finally made it to the new eating place Mackie mayor on Sunday brunch; its relaxed eating, a bit like Borough Market but under one roof – you choose what to eat and then sit anywhere. its a beautiful light space that shows off the victorian architecture in its splendour. another restaurant in Manchester that I hadn’t been to before was ‘el gato negro’ – Spanish tapas set in a converted town house on central King Street; food was ok, but a nice place to meet. its nice that manchester is not only inundated with restaurant chains.
its lovely when your children start to recommend art exhibitions or places to go – i think that i have spent so many years telling them to get off their computers and go out. so I went to the newly refurbished Hayward gallery – one of my favourite buildings in london; not only is it positioned in one of the most iconic spots – by Waterloo bridge, but its concrete structure sets it apart against the wonder of the houses of Parliament. the exhibition Gursky is definitely worth visiting – the scale of the photos and the mass of people really made you wonder how he achieved them. I didn’t realise that he had composed them from several pictures and obviously he must have been raised quite high to get the angles. the cafe and gift shop are also quite good.
after all this rain, we were lucky enough to catch a sunny and bright afternoon on the south bank – we passed the wonderful skylon restaurant at the royal festival hall, the skateboarders, the booksellers, popped into the british film theatre. did you know that you can go into the mediatheque and watch any film on their archive for free? there are quite comfy booths, so what a great thing to do on a rainy day!
or why not go and see an early show at the bfi and then take an evening stroll along the river, get a bite to eat or have a drink in one of the many cafes – its a lovely thing to do. watching the sun go down on westminster bridge has to be one of the most romantic views in london.
its been many years since I have visited ibiza – when alice was little I use to go every year to stay with my friend Lorena, who has the same age daughter and a house there – so I got to know it quite well. but somehow through having children, busy lives, I just never seemed to find the time; so now that the girls have all grown up, it was lovely to visit again without that responsibility of young children and rediscover the island. ibiza has the reputation of nightclubs and raves, but it is actually quite family orientated with lots of Spanish families visiting at weekends, its the ‘cotswolds of Barcelona and Madrid, being only an hours flight away. Lorena has been going there for over 30 years and so she really knows the island inside out and always tries to take me to the more authentic parts of the island. she does her food shopping in the local food markets rather than the big sprawling supermarkets which seem to have sprung up everywhere. the food market in Ibiza town is very good quality and has a great selection of meat, fish, fruit, veg and other local products.
Santa Getrudis is a lovely inland village with interesting shops and restaurants – there’s even a lovely book shop there; we ate in Macao restaurant which had very good pizza and Italian cuisine. its a good place to visit in the evenings. we also stopped in Sluiz, just outside of the village – a strange and eclectic mix of homewares and clothes, set in a quite mad warehouse decorated quite kitch. ibiza has a strange mix of hippy and flamboyant – but you can definitely find something you may like, whether it be the basket ware, the espadrilles or the Indian prints. prices in ibiza are not cheap – london prices – and compared to Andalusia, the shops offer a higher quality product all round, whether it be the supermarket or the gift shops.
Talamanca is a little beach close to Ibiza old town with a boarded walkway path along the beach, lined with restaurants and hotels, its a little less built up than some of the coastal towns. Bellamar restaurant looked popular and is recommended. but the loveliest unspoilt beaches are las Salinas and Es Cavallet – be aware that nude bathing is very popular in ibiza; even this week whilst I was sporting a jumper and jeans, there are lots of nude germans walking around the beaches. Las Dahlias is a Saturday market, quite hippy, but great to find that souvenir; I found a lovely woven basket and floral print summer dress. its definitely for girls, but if your partner joins you, he can at least sit and enjoy a drink.
ibiza old town is still charismatic, winding streets with its traditional housing, little squares and lots of restaurants and shops. I also visited one of those super modernists houses for a lunch – the ones with the infinity pools that reach out to the amazing sea views; I was shocked at how many modern houses there were around the island – its like ‘Wallpaper magazine ‘; you pass them as you drive around the island, emerging from the hilltops, all looking like James Bond houses. march is definitely a lovely time to visit, less crowds, but pleasant weather; although it was breezy, it was still sunny and around 18C.
the daffodils are late this year due to the cold weather, but finally they are all blooming; wordsworths favourite flower inspired one of his most famous poems
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.
The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: —
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.
Composed, 1804, William Wordsworth
Published, Poems in Two Volumes 1807
when looking for gifts, i always visit cecil court, a wonderfully atmospheric alley of victorian bookshops, specialising in antiquarian books. step into the lovely marchpane book shop, which is filled from floor to ceiling with beautiful old copies of children’s books. you can spend anything from £10 to thousands, you have to just decide what you want to pay, and then see what you like. one birthday i chose a 1961 copy of alice in wonderland for my daughter alice to add to her collection. i can spend hours in there – the graphics and design of some of the books were so inspirational. so for the perfect and original gift for the person take a trip to cecil court.
for alice my beautiful daughter whose birthday it is today
taken from Sir Arthur Gorges in the Penguin’s Poems for Love, selected by Laura Barber
I somehow found myself in both Bath and Brighton in the same week, photographing the beautiful new spring/summer collection for Tidy Street Store – simple and well cut clothes that are stylish and will last year after year. the problem is – you want everything! a few days later, I went to Bath to the Fashion Museum. my dear friend Carolyn, who sadly passed away unexpectedly less than 2 years ago left behind an amazing collection of clothes. she was a textile designer and spent most of her life wearing clothes that were either interesting in style, cut or pattern. she carefully kept a lot of her pieces even from the 70’s, and preserved them in immaculate condition. a friend had noted this to the curator of the museum in Bath and hence they are not part of their archive. So along with her family and friends we were lucky enough to see this whole collection and marvel at Carolyn’s unique style and choice – remembering her in those pieces – it was both sad and joyful. there were a lot of early Marni and Comme des Garcons pieces, so its like a history in 80’s design. what a wonderful legacy for a collection that could have ended up in a charity shop – this way the collection is there for all to enjoy; apparently students can visit the museum and use the archive for their research and inspiration.