Friday, 30 September 2011

A Little Bit of Haven in Wales

Hello all!!

This last week I traded the life in the big smoke for a little bit of haven in beautiful and green Wales. In over 20 years in Britain, this is the first time I have visited this wonderful land and here are a few pictures I took at the edge of the Black Mountains in the Brecon Beacons National Park, Wales.

Dusk in Brecon:

9 o'clock in the morning at the beginning of our first mountain hike (we did 2, altogether 13,5 km)

Some of the most impressive architects working around, building beautiful webs. Quite perfect!

Looking down from the top of a hill:

In sync - a happy couple.

Our best friends - trees.

Stylish - wearing three colours so successfully :-)

Looking at the Welsh dragon outlined in the mountains.

Pretty - and pretty blurry in red.

Just as you thought I was only enjoying the beautiful landscape, I was actually conquering my fear of heights. Here is me wobbling on the trapeze. For the whole 2 seconds!!!

And once I was done with the trapeze, I was off on a zip wire. It was the second best thing to flying. One of the most exhilarating experiences I have ever had. I first climbed up a tree, good 20 meters high and then screamed all the way down. The best fun ever!!!

This is me attempting to do a bit of yoga high up in the air.

This week has been one of the most challenging ones I have had in a while. I have finally conquered some of my biggest fears (with a smile on my face, may I add), did things I have never done before, hiked for 6 hours (OK, with 2 hour break), spent time with and learnt so much from some of the most inspiring 10-11 year olds, star gazed and realised and learnt new things about myself.

I hope your week was as eventful and full of surprises as mine was. Here is to a great weekend!!

Red xx

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

I Spy With My Little Eye,... Diversity and Detail

Hello all!

It's been a while since I last posted. Been busy, restless, excited, hyper active, stressed out, ... all of it at the same time! Now that I am back to my senses and I am a bit calmer, I am back in the blog land and ready to go.

I have taken these pictures over the last few months; some in Brixton, some in central, and some in East London. As I have mentioned before, I like to look for detail and for the unusual. Those things inspire me, calm me down and I am at peace with myself when I notice the small, the strange and inevitably, the beautiful.

These are a few things that caught my eye along the way. They are a bit random, just how I feel at the moment. The pictures have no narrative, they are just things that got my imagination going. Make of them what you will, they are open to interpretation. In my mind, they all tell, not one story, but many. Hope you enjoy them (click on the picture to enlarge the image):

I love crockery. If I could, I'd be buying it every day, all the time, all the time. You can never have enough saucers, I say (you guessed it, I have many). This one took my fancy. I was in half a mind to thief it, but thought better of it. Not my style.

Beautiful hands of the most beautiful friend. Her nails are always painted in bright colours. However, she has just started a massaging course, so her nails have to be clean, sans nail varnish. She feels naked without at least toes covered in a funky colour. I agree with her. You won't catch me dead without my red nail varnish (in particular on my toes). Never!!!

I don't have much to add to this picture, apart from,... I love buttons. I am not obsessed by them, I just like a good button.

This picture was taken in Brixton market. Nothing special about it, I just love the colours and the exposition. I am not a photographer, but I do take a good picture from time to time, if I may say so myself.

Aloe Vera - very good for your skin and wounds. You can get it fresh in our market.

This is what was in my shopping basket one Saturday afternoon. Everything a girl needs: a new bright green jumper, aubergines, red peppers, old, Queen tin box and of course, a scary Barbie. To be honest, I have a problem with Barbies from a political and feminist point of view, but I had to have this one. She is a red head like me, a bit tattered and not at her best. I must have been feeling like her that day since I took her home. I am in two minds of starting a collection of demented Barbies, placed all around the house. Well, they are just ornamental, no?

On a VERY different note, here is a picture of a shop in Brixton. The legendary RUN DMC. You can't pass by this shop and not smile (in a sombre kind of way). 

And as Monty Python says, "And now, for something completely different". 

