Sunday, 27 July 2014

July 2014 Instagramy Post

Christie's had a Banksy auction recently.
Says a lot about how much Christie's has changed but also how far Banksy has come.
I love his sense of humor.
His artistic sarcasm may be blunter than previously expressed by artists of another generation but I think he will have an enduring appeal though no one can predict these things for sure.
Banksy is known to be anti-establishment and rumor has it he is upset that his work is being auctioned off at such a powerhouse of an auction house.

One of this works depicting this sentiment.
But the works were put forward by his former agent with whom he is not on the best terms.

Steve was  correct that Banksy does make people smile by leaving his works around various spots in London.

This is the nearest Banksy to my house.
It used to be the spot where papparazzi would take shots of people who would have gone to Ottolenghi or a nearby boutique.
It's been there for more than a decade and they have put perspex over it to protect it.
The shop window of the month goes to Smythson on Bond Street.
Don't you love how this fighter plane is made by notebook covers and wallets.


This is the pub with the enthusiastic flowers covering it in Kensington Church Street.

It's so odd to see remnants of a formalized and public smoking.
This was the smoking pod at Llubjana airport.
Coming back from a holiday is hard enough but to try and maintain healthy eating is even harder.
Take away porridge with fried bananas in coconut oil was the compromise.

Oxford Street was named the most polluted street in the U.K.
I hate the sidewalk congestion just as much on that road.
Seeking passionate sales assistant?
Selling shoes or affair with the boss?
I love the quatrefoil in any form but particularly find it soothing as a door handle.
Might consider it for the home.
Went to an Anzac coffee place in Soho that was ok.
The baristas had such a quasi-hipster snobby attitude and the coffee was ok but don't think I would go back.
Hope you had a good July! x

50 comments:

  1. Hang on, I thought they don't know who banksy is...
    Porridge and fried banana... Yum!

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  2. When we were in NYC last October Banksy was there selling a few paintings on the street for a few dollars to a few unsuspecting tourists/locals. For some reason I can't reply to your previous post...love the serene bedrooms and prefer to see something not necessarily I can attain but can garner relevant ideas to use for my own pad.

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    1. Banksy is always doing things like that - he drew a mural on a boys club in Bristol and they are selling it for a good 5 figures which was a big gift for an underfunded charity so I like this generosity! I love serene bedrooms too - i am glad to see that trend - i disabled it bc it wasn't meant to go out initally and in fact i meant to delete but it published instead so I kept it but disable comments.

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    2. Was going to say about Banksy's pictures selling at Christie's that perhaps he's crying all the way to the bank. But perhaps that would be wrong - and it's good to hear that he still has the humble touch and is helping charities. Loved the search for the "passionate sales assistant" but looking at the shoes in the window, wondered if it might not be a big ask to feel passionately about them.
      Loathe places where the staff have this silly snobby attitude. Remember once going to a café/restaurant in Sydney at the Woolloomooloo finger wharf - the waitress who "served" us was full of attitude and so terribly rude. Clearly she was only interested in celebrity diners. They do get a few in that location. She ignored our efforts to get a coffee after our meal so in the end we found another staff member, paid up and left. As we were walking away it was so funny - she came chasing miles after us accusing us of leaving without paying. G who is normally extremely polite pulled out the receipt and told her what he thought of her rudeness.

      After eating at lots of lovely restaurants in Paris and Provence on our last holiday, including Michelin starred places, not once did we experience this kind of crazy attitude or rudeness. Sad the coffee place in London was an Aussie one!

