POPLIN is a big advocate of reading in your pyjamas! Phoebe is one of our best-read customers: when she's not posting beautiful things here she's working for her PhD in English at Cambridge, and much more importantly, is full of excellent reading recommendations. We got her to share a summer reading list for you...
The sequel to Cannery Row, which is equally good, Sweet Thursday takes place on a street lined with sardine fisheries in Monterey. It is set in the Depression, but it isn't at all depressing. The story brings together a group of bums, a brothel keeper, a hard up girl called Suzy and a marine biologist called Doc. Among other things, it's a tender little love story. Aspirations, independence and the wildness of the big pacific coast breathe through the pages. As Wikipedia reminds me, Steinbeck says "Sweet Thursday" is the day between Lousy Wednesday and Waiting Friday and that's what the book feels like: an interlude, a brief song of contentment and resilience.
2. Eugene Delacroix, Journal of Delacroix
Delacroix was one of the greatest French painters of the Romantic period and his journal fuses his own hopes and sorrows with his meditations on all manner of issues and his opinions of various artists and musicians of his day (Chopin was a close friend, as was Georges Sand). His writing is extremely fresh: there is no pretension, and although he despairs of his 'inability' to express himself (what a joke!) he writes with such sincerity. I love to dip into this book when I have just woken up and be transported to the studios and riverside apartments of 19th century Paris: you can practically smell the Seine in the air.
3. J.D Salinger, Nine Stories (1953)
I think I have recommended this book to practically everybody who has ever had the questionable pleasure of conversing with me. These are stories where you ask yourself, 'How did he just do that?' and end up wanting to read them all over again immediately to find out. "Uncle Wiggily in Conneticut" is the one that really gets under my skin.
4. Guy de Maupassant, Bel Ami (1885)
Try to forget what you've heard or seen of the R-Patz movie (I haven't seen it but by all accounts it's pretty poor). Set in Paris, this is the story of Georges Duroy, a social climber who uses the intelligent society women around him as stepping stones. Sometimes they are complicit, other times just pawns in his game. It's a captivating read, and it has some of the most incisive portraits of vanity and the foibles of the human psyche that I've ever come across.
And... Tips for happy reading: - I like to read in bed, but I find I can rarely hold out very long before falling asleep. The best ingredients for a good read are a bath, a crisp nightshirt and a comfy sofa.
- I am a great believer in the morning read too: I get more out of a book if I read it (sitting in the sunshine if we're lucky) over breakfast with a big cup of coffee than at any other time.
- It's a luxury that we should all afford ourselves more: get up that tiny bit earlier and pick up a book: scrap the run or the trip to the gym and escape to a world of words.
POPLIN snuggled up for some pillow talk with girl about town Rosie Fortescue...
We got to know your great sense of style on MIC and you have now launched your own fashion blog, At Fashion Forte, clearly you're a girl who's serious about her clothes. If you could have anyone's wardrobe, whose would you choose?
Without a doubt Olivia Palermo's. She always looks absolutely perfect! Miranda Kerr is also my kind of girl at the moment, due to her leather trousers obsession- quite like mine actually!
What's on your wishlist from POPLIN?
I have just got the gold and black stripe Marlene pyjama set which is beautiful. The natural, breathable silk means it's ideal to wear in bed in almost any weather!
We're all about the beauty sleep at POPLIN... Are you an owl or a lark? Late sleeper? Early riser?...
At the moment I've got into the habit of staying up late working when I've been out all day, however I do like the odd early night. The one thing I am good at too is early rises!
Dream collector? Or morning amnesiac?
I've been dreaming quite a lot recently (from what I can remember!). Most of them have been nightmares which isn't ideal, but at least with my Poplin pyjamas I have a comfortable sleep!
In five years time you'd like to be...?
Working for myself still and hopefully have developed my blog At Fashion Forte into a brand.
Pet hate? People who are late.
Guilty pleasure? Peanut butter ice cream.
What's you best quality? I am very thorough with most things in life, from always being on time, to being tidy!
Your secret vice? Buying jewellery.
Favourite thing to...
- Cook in your pyjamas? English breakfast
- Read in your pyjamas? Vogue
- Listen to in your pyjamas? Adele
With the Olympics around the corner, London is set to have lots and lots of visitors. As a local girl, can you share a few secret addresses?
Bluebird on the Kings Road is an absolute must for brunch. I suggest eggs benedict and chips, followed by going to the Shop at Bluebird. It stocks lots of my favourite designers and is a beautiful shop to browse and to buy interesting fashion magazines in.
- Best hotel bed you've ever slept in? Costes in Paris
- Dream destination? New York
- Top travel essentials you always pack
My Poplin pyjamas, my camera for blogging, raybans and my iPad.
With the Olympics nearly upon us in London, local emotions are as mixed as the weather...
British enthusiasm has to be expressed in muffled tones, in between dour predictions and complaints.
Most of my friends have spent the last week or so getting their bikes Tour de France- level ready, so desperate are they to avoid public transport for the duration of the games. My own Pashley Sonnet has had a bath and got a brand new leather seat.
