| Oddities | Unidentified English Amateur

I don't know much about the science and methods of old photography but,  I envision that it was an entirely different experience to what we have now. There must have been more in the way of precision, patience and photographic understanding involved in taking photos and a whole lot of wonder in the viewing of them. Imagine seeing a photo of something for the very 1st time - must seemed like magic.

I suppose that might be part of the reason as to why, in these days of point and shoot digital cameras, smartphones and Instagram, I've grown increasingly interested in old photographs. They evoke a lapsed sense of wonder in the art. I especially like old photos with an added pinch of magic in their subject matter. These astronomical snapshots are my current photo fixations. They are part of a collection found on Luminous-Lint, most are taken in 1911 by "an unidentified English amateur astronomer and photographer".  I think I like the annotations, though I know not what they mean, just as much as I do the pictures!

Photo credit: Luminous-Lint

Luminous-Lint is a splendid place to loose track of time.  If you've not come across it before, it is essentially a photography website with an enormous collection of vintage and contemporary images. The vintage images are especially delightful and intriguing!

| Links for the curious |

The Luminous-Lint Website

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| Plants | Oxalis Triangularis Care Tips

I love it when people ask me what this plant is. Love it love it love it. Because, I get to say that it is an "Oxalis triangularis" or, more honestly,  "Oxaaaah-lis Triangulaaar-is". To me at least, it sounds like a spell that Hermione Granger might have cast. So, in my head, I flick my imaginary wand each time I say it and proceed to smile like the Cheshire Cat.

I bought a little pot of this from magical plenty-wonderland that is The Conservatory Archives back in March. Since then, it has really gone for it and we currently have clusters of glorious rich purple foliage frolicking away in many corners of our home. 

I am no plant expert and truth be told, I feel a bit sheepish dishing out tips but it it nice to share and learn together isn't it? So here are my tips on how I got my Oxalis triangularis to thrive:

Oh and if you are looking for plants in east/northeast London, here is a list of places you can check out.

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| Explore | Baynard House

Baynard House is probably more known for its car park or for being described as; " ... an acutely depressing L-shaped block ... extending over the road tunnels of the diverted Upper Thames Street. ... Its massive projecting balconies might possibly approach monumentality, were they not clad in pre-cast aggregate panels." 

Baynard House is showing signs of neglect, wear, tear, age, and perhaps as much exasperation as a concrete monolith can express. All that said, there are beautiful moments secluded within the bulk of the structure. Impressive textures, lovely lines, rhythmic geometry, quiet hues and it casts interesting shadows. 

Despite its blunt appearance, Baynard House hides an unexpected history.  Somewhere in the depths of its foundations is the former site of Baynard's Castle built before 1017. Zoom forward to the 1970s and William Halford is in the midst of designing and delivering the Brutalist structure that we see today. It served originally as telephone exchange. 

It has an easily accessible raised "garden" for the curious to explore. Here you can marvel at the strange sculpture that depicts the 7 ages of man and a colossal air vent for the carpark below which we find particularly pleasing.

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| Explore | Abandoned Saunas

When we were in Finland, we learned that some people build summer houses complete with a sauna by one of the country's many many lakes. If there is not enough money for a house, then just a sauna will do! The countryside has scatterings of little wooden huts.  Some looked abandoned but were not - they were just awaiting the return of the summer when their owners owners would rekindle their fires. Some however, were very definitely abandoned.

Thinking back, I wish I took more time to take photos of the many abandoned saunas we saw one particularly sunny afternoon. Then I remember that we were distracted buy something altogether more intriguing. But that my friends, is a story to chill you with on another day.

P.S. I'd wager that the number of abandoned or neglected saunas dwindling across the Nordic countries is plentiful. What an interesting project it would make to traverse these lake filled places investigating and photographing these subjects. Ah! Perhaps we will do that one day.

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Fancy That 1

Whilst browsing, wishing, adding things onto my list of things I would like to have or check out, I came across these:

Stamps - always useful and even better when they look this good. This particularly handsome set commemorates not only 40 years since Agatha Christie's death, but also the centenary of her penning her first crime novel.

Tray - trays are always put to good use in our home. Artek's combine function and style in their Siena plywood trays. The print is taken from Alvar Aalto's 1954 architectural print and I am kicking myself for not buying one when we were in Finland and in the actual Artek shop. Silly, silly me.

Socks - I am partial to a pair of Bonne Maison socks. Their new collection is a bit splendid and I really like the 'Domino' pairs. 

Paints - Lamy who are more famous for their pens also do watercolour - though not many people talk about it. The Lamy Aquaplus  won the IF product design award in 2011 and I fancy trying it out. 

Pencils - Yes, I know I have about 100 pencils. Yes. I. Know. But none of them shed sharpening in the shape of cherry blossoms petals! Need.

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Mama Moments I


At the end of every single day, I promise myself that TOMORROW I will get more done than I did today.

I WILL blog. 

I WILL complete some of the almost finished things that I am working on for my little shop. 

I WILL work through that growing hill of paperwork. 

I WILL email/text/ring/write to (FILL IN NAME OF CHERISHED PATIENT FRIEND HERE) just to remind them that I do think of them and I do miss them.

Then there is the home stuff that needs seeing to - the pile of "hand wash only" garments that I am hiding in the back of my wardrobe. The cupboards that need rearranging. The ironing, the deep cleaning, the repotting......


MOST of things things can wait. As important as they are to me and as much as I want to spend time on them, my little explorer is now walking and flexing his curiosity. These moments of watching him as he discovers new things everyday are pure magic. I stay close as he waddles, wobbles, stumbles and stomps his way around and I realise that this is time I will never get back again. So, I've made up my mind that this is the time to steep in the moment and imprint it into my heart because once the moment rushes by - what I have taken in is all that I will have left.

Then, I gaze at all the things waiting my attention and I remind myself that small progress, is still progress.

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| Photo Diary | Boisterous City

There is a side of Hong Kong that is consciously curated. There you will find the sort of places that attract the coffee shop Instagram crews. The sort of cut and paste places that you can find in just about any big city in the world now. The sort of places that deliberately try to look cool, might serve a great espresso alongside organic treats with gluten free, activated unicorn tears, but when you think about it, these places, as well intending as they may be,  actually tell you very little about reality of a city. 

Hong Kong is a boisterous city with a complex past and social present. It is a perpendicular maelstrom of human activity, ceaseless in its vitality and intensity and this is depicted so well in the Sham Sui Po area. 

High-rises regimental in their structure and rhythmic geometry are softened by washing lines and animated by a barrage of signage. Gestures of domesticity and enterprise bring visual delights to visitors. The textures and colours of buildings nearing the end of their lives clash against the cold faceless concrete towers that are closing in. All these stories are apparent from where I stood, under a  bridge where a homeless community had meticulously stack their belongings to return to when night falls.

| More for the curious |

If you are in Hong Kong you might want to check out HK FARM and explore the vertical farms cropping up on the rooftops throughout Hong Kong.

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