Friday, 29 March 2013

Taking A Break

A Minor Obsession is on hiatus while I try to find a way of getting more hours into each day!

Monday, 18 March 2013

New In: White Leather Vest

Friday was Bonus Day at work... a day that I (and everyone else in the office) look forward to all year. I always treat myself to a little something on Bonus Day, so I headed into town at the weekend to find something lovely so spend my bit of extra cash on. 

But when I got there, of course, Sod's Law kicked into play - why is that when I'm skint the shops are full of lovely things, but when I'm in the mood to spend, nothing is quite awesome enough!? I visited my usual high street haunts - Topshop, Zara, Urban Outfitters and H&M threw up nothing to excite me, COS was weirdly disappointing, and Liberty and All Saints did have some nice things, but were still just a bit too pricey to justify splurging on. But then, Monki! Oh Monki, I think it might just be the perfect balance of awesomeness and affordability.

I found a billion things to try on, but came away with this white leather top, which set me back only £45! I cannot wait to wear it, although as my Love pointed out - surely the virtues of it being both a vest (for warm days), and leather (for cold days) kind of cancel each other out, making it slightly useless?! Still, he's a (straight) man, so what does he know...

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

& Other Stories

Between COS, H&M and Monki, the H&M group already take a huge percentage of my fashion cash. But it seems that they are determined to take even more still, with the opening last week of their newest brand, & Other Stories.

I visited the brand-spanking new store on Regent Street at the weekend, and I have to say, tis a fine store indeed! The concept is a little different to the other brands - & Other Stories is all about styling, and taking inspiration from a million different places. But it's not just about the clothes: with accessories, shoes, beauty and make-up also available (and, crucially, all displayed together), it is all about the total look. In terms of the style and pricing, I feel that the clothes fall somewhere between COS and the upstairs of the H&M on Long Acre (aka the only branch worth going to!), that is, there are plenty of quirky and statement pieces, along with a good scattering of very wearable basics. The accessories were really quite special though - the shoes struck me as very designer-y (reminding me of Acne styles especially), with some real Marmite designs that will either delight or distress, and there were some excellent bags and purses to be had as well.

I also really love the website, which is more appealing than either the COS site or the H&M one. I like the mix of black'n'white and colour pictures, and how some images feature a model, and some just show the garment - it makes me feel like I'm scrolling through a very stylish Pinterest board, with some little 'stories' thrown in too.




My top picks would be these amazing metallic shoes(£79), this blue silk dress (£79), this navy leather clutch (£79) and this necklace (£19). They are all very reasonably priced I think - a similarish pair of shoes from All Saints would cost nearly twice as much, while a silk dress from just about anywhere would probably come in at over £100. The quality seems pretty good, although it is hard to tell without actually wearing the clothes!

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I did very well and resisted actually buying anything... but it's only a matter of time, for sure! What do you think of this new store, and what are your favourite pieces?

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Lunch at Sketch

As a special birthday treat for my Love yesterday, I took him for lunch at Sketch. It's a fascinating place, consisting of a number of different bars and restaurants, all decorated in fantastical, eclectic style. From the glossy blood dripping down the stairs, to the famous egg-shaped toilets, there is an Alice In Wonderland feel about the place  that is quite magical. We were greeted by name by the very friendly David, who gave us a potted history of the building, the chef and the Sketch 'concept' as he whisked us upstairs to the 2-Michelin-starred The Lecture Room & Library. 

Deciding what to wear was kind of tricky - the extravagance of the restaurant demanded something a little dressed-up (the dress code requires men to wear jackets), but I didn't want to look too formal, or office-y, or like I was going out on a Friday night! Comfort was also key - I knew that this lunch was not going to be a light nibble, so anything too fitted or restricting was not an option. In the end I went for this black sheer-panelled jumpsuit, as it is comfy (it has an elasticated waist!), and simple enough to show off some graphic accessories - I went for my beloved Marni wedges, matching silver cuffs and a new monochrome clutch that I got recently from Zara.
(Zara jumpsuit and clutch, Marni wedges, ASOS cuffs)

We had originally planned to have the six-course taster menu, so we were a little disappointed when we were told that it was finished for the day. We opted instead for the Gourmet Rapide lunch, which is three courses, plus wine, water and coffee. It seems that head chef Pierre Gagnaire has a liking for tiny dishes - the starter consisted of four different dishes (including something turnip-y, something frozen, something fishy, and something inexplicably called 'foie gras Ringo Starr'), and the pudding of three tiny desserts. I felt that both of these courses were 'interesting' rather than 'delicious', and I couldn't help feeling that one amazing dish would have been better than a selection of slightly odd ones. The main course was satisfying normal though - we both opted for the pork belly with black pudding, chicory and orange-scented potato foam. It was really tender and meatily delicious, and somehow also comfortingly rustic. After the puddings, the waiter brought my Love a special birthday cake (complete with candle), which was one of the tastiest things I have ever eaten! 

