Monday, December 31, 2012

What I read in 2012

The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
The Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling*
The Bolter by Frances Osborne
The Cook's Tale by Nancy Jackman & Tom Quinn
The Accidental Billiionaires by Ben Mezrich*
Move Over Darling by Chris Stovell
Mr Churchill's Secretary by Susan Elia MacNeal
The Colour Purple by Alice Walker*
A Kind of Vanishing by Lesley Thomson
The Soldier's Wife by Joanna Trollope
27: Six Friends, One Year by RJ Heald
A Perfectly Good Man by Patrick Gale
Drowning Rose by Marika Cobbold
Ninepins by Rosy Thornton
Somewhere to Hide (The Estate, Book 1) by Mel Sherratt
Tony Hogan Bought me an Ice Cream Float before he Stole my Ma by Kerry Hudson
Gold by Chris Cleave
The Woman Who Went to Bed for a Year by Sue Townsend
Charlotte Street by Danny Wallace
The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas*
The Expats by Chris Pavone
Various Pets Alive and Dead by Marina Lewycka
The Cornish House by Liz Fenwick
The Most Beautiful Thing by Fiona Robyn
The Buddha In The Attic by Julie Otsuka
Untying the Knot by Linda Gillard
My Dear I Wanted To Tell You by Louisa Young
When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro*
You Before Me by Jojo Moyes
Nirvana Bites by Debi Alper
Everything and Nothing by Araminta Hall
The Book of Fires by Jane Borodale
Hothouse Flower by Lucinda Riley
Room by Emma Donoghue*
A Field Guide to Fabric Design by Kimberly Kight
When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman* (reread)
Limitless by Alan Glynn
Handmade Type Workshop by Charlotte Rivers
The Fundamentals of Printed Textile Design by Alex Russell
What the Nanny Saw by Fiona Neill
More Than You Can Say by Paul Torday
Cuckoo by Julia Crouch
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel*
How to Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran

*Book Club choices

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Wednesday's Winter Windows

There might be snow, frost, icicles and snowflakes in Bangkok's malls (and not just because of the roaring air conditioning) but there's no sign of 'winter' outside. Let's face it, the three seasons here are hot, hot and wet and really hot, and I'm ready for simply hot.

What is that noise? Ohhhhh; that's the sound of you all tutting and unhooking your RSS feeds, right? Sorry; but it's meant to be a bit cooler now and it's not and I'm a bit fed up with it.

So here are some of Bangkok's winter wonderland windows:

(And, because great minds think alike, when you've finished at Tea Stains you can check out Vogue's Christmas windows here.)

Accessorize Mega Bangna

Dior Emporium

Department store, Siam Paragon

Zen at Centralworld

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Parent teenager miscommunications

Poor old Son had a long appointment at the dentist yesterday in order to get some treatment done before Christmas. He texted me - in misery (and sarcasm) from the dental chair - to confirm that afterwards he was meeting friends to go to the cinema. 

I was just trying to cheer him up; to give him a laugh but in my failure to pay attention (and my own obsession about costumes) I think I let him down…

(In my defence, the wool beard appeared to adopt a very similar method to the lion's mane I did a week or so ago... And if anyone knows the boys, please tell them they looked awesome and I really wished I'd asked them for a photo.)

Son's conversation is in yellow: mine in blue.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

TA- Daaa: the Christmas headwear

I knew back in the summer that I was going to attempt to make a holly sprig for the Christmas headpiece, an essential (if only to me) part of my Bangkok Christmas. These things often look awesome and professional in my brain and uhm, less so, in reality. Anyway, I’m relatively happy with how they turned out. Definitely room for improvement… but not bad.

I adapted a method I learned with Bridget Bailey in my tutorial back in the summer that involved layers (silk and velvet) and floristry wire. I estimated that I needed 9-11 per headpiece plus extras for disasters so I was cutting and assembling the layers for quite some time.

