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shoot for the moon

February 21, 2017

I took my daughter to see Hidden Figures, the Theodore Melfi film about a team of African-American women mathematicians at NASA, today. I spent as much time looking at Iole’s face as I did the screen. Her shock at how Katherine G. Johnson –– a genius mathematician who calculated flight trajectories for Project Mercury and other missions –– was forced to run half a mile in heels every day to get to the colored bathroom. Her delight (with tears) as Katherine’s boyfriend proposed marriage. Her awe as the space ships successfully rocketed into the sky. We had front row seats, which was unpleasant, (they really should charge less for those!) but I loved every minute of it.

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Siesta

February 15, 2017

It’s common in the Cyclades to see stone bed frames built into the design of the house. I love the look. You see it in North Africa and in parts of Italy, too. It’s so simple and chic. This one is lovely also, with bamboo sticks just waiting for white muslin curtains. No wonder the Mediterraneans take afternoon naps.

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Bloom

February 14, 2017

The snowdrops are springing up in England, a sign that Spring is on its way. In Toronto, we’ve just got lots of snow. I love it when the city is white, but flowers are a must indoors. Buy bunch loads of the same bloom and fill every room in the house with them. It’s an indulgence, I know. But what pleasure fleurs do bring.

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Clouds with a chance of sun

February 11, 2017

I know most people are disappointed when the sun doesn’t come out on a beach holiday, but I actually find overcast beach days the best. There is a moodiness in the air that I appreciate, and you can stay on the beach all day long. Full sun days are tiring, and when you have small children like I do, they’re also a pain in the arse. Sunscreen, heat rashes, sticky, sweaty whining –– you know what I mean. My dream is a burst of sun in the morning, clouds for midday and a mellow sun at golden hour. Yes, that would suit me fine.

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Dress Code

February 8, 2017

At a glance, this girl looks a lot like Stella Stenant –- she has the same aristocratic profile. I love the loose low bun, voluminous coat, large hydrangea print and pretty silk pumps. It’s all so elegant. And to think, this is how women dressed to go to the movies. My grandmother’s rule was no jeans after sundown. Even to an evening film, she would have worn silk slacks and a blouse. I had such a laugh when she called me from New York a few months before she died to tell me that she and a friend had gone out to dinner in the Meatpacking district, “and we wore jeans!”

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Ufficio Style

February 6, 2017

If there was ever a time for a grey wool suit, Brunello Cucinelli would be the ultimate place to shop for it. This one here, from Spring 2017, is just what such a suit should look like on a woman; effortlessly chic. I’m not into the shoes –– I’d be in tan Chanel flats –– but I like how informal they are. And I love the pashmina and silk yellow tee. Yes, this is as close to office attire as I get.

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Moore is more

January 31, 2017

Twice in my life, I’ve lived close to the sculptures of Henry Moore. In Norwich, where I studied art history, huge Moore nudes lay in the grassy field between my dorm and school of study. Many more were inside the building. What incredible luck to see them from my kitchen window. Here in Toronto, the dames are a little further away, but still close to enough to walk over and visit. Only I never do. It’s been years since I’ve been to the Henry Moore sculpture studio at the AGO. It really is a peaceful place. If you’re lucky, you may even hear the girls nattering to one another. “Hey, Marjorie –– fancy a cup of tea after the crowds have dispersed?” “That would be lovely, Amaryllis –– I’ll bring a pound cake.”

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heavenly stairway

January 27, 2017

Not all stairways are created equal — and this one is too beautiful for words. In a space this breathtaking, I’d need to get dressed up just to walk down to the kitchen. Alternatively, I’d own a vast collection of silk kimonos, or pajamas chic enough to wear out to lunch.

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Couture

January 27, 2017

I was browsing the Met Museum’s fashion archives, and I came across a Mainbocher gown that I adore. Main Rousseau Bocher (Main was his mother’s maiden name) was born in Chicago in 1890 and is known as America’s first true couturier. A career that spanned 41 years, saw him creating gowns for the country’s elite, from Diana Vreeland to Gloria Vanderbilt and Babe Paley. It was Mainbocher who designed the custom wedding dress Wallis Simpson wore to marry Prince Edward VIII. Take a look at some of the frocks on display at the Met’s Making Mainbocher exhibition. The sleeves on Mrs. Clive Runnells’ ivory 1940s gown will take your breath away.

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glow

January 24, 2017

At the chiropractor’s office yesterday, I flicked through a copy of Angela Liddon’s Oh She Glows in search of an idea for dinner that night. I can’t remember the last time I looked at a cookbook, let alone bought one, but this is one I’d love to own. We eat well, but it’s the same meals that we sit down to week after week; baked salmon with roasted yams and broccoli, penne with zucchini, garlic and pecorino, stir fries, risottos and roast chicken with sage potatoes and green beans. Everything is doused in olive oil, and salt and pepper is as imaginative as it gets. Liddon’s book is stacked full of healthy, delicious looking ideas. To start with, I’m adding these roasted chickpeas to the mix every time I roast a potato or a floret of broccoli. And doesn’t this butternut/sweet potato/lentil stew look comforting?

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