a review of 2014

2014 has been an incredible year in more than one way. I do like to end the year and take stock of what has gone before. This helps me to appreciate all the things that went well or maybe not so well and encourages awareness as well as learning.

At the beginning of each year I like to choose a word for the year to accompany me on the journey. I find it very useful in helping me to stay on course. The word for 2014 was collaboration. ‘Collaboration is working with others to do a task and to achieve shared goals.’ (source: Wikipedia)

A review of 2014 - colourliving
Sparkling gold bird clips from VV Rouleaux

This year has seen me turn 50. For anyone interested, the world hasn’t gone under. Nothing has changed. As with so many things in life, it’s all about attitude. If you have a positive attitude towards life, you will always see the glass half full.

This year has also seen the launch of Mapology Guides, a project dear to my heart. I can’t wait to continue building the brand and start work on the second series. We’ve loved all the write-ups and mentions. Thank you to all that have been so supportive.

A review of 2014 - colourliving
Beautiful Corsage from VV Rouleaux

I decided to mark my turning 50 and launching Mapology Guides with treating myself to my long wished for Eames EA217 Soft Pad Office Chair. I’ve always wanted it in yellow. It arrived a couple of days ago and I will dedicate a post to it in the new year.

A review of 2014 - colourliving
Guy Drayton from Geoffrey Drayton fine-tuning my Eames Chair on delivery.

I also loved being a part of the Urban Jungle Bloggers series each month and have dedicated a category to it. Thanks to them my abode and roof terrace have got much more attention and I love living surrounded by plants and greens.

A review of 2014 - colourliving
VV Rouleaux at Christmas. ‘Wooly Bark House, Ashness Bridge’ by Annabel Lewis 2014. Welsh Mountain and Charollais sheep fleeces from The Lake District, Cumbria. First exhibited as part of C-Art in Extraordinary laces, hosted by The National Trust.

2014 was also very busy in terms of Home Finding and a big thank you goes to all my clients that put their trust and faith in me to find them a wonderful home.

A review of 2014 - colourliving
Woman’s bust in mirrored mosaic stones on sale in a shop in Camden Lock.

There is so much to do in 2015 but I believe in completely shutting off, taking a well deserved break, doing some much needed house chores and office de-cluttering. I definitely need a mental as well as physical break.

Beautiful coloured Moss seen in Selfridges.

Some festive feathers.

A review of 2014 - colourliving
Some Christmas tree decorations.

How are you my lovely readers. What are your plans for the festive holidays. Are you celebrating with your family and friends. Are you having a quite time? Do you like to reflect over this period? Are you planning for 2015? I would love to know. Will you share?

A review of 2014 - colourliving
Loved this simple Christmas decoration on a blackboard in a small café.

I suppose the New Year resolutions are going to start shortly. But before this, may I take this opportunity to thank each and everyone of you for always stopping by, for reading, commenting, for sharing on Social Media and for making my blogging so much fun. Without you I would have far less motivation.

I’d like to wish you a fantastic break, wherever you are and however you might be celebrating it. It’s also a time to remember that some of us don’t have families and might be lonely over this period. If you know such people, do reach out. Sometimes just a greeting and a listening ear can work wonders. It’s really not all about shopping, presents and outdoing the neighbour or Santa (as we like to refer to it at Mapology Guides). It’s about being together and appreciating what we have in life.

Go well, have fun and I see you all back here on Monday 5th January 2015.

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bone broth – my elixir to cure all ailments

I’m a great believer in prevention rather than reaction to many situations in life. One of them is when it comes to health!

Like with everything else, if we look after ourselves and are mindful of what we eat, we can prevent from getting ill and feeling very stressed. I’m going through a very stressful period myself so am very much needing to heed my own advise. It’s hard to remember to take all my remedies and making sure I’m calm and relaxed.

One factor people underestimate greatly in the pursuit of health is the power of food and what we eat. By now, my regular readers will know that I have a preference for organic and biodynamic food. I also shop exclusively in farmers markets and health food shops, which means I do tend to eat local and seasonal food.

