December 21, 2009

Merry Christmas

(Christmas 2008)

I hope your holiday season is filled with love, laughter and joy. Thank you so much for visiting my sometimes neglected blog. I'm so grateful to each and every one of you.
I will post later from another Hemisphere.

December 9, 2009

Tomato, pumpkin & spinach curry

I made this last night, it took less than 30 minutes and is perfect for winter dinner. I was in such a rush - I forgot to take photos of the end result. But I can assure you it was a very festive vision. It serves 6 perfectly.

1 large onion, halved and sliced
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 Tbsp Madras curry paste
1 small butternut pumpkin, a little over 1 lb (500g), cut into chunks
5 tomatoes, quartered - I prefer hothouse
About 1/2 cup of spinach roughly chopped or torn - I love spinach so tend to add more
Steamed basmati rice, to serve

Cook onion in the oil for 5 minutes until softened. Add the curry paste and cook for about 3 minutes. Add the pumpkin, tomatoes and 1 cup (200ml) of water and stir well. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes until the pumpkin is just cooked and the tomatoes have broken down. Stir through the spinach, salt and pepper to taste. Leave for a couple of minutes to wilt. Serve with basmati rice.

I served this with quinoa last night which was delicious. I dry roast the quinoa in a heavy bottomed pan before adding the water as it adds a slightly nutty flavour. This is an entirely vegetarian dish -

November 25, 2009

A Day of Thanks

I wasn't raised celebrating Thanksgiving but live in a country where it is. I've been very fortunate to be invited every year to different people's houses for the day of celebration. I always accept the very 1st invitation I get and look forward to meeting new, interesting people and being involved in how they celebrate. For me, Thanksgiving isn't a time that I think about food but more what I'm thankful for, to think of the less fortunate who may not be spending the day with their loved ones, might be homeless, unwell or just don't have anywhere to go.

Its important to me that every year I give back in some way. This year I donated what I would have spent to cook for 50 people at my house. Its just my small way of being very thankful for what I have.

Happy Thanksgiving.....

November 11, 2009

Lest We Forget

Sadly for my grandfather, eldest of three brothers, his war time was to end tragically. He was an expert navigator and bomber fighter, attached to the RAF and took part in most of the major bombing raids in Germany and France. In the Battle Of Brest - the first major daylight bombing raid - he was recommended for a DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) but, because they were short one medal, circumstances on the day meant he was the one to miss out.

A letter he wrote home in 1941 was telling:

"I have been on quite a number of big bombing raids now and realise that the chances of survival are not as great as they might be. Nearly every trip we lose a percentage of our crews and already a great portion of my class have passed on to that happy hunting ground where we will all assemble at the sound of the great trumpet.

Personally I have no fear of these trips at all, and even much less fear death, particularly when I realise that should that be my fate, I will walk the same lanes and fields as the thousands of other young men who have so gladly and willingly died for this great cause.

Not only that, but we will be in the same realm as the great soldiers of England who have gone before us and blazed the way. I feel proud that I have been allowed to serve as an officer in the Royal Air Force and I want you to feel proud with me rather than sorry for me.

After all my sacrifice is very small. It is M (his wife, my grandmother) and JS (his son, my father) who are making the real sacrifice. Sometimes I feel very mean having left them like I have to fight the great battles of life....."

In 1942 his tour had ended and he wrote to his wife and son (my father) to prepare to shift to Canada as he had a position training air crews there and that is where they would live. Then experienced volunteers were called for a mission over Denmark - my grandfather volunteered for one last mission. Sixty aircraft took off on Sunday May 18th - the plane was hit twice by flak and crashed at 0210 at Galskling, 2km west of Middlefart.

My great grandmother received the "missing believed killed" telegram just hours before my great aunt was to be married. She kept that information to herself until after the wedding. Another great aunt remembers finding the telegram under the mattress as she made the bed for a guest, later that evening. It was to be months before there was finally confirmation of his death.

Of the 60 planes that set off on that final mission, six were lost and only one of the crew lived, was seriously injured and taken prisoner. There is a memorial to my grandfather and the crew of MacRobert's Reply at Middlefart, Denmark - the stone was taken from the crash site. My grandfather's grave is at Odense near a memorial to the fallen.

My father, who is an only child never had the chance to know his father.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Here are a few excerpts from my great uncle's log book - he was an RAF Flight-Lieutenant Beaufighter pilot and night flyer. He was attached to the 29th Squadron, stationed at Brize Norton.

July 23: (his first sortie) enemy aircraft approached from the North East, scrambled after them, pitch dark night. Got to within one mile of them and they scooted for home.

July 25: Daylight scramble in bad weather. Jerry driven off - one crew missing.

