we'll take a cup of kindness, yet

Thank you for being out there. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever twists and turns your life has taken til this point, I wish for you that you will find your own voice, and your own path, and just basically have a ball, in 2010.

(Top shot of Vinca & Gray, at the V&A, taken on Thanksgiving, 2009).

in my life

What is it about the last day of the year - of a decade - that makes us want to review? All those lists, the best something or other.. we're leaving shortly for our party in Richmond, and I was putting together a more New Year's Eve-ish post, but I kept finding this one, and that one, as if I've got to include every shot of every person I didn't show you before.

To think that in 2009, among other things, I first started this little blog, and it's grown to the point where.. well I can't say yet, but I've got some exciting partnerships to look forward to in 2010,. All the real life friends who rock my world, and all the generous spirited women - and men - who have appeared in my life simply thru putting up this blog and saying 'this is who I am, this is what I see.'

Not to mention all the wonderful people who I've met and photographed, who have taken that leap of faith to let a total stranger take their photo and put it up on the internet. Some have contacted me, some have become close friends - one even watched our cat while we were away - and some I've never heard from again. But each person touched me in some way, and I hope in turn you've got something from seeing their photos. Even if it's just a smile.

This isn't my New Year's Eve post - that will come up later, after I've shut this baby down - but for now, I just want to say thank you, by playing perhaps my favourite ever song:

check point (girl on the tube)

This wasn't what I planned to post. We've just been to the gym before it closes for New Year's, I had a lovely swim while Mr. Dot practiced his boxing (I know, don't ask, it's a guy thing) & now we're hanging out before heading to Richmond - with yummy cakes - for our New Year's Eve dinner party & sleep-over. Nice & civilized.

While I was looking for something else - from my first digital shots, which I want as part of my New Year's post - I came across this shot of a girl, on the tube. The first shot came out really blurry - it was so dark - and the 2nd, but somehow the 3rd shot, despite the noise & chaos - came out so calm.

Then we both got lost in the crowd.


it's the real thing

When we came back from Christmas in the Herefordshire countryside, we were having lunch the other day at a great place called Luxe, on Commercial Road. I was actually shooting a couple from Paris when I saw this group in front of the Smudge Gallery. Sarah's the one in the bunny ears. I love how her friend in the middle asked me if it was okay to include the Coca Cola bottle in the shot (I have no idea why: was he worried about product placement?)

As if the sparkle in her smile wasn't enough, I had to show you the sparkle in her eye shadow.

When thinking of the many choices for this title, I kept hearing the lines from a coca cola ad in my head. I can't believe I've found this ad, when it came out it was a huge deal in America (I don't know if it played world wide). And so, my blog friends round the world, on the eve of the end of the Noughties, I'd like to send my wishes that for all of you 2010 will be a time of joy and peace. And that we can all, finally, learn how to sing. In perfect harmony.

my oh my... darn it, if only I'd seen this one in time for Christmas!



With two days to go til New Year's Eve, and a beastly cold (which I caught from my mum-in-law - small price to pay, she's the best mother in law a girl could ask for). Today's a good day to hibernate from the freezing rain, upload photos shortly - from before Christmas! - and reflect on the past year.

Yeah: it's all good.

Also musing about what to bring to New Year's Eve. We were invited to dinner party in Richmond (what a lovely idea: 4 or 5 couples, someone's sister is away, they've apparently got a big gorgeous house with room for everyone to sleep over) and I'm bringing dessert. Thinking black and white: dark chocolate flour-less cake with fresh raspberries & raspberry jam glaze & silver dots like polka dots, and a white coconut coated lime cheesecake. How does that sound?

I'm in such a black and white mood today. I'm planning to wear a LSD (little sequin dress) - this one in stretchy black sequin that I picked up real cheap @ Topshop (what I love about it is the back is just black stretchy - no sequins - the better to sit in - it's like wearing a tee shirt, basically) and I'll wear it with black opaque tights, high heel pumps, pearls, and probably dress it down with a pullover that I can take on & off. So that's sorted.

