Cool Blue

Despite my loathing of the hot summer weather, one still must be prepared!

 

 

 

Top  – Tessa Cropped Top, Pale Blue, £75  http://www.whistles.com

SkirtDaisy Foil Skirt, Silver, £125  http://www.whistles.com

SandalsWhite/silver women’s casual sandals, £49  http://www.clarks.com

SunglassesMax Mara, edgy transparent wayfarers, £139  http://www.harveynichols.com

Nail polishDior, Porcelaine, £18, http://www.harrods.com

HandbagModalu Medium Grab Bag, Airforce Blue £189  http://www.johnlewis.com

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How much?

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Flicking through the latest issue of Glamour magazine to which I subscribe, I came across the above page.

It features a pair of Chanel espadrilles with just a few words, reflective of Chanel’s chic simplicity – “We want, we need, we have to have these flats. (They’re an investment, no?)”

I felt an instant pang of guilt and surprise at the same time.  These are the very words middle-daughter has been chanting for months  – since the end of last summer in fact.

She had the money, she wanted to buy, she asked for my approval, but all I kept saying was, “but they’re espadrilles!!! How can you spend that much on a pair of espadrilles?

Her reply was always the same, “Yes, but they’re Chanel espadrilles!” “I want, I need, I have to have them. They’re an investment!!”

I wanted to say, Yes, go ahead and buy them, I really did. I mean, they do look nice  – Chic, of course.  I totally get that they are a pair of Chanel espadrilles and not just any old pair of espadrilles, but at £265 for (no offence intended) a pair of (very well woven) flats, I just couldn’t concede.  They cost more than the price I paid for my Chanel sunglasses which I have worn for four summers, consecutively. Now, that’s a good investment!

Will said daughter, wear her Chanel’s, everyday, throughout the Summer for four consecutive years? Would they be durable if she did? Will she even want to? Will she even remember she has them in four years time? I think not.

However, seeing the full-page feature of these shoes, somehow endorsed middle-daughters desire.  I realised that, I probably didn’t fully appreciate her want, need and have to have desire from a young, fashion forward perspective at least.

When I saw the magazine feature, I immediately took a picture and sent it to her. She wasn’t impressed. “Is this your way of telling me that I can buy them now?” she asked. “Well, it’s too late! I’ve spent the money!!” (She used the money she had saved to buy the Chanel espadrilles, to book her ticket to the US, for the summer hols). That slight pang of guilt crept across my thoughts once again.

Middle-daughter has worked extremely hard these last two years and has earned herself a place at one of London’s the worlds, top fashion university’s . As a reward, I bought her a hardback copy of The Glamour of Italian Fashion, by Sonnet Stanfill, a book that she saw (and wanted to buy) when we went to the exhibition of the same name at the V&A museum this year.

If she passes her exams this year, with flying colours, then she may – just may, find a monochrome, embossed, pair or espadrilles sitting on top of her neatly packed summer-wear, when she opens her suitcase on the other side of the Atlantic.

 

 

The Thing With Summer

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The thing with summer is that,

I do not like the stifling, sticky heat emitted from the sun.

The inability to sleep through a whole night because it is just, too hot.

I don’t like the fact that after two days of sweltering sun, next comes three days of inevitable thunderstorms.

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I don’t like the flies that zoom in through the window the second it is opened. As this usually means that I’ll spend the next 10 minutes  chasing the elusive mini-beast (s) out of the house, waving and directing them back out the window.

I don’t particularly like eating al fresco, as those same mini-beasts, with their near and distant cousins some with wings, some without, all come to visit, in their swarms (or so it would seem), land on my food or swim in my drink.
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I don’t like the temptation to overeat whilst attending the endless barbecues – resulting in puffy, sticky-out stomach syndrome. The result of, over-consumption – too much carbs and, over-indulgence – too many glasses of Pimm’s, Punch and Sangria.

