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26 grains




I’ve been wanting to visit 26 grains since when they first opened last June. Following them on Instagram always made me instantly hungry and I’m glad I finally got there!!

26 grains // colourliving

26 grains // colourliving

As expected the place is small but perfectly formed. I was immediately greeted by some very capable young ladies who work that place like magic. You feel the energy of the food as soon as you step through the door and know whatever you’ll order you are about to do something very good for your body and on top really enjoy it too. Result!

With a very small kitchen unit, all dishes are made to order and you can feel the love that goes into each one.

26 grains // colourliving

Ah, now what to choose. I had read on their Instagram page that they’ve just added some new dishes. One of them was the 3 Grain Blood Orange & Cacao Crumble (Almond milk oats, barley and rye blend, blood orange compote, cacao crumble, greek yogurt).

26 grains // colourliving

I decided to first take photographs, have a peek at some of the dishes being served before deciding what to feast on.

Their menu is really quite extensive for such a small place and I particularly liked that you could have sweet or savoury dishes. Their drinks list covers everything from smoothies, lemonade, drinking vinegar to teas and coffees made with almond or coconut milk and turmeric tonic. There is even turmeric latte and hot turmeric choc.

26 grains // colourliving

26 grains // colourliving

26 grains // colourliving

26 grains rolls their own oats and in their savoury dishes they use stock to cook the grains.

26 grains // colourliving

26 grains // colourliving

26 grains // colourliving

I loved their simple system of keeping track of orders.

26 grains // colourliving

This here below is a Bircher muesli. How pretty is that? Oats and chia seeds soaked in almond milk, Coconut, goji berries and date syrup. Yum!

26 grains // colourliving

The very simple decor is charming and effective. Little touches here and there, a few cacti, a little painting and some hydrangeas give it that homely feeling.

26 grains // colourliving

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Cucumber and lemon water is readily available.

26 grains // colourliving

As it was lunchtime and I always favour savoury over sweet, I opted for their Egg & Kale (Oats with Kale, Egg, Avocado and Chili Sauce). Now, that might not sound seductive but I knew it would be just the right dish for me and it was! As I wanted to try their homemade black tahini I chose that as an add on as seen in the photograph.

26 grains // colourliving

26 grains is a great addition to the increasingly health conscious London food scene. Can’t wait to return!

26 grains,
Neal’s Yard,
Seven Dials,
Covent Garden,
London,
WC2H 9DP

Mon – Thurs 8.00-18.00
Friday 8.00-17.00
Saturday and Sunday 10.00-16.00

Instagram.com/26grains

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conservatory archives




Today, I’m über excited to introduce you to the latest addition of a specialist shop in London. Conservatory Archives is a plant shop like no other I’ve encountered.

conservatory archives // colourliving

Opened just before Christmas 2015, owners Jin and Giacomo are currently working on their website. Unfortunately for now you’ll have to take a trip there but boy will you be pleasantly surprised and rather overwhelmed with so much beauty, integrity and discernment.

So what will you find there? Well, if you’re after the usual plant suspects, you’ll find a few of those. Mostly there are unique beauties, be it extra large cacti, airplants and monsteras. You’ll find many small succulents for terrariums, some very rare species obtained from real plant collectors. There are vintage pots and some furniture. The choice and selection is truly breathtaking and you can see the discerning eye. I didn’t know where to look first and I felt that I was in a place where someone knew their craft.

Meet Jin, who tamed my curiosity.

conservatory archives // colourliving

What’s your background? I’m originally from Seoul, where I studied graphic design and also worked as a fashion designer. I came to the UK 5 years ago to study English in Edinburgh, where I met Giacomo. Then I went on to Chelmsford to get a BSc (honour) in Horticulture. Last year we came to London and planned this shop.