August 5: Weather very bad. Dark, raining and bumpy as hell. Intercepted a JU88. It took violent evasive action and got away in the dark. It is believed I damaged him canon fire.

August 13: Tonight Jerry raided Canterbury in strength. Three of us went up to intercept. The flak was terrible. Dunne and Hay were shot down. For Jerry shot down.

September 10: (crashed at Bradwell Bay). Flaps damaged by flak and had to make a blind landing in nil visibility. Lucky to get down.

September 13: A JU88 got on my tail and I just saw it in time to peel off. Tried to dog fight with it but it was too dark so I buggered off before there was one less in the family.

November 13: Over Flushing my starboard engine was hit and started to emit sparks. Got an emergency homeing. Over base, the cloud base was just clear of hills and while on circuit the engine ceased. Maintained height on one engine but hit four trees on approach. Managed to crash land and plane went up in flames; got out by the skin of my teeth. Knocked about and not allowed to do any heavy flying for 3 months.

This marked the end of his first tour.

I will never forget those who have either lost their lives or been gravely wounded in any war.

November 9, 2009

The Brilliance of Anime

From hair blowing in the wind to the sun hitting the lens of the camera and the rain falling. For the full effect click at the bottom of the frame to make it bigger and turn up the volume.

The added bonus is that its set to "Ce Matin Le" by AIR (one of my favourite bands). Their music is often referred to as electronica, influenced by the synthesizer sounds of the 1970's such as Jean Michel Jarre, Vangelis and Francis Lai.

Found via DailyMotion.

November 1, 2009

The Phenomenon Of The "Fan" (or groupie)

Over my career I've pretty much spend time with almost every well known actor, celebrity and/or pop star. Most are down-to-earth and live much the same lives as we do, to a certain extent, I'm referring more to the fact that they tune into Project Runway or want to discuss who's going to win American Idol. There are the exceptions, some are complete nutters but obviously for confidentiality reasons I shan't divulge those tasty tidbits.

But I'm more fascinated in the fans really. The ones that will spend days camped outside the theatres, sound stages, venues where their "idol" is to appear. Wearing handmade T-shirts, re-living with other fans the "I nearly met him/her once" stories. They wait patiently for hours hoping to get a glimpse or possibly their hand touched as the celeb is whisked past. On occasion some are invited backstage.

And this is how it goes: they walk in, usually in pairs - jittery, whispering, clutching each others arms, almost in hysteria. As they approach their object of desire, all goes very quiet - they just stop, stand and stare, feet shuffling not really knowing what to do. They share glances with their friend, mouth O.M.G a few times and then start to feel fairly self conscious.

Most well-known people are wonderful with their fans and will chat quite happily knowing that these meetings are sometimes awkward. Whats strangest to me though is - some fans are more interested in having cellphone photos taken with their "idol", then swiftly twittering or texting them out to their friends and others. They're not really that fussed about having any form of conversation with the one person they have lusted after, know the lyrics to very song or watched every film they've been in.

In a way its almost as though they have already played this meeting out in their mind and don't want to corrupt the fantasy.

October 25, 2009

Social Mountaineers

I encounter these sorts on a daily basis and it makes me incredibly sad and disheartened. Why must people try and be something they're not conjure up a life that's not theirs. I can understand trying to better yourself but why must average, good people who work hard crave to be someone else and live their lives hoping they have succeeded. A fantasy life of sorts.

A fantasy world of any kind can be a good thing at times - everyone has a dream right? But I'm staggered by how many people misrepresent themselves, build themselves up to be something they're not perhaps to get ahead, be more popular, to climb the social mountain- who knows. Were they raised to feel less than and so form a new version of themselves, mirroring themselves on others and what they think others may like? There's such a misrepresentation there - from the surface everything seems open and honest but then the facade starts to fall and its like talking to the shell of someone else, the accomplishments they have bragged about become an embellishment of what they think they need, to be accepted. The image and personality of this person is not really them, its a replica of who they think they need to be.

That's what I find disheartening.

October 23, 2009

Shwood - Very snazzy!

Completely groovy and very Mad Men-esque. Each pair is hand-made in Portland from locally sourced exotic hardwoods and the lens are optical quality Carl Zeiss or polarized lens that offer 100% UVA/UVB protection.

I'm having a hard time deciding which frames. They can be ordered from here: Shwood.

October 19, 2009

Genius Website

Textile Arts: So much of the time we're bombarded with over-priced gift ideas - I'm all for the fantasy but its not always realistic. I love this website - its cheery and inexpensive. There's a large selection of bags, pillows, tea towels, table cloths and napkins made from Marimekko and Ljungbergs fabrics. These fabrics can also be purchased for upholstery.
Biloba Green
55% linen, 45% cotton pillow.
100% organic cotton canvas, grown, woven and printed in the US with non- toxic pigments.
There's also a huge range of oilcloths which are phthalate free pvc.

