my library – bright bazaar’s first book

It’s with great pleasure and honour that today I feature and review the much anticipated Bright Bazzar’s first book as part of my library series. It’s been rather interesting to have followed an author’s dream and witnessed it become reality.

Meet Will Taylor, aka Mr. Bright Bazaar

Will Taylor - photo courtesy of Kiana Underwood
Photo courtesy of Kiana Underwood © taken from here

I first read Bright.Bazaar about 2 years ago because as a designer who lives for colour (it’s in my DNA) you cannot but admire Will’s enthusiasm and passion for it. He’s truly a very talented ‘gentleman unashamedly hooked on hue’. His blog is full of colourful interior inspiration, weekend baking sessions and numerous traveling adventures. I love when Will shows off his photography skills, those being my favourite posts.

There are 2 things I admire most about Will. Firstly, that being a successful blogger he is very approachable and down to earth, a true gentleman. Hugely popular on Social Media, his Twitter etiquette should be cloned. I’ve never understood why some other famous bloggers think it’s beyond them to answer Tweets or other Social Media enquiries. Being humble and remembering one’s roots, in my humble opinion, is key to being a true success in life. I hope Will will maintain those standards even after many more books and success stories no doubt coming his way.

Secondly, Will understands the notion of being a brand. Fiercely focused, passionate and hard working Will has systematically grown into the brand he is today. From humble beginnings on the blog he understood that a new tailor-made blog design will enhance his profile. I happened to be at the unveiling of the new blog design and remember thinking that he will go far. He had moved from having a pretty site to a sophisticated and intelligent site, where he could express who he was in a far more potent way.

Move forward a couple of months and we witnessed the exciting announcement of the first Bright.Bazaar interiors book. Again, a brilliant move shooting this great little video. Another sign for me that this book wasn’t simply going to be another content poor but beautiful coffee table book.

The rest is history and the finished product has now finally arrived on UK shores. I was fortunate to get a quick glimpse of the book a few weeks ago. Deeply moved and relieved that all my high expectations were met, if not even surpassed, I immediately LOVED it!

Bright Bazaar: Embracing Colour For Make-You Smile Style – Will Taylor
Photography Andrew Boyd with Travel Photography by Will Taylor. Published by Jacqui Small.

Ok, what’s so great about this book? To begin with, I love the format. It’s generous in it’s A4ish measurements and gives that sense of pure abundance.

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile style

Will loves details and as a trained graphic designer I so appreciate that. Every page and detail was considered and designed with great care. Let me show you what I mean. Not a great fan of dust covers (mine is already creased), I love that the hardcover and the subsequent paper-over-board has been designed in the Bright.Bazaar branding with Will’s signature stripes adorning the outside hardboard and the Bright.Bazaar icons on the inside.

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile style
Hardcover | paper-over-board

The gorgeous details continue. You’ll find them everywhere in the book. Here are some examples.

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile style
Left: Page numbering | middle section – top right: coloured page edges in yellow | middle section – bottom right: Will’s room analysis | right: colour cocktail detail

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile style
Another colour cocktail detail | The Flirty Fiesta

Will, in the book, has managed to continue with the same friendly and encouraging tone of voice everyone has come to love who reads his blog. A real people’s champion for colour, he effortlessly shows us how everyone, not just designers and experts, can create beautiful homes full of colour that reflects their personalities.

You’re guided to go and discover what colours make your heart skip, to learn to trust your colour instincts, right through to Will sharing his own colour inspirations and translating those into real-life colour interior decorating schemes. No stone is left unturned. You’ll find colour inspirations for every room in your home, supported by Will’s expert advice, suggestions and examples galore. A fun and rather effective ten colour cocktails cover everything from pastel hues to the bolder and brighter ones. There’s literally something for everyone and with Will virtually holding our hand he hopes to instil confidence so that everyone can dip their toes into ‘colourful home living’.

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile style
Detail of ‘Colour is your friend’ introduction page | Detail of right hand photo

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile style
Detail of double spread ‘Bring Colour Home’ introduction page

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile style
Go beyond beige in three quick steps.

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile style
Part of  ‘The Candy Crush’ section.

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile stylePart of ‘Entrances & Hallways’ section.

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile style
Part of ‘Living Rooms’ section

Bright Bazaar - Embracing Colour for make you smile style
Part of Will’s ‘I’m just a gentleman hooked on hue’ introduction.

