Blue eyes

Today's make-up look is brought to you by Anja eyeshadow from Illamasqua and Teal The Cows Come Home nail varnish from OPI. 

I call it Adam Ant meets The Little Mermaid.


Karl Lagerfeld's sunglasses

This month's ELLE is a bumper issue of excellent material, and for once I'm not talking at all about the fashion spreads. Now that the palaver of the new season has gone by and the summer collections are already coming out, they can get back to the serious business of great writing. 
I'm generally not a fan of interviews with intimidatingly big fashion names - I don't feel that I can learn much from said interviews. But this month's one, with the king of the fashion world, had to be read. 
I think my favourite part of the interview with Lagerfeld was the author's panic over her most controversial question - asking Karl whether he would remove his sunglasses. For it's true, the man is always shaded. You couldn't imagine him ever removing them, even at night. Karl, of course, refused to take them off, alluding to the need to always have some mystery left in life, some expectations not met. 
Because it would be odd to imagine Karl without the glasses. 
But maybe they aren't just a trademark, and a way to keep the unprivileged out. They are something to protect a little part of Karl that isn't public property. That is for Karl, and his loved ones, alone. 
In the same way that Lady Gaga costumes herself, and that Lana Del Ray (more on her another time) has invented a completely fake facade, canny people in the public eye have found ways to protect either a big or small part of who they really are, that we have no right to know. 
So hats off to the journalist who tried to get Karl Lagerfeld to remove his glasses for her. To see into the window of his soul, if you're poetically inclined. And hats off to Karl, and to anyone in the public eye, who keep a little bit of themselves back for only a select, special few to see.


Pale (blue) and interesting

Where do you draw colour inspiration from? For me, it just hits me from nowhere - a film, a flower, the sunset, or just a mood. My colleagues, who have recently learned about colour matching personality types, have been infuriating us of late by hinting at the colours that our personalities are, without, of course, explaining what each colour means.
Currently, my shade of choice for the new season, or more specifically the transition period between winter and spring, would be blue. But ice blue, cornflower blue. Think this...
 Or this...
And most definitely...this.
Ok, it was totally Tilda and Haider Ackerman that got me obsessed with this shade. Imagine an ice-blue minidress under a studded biker jacket. Perfect. Roll on payday!


The shame - Oscar Nominations 2012

I should have known by now not to put faith in the idiotic crumblies that have an Oscar ballot in their hands, and this year has made sure to crush my faith for good. 
In short...this film...
...got fewer nominations than this film.
It got the same number of nominations as this film...
This actress...
...didn't get a nomination.
Neither did this actor...
...or this actor.
This actor did. 
Yep. That guy from Superbad. 
I think my reaction to the whole sham can be summed up by the expression on Rosie Huntingdon-Whitely's face on the Transformers 3 poster. Blank incredulity. Heck, why didn't SHE get nominated for an Oscar?
The only bright spot in this whole episode was that THIS actress, like Carey Mulligan and Jennifer Lawrence before her, got a Best Actress nod for her first starring, scene-stealing role. 
Read the full list here


End of an era

It's truly the end of an era my friends - I'm going to grow my hair.
I remember when I first started this blog I considered calling it Short Red Hair, in the niche manner of many bloggers, but realised that that might be a bit restrictive. Of course, now that I talk less and less about fashion the 'fashionista' part is a slight misnomer, but I'm pretty sure that, long or short, I'll be redhead 'til I die. Or Blogger does.