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I do not enjoy, when hosting or attempting to be helpful at a barbecue, find that I end up stood at the fiery furnace, turning sausages, whilst feeling like a hot sausage myself, roasting from the dual energy of the sun and the fired up charcoal.

 

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Don’t particularly enjoy the endless , obligatory picnics with family and friends which always seem to be a good reason to overeat – again. Picnic hampers are packed to the rim, with all kinds of delectable nibbles, food and drink. One is then sat, virtually motionless for hours, staring blankly into the open space and stuffing one’s face.

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I don’t like the inevitable weight gain as a result of the points made above.

Don’t like the three to four shades of suntan that I end up with, although, I sat in the shade.  Now, my makeup doesn’t look right and my whole body is a combination of different hues.

Or worse yet, discovering that all the cool spots are occupied therefore I have no choice but to set up camp in an open space, a victim of the sweltering sun.

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I don’t like the perspiration – it just isn’t feminine.

I don’t like the headaches and dehydration I suffer, despite drinking gallons of water. Followed by subsequent mild-sunstroke symptoms which can result in my being completely knocked out from early evening until early the next morning.

I don’t like having to shed layers of clothing worn all throughout the winter to now bare my once well covered flesh, resulting in my feeling exposed.

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I don’t like the temperatures to soar over 75 degrees Fahrenheit – it’s pointless, who can function in such heat? Not me!

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Or, the fact that most homes in Britain and many offices too, do not have in-built air conditioning, to open the window as wide as possible is the only option in the hope of the mildest of breeze.

I don’t like the constant excursions sat in 2,3,4 hours of traffic attempting to get to far-flung parts of Britain in search of a decent beach or,

The seagulls which swoop down, to close for comfort, to scavenge for discarded food.

I don’t like feeling as though I’ve been fleeced – I wince at the thought of the  expensive theme parks which work out around £10 per ride as, by the time you’ve queued for 90 minutes for each ride, you’ll be lucky if you get on more than 4 rides in total. All that money, all that queuing and suffering in the heat of the sun in order to keep 7 year old and her friends entertained.

Summer is a wonderful time of year, the season is lusted after as soon as it departs, when its return is much-anticipated.

However, the thing with summer is, I just do not cope very well, with summer.

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Birthday Wishes x

Eldest daughter’s birthday, necessitated a trip to Harrods.

 And, this is what I bought: Lola's Cupcakes Logo

 

Lola's Red Velvet Cupcake

Lola’s Red Velvet Cupcake

A box of 9 Red Velvet Cupcakes and  a whole Red Velvet Cake  – Yummm!

 

Sophie Hulme, Black Whistle Embellished Leather Satchel, £505

Sophie Hulme, Black Whistle Embellished Leather Satchel, £505

A much coveted Sophie Hulme bag

Separately,  I ordered a pair of earrings from Stella & Dot

(hopefully, she’ll now return my pair, to me)

Cleopatra Gold Studs,  Stella & Dot,  £19 www.stelladot.co.uk

Cleopatra Gold Studs, Stella & Dot, £19 http://www.stelladot.co.uk

Stella & Dot

 

Hope she likes!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am not a feminist

feminism

 

Sitting in a  recent lecture about Political Theory & International Relations, Feminism, as a school of thought, was raised for discussion. There were (more) women (than men) present, who were quite vocal when it came to their feminist staunch.

To identity the feminists, the lecturer asked for a show of hands but mine remained in my lap. I realise that as a woman to make such an admission – that I am not a feminist – is akin to sacrilege. Women take feminism as seriously as people observe religion.

Don’t get me wrong, I am an ardent supporter of women’s rights and will march, protest, lobby and tackle if necessary, for a woman’s right to ___________________ (fill in the blank).

The point of view that was argued by those present, is that women in power or when striving to attain power, often take on the role of men. It was argued that they become ‘aggressive and conflict driven’.

As I listened, I considered that this argument was in itself, anti-feminist. Surely, these character traits should not be ascribed only to men. I mean, is it that women are turning into power-hungry/driven men or are these simply the attributes required to survive in a pressurised environment – one where you are making the decisions and the lives and livelihood of others are dependent on you?

