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J’adore Dior

When I think of Dior I think of femininity, luxury and class.  When Dior launched his first collection in 1947, he created The New Look – the hour glass silhouette.  The press dubbed the collection The New Look because of its revolutionary nature.  In contrast to wartime boxy styles, his designs emphasised the curves of the female body.

Born in 1905, Dior retrained as a fashion artist in 1935.  Tragically, he died of a heart attack in 1957, just ten years after the launch of his first collection, however the legacy left by Dior continues to inspire some seven decades later, through the six artistic directors that have succeeded him in the fashion house.

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The V&A’s biggest fashion exhibition since Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty in 2015 Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, has been a sell out for the London Museum, leading them to extend the exhibition for a further two months until 1 September 2019.  The exhibition was inspired by the Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve in Paris and also explores the designer’s fascination with British culture.  Dior is quoted as saying: “There is no other country in the world, besides my own, whose way of life I like so much.”  He was fascinated by England’s great houses, ocean liners, Savile Row tailoring and royalty.  He often showed his collections in grand country houses, such as Blenheim Palace in 1954 in aid of the British Red Cross.

I had long anticipated the release of tickets for this exhibition and finally got to visit in March with my friend.  For the visit I wore a red t-shirt from Topshop with J’adore on the front to emulate an actual Dior t-shirt worn by Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City Movie 2.

I paired the t-shirt with a black satin, bias cut skirt from New Look.  A similar skirt produced by Topshop was an Instagram sensation and therefore a sell out.  The weather still being somewhat chilly, I also wore my trusty New Look faux leather biker jacket that is one of my go to pieces.  To really set the outfit off, I wore black suede heels that I purchased in Belgium some years back and accessorised with an Asos bag which I thought had a look of a Dior saddle bag and actually appeared in Fabulous magazine sometime after I had purchased it.  The only true Dior I wore was my mascara, Diorshow which I can’t rate highly enough.  A lady on the tube commented on how beautiful my shoes were but after a whole day in London in them, I can assure you I was using a rather different word to describe them!

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The exhibition has over 500 objects, including over 200 rare Haute Couture outfits, displayed with accessesories, original drawings, perfumes, magazines and photographs.  The exhibition is set out over different themed rooms and is a display of absolute beauty, curated perfectly to take you on the Dior artistic journey.  It looks at where Dior found inspiration for his designs from the eighteenth century, to travel to gardens.

The entrance to the exhibition looks at Dior’s life and then focuses on The New Look, particularly the bar suit, acquired by the V&A in 1960 and considered to be a key piece of his first collection, reimagined subsequently by many artistic directors.

Dior in Britain’s main attraction was the dress designed by Dior for Princess Margaret to wear in her 21st birthday portrait in 1951.  Dior said of the princess: “she was a real fairy princess, delicate, graceful and exquisite.  The same adjectives could be used to describe Dior’s own creations.

The next room is historicism and looks at the influence of the eighteenth century on Dior and subsequent artistic directors.

Christian Dior enjoyed travel and took inspiration from art, landscapes and architecture in different countries.  The Travel room looks at how travel inspired his, and future designs of the fashion house. My favourite outfits in the room are shown below.  On the left an Egyptian inspired piece by Christian Dior – John Galliano and part of the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2004 collection.  This is purely art, if totally unwearable.  On the right, the dress was for the Tokyo presentation of the 2017 Spring-Summer haute couture collection and I just adore this Christian Dior – Maria Grazia Chiuri creation, which with the trailing cherry blossom, encompasses the femininity of Dior.

The next room was by far my favourite, The Garden, and I could have spent hours in there.  It truly felt like a secret garden, which is exactly the feel Maria Grazia Chiuri wanted to create in the Musee Rodin where she displayed her first couture collection, as homage to Dior’s love of gardens.  Flowers influenced both Dior’s designs and his wonderful perfumes.  He would often sketch in the garden and as a boy he loved to study his mother’s plant catalogues.  Dior said: “After women, flowers are the most divine of creations.”  The room was simply magical.  The centre piece gown, seen top right in the below collection of photos is Christian Dior – Maria Grazia Chiuri and part of the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 collection.  The detail is phenomenal with the petal-like decoration created using layers of dyed feathers.

