May 19, 2017

Springtime cocktails are best enjoyed under a parasol. Sunbeam Jackie produces some of the best I’ve ever seen, made up of gorgeous fabrics from Liberty, William Morris, Barbara Brown, Marimekko and plenty more. The company was founded by artist couple Charlie and Katy Napier and their studio, a 12th century grain store, is based in Cornwall. It’s impossible to choose a favourite –– in fact I’d want a half a dozen of them, and a beautiful English garden large enough to accommodate them all.

into the blue

May 19, 2017

Just look at this dreamy hallway –– the aqua walls, the leafy trim around the doors, the mirror, the runner, the chair. It’s all so romantic. Of course, now I’m wondering about the rooms, and what the mirror might say if I talked to it.



May 17, 2017

Every year around this time I feel relieved, mostly because I’m never quite sure that the warm weather will return. But this morning I stepped out to what felt like caftan weather. The crab apple across the street is in full bloom, and life is restored to the neighbourhood. Last night, all the children in our little pocket raced up and down the street on their bicycles. I chatted to neighbours that I haven’t seen since November. It takes living in a city of long, cold winters, to appreciate the treasure that is Spring.



May 16, 2017

I was named after my maternal grandmother, and although I never knew her, I feel a kinship in our shared name. My great aunts, who knew her well, used to say that Athena and I looked very much alike. I’ve studied old photos, the black and white ones with scalloped edges, and I really don’t see it. She was tall and curvaceous and her features were far more dramatic than mine. But I’ve looked at enough faces to know that the similarities we see are not always literal. As a child, I wished to be called Lucy or Jane –– a simple English name that everyone could pronounce. It wasn’t until I entered my teens that I realized what a gift Athena was. I rarely think about my name anymore, but once in a while someone will stop and ask me, “she was a Greek goddess, right?” “Yes, of wisdom and war. And she was my grandmother.”



May 15, 2017

A room with honeycomb terracotta tiles and various shades of yellow is a lovely place to start. Bring vintage cutlery, large white candles, cream linen napkins, vino rosso and a huge ceramic bowl of spaghetti carbonara to the table, and the rest of the story just writes itself.


Advice from a mum

May 12, 2017

I’ve read a lot of essays on motherhood over the last eight years, but Caitlin Moran’s posthumous advice for her daughter and Tina Fey’s prayer for a daughter remain my favourites, and the ones I return to again and again. “And when she one day turns on me and calls me a Bitch in front of Hollister, Give me the strength, Lord, to yank her directly into a cab in front of her friends, For I will not have that Shit. I will not have it.” Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful Mamas. “The main thing is just to try to be nice. You already are – so lovely I burst, darling – and so I want you to hang on to that and never let it go. Keep slowly turning it up, like a dimmer switch, whenever you can. Just resolve to shine, constantly and steadily, like a warm lamp in the corner, and people will want to move towards you in order to feel happy, and to read things more clearly.”



May 10, 2017

Forget the food, the feast is in the flowers and fabrics. With a table setting this magnificent, you could serve boiled eggs and your guests would be happy. I’m wild about the mismatched plates and table cloths, and all those flowers are simply divine. More is more –– don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.



brand on

May 9, 2017

It’s tough to justify spending lots of money on cotton pants and tops and caftans, but as that’s my wardrobe from May to October, I’m willing to splurge on brands I love. Ace & Jig is my absolute favourite in this category, with gorgeous fabrics and effortless styles that take me from the beach to a baptism. This girl has the right idea with batik pants and an ivory lace smoking jacket. It’s chic and carefree, which is what summer is all about.


a room with a view

May 9, 2017

What a lovely kitchen this is –– the Farrow & Ball teal, (at least it looks like F&B) the herringbone floor, brass hardware and the double door glass windows. I like a kitchen where the appliances are hidden, and I always think of my friend Buket when I spot a sink window. “Dishes feel like less of a chore with a lovely view.” How right she is.


Montessori Way

May 5, 2017

“When you do things for a child –– tie her laces, wipe her bottom –– you are giving her the message that she’s not capable of doing those things for herself,” Iole’s Montessori teacher used to often say. “So what if she wears her right shoe on her left foot, the key is that she attempted to put on her shoes. One day, she’ll figure it out. And these tiny feats will feel like huge triumphs. Let them struggle, let them muddle, and let them bask in the glory of sussing it all out, one shoe lace at a time. ”

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