Belgrade

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I like Belgrade. I like that it’s colourful and urban and shabby and cool somehow, ugly and scruffy and noisy. I like that the dogs are naughty and numerous and not as a rule pedigrees. And I like that at the same time as it’s very no frills, it has a certain grandeur.

Belgrade is a big city and the initial impression is that it’s hectic, messy, traffic-y. But you just have to find the little tree heavy backstreets and the huge ‘central park’ and you might just fall in love with it. It’s a shabby, arty, interesting, lively, relaxed, live and let live kind of city now, where people like to eat. That there’s poverty is evident, but you get that in any big city. I like the juxtaposition of visually extremely interesting (imposing, in your face and ugly sometimes yes) buildings and the smattering of discreet ground level posh shops, the graffiti (more like wall art actually), the fact that the pavements are in many places erupting with tree roots. The prevalent dog poo, the same kind of down at heel grandeur as San Telmo, Buenos Aires.

Orientate yourself by finding the main, wide, pedestrian street Knez Mihailova where you have a lot of mainstream shops like Zara, Diesel, Adidas as well as pavement cafes – it has a definite ‘ramblas’ vibe to it. Just below the left end of this street is a huge statue of a horse, and at the far right end of it, over the road and tram tracks, is the ‘central park’ I mentioned, Kalemegdan. It’s built around a fortress and they put on concerts at the base (we saw poor tragic Amy Winehouse here in the last concert before she died). Kalemegdan gives you a feeling of space, it has a great view over the city beneath, and the river. It’s a conker collecting, dog walking, elderly people gathering, souvenir buying, bench sitting, initials scratching, city watching, lovers smooching, cigarette smoking, females gossiping, kids playing kind of park. A park with soul, a park for all.

Walk down the hill from Knez Mihailova to Jovanova and Strahinjica bana and you’ll find some great restaurants and cafes – one particularly cool one at any time of day is Supermarket, another is Homa. Homa restaurant’s food is out of this world and not to be missed. In fact, if you’re a meat eater, I’d say that Belgrade is worth the trip just for the food. Taxis you can just hail off the street like in London – but they’re quite different beasts; beasts being a misnomer here (don’t expect to travel in luxury or particular safety – it’s more of a Flintstones vibe) but (assuming of course that you’re not fussy about comfort or safety) they’re perfectly serviceable, and cheap. And if it’s nightlife you’re after, Belgrade’s got it. But I’ll save that for a second Belgrade post, once I’ve summoned up some energy and inclination to explore it…. anyway there’s loads more to say than the above about Belgrade.

Best place to stay? Square Nine hotel with its great 50s style lobby.

 

Shopping inspiration #5

Since am currently staying in Belgrade and managed to come without my camera, this week has been less about street style hunting and more about online browsing. Hence the frequent ‘shopping inspiration’ posts. A post on Belgrade coming soon, in case you’re interested to visit, it’s quite a cool city.

#1 Clarks (yes, Clarks) ‘Anika Kendra’ shoes. Perfect for with boyfriend jeans and a slouchy blazer and vest for spring / summer evenings out. The snakeskin stops them from looking too smart.

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#2 Jo Malone candle - French Lime Blossom. Decadent and expensive, but worth every penny to transform your home into a beautiful smelling space.

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#3 Demobaza. Resident Evil style clothing. Super cool.

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#4 Wallpaper from Anthropologie. You probably wouldn’t want to paper a whole room in it for fear of feeling like you’d fallen down the rabbit hole but this could look fantastic on one wall or panel.

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And some other interesting ones from Anthropologie:

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#5 French script boxes. Good for putting all those miscellaneous bits in, either in a bathroom or a bedroom. And great value. Next – £14 for 3

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Gold

This year, I’ve decided, it’s all about the gold. I’ve been a silver girl all my life, but a bit of soft gold is now starting to appeal. It’s ironic, as I very recently was burgled and had 2 beautiful gold bracelets – which my lovely mother in law had given me – stolen. Nevertheless, gold is slowly, surely starting to feature. The afore-mentioned burglary settlement (albeit impending) is spurring me on to buy a few investment pieces (isn’t that what people of my age do?) – namely: a handbag, some boots, and maybe sunglasses or a watch. So, the handbag… I was looking for something practical, and ended up with something (in fact this is not the exact one, mine is a ‘Jojo’, since sold out in gold) that was everything but. I found this after trawling literally thousands. Why is it that no-one makes nice, slouchy handbags?

Unknown-3Boots: I searched Russell + Bromley and Carvela, the two places I’ve bought quality boots before. But it was Kate Cuba came up trumps with these. Cool, no? These were a very close second.

Unknown-1Sunglasses I have yet to find (ideally I’d like some gold aviators with blue lenses like these, but I can’t find them in a size to fit my pinhead). But a Seiko watch could be my next move, having seen this photo on a style file.

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Now all I need is a suntan and some warmer weather, and I’ll be able to show you how this all comes together.

Shopping inspiration #4

#1 Wild animals, so beautiful. I covet these, from here.

