Thursday, 25 February 2010

ask me anything?

I am nosy by nature.  So I sort of expect other people are nosy too.  Fantastically so many of you are but I fear there are still a few timids.  So here's to my lovely new followers or lurkers.  If commenting is a little too scary I would love you to email me or hit me with a formspring question!

As a little encouragement I shall post my first real picture of Bean! 


 Spooning with the Beast! 

(Yes he is that pale! A true Englishman)

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

wedding list wednesday - ceramic joy!

One of the problems of living together before one is married and having rather naughty extravagances (rather too often according to bean) in the crockery and cutlery department is that we now have rather nice crockery and cutlery.  Why is this a problem?  Well it leaves us with potentially little to add to our imaginary wedding list.  I wonder if a number of you are in the same situation?  


Fear not, I am here to solve you ceramic condundrums!  May I introduce you to Takae Mizutani.  For starters, how can you not cry out with giggles of joy when you see her logo!?  


I love the fact she thinks that eggs have had all the fun in the past.  No-one ever thought of those poor little soldiers.  Until now!  Bean doesn't even like eggs but I am pretty sure I could make him dunk a soldier if it had come from a horsie!


And what better way to present a cute little cupcake (or apple or prized tennis ball) as the shell of a snail!  Simple perfection.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

eek it's london fashion week!

I love design.  Full stop.

In honour of London Fashion Week I thought I would share a little story and invite you to do the same.

Let me take you back to 1994.  I was but a slip of a girl about to have her first encounter of true lust.  As I was not yet a teenager (and uninterested in boys) I was beginning to be aware of fashion (and trying to be cool by buying Vogue!).  All of a sudden I was transported to another world by one film poster.  That poster was for Pulp Fiction with Uma and her deliciously dark nails.  She looked like sex.  She looked powerful. That was it.  I needed to know more.  

I was never really into make-up (I am still quite happy to face the world without the merest hint of mascara).  I cannot recall sitting at my mother's knee watching her apply beautiful lipsticks and she never taught me any tricks.  Yet it was that visceral moment with my eyes fixated to her nails that I suddenly felt different. Ridiculous I know but I can remember this moment so clearly. 

I soon discovered (without the help of the internet - can you imagine!?) the colour was Rouge Noir by Chanel.  Devised after a make-up artist wanted an almost black nail colour and painted her models' nails with black ink before a publicity shoot.  Yet it was soo expensive for a girl without pocket money.  I scrimped and saved but to no avail.  However I did manage to buy a shade from a cheaper brand.  It just did not satiate my lust although it perfect my painting technique.  I literally spent hours and hours applying, removing, applying and applying layers and laters for the perfect finish. (I still am as fastidious and so tend not to wear nail varnish when I have the opportunity because I would never leave the flat trying to get it right!)

I digress, eventually I saved my pennies for the holy grail of polish.  A bottle which has long since entered its third or fourth reincarnation yet it always gives me that thrill (assuming it is not the fumes).  For it is not about making oneself beautiful but making a statement about who you are. (Note to all, yellow nail varnish just makes you look like a smoker.)

Fashion is not about the specific look but the way in which the look makes you feel.  Rouge noir made me feel powerful when I was 12 and it continues to make me feel strong today.  

P.S. I have tried to post a little picture of my latest pot o' rouge noir but blogger is being grumples!

a new resource

A fabulously well known site across the the pond, Better Homes & Gardens has recently revamped their wedding inspiration site.

This may be old news to some but rather exciting for little old me who was looking for something a little different inspiration wise.

Real Wedding Inspiration - Obviously as a purple girl I was immediately drawn to these photographs of a delicious Louisiana wedding. Yet there are ideas for each colour of the spectrum.  I shall leave you to discover!

M.N. Jordan Photography

From planning hints and tips involving the very first stages of engaged bliss (and confusion) to the real nitty gritty of planning.

