Face Contour Palette

I have never bought anything from QVC before , but I guess there is always a first time!

I am now the proud owner of a Doll 10 Face Contour Palette and it is fab!!!

The palette consists of 2x Blush, 2x Contour, Highlighter, and Bronzer , and all are a lovely fine powder in soft colours, so you don’t look over-made up and stripey in the extreme. Less is more most definitely. There is also a wonderful blunt cut contouring brush that comes with it. I highly recommend it!

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Art Fest

Yesterday I hotfooted it to London to see the latest exhibition at The Royal Academy: `Painting the Modern garden: Monet-Matisse`.This ravishing exhibition which displays more than 120 artworks, examines the role gardens played in the evolution of art from the early 1860s through to the 1920s.

`It traces the emergence of the modern garden in its many forms and glories as we take you through a period of great social change and innovation in the arts. Discover the paintings of some of the most important Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and Avant-Garde artists of the early twentieth century as they explore this theme.`

Monet, arguably the most important painter of gardens in the history of art, once said he owed his painting “to flowers”. But Monet was far from alone in his fascination with the horticultural world, which is why we will also be bringing you masterpieces by Renoir, Cezanne, Pissarro, Manet, Sargent, Kandinsky, Van Gogh, Matisse, Klimt and Klee.For these artists and others, the garden gave them the freedom to break new ground and explore the ever-changing world around them. Highlights include a remarkable selection of works by Monet, including the monumental Agapanthus Triptych, reunited specifically for the exhibition, Renoir’s Monet Painting in His Garden at Argenteuil and Kandinsky’s Murnau The Garden II.I personally loved Spanish artist Joaquin Sorolla painterly works, particularly what is deemed his greatest painting: his portrait of `Louis Comfort Tiffany`; blowsy yellow and white and blue flowers , his white suited subject, and the violet-blue waters of Long Island Sound as a backdrop.I loved one of Claude Monet` s less obvious paintings: Mereno`s Garden at Bordighera,( in Italy) with its exotic planting, and Childe Hassam` s gorgeous `Poppies on the Isles of Shoals` , ( a group of islands off the coast of Maine), has led to me to seek out more information about this glorious place and buy a copy of `An Island Garden` by Celia Thaxter, whose garden on the island of Appledore it depicts. Childe Hassam also illustrated her book.The exhibition is on until April 20th. So plenty of time to see it-but do book a ticket before you go.

After a brief respite in the form of lunch with my son at a favourite place-Cecconis in Burlington Gardens, ( near to the RA and also Sothebys where he works).It is always busy and buzzy with delicious food. The Maitre`D told me that they are doing 400 covers at lunch at the moment-amazing…delicious Daniele ham and Gnocci, and divine grilled Pulpo , accompanied a welcome glass of Gavi.

Tom then took me to see the Picasso artworks from the collection of his grand daughter Marina Picasso which is being auctioned today. I am a huge Picasso fan and it was also good to see some of his ceramics:I loved the fishy plates!

There was a sale going on while we were there and after a quick peek I was taken to see a few of the artworks going up on the walls ahead of next Wednesday`s ( Feb 10th) Contemporary Art Evening Auction ( watch it live online), I loved the Frank Auerbach, and the Damien Hurst butterfly artwork ,( the design would make a great scarf). But the fabulous Lucien Freud`s `Pregnant Girl`, took centre stage. Sensuous and beautiful, and full of emotive depth, a private and slightly vulnerable view, it portrays his lover of the time: Bernadine Coverley pregnant with his daughter Bella.

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Claude Monet

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Joaquin Sorolla

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Childe Hassam

 

Celia Thaxter`s garden today

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Cecconis

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Auerbach and Hirst

Lucien Freud

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Leah Nobel

I have just discovered the wonderful voice and haunting songs of Leah Nobel. Mesmerizing audiences with her somber and subtle artistry, award-winning singer/songwriter, she fuses pop and folk to create a timeless and cutting-edge sound. A Phoenix, Arizona native, Leah currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee .Leah’s passion for music began at a young age, as her parents sang folk songs and nursery rhymes to her before bed. She danced around the house listening to artists like The Beach Boys, Paul Simon, and Abba – whom she credits for giving her an early attraction to well-crafted Pop music. As a child, she expressed her creativity through musical theatre and choir, but it wasn’t until her teen years that she discovered an inner passion: songwriting. While listening to Folk/Pop artists that belonged to the Hotel Cafe scene in Los Angeles, Ingrid Michaelson, Joshua Radin, Alexi Murdoch, and The Weepies, she absorbed a unique musical style that funneled into the music she creates today. Prompted by the encouragement of her guitar teacher and with little formal training, Leah wrote her first song. What first started as an experiment, lead Leah to find her calling. In 2009, Leah was given the opportunity to record her music with musician and producer, Mark Prentice in Nashville, Tennessee.  Mark and Leah had an instantaneous connection and he produced her first three projects. She describes the experience as “serendipitous.” Leah learned to tap into her creativity by writing music about personal experiences .

“Music fuels me,” says Leah. “And writing songs is one of the most satisfying creative outlets for me. I love that music can be a friend when you’re lonely; a soundtrack to when you’re happy or in love, and outlet of expression when you can’t find the right words yourself. I love that I can walk into a venue to a room full of strangers, play some songs, and then suddenly we’re not strangers anymore” .

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Lace-up Ballet flats

I spied these fab black lace-up ballet flat shoes on Pinterest, I just love them. They are from Aquazurra and come with a whopping price tag of £415!

