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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.

2 Comments

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)

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Meet Lucy.

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

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

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

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

Sweets anyone?

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Kit Kat.

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Flake.

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Bounty.

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Digestive biscuits.

I endorse this sort of ‘save’ drinking!

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Beck’s canned beer.

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Teachers whisky | Gordon’s gin.

The mandatory Heinz condiments.

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Heinz tomato ketchup.

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Heinz salad cream.

Some soft drinks.

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Diet coke.

And as expected, cigarettes and tobacco behind the till.

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Cigarettes and Tobacco.

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

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K-Y Jelly.

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Durex flavoured condoms | Durex extra safe condoms

To fight any flu or cold.

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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.

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

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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

10 Comments

deliciously ella – supper club




As someone very health conscious I’ve been a fan of Deliciously Ella for a while now. It’s always nice to see people, passionate about helping others to make better eating choices. You don’t have to agree with all of them but sure enough you will learn new stuff on the way.

Ella focuses on whole, plant-based foods and she makes it all look very yummy. She graduated from St Andrews with a Masters in Art History in May 2013 and has  a best-selling app, is launching her cookbook early next year and teaches cooking classes. Her blog and IG feed are super popular.

A couple of months ago, Ella announced on IG she was doing some supper clubs with her own food at special locations. I was curious so booked myself a place. Last night saw the first of these events.

Meet Ella.

deliciously ella - colourliving

The evening took place at Paradise – by way of Kensal Green, a rather nice restaurant and drinking bar. For those, not necessarily interested in healthy food, here are shots of the interior which I hope will inspire.

deliciously ella - colourliving
The tables were beautifully set with each one getting a goodie bag.

deliciously ella - colourliving
I loved the rustic look of the place. It felt very inviting and the staff very super nice and helpful.

deliciously ella - colourliving
Got to love that horse!

deliciously ella - colourliving
There were numerous lamp shades that took my fancy.

deliciously ella - colourliving
You were able to order all sorts of drinks and cocktails. For me, this cucumber, mint and raspberry water was just what I needed to keep my hydrated.

Tucked away in one corner was a beautiful free standing screen. I just loved the treatment on it.

deliciously ella - colourliving

deliciously ella - colourliving

The decor in the main restaurant was really beautiful. Lots of amazing lights and I really liked the idea of all these corks in the cage.

deliciously ella - colourliving

deliciously ella - colourliving

There’s also a great outside space, especially wonderful in this weather.

deliciously ella - colourliving

What I really enjoyed was to see a room of about 70 people, some came in pairs or groups, others on their own. I sat at a table of 6 and my fellow female diners were a real eclectic bunch of different personalities and walks of life. It made for a most interesting and entertaining evening.

The Menu:

Rice paper wraps with mango dipping sauce
Cucumber & avocado rolls
Beetroot hummus & carrot sticks
All served family style, for tables to share

Coconut Thai curry with brown rice
Marinated kale salad with sweet potato wedges
Carrot, ginger & coconut soup with sautéed mushrooms

Mango & cashew nut mousse with toasted pecans
Sweet potato brownies with coconut icing

The food, as expected, was delicious but difficult to photograph in only candle lit light and with a bunch of women who could hardly wait to tuck in.

deliciously ella - colourliving
Cucumber & avocado rolls

deliciously ella - colourliving
Beetroot hummus & carrot sticks

deliciously ella - colourliving
Mango & cashew nut mousse with toasted pecans

deliciously ella - colourliving
Sweet potato brownies with coconut icing

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Ella is as beautiful as she is nice. Completely genuine, talented and very sweet, I wish her the best of luck in her journey which has already taken her to incredible heights. Thank you for a great evening, for delicious food and for stimulating conversations with the lovely bunch of ladies at my table. Oh, fret not, I spotted quite a few gentlemen too.

Have a good weekend everyone x

11 Comments

magnum celebrates 25 years in selfridges




Phew. Is it hot enough for everyone in the UK? Have you survived that incredible thunderstorm on Thursday night? Wow!!! Do you feel a story coming on? Yes, of course you do.

Apologies, I did not have my camera on me that day, but am sure (by the end of this) you will agree it’s better to blog about this having taken iPhone 5 pics than nothing at all!

Well, in between meetings, whilst in the West End, I decided to pass Selfridges and see what’s new in their superb window displays. Got to love their window displays. As I approached I was faced with this huge Magnum ice cream sculpture. Intrigued I wanted to know more….