The centre bottom photo of the collection above is a dress by Dior – Raf Simons and part of the Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2012.  The dress was worn by Natalie Portman as the face of the Miss Dior perfume.  The bottom right picture of the above collection shows to the far right a dress by Christian Dior – John Galliano, which was part of the Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 2010 collection  and is hand painted silk, clinched at the waste by a green bow representative of garden twine.

The Ateliers room demonstrates how test garments are made in white cotton fabric so the fit and shape of the design can be checked before making it in the actual fabric and adding embellishments.

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The exhibition concludes with The Ballroom which was where Dior could really allow his imagination to run free and showcase extravagance.  Dior once said that: “evening clothes are the most glamorous and fascinating things a woman can have as the evening is the time when you escape the realities of life.”   This room was really atmospheric with relaxing music and lighting moving it between day and night.

The dress to the bottom right of the collection above is Christian Dior and part of the Haute Couture Autumn-Winter 1949 collection was embroidered with thousands of shimmering sequins and has to be one of his stand out pieces.

The final dress we see is the below creation by Christian Dior – Maria Grazia Chiuri and was part of the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2018 collection. The inspiration for the dress was an original 1950 hand-painted fan by Christian Dior, held by the mannequin.  Having his signature embroidered in the skirt is symbolic of his lasting legacy.

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If you can get to the exhibition, I highly recommend it.  Additional exhibition tickets will be released on the 15th day of each month for the month ahead and limited tickets are available to purchase daily at the museum on a first come, first served basis.  Dior remains one of the greatest designers and his creations are often seen both on the red carpet and in the fashion magazines.

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The shop at the V&A also has an impressive range of books on the designer and souvenir drawings, photos and stationery from the exhibition.

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Sadly my finances will probably only ever extend to the makeup and perfume of the fashion house, but his influence can often be found in high street designs.  He was a true God of the fashion world.  Long may his legacy continue.

Girls and the city

Fashion icon, Audrey Hepburn once said: “Paris is always a good idea”.  I couldn’t agree more, Paris, like New York is a city I never tire of as there are always new things to discover.

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Paris is chic personified, the city and fashion go together like strawberries and cream.  It is the home of Chanel and Dior as well as the birth place of Karl Lagerfeld, John-Paul Gaultier, not to mention some fabulous accessory brands, Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Cartier.  The allure of  French fashion for me began as a teenager when I discovered Kookai, a label founded in Paris in 1983.  Unfortunately Kookai no longer exists in England so you can imagine my joy on my recent visit to Paris on seeing the store.  Naturally I had to go in and purchase.

In September I spent a very enjoyable long weekend in Paris with two of my closest friends from school.  We started the trip as we meant to go on with prosecco on the Eurostar while reminiscing about French lessons at school and visits to La Serronerie, the house near Normandy that the school owned.  I always adored the French language, despite it not coming naturally to me and so studied it right through to A Level.  I actually surprised myself on this trip at how much came back to me.  When travelling it’s important to be comfortable so I wore a black pleated midi skirt from Asos with a t-shirt embroidered with the Paris skyline from Topshop.

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I first visited Paris aged about 13 with my Mum (see picture below) when her best friend lived on the outskirts and it was love at first sight.  I have returned many times since then, as well as introducing others to its wonderful charm.

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Anyone who reads my blog will know that Sex and the City is an obsession for me and therefore first on my list for this trip was to explore the sights of those 2004 epic finale episodes, guided by the website Set in Paris.  It made perfect sense that Carrie Bradshaw should visit the French capital as fictionally, she is one of the biggest fashionistas and as she puts it so eloquently, is “a person looking for love”.   My outfit for this occasion was carefully planned, a black cord pinafore dress over a mustard long-sleeved top, both from New Look, set off with a beautiful Victoria Beckham for Target silk scarf and Carrie Bradshaw herself would have been proud of the amount of ground I covered in my patent Oasis heels.

In these finale episodes, we first see Carrie in Paris as she arrives at Hotel Plaza Athenee and the hotel is even grander in the flesh than it looked on the screen.  The weather was wet, just as it was for most of Carrie’s trip but the hotel is simply striking in any weather with its beautiful balconies, adorned with red flowers and the Eiffel Tower just a stones throw away.

