It Stole My Heart x

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The moment I clapped eyes on this Dries Van Noten shirt it sang my song.  I loved it’s bold stance that still seamlessly fitted with it’s gold baroque inspired partner.

 

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Initially I thought the design was printed – but no, it’s all embroidered aka creole style, which in my view makes it a little slice of heaven.  At £590 I can understand and appreciate it’s steep price and in my minds eye I can already see it walking through my wardrobe marrying all kinds of jeans, skirts and culottes with absolute aplomb, until I fear at the school gates instead of ‘Bella’s-Mum’ or Charlie’s-Mum’ I’d be known as ‘Shirt-Girl’.  I cross my fingers tightly it’ll be in the Summer Sales with a wonderful, purse-happy reduction.  Until then there’s another route and I’ve been compelled to try and make a patterned shirt of my own.  I found an old cream number ripe and ready for the re-cycling bin to experiment on (it’s not cotton but a sort of modern chiffon) and with a bog standard black permanent marker pen and embroidery ring I set to work..

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It’s incredibly therapeutic – there’s no right or wrong, you just do…and it organically grows..it’s not finished yet, but i’ll post a pic of it when it is.

 

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I realise it seems as if I don’t stop – and the truth is I probably don’t.  But a lot of the work I do as a mum is ‘invisible’ – expected and to a certain extent, taken for granted.  By making time for my ‘projects’ I see something tangible created in front of my eyes…and the joy of that is worth it’s weight in gold – I sincerely believe it’s food for the soul.  One of these days I’ll write a post about how I manage my time (I do have a system – I have to) …I just need to find the time to write it…!

 

Laters, Kate x

 

Go Ape! x

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We’ve been soaking up the delights of Hampshire spending a delightful Easter with relatives, eating and drinking far too much with lovely people we haven’t seen for a long time which is what life should be about.  On the last day we dragged ourselves away from the festivities to meet up with good friends to ‘Go Ape’ in the New Forest trees…

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 Aged between 4 and 7 our kids were impressively fearless…

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 Tackling high-wire tracks with gusto that had many adults swaying with pure terror..

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The end reward was a huge zip line..(Charlie was NOT convinced it was a wise idea the first time round – he was persuaded by the staff to give it a go..loved it – and went back for more!)

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 Sometimes you only realise how high they all were when you see the little things down below..

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(This photo by Filip)

Serious fun for all the family!

Except with every Yin there’s alway a Yan…like returning home to the joys of sorting the holiday laundry and getting everything ready for back-to-school ..this is what my Barometer of Life looks like today…

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Pay back…

Laters, Kate x

Happy Easter!! xxx

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And what better way to celebrate Easter than with the coolest eggs I could find..

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These are by the celebrity Tattoo artist Scott Campbell who’s inked such illuminaries as Marc Jacobs, Helena Christensen and Penelope Cruz.

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 Louisiana born Scott abandoned a career as a biochemist to follow his calling (you can just imagine what his parents thought..)

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I love that he doesn’t consider skin his only artistic canvas – the street aesthetic of the Tattoo style works so brilliantly against the fragility of the ostrich egg.  The snakes and spiders feel like their about to hatch out and all the time there’s an on-going relationship between life and death.

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 A lady..or a skull?

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Refreshing to see talent respected for talent no matter what the roots.

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  I find them utterly compelling.

Wishing you all a WONDERFUL Easter!

Laters, Kate x

Doings…

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The light (as discussed here and here) is coming on.  I suspect my top shade is too big..but I just can’t stop! I love the way each shade eats up the shade below and covers the gap between them.  At the moment they’re loosely hooked together – on the plus side it means they can be unhooked with the greatest of ease.  On the downside you have to be careful to find the central point to keep them straight and balanced..and the slightest knock…..they all come crashing down…The window is open now and they do move most beautifully in the breeze.

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We’ve also been having the most wonderful weather in London (long may it last and much deserved) so Bella, Charlie and I have been re-claiming the garden from winter.  Utter madness, but I’ve wanted to extend our patio for ages…I managed to dig out over fifty bags of soil hashtag-who-needs-a-gym? I’m dying to know whether I can actually do it…I want to add some inlaid cobbles as well..time will tell – and I fully accept I’m nuts, but I really believe getting your hands dirty is part of the joy of life.

 

I’ve ordered my espadrilles (2 pairs) for the Competition..ideas are bubbling – just a matter of which ones to choose..and I’ve had another little creative project on the side based on a Dries Van Noten shirt I fell in lust with…but I think I’ll save that for another post! Only a week of the Easter Holidays left to get it all done…no pressure!

 

Laters, Kate x

 

 

Jamie Beck & Ralph Lauren x

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These pictures were taken by the photographer Jamie Beck backstage at the Ralph Lauren Show.

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There’s a serenity and calm to them away from the glare of front of house.  Simple passions and gentle grace.

 

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Where the details of the clothes can sing, the glass pane of the runway removed.

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The rehearsal more telling than the stage production, capturing moments before the masks come down.

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A designer bag now so effortless, approachable and lust-worthy..

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(All photos from Jamie Beck’s Anne Street Studio Blog)

 

It helps that Jamie Beck always adds a sense of timelessness to her work, majestically catching the quality and movement of material she skilfully opens up the arteries to the pitfalls of desire…

 

I fall.

