My Sunshiny Life











I saw this exhibition in SaLon, Westbourne Grove about a month ago and just hadn’t got around to putting it up.  I’ll give you the intro that I got on the takeaway sheet from the gallery as they summarise the work far better than I could.

Masquerade: The faces that greet us each day on the cover of newspapers and magazines appear so familiar and yet really they are strangers to us.  The media presents us with these masked characters and their daily charade – what is it that makes these people so intriguing?

The work that has gone into the portraits is immense.  They are intricate beaded creations and Sarah also uses semi precious stones, crystals, chipped glass and broken plates.  The artist info sheet reads ‘It is important to Gwyer that she can make political and social comments without a loss in aesthetics or alienating a section of society.’  I think she has captured this well, illustrating but not caricaturing the subjects.

There are three series portrayed, Addicts, Artists and Best of British.  It appears that British society loves a scandal and it may be telling that out of all the portraits there were to photograph, the only ones I have are the ones of the addicts.  Sorry Damien Hirst and Tracey Emin.

A very kind portrayal of Miss Winehouse

A very kind portrayal of Miss Winehouse

The attitude is captured beautifully

The attitude is captured beautifully

Russell Brand

The Kate Moss one is A.Mazing!  The portrait is made up of thousands and thousands of different pictures of Kate.  Pictures within the picture making up the picture.  Very clever.

Pictures within the picture

Pictures within the picture

Still an icon

Still an icon



{June 28, 2009}   Cake Artiste!

Look at this total work of art from Patisserie Valerie.  Almost too good to eat.  Almost!  Add a glass of champers and the office was a very happy place on Thursday.  Happy birthday Jane!

Fabulous Patisserie Valerie Creation



I went to a media party tonight which was a bit boring.  They had the same five canapes doing the rounds, which was a very disappointing show in the culinary stakes.  I have more variety sitting down with a bowl of scooby snacks to watch TV!  I’ve been calorie counting of late (see afrorementioned Scooby snacks comment to see why) and avidly filling out all my food on Daily Plate -( a dieting girl”s dream).  Now it doesn’t take much for me to get pizzled when I’m eating my own body weight in food every day, let alone surviving on meagre rations.

This is my defense!!!

So I was at the party, drinking wine, watching the canapes going past and talking to a guy who had some weird celtic name, so I asked him what it meant.  He told me what it was, and then I told him that my name meant white breasted.  God knows why I thought I should share this information with a complete stranger.  It is a story out of my ‘Bronwyn’s Life Stories Repertoire’, but normally reserved for people I know slightly better.  The man got a little bit fresh with the information and asked if it were true – now I’m fair skinned and was wearing a summer dress so it’s pretty obvious! What did he think, that I had Jamaican jugs hiding under there.  I gestured in the general area and shrugged – he said I needed to prove it and I just laughed.  This story has the potential to be exaggerated in the cold light of day, which is why I’m laying out the facts here… so a certain Mr D in the office can’t embellish too much!!!!

Not feeling like I’d caused myself enough embarrassment, I later said that I couldn’t drink any more wine as I had a big day tomorrow and needed to be on the game… um, that was meant to be on the ball.  So I made the wise call to take my hussy little self home before I could do my sterling reputation any more damage.  If they’d had more than five canapes there I might have stayed longer, maybe it’s just as well they didn’t!

glass-of-white-wine-61



{June 22, 2009}   Simone's Sand Sculptures

How cool are these sand sculpture landscapes?  Simone makes them and I’d like to see how they’re made as I find the whole thing quite intriguing.  Apparently a tooth pick features in some way and I imagine a fair amount of skill and practise features highly too!  It’s kind of like when you wonder how the ship gets in the bottle…  I’ve wondered that for years actually and just searched for it online.  There are a few schools of thought on how it’s done;

* You hire a team of ants and give them a lot of sugar to go hard out working on it (no one likes a smart arse)

* The sails are collapsible so the ship fits through the bottle neck and then the sails are all rigged up

* You use long slender tweezers to construct the whole thing inside the bottle

* The bottle is made around the ship (this one seems a little too hard)

I think I’ll just enjoy the artistic beauty of it and stay ignorant. 

