Bedside Tables // Finding the Right One

I have been on the hunt for new bedside tables for a long while, I didn’t realise how difficult it could be narrowing down what I wanted from the look I had in my head to the reality of finding it in the big wide world.  The choice is rather vast from the expensive designer versions right down to flat pack.

This year I’ve wanted to shake my style up a bit, obviously I don’t have the funds to change every piece of furniture in my home but I can make small changes that create a big impact.  I am very much seduced by clean lines, sleek, pale and modern pieces that enhance and make a space feel bigger.  So I’ve been throwing things out with gusto and boy does it feel good.   Our old bedsides were the first things to go,  I wanted white gloss, sounds strange maybe considering I have a French antique bed but I just knew it would work with the grey walls and simple bedding.

So I started to investigate, I first looked at the Componibili cabinet by Kartell but to be honest I found them a bit flimsy and with not enough storage for the price.  Heals did a perfect version of what I was after but again the price was just out of my reach, so I turned to Ikea, yes I know Ikea!    I have never bought any furniture from them before and I was pleasantly surprised.  I found exactly the right bedside table in white gloss similar in style to the Heals version but at a fraction of the cost.  Yes I know they are self build but if you take your time and construct them correctly are just fabulous.  They are sleek and minimal with two large drawers to keep all my everyday bits and bobs in leaving the top free from clutter.  I am now an Ikea convert, you will have to watch this space to see what I am doing in my lounge with Ikea sideboard carcasses and fixtures from a Swedish company called Superfront.

Anyhow I digress, whether you are after large and chunky, minimal and sleek there are so many variations of bedside table to suit your taste, needs and budget.  I’ve picked out a few of my favourites for this post but you can also browse my Pinterest board for more inspiration.

Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9

 

 

 

Inspiration

Sometimes I feel a little lost, this is when I try very hard to not feel guilty for stopping for a while.  Putting the phone down and turning it off, not going near the laptop and to tell myself it doesn’t matter that I’ve stepped away from the technology for a moment.   I get a bit frustrated with myself that I can’t muster good ideas or create good images for instagram but I also get a bit scared that what if it never comes back; what if I’ve peaked.

I do try very hard to be mindful, working through some of the knots I’ve got my head into, I spend a lot of time reading indulging in my favourite magazines and interior books hoping that a spark will appear.   Taking time away from the screens is good but I do let myself browse through Pinterest, a happy place where colour and images bring moments of joy.  Putting together mood boards that reflect what I’m seeing and feeling helps too.

So today this post features some of these boards; calming images in colour palettes that I find inspiring at the moment helping me to work through my anxieties a little and hopefully a little spark will be reignited once more.

  •  All images from here

TOAST

I have long been a huge admirer of the lifestyle brand TOAST, their clothes are modern and functional but thoughtful pieces for women and are always a part of my capsule wardrobe.  Their ability to promote a more mindful way of living is expressed through their beautifully curated clothing and home wares, all with a considered stillness of style that I adore.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting the Harrogate store to take photographs of the art installation Circular Openings, 2016.  Emulsion paint on canvas by Nic Pehkonen, that featured in the shop window throughout February.  Each store had a different piece displayed for The Work of the Heart project, 11 artists were chosen to feature their work in each of the 11 stores across the country.  It was wonderful seeing Nic’s piece so close, the detail and markings were remarkable and to have my images featured on TOAST Travels was equally as thrilling.

I couldn’t leave the store without having a good browse of the new SS17 Early Spring collection, so many versatile items to choose from all complimenting each other perfectly.  This collection has “easy drawstring shapes and textural volume in yarn-dyed linens, ticking stripes and quiet checks. Slate blues, grey chambrays and parchment” a statement summing up my style, so of course I came away with a new dress that will take me through the season.  A timeless stripe linen shirt dress that is now a firm favourite, comfortable yet versatile just the way I like to dress.

