Stone Cold

Prettiest much the posiest blog post I've ever put up AND you can see my ass cheeks. C'est la vie! It's Friday! It's not, but I'm going to France today so the end of the working week is in my face right now. Similarly in YOUR face is this whole scenario; but I can never ignore a Stone Cold Fox backless number. Everyone I know - getting married or otherwise - is obsessed with Stone Cold Fox's bridal line and their main line, sassy as hell and short enough to scare grown humans, is just as good. Oh Amalfi (where this was shot) how I miss you so.

I'm wearing a Stone Cold Fox playsuit via Free People and Brora Espadrilles


Life B.P (Before Paypal)

A version of this article first appeared on The Debrief.co.uk

Internet shopping is now 20 years old. 20! Happy birthday, big guy. It’s been emotional. It’s almost as old as you and me. Internet shopping can drink. It’s also changed immeasurably – and more importantly, so has have our attitudes towards it.

Here’s how:

Initially, internet shopping was only for the brave and intrepid

"You bought that 'on the web?'" people would coo, admiringly. "I’ll never share my bank details online", others would say sagely, not realising that the future would hit them smack in the face at some point. I bought myself a party frock from eBay nine years ago, for my sixth form ball. It was a blue See by Chloe slip dress and my first ever eBay purchase, that had required hours upon hours of meticulous scrolling up and down the same page. Who cares that it turned up two sizes too big and five shades too fake? Which brings me to my next point….

You totally trusted the way in which a product was sold to you

You can now see through an online product description like it’s Gisele’s thigh gap. Just because something is described on eBay as 100000% genuwin!!!!! does not mean that it is. As online shopping has gotten older, your trust has been eroded until you’ve become the sceptical motherfucker that you now are.

Once upon a time, you actually couldn’t buy your life online

Perish the actual thought. You’d spend all of Saturday looking for one present or kitchen gadget. Hollah Amazon! Now you can buy a car, a wife and all the coat hangers that you could possibly need online. As an online shopaholic, I buy 90% of my belongings online. It means you get a parcel almost every single day (let’s not talk about having to send it back) and when you buy coat hangers, they come in a parcel shaped like a boomerang, which is really fun for everyone really.

You used to take your wish-listing seriously

When they first came around, we thought online wish-lists were the cleverest things ever. Now they just host the relics of that hungover smash and grab that thankfully never translated into Paypal reality. 

Speaking of, you’d have to explain what Paypal was when using it in conversation

A bit like Bitcoins, we thought Paypal was. Imagine if Bitcoins had been around when we were getting our heads around Paypal? Heads would have rolled.

Patience has waned almost completely

We used to spend time on the payment process – much like when you shift from foot to foot at the Zara till, you’d be OK carefully signing up to a new retailer. Now you’re receiving 100 newsletters a day and you can’t be arsed to buy anything that comes with more than 4 clicks in order to buy. You’re lazy, but you’re winning.

Your phone was for making calls. How the hell would you be using it for shopping?

Now, of course, you have a dozen shopping apps on constant refresh. Even a bus journey to work can yield shopping from the comfort of a tiny phone which, let’s be honest, you can barely even see the dress on, let alone know what it’s going to look like on you - even with those shopping apps that give you exact holographic measurements.

You used to have to pay through the nose for next day delivery

It was very spoilt, that was. You wait your five days, love. Not any more! With retailers like ASOS allowing unlimited Next Day Delivery for just £10 a year, you can keep your nose payment and get a near-instant fix, too. 

eBay has become like Marmite

You are either an eBay person, or you are NOT an eBay person. It’s that simple. My friend explains:

"I thought I could be an eBay person, but then I realised I couldn’t, after many failed bids. I didn’t fail by losing the bids. I failed in that I won the bids but subsequently realised what bad choices they were.

"I got into big trouble and taken to eBay court after winning an ugly bag called ‘COOL NEW RAVE BAG NU RAVE SPLATTER WHITE COLOURS’, but refusing to give my address for it to be sent or pay for it. Another time I got into a big argument with a fraudster in Italy who sold me a fake Ralph Lauren polo shirt.

"Eventually, I realised, I am just not an eBay person. I can do so much other stuff online. I’m hardly a Luddite, but I’ve just realised: I am not that person."

ASOS was just an acronym for ‘as seen on screen’

And it sold Truffle Shuffle T-shirts that Paris and Nicole wore and props to pimp your house out like Friends. We never thought it would turn into the insane online warehouse that it is today. 