What’s the idea? When studying Horticulture, most students focused on landscape gardening. I knew I wanted to work with an ‘indoor garden’. I come from a big city (Seoul) so living with indoor plants in a big city really fascinates me.

conservatory archives // colourliving

conservatory archives // colourliving

Why the name ‘Conservative Archive’? When we took the lease for this shop we knew it used to be london’s oldest ironmongers. A raw and wonderful space. We sadly couldn’t keep the shop facade without painting it due to bare wood not weathering well in London. It ended up looking like a conservatory. There have been pop-up shops here since the ironmongers closed. We plan to stay indefinitely, hence the word ‘archive’.

Do you collect anything? Except for everything to do with plants, I love collecting bric-a-brac, animal figurines, Dieter Rams’ Audio players for Braun. We love going to flea markets and antique markets. I love sourcing containers, pots and anything that will house a plant.

conservatory archives // colourliving

conservatory archives // colourliving

Tell me about the vintage furniture here in the shop! Giacomo and I both love vintage furniture. We have quite a large collection back in Italy, where Giacomo is from. Slowly we’re hoping to bring bits over. We love mid-century furniture and often source form Sweden and Denmark.

Where do you source your unique plants from? Oh, anywhere and everywhere. Our favourite thing is to get into our van and drive to the middle of nowhere where a plant collector hopefully will sell us his beauties. Often they don’t want to part with them. We go literally anywhere.

conservatory archives // colourliving

conservatory archives // colourliving

conservatory archives // colourliving

conservatory archives // colourliving

This will be my go to shop for anything plant related. I bought the most beautiful and unique cactus which no doubt will be featured in another post! Jin, it was such a pleasure to meet you. I cannot wait to return. Now I just need a bigger flat!

Oh, I have it on good authority that there will be coffee served there soon.

Conservatory Archives
493-495 Hackney Road
London
E2 9ED

Open: Tuesday -Sunday
11.00 am -7.00pm
Instagram: @conservatory_archives

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stoke newington organic farmers’ market




Today, I thought I’ll introduce you to another of my favourite farmers’ market. Stoke Newington Organic Farmers’ Market has become a key part of the neighbourhood’s weekly shopping routine. Although I live in Islington I love going there on a Saturday morning and stocking up on some of the best food grown.

All stalls come from small-scale organic or bio-dynamic producers – most of them within a 60-mile radius – and there’s an excellent variety.

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

You’ll find long queues outside the butcher’s van, where the sausages are a big hit. They are my go to for raw jersey kefir.

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

Another of my staple daily diet is the most AMAZING sauerkraut from PAMA. My favourite is the one with Turmeric. Patka & Martin founded PAMA in 2011 while discovering the RAW food scene in California. Now based in Hackney they make a delicious range of fermented products including sauerkrauts, sweet and sour pickles and their own sauerkraut crackers.  Patka and Martin source organic vegetables for their pickles from Ripple Farm, Kent – who also come to the market.

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

PAMA’s Jalapeno carrots.

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

Hook and Son (father and son) have a small organic dairy farm in East Sussex near Hailsham. They produce raw milk from their 75 Friesians and make cream and butter too. They also sell rose veal. Their organic farm has been in their family for 250 years.

My staples from them are their raw butter and ghee.

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

Brothers Matthew and William Rooney grow organic oyster and other exotic mushrooms at their small farm in Great Bromley, Essex. The Mushroom Table are pioneers of the biodynamic cultivation of local mushrooms. Biodynamic mushrooms have culinary and medicinal uses and it’s worth reading up on it and their website is a great start.

Matthew also serves up the most delicious oyster mushroom sandwich. I opt to have it in a cup without the bread. Truly scrumptious!!

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving
A variety of the wild mushroom you’ll find at the stall.

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

I’ve been shopping in farmers’ markets for many years. Often I’ve struggled with the vegetables stalls. This market, in my opinion, has the best vegetable offerings in the whole of London.

My go to’s are A G Brockman and Ripple Farm.

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

Ripple Farm grow over 15 different organic potato varieties. I do tend to prefer sweet potatoes but if I do eat normal potatoes I ABSOLUTELY favour Pink Fir Apple potatoes, here below.

