vive la différence – the alphabet

I’m delighted to feature another blogger in this month’s Vive la Différence series. After a brief summer break during August, we’re back in full swing.

Today, please welcome Emma Harris, who writes the blog A Quiet Style and who some of you might know from her Instagram feed. Emma, on her blog, shares her love of interiors, design, fashion, photography and her two lovely girls, Elvia and Dottie.

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’.

Emma chose the theme: The Alphabet…. with the objects: Flowers and Stationery.  Here is Emma’s Vignette.

When Tina asked if I would like to take part in her Vive la Différence feature, I must admit I was a little nervous, I am not at all artistic in the traditional sense, I can’t draw, or paint, so I felt slightly intimidated by the other talented people she has featured.

I knew at once that I wanted to use flowers, they have been a constant love and source of inspiration throughout my life.  I always have cut flowers at home, on the very rare occasion when some have faded before I have been able to replenish them with others, the house has felt empty. As for the subject, that was a bit harder, but after a gentle push by Tina, and not being one to turn down a challenge, I decided to select ‘The Alphabet’.  I initially considered writing out the whole alphabet in floral form, but when I thought about it again, I decided on a more personal note, which was when I decided on B is for bloom.  The word bloom represents not just the flowers, but also my life as it is currently, my littlest one has just started nursery, and I am focusing on blogging, something I have wanted to do for a while.  I feel that this is a chance to find my voice, and my path and hopefully by doing that, it will be my time to bloom!

Thanks for having me, it is such a great column, I can’t wait to see what you come up with Tina.

Vive la Différence - the alphabet Emma Harris____________________________________________________________________________________________________

As a Graphic Designer, the Alphabet holds a never ending fascination for me. It can be interpreted in so many different ways, with millions of type fonts and millions of hand rendered versions. Type will always be close to my heart.

As I’m slowly but surely approaching the unveiling of my new venture, I thought it would be nice to set you a little Anagram.

“An anagram is a type of word play, the result of rearranging the letters of a word or phrase to produce a new word or phrase, using all the original letters exactly once.”

The name of my new venture lies in this Anagram, here below. Don’t worry too much, all will be revealed soon, but for those of you who like a good riddle, have fun and good luck. A clue: two words and they each start with the letters in magenta.

Flowers in the background. The letters act as the alphabet and the M and G in magenta are representative of stationery.

Vive la Différence - the alphabet Tina Bernstein

Emma, thank you so much for taking part and foremost for accepting my challenge:-) I love your B is for bloom and look forward to your own ‘blooming’. Vive la Différence returns on 20th October.


rushing around during london design festival

Hello everyone. Just a quickie today. London is buzzing with all that’s happening in the capital. So much rushing around!

I wanted to share with you some of the places I visited in the last couple of days and hope you’ll find some inspiration here.

rushing during london design festival
Holborn Delicatessen

rushing during london design festival
Holborn Dining Room

rushing during london design festival
Hay Mini market pop-up in Selfridges for London Design Festival

rushing during london design festival
Florence Balducci re-created her eclectic studio in Anthropologie’s Regents Street window for London Design Festival

rushing during london design festival
The lovely Smug shop on their late night opening. This year sees the Launch of the ‘Islington Design District’ for the London Design Festival. Go and also visit the exquisite Present & Correct, Aria, Twentytwentyone and many more.

rushing during london design festival
I briefly popped into Design Junction‘s Press Preview on Wednesday. As always there’s a plethora of amazing work on display. I particularly loved Kristjana S Williams’ newly launched range of pouffes, wallpapers and Art Cartography. Just breathtaking stuff. I hope you get to visit Design Junction when it opens 18-21 September. It’s always incredibly inspiring.

Phew, I’m continuing to enjoy the London Design Festival and all that London has on offer. I hope you get to see or enjoy some of it. Monday sees another round of Vive la Différence, after a short month summer break. Have a fab weekend whatever you’re up to.


london design festival at the v&a

Every year in September I look forward to The London Design Festival. Now in its 12th year, it’s bigger than ever.

