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mother’s day and perfume




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

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

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

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

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

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Love this Dior Mother’s Day flowers decoration.

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Dior’s J’adore bottle is timeless……

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

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

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Detail of the bag above.

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

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

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

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

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

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

18 Comments

petersham nurseries




I’ll never forget the first time a friend introduced me to Petersham Nurseries. It was in 2005 and I thought I had found the most beautiful oasis in London. Having always lived north of the river, taking a trip down to Richmond and beyond is always a real treat.

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Last weekend, on a glorious sunny day, we took a drive down to Richmond. No trip down south west is complete without a visit to the glorious and unique Petersham Nurseries. Over the years I’ve seen the business expand. I’ve either been for tea, now in a Teahouse serving a simple, light Italian-inspired lunch menu with homemade cakes, or had lunch or dinner in the Restaurant (while the so amazing Skye Gyngell was still installed as head chef). Sometimes I simply just wanted to buy plants and herbs or to indulge in the most gorgeous shop with an incredible selection, from antiques, homewares, decorative items, stoneware and so much more.

This time I came with a purpose. Yes, I needed an indoor plant for my recent Urban Jungle post!

Armed with my camera and having obtained permission from the lovely Giselle McCarthy (shop buyer extraordinaire), who gave me expertly advise on all matters ‘Hydrangeas’, I couldn’t walk away without taking some snaps. The sun was streaming through the absolutely stunning looking greenhouse. People were enjoying lunch in the restaurant at the back, while others were leisurely admiring everything in the shop.

Let me show you around. It goes without saying I could have bought most things in there!

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The Greenhouse is stunningly decorated.

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Astier de Villatte Robinson Collection Vases | Table Chandelier

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Great nook. Particularly loving the planter wired stand!

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Stunning Display Cabinet | Bread Boards

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The terracotta, the copper and Indian paintings against the painted background is too beautiful for words. I love the storage jars with copper lids and bought one.

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Beautiful Astier de Villatte Tableware

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Rounded wooden Dovecote | Astier Decorative Plates

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Stone Pots | Wonderful Decoration of Greenhouse

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Nectarine Tree | Wondertful vase wares. Gutted I didn’t pick these up, including the pitcher.

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Liquid Soaps, Hardware Brushes | Ostrich Feather Duster

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Coppiced Pendent Lamps

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Hydrangeas | Plant Pots

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Enormous Clock Face

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Original Indian Carousel Horse | Vintage Dogs Toys

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Vintage Indian Horse

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Angel Trio Stone Angels

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Friendly Mr. Mouse (want!) | White Stone Duck (want!)

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Stone Frog

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Stone Mushroom, Stone Animal | Stone Statue on Plinth

I cannot wait for my next visit. Who wants to join me?

21 Comments

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery




I’ll never forget that day in June 2001 when I went to the Victoria and Albert Museum to see an exhibition by an american artist specialising in the most extraordinary hand-blown glass pieces. I’d heard of the Persian Ceiling and my friend who knew my weakness for colours and pattern suggested I drop everything and take myself to see this extraordinary display! I immediately fell in love with Dale Chihuly and his magnificent glass sculptures and the rest is history.

Some of you would have seen or at least heard about the incredible sculptural glass chandelier permanently hanging in the V&A since 2001 and some of you might have even visited Chihuly at Kew Gardens back in 2006.

Well, the incredible Chihuly is back in London. On Tuesday Harrods unveiled his new Amber and Gold Chandelier in their refurbished grand hall entrance and last Saturday a major selling show opened in London’s Halcyon Gallery. I immediately rushed over to intoxicate myself in these beautiful, complex and architectural sculptures and was particularly delighted to see neon artworks never previously shown in the UK.

Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object concentrates on the relationship between a hand-blown glass artwork and the space it inhabits. There is an enormous amount of work displayed and I wanted to purely give you a taster and a guaranteed dose of beauty and colour. There is no way any photography can do these masterpieces any justice but I’m hoping to at least transmit the vibrancy, energy and sheer brilliance!