Pink Fir Apple’ is a main crop potato variety with a pink skin and cream, waxy flesh. It has a long, knobbly shape. Originally, it was imported to the UK from France in 1850. I tend to boil them and serve up with spring onion, generous amount of extra virgin olive oil, amalfi lemon and malden salt. I promise you, you’ll be in heaven!

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

Look at this wonderful squash! Here’s a great sqaush indentification chart.

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

There’s breads galore. Aston’s organic bakery has got a fantastic choice, offering sourdoughs,walnut levain, spelt sourdoughs, sourdough rye, multi-grain cobs, cholla, as well as traditonal soda breads and croissants.

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

OK, I might not have a sweet tooth and make my own raw chocolate but at the market you’ll find great chocolates, cakes, Turkish börek, stuffed with piping hot spinach and butter, creole fritters and many other stalls to wet your appetite.

stoke newington organic farmers' market // colourliving

What is there not to love here? And best of all, when you shop at the market, not only do you get delicious food but you are also helping to support small, sustainable farms and farmers around London. Win, win!

Stoke Newington Organic Farmers’ Market
St Pauls Church,
Stoke Newington High St,
London N16 7UY

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blade rubber stamps




I remember in the 90’s discovering this amazing shop that sold rubber stamps. Back then, situated in Neal’s Yard – Covent Garden, it was one of those speciality shops that made London retail’s scenery so enticing.

Well, the speciality retail scenery might not have lasted (although we’re seeing a resurgence) but Blade Rubber Stamps survived, albeit in another location now. Tucked away, moments from the British Museum, the shop is bigger, better and whether you’re a business, designer or crafter, their range of products will wet your appetite and give you new ideas. It’s not all about scrapbooking, I promise! I dare any other retail shop to have a vaster range in coloured inkpads!

Blimey, the selection of rubber stamps is enormous. You can order the collection online.

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Throughout the shop you’ll find homemade cards displayed everywhere. I wanted to know who’s cards they were. Apparently when people come and do workshops on how to use rubber stamps for card making they often leave their piece of art in the shop for customers to get inspired and see some end results. How nice is that?

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I picked an example here of two different people using this tree rubber stamp as inspiration for their very different creations. It shows how the rubber stamp motif is just the bases for the final artwork.

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Some further examples where people have used the rubber stamps from the shop and created a unique piece of work. Inspiring?

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You can also use their made to order rubber stamps service. Always useful!

It is refreshing to see how Blade Rubber Stamps have weathered the economic downturn and remain firmly a destination shop for many people around the world wanting to ‘create’ something. After all we are now in the era of ‘makers’.

There were no names available to credit the artists of the pictures I took.

Blade Rubber Stamp
12 Bury Place,
London WC1A 2JL
020 7831 4123

This post will stay live until Monday 1 February 2016.

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islington square




London seems like a never ending building site. Wherever you look there are cranes, houses being demolished and re-build. And of course there’s a housing shortage. Prices are far too high and it doesn’t look like it’s going to stop any day soon. There’s a new development happening in Islington, my hood.

I was charmed when the developers involved in creating Islington Sqaure put on The Festival of Culture over the weekend. I briefly popped in on Saturday early evening.

So what was it about? Basically Islington Square, to open at the end of 2017, is a new development which will include the conversion of the Edwardian Royal Mail sorting office into large warehouse apartments retaining many of the original features including high ceilings and ornate detailing.There’ll be a vibrant hub of community life with restaurants, cafes and retailers offering something a little different from the high street.

