Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Where do you go to my lovely?

Ooer, it seems after making a semi-intellectual post (sort of) it drains the energy from me for another post in succession.

Anyway, as the WAG special of Come Dine With Me plays in the background, here's what I've been doing (and wearing!) this past week.

I've been volunteering at the Yeats Society and as a invigilator at The Model gallery. I'm not going to lie, they both involve a substantial amount of sitting around, but as the summer progresses its been getting busier as the tourists arrive. I'm very excited because at the end of July a Jack B. Yeats exhibition is opening in the Model. I've been reading up on the Yeatses more, I only recently discovered that Lily Yeats worked for May Morris, even though her position wasn't a happy one. I have been accepted into Glasgow, so on my course I will be studying the Arts and Crafts movement.

Anyway, I digress! I've finally moved onto the next book in my summer reading pile, Bright Young People by D. J. Taylor. It's intriguing as the modern celebrity culture found its roots in the 1920s. There are so many names to remember! The past few days have been lovely so I've been indulging in some glasses of merlot and a lot of Green and Blacks!

I've been baking - I tried out the Hummingbird vanilla cupcake recipe, but to be honest I found it a bit dry, so I prefer the Magnolia one.

And icing (even though tbh I'm not a big fan of frosting myself!) -

I've been picnicking, where I over-indulged in too many eclairs, my cupcakes, homemade potato salad and CRISP SANDWICHES! My friend never had these before! You guys had these as kids right? I had them all the time on scout trips. It has to be on fresh white bread with butter and salt and vinegar crisps. Dear me.

This is a lovely little island on Lough Gill that you have to cross over to via some precarious stepping stones! But it was worth it as I hadn't been brave enough to venture over since I was about 12.

What I've been wearing:

Dress, H&M. Shoes, Office.
I love this dress. The colour, the lace! With my mary-janes I felt a bit like one of the Bright Young Things I was reading about! It felt very comfortable and very twenties.

Dress, H&M. Shoes, Office. Tights, A-Wear.
Just a plain black dress, but I really like the cut and length. I added the tights for a much needed injection of colour and the shoes are just fun :)

I'm starting in Oxfam on Thursday so hopefully over the summer I might pick up some finds. I made my second ever order on ASOS at the weekend, it might make its way onto the blog soon! I'm pretty peeved I didn't go on sooner because the sale seemed awesome.
Speaking of sales I'm venturing up to Dublin for a long weekend so hopefully I might nab some bargains - where are the best sales on the high street at the moment?

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

and yes I said yes I will Yes

It's that time of year again, June 16th means it's Bloomsday. Alas, I have never had the opportunity to frock up in fine Edwardian garb and take to the streets of Dublin. I'd feel like I was cheating, so i'll wait until I've read Ulysses first, but that'll most likely be another decade.

Bloomsday makes me a little proud to be Irish, but like Joyce I suffer a bit from remaining within the country. To explore fully how much he loved Ireland, he needed to excape from its stifling provincialism. He stated, "When I die Dublin will be written in my heart." It always makes me smirk when I see Irish Ferries advertisements using Beckett and Joyce quotes twisted to convey a positive message about travelling to Ireland, when in actuality they couldn't get out fast enough. I'm the same, I like to think. I have romantic notions, except when I'm away I can't stop thinking about the place. I have a love/hate relationship with home. If I leave, I will come back some day. No doubt. I'm not making much sense here but what I am trying (and failing) to express is that I find remaining here stifling, but I am Irish through and through, nothing can match our distinctive black humour and laid back but self concious-curious attitude to life.

I've always loved this image. What a poster girl for Joyce!

Now I'm going to be naughty and dispel all your idealised romanticized notions of the author and Joyce, by directing you to his love (ahem) letters to Nora Barnacle. Everyone's human after all. Each to his own, I guess! I hope the medium of the love letter isn't dead! Nothing can replace setting your hearts sentiments to paper, or your desires, in Joyce's case.

