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urban jungle bloggers – plants & tea

The Urban Jungle Bloggers series is back for 2015. Hurray!

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.

January’s theme is: ‘plants & tea’. (or coffee, depending on your preference)

What have plants and tea got in common? Apparently plants do love coffee and tea. I know for a fact that you can give your plant a boost of antioxidents with some green tea and I’ve been known to pour in left over green tea into my plant pots.

Today I want to show you my new terrarium and talk more about the well-being qualities of plants & tea.

How cute is this terrarium, from the housing to the selection of plants and greens? It was New Year’s Eve and I was on my way home. Stopping at a florist I saw this one off and unique beauty and just had to take it home with me. I guess it was the perfect gift to myself for having had an exciting and special 2014. Why not celebrate ourselves? I did that quite a bit in 2014.

Have you seen the Mapology Guide on Be Present Perfect?

I digress, back to plants & tea.

 urban jungle bloggers – plants & tea
Spot the little slider of the door and the cute handle to carry it around!

I love what’s been chosen to make this terrarium. Succulents, bark, moss, greens and this gorgeous green stone!

 urban jungle bloggers – plants & tea

I’ve been wanting a terrarium for AGES and am also thinking of making my own. What has been the greatest obstacle for me has always been the actual housing. I don’t often come across beautiful glass vessels and that’s often the deterrent for me.

 urban jungle bloggers – plants & tea
I love these mini pine cones….

Ok, let’s talk tea. Tea comes in so many varieties and I drink different teas for different occasions. In the morning I mostly have fresh lemon and ginger with hot water. I find it wakes up my liver. Then during the day I change things up. If I want ‘normal tea’ I make a fresh leaved rooibos tea with homemade almond milk.

I also have a little ritual going. I try and stop at least once a day to practice a little mindfulness. For this I usually choose a variety of fresh tea leaves. Some favourites are Of Herbs by The Herball. My other go to shop is Postcard Teas. Love so many of their excellent teas and thumbs up for their amazing packaging. See more in this post.

 urban jungle bloggers – plants & tea
LOVE green mulberry by Postcard Teas. Also big fan of their Sobacha tea.

 urban jungle bloggers – plants & tea

My ritual requires me to stop, get some tea herbs, fill the little glass tea pot. After a couple of minutes I decant the brew into a glass pitcher as seen here above. Like this you can re-use the herbs a few times (depending on the tea and how strong you like it.)

 urban jungle bloggers – plants & tea

I find having and tending to plants has a certain mindfulness to it and so does my tea ritual.

This is my tea set with a bamboo tray. I’ve had it for years and it has become a firm favourite of my daily routine. You only need a little bit of tea to make you stop in your tracks, breathe and be in the hear and now.

 urban jungle bloggers – plants & tea
Jing Glass Gong Fu tea set

I look forward to seeing my fellow Urban Jungle Bloggers coffee, tea & plant posts!

UJB-sidebar-greenF

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paradise by way of kensal green

On Saturday I popped into Fare Healthy, a health, food and fitness event held at Paradise by Way of Kensal Green. It was a collective approach to training body, mind and soul with talks and demonstrations from the leading ladies of the health food world – The Hemsley + Hemsley sisters, Ella Woodward and Natasha Corrett.

I’ve heard the ladies speak before and own the Hemsley sisters book, which is a must. This week see’s the release of the much anticipated Deliciously Ella book which I’m looking forward to receiving.

What is even more fascinating is the space that is Paradise by Way of Kensal Green. I first visited this space when I attended one of Ella Woodward’s supper clubs. That evening we stayed in the downstairs restaurant space. Yesterday saw every nook being used with activities, stands and demonstrations going on throughout the whole space. A bar, gastro pub restaurant, dance space, hip hangout, the eclectic décor in this shabby chic establishment is really worth the hype.

