-a-Porter. Catsuit and Louboutins included.

For fashion loving readers
The fascinating Gentlemen of Bakongo should be on the bookshelves of fashionable men and women alike. This book chronicles the men who follow the Congo's 'religion of clothing'.

Alternatively, you could pick up The Sartorialist, the book of the popular blog, which shows many people strolling about looking effortlessly fabulous.

For lovers of pointless gadgets
The worlds bestest useless gadget has to be the Sega indoor fireworks projector. Set this baby up after Christmas lunch and ooh and ahh from the comfort and warmth of your own sitting room. It creates a spectacular show with no adverts!


The best use for rubber I can think of

Let me guess - you got up later than you wanted to and saw the rain and couldn't be bothered going down to Buchanan Street when H&M opened on the day they launched the Jimmy Choo collaboration, and all that was left by the time you got there was a handful of studded leather bracelets. Am I right? Well, console yourself with this other Jimmy Choo collaboration - one that will seem most appropriate coming out of the wettest November on record. That's right, crocodile-print Wellington boots. Perfect. Available at Net-a-Porter and at Glasgow's House of Fraser.


December wish list

Now that I've been paid, I can start shopping again! Okay, it will mostly be for presents for other people, but that won't stop me from compiling a new wish list.

I must be depressed by the increased darkness, because most of what is on it is bright bright bright. I'm usually a person who dresses in various shades of black, grey, and beige. Maybe I should put a SAD light on the list as well.

This turquoise DKNY clutch would be perfect for all my Christmas party needs. Buy it at Net-a-Porter.
Not bright enough for you? This yellow purse would be like carrying a wee chunk of the sun in your handbag. Available from Avril Gau.

I don't under understand why House of Harlow keeps selling out the instant any of the online shops get the pieces in stock, but I do quite like this bracelet at My-Wardrobe. I think it would look fab layered with my gold Missoma charm bracelet and the Hermes horse bit choker I wear as a bracelet.

I have officially worn out my black studded Ash trainers - yesterday found me hunched on Buchanan street with a shoe full of water that had entered through the hole in the sole. So, I've replaced them with these white patent leather Converse ones at Net-a-Porter.
The collaboration I'm most excited about this year is the Mawi jewellery for ASOS. Even when Mawi appears in Cocosa's secret sales, it's still too expensive! I like pretty much everything they've done for this collaboration, but this necklace in particular stands out to me. Alternatively, for a bit less I could get one of the many 80s inspired necklaces from the Gogo/Topshop collaboration.
Cognisant of the fact that I will be walking miles and miles all over London at Christmas, I'm looking to get an additional pair of comfortable shoes. I'm thinking these ones by Nine West at Kurt Geiger. Okay, so they're mostly black, but everything else on my list is bright, so I think it's the exception that proves the rule.

Oh, and a black cardigan by Splendid at Net-a-Porter. That proves the rule too. But, I'll just apply some of my MAC strobe cream to lighten up all that black I'll inevitably continue to wear.


The longest brokest weekend ever

There is little in this world that I hate more than a month that ends on a Monday. It means that I must struggle through that last weekend with little or no money, trying to entertain myself in ways that don’t involve hiding indoors with some DVDs and a glass of something that I scraped together from my stash of frozen cooking wine.

For those of you who are also scrimping through the weekend, I’ve done a wee bit of research, and this is the list of cheap and free that I’ve come up with:


I’ve never eaten at Pizza Express before, but as I’m so broke, and I can’t be bothered making dinner tonight, and they’re offering 2 for 1 pizza, I just might give it a go.


If you can stand the crowds, visit this London toy store's first British store outside of London. With it's interactive displays and reputation for allowing both children and childish adults play with the toys in store, it should be a fun way to while away an afternoon.

For inspiration or just for a way to spend those last few pounds burning a whole in your purse, visit the Glasgow Craft Mafia’s monthly market, held at Mono this Sunday. Members of the Mafia make jewellery, clothes, hats, bags, art, toys, stationery; the list goes on and on. Some of it’s re-purposed and recycled lovingly from vintage pieces, all of it’s handmade and, frankly, awesome.

