June sales picks

 

(not) watching the England/Italy Euro 2012 game presented itself as the perfect opportunity to look through the June sales again, and dig out some of my fantasy buys.

My budget right now extends to eBay and very little else (though that includes a bitchin pair of grey suede classic pumps from Topshop and a new addition to my vintage Escada collection). But in online browsing land, budgets are an irrelevance.

So with reality briefly suspended, I went shopping on FarFetch – a shoe-lover’s dream for its vast variety of source stores.

I have decided a 25% saving on these cracking (and practically low) Margiela ankle boots is a great deal. Was £598.67, now £449.00. Totes barg. Jazzy glitter, non?
martin margiela June sales picks
If you’re a little loose up top, it’s fun to accessorise with something perfectly sensible, nay, square below. The Acne loafer with massive tassel from the the ss12 collection can deliver that.

You’re loud, a little louche, prone to spots of bad behaviour and occasional nudity? No-one will see this sensible everyday shoe coming, and at £276.00 down from £460.00 (40% off) they’re a sensible price too.
acne loafer June sales picks
Likewise, if you’re prone to being far too freaking sensible, a smashing bright pair of heels can really set off a dull outfit/personality. Plus, they’re a seriously easy way to get involved in the whole colour-blocking thing that will not go away (possibly due to being lots of fun). Just the other day in Sephora on Times Square a shopkeep told me that my fluro pink shift dress made their day. They may have been trying to sell me their wares, but as that colour makes mine, I don’t see why it can’t make other people’s day too.

Stella perspex-heeled two-tone satin sandals. Was £565, now £339 40% off at Net-a-porter.
stella mccartney June sales picks

The Kat Maconie beacon

 

tumblr m1pdbxTSCC1rn6pf4o1 1280 680x906 The Kat Maconie beacon

When I am lost, and I feel I’ve lost my way, Kat Maconie is a beacon. Her straightforward designs with a touch of heavy metal hardware bring me right back to what I love – chunky heels, black and gold.

I’m sure blush is the colour du jour – pastel is a trend and all.

But I care little for trends. I know that a pair of these Silvias in black will last me long after the demise of the pastel trend. Plus, have you seen the weather? It’s black leather season.

These babes are 240 quid from Kat Maconie’s online store.

I hate to share this, but there’s also some Kat Maconie heels on sale on The Outnet for 151 pounds.

Photo from Kat Maconie.

Pyschedelic slippers

 

greek woollen slippers 1 680x442 Pyschedelic slippers

I’m just back from a week of sunshine and bliss in Greece, where I found very little by way of shoes to buy, but I did find these amazing traditional Greek slippers.

I’m sure plenty of people knew about them before me, and I have seen them in the drawings of traditional Cretan costume, but I had never seen them in these brilliant fluoros.

They’re made by a co-op on Crete, and they’re just 11 quid or so. A bargain in felt and pom-pom form.

You can of course go for a typical blue and white style, but why go trad when you can go bonkers in fluoro pink, green or orange?

There’s also a fantastic grey felt version, and perhaps it’s my age, but the baby-sized ones are freaking adorable.

Order them from the source at Woollen Slippers, and they’ll ship you a pair for a reasonable fee.

greek woollen slippers 21 680x510 Pyschedelic slippers

Fast, gooey, St Valentine’s day bake

 

I’m not a Valentines Dayist, but since I have these heart-shaped ramekins (thanks to Miss Woolly), a block of extraordinary chocolate and a rather fast pudding recipe, I have whipped up a St Valentine’s bake.

le creuset pots 1 680x566 Fast, gooey, St Valentines day bake

As with all baking, it’s no surprise that the quality of your ingredients makes all the difference.

This chocolate from Belgium is blisteringly fancy. It’s dark, bitter and expensive. Well I think it is, it was a gift, along with a long strip of handmade vanilla bean marshmallow. Amazing they both are.

carre chocolate 680x510 Fast, gooey, St Valentines day bake

Chocolate St Valentine’s day puds:
125 grams dark chocolate of the most amazing quality
125 grams unsalted butter
3 eggs
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons of spelt flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees, grease your ramekins – heart-shaped or not.

Melt the butter and choc in a bowl over a simmering pan.

Whisk eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla together, then whisk in chocolate mixture.

Pour into your ramekins, which I place on one large baking tray, then into the oven for 10-12 mins.

They’re done once the top is just set. Don’t be tempted to leave them longer or you won’t get the dark, gooey middle.

Serve with saucy love.

three chocolate puddings 680x510 Fast, gooey, St Valentines day bake

Budget don’t brag in the winter sales

 

I have a very strict sales buying strategy. I never loose my head and buy something I wouldn’t normally buy just because it’s reduced.

My philosophy is basically that it’s not a matter of what great discounts I can nab, and brag about, it’s about how I can improve my existing wardrobe with well-priced pieces I really want.

Anna Dello Russo said that when shopping during sales, you should not buy randomly, you should choose your favourite pieces, stick to a budget and you should only buy materpieces.

I don’t know if my budget will stretch to masterpieces, but she’s a woman after my own heart when it comes to budgeting, and being selective.

