this lovely warmer weather has been such a welcome joy – just what we needed to lift our spirits…. I remember that alice took me to her favourite ice cream shop in soho, Tsujiri – delicious matcha and houjicha ice cream. today she took me to Gelupo, delicious ice cream, vegan, sorbet choices too. ice cream seems to have become artisan, and so more expensive. Jack’s Gelato in Cambridge is a big favourite of Maude’s, having been studying there for the last 4 years. there is a new craze in ice cream, bubble wrap waffle – i couldn’t believe the queue, so didnt get to taste it. i also love gelato mio – i have to admit i have always loved ice cream from being a child, its one of those things that has stayed with me, and passing good ice cream shops is hard to resist…… i think its because ice cream is synonymous with growing up, holidays, summer – its a hark back to innocence.
Although we are becoming less and less religious as a society, we still seem to be remembering the important religious events – xmas and easter especially – to hold our family events and make them special occasions to see our closest. we also use these periods to relax and rejuvenate, its the few times of the year when everything shuts down.
Do you know why we give easter eggs at this time of year? Easter is a Christian festival and for Christians the custom of giving eggs at Easter celebrates new life. Christians remember that Jesus, after dying on the cross, rose from the dead. They believe that, through his resurrection, Jesus defeated death and sin and offers people the promise of eternal life if they follow his teachings.
The first eggs given at Easter were birds eggs. These eggs were painted in bright colours to give them further meaning as a gift. We still paint bird eggs today but usually only chicken eggs. when Maude was younger she loved to paint eggs, but you do have to be really gentle or they will easily break. you need to pierce a hole at either end blow out all the liquid inside the egg, use for scrambled eggs, or bake a cake! then perch your egg on a barbecue stick or on a chopstick and paint with acryclic paints. you can always thread pretty ribbon through the holes and hang them – they look pretty cute. i really like the tree that maude painted on this egg. I still like to give my children Easter eggs, even thought they have grown up, and now give their partners eggs too…..
love these eggs that talented artist Mary Mathieson, made for our shoots for wild and gorgeous.
to all you wonderful mothers – have a relaxing and lovely day!
did you know that we have been celebrating mothering sunday since the 16Century? in the UK, mothers day always falls on the 4th sunday of Lent, which is why it never falls on the same day each year.
Mothering Sunday was also known as ‘Refreshment Sunday‘, ‘Pudding Pie Sunday’ or ‘Mid-Lent Sunday‘. It was a day in Lent when the fasting rules were relaxed, in honour of the ‘Feeding of the Five Thousand’, a story in the Christian Bible.
today, it feels like another form of commercialism and something that you ought to do because everybody else does it – i think that every day we should remember how special mothers are – their job at times is a thankless task that we all take for granted. what is lovely, it’s a day in the calendar that brings mothers and family together again. it’s also a good day to remember those mothers who have gone as well as those that are still with us.
in chichicastanago, guatamala the flower girls strewn their flowers for sale on the famed church steps – the petals were used as part of the religious thanks. it was such a memorable place – its somewhere i would want to visit again.
whatever you are doing, have a lovely day!
i still remember these lovely flowers that little maude picked from our garden and sweetly put them in a egg cup – such a precious little thing and such a good idea for putting your flowers in!
today is officially named international women’s day to celebrate equality for women, from simply being more appreciated, respected and loved to acknowledging economic, social and political achievements – i think that every day should be like this whether you are female or not – so many women are undervalued, especially the role of a mother.
i admire that quite a few of my girlfriends have changed their careers and now are amazing therapists – nutritionist, osteopathy, pilates, hygienist, psychotherapist and acupuncture – plus i get to learn more about natural therapy and am treated to more alternatives to standard medicine!