All of which got me in the mood to pull out a photo of Leila, one of my impromptu muses from last September's LFW. I don't know why I didn't post it @ the time - probably because I was saving it for a rainy day. Like today. Mr. Dot's just walked in the door, what he needs is a nice hot cup of tea.

What are you up to today? What are your New Year's Eve plans? I'm so glad we're not going anywhere crowded. I'd just as soon stay in, frankly: I hate all the fuss. But this plan sounds like the next best thing. And our friends Rohan & Janet will be there, and they're moving to China the next day, so how could we say no.

(How delightful: just as soon as I posted this, I tucked up on the couch under my white bathrobe - a gift from Mr. Dot ages ago - with a cup of tea & honey & the cat - and what should be on Tv but 'Singin' in the Rain' - the film, at the moment this scene started. I've never actually seen the film, just clippings. Laura of 'a daisy chain dream' has posted about 'the inbetween days' and that's just how I"m feeling right now. And I can't think of a more quintessential in between day moment than this. But wasn't this film meant to be in black and white?



Less than 20 minutes ago, we were on the landing coming down the stairs at the big Cineworld on Fulham Road (all of London, by the way, is a ghost town: even Shoreditch is pretty quiet, but that cinema was absolutely packed). I saw a girl with great style - small, with wonderfully Botticelli curly hair, in light pink I think - she & her friends were on their way up as we were on our way down, having just seen Sherlock Holmes.

I asked her, 'Did I shoot you at London Fashion Week?' Apparently I did. She'd lost the card, I hadn't asked her name, and I had simply called the post 'lace'. Her name, it turns out, is Grace.

As we drove home, I was thinking about images I've seen the past few days over Christmas: snow, in Herefordshire, perhaps the first time I've ever seen it there: I mean, magically covering everything, the village, the countryside, the ancient gravestones on the church on top of the hill.. the light coming in during Christmas service, reflecting on the gold and brass.. a girl in the ladies' room of one of the pubs Christmas Eve, with great little black booties and a kind of sparkly Christmas wreath brooch on her coat.. all these images that I did not photograph. Just memories.

Sometimes the most beautiful images are the ones we can't share. But perhaps they're more vivid that way.


visions of sugar plums still dancing in my head

My mother-in-law gave me the loveliest soft simple white cashmere or lamb's wool fine knitted scarf for Christmas (with tassels), and it so perfectly matched the while knitted gloves I'd picked up for myself (& wrapped) as a gift from Mr. Dot (£2, from Sainsbury's) & she asked if I ever wear colour. She's known me for years & years & I thought about what I'd packed for the Christmas visit: black, black, a brown tee, a nude jumper, more black.. the black boots, and a brown pair.. oh and the nude sequin motorcycle jacket.. and several soft items in pale pink: socks, underwear, tees.. pink is a colour! I do wear colour! Pale, ballet pink.

And then I thought about what a hypocrite I am, saying I'm not a girly girl. I am so a girly girl. Just a mostly neutral coloured girly girl. And I haven't uploaded the snow photos I took from the window as we drove up to Herefordshire, and how much snow is like one of my favourite indoor activities: bubble baths. Only totally different in temperature.

Anyway, this is Natasha. I met her in Camden & she is so nice. And I can't think of any better way to describe her than to use her own words:

That was me ,Natasha in the pink fluffy cardigan.I had just been to a yoga class with my friend in primrose hill and we were just chilling out really ,eating veggie burgers.
I run a bridal shop in Hertfordshire by day and I teach yoga in the evenings
I bought my jumper in bay trading in Watford,my dress from Morgan in London and my top from a boutique in middlesex.Unfortunately I think that all those shops have ceased trading.I added my own ribbon which i bought from a haberdashery and my flower in my hair is a jonnie loves rosie one.
I think thats all really .As you probably gathered ,i love pink and fairytales.They both make life exciting .
Thanks for taking my photo,I feel very flattered.
Kind wishes

And on that note, I'm off to do another favourite girly girl activity: cook my Old Man & me some supper. But I'll leave you all with a scene from my favourite ballet:


happy boxing day, cupcakes!