I spend some of the weekend at the V&A, the hub of the Festival. Last year I was honoured to have my work hang in the museum, as part of a collaborative project with Moleskine.

There’s so much to see that you would need a full week just to explore what’s on offer. Part of the program is a full series of talks.

I was delighted to find out that graphic legend Paula Sher, New York based partner of Pentagram, was going to present some of her work and talk about her successful career. A long-time heroine of mine, it was amazing to be in her presence.

london design festival at the v & a - colourliving
Paula Sher in conversation with Adrian Shaughnessy

Yesterday I returned to the V&A to hear Amsterdam born Irma Boom present her work. Irma specialises in bookmaking and has made more than 250, of which 50 reside in the collection of MoMA in New York.

A true maverick, her constant pushing boundaries and staying true to herself makes her the most interesting designer in her field. It was fascinating to hear that for every project Boom makes a miniature model first.

I loved meeting her.

london design festival at the v & a - colourliving
Irma Boom presenting some of her work.

Another highlight (in the true sense) at the museum is the Candela installation by a multi-disciplinary team comprising of product designer Felix de Pass, graphic designer Michael Montgomery and ceramicist Ian McIntyre.

A large rotary machine sits centrally, hovering just off the gallery floor. As the face of the machine revolves, it passes through a light source charging its surface, which emits this energy as afterglow. The continual revolution of the machine creates a perpetual ebb and flow of light patterns travelling across the structures.

Photographs don’t do it justice. If you can get to the V&A, make sure you put that on your list.

london design festival at the v & a - colourliving
Candela installation

While at the museum, pop out to The John Madejski garden. There you’ll see Zaha Hadid‘s Crest. It’s designed as a demountable sculpture to be installed as a permanent feature within the ME Hotel in Dubai which opens in 2016.

london design festival at the v & a - colourliving

Also in the garden you’ll find The Wish List, a collaborative fusion of design experience. Ten famous names in design and architecture each nominated an emerging talent to collaborate on a very open brief:
“What have you always wanted in your home but never been able to find?”

Paul Smith asked Nathalie de Leval for his ideal shed. It’s 3m x 3m just like his first ever shop in Nottingham.

london design festival at the v & a - colourliving
The shed from the outside. It’s made from thermo-treated ash.

london design festival at the v & a - colourliving
Loving the Anglepoise + Paul Smith lamp.

london design festival at the v & a - colourliving
Those chairs are to die for.

london design festival at the v & a - colourliving
Interior by Paul Smith and Nicholas Chandor

Other works from ‘The Wish List’, are located close to the entrance of the museum.

I’ll leave you with this incredibly ambitious project. Double space for BMW – precision & poetry in motion. Designers Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby have collaborated with BMW to create a remarkable and memorable experience in the V&A’s Raphael Gallery. The first thing you notice is the sheer size of the space. Truly imposing.

london design festival at the v & a - colourliving

I’m really enjoying the Festival. I shall be back on Thursday with more Design inspirations. Have a good start to the week everyone.


the monocle guide to good business

I’m very excited today to review ‘The Monocle Guide to Good Business’.

I’m a huge fan of the Monocle brand ever since I first discovered the magazine back in 2007 at the now sadly closed Border bookshop in Oxford Street. I was instantly smitten, became a regular reader and an avid supporter!

A couple of years later I attended a talk Tyler Brûlé, Monocle’s Editor in Chief, gave to MBA students of the Rotman School of Management. I’ll never forget how passionate Tyler spoke about the magazine, why he founded it, how the format, paper and smell were key. He wanted the magazine to be collectors items.

For me, the magazine really came into its own once they started working with Japanese illustrators. Then came the wonderful posters, products, physical shops, radio station, cafés and books.

For their first book – The Monocle Guide to Better Living – Monocle collaborated with the brilliant Gestalten, who publish and distribute books and other media on contemporary visual culture. This is a match made in heaven and now there’s no stopping them. Robert Klanten, co-founder, Publisher & Editor in Chief at Gestalten is equally dynamic, entrepreneurial and a good leader.

