I can't remember the last time I shopped in person

One of the best things about the internet is the fact that we now have access to independent boutiques across the globe without getting out of our pyjamas. Luisa via Roma has been getting a lot of attention of late, deservedly so, but most European cities seem to have that must-visit store, like Copenhagen's Paris Texas. The website for the boutique features brands like Preen, Rick Owens, and Surface to Air. It was on a visit to this site that I discovered Marie Seguy and this gorgeous studded cuff.


Festivals galore

It's hard to see where Glasgow's festival season begins and ends, as it's pretty much a year long thing. The new St Mungo Festival and Celtic Connections ran in January. February and March see two of my favourite local festivals: the Glasgow Film Festival and Aye Write.

Glasgow Film Festival
This festival started small, but has been gaining momentum every year. The programme has now been released, and there are several must see events including Frightfest, the horror festival within a festival; in conversation with graphic novel author Mark Millar; Zombie Zombie performing the music of John Carpenter at Mono; and the opening gala, which includes a showing of Jean-Pierre Jeunet's new film Micmacs.

Aye Write!
Glasgow's literary festival runs from 5 to 13 March this year. Like the Glasgow Film Festival, this one started small, and only recently really began to schedule unmissable events. I'm looking forward to seeing poet Carol Ann Duffy, crime writer Val McDermid, Denise Mina discussing writing for graphic novels with Bryan Talbot, and my absolute favourite critic and cultural icon, Germaine Greer.


What a stud

Two finger star ring, where have you been all my life? I know there has been some mild debate over the supposed demise of the stud, and I get it, they are everywhere, and each time you think they might go away, like the skull motif, they just keep coming back. Some studded pieces work better than others. And some, like the Eddie Borgo ring pictured, take my breath away.

Eddie Borgo jewellery is available online at Liberty and soon My Theresa. You can also get it direct from the Eddie Borgo website.


These are a few of my favourite (Glaswegian) things…

One of my resolutions for 2010 is to get more enjoyment out of the things that I enjoy, if that makes any sense. Tonight I'll be doing that by seeing Alasdair Gray give a talk at the University of Glasgow.

What are some of your favourite things in Glasgow?


One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art (Oscar Wilde)

There's something interesting going on with jewellery. And fabric. It started off with those bib necklaces, with beads and sequins attached, that you could eventually find at any high street shop. And of course all those gorgeous ribbon embellished necklaces by Lanvin and Marni. Artistts and artisans seem to be pushing this trend further, discovering new ways to merge jewellery and clothing, and the results are fascinating, if at times prohibitively expensive.

I'm thinking specifically of Katherine Wardropper, whose amazing, 3D necklaces resemble something along the lines of Elizabethan ruffs. They're so unique and intricate, it makes me wish I had the £1500 necessary to order one of her bespoke pieces. Available at Strawberry and Cream. For more information, visit www.katherinewardropper.com
This whole topic came up when I visited Roarke's website, after reading about it in the Daily Candy. The combination of fabric and delicate beading bring to mind some sort of sugar crusted confection.
Brazen, the Merchant City jewellery boutique and studio, features textile pieces, including this darkly romantic textile and oxidised silver necklace.
For something more whimsical, check out Modern Fiberlab's Etsy shop. They specialise in necklaces that feature crocheted balls, using sustainably sourced materials. Impossible to imagine, so see the images below.
In Beatrice McClelland's Etsy shop Bee Hive Girl, she sells what she describes as wearable art made from fabric, wood, and any other materials that strike her fancy. The necklace below is made from lotus seeds.
I think this is all part of the current mood, where people are getting high street fatigue, and want something different, a new perspective. It's the same sort of mood that's making people buy vintage, designer, and upcycled items. Not to say I have given up on high street shopping in Glasgow - it's still manageably affordable and consistently delivers on range and quality. And it's often not a case of what you wear but how you wear it, and the creative person can find something unique where-ever he or she goes. But I'll still be saving my pennies for one of those Roarke NYC necklaces.


Crafty Wonderland

I could spend days getting lost in the wonderful world of Etsy. It's a great place to go if you want something that is:
  • handmade
  • unique
  • reasonably priced
And I've just discovered that you can do a search for local Etsy sellers, which is nice, because it means I can write a blog entry on some Glasgow Esty highlights. So here it is:

If heart-hurtingly adorable is your thing, checkout Asking for Trouble, which offers 'handmade cuteness inspired by Japanese kawaii'. Visit Asking for Trouble for cards (featuring 'Angel Bunny'), notebooks, book marks, zines, badges, and fabric bags, all decorated with smiling cupcakes, jammie dodgers, fruit, and animal friends. Asking for Trouble is also a record label, so you'll find a limited number of musical releases that come with little gifts!

Illustrator Christine Berrie sells her tiny, detailed prints in her store - CB78. I recently bought one of her camera drawings and a print of her macaroon stack. All of the prints evoke a wonderful vintage feel.

Femme de Plume offers amazing feathered earrings and exotic hair clips. Very Stevie Nicks meets Moulin Rouge. I am eagerly awaiting the addition of necklaces to her collection.

