southwold pier

i love piers, there is something romantic, dreamy and nostalgic about them……

I am lucky to have Southwold so close to the cottage – its the perfect seaside town with its long sandy beach, beach huts and pier, fish market and harbour, plus a sprinkling of good restaurants and shops.   I hope to get to the cottage a lot more in 2020;  you can rent it directly through my website limeblossom cottage. 

I recently discovered the little neighbouring village of Wangford, hidden from the A12, its a tiny village with a great grocery shop and pub, the Angel Inn.  Suffolk is full of hidden treasures just waiting to be discovered.

 

three important words…..

“(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love And Understanding”

As I walk through
This wicked world
Searchin’ for light in the darkness of insanity.
I ask myself
Is all hope lost?
Is there only pain and hatred, and misery?

And each time I feel like this inside,
There’s one thing I wanna know:
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? Ohhhh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?

And as I walked on
Through troubled times
My spirit gets so downhearted sometimes
So where are the strong
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.

‘Cause each time I feel it slippin’ away, just makes me wanna cry.
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? Ohhhh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?

So where are the strong?
And who are the trusted?
And where is the harmony?
Sweet harmony.

‘Cause each time I feel it slippin’ away, just makes me wanna cry.
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? Ohhhh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding? Ohhhh
What’s so funny ’bout peace love & understanding?

Nick Lowe

 

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festive things to do in london

so we had an eventful xmas – on xmas eve Robert and I went to the charles dickens museum –  its a fun insight into the writer’s life, especially if you are interested by the writer.   there are portraits of the family, the writing desk that dickens used to create his famous novels,  his personal book collection –  and even personal artefacts such as jewellery.  there are characters from the book that keep you entertained as you walk around the house, making it more fun and engaging for children.  after reading his biography by Claire Tomalin my interest in dickens was born – not only does it tell the story of the author, but it vividly describes a london of that era.    not only is it a great educational eye opener, but an opportunity to see the inside of these wonderful london historic houses.

on xmas morning, whilst Robert was cooking, the kids and I took a walk to the top of Primrose Hill – it had finally stopped raining and was actually a bright sunny crisp day.  the view from the top of the hill is always a stunning picture of London. we must make use of the wonderful parks that London has – they are our treasures.

on Boxing Day, I went to see Little Women with a girlfriend – its one of my favourite books that I read as a young girl and this new version by Greta Gerwig, is so enjoyable, as it interplays with the story of the writer as she is writing the book, but also telling the story of the book;  in fact at times its hard to realise what is the authors life or whether she is telling the story that she has written.  its beautifully shot, but the clothes are just to die for.  I now want to dress in those victorian layers.  definitely worth seeing .

i know i tell you every year, but its always a lovely xmas treat and could be an idea for a gift, but for a great insight into 17C london life, you must visit the  fascinating  dennis severs house in spitalfields.  they have a special ‘spirit for the christmas’ season for this time of year. Robert and I went again today and it never fails to please you.

the 17C silkweavers house ,which has been lovingly restored as a working house – is an insight into life of that period and it certainly keeps your mind wondering.  since Severs has passed away the house has been beautifully maintained  and continues to show in all its glory what life would have been like. – the grandeur of the wealthy, the darkness of the poor.  its a museum, cum drama, cum personal collection – its just breathtaking – your eyes dart from corner to corner of each of the rooms on the 5 floors – absorbing the different scenarios, the different smells, the crackling of the open fires , the flickering of the candles- it really is a must visit.  why not buy a visit for a friend – they would just love it.    think of art crossed with drama.

xmas biscuits

a  few years ago maude helped her friend raise some money for a charity trip to nepal by making these lovely biscuits – they look very intricate to me – lots of bashing of hard boiled sweets with a rolling pin!  perfect idea for to hang from your xmas tree!   she didnt use one recipe, but combined a few to create what she wanted!    its a fun thing to do with little children and you can cut a variety of different shapes.  if you make the hole a little bigger you can thread some thin ribbon through.  loved the first image, so turned it into a xmas card too.  now that Maude is vegan, we always have fabulous vegan versions, which it is so much easier to find the ingredients now in any high street.  here is a good recipe for vegan gingerbread biscuits.  but you can use the recipe to make any shape.

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winter solstice

did you know that yesterday was the shortest day of the year, winter solstice – 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.  lets hope it doesn’t keep raining, I feel that since November it hasn’t stopped……

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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.

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art in london

There always seems so much to see in london art wise and I always seem to miss shows that I had planned to see.  first on my list are the Lucian Freud self portraits – not my favourite artist, but I loved seeing the progress of his art and how he depicted and saw himself over the years – my favourite is the black and white ink drawing that he did early on.

Now Guaguin is one of my favourite artists, despite his attachment to young Polynesian girls,  I myself get confused in deciding whether the traditions and morals of those times should be judged today or should great art be shunned because what was thought as acceptable in those times is no longer.  there is no denying that he probably did take advantage of his position as a westerner and artist to exploit these young girls, but it seems throughout history male figures from all aspects of life did exactly the same – fortunately we are now living in a time whereby this behaviour is illegal.

the National Gallery is just a great art gallery to visit over and over again.  in one room alone you can see all the masterpieces of art..  I absolutely love Pre Raphaelite art, so to visit the exhibition at the National portrait gallery was a treat – in fact my friend Maria took me there for my birthday.  I love the delicacy and the detail of so many of the pre raphaelite painters and this one finally concentrates on the art of 12 women painters, some of them totally overlooked as artists, but seen just as the models in the paintings.

my son in law took me to see Dora Maar at Tate modern on my birthday – such an inspiring artist who not only created amazing surreal collages but also painted too – I guess she is more famous for being Picasso’s muse than being a successful and innovation artist.  so get out there, a lot of the art in the public collections are free to see and the galleries are constantly changing the art around.

the Jewish museum has an exceptionally moving exhibition at the moment – 200 small gouache paintings with words by the artist Charlotte Salomon  which she created as part of a larger body of work in the early 1940s when in hiding from Nazi oppressors. These remarkable gouaches unveil a vivid self-portrait spanning across all facets of Salomon’s existence: from a complicated family life, growing up in Berlin, the rise of the Nazis, to her exile to France.

two of these visits were actually birthday presents from friends, what a good idea for a gift, tickets to see an art show followed by lunch.

 

 

 

Westminster arts library

I look around our house and its hard to believe that neither my husband and I had any books around us whilst growing up –  instead we both frequented the local libraries and borrowed the maximum amount of books that you could at the time – I kind of remember 4 as a figure.  so it was a real pleasure to discover the Westminster Arts Library,  right in the heart of Leicester Square, it is built on the site of Isaac Newton’s house and observatory.

Robert did an event there recently, discussing his book, London Made Us at one of the cultural events – Salon for the City, whose goal is to generate a sense of excitement and inspiration about our great city.  but also make use of  a creatively dormant space as a resource, study and temporary hub of debate and interaction, a ‘creative city’ which opens up to a new and ever changing audience.

The library has a collection of over 15,000 books covering the performing arts, a third of which are available to borrow.  The collection also has a wide range of film, theatre, dance, radio & TV publications, some  going back to the 19th century.

Its a haven amidst the busy hub of London’s busy squares and definitely worth visiting.