Saturday, 31 December 2011

2011 Part Two


At 8 weeks pregnant my morning sickness kicked in. Luckily we were on a two week Cornish holiday so it didn't matter that all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep. Thankfully my husband and our friend we holidayed with we're extremely understanding of my naps, mood swings and inability to be anywhere near food whilst it was cooking.

October - December
Aside from going to work, I did very little of anything at all except sleeping and eating. Lots of eating. Lots of sleeping. A small amount of walking on Exmoor in the winter sunshine. We got a tree, decorated it with vintage baubles. Lay on the sofa looking at it, in front of a myriad fires built in the wood burner by my wonderful husband. Delilah got cosier, coming and sitting on the sofa too. 

All photos taken using iPhone apps, all by me except 2nd from bottom which was taken by my brother-in-law.

2011 part one


Husband and I went to Paris for Easter. We stayed at Mama Shelter in the 20th, went to a gig, ate late suppers and drank wine in a local wine bar, drank cocktails, smoked gauloise, drank coffee, walked miles, ate macaroons, ate the most amazing meal at Le Chateaubriand, watched Frenchmen play boules and sat in the sunshine.


Delilah arrived. She wouldn't say anything when she first came in. Now, she has a variety of miaows for each and every occasion and uses them all frequently and repeatedly. She thinks supper time is anytime from lunchtime onwards and I can't imagine how we lived before she was with us.


My nephew arrived. My sister got married.

I would love to share photos but they are not mine to share.


After a weekend in Cornwall, we found out that i was pregnant. 

All photos by me using various iPhone apps.

2011 part one


Husband and I went to Paris for Easter. We stayed at Mama Shelter in the 20th, went to a gig, ate late suppers and drank wine in a local wine bar, drank cocktails, smoked gauloise, drank coffee, walked miles, ate macaroons, ate the most amazing meal at Le Chateaubriand, watched Frenchmen play boules and sat in the sunshine. 
At Mama Shelter/Getting Ready/Linens at Merci {all photos by me via iPhone apps}

11 in 2011: Looking back

At the start of 2011, Husband and I sat down and came up with a list of 11 aims for 2011. Turns out getting pregnant in July didn't help us with achieving all that was on our list. However, getting pregnant has been on our list since way before 2011 started, just not publicly, so regardless, we are thrilled.

waste less food

A definite success. We planned better, used leftovers more often and generally took more care with food.

install and use a compost bin

Yes. Albeit it's the one that the council provided so happily they come and take it away every week, which makes it an easier proposition. 

finally finish de-cluttering

We've made a lot of progress with this but I wouldn't say we've "finally finished". Something to complete before Pip comes along. 

only beautiful things

Definitely. Especially Delilah. 

see our friends (in London) at least once a month

We were doing pretty well at this until July, whereon I just wanted to hibernate. Something to improve on next year for sure.

go skiing

We abandoned in favour of a trip to Paris. Which was amazing. 

go to Noma

No. Although, the trip was planned, it just had to be abandoned. 

eat lunch at the Ledbury together

Planned but traded in favour of shopping!

stop buying bread and take-away lunches

Sporadic success. Definitely room for improvement.  

go to more gigs - locate local music scene

Husband has been fairly successful. I have been less able being away from London mid week. 

read, finish and discuss at least one "proper" book every month

Hhhmm. I've read more but not sure they are what I meant by "proper" books.


Coming next, looking back over 2011 and then 12 for 2012.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Saturday morning

This morning we woke up early and I made my first breakfast and a cup of tea for Husband and we ate them snuggled up in bed. It was so cold that we put the electric blanket back on to warm up our toes. Delilah usually joins us upstairs once she has finished her breakfast, usually sitting on the windowsill to have a wash and then settling on the foot of the bed for a sleep. This morning, she couldn't believe her luck at how toasty the bed was and stretched right out in the warmth.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Christmas Wishlist

If money was no object, this is what I would be spending my Christmas money on...