As I don’t  get to visit the TOAST stores that often it’s always a ‘YAY’ kind of day when one of their delicious brochures arrives.  I always make time to sit with a coffee and slowly go through them to read the thoughtful articles and look at the pared back styled images.  It’s such a treat knowing that there is a brand out there that speaks for so many of us, bringing us that sense of belonging and style.  Simple moments of thoughtfulness and a reflection of  how we want to live our lives.

I applaud you TOAST.

  • with thanks to TOAST for providing some of the images for use in this post

 

A Weekend Away

I think sometimes we all crave a weekend away.  I love spending time with my family no matter where we are but making a little trip every now and then lifts the spirits, so that is exactly what we did.  It is a bit of a rare occurrence that we ever stay in a hotel as we normally spend time away from home in our lovely caravan but this weekend was a bit different.

We rose very early and drove for hours to get to Ruby’s birthday treat, a surprise we’ve had to keep under our hats for months.  Our daughter is a big Harry Potter fan so there was no question that we had to visit Warner Bros studios sooner or later, not only did she love it I did too.  For any film fan it is a must, the level of detail had me in awe all the way round, we spent hours and hours pouring over every little nuance, if any of you are thinking of making the trip I would whole heartedly urge you to go.

Then it was my turn to be treated, I have heard of The Crown Inn Amersham for a while now off the back of its high standard of accommodation and stunning paired back interior.   Another reason being I am a great admirer of Ilse Crawford who redesigned the look of the rooms, so I was intrigued to see and stay in these beautiful welcoming lodgings.   With Amersham only being a half hour drive from Watford it made perfect sense to drive into the sumptuous Buckinghamshire countryside to elongate our getaway.

Our room was just perfect, the little details made it feel like home from home, a sheepskin covered Ercol chair, soft linens, Jacob’s wool blanket and large cushions to relax on.  The little touches of a bright red Robert’s radio and telephone lifted the perfectly wonderful muted interior and having a standard lamp to light the space was just lovely.

The food in both the well designed restaurant and breakfast room were impeccable, we really couldn’t have asked for more, it felt like staying more at a large family home than a hotel.  Each space is designed to perfection in a modern rustic style that I favour very much and I really didn’t want to leave.

We were very lucky that the weather decided to behave and gave us some long over due sunshine whilst we were away.  Crisp mornings with no-coat-wearing temperatures which was a huge bonus as I hate packing too much when only away for one night.  I like to layer my outfits I’m not a big coat wearer to be honest but I always have scarves to hand, I find they finish off an outfit to perfection especially one that is transitional through the seasons.   I was so pleased I chose to wear my airy cashmere shawl from Nihao Planet.  I seem to not be without it at the moment.  This beautifully soft lightweight shawl compliments everything in my wardrobe.  It is so luxuriously delicate   you almost forget you are wearing it but keeps you warm as well as looking good.  To be honest this delicious shawl didn’t  stray that far from my side the whole time we were away.  I draped it around myself curled up in the chair to read a while before our evening meal and the same again in the morning whilst I enjoyed a pour over coffee from the comfort of the soft bed.  I wore it whilst talking a stroll around Amersham high street enjoying the warmth of the sun and on the long journey home.

I was slightly sad that our adventure had come to an end as I had been looking forward to it so very much but I am now determined to make an effort to have more weekends away from home like this one.  To enjoy a little bit of luxury and home comforts in simple surroundings.  Experiences appreciated  together as a family are definitely what it’s all about.  These moments in time that enrich our lives for the better and of course not forgetting to take my cashmere shawl with me was indeed a gift!

  • With thanks to Nihao Planet for pursuing the passion for designer quality, versatile and affordable lifestyle products, creating a simple style for day to day life.

