With these flowers you are spoiling us…

Last Saturday, I had a gorgeous day in the Surrey Countryside, with my Cousins Rob and Hannah and my Aunt and Uncle. For Aunt Selwa I brought the blousiest bunch of Green/Pink Hydrangea and Peonies (favourites, favourites, favourites) – Hydrangea seem to be having a resurgence, thankfully, previously considered to be the domain of the grandma-garden, the beautiful, multi-headed shrub is getting a LOT of love in the Lily-Household at the moment.

Aunt Selwa cooked delicious Palestinian gourmet, and we ate in the shade of a pear tree, before treating ourselves to a small nap on a blanket on the lawn.

T’was idyllic – it is decided the only way to properly enjoy the sunshine is from under a pear tree.

This Saturday was Hampton Court Flower Show day, avec ma maman, I got the train an hour early, because I am an idiot, it was boiling hot (which meant at least we didn’t need a wee)… we saw some marvellous things – these table decorations, totally up my street, all bunting and porcelain and oddments of metal boxes containing bundles of garden-flowers:

The roses were looking a little sad for themselves on the penultimate day of the show…and there wasn’t a single Amnesia Rose.

Here’s some of my favourite stuff…

I liked the raggeldy taggledy ones the best, like they just happened to have grown there.

Maybe it’s the product of the *never-ending winter of 2009 – 2010*, but the summer this year seems extra big and bright and blousey.

Summer obsessions in the Clarke-Emery household include, though are not limited to:

1) bee keeping – specifically in pastel coloured hives (the pastel coloured bit is more Emery than Clarke)

2) creating a giant fondant fancy – like this one:

3) Medicines Sans Frontiers – if they need a a builder (probably) and a project manager (maybe)

4) Organic Farming Holidays in France


Just some nice *stuff*

I got up this morning and realised I didn’t leave the house yesterday…

It was of those nice days, punctuated by pancake flipping for breakfast and barefoot baking, a Victoria Sandwich affair… ably assisted by a three-year old …

I’m *all about* the filling, so we baked one cake, sliced it in half horizontally, and filled it with vanilla cream, chopped strawberries and a thick spooning of this:

I don’t really use a recipe for cakes, I weigh the eggs, then match the egg weight with the same weight of self-raising four, golden caster sugar and butter. A teeny bit of vanilla essence. Bobs your uncle.

I am a great fan of my kite, though have only half-arsedly flown it once, on a fateful trip to Cornwall –  circa 2005. Kites, like bunting are things I would like to *get involved* with… Here’re some lovely kites I saw on my way to work this morning:

As seen in the window of East – High Street Kensington

…always a sucker for a foreign newspaper…

…flowering around

I missed Chelsea. I think I’m probably glad, too bizzy, and it fell on the only hot days so far this year, and Lily’s wilt in the sunshine.

Mother and I will be going to Hampton Court. A much more gentile affair, and close to grandmama’s house.

Taken by these though…

Reproduction Chelsea Flower Show posters, from 1938 and 1939 – available here.

Fanning Around

Yesterday, I went to The Lightbox in Woking, which comprises two galleries, with exhibitions that change monthly, alongside an exhibition all about the history of Woking (good eco credentials, and site of the Was of the Worlds films…).

One of the incumbent exhibitions is a collection of Commemorative and Advertising Fans 1850 – 1960, all rather lovely, these are some of my favourites:

A Fan of the Austrian Royal Family (on the right):

And a fan from the Hirohito Empire, which looks surprisingly modern:

Some gawgus fashion fans:


Some fans to advertise swanky hotels, like The Plaza:

And Bourbon:

And probably my favourites, the ‘military’ fans:

Anyhow, myself, pregnant friend and husband popped along, we ate brownies, and drank Earl Grey, and sat in the sunshine. Exhibitions are pretty much all free, and being out of London, really quiet, it was a nice day.

Opening times:
Tuesday to Saturday: 10.30am – 5.00pm
Sunday: 11.00am – 5.00pm
Closed Monday

A Tribal Gathering

For approximately three seasons, I have been vocally disliking tribal fashion…every s/s I fingers-crossed-and-hope that it is Gone For Good, and for the last three s/s’s I have rolled my eyes and groaned with disappointment, that it really hasn’t yet gone, at all – even the mighty DvF pee’d me off a little:

…and if I ever saw another pair of bulky, heeled, sandles, with jangly bits, it would have been too soon.

Maybe my dislike for all-styles-ethnic was the product of having a hippy mother, who would turn up to school events wearing an embroidered, mirrored and belled skirt? Maybe it was my far-left fear that the fashion-heirarchy’s embracing of Eastern design, was imperialistic and Orientalist stereotyping (soap-box? Has anyone seen my soap-box?).

But slowly, I’m warming. I have recently fallen in love with some exotic, beautiful Nigerian and Ghanaian wax/batik fabrics:

(rights: ladybrillenigeria.com)

I first started hankering for some of the bright stuff, when I saw some pretty darn gorgeous cushions, from Darkroom.

Then it all went tits-up when I found myself shopping for a tribal print maxi-dress. If there is one thing a 5ft-almost-nothing person, with a bosom akin to Dolly Parton should NEVER EVER wear, it’s a tribal print maxi-dress.

So, I thought it’d be sensible to stick to this scarf from Epice:

(rights: Epice / Liberty)

In fact, now I want  EVERYTHING from Epice…

My rules of tribal (which I made-up today) are:

  • Print is good – dangly bits are bad.
  • The fabric must, only ever be cotton, linen or silk – tribal viscose is a no-no, for anyone, ever.
  • I am still not going to be wearing clunky tribal jangly heeled sandles – ditto clogs.

p.s. I do rather like that DvF dress… Diane was right, I was wrong.

Outside London Livin’

Today we saw a very lovely 15th Century cottage in Eynsford (apparently pronounced ‘ayns-ford’, which is important, if I don’t want to be unilaterally and instantaneously hated by the locals) – it’s the middle one.

With a fully electricked and plumbed-up summer-house:

And a rather gawgus (and rather overlooked by the neighbours) jardin:

Maybe a bit dated, internally, but nothing a Ligne Roset suite wouldn’t fix:

And set in the tumbling Kent countryside, where the skies are huge and swans and signets, swan-about on the Ford, which you can either travel over, on the bridge, or through, in your rudimentary 4×4:

Serious gorgeousness. Though this is a not-entirely-reassuring photo of the village flooding…

The nearest supermarket is 5 miles away, the only shop is a butcher, there are three pubs, a church and a station. I tell myself none of this matters, because if I lived in Eynsford, I would mainly be doing the following:

  • Baking cakes for Bofo and his cricket-club buddies (I’m not sure he even wants to join said club, but who else will eat my scones?)
  • Making jam, and chutney (for village fete prize winning)
  • Arranging wild flora, and growing camelia’s, wisteria, violets, roses, peonies and love-in-the-mist
  • Setting tables with crisp, starched, linen, and multiple, purpose-specific jugs
  • Attending neighbourhood residents meetings
  • Tending to the festival of pets I would acquire
  • Painting pictures in the summer-house
  • Drinking Earl Grey on the patio
  • Paying nearly three grand in season tickets

S’all gone a bit Good Life round here…

With rings on her fingers – Wednesday Want-a-thon

Really loving this ‘sovereign’ necklace from Zara Simon:

Worn with pale blue denim, and a tan, niceness.