A true labour of love, you can see that Will has poured everything into it. Aren’t those the best books? I cannot recommend it high enough to anyone who loves colour, wants to learn more about decorating with colour or simply wants to see some gorgeous photography of inspiring interiors and travel adventures.

You can order the UK version here and pre-order the US version here.
I’m excited about the UK Book Launch at Westelm on Wednesday and here’s the information for the US Book Tour in May.

It remains for me to wish Will all the success with his book that he deserves. Go and spread the colour virus! x

Added on 17th April 2014: Right, Book Launch has taken place. We all celebrated, partied and had a fab time all round. Westelm were the perfect host. In view of this and my love for the book this post will stay up till Monday.

Here are a couple of pics for you…. please forgive the quality. They were taken with my iPhone!

Will and Tobes
A happy Mr Bright.Bazaar with his fiancé Toby

Bed Antics………Photo bombing!

after launch dinner2
A dinner at the fantastic Gail’s Kitchen, expertly organised by Geraldine. I cannot recommend the food and service high enough. Thank you!

Happy Easter weekend. I’ll see you back here on Easter Monday!


walnuts farm – a bloggers day out

What do bloggers like best? Yep, it’s a get-together in a stylish place with lots of food, laughter, props, photography and some mad antics. I give you a day at Walnuts Farm.



Organised by the lovely Emily, we all arrived from all over the UK and Europe, excited as kids for our play day. Here you see her excitedly receiving her thank you bouquet of flowers from us all.


Armed with cameras, tripods and some enthusiastic styling agendas, we each roamed freely to explore every nook and crook while chatting away and doing our thing!



The chickens and Turkey were our companions. I ask you, wouldn’t you stand proud in all your glory if you looked like this turkey?


I told you we had fun. Who says, swings are just for kids? I think Igor here is getting a Nikon camera lesson from Bridgee. Meanwhile Geraldine was looking pretty in her yellow dress and teal blue Hunters.


I adore these Craspedia, also known as Billy button flowers.


Inside the farm it was as charming as expected. Full of taste and interior splendour, we made ourselves comfortable and of course snapped away to our heart’s delight.


Shabby chic? You decide!


I was loving all the details and personal touches of the family’s possessions. How gorgeous are those kettles?


Out of the 11o emails or so swirling around communicating about our day at the farm (who’s counting) a fair few were about the food. Who’s bringing what? Are we having catering? Shall we have a picnic? What does everyone eat and not eat (that would be me:-)

Oh, and the much coveted Diet Coke. (Emily, you’re lucky I didn’t take a shot of ‘you know what’) LOL. People schlepped their melamine ware, baked, cooked, made sure that everything looked pretty and tasted amazingly.

I just couldn’t resist this shot of Yvonne (see below, bottom right) looking like butter wouldn’t melt in her mouth! Yeah, right:-)) A huge congratulations to Yvonne for the release of her wonderful first book, which I absolutely loved. I cannot wait for the English edition to come out in February 2015.


Ah, lucky us that Kat arrived with great props for afternoon tea. As someone who UNFORTUNATELY can’t eat scones, jam or cream I couldn’t resist this beautiful strawberry jam jar by the Hambledon. Look at those roses, crazy big and beautiful! The spring wreath is also Kat’s doing and you can find the ‘how to’ on her blog here.


I ask you, can I write a post about a happy day at a farm without showing you the #happyman himself? Obsessed with #urbanjunglebloggers, Igor was doing his thing!


Some of the beautiful details you will find at the farm, should you visit.


OK, to finish off, the obligatory group shot! Thank you to Kat for organising so expertly by even bringing a remote control so she could be in the picture and we could have loads of takes and have tons of fun! There are more serene versions, but hey, after all we were mad farmbloggers for the day!

Farm Bloggers-74
Group photograph by Kat ©
Back row – left to right: Kat, Yvonne, Bridgee, Lottie, Me. Front row – left to right: Geraldine, Emily, Igor, Heather, Catherine

No doubt there are different accounts of the day from everyone present so make sure you check out their blogs! Thank you to Walnuts Farm, Emily and my fellow #farmbloggers for a super day. See you all soon, some of you at Blogtacular!


vive la différence – mediterrano

Every month I cannot believe where the time has gone… it’s Vive la Différence April edition today!

Let me introduce you to Jocelyn, author of The Inner Interior. Jocelyn calls herself the ‘Writer and Righter of life. “The Inner Interior is dedicated to the art of designing and styling the mindful life….we will navigate through the inner interior of life where you will find the conversations a little deeper, with the emphasis on mindfulness and how it can lead to a more refined purpose and sense of peace.”

