Monthly Archives: November 2012

An Autumn Walk

Autumn is almost over.  A few leaves cling to the branches still, but before long they’ll reach long and naked toward the sky and the wind will blow with a hallow whistle.  With the wind will come the cold and the winter will be dark and damp and will chill us to the bone.  Or that’s what David says, anyway.

As always, I am sad to see the leaves change color and the autumn pass.  I don’t know how I will like the English winter, but thoughts of sweaters and hot mint tea warm my mind and make me feel comfortable in spite of the forthcoming cold.  For now, anyway.

Along with the leaves, I saw this, too, on my walk yesterday.  I pass it often when I go into town and it always makes me happy.  The logo- I like it.  A lot.

H by Hudson: A Love Story

Back in college, I foolishly made the mistake of [somehow] mentioning that a new pair of shoes can truly change one’s life during an in-class discussion on Madame Bovary.  A little hyperbolic?  Yes.  Off-topic?  Probably.  True?  Absolutely!  Nonetheless, my professor never let me live it down.  “How could anyone believe that shoes could inspire such a great change in someone’s life?” he wondered.  Simple: When you’re wearing great shoes you feel great, and when you feel great, great things are more likely to happen to you.  It’s the truth.  Honest.  

Whilst touring through the ancient seaside town of Rye, I came across a terrific boutique called Bird.  What lured me into Bird was the fact that, upon a previous visit to Rye, a pair of fantastic leather lace-ups had been on display in the window and caught my eye.  Unfortunately, the store was closed at the time seeing as it was late in the evening but the image of those shoes stayed with me.  Thankfully, upon my second visit, Bird was open for business.  The shop is wonderfully curated and sells the loveliest clothes and accessories.  Everything from Jonathan Adler candles to cozy knits made my heart go pitter-patter with joy and then, and then, I laid eyes on these boots and within an instant was deeply and tragically in love.  

The boots are by a London-based company called Hudson.  They’re simple, well made, and, after a damp and lengthy walk through London, prove to be incredibly comfortable, too.  Plus, they’re totally changing my life.  Promise. 

Gettin’ My Groove On

Last week, on Halloween, my parents took us to an intimate Colin Vearncombe concert at St. Pancras Old Church.  If you don’t know who Colin Vearncombe is, let me enlighten you: he is an artist who is often referred to by his former stage name, Black.  If you still don’t know who he is (and you won’t, trust), he had a couple hits in the early 90s but his success was mostly in the UK and Europe.  Anyway, my parents are big fans of his.  His music is the music of my childhood and listening to it brings me right back to laying on our living room carpet, wearing a giant yellow plaid dress from The Children’s Place (with a matching headband, mind you), listening to Everything’s Coming Up Roses and literally imagining the world around me in bloom.  It was pretty trippy for being eight, but sometimes music makes you trip out.  You know? 

Anyway, Mr. Vearncombe had a lovely young woman named Liz Lawrence open for him.  She was genuine and sang nice songs.  I liked her voice and, from her overgrown bangs down to the tips of her Converse, she was pretty much adorable. Check her out.

And this, friends, is why I don’t take pictures at concerts:

In other music news, I’ve been listening to Solange’s Losing You on repeat for the last 12 hours.  More specifically, I’ve been watching it on repeat.  Her style is fantastic, the video is fantastic, it is all fantastic- especially her hair.  Her hair is fantastic to the extreme.  I cannot get enough. 

What are you listening to these days, dear reader?   Is there anything out there that you just can’t get enough of?  I’m always looking for something new to groove to, especially now that my studio is almost complete (eeeeek!) and I need something to help me power through the creative-blocks that present themselves when I’m getting work done.  Alone.  In my studio! 


@ Oxford

We spent a cold and rainy afternoon in Oxford last week.  While David ducked into a meeting, my parents and I visited some of the colleges.  The campuses were intimate, layered with tradition, and gorgeous.  It must be so delightfully surreal to go to school there; I’d have to wake every morning and pinch myself. 

The sun sets quickly these days and as the shadows grew, we found warmth from the cold in one of the city’s many pubs, crowded with students and heavy with the smell of beer and cider.  While the city has a strong creative vibe and forward momentum, which is undoubtedly largely attributed to the number of young people that temporarily call the city home, there’s also a palpably deep admiration for the customs of the past.  It’s a good place, Oxford, and I’m looking forward to visiting again. 

@ Bodiam Castle

I always have the best time visiting old castles and my trip to Bodiam this past week was no exception.  All I needed to enjoy my visit was a warm sweater, some waterproof boots, and an open imagination. The views from the grounds and the views of the grounds from atop the castle wall were equally breathtaking and I was filled with an otherworldly joy- one without nagging emails or modern woes- as I roamed the grounds, daydreaming of Bodiam’s finer days. 

Just a note: I will not be posting a Tuesday With Moi this week because I just don’t feel like it.  Okay?  Okay, great. 

Cotswolds Escape: Old Campden House

Whilst my parents were visiting, we spent a weekend away at the Old Campden House in Chipping Campden.  For those of you who are trying to locate Chipping Capden on a map, it’s in the Cotswolds.  Like Gargunnock House in Scotland, Old Campden House is part of the Landmark Trust, which is a wonderful organization that refurbishes old homes throughout the country and rents them out to nice people like us who want to drink wine in a new environment enjoy a quaint vacation in a historic home.  Not only do they rent homes in the UK, they also have some in France, Italy, and the United States.  Though we’ve only stayed in two so far, staying at the Landmark Trust properties are quickly becoming my favorite way to travel. 

The above photo is of the home in which we stayed as it’s viewed from the back.  It is called the East Banqueting House.  Here is what it looks like from the front (say hi to my dad, everyone).   

Pretty regal, huh.

In the surrounding fields were (surprise!) lots of sheep.  They roam freely throughout the fields eating the lush grass and walking past the original Old Campden House ruins like it’s no big deal.  Which to them, I suppose it isn’t.  They are sheep, after all. 

When you rent the East Banqueting House, which can accommodate four with two bedrooms and one bath, you are also free to use an additional bedroom and bathroom in the gate house.   This is great if you are traveling in a group of six and two of the people are totally weird.  Simply banish the weirdos to the Gate House and voila, problem solved! 

Books and board games can be found in the large living area on the top floor of the home so when you finally tire of the breathtaking views (or the sheep), you can attempt a deceptively difficult puzzle, play cards, or read through the log book and giggle at how earnestly insane people who write in log books often seem to be. 

Across from the East Banqueting House lies the West Banqueting House.  You can rent that, too, but it doesn’t look as fun.  This is mostly because it seems to be seriously lacking in windows…
All in all, it was a thoroughly enjoyable place to disappear to for a few days and we had a spectacular visit, which included but was not limited to:
  • Introducing my parents to the wonderful treat that is fatty chips and mayonnaise
  • The best Sunday lunch ever at the nearby Ebrington Arms, which we brilliantly decided to walk to.  We attempted to walk back home, too, despite it being completely dark but soon found ourselves going in circles, almost being attacked by farm dogs and writhing in mud (ahem, dad). All this led us to,
  • Hitchhiking through rural country towns (a first for both me and my mother), and
  • Getting a little sloppy in the local pub.  

Glorious, absolutely glorious!  Oh England, I sure do love you.