Tuesday, July 31

The LA House

I’ve just caught my first glimpse of Ruthie Sommers’ new book The LA House (cover only). I believe the release date is autumn 2007. I can’t wait to get my hands on this book! I still love the first Domino magazine with the beautiful Ruthie on the cover. Can anyone confirm that the upholstery is “La Fiorentina" by David Hicks?

Monday, July 30

Profile: Rita Konig

Rita Konig and friend

prized possessions

Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
I would love to meet the Duchess of Devonshire, mostly I like sitting and chatting, that is always a bit of a scary thing to do with someone you haven't met before, but in a fantasy world, I would adore to spend the day hanging out at Chatsworth with her, going through the attics and poking around that amazing house and hearing stories. I hope that doesn't sound too weird and stalker of me. She is one of the old guard wonderful English women and I think rather a national treasure.

What is your favorite CD at the moment?
I am loving the soundtrack from ONCE, have you seen the movie yet, it is amazing.

What personal characteristics do you most dislike in a person?
Laziness, mean-ness and duplicitousness, I also can't deal with lying.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world where would it be?
I would love to go to the Middle East, Syria - Petra - Jordan, with an insider.

What is your favorite luxury in life?
Laundered linen

Where is your favorite place(s) to shop?
Alfie's antiques market in London, Louis Boston (a new find), Sag Harbour in Long Island and Porthault and also Balenciaga – I am assuming this is fantasy shopping!

What is your most prized possession?
Not sure, my apartment I guess, but that is rather a group of things - when I moved house I brought my mercury glass match striker with me and a pink glass ashtray, they are two things that I like to have around and they feel like home.

Who are your style icons?
I suppose Diana Vreeland is one, Charlotte Scott is another, she owns Trasierra in Spain and is one of those women who just can make chic out of very little, Carole Bamford is another, she has tremendous style I think and she is one of those perfectionists who I would love to be, but just don't have the attention span to ever be, Bryan Ferry who has wonderful and unexpected great taste and Mark Birley who started Annabels, harry's Bar in London and Mark's Club - he has taste coming out of every pore in his body. When men have good taste they have the best taste I think, Julian Metcalfe is another - he owns Pret a Manger and has great style. Oh and the Duchess of Devonshire.

What inspires you to write?
Finding something new and exciting that I immediately want to tell people about, I love writing most when I feel like I am writing a letter to a friend, that is how I feel about writing a lot, I can't really write any other way, or at least I find it quite hard to do.

What is your idea of a perfect party?
That wonderful combination of old friends and new, being outside and dancing all night with a healthy dollop of flirtation.

Profile by Ronda Carman

Saturday, July 28

Shopping on Saturday

There's far more to British food than sliced white bread and baked beans, just ask Safia and Ian Thomas, owners of A. Gold a tiny London shop showcasing the traditional foods of Britain.

Forget fish and chips instead think of a country kitchen filled with lemon curd tartlets, mouth-watering hams, cheeses, pickles and pies. Safia and Ian have scoured the United Kingdom for people producing high-quality food in small amounts, using the best ingredients and traditional recipes. A. Gold has also become a flagship for endangered British foods such as clootie dumplings, Scotch Black Bun and Banbury cakes.

Visit A. Gold online for a visual delight, regional breakdown of foods, plus a little history.

Friday, July 27

On Monday...

Rita's home
photo Domino Magazine

Be sure to check back on Monday when I profile the adorable Rita Konig. I think you’ll love the fun and personal information she shared with me, including her style icons and favorite luxuries in life, as much as I do.

All the Best of Spain

I’m closing the week with a few of my favorite photos from our Spanish holiday. On a cool, rainy morning in Scotland, these photos of blue skies and Mediterranean waters offer a welcome diversion from daily tasks. My two ‘must do’ while in Spain were the walk to Cala Boquer and eating loads of fresh seafood, especially Cuttlefish.

Cala Boquer (cala meaning cove or inlet) is a beautiful isolated area in Northern Mallorca that’s only accessible by foot (an hour walk through beautiful countryside) or boat. The beach has original volcanic sand and is the perfect spot for snorkeling and picnicking.

After a day at Cala Boquer we stopped at the local market to pick up wine and food for dinner. For days the very white cuttlefish in all the markets had mesmerized me and we decided to try our hand at cooking this delicacy. Cuttlefish (Sepia/ Sepe/Seppie) is especially popular in many Mediterranean cuisines. The coastal regions of Spain use cuttlefish for the marine flavor and its smooth texture in traditional dishes such as paella and fish stews.

