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.


The Coveted cometh

Do you ever get sick of looking through your favourite fashion magazine and wishing that half the stuff they were talking about was actually happening/available in Scotland? UK fashion, style, and lifestyle magazines are all so London-centric, which is fair but not terribly satisfying if you live in the hinterlands.

Often on a Sunday I find myself looking at the style section of the Sunday Herald magazine wishing it was a full scale magazine. Well, someone must have been picking up on all this wishful thinking because a Scottish fashion magazine is about to be launched.

The magazine is called The Coveted and the first issue is out on 1 October. I haven’t gotten any kind of sneak peak, so I don’t know what it will be like, but judging from the blog, these people know what they’re talking about. And somehow it's free!

So when the first issue comes out read, admire, covet.


Glasgow gets ready for a very stylish Autumn

Autumn is an exciting time in Glasgow, with all the festivals and free stuff going on, not to mention the very stylish Style Awards and Glasgow Fashion Week. Top items on my agenda for the coming months:

This festival celebrating the best of queer culture actually started at the beginning of September, but is running through the month into October. Events include films, dance, music, theatre, talks, club nights, visual art, comedy, whew! The list goes on. So much to see - I've got Bandaged, Maria Beatty's camp homage to Les Yeux Sans Visage in my diary already. Check out the festival website: www.glasgay.co.uk.

Doors Open Days
Ever walked by one of Glasgow’s many amazing buildings and though, ‘I wonder what that place is like inside?’ Doors Open Days give you the opportunity to answer that question. From the 16th to the 20th of September, this free event offers a peak into places like the new(ish) BBC Scotland building on the Clyde, the new Trongate 103 art space, the A-listed former church St Andrews on the Square, the fabulous art nouveau Civil Ceremony Suites in Park Circus, the Beresford, and the historic Merchants House. Full details can be found on the website: www.glasgowdoorsopenday.com.

The Merchant City Festival
The Merchant City certainly is the place to be right now. The Merchant City Festival, now in its 8th year, runs from 24th to 27th September. The section of the city just East of George Square will come alive with performances, exhibits, and a French market. The best part will undoubtedly be the pop-up champagne bar in Hutchesons’ Hall, run by the CafĂ© Gandolfi people, with bubbly, luxury nibbles, and musicians and fire-eaters! Full details on the festival can be found on the website: www.merchantcityfestival.com.

The Scottish Style Awards
Yet another event in the Merchant City – this annual awards show and party will be held in the Old Fruitmarket on 31 October, and is this year open to the public. Your ticket will buy you a seat at the event, entrance into the champagne reception and runway show, and a goodie bag. In previous years the event honoured Scottish designers like Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane, and Deryck Walker. Information is available here: www.scottishstyleawards.co.uk and tickets can be purchased here: www.glasgowconcerthalls.com.

Glasgow Fashion Week
Scotland now has its own international fashion week, showcasing designers from all over Europe, Asia and Africa. The event will run from 11th to 14th November this year. Full details on this year’s event are not posted yet, but you can sign up for the newsletter here: www.gfashionweek.com.


Troubling times (for hair)

I’ve recently noticed a trend that has nothing to do with ‘bold shoulders’ or ‘fierce heels’. It’s far more to do with ‘bold laziness’ and ‘fierce indifference’. As in ‘I don’t really need to wash my hair this morning, do I?’

They say that one symptom of depression is not bathing, and what is recession other than economic depression? So, with all that non-bathing, we’re left with an important national issue – rampant greasy hair.

There are a couple of solutions though – I’ve asked around, and this is what people are doing to get through the lanky days:

Dry shampoo
I think a new Nobel Prize category should be launched – advances in lazy grooming – and the first winner should be Mr Batiste. Batiste dry shampoo, which comes in a range of scents and costs less than £2, means we can all save money on those premium shampoos by only washing our hair every two to four days. One colleague of mine went as far as seven days (in the name of science of course) but I don’t know if I’d go that far.

A word of warning – it’s white, so the first time you use it, don’t be surprised if you look like an old lady/gentleman at first, but you’re meant to brush it out, so it does blend. Don’t use this after you’ve dressed, especially if you’re wearing black!

Available from pretty much any Boots or Superdrug.

Hair powder
Bumble & Bumble’s hair powder is very similar to dry shampoo, but it comes in a range of colours. It does need to be sprayed close to the roots – I learned this the hard way, after covering my entire bathroom with a thin dirty blonde coloured film. This is more expensive than Batiste (about £15 to 30) but it sort of doubles up as a styling product, as it can give your hair more lift and volume. Available at Space NK and online at HQ Hair.

Look in any magazine or watch any fashionable programme on telly and you’ll see that headbands are indeed back, and the bonus is they’re great at hiding a multitude of sins. Goody makes some non-slip ones available at Boots. Blax make a headband version of their fantastic snag-free hair elastics, which you can get at HQ Hair. Or you could go the high-end direction and get something sparkly and wonderful from Cherry Chau (at Harvey Nichols) or Deepa Gurnani (at Net-a-Porter or Liberty).


A Goodd excuse

I’m disgracefully late in posting this, but two weeks ago I went to the Scottish Homes and Interiors Show at the SECC. It was a multi-purpose trip - to take pictures of our web client’s stand (furniture specialist The Bench), to accompany my friend while he impulse bought a large sectional couch for a flat he doesn’t yet have, and to generally admire Glasgow’s world of interior design.

Aside from my web client’s stand, which was full of her lovely benches (and I’m not just saying that because I created her website!) the highlight of the show was the presence of the Merchant City’s most stylish shop, Goodd.

As an avid reader of blogs and magazines, I’d already been aware of Goodd, and the amazing items they have on offer, including pieces by Established & Sons. What I didn’t realise was that Goodd is more than just a shop - they encompass a gallery space, and offer a series of exhibitions which are engineered to encourage a local interest in design.

I furiously snapped photos of the display at the SECC so you can get a taste of what they sell:
I had to include a photo of this bowl, because my husband especially loved it - made from toy soldiers:
And, just because their stuff is so pretty, I've included a photo of the Bench stand. My fantasy is to open a boutique someday and furnish it totally from this type of thing:


Summer is officially over

And, as a result, I've started changing my style of clothing. I’ve come over all Gossip Girl today, wearing a pleated skirt, crisp white shirt, green ASOS jumper, opaque Falk tights, Ash brogues, and my wonderful Deepa Gurnani headband that I bought in Liberty last time I was in London. It was during that trip I discovered Liberty has a loyalty card. Hurrah! It came through the post yesterday. Now I have to go back to London. Immediately.

I’m way more shy than the average blogger, so I’ve not taken photos of myself, apart from this photo of my headband because it’s just so gorgeous.


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