@London Art Editor @creatingforgood Food + Travel + Art + Notting Hill New Orleanian in London
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What I want to show you is a photo from last night, sitting with my best friends, discussing life as we know it, confounding all of us and making us reach out to one another for comfort about politics, philosophy and economics. That photo would have been taken in the dark, at a messy table, with dessert plates mixed with main course plates and empty wine bottles littering the landscape. We would all be tired and our shoes would have been kicked off ages ago and I would feel guilty about the kids being awake too late and you would see my dad looking up at the speakers in disapproval and an attempt to change their tune with his glance. But that photo doesn’t exist so instead here’s a shot of a neighbour’s house I’ve honestly never noticed before, at the best part of the day ever to hit the neighbourhood, about 5 minutes before that dinner started.
Louisiana porches offer windows into our souls and our being. For goodnight kisses. For dropping off gifts. For good old fashioned arguments about politics and the state of the world today. For too many glasses of wine. For making plans and breaking plans and discovering the things we all have in common and the things that make us so different from one another. The temperture cracks 100 and drops down to freezing but nothing pushes us indoors. We rely on the footing that the porches offer us as much as we rely on the relationships that tether us together. #onetimeinnola
Another shot of the tea set up from yesterday, but this one from a different angle. Showing you, I hope, that the beauty isn’t in a single styled image or one particularly arranged vignette but instead that beauty comes from the passion and the feeling swirling all around. The dozen hands that each made a microscopic adjustment to a tea scene so that it reflected their own passion, their own personality, just so. And the conversations and laughter before and after as women so dedicated to their craft came together to meet, learn, converse and share.
As peaceful as this scene is, it is a few hours and a hundred miles behind me now. At the moment I’m squeezed into a bright red train seat, drinking a fairly bad glass of wine with a man tapping furiously on his laptop next to me. The sun is setting somewhere on my right and shining in a woman’s eyes across from me and even though I’m tired, the wine isn’t very good and the guy next to me is gentlemanly manspreading, I’m filled with joy, optimism and satisfaction after an outstanding launch of the @creatingforgood + @taylors Extraordinary Journey. You’ll have to pop over to the CFG website (link above) for more info but suffice it to say here that it is connecting 8 incredible influencers with the Taylors brand, bringing them though a year of workshops to hone their already impressive storytelling skills and culminating in a visit for 10 of us to Rwanda, to visit a tea plantation and see where @womenforwomenuk and @taylors are both doing incredible work and changing lives. The tea scene? That was styled this morning with the most amazing Taylors tea and Betty’s biscuits overlooking the lawn of Rudding Park hotel just before @jessonthames and I kicked off with a Master Storytelling workshop. Keep an eye on this journey. It’s pretty extraordinary. #cfgextraordinaryjourney
What warms the soul more than a child sharing what she sees in the world with someone willing to listen? Willing to see life from her vantage point? Today is #worldmentalhealthday and this shot is from the @sachajafri exhibit the morning after the auction fundraiser by @saatchi_gallery that benefited the @heads_together campaign. As a mother I hope desperately that my children will always be able to speak to me if things are not “okay,” but I also try to keep them well furnished with friends they can turn to for advice or help when I’m just not the right person for them. I can only hope they always know that it is okay to seek help. That therapy works. That talking it out when things feel hopeless is the first step to pulling yourself up and out of the darkest pain. I’ve done it. I’ve made it. I share that with them so frequently that it is second nature. I tell them - and by doing so remind myself - that things don’t have to be perfect all of the time. Things don’t even have to be mediocre. But life is inherently magical and when it feels dark more than it feels light, that is when it is time to speak up. Find someone. Talk to someone. #itsokaynottobeokay
A lifetime ago I was married. We bought an apartment in Brooklyn. We moved to London when he was transferred for work. We didn’t grow apart....we were never really together. One day we decided to get a divorce. We both knew it was the right thing to do. He was stronger than I was and for that I will always be thankful. Shortly after that decision I had to move out of our flat in Notting Hill. His company was paying the rent and I couldn’t afford it or the neighborhood anymore. Right before I left the area and moved to the more reasonably priced Fulham - a move I will never, ever regret - I looked at a teeny, tiny flat at the top of this white building. Those top two windows there. That was the living room. And kitchen. And there was one miniature bedroom with room for a bed but no nightstands. I loved the little corner it was on, across from Julie’s, next to Cowshed, above Sumerill & Bishop. It was perfect. Except that I needed space to spread my wings. I wanted a proper flat. A guest bedroom with pink linens that no one but me had to like. I wanted a white corduroy sofa and a vintage bookshelf painted a distressed eggshell blue. Of course I didn’t know these things until I trekked out to Fulham and found my place and my people. I would meet Nick while I was there. We would buy a family home. We would have Teddy. And we would leave Fulham to move back to New Orleans. Nick and I live in Notting Hill again now and we walk by this house fairly frequently and all of these thoughts and these feelings come rushing back...sometimes they overwhelm me. Sometimes they just make me giggle. It just depends on the day. It depends on the weather. It depends on how comfortable and confident I am feeling. Today...today was a good day. I appreciate the lessons of my old life and I am thankful, every day, for my new one. I love that little flat that never was because it is a slice of my life at a time that I should have thought the world was crumbling down around me but instead all I could see was the beauty growing beyond collapsing walls.
