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Great British Blogger: Decorater’s Notebook

8 Dec

It has been a long time but here is another in my Great British Blogger series (be sure to check out the rest if you haven’t already).

The Decorator’s Notebook is a fairly new blog but has fast become one of my favourite design and interiors focused blogs.  Bonus? The Decorator is British.  In a blogosphere inundated with interior bloggers she somehow finds rooms which haven’t yet been seen a hundred times and has a curator’s eye, bringing together unique arrangements of items.  I am currently enjoying her pinterest A-Z series.  She also offers useful tutorials and little visits around her home which is of course impeccable although in typical interior bloggers style constantly being worked on.  Of course we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Find out more about The Decorator below before heading on over to her blog.

What part of London would you most align with your own personality and why?

I’m a country bumpkin making my way in the big smoke so I’m always seeking out the green bits of the A-Z. I live on the edge of Crystal Palace Park and the area suits me perfectly. It’s great to be able to wander through the leafy park to the famous Victorian dinosaurs and I love the relaxed buzz around the Crystal Palace triangle. It’s not the smartest area of the capital but there seems to be a new gastro pub, antiques shop (the zany market on Haynes Lane is not to be missed) or independent café opening every couple of weeks at the moment so it’s definitely on the up!

Who is your favourite current British designer / artist?

That’s a toughie, but I recently bought a screenprint by Angie Lewin at the Ghosts of Gone Birds exhibition in Shoreditch so she’d be pretty high on my list. I love how she takes natural motifs like seedpods, feathers and leaves and gives them a graphic twist. Her colour palette of Midcentury-inspired colours is gorgeous too. And of course anyone who’s designed fabrics for Liberty is going to be a bit of an idol of mine!

What adventures would you have on your perfect British day?

It would definitely involve a rural getaway with friends… the idyllic Isles of Scilly (off the coast of Cornwall) are my favourite place in all the world. We’d take an early morning boat to Tresco, wander along to the white, sandy Pentle Beach to collect shells, enjoy a picnic lunch and have a paddle before walking back over the heath to the pub for a cold gin and tonic in the sun. The perfect evening would involve a campfire, a barbeque (with some freshly caught mackerel if we can get hold of some) and a long night of chatter and laughter. Bliss!

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Thanks to the Decorator for stopping by.  I will have to visit Crystal Palace one of these days.

Photo courtesy of the Decorator’s Notebook, a peak into her dining area.

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Great British Bloggers: I Spy NW1

16 Sep

It has been a little while since I have done one of these.  Plus I am so excited about sharing that I am giving you two posts in a day!  This one is a little bit of a cheat because the blogger is actually one of my good friends.

Donald is an amazing photographer who started his own business about a year ago.  Originally from Trinidad but what I would describe as a real Londoner – a bit of a traveller with a love of London.  He takes wedding and portrait photos and travel photos (check out his latest ones of the Notting Hill Carnival).  He mostly loves taking pictures of people which inspired his newest little adventure into blogging.  I could wax lyrical [what does that actually mean?] about his amazing work but it speaks for itself so you will just have to go explore his sites.  With a nod to The Satoralist but more of a documentation of the variety of people in his neighbourhoods than strictly fashion, I Spy NW1 is a collection of portraits of people spotted in the London postcode.  The great thing about the areas is it includes a variety locations which means he gets to shoot everything from the quirky of Camden to the prim of Primrose Hill.  I love that it is more about the people then the clothes that they are wearing but you can always take inspiration from that too.  Love a bit of London street style.

