hoping that after 2nd December we can return to a bit of normality, but I am guessing that its going to be a few months before we can all relax and go back to our normal routines. however, lovely Florence from Tidy Street is holding a little Christmas Sale at McBeans Nursery, near to Lewes. There is also going to be a sale of vintage clothes in aid of Relay for Refugees and a whole host of talented artisans and makers – it should be a fun day out and a great opportunity to get all those xmas presents and support lots of independent sellers. I shall be there with my cards, prints and ceramics, so why not make a day trip to this beautiful location where orchids have been cultivated for over 140 years.
so as there is not much to do and the weather has been somewhat wet, we have caught up on watching a few films and series. we particularly loved the Queen’s Gambit which is about chess, but it really is about the clothes and encompasses loneliness, addiction, gender bias and the role of women in the 1950’s. it really is worth watching – visually it reminds me of Madmen. we also watched the documentary Billie Holliday, which was worth watching to hear and see the wonderful Billie sing – it’s mainly told through the tapes of Linda Lipnack Kuehl who was an avid fan and was wrtiting a biography about Billie Holiday but strangely died before completing it. you have to watch these through the digital platforms, but we were happy to support Curzon films, fingers crossed that they survive this pandemic.
I couldn’t find my chess images – somewhere amongst my 10 hard drives and thousands of images, I searched high and low, but to no avail. I remember recently stumbling on a chess afternoon in our village in Vejer de la Fronterra in one of the narrow streets – tables all laid out and locals mingling and swapping playing chess with each other, the young, the old, it was a community spirit that lifted my spirit. when I eventually find this image I will share it, but for the time being, here is one of Havana, which still evokes the time of the series – its a city where time stood still…..
have you noticed all the berries around? someone told me that when there are lots of berries on the trees, we are going to have a long cold winter – its just natures way of feeding the birds before the hardy period!!!
i love mixing different stems of unusual flowers – here are lilac, wax flowers and callicarpa berries – beautiful for your winter table !
i can’t help but try and support small producers, so whenever i see them pitch up at events and fairs, i always give them a try. i think since i have been doing all these pop up shopping events myself, i have totally appreciated the time and effort that you put into them.
kindred + wild, who make small batch apothecary oils and balms; i love the rosemary and thyme, perfect for your handbag and for smoothing your hair once you arrive somewhere and its gone all wild and frizzy.
maya njie has a lovely range of perfumes, light and fresh, they are made with natural oils and are a change to the mass produced perfumes on the market. i dont like commercial perfumes, and stick to rosewater, but these are delicate and not overpowering. i bought nordic cedar, which apparently was her first creation. now this is my scent of everyday.
suneeta creams are all handmade and natural – i saw them pitched outside the beigel shop on brick lane and bought a turmeric cream for dry patches – its incredibly soothing and moisturising and gave my daughter alice some as she suffers from excema now and again, and she really liked it. its very good value and the few things that i have tried (cleansing cream and eye gel) are impressive.
Mauli is the perfect gift for anyone, the oil is just divine and i am already addicted to the aroma – smooth it over your skin and hair – its become my daily ritual. the sandalwood makes a good weekly scrub, gently exfoliates the skin and keeps it fresh. the bottles and packaging are just divine too.
some of my favourite products are from santa maria novella – the rosewater is delicate and not too overpowering, plus the packaging is beautiful and the Picadilly shop makes shopping such a pleasure; and from aesop – the camelia nut moisturiser is very nourishing for this time of year, especially after a dehydrating summer and the approaching wind and central heating that we now face for the winter. their hand cream is a perfect xmas present – the prices may seem higher, but the products go a long way.
if you are thinking of different ways to arrange flowers, why not use utensil jugs or tin canisters to hold the flowers in – also using thistles or grasses can be lovely. i recently bought these beautiful blue thistles from columbia market and they lasted for ages. did you know that the thistle represents strength, protection and healing?
grouping similar type of containers is also effective, so instead of putting everything into one vase, split your flowers into several jugs. if you are looking for girly gifts and pretty ideas for xmas, have a look at the lavender room, they also sell a set of 6 pretty moroccan glasses, which you can put one flower in each glass – they have a beautiful shop in brighton, but you can also buy online.