Wood & Time = JORD

I haven’t worn a watch in a long time and to be honest with you I don’t really know why.  I think it’s maybe due to being at home most of the time with clocks all around and of course these days permanently near my mobile phone.   These reasons why are rather weak and I have just got used to not having one but this is now going to change.  Let me introduce you to Frankie, the most beautifully crafted, tactile, textured time piece I have ever seen.  It’s not only a watch but a piece of nature that you can wear, an added part of my collection that I will wear and wear, not only because it tells the time but for it’s aesthetic rustic beauty.  I think I would be rather lost without it now.

Within our busy lives we don’t often take the time to stop and enjoy the little things, I think you are all aware by now of my love of the seasons, paring back and taking things slower trying to create peaceful moments in my life.  Having things around me that are not only pleasing but useful, not mass produced and wasteful.  Owning one of these exceptional wood watches from JORD fits perfectly with the way I want to live.

“The value of a watch is not in being able to tell how much time has passed, but in being aware of the need to make that time count. Moments are bigger than minutes and your watch should tell more than time.”

Simple words that make so much sense to me, so it is a joy to be able to pair Frankie with my chunky winter knits that make me feel cosy and warm, the deep graining of the zebrawood and its navy blue minimalist face work so well with my capsule wardrobe of greys and black.  A timeless classic not a passing phase.

So if you too would like to own such a watch that is not only sustainable, efficient and damn right good looking JORD are offering you a unique giveaway, all you need to do to enter is click here.   One person will win a $100 gift code to use on the JORD site but everyone will receive a consolation code worth $25.00.  (This giveaway will close on the 19th Feb 2017 at 11:59pm both codes will expire on the 30th April 2017).

Worth an entry don’t you think?

  •  With thanks to JORD for gifting the Frankie watch without which this post would not be possible

Winter Hues

It’s mid January, not a month I particularly cherish once the Christmas holiday glow subsides I find it hard to get motivated but I’m also not one to start mentioning Spring right now either.  I want to find peace with the darkest days of Winter before looking toward the light and warmth that Spring brings.

I try and find ways to embrace the grey skies and bleak corners, making moments of magic and enjoyment when I can.  Warming food that nurtures and drinks that warm your belly.  Setting the table for evening meals with lovely cutlery and special ceramics to beat the Winter blues.  Layer the sofa and your bed with throws, blankets, sheepskins to keep you warm and cosy.  Fill your wardrobe with tactile knits and scarves, chunky socks and boots to keep you as snug as your home.

Match your interior palette with that of nature, subtle hues of greys, deep blues and off whites making for a perfect winter home.   Immerse yourself in good books, interior books being my weakness, make plans for the coming months through the dark evenings.   Most importantly use this time to sleep, I find it the most therapeutic thing to do, I go to bed early in the Winter a slight hibernation of sorts as if I’m recharging, catching up, letting myself just be.

Images 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 (1 & 9 my own via instagram)

 

New Year Wishes

friday-musings-127A simple style New Year is filling my thoughts.  Well planned escapes, working with cool clients and ambitions to strive for.  Beautiful simple moments to be enjoyed and cherished with those I love.

For now though I shall immerse myself in the last day of fairy lights and tinsel, champagne and naughty treats.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year may it be all that your heart wishes it to be.

It’s Here

The winter solstice has just passed, time to embrace these darker days, enjoy the quiet moments that they bring and to reflect on the year that has passed. Slow mornings spent curled under the duvet just a little bit longer, coffee in hand.  Preparing treats and planning for the big feast on Christmas Day.  Lingering longer at the table lit by candle light, all these precious simple things fill me with joy.

Now it’s time for me to wish you all a Merry Christmas I hope that your’s will be filled with the simplicity and thoughtfulness that this wondrous season brings.

Created + Found

You don’t have to look very far to find wonderful independent makers and creators.  I am very lucky that in my line of work I come across many folk who do just that and I’m honoured that I can call many of them friends.  Jette is one of these creatives and she has recently launched a beautiful on line store Created & Found.  Jette is a food stylist based in Dublin her passion lies in the kitchen as her first collection testifies.  I asked Jette to tell me the story of starting Created & Found and the ethos behind it.

