mardi 31 décembre 2013


Allow no shadow of regret to cloud you, 
No absurd grief to overcast your days. 
Never renounce love-songs, or lawns, or kisses 
Until your clay lies mixed with elder clay. 

- The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyám


A year of twists and turns and beautiful surprises. It has taken me to many wild places - cotswolds, south downs, scotland, peak district - and inspired me to do many things, like writing, running & travelling solo, which have brought me enormous joy and audacity through the peaks and troughs. My darling family and friends have continuously been here to share lovely moments which made them multiple times better. To share picnics on the punt, long walks, noise and silence. To share books to read and music to listen and even better, hopes and dreams.

This is a year of introspection, a year when I finally feel having grown fully at peace with myself. Doing things at a balanced pace. Knowing that there's a right time for everything (Ecclesiastes 3). This is also a year when I received full communion in the Catholic church, witnessed by many old and new friends. The gift of faith has filled me with gratitude and strength ever since.

Finally, this is a year when I found love. A love that constantly gives and receives, a soul that understands the poetry before it is even spoken. I cannot wait to see how things will unfold for us in the next year :)

Thank you 2013 for the love & magic.


lundi 2 décembre 2013

Wild Places

“The mind I love must have wild places, a tangled orchard where dark damsons drop in the heavy grass, an overgrown little wood, the chance of a snake or two, a pool that nobody's fathomed the depth of, and paths threaded with flowers planted by the mind.”

- Katherine Mansfield


"Do you think there will be beer in Scotland? I can only imagine us putting down peaty-tasting whiskey while rain drives down outside & the sea is shrouded with mist. How well we shall get to know the antlered stag in the hall! The picture of Glencoe on the stairs! the crossed claymores in the bar!"

- Philip Larkin, Letters to Monica 

I cannot wait to leave the metropolis already - ditch the dress and don the boots. Matching hats, gloves and socks. Walk on the soil, make fire, feed ourselves with big pot of steeled cut oats with jersey cream. Whisky, lots of it to keep warm. Watch out for wildlife that cross our ways, talk, walk, silence, smoke, stars. 


mardi 19 novembre 2013

Big book love

The two months of travelling were good, but there was one thing that I sorely missed while I was there - there were few English bookstores in Vietnam, not even in the big city or popular travel destinations (the second-hand book shops are filled in unloved crime fiction and 100 copies of Animal Farm). Having finished reading my Milan Kundera on the flight in and only medical textbooks in my suitcase I ran of choices pretty quickly. I have luckily bought a rather battered and poorly bind copy of Zadie Smith's White Teeth from the street hawker near the lake in Hanoi which sailed me through a few short flights and bus rides - while nurturing my nostalgia for cooler London. That was the first time I actually wanted a Kindle - having only one book to read in 7 weeks is not an ideal situation. 

Having finally got my hands on a Kindle last week has changed my way of reading. (No, not the one with a glossy screen. I've got a Kindle paperwhite from Argos!) It really holds like real paper and I was instantly hooked, loading samples after samples of books that I've always meant to and wanted to read - including ones that are not usually available in the store (one of which is Patti Smith's Woolgathering - a short, dreamy beauty) Reading books that usually in big hardback is especially a joy - now I can finally read in bed comfortably without awkward positioning and book hitting my face, and carry books around with me while I am in cafes or in transits, dipping in and old of pages and stories. 

My recent favourite big (and small) books while travelling

  • The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
  • Letters to Monica by Philip Larkin (more like an all time favourite)
  • Swimming Studies by Leanne Shapton
  • Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater
  • The Old Ways and The Mountains of the Mind, both by Robert MacFarlane
  • Reveries of a Solitary Walker by Jean-Jacques Rousseau
  • Journal of Katherine Mansfield


samedi 9 novembre 2013

Lotus Flower


Revisiting pictures and scribbles from travelling, a good while ago. (Some in text, some in Moleskine - but I was half sober on margarita that handwriting became barely legible) It all already feels so far away and long ago. I remember the midnight dips, long walks, motorcycle rides. Vietnam was beautiful and now in my reveries it is even better.