The Monocle Guide for Good Business, the second book in the Monocle series has just hit the shelves. Regular Monocle readers will be aware that Tyler Brûlé does not like the status quo. He’s in the business of changing, challenging, shaking things up. A true entrepreneur, he likes to guide anyone who will listen. He has firm views on everything, especially on how to set up and do good business.

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving

This most beautiful publication, a true feast for the eye is adorned with gold foil lettering and a pale coloured linen cover. It’s worth the money just for that alone.

Who is it for? Basically it’s for anyone who has ever had a dream of starting their own venture, right through to established businesses that could do with an injection of innovation. If the Monocle brand can teach us one thing, it’s how to do business well, since Monocle has just sold a minority stake to a Japanese media company and has been valued at £70 million.

What you won’t find in the book is a get rich quick formula or any business jargons. No, this is for people and connoisseurs that are willing to work hard, value purpose, understand what it means to have a good lifestyle and who want to excel in what they do. It’s about starting small, doing it right and having fun along the way. The book covers everything from how to ‘get started’, to things you ‘need to know’, right through to ‘observations’ and ‘building an office’. It truly is the definite guide to good business and is backed up by the trademark Monocle photography and sublime layout and printing processes. Mr Brûlé has always understood that if you want people to take in information, you have to make it accessible, bite-sized, fun, visual and cut out boring jargons. He started this formula when he was Editor in Chief at Wallpaper and has gone on to excel in it with the Monocle magazine, and now the books!

Take a look at the book’s film trailer here.

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
The first two books in the Monocle book collection

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 1 – Get started – How to start a farm

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 1 – Get started – How to build a business (50 steps to success

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 1 – Get started – How to build a business (50 steps to success

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 2 – Next steps – Looking Ahead | Paris

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 3 – Need to know

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 4 – Business cities (and villages)

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 5 – Observations

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 6 – Build an office

The Monocle Guide to Better Living - colourliving
Chapter 6 – Build an office

If the Monocle brand is one thing, it’s aspirational, but in the good sense. It’s not about owning yachts and wearing expensive clothes (as so many people ignorantly believe). It’s about standing up to be counted, intelligent navigation through life, making better and wiser choices and challenging our own status quo. It’s about making every day count and being mindful with it. Oh yes, and then there is the visual porn and expensive products. But hey, it is Tyler Brûlé after all. But then I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Monocle does get a fair share of flack. To the naysayers, especially the media critics, I say: ‘go and set up your own businesses, be accountable, do some good out there and then write your commentaries. Critics to me are often failed beings in their respective industries.’ I predict Monocle will go from strength to strength and I will certainly be supporting them along the way.

As I unveil my own little new venture in a few weeks, I would like to thank Tyler Brûlé for all the inspiration over the years. It has certainly influenced and partly shaped my thinking.

Thank you Lee Williams (Gestalten office London).

This post will stay live until Monday 15th September.


styling the seasons – stationery heaven

It’s 1st September and Autumn has made its first appearance. Hello to my favourite month. I was wondering why September is my favourite month? It’s always full of hope after the summer. It’s new beginnings, many design shows and the weather is cool, especially if we have an Indian summer.

As I launch my new project this month I’m full of hope and new beginnings. Not long until I can reveal it all.

So when I got asked to help launch ‘Styling the Seasons’, I jumped at the opportunity. Refresh, rework, re-style. The lovely Katy from Apartment Apothecary has teamed up with Charlotte from Lotts and Lots for this monthly series.

I opted to style my wooden key holder cabinet that came from a university in North London. As a designer and creative I very much believe in creative chaos. Enough to stimulate my senses but with some sort of order too. You minimalists out there (you know who you are), don’t be alarmed. There is a point to this creative clutter.

OK, as I’m leaving this post up for a week I thought it might be fun to list most of the items on show with links where you can get them. If you’re a stationery freak like me, pay attention.

Styling the Seasons - Colourliving
The full monty!