Winter is always a time when there’s less choice for me as farmers take a break from growing their crops. I find this also an exciting time as it gives me more opportunity to experiment with dishes that maybe in the summer I wouldn’t eat as much.

One staple for me is bone broth. I make it every 10 days, all year round (that’s how long it lasts in my fridge). I’m convinced that this is one of the reasons I’m hardly ever ill and fight off many viruses lurcking around. It’s a must for me and I use it as an elixir to cure all ailments, whether physical or emotional. It’s one of the oldest known homemade foods to nurture the sick and I call it the Jewish penicillin.

I use a 10 Litres  stainless steel cooking pot.

Some of the produce you can find at a farmers market right now.

bone broth - my elixir to cure all ailments - colourliving
Apis Apples at the farmers market

bone broth - my elixir to cure all ailments - colourliving
I love these purple carrots.

bone broth - my elixir to cure all ailments - colourliving
For my bone broth I use the normal carrots as I don’t like when the water discolours with the purple variety.

bone broth - my elixir to cure all ailments - colourliving
Leeks is a must for bone broth.

bone broth - my elixir to cure all ailments - colourliving
Celeriac is so underrated and so yummy.

bone broth - my elixir to cure all ailments - colourliving
Beautiful squash.

bone broth - my elixir to cure all ailments - colourliving
Squash delicate. Roast in the oven for the sweetest taste.

bone broth - my elixir to cure all ailments - colourliving
Red kurl Sqaush

bone broth - my elixir to cure all ailments - colourliving
Savoy cabbage.

bone broth - my elixir to cure all ailments - colourliving
January King.

I’m lucky to get the best bones from the farmers markets. I vary between beef bones, chicken carcasses, veal or venison bones. Sometimes I make a fish stock. It really all depends on what I can lay my hands on.

I keep it very basic. Here is how:

Place bones in the pot.
Cover with cold water. I use filtered water. Leave a bit of room at the top for the vegetables.
Bring to boil and cover with lid.
Skim off any foam that rises to the top.
Put in onions, leeks, carrots, swedes, turnips (if in season), celery (with their leaves), parsley, bay leaves, salt, peppercorns, bring to the boil
and simmer for a minimum of 3 hours. I like to simmer for up to 12 hours as the longer the bones simmer the more nutrients are released.

I then let it cool down before putting the pot in the fridge (I have a very big fridge). A layer of fat will form on the surface and keep it sealed from the air. I use it as a base for dishes or to make soup for the next 1o days.

Why not try it. You will thank me. Keep healthy my friends. Have a great weekend. See you Monday.


graffiti and street art

Happy new week everyone. Woa! What weather we’ve been having here in London. Cold (mild for December), crisp and sunny. The perfect combo! On one hand that’s wonderful. Of course, there’s the worry about climate change and what it’s doing to our planet.

After an incredibly stressful week I had this real urge to go and fill up my creative well. A long and colourful walk was much needed. One is never far away from incredible inspiration in London. The city is bustling with creativity and visual fodder. One such fodder is graffiti and street art. I’m proud to live in a city where this form of expression is welcome and in abundance. I already blogged about graffiti in Berlin.

Here’s some I found in Camden Town.

How striking is this tribal figure? It really made me stop in my tracks.

graffiti and street art - colourliving

A rather nice hand painting.

graffiti and street art - colourliving

Ok, maybe a little on the macabre side but I loved the colour combinations. Reminded me of spring clothes. What do you say?

graffiti and street art - colourliving

graffiti and street art - colourliving

Yay! Sarcasm or not?

graffiti and street art - colourliving

Digging the Nike trainers!

graffiti and street art - colourliving


graffiti and street art - colourliving

graffiti and street art - colourliving

Loving the geometric shapes here.

graffiti and street art - colourliving

Something floral….

graffiti and street art - colourliving

I felt completely inspired after seeing these. See you Thursday!



a photo diary

Lately I’ve had absolutely no time to indulge in my passion of taking photographs. What with Home Finding, Mapology Guides, blogging and Social Media, life has been very busy and hectic. Sometimes when I’m out and about I do take my camera in the hope that I see something that inspires me. Here are some of the photographs taken recently.

