Category: Choices

Silver Lining x

 

I remember at Christmas being drawn to coloured fairy lights over the classic, style leading, Scandi simplistic white and that pull to colour is still strong:  In the opening episode of Tales of the City on Netflix, there’s an outdoor party in San Fransisco festooned with every kind of light, shape, size and colour and it was an eclectic, mad, happy joy to see.  When the weather is grey, the politics greyer and the country feels like it’s going to the dogs, we need colour….and the bigger, the brighter, the more ebullient, the better.

(All pics Pinterest)

Simple pleasures.

Laters, Kate x

Design Hero 1

Those true, authentic, all singing, all dancing design heroes – the things that not only work well, look good, but also punch high above their weight in terms of financial outlay and usability.  And for us, this £12 Nisse Ikea chair has to be up there at the top…we bought 6 of them for the garden four years ago, more as a stop-gap than anything else, but they’ve proved their weight in gold: They spend their lives outside, except when we have dinner parties or Christmas or birthday, then they get wiped down and in they come, still looking as good as the day we bought them. They’re light, flexible, sturdy and generally a brucie bargain – it helps that their light is shining more brightly at the moment as our ‘proper’ dining room chairs have gone to be re-woven, re-caned, re-woke…

(This is a pic of one of the less trashed seats…one was so bad it could be used as a commode.  That’s baaaaaad.)

But you’d never know these were the ugly sister.

(All pics Ikea)

 

Tres chic and tres cheap.

Laters, Kate x

Angle Poise x

The plans for the office pod are rumbling on, but there’s also talk of making use of the builder when they’re here and turning the other far corner of the garden for a pergola-slash-gazebo.  The thinking goes that in small London gardens we veer away from structures in the garden for fear they make a small garden look smaller, but the problem is in leaving a garden horizontal we rarely venture into it, preferring to gaze into from afar.  So the aim is to build a private, roofed area that will still be useable in summer London drizzle to while away precious hours, whilst still keeping a sense of space and lightness of touch.

(All pics pinterest)

So not much to choose from then…

Laters, Kate x

A project x

There’s a project gaining traction, think space and do-ability: An office pod in the garden.  It’s been mooted before – it almost happened last year, but the husband was between jobs so it wasn’t the right time.  But the green light is now on to start thinking, planning and budgeting because I’ve worked out over the years, the more time you give to these three, the less it all costs because you work out whats important.  And what’s not.

The pod will need to be heated and although I love the romance of a proper stove, I believe in London, with concerns over air pollution and consideration to our neighbours, a cunning side step to an electric copy, like we did in the cellar will be the way to go: It will provide the visual representation, the heat, but none of the negatives.

Besides there’s always the joy of what goes round the stove..a small area to tile means flex in choice!

At present is a toss up between the modern approach of concrete tiles with large, dramatic patterns.

Or – and I was reminded of this option after seeing this picture of Alexandra Tolstoy’s cottage and splashback – a blue and white delft option.

Wouldn’t it be lovely if you could create your own? Pictures of coded memories??

(All pics Pinterest)

 

Decisions, decisions…

Laters, Kate x

Dear Santa..

The great thing about the triumphant march of technology is that it reminds you of the simple pleasures you once took for granted like writing, pens and ink.

Because now a great script stands out instantly.

Even more so if the ink is coloured. I went through years at secondary school writing in either green or purple ink but now that doesn’t only seem a life time ago, it is a lifetime ago. But a fountain pen with green ink is top of my Christmas list this year. A new trend? Probably.

(All pics Pinterest)

 

My ink of choice would be Akkerman, a Dutch company who’ve been making inks for over a hundred years.  Their unique bottle originating from the 1930’s  is poetry in motion – tilt the closed ink bottle and the neck fills itself up with ink.  Placed the bottle on a flat surface again and the marble falls back in the neck to trap the ink creating a perfect reservoir – even when the pot is almost empty.

 

Pure magic.

Laters, Kate x

Potty..

Is it a surprise that things are going green? That the tentacles of change are even reaching inside? Plants, once the scurge of the minimalist-matchy-matchy with too much resonance to hippies and patchouli are becoming the statement pieces of choice:  Not only are they living pieces of art but they help the living too, cleaning the air and quite frankly, bringing joy.

With the advance of plants comes the prospect of their pots and there are some quirky gems out there…All three pics above come from Westelm ..these Llamas are shouting out for a large, multi shouldered cactus..

These three delights come from Anthropologie.  Their size put them in the perfect Christmas present range.  Am I too early??…but when they’re gone, they’re gone.

Or there’s the independent handmade option – definitely worth unearthing – these beauties come from Atelier Stella ceramics based in Brighton.

