Friday, 31 July 2009

This weekend I want to

Go looking in the forest for unicorns

Try the bombshell dress

Make Nigella's Margarita ice cream

See the JW Waterhouse exhibition at the Royal Academy

and Moon

Have a good weekend

Sweet Prince

I mentioned briefly that I had been lucky enough to see the Donmar West End production of Hamlet at the Wyndham's Theatre recently.

This was my first time of re- visiting Hamlet for some years. I have actually always felt a real connection with the play, not for necessarily pretentious reasons- I don't think I should like it and in fact I can see very well why people don't- but there is something in the melancholy and the beauty of the language that I have always loved. I suppose I also first met Hamlet at a happy time and it's a text that, for all it's sadness, can feel a bit like a cosy blanket for me. There is also something in the fact that things could be worse and looking in on Hamlet's world you are reminded of this.

I wasn't sure if I would like this production but it has resonated with me ever since I visited and so I felt I should write about it. The sets particularly were those of the Elsinore in my mind- and I loved the drama of the high walls, red curtains and falling snow, this is theatre after all and I approve of using everything available to add to the atmosphere.

Jude Law makes a wonderful Hamlet to me. He has always been able to be petulant but charming and Hamlet is a character the audience should be willing to succeed despite his more frustrating traits and actions. This production though is a real ensemble piece and for the most part the cast shine throughout.

I would honestly recommend that you go and get lost in this for an afternoon or an evening if you can.

picture courtesy of

Thursday, 30 July 2009

Perfume hospitalises people!

Today's Telegraph has a story about a co- worker spritzing perfume and thirty- four of her colleagues needing hospitalisation. Read more here.

What to eat now

I have become a little bit obsessed with What to eat now on BBC 2. Of course now that I have formed the obsession the programme seems to be finished- which always happens to me.

Still I can nurse my slight crush on Valentine Warner via i-player and some book ordering I'm sure. Cookery programmes and murder mysteries are my absolutely guiltiest and loveliest TV pleasures. I could have literally jumped into the screen to try Valentines lavender meringues.

picture courtesy of

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


I suppose I had always thought that most of my friends and I would get married one day and when we did get married we would have bridesmaids.

As people are getting hitched I have noticed that despite the long list of essentials at a wedding- favours, decorations, save the dates- the one thing that seems not to be essential is bridesmaids.

This isn’t true of everyone of course- it’s probably only a third of people- but as friends and I have talked about it it’s become clear that quite a few people don’t think they will have bridesmaids for various reasons.

I can understand this in part. If I had a very small wedding just literally for my beloved and I and parents I probably wouldn’t think of them but I think I had always thought I would have some little helpers if I had a larger ceremony.

I have been a bridesmaid, it was wonderful fun, very special and lots of work but I thoroughly enjoyed it and wouldn’t want to have not had that experience.

Funnily enough those people who don’t want bridesmaids do still want help to get ready, to drink some champagne and share that time so it’s not they want to be alone.

I also find it very interesting that all the grooms in question are having an almost excessive number of ushers, best men, guards and general wing men- it’s almost as if the roles have reversed!

I am not getting married in the forseeable future but I have started to think- what would I do? Would I ask someone who thought bridesmaids were silly to be mine? I suppose not, but then I would be compromising the happiness of my day somewhat wouldn’t I? I think I always thought I would have a couple of dear friends with me and behind me but perhaps I won’t and perhaps there will come a time when people don’t.

Bride picture courtesy of Dave and Charlotte's blog viaWedding blog awards.

A girl crying on a train

I saw a girl crying on a train this morning.

When she sat down opposite me I immediately felt a chill go up my back. Something in the severity with which he hair was pulled back form her face and the way she looked into her i-pod screen like it was a lake told me something was the matter.

Of course the standard commuter reaction to any sign of emotion is to ignore it completely and look busy. So busy I looked; I attended my own MP3 player, I moved my paper, I checked my phone and I read a few pages of my book.

The sun shone quite brightly (bizarrely for this year I know) and I put my sunglasses on; they gave me an extra shield and when I looked up again I could see that where the girl had rubbed her eyes tears were rolling down her cheeks.

She stopped crying almost immediately and shuffled the songs on her i- pod. You feel so helpless when you see a stranger cry, you want to help but you don't know what's the matter and you don't know them at all. Of course they don't want to be crying in public or for you to see them. All I could do was to try and smile kindly but it didn't really feel like enough.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Bebaroque rocks

I'm a little bit in love with the hosiery from Bebaroque.

Wouldn't a pair of these lovelies refresh my wardrobe in a very credit crunch friendly way?

Monday, 27 July 2009

The SPF Factor

Ladies and gentleman I am a one woman miracle.

I somehow managed to get a terribly pink lobster face from a day sitting outside in rainy Sussex(undercover you understand).

Now I know that we should really all being wearing SPF at all times but practically I'm afraid I wasn't expected to be in the pink when I was also in the wet.

I am a devoted Dr Hauschka user. However I always used to top up my Dr H with a little bit of a day cream with SPF in it- I know that goes totally against the ethos of the brand but I hate wearing proper sun cream every day and worry about not using SPF.

In the last 6 months or so I have totally fallen off the SPF wagon and have actually had a couple of lobster incidents- although admittedly all the others were on sunny days.

I would really prefer to use a product that is as natural as possible with an SPF factor of 15 or higher everyday but failing that a good all round moisturiser for normal to dry skin with lots of anti silly peeling face factor would be fine. I will be continuing the Dr H use at the same time so I suppose a light product would be best. Do you have recommendations dear bloggers?