Freshly caught cuttlefish retain their perfect freshness for up to 24 hours, but will need to be cleaned. Fortunately, for me at least, the cuttlefish we purchased were cleaned and ready to grill. My husband was more that ready to do the dirty work and a perhaps a bit disappointed that he did not to get his hands dirty cleaning the odd looking Mollusca. As a side note, I’ve just googled cuttlefish and it’s a good thing I did not see these photos before our trip otherwise I would have missed out on a wonderful food. We came up with a really simple recipe based on some of the books we found at Casa Romana:

Grilled Cuttlefish
serves 4
2 large-medium sized cuttlefish
Olive oil

Salt and pepper
6 clove of garlic minced
Small bunch of parsley, minced (optional)

Marinate fish for an hour in olive oil with garlic, salt and pepper. In the meantime, fire up the grill (you could also use an indoor grill, but we preferred to cook fish outside on the charcoal grill). Grill each side for 8-10 minutes, turning a couple of times until golden brown. Serve them at once, drizzle with plenty of fresh lemon juice.

Thursday, July 26

Casa Romana

I love staying at a fabulous hotel and I especially love great room service. However, after our week at Casa Romana, I have been converted to the world of self-catering. Certainly I will continue to seek out and relish short stays at wonderful and unique hotels, but for long term holidays I now want to live like a local in a foreign country, not as a mere visitor.

One huge advantage is the space to spread out (especially if traveling as a family). It was so great to waking in the morning at my leisure, making my own coffee and lounging by the pool with guidebooks. Then there was the cheerful smile from the lady at the bakery who came to understand my broken Spanish and knew exactly what I wished to order every morning. Late each afternoon I would escape to the rooftop terrace to listen to the bells ringing in the nearby cathedral. If you have the opportunity to stay in a fabulous villa or apartment while away I highly recommend it!

Sites to visit:
Luxury Retreats
France Home Style
Chez Vous Paris

Wednesday, July 25

Pink Wines

Deep in the hearts of most hardened wine lovers lies a passion for pink wines, though it usually doesn't come up for discussion unless the subject is broached in trusted company. Lucky for me I tend not to discriminate when it comes to vino and I am more than happy to try most wines! Having said that I can admit that I did not like pink wines prior to our move to the UK. Yes, I had tried White Zinfandel—not for me.

But, after moving across the pond I reluctantly tried pink wine again, this time a French Tavel. Tavel is the only official appellation in all of France (and probably all of the world) that produces nothing but rosé. Tavel wine is darker in color than the rosé of Provence – somewhere between orange and bright pink – and correspondingly fuller in body and flavor.

After a bottle of Tavel I was hooked. I took a few wine courses and began to read up on these pink varieties. So what did I learn? For starters, most pink wines are considered suitable for picnics and light lunches and unfairly associated with blush Zinfandel. Only rarely will some daring but knowledgeable soul order a bottle of good, dry Spanish rosado, French rosé or Italian rosato to accompany a more elaborate meal.

I am happy to report that I was that daring soul and ordered rosado with every meal while in Spain! Never once was I disappointed. Indeed, these brilliantly hued Spanish jewels, which are unequivocally among the world's best rosé wines, run the spectrum from the palest salmon to deep ruby and offer fresh, clean, aromas of cherry or raspberry. The best Spanish rosados do not possess any of the pronounced bubble-gum scents that characterize many modern rosés.

So, if presented with the opportunity, be rebellious and order a bottle of delicious pink wine with dinner.

Tuesday, July 24


Colorful pottery from Cermiques Monti-Sion

If you have been a reader of this blog for any period of time you will know that I use the phrase ‘I love’ quite often! It’s a sickness really and one that I haven’t found a cure for either (although I’m not sure I want to!). It’s probably the reason I changed majors so many times at university. I love so many things and pottery is certainly up there on my list. Like many of the things I ‘love’ and ‘collect’ it begins innocently enough without any goal or objective and then I’m hooked—just ask my husband.

