venues in london

my husband has a new book out and so he is doing all these live events around london – what’s amazing is being able to see inside new places that you would never have even thought about.  I loved the amphitheatre style setting of earth hackney,- they put on mainly theatre and concerts, but the 5 x 15 event that Robert took part in was very interesting.  look out for more of those events.   the grandeur of southwark cathedral, and the atmospheric under the arches of Wanstead tap.

wilton’s music hall is still one of my favourite atmospheric venues – they have a variety of interesting things on from film, live performance and plays.

if you miss the evenings, there is a lovely bar , the mahogany bar dating back from 1725, that you can visit daily.

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pop up sales

I will be taking part in another Badger’s Velvet Underground pop up sale this weekend;  a collective POP UP Department store with 40 of the best designers, makers and artisans around.  April 26th  6 – 8.30pm and 27th. April 9.30am – 5.30pm.  The Department Store  248 Ferndale Road, Brixton, London SW9

I shall be selling lots of interesting finds – as well as my cards, prints, ceramics and some vintage and pre loved clothes.  I have printed a few more new cards, including a few more of my watercolour botanicals.  I will also have my new book ‘floral glimpses’ for sale.  hope you can make it.


ealing broadway

lots of exhibitions on in london at the moment, Mary Quant is on alongside Dior at the V & A, and is very interesting – it was before my time, but I do remember the make up range with the renowned daisy logo – London looked like an amazing free time in the 60’s compared to the more structured 50’s shape – lots of drop waists, softer fabrics, shorter lengths, but its the haircuts that define the look.

Dorothea Tanning is gothic nightmares meets alice in wonderland, but very arresting and pioneering for its time – I didn’t realise that she was married to Max Ernst, but the exhibition shows how his surrealist influence has really shaped her art – her work pushes the boundaries of surrealism and explores sensuality and desire- what was amazing was that she lived until she was 102 years old and continued working right until her 70’s.   Pierre Bonnard is an explosion of colour – pale pastel post impressionist paintings and then some bright prime colours;  I never really noticed his work. before, but I really was taken with the tablecloth paintings with their odd angled still life and plates of food – definitely worth seeing – the people are second to the objects, which is unusual in classic paintings.

yesterday was probably one. of the hottest and loveliest days this year and my lovely cultured friend Maria took me all the way to Ealing Broadway to visit the newly opened Sir John Soane house, which has just been recently restored.  its not at all like the museum in Bloomsbury, but shows an almost postmodern style in the early 1800’s. there are not many pieces of his collection, its more showing how he changed and extended the Manor House – Pitzhanger Manor House that he purchased for his family for 10 years of his life, turning the grounds into a beautiful landscaped garden, which is today still a beautiful place to sit and walk in – Walpole Park.  there is a fascinating sculpture exhibition by Anish Kapoor – the convex discs and boxes of mirrored glass definitely bemuse you and even make you feel a bit unsteady as they disorientate you – pray tell me how its done?   there is a lovely restaurant too to have lunch, and brunch at the weekends.  Definitely worth that long central line train out……

cafes in london parks

at this time of year, its lovely to eat outdoors, or at least be able to get a good cup of tea and a piece of cake – of all the places that i have frequented, Kenwood House is probably consistently the best for cakes and breakfast;  other places to try are Parliament Hill Cafe,   the  cafe/restaurant in Regents Park, situated in the middle of the lovely rose garden has changed hands again and i notice does wood burning pizza,  always a lovely spot by the lake is  the Serpentine Cafe ,   Inn the Park in St. James Park is a lovely setting ,  the Pavilion Cafe in Highgate Woods is pretty idylic, as is the cafe at Lauderdale House in Waterlow Park on Highgate  Hill, London N6.  so get out there and enjoy the lovely sun and food!

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semana santa

Semana Santa is a magical time in Andalucia and Vejer celebrates in spectacular fashion. Good Friday sees a dramatic and moving procession as the whole town turns out to witness the local virgins being paraded by religious brotherhoods in full costume deep into the night. Then the local marching bands play in the streets before a major party takes over, culminating in the running of two wild bulls through the cobbled streets, as thousand watch, and a few join in.

Afterwards Vejer returns to its usual sleepy ways, so you can combine amazing folkloric events with a touch of hedonism and a lazy break, all against the backdrop of one of the oldest and most traditional houses in this beautiful ancient town.

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the annual april feria  occurs 10 days after easter.   its a mini version of the seville feria, which if you have never seen is just spectacular, horses and carriages,  flamenco dresses and full of colour and splendour;  vejer’s feria is held in the new town, which is only 15 mins walk from the old town but mainly consists of a few casitas (tents for eating drinking and dancing) and an enormous fairground!  but for 4 nights there will be numerous flamenco shows and horse riding events.   the local school children clamber on their floats and there is a procession through the old town to the new town – there are so many festival days in spain, you need to check the calendars before you go so that you can watch them – there is a feria in almost every town in spain at some time of the year – its what makes Spain a wonderful country still steeped in tradition and fun.

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have recently explored the beaches of the British coastline and been pleasantly surprised how beautiful they are;  the weather doesn’t help, but  even out of summer, its just as refreshing to experience that fresh wind.

when I visit my mother in manchester, I tend to visit Liverpool a lot with my friend Elise and recently she took me to the natural trust beach of Formby – with its dunes and wide sandy beach, its a lovely place to take a walk.  Crosby beach is also a good beach to visit, with its Antony Gormley statues, it makes it even more visually interesting.

Gorleston beach, just before Great Yarmouth takes you back to your childhood with remote boating lake and lovely Victorian houses perched on the clifftop. I had never walked the top cliff of Dunwich Heath before, but it’s nature at its best – make your way to the Coastguard Cottages for tea and cake and savour the wonderful view.


Kirby, gorleston and dunwich heath,  Liverpool