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’.

Jocelyn chose the theme: Mediterrano with the objects: Food, Flowers and Cushions.  Here is Jocelyn’s Vignette.

A Mediterranean Meaning

When Tina asked me to be a part of Vive la Différence I was thrilled mainly due to the fact I am a big fan of this series for its unique and creative vibe. Don’t you love to see what others create? My appreciation for differences is greater due to Tina’s blog and I am grateful for it.

The colors of the Mediterranean are somewhat magical to me; the deep blue sea with a hint of turquoise at the shoreline is just breathe-giving. The last time I was in France I remember seeing and smelling olive trees everywhere and the smell of the bark is so different than other trees. Olive trees are a symbol for peace and when given as a gift it is extending a sense of peace to the recipient. So, with this I give you all a piece of the olive branch! The crusty olive bread is hearty and just looked so friendly to me, isn’t that funny? Everything about the Med inspires me to dig deep and find pearls in the sea of life, go out on a limb and enjoy the fruitage life offers, no matter what.

Thank you, Tina for inviting me and I look forward to all your future posts!

vld - mediterrano______________________________________________________________________

We spent every summer of my childhood in Tuscany. Forte dei Marmi and its surrounding areas became my home from home. I always associate summer with the colours and smells of the Mediterranean. It’s definitely shaped my love for colours and food as an adult!

These days I spend more time in the South of France but Italy will always be my first love and I’m greatful that I grew up bilingual and now speak this magical language.

One of my all time favourite is to eat freshly caught fish grilled by the seaside. A little drizzle of deep green coloured olive oil with absolutely nothing else to accompany it. Oh, and of course, eaten with my fingers. I’ve often said that I would like my last meal to be a grilled wild seabass.

The background colour of my Vignette indicates my love for olive oil. For the sun, large fish (food) and anemone (flower) I used Artefact cards with various pen and markers. The blue squiggle indicates the sky. The greeny shape for the sea is a thick tracing paper from a notebook. The sandy shape, indicating sand is a velvety A4 sheet I bought in Amsterdam many years ago. I have it in quite a few colours and would love to find it again. Any of you Dutch ladies know where I might have purchased it from? The fabric used is actually an outdoor fabric I use on my rood terrace, here representing a sun lounger/mattress (cushion). It’s called Seville – Seaside. The little colourful fish is a button.

For those of you who knew about my goldfish Clarissa and Rupert, Clarissa died and Rupert got an infection so I returned him to the Pet shop for him to have a chance to survive. I no longer have fish so am dedicating this post to the memory of them and our short time together.

vld - mediterrano tina

Jocelyn, thank you for taking part and extending the gift of the Olive branch:-) A sense of peace is always very much appreciated and needed!

Vive la Différence will return on Monday 5th May.


zoozoo – friends for life

Cruising through Berlin on a Vespa we were stopped in our tracks when passing the Hotel Amano, a favourite haunt of mine. From the windows we saw these colourful animal sculptures and just had to get off and take a look.

In the lobby there were the most playful dog sculptures (Bassets) I have yet to see. Mesmerised, we wanted to find out everything about them.

ZooZoo (Zu:Zu) – friends for life – is a mix of nature & pop art, a tribute to the wild life and the animal world. Founded in April 2013 by Elwira Lerche it’s a small collection of colorful, powerful and beautiful animals for everyone. They’re easy to handle, easy to love, friends for life and great in an urban environment.

Made out of 100% Resin or Fibreglass, the animals are handmade, limited editions and suitable both for indoor and outdoor. I’m in LOVE!

Meet Estelle, the Basset! Available in 7 colours in high gloss. Estelle has a big passion for shopping bags. She is very much into the smell of fresh food and always expecting a goodie from her tin-opener.

Estelle in seventies orange

Estelle in audrey’s pink

Estelle in miami turquoise

IMG_2085Estelle in (from left) sandy beige; audrey’s pink; just grey; seventies orange, sunny yellow

Estelle in situ in the hotel lobby

Meet Esmeralda, the Alligator! Available in 8 colours in high gloss. Esmeralda is afraid of ending as a clutch. Therefore she is searching for a perfect hideaway while presenting herself as part of the art.

Esmeralda in capri blue


Esmeralda in black

Esmeralda in sunny yellow

Meet Parzival, the Baby Lion! Available in 5 colours. Parzival is expected to become a hunter par excellence. In lieu thereof he cultivates a strong passion for wall-to-wall carpeting and grey flannel.