“For centuries people have been fascinated with glass. It’s like a gem, but fragile. Glass has history, it has life, it’s from the earth.” Dale Chihuly 1995

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery
Garden and Glass, 2012

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery

“There’s something about putting the pieces overhead, on top of the plate glass, that makes you think of the sea – it’s sort of the reverse of having the glass underwater. There’s a feeling of water – at least there is to me. I suppose somebody else could think it’s something they might have seen in the sky or in a dream. Dale Chihuly

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery
Standing on the stairs showing the Persian Ceiling

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery
Detail of Persian Ceiling 1

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Detail of Persian Ceiling 2

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Detail of Persian Ceiling 3

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery
Detail of Persian Ceiling 4

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Detail of Persian Ceiling 5

” You can more directly sense my energy in my drawings than in any other way perhaps. And from the very beginning, the drawings were done, as my glass is done, very quickly, very fast.” Dale Chihuly 

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery
Drawing 1

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Detail of Drawing 1

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Drawings 2, 3

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Drawings 4, 5

“I was struck by the grace of their slumped, sagging forms (Northwest Coast Indian baskets). I wanted to capture this grace in glass.” Dale Chihuly

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery
Baskets 1

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Baskets 2

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Baskets 3

“The Macchia series began with my waking up one day and wanting to use all 300 colours in the hotshop.” Dale Chihuly

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery
Macchia 1

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery
Macchia 2

“Over time I developed the most organic, natural way of working with glass, using the least amount of tools that I could. The glass looks as if it comes from nature.” Dale Chihuly

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery
Detail of Fiori

“I tend to do things on a large scale because it’s exciting. I like to push things in new and different ways.” Dale Chihuly

dale chihuly at halcyon gallery
Detail of Tower

“What I’ve always really been interested in is space. Even when I made a single Cylinder or Macchia, my interest was always in space. I was thinking not of the object itself, but how the object would look in a room. What I’m looking forward to is opening the ovens in the morning and taking the pieces out and then being able to work with them. Putting them together.” Dale Chihuly 1998

I think that sums it up perfectly, don’t you?

Dale Chihuly: Beyond the Object
8th February – 5th April 2014
Halcyon Gallery
144-146 New Bond Street
London W1
020 7100 7144
www.halcyongallery.com

16 Comments

gumi chan at paul smith




Happy Monday. Hasn’t the weather been glorious in London over the weekend? What a change some sun can make. I popped into Paul Smith No.9 Albemarle Street to check out the UK’s first Gumi Chan exhibition that opened a few days ago. I had read about it on Sir Paul’s blog and armed with my camera, I hit the Mayfair store.

My regular readers will know of my admiration and love for ‘everything’ Sir Paul Smith and if you haven’t yet visited his superb exhibition at the Design Museum, do yourself a huge favour and go. Check out my review of it here.

Ok, back to Gumi Chan. Well, let’s start at the beginning. If you want to see inspiring talent, established talent, great mini exhibitions, always look out for what’s on at Paul Smith No.9 Albermarle Street. Sir Paul has got the best eye for raw talent, emerging talent and there’s always something interesting happening there. Needless to say it’s obviously worth a visit just to see and be inspired by the shop decor, fittings, the much sought after Paul Smith collections and the very nice staff.

Japanese artist and doll-maker Kazumi Akao, working alongside production and scene designer Nobuhiko Yoshimitsu created a street scene of Japan 1960′s entitled: Gumi Chan. Every item in the street scene has been lovingly hand-crafted in Japan, down to the finest details. Obsessed with miniatures I had to go and see it for myself.

When I arrived, a member of staff immediately took me to the spot and started telling me about the project. Kazumi, disillusioned with what’s going on in modern Japan,

“feels that Japanese people have lost their habitual happy spirit. The Japan of 1961 was a place of hope, it was a time of optimism, with the economy undergoing huge growth and people beginning to dream of creating a better society. Everyone helped one another, and shared a common bond. Kazumi dreams of re-creating this happy time of neighbourliness and co-operation.”

Kazumi, using her own childhood as inspiration, has been constructing Japanese surburbia in 1961 with her Gumi Chan creations. Sir Paul was struck by Kazumi’s art and offered to exhibit the artist’s work. With Sir Paul’s long history of visiting and working with Japan, Kazumi was inspired to add a Paul Smith shop into her Gumi Chan street scene. How cool is that?