Styling the Seasons - Colourliving
From left: novelty stickers Paperchase | City Clips – London Skyline by Another Studio | Protractor Present & Correct | Marilyn Print Stanley Chow Illustration | Green clip holding print Present & Correct | Midori Brass number clips Luiban | 2013/2014 The Visionnaire Papier Tigre | Paintbrush holder Labour and Wait | Various paintbrushes Cass Arts | Winsor & Newton Cotman Aquarelles

Styling the Seasons - Colourliving
From left: Neon rubber bands R.S.V.P | Small measuring cup Pitfield London | Inside measuring cup: round paper clips – moon clips R.S.V.P | Fine black safety pins Ray Stitch | Extra small gem paper clips Choosing Keeping | Gold pet recycled milk carton – bought many years ago | Small sample paints Abigail Ahern

Styling the Seasons - Colourliving|
From left: Midori Cotton Notebook The Journal Shop | Artefact Cards | Yellow map of Britain | Animal mailing labels Lollipop | Yellow vase bought for £1 | 4-way rubber bands (in yellow vase) Lollipop | Storage jar with copper lid Petersham Nurseries | Inside storage jar: Wallace and Sewell Ribbons Ray Stitch | Green Gorilla eraser Twenty Twentyone | Black Gorilla Safari calendar Katsumi Tamura

Styling the Seasons - Colourliving
Left to right: Kaweco fountain pens and pencil Choosing Keeping | Miniature coloured pencils bought years ago | Staplers with coloured staples bought years ago in Gemany | Chinese stapless stapler Manufactum | Midori MD Notebook The Journal Shop | Felt numbers on notebook La Droguerie | Travel Winsor & Newton Coleman watercolour set Cornelissen

Styling the Seasons - Colourliving

Styling the Seasons - Colourliving
Sequin ribbon Inkkit |Handmade superheroes keyrings Souvenir Gallery | Yellow leather piece – colour for my to be ordered Eames EA217 Soft Pad chair

Styling the Seasons - Colourliving
From left: Novelty stickers | Bicycle clips and Number paper clips bought years ago | Gold number stickers Present & Correct | Red stickers – inside diary of Moleskine | Fox string holder Volpe and Volpe | East of India No.4 office clips bought years ago

Phew, I don’t know about you but I’m exhausted now. I hope you enjoy browsing and maybe a little shopping. Apart from Paperchase, who I don’t rate much these days, everyone else is firmly in my black book and I enjoy supporting them wholeheartedly.

There will be no post on Thursday. I see you back here next Monday. Have a fantastic first week of September.


my library – mapping it out

Maps, yay! A subject close to my heart and a never-ending fascination with what they can be and how they can be interpreted differently. So, when I heard that Mapping it Out – An Alternative Atlas of Contemporary Cartographies was being published by the wonderful Thames & Hudson, I couldn’t have been more excited. Unfortunately I had missed the Serpentine Gallery’s Map Marathon event in 2010 (which this book has been inspired by).

In an effort to rethink what maps can do for us in the twenty-first century, Hans Ulrich Obrist invited a remarkable range of 130 leading figures from different fields – artists, designers, writers, scientists, architects, and thinkers to create maps, of interior or exterior worlds, real or imagined, in any medium. Can you imagine my delight? Of course you can!

Mapping it Out shows us so many different approaches.From plans to plots, blueprints and drawings, instructions and lists. You’ll find mind maps, concept maps and fantasy maps. There is a multitude of inventive ways how to ‘map’ something and if you’re at all interested in the evolution of what ‘maps’ can be, this is a book for you. It was difficult to choose from so many amazing entries. Here are just a few to wet your appetite.

Mapping it Out - colourliving
Mapping it Out – the cover

I love Kevin Kelly’s map of the internet. It’s simple, yet evokes a warm and inviting three dimensional aspect. What would your map of the internet look like?

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Joan Enriquez & Rodrigo Martinez challenge that “if beliefs and institutions don’t adapt and adopt as the environment changes” they too, like religions go extinct. Their map illustrates “some of the speciation that occurred with three of the world’s great religions after originating from a common Abrahamic belief.”

