Blog Every Day in May: Book Love

“Tell us about your favourite book. Or maybe give us a top 5 of the books that changed your life.”

I love to read. Most of the time. I tend to go through phases where I’m addicted to a book and read text after text….but at other times (like now!) I just lose interest! And whilst I could still tell you all about some of my favourite books I have read (Orlando by Virgina Woolf….all of Ian Fleming’s James Bond books….the Dexter books by Jeff LIndsey…..and most of PD James) because I’m having a bit of an ‘off’ period at the moment, I thought I’d be better placed to rave about a different kind of book…..

The book shelves in my little studio are crammed with colourful and creative books, and the biggest collection of all is that of my fashion books. I am just crazy about them. The glossy covers, the amazing photography, and of course the wonderful subjects! I’m definitely a style over substance girl, so browsing through these to give me inspiration is a favourite thing to do for me.

Here are some of my favourites….

Radical Fashion by Claire Wilcox

I used to use this a lot when I was at college (studying for my Degree in Theatre Design, a big part of which was Costume Design) so I just had to buy it when I no longer had access to the library! It’s really inspiring though, and full of, well, *radical* fashion.

Dior: 60 Years of Style by Farid Chenoune and Laziz Hamani

This was a very generous gift one Christmas and I really cherish this book. It’s absolutely HUGE and won’t fit on even the massive Victorian bookshelves we have in the house….it’s a true coffee table book (heck, you could even use it *as* a coffee table!) and it offers an enthralling history of one of my favourite design houses.

Put on Your Pearls Girls by Lulu Guinness

How pretty is that cover? SO damn pretty! And what’s more, this is actually a POP-UP BOOK!!! It doesn’t get much more charming than this….named after one of Lulu’s favourite expressions, the book is made up of all the darling little phrases she uses in her accessories. I love it!

Manolo Blahnik Drawings by Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley

I want a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes more than most things….they are just so wonderfully fun and exciting and glamourous. But as that’s not on the cards, I do make do rather well with this book. Blahnik’s designs are very much like theatrical costume drawings, and his style, colours and drama put me in mind of the wonderful Inigo Jones. I love this book so much I have two copies…one coffee table size and one mini version for the studio!

Merry by Koji Mizutani and Paul Smith

On the cover wrap of my copy of this book is a quote from Paul Smith: “The energy of the street makes me happy”….and this book certainly does make me happy! A super-bright collection of hundreds of incredibly smiley and fashion forward Japanese girls, this book is an inspiration, a mood lifter and just plain brill.

Ems x

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Something from a pie-filled weekend…..

Good morning and a happy Monday! How was your weekend?

I’m feeling the effects of a weekend filled with pie…that is, I feel a bit like a pie myself! Still, it was fun…..

If you read my post on Friday you’ll know that I was looking forward to a weekend celebrating British Pie Week. On Thursday, we started the weekend early with a trip to Apples and Pears for pie and cocktails. As such, Friday evening was a quiet one…..

After a little early-evening shopping we settled down to watch David Lynch’s Inland Empire, with a pizza and wedges for supper. The film had us both utterly confounded, and we spent much of it staring at the screen in disbelief or laughing nervously. It’s not at all a film with a linear plot, and nor do you get a nice rounded off ending…. but the basic idea behind the film (I think) is that an actress takes on a new role in a film, which is expected to do very well and get her very noticed….. but the screenplay is based on another film, which was started but was never completed because the story was said to be cursed, and the male and female leads were murdered during the filming. Beyond that, I understand very little (although reading some reviews on it since, I don’t think you’re supposed to) but the film certainly kept us entertained (with characters’ heads turning into rabbit heads, and big scary faces all up in the screen). I don’t know that I’ve seen anything more bizarre in my life…. and the whole reason we were so keen to watch it was how much we’d enjoyed the utterly crackers Twin Peaks. But as Adam said, Inland Empire rather makes Twin Peaks look like neighbours!

The flower stall entrance at Liberty

On Saturday morning it was a breakfast of cheese omelette to set us up for a busy day….. we started by giving the flat a quick clean before I headed into town, leaving Adam playing Playstation. I had a very important rendezvous with Siobhan at Liberty….. I was going along for her first wedding dress fitting!!!! Arriving a little early, I got off the bus next to H&M and had a quick look at their Marni collection, before heading over to Liberty to dribble over the Manolo Blahnik window displays.

Marni at H&M

Manolo Blahnik at Liberty

Manolo Blahnik at Liberty

Bursting with excitement to see the dress (and to have the excuse to potter about Liberty) I arrived to the lovely flowery entrance, and we went up to the fitting rooms (oohing and ahhing at lots on our way). Of course everything regarding the dress is top secret, but I will say that Siobhan looks absolutely stunning! We rounded off our visit with a little browsing…. I tried on the lovely new Liberty print lined Barbour jackets (really have my eye on the navy one!)…. and we couldn’t help but linger a while in the handbag department and around the incredible vintage costume jewellery (want it all!).