My favourite part had to be the architectural model on display, which I believe can still be viewed for a couple of weeks. I was also pleasantly surprised that in one building there will be 50% affordable homes and in another about 30%. Expect the usual luxury penthouse with swimming pools, but it’s really encouraging to see that there will be a varied and vibrant community with very different scales of what kind of home people can afford to buy.

islington square // colourliving

islington square // colourliving

islington square // colourliving

islington square // colourliving

islington square // colourliving

islington square // colourliving

Here’s a detail of a lit up photographic representation.

islington square // colourliving

In order to introduce the concept the developers put on The Festival of Culture, a free event which included a pop-up cinema, community gardening, a street food market, theatre and dance, some children entertainment, a spectacular light display, live music and buskers.

islington square // colourliving

islington square // colourliving

islington square // colourliving

islington square // colourliving

It’s always nice when there’s a community spirit in one’s area. The Edwardian Royal Mail sorting office has been empty for a few years. The last big event was feast, one of the first street food events back in December 2012 which has always been my favourite.

I think Islington Square will be a nice addition to the borough.

This post will stay live until 14th December.

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The variety of vegetables in the winter months




It’s so important to nourish ourselves with good and wholesome food. As we’re approaching the 1st December, here in the northern hemisphere official winter is about to set in. As a regular farmers market shopper I’m well used to eating seasonal fare. In the summer months when all foods are plentiful, it is easier to get a good variety. Not so in the winter. I thought I’ll highlight some of the vegetables and fruit in season and link to some yummy recipes so you can have a go.

I do advocate organic food and always try and buy my vegetables with the earth left on. They keep for longer like that.

The lovely parsnip is a very underrated root vegetable. Pale yellow or ivory in colour, parsnips are very tasty and simple to prepare. Take a look at Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s recipes for some ideas.

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

Beetroot, also known simply as the beet, has been gaining in popularity as a new super food due to recent studies claiming that beets and beetroot juice can improve athletic performance, lower blood pressure and increase blood flow. The Beetroot comes in many varieties. Here’s the Red Beetroot and some fab recipes.

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

Celeriac, another underrated root vegetable, also known as root-celery, is a closely related variety of common leaf celery. It’s fantastic if you can look beyond the nobbly bits and peel it. I use the leaves for my bone broth. Why not try this Smashed Celeriac recipe.

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

Good old potato. A staple for many. Loved by most. There are too many varieties to list here. I do love potatoes but tend to prefer sweet potatoes these days. They are better for me. Having said that, who can say no to proper home-made potato wedges?

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

Red onions are most often used in salads, salsas, and other raw preparations for their color and relatively mild flavor. The lovely red color becomes washed out during cooking. I use red onions nearly daily. If you find their flavor to astringent for eating raw, try soaking them in water before serving. Try some roasted red onions with butter, honey and balsamic vinegar.

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

Beautiful January King Cabbage. This is a really hardy winter cabbage – not even severe frost seems to bother it. The heads of the January King cabbage are crisp and crunchy. So many ways to cook this. Fancy braised beef with January King Cabbage and Carrot Crush?

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

Another vegetable that many people don’t know what to do with. Leeks, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium. Readily available, I like using them nearly daily. Love this simple recipe: Leeks En Cocotte.

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

Mostly seen in green, these beautiful purple kohlrabi are quite divine. I’ve eaten them raw or cooked. Here are two different recipes for you. One for raw and one for cooked. Kohlrabi carpaccio, Steamed kohlrabi.

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

Brussels sprouts are a bit like marmite. You either hate or love them! With Christmas approaching they are very much in the lime light. Why not try these parmesan brussels sprouts?

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

The squash is rather versatile. You can eat it raw, sautéed, grilled, steamed, boiled, baked and fried. Easily puréed for soups, cakes, pies and quick breads, it also can be added to stews and made into dishes like ratatouille and pumpkin pie. Served alone or as an side dish, the diverse flavors of squash lend itself to any occasion.

There are so many different varieties of squash and pumpkin. How to choose one recipe? Well, let’s choose 80 sweet and savoury squash and pumpkin recipes instead!

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving
Red Kurl Sqaush

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving
Kabocha Sqaush

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving
Autumn Crown Squash

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving
Table Ace Squash

Peppers, tomatoes and red radicchio are still in season if grown in green houses or poly tunnels. There just simply isn’t enough summer season to grow them purely outside. No farmer could make a living out of it.

