I don’t often miss London but when I do its because I can’t see my friends do the kind of amazing things that you ONLY get to see in London. Like this. Many moons in my stylist incarnation ago I met Bishi, a performance artist and style icon like no other. I had a girl crush on her. I still do. She was a dream to dress. She dropped me an email today to invite me to her latest performance. With Lydia imposing a 7pm curfew on me, the next best thing was to put it here and URGE you to go. Its’s free. Yes F-R-E-E.
The skinny: Bishi will performing her new composition with Neil Kaczor, ‘In Sleep,‘ on Monday 20th October 2014 at 7pm, St Guy’s Chapel.Commissioned by The Science Gallery, London; listen to the preview comprising of the sound of Bishi’s brainwaves interweaving in between a Shakespeare Sonnet. Because that is the kind of interesting shit only she can pull out of the bag.Bishi will also be premiering a new piece for Sitar, Organ & Voice set to a short story by Hanif Kureishi, in collaboration with Organ player James McVinnie.
Last week I packed up the boy, the baby, the book and headed for London to present Style Me Vintage Accessories at Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair. Lynnette sent me a stunning lilac Ossie Clark frock to wear – this one to be precise, from the Suzy Menkes collection no less. Hanson took some amazing snaps but I have to wait and see which ones will be used for a magazine article before I can snaffle any. I was over the moon to see so many London friends, though they seemed far more interested in Lydia….
On Saturday Liz and I (no Lydia) will be taking our book baby to Passionate About Vintage, Natalie Leon’s vintage accessory paradise in West Hampstead. I have long wanted to come and have a look at Natalie’s shop. I mean just look at it. All the information can be found here.
I’m a bit late to the game on this one on account of Style Me Vintage Accessories being published today. I don’t need to blog about that as so many kind people have already done just that, here and here and here. We came back from our holidays late last Tuesday and by Wednesday the rest of the week had been swallowed up with a photo shoot and interview with the Portsmouth News. Lydia and I were cover girls on the Family section and I got to wax lyrical about my love of second hand. So with 3 days to go here is a reminder about another important-to-me and hopefully important to you event this week: the Southsea Sisters re-launch which takes place this Sunday at the Dockyard.
Two years ago, inspired by what I had seen in London, I launched a proposal to start a woman’s group. At the first meeting almost hundred women of all ages turned up. Yep, that’s correct almost hundred. It blew my mind. We lasted another 3 meetings before I let it all drop. I wasn’t well and I couldn’t seem to find anyone who would take over the reins for a bit. We had even been offered a radio show with Express FM. It was beyond gutting. What haunted me for the next two years was the fact that so many people obviously wanted to join a woman’s group. There were ladies at our first meeting at the Aspex Gallery in their 60s and 70s as well as teenagers. I felt like I let a lot of people down.
Fast forward to now and despite new book and baby I am giving this another, more sustained go. What is the skinny? Well, it is free to join and attend. The agenda is set by the members and once a quarter we have a meeting with a guest speaker. You can network, tell the group about your own work and projects and propose themes and speakers. To start this off with a bang we have Cheryl Buggy coming to do a Q&A. When I was thinking of a first speaker she was right there at the top of my list of people. A former Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, published author and founder of Express FM she has had a long and distinguished career with no plans to slow down. As someone I know in real life Cheryl is a great speaker, very engaging and full of interesting things to say. She doesn’t mince her words and I’m certain will be dishing out some brilliant advice. She has really carved out her own path through determination and hard work, which I respect immensely.
As if that is not enough the Naval Museum are giving us a free tour of their new gallery HMS ‘Hear My Story’ and ‘Racing to War: The Royal Navy and 1914′. They are also providing us with a free room in the Dockyard that overlooks the Victory. I can’t think of anything nicer to do on a (hopefully) sunny Sunday Morning. So if you want to join, take part and bring what you have to share with the group and crucially help form future plans then your are formally invited to join us this Sunday, please make your way to the Visitors Centre where we will be waiting to wave you through the queue. Talk starts at 11 am followed by the guided tour. I look forward to seeing you there.
Access to the event is free. The talk is in the Princess Royal Gallery upstairs in the Royal Naval Museum – access via the shop (there is a lift). On arrival at the Dockyard you will need to go through the visitors centre but do not need to buy a dockyard ticket. I have heard the dockyard now insist you go via the ticket point. I will be waiting at the visitors centre to make sure there are no issues. Following the talk we have arranged with the museum a special tour around their new galleries. If you wish to visit anything else (Victory, Mary rose etc) you will need to buy a ticket. See you tomorrow!