1 - Tom Ford Eye Colour Quad in Silvered Topaz from Selfridges (£62)
2 - Liberty Print Eye Mask from Liberty (£45)
3 - L'Occitane Mum and Baby cleansing shower gel (£13.50)
4 - Long cashmere wristwarmers from Brora (£45)
5 - Orange grained leather Panama 2012 Diary from Smythson (£40)
6 - Gold fox necklace with diamond eyes from Rust Jewellery (£250)
Posted by Picasa

Monday, 12 December 2011

Just a minute in December

Trying to get back into blogging. I can't believe the last time I posted a 'just a minute' post was August. Then again, August was when life turned a bit crazy. Those of you who have been following me on twitter will already know this, but things have been quiet around here for good reason. Alright, not quiet, nigh on silent. In August I found out I was pregnant and we are expecting a baby in April.

Weeks 8-16 were pretty awful from a feeling disgusting and being sick point of view. It was all I could do to get through a working week, let alone do things like blog and see friends. We went on holiday and pretty much all I wanted to do was sleep, or lie down. That said, it was a great trip, and good timing in that it was weeks 8-10 so I could sleep as much as I needed.

I'm now almost at the end of week 21. We've had two successful scans and I'm starting to feel the baby move. For those that are interested in that kind of thing, I've been writing more candidly about the baby and impending motherhood at a new space called Pip. Come over and say hello!

And for those that aren't - don't worry, I will be posting only limited baby things here and aim to be returning to my usual mix of vintage, shopping, weddings and general musings.

And now back to the post...

Reading...  A great stack of pregnancy books, mostly loaned, gifted and bought on Amazon. Including The Happiest Baby on the Block, What to Expect When You're Expecting and Baby Names. However, now that we are safely past 20 weeks, I really should start reading something about birth. Unless my A Practical Wedding book arrives first, in which case, everything else can wait.
Watching... Pan Am. I've thoroughly enjoyed this light hearted period drama from the American 60s following the stories of 4 Pan American flight attendances. I was so shocked at the racism though; I cannot believe that the world was actually like that. And, of course, I have been following Strictly Come Dancing. What is there not to like - dancing and sparkles.
Listening... To soothing choral music. Mixed with a good dose of Alice in Chains.
Buying... New clothes to suit my new shape, where possible non-maternity as I am really struggling to find stylish and interesting maternity clothes on a reasonable budget. A few bits and pieces for the baby, mostly from ebay.
Loving... Winter. The fact that Delilah has started sitting on the sofa next to me.
Wanting... To see my friends. More culture. Snow.
Just a minute - an occasional series of posts inspired by Talking to Unicorns (who was inspired by Daydream Lily). Just a Minute was started by August Street back in 2007.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

You should buy this book...

My friend Meg wrote a book. I just bought a copy. It's about weddings and wedding planning. Sane wedding planning. And despite being married already, I can't wait to read it. I can't imagine how it would be if I were engaged. I would be even more excited than I am already... If I knew anyone that was engaged, I would buy them a copy for Christmas. Or just because.

And, if you buy it today, you can help move the book up the best sellers and movers & shakers list.

And for those of us in the UK, here's the link to the site.

(photo by One Love Photo, via A Practical Wedding. Second Image via A Practical Wedding)

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Vintage Christmas Decorations

Aren't these beautiful? Vintage Christmas decorations from Shikasuki. They are just so gorgeous that I couldn't resist sharing them with you.

These are both 1960s US decorations: glass lantern style baubles with little angels and Christmas trees inside. They would look stunning both on a Christmas tree or suspended at varying heights in a window or archway.

These are Russian glass 3d pine cones in a rainbow of shades with glitter frosting. They are 1940s-50s from the Soviet era USSR and look fantastic grouped together in a bowl or vase as well as hung in the traditional fashion on a tree.

And no tree or mantelpiece is complete without an angel or fairy. These are 1940s feathered angels. Standing 8 inches tall they have porcelain heads and perfectly coiffed porcelain hair.