If I thought THAT was fiddly, it was nothing on the assembling of the sprig, which turned out to be more of a branch. (Note to self: Less is more.) And then the binding of the wire… suffice to say, they didn’t get easier and I’m glad I only had to make three!

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

No Wed's Window

I'm postponing Wednesday's Windows to show you how I've been spending my time.

I tried to call this activity 'work' at Book Club when I was trying to justify why I hadn't read the book (The Casual Vacancy) but I got sniggered at.

Still, whether it's work or play, it was a mammoth session: a four day, 6am to 10pm job. And while I worked, I 'watched,' (listened to) The House of Eliott; one episode after another. It send me a little, tiny bit mad but kept me going.... and I affectionately retitled it 'The House of Fraser.'

Right so this was for Husband's work Christmas party, theme: Animal Planet. Can you guess what he was?

No, he wasn't Rod Stewart with that bad mullet hairstyle; he was meant to be a lion.... Not sure how successful that was but still... at least now I'm experienced enough to apply for jobs as a carpet maker...

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wednesday's Window

This was probably one of the creepiest window displays I've ever seen. I photographed this in China - Beijing, I think but I'd have to check my holiday diary to be sure - in 2006. 

It was a case of the double take/You've Been Framed...

These aren't mannequins but real, live girls. 


Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Christmas tree for charity

Today’s the day where I come begging for your help. 

Central and Zen department stores are having a competition this Christmas season to highlight charitable giving. They have invited embassies in Bangkok to take part by decorating a Christmas tree. The British Women’s Group decorated a tree on behalf of the British Embassy. The tree with the most votes will win 100,000 Baht for their chosen charity.

We wanted our tree to be different. (I think we achieved that!)

There are ten lovely trees in the competition and I don’t doubt for a second that all the charities will be worthy causes but I would be grateful for ever if you would go and vote for the UK tree!

Our charity, the SET Foundation is very close to my heart. It’s a wonderful charity that sponsors Thai students through high school and university. It makes a huge difference to the young people who without funds would have to leave school and contribute to the family income, often in dead end jobs on building sites or in paddy fields. I don’t know about you but I took my education for granted. Have a look at the What It Costs page; to us in the west, making a difference doesn’t cost as much as you think.

Please click here to see the trees. Click on the UK tree for details on voting (Click LIKE then add your name to the list.) PLEASE. It’ll only take a minute and SET really does change lives. Bangkok folks can also vote in Zen in Centralworld.

Thank you.

UPDATED instructions on leaving your name:

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cakes, pies and festive fascinators

Radio silence again! It’s a bit daft to announce that I shall be quietly blogging away without any fuss only to disappear for another (nearly) week. 

It’s just that it’s that time of year again…. There are some gigs that I’ve done over and over, that I haven’t been asked to do (quiet sigh of relief) only to find they’ve been replaced with other new gigs. Some partners in crime and I were invited to decorate a Christmas tree for charity and Monday and Tuesday last week were the ‘decorate day’ and launch. More to come on that in a day or two when I come begging for YOU for votes! On Thursday night I went to the Foreign Correspondents Club to listen to Amitav Ghosh talk. While some of the politics was interesting, I was more interested in his writing, which was barely touched upon. Still, the gins were big and cheap and it was lovely to be out with friends. On Friday I was part of a group that was cutting up donated cakes and pies for Ye Olde Tarte Shop at the Ploenchit Fair, an annual event that raises lots of money for charity. 

This weekend my time has been taken up by the construction of some Christmas headwear. Obviously, for anyone that knows me, there’s nothing frivolous about making festive fascinators; this is a High Priority activity and the coming weeks would be less without them. Right from the beginning they were very fiddly little buggers; lots of cutting out in fraying type fabrics which turned me goggle eyed. And in the construction of them, I’m ashamed to report that I turned the language blue. On the first occasion, family members within earshot rushed in to see if I'd sewn my fingers together. After they saw I was simply cursing like a sailor in frustration, they ignored me. (Harumph.) Still, they’re done now and there’s only a similar headpiece to make for a teddy bear (yes, honestly) a costume to make for Husband and four Christmas Creatures. In the next ten days. Yikes.