Simone's Sand Sculptures



I’ve been to Stonehenge before and gazed at the wonder of the stones through the wire fence as I walked around the circuit listening to the audio guide.  I can’t tell you what they said, but it was along the lines of ‘we have no idea how or why they moved these stones here thousands of years ago’. 

This trip, to celebrate summer solstice, couldn’t have been any more different.  For a start, we left London at about 1am to make the 3 hour journey.  Bahar, our driving angel for the evening, finished her DJ set in Beduin (a bar by Fabric) and we set off on our adventure, with her van of friends forming a convoy behind us.  We finally got there and started walking, it was a 40 minute trek to the actual site.  As we made our way closer to the stones we noticed hordes of people leaving and were worried that we’d missed the sunrise.  An unfounded worry as it turns out, because the sun didn’t really rise in full view, it shyly made it’s appearance behind cloud cover at 6.47am.  Not to worry, we cheered the latecoming, high and shy sun just as enthusiastically as if we would have if it had turned up on time and through the stones.

To say the event wasn’t what I expected is the same as saying George Bush is only slightly stupid.  I expected a whole lot of peace, love and happiness, druids and pagans, with a few spliffs being passed around, lots of stone hugging and some gentle bongo beats.  What greeted us however, even before we’d made it into the immediate stone vicinity, was a wide mix of people from many walks of life.  Some walks of life featured larger than others and I was a little taken aback at first.  So much so that I positioned myself next to a burly security guard and made sure he knew I was one of the good ones.   We tried to make our way up to the stones, but the sheer size of the crowd had me in panic attack mode before we’d made any real progress.  We retreated to our picnic blanket until the crowds had dispersed and we could appreciate the stones and the bongo drum section in the middle without the crowd pressure.

As well as crowd anxiety I also have  a whole raft of public toilet idiosyncrasies (yes, I’m a treat to take to festivals) but I’m pleased to report my latest addition to my public outing arsenal, the humble shewee.  With my tissues, wet wipes, anti bac gel and shewee I’m all good to go (literally).  Too much info I know, but I can’t help myself.

It was a fabulous study of human behaviour with a crowd of 36,500 people gathered around the enigmatic stones.  I have to say, I enjoyed it a lot more around 8am when the crowds were manageable and we could pose much better for photos!  We didn’t drive for 3 hours then walk for 3 miles to leave with rubbish photos!  Looking at a study of human behaviour – this guy kept us entertained for the longest time as he rocked it, worked it, busted the moves and generally behaved like a superstar DJ.  Actually only like a superstar DJ in HIS mind, as he pulled the weirdest faces and even picked his nose on occasion (thanks Kylie for pointing that out).  SO funny!

This pretty much summed up the morning!

This pretty much summed up the morning!

The tardy guest of honour

The tardy guest of honour

Crowded Stones

Crowded Stones

Happy Ray of Sunshine Lady

Happy Ray of Sunshine Lady

Bahar and her cousin

Our angel driver Bahar and her cousin

Picnic Stonehenge Styley

Picnic Stonehenge Styley

Me and Koi-lee

Me and Koi-lee

Hanging with the locals

Hanging with the locals



{June 18, 2009}   Persian Delights at Alounak

Alounak

When Mel suggested we meet at Alounak in Westbourne Grove for our catch up dinner I accepted eagerly.  I’ve passed this place so many times and noticed the queue outside, but I’d never ventured in before.  Actually, this would be my first taste of Iranian food.  I didn’t capitalise on the opportunity as I should have by trying lots of local dishes.  Instead I went for an old favourite, Chicken Skewer with rice, salad and houmus (or hummus, hommos, whichever way it’s spelt in Iran!).  It wasn’t an adventurous choice but it will give me a reason to go back there and try other dishes! 

Before we met I did some investigating on review sites and there were quite a few negatives, which made me slightly wary but we didn’t have any problems at all.  One of our waitresses was a little dim admittedly, but the other was absolutely lovely.  Another complaint in a review was about the lack of wine glasses.  I take this as part of the charm of a BYO restaurant.  The bread was DIVINE, fresh from the clay oven at the front of the restaurant.  My dish would have been pretty hard to screw up, but other plates served around me looked amazing… and those queues wouldn’t be there if the food isn’t top notch!