To wonderful recipes which cover all delicious parts of the wedding, from shower to the after wedding brunch!

Best of all is the little craft section with fabulous little ideas for a quick fix or rather more detailed constructions!

So much to see and so little time.  I do hope you shall enjoy!  Let me know what you think!

Monday, 22 February 2010

why do i think i want a church wedding?


Let me preface this with the fact I am an agnostic teetering on the brink of atheism.*

So as an almost atheist why do I think I want a church wedding?

Well maybe because the first words uttered to me by most are, "So are you getting married in a church?"  I see optimism spark in their eyes for only a true wedding is held in a holy place.  As a reluctantly (why reluctant I cry inside!) explain that we shall be married outside of church.  Their eyes flicker to condolence, "oh well I am sure it will feel just as lovely." It is this doubt which cuts deep into me.  Can I have a wedding without a church? 

Let me begin with a little background. Things in England and Wales are somewhat different in regards to wedding rules and regulations, even in comparison to the rest of the UK.  For example, weddings may only occur from 8am! until 6pm and it is a specific room not the celebrant which must be approved.  It is only in recent years that registry office weddings have become more readily accepted by society.  (Thank you 60s!).  This cultural shift in the era of free love allowed for a move away from church and into the registry office.  It allowed for a more relaxed approach to weddings.  It wasn't until the 1994 Marriage Act (which came into force in April 1995) new premises were allowed to be licensed.  The proviso being they have are roof and are a permanent building.  So one can now marry at the London Eye, the zoo or down a mine.

So what is so special about "the Church".  Why do people (and I include myself in this) assume that not being married in a church is improper.  Improper!?  What the eff? (Thank you A Los Angeles Love).  Why am I so worried about the improperness of my nuptials?  Indeed why is marriage deemed improper outside religion?  The first obvious reason is that it is perceived as the cultural norm for centuries past.  Although it was not until almost 1800 that the church decreed that weddings should take place at the altar with a formal ceremony and indeed as early as 1836 civil marriages were also recognised as legal.  So is it just habit that one blindly assumes a church wedding is a tautology? 

Mother asked me only last weekend whether we would marry in a church.  I assume it was the alcohol talking but I did mention the little fact that she saw fit to not have me christened or instil any spiritual beliefs! "Well you could get baptised now?" and "I didn't know where there was a church and daddy was in Saudi."  She does come across as rather meek. Ha! The lady could do anything if she were so inclined! Indeed I could now marry in church as the Church of England recently relaxed rules and regulations. Whilst still limited to certain parishes the options are greatly increased to couples with one spiritual partner or a family connection to a particular church. 

Yet I am not believer.  Sometimes I wish I were, yet as a "scientist" and by virtue of my country of birth I find it incredibly hard to have faith.  So there is no obvious reason as to why I would want a church wedding.  Yes, I have attended weddings in the eyes of god (find it hard to capitalise) previously and enjoyed the service.  The hymns, oy vey, how I adore thee. Without a doubt the pinnacle of any time spent in church when one and all are singing with vigour.  I would adore to sing Jerusalem and Dear Lord and Father of Mankind and maybe a little I vow to thee my country.  Heaven (for want of a better word!).  However, I'm not sure that this is reason enough to wed in church.

The only other reason I can fathom is the fact that older English churches are simply beautiful.  My home parish church is quite breathtaking on a sunny day, the churchyard is strangely enticing (and entice me it did as a child) and there be perhaps the oldest lychgate in the whole of England. Some may pretend that this is not the reason they have chosen a church wedding but I have a sneaking suspicion more than a couple may relish the idea of the prettiness over the sacredness.  The photographs swooning and the uproar at the merest hint of scaffolding tends to give those people away!  I know I will be toiling away on little details which I hope will prettify the day but I am entirely sure that I cannot undermine my beliefs for the sake of a pretty memory.  

