Wednesday, 13 June 2012

A bushy-tailed DIY job

There’s no two ways about it: if I had a garden I would also have a dog. Or a cat. Or at least I'd adopt a local hedgehog as my own. In fact, if my flat was a smidgen bigger I would take one of the cats from Battersea who aren’t allowed to put a paw outdoors (I read their traumatic stories on the website). Sometimes I find it hard not to think about how much I want a cat or dog. During these times I need to remind myself that there’s always something you can do to incorporate more animals into your home life. This is a story about one of those occasions.

I’m not Donald Trump (incidentally, if I was I would spend a large wadge of cash setting up luxury rehabilitation centres for neglected pets). When I was furnishing my flat, the budget dictated that I bought from Ikea and cried with frustration trying to decipher the instructions. Now that it’s built, I like my furniture very much. But recently I’ve been feeling a tad bored with it. So I took myself to Anthropologie and invested in a little something to bring the magic back into my bedroom (not in a sleazy way). Then I rolled up my sleeves and did some serious DIY.

Behold the incredible and inspiring results!

What’s that on my beside cabinet?

Oh, it’s a squirrel! And he’s the handle to the drawer. How quaint!

Excuse me while I bask in the glory of my own DIY expertise, but isn’t it amazing what you can achieve? Now I’d like to experiment with other pieces of furniture – and other species. Although I have to stress how symbolically relevant squirrels are. I mean, they squirrel things away, right? That’s what they’re known for. That’s their thing. Likewise, this little urchin is keeping my valuables safe. And you know what? I might not have a companion in a dog or a cat, but it's good to know this bushy-tailed buddy is there.

Saturday, 9 June 2012

Paws in the air for Dorothy Perkins

Let’s face it, Dorothy Perkins is hardly a fashion destination. Maybe it’s the dullsville black and white branding. Maybe it’s the kind of tacky look to the stores themselves. Maybe it’s the name. I mean, who is Dorothy Perkins? The title hardly conjures up images of aspirational career women, nor kooky hipsters. In my head, she’s a little bit frumpy and irritatingly optimistic.

But forgive the attack, because she’s also my new BFF.

I’ve been stuck on my sofa ill for most of this week and unable to visit shops. Sad face. So I found myself googling instead. And I googled up the most fabulous flamingo dress when image searching for, well, flamingo dresses.

Where could it be from? Mango? Zara? Coast? I clicked through while dreaming of just the right shoes and readjusting this month’s budgets in my head to make room for the purchase.

What do you know, it’s from Dorothy Perkins. At £39.50 it’s not exactly a drop in the ocean, but it doesn’t break the Hello Kitty piggy bank either. 

In the same week, pony pal Niki Rooney alerted me to these little, swishy-tailed beauties. Also, courtesy of Dorothy Perkins.

In fact, browsing the website was much like taking a trip to the fashion zoo. Cats and birds and more ponies than a girl could ask for.

Maybe I had Dorothy all wrong? Clearly, she’s had a makeover and is ready to party. What’s more, the theme is awesomeness and animals. 

Monday, 4 June 2012

Corrrrr for corgis

Any celebration that brings about a holiday from work AND a festival of corgis is OK in my book. So yayyyy for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. I’m not the most patriotic of people. It’s not that I don’t like being British: it’s just that I really wish I was Japanese. But while I’m not one to drape myself in Union Jacks (at least I haven’t been since a particular frat party ten years ago), I’m just beside myself about the explosion of corgi fashions the British high street is displaying in the name of her maj.

I’m not entirely clear on the story with corgis. Have they always been in the Royal Family? Is it just the Queen herself who’s a fan? How many does she actually have? And why did we not see head nor furry tail of one at the Royal Wedding last year?

But enough with the questions, let’s talk facts.

Fact. Topshop has proved itself to be the ultimate British fashion institution with its majestic range of corgi-themed treats.

AND a brooch.

AND a shopper.

Fact. River Island has surpassed itself with a window display that portrays corgis to be both fashionable and fashion-conscious.

