• Coffee with a Creative: Carol Hanson of Ufurria

    Today on Coffee with a Creative we are talking to Carol Hanson, of Ufurria, she is one of the lovely ladies I have had the pleasure to meet, talking about her, her business and her favourite hot drink of choice!

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    Latte or Hot Chocolate

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    My grandmother who inspired the first product when she purchased me a faux fur jacket from a charity sale some 35 years ago.

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    I run three completely different businesses so I can guarantee that no day is ever the same. But with my creative venture I’m using all my skills to spin lots of plates at the moment as we have just launched our retail offering.

    Describe your signature style

    I tend to stand out in a crowd!

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    Good question! Having just read Andrea Shulman’s Inside Vogue: My Diary of 100th Year and now listening to Grace Coddington’s biography it would have to be a major feature in Vogue.

    What’s next for the Company?

    A successful first season.

    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?
    I don’t live in a city but in a gorgeous market town 30 miles north of London. This enables me to take advantage of the energy of the London scene and reconnect with the beauty of the countryside.

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    I want to leave my mark on the British fashion industry. I know that sounds cliched but it’s also true. My opportunity to develop my one product idea came in December 2015 when I was introduced to a designer who has helped me to expand the range and is my creative muse!

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    I don’t have tips specifically for these industries but what I would say is that as an entrepreneur you should follow your dream. Determination, passion and understanding your big why are crucial.

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    Hygge – don’t get me wrong I love Scandinavian design, understated, cool with lots of minimalism but I hate the way it’s just been over marketed.

    Describe your life in 5 words

    An exciting and interesting journey.

    What are you thankful for?

    My relationships – with family, friends and my amazing networks

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    Exploring and getting off the beaten track

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    Being with my husband and my dogs

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    I’ve got a few! Barcelona – my favourite city I never tire of visiting. Corsica – the most mountainous and beautiful island in the Med. Goa – fabulous vibe. amazing people and fantastic food!

    If you want to take a look at some of Carol’s products then pop over to her website, she has some great lifestyle shots showcasing her products, and lets face it, we definitely have the weather for it!  Keep up with Ufurria on Facebook, Instagram, and twitter and look at the noise they are making!


  • Vitra and The Conran Shop Host First UK ‘Eames Lounge Chair Atelier’

    Isn’t this exciting? I am ecstatic about this and I do love a good old Eames! So for those that might be interested or would love to see this in action, or even buy themselves a new chair, get yourself down to this event over the weekend. The Conran Shop in Chelsea (81 Fulham Road, London SW3 6RD) is the place to be on the 14th and 15th October.

    This October, Vitra will hold an exclusive event at The Conran Shop Chelsea, offering customers and design enthusiasts alike the unique opportunity to create and buy a personalised edition of the timeless Eames Lounge Chair and Ottoman in its most iconic version: black leather upholstery with a Santos Palisander frame.

    The pop-up Atelier event, which will take place on Saturday 14th and Sunday 15th October, is the first of its kind in the UK and aims to tell the story behind the world’s most famous chair by bringing its production to life.

    The Lounge Chair is one of Ray and Charles Eames’ most renowned designs and Vitra has produced it with the same care and precision for more than 50 years. In an open workshop at the Atelier event, customers will get the unique chance to ‘go behind the scenes’ and experience the true craftsmanship that goes into making each piece.

    This on-site assembly offers the opportunity to choose and see first-hand the exact materials being used, the individual production tasks and the sustainability of the design. Customers who decide to purchase an Eames Chair and Ottoman and have it made in the ‘Mobile Lounge Chair Atelier’ will become owners of a one-of-a-kind piece, exclusively engraved to show that it was made at The Conran Shop, and will be able to leave the shop with their purchase on the very same day.

    If you do want to ‘book’ to create your own chair then you can do this either by booking in-store, by email: or by phone: 020 7589 7401. Places are limited so I would get in touch sooner rather than later.

    About The Conran Shop

    Founded by Sir Terence Conran in 1974, The Conran Shop has established itself as one of the leading lifestyle retailers in the world, offering an eclectic and handpicked collection of gifts, furniture, lighting and personal accessories from some of the world’s most respected designers and emerging talents.