This is my favourite piece of art ever made (that includes poetry, painting, dance, theatre, film, visual art,... anything). It is The Kiss by Rodin. I have seen it many, many times and I am still taken by it like I was the first time I saw it. Tate Modern in London exhibits it in very random, unexpected and I think, wonderful ways. I once saw it right by the entrance of the Book Shop in the gallery. How wrong to keep a piece like this in such a place and yet, how very, very appropriate. I can elaborate on this and write a whole essay, but I'll leave you to make up your own mind. I think a random place is perfect. Time and time again, I am reminded that a piece of art is so dependant on the the context of where it is performed or shown. The two cannot separated. The context is everything. (When I took this picture it was sitting in a room of its own, on the second or third floor, I can't remember. Again, the piece became something else. Definitely more intimate). 

So, this is how I have been feeling like since I last posted. Random, excited, tender, excitable, high, low. One thing is for sure, i never forgot to look for the extraordinary in things, places and people. 

How have you been since we last talked? I hope you have been inspired, moved, kissed, hugged or touched in a kind way.

Have a fab rest of the week.

Red xx

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Pigeons, carnations and lazy Sundays in Brixton

Hello all!!

After a pretty stressful week back at school, my weekend was somewhat uneventful and Sunday in particular was lazy. 
I went down to Brixton for a coffee with a friend and then had a stroll around the market. It was pretty quiet. There were a few people having their lunch in Brixton village but that was about it. Still, there were many things that caught my eye and here are some of them I pictured along the way (click on the picture to enlarge).

This man provided entertainment while we were at Rosie's but unfortunately I had no change with me to pay for his efforts.

There are many wig shops in Brixton market (at least 15) but this one caught my attention because of the sign in the window. I don't know what to make of it :-)

In one of the avenues in the arcade I spotted a bicycle with a rather optimistic message.

Just around the corner, I found a somehwat inticing window. I am only not sure if this "one stop shop for everything" is an advertisment for cakes and church enthusiasts or an invitation for burgulars to come in and take their money.


However, if it is not cakes, money or church halls you need tending to, then you can buy fabulous decoration in the Rejuvenate shop.

Glad to report that Elvis is alive and well and his instruments are hanging at the doors of Brixton restaurants.

Born in Southwark and grew up in Camberwell, Michael Caine also made an appearance in our hood :-)

While the rest of us were lazying around, it was reassuring to see this man hard at work in his shop of wanders where you can get all sorts of different Asian food and while you're at it, you can also buy yourself a bag, a dress or even a piece of jewellery.

And just as you are done with your shopping, you can hop into this salon and get your hair done too. As you can see from the adverts outside, the possibilities to have your hair looking fabulous are endless.

Not only did the Brixtonians need a rest on Sunday, pigeons thought they deserved a break too.

 As for me, I treated myself to my favourite flowers:

Now, back to work tomorrow after a lazy Sunday.

What did you do this weekend? Whatever it was, I hope you enjoyed it.



Wednesday, 7 September 2011

"What's in my shopping basket ?" episode 3

Hello all!

Autumn is upon us and so the new wardrobe comes into play. Scarfs, hats, pretty jackets,... you can be really imaginative and creative with clothes and accessories, (I am the queen of accessories. That is what often makes my outfit). 

So, here is what is in my shopping basket these days.

I saw these in the Saturday's Guardian magazine and knew I had to have them immediately. Thanks to the good old internet, I ordered mine straight away and two days later, I had them! They will go very well with my knee length pantaloons.

The cats look mean, don't they?

Over the years, I have bought and collected many, many jackets. I have learnt that the more you spend on a good jacket the longer you have it (just like good shoes and bags). I now have at least 10 jackets and little coats in my closet and although I might not wear all of them every year, I still go back to them, even the ones I bought years and years ago.
This is a new addition to my autumn wardrobe. It is from a small boutique in Clapham Common in London, called Fever. They have tailored, beautifully cut dresses, shirts, tops, jackets. I find this boutique pretty dangerous - difficult to leave without leaving some money in there. Here is my new treat:

And the last item in my shopping basket is a perfume by Agent Provocateur. I am very fussy when it comes to perfumes. I don't like anything too heavy and usually go for fresh and light scents. Ten years ago I discovered Thierry Mugler's eau de toilette:

and I am never without it. When I first bought it, I bathed in it for days, 24/ 7. Very often I have people I don't know stop me to ask what I am wearing. I still believe it is one of the best things ever invented!!
Finally, I found something that although doesn't match the amazing Thierry Mugler, at least comes as the second best:

I am not sure, but I think it is their first perfume, called Eau Emottionnelle. It feels somewhat heavy on me as I first put it on, but half an hour later, it adopts to the skin beautifully and it feels light and fresh. I am always on the look out for new scents, so let me know what I should try next.

