Things That Made Me Smile This Week

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  1. Its that time of year when spare time turns my thoughts to Xmas mini-crafts. I am the laziest crafter and shortcut taker in the world so am always tickled by simple and easy but eye catching touches. These gold animal memo holders (I would use them as table place settings) are fabulous. Tutorial from a beautiful blog I’ve recently discovered called Sugar and Cloth here.d.i.y gold animal place settings
  2. There was a brilliant episode of The Culture Show earlier this month which I’ve just got round to watching called Wars of The Heart about literary affairs and experiences in wartime London based on the works of Graham Greene, Elizabeth Bowen, Dylan Thomas and Henry Green. Suspended moments of infidelity amongst the bombings, and the license given to such liasons by the extraordinary circumstances of wartime living was fascinating. I particularly liked a morbid phrase of the time ‘ Who are you going out with tonight darling, is it someone you’d like to die with?’. As reading group is out of the way for another month, I am finally going to read Elizabeth Bowen’s novel Heat of The Day based on her wartime affair with Charles Richie, I have always loved Bowen novels so hope this one doesn’t disappoint.                                                         bowen heat of the day
  3. I love, love, love these calligraphy canopy plates, new in at Anthropologie this week, £8 each. If I had to choose I’d pick the gorgeous octopus, unicorn and oyster with    pearl ones.                                                                                                                      Anthropologie Unicorn Canopy plate Anthropologie Octopus Canopy plate Anthropologie Oyster Pearls Canopy plateAnthropologie Lovebirds Canopy plate Anthropologie Jellyfish Canopy plate
  4. Winter on the Southbank looks pretty exciting, Christmas markets, afternoon teas and of course a host of cultural events and activities, take a look at the guide here:Southbank Winter Season
  5. Since remembering a lovely vintage Xmas wrap I purchased at the V&A a few years ago, I have been looking at cute retro Xmas scenes online. Here are some of my favourite current muses:                                                                                        Vintage Xmas CardRetro V&A wrapping paper winter scene pudding-boy-large-rectangle   Vintage Xmas Card FiftiesRW_1210_XmasStationery_605x340 Winter Ski Fabric Vintage Christmas fabric bunting Retro Xmas fabric

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Things That Made Me Smile This Week

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  1. Stationary at Present & Correct, amongst the pastel coloured masking tapes and geometric notebooks, the items I most love are these painted wooden rulers and vintage French Postcard books.                                          Present and correct rulers Present and correct rulers 1 French Postcards french postcards
  2. One thing that we are spoilt for choice with in Tooting, other than curry houses, are Indian sweet shops which I adore. I never quite know what I’m ordering and can be a bit of a magpie with the brightly coloured & edible silver leafed ones but my sweet tooth loves these amazingly bright phantasmagorical sweets.                             IMG_0014 Processed with VSCOcam with se1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset IMG_0013
  3. There is almost nothing that thrills me more than cheap interior goods when the high street gets it right, and looking at the press shows for Debenhams Spring 2014 I think I can confidently assert that they have nailed it. I see both a pelican lamp designed by Abigail Ahern and a brass pineapple that I simply must have, but there are also some lovely entomology cross stitch cushions and fab geometrics, behold:                                                                     Abigail ahern debenhams pelican lamp 2014 Debenhams ss2014
  4. The Christmas season at Kew Gardens where they plan to install a fabulously illuminated trail through the winter landscape, a Christmas market, Santa’s grotto and this gorgeous carousel. Running from November 28-4 January.Christmas at Kew Gardens
  5. The 1952 film Pleasure Garden which I watched this week, its very short at just over 30 minutes, set against the ruins of the Crystal palace, a quaint bizarre piece of burlesque. Really interesting to see what stood of the original derelict building and grounds just after the fire in light of the new plans announced last month to rebuild the palace and gardens. BFI Pleasure garden Crystal palace

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Things That Made Me Smile This Week

My blog has moved and changed name to DESIGN SODA, I’d love it if you followed along with my new content there.

