The Harridan Awakes

My inner harridan is scowling and moaning and shrieking this morning, but no sound is actually coming out of my vaguely hungover-dry mouth because I am simply too tired to bother. The children have happened upon a new idea – something to do with 5:00am and waking up loudly. I cannot work out what/who to blame. The nephew who stayed in their room and set the alarm too early? The pesky early-morning sun? Some karmic punishment for having gone out to Bloody French last night and drinking too much lovely red wine? It is probably that. Ah well. A lovely time was had by all, until our friends gave us the news that he has lost his job. Ouch – this recession nastiness is snarling and biting our friends and circling closer and closer all the time. 

So I think a little list of nice things is needed to redress the  balance.

Things I Like:

la pavoni

The La Pavoni is my most favourite thing in the kitchen – nay, the whole flat. It is unfortunately dirty, but delivers every morning and every afternoon regardless, soldiering on in a duty-bound, caffeine-fuelling kind of way. We bought it in a little industrial town outside San Gimignano (sp?) in Tuscany about two years ago. It is the original 1950’s design, handmade, maybe (but not likely) by an ancient, stooped, little, rumpled Italian grandfather in a dusty workshop.  The design is considered so iconic and lovely that it is shown in the MOMA – and, on my kitchen bench. We carried it back on the plane nestled at our feet while struggling with B and N who were squirmy and tiny, and I was also pregnant with Custard. 

The coffee is best with Monmouth beans from the Borough market, but Coffee Planet on Portobello Rd does lovely beans too (and they are much cheaper than Monmouth). We have a KitchenAid grinder – also a good design. These sit next to the dreamy Dualit red 4-slice toaster. What gluttons for lovely kitchen things we are. 


My mother taught me the value of bargain shopping. It was she who took me to second-hand shops and garage sales and showed me how to look for treasure. I love rummaging at markets (Portobello esp) and antique shops and go to TRAID on Westbourne Grove and the Queensway Trinity every week.  Every time I need a little splurge, off to TRAID I go for a vintage dress. And it nearly always delivers. The Trinity has supplied me with the following delights:

A Marc Jacobs blue wool checked coat with oversized buttons and puffed sleeves

A Mulberry satchel

A Valentino vintage red billowing blouse

TRAID has given me:

Two Miu Miu denim skirts

A Christian Lacroix blue blazer

And once upon a time, before the makeover, OXFAM on Westbourne Grove was responsible for granting my wardrobe:

A teal silk Freda deep-V neck dress

A black vintage YSL silk shirt

A green Prada cashmere cardigan

(Incidentally, to whoever thought the OXFAM makeover was a good idea –  it really wasn’t. You ruined it, with your black paint and your remade jewellery. Ill-judged. Frown.)

Sample sales also fill me with joy. The Chloe sample sales have furnished me with two bags, the Betty and a gold one, a frock coat and a wool cardigan. The recent Matches sale had a great little Stella McC short jacket, from £600-ish down to £145, now in my pleased-with-itself wardrobe.

The boys:

As probably stated before. I am mad for them.


Am in much better mood now. There is much more to tell, but we have a trip to Amersham to get ready for. Woo hoo!

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