Sunday, 28 February 2010


These two in particular are just divine, and whilst I baulked a little at the price if you consider I have just spent that much on a mac and some plimsolls they are actually a bargain.

From here
go have a look there is a lot more to covet.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Lifestyle envy

The RA magazine often features the workspace of arty farty's reading between the lines they are invariably sans children and so have ceramics on show and the money to dabble in real art.

I have this picture pinned to my work room wall, I love the orderliness of it as well as the eclectic mix of paintings and ceramics, even the light is well considered.
But it is this flat I love, those flats in the Barbican are wonderful and even though I am not a fan of the area I covet a crash pad there. This flat features so much art I love including the wonderful Margaret Mellis collage on the desk.
Spending a week at home made me determined to try and improve our home environment, I have a plan that I will hatch at Easter to update and refresh the place in an effort to make it a bit more orderly, this will include;
Completely updating Leyla's bedroom furniture wise
Putting back the original doors
Painting the landing
Replacing the shower in the girls bathroom
Dressing the shelves in the living room
Swapping a chest of draws with the girls
All I need is a van and a handy-man for a couple of days, I have furniture scattered around that once rounded up will transform Leyla's room. I have a week to do it, but more importantly the desire too.

If you click on this it may be a little more easy to read.

Friday, 26 February 2010

The episode in which I turn to the internet for help

Oh enough of the moaning about my bloody feet I hear you cry. Tough I love to moan and at the same time there may be some other poor podiatry challenged sod out there in the blogsphere who needs to feel some empathy who knows...
So I wanted to replace my PF flyer's, they have served me well but they are absolutely on their little knees, I searched the hard way without success and so Googled them, and here is pair number one. Not black I grant you but so what. They are from Schuh-online
Not my first port of call in a shopping centre but this is where Google led me and so thank you Google and thank you Schuh for having the most user friendly web site I have navigated for a long while.
They were reduced to a Billy bargain £25 and only in my size!

OK I realise that the above trilogy leaves a lot to be desired Tommy Ton will not be tripping up over his camera strap to get a shot of me strolling past wearing any of these.
Still I remembered some sage advice my sister gave me and that was fat feet should shop where..well you know what I mean. This worked a treat when she took me shopping for some shoes for an interview a while back I bought some plain leather ballet pumps which have lasted for over 2 years, so I went online to Evans - Plus Size and found these three. I will not keep all three but like my sister I need to embrace mail order (which being time poor she uses all the time) it is far less frustrating and probably even when you factor the 3 mile queue at the Post Office still better than schlepping around up town in the pouring rain.

Which brings me to my final quandary. How beautiful are these baby's? I nearly threw up when I bought them they cost so much, but sometimes, just sometimes I think fuck it I work hard, (well ish) so why not, they are from here can you imagine the face of my receptionist when they arrive!
Talking of arrivals, that mac I ordered is just completely DIVINE I love it and I am so amazed how lucky I was that they had my size, now I just have to get it past Emin....

Thursday, 25 February 2010

The episode in which I finally learn to paint

So here it is the first 6 weeks which have flown by. Seriously if you hate January book a painting class you will not want the month to end I promise you.

Week 1
This is not a good painting but it eased me in gently, I did not pay enough attention to the composition a lesson I learnt for the following week...

Week 2
...where I planned the whole thing out before the class and so managed to work more on planes of tone rather than shifting the perspective.

Week 3
This was my favourite lesson of the first 4 weeks, we were given a grey sheet of paper and we had to fold or scrunch it up before placing it on a coloured background. Of course I had to fold it and made a salt cellar which I then opened up giving me lots of wonderful triangle. I by now have finally started to learn about shadow. It was not until I saw the photograph of this that I realised how successful it is. I would highly recommend photographing a painting as it distances you from the image giving you space to reflect.

Week 4
My least successful painting, I really struggled to breath new life into Wayne Thiebauds territory. my biggest mistake was to not paint a bright background which would have lifted the shapes a little more.

Week 5
So here it is my life painting, this one with only 3 colours plus white and a palette knife

Week 6
This one with 6 colours and a brush. Spot the hideous mistake. Oh the shame of that leg.
Still my colours have garnered praise and as you can see I am in thrall of Lucien Freud who when you try to paint the figure is an absolute genius.

I have 2 weeks left, not sure what I will paint next week but I loved the life classes so much I will now try to find some more locally so I can carry on. Who would have thought that I, who is pattern & shape obsessed could have cracked the mystery of skin?