October 8, 2009

A Longish One But Bear With Me.....

I wanted to find the origin of the saying..."This too shall pass" which is commonly engraved on silver rings and comes from Jewish wisdom folktale.

One day Solomon decided to humble Benaiah Ben Yehoyada, his most trusted minister. He said to him, "Benaiah, there is a certain ring that I want you to bring to me. I wish to wear it for Sukkot which gives you six months to find it." "If it exists anywhere on earth, your majesty," replied Benaiah, "I will find it and bring it to you, but what makes the ring so special?" "It has magic powers," answered the king. "If a happy man looks at it, he becomes sad, and if a sad man looks at it, he becomes happy." Solomon knew that no such ring existed in the world, but he wished to give his minister a little taste of humility. Spring passed and then summer, and still Benaiah had no idea where he could find the ring. On the night before Sukkot, he decided to take a walk in one of the poorest quarters of Jerusalem. He passed by a merchant who had begun to set out the day's wares on a shabby carpet. "Have you by any chance heard of a magic ring that makes the happy wearer forget his joy and the broken-hearted wearer forget his sorrows?" asked Benaiah. He watched the grandfather take a plain gold ring from his carpet and engrave something on it. When Benaiah read the words on the ring, his face broke out in a wide smile. That night the entire city welcomed in the holiday of Sukkot with great festivity. "Well, my friend," said Solomon, "have you found what I sent you after?" All the ministers laughed and Solomon himself smiled. To everyone's surprise, Benaiah held up a small gold ring and declared, "Here it is, your majesty!" As soon as Solomon read the inscription, the smile vanished from his face. The jeweler had written three Hebrew letters on the gold band: gimel, zayin, yud, which began the words "Gam zeh ya'avor" -- "This too shall pass." At that moment Solomon realized that all his wisdom and fabulous wealth and tremendous power were but fleeting things, for one day he would be nothing but dust.

Heda Jason recorded this version told by David Franko from Turkey: via Wikipedia

October 7, 2009

Vancouver - July 2009

I feel so terribly awful that I have abandoned my sweet little blog-that-could. While I get my derriere into gear and find some new inspiration, I will shall leave you with lovely summer photos from Vancouver.

September 11, 2009


I remember so clearly where I was when this tragedy happened. A friend and I were watching morning television at my house, sitting on the sofa, drinking coffee and chatting away.

Suddenly devastating images appeared on the screen and we sat there in shock and watched. We spent all day sitting there together, mouths gaping, not really speaking to each other. A one stage I looked over at her and realised that she too had wrapped herself up in a blanket, like a baby, her face wet with tears.

The sense of loss, confusion and sadness could be felt everywhere. Mid morning there were threats that the towers in Century City in Los Angeles might possibly be the next targets. I could see those Towers from my house and could only imagine the sheer terror that was taking place over there as people tried to free themselves from those buildings.

I will never forget this tragedy, my thoughts and prayers are always with those who lost their lives or someone they knew. And enormous gratitude to the men and women who risked their lives to save others.

September 10, 2009

Messenger by Mary Oliver

My work is loving the world.
Here the sunflowers, there the hummingbird
equal seekers of sweetness.
Here the quickening yeast; there the blue plums.
Here the clam deep in the speckled sand.

Are my boots old? Is my coat torn?
Am I no longer young, and still not half-perfect? Let me
keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,

which is mostly standing still and learning to be
The phoebe, the delphinium.
The sheep in the pasture, and the pasture.
Which is mostly rejoicing, since all the ingredients are here,

which is gratitude, to be given a mind and a heart
and these body-clothes,
a mouth with which to give shouts of joy

to the moth and the wren, to the sleepy dug-up clam,
telling them all, over and over, how it is
that we live forever.

~ Mary Oliver

August 23, 2009

The Modern Day Party Line

Just finished reading a brilliant post by one of my favourite blog/Twitter friends, Tania Kindersley. It got me thinking about Twitter and its wondrous ways.

I've spent almost 15 years in the entertainment industry and been lucky enough to have had several high profile and sought after jobs. But with that comes the hangers on and also the confidentiality aspects to what I do and see. I'm on Twitter and write this blog anonymously because my name can be googled and from there comes piles of mail and "please can you help me's, and I've written a brilliant script".

