Wednesday, 20 January 2016

from scotland to dorset

I spent a few days in Hampshire with family before Christmas. I loved the peace and quiet - time to reflect on the end of the year, to catch up with relatives and to read (Laurie Lee's marvellous Cider with Rosie), which I started a few years ago and left somewhere unfinished). On the 23rd I travelled up to Edinburgh, to spend Christmas with D. and his family.

We made the first of many pavlovas on Christmas Eve - snowy peaks of meringue, topped with colourful fruits.

I gave D. a white truffle from Italy - we shared it with his sisters on Christmas Day morning - sliced thinly and scattered over a steaming pan of bright yellow scrambled eggs. Quite delicious, and we had enough left over to sneak into a dauphinoise a few days later...

The big day went by in a blur - most of the day was spent, naturally, preparing and then devouring the festive feast. Many sprouts and much bread sauce. We played games late into the evening and then fell asleep, happy.

I got some new pyjamas from my parents - completely ideal for lazy Sunday mornings I reckon.

On the 27th we thought we really ought to leave the house. A trip to the Botanic Gardens was in order. The sight of the majestic Palm House always takes my breath away.

Incredible soft afternoon light filtering through the windows.

The next day, we drove up north and spent a couple of days with D.'s aunt and uncle on their farm. I always love heading up to the Highlands - even the long car journey from Edinburgh is magical, past freezing rivers and waterfalls, winding through dark mountains and forests. We didn't sway from our holiday rhythm too much - we went for walks, we cooked and we slept.

The trip back to London was a long one. After a night at home, we jumped in the car and drove down to Somerset. We found time for a quick lunch at At the Chapel, a favourite spot in Bruton, then headed over to a friend's place near Bath for a New Year's Eve party. It was fun, fun, too much fun.

On New Year's Day (both with very sore heads), we set off for Lyme Regis on the south Dorset coast, a place I'd wanted to visit for a long time. The drive took a while - you have to weave in and out of tiny villages, right until you get down to the sea. We'd booked in for three nights at the HIX Townhouse, which is sort of half a hotel - staff aren't always on site and instead of a proper breakfast you get a hamper stuffed with fruit and juice and baked things delivered to your door every morning. We loved it.

Lyme Regis was just how I imagined it to be - charming in character, with lovely, colourful buildings. The high street is lined with many independent shops, including the most fantastic secondhand bookshop. I could have spent days in there with all these Agatha Christies.

We were staying a few doors down from Belmont, a Georgian house recently renovated by The Landmark Trust. It's booked up for most of 2016, which is a shame because I'm desperate to take a bunch of friends there. Have you ever seen a more perfect building? I'm in love...

For lunch on the 2nd, we drove ten minutes up the road to Axminster and ate at River Cottage Canteen. We had delicious things - roasted cauliflower and a very good hash of beef with eggs and parsley. For supper, we'd booked into the HIX restaurant in Lyme Regis, which overlooks the harbour (although it was dark of course so we missed out on the view). More delicious things followed - oysters, fish soup, deep fried cuttlefish and probably the best fish fingers I've ever had. The next day was spent exploring Chesil Beach, a spot I'd wanted to see since reading that very good book.

The entire weekend's weather was quite something - I'd never seen waves so high. (In fact at one point whilst walking along the beach both of us got hit by an unexpected wave and totally soaked from head to toe. Had to spend half an hour in the car drying off and warming up.)

We went to the newly opened Seaside Boarding House for lunch, which was very good. The cheese soufflé in particular. (You hardly ever see these on menus these days. Why? I adore them.) Afterwards we wandered along the beach, enjoying the hazy afternoon light.

The golden cliffs and sandy beaches of the Jurassic Coast made for a spectacular backdrop. We spent one more night in Lyme Regis and drove back up to London on Monday, feeling excited and ready to crack on with 2016!

Sunday, 10 January 2016

in the press... vogue.com 05/01/2016

An exciting start to the year! Thanks to Aimee Farrell and Vogue.com for the wonderful write-up. Read the full article here.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

in the press... homes & gardens january 2016

Yes that's right! It's a dachshund driving a custard yellow convertible. Talking bread sauce and other Christmas wishes in the January issue of Homes & Gardens.

