Wednesday, 29 February 2012

On Primrose Hill can see across the London skyline, and what a view when the sun is high and bright.......

It was a sparkling morning.  You could see around the edges of the blinds that the sun was high and bright.  We rolled them up and greeted the day. Then scrambled some eggs in butter, adding fresh parsley, criss-crossed some grilled streaky bacon, and toasted slices of solid french loaf from the little organic store.  We brewed a couple of Yorkshire Teas then chatted about the stand-up show the night before, at the Sir Richard Steele pub on Haverstock Hill.
I said I was glad to have discovered the young Norwegian comic, Daniel Simonsen, with his straight fringe pressed hard against his forehead and how his awkward humour reminded me of Woody Allen in stand-up, but with the addition of cartoon-like expressions that erupted onto his face, that made me laugh.

We got out, and strolled up the gentle slope from Chalk Farm, across the small railway bridge onto Regents Park Road and Primrose Hill Village.  Doing what everybody else was doing on a nice day, and walked up to the top of Primrose Hill.
We saw two little toddlers, girl and boy, stumbling to walk in the middle of the path as we crossed the park. We took the long walk round and picked up the Sunday Observer from the newsagents at the corner of Princess Road. I saw a flash of the Irish Times paper, which brought a smile to my face, a reminder of a pillow featured a few weekends before.

We took a turn onto Edis Road, and I looked at the old run-down building on Gloucester Avenue, which I dreamt of reclaiming and having a tiny studio space to paint.....Sundays are for daydreaming afterall......We popped into Sardo Canale, mostly just to admire the foodie treats in their deli shop.  Then ogle- in at the expensive poissonnier down the street, at their gorgeous fresh fish on gleaming ice, that made me want to preserve them on canvas and paint.  We carried onto the intersection at Chalcot Road and Fitzroy Street and the great little French place, L'Absinthe I peered in on the little artisan studios along Chalcot Road and on Chalcot Square, that reminded me of the tiny work studios you could look into on the narrow artist streets in Montmartre, Paris.

Back on Regents Park Road, we ate lunch at The Queens and watched the North London derby (Soccer) match on the TV.  Your team lost which was too painful to bear........

Follow the route on and Primrose Hill.

What is your favourite route around your neighbourhood?  Which are your favourite haunts?  And what should we not miss? : )

Happy Leap Year!!!!!

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Asakusa - byword for how to create demand

 If it were possible to bottle "being in demand" - Asakusa would be the distillers. 

I have a tough role at the moment, helping to communicate a new restaurant. I wasn't schooled in the catering or hospitality business, but I love a new challenge and I am foolhardy to the extreme if the project enthuses me and my belief is there.  At times, the task appears overwhelming and so a friend told me about a little local place in North London, that has people turning up at its door night on night, knowing full well that they would be turned away; self-consoling and self-flagellating on their way out, for not having booked in advance.  It isn't that they are fully booked well into the year, as some places do which have a machine to perpetuate their own image.  Usually you only need to call a week in advance for a Saturday dinner.  The owners, not at all phased, were extremely polite and graceful, to me that speaks volumes.

After our meal, as we shielded from the cold drizzle on this North London street, I commented on the truth that people had ritually, been turned away.  My friend had said, "I suppose, it gives the place an air of exclusivity*".  I said "No, it gives the place an air of being in demand, which is different to being "exclusive" altogether".  Because, I would never pride myself on being anywhere that considers itself exclusive......

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members."
                                                  Groucho Marx

*Subtitle - My friend had earlier that day lunched at Novikov in Mayfair. 

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Kusama @ Tate Modern

 Infinity Mirror Room, installation by Yayoi Kusama

Self-obliteration Net Obsession series image from stylecartel

If you are in London, you should go and see the Yayoi Kusama retrospective at Tate Modern which will run until 5 June 2012.

"The nine decades of Yayoi Kusama's life have taken her from rural Japan to the New York art scene to contemporary Tokyo, in a career in which she has continuously innovated and re-invented her style. Well-known for her repeating dot patterns, her art encompasses an astonishing variety of media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, film, performance and immersive installation."

"This is a varied, spectacular exhibition of a truly unique artist. There has never been an exhibition of this size of her work in the UK and this is an unmissable opportunity for both Kusama fans and those new to her work."

I was new to the art of Kusama and especially loved her immersive installations which included the spectacular Infinity Mirror Room in the top image - it was magical and I want to recreate this for someone special.

Kusama-style dining interior - quite trippy:

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Mending Broken Hearts

 Image from

Last Valentine's I wrote a post about innovation of the recellularisation of the human heart.  The intention being to refine human heart transplant surgery, eventually to allow the transplant of a clone of a person's own heart or part, when it is medically needed.  I explained the existing difficulties of organ donation transplant in the post.  It is something that I continue to follow, in supporting the work of the British Heart Foundation and my belief in regenerative medicine as the future for many currently incurable afflictions. 

When efforts to clone a human heart were reported, there followed many deflating pronouncements of "science fiction".  There will always be detractors to forward thinking, but had intellectual and lateral minds never reached far, we would be living in an innovation vacuum and without much to admire.  Some detractors, balance the discussion and have a place in maintaining ethics and dignity for the patient experience. I know from understanding patient experiences, that whether it be from physical or mental affliction, if we are sound, we must possess our own bodies and minds and make decisions for ourselves and our own bodies, which should be respected. 

Here are some of the recent advancements in regenerative medicine:

The future human rebuilding heart muscle  - "Nothing is less in our power than the heart," Jean-Jacques Rousseau
The Zebra fish can repair it's own heart; unlocking the secrets of how they do this.
Studying the early development of the heart; we were able to grow a whole heart before we were born, but later in life we can't repair our hearts if they are damaged.
Rebuilding heart tissue;  new source for heart cells, building a "heart-patch" and epicardium and thymosin beta4
Ethics of stem cell research funded by BHF.

Regenerative medicine in surgery and response; cancer-patient-synthetic-organ-transplanttransplant-synthetic-trachea-in-baltimore-man, brain tissue cloning breakthrough mental illness, neurologic-improvement-detected-in-rats-receiving-stem-cell-transplant/

I write this on my blog, primarily because innovation in heart medicine is something that has personal importance, but I also have an international readership to my blog, whom I really respect.  Scientific research and innovation is carried out throughout the world, and though the work of the BHF is based in the UK, this knowledge needs to be spread as widely as possible.  There is a long way still to go in the science of regenerative medicine, but it is an important way to our future. As individuals, we direct what is important and has meaning in this world and this is a powerful tool to remember and apply with wisdom.  Thank you for taking the time to read.   

For all my learning, my heart beats louder............

Friday, 10 February 2012

Carnival Bird & Butterfly Collage OOAK Pillow


Using genuine African wax print - 100% cotton. Additional inside lining of neutral cotton.

OOAK creative patchwork pillow cover, embellished with Butterfly applique and Bird collage, and colourful primitive stitching - I love! 

The exuberance of batik prints add a touch of character and liven up any living space.

Rectangular - 12" x 18". Envelope enlosure at back.  Professionally serged/ over locked for superb finish.

Pillow insert is not included.

Teal Silk Peacock pillow

When my Teal Peacock print pillow was featured on the Etsy Front Page just before Christmas - it flew off the shelf!  I have been able to source a little more of it and combined it with a gorgeous emerald green 100% silk backing, and lined with contrasting berry shade inside.  Super-luxe!