    With its unique heritage, dedication to providing an unbeatable shopping experience and its carefully curated products, including vintage and modern designs, expert interior advice and personal services, The Conran Shop is the go-to place for any type of gift or interiors inspiration. The Conran Shop currently has ten stores across the world, three in London, one in Paris and six in Japan.

    About Vitra

    Creating innovative products and concepts with great designers is Vitra’s essence. They are developed in Switzerland and installed worldwide by architects, companies and private users to build inspirational spaces for living, working and shopping as well as public areas. With its classics, Vitra represents ground-breaking 20th century design. Today, in combining technical and conceptual expertise with the creativity of contemporary designers, Vitra seeks to continue pushing the boundaries of the design discipline.

    I was right, wasn’t I? Did you book and get yourself a fantastically, lovely and iconic chair? Please share your photo’s, it would be great to see the chair in your home or office…. how have you styled it?


  • Coffee with a Creative: Rachel Ward of Luks Linen

    Coffee with a Creative is a monthly series all about meeting like-minded creatives in various industries talking about them, their businesses and their favourite hot drink of choice! Today we meet Rachel Ward of Luks Linen.

    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?

    Small Batch – Latte 

    What inspired you to set up your Company?

    After 20 years working in advertising I wanted to try something new – I had a sun bed epiphany whilst travelling in Turkey where I discovered the peshtemal (Turkish towel) and naively thought – I could start a business selling these multi-talented gems here in Europe – 2 years later here we are selling globally and working with family weavers to create a beautifully created range of towels for indoor and outdoor living.

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?

    Hmm – I’m a night owl and not a lark so I probably start my day later than most. Tea and the laptop in bed checking emails and getting set for the day followed by the daily jump into Instagram. The rest of the morning is usually spent managing the website and checking our social media and online advertising whilst a typical afternoon would be a mix of photo-shoots, designing potential new products and liaising with our ateliers in Turkey. As it’s summer we’re also gearing up for the festival season which will see us indulging in our love of music and good food whilst sharing a bit of the Lüks love around the British countryside.

    Describe your signature style

    Less is more – I like quality over quantity, simple lines and good tailoring. Considering I work with pattern I don’t actually wear it myself!

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender

    Producing a heritage range of peshtemals for Liberty – the perfect excuse to delve into their pattern archives too!

    What’s next for the Company?

    We’re moving more permanently into the US market as we speak and tentatively looking at collaborations with artists to see if we can translate their work on to the loom.

    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?

    I’m Brighton based so there’s lot to choose from – digitally there is a real pulse down here that is well supported with events such as She Says and TEDx. Artistically it’s a real melting pot from the Brighton Fringe to the Great Escape Festival – musically and theatrically we are spoilt for choice – put all of that next to the sea and you can’t fail to be constantly inspired.

    Who is the creative to watch?

    Mira Mikati – now she could persuade me to wear pattern!

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?

    For me it’s about physical creation and being able to stand in an interior space and know that it feels right – I always been hands on so it was a natural progression for me to move from advertising into interior design and then soft furnishings

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?

    – Don’t start with a screen – start with paper and a pencil – I am forever doodling and sketching…creatively that’s really important – don’t lose sight of it.
    – Make your concepts concise – how would you sell your idea in a tweet – it sounds trite but really makes you think about what is important.
    – Lighting, lighting, lighting

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?

    Faux finishes

    Describe your life in 5 words

    Peaceful, exhausting, hectic, slow and lucky – running your own business you can experience all of this in one day!

    What are you thankful for?

    Having a business that has allowed me to step out of the 9-5 and off the commuter train

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?

    If we’re talking London then it would be brunch at the Wolesley followed by Tate Modern, dinner and piggy treats at Comptoir Gascon and an evening at the Barbican – just being in that building feels like you’re part of a Kubrick film. Sunday is market day so off to the East End for a spot of Columbia Road, good coffee and then a spot of open mic jazz and swing at the Palm on Regents Canal – all the old boys turn out for a spot of Sinatra – it’s brilliant!

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?

    A lie in! Followed by a long leisurely dog walk with our black lab Sadie and an even more leisurely lunch somewhere like the Jolly Sportsman in East Chiltington. An evening BBQ with marshmallows round the fire and chatting nonsense with friends. Sunday…perhaps some wild swimming at Balcombe to blow the cobwebs away and then a hearty roast!