As I was clicking away, listening to excited customers laughing, shopping and generally admiring everything they saw I heard a familiar voice ask me: ‘Do you know what that fellow in the tall red tower is doing?’ I turned around to greet Sir Paul and off he was excitedly explaining to me what was what in the street scene.

Meet Sir Paul Smith.

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In 60′s Japan, dwellings/houses/shops were built out of wood, so fire men stood in these large fire towers keeping an eye on everything!

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Fireman in large Fire Tower.

 

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An overview of the street scene.

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Detail of part of the street scene.

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The Meat & Deli shop.

Sir Paul tells me that the reason for the Japanese lettering of ‘Smith’ (below on the shop sign) containing the same symbols (3rd from last and last), is that the ‘Sm’ and ‘th’ have the same pronunciation in the Japanese language.

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A young Paul Smith with his bicycle in front of his shop.

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The Cinema. The red child figurine here is 6 years old Gumi Chan.

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Detail of the Cinema.

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The Restaurant.

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Detail of a child figurine outside the Restaurant.

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Side view of Green Grocer with a dwelling above.

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Front view of Green Grocer with a dwelling above (left) and kiosk/toyshop (right)

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Green Grocer. Think the owner had a bad day!

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Detail of customer figurine outside Green Grocer.

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Detail of crate of vegetables outside Green Grocer.

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Mother and child figurine outside Kiosk/Toyshop.

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Detail of products sold in Kiosk/Toyshop.

Aren’t the details just incredible? I wish I could have spent longer and taken even more photographs. I want to thank Sir Paul and a his staff for allowing me to be in the way on what was a rather busy Saturday. The shop was heaving, Sir Paul was going around talking to customers, students, chatting and inspiring everyone. He’s like a magnet and creates a most wonderful atmosphere. Shoppers nearby were busy buying shoes, some guys had just come in wanting to buy a wedding suit.

I loved Kazumi’s work and there was so much fantastic detail in the 3 meters miniature display, featuring 30 figurines. The re-creation of a community spirit couldn’t be more befitting in a Paul Smith shop! There was a real community feeling while I was visiting and so it’s only appropriate that the UK’s first Gumi Chan exhibition is being held there.

The exhibition runs from 27th January 2014 – 27th February 2014

Paul Smith No. 9 Albemarle Street
9 Albemarle Street
London
W1S 4BL
Tel: +44 (0)20 7493 4565

On a personal note: I was very saddened to hear of the death of Actor Philip Seymour Hoffman, who was found dead yesterday in his New York apartment at the age of 46. He was one of my all time favourite actors and the World has lost a great talent! R.I.P

33 Comments

hunted and stuffed – upcycled vintage cushions




Today I would like to introduce you to the lovely Ellie of Hunted and Stuffed. I first came across Ellie, well, take a look here when I saw an Oscar de la Renta one-off cushion on her site with this fabulous Kabuki performer. It just had to be mine!

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Forward a couple of years and I caught up with Ellie again in her studio. She’s been rather busy and doing all sorts of wonderful things, so thought it best to give my readers another little insight into yet another talented woman!

Meet Ellie.

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Tell us a little about your upbringing and studies.
My mum was always very creative and was a big influence on me. She was a home knitter in the 80’s making outrageous jumpers for a local designer and always had a personal project on the go, usually where she would be teaching herself a new skill using books from the library, such as re-upholstery or cross-stitching. My uncle Charlie was also a big creative influence when I was a child, he taught Advertising in Stockport and I would often meet ex students of his as clients on photo shoots in London – they’d ask if I was related because of our unusual surname!

I trained in Fine Art – Sculpture at Kingston and fell in love with process. I really got into arc and oxy-acetylene welding under the guidance of a bemused old-school technician and then really fell in love with photography on a trip across the USA mid degree. I think I realized then that it was the making that I loved, I naively couldn’t understand how artists like Anish Kapoor could get other people to make their sculptures for them and then sell them as theirs – it seemed inauthentic in an ‘artist’.

