Friday, 30 March 2012

Cook, Eat, Shop, Sleep

Respect to Alexis (Mimi's mum) for agreeing to let Ed, Ryan & Mimi bake cupcakes in her kitchen, shopping for ingredients, taking them on a picnic, playing with the puppy AND letting them have a sleepover. Great! That just leaves bunging on a DVD to me then, when it's my turn to have them here next week. 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Tattooed Guinea Pig

Occasionally, (although hardly ever) the planets line up in our favour and through a series of fortuitous circumstances things work out very nicely indeed.
It just so happened that the shoot finished early this afternoon, John had a day off work, his friend Clare wanted to play with her new tattoo kit and I was hanging around with the camera. Oh Happy Day!!

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Leicester v Rio

Promises of a "Carnival Atmosphere" seem to be politicians' and the media's favourite way to get us in party mood ready for the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this summer.
Click here to soak up the carnival atmosphere when the Queen visited Leicester this week.
Or you may prefer to sit back and leave it to the experts...
(keep on watching after nightfall)
The City of Samba by Jarbas Agnelli -  'tilt shift' technique has become somewhat overused these days but in this example it is entirely appropriate to the subject matter and I think the result is fantastic.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Spring Pastels

Of course I like Spring: I love Spring. It's just that when it finally arrives it can be just a touch.... gaudy, vulgar. All those garish, yellow daffs and pink camellias. It's a bit of a shock after a soft, monochrome winter. Last year we planted the palest, lemon-yellow magnolia: the flowers are just opening and it looks like faded Chinese silk against the duck-egg blue sky.

This evening on the dog walk a dainty, white blossom tree was magical with a backdrop of pale sky and sliver of new moon.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Working Flat Out

view from my hastily put together open-plan office - iPhone, diary, cup of tea, sunglasses, pillow...

Saturday, 24 March 2012

Trendy Trees

Oh how I envy those that manage to show off their new season's outfits with such panache, while the rest of us are still cautiously peeling away the black opaques.

Friday, 23 March 2012


As a very special reward for doing so well at his auditions...
... Ed was allowed to play with Gok Wan's puppy, Dolly, after school.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Summer in Hackney

"I know. I'm dreading it. My heart sank when they said 'London' not 'Paris'. God knows how they'll get everything ready in time. Thames Water have dug up half the roads in London, the tubes and buses are already jam-packed, it's a nightmare, the place will grind to a halt, how will people get to work? They're making these special VIP routes so the athletes and all the dignitaries can be limo-ed through Hackney at top speed - so they don't have time to look out the window. Haha! What a cheek. Have they finished the Olympic village yet? I hate that Anish Kapoor thing. They've made special extra long beds for the basketball players but I couldn't sleep in a room with those curtains. Who designs these things? London's going to be heaving with tourists, wandering around lost. Ugh! I won't be able to watch the opening ceremony - too embarrassing. I won't switch the telly on. We'll be a laughing stock. It's not like I'll even be able to escape to Corfu or somewhere, not with Ed being in Singin' in the Rain every other night." 

Wednesday, 21 March 2012


Having mastered portraits :) Brian has moved on to landscapes. Here's a gorgeous one of autumn in Clissold Park (oil on canvas 4ft x 5ft). 
Careful Enzo! that paint's still wet!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Round Hound

Right. Heard nothing back from Ed's audition and the judges are still mulling over Brian's portraits... There's still one route to stardom left though... I'm entering Capri for Crufts. If she doesn't win top prize in the fattest sight hound category then there really is no justice in this world. 