 

  1. There is almost nothing more pleasurable as a pastime than whiling away the hours perusing through other peoples junk in the good company of an old friend. Last weekend I went browsing at Chiswick Car Boot Sale, a cornucopia of goods from the sublime to the kitsch. Alongside the bag of swag I accumulated for £21 and the things I didn’t buy but wish I had (I’m looking at you beautiful umbrella stand and giant nutcracker on horseback!) we also happened upon this curiosity. It is the insanely wonderful creation of an unknown man during the 1950’s, just glorious, I am especially tickled by the helmet atop the carousel.Vintage Wooden Carousel Fairground Ride Circus 2                                                                                                                          Vintage Wooden Carousel Fairground Ride Circus. Vintage Wooden Carousel Fairground Ride Circus 1
  2. Feeling over enthusiastically smug this week about the plastic poundstore picture frames I bought and painted with old Farrow and Ball tester pots to hold exquisite illustrations unearthed by BHL. They look super lovely in the narrow upstairs hallway next to a pretty convex mirror picked up for under £20 and a display of peacock feathers gained from an unwanted part of an auction lot that family placed a bid on. The bleak hallway is starting to look more inviting at last:Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetProcessed with VSCOcam with c1 preset Processed with VSCOcam with c1 preset
  3. This week marked the anniversary birthdate of legendary design maverick and Modernist doyenne Le Corbussier. Quite a few people mentioned it on Twitter, I love, love, love Le Corbusier and never more so than reading the quote Elle Deco tweeted ‘The home should be a treasure chest of living’  Take a bow Mr Corbusier!                    Le Corbusier Modernist  Building Villa Savoye Le Corbusier Modernist  BuildingLe Corbusier Modernist  Building 1
  4. Quite a hackneyed design cliche, the ubiquitous animal as lord or lady, akin to display domes, but I have to admit, though it is a one trick pony, it’s a trick I like. And this, new in at Rockett St George, is a fabulous example. It makes me think of the art on display in the bedroom of Amelie, I may just have to acquisition it for my own, now where to find a talking pig…Ostrich Canvas by Angela Rossi

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Curiosity – The South London Mausoleum of Richard Burton

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Sir Richard Burtons Wigwam Mausoleum ExteriorNestled away in an unsuspecting sleepy catholic cemetery in Suburban South London lies the opulent tomb of forgotten aristocrat Sir Richard Burton. It is a testament to Victorian spirit of whimsy and grandiosity. We happened upon it in The London Open House guide and couldn’t resist going to have a peek at this oddity of devotion. Created as a memorial to her husband, the tent was designed by Burton’s widow Isabel and it houses both of their tombs.This opulent wigwam mausoleum is just about the most bizarre and exotically grandiose tomb I have ever seen.

Sir Richard Burtons Wigwam Bedouin Mausoleum 6The stone tent itself is an ostentatious parade of exhibitionism, a fanfare of memorial, it has a viewing station at the back through which the tombs of Sir Richard Burton and his wife can be viewed, alongside artifacts from his life and travels, by climbing a metal ladder to the roof of the wigwam!

Sir Richard Burtons Wigwam Mausoleum Interior 1

The story of Richard Burton is almost as intriguing and eccentric as his tomb. Wikipedia’s entry for Burton is peppered with the most salacious aspects of his life. A captain in the army of The East India Company, Burton kept a large menagerie of tame monkeys in the hope of learning their language. He was an intrepid traveller who spent much time in Africa including an infamous trip to Mecca in 1851 where he completed the Hajj, requiring him to assimilate himself with local customs & dress. A rumour which haunted Burton up to his death relayed a tale of murder committed by Burton upon an Arab child who had discovered him urinating in the European style during pilgrimage and thus calling into question his identity.

Sir Richard Burtons Wigwam Bedouin Mausoleum 3

Burton was the first person to bring The Karma Sutra to Britain and translated the first full length copy of The Thousand & One Nights still in print today. A maverick who was expelled from Oxford, he was rumoured to have trampled his colleges flowerbeds with his horse and carriage in an act of defiance upon departure.