Could anyone please enlighten me as to what tree that is. The colour and density is just so amazing and vibrant. Just loved it!


Found these inspiring displays randomly. Think it was for a theatre stage set design. The chandelier? is awesome. Love how they used coloured stones, fairy lights and lots of strings and pearls to emphasise the lusciousness and texture of a chandelier.


The beautifully embroidered dress and bolero were just gorgeous and so delicate. I couldn’t quite make out what production it was for.


While in Islington I came across this wall rendering on a street wall. How amazing is that? How did they get the photo imaging done? Will it not be affected by rain?


I thought these rather jolly looking balconies looked nice during sunset.


By the canal I couldn’t resist the reflection of the building in the water.



If you’re going to live in the city, do it the Urban Jungle Bloggers way. Surround yourself with greens. The idea of having a whole front of a building bathed in Ivy is just genius!!!



Walking on Duke Street in Marylebone and minding my own business I stumbled across what can only be described as a water feature with water stream and alligator. Camera at the ready I kept snapping away only to then discover it was beneath the Lacoste boutique. What a truly fab idea for brand marketing, would you agree?




What are you up to on the weekend? It’s incredible that we are nearly at the end of 2014. It’s all going to0 fast. Happy weekend. See you Monday!



Hello everyone. Today I’m delighted to introduce you to my latest find and go to shop when I need a perk up, a bit of green love or to prep for an #urbanjunglebloggers post! I promised in my last post that I will reveal where I bought my lovely handmade ceramic vessel and hanging vase from.

BOTANY, a concept lifestyle store, opened its doors earlier on this year and I’ve fallen head over heals in love. But, instead of me going on about it I will simply SHOW you this most fantastic jewel in Clapton and let Angela, founder extraordinaire and all round lovely woman do the talking.

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Meet Angela.

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

I believe you come from a Fashion background. What was your journey to opening Botany? I developed clothing for 12 years for various branded fashion labels, the last 7 years of my career in fashion focused on Menswear which I became particularly passionate about as I like the timeless  use of blocks and focus of colour and fabric to bring freshness to garments.

How difficult was the route to open Botany in 2014? Actually, it wasn’t difficult once I made my mind up, i was very focused. I saw the vacant shop in the new year (2014) walking past a friend directly after watching a TED talk which focused on doing what you love/enjoying your job.

The key question the talk urged you to think about was ” what is it you cannot not do” and this really resonated with me. I was at a real stale mate in my career and personal life and I felt like something had to change immediately. Whenever anyone had asked what I wanted to do in the past or what my dream job would be, I would say i don’t know but secretly in my head I new I wanted to open a shop and that it would be my creative outlet.

A few important factors came together at the same time, massive need for change in my life, good friends and their belief that I could do something like this, locality of creative individuals/friends I met over the last 12 years and their willingness to help me. I also had some funds as I had remortgaged my flat to do a loft conversion, so all the pieces of the puzzle had finally come together. I thought if I don’t do this now, I never will.

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Chatsworth road is known as a true destination. There are many great little shops and eateries around. Was this important to you? Clapton is my home and has been for 10 years now. I find it inspiring and have always looked to reside where I feel connected, comfortable and creatively compelled. The people are friendly and it’s like no other place in London I know. I truly hope it retains its cultural diversity, community and village feel. It needs the varying mix of shops (of all kinds, catering for the entire community) to be able to do this.

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Did Botany start as a fresh flower shop? How and when did you change course? I always intended Botany to be a lifestyle store, but it took some time to find the right products that represented the aesthetic I love and the ethos of the shop. For this reason there was more of a focus on cut flowers in the store at the start. The flowers and plants in the store are their to inspire visitors to get creative with their spaces.

What inspires you and how do you drive your business forward? I cannot draw or paint very well, but I can curate and express my creativity with the use of objects, flowers and living plants. I am visually inspired by what I see and it effects my mood and well being. I feel strongly that there are others like me, hence my vision for the shop is to inspire people like me to be creative with spaces we inhabit.