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

What made you start Hunted and Stuffed?
I’d worked as a pro photographer in London for the previous 12 years (much of that on interiors shoots with loads of lovely product samples) and had to stop when I had my son. I was in nesting mode, had my attention focused on the home, couldn’t leave my baby to go out to shoot as the hours were too long and had a massive creative itch that I had to scratch and it all started with a quirky idea about tea towels.

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

How did you start? Do you think that any creative can start their own business?
I’d been a freelancer for ages and I think that trained me to be determined, consistent and brave. There’s a great quote by Deborah Meaden (Dragon’s Den) “The difference is that successful people act on their ideas” and I think that is key. You could have the best idea in the world but if you never do anything with it….
In theory I think any creative CAN start their own business but there is a world of difference between business skills and creativity. It will pay to keep that in mind. Many creatives start off by working in their spare time to test their ideas and get things off the ground and I think that’s wise. Only jack in the day job if you know you’ve got something that works and can support you.

What have been the ups and downs?
The ups are when you get great feedback from a happy customer – that really makes me feel all warm inside! Other highlights have been winning the Brand Amplifier award for female entrepreneurs, that really gave me a confidence boost, and when Cico Books said yes to my book proposal – those were amazing moments when you get to feel that all your hard work is paying off.
The downs are when you find yet another person trying to copy what you’re doing or when sales are slow.

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How do you get your ideas? Do you ever run out of them?
I attended an amazing talk by the incredibly inspirational Paul Smith and I think he answered that question best by saying
“You Can Find Inspiration in Everything*: (*and if you can’t, look again)

Obviously with the upcycled vintage pieces it’s about taking something that someone else has designed in the past and reinventing it by upcycling, adding my own choices of fabrics and trims to create a finished work. I’m working on new pieces, named ‘Hunted and Stuffed Editions’, which will combine elements of vintage artwork and/or photography into completely new designs that I can print digitally – I’m very excited about this new departure!

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving
Kimono Luxe Vintage Cushions

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

I know that Provenance is important to you. Can you expand?
I think basically I’m a straight up kinda gal – honesty and authenticity are paramount to me. If something is ‘vintage’ I take that to mean that it is over 20 years old – not made last month and aged to look ‘vintage’. My customers appreciate that too and that’s why they come to me.
Also, I’m realizing I’m a research junkie. I love finding out about the history of the vintage textiles I use, trying to exactly date them, researching the print or design, the symbolism of the motifs etc. Then I pass on what I’ve discovered so that my customers can know as much as possible because it’s all part of the story of the fabric. It’s part of what makes the pieces different from what you’d find on the high street.

How was it writing your first book and how did that come about?
I had so many ideas of how to upcycle things, vintage items that you’d come across on boot fair raids or antique market rummages, and many I upcycled just to make things for myself. They weren’t necessarily right to create products out of for my business, some were just one offs, a lot weren’t even textile based, so it seemed like a good idea to collate these ideas into book form with detailed instructions on how to make them so that anyone with an interest (and of any skill level) could try making them for themselves. I pitched the idea to Cico Books because they have an excellent reputation for this kind of book and they very kindly accepted. It was a lot of intense work in a short period of time, sourcing, making, writing, but I like a challenge! It was so satisfying to see the finished book and I can’t thank Cico enough for all their support – they were amazing.

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Hunted and Stuffed - Colourliving

Can you share any future plans for H&S.
I’m releasing two new collections. The first is made with upcycled vintage Gannex wool, which is a British fabric created in the 60’s and made famous by Harrold Wilson (who always wore a Gannex coat). It was made in the Gannex Mill in Elland, Yorkshire which is now demolished. I sourced the last of this fabric to create two limited editions of 25 hand-stamped and individually numbered cushions, ‘The Harold’ which is navy blue and tartan/plaid and ‘The Duke’ (grey and tartan).

Named after The Duke of Edinburgh who ordered Gannex coats from Harrods for himself, the Queen and the royal corgis which resulted in the firm receiving the Royal Warrant.

