Monday, 31 October 2011

pigeon pests

ready lads...CHOCKS AWAY!
spotted on a recent trip to Sainsburys in Ladbroke Grove....those pesky pigeons! and one of them looks like he's going in for a peck to eat out of Tom Dixon's new gaff - not sure when (or if) he will ever move in but i would kill for a look round once its completed!
the water tower that Tom Dixon is converting into his home
is this a tin of food i see before me?

The Black Feather

The Black Feather, 2011
yesterday i visited the Affordable Art Fair Hampstead and i am now the proud owner of this stunning Lee Madgwick (oil & acrylic on canvas) painting.  i can't quite believe it as i have been wanting one for a while now and missed out getting the one i wanted at last year's AAF.  all thanks to the brilliant Own Art scheme which allows you to spread the cost of your payment and take the piece home with you straight away (and who i am now indebted to for the next few years!).  the painting is just breathtaking - photographs do not do it justice - the haunting light, the beady eye of the crow following you around the room and the detailing on the trees and blades of grass - like an intense acid trip.  its certainly not to everyone's taste (my folks will no doubt hate it) but i love it and am feeling quite emotional that its actually mine to look at every day.  funnily, i have just realised that on the walls that face me as i sit on my sofa i have three paintings of an abandoned sofa, a tower block and a dog (not on a string admittedly) starting to wonder whether your environment affects your art choices in any way...hmm...what do you think?!

the painting in situ...
one day i do hope to own another Lee Madgwick painting - i love the buildings - here's the one that got away....
The Stork Won't Talk, 2010
 check out more pics of his work here.

weekend in Norfolk

am a bit late in posting about last weekend's wonderful trip to Norfolk.  i went to stay with friends Emma, Percy and their two lovely children Rex and Greta (not forgetting the terriers Pinky & Bunny and 6 month old lurcher Agostino) at their beautiful home Plumstead Hall Farmhouse near the North Norfolk coast.

the UEA campus...sort of reminds me of Trellick!
i took the train up to Norwich on Friday so that Emma and I could visit her old uni EA where she studied art.  she had the chance to show me around her old stomping ground, including a trip to the student shop, where i half expected to see a sign outside reading "no more than 2 non-students in this shop at one time" - it felt quite odd being surrounded by students buying pot noodles and booze as we stocked up on fags!
Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art

the main reason for the visit though was to go to the fabulous Sainsbury Centre for Visual Art (building designed by Norman Foster) which holds Robert Sainsbury's collection - with works by artists such as Henry Moore, Alberto Giacometti and Francis Bacon, alongside ancient and tribal art from around the world - truly amazing.
trying on some Icelandic whale-bone glasses!
after spending a few hours pretending to be (mature) students we headed home to Plumstead and had lots of fun with the children and a slightly (understatement) boozy evening - thanks to a mixture of black vodka i had brought from London and Percy's home-made sloe gin.
fitting in with the locals!
mein hosts!
Percy - jam-making at the Aga
since moving to Norfolk Greta's teeth seem to have taken a turn for the worse!
Rex and his new best pal Agostino...bless!
THAT home-made sloe-gin!
the next day Emma took me to the local village to visit the shop run by a mohican-haired & pierced punk (slightly out of place in the middle of nowhere) for some locally picked mushrooms and home-baked bread and then to meet Percy & his cousin Jake (who had been playing golf while i was feeling sorry for myself with a hangover from hell) for a delicious lunch at the Wiveton Bell.  after lunch we took the dogs for a walk at Blakeney Point - famous for seal-watching - tho i did give them a bit of a hard time because though the sea was in the distance over the marshes, i didn't actually get to walk on a proper beach - so they promised a trip the to the seaside the next day!

Blakeney Point
on the way home we stopped at the cutest little Wiveton Farm Cafe but it was closing so will have to save that for another trip, and we went on to Stiffkey Stores for some tea and cake before stopping for a stroll around the ruins of 15th century moated Baconsthorpe Castle in the beautiful evening light. 
Baconsthorpe Castle
the gatehouse entrance

as promised, the next day we visited the Norfolk coast at Cromer - home of the famous crabs - and of course we had crab sandwiches for lunch before doing a bit of beach-combing. on the way back we watched the fishermen bringing in their catch and Percy managed to buy a freshly caught bass for dinner - which you can read all about on the Plumstead Hall Farmhouse blog. 
Cromer Pier

crab sarnies for lunch!
me - bending down between the bars - check out the face on the woman behind me tho!

