Monday, March 22, 2010

The Blind Side is a Winner

Even if American Football doesn't feature on your list of interests, I highly recommend a trip to the cinema to take-in Sandra Bullock's Oscar-winning latest, The Blind Side. Engrossing from the start, the movie tells the true-story tale of schoolboy, Michael Oher's adoption by elegant blonde interior designer, Leigh Anne Tuohy.

Ostensibly, it would seem that never the twain would meet but huge-hearted Leigh Anne can't bear to see how 'Big Mike' is (barely) surviving, at the same school as her offspring. An invitation into the family car leads to lives being changed forever.

Bullock is completely fabulous, entirely believable as benevolent mum to SJ and Collins. 6' 8" Quinton Aaron is totally captivating as Michael Oher. Jae Head creates a stunning bundle of energy and openess as little SJ.

You won't regret transporting yourself - filmically - to Tennessee for the perfect feel-good spring escape.

On general UK release from March 26th.

Photos courtesy of Warner Bros

Sunday, March 21, 2010

This little piggy...

...went to the monthly Maple Road Farmers' Market, in Surbiton, yesterday and had lots of fun - despite the downturn in the previously promising spring weather.

I made a start by rushing to the wonderful Secretts Farm stall for the deep, dark bunches of beetroot, (three varieties), all tied-together with string; perfect for my morning energy boost, juiced-to-order (by me), along with ginger root and organic carrot. Yum! Then again, perhaps I'll save some to use in my grated raw salad and enjoy it with sliced tomatoes and tuna...

I won't neglect the greens, in my salad, by adding my self-selected, freshly-picked leaves...

Then, I'll dress my vibrant vitamin-hued plate-of-health with the most delicious extra virgin olive oil - recently harvested and newly pressed - just brought over from Eastern Sicily, by charming Janet Howes-Signor and her Italian-born husband, Danilo. The dressing will be fittingly enhanced by the lemons they gifted me (also plucked from their Sicilian garden of delights) with my purchase.

For a decadent finale (and sweet inspiration) take a look at lovely Sacha Leake's pretty-as-a-picture Pantry Cupcakes - perfect for almost any celebratory occasion or simply as an indulgent personal treat.

Surbiton Farmers' Market takes place, from 9am-1pm, in Maple Road - on the third Saturday of each month.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bruce Oldfield at the V&A

It's been a while since I last visited London's hallowed Victoria and Albert Museum. On Friday evening, I was lured back, for a special treat. British fashion treasure, Bruce Oldfield, was celebrating his upcoming 35 years in the industry at the Lecture Theatre, in conversation with Dolly Jones, Editor of

Fittingly, the venue was a stunning, vast space - with a stratospheric, domed-ceiling - beautifully garbed in William Morris cream and green hues, scrolled with acorns and leaves; the atmosphere was alluring. Our charming fashion hero belied his (nearly) 6o years, in casual-chic attire of Jil Sander T, pin-striped jacket, straight dark denims and black Converse trainers. He appeared totally relaxed and completely at ease (in spite of the packed and attentive house) as he looked back on his (still thriving) career.

The happily captive audience was thoroughly entertained, as much ground was covered, from his early inspiration, at the feet of his dressmaker foster-mother - when, aged seven - he sketched his first wedding gown - to his current favourite creation: featuring five layers of silk tulle, over organza, to give the effect of ripples, movement and flow (worn by Kelly Brook, on the red carpet at the recent 2010 Oscars ceremony). We learned of his admiration for Stephanie of Monaco and how he would have loved to have dressed her mother, Princess Grace. It was poignant to hear of his closeness to Princess Diana, who came to him for clothes that would "make a statement", and how he saw her style, and maturity, develop throughout their professional relationship and friendship.

The photos and his summary - "the essence of being a woman" - of Charlotte Rampling, whom some have referred to as his muse, were a joy to behold. His descriptive and visual reminiscences of significant moments, in his career, included the wonderful, 'rustling' yellow taffeta dress with purple sash (created with an impressive nine metres of fabric); the summary of his ethos and aim "to make people look great... sculpting and flattering the body" to his modest reference of his predilection for draping, when he described Jean Muir as "The Queen of Jersey" and himself as the mere "prince-ling".

I loved hearing his (almost) no holds barred - uttered without bitchiness - commentary of contemporary style (and 'icons'). On Lady Gaga, "Yes, she's very creative but I don't know...!"; on Michelle Obama's Inauguration outfit "If you're going to wear green shoes and gloves, at least make sure that they match" (despite his admiration for the statuesque First Lady and his desire to dress her); on WAGs (and their ilk) "People are trying to be like princesses now..." by way of Nicole Kidman "She's been so creative with her face!" to his summary of the current state of London fashion "We don't always want, or need, to be startled".

Sad, though, to hear Bruce talk of his disappointment in the way that teaching methods and standards have changed (fallen) at leading fashion colleges. (He, modestly, puts much of his success down to his comprehensive training and understanding of all aspects - including garment cutting and technique). His advice to those starting-out in the industry to "be cunning, use your wiles, whisper in significant ears" reflects his own elegant savvy nature and the secret of his success, although he confesses to wishing he had the "major finance required" to stage his own shows. The entire audience, as one, relished the hour in Bruce's company and looked forward to many more years of his glorious style, as he continues (in his own words) to "find new ways of putting things together and dressing things up".

Photos courtesy of MMPR