Prices from £3-£35. All from Shikasuki, 67 Gloucester Avenue, London, Nw1 8LD.


Re-published from the archives. We decorated our tree this afternoon and as I unwrapped my beautiful vintage bauble collection I wanted to re-share the information about obtaining them.

This is not a sponsored post. I paid for all my decorations myself, although I did use to help in the shop, which I was delighted to do, as Shikasuki is my absolute favourite vintage shop.

Friday, 11 November 2011


In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

~John McCrae, May 1915


Do not stand at my grave and weep,

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow,

I am the sun on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circling flight.

I am the soft starlight at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there; I did not die.

~ Mary Elizabeth Fry 1932

Photo by Elkhead via Flickr

Friday, 23 September 2011

Barbara Hepworth

Another of my favourite artists is Barbara Hepworth. She was an amazing sculptor and when she moved to St Ives with her husband, Ben Nicholson, in 1939, she led a movement of St Ives artists which included her husband, Naum Garbo, Patrick Heron and Peter Lanyon, all of which were heavily influenced by the cornish landscapes and light in their various works. Hepworth later lived and worked at her Trewyn Studio which is now owned by the Tate and is preserved as the Barbara Hepworth Museum and Sculpture Garden. It was here that Hepworth died in May 1975 and which has been preserved largely as it was then. A lot of her sculptures are in the beautiful tropical walled garden and her studio is still full of her tools and partly finished works.

I have visited the gardens many times over the past decade; first with my grandparents (my grandfather is an artist and his work and passion have inspired me over and over again to pick up a pencil, or experiment with different kinds of media) and then with subsequent boyfriends and now my husband. I can't visit the garden without my sketch book and have spent many an hour battling with perspective, shading and texture trying to bring her sculptures to the page. I love looking at art but I find it very soothing and that I get far more out of viewing art by trying to render it on my sketchbook.

This work has always been one of my favourites. The work is called something like figure for landscape and I find the shaping and texture of the bronze to be very appealing. There is also something about the colour which draws me back time and time again, to this and many other of her bronze works. I feel that she really manages to capture both the physical and the landscape to which this works belongs through the curves around the space between them. A similar work to this stands outside the university building in which husband and I attended lectures and alongside which we had a wedding portrait taken.

This time though, I concentrated on two different works. The first is entitled something like four square walk through and is an enormous bronze work comprised of 4 block pieces with holes in, balanced on top of each other. It literally is big enough to walk through but the fascinating thing I find about it is that whilst it *is* roughly symmetrical, it is (to me) nigh on impossible to get the perspective right, especially as you are always underneath part of it when drawing.

This is the piece from the angle that I was drawing today. Those top parts are actually an approximate equi-distance apart at each side but from this particular angle appear unbalanced. I also particularly like the way that the colour is from this view.

This is a photo from my sketchbook of today's effort. The colours haven't come out very well and in 'person' so to speak this sketch looks less black and white and more tonal. I used conte chalk pastel pencils and charcoal. I'm not overly happy with it but as a quick sketch goes, it could be worse.

This is a watercolour taken from earlier in my sketchbook from a previous visit and is from a slightly different perspective. Same side but from the front right corner rather than almost straight on. I think the water colour almost captures the bronze better. It certainly looks less ominous and more sympathetic to the landscape in which it sits which the charcoal doesn't really capture.  

The second piece that I had a bash at today is called sphere with inner form and is a smaller bronze piece which is dark on the outside and greenish on the inside and is basically exactly what the title says it is. Here it is in photo form, from roughly the angle that I sat at when I was drawing. The light reflecting in the photo is much greater than it was when I was drawing.

Again, the method in which I have transcribed the drawing from my sketch book to the screen makes the work look a bit darker than it does on the page and some of the detail, particularly on the middle darker patch has been lost but essentially it is what I drew. Here I used oil pastels and again this was a quick sketch, maybe 20 or 30 minutes. I found that studying the form to gauge particularly the way the light reflected off the various surfaces really enhanced my appreciation of the work. 