Luckily for me I also spied on the GAP ( and just arrived) a very similar pair. Not in black sadly, but in a lovely nude colour which actually being a `non` colour sort of `loses` your feet and ankles a bit; if you know what I mean. My pair arrived yesterday. They are just fab. Oh and only £24.95 too!

PS. They also come in denim and old gold as well.

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Garden Magic

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Harry Cory Wright

 

The most lovely book was awaiting my arrival home from the Caribbean . Garden Magic by the revered George Carter , with beautiful light-filled photographs by Harry Cory Wright, who of course I know, as he lives in the same village as me here in Burnham Market.

George`s garden in Norfolk is a contemporary version of the 17th century formal gardens that he admires so much. A theatre of green, of rooms and enclosures, and overflowing with witty ideas that would embellish and enhance every garden, such as George`s wonderful signature gates made from old garden tools set into a simple timber frame.

In this book, George describes in detail not only how he made this garden, and his thinking behind it, but he also shows not only how to apply the principles of formal garden design to your own garden however small, and he suggests ways to use your imagination to turn simple things that can be found in car boot sales, plumbers merchants and garden centres, into something special. Never underestimate the power of  a coat of paint!

I love that  his garden `rooms` and vistas are framed with planting , and trellis and fence posts and gates, inviting you to walk further into the garden. A simple idea but one that he does with verve and relish. I love his stylish planters and seating too. They make a statement, and are decorative, but have clean lines, but are bold, proving that ornament in a garden, from the largest pieces of sculpture to the smallest of decorative objects has always been important in history.

This book is a must-buy as it not only looks very special, it is an inspiring read. It is brimming with lovely ideas to make the ordinary into the extraordinary.

 

 

 

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A month in Barbados

So we have been thoroughly spoilt. Our usual fortnight sojourn to Cobblers Cove Hotel in Barbados in January was extended to a four week stay, as we joined my family there in December for Christmas and New Year. I never tire of the island, in fact you have to drag me home. I have been going there each year since 1992, so feel very at home. We love the place, we love the climate and we love the people. This holiday had many highlights; there were inevitably the not so good as it should be moments too, but my photographs tell it all. We had the most wonderful time. Here are my most favourite bits….

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The Hotel ;Cobblers Cove. Camelot.

The stylish interiors at Cobblers Cove. So pretty, colonial with a touch of 1970s Caribbean chic…

The wonderful food at Cobblers Cove Hotel…sea food, fish and fruit galore!

The amazing tropical gardens at Cobblers Cove Hotel…

Christmas and New Year with the family…

 

 

The fantastic Lone Star restaurant. The ONLY place to eat on the island. We LOVE it!

The wild east coast of the island. We always go to Bath beach to collect shells and sea fans…

Meeting the Prime Minister, The Rt.Hon. Freundel J. Stuart at his reception at his home Ilaro Court…

 

We  chartered the fabulous Silver Moon catamaran for the day with a group of friends…

The most beautiful wedding for our friends from Norfolk…

Our friends…

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Bella Milano

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A walk around the Piazza del Duomo. pink-hued buildings, Campari and cicchetti in what was to become our `local` bar, and swooning at the gigantic Christmas tree.  The Duomo is the most magical Cathedral I have ever seen; marble and arches and spires and gargoyles; a gothic masterpiece that took almost six centuries to complete.

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Friday night .The fabulous Trattoria Arlati; a 20 minute taxi ride. Opened in 1936 ,and still owned and run by the same family, serving local Milanese food and Lombardy wines and Prosecco to large tables of well-heeled Italians. A great find, oh and live music too.Loved it. A late, late night.

Saturday morning food market in the Piazza. Bought the biggest green olives in the world, a wooden Pinocchio for the Christmas Tree and Panettone. Stalls piles high with cheese, marzipan fruit, chillies, panini galore and plenty of pig, and a disgruntled looking boar!

The fabulous Fondazione Prada. A gold leafed building, bling at its Italian best.Wacky, wonderful,odd, strange and fabulous art in the most stunning setting. Attention to detail was incredible, and even the staff wore Prada. Cool Café too. A must-visit.

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Dinner at the famed Rebelot del Pont, a stylish ,small tasting plates bistro in buzzy Navigli by the canal.

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Stylish window dressing in Milan stores…blue, blue skies, Christmas decorations, beautiful architecture and trams….

 

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Sunday morning in the Piazza del Duomo, the annual parade after Mass to celebrate the fallen of the Alpini regiment.

Art galore at Palazzo Reale and Museo de Novecento ( Monet and Fontana)

Lunch outside..a trio of pastas and Tirimisu

So to bella Milano, a surprise Christmas present for my husband and son, that nearly didn’t happen due to the traffic coming to a standstill for one whole nail biting hour this side of Newmarket. As one who travels frequently I knew to give ourselves that extra hour as well. Thank goodness, and we arrived at Gatwick with time to spare. A quick flight despite the short delay due to the inevitable `nebbia` (that`s fog).It`s a Milan thing.

Milan was busy festive, cold ,but withthe bluest of skies and bright sunshine. Perfect for lots of walking….With only a long weekend to explore,I had planned it all very carefully..chilling out time, sitting in cafes time, a couple of galleries(wow), and two special places to eat. The Italians talk more than me (ha ha), wear black, Moncler down jackets, fur coats, designer handbags, a surprising amount of `70s flared Max Mara trousers, and the handsome older men sport cashmere scarves and full length Loden coats.

I loved it all. And the photographs above say it all….

 

 

 

 

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