Why are the matter of love and travel considered romantic?

- Though they may not last, we, through the experience, come to the closet to what it means to be alive: to be filled with joy, to feel vulnerable, to find roots, to be brave enough to break away. To take and to give, to be animated or to be still -  In the moment, an ephemeral glare of the sun into your eyes, or a lover's touch, that one glimpse of eternity, breath of ecstasy - nothing would ever

feel more universal, dreamy, but real.


mercredi 16 octobre 2013

Girl of my Dreams XII

In this world
love has no colour
yet how deeply my body
is stained by yours.

- Izumi Shikibu

Helen Frankenthaler, an American abstract expressionist painter. See her full series of portraits in New York 1969 here.

jeudi 3 octobre 2013

When I am not blogging I read... (2)

a bi-annual recipe-driven food magazine devoted not just to cooking and eating, but to what those acts inspire: the bringing of people together

...for people enthralled by the natural and growing world. Hanging out with us you’ll find rooftop gardeners, foodies and chefs, laymen hikers, landscape architects, hobby farmers, horticulturalists, nature’s innovators, amateurs, and experts.

a lifestyle magazine with life. It is a magazine that makes people smile, full of quiet moments and stories. Read it with a cup of tea or a toddy. Published six times a year.

 a quarterly publication aimed at men and read by interested folk. It’s heads-up and hands-on. A friendly guide to all things creative, intriguing, genuine and funny – full of stories, people, adventures, interesting conversations and gentlemanly style.

 a quarterly arts and literary journal published in print and online, specialising in artistically or educationally meritorious works of new or emerging artists and writers. It takes its name and a degree of inspiration from La Revue Blanche, a Parisian magazine which ran from 1889 to 1903. 


and of course good old Kinfolk and The Gentlewoman (with their new websites beautiful and full of digital content)

vendredi 27 septembre 2013

Room for imagination

In a month's time I would be back at sweet old London, plummeting into the midst of autumn - moving into a room with a panoramic view of Hampstead Heath and the best yet, no internet. So I will be spending my evenings reading, chatting over wine (a half bottle Burgundy pokes out from his Barbour's poachers pocket as he hurries upstairs), listening to vinyl, unmaking beds, tendering to my plants - which co-habituate with my books and picnic basket on the top shelf.

1. Some inspiration, all images from milk & mead
2. Tiny apartment tips from reading my tea leaves
3. Note to self: small room = promises of big mental space


mercredi 25 septembre 2013

Cinematic Writing XI

Poetry is made in a bed like love. Its rumpled sheets are the dawn of things...

- André Breton

samedi 7 septembre 2013

Away but available at

For the next few weeks - for travel & medical stories in Vietnam.

(no instagram I'm afraid - iphone wifi has failed)


mardi 2 juillet 2013

In the mood

In a blink of the eye we floated from April to July. I am now reborn; soaking up the sun, swimming in the ponds (supremely cold, but invigorating), reading books, waking up to humming jazz and wild landscapes (and sometimes on a chilled summer's night we wore a woollen jumper & started a fire), slowly and steadily falling in love. I am never so sure before - this is really all I need. An inner joy and peace that stays, a skirt that floats like butterfly while I bike.

In summer, I -
wear: either a white or breton shirt, navy skirt, chestnut brown leather loafters, a singular dainty gold bracelet
listen to: the sound of the sea, various Spotify playlists, Louis Armstrong Five
read: Roger Deakin's Waterlog, Miranda July (but most of the time I am just lazily watching le tour de france)
look forward to: travelling and trekking in Northern Vietnam, wearing a straw hat and eat pho at dusk


mercredi 24 avril 2013

Cinematic Writing X

And still the mad magnificent herald Spring

assembles beauty from forgetfulness

with the wild trump of April: witchery

of sound and odour drives the wingless thing

man forth into bright air,for now the red

leaps in the maple's cheek,and suddenly

by shining hordes in sweet unserious dress

ascends the golden crocus from the dead.

