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res·pite/ˈrespət/ The Catskills, NY

A short period of rest 0r relief from something difficult

A short delay permitted before an unpleasant obligation is met

To read on about the beautiful Catskill region of NY, and why it’s such a fabulous little respite and getaway…. click on the link below.

Enjoy!

Catskill Getaway

AK xxxx

British /ˈbrɪtɪʃ/

1. Relating to Great Britain or the United Kingdom and its people or language

2. The British Commonwealth

I’m sorry. I’ve been away from these divine pages far too long again. Always apologising, and alas not delivering!  Having just returned from a mini trip to the UK I thought it fitting to share the splendid joy of England in all its glory. When we touched down last week on the Virgin overnight flight from JFK, something felt a little different about my dear old Blighty. Now that very few of my immediate family still reside there, I always feel a sense of nervousness and sorrow each time I visit, and with each one the feeling grows. ‘Will it really feel like home this time?’ or ‘How will I feel without any family rushing up to the arrivals with balloons and flowers?’ and ‘I hope I get to see some of my family, even just for a quick squeeze’.

Add to this, the sometimes glum and jaded outlook of many of my fellow Brits… and often, us ex  – pats can’t wait to hop on a plane back to whichever exotic destination has dragged us from the arms of the Motherland. Little did I know this time last week……

After picking up our set of wheels, we headed directly to Wimbledon. You can’t get much more British than that can you? All Wombles and tea and scones. I’ve yet to actually sight a Womble, or a Flump for that matter, but I still live in hope. Our approach into Wimbledon saw us stopping off for the obligatory flowers and gifts for our destination. I swiftly popped into Sainsbury’s. Oh how I LOVED what I found! Rows and rows of bunting, special edition teacakes, cupcakes, and Union Jackified treats. Smiling and chirpy people. Where is the England I know and love (to sometimes hate?).  This was just utterly amazing. I drank in every moment of it, in awe.

I was in such a hurry, I didn’t have a camera on me… but this little image from lunchboxworld might give you an idea of what a feast for the eyes England was last week. We managed to spend a few days cramming in the usual British festivites… a charming wedding on the Thames…an urban art festival in Bristol, a good old barbeque in a pruned back garden, fold down furniture and all the trimmings.

So Britain. Great you are… I’m glad you are revelling in all your glory, the Jubilee was an utter success and I’m sure the Union Jack has now been taken to even higher levels in all things decor and design. It didn’t even need that final shove… but, it was a good one. Look out 2013 design trends. Incidentally,  a new Banksy piece was spotted in Bristol last week…. perhaps Her Majesty may overtake the Union Jack in design icons for the coming season? Who can tell…….

Until next time gorgeous England. To the few friends and family I did get to see in our short and sweet trip, I thoroughly enjoyed giving you a squeeze…. and can’t wait to do it again. Next time, I’ll be on the look out for some devilishly delicious destinations… UK Style. 

dog/dôg/

A domesticated carnivorous mammal that typically has a long snout, an acute sense of smell, and a barking, howling or whining voice.

A post  for today, that is a slight waiver from my normal foodie, aesthetic global rant. Last week, was oh so doggy, it was all about the dogs. So this week, Appleketchup is going to be oh so doggy and all about the dogs.

Dog walking, dog minding, dog grooming, doggie play dates. We are certainly in the right location for it, Park Slope Brooklyn, home of Gorilla Coffee, The Stroller Nazis and The Dog Owner.

And as the saying goes, ‘A man’s best friend’. Ours is.

I love her with all my heart and would hate her to come to any harm. She has just turned seven, and is still as cute as the day I got her.

Puku Eight Weeks Old

I’ve noticed so many missing dog posters around our Brooklyn hood. I always glance at them – seeing those little eyes staring into the lens – frozen in time, lost and sometimes sadly never found.

Maggie The Lost Mut

Maggie The Lost Mut

The one I pondered over on Sunday though, whilst walking up to Prospect Park, struck a nerve, I had seen that dog! It was two days previous, and in a different neighbourhood altogether, so I didn’t know what use, if any, my sighting and phone call would be. Incidentally I was just on my way home from a double human/doggie play date… where we tried to chat and drink tea, and discuss the planned interiors of said home, but our muts just glared at each other across the room with the odd growl and lunge. It was NOT relaxing at all.  Ollie and Puku, I’m not so sure you are destined for friendship.

Ollie. One of a kind!!! xx

Ollie. One of a kind!!! xx

So, I called.

I explained I had seen little Maggie rushing across the street at 3rd and Pacific, on my way home almost 48 hours before. And was really sorry if this was little or no help.

