Posts from August 2019

stair master

August 30, 2019

Ooh la la, can we say dream staircase. So simple, and bold. It’s very Cycladic in feel. I like the juxtaposition of minimal, Greek island design with traditional botanical drawings, gilded frames and a sisal rug. Up close, you can see all the markings in the plaster, which just adds more character and life to the overall design.

taste of honey

August 30, 2019

Isn’t this such an elegant headboard? Modern, but with a nod to the past. I like how the scalloped edge is echoed in the quilt. The details on the walls are all hand painted, trompe l’oeil style. And the overall palette –– honey, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream –– is so warm and inviting. It’s all in the details, and there are so many to love here.

a spoon full of sugar

August 29, 2019

These spoons by Isle of Skye based artist, Helena Emmans are so beautiful and delicate. I imagine four or five of them hung haphazardly across a white wall. I love the ones with beech wood handles. What a precious gift these would make.


August 28, 2019

It’s been a while since I’ve posted a guest loo, (regular readers know I have a penchant for them) and this one really is divine. The wall paper, the sink, the brass taps and those charming sconces. I’m sure it exists, but one day I may edit a book of my favourite, and most decadent loos. With a finely curated selection of on-the-loo reading material.

my dhalia

August 28, 2019

It’s dhalia season, and while dhalias aren’t my favourite flower, I do find their multi-petaled faces so interesting. A few weeks ago, I bought a dhalia home that was as big as dinner plate. It only lasted two days before it started to wilt, but what joy it brought me. If you are on Instagram, please follow Floret Flowers. Erin Benzakein’s images are just so lovely. Dhalia after dhalia, of late.

luna park

August 27, 2019

The luna park features big in my childhood memories. My brother, cousins and I used to pile into our nanny’s tiny red Peugeot and head for the Vougliagmeni travelling fair most nights of the week. Our dinner was corn on the cob and ice cream, followed by a snack of roasted pumpkin seeds. Snow White’s skirt was always a thrill, as was the roller coaster. The CNE is vastly bigger than the luna parks of my childhood, but the atmosphere –– the candyfloss, twinkly lights, shrieks and loud music –– is similar. If not for One Republic blaring across the grounds, it could be 1984. I only went on a one ride this year, but it was just enough of a thrill to send me back to 1984. Interestingly, my one and only memory of my parents together, (they separated when I was six) is at a luna park near our family home in Surrey. The four of us, My Mum and I in one cart, and my Dad and brother in another, were high above the ground when my Dad started screaming, “stop the bloody machine” at the top of his lungs. My Dad was wearing a pin stripe suit. They definitely didn’t stop the ride.

nature, nurture

August 23, 2019

I’ve been thinking about nature versus nurture this week, and how much, or little, our childhood experiences impact our adult selves. At one end of the spectrum is psychologist, Oliver James who states that genes play little part. “Nurture is critical, whether it be carrot or stick.” And at the other end is psychologist and geneticist, Robert Plomin, who says that our personality traits are less a manifestation of how we were raised by our parents, and more to do with what we inherited from them biologically. I tried to listen to one of Plomin’s podcasts, but my brain turned to blancmange. I struggle with the science of being human. Neither extreme makes sense to me. I’d like to believe that holding your child’s hand as you walk down the street, or teaching her how to shuck an oyster is as important as the DNA that runs through her. And that unconditional love does wonderful things for a child. As does celebrating his triumphs (you’re cycling on two wheels!) And supporting his failures and falls (it’s ok, you’ll climb that tree next time.) That introducing them to as much variety, be it through food, travel, art, music, film, cultivates curiosity, empathy and openness. As does boredom. And that those terrible parenting moments, or periods in you child’s life that you wish you could alter or erase are character building, too. Countless people attribute their grit to the adversity they were raised with. Children learn from a parent who can admit to weakness and humility. “We’re all bad parents,” says British psychotherapist, Philippa Perry. “We all do our best and make mistakes….It’s not the mistakes we make that matter so much as putting them right.” I lose my temper more than I’d like to, and I rush my kids because I’m a poor time keeper. I’m distracted, and often trying to do five things at once. I tell my children all the time that I’m a human being, doing my best, and like them, learning a little about myself every day. On our road trip last week, there was a resistance in Antimo every time we visited a gallery, garden or state park that reminded me so much of own response to cultural outings as a child. Every time I’d lose my temper with him, I’d then berate myself for expecting too much of a child. I should know better. I was a seven year old girl once, forced up mountains on foot to visit Byzantine monasteries that were of no interest to me. Has my father’s curiosity distilled its way down to me, and will it one day reach my son? Or is it his self servingness that I now inflict on my children as I drag them around the grounds of a regency style Vanderbilt Mansion? Perspective is everything. Is my ability to see both sides something I saw modeled in both my parents? I do believe that out of these moments spring possibilities to nurture something that genes alone might not cover. Curiosity. Respect. Worldliness. And yes, a sensitivity to other people, and their interests. Boredom. And not always getting what you want. I don’t know. None of us do. But I’d like to agree with Perry, that we all do our best, and make mistakes. What sticks and what doesn’t is not for us to decide.

water, water, everywhere

August 21, 2019

There’s nothing like swimming in salt water, but I do love the feeling of lake water, too. The water in the Adirondacks was beautiful, so fresh and clean. And a few days earlier, we were in Woodstock, diving into a swimming hole / bucket of ice cold water. Both felt wonderful. But unlike sea water, I find it disconcerting that you can’t see the bottom of lakes. I imagine snakes and leaches all around me. I imagine coming nose to nose with a trout. “Swimming in fresh water has its challenges, because you don’t have the buoyancy you have in the sea,” I can hear my Dad saying. He swims for hours in the sea, always has done. One day, I’d like to swim a major distance, be it lake, sea or ocean. I’d enjoy the challenge, and the feeling of being an amphibian for a day.

ice cream, you scream

August 21, 2019

My favourite ice cream flavours are the traditional ones. Vanilla, strawberry, mint chocolate chip. My children like ice cream that looks like toothpaste. With sprinkles on top. I don’t often eat dessert, so when I do, those crazy cones are just too much. All I want is a scoop of something classic in a little paper cup. Pistachio, with a little vanilla on the side.

road trip

August 19, 2019

Our first road trip was two weeks after Jason and I met. We rented a car in Florence and drove through Tuscany and Umbria for a few days. We barely knew each other, and with no radio in the car, we threw ourselves in at the deep end. We didn’t talk all that much, and it wasn’t lost on either of us how natural it felt to be quiet together. In the years that followed, we drove through Western Canada, California, Baja and Mexico. And when I say we drove, I mean Jason drove and I co-piloted. I’m hopeless with a map, so I actually didn’t even do that. I’d listen to music, (Frank Sinatra took us through the Rockies) tidy my thoughts and cuticles, and take in the scenery. To this day, we talk very little in the car, only the car is far from quiet. With three children in the back, snacking, eye-spying, bickering, whining, kicking, crying, and drowning out Jason’s yacht rock with their iPads, our car is not what it used to be. Road trips en famille are equal parts adventure and ordeal. There are the tedious, monotonous, pull-your-hair-out stretches. “Are we there yet?” “I need to pee!” “I feel car sick.” But the pay offs — spontaneous swims, exquisite scenery, unpredictability, adventure, and bonkers, loud, beautiful, messy hours all together — make it worth it. I admire families who travel across the country –– our destinations are never more than a day away –– and who camp along the way. That’s a whole other level of challenge. Maybe one day we’ll be up for it. Maybe one day, when more than one in the pack has a driver’s license!

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