Last year in the winter sales I bought the Surface To Air wedge sandals in tan, which I wore all summer and then again on winter holidays chasing the sun.

I’ll always love them, and the tan leather is gaining a nice patina as the shoes wear in.

My sales picks for the winter sales are quiet strict. They are a pair of very sensible black heels for work, a pair of fun bright Surface To Air wedge sandals in red which will be perfect this summer and an everyday pair of black boots.

I can’t afford the black Acne pistols that I’ve been hankering for for years, as they’re 390 quid. But these Surface To Air numbers are quite similar, and at 210 Euros, I can still buy my bus fare.

acne heel sales 680x451 Budget dont brag in the winter sales

Melrose patent black heels, 164 quid from Acne

p16298 1 680x629 Budget dont brag in the winter sales

Surface To Air buckle sandal in red, 155 Euros

p16614 2 680x538 Budget dont brag in the winter sales

Surface To Air Paul Boots VI 210 Euros

Cupcake girl

 

Cupcake Girl from Pamela Reed + Matthew Rader on Vimeo.

We are all equally afflicted by cupcakes. It seems there’s no escaping these bite-sized noms of deliciousness. This video is made by the lovely Pamela and Matthew over at Meowzas.

The perfect plain sandal and the mental kaftan

 

kaftan 680x906 The perfect plain sandal and the mental kaftan

This madly bright Liza Bruce kaftan has reconfigured my summer. It’s wild, slightly mental and is a big hit with my Nana. Wearing it, I feel quite Bjorkish, only without the worldwide team of weird musical instrument developers and stellar career in sound and direct access to Mike Paton.

There’s only one way to go with a mad dress like this, and that’s a with a simple sandal.

These Isabel Marant Merrys, from places like net-a-porter.

The kaftan wafts like a spinnaker when you wear it, so a more extravagant shoe would only draw more attention. One spinnaker draws enough attention for me, but if you’re feeling low, I guess you could throw on a gold wedge like my fav YSL numbers.

I am all for one hot shot of colour in every outfit. I find it the most manageable and timeless way of using colour, plus, you avoid trends like colour blocking which spring up and require you to buy whole new outfits.

You can pick up a unique silk kaftan from Liza Bruce at 9 Pont Street London.

180871 in dl The perfect plain sandal and the mental kaftan

The great Australian pavlova

 

IMG 2044 680x510 The great Australian pavlova

I mentioned in my trifle post that one of the best side effects of custard making is egg whites for pavlova, and here’s mine from Christmas day.

My mum and, actually, come to think of it, most of my family are pretty good at making pavs. It would be an embarrassment as an Australian not to be able to make one, as we invented the lovely thing*.

There’s a few basic requirements for a successful pav:
• a good clean steel bowl
• pure egg whites unpolluted by yolk
• a slow oven and trained householders who won’t open it

Pavs are bascially a process of beating and drying.

Beat 6 egg whites, adding 1 cup castor sugar and 1/4 cup regular granular sugar slowly.
Before they reach stiff peaks, add a tablespoon of cornflour and a tablespoon of lemon juice or white vinegar.

When the whites make stiff, glossy peaks, slop six spoonfuls onto a baking sheet covered in baking paper.

Smooth the blobs together to make a circle, add any more whites on top of your circle.

I took a palette knife and made stripes up the side, so the pav went into the oven as a dome.

I baked it in a slow oven, around 150 degrees, for 40 minutes, or until lightly golden, then left it in there to dry out over night.

Dairy fans can fill it with whipped cream, I just dropped a punnet of blueberries on the top.

*highly contentious! My best Kiwi friend can’t stop claiming the invention of the pav EVERY time we’re in a cake shop. I say they get Russell Crowe and Mel Gibson, we have the pav. Fair trade, non?

How my head works with YSL sandals

 

170739 in dl How my head works with YSL sandals

So these YSL brogue/wedge/sandals are on sale right now, down to £472 on net-a-porter. But that’s not why I have to talk about them.

This is in aid of an insight into my mind.

I was at a dinner, standing around in a perfectly adequate pair of classic red suede courts – my wedding shoes in fact – but I could not stop thinking about these sandal/brogue/wedges and how improved my conversation would be were I to be wearing them.

No one would notice them, they’d be sneaking around down low in the dark, under my long black skirts. But they’d be there. And I’d know.

They’d be lurking about being a bright shoe/sandal/work horse of an accessory, and I’d know their magnificence was powering my every nuanced word. People would tilt their heads and laugh gaily at my wit, and it would be all thanks to this shoe.

I believe the conversation was adequate – something about the invention of the modern diesel engine and the rivalry between Italian motor manufacturers etc.

But there’s every possibility it could have been improved.

Taking Acland Street for granted

 

IMG 21321 680x906 Taking Acland Street for granted

As a St Kilda local, I very much took Acland Street and its bevvy of cake shops completely for granted.

I’ve just had the pleasure of directing my in-laws down there for a spot of touristing, and they brought me back this beautiful meringue.

I can’t bring myself to eat it, but it was a giant fluffy reminder that a row of creamy European cakes is a rarity, even for well-travelled Brits.