Thursday 16 May 2013

Tiger Tiger burning bright

When I left Hong Kong , people mused on how I would get my foraging fix. In most part charity shops, and Liberty's have helped fill the gap. There was one thing missing though. The $10 shops better known as Jusqo. Well the search is over. I had heard of Tiger a group of shops which I desperately wanted a chance to rummage in. However the closest one was up in North Finchley and I just never got there. Lucky me when one opened up on the Finchley road last Saturday.

Truly I am blessed.

What can you say? Milk frother shaped like a gun? Brown labels? Coloured string?Hello, you are speaking my language. I left the shop having spent £8. What on? well I couldn't leave without the 4 small galvanised buckets or without the car plaster ( you stick it over those small scraps or in my case large ones I may need more than one plaster!) waxed stripey straws and the piece de resistance fake dog poo for number 1 son. Genius!
p.s. still not brave enough to use my car plaster.

p.p.s. This is for you Sheila !

Wednesday 15 May 2013


I guess I will start with the play and our long dog walks in lovely woods and fields .
 So after a very rocky start to spring it finally sprung, and we have bluebells and dappled sunlight and hawthorn blossoms a la David Hockney. All very lovely and necessary as we are plunged back into Winter again.
So I haven't just been sitting on my proverbial arse. I have been cooking Pigeon Pie to start with and then a commission to make a forest cake. This is not the finished article which is now long gone, eaten up and devoured like all good cakes should be. The finished cake had mushrooms and fungi snails and spiders and a lot more leaves.

 I found my Pigeon pie recipe on Manger a blog which if you haven't come across before is worth a look at. I predict big things for Mimi Thorisson.

Not a lot of art though now the kids are back at school and the bathroom( deep sigh) is nearly finished I will be out and about again.

Friday 5 April 2013

Jerwood and chips

It's a very long Easter Holiday. My boys are off til the 23rd of April so nearly a month. This provides some difficulties and also allows a certain freedom in deciding what to do. So while we decided what to do off we went to Hastings.

Now being by the sea when its sleeting snowing and generally grey is no better than London but it is different so I count it as a Holiday. In that spirit we ate fish and chips lay around in our PJ's and didn't go on the Internet. That was not due to any realisation that I am addicted more to do with the fact that I couldn't make the damn thing work(no IT wizz husband). I now realise that I am addicted to the Internet. I did more in one day without the web than I have done for yonks. I framed pictures potted plants rearranged and decluttered. Not sure what I will do with this new information.

Anyhow off we went to the Jerwood and a small exhibition but lovely non the less. The boys followed a trail and I looked longingly at the Roger Hilton, Alfred Wallace and Edward Bawden. I nearly bought a Roger Hilton at college, boy do I wish I had now.

The Knock Knock exhibition is made up of seven artists with some affinity to Hastings. It's a mixed bag but I often prefer these pick and mix galleries.

Hastings is always fun, but now we are back in London and we have decided what to do we are off to Istanbul in a few days to adventures new. Without the Internet perhaps?

Sunday 24 March 2013

George Bellows

So it's cold and wet and a bit miserable frankly. Not much to tempt a body outside. I have to say that I haven't been greatly enthused with the big exhibitions on offer. I have no real love for Manet, though I did go to his show( more on that later), but George Bellows caught my eye. The poster for his show is a raw and mesmerising picture of two boxers hard at it. 

It's a wonderful exhibition, George Bellows was an American Realist painter from the first quarter of the 20th century. He was born in New York to two relatively old parents. He died young not reaching the age his mother was when she gave birth to him. 

This is my favourite piece.

Pennsylvania Station Excavation 1908-1909

Sadly this picture does not do justice to the colours of the sky which are a shocking azure smudged with gold and reddy browns. Love this picture. That huge monolith in the background is so ominous.

That sky is one I may just use. In fact I enjoyed nearly all his colour palate. Very inspirational. I did prefer his earlier works to his later. His rendition of people reminded me a lot of Lucian Freud.

Two words. Go see.

Friday 22 March 2013

Country Living Spring Fair

Apparently it's spring though I'm not convinced as it seemed to be snowing as I slogged over Primrose Hill this morning. Still the lovely people at Country Living are having a spring fair which I had a look at yesterday.

These lovely pictures are not mine and I must credit the Laura Ashley Blog from whence they came. Mental note take your own pictures.

Now the fair was very much what you would expect. Lots of pretty Easter baskets, lots of tea towels and lashings of artfully aged household and garden accessories from yesteryear. I'm sorry I don't mean to sound snidey and I love a pot holder as much as the next person but really it was all a bit too lovely for me.

Having said that and with my darling Husband ensconced in The Business Design Centre I may well set up a stall next Easter if not before!