Friday, 4 December 2015

from venice to the kent coast

We spent a couple of nights in Venice a few weekends ago - it was a flying visit - we wanted to escape London and even though we've been to Venice a few times in the past couple of years, we couldn't think of a nicer place to enjoy a few days of good food and quiet rest.

We visited a few places we hadn't had the chance to see before - the Palazzo Fortuny was a highlight, as was the Olivetti Showroom designed by Carlo Scarpa on Piazza San Marco. (I loved the colourful mosaic floors.)

Venice comes alive in the evenings - we drank cocktails at several of our favourite hotel bars. I love the interiors of the Bauer - all dark wood, brass and marble.

Venetian typography - it cannot be beaten!

Ideal colours.

And then, a costal holiday of a different kind. Last weekend we headed east from London, out to the Kent coast. I loved these rows of beach huts lining the grassy shore near Whitstable. (In fact I spent several hours deciding what my own colour scheme would want to be.)

We stayed overnight in nearby Ramsgate, but spent most of our time in Whitstable - exploring and eating (very good calamari and superb sea bass with brown shrimp). I fell in love with the exterior of this charming restaurant. Too perfect!

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

i am listening to...

I'm not quite sure how I managed to miss the release of Charlie Fink's debut solo single back in July, but I've just caught up and I must say, I'm charmed. Watch the video for My Heartbeat Lost its Rhythm below.

newsflash!

Newsflash from LEH HQ! After a wonderful two years I stopped working as an interior designer for Ben Pentreath at the end of October, which was sad in many ways. Excitingly however, I am currently in the process of setting up my own studio not far from my home in North London.

This new opportunity will allow me to concentrate on creating artwork for both commercial and private clients.

At the moment I am working on a bunch of drawings and paintings for the Parker Palm Springs hotel in California.

I will also be offering interior design services. Recently I've been working on the interiors of this handsome Georgian house in the Kent countryside.

The plan is to collaborate with the lovely owners on sourcing furniture, choosing paint colours and so on, room by room. We started in the Drawing Room by painting the walls a deep greeny blue, before having a big new sofa made. It's covered in a heavy mustard corduroy. I absolutely love corduroy. The colours of the antique striped kilim rug we found are just perfect - that burnt orange next to that mint green next to that pale pink. Heaven.

In the near future I will be building upon my small existing homewares collection and launching new fabric and ceramic designs. More about those soon. On another note, my shop with 1stdibs went live yesterday. Do take a look! I'll be making some special one-off pieces for 1stdibs - plates and platters, drawings and prints... Watch this space!

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

autumn diaries

At the very beginning of October, we spent a night at Cliveden House. I didn't think too much of the hotel interiors, but the grounds are beautiful. The views from the terraces are sublime because the Italianate mansion sits so high above the Thames. Also: impressive borders.

Post-Cliveden Sunday afternoon at home. Homemade Bloody Marys and a good read.

Dinner was enjoyed one drizzly October evening at Otto's - classic French food on Gray's Inn Road, of all places. The lobster soufflé was, I believe, one of the most delicious things I've ever eaten. Go if you haven't been, and do your best to ignore the awful signage and questionable branding - the cooking is top-notch.

Ancient Triptych - new work destined for a hotel opening this winter in Dorset.

Early Drawings, an exhibition of fifty five works on paper by David Hockney dating from the 1960s and 70s, was held recently at the Offer Waterman gallery in Mayfair. It was wonderful - I love Hockney's early work and to see so many of his famous sketches together in one place was a real treat.

My murals for the new flagship Murdock shop on Brewer Street in Soho were unveiled. Take a look if you're in the neighbourhood! I created six giant works for the space - they tell the story of a man's day as he makes his way around the city. (Dogs, tennis and cocktails included.)

Halloween arrived on Saturday and D. and I realised suddenly that we hadn't made any party plans, which in the end turned out to be for the best. I'd been feeling a little under the weather and wanted a rest. On Saturday morning we woke early. The weather was beautiful, so we headed down to Spa Terminus in Bermondsey - a favourite weekend early morning spot. I love all of the food producers who gather down there to sell their excellent produce. We bought coffee, flowers and jars of honey and wandered over to Maltby Street. After a browse in Lassco and a doughnut from St John, we settled down at 40 Maltby Street with glasses of wine, a few plates of ham and cheese and the newspapers. The rest of the day was spent at home, watching films and sleeping. Later on we made a good supper for a cold autumn day - crab linguine, rice pudding with jam.