I’ve got family on the brain, as yesterday was Thanksgiving, so I’m thinking about visiting Street Level Gallery to see The Parents, a collection of photographs by Colin Gray. This is what the List has to say about it:

“The rather serious documentation dealing with illness and death is interspersed with playful images of the mundane, transforming these into beautifully textured and detailed interpretations.”

I know that doesn’t sound like a cheap thing to do, but Morrisons has Bollinger for £18 (if there are any bottles left!) and loads of other supermarkets and off-licenses are doing similar deals at the moment. Any excuse will do, right?


Winterfest 2009 has officially begun, and the annual headache that is George Square has been turned on. It is worth visiting though, to really get into the spirit of Kitchmas, so head down on Sunday to catch this week’s afternoon movie. They’ll be showing The Maggie (1954). I don’t know much about this classic Scottish film, but here’s the tagline (according to IMDB):

A Scotch Mist...A Girl Never Kissed...A Yank Who Missed...and Landed High and Dry

While you’re there in George Square, do some ice skating, drink some cocoa, and generally soak up the atmosphere. Hopefully it won’t rain.

While you’re in George Square for the Sunday film, stay for the St Andrew’s day ceilidh. If you can stand the bruises from being flung around by exuberant (and drunk) men in kilts, this will probably be a fun way to dip into the Homecoming celebrations. And it’s free!

Head to Prince’s square for 50% off your meal at Zizzi. Eat pasta and bask in the knowledge that you get paid tomorrow!


Screaming and pounding on my keyboard

Is it me, or is HQ Hair’s new website intensely annoying? After I got over the disappointment of loosing my extensive wish list in the re-design, I consoled myself with buying some Nars eyeliner, using the discount they were offering to celebrate the launch of the new site. Now, nearly a month later, I still have not received my order.
I was HQ Hair’s biggest fan, but now I can’t even bring myself to try to re-populate my wish list. They’ve got some nice new features, like the introduction of filters that allow you to browse their product offering based on skin type, or the type of product you want. For example, I was looking for an exfoliating face wash, and the site allowed me to filter based on how often I wanted to use it (daily versus weekly) and then my skin type (dry versus combination). Yay! But then when I found my perfect item, I tried to add it to my wish list, and the site asked me to log in even though I was logged in already. And then when I entered my email address and password, it wouldn’t log me in! This is twice now I’ve been on the site and given up due to frustration.
So I have a message for HQ Hair: online shopping should be more convenient than going to the stores. It shouldn’t be rage inducing!

Ethics hit the mainstream

Do you remember when 'ethical fashion' was a bit of an oxymoron, like jumbo shrimp or 80's style? When it meant nothing so much as dreadlocks, hemp and rubber Birkenstocks?

With designers like Stella McCartney making vegan accessories, and John Smedley making a range of organic cotton knitwear for Katherine Hammnet, the reputation of ethical fashion has improved considerably in the past few years. Even the occasional high street staple, like American Apparel, with their stance against sweatshops and exploiting third world labour, are showing that ethical can be fabulous.

So it was with a good deal of curiosity and anticipation that I attended Kirsty MacLean's ethical fashion show, Sewing Roots, at Che Camille on Friday night. The group that came together for the show was as diverse as is it was glamourous (in fact, I counted no less than three Bayswater bags in the audience). The audience did not look like a meeting of assorted eco warriors. Ethical is a concept that has entered the mainstream.

The labels represented at the show included recycled paper bead jewellery maker Mzuri Beads; Johari, the clothing brand that invests 100% of its profits back into social development programmes in Kenya; Bibico, the fair trade clothing brand; and fashion upcycler Mia Nisbet. Their wares will be on sale at Che Camille through the rest of the month, until 9 December.

Some photos:


Hello Glasgow

I have news for everyone. For those of you who are not American, the news is: next weekend is Thanksgiving. It's a national holiday in America where families get together, eat lots of turkey, watch American football, and take naps.

