Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Autumn and Egyptian Queens...

I've always found the Autumn season to be incredibly comforting, despite it being the end of the year, and the period just before the madness of the Christmas season kicks off.
Its the time of year you can wear huge oversized knits and curl up on the sofa with a book and watch the world go by, and it's perfectly justifiable because it's just that time of year. I also love what autumn brings with it... the promise of going back to childhood memories and deciding to walk through a mountain of leaves on pavements... just to hear the satisfying sound beneath your feet, balmy evenings, catherine wheels, conkers, the colours of bronze, red, and gold suddenly being everywhere! As well as this, suddenly your house seems to be filled with lovely smells of lovely comfort food such as warm apple pie, cherry and plum crumble, roast dinners, and the promise of red wine! I remember writing a poem called 'Autumn Leaves' as a child and the poem recieving the Headmistresses' Award, not to mention reading it aloud in front of the entire assembly class! I really wish I could remember how it went, but I can't. It was something like 'Autumn leaves are falling...' but anyway, I remember how much I enjoyed writing all about it.
I want to draw your attention to a very special book by the awesome author that is Margaret George. Like Phillippa Gregory, her speciality is Historical Fiction, and this particular book of hers is so amazing that I can't work out if it's better than books such as 'The Other Boleyn Girl' or 'The Boleyn Inheritance' but actually, I think it is.
The book is written in the first person, but what makes the book truly magical is the extent of it's truly fascinating and seemingly accurate content. Unlike Anne Boleyn, the Boleyn family and The Tudors, we don't know that much about Queen Cleopatra of Egypt, apart from her very impressive sex life which almost tore apart a dynasty. Anyway, I can't stress enough how much I loved this book, so even if you don't like historical fiction, this is a FANTASTIC read regardless.

[Other things I'm loving this Autumn are...]

1. The promise of Halloween and Guy Faulkes / Bonfire Nights..

I love Halloween and Bonfire Nights. I know in LA, everyone goes all out and they even have a special pumpkin patch ground that's full of perfect pumpkins, whilst everyone in the UK has to settle for their local supermarkets... but no matter! Halloween is still LOADS of fun, with everything from trick or treating, eating lots of candy until your stomach explodes, or the sheer brilliance of dressing up and taking the craziest pictures imaginable. I'm not doing anything special for Halloween this year, but hopefully I'll make up for that next year, but if anyone is doing something cool, let me know and send me in your photos!
Bonfire Night is the same. I think I may be a bit of a pyromaniac, as I love lighting matches, the smell of fire burning, watching fire, and the smell of petrol. Not the best combination in the entire world, but I'm proud to fly my freak flag high!!! Bonfire night is awesome if you get good company, some kind of bonfire going, and the promise of roasting marshmallows as well as unlimited mugs of hot chocolate. Also, I think it's great everyone comes together to celebrate Guy Faulkes, who decided one day, to just blow up the houses of Parliament. Unfortunately, this didn't quite work out the way he had planned, but you gotta admire the guy's gusto.

2. [Alexander Wang Siamese Clutch]

Autumn trends are well and truly in, and leopard print is one of the biggest ones for A/W. So since seeing this Alex Wang Siamese clutch, I'm in leopard heaven. Now, who wants to buy this for me? Hands up! Anyone? I will promise to love you forever.

3. [Wedding Daze]

Just how cute is this gorgeous photoshoot??
It would be amazing to have a wedding like this - no crowds, no pressure, no family drama, just close intimacy with the one you love.

4. [Other things I'll be grateful for this Autumn...]

1. 'Firework' by Katy Perry & 'Lover you should have come over' by Jeff Buckley/Jamie Cullum

2. Wonderland by Tinie Tempah and Ellie Goulding

3. The return of red cups to Starbucks and the promise of Pumpkin Spice Lattes, Gingerbread Lattes, Toffee Nut Lattes, and Egg Nog Lattes.

4. Autumn Reeser - I love this actress, not just because her name's Autumn, but she made The OC series 3 watchable and extremely funny in the midst of all the Mischa/Marissa drama.
I miss Taylor Townsend for lines such as: 'Anything else you'd be facing a long night, including candle wax, tube socks and the new fiona apple CD.'

Friday, 8 October 2010

The Story Of Us...

Intimacy - Commitment - Love.

You - Me - Us.

My heart leaps as I look at you, I smile as you lay in my arms on the sofa, and I trace your face with my fingers, our lips coming together slowly, two strangers, one blushing prayer, as we kiss, we meet, we move, and believe...
Your eyelids start to move, and our moment appears... yes, yes, I can see it now. You open your eyes and look at me, your soft brown eyes unable to move from my face.