So I’ll be back soon to sample some other delights of Alounak and to eat a mountain of that delicious bread!

Alounak Bread



{June 13, 2009}   Attempted Larceny at Lunch

Naomi, Lila and I went for lunch at Villandry Kitchen yesterday.  We were lucky enough to get a seat outside and sat there,  wine in hand, savouring the grey british day and constant flow of traffic.  It was a fabulous place for people watching, especially the old man sitting at the table facing me, who was literally drooling and couldn’t keep his eyes off two sexy girls sitting beside him.  He just wanted to sit at their table as well, it was most funny to watch as they tried to keep talking pretending they didn’t see him ogling at them.

Two unkempt youths came up to us and approached Lila and I, as we were closest to the pavement.  One came around the back of me, forcing me to turn away from the table.  My bag was on the chair next to me and my hand automatically went to cover it.  My handbag is like my blankie, we’re never far apart from each other.  They had tube maps in their hands and were asking for some intelligible station.  I was a bit impatient but still unaware of the scam.  Lila got it straight away and as he started to put the map down on the table she put her hand over her phones that were sitting there and just glared at him.  He knew he’d been busted straight away and started backing off.  The scam is to put the map down and pick it back up again, along with your mobile phone.  Dodgy little buggers.  We got rid of them quite quickly and then tucked in to our delicious lunch, high fiving ourselves for being so vigilant. 

The food was lovely, the setting fabulous (a bit of sunshine wouldn’t have gone astray, but at least it wasn’t raining), the people watching was most interesting and crime busting most satisfying.  It may have to become our tradition, Charlies Angels at lunch deterring would be petty crims.

Villandry Kitchen



{June 10, 2009}   Miracle on 98 Bus

Today had the same sort of feel as back in February, when London was covered in a blanket of snow except today will go down in history as Tube Strike Day (well one of the days!).  The transport system in London can’t cope that well when working at full capacity, let alone 90% of the tube lines down!  Roads were gridlocked, buses were jammed, pavements were PACKED full of walkers and there was a bit of angst in the air.  In that way it was totally different to London Snow Day – that day people smiled at each other and life seemed pretty, white and clean.  There was no snow today to detract from the fact that London was in chaos.  

My trip to work started out really well, I walked up to the bus stop, the bus arrived, doors opened and I stepped on.  Ok, it was packed, but there were people at that bus stop that had seen five buses go past without being able to get on (you could see it in their eyes and desperate pack mentality).  The bus driver was forcing people back off the bus because it was too full and some just refused to get off.  I lasted about four stops on the sardine bus, but after getting a face full of hair and then a man’s nether regions pressed firmly into my butt, I struggled down to the doors of the bus (currently gridlocked) and asked if I could get to the door.  A big neanderthal was standing there so I asked him to move – he couldn’t quite comprehend my request so I pushed past him, pressed the door release button and then I was out to freedom with the sweet smell of London smog filling my nostrils!  My personal space boundary had been restored and life was good again.

After work, I was half way home and walking with arms laden full of groceries for the dinner I’d promised the girls, when I decided I REALLY didn’t feel like walking any more.  Then I spotted a miracle, a miracle called the number 98 bus – and it was EMPTY.  You seriously had to see how stuffed full of people the other buses were today to appreciate this phenomenon!  I told the bus driver he was my saviour, my knight in shining armour and that he’d saved my day.  He beamed a big happy smile and I’m sure my (over the top and slightly gushy) gratitude probably made his day a little bit brighter too.  I don’t know where that miracle 98 bus came from, but I loved it.  A ride home on the bus never felt so good!

Retro 98 Bus

Retro 98 Bus



{June 7, 2009}   Artisan du Chocolat

Yesterday I fell in love.  Deeply, madly and irrevocably in love with Artisan du Chocolat in Westbourne Grove.  Sam had been to the opening and was raving about it.  We just had to go.  Our lives suddenly seemed incomplete without a trip down to chocolat heaven(love the french, everything sounds exotic frenchy style).