What part of London would you most align with your personality and why?
This is an easy one for me. NW1. I’ve been living in this part of London for the past six years, (Camden Town, 1 year and Primrose Hill, 5) and I absolutely love it. The area, with the post code NW1, is such a mish-mash of irreverence and sobriety, opulence and funk. And the best part of it is, everyone is allowed to celebrate it in his or her own way.  Nobody gives a dam. It’s a celebration of individualism. A punk rocker with more piercings than skin could walk past a suit-clad banker returning from work. Neither would afford the other a second glance much less a judgmental look. It’s just the atmosphere of the place. Not that I’m either the punk rocker or the banker type per-say but I do have a variety of interests and moods and appreciate that in this one area, they can all be catered for. I’m a day-dreamer and like my moments of introspection and calm. For that there’s the peaceful green expanse that is Primrose Hill. If you have not been, it’s a day dreamer’s paradise. You have a 180 scope of central London and more than enough serenity to distract you from life’s demands for as long as you like.

On the other hand I love a laugh and surrounding myself with good people who are also easily amused. For that I head to Camden Town, my favourite bar, nightlife and culture scene in all of London.

Who is your favourite current British designer/artist?
OK this is a trickier one. I’ve always had an appreciation of fashion without it being a keen interest. I still remember by brother Randall’s not so subtle, “So, you’re not so big into fashion I see,” comment on my style a few years ago when visiting from Puerto Rico. The bastard 🙂 It was true though. Give me some plain coloured t-shirts, a pair of jeans and some brown shoes, and you’d have most of my wardrobe taken care of.  Being a photographer though has opened my eyes to the world of fashion, although, to this day it’s still an appreciation that’s reflected more so in my images than in my personal dress-sense 🙂 So anyway, all this is to say that a few years back my girlfriend took me to the Regents Street launch of Matthew Williamson‘s H&M line and I’ve been a fan of his work since. He combines vibrant colours and patterns with understated elegance. Really cool stuff.

A bit off the mark in terms of being a British artist but I have to mention Richard Avedon, the famous fashion and portrait photographer. The man was a bloody genius. Love his work. Fashion and portraiture, the two fields that interest me the most, were his two areas of concentration, and so his work has and continues to be a massive influence.

What adventures would you have on your perfect British day?
So first off, I’d wake up to find the glass doors to the veranda (of my dream house of course) wide open and the cool breeze wafting in the smell of the laid out french toast, fresh fruit and mimosas…like I said, day-dreamer 🙂 Is french toast allowed on my perfect British day by the way? Then, after breakfast, my girlfriend Sarah and I would be off to enjoy the summer sun on the hill for a few hours (nothing about my prefect would have anything to do with winter). After tiring of the spot but not the sun, we’d relocate to Odette’s on Regents Park Road to have some of the best food you can ever put in your mouth. Once that’s over, with my stomach full and Sarah happy, I’d take my leave and wander the streets of Primrose Hill and Camden to find the unsuspecting but usually willing subjects for my blog.

The evening would be spent with friends at Lord’s, beer in hand and an intoxication fueled smile from ear to ear, as I watch West Indies play England in a 20 20 match. I’m a cricket fanatic and proud of it 🙂

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Thanks Donald!  We’ll have to go to Odette’s soon.

Source: All photos from Donalds new blog I Spy NW1

Great British Blogger: That In Ink Black

5 Aug

I have a Great British Blogger for you today.

Claire from That In Ink Black is a fairly new blogger who hails from Edinburgh (a city on my list to see).  In a similar fashion to me, Claire had been reading other people’s blogs for a while and was stuck at home (trying to book festival tickets) when she decided to start her own adventure in blog land. She writes about environmental issues and life in Edinburgh as well as sharing recipes and favourite music.  So below is a bit of an introduction you can read before heading on over to her blog to get to know her better.  I look forward to reading more …