Monday, 19 March 2012

Mother's Day

BRIAN. Turn that daft game off now please. It's dinner time.
ED. I can't, if I pause it now Joe will invade my village and kill all my villagers... 
BRIAN. I don't care. Put some music on.
ED. ..and my dog.
BRIAN. Oh, I see, well, don't rush then. Just finish as quickly as you can.
ED. Right, I'm finishing....... now.
BRIAN. Fine. Let's put some music on then... No not that racket. Let Mummy choose.
ME. They were playing Rod Stewart in Rockit today. It sounded really nice. I wish I still had all my LPs and a record player. All my David Bowie records, all those CDs we had. You knew where you were with a CD. I hate iPods and iTunes. I don't know how to download the music, how to get it on the iPod or how to switch the iPod on...
BRIAN. Awww, shall I give you a tutorial darling.
ME. No 
BRIAN. Well, we've got the Rod Stewart album on iTunes.
ED. I'll put it on.
BRIAN. No, no. You eat your dinner. I'll do it... What the hell IS all this stuff on here? Who on Earth is XZIBIT? What the ****'s Trip To Trumpton Mash Up Mix? I wish the kids would keep their hands off my computer. I think we need to regain control of the technology in this house. I can't find it - not with all this rubbish on here. They don't even listen to half of it, I think they just put it on there to annoy me. Where the **** is it? R, R, R, R. Hang on I'll type it in. What?? no matches for Rod Stewart. For God's sake. How can there be no matches for Rod Stewart?
ED. You've typed Rod Stewbert.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Good Morning, Good Morning,

I can't sleep, I can't eat, I can't breathe, I feel sick: we heard yesterday that Ed has a 2nd call-back to audition for the role of the young Don Lockwood in...
at the Palace Theatre...
in London's ...
AND Adam Cooper is dancing the Gene Kelly role. SCREAM!!! 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Hackney Rises While Venice Sinks

When I woke up this morning and looked out the window at all that fog I thought 'wish I was in Venice instead of Hackney...' No chance of that, not this morning anyway, no chance of belting up to Stansted and jetting off to Marco Polo, not with a well known English Tenor coming to breakfast and there being no breakfast in the house. So, off through the park at 8am to fetch a loaf from the Spence and wow! Who needs to shuffle round Venice with a pack of tourists? We have our very own opalescent lagoon, deserted, save for a couple of dog walkers...

... not many 16th Century Palazzos admittedly but plenty of majestic plane trees and stately horse-chestnuts shrouded in mist...

 I was even treated to the sound of church bells as the sun started to come out...

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Fab Pad

Thank God I never got myself one of those turreted, fairy-tale chateaux in France that I'm always lusting after. I've just found my dream home!! It's in the UK and it's for sale!
Cop a load of this...
and this...
it even has a gorgeous swimming pool...
and you'll never believe the bathroom - floor to ceiling coral-coloured marble, smoked glass shower room and a wealth of gold fixtures and fittings - of course.
Just need to scrape together £900,000.....
Sad really - I bet whoever buys it guts it... They're bound to rip out that fabulous staircase and the column of lights that continues on up through the ceiling to the bedroom. 
Hang on, I have a plan -  think I'll just lurk in the bushes 'till the skip arrives and get first dibs.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Off With Their Heads

Goodbye Wintery Garden...
Hello Spring!
I had earmarked today as THE DAY for cutting all the brown, papery heads off the hydrangeas...
The dogs and I were in the garden, secateurs at the ready, when we heard that today's celeb was bringing a "very small, well-behaved dog" along. We had to bring the whole operation to a halt: couldn't risk the whippets accidentally nipping the head off a tiny chihuahua. Easy mistake to make in all the excitement. "Let's snip the head off this Hydrangea!/let's snip the head off this Chihuahua!"  
Enzo wouldn't need to be asked twice.

Friday, 9 March 2012


Plans this weekend are to build our very own Ice-Hotel - with knobs on.
There's ice everywhere. Both fridges are rammed and there's some enormous blocks carved from a glacier outside the back door, gently drip dripping on to the camellia below.
Trouble is, I won't be able to summon the services of a regular old frost-bitten, fish-finger crumbed ice-cube from the back of the freezer ever again: not now I've been spoilt with exquisitely marbled, iridescent spheres of crystal-clear ice, the size of a tennis ball, or, when I'm in a more retro mood - roughly hewn chunks, more decorative than the most beautiful 70s Swedish glass candlestick.

On a different note: it's Mother's Day next weekend and I've been scouting round for a few essentials for my woefully ill-equipt kitchen. 