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Are you planning to have an online presence with an e-shop? Yes, I hope to launch an online store in March.

There’s a real resurgence in people wanting to open bricks and mortar shops. What’s the appeal when online shopping is gaining more and more market share? Having a shop allows me to create and curate a space and make a name for Botany aesthetically. Once this has been established, Botany could go completely online or be channelled through another format, perhaps a warehouse space!

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

What’s next for Botany? Oh there is loads in the pipeline! Some very exciting collaborations in the spring 2015 and Botany own label homes wares product hopefully by the end of next year.
The rear of the shop (I call it the Green Room) – has so much potential, but we’ll start with pop-up exhibitions by local creatives, the 1st of these start this Friday.

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Botany, concept lifestyle - colourliving

Thank you so much Angela for sharing your passion and vision. I can’t wait to visit again soon.

5 Chatsworth Road
London E5 0LH

Time is still tight at the moment so I will see you here next Thursday 11th December. Have a great weekend!


urban jungle bloggers – cosy and green bedroom

Well, how grey and dark have the last few days been? It was impossible to get any decent photography done. We bloggers know how to improvise, right?

Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly series, devised by Igor and Judith. The idea is to get some green into our homes, especially for us urban folks! Every month they invite bloggers to share ideas for creating an urban jungle through styling challenges, DIYs, green tips and tricks. Every month there is a different theme on the topic. You can follow and get more Urban Jungle Bloggers inspiration on Pinterest and on Facebook.

November’s theme is: ‘cosy & green bedroom’

Without further ado, let me show you snippets of my boudoir!

This here below is my side of the bed. I have always absolutely loved Kartell’s Componibili Circular Storage Unit which I use as a bedside table. To be honest, I’ve outgrown it and I’ve been looking for a new piece to replace it with little success. My bedroom is quite minimalist as the rest of the flat is rather bright and bold.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - cosy & green bedroom - Colourliving
Left: Kartell’s Componibili Circular Storage Unit | Jielde table lamp | Vintage Kimono bolster cushion | Fornasetti Gerusalemme fabric made into cushions and a large wall hanging.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - cosy & green bedroom - Colourliving
I only have room for small pots and plants on my night table. Succulents are never too far away. During summer months I like to have fresh flowers.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - cosy & green bedroom - Colourliving
I LOVE this handmade ceramic vessel which I filled with a spider plant.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - cosy & green bedroom - Colourliving
Detail of Fornasetti fabric wall hanging.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - cosy & green bedroom - Colourliving
Detail of Fornasetti fabric wall hanging.

There are actually 2 or 3 different colourways in this fabric. One is Gerusalemme by night. Here I’ve used some creative licence to imagine what this fabric would look like with these colours!



I found this little gem in a gorgeous little shop. I’m not going to reveal it just yet as I will blog about it soon. It’s not easy to find small and delicate porcelain hanging vases. I thought the air plant was perfect for it and is easy to care for.

Ceramic hanging vase with air plant.


The hanging vase lives in the living room, hanging from a velux window. Sometimes I bring it into the bedroom and hang it from my magazine rack as seen here. Allow me a little creative licence.

Urban Jungle Bloggers - cosy & green bedroom - Colourliving

UJB-sidebar-lime 150-TB

I look forward to seeing everyone’s entries.

Have a great weekend and I see you back here next Thursday!


my library – a frame for life

Today I’m delighted to review the much anticipated A Frame for Life: The Designs of Studioilse. A further soon to be iconic title in my library series.

A lot of you might know that Ilse Crawford is my design hero and some of you might have read my post when I had the good fortune to spend ‘a day of good design‘ in her presence.

This is Ilse Crawford’s third book. A fan of the previous books, this tome of 240 pages is an inspirational volume of Ms Crawford’s teachings and work undertaken since forming Studioilse in 20013.