 

(All pics Pinterest)

 

Who’s so good, she probably deserves a post all of her own…

Laters, Kate x

Bella’s room x

 


Bella’s bedroom has been painted, but that’s about it.  It means it’s at an ugly transition stage when it’s a hybrid of essential bits from the past and colours from the present are all colliding to create a visual clash of cultures.  There are still big decisions to be made: colours for the blinds, what colour to paint the bed, rugs to source, a new wardrobe.  But in the frantic hell that is the start of the September term, the pull for peace is outweighing all of this…this weekend we’re just going to paint some art for her room.  Together, with music and large cups of tea.  Nothing complicated, but hopefully bold and aiming for beautiful…these are our inspirations.

 

The idea is to hang them over the half wall line: There’s something so appealing when art hangs over a paint line.

No idea why.  But somethings in life you don’t need to question. Like tea and creating.

Laters, Kate x

Mother Dirt x

A little post on a big subject..cleanliness and how much of our identity is tied up with how we smell. Or not.

We’ve long believed that bacteria on the skin are harmful. Except as we’ve got cleaner, we’ve had more problems with our skin.  The idea behind Mother Dirt is to embrace the skin for the living eco system it is and help it to reconnect with the balanced state it once had: Yes, this is cleaning with bacteria…it takes a bit to get one’s head around it, but there are people who’ve found these products so effective, one has not showered for 12 years…

(All pics Mother Dirt)

I have deeply held issues with our materialistic societies cavalier attitude in exploiting fears to bring in the money with the multibillion pound cosmetic industry smilingly leading the charge.  The pervasive message is we can always be improved, which implies we’re not meant to be happy with ourselves in the first place.  Something that women have been conditioned to think for far too long.  So is this another beautifully engineered bottle of snake oil designed to further separate us from reality and our hard earned cash?

 

Or does it actually fly in the face of conventional thinking with the offer of a level playing field and genuine control..Maybe it’s even telling us it’s OK to be us..that we need to be us..

 

This could be revolution in a bottle..

Laters, Kate x

Phluid x

Clothes are so ubiquitous it’s easy to take them for granted: fripperies, feathers and function. Except they unconsciously say so much – they are our inner identities reflected back to the world.  Those moments when you have nothing to wear? It’s really because there’s nothing to express who you want to be that day.

But what if the freedom we believe in is really a myth? What if society has conditioned our thinking so much we no longer notice the rules, the divisions and the assumptions they lead to?

And there are many of them: Blue for a boy, pink for a girl, pretty dresses for girls that look sweet but don’t take into consideration climbing trees and protection against skinned knees, trousers for boys that metaphorically take on another meaning, T-bars for primary school girls, running shoes for boys, Pedestal high heels for women: the literal presentation of an object of desire: Look sexy, feel sexy they shout. Taxi shoes! We laugh, the truth covered by humour, falling for the fantasy rather than admit they’re restrictive, tortuous and totally lacking function.

What about sizing? It’s another hidden form of segregation: There’s the designer labels who don’t make anything above a size 14 – what’s the message they’re giving?  That only the rich are perfect?  Or that designers only want to hang their clothes on hangers, not real bodies, real people? But we still let them, maybe one day hoping that person will be us, another part of our insidious cultural brainwashing. What about the clothes store that allegedly offer larger sizes except they never have any in stock? Is it because they can’t understand why someone with that body would want to wear it? Is that really their choice to make? When what’s available for one body isn’t available for another it’s limitation, restriction, and control.

Gender is another straitjacket demanding clothing conformity, every store with racks of clothes marked out for one type of person only, the changing rooms following suit.  Who has decided these divisions?

Certainly not PhluidPhluid is the first gender neutral store that’s just opened in New York as a place without judgement or fear where it’s the clothes that do the talking, not our mental labels. Phluid says we have the ability to imagine a world without ‘because we do’ traditions and outdated rituals that don’t work.  They say it’s up to us to open our eyes and fix it: Acceptance, balance, integrity, intention are so much more appealing.

 

(All pics Phluid)

Personally, it’s such a relief to see a store that celebrates what makes us different whilst cherishing what makes us the same: We think choice is freedom, but it only is if that choice is available to everyone.

 

Laters, Kate x

Soap.Co x

Just when you think capitalism and the need for profit at any cost has snaked it’s way into every aspect of our lives a company comes along that blows your handcrafted socks off: Soap Co. is one such beauty.

 

It goes without saying they only use natural botanicals, nourishing vitamins and pure-essential oils.

It’s also interesting that their eco credentials impressively stack up: Their bottles are made from old milk bottles, their plastic film is made from reusable wood pulp, their sticky labels can be composted, their paper is both recycled and recyclable and their glue is non-toxic and biodegradable.

But taking the social responsible crown by a storming majority: Their products are handcrafted in the UK by people who are blind (hence the braille), disabled or otherwise disadvantaged.

This is a social enterprise that proves there doesn’t need to be a trade-off between award winning design, product, eco awareness and social purpose – this really is the best of the best.

(All pics Soap Co.)

 

And I for one won’t be buying my rose oil from anywhere else.

Laters, Kate x