And a Happy New Year!

My fringe and I (and my first up do of my 20s) would like to wish you a very very Happy New Year!
If, like me, you've had a truly awesome 2012 (new job, staying at new job for longest of any job, promotion, pay rise, excellent new friends and personal successes thanks to job, good times with great friends all rounded off by a fabulous Christmas with dear family and loved ones) then I hope that you are more than ready to upsize for 2013. 2012 was a great year for me, possibly the best ever. But I've got big designs on 2013 - make real headway with my writing (you can read some of my creative writing efforts on my other blog here), continue to divide and conquer at work, live with my boyfriend without us killing each other, tone up and stuff and generally be the happiest I can be - and after the hard work I put in this year and how spectacularly it paid off, I'm just scratching the surface of what I'm capable of.
2012 was never really a year I thought beyond - ever since the Olympics I think we've all been counting down to 2012. From the terror of the househunt that never happened to the false fear of commuting hell, 2012 was a year to be feared. And maybe because of mild superstition about the Mayan calendar, I'd never really factored in 2013.
2012 was also the year I hit the big 2-5, the quarter century. Ten years ago, if I knew where I'd be now, I'm pretty sure I'd be happy. But then, like now, I'd have no idea where I'd be in ten years from that point. Who knows where I'll be in ten years? I'll have turned 30 and with luck, managed not to box-tick my way there like so many people seem bent on doing. My philosophy is do what makes you happy, but that's about both appeasing the people you love and never compromising to inconvenience yourself And as we get older and family and true friends become more scarce, these become far more important.
In the age of the internet, defining a modern friendship becomes more and more difficult. Around this time last year, a girl I never met but knew and felt I knew through Twitter died. It's a strange thought to grieve for someone you've never really met, and it's strange that people you've never met in person can infuriate you in real time, as the internet allows us to do. You can be a totally different person on the internet, make new friends and say things you'd never have the guts to say to people's faces. I've made some great virtual alliances and made virtual enemies arguing with people I've disagreed with this year. Fighting the good fight, or time-wasting? I'll make a real attempt in 2013 to draw the fine line between online bitching and being constructive. Plus, I've got far too much of my own stuff to construct this year.
So so long 2012. You've been awesome. But I'm off to make 2013 even better.
I'll leave you with this little anthem - perfect for anyone who needs a change of direction, needs a bit of motivation or just needs a kick up the arse to get started. It was pretty much my anthem when I was getting ready for a big change two years ago. 

Happy New Year!


Merry Christmas!

Happy holidays! May Santa bring you everything you ask for and may this rain eventually stop! Remember that white Christmas England had two years ago? *looks out of window at rain* Sigh...
Never mind. It was my birthday on Monday and, thanks to various presents, winning vouchers and a little bit of saving, I was finally able to get my hands on my dream bag. 
Why yes, that is a new season Alexander Wang Rocco bag, complete with studs so pale gold they look silver. They must have known gold isn't really my thing. It was also the last one in the shop. Definitely meant to be. 
I've been dreaming of this baby for years, ever since I first saw it and the hipster bloggers started to carry it. But its price tag put it out of the reach of someone no good with saving. But then, thanks to a Selfridges voucher I won through work, together with a nice promotion in time for Christmas, I thought it was high time to save a little up to reward myself with something I finally feel I deserve. In the words of Rowan Atkinson in Love Actually, this is so much more than a bag. It's a sign that things are good. And they'll only get better. 
Merry Christmas everyone!


Gold and blue and a problem or two

Now, here you witness a classic example of the problem with having a long torso.
(And also with having not moved my tripod up to London with me, meaning I have to balance my camera on the wall in my patio garden and as a result get the lens hitting, and magnifying, at hip level while also making my face look longer than SJP's.)
I love me some Topshop; you'll know that from the fact that the vast majority of stuff on here comes from there. Tax-dodging aside, they are the high street equivalent of ASOS - cheap, fast and on-trend - and even manage to make a cut of jeans that flatters me. 
But for reasons not entirely unfathomable, their entire range seems cut for a girl with a standard torso and long legs (and no hip bones to speak of, but that's quite standard). ASOS and most other retailers are guilty of this too, but I'd really love to see a brand that, instead of offering 'petite' and 'tall' offers 'long torso' and 'short torso' as alternative options. That way, I can wear a dress that I really like and have it look on me how it was meant to look, not with the waistband in my ribcage and with it shorter than it's meant to be, giving it a maternitywear air. 
Such is my problem when buying dresses. But this one was too beautiful for me to pass up; I was walking past the rack, spotted it and just went 'wow', out loud, in the middle of the shop. 
(Close-up of the fabric - scratchy as you like but a beautiful soft, warm blue shot through with copper gold threads. Not a boob shot, but it does serve to demonstrate how high the waistband is.) 


The difficult dress

You know when you have a really stunning, unique and awesome dress that, because it's made of relatively thin knitted cotton, is really rather unforgiving and makes you look like you have a pot belly, and also requires you about 20 different photos to avoid having lines from your clothes underneath? 
Yeah, that. This All Saints dress is one of my favourites, from the days back when the brand did innovative and cool things instead of being boring. So many of my favourite brands, including my beloved Thomas Sabo, seem to have lost their spark and swapped uniqueness for fitting in with what's popular and what makes commercial sense. Poppy Delevigne advertising Thomas Sabo's new diamond trinklets when two years ago it was like a high end version of the rock god jewellery you find in Camden Market, and All Saints' advertising campaign that runs like a Levi's ad mixed with a Skins episode. And while it's a tough time for high end high street brands while others swoop in and do it cheaper, their new direction to more stable financial waters, away from what made them what I loved best, is so disheartening. 


One simple buy

Every season, whether you like it or not, one simple item of clothing becomes your staple. It's the item that you reach for when you have no inspiration, the one that makes you feel good every time you wear it, the item that goes with everything.
Predictably enough for me, it's black, it's A-line and it's leather. It's a leather skater skirt from Topshop (which I bought three months ago and yet they're still in store), with a hand-cut unfinished hem that's got imperfections and tiny rips, and a visible bronze zip up the black. It's also, as you can see, got pockets. It goes with everything, makes any outfit go from good to better, and is comfortable, simple and oh-so-me. It could very well be the best skirt I've ever bought. 
And this wicked dip-dye is the best hair thing I've done in ages. Well, since the fringe. 


The lion's mane

Sorry I've been off-grid...but I have something cool enough to show you that you'll forgive me.
Isn't it cool? The colour reminds me of toffee, and the clash looks like a lion's mane. I love it. Totally worth spending four hours at the salon and the brief panic moments when I had no idea what colour it would come out (because the bleach didn't completely strip away the red so whatever was layered on top would have a red tint). It came out perfectly.