Vintage English Garden Party

vintage garden party

Happy Monday All!

I hope you enjoyed another lovely summer weekend,

and may I be so bold as to remind everyone that it IS in fact still summer?

So all you folks pinning Halloween ideas and Fall decor on Pinterest


It’s only the 19th of August-The “F” word is still many weeks away!

Let’s make the most of these precious last days of warm weather, shall we?

Get thee to the beach, lake, park, garden, the roof of your apartment building (talking to my Older Son :)) tout de suite.

As long time readers of Slim Paley well know,  I’ll still be posting about my favourite time of year ’til I’m dragged away by the edge of my cover-up, clutching that last salt-rimmed Margarita to my heavily sun-screened/damaged bosom.


I shot the above photo in my garden, as well as the ones to follow,

for my first

“One Kings Lane Tastemaker Tag Sale”

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 2.17.04 PM

Inspired by my recent trip to London, the excitement surrounding the arrival of Prince George, and yes, the last languid days of summer,

I chose a “Vintage English Garden Party” as my theme.


Who amongst us doesn’t enjoy at least the idea of a lovely English picnic (paging Merchant Ivory fans) complete with vintage silver, the “family china” and tinkling crystal glasses of Pimms brimming with fresh fruit?

Downton Abbey

And who, like me, simply can’t wait for the new season of “Downton Abbey” to begin?!

slim paley garden

An Instagram of my garden

Fortnum & Mason window

The windows of Fortnum & Mason in London were bursting with the delightful components of an English countryside picnic.

London window shopping

I love how I caught the double decker going by on Piccadilly (even if I do say so myself)

Fortnum & Mason

Just look at that gorgeous giant Melton Mowbray pie!

F & M will fill a picnic basket that will positively make your toes curl and they ship all over the world.

Slim Paley Picnic

But back to me :-)

Everything in these photos will be in my sale (except the white table cloth & hat)

majolica & chintz

There are lots of my vintage goodies to choose from as well many items curated from One Kings Lane’s “Vintage & Market Finds”

vintage glass goblet

go ahead, have one.

English Country garden

Flowers in my friend’s English country garden

Wedgwood Majolica

A collection of vintage Wedgwood Majolica

vintage roses oil painting

A lovely & bright vintage oil of garden roses with an antique desert plate, part of a set, in the foreground.

Garden Wall vase & enamel coffee pot

“Garden Wall” vase and old enamel coffee pot

Hull vase

A Hull vase


Note to Self;  notch back on the Pimms…

rooster basket

My sale starts tomorrow,  August 20th, 8:am PST

Please DO stop by and leave your calling card :-)

One Kings Lane Link


PS. On a more somber note, thank you to the many readers  who have been checking in concerning the ferocious fire in Idaho. We are grateful to be back home safe & sound in Santa Barbara, but our hearts and prayers are still with all the amazing firefighters in Sun Valley and Hailey who are battling SO bravely to protect our beautiful town. Please keep them in your thoughts & prayers too.



Meanwhile, Back in London…

David Bowie

Meanwhile, back in London…

The town was abuzz not only with the 60 year Coronation anniversary, but also the Bowie exhibition at the Victoria & Albert museum.

Needless to say, being the dyed in the wool Bowie Fangirl I am, there was no way we were going to miss the show!

V & A

A beautiful summer day on the steps of the V & A, London

David Bowie

The show was good, slick and definitely worth seeing

David Bowie

In my humble opinion however , it could have been bigger. Granted there was and continues to be SO much great material to document over Bowie’s decades long career, but it’s not like the V & A doesn’t have the room…and I’m sure the budget must have been formidable.

David Bowie Aladdin Sane

Then again, perhaps it’s fitting to leave the show feeling the man still remains a bit of an enigma (aren’t you glad I didn’t say chameleon :-) )

Royal Academy of Arts London

We were also just in time for the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition Preview party

London Royal Academy of Arts

Where the fashion and art world’s ongoing love affair with fluorescents was to be clocked everywhere.

