Look, I’m having a bit of a Nigella moment of late, so just indulge me. Not that I’m in the business of turning this blog into a fan page for the Domestic Goddess (even though it wouldn’t take a huge stretch of the imagination to imagine it as so), I just had to share this hilarious video of Nigella Lawson with you all. We are all familiar with Nigella’s propensity for double entendre and much has been made of her sui-generis presenting style, but this montage of her Christmas crackers is one of the best and funniest I have seen. Relatively undiscovered, with just over 6,000 views, you all need to watch this video and bask in Nigella’s innocent insinuations, which have been brilliantly edited in this excellent video. Nigella is the Queen of Carnal Cuisine. Enjoy!
I am prone to extremes, I’ll give you that and Linda Rodin is my idée fixe du jour. I think it was sometime last year when I was flicking through a Sunday supplement that I discovered Rodin in a Karen Walker eyewear campaign and it has been obsession ever since.
The former fashion editor of Harper’s Bazaar and the founder of skincare company Rodin Olio Lusso is a largely unheard of gem in the fashion world. Graciously-elegant, self-deprecating and a treat to all the senses, dare I say that Linda Rodin has all the magnetic traction that made Grace Coddington such a loveable household name?!
Like tumbling ivy gripping the walls of an old country house, they gather vehemently in every corner, expanding almost exponentially as the weeks pass by. Some are scattered, others are arranged neatly and lovingly, while some peek from the corners, urging to be noticed, absorbed and cherished.
Books. Lots of books. Hundreds of page turners, one hit wonders, classics et al fill the tiny space that is my bedroom. The one bookshelf that sufficed many, many years ago now suffering under the weight of its literary oppressors. Over the years I have acquired a hefty collection of reading material which now begs to be housed in the most delectable of surroundings.
I love a good bookshelf. I’d love a good bookshelf. Any one of these take your fancy as much as they steal mine?
If you ask me, the word ‘timeless’ is bandied around far too freely in the fashion world. The term is overused and all-too-readily applied to any garment that has an indefinable quality or an undeniable allure. Very few items deserve or merit the immortality that is so willingly placed upon them, but I don’t think I’m bestowing superfluous or hyperbolic praise on the Trench Coat, when I say that it is one of the few items of clothing that can truly be referred to as ‘timeless’.
The origins of the Trench Coat date back to the late 1800s, with both Burberry and Aquascutum laying claim to its genesis. Undoubtedly, hundreds of years later, it is the former of these brands that has become synonymous with the Trench Coat and while its initial inception was merely borne out of militarian function, the Trench has become one of fashion’s most recreated and loved items, with designer offerings existing alongside more affordable high-street versions. Originally constructed for soldiers, the Trench Coat has permeated popular culture and become a fully-fledged go-to item for millions of men and women all over the world.
Today, the Trench Coat isn’t the reserve of the front-line or even Wall-Street businessmen, but an all-encompassing fashion must-have that looks good on any guy, regardless of age. Amazingly, the design of the Trench Coat has changed very little since its days as part of a functional uniform, with the classic, ten-buttoned, double-breasted coat still being the style’s most prominent example.
The beauty of the Trench Coat really does lay in its versatility and I can’t think of many items that can make an outfit look better than a trench can. Wear with a suit for the ultimate lesson in power-dressing or pair it with a more casual ensemble of jeans and a shirt to let your Trench Coat do all the talking. The devil is in the detailing and Burberry have it covered with their impeccably-designed trenches, with the epaulettes, throat latch, hook and bar, back rain shield and the D-ring on the belt all harking back to the pre-War aesthetic. The Trench Coat is one that was intended for battle and with one of these bad boys on your back, nobody is going to mess with you!
Check out some alternative options to the Burberry Trench below:
Topman Online – £75
Reiss – €340
River Island – €94
Diesel (ASOS) – €338
As 2012 draws to an end, I felt it was appropriate to round up the year with a look at some of my favourite things from the last 12 months. An exercise in self-indulgence, if truth be told. (The only exercise I ever do).
MY FAVOURITE PERSON
Was there ever a doubt? It has to be Cheryl. After meeting her, could it be anyone else? Like a pint-sized Aphrodite with her adorable dimples and flowing, tousled brown locks, Cheryl was a vision to behold when I met her back in October. The obsession will never die. 2012 was a great year for Cheryl, with her first solo arena tour, the release of her third album and autobiography and of course, the much-anticipated reunion with Girls Aloud. All hail Queen Cheryl.
