I like these folk-inspired tunics from Plumo - lovely worn with thick tights.
Friday, 27 November 2009
We saw Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon last night and I am in awe. It's an extraordinarily immersive film set in 1913 rural Germany, telling a chilling, eerie story of fear and guilt in a small, repressed village community. I can't remember ever seeing an era so scrupulously recreated on film. The details were so precise: the crumbling walls, rickety gates, creaky floorboards, cloudy spectacles, buckets of gnarled turnips, rusty scythes, course linen nightshirts... even the faces of the actors seemed to come authentically from another time. How is it possible that it was filmed only last year? And the fact that is was shot in black and white - but brilliantly cleanly - made it all the more atmospheric. I completely loved it.
Thursday, 26 November 2009
A couple of weeks ago I bought a frill-collared, brown-checked Kenzo shirt for a few pounds from a charity shop, sort of imagining it was a label that didn't really exist anymore. But now I see they've just launched an online store, with some rather nice cosy-looking things on it.
I made a delicious discovery at lunchtime: Polpo - a small, newish restaurant on Beak Street. I had been walking past it for weeks, admiring the vintage lace curtains and zinc-topped bar. But today I actually ate there: lots and lots of small, salty treats on tiny plates which they crowd onto your table. Fritto misto of squid and prawns; tiny crostini topped with anchovy and chickpeas; slices of rare steak and wild mushrooms; courgettes topped with fried breadcrumbs. I was really trying not to be greedy, because it was a work lunch and that would look wrong, but I kept loosing track of what he was saying because it was all so delicious. And when I have to do "sharing" plates I get low-level panic that I might have to fight for the last fried potato or roasted beetroot. I loved the interior, too - bare bricks, chipped tiles and stripped floorboards with lovely old school chairs and a few relaimed hooks for coats. It was full - packed, in fact - with unbelievably chic people who clearly eat there every day. I now want to be one of them.
Tuesday, 24 November 2009
One of my favourite Christmas prezzies ever is the stripey SNS Herning fisherman's jumper Archie gave me last year. It's the warmest jumper in the world, wind- and waterproof as all fisherman's kit should be. It's the kind of jumper that will last for 100 years, not showing any signs of age. All SNS jumpers are made in Denmark in the town on Herning, in the exact way they always have since 1931, on ancient mechanical looms operated by four elderly gentlemen.
Friday, 20 November 2009
Last night we ate at Chez Marcelle on Blythe Road. We got there at 8.30, starving. I'd had a puncture and had to do a death-defying drive across London with a flat back tire. I'd dropped my scooter at the garage and then walked - three miles at least - to the restaurant, wearing impractical clog boots. Archie cycled and we both turned up more or less as the same time. The restaurant was almost empty and looked so unpromising. Too brightly lit. The menus were laminated. There was a vase of plastic flowers on each table... I was feeling tired and hungry and grumpy. Marcelle took our order and we drank some Lebanese wine and waited and waited - 40 minutes probably. I was on the verge of demanding we leave, when the food arrived. And Oh! - was it worth the wait. First a huge bowl of fattoush, very, very finely chopped and freshly dressed like I've never had before, with sumac and radishes and crunchy toasted pita. We had about seven different small dishes: plump, spicy Lebanese sausages; smoky, smooth moutabal; fried halloumi - everything was made completely from scratch (hence the wait), and everything was totally delicious and extraordinarily cheap. We agreed it was one of the best suppers we'd ever had in London.
Thursday, 19 November 2009
I was thrilled to discover Chinti & Parker, two cousins who make the most lovely cashmere and cotton things for adults and children from a workshop in Dorset. Their cardigans have hand-sewn elbow-patches, and - almost hidden on the back - two tiny stitched initials of your choice.
Last night we had chicken and waxy new potatoes roasted slowly with lemon zest and olive oil, with scoops of pea puree on the side. My recipe for pea puree is unbelievably moreish and works brilliantly with frozen peas.
Into a food processor tip a tablespoon of live plain yoghurt, half a garlic clove peeled and choppped into chunks, a tablespoon or two of parmesan flaked into shards, a couple of good glugs of olive oil and plenty of salt and pepper. Tip half a bag of frozen peas into a sacepan of cold water, bring to the boil and immediately drain. Tip the peas into the blender and blitz to a chunky paste. Return to the saucepan and very gently reheat it before serving.
Picture from here
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
I'm not sure what I'd do with them exactly, but Laura Long's knitted dolls, inspired by fairytales, are completely charming. The miniature clothes are particularly adorable - I'd like a human-sized version of Little Red Riding Hood's skirt and Gretel's dress please.
Tuesday, 17 November 2009
Emily Dyson at Couverture has such a good eye - there are always things I like in her shop. She champions small designers and often has stuff you can't find anywhere else, like Mocuin or Virginia Johnson... Her husband's shop, Garbstore, downstairs, sells some of my favourite sorts of clothes for men: cagoules and Nordic jumpers for urban dwellers. The homewares are mostly too minimal-Scandinavian or Sixties-graphic for my taste, but I have really taken a shine this tweedy purse and throw.
Monday, 16 November 2009
Friday, 6 November 2009
It's been on my mind for some time now that I have need for a pair of plus-fours. I live in a flat in Shepherds Bush (with not even a garden) so I don't, in reality, have either the need nor the right to equip myself with shooting attire, but I often find myself hankering after country clothes in the city. A lovely tweed hunting jacket with red felt under the collar, long shooting socks, a deerstalker: proper clothes with both style and purpose. I have just taken possession of this fabulous pair of tweed breeks - high-waisted, silk-lined - and I'm smitten. I'm sporting them with a knitted cardi, the thickest woolly tights and (looking a bit like a mad person, probably) these shoes.
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Tuesday, 3 November 2009
BonAParte sounded so promising: a really affordable Danish brand launching online in the UK. Things from Denmark? Shopping from my desk? Surely I would love it. So it's rather disappointing that there are only two solitary things I like in the whole range. But they are quite lovely.
Every morning for the past week I've been making the most autumnal of breakfasts: porridge with homemade pear puree. Our friend in Gloucestershire gave us a bag of deliciously ripe pears from her own trees, and this is my favourite way to eat them. For one serving, peel and core a pear, chop into chunks and tip into a saucepan. Add the tiniest drizzle of water, or orange juice, to the pan, to prevent sticking. Gently heat for two or three minutes, then puree with a potato masher. Pour over a bowl of hot, thick porridge, and a top with a drizzle of Greek honey.