Twitter has been a joy for me. I've found and met friends that in ordinary life I may not have known about or had the chance to find. I have on-going emails exchanges with many and have had dinners, lunches and overnight stays with others. Brilliant, interesting, hysterically self-deprecating people who are not afraid to voice their opinions and defend them. Over the years working in this particular business I've built a slight wall and am a little more weary of new people's intent. The world in which I work and live is a glamorous and fun one but can also be superficial and phony and at times lonely and a little like living on Mars. Don't get me wrong, I love what I do but with every job there are amazing aspects and not so great ones. There's the opportunity of meeting and socializing with most of the "extremely recognizable people" on a daily basis. But I can also count the minutes, on one hand as to how much interest they have in my personal life or views; a vast majority are very self-consumed.

Twitter has opened up a new world for me - one in which I am "followed" and spoken to for my witty banter (well sometimes)and not because of what I can do for them or who I know. In the past, I've been slipped resumes, head shots, scripts and specs etc. in the most bizarre places and situations after thinking that my scintillating personality was what was intriguing them. Packages have been left at my house full to the brim with every details of a trying-to-be-discovered person's life. Very quickly I realize that its from a party goer who I might have met briefly the night before, who has taken note of my name and found my address. Oh joy.

I compare Twitter to a party line - anonymous people throughout the world coming together through shared views, interests, humour and in my case a LOVE of Jilly Cooper. It really bothers me that the stereotypical phase naysayers continually use is "why would I be interested in what someone had for breakfast". How closed minded! My confession - I don't follow or for that matter am interested in people who send out tweets like "still in bed, am bored". When growing up was never allowed to get away with saying I was bored (more about that in a later post).

I don't and can't send tweets out about what I'm doing on a daily basis as much as much as I would like to and know would get a laugh. What I enjoy is to sit back and watch my Twitter friends discuss a certain actor, movies or television shows and get their instant views, without them knowing that I have somehow had a hand in the project. Or my knowledge of what a huge nightmare the actor is or was, on that particular project. Biting my lip as I would really love to tell them that he is not a sexy beast at all but a huge drip.

So for the naysayers out there I say if you don't understand Twitter, you are not being forced to participate - no one is begging you to join. Find something to your own liking and please leave us be.

July 24, 2009

Sleepless Nights

I've been a little absent from my blog for a while but with good reason. I'm exhausted from lack of sleep and struggling to get a grip on the new way in which I now need to eat. Its literally come down to rice cakes, broiled chicken and lots of water, or in other words anything that's dull and bland. Some may think that that would be a great, healthy diet but I'm a lover of French bread, red wine, exceptionally smelly cheeses, spicy foods, tomatoey dishes and none of those are listed on the "what GERD/Celiac sufferers can eat".

Lengthy medical tests have been done and to this day no-one is quite sure whether its GERD but that's what the doctors think it might be. GERD stands for gastro esophageal reflux disease, its mighty painful and I had no idea I had it. Really just thought it was sever heartburn brought on by stress, but this is much worse and there is no way sleep is an option when occurs. Right now every 3 or 4 days I eat something that then flares up the situation when I lie down to sleep. Antacids won't help at that point as the searing pain has already started. The options are: either sit up and sleep (which is not something I have mastered) or sit bolt upright on the sofa - reading or watching television, hoping that the pain will subside, usually around 4:45am.

I will get the hang of it all and am not going to become one of those irritating people who, when at dinner, needs to enlighten fellow diners as to what I can and can't eat. I will do this quietly and with conviction as supposedly with an adjusted (exceptionally boring) diet this will go away in 6 months to 1 year. I will be up till the wee hours every few days until I realize that even 1 stalk of green onion sauteed into a stew is enough to give me hours of pain.

A side note: alcohol is to be avoided but that I can not do. I will brave the agony.

June 17, 2009

No Good Deed.....

Why do I not learn? Sadly its so true "no good deed, goes unpunished". Its times like this that its just easier and far more lovely to look at beautiful images.

June 9, 2009

........Getting All Worked Up At More Than 20 Miles An Hour

One of my many favourite daily reads is Garrison Keillor's The Writers Almanac.  Found this snippet this morning and it made me laugh hysterically.  How far we have come!

It was on
 this day in 1909 that the first woman to drive across the United States, Alice Huyler Ramsey, left New York City for San Francisco. She was 22 years old, a housewife from Hackensack, New Jersey. Her trip got a lot of media attention. In 1909, not many women drove cars, and some doctors thought that it was dangerous for women to even ride in cars because they would get too worked up at more than 20 miles an hour. Alice Huyler Ramsey drove 3,800 miles across the country in a Maxwell 30 with three other women, but she was the only one who knew how to drive. They drove for 41 days and used 11 spare tires. She wrote a book about the trip called Veil, Duster, and Tire Iron(1961). In 2000, she was the first woman inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame.

May 15, 2009

To reply or not to reply -

Sorry but I am dragging my soap box out again.  It hasn't come out in a while and it needs an airing.

