Gerald arrived exactly when she asked him, and he brought a very beautiful fern as a present. “I didn’t know what you’d like,” he said, “but I’ve never liked cut flowers myself, and there wasn’t much choice of things in pots. It’s funny,” he went on, as they tramped up the stairs to her room, “but I kept wanting to bring you a cat as a present. Then I thought you might have one anyway. Have you?”

She said no, but she missed having one. “I haven’t got a garden.”

Casting Off by Elizabeth Jane Howard. The start of Polly and Gerald in post-war London with ferns, kedgeree and dark green walls.



Mannheim Baroque Palace, home to the Wittelsbach dynasty, one of whom married Napoleon’s niece and adopted daughter, Stephanie.


The enfilades of state rooms are half high Baroque and half Biedermeier, united by the central Ritterssaal (Knights Hall), with chandeliers and statues a go-go.


Minimalism is not encouraged, but it did stay my Vienna cravings.


July 2017.

Rural idyll


As most bank holidays involve a trip out of London but I chose to stay at home for this one, here’s a final shot from the previous one. Bosham church, Easter, 2017.



Seeing this a few weeks ago was an eye-opening experience. I’d go again soo , despite the queues. And how clever of the RA to recreate the cultural appropriation by the Bolsheviks by covering over the Angelica Kauffman roundels in the entrance hall and replacing them with Constructivist imagery. Thank you Becca for taking me and being guide.

photos March 2017.

Simple things

img_2493Simple Things is a series on a former Blog of the Week, Reading My Tea Leaves. I do like a good house tour, and positively welcome dark nights so I can see other people’s sitting rooms looking cosy when I walk home.


Reading My Tea Leaves features an awful lot of white and beige, which isn’t my thing, although this cabin did rather catch my fancy. I found it interesting, therefore, that the first in the Simple Things series was the much more colourful Frolic blog, featuring Chelsea’s travellings and eventual settlement in Lisbon.


The play of light on the marmalade pot and check tablecloth, the spray of bright flowers against a tile splashback  or the colour of a fried egg against a plate really are the simple good things for me.


For more, Chelsea’s Instagram is here.

Blog of the week

I actually came across Ed on Instagram and via his savoury lunch posts, but as befits a Great British Bake Off contestant his blog (The Boy Who Bakes) is a detailed survey of some highly technical patisserie making.


Luckily amongst the detail are plenty of recipes you can make at home. All photos are from Ed’s blog and cover the pistachio and pomegranate cake, bergamot and gin bundt cake


and espresso and cocoa nibs banana bread. Yum.