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29 posts from April 2006

28 April 2006

Recharging

CASTELLO DI VELONA, TUSCANY

Don't hate me too much, but this time tomorrow I'm going to be here. We found it through a fabulous website called Luxury Link which auctions off packages in luxury hotels at quite ridiculous rates. So we've got a suite and everything.

Am so looking forward to being back in the land of my forefathers (well, not exactly, my mother came from Piemonte) - it's been over two years since we were in Italy, which is two years too long in my book. And it will be nice to take the Minx to the land of her forefathers for the first time too, though this time round we're just chilling and not visiting relatives.

So I'll be back on Thursday. Don't miss me too much. I've set a couple of posts to launch whìle we're away (whether they do or not is another matter entirely) so you can pretend I'm still here. Missing you already!

The Body Beautiful - Part II

Well, here as promised is an update on my weight-loss (I use this term loosely) regime.

I am mostly trying to follow Paul McKenna's book I Can Make You Thin, which is quite a slim tome itself as it basically contains only five golden rules and then some stuff about reprogramming your mind to behave like a 'naturally thin' person.

The golden rules are:

  1. Eat only when you're hungry
  2. When you're hungry, you can eat ANYTHING you want
  3. Eat consciously, and enjoy every mouthful
  4. When you think you're full, STOP
  5. Listen to the brainwashing CD which comes with the book as often as possible.

I have to say that after dieting for my entire adult life, my mind is pretty screwed up when it comes to food. I've been following so many conflicting rules over the years - low-fat, no carbs etc. etc. - that the very act of eating makes me feel guilty. But I do love good food, and it was so refreshing to be able to take things back to basics mentally.

So, how did I get on?

  1. I found I was able to stick to Rule 1 most of the time - which made a huge change because since I had the Minx I've been eating when bored or stressed rather than hungry. And I realised how much I had been using sugary snacks to get over the afternoon tiredness hump, because some days I had real cravings. But I've been trying to get more sleep which has helped.
  2. I found Rule 2 unbelievably difficult. I've been so brainwashed over the years that it was difficult to think that it was actually OK to eat 'naughty' food like butter or cheese when I wanted it. Interestingly Paul McKenna is right that one naturally does gravitate to a healthy way of eating - surprisingly I didn't actually want to eat chocolate all the time .
  3. I also realised that having a baby was making it almost impossible to eat consciously and focus on every mouthful. I'd been stuffing in 'fuel' every so often during the day and hardly noticing what it was I was eating. It's still almost impossible to focus when you have a toddler trying to pull the food from your plate but I shall persevere.
  4. This was also very difficult as I think over the years my body has overridden the 'full' sensation so often that now I don't feel it. And sadly it seems that I actually need only very small portions to make me full (I'm short so really should not be eating very much). But I've definitely been eating a bit less.
  5. The CD was lovely. I've only been able to listen to it a few times, but it is incredibly relaxing. I've no idea what it says as I always drift off into something almost like sleep but not quite, but I do come round feeling more motivated and inspired.

But does it work? Well I've only lost about 1 and 1/2 pounds so far which is somewhat depressing, though the good news is that I have not felt in the slightest bit deprived or like I've been on a diet at all. And I have to say that I've been sticking to the rules badly overall. And I definitely need to add more exercise to the mix. So onwards and upwards.

I will report back.

Blogstats

I'm sure bloggers everywhere will welcome the availability of this new statistical report created especially for us by GapingVoid.

27 April 2006

Bag lady

I think it's about time we talked a bit more about starting and running your own business, particularly as a female entrepreneur.

I found this article (on Paper Bride - a cool blog by a woman in NYC who runs her own bridal stationery business) about handbag designer Lauren Merkin's quest to get Oscars red carpet exposure for her handbags really interesting - mostly the fact that she spent over $30,000 trying to get a sleb to carry one of her bags and the fact that she thought it was all worthwhile (though she would say that wouldn't she?) Though admittedly it has got her exposure on the mirror mirror blog, which will, I'm sure, send handbag sales soaring. (By the way, could the slebs have been put off by the definition of the word 'merkin'? I'm not sure I'd want to be carrying a Merkin bag.)

mirror mirror has been invited to contribute things for goodie bags on a few occasions but we've always turned them down so far - mostly because it costs a fortune to give that amount of stuff away, and also because it's unlikely that any celebrity is going to be photographed parading down the red carpet with a scented candle on her head (though that would surely get the paparazzi going).

The article reveals that the whole Oscars circus is even more of a racket than I had assumed and makes one wonder even more how celebrities (mentioning no names Charlize) can still get it SO wrong.

26 April 2006

Faberge eggs

Here at last is the picture of my Easter eggs as promised. This year, in view of my weight-loss regime (of which, ahem, more later), I decided to go for quality rather than quantity with two exquisite painted eggs from Rococo chocolates. They looked almost too good to eat but somehow we managed. (The cellophane-wrapped object on the right is the little Easter nest, made of chocolate and Shredded Wheat, which the Minx 'made' for us at nursery - she is such a precocious child).

I also recently found these rather amusing instructions for creating Faberge Easter eggs from the quite brilliant Pimp My Snack.

Stumbling

I've just come across (via my blog stats of course) a really fantastic little Internet tool called Stumble Upon.

First you download a little application/tool bar (definitely NOT a virus or spyware and takes only a few seconds). Next you answer a few questions about yourself and your preferences and then hit the 'Stumble Upon' button in the toolbar. Every time you hit 'Stumble Upon' a new, completely wonderful, website which matches your personal interests and which has been recommended by other 'Stumblers' will be served up to you.