For those of you who are American, the news is: you must take advantage of the long weekend and go on a trip. Your family can make their own Turkey; they'll be fine. You must hop on a plane, enjoy 2 movies, dinner and a snack, and voila, you're in Glasgow.

Once you're in Glasgow, this is what you should be sure to do before you leave:

Buy a Sunday Herald
And I say this not for the news or opinion, but for the Magazine and the Arts section. The magazine will show you what people are eating and wearing in Glasgow (I especially like the 'My Favourite Look' feature, that lets an average member of the public discuss their favourite outfit and why they like it). The best part is the Arts section though - specifically, Damian Love's irreverent, sarcastic, cynical, and funny television reviews. Enjoyable to read and always true.

Eat at an Indian restaurant
You will be spoiled for choice on this one, and it's hard not to be overwhelmed, especially as they all seem to be owned by one of three companies/moguls. So, I would suggest either Mother India or the Wee Curry Shop for sheer quality and yumminess, Balbir for the incredible service, Shish Mahal for the amazingly huge menu, Chillies for its casual charm, or Thali for its sumptuousness and luxury.

Visit George Square
This time of year, George Square is like a huge, electric birthday cake. There are garish Christmas lights everywhere, an ice skating rink, rides, and a variety of performances and films. And the the Helter Skelter of course. It's not just a song by the Beatles, it's also a huge, psychotically decorated slide that gets erected on special occasions.

Go shopping

And I'm not just saying that because I love shopping and I write about it several times a month. Okay, maybe I am. But Glasgow is a great place to shop. Go to Che Camille in the Argyle Arcade for something unique and home grown; Fopp for amazingly priced CDs and books; House of Fraser for the perfume and handbags; Space NK for cosmetics and skincare and top notch advice on both; Cruise to gawk at the label whores; Sandalwood for the shoes; New Look and Primark for the bargains; Penhaligons and Jo Malone for the scented tissue paper and ribbons and shiny boxes; Roots & Fruits, Heart Buchanan and Grassroots for the delicious deli offerings; the Merchant City branch of Tinderbox for the coolest place to have coffee while browsing arts and crafts in the back; or for more crafty shenanigans, head to Sloans Market.

Have tea
And not just any tea, choose something exotic from the exhaustive tea menu at Tchai Ovna, while sitting out in the garden smoking a hookah. Or sit inside, play a board game, and wait for hours while the wait staff have forgotten you've ordered food. I know that last part doesn't sound fun, but it's all part of the sit back and relax and spend an afternoon doing nothing kind of vibe. They also have periodic evening performances of various genres of music.

Visit museums
I know this advice will hardly shift anyone's paradigms, but the museums in Glasgow are worth seeing and they're free. The future of the Lighthouse, Glasgow's home of architecture and design, is still unsure, but it deserves to continue on. Also be sure to visit the Modern Art museum, the massive Kelvingrove Gallery and Museum, and the eccentric Transport Museum.

See some live music
Glasgow is perhaps not as famous for its music scene as it should be. It periodically gets attention when the likes of Franz Ferdinand or Glasvegas appear on international charts and sell out gigs abroad, but there is always something going on here musically, and the quality of bands, even the unsigned ones that work away, playing gigs at clubs and pubs throughout the city, are usually worth checking out. Get a List, or visit S1 Play to find out what's going on and where.

Go to a pub
For real Glasgow atmosphere, I would suggest visiting the Intermezzo bar on Renfrew Street across from the Cineworld Cinema. Try to visit during one of their karaoke nights. It's a small, traditional pub across two floors (well, the ground floor and a sort of mezzanine) and most of the clientele know each other. Karaoke nights bring out extravagant, emotional renditions of the likes of Robbie Williams and Neil Diamond, and the atmosphere is brilliant. A great way to spend an evening. If the idea of Karaoke fills you with terror, and even just watching it is your worse nightmare, go to the Three Judges in Partick, the Ingram just off George Square, or the Captain's Rest on Great Western Road. Or, if you're of a more adventurous bent, go to the Spirit Bar at the East end of Argyle Street. Interesting, but alittle scary. Alternatively, if you are looking for stag heads and men in kilts, go to Uisge Beatha on Woodlands Road.