(While I was checking out some visuals for the picture to illustrate this, I came across this post which made me laugh out loud. PLEASE DO NOT visit this link if swearing offends you. [It's not big and it's not clever; it simply demonstrates your lack of vocabulary... I do however like a bit of Anglo Saxon.])

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Missing October 2012

I write blog posts in my head all the time. (I try not to think about whether this is normal. I get on well with the voices in my head and since they don’t tell me to do bad things, I’m assuming they’re relatively benign.) Still, it distresses me that I’ve stopped being able to put the blog posts down on ‘paper.’

Poor old October didn’t get a mention on the blog and it was a pretty wonderful one with a trip to the UK, friends, family and millinery. I just noticed that November was in great danger of being missed as well, so… here I am.

I could write in a paper diary and therefore keep my inanities to myself but I’ve never kept that up. Failed by January 13th. There is something about blogging - publicity? Commenting? Interaction? – that has enabled me to keep going. We might have had an uppy and downy few months (year?) here at Tea Stains but we are approaching our 6th birthday; much, much more success than a paper journal. (I have had many an attempt at writing a diary primarily because I need to write but also because I love the way that paper that has been written on both sides, begins to curl and crinkle like it’s almost changed its chemical make up.)

The truth of the matter is this: while you are most welcome here and I love it if you enjoy what I write, I blog for me. It’s giving a voice to the voices; remembering our conversations. Concocting them in my head seems to be enough at the moment but I get a good deal of pleasure going back over past posts and rereading things I’d forgotten.

So I’m just going to get quietly on with putting them down on ‘paper’ again.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Wednesday's Windows: Recycling at Siam Paragon

This week's window is all about a fantasy world created by recycling and is courtesy of the department store in Siam Paragon.

Oh, it's all in the little details. I adore the paint colour chips on the background (we're back with my old friend, Multiples;) her paper hair is gorgeous - I wonder if I could do that look? I love that her skirt is made of shop carrier bags, her bodice is computer keyboard buttons, and I love the mad ram with a Rubik's cube chest.

Love love love.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Making phuang-malai

I have often stopped and admired the (mostly) women making the phuang-malai on Bangkok's streets. They make as they sell so I'd watched some of the process and I knew that they used a piece of metal (it turned out to be a GIGANTIC needle) and they thread the buds onto raffia but that was as far as my knowledge went.

Phuang-malai are purchased for as little as 20 baht (40 pence) for a basic one but more ornate ones can cost up to a 1000 baht (£20.) They are much more than something pretty or to freshen the air. (The jasmine buds smell DIVINE.) They are given as offerings inside temples, on spirit houses and hung inside taxis and at the bow of a boat to make merit to the journey goddess, Mae Yanang. (You can find out more about the garlands here and here.)

Last week, thanks to Attic Studios, I learned to make one.

Lots of buds, including jasmine and roses, a HUMONGOUS needle and considerable patience. The folded banana leaf
stops the buds from falling off the needle. The angle at which you rotate each bud is very important to the finished

Two lengths make one circle. I told you, LOTS of patience.

The piece of the left is the bit that hides the rafia joins.

I love the flowers above the roses. They couldn't tell me what they are called but they are like teeny weeny little
sculptures. And TA-DAAAA: the finished phuang-malai.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

Wednesday's Windows: Louis Vuitton and Yayoi Kusama

Like her or loathe her, you have to have been living in a bubble not to have seen Yayoi Kusama's work. You HAVE been living in a bubble? Ok, she's a Japanese conceptual artist and writer. For me she will always be synonymous with Bangkok because it's where I've seen most of her work.