You’ll find a plethora of larger and more intimate spaces, all rather dark and moody and here is a selection of some examples of decor.

 paradise by way of kensal green - colourliving
A big bouquet of silk flowers really stood out.

 paradise by way of kensal green - colourliving
LOVED this wall treatment.

 paradise by way of kensal green - colourliving
There’s an array of cages willed with taxidermy species.

 paradise by way of kensal green - colourliving
A nice little touch to an otherwise empty room.

 paradise by way of kensal green - colourliving
Love this door with stained glass panels.

 paradise by way of kensal green - colourliving
The detail to moody lighting is second to none here. Rather in love with this globe.

 paradise by way of kensal green - colourliving
Big, bold chandeliers adorn the staircase areas.

 paradise by way of kensal green - colourliving
A bit of glitter always works its magic.

 paradise by way of kensal green - colourliving
I took particular liking to these indian figurines hanging from the ceiling.

 paradise by way of kensal green - colourliving

There were many more interesting décor ideas around but the lack of light and massive amount of people swirling around the event made it quite impossible to take more photographs.

If you’re thinking of holding an event or a party, this is definitely the place.

4 Comments

my beloved eames chair

Today I want to introduce you to my beloved Eames chair.

Charles and Ray Eames are best known for their groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing, and the photographic arts.

As I was approaching my 50th Birthday last August I thought about what would make my day and year memorable. I knew that a special trip was not on the cards as we were in the midst of launching Mapology Guides.

I had dreamt about an EA217 soft pad low back Eames chair for ages and I knew that if I ordered one it would have to be in yellow. I called Guy Drayton of Geoffrey Drayton to discuss the matter. Well, he said, this would be considered a ‘special colour’. Let me contact Vitra. It only took a couple of weeks before Guy dropped round a leather swatch book by Stolz, a Belgium company. I immediately fell in love with the yellow leather swatch and that was it.

my beloved eames chair

Once I ordered the chair it took around 6 – 8 weeks. I was in no rush. All I wanted is to have the chair before Christmas. And then the day of delivery arrived. To be totally honest, I was a little insecure about my choice of colour. It’s one thing seeing a small swatch, yet another seeing the whole chair covered in it!

When Guy started to unpack and adjust the chair I started to calm down knowing I made the right decision. We all know that most people that buy this chair will have it in white or black but that’s playing it safe, that’s a little boring to me. I did want to be true to who I am and I am ‘Colourliving’.

my beloved eames chair

Here is the beauty in it’s full glory. How could I have doubted my choice?

my beloved eames chair

The details, the stitching, the softness of the leather. It’s ultra comfortable. You adjust the height and you can lean back if you so wish. I’ve noticed that I’m already doing my OCD thing of panicking about marks et cetera. Wearing jeans or dark clothing does leave some marking but hey, this chair needs to be lived in, it needs to reflect the hard work that’s being performed here.

my beloved eames chair

As in true quality fashion, Vitra gives you a 30 years guarantee.

my beloved eames chair

It feels nice to have spoilt myself for my 50th Birthday, to mark a special year for me in so many ways. I also see any purchase like this as an investment. I do believe in investing in quality design products. I’ve been after an office chair for years, but couldn’t get the Eames chair out of my mind so was using my David Rowland’s 40/4 dining table chair instead, which is really comfortable.

It was worth the long wait! Do you believe in investing in design pieces?

26 Comments

styling the seasons – january

This is my second time joining the #stylingtheseasons series. My first one was when it launched back in September 2014.

Styling The Seasons is a joint project run by Katy from Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte from Lotts and Lots . Each month they challenge anyone to style a surface in their home to reflect what the month means to them. Here’s Charlotte’s and Katy’s January posts.

January to me is always about new beginnings. It feels as if the way I will start the year is the way it will continue and end. I like to make sure that I’ve allocated some time over the Christmas break to de-clutter, to plan and plot ideas and to be ahead of the game.

It therefore seemed only right to invite you into (a section of) my recently de-cluttered working desk. You see, writing and drawing utensils, in all shapes and forms, I don’t lack in. The problem is more to be able to lay my hands on exactly what I’m looking for at any given time. I’m delighted with this new way of organising them. Let me show you!

