Posts from July 2015

Girl With A Pearl

July 20, 2015

Last night, I told my children a story about a dull looking oyster called Marjorie. Her friends, Penelope the starfish and Terrence the seahorse, were both colourful and gorgeous. “Oh Marjie, it’s what’s inside that counts,” said her Mama, whenever she’d lament about how dull and ugly she felt next to her cool looking, prickly pals. That just confused Marjorie, because she didn’t feel very pretty on the inside, either. And then one day, the weirdest and most miraculous thing happened –– a small white orb, so lustrous and iridescent –– appeared inside of her. This, thought Marjorie, is my secret power and my lucky charm. I don’t have prickles, but I do have a pearl. Now, I didn’t tell Iole and Antimo the part about human divers digging up pearl oysters for necklaces and rings. That, I think is a story for another day.

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Magic Carpets

July 17, 2015

The wooden floors in our home are weathered and scuffed from a hundred years of use. When we moved in, we considered putting in new floors, but instead, we bought a bunch a rugs, and called it a day. Choosing a rug is not an easy task. But the key, is not to worry too much about matching your sisal to your settee. Be a little daring, and don’t be afraid of a mismatch. “When everything from the wall colour to the cushions and the rugs is co-ordinated in pale shades you might as well live in colours by numbers for all the personality it has,” says interior designer, Rita Konig. “As long as the colours work together and styles aren’t clashing too much, then you are on to something good,” she adds. Several rugs sharing the same space, is also a great look. “Don’t be too fussy about the fit, just throw a few down and see how you go,” says Konig. And don’t shy away from scale. “It is wise always to err on the side of big –– remember, you are looking for a rug, not a mat.”

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Cocktail

July 16, 2015

My all-time favourite drink is the raspberry champagne cocktail at the Helmut Newton bar in Berlin. The lemonade (topped with at least three maraschino cherries) at The Coral Beach Club in Bermuda comes in a close second. These days, I’m tipsy on half a glass of wine, but if I were to make a cocktail, I’d be turning to the Cocktail Gardner for inspiration. Botany-meets-booze, is one way to sum up London-based, Lottie Muir’s work. “My interest in botanical cocktails developed while wild food foraging and generally experimenting with alcohol,” she says on her website. Her pop-up bar, the Midnight Apothecary is legendary, serving up wonderfully unique seasonal cocktails and infusions made with cultivated and foraged herbs and flowers. She runs classes, she’s written a book and Jamie Oliver is her pal. This raspberry & geranium scented cocktail is perfect for a summer’s evening. It may even top Berlin.

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In The Frame

July 15, 2015

My father has worn the same big, brash sunglasses from Cutler and Gross for as long as I can remember. I’m the opposite, always flitting from one style to another, never buying the same pair twice. When he took me to the C&G Knightsbridge shop for the first time in the late 90s, it was a pair of Jackie O inspired white frames that caught my eye. I wore them and loved them until I sat on them, and that was the end of that. But it was those sunglasses –– classic meets quirky –– that set the tone for many more to come. There were the Lulu Guinness cat eyes, in rose pink with tiny Swarovski crystals in the corners, that I wore for ages (and still do on a whim). The cherry red Ray-bans, that still make an appearance when a case of the ‘mean reds’ strikes. Three of my favourites –– the first, a pair of black and white vintage Balenciagas, the second, a snazzy pair of turquoise vintage sunnies by Ted Lapidus, and the third, classic gold Illestevas –– got crushed/left in a taxi/lost in Chinatown, to my utter dismay. But my all time bests, are the graphic Illestevas I’m wearing now. And while I have no intention of moving on (or sitting on them) I do have my eye on a pair of 70s inspired punchy, printed frames from fabulously eccentric fashion stylist, Catherine Baba. Maybe, they’ll be my party pair. Turban, optional.