People,  the “Red Carpet” was green!

fluorescent belt

Even the canapés were served on glowing fluorescent green trays. (fyi-I didn’t eat all those)

Though I felt slightly underdressed (it’s a long story) at least my belt matched the theme of the evening.

Louis Vuitton Summer 2013

Cute young girls in Louis Vuitton SS13 frocks


and stripes were certainly a popular fasion statement.

Screen Shot 2013-07-14 at 11.37.14 PM

A triptych of pics from the party

PrawnsPrawns on fluoro ice.

fluorescent bar

and a glowing green bar

Royal Academy of Arts London

Leaving the party to go to “Le Caprice” off Piccadilly for a late dinner with old friends

Le Caprice London

A restaurant we frequented-yikes, often and more years ago than I really care to divulge, and it’s still as busy as ever.

Though the signage remains the same, the interior has enjoyed a subtle face-lift.

Hmmm…oh forget it. I can go back to the same places, but I’ll never get the old face back, and that’s OK.

No, really, it’s fine. Pass the whine. I mean the wine.

Purple Bentley

BTW, If you were going to buy a Bentley, would you pick purple?!

Louis Vuitton windows London

More fun to be had window shopping in Mayfair


The new Assouline book shop next to Claridge’s Hotel.

Windows Harvey Nichols London

and Knightsbridge at Harvey Nichols


Where I bought this Christopher Kane silk jacket that is amortizing nicely.Harvey Nichols London

More Harvey Nic’s

Black door, Mayfair, London

and simply strolling in the streets of my old ‘hood sharing my old memories with my husband.

Window boxes Mayfair

And lest one precious moment of London time was wasted, a girlfriend and I also took in the arts & antiques fair at Olympia.

Modern art

Where I became quite fascinated with this 3D piece. Doesn’t it look like an aerial view of a crowd of people milling about?

Art, London

Closer inspection reveals it’s simply tiny dollops of layers of paint. Very clever.

Sadly, I’m unable to find my program from the show at the moment so I cannot credit the artist.

Gerard Mas

My friend was taken with this cheeky Bazooka bubblegum snapping Renaissance-looking maiden, carved in alabaster no less, by the artist Gerard Mas.

The subtly veined and translucent nature of the alabaster made her appear unsettling life-like. It also made me want to wear more sunscreen.


Our last evening found us at the ridonkulously chic “5 Hertford St.”  in Mayfair, just off Curzon St.

5 Hertford St. London

The good news is it’s owned and very personally presided over by Robin Birley, son of the infamous Mark Birley who ran “Annabel’s” in Mayfair for forever and a day


The family are true restaurant and private nightclub royalty-oh the stories they could tell! and wow, Birley’s newest establishment does not disappoint.


Robin and Lucy Birley

The decor was conceived  by 80′s & 90′s renowned fashion designer Rifat Ozbek, though I can’t imagine that Robin Birley and his wife (Bryan Ferry’s ex) didn’t also have a strong hand in final ambiance  of the place.


The bar area in “Loulou’s” downstairs

Downstairs is like Safari-meets-The Water Babies. Sorry if that’s a difficult visual to summon up, but that’s how it felt, so overcome was I with the general effect. Upstairs, you just want to live in every single room, sit by the multiple fire places, smoking cigars whilst reading Maugham and discussing the merits of whippets above all other canines with Mr. Birley himself. (Who I just happened to see carrying his one grey whippet down the stairs in his arms, with the other close to heel. It was The Perfect English Moment)

The Bad News is, and this is pretty bloody bad-it’s private.

One must know Some One in order to get One’s self through the very discreet little door of “5 Hertford St”


So, if your travels include a trip to London on the horizon, One best get on the horn and start calling friends, friends of friends, bosses of friends, and listen, if things get desperate, even rebuilding a broken friendship bridge or two if necessary.

This is one of the chicest, coolest places I’ve been to.

And I really don’t think it’s just because I love London so much.

PS. Don’t flipping tell anyone I snapped the photo of the dining room  with the roses above-I imagine they don’t take kindly to people clicking away with their iPhones.


PPS. Can’t tell a porkie-pie, I also snapped the flowers in the Ladie’s room.

Who could resist these and who does it hurt, pray tell??

