>> Two things lie in excess in my house.  Bags and bags of brussel sprouts and boxes and boxes of silk scarves.  Nigel Slater has given me one idea to solve the problem of the sprouts overload.  A silk scarf bomb has suddenly exploded upon me when my friend Eliza of Style Salvage went poking around the house and found random scarves stuffed into the nooks and crannies of shelves.  My designated scarf box from Muji can no longer shelter anymore silk fancies.  

A trip to the books department in the Japan Centre to look for hair inspiration in hideously expensive beauty magazines (my hair may be turning up a different colour next year…) resulted in a copy of the latest So-En coming home with me.  I can't afford it all the time but once in a while, a singular copy normally yields a lot of inspiration for future blog posts.  In this issue, the designer Michiko Nakayama of the label Muveil gave up two DIY ideas, one of which is a simple scarf tunic that I knocked up in less than half an hour whilst watching Saturday Kitchen this morning.  I wish I could expand a little bit more on Muveil.  I spotted the label at a United Arrows store in Tokyo where they had a trunk show of their S/S 12 skirt.  Ignore the cloyingly cutesy French gibberish on the website as there are some cute pieces which is part-vintage inspired, part upcycling and very 'Lady Lady' in the best of ways.  There was a particularly fetching embroidered lobster and starfish skirt that I desperately wanted only to find out they were only taking pre-orders for S/S 12 pieces at the time.  I might revisit Muveil and that bit of lobster loveliness (it hits the upcoming Schiaparelli exhibition and S/S 12's underwater theme all in one, no?) later when I go back to Tokyo in May.  

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For now though, two scarves – one Benah scarf which came as a Christmas gift and an old David David scarf from last year's gift – came together fairly easily.  I'm not entirely sure I followed the instructions exactly seeing as I don't read Japanese but as per when I communicate with Japanese people in real life, hand gestures, diagrams and drawings go a long long way…

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(Worn with David David jumper and Irregular Choice x Cobrasnake wedges - the shoes are not a weird pledge of allegiance to the USA by the way…)

>> How to describe the ins and outs of a party shirt?  I find this fairly difficult without sounding like a horrid judgemental bitch.  Oh well, I'll just plough on seeing as evidently I eat my words anyway.  The party shirt.  Beloved by men folk who feel the need to buy a different shirt each week to venture into town on the pull (i.e. cruising for chicks) much like girls need a new sparkly halter neck top to catch their prey.  Why is it called a party shirt?  "It's loud and garish and you'd never wear it anywhere that wasn't dark, sweaty with thumping music in the background."  Steve's words not mine.  You're mistaken if you think this fairly tasteful party shirt selection on ASOS is a true representation of the typical men's party shirt.  Like the novelty tie, the accompanying party shirt are more than likely to go to the butt end of fabric selections – horrid florals, shiny two tone fabrics where sweat patches are likely to show up in prominent places and terrifying geometrics designed to catch the disco ball light that is inevitably above.

My only line of defence in being able to venture out in the female equivalent of the party shirt, is that I'm not a beer belching man, who's on the mission for a rohypnol-filled night out.  Still, I fully own up to being brutally loud and garish with these reissued Versace print and Louise Gray abstract shirts.  They join a whole rack of 'party shirts' that are terrifyingly unleashed in broad daylight, beyond the dark and dank nightclub.  What's even worse is my propensity to want to layer on print on print on print just to amplify the epilepsy-inducing effect of the party shirt, especially with the Versace barocco print.  The Louise Gray shirt with its flaps and fade in-and-out print effects has slightly more clarity about it.  It is afterall a maximalist take on a basic white shirt.  The short of it is that I had better keep it schtum in the future when scoffing at the concept of the male party shirt and think about my own cacophony of a shirt rail in the wardrobe.                     

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(Versace barocco shirt worn with vintage patterned cape from Thrifted & Modern, Miu Miu skirt from Yoox, Tabio socks, floral brogues from Tokyo)

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IMG_9904(Louise Gray shirt worn with J.W. Anderson school skirt, Goocy platform trainers)

>> The joke is getting out of hand.  There are ten iPad cases in this house and counting and NO effing iPad.  I'm not sure if it's a peverse stubborness NOT to get one for the sake of seeing how many iPad cases I can accumulate before I succumb.  That doesn't explain why I insist on going into every Apple store I pass just to stroke and feel up an iPad and then declare airily "Oh, I'll get one soon enough!"  Countless visits to an Apple store later and I've still not bothered to fork over the money.  All the while, iPad cases come flocking to me like weird vultures circling this tablet-a-phobe and silently intoning "You must, you must, fill us up!"

