2016. The review. Pt 3

September

This was a very manic time as my job change, to being the chief reporter for a newspaper, began to hit in and my etc writing – in theory at least – reduced to one day a week to make way for all the breaking news and council meetings.

As such it is not really a surprise that a visit to The Salterns made for both a nice article and nice escape from the office.

The newly created holiday apartments at Chichester Marina occupy an enviable spot next to the water, making it bizarre to think the building was previously used for offices – which is somewhat ironic going on my previous comment.

But that is neither here nor there, look at them!

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Swoon!

October

etc Magazine always likes to touch on the big topics, as well as the aspirational and fluffy ones. With October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month I took the opportunity to learn more about a pioneering treatment by a Sussex-project.

November

For this month’s editions it all got a bit arty. For West Sussex I wrote about a design school with a difference starting up, while I headed over to the East for a cultural tour taking in Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings.

The latter might win, just because I got to sit in this ridiculous deckchair..

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In all seriousness however, the exhibitions were fascinating, the hotels beautiful and Hastings old town might just have stolen a bit of my heart.

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December 

While Brighton-based Joosr, which reduces books such as A (not so) Brief History of Time into 20 minute reads, might have changed my view on e-readers – which is no easy task – spending the day with some of the counties’ best young chefs takes some beating.

Yup, I’m back on the food again and this time it was the Young Chef and the Year Cook Off at the Amex Stadium. I basically follow around the judges, which this year included Matt Gillan, and taste a lot of sublime dishes – then write about it before the food coma hits in. I’m sure you can tell it is hard work..

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Another bizarre claim to fame ^^ that’s my hand in the official pics. Note how my nail varnish matches the jus!

2016. The Review. Pt2

May!

I do love a food special, and this month proved to be a feast.

As well as learning about the wonders of sheep’s milk with Top Paddock Dairy and tucking into proper pub grub in Oving , I had the wonderful opportunity of time-travelling thanks to the Repast supperclub.

The latter, as bewildering as it might sound, was the simple but brilliant idea of Haywards Heath chef Sam Bilton.

Our culinary adventure was back to Venice’s rich past, and from start…

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(polenta squares topped with salted cod and mushrooms)

To the end…

fritters

(fritelli – almond filled donut fritters)

It was amazing.

June

I’m sticking with food and I’m not even sorry, I mean how often to you get to talk to a chef whose signature dishes are all made using hotel room appliances?

From steaks steamed in the shower to a full English he insists is ‘better than the what you’d get in the buffet downstairs’, the aptly named George Egg has come up with in-genius ways to create it all.

July 

Mermaids, flamingos and badgers in bowties – time for something a bit different.

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My two favourites for July were Brighton fashion band Sugarhill Boutique (above) and the equally bright and brilliant Eastbourne alphabet by artist Clare Dales.

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August

Lewes-based VRAC teas  would have claimed the top spot this month, if it wasn’t for my behind the scenes visit to Chichester’s Timothy Roe jewellers.

I mean this Goodwood bangle by them is reason enough that it was special..

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…but for me it had a personal connection as this jewellers is where my engagement ring (finally) came from and I got to find out how it was made.

*Finally because I was the one choosing it, not because I am a bunny boiler. But I’m sure, one day, I’ll get around to sharing that story on here.

Four days in the south of France

I suppose I should have known I was going to like the south of France.

Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux.

Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux.

I certainly like saying the south of France – it sounds like it should be said beside a pool, sipping something with gin in it.

A more rational reason is that is was a favourite of some of history’s greatest artists.
Vincent Van Gogh is said to have declared ‘the whole future of art is to be found in the south of France’. And with a list which includes Claude Monet, Jean Renoir and Cézanne – you feel Vincent was on to something.

We flew from Gatwick to Marseille, hired a car and made our way to the beautiful small hotel La Maison du Paradou which had invited us to explore the famous area.
Driving along we soon realised the road signs read like a ‘Where’s Where’ with Barcelona, Lyon and Nice among the list.
And with the ‘Baby Alps’ framing rolling countryside I knew I didn’t want to leave before I had even unpacked.

 

Day one

Provence France, Laura Cartledge, Nimes, Maiselle, Les Baux

After our refuelling with tea and flapjacks we headed to the nearest highest point – Les Baux – to get our bearings.
This rocky outcrop, crowned with a ruined castle, offered breathtaking views over the plains to the south and out to sea.
As dusk drew in the light changed and we got a real sense of how special the area was.
We turned in early, following a delicious dinner at La Maison, to be ready to explore more in the morning.

Day two

One of my favourite things about our hosts, Andrea and Nick, was that they could turn a discussion over breakfast into a perfect, and printed, itinerary.
Our love of markets saw them suggest driving 20 minutes to Saint-Rémy.
The streets were brimming with a rainbow of produce and products while the lavender, which the area is famous for, filled the air.
We ducked into the quiet and cool Collégiale Saint-Martin Church and took too many photos of the buildings bearing painted signs, before heading to the breathtaking Saint-Paul

Saint-Paul Asylum

Saint-Paul Asylum

Asylum nearby – where Vincent Van Gogh stayed for a year. He was a self-admitted patient, from May 1889 until May 1890, and produced 143 oil paintings and more than 100 drawings here, including some of his most famous work – The Irises and Starry Night.