A couple of hours later I got a call to be told they had searched the neighbourhood and had found little Maggie. BUT, Maggie had been held at ransom, the owners had to bargain for her to get her back. And they paid a pretty price.  How utterly horrific!

Suddenly, everything I had been told, and everything I had watched made sense.

‘Don’t tie your dog up outside cafes or shops in Brooklyn, they get stolen’

What? I often thought, who would want to steal a 6 year old Kelpie Cross?

Then yesterday, it suddenly dawned on me…. All the lost dog posters, they aren’t about what breed your dog is, how old it is, or how expensive.

The value in each dog comes from how much it is loved by its owner, and how much they are willing to pay to get him or her back.  Brooklyn dog – knappers, you know who you are – shame on you! You don’t see man’s best friend, you see dollar bills … cha ching!

Come Sunday night, I felt SO utterly thrilled that I had played a hand in a dog being rescued and returned to its rightful owner, and I didn’t earn a cent. What a glorious natural high.

We went out and celebrated the joys of good Karma with delicious food and drink,

The next day sadly, I was paying for THAT!

I have since found the best and the worst of places to buy dog supplies, and get your pooch pampered in my neighbourhood. Bark Slope , for the best of the best poochie pampering, and Pup Slope, only enter if you can stomach puppies from puppy mills in cages, with no bedding. I tell you!

Sending lots of love to all the dogs, some still with us, some gone, but never forgotten.

Photo Credits (in order of appearance).

Edie – By Nathan Phillips, Puku – By Will Horner, JPEG  – By Ninette Hartley, Wendy – By Anthea Williamson, Mana – By Zoe Ivory – Phan, Buddy – By Adam McConnell.

friend·ship/ˈfrendˌSHip/

1. The emotions or conduct of friends; the state of being friends

2. A relationship between friends

There are so many things about moving homes, cities, countries and lives as adults that make it so much more challenging than when you are young. It takes a long time to settle in, find a good hairdresser, a great coffee, a great plumber, your favourite wine bar…. and to find new friends.

For us, having moved from a hot, beachy lifestyle, into a cold, wintry (albeit mild) Northern Hemisphere one, it was all the more difficult. Winter is not really a time to form great friendships; we are all hibernating; a bit. But spring has sprung, and I’m really beginning to feel that I actually might be able to belong here.

I’m finally finding out about all those little things in NYC that I can now call my own… my hair stylist Woodley & Bunny …. my agent ENNIS INC (my work will soon be up) , my favourite wine bar Blue Ribbon Downing Street  …. And most importantly, my  friends. Still new and growing friendships, but nevertheless, they are there…. just in time for Spring.  To all my friends in Sydney, NZ, Bristol and London, I miss you IMMENSELY, but I can’t just lollop around all day miserably waiting for the next time I see you…(soon I hope!). I must go out… and conquer… and laugh again!!

In the last seven days, on three very different occasions, I have spent a few hours, drinking tea, chit chatting and laughing my head off. It’s GREAT for the soul. I’ve always known this, but without many of my nearest and dearest here, I find the occasions to be much fewer and far between that I have a good giggle until I nearly cry.

Finally, it’s begun to happen to me here, and it’s fabulous! But oh how I’ve missed it. And how I long to do it again, with some of the golden oldies.

Until then, and in the name of the beautiful cherry blossoms of NYC Springtime, and the beautiful blossoming of NYC friendships…. Here are some lovely hipsta pics to make you feel all warm and fuzzy.  (Counting the days until I can get a Canon EOS in my hands once more… another friendship I really miss!)

Solitary.... but never alone. Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

A stranger, waiting for a friend, under a blossom. Prospect Park.

A little 'E' just for me. Brooklyn really is home.

Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Blossoms of love.

Friends til the end... Brooklyn Botanic Gardens.

Puku and Edie. BFF's... (Still miss you Mana)

jour·ney/ˈjərnē/

The act of travelling from one place to another; a trip

A distance to be travelled or time required to do a trip

My first destination piece on Six Senses Samui, was so well received, I thought why not take it a step further? Rather than just cover one hotel or resort… why not get really big for my boots and cover a whole area?

Something has been on my mind of late and I just can’t stop thinking about it, Europe; Italy to be precise.

Where I got married. Where my Mum is. Where I spent my honeymoon. And where, I feel, I’ve left a tiny little piece of my heart.

I cannot wait to go back.  Despite the untimely and extremely welcome early Spring in NYC, I still yearn for a bit of Europe. So this evening, in my mind, and with my words, I’m off to Italy and I’m taking you with me.

Please click below, to come along…..

