Amaryllis

December 27, 2018

They’re the signature flower for the holidays, tall and grand, and oh-so-beautiful. I never tire of amaryllis, and although I’m fond of them in coral and white, it’s the decadent, deep red variety that I love. This arrangement here, in a huge, dark vase, is just the statement the flower deserves.

fancy dress

December 21, 2018

Some people swoon at the sight of a beautifully stacked book shelf, others get excited when they see artichokes with plump heads. For me, it’s dresses, exquisite, dreamy ones, that send me to my land of fancy. These two frocks, Christian Dior Couture, (SS17) are pure fantasy. The tulle neck and barely-there-pink sash; the perfect applique of flowers. I love how the bird, and nest of bees and flowers look like they’ve sprung from the model’s curls. Everything about this is so romantic and theatrical. Just to know that such dresses exist makes me happy.

far and away

December 21, 2018

The lovely people who own Gaspard on Queen Street told me about the Inis Meáin Restaurant & Suites in the Aran Islands, and one look sent it to the top of my ‘places I want to go’ list. The island itself, “a raw limestone slab in the wild Atlantic” looks breathtaking, and the suites, spartan and beautifully considered, look like somewhere you go to read, breath and reflect. I hear the food at the restaurant is simple, fresh and exquisite. Really, let’s go. And let’s buy a lot of very beautiful jumpers while we’re there.

deck the halls

December 19, 2018

What a decadent idea, to plonk a Christmas tree in the bedroom! Erin Swift, over at fancy New York City based decorating service, Holiday Workroom, says no room is off-limits to baubles and wreaths. “I’m loving installing decorative elements in some unexpected places, like garland over headboards and a wreath in the bathroom.” she says. Mistletoe in the guest loo, my personal favourite.

red

December 18, 2018

Once in a pink moon, I get a manicure, and I almost always opt for short, red nails. I’ve thought about other colours, but I always return to red. Classic red, no shimmer no sparkle. I don’t like the idea of shellac, which means I get two, maybe three days tops with red nails. And that’s as long as I need. By the fourth day, I’m done with it. It’s like a costume party for my talons. So fun to get dressed up, and such a relief to be back in your own skin again.

fête

December 17, 2018

It’s hard to tell if it’s even a child in this image, but just the thought of a little girl spying on her parent’s soirée, makes me smile. Many of us have memories of sitting in our rooms listening to the clinking of glasses, music and jolly banter coming from the grownups downstairs. If we were lucky, we’d get to stay up a little later than usual, just to see the guests arriving. We rarely have people over past 8 p.m these days, but if we do, it’s our eldest child who loves to stay up and greet them at the door, fill up their wine glasses and eavesdrop on all the conversations. She reminds me so much of me as child, switching from a nightie to a tartan tutu in less than a minute, never wanting to miss out on a party.

monochrome

December 14, 2018

I like the idea of wearing various shades of the same colour from top-to-bottom. Some colours –– black, white, navy, grey –– are easier than others. Mustard, orange, racing green, now that’s a challenge. I wear a lot of pink, all together, all the time. It never feels too much, even when it probably is. I love this monochromatic vermilion look ––  it’s fresh, fun and daring. And of course, one can never go wrong with denim blue.

80s, baby

December 13, 2018

The most recent collection from Dodo Bar Or feels like a modern riff on the 80s. I can see Alexis Colby in any one of these numbers. This jacquard top in marshmallow pink would be dream to wear over jeans or black palazzo pants, and this velvet jumpsuit with puffed shoulders is pure drama. It’s all so luxe compared to the label’s signature peasant tops and frocks, but I like both in equal measure.

 

material matters

December 12, 2018

I’m quite drawn to the work of Aussie artist, Sally Blake –– mostly because I find her creations so strange and ethereal. There are baskets woven from copper wire, pomegranate dyed wool, silk and hemp and beautiful wall hangings constructed from copper and aluminium wire. Some of her processes sound painstaking; “The Fire Drawings combine marks made from the ash of eucalyptus destroyed by fire with patiently delivered burns that penetrate the picture surface. The ash represents the aspect of fire that is uncontrollable which reduces everything in its path, and the burns suggest the aspect of fire which can be contained. Images are created as the paper is destroyed, revealing the tension between fire’s destructive capacity and its potential for creating the conditions for renewal.” What I find impressive is how many techniques –– dyeing, basketry, weaving, stitching and piecing –– Blake combines in her work. And the way the artist mixes natural materials with man made ones to achieve both balance and tension.

mother love

December 12, 2018

I always thought I’d have a hard time getting pregnant, mainly because I’d struggled with endometriosis for years. When I did get pregnant, a few months after our wedding, my Mum said that “pregnancy came easily to me, because so much else hadn’t.” I was so grateful to be pregnant, that I resolved never to complain about the nausea, about the leg cramps, about the size of my areola, about anything. My second pregnancy came swiftly after, with bouts of heavy bleeding that landed me on bedrest for months. Again, I resolved not to complain. It was a miracle that he was alive, that’s how I felt. By my third pregnancy, I did complain. Mostly to my husband, who always did his best to empathize with all the bonkers things that were happening to me. This time, the nausea and constant sickness sapped me dry. I felt and looked so dreadful. It really wasn’t until the last month that I blossomed, and started to embrace the pregnancy. When I look back though, the most challenging part, each time in fact, was the huge responsibility I felt. I was so conscious of what I ate, how much I exercised; was the baby growing and thriving in there? “French women drink wine and eat fois gras,” people would say. “Paula Radcliffe ran throughout two pregnancies.” Good for Paula and good for the French. Midway through my third pregnancy, I was coughing so hard that I worried my uterus felt like an earthquake. Would the reverberations hurt the baby? It’s why I was ok with bedrest, because lying flat was the only way I could relieve myself of the responsibility of something going wrong with my son. It’s a long time to carry that kind of weight. Each time, I looked forward to the babies being in the world, not least, because it meant that the responsibility would be shared. And it is, in every way. My husband and I also have a village of good people who guide, nurture and challenge our children everyday. But there’s strain of irrational angst, mad love, punched-in-the-gut pain, that no person, that no village, no matter how big can relieve a mother of. I realize now that pregnancy was just preparing me for it. As best it could.

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