IsabelleOC a fashion blog

Sunday Sundries: Bella Freud scents, GIFs and defining success

Bella-Freud perfume

Have spent most of the weekend making GIFs for a Buzzfeed post on packing, you can see my last one here, nothing more fun than setting up a tripod and making some silly moving pictures.

Went to the launch of Bella Freud’s perfume range at Harvey Nichols, a trio of pleasing scents that all feel close to actual skin smells, but better. From the ultra-feminine Je t’aime Jane to the unisex Ginsberg is God and my favourite, 1970 which is a heady, incense scent with woody notes.

Brilliant flowchart on navigating the ‘tu’ or ‘vous’ minefield in French, includes the important question ‘is the child like a prince or something?’ [LA Times]

This Design Sponge piece on defining success is a really great, honest piece about doing what feels true to you, not just following the direction you’re supposed to go in. [Design Sponge]

I’ve been meaning to post about Return of the Rudeboy at Somerset House for ages, I didn’t fully get on board with some of the curation (where are the captions to tell you about the significance of the people photographed?) it’s definitely worth an afternoon wander. [Somerset House]

This is kind of old, but Town & Country’s interview with Chloe Sevigny is a must-read, it covers her youth growing up in Connecticut, being a New York It Girl and being a fashion misfit. Chloe is someone who has never lost her cool as the years have gone by, and at 39 is still totally killing it. [Town & Country]

On yer bike: Madeleine Moxham

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When she’s not making awesome jewellery, or ‘wearable construction’ as she has dubbed her instantly identifiable pieces, Madeleine Moxham can often be seen cycling around the streets of Camberwell, where she grew up and still lives. To coincide with the Tour de France -and obviously because she’s as cool as hell- I decided to ask her some questions about getting around on your bike, her favourite places in south London and staying generally fabulous while cycling.

Where are your favourite places to cycle to?
To South London Gallery or Petitou in Peckham for lunch which literally are 5 minutes away so it’s not that adventurous, but worth it for the delicious sustenance. That, or on a weekend to Shad Thames & the Design Museum or Bermondsey Street for lunch.

Do you wear heels on a bike, is it a problem?
All the time -it’s ingenious. You can wear higher heels than you would normally because you can cycle straight up to the door of your destination! Although there is heel etiquette to bear in mind.. I’ve caught them on speed bumps a few times.

What do you normally wear on a bike?
Whatever I’m wearing that day. I don’t dress for the bike much to my boyfriends amusement. I’m often just cycling locally so by the time I put on ‘cycling clothes’ I’d pretty much be at my destination!

How do you adapt your style for riding?

I have recently bought some floor length coats so I have to tie these around my waist otherwise there are chain/ brake issues. Also I realised when my hat blew off into the wind that you need to keep it a bit more streamline – I now have a Gap baseball cap I wear when it’s raining.

Do you have any tips or things you’ve discovered about cycling?
Mmmm to invest in those expensive tyres otherwise you have to faff around with a puncture every few months. It took me a while to be convinced but I’ve not had them for 2 years with no issues so would recommend to anyone.

What’s your favourite thing about being on a bike?

The convenience, not having to sit in traffic, halving your journey time, discovering back streets. You don;t always have to have a purpose which is nice so you can find new things over a larger area that you could if walking.

Do you wear a helmet, why?
Not often which I sometimes feel silly about but I really am not usually going that far so I haven;t got in to the habit. When I do I often end up leaving it somewhere! If I am going to be cycling on busy roads (like the Old Ken Road) then I would but I’d have to find it first.

What’s it like cycling around the local area?
Because the area is becoming much busier with students and popular with creatives I imagine they might think I don’t quite understand the laid back atmosphere of the area but that’s just me! I almost need a t-shirt that says ‘I was born here’ and i’ll wear what I like. I just spent the weekend in Copenhagen and the Danes cycle in whatever they want too with heels, flowing coats and big bunches of flowers. If it’s good enough for them…

You can buy Moxham pieces here or at Whistles and I suggest that you check out her brilliant Instagram.

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Sunday Sundries: t’tour de France, dollar vans and kegels

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A busy week in which I didn’t eat at home once, that’s got to be bad, right? I’m making up for it by simmering some ribollita, an Italian bread and cannelini bean soup which is perfect for summer evenings. One of my meals out was at Rotorino, where I got to try the corpse reviver, an evil-sounding cocktail I have been wanting to try for ages. This weekend was filled with a trip down to Kent for a birthday, love the mix of pretty boats and grim industrial buildings on the riverside.

