Tanner and Lawson





Jane Lewis and Tanya Brett

Jane Lewis and Tanya Brett

Barry Stedman
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Graham Rider


Elaine Pamphilon

Elaine Pamphilon

Shell work by Carolyn Brookes-Davies

Shell work by Carolyn Brookes-Davies

Christopher Brown lino cut

Christopher Brown lino cut

Cire Trudon candle

Cire Trudon candle

Another fabulous emporium in Burnham Market to rave about. Newly-opened Tanner and Lawson is causing a bit of a style revolution in the village. Situated in the Old Forge on North Street, this great Gallery and Interiors store ,is owned by the very gorgeous ( and very knowledgeable) Richard Swallow and John Tanner, whom have backgrounds in TV, film and display. Tanner and Lawson was previously in Columbia Road in  London. They are selling Fine Art, decorative antiques, and ceramics, basket ware, lighting and much more , by many British makers.

Tanner and Lawson is uber stylish and eclectic ,with new things arriving daily. I am coveting rather  a lot that is in there at the moment. (I adore the kilim covered chairs and stools).  They also sell delicious coffee!

Next week their bijou marquee is being put up,( giving them much more space for their wares,) which will be an ever changing gallery space. Just wonderful.

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We are so fantastically lucky to live here in Burnham Market, North Norfolk with its amazing, mostly individually owned shops. One of my favourite places is FOUND owned by Martin Billing, who with his wife Sarah also owns BTOI ( Bringing the Outside In) and Nomad and the Bowerbird on the coast road at Holkham.

Found , which is upstairs above Gurneys Fish Shop,sells a mix of mainly found items, such as vintage signage, glass and china, interior books, and the interesting, the quirky and the slightly mad. The shop has a slightly urbany, shabby chic American vibe and is very cleverly merchandised. This season Martin has sourced some fab Christmas decorations, again mainly from the Sates which is great ,as so many of the shops have the same old, same old. I have now finally stopped buying baubles for our tree; having scooped up a gnome, a mitten,a santa, a bambi, a green welly, two hens, and a truck with Christmas trees in the back this morning.

Do take a look,but hurry they are going fast!

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Christmas at Conran

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I say it each year, but I love ,love, love the Conran Shop at Christmas. This year ii once again doesn`t disappoint. Grab a cappuccino and croissant sitting in the foyer of Bibendum watching the world go by on the Fulham road for a while, then head straight into the Conran Shop. This festive season it is a riot of colour. Pink, orange and neon. Hundreds of balloons and sparkling jellies and snowy white snowmen. Fab.

So creative, so colourful and so, well so much of it. It makes the most terrific impact and all you want to do is spend, spend spend. Lots of fanatastic glass baubles-see above the three I purchased , and stocking presents ( for all ages) and Christmas gifts galore. A true Christmassy design-led, stylish, winter wonderland.I could move in for the season.  Do go!


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Anselm Kiefer








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Yesterday, at last, I went to the Royal Academy to see the Anselm Kiefer exhibition. Better late than never, although it is still on until December 14th.

Anselm Kiefer, born in Germany in 1945, and now living near Paris, (working from an astonishing two acre studio), is one of the most important artists of his generation. His work is epic both in scale and in subject-matter and I for one was blown away. His work, is way out of my comfort zone, although I always love very large paintings. He wrestles with the darkness of German history, unearthing the taboos that underlie the collective past, and interweaving them with Teutonic mythology, cosmology and his thoughts on the nature of belief.

The exhibition features a number of works made especially for it, and one can see the influence of German woodcuts and literature in his work, as well as his homeland ;the Black Forest region in Germany. Through his work, Kiefer struggles to make sense of our passage through life. His thirst for knowledge and understanding provokes the viewer to consider these bigger questions with him, making his work challenging and occasionally confrontational.

I loved not only the scale and the colour palette-mainly neutral, of his work, I also loved the texture of these great pieces. He uses rusting iron, dust, ash, clay, grasses and so on. And although some of these vast canvases could be perceived as ugly, they shout to be heard. Kiefer`s work is fascinating, broad, grand, unsubtle and utterly humourless. I adored it.
The Times said `Be prepared to be swept off your feet`. I was .



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Cool music


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Having just watched the DVD `Grace of Monaco` ( hoping it would work–it didn`t-Nicole Kidman was at her botoxed, wooden worst-the film beyond dire) .I watched `Begin Again ` with some trepidation. But I loved it. It`s a cooky, ramshackle sort of a film, and although no fan of Keira Knightly who plays a slightly twee hipsterish character in it-this soulful, comedy drama touched me. I LOVED the music.I am a big fan of Adam Levine ( Maroon 5-who by the way have a new album` V` just out), and even Keira could sing in that breathy Birdy sort of way. I loved that the streets of New York became their recording studio and I really loved the scene with her and Mark Ruffalo sharing headphones as they walk through the city at night. ..Your playlist says a lot about you….they dance to Stevie Wonder`s For once in my life`.I have almost 3000 songs on my IPad and yes, that song is also on one of my playlists. The soundtrack to this film is now also there. Love it. Particularly `Lost Stars` by Adam Levine

If you, like me, are a fan of a similar-ish film `Inside Llewyn Davis` with the fab voice of Oscar Isaac, `Begin Again` is a film for you too.

Begin Again. Plot:

Seduced by dreams of making it big, Gretta (Keira Knightley) and her boyfriend Dave (Adam Levine) move to New York to pursue their passion for music. However, when Dave rejects her for the fame and fortune of a big solo contract, Gretta find herself alone and far from home.
Just when she’s decided to move back to London, life begins to look up when struggling record producer Dan (Mark Ruffalo) stumbles upon her singing during an open mic night. Captivated by her raw talent and inspiring authenticity Dan persuades Gretta to take a fresh approach to making music and together they transform the streets of New York in to their recording studio, giving their careers one final shot.