We're back home in London, Mr. Dot just called out 'There's Keith Richards! There's Keith Richards!' doing a cameo on Pirates of the Carribean, the cat is biting my foot in excitement that we're home, our Christmas was wonderfully perfect in every way, and I hope wherever you were, however you celebrate, yours was, too.

Anyway, totally knackered as they say, so cheating again and posting shots from last year's one wonderful day of London snow. Herefordshire was absolutely gorgeous, covered in snow: it couldn't have been more magical. Come tomorrow, we'll resume our previously scheduled program. So grateful for your comments, and looking forward to catching up on everyone's blogs. After all, as Scarlett O'Hara would say, tomorrow is another day. But for now, this is Polka Dot, streetstyle reporter, signing off.


may your days be merry, and bright

My friend Lucy, last winter, in our legendary London snowstorm.

Merry Christmas, my lovely blog friends! Thank you for being you, and thank you for being out there, somewhere.


i dreamt i was in africa (chloe, in pink)

It's dark as night outside as we pack up food & presents & boots & clothing to leave - only for a few days - for the Dot-in-laws, in deepest Herefordshire (home of mistletoe, hills, mist, magic, and 'men with swords' as a friend, who's from there, says. You can just see them lurking behind giant yew trees, like Robin Hood's band of Merry Men).

On the chance that, it being so remote a place, their broadband somehow doesn't work, I'm trying to post now, pack, shower, & get out the door in under an hour, without Mr. Dot blowing a fuse. This is Chloe, from South Africa, who I actually met outside the Audrey Hepburn auction (by chance). Shot everything here within two hours. I didn't post it sooner because I didn't want to inundate you with leopard print, but truly: it's everywhere I turn.

I love these colours, not just black and white, but the warm chocolate browns - colours I picture in Africa, where I long go to someday - and, especially in this weather, the hot warmth of this pink dress, one of Audrey's. I had gone for a coffee & croissant near the auction, and someone got up & left their leopard lining lying around, just asking me to shoot it.

And the reason I've included these is, when I saw Chloe's shoes, she begged me not to include them in shot. So I've separated them so you didn't see what was, to her, clearly a fashion don't: two leopards in one look. (I guess, since she was just visiting London, she was limited with footwear). Anyway, she's back home in South Africa now, presumably nice & warm & enjoying a summery Christmas. We've got a slow drive ahead of us, and later, tonight, the annual ritual of going to pubs in town with Mr. Dots friends & their wives & girlfriends. Then, midnight mass in the ancient church in the village. I know I should leave you with a Christmas carol, but this is the song playing in my head, inspired by these colours:

Happy Holidays! (p.s. just got home & discovered another 'anonymous' comment telling me her name is really Jade. Which sounds about right, as I hadn't jotted it down right away. This is really kinda freaking me out: who is this Anonymous & how could they possibly know this stuff??? Anyway, Anony, thanks for correcting me & Jade, sorry I called you Chloe).


two italians, an englishwoman & a japanese brand, in shades of blue & grey

Further to today's previous post, Eime (pronounced Amy, like my sister!), who is from Tokyo but lives in London, is wearing a knit coat from Massimo Dutti, a skirt from a japanese brand, a jumper from Nicole Fahri and a pair of boots from Prada. When I met her & admired her bag, she said it's Nicole Fahri and a few years old but she was so happy when she found it.

It was freezing cold when we met - both rushing past on High Street Kensington - but somehow in the shots, something very serene and warm and sunny came through, which is why I asked to photograph her. I hadn't asked Eime's nationality but her whole look, and movements, felt Japanese to me. Which she is.

There is something so happily serene, yet clean, almost austere, about her style. Architectural, but constructed with soft, natural materials. And yet the items, if you think about it, are designed by an English woman (twice), two Italians, and only the skirt is Japanese. And, as we speak, she's flying home to Japan for vacation.