Sir Richard Burtons Wigwam Bedouin Mausoleum 2 Sir Richard Burtons Wigwam Bedouin Mausoleum 1

Sir Richard Burtons Wigwam Bedouin Mausoleum 4 Sir Richard Burtons Wigwam Bedouin Mausoleum 5

Burton’s fascination with human sexuality, which he documented widely on his travels, led him to establish The Kama Shastra Society which circulated erotic literature not deemed fit for public circulation. The very definition of the British Eccentric, a transgressor of both social and sexual mores of the time, his unconventional life is brilliantly enshrined in splendid oddity by his widow, read her wonderful inscription on his tomb below:

Sir Richard BurtonSir Richard Burton Tomb Inscription

If this memorial intrigues you, it is located between Barnes & Mortlake, here. For detail on visiting this spectacular mausoleum follow the link to the website of St Mary Magdalen’s Roman Catholic Church.

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Things That Made Me Smile This Week

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  1. Design crush of the week –  I love, love, love these homewares illustrated by children’s author Elsa Beskow which are new in at Skandium – a little twee but very covetable, my personal favourite is the Blue Uncle Mug, although I also love the walking fish and Lady Fuschia!                                                         Elsa Beskow Uncle BLue mug  by Design House - Stockholm - Skandium Elsa Beskow mugs       Elsa Beskow mug FuschiaElsa beskow mug fish Elsa Beskow tray square cabbage Elsa Beskow tray radish
  2. Vintage advertising painted on buildings. Like ghosts from a bygone age, these modern ruins always put a smile on my face. This Peterkin Custard one (below) is located in Battersea and the almost vanished Nestle Milk one is found in Wandsworth. Hoping to happen upon some in my own neck of the woods Tooting…        Peterkin Custard Painted Building Vintage advert Nestle Milk Painted Building Vintage advert
  3. Last week was London Design Week and by serendipity we had the week off work, hooray. Alas, it would have been perfect if we hadn’t both been poorly! However, with so many interesting things staying around, past the week, I can’t be too disenchanted. Take this wonderful Endless Stairs installation put up in collaboration with LDF at Tate Modern, definitely worth catching before it disappears. endless_stair_Tate
  4. I absolutely love the sherbert tones of the new colour collection at Farrow and Ball for Autumn. My absolute fave is St Giles Blue, that blue is unreal, am going to have to find a piece of junk furniture to daub it on…

Farrow & Ball - New Colours 2013 Farrow and Ball St Giles Blue

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Things That Made Me Smile This Week

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  1. I am currently having great fun thinking about influences for our imminent bedroom make-over, from Victoriana to the Grand Tours, to Vintage Circus and my  favourite of preferences Natural History. Here are some of my favourite inspirations (incuding some I have bought) from an online trawl of the vintage bazaar:                                                Vintage The THREE STORKS Safety Match Box Made by Tidaholm Sweden Vintage Hollywood Regency Brass Pineapple Trinket Holders Sternocera Aeguisignata Jewel Beetles Taxidermy                 Vintage brass plate with Bedouin camel and palm tree Millefiori Paperweight Vintage Fly Metalwork Ashtray Circus Sideshow pendant lamp shade $T2eC16VHJH4FHdK)ZCVoBSM5!OyrQQ~~60_57 $(KGrHqNHJB8FIg7ZzDjmBSNHhef2dg~~60_12 Stork Club Match BoxOyster Shell $T2eC16RHJH8FHRMnEglbBR6UoKT)c!~~60_12
  2. Bargain Flowers – I have been letting my window boxes quietly wilt back for the last few weeks with my geraniums now the only stalwarts left. Delightfully without giving too much thought to what I will pot for winter I happened across this bargain at Lidl – purple flowering winter heather 6 for £4.99.IMG_7054
  3. A blog that recently launched called Destination Modernism, it’s a travel design blog on modernist architecture made for the kinds of people who pick holiday destinations according to buildings – namely me. Outside of Le Corbussier and Bauhaus there are so many places I would love to visit to see the architecture of – Trulli’s in Puglia, the Yali’s of Istanbul and my true hearts desire –  The Flat Iron Building, The Chrysler &The Empire State in New York.destination blog
  4. Lazy Sundays and simple accomplishments, this Sunday I finally got around to using a broken drawer from eBay as a photo frame and lined it with a wallpaper sample that’s been hanging around for ages, it will be hung on the wall somewhere in the bedroom, just not sure what I’m going to put inside it yet…IMG_7134
  5. Choosing the colour for our bedroom, this has slightly driven me to distraction because paint lies! It says Celestial Blue but is in fact green etc, this is testing my proclivity to always choose green, however I am always delighted to be looking at new colours, this is my first batch of tester pots:Blue & Green Tester Pots