“Created & Found is a home ware range that encapsulates slow living, functionality and aesthetics, focusing ruthlessly on creating incredible products that encourage memories and experiences around food. Created & Found is based on honesty and authenticity and we believe in community not competition and working in collaboration with Irish makers has helped to build a community for the long term. Within the collection are ceramics, wood products, linens and beeswax items and they have all be created with a vision to make everyday living a little more special.

Each piece is lovingly made by hand, taking into account environmental and traditional practices. The range is completely unique in that we have created only 50 pieces of each item in a bid to create a range that is so special and in keeping with our slow living, maker focused ethics. In our ceramics we have a dinner plate, bowl and beaker, we have 5 sizes of chopping boards, aprons, tea towels and napkins, two styles of wooden spoons; serving and cooking and beeswax candles. The items available range from €8 to €52.”

The current collection makes my heart skip a beat, linen, ceramics, wood; what’s not to like?  From the rustic rough edged oak chopping boards, to soft Irish linen aprons and napkins , ceramics hand turned in Kilkenny using natural dyes to create the stunning one off pieces that you will treasure for a long time.

To celebrate the launch I was lucky enough to be sent some of Created & Found linen napkins and a to die for plate.  What better way to showcase these lovely wares than to bake!

With it being the end of Autumn I had an abundance of home grown apples and pears to use up, so I got creative in the kitchen and baked a delicious apple and almond cake and our family favourite apple and pear crumble.  It is so quick and easy I’ll share the recipe, just in case you want to give it a go!

Ingredients

700g apple (cookers)

225g dessert apples (such as cox or russets)

225g pear

50g unsalted  butter

1 tbsp golden caster sugar

Topping

140g golden caster sugar

140g plain flour

2 tsp cinnamon

140g unsalted butter

140g rolled oats

First pre heat the oven to 200°c.  Peel, core and cut the apples and pears into large chunks.  Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the apple and pear chunks and cook over a high heat for a couple of minutes, turning all the time.  Sprinkle over the caster sugar and keep turning until slightly soft and caramelised.  Spoon the fruit mixture into a baking dish.

To make the topping, place the butter (cubed), caster sugar, flour, cinnamon in a large bowl and rub between your finger tips until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Mix in the oats and scatter the mixture over the fruit, pushing it firmly down.

Bake for 25 mins until the topping is golden, serve with anything you wish.

There’s nothing better than baking and serving your handmade goodness to the family especially on beautiful ceramics.

Everything featured on Created & Found would make perfect gifts for the artisan cook in your life.  I have my eye on the chopping boards *wink*

Signature

  • With thanks to Created & Found for gifting the plate and napkins for this post

 

 

 

 

 

To the Lake

The fleeting hour of life of those who love the hills is quickly spent, but the hills are eternal. Always there will be the lonely ridge, the dancing beck, the silent forest; always there will be the exhilaration of the summits. These are for the seeking, and those who seek and find while there is still time will be blessed both in mind and body.” ~ Alfred Wainwright

The Lake District has my heart, our forever place, a home from home and we adore it so.  To be able to visit even for those short fun filled days, come rain or shine, in any of the seasons, the landscape, the air, the water, it’s magical presence will always be.

I will never tire of sitting by the waters edge watching the boats and people walking along the tracks of the fells.  The views, no matter where you are simply take your breath away, I always try to imprint them to memory for a rainy day but they always take you by surprise when you are there, looking at it’s greatness.

The light seems to be different there somehow especially at this time of year, everything is bathed in an amber glow.  Time stands still for a while, life takes on a different pace, no rush or fuss.

I wanted to be able to bring a piece of this trip home with me and I was lucky enough to purchase a piece of abstract art work that is currently on display as part of the Cumbrian Artist of the Year 2016 at the Rheged Centre.   I have to wait until mid November to get my hands on it, so the excitement builds!  I also got to see my friend Ali’s beautiful new tweed bag range for Ruskin, made with wool from local Herdwick sheep, of course I am now coveting the Quentin.

