Friday, August 1, 2014

Topshop

Good on the Brits! (actually I'm a passport-carrying one too, so slap on the back for me) In an icecream to eskimos move, Topshop is selling their clobber in New York and LA. The store seemed pretty successful in London when we left 12 years ago but I always felt a little overwhelmed by the Oxford Circus one. Kevin just got me this t-shirt from Topshop NY - $70!!! What's happened to the blimin' prices? I remember it as being superduper cheap.

But is it worth $70?...it's secrets will come out in the wash

In more To'sho news, here's my sister blister Pietra teaching film students in India, wearing her TopShop top. Love how her students have given her a cake that reads "Thankyou Dear Pietra."

Pietra with her students in India. How did they know choccy is her favourite?

Pietra cuts her cake
Here's another one of Pietra wearing To'sho at Ohope Beach, NZ

Pietra at Ohope Beach

Here's my sister Sharon wearing her sssparkly pink vinyl ssskirt in Auckland. Hi Shazza! Lookin' good in the neighborhood!

Shazza in her vinyl TopShop skirt (just realised that's Dad on the left)

I usually veer well away from nicking something from a 13-year-old, but this plaid shirt Tallulah bought in NY will not be mutton dressed as lamb on me, promise.

Tallulah, 13, wearing the Topshop plaid shirt

I asked a few bloggy friends over the pond to send me snaps of their Topshop clobber too.

Rosie is a personal stylist from Buckinghamshire, UK. "I bought this dress on a whim as was topping up an online order for free delivery! I think I paid around £45 for the dress full price which wasn't bad at all. It's so easy to wear for the day with flats but also dressed up with heels and is so comfortable. "

Rosie of GlamRosie

Trea is mum of two, lives in Northern Ireland, currently on maternity leave, works as a Civil Engineer and has an online boutique selling statement jewelry. "I bought the skirt last summer and have had quite good wear out of it. It works as a more casual skirt with flats, but also looks great with a glam black top and heels for a night out. The quality is great, it's very stretchy buy also has that 'sucky in' feeling that you get from spanx and who doesn't love that!"


Trea of  Treasures'n'Pleasures

Hollie lives in Stopsley, Luton. She used to work as a hairdresser at Toni and Guy but left to work at the airport, met hubby, had kids and then left there. Now a Brand Ambassador for a pushchair company called phil&teds and Mountain Buggy."White jeans (especially these waist-holding Joni) are a new fave of mine, I love a monochrome look. My Topshop biker jacket is a few years old now but perhaps has had the most use out of anything in my wardrobe- dressed with the white jeans it can make any tee look cool."

Hollie of  MummyWifeandChaos

"A printed jumpsuit like my banana print one can be such an effortless and easy look without having to try hard, perfect for the beach! Mine sold out some time ago but I love this latest offering!"

Hollie of Mummy, Wife and Chaos

"A bright top like my Topshop stripe one to make my outfit stand out with cut-off denim and not look so plain jane. Plus at £7 in the sale it's a steal."


Hollie again


Jane, who lives in Worcestershire: "I'm absolutely in love with camis; have a couple of Topshop ones as they're a great length, not too long but long enough to tuck in if you want. Plus they don't crease too, which is always a bonus especially from an ironing point of view!! This one is in one of my favourite colours; I absolutely adore this shade of red."Similar here in blue

Jane of MidLifeFashion

Avril who lives in Northern Ireland, picked up her Topshop kimono from Depop - a new online ebay style app you can get on your phone."I bought it from a girl whose other items included denim hot pants, white patent leather Doc Martins and a neon yellow jersey tube mini skirt. So I'm guessing I'm not going to be a regular customer of hers :)

"Love the print, the shape and how light it is...as we're actually having a summer of sorts here. But the best bit? It's a size 8 (US 4)...so I can delude myself with every wear!

"Always love striking Topshop gold - it's a shop I adore looking round but it gets top marks in the 'Risk of Mutton' stakes so you have to be so careful what you buy. The jewelry is really cute though so when in doubt, I buy a necklace..."