Here are 27 ways to make your peppers less boring.

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

Garlic Roasted Cherry Tomatoes.

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

For those of you who are not familiar with Radicchio, it’s a leaf chicory, sometimes known as Italian chicory. It is grown as a leaf vegetable and is bitter and spicy taste, which mellows when grilled or roasted. I used it a lot in salads but also in cooking.

I particularly like this Jamie Oliver recipe and have made it many times.

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving

I like buying my organic fruits from Chegworth Valley. Their handpicked apples and pears are amongst the best you can find.

Everything you need to know to make the ultimate Apple Pie.

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving
Russet Apples

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving
Boscop Red Apples

The variety of vegetables in the winter months // colourliving
Comic Pears and Conference Pears

To end with a pear recipe, here is the incomparable Nigel Slater doing what he does best.

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hato press – riso printing workshop




Riso printing seems to be everywhere these days. Not really understanding the process, I was delighted to stumble across a workshop on Zine Making with Hato Press. Established in 2009, the guys at Hato bought their own riso printer to publish their own books. With lots of demand from their friends to print for them too, it made good sense to start running a printing press. Today Hato comprises of three parts: Hato Press, a printing and publishing house; Studio Hato, a design studio specialising in publications, exhibitions, education and workshops and its newest member Hato Labo, an interactive design studio.

Last Wednesday I attended the workshop. There were six of us. We had three hours but ran over. Justin, our teacher and Hato’s MD was patient and friendly. The aim was to make a 16 page A6 zine booklet, trimmed and stapled. We were allowed to use 2 colours in total. That means that 8 pages were in one colour and the other 8 pages in another colour.

First, what are you going to fill the pages with? There were a plethora of magazines available to cut out from. I chose to bring some black and white photocopies of my own sketches. Everyone concentrated really hard!

hato press - riso printing workshop // colourliving

These are some of my templates for the booklet.

hato press - riso printing workshop // colourliving

Once we filled all 16 pages, we were able to choose 2 colours from this chart. Easier said than done! What would you have chosen?

hato press - riso printing workshop // colourliving

Some of the ink cartridges hanging up as display.

hato press - riso printing workshop // colourliving

These were the actual housing for the ink cartridges. Hato have about 3 riso printing machines and all were used that evening.

hato press - riso printing workshop // colourliving

A lovely blackboard explaining the riso printing process.

hato press - riso printing workshop // colourliving

One of the riso printers in the printing room. They do look like photocopying machines.

hato press - riso printing workshop // colourliving

This next piece is one 8 page side of one of the attendees. I liked that she used photographs and layered her templates.

hato press - riso printing workshop // colourliving

This is one of my 8 page template printed in teal.

hato press - riso printing workshop // colourliving

So once both sides of our templates were printed, we folded the page into a booklet. Justin trimmed all books while we in turn stapled them together. Voilà! Here’s my final piece. Teal and fluro orange. Like the combo?

hato press - riso printing workshop // colourliving

I really enjoyed the workshop. Ideally I would have liked to print 2 colours on one page to experience that process. Next time I know what to expect and what results the riso printing will give me. Check out Hato’s future workshops.
Thank you Justin for all your help.

This post will stay live until Monday 30th November.

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mademoiselle privé




There are no words, just sadness, for the atrocities in Friday’s attack on Paris. #peaceforparis (Let’s not forget Beirut too).

This post is a little overdue. What better time to honour one of France’s most iconic figures. Coco Chanel.

Mademoiselle Privé, the Saatchi Gallery exhibition about the life and legacy of Coco Chanel was only on for just over two weeks. No wonder people came from all over the world and the queues, especially in the last few days, were horrendous! A mammoth undertaking, let me share with you some of the highlights for me.

