this boy

just finished reading the wonderful memoir by Alan Johnson, This Boy. its a nostalgic insight to 50’s and 60’s  London and tells a story of a poverty that we hope to have eradicated.  and although i am slightly younger than Alan, it brought back a lot of similar memories of my life in Manchester – also coming from a single working mother with brothers, being alone all day, young children in those days were a familiar sight on the streets alone and nobody batted an eyelid.

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lewes and brixton

now that the warmer weather is upon us, we have decided to explore different parts of the english seaside – so off we went to Lewes, Firle and Beachy Head. we really liked the historic town of Lewes, but as it was a sunday none of the shops were open – which indicated that its not just a town for tourists – but nonetheless it was disappointing as there looked like lots of lovely independent shops like Freight – selling homewares.  we actually booked lunch in Firle beforehand, at the Ram Inn, but we arrived to find that the kitchen was so overloaded that they had closed and weren’t reopening for 20 mins and then it was 45 min wait for food – as we already had to wait til 2pm for a table, we were too hungry to wait !  it did look the best of all the pubs in the area and seemed very popular.  Charleston Farmhouse was on our list to see, but we ran out of time – this was the meeting place for the artists of the bloomsbury group.   the village of Firle looked like a very picturesque village, but we didn’t get to see the big manor house – where apparently its good to have tea.   we headed to Birling Gap, a lovely beach with white high cliffs and its  national trust cafe – and close by Beachy Head – famous for its suicides – not  great if you have vertigo as the edge is indeed very precarious and steep.  the views are just stunning though!  other recommendations were the Tiger Inn at East Dean, Glynde, Cuckfield and pleasant stores  in Lewes.  the worst part of the day was the driving home – leaving at 4.30 to get back to london  by car is quite a nightmare – it took us 3 hours to get home!

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the history of shoes

if you love shoes then go and see the exhibition , Shoes:Pleasure and Pain at the V and A – it shoes how shoes have changed over the centuries, including some beautiful examples of  hand made shoes, but also extreme and extraordinary pairs of shoes that consider cultural significance.   with my chinese heritage I have to admit I was appalled to see the size of the chinese slippers that the women wore after having their feet bound.

russian baths

what to get the girl who has everything for her birthday?   a 3 hour session in a russian spa – cleansing, exhilarating and a fun way to spend some time with some girlfriends.  go for the parenie massage for a more stimulating cleanse or a honey and salt scrub;  destress your neck and shoulders with a deep tissue massage – and relax with honey tea – its a real treat.

love this street sink in guatamala.

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newquay

newquay is fun for the young teenagers – lots of surf style shops, but our favourite place to go for lunch or to see the evening sun go down is just past the centre of  newquay  – lewinnick lodge – situated on a headland  where the views are just spectacular.  its always busy especially in the evenings, so its a good idea to reserve in advance.

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if you want to surf, then watergate bay is the beach to go – lovely sandy beach, surrounded by high cliffs.  Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen restaurant is also situated there, but you need to book in advance.  its also another amazing place to catch the sunset.  the watergate bay hotel is apparently the hip place to stay!

curtis stigers

what a mad evening in soho, london pride was so colourful, atmospheric and incredibly busy – it was amazing to watch people celebrating the streets all day and through to the late hours;  we popped into ronnie scotts to see the charismatic Curtis Stigers and his band – hard to believe that you can step from the eccentricity of soho into the wonderful rendezvous of Ronnie Scotts – its my favourite venue for listening to music, so intimate and back to old time glamour of an old style jazz nightclub – long may it survive.   if you missed Curtis this time he is playing the Edinburgh jazz festival  in July.

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