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

So if it's raining....

I need a mac, yes I KNOW I have a lovely black rain coat from +J Uniqlo and a very Columboesque number from Kew. But when I saw this I just had to have it.. So I duly went to Debenhams, not my usual port of call, I had tripped over the mac on the internet via a link to something totally unconnected. Betty Jackson is the only designer range I will give house room to the rest is pants.
I am always stunned that any designer will put their name to a collection that is clearly a world away from anything you would see in their shop. John Rocha is a prime example of this.
Of course the mac had sold out but online it had only my size left, serendipity surly? So I bit the bullet and ordered it, watch this space....
This is a pound shy of £90, which when you think how much a cardie in Jigsaw cost is a bargain, IF it fits.
I have very much of late fallen out of love with Jigsaw, which when you consider how many years I have been spending money in that place is a bit of a shock. The problem is everything is so flimsy, fine for floating around whilst someone else cooks, cleans pays your bills and paints your nails. Not so fine if you are a mother, teacher etc. clothes from Toast, Uniqlo, Muji etc are far more robust.
My other gripe is that they are cut slightly on the small side, you used to get XL at the beginning of a season but now obviously as a cost cutting exercise this has gone and so now they cling rather than hang elegantly.
I would not mind so much if like Kookai and Mango their target audience was slim, trim and young. But the founder and owner of Jigsaw is a generous size 16 and should know better.
Second gripe of the week is....where the hell have all the pumps gone? The magazines are full of towering heels, yet yesterday at my evening class every woman was wearing flats. Where is the choice? I am so tired of schlepping around in the vain hope of finding some nice pumps, all there is to be seen is Converse, great, but I want a change. Can magazine editors, specifically the newspaper supplement ones, not wake up to the fact that some of us need a rest from vertiginous shoes that are proven to cripple us, you know which Victoria I'm talking about here.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

It's raining again

If ever a photograph captured London it's this one. The tube sign, the umbrellas, the traffic lights and just a smidgen of a red bus, all typify to me at least, what it is that makes London, Oh and the rain, the relentless bloody rain.
My Mother is once again snowed under but down south we have this. I once bought a children's picture book that described each month as seen through the eyes of a London dweller, I loved the book but can't find it anywhere, the illustrations were so evocative of what it is like to live here.

So what have I been up to?

Well after a shopping trip in Bromley with Daisy and Leyla a promising combination, that went very wrong when Daisy failed to acquire a pair of shorts she wanted, Leyla of course found all she desired and was able to spend her vouchers from Christmas, so Daisy visibly riled decided the only panacea to her disappointment was to go shopping in Primark, after what seemed like eternity I was £40 lighter and Leyla as we were to discover later was short of her Nintendo DS which she had left somewhere in the shop. On a pissed off scale of 1 - 10 I was a frazzled 11.

So I decided to reward her carelessness with a trip to Tate Britain where I dragged her sorry arse around the Chris Ofili exhibition. She loved it and then proceeded to spend an hour creating a sculpture with various sundries from the art trolley.
Just in case she did not get the message I took her for a pizza too. What she won't be getting is a new DS!

Rather than go to Victoria and walk down the windiest road in the world, we went to Charing Cross and got the wonderful 89 which winds it's way past the Houses of Parliament along the river to the Tate. We had the top deck to ourselves which cheered Leyla no end.

Sometimes it's nice just to kick back and enjoy the view.

The view from here...

looks so Photoshopped, but it is not.

The exhibition was great and the week finally came to an end with a bit of a bang as Leyla had yet another Tai Kwando tournament and gained her second silver medal. Just in case she did not feel indulged enough Emin decided to take her to see Percy Jackson The Lightning Thief, words cannot do justice to this film. Total purgatory.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Roses are red, Violets are blue, I love you so much, I cleaned the loo

