Thursday, 24 July 2014

Wild Women

I've been feeling a bit trapped by domesticity. Feeling the call of the wild. Particularly since my whole life now revolves around the home - it is both my place of work as well as where i bring up my child, cook and eat with my husband and friends. I am in the same space nearly every day. As much as I love it, I was starting to feel a bit too domesticated, too safe. Sometimes I look into the garden and want to become like a little ladybird and crawl into the cool blades of grass, roam around the cornflowers in the corner and bask in the sun.

wild rice harvesting New Zealand

So I did the next best thing to taking off into a jungle and started reading a book I bought for Gustavo which has been sitting on a bookshelf waiting. Wild by Jay Griffiths has taken me in a rickety canoe through the Amazon, igniting that flame inside which burns to be free, to be sensual, raw, dancing, with the richest of smells and colours. Griffiths writing is extraordinary; she is a true wild women in every sense, full of the wisdom, madness and exuberance of life.

This is an extract from the book where she describes why she wrote it:

I felt its urgent demand in the blood. I could hear its call. Its whistling disturbed me by day and its howl woke me in the night. I heard the drum of the sun. Every path was a calling cadence, the flight of every bird a beckoning, the colour of ice an invitation: come. Every mountain top intrigued my mind, for the wind at the peaks was the flautist, licking his lips, dangerously mesmerizing me with almost inaudible melodies. This was the calling, the vehement, irresistible demand of the feral angel – take flight.

I was looking for the will of the wild. I was looking for how that will expressed itself in elemental vitality, in savage grace. Wildness is resolute for life: it cannot be otherwise for it will die in captivity. It is elemental: pure freedom, pure passion, pure hunger. It is its own manifesto.

Last weekend I escaped with my toddler daughter while Gustavo was working, and went to the sea with some friends. After a hot day the thunder and rain were a cool relief. The lightening sparked that wild flame inside that had dwindled to a tiny ember.

New venture coming...

I've been in a writing lull while i prepare for a whole new blog to go with a new business I am launching with my friend. Mexican textiles turned into beautiful and hopefully inspiring things to bring some of that warmth and light into the home.

Watch this space. Here is a little taster...

little mexican dress
framed otomi embroidery

grey otomi cushions
framed embroidery from Pahuatlan mountain women

Monday, 19 May 2014

Free wheeling life

I tried to work in Cafe Otto, which was great for the first hour once you got over people watching and wondering what everyone else was so busy typing on their laptops. Were they just messaging their friends or were they drafting the next cult screenplay?

Then various other self employed friends started drifting in. I made a retreat to the local library. Wow, I had forgotten about libraries. Free books! Brilliant idea. Then as I settled into a slightly wobbly chair and tried to ignore the stickiness of the table, I was joined by a lonely old woman who wanted to chat about the paper she was reading.

Next week Maya starts nursery and then I can get down to work in my desk at home, making my own coffee. So far I'm feeling guilty for the fact that I dont seem to feel any guilt leaving my daughter in the care of someone else. Its all I hear about, the guilt of working mothers. Frankly I think a professional with years of experience will be far better than my shambolic attempts at figuring out what a toddler would like to do today.

Aren't lists one of life's great satisfactions. I still like to have a reporter's notebook by my laptop into which i add and cross off lists all day. I have the list of things i need, people I must see, forgotten plans, and of course work scribblings. So here is a list I have of all the upsides and downsides of freelancing.


I'm currently sitting in a swimming costume and sarong, typing in the garden, ready to jump in the paddling pool when Maya wakes
Being able to wear jumpers on a cool day, all day (whereas in an office you have to dress like its summer all year thanks to stupid air conditioning)
Making yourself a tasty lunch and a proper coffee (nasty filter coffee sat around in the office for hours)
Having your 'own office', away from other people's typing, loud phone calls and mindless small talk 
Having a break mid afternoon for a swim in an empty pool
Talking to yourself without having to worry about concerned colleagues
Playing music while you work
Deciding the hours you work that fit around your life, rather than the other way round


Forgetting how to put a decent outfit together...
Eating too much
Going loopy spending too much time alone

A friend said that her freelance friends got together and organised their own office christmas party, complete with bowling and a night out. I think that's brilliant. Perhaps we could also give eachother appraisal meetings where we tell eachother what a great job we are doing, give each other promotions and tips on how to improve our presentation

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Things I Miss

I have worked in an office for over 10 years and so it feels very strange to find myself outside of that comfortable structure for the first time since I messed around in the music world post-uni.

I am asked often what it is I miss about Mexico now i'm back in London. So here you go:

The fish tacos from Tres Galeones 

Late night deep conversation with friends over mescal at Covadonga cantina, Colonia Roma

Covadonga Cantina: this became our local

Walking around Colonia Roma or Condessa with the sun on your back past the faded crumbling grandeur of buildings hiding galleries, parties and secret gardens.