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#2 I’m becoming a little obsessed with ‘odd plates’. These are just gorgeous, and fantastic value too. You can use them, or display them on the wall. There’s 4 different designs (in this set and this set), in black and white or blue and white. Just great as a gift for stylish person who has everything.

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#3 Yes, even more wild animals. These are gorgeous quality and so original. I was very excited when I saw them! Great for creating that kind of 1920s / art deco vibe in your home. From the shop at the entrance to Somerset House.

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#4 Wall stickers. I like these or these. But there’s loads online – see which you fancy – it’s kind of like getting a temporary tattoo for your house.

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#5 Statement necklaces. These are both from Zara. So pretty, and a really easy way to add some interest to your look. About £20 each.

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Alternative Gift Ideas

#1 All the ingredients for a cocktail together with the recipe written / printed out, preferably stylishly

#2 If you’re a film buff, a list of great films (old and new) and a subscription for Lovefilm

#3 Tickets to see a film at an arthouse cinema (preferably a licensed one with sofas like this one)

#4 A Yoga Nidra CD (honestly, try it – you can’t not like it) and a nice candle (or an oil burner, essential oil & tealights)

#5 A cake that you’ve baked yourself, inside a fabulous tin. Like one of these, or go retro and special with one of these

#6 A DVD or 2 of your favourite films (you’ll have to subtly find out first if they’ve seen it/them) or series. Personally, I would suggest ‘Jeux D’Enfants‘ (Love me if you dare) or ‘Breaking Bad’

#7 Something that might inspire the receiver to get into a new hobby. Think: an origami set, a flower press, a sketch book and pencil, a camera

#8 Something that might inspire the receiver to get into fitness. Careful with this one for obvious reasons. Think: a gym membership or day pass, a bike. Or just a skipping rope

#9 A board game. Like scrabble. Let’s face it, most of us seriously need to step away from the computer / TV these days

#10 An ‘itinerary’. Tailor a day or afternoon out and write / print it out with care. We all get fed up with trying to think of ‘things to do’ and it’s always nice to do things on personal recommendation

#11 A nice book (try not just to buy something you fancy reading) – or a coffee table book. Be sure to write an inscription inside, this is as important as the choice of book

#12 A USB stick with some great tunes on it, hand picked by you, for them

For new parents:

#13 Something to amuse any elder siblings: sticker books, craft materials and so on. Try Paperchase or The Natural History Museum / Science Museum shops. Chances are they’ll only be too grateful to have something to keep them busy whilst the new baby is getting a lot of attention and the new parents are feeling frazzled. And let’s face it, babies don’t really appreciate gifts

#14 A gift for themselves (pampering stuff for the mum, a bottle of whisky for the dad, or a new CD – not that they’ll get a chance to listen to it but it’s a nice thought. Or a really posh candle / something else equally decadent and unnecessary) instead of for the baby

#15 A load of really nice thank you cards (try here) and stamps. It’s one of those things they’ll feel they ought to do but might be a hassle to get together, during those first few weeks

For those with kids:

#16 If you’re long on time but short on money, give friends-with-kids a ‘token’ for babysitting (make sure you agree a date there and then or follow it up). Only really a good idea if they have okay kids. Who sleep a lot

For kids:

#17 Biscuit cutters, like these, together with a recipe and the ingredients. I’m slightly obsessed with biscuit cutters (even though I rarely make biscuits)

#18 Mars bars, Rice Krispies, golden syrup and some cake cases to make their own Mars bar krispie cakes

As a leaving / retirement gift:

#19 A handkerchief on a stick filled with £1 coins (like in the cartoons / Enid Blyton films when someone’s running away from home – know what I mean?)

#20 A travel book (100 things to do before you die, or similar. That’s not meant to sound morbid by the way.)

Helpful at all? I hope so.

xx Nomad Thief xx

 

 

 

London Fashion Week

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Day 1 of London Fashion Week. And what a day. Beautiful blue sky, fresh, easy weather. A wonderful, buzzy atmosphere at Somerset House – neon beanies, little round sunglasses, red lipstick, Boy George in his heydey lookalikes, turbans, bowler hats, top hats, baseball caps, floppy wide-brimmed hats, panamas, trilbies, statement socks, statement footwear, statement hair, statement necklaces, men in skirts, tailored and quirky blacks, neon clutches, bling, studs, fake fur, real fur, little cliques of bloggers, fashionistas, photographers. Hanging out, drinking it all in, style spotting, taking photos. And talking to Paul Hartnett and other photographers. What a perfect day. Check out all the photos here.

 

LFW 29 – Paul Hartnett

Honoured and charmed to have today made the acquaintance of Paul Hartnett.  As far as I’m concerned, he’s The Man. Funny, rude, smart, and cutting in equal measures, to my surprise (and gleeful pleasure) he took me down a back alley and let me take his photograph. We hung out and I was a little bit star struck. Thank you, Paul Hartnett. He also kindly gave me some tips and introduced me to a few other photographers I’ve been admiring from a distance: Robert Cassidy, The Style ScoutWayne Tippetts of Streetstyle Aesthetic, and Marcus Dawes, who photographs for The Daily as well as for himself.

