the clock

I finally made it to Tate Modern to see the clocks film – it really was interesting and compelling watching and a very clever idea – I only stayed an hour and a half, but I could have sat in that comfy sofa for the whole 24 hours!!  I urge you to visit, its free and ends this weekend.  there is a big queue, so go there early, unless you want to see films at a particular time, say 3.15pm…..

i love old station clocks, we have a double sided one at home, which we have inserted into the partition wall, so that you can see the clock both sides.  smiths made quite a lot of the industrial clocks in the early part of this century.  you can find some clocks at trainspotters – an interesting site that sells architectural fittings, some lovely old lights and lamps and a few other original pieces – i love the old train luggage racks  – perfect for an industrial type kitchen.  elemental in spitalfields also have a few that they restore and sell.

the favourite

I strangely enjoyed this film – it was entertaining, visually exciting, the historical facts were totally new to me and that three strong women were the focus of the film was a big hit.  as soon as I came home I searched the internet for more information about Queen Anne – all I knew of her was that there was a range of furniture named after her!   the cinematography and costumes are sumptuous and shows life in court with its richness, madness, deceit and intrigue.

Colette is another story based on fact,  a French writer who wrote under her husband’s name to begin with;  it is centred around the high society life of Paris in the late 1890’s, with its circles of sex and fame; exploited by her philandering husband, she manages to break out and attain recognition for her  literary talent.  the costumes are so beautiful and made me want to dress like an Edwardian lady.

I love that women are the focus of these latest films, women who rise above the bullying of men, who are seen to be superior in those times.

I have really enjoyed recently photographing my new muses Ellie and Martha….  both are wearing Edwardian style clothes….

coffee and more coffee….

I love the camden coffee shop on delancey street;  the coffee shop has been there since the 50’s, but George, who came from Cyprus has run the shop since 1978.  It hasnt dated at all, George roasts the beans, grinds them and bags them all to order.  Its a wonderful treat to see such an atmospheric little local shop.  The best thing about living round the corner from this shop is the waft of fresh coffee in the streets.  Its also such a change to see a small independent shop succeed when there are so many chain coffee shops around.  Unfortunately, you cannot drink coffee there, just buy the beans ground or whole.

I also love the algerian coffee store in soho, with its numerous cafetieres for sale, its a splendid bazaar for everything coffee!  you can also get coffee to drink there (standing up only) or to take away.

another favourite is the monmouth coffee shops – they now have 3 branches, and you can sit and enjoy coffee and a pastry!

always on the look out for new independent coffee shops and meeting places, so here are a few that i have noticed on my travels.    tiny but handy and near to me is the coffee jar on parkway – in an area over populated with coffee chains I am so glad that they have managed to survive;   the little one in primrose hill is hidden away at the end of the high street but has great coffee – not much space inside, so choose a sunny day to sit outside and they also own the corner one, which is on the corner of Gloucester Ave and Jamestown Road.

tap coffee soho , also has a branch in tottenham court road and is a lovely place to stop by;  E5 bakehouse is great for not only breakfast but also for stocking up your supplies of sourdough bread.  in Marylebone  paul rothe and son with its rows of jams is  great for traditional tea and coffee and tea cakes – more old school.

Heals also has a good coffee area on the first floor, comfy sofas and very spacious;  Foyles is popular, so can be difficult to get a spot and is on the top floor, but is very handy when you are near Tottenham court Road.

the riding house cafe is definitely a busy and popular meeting place – its open all day from breakfast til late; scandinavian kitchen and kaffeine – apparently kaffeine has the best coffee.  i also noticed that they do a coffee making course – apparently there is an art to making coffee!

galleries are also good places to have coffee – I always visit the photographer’s gallery as the exhibitions are interesting, the book shop good to browse and the cafe spacious.  there is an interesting exhibition of black and white photographs by Roman Vishniac, a Russian photographer who documented Jewish living between the two world wars.


