Sunday, September 23, 2012

A la Parisienne

Paris street style, simple
Simple Paris style from The Sartorialist
I had an absolutely wonderful stay in Paris last week. It was my second time visiting Paris and I was staying with friends from university so it was wonderful to be able to go beyond yseeing the tourist sites and to go off the beaten track. I have never quite comprehended the admiration that surrounds French women, or at least their clothes. Yes, they are well groomed and presented, seeming to be universally blessed with clear skin and great bone structure. They also supposedly don't get fat (although my childhood holidays in the south of france so not support this), have successful, sexy marriages and well-mannered children. But stylistically it all seems While one may appreciate the elegance of classic style and see its beauty. Provided you have the funds to buy quality it is not difficult to pull off. It is the kind of clothing I pull out in a hurry on a lazy day in order to look 'put together'.

White shirt and jeans with bright accessories, Paris street style
Edgy accessories elevate a simple white shirt and jeans
An art teacher of mine at school used to say that he could teach anyone to be a good draftsman but the sign of artistic talent is the ability to use colour. It requires a certain eye for putting things together that cannot be taught. Dark jeans + simple top + blazer or leather jacket is a great formula but, especially when in monochrome, not adventurous. This does not stop one aspiring to this effortless and simple style but for me I am much more impressed by risk taking. Be it layering, colour, accessories or print. Even a simple variation of an interesting cut or accessorising can elevate the chic to stylish cool.

Paris street style, orange jacket
Pops of colour give an outfit a wonderful lift
More on what I got up to in Paris, as well as fashion week notes, when I get back from Cornwall. And yes I'll probably be writing about that too so at this rate my writings will be turning into a travel blog!


Thursday, September 20, 2012

Dropped into LFW and nipped across the channel

What a whirlwind few days, on Saturday morning I received a text from a friend asking if I wanted to go to London Fashion Week. Of course I responded "yes!" and a few hours later I was watching models stomp down the John Rocha catwalk. It was such an amazing experience and also slightly surreal, having read about this since I was at school! to suddenly be there. I will write a proper post about this and my stay in Paris which I just returned from. Another spur of the moment turn of events! I booked my Eurostar tickets on Friday after chatting to a uni friend who lives there and suggested I come over for a few days. I really want to do more of these kind of impulsive things from now on. For too long I have hesitated when opportunities come up for fear it will go wrong or that I cannot justify the expense etc, etc. I want to take life by the balls and grab all the amazing opportunities that I am fortunate enough to have come my way.


Saturday, September 15, 2012

Rustic Apple Cake




Sometimes all you want from a cake is something easy and tasty that will help use up a huge glut of apples. Okay so the latter part is a little uncommon but the first two are very much true here. I first came up with this recipe a few years ago to use a bumper apple crop as I had tired of the usual tarts and pies and it rather delectable if I say myself. Moist and dense with sharp chunks of apple and polenta for an unexpected crunch it works well with a cup of tea or warm with a dollop of cream for an easy pudding. Plus the high fruit content means you can dupe yourself that it's practically one of your five a day if you have a large enough slice!


Thursday, September 13, 2012

Call of the Wild

Leopard in Yala National Park Sri Lanka
A real stand out experience for me in Sri Lanka was visiting Yala National Park. It was the country's first national park, established in 1900, and is home to a large variety of birds and mammals. We were extremely lucky during our Safari as although the driver of our Jeep was young and did not seem very good at the job (he kept on driving past animals that we spotted and then by the time he reversed they had been scared away) we saw all of the main animals. For the first hour or so we seemed to be driving though lifeless scrub land but finally the sightings started with a few peacocks and water buffalo and kept on coming. The major attraction of Yala is the leopards - it has the highest concentration of the shy animals in the world. It was a real shock to be driving away from an elephant sighting and see one crossing the road to a waterhole in front of the vehicle! It stayed at the water drinking for some time, evidently thirsty from the baking hot day. When it stopped it looked up and, seeing vehicles queued up to watch it, sprinted back across the road and into the bushes.
Leopard at watering hole in Yala National Park Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan Elephant, Yala
Our first wild elephant sighting next to the beach
Sri Lankan Tusked Elephant, Yala
This sighting was a complete surprise as we came to a Jeep in front of us and a tusked elephant next to the road which then walked right close past us
Sri Lankan Tusked Elephant, Yala
It came extremely close as it walked past, reaching out its trunk to touch the Jeep
Mugger Crocodile in watering hole at Yala, Sri Lanka
It was fascinating watching the crocodiles at this watering hole, when we first arrived we could only see a couple lying motionless with their mouths open on the bank but as we sat what we had thought was some mud breaking the water moved and came out and several others emerged from the depths
Water buffalo in Yala, Sri Lanka
Water buffalo
Water buffalo and peacock at a watering hole in Yala, Sri Lanka

