Monday, 26 March 2012

Paris (in) spring

Lovely hot chocolate at Angelina's
So we got a cheap deal to go Paris for the weekend. The Boyfriend's brother lives in Paris and he knows his way around quite well.  So we walked from the Latin Quarter over Ile-de-France, to the Marais, then the Tuileries Gardens and then Luxembourg Gardens.  

It was 22 degrees under a cloudless sky. City flowers everywhere. Lots of lovely things to eat (including tasty authentic Moroccan food with friendly service near Place des Gobelin). Things to make you look everywhere. Insanely delicious hot chocolate with whipped cream at Angelina's.  

The Patheon

Graffiti in the Marais

Little park by Rue de Parve in La Marais

Goats cheese salad for a yummy lunch

Salted caramel and hazelnut
 ice cream on Ile de France

Paris flowers

Love locks on Passerelle Léopold-Sédar-Senghor
Jardin du Luxembourg
Graffiti in the Marais

On Sunday morning we ate waffles and fruit at my brother-in-law (to be's...) place before catching the Eurostar. Vive la France!

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Midcentury Modern and 2 London Stations

After many years and a long standing obsession with Elle Decoration I think I know my aesthetic quite well. It is quite classic and pretty and ethnic. A bit Toast Catalogue, a bit Bodie and Fou.  The Boyfriend's taste on the other hand is much more easily defined as mid century modern. Although our tastes are on a spectrum they converge more than we would guess.  

We're only just bringing our tastes together in the new flat but think this is all to the good.  Not too greige or pretty; not to clinical or hipster.

We need (ahem, if "need" is an acceptable synonym for "want") a nice cabinet to store lovely ceramic things in our dining room. We've had a look in some of our favourite shops but not had much luck so far.  From left field we both really liked a vivid blue 1940's Indian cabinet in this shop on Cross Street in Islington

The Boyfriend spotted it from the bus and we ended up turning around  and going back on a whim. We were both taken back by how  much we loved the cabinet, however it had already sold.   We also found some very nice things at the Peanut Vendor and  2 Columbia Road but nothing that was just right.  By the way it was raining the day we went to Columbia road, which is my top tip for avoiding being over run by the crowds.    

So the hunt goes on and today we searched at the Midcentury Modern event at Dulwich College.  Still haven't found what we're looking for but here are some of my favourite things we saw today:

Enamel jug, Jens Quistgaard, Dansk

Trinidad dining chairs, Nanna Ditzel, Fredericia Stolefabrik
(Um!) Georgeous suede sofa

Brazilian asymetric desk Jeorge Zalszupin

We were mainly browsing but came away with the plates at the beginning of the post from a new designer called Helen Stevens. Apart from the ceramics being beautiful, Helen came across really well and apparently she's being considered for a concession at Liberty at the moment.

I should also say that Dulwich College had the **actual** James Caird on display much to the Boyfriend's excitement.

We came home via Brixton station and I saw these Bronze figures for the first time. According to the authoratiative Urban 75 blog the bronzes have been there since 1986 and they were based on locals who used the station regularly at the time.  I love the way the figures like people frozen in time, it really appears like they are staring at you its almost slightly sinister and provocative. Culturally its significant as a cast of "real people" and "real black people" too. 

We also had to collect some tickets at Kings Cross and checked out the new concourse at the same time.  It is beautiful, if you can say that about a station concourse? The structure is designed around a kind of trunk which branches off in lots of directions in a glass lattice structure to avoid placing weight on the ticket office underneath. Kings Cross has really regenerated in the last 10 years or so and I think the latest addition is great.  It is going to become iconic.

Higher State of Conciousness

We've been doing jobs around the flat this weekend.  Oh alright, when I say we've been doing jobs what I actually mean is The Boyfriend put up our Hang It All and built some book shelves in our second bedroom. I discovered some of his old rave CD's from the 90's in on of our final unopened boxes and energetically jumped around our dining room and kitchen. 

I didn't imagine Josh Wink as the sound track to cooking chard chilli pasta and doing DIY when I was aged 19. 

Have a go yourself. x  

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Out foxed

One of the things I've been looking forward to most about the new flat is the garden.  Our garden is not huge by any means but its just right for us and its the first time I've had a one since I moved to London.