- e.e. cummings

samedi 9 mars 2013

The Bachelor Girl

We were having bacon and pancakes at the Breakfast Club Spitalfield when my friend asked me - 'How would you describe your style?' Without a hint of hesitation I blurted -
em, a boyish girl who wears skirts?
Only until this evening I realised this is probably the singular, most succinct sentence that summarises what I wear/like as of late, be it the reliable combo of breton tee + skirt + top knot, or shirt + black trousers + braids (for short-medium hair), plus my good old Masculin Féminin tote. There is a certain liberation in mixing anything in the wardrobe and the permutation would just work together (although there is always room for a yet-to-be-found pleated skirt and tweed jacket). For me, the way you dress is not only an important facet of self-representation, it is also a manifestation of your aesthetics and how comfortable and at peace you are with yourself. I like to evolve and be influenced every day by more unlikely sources of fashion inspiration such as art, literature, music and nature; and what matters to me the most will always be simplicity, authenticity and consistency.

All images from woolsilk.

samedi 2 mars 2013

Clare Grill

She is interviewed in Lula Issue 16.

samedi 23 février 2013

In Praise of Mornings

We plan, we toil, we suffer – in the hope of what? A camel load of idols' eyes? The title deeds of Radio City? The empire of Asia? A trip to the moon? No, no, no, no. Simply to wake up just in time to smell coffee and bacon and eggs.
- J. B. Priestley

Why wake up late, when you can get up early - when the sexiest meal of the day is breakfast? In the week days I am so used to waking up early that during weekends, I find myself wide awake no later than 8:30am - Today at nine o'clock I dipped my toes in the local swimming pool with the water still and unrippled, followed by a quick shower, breakfast (of scrambled eggs and assam tea) and a stroll around the empty streets, walking among quiet passages and snow flurries. I tasted idleness at its best, before the city awakes with its quickened breaths and fury and pallor. 

- Slow baby slow, because you can afford to, because you have a whole afternoon and night to look forward to.

//Top five places in London for breakfast/brunch:
  • Lantana - scrambled eggs (I heart eggs) with sourdough bread, accompanied by the Observer
  • Local greasy spoon - full English breakfast (fried bread, roasted tomato drowned in a sea of baked beans, mug-full of tea)
  • The Little Bread Pedlar - stack of toasts and French butter, black Monmouth coffee (bring your own grapefruit)
  • Bistrotheque - fluffy pancakes with blueberry compote and crème fraîche
  • The Delaunay - freshly squeezed juice, eating muesli with a silver spoon - and less busy than its sister restaurant near the Ritz

lundi 11 février 2013

(Not exactly) Secret London

Marylebone /ˈmɑrlɪbən/
where you can find:
 Farmer's Market every sunday morning, market for vintage clothes and accessories in the church courtyard every saturday. Daunt books for books on travelling, La Fromagerie (beautiful cheese boards paired with wine, the Jerusalem of Cheese), the Natural Kitchen, Ginger Pig (for the best cuts), Monocle, Rococo Chocolate.

Feast /fiːst/
where you can have:
the best burgers by Elliot's, boozy winter eton mess (rose and pomegranate yummmm) by meringue girls, rock oysters, steaming pork belly buns, mac&cheese, baroness banana cupcakes - all in the most unconventional spaces.

We went to the winter one in an abandoned postal building in Islington which was an absolutely stunning feasting experience. The next one would be happening on 7-10 March at Tobacco Dock in Wapping. Maybe see you there?


dimanche 3 février 2013

Overheard on the radio -

"God exists in this world, like poetry in poems. You have to read into it, and your understanding of it matures and deepens with age."

lundi 28 janvier 2013


You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.
- Franz Kafka

For interior inspirations and interviews about creative people in beautiful surroundings: first two images from mieke verbijlen, the next two from eefje de coninck, both based in Antwerp, Belgium.

And of course, how could one not revisit Margaret Howell's Suffolk home, when one's own balcony plants are withering from the cold and light in London is becoming ever so scarce... (although to be fair after the thundery rain comes the most beautiful light pouring into my bathroom in late afternoon)