To Sorrento, Amalfi and Positano….


sig·na·ture/ˈsignəCHər/

A distinctive mark, character or sound, marking one’s identity

A person’s name written as a form of identification

I’m so thrilled to be back. I’m sorry for my leave of absence. I’ve joined the NYC workforce, and it’s not for the faint hearted I can tell you. I don’t think the eight hour work day exists here, nor the ten. Twelve, thirteen, fourteen, now that’s a normal workday.

Not only am I utterly thrilled to be re – united with Appleketchup, I’m uber thrilled to have found out recently that one of the collections of Florence Broadhurst’s Signature Prints  is now available in NYC, with thanks to Kate Spade.

The line now available; is the aptly named, Brooklyn Brownstone Collection, (why thank you very much, I do live in a Brooklyn Brownstone). And one of the most iconic of the Signature Prints designs, the Japanese Floral is popping up everywhere. It has made me feel utterly at home and I really feel like I’m beginning to belong here now that a little bit of Sydney is here too!!

Welcome Florence. I do hope I’ll be pasting you across walls in many a Brooklyn Brownstone over the coming months!

tra·di·tion·al/trəˈdiSHənl/

1. Existing in or as part of a tradition; long established

2. Produced, done, or used in accordance with tradition

Last week, I did something I very rarely do, maybe once or twice a year. I decided to eat fish & chips. I’d heard of a local place called Chip Shop, and with all its British branding and Union Jackery, I thought it would probably be really traditional fish and chips, and make me feel right at home.

It’s not often I get things done in a really traditional way any more.  I called through to Chip Shop, Park Slope, and a truly British man answered the phone.

He explained to me that they were still old fashioned and that they didn’t take computerised orders, but he would write my order down with a pad and a pen. This was my kind of guy.  How wonderfully quaint!

My husband is often on at me to update this, or download that. I really dig my heels in, and try to fight ever-changing world of technology we live in. When we have children I want to have a ‘no technology day’ once a week, when everyone in the house reads a book, or plays a board game, I’ve been warned I’ll be teased, for being old fashioned.

Human contact seems to be diminishing more and more, you can order and pay for your food online through several websites such as seamless or menupages, you can swipe your American Express Card into a machine in the back of the taxi, order your groceries online, (which I can NEVER do, because I like to have a good old feel of an avocado before I pop it into my trolley).

The lovely man at the end of the phone not only had time to chat, he had time to tell me that aside from the usual haddock, plaice or cod on offer, he also had a special, Black Fish, which he had caught himself right off the shore of New Jersey, the previous day. Caught, prepared and cooked ALL by the same person. Unheard of.

I opted for the special, and added a side of coleslaw. Because as we all know, any side of salad cancels out most of the fat and carbs you might be chomping it down with, right?

I was so thrilled with my experience thus far, you can only imagine how I felt when this arrived for me! I was momentarily thrown back to my childhood, eating chips with salt and vinegar out of newspaper, in Weston Super Mare.The quality of the food from Chip Shop lived up to all the heresay.

And one other thing I forgot about traditional fish and chips. It’s enormous!! I had a good go at the fish, my husband the chips… then the dog had a stab at the fish, and what we had to sadly put in the bin, would probably have fed another two people.  Twice.

So thank you Chip Shop, Park Slope. For giving me this experience. I’m sure we will be back, maybe in 6 – 12 months, when we are due our next gluttonous instalment.

Until then,  I might strive to find some other traditionally executed experiences here in NYC.

 

Something is still bothering me though…. Why can’ t I seem to shift this extra 8 pounds I’ve gained since moving to NYC? It’s a complete mystery……

cel·e·bra·tion/ˌseləˈbrāSHən/

1. The action of marking one’s pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social activity.

2. A celebratory event

This morning, I looked at my calendar, and I couldn’t for the life of me work out why January 27 felt so massively important. It was weird, you know, when you think, is it someone’s birthday? Or have I forgotten a big job interview? Why on earth does January 27 feel so important?

Then I remembered it’s the last time I got together with all of my closest family and friends and had the most fantastic time. It was one never to forget. We laughed, we cried, we all felt utterly emotional and I’m sure we all had a few sore heads in the morning.  I certainly did.

In the name of good old-fashioned celebration all I can say is this……

Celebrate 

Keep your chins up Big Love, Appleketchup 2012.

 

 

grafitti/grəˈfiːti/

writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface in a public place

origin: mid 19th century: from Italian (plural), from graffio ‘a scratch’

I’m back into my definitions after a week off. I love the way they look. Today, my chosen word is graffiti. Graffiti has been a huge part of my life ever since I was about 21. I didn’t know it was to be this way. I had a boyfriend. Boyfriends have obsessions. His was just this. Graff.

