money can’t buy anything

Some people believe that happiness
can be found by
the amount of money you have.
But, money can not buy everything.

Money cannot buy
the feelings that I get
when My love kisses me gently
with her sweet lips.

Money cannot buy the way I feel
when I hold my love so close
that it feels like my heart
is beating for the both of us.

Some people think being rich will make you happy
because, you have money to go anywhere in the world.
But, I- myself, do not need to travel far
for, my place is with my love.

People think money can make you happy
because, you can afford expensive clothes and jewlery.
But, all I ever do is put on a smile when I’m with my love
because, that is all I need to wear.

People count on money to go on exotic trips to the ocean
So they can explore beneath the sea
and see things many poeple never will.
But, the sea of love, I am treading in is much deeper than any other sea.

People think money can bring happiness
because, the rich get better seats at restaurants.
But, my seat is always the best
when I am beside my love.

Poeple think money can buy happiness
because, they live in large houses.
But, the house I live in is always the most special one
when My love is with me in it.

Some people think being rich can buy you happiness..
sure, it can buy you some
but, the love I have brings me more happiness
than all the money in the world could.

Some people think being rich makes you better than everyone
They think they have a place reserved in heaven.
But, that’s not something I worry about
because, with my love, I am already there.

In this world money can get you things
and it can make you happy
but, the love I share with My angel
is more valuable than anything.

by Dennis Justin Fontaine

mothers day

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.  my daughter Maude is away on a university internship, but she sent me the most beautiful flowers – a friend set up this amazing business Filth during lockdown and delivers flowers personally on a friday – what enterprising and inspirational youth we have!  

 

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!

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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!

International Women’s day

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 last March 2020, I have been learning and teaching Qigong to my friends – it really has grasped me and I spend at least an hour or two a day 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.   I have also started to learn basic mandarin, with a phone app, duo lingo, very slowly, as I had remembered a few words of Cantonese through my childhood, but now have to replace this with totally different sounds for the same characters.   So it definitely is never too late to start a new hobby, passion or career.

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.’

I  still continue to volunteer at the bay tree centre in brixton  – a centre for women and their daughters of all nationalities to go and learn english, further their studies in the essentials of education – reading, science and other skills, but also fun activities like cooking, dancing and art.  there is a strong emphasis on social inclusion, encouraging equality in development and supporting them to think out of their box and achieve whatever their dreams may desire.  after school, the centre serves for the local ethnic children whose parents don’t speak much English and need help with their homework and studies, but in the day, the centre helps refugee children – these are usually older girls in their teen years- who are awaiting school places.  during the pandemic though, I have been zooming reading classes and have even hosted  a children’s Qigong class, and  a watercolour class for the older girls.  it really gives you a warm feeling seeing their little faces pop up on the screen, calling you ‘miss’ and using their thumbs up symbols.  thank god for zoom – I never thought that I would thank technology, but it really has been a godsend all round.

the lives of the children at Baytree reminds me of my own life, from a single ethnic mother whose father departed when I was five leaving my mother to work long hours as a waitress to feed three young children;  I had to look after my 2 younger brothers, get them to school – she was never able to go to parents evening, nobody to help with my homework, she could barely speak English but then I never wanted for anything, there was always food on the table and clothes when I needed them.  through sheer hard work, a lot of luck and determination, I have enjoyed a happy and family life in london.  i would have loved a centre like Baytree, but I dont think that these type of places existed then.  they are a charity and run mainly on volunteers who are always in need.

You only need to offer an hour a week, every little helps.  you don’t have to be a qualified teacher – I have no training – you just have to be enthusiastic and patient – but its very rewarding

here are a few of my inspirational ladies who have allowed me to photograph them….