Now I don’t want to build this up too much, you know, like a blockbuster movie that you just HAVE to see and then it’s shit and you just want to leave halfway through, but you haven’t quite finished your jumbo popcorn and gallon of coke (Pearl Harbour springs to mind, pass me the barf bucket wrapped in an american flag!)  This is different, this place is special.  It’s all in the details and they’ve really thought things through.  Did you know that a cacao pod isn’t like a coffee bean, it’s more like a gourd.  You’ll see models of them there so you’ll see the stuff inside is actually quite fleshy and it makes a bloody good bellini too!

The tables are like blocks of chocolate and the seats are like tubular marshmallows.  The smell is enticing and there are even generous samples dotted around the place.  There is a giant globe in the middle of the ceiling that is decorated so you feel like you’re in a cacao plantation, complete with the sound of birds.  I tell you, they really have thought of everything.  There are menu items that will have your mouth watering like a boxer puppy; warm chocolate fondant, dipped fruit fondue, salted caramel ice cream – chocolate ceremony for 2 (Japanese tea ceremony inspired).  The chocolate options are far too comprehensive to list, but here’s a selection; Jasmine Tea, Passion fruit, Banana and Thyme (I tried this, A.mazing!), Basil and Lime, Lavender, Earl Grey Tea, Coffee and Star Anise. 

You might expect to pay a small fortune for such an exotic adventure, but you’d be mistaken.  Sam had a Theobroma cacao pulp bellini which is lovely and I had a cacao martini – not quite as sweet as a chocolate martini, which is excellent because I had a calorie credit for the exquisite chocolates they gave us with our cocktail.  There were also plenty of other chocolates you could sample and I asked for a taste of the salted caramel icecream.  It was like a food orgasm.  All of this for a fiver.  Yep, £5!  I know, bargain!  I’ll be making this a regular haunt, what’s not to like, chocolate, booze, gorgeous place AND credit crunch friendly.

I don’t have the vocabulary to do this place justice.  You must check it out for yourself and you’re lucky because there are a few options;  Sloane Street, Selfridges and Westbourne Grove.  So you have no excuses not to experience chocolate heaven if you live in London.  Actually even if you don’t, air travel is cheap and it’s worth it!

I love their philosophy (they have a few but this is my fave)   ‘Chocolates are food, not a war time supply so pumped with fat, sugar, alcohol or preservatives that can be left on shelves for years.  Choose fresh, short shelf life chocolates kept refrigerated for purer ingredients and more intense taste’     Couldn’t have said it better myself, ditch the cadbury and go for the top shelf pure ingredient chocolate orgasm – what girl wouldn’t?

Artisan du Chocolat Interior

Artisan du Chocolat Interior

Artisan du Chocolat Cacao Globe

Artisan du Chocolat Cacao Globe

Artisan du Chocolat Cacao Pods

Artisan du Chocolat Cacao Pods

Artisan du Chocolat Cacao Martini

Artisan du Chocolat Cacao Martini

Artisan du Chocolat Display

Artisan du Chocolat Display



{June 6, 2009}   Friday night at Shunt

I had one of the best nights I’ve had in ages last night, with Kylie at Shunt.  Shunt is a lounge and theatre performance club in London Bridge.  It’s actually under the bridge so it’s all dark, damp and eerie.  I loved it!  

It’s a bit like Alice in Wonderland, so you’re not quite sure if things are real or not.  When we first walked in the door we were offered ‘LSD’ from a spaced out hippie.  There was a hippie caravan, lots of hippie hugs and dancing too.  There were psychadelic murals, paintings, cars packed with dried ice and lighting.  There were random bits of art hanging off the wall, all ripped and torn with glass all over the ground.  There was also a rooster which was displayed like a fine piece of art, I wanted to get a picture and knocked the bloody thing off.  Kylie and I have never moved so fast!  The acoustics were amazing (so the rooster made a MASSIVE crashing sound) and you could talk into a microphone and it would bounce around the tunnel – the screams would give you goosebumps.  My descriptions really aren’t doing it justice and I don’t think my photos do either.  Go along yourself and check it out, it’s BRILLIANT!  www.shunt.co.uk

Spooky Shunt Clowns

Spooky Clowns

Shunt Hippy Hug

Hippy Hug

Shunt Jimi LSD

Jimi LSD

Shunt Military Man

Rather Sad Military Man

Peace is Sexy

Peace is Sexy

Pickled Dolls

Pickled Dolls

Graffiti

Graffiti



et cetera