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?

    Hoi An – Vietnam – this place is just magical – a world heritage site the low level architecture, cookery courses and tailoring is a must. The night market full of the seas weird and wonderful bounty and streets lit by lanterns.

    Rachel can be found on social media on InstagramFacebookTwitter and Pinterest. You can check out her lovely products over on her website, I think these are going onto my birthday wish list!!

    AartiPopat Blog Signature bluewgold x


  • Coffee with a Creative: Urvi Sheth of Raw Invites

    My new series is all about meeting like-minded creatives and was also on my spring goals list, so here i go with a series of interviews talking to creatives in various industries talking about them, their businesses and their favourite hot drink of choice! First up we have Urvi Sheth of Raw Invites.


    What is your coffee (tea, infusions, hot chocolate) of choice?
    Herbal Tea? oops

    What inspired you to set up your Company?
    I’ve always dreamt of somehow putting my creativity to good use. From a young age all I wanted to do was create art that people loved. But I managed to convince myself a job like that didn’t exist. I couldn’t possibly create my own dream job could I? So I started my journey, I went to uni, got my design degree and got myself a job as an intern where I learnt how the design world operates and I did as many freelance jobs on the side as possible. I soon came to realise the importance of experience. With every project and opportunity that came my way, my experience in the design field was fast growing, I was gaining new skills and invaluable life lessons. Which led me to become Laura Ashley’s head digital designer. Working for Laura Ashley has been one of the most incredible opportunities. Although Laura Ashley is a huge accomplishment, I felt I had out grown my role as I realised I wasn’t leaning as many new skills or growing as an individual and the only solution was to move onto the next chapter. I just didn’t know what I wanted to explore next or how to figure it out. So now we get onto why did I start RAW invites, where did this idea even come from? My Brother and now Sister-in-law asked me to design their Wedding Invitations. My first thought was I can’t design a wedding invitation, I couldn’t even think of an idea. Now that is worrying for someone who has a design degree and is Laura Ashley’s digital designer, right? But designing for the corporate world vs a personal approach is completely different. You don’t have the same creative freedom in the corporate world, and I had done it for so long I forgot how to design for any other medium. I started designing their invites and day by day I had a new light bulb moment. Coming up with new concepts and ideas, watching their faces and hearing their feedback brought a new sense of satisfaction that I never experienced in my design career, It was absolutely amazing. I reconnected with my long-lost creative side and realised how fun and enjoyable life could be, and I didn’t want that satisfaction to stop. One day my Brother said “Why don’t you design bespoke wedding invitations for other couples? Everyone wants something personal and you love doing it” – Seriously hearing those words especially from him was all it took, and now I run my own business!

    Can you describe a typical workday (from wake up to lights out)?
    I’m definitely not an early bird! I’d rather work till late and wake up naturally with NO alarm! I will wake up between 8-9am. Guess there should be some perks of being your own boss! – Check emails – Post of my social media accounts – Browse social media staying up to date with trends – Make a priority list of what I need completed (What designs I need to do, what orders I need to delivery, what deadlines are fast approaching, etc) – Client meetings – Printer visits – Come back to my desk and finish off my list – On a good day I can stop work at 9pm-ish – Recently I find myself still sat at my desk past 12! However I’m the biggest workaholic! I absolutely love love love designing.

    Describe your signature style
    If you know me you know I breathe colour and patterns. I actually get told people can instantly recognise my work ‘This has RAW written all over it’ I think that’s so important as you’re staying authentic to yourself!

    Describe the best project you could get if budget was a non-contender
    Really want to work with acrylic, wood and mirror invitations as they look absolutely incredible. However the costs are high due to the materials.

    What’s next for the Company?
    I recently launched my very first Custom Wedding Invitation range, which means there is set designs the couples can pick and email across the wording. April was an incredibly productive month for me, I managed to complete 14 different designs with several colour variations, with very little sleep! I continuously need new projects to work on and as I finished my Custom Range I was on the look out for my next exciting venture. Days after saying this I got approached by Kudos Music to design a bespoke suite for one of their events. This was such an amazing experience, being able to design 16 ft signs, dance floors and DJ booths was incredible. What I’m trying to say is I see everyday as a new opportunity and I can’t predict what’s going to present itself to me tomorrow let alone next month.


