Thursday, 31 May 2012

The Month of May

Began with meeting Lula from The Golden Afternoon Tea Company to discuss my birthday cakes.
Discovering a new restaurant for midweek suppers with friends. The Riding House Cafe. I am still dreaming about the chocolate sundae with honeycomb and macarons.
A surprise Thursday tweet from Gudrun Sjorden saying I was the lucky winner of their retweet to win a scarf. Home on Friday to discover it on our doorstep. A bright and lovely addition to my wardrobe. Thank you.
A lovely Saturday with Twin. Exploring the V&A British Design 1948-2012 exhibition. I'm looking forward to going again with Warmth later on in the summer.
A thorough thorough spring clean of our house. How does it get so dirty?
Off to my hairdresser's pop up shop a new brooch and some cocktail glasses then meeting Warmth for Bank Holiday Sunday drinks at The Railway, our new favourite pub.
A day trip to Brighton. A delightful read of Jane Eyre, mooching in the different jewellery shops and then the most delicious lunch in Terre a Terre.
Enjoying sunshine, venturing out without socks or tights and wearing bright varnish on my toes at last.
A girls' night out on Saturday night to Cocochan.
A glorious Sunday and finally buying the Whistles summer dress.
Meeting mother and pops for a wet and cold Tuesday evening supper at Waterloo Bar and Kitchen then a Thursday supper out with dear friends at Sofra.
A Saturday mooch in Exmouth market - continuing, and ending the birthday jewellery searching. Then to Mama and Papa Warmth for supper.
The family weekend continued with my cousin and her gorgeous family coming for lunch.
The weather turned to glorious, wonderful sunshine. The garden looks amazing. The foxgloves are peeping, the roses budding and the rhododendron resplendent in it's purple glory.
A beautiful sunny Saturday. Meeting dear friend to go to the Christian Louboutin Exhibition at the Design Museum. Then a first time explore of Maltby Street Market. Glorious on a sunny lunchtime. We ate brunch at Bea's Diner and took home the much read about St. John Bakery's custard donuts. Home to rest before going out to friend's annual Eurovision Party.
A sunny Sunday cleaning, gardening and getting ready for our holiday.
Nails painted in Essie Clam Bake means I keep wanting to sing "We had a real good clam bake, we're mighty glad you came" from Carousel all the time.
And today a visit to Mudchute Farm with 120 three to five year olds and the anticipation of our holiday.

Baking my first attempt at Millionaire's Shortbread - I shall make it again. A favourite Hummingbird Bakery Summer Fruit Cheesecake. And a disaster. I attempted to make up my own recipe using stewed rhubarb and left over condensed milk for a loaf cake. It was all a bit dense, soggy and not to be repeated. Nigella's Cappucino Cupcakes for Eurovision.
Reading The wartime stories of Mollie Panter-Downes, the perfect bedtime reading. Two short stories before I close my eyes. Getting started early for the Victorian Reading challenge with a third re read of Jane Eyre.

Monday, 28 May 2012

The Uncommon Reader

We're all a little Jubilee fever over here, whether you like it or loathe it. I thought a passage from Alan Bennett's The Uncommon Reader would be appropriate.

"What she was finding also was how one book led to another, doors kept opening wherever she turned and the days weren't long enough for the reading she wanted to do." Alan Bennett The Uncommon Reader

I don't think the Queen would read here - but this is where I would like to be reading today.

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Mischief going on

An unusual peony quote, but one nonetheless and straight from the mouth of the formidable Aunt March.

"But what is father's friend saying, to make you look like a peony? There's mischief going on, and I insist upon knowing what it is!" Louisa May Alcott Little Women

This has made me think. If I was to look like a flower which would I choose? Although I love roses I wouldn't want the thorns so maybe a peony. Some days I can be all neat and tidy and then gradually more and more relaxed changing in shape. I could also be a variety of shades of pink and coral. What flower would you choose?

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Pastry was made with your hands

There are lots of times in our house when I think of the women before who lived here. Often when reading books I wonder about who lived here when the character I'm reading was alive. There are a few times when I feel more connected to these women of yesterday, one when I'm scrubbing the tiles on our kitchen floor and another when I'm making pastry, by hand. These seem to be tasks that haven't changed through the ages.

'...she knew where the jam was kept and how to tie it down. She knew that bread was kept in the earthenware pan, smelling rather like a flower-pot, in the larder, cake in a tin in the cupboard. She knew that salt and eggs both made silver go a queer colour, that pastry was made with your hands and cake with a wooden spoon. She liked the hot smell of the oven, part grease, part warm metal, when the door was opened to put the pastry in. She loved the smell of rising bread, and of bread hot out of the oven, the queer, ether smell of steaming potatoes and the flat wash day smell of boiled pudding.' Elizabeth Cambridge Hostages of Fortune

Whom do you imagine having lived in your home before?

Friday, 18 May 2012

A haze of loveliness

To counteract our thoughts of dowdiness some beauty.

'But she could never escape from her beauty; it clung to her like a mist, like a skin, so that she seemed to move in a haze of loveliness. Everything she touched, every word she used took on this quality of grace; her very gloves and handkerchiefs were romantic.' Antonia White Frost in May

Wishing you all a haze of loveliness weekend.

Wednesday, 16 May 2012


The cold and wet weather was really making me feel dowdy. Fed up with my winter clothes, itching to wear warmer weather clothes but knowing I'd have been cold.