To celebrate her ready made collection for Louis Vuitton seven stores worldwide are being taken over. All 24 windows in Selfridges in London have been commandeered as well as space inside the store. You can see more details here.

Louis Vuitton's window in Emporium is looking bonkers and I love it.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Wednesday's Windows: Hugo Boss

Before I went to the UK, the Hugo Boss window in Siam Paragon caught my eye. It reminds me of the kinetic installations that a peer on my fine art degree used to make. This window display didn't move, (can you imagine how fabulous it would have been if it could?) but, for anyone in Bangkok, there's a vast clockwork installation in the middle of Central Chit Lom that does move! (BAH; why didn't I take a picture when I was there yesterday?)

Using a light source to throw shadows is a simple idea but I imagine it's not as easy to execute as it looks.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mad Hatter or really a writer?

I think I must be a very fickle woman. I flit about between writing and making and while I might concentrate on one at a time, I can’t quite commit fully for ever: when I’m writing, I think I can live without making and vice verse, but eventually I realize I need the other one in my life too. And I dump the one I’m doing for the other. For a bit. ‘Til next time. Fickle, see?

I dumped writing back in February. I flirted a bit with jewellery but my talents didn’t lie with metal; too small (bananas for hands) and too tough (I was a bit scared of the material’s needs (fire!)

As a maker (I have never been very comfortable with the word sculptor. I think perhaps my interest in craft - as opposed to fine art – makes me more comfortable with the notion of being a maker. Though when I did my fine art degree, craft was considered by some, the poor cousin) Anyway, as a maker, I’ve always been materials led but it can’t be any old material. It needs to be right.

As well as being fickle, I’m a courses ‘whore.’ I do LOVE to learn. And after several summers taking Arvon courses (writing) this summer I chose millinery. Long term readers will know that I’ve dabbled in making headwear, though god knows after this summer, I’m a bit embarrassed about them. Still, there’s a learning curve to everything, eh?

Here then, modelled by Daughter, are the two pieces I made during an AWESOME three day workshop with the enormously talented Bridget Bailey, of Bailey Tomlin. See, I’m never writing again; it’s making (hats) all the way from now on…

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"27: Six Friends, One Year" by R J Heald

Ruth has just published her first novel, “27: Six Friends, One Year.” It was the first book I downloaded onto my new kindle and I’m looking forward to settling down with it. In the meantime, Ruth has come to Tea Stains again to talk about her book.

Welcome Ruth. Tell us a bit about your book.
"27: Six Friends, One Year" book was a quarter-finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award in 2012, I was a winner of the Next Big Author Competition in September 2011 and I was shortlisted for the Brit Writers Awards in 2010. 

Your 27th year is a turning point.

Kurt Cobain. Amy Winehouse. Janis Joplin.

They died at 27.

Six friends reunite in London. From the outside their lives are enviable; from the new father, to the rich entrepreneur to the carefree traveller. But underneath their facades they are starting to unravel. Dave is made redundant, Renee’s marriage is crumbling and Katie is forced to return home to her parents after six years abroad. In a world fuelled by social media and ravaged by recession, the friends must face up to the choices they must make to lead the lives they truly want to live.

So, your novel 27 is about a year in the life of six friends ages 27. Is it based on your own life and your own friends?
Yes and no. I wanted to write a book that featured ordinary people leading ordinary lives in modern day London. So some of the situations the people find themselves in are very real, and will be real to a lot of the people reading: redundancy, the breakdown of a relationship, getting married. However, although the situations may have happened to my friends and I, no character is based on anyone in particular. Instead, the characters are a mash-up of everyone I know. So no-one I know is exactly like Dave, but he might be a combination of 6 or 7 of my friends.

Six friends, one year is an interesting concept. What made you think of it?
As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to write about the drama of ordinary lives. But the nature of life isn’t linear like a story; it ebbs and flows and everyone changes at the same time. Although we all like to believe we are the central character in the world, the most interesting thing about us is the relationships with have with the people around us.