      So glad smoking is getting banned from more and more places. Came home from holiday to discover my dear Aunt has just been diagnosed with lung cancer. She and my Uncle were such heavy smokers. Before it became unacceptable to smoke inside, after they'd had dinner with us we had to air the house for days. We adored them but hated their smoking habit and were courageous enough to tell them how bad it was for them. It made no difference, they wouldn't stop. My Uncle died about 8 years ago, much too young. Now my Aunt has terminal cancer too. Very sad. Pammie

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    3. Irony is that nowadays the friendliest service comes from maitre d's at posh French restaurants - they just can't do enough and seem to be trying to disprove any theories. Baristas definitely have the worst attitude lately. I always find that with service proof is in the pudding. I just won't tip them. I am so sorry to hear about your aunt. Cigarettes defy logic - people crave it more than food and therein lies the insidious nature of it. I hope she isn't in too much pain though...xx

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    4. Yes it's so true! Both about the maître d's and the baristas. Also even with Head Concierges too we found. At the Hotel Meurice where I went looking for Collette Dinnigan's Meurice scarf, their M. Gustave took over when the lesser junior mortals weren't able to help. He had them jumping to find the scarf for me and couldn't have been nicer or more polite, despite the fact that I was clearly not one of their normal clientele. While I waited he found me a seat and told me the back story of the commissioning of the scarf and how much it's treasured. Then they gift wrapped the box beautifully and with lovely hotel ribbons and put it in a de luxe Meurice bag. It was truly the princess treatment.

      So far so good with my aunt - she's not in pain at this stage but gets very breathless. But she's so brave and calm. Pammie xx

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    5. The Meurice under the Dorchester is just brilliant and the staff there are cheery indeed. How nice of them though and I cant wait to see the scarf Pammie.

      I hope your aunt stays as comfortably as she can. xx

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    6. Must take a photo soon and put it on Facebook. It's quite charming, pretty but slightly quirky drawings of Paris scenes, French poodles etc - and lovely colours. The Meurice commissioned it for their extra special VIP repeat clients as an exclusive gift. It's not normally for sale. They were just so impressed that I came all the way from Australia wanting to buy it (you can't get it in Oz as it was made only for the Meurice) that M. Gustave wanted me to have one (not many left now). Not a terrible price either, eg much cheaper than an Hermes or Chanel scarf. I was so thrilled and very taken with the Meurice. Pammie

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    7. I can't wait to see it and really nice that they let you purchase when you weren't staying there but then again I think that hotel group is trying to make sure everyone is happy especially with what is happening with the boycott of their branch in LA. I like the restaurant there bc it is so over the top rococo!

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    8. Naomi
      Do tell about the boycott in LA! Sounds intriguing - and a bit shocking. Years ago on a visit to LA we kept going back for lunch to the restaurant at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. The food was so good and depending on what you ordered could be quite affordable. We loved the young lunch time maître d' who was also a painter on the side. After he saw some of G's water colours, he kind of adopted us and kept giving us advice of galleries to try and special exhibitions worth seeing. So sweet.
      I think since the GFC the more expensive W. European places are really trying hard to be nice to people. Suspect quite a few were hit severely in the first year or so, at least. Not long after the GFC, we called in for drinks/coffee or a meal in Venice at hotels that might once have looked down their noses at us, like the Cipriani and a couple more. But occupancy was low and they seemed desperately keen to be welcoming and friendly. They even talked a little about their problems and suggested we return for breakfast or dinner. In addition, the grand old hotels in Paris now have to face stiff competition from the newer so called palace hotels. I guess it's in response to this that the Ritz and Crillon have closed for years for massive refurbishments. So perhaps the Meurice is feeling the pinch a little too. But I did get the impression that they were genuinely extremely nice people, particularly M. Gustave. Pammie

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    9. There is a boycott at the Beverly Hills Hotel which is part of the same umbrella as the Meurice. It is due to the Sultan who is the owner and his new rules regarding homosexuality and so they are not going to most of his hotels if they can. The thing is that most hotels aren't free from having owners or investors who are of a differing opinion but they have chosen that hotel specifically. I feel sorry for the staff as the bulk of their wage in the service industry is tips. Meanwhile it won't affect the owner very much...Paris is now turning into a mega hotel destination - the Athenee is still closed and due to open this year too after refurbs. I am most interested to see how the new Ritz will be like as it used to be my favorite stuffy hotel :)