On Sunday, the first day of November, the weather was spectacular again. We hotfooted it over to Hampstead Heath and blew away the cobwebs with a long walk and a stroll around Kenwood House. It was heavenly - grey mist rising from the ground, shafts of early morning light - clear and pale gold.

Lunch was brown shrimp on toast and pork chops at The Horseshoe on Heath Street. Next door to The Horseshoe sits Louis Hungarian Patisserie - I hadn't really noticed the place before but its pink and red cake boxes, lined up on shelves in the windows, caught my eye as we left the pub. Of course, I immediately had to run in and buy an éclair. Louis is a tea room as well as a shop and the 1960s interior is quite brilliant - my heart glowed at the sight of faded panelling, olive leather banquettes and patterned carpets. This, combined with those perfect pink and red cake boxes and the Hungarian owner (he likes to park his blue Rolls Royce out the front), brought only one thing to mind: Mendl's! I reckon this place is about as close as you're going to get to Wes Anderson's fictional bakery.

Monday, 2 November 2015

in the press... house & garden november 2015 and domino magazine 14/10/2015

Read the full article here.

Thanks to Domino Magazine for the wonderful feature on our home. Read the full article (including an interview with me) here.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

i am listening to...

Julia Holter's fourth album is a gorgeous, elaborate, sparkling triumph. As we slip slowly into autumn, Have You in My Wilderness is the perfect record to get thoroughly lost in. It's a theatrical and majestic and utterly lovely affair, and amongst the dazzling orchestral arrangements and icy electronics, Holter's haunting vocals steal the show. My favourite track is Sea Calls Me Home.

Thursday, 24 September 2015

three weekends in late summer

It's been a busy (but very exciting) time recently, with new projects starting life left, right and centre. We've also been out of London for several weekends in a row: at the end of August we spent a weekend in Cambridge - we were staying with D.'s old school friend Dmitri who after many years of studying and work, was getting ready to move to Oxford. We arrived at midday on a Saturday and spent a few hours drifting through colleges, chapels and cloisters, Dmitri telling stories along the way.

The afternoon was spent punting on the Cam. I, funnily enough, had never punted, and I took to it like a duck to water, I truly feel. We made our way merrily down stream, sunlight bouncing off the water, taking it in turns to punt, eat strawberries and drink a good bottle of German wine.

We had supper in Dmitri's college on Saturday night (candlelight, silver, Sauternes) and on Sunday we walked along the river to Grantchester, a nearby village, for lunch. Afterwards we spent a few hours exploring the Fitzwilliam Museum (total heaven!), before getting caught in the rain on our way to the train station.

The following weekend we travelled up to Edinburgh to see D.'s family and to have some fun at the annual festival. We saw funny theatre and acrobatics and lots of other things, but most of our time was spent at home with the poodles, enjoying platefuls of belated Birthday cake, expertly made for me by D.'s wonderful sister.

A week later we were in Oxfordshire for a fabulous wedding party. It was lots of fun. On Sunday (with terrible hangovers) we headed over to The Wild Rabbit in Kingham for lunch (fish goujons, delicious roast lamb). I highly recommend this place, with its adorable rabbit logo (illustrated by Hugo Guinness). We pottered around nearby Chipping Norton, darted in and out of antique shops, then drove over to Hidcote Manor Garden, a place I'd read about on our way to the party. Hidcote is one of the best-known and most influential Arts and Crafts gardens in Britain, with its linked 'rooms' of hedges, rare trees, shrubs and herbaceous borders. The whole experience was utterly, utterly delightful. We strolled through the garden 'rooms', afternoon light filtering through the leaves, an early autumn chill just notable in the air, quite delirious to be amongst so much beauty.

I loved this set of croquet mallets, found abandoned on the edge of a lawn.

D. with a perfect pavilion poking out from behind a hedge.

We were with our great friend (and D.'s business partner) Charlotte, who had never been to Chipping Campden, which sits just down the road from Hidcote. It was lovely to be able to show her this beautiful old market town with its elegant terraced High Street and honey-coloured limestone buildings. Total bliss...

As for those new projects, more updates to come!