Found this little vintage herb guide in a secondhand bookshop in Wales recently. It’s the perfect prop of course, but also contains some hilarious chapters where the author can’t conceal their disdain for certain herbs. For example, Sweet Cicely is not one of his favourites, but instead of leaving it out altogether, he simply writes:
Oh for the days when scientific books were a bit less, well, scientific.
June has been HECTIC. In between deadlines, trips, shoots and stress, the cutting patch in our back garden has been keeping me sane. The sweet peas are thriving and I’m able to fill a jam jar a day with flowers – the more you pick, the more they grow. This year, I planted an old-fashioned ‘heirloom’ mix of bi-colour, highly-perfumed sweet peas and a lot of my favourite Matucana ones, too, which have piercing violet and crimson petals and a strong, sweet fragrance. Apparently, Matucana was first introduced into Britain in the 17th century by Sicilian monk, Franciscus Cupani, so it’s an ancient variety, but a good one.
This house is just around the corner and I admire it every time I pass. Peach and wisteria mauve – what a winning combination. I love it when people match their front door colour to flowers.
These rather lovely hand-painted wooden birds belonged to my husband’s grandmother. Now, they’re propped up on a shelf in our home. They’re labelled, rather smartly, as: Some Indian Birds – and I’m relieved to see that they’re ‘approved by the Government of Mysore’, which sounds awfully official. I love the coral-coloured paper box almost as much as the birds themselves. Now I know what ‘The Southern Red Whiskered Bulbul’ looks like. Just in case.
This year, I managed to catch the wild garlic before it flowered and went bitter. (Last year’s attempt was a sad hashtag foraging fail, which involved ‘grassy’ meals, much scraping-out of jars and a fair amount of swearing.) Luckily, my savvy mother-in-law knows a secret foraging spot in a Cotswold wood, so, at the weekend, my team of un-willing volunteers and I merrily filled several carrier bags with fresh leaves. I used Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s excellent recipe, which includes walnuts instead of pine nuts and – instead of tasting weird and semi-poisonous like my previous attempts, it’s delicious! It’s best stirred through pasta or smeared on bruschetta, but you can use it for seasoning other dishes, too. It’s basically potent garlic flavour, captured in a jar. Thank goodness it’s actually edible for once.
And so, to the fields of Oxfordshire. If you want rhubarb, tulips, fresh eggs or pickled onions, hurry – while stocks last.
Stole this branch of blossom from the supermarket car park. (Might file this under ‘foraging’…) Am so glad I did – it’s bringing a welcome bit of spring to a dark corner.
While shooting in New York recently, I became
a bit very obsessed with beautiful Brooklyn ‘Brownstones’. Exposed brickwork, tin ceiling tiles and stunning vintage ‘metro-style’ wall tiles – I was in interiors heaven…
Picked up these 1950s bad boys at a flea market recently. I couldn’t resist the stunning covers and the content is really inspiring, too – a mixture of articles and poetry, all beautifully illustrated.