Domino, the 4 year old, came in at 5am "Is it Halloween yet?"
"No, its not" I said "Go back to bed"
At 5:20 am she came back "Is it Halloween now?"
This went on every twenty minutes until around 7 am when I finally gave in "Yes" I said "Its Halloween"
Relived and comforted by this, she got into my bed and fell fast asleep.
At breakfast she asked me if I was coming to her Halloween party at school "Yes, I am" I said
"And Daddy too?"
"Yes, he's coming as well"
"And you?" she asked
"Yes, I am coming" I repeated
"Yes, BOTH DADDY AND I ARE COMING"
All four brothers sleepily arrived at the table "Are you coming to my Halloween party?" she began again..."I built a tower of blocks for you to see but someone pushed them down"
"Then we'll hunt them down and put a cap in their ass" said the 13 year old.
Being an island girl Domino refused to even consider the beautiful hand made owl costume and left for the party dressed as a pirate, wielding a cutlass.
Someone had to wear to the owl outfit.....
Olympia's skelebones costume is virtually vintage. http://blog.indiahicks.com/blog/bid/211930/ALL-HALLOWS-EVEN
"No screens for half term" David said. The 13 year old found the closest alternative. But once he couldn't find the delete key he got frustrated and wandered off.
Later, I came across these on his bed. May be the vile world of Grant Theft Auto is safer after all.
My site sums up my love for travel and adventure, for raising five kids (FIVE. And I'm not even Catholic) And for the opportunity to buy something unique.
I'll stumble over a designer from a far flung corner of the world and fall in love with their story: Solar, by the lovely Alex Al Bader, who sources vintage fabrics and makes dresses especially for us, Nepali Scarves, providing sustainable income to Nepalese woman and helping them break the cycle of poverty, Kintenge Sandals, made by the Masai women in Kenya encouraging them to build on their traditions, Mar Y Sol, who create authentic accessories, by using natural materials, sourced sustainably from Madagascar's precious forests. Or some times, its just from a company who I think is cool and you might not have come across.
When these beautiful things arrive, we photograph them for the site. This can be tricky. You need good lighting, a good camera, a Top Banana to assist and a stylist to steam, pin and straighten. In this case, it was Banger, who put the finishing touches on this dress.
Once the product is photographed a page is then built, copy written, bullet points included, pricing debated and art direction arguments follow. The image is then loaded onto the site. Once loaded we cross our fingers and hope you too might fall in love with the story, and even the dress.
Rosemary and I were hurrying our three, big, badly behaved dogs back up from the beach over the weekend. It had started to thunder and was raining heavily. A storm approached. As we reached the top of the path we heard a small, pathetic, meowwwing, and saw a flash of ginger. Rosemary yelled to me "Grab it" just at the same moment that the dogs thought "Ooh, a snack"
Arriving home I opened up the palm of my hand to find a rather nasty, half drowned, starving sphynx-like thing. I prayed it would not survive the night. Yep, I did. "Please don't let this live" Not because it was an ugly fur ball but because David, who was away on a trip, would have a fit when he returned. We already have 3 dogs, a cat, parrot and tortoise.
That's 22 animal legs. 22 too many.
But in the morning after a warm bath, a decent meal and a little love, we found this....
"Ok" I told the assembled team; Top Banana, Rissy, Domino and the boys "When Daddy gets back no one mention the kitty"
"No body let the cat out of the bag"
"We can hide her for a while, make sure she is stronger and then find a nice home for her to go to. SOMEBODY ELSE'S HOME"
But who was I kidding?
My childhood ran on order and precision.
Being the daughter of an Admiral my mother was exceptionally efficient, punctual to a fault, with not a bouffant hair out of place. My father was even more a perfectionist, a life based on symmetrical sequences, geometry and control. Relaxing right? Add onto this inheritance a virgo star sign and you begin to understand why I find it so hard to come to terms with the O of Domino being casually slipped onto the top of the painting and not neatly at the bottom, on the end. But then again there is something angelic about that O floating above her head.
The most comprehensive commission of my father’s career was the Villa Verde In Portugal. He was the architect, interior designer and landscaper. In 1980 Amin and Nahid Ghani had invited my father to stay in their villa in the Algarve. On the second day Madame Ghani said “David, I don’t think you like my house” and he replied “No, not one bit. But I could design you a really beautiful one”
The next day the house was up for sale and my father began to sketch.
He said it should be a great palladium villa. With an exterior of roughly rendered walls composed of orange sand, crushed seashells, and particles of stone and terra-cotta. They found a plot of land high on a hill, amongst an orchard of orange trees, overlooking the Atlantic.
