Posts from December 2015

She Who Knows

December 14, 2015

I love a good profile shot;  Cecil Beaton’s photographs of Audrey Hepburn and Barbara Streisand are two of my favourites. But the prize for most stunning profile goes to Jacqueline de Ribes.  In the mid 50s, Diana Vreeland, then editor of Harper’s Bazaar, asked the French aristocrat, socialite and couture muse to be photographed by Richard Avedon. De Ribes agreed, and this is the iconic image that came out of the shoot. Avedon described her as having the “perfect nose” and added, “I feel sorry for near-beauties with small noses.”


Be My Guest

December 11, 2015

There are the homes we wish we could live in, and the homes we wish we could visit. The whimsical London home of Caroline Sieber’s and Fritz von Westenholz is just the sort of a place I’d like to pop in to for a cinq à sept. Yes, I’d be quite happy curled up like a chinchilla on that turquoise tufted chair. Better yet, if the freshly-wed couple would like to have me for a sojourn, I promise, I make a very good house guest.





Comfort & Joy

December 9, 2015

“I absolutely and emphatically believe that a life without flowers is not a life worth living,” says the wildly colourful interiors stylist, Carlos Mota. “Arranged flowers are the world’s simplest extravagance.” It’s at this time of year, when the city is bare and gray, that we should indulge in fresh flowers, weekly. While it’s seems odd to buy tulips in December, combined with bright berries and Eucalyptus branches, they look positively festive. And of course, you can can never go wrong with jewel-toned Dhalias. Buy as many as your budget allows and stuff them into your wackiest vase, for a look that is as comforting as it is joyful.




December 8, 2015

It’s so rare that I spend time in bookstores anymore. I used to love Acadia in the east end for beautiful and rare art books, (and a black cat that circled the piles of books) and Nicholas Hoare was always a pleasure, too. This time last year, on our way home from St. Pete, we spent an afternoon at The Oxford Exchange in Tampa. The book store there is a dream, with a mix of fiction, photography and lux coffee table tomes that you just don’t happen upon everyday. I picked up a limited edition leather bound copy of Old Man And The Sea there for my father that he adored. But my favourite book shop in the world is John Sandoe off the King’s Road in London. Now, that’s a place you can spend hours and hours in.





December 7, 2015

When I was very little we had a Great Dane called Magnus with a white coat covered in large, black splodges. He was the size of a small pony. At least once a week,  to the chagrin of our nursery school principle, Magnus used to sprint from home to school (about 3-miles) and appear in the playground. Every child use to dash inside the moment he appeared, leaving my tiny brother and I standing alone alongside Magnus. My mum would come and get him, and that would be that. We thought his school visits were amazing. We thought Magnus was amazing.



December 4, 2015

Don’t you want to know what these two are nattering about? The photo was shot by Dave Bennett in ’91 after the premiere of Liza’s film, Stepping Out, and you can just can just tell they were in the midst of something juicy. “I like the image because, for just one second, her barriers are down,” said the celebrity photographer. “She’s just a young woman giggling with a girlfriend at a table at a party.” Between Liza and Diana, I see so much of my Mum at that time –– strapless ruffles, red talons, a tomboy pixie cut, Coca Cola and a giant crystal ashtray within reach. This was how she did a girl’s night out.

Princess of Wales and Liza Minnelli




Spot Face

December 3, 2015

I’ve got a pimple the size of Peru on my face and I wish it would go away. My friend, Bianca says that garlic juice from a mashed clove scares zits away in a flash and my husband swears by Polysporin, (that and toothpaste are his solutions for everything). Dayle Breault, aesthetician extraordinaire, suggests we freeze the life out of a pimple the moment it rears its ugly red head. Stick an ice cube on it and hold it there until it hurts. Take a break, and try it again. Five times over. Sadly, I didn’t do this yesterday, so today, I’m crushing garlic and steering clear of anyone I like.



Ready Steady Cook

December 2, 2015

It’s a common pickle –– eight friends for dinner, eight food intolerances to contend with. Marjorie is gluten and dairy intolerant, Camilla doesn’t eat meat, fish, eggs or night shade vegetables and her husband, Diego is on a strict Alkaline diet.  What’s a girl to cook? “It sort of sucks the joy out of cooking,” I said to my friend Stephanie, who’s struggling to devise a menu that will suit a laundry list of intolerances (no onions, garlic, lentils, wheat, dairy, meat and leaks) that one of her guests emailed over in advance of an upcoming dinner party. Diets, intolerances and allergies can be such a bother for a cook, but knowing Steph, she’ll turn this into a creative challenge. I, of course, suggested she ask her friend to bring her own dinner. I was kidding, sort of. But cooking sans onions is no fun at all. As a picky eater myself, I’d rather bring my own food than stop seven others from gorging on garganelli and salsiccia.





Takes the biscuit

December 2, 2015

My friend Alison is hosting her annual cookie exchange in a few weeks. Last year, there was a coconut crise in my kitchen just hours before the tea party, with every snowball burnt to a blackened mess. I still went, with delicious butter biscuits in a charming tin in hand, but I was embarrassed to be the only guest with a shop-bought offering. This year,  I am determined to bring something made-from-scratch and delicious. These pretzel caramel bars look easy enough, even for me.


Meze Me

December 1, 2015

What I love about Middle Eastern food is that it’s as simple as it is decadent — simple ingredients like yogurt, honey and figs combined with something special like rose and orange water to make a luxurious dessert. On the weekend we feasted on a jeweled rice of carrot, saffron, barberries and almonds, branzino wrapped in vine leaf and labneh with fennel, honey and olive oil. I grew up on Greek food, and the two cuisines have a lot in common. But where Greek food is rustic, Persian, Turkish or Lebanese food, feels regal.



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