Discounts galore

Here's a round-up of mid-season mania:

Barry M Cosmetics
'The most colourful name in cosmetics', Barry M, is offering 20% off until 18th November. Use code NEW20.

Graham & Green
Get 20% off everything until Monday, using code X9EM20.

Ethical and organic beauty experts Puresha are offering free Patyka neroli dry skin face cream when you spend over £55, with code LOVENEROLI. This is a great deal, as the cream costs £38!

My Wardrobe
The very fashionable folks at My Wardrobe are offering 25% off their top 100 winter essentials with code WINTER25W.

Long Tall Sally
LTS has taken 20% off coats in store and online. Alternatively, if you spend over £25 on full priced items online, you can get free delivery with code PA2312.

If you want to save 30% at Gap by 15 November, send me an email or leave your email address as a comment (I won't publish it) and I'll send you an invitation to join Gap VIPs. Apparently I can only send 3 invites, so first 3 people to contact me will get the vouchers.

It's not a recession for shop-fitters

There's sort of an overwhelming array of store openings in Glasgow of late. On Thursday I did manage to make it to the brand spanking new Waitrose on Byres Road (which is fantastic, a much better use of space than the old Safeway/Sommerfield, and is crammed full of yummy yummy things) but I didn't manage to make it to the new H&M that takes over the old Habitat/Open space at the bottom end of the shopping centre. I will be trying to make it bright and early tomorrow, however, to be part of Choo mania (because, if you're living under a rock and somehow don't know this, it's the only store in Scotland that will be carrying the collaboration with Jimmy Choo, and the line launches Saturday).

Then there's all the stores that will be opening soon in the newly revamped St Enoch's Centre. And the new deli/takeaway effort by the Mother India people, located next to the Cafe across from the Kelvingrove Gallery and Museum. A new Merchant city showroom for designer-lights.com boasts gold leaf Artichoke light (which retails for just over £50,000). Whew! Recession? What recession?


Nathan & Moe

The last thing I need is to find another jewellery line that I love. Jewellery's not like clothing or shoes, where I can manage to justify the necessity to myself and to my husband. But. there I am, sitting in front of my computer, googling Nathan & Moe.

What I found were flower necklaces that were pretty without being too girlie, crystal and chain embellished ribbons, and crystal encrusted bangles. My favourite items, though, were from the Spikes collection - necklaces, bangles and rings all adorned with slender spikes. The company is based in the US, and so far the only place I've found to buy is the Gift Library. I've got the snake ring and the spike earrings on my wish list.

To see styles, visit the Nathan & Moe website.


What is Scottish Style?

I don’t know, and the question was not answered at the Scottish Style awards, because the most stylish female award went to a Scottish actress who works in LA, not to Glasgow’s own Queen Michelle, who I felt was a far better, more interesting choice, and perhaps more reflective of the diversity of style in Scotland.

But it was a fun night. I and fellow blogger MBK (from Food-e Glasgow) drank our body weight in champagne and watched all the amazingly dressed people swishing by and air kissing. There was basically a sea of sequins filling the Old Fruitmarket. I was far less amazingly dressed, as, after changing my clothes about 20 times, I finally settled on black jeans, black heels from Office, my grey chiffon Grecian twist top from ASOS, and a silver cardigan I had purchased at TK Maxx at the weekend. It sounds like something I could wear to work, doesn’t it? But I topped it off with my sparkly headband, which always makes me feel like a princess, and I had my butter soft Halston clutch under my arm, the fashion equivalent of Dutch courage.