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Gannex Plaid Limited Editions

This fabric has quite an amazing history which I’ve written about on my blog here:

The second is a collection of 3 digitally printed cushions with beautiful designs inspired by Victorian Calling Cards – These are fascinating pieces of social history often with elaborate decoration loaded with symbolism- hands offering ‘forget-me-not’ flowers being one of the easier ones to decipher. Common amongst the middle and upper classes, how they were used is fascinating too –there were many rules dictating when and how to visit a household to leave a card, what particular message is conveyed by turning up a particular corner of the card and how receiving a card in return placed inside an envelope basically means you’re being given the brush-off.

What are some of your dreams in life?
I’d love to travel to Japan but will wait until my son is a bit older!

Thank you Ellie and talking of Japan, I’m the lucky girl who got this wonderful cushion as a Christmas present.Thank you O. It fits beautifully in the Colourliving abode.

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Vintage Kimono Silk Cushion with Teal Velvet Upcycled Uchikake Gilt Thread

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Hunted and Stuffed is also participating in my #tinasjubilee EPIC giveaway with this vintage 1970s London upcycled cushion. Have you entered yet?

What kind of cushions do you buy? I’d love to know! I have got the Book and it’s totally fab. Happy weekend everyone.

22 Comments

cavaliero finn – the talented art curators




Don’t you love Twitter? I do! There is something so satisfying about meeting people we follow on Twitter only to discover how much we have in common. I’ve been following Cavaliero Finn for quite some time so was excited to go to one one of their open weekend exhibitions in their home-cum-gallery in South East London just before Christmas.

I loved everything about the house, their approach and styling, their selection of both emerging and internationally recognised artists and designers and foremost meeting the founders of Cavaliero and Finn.

Meet Debra Finn and Juliana Cavaliero.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving

Hugely talented, with an excellent eye for great art and design, I wanted to know so much more about these ladies, so I probed and asked them a few questions!

How did Cavaliero Finn come about? Juliana and I met at Warwick University many moons ago.  It was here that our collective passion for contemporary art and design took hold and grew while we studied art together.

After Warwick Juliana spent ten years working at the high end of the art world with some of the industry’s major players like Joseph Beuys, Ron Mueck and Gerhard Richter at the Anthony d’Offay Gallery and the art consultancy division of Arthur Andersen, an experience that led her to believe that much more could be done to help up-and-coming artists sell their work.  We’d talked about this problem many times over the years.

I had been rather disillusioned in my career in PR for a long time and dreamed of having my own shop selling something I was passionate about and could promote with integrity. I remember coming back from holiday and scribbling initial ideas on the back of a tatty old piece of paper on the plane.

Then in the first few months of 2003 my Mum sadly passed away, Juliana’s gallery closed and I fell pregnant with my first child – it was a rollercoaster of time as you might imagine.  A new challenge was what was needed and one that would suit motherhood – Juliana fell pregnant with her second child that year too. I left my job as board director and Juliana and I set about creating Cavaliero Finn.

We set up the company initially doing a couple of shows a year at Juliana’s house. The premise was simple: to showcase art and design we loved, that was created by talented artists and designer-makers and to showcase it in a way that was inviting, familiar and informal. After spending many years of seeing art exhibited in sterile, white spaces where people spoke in hushed tones, often for fear of not saying the right thing, this was really important for me in particular.

For us it made perfect sense to exhibit our artists and designers work in a home.  After all, this is where the pieces end up and it helps customers envisage how a work might look in their own work or home environment.

After hosting regular exhibitions at our home-cum-gallery in South East London for a number of years, we launched our online shop to give customers access to our products throughout the year.  In the last couple of years we’ve also extended our exhibition programme to include art fairs such as the Affordable Art Fair.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving
Daniel Reynolds – Large Stoneware Vessels

Can you share the good, bad and ugly in having a business partner? Having a business partner is for the most part fab! In my case, having a business partner who’s also a friend means that I get to work with someone I like which is such a bonus, believe me.  Working with someone you’ve known for a long time means that your working relationship is intuitive which is great.

The partnership also works as we both bring different skill sets to the table.  I often have more of a consumer approach to the business and I am more technical than Juliana whereas Juliana’s knowledge of the art world is more in-depth as a result of her background. It just works.

