Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Goldfish prints

I absolutely love this picture - the colours, the barefoot little girl and the goldfish following her. Or are they?  Maybe she's created them with her feet as she's walked; is it a dream or a wish?  Where is she going?  Where is she? Who is she? What is she thinking about as she runs across the water?   There's something quite magical about this that really captivates me...
Do you have any favourite pictures that ask more questions than they answer?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Light and Airy

My love of light and white interiors is well-known, but the light in England is not always conducive to this sort of interior decor.  Sometimes it just looks too harsh and clinical, whereas the same look in Italy or Scandinavia has a totally different feel to it and it's all to do with the quality of light.  However, I came across this house that was featured in a magazine and not only is it light and white, but it's also in Sussex, a favourite county of mine.  What do you think of this decor?
I love the detail here - the picture behind the tulips; the old lantern

Space and light - what's not to like!

Rustic basket and reclaimed table

A family kitchen that manages to be functional yet stylish

A nautically themed room without being obvious

Now this is the room I'd like - an old French day bed and simple desk. Perfect!

I think these old-fashioned sinks are full of vintage charm and so much more aesthetic than modern-day ones

I have collections of shells like this all over my house - and even my desk at work

*Pictures courtesy of Compagne Decoration

Friday, February 24, 2012

The bearable lightness of being!

Yesterday in London it hit 17.5 degrees - positively balmy for a Spring day, never mind in the depths of winter!  The sun shone through the window all day, a breeze stirred the waking buds and the birds chirruped happily throughout.  By 5pm I'd had enough of looking through the window at the blue skies and the children playing in the park and I hot-footed it up to the village for a wander in the late afternoon sun.  As I got out of the car, the combination of the cool air, the wintery sunshine and the birdsong literally lifted a weight from me - the stresses of work and home, temporarily gone, or at least faded, for a short time of lightness of being.  I stood for some time looking at this tree - truncated and shorn, but somehow beautiful and strong and just 'there'.  Here's to more days like this.

I loved the way the sunshine was just illuminating the tips of the tree as it slanted through the rooftop - a tree halo!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Galanthus Nivalus

The Snowdrop is one of my favourite flowers (along with Fresia and Cornflowers) and every year I berate myself for not planting ANY in my garden.  For some reason I never get my act together.  I think that's partly because for them to have any effect they have to be planted en-masse, so it's easier to go to a nearby park to enjoy them.  There are 75 different  varieties of snowdrops but only two are routinely cultivated and known as 'Nivalus' ie Garden Snowdrop.  The name Galanthus in Latin means "milk-white flowers" as all the varieties are clear white, usually with emerald green inner tips.There's something so delicately beautiful about this nodding flower, something serene and hopeful that really gives me pleasure when I spot it, so here are some pictures of this humble flower that are currently making me happy.
A garden in the Cotswolds

Nodding off under a tree!

With their friends the 'Fratillery'

Monday, February 20, 2012

Glimpses of the Weekend

And so another weekend has been and gone, a new week begun with it's calls and demands, but inbetween all the busyness, I will be holding onto the weekend moments; a bracing walk in the sea air with hot vinegary chips as a reward; pamper time with my ma precieux fille; tea in a bowl in a French cafe; watery winter sunlight through the clouds and a reminder to myself that even in the midst of life's ups and downs, there is much to be grateful for.
Mani from Hand and Foot Spa

P&Q in Le Pain Quotidien

Art Deco Architecture in Worthing

Flora and Fauna in Cannizaro Park

Statues in above park - never quite worked out one on the right!!
What did you do this weekend?  What keeps you going through the busy days?

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thames Heritage Tapestry

A few months ago schoolchildren all along the River Thames were asked to take part in a project that was to detail the life of the river.  It's all part of the celebration prior to the Olympics and they were asked to contribute a metre square tapestry, using a variety of materials. Each square would then be added to other artworks to reflect a multifaceted portrait of the Thames from it's source to the sea, through the eyes of the children who live along it's banks. The Tapestry is now showing at the South Bank in London and I went along to have a look at it in the week.  I was SO impressed - obviously our section (Battersea Power Station) was on my radar, but the quality of all the contributions was nothing short of outstanding, creating vibrant snapshots of life along the Thames. Well worth a visit if you're up in that part of town.


