Thursday, 30 May 2013

May 2013 Instagramy post

May has been so busy that I felt a bit like this duck.

I am lucky enough to live in walking distance to Ottolenghi but having gone there for more than a decade, I always make sure I spread the love and visit Tavola in equal measure.
It often gets overlooked as it is 2 blocks away from Ottolenghi.  
But Alistair Little the owner/chef is one of the three cooks 
who were  mentored by Elizabeth David
the other two being Rowley Leigh and Simon Hopkinson.
He does both savoury and desserts extremely well!
Even his produce is flown fresh from Sicily but 
I tend to balance out all that fresh deli food with...
I forget who said if you want to eat well in England, eat breakfast 3 times a day.  
I go to a Spanish restaurant / caf ( not cafe but caf my dears) 
called Churreria

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Royal Chelsea Flower Show Part 2

Part 1 of my post on the Chelsea Flower Show was about the show gardens but this post is about the two other sections of the flower show.  The show also has a huge exhibition in the Pavilion and there are Artisan gardens which are the other two judging categories.

This lily stand won gold medal because not only was the overall effect amazing but each individual flower was perfect.

This new feathery, frayed lily is my new favourite variety.

Everywhere you looked inside would make you walk towards each respective stand that we ended up doing a zig zag inside.  
But Avon Bulbs was one of the best and of course won gold.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Chelsea Flower Show 2013 Part 1

After years of turning down invitations to the Chelsea Flower Show, I finally decided to go and see what the fuss about was for myself.  It might be me getting older but a day out surrounded by flowers seemed like a fabulous idea.
I went with one of my besties for whom it was also the first time.
After the turnstiles, we saw so many heads. I had a little panic and wondered if we should retreat after seeing how crowded it was. 
But I will categorically swear that I have never been surrounded by a more polite and civic minded lot in all my life! That many people and not one scuffle, one misplaced elbow, or a muffled sigh.  Everyone was so well mannered and I am now officially a huge fan of gardeners!

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Eperon d'Or Hermes Scarf silk printing from start to finish

I know that some of you are probably sick of anything Hermes 
but this post is for those of you who wanted to see the scarf being printed from beginning to end.  
Silk screen printer with the ripped scarves as trimming

 In fact, a few of my friends who don't live in Europe asked for a proper step by step demonstration which I wasn't able to do as seen from Part 2 of the Artisan Festival post as I was standing on the wrong side and I had an appointment to go to.

So I got there early and took a picture of each press.

Here it is and thanks for your patience!

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Part 2 Hermes Festival des Metiers London Saatchi Gallery

This exhibition was unusual from the other exhibits that I had seen from Hermes in that it illustrated so many different crafts.  
This was the first time I had seen silk scarf screen printing.
Aren't these scarves hanging lovely as installation art?
The silk screen artisan plus one of the managers at the Lyon based silk press was there to present one of the silk screen sessions 
that take place 4 times a day.
These strips of scarves that didn't make the grade was hanging from the table.  I wanted to stitch them all back together.
This tasseled look could work for my bed.
They rolled out the silk that is made from Brazilian silk worms.
They set the silk properly and tightly with no air bubbles underneath to ensure a smooth print.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Hermes Festival des Metiers at the Saatchi Gallery - Part 1

Hermes is holding a special artisan festival at the
Saatchi Gallery in London until the 27th of May.
This event is to showcase the tradition and artisanal skills of each "metier" or craft.  If you are in London or this event is coming to a city near you then I must strongly urge you to go.

I adore porcelain of any type let alone Hermes.
One of the few collections I have is of Hermes porcelain so this section interested me no end and I could have stayed for hours!

This artisan was Christine and she was originally a drafts person for architects and was very adept at drawing which led her to hand painting her niche which is porcelain trays.  
She explained that each color painted on the tray is put 
in the kiln for at least 7 hours.  
She said that each color takes on a unique temperature 
according to the dye.
For those of you familiar with Hermes porcelain, 
Christina is the one who makes all the tiger series!
She says that the platinum used on the trays is so costly that only the top experts are allowed to use it as a small bottle costs about 3000 euros so wastage is not encouraged.
She hand paints that freehand!!
Each tray takes about 10 days to produce.
The different stages of the evolution of a porcelain tray.
This is for those who can't be there so I have taken 
some extra photos to demonstrate.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Drum roll please! The final Liebster and the winners are ...

My last but definitely not least Liebster blogger 
is Heidi from Adelaide Villa.
She is one of my favourite bloggers out there.  
She is both a trained architect and Inchbald trained interior decorator who really knows her stuff when discussing home design or showing fabulous pictures of her home renovations.
But she is an excellent writer who also discusses fashion to those seemingly light subjects in life that caused a stir for instance when she discussed socially appropriate dressing.  
So do visit and say hello to Heidi.

I want to quickly say a thank you to Heather from Lost in Arles for giving it to me so that I could pass it on!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Laotian sunsets and sunrises plus a few more Liebsters

Before my post, I would quickly like to introduce three more of the  six bloggers to whom I forwarded the Liebster award.

Jenny has a delightful blog called the The Lime Walk
She moved from South Africa to Australia but also spends time in her house in France.  She has got the travel bug like I do but writes about a wide range of interests.  She is a lot of fun!

Ruth from Clothing Fixations is a Brit who moved to Sydney and gives me my dose of the good life down under with a healthy helping of fashion and well edited outfits.  Her posts always make me have pangs for Australia and it makes me laugh when she now thinks 18 degrees Celsius is cold!

