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Friday 2 December 2022

Freud, Fashion and Fun: November in Review


Dear friends. Welcome to November in Review, a summary of what happened Chez Mutton during the last month. 

It was a very wet month and the hose pipe ban came to an end in our area - yay! Here's what I've been up to.


Is in early November. Originally I'd planned to go for a Pret-a-Portea with friends at the Berkeley Hotel in Knightsbridge, but a rail strike put paid to that  (although it was later called off, harrumph). 

Instead John and I went to the cinema to see Bill Nighy in Living, followed by a feast at a favourite Indian restaurant. 

I'll talk more about Living in my favourites post. I don't think I've ever been to the cinema with John in all the years we've been together!


I was invited to attend this first ever event which took place at County Hall on the South Bank. It's not far from the London Eye, where, in 2018, there was a memorable bloggers' meet-up, including Jacqui from Mummabstylish. As I blundered round the South Bank looking for the entrance, I bumped into Jacqui. We'd both worn a striking, and similar, green in order to stand out. 

Inside, I met up with my friend and former colleague Oxana, and you can see the three of us at the top of the post. The event's sponsors included No 7 and we had our skin analysed with a tool that told us our skin was in good condition but hydration was a must. No 7 then gave us some samples to address this. 

There were several speakers on the various stage and we were keen to see Susannah Constantine. Some of you will remember her from the TV show with Trinny, "What Not to Wear."  

She has just written a book called Ready for Absolutely Nothing, about her life.  She gave us a few  anecdotes from the book, which I've since read. It's a brilliant read and very funny. Here she is with the editor of W&H, Miranda McMinn. Look out for my review in my post What's On Your Bookshelf, December 16. 

After a fun time at the event, we left with our goody bags and Oxana and I had dinner at Wahaca. If they run the event next year we'll definitely be going, and rounding up more friends to come with us!


Lucian Freud, 1922-2011, was one of Britain's most celebrated artists. The Freud exhibition opened in November. His art is quite challenging, and he presents his sitters in an uncompromising way with no flattery. He was a very fine artist, and I felt the same awe in his presence that I afforded Rembrandt and Van Gogh.

But I couldn't help thinking afterwards that he wasted his talent somewhat.  

It seems everyone came to him, the celebrated artist, to be painted.  His children, society people, his wives. And he captures what he sees. But there is little social commentary.

The painting that intrigued me the most was this one from 1954, Hotel Bedroom. It looks like the aftermath of a one night stand but the woman was in fact his second wife, Lady Caroline Hamilton Temple Blackwood. She left him not long afterwards. It took a long time to paint, apparently, and they re-staged the scene several times. It's full of tension and anxiety.

A couple of weeks later I watched a free webinar run by the National Gallery about the exhibition. One of the curators explained how they decided to present Freud, and it was to focus on his work rather than his biography, which is well known and tends to overshadow his art (he fathered 15 children).       

Africa Fashion with Penny at the V&A Museum

After having my hair cut - shown here with Jodie, my stylist of many years, I went to to the V&A Museum and had a lovely time with Penny from Frugal Fashion Shopper

The last time we met up was 2018, also at the V&A. 

There are always a couple of exhibitions running, which the museum does so well.  We went to the Hallyu! The Korean Wave Exhibition (until 25 June) - a lot of fun - and also Africa Fashion. Here are some of the fashions which caught my eye. The exhibition runs until 16 April 2023.

Short Break in Plymouth

Our new electric car finally arrived, a year after it was ordered.  It was good timing for a visit to Plymouth which is 250 miles away, to see how the car performed on a long drive and to master public chargers.  

I am forbidden to disclose any details of the car  (!) but here's a sneaky peak. It's a dark olive green which changes colour in the light.  It's very shiny because it was detailed after we got back from Plymouth and some special sealants applied. I'm sure John would be happy to write a whole post about this if anyone was interested....!

We stayed at Boringdon Hall Hotel for a couple of nights because it has three EV chargers. Although it looks quite ancient, most of it is fairly recent.  I remember going to the ruins back in the late 70s when, as a trainee newspaper reporter, I interviewed an entrepreneur called Robert Kennedy-Ping who was planning to rebuild the mansion, formerly owned by the Parker family, who also owned Saltram House (National Trust) near Plymouth.  

The redevelopment plans didn't materialise until some time later. Now the hotel is the first 5 star venue in Plymouth with a spa and posh restaurant. On the day we arrived the rain had gone away.

The Christmas decorations were up.

Mum and I always go to Buckfast Abbey, so we went this time too,  in the pouring rain. This is another place that looks ancient but was finished in the 1930s by the industrious monks.  It took several decades. As always we lit a candle for loved ones. John took photos.


We had that most traditional of lunches, a pasty, but John wasn't too impressed. He's probably more for the London regional speciality of pie, mash and parsley liquor, which I wouldn't touch in a million years.


The weather gets really interesting in winter, as does the light.  We had some mist in November plus torrential rain. On one day, the golf course path, which leads me to my forest walks, was completely under water. 

I was beginning to think the longhorn cattle had gone to winter quarters because I hadn't seen them for so long. But I finally saw them earlier this week.  Last year a small group stayed out all year. They love chomping on holly.

A misty morning. 


Remembrance Sunday is held on the second Sunday in November (the Sunday nearest to 11 November, Armistice Day, the anniversary of the end of hostilities in World War I in 1918).  There is a war memorial locally dedicated to the men who died, and we have quite a big parade attended by dignitaries from the armed forces and the local MP, Sir Iain Duncan Smith. J borrowed one of my poppy brooches to wear. I thought he would say no when I told him it was OK for men to wear a brooch, Craig Revel-Horwood did! 

Sharing this post with: Chic & Stylish at Mummabstylish, #SpreadTheKindness  and #Linkup on the Edge at Shelbee on the Edge, #AnythingGoes at My Random Musings, Turning Heads Tuesday at Elegantly Dressed and Stylish,  Style with a Smile  at StylesplashTFF at Doused in Pink,Confident Twosday at IDoDeclaireRena at Fine Whatever,, #Neverendingstyle at The Grey BrunetteFancy Friday at Nancy's Fashion Style, Talent Sharing Tuesdays at Scribbling Boomer, Link Up Pot Pourri at My Bijou LifeTraffic Jam Weekend at Marsha in the Middle Fabulous Fridays at Lucy Bertoldi, Grace and Truth at Lisa's Notes


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1 comment

  1. What a fun events to attend! And how great to meet up with Penny, such a fantastic woman to spend time with. I really hope we can do a meetup next year with some bloggers somewhere in the South!


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