Friday, February 17, 2012

Freudian Tendencies

So one of the things that I always try to do during a holiday is to catch up on some culture.  Usually it's films (more of this another time) and yesterday it was catching an exhibition that I'd been dying to see - Lucian Freud Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery.  Lucian Freud was one of the great realist painters of the 20th century and had a great preoccupation with the human face and figure.  Family, friends and his lovers formed a large part of his work, including himself when he couldn't find anyone else to sit for him.  A friend described his work as 'repulsive, but in an interesting way' and although the art critics would be horrified at this rather un-erudite critique it has a certain ring of honesty to it.  Freud did paint 'honestly', lumps, bumps, florid skin, and large women ('Big Sue')warts and all.  The exhibition didn't disappoint; there were paintings that I'd seen before, but some new ones too from private collections.  In fact I'd never seen the quartet of  paintings of 'Big Sue' two of which were described as 'Benefits Supervisor Resting' and 'Benefits Supervisor Sleeping' in the catalogue which made me laugh's always too quiet to laugh out loud in a gallery - people just stare and think you're a weirdo!  Sue Tilley sat for Freud inbetween her day job at the Department of Social Security and the results are a definite celebration of the flesh. 
Sue Tilley 'Big Sue'

You can catch this exhibition up until 27th May 2012 - definitely one to see.

Magnificent view of London (inc Big Ben/Neson's Column) from NP Restaurant

The bar!!!

Orchids (on the bar!!)

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I love the film (Clip above); I love how the word sounds and the patterns it makes with your lips as you say it and I love what it means - a talent for making fortunate discoveries whilst in search of something else.  I think we could all say that there have been serendipitous moments in our lives from time to time; I know I can think of quite a few, including a very recent one.

A few days ago I was browsing in Wimbledon Village and made my way into a lovely shop called 'Two Sisters' on Church Road.

 It's a real treasure trove of beautiful things, china, glass, gifts, linens and ornate bits and pieces of wire made into things that you never knew you wanted but suddenly can't live without them! It feels very 'shabby, chic French', so right up my design street.  Anyway, as I was browsing I came across this beautiful piece of 'art':
It is a truly exquisite piece of metal work, with a romantic vignette inside it that had me mentally placing it in my living room - until I saw the price - a dream it will have to stay.  So where's the serendipity I hear you ask?  Well, less than 24 hours later I was reading a favourite blog of mine when I happened to catch sight of the above piece of art and a name to go with it!  Coincidence?  I don't think so..Serendipity.  These beautiful creations are made in Avignon by Pascal Palun and sold in her shop Vox Populi in the same town.  It was no surprise for me to read that her creations are used by many shops including one of my own favourite Stores Anthropologie to create and add charm and intrigue to their boutiques.  Here is a glimpse into Pascal's world and some of her other stunning creations.

Photos by Milan photography company 'Living Inside'

Aren't they just gorgeous?  What do you think?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Crafty things

Now, I know Valentine's Day has been and gone, but some of these ideas can be used for other special days; all you need to do is change the wording on the cards.  My first project involved using some freebies from Walnut Paperie which sadly is based in the States and doesn't import over here, BUT, we can use their templates nevertheless.  I thought I was being really organised and had printed them out in advance but then couldn't find them and had to re-do them, then discovering that I only had a few pages of 'nice' paper left so couldn't use them all unfortunately.  I gathered together my cutting board, scalpel, watercolours, glitter, glue and stampers and ink (as above) and set to.  The results are quite pleasing, although fairly amateurish..What do you think?

Then, I attempted my second project.  An oragami heart!  I knew that it would test my patience, but boy, did  I not know just how much!  It comes with instructions for a sweet little pouch made from greaseproof paper and it was definitely worth the tears because it looks great (and it only took me 5 goes to get it right!!!!)

This pic doesn't capture the oragami on the front of the heart

Flip up the back of the heart to write your own message

Sweet pouch, hand stitched

Tag from East of India customised by Sarah!
Washi Tape from a selection at Paperchase
Hope you feel inspired to have a go yourself - enjoy!