I seemed to notice the smaller details while away this time, so hopefully you’ll enjoy what I have captured.  From rocks on the waters edge, perry pears that were freely falling from their boughs (and on my head which caused great peals of laughter) to a rustic woven cushion on a window ledge, log piles and rough stone walls.

Happy memories made, until next time.

Signature

 

 

Autumnal

Well the season is well and truly in full swing and I’m embracing it with open arms, hello Autumn I rather like you.  I am always a little apprehensive betwixt the end of Summer and the glorious few months that follow.  I am ready now to let go of that limbo, the reluctance to let go of the warm sun and sandal wearing days, and whole heartedly grasp the magical moments that Autumn brings.

I like it when the temperature drops so that I can start layering my wardrobe, chunky knits over skinny jeans, woolly socks in boots, snuggle into well wrapped scarves.  I even change my handbag from wicker basket to my Nara bucket bag with it’s beautiful soft buttery leather.

Dark mornings snuggled under the duvet for 5 more minutes than usual, bowls of warming porridge by candle light before the day gets started.  Then at the end of the day curling up under blankets with warming cups and indulgent books.  If I had a log burner it would be lit, crackling warmth infusing the room, one day I will have one!

Bracing walks kicking the jewel coloured fallen leaves, comfort food made with locally sourced delicious seasonal produce. Displaying a myraid of pumpkins and gourds in all their varying colours shapes and sizes.

To truly feeling those moments of hygge to wrap it around you to savour those precious memories created whilst doing all the wonderful Autumn things that you do.  To get a sense of what this means I would highly recommend this profound little book written by Louisa Thomsen Brits called the book of hygge (the Danish art of living well) a perfect read whilst snuggled up in your favourite armchair.

So yes once again Autumn I rather do like you…..

Signature

Image source  2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9 & 11 the rest are my own

 

 

 

 

Pinterest = Happiness

Hello my name is Jane and I am a Pinterest addict and quite proud of it too.  It’s my happy place, my staple go-to to glean inspiration, aspiration, current moods and trends.  Somewhere where all my daydreams are placed as a visual reminder, all categorised in the right place so at a click of a button I’m transported into the kitchen of my dreams, the recipe I want to try or the fashion store that has the perfect dress.

pinterest-happy

I am a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to how my feed looks, I like it to be fresh with a touch of cool simplicity to each board so when you look at it on a whole it just flows, a tad OCD but I don’t care as I said earlier it’s my happy place.

pinterest-happy-001

I like to take a few moments on a morning with a cup of coffee and pin, along with my daily swim it’s a routine I like, it brings calm to my day creating visual mood boards that I can look at at any point.

pinterest-happy-003

I was over the moon when I was invited to a PinterestUK evening of ideas event in London.  So I hopped on a train and rocked up to be involved in a unique inspirational moment with like minded souls.  I felt a connection with the talk that Alastair Cotteral, Pinterest Head of Creative gave, the emphasis for expression, visually arresting images and the inspiring content that we can create by using this wonderful tool can lead to making  contact with some pretty cool folk.

pinterest-happy-004

I came away with a head full of ideas, small improvements to be made and new additions to be added to take my feed to the next level.  For now though I am happy collating my ideas, hopes and darn right lovely interiors as my everyday aspirations.

pinterest-happy-002

Come and follow me here and say hi.

Signature

Mood boards created using images from specific boards on Pinterest 1, 2, 34 & 5

Design Elements // Childrens Books

I know before anyone asks if I’ve gone mad then the answer is most certainly NO!   Children’s books in all their colourful, imaginative, educational other world inspiring glory are full of design.  Can you see the connection?   I wonder how many times you have read a book to your little one and studied the art work, I know I have.  Pondering questions of what inspired the illustrator and how they came up with their brilliant concept that will be treasured at bed times by so many small people.  Even to the point of connecting with a child so much that this is what they end up doing themselves when they grow up.

