Beyond the Pale


Disaya: Nutcracker Sweet – Jewellery To Capture Your Imagination

Some people favour jewellery with clean, simple, lines; minimalists who worship all that is streamlined, elegant and pure. I am not one of these people. This surely comes as no surprise.

Who in their right mind could get excited about such dullness when jewellery and accessories can allow you to express your individuality, little hints of your personality glinting merrily on your fingers or twinkling intriguingly around your throat.

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One of the most exciting jewellery brands I’ve seen for years twinkled at me from afar, an acquaintance posted a picture of a collection on Instagram, and I HAD to know where they were from… Disaya, came the answer.

Disaya is the brainchild of award-winning Central St. Martins graduate Disaya Sorakraikitikul, including jewellery, accessories, Ready To Wear . She is obviously very influenced by her surroundings, that particular creativity that London seems to breed so well, along with that playfulness mixed with sophistication that perhaps best describes her style.

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Launched in 2007, Disaya’s range caused quite a stir, being immediately picked up by over 70 stockists on launching. It’s really quite easy to see why, as everything she designs is so full of eccentricity and has a unique charm. The pieces are designed in-house and combined with local craftsmanship to ensure Disaya’s exacting standards are met – some supposedly whimsical ranges suffer from poor quality and finishing which renders them rather tacky, in my eyes, but Disaya is head and shoulders above all other pretenders to the throne.

Disaya was The next two years saw Disaya’s stockists increase by 50%, and it is now sold in over 20 countries at various prestigious retailers including: Henri Bendels, Le Bon Marche, Seibu, Harrods and Harvey Nichols, as well as at the flagship store in Gaysorn shopping mall located in Bangkok.

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Quirky and fun without being too childish is a difficult act to pull off, but Disaya have charm and wearability in bucketloads. I covet the entire Nutcracker collection, just launching this month, but so much else besides!

My standout favourite pieces have to be the Nutcracker gentlemen rings and the adorable Teddy Bear Nutcracker costume necklace – reminiscent of traditional folk-ish German Christmas decorations, they make me want to snuggle up in a huge cosy jumper while drinking mulled wine and raiding the festive chocolate box. Not that I need much persuading.

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Oh and the stags head pieces, too, topped with matching pearls. And the carnivalesque horses, straight from a fairground carousel!

So beautifully enamelled, too, and gorgeous colours. Leafing through the new SS13 Lookbook I see so many pieces I would give a home to in the blink of an eye. look at that frowning face necklace! Love, love, LOVE.

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Disaya also show the same imagination in their other accessories and have the most magical prints in their clothing, too. They look like something a grown up Alice in Wonderland or a modern day Marie Antoinette wold like to wear.

For me the jewellery is the most easily wearable, simply because you can mix it in with whatever you happen to be wearing. Some days I just want a touch of whimsicality, other days I may wish for head-to-toe fantastical. With Disaya, you may plump for that one special piece, or an entire outfit, and I love having that choice within a range.

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The whole collection is launching on Disaya.com later this month, but some pieces from previous collections are available from My Flash Trash – my favourites there are the stackable strawberry shortcake rings and the darling little Gentlemen’s Accessories earring set. Great attention to detail for such itty bitty things.

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I have seen so many takes on tea cup and cake-inspired cutesy accessories, but for me, Disaya does it best, and with her unique stamp on each piece they make. They are just beautiful ornaments in and of themselves – one could certainly display them in a cabinet – for me they carry a certain air of mystery and intrigue; like little objet d’art freshly plucked from a shadow box.

Disaya are even collaborating their unique style with a tea manufacturer, and of course the packaging is to die for and stamped with their inimitable charm:

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“Introducing Disaya’s ‘Tea muskerteers’ ,our special collaboration with No. 57, Comes in 3 stylish flovours, including Macaroon Black Tea, Rice Pudding white tea and Apple crumble Green Tea. They are perfect Christmas present material ! Coming to stores soon…”

Your best bet is to keep an eye on their website, and think about liking their Facebook page to keep up to date with the latest news and pictures from their collections.