MY FAVOURITE SONG
Call My Name by Cheryl. Obviously. After a short sabbatical, Cheryl returned with her impossibly-catchy, fist-pumping collaboration with Calvin Harris which resulted in Call My Name becoming No. 1.
MY FAVOURITE BOOK
The Dinner by Herman Koch. The plotline is easily explained. Two couples meet in an Amsterdam restaurant and skirt around the fact that their sons have committed a grievous crime. The book details each course and as the evening progresses, the barriers break down and it’s revealed each couple isn’t as different as the guilty son they are trying to protect. Paul and Serge Lohman, together with their respective wives Claire and Babette must confront their own consciences in this beguiling tale of biased morality and personal loyalty.
MY FAVOURITE TV SHOW
Without a doubt, it has to be Revenge. Emily Thorne’s quest for filial vengeance against the Graysons is set in the Hamptons and makes for fascinating and unpredictable drama. Mike Kelley has created one of the best shows in years and the retributive offerings and antics of Emily Thorne was most certainly a 2012 TV highlight.
MY FAVOURITE MOVIE
The Perks of Being a Wallflower. A coming-of-age drama about an awkward teenager who struggles with self-confidence before finally being accepted into an eccentric circle of friends sounds like a typically clichéd teenage movie. However, The Perks of Being a Wallflower far exceeds its general outline, just as its central character’s timorous disposition transcends the realms of everyday teenage angst. The Perks of Being a Wallflower is the movie adaptation of Stephen Chbosky’s first novel of the same name and while I initially went to see the movie solely to see how Emma Watson was ‘coming along’ since Harry Potter, the flick co-starring Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller became my favourite film of the year. Check out my review here.
MY FAVOURITE TWEETER
@irishmammies – every time. Colm O’Regan is the genius behind this motherly account which relays all the hilarious witticisms of the Irish Mammy everyone loves. From sayings like “will you have it in bowl or a wafer?” and “there’s a fierce draught”, @irishmammies has become my favourite Twitter account, offering a sense of familiarity and hilarity in the vast cyber sphere. The book it has spawned Isn’t it well for ye? The Book of Irish Mammies is also well worth the read.
MY FAVOURITE GADGET
I got an iPad as a Christmas present and it has swiftly become my favourite gadget. LIKE, EVER. I can see why it is Oprah’s all-time favourite invention. I can’t fathom how I lived without it. Je l’adore.
MY FAVOURITE PURCHASE
There have been a few, but this Massimo Dutti jumper comes out on top. A gorgeous blend of wool and cashmere, I’m treasuring it forever, and wearing it incessantly. Sorry to all the aviator jackets that didn’t make the cut – especially to my denim one, you little beaut.
MY FAVOURITE QUOTE
Beating Macbeth, is my housemate Jim Murphy, with his hilarious aphorisms. On seeing hot French people in a queue for a club, Jim noted,
“I LOVE French people. These French rides were like “bonjour” and I was like “BON-FUCKING-JOUR!” (Please note, this is most effective when said in a strong Cork accent. Sheer brilliance!)
For more of these hilarious one liners, check out the Facebook page dedicated to all of the Jimisms here. Give it a live – you really won’t regret it.
MY FAVOURITE IRISH CELEBRITY
Rosanna Davison. 2012 was definitely Rosanna’s year and she got the nation talking back in September by becoming the first Irishwoman to pose on the cover of German Playboy. The sizzling shoot undoubtedly earned Rosanna a whole new army of fans, but equally the cynics were out in force. What’s so admirable about Rosanna is the way she handled the whole situation – proving herself to be an intelligent and articulate woman who is in control of her own career. Rosanna showed how the shoot was about female empowerment as much as it was about looking gorgeous. 2013 is looking bright!
MY FAVOURITE SURPRISE
Cheryl really treated me in 2012. When she released the raunchy new video for the Lana Del Rey-penned track Ghetto Baby it made her soldiers’ Christmas. Nobody expected it and it was a welcomed treat. Plus it’s her steamiest and hottest one yet, with lots of Trezza action. Watch it here.
Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly been developing a predilection for aviator-style jackets and the manifestation of this love has been abundantand expensive. Denim jackets with sheepskin lining, suede coats with the softest collars and the classic leather aviator jacket have all been welcomed into my covetous arms. I’ve bought them all and I promise you, I have no tendencies towards piloting or aerodynamics, but I do hold every appreciation for its impeccable style!