Design is everywhere you look and I was fascinated when I was asked to take a look at three new very unique children’s books based on their design ethics. The books in question are Handstand by Lisa Stickley,  An Animal ABC by Alice Pattullo (to be released on 13th October 2016) and a re telling with a twist on a classic tale Sleeping Beauty: a mid century fairy tale illustrated by David Roberts and retold by Lyn Roberts-Maloney.  Rather than me review each one I thought that I would ask the author illustrators about their creations as they know far more about design than I!

1. Where did the design influence come from when putting the book together?

Lisa ~ I wanted to create a ‘fresh air’ feeling for this book so I embraced the naivety and simplicity of coloured pencil and oil pastel often used in my work. Combining this with mono-print and injections of colour by way of collaged pattern I hope it evokes a feeling of unfussiness and ‘only just cut grass’, which is exactly what I think of when I remember ALL of the handstands I used to do when I was little. Books on Saul Steinberg, David Hockney and William Scott were regularly perused when I was creating Handstand too.

Alice ~ I’m generally very inspired by mid-century artists and illustrators like Edward Bawden, Eric Ravilious, Barbara Jones, Enid Marx, Barnett Freedman….I could go on! All of these artists crossed the (invisible) line between ‘art’ and commercial illustration and I like to think that I am doing this with my own work now. I am also very interested in the print aesthetic of 1930s/40s lithographed children’s books, like the Puffin picture books (of which a few of these artists produced designs for). I particularly love the limited colour palettes which force an ingenuity when it comes to layering colours – so you make the most out of the few you have. I wanted to adopt this technique and stick to just 4 colours throughout the whole alphabet, emphasing different colours in different animals to make it look like I had a wider array than I really did.

David ~ It came from the idea of how the culture of the 1950s envisaged the future. Sci-fi films, robots, comics and cartoons were all an influence on the look. I also looked at furniture, fashion, surface patterns and textiles of the period. Russian architecture was also an influence as it seemed to have a futuristic look to it.

lisa_pattern

 

dr-image8

2. Who or what inspired you as a child?

Lisa ~ I was always a maker and a doer from a very early age, with huge encouragement from my aunty who is a great sewer and knitter. When I wasn’t cart wheeling myself around the garden I would be painting, playing at shoe shops, baking cakes or making things.

When I was a young teenager I remember having a Dryad mini screen-printing kit, and my first print being a ‘flower power’ type flower in two colours on a white pair of shorts! I used that little screen for years after that, and ended up printing some of my very early labels with it onto cotton binding tape.

My art teacher at secondary school was also a huge influence. She was the most wonderful lady and I remember how she would sit at her desk before class sharpening all her coloured pencils with a penknife. She used to set up the most fantastic still life compositions for us to draw and opened my eyes to the world of Art and design. I had found my happy place.

Alice ~ I was brought up in a creative household. My mother is a textile artist (who has also actually just released a book with Batsford – ‘Textile Collage’ by Mandy Pattullo) and my father is an architect, so I guess they were the initial inspiration that led me down a path towards a creative profession. Myself and my brother were always encouraged to draw and paint and be creative at the kitchen table and were regularly taken to galleries and museums. I remember a visiting a particularly influential exhibition as a young adult of Shirley Hughe’s work – seeing her sketchbooks and inspiration and how they translated into her picture book work was really pivotal in pushing me in the direction of ‘illustration’ as a career.

David ~ I was very much inspired by music, particularly Kate Bush. I also loved fashion and dressing up.

lisa_img_2862

alice_1

3. Can you tell me a little about your design background?

Lisa ~ I trained as a printed textile designer at Central Saint Martins and The Royal College Of Art. Having originally founded Lisa Stickley in 1999 (from my bedroom, using the original Cash’s labels my mum used to sew into my school socks, and subsequently said screen printed ones above) I was lucky enough to sell my first ever products to Paul Smith, Designers Guild and The Cross. Since then I have collaborated with the likes of Burberry, Harrods, Liberty, Tate, Selfridges, Heals, Boots, Debenhams, John Lewis and Japanese stores Ships, Hankyu & Isetan.

