Monthly Archives: October 2010

Favourite blog: Goddammit I’m Mad

Sister Wolf is pretty grumpy (try fucking mad) about a lot of things: pretentious (fashion) bloggers, especially the ones who use words like “rad” and “gnarly”, horse-like fashion editors, overpriced and over-accessorised “It” shoes and clueless style in general.

She does like a few things though, like Yohji Yamamoto and tattoos.  Oh, and she’s the living proof that you don’t have to chop off your long black hair or lay off the red-lipstick-Morticia-look just because you’ve hit your fifties.

Here’s how she introduces herself:

Sister Wolf has been mad for a long time. She is here to share the joy. Celebrities make her mad, Republicans make her mad, cultural crimes and the misuse of language make her apoplectic. Lots and lots of other stuff, too. Funny things make her happy! Horrible things (like those chimps who didn’t get any birthday cake) make her day.

Read Goddammit I’m Mad

My black winter wedges: Carvela Slip boots

After a month of researching and trying on and pondering I finally decided upon  what was going to be MY pair of black winter wedges for everyday use. These Carvela Slip wedges cost 130 pound, but I bought them in TopShop’s shoe department and got 10% off as I somehow still have a valid student card.

I actually headed for Oxford Street having finally decided to buy the practical Clark’s Yarra Desert boots but turns out they’re completely sold out. So I settled for these instead, they’re a bit less practical but soooo comfortable and no too high. Come in a grey suede version as well.

Shop Carvela Slip Wedges at Kurtgeiger.com

Pho – cheap & modern Vietnamese street food

The cooler autumn weather is screaming for hot steaming soups. When travelling in Vietnam many years ago we fell in love with Pho, the clear soup with noodles and beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga), which is served with lime, fresh chili and Vietnamese greens.  In Vietnam they serve it at most street stalls, often for breakfast. Very delicious.

Back in Denmark we had to travel half-way through Copenhagen to find a Vietnamese restaurant. And the only modern one, Nhà Hàng, is ridiculously expensive as is has almost doubled its prices since it opened. That’s just not right.

Back to London, where there are quite a few Vietnamese restaurants, most of them in East London. We mainly eat out in Soho where Sam works and luckily Pho, a small chain of smart-looking restaurants serving cheap Vietnamese street food, decided to open another shop smack in the middle of Wardour Street.

We tried it a few days ago and their phos were just lovely. (Warning to purists: This IS a modernised version of Vietnamese, meaning trendy young waiters, cosy contemporary interior and not always 100% authentic food combinations.)

We both had the Pho Bo Dac Biet (with steak, brisket and meatballs). It was easily the best meatballs I’ve had in a pho soup; dark meaty and succulent and not chewy at all. I would have liked a bit more greens to garnish the soup and the stock was not mind-blowing, just very good. Pho also gets an extra point for putting a lot of sauces on the tables (two different chili sauces, fish sauce & hoisin sauce). That way you can mix your own perfect taste combination.

Prices are low: soups cost between 6.95 – 8.45 pounds. See the whole menu here.

Pho, 163-165 Wardour Street, London (plus 4 more locations)

Read about another of my favourite Vietnamese restaurants, Song Que Café in East London.

Terre d’Hermès – my new favourite fragrance, for him (and her)

Do you sometimes happen to sit next to someone on the train, or maybe you’re walking behind them on the street, and then you get a whiff of the perfume they’re wearing and you’re all like: “That is the most edgy, delicious and classy smell ever, I want to smell like that”?

But then you’re too shy to run after them and ask about the name of the fragrance.

Well, last week one of Sam’s colleagues was wearing what I thought was the most amazing perfume and after a few pints I had no trouble asking. Turns out it’s Terre D’Hermès. The scent is very woody (cedar), peppery and smoky. It also contains vetiver, which I really like.

So I bought it for Sam today, and if he gets tired of it after a while that’s just fine, as I would gladly inherit it. Until then I might steal a few drops here and there until I finally get around to buying the Comme des Garcons’ Dover Street Market perfume on my wish list.

Japanese fashion at the Barbican

I love clothes as a form of expression, as personal style and a way to portray your personality. I have a lot of fun playing with different outfits and love getting inspiration from people on the street.

But to be honest most things surrounding the concept “fashion”, and particularly fashion magazines, bore me to death. I really don’t need anyone to tell me what to wear, and their view of “the right taste” always seems to be restricted to the latest trends from a handful of approved designers. You can never stray too far away from the mainstream and somehow everyone ends up looking the same. Whenever I occasionally flick through a fashion magazine I always close it feeling slightly inferior because I don’t have this seasons “it” bag/coat/sunglasses/boots. It’s absurd, because you can never fully catch up with all the “must-haves”. And that way the wheels of consumerism keep on turning.

I just think there are so many things in life that are more important.

But I do have a big soft spot for Japanese fashion design with its focus on timelessness, structure and crazy form experiments. So I was very happy indeed when I saw a poster at Maida Vale tube stations informing me about a new exhibition at the Barbican. It’s called Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese Fashion and opens October 15.

The exhibition is the first exhibition in Europe to comprehensively survey avant-garde Japanese fashion, from the early 1980s to the present. I can’t wait to check it out and will let you know how it is.

