Shacked Up At The Chateau

May 11, 2010

Feet don’t fail me now

Filed under: Fashion,Life,Love,Shoes — shackedupatthechateau @ 11:58 pm

What the hell is wrong with my brain? I just purchased these freak shows from OK, so I know, I know. Don’t say it out loud because I don’t wanna hear it. I tell myself that they are by Charles Anastase or Marni…anything in fact other than the dreaded Simpson. But, you see, I just had to have them. They fit my personal style too well to pass up. My family and friends keep telling me I was born out of time because I am obsessed with just about every style fad from the roaring 20’s to the hippy dippy 70’s. Nothing after. I don’t do “modern” well at all. I am not comfortable. Geeky, goofball women with an addiction to uproarious belly laughter and pulling silly faces and mischievous pranks seldom do modern well. This is what I tell myself anyway. It helps. Anyway, back to the shoes. So I bought them because I been having night sweats over the Charles Anastase ones which I couldn’t bring myself to buy and these Dany platforms are the closest I could find in shape and height without the circus factor. I can’t wait to wear with knee high socks and shorts! OMG just thinking about it is giving me the damn DT’s. Seriously, the postman better hurry up if he knows what’s good for him!

I got them in the Black Intense Nappa. Needing a second opinion before hitting the “buy” button, I found strength enough to relinquish the mouse and put my hand on my phone and I called my husband. You might as well know it now; dude is like my best girl friend and I don’t mean  it in any emasculating way at all, living with him is definitely the same thrill I’d get if I were living with my best friend. We go shopping all the time and discuss shapes and colour and print etc etc and its so much fun. Just to set the record straight, he was not always like that you dig me. He was more the cheap beer jeans ‘n’ shirt type but ya know mama changed that in a jiffy! So anyway, he gave me the green light. I was like “should I get em? Should I? What do you think?” And all the while doing that weird crazy-boggle-eyed woman insane laughter thing. Yeah, you’re out there and you know I m am not alone. Pleeeease hurry up Mr. Postman. Puhlease.

In case you haven’t as yet heard, these were the stupid heights at which heels soared last season. Check out the Charles Anastase ones which I passed up because they really are ridiculous. Not sure how tall the heels are but I would guess somewhere around 8 inches whereas the Dany ones are a little over 5 inches. BTW there is a picture of Pixie Geldof totally eating tarmac in a pair of his creations!

And for the rest of it because if you know me, then you know that I just can’t buy a pair of shoes without getting a new outfit to go with them. So here is my shopping for today. Time well spent I think. Internet I could kiss you!

First up is this adorable washed silk romper by Geren Ford at

jumper1 jumper2

Next up is the Tatiana Jumpsuit by Indah which I think is the perfect outfit for long haul flights this summer.

jump3 jump4

Another romper (am I obsessed?) by Free People, this time a floral cutie that seems to have that “thrifted” vibe written all over it.

dress1 dress2

I am over the romper thing now.


May 5, 2010

My Hubby Surprised Me With This

Filed under: Life,Love — shackedupatthechateau @ 10:45 pm

Last Friday evening there came the familiar sound of male shoes running up wooden stairs, stairs which wind their way outside and lead to the front door of our apartment home. I have become so accustomed to his footsteps which are always quick, light and sure no matter what kind of shoes he wears. I believe wholeheartedly that if you were to blindfold me and make me listen to a thousand recorded footsteps, I could differentiate his from the multitudes. He reminds me of an elf!

In he came and found me painting at my easel, next to the big window, the one which lets in the best and most splendid light even on a rainy day. “Put your hand in my right pocket” he commanded. I looked at him for a moment thinking this has got to be waaay to early for what he has in mind and by an open window too no less! So I sat there and rolled my eyes and gave him a kiss on the cheek instead. “Was your day that awful?” I asked. “It was good” he said “But I need you to put your hand in my right pocket and take out what’s there”. So sure that he was up to tricks again, I decided to play along but to be cautious. Well, I never expected it. My fingers rested on metal and when I fished it out I saw this delightful gold bracelet! It is so sweet and has three charms on it: a gun, a shoe and a key. My darling dearest, took my wrist even though it was covered in oil paint and turpentine and gently placed the bracelet on me. “Why?” I asked. “Just because” he said and then he kissed me.