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What The Mice Saw from The Promenade…Part 3

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In my penultimate instalment of seaside visits I give you Margate, a town which up until a few years ago may have been best summed up by the Morrissey lyric ‘The coastal town that they forgot to close down’. It has been in decline for decades, overlooked next to its experienced swisher sisters in Whitstable & Broadstairs, it has arcades, a dilapidated pleasure beach and not much else to recommend it to the passing train passenger. But with the opening of the Turner gallery in 2010 and a trickling influx of ex-Hackney-hipsters the town is beginning to show signs of a renaissance. There are shoots of gentrification in the form of retro tea rooms, boutiques and over-priced jumble sales. However there is still something very wistful and maudlin about Margate.

I went with my two bestest friends Kathryn & Lizzie, partly to see the Curiosity exhibition at the Turner gallery, and partly as a final hurrah before one of my dearests goes travelling, here’s my photo diary of a gloriously fun and incessantly rain soaked day:

IMG_6109Two solitary beach huts on the sea front.
IMG_6129Remnants of the Pleasure beach, set to return in 2015 complete with
 Ferris Wheel attraction!
IMG_6107Ice-Cream Cone Railing.
IMG_6124Lady of Mar - Shell lady looking out to sea.
IMG_6125Margate Dreamlands - closed down but recently awarded heritage status.
IMG_6111The Mad Hatters Tearoom - closed every day except Saturday!
IMG_6135Shaving Brush Badger taxidermy in one of Margate's new trendy
 junk shops Hunky Dory.
IMG_6122Post-halcyon W.Shaw.
IMG_6115Sea Mizzle.
IMG_6127One of my favourite curiosities at the traveling Hayward exhibition.
IMG_6136Optimistically placed deck chair in the drizzle.
IMG_6105The view from a dilapidated hotel.
IMG_6131Martgate's magnificent shell grotto bequeathed anonymously in 1835.
IMG_6132 IMG_6134Tudor House restoration challenge.
IMG_6137Catch of the day - river boat and pastel Georgian Houses.
IMG_6106Desolate coastline reminiscent of Dungeness.
IMG_6147Souvenirs of a day-trip.

Final mention to the work of artist Ann Carrington whose resplendently surreal work I came across when trying to find out the name of the shell lady looking out to see:shell-ladies-9

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What The Mice Saw From The Promenade…Part 1

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There’s nothing I love more than visiting a new English seaside resort and we seem to have notched up quite a few this summer, sigh.  So in the first of a series of photo diaries I give you Scarborough on Yorkshire’s East Coast. It’s a fabulous town, full of beautiful Victorian architecture, both decaying splendor and starkly cared for beauty, there is an authentic British beach that feels like the shore that time forgot, all kiss me quick and bus mans holidays with a particular charm of its own. Unfortunately my phone ran out of battery on this part but here is what I did capture (excuse the slightly over zealous use of Instagram filters):

IMG_5533

   The fully operational Bandstand attached to Scarborough Spa.

IMG_5534

      Scarborough Spa, the first Seaside Spa town in the UK.

IMG_5694

                      A local tailor's shop.

IMG_5537

A Victorian mansion block with a distinct Fortnum & Mason sugar coated
                        Regency flavour.

IMG_5539

photoscarborough

IMG_5668

  A solitary piece of Art Deco amongst the architectural chintz.