All in all, I felt that the food was at times a little bit 'style over substance', but as an overall experience, we had a fantastic time at Sketch. We cannot wait to return - although next time I think that we will go for the splendid-looking afternoon tea in one of the downstairs parlours rather than the OTT fine-dining upstairs.

(Clockwise from top left: amuse bouche, four starters, pork belly, trio of puddings and petit fours, birthday cake, coffee)

Thursday, 7 March 2013

New In: Miller Harris 'Terre d'Iris'

Passing through Heathrow duty free at the weekend, I couldn't resist the opportunity to go sniffing around the perfume section. I didn't have anything in particular in mind, but I wanted something that was definitely not like my very beloved Miller Harris 'Noix de Tubereuse', which is sweet and heady, and very feminine. I stuck to the brand though, because I prefer buying perfumes from perfume houses (rather than fashion brands or, heaven forbid, celebrities), and because I find that Lyn Harris' fragrances have really good staying power.

After sniffing a few bottles, I decided on 'Terre d'Iris', which is described as "a perfumed tour of the Mediterranean. Calabrian bergamot and Sicilian bitter orange lead to delicious southern herbs; rosemary from Dalmatia and clary sage are followed by orange flowers and roses from Tunisia and Turkey. A steady base of patchouli, tree moss and French fir balsam supports the signature Florentine orris, the fleur de lys that appears on the coat of arms of the city of the flowers."

I chose it because it smells quite masculine (to the point where I am slightly surprised that it is sold as a women's perfume) especially on the first spritz. It is very herby and foresty-smelling to begin with, but it settles into something much smoother after a while, and as I expected, it lasts for a long time. It definitely does not smell like a 'girly' fragrance, and so is the perfect opposite to my 'Noix de Tubereuse'. I cannot wait to wear it, and I would love to pair it with a masculine outfit to really highlight the mannish edge.

What is your current favourite perfume?

Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The House Hotel

I have just gotten back from a few days in sunny Istanbul where I was lucky enough to stay in the rather beautiful The House Hotel in swanky Nisantasi. It's on a street that can only be described as a (window) shopper's paradise, with Christian Louboutin and Tiffany a short stroll away, and Prada just downstairs (well, if it's good enough for Miuccia...!)

It's a small hotel, with only 45 rooms, and I loved mine. It was bigger than you'd find in London, and like the rest of the hotel, fitted out in calm shades of cream and beige. But this was no boring, you-could-be-anywhere hotel room - the light-up panels in the walls, an Ipod dock, Molton Brown toiletries and Autoban furniture all added to the understated but luxe feel of the place. And while the decor may have been understated, the minibar certainly wasn't - the cocktail shaker,  range of different glasses and the more-than-sufficient selection of booze would be perfect for a late-night mixology session for two... if only I had been on a dirty weekend rather than a business trip! Also geared towards a bit of sauciness was the closet, which was open-fronted (perfect for showing off your carefully-chosen holiday outfits), and glass-backed, meaning you can see into the marble bathroom from the bedroom, oooh err!

As it's such a small hotel, the lobby also serves as the bar, and restaurant too, but there are plenty of other places to try out nearby (just a few minutes walk away, the cocktails at The House Cafe were very tasty indeed!). I just wish I had had enough time to explore the city a little more... hopefully next time I will!

The House Hotel Nisantasi- Central Lounge

Nisantasi Hallways and Reception

The House Hotel Nisantasi -The House Hotel Nisantasi -The House Hotel Nisantasi - Classic-King
(Images from www.thehousehotel.com)

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Awesome Or Awful: Zara Orange Ponyskin Slippers

(Zara shoes, £49.99)
I was in Zara today when I came across these bright orange furry flats. I love the slipper shape, and ponyskin is a fave of mine, and technically I have nothing against orange, but I just can't decide if these are Celine-esque awesomeness or just plain minging. What do you reckon?

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

LFWE: Aminaka Wilmont

So, one of the tops I bought at LFWE was this black beauty that I found in the Weekend Edit room. It is by Aminaka Wilmont, which is one of those labels that I have long-coveted, but been unable to get my hands on... until now. I could not believe my luck - there was only one of these, but it was in my size, and only £49! A bargain if ever there was one, I'm sure you'll agree :)

I love how the label's signature aesthetic perfectly balances grunge with glamour, and modernity with femininity. These guys really know their prints too, but it's their masterful draping that really gets me, so I was super-chuffed with this find. It looks quite bizarre on the hanger - all wonky edges and how-do-you-even-put-that-on-ness - but it all makes sense on the body. I love the super-flattering drapiness, and the slightly funnel-shaped neck, and how this is going to look awesome with pretty much everything, from now til when I'm a (badass) little old lady... I wore it for lunch on Sunday, with a long sheer black dress, my perspex-heeled boots and my Danielle Foster bag for a healthy dose of head-to-toe blackness.


