Monday, 23 September 2013

hush

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So, did you guys already all know about hush? Finally I have discovered where people shop that expensive-looking but slouchy, luxurious but dressed-down look that I can't ever seem to achieve. (See: all Hollywood superstars on their day off.) hush is like a huge, overstuffed chest of cosy cashmere, bedtime cottons, stylish silks, interesting knits and winter brights. They stock both day and nightwear, with a lot of pieces comfortably crossing over. The price range is totally accessible, too. Here are a few of my favourite autumnal reds and winter blues, to keep you warm until spring.

1 –  I would live in this jumper straight through to spring. Berry red cashmere to keep you cheerful over the cold season, but with the reverse-out detail on the sleeve to keep it real on a February day, i.e. grey. Love!

2 – Twenty years post Nirvana, and Cara Delevingne somehow deemed the beanie to be essential winter headwear. Needs must, and it definitely must be cashmere. And shocking scarlet, to ward off the weather nasties.

3 – Cotton red star pyjamas. These are really cute. I wish I'd known about these when I lived in my jim jams for three months after having a baby. (It was winter, OK.)

4 – Love the textured knit of this heart stitch jumper. A great short 'n' swingy length, too.

5 – Egg cosy! Needs no explanation. Essential.

6 – Stripy hand knitted bed socks. Because 83% of us can't knit and you shouldn't rely on your mum to buy your socks for you.

7 – A case of good red wine. For when an egg cosy and cute jim jams just aren't enough. This just sneaked in, sorry.

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Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Autumn wishlist.

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1 – John Lewis digital radio. What is autumn for if not cosying up and listening to the radio? Gilles, Cerys and Jarvis on BBC 6 Music, plus I'm thinking about getting into the Archers. I spied these radios dotted around my friend's house at the weekend.

2 – Tatty Devine avant garde robot bib necklace. I've never been that into Tatty Devine before, but there just seems something so right about having a giant slab of abstract laser cut perspex around one's neck at the moment. I like these giant lobsters, too.

3 – APC Orange Floral Print Dress. The dress equivalent of kicking leaves in the park then repairing red-cheeked to a mahogany panelled pub on a Sunday afternoon to share a bottle of red wine. Long sleeves and tied up tightly at the neck to keep out any draughty autumnal chills.

4 – Blue Jasmine. Woody Allen's latest fall project. (Love how he apparently calls all new films Fall Project number whatever, until he works out their name.) Cate Blanchett as his latest beautiful muse, set in San Francisco – can't wait to see how he frames San Fran. Out in the UK on September 27.

5 – New Look parka. Parkas are always in aren't they? Or am I stuck in the 1990s? (sponsored)

6 – The pumpkin. Baked in a pie, chopped into a risotto, or roasted til gooey with gorgonzola. I've even got some pumpkin jam. Let's go, giant orange globefruit!

7 – Cobra Rock boots. These boots are handmade in Texas, so perfect for the urban prairie that is, er, Leytonstone. Unfortunately the waiting list is 8 months long so maybe for next autumn, yeah?

8 – John Lewis Voyage Garden Bird cylinder shade – pretty birds to remind you of spring. And to remind you to feed the birds. John Lewis have lots of pretty light shades to keep your house aglow as the evenings get shorter. (sponsored)

Monday, 2 September 2013

Summer.

I remember feeling slightly glum at the end of spring – we still had to finalise buying the house and it was all domestic drudgery with no time to think about summer plans. But luckily it all came together and, thanks as well to some EXCELLENT weather, we've ended up having a really nice summer. Yeah!
First stop was a trip to East Sussex. I've never been to a festival in my life, showers and hair drying having previously been a priority for me. But as I've got older – and having a baby is a great leveller – I've felt a bit more able to go hang out in a field. And of course, festivals are basically luxury events now. Anyway, we booked a room at the really lovely Barnfield Farm B & B (okay, we still didn't camp) and went along to the Love Supreme festival near Glynde.