Fix the body

There's a disturbing amount of hyprocrisy in the modern world, but few areas experience it more than the battleground that is the female form. The crux of the issue is highlighted nicely in this article, but the issue initially came to a head to me when I found a furious group of mums rallied against a certain childrens' tv programme by the name of Winx Club. A relatively innocent premise, involving friendship, good vs evil and, of course, magical fairies, seems innocent enough, but a quick image search results in a series of characters who wouldn't look out of place in a soft porn anime.
Here's my problem with the way that women are preached to today. It's bloody hypocritical.
(A Google search for 'a normal woman')
As the article previously mentioned states, women are expected to be either fat or thin, and are judged as an extension of either of these two types. There is no room for a body that is uncategorised, or to put it another way, the majority. Trinny and Susannah made a decent start when they categorised womens' body shapes beyond the standard pear, apple and hourglass, but there's still a massive discrepancy between body shape and body size.
This we know. This is fact. Womens' bodies (and mens', for that matter) have always been different shapes and sizes. Historically, every generation has had a perfect shape. Artists, trends and fashions dictated said shape, as they do now. The difference is that, at that time, they at least had the decency to only push one stereotype. Fat women conveyed a certain character, and so did thin women. There was an interesting article in this month's Elle relating to how an actress' casting relates to her size and shape - a comparison is made between the breakdowns suffered onscreen by a character played by Marilyn Monroe and by Mia Farrow. Frail Mia is described as 'losing her mind', while bountiful Monroe 'just kept losing her clothes'. It's been over 150 years since Jane Eyre first drew comparisons between womens' body shapes (plain, unwomanly, thin little Jane, buxom and pretty Blanche, and 'corpulent' Bertha).
150 years ago, women wore corsets, because it was the done thing. Sure, they couldn't breathe, but they didn't have to deal with the patronising bullshit hypocrisy that is an article telling you how best to lose weight 'to suit your shape' while trying to insist that, yes, it appreciates all bodies. Because the industry does. It just appreciates that it has to find new ways to make us feel bad about ours.
It's all around us, this inherrent need to judge a woman based on how she looks. An extract from a recent review of Haywire (described as an action movie 'with a female twist') by the critic Tweeting the story chose the extract that describes the heroine's physique, not a particularly finely honed phrase describing the film itself. Grazia was beside itself when on-set photos of Mildred Pierce were released. the cause of their upset being not the poor direction, the script, but Kate's 'dowdy' wardrobe.
I don't know what the answer is. We have education, a place in politics and female CEOs, but we have little girls being told they're fat by tv, the toy industry and the media, statement parroted by their friends, and we have women in terrible difficulty following the PIP implants scandal whose only desire was a little confidence. All I know is that we are potentially worse off than we were when our only job was to clean the kitchen and feed the babies. Because now we are smart enough to look round at the utter mess that has been made of our self-perception, and that of our children, and wonder how on earth we can go about fixing it.
(The above video is a song called 'Truth of a Woman'. It's a beautifully honest encouragement for every person to appreciate the body of whichever woman they are lucky enough to see.)


Modern magpie

Just to prove, once again, that I still wear clothes and am a jewellery fiend. Heck, in my all-black ensemble of yesterday coupled with my vampyric complexion, I'm a human magpie. 
Something slightly sinful about hanging a £3 pendant on a £50 silver chain, but there you have it. Gorgeous chunky chains from Thomas Sabo, pendant from a gem museum my parents visited in South Africa. 


Beauty over brains

The trouble with spending far too long talking online to people you've never met and reading too much into everything is that you often fly off the handle at any opportunity, or encounter some mind-numbingly stupid people. In my case, today brought me both. 
Earlier, a friend of mine posted an inflammatory status asking whether it was acceptable to hire people based on their looks. Y'know, that little thing we like to call positive discrimination, beauty over brains, belittling, demeaning. Not illegal, but generally considered a bad thing, right? If the woman in the interview next to you had a better rack, the man next to you a more chiselled jaw, and he or she got the job, even though you were better qualified, you'd be pissed off, right?
Not so the people who responded, all of whom felt it was preferable to have 'a hot man' working in their office. Of course, they were all women. And they clearly hadn't thought about what they just said, because when questioned whether they felt it was acceptable for them to be hired based on their looks, the response was 'I'm bored now'. No doubt they are bored of women being all boringly feminist when they are happy just to perv over the guy at the next desk. With a few characters, they have potentially justified themselves out of a job, placing their future in the hands of a boss whose decision to fire them if they aren't attractive will be deemed acceptable by their own logic. 
Though there is some stock to be put in hiring the more attractive. They have generally been favoured throughout their youth and are likely to be more sociable and personable, not having had to form a strong outer shell against the inevitable bullying if they are deemed ugly. As the diplomatic individual pointed out, society will gravitate towards a more attractive individual and whatever brand, business or office they associate themselves with. I'm not stupid, I know the science. 
'You want to be taken seriously? Stop dressing like a little girl.' 
But light-hearted or not, the attitude worried me. Because I'm not stupid. I know that whether we like it or not, society judges what it can see first, as it has done since the dawn of time. Where previously, a good-looking girl was fawned over by doting parents keen to marry her off, now those good looks are being fawned over by prospective employers. We've just moved a fiercely competitive gene pool from the marriage arena to the work arena. A girl cannot be pretty AND smart - she favours one or the other. Or so these girls would have me believe. 
One diplomatically pointed out that in some cases, it's in the best interests of the employer's clients to hire an attractive candidate. Two words came to mind when that reared its head - 'pimp' and 'prostitute'. Only in industries based solely on looks should looks come before ability, regardless of sex. 
Because the worrying thing about the attitude of the women I witnessed was the fact that it's demeaning to both sexes. Sure, men have been sizing up women as breeding machines for hundreds of years, but it would seem any efforts to beat them have largely descended into joining them, each sex sizing each other up like animals. 
Celebrated celebrator of this mindset, Sarah Burge, commonly known by the tabloids as 'The Human Barbie', has caused controversy by giving her 7-year-old daughter Poppy a voucher for plastic surgery, for use when Poppy is of age. When questioned about her ridiculous decision, Burge reasoned that she felt that investing in Poppy's looks was just as important as her education, both being investments in her future. If the women I encountered earlier are right, and Poppy's entire career progression is going to be determined by her looks, maybe Burge is doing the smart thing. Let's just hope, shall we, that Poppy's future employer is a man. 