Another British institution, sadly, let itself down badly. While I’m in favour of the Colin Caterpillar cakes wearing crowns, the rest of Marks and Spencer appears to have vomited Jubilee-inspired crap. Corgis were not heavily focused on, except in homeware. But look – just look – what they did to them!

 Poor pup looks like he’s on some kind of witness protection programme.

 Fact. Corgis are beautiful in their natural form. Let’s never forget that. 

Thursday, 31 May 2012

This little piggy went to market

Few things please me more than unexpected animal fashion heroes. I’m so used to seeing the usual catwalk stars (flamingos, dogs, rabbits, horses) donning the hangers of my favourite stores. Sure, there’s still a party in my stomach when I spot the latest designs. But there’s no risk factor. What about sloths? What about goats? What – I ask you – about pigs?


Ted Baker doesn’t think so. Ted Baker thinks pigs are fully appropriate for your 2012 spring/summer look.

And I agree, which is why I want this Pelley print top in my life and in my wardrobe.

I pointed it out to a friend today. Admittedly, a male friend. But he proclaimed it to be, "A brave choice!" with apprehension that seemed to border on anxiety. He's right. It feels like a gutsy option. Why, though? The political connotations of Animal Farm? (Orwell did a horrible PR job on piggies.) Or suggestions of obesity and "eating like a pig"? (Let me tell you, I know some humans who have far more grotesque eating habits.)

Clearly, there’s too much negative energy focused on our curly-tailed amigos.

So I’m pleased Ted Baker are sticking a trotter out. Maybe Marks and Spencer paved the way with Percy, but while the Limited Collection is crowded with nameless zebras and birds, Percy remains fenced into the food hall. I like to think by buying this top I’d be proudly doing something good for pigkind. I just wish Ted Baker didn’t want me to pay quite so much money for the honour. 

Monday, 28 May 2012

On being a role model (and flamingos*)

To my great shame, I haven’t touched blog in many a month.

I feel sad about this. Not least because at the moment there’s a girl in my office on work experience who just happens to be a massive fan of animal fashions. I knew I liked her when she rocked up in an orange blouse covered in ponies. This was followed by giraffes, then birds, then video footage of her pet chinchilla eating a strawberry (did you know chinchillas can’t get their fur wet?). Needless to say I’m impressed by this kid. I wanted to impress her. I wanted to send her here, to the place where the things in my head turn into words – to The Lion, The Kitsch and The Wardrobe – for animal-related fun, fashions and frolicks. Frankly, I felt gutted that I hadn’t written so much as a musing on armadillos in months.

What kind of a role model does that make me for young animal fashionistas? None at all.

Well, it’s not that I haven’t felt like writing. Or that I’ve had any lack of things to write about. If anything, I’ve been completely overwhelmed. Most notably with Hello Kitty re-establishing herself with celebrity status to rival Gaga. That, and the widespread popularity of flamingos this summer.

And can we just talk about this flamingo situation for a moment.

I’ve blogged before on my feelings regarding these guys. I’m in favour of them. Obviously. And, naturally I support their rise through the fashion ranks. It makes life easier (not to mention spine-tinglingly exciting) when you can stroll casually into any old shop and pick up a host of flamingo-themed paraphernalia. Thank you, Marks and Spencer, for my flamingo kitchen tray. Thank you, Accessorize, for my flamingo playsuit. Thank you very, very much, Dwell, for my flamingo bed sheets. Thanks but no thanks, Warehouse, for the beautiful flamingo dresses that unfortunately make me look like a brussell sprout.

But, of course, it also makes life a little more challenging. As a flamingo enthusiast I feel I need to strive harder and shop smarter to stand out from the flock. Which is why I’m kind of over the moon regarding a certain discovery in a discount store in Florida.

This is fabulous because it provides a vehicle to mix the unlikely pairing of flamingos and coffee. It's even better because I doubt any other Londoner has got their paws on such an innovative piece of kitchenware. I’m taking things to another level. I'm on the cutting (and enchanting) edge of flamingo greatness. And isn’t that what being a role model is all about?

*Please note that I have changed my mind on the spelling of flamingos and am no longer following the potatoes rule as claimed in a previous blog. It was a tough decision. But I feel good about it.