Friday, 30 September 2011

Black Swan

It's the hottest day of the year - 29 degrees - and Madam is insisting on wearing her new Black Swan collar. I suggested that black velvet and lace may not be quite the thing for a trot in the blazing sun but she just gave me a disdainful look and stood stubbornly by the door. Never having mastered 'casual' myself, we looked a bit too matchy matchy over the park this morning; her in evening wear and me in a cocktail dress. 

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Dancing Dogs

Yesterday morning, as it was his birthday and he'd been delaying leaving the house, in the hope that some incredible, suprise gift would materialise, I gave Joe a lift to Highbury and Islington tube. Green Lanes borders one side of the 100 acres of Clissold Park and as we drove along the sun was low behind the trees and shafts of light beamed across the shimmering grass. A heavy mist was suspended over the fields and we could make out the silhouttes of Hank and Dixie the two labradoodles dancing in the white haze. It was breathtakingly beautiful - Joe was even moved to take his ear phones out, nudge me and grunt.

This morning I left Brian to the chores and ran to the park with the camera. I knew I'd probably missed the best of it when I met Lee with Hank and Dixie on their way home. The sun was already warm, the grass was drenched with dew and my converse got soaked as I ran around trying to capture the rapidly evaporating miasma.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Sweet Sixteen

Joe standing by his self-portrait
Joe has just gone up to bed. It's the last time I'll kiss my darling 15 year old goodnight. Tomorrow he'll be 16.
Here is a selection of birthday cards that B created for him over the years.

Monday, 26 September 2011

Dark Weekend at Hackney Chateau

Typical that this weekend, after days of atmospheric gloom, the sun shone brightly both days and we were standing around waiting for nightfall so that we could film this taster for our upcoming Dark Weekend. Brian and our mate Kate are putting on an exhibition of their moody paintings in the house over a weekend in November (yet to be decided). We want it to be an all round sensual experience ;) so lots of dripping candelabras, spooky music, flickering chandeliers, real fires, evocative smells and a shed load of booze. Let me know if you want an invite.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Abney Park Cemetery

We had a nice wander through the cemetery this morning....
Brian pauses to see how his mausoleum is coming along.

"I'd like to be remembered this way" - B.

Friday, 23 September 2011

That'll Put a Spoke in Their Works

Ron Arad's Bicycle.

I'd like to see their faces when the thieving bastards hack-saw their way into the bike shed and find one of these. Ha!

Thursday, 22 September 2011

The White Company

The White Company catalogue just dropped through the door. I think the Versailles bed linen looks rather good with the old Chateau doors in the background - very appropriate. 

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Britney in Hackney

We always likes to check the Metropolitan Police's Flickr site of CCTV mugshots every now and again, just to make sure none of the kids have made an appearance. Imagine our suprise when we came across these.....

The Met Police Flickr site messed with by Brian

Turns out she was filming her latest video up the road at Stoke Newington Town Hall, in post-riot Hackney. Make of that what you will....

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Another Day, Another Dog Walk

Walking the dogs in Clissold Park for an hour every single day does, sometimes, get a little monotonous, so we have to dream up ways of amusing ourselves with whatever comes to hand - usually a dog and an iPhone.  
Dog on a conker

A whippadoodle

Enzo on mind-expanding drugs

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Flashing and Overexposure

So –all went well on Thursday. JLS were perfect gentlemen. They petted the dogs, chatted to the kids, made nice comments about the house – they even complimented B on his portraits
The outfit stood up well. I only wish I’d kept the dress on in bed that night instead of stepping out of it at midnight and leaving it crumpled on the bedroom floor. I was woken up at, as it turns out 3.30am, by the unmistakable sound of the wheely bins being manhandled at the front of the house. B has cunningly positioned them across the doors to the bike shed to act as an early warning system in case any c*** tries to break in with a screw driver again. Our bedroom window is right at the top of the house and looks out onto the street. In order to see directly down into the front garden and the bike shed you have to open the curtains and stand on the pillows, very close to the glass. See pic.

In the orangey gloom of the street lights I could make out two shadowy figures and the doors of the bike shed were open! ‘Brian, wake up! Someone’s nicking the bikes!’ I threw open the sash window and leant out. One of the youths was on a bike and about to make off down the street. 
‘Put that bike back in the shed this minute or I’ll dial 999’ I yelled. 
As the words left my mouth I remember thinking how ridiculous I sounded - like Margo from The Good Life. And as if a bike thief would obediently hop off the bike and sheepishly put it back; he’d be in Lower Clapton before I had a chance to get my bra on. 
‘Oh it’s you!’ I gasped and collapsed on the bed laughing as John and his mate Lucas look up to the window incredulously and lights come on in the houses opposite. 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

JLS at Lordship Park

What to wear?