These are scattered throughout the city of Dublin. You could be standing on a street corner, pondering your next destination when your foot strikes something unfamiliar and you look down to see this beneath your feet, or when striding over O' Connell Bridge. It makes me smile appreciatively for the city and how one man's book essentially was a love letter to life and the city he knew so well.

Ladies and Gents, take a cue from Leopold Bloom and start donning a bowler!

To end this on a positive note, here's the ever beautiful Anjelica Huston as Gretta in The Dead (1987):

One day I'll celebrate Bloomsday, and by golly you'll hear about it. Better start looking for that corset, then maybe reading the book.

Monday, June 14, 2010

You're so sheer, you're so chic

Recently I've been wearing these awesome leggings I got marked down to €8.50 in Oasis last week. I was drawn to them like a magpie, I think my wardrobe needs a bit of a shake-up and I want more striking items to incorporate into my more conservative style of dress, a hint of eccentricity makes me happy.

Skirt, H&M. Belt, H&M. Top, Urban Outfitters. Boots, vintage Justins via etsy. Leggings, Oasis. Sailboat necklace, Topshop.

I got the pleated sheer skirt on ebay for £5 including postage and I absolutely love it, even though its a tad on the big side. The length is perfect, I'm actually becoming more found of calve-skimming skirts as opposed to the shorter skimpier minis in my wardobe. And its sheer! I'm loving sheer things at the moment, I don't know why I didn't before, I'm only just realizing the possibilities. I'm actually quite happy with this outfit because everything was bought on sale except for the boots and it doesn't look cheap.

Skirt, H&M. Belt, H&M. Dress, Topshop. Shoes, Office. Necklace, Accessorize (21st gift)

Recently, I've also started voluntary work at the Yeats Society Sligo, its only 3-6 hours a week, a lot of sitting around, but the ladies that are in charge there are lovely and it gets me out of the house. I am a 'meet and greet' person. I also will be beginning at The Model gallery soon too, more sitting around, but in a creative environment.
I'm considering Oxfam too, I got the application form today and it had that typical charity shop smell with a bored, dull woman behind the counter, but I could pick up some bargains there and it'd just be for the summer and most importantly, its all for a good cause!

PS. I just watched Nationwide (an irish around the country type programme) and it featured Miss Courtney's Tearooms, I'm dying for a roadtrip down to the South-West now just to visit this beautiful tea shop! Its my dream to manage somewhere as lovely someday!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Summer reading

Seeing how we're on the topic of books, what's on your summer reading list?

I've these lined up, some are quite long and arduous so it will take some time to pace through them.

The Mitfords: Letters between Six Sisters, ed. Charlotte Mosley

Bright Young People: The Rise and Fall of a Generation 1918-1940, D.J. Taylor

The Madwoman in the Attic: The Woman Writer and the Nineteenth-century Literary Imagination, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar

The Age of Reason, Jean-Paul Sartre

A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas, Virginia Woolf

I always love new recommendations. At the moment I love nothing better than hovering around the History section and oohing over all the books I want to own and read!

I've got two birthdays tomorrow, I haven't been sleeping well these past few months so I hope that I'll have the energy for both. The first one is paint-balling, when I informed my other friend his reaction was "Painting? You? Zoe?". I usually try and avoid any sort of contact sport, or exercise in general, but I'm certain I bruise like a peach.

So, I've just finished wrapping their presents, I got Seán a copy of Delia's Frugal Food. It may be considered a cliché (is it?), but I think books are the best gift to give, but beware, a lot of thought have to go into it, if you don't know the person too well a book token is an excellent substitute, I've received some questionable books in the past when I would have much preferred a token. (ahem John Grisham)

Thursday, June 10, 2010


I am as attracted to bookmarks as I am to beautiful book covers. Ever since I wrapped myself up in my own private literary escapades it pained me to have to turn down the corners of pages. If I'm short a bookmark, (which is often because I tend to start many books and neglect them for a while, I use whatever is handy - receipts, scraps of paper), but I'm sure you'll agree - nothing beats slipping a bookmark between the pages of your book.

