30 Mar 2012

March 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 5)

Fave #5: Accessorise that outfit and bling it cheap with TopShop!

I'm just back from London where I've enjoyed a 9-day break mostly devoted to shopping, sightseeing and lie-ins in the morning, nothing too strenuous and no guilt trips. But eh, isn't what vacations are meant to be?

I have to admit that my love affair with Topshop (if we ever could call it this way) had somewhat started cooling off a decade ago, with the advent of more exciting branded chains up the high street and department stores upping the ante in keeping with the fickleness of fashion.

This time around down Oxford Street, I would have probably given TopShop a miss if it wasn't for my friend Isabelle who enticed me in. Although I personally wasn't much impressed with the actual clothes fashion that took me back to my teeny-weeny years in the 80s (who would have known these shapeless oversize stripped tops would ever be back in fashion?), the ground floor was entirely devoted to accessories: handbags, vintage bags and scarves (the latter the kind of imitation "carré Hermès" that my grandma used to wear), plus jewellery (mainly fancy, vintage-inspired and ethnic), and a cupcake bar down the centre, because couture - either fake or real - is never further than a cupcake away these days!

Fit for purpose? You bet.

It would have been easy to feel the need to splurge, but I stayed good. I only bought one item of jewellery (see top picture), a wooden assemblage in eye-catching yellow with icon-like figurines glued on top. Quirky clean fun for a fiver, I couldn't go wrong, and no doubt this will get me noticed (flash that wrist Nat, and again and again!). Wink, wink...

26 Mar 2012

March 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 4)

Cook up a storm vintage-style with a little (great!) help from The Vintage Tea Party Book by Angel Adoree!

Hey folks, I'm just back from London and what a great time I had! But before I get into the nitty gritty, I wanted to share one of my great shopping finds: it's a cookbook I randomly sourced from Selfridges, Oxford Street's defacto flagship department store, the nec-plus-ultra fashion mecca at the heart of the high street.

Let's not be fooled here because this is no ordinary cookbook, it is an experience, straight from the heart and soul of a slightly eccentric character and business entrepreneur in the name of Angel Adoree who despite the bright hair and odd piercing holds good old-fashioned values firmly at heart and with this in mind put together a book that exudes Britannia in a cooler form than the so-called Cool Britannia clique from back in the 90s could have ever done...

More kudos than your nan's dining room (pict source)

In her book, Angel (Angela by birth, in case you happened to wonder) presents easy tea party recipes direct from her Vintage Pâtisserie venture to suit any time of day and budget, with hints about hairdos, vintage crockery, flowers in season and personal comments,  like a friend can only make them.

I told you, this book is an experience! For now, I keep it on my bedside table. I might consider relocating it to the kitchen to try out the recipes, but for now I'll keep it upstairs as I never tire of flicking through the pages, reading the anecdotes and gazing at the beautifully propped, nostalgia-laden photographs! (to be continued)

** Stop Press ** Look who's been talking to me on Twitter? Angel Adoree herself!

11 Mar 2012

March 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 3)

Fave #3: Get the London look without Kate Moss fluttering her Rimmel lashes at you, oh no!

From London with Love, how else?

As we speak, La Baguette should be starting to think about packing up those bags as we are due in the Big Smog for 14th March for a 9-day stay with a friend of mine, Isabelle.

Last time I'd had a proper London break was almost exactly one decade ago (2002! Blimey, time flies!). I'd managed to pack in some cultural visits (Tate Modern, the definite highlight to my trip, and bits of the National Gallery) interspersed with long walks around the Covent Garden area enjoying the balmy afternoons between cappuccinos and sweet treats, and taking the pulse of a capital city that has kept its fashion and cultural edge in check.

From London with Love

I'd also made what became some of my wisest shopping purchases: a cool top from Esprit, heavenly E'spa Spafresh, courier bag from Gap and pink sunglasses from Nine West that were to become my all-time favourites and have lasted me to this day for only a couple of tenners! Winner!

It goes without saying that London is more than a museum and shopping destination: it is also a very atmospheric city, that marries tradition and avant-garde, whether in architecture, design, style or everyday life. It is a place of great fascination, a trend-setter and ever young, like Dorian Gray without the side effects! Can't wait to go back! (to be continued)

March 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 2)

Fave #2: Pop outside and spring into Spring!

If it's still nippy out there, we can't help but noticing that Spring is around the corner. Little hints point in that direction, apart from the warming temperatures (after that freezing start to the year!).

