Versace Spring 2010

I don’t often indulge in fashion here, mostly because I just don’t have the figure for it  – no one out there is designing for short, big-boobed women of a certain age. And thanks to foot problems, it’s also years, despite a congenital passion for shoes, since I indulged in sky high heels.

However, I was blown away by these – my dears, aren’t they gorgeously, divinely, ridiculously fantastic? (Not sure about the peep toe boots though).


  Versace Spring 2010 Collection Shoes 2


Versace Spring 2010 Collection 20Would someone like to buy me the pink booties at top right?  I couldn’t walk more than an inch in them, but all the cotton candy colours and graphic prints mixed with steel and plastic would fit right in here (after we’ve painted the walls) and I could display them on the mantelpiece as a piece of conceptual art or something and pat them lovingly from time to time.

And while you’re buying the shoes, the bag on the left wouldn’t go amiss either. (Oh and by the way, your eyes are not deceiving you, the soles of the shoes are indeed floating away from the heels).

Images via Project Rungay (the best blog in the world) and Obsessed With Shoes.


An App –and Some Owls

How on earth did I live before I had my iPhone?  It seems impossible to even contemplate now, though I still find the touch screen infuriating at times.

Here’s one of my current favourite iPhone apps.

Developed by Seattle photographer Chase Jarvis, The Best Camera allows you to add some cool effects to your iPhone photos and also upload them easily to social networking sites such as Facebook etc.

Here’s an untweaked iPhone photo


and here is the same image tweaked using four different filters – Jewel, Paris, Slate and Candy (there are some more standard filters such as B&W and warm up filters as well). You can also combine several different filters together.  Jarvis has set up a website where you can upload the images you’ve taken – loads of great pics up there already.

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These cute (I have no idea why they’re cute and not scary or ugly, but they are) mama and baby owls come courtesy of a blog reader Bushra who – after our recent owl discussion – emailed me the link for these owls on Etsy.  Which was splendidly timed to arrive just when the Husband was casting about for a birthday present that his baby could give to her mama…


A Couple of Nice Mentions




Corine from Hidden In France has gone gaga for Babettes and Freshome has been inspired by the work of Charlotte Mann. Thanks so much for the mentions.

If you’ve mentioned the shop or the blog recently and I haven’t thanked you then do let me know.  I like to share the link love.


Last Drop of Summer

or the final chapter for this year I think in ‘If My Daughter Ever Complains About Her Childhood I Will Refer Her To This Blog’.

Seattle July '091 

We spent the weekend at Lake Chelan, about three and a half hours drive from Seattle, high in the Cascade mountains, where the cooler temperate coastal climate of Seattle and its surroundings meets the desert of Eastern Washington. The climate and landscape seemed very Mediterranean and the lake itself reminded me a little of the northern reaches of Lake Garda in Italy, though sadly without the charming jewel-like lakeside towns and delightful Italian restaurants.

Much kayaking and swimming  – in crystal-clear lake and pool – was accomplished and a great time was had by all.  And a good job too, because we got back to find that autumn has finally arrived with a vengeance in Seattle. The words ‘freaking cold’ came to mind this morning.

We’ve got no more weekend trips planned (at least until the end of the month, when the Minx and I need to go to Canada to renew our visas) and I’m relishing the idea of hunkering down a bit with knitting and house stuff – it’s been a long, long, but utterly fabulous summer.


Dead Good

We’ve talked about British furniture company Deadgood before and I’m completely smitten by the cute little ‘Capsule’ sofa and chair they unveiled at 100% Design.





Who are the good independent furniture designers in the US?  I’d love to find stuff like this here, but don’t seem to be able to track it down. (Check out more from 100% Design – oh how I miss it – here)

Update: Just editing to show the comments that have been appearing on my Facebook page….maybe I’m liking this chair a little less now…



Blanket Coverage


Delicious eye candy via Decor8 yesterday of the home of photographer Danielle Thompson. More photos of the rest of her home are on her blog, but I was particularly drawn to the pictures of her sofa, which sort of have the vibe I’m aiming at – a smooth modern sofa accessorised with a vibrant granny blanket. And her warm contemporary pastel colour scheme is so wonderful.



I also really like the arrangement she’s created above the sofa. I’m a bit over very frilly frames like these, but love the idea of collecting frames and framing fabrics.

If you’re looking for a easier crochet blanket, check out this simple but beautiful one from Casapinka.  I love its clean modern vibe, crochet can so often look overwrought and fussy.