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Suzanne Lacy decided to do a project in prostitution in 1974. At that time, there was little knowledge of the lives of prostitutes. Here we see the early sketches of that research, recorded on brown paper. The whole project resulted in: “The journey took me across LA in three dimensions: the sociology and fabric of relationships, the geography and specific places where prostitution occurs, and my own psychological terrain”

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Prostitution Notes, 1974

One of my favourite entries in the book (not only because of the luscious colours) is Mariana Castillo Deball & Amalia Pica’s map, entitled ‘Figures don’t lie but liars can figure’. It states: ‘the first Jigsaw puzzles were made from Maps. Interesting! I love how this map makes me have to analyse my own interpretation. Is it a map? You answer!

Mapping it Out - colourliving

Mapping it Out - colourliving
Mariana Castillo Deball & Amalia Pica – Figures don’t lie but liars can figure, 2012

I’ve had this book for nearly 2 months and dip in and out of it nearly daily. So much inspiration and thought-provoking entries. Just fab! A real gem firmly ensconced in my library. Happy weekend!


cliveden house

Hello. Happy bank holiday to my UK readers. It’s good to be back.

Thank you for all the heartfelt Birthday messages. I had a magical day. Part of the celebrations took us to the stunning Cliveden House in in the heart of the Berkshire countryside. Surrounded by 376 acres of incredible National Trust managed Grade I listed formal gardens and parkland, it was the perfect spot for Afternoon Tea and a long walk.

We were truly lucky with the weather on the day. Mostly sunny with not even a drop of rain, it made everything look and feel even more beautiful. Of course, I was off duty. Nonetheless, I snapped a few pics to share with you a little of my special day. I hope you enjoy it!

Upon arriving at the gates, you follow the gravel drive all the way to the House. This is what greets you. The most magnificent Fountain of Love.

Clivden House - colourliving

You continue round the corner following the signs for House Guests.

Clivden House - colourliving

Clivden House - colourliving

We just arrived in time for our Afternoon Tea booking. Set in the beautiful Great Hall, it was truly scrumptious. A true treat.

Clivden House - colourliving

Clivden House - colourliving

At the back and surrounding the House there are some wonderful terraces. Great for functions, like this one here.

Clivden House - colourliving

I loved this isolated tree.

Clivden House - colourliving

This is the panoramic view from the back of the house. You can see for miles. Imagine the care that goes into up keeping the gardens. Apparently there are 15 full-time gardeners and a whooping 200 volunteers who keep all the gardens and woodlands in tact and looking like this. Fascinating.

Clivden House - colourliving

Clivden House - colourliving

There are so many different routes to take that you’d need a full day or two to explore everything. With more time we could have got lost in the Maze, which opened in 2011.

Cliveden House - colourliving

A little gate led to this….

Clivden House - colourliving

Nearing sunset, the sun was beaming down on one side and made everything look golden.

Clivden House - colourliving

Clivden House - colourliving

The shadows of the trees were making the most stunning reflections.

Clivden House - colourliving

Clivden House - colourliving

Not everything is beautifully manicured. Personally I love the woodlands best. There’s something unruly about it that appeals to my nature. When I return I’d like to explore more of the woodlands, the wilder Cliveden, with its wealth of walks throughout the estate including a Fitness Trail.

Clivden House - colourliving

I haven’t been to Cliveden House for many many years so it was brilliant to be back. Last time was in my 20’s. It’s being revamped. The international staff were most friendly and helpful and we spent some wonderful few hours there.

Every year I know that just after my Birthday we’re going into Autumn. Sometimes it comes quicker, sometimes we still get a couple of weeks that feel like summer. I think my actual Birthday was the last day of summer and there definitely was a chill in the air on the very next day.

