Guardian Girl

Brow beeten

Posted in Recipes by guardiangirl on March 1, 2010

Dressing in unexpected ways can produce some real delights; new hairstyles and garment combinations I’d never have thought of myself. It can also produce disasters so heinous that I risk causing myself actual physical harm through delaying toilet visits, too self-conscious to leave my seat and trek past a room full of people in that day’s foolhardy get-up.

In fact the psychological damage has relatively little to do with the outfit itself and more to do with the fact that I don’t feel comfortable in it. Friday’s skirt, borrowed from my housemate Nin, no doubt makes her look like a ravishing Thomas Hardy heroine. It made me look like a market-ready swine trussed up in a hessian sack. The fact that I also got the shoes wrong and chose an unflattering top tipped me over the edge, I’m afraid. I managed to get over it while walking around the office during the day but, when it came to after-work drinks in the pub, my confidence totally failed me and I had to go home and sob without paying a visit my old workmate’s leaving drinks elsewhere (sorry Lucy).

For the next three days I have worn my own choice of clothes, probably no different to anyone else’s eye but much more favourable in my own fragile heart. I also excused myself from cooking duty on Saturday in order to go to Photographer Cari’s birthday meal. So it has been a rather unGuardianlike few days. The lack of Measure in this week’s bumper fashion issue enabled me to spend a bit of cash on a proper pair of trainers with shock absorption and anti-pronation support (if you’ve ever had a metatarsal stress fracture these words will hold some meaning), which will surely benefit my wellbeing far more than any posh handbag.

I did achieve one Guardian-related venture this weekend though: Yotam Ottolenghi’s candy beetroot with lentils and yuzu recipe. Only without the candy beetroot. And without the yuzu (no kidding).

Candy beetroot with lentils and yuzu

Candy beetroot with lentils and yuzu

Standard beetroot with lentils and you-must-be-freakin-kidding-me-mate

Standard beetroot with lentils and you-must-be-freakin-kidding-me-mate

Very defeatist – I was in town on Sunday seeing the beautiful Irving Penn exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery and I’m sure I could’ve tracked down some yuzu nearby, especially since Yotam had kindly explained all about the stuff. A cross between lime and mandarin sounds delicious but in the end it started pouring with rain, time was ticking and I decided to go for the lime substitute instead.

The salad was disappointing. I used extra beetroot and leaves to make it go a bit further and realised there was no maple syrup in the cupboard so used manuka honey instead. But even if I had got it right, I can’t imagine it being that much tastier. We ended up putting vinegar on it for a bit of kick. Maybe it was the prepacked beets that were the problem. Anyways Phoebe had been excited about this since she opened the mag on Saturday, and I’m afraid she left with her heart broken. If only I’d been less flippant about the yuzu!


  • Rather than mooch around feeling sorry for myself all weekend, a short break seems to have been a far more sensible solution. Back to fashion dictation tomorrow.

Ten years, ten looks #5

Posted in Fashion by guardiangirl on October 21, 2009

A classic get-it-a-bit-wrong day. All the component parts are good, in my book, but put them all together and you get a mad old farmer’s wife. Or a mad old farmer, to be a little more modern about things. Imagine: you encounter this figure hobbling down a country road in the autumn dusk. You say a friendly hello. The old hag looks up from underneath her straw hat to reveal a hideous, gurning apparition with empty eye sockets and wormholed skin.

I’m not the biggest fan of the totally full-on boho look but at least the model’s outfit is consistent.

I love this straw hat I’m wearing – and the skirt, which my granny made in the 50s. But I think both should be worn on a beach or in a field, with a tan. I’ve never been too sure about long skirts in winter – unless it’s done in an Edith Holden sort of way, which takes commitment. I’m quite content being at work in this outfit and I won’t feel wrong wearing it out for dinner later, but I’d never have put it together this way if it weren’t for the Guardian.

The boho boom

The boho boom


The bozo boom
The bozo boom

Hmm. Now I look at the photo again I’m thinking: you’re watching TMZ. A drunken Sienna Miller stumbles out of the Ivy trying to shield her face from the paparazzi. You’re watching on widescreen.

  • Two consistent obstacles to getting the fashion right: proportions and textures. You need the biggish brim and the floor-grubbed skirt with the slim hips and the long top. You need the felty hat and suede boots.
  • That’s why all this is such an expensive lark. You can’t just have a pair of boots – you have to have suede boots for one skirt and leather boots for another. You can’t just have a nice hat – you have to have a straw hat for summer and a felt hat for winter. You can’t just cut your hair into a bob, throw on your old Sienna Miller get-up and expect it to look as boho as it did with rib-length hair. It’s all too tiring. No wonder so many people choose a style that suits them and stick with it until several decades later when a ‘friend’ from work calls up 10 Years Younger and Channel 4 forces them to cower helplessly around Brighton Beach while the general public vox-pop dates them at 95. “Let’s bleach the old crone’s teeth! We can get her down to at least 70!” Terrifying.