I opened my first shop in 2007 in South London, which, behind the scenes, doubled up as a bustling print studio and creative hub. I have designed and developed lifestyle brand concepts, and have produced and sold home-wear product and accessories all over the world.

Alice ~ Other than my childhood as explained in the previous questions, I studied a foundation at Newcastle College which was brilliant (I’m saddened to hear that a lot of universities aren’t looking for this as a pre-requisite any more and that many of the foundation courses across the UK are now being cut altogether) – It was a really encouraging and explorative year – although you have some art education at school – it by no means is reflective of what you could be studying in higher education and foundation really provided a glimpse of this and again helped me understand that I wanted to pursue illustration, in particular more concept driven work. I went from here to study BA Illustration at Brighton University, with a brief stint in the US at Minneapolis College of Art and Design. Upon graduating I continued working on self initiated projects which would generally manifest themselves as a series of screen prints which I then showed to various shops and galleries around the UK that I particularly liked and thought my work would sit comfortably in. From this my first few illustration jobs actually came from people seeing my prints in the right place at the right time really – and a lot of my commissions generally have come from word of mouth to begin with. That in itself is humbling that people want to share my work. Now in an age of the internet, I find a lot of my commissioned work actually comes from other people’s pinterest boards which is almost the same thing! I now have an agent for my illustration work, Central Illustration Agency as well as continuing to produce self initiated screen prints, such as the ABC series.

David ~ I left school at 16 and I went to art college with the intention of becoming a costume designer but I found I had a keen interest in fashion design and textiles so I went to study for a BA in Fashion Design at Manchester Polytechnic. Whilst there I did a short course in millinery which I fell in love with and so on leaving college I went to Hong Kong and worked as a milliner and a fashion illustrator. I returned to the UK and found work with the milliner Stephen Jones but I’d always at back of my mind had a secret wish to become a children’s book illustrator. I did a short course at the City Lit in children’s book illustration which led to my first children’s book in 1997.

lisa_img_1947

dr-image4

alice_5

4. Is anything in your home’s interior reflected in the book?

Lisa ~  I think being a designer you never really switch off from the ‘day job’ so your work and style often seeps into everything else in your life too. I think I have quite distinctive handwriting and that aesthetic is part and parcel of our home too… albeit a lot more untidy of late having two very little ones running around the place! An eclectic mix of pattern and simplicity is quite a big part of the look and feel of Handstand, which runs true at home. For specific and quite literal inspiration, book two (out in spring 2017) includes quite a big chunk of my eldest daughter’s toy collection, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

Alice ~ No! Can’t really expand here!

David ~ Yes, I have one of the robots. My personal style is more 1930s and 1970s so I don’t have many 1950s pieces.

lisa_handstand

alice_2

5. Do you have any words of wisdom to children who are passionate about design?

Lisa ~ Explore, experiment and don’t be afraid to try all sorts of styles and techniques. Happy accidents are the best way to learn and discover new things. If you are passionate about what you are doing then do LOTS of it and keep going. Draw draw draw, and look look look, these are the fundamentals of design and will give you the best grounding to become a good designer.

Alice ~ Words of Wisdom? Just to be aware of your environment and history and to make sure to keep drawing and observing.

David ~ Be indulgent.

dr-image7

dr-image5

Many thanks to Lisa, Alice and David for being so generous with their time to answer my questions.  Also to Ruby for being my model even though she is a little older than the books are aimed at she poured over them looking at every detail.  My girl devours books, draws like a demon and has an imagination that makes my head spin.