Congrats to Sophie Ellis Bextor who did a splendid job for her first time presenting an award show, and to Deryck Walker for giving history’s most drunken, incomprehensible acceptance speech. And to all the up-and-coming designers involved in the New Talent Runway Show – there were some gorgeous pieces. I tried taking photos but all I had was my iPhone, which doesn’t have a flash, so the images are a bit difficult to decipher, so I'll only post a few, but they won't do justice to the clothes. But there were gorgeous, flowing, silk jersey floor length dresses by Francesca Chiorando, with soft digital prints; lady-like leather with a hard edge by Keira Thorley; laser-cut head pieces by Jen Groundwater, and intriguing concoctions of rubber, chiffon, lace and jersey by Rachael Barrett. The Runway shows were the highlight of the night, and worth all the agonising over wardrobe earlier in the evening.

From Rachael Barrett's story (above)

And Keira Thorley's (above)

And Jen Groundwater's (above)

And Francesca Chiorando's (above)

November wish list

Schlepping around the shops to find myself an outfit for the Scotland Style Awards reminded me of why I love online shopping: no crowds, no carrying, no rain. As much as I love Glasgow, and I love the thrill of the hunt that is shopping in actual stores, sometimes it’s just better to buy things online.

So this month’s wish list is all from online stores:

Trousers from Long Tall Sally
LTS has failed to keep up with an increasingly design-savy public, and this whole ‘Lisa Loves’ business leaves me cold (Is it just me? Who is this woman?). That said, I love the British heritage feel of these Serro check trousers. I didn’t see them when I was in the Glasgow store on Friday, but they’re online.

Cashmere throw from ME&EM
This throw will be perfect for that train ride down to London this Christmas. There’s really nothing nicer in winter than cashmere. And right now, they’re offering a 15% discount with code ME15 if you order by 14th November.

Clutch from Anya Hindmarch
Remarkably, there are still some sale items on the Anya Hindmarch website. My favourite item is this Wilde clutch in tan glace leather.

Skin care products from Origins
I bought some face wash from Origins in John Lewis at the weekend, and they gave me 2 samples – both of which I tried and am keen to try again. Now that it’s colder and my skin is a bit dryer, and the darkness makes me tired all of the time, I’m looking for a richer eye cream. Origins GinZing Refreshing eye cream to brighten and depuff feels and smells lovely, and I don’t know if it’s just the power of suggestion, but I did think my eyes looked a bit brighter after using it. The other product I tried was Modern Friction, a ‘natural’ dermabrasion scrub. I was alittle concerned at first, as visions of a neurotic former Seventeen model I had gone to university with floated through my mind. She had come to acting class once looking like the victim of some sort of medical experiment, with cracked, bleeding skin on her face, the result of dermabrasion. I never understood why she was willing to undergo such discomfort, especially considering she was only in her late teens/early 20s at the time! No thank-you. But I was pleasantly surprised by this Origins scrub. It left my skin feeling fresh, soft and new without any irritation.

Ring from Blaguette
I tend to be a relatively conservative dresser, but I like to go a bit bigger with my accessories. This ring from Blaguette is perfect, particularly as and I’m having a total rose gold moment, and it’s rose gold plating contrasts really nicely with the white cubic zirconias. I also love this black and white version, a nice alternative for evenings out near Christmas.

Converse trainers from Debenhams
I'm wearing holes in the soles of all my trainers, so I want to get these super high tops by Converse which will not only look a bit formidable, but will also keep my ankles warm.

Cardigan from Gap
Unfortunately, to buy one of the gorgeous dip dyed, long line cardigans they're doing at Gap at the moment, I'll actually have to go in-store. But I think it will be worth it.


Concentrate real hard, or my necklace dies

I’m sending my husband psychic messages to buy this Butler & Wilson necklace for me from Sparkle Candy. It’s on sale, so it’s only £25! So anyone who reads this, help concentrate the ‘buy me’ energy his way. It’s sort of like in Peter Pan when the audience has to applaud loud enough to bring Tinker Bell back to life. If you wish really hard, maybe I’ll get that necklace.

Let me know what you want, and I’ll do the same for you.

Smell yummy for less

40% off Jo Wood Organics at Puresha. Hurry! The deal ends at midnight tonight.

