Posts from May 2016

in praise of sloppy

May 18, 2016

I really enjoy icing a cake. I ice cakes the way I make pots and the way I do my hair and the way I fill planters with flowers ––  and that’s with a rough hand that embraces imperfection. I accept sloppy frosting, wonky lines and messy hair. I  like hospital corners, to be sure, but when I can, I cut corners.


Loo story

May 16, 2016

As children, my brother and I spent a lot of time in fancy restaurants, the sotto voce kinds with starched table cloths and lots of cutlery. One of my favourite pastimes, (beyond eyeing the pudding trolley) was to visit the loo. I loved the scented soaps and four-ply loo roll. I loved watching women in gleaming mirrors applying fresh lipstick and powder. Sometimes, I’d find a little basket filled with plasters, perfume, deodorant or safety pins and I’d stash something into my pockets. I loved chatting to the ladies loo attendant, although I’m not sure she always felt the same. I remember discovering automatic plastic seat covering for the first time at a posh restaurant in Palm Beach and thinking that was the coolest thing I’d ever seen. I think I pressed the button twenty times. These days, it’s my 7-year old daughter who makes a dash for the loo the moment we settle into our seats. Most of the time, she doesn’t even need to pee. I know I never did.



May 13, 2016

In the mid-90s, I spent some time in small, grotty rooms at the back of London’s Kensington Market, holding my friend’s hands, as one by one they got stars and fish and zodiac symbols inked into their pelvises. In the late 90’s, the night before we flew to Thailand, I sat in the chair next to Jason listening to the buzz of a needle etching the Eye of Horace across his bicep. I never really wanted a tattoo myself, but I’ve always been interested in other people’s. The Tattoo exhibition currently on at the ROM is both jarring and inspiring in equal measure. “Tattoos have been used to cure, honour, marginalize, control, punish, enhance, or demean the bearer,” reads the opening text. There is a stunning portrait of 97-year-old Kalinga master tattooist, Fang-Od Odday, taken by Jake Verzosa. There is an image of a young Jewish boy at Auschwitz tattooed by the Nazi regime, and one of a prostitute tattooed by her pimp. A short video shows a young Japanese woman removing her traditional silk kimono to reveal a naked body covered head-to-toe in tattoos. Silicone limbs in glass cases are a canvas for Montreal tattoo artist Yann Black. What I would have liked to see more of, are personal stories from everyday people talking about what the words and images inked on their bodies reveal about them. I can never resist asking about a person’s tattoo, especially if it’s in full sight. One of my all time favourites was on a lovely woman who used to own a Scandi-inspired clothing shop in Yorkville. On the inside of her arm, in large beautiful letters read the word, “grateful.”

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May 12, 2016

Iole went to see The Wizard of Oz yesterday, so it was the good witch of the north who popped into my mind when I saw this Delpozo creation. It’s modern day Glinda! I can see Glinny wearing this, and this too as she chases that wicked green-faced witch. Trust Josef Font to design another collection that is pure fairytale.





shoulder to shoulder

May 12, 2016

I’m no Brigitte Bardot, but I do look good in off-the-shoulder. My Mum bought me a top with voluminous sleeves, in a pretty white and wedgewood blue pattern, that I’m sure I’ll wear all summer long. And this Dijon yellow off the shoulder dress is just the sort of thing I wish I owned in every colour. I’m not one for trends, but here’s one I’m willing to buy a strapless bra for.









May 10, 2016

My father always says that if you find something that suits you, a shirt or a hat, buy it in multiples. If I could have bought several pairs of rose gold Ferragamo Varinas I would have done. The Vara (the heeled version) was Audrey Hepburn’s signature shoe, (in black, navy or nude) and she owned dozens of pairs. I’ve worn mine for years, to the point where the pretty mosaic laser cut outs are falling apart. I doubt I will find the exact same pair again. I have another pair in poppy red, a gift from my Mum, and a navy pair that Jason bought me on a trip to Miami. I also have a heeled version in the colour of a pumpkin. So, I suppose if there is anything that I own in multiples, (beyond M&S undies) it’s Ferragamo ballerinas. I’ll never catch up to Audrey in quantity, but I bet she never owned pumpkin or pink gold.





May 9, 2016

When you have young children, Mother’s Day is much like any other day. There were sloppy kisses and heart-swelling smiles, declarations of grand, eternal love, and handmade gifts galore (this year I received a bath bomb and a cucumber in a painted pot). There was the screaming fit that lasted the 45-minute walk to lunch, the veal shop that never got eaten, the wrestling match with the stroller as I tried to shove it in a taxi to flee a downpour, constant bickering, whining, and through it all, aches and chills from the cold I am fighting. My mum, who I never get to spend Mother’s Day with, and who is here for a week while Jason travels for work, was Florence Nightingale meets Tina Fey. “I’m sorry, this wasn’t the loveliest day for you,” I said to her while scraping dog poo off the sole of Antimo’s shoe. She barely blinked, she was too focused on building Antimo’s Ninja lego castle. After I put them all to bed, and told them I loved them 347 times, (because the chaos and mess of the day always evaporates when you see them asleep) I came downstairs and sat next to my Mum and we watched a film and ate yogurt for dinner. It was just like any other day –– forgettable, regrettable, memorable and amazing.




Colour in Melbourne

May 6, 2016

It’s a satisfying feeling to eat toast (loaded with marmalade) off a plate I have made. Bonnie and Neil‘s selection of painterly dishes are inspiration for my next attempt. The Aussie-based line of homewares is right up my street, with wall tiles, napkins, cushions and ceramics in bold colours and whimsical prints. I’ll take a plate or two, and this gorgeous table cloth that looks like a child’s smock after hours of painting.





May 5, 2016

There are so many different kinds of tulips -– the Negrita, the Ballerina, Gypsy Love and Prinses Irene –– but my very favourite, (partly because of her name) is Orange Angelique. She is the most darling apricot colour, with occasional flecks of soft pink, and she’s got a lot more petals than the classic Single Late variety we see at our corner shops. I also adore parrot tulips in a crisp green and white combination. But really, one can never go wrong with any kind of tulip. Buy yourself a bunch today. I know I’m going to.



Easy Breezy

May 5, 2016

After two years of wearing only elasticated waists, I’m back to zips and buttons. But I refuse to wear anything tight, either on top or bottom. Loose shift dresses, long shirts, comfy t-shirts and sweatshirts are my staples. I’m a huge fan of Ace & Jig but I find it very expensive for cotton basic to run around the city in. Jill Sawatzy from Manitoba, makes cheerful breezy pieces from simple, printed cotton that would easily take me from pottery to the playground to dinner. I’m dotty about this blouse, and this dress would look pretty great over a pair of faded jeans or gently tanned pins.




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