It seems that wherever I go I can’t resist a bike perve, I did it in Toulouse (warning – link contains tantalisingly cruel images of summer) when I was confined to the city’s equivalent of the Tfl bike scheme.
This time round in Copenhagen I was freewheeling on a rental bike from the ultra-cheap and cute Baisikeli bike rental shop and café, pictured above (their coffee & pastries are highly recommended) but that didn’t stop me gawping at some of the lovely bikes around. With the luxury of flat terrain, segregated bike lanes and a comparatively small area to cycle in, the bikes of Copenhagen are mostly lovely pootlers, there’s fewer pastel fixies and ultra-performance racers because I guess you don’t need it when you’re leisurely riding for about 15mins. Adjusting to London distances again has been HARD.
I’m still on a high from a blissful weekend spent in Copenhagen visiting the amazing Fiona aka #goonsquad, with Sarah and Helen. I have been known to rant on about how much I hate minibreaks, the totally tourist aspect makes me cringe HARD, so it was a delight to be taken around the city by Fiona who was a charming and lolsome guide <3 U! It was a lovely few days of cycling, little cafés with wifi, sightseeing and vintage shopping in the spring sunshine. Oh hai best ever things! There were also a lot of coffeerants/winerants about life, the internet and general biznass. Copenhagen is such a lovely city, the location by the sea means the air is so fresh and clean and cycling is pure, segregated bike lane joy.
CPH (as the cool kids call it) is known for amazing coffee, so I was often high as a kite on a couple of cups of their finest brews. The shopping is also pretty amazing, Copenhagen people look so cool, so stylish but totally pragmatic. The city is packed with stores stocking amazing labels like Samsoe & Samsoe, Whyred, Won Hundred and Stine Goya, whose studio I was lucky enough to go and visit, so look out for that. I also went a bit mad in the Acne Archive shop, that stocks all their samples and past collections, amazing. Their homewares and interiors are famously appreciated but it’s only on going there that I realised how much good design is an integral part of Danish life, it’s not an elitist or class thing, it’s just natural there for people to want beautiful homes.
Here are some of my favourite places from the weekend:
Fashion: Acne Archive ELMEGADE 21 2200
Pick up a total bargain at this men and women’s store that stocks samples and past collections, I picked up two dresses for £80 each! Samsoe Samsoe Studiestræde 13 1455
Loved this store that stocks the Samsoe & Samsoe label as well as other Danish brands, super cool. Henrik Vibskov Krystalgade 6
Designer boutiques are often intimidating but Henrik Vibskov’s multi-brand store is a pure delight. Genbrug Vesterbrogade 79, 1620
By-the-weight vintage store where you can find all sorts of treasures, I picked up an amazing red silk jumpsuit for my flatmate. Hay Pilestræde 29 1112
UH-mazing interiors shop, seriously fell in love with their textiles and their rose gold coathangers.
Eats/Drinks: Coffee Collective A/S. Godthåbsvej 34B 2000
These amazing guys are dead serious about their coffee, you can get a bewildering variety of beans, freshly ground in front of you, served in an equally bewildering amount of ways. One for the coffee geeks. Dyrehaven Sdr. Boulevard 72 1720
Perfect place for a beer and smorrebrod, the traditional Danish open face sandwich, super cool interiors too. Bang & Jensen Istedgade 130 1650
Lovely place, equally good for the trad Danish brunch or for a shot of Fisk in the evening. On the Istegade street which is packed with cafés and lovely vintage/antique shops. Madklubben Store Kongensgade 66 1264
Buzzy little restaurant that does great burgers and super cheap bottles of fizz, win! Mother Høkerboderne 9 1712
Sourdough pizza and cocktails, Mother also do brunch in the morning. In the Meatmarket area with loads of nice bars nearby.
The Little Mermaid is a must-see, she looks so sad and forlorn, I felt sorry for her and wanted to give her a hug. Borgen fans will deffo appreciate a trip to the palace and parliamentary buildings to geek out and I loved the Design Museum, do not miss. The best way to see the impressive architecture of the city is to take a bike ride, it’s not a huge place so you can easily get lost and find your way back!
Bike hire: Baisikeli Ingerslevsgade 80
You can’t not cycle in Copenhagen and it’s such a joy with dedicated bike lanes. Everyone including drivers and pedestrians are totally bike aware, which is a dream. Little tip, cycle on the right side of the lane to let people pass you and if you’re going to stop, raise your hand to let the people behind you know.
Tomorrow is International Women’s Day and I will be taking part in the WOW Festival, celebrating women of the world. Recently TV shows like Girls (haven’t seen it, can’t comment!) have highlighted the cultural imbalance in feminism so it’s nice to see an event that takes a holistic approach to equality and freedom for women.
