In the company of the good and the great at Westminster Abbey

It’s hard even to know where to begin when describing a place of worship as celebrated and as politically important as Westminster Abbey. Adjectives such as “beautiful” or “elegant” don’t do it justice, even though it is both – and this church has witnessed so many key moments in British history over the past 900 … Continue reading In the company of the good and the great at Westminster Abbey

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Getting to know England’s medieval Queens, with a little help from Alison Weir

“Imagine a land centuries before industrialisation...a green, rural land, inhabited by just two million people – their lives governed by the calendars of the church and of farming. This was the England of the Norman kings.” Thus began Alison Weir, as she introduced us to her new book ‘Queens of the Conquest', an epic depiction … Continue reading Getting to know England’s medieval Queens, with a little help from Alison Weir

The Household Cavalry Museum: where history, humans and horses come together in a very British manner

Until today, I’ve never really given much thought to the Household Cavalry and the role it plays, other than being vaguely aware that it guards the Queen on ceremonial occasions. I’m not sure I was even aware that the Cavalry has its own Museum, until I walked past it on the way to Banqueting House. … Continue reading The Household Cavalry Museum: where history, humans and horses come together in a very British manner

Small, but perfectly formed: how ‘Soutine’s Portraits’ packs a visually stunning punch

‘Soutine’s Portraits’, currently showing at The Courtauld Gallery, tells a fascinating story, in relation to both the painter and his sitters. Soutine’s was a real-life rags-to-riches tale, filled with moments of joy and of abject despair - and one with which, until today, I was not all that familiar. Born in Belarus, in 1893, Chaim … Continue reading Small, but perfectly formed: how ‘Soutine’s Portraits’ packs a visually stunning punch

Music, chat and a little bit of nostalgia: an evening with the super-talented Harriet

Live music is one of my passions, and I’m always excited when I get the opportunity to see a new artist perform – even more so when it’s at a venue I haven’t visited before. Both were the case tonight, when I went to see Harriet perform at PizzaExpress Live, in Maidstone. If you aren’t … Continue reading Music, chat and a little bit of nostalgia: an evening with the super-talented Harriet

Investigating the past, the present and the future at Hornsey Town Hall, the UK’s first Modernist-style building

Arriving at Hornsey Town Hall for its last-ever guided tour before its redevelopment(more on the reasons behind this later), I was intrigued to see a camera crew milling around outside. I later found out that this is a very popular location for filming, not to mention a lucrative source of income for the local council: … Continue reading Investigating the past, the present and the future at Hornsey Town Hall, the UK’s first Modernist-style building

Jane Fonda on politics, protests – and the secrets to a happy life

I’ve always admired Jane Fonda – both as an actress and as an activist – and watching her being interviewed tonight by Graham Norton, in the stylish surroundings of the Savoy Theatre, was a joy. It’s hard to believe that this glamorous grandmother will turn 80 shortly; she looks amazing. Refreshingly, she admits to having … Continue reading Jane Fonda on politics, protests – and the secrets to a happy life

At home with Matisse – and a few of his very favourite things

The Royal Academy of Arts’ ‘Matisse in the Studio’ is a real treat. Essentially, it tells the story of Henri Matisse’s home environment – or studio – and how the objects he kept around him inspired his work. From ornate chairs and tables, to wall hangings, vases and sculptures, Matisse surrounded himself with beautiful items, … Continue reading At home with Matisse – and a few of his very favourite things