I can’t wait to see what they do next, it’s safe to say I am totally obsessed with Disaya. Teacups, moustaches and cats, oh my!



Modern Fairytales: The Whimsical Art of Chiara Santillozzi
September 26, 2012, 6:02 pm
Filed under: Art, Etsy, Fairytales | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Ever the head-in-the-clouds romantic, I always fall for modern portrayals of Fairytale or mythological themes, so am quite naturally head-over-heels in love having discovered the work of Dublin based Italian artist, Chiara Santillozzi.

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There is something to particularly admire in artists who convey characters while still retaining a modern simplicity, I think. That clean sweep of a brush or bold line can say so much in the right hands.

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I especially like her use of mainly black and white with a great swathe of perhaps one vivid colour bringing the picture to life.

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She really manages to capture personality, don’t you think? I really love this portrait of Frida Kahlo, proving that she’s equally able to portray people in the real world, as well as fantasy figures. Her work manages to be both gently humorous while poignant and completely conveys the mood of each scene or person within it.

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They all look like they could be the illustrations from a lost book of Fairytales, I love them all and would certainly like to have some gracing my home. They truly are stunning, and at under £11 for an A4 print, I think they’re absolute bargains, too!

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I definitely think this artist should be snapped up for all sorts of book covers and immediately commissioned to illustrate new additions of Angela Carter’s entire back catalogue, don’t you agree?

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Chiara, though born in Italy and living in Dublin, has traversed afar, having also made her home in Venice and Japan. I really think she is very talented indeed, and am sure you’ll agree. You can see the work currently available in her online shop, Makissima.



Michal Negrin: Baroque Genius of WHIMSY

From the get-go we know this website isn’t going to be a subtle affair: crimson velvet theatre curtains pull slowly apart to reveal the bizarre, charming and – if one is honest – slightly bewildering – world of designer Michal Negrin

An explosion of colours, overwhelming Baroque pastoral scenes involving plump cupids, frolicking 18th century lovers, random Kewpie dolls, 1920’s flapper girls dangling from hot air balloons and, ultimately, a mind-blowing peek into her world of full-on, turned-up-to-eleven romantic historical WHIMSY. A world, as you may imagine, I utterly adore.

I can’t quite recall when I first came across her designs, but I know exactly which item it was – a sumptuously gorgeous Victorian style skirt with overlapping romantic scrapbook-like pictures and tumbling roses. Love at first sight!

I think it would be fair to say that I rarely come across designers whose collections make me gasp and want one of practically everything, but Michal Negrin ticks all my boxes. 🙂

This is a relatively staid design from the current collection, totally wearable – I’d wear it as a day dress with a little cardi, plum colored tights, black biker boots & lashings of pearls. Just beacause.

I ALSO completely covet the other design in this style… Dreamy, misty, dusk-like colours and a cameo in the centre of the lacey trellis of a Victorian lady wearing a striped bathing suit. Seriously, what’s not to love?

Michal Negrin has been creating a unique lifestyle for over two decades with vintage-inspired designs that include jewelry, fashion, home décor, and accessories.

This full-length gown is just jaw-droppingly stunning – I think it looks like something from an Oscar Wilde play. It actually makes my heart beat faster.

Yes, yes, I know the price may also make the heart beat faster, but it’s a designer gown. We’re not doing a feature on supermarket fashion here, are we? (And I’m not being snobbish – I am currently putting together a feature about supermarket fashions I love, as it happens! – there are just different categories of clothing. I think this rivals some of Alexander McQueens last collection, but at a price that, whilst still expensive, is certainly more attainable than couture!)

This design is particularly reminiscent of that Baroque style couture – inspiration surely from cheerfully gaudily painted ceilings and the artwork one finds in those sumptuous palaces that have the power to take the breath away.

I love the colours in this skirt, they remind me of hand-tinted romantic Victorian photographs of famous actresses and noted beauties of the age.