I guess one of the downsides of working with a friend as your business partner for me is that because we work together we actually see each other less socially than we used to but then living three hours away from each other doesn’t help either – my fault as I moved from London to live in South Somerset with my family seven years ago.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving
Vanja Bazduli – Naive Tableware White

What motivates you and how do you find emerging talents? This is a difficult question as we gain inspiration from so many things – from the shows we visit, from the artists and designers we speak to, from magazines and social media, from friends and family…. We are always on the look out for work that has that Cavaliero Finn trade mark.  The work will be original, will have provenance, it will have quiet, aesthetical appeal and it will have been created with passion and skill, moreover, it will be a work of art that will stand the test of time and one that will be cherished by its owner for a very long time.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving
Fliff Carr – Butter Dish

Buying contemporary art and design is not always easy. You make it look seamless. What’s the trick? Thank you. Our advice to anyone embarking on their first few art and design purchases is to do you homework first. By this we mean visit different types of galleries and museums and work out what you like and dislike. No one is expecting you to be able to recount Gombrich’s Story of Art word for word or anything, just go with your gut feel.

Once you feel confident in this you are ready to make your first purchase. This next piece of advice is the most important.  Only buy what you love – it’s you that will have to live with it, so this is imperative.

When you see a piece you want to buy find out a bit about the artist or designer. Ask the gallery about the artist’s background, what inspires them and find out how they arrive at the finished piece. This will help you decide if you really want to make the investment in the piece. If you have fallen in love with an artist’s work it’s a much easier purchase if you know that there’s a chance that the work could increase in value if the artist or designer has done well at college or if they have won accolades. You may also find a personal connection with the story behind the work which will further enhance your enjoyment of the piece.

Once you’ve seen something you love and can afford, buy it, you won’t regret it.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving
Richard Brendon – Warp cup and saucer
Kathy Dalwood – Plaster Busts

You have regular exhibitions at your home-cum-gallery in South East London. That must take much organisation? Over the years we’ve honed the work down. For our first show we spent the afternoon before the private view baking bacon rolls for our guests, something that makes us cry with laughter now. You just don’t need to do that kind of thing. It does take a lot of time and consideration but we know the space so well at this stage that it takes a fraction of the time it used to.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving
Rowena Brown – Stoneware Houses

Having now visited one of your exhibitions I noticed how much I trusted your curation of artists and admired your talent in display. Surely that’s a skill? Why thank you Tina. I guess so, we’ve been doing this for a number of years and it is now just second nature to us but you are right, a good hang, as we call it, is quite an art in itself.  Juliana learnt a lot from her time with Anthony d’Offay who was a great inspiration. He definitely taught her ‘how to hang’ and she shared that with me.  He would leave her to hang a room and then come and comment and change things, he was quite a perfectionist and she learnt to emulate that. Working for a gallery like that you learn a lot. You learn the value of and artists work and how to showcase it to best effect. So when we curate a Cavaliero Finn show careful thought goes into it. We think about what works together tonally, we think about how the variations in height of our pieces affect the way the eye travels around the show. We understand what styles of paintings should go together. We have a good feel for texture and surface and we are always careful not to make the environment look cluttered. Each piece needs its own space, room to breathe. This is especially hard when we exhibit work at art fairs where space is limited but its something we feel we have cracked, after a little trial and error.

Cavaliero Finn
Sam Edkins – Bespoke Anatomically Correct Chair

Would you say people buy art for investment purpose or for passion or both? Most people buy a piece of art or design because it speaks to them in some way.  They like it and want to be able to look at it time and time again, so we’d say for passion. It is then an added bonus if it then becomes an investment. Luckily for many of our customers their passion becomes an investment too.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving
Sam Edkins – Heart Cushion

What would you say is a big runner for 2014? Is there a trend or does it depend on the artists? We don’t really follow trends, we are always on the outlook for work that is fresh and interesting and we just go with what inspires us at the time.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving
Mineheart – Classic Revisited Cushions

What’s next for Cavaliero Finn? We plan to increase the number of shows we do this year and are planning on doing more external shows in interesting spaces.

Our next show will be held over two weekends on May 10th & 11th and May 17th & 18th. We’ve already planned the line up and are very excited about the show already.