Instead of having, like in the past, larger storage containers holding simply more writing and drawing utensils, I have matched the size of the containers according to the particular series of utensils I want to group together.

styling the seasons - january

This is working rather well for me. As I’m attempting to do a sketch a day in 2015 and am also very particular about my writing utensils, this is definitely the solution and way forward. Sounding anal? I am when it comes to my stationery and mark making:-)

styling the seasons - january

It probably makes little sense to you guys why and how I’ve grouped things the way they are and to be honest I was going to list all my utensils and link to them like I did in my first post for this series. Time restraints and having had the flu for the past few days have come in the way!

styling the seasons - january

However, I will list some of the brands at the end of the post, because I can’t refrain from doing so!

I’m also extremely chuffed with my new 2015 workbook. B4 in size (I’m sometimes tired of A sizes, do you know what I mean?), bought at the gorgeous Cloth House, it’s covered in red linen and has green, lined pages inside. Now, many of you know I only use blank notebooks and sketchbooks. This is DEFINITELY the exception to the rule but I just fell in love with it. Made in India, it’s a bit tatty, which I love, and very unique. I tore off some of the label and attached the felt 2015. Like?

styling the seasons - january

styling the seasons - january

OK, that’s it. May my new found system stay pristine like this throughout the year. Wish me luck!

Koi-i-noor | Kaweco | Graf von Faber Castell | Montblanc mechanical pencil | Stabilo Point 88 (mini) |Pilot G-Tec -C4 | Faber Castell Pitt artist pen | Lamy Calligraphy Fountain pen | Pilot V Sign pen | Sakura Micron pens | Uniball Signo broadUniball Signo broad | Faber Castell broad pen 1554 | Pentel Sign pen | Sakura Gelly Roll | Stabilo Woody | Karisma | Stabilio Point 68 | Marabu Deco Painter | Palomino Blackwing

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35 happy years in the uk

Today feels like a milestone. Today, 35 years ago on the 15th January 1980, I arrived alone, with a suitcase, to live in the UK. Today, I want to honour the country that has become my physical as well as spiritual home.

35 happy years in the uk
The Diamond Jubilee

Let me tell you a story:

Once upon a time there was a little girl. Born to Jewish parents, she was raised in Germany. She wasn’t loved at home, in fact she was treated more like Cinderella. Desperately shy and unhappy she dreamt of escaping this world.

One Sunday afternoon she was talking to a friend who studied at a Boarding School in the UK. Plucking up courage she asked her parents to send her there. Miraculously, they said yes!

When she arrived, scared and with a minimal knowledge of the English language, it was the first time people were kind to her. They told her she’s beautiful, intelligent, talented. It meant the world to her, but of course she didn’t believe it!

35 happy years in the uk
The wonderful times of the London Olympics.

Years later, in a very high powered job, with a dashing boyfriend, she was jet-setting around the world. One day, the platinum roof she had built came tumbling down in the form of a very dramatic nervous breakdown. She was 26 years old.

Life and her world had changed yet again. No job, no boyfriend but now with panic attacks she found herself in Therapy and so her recovery started. You see, you cannot built a platinum roof on no foundations. It’s the foundations that keeps the house up!

All throughout these times there was always one comforting and re-assuring factor. It was living in London, in a multi-cultural society with people from all walks of life. It was in London that she turned into a swan. It was in London that she ‘created’ herself. It was in London that she felt ‘at home’ in all aspects of her life.

35 happy years in the uk
City skyline drawn by me.

The little girl is now a grown woman. She lives happily ever after in her dream city of London amongst her people and tribe.

I salute you United Kingdom. I salute you London. Thank you for making me feel so at home. You are fantastic and here’s to the next 35 years!

Oh, and Cinderella might not have been whisked away by her prince, but to her she lives a majestic life! (You don’t still believe in fairy tales, do you?)

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sketchbook explorations with Lisa Congdon

Wow, what a beginning to the new year.

For me personally it started with a bang and I’m well into my wish list for 2015. However, the atrocities in Paris last week left me completely shocked and puts perspective on what’s going on in the (outside) world.

To all those affected and living in Paris and France, words cannot describe how I felt about  #jesuischarlie. It might have happened in Paris but this is a wide world complex issue which, after people have had time to grieve, will have to be discussed and tackled face on. So it was with extra proud delightfulness to see so many people come together in Paris on Sunday, all united and fighting for freedom of expression, religious tolerance and peaceful coexistence. 