Your mum definitely did not shop online

Now your mum spends both her life and pension on Amazon. Last year, not one present came from IRL spending. Less time in shops = more time for Mum to watch Eastenders = happier Mum. Winners all round.

You had to enter your card details every time you shopped

Now if a retailer doesn’t have the option to pay via Paypal, you’re out of there like a cat on a hot tin roof. Take that you Paypal-less fools!


Postcards From Amalfi

I recently returned from the Amalfi coast and can confirm that it really is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been (up there with Big Sur and the highlands of Scotland) filled with mooning newlyweds and rich American families (I considered starting an entire Twitter feed to chart the excellence that I overheard, including an 18-year-old who dropped down to the deck and started doing press-ups, whilst booming "Instagrammed some gelato this morning. BOOM. 80 LIKES") and I wanted to share some of the pictures that I took there, with you here. So, herewith. Starting with a birds eye view of the beach in Postiano // wearing  a Stone Cold Fox playsuit on the terrace of our first apartment in Atrani.

The pergola restaurant at the Bellevue Syrene in Sorrento// view of Amalfi// wearing Kiini Swim and Sarah and Sorrentino scarf on our balcony at the Bellevue. 

Atrani centre // wearing a kaftan from LA and bespoke cotton bag from H&M in Amalfi// crockery in Ravello centre.

Wearing a vintage Anna Sui smock, ASOS Fairy sandals and a Bimba y Lola clutch in Atrani// Amalfi beach// wearing a Juliet Dunn dress and Le Specs Macarena sunglasses in Postiano.

Palazzo Avino in Ravello// wearing a Missoni bikini and Le Specs Macarena sunglasses on the beach in Positano// the beach of Bellevue Syrene in Sorrento// fruit stall in Sorrento// wearing Mr Bob hat via Beach Flamingo, Isabel Marant Etoile blouse, Sarrah and Sorrentino scarf and vintage Levi's shorts in Atrani

Palazzo Avino, Ravello// wearing a Reformation dress and ASOS Fairy sandals at the Bellevue Syrene// waking up (duh) at the Bellevue Syrene// Aperol Spritzes

Ravello centre// the sea in Sorrento// wearing Mango dress and Jeffrey Campbell boots at the Bellevue Syrene, Sorrento.


'Effortless Dressing'? It's A Pile Of Bullsh*t

A version of this article appeared on The Debrief.co.uk

You carefully finish applying your eyeshadow, check your tailored trousers for creases and lace up your Flyknits just so. Then, when everything is gloriously and faultlessly neat, you chuck your head back and forth like an ageing rocker, smudge your mascara so it goes a little bit Carine Roitfeld meets Kate Moss (well you can try, yuh?) and insouciantly untuck a shirt tail. Finished distressing your look? Then and only then are you good to take on the day.

If we can track the ‘effortless’ movement back to one phrase, it would be this: ‘Oh, this old thing? I just threw it on.’ Decades of women ‘throwing things on’ has led to what is now an all-encompassing obsession with effortlessness, that spans the breadth of Gisele’s effortlessly tousled locks to Cara’s effortlesslycrumpled jogging bottoms and lack of high heels (very important) to Miley’s, er, effortlessly glittery camel toe. Normcore and the obsession with looking casual and practical, definitely hasn’t helped. 

In short, we are in trapped in a mindset where the coolest thing is to claim that you don’t GAS*. We are subjected to endless online galleries about how to ‘nail’ effortless style – with utilitarian props like backpacks, skateboards, baseball caps and boiler suits causing us to muse on what we should buy next while scrolling in a way that is surely counter-intuitive to the effortless cause and sort of says everything you need to know about the validity of a trend attempting a minus existence. Perhaps Alexa Chung best summed up the uniquely British obsession with effortless earlier this year in an interview with US beauty site Into The Gloss. ‘The culture in England is such that it’s really not cool to look like you’ve tried so hard. [In England] It’s seen as very self-indulgent... In America, if you’re pampering yourself and getting the blowout and the rest of it, you’re seen as doing really well and it’s celebrated. In England, it’s the opposite... [we’re into] not looking like you’ve made too much of an effort.’

For French-born blogger Camille Charriere (those Parisian women in their chambray shirts, breton tees and make-up free fizzogs justbreathe effortlessness, right), her provenance of bed-head hair and skate shoes has lent her the label of postergirl for the ‘effortless’ movement in London, where she now lives. But it’s something she has mixed opinions on. ‘I’m the girl with a wet patch on her back on the bus in the morning from non-blow dried hair, with the crinkled shirt straight out of the dryer. So in that sense, the “effortless” tag is pretty accurate,’ Camille says. But on the other? ‘There is no such thing as “effortless dressing”,’ says Camille bluntly. ‘French women wouldn’t know effortless if it hit them in the face. And I would be lying if I said I didn’t care about what I wear. I think most people do.’ Camille argues that it depends how you define effortless. ‘I don’t think that being “effortless” should mean that you don’t care, rather that you don’t strive to look like Kim Kardashian slash a fashion editor on their way to a show, on a daily basis.’