Going for Gold on the Red Carpet - Golden Globes 2012

Awards Season has kicked off, and the cream of Hollywood's crop are practicing their best hip pops and chignons for the seemingly endless red carpet that stretches through the next few months.
So once again I, gleefully, get to shamelessly steal pictures from various newspapers' websites and deliver my biting verdict on the sartorial hits and misses.
This is the Golden Globes 2012 Edition.
And it's Hollywood's supreme power couple, flown all the way in from Madame Tussauds! Maybe not, but there's something worryingly anamatronic about Brad'n'Ange here. Nothing wrong with Ange's dress, though - most of the 'net is hating on it, but for once I am loving her style. Perfect shade so as not to wash her out, and daring with that flash of red. 
Slightly more of a miss in the couple states are Nicole'n'Keith. A gorgeously detailed dress somehow wasted on Nicole. Maybe an up do and a bright lip could have saved it.
Our girl Kate has walked enough red carpets to be an absolute pro at looking good by now, and this great dress accentuates her enviable hourglass figure perfectly. 
From the simple to the...well, not so simple. As much as I hate her show, I can't deny that Dianna Agron is one heck of a good dresser. 
Ah, a much better show. And as sad as I am that they killed her character off, I'm please that Evan Rachel Wood has moved on to bigger and better things, notably dressing like a bird of paradise and, if rumours are to be believed, succumbing to the mating dance of one Jamie Bell...
This is apparently the girl we HAVE to watch - I'm yet to see a film with Jessica Chastain in, but my good friend iFlicks has been busily singing her praises. I'm a bit indifferent about this outfit, however. But then, I'm not a fan of long-haired actresses obscuring a feature neckline with their hair. 
And here's an actress obscuring a dress with her hair! Great dress, great colour, cheap-looking fabric and one weird shade of bleach, Kelly. Black or blonde are far easier to match to. But kudos to her for daring to be different, as always. 
Has Leah Michele's Glee character done a J-Lo cover yet? If not, this is a not-so-subtle hint to the writers to give her one. Zing. 
Oh look, Michele Williams being cute. How, erm, cute? A lovely dress - simple cut, great colour and fabric, but too grown up and sophisticated for this lady, who will permanently look 16. I blame the smile. And the fact that she's just CUTE AS A LITTLE BUTTON. 
That's a tip for Michelle! Wear a hot dress, look generally hot and resolutely refuse to look remotely interested! God damn you Mila Kunis and your utter, utter nonchalance. It's so cool. 
Another dress loathed by the 'net is that of Mila's Black Swan buddy, Natalie Portman. I love the shade of this dress, perfect against Natalie's hair and skintone, but something about the side bustle ruins the effect a tad. Kudos to Natalie, however, for still looking so slim in this massive dress. 
Another way to look great in any dress is to have a very high metabolism and not put on weight. Ok, so maybe that's just Lisbeth Salander, but Rooney Mara is OWNING this promo circuit for her ticket to the Oscar inner circle (yes, I'm backing her. Because I love an underdog with an undercut). Keeping it black, black and more black, with just a hint of grey, Rooney is promoting her character even when not in character. Well done that woman.
Rooney takes bronze in my list of the best dressed at this year's Globes, and it was a hard fight to chose between her and Emma Stone for the number two spot. 
In the end, though, due to my current obsession with cranberry, red wavy hair and Easy A, I had to applaud this look by Stone. Partly because she is great at accessorising, letting this stand-out vintage-look belt stand alone. 
And now, for the number one spot. Hands down, no contest, blew-me-away winner.
BASK IN HER MAGNIFICENCE. Ice blue, white-blonde hair in a gravity-defying quiff, flawlessly cut and styled ensemble. The White Witch of the Red Carpet. Fear her, simpering starlets. 
(All images via Hollywood Reporter)


