@London Art Editor @creatingforgood Food + Travel + Art + Notting Hill New Orleanian in London
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‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,' said the Cat. `I don't much care where--' said Alice. `Then it doesn't matter which way you go,' said the Cat. `--so long as I get somewhere,' Alice added as an explanation. ‘Oh, you're sure to do that,' said the Cat, `if you only walk long enough.'
The concept of “home” is featuring prominently for me at the moment. Feeling homesick for New Orleans, beating the pavement looking for a new flat in London, working on my UK visa application (where I have to detail every-time I’ve left the UK - my current home - in the past 2 1/2 years) and the whole idea of where I want my children to feel at “home.” It’s heavy stuff for not-even-the-middle-of-January. I think I’ll take a break and go ice skating today. Want to come?
The @nytimes just listed New Orleans as the #1 place to visit in 2018, the Saints won their first playoff game, and our house back in NOLA was plastered all over Instagram this week. Meanwhile it is a dull, chilly and damp day in London and I am home, sick, and homesick and I’m feeling New Orleans calling for me. I can’t get a Haydel’s king cake here, so I made my own and I am kicking back now with huge cup of tea with extra caffeine, a large slice of King Cake with extra purple sprinkles. It’s a funny thing to have my feet in one place and my heart in another and to have New Orleans cast her peculiar spell over me and call me home. But I hear her. And I’ll see her soon.
I wanted to go with “What enormous shoes?” as a caption but I felt too guilty about not sharing more about @jr....the artist who did this. You know how art can feel boring and stuffy and kind of same-y/same-y? If you want a new take on what makes visual art interesting and ground-breaking look up what @jr has done in Cuba and in relation to the Mexico-America wall. It’s such good stuff. Look up The Picnic, and The Baby and Faces of Havana. And when you are done head to @lazinc_ to check out his brand new exhibition. See you there! #londonart
Children inherently love art. I mean what isn’t to love? The world of art is a magical world full of creativity and illusion. The problem is with us: the adults. If we aren’t being intimidated, we are intimidating. And we take it all so seriously. We take ourselves so seriously. We walk through museums and galleries and art fairs so slowly that the term “museum legs” was born. The words and images and names all blend together into a fog of forgetfulness. C’mon! We can do better! Let’s make 2018 the year we help our children fall in love with visual art and maybe we will do the same. Here are three things to make art appreciation more enjoyable for kids (and grown ups)1. Limit visits to one hour. Kids just can’t take more than that. 2. Using your destination’s website find pictures of five or so pieces for your children to hunt for when they arrive. 3. Once they locate the pieces, tell them an interesting story about the image. (Maybe it was once stolen! Maybe the artist went blind! Maybe there are hidden symbols in the painting!). It’s a tiny bit of research but you will all reap the rewards. || PS Whistlejacket - the horse painting here, was originally intended to also have a landscape behind it and King George II astride it. It was commissioned by the 2nd Marquess of Rockingham as a gift for King George III BUT the Marquess fell out with the king and decided to keep it instead and hang it unfinished. #londonart #prettycitylondon
That’s a wrap folks! It is officially twelfth night. Which means the end of Christmas and...and...and the start of MARDI GRAS! It’s the saddest time of year for New Orleanians to be away from home but with good friends providing reports from the field, @wwoz_neworleans on the radio and daily costuming discussions happening via text and email, I reckon I’ll make it through. And I’ll be there in 28 sleeps so if I can just....hold....on....
Right. So. This is an image by a photographer I greatly admire, of a photographer I greatly admire. And I recommend you check out both of them. But....that’s not why we are here. We are here because @judy.kim, the person in this photo taken by @antonio, is the personification of when fashion meets food (she counts labels such as Burberry, Rebecca Taylor and Ralph Lauren as past employers) and she is finally offering her incredible pie making skills, and instruction, to the public. One-day classes offered Feb 3rd and 4th, downtown NYC. Honestly, if I wasn’t going to be landing in New Orleans for Mardi Gras at that exact time I’d cross the Atlantic for this. I am telling you about this because Judy is a good friend, a creator, a connector and a perfectionist and spending a day with her is going to leave you, your baking and your Instagram immeasurably changed for the better. No promises about your waistline. If you are in or near NYC follow the link in her profile and try to snap up one of the rare spaces she has available!
