May 5, 2010

A homage to Ms. Monroe

'You know, sometimes when a person don't know what to do, the best thing is to just stand still.' - Gay Langland, The Misfits

Cotton/linen jeans: Thrifted
Silk blouse: Gap
Belt: Thrifted
Leather moccasins: Clarks

Since my love letter to The Misfits a week ago I've been poring over the clothes Marilyn wore in the film and daydreaming about wearing something similar myself, whilst riding through the Nevada desert on a pretty brown horse. Ignoring the fact I can't ride a horse (I can only ride elephants), and definitely don't live in Nevada; even if I could, looking quite as glamourous in the process would be sort of difficult considering I am possibly the clumsiest person in the world. During this shoot, for example, I tipped my tripod over four times, got cuts on my feet, grass stains all over my knees, too many nettle stings to count and the two braids I carefully placed in my hair lasted all of about two minutes.

It was still a really nice way to spend some time 'standing still' though, and I could almost pretend I had been transported back to 1961 and was waiting in Nevada for Clarke Gable to turn up and sweep me off my moccasin'd feet!

May 3, 2010

Reflections on the sensations of swimming

And though we are like the sea and it's right we be so
we could chase tails all the years I've been given.

'There's one man, he's like
the wishful thinking in my life, I see so
and he's like the wine on the weekend...
and though he is like the sea and it's right he be so
if I hold tight he'll wash over me...

There's one girl I like she's a smile on a Monday
and she'll fight to stay so...
and she's like the sun on the weekend
and though she is like the sea and she's right to be so
still I like that she sails with me...'
- Lisa Hannigan

These polaroids were taken maybe a little under a year ago, but only today did I manage to find the rest of the set hidden in a Moleskine and scan them in.

I took them not long after my friend and I had purchased our favourite polka dot bathing suits and mine was enough of a novelty that I was wearing it most days under my dresses, even when I didn't plan to swim. I remember that the camera was a novelty too, and J. was worried about getting sunburnt. Summer heat and a day spent floating around an inflatable swimming pool; the feeling of tiptoeing out back and forth from the house through the sharp, crunchy gravel on the driveway. Polaroids floating on the surface of the water, the strange sensation of our skin pruning and the faint, comforting (am I the only one to think this?) scent of chlorine.

One of my resolutions for the summer is to swim more. Swim a lot. I had a dream once that someone asked me what I would have liked to do with my life, had I been able to re-live it - for some reason, I told them that I would have spent more time swimming in the ocean.

Tomorrow, I plan to spend some time at the beach.

On hair, Cracks and the 1930s.

Oh dear, I'm pretty sure that posting stills from Cracks in monochrome goes against some sort of moral code - as anyone who has seen the film will know, the colours are incredibly gorgeous - but I rather selfishly wanted them to fit with my own photographs, so never mind! For anyone that hasn't seen the film, well, you should. It's set in the 1930s and has one of the most inspiring, incredible costume/wardrobe designs ever, as well as gorgeous cinematography and the clipped, boarding school accents and...perhaps I should do a separate post on the film itself since I could go on forever!

The 1930s is one of my favourite decades in terms of fashion, but also in terms of hairstyles - it seems to be a really lovely intermediary between the sleek bobs of the '20s and the longer styles of the '40s. But while I've always admired the cuts from afar, my own hair has been shoulder length or longer since I was a little girl.

About a month ago I watched Cracks for the first time and seeing Eva Green striding around with her gorgeous wavy, slightly outgrown bob; as well as seeing the same style, slightly less maintained, on most of the girls on her characters diving team made me swoon. I loved Di, Poppy and Fuzzy's hair the most, so a few days later and very impulsively, I got all of my long hair cut off into a longish bob a la Miss G. I really like it, but it seems to have grown out pretty fast and while still quite a bit shorter than shoulder length, I keep thinking maybe I'll cut it shorter, and shorter, and shorter.
P.S. I don't really have an answer as to why I'm eating a little brass Buddha in the second picture, I think maybe I'd missed breakfast or lunch.

