Archive for the 'books' Category

instant light

lovely mary bought me this inspirational book, instant light, polaroids by Tarkovsky.   i havent used polaroids for a long time, but my two girls love them – unfortunately its so expensive now to buy.  you can only get replacement film for the classic poloroid camera by impossible.


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discovered this lovely magazine kinfolk – inspiring design, beautiful photography – covers food and things to make and do – you can buy it at the rizzoli bookshop in somerset house.

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love, nina

i am reading this book, love nina, which is funny , fresh and very clever;  its one of those books that even when you are very busy you can pick up and read at any time.   its made up of letters that nina wrote to her sister during her time as a nanny for a family in Primrose hill in the 1980′s.    its hard to believe that they weren’t edited, but amazingly her sister kept them all and now they are published together  to provide an entertaining read.  i love books that are made up of letters – my other favourite book being 84 charring cross road.  

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derek jarman

one of my all time favourite books for gifts is Derek Jarman’s Garden book, photographed by Howard Sooley.  published in 1995, it remains a classic and timeless study of a beautiful and original garden that he created – it will make you think about finding pieces of driftwood and turning your garden into something more inspirational.

happy new year

as usual i have lots of new intentions which i know by the beginning of the year will soon fade away.   life is flying by, its another year – i remember thinking that 2000 was a milestone and we are now many years on;  but what i do  realise and am thankful for –   is  health, family and happiness.  no resolutions as such, but here are a few things that i will be bearing in mind….

generosity of thought

kindness of heart

patience of mind

selflessness in spirit

loyalty and friendship

my friend amanda bought me a lovely inspiring book, daily rituals – examining the daily routines of more than a hundred writers and artists – it shows that it takes effort, hard work and determination to create a successful piece of work – of course there are some who it comes naturally to, but for most its about dedication.  i think this means that if you really want something and put your mind to achieving it, you are almost there……..

wishing you all a joyous and healthy 2014 and may it bring everything you wish for!

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independent bookshops

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.

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.

i havent been there yet, but fosters bookshop looks a fascinating bookshop, and not forgetting bookshops that become restaurants in the evening, such as boulevard bookshop in hastings, which serves thai food in the evening.  and the wonderful books for cooks in notting hill.

I am also sadly missing popping into  harbour books, in whitstable – i keep meaning to pop down for the day, but time just seems to fly by!

i am just finishing the boleyn inheritance by Philippa Gregory – its an intriguing insight into the life of the courts of Henry VIII, but told through the voices of three very different women – thank goodness to be born a woman today.

the language of flowers

thank you to st john for my gorgeous little book – the language of flowers - mine is a 1970′s copy, but its a copy of a handwritten and illustrated book written in 1913 and dedicated to mother from father.  the book simply tells you the meaning of all the flowers – all handwritten like somebody’s notebook.

“There is a language, ‘little known’, Lovers claim it as their own. Its symbols smile upon the land, Wrought by Natures wonderous hand; And in their silent beauty speak, Of life and joy, to those who seek For Love Divine and sunny hours In the language of the flowers”.



going on holiday and looking forward to reading a book again.  i dont seem to find the time to read books these days, so many other things to catch up on and when i finally get into bed, i am so tired that i can only manage a page or two.   For a really good read,  try Patti Smith’s fascinating story of her relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe – it’s a beautifully simple and easy retelling of a special bond that she shared with him.   It starts with them both, penniless in New York, struggling to find money to eat, but both passionate with their art and poetry.  Their belief in their own sights and in each other, is what is amazing and proves that if you have goals in life and the will and determination to succeed, you can get there.     Set in New York, in the late sixties and seventies , it is a portrait of two young artists’ ascent, a prelude to fame.  Patti’s beautiful writing and her poetry is so enchanting, expressing so much it makes you want to read more of her poetry.  You will no doubt cry at the end of the story – it was one of the most engaging and inspiring books that i have read for a long while.  Just Kids, by Patti Smith is published by Bloomsbury.


any ideas for a good holiday read would be appreciated – i have bought a philippa gregory novel, inspired by the white queen series on tv, but sadly the production has put me off reading the book – its so wishy washy – i was so looking forward to it – at least the costumes are interesting to look at.

It was this time last year that I toook alfie and his friend to new york – sadly no trip planned this year, but whenever i think about book shops, i always think about dashwood books in new york.  as you know, 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 – perfect for special gifts, you could spend hours in there.


books, books and more books….

i always notice lovely independent bookshops – just 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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i am just reading the biography of Lizzie Siddal model to the pre raphaelites – its fine, but not as compelling as the pre raphaelites by franny moyle .  if you want a good read, then  the secret lives of bees is such a beautiful story,  its about a young girl’s coming of age, her memories and hopes for a mother that she lost when she was little, her relationship with other women and more importantly her recognition that colour does not matter.  set in south carolina in the 60′s, its poetical, spiritual, magical and uplifting.  I just watched the film version, but i find that with all the films, they skip through the storyline and are disappointing  - you must read the book first.  Continue reading ‘books, books and more books….’


another year gone in a blink, today is 2 years since eilleen passed away and we miss her even more.  she came to spain with us and loved the street life, the fact that old and young sat in the streets all night long.  i recently discovered federico garcia lorca’s sketches of spain and am taken by his evocative words, his poetic prose magically expresses the  spirit of the landscape – romantic gardens, splendid plains – its a beautiful book, that you can pick up and read sections at any time.

A romantic garden.

” Spanish gardens are disappearing. Tidy, symmetrical English parks are replacing them….Only very infrequently, walking along a deserted path leading to humble places, do we come across a shadowy deserted garden.

The romantic gallant soul of the eighteenth century beats along its avenue. The garden loves pallid ladies and gentleman poets. Twilight gardens from an age of sentimental dramas. Misty gardens that made Juan Ramon Jimenez, the great poet of mists, suffer so ……

The garden was alone. Pink and white hollyhocks flourish their flowering staffs among green waves of myrtles that run riot.  The green dome of a pergola overgrown by a tea rose rises in the centre of the garden.  Inside dry leaves cover a black stone table.  The benches have sunk into the wet ground and a cascade of ivy does its best to hide them……”



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