I purchased these beauties from the etsy shop Munieca just before my exams, I kept the last one for myself and the others were gifts. The artist Andrea is from Argentina and hand makes these all herself as well as selling larger prints of these dolls in her store, and jewelry too! I was really impressed with the quality and service and my equally as bookish friends loved them. It would make you smile to see these between the pages of your favourite book.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Dazed and Confused.

I watched Dazed and Confused (1993) for the first time this weekend, I've been hankering to see it for a long time now and finally found it. Having only previously seen Linklater's Before Sunrise (1995) and Before Sunset I was apprehensive, as to be honest, my friend and I giggled ridiculously through both of those films, particularly the former. We could not comprehend how the beautiful Julie Delpy could be romanced by the slimy Ethan Hawke. In fairness though, it was a great concept for a film and beautifully filmed.

Anyway, I loved Dazed and Confused, the youthful "fuck it" attitude of the characters, seniors vs. freshmen rivalry and the clothes. The preppy, casual seventies look was done so well, it seems to me that everyone seemed fit and healthy back then and the clothes were sexy but tasteful. All flared jeans, tube tops and waistcoats, oversized colourful shirts on the boys. Everything worked. Why aren't guys these days braver with their colour palette? And I was impressed that none of the girls outfits were not the least bit vulgar, no bulging cleavage here! Just well fitting jeans and glorious long locks.

The music is pretty awesome, so is the script, it doesn't reek of nostalgia to the seventies, I think it very accurately portrays a bunch of teenagers celebrating their re-discovered freedom for the summer with music, beer and weed. It just captures the more relaxed sensibility of the seventies.

"Because if we are all gonna die anyway shouldn't we be enjoying ourselves now? You know, I'd like to quit thinking of the present, like right now, as some minor insignificant preamble to something else."

One of the best things about this film: Wooderson (Matthew McConaughey). A man who can pull off pink flares, a porn tash and cowboy boots?!

Feeling inspired I had a look through my wardrobe. No flares there. I want a really well fitted pair of jeans, the search continues. I'm still in love with straight cut jeans or cigarette pants. I pulled out a denim sundress I got in H&M at the start of the summer. Great. But wait, I have no sandals - I'm not keen on the gladiator ones everywhere this summer (and last come to think of it). I'll need to wear something over my sundress. Nothing with even a hint of hippie freshness about it. So I just pulled on a cardigan and felt a bit boring. I think I'll have to get over my wariness of baring my arms and search for a seventies waistcoat.

Cardigan, old Topshop. Sailboat necklace, Topshop. Sundress, H&M. Mary Janes, Office.

I am Little Miss Fickle when it comes to which decade I like best. My wardrobe is mostly sixties style minidresses but every time I watch a particular film I change my mind. The information age is frustrating at times! Maybe this is why Biba is my favourite brand, as its inspiration came from the twenties and thirties but was distinctly seventies in mood.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Time to relax.

As of 1.30am last night I received my exam results. I should be very pleased. But its bittersweet, y'know? I'm one of those people that enjoys the buzz around exams. Perhaps that is because I studied two subjects I loved (art history and history) instead of a 'proper' degree. I'm a dreamer, always have been. I hate numbers, languages dislike me. I am fussy with what I choose to remember. I really don't know what the future holds now and its terrifying.

Anyway, I have my 2.1 and I can only cross my fingers and toes that Glasgow will have me!

Pinafore, H&M. Jumper, H&M. Flats, Office.

Over the weekend I went to the Irish Museum of Country Life outside Castlebar, Co. Mayo. It was quite busy as a couple of buses of tourists had been dropped off and the weather was quite pleasant. I hadn't been since secondary school and had forgotten how lovely the gardens were surrounding the main house and galleries. The woodland held colourful little surprises, like these miniature houses and boats.

I add another reason to go to Mayo, I wanted to pop into their New Look store there. I hadn't been to New Look in so long and I was disappointed, I left empty handed but ended up picking up a crazy pair of floral cropped pants in Next. I'm still not sure what I think about them, so the tags are staying on for now until I'm inspired. I'm even playing with the idea of buying a maxi dress. Me!