to kill a mocking bird

thinking ahead and booked a couple of tickets for alfie and me to see ‘to kill a mocking bird’ at the regents park open theatre next week.  its only on for 2 weeks, so you have to be quick and reserve now.     its one of those classic books which i think will always be popular with future generations.

i love open air events in london, just so unpredictable with the weather – somerset house also has open air concerts – such a beautiful courtyard to stage events.  i have only been to the regents park open theatre once, to see a children’s production and i remember it being v hot – i still have yet to visit the globe, another open air theatre.

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i wonder how many people come home with a rug from morocco?   i loved the way they laid out the rugs like squares of paintings – i can see where Paul Klee got his inspiration.

there is a moroccan rug shop going up to  highgate, but if you are after modern rugs then the rug company has the best choice.

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moroccan lights

of course i was taken by all the wonderful lights in morocco, especially the copper and brass ones – so many, but i managed to refraine myself from buying one.   the souk was  a treasure trove of lanterns, as well as rugs and slippers.

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i love this simple idea of using glass moroccan style lanterns for holding candles, perfect for the garden on balmy nights.    there is a moroccan bazaar on golborne road, W10, which is worth visiting, in fact, go down on a friday morning and see the numerous stalls that line the street – so atmospheric.  the stalls continue right up to portobello road and there is always some bargain to be found.   moroccan decor also offers a wide range of moroccan lights and accesories.


here in vejer, you can find lots of lanterns in kabila, just before conil.


walking and parks

with all the lovely weather we had, i have started to walk into town – i am lucky enough to have regents park so close and it easily takes me through to the west end. not only do i get to take in the wonderful views but it also gives me the much needed exercise – beats going to the gym. its wonderful that london is filled with parks, you can get from one end of london to another by walking through all the parks; start at hampstead, go through primrose hill, then through regents park, wander through hyde park and end up in green park and st james – not forgetting all the wonderful cafes you would have to stop at too.  i recently read that if you walk for 40 mins a day it reduces the risk of stroke and heart attacks – so ditch the car for short journeys and buy yourself a good pair of walking shoes.

after being away, you realise how lucky we are in london to have so many parks and open squares – vejer has only one tiny park near its car park, whereas seville has the famous maria luisa park.  of course, i have just been to the wonderful majorelle gardens in marrakesh, but this is a fee paying park.

Kenwood House is probably consistently the best for cakes, but also has great breakfast, the Garden Cafe in Regents Park, situated in the middle of the lovely rose garden is another good stopping place, have a drink at the Serpentine Cafe, and Oliver Peytons Inn the Park, in St. James Park is a lovely setting for afternoon tea or dinner. dont forget to pop into the new temporary cafe in the annual architectural pavilion at the serpentine – its on til mid october 2014. wonder if you can do this all in one day?

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which one?


oranges and honey

the deli/convenience store that has always been in town and run by a local has reopened as a high quality ham and deli counter- it had closed during the winter months; i think that during this time businesses in spain really do suffer and with the increasing amount of discount supermarkets springing up around the area, competition is high. i notice that there are lots of budget hypermarkets now, and andalucia does seem to have a high proportion of unemployment and so locals are choosing these rather than their local ‘corner’store. like the weather changes so fast in vejer, so do the shopkeepers – another little deli has opened, ajonjoli – a tiny shop selling one type of goats cheese, morrocan bread and mixed grain rolls, moroccan sweet pastry, figs and local jams; the choice is little, but everything useful. alongside ya en tu casa and the spice lady in the fruit market, they offer a select choice of everyday culinary items – fingers crossed that they survive another winter.  i think that rather compete with the supermarkets, they have all decided to go more upmarket and appeal to the tourists.

did you know that eating a spoonful of local honey is also meant to be a good remedy for hayfever ? when in london i buy the local regents park honey and it does seem to help – search for your local honey, you will be surprised to see how many of your local parks creates its own honey. you can buy regents park honey from Melrose and Morgan. its expensive, but then i find that most good honey is expensive. remember to buy your own local honey though to your area for treating hayfever. whilst i am here in vejer, i can buy a variety of local honeys, including a propolis one. honey seems to be something of a local delicacy in andalucia. oranges trees line a lot of the public sidewalks – so they are always available in abundance in the market for juicing.


a new artisan shop has opened, antigua correo – as you can guess from spanish translation, its in the old post office, just behind our house on calle bueno – selling crafts products from around the world, including rugs from morroco, jewellery from columbia, throws from south america, and some lovely photographic books – its lovely to see this rather than the usual souvenir gifts that spring up around this region.  there is also the little shop attached to the restaurant merengo, selling beautiful towels from turkey, some hand made ceramics and jewellery.

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have now arrived in spain with my family for our annual summer holiday – rather later than usual, but fortunately Maude starts school later this year.  its still v hot, over 35C, so venturing to the beach is not to be advised in the mid day.  we tend to go for a late lunch, then by the time you go for a swim and sit on the beach its after 4.30, when its cooling down, but you can still feel the warmth.   of course we visited our favourite restaurant in conil, la fontanilla - great fish simply grilled, salad and calamares.   but as always things spring up, and especially in the summer months, so its good to try and discover new things.  for the first time we ventured to the far end of el palmar beach, technically this part is named mangueta (its also where there are more nudists), but its definitely more family at this time of year.  we ate lunch at one of the chiringuitos that only open during the summer months. Chiringuitos, are small bars or stands that can be seen the length of the Spanish coast, usually on the beachfront.  There are different types, some selling cold beverages and others that are much more elaborate and may serve meals.   Some of the most typical treats on offer are paella and sardines, although the variety depends on the place   .gurugu , just past la chanca restaurant is a vibrant restaurant/bar, serving more modern food – not too pricey, the food was quite good, especially the noodles with vegetables.  its also less busy at this part of the beach, though as september approached, you definitely notice that the whole area becomes less crowded.

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