Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Belles Jambes

Patterned tights are risky. Even a perfect pin can give the illusion of a bulbous knee or a 'cankle' when adorned with unconventional hosiery. However, like a clothes-eating moth to a fingerless cashmere mitten (I digress...bitterly), I can't resist a funky graphic!
These illustrated tights are by French company Les Queues de Sardines (Sardines' Tails). They're screen printed by hand in limited quantities so you have to be quick!
How cool are the raindrops and this nautical tattoo print?

La Palangre


La Pluie

Manon in love

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Familiarity Breeds Desire

I see lots of insprational images and beautifully designed homes from all over the world, in books and on the internet, regularly but sometimes it's nice to find somewhere local.
Maybe it's because the clock tower in the picture, of the view out the kitchen window, belongs to the church at the end of my street. Maybe it's because I have the same original flagstone tiles (although slightly more worse for wear) in my kitchen. Maybe it's because we have recently, been tirelessly discussing whether to rip up our 'dog' stained carpets and paint our floor boards. Maybe it's just the familiar New Town Georgian architecture or my obsession with animal skin rugs. Either way, the pictures of this Edinburgh apartment give me hope that one day, with a little elbow grease, dedication and decision making, my flat could look just as pretty.

All images from inspace
Wallpaper available from Cole & Son

Friday, 26 March 2010

Joanna Austin

I saw these illustrations at the Edinburgh College of Art Degree show in 2007 and I still love them. There was another one of a drunken couple on a bike and a red shoe flying through the air!
Last I heard, Joanna was doing some travelling. Hoping she'll be back at some point as I love her work!

'I've been working on illustrations for fiction novels, F.Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Collected Short Stories' being one. These images are from a collection of ink drawings for this book from which I have made screen print editions.'
Joanna Austin

Unfortunately there are very few links for her online and her website is no longer running but she entered the V&A competition for 'Illustrator of the Year' in 1997 so if you contact them I'm sure they will pass on her email address.

Sorry about the lack of info folks, I just wanted to share her work with you...

UPDATE: Jo is on the Caymen Islands and her prints are available here

Thursday, 25 March 2010

100 Years Down Under

It may be a relatively short time to those of us in the UK but it's still 'history'...
Australia was colonised on 26 January 1788. It became 'The Commonwealth of Australia' upon federation of the states in 1901.
The Mitchell Library in Sydney, opened its doors on 9 March, 1910. So, they are currently celebrating one hundred years of collecting, collections and service to the people of New South Wales and Australia with an exhibition of pieces from their archives.
Along with the exhibition, they created this beautiful typographic alphabet using the collections in their archive.

Working closely with the State Library, Design agency Frost* came up with a way to take fragments of visuals of our collections and compose them into letters of the alphabet. This creative process began with O, U and T, and so began our campaign to take the Library OUT into the community.
You can take a closer look at how they have made up the letters from their collections on the website

They also have over a million photographs from their archives online...which is where I've been all morning! I LOVE old photos...Here are a few of my favourites...
Taken by Sam Hood on 17th June 1935, in the middle of the recession, these carpenters have all applied for just one job and are waiting in Philip Street to hear the result.
A couple saying goodbye as ships take soldiers from Sydney harbour to fight in World war II, Sam Hood, 1940-1945
The super stylish actress Helen Twelvetrees with her son Jack Woody (interesting surnames!), Sydney, 1936, taken by Sam Hood
Nine girls who entered a Shirley Temple look-a-like contest set up by Fox Films and the Daily Telegraph on 2nd October 1934. The prize was £100. Taken by Sam Hood.
Mitchell Library Reading Room, 1911-1912, by unknown photographer
See more pictures here

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

...and then there was light

Rothschild & Bickers have been producing some amazing work out of London Glassworks since starting up together in 2003. Their combination of traditional glass techniques and contemporary design is evident in these beautiful pendants.
I'm a sucker for pendant lights, coloured hand blown glass and a Victorian twist, so needless to say i'm a fan...

Flora Pendant, Opulent Optic, Spindle Shade, Vintage Light, Tassel Light
For prices check out their online shop

Saturday, 20 March 2010


Is it bad etiquette to wear a white/ivory/cream dress to a friend's wedding? Does anyone care anymore? Am I just looking for an excuse to buy this dress? Am I asking too many questions? Is anybody out there?

from Reiss

Barcelona House

Very rarely am I lost for words...
This spectacular Barcelona home belongs to spanish architect Ricardo Bofill
I was intending to cut down on the amount of pictures but I can't. They're too good. Drink it all in.

