Summer Moments

From Lake side decks and country houses to golden wheat fields and city exploring I think we managed to squeeze in rather a lot of amazing things in the three weeks we have been away.   I can’t say it was all plain sailing what with the pesky weather playing it’s part in dampening our spirits a little and a rather nasty tummy bug that caught me by surprise.  All that said it was our Summer holiday adventure and with all it’s ups and down we thoroughly enjoyed it and want to do it all again with a little more sunshine and no sick!

Our first leg was to our spiritual home the Lake District with it’s moody mountains and deep waters, we love it so very much. One of the many highlights this year was to swim and canoe in and on Ullswater both exhilarating in their own way.  Moments of peace at Allan Bank in Grasmere a unique National Trust property that seems to go under the radar a little.   An evening of moules frites and a Shakespeare play in the Theatre by the Lake, frequenting a few cool cafes and stores (Chesters by the River, Lingholme Kitchen, Homeground Coffee + Kitchen) to keep me happy amongst the majestic scenery that surrounded us.

We then travelled south to Wiltshire a spot we go to every year to spend a happy family filled weekend in a field.  Nothing glamorous no mod cons but lots of laughter and a few cheeky drinks.  The golden light on the wheat field this year was rather breathtaking, the kids run amok it’s so freeing, we even drove tractors this year which was an eye opener!   I got my ceramic fix in Lacock pottery, can’t help myself.

Finally our last jaunt was onto the quaint village of Charlbury in the Cotswolds.  Be still my beating heart, it’s damn pretty there and the sun came out to greet us.  I finally got to visit Hidcote or should I say make a pilgrimage. What a delight these gardens are to wander.  The rooms, each one different to the next, such a joy.  Then finally, on our last day Oxford happened. Goodness me I fell in love all over again and can’t quite for the life of me remember why it has taken us so long to make a return visit.  An odd purchase in Objects of Use and Toast couldn’t be helped but hey I was on holiday.  A wander around New College, a museum dash and a Jane Austen exhibition and it was time to bid our farewells and return home.

It is lovely being home, it feels like we’ve been away for a very long time so getting acquainted with my things again is rather nice, waking up in our bed and finding new homes for our holiday purchases is always the fun part.

Above is a little glimpse of what’s coming up in next weeks post, how could I resist a beautifully made throw.

 

 

 

 

 

Holiday Mood //Green to Blue

Normal services will resume next week I promise, hopefully I will be refreshed and rejuvenated and raring to go.  Who knows what work I will be taking on come September but for now I will leave you with my final holiday mood post.  This week I felt a fresher note would appeal, that of fresh green merging into a soft linen-like blue.

* All images taken from my Pinterest boards

 

 

Holiday Mood // Sun Bleached

I’m signing off for  few weeks, making a decision to take time for myself and not worry if I haven’t posted, instagrammed or answered emails.  Why should we put so much pressure on ourselves to stay connected.  Brave or not I am choosing to live in the moment with my family for a few weeks touring around in our caravan.

So for the next few weeks there will be a post but a short and sweet one, filled with an inspirational Summer colour palette, this week being pale and sun bleached.   I do hope you understand but even us freelancers need time out when the Summer holidays come knocking.

See you mid August, hope you all have a wonderful break too and the sun shines where ever you are.

  •  All images taken from my Pinterest boards

 