    What is the best thing about the creative scene in your city?
    Creativity can be found everywhere! Look at the world we’re surrounded by! Nature, Architecture, Technology.

    Who is the creative to watch?
    I don’t believe there is a certain creative to watch. I believe we all have creative moments and thoughts, it’s what we do with those moments/thoughts that really determine it all. Creativity can be found in several different forms.

    How and why did you become a *said* designer/creative?
    Truth – Designing was the only thing I ever really enjoyed. Hours would go by and I wouldn’t even realise.

    What are your top 3 *creative* tips?
    – The little details are what make the piece
    – Make sure your type face represents the project/ brand your working for
    – You can never have too much colour (biased of course)

    What *creative* design trends do you wish would go away?
    Standard typical indian kankotri prints. (again me being biased)

    Describe your life in 5 words
    Exciting, Fun, Adventure, BUSY and MINE

    What are you thankful for?
    Being able to live my life doing what I love and for myself. Turning my childhood dream into a career. Sometimes when I’m just driving to client meetings going to the printers, etc I just smile to myself and realise that i’m actually just working for myself, I am my own boss! I that is the most incredible feeling, it just makes all the long days/nights and 0 social life ALL WORTH IT!

    What is your perfect weekend in the City?
    Walking through the little streets, going to parks, finding new food markets! Admiring how beautiful life really is.

    What is your prefect weekend in the Countryside?
    I love the country side, and a good ol hike! Mt Snowdon was the last hike I completed. If you haven’t hiked before, I strongly recommend it.

    Where in the World is your most favourite place to visit and why?
    I’m not sure! :/

    Urvi can be found on social media on FacebookTwitter and Instagram. You can also check out her work over on her website, doesn’t it look great?

    AartiPopat Blog Signature bluewgold x


  • Spring is Here – Goals for the Season

    MD Flowers AP
    Spring Flowers – The Colours!

    With the clocks going forward, giving us more daylight it already feels like spring is here. The bright weather makes me feel like i need to set myself some goals for the season and I feel more optimistic and that goals are more achievable (suddenly?!). I am also hoping that by writing them down and letting the whole world see them i’m more inclined to commit to them, fingers crossed!

    My Blog
    So i have been blogging a while but i did lose my flow, now i’m trying to build it back up again and i really want to commit to it. Time is usually the issue but i think i am going to try and schedule regular weekly ‘blog time’ and get Mr P to push me to commit, i actually love writing it and getting my posts ready so its just the sitting down to physically get on the platform and write that i need to work out. I am also in the process of re-branding and creating a few mini-series features (watch this space). Lots of exciting things planned for the blog-o-sphere so lots to keep me busy!

    I’m an Interior Designer by day (and night!) and I really do need to focus on working on more projects that excite me, don’t get me wrong I have a few jobs on at present but I do need to push and strive to get myself working on more. This is the dream! When asked when I was younger ‘what do you want to be when you grow up?’ my answer was ‘an interior designer’ so here I am now with more than a decades experience across multiple sectors working for myself and various others, so I appreciate where I have got to and what I have achieved! But I (always) need to do more. I do have a Facebook page for this too but you’ll probably find me on Instagram and Pinterest more as I love the way these platforms allow you to share visually! Instagram is usually where you’ll find insider photos of any current projects or instant inspiration.

    Meet More Creatives
    Its hard to meet creatives if you don’t work with them or meet them through work, but since I’ve said to myself its the best source of inspiration I am on the hunt, and some of these people will be featured as part of my mini-series. Can’t wait!! I’ve recently met loads of inspiring people and hope to collaborate with some of them too!

    Those of you that know me, know that I’ve always wanted to curate my own homewares collection and I’ve got a collection bubbling away in my head which is just bursting to be committed to paper so that I could possibly start thinking about how to recreate and produce these items. Maybe its the fear of committing to paper meaning making it a reality that i’m scared of – who knows. I mean it may take months and months before i could even think about getting samples made but i have to start somewhere. So come on, get the sketchbook out and start writing, brainstorming and sketching!