The hotel is on the most fashionable street in Paris, Avenue Montaigne which is home to all the haute culture brands.  Indeed the Dior store where Carrie slips over is on this street.

When Carrie finds herself alone in Paris again, vowing to “do French things and be very parisien” she visits Cador patisserie, where she shares cake with a large dog.  Cador is unfortunately no longer and instead there is Cojean – an organic cafe.

Kong, the restaurant where Carrie meets Aleksandr Petrovsky’s ex-wife and gets an insight into what he is really like is still there although we didn’t go inside.

There is no better people to explore a city like Paris with than your girlfriends and that is what Carrie is missing in Paris.  This hits home for her when she spies four girls having lunch in l’Avenue.

The last time we see Carrie and Aleksandr happy is when they are strolling through place du dauphine after Carrie has bumped into her French fan base.

When Aleksandr feels nervous about the opening of his light exhibition, Carrie ditches her dinner with her fans to attend the museum with him.

Carrie goes to Paris with a new man for a new life but returns with an ‘old’ man to her old life which is quite ironic but of course gave many fans the ending they craved of Carrie and Big finally getting it together for good.  We see Carrie hear the long awaiting declaration from Big on pont des arts “Carrie you’re the one”.

So that was my Sex and the City tour of Paris but of course we did plenty of the sights too.  We stayed in Montmartre which is one of my favourite parts of Paris.  Known as the art district, it has a somewhat more relaxed atmosphere than other areas of Paris.  The main square (place du tertre) has a carnival atmosphere with artists painting and sketching and selling their work.

Overlooking the main square, on the highest point of the city, is the beautiful white stone basilica of Sacre-Coeur.  This gives visitors a great view over the whole of Paris.  The building is awe-inspiring whether seen by night or day.  If the steps up are too much of a challenge, there is a small funicular that takes you to the top for a small fee.  The inside is just as beautiful with its stunning painted ceilings and carvings.

Having done the cultural bit, the shops in this area are well worth exploring, particularly the macaron stores.  A quirky find is the shop Belle du Jour which specialises in traditional, vintage perfume bottles.

On a couple of evenings we enjoyed dinner at L’ete en Pente Douce where delicious food can be enjoyed on the pavement terrace soaking up the Montmartre ambiance.  On the walk back to the hotel, we were tempted into a small creperie for a sweet treat on more than one occasion!

On one of the days while there, the rain became torrential and so we opted to duck out of the showers in some of the wonderful shops along the Champs-Elysees.  We walked the full length of the street to where it meets the Arc de Triomphe.  My friend had a fantastic make-over by the Urban Decay stand in Sephora and we queued for macarons in Laduree.  Laduree is a beautiful and regal store where you can eat in or simply buy some of the luxury sweet treats which the brand has been making since 1862.

I had never seen the famous painting, the Mona Lisa and so we paid to go in Louvre museum simply to see it.  The Louvre is the most visited art museum in the world and the glass pyramid in the main courtyard of the museum is a work of art in itself.  The Mona Lisa however was somewhat of a disappointment.  It is much much smaller than one imagines and you have to fight your way through throngs of people in order to get a look at it behind glass.

On this day I wore a checked pleat mini skirt from Oasis with a Boohoo slogan t-shirt and a long grey cardigan from Oasis.  I finished the outfit with my red patent bow pumps which I bought in Milan.

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No trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower.  We visited at night when it is spectacularly lit and went right to the top, which while blustery and cold was worth it for the views and the champagne at the champagne bar.  When we came down, I indulged the child in me and had a ride on the traditional Victorian carousel.  It was a magical evening.

Our final day came round all too soon and we decided to begin with a boat trip along the Seine.  On this day I wore a Breton t-shirt dress from New Look, clinched in at the waist with a red belt, also from New Look which nicely tied in the red mac from Marks and Spencer.  We visited Notre Dame with its impressive stained glass windows and finished up with lunch at a cafe on the left bank which is linked to the Shakespeare and Company book store.  The book store sells English language books and is part shop and part library.  Many writers write here amongst the books, in exchange for helping in the shop.  It really is an Aladdin’s cave and a bohemian heaven, somewhere I would love to sit and write myself.  It totally inspired me and I’d love to come back.