As you can see, these softer colours are probably easier to wear for those of a nervous disposition who shy away from designs and patterns they consider ‘loud’ – this little vest top could be worn classically with a cashmere cardi & pearls, or thrown on with jeans & leather jacket. It’s all about the styling, dahling. 😉

Born in Kibbutz Naan in 1957, Michal always knew she was an individual with her own vision and this was despite being brought up in an environment that preached group uniformity.

She was driven to follow her inner passion for self-expression and spent her childhood designing. Her mother was an inspiration and supported her in fulfilling her dreams despite the Kibbutz’s conventions.

Well, there is absolutely nothing that says ‘group uniformity’ in Michal’s designs, that’s for sure. They manage to capture the spirit of those vintage collectible ‘saucy’ postcards – Victorian beauties showing a well-turned ankle or – shocking – gadding about in their under-crackers.

This skirt depicts ladies swimming through a palace as various Baroque items of furniture bob past. If you cannot love such a scene, then I seriously doubt we’d get on. I mean it. 🙂

A dramatic kimono top featuring Victorian ladies in handcarts above a vast city skyline climbing ladders into the sky… Again, I ask – what’s not to love?

It is obvious that Michal is passionate about vintage images, the bejewelled, beribboned world of Baroque, of gilded palaces, the court of Marie Antoinette, intricate Victorian scrapbook pictures, the excess of 1920’s hedonism and those gaily painted barges or gypsy caravans that gleam with brightly painted bouquets of flowers. All passions I share, so no wonder I am so giddy about her work!

Little details like the placing of the curtain-call ladies arm-in-arm, circling the cuffs of this beautiful bolero… literally make me squeal. It’s such fun, I love the sheer exuberance of these images and the way they are placed on the designs.

I have only shown you a tiny proportion of the items I love (I’d have to lead you through the entire website!) and even then have only touched on the clothes… Oh my dears, there are stunning boots & shoes, jewellery and even items for the home, too! But I shall leave you to explore those yourselves. 🙂

Negrin’s designs are more than I could normally spend, but then these are hardly your average clothes and accessories. I shall own some of her pieces one day soon, I SHALL! I long for them. 😦

Oh, I know, quelle melodramatic hand-to-the-forehead – forgive me if I sink, breathless, onto a velvet chaise lounge, but I rather think it suits these styles I so hanker after. 😉

Until next time,

Yours entirely made of whimsy,

Miss Nightingale

x



Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland: We’re All Mad Here…

Tim Burton was the obvious choice for the latest Alice in Wonderland adaptation. Quirky, dark, unsettling whimsy? Burton’s your go-to guy!

Teaser Trailer One

Teaser Trailer Two

Ooh, it does look rather good, doesn’t it?

The Burtonesque version of the story begins with a hoity toity party in Victorian England, at which the now 17 year old Alice (the “virtual unknown” Mia Wasikowska) is about to be proposed to in front of the hideously toffee-nosed guests.

She falls down the rabbit hole (again) and is plunged headfirst into the crazy, mixed-up world of Wonderland.

A world populated by Stephen Fry as the Cheshire Cat (oh, rapture!), Helena Bonham Carter as the Queen of Hearts,

Matt Lucas as Tweedledum and Tweedledee (utterly terrifying, but great casting!)

Of course a Burton film must have a Johnny Depp in it, and this time he’s the Mad Hatter. One wonders if he’ll basically be reprising his role as Willy Wonka in Burton’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

I do hope not. In fact, I pray that very little will ever resemble anything from that particular film, as I thought it was a complete disaster. But I digress…

Anne Hathaway’s costume looks lovely. And great lipstick, by the way. I want that lipstick!

So, Alice is back in Wonderland, but this time she’s all grown up. Of course, she’s going to need a few trinkets and fripperies to see her through…

When the film’s released, expect to see a plethora of Wonderland madness all over the place.