I remember when we were young. I was afraid of falling in love - afraid to let go, until I found you. The best thing about you is that you're mine... you belong with me, to me, and was made for me...
we sit opposite each other on the water, in a boat. Everything is quiet, still. It's like an enchanted calm, just waiting for us to take hold of our moments, of our life together. You look at me and smile, and my whole world stops, just for a second. My heart races, I forget to breathe.
We sit, laughing and joking, blissfully unaware that minutes can turn into hours all too quickly. I turn away from him to see an army of birds rise up into the air, my thoughts distracted. My mind stays with them for as long as possible until I can no longer see them soaring above the clouds. I turn my head back towards you, and I smile, happy to see your face again. There it is, I see it. I nod my head, burst into tears and can't kiss or hug you enough to show you how much you mean to me. Suddenly, we're engaged.

I remember our fight - the one where I slammed the door, cried, ran outside, hit you... I shiver and shout as I brace myself for goodbye.
something cracked inside me on that wednesday afternoon, we'd been numb as silent snow.
You moved out, we'd been apart for way too long now, trying to live with the notion that we'd be worlds apart.
I sit out on the back porch every evening, and think of you. Where you are, what you're doing... and I wonder if you ever think of me. When I look out, I see nothing but the moon, nothing to remind me of you.
My diary is empty, marking all the idle writing i'd been forcing on the page, and all of a sudden I'm guarded. I need help - someone who can be sent to rescue me from this rage. You've made me weak when I should be strong. I've been dormant for too long now like I'd been in hibernation. I don't know if I can wake up and start to live my life once again, without you, and I can feel the end is closer now... it's coming... coming...
But I love you, then you take me by surprise, and out of the corner of my eye, I see you. You come closer towards me, and take me by the hand, and whisper in my ear, that you didn't understand.... that despite the pain, despite the suffering, you love me too much to let go, 'I'll never leave you alone...I can't live without you.'
You're the best thing - all mine.
She's the best thing - all mine.

[Finis] ***

***Please enjoy this extract responsibly. And by responsibly, I mean that this is best enjoyed wrapped up in your favourite oversized, chunky knit [scarf, jumper, dress] with a warm fire and a large cup of hot chocolate with lashings and lashings of warm, tasty cinnamon. If you have one to hand, throw in a boyfriend too.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Here's Looking at You!

I've decided to offer all my readers and everyone else who kindly drops by my blog the chance to do a guest blog for me! It can be about books, fashion, food, or lifestyle.... obviously it's a book-related blog so anything about books would be great!!! If you have any ideas or want to contribute, don't hesitate to get in touch with me and we'll talk!
If you're stuck on things to maybe guest blog about, you could always talk about favourite authors, favourite books, inspirational books, or what books you would bring with you if you were stranded on a desert island??

If you do books in the style of Carrie Bradshaw, where your favourite 'books' are your monthly subscription to Vogue, or your coffee table has the new Kate Moss Portraits book by Mario Testino rather than anything by Bill Bryson, don't worry, that's OK too!

I have some incredibly exciting and talented people confirmed already, but I want more!
If you don't really have anything to say regarding books, but want to write 500 words or so explaining just how awesome I am, then don't worry, that's quite alright with me too!
Hope to hear from everyone soon!!

Lots of Love,

C xoxo

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Sexy! Yes, Yes, Yes...

I'm sexy because I try and live a green lifestyle. And also because I follow the example of this great website, Green Is Sexy run by three close friends on how to live a greener lifestyle. As a vegan, I'm trying to do my best to contribute as best as I can, which includes eating a plant-based diet and trying to reduce my carbon footprint. Here are some of their recommended reads that I'll definetely put on my book list in order to make a difference.
[First of all, how adorable does this cute living room look? Aaaah!]

Living room got you down? Time to red-eco-rate! OK, so that was a stretch in our eco-vocab, but in the season of spring, there’s a feeling in the air to do more to our living spaces than just spring cleaning. Redecorating can sound daunting, especially with the un-implied notion to get rid of the old and bring in the new, meaning consuming more stuff.

Not always. When we picked up Kelly LaPlante’s beautiful coffee table book, ecologique, we were inspired. LaPlante is a eco-designer who has spiffed, greened and brought sustainable design to the well-known and not-so-well-known folks for over nine years now, and it shows. The beautiful photographs of take you on a journey through fifteen stunning spaces, each meticulously and aesthetically designed with the environment in mind.

