Wednesday, 30 September 2009


Whenever the weather here gets really cold and grey and dismal, usually sometime in mid-January, when the joy of Christmas and the optimism of New Year seem but distant memories, and the British tulips are still but a colourful blush on the horizon, I dream of being back here. It is Libanona beach just on the outskirts of Fort Dauphin, a town in South East Madagascar where I spent part of my Gap Year, and returned the summer before my third year at university to research for my dissertation. The beach is soft, fine sand, the waters are warm and turquoise, and when the wind is creeping through the cracks of my winter coat on the trudge home on some thankless night in winter, it is where I long to be.


I go against the age old saying and do, in fact, judge books by their covers. Which is not to say that I would never read or buy a book that didn't have an appealing cover, but rather that a good illustration, photograph or typeface can always tip me over the edge from indecisive to parting with my money. Even if I already own a (usually more mundane looking) copy of the book in question, as was the case when I spotted the above in a Norfolk charity shop! What can I say, I am a sucker for a bit of pretty packaging.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Ten things

M is now a Londoner, he moved into his new place on Sunday, and so I am throwing him a 'Welcome to London, Baby' party on Friday. The theme is 1960s London, Mad Men meets Carnaby Street style, though in practice I think it will just be lots of Union Jack decorations, Victoria Sponge cupcakes and red, white and blue cocktails. Having been away for the past fortnight I have lots to do still, food and drink shopping, flat cleaning / decorating etc. which means I will be busy this week, so I am going to keep my posts simple and respond to the tag from the lovely Rebecca at Daydreams in Lace to write 10 random things about me, which I'm going to spread out over the remainder of the week. Back at the weekend with party photos...!

Sunday, 27 September 2009


Rain the first four days that fell and fell and drowned the pavements and made the palm trees droop. Staying indoors with plenty of good books, cheap wine and bars of chocolate. Museums and galleries where bright splashes of colour in local paintings promised more than this persistent grey. Venturing out when the rain occasionally let up for a damp stroll along the Promenade Anglais. A bunch of tiny red roses from the Marche aux Fleurs that cheered up the room and my spirits.

Then the rain stopped, and with the blue skies came the Mediterranean heat we had been longing for. Days on the beach with its smooth, grey pebbles, lazing in the sun as our limbs got hotter and hotter, then entering the water for cool refreshment. Swimming in a sea that turned from turquoise in the shallows to inky blue at the horizon. Early morning shopping for fruit, vegetables and olives at the market, and once three goats cheeses ranging from one day old to a week, frais, demi sec, and sec, with tastes that varied accordingly. Patisserie goodies, buttery croissants, flaky sweet tarte aux pommes. Bread, bought fresh for lunch, still warm from the oven, the smell so tempting that by the time it finally reached the table almost half had gone, broken off by eager hands on the walk back from the boulangerie. Hiring rollerblades late one afternoon and skating the whole length of the promenade past grand hotels on one side and the sea itself on the other. Wandering round Vieux Nice, the oldest part of the town, with narrow, winding streets and buildings painted in beautiful colours that brought to mind a muted spice rack, faded paprika, dusty tumeric. Evenings eating in tiny squares whilst an accordianist played in the background, cooking with produce from the market on our tiny hob, or, once, eating pizza on the beach to the sound of the waves as the sky turned dusky pink and the moon rose.

Saturday, 26 September 2009


The day itself, the first wedding amongst my friends, was wonderful. I have watched the films, flicked through the magazines, viewed professional wedding photographs online, but for the first time this was real.

Yes, the dress was like something from a fairytale, with a beautiful embroidered bodice and sweeping train, and you couldn't have asked for better weather, as the sun slanted through the stained glass of the chapel, and later across the paddock and pond as we sipped champagne and had photos taken, but there was also something so human about it. The groom's face, as he waited for his bride, nervousness and sheer joy all bundled into one. The jumble of voices, old and young, during the hymns. The fine dusting of glitter from my bronze tinted body moisturiser that brushed off onto M's dark suit to his mock annoyance, as I sat pressed against him throughout the ceremony. My hat, with the elastic that I had stitched on during the drive up slightly too loose, so that I fidgeted with it nervously until M told me to stop worrying, that I looked lovely. My short, cream, charity shop purchase gloves that were much admired but I suspected made me look a bit like Michael Jackson. The grass stains on the knees of those that knelt for the group photo on the short grass of the paddock. The delicious dinner in the hall where many of us had eaten so many meals before, a fact that actually made this particular meal so much more special. The groom's speech, with an element of the unrehearsed, but so wonderfully him. The heat and the exhilaration of the ceilidh dance in the evening, that brought family and friends together in the darkness, and energetic music, and unfamiliar steps. No Hollywood, no Photoshop, just real life, and all the better for it.

Friday, 25 September 2009

...and some china ones

The night before the wedding Mum and I stayed up until nearly midnight, cutting Oasis florist's foam to size, soaking it, and then filling each china swan with a random arrangment of flowers and foliage, but keeping some to peachy tones, others more pinky. The next morning we loaded them into the car and drove through the September sunshine to my old Cambridge college where A&T were to be married. They were distributed down the long tables in the high-ceilinged, eggshell blue hall, between silver candlesticks and polished champagne flutes.