One of my favourite vintage-style designers, Sue Wong, has developed a niche collection inspired by Burton’s Wonderland, and utterly beautiful dresses they are, too. I would expect nothing less, her pieces always look as though they could be displayed in the V&A. Incredibly lust-worthy.

Ultra-chic Parisian department store Printemps have asked a number of their favourite designers to furnish the windows with bespoke, Alice-inspired pieces.

As Vogue reported, “Some of the fashion world’s best known names – including Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, Manish Arora, Maison Martin Margiela, Ann Demeulemeester, Bernhard Willhelm and Haider Ackermann – have been asked to create a one-off dress for Alice, which will then be displayed in the window of the Parisian department store during Paris Fashion Week.”

Urban Decay have been busy, too, developing an authorised”Book of Shadows” to tie-in with the film, in utterly delectable packaging.

I fear they may already have sold out, though! It’s a “…very limited release” (“limited” being a very movable feast whenever beauty manufacturers are involved, so I’ve found. Limited to what? 50? 500? 5,000?).

To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t get that hot under the collar about the shadows anyway. I’m more of a lips gal, truth be told. I’m a sucker for a well-packaged product, though!

Probably more of interest to me is the news that O.P.I have also put together a collection of Wonderland-inspired colours.

Though I have to agree with the review at All Laquered Up – I think two reds were overkill in this collection, and Off With Her Red is terribly boring. With such a pool of inspiration to draw from, surely they could have gone with something a little more spectacular than plain ol’ tomato red? I love the suggestion (in the article linked above) of a white glitter with tiny heart-shaped confetti pieces in it!

And now to furnish my little corner of Wonderland…

How about this Tea Time vinyl wall decoration, for your very own Mad-Hatter’s tea party? I think it turns what could otherwise have been a drab wallpaper into a witty take on traditional design. Love it!

Tea Time Decal by Say It With Style: $35

To go to tea, Alice must have a wonderful dress, of course. This beautiful vintage number seems very much in keeping with the film’s style.

Tulle 50's Strapless Dress by Land of 1000 Dresses: $250

For something a little more everyday (but still fabulous), I’ve plumped for Abi Bansal’s midnight blue ‘Coachella’ dress. I can see a modern-day in this, can’t you?

Coachella Dress by Abi Bansal Designs: $160

A inspired by Suzie Chaney’s limited edition ‘The Queen’s Croquet’ print:

The Queen's Croquet Limited Edition Print by Suzie Chaney: $23

…I would team the Coachella dress with these great candy striped stockings by Poppy’s Wicked Garden:

Cutie Pie Candy Striped Stockings by Poppy's Wicked Garden: $25

…and these absolutely perfect vintage Mary Jane style shoes from Dear Golden Vintage:

Vintage Mary Janes by Dear Golden Vintage: $37

For the Red Queen, I think this corset would be just the thing. The detailing is wonderful, as are all the pieces at Boom Boom Baby Boutique.

Queen of Hearts Corset by Boom Boom Baby Boutique: $225

These “Drink Me” sticks would be perfect to decorate the cocktails at a Mad Hatter’s Teaparty themed wedding reception! Or any party at all. They’re from the talented Pink Cherry Momma, who also does a splendid set of “Eat Me’s” too (shown in my Etsy treasury style collection further down the page). I adore them!

12 Drink Me Party Picks by Pink Cherry Momma: $10.95

Well, I could go on and on with this theme, but suppose I should stop somewhere. 😉

Do have fun browsing through this gallery of temptations I put together for a future Etsy Treasury selection. Have a sneak peek at my choices…


Direct links to items shown, left to right:

1st Row: 1) Abi Bansal Design, 2) Cosmic Firefly, 3) Ju Ju Too

2nd Row: 1) Pink Cherry Momma, 2) Untamed Menagerie, 3) Five Sisterz

3rd Row: 1) Boom Boom Baby Boutique, 2) Suzie Chaney, 3) Amber Alexander

4th Row: 1) Nickel Design, 2) Les Delicieux, 3) Land of 1000 Dresses

Yours curiously….