i love that women are not challenged by anything – dont ever think that you are too old to start something new! i was inspired by the fact that Julia Margaret Cameron started her photography career at 48. I have changed my career so many times and each one has been fulfilling and challenging but also full of good memories. since the beginning of lockdown in March 2020, I have been learning and teaching Qigong to my friends – it really has grasped me and I spend a lot of my spare hours studying and practising more moves, and getting to understand what the philosophy of Qigong is about. for many years, I have thought it a gentle exercise for very old pensioners, like my mother, but I have now realised its power to build strength and suppleness, not only to the body but to the mind too. If your mind feels balanced and in control, then your body naturally responds to this harmony and keeps stress at bay – stress is renowned for being the cause of a lot of health problems. If you feel stressed, it is difficult for your body to recover; qigong is not a miracle cure, it just helps relieves stress, lengthens the ligaments and keeps the joints moving, and hence allow the Qi (energy) and blood to run more smoothly through the body. I have also been combining the Qigong with watercolour classes – and this has been very well received by the local community in Suffolk. I am self taught with watercolour, but with a few simple techniques, you can learn, it’s not about achieving something professional, more about allowing yourself to be creative and explore. watercoloring is so loose, but it also has a meditative quality. what it means is it’s never too late to start a new hobby, passion or career. I am now feeling confident to hold these classes in London – confidence is something that has taken me 60 years to gain, but the great thing about getting older is that you lose all those self conscious worries and wanting to share the good things in life becomes more important.
Still I Rise’ by Maya Angelou
The incredibly prolific and inspiring American poet, author of seven autobiographies, actress, civil-rights activist, producer and director passed away in 2014, leaving behind a huge volume of work celebrating black beauty, the strength of women, and the human spirit. In 2017 her life was celebrated in the documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, which featured interviews with Oprah Winfrey, Hilary Clinton, Quincy Jones and Maya Angelou herself.
‘You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.’
here are a few of my inspirational ladies who have allowed me to photograph them….
I cant resist a haberdashery shop, so cadiz is an aladdins cave of ribbons, bindings, threads and trimmings – there are so many to choose from that I never fail to bring something home. I use the ribbons and bindings to repair tears in dresses, blouses, pillowcases, using the sashiko, Japanese repair method. I used to be so obsessed about perfection, and as I have grown older (and wiser), I find that the imperfect is what I am seeing – the oddity of a flash of colour or a sprig of gingham on an otherwise plain cotton summer dress brightens the item and makes it more individual and personal.
If you have never been to Cadiz, then you must – its a charming old city, especially around the fruit and fish market, which now re-opens in the evening – I had never noticed this before, but i am guessing that to get the full experience you should come in the morning for the produce, but there are lots of food and tapas stalls around the outer edge that sell snacks and typical spanish delicacies.
Cadiz was one of the least well known of the spanish cities -built on the atlantic coast, its crumbling buildings are reminiscent of Havana. fishermen line the coastal walls to catch their daily fish ; wander through the many stalls of the fish market of locals selling their freshly picked home grown herbs and veg – anything from camomile flowers, chestnuts, sage flowers to wild asparagus. its great to see that market life is still in abundance, when in many cities, the growth of the supermarkets has killed local trading. I love the fact that spain still has shops that solely sell one thing – scissors and knives, tobacco and cigarettes, ribbons, ham…..
in london, I love to browse in V W Rouleaux – you can choose beautiful ribbons, trimmings and lots of other interesting flowers and tassels – everything and anything to make your hat or costume pretty, or just to simply find the essential tie backs for your curtains. another favourite shop is Ray Stitch in Islington, full of ideas and patterns, plus many gift ideas. Halesworth in Suffolk also has a useful haberdashery, selling everything from remnants to ribbons and buttons.
andalucia house is available to rent
Happy Chinese New Year
happy new year of the rabbit! Jan 22nd is the official day for new year, but the celebrations can last for up to 2 weeks.
1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999, 2011, 2023
we are leaving the energetic Tiger year and entering the more quiet and introspective Rabbit – the Rabbit is a symbol of intellect and cautiousness and this year we should all be focusing on rest and working smarter not harder – take a moment to think before action, not rushing into something that you may later regret.
taking a pause and a breath is a really useful tool for calming the system. Qigong helps to cultivate calmness as well as compassion and kindness – movements are uncrushed using fluid, intention based movements to allow our thoughts and body to work in a balanced way. for more information about my Qigong classes, both online and in person, please message or email me.
People born in the Year of the Rabbit are articulate, talented, and ambitious. They are virtuous, reserved, and have excellent taste. Rabbit people are admired, trusted, and are often financially lucky. They are fond of gossip but are tactful and generally kind. Rabbit people seldom lose their temper. They are clever at business and being conscientious, never back out of a contract. They would make good gamblers for they have the uncanny gift of choosing the right thing. However, they seldom gamble, as they are conservative and wise.