Pottery is one of the most diverse of the collectibles. Where can one find such a cast of characters with little in common other than being made of clay? I certainly had the opportunity to fill my love of pottery in Spain. One of the most striking characteristics of Spanish pottery is its variety. Variations of texture, color, form and style seem to be almost endless. I’ve posted a few photos, though I'm not sure they can do justice to the truly beautiful colors. Enjoy!

Monday, July 23

Calvari Steps

One of the main features of Pollensa is the Calvari steps. The 365 steps lead to Calvari Church and an ancient wooden cross. Every year on Good Friday the figure of Christ is removed from the cross and carried down the steps by torchlight.

Along the steps are several beautiful homes, garden and shops. One of my favorite shops was Think Cosmetic. I am such a sucker for wonderfully sinful bath and body products. So, of course I was enticed by the beautiful bowls and baskets filled with bath salts and soaps lining the steps to the shop, and ultimately through the doors of Think Cosmetic. A few soaps and a sachet of honey almond bath salts made their way into my bag, but my big purchase was a bottle of Mandragore by Annick Goutal. A bottle of Annick Goutal has been on my wish list for a while and the scent of Mandragore is bewitching. Every time I wear it I will be reminded of Mallorca.

Sunday, July 22


We are back from a wonderfully relaxing ten-day trip to Spain. I have so many great photos and finds to share this week, but I thought I would start with my favorite, Pollensa.

Pollensa is without any doubt, one of the most beautiful parts of Mallorca. The landscape is so beautiful and diverse. Rugged, steep mountains collide with isolated shores that are surrounded by deep, pale blue waters and silvery green olive trees.

The town of Pollensa is a maze of narrow, winding streets and stone houses built in the 17th and 18th centuries. For the past seven days we were privileged to reside in one of these amazing homes in the heart of old town. Last Sunday morning, we like many others, found ourselves enjoying a leisurely morning in the Placa Major. Placa Major, the central square, is dominated by a large 13th century church Esglesia de Nostra Senyora dels Angels, built by the Templars. Every Sunday a wonderful outdoors market takes over Placa Major with stalls spilling down every available side street. A variety of local crafts, hand-sliced jamon Serrano, olives, and brightly colored vegetables begged to be taken home. And, of course, we were only too happy to indulge. The market is an absolute must, not just for purchases but also as a social activity. Most locals and tourists alike linger for hours in the surrounding cafes.

One of my favorite finds was Berenjenas de almagro (see photo). Berenjenas are tiny stuffed pickled aubergines (baby eggplants) that have been commonly served in Spain for hundreds of years. I have found one online store in the States, La Tienda, that sells Berenjenas. Funny enough La Tienda also sells the exact same traditional yellow mortar and pestle I bought at the local corner market.

I have yet to find an online site for the UK that sells Berenjenas, but I will keep searching!

Tuesday, July 10

On Holiday

Dear blogging friends we are off to Spain. I'll see all of you back here on Monday, July 23rd. Visit my favorite blogs listed on the left for inspiration. If time permits I will try to post a few photos while in Spain.
All the best!

Rita Konig

‘Oh My Gosh,’ I yelled to my husband at 6:30 this morning, ‘Rita has featured my blog on her blog!’ ‘Who,’ asked my husband, struggling to open his eyes. ‘Rita Konig (hello).’ ‘That’s great honey,’ he said with a smile, ‘that’s great.’

Of course he was excited, because I was excited, but I thought I would share my exhilaration with fellow bloggers!

I learned of the adorable Rita Konig when she first caught my eye on the cover of Brooke De Ocampo’s Bright Young Things London. Bright Young Things New York had been a favourite of mine for years and I was thrilled to discover the London version shortly after moving to the UK. It was only a few weeks after finding the BYT book that a friend recommend I read Rita’s book Domestic Bliss, and of course I was hooked. But don’t just take my word for it, see yourself, I think you’ll be delighted with the ideas and the fresh, fun writing.

Monday, July 9

Think Pink

A little pink can make us feel young, alive or calm depending on the shade. Whether it’s a pale or deep hue, pink looks at home with many colors. Pair it with white, black, green, blue, brown, yellow, or even orange (just not all at once) for a burst of freshness.

Domino (photo) Steven Gambrel (designer)
Domino (photo) Simon Upton

Sunday, July 8


One item on my ‘must have’ list while in Spain is a handmade pair of espadrilles. Popular in the Mediterranean region for centuries, these brightly colored, rope-soled shoes have become synonymous with La Rioja, the beautiful wine region in the north of Spain, where the shoes were first manufactured by hand over 300 years ago. The artisans that hand-stitch them, mostly women, sit in their homes and porches with thread and needle continuing with a tradition that they have passed from generation to generation.