So, that's what's in my shopping basket this week. How about you? What's your favourite perfume, accessory or piece of clothing for the autumn months? Or maybe you just like wrapping up in big jumpers and not really care how you look on a rainy day?

See you all soon.

Red xx

Friday, 2 September 2011

Breakfast at Rosie's and Pedro Almodovar. Perfect Thursday!

Hello all!!

It has been a while since I last posted. I've been away for the last three weeks, enjoying very hot weather (between 35 and 38 degrees every day) and finally I am back in grey London.

First few days I hardly ventured outside, however once I did, I had one of the best days I have had in a long time. 

Firstly, I met a very good friend for breakfast at Rosie's in Brixton. We have been friends for exactly 10 years and we love spending time together. We never manage to just have a quick coffee. No matter how little time we have or how busy we are, once we meet, we stay talking for at least 3 hours. And the talks we have are always inspiring. We usually cover a range of things. Theatre is always on the agenda. Then books, writing and reading, relationships, what we are up to, make up, clothes, people we know, ... the list is endless and very varied.

So this morning we met at 9am for breakfast and coffee. We ordered cheese on toast with chutney. It was delicious and I felt it was quite a treat for me as I never, ever eat cheese on toast (delicious, but not exactly healthy, is it?). The last one I had was probably 15 years ago. 

Delicious, don't you think?

I haven't written about Rosie's before, but it is one of my favourite cafes in London. It has been open for a few years now and the food is fresh and made on the spot in the cafe. The decor is funky as you will see from the pictures below and they usually serve food and drinks in odd crockery (although we did get our food and coffees in the matching ones today). 
We were first and only ones in, this morning and the place was unusually quiet. Very often you can't find a seat. 

Here is the website:

and Rosie's blog which I have just discovered:

The food this morning was made and brought to us by a lovely girl from Slovakia called Tanya. 

So, after a very long breakfast I treated myself to an afternoon movie by my favourite director, the very talented and beautiful Pedro Almodovar. I rarely go to the cinema these days, but I always make sure that I see his work on the big screen. His latest offering is an absurd, strange, beautiful, funny and chilling film The Skin I Live In

I am not a fan of Antonio Banderas, but he is quite perfect in this film. His performance is so precise, measured and confident, I have to admit I was somewhat mesmerised by him. And that's a first!!

I won't say what the film is about as I don't want to spoil it for those of you who want to see it. However, the film stayed with me for quite some time after I came out of the cinema. I do think it is beautiful and strange and funny, but I am still arguing with myself (and him) about the issues he is dealing with. Anyone else directing it, I would have said that it borders on being misogynistic but taking into account his previous films (in particular Women On the Verge of Nervous Breakdown and All About My Mother), I don't think it is. Sexuality and gender are dealt with in a very ambiguous way in the film and so I am not still sure what I think about it. I think I will need a few more days to decide what he did with women in this film as they play a central part but are either gagged, mentally unstable or incapable to act of their own free will.  Two friends are going to see it too, so talking to them will help me come to more conclusions as to what Almodovar did here.

(As an aside, my absolute favourites of his are All About My Mother and Bad Education. If you haven't seen them, I urge you to.)

In his film Talk To Her Almodovar pays homage to the wonderful Pina Bausch. In fact she performs a part of her Cafe Muller at the beginning of the film. In this new film, the work of the amazing Louise Bourgeois is everywhere. Just in that respect, this film is a feast for the eyes.

As you can see, my day indeed was perfect. I also saw someone very special on my way back home, but that person deserves a post of their own, so watch this space.

I hope your Thursday was as good as mine. Did you see anything or anyone inspiring in the last few weeks/ days? Has anything you've experienced made you think for longer than a few minutes? 

Work starts on Monday, so this is quite a good way to finish the summer holidays and welcome autumn back in style.

See you all soon.

Red xx