What part of Edinburgh would you most align with your own personality and why?
I grew up in a safe suburb of Edinburgh where nothing happens and you’d struggle to buy a pint of milk without getting in the car, but it’s surrounded by woodlands for dog-walking and I still call it home even though I in no way align it with my lifestyle anymore. I’ve only recently moved back to Edinburgh after six years in Glasgow, London and Oxford, and this is the first time I’ve had my own place in the city, a rented flat down a close off the Royal Mile. My flatmate feels like home (isn’t it brilliant when you find someone like that?), but the area we’re in is so central there’s no sense of community. So I’ve been thinking about where’s next and struggling to choose between two very different areas that fit different parts of my personality. Leith used to be rough (did you see ‘Trainspotting’?) but it’s on the up and there’s loads of cool bars, gig venues, Michelin star restaurants, and environmental awareness. Leith is for having fun and going out, and I want that some days. Stockbridge is the essence of Edinburgh – it’s a bit fusty, a bit snooty and absolutely gorgeous. The charity shops are unbeatable, there are second-hand bookshops, an enormous park right next to the Botanic Gardens, allotments, a farmers’ market and cafes. Stockbridge is for drinking cups of tea and going for walks with friends, and I want that some days. Our current lease ends in four weeks so I’d better get a move on deciding where I want to be…  

Who is your favourite current British designer / artist?
I have been a little bit obsessed with Alasdair Gray for about four years now. He’s a 77 year old Glaswegian polymath who wrote the most incredible novel, ‘Lanark’, and is a prolific artist. His work is full of dark lines, odd angles, colours, typography and the people and places he loves. I was given his autobiography ‘A Life in Pictures’ for Christmas and saw the first big retrospective of his art at the Tablot Rice Gallery in the spring, and both hammered home that each picture is great but it’s the sum total of his work which is so impressive. He’s stuck with the style that feels right for him for five decades, even when it was out of fashion and made him no money whatsoever.

What adventures would you have on your perfect British day?
As a treat I’d have a lie in, then put on my favourite purple tea dress (which because it’s a perfect day wouldn’t be falling apart anymore). First I’d meet my family to go to one of the many beaches in Edinburgh, maybe Cramond to the West or Portobello to the East, and have a play in the sea and a warming cup of tea. For lunch I’d grab a close friend and go to The Kitchin, a Michelin star restaurant on the Shore in Leith which offers three courses of the most incredible Scottish food for £25, plus we’d get a cracking glass of wine each. After that we’d walk for miles along the Water of Leith, spotting the Antony Gormley statues and maybe stopping off at the Botanics, until we reached the Dean and Modern Art Galleries for a quick gander. Then we’d go to the Traverse Theatre to see a new play, before meeting more friends for a late potluck dinner in someone’s flat. Everyone would drink tonnes of wine and eventually we’d all be singing into the empty bottles and dancing in the kitchen. 

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Thanks for stopping by Claire, and good luck with the move.

Photo source: Louise from Simplicity Phototraphy

Great British Blogger: Anamu

21 Jul

Great British Blogger time again (I feel like it needs a theme tune, any suggestions?)

This week we have Ana Maria from Anamu (a nickname her friends call her).  I had the pleasure of meeting Ana Maria at Blognic a few weeks back and went to find her website on my arrival home to discover some gorgeous photos and great writing.  A great lifestyle blog which covers home, travel and even a bit of DIY.  A bit of a cheat, Ana Maria is actually only a visitor to these shores, hailing from LA, but she is making short work of discovering all that London and the South East has to offer and thought it would be good to share this resource.  She also uses her love of vintage shopping to find scarves that she makes in to bags – she hasn’t set up shop in London but maybe you guys can convince her she should.

Check out what she has to say about her current home and then head on over to her blog and drool over some lovely photos.

What part of London would you most align with your own personality and why?

Back in LA I spent most of my time all over the city simply because I loved and enjoyed different parts of it from nitty-gritty downtown to the charming suburbs. I think I’ve brought that outlook with me to London by being open to all of the different neighborhoods and flavors that the city has to offer. My boyfriend and I currently live in Maida Vale on the west end and I love the tree-lined streets, little cafe’s and shops, and being next to the canal in Little Venice. It suits the homebody and quiet side of me but we do leave our postal code more often than not. Though on most weekends we try to travel within South England or to another country (London is the perfect launch-pad to Europe!) I do want to explore more of the east end. I mean, I was told that I look like I live there by a shop girl at Old Spitalfields. It must have been the thick rimmed glasses I usually wear…very hipster-esque, I suppose.