12 days after xmas
Friday is the twelfth day after christmas and is traditionally the day that you take down your xmas decorations- so dont forget! 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 when 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 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! thats what I love about spain, its cultures and traditions that are still family celebrations.
I wish that I was there in spain to celebrate – have never made it at this time of year – one day – its even been mild and sunny above 20C!
Known as the winter extreme in Chinese wisdom, the 22nd December sees the Winter Solstice – a magical time of year when the daylight is at its shortest and night is at its longest and darkest. Its the moment when yin reaches its peak, pauses and the spark of yang ignites and the ascent into light begins again. Its this precise meeting of yin and yang that heralds the possibility of new creation, both spiritually and emotionally. In this moment of stillness feel that anything is possible. It’s time to say goodbye to the woes of the year and look forward to the brightening of the longer days and the goodness of the future.
one year i managed to catch the full moon known as the ‘harvest moon’ – so called because it signals the time when corn, pumpkins, squash, beans and wild rice – the chief indian staples are ready for gathering. here is the full moon on the padstow estuary – its the view from my friends’ house. its actually one of my favourite images in my book stolen glimpses.
buying gifts is such a difficult thing….
what to buy each year becomes a dilemma – here is my list of what usually works for most of the family.
- curzon cinema vouchers or membership to local cinema, could be any of the lovely independents that are around , 2. tate, v & a membership or any gallery subscription – older kids seem to have preferred the Barbican, which also gives you discounted access to the gallery and cinema, 3. ticket or gift voucher to the theatre, maybe somewhere unusual like Wiltons or Sam Wanamaker theatre or National Theatre, 4. daunts book voucher or again any local bookshop, 5. anything from aesop, 6. anything from the wonderful art shop cornelissen 7. food gifts from la fromagerie ,Lina stores or my favourite Italo in Bonnington Square , 8. jewellery from Tidy Street, Liberty’s or sweet pea,, 9. ceramics – Conran, Japan House – at the moment, I love Japanese bowls from Sway gallery 10. candles from cire trudon or Tom Dixon’s fab new shop 11. a treatment from the Cow Shed, my husband got me a voucher last year for my birthday and the pedicure was pretty amazing. 12. of course there is a night’s stay in a hotel somewhere in the countryside, and there are so many lovely hotels to stay in and one extra – a course in ceramics, a language, drawing or just about anything – there are so many courses on offer at city lit and the neighbouring adult colleges. lots of independent shops such as Momosan, Native and Co, Tidy Street, Couverture and Garb store, Vanil. remember most of these places have a website and you can get gifts delivered.
Robert and Alfie’s favourite shop for classic men’s clothes with style, visit J.Simons shop on chiltern street – it brings together a handpicked selection of American, Continental and British brands, classic loafers, harrington jackets, jeans and even includes a few vintage pieces – perfect if you want to find your male partner or friend a gift. i love the pendleton shirts! you go in there wishing that they did the same things in womens sizes.
struggling to find presents for men, go along to the aesop shop in soho – their products are all plant based, high quality and specially made to benefit the skin and absolutely smell beautiful. last year i bought a foaming shaving balm for my husband with a steel dish for him to whip up the foam with his brush – he is very old fashioned and still likes to wet shave. a lot of men hate bits and pieces, collective memoirs, so finding something to buy them can become a bit of a challenge. a guess this means that you have a limited list; here are a few places that i know robert will always be pleased to receive from -any products from kiehls, scarves and silk handkerchieves from peckham rye, vintage books and out of print books from the numerous antiquarian book shops on cecil court, poetry books from daunts, I still think that they have the best choice of books, and the re issues of classics such as Agatha Christie and Dickens are so beautifully presented that they can be the start of a collection, travel notebooks from smythsons – you can even have your own initials embossed on the beautiful leather covers, margaret howell for vases and accessories , rapha for absolutely anything cycling, brooks for classic cycling bags,chapmans for classic bags.
the boys love fresh boxers, from the great basic uniqulo boxers to the supremely quality cotton boxers from sunspel – their cotton is just lovely; even the girls like to wear them for holidays.
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 on an evening, curling up on the sofa – too lazy to venture out in the dark……
one of my favourite images – from my stolen glimpses book