''Miss Kinsman was dowdy, another of the words that couldn't be translated in to Russian, because there was no way of suggesting a dismal unfashionableness which was not intentional, not slovenly, not disreputable, but simply Miss Kinsman's way of looking herself .'Penelope Fitzgerald the begining of spring

Roll on summer and summer clothes... But I know come September I'll be looking forward to snuggling in autumnal layers.

Monday, 14 May 2012

Shone with gold and white

Having spent a lovely few hours in the garden this weekend. 
This passage is perfect for Warmth and I.

'In May the fruit trees and the crocuses and the daffodils all flowered together. The garden shone with gold and white. Little debased violets bloomed in the roots of the box borders and around the trunks of the pear trees. The old gnarled trees themselves were crowded with masses of white flowers with pink stamens. Blood-red spears of peonies broke the soil. The beds were full of plants that Catherine and William could not recognise. The weeds came up too.' 
Elizabeth Cambridge Hostages to Fortune

I think someone should invent a flower equivalent of Shazam where you take a photograph of an unfamiliar flower and it tells you all about it. I'm currently trying to work out whether certain somethings are flower or weed in our garden. As there are two of these flower/weeds in the garden I've kept one and dug another up. 

Friday, 11 May 2012

One can imagine

We recently visited the Royal Academy. I'd saved this quote for such a time.

'It's so important,' the new Isabel had explained, 'that they should like the right things from the very beginning. It saves so much time later on. Really, if the poor pets have to spend their infant years staring at these horrors, one can imagine them growing up and asking to be taken to the Royal Academy.' Katherine Mansfield Marriage a la Mode in Something childish but very natural

I'm intrigued as to what they saw in their infant years to want to visit the Royal Academy and 
why Isabel dislikes it so much.

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

my own, my beautiful, my blossoming

There are a few precious puffs of blossoms left on the trees and so one last blossom quote

now all the fingers of this tree (darling) have
hands, and all the hands have people; and
more each particular person is (my love)
alive than every world can understand

and now you are and i am now and we're
a mystery which will never happen again,
a miracle which has never happened before -
and shining this our now must come to then

our then shall be some darkness during which
fingers are without hands; and i have no 
you;and all the trees are (any more than each
leafless) its silent in forevering snow

-but never fear (my own, my beautiful
my blossoming)for also then's until
e.e. cummings
Goodbye blossom - hello peonies

Monday, 7 May 2012

Castles in the air part 2

Thank you for your thoughts on castles in the air - wonderful daydreams. In the final pages of Good Wives the theme of the sisters' castles in the air concludes.

"And yet your life is different from the one you pictured so long ago. Do you remember our castles in the air?" asked Amy
"Yes, I remember; but the life I wanted then seems selfish, lonely and cold to me now. I haven't given up the hope that I may write a good book yet, but I can wait, and I'm sure it will be all the better for such experiences... said Jo
"My castle was the realized of all. I asked for splendid things, to be sure, but in my heart I knew I should be satisfied, if I had a little home, and John, and some dear children like these." said Meg.

"My castle is very different to from what I planned, but I would not alter it, though, like Jo, I don't relinquish all my artistic hopes, or confine myself to helping others fulfil their dreams of beauty.

Perhaps our real life is better than our castles in the air.

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Castles in the air part 1

Castles in the air

When you read these words what do they mean to you?
I have now read two books this year with references to 'castles in the air'. Half way through writing this post I saw a sign 'Look up to see the castle in the air'. I don't think I'd heard it before, and feel I've slightly missed out. Do you know where it originally comes from? Do you know of any other books that refer to this phrase? Am I being particularly dense and ill read/unknowlegeable in not knowing it? Was it a phrase of a particular era?

In My Brilliant Career written by a very young Australian and published in 1901.
'With aunt Helen, however, I was content anywhere, and build a castle in the air, wherein one day she and I were always to live together - for ever!' Miles Franklin My Brilliant Career

In Little Women (published 1868) there's a whole chapter titled 'Castles in the air'
"Wouldn't it be fun if all the castles in the air which we make could come true, and we could live in them?" Said Jo

Meg "I should like a lovely house, full of all sorts of luxurious things; nice food, pretty clothes, handsome furniture, pleasant people, and heaps of money, I am to be mistress of it, and manage it as I like, with plenty of servants, so I never need work a bit. How I should enjoy it! For I wouldn't be idle, but do good, and make every one love me dearly."
Jo "I'd have a stable full of Arabian steeds, rooms piled with books, and I'd write out of a magic inkstand, so that my works should be as famous.... I want to do something splendid before I go into my castle, - something heroic or wonderful, - that won't be forgotten after I'm dead. I don't know what, but I'm on the watch for it, and mean to astonish you all, some day. I think I shall write books, and get rich and famous; that would suit me, so that is my favourite dream."
Beth "Mine is to stay at home safe with father and mother, and help take care of the family."

Amy "I have lots of wishes; but the pet one is to be an artist, and go to Rome, and do fine pictures, and be the best artist in the whole world,"


Can you answer my questions?
What would your castle in the air be?

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

The glory of May

'Slowly, laboriously, the years swung through the cycle of the seasons, crawling up to April, tumbling over into the glory of May, waning, falling away like a dead leaf, and leaving behind them as little impression as is made by a leaf's fall. Catherine wondered that so much trouble should have so little result.
The same tomorrow, and the day after that, the same next spring, next autumn, next year, the year after next.' Elizabeth Cambridge Hostages to Fortune
glorious outside drinks

After our wet April here's hoping to a glorious May. 
What do you have planned?