Posts from November 2020

petal light

November 30, 2020

There’s something in the ethereal beauty of Stephen Doherty‘s flower paintings that I think may resonate with us all. I love the translucency in some of the petals, so delicate and fragile, and how the flowers look like they’ve been pressed and preserved over time. Doherty was in Goa during a monsoon season when he was inspired to recreate the flower offerings that he’d seen tied to shrine gates. His flower series is an offering of gratitude. “I am massively drawn to flowers. I love that they are in a permanent state of movement, rising up and the bursting out from the centre. My drawings are like taking a still of that movement.”

time for tea

November 28, 2020

With November, comes a return to drinking tea. I like herbal teas –– turmeric, ginger, rooibos -– and I often add a spoonful of honey. I grew up drinking tea. My grandparents started their day with a cup of Tetley’s, freshly brewed by the Teasmade. Three lumps of sugar went into my grandfather’s cup. At my Dad’s house, afternoon tea was an event, with silver tea strainers, porcelain cups and perfect little cucumber sandwiches. My mum always had a mug full of English Breakfast with her as she drove me to school. To this day, she makes tea before she’s even opened her eyes in the morning. It’s a cliché that the English pop the kettle on in a crisis. But the truth is, tea is warming, tea is nostalgic. Tea is home.


November 26, 2020

What I remember most about the cut on my chin is how much it bled. I was four-years-old and racing around Ms. China’s classroom on a toy milk truck when it happened. I must have lost my balance, or collided with something. I don’t remember the stitches, but I do remember the feeling of the large bandage across my chin. That was my first scar. I’ve since met dozens of people with scars on their chins, all incurred in childhood. Next came a large scar on my inner thigh when I flew off a mini bike on a peer in Kalamata and singed my skin on the muffler. I was 13. In my late teens I had a mole removed from my ankle, which although painless, was thoroughly unpleasant. For such a little thing, it left a pronounced scar. I have three small scars on my lower belly from a laparoscopy to remove endometriosis. That was a painful experience. A few hours after the surgery, I remember standing in the powder pink changing room, with Jason gently pulling up my gauzy underpants, and thinking, wow, this is love. It took a while to recover, but I did give up smoking that week, and we did go on to have three babies, so those scars are treasures. Scars spark up all kinds of memories, some positive, some painful.

How beautiful you are

he said

a tapestry of scars


english rose

November 26, 2020

I understand that a maximalist decor isn’t everyone’s cup of Darjeeling. But you can’t not appreciate the sheer richness and whimsy of Rita Konig‘s designs. Konig describes her taste as “classic English, with mongrel influences barging in.” She’s a “magpie,” and wants to be fresh and modern, “to create and not just re-create.” This room, with its upholstered cornice, scalloped headboard, and gilded mirror is traditional, and yet thoroughly original. The mix of fabrics is daring, and there are just enough pops of pink. Konig’s advice on how to explore colour and texture is “to go in carefully and turn the dial up in increments..” Start with white walls, she suggests. “And bring in colour in small ways with a pink lamp or pink bed linen, and pink upholstery, too. Then add a Moroccan rug. You don’t need to paint a room to be colourful. It’s a bit like cooking – you add in flavours.” The pomegranate print all over the walls and drapes (this is Konig’s guest room) is by Schumacher. Have a walk around the rest of her County Durham house –– it really is a delight.

house of cardboard

November 24, 2020

“What could be more magical and fascinating than transforming simple cardboard into a piece of art?” So suggests Noelle Rigaudie, an Aussie artist who fashions furniture, frames and murals from this very quotidian material. “Cardboard being resistant, yet light, flexible and easy to handle allows for great manipulation of its function.” Rigaudie grew up in France, and as such was influenced by the grandeur of French antiquities. There’s something irreverent about the idea of a sleigh chaise, an ornate gilded frame, or an empire table made out of lowly cardboard. I love it. And so might you. Have a gander.

