from shore to shore

there are a lot of things that i dislike about getting older – too boring and typical to list – but i am sure that i echo the anxieties of most women…..  however one of the joys of life is seeing your children develop, mature and blossom…. the most precious joys have come from seeing my eldest daughter embrace her heritage and explore life from all angles.   she of course has had a relationship with her chinese grandmother, but sadly at an age when her curiosity had grew,  my mother can no longer communicate – the effects of a stroke over 12 years ago and now dementia has prevented any revealing of the past,  ramblings of any previous life….  and so old photographs and snippets of tales from distant relatives have filled in any wonderings and questions…….  this would never happen for the future generation as photos have become a way of life, all your daily life diarised on social media…….

and so Alice has wondrously booked me into so many cultured events associated with chinese life, the recent being a play by Mary Cooper, From Shore to Shore – a multi lingual theatre event, incorporating food and music, which tells the stories of the UK chinese community.   the play is about 2 hours long and is based on in depth interviews with people of Chinese heritage – migration stories from the past century – stories that resonated so deeply with my own life.  it really touched me – made me think about my own life, it was like watching my own story unfold right in front of me.  the one quote that really touched me was the comment that i dont feel chinese or any different til i look in the mirror and see myself and then realise that i do look different from others.   from shore to shore is on again  tonight in london at the China Exchange and has been travelling around the country and worth a visit.  the £20 ticket is well worth it and includes a typical chinese dinner;  there is some chinese spoken, but generally it is translated  and easily understood.

shopping in new york

strangely i didnt find new york as exciting for shopping as i usually do – the bad effect of internet is that you can practically get anything you want from anywhere in the world.   what i do like is visiting the small independent shops – more for their interior styling and displaying rather than for their goods – what they are very good at is creating a look.

however here are some shops that i found interesting – take a look and remember that things are constantly changing, so check online before you go.

still house  – ceramics gifts

flirt – vintage style clothes made with a bit of fun, lovely fabrics, and affordable;  lovely accesories for gifts too.

stock vintage – high end vintage clothes for men, felt like you were on a set of butch cassidy and the sundance kid – beautiful shirts, jeans in a beautiful shop

tictail on orchard street for lifestyle and clothes.

however just across the road metropolis vintage is more affordable, especially for the teenage boy

catbird  in brooklyn  for gifts – worth a train ride across to bedford avenue because younger and very similar to going east in london.

kiehls for face products for any problems – i know that you can get kiehls anywhere, but this original store on 3rd avenue is worth a visit.

barneys, small enough to not feel overawed – great during sale time – i managed to find a pair of chloe shoes at a third of the original price.

crate and barrell for great white cotton waffle hand towels/posh tea towels and a good range of basic tablewear – similar to conran/habitat

abc home for more gift type home stuff, beautiful ceramic plates and bowls, pricey but more special and individual

canvas homestore for lovely home goods

i love book shops – especially small independent ones.  i have noticed recently that there are more and more individual bookshops opening, especially specialising in photography and art and special editioned books.  some books are becoming like art – collectors pieces.   dashwood books in new york has a beautiful and unique books, you could spend hours in there.

stroll down Elizabeth Street and take a look at the lovely old interiors that have been scrubbed, but kept like the original dairy or butcher shops that they were.  Me and ro jewellery has lovely pieces, and steve alan is worth a look in (think margaret howell).  love adorned has some sweet things too.

and finally in soho Peter Hermann for a lovely selection of leather wallets and purses on 118 Thompson Street,  Vesuvio Bakery on 160 Prince Street, with its organic cakes and savoury snacks housed in an old original bakery . R by 45rpm on 169 Mercer Street, selling beautiful fine cotton garments and denim, this Japanese shop is also beautifully designed.  Kisan, on Queen Street is a lovely girly shop selling  French clothes and accesories .  Global table on 107 – 109 Sullivan street is a wonderful personal collection of vessels, vases, tableware – its just gorgeous and you wont be able to resist buying a little jug or bowl.   Dosa on 107 Thompson Street sells beautiful delicate silk dresses and separates with tiny prints and pastel colours.

have a look at the himalayan salt blocks at the meadow – great for displaying food

take the train to Brooklyn and stroll around; start with coffee and cake in bakeri on wythe avenue,  take a peak in brooklyn reclamation,  and find great vintage at 10ft single stella dallas living – especially  victorian pieces – there was a great selection of dresses from all eras.