By taking a year in the characters’ lives I was able to capture the complexity of everyday life within a structure, whilst telling each character’s story. But I also wanted to capture that sense of continuity; the characters lived before the book began and they will continue to live afterwards.

Some readers have compared the book to One Day by David Nicholls and I think that’s a good comparison. His story is also time-defined; revisiting the characters on the same day every year. And in his story you also get the sense of continuity, that regardless of painful events, life goes on.

Who’s your favourite character in 27?
When I’ve collected feedback on 27, most people say their favourite character is Katie. I think she is the least selfish of the characters and is therefore the most likeable. It’s hard for me to choose my favourite, but I think in real life I’d probably be friends with all of them, and like the others, I’d be jealous of all the success that has come to James. He seems to have it all, but underneath the surface he is battling real demons.

Some authors plan, others just write. How do you write?
That’s an interesting question. When I wrote my first (unpublished) novel, I planned meticulously. I had a colour-coded Excel spreadsheet that listed out what happened in every single chapter. I started writing and I stuck religiously to my structure. It took me a year to write and I’m still editing it now! I think part way through I started to lose some of the enjoyment of writing and the structure limited my creativity. However, without the structure I’m not sure if I’d have got to the end at all.

When I wrote 27, I really did just write it for fun. I just had a vague idea to write a year in the lives of ordinary people and I didn’t plan at all. I just wrote the most poignant scenes that came into my head; the everyday dramas of ordinary lives. Then I started to structure a story about them and the inter-relationships between the characters. I enjoyed every moment of writing the book.

Some people say there’s a right way and a wrong way to write a book, but I really don’t think that’s true. You have to write in the way that feels most comfortable to you.

Some authors say that after a while their characters start to come alive on the page and have ideas of their own about the plot. Did that happen to you?
Yes, I think it did. When I started writing the book, I had no idea where it was going. After a while the characters started to have minds of their own and they drove the plot more than I did. Sometimes I had an idea where I was going to take the story, but the characters just wouldn’t allow it. They wanted to do something else. For instance, one of the characters wanted to sleep with someone completely unsuitable... By the end all the characters had really clear voices, and I had to go back and change some of the storylines at the beginning because I realised they just wouldn’t have behaved like that.  

How long did it take you to write 27?
Actually, it didn’t take me very long to write the first draft at all – only about a month. But the editing has been a real killer. That took eighteen months. I kept taking the book to beta readers thinking it was finished and I just kept getting more and more feedback. So I kept rewriting. After I finished writing the first draft, it took me another 18 months to get the book to a place where I was happy with it.

What did you think of the writing scene in Bangkok?
I was pleasantly surprised when I came to Bangkok and I realised how big the English language literary scheme was. I had imagined being isolated in my apartment with my computer writing away, but the support network in Bangkok was brilliant. There’s a huge expat community. While I was there I met many, many writers and belonged to two excellent writers’ groups: The Bangkok Women’s Writers Group and the Bangkok Writer’s Guild. There’s also the lovely Neilson Hayes Library, a colonial-style building which houses many English language books. I was lucky to be asked to speak at the library last year at the Bangkok Literary Festival, alongside Stephen Leather and Christopher G. Moore.

What inspires you to write?
People. I love people-watching; observing the subtleties in relationships. You can overhear so much if you just listen: arguments on the tube, groups of friends in a bar gradually getting louder and louder, couples maintaining polite small-talk in a restaurant. Conversation is about so much more than the words; it’s about the things that aren’t said as well.  If you watch and listen for only a very short time, you can start to see signs of the undercurrents beneath the surface. 27 is about those undercurrents: the differences between the public face people present to the world and the reality behind it.

I’m planning a sequel to 27, set a few years later. I want to meet the characters again when the dust has settled and see where they are and whether they have found happiness. I’m pretty sure things won’t be quite as they imagined and there will be the usual ups and downs of life. I have lots of ideas for that, but I haven’t started writing yet.