Coco Chanel has had a flurry of recent biographies, films and now this exhibition. Most of these focus on her life, her loves and of course her iconic designs. This exhibition showed once again how forward thinking and modern she really was. Most of you will know that it’s Karl Lagerfeld who carries on the Chanel brand. This exhibition was very much geared to what Chanel is today, thanks to Karl Lagerfeld.

mademoiselle privé // colourliving
Karl Lagerfeld at the opening of the Mademoiselle Privé exhibition, sporting a classic Chanel strand of pearls. Not bad for an 82 year old!
Photograph: Niklas Halle’N/AFP/Getty Images

One of my favourite moments was a short film made by Karl Lagerfeld imagining an encounter between him and Ms Chanel. Coco, expertly played by Geraldine Chaplin, awakes on the sofa of her Rue Cambon apartment after forty years and confronts Lagerfeld about his work. “What do you think you are doing?” she asks, to which he replies “I am keeping you alive.”

mademoiselle privé // colourliving
Beautiful screens adorned the walls by reception as you entered

As you entered the exhibition you saw the sketched figure of Coco Chanel. Mademoiselle Privé had it’s own app, which we were all encouraged to download. The app enhanced the experience with interactive content that was then revealed throughout the visit. For example, in one of the rooms you simply saw a door. If you held up your smartphone, the door opened and you saw a figure looking like Coco Chanel sit in her studio looking at fabrics. Real fun this augmented reality.


mademoiselle privé // colourliving
Image taken from the homepage of the app

The first room you entered was a reconstruction of the mirrored staircase above Chanel’s salon, an image well covered in the latest biopics on Coco Chanel. She would sit on the stairs and observe the reaction of the audience.

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

Going through the next couple of rooms made me realise that this was indeed an ambitious exhibition. The recreation of Coco’s first ever shop, a Deauville hat store and subsequent rooms of showing books, paintings and summers spent in Scotland were all in black and white. The attraction here was moving animation and together with the app it made for an interesting and different experience.

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

One of the many highlights for me was the exciting space featuring the Chanel N0.5 perfume. It was a magical room, resembling a kind of laboratory, displaying futuristic white and gold-lidded wells filled with the perfume’s individual ingredients. The different wells, filling the room with many scents, open and close in rotation with lights coming on and off.  The perfume is a complex formula and made up of around 80 components, including the famous ‘Aldehydes’. It was the first fragrance to ever bear the name of a fashion designer.

Coco Chanel challenged perfumer Ernest Beaux, who lived close to Grasse, the centre of the perfume industry, to the task. It took him several months to perfect a new fragrance but eventually came up with 10 samples and presented them to Chanel. They were numbered one to five and 20 to 24. She picked number five. It is rumoured that the concoction was actually the result of a laboratory mistake. Beaux’s assistant had added a dose of aldehyde in a quantity never used before.

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

There was a lot of queuing going on, both outside and inside. On the first floor, while waiting to enter the room of haute couture and jewellery, some evening dresses were spectacularly displayed by being supported by internal light rods.

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

After being in the queue what seemed for forever, I entered the wonderful room with a selection of some of Lagerfeld’s most iconic evening dresses, accessorized with an incredible diamond fine jewellery collection. This was designed by Coco Chanel in 1932 but displayed here for the very first time. You can imagine the security in this particular room. It was hard to get close to anything.

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

A lovely touch was the stunning photography (couldn’t see photographer’s names to credit and © here) of some of Chanel’s models and ambassadors, adorning the walls in this room.

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

And of course, we love Chanel for it’s craftsmanship and attention to detail.

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

mademoiselle privé // colourliving

There were a plethora of rooms divided on all three floors. On the day I went (the last weekend) they had regrettably already shut off the third floor. There was so much to see and experience but this post would be double as long if I showed you any more.

Having recently seen a few exhibitions from world class fashion houses, this one gets the thumbs up. It was a mammoth undertaking. I thought the Saatchi Gallery was a perfect venue. It was free. It was different and exciting. It was playful and didn’t take itself too seriously. Extending the exhibition’s dates would have possibly reduced those horrendous queues, but hey, you cannot have everything in life. I’m happy I go to see it.