Parzival in black hole black

Giraffe – no longer offered. They now make a Baby Giraffe instead

It all started with an Elephant, Fernando, to be exact.

I don’t know about you but I love these fun animals. I think Estelle, the Basset is definitely going onto my 50th wishlist on Pinterest. The only dilemma is: what colour do I want her in? Maybe you guys can help out! I think I fancy a special colour (available on request).

If you want to see all animals on display and you’re in Berlin, hop over to the Hotel Amano and it’s sister, Hotel Mani, part of the Amano Group, where you’ll find them all on display, cheering up the hotel lobbies and welcoming all guests. Happy new week x


mother’s day and perfume

Walking in Covent Garden on Saturday late afternoon, I was struck by the hoards of people around. Having studied there in the 1980′s I’m very familiar with the Piazza, the surrounding areas and the changing landscape in retail. I’ve seen shops come and go and the whole area transform many times over.

Having said that, I was taken aback by the appearance of Dior, Chanel and Burberry. These luxury brands have each opened a beauty store in the Piazza. I soon realised that due to the gorgeous weather and impending Mother’s Day (yesterday) Covent Garden was jampacked.

Regular readers will know this is not my usual kind of post, but I was intrigued by the addition of these luxury brands. Curious about the Mother’s Day decorations, it got me thinking about the importance of the shopping experience and the sheer influence of these brand’s marketing budgets and campaigns.

Not one for wearing perfume (slightly allergic to it) I’m fascinated what big business it is. In the US the fragrance industry is worth around $5.2 billion. No wonder every celebrity is jumping on the bandwagon.

Let’s see how the established brands like Dior and Chanel do their thing. They do it rather well!


Love this Dior Mother’s Day flowers decoration.


Dior’s J’adore bottle is timeless……

….so is this spectacular campaign with the gorgeous Charlize Theron. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of it! That dress!!!

This is a fun idea, showcasing their lipstick in a bag form. Of course, Dior bags are very sought after.

Detail of the bag above.

Chanel next door opened in May 2013 as a make-up pop-up. The store is designed to be fun, accessible and deliver a fully immersive experience. The idea was to introduce a non-intimidating retail experience, despite being a luxury brand. It’s meant to be playful, inspirational, combining the exclusivity and chic of the brand with a fun and informal atmosphere.

For Mother’s Day Chanel illuminated the iconic logo in a sequence of pinks and lavender.

Keira Knightley has once again been transformed into ‘Coco Mademoiselle’ for Chanel’s latest perfume advert. Since 2007 Keira has been starring as its iconic founder Coco Chanel, and her newest role is part of a series of mini films that see the mysterious Coco seduce and then mysteriously vanish from devastatingly good looking men.

Ironically, I saw Keira Knightley earlier on Saturday walking hand in hand in Dalston with her husband, looking relaxed and happy without a care in the world. She’s not very recognisable with shades on, really rather unassuming and does not seek attention. I like that about her.

flowers motherday
A bunch of flowers I bought on Saturday. Consider them for you!

Do you wear perfume or aftershave (for my male readers)? Which brand? Happy belated Mother’s Day for those of you in the UK. See you Thursday x


graffiti in berlin

Berlin is a wonderful city. It’s entrepreneurial, exciting, vibrant and urbane. Creativity and graffiti are everywhere and I love being there.

Street art in Berlin is a big industry. It’s not exactly legal, but the local authorities aren’t doing much to change that. From the authorities’ point of view, the graffiti attracts tourists, and the tourists bring money to a city deep in debt.

“Street art is an umbrella term defining forms of visual art created in public locations, usually unsanctioned artwork executed outside of the context of traditional art venues. The term gained popularity during the graffiti art boom of the early 1980s and continues to be applied to subsequent incarnations.” (Source: Wikipedia)

Personally, I like the street art in Berlin. It certainly adds to the city’s quirkiness.


A lot of graffiti is two-dimensional but I’ve chosen a variety of street art, some with layers and textures. Really like the vibrant scene seen here above.


Love these knitted pieces permanently dressing this pole.


There’s something so sensitive and beautiful about this black and white charcoal drawing.


I like the juxtaposition here between the flat art work and the three-dimensional feel of the door panels.



A collage of a girl’s face and hair. Great pink tones.


A simple graffiti that has a nice three-dimensional feel. I really like the colour palette. I might use it in a design or future painting.


More coloured graffiti.


A beautiful glazed portrait permanently fixed to the brick wall. Stunning hair treatment. Is this considered graffiti art?

