Sculpted x


I’m re-cycling this post because I love it x

Great Art is like a chemical reaction in the blood, sparking signals to swell the brain and heart with waves of love and wonder.  So it is with the ceramics of Fenella Elms.


Another feather in her talented cap: She never started her professional life as a Potter, working instead in mental health as an occupational therapist.

‘I’d always joked that one day I would become a potter.  And then ten years ago, for my 40th birthday, my husband bought me a wheel.’



She did an art foundation at Swindon College follwed a year later by a part-time HNC-level course in ceramics. Who knows what would’ve happened to a fledgling Fenella and whether she needed to treat down her other path first: She’d always enjoyed pottery at school but couldn’t see how to make a career out of it.  But the mature, newly graduated Fenella immediately started winning awards including  the Ceramic Review Award for Exceptional, Innovation and Challenging work at the Ceramic Art London exhibition.


Organic, living, breathing  her work crosses the boundary between manmade and nature.


‘The approach I make to porcelain isn’t so different to my psychoanalytic practice; It’s all about the subconscious , where things aren’t forced or contrived.  I do masses of preparation and drawing, then I put it all aside and wait to see what emerges.’

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Her studio is based in Wiltshire, in  a converted milking parlour, which speaks of beauty, age, space and peace: ‘I enjoy looking at the world around me.  It’s nice realising that all the time I spent staring at the details of plants or ripples in water was for a reason.’


Laters, Kate x

Legends of the Fall x

$(KGrHqRHJFEFENDy8O5cBRGuzYFMkw~~60_12Vintage Navajo Blanket Coat

Still loving these coats so it feels apt to post about them again… x

I’ve always found it a little bit distressing that just as the summer hits a decent stride thoughts start turning to autumn (mine included).  For us in Northern Europe there’s a gradual accumulation of layers and making sure shoes don’t leak (hashtag cold feet)..140

So how do you choose your Fall wardrobe? Worn on a piece of chewed up paper? Filling in the gaps of what has died? Or do you have a carefully sifted gallery of designer offerings from which to hitch your aspirations to?

For me it’s a sifting of the mental margin notes of anything that has fluttered my heart during the year and then trying to find them or their equivalents…and the pictures of snowy NY Fashion Week still play in my mind.  I loved the blankets worn as scarves, the capes over coats but belted at the waist..everything felt warm, practical but with an unexpected added artisanal chic.

Which triggered, I suspect a sense of strong desire when I first found all these pictures of vintage Navajo blanket coats on Ebay last February? Anyway..some time ago and I fell in lust…


Classic with a kick.

$T2eC16ZHJFoE9nh6pN!fBRLCLvBH2!~~60_57 A foxtrot at a bohemian campfire.

$T2eC16RHJGoE9nuQfSSmBRLCLki4ig~~60_57But maybe there’s not the same appeal for blanket coats across the pond? Maybe they’re a little bit passe…I just don’t know…maybe for you it’s the equivalent of Laura Ashley and bad tweed for us??

DSC02125_zpsfd630323 But I had to get me a piece..and this one is MINE!

DSC02126_zpsde1a1ba2I’m very ready to make a winter statement..coats are very special…but how many can you actually ride into the sunset?

Laters, Kate x

Bella Bella x


So this post was originally written two years ago, to celebrate Bella’s eighth birthday.  On the day of her tenth birthday, I don’t think I can improve on the sentiment contained, except to say the words grow more concentrated with each passing day x

We’ve been in the garden county of Kent for the first week of half-term (it’s a two week break for us)  – and I thought I was prepared for the black hole of social media that this part of the UK has historically proved to be by taking a dongle with us, but even that was no match for the rich eiderdown of life that seems to squash the very lifeblood of the internet to nothing in these parts. On the plus side, life without the internet is a lot simpler..more old fashioned..and in the end, there was really nothing for it but to embrace the holiday spirit and go with the’s been a great break!


We also celebrated Bella’s eighth’s hard to believe, it seems only yesterday I was holding that tiny baby, watching the face of Big Ben tick round that first night we spent together in St Thomas’ hospital.  I look at her now and have the most enormous chest restricting rush – she is my open-heart production – vibrant, living, learning..I never used to worry so much about life, now there’s more grey..I’ve become an observer, teacher and pupil too. it’s weird – you think your helpless child will be totally reliant on you and you have your experience and the need to guide and help, but it’s just not true.  Instead it’s a constant balancing act that I don’t think anyone can get totally right: You want to lead, but you don’t want to helicopter. You want to love and cuddle, but you don’t want to smother.  There’s an undeniable pleasure in growing together in habits, tastes and socks…but the easiest thing as a parent is to see your child as a mini-you where you now have the ability to correct all the imperfections..or to see the person they are now as the character they will always be and deny them the space to grow..thoughts like that just end up passing the negativity down the food-chain, or so it seems to me..but then who am I to say?


