Moleskine at The Shop at Bluebird

I was given a wee tour of The Shop At Bluebird the other week and was told that this weekend they’re having a bit of a rejig so whatever you do, don’t plan a big trip there as the shop WON’T BE OPEN! Artist-slash-interiors-guru, Carolyn Quartermaine has been enlisted to work her magic which I’m told will include shipping in truck-loads of flea market furniture which will be available to buy. Oh heaven!

On my tour I was reminded how fantastic the buying is here. You can come in for jeans-and-tee basics and they’ll have the best Acnes and Helmut Langs you could wish for. Or if you want to go for upscale day-to-night dressing they have the cream of the New York new guard from Proenza Schouler and Alexander Wang to Chris Benz and Zac Posen. I particularly love the mix of costume jewellery, especially the old-new pieces from Lulu Frost and Iosselliani.

But my favourite sight on this visit was the new limited edition offering from Moleskine. Just in time for the gifting season, Moleskine have produced these sexy patent diaries all gussied up in a snazzy package. It’s a million miles from the utilitarian minimalism (and um, utilitarian pricepoint) of the usual Moleskines but hey, they’re festive, right?

The Shop At Bluebird reopens on Monday (but best ring 020 7351 3873 first if you’re planning a special visit).

The ‘four thingy’ tag

Pretty Face has tagged me to do the ‘Four Thingys’ meme. So here goes:

1. Four places that I go to over and over:
Borders for almost-daily replenishment of my magazine stash

The Brass Rail Cafe at Selfridges. A good place for thinking and writing

The Curzon Cinema in Shaftesbury Avenue. Sometimes for the movies, mostly for the Konditor & Cook cakes

Caffe Nero for the Hot Chocolate Milano

2. Four people who e-mail me regularly:
My D with scarily expensive ‘what do you think of this’ links to vintage furniture on Ebay.

My make-up artist friend with regular as-it-happens celebrity gossip

Poupeegirl, something I signed up to ages ago but can’t understand how it works cause it’s in Japanese! (Update…oh, they’ve added an English translation!)

Grazia Daily (wow, just found out they’ve linked me too!)

3. Four places I would rather be right now:

Ice skating at Somerset House

Sunbathing in Goa

People-watching in Central Park

Flea-market shopping in Antwerp

4.Four of my favorite places to eat:
Hugo’s in Queens Park for the sausage sandwiches and chocolate brownies

Diana’s in Notting Hill. The food is average but it has a certain charm, especially with every inch of its walls covered in Princess Di memorabilia

Busaba, Wardour Street. Yummy food but service could be better

Harvey Nichols Cafe. I could eat here every day.

5. Four people I’m tagging
Jaiden James



Miss Cavendish

6. Four TV shows I watch over and over

Mary Queen of Shops

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Everybody Hates Chris

(I don’t actually have a working telly, but this is what I’d watch if I had one)

Paninaro revisited

Much as I’m championing the nineties revival (I’ve given up moaning about revivals, I’ve realised they’re part and parcel of fashion these days), I’m not quite done with the 80s yet. On my radar right now? Paninaro. In the mid-eighties a trend emerged from Italy’s monied classes for expensive preppie-inspired casualwear. Liberto jeans, Timberland boots and colourful Moncler ski jackets of the highest quality and price were sported by men, women and teenagers alike. Jeans were worn tapered and cropped at the ankle (the better to show off the boots when riding their Vespa scooters) and outfits were accesssorised with Rayban Wayfarers or aviators and candy-hued Invicta backpacks.

The trend arose from affluent Milanese teens who hung out in sandwich bars, particularly a favourite hangout called Il Panino. So fascinated by this posh streetwear trend that they even made a record about it, the style-savvy Pet Shop Boys introduced the look to the UK in 1986 – you can see the video here. Moncler, makers of those unmissable puffy jackets, was taken over five years ago by Remo Ruffini and is once more highly desirable. Ruffini has enlisted the help of designers like Giambattista Valli and (pre-Valentino) Alessandra Facchinetti to consult on its highest-end Gamme Rouge line while every other designer store I passed on my recent trip to New York had a shiny-shiny black Moncler in the window.

Afro Saxons

I love an off-radar fashion film and even better if it’s a documentary. Afro Saxons is a newly released film following four hair salons competing in the UK’s biggest Afro hair competition. Amongst the competitors are Thai couple George and Apple who are obsessed with Afro hair, Angela, a braid-artist and Wayne and Cyndia, leading junior stylists at the UK’s biggest Afro hair chain. Reviews are mixed but I’m willing to give it a chance – how can it not be entertaining with all that eye-popping hair-sculpture going on? If you’re interested you’d better be quick, it’s showing in very few cinemas until the end of next week.