Do you like it? I do, very much.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

April 25, 2010


Filed under: Life,Love — shackedupatthechateau @ 10:27 pm

OMFG!!! I was browsing Zara online just now and was hit between the eyes with this picture. I can’t believe…dude looks like my HUSBAND! Same face, body…even the stance. Except the hairstyle, he wears his longer.
Dude below could be a freakin’ doppelganger or something. Crazy.

March 20, 2010

L’Amant (The Lover) by Marguerite Duras

Filed under: Books,Film,Life,Love — shackedupatthechateau @ 1:15 am

Marguerite Duras called “preposterous, self-obsessed, eloquent, unstoppable” (New York Times Review of Books), was one of the most widely read French writers of the postwar era. She authored 34 novels from 1943–1993, including her autobiographical L’Amant (The Lover), winner of France’s distinguished literary Prix Goncourt. She also penned the celebrated film Hiroshima, Mon Amour. Disliking others’ adaptations of her work, in the 1960s she began to direct—16 films in all. Her work is characterized by its self-reflexive nature; she often moved one story, or elements of a story, through genres: novel, film, play—even film to film. In her obituary, the New York Times lauded “her simple, terse writing style, as if language itself were merely a vehicle for conveying passion and desire, pain and despair.”

I speak of Madame Duras because quite recently I watched the film The Lover (L’Amant) with my hubby. Surprisingly he had neither seen or heard of the film or the book which I had read salaciously in Portugal by the hotel pool – my summer reading and my summer romance with the mind of Marguerite Duras was born then and continues to this day. The same as any young girl, exploring sensuality and sexuality I was greedy for the context of the pages and the words which all but spilled themes of forbidden love, longing, sex in foreign lands with strange men, strange scents and even stranger customs. L’Amant is a heart breaking novel and frankly one of the best romance books I have ever read. Of course, I am not an avid reader of romance novels so this in itself is no great compliment but still, this detail should not detract from the point that the book is damned good and should be read at least once in a life time.

The film version which aired in 1992 was scandalous. I remember watching it back then and listening to the furor it caused. It was a sensation. I read in some newspaper that Princess Diana, after having watched it at the cinema said something along the lines of feeling uncomfortable as though she were actually spying on two lovers in full throttle. The scandal centred around Jane March who played the Young Girl because people were speculating whether or not the two actors actually did have real intercourse on screen, it was therefore quite a back lash for March who at 18 having just made her first film debut, found herself the recipient of nasty name calling. One of those names stuck and unfortunately remains to this day – The Sinner from Pinner. For those who are confused, Pinner a suburb in the London Borough of Harrow in Greater London, England was the town in which she lived with her family. However, with all the dirt flinging that was going on, it is remarkable that none of it touched the pristine white suit of the films lead man Tony Leung Ka Fai. The film director Jean-Jacques Annaud did nothing at all to quash the rumours and March suffered a nervous breakdown. She did not speak to Annaud for ten years until he issued an apology. I believe she could have grown to be a good actress if the scandal had been addressed, if she had been better protected by those who readily used her innocence, youth and beauty for their own gain.

Today I wore my own version of the “hat”. A pale antique fedora, the colour of washed tan with a broad grosgrain black ribbon. It is in fact near identical to the one worn in the film and is still one of my most prized vintage shop finds. I don’t wear it as often as I used to, but whenever I do I cannot help but smile, remembering the youthful summer spent in Portugal so many years ago.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

March 16, 2010

How Much Is Too Much?

Filed under: Life,Love — shackedupatthechateau @ 8:19 pm

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

“I was dancin’ with my darlin’ to the Tennessee Waltz
When an old friend I happened to see
I introduced her to my loved one
And while they were dancin’
My friend stole my sweetheart from me” – Roy Acuff –

*Betsy’s world came crashing down all around her like so many pieces of shattered glass falling from a mirrored ceiling. No one ever truly believes it when real life imitates art and so it was the case with my friend. One of her clients cancelled at the very last minute so, free from a day of reponsibility she sauntered home to her apartment which happens to be on the floor beneath mine. Her front door leads into a long hallway that despite it’s sharp twist actually carries sound pretty well. Almost from the entrance she was able to hear female laughter. Thinking her boyfriend had left the TV on, she took off her heels, put her bag down and went to investigate. The TV was cold and right away she knew. The levity at which she had entered her apartment was gone and in its place was a perfectly formed stone, heavy and weighty in the pit of her stomach.

