If you happen to be on Harbour Island pop into the Sugar Mill this afternoon and my mother will sign a copy of her book for you (DAUGHTER-OF-EMPIRE) and if you are further a field you can always visit us in cyber space and we can organize a signed copy (Daughter of Empire by Pamela Hicks)
Waking up this morning, with cow bells and drums ringing in my ears, I asked David if I had looked ridiculous last night. "Well you did dance down Bay Street, dressed in gigantic glittery wings, in an ill fitting silver morph suit, in front of 3 thousand people......."
Domino on the other hand was anything but ridiculous. She was a determined and fearless butterfly.
It had taken us 3 days of backbreaking, cutting and pasting to transform moldy old cardboard box's into these Junkanoo extravaganzas. And although for the past seventeen years I have been involved in Junkanoo in one way or another you never get used to 3 days of burning bits of your skin off with a glue gun.
Domino was very convinced of her role in this years parade. She had talked for some time about us going as butterflies. I would be the Mummy butterfly, she would be the baby butterfly and Linda (my partner in crime) would be the sister butterfly. WTF? Why did Linda get to be the youthful sister butterfly and I had to be the old mummy moth butterfly?
Below you can see sister butterfly, flapping gently to the left. Old Mummy moth butterfly is hidden in the background.
There can be few things in the world that would get my fifteen and nine year old dressed up in skirts and drumming in public......
If you are interested in seeing how ridiculous I looked last year then click here (TIGER TIGER BURNING BRIGHT)
or boys in skirts (JUNKANOOOO)
or to read more about Junkanoo (JUNKANOO: AN INTRODUCTION)
Sailing into 2013 has never been such a breeze. Take a look.....
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Christmas cards. They are expensive, time consuming, and impossible to post from a small island but somehow I can't get my head around sending something electronic. And interestingly my tribe likes the tradition, posing for a picture so that distant cousins in England can coo over how much they've grown. Our big bad tribe of growing kids; Felix, Amory, Conrad, Domino and Wesley. (WESLEY)
I persuaded David into keeping the abandoned kitten. (DON'T LET THE CAT OUT OF THE BAG.) I promised him it won't be any problem at all. Cats weren't, they really just took care of them selves. Until of course they break a leg. On an island with no vet. Just before Christmas.
Kitty had to be flown by plane to a hospital, two islands away and have a cast attached. When she returned home the children ran out to greet her. We gently placed her on the ground to see how she would cope. Kitty took one look at the dachshund sunbathing peacefully on the grass galloped over dragging her cast and bit the dog's tail.
Last minute gifts for the wild and wonderful in your life. Our Love Letters come in silver, gold and diamond. Take your pick. Buy today and we'll have it delivered by Christmas eve.
Not to be out done by last year's tea party (TEA FOR 26) this year we hung marshmallows from the ceiling. Trays of tea sandwiches and cupcakes, made by Top Banana, were devoured by over thirty children, the dachshund stole left overs (we had just been worrying that his paws seemed swollen, before it dawned on us they weren't swollen at all, they were just fat)
My mother, a fully uniformed police officer and the island's Anglican priest watched, as their children, and grandchildren, played pass-the-parcel. Older brothers and tweens swarmed close by. But as Domino cut her birthday cake, we all took a moment to remember another community, suffering unspeakable sadness, and we held our children close and recognized the pain of Newtown.
As Domino fell asleep she turned to me and mumbled "When will it be my birthday again?"
Its hard to find a word for the person who keeps all the balls in the air and the wheels on the bus. The person who holds not only my children's hand but also my own. Our very own Mary Poppins. Claire, our Top Banana.
......and it does save on gas.
mowing the lawn island style
India Hicks: from Britain to Bahamas.
The mom-of-five's effortlessly elegant island life
From where do you draw your design inspiration?
Everywhere, but most especially here on Harbour Island in the Bahamas, my home for 17 years. From coral formations and pink sand to the extraordinary fish in the ocean, everything here seems to inspire me. Whoever created life must have had a highly talented designer on hand to create nature.
With five children, a hotel and a beauty line among your many projects, the work-life balance must be on your mind a lot. Can you speak about the challenges and pleasures of juggling a large family with a busy career?
I would imagine that most working mums often feel much the same way I do: guilty. While away on a business trip I feel guilty about being absent, but when I’m home I feel guilty about not being in the office. I’ve learned that what is important is learning to live with these facts and managing them. There is an impossible amount of juggling between two lives—work and home—but my grandfather was Chief of Combined Operations during the war, and I have inherited his ferocious organizational skills. I am vigilant about carving out an hour each day for myself to exercise. An important hour for me, it keeps me focused and strong, physically and mentally. I have, however, sacrificed most of my social life. Unless it’s family or something truly worthwhile, I would prefer to spend the time tucking my kids into bed.
Your father, David Hicks, was an interior design icon in his lifetime. How did his legacy inform you in your work and life?
As one of the most important and influential tastemakers of the late twentieth century, my father turned decorating on its head. His work always made bold statements. There was no prettiness and no chintz. It was pure theater, and the world took notice. Growing up surrounded by his electrifying color combinations, eclecticism, and geometric designs certainly left me spinning. In my first apartment in New York the sitting room was painted fire engine red and the bathroom banana yellow. It never occurred to me that you could live in a world of beige and grey. I have now developed a softer style, something with a lot less drama, which feels more my own.
In what ways does your family's lifestyle today differ from your own upbringing as part of the royal family in England?
My children's early upbringing could not be more different than my own. I was chauffeur-driven to school in a custom colored, chocolate brown, Rolls Royce. My children go on a golf buggy with sandy dogs and me—panicking that the homework never got done. The only palace my daughter has been near so far is Barbie's.
What do you love about living in the Bahamas? What makes it a great place to raise kids?
My children are free to roam where they please. As a result, their imaginations are heightened, and they don't distinguish between black or white skin colors. Island Life opened my eyes to a new kind of natural beauty inspired by a nation of people at ease with themselves. And, of course, there are no parking tickets.
What are your most cherished possessions in your home and closet?
My scrapbooks come first. Years and years of photos, invitations, children's drawings, love letters, and memories are stored there. My father always said if our home was to burn we must grab the family bible. I always say, “bugger that. Grab my scrapbooks.” Other than those, I have few cherished possessions in my closet. If the house were burning, I'd walk calmly awy—as long as my considerable list of animals and children were safe.
Can you share tips for designing kid-friendly spaces in the home?
Recently I found our greatest challenge was how to have a space that teenagers and a 4 year-old could share. The compromise was to renovate our old island “school room” into something like a miniature South Beach Hotel lobby. David, my traditionalist other half was appalled, but the teenagers felt acknowledged, while the 4 year old was allowed to decorate one of the newly gloss white walls with her paintings and smudgy finger prints.