Some of our favorite ideas?

  • Use a piece of eucalyptus (bamboo or driftwood could work too) as a decorative mantle space above the fireplace.
  • Place an old adorned frame around a cardboard cutout, old poster or photo.
  • Recycled furniture made, recovered with vegetable-dyed fabrics.
  • Use fabric as wallpaper.
  • Pick a style (mid century? 50’s diner? Soft country?) and then go antiquing or to the flea market.

The spaces range from bedrooms to loft spaces, decks to foyers, each packed with an eco-punch. Pouring through the glossy pages, you’ll find yourself saying “hey, i’ve got one of those frames” or “I never thought about using fabric like that before.” An organized “design details” list at the end of ecologique thoughtfully lines out exactly what was used in each room, as well as which designers can become your new favorites. There’s also a list of addresses and websites so you can begin your hunt for the perfect eco-accessories right away.

By the end of ecologique, you’ll be equipped with enough ideas to – at least! – reorganize a room in your house without having to buy a thing. However, if you do find yourself at a flea market, you’ll know what you are doing.

[To buy Kelly's book 'Ecologique' go here]

With Spring Break behind us, say goodbye to Girls Gone Wild and hello to Girls Gone Green! This new book is an inspirational collection of stories about real girls using their lives, time and talents to make a difference in the environment (and the world!) every day. Whether they’re organizing beach cleanups, creating non-tox cosmetics or encouraging their community to switch to wind power, these green gals walk with tiny footprints and will inspire you to do the same. The book’s author, Lynn Hirshfield, has worked on some of our favorite Green Screen picks, like Food, Inc. and An Inconvenient Truth, which inspired her to write the book. Girls Gone Green is page after page of bright colors, fun stories and lots of great tips and ideas on how to become greener girls and guys ourselves. Whether you’re a tween, a teen or somewhere beyond, we think you’ll find this book to be as sassy and cool as we did.

A couple years ago, we became acquainted with Toronto-based journalist Vanessa Farquharson. A fellow eco-blogger, Vanessa shared with us and her readers on greenasathistle.com her mission to make one lifestyle change every day on her way toward living as greenly as possible. Vanessa’s story was recently published as a book, Sleeping Naked is Green – How an Eco-cynic unplugged her fridge, sold her car, and found love in 365 days, which we think you’ll really enjoy. Vanessa starts out small (switching to un-bleached paper towels) and builds up to the big stuff, like selling her car, while keeping us entertained with her irreverent, yet cheery, outlook on the whole process. Vanessa discontinued writing her blog at the end of last year, so be sure to pick up a copy of her book to read all about her 365-day journey toward the greenest, sexiest life possible.

[This book provides Simplicity at its best - a fine line between eloquence and plainness!!]

We’ve all said it before. When life gets hectic and we are consumed with thinking that the little things are the big things, we find ourselves wishing for the basics. “I’d give it all up to live simply! Cars, machines, electricity, the grind…all of it!” we hear ourselves saying. But there has to be a reason that we all haven’t done this.

Is it really that easy?

In Better Off, author Eric Brende takes us on this journey. An almost impossible opportunity is presented to him to live in a community where “a baseline of minimal machinery” is standard, and Brende and his new wife Mary leave it all behind for a chance to live off the grid. For 18 months, they rent a farm and in a small town outside a Midwestern city.

Their little adventures become great tails. He describes the tasks that fill the daylight hours romantically and you find yourself wondering if you, too, would get up early to milk the cow with the same zest. The homegrown vegetables they grow, prepare, and consume sound mouth watering, and the story of their acquisition of a horse and buggy is topped by the fact that Mary is allergic to the horse. Also well-explained is their inclusion into the community, who Brende does not reveal to protect their prviacy, but describes as a “Mennonite-type” that, in some ways, makes the Amish seem high-tech. The community is very close knit and, while extremely helpful to the couple, keep a mind state that these temporary visitors might actually be intruders.

The book is thorough in explaining exactly what challenging work is needed to keep comfortable, fed and living. It takes tolls on both their bodies (they are constantly hitching up their loose waist bands) and their marriage, but Brende approaches each leg of their adventure with thought provoking logic and simplicity, allowing the reader to grasp what it must be to truly give it all up.

In the bestselling book, Omnivore’s Dilemma, author Michael Pollan takes the reader on an epic, surprisingly gripping journey through the American food chain of yesterday, today and tomorrow. With the industrial age came the beginning of industrial agriculture and a completely altered food economy. Pollan digs deep into this immense shift asking the tough questions and visiting even tougher places in order to shed some light on the ways in which we grow, purchase and consume our food today.