Chinwags and Tittle Tattles is a London blog by MsMadge that covers many topics and you never know what she is going to write about next.  She has varied interests and writes meaty posts so I am sure she will have something for you to be curious about.

All the ladies are super friendly so do pop in for a bit of a gander.
I think you will really enjoy the ladies' answers as well!

Don't forget that my giveaway ends Tuesday morning so let me know if you want to be entered in either the scarf or perfume raffle.
The last time I left you in Laos, I was hypnotized  by the sunsets.
The sunrises seemed far too ambitious at the time but the reason I had to get up early was to behold the legendary sunrise alms giving that Luang Prabang is known for.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Mad Men Season 6, Episodes 6 and 7 plus a few Liebsters!

For those of you who are not watching Mad Men, may I just introduce two of the 6 bloggers I forwarded the Liebster award to?

The first in alphabetical order is Kelly from A Soulful Home.
She is a new blogger like myself and has a lovely blog based in Sunny California.  She is an attorney who now turns her dab hand to creating lots of little elements that make her home so soulful
by name, by nature!

The second is Colleen from Forcailini 
which is Gaelic that means for the girls.
She is a fashion / nutrition blogger.
 I love her style and the items she picks out and models for us.
But she also "sneaks in a few vegetables" and writes informative posts about nutrition and health which comes naturally to her because she is a professional nutritionist!

They are both super friendly so please visit 
and don't be shy to say hello! 

So now on to Mad Men.
  Things are going back to the way things used to be.
People are back to work. 
Back to creating and conniving and scheming!
I love the period of growth.  
Even SCDP was getting a bit stagnant wasn't it?
I am worried that the car itself might be a dud...

Everything and everyone in it was getting so stagnant except perhaps Roger.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

I finally won something.

The multi-talented Heather from the blog Lost in Arles kindly bestowed the Liebster award to me last week.  For those who like to read, I would highly suggest a visit. She writes beautifully and those who think it is only to do with France and all things French - it's not.  France is purely incidental on her blog.

I was rather chuffed about it and more than happy to accept the baton from her.

It was quite good timing as well as today is the 6 month anniversary for this blog.

In some ways, I can't believe it has even lasted this long.  Time has just flown by and I can't believe how much I have learned since I started; not only technical things like RSS ( still don't know what that means but at least now I know it pertains blogging ) but also blogosphere anthropology.  Truth be told, there have been quite a few times when I was going to quit but I realized I wouldn't be proving a point to anyone or anything so I kept going even when my stats were 0.  But I have "met" and discovered so many wonderful and interesting writers out there that I am so happy I decided to start my own blog.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

House Beautiful May 2013

Don't you just love a cover that has "tips and secrets" on it?
It feels like we're reading a declassified FBI dossier that 
J Edgar Hoover kept on decorators.  But now of course, we don't need that - we have Million Dollar Decorators.

I really like coral.  
Not only the actual one that you sadly find less and less on the Great Barrier Reef but also the color and anything remotely similar.  However, I have a little coral and sea fan fatigue.  
But that is only because it has been a little overexposed of late but I wouldn't mind a cushion in any of these fabrics.

I rarely comment on the ads but I have to say that I find the following one from Pierre Frey very noticeably soothing.
It's not too fancy but also perfectly pitched for trade as 
Pierre Frey is usually reserved for professionals only in London.

I thought this was a very clever ad from Farrow and Ball.  
It must be the most copied paints in the UK.  Everyone takes a sample of a certain shade like String or Pale Powder which is one of the most popular selling shades in London and takes it to the hardware store to copy.
I have seen this "tip" on blogs and some acquaintances who think they are saving money by simulating a Farrow and Ball shade but I can spot a fake wannabe shade a mile off.  Then it seems kind of sad that they went through all the trouble of painting and spending money with a mediocre imitation.  If you want a Farrow and Ball shade - just buy it from them.  At the end of the day, it's paint and not imitation 16th century French furniture where there is a huge price differential.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Luang Prabang, Laos - Montpellier meets the Mekong

Now where were we? 
Last time I left you on my journey, I was leaving Cambodia.
A rabbit waiting for a feed?

I was finally going to the place that this whole trip was originally based around - Luang Prabang.
The clouds were positive augury with rabbits and elephants greeting me above Laos.
Baby Jumbo coming along for the ride?

For months, this place was calling my name.  
I don't hear dead people's voices but I do hear certain villages and countries telepathically beckoning me.
( Don't leave, stay with me okay?)
For instance, India has never asked me to visit.
I don't gatecrash so I have never been.

I kept getting this feeling I had to go to Luang Prabang, 
the ancient royal capital of Laos.

It is no longer the capital after the Communist regime took over in 1975 but it is still the cultural headquarters of the country.
The rest of my trip was originally just to pad out my 5 days here.
 I didn't feel like enduring a fourteen hour trip from London and 
jet-lag just for a trip of a few days.


I arrived at my hotel that had a rather artistic turn down service:
a frangipani flower coiled in the center of the bed with a gift of a Lao flute as a lucky charm.

Friday, 3 May 2013

Mad Men Season 6 Episode 5 - The Flood

As Magnus Magnusson said, I started so I shall finish.

Mad Men this season is a little off piste no?

I have not found my footing this season, have you?

Tearing wallpaper and trying to hide it with one's bed.
 Psychotherapy 101 just won't cut it.  
Where is a proper medical professional?