May 2, 2010

Slow and sleepy Sunday

Sometimes I really like rainy days, where nothing much happens and you feel sort of sluggish and slow. After a really draining week it's been nice to sit inside and watch the weather changing from the sky light, and do some things around the house. Well, sort of things around the house! I washed my favourite blouse and hung it up to dry first thing, but the rest of the day was spent doing possibly less useful activities. These things included:

  • Epilating my legs then wondering what ever possessed me to attempt it
  • Writing lists in my favourite notebook with an accompaniment of two particular trinkets to distract me
  • Completing two whole crosswords and four sudoku puzzles all by myself
  • Watching Stealing Beauty for the second time and falling in love with it all over again
  • Dreaming up floaty, floral dresses a la Liv Tyler and Rachel Weisz in said film
  • Lots of lazy bed dwelling and napping with Leonard Cohen in the background
I had planned another outfit post for today but the rain got in the way - oh dear, I thought April Showers were meant to be in April, not May! Plus we have a guest staying in my room so I've been banished to the spare one, which happens to be stacked high with lots of things that we probably don't need - it's like an obstacle course of climbing and dodging things to get to the little bed which is hardly ever used!

Hope you're all having an equally lovely weekend whatever you're doing!

April 30, 2010

Film Friday: The Misfits

The Mistfits Stills
The Mistfits Stills
The Mistfits Stills
The Mistfits Stills
The Mistfits Stills
I've always adored Marilyn Monroe, which at the beginning of my "crush" came mainly from staring at Eve Arnold's portraits of her on and off the set. But when I started to watch some of her most well known films, I felt a bit let down by her trilling voice, silly scripts and comedic acting. I don't think it was her as an actress, but more the fact I'd seen a very different Marilyn when I envisioned what she'd be like. I found out recently that a lot of the portraits Eve Arnold took of Monroe were taken on the set of a film she did with Clarke Gable (I could make a whole love letter post about him, too, but 'll leave that for another day, I think!). The film is called The Misfits, made in 1961, and despite being a little skeptical I decided to watch it purely for curiosities sake.

And there on screen was the Marilyn I had envisioned whilst poring over photographs of her years ago - human, sad, funny, and of course beautiful. An honest and unnerving sort of beauty, I thought, just like I saw in the portraits. I'm only sorry I didn't discover it sooner, but in the last few weeks I've made up for that by watching it a handful of times already. It's made me want to go out to the mountains (not that we have any here) and wear sleeveless white blouses tucked into pretty high waisted jeans.

The Misfits is not only a wonderful, haunting and heart wrenching picture, but also quite an important one. One of the reasons is that it was both Marilyn and Clarke Gable's last completed film, as they both died not too long after its release. I won't go on and on about all the other reasons, but if you're at all interested I'd recommend looking here first.

Oh, and here is a piece of very specific and possibly useless advice. If you are going to watch this particular scene, with the sound turned down low then you musn't trust putting your iPod on shuffle during or afterwards. The reason being that this song might just start playing. It happened to me, and I do not recommend the experience! It turned me from (relatively!) balanced to a teary, rather damp mess. Oops!

These are the things that I like

Mmm, cake.
I wanted to do a Film Friday post today but I'm still collecting stills so I thought I'd pop this one up first to remind myself to cheer up. So here is a document of the things that have been making me happy this week:

  1. A very rich cake I baked with more chocolate in it than any other ingredient, slightly too sour raspberries and some fresh Devon cream, eaten while re-reading a copy of Lula.
  2. The bedtime book I'm reading: Notes on Nursing by Florence Nightingale. She's always been a little bit of a mystery figure for me and so reading her own opinions, rather than a biography explaining them, on the profession I am aiming towards is pretty exciting and enlightening! It's also really interesting (for me at least) to hear about the origins of "modern" nursing, and how the basic theories she revolutionised are still relevant and applicable today, one hundred and fifty years on.
  3. Two lovely letters from two lovely penpals in Hong Kong and America, and the most perfect dress package from 1385.
And there are some things that aren't pictured, too. Being offered a job I had my heart set on, watching a whole gang of ducklings crossing the road, an old man with a suit and bow tie who I met in the Post Office queue, sleeping through the night and finally the endless and indescribable wonderfulness of this lady here.

What things have made you happy this week?

April 29, 2010

All I Want

Outfit Post
Outfit Post
Outfit Post
Outfit Post
Outfit Post
Alive, alive, I want to get up and jive
I want to wreck my stockings in some juke box dive

'All I really really want our love to do is to bring out the best in me and in you
I want to talk to you, I want to shampoo you
I want to renew you again and again
Applause, applause - life is our cause
When I think of your kisses my mind see-saws
Do you see - do you see - do you see how you hurt me baby
So I hurt you too then we both get so blue'
- Joni Mitchell

Dress: Vintage from Thirteen-Eighty-Five.