I spent about 9 months reading blogs, mostly in the design world before venturing out in the blogsphere with my own, almost a year ago.  I had mainly read design blogs as they were vastly different from what I do on a daily basis so therefore an escape but also something that I've always loved.  When younger I dreamed of going to the Inchbald School of Interior Design in London until I found out how much the tuition was, literally an arm and a two legs.  There was also an intimidation to write a blog solely based on writing as I am not a trained writer and as you can see from "my lengthy hiatus" I don't have that writing muscle honed.  

So there was one blog in particular that had everything I loved re. design - mid Century (or Middle Century as one of my sister's friends refers to it as), op art, vintage, flea market finds etc.  Without knowing it, she had inspired to me to start a blog.  Of course I'm the dweeby perfectionist who bought several books on how to write a blog (I read the first chapter of one and then was over that).  So I plucked up the courage to send her an email basically thank her for being a design blog pioneer and an inspiration to me.  I didn't feel it was over-stalkerish, just honest.  It didn't say "please read my blog and post my link on yours"....

To this day I have heard nothing, nada, zip...not even a quick "thanks so much"-that was last August so am not holding my breath.  I must be honest, in the last 6 months or so I have veered away from my some of my daily-read design blogs as have found a few to be a little ostentatious.  One "old" one did catch my eye recently, as she had just traveled to where I grew up.  Lovely photos were posted on her blog and she'd written about her trip there.  It brought back memories and I was propelled to email her (who knows why as I should have learnt by now)- just a quick email of gratitude, letting her know that her photos were lovely, nothing overly gushy or freakish.

That was about 3 weeks ago, again nothing, NOT A PEEP and she's one of those bloggers who continually posts gushy thanks to her readers and how grateful she is that they stop by.  Well I won't be stopping by again and please bear in mind these are not huge design blogs with an enormous amount of followers.  I'm sure to some this all sounds a bit pedantic and brattish, and in the grand scheme of things I won't be losing sleep but I do find it a little rude.  Am I alone in thinking that these bloggers are a little clueless?

April 28, 2009

On Hiatus

Well.....not really.  I have the worst writers/creative block.  Its the result of being pulled in 10 different directions, and having very little left.  Trying to find my creative mojo and will be right back with y'all.

In the meantime I shall leave you with one of the most beautiful places that I love to go and wander.  Greystone Mansion.  Pure bliss in the middle of the concrete jungle.

April 7, 2009

Not Everyone Is A Weirdo

Sometimes I am still amazed that there are normal, down-to-earth people in the world.

Every Christmas I travel halfway across the world to see my family.  I dread the flight as am not good at sitting still for long periods of time, without becoming exceptionally bored - a lifelong affliction (ask my poor mother - I am the annoying "I'm booorrrreedddd" child).  This year was different. 

As I was organizing my "area" for the next 12 hours, a bright and shining face said "hello".  I thought oh no, not again.  I had fallen for that before, lulled into a false sense of security by a welcoming face.  The last time I'd been polite, it had started a bout of verbal diarrhea that included being "hit on" profusely for the next 5 hours before having a business card thrust into my face and a "let's get together".  We had to bump into each other again as we waited for our bags.  Had even detoured into the loo to bide my time, so that we didn't have to reunite. Unfortunately that was not the case here.

So I said "hi" rather briskly back to my fellow passenger before busying myself, hoping that he would get the message.  He didn't and asked sweetly if I wanted him to put my duvet in the overhead compartment.  Then I felt bad and said to the devil on my shoulder ....."have a little Christmas spirit, don't be so rude".  And honestly I'm glad I wasn't.  We chatted for hours, found out we are in the same biz, drank lots (a wine and cocktail tasting that lasts for 12 hours), laughed and probably annoyed all the passengers around us.  We vowed to have dinner when he was next in Los Angeles.  

I am a little cautious now I have to admit. I try not to be judgmental or distance but I have, as some would say "an open face".  As was always the case in London, on the "last tube" surrounded by the merry older Irish gentlemen (I'm being politically correct), talking incessantly and incoherently to me while at the same time looking for somewhere warm to end their evening of libation.

So my fellow passenger and I had dinner last week.  Left off where we had started and laughed continually.  We went to the only restaurant in Los Angeles that doesn't take reservations, is packed every night, incredibly noisy and the wait is usually about 2 hours.  We got a table as a) there is a RECESSION and b) no-one else would sit outside, although it was warm enough for summery dress and the heat lamps were a-blazing.  Traveller friend and I are becoming fast friends. 

So, in closing...not EVERYONE is a weirdo but there sure are a lot of them out there.  

March 31, 2009

Springtime (sigh)

It's truly a stunning spring day here, with birds singing happily.  Its at times like this, there does feel like hope is in the air.  