I hope you’ve all had a good summer break and maybe a holiday or two. September is one of my favourite months. It’s going to be a very busy one for me. See you Thursday.


the big 5-0 and what i’ve learned so far

Hello! I’m signing off today for a couple of weeks as I think I deserve a little break:-) I’m also launching a new project in September, which I can’t wait to share with you nearer the time.

In other news, I’m celebrating reaching half a century next Wednesday. #tinasjubilee has finally arrived and yes, I’m emotionally ready. I was thinking how best to mark this milestone here on the blog and decided to list 50 lessons life has taught me so far.

50th final

1. Make peace with your past so it doesn’t screw up the present.
2. Life isn’t always fair, but it’s still damn good.
3. Despite what you might have heard, you can create your own life.
4. Having affairs is just not worth it.
5. To truly love someone you must first learn to love yourself.
6. Mindfulness is the key to so many doors.
7. Don’t compare your life to others. Strive to be unique and forge out your own path.
8. Chasing fame is unsatisfactory. Chase meaning and purpose.
9. What doesn’t kill you sure does make you stronger.
10. What goes up must come down.
11. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
12. You don’t have to always win every argument. Agree to disagree.
13. Religion is an easy way out. Create your own life manual.
14. Do what you love every day.
15. Compromise is underrated.
16. Patience is a true virtue.
17. It comes to those who work hard.
18. It’s good to talk.
19. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.
20. Time heals almost everything. Give time the time it deserves.
21. Forgive everyone everything.
22. It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.
23. Make your life as colourful as possible.
24. Live in the present. It’s the best place to be.
25. Mindless consumerism is just another addiction. Seek inner fulfillment instead.
26. Empathy is the lifeline to every relationship.
27. We are all just people.
28. Children get only one childhood. It’s the foundation for the rest of their lives.
29. Prevention is better than reaction.
30. Be gracious, be humble and remember your roots.
31. Be an eternal student.
32. It’s definitely quality over quantity.
33. It’s good to cry. Having a witness is even better.
34. ‘A life unexamined is a life not worth living’ is the best quote ever.
35. Life is short. Make it your priority.
36. Curiosity is the gateway to an exciting life.
37. Respect the elderly. They have a lot to teach us.
38. Beauty comes and goes. Invest in values and wisdom instead.
39. Go and find your tribe.
40. There was life before the internet. Seek it out.
41. Gather an emotional toolbox. It will come handy.
42. Give time, not money.
43. Wholesome food is a great healer.
44. Knowledge is power.
45. A woman comes into her own at 40.
46. Be ‘playful’ and ‘childish’ at any age.
47. The best is still to come. Make every year your best year yet.
48. Learn from mistakes. Repeating them is not wise.
49. Vulnerability shows strength.
50. ‘Love’ is the answer to life and it comes in many disguises.

We’ve had a gorgeous summer in London and I’m not yet ready to give it up. Hope you’re all having a fab time, wherever you are.

Meanwhile I’ll still be hanging out on Instagram and Twitter. See you back here on Monday 25th August. So long friends! x


the cornershop

I love a good story. You’re in for a treat as this is a great story!

Artist Lucy Sparrow uses felt and wool to make art. But it’s not just some ‘lovely, gorgeous, fun and pretty’ sewing stuff, no it’s rather a clever and playful way to ‘tackle (often collaboratively) some of realities of contemporary living, dealing with issues concerning the politics of consumerism, social exclusion and mental wellbeing’.

After an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign, Lucy has just unveiled a 7-months long project to create an entire cornershop out of felt for the whole of August. It will then move to Brighton in October 2014.

Lucy questions the British consumption landscape, and the demise of our cornershops as spaces not only for consumption but also for community building. The strategic use of this cornershop, in an area increasingly genrtrified, also aids to try and rebuild some of the community relations.

The cornershop officially opened on Friday 1st August at 6pm. I got there just after lunch on Friday and want to thank Lucy (charming, bubbly and very astute) and everyone helping out that day for allowing me to come in to take photographs, despite frantically putting finishing touches to everything before 500 guests descended on the shop that evening. EVERYTHING in the shop has been hand-stitched. All 4000+ products. WOW!