Avril of SchoolGateStyle


Helen, below, says: "If you asked me 3 years ago if I ever entered Topshop to purchase anything at all I would have scoffed. I was such a clothes snob before I started following blogs. I truly believe, now, that my clothing choices made me look much older ( I am 45. ) I always pop into Topshop now, and love their tops in particular along with their 'Baxter' jeans. Here I am sporting some of my summer purchases. I know they are pretty conservative but that is just me :0) Everything seems to wash and wear well but I am aware that I have to be slightly selective, with what I buy, as arse-skimming shorts don't really suit and I shriek and run at the sight of a neon crop top!

Helen of  Fashion 40-ish
Helen 


So what do you reckon...had any success with Ye Olde Topshoppe?






Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Travel Ailment That Dare Not Speak It's Name

I threatened promised a post on that most agonising of travel conditions. By process of er, elimination, you may want to skip this one if it doesn't affect you...there is too much information below on every level.



Oh how many vacations has this ailment ruined for me? Every one. I listen to people's stories of Turkey(insert the country) Trots and just feel envy. Anything would be better than this.

Remember this? Me hiking the Waikaromoana trail (NZ) at Christmas. Longdrop dunnies in the background


At some stage I always end up walking around looking six months pregnant and in agony and afraid to eat anything in case it makes it worse.  I've tried everything: fruit (makes it worse), oatmeal, not eating, weetabix, kiwi fruit. And of course the constipation tablets from the pharmacy that cause an apocolyptic situation.  Magnesium has some results. But the only thing that works for sure is: "A call from your mother." You read that right. And I've heard that advice from friends in NZ, US and Japan.

The only thing about  having this condition is the magical lessons you learn about life.

*There's always someone worse off than you:
I thought I was bad while traveling in Egypt, Jordan and Syria. (The bananas and pita bread were not a good combo for me ) It was days, then weeks and even my elasticised cotton trou were screaming with the pain. In the Wadi Rum, Jordan, I accidentally bumped into an acquantaince from university days. "It's been six weeks" she said (and she'd been to boarding school so was well used to communal bathrooms.) "Montezumas Revenge is looking like Nirvana right now."

*Everyone has a story:
When she first started dating her now husband, my friend went to stay with his family on the East Coast. Everyone was so excited she was coming that a couple of Aunts came to stay too. So there was six people staying in a tiny house with a teeny bathroom that was off the kitchen - and the bathroom also had the washer drier in it.
"As you can imagine" my friend says "By the end of the week I almost had to be treated by a surgeon with a pickaxe."

*Endlessly fascinating how people look at things:
When I was a chalet girl in Champery, Switzerland, cooling and cleaning for ski guests, one of the guests, a beautiful, sparkling London girl-about-town who I won't name, confided that she had the same ailment. "There's one thing I've learned in my life so far" she said "Sex is overrated and pooping is underrated."

We're off to a restaurant called Red Dog tomorrow night. I should be doing this..




But I want to do this.

Red Dog comfort food

The heart wants what the heart wants.

Friends, go in peace and ease ...or just... go.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Home Again, Home Again

Over the weekend I fully embraced my Eileen Fisher years, though I hope they are more ninja than nanna. I have lowered the hems of all my dresses (regulation convent school length!)  The ones that are still too short I am using as floaty moatey arrangements that sort of soften the bingo wings as you hold out your glass of wine to be "freshened" (love the boozing expressions here!) and shield innocent eyes from that inevitable "whale tale reveal" as you bend forward.

Doing an Eileen Fisher to my old Patterson J. Kincaid dress


The dress worn as a dress...those days are gone. Four years ago with Cy in Central Park,  New York


This one did not translate, donated. With Tallulah and Grandma Patty in front of  Natural History Museum, 2010


In The Plan 20-day diet news: I'm a blimin' diet school delinquent. Yesterday, Day Seven, I was sent back to Day Four for not following it properly. I ranted and railed but like an 11year-old arguing with her teacher, but she was right - I had strayed from the course. On top of several misdemeanors (misuse of goat's cheese!) I had drunk a second glass of wine on Saturday  - and worse, it was champagne which sent me into a ghastly vortex of queasiness and headspins for two days. Diagnosis: I have an allergy to yeast. Farewell Gold Madame, I knew you well. The broccoli-arama meal plan torture continues.