dream a little dream of me

sometimes we all need dreams – wishful thinking, whimsical thoughts – they are harmless encouraging thoughts that help us get through the day or difficult times….   what i  dream of  –  is love and peace, contentment and respect for all throughout the world…..

i love this version by dean martin  – dream a little dream of me 
Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper “I love you”
Birds singing in a sycamore tree
Dream a little dream of me

Say nighty night and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you miss me
While I’m alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me

Stars fading but I linger on dear
Still craving your kiss
I’m longing to linger till dawn dear
Just saying this

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me

Stars fading but I linger on dear
Still craving your kiss
I’m longing to linger till dawn dear
Just saying this

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries far behind you
And in your dreams
Whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me

Ella Fitzgerald

 

caged flowers

I love bird cages, there is something calming about them, although in reality they say the contrary, as they capture birds. Paint the wooden bird cages in bright colours and add as a feature to a dull corner of a room or hang from the branch of a tree.  you can plant a plain old wire one with seeds or a plant and watch it bloom.

I am loving the life size cageling chair that you can buy from ontwerpduo – imagine that in your garden.

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i love unusual vessels for plants in gardens – i have trugs and crates to house my pots on my balcony – you can pick lots of these things up at kemptom market.  i love the trolley at petersham nurseries stacked with plants.

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painting in the 1930’s

so there is so much to see in london at the moment and i have been catching up – dashing in and out of the showers, the cold wind and then occasionally the glimmer of sunshine.  please dont tell me that this will be the pattern for this summer.  firstly there is the painting exhibition at  the royal academy of the 1930’s – time of the depression when there were many changes in the country and art started to appear in many forms;   its not a big exhibition, and definitely the best pieces are by Edward Hopper and Grant Wood, but it does show the wealth of styles in painting that started to emerge.

its then a short walk to see some beautiful photos at the photographers gallery , in the basement, alongside the shop, of a disused research lab for malaria in east africa – they are very evocative and moody – by Eugenia arbugaeva Amani. 

if you are into photography, then photo london is finishing tomorrow and its a great opportunity to see works that range from early vintage prints, the great masters  and contemporary photographers.   the early 20C  black and white prints are far the best and stand out.  i particularly love the prints of sarah moon.  its expensive to buy a ticket, but there is enough stuff to see for at least a few hours.

if you want to have a fun day out and see lots of events outdoors, then pop to greenwich for the urban village fete tomorrow.  there are interesting talks, great food, lots of shopping and music and its all free!  i shall be there supporting my husband as he interviews a group of inspiring women.

also worth seeing is the exhibition – architecture of the japan house after 1945 at the barbican – again the early 1950’s stuff is memorable –  but it shows how small and compact and minimal is a simple way of living;  in this materialistic world it definitely  made me want to go straight home and declutter!
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journey

here is my latest guest writer, in fact poet – i met Zoe at Suryalila on the yoga retreat and was taken by her inner beauty and zest for life –  she entertained us all with her poems and songs.  Zoë is a London-based dance teacher/mother/student of osteopathy who makes sense of life through writing among other things.
Journey.

At Old St a crowd surges on, doors
shut us in,
nightclub close.

A man,
groin, chest,
millimetres
from mine. One
corner of
white shirt untucked
from belted jeans.
The carriage is warm and damp, bringing
the smell of his beard.
Hand skin on
blue bar,
armpit open
like a child.
He gazes into his
headphones, oblivious to the train dancing
our bodies. My
breasts, his lips,
wavering
like a butterfly. A pull,
to put my face in his, like
the illogical
urge as the train wind rushes,
to jump
from the platform into
the void.

A day of screen vacuum. Limbs light
with absence.
Now bodies nudge mine, arms weave like branches.
Mammals, cave warm.
As if we could hear the crackle, and
smell woodsmoke- the odour
of collective millennia.
The train wobbles our warm flesh
together. But I breathe secretly
the comfort of a flank against mine.

I get off at angel and walk home to eat
vacuum packed Salmon and seal
tomorrow’s lunch in tupperware

Zoe Solomons

 

my baby has all grown up

cant believe that my baby is 18 today!  its beautiful and sad – a passing of time, a transition into womanhood, a progression, a growing, its everything and yet there is so much for her to do and look forward to in the future – its officially the start of her adult life – she can vote, drink, choose to get married……. the world is her oyster.

always my inspiration, my model,  my pride and joy,  my beautiful maude – i thank you for all the times you have patiently sat, ran, walked, poised for my photos!