Every once in a while I get in a funk with cycling, this time round I’m blaming the neverending winter (for this and everything else) and a lingering cold. I just can’t muster up the will to get on my bike right now. I’m happy to let this happen -peaks and troughs and all that – but I think a new cycling outfit for spring would really set me up.
Glamorous cycle outfits are usually a bit twee or ‘kooky’, I’ve picked out something that is chic, streamlined, and sporty – there’s nary a ruffle or quirky print to be seen. Ashish’s construction-inspired collections was one of my London Fashion Week highlights and this hi-vis vest made out of sequins is a sight to behold. Add some sexy chic with Topshop’s cycle shorts (has anyone ever said that about cycle shorts?), the fishnet panels are super cool. Nike Free Runs are so light and comfortable, perfect for a stint on the ol bicylette and this pair boast a reflective upper for max safety. Accessorise with a shiny silver helmet and an extremely desireable Sophie Hulme rucksack and you’ve got a cycleworthy look. From left: Ashish AW13 look, Style.com. Sophie Hulme rucksack, £490, Net a Porter. Silver helmet, £36, Bobbins Bicycles. Fishnet cycle shorts, Topshop SS13. Nike iD Free Runs (custom).
When it’s this cold I immediately turn to lentils, they’re comforting, easy to cook and stupidly cheap. This Christmas I made braised puy lentils and it despite being the cheapest and easiest dish, it was also one of our favourites. The mix of red wine, bones and herbs give it a rich and satisfying flavour, with very little effort beyond chucking it all in the oven. For this I use puy lentils, the queen of lentils, it’s a small, dark green flecked pulse with a meaty flavour.
I like to make a huge dish of this and eat it throughout the week, or freeze up a few portions for lazy evenings. You can mix up some of the ingredients, adding more vegetables or substituting the bacon for sausage -or even throw in a whole lamb shank- but the crucial part is the bones. They’re crucial for meaty richness and give the dish depth, you can get lamb bones for a deeper flavour, or veal bones work well. It tastes great served with greens, like a fancy cavolo nero or some broccoli, you can also spoon on some yoghurt at the end.
Red wine braised puy lentils
Chunks of bacon back
1/2 bottle of red wine
1/2 tin of tomatoes
1-2 packs of puy lentils
Bay leaf, thyme, cumin
Salt & pepper
Preheat your oven to 180C. Fry off the shallots until soft and scoop into a big ovenproof dish. In the same pan, fry the bacon chunks until cooked and place into the dish along with the lentils, bones and herbs. Smash up a few chunks of garlic using a tin or jar, peel and add to the dish. Season and add the red wine, tomatoes and a couple of pints or so of water. The lentils should be comfortably covered in liquid, but not totally drowned. Cover the dish with foil and place in the oven for about two and a half hours. Check halfway to see if more liquid needs adding.
Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones are fresh from the success of the Centre for Fashion Enterprise’s Venture Award, a prize that secures them business support and investment for the next two years. I spoke to them in their London studio last week to find out more and hear all about their AW13 collection, showing today at the Dorchester.
Why were you initially drawn to Nabokov?
C: I always end up in Foyles after fashion week, it was a book cover I’d seen before and I recognised the image on it. I started to read, and that was it and you see the films, when i started to read the poetry and found out that he was this butterfly expert. We’d been in to the Natural History museum to see collections of bugs and that’s when we contacted them and they had some of his butterflies. Someone that wrote all these challenging story lines could be so gentle, and have this pastime that required you to be gentle.
I really feel like you guys are scientists, and you display your research through clothes…
C: There is always, whatever we do it’s about finding a narrative, the narrative this season was about looking into the different facades of his character. he had a very interesting relationship with his wife, he was a lepidopterist, he was a scientist in himself, clearly a very intelligent person.
R: Also the aristocratic background, they were penniless in America but he still had a very grand way about him, I think that’s why we went from the books to him. To push ourselves it wasn’t just looking at the author, it was the person.
How has your process developed?
R: We’re really into developing our fabrics now, we want to be more in control with the jacquards and developing fabrics like the wool, which we’ve had coated. Knitwear too, we’ve been talking to some companies for next season.
C: We started off last season doing our first jacquard, looking at the 1950s political landscape, we needed a jacquard and from that we got excited by the possibilities. Our taste for textures and colour has grown a lot, we’ve always been prints but now we’re taking it into surface development.
Off the back of the Venture Programme, do you feel like this is Phase Two?
Rob: We started off and had great success, picked up by Liberty, sales figures are great and international territories but there’s so much to do that you could just go on and on like a rollercoaster. So this season we decided to stop and take a breath and really look at where we started and where we’ve come. We put all our favourite lookbook images on the wall..