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    10. Sorry, keeping this thread going a bit long, but you're such a mine of information, and all this info on hotels is so interesting.
      Is the Sultan you speak of the Sultan of Brunei? He's bought up some hotels in Singapore, including one we used to stay at, but not any more since it's changed so much. Know he sets rules for his hotels, including about food. Though hadn't heard about gays. Does the Sultan own the whole Dorchester chain, or just individual hotels? Must be very difficult for the staff in the US. So glad in Oz that there is a half-way decent minimum wage, including for people in service industries. From an Oz point of view it's shocking that people should have to depend on tips to survive.
      Yes, will be very interesting to see what all these refurbishments in Paris bring. Hope the hotels don't then all look identical with the same de luxe minimalism and greiges and beiges! Pammie

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    11. Don't be silly about long threads!!

      Yes the very sultan. He owns the dorchester collection which includes the meurice, athenee, bel air and beverly hills and of course the dorchester among a few others. The hotels he owns in asia are not part of the group though - i think he owns the hyatt in singapore which i used to stay at but that isn't part of the luxury chain and brand created. I think it's shocking to depend on tips as well. But they have a whole different ethos about things like that. I think a hotel tour in Paris might be warranted soon! And I also hope they don't fall into that polite taupe greige patterns either Pammie! x

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    12. It was the Royal Plaza on Scotts that we used to stay at in Singers. We liked it because it was well located for Orchard Road and used to have a pleasant old colonial style with a lavish tropical breakfast. But we saw how it was changing in the years after be bought it and re-decorated. It lost the old ambience, the people and the food were so different and we didn't feel relaxed there any more. We did look at the Hyatt (or the Marriott - can't remember) which was close by and seemed rather nice from the outside and then discovered he'd bought that too. So this year we went to Raffles.
      Perhaps he gets more closely involved with the hotels he owns individually rather than through the group. Hopefully anyway because it would be a shame if these old hotels lost their ambience and charm.
      A hotel tour in Paris sounds like a wonderful idea! Once they re-open. Will look forward to your posts. Would love to try some of them too. But when we go to Paris it's for 3 weeks so we stay in a shoebox apartment. As it's always at the end of a long trip we don't feel like moving again from hotel to hotel by then.
      You have the ideal situation living in London - you can take the Eurostar and spent a couple of nights in the Ritz and then maybe one or two in the Athenee. We do enjoy visiting for a meal or "un verre" though. My favourite hotels are the older ones with a sense of history and a distinct personality - with charm and ambience that is appropriate for their locations. Don't like when they're done over in a minimalist modern style so you could be anywhere and have no sense of the hotel's roots or the historic figures who've stayed there.

      Raffles is just gorgeous, it's been restored really well and looks marvellous. So beautiful and such character and ambience. In Bangkok love the Sukhothai (not so old) but has such a peaceful Thai quality with its beautiful courtyards, pools and gardens. In St Petersburg loved staying at the Astoria - but that's probably been done in modern style by now too. When there I used to imagine grand dukes partying, Isadora Duncan and imperial ballerinas. Fortunately Hitler didn't get his wish of celebrating his conquest of the city by holding a reception there. Apparently he even had invitations engraved - but never managed to take the city despite all the shelling and the terrible siege. In Beijing, the Grand. I once had a fabulous room there with beautiful old Chinese furniture (though a king size four poster bed), a huge marble bathroom and a view out toward the Forbidden City. Every night they used to leave bowls of European chocolates, Chinese sweets, fresh flowers, fruit and little gifts. Was there for a conference so couldn't eat any of them and ended up giving heaps to someone from our embassy for her children. In Vienna, the Konigin Elisabeth, etc. Just thinking about it gives me itchy feet. Best wishes, Pammie

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    13. I don't go to Paris that often but should really. Hotels there are getting frightfully expensive though. I must admit that I would rather fly to a new locale at those prices. But I adore the sukhothai and stayed there last year and it's one of my favorite hotels in Asia! They just have it so right except for the view of the carpark by one side of the pool!! But if I go to one of those hotels I will post x