Found in Interiors NOW! Vol. 1 Edited by Dr. Angelika, published by Taschen. Buy it. 418 pages of awesomeness.
Photographs by Verne Photography

Friday, 19 March 2010

Kitchen News I {Maraschino Cherries}

{News and reviews from my kitchen, also known as my husband's laboratory}
There’s a bar in a basement just one block from the main street in the centre of Edinburgh. It has limited signage, intimate nooks, and a serious selection of spirits. Not for the vodka and diet coke brigade. This place has an extensive range of specialist product that can be shaken or stirred into anything you desire or ask the bartender to invent. It just so happens that it’s owned by a man (and his business partner) with a very proud wife - me.
The bar team has been very successful and won a couple of awards for their innovation and all round excellence. Always keen to try new techniques, recipes and potions, my kitchen has seen many an experiment/disaster/triumph. From jellied gin and tonic squares to saffron and cardamom sugar syrup to homemade grenadine…made from pomegranates…who knew? Well...I didn’t…
Anyway, he recently made a batch of Maraschino cherries; a garnish for many a classic and contemporary concoction. I took photos and generally got in the way…

Add a 50:50 mixture of sugar syrup (50:50 water:sugar bring to the boil for 2 minutes then cool) and Maraschino liqueur to fresh cherries in sterilised Kilner jars and heat slowly, over an hour to 55C. Then keep heating for 30 mins to 80C. Then maintain that temp for 10 minutes and they're done!

leave them in the sealed jars for a couple of months and then they'll be ready to 'pop' into your Manhattan...easy!

For more information on the bar click here.

Rug Love

Footprints in the snow...

Allusion rug designed by Pierre Paulin for Ligne Roset

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Wedding Inspiration

I feel the time has come that I can confess that I made a wedding inspration board. Don't judge me. In my defence, being an interior designer I have to create these for all the projects I work on and they are always invaluable, not only to the client but to me too. It helped to get everything out of my head/magazines/hard drive and give the venue dressers a clearer idea of what I was blabbering on about. Also, in my defence, it worked and everything was exactly as we wanted...one day I might post some of the official photos.
Here it is...a Scottish summer wedding...

I tried so hard not to be a bridezilla but my family, now husband and especially bridesmaids may tell you I 'left the building' for a couple of months before the big day. I'm back now though and am forever indebted to those who stood by me through my emotional blackout x

Like for Like?

I know I keep going on about holidays but I'd love to live in a European city, not as a tourist, just live there.
Well, It seems when you no longer have the freedom to go off and 'live' somewhere exotic for a year or so there is a 'grown up with business, partners, responsibilties' option. You can go on holiday and 'swap homes' for a couple of weeks.
The concept was made more popular by the film The Holiday a couple of years back, in which Kate Winslet swapped her stereotypical 'middle of nowhere' chintz English cottage:

for Cameron Diaz's stereotypical LA over-designed super gaff:

Great idea huh? Apart from the fact i'd have to move most of my junk out and get industrial cleaners in, it's supposed to save you the cost of accomodation and you get to live as a local.
I, however, can't help but feel my swapee would be extremely disappointed, to arrive in damp Edinburgh, with keys to a one and a half bedroom flat above a Mexican restaurant, while I lorded it up in their '18th Century Mansion just 15 minutes from Paris.'
Check this place out!

Available to swap at Luxe Home Swap

The Holiday set images found on Discover: Interior Design

Monday, 15 March 2010

Luna di Miele

For our honeymoon, we knew we wanted to relax in the sunshine after having spent a minimal amount of time on a plane. So, after the main event, we gave ourselves one day to spend with the many Australian members of my husband's family, before they all made their way back down under and then, after 3.5 hours on a low-cost, low-comfort airline, we touched down in mediterranean heaven...
We are not the all seeing, all dancing, all experiencing holiday types, so, with the invaluable help of the 'interweb' I booked 2 weeks split between Sardinia and Sicily, staying in 5 very different and interesting hotels (our kind of 'sightseeing'). I like to relax in the sunshine with a magazine, occassionally glancing over at the alarming rate in which the freckles on my deep red haired husband's body multiply and join to create a quite unexpected golden hue. I think growing up in Australia has trained his skin to tan, defying all ginger science...it's quite impressive.
Don't worry I won't bore you with a blow by blow account of our holiday; in fact I'm not sure I even want to share this little gem with the world...or my 2 followers, but I suppose I should spread the love.
This is the Mandranova Olive oil farm and guesthouse. We spent our last three days here, lazing by the tiny but chlorine-free, infinty-edged pool, over looking row upon row of olive trees. We ate fantastic, authentic food at a table with other guests, in the courtyard, at sunset, cooked by, Sylvia the uber-efficient lady of the house. We drank lovely local wine, served by the extremely charming man of the house, Guiseppe, and couldn't get enough of their award winning olive oil. It smells of fresh green tomatoes and sunshine.

Not only does Sylvia run the guesthouse, cook all the meals and give cookery lesson to guests who book them, she also has a very elegant and timeless sense of style. Every guest room is different and the main living areas are decorated and styled beautifully, with a mix of traditional Italian farmhouse decor and the odd piece of Philippe Starck furniture. Unexpected but very well done. We resumed our positions on the bright green, plastic oversized armchairs, in the gardens, for a glass of wine every afternoon...

Here's one from our album; This was our final evening at Mandranova and on honeymoon. Just before dinner was served in the courtyard at sunset.

I booked the Mandranova through Mr. and Mrs. Smith
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