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Folk Story

July 14, 2015

With printed silk folk tops, fringed gilets and kimonos fit for a ball, summer is the perfect time to embrace bohemia. My drawers are stuffed with June-to-September caftans and peasant tops –– the cheerful, effortless items that make summer dressing a breeze. And don’t we all need one of those when it’s as hot as Hades outside. Now, there’s nothing easy breezy about Vita Kin’s price tags, but her dresses, blouses and rompers are a boho lover’s dream. “I’m inspired by the fading traditions and techniques of various ancient cultures for making and decorating clothing.” she says. “Embroidery, macramé and appliqué are my passion.” I love the geometric prints, bold colour combinations and cinched waists on an otherwise floaty silhouette. Have a look at (read : stalk) Vita Kin’s instagram feed, to see Charlotte Olympia, Leandra Medine, Giovanna Battaglia et al., cycling, yachting and skipping (in heels, oh please!) through summer in gorgeous Vita Kin frocks.

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Clash

July 13, 2015

Our cleaning lady, Ilda –– a middle-aged, Portuguese, gem-of-a-woman –– came to work this morning wearing turquoise culottes and a watermellon pink t-shirt. “I knew you’d love these colours,” she giggled from the top of a ladder (yes, she dusts above the kitchen cabinets, she’s that good). I’m always impressed with people who are fearless in their embrace of colour. Wearing a bold hue is one thing, but wearing two, or three, or even four bold colours together is what excites me. And if they clash, better yet. Take orange and pink, the most fabulous clash of them all. The world would be a duller place if they didn’t collide.

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A Life Aquatic

July 10, 2015

“Never miss an opportunity to swim,” someone said to me recently. “Whether it’s a lake, sea or ocean, if you’re close to water, jump in.” Last week, as I stood on the dock of my sister-in-law’s cabin, an overcast sky above me, I kept hearing the words, (echoed by my husband and our four-year-old son) “jump in, jump in.” With a childhood spent in the Aegean, you’d think I would be used to cold water. But lakes are different, they’re brown and murky, with snakes in them, too. But I did jump in. And it was amazing, mostly because Antimo was in my arms with a grin the size of Muskoka on his face. Today, Iole and I took Luma for her first swim at our local community centre, something I’ve been meaning to do for months and months. She was a “duck to water,” as they say, which is no surprise considering the hours we spent in the pool together while I was pregnant with her. She knows those salt waters well. I hope she, and her brother and sister, will always know and love the water the way Jason and I do. And I hope, that when open water, be it lake or ocean stands before them, that they always dive in.

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Windows

July 10, 2015

Typically, in the rare moments that I get to recline on a sofa or sit on an empty streetcar, it’s the world inside my phone that draws me in more than the one outside my window. But since we relocated our sofa to the front window, I’ve really enjoyed the new view. I’ve watched the blossom on the neighbour’s crabapple turn a fierce raspberry pink, and I’ve seen the two boys who live next door to her learn to ride a bicycle without training wheels. I’ve watched a visiting grandma walk up and down our street with a one-year-old on the threshold of finding her own walking feet, and an old Italian man delivering fresh cheese and eggs to a paesana. I’ve seen skateboarders, I’ve seen drag queens, and I’ve seen an elderly Vietnamese lady wash her hands and face in my next door neighbour’s pond.

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Slide Show

July 9, 2015

There’s a retrospective of the installation artist Carsten Höller at the Hayward right now, showcasing two giant 15-metre spiralling slides commissioned for the exhibition for visitors to slide down. “An emotional state that is a unique condition somewhere between delight and madness,” is what the artist hopes people will experience sliding down his installation. Regardless, what a way to leave an exhibition.

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Avocado

July 9, 2015

The first time I ate an avocado was about two years-ago, and since then, not a day has gone by where one hasn’t landed on my plate. When I was much younger, I loathed the thought of them. Something about the texture, maybe. So when a tricolore would arrive at the table at Il Carretto, my friend Luisa’s dad’s Notting Hill restaurant where we’d all hang out as teens, I’d balk at the very sight of it. Back then, even mozzarella wasn’t my thing. (Quel bore). So I’d plough through packets of bread sticks instead, while waiting for my duck à l’orange (fancy, I know) to arrive. Anyhoo, I don’t know what took me so long, but I’m glad we’re friends now. Friends for life.

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