When you visit you can take a clip board with an order form and note down the items you would like to order. For those who can’t visit the shop, hop over to the online shop where you can buy most things. If you don’t see the item you want online, drop Lucy a line. From what I understand, Lucy has already been inundated with orders, so patience is in order! (note to myself)


Meet Lucy.

Lucy outside her cornershop. Everything is stitched, even the sign outside.

Look at the till, which looks even better from the front. And that charity collection tin.

I wanted to show you how much detail goes onto a piece.

There were too many people for me to take shots of the entire shop. Here’s some shelving.

Sweets anyone?

Kit Kat.



Digestive biscuits.

I endorse this sort of ‘save’ drinking!

Beck’s canned beer.

Teachers whisky | Gordon’s gin.

The mandatory Heinz condiments.

Heinz tomato ketchup.

Heinz salad cream.

Some soft drinks.

Diet coke.

And as expected, cigarettes and tobacco behind the till.

Cigarettes and Tobacco.

Now, you will agree that every respected household will need some K-Y Jelly and some Durex.

K-Y Jelly.

Durex flavoured condoms | Durex extra safe condoms

To fight any flu or cold.

Lemsip max.

The newspapers and magazines were one of my favourite products. Lucy does sell these, although they are currently not listed in the online shop. Please inquire for prices.





There was a chiller cabinet full of frozen foods, refrigerated foods and of course a chiller cabinet full of ice creams.

Mr. Freeze ice poles.

I just LOVED my visit to the cornershop. I hope the opening night was a blast. If you’re in London, try and pay a visit to the shop. For all others, do peruse the online shop.

I can’t wait to return, get involved in some community spirit and decide what product I want first. I might just have to order a special commission.

The Cornershop
1st – 31st August
19 Wellington Row, Bethnal Green
London, E2 7BB

Open everyday 10am – 7pm


the pleasure of an allotment

Hook Farm in Kent has been around since after the war. It’s a special place, cut off from main traffic and overlooking fields with horses. There are approximately 25 plots and as you would expect, a real sense of community. My partner and his family have had various plots there for over 25 years.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

On the weekend we went to the bi-annual BBQ, where everyone brings food and drinks and has a good catch up. Armed with my camera I snapped a few pics to show you how harmonious a space like this can be for everyone and everything living together.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

So, let’s meet some of the chickens. I love this sign that shows their names (made entirely by my partner’s dad who used to be in hand lettering, before the days of computers.)

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Happily roaming around and loving the leftovers of the BBQ they were given.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

The plastic tag on the chicken leg below corresponds to their names on the wooden planks.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

This bug hutch was build to encourage bugs, part of the food chain. I also happen to think it’s rather beautiful.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

This is one stylish chicken coop. Inside they’ve put rods for them to sleep on. Chickens like to roost just off the ground, like they would do if they lived in the wild.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Aren’t these teasles just a beauty?

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Anyone help me out with the name of this flower???

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Gorgeous roses!

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Susan, the Bee keeper has 11 hives. I was chatting to her about bees and could have listened for hours. They are the most fascinating creatures.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Some luscious vegetables. Love red chard.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Look at these courgettes with their much sought after flowers.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Fancy some red cabbage?

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

There’s even a resident owl living in the dead tree, here below. Of course, he was retired as it was day time. And they have 3 ponds for frogs.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Some allotment owners have signs like these. WANT!

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

You’ll find fruit, like these grapes.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

The mandatory apples. There were also quite a few pear trees.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Plums anyone?

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Wild blackberries. Just love them. I recently paired them with some fresh flowers.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Meet Basil. Resident flower pot man!

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

A water tank. That’s as good as the plumbing gets.

Hook Farm allotment - colourliving

Being an urban chick I just love going there and pretending I’m in the wild. It’s therapeutic, beautiful and best of all I get to eat a lot of the produce. I call this a result!! But let’s be real for a moment. Having an allotment plot and keeping an allotment site takes a hell of a lot of hard work.

Hope you’ll have a good weekend. x