His journey begins in conversation on the cornfields of Iowa and ends foraging in the backwoods of northern California. Along the way

he digs deep to the bottom of the food chain to answer the questions and missing links that have completely disconnected us from the food that becomes us. For instance, when and how did America become so addicted to corn? How does the life of a feedlot cow compare to a grass fed, pastured cow? Why is fast food so darn tasty even though it’s killing some of us? And if you wanted to truly “make” your own meal – what would that entail? This book is for anyone who is interested in the philosophy and history of food or who simply wants to know – what the heck is really on my plate?

Michael Pollan has recently put out a film on his findings called Food Inc. Check movie listings to see if it is playing near you or read the review.

The Ethical Gourmet: How to Enjoy Great Food That Is Humanely Raised, Sustainable, Nonendangered, and That Replenishes the Earth by Jay Weinstein is a great hybrid of a cookbook and a guide to eating sustainably, offering an incredibly comprehensive primer on the politics and environmental issues behind our food.

Weinstein begins with an introduction to the organic, sustainable, and local kitchen, and eases into the politics of our food production and the ecological concerns of our current model. Making great use of statistics, Weinstein points out that to make one kilo of potatoes takes 500 litres of water, where wheat requires 900 litres, corn 1,400 litres, rice 1,910 litres, and producing one kilo of feedlot beef requires a whop

ping 100,000 litres!

Weinstein begins each of his recipe chapters (Grains, Beans, and Legumes; Vegetables; Meat, Game and Poultry; Fish and Seafood) with a primer on the environmental issues to be wary of, foods to support and avoid, and also explains relevant certifications and standards to look for.

With an education from the Culinary Institute of America, Weinstein’s recipes all sound mouth watering, and their eco-sensitivity is certainly good cause to add them to your cooking routine!

Some great recipes from the book to try out:
-Sesame Rice
-Mexican Pinto Bean Tortas with Pickled Jalapeños
-Mushroom Barley “Risotto”
-Southeast Asian Slaw
-Caramelized Apples and Yams
-Roasted Portobello Mushrooms with Fresh Fava Beans
-Cardamom-scented Grass-fed Rib Steak with Herb Vinaigrette

Weinstein concludes with a useful list of sources to find the ingredients you’re looking for, as well as a list of “Places That Serve a Moral Menu” across the US.

A must for any ethical foodie!

[Other Sexy Green things to try...]

It is always preferable to consume as little as possible, but sometimes we just want or need something new….well, new to us! At Etsy.com (think ebay for crafters), type ‘upcycled’ into the search box at the top of the page. ‘Upcycled’ is the new ‘reused.’ Basically, what you will find are over 65,000 items (at last count) that are made by giving new life to old things. Men’s shirts become little girl dresses, sweaters become scarfs and billboards become birdhouses. As an added bonus, when you buy from Etsy, you buy from individuals who do handmade goods. You know where it is coming from and who you are supporting. To reduce your footprint even further, you can search for a seller in your neck of the woods using the local feature. Before you buy, think of what you are buying and where it comes from. You will not lose out on anything, but you can make a world of difference.

FEED Projects goal is to reach hungry children through the sales of our FEED bags.

FEED bags raise much-needed funds for WFP school-feeding operations and awareness of the problem of child hunger.

All FEED products are made as eco-friendly and fairly as possible. Our bags are produced with high-quality, 100% organic cotton and natural burlap. We work with only audited and certified fair labor facilities. It's important to us to visit the places our products are made AND the places our donations are going.

The goal of FEED Projects is to market and sell as many FEED bags as possible and to FEED and educate the world's 400 million hungry children.

So, the next time you're out shopping, pick up a FEED bag instead of your normal plastic bag and make a difference!!
For more information, you can visit www.feedprojects.com - all UK Residents should be able to find out more information and pick up a bag from Harrods.

Moving house can be stressful, not to mention tiresome, packing up cardboard boxes and stopping in every other newsagent and off licence for spare boxes. There is a solution! You can head to Eco Boxes [UK] or Rent A Green Box [US] to solve all your moving dilemma needs and still be green friendly! Productive or what??

All Images courtesy of: Rachel, Bethany & Emily

Friday, 1 October 2010

Books, Vogue, Models, & The Colour Red...

I came across this book today, and I knew it was the purrrrfect compliment for my new coffee table in my next apartment....