Miss Nightingale

x



What Would Marie Antoinette Wear Now? / Let Them Eat Cake Competition!

[UPDATE] The amazingly generous Blu Lima has offered one of her Let Them Eat Cake prints as a give-away prize for readers of my blog! Scroll down to see how to enter (you just have to leave a comment on this post, nothing complicated!) 🙂

What would Marie Antoinette wear if she were around today?

When I’m not pondering the great mysteries of the universe or musing on the latest developments in space travel, such are the questions that tickle my fancy. Also, it’s rather cold and depressing, lately, what with The Great Snow Débâcle and everyone and their dog on diets and seemingly mooching around all grumpy with faces like wet weekends. How utterly miserable and boring!

Let’s cheer ourselves up with frills and furbelows…

The first piece that caught my eye – and in fact the inspiration for this entire post, is the be-ruffled extravaganza that is this stunning handmade top by the ultra talented Steam Machine. The designer poses the question of what Marie would dress like today…

“This awesome top reminds me of Marie Antoinette but in a modern way. What would she dress like if she lived today? I think she would love the ruffles and the soft, stretchy cotton in peach.”

Let Them Eat Cake Ruffled Top by Steam Machine: $95

I absolutely love it. It is made to order and takes up to 14 days to complete, using vintage fabrics, so will be completely unique. I would absolutely wear it with jeans and riding boots (or the Woland and Moon boots featured in a little while!) but Marie may have preferred something a little dressier.

To each their own. 🙂 However you wear it, it’s one of those classic with a twist pieces you just know you’d hang on to forever.

Let Them Eat Cake Ruffled Top by Steam Machine: $95

I think a bit of self-referential style wouldn’t go amiss, and I’m sure she’d love the colours of this t-shirt by 2 Girls Plastic.

Marie Antoinette T-shirt by 2 Girls Plastic: $19.95

I think she would be a huge fan of the sugary, beautiful little works of art that are Macarons, and would thus like to saunter around the house in pyjama bottoms and the J’aime Le Macaron t-shirt by A Table for Two.

I have to say, this t-shirt would also surely be perfect for Carol Gillott of the wonderful blog, Paris Breakfasts. She is often to be found waxing lyrical about Macarons – indeed, macarons are almost a religion in and of themselves!

I Love Macaron with Feet T-shirt by A Table for Two: $27

In case you are wondering about the curious “avec les pieds”, the designer assures us that “J’aime les macaron avec les pieds” – is the French way to express how much you love macaron… with feet, literally.”

Oh yes, these boots are undeniably more expensive than a simple high-street purchase, but they are entirely handmade for each customer using the finest leather and Venetian silk with an antique floral print, so hardly unjustified!

Antoinette Boots by Woland and Moon: $700

I think Marie would have quite liked stomping around in these when she tired of elaborate heels and wanted to give her tootsies a rest. Woland and Moon have one of the most unusual ranges of chunky, kick-ass yet incredibly feminine ranges of footwear I’ve ever seen.

On more delicate days, she could slip on these gorgeous vintage couture shoes being sold by A-Hem Vintage. Beautiful fabric, and I love the huge pom-pom rosettes on the front!

50's/60's Couture Shoes, A-Hem Vintage: $36

These couture quality painstakingly hand-embroidered cuffs by La Camelot are just breathtakingly beautiful and could be a future heirloom.

Marie Antoinette Embroidered Cuffs by La Camelot: $800

Incredibly cheering, this Let Them Eat Cake print by Blu Lima would be perfect in a kitchen.I particularly like the yellow version.

You can win your very own copy of this print simply by leaving a comment on this post, letting me know which is your favourite colour, and where you would hang your print.

Go and browse Blu Lima’s other colour options (and have a gander at the other lovely prints she’s selling) and leave that comment now to be in with a chance of winning!

I will close entries at the end of  Monday 18th January 2010. Good luck!