We’ll also be making some improvements to our website this year as the online side of the business continues to grow.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving
Daniel Reynolds – Ceramic and Glass Mobile

What are your dreams for Cavaliero Finn in 5 years? I guess we’d like to have a more permanent retail space or perhaps two spaces one in London and one in the South West.

We’d also like to take the brand outside the UK by doing international art fairs but we hope to be doing this within the next five years.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliving

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Daniel Reynolds – Handbuilt Stoneware Lamp
Sophie Cook – Selection of Sculptural Ceramic Pieces

Ladies, thank you so much. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed meeting you and felt totally inspired by my visit to your exhibition. I hope to see you real soon and, if time permits, will pop along in May.

Cavaliero Finn - Colourliivng
Alice Mara Swimmer Jugs

I bought a couple of of these swimmer jugs. LOVE!

Cavaliero and Finn are also participating in my #tinasjubilee EPIC giveaway with these cute Alice Mara affordable housing salt & pepper pots. Have you entered yet?

Do you collect Art and Design? Will you share your approach to it?

26 Comments

a sunset in london




You all know my my unequivocal love for London and when the weather is nice, to me, it’s unbeatable. One of my favourite views is to stand on Waterloo Bridge and gaze at that majestic panorama.

We had the most beautiful cold and sunny day last Saturday. As I was in town and it wasn’t long until sunset I decided to hop over to the South Bank and take some shots while watching the sun go down. There were loads of people going for walks, drinking coffee, laughing and for a moment everyone looked so happy and peaceful. A wonderful moment. Enjoy!

Sunset in London - colourliving

Sunset in London - colourliving

Sunset in London - colourliving

Sunset in London - colourliving

Sunset in London - colourliving

Sunset in London - colourliving

Sunset in London - colourliving

Sunset in London - colourliving

Sunset in London - colourliving

Sunset in London - Colourliving

Sunset in London - Colourliving

35 Comments

an early walk in the park




With all the Christmas decorations, preparations, shopping sprees, parties, food and drink consumption (phew), one can easily get overwhelmed. In order to centre myself, get some perspective and absorb some daylight I like to go for an early walk in the park.

Just breathing in the cold air, looking at this vista calms me in minutes and is far away from all the bright lights and Christmas songs blaring out from every shop and car that I pass by.

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It’s great to get out early as you hardly see anyone for a short while.

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I LOVE weeping willow trees. There’s something so wise and wonderful about them.

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Dreaming of summer here and loving the colours and patinas.

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The best part is to watch our furry friends going about their business. I could watch them for hours.

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One camera loving dog! He literally posed for me:-)

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These beauties would look good on my roof terrace.

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Love this little mini truck carrying off leaves. At least this doggie litter bin is in a Colourliving colour!

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I don’t know about you but I’m quite chilled now. Best advise I can give to myself for this hectic period is to take it easy, watch my food intake (no need to worry about alcohol in my case), get as much daylight as possible, do some gentle exercise and don’t forget to breathe.

How do you prepare for this manic period of the year? Do let us know!

30 Comments

growing concerns garden centre




A couple of weeks ago on a very cold Saturday afternoon, I was cruising around in my car. I had an hour to kill so decided to get a bit lost. I love those precious moments when I have no care in the world and just get to enjoy being in the moment. Lucky for me I stumbled across the Growing Concern Garden Centre. I’d never been to that part of Wick Lane in the East End.

Quaint, charming and full of character I was instantly smitten. LOVE the green paint!

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

There’s a little cute shop which was full of delightful Christmas decorations. (some examples shown at the end of the post)

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

Was I glad to stand beside the fire. As I was in the car I didn’t dress warmly enough and was absolutely freezing.

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

They had their Christmas Trees early and I’ve never seen so many in one spot.

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

Nice netting machine.

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

All wrapped and ready to go to good homes.

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

Loved the way they marked the various heights of the trees.

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

Charming or what?

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

They had yellow and red buckets. I wanted all of them to brighten up my terrace. What a nice way to display plants and small trees.

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

In case you needed to know where to put these!

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

The light was turning so it must have been just after 4pm. It was so nice to see some colour, despite the time of year.