Also, if you're in the market for some of the exlcusive brands sold at Zuneta, they're offering free upgrade to next day delivery until January, so your orders won't be affected by mail strikes.


Luxury at Blythswood Square

Ever in search of glamorous places for a cocktail or a facial, I’m pretty excited about the opening of the new 5 star hotel in Blytheswood Square. The Townhouse Company are commemorating the location’s previous resident – the Royal Scottish Automobile Club – by maintaining the Salon and Rally Bar. There aren’t any real photos up on the website yet, but the brochure does promise that the hotel will have all the glamour of Monte Carlo Rally, of which the Blytheswood Square location was one of the starting points for the 1955 race. My hope is that this involves sleek mid-century modern/late art deco d├ęcor with lots of chrome and velvet. The website does promise a sympathetic refurbishment, with original marble and wood panelling preserved.

The highlight for me will probably be the spa, as this will feature treatment rooms, thermal suites, and vitality pool. And it’s all just a two-minute walk from Sauchiehall Street, which is absolutely crazy on Saturday afternoons, so having a quiet place to hide after shopping will be a welcome treat.

The hotel is due to open at the end of October. For more information, visit the website: www.townhousecompany.com/blythswoodsquare

When the princess of pink met the king of shoes

‘My year in Paris with Christian Louboutin’ – what images does this phrase conjure up in your mind? Lunches at Lauderee? Chic cocktails with Louboutin’s glamorous, high fashion friends? Well, what if that phrase came out of the mouth of Barbie? Okay, aside from the fact that she’s made from injection moulded plastic, and if she was actually speaking to you, you would think you had taken some psychotropic drugs of some description, or at the very least hadn't gotten enough sleep.

But apparently it’s true. Christian Louboutin is to be Barbie’s mentor. At 50, she seems a bit old to me to be mentored. After all the career’s she’s had (doctor, pilot, veterinarian, teacher, astronaut) you’d think she would have figured out what she wants to do by now.

She has worked in the fashion industry before, and made a big splash, too. According to Mattel, ‘as model or muse, Barbie has relationships with more than 70 of the biggest names in fashion. From Calvin to Cartier, Gucci to Galliano, Versace to Vera, they all have something to say about Barbie.’

I don’t yet know how this relationship with the king of shoe designers will play out. I know that Net-a-Porter are getting in on the act, as you can sign up for Christian Louboutin/Barbie updates, but there’s no real information on this yet.

In the mean time, I’ll give you this photo of woman-sized Barbie shoes to contemplate, designed by Louboutin for Barbie's 50th anniversary runway show. The photo comes from Mattel's website.


What's in Anya's bag?

Looking for a little handbag porn on this fine Saturday morning? Check out this video of Anya Hindmarch explaining how she organises the contents of her gorgeous Carker. It's strangely satisfying to watch.



I suppose that at this point you know that Fitflop has branched out into Ugg-type shearling boots and other abominations. I’m all for comfortable shoes but…




What fashionable people do to kill time

If you’re bored today, sitting at your desk, pretending to work, take the Harvey Nichols Fashionista quiz. If you score 7/10 or higher, you get 10% off your next purchase online. If you get 10/10, you are immortalised by having your name on the bragging board. You won’t see Girl-e listed there, though, I got an embarrassing 8/10. So much for my fashion credentials!


Or, if you're the kind of person who likes to spend quality face-to-face time with your favourite stores, Harvey Nichols and Grazia will be hosting a make-up night with champagnes and facials on Tuesday, 20 October in Edinburgh. The tickets are £10, but are redeemable against any purchase on the night.


Is it wrong to love my iPhone more than my husband?

Obsessed with style? Forget the Prada phone, or any of those other useless pieces of plastic that someone has slapped a designer label onto. The iPhone is really the only phone you should consider owning. I've gone a bit app crazy and loaded my phone with everything fashion related I could find.