Many thanks to the lovely Sharon for offering this fabulous prize. 🙂

Let Them Eat Cake print by Blu Lima: $5

If you were to have one of the Marie Antoinette themed tea-parties I wrote about previously, you would absolutely need these cute chandelier print bags to fill with goodies for your guests to take home, don’t you think? Perhaps a mini cupcake, a feather plume hair clip, some pretty vintage ribbons and homemade chocolates?

Shabby Chic French Chandelier Gift Bags (10) by Parlene: $5

I like this updated cage panier hooped skirt very much, though I think you’d have to be a pretty young slip of a gal to get away with it in every day wear. 🙂

Cage Panier Skirt by Youth Diaspora: $250

The tarnished crown charm is rather appropriate on this Bouquet for Marie bracelet. I have always loved this combination of colours, too. Says the designer:

“I’ve been feeling overwhelmingly inspired by Marie lately, or maybe the cinematography and costumes in the movie have gone to my head! Either way, it has made for some pretty and interesting creations depicting the lavishness, opulence, and bold fashion that Marie was known for. It is my hope to create a sort of enchanted, slightly excessive, yet whimisical dream world that will have you basking in the glory of your own little empire (but you get to skip the French Revolution and keep your head)!”

A Bouquet for Marie Bracelet by Eclectic Orchid: $26.50

These little hand-stamped notecards are so sweet – who wouldn’t be happy to receive one of these through the post instead of the usual dreary dross we are delivered? Indeed, just about everything in The French Nest Co’s shop would have been appropriate to this Marie Antoinette theme. If you like unusual French inspired shabby chic items, you’ll be in Heaven!

Set of 4 Love Letters from Marie Antoinette by The French Nest Co: $5

“Bold and brilliant yet so delicate and charming” is an excellent description of this upcycled vintage necklace. I would wear it with something quite casual for everyday, and it would turn a little black dress into a showstopping outfit – especially if it was a low-cut one that showed the necklace to its best advantage. Love it!

Her Royal Highness Vintage Assemblage Necklace by Jealous Cat: $149

And here they are all gathered together for your delectation – cheering to the soul, I think you’ll agree!

I DO want to show a few more items not in the selection due to lack of space, but which are equally lust-after-able and very suited to Marie Antoinette 2010, I hope you’ll agree… Scroll down for further eye-candy.

Sorry for this image-heavy post, but I just couldn’t resist showing you these ones, too!

More chandelier goodness in the form of a cushion, this time. I like the fact the image is an old-fashioned idea of decor, yet the colour and the bold printing method bring this bang up to date. The juxtaposition of old and new is one of my favourite looks in interior design.

Chandelier Pillow by Pillow Palllooza: $78

There are many females of my close acquaintance who would be delighted to wear this whimsical custom-made cupcake print dress. I think you’d have to toughen it up a bit with leggings or thick tights and my go-to suggestion of stompy boots or chunky-heeled shoes (to avoid it looking too cutesy) but I imagine the gals at Domestic Sluttery might also coo after this one. 🙂

Custom Cupcakes Smocked Dress by Anayna DF: $62

Cake and Ice cream, a match made in Heaven… this print is part of the “You & Me” 2009 Valentine series, in which the artist has “…picked iconic couplings that I hope people and their partners will identify with.” I can certainly identify with this! I think it would look just darling when teamed with the Let Them Eat Cake print show earlier in this post.

Cake and Ice Cream framed print by Bishop Art: $15

I’m sure Marie Antoinette would appreciate the coupling, too. She’d definitely have this in her kitchen. Well, if she wouldn’t, I certainly would!

I do hope you have enjoyed this rather rambling and giddy post, my dears; and that it has gladdened your hearts or made you feel a little sunnier, wherever you are.