The garden is a blank canvas at the moment with a small patio, lawn and decked area at the back to catch the sun.  There's also a pathway and pebbles leading to a shed.   And we have plans.  I'm imagining lovely terracotta pots filled with fragrant lavender and thyme as I open our bedroom doors onto the patio in spring. Beds and borders with fruit trees and pretty bushes.  Runner beans, tomatoes, potatoes. I've got a lot to learn, but luckily The Boyfriend has more experience than I do we both have green fingered parents.

So in my smug sunny garden fantasy haze imagine how I felt waking up to find our garden strewn with filthy rubbish. And then my pure horror when it happened the next night too!  Clearing up in my rubber gloves, I briefly contemplated whether we were being targeted by a dememented neighbour, but I realised very quickly that it was more likely to be a fox.  Bumping into our friendly upstairs neighbour confirmed that we do indeed have a fox living on our road and she (he?) used to make a mess in the previous owners garden too.  Apparently the fox is quite confident and is sometimes seen on our road in early evening.

I am looking forward to seeing the fox for myself, but keen to discourage her from messing up our garden again.  The obvious answer would be to make sure there is no food around to tempt her, but we have no idea where the rubbish bags are coming from as ours are on the other side of the building and impossible to access from the garden.

I'm not sure if there's anybody left who still reads my blog, but do let me know if you have any experience or ideas on discouraging foxes.   I think it goes without saying that we definitely do not want to hurt her.

I've already found some advice on the internet of things we might try, but this guide on the Kensington and Chelsea website is my favourite.  It reads like a spoof straight from the pages of Viz. You can really imagine the type of council officer responsible for writing it. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012


Where should I begin? I've not been around much again having said how much I was looking forward to blogging again last month. Well with the best placed plans of mice and men and all that...

We moved home. Finally! After a year of property searching, one purchase falling through and two particularly involved sales of our own flats The Boyfriend and I finally moved last week. Yippee!

We were bracing ourselves for something to go wrong at the last minute but moving day was unusually smooth.  We were assisted by a fantastic removal team run by Danny who exudes grace and calm even after a 10 hour stretch of hard physical work and also happens to work as a life coach.  

Even though we were exhausted by the end of the move day, our flat instantly felt like home. As our chairs, bed, sofas and tables came out of the removal van they just seemed to find their place and feel right. The last week has been a whirl of unpacking, taking in deliveries, handy men and electricians.  Our spare bedroom remains packed from floor to ceiling and we have cardboard boxes instead of curtains in our bedroom. But it still feels exciting to come home every time we step outside the flat.  


... I've been thinking about changing career for some time.  I'm coming to the end of a 2 year secondment in a different sector. It was an easy option at the time. It was offered unexpectedly over coffee and it took me away from my old job.  I enjoyed the secondment to begin with and I was offered a permanent job pretty much immediately but I've known in my my heart that it wasn't for me.  I am aware that it sounds spoilt to be fussing about career changes when the job market is so difficult for lots of people at the moment.  However I reckon I have at least another 30 years before I get retire altogether so I need to be doing something I find worthwhile. 

The secondment has given me a different perspective and helped me think more fundamentally about what I want to do. I applied for a new job in a completely different field in February but I didn't get it. Apparently I came second to someone to who is an internationally recognised expert in the field (!) so can't feel too bad about not getting the job. I'm due to go back to my old organisation in a few weeks time but I'm a now bit clearer about what I want to go to, rather just what I want to run away from.  I'm also planning to check out this course at The School of Life.   


The Boyfriend proposed last summer with a beautiful ring from Alex Monroe, my favourite jewellery designer (natch - The Boyfriend is very very good). However we always planned to chose a diamond together. With the move out of the way, last week we bought a lovely classic, sparkly ring. Its being resized at the moment so I can't show the pictures. 

We celebrated our engagement (again) with spaghetti and champagne the Cow in Westbourne Park.  The bread and butter pudding we ate for dessert was sensational. Apart from being almost the size of my head, which is a valuable quality in itself.  I think bread and butter pudding at The Cow may have overtaken the Albion's hot chocolate mousse in my affections.    

I'm so filled with pride and love.  I really can't wait to get married.  I doesn't make any sense but with everything going on all of a sudden I feel very grown up.  And I like it.