There’s certainly an element of low-maintenance to the movement and there’s no denying that some women – Katie Hillier, Cara Delevingne, Isabel Marant – are the definition of such. But at a more dangerous level, it celebrates the #ijustwokeuplikethis and #nomakeupselfie, which insinuate that women who perhaps don’t feel confident enough to snap themselves when they’ve just woken up like that, or indeed look like that sans make-up after six hours sleep, are somehow inferior.

Debatably, the most worrying message about this force d‘effortless is that it derides the ‘fake it till you make it’ routine that gives so many girls that initial surge of confidence. Let’s be honest, most of us looked horrific aged 16, but with enough studious homework – who are your icons and what style feels comfortable for you? – you ended up looking if not beautiful, then at least historic. Imagine being a teenager again and being laughed out the park if you admitted you spent hours planning your outfit? You might never have had the confidence to find your niche. 

There shouldn’t be any shame in admitting that the way you conduct yourself – whether it’s through your wardrobe, your lifestyle choies or your ambition at work – takes effort. If you’ve put work into something, why not let it goddamn show? As Camille says, you don’t have to make an effort to look like Kim Kardashian – your preferred aesthetic may be a vintage Spice Girls shirt worn with your dad’s chinos – but girls should not be discouraged from aspiration.

Cara may look effortless, but she didn’t just roll out of bed into a multi-million pound career, in the same way that Isabel Marant didn’t skulk, make-up free, into being one of the most powerful brands in the fashion industry right now. Looking effortless suggests that your career is also effortless – and that’s as de-motivational as much as it is insulting to women. The notion that all the cool girls out there aren’t making any effort, whatsoever, is redundant. Wear the tracksuit bottoms and the egg-stained T-shirt, sure. But please don’t do it just because you want to look like you really haven’t tried.

Ph. from becariadelamoda.com


Mincing With Monaco

It's the small words that matter; namely, here, the with rather than the actually in Monaco. Though I did go on holiday and haven't actually got over returning, yet, these photos were taken around Redchurch Street - my absolute favourite street in East London - rather than the millionaire's playground that is Monaco. Shoreditch's Redchurch Street is about to gain a new Club Monaco men's store, so I minced around my favourite locations whilst wearing my favourite pieces from the brand, in celebration. You can see me coching outside the Labour and Wait store, The Albion (the spinach bake and tumblers of rosé I can highly recommend) and just one of many really, really sick walls that have been graffitied in the area. I'm a sucker for a brightly patterned wall. What can I say. 

I'm wearing a Club Monaco scarf, waistcoat, skort and espadrilles and a Free People granddad shirt. 

Photographs by Domanté Kaminskaité


Big Mac // Edie Mac

Isn't this burnt clementine slip dress exactly the same colour as the piece of plastic cheese inside a Big Mac burger? Man, I bet I've made you want a McD's just as much as I do, now. I put away this glorious Cross Back Mini Dress by young British designer Edie Mac as soon as I returned from the Amalfi, where it shall hibernate until next summer - because a) you can't really wear anything this revealing anywhere but on holiday when you are basically sedentary - my boobs would swing like a cat in a hammock - and b) sadly, this shade of orange is only do-able on me with a tan. I miss it already - and the holiday.


Team J Law vs. Team K Stew: Why Are We STILL Pitting Female Celebrities Against One Other?

Many aeons ago, when ASOS still stood for As Seen On Screen (selling Truffle Shuffle's The Simple Life t-shirts and wall hangings just like the ones in Monica and Rachel's flat), Kim Kardashian was but a Hollywood honey of whom no one yet knew and Paris and Nicky Hilton ruled the roost (it's 2003, I'll help you out) a little debate called Team Jolie and Team Aniston erupted. Eleven years ago, Pitt left Aniston and took up with Jolie and debates raged about whether or not adultery had taken place. No matter either way, the cast was set: Aniston - victim; Jolie - criminal; Pitt - a benign figure (like duh! This all just happened to him.)

