Late winter at Kew

It's a truly miserable day here today; it's raining heavily and very windy, so I reckon it's a good idea to post these pictures from a couple of weeks ago, when we went for our first Kew Gardens visit of the year - and totally lucked out with the weather. I know I say it every time I post pics from there that it's an amazing place, but it's true, it really is. And even though it doesn't feel like it today, warmer and longer days are just around the corner, and I'm seriously looking forward to going back and checking out spring there very soon 💚


Outdoors in the countryside

Got two walks in during our time in the Cotswolds, and here a 46-year old uncle and a 15-year old nephew are racing to the top of a hill as a gentle warm-up. I'm not sure who won, but it was very close...

We always always go for the same walk, which follows a disused railway track, hence the trees growing apart like this.

I love how this guy will always have a go, even though we're turning older and creakier.

It doesn't look it here, but this part is really steep, and there's no graceful way to get down it. This is when good sticks come in handy.

I'd love to print this huuuuuuge. A bit bleak maybe, but so pretty in real life.

My favourite part of this walk are these tall pine trees, where it's dead quiet, apart from the breeze in the treetops, and the sound of us taking pictures, haha.

On our way back the sun came out, and the light was all 😍

On our second day the sun came out, so we brought a frisbee, like you do.

These guys came right up to us and let us stroke them - I have never stroked a cow before! Usually they're so timid, but they stayed close to us for ages. It wasn't until when we're walking away, and they started mooing at the sound of a jeep driving nearer, that we realised that they had mistaken us for their farmers, and that it in fact was their feeding time. Figures.

My little man, even littler. We're all in agreement that we need to go back when it's warmer, and explore more of what's around locally, like big gardens and stately homes and random little museums - and find new walks. We'll be back.


Indoors in the countryside

At half-term a couple of weeks ago, we headed out to the Cotswolds again for a couple of nights away. We went with our sister-in-law and Oomoo's cousins, and here's O waiting for them to arrive.

Oomoo called us outside later in the day to watch these starlings fly around in formation, and even if it wasn't in the usual quantities of a murmuration, it was still really impressive.

One of Oomoo's cousins balancing on an armchair, while we played an evening round of Balderdash. 

The morning view from the kitchen. So pretty.

Breakfast time.

One of my father-in-law's linocuts in the bathroom. We're lucky to have quite a few of his lino and woodcut prints in our place too.

Another round of Balderdash - which is such a fun game. Have you tried it?

On another note I'm relieved the warm weather we had last week has gone. It was really nice to feel the warmth and be outside in the sunshine, but +21c in February is not normal and frankly scary!


Status update

We've been having amazing weather for about a week now (it was +20c here yesterday!), and until we revert to overcast skies and chillier temps, which is normal February weather,  I shall be making the most of it. I'll be back shortly!



Celebrating a 3-year old in the best possible way. Have a good weekend yo.


A week ago

After taking these pictures I realised that maybe I needed to declutter a bit (no shit). I read Marie Kondo's book a few years ago, and started chucking out clothes and books that didn't "spark joy", but as she wrote that the whole process of decluttering would take SIX months, I went "Cool, no rush then!". And now it's three years later. I'd love to do the whole house, but I live with two other people, so if they don't do it, it's not really going to work. But I shouldn't let that stop me getting rid of my stuff, right? A friend of mine who followed through on the KonMari Method says that, apart from being clutter free, she now knows where every single thing is in her flat. I'd love that! Maybe I can convince the guys to do it with me... I showed Mr Famapa a bit of her Netflix show, but he just went "Meh". Wish me luck.

Does Marie Kondo's method really work? - an article 


Bathtub Buddy

This is where I found Buddy when I came into the bathroom to brush my teeth the other night. Perfectly normal place to hang out, right? Yep.... perfectly normal.


Three from home

Mr Famapa on the phone.

A morning sky. I still haven't seen a proper sunrise - ever.  I need to fix that. It'd be silly to leave this earth without ever having seen one.

Afternoon sun on our bedroom wall. In hindsight maybe putting all those prints on a sunny wall wasn't so smart.


At the Royal Academy

Last week I went to the Royal Academy to see the Gustav Klimt/Egon Schiele exhibition before it ended. I've never really been into Schiele, but seeing his drawings, and especially next to Klimt's, was quite an experience. So much soul in his lines. What I used to find ugly about his style is exactly what I find amazing now, and his use of colour was brilliant. I really want to see his actual paintings now, as well as Klimt's. Maybe I need to keep a trip to Vienna in mind... I didn't take many pics in the exhibition as I was too busy looking at it. The third picture is from the Bob and Roberta Smith exhibit which was in one of the rooms in the new wing of the Academy. I'm glad I stayed and looked at it properly as it was really interesting (the line about which pens to draw with made me laugh). And the last pic is of Eros, a small bronze model of the same statue that's in Piccadilly Circus. Whoever made it smashed it to pieces, but it has been so carefully restored you'd never know it was ever broken. Magique.


Four from a Thursday

The 'Chips With Everything' title stopped me in my tracks. We were in a hurry though, but I should have a look round the vintage books shops on Charing Cross Road. 26 years in London, and I have never entered any of them. How very silly.

A winter blossoming tree. Even if it still feels far away, it's not too long now until spring is here.
Ooooooh yeeeeaaaaah!

