if you are looking for a great unusual gift for that person who seems to have everything, then go to the japanese knife shop in baker street, W1.  it has an amazing display of knives for every occasion – you can even have something special engraved on the knife of your choice!  however there is a saying that giving knives or scissors is a sign of severing your friendship, if you do receive a knife for a gift, you are supposed to return the thanks by sending a penny – in effect, you are purchasing your gift!  depends how superstitious you are!   badgers velvet also have a few beautiful fruit knives and vintage inspired utensils that make wonderful wedding gifts – in fact everything Ros makes is very individual and special.

ernest wright and son have been making scissors for over 100 years – how beautiful to own a lovely pair – there is something so classic about the design for scissors, and such essential items.  merchant and mills also have lovely scissors, in fact everything for the maker.

I just love browsing through kitchen shops, especially lovely ones.  My favourites are Summerhill and Bishop in Holland Park – a beautiful provence style kitchen shop but with a simple modern style, labour and wait – on Redchurch Street- a more utilitarian shop, quite retro and shaker like;  toast home –  lovely collection of hamman towels, ceramic tableware  and glasses;   Gill Wing in islington also has a wide range of  functional kitchen items.  pedlars – in Portobello and selfridges, again a lovely collection of vintage style kitchen and classic finds, and of course the wonderful Baileys Home Store in ross on wye.


IMG_152003Apr2014_0548 Florence 3170


its now a regular haunt – the Titanic hotel on its great dockside location – it was Elise’s birthday and her favourite choice of present.  so this week, i treated my friend elise for her birthday to a couple of  nights in her favourite hotel – the titanic in liverpool!  the roomiest, coolest hotel that i have ever been to in the UK.  its a short taxi ride from the tate gallery, but situated right on the docks and housed in a converted warehouse – one of many that line the once busy docks of liverpool.  you can always find a deal, check their website for advanced offers  – the spa is a heavenly treat too.  there is an amazing exhibition on at the moment of 2 of my favourite artists, Egon Sc hiele and Francesca Woodman.

take a stop to eat at ‘the quarter’ in the beautiful georgian area around hope street, whilst you walk the beautiful Georgian houses, wondering how chic and upmarket Liverpool must have been in the 18C.  and then a must see stop are the 2 opposing cathedrals – both architecturally amazing in their own right.  if you have time, take the 15 min drive to Crosby beach to see ‘another place’ by Antony Gormley – a series of life size cast iron figures set along the beach seemingly entering the sea.



Mind is the master power that molds and makes,
And we are Mind, and evermore we take
The tool of thought, and shaping what we will,
Bring forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills,
We think in secret, and it comes to pass –
Our world is but our looking glass.
— James Allen

This short and inspiring poem contains a world of wisdom within its few short sentences. It serves as a powerful reminder or idea that we are what our thoughts made of. What we consistently and persist in thinking, be it good or bad, sooner or later our thoughts will manifest into reality.

I hope that this poem would encourage you in cultivating courageous, good and beautiful thoughts.

Snape maltings

i love going to my suffolk cottage, even just for a day, and especially if the weather is as good as it has been .   the only thing i dislike is the 2 and half hours drive to get there.  so what i have been doing is breaking the journey with a stop for a cup of tea in one of the many lovely towns along the route – i pick a different one every time.  this time i stopped in snape maltings – the 1800 buildings originally used for storing barley – that are now a concert hall, shops, eating places all set in a tranquil setting surrounding by reeds.  i  chose here because my friend Maria is particularly interested in art, and i knew that she would love the hepworth sculpture set amonst the reeds it really is a lovely focus point.   there is also the lettering arts trust with its beautiful carved stones.  i noticed that beggars velvet are stocked there – beautiful gifts all with  words and letters.  look out for unusual exhibitions in the beautiful dovecote gallery. there is a lovely exhibition by Berthold Wolpe, a master of calligraphy and type design, who did a lot of dustjackets for books too.   i  have tried all the cafes there and the granary tea shop is the best;  i think that the food hall is probably more interesting for gifts.



azzedine alaia

I don’t visit the design museum very often, and since it has moved to Kensington, this is only my 2nd time.  I bought a few alaia dresses in my 20’s partly because I worked in fashion during that time, so was able to buy them at a discount price, but also because I had the figure and confidence at that age to wear such figure hugging and sensual clothes.   the exhibition shows mainly the couture clothes, rather than the ready to wear collection, but reveals the craft, mastership, detail and understanding of the female body (be it a perfect one) that Alaia possessed to produce some stunningly creative pieces.   more interesting are the 2 films that are shot in the 1980’s and 90’s, showing the master at work, doing absolutely everything from drawing and cutting the patterns, fitting them to the body, ironing the twirls, but also showing backstage scenes with the models – who are mainly the infamous supermodels.   I walked all the way back to Oxford Circus through Hyde Park – its amazing how you can get from one side of london to another by just passing through one of the many beautiful parks that we have.

on chesil beach

my friend Maria is a member of Barbican cinema, which has a great offer that enables you to go to see new films for a very reduced price on a Sunday morning – its a lovely comfortable cinema and it was quite refreshing to travel to a part of london that I don’t usually frequent on a Sunday. I really liked this film, despite its mixed reviews;  based on a novella by Ian McEwan, its set in early 1960’s and retells the honeymoon night of a young couple.  its very sensitively told and their youth and upbringing is revealed through flashbacks.  it may seem quite old fashioned now, but its a stark reminder how we used to hide our feelings and be affected by social stigmas.  its also quite sad, that 2 people who obviously love each other can’t be quite honest with one another and risk losing each other.  its quite slow, but both actors, Saoirse Ronan and Billy Howle are both convincing and excellent, and the cinematography is very beautiful.   I have never been to chesil beach, but its definitely on my list now.


oriental poppy

known as the oriental papaver, the vibrant orange bloom makes any garden exotic.   the flowers dont last long, but they return year after year – mine have just bloomed and look amazing. flowers are not only beautiful to look at, but help nature generally –  Oriental Poppies attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

my garden is blooming with colour, roses, camellias, wisteria, poppies, nasturtium, campanula – remember my garden is tiny, the size of a bedroom front and back, but with some clever planting, you can have flowers all year round.