Thursday, February 28, 2013


This little girl right here has the biggest heart and sweetest personality 
of any kid I've ever known. No lie. I adore her more than words can convey.

At six and a half, she still has so much innocence. 
Fairies, Santa, the Easter Bunny...
I'm dreading the day she stops believing, and I worry that it's not far off.

If I had to sum her up in just a single word, it would be this: Pure.
Her essence - if it could be bottled and sold - would be priceless.

Monday, February 25, 2013


After my whine about L.A. being such a grimy city, I felt a little bad about dissing the city that's been home for nearly three years. I think that - like my years in London - I'm developing a bit of a love/hate relationship with LaLaLand. Maybe that's normal for an expat, I don't know. It feels familiar.

I suppose that all big cities have their good and bad sides, and it can be too easy to get caught up in the negative, and to stop noticing the good. All I know is that at some point, every city I've lived in has managed to get under my skin. I don't mean that as a bad thing; I just mean in the sense of living and breathing the city. Feeling the city. An understanding of the city.

That realisation has only dawned on me recently. I've been catching up on some top British TV shows and movies, and viewing the outdoor scenes - especially around London - I experience somewhat sensory-drenched memories. I can smell and taste the air. I go through pangs of emotion that are probably only experienced by others who have spent time in London. And although I was happy to bid adieu to London when we did, I wouldn't trade those years for anything. Now, when I see London, it feels as though I'm watching an old housemate - someone who I didn't always get along with, someone who pissed me off quite a bit at times, but also someone with whom I ultimately bonded, having some fabulous times along the way.

I wonder if I'll feel the same way about L.A. down the track? This city won't be home forever, so I want to start noticing the good again. I've begun by donning some rose retro-tinted specs, ignoring the grimy buildings, and focusing on the fab retro-style architecture that's easy enough to find... and you know what? It's been fun. Making it my mission to photograph these places (on my walks) has become a little obsession over the last couple of weeks, and now when I'm driving further out from my neighbourhood, I find my eyes wandering to the buildings I pass, and getting annoyed because - more often than not - I can't just pull over to take a photo.

When Los Angeles has a vintage1950s/6os filter placed over her, she's a pretty groovy place to be. The filter might not be real, but it's fun to pretend, right? It's enough to make me wish I could time travel.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Quack. Quack. Quack.

My late 70s/80s childhood meant that not only did I grow up listening to The Doors, but Bob Marley was another staple in my parents' vinyl collection. Consequently, tunes with a catchy reggae sound will have me bopping - often without realising it. 

There aren't many kids shows around that don't do my head in, but one that we're fond of in this home is Yo Gabba Gabba. It's not to everyone's taste though, I understand. There is one song in particular that always brings a smile to my face... and, having been no stranger to the wacky baccy (back in the day), I can't help but giggle at the thought of the brainstorming session behind this little gem of a music clip: 

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Chilling in Seattle

Remember the trip to Seattle that we were thinking about? Well, we did it - just a quick weekend visit, but it was fun to go somewhere completely different to Los Angeles. I don't think I saw a single palm tree, but the horizon was a zig-zagging line of pine trees and more, in every direction.

As expected, it was cold and grey but the air was a divinely fresh contrast to the brown haze of L.A. Even the tap water tasted better. The trip made me realise just how superficial L.A.'s appearance can be. Sure, the sky is blue, blue, blue most the time, and there are holiday-vibes from the millions of palm trees, but beneath that veneer, she's a grimy city. We live in a fairly comfortable, middle-class area - hardly Beverly Hills, but not South Central either - and yet, I don't need to go far to see shabby buildings or dreary strip malls. They exist in abundance here (as I'm sure they do in all large American cities, but they were less on my radar in Seattle).

We stayed in the Eastside of Seattle and it struck me as shiny and clean. The blueprint in my head for the Pacific Northwest - based on time spent in Vancouver and Portland - seemed just as true to form as I remembered it, and there's a distinct architectural flavour that dominates. And those pine trees are everywhere. Seattle may be grey, but she's also incredibly green... with good coffee (let's ignore Starbucks, okay?).

I'm keen to see more of what Seattle has to offer - maybe a summer trip is on the cards?

Photos below (all iPhone):

1. Still over California (barely out of L.A.)
2. Mt Rainier, WA
3. Morning fog in Bellevue.
4. Tourist time at the Space Needle.
5. The Pie and the J.
6. Don't look down.
7. By the waterfront in Kirkland.
8. Happiness in a cup.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Art therapy

The last few days have consisted of the gloriously warm, sunny weather that SoCal winter does so well. Yesterday, I remembered that - far too long ago - I'd bought a cheap watercolour set for Miss Pie, put it aside for another day... and promptly forgotten about it. Guilt set in as I realised the poor poppet has only ever really had a jar of pencils or crayons plopped down in front of her to get arty with, and nothing else.

When the Faery was that same age, she'd been in day care several days a week, for a good year or so. I never felt bad about the fact that I didn't do much arty/crafty stuff with her because she was able to experience that sort of messy fun to her heart's content at day care.

Miss Pie will be starting preschool soon, but sadly for her, I've neglected her in the messy paint and crafts department so far. When I set up the paints for her yesterday, she was beside herself. She wasted no time in getting colour to paper, only pausing every now and then to exclaim how fun it was. Man, have I been doing her a disservice. What I'd intended as a brief activity turned into nearly an hour. It could have gone on much longer if it wasn't for the inconvenience of nap time. Every time I suggested we pack it away, there were squeals of protest. She loved it.

Seeing how deeply she'd immersed herself in it, I wasn't really surprised. Aside from how much her sister loves getting arty too (well, don't most kids?), I was the same - am still the same. I remember being incredibly aware - in my early teens - of how soothed I felt when losing myself in drawing or painting during art classes. To an extent, I get a similar kick out of photography.

I've been telling myself for years that I'll take up an evening class and get back into making art again. Maybe 2013 should be the year to make it happen.