Wednesday, 28 May 2008

Back home - the washing tree

Drinks before dinner

Dorothy's view of Alghero

My Aunt's Holiday Survival Pack...

A bottle of brandy, a double pack of bacon, a Melton Mowbray pork pie, a big jar of mayonnaise, one pack digestive biscuits, a tub of butter, a pepper mill full of pepper, lo-salt, oatcakes, tea-bags, tin of powdered mustard, powdered milk, and six small bottles of tonic. Pack all in suitcase for consumption in Italy!

Saturday, 10 May 2008

Sun sea my Auntie and me

Today I am going to Sardegna with my fabulous(and wonderfully eccentric) Auntie Kate. She is the best octagenerian - with vivid red hair and ideas to match. She has music in her blood and crazy ideas in her head. Many of her ideas become reality which is something I really admire about her. Who else would up-sticks at her age and work with Crisis at Christmas for a week, taking a taxi from the Midlands to London packed full of musical instruments, as she doesn't have a car. We are also being joined for the week by her old school-friend Dorothy - an ex nurse with a gentle artistic talent which expresses itself in detailed drawings and pictures. I'll tell you all about our trip when I get's sure to be full of tales!


The Tim Walker photography exhibition at The Design Museum in London. You are lost in a magical world for a couple of hours. I went to see the exhibition with a friend the other day and we were just amazed....I've always loved Tim Walker's work, but being something of a fashion-novice I didn't realise all those shoots I'd loved were his. The pictures have a fairy-tale like quality coupled with a faded elegance that is simply lovely. Click here to see more of his work. What do you think - are you as transported as me?!

Wednesday, 7 May 2008


One of the fun things about making hats is that you get to work with stars of the stage and screen. Two Christmas's ago I made some headpieces for the fabulous Puppini Sisters. Their quirky Andrews Sisters style has really captured the imagination of their fans. They're a crazy mix of Julie Andrews and Deeta Von Teese! I'm sure you'll know what I mean! Click here to see them in their sparkly headgear meeting a familiar VIP!

Tuesday, 6 May 2008


Come to the Little Black Hat workshop I'll be running at the Fashion and Textiles Museum in Bermondsey London on Sat 28th June. I'm running it in conjunction with a Little Black Dress exhibition that's going to be on at the museum from June 19th. Come along and make yourself something fantastic! It would be great to see you there.

Sunday, 4 May 2008


I think you'll agree that these 50's magazines are just beautiful. I came across them in an big warehouse about an hour and a half from Lyon. I was staying with a friend who'd told be about this place packed full of possibilities. What really struck me was that everything had meant something to someone at some point. These magazines were amongst many that had been lovingly collected by a French 'maman' who'd kept them perhaps for their usefulness, but more than likely, simply because she thought they were lovely to look at.  Each one is a delight. Perhaps the passage of time makes us appreciate the design more. Are today's front covers really so stunning? I'm not so sure. What do you think?


I'm always happy to lay down my hat here.
YOU DON'T BRING ME FLOWERS in Hither Green is so quirky. It's inspiring, relaxing, and the tea and cakes are great. It's more than just just a fabulous coffee shop though, it'a boutique florist and gallery. You'll just have to go and have a look!


This photograph of Vita Sackville-West, one of the Bloomsbury group is what first inspired me to start making hats.

One day I picked up a poster for a theatre production based on Vita’s life. There she was – looking mysteriously out at me and wearing the most beautiful hat. It was a brimmed cloche, very much echoing the style of the 1930’s, and I decided that’s how I wanted to look.

So I bought some fabric, got out my scissors, borrowed somebody’s sewing machine, and somehow managed to make a hat that was, if not exactly like Vita’s, then a passable approximation. 

I wore it all the time – feeling every bit as though I was somehow sharing in the bohemian lifestyle that Vita must have had - although in retrospect, my life was a lot less colourful than hers! But the late-night conversations about God, the existence of good and evil and the meaning of life, were enough to make me feel that I too shared the artistic sensibilities of the writers and painters that I so much admired. 

The hat was much talked about wherever I went. In the coffee shops and lecture theatres of my Alma Mater  it became something of a focal point. It was part of my identity, and from then on, I incorporated hats into my every-day look. 

Saturday, 3 May 2008



Here are a few of my you like them? I hope so!


Part of what I do for a living is to make hats. It is I suppose rather an old-fashioned thing to do - but I prefer to think of it as a new fashion, or to be more precise, re-fashioning. I often re-fashion things that I find in flea-markets to make my hats. You come across such beautiful things. I'm a big fan of markets, jumble sales, brocantes, garage-sales, clothing exchanges, e-bay, street-finds....the possibilities are endless. You are guaranteed to find at least something unusual that will excite you, and that will have a story attached to it.