Mad for it

And finally we get the long-anticipated news that Mad Men Season 5 will premier in the spring. 

With the first episode directed by John Hamm himself, this season will pick up with the newly engaged Don Draper supposedly a reformed character. The series has been applauded the world over but some feel it's losing its sparkle with some more recent plot developments, soapy storylines and big, bombastic set pieces. But we universally agree that we can't wait to see it come back. 
Here's what I've missed about Mad Men. 
1) Joan's exquisite collection of jewel coloured suits. 
2) The fact that even after four series, I still can't remember Kinsey's name without Googling it. 
3) How weird yet oddly compelling Sally Draper is. 
4) How much fun it is to hate Betty. 
5) Peggy's one-liners: 'Your boyfriend doesn't own your vagina!' 'No, but he's renting it.'
6) Roger Sterling's uncanny ability to say the wrong thing at the wrong time. 
7) Lane Pryce. 
8) The occasional rare moment where it looks like Pete Campbell isn't a total and utter asshole. 
9) Every other moment where Pete Campbell is quite clearly what Draco Malfoy will grow up to be. 
10) Wondering what Don would look like without a combover. 
11) Seeing if this will be the day where anyone wears a different suit. 
12) How amusing it is to listen to modern ad men compare themselves to the SCDP crowd. 
13) Wondering at whether most of the adverts created in the '60s were done by a bunch of drunks. 
And what I won't miss about Mad Men...
1) When the fashion pages start printing their 'dress like Betty Francis' spreads. 


Walk For Cover

Forget Coachella - I'm annoyed that I didn't buy a ticket for Gotye at the 02. Sadface.
Great that they are so popular though - so much so that a much-celebrated cover by Walk Off The Earth is now doing the rounds on Facebook.
Four guys, one girl, one guitar, one awesome cover.
But, of course, the original has mysteriously animated paint, Kimbra, and the ethereally brilliant vocals of Wouter De Backer. Yes, his actual name.


The importance of chilling out

I have a challenge for all people like me who are addicted to digital, social, or just distraction. Who find it impossible to switch off, even for five minutes, and who twitch nervously without a link to the outside world. 
Turn off the lights, ignore your phone, lie in the dark and close your eyes. Listen to this. 
For a full fifteen minutes, do nothing, think of nothing but the music. Think of pictures, good memories, how it makes you feel. Do this with any track you like. 
Often, we forget that pieces of art like this aren't designed as background installations for life. They are designed to be appreciated. As is our free time, as is peace, as are we. 
If you can switch off, and just listen, for fifteen minutes, you are coming closer to that 'chilled out' state we all dream of.
Sunday is the day of rest. Rest and refresh your mind, even for fifteen minutes.


Merry Cranberry

So we have to now officially have all Christmassy paraphernalia removed from our lives, for another eleven months. I still need to get rid of the Christmas carols from my iPod and am frantically burning my 'Christmas Spice' candle. I always reach the end of Christmas with a dread, the post-Christmas crash, convinced that I'll hate spring and summer and only feel happy in the cold. But then I remember SAD and look forward to whatever the seasons bring. Not that we've really had a proper winter. 
I comfort-watched Pretty In Pink last night to renew my adoration of Molly Ringwald, the queen of the 80s scene that I apparently resemble. What a dream! 
It got me back into the idea of wearing slightly crazy, zany vintage clothes, so I raided a few vintage shops in SoHo wearing various shades of pink, carrying my Christmas/birthday/new job present bag.
Yes, I now have three of this design of bag. And there's a BEAUTIFUL green one out for the new season that WILL be mine. 