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Taking words underground

Sitting on the tube last night in banana milkshake/ white wine sugar/ alcohol haze I got a bit misty eyed reading Composed Upon Westminster Bridge.

I've always been a huge fan of Poems on the Underground and as I read my Wordsworth I was reminded of this story about train drivers effectively giving little readings on the tube- which I also think would be rather wonderful.

In the many years of visiting and living in London only a few times have I known tube drivers deviate from the script and it's always brought an enormous smile to the face of everyone in the carriage. Tourists especially looked delighted when they were told they could get off at Embankment to go and see the pigeons in Trafalger Square, or to ride the circle line round and round. I also always remember being wished a happy Christmas from all the staff on the Bakerloo line as I disembarked for Christmas two years ago and wanting to shout happy Christmas back to the driver.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The search for Martini glasses

I needed 10 martini glasses. I had half an hour. 1 switch card. 2 little feet and one west London shopping location.

I had to go in ten 'lifestyle' type shops of varying levels before I found some- which to be honest I don't especially like and were about £8 each.

I desperately wanted the £5 each ones with a fork for olives but they only had 5- in a speciality home ware shop that had about 400 Le Creuset dishes. They said it's unusual to want so many (I was thinking but it's usual to need to make that many casseroles in mid Summer is it?).

Now admittedly I hadn't forward thought very well but really, I didn't anticipate this kind of problem. I didn't think this was going to be a last minute problem, I'm sure whenever I'm looking for a nice present in these shops saleswomen are thrusting these glasses in my face and telling me how original it would be to give two with a cocktail book and I'm saying no it wouldn't. (although perhaps it would as I don't own any martini glasses). Oh why isn't there an Ikea in Fulham or somewhere?! they would have martini glasses in spades for 99p each.

Anyway I have secured some over sized ones and will enjoy carrying them on the train later in the overly large boxes they come in.

Word to the wise, if you think cocktail glasses are everywhere you look think again. They really aren't.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Is it wrong that I'm excited about..

... the return of Bridget Jones?

I know it's not terribly hip and cool but I have a serious soft spot for the first film- it's yet another of the films I always watch over Christmas.

I was always madly jealous that Bridget's flat was directly over Borough market Borough market and harboured a secret theory that perhaps I would one day get to live there.

** EDIT** You can read about the third film here**

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

It's always (often?) better when it's French

Sometimes it does feel like the French do everything that little bit better doesn’t it? Certainly wine, probably food, usually films, often perfume, sometimes fashion and always that certain je ne sais quoi.

Well now I am adding French e-bay to the list.

If you have read hear before you will know I go through periods of addiction to e-bay. Up to now I hadn’t really realized, which is probably quite silly, that when you go to international ebay you really go to American e-bay- which is great but isn’t the whole of the international world.

So that is how I found e-bay France. I then found the perfume section on ebay France and a new love was born; there are treasures and delights in abundance.

There are also delightful sellers who don’t seem to mind my terrible written French and who go to the post office to check par avion prices for me.

So as I don’t currently have a holiday scheduled to French France I am holidaying in cyber space and thoroughly enjoying it. Everything sounds chicer on ebay France ‘Achat Immediat’ rolls of the tongue in the way ‘buy it now’ doesn’t. I also suspect it will feel more sophisticated receiving parcels of goodies from over the moody seas than from here.

Monday, 13 July 2009

holidaying in London

Saturday: Awake- a train- caffeine- Covent Garden- Fajitas!- Hamlet- Jude Law (a very sweet Prince)- rainy Piccadily- a bus through town- more caffeine- jugs of Berry Bombay and chair dancing- cheese, biscuits and Saturday papers at 2am.

Sunday: Awake- Sundays papers- CASHPOINT- the Southbank- an upside down purple cow- caffeine- footbridge (my heart always swells when I cross the Thames)- the fourth plinth- the shops! (new season's new things, enticing)- the tube (sticky)- Camden- pizza- the Roundhouse (current favourite gig venue)- cider- Stephen Fry (divine)- Mumford and Sons (fabulous)- country dancing (even more fabulous)- and so to bed- to sleep- perchance to dream.

(next weekend I will probably be cleaning for 48 hours or something equally dull).

Thursday, 9 July 2009

The Gardener: Alex Monroe at Penhaligon's

Alex Monroe is my favourite contemporary jewellery designer. I covet all of his work and everyone I have met who is involved with his company has been completely charming.

I received an e-mail earlier this week saying he was collaborating with Penhaligon’s in Covent Garden. He has written a children’s book and designed a new collection of jewellery which is inspired by the tale- you can read more about the exhibition and follow Alex's blog here.

I really enjoy it when complimentary brands link together, often links ups don’t seem to make much sense but this one does- and combines my love of jewellery and scent! These are two companies that are dear to my heart, Alex Monroe because every piece of his/ their jewellery I own is cherished and has good memories- the silver rosebud ring I bought with some Christmas money that would be a final gift from a loved relative, the butterfly ring I stalked for a year and finally bought, the birds on a branch necklace that is so perfectly entwined with family that it could have been made for me.

Penhaligon’s is special to me because they are purveyors of scents not only to the Royal family but to my very own, slightly less illustrious but possibly even more eccentric, family. Their scents fill my memory with wrapping parcels and Christmas shopping trips, of long car journeys filled with their relaxing scents, of bathrooms bursting with the smell of their soaps and of keeping their beautiful boxes to fill with who knows what because they are just too lovely to part with.