Art for Cure

I am excited to be taking part in this event run by Art for Cure to raise money exclusively for the Blossom Appeal – a new breast care unit at Ipswich Hospital. I shall be giving a masterclass in Qigong on Sat March 13th, at 6.30pm, alongside a host of other interesting designers and creatives – anything from flower arranging to pottery making. all the funds from my class goes directly to the charity. You do not have to be knowledgeable about Qigong, its a gently but deep strengthening form of moves that not only nourishes the body, but also the mind. See it as a preventative set of moves that can be done at any time of the day that can re-energise, relax and destress you.

I also have submitted a selection of photographic flower prints, watercolour botanicals, gift packs of my cards and my flower book ‘Floral Glimpses’ – so there are things to choose from that start from £20. Again, there will be 40 other artists exhibiting an amazing array of works, all to be sold online on March 5th at 6pm until 21st March 21. Please try and support this amazing charity, there will be works from all price ranges and all with a floral or botanical theme. It is so important for women to regularly check for breast cancer and Bloom is about raising money for a new breast care centre in the Essex and Suffolk area.

world book day

today is world book day – if you register online, there are lots of offers and events for children – i am all for children reading more and spending less time on the computer – though i do see that even publishers have had to move into more interactive studies for children.  but how lovely it is to read to a young child just before they go to sleep – it was robert’s highlight of the day, and now its all over – as soon as they reach 9 0r 10, they dont allow you that privilege.  i remember alfie’s favourite book was  ‘goodnight moon’ – robert used to read it to him every night – he knew the words off by heart, such a lovely book, every child should have this book.

sadly my Waterstones closed last year with no replacement on the high street;  but there are lots of independent book shops around, try and support them;  fortunately I still have the book shop in Primrose Hill and the Owl bookshop in Kentish Town, both within walking distance;  I know its cheaper to buy through Amazon, but if you want these smaller enterprises to still be there, we have to buy from them …..

broadway market with its wonderful food stalls and interesting shops has 3 great book shops too, artwords books , broadway bookshop and donion books – both have an eclectic choice of books and a good selection of art based magazines.

queens park books is also a good local bookshop and has a good range of books for children.  its so tempting to go into a bookshop and see a book, then go home and buy it cheaper on amazon, but next time, tell yourself that if you hadnt seen the book in the bookshop then you would never have know about the book – where would we all be without bookshops?  they are a source of inspiration and develop the mind and creativity.  lets try and keep them all alive.

I havent been there yet, but fosters bookshop looks a fascinating bookshop, and not forgetting bookshops that become restaurants in the evening, such as boulevard bookshop in hastings, which serves thai food in the evening.  and the wonderful books for cooks in notting hill.  I still love browsing in Marylebone’s Daunts and Hatchards in Picadilly, which has a lovely selection of vintage books to sell, very tempting for those men who have everything …..

I am also sadly missing popping into  harbour books, in whitstable – i keep meaning to pop down for the day, but time just seems to fly by!

I still love to read an actual book, not for me the kindle or iPad……….

even a pile of books can look beautiful……

in Cartagena, we stumbled upon a lovely bookshop and cafe, abaco  – so if you manage to get to Cartagena Colombia, do try and stop by there.

 

decorating with tiles

all over andalucia there are beautiful floor tiles – geometric, moroccan, they are just stunning and seeing them really wants you to go home and put in some colourful floors.   casa siesta (one of my favourite hotel in our area) is a beautiful example of how you can mix  tiles with pattern together with the simplicity of antique furniture, but still keep it clean, simple and serene.

my favourite tile place is in darsham, suffolk, very close to my cottage – smoke and fire – i actually go in there, look at all the beautiful hand made tiles and then decide where they will go, which is a little bit back to front, but then you are using the tiles as art and decoration, rather than just practical solutions.  i love my geometric tiles in my bathroom, which work beautifully in a somewhat neutral painted space.

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in the kitchen, i used a mix of tiles from fired earth and crackle glaze tiles from stone tile company.   one thing i didnt realise is that you need to seal the crackle glaze tiles before using.

