for eilleen

another year gone in a blink, today is 6 years since eilleen passed away and we miss her even more.  she came to spain with us whilst in her 70’s 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……”


this print of andalucian fields is in my book stolen glimpses and is also available to buy framed at tidy street store, brighton.

lace panels on your windows

my mother had net curtains, cheap and tacky and  i vowed that i would never follow suit;  must be something about getting older, as i now have lace on 2 of my windows and lots in suffolk ;  i bought a couple of hand made pieces on my travels to belgium years ago and a friend hand sewed them into silk chiffon larger panel to fit the window.  its not easy to find good quality lace curtains, but thought that these look very pretty –myb textiles where you can also buy by the metre.   within4walls has a selection of really pretty antique style lace panels.   another idea is to scour kemptom market  or portobello market for antique pieces of lace and adapt them with other panels to form the size that you wish – add in a bit of plain chiffon or muslin.  i just bought a lovely old piece that was probably a tablecloth from the vintage car boot sale at kings cross – what a lovely day it was walking around granary square – sign up to their website to find out about the next one, they really are great fun and we bumped into more friends than if we had gone to a party!

i am devastated to hear that Kemptom will be developed into luxury flats – hopefully the antique market will find another venue before it happens in the next couple of years.

i know that ikea also does a cheap alternative,  perfect for kids’ rooms – i hung one in my garden room in suffolk as they are a generous size.


boosting your immune system

i recently discovered the health shop revital on wigmore street – for a small shop it has a great choice of health foods and skin products and the staff are pretty knowledgeable.   did you know that at this time of year its essential to take the supplement zinc to support your system and fight off colds and flus in the winter months? the weather is being very erratic at the moment, some days cold and windy, and other days warm and balmy, so its easy to be caught unawares.   i usually take vitamin C in the winter months, but apparently zinc and olive leaf extract are much more beneficial.  echinachea seems to be the popular cold resistant remedy, but  olive leaf extract seems to be a wonderful all round supplement.  if you feel a cold coming on, taking the homeopathic remedy aconite at those first stages can sometimes help, otherwise the remedy gelsemium is helpful.

dwarf iris

did you know that irises were used for their medicinal purposes and to make perfume – these days they are popular for any occasion as they convey courage and admiration as well as faith, hope and dwarf irises have just sprung up in the garden – i do hope that it the  cold wind doesn’t return to kill them.

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flowers springing up in my garden at the moment

using vintage linen and ribbons

i had to get some fabric  to make some cushions-   i chose a vintage linen from the amazing array of fabrics at the cloth house on berwick street.  mainly cottons, there are so many types, from ticking, linen, lovely printed vintage style prints – all perfect for furnishings or dress making.  there were some beautiful burmese linens in bright colours, orange, cerise, perfect for deckchairs.  i bought a beautiful indian throw, which had been stitched – can be used either side with contrasting colours, more like a lightweight quilt – thought it would brighten up the single bed.  they had a good selection of these throws, and they were much cheaper than other places where i had seen them.  my favourite buy was some vintage ribbon, which i am using to adapt a dress, by changing the thin arm straps. i was drawn to the lovely display of buttons, jars and jars containing vintage buttons –  the selection of vintage ribbons and buttons make you want to buy them – you are stood there racking your brain to think how to use them.  i use ribbons for edging fraying tops and dresses, repairing favourite vintage dresses – you can buy lace or silk ribbons which work perfectly for this.  not only are you recycling your favourite clothes, but making them more interesting and giving them a personal identity.  so before throwing away that lovely old dress with a tear in, have a look at whats on offer at the cloth shop.  around the corner is kleins – an amazing haberdashers, offering everything from trims, feathers, ribbons, buttons, fastenings – its another one of those places where you can spend hours wishing you could sew and make exciting things!



dulwich picture gallery

i finally made it to the dulwich picture gallery and what a trek from camden – but it was worth it;  designed by Sir John Soane  its set in lovely grounds which definitely makes for  a good day out.  included in the beautiful works on show, all  by Vanessa Bell are her book cover designs for her sister Virginia Woolf – definitely her strengths are colour and sense of pattern – i definitely felt inspired by her works and intrigued by the hedonistic lifestyle she must have led.   have afternoon tea in the cafe afterwards or pop by the little nearby gift shops on your walk from the station.


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for alfie

i can’t believe that my little boy is 21 today –  all those days wishing that the sleepless baby nights would hurry on by and before you know it, they are taller than you and young adults!  happy birthday alfie


the orchid is a symbol of love,  beauty,  innocence and because of their symmetry perfection.


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