Sherlock - A scandalous review

The English-speaking world has been frothing at the mouth over the return of Sherlock, Stephen Moffat's update of the classic Conan Doyle tales of an aloof, brilliant and loquacious detective. Having been known for his mastery at the helm of Doctor Who, Moffat's reinvention of the classic character as 'a new sleuth for the 21st century' winningly combined modern technology and modern London with a sparkling script and excellent casting, namely the relationship between the exasperated, quietly ruthless Watson and the enigma that is Holmes, infused with life by brilliant performances from Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch, and with co-creator Mark Gatiss and Andrew Scott demonstrating brilliant arrays of eyebrow movement as bureaucratic government figure Mycroft Holmes and maniacal villain Moriarty respectively, the scene was set for a stunning series. And stunner it was. The first episode was an utter delight - a simple plot allowing the two leads to interact and provide plenty of verbal jousting, a rapport that became the sparkle of the series - and a slow build over the next few episodes built to a spectacular cliffhanger climax. 

The world went wild over the show - Benedict Cumberbatch became a heartthrob overnight, Martin Freeman arguably got his Hobbit gig off the back of his performance, and Moffat's status as the best writer at the BBC was assured. We waited, with great anticipation, for the second series. 

And when it arrived, on New Year's Day, we happily settled down waiting for the latest innovations from Gatiss and Moffat. With last season focusing on introducing the old characters to a new audience, this season is re-imagining three classic Holmes stories for the new generation of fans. 

The first, A Scandal in Belgravia, introduced us to Irene Adler, the closest thing we encounter to a woman in Holmes' life. This being the 21st century, Adler is re-imagined as a dominatrix for hire, using her sensuality and her incredible intellect, along with an impressive array of booby (pardon the pun) traps and a total lack of clothes, to bewitch Sherlock and, in theory, the audience. She is dragged into the story by means of a quickly abandoned plot detail about a royal family member being photographed acquiring her services (ah, a young female Royal family member - how Black Mirror), and is elaborated on further with a complicated plot about a fake terrorist bomb plot being busted, then busted again. Her involvement with Moriarty cements her in our minds as a woman not to be trusted. 

And, in my mind, her appearance in the story means that my trust in the rest of the series is tentative. 
Prior to this episode, aside from the mother figure of Mrs Hudson, the pitifully smitten Molly and the potential love interest Sarah, the women in Sherlock have been kept on the sidelines, as you might expect from a series based on Victorian society. Arguably, the Adler in this series is the perfect opposite for Cumberbatch's Sherlock - she is aggressively, teasingly sensuous yet icy, feminine yet harsh (and, judging by pictures of the actress when not styled as Adler, 'harsh' is the look they were going for), and sexually voracious where Holmes' aloofness and calculating nature indicates emotional and (if an achingly cheap joke in the episode is anything to go by) sexual immaturity. Sadly, while Cumberbatch's Holmes pairs perfectly with Watson, his pairing with Adler brings out the worst in both, and turns the series from achingly clever to worryingly cheap. 
Take our first meeting with Adler. Crucially, Holmes' ability to read people is based on their appearance, so Adler's appearing naked and thus unreadable outfoxes Holmes and leaves him (and a pre-watershed audience with children watching) speechless. I know I sound like a Daily Mail reader, but you know a series is on its way out when it is required to titillate us with storylines about a dominatrix (who has all the warmth and appeal of a Vulcan, even when her supposed humanity is revealed at the end), nudity and digs at thirty=something male virgins. 

And it's not just the presentation of Adler - cold, calculating and generally unpleasant as a Bond villainess - that jars. While the first episode of the previous series was shot almost entirely in a dingy flat or the back of a taxi, this one veered from the inside of Buckingham Palace (featuring, in slightly Guy-Richie-Holmes fashion, a naked Holmes played for laughs) to a supposedly unrelated countryside scene, with a strangely placed terrorism storyline and a brief sojourn in the Middle East. All this mess not only wastes screentime that could be given to Holmes and Watson, but trivialises the two other brilliant characters of the series - Mycroft becomes largely helpless and largely useless, and the utterly brilliant Moriarty's unhinged style is replaced by barely memorable text exchanges with Adler; a brilliant character, the perfect foil for this predictable Holmes, totally abandoned. If this is what it takes to bring a woman player into the series, I'll stick with Molly. 

