Saturday, 7 February 2015

Cooking for Your Dog

According to The New York Times, Cooking for Your Dog was one of the most shared topics of 2014.   This intrigues me because I've just started preparing home-made meals for my dog and was completely oblivious to being so spectacularly “on trend”.   In my life and career I have always had a knack for predicting fashions and trends (and fyi, you too will be riding a tandem bicycle in a couple of years’ time) but I hadn’t registered the whole cooking-for-Fido thing.

Well, meet my Fido, aka Archie Lewoof.

Archie is a 6 year old border terrier and the love of my life.  (Don’t tell the guy we live with.)  He was recently diagnosed with a pretty nasty illness known as Spike’s Disease and although there’s no scientific evidence to back it up, all the bumf on the Internet points to it being best “managed” through diet.  A gluten-free diet, no less.  When he had a bad allergic reaction to the organic, gluten-free, designer kibble that I’d bought for the price of a small country, I decided to take a DIY approach to Archie’s nourishment needs.

Something you should know about Archie:  He loves to hunt rabbits.  The Bois de Boulogne is full of them (and prostitutes) and on most weekends you can find Archie in the park's thicket chasing wascally ones (not prostitutes) but ever failing to catch one.  While I’m secretly pleased by his lack of success (that’s a mess I’d rather not clean up) I do feel kinda sorry for the little guy, so…

What French supermarkets lack in curly kale and chia seeds they make up for in varieties of meat.   And what better meat to home-cook for Archie than rabbit!  Or so I thought.

With apologies to the squeamish, but if you’ve ever eaten rabbit you’ll know that they’ve got all sorts of extra little bones that presumably give the little critters added bounce.  These need to be removed before being served to your own little critter, which, as I discovered, is no walk in the Bois.  Nearly an hour into the unpleasant process I conceded that de-boning raw meat is best left to butchers and decided to speed things up by boiling those bunnies before adding them to the stew.  

After nearly 2 hours of a kitchen nightmare, the (finally) boneless rabbit meat was mixed with some beef, carrots, green beans and rosemary (apparently high in iron, calcium and vitamin B6 - who knew?) to produce a home-cooked dog food worthy of my four-legged pride and joy.

Even if this pet-foodie fashion becomes just a fad, I've decided to continue home-cooking for Archie:  He loves it and I'm certain it's healthier than processed foods.  And in case you're wondering if rabbit will stay on the menu, the answer is yes - I'm very happy to serve them stuffed.

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. It may have been The Guardian.  Or the Huffington Post.  Sometimes when it’s late at night all my news-source apps blur into a single liberal fog.
2. Or should I say, border terrorist, because that’s more accurate.
3. Archie inherited Spike’s - or Canine Epileptoid Cramping Syndrome - from his sire.  He must have picked-up the gluten-free thing from pasta-averse me.
4. When I last lived in North America, Chia was a pet.
5. And that would be the distant sound of an ex-boyfriend sniggering “You see?”.

Monday, 19 January 2015

A Diamand's Just a Stone

It’s official.

I look like Emma Stone.

Don’t believe me?

Have a look at these “Celebrity Look-a-like” time-wasters that I did via facebook few years ago.

Oprah Winfrey was patently obvious.  But Emma Stone is nowhere to be seen.  (Never mind that she hadn’t been born.) So, no, I don’t believe it either.  Yet I swear I look like Emma Stone.  And it’s official.

The first unofficial inkling came two years ago when a friend’s teenage daughter mentioned it at a dinner. I (think I) managed to mask my spontaneous “Who?” by spluttering “How cool!” as my thumbs got to work Googling under the table.  Maybe it was the tiny Blackberry screen or the shadow cast by the tablecloth, but I didn’t see it.

Fast forward to this autumn when Magic in the Moonlight thrust me squarely into the Stone age.  I had been invited to attend the film’s European premier and found myself accosted by comparisons as we left the cinema.  "How cool!" was the most I could muster.