I know I don’t want her to be the child that has everything – but even deciding that is choosing a course of action, adding an intrinsic quality, another detail.  I don’t believe that love is materialistic, instead I believe adversity supports initiative – one of the greatest gifts a parent can bestow.  To that I add manners, self-respect and confidence  – far more important in real life than examination certificates.  I want her to have the space to find out who she is away from any expectations of mine and to be able to express that in any situation.  I want her to have the confidence to stand up and say her opinion whether it’s right or wrong.  I want her to make mistakes, whether it’s in her maths homework or something bigger, to learn there are always solutions if you look hard enough and mistakes are part of the stepping stones of life and shouldn’t be avoided…sometimes they lead you forward.IMG_0474

Life is as delicate as a falling feather but should always be a glorious caper..I hope she has a wonderfully misspent youth with sunshine smiles and audacious bursts of laughter, she is my joy, my love, my heart…and I hope that when the time comes, I have the sense to set my treasure free..


Does mother know best? You dream about it..but ultimately kids appear from nowhere and have wills of their own and you’re just ordinary people trying to get through life the very best way you can, showing them life and hopefully a way of looking at things that opens the door to where the magic lies….


Laters, Kate x




Penny Winter x



Looking through old posts is a bit like looking through an old address book – you see people you must catch up with again.  I wonder what Penny Winter is doing now..

It’s rare that I don’t use my own words for a post…but then Penny Winter is a rare beast and an endangered species.  I first came across her work when exploring one of my favourite Labels Edun – for their SS14 Collection she designed and produced the horn & crystal neck cuff as worn by Helena Christensen above at her workshop in Nairobi and it piqued my interest.  So in her own words – because nothing should be left out – please meet the incredible Penny Winter…

‘I was born in Belfast and grew up there through our ‘troubles’. After studying costume design and corsetry at LCF I landed my first job at the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford where I was making period costumes and pattern drafting for the theatre.I moved back to London and took a similar job at the English National Opera, before the big move to Kenya.My boyfriend at the time was a journalist and we together with our backpacks moved out without looking back.I fell in love with Kenya, he didn’t and left after a few months. 
(Photo Touko Sipilainen)
My corserty came into play thereafter, I started a small workshop making  18thcentury shaped corsets from vintage Africa cloth, Bacuba cloth from Congo,raffia from Ivory Coast, snakeskin,fishskin, and Maasai inspired beaded corsets.We,(Paul, my now husband and I) travelled all over central and west Africa on the lookout for interesting trims and weaves.People heard about these unusual pieces and I produced a lot of them  for cool weddings, big parties, and people also just bought them to hang in their bedrooms as art.During this time I worked on films such as The Constant Gardener, The Last King of Scotland,and local tv productions.Since then the workshop has grown and we make clothes for the Kenya jetters and international clients. Our signature coat, the Audrey coat which in it’s original form was  handwoven wool/linen with a beaded cuff, has evolved and can be found this season in dark burgundy velvet.We are also known well for our evening dresses which tend to be of a more bohemian style. Our clients include names such as Uma Thurman,Sylvia Fendi, Helena Christensen, and one of our gowns was at Buckingham palace for William and Kate’s wedding evening party.
 African Jewellery, Tribal Jewellery, Kenyan Jewellery, Raw Amethest Labradite Ruby Rubies Black Turmaline Afican Sapphire White topaz Light horn, Dark Horn, gold, faceted Stone, Labradorite, Bone, Moonstone Agate, Rutilated Quartz,Labradorite ring
In 2007 we were approached by SUNO to start their brand here which we got up and running, we produced the first six collections for them. In addition to  the fashion label I co-design and produce the Ashley Pittman collection sold in Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, a feat against odds as we are constantly struggling with power outages,water shortages etc, and the day to day chaos of running a large scale, hand crafted business in central Nairobi. I employ around 200 people who take great pride in selling their work I design in top stores around the world.I work closely with our various teams whether it be a horn workshop in rural Kenya, to downtown chaos, busy and noisy, but always fun. I take most pride in the fact I have through relentless efforts, managed to instill the discipline  and work ethic it takes, to our teams to work in the real world, providing top notch products which they can take pride in, on time, without any form of charity.We are competing with world known brands, except without any of the advantages, in Africa.
This is my first solo jewellery collection, outside of my Ngong House boutique, which is my husband’s small hotel, on the outskirts of Nairobi, just under the Ngong Hills. 
My husband Paul and I have three children.(Charlie, Leyla and Amber). Apart from our work, we have built a clinic and a primary school, thanks to charitable donations in the Kibwezi area of rural Kenya, where we also have a defunct farm and tree plantation.We found the place around ten years ago on a trip back from Kilimanjairo, camped there and now have large safari tents which we use instead of a house.The clinic now has a catchment area of about 70mile radius, there are absolutely no other medical facilities in this area, and we are currently developing a maternity wing. Holidays are mainly at Amber House Lamu, which we restored from a 300year old Swahili villa, in the Old Town Lamu. My passion is sailing so that’s what I do when I go there.’