    Now it might be pretty obvious that we all need air, but this is a fairly easy goal, I want to make a conscious effort to get outside more often. Its lighter and brighter now so its time to go for those long walks, get some exercise and generally get fresh air (as fresh as you can get when living in the hustle and bustle!).

    Any relatable goals? What have you aimed to get through by the time summer hits? Do you have any ideas for me on any of my goals? Be great to hear from you.

    AartiPopat Blog Signature bluewgold x


  • Colour of the Year 2017

    Now there is a lot of differing opinions from designers all over the world about the trend that is colour and the colours that mean current to one designer is not the same as what means current to another. Dulux colour of the year is Denim Drift and Pantone colour of the year is Greenery, MY colour of the year is more like a warmer cappuccino grey with a hint of blush. I mean that isn’t to say that anyone is wrong, you’ll find many designers commenting on what they deem to be their colour of 2017 and yours truly is one of them; take a read and tell me what you think, be great to hear from you.

    AartiPopat Blog Signature bluewgold x


  • Getting Creative

    So part of my problem has been that I’m struggling to get creative, its through no fault of the universes, just mine. I find myself over thinking everything and so not able to just ‘be’ or get creative with anything. You could say a mind block of sorts. Yes as an interior designer that can be a problem!

    So in order to inspire me I’m assuming I need to actually ‘do’ more creative things, I’ve compiled a lovely list of things that I could do to help me be more creative. What do you think of these ideas? Do you have any other ideas that I could try?

    Here’s my pick of creative activities that will ignite some inspiration:

    1. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration and depending on how many types of people you follow you can get such a variety of things pop up in your opening page. Its worth spending some time on here and really getting to know how it works, setting your boards up and following different people and others boards. Start by pinning at least 5 pins a day and aim to increase this slowly. You could set yourself a category and only pin things that are relevant to this on a specific day or you could pin lots of random things. I always try to be specific in my search so will pick a category; more recently the keywords I have searched are ‘small kitchens’ ‘children’s bedrooms’ ‘kint sugi’ so as you can see you can be specific and find all sorts of wonderful imagery
    2. Doodling; everyone doodles, it’s a simple way of triggering the creative and generating ideas. You don’t have to plan to do this and it is just something that seems to naturally happen for a lot of people. The best time to doodle, I find, is when you are on the phone. The sub consciousness takes over and you end up drawing all sorts of things that are stuck in your head. Are you a doodler?
    3. Book an inspirational course; there are so many courses out there, there must be something suitable for everyone. Everyone has the ability to learn something new, but most people don’t take advantage of it. Learning a new skill doesn’t have to only mean a ‘creative’ skill, you could learn some new software, learn to speak Japanese or even how to balance books. The great thing about these courses is that they are usually short courses which mean you don’t need to commit to a long time frame and you can learn your new skill and roll on with it almost immediately. I’m thinking that I really need to improve my Instagram photography so maybe I will take one of Emily Quinton’s Makelight Photography courses!
    4. Go and see an inspirational exhibition, the beauty of living in London is the abundance of art galleries, exhibitions and cultural venues in and around the capital. Are there any that come to mind? I think of heading to the Tate Britain to look at the Turner Prize finalists and try to understand how they have come up with what they have!

    How do you plan to get creative? Do you have any other ideas? It would be great to hear what you do to get creative and inspired. Leave me a note below, lets compare lists.

    AartiPopat Blog Signature bluewgold x


  • Wedding Season

    This year has been a manic year for family weddings.

    Now normally you would think ‘aww how wonderful’ but when they are indian weddings this is not always the case!! Hindu wedding ceremonies usually go on for 4 to 10 days depending on how big your family and more importantly your ‘budget’…. so bearing the length of these events in mind i will tell you that I had not 1 but 4 in July, this set the tone for the rest of the year and tiredness only increased.

    Having said that i did enjoy the getting ready, matching sari’s (traditional indian dress) with jewellery and bindi’s, this always involves a lot of prep work before hand and a LOT of space, not to mention the actual task of putting one on!!

    A sari is basically over 8 metres of cotton or silk which is draped over the body, there is definitely an ‘art’ to draping a sari one which i have not mastered too well on myself! Sari patterns aren’t always ‘generated pattern’ and most are free flowing and natural with various styles, colours and embellishments.

