Monday, 18 September 2017

In the Mood for Love's QiPao Dresses

I have been doing a lot of rewatching some of my favourite movies.

I watched the movie, In The Mood For Love directed by Wong Car Wai and the extraordinarily beautiful cinematography shot by Christopher Doyle.

The traditional dresses that the actress Maggie Cheung wore were so beautiful and so telegenic.

They were a certain type of cheongsam - traditional Chinese dress.

This was the more casual version of the qi pao( another word for Cheongsam).

I was so entranced by it that I took a picture of every dress she wore through the film!

If you aren't into moody and cinematic mid life crisis-esque love stories, then this isn't for you.

But perhaps the wardrobe might keep you entertained?

The movie is set in 1960's Hong Kong so the dresses aren't Halloween or brothel related as these dresses now tend to viewed in the west. In Asia, it seems dresses such as these are related to holidays and once again...brothels!

But Maggie not only wears it as part of her daily wear but with such grace.

The design as illustrated here works with so many different fabrics and slight variations of the neck, sleeve and button placement.

From quotidian to evening wear.

When I first watched the film when it was released 17 years ago, Mad Men was not even created.

But Maggie plays very much the Hong Kong version of a Joan character as she is a secretary who is visually distracting and used a typewriter.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Time Vacuum that is the Summer of 2017


Sometimes you leave it too long and you don't know where to start...

Well I saw some coliseums in June that gave the one in Rome a run for its money.

I went to Provence in June.  

I did Avignon, Nimes, and Arles.

In a nutshell, I didn't like Avignon the first day, then got used to it.

Fell in love with Nimes from the moment I arrived and now want to move there.  But I think I just stayed at one of the most fabulous hotels I have ever been to and ate one of the top 50 meals ever had a lot to do with it.

I hated Arles initially - it was an energy thing - but then I got into its different vortex on the last day.

Then when I went back to Avignon, I was so happy to be back.

It made me realise that emotions are silly and fleeting and one really needs to let thing rest and all things and people deserve a second chance. 

But not the third.

Last year I had decided to grow snow peas on the railing of the terrace.
It was going well until we had a massive heat wave in June.
But I was still happy with the results.

Forget Frieze.
It used to be amazing the first few years but now it has become a bit banal.

Go to Masterpiece.

It has got art, antiques, furniture, restaurants - the lot.
It would be a top rated museum if things weren't mostly sold by the end of the fair.
Duncan Grant series at Philip Mould gallery at Masterpiece

It is at the end of June and there are so many art previews and auctions going on.
It was one of those times where I feel so thankful to be in London.

For those not interested in art, Wimbledon is on at the same time.

I hung up my Korean straw handmade bird hut out my house.
No birds yet but invitation is still there.

Do you have a hotel that you always have a great time staying?
Mine is the Principe di Savoia in Milan.
I have stayed there a number of times and I have always just had the best memories there with friends. My trip there for a few days in July was no exception.

Plus I love how they tie ribbons to the most mundane item to zhush it up.

The service in the U.K. isn't great and in some ways it would be lacking compared to Italy.

But in Italy they have their own quirks.

I ate at this restaurant every night in Milan because they serve great local cuisine but they wouldn't give lemon for the milanese cutlets because they said it would ruin the flavour. 

Customer not always right.

I rediscovered this chickpea dish called - farinata.

It is the northern version of the fried chickpea fritter they have in Sicily except the northern version is baked.

This was a very popular snack snack and wish London would open a branch selling this healthy food.

I hadn't been to Venice in decades.

It is a lovely city but I was always put off by the excessive tourism.
I felt almost guilty to partake in its sinking.
I didn't want to be evil eyed by the local residents because who needs that?
Plus there are horror stories like the one where my husband paid 8 UK pounds for a cappuccino in St Mark's square back in 1991. 

Did a lot of being a cultural peeping tom in Venice.

I think they must be trying to remedy this because I asked for a cappuccino and was ready to be ripped off - just the once - but I was only charged 1 euro 50 cents. 
That is cheaper than London!

Funny because Heather in Lost in Arles did a blog on this very exhibit today.

I'll keep it short.

It was one of the most wonderful exhibits I think I have ever seen hands down and those of you who read this know I go to a lot of exhibits and museums on a regular basis.

That is seating by the very Axel de Vervoordt if you are wondering if it looks like something he would do.