Looking forward to the Tour de France coming down from Yorkshire to London tomorrow, wish I was around to see them go. This set of pics from pro-tour Yorkshire folk made me smile, love the idea of Yorkshire Thé and a special bottle of Hendos. [Buzzfeed]

This wonderful piece by Aaron Reiss looks at the unofficial transport system that takes New Yorkers to work, to see their families and more. A lovely example of communities in action. [New Yorker]

I’ve never been a particularly massive fan of Sharon Van Etten but her new album is just lovely [Spotify]

I feel like this piece of wearable tech that helps women exercise their pelvic floor muscles shows how far we’ve come in opening out (lol) science and tech to take into account womens’ needs and wants. [NY Daily News]

Sunday Sundries: Scotland, crises and menstruation in space

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Hey Sunday Sundries! After a simply gorgeous week in the wilds of Skye, swimming in Fairy Glens seeing DOLPHINS and cooking lobster on a BBQ, I’m back. It took a while to get used to London again I tell you that.

Long-time fave Ann Friedman has teamed up with her bff and my new fave, Aminatou Sow on a podcast which covers menstruation in space, kaftans, and the Kardashians among other things that has had me chuckling on the tube. Call Your Girlfriend is the familiar-sounding conversation between two best friends, it’s great to hear these two chat it out.

Maggie Gyllenhaal might be a Hollywood star but she has existential crises just like us!

“I dyed my hair blonde because I wanted to feel better about myself. I do like it blonde, but it doesn’t make you happy. The truth is: it was a long hard winter and I thought, maybe this will change my life. But it never does. I should know that by now, I’m 36 years old.” [The Cut]

John Grindod’s piece on the place Croydon’s Taberner House occupies in his family history is moving and brilliant. [Dirty Modern Scoundrel]

This interview with Bjork in her home in Iceland sheds a bit of light on what an amazing person she is. Love it. [The Guardian]

My first ever Tweed Run

Brooks, they of super-comfy saddles that saved my bum on last year’s 120-mile Dunwich Dynamo, invited me a few weeks ago to join the Tweed Run. If you’ve never been, it’s a lot of people in tweed riding around London. I’ve never been on it but I’ve seen the great outfits, so I knew that the bar was set high. The warm sun dictated a simple wool skirt, white shirt and Grenson brogues, tweed-lite if you will.

The general uniform seems to be plus fours and brightly coloured socks, but there was a huge array of other brilliant outfits, from full 50s dresses to the best take on vintage sported by the lovely Kelly, pictured smiling on the back of a bike as she took pics for BikePretty. I also ran into Lady Velo, aka Jools who was another serious cycle chic contender.

As a cyclist there is something exciting about joining fellow two wheelers and pedalling through London’s streets. The day also coincided with the Big Ride, as we passed them on Westminster Bridge it swelled my heart to stop along with the rest of the tweeders to give them a round of applause.

The best bit of the ride was sailing through London, waving at pedestrians. For some reason cycle reception is coolest in the UK, but wearing our tweed cloaks of respectability we earnt nothing more ominous than a friendly wave and the occasional shout out. The Big Ride was definitely hugely important but fun events like the Tweed Run are an important reminder that most people cycle because it’s a really fun and pleasurable thing to do.

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Many thanks to Brooks who took great care of me on the ride!

A month of Sundays Sundries

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A month! Wow. Moving on swiftly, the image above (we’ve all been there) is part of a set by Billy Monk, a bouncer and photographer who documented the underground nightlife in Apartheid-era South Africa. What they got up to! [Camara Democratica]

Watch Michelle Obama speaking at Maya Angelou’s funeral service. Mobes is just the best. [Gawker]

Too Long, Didn’t Read. For everything. Imagine if Wikipedia had a TLDR section. Warning, you can lose hours scrolling through this. [TLDR Wikipedia]

Let your ovaries do a little dance to this photoset of Andre 3000 and his kid over the years. [Nizzerd]

Charlie Porter’s site deserves linking to on most days, but his breakdown of the clothing choices of men on Tinder is brilliant. [Charlie Porter]

Totally heartwarming and tear-inducing picture story about one dad’s journey learning to love his child. [The Reluctant Father]

I love Carrie Brownstein, so much. This interview is called ‘The Carrie Brownstein Guide to Kicking Ass’ so how can you not? [Refinery 29]

And this is just weird [Homeless Dad]

Holiday packing like a minimalist

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The only good thing about lugging bags around is your abs. There’s nothing like dragging a suitcase behind you to strengthen your core, try it! When I was doing lots more styling projects I was always lugging big suitcases around, admittedly you do get abs of steel, but the lug is part of the reason I stopped.

Even in my full-on charity shop obsessed hoarder days I still had a full aversion to lugging stuff around. I pack really light, because airports are bone dry enough without the added schlep of a ton of bags. I’ve gotten even more minimal nowadays, especially as nearly every holiday my bag comes pre-filled with a selection of chargers, cameras and my laptop. Maybe one day I can go on a fully off the grid holiday and fill my bag with dresses and shoes for each day? To have as many outfit changes as Jennifer Lawrence on Oscars night would be luxurious, but also feels like a headache.