Found myself humming 'When I'm 64' when I took this. I wonder why...

The colour of these roses! Or were they carnations? Heart eyes anyways.


My 2018 in books

'Theft by Finding' - David Sedaris
'An Autobiography' - Agatha Christie
'Eleanor Olifant is Completely Fine' - Gail Honeyman
'The Buried Giant' - Kazuo Ishiguro
'Three Daughters of Eve' - Elif Shahak
'Conversations with Friends' - Sally Rooney
'After the Party' - Cressida Connolly
'Masterpiece' - Emile Zola
'The Haunting of Hill House' - Shirley Jackson
'The End We Start From' - Megan Hunter
'I Hate the Internet' - Jarett Kobek
'The Tipping Point' - Malcom Gladwell
'Me Talk Pretty One Day' - David Sedaris
'De Oroliga' - Linn Ullman (Swedish)
'Egenmäktigt Förfarande - en roman om kärlek' - Lena Andersson (Swedish)

Not pictured:
'Educated' - Tara Westover
'South and West' - Joan Didion

Best read: 'Conversations with Friends' - Sally Rooney
This book kind of blew my mind. Boy oh boy can that Sally Rooney write - and then some! It's always a good sign when a book is so gripping that when you look up, you're surprised to find yourself not in it - if you know what I mean. There was one point when I paused while reading this on a train, and got a jump, as I had totally forgotten where I was IRL! I seriously recommend it if you haven't read it yet. Can't wait to read 'Normal People' once it's out in paperback.

Worst read: 'Eleanor Oilifant is Completely Fine' - Gail Honeyman
I HATED this book. I would never have sought it out myself, but a woman working in my local book shop recommended it to me, and I thought that I if I liked it, I could trust her recommendations in the future. Well, I tried my hardest and finished it, but I knew quite quickly that we didn't have the same taste in books, but there was only way of finding that out. I'm a bit of a fusspot when it comes to books, and generally don't like best sellers, so with this book being a HUGE hit last year it shouldn't have come as a surprise that I didn't like it. It was the complete opposite of Sally Rooney's writing; it read like it was written as a result of someone taking a creative writing course, and following a  formula of how to write a certain kind of book. Just not my cup of tea at all, I'm afraid.

I've been mostly reading non fiction for the past couple of years, so it felt quite refreshing to return to fiction. I'm also so happy to be reading physical books again, even though I've now got huge piles next to the bed. Reading on a Kindle was fun in the beginning, but you just can't beat browsing in book shops, as well as the tactile experience of holding a proper book in your hands. If it ain't broke and all that...

Normally I'd ask what your likes and dislikes were last year, but I get that no one can be arsed to comment these days, so I won't (no offence taken - I know you guys are still reading)! 😚

Update: oops, turns out something wasn't right in the comments settings in Blogger, and I've not seen any comments since May last year! I'm so sorry to those who have taken the time to comment, and then not gotten a reply from me. Hopefully it should work from now on!


One pic an hour on the hour 24/01/19

07.00 Picking my camera up in the study, where I was charging the battery overnight.

08.00 Oomoo reading his Swedish homework aloud at breakfast. He goooood!

09.00 Winding my watch up whilst listening to Dutch radio on my phone. As you can see I hadn't wound it up the day before... 

10.00 On the tube on the way in to town, hiding my camera in my book. So hard to brazenly take pictures of strangers in such close proximity. Best to do it on the sly.

11.00 Looking at fabrics at The Cloth House for an interiors project I'm currently working on. These Japanese indigo fabrics are well tasty.

12.00 At Fabrique, with my friend D, eating my first semla of the year. I'd already eaten it by the time I took this.¯\_(ツ)_/¯

13.00 Lunch at Whole Foods; brown rice with mushrooms in coconut milk, tofu, steamed veg and chilli - countering the semla I ate an hour before 😉 Also, being a grown up means you can eat dessert before lunch.

14.00 At Leighton House Museum, sneaking a blurry pic as no photography was allowed. Such a beautiful beautiful house.

15.00 In Gail's, on Kensington High St, warming up with chai latte and a drop scone. Too cold to spend any time outside on this particular day.

16.00 Walking round Japan House, looking at beautiful, crazy expensive things - and buying a £7.50 soap.

17.00 Arriving at the bottom of the stairs at my local overground station and seeing a random potted eucalyptus tree. It looks like it's doing rather well there!

18.00 Flicking through the latest issue of Ideat that arrived in the mail whilst I was out. My idea of a treat.

19.00 Just about to start researching more fabric options for the house I'm working on. Because you can never do too much research.

20.00 Oomoo on the loo - sorry son! Talk about not respecting someone's privacy.

21.00 A very dark and orange Buddy hanging out on the living room floor.

22.00 Brushing my teeth - time for bed yo!

It's been years since I've done one of these challenges. In the past I've used a compact camera, and very quickly on Thursday I realised that I'd made a mistake using my DSLR. Especially as I shoot manually, so it was really easy to take blurry and underexposed pictures. But eff it. Makes a nice change from taking pictures in a considered way, and more true as a result. I think I'll try and do one of these every now and again (maybe once per season?), just for a laugh.

In other news; I read this article (via A Cup of Jo) on the weekend, and it describes exactly where I'm at, and there's a name for it now. Turns out I've become a digital minimalist, and it feels awesome. Read it if you like, and see what you think.