She is one of those truly remarkable people that inspires just by breathing.  I can’t help but wonder when a film of her life will be made…

In awe, Kate x

Who is Kate Bentley?


It’s half term this week and we’ve gone away to the sea side town of Hastings to breathe the country air and walk by the sea.  As a result this is an eco-friendly week of posts, re-cycled from the past..starting with this one.  Enjoy x

Ever Googled yourself? I could be Kathryn Bentley..a Texas Native designing handmade jewellery and running the rather wonderful Dream Collective in Los her dress..


And her style.



 Or maybe I’m Kate Bentley the  award-winning professional painter based in the Lake District in the beautiful Lyth Valley.


Pretty idyllic..


Or collecting pins on Pintrest..’cept it isn’t me..but I like her taste. I think she might be a nurse..


Or maybe  I’m just Kate in a Bentley..


(Photo by Kelvin Bruce)

The truth is, out here in the cyber-world, we can be who we want to be….and sometimes it’s pretty awe-inspiring to look around..

But after the burst of imaginary gasoline…I rather like coming home to my little reality again..after all, home is where the heart is.

Laters, Kate x











Future Candy x


The future doesn’t eat, but it does draw you in with it’s promise of change and difference.


If I could predict a future trend it would be a move away from regular pattern and symmetry.


Not an easy concept to pull off: How do you make something cohesive whilst embracing chaos?

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(All pictures Pinterest)

Except it’s that perfect imperfect sweet spot that makes it so very tasty.

Bon appetit.

Laters, Kate x

Lady of Misrule x


Do you look at clothes for their integral beauty or as something you could potentially add to your expanding wardrobe? Take the By. Bonnie Young clothes – a veritable smorgasbord of gorgeousness – but the chances of them say, fitting me? Limited.  But it doesn’t stop me drooling. Or do you dream of what you want and hope that somebody out there can read your fevered mind and actually produce it?


It’s a subtle twist on that age old question, does style come before fashion? (Which one could argue is a posh way of saying if you wear what suits you first, do you look better?) which also the means, the chances of finding what you’ve dreamt of  are low.


Which as cunningly as a foxes tail on a badger, brings me to the point of this post: The eternal hunt for the perfect pair of jeans..mainly because there’s an imaginary pair I’m desperate to find…high waisted that flare from the hip rather than the knee…and I suspect these: Irina High Rise by Citizens of Humanity could be them.


So I’m looking and thinking would they fit? would they really suit…… And who at Citizen of Humanity has  got the power of telepathy? Maybe if there’s ever a chance I could try on a pair in the right size in a half price sale, I’ll jump.


Laters, Kate x

Full Spectrum x


I’m being distracted by everything Mexican folk art.  Not surprising with Day of the Dead just around the corner, but it’s an art form I cherish.

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Honed and loved into existence, it’s a buzz that can gather and turn something simple into to a jewel.

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There’s exuberance, simplicity, ingenuity and joy: It’s life.

Laters, Kate x

BY. Bonnie Young x


A woman of my heart as a true renaissance woman, Bonnie Young has worked in the fashion industry, travelled the world, written a book, amassed an important collection of tribal costumes and jewellery (hashtag-very-jealous). Then returned to Donna Karan, to leave Karan to start a children’s line to suddenly realising that women were actually buying the clothes for themselves (pausing now briefly for a cynically raised eyebrow at the momentary snapshot of society today) leading her to start her own label, BY.Bonnie Young. This was her New York Fashion Week debut.

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It was inspired by nature, the South, the Victorians all wrapped up in a velvet bow with a flair for seventies ease.


It’s flounces with fierce rather than frivolity – there’s nothing over the top or distracting.


Each texture, cut, silhouette has a reason.

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It’s totally wearable, totally special, grown up, no-nonsense strength.

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She’s one to watch.

Laters, Kate x