Domino, my 4 year old, and I took a few days off life and went to stay with my mother at Villa Verde last week. It was Domino's first visit. 'It's pretty" she said "But I am hungry for psaghetti" Possibly at 4 years old her architectural appreciation is not yet fully developed, but plate of spaghetti was produced.
It took 3 years to build “Only David could do that in three years” says Madame Ghani. My parents had just sold their house in the south of France and offered to lend their furniture and pictures to help furnish such a large house. So the Ghani's insisted that they should have there own rooms. My mother’s doubles as the principal guest room and she choose a room decorated entirely in different whites. Local pure white cotton was used for the curtains, upholstery and bed treatment with an inexpensive white cord carpet.
My father gave himself a room on the ground floor (much the coolest, of course) with a polished terrazzo floor, laid in a single sheet. The bath stands conveniently at the foot of the bed and in front of the Louis XV1 marbleized pottery fireplace.
Madame Ghani's was a suite, comprising of a bathroom, bedroom and boudoir running the length of Villa Verde. It is a fairy tale in apricot cotton. The tester bed is lined in apricot cotton, the walls of the suite are entirely hung with pleated apricot cotton, the cupboards are curtained in apricot cotton, there is even a dress made from the apricot cotton.
The grand room is covered with a large carpet of Persian design, which my father designed in pale blue, stone, yellow, pink and bronze. This room presides over the rest of the house and is especially dramatic at night. Look at those arm chairs either side of the fire place, they are made entirely from soft cream suede. Domino was not allowed NEAR them.
Extremely important to Madame Ghani was a card room, where she could hold Bridge parties. The walls had to match the color of the lining of an envelope she had once been sent. It was bright pink. A special wallpaper was printed. Unlined pure-silk taffeta curtains in tete de negre filter the light and four French elbow chairs are covered in melon colored silk.
The staircase hall is lined with grey paper (an idea I am about to steal) while the staircase and balusters are formed from concrete. Beyond is a Hicks-designed water feature.
The entrance hall to the Villa Verde has a dramatic geometric floor composed of octagons of bush-hammered stone surrounded by limed teak and punctuated by squares of glazed tiles. The two red granite-topped tripod tables can seat twenty people for the Ghani's dinner parties that have included the President of Portugal, Empress Farah of Iran with of course David Hicks, during his lifetime, presiding over every detail.
But over the years they have entertained in many corners of the property, from inside to outside, formal and informal.
It was just after the completion of Villa Verde that my mother recalls a warm evening sitting on the front portico with the Ghani's, when they spotted a crowd of people at the gates below. Slightly alarmed they watched as one man approached. As he neared they recognized their foreman. He explained that the people gathered below where the families of all the carpenters, plasterers, painters and plumbers who had worked on the building. They had come to prove that the ‘palace’ they said they had built really did exist.
A past post entitled 'I've Had A face Lift' met with some outrage. And I realised our acidic dry English humor sometimes is mistranslated. I hadn't really had a bloody face lift. I was referring to my website. My website was tightening up certain areas. Just like Vincent. Who comes a few times a week to tighten up certain areas.
I wanted to call this post 'I'm Having A Mid Life Crisis' but worried there might be further misinterpretation. I'm not really having a mid life crisis.......
Recently I wrote about my mother's green velvet cloak (http://blog.indiahicks.com/blog/bid/213747/CLOAK) specially made for her to wear during the King's coronation. I had rung my mother to ask if she remembered the cloak. Not only did she remember it, but she had it, safely preserved in layers upon layers of tissue paper.
When Domino and I next arrived in England, the cloak had been unpacked and was waiting for Domino in her bedroom.
With great care, I explained to Domino the history of this special gift, and that only the most lady like of little girls would have the honor of wearing this cloak, a cloak so special that it was 74 years old, a cloak that needed to be cherished and loved. She nodded, wide eyed with excitement, put on her pink mittens, fastened the cloak around her and went out to the garden.....to play a game of football.
I've had a face lift. You may have noticed. Its taken several weeks. There are places that still need work and bits that need tightening.
And holy mother of God it was exhausting.
But we're getting there.
This past month has been fairly chaotic as we changed over our e-commerce and website platforms. But I've learnt a lot.
What really struck me was the speed at which we go now a days. And the technological advances that get us there.
But are they advantages? Some days I long for something as simple as a beautifully addressed envelope, with an exotic stamp and a romantic sheet of writing paper inside. Something similar to my collection of envelopes, or stationary, stolen from grand residences around the world.
And just imagine the Search Engine Optimization nightmares this letter, written to my grandmother, could cause...