    For me this year the biggest wedding was in house and that meant getting design involved… this was the exciting part where I made the happy couple’s wedding invitation sweets box – this is what we give out when going to personally hand out invitations (yes intense or what!), their guest book, table name labels and a massive MASSIVE table plan (its always big when you have 400 people to seat!)

    The journey was sometimes joyous and at other times very frustrating … i.e. making sure that the table numbers weren’t alphabetical and numerical at the same time, it came down to printing all 40 out, laying them down on our living room floor and asking Mr P to number them at random because i got soo confused and frustrated!!

    Anyway, take a look at some of my work below and let me know what you think…..



    Kankothri gift boxes

    My sign off


  • London Design Festival 2013

    The definition: An annual event that promotes the city’s creativity and brings in creatives from far and wide. The ‘unique selling point’ of this design festival is that it classes itself as a celebration of design rather than just another weeklong event. It has been going for over 10 years now and was the brainchild of Sir John Sorrell and Ben Evans. The Festival program is made up of over 300 events and exhibitions shown by hundreds of partner organisations across the design domain and from around the world.

    Each year the festival finds a new focus on a different aspect of design and showcases different ‘landmark projects’. Landmark projects focus on experimenting with new materials and processes and the London Design Festival always ask great designers and architects to contribute. This year’s landmark project is the ‘Endless Stair designed by dRMM, sponsored by the American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) and engineered by ARUP. This ‘endless’ staircase is placed with the Tate Modern as a backdrop, iconic in itself; the installation has a lot to square up to. Alex de Rijke of dRMM describes it as “a three-dimensional exercise in composition, structure and scale and as both a marker and meeting place”. The installation will be open from 13th September to the 10th October 2013.


    My visit to the installation saw me waiting in a queue for about 1 hour. Mr. P was NOT impressed as I had promised him that it wouldn’t be too long a wait, but he too wanted to climb the ‘endless stair’ and so didn’t mind so much. It actually feels quite surreal to be climbing a staircase that you know leads no-where since you can see the top of it!!

    Shoreditch Triangle MapAnother aspect to the festival is the ‘Shoreditch triangle’, which geographically our studio falls into. We started off with a private view by ‘Deadgood’ at The Pitfield exhibition space. Deadgood are producers of contemporary furniture, lighting and interiors. The space looks as you’d imagine it, stylish, minimal and modern and the products are classics with a twist, be it material used or shape. Lee Broom’s new retail store was the next stop for us, he was hosting a private opening party, although when we got there I felt like it had been an open invitation free for all. Over subscribed and hugely packed like sardines in a tin! I didn’t feel like I could see any of his work and couldn’t wait to leave… having said that the cocktails were amazing and so were the canapés which was nice! Stumbling in late was going to be a regular thing this week…

    This year 100% Design was slightly same same, a few nice pieces mainly lighting but everything else was just as normal. The newest addition to this show is the ‘international pavilion’, which showcases work from around the world. It’s always good to see how others are doing the same. The part that I enjoyed the most was the stand with 3d printers on it. Technology has evolved so much, I remember having to vacuum form 3d molds to get objects melted into shape!! In front of my eyes a vase was being created out of string type lengths of plastic. I would love to have myself one of these printers, I even went so far as to ask how much it would cost initially, material costs and maintenance … the smaller ones RRP at about 2k which isn’t too bad… Mr. P however didn’t feel the same way!! I will have to work on him and see what happens… watch this space!! He may have a moment of temporary insanity where he agrees!

    Designjunction is a showcase of the very best in furniture, lighting and product design from around the world. It was held at the 1960s Postal Sorting Office over in Holborn and has been going since 2011. More recently it has been transported to Milan and New York. I didn’t get a chance to go over and take a peek but had a friend who managed to take some snaps for me!

    Final stop for me over the very busy period of London Design Festival 2013 should have been Decorex International the luxury interiors and design show.  However it was soo busy in the studio that I didn’t get a chance to visit. Posts on twitter kept me updated with the goings on and what the stand designs looked like and various guest tweets, photos etc.