The B & B was gorgeous, really baby-friendly, with a super cosy made-up cot waiting for us after our sunny drive down from London. The converted barn looked onto the rolling South Downs, with a friendly sheepdog for company, so evenings were spent on a blanket enjoying the view, drinking local cider and throwing the ball for the dog while the baby slept upstairs. Heaven!


The festival itself was really nice – a short walk from the B & B through gloriously sunny country lanes. We set up our parasol and sat in one spot all day drinking cider and listening to the music. Chic played, as they did seemingly every other festival this summer – just brilliant party tunes that you know every note of, one after another. (I think it is essential to dance in a field as the sun goes down at least once every summer.)

This is the view from the waltzers at the back whilst Chic played. I had a little detour on the way back from the loo
 

We made the most of being by the coast and went to the beach. This beach was called Cuckmere Haven, in the Seven Sisters country park next to the famous white cliffs, where the River Cuckmere reaches the sea – we sat in the river with Arthur and basked.

 


































We also went to the beach at Seaford, which was crystal clear, deserted, but a bit chilly. Arthur loved the sea, he'd do a little sharp intake of breath at first and look quite serious, but then relax into splashy funtimes. So cute. 


We did a quick two hour pop to Brighton on the way back, the best way to enjoy it in my opinion; it was packed even though it was just a random Monday afternoon. We wandered the North Laines, got some delicious icecream from Gelato Gusto, and drove back to London. I'm not really into Brighton but it is nice to pop to every few years. Ha!




For our proper holiday we went to San Sebastian, in the basque region of Spain. We'd booked flights to Biarritz intending to go to Cap Ferret but had left it last minute and all of the available accomodation was out of our price range. So, with friends in San Sebastian and it having been on our visit list for a while, we changed our plans. We booked an apartment in a modernist block high on Mont Igeldo with gardens and a pool. It was absolutely heavenly. 





The apartment was all windows along the side, with a fir tree almost touching the balcony, looking out over the valley. There were owls twit-twooing, birds of prey shrieking and donkeys honking away. It was so nice we stocked up on cheese, ham, fresh fruit and bread, nutella and pink wine, and hardly left our little spot in the shade of a lilac bush near the pool.

Arthur loved long holiday lunches

OK, we did make it to the nearby town of Getaria for a spot of grilled fish for lunch and a trip to the beach. (It turns out beaches are a bit of a pain in the arse with a baby - sand and pebbles everywhere. The pool was much easier.) I'd intended to go to the Cristobal Balenciaga museum (it is his hometown) but was too much in lazy holiday mode and didn't make it.



We also managed to get up to some London fun. The Canary Wharf jazz festival is essential for me every year. I absolutely love catching the DLR there, it's like the robot space train weaving through the city. It was VERY exciting for a certain 10 month old boy. Having a picnic among the skyscrapers and listening to some live music is awesome too. Troyka were particularly good to zone in and out to. 


We went to a few of our favourite haunts - like a stroll around Blackheath, where we used to live.


Lunch at Banners in Crouch End. I absolutely love it there, it has a really buzzy diner feel and piled high brunch plates of ackee and saltfish with spoon bread. It's another very child friendly place. (Here's Arthur summoning the waitress.)

 

An afternoon wandering around Greenwich, with a trip to favourite pub next to the river, The Trafalgar.


Just a couple of trips to the lido at Parliament Hill - one day I went and it was so crowded with yoots that the police were on duty with a metal detector outside. Bad vibes. So I went to the swimming ponds and got bad-vibed there as well by a witchy old local lady who pushed past Arthur's pram and hissed that children weren't allowed. Unfriendly, London!



So I guess that might be the end of my silvery sandshoes and the jeans I cut off at the beginning of the summer. Although it's September, the sun is still shining, but there's a definite nip in the air. Thank goodness for a warm summer at last; installed in our new house and with an ever more inquisitive little boy to show everything to, it has been a vintage one. I'm a bit scared of the winter now though - being able to stop off in parks to feed and play has been invaluable!