such an apt song for now , forever autumn justin hayward; autumn is one of my favourite times of the year – its the gentle closing to summer and the breaking in of dark winter nights. some may say its a bad time as it ends the long balmy nights, but i quite like wrapping up warm and sitting in front of the fire on an evening too lazy to venture out in the dark……
So recently we took a 2 night stay in Dorset again – partly because we really wanted to stay at our friend’s wonderful hotel, the Seaside Boarding House, which is perfectly positioned on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Jurassic Coast and the start of Chesil Beach, with its wonderful views of sea, beach and rolling hills. we also wanted to explore this area again, as we loved the little trip that we did in August, but realised then that there were so many beaches and towns to see, that another trip was needed.
on our way to the hotel, we stopped off at Weymouth, which is quite like an old fashioned seaside town, with a concha shaped cove, flanked by Georgian buildings. we ate lunch in one of the many seaside cafes, then continued to the hotel. the hotel has 10 bedrooms, and most rooms have views of the sea, very comfortable, light and spacious with lovely bathrooms. the restaurant and bar have great views of the sea and there is also a big terrace to sit out on , and you can walk down some steps right onto the beach– its a bit of luxury away from the crowds. Its definitely going to be my’ go to’ treat each year.
The only drawback to breaks in the UK, is the weather; our first day was a glorious sunny autumn day, but the next day just poured none stop. we managed a walk along West Beach without getting wet early on, but then we ventured to nearby Portland, which is an isthmus that ends with Chesil beach on one side and lovely coves and coastal walks on the other side – the furthest point of the peninsula placed with a lighthouse and the Lobster Pot- where we ate crab sandwiches and cream tea. , Its actually an interesting strange place that apparently goes back to the 12C. I loved the old fisherman huts and wild beach and especially discovering the Church Ope Cove where the remains of a castle lead you to a steep stairway down to a secret cove that harks back to Enid Blyton adventures. Just a pity that it was raining too hard to explore.
Fortunately our last day brought bright skies and rainbows. so we ventured south towards Devon, about an hour away to Beer Beach, which is laden with boats, fisherman huts and a little village; again its a striking cove and that day a particularly calm sea – wishing that I had brought my swimsuit…. note that a lot of these villages are quite steep, so good walking shoes is recommended. We then drove back to Lyme Regis and aimed for lunch at Mark Hix’s seafood restaurant, which is at the top of a hill in the park, with great views over the harbour – we had fish fingers and chips and it was exceptionally good! I had to do that walk along the Cobb, which famously featured Meryl Streep walking in her cloak on a stormy moody night in the French Lieutenants woman . it was a perfect end to our short trip of discovery and definitely recommended out of the summer months when there are a lot of more tourists. there’s definitely a dark and romantic feel to this area….
autumn is a perfect time for a trip to kew gardens ; it can be so peaceful walking round the grounds watching nature at its best – the leaves are just dropping – a sign of its life over, but the colours are so beautiful. we recently visited again, and although there are queues into the main conservatory, its still a lovely place to spend the day – it is quite expensive for admission, but you have to just tell yourself that its a charitable contribution that helps keep the trees and this beautiful park alive. it used to be that children under 17 are free entry, so at least this is a bonus. the kids use to like the walkway through the trees, so its a fun day out for all of you. there is a peyton and byrne cafe there, its fine for tea and cake. or another choice is maids of honour just outside of the park.
how wonderful to have an autumn wedding at kew!
its time to put away those summer dresses and get out our woollies….. I actually still wear some of my summer dresses, but wear lots and lots of layers; my friends laugh when they see how many layers I usually wear. I always wear a fine cotton vest, then a silk slip, then sometimes a fine cotton T shirt, a petticoat or thin skirt, then a dress and a cardigan or jumper on top! I definitely admit that I feel the cold…… thin layers are an effective way of keeping warm and not looking too bulky. however, I now love my soft fair isle jumper by Quinton Chadwick, which I was lucky enough to shoot the collection which includes beautiful scarves, berets and jumpers over the summer – its very warm, and even with my allergy to wool, doesn’t cause any irritation, plus its a great shape to wear over dresses, or team with a net skirt for a fun autumn look.
You will never find time for anything. If you want the time, you must make it.
If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.
It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
Ursula Le Guin
i have definitely got the holiday blues – missing that blue sky and warm sea – for the first time in 20 years we missed our family holiday in Spain – we hope that we can get there next year.