He had a crew.  They scribbled away in books every evening, planning to go out into the cold misty mornings in Bristol, London, Leicester, and paint. Little did I know at the time, how dramatically the world’s view on graffiti and street art would change. Nor, how my family’s view in more recent times, would change.  Moreover, neither did any of these boys. They had a passion, and they followed it.

Many days I stood there, pretending to look interested, freezing and wishing I were inside a warm pub, or shopping centre. I definitely showed keen curiosity at the start, looking at photos and sketches, hanging out with the crew, telling people proudly, my boyfriend was a ‘graff artist’. It was cool, right? When it came to the crunch, however, there were many days when I didn’t want to get up at 5am, or stand out in the freezing cold, or pose, in front of a piece, for a photo.  You see, I liked it, I thought it was cool – but it wasn’t my passion. 

Graffiti has become such a widespread phenomenon. If you type the word ‘graffiti’ into Google, an actual online graffiti creator appears, where you can type anything and it becomes graphotised! How it cheapens the real talent.  These guys, they were the real deal. They weren’t in it to show off, or for fame, or money, they actually took risks… and they REALLY loved what they did. Now, looking back. I have to take off my hat to them all. They stuck at it. They are the true artists.

Surprisingly enough, I’m not going to launch into an online debate of the art versus vandalism topic. I don’t need to, it’s already been done so many times before and it’s not a subject for today.  But…if you ever do just think of it as mindless vandalism… take a moment to think about the hours spent poring over sketchbooks, the money spent on paint, and the  long days outside in the cold grey haze of the UK, suffering for your art.

On this day, I simply want to say this… if you have found your passion, your thing – keep at it. Even if you are the underdog, you make no money from it, or have other responsibilities, keep at it, at the weekends, in the evenings… because it’s ‘your thing’. Nobody can take that away from you. And you never know… one day.. ..it might just be the next big thing……

For Tosh….. Who always did his thing. His dream kept alive by the STR crew. And for the STR Crew, and all the boys in Bristol, Cardiff and Devon, who now keep the dream of Tosh alive. And Oner…who he nearly gave his day job up for………

green/grēn/

What does green mean to us? The definition used to be so simple… it’s  a colour………often one we think of, when someone says… trees.

Of the color between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.

But now, in our lifestyles, design, food and drink, we are often thinking of the recurring question… is this green? Am I being environmentally responsible in my choices? My husband runs a carbon neutral company, and so we are often faced with making decisions on the basis of their sustainability, such as his decision to give up beef for a year. (Watch this space….).  With it being our first Christmas in New York, we did opt for a small evergreen tree, which we were told would be recycled for mulch. Ok, so we were being responsible. And it was only tiny, after all.

Look at this image of a local street in Brooklyn. It’s SO sad. Only days after the holiday season has finished, there are  piles of trees are all over the streets, tossed away, unwanted. For some, their job was up on Boxing Day, stripped of decorations and lights. I feel ashamed I was a part of this.

What has really hit home to me about this sad image, is how wasteful it is. The needles on these trees have not even begun to turn brown or fall off. For some, their job was only a few days long. What a pointless waste of cutting a tree down.

I know Christmas is over, and I should maybe be talking about something else, but I thought perhaps in preparation for next year, and seeing as we are all complaining about how odd the weather has been due to global warming, it might just be time for us to take a long hard look at this sad image, and plan for something a little more ‘green’, rather than the millions of unwanted evergreens we are wasting.

I have done a little bit of research, and come across some fantastic ideas for next year… so just in time, at the end of November 2012  – I’ll refer to this informative post, and you can all do your bit to slow down global warming.

Some very clever Aussie graphic designers, called Buro Design have come up with this fabulous eco tree….. 

You might look into recycled bottle trees, paper trees, coathangers and any other such throwaway material that can be re  – styled in to a tree shape and decorated. An utterly inspiring idea in this town in Lithuania  was a full scale recycled tree all from plastic bottles in the town square.

I’m glad I’ve had the opportunity to see how sad all the discarded trees look… I hope my sharing touches you in the same way. Next year,any decoration I choose to add to my home will be completely sustainable. I’ll even demonstrate how you can create your very own and super stylish ‘Christmas Corner’, if you are still reading. For those of you who can’t live without a real tree, there is always an option to rent one… in a pot, so it can go back to being a tree after Christmas, instead of a pile of wood chippings.

And one last little word, whilst we are on the subject – for a city where every other person says ‘Happy Holidays’ to avoid offending anybody not celebrating Christmas…… there are an AWFUL lot of unwanted trees thrown away round here.. shame on you!

For more green decorating ideas:

thedailygreen.com

care2.com

inhabitat.com