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Why is Selfridges displaying Magnum ice cream? I turned the corner to look at further displays…. ah, it all became clear in a flash!

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

So, if Magnum is celebrating 25 years at Selfridges, there must be something fun going on. Let me investigate. It was hot, humid, I had some time and I’m always up for a bit of fun and a great idea. Low and behold, they transformed the much loved Wonder Room into an exciting Magnum ice cream parlour (a la Selfridges).

Let the theatre begin. I have to tell you that more likely than not there will be a queue, so be prepared. This is theatre, after all, so every part of it is important. While you queue you can admire the little Magnum sculptures in the vitrines.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Next, you are greeted by a member of the Magnum team, dressed impeccably in a brown and beige uniform. You get told what happens when it’s your turn and the excitement builds. More displays while you move along the queue.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving
Cocoa beans.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving
Gold Feuillantine

And then the big moment arrives! You are next. Here goes: you choose between vanilla and chocolate/caramel naked ice cream. Then you’re asked to choose 3 or 4 toppings. I chose Almond Flakes, Hazelnuts, Honeycomb and Silver Feuillantine.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Then the dipping starts. Choices are white, milk and dark chocolate. I chose dark chocolate. Marcel, an expert kept me in suspense. What next?

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

The box and the toppings are applied.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Now, the best part. Once again, you can select from white, milk and dark chocolate which Marcel expertly drizzled on top of it all and to finish off, here is the Magnum Signature.

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Voilà. That’s it. There are specially designed wooden tables supplied to eat your piece of art!

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving 

Roll the drums…… the moment you all have been waiting for. My very own Magnum ice cream. Too good to eat, right?

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

There were so many different concoctions that I decided to photograph my neighbours’ one for you before she devoured it. For white chocolate lovers!

Magnum celebrates 25 years in Selfridges - colourliving

Not one with a sweet tooth, this was certainly a sugar fest. But, hey, what a wonderful marketing campaign. Pure theatre, pure joy for young and old and all this for a mere £4.50. So, if you fancy your very own version, go and pay a visit to Selfridges because this is a true ice cream eating experience. Make sure to use the hashtag #magnumxselfridges for all your Social Media.

Happy 25th Birthday Magnum and thank you for the fun!

Magnum at Selfridges
The Concept Store
Oxford Street, London

30 June – 30 August

16 Comments

igloo flowers




Wow. A week of sunshine in London. What better way than grab food, sit in parks, buy flowers and be merry.

Summer is here and flowers are in abundance. One little shop I’m a big fan of is Igloo Flowers on Bermondsey Street.  A little gem of a street with lots of fantastic eateries and shops and the wonderful Fashion and Textile Museum.

What I really like about Igloo Flowers is that they are a florist and delicatessen all in one. Many of you know I’m not a fan of many florists as I prefer wild flowers. But Igloo do it differently. Pre-wrapped, well priced and completely unpretentious, people pick up a bunch while they’re getting coffee or sitting in for a little snack.

Really love their facade. It’s very inviting.

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Inside it’s dark and moody, but look at this wonderful painting on the back wall!

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Loving the copper pots hanging off the ceiling and those lights, yum! Oh, and the food is delicious too.

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

But foremost I wanted to leave you with flowers. There’s something really wonderful about getting a bunch of fresh flowers. the colours and smell will brighten up any home and soul.

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Igloo Flowers - Colourliving

Have a fantastic weekend and I hope the sun is shining for you wherever you are……. see you Monday x

14 Comments

ham yard hotel




I’ve long been a fan of Firmdale’s Hotels so was excited to check out the newly opened Ham Yard Hotel in Soho.

“Hotels should be living things not stuffy institutions” maintain Tim and Kit Kemp, owners of Firmdale Hotels. They now have eight boutique hotels in London and one in New York. Kit Kemp designs all the interiors of the hotels. Her style is ‘modern English’ and although it’s not completely all to my taste, I think she and her husband do an amazing job in creating wonderful accommodation, great places to eat and relax in.

Ham Yard Hotel by far the most ambitious and probably seen as the flagship of all their hotels. There are 90 odd bedrooms and over 20 apartments, a bar, orangerie, restaurant, a screening room, spa and gym, a theatre, private event rooms, a roof top garden and a 1950′s style underground bowling alley. Phew! There are also some independent shops surrounding the courtyard.