At 6am it's dark. I'm hungover. From the heap of clothes on the dressing room floor I need to pull together some kind of outfit that will be suitable for whatever the day has in store.
As it turns out -
- Dropping Ed at the bus stop for 7.15
- Hoovering.
- Feeding dogs the ghastly mush.
- Walking dogs in the park.
- Helping a set builder bring a man sized cage into the house.
- Greeting a few people from the BBC, two photographers, a couple of stylists, a groomer and various others.
- Kissing all four members of a boy band at the front door.
- Ciffing pigeon shit of the UFO.
- Having a lie down.
- Whipping up some lunch for Bri.
- Raking up rotten apples and chucking them in the compost.
- Struggling with reluctant whippet who CBA to have her picture taken with JLS.
- Flicking liver treats off Marvin's trousers.
- Picking Ed up and taking him doctors to have his tonsils looked at.
- Driving Ed to Palmers Green for gym class.
- Food shopping for the weekend.
- Saying hello to bunch of weeping girls outside the house as I struggle in with bags.
- Making curry.

A 1960s black mini dress with sequin collar, pale grey cardi, Converse All Stars

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Divine Inspiration

I'm in a bit of a rush because I'm going out to dinner in 10 minutes at the newly refurbished pub down the road - The Brownswood Tavern. So, I had a trawl through iPhoto and found this snap that we took in Rome. It was the view from our terrace towards the Vatican complete with parasol pope. Hoping for inspiration tomorrow. 
Oh BTW, guess who's here tomorrow? No, not His Holiness. 

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

No Holly 'till Christmas :(


Beautiful Holly is leaving London on Friday to go to University in Leeds. Sniff. And we won't see her until Christmas. Sob, sob, pass the tissues. I'm really going to miss her. Wail. She and John have been together since they were 16. I'd really like to get her a little something from us to take with her. Maybe something to keep her warm and cozy up North. Any ideas? A fleecy throw? A fluffy hot water bottle? A kitten? Thermal undies? A cashmere scarf?
'A full-face balaclava?!' 
Thank you John.

Monday, 12 September 2011

School for Stars

The 2nd instalment of School for Stars went out tonight. Here's a random screenshot. If you can take the excitement watch the whole episode on BBC iPlayer.

Let Him Eat Ice Cream

John is making his way back from Bestival on the Isle of Wight.
He's been there for four days; living on a diet of ... beer? and probably not much else. Bet he's looking forward to a slap up roast with all the trimmings! Bad luck then that I've been faffing around all afternoon perfecting my toffee-apple ice cream.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

f-ing weather

Spent the weekend taking photos of the house for the new website and the weather's been playing havoc with me f-stops. Quick get up, it's sunny! Oh, no, no, as you were, it's gone all cloudy. Wait! it's sunny again, maybe we should take the dogs out while it's sunny? Everyone ready? Got the ball? Leads? Poo bags? Sunglasses? Shit! where's Enzo's collar? Keys? Let's go! Bloody Hell! It's raining. 
The sky changes from grey to white to blue to black to pink.There's a rainbow. The sun streams in. It goes dark. B says 'Don't worry, I'll sort them out in Photoshop.' Then, some hours later. 'It would have been a lot easier if you'd just taken them properly in the first place.'

I pour myself a glass a reassuringly consistent glass of Vina Sol Rose while Brian fiddles with his pixels. 

Saturday, 10 September 2011

A Lott of Apple Pickers Wanted

After being cruelly slashed from Respect La Diva, Ed and Ryan have decided on a career change and are trying their hand at apple picking. "Hurry up boys! Pixie Lott and Nathan from The Wanted are waiting to say goodbye to you. Get a move on!"

Friday, 9 September 2011

Opening Night/Closing Night

!$)!*%$ hell. They've only gone and cut the kids from the Respect La Diva show. %*!@s!
What a criminal waste of talent! We spent hours rehearsing that picking up and dropping off schedule and Des's spreadsheet was a tour de force.

"I've learnt a lesson, always go to the first night coz it maybe the only one!" Katie Lay, Essex Observer

Twiggy in Stokey, Trust

Another style icon visited Lordship Park yesterday. Twiggy was being photographed here for You Magazine. Brian was having a chat with her about dogs and turns out she is lending her support to the Retired Greyhound Trust. Top Model!

Stay tuned to find out which celebrities we have here today !! ;D

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Respect La Diva

Ed and some of his Italia Conti mates are the backing singers in this dazzling production at the Garrick Theatre - starting tonight!!! Hurry and book your tickets now.