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you can simply add colour to a bathroom or kitchen by laying a beautiful floor with encaustic floor tiles.  Encaustic floor tiles are coloured with oxides while the design is being formed, which gives a soft merging of colour, quite classical and antique in finish.  The colours are muted, yet still give you lovely colours without being too bright.  you can buy encaustic tiles from Fired Earth and Terra Firma tiles. This particular floor is locally bought in Spain and graces an otherwise white bathroom.  fired earth have a new collection based on the original designs of the london underground -including beautiful edwardian tiles and signage tiles such as ‘mind the gap’.  bert and may have a great selection too.

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i love the simplicity of this geometric tile design used in babbington house.

pancake tuesday

dont forget today is pancake tuesday!  shrove tuesday always falls the day before ash weds and is therefore the last day before the commencement of lent.  lent is a time of abstinence and penitence, when you give certain foods up, so pancakes are the last meal containing eggs, flour and butter, which were forbidden during lent.  nowadays few people fast, but the tradition of pancake tuesday does live on.  i have always used delia smiths classic recipe – foolproof, never goes into lumps and is delicious with lemon and sugar.

i have always tried in the past to give up wheat, sugar, red meat, but my willpower is not great – i now am a great believer that a little of everything is fine – if you don’t feel like eating meat for a while, you don’t need to attach a label – restrictions always tempt the mind……. its just natural instinct to always want what you can’t have……

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poems for lovers and valentines

if you are an incurable romantic, and looking for a poem to send to your loved one, have a read of some of the poems selected by the guardian – it makes you want to read even more poetry.

here is one of my favourite poems
Not a red rose or a satin heart.

I give you an onion.
It is a moon wrapped in brown paper.
It promises light
like the careful undressing of love.

Here.
It will blind you with tears
like a lover.
It will make your reflection
a wobbling photo of grief.

I am trying to be truthful.

Not a cute card or a kissogram.

I give you an onion.
Its fierce kiss will stay on your lips,
possessive and faithful
as we are,
for as long as we are.

Take it.
Its platinum loops shrink to a wedding-ring,
if you like.

Lethal.
Its scent will cling to your fingers,
cling to your knife.

Carol Ann Duffy

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programmes worth seeing

so life seems to revolve around watching Netflix – even I who vows to support locals and independents have ended up watching Netflix. I do hope that they use some of their profits during this pandemic to help fund the cinemas around the world. I will be so sad to see the cinemas close down because of us all watching digital cinema. so the things that I have recently watched and highly recommend are ‘One Night in Miami’, Cuba and the Cameraman, Chef’s table Frances Mallmann. They are all so interesting and so different in their own way – beautifully shot and they really open up your eyes to different values and thoughts.

for light and easy viewing, Brigerton was fun and a feel good factor in this weird time of living. at first, I didnt like it, but by the 3rd episode, the storyline gripped me and by the end, I didn’t want it to finish! The Dig is a beautifully shot archaeological story set just before the war about the amazing discovery of Sutton Hoo and the Anglo Saxon find of burial treasures. As soon as the British Museum opens, I will be there visiting to take a glimpse of that amazing find. And of course, I finished the Crown, and now await the next series.

Happy watching and if you can recommend anything to me, please do.

saul leiter

a few years ago a friend  introduced me to the photos of saul leiter, a street photographer who started off in the 1940’s and carried on until his death recently – his work has an abstract quality that depicts street life perfectly, captured unknowingly.  i have always wished that i could do street photography, it takes a lot of patience to frame and capture such lasting images.  you can go and see some of his works at the Photographer’s Gallery now.

another wonderful street photographer is vivian maier – its interesting to see the works of different photographers – very inspiring and remember they couldnt look at the back of their camera to check if they got the right exposure!  i still think that film adds a special quality to an image – digital has got a lot better, but there is definitely something special when you see images done on film – the light, the colour, the density…….

I also love the photos of Lola Alvarez Bravo and Deborah Turbeville.

one of my favourite influential still life photographers is Josef Sudek, who also liked to photograph eggs.  other worthy photographers are Joel Meyerowitz who has a new still life book out,  inspired by morandi and sergio larrain – a chilean photographer.

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