Does a church confer more solemnity or grace to marriage ceremony?  Can I be expected to divorce because I have nor married in a "proper fashion"? I effing think not. How dare I be judged for my beliefs and the assumption that I believe in marriage less because I do not want a spiritual blessing. I have casually browsed our national divorce statistics.  They do show a decline in divorce (understandable in recession where people cannot afford to part, sadly) but they are not available grouped by type of wedding.  Do I think there will be a difference?  I would think so although the I'm sure the difference has nothing to do with the way in which people are married but more to do with how people are entering marriage.  So as an almost atheist I think I am somewhat reconciled by my decision.  I am sure I will still feel a pang of resentment to the age-old question but I am entirely sure our ceremony will be full of joy, laughter, a few tears and sense of grandeur for the new life we are undertaking together.

Luckily(?) we are moving on in wedding legalities with the (proposed) introduction of licensing of the celebrant which should hopefully increase options of matrimony for generations to come.  Assuming marriage still a viable option in the future. (Oh a whole other kettle of fish for another day!).  Although as a November bride I fear I would still not choose an outside wedding but it would be awfully tempting!

*Also it should be obvious by now that I have no qualms with those who do have faith, it's just not for me.  But never say never!

P.S. I did not realise this would turn into a Sociology tutorial.  My apologies!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

simply enthalling

A somewhat creepy but rather more enthralling video.
A phenomenon which occurs as a result of the Spring thaw.  

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

wedding list wednesday - now I'm going to let you in on a secret!

Oh and what a secret!

The secret is Orange and Blossom.

A truly wonderful online shop founded by the wonderful Lisa Marie.  It truly is a place where beautiful pieces come to be inevitably bought by anna!

Never, have I looked through a vintage site and cooed over nearly every vintage piece.  Lisa Marie really has an eye for rare lovelies and I love (wait excitedly) for her shop updates.  They are certainly a highlight of my week!

Now I would tell you about my purchase but they shall have to remain a secret, well until November!  Even if you have fallen in love with piece from the sold section she is wonderful enough to search on your behalf.  Her secret contacts must be phenomenal!

I have my eye on these lovelies!  How about you?


Now caketoppers I may not adore but these lovebirds make me weak at the knees!
Their palest pink feathers with a dash of sparkle.  
Eeek!

An acrylic coral stand for the sweet table numbers or pretty just signs.  

P.S. Whilst she is based in California here international shipping is wonderfully reasonable.  Hence the all the purchases.  (Don't tell bean!)

P.P.S. Try not to buy all the pretty things.  I need my vintage fix!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

birthday woahs and woes

Oh what a delicious Friday night I gorged myself upon Alaskan King crab (oh yes I am fancy!) with my Bean, bro and parents.  T'was a twee evening with wine and giggles. Mostly my bro, bean and me laughing at my parents' silliness!

What was the best part I hear you cry? It was my awesome present!  May I introduce you to Mr Padd. (Technically he was mine all along but I count him as a present anyway!)  Yes he is old (but let's not count it in years) and he is moth eaten but he is wonderful!


Yes Friday was good.

Saturday (and subsequently Sunday) was not.

Everything started out so promising. I lovely lie-in and a Bean willing to bring me coffee in bed.  We then ventured to the outside world.  Maybe we could go to the shiny new cinema? I almost went into Tiffany's (just for funsies and to be equally appalled) before I realised I would have to queue!!!  How ridiculous.  Indeed I did see some very pretty shoes in Miu Miu.  One day, one day when they are on sale.  Although incredibly Bean did remark that I should be weary of purchasing bejewelled shoes as they may catch on my dress.  (I love you, Bean!)

Things then changed.  I started to feel so constricted.  I am usually not one to fear market places. I used to love to dance with people packed on a dancefloor.  Crowds are usually good for me.  I am not quick on the flat but am able to weave quickly at tube stations and the like.  

