Summer Dresses: The Best of the High Street

I never look, or feel, quite right in a dress. Some people (people who tend to have the lithe limbs of Gisele or who are French) can float about in them with nonchalance. I have to think carefully about cut, length and style before I even consider one. Even then, I feel like I’m dressing up in a costume. I’m a jeans girl. Dresses do not come naturally.

Sometimes, however, the occasion calls for it or it’s simply too hot to wear anything else. In theory, a dress should be the easiest thing in the world to chuck on and go. In reality, though, looking effortless takes a bit of effort. Or at least a bit of thought about what does and doesn’t suit you.

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Off the Beaten Track in Paris: An Insider’s Guide to Seeing the Real City

[This article was first published four years ago in the now-defunct online lifestyle magazine Zarwil].

Anyone lucky enough to be preparing for a trip to the French capital will probably plan to tick off a few tourist boxes whilst they’re there.  Some monuments, like the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe, are classic tourist haunts.  If it’s your first time in Paris, by all means visit the must-see attractions. It’s difficult to have a bad time in the City of Light and Love.  If you have a bit more time, though, there are plenty of hidden gems and new places to discover.

Having lived in Paris for a year and exhausted all of the main tourist traps, I had the luxury of time to walk around, explore and stumble upon new areas of the city, which is in fact really made up of multiple small villages (‘Arrondissements’), each with a Continue reading

Paris and Venice This Autumn: What’s on, Where to Stay and How to Travel and Dine in Style

[This article was originally published in Zarwil Magazine (now defunct) in 2014. Although the specific exhibitions are no longer running,  other information remains relevant.]

It would seem that the UK has now been irrevocably plunged into instant autumn.  Whilst the change in season can be beautiful to behold, the period bridging the gap between now and the festive season often seems like one long, bleak three month slog stretching out before us, with the weather getting steadily colder and the days getting shorter.

It therefore goes without saying that autumn is the perfect time for a city break.  What better way to escape the daily grind than to get a bit of culture, see some beautiful architecture and eat (and drink) like a king. Here are a few suggestions for things to see and do in two European cities this autumn, handily collated for your reading pleasure. Continue reading

Dressing Up This Christmas: The Best Outfits on the High Street

Well, well, well. Here we are. December the first has been and gone and I popped an advent calendar chocolate for breakfast this morning. It’s well and truly Chriiiiistmaaaas.

This means that you’ve probably been invited to a Christmas party or twain. And that means you have a legitimate excuse to go shopping because you have absolutely nothing to wear and you hate all of your clothes. Woohoo!

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The Revenant: A Film Review

This review comes late, but prompted by the fact that it’s the Oscars soon and I had a half-written piece lying dormant within my laptop, I felt compelled to finish it. Because I loved this film. A few minor gripes aside, it’s the best thing I’ve seen in a long time.

I was ready to hate it, I really was. Word of mouth reviews like ‘I couldn’t wait for it to be over’ and ‘the bear attack goes on for TWENTY MINUTES’ were a bit of a deterrent, but with a large plastic cup full of red wine in hand I readied myself for a gruelling two hours and thirty-six minutes. Continue reading

Why I’m OK with being a Basic Bitch

I’m loving the new series of Peep Show. When I’m feeling especially self-deprecating I sometimes say there’s a touch of the Mark Corrigan about me, although as you don’t know me personally and  may therefore take that literally I won’t say it here. The first episode brought to light something I’ve been thinking a lot about recently. Mark might say he likes watching documentaries about William Morris with his new flatmate, but really he’s just a basic bitch. Jeremy put it scathingly brilliantly:

‘The problem for you is I’m your friend. I know you, Mark. I know you like to pretend that you’re this stuffed shirt who reads incredibly boring books about dead people killing each other with bayonets and typhoid, but I know the truth. I’ve watched Grand Designs with you. That smile when some eco-glass gets delayed on its way from Antwerp and the nice couple gets pushed over budget. That’s the real you. … You’re this pathetic human who likes Twirls and Downton and Bond and burgers, so don’t come the big guy with me because it won’t fucking wash.

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What I’ve Been Listening to this Month (July)

What a strange spring and early summer it has been. The major life events of other people have caused me to look at time and its passing in a different way, reminding me to notice subtle changes like how lush and green this country is in July. Now that I’m getting a little older and the years are speeding up, the change in season is something I want to grasp and hold onto. Summer seemed to last forever when I was little but now it goes by in the blink of an eye. Continue reading