The wonderings, ponderings and other 'ings' of me. Lifestyle, review, news and opinion posts. Chic with a hint of sarcasm... hopefully!

Sunday 28 June 2015

The McQueen Play

Image Reference
Today I’m doing something that probably breaks with blogger etiquette. I‘m talking about The McQueen Play that, unless you've already been to, now have no chance of seeing as its final showing was yesterday. I wasn’t sure whether to blog about this at all and still don’t know if I’ve revealed more than a fraction of the emotions it conjured.  But the experience was one I want to remember and where better to do that then in a public diary?

Capturing one fictionalised night in McQueen’s life the play, written by James Phillips is a fairy-tale about a mysterious girl, Dahlia (Dianna Agron). Dahlia has been hiding in a tree in McQueen’s (Stephen Wight) garden but tonight she climbs down and entering his house intends to steal a dress, in the hope of becoming someone special.

Not being a massive theatre fan the first couple of minutes had me nervous.  The possible ‘kiss-arsing’ of the subject matter meant there was huge potential for it to be... well a bit wanky. Thankfully that was sidestepped with relative ease.  Talent flooded through each dancer as they positioned themselves around the stage portraying mannequins and models. Doubling as artistically skilled stage hands, they moved effortlessly showing off clothes that, whether by the designer himself or inspired copies, were enchanting.
This is my first play about a real person that I admired and occasionally I failed to think of it as just that due to Wight’s performance. Several times throughout the 1 hr and 35 minutes I experienced mini heart breaks as I remembered this wasn’t really Lee McQueen in front of me.  His screams at a vision of Isabella Blow (Tracey-Ann Oberman,) the woman who made him famous and then committed suicide in 2007, were heart-breaking.  Here we saw both the pain he may have been going through and caught a glimpse of what he in turn, must have inflicted on others when he took his own life. 

In one scene, after we have discovered Agron’s character has more than a few issues of her own they are on a roof top.  Talk turns to jumping but a peregrine falcon flies in and lands at their feet.  It was wild and free, a killer with a calming influence giving both McQueen and Dahlia something to think about other than their own inner turmoil. It got them through the night, if only this had been a real event.  This scene makes me think that Phillips at least  knows these genuine moments, in whatever form they take, are part of what makes life worth living.

I was late to the party when it comes to fashion, having neither the cash nor interest until several years ago. When I arrived it was McQueen that I gravitated towards.  Saturday afternoon got me closer to the man then I ever imagined I would be and the more I think about it, the more grateful I am for having had the opportunity.

Did you see the play?

Or do you have a favourite McQueen moment?


Monday 22 June 2015

Food Review - Wasabi Opening

The trend for Japanese food has long been a popular choice for us Cambridgites, Yo Sushi in the 'here and now' and Itsu in the 'coming soon' era.  On 18th June it was the turn of Wasabi to have their moment in the spotlight.   

The dining area is everything you’d expect from an eastern inspired eatery and a clean crisp minimalized decor of cream and sharp apple green greeted us as we entered the sunlit room. Aloe Vera water and Plum tea were on hand, though an acquired taste the supposed benefits of aloe vera meant I had to at least give it a try.  Very sweet and very odd it was too!  

No sooner had we sat down then tray upon tray of sushi and sashimi started to appear. Chive covered sticky rice with salmon, prawns or tuna were presented to us in varying degrees of heat.  For those that aren’t fish fans there was gently sweeten chicken curries, both mild enough for the most delicate of palates - wussbags like myself! or with a real heated kick.  

The ingredients are all freshly prepared that day but the fact that they can no longer give left over food to charities does leave a somewhat bitter taste in my mouth, along with the saltiest soy in the south!  James Brown, the Operations Director, is hoping this will change soon quoting  French law as something he is eager to see over here for restaurants.

When asked what they intend to do with upstairs space, other than serve hungry diners, Brown advised he would like to offer sushi lessons and possibly even Japanese film or studio ghibli showings.  He was however cautious not to confirm anything “we’re going to let the store bed in then see what we can do” Brown confirmed.

A couple of gripes – com’on you knew I had to balance it out right?  Firstly the charge of 5p for soy or wasabi packets seems a bit stingy.  Also the set up hasn’t been given a great deal of forethought.  Queues form during the busy lunch period meaning the food is hidden and you have to squeeze your fingers through the people gaps to grab your snacks.

That said I welcome the Japanese style dining choices that are springing up all over town. Cambridge really has got its foot firmly on the accelerator when it comes to dealing with our sushi desires.   


Thursday 18 June 2015

Blogging Envy.

I have this friend (no really).

She’s one of those lovely types that can bake anything, has bags of energy and is all round great company. I love her to bits but have to admit to having a small twinge when she told me she was about to start blogging as well.  Because being somewhat of a superstar at pretty much everything she tries I knew her blog would be awesome sauce.  That the posts would come thick and fast and that her writing would be funny and have great flow (they do and it does).  If truth be told I was concerned she would show me up.

You see I’ve been plodding along writing blogs for a good few years.  Not really paying much attention to who (if anyone) was reading them until I few months ago when I decided to get on with my dream of becoming a ‘real’ writer. But by then it felt like I was at the back of a bloody long queue, that the counter on the wall says ‘now serving 03’ and this is my ticket

Kill me now!