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Shopping inspiration #3

#1 Metallic bag, super cool. £14.99 from H&M

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#2 Not that I’m obsessed with animal heads or anything, but, this mirror from this online shop is quite special. Thanks Amelia for letting me know about it. Am really tempted, but I think it might be pushing my husband’s patience – what with the huge wild boar’s head already staring down at us..

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#3 Cropped jacket, £34.99 from H&M. A cheap (but effective) way to get the Lahore look.

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#4 Now the photo doesn’t do this justice – apologies – but I promise you it’s worth checking out. A cross between a cardigan and a coat, this piece is super wearable, and mixes edgy with femininity brilliantly. It feels lovely on, and the zips are heavy and nice quality. £95 – Warehouse.

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#5 All that shopping surely calls for a snack. Tyrrells popcorn. The sweet and salty one (I haven’t explored the others). You can get it in Waitrose. Seriously, try it. I got through 3 packs within a couple of hours last week. That’s roughly 15 servings. It’s seriously good, and seriously addictive. That’s way too many seriouslys.

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London Fashion Week – Pakistan High Commission

As happened during the Olympics, various embassies across London are opening their doors and offering people the chance to experience something of their culture. In this case, of course, fashion design. I was mooching around London today and managed to blag my way into a fashion show at the Pakistan Embassy on Lowndes Square. It was a wonderful mixture of traditional and more contemporary designs. The textiles used and the detailing really were something special, but what struck me most was the way the clothes fell, the way they swung with the movement of the body – beautiful and classy. Featured were clothes by Akif Mahmood, Mohsin Ali (a lovely smiley chap), Zonia Anwaar and Irfan Ali. All graduated from the Pakistan Institute of Fashion and Design in 2010 / 2011 and are worth watching. Personally, I got a bit over excited by the fact that some of the jackets looked like something out of Desperately Seeking Susan.

Lahore is definitely now on my list of places to go. For details of what’s going on at the embassies over LFW, check out the British Fashion Council’s page here.

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Style Inheritance

221837_1024488619322_7314769_nI got to thinking last night about where my love of style came from. There were certain stories about my mum that always made me smile, in particular the one where she once (in college) painted her shoes with emulsion paint to match her outfit. The fact that she always picked me up on winter days from the school gates in a wolf (WOLF, I kid you not) jacket. It ended up in the tip one day (yes, the TIP. Again, I kid you not) during a phase when people were getting spat upon (and more) for wearing fur coats. The photos of her in skirts up to her bottom and boots up to her knees (that was the ’60s, she wasn’t tarty per se). The trips to NoahNoah on Wellfield Road and some fabulous outfits for work (she was an English teacher) – sky high stilettoed boots in the winter (which to her credit she wore all day every day without once falling over) and houndstooth monochrome suits with calf length kick flare skirts. A (okay, this one was a bit dodgy) ‘rhinestone cowboy’ jewel adorned jumpsuit. Oh yes, and a fabulous khaki-with-jungle-print skirt and jacket (sounds awful, but it was really original at the time) which she bought from Warehouse.  (“Why didn’t you go to a shop?” said my dad…) Something my mum once said to me that I thought was very sweet (and am sure also true) is: children like colour, they like interesting things – they don’t want to see you dowdy. She always wore (and still wears) something quirky or stylish or colourful or interesting, and I’m positive that I’m not the only person she has inspired with her innate sense of style.

But my Dad definitely has something to answer for too. He wore a kermit (ok, this might be a slight exaggeration) green suit the first time he met the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, in his capacity as Chief Engineer for a road flyover project in Cardiff. He was one of four, and Prince Philip allegedly said to him “Ahh, you must be the contractor’s agent” (I didn’t know this, but contractors’ agents tend to wear wacky clothes. Maybe I should have been one of those?) Anyway, the second time my dad met them, in a longer line up that time, the eagle eyed Prince recognised him and said “I see you’ve got a new suit!” Brilliant. He also started wearing Kickers the same time as I did (remember them?) and hasn’t done up his shoelaces ever since, which is, I think, a fashion statement in itself. And he’s always, always had cool hair. He doesn’t wear jeans, or cowboy boots, but he definitely has something of an old cowboy about him.

My sister’s definitely had her moments (hey, she was a teenager in the 80s too) and is unfailingly supportive of my styling adventures (as she was of all of my previous crazy fads) but is generally more conservative in dress than me (not a bad thing, for her sake) and my brother (whatever he says, he had some special moments too, you only have to look at the picture) was frankly horrified when he heard about my plan to become a stylist. He thinks my dress sense is the worst in the world, which makes me laugh a lot (clearly he’s wrong).

Yes, our parents are where it all came from. They didn’t bat an eyelid when I dressed entirely in monochrome to match my beloved Welsh sheepdog. Or when I painted my entire room lime green and purple, and insisted on wearing only clothes in that colour (to my discredit I was about 15 at the time, not 9). They always accepted me as I was, and never tried to quash my individuality. Except for the time my mum made me wear a royal blue velour tracksuit to junior school in the winter because it was cosy. Urgh! Cosy and UGLY! I much preferred my grey marl mini skirt with neon graffiti on it. Even in the winter.

xx Nomad Thief xx