Birds. Ornithology is not my thing but I did live with an (annoying) parrot for nearly 10 years, before he met an untimely and, sadly, gruesome death. What I learnt is that birds are fiercely intelligent and that, like most pack animals, recognize only one master. Let’s just say, in my household, that wasn’t me: I got my share of nicks and scratches over time which didn’t help with my innate antipathy for the bird (that he mocked my voice every time I answered the phone wasn’t a great incentive either). Still, I recognized and respected his intelligence and I know there is a lot going on in birds’ brains. These photos, found on Instagram, can seem staged but I am more inclined to believe the relationship between the bird and the child is genuine. By the way, this magpie was rescued and he is called Penguin.
Animal pottery. Maybe because I was introduced to all things china and ceramics early in life through my dad’s job, I am a bit of a pottery junkie. While I treasure my vintage Wedgwood dinner set, I am mostly drawn to handmade pottery, and if animals are involved, it often becomes a must. Claudia Rankin is an English artist (who also designs textiles) with a brilliant first name and the most charming pottery. For us Americans, some pieces can be found on Amazon.
Buns. Hot cross buns are typically served in Great Britain on Good Friday but I have decided they are going to grace my table more often. I made them on Easter Day for some friends and I glazed them with the customary powder sugar glaze to which I added freshly squeezed lemon juice. I would venture to say they are better than scones. Leftovers were smeared with jam and repurposed for breakfast. Hereis an easy recipe.
Beauty. Yes, it’s a commercial stunt of sorts but Dove does come up with creative and challenging campaigns that have helped, even if marginally, to redefine the concept of beauty and self-esteem. In this brief video you will see the entrances to shopping malls on three continents with two doors, one marked “beautiful” and one marked “average”. Women entering the malls were filmed and then interviewed. Maybe there is something to standing in front of the mirror and proclaiming oneself beautiful – I will follow sofagirl’s sofagir’s advice this week as I feel particularly average. Or maybe I should just tag all the doors in my house.
Cocktails. Let’s end with a cocktail I recently discovered at a neighbourhood spot in Santa Monica. If you live in LA and can’t stand the whole promenade scene in Santa Monica, venture a few blocks east and you will come across an unassuming front that opens up to a pretty courtyard and to a small maze of rooms. Brilliantshine is essentially a bar (the owners are renowned mixologists) with fabulous Peruvian influenced bar food. On the refreshing side of the cocktail list I discovered a Campari cocktail made with Campari, Lillet Blanc, lime juice and a twist of orange peel. So delicious I had to have two.