A small victory I will enjoy the moment..Oh there it goes.
I am half way through the week of nothing to look forward too.
I tried on Monday to muster up some entertainment, I went up to London early in an attempt to find some innocuous pumps for my orthopedic feet, no joy at all. I thought I might catch a couple of exhibitions, ha, stupid is.. as they say. Monday is NOT a good day for visiting they were all closed of rehanging, I peered through many a window and that was it. I tried on copious amounts of clothing neither needed or as luck would have fitted, so money saved. All this in murkey drizzle not fit to lift my camera up for, so slim pickings on the visual front too.
My painting class was awesome, we have a new teacher who is great. Says it as it is. We had to spend half an hour mixing flesh tones, yes you guessed it, the first of the life classes. I mixed over 30 tones which stopped him in his tracks I can tell you, just call me Mr Max Factor, he dismissed 10 of them as too pale and then we had to paint not with a brush but a palette knife, I loved it. I have never done it before but what fun, he gave wise and sage criticism that really moved the painting on and by the end I felt I had not made a bad fist of it. He marveled at the thickness with which I applied the paint wondering if it would dry this side of Christmas, God knows how I will get it home, but hey I loved it. I can thoroughly recommend life painting as an excellent de-stresser, truly.
Talking of love, I love my new COS dress but sadly so does every teeny, tiny, little bit of fluff that floats around my bedroom, we have a cream carpet and a leaking duck eiderdown so the overall effect is to make me look like I've been tarred and feathered. The previous Velcro magnet was a black cardie which I would lovingly defluff only for it to be covered the minute I put it on. So whilst I will never look very smart wearing it I will still love it.
Yesterday was spent doing all those grim jobs I put off, luckily Emin had meetings so the house breathed a quiet sigh of relief for a while. I am currently entertaining Leyla whilst two teenagers sleep, trust me this is a good thing they are cheaper than when they are awake
I know I will receive scant sympathy, hey it's all about the holidays with us teachers isn't it? Well this mornings rise and shine was at my usual ungodly hour, Emin managed to wake me as he rolled his sorry arse out of bed, he then bellowed at the top of his voice that the dog had not only pissed twice but pooed as well, I lay there wondering why I needed to know this, If I get up I clean it up without any fanfare at all, so up I get, turns out he just wanted some company. What the fuck is the dog for then?

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Love is.....learning to 'suck it up'

I have over the 12 or maybe more years I have known Emin developed just the ability to 'suck it up' It has taken all of those years but every now and gain it slips and quite frankly I wish him ill, he is by absolute 100% consensus the worst and most difficult person to live with. In turn I know he thinks the same about me. I think we spend far too much time together and need some space.
My sister thinks the worst play Shakespeare ever wrote was The Taming of the Shrew. Not because it was badly written, but because the story was so unremittingly depressing. Even now she cannot imagine making so many compromises loving relationship or otherwise.
You may have guessed I am in a MOOD I think that whole domesticity thing versus the desire to paint has reared it's head, which is difficult when living with a domestic Neanderthal.
A man who chastises a dog for peeing and crapping on the dining room floor when he ....well you know the rest. I finally cracked yesterday and begged him to clean up after himself (Emin not the dog). "No why should I? You do it" So I have moved out of our already dysfunctional en-suite into the girls bathroom, I can't look at the carnage any longer.
I am going to start playing the lottery, I need to at least dream of a less chaotic life, I have to look forward to this week a K2 sized mountain of washing, dust an inch thick, the usual pile of paper that accumulates everywhere a flat surface is, an equivalent K2 sized mountain of clean washing to put away, clear the leaves out of a blocked drain, clear all the dog pissy newspaper from the back yard that I've dumped not wanting to schlepp through the house with it, I could go one but I know you are all bored senseless by now.
One good thing is I can access all those blogs blocked at school because Daisy has gone into town all loved up with her boyfriend leaving me free to prevaricate the whole day long

Friday, 12 February 2010

Alexander McQueen..a genius

That some one so talented felt so alone, I am just too sad, I loved his work, he was a genius.
This blast from the past was my favourite dress.
image from here

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Nowhere to go...

Half term is looming and it is, unbelievably the first time I can remember when I am not travelling...anywhere. Zilch, nowhere to go. I normally dutifully make the pilgrimage to Mothers, the blow softened by the location which is currently York. She is sadly not holding her breath for me and is staying with a friend instead. Sod her, London it is.
What to do?
I may try to catch up with reading, but it is sooo unremittingly bloody cold, so going out anywhere for the day is going to be painful and very expensive if Leyla comes. The gym too could be an option, the foot is close to normality and some flab could be shed.
I could rearrange my wardrobe, I ache to wear some lighter clothes but with temperatures barely raising their head above zero what is the point? Maybe I could take the dog on a really really long walk, what ever I do I will feel robbed.