 I think that particularly these spherical sculptures are very influenced by the landscape in which Hepworth was working. The light in Cornwall, particularly St Ives and the bays around it seem very reminiscent of these colours and the way the shapes within shapes seem to echo the beach and cliffs, with the cliffs hugging and protecting, surrounding the beaches within themselves.

Photos by me [Sculptures by Barbara Hepworth - drawings by me]

Sunday, 18 September 2011

My sister's wordless wedding

Just in case you don't read A Practical Wedding (and if you don't, and you're interested in intelligent discussion of women in the context of marriage, you should) you might be interested to hear (read?) that my sister and her husband's July wedding was the subject of a wordless wedding feature this week.

One day, I am going to write about this wedding, and what it meant to me, and some of the things I helped with. But, perhaps because it's even harder with someone else that you are so very close to, I can't find the words. Like with my own wedding, but at least I had (co)ownership of that. This is someone else's and I think that's why I was so surprised to be so moved by the whole occasion and why it is so hard to articulate those thoughts.

(above, me and Anne dancing with the baby bridesmaids)

The Info—Ceremony VenueSt. Mary’s Church, Shaw-cum-Donnington, Berkshire, England / Reception Venue: The Black Barn / Dress: Oxfam Bridal Southampton / Suit: Moss Bros / Photography: Lauren McGlynn Photography, UK (APW Sponsor)

(photo and info taken from the post - click over to read some of Anne's words about the day)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Kurt Jackson

Have I mentioned my love of Kurt Jackson's work? We popped in to see his latest exhibition at the Lemon Street Gallery in Truro on our way down to Sennen Cove last week. It was amazing. I highly recommend.

This piece, "above a tamarisk, Towan, Roseland", was one of my favourites. Jackson works with mixed media, predominately outside, in Cornwall, amongst other places. Cornwall is where my heart lives; I am obsessed with Cornwall and those who capture it through art, photography and poetry. The way the light changes, minute to minute, the land fascinating and ancient, the sea and sky, formidable, wild, high. I am constantly trying to get just a little bit of the way Jackson manages to get that light reflecting off the sea into my own work.

More on this to come.


Kurt Jackson

The Trees Of Cornwall
Lemon Street Gallery
13 Lemon Street, 
Truro, Cornwall, TR1 2LS 
01872 275757

9 Sept – 8 Oct 2011


Image - painting by Kurt Jackson via Lemon Street Gallery website

Monday, 12 September 2011

The weekly

We ate supper last night at Hix's Oyster and Fish House, overlooking the cobb and harbour at Lime Regis.  We had the most delicious meal - smoked salmon and soda bread to start, also with deep fried sand eels and deep fried scrumpy oysters, served in their shells. Fish pie and herb salad to follow for me; M had beautifully cooked gunard with cockles, with chips on the side. To finish, a scoop of frozen yoghurt ice cream with a wafer tuile and coffees. We watched the sky turn from grey and blustery to a beautiful shade of deep blue, a cardinal buoy bravely flashing six flashes and a longer flash at the entrance to the harbour in the increasing winds as the waves crashed over the breaker wall.

Yesterday, we spent the morning at Brighton Pier, for a few minutes playing the 2 penny slot machines before driving the coast road west.

Today, we head to the River Cottage Canteen for lunch and then onwards, south-west, through Devon to Cornwall.

Hix's Oyster and Fish House
Cobb Road, Lyme Regis, Dorset DT7 3JP

(photo from their website)

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Just a minute in August

Reading... Surprisingly little. It seems to have been a busy month. Actually, I did read The Egg Race by Polly Williams last week. What can I say? It was £1.50 in a charity shop. And as far as chick lit goes, Polly Williams is better than most. Still. Must try harder.

Watching... Sex and the City season 1. I'd forgotten how good early SATC was. And how 90s. Also, The Hour, which I have thoroughly enjoyed (just don't tell me the ending as I've yet to watch the final episode). A proper film noir style crime thriller with the added bonus of a historical setting. (although, they could have done that better. too many modern references and words).