An example was given, of Hilary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, lacking femininity. That they did not appear warm and nurturing. Well, who would want anyone, male or female, that is a leader in charge of war and arms, to appear soft and nurturing? Do we not want/need them to be a force to be reckoned with? Whilst in power, the late Margaret Thatcher had the acronym, TINA attached to her. It’s an abbreviation for, There Is No Alternative. Ultimately, that is the kind of person that we all want in charge. Someone who will not back down when confronted by the opposition. Someone who has views – strong views and will vehemently stand by them, not easily swayed.

Margaret Thatcher cried when she lost her power, as leader of The Conservatives, in 1990 to John Major. We did not reflect, ‘she’s human after all’. We were not endeared. Rather, she showed for the first time, her weakness. She had lost her power and she was weak. That is how it was perceived by both men and women.

There is nothing wrong with tears, there is nothing wrong with weakness. There is certainly nothing wrong with showing that one is human and (as a woman) able to be nurturing. However, in the public sphere, this has to be appropriate. Appropriate to one’s role and the perception they seek to portray.

How do we know that Condoleezza Rice or Hilary Clinton are not warm, nurturing women? Are they not mothers? When the armour is down and the public masks taken off and they step into their role as wife and mother, I am sure that most of us would be surprised at the level of warmth they possess.

There are many who would in fact argue, that it is feminine to be a strong, self-assured woman. That it is a necessary for survival, for raising children and, for successful relationships. Whilst many often cite that it is the father that disciplines the children, this is actually a stereotype. It is often the mother, who wields the rod of correction and keeps the children on the straight and narrow. This is not done with tears or weakness, but an, ‘There Is No Alternative’ approach necessary to get and keep the respect of children.

Children will often find that they are more in fear of the wrath of their mother than that of their father. Father’s are often reluctant to set the rules or give the go ahead for a child to do something or go somewhere. Instead, you will often hear them say, ‘You need to ask your mother!’ or ‘What did your mum say?’ so that they are safeguarded from conflict. Men do not always want to go to battle or be in a war zone.

We ought to be careful not to assign gender roles and attributes to who we are as women. I see this in itself, as being, anti-feminist. The destruction of such assumptions is what I believed feminism had fought against. Sociologists, would argue that the behaviour of men and women is learned, shared behaviour, that there is little that is actually innate. Therefore, gender roles are imposed.

In my opinion, it isn’t feminist to argue that a woman acts like a man, when in power. It is better, I think, to consider the human attributes that one requires to succeed and maintain power irrespective of whether one is male or female – whether in the home, the work place or when running the world.

 

 

 

 

Maybe its because I’m a Londoner

It could be that I  am not well-travelled enough. Why I love London so, that is.

Whenever I pound the streets of London, I cannot help but reflect just how lucky I am. I mean, I could live somewhere like, The Hebrides.  (The Hebrides, I’m sure is a lovely place but it doesn’t – cannot offer ‘what’s on’ in London).

As it is, I live in London and I am a Londoner, through and through.

There are very distinct moments when I become all patriotic to London. Yesterday, seven-year old and I went to see the Matisse Cut-Outs at Tate Modern. As we sat on the train for our 10 minute journey into London Bridge and I observed seven-year olds excited face as be began the first stage of our days excursion, I couldn’t help but marvel once again, the amazing London rail network and just how easy and quick it is for us to go from A (home) to B (chosen destination).

