Life

smile

September 19, 2017

Last week, I found some old  snaps I’d taken at a photobooth on The Strand. I was on my way to meet my friend Polly who worked around there, and I must have been early enough to putz around in a photobooth. I am wearing an orange paisley Top Shop dress, Diane von Furstenberg sunnies and a big smile. I loved those glasses. It’s always such a thrill to come across those old strips. A few months earlier, I’d found one of Jason, Iole and I in a photobooth at the supermarché in Bulle. I remember feeling awful that day –– drained by morning sickness and generally nervous about the reality of a second baby. But the pictures are so sweet; three happy faces squashed into one frame. And there’s another strip I love, of Jason and I at 19 and 21, kissing and giggling in a photobooth at Yorkdale. In my old filofax, I still have ones of me and my best friend Amy wearing thick eye liner and too much foundation in the early 90s. And between the pages of a book somewhere, are Stephanie, Polly, Zelmira and I toasting Zel’s upcoming nuptials in a photobooth at The Drake. Thankyou Anatol Josepho, for all the memories.

Prima ballerina

September 18, 2017

If you have a moment today for a touch of frivolous fun, please watch this delightful footage of British ballet dancer, Moira Shearer marrying author, Ludovic Kennedy at Hampton Court in 1950. The lashes on her fellow Sadler’s Wells dancers are divine, as is Shearer’s veil and demure dress. And is that champagne that’s being sipped from ballet slippers? Here she is in The red shoes directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

faque

September 15, 2017

If there’s a documentary I want to see, it’s Gisele Roman’s portrait of the late, great bauble king, Kenneth Jay Lane. Fabulously Fake: The Real Life of Kenneth Jay Lane is yet to be released, but when it’s out, I’ll be first in line to hear Barbara Bush, Joan Collins, Diane von Furstenberg et. al. dish on faux diamonds, rubies and Tahitian pearls. Jacqueline Kennedy was a client, as was Elizabeth Taylor. Word has it, the Duchess of Windsor was buried in a diamond belt of his. I like this photograph of Lane, taken by Lord Snowdon, and proving that more is always more.

Field of colour

September 13, 2017

I like this photograph of abstract expressionist painter, Helen Frankenthaler –– there’s something about her look, the pose, that draws you in. She has an air of Princess Margaret, doesn’t she? And here, too. The former was taken by Alexander Liberman, in 1964 during her marriage to fellow painter, Robert Motherwell. Frankenthaler invented the “soak-stain” technique, which involved pouring turpentine-thinned paint onto an un-primed canvas and completely soaking through the canvas to create luminous color washes. She was a pioneer among the colour field painters, and has long been acknowledged as one of the great American artists of the 20th Century. According to her New York Times obituary, Helen was interested in art from early childhood, “when she would dribble nail polish into a sink full of water to watch the color flow.” With those beautiful expanses of colour-rich acrylic, it’s her paintings from the early to mid 60s that are my favourites.

scarf face

September 12, 2017

“To wear to the beach or the ballet,” is how Australian textile artist, Lauren Cassar describes her painterly scarves. Personally, I’d frame mine. Just imagine this beauty framed in oak. And here’s another one I could see on my walls. And this moonflower sarong is the perfect alternative to a traditional headboard. Wearable art, how practical.

loo fantasies

September 11, 2017

When I get the guest loo I’ve long dreamed of, I want it to feel like stepping into an English country garden with walls of wild flowers, fruits and vegetables and bright green tiles a foot. This wallpaper at Bakeri in Greenpoint is simply perfect. I don’t expect my guests will want to leave once their pennies have been spent. Good reading will always be on site, I assure you.

paperchase

September 8, 2017

I stumbled upon the exquisite handcrafted paper sculptures of Zim & Zou today. The French duo, Lucie Thomas and Thibault Zimmerman, create stunning installations made out of paper, wood and thread.  These magical forest scenes were made for the Hermès store in Dubai, and these prism-like mobiles were designed for another client’s summer barbecue. Just look at the intricate work that went into creating a pink Barcelona. I can barely make a paper snowflake –– this is amazing.