The Soups of Summer – Gazpacho



I know, I know, yesterday was the first day of autumn. 

But I’ve been making a lot of delicious chilled gazpacho this long hot summer and I wanted to share. And anyway, it’s astonishingly still 83F/28C here in Seattle, so it’s still appropriate for Pacific Northwesterners. AND it’s a great use of all the heirloom tomatoes still at the farmers’ market.

The recipe below is one I cobbled up myself from various books and online sources.  I’ve been fiddling with it for years now and can’t remember what my sources were, sorry. I think it’s fairly authentically Spanish though.


This chilled soup, which is nothing more than a whizzed up salad, is gorgeous when (if) the weather is warm and the tomatoes are juicy.  I quite often make a big pot just for us to eat at home, but it also makes a great starter for a summer dinner party, in which case you may want to add the optional garnishes. Don’t bother making this if you can’t get hold of really delicious, juicy ripe tomatoes – in the US I use heirlooms and in the UK cherries.

You will need to whizz every thing together with a handheld blender. If you don’t have one you’re going to have to do messy things with a food processor or goblet blender. If you don’t have one of those, I really wouldn’t bother making this.


At least a kilo/a couple of pounds of tomatoes (I usually just eyeball this and use ‘a lot’)

½ large cucumber, peeled

2 cloves garlic, peeled

1 small onion, red for preference

½ green pepper (optional, but Anaheims are nice)

2 slices white bread or 8 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar (or substitute red or white wine vinegar)

1 big handful parsley sprig

1  large sprig mint

few drops Tabasco (optional)

1 teaspoon tomato ketchup (optional see below)

salt and pepper


1 red pepper, chopped into tiny dice

1 green pepper, chopped into tiny dice

1 small red onion, chopped into tiny dice

2 hard-boiled eggs, chopped into tiny dice

Tiny croutons


Unfortunately the tomatoes need to be peeled, which can be a pain if you are using cherry tomatoes. However that is the only hard work you’re going to have to do.

Pour boiling water over your tomatoes, wait for the skins to split and then slip them off. If the skins don’t split give them a helping hand with the point of a sharp knife. Place the peeled tomatoes into your serving bowl. Roughly chop the cucumber, onion (and pepper if using) and add to the tomatoes with the garlic, mint and parsley. Tear up the slices of bread or add the breadcrumbs. I always have a bag of fresh breadcrumbs in the freezer and add them frozen to the soup.

Whizz every thing together with your handheld blender. Add the oil, vinegar, Tabasco and salt and pepper to taste and a teaspoon of tomato ketchup if you think that your tomatoes need it (apparently they do this in Spain, so that’s OK). Stir together and chill in the fridge for at least an hour. Add a few ice cubes if you want to chill it faster.

(Teatowel by Tikoli available from mirrormirror)


Hot Date – Seaplanes and Kayaks

It’s a busy month round here – both the Husband and I have birthdays and it’s also our wedding anniversary – so we decided to both take the day off work and go on ‘hot date’ instead.

Can anyone tell me why we haven’t done this before?  It felt so deliciously naughty and decadent and we didn’t even need a babysitter, just friends who were kind enough to pick the Minx up from school.

Despite the fact that we live close to Seattle’s Lake Union and are constantly buzzed by the seaplanes flying overhead, the Husband had never been on one (I did here, but it’s not quite the same in February), so we decided to book a flight out to Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.

I do keep forgetting what a ridiculously beautiful corner of the world I accidentally ended up in.


Ready for takeoff 


Bye bye Seattle and Mt Rainier


Past Mt Baker




Pretty restaurant


Kayaking – we saw seals! (but I wasn’t quick enough with my camera to photograph them)


Autumn is on its way


Iles flottantes


Into the sunset


Back towards Rainier


Approaching Seattle


Buzzing the Space Needle 

It’s expensive, but on a beautiful day I can’t recommend this highly enough to anyone living in the Pacific Northwest. It truly was one of the most awesome things I’ve ever done in my life.


Getting Old

It’s my birthday today and Seattle is rewarding me with the most glorious sunny day imaginable.

The long hot summer of 2009 continues its magic, I’ve picked myself some flowers from the garden, and I’m feeling very lazy, very grateful and very content.

Real birthday celebrations are happening tomorrow, so I can spend the day with Minx, and then on Monday both the Husband and I are taking a day off to go on a very exciting hot date, of which more anon.

See you on Tuesday!

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Cute antique milk bottle vase is from Casapinka’s fabulous new Etsy store.