Saturday, 29 August 2009

Ben Fogle to the rescue - Indirectly!

I had reached a critical point on the accessory front. All my treasured handbags from, Celine, Vuitton, Hermes (just the one), Anya, Gucci, Prada, Miu Miu, Pierre Hardy, Bottega - ok, I'd better stop that list right now, but you get the picture, are just not working here. They are either the wrong shape or wrong size or wrong colour or wrong occasion - just wrong, wrong, wrong. So being resourceful I googled country handbags, this was completely useless and I spent hours looking at saddle bags which was not what I had in mind.

I have recently been to several country fairs, which I hoped would inspire me, but again it was a false hope, as all the women here seem to only possess jute, organic, recycled bags, you know the sort you get from your local butcher or if in London your local Waistrose, and absolutely no good for me. I was beginning to get a little downhearted and was giving my Vuitton Neverfull a bit of a bashing when I chanced upon the perfect item. Hooooray I cried as I gazed through the window of a lovely little boutique I found in a very nearby town. Incidentally parking is 30p for 2 hours - bargain. Back to the bag I hear you shout. I walked in and rather than dive straight for it I took my time, glancing at the spectacular selection and variety of things on offer in this Aladdin's Cave. Home wares mingle in harmony with some tasteful knitwear, candles sit side by side with silk blouses and scented soaps peek out from shoe stands. All very clever, but where are the handbags? I never like to appear keen in shops and was about to approach the perfect and pert sales assistant for help when I saw them, nestled between some suede boots and brightly coloured cashmere jackets.

I sidled over and began to fondle the fabric, hmmmm some sort of heavyweight linen with leather handles, I was enjoying this. The moment of truth - how much - well I was pleasantly surprised and not overwhelmed with the urge to run out and get a night job to pay for this little gem. I needed to know more about these bags, who, what where did they come from. Shock and awe - they emanate indirectly from BEN FOGLE, that explorer chap on the telly. When I say indirectly, what I mean is, his very clever sister TAMARA FOGLE makes them and they are completely gorgeous, and I have fallen in love with all of them, but do feel a particular pull towards the Vintage Hungarian Linen one. So thank you Fogle clan for saving me from hangbag hell and introducing me to the deep pleasures of linen. Do take a look at Tamara Loves Leather.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Time for Tea

A new and intriguing development, and one which I did not anticipate. The Tea dilema. We had invited some new friends over for Tea, and ofcourse my main concern was what to wear for the occassion. Handsome husband just didn't get it, I tried to explain that unlike lunch which can be informal and dinner which is a time when we are allowed the luxury of dressing up a bit, Tea was not in my normal fashion dictionary, and frankly I was stumped, however the weather was helpful, being warm and sunny, and I decided we could definitely vacate to the garden for Tea, which made my decision of attire far easier, a tea dress ofcourse, isn't that why they are called so, were they not invented to help us ladies know exactly what to wear at 4 o'clock in the afternoon? Fortunately, I have a little Chloe dress which I think can definitely be described as a Tea Dress, draping in just the right spots, tiny pearlised buttons down the front, and darling gently puffed sleeves. Completely perfect. Aaah I hear you cry, what about footwear. No problem, sorted, I found some hardy, but elegant footwear on a seaside trip, strangely for me not a known label, but the perfect shape for this sort of occasion, round toed, and slightly wider heel than I normally wear, and definitely not high.
Our guests arrived and I was delighted to see that my clothes choice had been right, and the other ladies all looked equally elegant, in little dresses and one rather divine cashmere cropped cardigan from Marilyn Moore (I spied the label as it was on the back of the chair) and all was going well, I had warmed some scones, made the tea, decanted the cream and my fabulous homemade mulberry jam into bowls, and carried it all out to the garden on my gleaming tray. Every one oohed and aaahed at the sight of the delicious Tea feast. I poured tea into cups, and we all drank. Of course, we were all very polite about being the first to tuck into the grub, so I thought, being the hostess perhaps I should take the first scone. Oh how wonderful I felt as I sliced through the warm piece of perfection, then added a large dollop of thick cream, finished off with an even larger dollop of jam. I was focusing so much on the heavenly ritual of scone spreading I was unaware of anything else, and as I bit into the masterpiece I had created I found myself under attack from a vicious wasp. I lashed out with my right hand, knocking the mulberry jam flying. I watched as jam and bowl flew through the air and landed into the lap of my guest who had just placed her gorgeous pale pink Marilyn Moore cashmere sweater exactly there. The shame, it looked like a murder scene. Next time I will stick to cake and biscuits.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Standing Appointment

I have found a handy little salon, which I can walk to (in the right shoes) in about 2 minutes. I have been spying on it from the little blue cafe I found which sells perfect lattes and delicious pannini. I didn't want to go directly in, as it could have been embarrassing to simply turn round and walk out, if I didn't like what I saw ie. ladies in plastic caps having hair pulled through for highlights, so I watched, while sipping and stuffing, making sure to place myself at the right table for a birds eye view of the exit door of said salon.
I was pleasantly surprised, as ladies were going in looking, well I'll be kind, they looked average, and came out looking really quite lovely, with proper shiny locks, that had obviously been blow dried and had not been sat under some steaming weird drier that pulls out from the wall.
Then a wonderous moment, one of these ladies came out with not only shiny locks, but also that familiar limp wrist we all associate with wet nails needing not to touch anything. Oh hooray, a manicure beckons.
In I dashed, latte in hand, without hesitation to book myself in. I thought it would be wise to have manicure first and then I could spy in more detail at what was going on in the hairdresser section. Oh heaven, they had had a cancellation and could fit me in in 10 minutes.
Well, it was great, a perfectly acceptable manicure, though I insisted on using my own varnish (I always carry a bottle of my favourite Chanel Pink Rose with me, incase of emergencies), as I wasn't keen on any of their limited colours. The manicurist was pleasant, and it transpires she is a fully trained beautician and does facials, waxing etc.. Simply marvelous. We chatted about all the various agricultural shows coming up, and which were the ones to visit and those to give a miss.
Then it was time to pay, no great surprises here, the cost was about the same as in London, fair enough, and then I asked whether it was possible to make a Standing appointment. "Oh no madam, I'm afraid we only do all our appointments sitting down"!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

I've Arrived

I have arrived, and am beginning to feel my way around this town. Ofcourse, my main worry, besides how to use the Aga (I don't seem to be able to get the timings right), is what is the correct footwear. My gorgeous Emma Hope slip ons will just get ruined, if not by mud, then by dust, and that goes for all my beautiful flats and loafers, so I have been wearing converse as I don't care if they get ruined and when it's been wet, I have my Dubarry boots, which I spied several girls wearing at the horse show we went to on Saturday, so I know I've got that right.
There is a huge difference here with regard to attitude on clothes/fashion - as far as I can tell, the women/girls appear to be indifferent to clothes, however, I can definitely sense a real element of a certain style, certain unspoken rules, and it is not something that is discussed.
I shall be investigating further, once kids are back at school I will have much more time to spend on myself.


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