Just a quick dress rehearsal before the big day. Mezze spread, all made in advance, the Christmas silver pulled out and polished and bottles of sparkling and white Bordeaux to pair with the food. And here’s a little secret of mine: I never go out on Valentine’s Day or NYE. I’ve forgotten many things after spending double digits in the restaurant business but I’ll always remember that those are the two days to stay home. I splash out on food and wine candlestick holders that cost too much and inviting friends over instead and loving every minute of it! Thank you so much to @bordeauxwinesuk for helping me to celebrate this entire season. I’ve discovered so many great new wines with your help!
Back home in Notting Hill this morning and back to routine. We are headed out for a long walk this morning, somewhat of an anathema to my 70-year-old dad visiting from Southern Louisiana and who can’t quite understand why we don’t stay inside where it is warm and cozy. And how and why an entire day’s activity can revolve around embracing freezing temperatures, walking to a pub, popping until bookstore and then coming home again. “Kids these days...” he’s surely muttering into his borrowed wool scarf and brand new down jacket.
24 hours from now I will be on duty as my mother-in-law’s kitchen wench for three days. No breaks. No staff. No glory. But until then I’ll bask in the joyous memory of an incredible Wolseley tea with @siobhaise when the madness of Christmas was far off on the horizon...
Hi! First up, I’ve finally written up Christmas menu ideas in response to the messages that came in after my last food / @bordeauxwinesuk post. It’s my first blog post in a long time and it felt great! (Link above) Also - unbelievably happy with roast chicken and veggies as my Bordeaux pairing this week. It’s so easy, and sooooo good! Lastly...I’ve already got an idea for my next blog post. Three secrets to ordering good wine in a restaurant. I feel the ideas flowing again
Powers is a stickler for detail and needed to be *absolutely* sure the audio guide was referencing the exact same portrait she was looking at. Next shot, if it existed, would be a time lapse of my 8-year-old, spending 40 minutes fiddling with, dissecting and rebooting her audio guide while walking room to room and not once glancing up at the art surrounding her. #artwithkids
I celebrate my birthday for 17 days each February. I start on the 1st of the month and continue until someone delivers me a birthday cake and a glass of champagne. Christmas? Well, Christmas makes my birthday look like a quick clink of the glasses. I start planning as I am cleaning up from Thanksgiving dinner and I run through at least a dozen ideas for meals for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day. Then, of course, there is my husband’s birthday in there and the day my dad arrives...there are many excuses for hosting dinners and I love every one of them! This year I’m working with @bordeauxwinesuk to plan out my favourite meals to pair with Bordeaux wines through the month (I know, I know, it’s a hard knock life). My favourite so far is Beef Bourguinon Pie served with peppery mashed potatoes. This is extra perfect because you can do it all in advance and leave you fully in-the-moment when your guests arrive and you start to pop open those bottles! DM me if you want recipe ideas. I love helping other people plan as much as I love to plan myself. And stay tuned....this is only the first. (This post is #sponsored but the words are so true. Cheers!)
Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol over 6-weeks while taking 15-20 mile walks around London. The book was inspired by visits he made to Cornish tin mines, largely manned by children, and a free “school” set up for the education of illiterate and impoverished children of London. He was appalled by the conditions of the destitute children in society and he felt compelled to take action. He considered writing party pamphlets for parliament but decided that the best way he could reach people, the way he could really make a difference, was by publishing a Christmas novella that would highlight the plight of the poor without alienating the middle class. His book was successful, but so was his plan. A year after its publication there was a notable rise in charitable giving in England credited to A Christmas Carol. Additionally, stories abound about factory owners closing their factory in observance of Christmas, famed authors and politicians giving significantly to those in need, even the Queen of Norway sent gifts to the crumpled children of England after reading the story. I love this story because I believe that we all have it in us to create change. We all have the power to make a difference. None of us should underestimate our power to make a difference. This is important today, as much as ever, as the divide between rich and poor grows and we numbed by the ubiquitous plight of the desperate. I can’t change the world, maybe you can, but probably not by yourself. But we can both make a difference today. Donate your unused warm clothes. Volunteer at a soup kitchen. Give up your seat on the subway. Take time to listen to an elderly relative. Be gentle. Don’t assume the person who cut you off in traffic woke up that morning with the sole purpose of ruining your day. Just take a minute to remember the humanity that unites us all, and take a minute to show the warmth and goodness that is in your heart. It’s there. I can feel it from here. God bless us, Every one!