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    14. Agree, the cost of good hotels in Paris is very high which is why we stay in a nice shoebox apartment much cheaper than most of the so-so or cheap hotels. Though if I lived in the UK would probably be tempted to stay a night or two in one of the Grands as a special treat. But when spending that kind of money would have high expectations. It would be v disappointing if it didn't live up.
      Isn't the Sukhothai beautiful! It was the favourite hotel of one of our most famous former Foreign Ministers. Just the bathrooms can be bigger than many Paris hotel rooms. Have never stayed in the wing near the car park though - and the neighbourhood has a lot more high rises than when I first stayed there. When I travelled for work we used to get a rest day on the trip from Oz to Europe (so we could hit the ground running and deal with whatever challenges and issues faced us) and one on return, so we wouldn't return to work half dead. They always used to book me in there if I went by way of Bangkok (probably had some special deal with the hotel). So the hotel reception staff got to know me and they eventually began giving me complimentary upgrades to a suite (unsolicited), even after I was no longer working. The last time there with G. we had four nights in a gorgeous suite (with an enormous sumptuous bathroom, white orchids in pots and all), complimentary upgrade. Such a treat. Pammie x

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    15. They gave me an upgrade too but only sour note was a piece of jewellery was taken...it was so in open sight that I thought they wouldn't dare but of course it did go so my fault really and I won't do that again.

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    16. Got cut off... But I will look for special deals and see if anything is good enough to warrant a stay. I bagged a huge bargain at four seasons George v once but ended up staying inside instead of wandering about so it has it's pros and cons staying in a nice place !! :)

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    17. So sorry to hear about your bad experience with jewellery theft at S. It's probably better than most in Bangkok. Having checked Tripadvisor in the past have seen many reports of theft by staff in otherwise quite good hotels. Certainly know of people who were robbed at the Oriental, eg: someone (presumably staff) entered the room while the guest was asleep but hadn't put the chain on door, in the morning he woke up and his passport and wallet were gone. If you think about how little the staff probably earn and their living conditions, you can understand why some may not be able to withstand temptation. We always use the room safe but even that isn't always a guarantee so we usually take an old Samsonite oyster bag with both key locks and combination (can't take it to US as it doesn't fit specifications) and put designer scarves, jewellery, bags etc in there (though never credit cards or much cash or anything super valuable) and then pile all the other (heavy) bags in front.. So far so good.

      I always look for special deals too - through Tripadvisor when booking then check the hotel's own website for specials and email them direct to ask if they can match or do better than the consolidators or give extras like breakfasts. Often they can. Generally prefer to book direct with the hotel if possible and develop personal relations as we often go back if we like it and the price is right. At some smaller hotels in regional France the staff know us now and always look after us superbly. In our tiny Nice hotel the lovely owner even kissed us goodbye (I'd bought her some beautiful pink peonies from the flower market to thank her for something). This time for Raffles our travel agent found us a superb deal which we couldn't match by ourselves: at a v special price, three nights with full buffet breakfasts for the price of two in a beautiful quiet room, which came with lots of extras as well. The French hotel manager even came to say goodbye as we were leaving and had sent an ice bucket and bottle of champagne to our room the second night (though that was really because one of their drivers had slammed a car door on my hand - almost).
      Can understand why sometimes you don't even want to leave the hotel if it's lovely - lucky you to stay at George V! We felt a bit like that at Raffles - but we've been to Singers many times before over the years so it didn't matter and we did still make it to some fabulous gardens. Cheers, Pammie

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    18. Yes I think emailing directly is forgotten about and I should try that too! The smaller hotels are better at service especially when owner run and that is the benchmark of service usually. Travel agents are forgotten about nowadays but they can still pull strings and have connections one forgets. I must look into this oyster bag you mention but agree that one must put chain on all the time no matter what! George V was worth the experience an I will never forget their flowers with their 6 full time florists!! x