Until next time,

Miss Nightingale

x



Hounds of the Morrigan: Favourite Books & Cosy Nooks

Hounds of the Morrigan, by the now sadly departed Pat O’Shea, was 10 years in the writing. It can be classed as a children’s book, but I have been reading it on and off since I was 11 years old, and it still remains one of my favourite books in the whole world. Such imagination, dark humour & a great cast of characters – I just had to honour it with a blog post and – of course – a selection of goodies inspired by fond memories of the novel itself…

Hounds of the Morrigan 1Hounds of the Morrigan 2

Direct links to items shown, left to right:

1st Row – 1) Levan’s Photography, 2) Earthworks Journals, 3) Maclancy

2nd Row – 1) C.D. Childs, 2) Madrin Photography, 3) Propellers

3rd Row – 1) Nesrin Dugan, 2) Tuscany Studios, 3) Shop Greyhounds

4th Row – 1) Pern Circlets, 2) Short Girl Designs, 3) Lee Imagery

The story is the age old battle of Good v Evil, in the same rich vein as Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising sequence; but it’s really the cast of characters and the adventures they have together that always brings me back to the world Pat O’Shea created.

Hounds of the Morrigan

I always, always wished for another book from her, a continuation of the story, the chance to meet old friends. There is a tantalising glimpse of what might have been in her obituary, printed in The Guardian newspaper:

The few brilliant chapters of the unfinished sequel are almost worth publishing alone: a Christmas card scene, candelit shop windows, carol singers and a robin… and into this cheerful scene rides the great Irish witch the Morrigan with her wild sisters, bringing mayhem and magic and mischief.

*sigh* How selfish it is of us voracious readers to wish someone alive again merely so they could finish/begin a sequel. It’s all a bit Kathy Bates in Misery for words, but I do sort of understand that constant, gnawing wish for more.

Hounds of the Morrigan cover 3

Of course unfinished sequels always hold a power that a published book can never have (much as we mourn the loss of new songs from our favourite recording artists who died too young, or the films we’ll never see of actors who went before their time).

Hounds of the Morrigan cover 4It’s an aching void always begging to be filled with new material from rambunctious upstarts or delving into the classics to see from whence your favourite sprang… but you have to get over it each time the craving begins, or that dreadful self-pitying kind of mourning for what might have been starts to spread, like little spores of black mould in a damp bathroom.

Relish the tangible, that’s the cure!

Hounds of the Morrigan Cover 2

With this in mind, I feel I must very soon curl up in a cosy nook…

Cosy Reading Corner

Cosy Reading Corner by Homes and Gardens

…wearing something scrumptiously soft & a good pair of thick bed socks…

1940's Jaeger Bed Socks - Free Printable Pattern by V&A

1940's Jaeger Bed Socks - Free Printable Pattern by V&A

…heaped with blankets and cushions, drinking hot chocolate [possibly with a slug of something wicked in it] and reading The Hounds of the Morrigan for the umpteenth time!

Hot Chocolate

Oh, and don’t get me started on Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones – another of my all-time favourites which I hold to my bosom and treasure like a rare jewel. And OH MY GOD – HOW did I not know that she’s written a [proper] sequel?! Ordered it immediately, of course. I may return to this to wax lyrical at length…

Ah, Howl, my first literary crush.

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

House of Many Ways by Diana Wynne Jones

Whatever your favourite cosy read is, I hope you have time to snuggle up with it, soon. I truly believe it’s balm for the soul, and most especially at this time of year, don’t you think?

Girl Reading by Fragonard

Girl Reading by Fragonard

Do share with me your favourite cosy reads – or the books you keep coming back to throughout the years – I’d be fascinated to know!



Terry Gilliam’s new film: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus
September 21, 2009, 2:51 pm
Filed under: Costume Dramas, Creepy, Etsy, Fairytales, Fashion, Films, Fripperies, Trinkets

I am really very excited by the prospect of Terry Gilliam‘s latest fantastical film offering: The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus. Starring such diverse luminaries as Johnny Depp, Heath Ledger (in his last film), Chrisopher Plummer, Jude Law, Colin Farrell, Dr ParnassusTom Waits, Lily Cole, and Paloma Faith; it certainly looks to be a feast for the eyes as well as the imagination.