Perhaps in a year or two I’ll feel extra connected to one area over another but for now, I’m kind of liking being a “mid-ender” – yep, that’s what I’m going to call it. Neither west or east, or north or south. I’ll take all of London 🙂

Who is your favourite current British designer / artist?

Soon after I arrived I learned about a sample sale for Chinti & Parker via Daily Candy London. I bought a striped dress (that I’ve already worn to death) but I’ve been drooling over their cashmere sweaters ever since. Not only are they buttery  soft and perfect for keeping warm during cold London days, but they are Fair Trade and the company’s overall philosophy of being the opposite of fast-fashion is right up my alley. I’m definitely saving my pennies to add one of their pieces to my wardrobe this fall.

What adventures would you have on your perfect British day?

I’d really love to find the perfect country-side cottage that my boyfriend and I can call home for a weekend. One that is in or close to a quaint town that has just enough cafe’s, shops, and restaurants to keep us entertained for an afternoon. Then we’d retreat back to the cottage, hang out by the fire place and cook a nice dinner. We’d also rent bikes and cycle along a little creek or fields of grass/flowers and then picnic under a beautiful [insert big country-side tree here]. I’ve only passed through the country-side via high-speed trains so if you couldn’t already tell, I’m totally making the scenario up…am I close to describing something that actually exists? Haha. Anyway…I’d love to experience the quieter side of England. Let me know if you have any good tips!

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Thanks for stopping by Ana Maria.  I’ll be keeping an eye out for another Chinti and Parker sample sale.  And love the concept of a “mid-ender”.  So often we define ourselves by what part of London we are from and this is so much more inclusive.

Photo courtesy of Ana Maria

Great British Bloggers: Mathilde heart Manech

14 Jul

It has been a few weeks but I have another Great British Blogger for you.

As a bit of a nosy parker lifestyle blogs are right up my alley because it gets me to peek inside somebodies life without being called rude (they are the ones sharing right?).

Lisa from Mathilde ♥ Manech is a fairly new blogger to me, although she is coming up to a first blog-birthday.  She covers a mix of craftiness and thrifting and has a regular tote feature (everybody loves a good tote right?).  In exploring Great British Bloggers I also want to highlight bloggers who live beyond the M25 (for non-UK readers that is the sort of boundary for London). Lisa is from a town in Yorkshire called Hebden Bridge (see Lisa’s picture below – it looks so quaint and is now on my places to go).

The only thing I know about Yorkshire is … a tea brand comes from there?  Awful knowledge of British history I know.  T has just informed me it is also the biggest county in the UK too (he is so smart).  Anyway, Mathilde ♥ Manech is a great blog so go check it out, if only to find out about other bits of the island.

What part of Hebden Bridge would you most align with your own personality and why?
I’m nostalgic, imaginative and a big dreamer so I guess I would have to align myself with Hebden’s creative side. Its crafters, artists, musicians and writers make the town it is today; a diverse, creative and cosmopolitan market town. It’s also close to the Moors and Bronte country so the romantic in me feels a certain affinity to this part of the world…I’m such a sap!

Who is your current favourite British designer/artist?
Kate Kanzier. I’m a brogue girl so adore this London based (online too) shoe shop for brogues, wedges and other such delights. Go take a peep!

What adventures would you have on your perfect British day?
It would begin in a town I’ve never been to before (I love discovering new places) with a cup of tea and a croissant. Followed by some charity, antique, craft and book shopping, a couple of gin and tonics with the boyfriend and a visit to an art gallery/museum.  I’d finish the day in the pub (mmm pub grub) listening to early 90’s music with a bottle of red. In my perfect world this town would be by the sea, and we’d go for a midnight stroll, skimming a few stones. Perfect!

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Thanks to Lisa.

Photo courtesy of Lisa