One of my wishes for 2015 was to sketch more and I’m delighted I enrolled in Lisa Congdon‘s Sketchbook Explorations on Creativebug. Lisa is a very talented fine artist, illustrator and Author. One thing that stands out for me most is her work ethic and sheer passion for her craft. It’s actually infectious and I’m an avid follower of her Instagram account. Lisa is also a great teacher and this course is EXACTLY what I needed to inspire me to sketch more!

There are four parts to this course. It started on the 6th January and lasts for a month. Of course, like with many online learning platforms, once you’ve signed up you can do it in your own time.

This week it’s about Watercolor Backgrounds and Line Drawing. I’m enjoying playing around with motifs and patterns. take a look!

sketchbook explorations with Lisa Congdon

sketchbook explorations with Lisa Congdon

sketchbook explorations with Lisa Congdon

sketchbook explorations with Lisa Congdon

sketchbook explorations with Lisa Congdon

sketchbook explorations with Lisa Congdon

sketchbook explorations with Lisa Congdon

As you can see I’m just experimenting away to see what works and what doesn’t. I’m looking forward to the next lessons. This course has come just at the right time. I’m going to aim to do a little bit of sketching every day this year. At least I’ll give it a good try!

I don’t know about you but I find enrolling on courses a great support to get inspired and also to keep accountable to myself. Now I have to look for a course for February. Shout if you’ve got any ideas. Do you like to keep a sketchbook?

See you Thursday!

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hello 2015 – i cannot wait to meet you!

Happy New Year. Hello 2015, I cannot wait to meet you!

As I don’t believe in new year’s resolutions or diets for that matter, I thought I would simply list my thoughts and sort of a wish list for this year.

Hello 2015.... I cannot wait to meet you.

1. I’ve missed blogging regularly, reading, commenting on blogs and spending time on Twitter. There’s never enough time but I’m determined to get back on track. I think it’s sad that the ‘trend’ (not my favourite word) tells us that less people read and comment on blogs and that it’s all about Instagram. Every Social Media has its purpose. Blogging, in my opinion, is so satisfying and enriching and a great post leaves me invigorated and inspired to no ends.

2. Every year (for the past 10 years) I’ve chosen a word for the year to keep me on track of my goals and aspirations. I’ve had ‘trust’ ‘purpose’, ‘focus’, ‘visibility’, ‘collaboration’ amongst them and my word for 2015 is: Gather. 2015, for me, is all about combining all my learning and experiences so far and gather many new ones. It’s about joining forces, staying authentic and uniting with more of my tribe.

Hello 2015.... I cannot wait to meet you.

3. My preferred way of eating has always been the Paleo way. It suits my body and I feel great on it. In 2014 I lost my ways a little. I contracted a frozen shoulder earlier in the year which is still giving me a lot of pain. No tennis, very little exercise, the creeping in of some sugar, wheat and dairy (intolerant to these) left me with ailments and niggles in my body.
I’m back and thanks to Whole30 there’s a whole community I can reach out to and help me stay on track. I love communities like these that share and support.

4. I’ve made the difficult and sad decision to retire both my Creative Process and Vive la Différence series. I’ve loved hosting both but feel they’ve run their course. I’d like to thank each and every guest blogger for their time and contribution. They do live on here on the blog and on Pinterest, here and here.

I’m plotting a new blog series, to be revealed soon.

Hello 2015.... I cannot wait to meet you.

5. I’m planning to re-design my Colourliving website to incorporate Mapology Guides and other projects I have in mind. I very much look forward to the process. It’s always exciting to move forward.

6. I really REALLY want to sketch and draw more! I might have to do a course or join a movement. Whatever it takes I’ll give it a go.

Hello 2015.... I cannot wait to meet you.

I have many dreams and plans, but experience tells me to take it easy and walk before I can run. So for now, I just ease myself into the new year and do what I know works for me – to simply just do my best!

I cannot wait to read about your new aspirations and hopes. The blog will resume it’s normal schedule from Monday 12th January. Here’s to a creative and inspiring 2015.

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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.

IMG_1036
Beautiful coloured Moss seen in Selfridges.

IMG_1011
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.

10 Comments

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.

6 Comments

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

Colourful!

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!

 

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