On her blog, Paloma Faith waxes lyrical about Gilliam and Ledger’s untimely death (which one hopes wont overshadow the film): “Terry Gilliam is such a genius. I must admit it was very moving to see Heath Ledger deliver yet another wonderful performance and the moment he morphs into the other (replacement) actors, it hits home how undeniably sad it is that he passed away so young in his life. There are references to some of these things in the film. How those icons who die young will be eternally young and forever in our hearts, remaining as they were when they left us. I was very moved. The film also discusses subjects close to my heart such as the tragedy that the art of storytelling is dying in contemporary culture. People are too cynical to take notice of the subtleties…You must go and see it, it’s so beautiful. And when I wasn’t in tears, I was laughing my head off.”

Dr Parnassus1

Now then, I love Terry Gilliam’s films, but we all know he can often take an idea and scatter it hither & thither.  Always visually stunning affairs, the films can be left nigh on naked once the petals of the plot have been ruthlessly shaken from the stem. [I’ll end that metaphor there – fear not, Gentle Reader!] Ironically, that’s often why I love his films anyway. He has mad ideas and he runs with them, and the cast always look like they’re more than happy to be along for the ride. It can be a little unsatisfying, though, and I often leave with a sense of longing for a brave editor to stand up and scream: “ENOUGH! No, Terry, you can’t have twenty minutes of footage showing a rabbit dancing with an umbrella as tiny ballerinas chase him with axes made of wasps, we should GET ON WITH THE STORY. Now go and have a cup of tea and calm down.”

I have to admit that the prospect of Jude Law being in it almost put me off the idea of seeing the film altogether. It’s safe to say I’m not a huge fan. You may expect me to love him – all the ingredients are there: He’s posh, he has floppy hair, he… Well. That’s sort of it, really, on the Reasons Miss Nightingale Should Like Jude Law list. Oh yes, he’s arrogant, and I am sort of attracted to arrogance in some ways – but not his.

Jude Law may well be a lovely chap: a champion of poorly kittens and a finder of lost thimbles, for all I know. He just comes across as sneeringly vulgar, to me. He exudes a sort of smarmy oiliness that seeps from the screen and, what’s more, I don’t think he’s a very good actor. He’s sort of a much thinner, much posher Jamie Oliver but with none of the apparent affability and no discernible talent. However, I’m sure the Law household (whoever that consists of this week) is losing no sleep over my lack of respect for J boy, so we’ll let the subject drop for the time being. I’m sure I’ll have cause to revisit such a vast topic in the future.

Dr Parnassus2

So yes, we have Jude Law repelling the senses, but so much else to attract. Namely: Johnny Depp and Colin Farrell. Oh and the costumes look amazing, and I am ever a sucker for fabulous costumes, as you should know by now. I should also mention that the casting of Tom Waits as the devil is utter GENIUS, by the way. I shall be interested to see if Lily Cole outshines the reviews of her work which appear to be amazed that she’s not only a model but can act (in fact started acting before modeling) and – GET THIS – is at Cambridge University, too! Yes, very nice and everything, but should we really be treated to such jaw-drops in the press whenever a model does anything more mentally taxing than buttoning her own shirt?

The film is released in the UK on the 16th October 2009. Meanwhile, have a sneak preview of the official trailer below, followed by some behind-the-scenes footage with Terry Gilliam in the second clip…

And what are you expecting now, my darlings? My regular readers will know for sure… Such topics always inspire me to create a selection of themed treasures I have discovered on Etsy which I hope you will agree are suitably Gilliam-esque. Happy browsing!

Imaginarium 1

Direct links to items shown:

Craftie Robot

Steam Society

The Black Apple

Stories Divinations

Le Petit Cadeau

Lady Fran’s Library

Imaginarium 2

Further links:

Pye Wacketts

Tilly Bloom

Roadside

Papercutdiecut

Leather Artworks

Untamed Menagerie