The bedroom door was unashamedly left ajar and she could see quite plainly two people moving in rhythm on her bed. It was the boyfriend and judging from the unmistakeable cut of the sharp brunette bob, the woman in flagrante delicto was the friend she had shared a room with in college.

So it was somewhere around quarter past three in the afternoon I heard my door bell ring and there stood *Betsy shaking and crying. I held her without words at the same time wondering how our thin sparrow like frames could be of any possible comfort to each other. With little coaxing I was able to guide her into the kitchen where she sat on the comfy overstuffed chair by the window that looks down to the street below. Having spent most of my life in England, the english ways are now mine so it was by automation that I put the kettle on and threw two teabags in the pot. Finally, I asked “What happened honey? What happened to you?”

She relayed the story to me, as I have relayed it here only her voice carried the echo of betrayal that I cannot sum up with paltry words. When my friends are hurt, I feel so helpless. I want to fix everything, make everyone smile again. But over time I have come to realise that patience and stillness are far more comforting attributes in times of crises. So I listened, over and over as she replayed details in the shocked manner of someone in a daze, unwilling to accept the truth as it stands before them.

The maddening thing is, she still loves him. When we have real love for another human being, that love doesn’t go anywhere when it is hurt, it doesn’t flee into hiding withdrawing the warmth of its flame. It takes time to cultivate love and therefore only time can heal and so we must endure and draw as much wisdom from our experiences as we can. So we spoke of many things that afternoon, *Betsy and I, over endless cups of tea and our conversation carried through to the evening. My understanding husband in that quiet way of his made dinner for all of us and did the washing up, leaving me free to talk to *Betsy all night and into the small hours of the morning.

During the course of that time the boyfriend had sent close to a hundred text messages since she had refused to take any of his calls. I read some, they sounded apologetic and guilty but really, how much sentiment can one convey through sms? It is my guess that he was more sorry at being caught red handed in the act than he was at actually doing the act. This was not one of those situations that he could deny, make up a story for and stick to it come hell or high water until she believed the lie.

So we spoke of many things. Of her love for him and the question of whether to take him back or not. I told her she must take care of her own love first. Care for it and cultivate it and give it direction and allow it to grow organically. A forced love for a person because they are good looking, well connected or in this particular case semi-famous and some of the latter cannot grow harmoniously, instead it remains stunted and stooped under the weight of its own labour. Love might be free but it never was intended to be thrown away I told her and quite clearly this man does not respect the love she has chosen to give him. If he places no value on it, he obviously does not place too high a value on her either. Actions speak louder than words.

*Betsy brought up the point that everyone makes mistakes and if we were all shot down everytime we made one there would not be any people left in the world. True, I said, but what of that small moment directly before the mistake is made? That moment when everything hangs in balance and we are presented with a choice? Surely it is at this precise moment that we make and re-make ourselves on a daily basis. Life is not static, it grows and we grow inside it and so too should our integrity, decency, honour, respect and love for ourselves and each other.

Love is built on faith, without it there is nothing. We must be able to let go of the illusion of control and have faith in the one that we love. Believe that their love for us will not allow them to harm us in any permanent way. Faith and trust are sisters in arms and one cannot exist without the other. So I asked *Betsy to search her heart and ask herself if she could ever truly trust him again now that suspicion has been replaced by proof. She did not answer me directly and neither could she meet my steady gaze.

This leads me to the question: How much is too much?

At what point do we pack up his tired suitcase and throw it out into the street with the rest of the garbage? How much exactly should we take before remembering our own self-worth? For some of us this scenario is an endless nightmare of concentric circles that leads to an even tighter spiral of love/hate, anger and violence. Love is easy enough to get into but hard as hell to get out of especially if we treat love as an investment. My advice to *Betsy: Let go of everything. Give your emotions permission to be free and remind yourself that although you had him, you never owned or controlled his actions. He did what he did and now she must do what she has to do. Unfortunately love does not always make us into better people. Only we can do that for ourselves.

March 5, 2010

The big move, new friends and a knitting circle.