Freight

If you’ve ever visited the East Sussex town of Lewes you’ll know that it hosts many stylish independent stores, ones that you won’t find on every high street.  I love the diversity that Lewes has, it is a beautiful place to visit.
One of these stores is Freight,  a favourite of mine not only because the products that they sell are exceptional and work perfectly with my pared back style, but the atmosphere created is one of calm, like spending time in a friends home.  Also I never leave empty handed, the well curated house-hold goods are exquisite and I really can’t resist having them in my own home.  They have an on line store too, perfect for when you are wanting that unique item that only Freight can deliver.
I had a chat with owner Helene who runs the store with her daughter Adele about how Freight came to be.
Helen previously had a shop in Lewes called ADAMCZEWSKI that she opened in 1999.  With similar principals to those Freight has now, the shop was all about finding useful things for the home that weren’t so easy to find pre-internet days. She sold products such as string, brushes and ceramics; anything that worked with the shops ethos with it’s own classic style. This chapter closed in 2010 to explore greener pastures.
 Fate took a guiding hand and in 2014 the shop which Helene still owned   became unexpectedly vacant again just before the Christmas period.  Helene’s daughter Adele thought it would be wrong to just leave it empty and sad looking due to it’s prominent position on the high street.  An opportunity not to be missed they quickly put together a temporary store naming it POPINSKI,  partly in homage to the old shop that had previously been there and the fact it definitely was a pop up.
 Having worked so hard to set up the temporary store full of new products they found themselves discussing and analysing the nature of shop keeping. They came to the conclusion that just filling shops from trade fairs was a bit boring and that the more interesting and challenging route to take would be to design and commission their own products by working with makers and manufacturers. They wanted a collection that would stand the test of time and that would be an ongoing response to how they wanted the collection to grow.  Recently they have added a knitwear collection which couldn’t have been further from the original concept but after meeting with some knitters and really liking  the Shetland yarn they used, they were inspired to trial it.   A decision well made as the knitwear has proven to be rather popular and Freight are now in the process of adding to the current collection. 
  It’s also so important to this dynamic Mother and daughter team that they are not designing for design’s sake. Freight products have to be functional, durable and of a very high quality.  They follow no one else’s rules, don’t follow trends or the latests fad fashions and subsequently their stock change is of a slower nature.  
This is why I love them, you know what you are investing in when you buy anything from Freight. I cherish the items I have, all of which enhance my home enormously. Simple earthenware storage jars made in Stoke on Trent, Spanish boxwood carbon steel knives that are sharpened by hand using artisanal techniques established by the original founders, a deliciously scented soy wax candle with scents from narratives drafted and worked on with a perfumer, making them unique to Freight.
 I can’t recommend this beautiful store to you highly enough, if you get the chance to pay a visit and experience it yourself then all the better but for now do drop in on line to see their wonderful products, I know your shopping basket won’t stay empty for long.
 *  with thanks to Freight for letting me put this post together. Product photography by Susan Bell and Benedict Stenning

Wanderlust

A short but stylish post this week.  I’m having a little break away, taking off in our caravan for a few days to big open spaces,  wandering familiar paths and exploring new places not yet discovered.

Wanderlust takes hold in these heady days of late Spring, early Summer, adventures being planned, new experiences excitedly being looked forward to.  Life is certainly for living in these crazy times we are party to.

I want to live a slower life, take time to embrace what I have and to enjoy my future.  Relish the time it takes me to make my morning coffee, curl up in freshly pressed sheets, make food for my family with the finest of ingredients,  read the books I’ve always intended to, go on journeys that scare me a little.  Happiness is there for the taking and wanderlust is definitely the word I am going to hang on to through all of it.

Have a beautiful week, see you when I get back with a delightful post about one of my favourite stores Freight who are the epitome of cool.

Got to Go Green

Green, it’s definitely the time of year to be celebrating this versatile colour, the hedgerows and gardens are bursting with it and boy does it make you feel fresh and alive.

I know you are normally used to me promoting the more monochrome of colour palettes but I do have a soft spot for green as does the interior world too at the moment, the botanical trend doesn’t seem to be on the wane at all.

Whether you go all out with wild wallpapers and clashing junglesque soft furnishings or introduce a softer olive toned paint to refresh a wall, Farrow and Ball and Little Greene are good places to go, or cover your sofa in an emerald green velvet it’s totally up to you.

The answer may not be in decoration at all but bringing the outside in, filling a space with plants of varying shades and sizes.  Creating a little green haven all of your own in pots and containers rather than paints and fabrics.  If you aren’t too successful in keeping these green babies alive then take a look at Rose & Grey faux botanical range, you’d be hard pressed to kill any of these.  There are also some rather good books currently out to help you achieve this look.

I do like a deep green especially when used well for instance in a kitchen, pair it with a hint of warm copper or gold. Be sure you like strong schemes though, you may tire of this quickly, maybe, maybe not.  Rich deep hues bring a sense of grown-upness to a room don’t you think?

Adding a pale green tile to a bright bathroom works equally well, or paint to base of the bath in a vibrant verdigris, which is easily updated without huge expense  when you fancy a change.

Then again it may just come down to a new chair and a plus green cushion or  a fresh linen duvet set to transform your space, I dare say once you start adding these little touches you’ll get hooked and that paint brush won’t be far away from getting in on the action too.

Of course I have dedicated green inspired boards on pinterest, who doesn’t!