After the dragging hibernative Winter months, Spring signals nature's rebirth, and if you have a garden you will be prone to notice those subtle changes on your doorstep, from daffodils, snowdrops and primula popping up, to grass growth, to even the odd bee venturing past and birds launching into a concerto. Days are getting longer too and invite us to stay outdoors for longer!

You've guessed it, Spring is La Baguette's favourite season! To us it is like an epiphany, an announcement of hope and floral beauty! The big reveal is on its way and this is all we need to appease the aptly-named SAD (seasonal affective disorder)! (to be continued)

Want more? Check out La Baguette's Week-End Wonderweb on Spring, from last year.

9 Mar 2012

March 2012 - Five Random Faves (Part 1)

Fave #1: Pin it with Pinterest!

Our 'At Home with Mirabelle' pinboard

Hey guys, there's this new(-ish) internet gadget in town called Pinterest! It is the wannabe aesthete's best friend, and anyone who's anyone has a Pinterest account, even our sister site Mirabelle Design Inspiration! And even La Baguette has garnered a fan base. Wow, so tell us more about that new kid on the block...

Pinterest is basically a giant worldwide visual pinboard fed through by its members. Individually each user has total control over which visuals they wish to pin and collate and organise into their own pinboards. You can add to the existing feeds content by adding brand new photographic material to it, whether your very own or from other sources. The easy user interface enables in principle to trace back to the origins of every source, copyrighted or otherwise, although it is alleged that image stock companies and Flickr have expressed concerns.

Some of Mirabelle Design Inspiration's boards

Check our easy-peasy tutorial. Once you've registered with the cool clique at Palo Alto and installed the all-essential 'Pin It' button upon your tool bar, the protocol is simple: everytime you come across a picture (or video even) of interest to you, whether content-wise or style-wise or otherwise, you click the 'Pin It' button and Bob's your uncle! You organise your virtual pins onto virtual pinboards, according to topic, genre, style etc. and you end up creating photographic mood boards, colour palettes and visual mosaics that can literally take your breath away!

As explained above, you have the facility to repin existing pins from other members directly off the user activity stream. Believe you me, repinning is very tempting indeed, and like the rest of the Pinterest experience, a very addictive activity, you have been warned! You can choose to 'Like' pictures if you wish and those likes will in turn be organised onto a pinboard.

If you haven't yet given Pinterest a try, why wait any longer? It is nothing like hard work, it is fun, inspiring, and there will always be that image somewhere that will make you smile, or make you go weak at the knee! Complete feelgood therapy! (to be continued)

7 Mar 2012

International Women's Day 2012

If you ask me what a 21st century woman is, here is my answer... Woman is a celebration: from the artform to the more prosaic as breadwinner. Woman is a lifestyle: from the proverbial 'cook in the kitchen, maid in the parlour and whore in the bedroom', to daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend. Woman means business: from career to civil rights to trade unions, to politics. Woman is the five continents and the seven seas: whole, complex, diverse, and a spectrum of opposite yet complementing qualities: sensitive and strong, idealist and practical, visionary and grounded, independent and dependable.

40 is the new 30 and Jennifer Aniston is it! (picture source)

I'll leave those 'primal' eye-for-an-eye angry frustrated tomboyish feminist answers to ladettes and the likes. This doesn't mean that I live under the thumb. Far from it. But in this day and age, gender issues in our Western societies perhaps do not have the same connotation as they did forty years ago. By the same token, I will carry on despising the misogynist macho types out there (I sadly personally know a few of them) who show women no respect, and believe their role lies in satisfying their every need. These very men who also encourage directly or indirectly through their attitude wage disparity across genders to perdure to this day.

One for all, all for one! (source: Sometimes Sweet)

I'll also carry on waging war against those sectarian religious beliefs that totally undermine women, forcing them into loveless mariages, stripping them off their personal, intellectual and financial freedom, squashing their pride, mutulating their feminity at its core to turn them into scared, submissive baby-making objects.

Tomorrow 8th March is International Women's Day, and La Baguette wanted to celebrate this event in its own special way, with a photo montage of the modern woman and what it represents (pay attention to the captions!), and to show us ladies that in a certain way we actually never had it so good... Yes the world is changing, and yes the financial climate is far from rosy, but it is up to us to keep seizing those opportunities that will make life what we make it. Yes we can!

Be yourself and be kind to yourself (yours truly on a good day!)