Suffolk villages

so we had to go to Saxtead at the weekend, to some industrial estate on a farm to get my keyboard repaired – an eccentric man who loves to repair not only electric keyboards but amps and old radios too.  it was a new adventure driving into the countryside, away from the sea – which is where we would normally find ourselves.    we passed the Green Post Mill, which looked fascinating, but sadly is closed for renovation – but one to put on our list for things to see, alongside Framlingham Castle. whenever i go to Framlingham, I always pop into my favourite antiques shop, Dix Sept, which always has a lovely collection of dinner plates and old lacquer chests – i wish i had the room to put them somewhere – xmas always stirs me to cleanse and throw out –  as all the stuff and paraphernalia drives me insane.  I still try to keep to that ethos of one in one out, but that means that i never actually get rid of anything, there is just an equilibrium of stuff.   Robert always says that when he comes to the cottage he is going to sit and lounge and listen to music and read books, but in reality he likes discovering new things and places as much as myself.  Framlingham has a great pub for lunch, the Station;  suffolk can be hit and miss with food so its good to know what you can rely on.  there is also a market in the square on saturdays, with a good cake stand, that sells bread, croissants and cakes.   you will also find the Silver Rocket Cafe here at times, in their airstream truck serving vegan food – quite difficult to get in Suffolk.

we ate lunch in the Dennington Queen –  a 16C pub, which is more restaurant than drinking now;  the food was actually very good and moderate price – its about half an hours drive from the cottage, so this will definitely  be one of my regulars for the future.  on the way back, we passed Emmetts in Peasenhall, a deli with cafe, which looked good for breakfast – its more eggs, cold meats and omelettes, but the food looks fresh and well sourced.

we also passed Wilderness in Sibton – an estate of houses, small and grand that you can rent – looks very upmarket, probably great for weddings and big occasions – would love to take a peak!   you have to pass by Yoxford to get home, which is home to the antiques centre where I furnished most of my cottage, Mains restaurant and R and W gallery – all places that I frequent often..  it amazes me how vast Suffolk is and the plentitude of villages makes for interesting journeys of discoveries.  within half an hour’s drive of the cottage, you can visit these amazing inland villages, the beaches of Covehithe, Great Yarmouth, Southwold, Walberswick, Halesworth and Thorpeness.

we ventured half an hour up north towards Great Yarmouth to the very strange holiday village of Corton – apparently it was once a nudist beach, must have been very cold as its the most easterly point of this coast and can be very breezy.  I quite liked its eerie wooden groynes being bashed by the murky waves and the Edwardian detached houses on the top of the clifftop




I love the after xmas- new year period, its always quiet after the storm of xmas shopping, cooking and preparing – all those weeks of frantically getting everything perfect for one day!  its a time to catch up on films and dramas, which is exactly what we did.  we saw Roma at the movies, which was very good – it revolves around the lives of 2 women, a middle class mother and her housekeeper in an area of Mexico City and is very moving and emotional at times.  inspired by the director, Alfonso Cuaron, it is based on his childhood and is a heartfelt memorium of the relationship with his housekeeper.

we also caught up on the BBC drama Mrs Wilson, which we had heard great things about.  we had to watch on catch up, but it was so gripping that we ended up watching the whole 3 episodes in one go – the first time we had ever done this.  it was intriguing, puzzling, shocking and emotionally challenging to think that one man could actually get away with all of this.  definitely worth catching, or if you miss it, get the boxed set.   I have not seen my father since I was 5 years old, not knowing whether he is alive or dead – lots of reasons as to why I don’t want to know, and this series highlights some of them.

I love Mexico – this is one of the floating boats from xochimilco in Mexico City.  Robert has his big birthday this year and we are planning a visit to Mexico – I am really excited.

twelfth day after xmas…..

today is the twelfth day after christmas and is traditionally the day that you take down your xmas decorations.   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 repairs that we always do in the winter to our house in vejer – cant wait !


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