Ralph & Ricky Lauren

Have been fascinated by Ralph Lauren for a while now. I have worked on a few shoots for designers who have been heavily influenced by him and cannot help starting to feel a little bit smitten myself by the whole Hampton/New England thing…especially as one of my oldest friends lives in Conneticut, actually in a town neighbouring where the Laurens live. And of course, East Lothian is known as the Hamptons of Scotland….

No-one does corner sofas and cushions like he does….

Liz, my friend, (& Ralph’s neighbour!) told me recently, realising my wee crush, that Ralph’s real name is Ralph Lifshitz, and that he is actually Jewish in origin…and that the whole New England, Preppy, Waspish thing is a total marketing-woven fabrication….Curious to find out more – (I am sure all my design educated readers know all this – I do apologise) I have read that he actually changed his name purely to get rid of the ‘shit’ in it – not because he was in any way ashamed of his Jewish heritage, or saw it as negative…How interesting…

Convinced that the coincidences (my also being Jewish in origin, my dad also changed our family name, my living in the ‘Hamptons’ of Scotland, my multi-billion £ design empi….err, hang on….I haven’t quite managed that one yet…) would stop there….oh no – I then discovered Ricky Lauren – Ralph’s wife – the original Her Indoors…!

Ricky has been documenting her life with Ralph for years…a bit like I have been documenting my life with Doug!! Amazing! OK…I have been documenting our family for months rather than years…but I’ve made a start! And all she has actually done is produced half a dozen or so massive coffee table books…you know…I am sure I could do that?

Ricky Lauren interview

I am actually going to take a wee break now…just a few days in London…and no, I am not going to wave at the Queen, I am going to go to my cousin’s son’s Barmitzvah – can’t wait…xx


A must-not-miss event in the Gullane year is the Gullane Beach Triathlon…
When we first moved here we wandered down to the beach one sunny evening and could see lots of fuss going on…curious, we asked someone who looked vaguely official and he explained that they were preparing for a triathlon the next morning…We raced down the next morning at 8am, children in tow to witness a most wonderful spectacle…hundreds of swimmers being led by a piper across the sand dunes…

Then, jumping into the sea when the horn blew.

Doug has taken part every year since….he does it as part of a team, he does the swim and two friends, Gary Hitchen and Stuart Spinks do the cycle and run…slightly easier of course (I mean being in a team…would I ever suggest that the swim is in any way harder than the cycle or the run?? Never of course!) but they make good times between them and have twice won a prize for 2nd male team!!

A keen interest in long distance swimming has ensued on Doug’s part, and he has taken part in various similar events. This summer he is entering The Big Scottish Swim at Elie as well…1 mile…a charity event.

Please click on the link below to sponsor if you can…Sue Ryder is a very worthy cause and I know we are all asked all the time for sponsor money, but even a small amount is really appreciated. And I have to say a lot of people do walk, cycle, run…all quite pleasant…swimming a mile in the North Sea is a teensy, teensy bit braver than going for a walk or a bike ride…No?


Anyone interested in entering this years GBT or any athletic event, visit Entry Central…another Gullane resident’s internet business – marvellous – Hello Ian!! xx

Tell me why I don’t like Mondays…?

Excellent meeting recently with interior designer, Sally Homan, www.robertson-lindsay.com

Doug and I were both really impressed by Sally’s passion for design and her knowledge of trends.

Here are the images from the shoot, from one of her projects, that was ultimately commissioned, I am not sure what day it was on in the end…..

So pretty…

The point of the meeting was to arrange a further meeting for her and Doug at the property above and she suggested a date and a time on a Monday. I said to Doug ‘that’s fine isn’t it – you don’t like doing shoots on Mondays?’

Doug’s eyebrows radically changed shape and he replied ‘Pardon? I do like doing shoots on Mondays’

I said ‘Do you?’ ….. He said ‘Yes I do!’

After the lovely Sally left, Doug said ‘I do wish you hadn’t said that thing about my not liking doing shoots on Mondays!! At best Sally is going to think I am a complete layabout….at worst…I hate to think??!’

Oh dear….

The reality is that I don’t think anyone likes Mondays particularly and Doug does do shoots on Mondays, but his IDEAL week is meetings on Mondays…shoot on Tuesday, process Tuesday’s shoot on Weds…shoot on Thursday, process Thursday’s shoot on Friday and that is quite enough work for one week….it does not always work out like that but that is the ideal!

Tyninghame House

Although I do not live anywhere near Home Barn Shop, I do live near Tyninghame House and I dropped by the other day, with an hour to kill because I noticed that it was their Open Garden day…I have been before – I am keen on Open Gardens, but I am normally with friends or relatives, this time I was on my own and had a really good explore. I found myself totally lost in a magical world…had no idea Tyninghame House Gardens were so extensive…it was like being on a Peter Greenaway film set….these are just snaps I took on my iphone:


Home Barn Shop

There are no published recipes for ‘happy homes’….is your dream home one where everything is new and immaculate…a minimalist empty shell even…something akin to the Konishi Gaffney and Adam Toleman homes below? Or a shabby chic nest, stuffed with bric a brac ‘found’ in markets in France, complete with faded, peeling flock wallpaper and threadbare Persian rugs….?

It really could not be more personal, more ‘up to you’!!

If you are one of the ‘everything new gang’ how would your home seem if it had nothing new in it? If all the furnishings were inherited or acquired or bought in junk shops?

If you are a shabby chic type, how would you feel if forced to move into a Grand Design style, minimalist, masterpiece?

Either might be quite refreshing actually….

I would say, though, whichever you feel you are, beware of being over-co-ordinated and self-conscious.

If your home is very new and in control, try not to let it become too ‘matchy-matchy’…pay a visit to somewhere like The Home Barn Shop

I so want to live near here..really annoyingly…they are in Buckinghamshire…But they do sell online! My idea of heaven.

If your home is never-endingly retro, vintage…full of second hand tea towels…do consider a trip to John Lewis…it’s really good honestly!

Of course, just clean and tidy would probably do a lot of people: shabby what?? minimalism??