IMG_5667

 Arabesque Pub (an homage to the Turkish blood in my husbands line).

IMG_5357

Beautiful parade of four storey period houses that Dan's family are 
                   the lucky occupiers of.

IMG_5532

 The Grand Hotel after its halcyon days have long since disappeared.

IMG_5535

        Scarborough Spa from the walk down the Esplanade.

IMG_5705

                           The Tram.

scarborough

                   North Side Pleasure Beach.

IMG_5536

                     Bandstand and deckchairs.

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Things That Made Me Smile This Week

  1. My blog has moved and changed name to DESIGN SODA, I’d love it if you followed along with my new content there.

     

    The mice have done a lot of peeping around online this week. Top of the pile from the online trawl is this wonderful Yellow Teapot from The Tate Gallery online store and these lovely Pigeonhole Wall shelves from Urban Outfitters:                 798b353b1c0373512b75243c9a096795 5520439590020_Brown_z1
  2. A dear old friend recommended a brilliant short story this week – The Sandman by E.T.A Hoffmann. A truly incredible, grotesque, burlesque, carnival of horror by one of the great German Romantics. It sent me on to read Freud’s essay on The Uncanny which references the tale, not sure I’m buying his castration complex, still a great story and an interesting companion piece.$(KGrHqN,!iEFChVEHCnkBQ2Uvzydbg~~60_12
  3. My favourite purchases of the last month is a vintage coffee box I picked up at Petrsham Nurseries.  It’s currently being used as an occasional table in the living room, in lieu of having an actual purpose for it, maybe an umbrella stand? Either way I keep smiling at it, I love pelicans, they look too ridiculous to be real animals…DSC09340
  4. It’s our Fourth wedding anniversary this week, which I am told is fruits and flowers, we celebrated by spending the day on the Southbank drinking Bellini’s. On our first wedding anniversary I sent my husband the lyrics from Cole Porters You’re The Top, although I still can’t think of anyone better to send them to, I have come across another one that tickles me, step in Regina Spector:                                                                                                                                                                                             You’re like a party that somebody threw me,                                                                      You taste like Birthday,                                                                                                    You look like New Years                                                                                                You’re like a big parade through town                                                                           You leave such a mess, but you’re so fun’
  5. These fabulous old school drawers found on eBay, no idea what I’d keep in them as we have amassed so much of this type of storage, very cute though:$(KGrHqJHJB!FH6g1sQWoBR--GkTyzQ~~60_57

 

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Things That Made Me Smile This Week

My blog has moved and changed name to DESIGN SODA, I’d love it if you followed along with my new content there.

  1. Being reminded of why I love Tennessee Williams so much when I took the husband to the latest production of Sweet Bird of Youth at The Old Vic for his birthday last week. No-one does fragility & drama on hot and sultry summers day like Tennessee, he’s one of my favourite human beings ever.9780141191089H
  2. Indie actress Chloe Sevigny’s East Village apartment, I haven’t just been stalking her bathroom, I have major home envy, this space is unbelievable: chloe1EastVillage6 chloe-sevigny-apartment-toilet_largechloe-sevigny-apartment-desk chloe-at-home_largechloe sevigny 11 2d7u0cx1chloe sevigny east village apartment 2 - Copy 65afdda3b8fb9d8dd14f27056c9f5cd0
  3. Booked tickets this week to see lovely Regina Spektor at De La Warr Pavilion at the end of the month. One of my favourite singers in a building I have always wanted to visit, exciting! We saw Spektor last year at the Royal Albert Hall and it was spectacular but I think this may top that, having seen the pavilion in so many period drama’s it will be strange to see it in real life, I’ll probably be expecting to find Poirot enjoying a glass of brandy with Hastings there:          de-la-warr-pavilion-in-bexhill-07 de-la-warr-pavilion-in-bexhill-01 De La Warr Pavilion Bexhill 1937
  4. These lovely Spring storage boxes by House Doctor DK, available at Design Vintage:storage_boxes

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