(Aminaka Wilmont top, Topshop sheer dress, Danielle Foster bag, Margiela x H&M boots, Alexander Mcqueen bangle)

Sunday, 24 February 2013

LFWE: What I Wore

I woke up super excited about London Fashion Weekend yesterday! I was less thrilled about the weather - bitterly cold, and sprinkled with snowflakes - but I got up and headed over the river to Somerset House to meet some friends for a day of fashion joy. 

Getting dressed was kind of tough: I needed something that could handle the arctic temperatures outside and probable a-bit-too-warm ones inside, and that was comfy enough for a full day of shopping (and hopefully looked pretty cool too!). Knowing that quite a few of the fashionistas in attendance would be dressed up the nines, I was keen to go for a much more laid-back look. I opted for my new Topshop Unique jumper (love the slouchy shape and the sheer panels on the sleeves!), and my vintage leather trousers (my obsession with them continues), and a pair of mid-heeled white wedges, for a nod to spring/summer. I took a jacket and a coat as well, and even though I ended up carrying them around for most of the day, I was glad of the extra warmth en-route. 

(Topshop Unique jumper, Danielle Foster bag, vintage trousers, Topshop shoes)
It was a really good day, despite the weather! Rather than just going for the shopping and style-spotting, this year we decided to go to one of the trend catwalk shows too. There were four trends (as styled by none other than Hilary Alexander!) on show - graphic art, urban lifestyle, eastern and dollshouse. I really enjoyed seeing all of them - I'm so used to seeing clothes on rails, or still pictures online or in magazines, that it was really exciting to see actual live models wearing the clothes! I'm not sure that I will be rocking any of the looks shown this spring, but one this is certain: I need to get my hands on a Her Curious Nature headpiece...

And the shopping? It felt like there were a few less stalls than last year, but there were still plenty of things to see. My favourite room was the Weekend Edit, featuring such lovelies as Michael van der Ham, Dominic Jones, Atalanta Weller, as well as some lesser-knowns (to me, at least!), like Henrietta Ludgate and Liz Black. I did manage to scoop a couple of quite divine things: a black silk top by Aminaka Wilmont for £49, and a brown leather tank by MuuBaa for £35. Both total bargains, both totally gorgeous, I cannot wait to show them to you!

Did you go to LFWE this year? What did you wear? What did you buy?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

I Heart Rachel


Today is a very good day: I was lucky enough to win this divine piece of artwork by the super talented New York-based artist Rachel Fagiano. I adore her intricately-patterned, colourful style - this piece of a little girl on a swing surrounded by strange, coral-like forms reminds me of Japanese children's book illustrations - and how there is something both charming and creepy about her work. 


About this series, she says:

Confronting the nostalgia we feel for our imagined future and examining the reality of meeting these goals and dreams, the W# Series plays with the intersection of the past and future self. Comprised of whimsical images of illustrated people, the content and execution of each work harkens back to an idyllic past. Yet these nostalgic images are each consumed and subsumed by the weight of piles of pattern. Alluding to a future burdened by the responsibility of ordering the world around us, the repetitive patterns in this series are at once compelling and repellent—they are beautiful, colorful creations yet they fully consume their bearers. Striking a balance between the beautiful possibility of a future of countless choices and the ever-limiting process of choosing a pathway in life, the series wrestles with the identity-constitutive nature of the future.

But Rachel is a multi-talented lady - as well as being a wonderful artist, she also writes a very fine blog called The Curatorial. But hers is no 'these shoes are nice' type of blog (not that there is anything wrong with that, of course!). Instead, she writes about fashion and style from a much more considered standpoint, often around themes of politics, gender and ethnicity. I genuinely enjoy reading her posts as they are always thought-provoking, and beautifully written - the big wide world of the web is full of frivolous fashion blogs, but Rachel's unique perspective makes hers stand out a mile, for all the right reasons. Please do go and check out her work, I am sure that you will love it as much as I do.

Right, now I just need to find the perfect place to hang my beautiful picture...!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Outfit: Stripy, Minimal, Leather

I am wearing my new striped Topshop top again today. I have already worn it twice this week (once with black skinny jeans and my navy leather jacket, and once with a pair of slouchily low-slung peg-leg trousers in airforce blue) so today I thought I'd keep it super minimal, and accessorize with nothing more than messy hair and gothic lips.

(Topshop top, Zara shoes, vintage leather trousers, Topshop Lip Crayon in Arcade, Barry M Nail Paint in  Matt White)




Saturday, 16 February 2013

Elaphe

If I was off to LFW this week, I would love to wear these amazing Nicholas Kirkwood heels. I am all over ankle straps right now, and the gold accents on this pair are really very lovely, but it's the black and white 'elaphe' heel that is really ringing my bell (I just googled 'elaphe', and apparently it's a kind of rat snake).

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