BTW Cos has loads of new stuff in, I was not seduced by the grey top, it was too thin and had drapey sleeves. Many peripheral things dictate what I wear. My job, the weather, you name it, it will impact on me. I am particularly vulnerable to dropping stuff down myself. Not quite as spectacularly as my mother or sister, but when I look at something swinging from a hanger I try to imagine it after I have spilt yogurt down the front, splashed fat on the hem whilst cooking and dipped my sleeve in paint.
Sleeves are my forte, you name it I will have dipped my sleeve in it. Emin is constantly rolling them up for me when I am cooking, I believe if I were to ever be stranded on a desert island all I would have to do is soak my sleeves in hot water and I would have an instant nutritional broth that would sustain me for weeks.
So to this end I dismissed the floaty light grey chiffon, and instead swooned over and purchased the heavy huge pocketed swirly tunic, with bracelet sleeves, very very gallerina and very, very practical.
I watched half of September issue on Sunday and I was struck by the one small nugget of inside info that had not occurred to me before. It is very hard to photograph black clothes. You can see why Grace Coddington was so pissed off all the time. We all love black but because they don't look as good as colours they are constantly shunned.
To this end I have made myself a promise, I must get back to drawing for what i wore today drawing then you can all marvel at my fabulous big pocket top.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Any colour but black

Not for nothing have I no friends. Colleagues yes, sisters, daughters, a Mother even, but girl friends came and went, despite the emotional investment of time they invariably jumped ship to more glamorous shores.
Recently a colleague has made overtures of friendship she lives close by and clearly would enjoy a meal or two, or maybe the odd girly shopping trip. Hell join the queue baby, you get first dibs after daughters, sisters, Mother and well it has to be said 'he who should be obeyed' Slim pickings for anyone really. Still she has chipped away, and invariably settles for the odd chat on the phone.
I should elucidate on our very, very different phone habitats. I have one landline, corded for my own sanity on landing number 1. This means if, God forbid I do have to speak to someone I have to do it crouched on the stairs in the equivalent of a six lane highway. This landing is the hub and spoke of the house sitting opposite the girls bedrooms and bathroom, it is the source of all that is loud, shouty and out of control. Even my my own Mother dreads any conversation with me and so generally has developed the sense to email.
In contrast my colleague is single, child free, and has wait for it...... a head set for her phone, in essence this means she can walk,talk and multitask at the same time, oh joy. This can include eating, drinking, washing up and I swear peeing. The relentless calls have subsided of late, I think she kind of realises it is not easy living in the house of chaos and so when she does phone I am aware it is for a reason.
Sunday she phones 3 times, I am either walking the dog, cooking or eating, but she perseveres and so just at the climax of Project Runway, the only programme that I actually shout at the TV watching, she phones again. I slink upstairs and await for the dilemma of the day to unfold.
And what a dilemma it is; my colleague has debated long and hard and has decided to adopt a pair of cats. Like any decision it has been thoroughly researched and investigated and she has found what she thought was the purrfect pair (sorry) Good provenance, house trained etc.etc So what was the problem?
One is a tabby, one is black, she did not think she could give black cat as much love as the tabby cat....... My reply They're cats not fucking handbags what the fuck difference does the colour of its fur make?
And that dear bloggers is why I just don't do girlfriends, seriously I missed the end of Project Runway because of a black cat.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Katia Liebmann

Katia Liebmann cyanotypes make me long to get back into a darkroom.

More blue..

A recent treat to myself, I have become not a little obsessed by these glass beaded necklaces from Toast. This one was sold with two other thinner ones that in my mind looked odd so I separated them and hooked this one round my neck and tied the back up with a ribbon. I love it especially with grey.
I managed to tick my 'need it' boxes remarkably quickly, which should negate any future purchases, yeah right. This image is tiny but the the belt is divine, made of very soft thin leather. It feeds into a buckle that makes it sit perpendicular, a look I really like, both above and below from the ubiquitios COS

No I do not yet own this, and probably I have missed the size I need, but toes and fingers crossed it will be swinging from a rail on Monday waiting for me.
I am in the sartorial doldrums at the moment, I am too scared to put my shoes on in case they do not fit, I am so tired of layers, I mean thermal vest over a vest under a jumper under a cardie. I feel so bundled up, I just want to feel lighter, but I have an almost pathological hatred of feeling cold and so on and on it goes. What I find even more soul destroying is that many of the people I work with do not seem to feel the cold and so float around in thin jersey tops.
Am I a reptile or something?
Apropos of nothing Mad Men, already on episode 3 and let me tell you as good as ever. Love it and now I know the team styled Tom Fords new film I will try and see that too, although chances are slim unless it has a battle scene in it...does it? if so I will have Emin on board or does anthropomorphisise animals? in that case I will have Leyla on board, or.. is it a bit art house? in which case I will suck it up and wait for the DVD

Thursday, 4 February 2010


I have been somewhat melancholic these last couple of days, I know not why, but I have sat like a tit in a trance for two whole days with little to show for my efforts.
I had wanted to share a little lifestyle envy with you all, but the scanner appears to have a loose lead and quite frankly I could not be bothered to send for help.