T-shirts were made, in abundance - at a time when the contrast-coloured baseball tee was en vogue - with the Hiltons being the most famous but by no means the only two girls to take the 'battle' to their chests. Whilst Brangelina expanded their brood at rapid rate, Aniston had to deal with the label of 'rejected woman'. Every time she broke up with someone or re-scheduled an engagement (currently) the tide of tears would begin again. "Look at her paddle boarding alone" the celebrity magazines would coo sadly, as if it's quite typical to go paddle boarding with at least 4 other people on your board. 

Now, over a decade later and according to news outlets such as Radar Online and the Evening Standard, there are two new teams in town: Team J Law vs. Team K Stew. That's Jennifer Lawrence and Kristen Stewart for the confused out there. The details/truth are scant: ostensibly Lawrence broke up with the British actor, Nicholas Hoult and Stewart has taken up with him. After her public dalliance with director Rupert Sanders the summer before last, there's no guessing who has been tipped as the crim in this scenario (Stewart) and who, after a year of star turns, Dior dresses, adorable bloopers and a shiny gold page boy haircut, has been christened the angel (Lawrence.) No t-shirts have been printed yet - but I give it just a matter of weeks. Oh and Hoult? Like Pitt, he is barely even named in the battle. 

I can't decide what's more depressing about this ridiculously retrograde 'celebrity gal feud'. Is it that these women have been pitted against each other by the media, without a single shred of evidence? After all, it's not like Bloom vs. Bieber, where each warrior contributed an almost comic amount of material to the cause. Or, is it that women have to be 'warring' in order to break up with a boyfriend and go out with some-one new? No, I think it's that despite all the positive changes to the way in which society views females over the past decade - and there has been many, you need only look at Laura Bates' Everyday Sexism project - we seem to have come nowhere since the Hilton's declared allegiance via their perfect peach-sized breasts. 

We build female celebrities up, in order to break them down. As a culture, we love a golden girl - but lo and behold if they break out of the mould. Stewart, when dating Pattinson and starring in Twilight? Gooooood. When she cheated, got a tattoo and started talking about licking armpits and cursing irritably in interviews? Baaaad. It's as comically Punch&Judy as that. Fuck knows whether Stewart and Hoult are actually going out. Fuck knows if Lawrence broke up with Hoult - or whether they even broke up. Or whether either of them even care. They might. But we don't know. 

Tradition dictates that one woman must be heartbroken. And that the other must be a viperous vixen. How sad that the guff of Team Jolie vs. Team Aniston taught us nothing about how to treat young female celebrities. The fact that over the last decade, Demi Lovato, Amanda Bynes, Britney, Mischa Barton have all suffered public breakdowns of sorts, induced by huge attention, seems to have made no difference. There is inevitable interest in celebrity relationships ('how the idols live') but let us not cast them as the angels and the demons as if making a film about their own life. We are not their directors; and they are not our pawns. And it does nothing for female solidarity to insist that they must be at t-shirted war with one another.


A Roman Toga Party

When in Rome! Etcetera, etcetera. Not quite a toga party and not quite Rome, but near enough. Loose silky separates - if I had the stature of Michaelangelo I would wear the shirt loose over the drop hem skirt - are given some Ancient Roman (or Greek, you could argue) relevance with these tie-up leather sandals, which have been my bargain of the summer. I had a pair from H&M like these, for many years and rue the day I lost them. These guys, whilst not being overly comfortable for long walks, have totally filled the void. Now all that's left is for me to rue, rue, rue the Bellevue Syrene - whilst Natwest also mourns, but for very different reasons.

I'm wearing an Equipment Gavin Shirt, old River Island Skirt, ASOS Fairy Sandals and a Dogeared Circle Necklace


10 Holiday Myths Debunked

I’m fresh off the holiday wagon, just 6 hours since you ask (I know right, I’ve barely even let the after-sun sink into my leathery pores.) And through the sleep-deprived holiday blues, I’ve compiled a list of the clichés of which we fall foul to every single time. Because even a really great holiday (guilty as charged) will sport these indelible truths. Hashtag happy holidays, guys. 

You will spend the money that you get out of the ATM and ONLY that money

You carefully extract your budgeted amount of funds at the Travelex – what idiot spends €1.50 in order to withdraw €20 every evening? – before forgetting about the 10 minute €75 taxi here there and everywhere, or the fact that you will need watering (alcoholically speaking) approximately every 2 hours pool side. You race through your money 2 days in, but can’t bring yourself to get out another lump sum; so you become the prick that withdraws €20, at a charge of €1.50, about three times a day.

