Monday, 30 November 2015

Insta Post November 2015 - Al Thani Jewels, Christmas tree by Damien Hirst, and Budapest

Sorry but I am already over all the holiday parties and cheer.
I am exhausted and it's not even December.
I had my first batch of parties this weekend and 
I am really feeling it today.

Sorry to be bah hambug but you are talking to someone who was skeptical even sitting on Santa's knee when I was 5. 

But I don't normally do fancy dress nor Christmas jumpers so I took tinsel to wrap around a simple black top instead.

London is festive at the moment though and has all the lights up.

I went to a lunch yesterday at a Turkish restaurant where they had so many pendant lights up I was wondering if it passed the health and safety requirement.

There was an odd dish which was cut up kebab with rice in the middle so they could charge quadruple what they would charge for a kebab.

Sotheby's had the preview for the books in the private library of Pierre Berge.

It isn't particularly photogenic but the items up close were interesting to peer over.

He had a first edition signed copy of Madame Bovary.

They had this shelf for books just outside the room which was nice but then I don't think regular books would look so nice and would detract from the item.

I relived one of those unfortunate auction regrets when I was outbid for cane chairs very similar to the one below especially when these were going for 10 times what I missed out on.
Mind you this is Sotheby's and getting a "sleeper" doesn't happen as often as it does for the smaller auction houses.

Budapest had some spectacular interiors and I enjoyed breakfast at the New York Cafe.

So grand!

People also tend to forget the Romans loved Budapest and this is one of the intact mosaic floors that survived 2000 years.

Budapest was also one of the biggest Jewish cities before World War 1.
It has the second largest synagogue in the world after Temple Emanu-el in Manhattan.

The inside of the synagogue had so many different types of architecture and a very unique building indeed. 

Buildings in Budapest are rather under publicized and the scale is very much in fitting with the former Austro-Hungarian empire.

I now have my favorite baths in Budapest - it isn't this one but the ones pictures in my previous post on my trip.
This one was nice and I wish I had my camera to take a picture of their amazing tiling and spaces.

This is one I took from the internet.
There were many synagogues in the city and this one was bombed during the war but it still was so beautiful and my favorite.

It's still undergoing restoration.

The food in Budapest is wholesome and nourishing with its huge portions.
This was one of the lightest meals I had during my stay.
The spaghetti had one inch of sour cream and grated cheese.
They also have such great wines that were such phenomenal value.
This meal with a pinot noir of outstanding quality cost me £5 which included a generous tip.

The highlight of my trip was meeting the Hattats of the blog of the very same name.
Jane and Lance invited me to their home in Budapest which as you can see from the picture had the most enviable perfect proportions. 

While their blog is charming, it doesn't do them justice in the slightest. Don't worry I did my usual nagging for them to post a blog again!

I flew back over London looking so photogenic and bright.

The V&A just opened an exhibition of the jewel collection of the Al Thani royal family.

These jewels are so fabulous and I don't think any picture could do justice to any of the pieces.

They also had two pieces from Her Majesty's Royal collection that we weren't allowed to take pictures of.

If you are in town, I insist you go and see these pieces.

This is the Christmas tree done by Damien Hirst just in front of Connaught Hotel.

From the general view it just looks like another tree with ornaments until you look up close and the ornaments are actually pills, and tablets and syringes.

Apparently there have been complaints about the nature of the ornaments but it's Damien Hirst with his quirky sense of humour.

I wish everyone all the strength and energy needed for this month! x

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Wardrobe Stalwarts Part 2 - Louboutins, Dolces, and Jessica Simpson!

Here's a post that is light to counteract all the heavy news out there!

This is part two of what is an ongoing series of items that have lasted more than 5 years in my wardrobe.

This is one of my favorite shoes and I wish I got a second pair.

I got them on sale in New York where the discounts are substantial compared to the UK sales.  
But I got them in 2007 when Christian Louboutin made more kitten and low heeled shoe unlike now where it seems a 4 inch minimum!
They are a type of mesh so look great in the evening and the sheerness suits the summer too.
I need to resolve these! I haven't resoled them since I bought them but I am very careful when wearing these.
Another favourite pair I bought on sale that same trip are these shoes.

Yes you read that right.
I got them at Jessica Simpson!
They were 30 dollars at the time reduced from 90 and the dollar at the time was two to one to the pound. 
They were a steal and if you buy right and it works then it doesn't matter who it's from.

But I like the patent and the height and curve of the heel.

Friday, 13 November 2015

Random musings going to Budapest

Please excuse the appearance of this post as I'm doing this on my phone.

I felt like writing a post now which goes against the grain because it's like writing a review for a show during the first interval.

I flew to Budapest, Hungary today to take the waters and see a friend. I was getting withdrawal factors of hot springs in Korea and Japan so thought this was an excuse to discover a city I kept meaning to visit.