A couple of weeks ago, I spent a day at the House of Commons,  MP shadowing. As I made my exit from Westminster train station into the daylight, my first sight was a close up of Big Ben from the ground up. I was so close to it that I couldn’t help but feel a sense of childlike excitement and awe. There were definitely goose-bumps as I looked up and up. On street level, I then captured the view that surrounded me – Houses of Parliament, The River Thames, The Millennium Wheel…

I felt proud to be a Londoner when I stood among the full throng of people cheering on the marathon runners a few weeks ago. Hundreds of people had turned out for a common cause and there was such a relaxing air or comradeship and good will. London enjoyed warm sunny weather that day and I walked slowly from the Embankment to Westminster and back again taking in all the famous sights. I walked past Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square and along The Mall with the view of Buckingham Palace in the distance.  On days like this, one cannot forget and cannot help but feel happy and excited to live in such a famous, iconic city.

There was a recent news report that stated that tourism has increased greatly in London and that London is one of the most visited capitals in the world, at present. When I reflect upon such facts, and how expensive it is to travel here from another part of the world, then it becomes difficult to take for granted the ease of access to famous sights, the ease of travel around the capital that is at my fingertips.

Caught up in what is often the monotony of day-to-day life, the overwhelming burden of work, family life, paying bills and other commitments, its easy to take for granted one’s surroundings. In fact, I think I know more people who want to migrate from London for pastures new, than those who applaud it’s merits as I do.

When on the train, travelling into London with seven-year old she never fails to point out excitedly, “The Shard!”, “Southwark Cathedral”, “Tower Bridge” or “Mummy, I can see The London Eye!”. The excitement of spotting these sites never leaves her – it doesn’t matter how many times she’s seen them or been on or in them or stood next to or under them. She’s happy and excited every time.

I appreciate that there are those who would prefer to live in a less dense city. Smog and pollution free. Free of traffic, noise and overcrowded streets. However, when one travels around the city of London and reflects positively on the city they inhabit, it is possible to appreciate the city and that there is so much to love.

There is so much more to London about which I could wax lyrical, but I fear this post would turn into a kind of tourist guide or be viewed cynically as some sort of promotional propaganda tool.

It could be, though I don’t think it’s the only reason, that, ‘Maybe it’s because I’m a Londoner, that I love London so’.

 

         

 

 

Inspired outfit

I’ve had a couple of items sitting in an online basket for a week or so.

This being for two very good reasons:

a) I am a bit of a guilty shopper and had recently received a succession of deliveries to my door

b) I wasn’t too sure about one of the items – if they would suit my shape and, if I had passed my sell-by-date to wear the eye-catching feature

I have now decided to buy these items for two very good reasons:

a)Upon receiving a like on one of my previous posts from a fellow blogger, saidachahid.wordpress.com and looking through her posts, I came across,  ‘does-a-boyfriendjean-suit-me’,  in which Saida modelled an outfit almost identical to that which I had on hold. More importantly, she wore a pair of Boyfriend Jeans. I was a little uneasy about how a pair of Boyfriend Jeans would look on me. They look so nice on her and we are of a similar shape, so, inspired and reassured, I have now pressed the ‘Buy Now’ button.

b)  I was in conversation with a couple of desperately in need of therapy, shopping addicts last week. I realised that I was far too conscientious and reserved in my shopping habits and, that in fact, I did not have a problem at all. I felt so much better, and whilst in conversation, thought to myself,  ‘I must get around to buying those items I have had on hold because compared to these two women, I hardly shop at all!’ (The shopping host has been kind enough not to throw the items out of my basket). I am happy that they are are still in the basket, as most online shops will empty the virtual basket after just one hour of inactivity, let alone one week.

Here are my inspired pieces:

Boutique...Trim Biker Jacket www.boohoo.com  £35.00

Boyfriend Jeans  www.boohoo.com  £25.99

I, myself, am a little surprised at my choice in these jeans as I am very modest by nature. Also, I have often cast a disapproving glance at my eldest and middle daughters ripped jeans which they bought from Topshop. I never wore the ripped jeans look when they were fashionable the first time round – in my (Shhh!) younger years. However, what I do remember is that, modesty was usually preserved with a pair of leggings worn underneath. So, sorry to spoil the fun, but I will at least be wearing a pair of very long shorts under mine. Don’t laugh!

Above items available from http://www.boohoo.com

Hope your inspired too!