OK, and really, really, lastly…cause it’s like 2am in the morning here,

Royal Baby in the Bedroom

We’re on High Alert Royal Baby Watch now are we not?!

I shot this little “Instagram”vignette in our guest room in honour of the Big Event.

I love that CNN announced today that ‘Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are eagerly awaiting the birth of either a boy or a girl!”


Righty ho, time for me to go to bed and dream of England!

What are you doing in your part of the world right now?!


*all photos of “5 Hertford St.” except my first Instagram pic and the Ladie’s room flowers are via “Vanity Fair” magazine.

It’s now even later than 2am so excuse any typos-I might as well be running a nightclub at this hour.

Coat check tag,please. And No, I don’t have any change.


Cats, Queens & Other Things



The Queen


Finally downloaded and edited all my photos from our recent trip to London.

What an AMAZING city. No wonder I loved living there for so many years.

 It was my husband’s first time back in I don’t know how long, so I was anxious that everything go well, including the fickle English weather.

Incredibly, my prayers, crossed fingers & toes and midnight sacrifices to the Gods of Good Favour were answered.



All those familiar with the Spring/early Summer/Summer/late Summer weather in Blighty will appreciate the wonder of the above photo.


Streets of LondonNot only that, but there was a lovely buzz about the city as we just happened to be there for the 60 year celebration of Queen Elizabeth’s coronation.

I love the Queen. I do. Perhaps it stems from singing “God Save the Queen” as a child in school. I know the entire concept of royalty seems antiquated and unnecessary to countless people (including my husband) but I like me some old-fashioned tradition.

Yes, I get that she was born into almost unfathomable privilege, but she has also spent almost her entire life in service to her country and ‘subjects’ and there’s something to be said for that. Take a look at some other countries around the world to see how power and position has been and is outrageously abused. Imagine how many thousands of events, whether they be joyous or sad, important or inane, in good weather or bad (and you know it’s mostly bad!) she’s had to trot herself out for over the decades (always with heels and hat) when she might have preferred to stay home with a good book or to watch “Breaking Bad”.

or “Game of Thrones” :-)

Bailing is not really an option when you’re the Queen of England. She has only 3 more years to go to beat Queen Victoria out as the longest reigning British Monarch.

Go Liz!

Plus, she has great skin, ya gotta give her points for that.

Crown shopping

I don’t wish to imply I got completely caught up in the pomp & pageantry, but I do confess to a little crown window shopping…

Strangely enough,  the Queen’s 350 year old coronation crown was removed from The Tower of London and “escorted” to Westminster Abbey in its own private carriage for the ceremony, but apparently she didn’t put it on.


It just sat on a velvet pillow along with the ampulla.

The last time she wore it was 1953?

What up with that?? I would have put it on and posted a quick “selfie” on Instagram.

Probably another reason why I wouldn’t make a good Queen.

But you know what they say…If you haven’t worn it in two years…

Smokin catAnd as another saying goes… “A cat can look at a Queen” (is anyone on this side of the pond familiar with that?!”

This is “Jinks” who was obviously so beloved at “Bates Hatters” they decided to keep him around when he finally “passed out” in 1926.

Panama hatsThis is the most amazing old world hat shop in London, located just behind Fortnum & Mason, off Picadilly.

fine Panama hat

This is where you might pick up one of those $10,000 Panama hats that take 6 months to weave.

The example above costs about $2,500. You can see how fine the weave is compared to the one on the left.

Top hats, London hat shopOr perhaps just a top hat for “The Season”?

Sadly, I didn’t buy anything there except postcards. Hat or crown, hat or crown…I had to pace myself and consider my luggage restrictions.

Men's shaving brushesI popped into “Bates” while the hubs was getting a little well deserved pampering next door at “Taylor’s of Old Bond St” on Jermyn St.

IMG_5483He said it was fabulous.


Hard not to be inspired just a little bit by all the shops and possibilities of sprucing One’s self up a wee bit in London.

I had to think of the always dapper Scott Meacham Wood’s blog “The Adventures of TartanScot” when I took these photos.




A most dapper older gent.