Well, I've done an ok job filling them up.  Not with iPads but with other stuff to benefit from their clutch friendly size.  Small books/zines, wallets, perfumes and a cornucopia of cosmetics can fit right in along with the essential debit card, keys and phone trio.  Despite their intended function as an iPad case, none of them actually allow you to flip open to SEE the iPad which defies logic.  I imagine fashion brands scurrying on to the iPad case bandwagon probably got a little overexcited over the gadget and slightly forgot about the task at hand.  Therefore, even if I do eventually succumb, I should think that I'd probably carry on using these cases as clutches.  I've included a good lot of stuff to read/smell/use in these pictures as described in the teensy tiny small print caption below each pic just in case you're stuck for indulgent self-gifts.  After Christmas gifting comes a small period of self-gifting before the thudding reality hits you mid-January.  Or at least, that's how it goes in my head…  

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3.1 Phillip Lim mock croc iPad case: Lucy Jay x Amnesty International printed scarf – I like that this is a 130cmx45cm size which means it can be tied around the head without a needless excess of fabric flapping about. // Doan's Ointment – My mother likes to slip this in to my Christmas care package every year.  It works wonders on random spots // Bottega Veneta Eau de Parfum - Leather and Venetian countryside is exactly what this smells of.  The leather note is particularly strong and heady, which I love. // Fire & Knives – Do you love eating?  Do you love talking about eating?  Subscribe. Now. // Louis Vuitton wallet with a Thornback & Heel rabbit hanky inside – The wallet is supposed to be a passport holder but seeing as I'm into mis-using leather goods, this remains a good size for all the random membership cards I have. // Carmex // Random leather notepad // Random vintage photograph

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Benah Alex canvas iPad case: It's Nice That issue 7 – I love the redesign of their issue along with the features on Martin Parr and Terry Jones // Globe bauble – A birthday gift from a friend who said "What do you get the girl who has everything?"  An exaggeration I assure you but I do like having the whole world in my hand… // Smythson Present Tense notebook – Smythson have a good lot of 'Fun Titled' notebooks.  I like that they have one that says 'Blah Blah Blah'. // A postcard from my old Latin teacher who asked me how I was getting on at uni. I never replied *hangs head in shame* // Tom Ford Black Orchid lipstick – I rarely wear black lipstick as I find when it does smear off, it's more noticeable than lighter shades. This one seems to not be so smeary though. I don't swear by all things Tom Ford but this lippie does good. // Ernest Hemingway "The Snows of Kilimanjaro" from Tank Books cigarette case set – The whole set is such a novel idea from Tank magazine's publisher. Each book is completely unabridged too in a surprisingly readable font. // Acne special edition Stockholm scarf – A scarf oldie and fave.

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Dolce & Gabbana faux snakeskin iPad case – Vintage pleated scarf // Sonya's Shopping Manual – This set of books (this is one of three) is a Japanese hit. The author Sonya Park is the owner of the Tokyo stores Arts & Science. For me, she's a likeable arbiter of good taste. Plus I just love that there's such thing as a shopping manual. // Whistles ribbon ring – It's like gift wrapping your own finger. // The Gentlewoman issue no. 4 – There' a feature about Poil√¢ne bread's lovely boss Apollonia. Nuff' said. // Nigel Slater "The Kitchen Diaries" – All things Nigel Salter are good but this one which I got from my sister for Christmas is especially an absorbing read.  His bolognese recipe is bubbling nicely on the hob as we speak. // Nars polish in 'Galion' and Chanel polish in 'Dragon' – For the times when I'm indecisive about colour and just go for boring old black or red. // 'A New Perfume' by Comme des Garcons – The oddest and most evocative scent to come out in 2011 I think.  Scotch tape, hawthorns and industrial glue might sound strange but the combination is well and truly spell-binding.  Don't spray too liberally though.    

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Sibling x Fashionary knitted leopard iPad caseBenah triangle print silk scarf – Benah not only do nifty leather bags and accessories but their scarf patterns are consistently good too. // The Travel Almanac issue no.2 – Steve likes picking up vaguely obscure reads for his Weekend Reading blog posts. Great content aside, The Travel Almanac is a paper/font/design joy to flick through. // Stella Gibbons "Cold Comfort Farm" – Whenever there's something not quite right I like to say in the manner of old Mrs Starkadder, "There's something nasty in the woodshed…" // Fred Butler and Rubbish magazine badges // 032c A/W11-12 issue – ALWAYS and consistently a good read.  That art/fashion crossover rarely feels genuine in magazines but it does in 032c. // Hope & Greenwood marzipan fruits – This was a jokey present from Steve's sister to him because he used to scoff marzipan excessively as a child. I, on the other hand hate the stuff. Surely it's like eating Play Dough, no? I'd rather keep this box of pretty fruits intact.

