I’ve been away and missed Sparkling Whine very much! Finishing my MA was exhausting, although was treated to a post-dissertation trip to France. Finally, back in Amsterdam, settled (Ugg boots out – this is a nation where Ugg Boots are not fashionable – they’re not fashionable anywhere – but where needs must. Slipping your feet into a snugg a pair of (black, ankle high – the more discreet the better) Uggs and jumping onto your bike and riding against the harsh Dutch winds is survival not vanity. Yet, it will always feel strange to live in a city where I wear Uggs other than on long walks in country or when it is snowing, ie; where they will be seen. But, as ever, I digress. Being back and falling back into my Dutch habits makes me cast a reflective glance over my summer and here is what has stuck out for me:
1. Does the Chanel Jade Colour nail polish actually exist?? I wanted it so much for my toes (would do wonder to highlight a tan) Admittedly, I searched for this product in Amsterdam where shopping doesn’t really mean shopping – it means disappointment and large proportions of your wardrobe being from Zara. And yes, this should be number one on my list. I spent a long time dreaming of jade colour toe nails on my brown summer feet.
2. I love French Women. Having read ‘Why French Women Don’t Get Fat’ and then this summer, ‘What French Women Know’, they simply are another species to the Brits. They have self-discipline; they don’t eat large bars of chocolate – comme moi. They have better sex, or so the book claims. They drink wine moderately. French women polishing off bottles of wines to themselves – Je ne pense pas. And, even if these are national stereotypes we buy into – I am utterly sold. But the next ‘secrets of the French woman’s universe’ book should be entitled – ‘Why French Women Don’t Get Skin Cancer’. These women lie in the midday sun from April to September no sign of a parasol or a hat. They soak up and sun and their skin resembles a dark tan Mulberry handbag, much like the one they have perched next to them on their Hermes towel.
3. Deciding on a new winter coat is only fun in the summer. You walk into a beautifully air-conned room. You’re wearing a summer dress and flip flops and you see the new Autumn/winter arrivals. You see the navy cashmere coat with the brass buttons and you want to put it on to take the edge of the air con and to start mentally deciding your winter wardrobe. The minute it is winter however, you want to take all signs of winter apparel and burn them on the bonfire. This summer I saw a lot of beautiful coats but one of the real stand outs was an H&M number. Fake fur trim round the collar, knee-length and black. “Bring on the cold!” it called to me – but in the most elegant way. You might feel like the little girl from Mary Poppins or you might for once in your life feel slightly feminine in the face of winter. Normally, I look like a twelve year old boy – all puffa and no face showing with over sized mittens and walking socks. This coat, for 80 euros would allow you to leave the house with warmth and a little bit of style.
4. I read Vanity Fair and learnt that Jonny Depp has a private island. I saw ‘Public Enimies’ and confirmed what I already knew: Jonny Depp makes me weak at the knees.
5. I learnt that 4 jackets (leather, denim x2, cotton), 4 dresses, 4 pairs of shoes, 1 jumper, 2 cashmere cardigans, 2 pairs of leggings, 2 skirts, 1 pair of shorts, 3 pairs of jeans, 2 swimsuits, countless t -shirts and a rain mac was too much to pack for 9 days in 30 degree Provence countryside
3/4. Summer is never really summer without a trip to Brighton. Although it was ‘brisk’ (me in over the knee boots, winter dress and mac) the sun was out, the sea sparkled and we had tea on the beach.
nb) This, sadly, was not this summer. But a summer when I was lucky enough to live there. This is what Summer in Brighton is really like.