Is there a street art scene where you live? Happy weekend. See you Monday.


galerie lapita – oceanic art

While in Nice earlier this year I visited the exquisite Galerie Lapita. Settled in New Caledonia since 1990, Didier ZANETTE has always been fascinated by primitive art. He keeps on exploring Indonesia, Oceania, and more particularly Melanesia, searching for tribal art objects.

I’m not an expert in ‘tribal art’ and where it originates from so did a little research. The field of African art is distinct from African-American art. The term ‘tribal art’ is also often used to describe African art.

Oceanic Art , what Galerie Lapita specialises in, properly encompasses the artistic traditions of the people indigenous to Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands. They would come to interact and together reach even the most remote Pacific islands. These early peoples lacked a writing system, and made works on perishable materials, so few records of them exist from this time. It should also be noted that Oceanic peoples traditionally did not see their work in the western concept of ‘art’, but rather created objects for the practical purpose of use in religious or social ceremonies, or for use in everyday life. (source: Wikipedia)

The Lapita culture or tradition was a pre-historic Pacific Ocean people and society dating from about 1600 BCE to 500 BCE. Archaeologists believe that the Lapita was the ancestor of historic cultures in Polynesia, Micronesia, and some coastal areas of Melanesia. The Lapita were perhaps the most advanced people of their day in seamanship and navigation, reaching out and finding islands separated from each other by hundreds of miles of empty ocean. Their descendants, the Polynesians, would populate islands from Hawaii to Easter Island, possibly even reaching the South American continent. (source: Wikipedia)

Galeria Lapita offers high quality tribal art objects that include Ceremonial & Ancestral Masks, Figures, Woven Abelam Items, Adornments & Utensils, Tribal Jewelry and aboriginal paintings. Some of their quality tribal art is specifically from the Sepik province of Papua New Guinea. There are also aboriginal paintings and some African art.

The most imposing Carved Wooden Figure. Date and Tribe unknown.

Tribal Jewellery. Date and Tribe unknown.

African Drums | Very early Wooden Figure. Date and Tribe unknown.

Weapons: Shield. Date and Tribe unknown.

Wooden Painted Sculptures. Date and Tribe unknown.

Tribal figure with Jewellery | Very early Wooden Figure. Date and Tribe unknown.

Carved Figure. Date and Tribe unknown.

Aboriginal Painting. Date and Tribe unknown.

Aboriginal Paintings. Date and Tribe unknown.

Wall of Aboriginal Art. Date and Tribe unknown.

Photograph of Tribal Figure.

Well I came away mega inspired and felt very much in awe of these unique pieces. Do any of you have experiences with Tribal Art? I’d love to know….


my library – the best american infographics 2013

Today I have another my library post for you. The best American Infographics 2013 was gifted to me by a dear friend back in October 2013, who had come back from Chicago with this beauty. Thank you M. The book, as the title indicates, highlights the best infographics produced that year.

What is it about this type of graphics that is so engaging? Of course, it has something to do with the era of technology and big data we live in. Infographics can provide us with a quick visual synopsis of any complex subject matter. It’s a very vogue way of seeing and understanding the world we live in! I’ve chosen some of my favourites here. Each artist explains the choice of visual representation with a statement.

This book has given me many hours of pleasure. I hope you like it as much as I do!

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving The best American Inforgraphics 2013 (cover) edited by Gareth Cook with an introduction by David Byrne.

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving Understanding Social Media with Bacon | Artist: Corey Smith

Statement: “I saw a picture of a whiteboard showing the same concept with donuts. I figured bacon was a bit more inspiring, and so I redesigned it with my own artwork and some variations on how a few of the social media elements were represented. I didn’t intend for this infographic to become so popular. I thought I was designing it for me.” Publication: (February 13, 2012)

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving E-mail: help for Addicts | Artist: Wendy MacNaughton (one of my favourite illustrators)

Statement: “I usually make diagrams to make sense of things that are abstract or complex. This flowchart, however, is more about self-help. Like everyone these days, I’m drowning in e-mail. But it’s my own fault. I have three e-mail accounts. I check them at least ten times a day (more like an hour). I respond to e-mails with “How are you?,” ensuring another e-mail comes my way. I am the reason that I’m drowning. Creating this chart helped me see that I had a problem, accept it, and start on the road to recovery. Remember: unless it’s a family emergency, Don’t Check! PS: Families don’t e-mail emergencies.” Publication: Dell Inc. on (April 19, 2012)

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving How to score a seat in First Class | Artist: Sergio Peçanha