This short film from the luminous Vivienne Westwood did fill me with some London Pride though. She is transfixing- a deep reminder that intelligence and a sincere love for what you do are so much more attractive than an athlete's body or a model's face.
Penelope Chilvers is a great British brand. The eponymous designer first conquered the riding boot, transforming it into a fashion staple that only improves with age, going on to add more treasures each season. Today the brand offers a wonderful selection of shoes and accessories. I got a pair of her dandy slippers for Christmas this year and know stylish women of all ages who swear by her classics with a twist.
What else is on your wish list from POPLIN? I love the Marlene Short Pyjamas, they remind me of my favourite childhood sweet- the humble humbug. I also think they'd look rather dapper with a pair of our black velvet monogrammed Dandy's.
Are you an owl or a lark? Late sleeper? Early riser?... Definitely an early riser. Living by the motto 'the early bird catches the worm', I work better in the mornings, finding clarity with a new dawn. I prefer to be in my POPLIN pyjamas with a mug of cocoa by 10pm.
If you weren't a shoe designer you would be...? A designer of something else and a horse rider in my spare time. I recently joined the El Rocio pilgrimage- a procession to the Hermitage of El Rocio in the countryside of Andalusia, Spain in honour of the Virgin of El Rocio. Pilgrims wear traditional dress and travel on horseback, foot or by cart. The women look stunning riding side saddle in their Spanish boots and voluminous flamenco skirts. It's such a romantic vision.
Pet hate? Air conditioning- I like fresh air, even in tropical heat.
Guilty pleasure? Tirelessly collecting bits of fabric and hoarding them in a cupboard, just in case...
What's your best quality? My ability to find inspiration from the most unusual things, people and places. An idea for a new collection can spring from the most extraordinary or ordinary thing I've seen and develop into something visually exciting that's both wearable and unique.
Favourite thing to... Cook in your pyjamas? I prefer to be served breakfast in bed, rather than cook it myself!
Read in your pyjamas? I love to read anthropological travel books, just before bed is the perfect time. Then I dream about exploring far away places...
Listen to in your pyjamas? TED lectures from my laptop.
We're really enjoying reading about your travels on your "Private Adventure" blog. So... Best hotel bed you've ever slept in? One of my favourites is Riad el-Fenn in Marrakech. [See POPLIN's visual diary from Marrakech, here and here.]
Top 3 suitcase essentials? - If I'm travelling to sunnier climes, my leather flat espadrilles are the first thing I pack- I have them in so many different colours! - A pair of cotton POPLIN pyjamas, and if I'm a guest I don't mind going down to breakfast in these. - And a notebook or my blackberry to document the exciting things I'll inevitably see.
What's inspiring you for your next collection? Give us a sneak preview. I've used woven wool fabrics to make winter espadrilles, boots and a rucksack for that "go anywhere, do anything" vagabond traveller vibe. The mix of textures in the wool, worked leathers and woven hemp work beautifully.
Summer feels a long time coming in London. Although Murray triumphing on Centre Court today to reach the Wimbeldon Final has raised spirits and blown away British cobwebs.
A Sunday spent in POPLIN pyjamas, with a glass of Pimms, watching a Brit finally compete in The Final sounds like heaven to me!
In other rainy day news, we thought we'd share a few of our favourite beauty treats for a bit of "pampering in your pyjamas". (That's Saturday sorted then...)
Dr Hauschka- Lavender Bath
We love this Dr Hauschka bath essence; you only need a couple of drops, so a bottle seems to last forever. Naturally antiseptic lavender heals and soothes the skin, and the scent magics away tension and headaches. Perfect, calming antidote to a long working week.
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme
The name makes this sound a bit "quackish", but Philip Kingsley's genius product really does seem to make hair stronger, softer, more elastic and therefore maybe even longer... after just one use.
Use before washing and shampooing. Apply carefully in sections, comb through, don one of those very matronly showercaps and relax in your lavender bath.
Diptyque- Geranium and Roses Candle
Lighting this candle + wearing POPLIN pjs + a good book (Wolf Hall at the moment) = Heaven!
Liz Earle- Intensive Nourishing Treatment
Long experience as a beauty junkie has taught that too many lotions and potions can do more harm than good. However, this incredibly gentle mask is a tried and tested favourite.
It is a really effective moisturiser, but the real USP is that it calms redness, flakiness, that infuriating combination of dryness and breakouts, or generally sensitive skin miraculously well.
(NB: can also be used overnight on post-cricket sunburn of slightly skeptical boyfriend. He woke up converted.)
Apply a generous layer about once a week, as above with pjs + candle + good novel or for a long soak in the bath.
REN- Moroccan Rose Otto Body Oil
Almost too good a secret to share. Nourishes and moisturises skin, leaving it baby soft. Simple.
Miller Harris- La Pluie
On our shopping list from new and inspiring Resort site, myhibi.com, discovered in their alluring Calm and Fragrant section of the site. Evocatively described as "the smell of wet white tropical flowers just before a thunder storm. The top notes are bergamot, tangering and lavender over a fresh combination of ylang yland, Egyptian cassie absolute, jasmine absolute and Tunisian orange flowers."