I've always had a fondness for hydrangea, particularly the blue ones. Growing up in rural Worcestershire meant we had a large garden, parts of which were filled with hydrangea taller than me and covered in beautiful blooms from June to October. I've often wondered if there is another plant that gives so much for so little? I don't think there is, but if you can give me an example I will be very happy to add it to my garden as well.
Coming back to London after two years in Rowayton, Connecticut has left me pining for the sight of those blue orbs again. Almost every street has a house with hydrangea lining the porch and it was a joy to see. So much so that I have decided to turn my little part of London into a hydrangea haven too. I have already pulled up the grasses that were planted under the window at the front of the house (the neighbourhood cats kept sleeping on them anyway) and in their place planted two neat box balls and three unusual white lacecap hydrangea.
There are more varieties available than you would think. Hydrangea macrophylla is the most well known in our gardens, with the mophead's producing the round globe of flowers and the lacecap's producing a flatter head with tiny fertile flowers in the centre of the cluster and larger sterile flowers around the the edge. It's important to know which you want, especially if you want to use them for cut flowers as the effect in a vase is very different. Hydrangea paniculata produces cone shaped flowers and the leaves look more oak-like. Hydrangea arborescens is becoming more popular, 'Annabelle' is probably the most well known as the white ball of flowers can be larger than an adult human head. I find this variety suffers from droopy stems, although a new cultivar has been introduced to address this problem I haven't seen it in person yet.
For my back garden, I am swooning (yes I swoon at plants as well as handbags, I also experience child like glee in antique shops and get giddy at interior decor exhibitions, it's just the way I am) over Hydrangea macrophylla Endless Summer. It flowers on both new AND old wood people, this is something to be excited about trust me, for it practically guarantees a profusion of blooms from June right the way through to October. The only problem is I simply can't decide, blue, pink or white?
It's official, autumn is here and if you're anything like me this means your quest for the perfect pair of ankle boots has begun anew. Truth be told I started looking in August, hey I have big feet and I get very bothered when my size has sold out. Grrrrrrrr. I have been crushing on Acne's Pistol ankle boots for several seasons now, but I can't swallow the price point, not when I need to get a new fence put up in the garden (oh that's a whole other post because building fences is really just a license to print money) and not when I know they will eventually get trashed rescuing one of my children from a tree/ ditch/ monkey enclosure at the zoo.
There is a lot of choice online and on the high street; I find it's helpful to have an idea of what I'm looking for before I start, for example biker boot or stiletto? Closed toe or peep toe? Leather or well you get the idea, it's not rocket science. If you have thick or skinny ankles pay attention to the angle of the boot opening, a low horizontal boot opening may draw attention to this where as a cowboy style or slightly angled style can work well. Here are some of my favourites.
In the end I was seduced by a pair of mid-heel leather and suede beauties from Anthropologie. They have just the right amount of slouch to dress up or down but it was the sleek, shiny leather and the contrasting wooden heel that got me. You'll be seeing a lot of them this winter, but if you can't wait click here.
I know I've had a good day when my children are not only fed and tucked up in bed by 7.30pm and I have done all the things a mum does and never gets thanked for "oh mummy the bathroom smells wonderful, did you use that new Mr. Muscle bathroom spray you picked up last week?" "Why yes, yes I did, thank you for noticing." Or, "Wow mummy, laundered and ironed! You're the best." Anyway I digress, today has been a super mum day for me because I also baked (cue mock horror from my friends).
I am not a foodie, that's the first thing I have to tell you. My tendency to deviate from a recipe has led to many, many binned meals and flat cakes. If perfection in the kitchen is something you look for I'm afraid you won't find it here... but I do love to make things for my family. This had led to me trying out more than a few of those pre-mix style cakes, brownie packets and pancake mixes. Hey, don't judge, there's clearly a market for them and why make life complicated? The trick is to know which taste reasonably home made and which taste of absolutely nothing good.
So today's experiment was with Betty Crocker's Sunny Lemon Cake Mix, with glaze! I almost stuck to the recipe, I threw in some cranberries at the last minute. It was this simple. Open packet and tip contents into bowl. Add two eggs, some oil and water. Mix. Pour mixture into greased cake tin. Bake for 35 mins. Glaze. Total time taken about 50 minutes. I made it while Bella & Bear were preoccupied with poking at their supper. I'm pretty happy with the result too, a lemon cake that tastes of lemon and is springy to the touch. It looks a little 'canary yellow' in the pictures but to the naked eye it just about hits the 'natural yellow' of a vanilla sponge cake and two slices in it tastes pretty darn good too (the cranberries work fyi). So overall, I think... I love Betty, wink.
I was lucky enough to snag tickets to LFW S/S 2014. So on Saturday afternoon I found myself at Somerset House waiting to see the Ashish show with a lovely friend of mine. We spotted Ellie Goulding, Amber Atherton and Pheobe Lettice from MIC among the guests... well I should say my friend spotted, I walked past Robbie Williams in 1998 and didn't even notice #headintheclouds.
What did we see? Sequins. We saw A LOT of sequins. There were sequins on everything. The effect was similar to what would happen if you gave a group of under-five girls unlimited access to glitter and glue. I mean, they were everywhere... the last time I saw this many sequins it was the 1980's and my face got scratched up as I clung to Mummy begging her not to go out. She was channeling Dallas and succeeding FYI.
Once my eyes had adjusted to the sparkle there was a whole lot more to take in. Tribal accessories in muted bronze and silver toned down the glitzy effect and the clothes were not just distressed they were destroyed. The ethnic look was also mirrored by the make-up, enormous Egyptian style eye-liner swept across the model's eyes and hair was coloured like a spray painted tiger. It was an arresting combination. Did I mention the bags? No? They were cool, but 100% marmite. You're either going to love or hate them, there is no 'meh' here. See for yourself.
For me, the big question when it comes to fashion is 'can I and would I wear it?' If it's no, then it's a fail. Not the case here. Ok, I'm not going to do the school run dressed head to toe in sequins, gauze and a tribal crown but I love the colourful stripes, the chevrons, the monochrome and the urban glamour of it all and did you notice the shoes? Bejewelled slippers, not a heel in sight... slippers at the school gate? Well I can't rule it out.