While, no doubt, all the messy plot lines will be tied up, the first episode was a mess of set pieces, pensive shots of Mycroft, and too much of the one-dimensional Adler, with little time left to expose the beating heart of the series - the relationship between Holmes and Watson, the only exposure being numerous digs about the pair's sexuality and a few awkward Christmas parties featuring pitiful love interests for both. This season is attempting to contextualise the characters deeper in society in a way that is ruining the dynamic - who can forget the simple joy of Holmes throwing a strop in a silk dressing gown or knowing everything about Watson from a 30-second observation? Instead of such brilliant moments devised purely from great acting and a razor-sharp script, we now have a series of US agents, Carry On-style slapstick and bad puns in place of sparkle. 

Please, Moffat, I implore you - restore my faith! 

Note - this piece was largely promoted by a piece in the Evening Standard where a writer compares Sherlock to Doctor Who - confusingly, he is under the impression that they are on a par simply because they have the same writer. He declares Sherlock the victor. I have to wonder whether he's subjected his son, bored by the Christmas Dr Who episode, to a naked woman cavorting in front of what was, and can still be, the finest pairing on the BBC for entertainment. 


Topshop SS12

While the weather can't quite make up its mind about whether it's autumn, winter or spring (sobbing inwardly at the total lack of winter last year) the fashion world has decided, firmly, that spring has sprung, and the SS lookbooks are appearing with a vengeance. I continue to pour over my copy of February Elle (a subscription present for my birthday) for inspiration from the front row, but will also be using the high street's offerings to inject a little trend into my wardrobe. 
Always ahead of the curve, Topshop has taken the go-to trends for the new season and given them a high street price but with the impeccable styling that keeps it looking high end. I'm feeling the floaty pastels, cutout panels, print clashes, the fact that one of the models look like Lady Mary from Downton Abbey, and most of all the clash of grey and neon yellow, which I'll definitely be adopting come spring. 

All images via topshop.com


The girl who reads

One of my New Year's Resolutions is to read more - I got a Kindle for my birthday and, weirdly, a collection of books for Christmas; classics that, I am assured, I will want to have hard copies of to thumb through and annotate. Which is true - I spent most of Christmas reading and re-reading a playscript I received that I don't doubt I'll talk about a lot on here when I understand it. 
I admire Blair's blog, found over in my recommended reads section - she neatly fuses literary criticism with a catalogue of her latest purchases and outfits. This is kind of what I hope to do with this blog. When I was younger I read everything, ferociously and hungrily. Now that the internet, TV and films are so readily available, you'll find me far more likely to be curled up with a DVD on repeat than with a book, unless it's crappy chick-lit. It's sad that it's so easy to illegally download music and films while our libraries are closing down and no-one carries books any more. I miss being the girl who reads. And I want to be that girl again. Sitting on a bench in Regents Park on my lunchbreak reading a classic I got for a pound in a charity shop, wrapped up against the cold and shutting out the world, for a little while at least.

"Date a girl who reads. Date a girl who spends her money on books instead of clothes. She has problems with closet space because she has too many books. Date a girl who has a list of books she wants to read, who has had a library card since she was twelve.

Find a girl who reads. You'll know that she does because she will always have an unread book in her bag. She's the one lovingly looking over the shelves in the bookstore, the one who quietly cries out when she finds the book she wants. You see the weird chick sniffing the pages of an old book in a second hand book shop? That's the reader. They can never resist smelling the pages, especially when they are yellow.

She's the girl reading while waiting in that coffee shop down the street. If you take a peek at her mug, the non-dairy creamer is floating on top because she's kind of engrossed already. Lost in a world of the author's making. Sit down. She might give you a glare, as most girls who read do not like to be interrupted. Ask her if she likes the book.

Buy her another cup of coffee.