    The 10 days or so of London Design Festival are tiring but fun and provide a great insight into how the industry works, new suppliers and new products. It also allows the interiors industry to catch up with one another and renew old or forgotten friendships us interior designers have with suppliers.

    My sign off


  • ‘Bills’ Interior Design in Hoxton Square

    The visit to ‘Bills’ in Hoxton Square was impromptu but a pleasure! Being a vegetarian I dreaded looking at the menu but was pleasantly surprised!


    The choice was great and the fuss minimal which meant that I was able to catch up with my friend the ‘torontonian’ in peace and in lush surroundings!

    The main reason for choosing Bills was so that I could take in the interior and check out the design without looking like a weirdo!

    I love the urban-ness of the exposed brickwork, the clean open ceiling where cable trays are fixed to the ceiling with varying light fixtures hang from it.

    The Interior Design is an eclectic mix of american loft style intertwined with quirky fun.

    They have bunches of red chilli’s hanging from most windows and open spaces. Where the chillies are missing there is a light fitting of some sorts. This has the potential to look really awful but they’ve balanced it well… I just had to take a peek downstairs to see what they’d done to the basement space, and make sure that it looked in keeping (of course!) with the rest of the finely designed interior!

    Will definitely be visiting again soon! I will leave you with some photo’s of the interior…. forgive the quality!

    My sign off


  • Future Cinema presents ‘Dirty Dancing’

    Dirty Dancing

    So a few Saturday’s ago saw a few of us going back to 1963 and taking a mini vacation to Kellermans Resort. For those that know nothing about the film ‘Dirty Dancing’ take a look. The ultimate chick flick and one that should be seen by all at least once!

    Future Cinema is the spin-off from the ever-popular Secret Cinema and in short they are both immersive experiences each with their particular quirks. As ‘secret’ suggests the film that you will experience is not going to be divulged to you until you are at the location they have asked you to be at. Future Cinema creates an immersive and social cinema environment where you are able to ‘experience’ the film in real life.

    Enough on the history, and how it works, as I told Mr P, you really have to experience it to know what it’s all about! He suggested I take the girls with me, as there was no way he was going to watch ‘some chick flick’ as he put it!

    The weeks in the lead up to the event saw emails flooding to my inbox advising me of what to wear, stores that I could get these items, details of ‘dance classes’ that would prepare me for the show and telling me what would be going on at Kellermans Resort during my ‘stay’. It really involved you and made you feel like you were part of the resort and that it was all real.

    Outside Kellermans

    The day of the event we were all dressed in the relevant 1960’s attire and met at Kings Cross armed with our suitcases, beach balls, and popcorn, it felt as if we were going away on holiday albeit only for 6 hours!! We got off at Hackney Downs and followed the trail of many other ladies to the resort entrance.

    Once in, we were registered, given our resort pass and then given an orientation to the resort where we wandered through to all the delights on offer. First we were taught the Kellerman Anthem and then went on to dance lessons, played crochet, and shown the art of soap carving. Soap carving was surprisingly easy to get to grips with but slightly sticky and messy, especially with the winds blowing around us. We rounded off our trip around the resort with a trip to the ‘staff quarters’….. We partied with the staff and learnt their very groovy dance moves just like the movie!

    We then went to the Kellerman’s bar, grabbed a few drinks (it wasn’t that easy as it was soo very crowded) and then went to get some food before we settled down to ready ourselves for the screening of the film. The food stalls were in abundance, the choice of hot dogs, chips, burgers, nacho’s, falafels, lobster rolls, sorbet, watermelons (see the ‘I carried a watermelon’ clip in the film for reference!) and alcohol was amazing!

    We went for falafel wraps, the queue was shorter and the pace at which the ‘falafel man made our wraps was just out of this world, I wish I had recorded the process, we had our wraps in less than 30 seconds and they tasted just as good if not better than the usual 20 minutes you have to wait in restaurants.

    Wine, falafel wraps with toffee popcorn for dessert whilst sitting on a picnic mat watching the big screen in open air is a novel concept for Brits at the end of august… one that we intended to fully make the most of, although it got very chilly towards the end of the night, luckily for me one of the friends bought a large fleece ‘throw’ that we all wrapped up in!