If you like your clothes then you should feel comfortable wearing them everyday, right? I would never pack the skirt that is gorgeous but feels a bit tight after dinner, or the jeans that look awesome but bag out after three wears. I’m slowly getting rid of these kind of clothing gremlins from my day-to-day wardrobe, so forget about treating these ungrateful things to a holiday.

When I went to Hyeres recently I packed a pair of jeans, a grey tee, a black spaghetti vest (which drew some remarks from nosy locals) and a silky navy number into a tiny Victorinox suitcase. Oh and my cute Agent Provocateur bikini to get a bit of sun. It wasn’t crazy eclectic, but I had a pair of sandals to mix things up a bit.

On a more ~emotional~ level, it’s also a confidence thing. I used to want to dress for every mood, for every eventuality but that’s changing. I don’t feel like I missed out on showcasing all the other sides of my personality to these strangers, because I was happy with showing a united front. Sorry Whitney, I’m not every woman, I’m just me.

Tour Diary: Helsinki

I’ve still got a few tour diary gems to put up, one such sparkler was our day in Helsinki. I’ve never been to Finland before but growing up with my half Finnish schoolfriend Saara more than prepped me for this lovely country. Waking up at about 6am to a suddenly snowy Stockholm was a major surprise after the sunny day we’d had. It was like making a journey back in time to winter. We got the ferry through incredibly beautiful Finnish islands to Turkuu and then motorway-ed up to Helsinki. Did you know that Finnish motorway service stations are wonderfully civilised and inviting places? Not even a whiff of a Ginsters. I had a great meatballs and mash on our way that I am still drooling about now.

Helsinki itself is a really lovely place, after catching up on some work I left the venue without much of a plan. The idea was to maybe walk down to the sea, which ended up being Kaivopuisto, a snow-covered park by the sea. Helsinki itself is a grand old town, packed with cool cafes and design shops as well as the legendary UFF, the Finnish charity shop. I had a bit of a try-on sesh but with my vintage-mania being slightly behind me I bypassed the leather jackets, poly shirts and crispy denim and went for a wonderful blanket instead.

Kaivopuisto was a wonderful thing to visit, I nearly broke my neck clambering up the hills in my slippy boots but it was worth it for the view out to sea, where sheets of ice jostled against each other with the movement of the waves.

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Sunday Sundries: street style, periods, feminism and flowers

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If you’ve seen my Instagram you’ll have noticed that a) I set it once again to insufferable again with smug sunshine updates but also b) that’s because I’ve been in Hyeres for their photography and fashion festival which was a total blast. A kind of a work blast, but there was lots of little gaps for major funtimes. Check out my street style shots from the festival on Never Underdressed. Snapping the head of PR for Chanel has to be up there in one of my top moments. She was lovely btw.

Amy Schumer’s video is very funny to anyone who isn’t into gaming, but also it shows how far we’ve come in articulating female voices in comedy and popular culture. I can still remember being a kid not that long ago and knowing that feminism seemed logical but being too scared to voice that thought out loud. Things like this normalise feminism and give women a proper voice. (via Coquette)

I love flowers, really. Having spent a few days in the most fertile, floral place ever I think ‘flowers man, they’re just trying to send out booty calls to insects’. Yeah and the last time I smoked weed the Spice Girls were in the charts, in case you were wondering! Noel Badges Pugh, above, illustrates simple floral displays that are pure perfection.

What are periods all about? No really. Did you ever think it’s because foetuses are bloodsucking parasites and your body has to expel the less than perfect ones? (I’m obviously paraphrasing) Suzanne Sadedin busts out an eye-opening answer on Quora.

Scalp issues solved with Yarok Feed Your Youth

As beauty treatments go, flaky scalp treatments are not exactly the sexiest thing in the world. But a healthy scalp is necessary for beautiful hair, so the state of your head is actually pretty important. I do sometimes suffer from a bit of fluff, not full-on Peter Dandré, but my scalp is sensitive and will feel itchy and dry if I don’t use the right products.

Yarok’s Feed Your Youth serum
landed in my bathroom drawer -literally, I think my flatmate must have put it there for me, if not, oops!- and I’ve been using it ever since. It’s a gentle, simple blend of oils with an easy dropper to get right to the scalp. The mix of avocado, apricot kernel, ylang ylang, yarrow, orange blossom and bitter orange is meant to have an anti-aging effect on the hair. I’ve not used it as a hair treatment, but it’s definitely had a calming effect on my head and I’ve noticed less of an itch.

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