Let her know what you really think of Murakami. See if she got through the first chapter of Fellowship. Understand that if she says she understood James Joyce's Ulysses she's just saying that to sound intelligent. Ask her if she loves Alice or she would like to be Alice.

It's easy to date a girl who reads. Give her books for her birthday, for Christmas and for anniversaries. Give her the gift of words, in poetry, in song. Give her Neruda, Pound, Sexton, Cummings. Let her know that you understand that words are love. Understand that she knows the difference between books and reality but by god, she's going to try to make her life a little like her favorite book. It will never be your fault if she does.

She has to give it a shot somehow.

Lie to her. If she understands syntax, she will understand your need to lie. Behind words are other things: motivation, value, nuance, dialogue. It will not be the end of the world.

Fail her. Because a girl who reads knows that failure always leads up to the climax. Because girls who understand that all things will come to end. That you can always write a sequel. That you can begin again and again and still be the hero. That life is meant to have a villain or two.

Why be frightened of everything that you are not? Girls who read understand that people, like characters, develop. Except in the Twilight series.

If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2am clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She'll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are.

You will propose on a hot air balloon. Or during a rock concert. Or very casually next time she's sick. Over Skype.

You will smile so hard you will wonder why your heart hasn't burst and bled out all over your chest yet. You will write the story of your lives, have kids with strange names and even stranger tastes. She will introduce your children to the Cat in the Hat and Aslan, maybe in the same day. You will walk the winters of your old age together and she will recite Keats under her breath while you shake the snow off your boots.

Date a girl who reads because you deserve it. You deserve a girl who can give you the most colorful life imaginable. If you can only give her monotony, and stale hours and half-baked proposals, then you're better off alone. If you want the world and the worlds beyond it, date a girl who reads.

Or better yet, date a girl who writes." — Rosemarie Urquico (found here)


Love Song for an Icon

On one of my wanderings I decided to go to the V&A, a museum-cum-gallery that I've never visited. Personally, even though I claimed at one point to be a historian, I'm not that fond of museums full of artefacts, preferring art galleries where I can sit in front of a painting and stare at a particular, expertly captured patch of light or the knowing smile in a woman's painted eye for hours. Both museums and galleries are peaceful places, though, and I'd be just as happy sitting on a bench in the middle of a room filled with tourists staring at nothing in particular, just absorbing the peace. Like a church, it's a building designed to house things people have laboured over and held sacred, and the air is filled with that. 
But I digress. Enjoying as I did the chronology of the jewellery room and numerous beautifully illuminated manuscripts, I was happy to find that The House of Annie Lennox is still open. 
While the exhibition itself is not bountiful, it does have a great selection of Annie's varied costumes, from androgynous suits to more feminine gowns worn for the No More 'I Love Yous' video and the cover of her strangely addictive Christmas album, A Christmas Cornucopia. Annie is 57 (turning so on Christmas Day), has won Grammys, Brits and Oscars, and plaudits for her work as an activist and philanthropist. She has letters after her name. She has been celebrated for her contribution to music and her charity work across the world. She is one of the UK's greatest musical exports, a chameleon of style and sound whose look is never predictable, whose energy is limitless and whose voice is striking, otherworldly, the kind of voice that could sing a battle song with one breath and segue into a lullaby with the next. She is timeless, and an inspiration for our next generation of singer-songwriters. While some of her contemporaries enjoyed their time in the spotlight before departing with grace, Annie continues to make music, critics be damned, and continues to inspire and challenge the perception of lifespan, age and appearance. 
Obviously, Annie is an idol of mine. A brave, honest woman, powerful, dynamic and creative, pushing boundaries of beauty and challenging what's feminine, using eccentricity and raw talent to sell her music. She represents everything that's British, and continues to be a benchmark for all our artists. 


The original and still the best

One of my birthday presents was a subscription to Elle, but today I stole my housemate's Vogue and was pleasantly surprised. Not only did it feature a gorgeous shoot with Florence Welch (pretentious yet inspirational) but it reminded me why I love Agyness Deyn so much

This is the same girl that looks suitably androgynous in a Doc Martens campaign, utilising her coquettish charm to make these supposedly super-sophisticated, feminine looks into something quirky, modern and far less intimidating for any girl to try. God bless Agyness Deyn, and her mastery of the art of androgyny. Truly, the sexiest woman around.