Laters, Kate x

Yo! Beach…

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Last summer I was seduced by retro swimwear..the high wasted bottoms and halter necks. ew_black_bikini2_large

It was my first toe in the water of vintage styles for the beach and I didn’t want to trip up so kept it simple and stuck to black accessorised with cats eye sunnies and a slash of red lipstick.ew_black_polka_dot_swimsuit2_large

It was one of my best buys of the summer and this year I want to expand into colour and print – it’s hard to explain the physics of how more can be less.  The nearest thing I can say is that it’s like the wonders of a mini skirt – with a normal bikini you’re basically standing in your pants and nothing is left to the imagination. Wearing a mini, not much more is added..except you want to see the pants! ew_cherries_bikini_large

These beauties are truly designed for women with curves and effortlessly turn you into that nostalgic siren of the screen, oozing feminine charm..green_retro_bikini_large ew_leopard_print_bikini_large

(All the above swimsuits are from Esther Williams, and can be bought through Luna for those in the UK.)

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(And this lovely number is from Pour Moi at Fig Leaves.)

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It’s a no-brainer – we need to step away from the sticks of this world and embrace the decades that embraced us back!

Laters, Kate x

Coachella 2014

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Coachella: A place for people to unshowily declare themselves.

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To turn up and have fun like a wild drive through the night whilst still standing in a circle of friends.

 

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To sing, play, dance and listen and put a distance from the real world.  Just for a little bit.

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Personally, it’s the Coachella Art Studios that would have my name on them – the craft themes this year are: Paper, re-cycled materials, fashion, camp improvement (!) and a banter booth!

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You can make a head wrap, get stuck into clay and even draw stranger portraits – love this: Sit down on opposite sides of an artists easel with a stranger and draw each other – get to know the other person through the process by using provided interview questions to break the ice..or just chat! The result is a portrait each and a new friend..result!

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The Afterlife is a place to go to give birth to new objects from old…a broken inner bicycle tube? It becomes a wallet. Plastic bags? material! I’d never leave..

 

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For the first time ever there’s even a Quiltchella..a communal quilt in the making..they need you Kerry and Nikki!

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(All photos by Annie powers from Style.com)

The next Festival is 18-20 April…only in my dreams will I be there….But one day, when the kids have flown the nest and I’m in my dotage I’m going to dress up in flowing purple robes and a mighty turban and laugh and dance and do it all till the sun rises again…Promise.

Laters, Kate x

Espadrille Competition!

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Calling all fashionista’s (particularly those with a  young child within)  for our inaugural Pimp Your Kicks Design Competition! this is your chance to play, glue, dye, make..bake! accessorise and bling-o-rize a classic pair of espadrilles into a thing of beauty worthy of a street style photo shot (See here for more inspiration – seriously – the only limit is your imagination!)

 

The details:

  • Sign up below and send a photo of your finished shoes to contactkatebentley@gmail.com by midnight gmt on Friday 2 May (That allows two and a bit weeks time to find, design and make)
  • The winner will be announced on Monday 1 May with pictures of all the entries (can’t wait!)
  • You can enter as many pairs as you wish..and high heeled espadrilles also accepted.
  • There will be an external judge and a little prize for the winner..

I’m off to scout the internet for the cheapest pair of espadrilles I can find…and if I can find children’s sizes Bella and Charlie will be entering too!!

Laters, Kate x

Summer Dresses..

 

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The White romance embroidered maxi dress

Nothing quite beats the ease of a summer dress..it is the ultimate capsule wardrobe – throw it on and you’re out the door.  I found these gorgeous wonders  on the Free People website thanks to the Blog Katewears..Thank you Kate! I know I’ll be losing hours of my life sighing over all their offerings..how rather, very wonderful!

 

 

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Louise Dot dress

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Jenny printed dress

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Valley dress

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Buttondown dress

(Virginia/Holzfeder – Close to your ideal?..was thinking of you..)

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I’m thinking if I bought just one tiny little itty bitty dress….I could justify it by spending my whole holiday wafting in it?? Would make packing very easy…

Laters, Kate x

 

Jackie? Are you there??! x

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Leaving on our adventure..not sure how Bella managed to take this pic, but I love the way the shadow looks like a man with a big nose…

 

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Charlie is our fashionisto today..he’s insisted on wearing his top back-to-front..

 

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To match his blue nail varnish (Yep, a fashion statement rather than hyperthermia..)

 

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First part of the journey is by train.  The kids are tickled pink by the window of this platform cafe…made on purpose or did someone get bored?!

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Fuel stop at Brockley (re-named broccoli by Bella..)

 

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They’re not  impressed by my blue egg brunch, but honestly it’s Delicious!

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There’s a serendipitous magazine on the table….reminding us we’re here on a mission from New York (Click for the NY link and the complete story!)..we have to find Jackie’s book ‘Silk for the Feed Dog’ before anyone else does..she’s literally sent it from across the Atlantic..

 

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Except – so near yet so far..there’s no effing internet on my phone so now we don’t have a map.  Tip to self: Always carry a paper back-up…and we’re on a deadline for the magic to happen..

 

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We jump on a bus..it’s the scenic route but at least I can remember the way from Lewisham (we’re travelling two sides of a very large triangle)..the question is..will we make it in time??

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There it is!! London’s smallest library…

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Is it there? Are we too late?

 

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YES!! SUCCESSSSSSSSSSSS!

 

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All the way from New York!! Utterly totes amazing!!!  So thrilled it’s there and there is such a things as magic in the world..

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And the kids are thrilled to swap and find books of their own too..

Time to go home for a nice cup of tea and a good read..except I have two children to entertain…

but hey!..they have books too! Result!

Laters, a very happy, Kate x

(Quick link back to the NY part of the story!)