And that any minute my friend was about to shoot past me.

When I first read her posts all the things I disliked about my own writing style seemed glaringly obvious.  My sentences are too long, my grammar sucks and what’s in my head doesn’t always translate to the page with the humour or clarity I'd hoped for.  It would have been all too easy to spiral. “How come she’s so poignant”? or “I wish I was that funny” and finally “I’m never going to be that good”.  But you lot stopped me.

I'm currently in the middle of a blogging community that have been, and continue to be, ridiculously supportive of each other.  It's because of this I was able to see her achievements as what they truly are.


You see my friend is this good for a reason!  She works stonkingly hard at producing clever, insightful, funny posts.  She has studied and taken classes to be able to write well and she’s the first one to cheer on her friends in all they do.

So rather than have other's success detract from mine I'm going to make it work the other way around.  I'm going to up my game. The fact that there are a gazillion people blogging as well just means I need to work harder to create something I'm proud of.  Not to ‘beat everyone else’ but just to be better.

There’s room for all of us to do what it is that we want to do.

So really this is just a little thank you to the blogging girls I have met over the past few months. And especially to that little power house that has spurred me on.

You know who you are.

Tuesday 16 June 2015

Antonio Ben Chimol – The Man behind the Magnets

Hello dear reader, It's discount code time again! You can now claim 20% off all beautiful accessories from Antonio Ben Chimol by entering HEY4XM5B.  I first came across these crazy cool bracelets when shopping in a local boutique, Della Kaur and fell in love with their understated style and chic simplicity. The bullet bracelet with its contrasting pink and grey colouring makes a bold statement. 

The powder set includes minerals and metals transformed and hermetically (I had to look that one up it means airtight) sealed inside transparent tubes.  They work separately, linking two together for a necklace or intertwined for the wrap look – be careful though, they can pinch if you aren’t paying attention to the magnetic fasteners.
Intrigued by Antonio’s story I asked if I could interview him and he kindly accepted.  There’s something at first a little unnerving, then quite refreshing about Antonio’s offbeat attitude and forthrightness.  Switching from the poetic to the pissed off with the nonchalance of a true European.  Dropping details of the (5) languages he speaks and how his company evolved (the result of a not-so-great business decision) Antonio's designs are as individual as his personality.  But don’t just take my word for it...

1.         You dropped out of higher education to embark on a great adventure – sailing boats across the Atlantic.  How do you feel this prepared you for life and your career now?
You know to own a company is exactly the same as to be part of a boat crew, from my sailing experience I did learn that we have to enjoy the moment.  The good weather as for example success, collections selling well, clients paying their invoices, etc.  In the mean time you have to be ready for the storms, when your crew fail, the new collection is not selling, clients piss you off and suppliers make mistakes.  If you don’t find the way to survive the storm, it is the end!

To see how fragile and small we are comparative to the ocean, the whales, sharks and storms it remind you every day that you are human.  This is a very good tip when you deal with people from all around the world because they are human as well!

I grew up in a small town as Bologna, a transatlantic experience did open my mind and my general view of life, confronting myself with other cultures, people and languages.  To leave Italy on a sail boat was just the beginning of a long trip that I have not yet finished I have lived in Rome, Bangkok, New York, Paris, Milan, Sardinia Island, Berlin and Barcelona.  Where next? 

2.         What first drew you to jewellery design?
An accident.  I was the owner of a night club in the north of Sardinia Island, once I decided to organise a big concert but things went wrong.  In one night I lost a lot of money and to cover the expenses I lost my part of the club.  To make money quickly I had to invent something and why not bracelets done with car springs? This was The MASAI bracelet and it was a hit - two million units sold in 6 month.  It is still in my collection and selling very well since 1996.

3.         Can you remember the first piece of jewellery you saw that made an impact on you?
Yes absolutely, was a gold and emerald dragonfly by Cartier on my grandmother’s book cover.  I have no Idea why that jewel made such an impact on my memory in that way.

4.         What do you provide your customers with that they can’t get from high end stores?
Original designs.  The chance to own a wonderful piece, the opportunity to wear something that is not always the same model and label as everybody else but without sacrificing quality.   The name of my last model is BLACK SHEEP BRACELET, in the label it is written “leave the heard behind and buy original designs”.

5.         Do you remember where you first got your inspiration for the current collection?
It is just a constant search for something new, something that nobody has yet seen or done. New shapes, solutions kinds of clips, textures or different colours, something unique. I kindly invite you to discover my sea urchin bracelet, the colours of the rainbow or compare the colours combinations of my Bullet bracelets with the flowers you find in nature. There you will find my inspiration.

6.         Each of your collections hide a secret within (Rainbow – 7 colours, politician – with 2 faces etc.) Do you feel your opinions on nature/politics shape your designs or vice versa?
Everything is connected, it would be nice to finally have a politician or leader conscious about that point.  

7.         How would you describe Antonio Ben Chimol products to a blind person?
I will ask them to touch it!

8.         What’s coming up next season for Antonio Ben Chimol?
I keep this a secret.

9.         What is your life and career mantra?
Be yourself in the good as in the bad, no matter what they say.

I think I may be taking this on as my mantra too! 

Happy Shopping! 

The Interview has been edited for grammatical accuracy. 

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