Statement: “Normally, the Travel section is packed full of pictures of wonderful places. But the cover story for this week took a look at what happens behind the scenes when you are at the gate and hoping to score a free airline upgrade. the stark differences between being pampered like royalty in first class and traveling like a sardine in economy seemed like a good opportunity to explain the complex process airlines use to determine whether you make the cut or not – and also a chance to have some fun with the graphic. One piece of trivia: The faces of the people inside the sardine can were based on those of some of my colleagues at the new York Times. The pampered King on the left side looks, coincidentally, like me.” Publication: New York Times (June 10, 2012)

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving How to Be Happy | Artist: Gustavo Vieira Dias

Statement: “I’m very happy to be featured in this book, and I’m glad more people will have access to this piece of work. I hope you will be able to answer ‘yes’ to the question “Is life good?” Publication: Online as a wallpaper for desktop, iPad and iPhone (January 2012)

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving And the Oscar Goes to……. New York City | Artist: Stevie Remsberg, Rebecca Berg, Amanda Dobbins, Eric Sundermann and Thomas Alberty

Statement: “We built a world map showing where every nominee for the Best Picture Oscar takes place. (It included 493 films, going back to 1928). Countries and cities have been proportionally scaled to match the number of films set there, revealing that New York City is, far and away, the location most likely to get a filmmaker an Oscar. Great Britain, and especially London, are also winners. Useful tip if you’re trying to win one: Don’t make a movie in the Midwest, unless it’s in Chicago.” Publication: New York magazine (February 6, 2012)

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving

The best American Infographics 2013 - colourliving The Breaking Bad Body Count | Artist: John D. LaRue (personal note: we’ve just finished watching all 62 episodes and are still in grieving mode)

Statement: “As an avid fan of Breaking Bad, I wanted to create something that would allow all other fans to remember details they may have forgotten. Given the show’s chemistry theme, the chemical death formulas and the “periodic Table of Death” featured at the bottom meshed well. You will notice in some cases that, instead of a figure of a person, there are icons – the head of a tortoise, a pink teddy bear – which avid fans of the show will appreciate. Everyone else: watch the show.” Publication: (September 2, 2012)

Please note that the spread in my book was illustrated after the 54rth episode of Breaking Bad, so didn’t account for all deaths until the very end of the show. Source of last image here.

I was thinking how fun it would be to do an infographics of a few years worth of blog posts. Anyone? I cannot recommend this book high enough to those of you who love good and intelligent infographics. Another true gem in my library!


libertine – for interested women

I have a confession to make! I’m nearly 50 and hardly ever read a woman’s magazine! Why is that I wonder? Oh, I know…there are barley any good and intelligent woman’s magazines out there. That is until I accidentally stumbled upon Libertine last Autumn. Ecstatic, fascinated and completely mesmerized I immediately wanted to know who is behind this great venture. I got in touch with Debbi Evans, editor and founder of Libertine and we decided to wait with this interview until the latest issue hit the shelves. I’m pleased we did as this issue celebrates Libertine’s 1st Birthday.

Libertine - Colourliving

Meet Debbi.

Libertine - Colourliving

Tell us a little about Debbi growing up and some early influences that formed you in adulthood I was a very sociable child and liked to be around adults, engaging in adult conversation, from an early age. I was always aware that helping and pleasing people was a good thing to do (although now, with my feminist hat on, am wondering what that says about the way we raise our daughters). I remember marching into a restaurant kitchen on holiday in France and offering to help wait tables! I couldn’t have been older than seven or eight. I lost all confidence aged 17 or 18 after a bad drugs experience turned into a several-hour-long panic attack, followed by persistent anxiety which lasted almost ten years. I’m over the worst of it now and can appreciate the positive aspects of being constantly self-aware and analytical, as well as the resilience it has taught me – but at the time it was bloody awful. I didn’t feel I could talk to anyone about it, I was so ashamed. I also had a great role model in my mother, who went through a divorce and the death of two immediate family members in the space of two years, and raised both my sister and I pretty much single-handedly – including during our monstrous teenage years, which she really didn’t deserve. She was – and still is – so determined and energetic, always pushing for us to get the best out of ourselves. In spite of her capabilities, I’ve also seen her struggle with hugely negative self image – something which plagues many women and which I resolved to challenge if I possibly could.

Many people struggle with knowing what they want to be (do). You seem resolute. Any tips and tricks?
Hmmm, not sure. Read a lot – it was the glamour of journalism, conveyed in a trashy chick lit novel when I was 11, that made me decide I wanted a media empire! Clearly, I’m a long way off. But i’ve always wanted to write.