Percy purchases some fresh fish for dinner
then it was home time for me so i caught the train back to London - it took far longer getting back (4+ hours compared with the hour and half it took to get there)  due to the usual National Rail shenanigans (engineering works) but the views were stunning and i was in no hurry to return to the bustling city.  i had such a lovely time and can't wait to go back as there's lots more to see and do and the Stilwells certainly made me feel right at home in their lovely farmhouse - which bodes well for their new b&b business - I would highly recommend it - but you'll be fighting the friends for a room as they're very popular hosts!

Monday, 17 October 2011

Ernő Goldfinger

my view of Trellick Tower from Feb 2010
Ernö Goldfinger
so, most people who know me, know that i am slightly obsessed with Ernő Goldfinger 's brutalist beauty Trellick Tower.  this 31 story high rise block of flats, built in the '70s, is seen by some as one of London's much loved landmarks and by others as a concrete eyesore - but for me its definitely the former. when coming home from a trip out of town its the sight of this crazy boxy building that lets me know i'm nearly home and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, especially when backed by a glorious golden London sunset.  i couldn't imagine living anywhere that i can't see Trellick in the distance and dream of having an even closer view one day.
2 Willow Road (all photos courtesy of National Trust)
i have been meaning to visit the home of the Goldfingers' at 2 Willow Road in Hampstead for quite some time now so was glad to finally make the trip this weekend.  thanks to the National Trust this beautiful modernist home, designed by Ernö Goldfinger for his family in 1939, has now been preserved as a listed building and its open to the public (between March and October).  i highly recommend going along to enjoy both the forward thinking architecture and beautifully functional interiors, as well as the impressive modern art collection (including pieces by Bridget Riley, Max Ernst, Man Ray and more).
view of the dining room and some of the wonderful art...
originally Ursula's studio (with stage)
the stage, folding doors to reveal the living room.... the living room would have looked with all the windows open...heaven
the use of colour, materials and flexible spaces was all truly inspirational - it may not be the cosiest of family homes but i could move in here in a heartbeat as i fell in love with all the built in storage and folding walls - to say nothing of the glass, glass, glass everywhere - so that the rooms are bright, warm and afford amazing views of Hampstead Heath (tho admittedly the view is considerably reduced compared with when the Goldfingers lived here).  the tour guide we had (Martin) was fab - very informative about the house design, the art and giving us the odd tidbit about the Goldfingers' social life and artist friends - how Ursula catered dinner parties in the tiny kitchen i don't know, but being the Cross & Blackwell heiress, it was a nice touch to leave a tin of C&B soup out.  also loved the children's room (it could be partitioned into 3 rooms for the 2 children and the nanny) which contained a small doll's house that Ernö made his daughter - but, it being a modernist version, she apparantly wasn't too thrilled about with the result - i'm sure she had something more traditionally pretty in mind!
Goldfinger Two by Peter Wylie
i fell in love with this painting of Balfron Tower (precurser to Trellick) by  Peter Wylie which is now permanently on display in the spare bedroom, tho naturally i would prefer to own one of the Trellick paintings...i love 5 & 6!
Goldfinger Seven
Goldfinger Three
Goldfinger Six
Goldfinger Five

mattress update

watchoo lookin' at willis? spotted on (Foghorn) Leghorn Road, NW10
some recent spottings in the local area....
sunny sunday afternoon on Ridley Road, NW10
on the way to work on Furness Road, NW10
 and one from westside spotted by Charlotte Tapper - thanks!
spotted on Leysfield Road, W12

Monday, 10 October 2011

even better than the real thing...

ok...maybe not really...but this little beauty will be keeping me warm over the coming wintry months (having lost one of my two downstairs radiators in the recent kitchen/living room revamp).   you can run it with the light only or with heat as well and if i can just disguise the tell-tale plug chord i can imagine i have a proper cast iron stove! 

and here it is in action later this evening....mmmm....cozy!

Sunday, 9 October 2011


i adore this fox print from Sara at Bark Decor. 
and check out this fab foxy tattoo (from here)
which reminds me of this Martha Fox cushion
and this amazing jumper (spotted via design is mine).
haven't seen many foxes about lately..can't blame hibernation as red foxes don't - guess i just haven't been out on my bicycle at dusk much lately and they can't get into my garden anymore.