Isa Arfen..

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It always feels odd to be looking at AW when the pinchpoint decisions for Summer seem so much more pressing.  On the flip side I still have my Winter clothes still hanging in my closet making it much clearer to see leaps of faiths, gaps, necessities, worn-outs and Objects of Desire..

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The category that Isa Arfen falls straight into.

 

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Graciously engaging it’s like cashmere from the street.

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Observations both historical (those gold boots!) and contemporary.

 

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Sharp lines with volume yet precision cut.

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There will be much smiling this Autumn!

Laters, Kate x

Time x

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Time is the universal equaliser the world over and remains the one thing that money can’t buy.  It’s an arbitrary beast – running slow at Doctor’s appointments, running away on holidays and moments of wonder.  Which means despite it being a mathematical unit it has a hidden, nebulous, time warp quality and, given half the chance, it is a thief.

 

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I was originally a Professional Violinist but the one thing I truly hated was practising – repetitive, robotic and boring.  I soon learnt that if I practised intelligently I considerably reduce the monotony – and it’s this discipline I’ve taken into my day to day life: Cut down the grisly bits to the least time possible and use the time left over to breathe.

 

The truth is generally we start the day with a list of things we need to accomplish, we start working through it and before we know it the day is gone and the list has barely been dented.  The next day more stuff piles up and we’re permanently lugging around a constant burden of responsibility and expectation that never ends.

 

So I have 2 Golden Rules and a System – (it’s not Rocket Science, it won’t work for everyone, but it works for me.)

 

The Golden Rules:

 

1. ‘Things’ take less time than you think.

2. The ‘Things’ should never dictate time it takes to do them.

 

The System:

 

1. Write down a list of EVERYTHING. Then write a list of what you need to get done this week, prioritise for the day if needs be, but then divide the rest of the list  over the rest of the week: The moral of the story is long lists never, ever work – divide and conquer and you stand a chance.

2. Give each job 15 minutes – and it is here in the objectivity of technology where the truth lies – SET AN ALARM (honest to God the time remains constant) (I use my phone) for 15 minutes.   When it goes off, move onto the next job, re-set the alarm and start again…in the great scheme of things it’s a pee in the ocean: The accumulative effect packs a punch.

3.  Need to tidy the house? Set the alarm for 5 minutes or 10 minutes for each room – you’ll be amazed at how much you can get done.  The rest of the time is now YOURS.

It also works to create boundaries for the Creative side too – My great love is that absolute joy-zone where’s no effort and you’re transported away from the world.  Given the chance I’d be permanently on my happy-dappy planet –  except nothing practical would ever get done and my house and all those contained within it would fall to rack and ruin.  By using an alarm and setting a limit (30 minutes – 45 minutes?) I give myself permission to ignore everything else for that period of time and just be.  I can safely zone out.  And come back home again.

 

What it does mean is that jobs don’t necessarily get finished (although you’d be surprised how much does – there’s an automatic sense of focus that comes from dictating a specific period of time) – but take my light, the patio, the shirt..not finished..but, given time, they will be..and now I’m controlling them instead of them controlling me..and bit by bit you find great riches in  those small steps..It’s about both squeezing the most from everything..and taking that time to smell the roses..

 

Laters, Kate x

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 joys 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