Signature

This post was in collaboration with Pavilion Books, with thanks

 

Ceramics

I have a confession, I’m a little bit obsessed with ceramics in all it’s guises.  I’ve had a good clear out of old crockery, mugs and bowls that are no longer used or serve any purpose, even most of the vintage china has gone.  Clearing out and starting again feels good and I’m starting a curated collection of beautiful ceramics and pottery.

I have a few pieces of old that have come back into the foreground but it was a Parkwood pottery mug by Lane that started me on this path and obviously my need to clear out and feel free from clutter.   I have recently invested in some new dinner plates from Minor Goods which have the most beautiful glaze.  I don’t want matching I want mix and match but all within the same hues of stone through to deep blue.

I am fascinated and in awe of those who use there hands to create objects that have been born from the ground and turned into useful, practical objects and art forms in their own right.

I love the tactile nature of ceramics, the different methods and stories applied to each piece that make that certain mark or colour.  There is nothing better than wrapping your hands around your favourite mug or bowl and the comfort it brings, like saying hello to an old friend.

There are many artists out their that I admire greatly who turn, sculpt and manipulate wonderful pieces using their hands, Sue Prkye, Pip Wilcox, Sarah Jerath and Jono Smart to name but a few.

Follow my ceramics board for more inspiration.

Signature

Image 1, 2 and 3 my own 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 sources highlighted.

 

A Gallery of Summer

This week has been a tough one, I don’t do transition too well and Autumn is on it’s way, there are little tell tale signs but I’m trying so hard to hang on to Summer.   Also my daughter started her first foray into the big scary world of senior school, she is coping far better than I!  We are all feeling a little exhausted to say the least.

So I thought I would go back a few weeks and share with you some of my memories from our Summer getaway to the most beautiful of counties, Somerset.  We’ve never been to Somerset before so it was a delight to find so many wonderful things to see and do all within easy access to where we had chosen to stay on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Batcombe.  If you like quiet, quirky and rural this is the camp site for you.  So simple but wonderful for children to explore and just be, no play park but trees to make dens in and a lake to go boating on which caused great excitement.

Of course whilst so close to Bruton we had to go sample the pizza At The Chapel which was such a treat.  I bought bread there first thing on a morning from the bakery too, their sour dough loaf is one of the best I have ever tasted. We visited the Hauser and Wirth Gallery with it’s contemporary art juxtaposed with heritage farm buildings brought back to life to create the most wonderful atmosphere in a quintessential English setting.  As you wander through the gallery you find yourself coming out into the most stunning gardens I have ever seen designed by Piet Oudolf, I could have stayed there for hours and hours running my fingers through the grasses, gazing at the clever planting, swallows swooping and diving above our heads.  It was one of my favourite places and as we were so close we went back again and enjoyed a meal at The Roth Bar and Grill simply prepared fresh sustainable and seasonal dishes that were superb, the friendly atmosphere and surroundings are rather intoxicating.

The rest of our time away was spent lingering at many a National Trust property, Stourhead and Barrington Court being our favourites.  Sitting in orchards having picnics, whiling away moments on swings in oak trees and sampling the  best cider.

On a recommendation and luckily for us perfect timing we were able to go to the Frome Independent Market that is held on the first Sunday of the month.  One of the best markets I have ever had the chance to go to.  The town square is full with artisan makers, street food stalls, organic produce and vintage wares.  The vibe was electric, the independent stores that were open on Catherine Hill have a such a vibrant feel, all unique in their own way, I loved Resident and happened to make a purchase.

From the hulabaloo of shopping, galleries and stately homes it was always a joy to get back to Agatha and wind down the day sitting in a deck chair watching Ruby rowing with her new friends, enjoying the tranquility and peace of our surroundings in the glow of the warm evening sun.

Now back to reality we are planning our next escape to try and keep the inspiration alive.  The simple way we try to live and to embrace the slowness that we crave, finding that balance can be tricky but I don’t think we are doing so bad.

Signature