Friday, 27 April 2012

Mothers and Daughters

Mothers and daughters, so much fusion and so much power if both give and take.It has always fascinated me to see strong mothers lead and equally strong daughters accept to follow in their mothers footsteps. Not an easy task for neither, I would say. The mother initiates and the daugher continues but establishes her own identity.

 Simone Ortega, famous cookery writer of the 60's and 70's in Spain wrote her 1080 cookery recipes to great acclaim, revising traditional spanish cooking for the modern life. the book has been revised and republished in English, French and other languages. These editions have been accompanied by wonderful drawings by Javier Mariscal great illustrator and designer of the Spanish Movida.Her daughter Ines publishes a blog on cooking and writes her own more contemporary recipes, her latest one is on tapas, that great Spanish invention which allows you to drink in moderation with a lovely warm snack. I grew up in madrid and whenever I travel back it is alswys a pleasdure to sample the various tapas and pinchos(smaller sized!) in the myriad of bars around the Plaza Santa Ana in the heart of Madrid next to its Parliament.
Another great mother daughter team which seems to have effected the transition from mother to daughter without a hitch is mother Sonia and daughter Nathalie Rykiel of the happiest french feminine fashion label. Pragmatism seems to be the base of Sonia's success, starting with knits in the 60's she made knitwear a glamourous wearable fashion, much like Coco Chanel with her jersy outfits. I love both Chanel and Rykiel for thinking about marrying comfort for body movement with style!

My favourite high street fashion for mother and daughter is french label Comptoir des Cotonniers, who do great ads with mothers and daughters with a quirky take!

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Dare to be yourself and dont destroy others for not being what you are!

Went to a fabulous conference earlier this week, on the subject mentioned in the title. Made me think as the speaker reflected on how egoism drives society especially the consumer society. The overriding desire to be part of the pack and have the latest it shoe or bag, to name but an example, is part of our unconscious need to show others we are better stronger than others whilst being part of the pack. In order to to activate mini interpersonal wars all the time we seek scapegoats who can carry the can for all that is wrong. Can you name some famous people currently who fulfill that role?
I wrote in an earlier post on how I hoped this crisis would lead us to new reflections on how our society should be functioning,  as I feel we are in an ever increasing spiral of violence rejecting all that is not similar to us and looking for scapegoats to give us a temporary security.
How can we work the world to give us this security so that we come to consensual acceptance," Live and let live"?

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Art Deco in Brussels

I love Brussels, European city par excellence for its mish mash in styles, but most of all I love the remnants of its golden art deco period when it was often called "little Paris".The 1920's where a thriving artistic period when many rich patrons built themselves houses in the new style. One such couple were the Dutch art patrons, David and Alice van Buuren, who had their house built in 1928 in the new art deco Amsterdam School style. This style uses apparent brick work in fancy patterns and can be seen in many buildings in Amsterdam(I will do a later post on this!). The interior of the Van Buuren house is gorged with custom built furniture from the famous Studio Dominique in Paris. The couple also composed an extensive art collection, with van Gogh, Rik Wouters, Kees van Dongen to name but a few!
The house is now a museum, open for private visits. When I married in 2002, We organised a private visit after our civil wedding with our wedding party. One lovely incident will always stand out vividly in my memories of that day.One of our party, the husband of my dearest friend and blogger Deborah, is a wonderful pianist in his spare time, and lately now composer of pântomimes and film music! In one of the reception rooms, there stood a piano which had belonged to Erik Satie (composer of the gymnopedies, that wonderful piece of art deco music!). Well to give us a truly romantic wedding present, Rob sat down at the piano and played us "Summer Time" from the Gershwin "Porgyand Bess"  musical.What a way to enjoy the day and that beautiful house! When in Brussels do go and see it!

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Happy Easter

Easter time is a time of renewal of oneself, more than at any other time of the year, I take stock of where I am and where I am going to. this includes all aspects of my life, from the more serious career and family issues, to the more frivolous home decoration, wardrobe, beauty and general feel good issues.
I like this time we live in with the enormous freedom to choose your style, our mothers didn't have this privilege; if you look at photos from the 50's and 60's, you see remarkable similarity. I happen to love these two periods as I am totally obsessed by the great French couturiers of that era.My personal take on that is to go for very bright colours in that style, so in my serious banking days it was not unusual to see me in coat and dress of apricot, schiaparelli pink or turquoise.
In terms of decoration, I love art deco mixed with 50's and the odd 19th century piece. As a colour background orange in all hues particularily fits these 3 styles. If you love furniture and house styles as I do I particularily reccomend the musee des arts decoratifs in Paris. It is such a joy to walk through rooms decorated in styles from the various ages. Recently I bought in an antique dealer, an interior decorating book from the 60'ss. Wonderful! A happy mix of the 6à's and 70's tv series Bewitched and todays take, Mad Men.
I will decorate and bake to my heart's content today to prepare for Easter, my daughter aged 5 kickstarted the process today by making 3 Easter surprises for us, all in glass jars, decorated with glittery pastel hearts; inside chocolate easter eggs filched from her mother's basket and to top it a card on each from the walt disney series, a pirate for me!I will go for pastel, as shown above.
On a more serious note, I have been taking stock of my future and through this holy week have been reflecting on the new way forward, hope to keep to myy resolutions, will let you know in the coming months.