kew in autumn

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!

autumn approaching

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.




quotes for the day

You will never find time for anything. If you want the time, you must make it.
Charles Buxton

If we wait for the moment when everything, absolutely everything is ready, we shall never begin.
-Ivan Turgenev

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.


I don’t like lots of jewellery, but i love delicate and unusual pieces.  my favourite jeweller is Peppi Taylor, but unfortunately, she is one of those types who is incredibly arty, but totally non techno, so has no website.   her pieces can be something simple and inexpensive such as a silver charm on a thread, or  you can commission a ring in gold and precious stones.  i personally love her rows of semi precious stones, such as rose quartz, amethyst, all delicately threaded with a gold charm.  most of my jewellery has been made by peppi, and when it was Alice’s and Maude’s 21st, i commissioned a small piece for her.   you can contact Peppi on or 07952 864357

i passed by laura lee’s shop in covent garden,   there are some beautiful pieces there too.

another reader recommended rust  – again interesting and more aimed for the younger girls.

pearl and queenie have fun necklaces, i love the cameo on a chain.

sweet pea is also another lovely shop, stocking not only their own designs but a few other designers too..

in Paris 5 Octobre have some lovely pieces, and some very affordable.

another place to find interesting jewellery is at Dover Street Market. always inspiring clothes too, including Simone Rocha, Cecille Bahnsen as well as the Comme des Garcons collections.

24Jan2012_0026 (1) Continue reading


i love my little collection of icons and religious bits, everything from tin paintings and painted cross from mexico, a string of  coffee beans from jamaica,  a thread of shells, metal spanish crosses  and some photos by my daughter alice…….  memories from your travels also brings a warm feeling to one’s heart, especially at this time when we are unable to freely travel….  I am really missing our house in Spain, this will be the first year for 20 years that we have not had a family holiday there……..fingers crossed that next summer will be back to more normality.

trying to get back a bit of normality….

I cant believe that its been 6 months since all this strangeness commenced…..  life is not back to normal, but at least you can go and do a few things to enlighten and inspire……  it does take a bit of organisation though, booking tickets to the Tate and Royal Academy can be difficult to get dates that you want, but its worth just planning ahead and put it in your diary.   Warhol and Beardsley are both interesting and yet so different.  I didn’t  know much about Beardsley, and found him fascinating – he sadly died at 25 years old with TB, but in his short life, he produced so much work, so detailed and monochromatic, but beautiful to look at.  Beardsley worked on lots of books, and so they are quite ‘fairy tale ‘ and mythological.   Leon Spilliaert is somebody new to me, again very illustrative and quite ‘dark’ in his outlook, lots of landscapes.  I really enjoyed learning about 2 new artists.  I have already booked ahead for Gauguin  and the Impressionists and Tracy Emin and Edvard Munch.   I don’t usually have a Royal Academy membership, but I bought one earlier in the year to visit Picasso exhibition and if you go more than 3 times a year, it does make it worth it.    The one good thing about Covid is that you can finally visit an exhibition and have space and time to see the paintings, without feeling rushed and crowded And it does take you away from real life and you can feel inspired and enjoy the wonders of art.


tea towels

i cant seem to keep my tea towels clean, even with bleaching – so i have decided that its easier to buy cheaper tea towels and then throw them away when they look  so stained and terrible;  which means all my lovely vintage linen goes into a box and replaced with the functional, simple cotton with blue/red stripe teatowels or their value 10 pack from dennys . if you go into the shop you can buy them singularly, but these are so affordable and look great in any kitchen.

other great choices are of course ikea and kempton market where clever stall holders take the time to make them out of old rolls of linen;  the market is usually on the 2nd and last tuesday of every month.


fashion illustration

I have always loved fashion drawings, especially those from the 1940’s and 50’s and tonight I watched a live masterclass through the wonderful Gray MCA gallery, who arranged a live Q and A with the illustrator Gladys Perint Palmer and a  film recording in which Gladys executes 4 large scale drawings for you live.  It was fascinating to see her at work, using several different mediums, she swiftly and confidently drew images from the collections of Alexander McQueen, which she captured with such accuracy in her lively individual style.  Gladys’ drawings are so full of life, movement and capture the mood and flavour of the clothes and design.  They are more painterly and she herself says her biggest influence is Toulouse Lautrec  and you can definitely see this.   Gray MCA are worth following as they have so many interesting exhibitions and events.

I am not a big fan of everything going through the computer, but in this case, it opens up a great opportunity for everyone around the world to join and watch together and learn from these great masters.  you can watch again on Vimeo.

also interesting is the  documentary film about McQueen  its a wonderfully moving tribute to the designer – emotional and very interesting it follows the rise of the designer Alexander McQueen and proves what a creative inspirational mind he had.  I remember seeing the show ‘savage beauty’ and thinking how beautiful the clothes were, each one an art piece.   the film follows its thread through his collections, which are all art pieces – the stories, the themes – all show an eclectic brilliant mind.

IMG_2579 mcqueen_2580 IMG_2583





plums are in season at the moment and are a good source of vitamin C and although they taste sweet, apparently dont spike your sugar levels; if you are lucky enough to have a plum tree, then this is the time to make plum jam,  i just discovered that there is a plum tree at the end of my suffolk garden…..

Plum Jam

1.5 kilos plums
500 g   3:1 jam sugar (for 3 parts fruit to 1 part jam sugar)
1 cinnamon stick
1 star anise
2 cloves
1 vanilla bean
1 glug lemon juice. (ie 2 tablespoons)

Wash the plums. Take stones out and cut. (I cut every half in 2-3 pieces)
Mix fruit, juice, sugar and spices (vanilla bean scratched out but adding the outside too).

Slowly bring to a boil. Boil heavily for 3 minutes (according to sugar package).

Fill into sterilized jars – discarding vanilla bean and other spices.  (an easy way is to wrap in muslin so making it easy to remove)


corn moon

tonight is the last full moon of the summer  known as the ‘corn moon’ – so called because it signals the time when corn, pumpkins, squash, beans and wild rice – the chief indian staples are ready for gathering.  it should be full for around 3 days, so try and look out for it.  here is the full moon on the Padstow estuary – its the view from my friends’ house and the last photo is actually taken tonight.

This full Moon corresponds to the Chinese Hungry Ghost Festival. The seventh month of the Chinese calendar is the Ghost Month and the fifteenth day of this month (a full Moon day) is called Ghost Day, on which ghosts and spirits, including those of deceased ancestors, come out to visit the living.