AW12 is all about the aviator jacket, with everyone from Burberry to APC sending models down the catwalk in luxurious and tactile comfy coats. Naturally, the high-street was quick to follow suit and the likes of Pull & Bear and Zara have some fantastic aviator jackets that are equally as stylish as their designer counterparts, but far more pocket-friendly. (Although, if you buy them in all possible styles, then maybe the latter part of that sentence is rendered futile!)
Gone are the days of the aviator jacket being a reincarnation of Tom Cruise’s Topgun monstrosity, as a new era of sophisticated and stylish sheepskin-lined heaven has dawned. Designers such as Sandro and APC are taking the classic aviator style and reworking it to give the classic jacket an updated look, be it through the use of print or injections of colour. Levis have a fantastic denim aviator jacket, but at €350, it’s a little pricey, but the Pull & Bear one featured below is a very similar style, at a much more affordable price point.
For the coming winter months, every guy should have an aviator jacket of some sort, but gents remember; the aviator jacket doesn’t give you a licence to don matching aviator sunglasses. Unless you are Paul Newman or James Dean, such looks should be avoided at all costs. Stay stylish and warm with the season’s hottest jacket and don’t be left out in the cold for your unnecessary depravity towards fashion.
A/W is probably my favourite time when it comes to fashion and 2012’s offerings are better than ever. WINTOUR is coming, so I’ve been stocking up on the season’s necessities. Although, I must admit, the way in which I delineate necessity isn’t exactly conventional. Or practical. Nevertheless, here are some of my favourite purchases so far.
Zara Aviator-Style Jacket
Over the last few weeks, I’ve slowly been developing a predilection for aviator-style jackets and the manifestation of this love has been abundant and expensive. After much (not really) procrastination, I welcomed this beautiful baby into my covetous arms. It’s two weeks old and good as gold. Literally – the gold zip detailing was a deal clincher for me. This really is a solid winter coat and despite my propensity towards impracticality, it is both a stylish and pragmatic winter staple. Okay, it’s suede, but it never rains in Ireland, so this will be absolutely fine.
Denim Aviator Jacket
Can you spot a theme emerging? I have been looking for a denim aviator for the last year and ideally I would have liked a €350 Levis one, but this Pull & Bear option is a great alternative, saving me a whopping €300. A/W12 is all about the aviator jacket, with everyone from Burberry to APC sending models down the catwalk in luxurious and tactile comfy versions of this classic style. Naturally, the high-street was quick to follow suit and the likes of Pull & Bear and Zara have some fantastic aviator jackets that are equally as stylish as their designer counterparts, but far more pocket-friendly. (Although, if you buy them in all possible styles, then maybe the latter part of that sentence is rendered futile!)
Pull and Bear T-Shirt
I LOVE this t-shirt and it was a steal at only €12.99 from Pull & Bear. Alexander McQueen and Burberry have been emblazoning their t-shirts with animal faces for the past year and I’ve been longing for one of their creations ever since. I couldn’t resist this tee when I found it, costing a tenth of the price, but just as voguish. Givenchy has a near-identical version of this t-shirt, so ten points to Pull & Bear for their ‘inspired’ piece! I think this will look really cool with some black slim-fit jeans, the aforementioned denim aviator jacket and a pair of Kurt Geiger beige brogues.
River Island Brogues
Far exceeding my obsession with brogues is my obsession and dedication to wearing suede. Also, as a coffee-wielding friend can testify, despite my best efforts to keep my suede clobber in pristine condition, it often falls victim to caffeine’s staining malice. Nevertheless, I had to have these berry brogues, because they were too all-encompassing to pass up. Brogues. In suede. In one of the season’s hottest hues?! Perfection. Here’s hoping these babies can withstand the cosmos’ and karma’s efforts to destroy them.
‘Twas the night before Cheryl and all through the house, Jamie was hyper like a big girl’s blouse.
Okay, let’s not skirt around the issue, tomorrow is D-Day. It’s as significant as the day when yer man walked on the moon. It’s as important as when that adventurer fellow stumbled upon an unexplored America. Okay, in this case, significance might be ever so slightly subjective, but make no bones about it, tomorrow will be MAJOR.
