One thing’s for certain in Oxford, and that is that no-one goes hungry. Honestly, with the amount of wining and dining that goes on, it’s baffling that there aren’t more obese rosacea-nosed people rolling around the colleges. Each week there are multiple formal dinners, and at each formal dinner there are multiple courses. Second dessert is totally a thing here. Which seems like the thin edge of the wedge. The very fat wedge. Of roquefort papillon. Basically, it’s difficult to keep perspective.
Last week I was lucky enough to score an invite to Guest Dinner, a black tie college event where 20 balloted people invite 2 guests to dine at the beautiful New Rooms (yes, I imagine that this can make for some interesting third wheel situations). I was expecting to have to row at Christ Church regatta the following day but we were knocked out after our second race to Jesus College (one of our girls caught a crab right at the start and we struggled to recover, thus putting on a ‘crapshow’ according to our extremely disgruntled cox). Once again, bested by Jesus!
On the bright side, it meant that I didn’t have to worry about racing the next day. So guess who converted water to wine that night?
You know those memes of toilet cubicles where the stall door has been placed so high that anyone entering the bathroom can see the actual toilet seat? Or where a supermarket shelf of spaghetti has been labelled ‘shoelaces’? Or where the 2 halves of a billboard have been switched so the recumbent model’s head is jutting into her cut-off waist? You know, the memes emblazoned with ‘You had one job!‘?
These Hunter “wellies” (and I’m doing air-quotes in the most sarcastic slo-mo) are an embodiment of that.
Hunter heeled wellingtons. Mind-bogglingly, £135. Even more mind-bogglingly, sold out online.
They fail on their very raison d’être, which is to equip the wearer for rain-slicked streets and muddy fields. They look like they’re appropriate for catfishing in the sense of sitting at a computer/being a weirdo shut-in and wheedling people into fake Internet relationships (other appropriate garb would include the Snuggie and maybe a fedora). But inappropriate for catfishing in the sense of fishing for catfish. Outdoors.
Honestly, it’s as bad as when they started lining Crocs with fleece, which defeated their sole advantage; of being dishwasher-safe.
When I first visited the UK 3 years ago I stumbled upon this cute little shop called Jack Wills. Tweed blazers, cosy knits, a logo of a pheasant with a top hat and a walking stick (which is even classier than Mr. Peanut and his monocle)…their tagline was spot on; it was ‘Fabulously British’! Over the next week I kept happening upon this Jack Wills, and soon realised that it was not some wee 7th generation-run boutique, but a transnational megabrand. With no products actually made in Britain.
When I mentioned it to my friend Tori who studied in Scotland, her face scrunched up like I’d just offered her a blueberry (her avowed enemy. Not even blueberry muffins pass her muster). Apparently she and her friends would never actually shop there – it’s basically the British Abercrombie & Fitch (they even have ‘Seasonnaires’ which are their version of the infamous A&F model). But, said Tori, “I kind of get how you would like it”. This wasn’t meant as an insult; Tori knows that I’m a sucker for branded stuff – with every teen birthday present she enabled my Emily the Strange and Paul Frank addictions. She also knows how enamoured I am of cute things (if it’s pink, patterned, emblazoned with critters or redolent of Sloane life, I’m sold). Jack Wills totally fits my bill – it has the British prep feel without the moss/dung-heavy colour palette of Barbour, the youthful whimsy of Anthropologie (seriously, mittens and snoods with names like Austwick and Wilbur? Adorbs), and is mid-range price-wise.
Here are my picks of their current collection:
The Bleakley dress £89.50
So avid followers of this blog (hi Mum!) will notice that I didn’t immediately follow-up on my post about the Nephthys Regatta. Suffice to say it was a bit of a shambles. More accurate to say it was a total disaster.
Rowing up to the head of the river, my Spidey sense was tingling. It might have been that we’d just witnessed a Univ college crew capsizing, that we’d seen 3 crab-catches in the last half hour, or that we passed one girls’ crew which had managed to mount themselves up onto the river bank. Like a cartoon boat-escape scene, the back rowers were windmilling their paddles helplessly in the air trying desperately to dislodge themselves. I could just feel that something was amiss.
For me, getting a hair cut is like going to the dentist. I’ll put it off and put it off, and it’s only when dire need arises (I get a toothache/start to look like the girl from The Grudge) that I’ll schedule an appointment.
My wariness stems from the fact that I’m not really fussed about my hair. I realised fairly early on that it’s never going to be my crowning glory, and that I should aim for clean and kempt rather than majestic. I’m more likely to opt for a JustCuts (or maybe even on old-timey striped barber shop) than a salon, and I usually just ask them to lop off a couple of inches and do something in terms of layering. I never ask them to make me look like Jennifer Aniston, just to stop me looking like an Afghan hound. I sort of get the reasoning of those CEOs who drop $400 on a haircut because it’s something you wear every day (a ‘suit for the head’, if you will…yes, permission to barf), but if a suit requires daily upkeep, styling and trims every few weeks to stay sharp-looking, I’ll go the cheaper non-designer option thanks.
Today was bloody cold. As in, icicles bloodily impaling unsuspecting passers-by cold. Here’s a pic of me traipsing to rowing this morning. You can’t see my face, but I assure you it’s that quintessential injured Russian gymnast mix of pained and Seriously Not Amused.
As was the logical thing to do, when I came back from rowing I put on 3 pairs of pants, cranked up the heater and curled up in bed with some microwaved snacking peanuts and my laptop.
As was the illogical thing to do, I started browsing for cute going out clothes and fell in love with this Zara top. Like, madly in love.
Working at the biggest department store in Canberra for 3 Christmases in a row as a brace-faced adolescent, I learned a number of Life Skills:
1. How to cope with intense boredom
I was in Ladies Accessories which had none of the bitchy drama of Menswear, discounted only-slightly-chalky expired Godiva chocolates of the Food Hall, or fierce Commission Competition of Electronics. I spent hours re-arranging sparkly tchotchkes, cascading party clutches by colour or PVC content, and trying to convince the befuddled Dads to buy their daughters cute MBMJ accessories for Christmas (to all my classmates, you’re welcome!) Continue reading