I would exclaim at being a really terrible blogger but I always think that sounds a bit boring so I'm going to skip past it! I've had an extra difficult week, and Joni Mitchell is the only thing that's keeping me going - I got accused yesterday of channelling her which is fine by me! So I've been listening to my favourite album of hers, Blue, over and over and being cheered up by the postman delivering letters and things every other day! A few of my favourite penpals, and this gorgeous 1940s rayon dress from Francesca at Thirteen-Eighty-Five. Not only is it the prettiest dress I now own, but the packaging was so lovely and she even slipped in some bobby pins (which was perfect timing, I am terrible with losing bobby pins!) which I was pretty thrilled with! I took some pictures of that and the letters I've received over the last few days, which I'll save for a separate post.

It's been so long since I've taken self portraits, it was a bit strange to be doing it again and running back and forth from the camera. I think the last time I took photographs of myself was about a year ago! But it was quite fun too, and although this can't exactly be classed as an "outfit post" since all I have on is a dress, I plan to do more. Lately I've been wearing the same handful of things from my wardrobe, so maybe it will spur me on to think up more interesting combinations!

April 9, 2010

An Account of Thursday in Pictures

Here is a little list of the things that happened, in order of their happening:

  1. House plants tended and watered
  2. Straw hat embellished
  3. Hotel booked
  4. Penpal letters written and posted.

April 5, 2010

Life Development - Class C

The life I lived in The Life Development Centre

During the summer of last year, I travelled alone to Nepal. The trip was pre-planned - I spent months working for the man in order to afford it - and was the sort of typical middle-class, gap year rite of passage that I find myself making jokes about. It could have changed nothing but my bank account, my memories and (temporarily) my dress size. For a reason that I still can't quite figure out, it changed everything.

Most of my time was spent working at LDC, a privately run centre housing children and adults with mental and physical health problems ranging from mild to severe. The home was loud, dark, and claustrophobic, and the rooms I was working in even more so. The children were mainly left to their own devices with overstretched staff and limited resources - conditions went untreated and in many cases undiagnosed. The work was both physically and emotionally demanding, and there were a lot of times I felt helpless, frustrated and out of my depth.

For some reason - most likely stubbornness - I carried on regardless, and my experience of caring for the eleven children in the most "severe" group made me realise that actually, this is what I want to do with my life. It took me awhile to work out the implications of this realisation - six months later I found myself quitting my art degree, moving back home and applying for care jobs at my local hospital. All these changes might have happened anyway, but figuring it out now and not somewhere far into the future is really down to the time I spent with the class pictured above.

March 26, 2010

Film Friday: The Door in The Floor

It was the sound, of someone trying not to make a sound.

The Door in the Floor is a film I always go to when I'm feeling ill, or a little bit down. It's a story about people dealing with a tragedy, and definitely couldn't be described as cheerful, so I'm not entirely sure why it always manages to cheer me up. Perhaps it's the fact that it feels very much based in reality – the characters are complex, layered and very believable – but it is pretty enough to feel like escapism.

Someone (I have forgotten who) described it as an anti-melodrama melodrama, which seems entirely accurate. The whole film is based around the premise of things going unsaid, and characters relating to each other without really seeing each other. Everything is kept hidden under the surface. Marion Cole is vulnerable and emotionally shut off from her surroundings, Ted Cole deals with his grief through manipulation and control - and both characters are experienced through the eyes of Eddie, a young and (almost) naive college student who has arrived during the breaking point of the couples relationship.

I think one of my favourite things about this movie is how calming it is. The dialogue and the plot is lonely and tragic, and yet...despite the drama, everything that happens is almost portrayed as being nothing. It's somber, but almost optimistic in a way. This optimism seems less a result of the story, which is dark, and more about the visual aspect. There is a scene where Ted Cole (Jeff Bridges, who embraces the role of womaniser and writer in a way which is both charming and a little uncomfortable.) is shown dressed in pink slacks and a pink polo shirt. He resembles a marshmallow, and this strange choice of outfit isn't an isolated incident; much of the time Cole wears a pale, muted blue kaftan. I can't help but notice the subdued, natural light and the sugary, muted colours throughout the entire length of the film. Soft lavenders, cornflower blues, buttermilk creams are not only present in the wardrobe of the cast but also the set, the landscape, and the objects which the characters interact with.

It's like watching a drama set within a Ladurée cake shop, or based around a large glass jar of sugared almonds; strangely without appearing at all stylised. Subtle, quiet and completely unrushed, it's just a really lovely experience to watch each character develop and interact with each other at their own pace.

This is probably more of a love letter to a film than a considered review, and I'm not entirely sure how to sum it's comforting. Let's just call it comforting, and leave it at that.

November 7, 2009

This is:

Oh dear, I sort of missed posting here. Back I go.

where I am now -


Oh, and thank you.