Autumn whites

September 6, 2017

I love this look — the wide pant, woven belt, the loose fitting top — it’s all so easy and chic. This is how to take post labour day whites well into fall.

on the road

September 5, 2017

As a family that frequently travels overseas, this summer we decided to stay close to home. We got in our car, a lot, and drove around Ontario and Quebec and Upstate New York. With no planes to catch and agendas to keep, it was liberating.

Family road trips are a romantic idea –– bare, dirty feet and toothy smiles in the back seat, a gentle breeze flowing through the car, all your favourite soft rock playing on the radio. You tell stories and play games that your parents played with you, and if you’re lucky, stop roadside for soft serve, or a dip in an ice cold swimming hole. That’s sort of what it was for us. Sort of.

But then there were the toddler tantrums and epic fights over the iPhone; the pinching, scratching and hair pulling; (the children) the cursing and yelling; (the grownups) the emergency pee stops, and those constant, brain-numbing updates from our GPS-fixated son. “29 minutes to go,” “28 minutes to go,” and so on, and so on. “You have reached your destination.” Hallelujah.

“I don’t want to get out and walk,” our son, aged six, said at the suggestion of a hike to the Kaaterskill Falls, only to charge ahead like a seasoned mountaineer once we got there. “Why do we have to drive all the way to the Dia Art Foundation?” our eight-year-old daughter said before turning Richard Serra’s sculptures into a breathtaking playground. “But we don’t want to drive one whole boring hour to a silly farm,” they all chorused in, and then ran free and wild among radishes, kales and cows at Arundel’s Runaway Farm.

Give and take, give and take, this is how it went. And some drives were better than others. The stretch between hip upstate New York hamlet, Hudson and Hunter Mountain, where our hotel was, got particularly tense when our three-year-old pulled a massive clump of hair out of the six-year-old’s head. If truth be told, she beat me to it. My son’s whining is like a drill to the head. And the tears from all three at the Buffalo border as we sat in moving-like-molasses traffic, was enough to make the most patient human turn to Hulk.

And then there was my own restless mind to contend with. Long stretches in a car force you to think. ‘What is right in my life?’ ‘What is wrong?’ ‘Should I do a tick check on the children?’

But then I’d listen to our eldest child sing along to Christopher Cross while our three-year-old made phone calls on her plastic phone to the Queen, and all would be well. All three of them laughed at each others jokes and farts, and even sat in silence looking out the window for long, beautiful stretches of time. We’d marvel at every deer sighting, and say “mooooo” every time we saw a cow. We’d count the American flags, each one. Clouds quickly became dinosaurs and whales.

A road trip is not something I’d do again in a hurry, but there’s a lot to be gained from them, lessons in boredom and compromise, for starters. With no planes and trains to catch, we travelled on our own clock. There’s a freedom and spontaneity to road trips, which is no easy feat when travelling with kids. Most importantly, road tripping forces you to embrace the journey and make it part of the overall experience.

It was the drive home from Montreal via an amazing dinner in Prince Edward County that I’ll treasure most. The sun was setting on the barn speckled fields, and all three children –– a pile of beautiful, grubby bodies –– were fast asleep in the back. My husband’a hands were on the wheel and John Mayer’s ‘The Search for Everything’ was playing on the radio. Well, I thought, it doesn’t get better than this.

let’s polka

September 4, 2017

Anytime I see black and white polka dots, I think of a cocktail dress my Mum wore in the 80s that was fun and flirty and fantastically ruched. She even had black and white polka dot pumps to match. I’m quite sure she wore the outfit to Ascot, with a great chapeau, no doubt. I love the 80s for their sheer excess. It was all so over the top. Here is a very different take on all that. I like the compromise of playful polka dots and shoulder pads with clean beauty and an unfussy topper. Come to think of it, this may be my dream outfit to wear to the races.

 

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