Selfridge'sMy husband also wanted to see Selfridge’s after watching the mini-series recently.

 I said, OK, if you insist…(the things we do for love)

Selfridge's, London

Having spent many a day in this monolith of a department store in my day, I was still surprised to see the madness inside. I admit, and with no sense of pride whatsoever, it was the first time I’ve ever felt a tad overwhelmed by the shopping experience. Don’t tell anyone. I don’t know if it had anything to do with the mini-series, the coronation celebrations, or the simple fact it was the first week of summer holidays, but the crowds were reedonkulous inside.


The new addition (at least new to me) of “The Silence Room” did alleviate my  anxiety.  I was obviously not alone.

I hadn’t lost my shopping mojo after all!


PS. there were two people making out in the corner.


After the madness of Oxford St, we were relieved to come back to the cozy cocoon that is Claridge’s.

OK, some of the rooms could use a little re-do and the electrical outlets have been painted over so many times they look like pig snouts (Jerry Seinfeld) but it’s hard to beat for location, charm and a sense of history.

Screen Shot 2013-06-28 at 10.46.23 AM

Churchill entering Claridge’s


The Duke of Windsor exiting

Claridges, London


I adore the main entrance and tea salon. The flowers are always interesting and the people watching is fab.

Claridge's, London

Claridge’s London, lobby

Flower arrangements, Claridges

Coming up; more window shopping, the London social calendar, gardens and the Bowie exhibit.

Happy Weekend to All!!

xx SP.


*First image of the Queen from Maison Bertaux

An Indian Dinner



Happy Saturday to you!

I’m a little jet lagged, having just recently returned from London. I’m excited to share some highlights of our trip once I’ve had a chance to download and compile all my photos. I actually went away with just my tiny Leica and the download cord, but no battery charger. So dumb. Don’t you just love packing?

Those of you that follow me on Instagram though have seen several of my holiday snaps there already. The old iPhone (and I do mean the old one) takes a pretty good shot in a pinch.  OK so, wait…I’m off track already, bloody hell…the London post will be arriving shortly (it is coming from overseas after all!)

In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few photos from the Indian Dinner table I set at ‘Casa Paley’ shortly before we went away.

890A8441We were excited to be having very dear old friends over for dinner and inspired by the spate of beautiful late May weather in Santa Barbara (before  “June Gloom” arrived, right on schedule as I’ve been informed, June 1st) I thought it would be fun to serve up a big old curry with all the fixings.

09ea16a6bd9e11e299e522000a9e28c4_7My Instagram shot of the cookbooks we used:

“Mangoes & Curry Leaves” (gorgeous book, somewhat complex recipes),”Tangy Tart Hot & Spicy” by Padma Lakshmi (easier recipes) and “Vij’s” from my favourite Indian restaurant in Vancouver-even though they don’t take reservations which drives me insane. Maybe because I’m mentioning his cookbook I might not have to wait outside the next time.  Do you think??? Hey, It could happen. If you know him, please put in a good word for me :)

I’m afraid I don’t have any photos of the food but this is what we served:

Vij’s Family Chicken Curry (OMG-SO good. and I’m not just saying that because of the no reservations thing. Swear)

Prawns in Coconut Marsala

Sauteed Arugula & Spinach with Tofu (because we couldn’t find Paneer)

Ginger & Jalapeño Basmati rice

Green Beans with Toasted Coconut & Cashews

Cucumber Raita

Shredded Carrot, Cranberries & Cilantro Salad (Gorgeous & delicious-so wish I’d taken a photo) from Padma’s book

Huge crispy Poppadoms, Naan bread and lashings of spicy chutneys


890A8452Different flavours of salts on the table are always a nice touch.

I found the porcelain and copper “burning match” votives “At The Table” in LA  years ago.

890A8462I actually have a “Salt” post in the hopper as we speak. Keep an eye out for it. I know. Exciting, right?!

890A8457As usual, I like to really mix it up, so here we have a huge vintage Suzani used as the tablecloth (that’s how much I love/trust these friends :) )  little silver votives from Pottery Barn, Cristofle silverware, vintage ocean liner water goblets, black & white striped cotton napkins from “Paradise Lane” in Sri Lanka, and all the black & white dishes are from Target. The roses are “White Iceberg” and “Hot Cocoa” from my garden.