Deer at a watering hole in Yala, Sri Lanka
As the sun went down more animlas came out to drink at the watering holes such as these deer

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


Now that I'm no longer on holiday and Britain's mini heat wave is over I am trying to get myself back into covering up and breaking away from short, light, bright things. I absolutely adore this field print top from Zara, the colours are perfect for the end of summer and it is in a lovely silky fabric. I paired it with a pair of Miu Miu jeans that were an amazing find on clearance at TKMaxx a few years ago. When I got back to my parent's it suddenly struck me that i would be perfectly camouflaged on the recently harvested fields on our farm so I persuaded my mum to take a few pics.

And When the Day Comes it Will Have All Been Fun...

The XX at the Empire Shepherd Bush
What a great weekend this has been. Saw two artists that I absolutely adore live; Perfume Genius on Thursday and The XX on Monday, in between basked in the sunshine in the Kent countryside. If you don't know Perfume Genius then you should, he has a beautiful soft voice and sings amazingly written haunting songs. But I'm afraid you can't. I liked him first and he is already becoming far too popular - I missed out in his London gig this winter because too many people share my view on him. Yes, I am one of those people who listens to independent music and gets upset when it achieves greater success. I know it's selfish but I don't want to loose the privilege of intimate gigs and cheap seats (his gig was at The Union Chapel in Islington). No one will care when I say "I liked them first". The XX on the other hand need no introduction. Despite a sound that is very different to the majority of chart music they have become extremely popular, particularly since winning a Mercury Award for their album 'XX'. I was be lucky to get tickets for their gig for their new album 'Coexist' at The Empire Shepherds Bush since it sold out in minutes. In fact, after refreshing the page incessantly for about an hour before tickets were released I missed out on getting standing tickets in the time it took to enter my credit card details!
Perfume Genius at Union Chapel London
Perfume Genius at the Union Chapel

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Adventure Continued: Colombo, Baby Elephants and Kandy

Traffic speeding by below the apartment
After the beach we headed to Colombo for a day or so. The heat there was astonishing as the sun beat down and reflected off the buildings. It is not a beautiful city but it was still interesting to wander round. We visited a fascinating Buddhist temple that seemed almost like a museum, with shelves filled with jewellery or watches or coins or some other valuable that had been donated over the years. We were staying in an apartment block in what seemed to be the city's equivalent of South Kensington, sandwiched between the presidents house and expensive hotels. One of my favourite places was the Galle Face Hotel, which exuded old-world, colonial charm and is a perfect spot for a couple of (very reasonable) cocktails with the sea lapping at your side. It is one of the oldest hotels of its kind, predating Raffles in Singapore and has hosted many famous people over the years such as the writer Chekhov.

Bath time for the young elephant at the temple

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Faces of Sri Lanka

East meets West, my friends and I, drivers, security and plantation superintendent all take in the view
 Sri Lanka is a country that has faced much hardship in recent years, struck first by civil war and then the devastating tsunami, but this does not seem to show on the faces of its people. We were stuck by the warmth and optimism of the people there. From the smiling face of the man who met us at the airport onwards we ...

Everywhere we went we took photos of Anoura so he would be able to show his wife and children

Saturday, September 08, 2012

The Wanderer Returns

The holiday was typified by amazing views such as this one over the sea from our apartment in Colombo

Yet another sudden absence, just when I thought I was getting the hang of this blogging lark I get out-of-sync again. At least this time I have a good reason, at the end of August I went to Sri Lanka on what was probably one of the most wonderful holidays I have been on.

And the other direction
I decided to visit the country as one of my friends' family is from there, although he grew up in England, and another has recently moved there for work. I have to admit that before deciding to go there it was a place I knew virtually nothing about other than flickers from the coverage of the civil war and the tsunami a few years a ago. However, as soon as I had got up the Wikipedia page that mentioned its status as a place of leading biodiversity and seen a few pictures I knew I had to go.