Libertine - Colourliving
The Comedy Issue (4) Jessica Hynes – Cover Girl and feature

Libertine - Colourliving
The Comedy Issue (4) Eight page Food and Drink shoot

Libertine - Colourliving
The Comedy Issue (4) Scared of public speaking? Throw yourself in at the funny end

You started Libertine exactly one year ago. What trigger made you decide to take the plunge and step into the media arena where most women’s magazines are “synonymous with vacuous celebrity and mindless consumption”? Sheer bloody-mindedness. The more people tell me something won’t work the more I want to prove them wrong! I had the idea for almost a decade – i’d always wanted to be a journo but when it came to doing work experience there just wasn’t a magazine out there that I really cared about or identified with, and that feeling of alienation only got more pronounced as the years progressed. I also spent a few years in trend research, keeping a close eye on which business models weren’t working and which were, particularly in digital media and publishing. With the help of Kate Mew, my friend and former colleague who’s just joined the project, we devised a plan for something that was much bigger than a magazine and would incorporate lots of different revenue streams, from retail to events. What we’re trying to do is build a global lifestyle brand and network for thinking women. On a shoestring. Should be easy! (I am kidding. It will definitely not be easy. But it’s definitely worth a try.)

Is Libertine seen as a niche magazine? I suppose it is at the moment, from the perspective that we only print 1,500 copies of each issue and have not yet properly launched our digital presence. But everyone I’ve spoken to recognises how huge the market is, both in the UK and abroad.

What can one expect from an issue of Libertine? We try to strike a balance between premium lifestyle content and intellectual (but crucially, accessible – I can’t stand jargon!) content – particularly tech, science, business and any other ‘serious’ subjects that are traditionally mostly marketed to a male audience. Our anniversary issue was Comedy-themed and had an eight page food and drink shoot alongside a think piece on the power of parody and an essay on the social media superstars of Vine (a network which allows you to share 6-second video clips with followers). The previous issue was Cities and Power-themed, and had a few analytical pieces around smart cities, invisible networks of power and living architecture, as well as a ‘Power dressing’ shoot starring the fabulous Caryn Franklin.

Libertine - Colourliving
The Cities & Power Issue (3) Power dressing shoot starring the fabulous Caryn Franklin

Libertine - Colourliving
The Cities & Power Issue (3) The Power on the Brain – Professor Ian Robertson on the psychology of winning in male and female brains

What’s the average age of your readership? What’s the feedback been so far? We target women over 35 – and particularly women in their 40s and 50s – and they are doubly marginalised in the media. The most fun, interesting and inspiring women I know are in their 40s and 50s – they’re reinventing themselves constantly and don’t care what anyone thinks, but this is certainly not how they’re portrayed in the media. We also have a lot of younger readers (mid-20s and up) who share a lot of their values – ambitious, curious – who are more active on Twitter and have bought into the community that way. We’ve just completed our first reader survey and feedback has been wonderful – so many echoes of “Thank god someone has finally done this!”. We’re releasing the results in our newsletter this weekend, in case anyone is interested! You can sign up on our homepage.

Congratulations on your latest issue that just hit the shelves. You’ve changed the goalpost and are now offering a tiered membership scheme. Can you expand? As you’ve pointed out, Libertine is breaching unknown territory – we’ve always been adamant that our advertising would reflect our values (and the values of our audience) and so we need to be constantly innovating around the business model; we need to be able to say no to ads that promote negative gender stereotypes. Early feedback has been that readers want more digital content, and more from the network and community, particularly around events. So we’ve introduced a tiered scheme which will still allow people to have access to print and digital content, with a slightly higher tier to incorporate events access. We’ll also incorporate a digital only tier for overseas subscribers when the new site launches – we’ve had a lot of interest from the US.

Libertine - Colourliving

Libertine - Colourliving
The History Issue (2) Renaissance Redux – an interview with artist Christian Tagliavini, who interprets history in a surprising way

It would be inspiring to meet fellow Libertine readers. Will we be able to do so at your forthcoming events? Definitely! The last event we had, for the Cities & Power issue, was very successful but the one piece of feedback was that people would have liked to socialise with each other rather than just listening to speakers. We’ll be doing more of these this year – watch this space!