    Once the film was in full swing everyone got into it, and every time a ‘song’ came on the floodlights would be switched onto the crowd and everyone got up and started dancing, dance moves learnt or not, it felt like a really big party! It also kept us warm too!! There were even a few attempts at the running flying hold that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey did in the finale at the end of the film, most not very successfully!

    After the film ended they played about an hours worth of 60’s classic’s and the crowds danced, dispersed and played with their beach balls, in the end the sky was a sight with beach balls flying here there and everywhere! An amazing end it to brilliant night, well done Future Cinema, I look forward to the next one and so do my newly converted friends!

    Thats me for now!

    My sign off


  • Marrakech for some R&R

    Early August saw Mr P and myself take a short flight across to Marrakech. We had both always wanted to go, the Mr for the ‘food’ and myself for the intricate patterns and architecture.

    We were staying in a ‘Riad’ called ‘Maison Des Oliviers’ (A Riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard. More on that later!) On the outskirts of town and since we arrived pretty late could not see a single thing! I could hear the frogs (noisily) having their conversations whilst we ate a hasty traditional dinner of cous cous and tagine on the terrace.

    Temperatures generally ranged between 40 and 44 degrees. Most of the time it was just too hot to sit outside by the pool, instead you were better off in the souks, making your way through the medina which are maze like looking at all the merchandise on offer and bartering with the locals.

    My best buy was a Moroccan tea set that included a teapot, traditional glasses (with filigree pattern work) and a serving tray. It now has pride of place in my kitchen and I am just itching to use it!! Mr P is not amused and shakes his head in dismay at yet another item in our home…. He doesn’t drink tea he exclaims for the 3rd time since we have been back.


    Back to the architecture and design, a Moroccan Riad is a traditional house or palace. The reasons these types of houses have an internal courtyard is to ensure the privacy to their women, as privacy is very important within Islam as well as the need to protect against the weather. Looking from outside there would be a ‘fortress’ type wall protecting the home, with no windows or extra doors and all rooms would open into the central space promoting the idea of togetherness.

    Traditionally the walls of the riads are adorned with tadelakt plaster (nearly waterproof lime plaster) and zellige tiles (terracotta tile work), usually with Arabic calligraphy, with quotes from the Quran.

    The style of these riads has changed over the years, but the basic form is still used in designs today. Recently there has been a surge in interest in this form of house after a new vogue of renovation in towns such as Marrakech and Essaouira where many of these often-crumbling buildings have been restored to their former glory.

    Moroccan style and design is now increasingly being used within interior schemes (for more articles on Moroccan design have a look at this blog

    Mosaic tile detailing

    From the light fixtures to the tile work, Moroccan design is all about the finishing touches. The quickest way to Moroccan interior design is using bright and colourful wool rugs, kilims or thin large rugs with traditional geometric and ethnic patterns.

    Moroccan style home decorating invites rich colours of Middle Eastern interiors, dynamic contrasts, traditional patterns and uniqueness of Moroccan decorations and decor accessories. Vibrant colors of red and rich orange inspired by amazing African sunsets, green and blue found in the sea of the area, tones of gold, light brown, yellow and silver from the surrounding desert.

    Whilst out there we indulged in a bit of pampering and booked the traditional Moroccan hammam treatment and relaxing massage. A hammam is in essence a large steam room where you get cleansed and Moroccans go at least once a week, a ritual of sorts. Once the cleansing ritual had been completed we were left to relax for about 15 minutes before being guided to the massage room where we both had an hour of relaxing massage bliss. Mr. P even fell asleep whilst lying on the massage bed.

    For the most part of our weeklong break I spent relaxing and writing lists, as well as enjoying the permanent sun and warmth. The food at ‘Pepenero’ was amazing, especially the dessert, but that was it for me…

    Visiting Morocco I envisaged little streets with lots of Moroccan arches and special mosaic details. However I was a little disappointed as it wasn’t as culturally ‘special’ as I thought it would be. I guess when you build up an idea in your head about what a place is going to be like, especially taking into consideration their design and architectural history, you are bound to be heading for some sort of disappointment.

    Finally…. I loved this tree with lights and just HAD to continuously take photographs of it much to the annoyance of Mr. P!!

    My sign off