Espadrilles became the 'play shoes' for European style-makers like Coco Chanel in Biarritz and Deauville, Picasso and Dali in the Costa Brava, Grace Kelly and Brigitte Bardot in the Costa Azul, Princess Caroline in Provence, and Princess Diana in Mallorca.

In Madrid Carolina Herrera stocks up on the traditional handmade shoes at Calzados Lobo, a store that has stood near Plaza Mayor for more than a century. Once I find out the best places to buy espadrilles in Barcelona and Mallorca I will report back with an update.

If you want a pair of handmade espadrilles without travelling to the Mediterranean visit Lolas Lolos Lolitos or Sorprentas online.

Saturday, July 7


In anticipation of our upcoming trip to Spain I thought I would post a few photos of Spanish architecture. This will be my first trip to Spain and I can't wait to soak in the sun, culture and beauty of the country. Any must visit places in Barcelona or Mallorca?

Friday, July 6

Interesting Ice Cream

Move aside Vanilla and make way Black Sesame, Ginger, Maccha (green tea) and Avocado ice cream. Coldstone Creamery in Times Square has gone as far as to add wasabi-ginger ice cream to their menu. I really love savory foods and I adore sorbet and gelato. But together? I will admit that I am very temped by many of the exotic flavors I’ve been reading about lately, and could be easily won over. Have you tried any of these or other interesting flavors?

Photos flickr

Thursday, July 5

Lusting for France

Today I came across a most delightful blog - Cotes De Texas. It’s always so much fun when you find a kindred spirit. The blog is written by an interior designer in Houston, Texas who lives, lusts, and covets anything French. The blog was created to indulge a love of French antiques, French furniture, and anything else pertaining to France! See you yourself. Très Bien!

The Perfect Picnic

Buy Local! There is wide variety of fresh, locally produced foods out there—wines, delectable cheeses, smoked fish, organic vegetables and breads. Check out your local farmers market when planning your next outing/

And the next time you’re on holiday take an empty picnic basket. Yes, empty. That way you can buy regional foods while putting money into the hands of local economies. Have a Happy Weekend!

A Pan-bagnat recipe
Pan-bagnat (pahn bahn-YAH) is a sandwich that is a specialty of the region of Nice, France. The sandwich is composed of white bread, raw vegetables, anchovies and/or tuna, and olive oil. It’s a perfect picnic food.

The filling is open to endless variation. The only real no-nos are ordinary salad ingredients such as fresh tomatoes (they go soggy) cucumber (too crunchy and slippery) and lettuce (it'll go slimy).

Many of the antipasto goodies found at the deli are great additions: artichoke hearts, semi-dried tomatoes, grilled courgettes (zucchini). Ready-grilled peppers can be a great time saver, but ask to taste them before you buy them, and reject vinegary ones. Goat's cheese, or for a milder version, buffalo mozzarella, can be added too.

1 ciabatta
5 peppers, (a mixture of red and yellow) deseeded, grilled and peeled
1 aubergine (eggplant), sliced and grilled until brown and tender.
A handful of olives, stones removed
7 or 8 tinned anchovies (optional)
8 tbsp fresh pesto

Cut the ciabatta in half horizontally. Pull out some of the bread inside to hollow it out a bit. Spread both cut sides with pesto.

On the bottom half of the ciabatta, pile up layers of the peppers, aubergine, olives and anchovies, seasoning lightly with salt and pepper. Top with the other half of the loaf.

Wrap the pan bagnat tightly like a parcel in parchment paper and tie with string in five evenly spaced places. Put in the fridge, with a board on top, weighed down with a couple of tins of tomatoes. Leave overnight.

To serve, cut the wrapped pan bagnat in between the string ties. Serve the sandwich still wrapped and tied for the recipient to unwrap.
Enough for 4-6 people

Telegraph UK

White Kitchens

For many people, my self included, white kitchens offer a clean, fresh, timeless, classic look. I know some detractors will say that white is boring. Yes, an all white kitchen may sound stark and cold, but it doesn't have to be. There are so many wonderful shades of white that can add a feeling of warmth to your walls and cabinets.
photos Southern Accents & Coastal Living