Images ~ 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 & 14

 

 

Art = Emotion

An artist, her studio, old acquaintances and new friendships forged, a day to remember, one that brought happiness, joy and a moment of feeling I belonged.

Art to me is an emotion in many of its raw states and that is exactly what Jessica Zoob captures in her extraordinary pieces.  I have been an admirer of her work for many a year so to be able to see the collections so close was a huge highlight and worth my trip to Sussex.  The connections I make doing what I do take me down new paths.  I never quite know what corner I am going to turn next and it’s very exhilarating, just like one of Jessica’s paintings.

Talking to Jessica about her new work was fascinating, the largest to date that spans 7 canvasses and 14 metres in length.  It portrays pure happiness, the fluid lines, the luminosity of the colour palette made me think of sunshine and warmth, a moment in life where euphoria exists.  As with all her works, you as a viewer capture elements of your own imagination: an emotion felt, a loved landscape that grounds you, the sea or city where you are, and find them within the painting to transport you to that place.  Exactly what I feel art should do, it should make you question, ponder a thought, come to your own conclusion.

I know that not many of us can afford large pieces of original art work but Jessica’s pieces cross over into the interior world perfectly.  She is working on screen printing her work onto metals such as steel and copper which I found fascinating.   Art works within their own right but lend themselves perfectly as splash backs in a kitchen or bathroom or installations in a contemporary setting.  She also has collaborated with fabric company Romo to produce the Black Edition Jessica Zoob ‘Desire’ collection of fabrics. The transition from canvas to fabric, works so very well, digitally printed onto linens, velvets and wall coverings.

Being able to wander freely in this wonderful light filled studio, chatting with friends, glass of champagne in one hand, camera in the other was an experience I will treasure for many years to come.

(Keep a look out over on my instagram account for a give away of one of Jessica’s prints that you can win in the next couple of weeks)

  • Jessica is opening her studio this weekend 6+7 May and again on the 20+21 May 11-5pm so you too can view her latest collection and take in the beauty of the pieces in the most tranquil of settings in East Sussex (Banff Farm, Upper Clayhill, BN8 5RR)

 

 

 

Spring Blossom with Radley

I do love it when Spring finally comes around and you can start introducing new items to your capsule wardrobe, start packing away the bigger bulkier jumpers and boots to  make way for new pieces.

I’m not one for having lots and lots of handbags or shoes for that matter but I do like a considered collection that will take me from season to season.  My new addition this Spring is this fabulously buttery leather large zip top Hobo bag by Radley.  It is simply the perfect choice to take me into Summer.

Monochrome is definitely my thing as I think you are all aware so the natural colour of the leather works very well for me and compliments my wardrobe brilliantly, the pudding lane bag’s slouchy style simply goes with everything.   Not to big or too small, it fits all my daily essentials in with room to spare but the handy zip around base means you can make it bigger or smaller depending on how you want to use it.  Another super feature that I always find handy is an internal zipped pocket and two slip pockets, perfect for your mobile so it doesn’t get lost and scratched at the bottom of your bag.  It also has a nifty slip pocket on the front too, great for access to things you may need to get to in a hurry rather than having to unzip the top and scrabble around for them.

Needless to say this beautiful bag has been everywhere with me over the Easter break, days out visiting National Trust properties and a short break away in our caravan.   It is so very simple and stylish, the laid back style is certainly my look and it is  excellently made.   The padded strap is just the right length, there is nothing worse than a strap that is either too short that you can’t wear it on your shoulder or too long that you can’t carry it by your side.  The latter option is normally the way after a while because everyone else seems to give me things to carry as I’m always the one with the bag!  I’m sure one of my arms is longer than the other.

So if you are at the point of updating your wardrobe from Autumn/Winter to Spring/Summer then I think this would be a perfect choice for you to check out.  I know mine will be going everywhere with me.

  • With thanks to Radley for gifting this Hobo Bag for the purpose of this post

Spring Break

We’ve had a wonderful Easter weekend but I’m lucky that the holidays are not quite over for me until next week.  So I thought I’d have a little on-line break for a few days this week, I am escaping for the first time this year in our little caravan for some R&R, fresh air, sleep and no wifi!

Because I can’t bring myself to not post anything at all, I shall leave you with this small offering today and I’ll be back next week with a fabulous post featuring Radley London.

PS.  I had the honour of featuring on the Linenbeauty blog this week, taking part in their A Simple Path series, talking about doing more with less, a perfect read for a slow weekend.

 

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