For those lucky enough to do most of their shopping at Net-a-Porter, there's Net app, which allows you to browse and buy from the comfort of anywhere - from a train seat to a bar, to standing in the middle of another store that just doesn't have what you need.

If you’re more like me, and you buy alot of your style statements from eBay, you will want the eBay app, with which you can browse, search, watch, bid and buy. Since discovering this app I've gotten some brand new Kurt Geiger Chelsea boots for less than £20, a pair of distressed Diesel jeans for £40, and a lovely butter soft, cropped leather biker jacket, originally from House of Fraser, for £50.

Then there's the Shopstlyle app that works as a mini version of the site - allowing you to browse through clothes, bags and accessories from all over the web, saving your favourites to go back to later. Perfect for finding that just right item for an important event.

My favourite app has to be the one from Style.com, the online home of Vogue. This app allows you to browse every major runway show for the Spring/Summer 2010 collections. Too early to think about gauzy dresses and florals? No problem - they've also got an archive of all the Autumn/Winter 2009 shows to help you get through those mid season sales.

Now if only ASOS would do an app to help me get through their seemingly endless supply of sequins and directional knitwear, bottoms and shoes.


Ballet goes bling

If you follow this blog, chances are that those expensive little things you probably shouldn't spend your money on dance in front of your eyes when you look through the window of a jewellery shop. That's also the theme of 'Rubies', the opening piece of Scottish Ballet's touring show to mark their 40th anniversary. Gasps of delight went up along with the curtain at the sight of the fifteen beaming dancers wearing pantomime-style red outfits trimmed with chunky stones and offset by a deep blue background. It's adapted from a light, less Hammer Horror Stravinsky piece, with steps suggesting Jazz and Broadway shows, although some of the moves give the dancers toy-like gaits. Witty, sexy and slightly wicked.

Better still is 'Workwithinwork', a brilliant sequence based on Berio's eerie duet for two violins. Couples and small groups perform short pieces in quick succession against a dark backdrop featuring a row of pitch-black doorways. Er, is a dance with two dancers a couple? A duet? Anyway, it's based around the choreographer's interest in improvisation and the dancers create some fascinating unsynchronised combinations over a variety of short musical pieces, each in a different scale. There are a few nods towards dramatic gestures with dancers placed notably watching the action instead of participating, but overall it's an expressionist piece of atmosphere.

The celestial clockwork of Bach probably isn't a natural source for ballet music and the third piece is the slightest of the three. It's pleasing enough though, opening with a tender boygirl Aria, followed by some cool peasant flailing to the Gavotte; then some angst over the overplayed Hamlet advert 'Air On A G String' and an uplifting ensemble finale.

People should give Girl-e more free nights out, but bribery aside, 'Rubies' and its accompanying pieces are well worth sticking on the credit card. It’s now over in Glasgow, but will be playing in other Scottish cities like Edinburgh, Aberdeen and Inverness until the end of October.

Full information can be found here: www.scottishballet.co.uk


Style bug

The lovely things that have my antennae twitching at the moment…

Cherry Bud Ring

This gorgeous ring reminds me of springtime in my home town in Northern Virginia. The pearl cherry blossom buds would keep me dreaming of sunshine through the dark months to come. And, as a bonus, Astley Clarke is offering 20% to celebrate the launch of its revamped website. Use NEWASTLEY by midnight on Monday the 12th.

Rodarte and Opening Ceremony tote bag

Rodarte has invaded super chic French boutique Collette, curating a shop of their favourite things. This bag designed by Rodarte and Opening Ceremony is an example of the items available online.

Cosy knitwear from Me&Em

Pyjama Room has rebranded itself as Me&Em, and have expanded their line of flattering loungewear. To celebrate, they’re offering a 15% discount until the end of the month. Use code ME15. I love their 7 way wrap – I’d like to get one in every colour.

Studded clutch

I’m loving anything with studs at the moment. This clutch from Hutchinson & Co particularly caught my eye.

Bengal tiger scarf

Animal prints never seem to go out of style. Make your bid for fashion immortality with this giant cashmere scarf from Liberty. This would look fantastic with my cropped biker jacket.