The Palazzo Fortuny not only is a wondrous space but each floor held something wholly unique.

So much so I am determined to go to Venice again just for this exhibit because let's face it, you don't go to Venice for the food.

Sunday, 11 June 2017

French Vogue June / July 2017 issue

Don't you love French labour laws?

No, I am not being sarcastic.

I am not talking about flooding motorways with turnips or burning tires to block tunnels.

I am referring to clumping June and July issues into one.

You gotta love that they take the life / work balance so seriously so people can get a proper summer holiday.

There is a lot of reclining going on here.

I always did find Helmut Newton a bit repetitive.

I like this picture in its simplicity.
I am always amused at Chanel branding sports equipment.
Can't wait for the Chanel kettle bells.

Pre-Berlin Wall workouts are very much in vogue aren't they?

This girl's tan lines are going to be messed up.

I guess this girl is using diamonds to intensify her tan instead of aluminium foil.

Weak picture composition here.
Neckline detracts from necklace, earrings in shade, 
bracelet cropped, and too many shadows.

Editor Alt loves the spread crotch shot with eyes looking up shot.
It's the upmarket fashionista version of catalogue model trying to catch a cab pose.

Giselle was the last of the first name supermodels.
Sorry but Cara Delevigne doesn't make the cut.

I remember her breakthrough editorial on Allure.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

May 2017 - Garden peak time in London and Slovenia

This is the look Millie gives me when I leave the house without her.
Quietly worried but pulling herself together.

Frankly, May is a bit of haze.
I ate a lot and there were so many sick people around me including myself.
I never ever ever get sick of dim sum.

I have been a bit garden mad.
England in May is glorious and I was going to make the most of it.
This is my rice being washed.

Apparently rice water is so good for not just your skin 
( many Koreans now wash their face with the rice from the washed leftover -
 may sound weird but if you buy SKII then this is the cheaper version.)

Anyway, I save it for my plants and feed them this as a treat.

My husband is Taurus. 
God help me.
I just got 2 Cartmel Sticky toffee puddings instead of cake.
It seems unless the cake is excellent most people dread eating ceremonial food these days.

As my friends and I are hardened Londoners, 
we need to eat elsewhere to feel a buzz.
To go to the latest restaurant to see the same people we have bumped into for the past 20 
or so odd years just doesn't do anything for me.

So we went to Hisa Franko in Slovenia for a few days.
It was a perfect time to really chat without rushing off and getting some fresh air.
I love cheese popsicles.
These were made out of a local cheese but they are so easy to make but so festive and lift the mood.

What is impressive about the chef is that she was self taught.
Other than that she does what most chefs do now which is to use all local ingredients.

But the most interesting discovery was the Slovenian wines.
They were superb.
And on a side note, incredibly affordable.
If in doubt, just pick a Slovenian white next time you see it on the wine list.

We also found this cheesy, herbed friend dough balls 
but I forget the name.

Slovenia is as a friend put it - low rent Switzerland.
It was part of former Yugoslavia and now is in the E.U.
But we flew into Trieste in Italy.
Their espalier game was strong.

My friends and I were walking along discovering the local area but instead of backtracking we crossed this ditch. For us this was very Bear Gryllis.
I also saw 3 snakes in the 3 days I was there.

But the country is extraordinary even though small.
The river was that turqouise in real life.
#nofilter as they say

The restaurant which is also the hotel we stayed in had their own kitchen and flower cutting garden.
They had peonies on every dining table.

I got a new breed of roses called Olivia Austin named after 
David Austin's granddaughter.
They bloom like mad but that could be my rice water.

For those of you who didn't watch the nightly BBC Chelsea Flower Show coverage, 
Monty wore such a funny tie.
Twitter was lighting up about it.

Many of the show gardens at Chelsea are donated and replanted in public parks 
but I wonder what park would have this quarry garden? 
Health and safety issues all over it.

I am going to be ordering from Blom bulbs to have more tulips next spring.

I am trying to achieve this clematis and rose look but am so far off.

Chelsea has also inspired me to go strawberries but my husband had to rein me in.

PS If you ever drop you phone in water, do not keep it in rice for 3 days like  I did.
Go to a store and fix it ASAP.
They might be able to salvage it with a special drying solution.

I know officially Mercury Retrograde was over weeks ago but I think the effects are still lingering.

Hope you are well and can you believe it is June tomorrow??? x