All of a sudden all I could see were happy smiling faces.  Everyone was laughing and smiling and enjoying their day out with their loved ones.  All I could feel was the fact I am not happy.  This intense wave of loneliness and sadness washed over me.  Tears started rolling down my cheeks.  I just couldn't control myself.  It has been so long since I wanted to cry so deeply.  I wept uncontrollably for so long, so long.   I hate that I am broken.  I hate that I am so alone. Bean is wonderful but I do not want to burden him so.  I wish I knew how to make friends.  I just do not have that gene. Oh yes I think I get on well with people but then they go away.  I hate myself.  This weekend I was close to worst I have ever felt.  Just writing these words makes me feel a little better.  To be able to talk about things helps but if I could never have been born, I think I would prefer that.  I have nothing to give.  

I wish things were different.  I know there can be a light at the end of the tunnel.  I just need to look harder.  At least I have Mr Padd.  

Sunday, 14 February 2010

an ode to bean

Whilst I may not understand the enforced joviality which St. Valentine brings I am steadfast in my love for my one and only Bean.

Thank you, Bean.  You are simply awesome.  I am so proud of you and your ambition.   There are more words I shall say but they are private and deeply heartfelt and not for a public stage.  


P.S. I also am falling in love with all you kind souls who frequent this little place.  You are helping me more than you shall ever know. Ax

Friday, 12 February 2010

so it's that time of the year

2So we are 6 weeks into the new year and 6 weeks mean it's my day of birth!  Eeek!  The first time I realised this "auspicious" date was exactly 6 weeks after New Year's Day was because as a 7 year old my little brother broke his arm at a rather thrilling party and stole my auspicious day thunder by going to hospital to have his cast removed.  Always stealing my thunder, the golden boy, Pickles!  (Not jealous much, anna?!)  As is tradition my family and I met for dinner.  Heavenly Alaskan King crab was on the menu.  I could eat it forever!  Sorry Mr Crab.


Oh the eighties were fabulous!  I shall bring the party dress back!

Thursday, 11 February 2010

wed-a-porter?

It's no secret I adore the wonderness that is Net-a-Porter.  I adore their style, their service and their sales!  

Yet it was with trepidation I accepted an invitation to a preview of their soon to be relaunched wedding boutique. I was blown away by their previous collection.  The shoes, that Westwood dress and elegantly chic finishing touches.  Oh it was heaven. 

Oh gosh, my heart fluttered.  What should I wear to meet such a monolith? (I mean that in a very complimentary sense!)  All black, anna, of course.  Well with pink shoes and a pretty ring!

So one very lucky girl walked briskly to Claridges with a stomach of butterflies.  These soon melted upon being guided to the French Salon by a very sweet doorman and a rather bubbly glass was proffered into my eager hand!

So after the sip, I relaxed and surveyed the room.  A beautiful display of accessories and dresses greeted my eyes.  Well once I had managed avert my eyes from the hummingbird cupcakes.

The dresses which will be offered are simply breathtaking.  Only stylish ladies need apply.  From Lanvin to Marc Jacobs.  Some beauties are straight from the catwalk and as in times of old the piece de resistance of the designer's collection.  I  don't really want to spoil your first visit to the site on 16th February by posting pictures.  Well also the iPhone photographs I took are pretty hideous.  So you will just have to wait and put up with my little descriptions.

For me the highlight was a delightfully pale grey dress by the genius Lanvin.  So light and flowing.  The grey is so on trend but then can be worn until it falls apart and then worn by your granddaughter (or grandson).  It made me swoon with it's delicate v-neck and sweet little touches.  Also there will be some very fashion forward pieces which would be perfect for a city wedding or maybe those who might enjoy a two or even three dress day?

There were also, touchingly, beautiful pieces from the collection of Alexander McQueen.  How I adore his beautiful skull clutches.  Further accessories which caught my eye were a couple of fantabulously over the top cocktail rings, I would have tried to buy one there and then if it had been a slightly different colour.  Obviously, shoes rained down from Choo to Cavalli and onto Louboutin with varying heights to allow for late night dancing.  They will also be offering other bridalwares from veils and tiaras to couture millinery from Philip Treacy (perfection for my mother who cannot cope with uber high heels but will want to be seen).