Bravo Chanel!

This post will stay live until Monday 23rd November.

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lauren child’s collaged illustrations




I recently blogged about Lauren Child’s Dolls’ House at The House of Illustration. I focused solely on the dolls house, but the exhibition also includes original sets made for The Princess And The Pea,  a book illustrated with three-dimensional miniature sets. These collages were framed in perspex and due to reflections from windows and daylight rather difficult to photograph, but I just wanted to capture some of them and show you.

I’m a huge fan of illustration and and it’s potency for storytelling as many of you know from my Mapology Guides venture. There’s something about collages though that inspires me no end. I studied graphic design, but years later I wished I had studied textile or surface design. The richness and three dimensional aspect of a collage with paper and textiles is so rich and exciting.

This part of the exhibition explores the way that Lauren Child’s collage techniques reference the experience of playing with and making her dolls’ house.

lauren child's collaged illustrations | colourliving

She recycles materials for her collages. The smallest scrap of fabric is used to create new patterns to “wallpaper her characters’ rooms”. Some of the wallpapers in these collages also appear in the dolls’ house.

lauren child's collaged illustrations | colourliving

lauren child's collaged illustrations | colourliving

lauren child's collaged illustrations | colourliving

The collaged interiors conjure up such atmosphere. Lauren arranges collage pieces on paper in the same way she arranges furniture in her dolls’ house. In these illustrations she placed the elements precisely to tell the story.

lauren child's collaged illustrations | colourliving

Aren’t these absolutely charming? Now I’m obsessing about making collages. I used to. Maybe I will again. Do go and see this exhibition. It’s utterly charming.

House of Illustration
Lauren Child’s Dolls’ House
2 Granary Square, Kings Cross
London N1C 4BH
Until 7 February 2016

This post will stay life until Monday 16th November 2015

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lauren child’s dolls’ house




I’m always excited when there’s a something new to see at The House of Illustration. The most recent exhibition is Lauren Child’s hand-crafted dolls’ house, which is on display for the very first time.

Lauren Child, author, illustrator and creator of Charlie & Lola, has a secret passion – dolls’ houses. She’s been working on her own dolls’ house for the past 30 years and her lifelong obsession continues to inspire her ideas and shape her work.

I’m fascinated by dolls’ houses. But why are they so popular and what’s the explanation for these miniature interior worlds having such power to cast a spell beyond childhood?

I’ll never forget when a few years ago I visited the Kensington Dolls’ House exhibition. It was like discovering a new world. Packed with hundreds of traders of any imaginable miniature, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much money exchanged at an exhibition. Full of ardent collectors willing to pay big money for tiny objects of desire, I witnessed the insatiable hunger to create, update and furnish their doll’s houses.

‘Lauren Child’s dolls’ house is a work in progress that changes as she experiments with ideas and techniques. Many of the objects, like the lacquer cabinet, ceramics and some of the more delicate furniture, have been painstakingly made by dolls’ house experts. Other pieces are made by Lauren, and some things are found objects not originally intended for a doll’s house.’

Lauren likes the effect of the mismatched items: “The dolls’ houses I love best are the ones where the objects are not all in perfect scale. There’s a strangeness to them and I like to be reminded that I’m looking at a scene which isn’t quite real.”

lauren child's dolls' house // colourliving

lauren child's dolls' house // colourliving

lauren child's dolls' house // colourliving

lauren child's dolls' house // colourliving

lauren child's dolls' house // colourliving

lauren child's dolls' house // colourliving

lauren child's dolls' house // colourliving

lauren child's dolls' house // colourliving

Here’s a peek inside the dolls’ house it took Lauren Child 30 years to make from the Today program on BBC Radio 4.

House of Illustration
Lauren Child’s Dolls’ House
2 Granary Square, Kings Cross
London N1C 4BH
Until 7 February 2016

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