Paris should be on every fashionistas bucket list and is a perfect break for friends or couples.  I will certainly be returning to one of the greatest fashion capitals of the world.  As Honore de Balzac, a French novelist and playwright said “Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant”.

 

 

Back to school

Having been blogging for some time now, I felt it was time I went on a course to refine my self taught skills.   In October, Medway adult education were running a Saturday class in Rochester and so I enrolled.

I was surprised it ran; so often you sign up to classes and there is not enough interest for them to run.  It was however somewhat of a disappointment when I discovered that not only had the teacher not prepared a lesson plan, but everyone in the class; apart from me, had never blogged, but rather just had an interest in starting.

It wasn’t a total waste however, it is always good to meet other writers and I did pick up a few tips.  It also gave me some time to practise writing, when we were all asked to write an introduction to why we blog.

Rochester provided a great back drop for a fashion shoot and my outfit for the day was somewhat geeky in style to fit in with the back to school theme.

Skirt, jumper and tights are Oasis, boots are Kookai and bag is New Look.  I love a check woollen skirt for winter.  The clear lens glasses set of the geek chic perfectly and were a steal from Asos.  The Hello Kitty folder is from Paperchase, who have a fab range of back to school stationery.

 

 

 

Remember you are never too old to learn and we can learn a lot from each other.  If you get the chance to do some adult education – go for it.  Let me know what you think of my ‘back to school’ look.

A Boot Sale with a Twist

In April I went to the Classic Car Boot Sale held in London’s Kings Cross.

What springs to mind when I say boot sale? 5am start, a muddy field and people’s junk on sale – this event is as much like that, as glamping is to camping!

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Run by House of Hemingway, people bring their classic cars and sell all manor of fine vintage clothes, shoes, accessories, homeware and vinyl.

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Now as you can imagine this was right up my street, I love classic cars having owned a 1970’s VW Beetle and you all know how I love all things vintage. It was also a bargain event given it was in London, with tickets costing just £5 on the door or £4 if booked in advance.

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To add to the atmosphere there was a DJ on the top deck of a vintage bus playing all the golden oldies and many people came in vintage dress.

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There were bars on vintage buses, some great food stalls also in vintage vehicles and even a mobile cinema.

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Unfortunately for me, vintage clothes tend to be quite small, as women have in general got bigger over the years, so there was little there that would fit me. I did however find a stall selling new items in vintage styles, called Weekend Doll and bought this red t-shirt.

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For the day I wore a black pleated skirt from Asos, plain black vest top from New Look, my trusted biker jacket also from New Look and a scarf from Victoria Beckham for Target. I wore black flat, multi strap shoes from Zara and finished the look an Forever 21 suede look saddle bag, which toned with the orange on the scarf and a Lulu Guinness umbrella – after all this is England, so the event enjoyed sunshine and showers.

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Talking of 5am starts, there was one thing I was willing to do that for and that was earlier this month, one Sunday when Victoria Beckham x Target went on sale! Magazines had been building up to the release for weeks so I stayed up on the Saturday thinking it would go live at midnight Sunday, only to find it didn’t, so then set the alarm for 5am, which would be midnight in the USA and still nothing. After constantly hitting refresh on the webpage, it finally went live at well-gone 9am. I was lucky enough to bag the scarf above and a dress before it sold out though so was quite pleased with myself.

If you like the sound of what you have read, there is another classic car boot sale being held on 9th and 10th September in London Kings Cross. For tickets visit www.classiccarbootsale.co.uk

 

A Hollywood Wedding

February saw one of my very good friends, Alanna get married.  Her and her husband couldn’t be more well suited.  Since we were in school she had always had a fascination with India and dreamed of visiting which she went on to do.  Her husband’s roots are in Goa and he proposed to her at the Taj Mahal.  Due to the Portuguese influence, many Goan people are Catholic so even the couples religious beliefs are aligned.  They are both lovers of travelling and both selfless, giving people, a true Hollywood couple.

