kew gardens

last week i went to kew gardens by myself – it was a lovely bright day and its one of my favourite places to walk around and take in the autumn colour.  its a great place to take young children, they love climbing the trees, walking the tree top walk and running through all the open spaces.  i still love the lily pond conservatory, and although one of the main conservatories is being renovated, there is still a lot to see and you can escape inside if there is a shower.  sadly, i didn’t realise that some of the galleries close on a monday, would have loved to have seen the botanical gallery.   have a look at the vegetable and herb garden too, there are some beautiful vegetables being grown there.  if you are lucky enough to live locally, then its great to have an annual pass so that you can pop in whenever you want, i saw lots of ladies sitting eating their sandwiches in there.

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xmas sale

save the date – our lovely friend Carolyn, who makes the gorgeous poms is hosting our next sale sunday 23rd November 2014 in her  home, just off the Portobello Road.  we will be having a selection of beautiful gifts for you to buy,  so why not pop in and have a glass of mulled wine and a home made mince pie.  11.30 to 4.30pm, parking is free on a sunday.

cw Lovely Merchants 2014

hey laura

one of my favourite songs, hey laura reminds me of tender moments of courting and growing up.  it was amazing to see Gregory Porter last night at the Royal Albert Hall – it was only a few months ago that I stood in a record shop in soho with him playing a few numbers !  it was the first night of a week of the blues fest  at the royal albert hall;  there are also daytime events with lots of different artists, so for a small fee you can walk around participating in everything music, listen to q and a’s and children under 14 go free.  tonight I am going to see Van Morrison, which will be a first time.


a poem of thoughts

Mind is the master power that molds and makes,
And we are Mind, and evermore we take
The tool of thought, and shaping what we will,
Bring forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills,
We think in secret, and it comes to pass -
Our world is but our looking glass.
— James Allen

This short and inspiring poem contains a world of wisdom within its few short sentences. It serves as a powerful reminder or idea that we are what our thoughts made of. What we consistently and persist in thinking, be it good or bad, sooner or later our thoughts will manifest into reality.

I hope that this poem would encourage you in cultivating courageous, good and beautiful thoughts.

Mr Turner – a film to see

absolutely loved the new Mr Turner film by Mike Leigh – its a wonderful characterful performance by all, and especially Timothy Spall – the cinematography breathtaking and the historical retelling interesting.    if you love art and especially Turner’s paintings, then you have to see the film on the big screen – its fine to catch up on some films on dvd, but this is one to see at the cinema.   the scenic locations were so painterly- it must be every photographers dream to be on a set like that.

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dashwood books

i love book shops – especially small independent ones.  i have noticed recently that there are more and more individual bookshops opening, especially specialising in photography and art and special editioned books.  some books are becoming like art – collectors pieces.   dashwood books in new york has a beautiful and unique books, you could spend hours in there.

independent bookshops are perfect to browse in – they always remind me of the book 84 charring cross road – which you must read if you havent already – it actually made me cry.  john sandoe books is one that i was taken too recently and i loved its higgledy piggledy fashion;  maggs bros is the opposite,  housed in a georgian townhouse its collection of antiquarian books is vast and more orderly.    whilst we were in venice, we stumbled upon many antique book shops – with beautiful shop window displays – its one of the pleasures of venice, walking the streets window shopping at dusk.  damocle  books had a beautiful collection of classic authors and poetry books.

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broadway market with its wonderful food stalls and interesting shops has 3 great book shops too, artwords books , broadway bookshop and donion books – both have an eclectic choice of books and a good selection of art based magazines.

queens park books is also a good local bookshop and has a good range of books for children.  its so tempting to go into a bookshop and see a book, then go home and buy it cheaper on amazon, but next time, tell yourself that if you hadnt seen the book in the bookshop then you would never have know about the book – where would we all be without bookshops?  they are a source of inspiration and develop the mind and creativity.  lets try and keep them all alive.

my favourite places to have coffee are in bookshops that also serve you tea and cakes – what a perfect balance, to relax and spend time choosing and discovering new books. the idler academy not only sells book, lovely coffee and cakes, but offers a wide range of interesting courses from Latin to embroidery to life drawing!

the society club in soho, is another lovely place to stop by for tea and always has an everchanging exhibition.

in Cartagena, we stumbled upon a lovely bookshop and cafe, abaco - so if you manage to get to Cartagena Colombia, do try and stop by there.


Primrose Hill Books is a small local bookshop on Regents Park Road,  as well as selling a selection of novels and artbooks, you can ask for out of print, hard to find books:  they can also order books efficiently for you.  Genesis Publications is where I always turn to for special birthday, wedding anniversary presents- they produce the most beautiful limited editioned books – I bought my husband Bob Dylan, David Bowie – they are beautiful collectors items!  Cecil Court, a short walk from Leicester Square Tube is a book lovers dream – the century old shopfronts havent changed and the signs advertise that they are specialists in rare and antiquarian books, maps and prints and all manner of related printed material including stamps and banknotes.  You will definitely find a gift here.  Finally, you must visit Daunt books on Marylebone High Street, one of my favourite book shops – reminiscent of an Edwardian bookshop, it really is what you imagine a bookshop should be like.

shakespeare school’s festival

It was very moving and heartening to watch The Merchant of Venice by the lovely children of the Michael Tippett School for the shakespeare school’s festival -  it was one of the 3 productions showing alongside my own daughters school.  I love that organisations like this exist to not only keep Shakespeare alive amongst our youth,  but to also give them the opportunity to use these plays to relay passionate storytelling and take part in group performances.   All the children who participated were special in some way, but it does make me proud to be British when i see that we include all children from all backgrounds and walks of life to work together.

i love this old shakespeare book that robert bought me when we first met – its dated 1907, but i love the words of the opening page.

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