Category Archives: Impressive Things

Once upon a time …

there was a sad, old chaise.

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His webbing had gone, his legs were wobbly and he’d lost his umph. He would need a lot of love to return him to his glory days. But who would care for him when there were new shiny chaises everywhere … ?

Then one happy day Emily Farncombe http://emilyfarncombe.co.uk/ laid eyes on him. She had a vision of a beautiful, reupholstered chaise, with new wood and webbing and padding and fabric. He would be very handsome.

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[ Quick note … soon after Barney was born, I needed a cushion for our headboard (struggling to feed baby comfortably at 4am sitting against an iron bedstead). I’d heard about Emily through friends and she came round to help out and came up with a design for the perfect padded cushion. Sore back sorted. Phew. We chatted lots and I told her I’d searched for years and years to find a chaise. She remembered and when she came across the old chaise she got in touch. Barney and I went to check him out … ]

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Barney sat on him and smiled. I could see Emily’s vision. Yep. I’d finally found The One.

So she started doing her magic.

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And finally he emerged. Handsome, sturdy and very comfy.

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And he looks very dapper with some of Emily’s vibrant ‘patchwork’ cushions on top.

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Emily Chaise Low Res-08

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It’s wonderful to finally welcome home something you’ve searched for over years, especially when it’s something old and broken turned into something unique and gorgeous once again.

Thank you to Emily and her amazing creative skills. Time for a lie down …

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Cakes Glorious Cakes

I love finding out why people do what they do and hearing how they got there. I’m often meeting people, particularly women, who have made a big career change to follow their passion. Not many of us set out at 18 knowing exactly what we wanted to do, or were capable of doing, not that that’s a bad thing. The journey is part of life’s adventure and the ups and downs makes it all the more rewarding when you get there.

Caroline baked cakes with her Gran when she was little and since then baking has always been what she loves to do. So when the time was right she made the leap from a high-flying career at Leeds Uni to set up her own cake-making business, Caroline’s Cakes Chapel Allerton http://www.carolinescakesca.com/.

With Easter around the corner she’s been creating some beautiful cakes that I had the pleasure of photographing. I’m in awe of anyone who has the skill and patience to bake fine-looking and very tasty cakes as I’ve never got close to that level in the kitchen. Seeing her Easter range was a lovely reminder that there are delicious, traditional, homemade alternatives to mass-produced shop-bought Easter eggs.

Tuck in …

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Gallery Time

M and I had a day in London and I finally made it to the Photographers’ Gallery just off Oxford Street. I’ve wanted to go there for ages as it’s the largest gallery space dedicated to photography in London. We tried to visit before but it was closed for renovation so it was very exciting to find it open this time. Sadly, however, I was disappointed. I realised that I’d set certain expectations of what I was going to see but it turned out that the current exhibited work wasn’t the sort of photography that I warmed to. One floor was collage photographs made from torn up magazines, another was photographs of left-overs from meals turned into arrangements. The works were very clever and the artists highly skilled, but the photographs just didn’t do anything for me.

So we headed for a cup of tea to decide what to do next. Tea is always a good idea.

I’d read in the hotel about an exhibition of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition and we realised that we weren’t too far away from the Natural History Museum where it’s being held, so a quick taxi trip and we were trotting in past the huge dinosaur skeletons (they never fail to impress) to feast our eyes on some of the most spectacular photographs I’ve ever seen. There were animals and birds captured in all areas of the world. There were amazing patterns of nature in water and earth and a beautiful macro photograph of cells. Especially inspiring were the winning and commended photographs taken by the younger age categories. One boy in the 11-14 category captured a bird of prey soaring below the faint outline of an airplane and he had also photographed the eyes of a hare peeping out over a snowy bank that made a simple but stunning image. You can see thumbnails of these photos and all the rest here http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/temporary-exhibitions/wpy/category.do?category=20&group=2 but to get the full impact do go and see it if you get the chance (it’s on until March 3rd).

It was a great bout of January inspiration!

A quick iPhone shot of Snowy London…

Blossom, blossom everywhere….

Spring is amazing isn’t it, nature just comes back to life in an astounding way (I think we humans do this too coming out of our winter hibernation and getting a little colour from the sun). I keep having ‘wow’ moments when I see yet another stunning tree covered in blossom and have been ‘blossoming up’ my photos when I’ve been out and about the last few weeks. We even had some blossom in the house this year. Our cherry tree had grown a bit too much so we had a tree surgeon give her a haircut and I brought some of the shed flowers indoors. She looks really beautiful now.

So, a few blossom moments….

Blossom in our garden in Chapel Allerton

Magnolia tree and a NYC office building

 

 

 

 

 

Red blossom and NYC Skyline

 

 

 

Blossom and The Flat Iron Building NYC

 

 

 

 

 

Blossom and a stormy sky at Blenheim Palace Oxfordshire

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go Yorkshire!

A few weeks ago M and I were given free tickets to see Snow Patrol at the O2 (that’s another story) and I’d heard about an amazing David Hockney exhibition that was on in London. So in my usual naive way I asked at the hotel where we could buy tickets…they were nice about it but apparently it’d been sold out for weeks (everyone else seemed to know that). But it’s always good to check and when M found the exhibition online he saw that they’d just released some late night tickets, yayy, so at 10:30 on a Saturday night we trotted into the Royal Academy of Arts to see David Hockney’s latest works, many of which have been inspired by the countryside of East Yorkshire.

I think this is the first time I’ve ever been so ‘wowed’ by an art gallery…the colours looked like they were somehow backlit from behind the paintings and seeing these huge pieces displayed on the vast gallery walls of the Royal Academy of Art was very moving. David Hockney manages to make trees of blue and tree trunks of purple look real. I sat on a bench in the middle of the gallery and gazed at this huge glowing picture, his work is something quite special.

I love trying out new things in life and going to an art gallery at that time of night was new to me (it felt like something that people do in movies) but the real thrill was seeing such a fabulous slice of Yorkshire up there in the middle of London astounding everyone who gets to see it. Go Yorkshire!

 

I Can

On Wednesday I was at the monthly meeting of the Chapel Allerton women’s business group ‘Inspired For Business’ and we listened to a guest motivational speaker called Richard McCann. Wow. I’ve heard many speakers over the years and some extremely good ones, but Richard was truly impressive. His story is very sad, from losing his Mother in horrendous circumstances aged 5 to a violent upbringing by his father to a life full of more tough challenges, but he is an example of what he preaches – Positivity, Courage, having a Goal and Never giving up. Everything he says we’ve heard before but to hear it from a guy who has gone through some truly awful stuff was different to anything I’ve heard or read before. There weren’t many dry eyes in the audience. But there’s no “oh poor me”…he talks about his life with passion and with an energy that captivates the audience and somehow he connects to every listener in his own unique way. Absolutely amazing.

(Richard gives motivational talks to schools and corporates so if you’re ever looking for someone to give a talk to stop everyone in their tracks, see www.richardmccann.co.uk)