On Friday, I took a dear friend of mine to have afternoon tea in the terrace courtyard area. The food and service was outstanding and the price very reasonable. Of course, I had my camera on me so took a little tour of the public spaces , which you’ll see are inviting, seductive and full of art and luscious interiors. I invite you to join me on my tour, where I’ve picked out the eclectic display of art, fabrics, objects, lights, textiles and furniture. Like all good interiors, a lot of thought was given to how the spaces feel and how guests interact with them.

As you walk in towards the reception, I couldn’t take my eyes of these over-sized beaded vessels turned into lamps. How effective are these?

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving

I loved this view into the library. This is a guest-only Library and like any good library, is full of stimulating and hand-selected books. Here the books are not just for show – guests are encouraged to pick them up, browse and read. I have it on good authority there are more than 2000 books on the shelves. At the far end of the library you’ll find an honesty bar that enables you to make your own drinks. Do honesty bars in big hotels really work?

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Some details of what you’ll find in the library.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Left: Loved this artefact of the Queen and her guards. By the way, a belated Happy Birthday M’am.
Right: an interesting ladder with a lampshade. Not sure what I thought of this.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Detail of a low coffee table with vase and flowers. The table was stunning.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
I liked the light fitting against the framed art and wallpaper lining the staircase to go downstairs.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
A quirky art sculpture in the hallway by reception.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
This amazing and mesmerising 135-dial digital clock, where the hands were moving in different directions.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Another great piece of art – a 3d piece of figurines in a circle.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
How great is this cluster of woven lights?

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
The restaurant area has a plethora of fabrics, textiles and texture. Even the plinth are dressed in fabric, designed by Kit herself.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Adjacent to the restaurant is another casual seating area, just beside the very white and serene Orangerie.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Loved this small organ in the restaurant area.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
The drawing room. Yet another public space to chill in, have tea or while the afternoon away!

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Ship ahoy! You must admit this is an amazing light chandelier, as seen in the drawing room.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
The hotel is full of flowers, mainly bouquets, so this was refreshingly different.

Ham Yard Hotel - Firmdale Hotel - Colourliving
Left: yet more books in the drawing room. Loved this colouful seat.
Right: I have a soft spot for old writing desks. This one hits the spot.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my mini tour of this wonderful new hotel in the middle of Soho. I certainly will return to explore further, to continue to be intoxicated by art, colour, patterns and texiles. I’m looking forward to eat in the restaurant and relax in the Orangerie. I must admit I felt totally chilled by the time I left Ham Yard. I have no doubt it will become a regular haunt for me.

Have you ever visited or stayed in a Firmdale Hotel?

20 Comments

the new craftsmen




On Friday saw the opening of the much anticipated The New Craftsmen ‘permanent home’ in Mayfair. The shop is housed in a beautiful arts and crafts period building, ‘originally designed and built in the 19th century as a workshop for a firm of leather-breeches-makers’.

The New Craftsmen was founded in 2012 by Mark Henderson, Catherine Lock and Natalie Melton. They tour the British Isles for makers of traditional craft and choose those who are able to translate their skills in a contemporary way. Now, in their new home, they showcase their network of skilled and curated makers in a most beautiful fashion. Additionally they offer customers a range of services that enable them to customise and develop bespoke pieces.

I met Mark and Natalie on Friday and want to thank them for allowing me to come in and take photographs on the day of their opening.

The first thing you notice upon entering is the abundance of space, beautifully and expertly put together, and the sheer quality of products on show. There’s something about wonderful materials combined with method and design that gives it this unmistakably luxury feeling. Throw in provenance and sustainability and you have a magic formula.

I immediately wanted to move in….. big generous tables, an abundance of light, beautiful wares surrounded by green plants, what is there not to like? As my regular readers will know, I champion the ‘shopping experience’ and this is one heck of a shopping experience. I can’t wait for their planned events of crafts workshops amongst other community building soirées.

Let me show you how to fit out a shop.

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Harbour Light | Aimee Betts, Michael Ruh | Big generous table to sit, have a cup of coffee and ponder some commissions

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
A great selection of green plants | I just loved this chest of drawers

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
The window sill was a perfect place to display these succulents and plants

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Look at this inviting display of tomatoes and artichokes. Another great way to make a shop feel ‘homely’.