Back on the road we headed to Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct named after the Gardon River it crosses.
The on-site museum extensively documents both how it was built and how time has changed it, so, along with a spot of lunch, it made for a great stop on route to Nimes.
With the day running out we decided to head straight to the coliseum.
Built around 70AD, it is reported to be one of the world’s best-preserved Roman amphitheatres. It was remodelled in 1863 to serve as a bullring and now hosts other public events.
It is, like Pont du Gard, an astonishing feat of engineering and is a tangible link to the routes of the historic city.
Weaving our way through the narrow streets, where fashion brands and antique shops sit side by side, confirmed it offered a great merging of worlds and interests.

Day three

Aix-en-Provence

Aix-en-Provence

Keen to see more of the city life, and tempted by an array of markets, Aix-en-Provence was our first destination.
Andrea’s description of it being ‘bustling and bohemian’, thanks in part to the universities here, was spot on.
At the same time the streets were dotted with cathedrals, museums and quaint squares – where you find the numerous markets which are themed into textiles, food, flowers and crafts.
The Pavillon Vendôme, a historic house surrounded by a French formal garden, proved a nice spot to while away some time.
On our way back to the hotel we took the opportunity to visit Carrières de Lumières in Les Baux.
The former quarry has been transformed into a spectacular projection show venue.
Regular films are shown, both of historic and modern art. My favourite was themed on the renaissance and saw the drawings of Leonardo Da Vinci grow across the walls.

Provence France, Laura Cartledge, Nimes, Maiselle, Les Baux

For dinner we went to the neighbouring village, Maussane-les-Alpilles, rumoured to have 25 restaurants and only 200 inhabitants.
Our pick was Au Bistrot Marin which specialises in seafood. Half a crab has never been delivered so literally, or been so tasty, and after a feast we retired for the night

Day four

Keeping the momentum going we aimed to make the most of the time before our flight.
We started with the ‘toy town’ of Eygalières. Arguably our most stunning destination yet, with stone buildings spread over the hillside, a quaint church and cafe culture, it really highlights the Provence feel.

Maiselle

Maiselle

In sharp contrast our final port of call was the capital Marseille, second only in size to Paris.
Historically it was the most important trade centre in the region and the main trade port of the French Empire.
Now, thanks to its beaches, history, architecture and culture – including 24 museums and 42 theatres – Marseille is one of the most visited cities in the country.
Being European Capital of Culture in 2013 saw many changes and now modern attractions and architecture nestle among the old.
We just follow our noses and wind up at the waterside before devouring fish and chips, French style.
Then the airport calls an end to what has been a perfect mini break.

For more about my visit keep an eye on http://www.etcmag.net and for details of La Maison du Paradou visit www.maisonduparadou.com

Inside West Dean College

There’s some assignments my work sees me go on that gives me a certain feeling in my stomach.
It’s a good feeling. A this-is-why-I-do-what-I-do feeling. And my trip to West Dean yesterday was on such example.

Now, excuse me while I go a bit soppy, but I fell for this magical place on my first visit and each trip after has just deepened my love affair.

This weekend sees the college open to the public, something that only happens once a year, so an invite to the press preview was not something I was going to turn down.

From the Oak Hall to the purple hallway dotted with spectacular artwork – including the Dali ‘lips’ couch and an ancient dolls house used as a training aid for the servants to know what job was next – it was all I could do not to let my jaw hang open. After all I am a professional, I have a notebook to prove it. But let me tell you my insides were doing a happy skip the whole way around.

Anyway, enough of that. And time for some of this…

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I probably have a million versions of this picture on my camera and phone.. I can’t seem to go to West Dean and not take it.

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Now, it’s probably not fair to have favourites, but if West Dean let me stay (forever) I know I would live in the Oak Hall. The wood panelling, that fireplace, the ornately carved mezzanine floor you can’t see because I took this picture from there…

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My visit also coincided with the launch of Sue Timney’s surrealist collection. The college’s history with the art movement is thanks to Edward James who was a patron of a lot of the female surrealists and even collaborated with Dali.. because if you are going to do something you might as well do it properly.

So the table was laden with the new pieces, half from the surrealist floral range – inspired by a bedspread of James’ – and the other influenced by his obsessions with turtles. Sue herself was amazing, and I may have got a bit ‘fan girl’ about the whole occasion. But, hear me out, she had helped turn around the Laura Ashley homewares department and was involved with one of my favourite builds featured on Grand Designs – the London water tower. 

Sue enjoys tea with the paparazzi..

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I would have taken more pictures if I wasn’t hanging on/trying to write down every word Sue said. For the record it has to be the first time I’ve ever written ‘architrave’ in shorthand and translating it correctly may have been a highlight of my afternoon back in the office.

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One day, tiles like these will be mine.