So, if like me, your favourite models include Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington, Claudia Schiffer, Sasha Pivarova, Coco Rocha, Natalia Vodianova, Erin Wasson, Chanel Iman, Iman, Jourdan Dunn, Tyra Banks, Gisele Bundchen, Lara Stone, Lily Donaldson, Daria Werbowy, Crystal Renn, and Jessica Stam amongst others, but you're interested to know how it ALL started back from the reign of the Supers to the present day, who better to present a book which covers models than the holy grail of fashion, Vogue Magazine?

Throughout history, fashion models have occupied a curious position: while their faces were instantly familiar, virtually nothing else was known about them. But their impression upon Vogue's readership has always been considerable -- they reflect and represent the ever-changing ideal of beauty. It was models such as Barbara Goalen and Fiona-Campbell Walter in Britain and Lisa Fonssagrives and Dorien Leigh in the US, in the 1950s, who were the first to become household names and to achieve the glamour and prestige that came with world fame. The supermodels of the 1990s turned the profession into a billion-dollar industry, and today models like Kate Moss, Claudia Schiffer and Gisele Bundchen are brand names. Our fascination with these sublime creatures never seems to wane. Shining a light on these women's lives, Vogue Model uses photographs and illustrations from more than ninety years of Vogue's history to tell the fascinating story of the real faces of fashion.

[Praise for Robin Derrick and Robin Muir: ]

  • 'The world's most influential fashion magazine' NEW YORK TIMES
  • 'Reminds you that while anyone can do fashion, nobody does it quite like Vogue' OBSERVER for Vogue Covers
  • 'This beautifully stylish tome brings together almost a century of the style bible's covers . . . pure fashion fantasy' THE TIMES for Vogue Covers
  • 'Anyone who was anyone appears within these pages' GLAMOUR for People in Vogue
[SO....Coco Rocha just did a cute little video about 'the day in the life of....' - it's a must for anyone interested in what supermodels do day to day when fashion weeks come knocking!]

October is here, and there's always something incredibly cool about Halloween. So with that in mind, and every fashion show these days bringing out models with vamp inspired lipstick tones, I thought I'd celebrate two of this season's most ominous tones...

[My favourite darker lipstick shades for this season...]

1. Chanel Rouge Allure - 'Maniac'
[This is my ultimate favourite dark lipstick. Trust me when I say it is dark, almost black in fact, so PAIR everything else all the way down when applying. Trust me when I also say the range itself is limited edition only, so when shopping, be prepared to HUNT.]

2. Topshop Lipstick - 'Vamp'
[If Chanel isn't exactly in your budget... and you like to save instead of splurge, [or if you're just slightly afraid of the colour and would be happier testing it with a similar but cheaper option...this is a good choice!]

3. Chanel Rouge Coco - [A nice 'plum' sort of colour!]

Now, although people have always said I technically have the 'right' skintone to pull off louder lipstick colours, just like Red, I've always shied away from it myself on account of the fact that the first time I wore red, I thought it looked bloody awful. In the words of Sienna Miller, 'red lipstick made me look like a clown.' Now, call me crazy, but Ms Miller's attended a fair amount of premieres/fashion shows, and award shows wearing little else on her face but red lipstick, in fact, and if what I see pasted across the 10 magazines or so that I'm helplessly drawn to every month, then sign me right up for clown college!
Anyway, one day soon, I feel I'll be BRAVE enough to try out the red lipstick again.... [with photographic evidence] but for now, I'm going for a 'stained' look - recommended by various make-up artists around the world over if you feel a full on pillarbox red is going to prove too much for you.

But... in the meantime, I can always check out these lovely ladies for some much needed inspiration!

[Other Red/Pink based lipsticks from my favourite brands that you can try include the following: ]

1. NARS - 'Schiap'

2. MAC - 'Lady Danger'

3. MAC - 'Ruby Woo'

4. Tom Ford - 'True Coral'

[The best examples of Red lipstick I've found recently! Especially love Keisha Buchanan's look at the Naomi Campbell Dolce & Gabbana afterparty at Bond Street, and Rihanna's official cover for her fifth album, 'Loud']

[Penelope Cruz]

I also thought these really, really cute little red shoes courtesy of Ashley Madekwe are really cute too, able to make any outfit POP! with colour. Red shoes like these really suit a minimalist outfit with paired down make-up, so there's a flash of colour and a more concentrated focus on a pair of delectable red shoes!

Special Thanks to Coco Rocha and Ashley Madekwe
Visit their blogs @: