Hi everyone, I’m super excited about the “Find Belle” competition now under way, and being hosted by the Book Depository. In case you don’t know the details, here’s a bit of background from Model Under Cover: A Crime of Fashion : Despite her long legs and fashion-obsessed family, all my detective, Axelle, wants to do is solve mysteries. So when star designer Belle La Lune vanishes, Axelle seizes the chance to go undercover as a model to crack the case – even if it means being tortured with eyelash-curlers and teetering on sky-high heels. Aided by the distractingly gorgeous Sebastian, Axelle races against the clock to solve the mystery at the heart of Paris Fashion Week… So keeping this in mind, my UK publisher, Usborne, and the Book Depository teamed up to create a fun detective game; now it’s your chance to find Belle, and win yourself a fantastic Nikon Digital camera – perfect for your very own fashion shoots or documenting clues: All you have to do is head on over to my Facebook page, and follow the clues to track down Belle. From now until the 23rd of February you’ll have plenty of chances to find her. There will be a different clue every day, with a chance to enter every day too. Once you’ve found Belle’s location you’ll be sent back to the Book Depository’s mystery page where you can enter your details and be in with a chance to win. The clues will be on some fab blogs, so have fun…and you just might find one somewhere here, too! So get out your magnifying glass, and good luck! Competition closes Tuesday 25th February… Carina x Read more.
In my fashion detective series, Model Under Cover, my sixteen year old detective, Axelle Anderson, wears glasses – as a disguise(!) – which suits her geeky style. But after deciding to go undercover as a model to crack her first case in A Crime of Fashion, Axelle’s look goes from geek to fashion chic – with her glasses still on. So to feel inspired about being geeky and chic-y, check out my new Pinterest board, and take a look at some of my faves below: I think this girl looks fab. I love the her super-cool stare, and the contrast between the heavy, graphic frames of her glasses and her loose, dishevelled hair. This is Carey Mulligan in a Miss Marple mystery. I love the wacky cat-eye frames – and I think they look especially fun on someone young! Louis Tomlinson can wear just about anything and look good, but I do think he looks super-cute in his glasses, especially here, with the nerdy little round-neck collar of his jumper. And how about these enormous frames Lily Donaldson is wearing for Vogue UK. I love! This girl is wearing the classic librarian look of glasses and messy bun, but she’s chic-ed it up with bold polka dots and bright lipstick. Cute! And, in case you’re wondering, this is what my glasses look like. As MUC readers have pointed out, they do look quite a bit like Axelle’s – or maybe her’s look like mine. What do you think? And if you don’t need glasses, maybe now you’re feeling inspired enough to get a pair anyway? Let me know what you think… Carina x Read more.
I’d like to give a huge, huge thank you to all of the lovely girls, librarians, teachers and booksellers who helped to make my Model Under Cover: A Crime of Fashion UK book launch so amazing! A huge thanks also goes to my absolutely brilliant UK publisher, Usborne, for organising such a great week for MUC and me. Amy Dobson and Liz Scott you were beyond fantastic. I had a blast and enjoyed every second of it!!! I got off to a perfect start on Tuesday, 4th February at Ursuline High School in Wimbledon. Fab head librarian Helen Iveson had organised a wonderful morning, and the girls’s enthusiasm was totally overwhelming! And by the way, thanks to you, Ursuline High School, I’m now on Instagram! Check out my Instagram page. In the afternoon I was interviewed by Bex at Fun Kids Radio in London, something I’ll be sure to blog about when our interview goes live. That’s me and Bex in the picture above. Then it was off to Walthamstow Hall for a couple of fab sessions with some very lively Year 7 and 8 girls. Special thanks to Lead Librarian Lindsay White for organising everything so well! Thank you Lindsay, and thank you girls – you were great fun! I was then whisked away to the beautiful north of England! The fun continued at Cheadle High School and Altrincham Grammar School for Girls – and, by the way, the school library at Altrincham is amazing! Thanks to all of you lovely girls who made the trip so definitely worth it! While up north I also had the opportunity to spend time with Sue Steel and Andrew Cant, the owners of the charming and delightful Simply Books bookshop and cafe in pretty Bramhall, Cheshire. Sue and Andrew do the most amazing events at their bookshop, and have a gorgeous collection of illustrations by famous book illustrators and authors hanging on their walls (don’t miss the fantastic mural by Emily Gravett). Find out more here. I rounded out my visit up north with a marvellous day in the Wirral at Weatherhead High School for Girls. What engaging girls! And thank you librarian Heather Grainger, for organising everything so nicely. Weatherhead has an amazing school library – and the fish and chips at the school cafeteria were good, too! Then it was back to London for a couple of fun book launch parties with friends. Here I am with my agent (who also happens to be the best agent in the world!), Jenny Savill, of Andrew Nurnberg Associates, celebrating on Saturday! Again, I had such a blast on my MUC book tour. Everyone’s enthusiasm and happiness really made my book launch a success, and I’m already looking forward to September for the launch of the second MUC book, Stolen with Style! One last thank you, though, to all of the lovely readers who reached out to me on Instagram and Facebook during my book launch week! You’re fab! Carina x Read more.
Hi everyone, Model Under Cover: A Crime of Fashion is in now available in UK book stores ! This photo was taken at the Waterstones book store in Redhill, Surrey. So how did I celebrate the publication of the first book in my new Model Under Cover series? Check out the photo below to find out. That’s right: cupcakes! Yummy, fluffy cupcakes with frosting and sprinkles. My fave! Made by yours truly on Saturday afternoon. Happy reading! Carina Read more.
Hi everyone, One of my favourite winter accessories is the beanie. So as I put together my new Pinterest board, Winter Fashion in Paris, I was on the look-out for some inspiring beanie shots. Check out the three fab beanie looks below, and for more inspiration on looking wintry and sparkly all season long, check out my new Winter Fashion in Paris board here. I think this girl looks so cute! I love her silhouette of skinny jeans and Doc Martens topped off with long hair flowing out from under a big beanie. The striped T-shirt is cute too! Technically, this looks like it might be a beret. But regardless, I love the way it’s pushed far back on this gorgeous girl’s head. It makes her beanie/beret look loose and relaxed which I love. Harry knows how to work the perfect urban beanie look! And I love the jacket/T-shirt/beanie combo – it works equally well for a girl or a guy. So check out my Winter Fashion in Paris Pinterest board and get sparkly! Carina Read more.
Hi everyone, I’m super excited to let you know that Model Under Cover: A Crime of Fashion is now available for sale on my UK publisher’s (Usborne) website! You can click here to find out more. So get ready to meet my super-stylish sleuth, Axelle Anderson, because by February 1st she’ll be available in book stores and with other online booksellers. Do I sound excited yet??? Carina x Read more.
Hi everyone, The old writing cliché states “write about what you know”. And while I don’t entirely agree with that…after all, what are our imaginations for (???), I nevertheless set my new teen fashion detective series, Model Under Cover, within a context I know well: fashion. With this blog post I thought I’d show you how some of my personal experiences in fashion shaped more than a little of my sixteen year old detective Axelle Anderson’s, experiences, too. This image is from American Vogue (photographer: Ellen von Unwerth, editor: Grace Coddington), and I love it because it clearly illustrates how vertically-challenged (by modelling standards, anyway!) I am. That’s me, second from the left, and the gorgeous glamazon left of me is Eva Herzigova. Being small made getting jobs that much more difficult for me because I couldn’t fit into half of the clothes I was supposed to wear! Like me, my detective, Axelle, is also a bit on the small side – simply because that’s how I experienced being a model! In A Crime of Fashion, Axelle shows up at her first shoot ever, and overhears the fashion team she’ll be working with that day discuss their inspiration for the hair, make-up and styling for the shoot. That’s a scenario that really does happen on shoots, and this photo, for Italian Vogue (photographer: Ellen von Unwerth), was inspired by images of Bianca Jagger on her wedding day to rocker Mick Jagger. This, by the way, is the closest I’ve ever been to the rock star lifestyle! In A Crime of Fashion, Axelle is booked to shoot a half-day of beauty for French Elle. Again, this was inspired by my own experiences – in this case shooting for Dutch Elle. One thing Axelle won’t be experiencing, though, is short hair! Although some girls look amazing with short hair, I have only two things to say about it for myself: Never. Again. So there you go, a short blast from my fashion past showing how, as a writer, our personal experiences can sometimes have a strong influence on our character’s lives! Carina x Read more.
Hi everyone, Since creating my first Pinterest board this winter, I’ve become a total fan! I find Pinterest is great way to convey the mood I’m trying to create for a book or a character. Plus, putting a board together is just plain fun! It really inspires me to search for images that I hope match the ones in my head. The board I’m taking live today is called Detective Style, and, basically, it’s about just that. When it came time to create Axelle Anderson, the sixteen year old fashion detective of my new fashion detective series, Model Under Cove r, I looked everywhere for images – starting with my memories of Miss Marple and Nancy Drew. It was important to me that Axelle’s personal style hark back to the classic detective style – trench coats and trilbies – but without losing sight of the fact that she works in the here and now as an undercover model in the world of fashion. So check out the images on my new Pinterest board and get into a fashion detective kind of mood – no magnifying glass required! And don’t forget to let me know what you think…! Carina x Read more.
Hi everyone, Paris was a natural choice for me to use as the backdrop for A Crime of Fashion, the first book in my new fashion detective series, Model Under Cover, because I wrote my first notes about a girl detective called Axelle while I was living there, working in fashion. Beyond this, I love the city’s mix of romance, mystery and culture. I find it all très extraordinaire – even for non-detectives! Here are five fab reasons to love Paris: 1.) Paris has amazing bakeries on every street corner! When it comes to macarons my motto is: why buy one dozen when you can buy two dozen? 2.) Everything looks better in Paris. Even mundane things like bicycles and pigeons become très chic, dahling, in Paris. I swear I’ve seen Parisian pigeons wear berets! 3.) The women ooze style. Like. Seriously. But if you live there this can sometimes be hard to take. On days when I was feeling particularly fashion-impaired I often felt it would be better for my style-self-esteem to just stay home, eat macarons and read Baudelaire. 4.) Le people of Paris love dogs! And as anyone who has spent about five seconds with me knows – I love dogs, too. (It only takes five seconds because no one can fail to notice that I’m always covered with dog hairs!) So for this reason alone Paris is fab – as long as you watch where you’re stepping in order to avoid les poo-poos. 5.) The lights! Paris is known as the City of Light for good reason. Of course, the Eiffel Tower is the romantic scene-stealer, and during summer, starting at dusk it lights up every hour, on the hour, in the most amazing way. Don’t forget to make a wish as you watch it sparkle! You can also read about my absolute favourite places to visit in the beautiful City of Light in my “Paris List”. So book your ticket to Paris now, or just kick back and read some Colette. Either way, have a fabuleux time! Carina x Read more.
Hi everyone, I’m super excited to let you know that the cover for Model Under Cover: A Crime of Fashion, the first book in my new fashion detective series, is now ready for action! I’ve been so busy – buried up to my neck in writing book 2 – that I was totally floored by the wonderful surprise of seeing the email my UK publisher, Usborne, sent me of the final image of the book cover. I absolutely love it and I hope you will, too. Here’s what I think: I love, love, love my detective, Axelle, peering out at us from behind her big, geeky glasses! The fashion-magazine typeface of Model Under Cover is super cool! The fashionably black background with its outline of the Eiffel Tower is awesome and slightly sinister! And, basically, I love everything else about it, too! Do I sound excited yet??? I’d love to know what you think about the cover, so please feel free to share your thoughts with me by sending me an email via my Contact page. And, to read the first chapter of Model Under Cover: A Crime of Fashion, please visit my UK publisher, Usborne: http://www.usborne.com/catalogue/catalogue.aspx?id=7840 UK publication time is right around the corner (February 1st, 2014), so keep watching this space for more updates! Carina x Read more.
Hi everyone, I absolutely love Paris – the city of fashion and light – and had a blast living there. Even after all this time the city’s architecture, history and culture never fail to amaze me. Of course, the wonderful food might also have something to do with it! Paris is such an elegant, feminine city – and one I never tire of returning to. I’m often asked for my favourite places to visit – so here they are… My Favourite Paris Destinations: Museums: Musée Rodin: For anyone with even a passing interest in sculpture, this museum is a must! Formerly Auguste Rodin’s home, this beautiful 18th century mansion opened as a museum of his work in 1919. The first time I visited, it was a warm summer day and the mansion’s windows were all open. When was the last time you walked through a museum that had all of its windows wide open? Plus the garden behind the house is lovely. www.musee-rodin.fr Musée de l’Orangerie: This is the perfect bite-sized museum. Formerly the orangerie of the Tuileries Gardens, today it houses a small(ish) but impressive collection of impressionist and post-impressionist paintings. The Soutines are to die for, as well as the Cézannes and Modiglianis. And there’s a tiny Renoir I often think of. Furthermore, Monet chose to hang eight of his water lily murals here. They hang in rooms that were specially designed just for them. Fantastic! www.musee-orangerie.fr Musée Nissim de Camondo: What the Frick Museum is to New York City, this museum is to Paris. Formerly the private mansion of an art-loving family, the house and its ravishing collection of 18th century French decorative arts, was left to France by the last living member of the family. This atmospheric home gives an intimate peek at how a rarefied segment of Parisian society used to live – a bit like stepping into a sophisticated time warp. www.lesartsdecoratifs.fr/francais/nissim-de-camondo The Louvre: As one of the world’s largest museums it would take weeks of visiting to do the Louvre justice. But when the culture junkie in me needs a quick fix I head straight to the Four Seasons by Nicolas Poussin (they hang in their own room). Totally uplifting! www.louvre.fr Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature: I love dogs! And was therefore delighted when I discovered this quirky little museum that is definitely off the beaten track. Housed in a gorgeous 17th century mansion, and located in the lively Marais, this museum is jam-packed with animal portraits. From Rubens to Desportes, there are dogs everywhere! www.chassenature.org Saint-Germain l’Auxerrois: Anyone visiting Paris is spoiled for choice when it comes to chapels, churches and cathedrals. This one has special meaning for me because I lived next to it for so long. Not too big, not too small, and steeped in history – it was the parish church for the royal family when they stayed at the Louvre – it’s a perfect quickie. The enormous rose window over the entrance porch is fabulous! Find it on the Place du Louvre, across the street from the palace. The nearest Métro station is Louvre-Rivoli. Galignani English Book Shop: It would be no exaggeration to say that when I lived in Paris this book shop offered me a never-failing direct lifeline to book nirvana. I was in it nearly daily. It houses the best decorative arts section, elegant and quirky fiction and poetry sections, and you’ll always find some wonderful biography. They are very strong in fashion, too, and the children’s section has a super charming choice of pretty books. Plus the store, which has been tucked under the 17th century arcades lining the rue de Rivoli since 1856, looks like a book-lover’s dream. Buy something then go across the street to the Tuileries Gardens and read. Bliss! www.galignani.com Sennelier: I often think that if Harry Potter’s Diagon Alley had an art-supply shop, it would look like this. Established in 1887, and still run by the Sennelier family, every nook and cranny of this creaky, wood-panelled shop is stocked with the prettiest, yummiest, most scrumptious collection of pastels, pencils, paper, feather quills, Japanese watercolours, exotic papers and anything else your artistic heart could possibly desire. Don’t forget to go upstairs. www.magasinsennelier.com Berthillon: If you like ice cream, this is it. And while the weekend queues wind around the block, no worries. With a view of the Notre Dame and the Seine River swirling past, the time will fly! Located on the enchanting Ile St. Louis, take a walk around the island as you finish your ice cream. www.berthillon.fr Ladurée: A peek at the windows of this yummylicious patisserie alone are a treat! And while Ladurée shops now dot many cities world-wide, the original at 16, rue Royale is the one I like. Their macarons are my favourite: I find it impossible to leave Paris without a beautiful Ladurée box filled with a selection of colourful macarons. And if I’m really hungry I’ll go upstairs to their pretty little salon for tea. www.laduree.fr Fondation Cartier: Cartier the jeweller is the sponsor of this fantastic foundation devoted to contemporary art. Housed in a light infused Jean Nouvel building, it’s like entering an eclectic urban oasis of art and glass. The exhibitions are based on either individual artists or themes and include everything from photography and painting to video and performance art. I always find their exhibitions inspiring! www.fondation.cartier.com Favourite places to walk about: Honestly, all of Paris is a dream to walk through. You can’t walk a hundred yards without your eye being caught by spectacular architecture or a cool shop or a mysterious hidden courtyard. Having said that, if you’re short on time the following two places will give you a good idea of what Paris is about: The Tuileries Gardens: As far as I’m concerned, a visit to Paris isn’t complete without a walk through the Tuileries Gardens. Either end is a good place to start. Walk all the way through, the palace courtyards included. The views, splashing fountains, and elegant design make it lovely any time of the year. Place des Vosges: Known as the oldest planned square in Paris, the Place de Vosges oozes history – and the prettily planted center of the square is a lovely place to catch some sun. Afterwards you can check out the apartment that Victor Hugo rented for many years, at no. 6, before his exile. Then take a stroll through the neighbouring Marais. Versailles: Ok. So it’s not in Paris…but still…it’s Versailles: one of the most awe-inspiring palaces and gardens in the world! You can catch an RER train out of Paris – it’s a quick and easy ride there and back – and then, if it’s a sunny day, I’d recommend renting a bicycle at the train station at Versailles. You can leave it parked while you check out the palace then ride it around the gardens all afternoon (and wave at the descendants of Queen Marie-Antoinette’s sheep as you ride past them). Don’t forget to pack a picnic lunch! www.chateauversailles.fr Have fun! Carina x Read more.