As the movie gained traction (for reasons that I’ll never understand) more and more conversations began with the phrase “I saw the new Woody Allen film and you know who you look like?”.   Whether the context was private or professional, people seemed keen to share their personal eureka of having discovered my alleged doppelgänger.  This included a renown cardiologist who launched into a very self-amused “What’s it like to work with Woody?” disquisition while I huffed and puffed on a treadmill during my annual physical's stress-test.

Yet even faced with such compelling medical evidence, I still shrugged it off.  To me, having red hair simply blinds erstwhile intelligent people to other more obvious features like, oh, you know, bone structure.  Had Ronald McDonald been in a recent cinema release, the comparison could have gone that way too.

At least that’s what I thought until yesterday.

Yesterday was a girlfriend’s birthday - and not just any girlfriend.  This girlfriend has known me forever and has enjoyed an enviable editing career for the likes of Vogue and the new uber-Vogue, Porter.  She is a woman of influence.  She is a woman who knows.

And when I called to wish her many happy returns, do you know what she said?

It’s official.

I look like Emma Stone.

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. Just for the record, I came first. Emma Stone looks like me.
2. It would seem that April 6, 2007 was a spectacularly productive day.
3. Who's Kimberley Williams anyway?
4. So there I was, in underwear and electrodes, being given the whole Emma Stone schtick.  Talk about a stress test.
5. You have to admit, the power of suggestion is pretty darn strong.

Monday, 29 December 2014

Lost My Thread

Abandoned blogs.  You know the ones.  They tend to turn up when googling randoms like travel tips for Uzbekistan or homeopathic treatments for warts.  “Last updated: June-24-2007”.  (Had the internet even been invented then?)  Forsaken by their once well-meaning authors, they drift through cyber-space, tethered to nothing but an unmemorable url that’s been registered for 10 years and set to auto-renew.

I’m ashamed to say that the same sorry fate almost befell this blog.  Un-updated since spring 2013, it’s been bobbing along like so much digital flotsam – attracting the occasional seeker of packing tips but otherwise untended.

My excuse?

It all started a few years ago when my new life in Paris presented me with a choice: Take French lessons and master the one subject that consistently brought down my high-school average or follow a lifelong dream and enrol in a fashion design course.

Bien sûr, I went to fashion school.

Fast-forward to 18 months ago (the date-stamp of this blog’s last post) when the fortuitous combination of fate and friendship found me employed as an actual designer.   A designer!   After years of writing about style and robbing my retirement fund for the sake of nice frocks, I was being paid to conceive garments for a discerning clientele.

Never mind that these clients weren’t the well-heeled Mademoiselles of Avenue Montagne but rather the hostesses and concierges that serve them.  (Let’s just skip the part about me working for a uniform company where the fabric of choice is a crease-proof poly, shall we?)

What’s important here is that I had embarked on a new dream-come-true career; designing clothing. Which I did.

Which brings me to my excuse for blog neglect.  You see, working out how to illustrate a box-pleat and the polite place to stick a dart was as much as my mind could muster:  The excitement and challenge completely siphoned my will to compose appalling alliterations for Pepita Style File, thereby forcing me to desert said blog.

Cue today and my return to the written word.  (Let’s just skip the part about the uniform company not quite being set-up to handle what it set out to do, shall we?)

What’s important here is that as much as I love designing clothes, I’ve missed spinning a yarn.

Style File Followers Take Note:
1. For the record, I’ve never googled homeopathic treatments for warts.
2. Although it was my bête noire, French wasn’t the only subject to spoil my grades - damn you, math!
3. A tiny sample of my projects: A well-known international retail chain, a boutique hotel in Paris, a famous 3 Michelin star restaurant and a retro eatery in LA.  The togas-a-gogo? Vegas, baby.  Vegas.
4. I was absolutely devastated when my budding design career unravelled.
5. What I’d really love to design is a collection of travel essentials.  Coincidentally, according to Google Analytics, even as space-junk in the blogosphere, this blog was viewed by quite a few packing-tip seekers.  An idea?  You do the math.