Happy Holidays, wherever in the world you may be.

baby, it's cold outside

This is getting silly. I've got a lot to do, & I've been putting off going outside because I'm imaging I'll freeze to death. I'm sure it's warmer than it ever gets in the places I've lived before, but to the British public, this is highly unusual, and I'm getting sucked in. I'm being such a baby.

More shots & details of Eime, from Tokyo but living in London, to follow. If I don't get out now, I never will.

Isn't she lovely? Now that's how to keep warm, yet stylish.

I've been looking at countless youtube versions of this song, including an unusually paired Dolly Parton with Rod Stewart, and a rather disturbingly leering duo with Tom Jones & Cerys Matthews, but this sweet home-made version touched me:

on the spirit of giving

Before I run out for the last bit of Christmas related stuff, I wanted to tell you all a little story I read in the catalogue about the recent Kerry Taylor Auction of Audrey Hepburn's fashion collection, which I have posted on before, and, no doubt, will do so again.

This is Audrey's first wedding dress. Which she never wore. Because she & her fiance, James Hanson (later, Lord Hanson), called the wedding off. It became apparent to them both that her rising stardom wouldn't fit with his life as a Lord. But they remained friends, and his son, Robert Hanson, is now one of the most 'eligible bachelors' in Britain, having been linked to many beautiful, stylish women. He said his father married another beautiful woman instead (his mum) and they all remained friends throughout Audrey's life. I feel it's important to remain on friendly terms with our ex's, wherever possible. Or at least, to have let it end on a good note.

In 1952, while filming 'Roman Holiday' with Gregory Peck in Rome, she asked the Fontana sisters to make her wedding gown. They said the 23 year old was 'young, fresh, on top of the world'... weeks later, when she called off the wedding, she asked them to give the dress away 'to the most beautiful, poor Italian girl you can find.' And they did. To Amabile Altobella. And she wore it to her wedding to a farm worker, and lived happily ever after, producing three daughters and five grandchildren. She said 'the dress must have brought me luck.'

Whatever you celebrate this time of year, however you celebrate, I wish for you all the joy in giving, in whatever form works best for you.


stefania, in uniform

I was walking down the street near home - not far from Chanel & Brompton Cross, actually - and these... LEGS passed, really quickly. Mostly what I noticed was the tassles of her boots swinging like horses' tails. It was that brief nanosecond thought process of, do I have time? Should I? Will I be able to live with myself if I let this one go? And I turned around and ran after her (my legs are long for my height, which is 5'4", but let's face it: she was definitely outpacing me.)

When I caught up, gasping for breath, and asked if I could shoot her for my blah blah blah, she looked at me and said: 'You're shot me before.' I looked at her: did I? When? She said 'Kensington High Street.'

Sure enough: it was the Mystery Brunette! From my 'night vision' post. The tall stylish girl whose name I forgot, thought it was Marcella, or Nicoletta. Well, she is neither. She is Stefania! I hadn't taken her details, and she lost the card, but there she was. She's from Rome originally (as her boots, which are 'something Italian') but, like me, feels totally at home in London.

And what I love about this freak coincidence - because after all, this was in two different parts of town - is that in both cases, different as her looks are, she's wearing blue denim shorts over black tights. I love the big turquoise scarf with everything else shades of black & navy: this is a nice chic look I'm seeing a lot of around town. She said she wears this (shorts & tights) a lot: she likes to be comfortable. And let's face it, it's a fabulous look with those legs.

That's exactly what I tend to do, too: at any given time, I've got a uniform, that I vary slightly. For the same reason: to be comfortable. At the moment - and this moment has been going on for, wow, a month?? It's the same black riding boots, and black thermal American Apparel leggings (AND a little fashion tip that I shall be posting tomorrow). I vary the top, and the coat, but let's face it, with the cold weather, my warmest option is the Motel leopard. But I do vary the tops, I promise! (and my undergarments, even tho, I suppose, you could say that thermal 'underwear' as leggings is technically underwear as outerwear ; )

What's your uniform these days?

top brasserie

Chanel seems to be outdoing itself lately in the wacky department, at least at their Brompton Cross location. While I was window snapping, Ian, who works at the venerable old La Brasserie next door, stepped out for a cigarette. He was trying to move out of my way but I love the shot. We had a nice little chat & then he went back to work & I went on my way.