>> I'm still slightly stuck in my stay-at-home festive stupor.  I've worn the same t-shirt two days in a row and there's a faint whiff of turkey juice on my stretchy jeans.  This is a state that I'm snapping out of once New Year's Eve comes sniffing but for now, with deadlines aplenty, my attire is just to faciliate more stuffing of the face (FYI, stuffing your face with actual stuffing – there IS in fact a dead ned limit and I think last night's dinner proved to be it).

The sure-as-rain occurences of Christmas for me have never really changed and I don't expect it to.  I'll watch The Snowman for the sake of my being able to say in the future, "I watched it every year at Christmas."  I'll eat at least five different nuts throughout the day as stomach liners before whatever meat fest awaits me in the oven.  Then there's the Disney.  The copious amounts of Disney.  Followed by complaints from my dad that Disney is corporate America at its worst.  He duly gets booed by the rest of the Lau clan of course. 

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This year's combo was a dollop of Disney served up by the telly in the form of Mary Poppins (as much as I love it, I do wish TV scheduling would stop overlooking the other equally brilliant Disney 'real life and animation' film, Bedknobs and Broomsticks) and Aladdin.  The common denominator?  Magical carpet-based things.  Mary Poppins had her cavernous and bottomless bag.  Aladdin had his mischevous dog substitute of a magic carpet. 

Watch the two in quick succession in a day and I'm reminded of these bagged-up, sequinned carpet pieces from Maison Martin Margiela S/S 12 show.  I've not been scrambling with excitement at Margiela shows even when I'm there in person but these dresses perked me up immediately.  Not because the girls look like they're about to be gruesomely suffocated.  That would be a bit disturbing.  I just loved that a reference to dodgy fake Persian carpet dealers on Holloway Road show up in sort on a catwalk and come off looking quite beautiful, enhanced rather than hampered by the plastic capes.  I hope nobody wears the sequinned carpet pieces without the plastic shroud.  It would feel like a strange cop-out. 

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Margiela's carpet print is heavily emphasised with shimmer and shine but the 'tapis' print from Aussie multi-disciplinary label Perks and Mini's (P.A.M.) collaboration with Super sunglasses is slightly more subtle.  You really have to hold these Ciccio and Lucia styles up to the light to see the pattern glinting at you. 

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The print embedded into the glasses is a deepened and darkened version of the 'tapi's print used in P.A.M.'s recent collection 'Carpets and Rugs in Sport' – a neat little nutshell that is summed up with this Stadium varsity-style jacket.  I know I know – the varsity jacket has been somewhat over laboured.  They come with a lot of bells and whistles these days.  P.A.M.'s version is winning it out for me though with its printed sleeves and turquoise-and-yellow combination.  I'm just attracted to ugly uniform combos these days.  It comes in both women's and men's sizes, although erring on the oversized side of things seems to me half the attraction with a varsity jacket. 

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P.A.M.'s 'tapis' print also graces bags, caribiners and caps should a carpet sleeved jacket be a step too far in blending in with the furniture.  Both Goodhood in London and Somewhere in Melbourne's online stores have a good selection.

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I'm taking the magic carpet ride on a little detour, back in time to when I visited Perks and Mini's then-brand new store in Sydney.  I loved their Somewhere boutique in Curtin House in Melbourne but it's nice that the husband and wife duo Mischa Hollenbach and Shauna T have a store under their label's own name too.  Whilst I'm on a P.A.M. run, I should say that I've always loved the collaborative work and unexpected aesthetic mixes that the duo always come up with.  Art, music, publishing and fashion truly gel together convincingly at P.A.M. and cult status isn't bestowed upon the label lightly.  There's a real feeling you've found a bit of a score with a P.A.M. item because it ticks the boxes of interesting, wearable, not too pricy and slightly under-the-radar all in one. 

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This sweater,which I picked up at the Sydney store may be a bizarro photo collage of 70s centre-parted hair, purple beams, desert and blue sky but it hasn't stopped me from my wearing it day in, day out and one point. 

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I also love their rare books collection which at the time had this Vin Rude book joining the hilariously erotic David Thorpe series of photo books that include Rude Food and Rude Cocktails.

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Now that I've gone from Disney to erotic photography all in one post, I think I rather feel like this drunk panda that is nestled under the tree on this P.A.M. scarf.  Whoever is a lucky owner of this scarf, they should definitely ensure that the panda is clearly visible all the time. 

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