Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Recipe Rifle goes shopping - summer round-up

Once upon a time, going bikini shopping for me was easy. The only stipulation was that the pants had to have NO TIE-SIDES because I find them annoying and they make my hips look w-i-d-e. Other than that, anything went. String, halter-neck, strapless: whatever! I had the world's most buoyant bosom. Literally pneumatic.

But now. O God! O God save me! Two children later and bikini shopping is hell. Sheer hell. If I find something that supports my up-top drooping woman-flesh then it is so structured with so much padding that I might as well just be fully-clothed and be done with it. Or I find a top that is okay but then cannot find the bikini bottom, as I squat on the shop floor, rummaging through those awful clackety bikini pant hangers, clackety clackety RAGE WHY ARE THERE ONLY 40 SIZE 6s HERE?????

I bought a collection of mad, non-matching things from TopShop and Asos. Then I went to the Selfridges bikini department and considered spending £300 on something from Heidi Klein or Melissa Odabash, but they all felt wrong and bad and felt like medical trusses.

"Go to Biondi," said my friend E-. "Tiny bikini boutique in Chelsea. It's really good. Kate Middleton goes there."

"I hate Chelsea!" I sobbed. But feeling body-ashamed and vulnerable. I went. It really is good (not Chelsea, Chelsea is horrible - the boutique I mean).

You don't have to say what your problem is, they know already: your tits are saggy. Your bum is fat. It's fine. Don't panic. They've got something for you. And if they haven't got something for you, they'll make something. I went for the Taj bikini that gives support where it's needed without using enough foam padding to insulate a house.

The prices are competitive with Heidi Klein - not dirt cheap but not insane Net-A-Porter prices either. Certainly cheaper than a boob lift, which would mean that you can go back to wearing whatever the fuck you like. If you look after this bikini and rinse it in fresh water after swimming in a pool or the sea it ought to last a few summers, making the extra cash lay-out worth it. Obviously also take on holiday some TopShop horrors that you can treat like shit.

Biondi Taj halterneck bikini £115 (ignore the tie-side pants: you can get plain pants too and it's the bikini top that matters).

You will also this summer need some espadrilles. They are absolutely everywhere at the moment but they quite often fall apart by mid-August so it's worth investing in a solid pair. Mine are from Seven Boot Lane, £70 and they are beautiful. Apologies for awful picture, but I feel you have come to expect this from me.

Another total essential is a pair of simple metallic flat sandals. The best ones are already selling out so don't dither. A pair I really wanted from Ancient Greek have sold out completely in my size - both in the shops and online - and I am absolutely fuming about it.

By the way I am so utterly fed up of real shops. You traipse all the way there for something and they've always run out of your size. It's such bullshit. The number of times I've said "It's okay I'll get it online" in the last month is depressing.

A good substitute for Ancient Greek is Steve Madden, available at Dune. Also MUCH cheaper at around the £50 mark. I can't steal an image off their website and I'm CERTAINLY not faffing about with their bloody press office, so you can find the ones I like and all sorts of others here .

I know, because you have told me, that you have all bought at denim shirt and are happy and joyful that you have. Anyone left who hasn't got a denim shirt yet GET ONE. I don't care where from. They're everywhere.

Also get yourself a pair of denim cut-offs. They are right. They are now. Do it. You will have to dig around to find some that suit you, but for what it's worth, I've got these from Zara and they are very good, £25.99. Not high-waisted, most important. Can't stand this high-waisted trend. It's such bullshit. Please note I do not wear mine with a tiny strappy top like this girl here.

I love a pendant necklace, I must have five or six - some metal, some with tassels, all colours of the rainbow. I find they make plain t-shirts come alive even if I'm feeling half-dead.

I came across this "Lifesaver" necklace from Kirsten Goss, which you can stick your own little charms on the bottom - a few letters, a stone pendant, a little skull motif or something. They are very cool - there are a lot of necklace/pendant "systems" out there at the moment, and this is the most inspiring one I've come across and not especially expensive at £80 for a plain necklace and charms at sort of £30 each.

Lots of choice and fun things available at Kirsten Goss

Of course, the thing I really want is a thing my friend C- has, which is this Diane Kordas OMG necklace, but I looked it up online and it's £1,160, which is an awful lot of recipe columns for Grazia let me tell you.


  1. While we are on the subject. What coat do you wear in our lovely English summer ? I'm all confused. Something practical enough for kids and wind, but not sad anorak ?? I bought a trench coat online shopping at nearly midnight last night thinking it could straddle casual and solo child free outings but woke up with second thoughts. There should be some kind of system to prevent online shopping after 10.30pm for our own protection.

    1. I hate trench coats, I can't wear them. I'm not even that crazy about them on other people. Get yourself a good utility or military-ish khaki green jacket (Zara has a couple) or a leather jacket OR there are a lot of denim jackets around at the moment. Any of those. xxx

  2. pleeeeeaaase don't stop the bloggin'!

  3. The lad I had a mega crush on when I was 13 was beautiful and godlike all the way down to his ankles. There the crush stopped. My inner Goth could not forgive him the pastel Espadrilles he wore. Or straw shoes as I called them.

  4. What've you got against high waisted things? They hoick everything in!

    I too must thank you for recommending denim shirts. I am obsessed with my (now four) new H&M ones and can't think what I wore before them. Added bonus of perfectly suiting those of us with ginger hair! Who knew?


    1. I just find high-waisted things very constricting and suffocating. I don't know why... just hate them

  5. This may sound mad, but what do I wear a denim shirt with. I won't do double denim

    1. Wear with: khaki trousers, shorts, over dresses, with white jeans if being super-smart (not near any children) tucked into a skirt, over leggings. you CAN also do double denim if the jeans are an appreciably different shade of blue