Here’s the recipe for the curried chicken:

photo 2 photo 1photo 3

Taken from “Vij’s” cookbook with love and respect… and patience.

What?? I’m not hinting at anything!

890A8520Christofle silver vase (a present for our 25th wedding anniversary last month)

For another Suzani inspired table setting check out this older post HERE -I just noticed that it was also done in May, in 2011. Goes to show how much Spring inspires us to bring the colour indoors (you might also recognise that suzani from my recent post about updating our conservatory) Vintage textiles are such a worthwhile investment, aren’t they?!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend





The Old Girl Gets a New Look

bright orange roses for summer

Everyone loves a good Before & After Story right?

Well, I orchestrated one this week (actually in just 36 hours)

It’s not quite finished yet and I did pilfer a couple of items that will have to be returned to their rightful places in my home eventually, but the results made me so happy I just couldn’t wait to share.

I even have music to accompany your stroll (If you love Bryan Ferry and old fashioned Big Band music you should check out his new CD “Jazz Age”

Um. Just one other thing…I forgot to take the “Before” photos, but trust me, it wasn’t exactly bad, but it’s much nicer now!


It all began with the massive antique lantern below.  Over 3ft high and heavy with detail, I bought it in London eons ago and never found a home for it.

I know it looks like rubbish here

photobut with my newly invigorated passion for bright pink coinciding with getting bolder in my dotage I said to myself ;

“Slim, that old lantern is kind of fahbulous- why not paint it bright pink, I mean bright pink, replace the glass and hang it in the conservatory for the summer?

In days gone by, we used this wonderful room right off our dining room so much, but a few years ago it began to leak (hellooo-the house was built in 1895) so we moved most of the furniture out, save an old table and chairs and slowly stopped using it.

I can safely say “Hey, let’s all go to the conservatory!” is not a sentence you hear often in a household of boys.

 Even after I had the glass roof repaired (the swearing-ist glass repair workmen ever. How unreasonable is it to ask them not to walk on the antique glass??) I never got around to putting the furniture back in.

890A8465Until this week.

Summerize your cocktail barHaving recently been so inspired by the colours and textures of Morocco, along with my love for lively Sri Lankan style,

and with Summer almost upon us…

Summer decoratingAll of a sudden I wanted the room done like yesterday.

Know that feeling?? It doesn’t just apply to hair and nails.

A summer conservatoryOne of my favourite vintage Suzanis in hot pinks & purples served as my colour wheel

The silver tray I brought home from Morocco. Seriously. I love British Airways.

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy walking by and seeing it every day.

brightly coloured rosesThe roses are from my garden

Summer cocktail bar

What’s more fun than setting up a Summer bar?!

The drinks…OK, Smarty Pants.  I love these tiny tropical bananas from our local Asian grocery store.

 High/Low; Wicker lamp from Pottery Barn (in stores now) glassware from Christian Dior (couldn’t resist those sea glass colours and unusual shape)

gingersnap rosesVerging on vulgar in the garden but so great brought inside, these orange roses are for real. NO photo enhancement.

890A8536Tons of inspiration in the beautiful book “Rajasthan”


Long time readers know of my weakness for a touch of red & white stripe come summer

890A8549Striped “dhurrie” from Pottery barn, ottoman “George Smith”, vintage leather poof


890a8572Yellow throw pillow “Pottery Barn”, straw hat “Maison K” Montecito


890A8574A couple of fav. mags always beckon one into a room

summerize your bar

890a8568Now I can’t wait to get up in the morning and have my tea in the conservatory-it’s positively singing with sunlight

(the hat is a must-slightly weird with my bathrobe but what the hell. Sorry for that visual)

890A8581and the perfect place for cocktails at Day’s end (or Day’s middle-towards-end..ish)


 I know that some of you still in possession of a decent attention span might be asking

“But Slim, where’s the hot pink lantern??”

Still in the garage of course.

Stay tuned.

Let’s not get tooo crazy! :)