Tagged: London

Hats Off!


Hats are having a moment..the humble bobble is back big time..so maybe there’s hope for the rest hitting the mainstream again.


It would be fun.  Hats may not speak, but they say volumes about an outfit.

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All of these tempting delights are by the talented Karen Henriksen, a milliner working in London who’s perfected the tightrope between modern and timeless.

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(All pictures Karen Henriksen and Pinterest)

Oh to have a few precious hours trying them all on and pouting in a fetchingly foxed antique mirror.  Such stuff dreams are made of.


Laters, Kate x

Jason deCaires Taylor..


A true global and renaissance man, Jason deCaires Taylor was born in 1974 to an English father and Guyanese mother.  He then grew up with one foot in Europe, the other in Asia with regular diving trips in Malaysia.  In 1998 he graduated from the London Institute of Arts with a BA honours in Sculpture….before becoming a fully qualified diving instructor, underwater naturalist (Note to friends: That’s not a naked diver) and award winning photographer.


Then in 2006, off the West Coast of Grenada, he created his first underwater sculpture park and a life blood of creativity was unleashed.


His work explores the slipstream where Art and Nature collide, the grey area between man’s exploitation of nature for industrial means and the acknowledgement of the fundamental power of the earth: As time begins to colonize the forms it creates it’s own architecture, dramatic pulse and language.

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This pulls on something deep within – the mystery of Atlantis, Pompeii, fairytales..even gothic Victoriana.  They’re a dark presence, yet awe-inspiring at the same time.

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Under the water is a world Jason knows, and through his art he aims to highlight the living beauty of the under world to encourage environmental awareness and instigate social change.

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For anyone who’s heart sank at the news this week that 90% of sea birds have plastic in their stomachs, he’s a crusader you want to stand up and applaud.

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His work isn’t limited to the turquoise depths of Cancun and the Bahamas..this mystical beauty can be found in Canterbury…


And now, from Sept 1 – 30, on the Thames foreshore at Vauxhall, London, adjacent to Camelford House and 87-90 Albert Embankment, is a new example of his work: The Rising Tide, commissioned by Totally Thames.

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It highlights the role the river has played in the shaping of London’s history.  And how easy it’s been for us to abuse it.


(All pictures from here and Jason deCaires Taylor’s Facebook page)

These could be horses, but they’re oil pumps..animals of industry, draining the land.

A theme as strong and compelling as any story ever told.

Laters, Kate x

Morden Hall Park x



My book club book (due for discussion next week) is H for Hawk, a memoir by author Helen Macdonald about raising a Goshawk in a time of grief.  So it was pretty thrilling to go to the Morden Hall Park Country Fayre on Bank Holiday monday to see live birds in action.


Morden Hall Park is a National Trust property right at the end of the Northern line where the river Wandle, the river used by William Morris to power his factory, flows powerfully through.


It’s a place that manages to marry urban and country in seamless unity..and this Fayre was no exception.


A barn owl flying over one of Charlie’s class mates.

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Full of people but still far from the Madding crowds, there were salt of the earth stalls like this man, quietly making the most beautiful and realistic flys for fishing.

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In the grounds blacksmiths and basket weavers were practising their fine arts.


There was even time to catch bubbles..

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With miniature steam trains, ferret racing, dog shows, lots of animals as well as traditional stalls..and not so traditional ones…it was a genuinely great and unexpected day out.


But that’s the nature of Morden Hall Park – they really like to embrace the wild.  In July they’re holding a Big Camp weekend with the opportunity to set up an overnight camp in the same field that Lord Nelson tethered his horse whilst he fished in the River Wandle and two days of ranger led activities with dinner cooked on a camp fire and story telling.  Just gutted we’ll be away…next time Rodders, next time..

Laters, Kate x

If the Shoe Fits..


