Life getting in the way a bit

So i’m aware i haven’t blogged for a while but as the title says – Life’s been getting in the way a bit. In a good way though. Since moving house and in the last few weeks, i’ve read more, seen some great movies, discovered some great vintage shops/jumble sales/car boot sales in my new locale and have even picked up a crochet hook again (though less said about that, the better…). My daughter has also started School nursery a couple of afternoons which has given me time to write this.

So – recent media consumed includes:

Films –

The Descendants (Clooney, cried buckets)
Harry Potter and the last whatsit (you know, the last one – was pretty good)
A Dangerous Method (Cronenberg – Jung v Freud – Keira Knightley a revelation; Michael Fassbender and Viggo Mortensen wonderful as always)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (recent prequel with James Franco, Freida Pinto and John Lithgow as well as rent-a-creature Andy Serkis. Was so much better than i thought it would be. Those Apes were ANGRY)
Disney’s Brave at the cinema with TheYoungLady (twice! – as i said to someone – possibly the first Disney heroine who didn’t make me want to puke. Lots of stuff about changing your fate and i cried at the mom/daughter bit. It was good)
Volcano – (not new i know but have never seen it. Great disaster movie and Tommy Lee Jones – whaddaguy!)


We were the Mulvaneys – Joyce Carol Oates. I found this a struggle as the pace is slow but it was a rewarding read.
The Hunger Games Trilogy – Suzanne Collins. Couldn’t quite believe these were kids books – glad i read them before seeing the film. Wonderful.
The Fifty Shades Trilogy – EL James. Amazingly badly written tripe. (nb – not me being prudish – there were definately some sexy bits but it was so badly written and Grey and Anastasia so unlikeable)
The Ice Princess – Camilla Lackberg. Now, i do normally love Scandi-crime but got a bit bored with this and didn’t finish it.
11.22.63 – Stephen King. Read even less of this. Time portal at the back of a diner where the protagonist can maybe chnge history and stop the assassination of JFK? Nah. Gave up.
Going to attempt some Leo Tolstoy next (War and Peace or Anna Karenina?)
I also quite like this new magazine and Mollie Makes Both of which are just too darned cute.

Recent thrift/bargains loot

Am heading to St Ives, Cornwall, UK for a week’s holiday soon where i’ll hopefully return from laden with all manner of artsy, hippy, surfy stuff. Looking forward to visiting Tate St Ives gallery and maybe the Barbara Hepworth museum – loads of small galleries and artists studios to visit too.


Mike D (Beastie Boys) Brooklyn Toile Wallpaper

Oh yes, thats Mike D of the Beastie Boys. Designing awesome Brooklyn-inspired Wallpaper:

“Designed by Mike D & Revolver NY

Mike Diamond of the Beastie Boys decided he wanted a Brooklyn inspired toile wallpaper that would line the walls of his Brooklyn brownstone. The vision was to pay tribute to all things Brooklyn in a way that would appear to be a traditional French Country Toile, but when you step to it the pattern reveals elements and vignettes that make up the truth about Brooklyn. Mike approached Vincent J. Ficarra and Adela Qersaqi of Revolver New York to help execute his vision artistically and Flavor Paper to produce the design as wallpaper. Due to the level of detail and shading in Vincent’s design we decided to produce the Brooklyn Toile as a digital print, but stay tuned as it may be revised into a hand screened print soon!

Brooklyn Toile captures many angles of life in the King’s borough from Coney Island to Hasidic Jews to Notorious B.I.G., the design covers many of the aspects of daily life dealing with subways and pigeons in a poetic way. Go on and get some!!!”

See it here:

(ps: thanks to my OH for showing me this – WANT IT!)

Gorgeous vintage city ads at Fab UK

These are just ridiculously gorgeous city advert prints at Fab UK resulting from a collaboration between New York gallery Americanflat and Nashville-based Anderson Design Group, “this selection of digitally-produced vintage-style prints showcases the attractions of various world cities in a stylised, advertisement aesthetic”. Too right – add a touch of Mad Men glamour to your walls…

Vintage City Ads at Fab Uk

Scandi-style for your living room

If you’ve been glued to BBC4 on a Saturday night for several weeks at a time or your Sky+ box is near capacity with the likes of The Killing, Borgen and Sebastien Bergman, then its likely that you’re not just a fan of the twisty plots, well-rounded characters and strong (but crazy) women but you probably also wish that you could live in a house like Martin’s (The Bridge).