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Bah humbug!

My 1960s and 1970s Christmas



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Christmas at Cobblers Cove hotel, Barbados







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Christmas at home in North Norfolk


Christmas cake









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I`m dreaming of a Christmas without Christmas adverts.

One of ( many) reasons we watch very little TV ;bring on the boxed sets and DVDs of films, is that we hate, apart from most of the trash offered,  the advert breaks and the adverts themselves, and watching Downton Abbey last night (no ,I`m not proud), I was once again shouting at the television about the poor, repetitive, very long, intrusive when you really want to watch something, predictably ghastly `Christmas adverts`. I don`t care if it`s John Lewis, Debenhams, Aldi or `your` blooming M&S, I HATE them all. It`s a sign of the times when we revere images of Coca Cola lorries festooned in Christmas lights, and  we get (and people are doing so, I am reading it every day on Facebook), emotional, `shedding tears` over penguins sitting on the end of the bed. I really think there is a touch of Emperor`s new clothes going on here. Everyone is getting on that old bandwagon. Clever marketing it maybe…the `have you seen the new John Lewis Christmas ad yet… I wouldn’t mind if it was good. It isn`t .Same old music, and same old middle England, middle management, politically correct, suburban imagery. Not stylish, not even properly nostalgic, and certainly not clever. Very average. And all I am seeing is the `I shed a tear` and so on. I didn`t. Am I missing something. No, I don`t think so. My life doesn`t revolve around television. I love shopping, but mostly online ( most of our Christmas food is bought in the village) to avoid the shops, the crowds and the whole commercial razzamatazz, that for me, spoils it all.

We all love nostalgic imagery and looking back at our Christmas pasts, and I guess more and more I like to keep it simple. Less commercial. Have ( and use) some imagination please.

I grew up in the `60s and `70s,  with snowy winters, ( always ha ha),Bing Crosby singing White Christmas, The Morecambe and Wise Christmas Show, a real Christmas tree with glass baubles, and a Christmas stocking fit to burst at the end of the bed ( not a rather dubious looking penguin), a few presents under the tree and a `main ` present, homemade ( not shop bought from M& S, Tesco, or anywhere else for that matter) Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding .I used tobe so excited on the 1st December because I could open the first window on the Advent calendar . Now of course it seems to be compulsory to have one full of chocolate, or vast three dimensional affairs with doors that open to a present for each day. What nonsense. I was satisfied with a bit of glitter and a picture of a robin. This is why I think I still try and recreate the same simple pleasures today.

When my son was growing up, we were fortunate enough to spend most years in Barbados en famille, for Christmas and New Year, ( we have now changed the tradition and go in January), so I am sure his childhood Christmas memories are probably more of the sunshiney kind. But we had the same lovely traditions there every year, Christmas stocking on the bed, carols around the tree, we left an apple and a biscuit out for Father Christmas, who of course knew that we were in Barbados, because my son had written to tell him. We had Father Christmas arrive on a speed boat, and we had turkey et al; we just had it in the sunshine. Fabulous.

Before school broke up, I would spend hours making (non-flammable) nativity costumes, being artistic and inventive-not popping to the supermarket to buy a luridly coloured , same as everybody else  has affair.

And now? Well, I make one trip to London as I love going to the Conran Shop to see their Christmas displays, the other store windows I am happy to spy from a taxi, and I can buy a few bits and pieces at my leisure, knowing it has mostly been done online. We have a real Christmas tree, ( and no I don`t spray it with Elnett hairspray like my Mother used to, to stop the needles dropping, as it then smells of…well hairspray, not the lovely Christmassy pine smell). It is choc-full of decorations bought each year since my son was born, vintage ones bought on Ebay, precious delights bought on many holidays-so the tree ( atop which  sits a 1960s fairy ,complete with crepe paper frock, just like the one I had as a child), and it is our story, and as we unwrap each bauble from its tissue paper, we talk about when and where it came from. Lovely memories.  Our house maybe all white, but the tree isn`t, and I am always very proud of it. I make a cake, a pudding and well, everything else. Me, I wouldn`t go to ghastly Iceland or wherever to buy ghastly canapés, encouraged , once again by television advertisements.

I love watching  few favourite Christmas films, White Christmas of course being number one, we love an early morning walk on the beach. We go to the magical Carol service at Waterden Church, and then well its feet up for a few days…And of course I would love proper snow.

We won`t be watching TV, we won`t be going to the sales, and I can promise you that despite all my ramblings I am not really that cynical and non festive!

Oh and one last thing, every child should read one of my favourite books ever. The Christmas Book by Enid Blyton. It`s cosy, it`s Christmassy, it`s also informative.It`s perfect.

And no Coca-Cola, no frozen canapés, no penguins…



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Fabulous interiors




If , like me , you are Interiors mad, here are two books that you should put on your Christmas list. Both totally different , but both really inspiring. I love them.

House and Garden Fifties House captures the desire for the new, innovative design in the post-war consumer boom of the 1950s;one of the most exciting decades in the history of interiors. In this book, Catriona Gray draws on the magazines archive, curating the best illustrations and photographs to show how pattern, home wares and furniture evolved through the decade, and features homes of the key tastemakers; including Le Corbusier, Gio Ponti, Terence Conran, and Hans and Florence Knoll. What struck me is how so many of these designs are so strong now.

Inspired by is a journey taken by Kathryn Ireland and the people and places that inspire her creativity- from rural England, to Southwest France and the US. Kathryn creates sophisticated but welcoming room designs mixing textiles and furnishings gathered on trips to Morocco, France and other international destinations, and her book is bursting with style and colour. I love the insight into each person she features loves and ideas. Fabulous.


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