Time Travel

Every summer, depressing as the thought is, I resolve to shop for school uniform earlier. My heart sinks when all the high street stores plaster their windows with Back to School banners in July - the day after the kids break up. Little mannequins dressed in grey acrylic jumpers and teflon skirts. Ugh! And so, inevitably, in early September, I find myself at M&S in Angel, snatching trampled black trousers off the floor in the vain hope that they may come somewhere close to fitting one of the boys. Just a few steps away from the scrum and a million miles from the ubiquitous chains of Upper Street I retreat to Camden Passage for a mug of hot chocolate outside the Elk in the Woods and a stroll around the vintage jewellery stalls and antique shops. I always stop for a browse at Odyssey, 11 Pierrepont Arcade. The little shop is lined with glass shelves displaying a myriad of  jewel-coloured vases and ornaments from the the middle of the 20th century. Voluptuous Murano glass sits cheek by jowl with icy Scandinavian crystal. Cutesy folkloric wall plaques jostle for space with kitsch advertising memorabilia. An enormous, cut glass ashtray in the window is so decadent it must have surely come from Roger Moore and Dorothy Squire's Mansion. A more utilitarian fruit bowl, identical to one we had in the 70s instantly transports me back to the security and familiarity of my childhood; laying on an orange wool rug with my sister and a couple of kittens, watching Ace of Wands on the black and white telly. Glance up and the ceiling is crowded with funky lights from the 60s; wicker pendants, dazzling chrome and glass contraptions, atomic sputniks... Chatting to Paul the owner he says he's getting EVEN MORE stuff in over the next couple of weeks! Starting Christmas shopping in September? I think that will be an easier resolution to stick to. 

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

School for a Star :)

The first episode of the new BBC series about Italia Conti was broadcast last night. SCREAM!
Here's a random screen shot from the show...

Monday, 5 September 2011

What's more important anyway? Art or Yorkshire puds?

Not to be outdone, I dragged myself out of bed, made Brian drive me down to One New Change, staggered around M&S with a bag of chips and a trolly for support, purchased a large leg of Sussex lamb form Jamie Oliver's butcher's and lugged it all back to the kitchen where I plotted my comeback.
Jamie Oliver's Butcher's at One New Change

The boys love Yorkshire pudding and can eat dozens of the small, perfectly formed ones from the supermarket. The dinner table conversation often turns to a legendary meal that none of them have actually had, or even seen, but they've heard tell of a Yorkshire pudding so big it takes up the entire plate: so huge that it becomes the plate itself. They then bicker about how best to arrange their Sunday dinner on this thing; you know, meat first, no veg first, NO, smother the whole thing in gravy first, etc etc. Anyway, not because I was feeling guilty that they'd had to make two eggs, a couple of ounces of cornflakes and some Alpen dust stretch to breakfast for four, I decided to have a go at the giant Yorkshires....

And to avoid arguments I arranged the toppings...

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Self-righteous Self-portrait

To prove a point, that he was not hung-over and was very restrained on Friday evening, Brian got up, walked the dogs, did the recycling and painted a self portrait while I stayed in bed with  some paracetamol. Jesus!

Friday, 2 September 2011

Black and Blue

I'm going to say this quietly as I think you might all shout at me but earlier in the week I was quite excited by the autumn chill in the air ..... Yeah, I know it's been a disappointing summer weather wise but however dark, cold, wet and windy it might be, if it's the month of July you can not go to a party wearing a black dress and diamante. Which leaves me stuck because I only really have black party dresses and I love anything sparkly, as you can see. So, tonight I was planning to wear a new, black, wool cocoon-dress from Zara, one or two marcasite brooches, tights!! and gold shoes to Emma's birthday party. Sorted.

One-day heatwave. Damn. I'm sweltering. Trying not to moan about it too much but my dress plans for this evening are scuppered. A quick dash down to Ribbons and Taylor on Church Street.

Sorted. Will wear with white Converse.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Super Saturday

Holly, photographed by John at Lordship Park
John has been working at Strut and Stroll, the two vintage and designer clothes boutiques on Church Street. It's the perfect job for him. Hoana and Tom who own the shops have asked him to take photos for their website and blog, so the other day Holly went down to their new place, Strut on Broadway, at Broadway Market to model all the gorgeous frocks while John took the shots.  
On Saturday morning Brian and I dropped him off at the shop at 10.30 ( it's 11 on Sundays! see what I mean about the perfect job?) and had a stroll along the market towards London Fields. We'd never been to Broadway Market before: John said it was 'well hipster', whatever that means but blimey! It was rammed with the coolest twenty somethings, brunching at the caffs before hitting the shops. Down at London Fields the designer dogs were out and Enzo and Capri had a right go at an Italian Greyhound and a pair of Boston Terriers. A small, disused park-keeper's house had been taken over by a party of what looked like Calvin Klein models on their day off, drinking beer in the overgrown garden and dancing on the roof to the coolest, jazzy music. We had a wander round and marvelled at number 25 London Fields; a house we seriously considered buying in 1986. It was an elegant but shabby place back then with a piano factory in the garden. The piano factory didn't put us off but the looming 1930s tenement building next door did. I hardly recognise it now. No. 25 is as pretty as a doll's house and in the dappled shade from the trees, with flowering window boxes and great views across the park the council block must be one of the best addresses in town.
Back at Strut, excited Japanese fashionistas are cooing over the designer dresses and the cool Hoxton crowd, pay-checks fresh in their bank accounts, are getting kitted out for the night's clubbing. This coming Saturday - 3rd September is Super Saturday at Strut Broadway - with free bubbly, helpful assistants and lots of divine clothes and accessories to try on there couldn't be a nicer way shop.

The perfect combination of exquisite clothes and accessories in a minimal, industrial interior
Strut on Broadway. 

Carefully chosen rails of designer and vintage clothing at Strut Broadway