A Frame for Life - Ilse Crawford - Colourliving
© A Frame for Life by Ilse Crawford with Edwin Heathcote | Published by Rizzoli New York | Publication Date: November 2014 | Price: £35.00

“Over the last decade, through my work with Studioilse and my teaching, I have developed an agenda of working to create design that is a frame for life; a design that starts with human experience, that prioritises our well-being and enhances our humanity.” – Ilse Crawford

A Frame for Life - Ilse Crawford - Colourliving
Left: Knitted socks for staying friends with the neighbours | Right: My Smythson notebooks tells many stories

A Frame for Life - Ilse Crawford - Colourliving
Left: His foot got chipped so we had to keep him | Right: The Leather Aero bag is perfect for brick samples

A Frame for Life - Ilse Crawford - Colourliving
Left: Tea is a ceremonial part of studio culture | Right: These were made for the Elle Deco opening party in 1989

The book is full of Ilse Crawford’s philosophies in the field of design and well-being. Anyone who has come across the writings or designs of Ms Crawford will know that she puts the human being at the centre of all her projects. There are many anecdotes and gems of early influences.

“I learned as a child in west London that design was a potent, magical thing.” – Ilse Crawford

A Frame for Life - Ilse Crawford - Colourliving
Left: the bathroom 2011 | Right: Prioritising well being

An extract: “I love to lie in the bath in the early morning and look at the sky. What makes the normal so special is attention to detail and real materials: for example, seriously good lighting, solid traditional taps, handmade zellige tiles, a bench in the shower, deep drawers for storage, a wardrobe of flat-weave towels collected on our travels. This attitude is carried through into our cleaning and grooming products; no detergent, no animal testing, no artificial fragrances, so no ‘smell of napalm in the morning’.” – Ilse Crawford

You’ll find stunning photography of Ilse Crawford’s most interesting domestic interiors to public spaces, along with layout designs and individual products.

“Home is so much more than bricks and mortar. It is such an interesting construct. On the one hand, it is a receptacle to house objects and people. And on the other, it is a living thing; constantly in flux, as changeable as the people that live in it and a vessel for so many different activities.” – Ilse Crawford

A Frame for Life - Ilse Crawford - Colourliving
Design with the Human Being at the Centre

A Frame for Life - Ilse Crawford - Colourliving
Dinder, Somerset 2008 Left: the Home Office | Right: the bookcase, drawn by the client

A Frame for Life - Ilse Crawford - Colourliving
Design that brings people together

A Frame for Life - Ilse Crawford - Colourliving
Mathias Dahlgren, Stockholm 2008 Left: Testing a chair | Right: Matbaren

A Frame for Life - Ilse Crawford - Colourliving
Why is Interior Design so misunderstood? Essay by and a conversation with design critic Edwin Heathcote

“Design can be a powerful force. I have never understood why interior design is often so underestimated, misunderstood and trivialised. It is too often dismissed as something superficial, without instrinsic value. An ‘add-on’. It’s a mistake that it is considered a luxury to be applied if there is money left at the end, rather than an integral part of making and shaping new realities from the outset.” – Ilse Crawford

I’ve now had this book for a few weeks and it’s taken me this long to have a good read and absorb so many pearls of wisdom you will find in it. I don’t see Ilse Crawford as just a designer. I see her as someone who tells stories through design. She’s much more interested in the story of a building, a place and how to make humans feel good in that space.

A Frame for Life is the perfect title for this most wonderful book. Ilse Crawford has the masterful ability to merge the fields of interior design, architecture and product design with the priority of putting the desires, needs, and well-being of the human being at the center of all her projects.

I will cherish this book and refer to it over and over again. Thank you Rizzoli UK.

For a great article on Studioilse’s new office space, see here.

This post will stay live until Thursday 27th November.


vive la différence – museum visit

Today I’m delighted to feature another guest in this month’s Vive la Différence series. Apologies for not posting this series in October, but I was busy launching the all new Mapology Guides. Thank you to everyone who left such nice comments.

Please welcome Naomi Den Besten, a graphic designer living in Amsterdam. I came across Naomi when she designed and self-published  the creative guide to Amsterdam. Please peruse Naomi’s website Pretty Unexpected and her blog.