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Spring Predictions

What is WRONG with people? Adults, that have jobs, use a computer, watch telly, catch flights to places, remember the days of the week in the right order, know that the world is round and have learnt to tell the time, CANNOT get to grips with the clocks changing. This week the girls at Grazia told us all that the clocks GO BACK this month. These are the same people who persuaded me that it was fine to wear silk pyjama bottoms on the school run, told me that EVERYONE is wearing greyish/yellow nail varnish this season and to trust them when they said I'll be wearing a ghastly 80s peplum come summer.
I'm going to be wary in future. Very wary.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Dull Day

Nothing much going on here today. Everyone's a bit tired. Ed spent all day Saturday at the Imperial Ballet Awards and then all day Sunday dancing at Pineapple. He's shattered...

Joe's wiped out too. He's recovering from his GCSE drama exam yesterday in which he had to play a dead person.
Nothing interesting to report from the dog walk except that it was quite windy...

Brian is painting in his studio and I am clearing out the freezer - not in preparation for a dog food delivery but for a consignment of the highest quality ice. We have a drinks company shooting their campaign here tomorrow and Thursday so the house will be full of glamourous models sipping delicious, freshly made cocktails. I'm not promising a particularly class blog come Friday.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Whippet Weekend

OK. Now I'm shopping for something more interesting: a holiday! I want to go and see all those kites on the beach in France. No-one else seems that keen so I'm going to take Enzo along. We'll check into the Ibis Hotel, RIGHT on the beach at Le Touquet...
and have some fun...

Friday, 2 March 2012

A New Car

I think I’m a bit better. Well, I know I’m a bit better because I’m shopping. No, not exciting vintage cocktail dress shopping down Camden Passage: online shopping - for car insurance.
At the end of this month, the tax, insurance, MOT and residents parking permit all run out on the Volvo. Plus there’s a problem with its cooling system, whatever that is. (I’m sure it’s only a teeny weeny problem - if anyone’s looking for a much loved, twenty year-old, V90 estate, that starts without fail every morning, is big enough to easily take a 1970s sideboard and is a dream to drive please contact me.) Again, probably not a brilliant sales pitch but last time I filled up with petrol it cost £100.07. This week I’ve had to drive into the congestion charge 5 times: £45. We have to get something more economical.
Ed and I love those Fiat 500s but we can’t all fit in and Brian doesn’t like them at all. I have to agree with him that they are EVERYWHERE but he’s now making up stuff: he said he saw two fat traffic wardens wedged into one the other day and is trying to tell me that they’re traffic wardens car of choice.
BMW have brought out a car so green that you don’t have to pay road tax or congestion charge and it does 74.3 mpg as opposed to the Volvo's 5.0. They have also dreamt up a finance scheme whereby you pay zero deposit and a very low interest rate. Done.
So, where was I? Insurance.
Here we go. Direct Line - they're always advertising. Let's have a look... haven't seen this one before...
Where the hell is this place?? it's bonkers...

OH! I forgot! That was when they turned the basement into a wedding dress shop. Sorry boutique.

Probably best to go onto one of those price comparison websites for car insurance.
Right. Name. Address. Age. Model of car. How many years have I had my licence? Hmmm, not sure. Oh, that's lucky, you don't have to be specific once it gets over thirty years. Any convictions, no. Ten years no claims bonus. Continue for quote...
£500. Not bad and that's for me and Brian. So £250 each.
"Mum, mum. This new car right. Is it going to be a manual?"
"Yes, shame they don't do the eco version in an automatic."
"Great, check out how much it'll be to insure me will you."
"It'll be loads."
"Check anyway. I think like maybe a couple of grand. That's my guess."
"Hang on then. Add driver. Age. Sex. How long have you held UK driving licence. There isn't a box for less than a week. I'll click less than three months. Here we go, date you passed driving test. Ready..."

Thursday, 1 March 2012

We're Off To The Mall

ALL three of the portraits that Brian submitted to the Mall Galleries for the Royal Society of Portrait Painters Annual Exhibition have been pre-selected!!! 

Calm down Capri!!! They still might not get in. We have to deliver them next week and then the judges make their final decision.