You will lose something. Normally your newest, shiniest thing

No matter how many diddy little Ziploc zippy bags you bring; no matter how carefully you unpack your pretzled shirts – you will lose something. This holiday, it was new expensive sunglasses and a long gold necklace. I consoled myself with a Missoni bikini (see boutique binge point, below.) Moral of the story? There is none. Shit happens. Enjoy your shiny new things before you lose the fuckers. Or, you could attempt what my boyfriend did - and hang on to your wallet the entire holiday, only to chuck it into the washing machine when you get back home. Mission still accomplished, essentially. 

You will eat like a health goddess – because you don’t get hungry in the heat

Who the heck started that fable? That age-old myth that actually has you in its thrall. ‘I don’t get hungry in the heat’ you say piously, over a breakfast of 4 slices of papaya. Then it gets to 12pm and suddenly all you can see around you are toasted club sandwiches and novelty ice creams - that latterly see you inhaling the smoked mini mozzarella balls from the buffet, like rubbery M&Ms (they were so good though.) Lying flat on your back, sizzling like a crisp packet, does not eliminate your appetite. Right? Good.

You will develop dozens of new skills; a veritable slew, in fact

You will read the weighty tome that has been functioning as a doorstop for the best part of the year; you will become a demon at backgammon; you will achieve an at least rudimentary knowledge of the foreign language you are utilizing. The fact of the matter is that you speed read a lot of 70%-off Jackie Collins, swear furiously as you bomb at backgammon and lose the phrase book on the first day, refuse to buy another one and therefore say ‘thank you’ in Spanish, not Italian, for the entire holiday (in the words of Shaggy, it wasn’t me.)

You will not argue with anyone – because how can you argue when you’re in paradise?

Yeah, good luck with that one. You imagine that the palm trees and overpriced prawns will turn you into an inherently beautiful person, at all hours of the day, but you still find yourself spitting at one another - family, friends, lovers - over the free bread. Why couldn’t you save the row till you were home, in a particularly non-special vista, over a pint of Strongbow? Because humans are whimsical and often, dickheads. 

You will not act like a burnt version of Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman

The boutique you’d never go into in England, makes sense abroad. That laser-cut cotton kimono, those handmade leather sandals, that bikini that costs the same amount as a package to Faliraki (guilty: Missoni caught me): these things you’d never dream of allowing yourself on home turf, suddenly seem a sensible investment when on foreign terrain. You blame the boutique bingeing on the exchange rate. More likely sun stroke.

You discover a new favourite cocktail, which you will drink forever

Every night on holiday you find yourself warming up the evening with the very same cocktail. How have I lived without this cocktail for so long? You scream inwardly, delightedly, stickily, to yourself. In duty free, you excitedly grab a bottle of say, aperol. I shall make myself an aperol spritz every night you say to yourself, dutifully. When you get home you realise you do quite like aperol – it’s like Irn Bru with a kick - but actually, being honest, you kind of prefer G&T’s. Your holiday self feels betrayed; your home self, chastened.

You will never get over your holiday destination. It is without doubt the apex of your life so far and you must return always

You will come back every year, you promise, when you leave. You traipse dolorously through the airport, refreshing your own Instagram feed just so you can look at your lustily filtered holiday pictures. You have become more attached to the place that you have spent just a week in, than you have your own mother. In fact, it is like your mother. It is your brother from a different mother. You swear you’ll be back at the latest by next week. 

You will fill all the space in your suitcase or so help you god 

A sarong unlike all sarongs; some leather sandals made by a wizened 90 year old in a totally secret shop even the Lonely Planet didn’t know about and who knows shoes like no other man has ever known shoes; perhaps a batwing white crochet sweater (true story): these are the trinkets that you must bring back from your holiday. There’s always a space in your wheely suitcase for whatever catches your eye. Once it was seven packets of wooden BBQ skewers. They were very large, but they were gifts.This year, I filled my space with 7 bags of coloured pasta. Note to future Italian travellers: pasta is heavy. It may tip you over your baggage allowance and you may be forced to re-pack, dumping all the heavy shit into your carry-on which may, potentially, make your boyfriend a bit narked. Just a warning.

You will wear SPF30 every day because you are no longer a milky-skinned teenager, do not want skin cancer and have outgrown that childish desperation to possess a tan

Oh sure, you’ll be all diligent about applying that £25 bottle of Avene SPFgazillion – until the 5th day of your week long holiday, when you realise you’ve only gained one freckle and a bit of red around the tit area. You immediately jack in the SPF before you can say Banana Boat High Strength Oil. Don’t judge, OK. You tried. And if it’s good enough for Donatella….

Ph. by Pandora Sykes