What my dreams are filled with. See you on the other side, Ye Olde Cooked Breakfast


Tallulah and Cy arrived home with Kevin from the East Coast (PA, New York and then Stone Harbor which they all loved.)  Jackson stayed behind in Sea Isle with a friend for a week. I think the two weeks Kevin spent with the three kids by himself had its ups and downs "We laughed, we cried" (see our last trip to NY which will make you feel good about yourself) and he had to ban all sports talk as it left Tallulah out. They found out they all loved Friends so watched a couple of shows a night and spent many golden hours discussing (all ranked Joey as the best, heated disagreement about whether Monica likeable).

Coming home...Cy and Tallulah so so happy to see Teddy


Harley continues to learn the cotillion three times a week for a friend who is having her Filipino coming of age. Her party is not until October and the dance practices - there are 16 kids in her "court" -  are intense, but he continues to show up when a lot of the others don't... funny what kids commit to.


Harley, 16, and my bro, Tony, 53, before the tennis match

My brother, Tony, drove over the bridge on Sunday to visit. Tony is a year old than me at 53, and he's is an ex-professional squash player (once 28th in the world) who needs frequent competition fixes. He whalloped Harley in tennis despite hobbling around on a variety of replaced and repaired joints and tendons. Way to show how AARP rules, bro!

Whatever age those pesky digits tell you - hope you had a youthful weekend?


Saturday, July 26, 2014

The Plan

I have joined that most annoying of tribes - of which my husband is a charter member - people who talk about their current diet. I've had gone on The Plan, a 20-day diet invented by Lyn-Genet Recitas which apparently aims to eliminate those "surprising" health foods that are making you fat and feel bad.


Turkey, salmon, greek yoghurt, eggs, cauliflower, beans, oatmeal and tomatoes are all healthy -  right? Wrong! She reckons that for many people these foods cause a toxic reaction that triggers weight gain, premature aging, inflammation, and a host of health problems including constipation (that's mine and a fascinating post that I will save for next week...something to look forward to)  migraines, joint pain, and depression.

She reckons weight gain has nothing to do with carbs, calories or fat.

I am incredibly cynical about diets and I've promised myself I would never do one, but I was so tired of feeling so tired all the time and of above-mentioned ailment, especially when traveling. So for 20 days I've put my life on hold and broccoli galore and flaxseed here I come.

I paid for the fully monty. It starts with an initial phone conversation with the author Lyn-Genet Recitas and email-updates with her every day. My skepticism meant I was pretty grumpy on the phone call but what she said started to make sense.

Broccoli and carrots galore. It feels like a  lot of shopping for herbs, spices and doing recipes but maybe that's me being disorganised.  I was constantly re-reading the pages all day long

You eat a special diet that adds a few different things each day and if it doesn't suit your body, there will be a reaction and the scales the next morning will show that you've put on weight.

When we analysed how much water I drank (pretty much none except for herbal tea), turned out the watermelon I inhaled was the only thing keeping me from being a rocking-back-and-forth mess. I like what she said next.  Don't pretend you're going to love drinking water  -  just get it down you - think of it as chugging a beer or downing a shot. I started chugging four pints (of water) a day. Funny thing I once complained to a friend that I didn't drink enough water and he said: "Pay to do a course" Now here I am.

Day One: Yes! I can do this! Oh...it's a lot of work... (five trips to grocery store and health store). Stay close to loo.

Day Two: Kept misreading instructions, menus take over life. So much broccoli..so much zucchini...ugh.

Day Three: Can't face flaxseed granola. Bingewatch Parenthood to take my mind off things.

Day Four: By this time find coconut milk and papaya are not good for me.

Fay Five: Dizzy. Blurry vision, smuggled pop chips into my mouth, fantasizing about Sthern BBQ. Glass of wine (allowed) tiny bit chocolate (allowed). Chocolate blows up my stomach - no more choccy. Haven't been out or seen anyone for days except my Parenthood friends... they're my friends right?

