a house full of daughters

just finished reading this interesting book by Juliet Nicolson – a house full of daughters. the book is about daughters and mothers, about abandonment, secrets and jealousy, about a sense of belonging to a place as well as its creation of loneliness.   as a daughter myself and having 2 daughters, its intriguing reading, especially as the first character is Pepita – a talented flamenco dancer from Malaga, whose own mother was intensely jealous of her own daughter and destroyed her first marriage.  the succeeding daughters were all lucky enough to have a privileged wealthy upbringing, and each one wrote about the previous generation – it reveals that whatever your background, there are the same trials and tribulations, love and disagreements that transmit through all mothers and daughters.


gregory crewdson

i popped into aperture  to drop off a black and white film for development – i was pleasantly surprised and pleased to wait in a queue of young people also picking up films;  its one of the few places left that develop films (except snappy snaps), but i think that their processing and printing is far better than the chain street shop.   if you dont want prints, you can have a scan and process, which works out cheaper, but i still like to have the prints and see the difference.  i always check out the cameras for sale, craving the leicas and roliflex cameras – how many cameras can one girl collect?  i am a bit nerdy when it comes to equipment and like most photographers are always looking for the next new thing, except for me, i am looking at the old classics.   i have given up on digital, you may as well take them with your iPhone.  i then went off to photographers gallery to see the large format prints by Gregory Crewdson, cathedral of the pines.  i have always admired his photographs, even though they are super staged and lit professionally as though on a film set – so not the spontaneous reality you may imagine – there is always a light that evokes a mystery and eeriness that conjure stories and myths.  these definitely conjure all kinds of stories,  so worth a visit.   if you visit before 12 noon, its free entry, but to be honest the £4 fee is a worthy contribution to keep an institution dedicated to photography alive.

there are very few pics of me, but my friend debra always makes an effort to snap me – always with a camera round my neck…… and both shot with iPhones…..



its not my usual genre of film, but i was intrigued to see a film shot entirely in film rather than digital – it definitely wasn’t because of harry styles that i went to see ‘Dunkirk’.   robert really wanted to see it and i am ashamed to admit that i didnt really know the full story, so got the pre story briefing before we went in.  i have never seen a batman movie, so have no idea what a christopher nolan film was like – i was dreading a film full of visual effects.  dunkirk was told through 3 paths – the ground soldiers over a week, the ferryman over a day and the air pilot through an hour.  this actually wasn’t that clear, but now it makes sense.  it was a relentless battle for survival, the hardship and bleakness,  the courage and stamina of the men,  the pity of war and the sheer waste of life and especially of young boys – made even more poignant as i have a 21 year old boy.  the cinematography was stunning and beautiful, but there was no emotion or simple human spark – i think the aim was to show the unity rather than centre on one heroic character .  its definitely worth seeing though, i think even the young girls sat next to us enjoyed it.  it reminds me how lucky we are that we have lived our lives without war and how much admiration i have for the men who had to endure those conditions.

al fresco dining

with all this warm weather its great to find places to sit outside and eat;  obviously there are all the park cafes, regents park, st james’s, the serpentine – i haven’t made it yet to the new serpentine pavilion, but plenty of time to get there – but its always nice to discover tables with a view of london life passing you by.  we recently went to the colbert in sloane square with a friend who booked a table outside one evening – not picturesque gardens, but sloane square is a great place to people watch;  as with all of Corbin and King’s restaurants, its an easy menu, with lots of choices for everyone and of a certain quality.  i personally dont like chains, but somehow, they seem to add that bit extra that makes it less chain like… personally i think that breakfast is the best meal.

a few other choices are  charlotte street  –  full of restaurants with tables outside as is granary square in kings cross.  somerset house with its terraces over the river,  franks cafe in peckham has a 10th floor roof terrace – my teenage kids love it there – sushi samba has an amazing terrace on the 39th floor of the heron building and proud camden has apparently just refurbished a roof top garden, so happy alfresco dining and drinking!



i wonder how many people come home with a rug from morocco?   i loved the way the bazaar owners 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.

rug19Aug2014_046419Aug2014_0465souk20Aug2014_0335 rug20Aug2014_0380

i love this square of sunflowers, looks like a natural rug in the andalucian landscape.




restaurants and eating intolerances

i much prefer home cooked food, but sometimes the effort to shop cook and clean for a family makes going out much easier – especially when you are on holiday – however we now have the added issue of one daughter being vegan, one son intolerant to dairy – and a friend who can’t eat gluten or grains – so being on holiday takes a lot of organisation and thought.   and when there are 7 of you to feed all day, one sometimes feels like a hotel, replenishing, preparing and cleaning up.   andalucia is not the best place to be vegetarian, never mind vegan – tuna , ham and cheese feature heavily in most dishes.  however the ingredients that you buy in the local mercado are limited but locally grown and taste amazing.  of course you can find all the usual things in the supermarkets, but its best to choose and cook what is local.   most of the restaurants in our area of Vejer offer salads, gazpacho and roasted vegetables and the chips are usually freshly made and are delicious and please any vegan.  thank goodness for corredero 55 – it may not be wholly spanish but it does give a wider choice of menu  and has the great view over the hills of vejer, especially at sunset.   in the mercado itself you can get sushi from one of the food stalls – this includes advocado and cucumber rolls, seaweed and pickled vegetables, so at least there is a little variety for vegans.  el mastren ice cream shop on calle Juan Relinque has a great variety of sorbets, including fig and chocolate sorbet – both addictive and delicious – you can’t believe that neither contain milk and are so creamy.


in london its so easy to get into a rut and visit the same restaurants over and over again – but recently i have tried lots of new ones, including a raw vegan restaurant  nama foods in talbot road – very unusual, and suits those of you who are healthy inclined and have lots of intolerances.  fortunately locally we also have mildreds, hache burger – great sweet potato fries and veggie burger and nectar triyoga cafe – which makes life a bit easier.  trishna – great indian food – always a good choice for vegetarians,  and classic italian food from little italy – all of which i can recommend.  oriental food seems to cater for all our tastes and especially vietnamese –  viet hoa being our favourite – of course we prefer the old traditional interior, but the food is consistently the best and there are lots of choices for vegans.  okan ramen has amazing home made noodles and even offer the zero shirataki noodles that dont contain wheat –  its also the most affordable option;  i completely understand that small specialists restaurants can’t buy in bulk, but you do seem to pay a premium for these foods.

24Aug2013_0053 (1) Florence 3303

love this simple salad of spinach leaves and pomegranate that florence prepared for me one lunchtime.