"All my life, what I wanted to earn money for was to have a house of
my own. I dreamed of having a house in the country
with a garden and fruit trees."
I am delighted to have been asked by Harpers Collins to review a new book out in the UK on July 16th entitled...AUDREY at Home...Memories of my Mother's kitchen...with recipes, photographs and personal stories, by Luca Dotti
As a huge Audrey Hepburn fan this latest book is a wonderful addition to my collection. Luca Dotti, Audrey's younger son with her second husband, Dr Andreas Dotti talks of his memories of his Mother, both tenderly and lovingly...he says:
"The day Mum told me that I wouldn't be able to read her story in a book,
I asked her why. She gracefully replied, 'I would have to tell the whole truth,
Luchino, I could not speak only about the beautiful things. And I do not
want to speak ill of others.'
The idea for this book, what I think of as a 'kitchen table biography',
emerged from the discovery of a frayed notebook.
I was in my kitchen with my friend Alessia when she spotted a dusty binder.
She took it off the shelf and a few pages fell out, some densely handwritten, with
clippings and notes. Many described impressive and ambitious dishes, with
complicated instructions, but these never made there way to our dining table.
For, in the kitchen, as in life, my mother gradually freed herself from
everything that was superfluous, to keep only what truly mattered to her."
Luca says that his mother had a serious addiction...'she couldn't do without pasta.' I love this story
he recounts in the book...
"Audrey Hepburn had left the world of cinema to be a mother. She shrugged off
the world of high society and would invite over only friends, and then only
true friends. Spaghetti al pomodoro was also a way of saying,
'here, this is my house, this is how I am, don't expect me to be otherwise.'
And she ate a lot of pasta."
"I remember one of our last trips together. We had just arrived in Jamaica
and Robert picked up her suitcases to take them to the room.
The large one, which held her clothing and things for the beach, was light.
The other one was small but heavy. 'What did you put in here, bricks?' he asked.
'Spaghetti', Mum answered with a satisfied smile. She hadn't forgotten the
olive oil and Parmigiano-Reggiano either."
Her close friend Doris Brynner said this of her dear friend...
"She was happiest not wearing make up and at home with the dogs
and the flowers and giggling away or going to the movies, not being a
movie star at all, not being this idol for millions
of people all over the world."
"Let's face it. A nice creamy chocolate cake does a lot for people.
It does for me."
"Mum was crazy abut chocolate, which she always kept within reach in
a chest of drawers in the living room.
Chocolate helped 'banish sadness'. The day a Dutch soldier gave her
seven candy bars, interrupting a painful period when Mum, like so many
others, suffered from hunger, she devoured the chocolate, along with a meal
based on condensed milk...then she felt ill. Her stomach had been
empty for too long. That moment remained the most vivid memory of the
joy of liberation."
"Chocolate had a special place in her kitchen. If this book could offer only a
couple of recipes, they would be for pasta with tomato sauce and chocolate cake."
Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother's Kitchen
by Luca Dotti (Harper Design, £20) is out on July 16th in the UK
I read a lot...I always have a pile of books at my bedside, in my study and dotted around the house...I've even taken to carrying one around with me... The Miracle of Mindfulness by the Buddhist monk and Nobel Peace Prize nominee Thich Nhat Hanh...it is a beautifully written book...a classic guide to meditation.
Over the last few months my meditation practice, after all these years, has become more important to me than my asana practice...it's taken awhile but I am beginning to gain the huge benefits that meditation brings...I decided I really could make a difference in my life if I started meditating...learning mindfulness and simplicity and living in the here and now is the essence of happiness.
Live your life with what it brings you. It is enough.
Nothing works as well as simple style...clean lines, a softness an elegance...less is definitely more and it works for me; I've always liked an effortless style and when answering a Q and A recently for an interview I realised that my style really hasn't changed that much over the years, a few tweaks here and there but essentially the same...here are a few of my favourites...always a trouser...
Someone asked me recently 'why do you practice yoga?' I thought for awhile and said 'because of the way it makes me feel, the way it changes my whole attitude to life' a big claim, I know, but the person I am now, is so very different to the person I was before. Yoga has truly changed me...I see and feel things so differently and this has all happened since spending time on my mat, meditation and spiritual reading...I will forever be a student of yoga, it is a lifelong learning which teaches me to be the best person I can be...to live my life with grace,patience and understanding and most importantly self acceptance.
A new week, a new month and new beginnings...I'm working on a new blog design a
'magazine' style is the look I'm hoping to create and a favourite thing to do, I'm looking at some new winter colours for my cashmere collection. As I sit at my desk and look at the grey clouds and falling rain I can't quite believe it's the first day of Summer...I think a little cheer is the order of the day...a selection of stunning whites for you...
I'm working on accentuating the positive... my yoga practice has definitely led me here... appreciating it is our mind which plays such a significant role in our health and attitude. I think an ageless attitude is a good state of mind to acquire...here are a few extracts from an article I read on wellbeing taken from 'Look Younger Live Longer' publication by goodhousekeeping.co.uk
"Agelessness means not buying into the idea that a number determines
everything from your state of health, to your attractiveness, to your value.
You can be younger at 60 than you were at 30 because you've changed your
attitude and lifestyle."
"Mindfulness meditation, exercise and thinking differently all show promise for
slowing the ageing process. Studies by researchers at the University of Wisconsin show
that mindfulness practices rewire the brain, resulting in greater immunity and
improved ability to manage stress and emotions...by making positive lifestyle choices
that include maintaining a favourable attitude about yourself, your wellbeing and your value."
"Don't talk yourself into believing your brain is turning to mush just
because you're over 40!
If you find yourself in a room wondering where your mobile is please don't say
'I'm having a senior moment'
Cognitive decline is not a normal part of getting older. What you're probably
experiencing is mental overload from trying to juggle too many tasks and
not getting enough quality sleep."
"I believe that a lot of how you look is to do with how you feel about