Monthly Archives: November 2010

Second-hand finds: 2 x simple black dresses

I always get a little bit excited when I spot a simple but well-made black dress in a charity shop. But often they turn out not to be the right size, they’re in a bad condition or the cut & style just doesn’t appeal to me.

But sometimes they’re just right and you know they’ll become wardrobe classics that you’ll pull out of your closet regularly for years to come.

Like this wool/polyester-mix vintage dress, that I bought many, many years ago in my favourite charity shop in central Copenhagen (I used to visit it in all my lunch breaks) for around 6 pounds.

I love the simple design and the way the waist is accentuated with at thin curvy band, sewn into the dress.

And here’s another classic;  a black Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress found in a charity shop in LA a few years ago. It cost 20 dollars.

It’s a bit short so I prefer to wear it over leggings or very thick tights.

This is exactly why Harvey Nichols’ Christmas decorators…

shouldn’t be allowed to work when they’re hung-over (or in a bad mood).

Pizza by the metre at Made in Italy

Sometimes all you want is half a metre of mozzarella-loaded woodfired Neapolitan pizza.

But good Italian pizzas are hard to come by in London. Our all-time favourite place used to be Spacca Napoli in Dean Street and I was heartbroken when it had to close earlier this year due to the Crossrail project.

But I promptly stopped crying over spilled pizza when the husband recently took me to Made in Italy in Old Compton Street. He already knew the restaurant as he’d been taken there for lunch by an Italian colleague (I see that as a HUGE stamp of approval).

This restaurant is part of the Made in Italy group that specialise in authentic “pizzametro” (although this one weirdly enough isn’t mentioned on their website).

We had parmigiana (oven-baked layers of aubergine w. mozzarella, tomato sauce and fresh basil) for starter and after that we both had pizza. Each pizza is 25 cm, so if you want to try two different toppings, you simply order 50 cm. They also have quite a lot of pasta and meat dishes. Take a look at their menu.

I really liked the food (the pizzas are almost as good as Spacca Napoli) and the atmosphere which is laid-back, buzzing and cosy. Prices are low (£6.50 for the parmigiana, £4.50-10.50 per 25 cm pizza) and the staff is lovely and even provided me with a “doggy-box” to take the remaining pizza home in.

Made in Italy, 14A Old Compton Street, full details and map.

Who wore it best? – Sparkly gold Jaeger blazer

I bought this sparkly Jaeger blazer in one of my favourite Danish charity shops many years ago. I can’t remember the exact price, but it was probably between £5-10. I’ve only ever worn it once and that was at a Christmas party last year (evidence to the left).

So when we got invited to a “Bling”-themed party it was time to pull this little darling out of the closet again. All was well, and I felt well-prepared for the party.

But that was only until the husband snatched it and decided that it looked better on him. Let’s have a little side-by-side comparison:

And I of course had to agree! Must be the way he so trendily has puffed up the sleeves. So off he went to the party, looking like a slightly deranged Las Vegas magician (he did decide to leave the 3D glasses at home though).

And I was left with the second-best option: SILVER, in the shape of this oversized second-hand top which I also found in a Danish charity shop many years ago.

Second-hand find: the most glittery of gold belts

I never say no to some bling, especially not so close to Christmas. So of course I had to check out this belt when I spotted it in the window of one of the charity shops on West End Lane.

From a distance it could have been just another cheap glitter belt, but when I picked it up it was really heavy and well-made with gold “scales” hand-sewn on to a thick woven fabric. Price 6 pounds.

I’ll probably wear it with an all-black outfit, like the one below where it brightens up a an otherwise boring black jeans & t-shirt combo.

The twilight hour in W9

Yesterday I went for a walk. From Maida Vale and up Abbey Road until it twists and becomes West End Lane.

I had brought my camera as I wanted to double-check the West Hampstead charity shops before writing the guide. But I ended up taking more pictures of the sky than anything else.

It was just so pretty as the day’s fog had finally cleared, letting the setting sun shine blood-orange red through tree-tops and illuminate windows.

Second-hand find: Camel coloured coat

I was taking a friend on a tour of the charity shops in the Bayswater and Notting Hill area last Friday when I spotted this wool coat in the Octavia Foundation shop on Queensway.

At just £10 I saw no reason to fight the naughty shopping impulse, as I actually have been looking for a camel coat for a while. The coat doesn’t have any buttons so I’ll have to wear it with a belt to keep the cold and persisting winter wind out.

Book group at England’s Lane Books

When I venture outside on these autumn-becoming-winter days I’m greeted by the howling wind, beaten in the face by the rain and assaulted by the dropping temperatures.

NOT very nice, so I hastily retreat back home to my sofa, make a cup of steaming hot tea and bury my eyes in books. Luckily I’ve just joined a book group so I have a very good excuse for turning the pages.

Photo via

The group takes place every month at the charming England’s Lane Books in Hampstead and is hosted by my lovely fellow blogger, Helena Halme (go read her  brilliant blog).

Last month we discussed Naomi Alderman’s The Lessons and this month we’re tackling the two books above.

The L-Shaped Room by Lynne Reid Banks is about a young woman who gets pregnant in pre-Pill, pre-Abortion  Act Britain and has to move into a dingy room in Fulham. I’m half-way through it and loving it.

The second book is The Slap by Melbourne writer Christos Tsiolkas about a man who slaps a kid at a barbecue. A slap that proves to have far-reaching consequences.

This book club/book group business is all new to me but I’m already a fan and think it’s a wonderful way to pay tribute to a book that an author has spent a hell of a long time writing, while at the same time exercising your brain a bit in good company. And you always end up discovering underlying themes and meanings that you would otherwise not have noticed.

The next bookclub is on Tuesday 23rd November at 7 pm at:
England’s Lane Books
41 England’s Lane

If you’re interested in attending, email them at or just turn up on the night.

Contact the bookshop for more info and keep an eye on their website for other upcoming events, as they do book readings and signings as well. Both books are also available in the shop.

New from H&M: animal print harem/jodphur/peg trousers

I bought these in H&M yesterday. They cost 20 pounds and are 100% viscose. Basically I just bought them to have something comfy to lounge around in at home, but I might wear them out with a pair of wedges and maybe a black cropped jacket.

They come in black as well, but I of course had to get the animal printesque version. I’m not normally a fan of patterns this sharp and bright, but needed something to lighten up these horribly dark and rainy days.

Space Santa in Carnaby Street

Yes, I know it’s waaaay too early to talk about Christmas. But I love the Christmas lights that make the London streets sparkle and glitter in the dark. Especially the quirky ones in Carnaby Street.

This year James Glancy Design has propelled the famous little street into the space age with floating spheres, multi-colored stars, whirling planets and Rayban-wearing astronaut Santas that are too cool for school. I like.