The first restaurant I ate at when I moved to London in 2005 was The Wolseley. I was immediately smitten - with the city and the restaurant. Over the years it has remained a special place to me, one that conjures up feelings, a sense of place, excitement and dedication. Imagine how pleased I was, 12 years later, to find out that one of the principals is married to an incredibly talented New Orleanian and then to find out that we have friends in common. What luck! Our resulting friendship has given me insight into why I love the restaurant so much. The owners and staff have an unquenchable thirst for perfection, hospitality and creating that full immersive experience that only the best restaurants (at any price point) can create. To top it off, this Christmas they have introduced gift Hampers for the first time - created by the incredible @lgurv - there are a variety of styles but my personal favourite is the one that comes with an actual, well-worn Wolseley tea pot. Bumps and scrapes and imperfections all proudly on display. Thank you @thewolseley for being my favourite restaurant then and still my favourite now. And thank you to @siobhaise for hanging out, styling shots and drinking tea with me yesterday.
Christmas is everywhere you turn in London and @somersethouse isn’t going to miss out on the fun! Insiders tip: go early and during the week to avoid the crowds. Also don’t miss out on the Fortnum’s “lodge” for mulled wine and hot chocolate...perfect for repairing those bruised bums after a day of ice skating. Or ice falling as I usually do. Lastly, as long as you are there make sure to catch the current show at Courtauld Gallery (PS Not sponsored but I’m open to offers )
Sundays are for nourishment. Relaxing. Stopping the madness for a split second and remembering the beauty that is this miracle of existence. Maybe it’s going to church. Maybe it’s breakfast in pyjamas. Maybe it’s appreciating the love and talent surrounding us all by putting down our phones and picking up conversation. A book. A cup of coffee with a friend where you don’t try to shoot the coffee art. Maybe I’m saying all of this because my back and feet hurt from trekking all over Manhattan for two days with a schedule so full of I haven’t had a moment to goof off, shop or take photographs. Today, I just want to stop it all, take stock and appreciate exactly where I am at this exact moment. I want to be thankful for the windy road that has delivered me here. I want to know that I am not going to miss a thing that is happening around me today, in real life. Most of all I want you to have the most wonderful Sunday! You’ve made it through another week and I’m proud of you!
My friend George made fun of me yesterday for referring to my trips to Covent Garden as heading to “the East” he reminded me that it was actually “Central London” and that I was geographically challenged. I argued, because that’s what I do, but I did pull up a map today only to discover that he is.....um....well....I mean, let’s just say he isn’t totally wrong.
I might have accidentally created a theme here. In the days leading up to Christmas I am finding myself enamoured with more and more products that are designed or hand crafted by people I deeply admire. I’ve always been envious of my friends who can make something...a real THING....something you can touch and feel and wear and use. And I haven’t been writing as much lately but I will, before Christmas, put together a list of my very favourite examples of this. The things I know are genuinely pulled together with love, dedication and a genuine vision. Aaaaaaanyway.....today’s thing-made-by-someone-amazing is the gift baskets by @victoireandlou. They are designed and hand crafted by the loveliest Sandrine and delivered within Greater London only. The best part is that they have boxes that are geared toward men, thus providing the equal to the bouquet of flowers to that special Mister in your life. (This one is the By the Fireplace box) This post isn’t sponsored...I just love it and I think you would too. Happy Happy all day long!