There was no transitioning..suddenly London hit spring and we’ve been bathed in sunshine all week.  It’s the sort of weather where you want to loll on fresh, green grass and let your voice get weary from talking, not smoking.  In honour, I wore my first official pair of summer shoes yesterday – my two year old pair of Swedish Hasbeens, and admittedly the walking was spliced between cycling and chasing the kids on the common..but there were no blisters at the end of the day. Result.  But these beauties do need getting used to with their distinctive dry-bone no-give wooden soles – like the best things in life, they need time to wear-in.  In Sweden, long before it became a trend, they’d do this by wearing them with socks – it allows the leather to give a little extra whilst avoiding the rubbing…and you can’t find a nicer pair of socks than these at Free People.


It takes it away from the Japanese school girl look and gives it back to nature and folk dancing..a technical and aesthetic tour de force.


Laters, Kate x



Against Captain’s Orders..


On Sunday we took a family trip down the Thames to Greenwich.  Growing up in London the kids have no idea how lucky they are..we live 30 minutes from Waterloo, which is a short stroll from the London Eye, which sits over the pier where you catch the boat..


Just opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben..


Charlie opted for a outfit of utility chic.  Honestly, he looked like a road sweeper.


The boat journey down the Thames is magical, from the drama of Shakespeare’s Globe and Tower Bridge, to the violence of the Tower of London and the old warship, HMS Belfast.  It’s a spectacle.  Unfortunately for us, it was all seen behind rain splattered glass as the heavens well and truly opened.  Although by the time we reached our destination, the World Heritage Site of Greenwich, the sun popped out, if only for a minute..


Greenwich is a remarkable place to visit: There’s the Royal Observatory and the Meridian Line to hop over, The Cutty Sark, the Old Royal Naval College all seeped in romantic, baroque architecture..but we were there for a reason..


To see Against Captain’s orders at the National Maritime Museum, a groundbreaking theatre experience bridging the gap between museums and drama, thought up by the one and only Punchdrunk Enrichment, stars of immersive, interactive theatre.


The golden laws of interactive theatre mean I’m sworn to secrecy and therefore can’t tell you very much…except this is how it starts – and it’s not a stage set – you sit in the boats wearing life-jackets…before you are led away into a fantasy world where you are very much part of the fast-paced action in a behind the scenes experience in the deep, dark bowels of the museum. It’s brilliant, innovative..and an experience I know the kids will remember for a long, long time.  It’s designed for children aged 6-12..and you don’t want to take any younger – it’s pretty heart racing…you’ll find little hands reaching out to find yours! Performances continue till the 31 of August..but take note: they do an adults version as well in an after-hours exclusive…if you can..GO!


Then it was off for lunch and wandering through Greenwich Market..yet another reason to visit…

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Passing the Cutty Sark..

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Before stopping at the nostalgic Hardy’s sweet shop to spend pocket money.  I made Charlie buy popping candy..


Neither he nor Bella had tried it before..

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I think it was a success..


Then it was time to run for the return boat home, before the storm clouds caught us..

Laters, Kate x

Eclipse x

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As I’m writing this we’re close to a partial eclipse in London – unfortunately the weather is not co-operating, the clouds are thick and low.  With minutes to go it’s definitely darker…the sort of dark that precedes a cracking thunder storm..or the moon cutting out the sun..and I can just imagine these boho babes from Etro SS15 somewhere green and verdant, dancing barefoot in the grass..because the green is always brighter on the other side..


Laters, Kate x

China Town x


On Saturday I took the kids plus Bella’s bestie to explore the delights of China Town in London.  Charlie, freed from the constraints of school uniform opted for a cunning combination of shorts over jogging trousers..


Accessorised with a pink umbrella..


That was until he spotted this tiger hat..


Not that he didn’t fit in..the place was buzzing..


And tigers were a trend..


It’s not long till Chinese New Year and all the shops were red, vibrant and humming with life and such a variety of whacky and wonderful stuff that blew the kids minds.  They spent their pocket money on dresses, silk pajamas, paper dragons, fortune cookies and fans..


Checking out the weird and grotesque in the restaurant windows.


Charlie, being Charlie..as only Charlie can be..with his fan..

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We looked at the Chinese supermarkets..so worth a wander..

