Monday, 31 May 2010

Flowers everywhere

Summers almost upon us and I am so happy to be placing flowers everywhere, some from the super market, some from a friend, some retrieved on a walk and some from my dad's garden. I layered them all up on the table for dinner with friends. Lamb, potato gratin, slow roasted tomato comfit and bitter chocolate cake for dessert. All recipes chosen from Bill Granger's delicious book Feed me now.

A walk today, while the sun was still out, took me past a whole host of new blossoms. Boughs draped in deep pinks, mauves and creamy pale blooms all frothy like just poured champagne. I have been think about flowers so much lately still craving a garden of my own, choosing a list of my favourite varieties to sew once we have an outside space. Top of my list anything pretty that can also be eaten, then lilacs, peonies, and I am feeling a slow rising jealousy at a huge patch of colourful snap dragons in one of my neighbours gardens. I remember how amazed I was as a child when my mum showed me how to pinch the petals and make their little floral mouths open and close.
I will put the envious feelings to a good use and draw up a garden wish list. Hope your long weekend turned out well and I am wondering if you have a favourite flower from your childhood ?

Saturday, 29 May 2010

3 day weekend

So, another three day weekend and it's pouring outside, which in my book is a good thing, cosy indoors with a warm spiced lamb salad and cup of lavender tea. Filing the collection of magazine scraps I have gathered over the last few months.

I am hoping these lovely artists studio pictures by Paul Barbera will inspire me to get in that workroom and make something, his site where they create is a treasure trove of creative environments. Hope they will inspire you too.

All images Paul Barbera.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Marrakech create the look

Hopefully you will all visit Marrakech one day but if not or until you get there, these finds should tide you over and add a little Moroccan colour to a corner of your home. Jewel brights and metallic shimmer. Chalky paints and patterned tiles. Soft leathers and pretty accessories.

I also found a great recipe book to download and and an App for the iphone at So now you can make a round of mint tea or cardamom coffee wherever you are.

Paints and tiles Fired Earth.
Leather Pouffes Graham and Green.
Coloured candle glasses Decorative Country Living.
Brass and glass candlesticks, drawer handles, necklace, sandals and patchwork quilt Anthropologie.
Silver teapot Moroccan Bazaar.
Lanterns Moroccan Decor.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Marrakech, hope I'll be visiting again soon.

Snake charmers, crowded boxes of tiny yellow chicks, brass tray topped tables, a refreshing burst of cool summer rain, shimmering sequinned blankets, sultry heat, barbeque smoke, sweet pastries glistening with honey, iced milk with orange blossom, blue walls and green cacti, crisp white sheets, rustling palms, who knew we would find so much to fall in love with all inside the city of faded red walls.

Every time I want to go back I will unwrap the block of Amber Dean bought me in his favourite of the spice shops and breath in the warm sweet spiced scent, and of course I can't wait to brew up some fresh mint tea in the antique silver tea pot that we picked up.

Thanks for taking the trip with me and if you haven't been already, I hope you all one day get the chance to visit all the wonderful people and colours in the red city.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

Marrakech the colours

Ultramarine Blue, Fuschia pink, lime green, cinnamon, burnt orange, shimmering silver and gold all on a background of faded red.

Marrakech the streets

I reread one of my favourite books whilst away and it lasted from the first day right up until our plane touched down in London. In my mind the perfect memoir for any holiday where local people and the blistering heat take centre stage. Within the pages I found a passage that described the drama unfolding on the narrow city streets of Marrakech perfectly. I am saddened to say I have no pictures of the hundreds of dusty sun tired Donkey's that we saw.

So from the the chapter The world in a wall, from 'My family and other animals' by author Gerald Durrell.

'It was a fascinating area, the cobbled streets crammed with stalls that were piled high with gaily-coloured bales of cloth, mountains of shining sweetmeats, ornaments of beaten silver, fruit, and vegetables. The streets were so narrow that you had to stand back against the wall to allow the donkeys to stagger past with their loads of merchandise. It was a rich colourful part of the town, full of noise and bustle, the screech of bargaining women, the cluck of hens and barking dogs, and the wailing cry of the men carrying great trays of fresh loaves on their heads.'

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Marrakech the flavours

Honey drenched pastries, spiced carrot salad, chilled tomato and coriander soup drizzled with olive oil, sweet buttery onion almond and chicken tagine, baked aubergines, delicately spiced tomato and onion salsa, traditional peasant pancakes for breakfast every morning, ice cold milk with dates and orange blossom, marinated chicken and pork skewers with turmeric couscous and many glasses of super sugary mint tea.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Marrakech the Riad

We stepped from our battered Mercedes cab into a dusty street, solid faded red walls on either side small wooden doorways here and there. From the bustling street you would never know such a tranquil oasis of calm was beyond those sun beaten red walls.
A cool courtyard painted in white with pale marble floor, trickling water feature and a tiny excitable tortoise to greet us, stairs led to our room, decorated with shimmering rugs, colourful soft furnishings, topaz blue velvet, feathers and accessories of tarnished silver, antique painted doors cool tiled floors a roof garden with sun drenched splash pool, and to unwind from our journey to Marrakech a pot of hot sweetened mint tea and honey coated Moroccan pastries on the table of our private terrace.

Monday, 17 May 2010

Eating and drinking

Spending the afternoon eating and drinking some of our favourite things. Authentic lemonade and chinese spiced sunflower seeds.