We had an expression in our family: to pray to the pistachio god. It's a long story, and it took place in a Chinese restaurant, before my brother was born - so I had to be less than eight years old. I was driving my parents crazy with all these theological questions ('I don't understand, if Catholics and Protestants are both Christians, why would they fight with each other?' 'It's hard to explain.') Finally my father - from what I can remember - started saying that he didn't believe we can just pray for things - that he felt that what worked better for him - and I'm paraphrasing now - was to basically just be a good person and hope for the best.
I must have felt someone needed to step up to support the Organised Religion side, because I stood by prayer. We had reached the end of the meal (and, no doubt, the end of my parents' tether) and it was time - having successfully agreed on the communal main courses, the requisite numbers from Column A and Column B - to go for the group dessert. Each person chose a scoop of ice cream, served up in one big silver metal bowl, so icy cold it would have beads of condensation running down the side, with lots of exotic fresh and tinned fruits, like kumquats and pineapple. And fortune cookies.
We knew what my sister would want: chocolate. Of course. I was a vanilla girl, but that night, I announced I wanted pistachio. 'It's not Baskin Robbins,' my dad laughed. 'They don't have 27 flavours. It will be vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.' Then, with that charming Beatles Lads impish grin and a twinkle in his eye, he laid down the gauntlet: 'I know, why don't you PRAY for it.'
So I did. I turned around in the booth with the leather seats, shaped like pews, and I prayed. I prayed and I prayed and I prayed, WITH INTENSITY, and when the waiter arrived, and my sweet little cherub blonde sister asked for chocolate, they had run out. All they had left was vanilla, strawberry, and pistachio.
These days - and it was a post by the Foolish Aesthete that sparked off these shots - I'm really into colours like tangerine, with pistachio and lime. I don't normally wear orange or reds, but maybe it's the obstinate side coming out: this English 'spring' and 'summer' - I use the words ironically - is making everyone want to wear dark, dull, wintry tones, but I'm wearing everything I'd have packed for Italy. Bright tones of aqua, lime, hot pink, tangerine, and lashings of vanilla, especially in the form of my gorgeous new ankle length white jeans by DL1961, from the Raw Denim Bar. And then layering it with scarves, gloves, and for good measure, a sturdy raincoat.
And then I pray to the Pistachio God that the sun will come out.
I basically treat getting dressed the way I treat packing, or cooking: just throw together whatever I'm most in the mood for this minute, then hit the road, Jack. Here's my recipe for Jill's Pistachio God Salad:
Slice juicy orange pieces into the bowl you'll be serving it into, to save all the juice. Add wild rocket leaves, or any nice green you're into at the moment, squirt on some apricot flavoured balsamic syrup, or just balsamic vinegar if you don't have any, good olive oil, chopped pistachios, and - if you'd like, fresh lime juice. Tropical holiday on a plate.