I flew Ryan Air which is a budget airline.

Only budget airlines and private jets board from the tarmac nowadays.

Had the funniest guy who was part of one of many stag parties.  I asked why they chose Budapest and he said it was the only plane last minute that had seats for 6 people. Ryanair has changed the way people travel...

While chatting he told me how his girlfriend was a shopaholic. When they first dated his missus, she wanted to make an impression and bought a special dress she bought in town. ( I think they were from Essex/Suffolk borders.)

She asked him what he thought to which he replied, "nice" but he told me he thought it was too lacy but it was too early in the relationship to say.

She then said - Nice? This is "dolce gabbana"! ( but say it in a Essex/ east Anglian accent)

He went - yeah well it's a bit of dodgy garb on ya but you look lovely.

Dodgy garb?!

It's bleeding Dolce bleeding gabbana.

Apparently it's their inside joke now but I got such a kick out of the story so wanted to share.

Another highlight was a lady in the opposite row offered me ten quid for my pret a manger sandwich which cost less than half that. I say a black market of non Ryan air food is an untapped market. FYI - I didn't sell.

As I arrived in Budapest, I realised how in prepared I was. I brought Euros but they have their own currency even though they are in the EU like the UK.

I know they were part of the Austrian empire but not much else.

I can make fun of most nationalities but realised I couldn't mimic an Hungarian accent and how would I take the mick out of a Budapest resident? 

How do you even refer to a resident of Budapest?  Budapestan? Budapestian?

I knew about goulash too though I didn't have that for dinner.  I went retro and had a schnitzel with ham and cheese with a side of stroganoff spaghetti garnished with oranges which must be a communist vestige.

I then tried the Hungarian version of topfenknudel. ( forgive my spelling to those from Central Europe)

It was the size of two fists and the cottage cheese and curd mix was like dough polenta and stale oatmeal covered in sour cream and powdered sugar.

To burn off the stodgy fare I visited Szechenyi baths which was one of the main reasons I came here.

It's one of the most magnificent public institutions anywhere. If I lived here, I would be here with my friends wading in the 3 outdoor pools, double digit indoor pools and saunas. A nice way to socialise that is healthy and not sedentary.

Hope you have a lovely weekend x

Ps will be replying to any comments when back in London

Monday, 9 November 2015

Wardrobe Stalwarts Part 1 - Chanel flats and Champion sportstop

  Fashion has been on my mind a lot lately but
not so much in questioning what I was wearing any given day.

I had been feeling things about the whole rigmarole of 
fashion and trends and economic side effects 
but I kept telling myself I was becoming the old fart 
swore I'd never be.

But then like some of you I presume, 
I watched "The True Cost" which is still on Netflix 
in the UK and it solidified exactly what I'd been feeling.
If you haven't watched, it really is a must watch film.
I know that there are many crazy things happening in the world right now but this is one that actually affects our daily lives.

Clothes are a necessity still. 
That trend will never change.  
But it seems without exaggeration that a purchase of an item 
of clothing is as political as casting a vote for the next leader 
 your respective country.

But what can a civilian do?
Shares on Facebook feeds and a feeling of deflation right before you bite into a donut or drink.

I have been reviewing long term my relationship with items and physical objects.
It's a mid life thing I suppose.
I'm torn between "collecting" and a genuine attempt of collecting.
But during my last renovation, 
I felt embarassed by the things I had.  
I was never a frequent shopper to begin with but the forced move out of my house slowed that even further.

In the spirit of buying fewer but better,
 I thought I would do an ongoing series of short posts to share with you some items that have lasted at least 5 years but 
I will aim for at least a decade or so. 

It would be fun to see what readers who blog have as well that have survived a decade or so.  It might help us all when we go shopping not to waste money, time and resources?

So let's get down to business.

The shoes that have survived moves to Australia, New York, London, and Asia / renovations / wardrobe swaps are the following pair of Chanel flat two textured half patent half leather slingbacks.

These shoes were bought in.
Drumroll please........

20 years ago.

They were bought because I had my first serious job interview and I thought I'd be having a few more of those so would be used regularly. 
The cost was justified because feet usually stay the same size unlike jeans.

Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Elle Decor US Edition November 2015

I quite enjoyed this issue of Elle Decor because there was so much going on in my head while flipping through the magazine.

Of course, feel free to ignore me and just go through the pictures.

Isn't Jean-Louis Deniot the "It boy" of the design world - especially Elle Decor?
It seems he is featured every other month - probably not but it does feel that way.
The editors can do what they like but for a national magazine with an international presence you would think they could widen the decorator pool they feature.
It's funny because Deniot seems to decorate in a way that is very Elle Decor.
 ( US edition that is as each country has a very different ethos ).

If it wasn't for the sink and tap I would not have thought this was a kitchen.
Detail driven, materials that say custom made and not available on the high street, and expensive.