Filed under: Interiors,Life,Love — shackedupatthechateau @ 8:17 pm

The move from the City of Angels to San Francisco came swiftly and thus it was readily accepted and  welcomed without worry and pomp. You see, my ever so brilliant husband was relocated due to work. We had a choice between NY and Frisco and whilst my bestest friend (he’s my Jane and I am his Betty) resides in bohemian splendour amongst heaps of velvet patchwork, antique black lace curtains and vintage brass knick-knacks in trendy Williamsburg, I myself, was not quite in the mood for the upbeat constant flow of people and non stop information that is New York city. However, we may yet end up there. The option is not all together lost to us.

I found our new apartment almost at once, which never happens to me. I don’t have good luck with property hunting. I take the best of what I find and normally what I find is never the gem I long for in my minds eye. This time was different. The move came with its own luck and I was able to find a wonderful old brick building that used to be a warehouse that was transformed into 15 seperate HUGE apartments. Everything in it is giantesque from the windows which cover floor to ceiling and are strategically placed one on practically every wall. The light I tell you, the light is glorious! The ceilings are high and the floor is refurbished wood of some sort, I don’t quite know which species of tree but the hue is dark and rich and positively reverberates old world decadent charm through its numerous layers of thick varnish. I enjoy filling space with things, many, many things so I shall enjoy the challenge of turning this loft space into a cavern of bohemian rhaspsody. The furniture we shipped from our old cottage on the West Side hardly makes a dent in all this space and looks rather forlorn in one little corner by the window. I lived in England for the longest time and anyone who has ever dwelt there can appreciate how all this space is literally blowing my mind.

My teenage son has settled nicely into his new school and already, four months on has a new best buddy he cannot live or play Halo without. He’s a good kid with a constant 3.5 GPA. He seldom answers back, argues with me or throws tantrums but he is still a teenager and his job therefore is to piss me off which he manages to do with some wit and style so I don’t mind at all. In fact I enjoy musing at his behaviour, all the things he gets into which are new to him at present but have all been tried and tested by practically all teenagers everywhere throughout modern history. I was still so very young when he was born, barely a child myself, the consequence of which is felt today when we stroll arm in arm through the foray of choice that is China Town and people call me his sister or girlfriend. He doesn’t mind the first but the latter he says makes his stomach go queasy. Gee, thanks son.

This blog was not born of my mind. I mean to say, it was not planned or schemed and mused over as most things of this nature normally are. I never felt myself interesting although I can say with some modesty that I have thus far lived a tres interesting life. Yes, there has been travel to exotic locations, parties on yachts, lovers galore and dare I admit it — debauchery! Scandalous liasons backstage and in chauffered bodygaurded cars, trists in 5 Star hotels that once saw me running stark naked and giggling at three in the morning though hallways being chased by a drunken rockstar hellbent on finishing what he started in his dressing room; my hair flying out behind wildly, madly like a tangled flag teasing an already heated bull. More on this later, but suffice to say I have lived my youth fully not an ounce of its preciousness was ever wasted in dull boring class rooms and on even duller teachers. With a finger flip to the endless sky I cry “life is my teacher, to hell with maths skills”. Awfully wonderful stroke of luck then that my husband has a degree in mathematics and can balance my check book for me. See? Isn’t life genius! My mother, bless her, did not have any reason to worry after all.