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
A selection of display cabinets that break up the big space without interfering with the beauty of the products.

There is truly something for everyone and to fit every budget. See some of the fabulous pieces for sale.

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Left: Humburg Trug, Woodfired Chicken Brick, Woodfired Beakers, Olive Ash Bowls, Olive Ash Food Boards, Silvia K Ceramics Glazed Vessels (coming online soon)
Right: Hamylin Chair | Gareth Neal

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Akiko Hirai | Teapot £180 (coming online soon)

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Akiko Hirai | Teapot £180 | Tea Cups £60 (coming online soon)

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Nicola Tassie |Faceted Porcelain Chocolate Cups £320 for a set of 6 | Faceted Porcelain Jug (not shown)

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Silvia K Ceramics Glazed Platters (coming online soon)

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Left: Laura Carlin ‘Battle’ Lamp | A one-off design. The ceramic base showcases Laura’s sgraffito technique. It’s teamed with a lampshade in Mohair Loop by Irish hand-weavers Mourne Textiles | £1, 485
Right: Laura Carlin ‘Dot’ Lamp | A one-off design. The ceramic base is hand-built and painted | £1,395

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Lighthouse Knitwear | hand-knitted toys and cushions (not shown) individually made by knitters throughout Ireland and the UK. Each bears a tag signed by its maker. 100% Natural fibres | Rabbit £95 | Bear £90

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Rabbit Lighthouse Knitwear | Cornelia O’Donovan’s Linen Scatter Cushion 38′ x 38′

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
Ernst Wright & Son Ltd | Gold-plated Scissors £50 – £85

The new craftsmen - shop opening | colourliving
And here’s the friendly Polly to help you along the way with any queries you might have.

If, like me, you value the importance of provenance, quality, crafts and design you will have found Nirvana. Definitely one of the hottest spots in town. Do pay them a visit, you won’t regret it.

This post will stay up until Monday 16th June.

22 Comments

artist textiles at the fashion and textile museum




A few weeks ago I managed to see the amazing artist textiles exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum, which has now sadly finished. I always really enjoy visiting the museum, as without fail I come away feeling I’ve seen a well curated exhibition. This one was another gem. Bravo!

The exhibition showcased some wonderful collaborations between 20th century artists and fabric producers during the 1950s and 1960s. Wanting to make their work less elitist and more relevant to ordinary people, the artists collaborated with textile manufacturers to produce affordable ranges of fashion and furnishing fabrics. Some of the artists work displayed were Picasso, Andy Warhol, Matisse, Miro, Zandra Rhodes and many more.

My highlight was the work by the Romanian-born artist and illustrator Saul Steinberg.     The corner where his work was displayed was rather dark so forgive the quality and colour references of some of the photographs. However, I think it’s more important to show you the exquisite mark-making here, would you agree?

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Saul Steinberg

In the 1950s a witty, sharp and ironic school of satirical illustration evolved in New York. Steinberg started collaborating with an upmarket textile and wallpaper manufacturer. He translated a number of his designs into a series of coordinated textiles and wallpapers for the quality interior decorator market. Additionally they produced a series of textile designs for the mass-market summer clothing.

Take a look at some of Steinberg’s wonderful work.

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Saul Steinberg | Paddington Station | Detail 1
Roller-printed cotton border print fashion textile, New York, c. 1952

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Saul Steinberg | Paddington Station | Detail 2

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Saul Steinberg | Tin Horn Holiday | Detail 1
Roller-printed cotton border print fashion textile, New York, c. 1952

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Saul Steinberg | Tin Horn Holiday | Detail 2
Roller-printed cotton border print fashion textile, New York, c. 1952

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Saul Steinberg | Wedding| Detail 1
Screen-printed glazed cotton furnishing textile, c. 1950

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Saul Steinberg | Wedding| Detail 2
Screen-printed glazed cotton furnishing textile, c. 1950

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Saul Steinberg | Wedding| Detail 3
Screen-printed glazed cotton furnishing textile, c. 1950

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Saul Steinberg | Wedding| Detail 4
Screen-printed glazed cotton furnishing textile, c. 1950

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Saul Steinberg | Wedding| Detail 5
Screen-printed glazed cotton furnishing textile, c. 1950

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Saul Steinberg | Wedding| Detail 6
Screen-printed glazed cotton furnishing textile, c. 1950

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Saul Steinberg | Arab Town
Roller-printed cotton border print fashion textile, New York, c. 1952

I don’t know about you, but to me Steinberg’s designs have not dated one bit! Do you like the work?

