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"Pure style is my way of life... a blueprint for living in the 21st Century"
June beauty
10 June 2016

9th June 3pm:  the garden basks in afternoon heat and light.  Days like this  in  our hit and miss summers are precious,  as all worthwhile things are. The bees are here again, feasting on the fluffy alliums and there`s a haze of blue nigella magic from a  packet of seeds. Blue and purple, purple and green: summer colour pairs which work so naturally and beautifully.  Framing the left and right borders  lush green and pink, the usual, but never  taken for granted , bowing  and flopping roses are  sweet with soap scent..












Tags: summer, alliums, garden, purple, blue, green, purecolour, simplestyle


Pure Style returns
18 August 2014



Sorry for the silence but I have been pushing on with my new book and have a deadline for end of September!   Yes that`s me out there with camera slung round my neck,. sun hat, glasses (can`t focus through  view finder without)  ruck sack , notebook, tomato bun . We`ve been all over  the place  my camera and me , and next week we`re at home in London where I`m  painting  and shooting more  gorgeous colour inspiration. I am    moored to the keyboard,  but  food breaks are not  neglected- the only demand is  that ideas are  simple and easy to prepare.

Peach puree is a favourite:   Peel 5 or six large peaches, stone and slice and put in a saucepan with enough water to cover.  Add two or three tablespoons of sugar and juice of half a lemon. Simmer for 5 to 10m minutes. Cool, blend and refrigerate until use. Decorate with a scented geranium leaf, or not if you don`t have, and  pour over ice cream for a delectable summer pudding.




Have just said good bye to beach style for the season.... home to grey London skies I suspect.









Tags: Summer, home cooking, colour, blue, orange,


Pure Style out and about
20 June 2014


Head down and chasing ideas and making pictures for my new book about colour.  We have a publisher , hooray, and it will be on the shelves next spring. In between, sensual respite for a few days in Olhao.  Soaking up the sun and splashing in first swim of the year sea . So cool and invigorating and then   to eat and feast on fish. Vegetables come home in Olhao where the market is spilling over with plump tomatoes and greens. A plate of roast tomatoes, onions, peppers and courgettes is my offering for  supper with friends. 

 It is `quinta-feira da espiga` (ear of wheat Thursday or Ascension day) and there are bundles of olive, wheat ,poppies, and daisies piled outside the corner shop. It is is good to see the survival of simple country rituals.

Same but different: the beach at Camber sands the day after  friends daughter`s 21st. England is as beautiful as any Algarve coastal retreat. But, and this is a big one I`m not  enthused about   murky English channel  shallows.




View from my room, below.   I am booked on late rooms.com  at Pontin`s `holiday park` fulfilling a childhood curiosity  of what`s  behind the wire of a holiday camp. It`s housing estate on sea:  slot machines, chips, flimsy walls, and family bbqs. Could offer more quality for the price.  And don`t punish your guests  Mr Pontins:  clean the windows, shoot the seagulls and put in bedside lights.



  Sunday morning Long island style at Camber sands, below.




Travelling  mentally to more watery paradise with Clare Lloyd`s My Greek Island Home.   Australian  artist, designer and photographer, Claire left the stresses of  city life in London to set up home in a small village on Lesbos.  The book is a visual feast  in which Claire eloquently describes  the simple pleasures of reconnecting with nature and community. I love the feline details.






 To  Colefax and Fowler on a fabric hunt and to see the new collection.  I want to order  the linen stripes by the hundred metre rollful but am content with a sweet carrier bag lined with `Bowood` my favourite Colefax print



There`s no place like home and  my back garden on a hot day in June.






Tags: summer, Olhao, coast, blue, garden,


Summer remnants
25 September 2013


Back to blogging post the M4 migration and  university delivery of youngest.  And the  back to the everythings of September  that I would rather not have to deal with, such as the  garden which is  looking, let`s say, autumnal.  But the apples shimmer on laden branches and next post I`ll show you the first of my apple puddings.  It`s no chore, too, to revisit the delicious things I came across this summer.






 Puglia ,via Ryanair to Brindisi (some  say it`s the new Tuscany- hmmm it would be a great loss) was all gnarled olive trees in baked earth fields like rows of ancient chieftains. And  all the  chalk white hill towns , strawberry gelato  and  beehive  Trullis that you could wish for.




Markets like the one at Cisternino  were piled with enough arugala, pommodori,  mozzarella and good bread  for a century of al fresco picnics.







We made fava ( broad bean ) humus with dried beans  bought in plastic bags from the petrol station , and  crunched  small round dried bread snacks,  (the Portugueuse and Spansih do similar)  see below  which encourage to you to sip more and more from your wine glass.  .



 One day we took the coast road  swimming  off rocks and then  to the Taverna da Santos   where we  sprawled  on  fold up blue canvas deck chairs by limpid blue sea like extras from la dolce vita








Tags: olives blue summer


Garden furniture
28 June 2013

In between summer showers  I take a  comfortable seating option with arms into the garden to read a book in.  It sounds middle aged but deckchairs annoy the backs of my legs, and lying flat on the grass invites the dog to drop a constant supply of stones by my face thus getting no further than one or two paragraphs. 

The chair here is an Ikea upholstered model that I bought a couple of years ago with the intention of making a simple loose cover to jolly it up. And so, as with many of my  bright ideas , it sat in my office  unadorned for month upon month.

 What I needed was an incentive, which came my way in the autumn with sewing classes run by Tessa Brown. There`s something about working in a group of people  that is more fun  and less intense than when it is just you and a pair of scissors.  The biscuits were delicious, the chat good,  and Tessa showed me how to make my very own couture chair cover from scratch.




The fabric is Ian Mankin   cotton ticking which I pre washed and pre shrunk. Very useful  for dealing with mud paw prints  now that the dog and cat are making moves to hijack my comfortable chair.







Tags: ticking, stripes, blue, summer, garden


Blue highs
04 March 2013


The psychoblurb where blue equals down, miserable.... blah blah blah is daft, really. When I get the blues,  it all feels rather ragged London pigeon grey. Rippling cobalt blue sea or a  first day of spring blue  sky can only help to lift my mood.   So pleased to see on the  Style Court   blog  that although the Pantone  colour of the year is Emerald green, there`s much to get excited about blue, too. How about the new blue and white ceramics exhibition at the Boston Museum of Fine Art,  the cobalt blue cover of the new Anthroplogie spring collecton  or  Cornflower  one of my new Colour Band borders - see above ?




 More highs:  his little pot of grape hyacinths is just as I found it at the local flower shop perfectly co-ordinated with blue plastic pot  for 1.50 and, so far, 10 days of indoor Spring beauty.




  Cobalt blues on old Portuguese tiles,  a street feature in Olhao  as everyday as grilled sardines .




Funny, isn`t it  that this gorgeous sludgy blue in my sitting room is called Parma Gray?   At night it feels snug, along with the heat from the new Morso  woodburner.  (Yes, yes, yes, pluck me from the  Periodic Table of the  Middle Class Handbook ).  During the  day this colour is serene, all very period Dutch domestic interior, like being in a scene from the Girl with the Pearl Earring.  Nothing depressing about that.


Tags: colour, spring, blue, paint, bulbs, colour band


 
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