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The collection includes camouflaged aprons, vaguely seen on the left side here, as well as silk cushions and scarves and fine china tableware. Both designer and college said they are ‘seeing this as just the beginning’ – do you think I could RSVP now for the next launch?

 

2014 ~ The first third

Losing an hour is one thing.

The fact it is April tomorrow is quite another.

But leaving the “how the?” until later here’s a quick catchup.. also known as #lifelately I believe? Since the last time I was here.

February

At work, among other things, I was writing about the tasty toppers from Miss Cake that look a bit like this..

'Love, Love Me Do' Cake Topper £16.99

And the glorious illustrations, doodled shoes and paper worlds crafted by Sam Pierpoint.

JPET Feb14 Sam Pierpoint

Outside of work I went on a Turkish adventure with “the gang” – my parents, my sister and both of our boyfriends – and a lot of more mature people, in a bus, in the rain. Mostly taking pictures of cats on various monuments.. but I’ll blog about that later.

March

Choosing a stand out article this month took me all of NO seconds. I got to interview this bearded beauty well respected tailoring expert.

Debenhams Patrick Grant JPET Feb14

 

Meanwhile, on planet earth, my manfriend moved home! Cutting a long story short – we used to work in the same office but he’s has spent the last two years in Kent as a sports editor, which was a bit weird. And rubbish. And we spent too much time on motorways and too little time together. So WOO!

April

Is still a month of mysteries. But etc-magazine-wise it looks rather swish. And looks a bit like this..

Sarah Moore JPET Apr14

The Exbury Egg

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A sneaky peek at Stanley Spencer ~ Pallant House, Chichester

Without doubt one of the highlights of my job is getting to see things before other people.

I’m not quite Doctor Who, but with a magazine which works two months ahead of real time it can feel like it at times.

To sneak behind the barrier and see an exhibition that is still not quite finished is pretty special. The description plates sit on the floor leaning against the walls and the table is laid for the private view.

It feels sneaky. In a good way.

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Stanley Spencer, Heaven in a Hell of War runs from 15 February – 15 June 2014

Now I’ll be honest. I’d never heard of Stanley. My work at uni was slightly different – more Emin and Durchamp than murals with religious themes. I could probably blag it and not be honest but for me the joy of discovery would be lost then, and I’ve never been good at pretending to be more informed thank I am.

So, for those in the same camp, Sir Stanley Spencer (1891‐1959) is regarded as one of the most important painters of the 20th century. If you look at the image above, the top left has elements that could be seen as pop art…

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See? Now that is pretty cool. While the focus being on “behind the scenes” of war, a comforting side to the horror. Or making beds and breakfast in the war hospitals rather than the wounded I think is refreshing.

ippThe detail is insane and, thanks to the way it can be highly focused in one place and almost abstract in another, it leads the  viewer’s eye to every inch of the canvas.

Spencer is credited with taking the everyday and giving it a “Biblical grandeur” – personally I believe you can often see what you want to.  I learnt that from studying English Lit. But if you put your mind in the right frame and squint a bit I could buy into macintoshes becoming wings and arms spreading a duvet mimicking  the stance on the crucifix…

But mostly I just like the appreciate the staggering scale, vision and subject. I’ll also admit I enjoy the slightly wonky perspective because sometimes paintings can lose the character of the creator and just turn into painstaking photographs I think.

Pallant House has managed to secure sketches by Spencer, belonging to Chichester University, and his most famous large‐scale work from Sandham Memorial Chapel in Hampshire.

The result is a journey avid fans and newcomers can appreciate and it is another reason to tip your hat to this fantastic gallery.

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Dinosaur DIY

Before the craft I think a little context is needed.

This is a story that is (roughly) about 225 million years old – but for me and the boyfriend it began by spending a brilliant afternoon here..

IMG_20131107_135632.. hunting for dinosaurs. Soon after Charmouth, Dorest, we went to a Queens of the Stone Age gig in London  and, deciding to make the day even more historical, we spent the rest of the time here..

National History Museum

National History Museum

Mostly staring open mouthed at these..

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Ok, so before we knew it dinosaurs had kinda become our “thing” joining a random list which includes putting marmite into a lot of recipes and singing Lovecats like lunatics.

Which meant, come Christmas, I was looking for a ROAR-some (sorry) gift.

And this is what I came up with..

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It’s simple but I like it. Mr Rex was a couple of pounds from The Works, the gold screw-in hook was 15p from a hardware shop and the glittery ribbon added some festiveish bling. Easy. To be honest I can’t promise this years tree won’t be filled with farm animals strung up in the same way : )

Look how terrifying he looked in the tree..

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But this was just the start of the Dinosaur DIY.
Manfriend went two better.. (literally) by making me three prehistoric presents including two jewellery holders and a keyring..

The gang

The gang

From L – R there is the ring holder stegosaurus (with extra hooks), my T-Rex earring cup and Trachodon keyring.

But my favourite thing about them is when I opened T-Rex my manfriend said “this is why my deodorant doesn’t have a lid anymore..” Nope instead it has been tinfoiled and wired to a dinosaur.. worth the sacrifice I think!

My accessories mountain is certainly grateful..

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