Sunday 30 October 2011

The Canteen, Axminster

I love going out for lunch :)

This is Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's place just over the border, in Devon. It's rustic and informal with simple but tasty food at reasonable prices. That's fine by me.

Friday 28 October 2011

TinyOwlsMagicAttic knitting patterns

Look what I have just bought on etsy! Unfortunately it is not the finished items, it is the knitting patterns. I'm so excited. I can't really knit very well, but I am jolly well going to learn.
I love the photos too. Look at that white cat sat on the table, pretending to mind his own business. :)

Thursday 27 October 2011

Project Shelf

I've got a few little projects on the go at the minute. Here is one of them. I'm not sure if I've done the right thing in painting the shelf, and I'm not sure about that green. But I figure if I live with it for a while, it will tell me if it is right or wrong. It was all wood to begin with, but I didn't think to take a picture until I had already started undercoating...

Sunday 23 October 2011

The tiki and the haka

I realise that rugby has nothing to do with design. However I am always fascinated by anything to do with folk art, culture and traditions. And in the wake of the All Black World Cup Victory, I thought it might be a good time to celebrate two things about Maori culture.

As a child at school, we did a project about the Hei-tiki which are supposed to be either memorials to ancestors or to represent the goddess of childbirth. They are worn as a pendant around the neck as seen below. Traditionally they are carved in this beautiful green stone.
The second thing which I find utterly mesmerising and which I think mimics the image on the hei-tiki is the haka. Oh what a display. The haka is a traditional warcry, dance or challenge and the All Blacks perform this before every rugby match they play as a way to try and intimidate the opposition and to formally lay down the challenge. After they won the final today, they performed another haka, which apparently is what the Maoris do for their families and tribe after a successful day in battle. I loved it. 

Thursday 20 October 2011


Last night I watched the Pedro Almodovar film, Volver, with Penelope Cruz.
It is set partly in La Mancha, home of Don Quixote, that vast expanse of land famous for windmills, the wind which powers them, but which also causes madness.
In the opening parts there were some beautiful shots of the old village houses, all hidden behind brown crumbling doors, but which, once you get inside are a jewellery box of colour and pattern.
 Lovely courtyards with vibrant tiles, painted furniture and plants and interiors filled with treasures handed down generation to generation.
I loved Almodovar's use of colour; the sets, the clothing, the image of the red car driving through the sandy barren landscape of La Mancha. It was an engrossing spectacular visual treat.
There is also the most hauntingly beautiful song, a flamenco version of a tango.

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Song for the day

How about a song?
Here's a good one. By Ry Cooder. I love it. Classic Tex Mex. It's hot and moody. Makes me think of langorous late summer nights when you have had one or two drinks and feel like anything is possible. You could stay up all night and feel really alive. And of course, there's the element of the love triangle...
Hope you enjoy :)

Monday 17 October 2011

Housey pics

This weekend we had some friends over to dinner, and in this household what that means is the house gets cleaned. I'm not saying it never happens if we don't have people coming over, but I'd be lying if I didn't admit that having visitors focuses our attention better than anything else.

So on the subject of housey stuff, here are a few pics of around the place. 

Sunday 16 October 2011

Birdcage chandelier

A couple of weeks ago, I had an inspiration day out with some friends in Bristol. We popped into the civic museum where they have an amazing selection of taxidermy. There were loads of beautiful birds with lovely iridescent feathers. I love the combination of blue, aqua and brown in this one.
Here is a birdcage chandelier I would love. With those feathered birdies around, you'd have to be happy wouldn't you?

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Cat of the day

Whoops sorry, I forgot. There is another really important part of the hols to show you.

It's cat of the day! There were so many cute pussy cats, I couldn't resist.

The second one down was carrying a snake in his mouth, which he was NOT going to give up. The third one down made a beeline for the man of the house, jumped up and settled into sleep within seconds. He, unlike me, is not a cat person. You should have seen his face. It was a picture. :)

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Beautiful coves

To finish up the holiday pics, you've got to see the sea. Oh my, the sea. I swam every day in it. Off pebbly beaches, off sandy beaches and off the rocks. It was a clear turquoise in parts turning to a petrol blue as the waters got deeper. A gentle current but very salty. In Montenegro my legs were nibbled by fish.

I like to swim part of the time and bask part of the time, laying flat out on my back and just floating with the sun on me. I store those memories up like other people do preserves, bringing them out to keep me going through the long dark days of winter.

Saturday 8 October 2011


When I was a kid there was a country called Yugoslavia. But after a terrible war twenty years ago, the regions split up into different countries. Nowadays there is Croatia, Slovenia, Bosnia-Herzegova, Montenegro and Serbia. Montenegro only gained its independence in 2006. 

We spent a lovely day wandering round walled cities, some of them BC. Here are photos from a city called Kotor. It sits on a bay which is a natural fjord. I loved the feel, it had elements that felt a teensy bit alpine. 

Thursday 6 October 2011

Island hopping in Croatia

Dubrovnik sits on the Adriatic sea and is surrounded by a host of small islands.

We went island hopping to some of them; Lopud, Kolocep and Sipan. They were beautiful and wonderfully peaceful. I really liked the fact that they were populated by local people, not overrun by holiday homes. It felt like a private view on a world that hadn't changed in hundreds of years, almost like time travel.

Little harbours, olive groves, tiny churches, steep walks ending in spectacular vistas, kittens playing and locals sitting in the shade. I could have stayed there forever.