In Early Spring
Road catkins, russet and tan let the
wind sweep over them as dusk
seeps in along the lake,
and I pass road puddles
swelling to ponds, mirroring
the sky's own silveriness.
At the railroad tracks seven geese
veer off and set down in a field
so that only their necks
speak for them, telling us all
to go on while they rest
by the barn.  Today a man
asked me if I were depressed,
and I looked up and smiled.
No more than these geese or catkins
as light falls around them, no
more than those pine boughs
lifting in the wind - just so,
life goes on.

By Larry Smith
from Writers Almanac.

March 30, 2009

Hot Cross Buns

This is my attempt at making Hot Cross Buns.  I've been searching for Hot Cross Buns for Easter but they're just not available in the US the way I like them.  I contacted a few different shops here, that specialize in foods other than American; no-one stocks them.  I mentioned to one shop owner that I was going to have a go and bake my own.  He said, "if they turned out well, I will order from you".  Hmmmmm....I think not.

Its all a bit of a fiddle really and takes about 2 hours to make.  They have to "rest" for an hour and 1/2 before being baked.  Mine don't have that mushy almost fluffy consistency that I grew up with.  The actual "cross" turned out well as I made it the authentic way, with flour and water, not icing (counterfeits).

I think I'll leave it to the mass produced experts who make millions of them at a time.  These won't go to waste though - I will serve these to my unsuspecting friends, toasted with pounds of butter.  And a creme egg chaser.

March 27, 2009

Under A Shell

Apologies to all: I've been a little bit of a turtle this week, recovering from the insanity of living the night-life at SXSW.  I'm a morning person, but alas the music industry is not.  How will I survive Coachella (but if that's the least of my worries really...........)
I will be back next week minus the shell.  Have yourself a stunning weekend.

March 23, 2009

Back in LaLa Land

I'm absolutely exhausted.  I'm going for a long walk up in the Canyons to come down off the ride. It will be beautiful today as the wind and rain will have given the city a spring clean.  Back later - toodle-loo........

March 14, 2009

SXSW In A Shoebox

I'm off to SXSW in Austin, Texas for the week.  Was going to go on a tour bus but realized that I would need a little more space than a shoe box to bring what's needed to prepare myself for a week of insanity. 

I am really looking forward to the Festival though.  Its always lots of fun and the line-up this year is truly amazing.  I have been fortunate to hitch a ride on a private plane so the luggage situation shouldn' t be a problem.

I feel I will certainly need a vacation afterwards or even just a quiet spot in a corner!

March 6, 2009

Escapism in a Louis Vuitton trunk

In these dismal times, one of my little obsessions is to escape to all the amazing fashion blogs. I am not talking about the mainstream fashion blogs like, or The Cut.  The bloggers I am referring to vary from high school girls in California, Texas and Oregon to corporate types in Paris looking for an outlet. What I love is the creativity with inexpensive clothing from thrift stores, Urban Outfitters, H&M.....

I thought I wanted a career in the fashion industry so started as a barely paid assistant at a prestigious PR company in London, that represented Ferragamo, Louis Feraud, Louis Vuitton, Principles, Wolford, Cerruti to name a few.  It was a harrowing experience as the owner had daily temper tantrums, throwing various objects around the office and yelling at anyone in eyesight. The rung I was on there was so low I didn't even have an office to retreat to or a sturdy desk to hide under.    

I was in charge of looking after all the samples from the designers that we kept at the offices.  I would hand deliver pieces to photo shoots when needed, and/or retrieve them.  A product nanny, in a sense.  It was a brutal job, but I was very young and wanting to learn everything I could.  The one saving grace of the day was GEORGE MICHAEL.  This was at the height of WHAM fame.  All the girls in the office would watch him walk past, our jaws on the floor - sometimes we got a bargain and Andrew Ridgeley would be with him.  Their offices were in the same building as ours.

At the end of every season, all the samples had to be removed as the new season's line was coming in.  That was my other job - to lug pounds of designer clothing and accessories to the local Op Shop (Thrift shop). Most were rejected as I was always told that my wares wouldn't be great sellers, "weird looking clothes and shoes" that to me were brilliant.  A substantial amount of those rejectees found a home with me.

I have some fond memories of my days at the PR company.  My most favorable memories are not set at the office though but chaperoning huge Louis Vuitton trunks to photo shoots in fabulous places in and around London, driver and all. 

February 27, 2009

Mad Girl's Love Song

This was left by an "Anonymous" reader - I love this and thank you to my mysterious commenter.

"Mad Girl's Love Song"

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red,
And arbitrary blackness gallops in:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed
And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade:
Exit seraphim and Satan's men:
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.