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    19. Not sure you could get the Oyster now after Sept 11. The US insists all bags be openable by their security people and an Oyster isn't, not without smashing the locks. Suspect Samsonite may not make them any more. They're old technology too as they have two wheels not four spinners. But they are very secure and very strong. Ours have been round the world many times over the years. We just haven't been to the US for a long time. They're quite scratched but still going strong. My old department used to provide them for short term overseas travel - on loan. They were so good we ended up buying a couple for our private travel. Nowadays we just take one Oyster and two Samsonite hard sided spinners - and then usually buy another Samsonite spinner in Paris at a cut price luggage place in B de Sebastopol to squeeze in shopping.
      Sometimes after emailing hotels, I actually telephone from Australia to confirm bookings or ask questions. This seems to be unusual as they're always surprised but so far hotels have always been very helpful and kind (living up to their Tripadvisor reviews). George V sounds like heaven - have walked around the lobby to admire the flowers but no further than that - they were spectacular so can only imagine the rest of the place! Pammie x

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  3. Your posts hint to me that I have no idea what modern London is like:). I love this.

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    1. London has the Gemini sign and it really is different things to different people - I enjoy London much differently than 20 years ago!

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  4. Quasi Hipster Snob Baristas are so last year. Don't they realise they are serving beverages?

    Love this post.

    I wish you lived locally. I'd make you pop round and chat to me while I do the ironing.

    Then you could stay for a slow roasted pork belly and I'd open Mr FF's birthday champagne.

    Behave x

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    1. I mean the look baristas give you when I ask for a cappuccino instead of an espresso then put sugar in it!!! oy vey.

      I wish you lived locally too but with your cheesecake and all that great good would make me the size of a house! xx

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    2. In Italy, home of the cappuccino, the baristas often scorn you if you ask for a cappuccino after about 11am. After that you're supposed to ask for an espresso. So finally one time at a fairly up-market place I got bored with the scorn and challenged the barista. I asked if he'd given any thought as to why milk shouldn't be added to coffee after mid-morning. He was at a loss for words. Then I told him my theory that there's always a back story/a reason why food or drink habits develop.

      In Italy it was probably because in the old days the homes and cafes/bars didn't have proper refrigeration and so in summer the milk was probably untrustworthy after late morning. Mamas probably told their children never to have milk in coffee after about 11.00. So they always asked for espresso - no milk. Eventually refrigeration became widespread but by then the habit had developed and persisted. The barista looked at me in astonishment and said it was probably true. So now I never feel embarrassed about ordering a cappuccino in Italy at any time, despite the possible disapproval of the barista. As for sugar, in Italy many Italians have coffee (specially espresso) with lots of sugar, so they won't despise you for it there. Though cappuccino being an Italian breakfast drink is often taken with a cornetto or sweet pastry so not everyone puts sugar in their cappuccino even if they do in espresso. Pammie

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    3. You have finally cracked the code of the cappuccino after 11 reason!! I might tell them that next time they raise an eyebrow.

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    4. Would love to hear what reaction you get! Have tried it out several times since that first occasion if baristas have been particularly tiresome - and they (the Italian ones anyway) have generally agreed it is probably true. Pammie

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  5. Banksy, gone a bit mainstream, and the only fish that goes with the flow is a dead one.

    Always love your candid view of London.

    Do you think Tabs will ever stop faffing around and actually say hello next time she's in LDN?
    (Or is it all just a load of old badinage.)

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    1. Yes success tends to make one a bit mainstream though it seems he tries to use his art for good.

      I am sure Tabs will stop faffing and we will get our dose of badinage with her! :))

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    2. Love that expression - only dead fish go with the flow! Have never heard it before. A worthy comment for Tabs also. Pammie

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  6. Yes, Passionate assistant! What does that mean? Love the plane made from books. And the little Banksy by your house is charming.

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    1. I hadn't seen a wanted sign like that let alone for a passionate assistant in a long time since the advent of the internet! Banksy's do brighten up a street for sure.

