God the eighties were fun…the smoking, the staying up partying all night then going into work then fishbowls of Chardonnay at 5. No gym, no clean food, just living life to the full and never worrying about the consequences. People behaved badly but oh how we laugh, we laughed every single day. Until recently I thought rather than marking an era this was just a rite of youthful passage. Now I’m not so sure. There’s a modern contagion that’s spreading through all walks of life to constantly do as much as possible..and do it fast. Life is serious, focused and controlled, it’s either join the ranks or be left behind. Walk into an office and there’s no frantically ringing phones or waft of cigarette smoke, it’s all green algae juices and mindfulness. Which is maybe why the pull of any type of nostalgia is still strong for me and why shops such as Labour and Wait will always float my traditional wooden sailing boat.
Labour and Wait sell the sort of things you’ve always needed but didn’t know where to find, unless it was an Enid Blyton book or an Agatha Christie mystery.
I’m slowly replacing all my pound shop plastic for their built-to-last-wholesome-simplicity.
This is sourcing the best in life. But learning not to take it too seriously.
Laters, Kate x
I saw this first on a friend’s Facebook page (thanks Sarah Dezille) and found it incredible on so many different levels. These are the Tree Change Dolls – face-overs given to unwanted Bratz dolls by the artist Sonia Singh from Australia. Using simple nail polish remover and eucalyptus oil, she removes the original paint..and re-paints new faces. The dolls are then re-dressed in outfits handmade by her mother, transformed from something ready to be thrown away..to a true Cinderella moment…it boggles the mind to think they once even shared the same gene-pool..
Sonia was just doing this for fun..then she uploaded a few pictures on her dolls to Tumblr..and the effect went viral..
It’s not surprising..she’s created something so simple, so innocent..and for me, captured something utterly nostalgic and precious. Inadvertently her dolls have opened up the debate on the sexualisation of children and the increasing speed with which they now grow up. For me it’s less about that – I wouldn’t tell Bella not to play with a Bratz doll. But I love how something so simple can radiate an even stronger power: After years of drink, drugs and bad hair extensions, these Bratz have a new lease of life away from their whirling, high-energy, high-pressure existence and are now embracing and thriving in the type of life I’d like for my kids..
And there’s nothing to stop anyone else from having a go – there’s various Youtube films made by Sonia showing how to do it yourself which I thoroughly recommend..but I rather like her first film, explaining how it all started:
I think they’re wonderful, and hope, over the Easter holidays to create some UK versions with Bella (although I ‘d be perfectly happy just to find a quiet corner and do it by myself…)
Part of the appeal is that the eyes and expressions remind me so much of Sasha dolls from the 60s and 70s. A doll I never had but coveted – my best bud Ella had two! Not only did they have such enigmatic faces, but their wardrobes were to-die-for too..
(I’m sure it was my first experience of the power of clothes..)
It always amazes me how life works in cycles…Tree Change is the old-fashioned calm at the heart of the modern life storm…and I love it!
Laters, Kate x
Do you remember Clothkits? They’re a huge dollop of nostalgia for me as the first clothes I truly coveted and lusted over at school. They came in easy-sew kits to make up, including all sorts of wonderful, genius things like rag dolls as well..
There was always an extra touch..like her matching bag to add the final flourish and make them utterly desirable..
The padded coats were particularly memorable…if this came in my size now, I would have it..
But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel..I googled them and Clothkits is still running, and many of these designs are still available plus a host more..
To their modern equivalents..
If you want to give something crafty for Christmas..so crafty you can put a tail on it and call it a fox?..check them out..their range is incredible..
Laters, kate x
One of the hardest things I’ve found as a parent is the relentlessness of it – it’s 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With young children even on a ‘holiday’, unless you have the luxury of child care, there’s no time off – the scenery may change but the demands don’t..in fact they’re exacerbated if you’re by water and they can’t swim..or applying sun tan lotion to a moving target..or cursing the lack of toys as the rain comes down..or wondering where the nearest pharmacy/doctor is..or suffering a hangover with a child bouncing on your head at five in the morning..no matter how beautiful the place there’s still meals to sort, cleaning to do, shoes to find..teeth to brush.
But now that Charlie is five, we seem to be turning that parenting-at-the-rock-face corner. And this holiday sort of proved it.
We wanted to know if we could find a back to basics, out on your bikes type of nostalgic freedom where we could let the kids roam free without a care in the world.
We based ourselves in a little holiday park where cars were banned, where there was an indoor swimming pool (although they still had to be accompanied to swim) a tennis court and a small playground and told them they could come and go as they wanted, even (this was the big one) out of sight…they wandered, made friends, played football, played tennis….and we sat outside in peace and quiet and read!! Unheard of…I finished a whole book!
The truth is modern day parenting has made the world smaller, more tense, less happy till it’s almost no better than pretending to sleep. Really..we don’t need the blister. Which doesn’t mean it’s easy to let go – we’ve all read or seen the horror stories. I just believe we need to do it and we need to do it more – freedom, boredom, security, love and benign neglect is a potent combination.
Which didn’t mean we didn’t do things as a family….we did. We just weren’t permanently chained together….there was room to breathe.
It helped that it was such a comely spot. I’ve rarely seen so many abundant, rampant wild flowers..
With lots to see and do.
A true holiday for ALL the family….We’ll be going back for more of the same.
Laters, Kate x
Beautiful bed linen lifts me away from the world and gives my soul one more colour. My most favourite, treasured set came from my Grandmother and I used to sleep in it as a child when we stayed at her beautiful thatched cottage in the country. Now, even though it is faded and getting worn away, Charlie sleeps in it which is an utter joy because it represents a living link to the past.
(The other side geometric)
But part of the love is not only the nostalgic memories and how soft the sheets are, but the design is just so edible and clever: The pillows, the duvet – even the fitted sheet and the sheet – have the choice of 2 contrasting patterns, one on each side: one flowery, one geometric. What’s always amazed me is that the sheets are one printed piece of fabric yet when you look you never see the other pattern coming through, even now when they’re decades old. And the two sides compliment and work together so fantastically allowing endless combinations and configurations. I’ve never found anything like them…until recently.
A Company – The Secret Linen store – has just started offering sheets and duvets that are reversible. And there’s more..
They’ve used a single off-white warp throughout making every piece feel as though it’s from the same family, so even though each design can have a totally different look, it can all be mix and matched together to create you’re own aesthetic.
And they send out free samples so you can see what you’re getting and check colours..
Also the prices..they’re aiming for great designs and GREAT prices…from £30 for a double duvet? I likey.
But possibly most exciting of all for me (see previous post) THERE’S A SIZE LABEL WOVEN INSIDE!!
Yaaaaaaaaaaaay!! At LAST!!!
Maybe I can finally retire my beloved set before it falls to shreds…….and turn it into a quilt so it can continue giving joy and memories for generations to come.
Anyone know a good quilt maker??!
Laters, Kate x
Sometimes a picture speaks a thousand words and the following are a case in point: Anna, her family and another friend Kate with her family (we Kates get everywhere) all went to Goodwood at the weekend. Dubbed ‘the worlds most magical and unique historic motor racing meet’ it is the only event of its kind to be staged entirely in the nostalgic time capsule of the 1940s, 50s and 60s…the resulting pictures taken by Anna (you can check out her rather brilliant instagram account at annamasonbentleystyle) and members of her group….well….just too jolly good not to share….enjoy!