Fitting rooms at Liberty

Next, it was back on the bus to head over to Spitalfields and meet the boys. The market was hosting a Women’s Fair to celebrate International Women’s Day, and we enjoyed a root about the lovely stalls of jewellery and gifts etc. Favourite though was the East London Women’s Institute stand, from which we purchased several delicious slices of cake! By the time we’d eaten those though, we needed a rest before heading over the road to Poppies for our supper, and so we tootled back to the flat for a sit down.

Adam and I have been experimenting with lots of different home-flavoured vodkas, and with a new rose vodka to try, we had Siobhan and Matthew as guinea pigs. This flavour is probably one of our favourites now….it goes incredibly well with lemonade (I garnished with a slice of lemon and a dried rose bud) and was well-recieved all round. Next up, we sampled our cardamom vodka with lemonade, bitters and lime (another favourite of mine) and then our jasmine tea vodka with lemonade and lime. I think I’ll post a bit more about our vodka flavouring soon.

Rose vodka with lemonade all round

Suitably rested, we went back over to Spitalfields to have supper at one of our local favourites, Poppies Fish and Chips. It was the first time Matthew and Siobhan had been, and we were a little bothered to have to wait a while for a table (I didn’t know before, but you can book!)…. still, we chatted away the wait and it wasn’t long before they’d made up a table for us and we were yumming up our supper. It being pie week, I opted for the veggie pie…. Poppies take great pride in where their ingredients come from (the sustainable fish is from Billingsgate, the potatoes from Turnips in Borough Market, the chicken is free range…) and I was delighted to see on a previous visit that their pies are supplied by non other than Wrights Pies of my home town Stoke on Trent! In Stoke, we have pie shops dedicated to their wonderful products and I really do miss them! With Poppies chips, mushy peas and gravy though it was a real treat and I devoured the lot along with my pot of tea! The others enjoyed the lemon sole and rock, as well as some of the wonderful Meantime beer they stock. And so we practically rolled out of Poppies and back to the flat for a flavoured vodka night cap, before Siobhan and Matthew headed home.

Hot chocolate with marshmallows (photo courtesy of Adam)

By Sunday morning we were in much need of a lie in, and so it was a lazy start to the day we enjoyed. For breakfast, Adam made amazing hot chocolates from especially thick Jersey milk, with little marshmallows on top. Then after a bit more faffing about, we popped to Waitrose for groceries (and Duchy Originals hot cross buns for tea!). When home, we completed the crossword as tradition dictates, before we began preparing an early dinner…. We couldn’t end pie week with anything other than pie, and I’ve been meaning to make my (Savoury) Sweet Potato Pie for Adam for ages. And so Adam grated the potatoes whilst I made the almond-rich pastry….and an hour later it was ready to serve up warm with a yummy fresh slaw (grated carrot, thinly sliced onion and red cabbage, mixed with olive oil and lemon juice, then sprinkles of sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds) and a dollop of creme fraiche. Lush!

My sweet potato pie with slaw and creme fraiche

We finished up a relatively restful day slobbing out in front of Scott Pilgrim vs. The World…. I’ve not seen it since the cinema although we’ve had it on Bluray for ages, and I’d forgotten how truly awesome it is. If you’ve not seen it I would really highly recommend it to any Edgar Wright fans, comic book fans, computer gamers and musos. I still can’t decide if I want to be Ramona or Knives more!

Anyway, hope you had a great weekend….do share any pie-based adventures!

Ems x

It’s nearly here!….. Ideas for your weekend…..

In London this weekend? Here are my recommendations for passing the time in the capital……

A film:

Martha Marcy May Marlene is an eye-opening, thought provoking phycological thriller and well worth a look. You can still see it this weekend at The Everyman Cinemas.

Some shopping:

Shoe hero Manolo Blahnik is back at Liberty this week with a new shop on the second floor of the store. Manolo has collaborated with Richard Nicoll for his spring summer collection, and to mark this year’s Olympic Games he has designed shoes that echo Greek architecture and include metallic medals colours.

An exhibition:

Catch the wonderfully intriguing Miracles and Charms exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, before it ends next week. Actually two exhibitions, ‘Infinitas Gracias: Mexican Miracle Paintings’ and ‘Felicity Powell: A Charmed Life’, it’s free to get in, and you can enjoy a well earned coffee and cake in their Peyton and Burne cafe, or a stroll around their brilliant book shop.

Enjoy the rest of your week and have a wonderful weekend…..it’s not far now!

Ems x