Despite being a cold February day, the sun was shining for them when we arrived at the church in Earlsfield.  For the day I chose to wear a floral dress from Chi Chi London.  I paired this with some silver sandals which I have had for many years from Faith and a silver clutch from Asos.  For my hair I took inspiration from a newspaper who had done a spread on Hygge hair.  Hygge was big at the end of 2016 and its popularity continues.  Hygge is a Danish word and essentially means cosy.

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The groom wore a white suit with a pale blue cravat and waited smiling at the altar without any of the usual signs of nervousness.  When the bride entered on the arm of her father, she looked stunning, a true princess.  The dress had a corset top embellished with delicate jewels and then there was a magnificent full taffeta skirt, finished off with a full length veil.  Following her down the aisle were her two triplet sisters in stunning Karen Morgan dresses, accessorised with red shoes and a red flower in their hair.

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The service itself was charming with well-chosen hymns and readings including ‘Give me Joy in my Heart’.  Outside the church there was a confetti parade which was lovely given that many churches no longer allow this.

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Me with the bridesmaids

The bride and groom’s transport for the day was the grooms lovingly restored VW beetle. Anyone who knows me well, will be aware of my life long love of these classic cars and seeing his brought back fond memories of my own car which I sold a few years ago due to it rusting away on our drive.

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The groom being fanatical about films could have chosen no better venue for the reception than Pinewood Studios in Iver Heath, Buckinghamshire.  The studios were built in 1935 around a large Grade II listed Victorian house, Heatherden Hall where the reception was held. Pinewood has been the location of many films from Oliver Twist, to Carry On, to Bond to Harry Potter.  It was named Pinewood due to the number of trees in the area and the connotations of wood to Hollywood – the US film epicentre.

The wedding breakfast was held in a grand room, complete with a tall, ornate Victorian ceiling.  The tables were named after lines from films, such as ‘You remind me of the babe’ from Labyrinth which we sat on and ‘You don’t have to kiss me’ from Rocky which was the top table.  I’ve listed the other names and I’ll leave it for you to work out which films they come from, let me know in the comments when you do!

‘What? Fuzzy Wuzzy was a woman?’

‘You are and always shall be my friend’

‘Hey you guys!’

‘Wax on, Wax off’

‘Luminous beings are we..’

‘What we do in this life echoes in eternity’

‘It’s not the years.  It’s the mileage’

‘Get to Da Choppa!’

‘Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery but today is a gift’

‘Pop the trunk!’

All the stationery encapsulated the couples love of travel, designed like an airmail envelope with a background of a world map with hearts marking places they had travelled to together and love themed postmarks including one showing date and location of the engagement.

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During the delicious meal of leek and potato soup, lemon and garlic roasted supreme of chicken and fruit crumble, the background music was all film anthems including tracks from Star Wars and Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The speeches continued the theme of the movies with the best man speech being set out in episodes.  The grooms speech almost brought me to tears as it was clear that he is totally devoted to her.

The cake was beautifully made by the Groom’s sister-in-law.  It picked up the pastel blue in the grooms cravat in the icing flowers on it and was topped off with two doves symbolising everlasting enduring love being that doves mate for life.

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The cutting of the cake is a significant part of a couples special day not least because it is the first task that the couple undertake together.  For the cutting, the couple used a sword. They then fed each other some cake which represents them nourishing the relationship for the rest of their lives and providing for each other.

The cake cutting was followed by the first dance to Phil Collins’ ‘A Groovy kind of Love’.

The evening entertainment then got well underway and we all enjoyed lots of dancing and karaoke from some of the groom’s family.

It was a truly wonderful day, well deserving of an Oscar and I wish the two of them a very long and happy marriage.  They are the proof that there is someone out there for everyone, who is their perfect match.  Congratulations guys and enjoy the Italian honeymoon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tea with Hello Kitty

Hello Kitty is a fictional character created by Japanese company Sanrio back in 1974. The character is British as at the time of her creation, Britain was seen as trendy in Japan. It is thought the inspiration for the characters name came from Lewis Carroll’s Alice Through the Looking glass as Alice is seen playing with a cat she calls Kitty in the early scenes.  The character was initially aimed at pre-adolescent females but is now popular with adults and children alike.  No one could have predicted the success of Hello Kitty; by 2014 when Hello Kitty turned 40, it was estimated to be worth $7 billion a year.  Around the world there are themed cafe’s, theme parks, an aeroplane and even a maternity hospital dedicated to the character.