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  7. Love the shop sign and the quatrefoil door handle!
    London does seem very busy, we might head over in the spring but we're leaving the Rascals at home, then I won't worry about them in the crowds and we'll be able to stay out late. You'll be my first email when I book!
    Still having that good weather? What an English summer you're having.

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    1. THe restaurant with that quatrefoil does modern dim sum and is rather good. If you come to London I will take you! You must come in Spring and hopefully you will be our great weather lucky charm bc we haven't had a summer like this in a long time so you were super lucky Dani!! x

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  8. We've come a long way from designated smoking tables at Pizza Hut when I was a young girl. And that plane is delightful. Please do a follow up post on the service at the shoe shop once the sign has been removed ;)

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    1. Remember when people smoked on planes? in banks! Ha - I would love to know what kind of job interview it was too!

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  9. Great post Naomi. Of course I am obsessed with the flower-covered bar and Banksy!!!

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    1. That pub always cheers me up walking past it and so does that rat papparazzi!

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  10. Yep, want to move back to London, sigh.

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    1. Visiting might be better bc it keeps it fresh!

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  11. brilliant , loved this esp about the shop assistant advert !!

    The Smythson paper plane was brilliant (no pun intended ) x

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  12. One rarely sees ads anymore other than online so it was extra funny! I love that plane and would love one as a paperweight or something ( no pun intended!) xx

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  13. Naomi
    Darling
    Do you know impossible it is to comment on your blog, to do it all justice? So many topics each one brilliantly done, how is a poor boy to compete?

    Well, anyway, here goes. First, I have a strong libertarian streak, and though I am no fan of smoking, or breathing in someone else’s smoke, I find the whole concept of segregated smoking areas slightly chilling and totalitarian.

    I have this wild daydream of chucking it all, and disappearing into the world only to reemerge anonymous and penniless and in need of a job to start my new life, perhaps as a passionate sales assistant in London.

    Unlike Basquiat, and now Jason Wulf, it is nice to see Banksy alive, well, and making and selling art. More art is always a good thing.

    Finally, it is time for breakfast here and so what better way to start than with your suggestion of porridge and bananas fried in coconut oil, yummy…

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    1. Dear GF - to be a smoking artist working part time with the passion to be that sales assistant eh? hehe Coconut oil is my new thing and it really crisps things up so nicely too. Porridge needs so much maple syrup though...

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  14. love the breakfast china - a fitting way to serve a bit of ready to go Pret porridge!! Do you have every Hermes china pattern by the way??! We need a china post please!
    They have those smoking pods in Asian airports too - I seem to remember them in Hong Kong last time we were there.
    How disappointing the Aussie coffee place was just trading on the reputation and not giving the goods. I still remember the blank looks that my husband was given when he asked for a flat white 15 years ago in a London builders caff. I reinterpreted as white coffee, and then watched as they got the Nescafe jar out!! xx

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    1. I gave up on the idea of a matching set so i have a dish here and there of a lot of patterns! That way I am happy and I never need to try to find something in a pattern in a certain plate. Those smoking pods in Asia are horrific bc they are full of smoke there is no need to smoke and you could just walk in one second and leave. Oh I remember the days of long black flat white etc. you are right they looked at you as if you were speaking another language mind you in a lot of places they still get the nescafe out here!!! xx

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  15. I saw the first image of the plane and wondered what you were going on about but then you pointed out that it was made from notebooks, then I looked a bit closer at the next image and got what you meant - that's so cool! I try to block out all the negativity about Oxford Street as I do with those darn tubes because both of them make my life so much easier when I'm in London. I hate snobby shop/cafe assistants; they just ruin the whole experience and there is no justification for it that I can think of. xx

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    1. Don't you love hte plane? The tubes from oxford street can be crazy and during xmas the queues to get on start at the turnstiles! i just walk...I also don't see the need to be that miserable in public which only makes people react negatively which only makes them more miserable no??? ;) xx

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