Visiting Mucky Puddle's Etsy shop is another foray into cute, but this shop's focus is quirky jewellery and accessories.

Enter the 'monster-ful world' of animator Lesley Barnes, and you'll find a collection of witty leather postcards that will make you want to get back to that book, even if it's dreadful.

What could be better than a badge featuring a cross-stitched TIE fighter? I can't think of anything either, except maybe an R2-D2 cross stitch pin. These and more geeky treasures can be found in the Anonymity Blaize Etsy shop.

I wish I had known about Truly Madly Sweetly last June when I was looking for a cake stand for my anniversary party. The ones in this Etsy shop are made from mismatched china, and each is utterly unique.


What will become of the jewel of Glasgow's Style Mile?

I walked by a sad and empty Borders on Buchanan Street recently for the first time since the closing down sale. I had generally avoided that store until now because the crowds and queues were completely bonkers, and the whole thing seemed very sad to me. I loved Borders for its late opening, its amazing selection of magazines, and the Paperchase concession. I also just love that building, and there really needs to be something fantastic there.

I was fantasising with a friend about what kind of retailer should move in there. It's doubtful it will be a bookstore - they don't seem to do that well these days, and its been a sad story for Glasgow book stores ever since that terrific John Smith & Sons on Byres Road became a Starbucks several years ago.

Personally, I don't think Glasgow needs another Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, or H&M outpost. I'd love to see something really different there. Glasgow needs its own Wolf & Badger type store, where local designers, artists, and sellers of unique objects can find a space to delight and surprise us. Wolf & Badger, a London based boutique, describe themselves as: "a unique lifestyle store that provides a platform to showcase the best design talent from the UK and beyond, spanning fashion, accessories, jewellery and homewares". The building that used to house Borders would be amazing to that end - a vast showcase of original furniture, fashion, jewellery, art - a sort of Goodd meets Che Camille meets Brazen, with studio space, a co-op of designers and retailers who all bring something beautiful and unique into the mix.

MBK (of Food-e Glasgow) suggested a food lover's paradise, with a food market on the ground floor, specialising in local produce and specialist ingredients, and cooking supplies, dishes, cookbooks and appliances on the floors above. The former Starbucks on the first floor could become a Kember and Jones type of eatery. That would be another alternative I'd be happy to see.

I think one positive thing the recession has done is to make retailers more creative, or it has driven people to come up with more creative uses for retail space: pop-up stores and temporary art spaces where stores used to be are two examples that immediately come to mind. I'm looking forward to seeing what else pops up in 2010. But mainly, I'm hoping for a revelation in the old Borders space, or a revolution, not a re-run.


January wish list

I'm sorry to any of my readers who wanted to see entries over the latter half of December and the beginning of January. The fact is, I've been totally broke, and unable to take advantage of the sales, so writing about shopping was frankly too depressing! And I've been in London for part of that time, and on holiday for 3 weeks. Okay, enough excuses. I thought I'd return with one of my favourite types of entries, the monthly wish list.

Tea glasses
One of my resolutions is to drink less coffee and more herbal tea. Naturally, I must have the right accessories to encourage the trend, so I want this glass from Choi Time. It's just like a traditional chinese tea mug, but made of glass. Perfect for those lovely flowering teas I bought from Fortnum and Mason.

Origins Sensory Therapy Peace of Mind
My sister gave me a bottle of this and now I'm hooked. It's a lovely pepperminty cream that you can rub into your pulse points for on-the-spot relief of tension, headaches, and general winter blues. Origins is available at John Lewis and House of Fraser or Origins online.

+J slim fit flat front trousers
I love menswear tailoring, and once again it will be a big look for spring, so I'll be buying these trousers from Uniqlo. They are actual men's trousers, but I'm quite tall, and have a funny, waistless shape, so I find men's trousers often fit better anyway. This pale grey colour is very S/S 10.

White shirt from Thomas Pink
Most of my white shirts have seen better days, so I'm going to put them in the ever expanding charity shop pile in the hall to make room for some crisp white classics from Thomas Pink. One of the nice things about Thomas Pink is that they cater to women of many shapes and sizes. They even have some white shirts in their sale.

Camisole top
I've been reading a great deal about people wearing underwear in various visible ways, and though I'd love to be one of those people that can wear a visible corset, I think this ASOS top is an option I'd be much more comfortable with. It's one of those great tops I can wear now with big chunky cardis, and in the spring with something lighter. And this nude colour will be in keeping with the S/S 10 palette.

Georgette ruffle longline blouse
This is another great winter to spring buy from ASOS, and would look fab in either the peach or the light grey.

Bird by Juicy Couture hooded top
This 'cotton-blend laminated' top is spring's answer to the motorcycle jacket.

Omorovicza Instant Plumping Cream
Ever since I got a free sample of this stuff from Liberty in London, I've been obsessed. I have to admit, I find its scent a bit odd, but it works like magic on tired winter skin. It's so very expensive though (but only slightly expensive relative to other designer skincare brands), it would blow all of my January beauty budget, and then some. And some more. Essentially it costs about the same as a week of groceries for 2 people, so if I can just convince my husband we don't need to eat this week, I think I can swing it.


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