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

I wanted something for my roof terrace that doesn’t need much looking after in the winter months.  As I recently bought a bird bath I thought this nutritious plant, called Solanum Thorino, would please the birds when they visit for a drink. I pride myself on being a good hostess!

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

Now, I really liked this chap. I’m naming him Rupert! He’s a metal lawn ornament but I worried if it’s very windy, Rupert would fly off the terrace into the Abyss so he didn’t make it home with me. Isn’t he gorgeous?

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

Here are some of the Christmas decorations.  Great colour combination!

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

Loved these kitsch, oriental looking bird cages!

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

What about this regal looking peacock?

Growing Concerns Garden Centre | Colourliving

The garden centre is right by the Hertford Union canal. As they have an entrance gate opposite the Hertford Union Middle Lock, people wander in. On weekends they have a lovely coffee van where you can get coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Growing Concerns is committed to improving public spaces in and around housing estates in East London.

It’s one of the few small, locally run garden centres in London’s East End. The staff were extremely friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Apparently I have to return in the Spring/Summer when I’ll be bowled over by how the place looks. Well, it’s a bit off the beaten track but I cannot wait to return!

Growing Concerns Garden Centre
2 Wick Lane
London E3 2NA

16 Comments

mr men and little miss pop-up in selfridges




A lot of you already know of my love for Selfridges. There’s always something exciting going on, they’re always innovating and one step ahead of the competition. This year alone we’ve seen the in-store click-and-collect service, with the drive-thru click-and-collect service due to launch in early 2014. They opened a bar dedicated to its founder Harry Gordon, after the popularity of the Mr Selfridge TV series. They opened a Denim Studio and more recently we saw the opening of Louis Vuittons’s townhouse.

Is there any stopping them? Well, no, not really. We all know of their bespoke services. From monogramming and engraving to an incredible 3D photo booth, you’ll find exclusive services on every floor. I was interested in one particular bespoke service!

Selfridges and Art You Grew Up With launched the world’s first Mr Men and Little Miss personalised art print pop-up on the fourth floor of the London department store. How cute is this? Now, most of us know of Mr Men Little Miss and who hasn’t got their favourite character?

This is a limited pop-up and the only way to obtain this exclusive opportunity to purchase a personalised print of your favourite Mr Men and Little Miss character is to physically go to the Oxford Street store and order it. I stopped by to give you the details!

Emma and her team are doing a stellar job. I happened to come on one the busiest Saturdays so thank you guys for allowing me to take photographs and be in your way! I cannot begin to tell you how busy that stand is. Anyway, come along with me.

Say hi to Mr Bump and Little Miss Chatterbox.

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

Some more characters.

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

Ok, here are the step by step instructions of how to order.

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

Here’s the list of 25 characters to choose from! All you do is select the size of printClassic, Large and XL, framed or unframed. The prices are as follows:


Classic unframed/framed £14.99/£34.99
Large unframed/framed £39.99/£84.99
XL unframed/framed £94.99/£194.99

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

This photo is what’s on the screen of the laptop they are working from. They insert the chosen character and name of recipient and off it goes through the printer.

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

Lucky Charlotte is about to have her Little Miss Chatterbox framed up!

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

A Certificate of Authenticity is attached to the back of the frame.

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

See Emma hard at work!

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

Once framed up by the team, they are ready for collection after about 20 minutes.

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

In those 20 minutes or so you’re waiting to collect your personalised print, why not go and see the world’s poshest vending machine. Moet & Chandon have installed this champagne dispenser within the Christmas Emporium on the fourth floor.

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up in Selfridges - colourliving

One difference here, you won’t be able to pay for the champagne by traditional means. This is Selfridges after all. Instead you’ll have to purchase tokens. The 200ml mini bottles, which are decorated with Swarovski crystals, cost £17.99 each.

So, which character do you identify with? Pssst, don’t tell anyone, but this is me!

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Seems like it’s all happening in Selfridges. What an amazing opportunity to take an iconic character so many grew up with and love, and have it personalised.

Emma told me that the Mr Men and Little Miss pop-up is scheduled to be in-store until 12th January 2014 but it’s probably best to check with Selfridges nearer the time.

25 Comments