For new readers:

The concept: each month I will invite one blogger. They will create and showcase one image/vignette. There are 20 themes and 20 objects for my guest to choose from. They choose 1 theme and up to 3 objects. I will then create an image/vignette based on their choice. Everyone has free reign on how to create the image. It can be simple photography, a drawing, a collage, a hand-painted image, a styled table top… the choice is yours! The fun part is that you, my readers, will see 2 versions inspired by the same subject matter. There is no right or wrong. There’s just ‘different’.

Naomi chose the theme: Museum Visit…. with the objects: Art Supplies.  Here is Naomi’s Vignette.

When Tina invited me to join the series and emailed me the list of topics, I knew right away that it had to be ‘Museum visit’. Amsterdam is a pretty crowded city and I love going to bookstores and museums for a quiet afternoon of gathering inspiration. So last week I biked to FOAM, the photography museum. My intention was to create a series of small drawings about my experience at the museum, like an illustrated journal entry. I felt a bit self-conscious about bring my sketchbook into the museum though, so I decided to take photos of the things that I might wanted to draw later on.

Currently there are three exhibitions on display in the museum, showing work by JH Engström, Vivian Maier and several young American photographers. Engström makes images that sometimes are really beautiful and romantic but most of the time really raw and snapshot-like. It sparked a lot of comments from fellow visitors. Vivian Maier is a street photographer whose work was only recently discovered. It truly is a remarkable story and if you’re interested I’d highly recommend watching the documentary Finding Vivian Maier. One of the the American photographers, Lucas Blalock, made a photo of a cactus which is visibly photoshopped, but keeps you wondering for a second if it could be real.

I’m currently taking an art photography class in the evenings and therefore I’m looking at a lot of photos; taken by myself, fellow students and well-known photographers. When I went into the museum, I noticed that I looked at the images a little differently because of it. I spent more time comparing images in a series, contemplating the photographers intention and reflecting on why I like some photos more than others. Every photo tells a story but you don’t always know what you’re looking at, which is something that I wanted to express in my illustration too. The idea of putting nine small illustrations together came from looking at the wall that displayed nine self-portraits of Vivian Maier.

Thank you Tina for having me – it was such a fun experience!

Vive-La-Difference---Naomi-den-Besten - museum visit

Where do I start with a museum visit? Being a designer, doing art and loving exhibitions it was quite hard for me to choose what to do. And I live in London with a plethora of amazing museums and art galleries.

I somehow wanted to transmit the inspiration I get from starting with the excitement of visiting a museum, right to the moment I go and visit. I started asking myself the question: ‘What makes a great museum visit?’ and ‘Why do I go to a museum?’

In the end I opted to create a sketchbook page where I answered these questions, listed some exhibitions I look forward to visiting in 2015 and some of my favourite exhibitions of 2014. Here they are:

1. Quentin Blake’s Inside Stories at The House of Illustration
2. Henri Matisse: The Cut-Outs at Tate Modern (now showing at MOMA in New York)
3. Hockney, Printmaker at the Dulwich Picture Gallery
4. A nod to my guest Naomi. My favourite Egon Schiele exhibition was the first dutch retrospective of work by Egon Schiele at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2005.

Vive-La-Difference---Tina Bernstein - museum visit

Thank you Naomi for being part of the Vive la Différence family and enchanting us with your wonderful sketches of a museum visit. Vive la Différence will return on Monday 15th December.


mapology guides – the birth

Happy November. Happy new week and hello Mapology Guides!

I know that many of you think I’ve been purposely cagy and teasing a lot about my new venture. The truth is that it’s not something easy to explain, so I wanted to wait until the whole story is ready to be unfolded!

Shall we start at the beginning? You know that I’m a big advocate of the creative process, so I’m happy to share some of my journey with you. I hope you indulge me.