What: Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese Fashion, 15 October 2010 – 6 February 2011
Where: Barbican Art Gallery

Early embrace of The Christmas Spirit

Photo: Wendy Piersall (flickr)

Something strange happens to me every year, when autumn winds and chilly temperatures start to sweep the streets. I get into this crazy Christmassy mood, almost like my body and senses have been invaded by the Christmas spirit of my childhood (yes, I probably watch too many horror movies).

Everywhere I go I can hear jingle bells, see the snow falling and smell the orange pomanders. Oooh, and I wouldn’t mind some glögg with klejner, pebernødder and jødekager.

And then puffff! it goes away as quickly as it came and it doesn’t return in another year, not even once in December.

So, when I heard the Chrismas Spirit knocking on my door last week and then again this morning, I promply decided to dig out my most Christmassy second-hand sweaters, red and gold of course, and now I just need to find an orange/clove scented candle so I can embrace the fuzzy cosy feeling while it lasts…

First up is this red “Snow-Lotus” cashmere sweater. It’s incredibly soft and has mother-of-pearl buttons. 6 pounds in Bayswater second-hand shop.

Next up is this “Convair” gold metallic sweater. 3 pounds in Bayswater second-hand shop.

And last up is this home-knitted gold sweater, that I bought many years ago in a second-hand shop in Denmark. I came with a knitted gold skirt for that perfect over-the-top glittery gold look. But when I got home I realised why it ended up in the second-hand shop: there was a huge red wine (or could it be gløgg, hmmm?) stain down the front of the skirt. Oh well, at least the Christmas-drunk woman missed the sweater…

Indian Summer Sunday at Primrose Hill

The weather was just beautiful today with rays of sunlight from a bright blue sky reflecting in the first orange autumn leaves.  One such a day there’s simply no better place to be than at the top of Primrose Hill.

Second-hand find: 1 pound purple silk dress

While we’re in a purple mood why not show you the 1 pound purple dress I found in the Fara charity shop during my second-hand shopping tour of Pimlico & Belgravia. It’s made of top quality silk and super comfortable. The fabric is a bit faded here and there but I actually think that adds to the character of the dress.

The tag says “Textile Treasures – Gallery of Antique Costume & Textiles”. I found this old article describing this London gallery that specialised in making reproductions of old design classics such as 18th-century waistcoats, Twenties tea dresses and pyjama trousers in silk. I don’t think the gallery exists any more, but at least I own one of their designs now.

Read my second-hand guide to Pimlico & Belgravia
More second-hand guides here
Check out my previous second-hand finds

Healthy purple potato haze

Yesterday I wanted to make “bangers & mash“. Weirdly enough I’d been craving  sausages ever since watching The Apprentice the day before, where the two teams were on a ridiculous sausage-making mission. So off I went to Sainsbury’s and what was the first thing I saw: purple potatoes!

Sam had been telling me about how these potatoes, originally from the high reaches of the Andes, are even more healthy than ordinary potatoes (10 x more antioxidants) and how they make some really yummy mash. So the timing couldn’t be better as they’ve just started selling these purple little buggers at Sainsbury’s. They’re called Purple Majesty potatoes and are grown by Albert Bartlett.

Down in my trolley they went together with some savoy cabbage. After the supermarket I headed for our brilliant local butcher, Sheepdrove Organic Farm, and bought some Cumberland sausages and ended up making this dish:

These potatoes are really, really easy to make, as they contain a lot of starch. Just make the mash like you normally would, for me that meant adding salt, pepper, butter and milk.

The savoy cabbage side dish is just delicious, healthy and easy to make: chop up the cabbage, put it in a sauce-pan with a bit of butter/olive oil, a couple of finely chopped garlic cloves and a sprinkling of salt and vinegar. Let it simmer under a lid for around 45 min. or until it becomes as soft as you prefer.

Serve with mustard and ketchup.

Bon appetit!

Bonus info for parents: I bet even the pickiest of children will happily sink their fork into this purple tower…

Bloody Bambi that’s what I call subversive crocheting!

Who killed Bambi? - from the series Crossing Wonderland, 2008

Today I stumbled upon and fell head-over-heels in love with textile/crochet artist Patricia Waller. This Berlin-based artist is right up my morbid alley (so morbid am I that I did an essay at Uni about the aesthetic value of post-mortem photography).

Back to Patricia, because what she does with her crochet sculptures is she takes a homely craft that is normally associated with cosy grannies and cutesy baby toys and gives it a gigantic bloody whack in the forehead with her crochet hook.

A lot of the sculptures are pretty big, up to 2 metres long. I have no idea how expensive these things are but I if our flat was big enough I would happily let one of these creatures inhabit a corner.

Here are a few of my favourites, you can see more  right here.

Rabbit 2 - from the series Rabbits, 2003

Accident 4 - from the series Accidents, 2004

Unicorn - from the series Crossing Wonderland, 2005

Bad Luck - from the series Crossing Wonderland 2007

Twins 1 - from the series Twins, 2005

Accident 4 - from the series Accidents, 2004

Antlers, 2002

Bird in the Hand, 2006

Baby Ghost, 2006

Rabbit 1 - from the series Rabbits, 2003

All pictures are © Patricia Waller and via  www.patriciawaller.com