Listening... To dance music in a field at a rave in Devon. Sorry, a shoestring boutique festival.

Buying... Very little. On a buying hiatus. :(

Loving... Visits from friends. Delilah and her strange little habits (see above).

Wanting... To go on holiday


iphone snap by me 
Just a minute - an occasional series of posts inspired by Talking to Unicorns (who was inspired by Daydream Lily). Just a Minute was started by August Street back in 2007.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Peonies has it about right I think. So does Nathanial.

here from via here

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Weekly

It seems to be autumn, here on exmoor. We have been busy picking blackberries in the last of the August sunshine, to freeze for our Christmas jam. The annual making of jam, chutney and other food presents, which I keep mentioning but never manage to write about. We've had a succession of amazing guests this past month. We started with Cate and her family ( formerly of Project Subrosa) where we enjoyed a lovely weekend eating nice food and entertaining Talia with a trip to our local acquarium which I thoroughly enjoyed. Perhaps almost as much as Talia did. We then spent bank holiday weekend with some friends in a field at a rave followed by a day with my youngest sister and her boyfriend. This weekend, M's brother and his wife and their two month old baby are here. I have been thoroughly enjoying helping look after him and spending the remainder of the time curled up in front of the fire with my sister in law, catching up on several months worth of gossip and conversation.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

My sister's wedding

My sisters are two of the most important people in my life and one of my favourite moments this year was dancing together with them at Anne's wedding earlier this summer. As you can see from the photos above, we went outside to have our photos taken together and across the summer air came strains of music from inside the barn. We all started to dance and (fortunately?) the wonderful Lauren captured it all... So we recreated a childhood photo which has been doing the rounds of hen parties - us as the Spice Girls circa mid 90s. As evidenced above...

If you are interested, you can see Lauren's photos here and Anne's recap of her memories of the day here.

I think Lauren's photos are fantastic. There are some brilliant memories, some wonderful photography and lots and lots of our family that I just want to print out and frame. I keep looking back at them. If they make *me* this emotional, who knows how my sister and brother-in-law (the artist formerly known as Faux-Bro) are holding themselves together.

The top photo is of us and the baby bridesmaids (the groom's cousin and the bride's friend's daughter) accompanied by our Dad as we approach the church. The second is obviously us prancing in a field and the third is the bride and all the bridesmaid's dancing, watched by our husbands, boyfriend and (baby bridesmaids) parents. I particularly like that in the background you can see a newly engaged couple friend of the bride and groom dancing - in later photos they are kissing :) You can also see the lighting which my sister designed, our Dad constructed out of wire and junction boxes and lightbulbs, the decorations which my sister made and then once the whole lot had been wired/fixed together was hoisted up to the beams by our Dad and the Best Man with bridesmaids holding it up and steadying ladders. It was a real team building exercise by both families, that set up day, but absolutely amazing. In fact, the whole weekend was absolutely wonderful. I really felt that I didn't just gain a brother-in-law but also his four younger brothers too (and their parents!).

If you click on over to the rest of Lauren's photos, you can also see the flowers and the hair piece, both of which I made/put together in conjunction with Annie and of which I was rather proud. The flowers, because they were a rather sad heap and together we made them look presentable, and the hair piece because we wove my veil offcuts, a vintage brooch I helped Annie pick, vintage ribbon of our Mother's and ribbon from the flowers and cake into one.

Photos by Lauren McGlynn

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Cornish Cliffs

Those moments, tasted once and never done,
Of long surf breaking in the mid-day sun.
A far-off blow-hole booming like a gun-

The seagulls plane and circle out of sight
Below this thirsty, thrift-encrusted height,
The veined sea-campion buds burst into white

And gorse turns tawny orange, seen beside
Pale drifts of primroses cascading wide
To where the slate falls sheer into the tide.

More than in gardened Surrey, nature spills
A wealth of heather, kidney-vetch and squills
Over these long-defended Cornish hills.

A gun-emplacement of the latest war
Looks older than the hill fort built before
Saxon or Norman headed for the shore.