Personally, I think Net-a-Porter have hit upon a grand concept with this boutique.  Indeed they even proposed a serving suggestion.  They allow for longer returns and consequently one could order a couple of dresses, maybe a few dresses for your girls and much champagne for a wonderful evening.  So much more fun and satisfying than traipsing to overcrowded, understaffed bridal boutiques.  Such a tempting proposition and maybe a sweet way of introducing ones captivating circle of celebratory comrades to one another?

The only slight disappointment was the lack of fabulous dresses for mothers and comrades but I was consoled by the bon homie!  I for one cannot wait until the 16th! 

P.S. I forgot to tell you about one of the most exciting moments of the evening.  I finally met the lovely ladies from Rock My Wedding.  What lovely ladies they be!

l'enfant terrible i shall miss you

Today I have just heard of the tragic loss of perhaps one of the most influential designers, Mr Alexander McQueen.  Not many designers have touched my heart the way in which you did.  Your creations were delicious and eccentric.  So British.

You are gone long before your time.

I hope you are at peace now.

Anna x

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

wedding list wednesday - so i have a problem...

I have a seriously problem with letters.  I simple adore it.  Whether it be the tiniest piece of letterpress, to a giant O or a circus sign.  I want it, I always want it.

So how about this for an awesome wedding present?  They are c1950 and are about 120cm high!  How cute above a bed.  Whether it be laugh out loud or lots of love.  It would be right at home in our bedroom. (Hmm maybe I have revealed too much!)

So if anyone fancies buying the Bean and me a wedding present?  Eternally grateful wouldn't even cut it!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

flowers for the one you love...?

This is a little early and I was going to save this for St. Valentine's day but I just could not resist.  I am having a grumpy day and I feel it would be cruel not to share!

I don't love St. Valentine's day.  Yet I don't want to be one of those people who hates the day.  I understand it's origins and actually think the idea is rather sweet.  Although at the same time I somewhat resent the implication that I must do something on a certain day otherwise I do not love my nearest and dearest.  I do wonder why we are forced to express our emotions on one specific day.  It is a capitalist's dream.  The price of flower increases 10 fold and as a girl with a special day (well not really special but you know what I mean) of her own just before the day somewhat precludes the purchase of pretty flowers for one sad girl.  (I hate the thought that the same flowers bought for me at any other time of the year would be soo much cheaper!).   

I am not one for spending thousands on each other as a sign of our love (although obviously I would not say no!) but I do enjoy treating my Bean to things throughout the year so I guess I am a capitalist whore after all!

So here's to the perfect present for those who have not been quite so generous with their love.  (Although I do feel for the poor little flowers who have not achieved their original destiny.  In my head the petals will be used to make delicious rose petal cupcakes.)

Monday, 8 February 2010

macaron vs macaron

Just a little post to excite you on a Monday morning.

Oh there is a new kid on the block in London town, perhaps the King of the Macaron Pierre Herme.  You may have heard me bleat on about the wonderful Laduree.  Indeed they have reigned supreme in my estimations for a long time now.  I try and taste them wherever I go from the market to high end patisserie but I have always come back to Laduree.  They are innovative with their flavours and one is simply never enough but when I heard about the new little Herme concession in Selfridges I did get rather excited.

So my wonderful Bean was out wandering and had remembered reading about the new concession and felt it was time for a tasting.  He came home laden with goodies and we sat down with a pretty plate, knife and a spreadsheet all at the ready!  Over a number of hours we indulged and indulged some more.  Here are the results!  They are making my mouth water again but my sugar headache stops me!

Salted Caramel
A firm favourite of mine.  The Laduree example has a delightfully caramel texture filling.  Not too sweet and with an excellent burst of saltiness.  This is in comparison to the Herme which has a more mousse-like filling.  Top marks to Laduree yet Herme will never offend!