You are a young and very inspiring entrepreneur. What would you say are the most important elements for female entrepreneurship? That’s very kind. I’ll only consider myself an entrepreneur when we’ve existed successfully! I don’t see female entrepreneurship being different to male entrepreneurship; perhaps women doubt themselves more but I think this caution is a good thing in the long run. Having said that, the team would probably say i’m quite impulsive – I like to get things done quickly and don’t think there’s time for being too meticulous about planning on a start-up. As long as you’re transparent about the fact you’re a work in progress, people are incredibly supportive – particularly when there’s a social mission underlying what you do (ours is to change the way women are represented in the media).

Libertine - Colourliving
Issue (1) Quel Spectacle! Luxury specs guide

Libertine - Colourliving
Issue (1) Chic Lit! Wearing Trousers!? In the 1920′s that said a lot about a woman

I can’t wait to see how Libertine progresses, goes from strength to strength and makes a real dent in mainstream media for the intelligent and interested woman. Any final thoughts? The only thing I would ask is that people support our forthcoming crowdfunding campaign to help us make that dent a bit more noticeable – if you sign up to the newsletter I’ll let you know as soon as it launches. Thanks so much.

Thank you Debbi for your time and your wise words! I love your ‘can-do’ attitude and have no doubt that you’ll succeed in every way! I certainly will support you in any way I can and hope that any ‘interested’ women out there will do so too.

I hope you all feel as inspired as I do. I’m fortunate to own all 4 issues.. you won’t be able to find the first 3 issues on Libertine’s website any longer as they’ve all sold out. Maybe try some of their stockists for issue 3.

Libertine - Colourliving

I’m very excited about the new development of tiered membership. I think it’s a fabulous idea. I’m particularly looking forward to the Libertine’s events and can’t wait to meet more like-minded women.

This post will stay live until Thursday 20th March. Have a good week!


vive la différence – curiosity

What glorious weather we had over the weekend and I wonder whether Spring has sprung? Today it’s another Vive la Différence Monday. Time certainly flies when you’re having fun!

Today, I’d like to introduce you to Mel, who authors Armoire, Pegs and Casserole. Mel describes herself as “a Sydney girl living in Auckland, New Zealand with my French husband and our three little children.”

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’.

Mel chose the theme: Curiosity with the objects: Food, Magazines and Crockery.  Here is Mel’s Vignette.

For as long as I’ve been able to cook a meal, I’ve collected tear sheets from cuisine magazines with all of my favourite recipes over the years. Before children, my husband and I used to have regular date nights at home where we’d make a beautiful three course meal with matching wines from our newly discovered recipes. You’d find things on our menu like Duck Vindaloo or Triple chocolate Praline Tart – everything was made from scratch. It was so much fun to do and it would always include a perfectly dressed table and of course us looking our best!

Now with three very young children we barely have time to prepare something so elaborate unless we have people coming over – although it still doesn’t compare to what we once whipped up. I still find so much joy in cooking and discovering new recipes, albeit in a more practical way, so it took me an entire second to choose curiosity as my theme with food, magazines and crockery as my objects for Vive la Différence.

Thank you Tina for inviting me to be part of this fun series!

Vive la Différence - mel chesneau - colourliving__________________________________________________________________________

I have this strong belief that cultivating an inquiring mind can help us lead a happier and healthier life.

It all started with first meeting my art teacher at Boarding School when I was a tender 15 years old. Mike O’Connor ended up being the most important figure in my world. He didn’t just teach me art. He believed in me and taught me to be curious, to not take NO for an answer, question everything and stand up for myself. He was one of those rare teachers, a true mentor who dished out tough love but was caring and authentic in every way. He once said to me: ‘Tina, you’ll be young at heart even at 90′.

As an adult I often attributed these traits of being curious and standing up for myself to Mike’s wonderful teaching of such essential life skills. I was fortunate enough to stay in contact with Mike and his family. It was hugely important for me to do so. Whenever I would tell him how his positive influence enriches my life today, he would embarrassingly shrug it off and mumble that it had little to do with him.

My Vignette is about my curiosity, how it constantly grows. The tree, like Mike, symbolises strength and wisdom.

Mike’s wife wrote to let me know that Mike passed away before Christmas. I was very saddened. I hadn’t spoken to him in a couple of years. He was very private and wouldn’t let many people know he was ill. He was a wonderful person and I will always cherish his memory….I dedicate ‘The Curiosity Tree’ to him.

R.I.P dearest Mike.

Vive la Différence - tina bernstein - colourliving

Thank you Mel for being part of Vive la Différence and sharing this lovely pre-children anecdote. “Duck Vindaloo or Triple chocolate Praline Tart”, sounds fascinating!

Vive la Différence will be back on 7th April.