C: It was about refocusing and re-evaluating and making sure that everything was going through this branding. There’s quite a few pieces that we’ve developed over the seasons, we’ve now got signature pieces that get picked up by press and retail. I think these are some our strongest ever lookbook images.
You’re always so organised, do you like that feeling of satisfaction and being on top of things?
R: We’re not so good at the knee-jerk stuff.
C: We’re level-headed enough to sort things out, but if you can finish your collection before fashion week you then give yourself all that time to absorb that collection and concentrate on selling it. When the BFC came into our studio, it was all on the rails we were like ‘yeah you can come in’ and we got really great advice because they’re really great merchandisers. Someone said yesterday, it feels like there’s this pace and momentum with you guys this season’ naturally it is phase two.
You’re not new anymore, and there’s that scary thing where if you’re not a Hot New Thing in London…
C: Our profile and presence has come from stockists, it’s an organic growth, it’s pretty solid. The way that we’ve done it has been a bit more strategy based, it’s been doing really well in Liberty, they bought their deepest buy last season. I think that does create a more solid foundation, one that message filters out.
R: We really want more of a UK, regional presence. We want to build on that.
C: Key boutiques and department stores, it’s about expanding the wholesale part of the business.
Today I trotted (well, cycled) over the bridge, taking a break from the Fashion Week goings on at Somerset House to make a visit to the Tate Modern and their Roy Lichtenstein exhibition preview. The Lichtenstein show is the Tate’s first since 1968 and worth a visit purely for the historical value of his work. It was a treat to see the lesser-known side of the artist, from his earlier, more folksy work like Step-on Can with Leg, to some of his thousands of drawings, it was a glimpse into the man best known for high impact repro.
I’m not the biggest fan of (contemporary) painting, as I don’t really know what is left to say about a 2D art object, but his pieces are more than painting, especially within the context of the era. As he once said: ‘All my art is in some way about other art, even if the other art is cartoons.’
I never really get the fuss over Valentine’s Day, not least because I’m a miserable bastard, but it’s my birthday which means I neatly get to sidestep all the tacky gifts and overpriced flowers. It also means I can be the saviour of all my single/heartbroken/dead inside friends with a V-Day event that definitely isn’t pukesome. Unless you’re going crazy on the Jaegerbombs or something.
That doesn’t stop me getting a waft of the vibes in the air, this year I’ve been feeling rosy. It’s a nice way to get into that fluffy-duffly (just made that up) romantic mood without losing what little remains of your street cred. Weleda’s Wild Rose body Oil smells amazing and leaves my skin feeling super soft, just what I need this time of year when everything feels grey and blah. Similarly, Ren’s ultra-gentle Moroccan Rose Otto body wash is a winter failsafe, blooming up the shower with a flowery fragrance. Gotta love a bit of rose gold, this angular COS bangle is exactly the kind of no-nonsense high-impact jewellery that I like. Lastly, a new purchase, Mac’s Cremeblend Blush in Ladyblush is the perfect match for my olive skin, giving me a rosy, flushed glow.
A Topshop collaboration just before Fashion Week feels like a tradition now. This season we’re being treated to another helping of JW Anderson, and it seems he’s gone all school vibez. There’s a nice play between ‘good girl’ pieces like the revisited loafers and pleated skirt with a subversive, rebellious spirit that would have you wearing the collection round the back of a convent school, smoking a fag.
JW Anderson says: “This collection was more about youth cultural groups. The girl has evolved. It’s about carrying over the idea of iconic pieces that can be worn over and over and re-working staple looks from the JW Anderson wardrobe.” I can totally get on this preppy/punky wave of dressing, his shirts and knee-length skirts feel very English and there are mod and Teddy Girl references in spades with the neat shirts, argyle knits and loafers. The collection hits Topshop on the 15th February.
Cordwainers at London College of Fashion have seen some big names in footwear pass through their doors including Jimmy Choo, Camilla Skovgaard and Rupert Sanderson to name just a few.
The college have teamed up with Fitflop in a student design contest which you can be the judge of. The students been let loose on the Shuv, the super-simple slip on clog which has a bit of a Nordic minimalist thing going on and the Shuv in question is a red patent number, perfect for V Day. Marcia Kilgore (founder and owner of FitFlops), fashion designer Lulu Guinness and fashion journalist Hilary Alexander shortlisted five Shuv designs from the selection that are on the FitFlop Facebook page from today. Get voting over at Fitflop’s Facebook page to decide which one you have your heart set on. Everyone who votes will be placed into a draw to win the Shuv of their choice, but only until the 14th, so hurry up and get voting!
This is a sponsored post which this week is keeping me in M&S thermal fleece tights