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My puppy Millie has no problem getting to sleep and adores her very own pink bed In the days when I used to wear make-up I would regularly apply concealer to the bags under my eyes to hide the fact that I wasn't getting a good night's sleep. One day it dawned on me that that was ridiculous, and probably my lack of vitality was giving it away anyway. Surely sorting out the underlying cause would be better, healthier in the long run and I could stop wearing make-up to make-up. As Grannie kept reminding me "it's not called beauty sleep for nothing".

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Sleep Well, Work Well, Live Well

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Caroline Bodger, founder of White Cloud Trading, with one of their wool duvetsMy grandmother had very strong views about sleep. I forget how many times she used to say “it’s not called beauty sleep for nothing”. It was indeed remarkable that when I went to stay with her I did sleep much better than I did at home. Of course, I found it laborious making the bed with the crisp sheets and pure wool blankets, which had an uncanny knack of falling off in the night if I hadn’t made the bed properly that morning. But it was worth it. There. However, back home in London...

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When Less is More

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

A canopy of white roses and jasmine form a canopy over our small garden which is filled with lots of mint.  The heady fragrance is intoxicatingThere's a wonderful story from the Way of Tea which directly challenged my approach to flower arranging, my appreciation of beauty and my attitude to simplicity. It goes like this. The Shogun heard through the grapevine that the front garden of Rikyu, the founder of the Way of Tea, was overflowing with Morning Glory flowers. Apparently it was a sight to behold. The Shogun thought that this was too good a sight to miss and therefore invited himself over for Tea early one morning to catch the flowers at their most beautiful and brilliant. Imagine his dismay when...

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The Experience of Marriage

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

Our wedding cake was made from fresh raspberries and creamToday is our 20th wedding anniversary. During all those years since that day in Paris, when the Lady Mayoress with her Tricolor sash, amid the gilt pomp and huge vases of flowers, married Nick and me, we have been severely tested on our commitment to stand by each other, for each other "for better, for worse, in sickness and in health". We've turned our lives upside down leaving the security of careers behind us as we sallied forth into the unknown, ...

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Knives, Women and Respect

Thursday, 29 May 2008

sikhchic.comThere's a lot in the UK news now about knife crime. I have carried a knife since I was a very young girl. My grandfather gave me a penknife with which to sharpen my pencils, peel fruit and tighten screws which I kept all through my schooling in my pencil case, then in my pocket, until I started wearing a Kirpan, the Sikh knife.

A knife is also the symbol of a woman and her power to change situations. When a society is able to respect both a knife and a woman then, indeed, we will live in a community. This is the basis of my latest article for Sikhchic.com....

Read the full article on sikhchic.com

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Saffron Harvest in Kashmir, photographed by my husband, Nick FlemingSaffron's worth more than platinum by weight and yet its ethereal nature can carry you across continents simply by its exquisite uplifting taste and bewitching aroma. Last autumn my husband, Nick went to Kashmir to photograph the saffron harvest. His stories of how the soil suddenly blooms forth into a myriad of purple parcels, each containing those beguiling stems richly enchanted us all. He's recently returned from another month there again bringing us a small pot of dark red saffron stamens. These are the royalty of spices and it seemed most appropriate to make for lunch today the most majestic of deserts with it: Shrikand.

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Wild Garlic, Bluebells and Crochet

Tuesday, 06 May 2008

The joy of wild garlic, bluebells and crochet at Laughing HensAs we drove up the woodland lane that unmistakable fragrance of wild garlic filled the air, immediately taking me back to the halcyon days of my childhood in my grandparents' quintessentially English garden. Now, however, I was arriving for a crochet workshop at Laughing Hens, nesting deep in the timeless landscape of rural Kent. This, however, was no whimsical reminiscence of bygone days of permanent happiness, blue skies and Victoria sponge for tea. This was all for real. The excuse was a crochet workshop, but to describe our day thus is a massive over-simplification of heaven.

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Carla Bruni-Sarkozy stares adoringly at her husband as he addresses the English Houses of Parliment1. She is successful in her own right

2. She knows how to make a man feel as though he is the only man in the world

3. She knows how to...

 

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Spring Comfort

Wednesday, 09 April 2008

Asparagus Risotto is just so yummy, especially the first of the seasonRisotto's one of those comforting savoury foods which bring floods of memories of my time in Italy where I would regularly be put to stir the risotto. It's a very responsible role because forget to stir it for a second and it will stick to the bottom of the pan.

 

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Millie's Biscuits

Wednesday, 09 April 2008

Millie has excellent manners waiting quietly to be served... as long as it's biscuits and not dog foodInspired by the book Pupcakes Nick developed these biscuits which are an amalgamation of a couple of the book's recipes. Millie loves them, and rather regrets that I have the discipline to ration them. She gets one after we're completed "Pretty Millie" morning grooming, and one after her afternoon walk. She's quite insistent that she has them. I tried to photograph her eating a biscuit, but it was unsuccessful.

