Posts from March 2020

all aboard

March 31, 2020

Emilie Grigsby (1876 – 1964) was an American socialite who led a colourful life. An affair with a much older, wealthy tycoon landed her a New York mansion and money enough to live a lavish life. Wildly beautiful, and very generous, Grigsby became a patron of artists, sculptors, musicians and writers. She moved to England in 1912, and regularly travelled between Europe and New York on the Olympic, Aquitania and Lusitania liners. W.B. Yeats and sculptor, Auguste Rodin were frequent guests at Grigsby’s Mayfair home, and an obituary in The Times said that “she could out entertain her rivals with wines and cooking beyond their ken.” One of her steamer trunks, and a few cocktail dresses, was part of a recent V&A exhibition, now sadly closed. The silk georgette and glass beaded ‘salambo’ dress was designed by Jeanne Lanvin in Paris in 1925. Oh, the parties these frocks would have seen.

china store

March 30, 2020

Who has room for more than one set of dishes? It’s decadent, for sure, but I love the idea of a walk-in cupboard dedicated to china. Modern plates, rustic ones, grand and old fashioned ones. What fun to mix and match them all.

outside the lines

March 30, 2020

This isn’t a colour combination that I’d typically gravitate to –– lilacs and lavenders aren’t my thing –– but I do love this decor. It’s Italian architect Roberto Baciocchi’s home in Tuscany which makes it all the more interesting. I love the watercolour effect of the lilac, and how it contrasts with that fierce flaming red. Such contrasts make life more interesting.

unfamiliar familiar

March 28, 2020

As human beings, it’s natural to seek out something familiar in the unfamiliar. How often have you visited a foreign city for the first time and drawn references to your home town? Or to another familiar city? The tiles in the hotel lobby remind me of the tiles in my old school gym. I love how cities built on rivers all have a distinctly unique left and right bank life. Drawing connections is intrinsically human; it’s how we find our place in the world. So here we all are, facing an utterly unfamiliar situation, that has many of us referencing our personal archives in the hopes of finding something familiar. A road map, perhaps. I wrote about bedrest the other day, and how that felt like a quarantine of sorts. And I’ve also found myself comparing this period to those often discombobulating days between Christmas and New Year when the shops are shut, people flee the city, and we have no idea what day of the week it is. A pregnancy lasts nine months. The holidays last a week. Maybe, two. This scenario could go on for months. And we’re not sure what life will look like on the other side. But what we do know, is that we’ve all navigated challenges, and that we’ll navigate this one, too. And that yes, while the unpredictability, and unprecedented nature of all this is unnerving, there is also freedom, hope and opportunity in the uniqueness of it all.

wall to wall

March 27, 2020

I really like densely packed picture walls, the more eclectic the better. I like to see a mix of photographs, drawings and paintings. It need not be fancy, but the best picture walls are personal and reflect their creators. An iconic magazine cover or record sleeve, some old postcards and heirloom photographs, some children’s art, a love letter, a report card, some pressed leaves, matchbooks and eye popping prints can all look wonderful. Vary your frame styles –– from ultra minimal to gaudy and ornate –– and don’t fret too much about placement. The more higgledy-piggledy the better. This one here is pretty great.

born to run

March 26, 2020

Both my parents are runners. My Mum was an amazing sprinter at school, and up until recently, my Dad ran marathons. They always won the Mum and Dad’s races at sports day which made my brother and I feel pretty chuffed. My dad used to go on long runs with our Great Dane, Magnus, it’s how he stayed fit and kept his stress levels down. He owns about thirty pairs of trainers, most of which he’s had for almost as many years. My brother is a runner, and for about five years I ran daily, also. I ran in blizzards, and in blazing heat. I ran tracks, riverbanks, mountain trails, parks, pavements and beaches. I ran. My only regret was that I didn’t run Marathons because I was surely in shape for them. I’ve never been fitter than I was in my running years. But as most runners know, it can take its toll in other ways. Running is intense and addictive. I was a new Mum, with two babies, and running was all I could do to manage the surge of emotional changes. With hindsight, I would have found more support in something gentler. But we learn what works for us by living through what doesn’t. When I was pregnant with Luma everything in me knew I had to replace running with something more nourishing, kind and sustainable. Swimming, and more recently, yoga, are a form of salve for the body and mind. In many ways, they are the antidote to years of running. And yet, there is still a part of me that misses it. The adrenaline, and the feeling of flight. Recently, I’ve felt a visceral urge to run. Maybe it’s Spring’s awakening, maybe it’s that we’re spending so much time at home, but I see runners from my window and I want to join them. I know I can’t run with the intensity that I once did –– I no longer want to –– but a once-weekly jog, or a sprint to the park and back, may be enough to satisfy the urge. The irony is that I no longer own a decent pair of runners. Unlike my Dad, I chucked all mine when I was done.

plant life

March 25, 2020

Good golly! I came across the work of up-and-coming garden designer, Alexander Hoyle, and I’m positively swooning. “My design aesthetic is best described as the modern English country garden,” says Hoyle. “It combines form, and function, structurally and architecturally, and with a sense of serendipity in the cacophony of planting. I like gardens that are a little wild, have flair and zest, and are a little camp.” I love these enormous baskets stuffed full of wild booms, and this English garden is so densely planted, rich in texture, unfussy and free. And just look at this wild and whimsical terrace, complete with vintage wrought-iron and wicker furniture, created for a home in Tangier. Cocktail hour could never be dull with all these fancy plants to talk to. And I’m sure a little Rosé in the soil would help the flowers grow.

fancy dress

March 24, 2020

Thank heavens for Delpozo, who one dress at a time, brings sheer fantasy to the world. Just knowing that such dresses exist, makes me happy. I can see a certain kind of girl getting married in this dress. It’s whimsical, romantic, ethereal, and utterly one-of-a-kind. I think she needs a little tiara to take to the altar, and this one is divine. It’s listed at a little over $25,000, but ignore the pricetag, we’re in the land of fantasy, remember.


March 24, 2020

Just in case anyone is missing fresh flowers in the house the way I am, here are some breathtaking poppies. This barely-there-pink combined with the sage green is too lovely for words. Just picture a generous bunch of them in the grandest of vases.

rest position

March 23, 2020

“The best thing to do, is to stay home,” was my doctor’s advice when I hemorrhaged twice midway through my second pregnancy. I had developed a subchorionic hematoma, quite common in pregnancy, and his advice was strict bedrest. I spent four months in our small, sunny guestroom, a room that would one day become Antimo and Luma’s bedroom. With hindsight, bedrest was too strict a prescription; it put a massive strain on Jason, and meant me missing out on so many beautiful moments with Iole. There was no science to prove that bedrest would help my situation. Most of the time such blood clots resolve on their own by bleeding out or getting absorbed by your body. But all those late-night trips to the emergency (with Iole in tow) were frightening. And at the time, bedrest was all we could do to feel some semblance of control in a situation where we had none. Tell a woman to stand on her head, lie flat or fly to the moon to keep her son safe, and she’ll do it. I have never felt so okay about doing so damn little. In the situation we’re now all in, we do have the science. We know that staying home is the only thing to do. Here’s hoping for the gestation period of a mouse.

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