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for Be Present Perfect map | 1

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for Be Present Perfect map | 2

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketches for Be Present Perfect map | 3

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Be Present Perfect map | writer: Simon Rodway | illustrator: Miranda Sofroniou

It all started towards the end of 2012. Ideas were brewing in my mind. But how and where to start? All I knew was that I wanted to collaborate and that I needed a partner in crime. This was not something I could or wanted to do on my own. So in 2013 I asked my good friend Mike Abrahams to come on this journey with me. Thankfully he agreed:-)

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for Matchmaking Pets & People map | 1

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for Matchmaking Pets & People map | 2

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for Matchmaking Pets & People map | 3

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Matchmaking Pets & People map | writer: Sarah Farley | illustrator: Nanna Koekoek

We set out to encourage people to explore questions of every day life in a fun, humorous and educational way.  Starting from the idea that almost everyone can use a map to work out where they are, the ‘traveller’ can then decide where they want to get to and begin the journey along a route and at a pace to suit. We fully believe in and support bite-size, visual learning and wondered if topics that are not geographical could be explored in map form?
Mapology Guides are the result.

Maps, although very in vogue and most of you know I’m obsessed with them, are still seen as mostly geographical. With the help of books like  Mapping It Out, this is slowly but surely changing. The act of map making can reveal a lot about all kinds of topics, different ideas, scientific phenomena and so on.

We decided on our first three topics and now the challenge was to go and choose the right writers and illustrators to help bring our maps to life!

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for What’s Bugging You? map | 1


The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for What’s Bugging You? map | 2

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
Early sketch for What’s Bugging You? map | 3

The Birth of Mapology Guides - colourliving
What’s Bugging You? map | writer: John-Paul Flintoff | illustrator: Jenni Sparks

The long journey began and it was truly a most thrilling time. The magic happened when all four contributors of each map met to brainstorm and work out the most appropriate direction and solution for each map. Then the hard work started.

This venture would have never come to life without the dedication and sheer hard work of each and everyone involved in this project. I cannot thank them all enough.

All members of the team producing the maps are recognised for their contribution and share in the success (or failure) of the project with 50% of profits split equally between them for 15 years. This business model is called ‘shared risk and shared rewards’ and Mike and I are both very passionate about this way of doing business. As designers we aim for creatives to be more entrepreneurial and have part ownership of their work.

For now I leave you to glance at our happy hours at Mapology Guides HQ, peruse the website and online shop. All feedback is welcome and much appreciated as we prepare for the next series of maps in our collection. Thank you for all your support and understanding of my infrequent blogging. Soon, everything will return to normality.

We would love you to follow our adventure on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Facebook will follow shortly.

This post will stay live until Monday 17th November.


florence balducci at anthropologie

During the recent London Design Festival I luckily managed to pop into Anthropologie, Regents Street, to see talented Parisian artist Florence Balducci work in the store’s window.

It was a really short encounter but, for me, it was so enriching and inspirational.
Florence, hugely talented, spent 20 years in art direction at advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi in Paris, before she turned illustrator and ‘professional visionary’ (according to Anthropologie). Florence mixes different techniques and medium for illustration, ceramic and textile.

Meet Florence.

florence balducci at anthropologie - colourliving

Passers by were treated to some wonderful black and white illustrations. Here Florence used some wasara biodegradable paper tableware from japan.

florence balducci at anthropologie - colourliving

florence balducci at anthropologie - colourliving

There is a real sense of vintage and mystical imagery here. It reminds me of the world of Tim Burton and a touch of Aubrey Beardsley. How beautiful are these?

florence balducci at anthropologie - colourliving

Lovely touch of using black and white MT tape on the table lamp.

florence balducci at anthropologie - colourliving

Window drawing.

florence balducci at anthropologie - colourliving

Ceramics and more of the wasara biodegradable paper tableware from japan made the window installation feel homely.

florence balducci at anthropologie - colourliving

These black and white botanical illustrations and folk-inspired animal drawings are screen-printed on to both sides of the cotton-and-silk cushions and are a collaboration between Anthropologie and Florence.

florence balducci at anthropologie - colourliving

Some of Florence’s tools of the trade.

florence balducci at anthropologie - colourliving

How inspirational is this? Some pages from Florence’s sketchbooks.

florence balducci at anthropologie - colourliving

Florence is definitely a professional visionary and it was an honour to meet and spent a little time with her. I hope we will meet again very soon. Merci Florence! À bientôt…..

This post will stay live until Monday 3rd November.