Archive for the 'cultural events' Category

street festivals

its lovely to see so many street festivals – yesterday we popped to the 65th year of bar italia in soho, and it was a lovely event, live music, great food, full of character, and i especially loved the vintage scooters parked up.   bar italia has always been a great stopping place at all times of the day – i always remember it even in my club going days as somewhere to go before making my way home.

next weekend is our albert street festival – when we bought the house 19 years ago, there was always a street festival, but then the lady who organised it moved away and its only just recently been revived.  traditionally there are 3 legged races, bouncy castles, bbq food – it should be fun!  i just hope that the weather stays warm and sunny.



union chapel

we went to see the wonderfully entertaining nick lowe at the union chapel - what an amazing venue!  i had never been there before, but shall certainly look out for more evenings there.

churches now have to be very flexible with their uses  – with high maintenance costs, they are all opening their doors to help pay the bills.  the actors church, st paul’s church, in covent garden has its own theatre company, so look out for future productions. the garden is haven in the midst of the bustle of the market .

its lovely to walk around smithfields on a sunday when its quiet and explore – its strange how tranquil parts of london become on a weekend; but if you are there in the week, its good to visit st bartholomew the great – its a beautiful old church originating from the 12C – the cafe is open for breakfast and some evenings its open for cocktails – its very atmospheric! i saw a spectacular theatre performance there, so keep an eye out for events that go on there.

st lukes church in old street is a hawksmoor church that also holds lot of concerts and workshops, and its where the london symphony orchestra hold their rehearsals.  natalie (alfie’s girlfriend) actually sang a solo there recently with the camden youth jazz band.

st pancras old church, which has been a place of worship since the 4th century,  is another atmospheric church that holds concerts.

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its the last day tomorrow for feria in seville – a wonderful and colourful experience – next year its from 21 – 26th April, a good time to  visit seville and see all the splendour.  my favourite shop in seville is antonio garcia for typical sombreros and andalusian wear – not forgetting the wonderful sombrereria maquedano, housed in a beautiful old store on the famous shopping street calle sierras.   which reminds me somebody directed me to the wonderful luton hats – a fascinating insight into the hat making industry in luton of all places – its one of the great things about blogging, people feed you even more information in return.


last week we were lucky enough to catch the local vejer town feria – nothing like the scale of seville, but still a lovely experience;  the whole town takes part making the streets of vejer full of colour and excitement.


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hand of fatima

throughout andalucia, you can see the hand symbol on the doorknobs of houses – usually referred to as the hand of fatima, but also known as the hamsa. The hamsa is an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the Hand of God. In all faiths it is a protective sign. It brings it’s owner happiness, luck, health, and good fortune.  we put one on our front door here in spain.


easter eggs

love these eggs that talented artist Mary Mathieson,made for our ilovegorgeous shoot.

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Easter is a Christian festival and for Christians the custom of giving eggs at Easter celebrates new life. The first eggs given at Easter were birds eggs. These eggs were painted in bright colours to give them further meaning as a gift. We still paint bird eggs today but usually only chicken eggs.  my daughter loves to paint eggs, but you do have to be really gentle or they will easily break.    you need to pierce a hole at either end blow out all the liquid inside the egg, use for scrambled eggs, or bake a cake!  then perch your egg on a barbecue stick or on a chopstick and paint with acrylic paints.  you can always thread pretty ribbon through the holes and hang them – they look pretty cute.  i really like the tree that maude painted on this egg.

if you are in padstow, on easter sunday there is the annual easter egg rolling down the street – bring your own hard boiled egg – its fun to watch everyone dress up, roll their eggs and raise money for their favourite charity.

mothers day

did you know that we have been celebrating mothering sunday since the 16Century?  in the UK, mothers day always falls on the 4th sunday of Lent, which is why it never falls on the same day each year.

Mothering Sunday was also known as ‘Refreshment Sunday‘, Pudding Pie Sunday (in Surrey, England) or ‘Mid-Lent Sunday‘. It was a day in Lent when the fasting rules were relaxed, in honour of the ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand’, a story in the Christian Bible.

today, it feels like another form of commercialism and something that you ought to do because everybody else does it – i think that every day we should remember how special mothers are – their job at times is a thankless task that we all take for granted.  today alice is taking me and maude for a surprise lunch – not even sure where we are going, just got the address!

in chichicastanago, guatamala the flower girls strewn their flowers for sale on the famed church steps – the petals were used as part of the religious thanks.

whatever you are doing, have a lovely day!

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shrove tuesday

today is pancake tuesday!  pancake tuesday always falls the day before ash weds and is therefore the last day before the commencement of lent.  lent is a time of abstinence and penitence, when you give certain foods up, so pancakes are the last meal containing eggs, flour and butter, which were forbidden during lent.  nowadays few people fast, but the tradition of pancake tuesday does live on.  i have always used delia smiths classic recipe – foolproof, never goes into lumps and is delicious with lemon and sugar.

i have always tried in the past to give up wheat, sugar, red meat, but my willpower is not great – i now am a great believer that a little of everything is fine.

tango and salsa

after watching all that strictly come dancing over xmas again, i decided to have another go at some dance classes;  i tried a salsa and a tango class – completely opposite in movements, but both equally as interesting to learn.   they definitely need mental concentration as well as physical strength, so good for the mind and the body.   the salsa class has just started on my street at a gym, so there should be no excuse not to go – lots of fitness centres have salsa and zumba classes now and even if you are not a member, you can usually pay a small fee to participate;  the tango class is held upstairs in a pub near Kings Cross and starts from complete beginners up to advanced and is on 3 nights a week!   the teacher sasha, speaks very good english and explains everything clearly.

there are also classes at the Dome in Tufnell Park, followed by a weekly milonga, where you can try out everything that you have just learned.  Zero Hour is really fun to watch the experienced dancers too .  Carablanca is held on Fridays in Holborn, and again is a great place to learn to tango.  you can also learn tango at las estrellas in west london.

vintage inspired

i have just booked onto a one day course in vintage inspired fashion - its something new, and i have NO experience at all in this, but it looks interesting and one day is just enough time for me to explore new fields.   i finished my botanical drawing evening class, which i thoroughly enjoyed – though it was much harder than i anticipated –  i have decided to do it again later in the year, just to see whether it gets any easier second time round.

i am still continuing my piano classes at the city lit and one and half years later i can play a minuet in A minor - even i am amazed that i can read the music and actually play something that resembles a classic piece.  so whilst a year seems to have flown by, its shows how you can increase your skills simply with practice and determination – so come on, book yourself a course.

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12 days after xmas

tomorrow is the twelfth day after christmas and is traditionally the day that you take down your xmas decorations- so dont forget!    jan 6th is epiphany and is the day the three wise  men (magi) brought their gifts to the young Jesus;  so especially in Latin American countries, the 6th Jan is usually the day that presents are given rather than 25th december.   On the night of the 5th, instead of stockings, kids leave their shoes out, stuffed with straw. It’s not Santa who comes in the middle of the night leaving the children presents. Instead, it’s the three magi who come bringing gifts for the kids, just like they gave the baby Jesus presents in honor of his birth. The straw in the children’s shoes is for the Wise Men’s camels to eat.

To celebrate the Epiphany in Spain there are also often parades featuring the three magi…  it seems it doesnt take much excuse to put on a parade in spain, throughout the year there is always a festival, parade or street party to either celebrate a saints day, or notable date in the calendar!

I wish that i was there in spain to celebrate – have never made it at this time of year – i have however just booked to go out there next month to check on the new roof terrace that we have just added to our house in vejer – cant wait !




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