I was never particularly a fan but after visiting Japan, I too became inspired by the cute little white cat and so was really excited when I heard that the first European Hello Kitty Cafe was coming to London for Summer 2016 as a pop up at Cutter & Squidge in Soho.

For my visit to the cafe I wore a black pleated skirt from Asos with a plain white t-shirt, white frilly ankle socks from Asos and pink mary jane shoes with a glitter heal by Miss KG.  I accessorized with matching pink handbag from Asos and a Hello Kitty necklace.

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The whole decoration of the cafe as well as the food was so Instagram worthy.  Stairs decorated with the characters iconic ribbon led down to a garden inspired cafe.

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We were welcomed with Mimmy’s Pink Lemonade.

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A tiered bamboo steamer was brought out with five layers of beautifully crafted Hello Kitty treats.  The first layer was sandwiches and even a couple of those had been cut out with a Hello Kitty cutter with the bow detail being highlighted.

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The next layer was savoury cheese scones served with red pepper relish and cream cheese and a cheese cracker with Hello Kitty stamped on it.

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It was then time for my favourite, the sweet treats.  The first layer of these contained amongst other things strawberry milkshake biskie and Kitty’s chocolate mud pie.

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This was followed by a layer containing Mimmy’s very jelly kiss, strawberries and Mimmy’s pink lemonade marshmallow.

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The final layer had Mamma’s apple pie mousse and a cake truffle.

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White’s Ice Kream finished off the tea.

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It was slightly higher priced than many afternoon teas, even in London, coming in at £40 each; however I have never felt so full after a tea – it was definitely great value for money.  Before we left I couldn’t resist snapping up some of the merchandise, although don’t think I’ll be joining the obsessive collectors anytime soon!  Natasha Goldsworth who is 29 was reported in The Daily Mail as having spent over £50000 on her collection!

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So why as adults are we captivated by Hello Kitty along with many other childhood characters, including Disney, Winnie the Pooh and Harry Potter to name but a few?

If you need further proof of the popularity of children’s culture with adults, just look at another Japanese creation, Pokemon Go which launched this summer and saw adults risking their lives playing the interactive game whilst driving!

A 2012 survey showed that 55% of readers of young adolescent books were in fact adults.  Harry Potter is even published with a cover for children and an adult version.

The line between childhood and adulthood has become blurred in recent years. Children are no longer as innocent as they once were with the media exposing them to an adult world and the majority of children now have their own mobile phones.  By the same token though independence is coming much later to most with the price of housing, along with many studying much longer meaning that many children stay at home with their parents well into their twenties.

The rise in computer games in the late 90’s saw adults as well as children enjoying gaming and led to it being more acceptable for adults to regress back to childhood.

The Independent suggested adults love of childhood things is a response to their ‘disappointment with modern life.’  Perhaps it gives adults a different way to express their individuality as well as giving them a license to play.  It gives adults a chance to revert to a time of no responsibilities.

There is no doubt that nostalgia plays a large part in our love of childhood characters and stories.  Perhaps as a child there was not so much merchandise available and also perhaps we didn’t have the funds to indulge in it all, but as adults we do and as such we enjoy creating vast collections.

Alice in Wonderland turned 150 last year and this year saw the release of a new version of Alice Through the Looking glass staring Johnny Depp.  This has certainly led to an explosion of merchandise.  I absolutely love this Urban Decay eyeshadow palette called Alice Through the Looking Glass.

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There is an argument that as an adult you get something different from childhood stories; certainly Alice in Wonderland and Roald Dahl’s classics had a darker side and look at cartoons like The Simpsons – they can definitely be watched on two levels.

Whatever the sociological or psychological reasons behind adults shameless love of childhood things – it is clear that the line from the Bible verse ‘when I became a man, I put away childish things’ is no longer relevant in today’s society.  We all have an inner child so why not enjoy embracing it?!

 

 

A New York State of Mind

New York is a city that I, like many before me, fell in love with it from the moment I first arrived.