It is of course, the day when Cheryl Cole finally gets to meet Jamie Tuohy. She has been waiting for this ever since she tweeted him ‘Happy Birthday Babe’ and sent him a flirty winky face in response to a generic, but hilarious chat-up line. By all accounts, Cheryl is buzzing. Word has it that Jamie is quite excited as well.
I’m not even employing hyperbole when I say that I am slowly losing the ability to speak and process my thoughts in a coherent manner. I am randomly referring to myself in the third person – a typically self-indulgent, but equally strange thing to do. My mind has become warped by a sense of Cheryl foreboding. What will I say? What will she say? Will it be a summer or winter wedding? Or a spring affair?
Anyone who knows me can testify to my Cheryl obsession. Even for anyone who sporadically reads this blog, my predilection for all things Chezza is as perceptible as her beauty.
A word of warning: if you thought my blog post on Nigella Lawson was a lengthy expression of a deep affiliation, just wait until you read the post that I’ll be putting up about my meeting with Cheryl Cole. The Da Vinci Code will look like a pamphlet in comparison.
For now, I must go and try and catch some of that breath I’ve lost in anticipation of tomorrow night!
They say “if you obey all of the rules, you miss of the fun”, however, rules, by their very nature are prone to exceptions. And Shephard Fairey’s OBEY clothing line is certainly the exception to this old maxim. Despite its imperative brand name, the label which was established in 2001 is fun, expressive and full of boisterous mischief and doesn’t shy away from political messaging. In fact, the brand’s name finds its origins in irony and sarcasm, as it seeks to steer people towards self-expression and independent thought, by ignoring the bourgeois propagandists.
OBEY clothing evolved from Shepard Fairey’s hugely popular 1989 “Andre the Giant Has a Posse” sticker campaign. The campaign was a type of phenomenological experiment, designed to concentrate on the objects of direct experience and human consciousness. The sticker, which was initially distributed amongst his skateboarding clique, became hugely popular and transgressed into mainstream Americana. Subsequently, OBEY Clothing was born out of the campaign’s populist ideology.
The brand is all about “variety and experience” and over the years, OBEY Clothing has taken inspiration from a host of different mediums, from popular culture and street art, to politics and marketing. The classic white t-shirt emblazoned with the brand’s name is intended as a type of “Do It Yourself” message – perhaps a sharply sardonic comment against capitulation to capitalism. Nevertheless, its philosophical outlook is certainly tinged with some canny marketing, as the OBEY logo has become a popular fashion accessory for hoards of trendy teens and twenty-somethings.
At the end of the day, behind all the socio-political iconoclasticism, there is actually a clothing line, and a very cool one at that. Some may see the items as only pseudo-Hipster must-haves, but the majority of the pieces are subtly-designed and stylish, rather than fashionable and fleetingly trendy. The collections are rooted in military structures, but at the same time, each piece is casual and comfortable. Over the years, OBEY Clothing has become huge with celebrities, with everyone from Channing Tatum to Viggo Mortensen wearing it. Even Barack Obama’s famous 2008 “Hope” campaign sticker was designed by Fairey himself and featured on many of the brand’s t-shirts.
For a clothing line, OBEY Clothing might seem overly political and philosophical, but really, it’s what fashion should be all about. It promotes self-expression, individuality and a sense of carefree abandonment. The ironic and paradoxical brand name is a nice tribute to its central adage – “the medium is the message.” And aside from its almost Saussurean semiotic tendency towards hyperreality, I just think it’s a really cool clothing line. Bet you never thought that your OBEY snapback could also be your thinking hat?!
Jack Whitehall said that he does not walk across a stage, but he glides, and similarly, when Nigella Lawson beckons me to enter her paradisiacal and idealised world of culinary carnality, she isn’t simply showing me how to cook the perfect ‘prodigious pavlova’, but rather she is seducing me through the medium of her own self-styled food porn. With each silky smooth, alliterative utterance, I bow and worship at the altar of Nigella, for no other reason other than a self-induced devotion to this Domestic Goddess. The Gospel according to Nigella calls for gluttony, covetousness, decadence, and my favourite thing of all – excess.
My love for Nigella began when she gently guided me through the making of a chocolate cloud cake and steadily progressed when she mentioned slut’s spaghetti. By the time she offered me a chocolate cherry trifle, I had fallen for her hook, line and sinker. Obsessed might be a more apt word, but, as Oscar Wilde once said, “moderation is a fatal thing, nothing succeeds like excess.” And in the world of Nigella, nothing flourishes better than superabundance – from her well-stocked larder, right down to her lavishly verbose and implicitly sexual vocabulary.