The Day Five Blueberry-Avo smoothie was good though


Lost 2 lbs from Monday to Sat morning -  which if you're trying to lose weight, would be a bit soul destroying. I will persevere but not in a good place. I don't usually think about food, now obsessed about getting to dinnertime for wafer of chicken.

Anyone else out there doing this - want to form a support group? Have you ever been on a diet that was helpful in any way, or found foods that were bad for you?



Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Pennsylvania Weekend

Kevin took Tallulah and Jackson to visit his family in Pennsylvania for two weeks. I stayed home to look after Harley, 16, as he has a job, and Cy, 10, as he had baseball. Saturday night it was a carnivore-arama at Kenny'nMikes place to meet all their rellies (who are from Pennsylvania!)

But first, on Friday night I met my friends at iconic Mexican restaurant,  Dona Tomas.

Always love Vanessa's layering


Vanessa and Nicole at Dona Tomas

Here's a few snaps Kevin sent from Pennsylvania:

Tallulah and Jackson at Lycoming County Fair


Jackson and Tallulah on the Delaware River
Kevin with kids and his father Bob and stepmother Patty at Penn State, just voted 50 university in the world, top 25 in the US (needs some good news after all that's happened.) 
Kevin is taunting me with this photo of Grandma Patty. Rhubarb is my favourite

Tallulah and Jackson are famed for their constant bickering - they do it like it's their job. I asked Kevin how it was going. "I haven't heard them speak to each other so far"he said.  Baby steps.

Then Cy flew out by himself to meet them in New York. He wore me down at the airport at 7am and left for the Big Apple with a big bag of candy. Not my finest hour as mother.

Tallulah, Jackson and Cy at the Yankee Stadium.  Apparently everyone puzzled by their A's gear.  Way to represent Oakland and keep 'em confused
Now some snaps from Kenny'nMike's BBQ.

I wore Nic+Joe blouse I got in France on bike ride -  bit pregnancy but I still like it
Kenny'n'Mikes backyard

Everyone out on the side deck now

Buffalo ribs galore
Not a great photo but you get the idea, forgotten how fantastic scalloped spuds were
Mike and his cousin Ryan. Beards are in! (I'm a fan of clean shaven, what about you?)
Mike and Harley

Awful news about Gaza Strip and the Malaysian Airlines plane that was shot down. The passports of the children flying by themselves; 10-year-old Miguel, who was traveling with his brother asked his mother before he left "What happens when the plane will crash" (the other brother took a later flight.) It's hard to know what to say. As usual FF hit the mark in her post today: "Love Fiercely People."


Friday, July 18, 2014

Wedding Day

Grab a cuppa char or a frosty glass of chard, it's a good one today. It's all about lurve. Your wedding day - do you wish you'd done it differently... or maybe just enjoyed it more?  I love this casual photo of Olivia Palermo in a sweater and tie-on skirt, though can't imagine doing the shorts. This has turned out to one of my favourite posts as some of you were able (with a wee bit o' nagging) to get your wedding photos to me. Friends, you'll laugh and you'll cry...

Olivia Palermo and new husband.  His hand-in-pocket and bent knee looks a bit model-esque (oh but yeah he is is a model)

More iconic wedding snaps...
Covered-up but she carried it off,  still the most expensive dress ever made?

So happy - and tanned!

Provenance of the dress clouds this one

Chanel free spirit
I've told you about our wedding day... We had three kids then and never really intended getting married. Our immigration lawyer (to get from London to the US) said get to the registry office toot sweet - despite having three children I would still be ejected from the US at the airport (tempting on some days...) I bought a white Armani suit which was a bit squeaky on the thighs (dang that M&S full fat mac and cheese leftover from the kids' plates.) Anyway on the day, I couldn't wear it to the registry office because baby Tallulah had a crook tummy and had to be changed every ten minutes.

At the Marylebone Registry Office with Harley, Jackson and Tallulah

Kevin and Tallulah between explosions

Jay who lives in Norfolk, England, says "I love this photo of us on our wedding day  - husband ignoring me and in a hurry to get to the cricket pitch (where we were having the reception) and me checking my not insubstantial cleavage!! - somethings never change..... Confetti get's blooming everywhere!!"