Food will always be a part of my soul, and will surely continue to encourage me to write, read, travel, share and teach...but it’s time to explore other passions. It’s time for me to share the other part of what makes me, well, ME. I’m thrilled to have joined @london as Art Editor and I’m looking forward to having you along on the journey as I shift my focus away from one passion and toward another. Stick with me though! I’m not leaving Notting Hill and I’m sure coffee and flat lays won’t ever be *that* far away.
In case you are sort of “meh” on this car, or in case you aren’t quite sure whether Notting Hill has up’d and come, or in case you mistakenly thought the lovely houses you so often see photographed in this neighborhood are all luxuriously enormous, let me clear it all up in one photo: yes, you do like the car because it is an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato: one of 19 produced between 1960 and 1963. NINETEEN. So that pretty much addresses point two about the upping and coming of this neighbourhood cause it was just hanging out having coffee yesterday while I walked by lugging my Tesco bags. And lastly the house width being about the same as the length of the car: not an illusion (the struggle is real). So there you go. Your Insta-infogram of the day, and you haven’t even finished your coffee.
Such a soft and quiet slice of life pulled out from the archives of shots from a walk around Notting Hill during an almost too-sunny day a few weeks ago with @blonde_and_bounder. I’m on the sofa right now in a slump with a headache from stress and caffeine and carrying kids stuff all day and worrying about being too harsh and grumpy and not playful enough and beating myself up for being too much of some things and not enough of others. But this simple minute reminds me that there was peace once and peace will come again. And I know that I will miss these days of chaos.
It’s Frieze week and everyone is all artsy fartsy in Regents Park...including me. Notice anything new in the profile? I’m happy to be joining the amazing @london team as Art Editor, and the timing is perfect as we kick off with #friezeweek and all those #peoplelookingatart all weekend. I’ll share more about how this all came about over the weeks to come but right now I’ve got a lot of art to cover. Head over to Stories to see some @Friezeartfair highlights.
I snuck in an early morning run through the still-damp streets of Notting Hill, mentally going though my extensive to-do list for the day while my feet slapped the pavement underneath. My sacrifice was rewarded by this little scene, undiscovered by anyone else at 7:30am and setting a very cheery mood for the rest of the day.
I've dragged the kids around to museums, art fairs and galleries from here to Havana, Saint Petersburg, New York and beyond. I've learned a lot about experiencing art with children. Contemporary art definitely beats classical. Anything they can touch beats anything with ropes up. Bigger is better. If it makes noise that is a huge bonus.
I had the pleasure of attending the @heads_together fundraiser last night at Saatchi with @daveburt and seeing the stunning collection on display with champagne flowing, music playing and a room jam packed with important people. I could tell that the art was amazing but returning this morning with Powers, slightly tired but propped up with a few extra cups of coffee (me, not her) I got to really take it all in. I challenged Powers to pick out shapes and tell me what she could find in the pieces and she delivered. Lots of towers and hearts and rockets and a few cakes and stars. They reminded her of one of her old dreams and one looked like fireworks. Last night was fabulous, it really was, but a fairly empty Saatchi gallery this morning, packed with @sachajafri, accompanied by a 3 year old was magical.
Nick returns from India tonight and my week of single-momming comes to an end. I'm happy about this, of course, but I have to admit to enjoying the peace that sometimes comes with being the sole puppeteer. For instance after 4 days of chaos, this morning I was up at 6am baking Irish Soda Bread, the kids all made it to school roughly on time and with most of what they needed. This is a huge success for me as a mom and I don't mind that it took me 10 years to get to it. In other news I'm beginning a redesign of the blog to better reflect my interests and what I think I can offer up. Recipes will be included, of course, but wIll no longer make up be majority of the postings. Exactly what it is going to look like is something that is going to take a while to sort out -- not unlike figuring out how to get your kids to school roughly on time and with most of what they need...but hey! I did it once, I can do it again! Stick with me and if you are desperate for any recipes in the meantime, hit me up! Have a great weekend everyone. You're the best!
It is a moody, gloomy day in London, but that doesn't stop me from getting excited about the arrival of fall. You would struggle to convince me that there is any place as magical as the UK in the autumn, when leaves start to turn brilliant shades of crimson and amber and the chill in the air rewards you with the smell of woodsmoke drifting through the air as people light their first fires of the season.
Last night's @creatingforgood panel discussion about #authenticity was a tremendous success. Organised by @mondomulia and led by expert panel moderator @jessonthames the discussions were open, honest, broad reaching and insightful. I met so many wonderful people, from agencies to influencers and even better, many people who are interested in and want to get involved in @creatingforgood. We have great things happening and fun stuff to come! I will take a short coffee break this morning but it will be right back to business this afternoon, including writing up the event! Register your email (link in profile) to hear a summary of what was discussed and also pick up advance notice of some other big projects we are cooking up.
I read a quote this morning by the absurdly gifted wildlife photographer David Yarrow that said "if your pictures aren't good enough you're not close enough" and I couldn't agree more. There is something mesmerising about seeing a face, raw with emotion, in the center of a photograph. But for a little bit of fun, taking a snap from a bit further away, and watching, unobserved, as a scene unfolds...well it's no David Yarrow but it's pretty fun. And the chances of being mauled are smaller.