16 Comments

zingi zongi – playful and recycled handmade jewellery




Happy Monday. Happy new week and a very happy Bank Holiday to everyone in the UK. While in Camden Town I popped into the C/159, a new creative retail space for Camden and part of the Camden Collective. Upon entering I stumbled across the handmade jewellery of Zingi Zongi and stopped right there.

I was curious and wanted to know more about who’s behind the jewellery.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving

Meet Nikoletta.

Nikoletta | zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving

How did you get into making jewellery? I’m from Athens in Greece, and about 4 years ago I decided to make a piece of jewellery for myself. It was just an experiment as I’ve always loved doing things with my hands. Once I made it, I carried on and made 50 pieces.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving

What happened next? I simply told my mum I would go and sell my jewellery on the street. My mum just laughed and didn’t believe me. You see, in Greece you need a special licence to sell anything on the street but there was one particular street where no licence was needed. So I headed over there and was immediately intimidated by seeing everyone had big stalls. All I had was my small bedside table and a wooden stand to display my earrings.

How did it go for you? Well, I made €30 on my first day and sometimes I even earned €200. The only problem was that my friends came to hang out with me and we ended up spending all the money on food and drinks. Oh well, it was fun!

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Some selection of Nikoletta’s jewellery.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
These rings are £5 each. I actually liked putting 2 or 3 together on a finger.

So now you were officially a business woman? Haha. Not really. I sold on the street of Athens for 6 weeks. Then I met a woman who had a shop in Athens selling small furnishings and accessories. She liked my jewellery and offered me to take part in her 1-day bazaar over the Christmas period. It was buzzing and I made between €300-€400 that day. I had the opportunity to repeat this in her summer bazaar, which equally went well for me.

You were studying while making your first attempts at Entrepreneurship! Yes, I was studying in Athens and in September 2012 I enrolled in a Masters Degree in digital marketing in Southampton, UK. Then a year later I moved to London to find a job in marketing and luckily after only one month I found a job.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Brooch.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Necklace.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Choker.

With a full-time job in marketing, now what? I was living in Kentish Town and came across Camden Market. I applied for a stall and got my mum to send over my jewellery stuff. It actually weighed nearly 20kg. I did Camden for 1 Saturday only. It was outside, cold and wet. This put me off till the summer when I tried my luck again and decided to do the weekends. The company I worked for closed down. I had already spotted C/159 collective from the bus on my way home. I googled them, applied and got an appointment for them to see my jewellery. I first got a trial, from Friday to Sunday. That went well. They then offered for me to stay for 2 weeks. After that, I got the maximum offer of staying for 6 months until October this year!

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Necklace.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Lego earrings

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Necklace with stones, all found in Greece.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Earrings

Tell us about your jewellery. I’ve collected stuff forever and my mum threatened to get rid of most of it because we were running out of room. I have a particular passion for collecting toys, cords, beads and I’ve always liked the idea of recycling. I have a lot of things like crochet bits  and vintage jewellery from my grandmother and so I incorporate it all into my jewellery. I started being really fascinated by liquid glass techniques and enjoy treating found images.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Necklace.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Barbie bracelet

Are a lot of your pieces one-off’s? The majority of the pieces are unique and I cannot make an exact copy as many of them have some beads, chains or vintage things that cannot been found again. I had many of the plastic animal toys and made a lot of rings with them. They’ve all gone. In a way that keeps me creative and always striving for more ways of making interesting handmade jewellery. If people are interested in a particular jewellery piece that is out of stock or they wish to customise, I’m always happy for them to email me.

This brings me nicely to my own customised pieces. Nikoletta is in the process of making me a long necklace with a plastic giraffe and some of my own feathers and jewellery bits.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Black Queen

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving

I’m also going to be the proud owner of the ‘Save the Polar Bear’ necklace here below. I’ve requested a longer, silver chain with a different bead as hat!

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Save the Polar Bear

Look at the gorgeous treatment of his paws….. that’s why I love Nikoletta’s jewellery. Beautiful, fun, playful, recycled and very affordable! I have a lot of old jewellery I no longer wear or use. I look forward to Nikoletta up-cycling some of it to give it a new lease of life!