It was my neighbour and new friend *Minnie who set up this blog for me after making me swear solemnly that I will at least try to jot something down weekly. Here is an account of how we met… One morning my husband and I had a little tiff. He charged out our apartment and as he was half way down the stairwell at the point where it begins to turn, I took off my quilted French Sole ballet flat and hurled it at his head. He ducked, pertinently turned and blew me a big smacker of a kiss. Unable to make any intelligible response fast enough, I think I may have throat screamed. I heard him whistling satisfactorily all the way down the stairs and through the main door. Nothing, I repeat nothing is more infuriating than trying to pick a fight with someone who does not have the decency to fight back! My husband knows how to handle me better than any man I have ever met. In this way, in his inimittable style, most of our arguments are resolved, dissolved, rendered useless on the spot. How in truth can I stay mad at an angel? I think here, I should explain something: my husband is ridiculously intelligent in that bookish academic way. It is scary that he can use that much of his brain all at once. But he has another arsenal, one far more potent and dangerous to me – he is unbelievably, uncategorically good looking. I don’t mean attractive in the healthy athletic sense or even the classic all-american chiselled jaw college type. I just mean, plainly put, beautiful. Like Michelangelo’s David, he is timeless. I don’t know how else to exlain it. Perhaps if you were to breed a hybrid of Cary Grant, Rory Calhoun, John Gavin and Christopher Reeve with the delicacy of a few elfin features here and there in particular the mountainous cheekbones and elongated green eyes and the pursed softness of full pillowy bee stung lips, you may get something closely resembling my husband. But I digress, while all this hullabaloo was going on my dear friend and new confidante *Minnie, opened her door and proclaimed in that booming husky voice of hers “you are fabulous my dear!” Fabulous, me? I didn’t for one minute believe so and I had to blink several times in that way I have that lets others know I am indeed thinking. “I love your look darling, it’s the perfect look for an argument with a gorgeous man” she continued, smiling and gesturing with her cigarette. I looked down at myself. One shoe on, one shoe waiting to be collected at the foot of the stairs, child’s vintage 70’s tank top, panties and oh yes, bright red lips courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Opium Red. In retrospect, yes, I suppose anyone who applies red lipstick for the sole purpose of shouting at her husband should be deemed fabulous.

I invited *Minnie inside for morning coffee and homemade (by me) frangipane filled croissants. Thus a strong new friendship was forged over boy talk and pastries. Darling *Minnie inro’d me to the other ladies in our building, all I must say just as eccentric and barking mad as myself so it is no small wonder that we clicked at once. Their names are *Sophia, *Betsy and *Leigh. So far we have met for many brunches, lunches and dinners. We sneak off to have guilty smokes on the rooftop terrace like a gaggle of miscreant teenage girls bunking off school. By far the best thing we have done, to my mind anyway, was to create a knitting circle. It made perfect sense since all of us are artistic and creative. *Minnie is a fashion stylist, *Betsy is a supreme hair stylist/colorist and Leigh like me is a painter/fine artist although she she is more inclined towards illustrations. To date we have had something like twenty-one knit-meets and it’s all a rollicking good laugh. I play The Inkspots, Ella Fitzgerald, Julie London and Monica Zetterlund on my gramaphone. Sometimes the mood will call for Carla Bruni, Madeleine Peyroux and Édith Piaf but always there is Irish Coffee (very laced), Red Wine, Caipirinha’s and tons and tons of tea. Earl Grey, Oolong and Green Jasmine in particular. We sit, we knit, we talk about life, love and fashion. Slowly, I noticed more and more that I was voted as the one to come to for crises and affairs of the heart. Whenever my girlfriends have a problem with their men, it is me they call without regard for the hour. *Sophia, who never gives out compliments unless they are dished out on her first actually called me wise. As I reflect on this word, rolling it around in my mouth like a gumball, I can’t quite see how it fits with the woman I see in the mirror. Alas, none of us are to ourselves the way we appear to others so I must trust in my friends. They think it clever that I should share this apparent insight I have with…strangers. It’s OK I say, as long as no one really listens to me. Being held accountable has never really been my thing.

Best Thing I read This Week

Piers: ‘Kate Moss kicked me’.
The newspaper editor-turned-TV personality strutted his stuff down the runway of a Haiti fashion benefit last month alongside Naomi Campbell, who organised the bash to aid victims of the country’s devastating earthquake in January. And after Morgan stepped off the catwalk to make way for Dame Shirley Bassey, he felt something hit his leg – and found an hysterical Moss on the floor behind him. He wrote in Live magazine: “I suddenly felt a large thudding pain in my leg. ‘Ouch!’ I yelled, in genuine agony, ‘What the hell…?’ “I turned to see Kate Moss scrunched up into a cackling ball of laughter, looking like something straight out of The Witches of Eastwick. She’d just run up and kicked me as hard as she could in the upper calf.”

Words alone are not enough to express how much I adore this woman. She does exactly what she feels, the way she feels it. Although I suspect she is a deeply retrospective thinker. No one can possess the soulful eyes she has, with all that worldy experience and not be a thinker. Her diesel is emotion and thats all this model runs on. Mossy, you are a bad bad bitch!

Create a free website or blog at