Rose and Quince
A fabulous innovation by Herme.  Rose confectionery can often be far too sweet but with the addition of the quince it turns into a thrilling treat.  This is in comparison to the simple Laduree rose which is delicate without too much sweetness.

Chocolate
The Bean is the chocolate aficionado in our little house.  So I defer to his judgement in this case.  The Herme has a delectable bitterness which evolves slowly whereas the Laduree is full on chocolate from the plate!  I think we enjoyed the Herme slightly more.

Strawberry and Balsamic Vinegar
This concoction by Herme was not up to par.  I thought I would be wowed by this combination.  As a true English girl there is seldom anything more thrilling than strawberries bathed in balsamic vinegar.  Yet in this case the vinegar was far too prominent.  Maybe this was because I was savouring every morsel.  A strong strawberry note came towards the end so perhaps eating this one whole is far more satisfying.

Vanilla
Perhaps the standard by which all macarons should be measured?  Both were of a very high standard yet the Herme does edge out Laduree with a powerful punch of vanilla and is not as sweet as it's competitor.

Finally, Sesame Nougatine
The same word crossed our lips when we tasted this Herme mix.  This tastes like Japanese!  The sesame was intensely strong.  Too strong for me but for those who enjoy a strong sesame kick this is the one for you!

So who wins?  Well the Herme macarons are innovative, larger with a mousse like consistency which tingles the tastebuds.  Yet I have adored Laduree for some time and whilst sometimes you do hit a dud with them I do think they still reign supreme!  But do not take my word for it.  Go forth and taste.  My next plan is to perfect a home recipe!  Watch this space.

Also because of all the excitement and most probably the sugar rush I completely forgot to take any photographs of the macarons of deliciousness and so you will have to imagine the prettiness and feast your eyes on the mediocrity that is my photography of a couple of salted caramel cupcakes from Crumbs and Dollies upon we also gorged the day before! The perfect combination of sweet and monstrously naughty salt crystals!








All by my own clumsy hands!

Sunday, 7 February 2010

who is the real bean?

It was cold and stormy night.  So obviously a girl and boy do what they do best.  Watch terrible films.  This very night was the night of Steven Seagal and Under Siege 2.

Oh Casey Ryback takes on the world once again. This time, whilst escorting his niece to visit her father's grave, an evil terrorist takes over the train and and then an armed satellite and threatens to offer this to the highest bidder.  Blah, blah, blah.  Mr Ryback saves the day and his niece (a rather young unknown Heigl!).


He is the former Navy Seal turned chef.  Oh he slices and dices baby!  (Sorry!)




So what this have to do with anything anna? I hear you ponder.  Well, it was while I watched this wonderful film unfurl to its tedious inevitable conclusion I sat there incredulous.  I realised who my wondrous little bean was.  My Bean the man who enjoys the occasional foray into martial arts (he like to twirl his sticks!) is a supreme baker.  He is Casey Ryback!  Whoop de woop.  I shall never fear the baddies ever again.  I have my own one man army.  Well not exactly, as he is a little but of a pacifist, but he bakes and that is far more important!

Who is your man or woman?  (I would like to think I were Tina Fey/Lemon!)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

wedding list wednesday - will you marry me?

Perhaps not one for the wedding list and not one for the feint of heart or wallet.  Yet this adorable "Marry Me" ring by Solange Azagury-Partridge for £940 could be one of the cutest proposal rings.  A sweet memento of your proposal (well other than a husband) and for the fussier of wives to be this could be the perfect token of a promise before trawling through hundreds of shops be they antique nooks or Cartier.  I am pretty sure I would not have said no to it!

The photographs do not display the sweetness in it's best light.  Yet how I adore thee!

so much for the flurry....

...where does the time go?

There shall be words of wisdom (?) soon my pretties.  Soon!

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