Monday, 16 December 2013
Friday, 15 November 2013
Saturday, 19 October 2013
In June 1912, some labourers excavating the cellar of an old building in Cheapside in the City of London, struck gold – literally. Under the floor they discovered a tangle of 16th and 17th century jewels and gemstones including delicate finger rings, cascading necklaces, Byzantine cameos, jewelled scent bottles, and a watch set in an enormous Colombian emerald (below).
They’d been there for some 300 years, probably the stock-in-trade of one of the jewellers who had premises on Cheapside.. Who was he and why were they hidden? It's still a mystery. But conservationists preparing them for exhibition at the Museum of London have found a clue as to when they were buried. One of the gemstones (left) is engraved with the heraldic badge of the first and only Viscount Stafford. He received his coat of arms in 1640, while the blackened layer above the hoard dates from the Great Fire of London in 1666. Those 26 years were a time of great upheaval, with civil war and plague taking the lives of many and forcing others to flee their homes. Perhaps the jewels were hidden for safekeeping and the owner never returned. The museum is hoping someone may know more – perhaps a descendant of one of the labourers, or even a person with a family story of lost jewels – and they’ll come forward to shed more light on the discovery.
There are almost 500 jewels in the hoard and this exhibition is the first time they've been displayed together since they were found - some have been housed at the British Museum. The display is dramatic, with dark walls and spotlights making the pieces gleam and sparkle. Magnifying glasses are provided for a closer look at the delicate workmanship such as that in this emerald, diamond and enamel salamander (left) and gold enamelled chain (below).
All photos © Museum of London
The Cheapside Hoard – London’s Lost Jewels is at the Museum of London until 27 April 2014.
Wednesday, 11 September 2013
This tortoiseshell butterfly was making the most of the sunshine at Hinton Ampner last week. It was one of hundreds, flitting from dahlias to buddleias and back again.
The property, now owned by the National Trust, has 12 acres of gardens, characterised by a series of linked ‘rooms’. There's a lily pond that Monet would have loved, a Long Walk, rose borders inspired by Sissinghurst and plenty of topiary. The result has been described as one of the great gardens of the 20th century.
This, and the house, reflect the tastes of Ralph Dutton, 8th and last Lord Sherborne. He inherited the property in 1935 and rebuilt it after a devastating fire in 1960 which started in the library. He remodelled the rooms and filled them with his collections of fine Georgian furniture and 18th century paintings. Of the garden, he wrote: "I have learned during the past years what above all I want from a garden: this is tranquillity".
Petersfield Rd Hinton Ampner, Bramdean, Hampshire SO24 0LA
Wednesday, 21 August 2013
Saturday, 27 July 2013
Each method used the same number of plants and has produced around 45 strawberries (some still green). But interestingly, the grow bag fruit (on the left) - as well as the plants - are noticeably larger.This may be because the bag holds more water than the pot, even though I put a perforated bottle in the middle of the latter to try to regulate the flow. One plant in a lower hole of the pot has no fruit at all. Perhaps the bees missed it, or the water didn't get through. It might have helped if the planter was raised off the ground a bit.
How to mark the arrival of a new baby? Kate and William will be innundated with gifts, despite asking that instead, donations should be made to St Mary’s Hospital, where Prince George was born. They’ve already received a charm bracelet with a tiny pot of nappy cream attached, a backpack baby carrier from the Scouts, a maternity package of essentials from Finland that goes to all new mothers there, and a handwritten notebook of quotes and sayings from an Italian grandmother.
But if you're planning a celebration for a new arrival closer to home, how about whipping up some baby-themed biscuits? I love these cookie cutters from Squires Kitchen. Choose from a bottle, booties, a vest, dress, pram, and even a little foot. And for a royal touch, there's also a crown. To make life easy, they come with decorating ideas. Happy baking!
Thursday, 18 July 2013
Tuesday, 2 July 2013
Friday, 21 June 2013
So for inspiration to update your wardrobe or start a new craft project, visit Barnett Lawson at 16 / 17 Little Portland Street, London W1W 8NE. (ph 020 7636 8591) or check out their website http://www.bltrimmings.com/
Prepare to be enchanted.
Tuesday, 18 June 2013
In NW London, we’ve just had our neigbhourhood’s Open Gardens Day - 14 stunning back gardens, all close to each other, but usually hidden from view. As usual, the afternoon brought hundreds of Mapesbury residents and their friends out onto the streets, holding maps with garden details and exchanging recommendations with fellow enthusiasts. They found a huge range of planting – everything from formal to cottage (above), woodland and meadow - and came away with plenty of inspiration and a better idea of what thrives - or doesn’t - in our local area.
Friday, 17 May 2013
See the results at http://greenjottings.blogspot.co.uk/2013_07_01_archive.html
More on the Polesden Lacey gardens at http://greenjottings.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/a-better-way-to-grow-strawberries.html
Thursday, 9 May 2013
The mellow brick house with its 22 individually cut chimneys dates back to Tudor times.
Chenies Manor House is open every Wednesday and Thursday, 2 – 5pm, and on Bank Holiday Mondays till the end of October.
Thursday, 2 May 2013
Just out:: an inspiring new craft book by milliner and journalist, Mary Jane Baxter.
Mary Jane (a judge in BBC 2's recent Handmade Revolution series) has been creating hats since she was a teenager. Her first collection was sold in Harvey Nichols, and she has since created bespoke hats for many well-known personalities.
The book is published by Kyle Books (£18.99), just in time for Ascot and all those summer weddings. Mary Jane even includes a useful section on how to find a hat style that suits you best.
There’s a review by Vicky Frost on the Guardian website: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2013/apr/25/april-craft-review-books-shops?INTCMP=SRCH