Hope all's wrapping up nicely for you, wherever you are.


santa baby

An assortment of quick snaps shot within minutes on Picadilly, near the Ritz and the Wolseley, and in this case, Pret a Manger. I loved the whole fur gilet/black stud bootie vibe but by the time I realised what a great look it was, I was further down the road. In fact I didn't even notice the feather effect on her skirt til I uploaded the shot. So please; if you recognise this girl, please ask her to get in touch. Thanks.

There's a great perfume shop called Santa Maria Novella (shown here on Picadilly, but they're also on Walton Street in London, and scattered round the world, like at least in NY & LA which to some people, is the whole world). The original, tho, is and was a fabulously secret wonderful place in Florence, near the Duomo.

My husband, Mr. Dot, had read about it in a Hannibal Lector book, actually, and wanted to go there so badly because the description sounded so fab. We were roaming round the hot streets, totally lost, he melted chocolate gelato all over his wonderful mustard linen jacket, and when we finally found it, tucked away and completely anonymous, it was every bit as wonderful and mysterious a place as we could imagine. Perhaps more. (I even took photos, but it's really not allowed, so you'll just have to go there yourself to see).

Speaking of Santa, I know I posted this a long time ago, and there are just so many versions of Santa Baby sung over the years, but this one, the original by Eartha Kitt, still remains my favourite:

Okay, enough from me for now. OOps, perhaps not. Me, me, me in my current uniform: Motel faux leopard coat, black jumper, tee, American Apparel thermal leggings, and black riding boots. Isn't it weird: it seems we've had Christmas decorations and such around us for ages, and now suddenly, it's just days away. My how time flies.

p.s. Thank you to auburn not red for figuring out that Poppy Scott was my 500th follower. I can't seem to reach her, so Poppy, please get in touch so I can send you a gift. Failing that, Auburn, you're the most likely recipient, altho Leah, you might just get one, too! Trying to think of just the right gift tho..


the real thing

I saw Vafa outside our favourite supermarket, Sainsbury's. I liked her look, altho I'm not really keen on jeans and boots at the moment. Probably because I'm so into black riding boots with black leggings with everything. And it wasn't the leopard print, which, I'm not kidding, I'm seeing on every single woman I see. It was just her face: she just exuded niceness.

While I was shooting her, I asked a bit about where she's from, where she got that bag, those shoes. She was really shy, really modest & sweet, and (this is the embarrassing part) she said either Kazakhstan, or Uzbekistan, which if anyone has seen West Wing knows, is quite different (I've even looked them up on wikipedia: yup. Very different). And I can't remember which one!

Then I asked where she got her bag: Dolce & Gabanna. I mean, look at the workmanship on this thing: there's even little copper links, along with the silver! I'm just so used to admiring things people wear and it's all Topshop this, Zara that, or H&M, or from a charity shop for £5.. this answer kind of stunned me. Confused, I asked if she works in the fashion industry (she doesn't). So I asked where her boots are from. Jimmy Choo. Oh, okay. I just didn't dare ask about anything else.

They look EXACTLY identical to the pair of vintage Anne Klein boots I wore literally to bits. I had loved them so much: no one wore thigh high boots at the time, apart from professional girls on the beat. They used to fall down and bag around my ankles, which, along with bare legs and little dresses, gave a great kind of girly look. It was so my style, and felt.. special. Damn, I miss those boots.

Thinking further about the comments on the girly girl post: none of the bloggers I've gotten to know seem remotely high maintenance, no matter how girly their styles. (And let's face it: there is nothing more unattractive to a guy, than a high maintenance woman. It's not a question of grooming: if they're 'high maintenance' emotionally, men will run a mile). It may seem a contradiction but, as a group, style bloggers are pretty switched on & low maintenance. True style icons don't spend hours looking in the mirror & checking their looks, and they're definitely not divas.

It's like that great quote by Gore Vidal: 'Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.'