24 February 2009

mothers and daughters

I will be honest, when I have moments like these, when I gently, lovingly rummage 'round my memories and remember unbearably precious and magical times with my mother, then I really do wish that I too had had a daughter. No matter how difficult the relationship is or was, and let's face it, some memories really should be banished forever, a mother does tend to achieve icon-status during the course of any daughter's adult life.
There is, I believe, a subtle difference between having personal style and being stylish. I love personal style more because it's just so natural and cannot be mimicked (as hard as I may try, Mama, I just cannot be you!) - but that's the beauty of it. Personal style is perfectly achievable as it does not really conform to any rules, it's pure you. I delight in spotting people with great personal style; first and foremost because they radiate confidence and secondly it's as if they are carrying a closely guarded secret which they can never reveal. It's wonderful, don't you think?
So today, in a house that is dominated by all things male, I decided to retreat and go wondering down memory lane where I came across some beautiful photos of Barbara, my mum. From laid-back beach lounging, to high-gloss airport lounges, she pulls off all the looks that I love. And here is where I pay tribute to her and her own very personal style. There is absolutely no doubt that I owe my mother everything in the style stakes - she's always been my sole inspiration (circa 1972 onwards, especially the Manhattan and London eras) and I will always keep trying to look even just a bit as good as her. Maybe a little has rubbed off, because I think that it's a daughter's privilege - to carry her mother's style torch through the generations. You see how lovely it would have been, to have also had a daughter?

19 February 2009


Not very glamourous, you'll say. Where's the style in slippers? I hear you ask. Well if you have a wonderfully cosy pair of Birkenstock felt slippers like mine, you'll know where this is going. I know, there's a bit of a felt-theme running through the Style Inside at the moment (not to mention the colour grey!) but it's a long hard winter and trust me, it's where it's at. Grey felt is just one of those lovely components that gives this season a bit of subtle, understated style. And that includes my slippers. By the same token, let's not kid ourselves: a slipper's a slipper, right? Well, yes, but I'd rather loaf around the house with my feet encased in something that looks good, than opt for something highly flammable and the colour of red wine. How about you, do you like the felt clogs or are you more the Marilyn-type, all kittenheels and marabou trim?

17 February 2009

16 February 2009

soft stones

Down by the river, there are piles of stones. Beautiful smooth, stones in the most wonderful colours. Quite a few of them have found their way back to our house and now adorn various corners of the house (coffee table, desk, bathrooms etc). Inspired by these beautiful stones, a rather talented English lady, who by my good luck just happens to live down the road from me, decided to work her magic hands by skillfully felting these stones to create soft, seamless versions of the originals (hidden beneath). I could wax lyrical about the many talents of this lovely girl, and I probably will on this blog, as she does have a knack of coming up with the most beautiful, simple creations. Her birds, for instance - that's another story I'm just waiting to write about. If she lets me, one day I will even try to capture her own personal style by snapping a photo of her as she's cycling through the village or just standing in the crowd - she always looks nothing less than fabulous. Visit her own delightful blog SalcottRoad for a peek at her wonderful collection of creations.

12 February 2009

blue and white friends

I remember a few raised eyebrows and puzzled looks when our wedding list was distributed in 1994. Not from our family, but our friends (some of them at least). It was just not 'trendy' or 'very now'. But we knew what we wanted. We both always loved simple style. My Cornish Blue was, and still is, just as indispensable as the previously mentioned Agatha Christie collection. Not for us the Royal Doulton nor the trendy pieces from the Habitat china collection. My stripey friends have seen me through numerous trends and admittedly, there were short periods of 'I need a break', yet every single time they resurfaced I loved them even more. Here is a perfect example of a classic design that transcends time and is never pigeonholed into any particular 'era'. Not really being someone that goes for shabby-chic or the cottage-look (which is not to say that I'm not an admirer) we always favoured the modern and our homes do tend to look rather minimal, with clear lines. This can come across as hard but remarkably, timeless pieces like the Cornish Blue look even more powerful when they stand on our modern oak dining table. I prefer them there, with a modern backdrop, rather than in a traditional dainty English country kitchen. Ultimately they also serve as 'buffers', softening and warming up the sometimes hard lines of a minimal home. What I so love about design that's this good, is that it looks just as fabulous in a Bauhaus home as it does in Spring Cottage, Devon.

07 February 2009

the divine Ms Christie

To me, nothing quite compares (in the comfort stakes) to curling up on the sofa with my current Agatha Christie. Just saying it makes me feel good: "I'm gonna go lie on the sofa and read my Agatha Christie" - that's got to be one of my most-used phrases. Especially when the winter is long, grey and generally dreary as this year's. Of course I've been reading them since I was about 13 and therefore I've read every single one of them at least 3 or 4 times.... and I'll continue to do so as long as my eyes will let me, that's for sure.
What seems almost as important as reading the endless Poirot and Miss Marple stories, is appreciating the beautiful bookcover designs courtesy of Tom Adams. So inspiring. So stylish, I'm sure you could design a whole couture collection based on the colours of his Christie covers - they are exquisite. Which is your favourite?

04 February 2009


Talent just waiting to be discovered. Jackson Soar is a young London photographer. His main subjects seem to be his immediate family and his vast network of London friends. I love his work.


As a young person I spent most winter afternoons - (always Wednesdays because there was no school on those afternoons 'round these parts) whizzing and spinning round the local ice rink in my fabulous white leather skates. And my jeans had to be worn 'just so' - ie. tight as hell and NEVER tucked into my boots but arranged over the boots. This was of utmost importance. As you can see from the picture on the left, nothing's changed much. Only that maybe these days I have no shame in flashing a bit of red sock to offset the white from the denim. Today's trip down memory lane was thrilling. Not much because of the style factor, but because of the sheer beauty of this wonderful spot that we found, tucked away at the end of the Valle Verzasca. So we really went for it. The ice was superb - fantastically smooth as if it had never been touched. And whilst in my younger years I would casually, cooly skate in circles round and round and round trying to appear super-confident and giggling with my girlies, today was a rather different story. There were 6 in our party - my friend with her 2 sons and me with my 2 boys. On the ice, us six. And nobody else. Ha! We got hold of our hockey sticks and our boys and shot the pucks 'round the rink like rockets. All you could hear were our shrieks. Then we'd stop and just look up in stunned silence at the unbelievable mountains, majestic and menacing, flashing edges of sharp granit through the snow.
After our considerable exertions we thought we'd join the locals in the bar, overlooking the rink - for the second time in as many days sense prevailed over instinct and instead of joining the old leather-faced dudes in a glass of Fendant or Merlot, we opted for hot coffees. Next time, Ali.

01 February 2009

lemonade - with style

Here, in a wintery and very sleepy Ascona (where are all the PEOPLE?), we indulged in an early afternoon coffee/aperitivo with Frau Mama and the children. Mr R and I, with critical London-type-eyes, often delight in the subtle and surprisingly numerous style 'normalities' that this magical living spot offers. Here is a perfect example: a bottle of lemonade, from a local drinks company. Not posh, not fancy, just lemonade. I must apologise for the poor quality of the photograph, but I do hope that it captures nonetheless, the simplicity of a wonderful design.

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