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving

Now, this beautiful camel brooch was one of my favourite items. Nikoletta has kindly agreed to donate it to my giveaway here.

zingi zongi - playful and recycled handmade jewellery | colourliving
Camel King brooch

The giveaway is open worldwide and will end at 6pm GMT on Monday 2nd June 2014 where one winner will be randomly chosen. Good luck everyone!

Thank you Nikoletta. I hope that the idea of getting a job in marketing is becoming less and less appealing! This post will stay live until Monday 2nd June. Happy week everyone x

We have a winner. Congratulations to Alison Sye. The Camel brooch will be sent to you.

You can find Zingi Zongi at:
C/159
159, Camden High Street
NW1 7JY

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urban jungle bloggers – ‘other’ café and gallery




Well, since this is my third #urbanjunglebloggers post, it might as well have its own Urban Jungle Bloggers category. What do you say?

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.

May’s theme is: “Greens in Cafés, Shops & Restaurants !

Every so often I come across a café or shop that hugely inspires me. When looking for one that would fit the bill for today’s post, I hit the jackpot but in more than one way. It’s not just about the greens, it’s also about the inspiring interiors and the man who owns this café and gallery.

The outside is already so welcoming. Do you agree? Let me introduce you to the ‘Other’ Café and Gallery.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving

Meet Giuliano.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving

Italian with a French accent, Giuliano, who’s had many years experience in catering, dreamt about opening an independent café and an art gallery space. Three years ago, he found the space and it’s only now that he’s starting to be happy with the end result. It’s been a hard graft, a true labour of love with major structural work and refurbishments, all on a very small budget.

After a 10 weeks intensive course at KLC, (think he’s still suffering from shock) he knew he wanted his space to be unique, full of personality and as far removed from what he saw being ‘in’ with the KLC crowd. Coupled with limited funds, everything is recycled, up-cycled, hand/home-made, bought at car boot fairs or donated. Take a peek.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
Spot the cactus/ Love the wall made out of found wooden palettes | beautiful pitcher

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
There’s something charming about the simplicity of displaying this succulent.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
Loving the Chelsea hunting wallpaper against the reclaimed wooden palettes | That framed photo works really well here.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
Giuliano is passionate about making lamps. Left: a black Ikea planter turned upside down with simple bulb put in.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
I’m just so inspired by the sheer ‘homeliness’ of it all.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
Simple wooden shelving and decor makes it all so unpretentious and ‘non styling’, which is truly refreshing.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
Some wonderful jars and labels. Giuliano has a great eye.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
There was a rather large selection of eclectic tea ware. I want the one on the left!

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
The food is fresh and home-made. Here some afternoon tea. Thank you to the nice ladies who allowed me to take this photograph before tucking in!

 The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
Here’s my late lunch. I was famished and this simple but delicious salmon dish just hit the spot!

Downstairs, you’ll find a little outside space. There’s no seating there but it let’s in light, fresh air and adds to the charm. All of the downstairs used to be storage but was transformed bit by bit with found objects.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving

I was in love with one of the rooms in the basement. Made to look like a living room it has the most wonderful and crazy decor.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
Check out the yellow TV and bird cage | This must be the best display I’ve ever seen for Ed Carpenter’s Pigeon Light

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
Funky prints, urban jungle theme, on funky wallpaper.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
Love this Vignette.

The 'Other' Café and Gallery - UJB - Colourliving
Told ya it’s eclectic and crazy. Just magnificent stuff.

Then there’s actually the gallery space with a large table in the middle. I didn’t take any photographs as there were guests sitting having their afternoon tea. Giuliano’s main aspiration with the gallery is to help emerging artists. His real passion is to be a fine artist and is hoping to launch his own art there in the not too distant future.

I ended up spending quite a few hours at ‘Others’. Another wonderful aspect of this café and gallery is the diverse and interesting people it attracts. There was a real feeling of community spirit and I was fortunate to meet and chat to everyone. I can’t wait to return and only being 10 minutes from my home, I think Giuliano might get to see a whole lot more of me. Oh, pssst, don’t tell him but I’m planning to sneak in some more plants every time I visit!

‘Other’
48 Balls Pond Road,
London, N1 4AP

UJB-sidebar-lime-TB

24 Comments