I’m a big fan of all things Scandinavian and yes, like most of us love a trip round Ikea but in Grazia magazine this week, there was a great article with plent of useful links on how to get some Scandi-Cool (their byline) and an interview with Danish ceramics designer Tine Freiesleben from Copenhagen (complete with pictures of her chic home with lots of white, wood, rugs and bits of vintage design). I’m just going to list some of the websites here but i particularly liked some of the wallpapers and soft furnishings at including these:

Also check out:

Conran Shop: if you have a few thousand for an Arne Jacobsen
Eva Solo: for gorgeous kitchen accessories
Ferm Living: for gorgeous kids stuff and soft furnishings (like the cushion above)
Gubi: for ridiculously cool design (lighting and seating particularly)
Manostiles: for a gorgeous blog and great storage ideas
Normann Copenhagen: for stunning lighting, kitchen accessories and furniture
Skandium: for more beautiful furniture, lighting and textiles
Strikaholic: for gorgeous knitted textiles, bedlinen, blankets and cushions

*yes, i know i’ve used the descriptor ‘gorgeous’ a lot above, but they are – other than scouring a thesaurus for alternatives, i might as well just tell you that they are…

Ikea – i’m hopeless

There used to be a character in the BBC comedy sketch show “The Fast Show” played by Mark Williams who always made me laugh for probably the wrong reasons. The character’s wife would send him to the shops for milk, bread etc and he would invariably return with completely random items like a bag of coal, a sledgehammer, a birdcage etc – you get the idea. This character made me laugh because i often feel like that’s me when i come back from Ikea (not exclusively but Ikea is the easiest shop i think for this to happen in) – ie: i go for something specific and come back with a bag of random things and more often than not, not including the thing i went out for.

Today i took TheYoungLady to Ikea to pick curtains for her new bedroom (for the impending move). We didn’t find anything suitable but did return with a doormat, a toy mouse and a pair of curtains (ok – they were at least curtains) which will be too long and too thin for our new windows but they were half price and i’m a sucker for a vaguely-1970s vintage-like print. You see? Hopeless….

(ps – no pic of the mouse as we couldn’t find it from about an hour after we got home until just before TYL’s bedtime – its now in bed with her and her Ikea toy rat).

Vintage 1930s and 40s British Seaside and railway travel posters

As all the legal shenanigans involved with selling/buying a house are done and dusted and we are actually moving house in a couple of weeks (eek!) i’ve allowed myself to start thinking about how i want to decorate the new house and reignite my passion for collecting tat (sorry, Vintage). I’ve also started browsing Homes and Interiors magazines – aka Middle Aged Porn – though this was not my fault! Actually the fault of my jobshare colleague who is currently having an extension built onto her kitchen after some months of trying to get the architect and builders to drop their quote by about a third, who this week gave me a ton of Homes mags she’s been ripping random pages out of.

I’ve written before about how much i love a good magazine and Homes and Antiques has managed to turn itself around in recent months (years?) from being quite a fusty and dare-i-say elitist Antiques magazine to embracing Vintage and Collectables and is really now a great read for anyone interested in such things with great listings of Retro/Vintage/Collectable Fairs (though not nearly enough in Scotland!) and some really interesting articles on the history of various aspects of antiques/vintage stuff. This month’s (July 2012) edition covers Vintage travel guides, the Newlyn School of paintings, lots of seaside-inspried home decor and 4 free Vintage British Seaside postcards which are just gorgeous. It also has a ridiculously covetable pink Pashley bicycle on the front cover. I love these bikes.

I’ve always loved this style of poster from 1930s and 40s and have a couple in my home – a huge one of St Ives, Cornwall and one of Ben Lomond, Scotland. A quick web/ebay search brings up a variety of these posters but has the most comprehensive collection covering England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales and also includes vintage travel posters from Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Poland and Switzerland. The site also collates those posters and designs from this genre’s pre-eminent artists Paul Henry and Norman Wilkinson (whose style i particularly like).

Classic Dutch bikes by Hollander – want it!

I don’t currently have a bike but i would just love one of these classic Dutch bikes by Hollander, normally available for over £500  but currently available for £199 on I think i would go classic black rather than girly pink though. There is a chaps one too but not quite sure why its a tenner cheaper?

I love the simplicity of these bikes – no complicated gears (i never understood them…) or flashy extras, just laid-back, cool, classic design and utterly stylish.

Radical political tea-towels… Inspiration whilst washing up.

I came across the Radical Tea Towel Company today – who doesn’t need a bit of inspiration whilst doing the washing up? Featuring concepts, designs and quotes including Free Scotland, Vegetarianism, Carbon Footprint, Che Guevara, Aung San Suu Kyi, Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Thomas Paine, OCCUPY and Nelson Mandela in addition to encouraging messages of ‘Keep Left’  and all mostly under a tenner. I like these:




By Charlie’s Hand – on

I’ll be honest – i’m very new to Folksy and Etsy, despite being a fan of crafty stuff. I much prefer Folksy though as it seems be more genuinely supportive of British craft and designers. I find Etsy (on admittedly the few browses i’ve had) a bit too much like Ebay ie: anyone selling stuff can call it ‘vintage’ but perhaps i’ve just been reading too much about rogue Etsy sellers on regretsy

So, one discovery has been the handmade papercut prints By Charlie’s Hand which are quite beautiful. I particularly like the following designs:

You can also read an interview with the owner/designer/maker Ms Charlie Trimm on the Folksy magazine here. It’s no surprise she’s a fan of Robert Ryan who’s craft is also paper-cutting/screen printing but whose designs are much more intricate and detailed. I really like By Charlie’s Hand though and can easily see any of her pieces in my home.