Autumn's hottest accessory: new perfume

I am a firm believer in seasonal scents. I absolutely love L'eau Par Kenzo, but no matter how much I love a light, breezy scent, I just can't wear it in the autumn and winter. I love breaking out my richer, warmer perfumes, like Delices de Cartier. It's also a relatively inexpensive way to make a big style change.

Many people must feel the same way, as there are about a hundred new perfume launches at the moment. I'm wearing Series 1 Leaves: Lily by Comme des Garcon at the moment, but it's so fresh and juicy, it smells like a garden with freshly cut grass. Perfect in the summer, but in the winter it would be like a eulogy to the sun we won't see again for five months. So, it was with a great deal of excitement I went shopping for a new perfume. I had a long list of contenders - the hotly anticipated new perfume by Issey Miyake, the new Prada Amber, the new Marc Jacobs just to name a few. But low and behold, I don't like any of them! Prada seems determined to only create perfume for women over 40. The Issey Miyake perfume was a disappointment (too similar to the original) and no matter how many times I see that Lola by Marc Jacobs perfume advert (Sheerlux, Net-a-Porter, etc etc etc) it won't make me like the scent any better. Or that ridiculous bottle.

I've still to try out the new range of D&G perfumes, with packaging reminiscent of the Marc Jacobs range of splashes (which I love, especially the grapefruit sorbet, but alas, is only summer appropriate). I might go back to my old stand-by - Her by Narciso Rodriguez, which breaks my rotational rule - I wear it season after season. It's a classic that I'll wear for a long time before I get tired of it.


Holiday in the sun, except without any...sun

My husband and I decided we couldn’t afford the glamorous holiday we’d planned in Morocco, so we went to Blackpool. Almost as good, right? Actually, we did have a great time. The first day we arrived, the place was dead, and a bit depressing, but as the week progressed, the town came alive. We stayed in the Imperial at the Northern end of the Promenade. From the waist down, it’s a luxury hotel, with beautiful lobby, a Declor spa and a health club. Unfortunately, from the waist up, it’s in need of a major upgrade, which I believe it’s in the process of receiving.

Never-the-less, it was a good base from which to explore the Promenade. We arrived on the Monday. On the Tuesday, we took a tram (which is only marginally faster than walking) to the Pleasure Beach and spent a day on the rides. It started as a cold, wet day - no, not the weather, the fact that we foolishly decided on Valhalla as our first destination. A very wet ride that may have been a welcome break from the heat in July, but in late September is basically just a descent into hell.

Wednesday turned out to be the best day. We went to Blackpool Tower, which is one of those bizarre hodge-podge attractions that are so representative of the town. There’s a half-arsed aquarium, a modest amusement arcade, a circus, restaurants, and of course, the famous ballroom. The ballroom boasts a bar and cabaret style seating, so we bought drinks and sat down, and watched dozens of old people dancing to music being piped out of the Wurlitzer on stage. It was totally hypnotic and possibly the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Wednesday night we explored the dark and quiet North Pier, which, with it’s abandoned carousel, empty theatre, and cold empty deck chairs had a sort of post apocalyptic feel. I imagine that this is what Britain would feel like after a deadly virus had been unleashed, or something like that.

Before we went back to the hotel, we noticed that the mysterious ‘Funny Girls’ sign adorning the side of a large art deco building was lit up - we’d been curious about it all day, so we went to see what it was. It turned out to be the home of a fabulous drag cabaret, complete with intricate sets, sparkly costumes, impressive dance numbers, and sarcastic MC. The inside of the building is a wonderfully preserved salmon pink art deco theatre, with balconies and velvet curtains. We had a fantastic time, and were very impressed by the acrobatics.

The best part of Blackpool were the unplanned things, like the indoor market we found, or the library sale where we were able to fill up a box with books for a £1 - including work by Alan Warner, Iain Banks, and Michael Faber. And of course, Funny Girls, which was a brilliant surprise.


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