And in the shadowless, unclouded glare
Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where
A misty sea-line meets the wash of air.

Nut-smell of gorse and honey-smell of ling
Waft out to sea the freshness of the spring
On sunny shallows, green and whispering.

The wideness which the lark-song gives the sky
Shrinks at the clang of sea-birds sailing by
Whose notes are tuned to days when seas are high.

From today’s calm, the lane’s enclosing green
Leads inland to a usual Cornish scene-
Slate cottages with sycamore between,

Small fields and tellymasts and wires and poles
With, as the everlasting ocean rolls,
Two chapels built for half a hundred souls.

-John Betjeman 

Bejteman wrote these words about Daymer Bay and the Camel Estuary and he is buried in the St Endecoc church which is hidden in the dunes near where most of these photos were taken. Betjeman had it about right; "those moments, tasted once, and never done". Certainly I am never done with Cornwall, nor the Camel Estuary in particular, and it is one of the places I am calmest, happiest, most content.

photos top L-R: 
boats at Rock; crabs at Lundy Bay; me at Lundy Bay
crabs and more Lundy Bay
Husband on the roof terrace at Rick Stein's seafood restaurant; boats at Rock; Husband waiting for the ferry

photos bottom L-R:
Husband golfing at St Enedocs; ferry from Rock to Padstow; lunch at Rick Stein's cafe
Lunch; surfing at Polzeath; rockpooling at Lundy Bay
more rockpooling; trees on the golf course; Camel Estuary mussels

photos by me

Friday, 12 August 2011


Me, at a friend's wedding, two summers ago. Just because.

You may have noticed that gradually I've been having a tidy up round here. If you always read on google reader or similar, perhaps this might even tempt you to come across and have a proper look...

I've added some pages across the top - About (which is quite short), Link Love (which is a list of blogs that I read - let me know if I need to update it) and Our Wedding (which is self explanatory).

Which brings me to the point of this post - the fourth page up there is for FAQ but at present it's empty. So, ask away. And if you often read but don't comment, now is the time to say hello!

Post your questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer them. And, if it's a really good question, I might even do a post about it...

Photo of me by Elegant & Wild Photography

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Just a minute... In August {Cornwall Edition}

Reading... The September issue of Vogue.

Watching... Not strictly speaking in Cornwall, but the week before we went, we watched a fascinating programme on the BBC iplayer called The Art of Cornwall. Cornish art is probably among my very favourite art and two artists in particular, Barbara Hepworth and Alfred Wallis, have produced work amongst which I can while away hours. If this is something which people find of interest, I can write more...

Whilst we were there, on the rainy Sunday evening we ate pizza and watched Tamara Drewe. I'm not sure I'd recommend it as such, but it was entertaining enough.

Listening... cliched as it sounds, to the birds, the sea and the rain and wind. It was very peaceful. Oh, and to occasional groups of braying families. It was Rock, after all.

Buying... Not much actually. Two pairs of lovely socks in the sale. Some drinks in the Mariners. Lunch at Rick Stein's Cafe.  And I would have bought a Poppy Treffry boats tea towel but I didn't. Next time I need one though, I know what I'll get...

Loving... the light.

Wanting... to not have to go home.


This won't replace the regular Just a minute for August. Just that I love Cornwall so very much. Proper post with photos to follow. This week has just been a little busy. Whilst we were away we had some friends staying at the house (in part so they could have their own holiday, in part because we hoped Delilah might like the company) and then some other friends are arriving tonight. Pole fitness on Tuesday and Pilates yesterday meant this week has zipped past already. Back soon.


iphone hipstamatic photo by me, taken nearing low tide from the roof terrace of The Seafood Restaurant, Padstow  looking over the Camel Estuary towards Rock/Daymer Bay. The pale stripe of sand in the sea is the Doom Bar.


Just a minute - an occasional series of posts inspired by Talking to Unicorns (who was inspired by Daydream Lily). Just a Minute was started by August Street back in 2007.