shop local

November 23, 2020

It’s such a massive blow to local businesses, that in December, the busiest retail month of the year, they are forced to shut. Curb-side pickup and delivery remain an option, and we must all support in every way we can. Herewith, a not-so-free-from-bias list of where to shop this holiday season. Easy Tiger is unique in this town, spotlighting a range of artists with a flare for the unexpected, quirky, humorous and bizarre. Look out for the work of DA Ceramics, a singular talent, whose ceramics are as weird and wonderful as they are skillfully made. Studio Zey Zey brings such humour and whimsy to clay, with colourful carafes and mugs covered in evil eyes. Michelle Organ, owner of The Shop and creative talent behind Mima is a shining example of what can be achieved with vision, hard work and beautiful ethics. Functionality meets originality in this potter’s hands. I’m a huge fan of the Horses high collared shirt (I own two of them) and I’m kind of after an apron, too. I don’t bake, but I am a messy potter. Jennifer Halchuk and Richard Lyle over at Gaspard have such great taste, and visiting their shop always feels like I’ve stepped into another city. Paris, perhaps. Who wouldn’t love an inouitoosh scarf? Mushrooms and Corinthian columns, anyone? Ewanika is another unique shopping experience; the store itself feels like a chic Italian Nonna’s soggiorno. If nothing else, splurge on local skincare guru, Fran Miller‘s oils. It’s like pouring honey on your face. And if it’s flowers you’re after –– who doesn’t like an amaryllis in December –– run over to Flur for delicate florals and one-of-a-kind hand-made vessels to put them in.


November 20, 2020

I saw an old photograph of myself yesterday with bright red nails, and for the first time in a long time, I missed manicures. Once in a while, and only for a day two before the polish chipped, it felt lovely to walk around with beautifully buffed, crimson talons. I think I miss the eavesdropping as much as the manicure. It was always so fun to listen to people chatting on their phones, or bitching to their aesthetician. “I should have dumped him then and there….” And it was the only time I ever got to catch up on who has cellulite and who wore it better. Everyone. And neither. It was a diversion in my day. A moment to step off the carousel and into Kelly Clarkson’s kitchen. And then dash home with the prettiest hands to make dinner.

house and home

November 19, 2020

I came across this image today (below) and the work of architect and furniture designer, Pierre Yovanovitch and I was swept away by the beautiful, organic forms that travel through his designs. There’s something very warm and natural about his interiors, with a definite sense of whimsy and play. Have a look at his furniture designs; I’m kind of bonkers about this table and his fabulous Mr. Oops chair. I watched this lovely short film about his Provençal home –– the colours and mood are lovely –– and it was interesting to hear him talk about the experience of designing a home for oneself versus a client. “There is a kind of ambiguity in the projects we do for ourselves.” His home is filled with what he calls, “incidents,’ a painting or an object or a perspective that creates an opportunity for surprise, tension and imperfection. He works with artists and likes to give them freedom to express themselves. His ceilings are covered in drawings, and for the little chapel on his property he asked his friend to Claire Tabouret to paint a fresco. “Working with artists is pretty wonderful. It enriches simple architecture.”

colour my world

November 18, 2020

I think about colour a lot. I think about colour the way a cook might think about spice. Do salt and cinnamon work together, and how do I combine less familiar spices such as annatto, nigella and galangal? Unlikely combinations (colours, spices, people) are my favourite occupation. I love to see what happens when a high wattage pink collides with caramel or when a sensitive science buff befriends an ebullient artist. Magic. Even conventional pairings like canary yellow and sky blue can be utterly original. The key is how you put the colours together, and more importantly, the confidence with which you wear them.

love shine light

November 17, 2020

Images of Tate Britain dressed up in neon lit up my Instagram feed yesterday. For years, I walked (and sometimes rollerbladed) along the Embankment to visit the likes of Hogarth, Reynolds and Singer Sargent. Afterwards, my friends and I would sit on the steps outside smoking cigarettes and staring at the Thames. I had no idea what a privilege it was to grow up surrounded by so much culture and beauty. It was the city I’d lived all my life in. It was what I knew. London may not be home anymore, but there’s no place quite like it. Even as the city enters its second lockdown, the show goes on. This month, the Tate revealed its winter installation with a joyful celebration of Diwali created by artist, Chila Kumari Burman. The words, “remembering a brave new world” appear in lilac bubble letters across the Neo Classical facade. Peacocks, evil eyes and magic wands are among the many technicolour motifs on display. The Corinthian columns are wrapped in fairy lights and the front doors are covered in posters of Bollywood stars. “It’s important to critique buildings like this because they’re very Eurocentric,” Burman told Dezeen. “So, I just thought: why not do something that captures what we’re all going through right now? I felt like it needed a blast of joy and light. And Diwali is about good over evil, about hope, unity and the light at the end of the tunnel.”

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