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Before stopping for a conventional drink and a bite to eat.  Hot chocolate with cheese and onion crisps anyone??


Charlie was more interested in doing peacock impressions..


Looking at our purchases to offer an unsuspecting Daddy..frogspawn juice was a bit of a fav..

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And how have we survived this long without a can of Kickapoo?…


The girls came back to change into their dresses and choreograph a fan dance..


Charlie wasn’t going to be outdone..



A slug of kickapoo later..


And it was sword dancing!

Laters, Kate x

Finery London x


There’s a new label on the cyber-street..Finery London, led by Caren Downe who’s high street pedigree and gene pool includes buying director at Top Shop and ASOS.



She left ASOS disillusioned with the emphasis on commerciality rather than creativity…and has returned to fill what she sees as the glaring gap in the market: Women that know their style and want something more considered in the £40 – £250 price bracket, that magical hybrid of excellent design and affordable prices – and she’s certainly talking my language…



It’s a range cleverly jigsawed together – there’s a sense of calm and knowing, rare in the heart of the retail storm, with warm, welcoming air that gently blows you across the threshold..

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The shoes are incredible..

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With a rich current of ideas running under simple shapes, that cunning mixture of cool statements and strong balls.

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Forensically clear with a sense of attentive stillness, but still authentic and heartfelt..I’ll be following this story with interest..


Laters, Kate x


Our Day x


We wore the leather off our soles and the skin off our feet with our trip yesterday..I thought it was such a cunning and devious plan to link the Mexican shop and the Tower of London together – they’re both on the same side of the river after all – but sadly there’s no transport link between them..we ended up pounding the streets of London.  Although, having said that – it’s a good place to pound.  First stop was Milagros in Columbia Road – at the weekend this is a bustling, heaving flower market with much more besides (well worth a visit – there’s a Spanish restaurant at one end that does the best breakfast ever..) but during the week all the old shop fronts literally close their shutters – we were very lucky our destination was one of the few that was open..


We indulged..Frida Kahlo is my favourite..


It’s a fascinating area bridging hip Shoreditch and lively Brick Lane.

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The kids took pictures of each other..


With varying degrees of success…


The Tower was magnificent.  It’s such an iconic part of London with it’s foreboding stance against the march of time, combine that with the pure brilliance of this installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ to commemorate the allied fallen in the First World War and it’s a combination made in heaven.  Tom Piper is the designer, Paul Cummins the ceramicist, both have captured something utterly unique: Is it Art..or is it theatre?


Each handmade ceramic flower represents a fallen soldier.


It’s as if the very stones of the Tower are bleeding.

It was a brilliant decision to allow the planting to happen gradually in waves.  It started in August and by the 11 November, Remembrance Day, 888,246 poppies will proudly stand, filling the moat –  it has made this edifice to death into a living, breathing structure both celebrating and mourning loss.


At 4.55 every day – dusk –  a solitary trumpet plays the Last Post and a roll call of 180 of the dead are read out.


I so wanted to hear the trumpet …but there’s always a limit with children and mine – after a long day and with 25 minutes to wait – had reached theirs..IMG_0352 IMG_0351

We headed home..


But if you think my two are always angels..


Think again…

Laters, Kate x

It’s Not You, It’s Me..


I love a brand that scoffs gently..it also helps if they’re independent, based in London, slightly mad and run by 3 ferocious, tongue-in-cheek, epigrammatic  gals.


Its not me its you was started by Billi, Jems and Kitty in 2012.21e6a1b78be3857d7e9747efeb006da7 34d9545c0aa4d62da403decd5ecab723

Everything they produce is made and printed by hand in East London.



In a world where it’s too easy to be suffocated by a toxic brew of Vacuous style and pumped up plastic their italian leather crafted with care is a pot of gold at the end of a shimmering rainbow…complete with whimsy and fantastical animals..



Visceral, witty and flawlessly presented, they’re a class act.


(I secretly reckon this one reads ‘Kate loves the fearless’..just for me…)


I snort at them..and raise my glass..that’s a few more presents ticked off the December list..

Laters, Kate x