I have a few more exhibitions to show and tell. But I shall stretch those out so as to make it look like I have a very culturally full existence.

Thursday 28 February 2013


My eldest boy is 13 today! I'm not sure I want to reveal how old that makes me feel but it is strange to officially have a teenager in the house( we have been going through Pre-teen for some time).

I am so very proud of him. He is a lovely boy. So excited by the world and so interested in people. He has just got into the school we wanted and he has shown so much determination to learn French in one year and to take on a whole new school system without complaint. Congratulations sweety , and apple sauce to you.
Smaller boy's homemade present

Thursday 14 February 2013

Three's a trend

Happy Valentines day! Now I don't know why but perusing the internet there seems to be a whole heap of water related videos. So here are three.

This is by Helen Friel. So cool. It took almost a year to make. Really paper art.

And these guys I'm sure you know. Hope your Valentines didn't end up like this!

And here's the last and perhaps the most important. is attempting to raise the profile of water sanitation with the future aim that everyone should have access to clean water. I remember raising money for Blue Peter ( and they still are) when I was 9 for just such a cause and it's depressing that we are still so far from that goal. Mat Damon is not just the front funnyman he is also a founding member.

Sunday 3 February 2013

Happy Birthday to me

I was just walking the dog as you do on your birthday cursing my no good lazy family when I by chance bumped into a Heroine of mine. I would ask that as it is my birthday that you would indulge me and allow me to post this moving speech by a wonderful woman and artist.

Friday 25 January 2013

I'm over here

You can't see me in this shot. I was there. Really!!! I was walking Scruffy and I was on the other side of her. However way in the background you can see our garage. 15 minutes of fame, oh yes I think so.

Boden catalouge shot not that I read it of course!

Thursday 24 January 2013

daily Inspiration

 Lots of people posting daily inspiration posts and as that in itself is an inspiration for me, here's mine. Fantastic and very reasonably priced decor wallpaper.

And my poorer attempt painting onto a wall. Not sure it will survive the night poor thing. Have paint and I'm prepared to use it.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Tomato Soup Gingerbread Cake

I don't know about you but at this time of year so soon after the mammoth feasts of Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year not to talk of Boxing Day or the Epiphany I am heartily sick of cooking. It is at this point to rouse myself from drudgery that I  start restlessly looking for a challenge, a touch of daring do. That's right I start cooking weird food. You know that recipe that lurks in the back of your mind that sounds gross but now it sounds sort of exciting. People meet The Tomato Soup Cake. This little beauty is from my very own A Campbell Cookbook or Cooking with Soup. I found this in a Bookstore in a very small town in the backwaters of upstate New York. Totally wanted to try this.

Tomato Soup Gingerbread Cake

The recipe as it is calls for a gingerbread mix, which sounds interesting but I don't have. It also calls for two packets which sounds excessive and for the purposes of this experiment I have cut all the ingredients measures in half. For two reasons. Firstly what if it tastes gross, and secondly my loaf tin is only a half size and so I always make half cakes. I also haven't added the raisins or the walnuts as my kids would definitely not eat this cake if it had those in. Not using two cans of soup and I cut it down to two eggs.So first the actual recipe. I would comment that old fashioned gingerbread cake probably didn't have tomato soup in it but what the hey.

So not having the said gingerbread mix I adapted a Nigellla recipe( of course who else ?)

Gingerbread mix

75g unsalted butter
65g dark muscovado sugar
50g golden syrup
50g of the syrup you get in the stem ginger in syrup
1 lump of stem ginger finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda dissolved in warm water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon of marmalade as it was the end of a jar that needed using. I don't believe that this is vital .

Nigella calls for the butter sugar, syrup, ginger, marmalade and spices to be melted on a low heat. I then added a 1/2 tin of Campbell's  tomato soup.At this point hold your gag reflexes. I have to say I did not fancy tasting this. But in the name of science I did. It tastes OK. A good sign for the future

To this I added 170 g of plain flour and the two eggs. Use you mixer to give it a good thrashing and pour into a loaf tin. And wait optimistically perhaps for the result and a chance to say to your kids guess what this is?

I actually made Pig's Cheeks Tacos yesterday so my kids are very blase` at this time of year.

" Tomato Soup cake! Really, but we ate Pigs Cheek Tacos yesterday big deal" ( Not a real conversation but it could have been!)

I cooked the cake in a hot preheated oven at 180 C for about 45 minutes. Nigella says it's best a bit soggy as it will carry on cooking. While it's cooking there is this weird tomato soup /cake smell. Not sure if that is nasty or nice.

And here it is! Straight out of the oven. Its a lovely texture and good to cut it has a warm ginger taste and isn't too sweet. Great result actually!

 Let me know if you have a go and how it turns out. Actually if you have any weird food to try I would love to hear about that and give it a go myself.