I fancied you'd return the way you said,
But I grow old and I forget your name.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I should have loved a thunderbird instead;
At least when spring comes they roar back again.
I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)

By Sylvia Plath

February 19, 2009

Ready For Your Close-up?

Blinds from Artylicious.  Great idea if the view is a dreary wall or you have nosy neighbours!

Images: from Living Etc.

February 14, 2009

Unspoken Words

Time + Distance

The tea you pour is black and strong.
It doesn't taste like tea to me;
I must have been away too long.

Where's that old fork with the bent prong?
What happened to the hemlock tree?
Have I really been gone that long?

I think I hear the saddest song;
It has no words, no tune, no key.
The tea you pour is black and strong.

You're careful to say nothing wrong,
You seem too eager to agree.....
Yes, I've been traveling far and long,

And now it's clear, I don't belong.
I watch you sash your robe, as we
sit, sipping tea that's black and strong.
I went away too far, too long.

by Leslie Monsour, from The Alarming Beauty of the Sky. 

February 12, 2009

Seeing The Beauty

I am not an Angeleno, but I am a "legal alien" (shouldn't that be changed at some stage - alien always sounds so suspect).  This is my primary residence right now, due to my occupation.  I arrived here initially at 22, without really knowing a soul.  Like any new city, it took time to figure everything out, make friends, but looking back it was such an adventure, as still is.  
Los Angeles does get a bad wrap at times........smog, earthquakes, crazy people, no architecture and on and on.  I believe every city has history and there is beauty, compassion and inspiration - sometimes you just have to look up!
This building could be anywhere......a million dollar apartment overlooking Central Park, NY or a flat in Notting Hill, in London.  But its 3rd and La Brea (heavy traffic area, for my out-of-town viewers) in LA on a particularly beautiful morning. 

February 9, 2009


This house was originally designed and built by Eileen Gray - who was a Irish laquer artist, architect and designer.  She is one of my favorite artists!

E.1027 was built between 1926 and 1929 by Gray as a summer residence for Jean Badovici. It is situated on the Mediterranean coast of France, at Roquebrune-Cap Martin overlooking the Bay of Monaco. The name of the house, E.1027, is a code for Eileen Gray and Jean Badovici, E standing for Eileen, 10 for J - "Jean" (10th letter of the alphabet), 2 for B - "Badovici", and 7 for G - "Gray".  This was Gray's way of showing their relationship as lovers when the house was built. 
Le Corbusier, who was a friend of Badovici's, visited E.1027 many times.  He added a series of murals to the clean, white walls in the villa between 1937 - 39, without Gray's permission.  She took this an intrusion and considered the murals vandalism.  There has been much discussion on this subject as the murals were either painted out of admiration for her work or jealousy of 
her accomplishments.
Gray was ahead of her time in regards to the design and interior of the house.  Inside and out flowed together, every room flows out to a balcony, shutters, screens and windows are all moveable, allowing the hills and sea surrounding the house, to converge.  Inside there was no wasted space, most furniture built-in and living areas open plan.
Jean Badovici lived in the house until his death in 1956.  The house was then put up for auction and bought by a friend of Le Corbusier.  The house has had two other owners.  The second of which sold many of the villa's original contents to fund badly needed repair work, which unfortunately never got underway.  
After the last owner's death, the house remained empty and was susceptible to vandals and squatters, who damaged the property extensively. In the early 90's Friends of E.1027 was set up to raise money to restore this now historic home.

P.S. My favorite weasel, La Belette Rouge just reminded me that there is an amazing documentary running on The Sundance Channel (sorry overseas viewers).  Its called Eileen Gray: Invitation To A Voyage.

All images from Friends of E.1027

February 6, 2009

For all the middle children

                       UNCLE JIM 

What the children remember about Uncle Jim
is that on that train to Reno to get divorced
so he could marry again
he met another woman and woke up in California
It took him seven years to untangle that dream
but a man who could sing like Uncle Jim
was bound to get in scrapes now and then:
he expected it and we expected it.

Mother said, It's because he was the middle child,
and Father said, Yeah, where there's trouble
Jim's in the middle.

When he lost his voice he lost all of it
to the surgeon's knife and refused the voice box
they wanted to insert.  In fact he refused
almost everything.  Look, they said,
it's up to you.  How many years
do you want to live? and Uncle Jim
held up one finger.
The middle one.

By Peter Meinke

February 4, 2009


Is it just me, or is there something really offensive about people speaking LOUDLY on their cell phones, in bookstores.  I do understand that there are times when its unavoidable not to answer your cellphone - but I am more than certain that neither of the people I encountered today were brain surgeons, on call or that food and dress choices were emergencies.