I have another two novels currently on the back burner – one is a story of a doctor-patient relationship. That’s the one I’ve already written that one and it’s locked away awaiting further editing. Another is about an expat couple in 90s Bangkok. I’m about a quarter of the way through the first draft of that one. I actually have too many projects – it’s hard to decide which ones to pursue first! 

Thanks to Ruth for joining me here. You can find "27: Six Friends, One Year" at Amazon UK here and at Amazon US here.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wednesday's Windows

There have been two main themes in the UK's window displays this summer:

  • Celebrate Britain/Jubilee/Olympics
  • And Not..

I may post others in coming weeks, but Selfridges wins the prize for the most wonderful. (It probably also has the biggest budget... but that's life, eh?)

Don't forget to scroll down to the bottom picture for my very favourite window: it's all about the tea, people.


The seaside

The boat race

Changing of the Guard

Britain's high streets

The Pearly King and Queen

The English fete

Britain's obsession with the weather

A builders' tea party

Monday, August 13, 2012

I do like to be beside the seaside

A few days after I arrived in the UK, we took a trip to the East Sussex coast, to the St Leonards Festival, an annual event that coincided this year with the arrival of the Olympic torch. Warrior Square Gardens in St Leonards was packed with stalls, live music, performances by local community groups, a fancy dress competition and street theatre.

Our reason for going was to see my sister performing with the Galloping Cuckoos, a company of six performers who devise theatre, site specific performance and street theatre. For one reason or another, I hadn’t managed to see either of the pieces they were performing today, HUG’e or Driftwood, but I knew this would be my chance to catch both of them.

The Galloping Cuckoos perform 'HUG'e'

This is HUG’e, ‘a flock of yellow heart-shaped lovebirds housed in a beautiful life-sized birdcage.’ The piece is lovely; it made me cry and laugh. The birds connect with the audience – your yellow t-shirt might attract their attention - they sing and gesture; they might even offer you a love note. You can see a YouTube of them here.

After HUG’e, we set off down the front to Hastings (right next door) to see Driftwood, which the other half of the Cuckoos were performing.

The Galloping Cuckoos perform 'Driftwood'

Driftwood is a group of fisherwomen who wander the coast with their small fishing hut; ‘the fisherwomen will encourage you to write down your worries or wishes, stoppering them up in a bottle for safe-keeping.’ They share their stories with the audience through folk songs and sea shanties - just beautiful. (Go here - 1 hr 7 mins in -  to listen to an interview on Radio Kent and to hear one of their songs that had me weeping at my desk in Bangkok!)

The next stop was on the side of the road to wait for the Olympic torch to come by.  I found it strangely moving, if only for 6.4 seconds it took for him to whizz by…

One of Hastings' torch bearers (not the Morris dancing one...)
Pic courtesy of Daughter
We continued along the front towards Hastings old town and somehow managed to overtake the torch bearer as they changed to a new one so that by the time we’d got to the old town, we stopped and watched again. In true, quirky Brit style, this man was a Morris dancer and every couple of steps, he threw in a Morris hop: absolutely hysterical.

This looks more like the English weather I'm used to...

After a fish and chips supper, we made the brisk hike back along the front to St Leonards before the weather changed.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Not with a bang but a whimper..

One of the problems of having a blog break - or a period of blog bone idleness - is that when you come back, you do want it to be with a bang not a whimper.

There was something of a bang last week after a visit to a garlic farm on the Isle of Wight, a tasting session and a garlicky lunch, but I’m betting you don’t want those details. It was a fantastic place though and, assuming you treat the garlic loading with a bit of respect, you’ll probably be fine during the following twelve hours.