 

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Millie and Her Accessories

Monday, 07 April 2008

Millie running at Pink PiggyI never wanted a dog. I wanted an angel in my life. And then Millie came into our lives bringing us all so much love and joy. At first, I decided to be thoroughly strict and make do with old socks with knots in for her as toys. She was not overly impressed with this, partly I'm sure because like me she loves pink....

 

 

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Snow Blossom

Sunday, 06 April 2008

Have you noticed that since the Spring Equinox on 21st March that the light has changed? Even though the days are only lengthening minute by minute each day, there is somehow an uplifting vibrancy outside. On Tuesday Millie and I went for a long walk through the Ecological Park. It was all primroses, in that subtle baby-clothes yellow, nestling in the verdant freshness. In the orchard the pink buds of apple blossom ...

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Victory in Knitting

Sunday, 06 April 2008

Laughing Hens Finishing Techniques Workshop April 2008I love that rhythm and meditation with outcome of knitting. It is one of the ways that I unravel my day as my beautiful wooden needles unwind my tension and create from a strand of wool a piece of a garment. However, up to now, when I came to assemble the finished pieces into a cardigan often it had a homemade look rather than a beautiful handmade one. It was therefore with great relief that I went yesterday to one of Laughing Hens’ Knitting Workshops on Knitting Finishing Techniques.

 

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Rikyu-Ki

Thursday, 03 April 2008

The Tea Room was set up to honour Rikyu, the founder of Tea. There is something very beautiful and reverential about commemorating the death of Rikyu, the founder of the Way of Tea. Each year the Tea Room, here in London, as do all the Tea Rooms round the world, celebrates with a Tea Gathering called Rikyu-ki.

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'Tis the Season of Good Yogichinos

Thursday, 20 December 2007

YogichinoI've just got back from a walk with Millie in the Ecological Park near where we live here in London. There's been a heavy frost the last few nights leaving a festive frosting to the gloomier parts of the woods and the water in the pond with a fine layer of ice. It was definitely bracing and, even with gloves on, my fingers felt the cold biting them.

Millie's solution was to run, and run, and run, on the grass skidding through the grass to the layers of mud underneath. She's all clean now after her bath and being lulled into a magic world by the pink lights of our festive decorations. My solution was to get a steaming cup of frothy Yogichino.

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Oh yes, it's Homemade Scones for Tea

Monday, 17 December 2007

Scones for TeaThere' s something very primal and magical about the smell of bread. It goes a long way to making a house into a home. Wherever we've travelled somehow that smell of bread in its local form is there. There is a universality to that distinct aroma, coloured by local traditions. It brings people together. It conjures up feelings of being cared for and nurtured.

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Across the River Styx

Sunday, 16 December 2007

sikhchic.comHere's the third article for sikhchic.com. I often look back to the time described in this article when I need inspiration to overcome fear when I'm looking it in the face. I hope you're inspired by it too.

Read the full article on sikhchic.com

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Cleopatra's Bath

Sunday, 09 December 2007

Yoghurt for BathOne day in Latin class we were translating, rather slowly, some bit about Cleopatra and her famous bath of asses' milk. Of course, we giggled. How absurd was that? We were far more into floral bubbles. So when a few years ago I read that Yogi Bhajan recommended a bath with yoghurt I remembered the legendary beauty of the Egyptian queen. Suddenly it seemed that maybe she had been onto something.

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So what exactly do you serve your guests?

Saturday, 08 December 2007

Shelling Broad Beans is a DelightMy grandmother never really got what being vegetarian was all about. She never though let that influence her role as a hostess. She did not want to cause offence with meat, fish and eggs on my plate.

Whenever I went to stay she always produced for me very fine, well-cooked fresh vegetables in the English tradition of lightly boiled (she never obliterated them school-dinners style). Mashed potato with lashings of butter and milk nicely browned off in the Aga, honey glazed carrots with mint flavoured peas she had shelled lovingly with her arthritic hands were followed by stewed apple and junket topped with nutmeg.

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Portrait of a Lady

Sunday, 02 December 2007

Millie Portrait by John Gustard SmallMillie settled into our household earlier this summer filling it with her baggage of love and feisty spirit. This fine portrait of her by John Gustard was a gift from my dear godparents, Richard and Katrina Burnett for my birthday at the end of the summer.

Although Millie here is still a puppy of only five months, already her innate beauty and inner radiance shine through. The day that Nick and I collected her from her breeders at Tenderella Bolognese, she immediately decided that these cushions were her domain.

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With love, blessings, gratitude,
Gracefully,
Guru Kaur x