I couldn't believe it!  I stopped by my favorite bookstore this morning, to have a browse.  Hadn't been there in a while so had lots to catch up on and was really looking forward to escaping from the craziness of life.  I believe it really is one of the last bastions of peace and quiet.  Maybe bookstores and libraries.  

Loudly and quite out of nowhere, two separate cellphone conversations started up.  She was discussing what her dinners plans were for tonight, and what was on the menu. Should she buy broccoli or broccoli rabe, and what was broccoli rabe anyway.  Oh and how her date had gone last night.  

The other conversation just made me giggle.  He couldn't quite decide if he should wear the black T-shirt for his audition later today, or the white one.  And what jeans, the dark denim ones with rips or the lighter jeans that were tight in all the right places!  This went back and forth, and BACK AND FORTH.

I wanted to scream out really loudly - I DON'T CARE!  This is a bookstore, and I WANT YOU TO PLEASE BE QUIET!

February 3, 2009

Goodness me !

Some neighborhood cat (or cats) is coming off the most enormous high today.  This is what I greeted this morning outside my front door.  I laughed so hard.  Catnip ripped to shreds and through wire, I might add.  I spent hours devising this set-up to prevent this plant from being raped and pillaged by the ruffians of the fur kind, but obviously this didn't sway them one bit. What was I thinking, its pot for cats!
This was a bushy, healthy plant yesterday.  
They even managed to pull storks out, with roots attached.  It was obviously the place to party last night.  I wonder if they finished the evening off with Doritos!

February 2, 2009

Can we say Global warming

London today.
Heaviest snowfall in the United Kingdom, in 18 years!

Images: The Guardian

January 26, 2009

So Lofty

This loft was featured in The New York Times this weekend.  I have lived in many places but never Manhattan.  If I were to live there - this is how I picture my "residence".  I would obviously also be imagining an enormous bank account - this loft was $3.2 million.  
For me, its the free-flowing, open plan feeling.  Rooms full of inspiration.  Slightly industrial but warm and inviting, at the same time.
Two single women share this apartment.  They have their own living spaces with a communal interior hallway.  One of the women wanted a full kitchen along with a marble counter top for candy making.  The other was happy with a microwave.
Both an artists - one paints enormous canvases so needed the wall space - the other draws and created from her bed - so furnishings in her room are very minimal.
The bookcases in both lofts are pieces of art, in their own right.

January 23, 2009

Rain boots, Wellies, Galoshes, Gum Boots.......

Thinking back, I spent half my life walking in wet, soggy school shoes.  In the winter, it rained almost everyday and I had "to walk 5 miles, uphill both ways"!  Our school uniform was mandatory and so were the hideous shoes.  Basically factory grade leather with the most enormous flat, rubber wedge heel (why is there always just one option).
Its raining in Los Angeles today and that got me to thinking - why weren't any of these part of my uniform.  Wouldn't that have been practical - I can understand that some of them are a little "loud" - but the Burberry studded ones would have been perfect - black, sensible and stylish!

January 22, 2009

Gone To The Birds

It was love at first sight.  This Habitat wool rug.  The design theme this year is all about birds.

January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King (1929 - 1968)

You faced injustice, hate and strife.
You fought for what should be.
You risked and finally gave your life,
So others could be free.
You could have hated, but you chose
To love and understand,
Rejecting violence to oppose
An evil in our land.
You'd not inflame, but still inspire,
With hope that wouldn't yield.
You called for boycotts, not to fire,
With faith your only shield.
You marched in protest for the poor
Of every shade and hue.
So many hardships you'd endure
For those who needed you.
You stirred a nation's heart and mind;
Your message still is clear:
That color's not how we're defined.
Your memory's always near.
Each year your birth's a holiday
The nation honors you,
And wonders when we'll see the day
Your dream at last comes true.

Author unknown.

January 12, 2009

I Completely Agree - "Hollywood" Luuvs A Comeback!

Hollywood does love a comeback.  This is the first year in many, that I haven't had to attend any of the Awards shows.  Last night, I watched "The Globes" in bed, surrounded by my animals (my Xanax).

Now - I realize there are many who aren't fans of Mickey Rourke and his antics - he's been a bad boy, lets not forget that. But this I loved.  How very honest of him.

"Sometimes when a man's alone, all you got are your dogs and they meant the world to me".
-Mickey Rourke, during his acceptance speech for Best Actor at the Golden Globes.

After asking for a bowl of water, for his beloved "friend" at the Chateau Marmont, he said to a reporter,

"She's like a giant Xanax, you know?  I'm not going to get religious on you ass, but I truly believe God created dogs for a cause.  They are the greatest companions a man could ever have".
-Mickey talking about his 16 year old Chihuahua terrier mix, Loki, at a press conference.