We are taking our new book Style Me Vintage Accessories (Pavilion, 25 September 2014) on a little outing to introduce it to you, answer any questions and scribble our names should you wish. We will also be selling the book at a special fair price of 13 squids. To celebrate the book coming out we have also teamed up with the our publishers Pavilion and the AVF to offer not one but two competition prizes. Firstly you can win a copy of Style Me Vintage Accessories, the Style Me Vintage Look Book and… *weeps* a pair of original 1930 sunglasses in mint green. They have the original glass lenses and are perfectly wearable. These are from my personal collection and feature prominently in our book. The next competion will be unveiled on the publication date!
Over the years I have worked with the AVF a number of times; as a best dressed judge at Spitalfields where Sheradon Dublin’s photographs made it into Grazia, as a personal shopping ‘prize’ in Brighton and when they supported Style Me Vintage Clothes when it launched two years ago. Each time I have enjoyed being part of the buzz of hundreds of people enjoying the process of bargain hunting. That’s the thing about the AVF, it does what it says on the tin: making vintage affordable and accessible, which reflects the ethos of the Style Me Vintage series.
So, please come and join us on the 5th October in London. There may be some cake, possibly a baby, and two authoresses who are looking forward to sharing their work. Bring your books, questions and come and say hello.
5 Old Ford Road, London, E2 9PJ
£3 early bird 10.30am – 11:00am
£2 general 11:00am -4:30pm
Under 12′s free!
Nearest Car Park: Cambridge Heath Road, E2 9EG
BLOGGER, PHOTOGRAPHER, JOURNALIST?
Today Lydia Grace Hazel Taylor-Thompson is four months old. To celebrate Al and I popped into Southsea’s newest eatery: Southsea Beach Café. Considering it’s not ‘officially’ open, it was quickly filling up with the curious and the hungry. I bumped into a few friends who had rushed down after seeing someone else’s lunch on Facebook. Which is exactly why we were there. Thanks Lou for sharing your brunch when we were insanely hungry. That kind of shizzle seems to really pack out a place these days.
There is a outdoor deck and an indoor eatery with retracting walls and roof. I can imagine its quite fun to push that button everyday. I can honestly say it was like eating by the beach in Nice (where mama lives) minus the ageing plastic surgery and yappy dogs.
Now a place like this with a view like this could easily charge £15 for a burger or a salad. Like the Wine Vaults do, and shouldn’t as they have no such view. We would all tut and go there anyway. Not here. The lunch menu was under a tenner. A good size portion of mussels cooked with the unusual addition of rosemary was £7.50. The eponymous SBC burger, a fat, oozing patty topped with chorizo, a couple of quid more. And they threw in a free gherkin. The salads look insanely good. The menu is pared down but there is foody lurking behind the ingredient choices. The wine list looked decent and I heard rumours of elderflower cider, though they had no problem with providing tap water.
Gimmicks are kept to a minimum. You wont be tripping over piles of vintage suitcases. They don’t blare out music and the simplicity of the design makes it chic by default. The blue and white enamel bowls suited the fare and accommodated reasonably generous portions.
The lunch menu had a nice balance of surf and turf, but best of all it tasted home made and fresh. The first impression is family friendly (forgot to check the changing facilities). I noticed a good number of rather expensive looking wooden high chairs, ready for little bottoms, and I’m sure I saw evidence of a kiddies menu. They had no problem with our pram and we didn’t feel uncomfortable for bringing her along. Later on though a small cortège of buggies arrived together and being busy, it was difficult for them to navigate around. C’est la vie! I may be a mum but I don’t believe businesses have to accommodate a million prams at once. Its not fair on them or the other diners. If you need to fill space, get there early.
If they stick to their current prices and keep their food quality consistent they are going to be very busy all summer, so maybe not somewhere for a weekly mothers meet-up (after all we have the uber baby friendly Watkins & Faux for that). This is not to say they have under priced themselves. The quality/quantity/cost ratio is spot on, which means if you come and visit me from London I will smugly take you here so you can validate my life choices.
The waiting staff are friendly and there are plenty of them. They are still finding their feet service-wise, which is completely OK. They could do with a maître d to boss them around a bit. We were not the only people who had to ask for cutlery. Frankly, though, who cares? This is the most exciting thing to happen to the seafront since Ken Russell burnt down the pier.