I did rather bizarrely count up how many oil paint's I had..a whopping 30, and so ordered 10 more.. I now no longer fear yellow so topped up my range, plus one of the blues cost over £16, thank god I don't have to pay, perks of the job and let me tell you it is slim pickings on that front.

It did not help that I awoke on Wednesday convinced it was Thursday and failed to realise for a whole 20 min's, that set the tone I can tell you. I think the primary problem is a lack of focus, I have completed hours of research and now I have a pile of marking, having lost count of how many reports I have written,
Looking at all the journals is not something I look forward to, I feel I give and give themes ideas and let me tell you I have great ideas but the way these kids butcher them is soul destroying.

I never knew there was such a thing as a blue moon, I use the phrase constantly but apparently this IS a blue moon.
It was New years Eve and just as we came around the bend I saw what was the biggest moon I had ever seen, I begged him to stop but had to wait for a safe place, not long, but long enough for it to have lost some of its impact.
I was going to tout my Cypriot images around some place but do not feel I achieved much in the end, I know we will be returning next year so I am going to wait and see if I cannot plug some of the gaps I feel are there. If I have one problem it is my propensity to over romanticize the place and I need to stop doing that, plus people, I need to photograph more people.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Another wasted Sunday

I sometimes feel I should rename this blog Groundhog day because clearly I end up moaning about the same old same old..
So it's Sunday, Mother has decided to make use of a return ticket and come to London for the day. Traditionally she has always enjoyed a bit of shopping but when I mooted this as the reason for coming I was told that actually no, what was the point? She didn't NEED any clothes so why would she want to shop for clothes? Fine, so what did she want to do? I guess she thought I would take her to the Van Gogh, but tough, I had just been, nothing to stop her from getting a ticket but no, she did not want to do that either.
I racked my brains and like a fool thought she might like to go to The Wallace Collection. yes I know it is all a bit ginky but it's free and my sister thought maybe we could meet for afternoon tea at The National Gallery afterwards since we had a voucher. Throw into this heady mix Leyla and you have a recipe for a totally shit Sunday.
Mother was clearly not bowled over by the opulence of the Wallace Collection, what she wanted to do was talk of all things domestic, you know the stuff. "What tiles should I have in the bathroom?" "What do you suggest I should do to get out more?" the stuff that when you answer, it is as if you've asked to take a piss in her handbag. I mean she has had 6fucking7 years to think about this one. Yet she behaves like she has been hit with a curve ball.
Now Leyla sensing she was not the centre of attention decided she would spend the entire day disappearing, which meant I spent the entire day calling her name, which meant my Mother felt the need to make the usual bitchy remarks including "that it was like going for a walk with her friends dog who failed to return and so had to be called every 2 seconds". Marvellous eh? She moans if I don't let her see the kids, moans when they are there.
The afternoon tea was so bad, seriously bad, we did not pay because of the voucher sent after complaining about a previous poor meal, but to me sandwiches with less inspiring fillings than you buy in Sainsbury's in stale bread with cakes too sweet and stodgy to eat, washed down with a thimble of the weakest tea is not my idea of a treat. Yet some how curiously fitting with the mood of the day.
Seriously we had to beg for some hot water as we were not allowed more tea!
Other complaints from Mother were about making her walk down Bond Street when it was too cold. But I did see these gorgeous necklaces, are they not lovely? A cashmere tie instead of a ribbon how heavenly.
I then get an email telling me someone she knows has just sold 17k of paintings by sub letting an empty shop window and why don't' I pull my finger out and do something similar?
Seriously where do I begin? Luckily we have such busy diary's this half term I will be unable to visit. My karma is of course restored since I had an excellent painting class yesterday. I really do not want it to end, the class is great, I get to walk past loads of my favourite shops and when I get back the tidy fairy has sprinkled her magic dust and folded all the clean washing up and put it away.
Talking of tidy fairy's my assistant is off sick and quite frankly she had better come back soon, I have not stopped!
Although I managed to put lots of photographs on flickr which now look to me as boring as anyone elses holiday snaps, but maybe I am just a little jaded. Can't think why.