I didn’t have a great journey to the UK. My first blister appeared before I’d left Bangkok airport. It turns out that you can’t put feet that live for eleven months of the year in flip flops, into contained shoes and not expect injuries. My plasters were in my suitcase (of course) which I couldn’t get into because I’d sealed it with a plastic cable tie: one of those things that goes on but not off unless you cut it. As well as not being able to carry any cutting implements on a flight, I’ve discovered that no members of the airside personnel are allowed to have scissors either.

I’d stayed up to watch a film on the flight – totally against my better judgment - and didn’t have enough sleep but things began to improve a bit at Paddington station. I thought. I found someone that had scissors and finally broke into my own suitcase; I found Vodafone open at 7am where I got a sim card sorted and I found a Starbucks where I drank tea and ‘What’s Apped’ Husband.

I just didn’t have the energy for the underground so I treated myself to a taxi between Paddington and Charing Cross. I tried to lift my case into the taxi but, in spite the laws of physics, it was heavier by several kgs than when I’d left Bangkok. And, damn it, I’d been taking things out of it… alright, so they were only plasters, but it was eight of them. How could it get heavier?

I could have slept in the taxi if it hadn’t been for the alarming rise of the meter. Although the Olympic vehicle lanes hadn’t yet opened, several of the roads were shut around Buckingham Palace and Whitehall so the fare was higher than expected; still, it was much easier than the tube.

At Charing Cross I thought I’d better replenish my dwindling funds so I went to the cashpoint but hmmm: no card. I searched through the crap vital receipts and cards in my wallet in case I’d slipped it in somewhere for ease… Nope; definitely no bank card. Through my addled brain I knew there was only one place the card could be: Vodafone. But, for heaven’s sake, they’d just sold me a sim card, so why hadn’t they rung me to tell me I’d left it there? I pulled out my phone: four missed calls and two text messages… I must have turned the sound off when I put the phone in my pocket.

I called my parents to let them know what kind of an idiot I was, put my suitcase into left luggage – ker ching! - and went down to the underground to return to Paddington – more ker ching! I was shattered by this time but so grateful to see that there was one last seat on the underground train. As the doors shut, I set off over people and their luggage to the spare seat. As I lowered myself down onto the seat, the tube train gave a great lurch and I landed in the lap of the man next door to my chair.

Things continued to improve over the four weeks (they couldn’t have got worse, surely?) I haven’t seen any friends – sorry to all of them but I am back in October – but I have had a rather lovely trip. My folks have been pretty good, it was my parent's 60th wedding anniversary and I’ve been on a couple of courses, which I will come back and tell you about soon. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Wednesday's Windows

Good morning. I am post Pilates class today so am feeling pretty chipper (and clearly from circa 1960...)

Today's window is dedicated to all the writers and readers in my life. It's from Jaspal. I first spotted it in Emporium, my local mall; but then, from a taxi, I saw the whole front window at Terminal 21 decorated bookishly. Sadly some of the pictures were a bit reflection heavy and it was beginning to spit I didn't hang around for a drenching in the afternoon downpour.

What's not to love? My favourite trick, playing with scale, makes another appearance and it's in celebration of books and writing. Brilliant.

Jaspal Emporium

Jaspal Terminal 21

Jaspal Terminal 21 close up

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Wednesday's Windows

Okay, so the high end shops I've been featuring have got lots of money (relatively speaking) to spend on their window displays. But here are a couple of unrelated shop fronts who demonstrate that it's not about money...

The first one is Thann, an upmarket spa shop with their own products line. This is their Gaysorn branch. Oh how I love the simplicity... It must have taken someone many hours of cutting corrugated card into these lovely leafy branches and you do need tons to be effective but effective it is. It's so lovely and simple. I LURVE...

The next one I spotted  this week. It's courtesy of Adidas in Siam Centre. I'm completely unmoved by sports and I never rarely get stopped in my tracks by a sports shop's window display but I love this. Simple and brilliant. And of course it's hits the spot with my favourite technique, playing with scale.