The hipsters in Mexico City look exactly like those in London (NY and Berlin too..) so in Colonia Roma, sitting having a mescal you could be in Dalston but there is sunshine and blue skies

Lying in the hammock reading while Maya has her afternoon nap

Mango, pinapple, papaya, melon.......melting on your lips and dripping down your fingers

Cactus of all different shapes and sizes punctuating the landscape, framed with blue mountains

The positivity and unpretentiousness of the creative scene in Mexico City. It is a much smaller creative world than in London, somehow giving you that confidence in limitless possibilities.

Being warmly absorbed into the ever growing Montes de Oca family

Watching whales from the coast, hummingbirds drinking nectar by your feet, eagles and vultures circling the blue domed sky

Being able to wear a dress and sandals all day, not having to carry layers of clothes

Buying beautiful, colourful and inspiring textiles

What I missed about London when i was in Mexico

My friends within cycling distances

Discussing life with people who have known you for years through the best and the worst

Flat whites. Tasty vegetarian food (vegetarian in mexico was bacon)

Pubs and friends' gigs very nearby. Taking my box of records to play at a pub

Amazing parks within walking distance, the canal,and playgrounds that arent right next to a large smelly dual road (I saw one in the middle of a motorway in Mexico!)

Spring blossom confetti falling over the clean and smooth pavements

Knowing where your meat comes from

Music, music, music. Even hip places in Mexico had terrible music

My bookclub, watching movies at home on our projector

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Home with a bump

When you first arrive in a new city, or walk into a building for the first time, your senses pick up on so much that is later lost in familiarity. You note the smell, how the space between the walls make you feel, the light and overall patterns. Once it becomes part of your unnoticed backdrop it has changed into another place altogether. Instead you start to zone in on the chips and layers of dust, you only seem to process what is at eye level.

Arriving home I first notice the smell seems different (we had been letting out our flat). Or perhaps that's how it has always smelt but I no longer noticed. The space seemed smaller than my imagination had allowed. But after a few days of unpacking, putting on music and opening the windows, it now feels like home. The walls are starting to feel less like an empty box and more like comfy old shoes.

Maya keeps asking where the light has gone (la luz mama?) when the dark clouds suddenly scurry over the sun. I love how the light is constantly changing, not the perpetual blue sky of Mexico. And I keep telling myself that it is a lot easier to work when the sun isn't shining, calling you outside.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

We will always have Tlaxco

We pull up to the square and stretch our legs. 'Is this really it? Are you sure?' One of Mexico's prettiest squares according to National Geographic. We sit down at a very empty average cafe on the side of a square with modest palm trees and a defunct fountain. It is only when over a cup of coffee I look at the map that I realise we are in Tlaxco not Tlaxcala. Our lunch stop over is shortened and we head back. On the way we pass half built houses in dry fields with lonely cactus, an enormous 'factory' with cows squished together in pens waiting to meet their fate. The smell is overwhelming and puts me off meat. It turns out that going down the wrong road is like stepping away from the viewfinder to see the mess and beauty of the bussling workings behind the scenes.

Our last weekend we spend visiting a friend in the obscenely beautiful San Miguelle de Allende. Its like a rich persons dream shopping centre - cobbled streets lines with sun peeled red and ochre walls, stone statues, rooftop bars, art galleries tripping over each other, elegant dress shops and tempting bakeries.

 Our road trip has come to an end and we are ready for the excitement of coming home. My own bed, swapping tales with much missed friends, seeing how the trees and plants have grown in the garden. Coming home is a whole adventure in itself.

Saturday, 29 March 2014

swimming on the edge of the world

We are woken early by a very wide awake toddler. After several attempts at fobbing her off with some toys in her cot we realise its not going to work so we dress and leave in search of coffee. When we step into the street we are totally disorientated. The street full of half built houses and piles of rubble with stray dogs meandering around. At the end of the street the sun is just warming up the stones of the church balanced on top of a pyramid hill. We are in Cholula, our last stop before returning home. We stay in a lovely hippy b&b with delicious fresh food, we had been craving. It turns out that its surprisingly hard to find healthy fresh food on a road trip where you have to take what you can find at the moment you need it.

We stumble across the main square where the children's playground is glistening wet from the gardeners hose. Each street corner seems to have a microgym, its windows steamed up and the noise of pumping and panting mingling with the car horns.

The day before we stopped off at Hierve el Agua, the most stunning natural pool at the edge of a very high cliff, with views across the valley and mountains beyond. A detour down a mountain road is rewarded by this incredible view. We arrive just as the air is beginning to heat up and it looks abandoned, the row of simple wooden shacks waiting to serve the visiting tourists have their chairs stacked on the tables. A wedding couple is having a photo shoot complete with bright red umbrella serving as a parosol and two moody loooking dogs refusing to pose. They finish and walk back up the hill - the bride picks up her long layered dress to reveal massive trainers. We swim in silence with eagles soaring above and the place to ourselves.