Jay of My Family and Other Cricketers

Elizabeth married her Italian husband in a Basilica in Florence and the old hotel Rolls broke down on the way to the church, so she arrived in a friend's VW: "Racing to the ALTAR on time! My dress was a bit tight and we had to lift it up above the knee to get me up the marble staircase! ...Two Priests married us! Yes, it was all in ITALIAN! My friend Daryl walked me down the aisle, my father did not come because my mother was going to be there."

Elizabeth from Vintage Hen House

Our friend Mike of Mike'n'Kenny says: "Even though we were together 15 years, we rushed to get married the first week it was legal as I did not want to risk the courts overturning the ruling. And we knew that Prop 8 was on the ballot in the fall. So I did not have a chance to do what everyone does - spend 6 months losing weight for the wedding photos. Oh well. Chubby but happy. "

Kenny'n'Mike

Alexis Grace says: "Lukus and I are coming up on our 5 year anniversary in September. Our wedding was super small with just 18 people in attendance--- that included the pastor and the photographer and us! We decided to do an extra small destination wedding in Cabo San Lucas, followed by our honeymoon in Ixtapa. At the end of our honeymoon we headed to my hometown where my parents threw a HUGE party for family and friends to celebrate with us! Basically our wedding was a 3 week long celebration...perfection!"

Alexis Grace from North on Harper


My writing buddy Burnita says: "I had my dress custom made in New York and I was living in San Francisco. The dress from I. Magnin and we had done several fittings, but the dress got lost and didn't arrive until three days before the wedding. No time for more alterations . The cleavage was too low. Every man I met in the reception line I had to ask him, "What color are my eyes?"

Burnita, who is writing Quiver of the Pure Heart, on her wedding day

Naomi says: "Just to let you know that I still haven't opened up my boxes and as I mentioned my laptop is not working so I took pics from a little book the size of my palm!  We got hitched in 2009 in Marylebone Town Hall.  I postponed it but then we had to get it done bc he had a surgery in October so we planned it in one month and getting married in peak summer meant most good hairdressers were booked out even on a Monday afternoon when we were married! I didn't like my hair but it was the best I could do at short notice. Oh well...but we then went to the Dorchester for a private dinner with no family but my brother."

Naomi of Coulda Shoulda Woulda


Friend Julie L. couldn't resist sending this photo of her almost getting arrested on her wedding day! "Matt proposed to me outside the beautifully lit National Cathedral in Washington DC. We couldn't get married there (very exclusive), but the church across the street would marry us. I thought it would be great to have our photos taken on the beautiful cathedral grounds. They didn't think it was such a good idea since I didn't get permission. I kinda knew it could happen -- it was ask for forgiveness instead of permission. In the end they let us keep our film/photos taken and just asked us to leave."

Julie of Monkey Grass Hill. Police turning up to arrest her on her wedding day!


My writing teacher Ellen Sussman says: "In a two week period my husband and I just celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary, hosted our daughter's wedding at our house, and I published my new novel, A Wedding in Provence. It's my Summer of Love!" (by the way her book was just named one of Summer's Best Reads by Time magazine!)

Writer Ellen Sussman and her husband Nick

From friend Lesley: "A photo of my brother sliding me under his legs and I have knee highs on. :) I wore knee highs because I thought they would be more comfortable. I never expected anyone to see them! "

Lesley dancing with her brother at her wedding

And from friend Karen: "Funny bit: great toast, where Nick's friend said that now that we were married, all the men who had a key to my apartment in NYC should come forward and drop the keys in the ice bucket. About 40 guys came up and dropped keys. He said the same for Nick, and one elderly lady tottered up to drop her key! Annoying bit: the second limo for the bridal party was used the night before for prom, and someone had yakked in it. Everyone has to hang their heads out the windows and gasp."

Karen and Nick


Classic! Now head on over to Naomi's place - she's done a really funny post about how you pick the face of the one you love - for example, Camila Parker-Bowles looks exactly like Prince Charles' nanny. And Tabitha has done a post on couples who marry someone very spookily like themselves...

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