Article Archive: June 2011

Joining the fold

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If I never talk to you about shopping, it’s not because I don’t like it.  Oooooh no. I love to shop. It’s because I have to be a little strict on myself due to wardrobe space so any new piece I get forces an old one out. And since I love most of my old stuff to death, it’s tough to say OK you, out YOU go to make room for this lovely new thing.

There are thousands of scarves here

However, The Shop on Cheshire street makes me want to squeeze everything  up really tight at home so that I can make room for a new little thing (or two). I bought a vintage dress here last year for £20 pounds I REALLY LOVE IT! And it drives me nuts when people gasp that it’s vintage designer and cost a mere £20.  On my……

I love that I can pop into The Shop (it’s open every single day), have a little poke about (it’s such a little Pandora’s box) and always find something unique and affordable. Unfortunately the tidiness makes me panic a bit about the constant state of my own wardrobe. Take my scarves for instance… they should be taken out and pressed and moved about a bit to keep them from creasing permanently (um, I have seven).

Looking around The Shop I realized, goodness, can you imagine babysitting all of these scarves. There are hundreds. The owner Sharon has spent the past 16 years collecting scarves, tablecloths, curtains and a range of textiles. It reminds me of my college days in Dublin when I had a part time job in Benetton. You had to have a phD in folding jumpers but that was small fry compared to The Shop’s hundreds and hundreds of silk scarves.

So what secrets did I have a chance to gather here…. I pointed to a beautiful green scarf on the wall. ‘There are thousands of scarves here. This is one of the rarest… we haven’t seen one like this before. The design is Liberty circa 1890s – 1900. It’s £23!’ Wow it’s so Beautiful!

I liked the colour and print so would I give it a home???

‘You can tell the quality of a scarf by the amount colours in the print because it has to go through the machine so many times. And look at the finish!’

What should I look for in a scarf finish?

‘This  silk vintage Liberty scarf is hand rolled. (Hand rolled is where the edges are rolled- over and then hand-stitched it’s a good sign of workmanship.) Designers only take time to hand roll really good scarves.’

AAAAAH NOOOO! I just can’t. I have to have it. It’s the dreamiest. Resist! Resist!

So I dived on the jewellery and dresses (the white one had just returned from a little adventure… a shoot for Vogue UK. I checked and it was £27.50).  Well if it’s good enough for Vogue….

I’ll have to give you a post about the lovely dresses here sometime. Phew so much goodness to photograph in this tiny little treasure trove. Hope the photos have done it justice. Oh darn, I’ll just have to go back in a few weekends time. You coming? Maybe I’ll see you there.

The Shop, 3 Cheshire Street, Shoreditch, London E2 6ED tel: 020 7739 5631

Leather forecast

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I’m in Austria and have just checked WordPress… Ooooooops!

Tuesday 7th, 1.21p.m. 1 new comment awaiting approval: Helena says…

‘Please, please write more! I love this blog but please you don’t write enough! I check it every day! Hx’

In response. Helena thank you. Maybe I should write daily. But I didn’t think that ANYONE would want to read about what I get up to EVERY SINGLE day here. Does it warrant a blog post? And to be honest I didn’t really think that anyone would even care.

So look away NOW if you bore easily.

Where to start… for the past few days I’ve been in Austria’s Viva-Mayr researching skin problems and cures for my next Goddess book. Apparently a clean inside is a good starting point to great looking skin. The research included a colonic (I know you can get one of these anywhere but it’s part of a bigger programme.) It was my first. It was tough. I’d never had a colonic before.

So OK I’ll give you this one Helena… maybe there was something to report. OK YOU WIN!

So…… Helana 1   Gisèle 0

Wednesday  8th, 1.17p.m. 1 new comment awaiting approval: Hattie says…

‘Please, please write more! I know you are very busy but this blog is amazing and I love it! Please write about anything! It can be what you wore today or what you ate for breakfast it would all interest me! I am desperate for more Goddess-y-ness! Please write more!’

In response, Hattie, I ‘got’ a soft boiled egg for breakfast and a cup of green tea. Nothing else to report here except I’ve had two dreams about chocolate Lindt Bunnies (the big ones). And there isn’t much fashion (it’s in deepest Austria and the guests here usually dress for swimming), but I’ve discovered slowly, that both the Austrians here and their foreign guests lead utterly fascinating lives.

So…… Hattie 1   Gisèle 0 (I’m crap at this game).

Thursday 9th, June 2.00a.m.,

I’m sitting in my room now ignoring the ‘lights out at 10pm’ curfew. Huge rainfall has forced me to stay indoors all day. So I haven’t had a run. Oh no… life can be SO CRUEL. You think I’m blissed out? Nuh uh! I geared myself up to be the best detox specimen that Austria had ever had. But I’m no good to them, I crave lattes, pizzas, macaroons and huge creamy cakes too much.

And then…


You’re all probably asleep at this stage, I’m staring at my bag in my room and thinking hang on there just one minute… should I just grab it and make a run for it. I have to tell you about this amazing new bag I found in London to take on this trip. (I’ve just checked and I’ve photos on my laptop from when I bought it.)

Helena isn’t this more like it…. to talk about USEFUL stuff…. Things like what questions to ask yourself when buying a bag… ‘Are the straps long enough?’ ‘Does it sit right against the body?’ ‘Are the handles too wide, too long, too narrow?’ ‘Does the hardware look wrong?’ ‘Is the colour the right shade?’ ‘Does it look like a bucket?’ ‘Is it heavy on my arm in a good way?’

Um how can the word heavy on my arm ever be followed with the words in a good way? Yes, this is the conversation which rattled about in my head when browsing for a new bag at London based designer Mimi Berry‘s Cheshire Street store (just off Brick Lane) last week.

Founded in 2001 by Mimi Berry after she graduated Central Saint Martins, this British leather goods brand offers a level of craftsmanship and understated design that equals that of many of the fashion industries most prestigious names.

No. Not good enough yet says Helena. Keep going G…..

OK look at the satchels, the totes, the sleek weekend bags, the ice-cream coloured cute clutches, the sweet purses and the separate collection for men. Did I tell you about my Mimi Berry GOLD leather oyster card holder? I love it! And my new Mimi Berry silver leather bag? Mimi uses the best quality Italian leather and her price point is fair and genuine. And best of all look at the gold leather dog collar she made for her dog Dora. Isn’t it chic! Wouldn’t every puppy want one of these?

So voilà, here’s my last few days in a nutshell. When I think back to the care tips that Mimi Berry gave me for my new leather bag  in her store ‘Nourish it constantly with the right things and it will take more wear and tear and the skin will wear in beautifully’ it wasn’t far off what I’m learning about skincare here at Viva -Mayr.

So taking time now to wish you all a night filled with chocolate dreams. And also to plant maybe a little seed about where to shop when you’re next looking for something completely British, utterly honest and beautifully crafted.

And of course, to promise you Helena/Hattie that I’ll post more here for you!!! Ooookay, big, big, big hugs until tomorrow!