My fourth visit to the city that never sleeps, at one point felt like it was never going to happen.  Generally one leaves Heathrow airport with the feeling that better advantage could have been taken of the shopping.  I can however vouch that seven and a half hours is more than enough time to explore every nook and cranny as well as being responsible for my credit card getting rather a battering.  Even my husband who is usually reluctant to part with more than £15 for a shirt, treated himself to a blue checked one from Pink.

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A free Pimms, a couple of glasses of champagne and many purchases later – we finally boarded the plane.  We arrived at JFK in the early hours and finally rocked up at my Mums friend’s house on Long Island just in time for an early breakfast.  The garden and my Mum’s friend’s hangover suggested her granddaughters graduation party the previous evening had gone off with a bang; what a shame we missed it – damn you American Airlines!

Not about to waste anymore time – sleep was abandoned for, would you believe, more shopping at Deer Park outlet mall.  I couldn’t resist this Coach bag.  Coach was founded in 1941 and began as a workshop in a Manhattan loft.  I loved the bags long before their first flagship store was opened in London in 2011 and what a year to purchase one, as this year marks Coach’s 75th anniversary.

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My husband must have had some sort of lobotomy on the flight over as he even purchased a number of labelled shirts!  Following the shopping, refreshments were sort at, get this, a drive through Starbucks!

Leaving my Mum to catch up with her friend, my husband and I met some friends for a drink on one of Long Island’s many beaches.  Later we finished our first day at a typical American diner.

The following morning, my Mum, my husband and I all boarded the train heading for Manhattan.

Being a die-hard Sex and the City fan; I was desperate to visit Carrie’s apartment on Perry Street.  On a previous trip to New York, I had done the Sex and the City movie tour with a friend, but Carrie’s apartment is omitted from the tour due to complaints by residents.

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T-shirt limited edition for the new release of the Jungle Book, by Kenzo, skirt Asos, shoes Oasis, bag Biba, rabbit bag charm Asos and sunglasses Gucci.

After posing for the all important Instagram picture outside the apartment, we walked to the High Line garden.  This is an urban regeneration project completed in 2014 which has made a raised linear park out of a disused rail line which served the industrial Meatpacking District and Chelsea.  We did it because it was listed as one of the top sites in my guide-book and was one we hadn’t seen on previous trips.  I don’t think we had been missing much!  It was rather a let down and appeared as though it had been neglected of late.

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It was a baking hot day so we paused for refreshments at the Bus Stop Cafe in Greenwich Village.  I indulged in American pancakes.

Everyone was then dragged by me on a pilgrimage to the Manolo Blahnik store, which, eventually, I had to admit defeat on after Google maps sent us on some what of a wild goose chase.  I’m sure my credit card was breathing a sigh of relief!

The subway took us down to Tribeca district and we went up One World Trade Centre which stands close to the site of the original twin towers that were.  It is the tallest building in the Western hemisphere with the observatory standing at 1254 feet.  What a fabulous view of the city and well worth a visit.

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Afterwards we reflected on the horror of 9/11, the terrorist attack of 2001, as we looked at the many names of the victims around two waterfalls which stand on the sites of the original north and south towers.

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Dinner was in another diner and then we saw Mum back on her train to Long Island from Penn station.

My husband and I walked from our hotel near Madison Square Gardens down to the East River.  It was raining on and off but that didn’t put off the hoards of people going to see the 40th Macy’s Independence Day fireworks display.  I got into the party spirit with a celebratory headband.

American’s celebrate 4th July as Independence Day as it is the anniversary of their independence from the UK which was obtained in 1776; not to be confused with what Nigel Farage dubbed our Independence Day on 23rd June with the Brexit vote. Incidentally everyone we met was keen to discuss Brexit and how we felt about it.

The fireworks were absolutely amazing and despite the number of people, it was a great party atmosphere.  Even the Empire State Building was lit up in red white and blue.

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We retired to a bar where I had a Cosmo – after all what else would I order in New York City?!  A cab then took us back to our hotel.

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I left the city that’s ‘so good they named it twice’, wanting more.  I would have loved to have experienced the boating lake in Central Park had we had the time as well as exploring the shops of 5th Avenue.  Perhaps next time I’ll visit during Thanksgiving. It certainly is a city I will never tire of.

Look out for part two of my holiday blog where we join the Maple Leaf train.