Admittedly, there is something almost primal about my love/obsession for this woman. She is the culinary, bourgeois leader and I am the all-too-willing to acquiesce subject. She suggests her Flameware Tagine is an excellent kitchen apparatus for slow-roasting vegetables and within hours, I am confirming my order on Amazon for one in black. I’ll probably impulse buy a parmesan grater as well, because Nigella says it will cut the cheese into sandy rubble rather than aerated threads. At the minute, I’m trying to orchestrate a situation whereby I require a KitchenAid mixer, just like Nigella’s, but as a student, the opportunities for using one are few and far between. At this stage, it looks like my mother’s Christmas present will be a Farrow & Ball cream KitchenAid, just so I can excessively tweet Nigella about how alike we are.
What I really love about Nigella is her seemingly nonchalant effort to food and life. She tells us not to follow instructions or recipes slavishly, but rather to adapt and work with what you’ve got. She frequently tells us that she’s too lazy to peel her potato skins or that she’s using canned tomatoes, because they’re ‘just easier to deal with.’ It seems like everything is effortless for her, but this nonchalance is closely followed by her hilariously wild presumptions. I can only love her even more for thinking that everyone can pop into their expansive larder for some sugar craft poinsettia, or a dash of sumac. Nigella grew up as the daughter of an MP father, her mother who was an heiress and socialite, and she lives in a £12.3 million London home, so she can be forgiven if her notions of accessible kitchen accoutrements are decidedly grand.
However, what’s so appealing about Nigella is in fact, despite her apparently salubrious upbringing, she is wholeheartedly down-to-earth, completely unassuming and totally self-deprecating. She refutes the notion that she is a chef, claiming that she doesn’t have the training or skilful expertise to merit such a title. She says she simply cooks for pleasure and admits that, despite following her passion, she is somewhat self-indulgent. She may sugar-coat her recipes, but Nigella does not sugar-coat the truth. She’s refreshingly honest in an industry that is notoriously duplicitous.
If she’s too lazy to cook, she tells us. She confesses that the reason she doesn’t have to worry about what she eats is because she wears an elasticated waistband – which is a nice antidote to the usual celebrity spiel of “running after my kids keeps me fit.”
Of course, perhaps the most enticing attribute of this Domestic Goddess is her sui generis presenting style. Before Nigella, melted chocolate and butter was not a “mesmeric ravishing pool” and a pasta carbonara wasn’t “beautiful, pale and heavenly.” Yes, Nigella’s sensual and oftentimes evocative descriptions of food have become her celebrated trademark. They have even led to a top 10 innuendo countdown. As she sifts through flour, marvels at her “golden globules”, or talks about the “hint of inner thigh wibble” in a cheesecake, each time she cooks, Nigella presents a lesson on the sexuality of gastronomy.
As she smiles sadistically before she beats a chicken to death, she turns towards the camera and says, “I love and respect a chicken but for all that, I am going to behave pretty brutishly to it.” She is literally decapitating a chicken and she makes it look sexy. She is a gorgeous woman, but for me, her most appealing characteristic is definitely her propensity for verbosity. As she piles berries on top of a cake, she’ll declare, “How beautiful these juicy beaded blackberries look, glinting darkly out of that pale billowing duvet of cream.” Genius.
Nigella says that she never wanted to do TV and compared to her “initial, earnest self”, she has “ran away and joined the circus.” She has said that as a young journalist, she had great ambitions to write the major novel of the twentieth century and sort of “fell into food writing and presenting by accident.” It’s a fall I am duly grateful for. The word ‘fate’ is bantied around too freely these days, but surely Nigella Lawson was in some way, predestined for life of gastronomic sexuality.
Who else can make her Marigolds look like Agent Provocateur’s finest or tempt one to spend hundreds on relatively expendable kitchen gadgets? But if Nigella says a spoon rest is an essential kitchen utensil, I’ll take two – in high-gloss cream and shiny red, please. The beauty of Nigella Lawson is that from the outside, her world seems highly idealised. No measurements or definitions are needed. Everything is relaxed and casual and punctuated by mood lighting. Even if the private Nigella is antithetical to the perceived Domestic Goddess figure, it doesn’t really matter, because, idealism, like obsession is an addiction and Nigella inspires blind devotion.