You can then use the tool bar to rate the sites as they are served to you and Stumble Upon uses your ratings to personalise its selections for you even more. You can also use the toolbar to rate websites that you like and recommend them to other Stumblers.

It's difficult to explain - just go and download it and see for yourselves!

24 April 2006

Spring

KEW GARDENS - April 2006

Saturday ushered in the most glorious Spring day here in London, so we abandoned all plans and set off for Kew Gardens in search of bluebells. Which, because Spring was so late this year, were nowhere to be seen.

So we had to make do with magnolias instead.

American Idol

Oh well, I suppose I'd better 'fess up. I love American Idol. It is the perfect Friday night TV for those of us for whom going out on a Friday night is but a distant memory (here in the UK we get a hugely edited version of the performance show and the results show in one fell Friday swoop).

Except this season wasn't really getting me excited, well, not in comparison with the beyond awesome series 3 with Fantasia, LaToya, Jennifer Hudson (I LURVED her - I'm so thrilled she's going to star in the movie of Dreamgirls) and the adorable George Huff.

Until last night, when Taylor Hicks - the long lost lovechild of John Belushi and Father Ted - had me jumping about in my living room. Yes, I am that sad. First 'goosebumps' moment of the series so far.

You send me

While I'm in an American Idol frame of mind here are a few of my favourite performances from previous seasons.

Here are a couple from the last season's incomparable Bo Bice

When I'm down

Vehicle

And here are a couple from probably my all time fave Jennifer Hudson.

Weekend In New England

I Have Nothing

And finally Fantasia's breakout performance, also from season 3.

Summertime

23 April 2006

Cover story

I've just discovered the cover archive on the fabulous vogue.co.uk. Could browse through it for hours, but here are a few of the covers which took my fancy. Particularly loving the illustrated covers of the Twenties and Thirties. So much nicer than the boring old models and slebs they use nowadays.

AUGUST 1932

JUNE 1950

SEPTEMBER 1945

JUNE 1930

MARCH 1926

MAY 1963

21 April 2006

Eye candy

I thought we'd all appreciate a quick squiz at GQ's Top Ten Best-Dressed Men. Purely in the interests of research of course.

Interesting that the emphasis this year is on the suit. GQ is calling this return to a more formal style 'dapper masculinity' (I shall pass this on to the Husband). And David Beckham is ageing very badly.

20 April 2006

Mah jong

This week's fantasy room features the Mah Jong modular seating system by Roche Bobois. It just looks so divinely comfortable and the best thing of all is that you wouldn't have to do any other decorating apart from choosing an amazing light fitting and arranging a couple of orchids here and there (and a ginormous flat screen high definition telly of course).

Apparently this system was first designed in the Seventies, but has recently been updated using Kenzo prints. I may even experiment with such a system when we move to Seattle (note to self, there's apparently a Roche Bobois store in downtown Vancouver). I think three years is about the maximum one could live with something like this before it would drive you mad.

Modernism

First of all I should admit that Modernism does not really speak to me at all (check out the Modernism microsite - pretty ambitious, though slow to load. And quite a cool 'Design Your Own Poster' feature). I have long been of the opinion that people are either Cavaliers or Roundhead (or Romantic or Classical in the parlance of Zen, and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance) and I am most definitely a Cavalier (with perhaps a sensible Puritan streak on a good day).

I found even being in the exhibition itself - surrounded by lots of black and splashes of red, by towering black display shelves and films of machines - faintly depressing. Something to do with all the straight lines, the lack of colour, the worship of machinery and 'the workers'. A few curves here and there would have been nice, or what about some lovely non-primary colours - lilac anyone? Or perhaps a touch of aqua?

But I felt I ought to go because it is so fundamental to one's understanding of 20th century design.

The V&A's approach is to root the movement squarely in the political and social changes of the first half of the century - the rise of mass production, the importance of hygiene and fitness after the post-war flu epidemic, the rise of the workers after the revolutions in Russia and Germany, new inventions such as film and new materials such as steel, concrete and plastic - which I did find really interesting.

I thought the exhibits themselves were rather lacking in 'wow' factor- unlike the recent Art Nouveau and Art Deco exhibitions - endless posters and chairs, an interesting if rather homely reconstruction of the first ever fitted kitchen, a few architectural models by Le Corbusier and a large, and rather gratuitous, silver car. I was struck by how contemporary some of those original chairs and buildings still seem - the Le Corbusier houses would not seem out of place on Grand Designs even now. I know these things were totally revolutionary at the time, but have we really moved on so little in eighty or so years?

It was also interesting to note how ideas which worked well at the level of the private individual, such as the Le Corbusier houses and fitted kitchens, turned into nasty brutalist monstrosities when turned into public architecture or housing on a grand scale. As with the philosophies the inspired the movement, the emphasis on equality and egalitarianism meant that people's individual needs were ignored and we are still living with the consequences today in our public housing.

It also got me thinking (always a good sign in an exhibition) about whether we are currently in the middle of the next big movement after Modernism. Is today's current obsession with pattern, colour, asymmetry, gratuitous decoration, free-flowing forms, handmade or craftmade items, and naturalistic motifs such as florals, birds and butterflies merely a temporary blip or are we in the middle of the next big thing? Because the thing that struck me most of all was how quaint and somehow old-fashioned some of this radical design is starting to look.

(Am amazed that I have managed to wax so lyrical in this post. Amazed because I seemed to spend most of the time running after the Minx, who thought she was in heaven - climbing on the benches, attacking the exhibits, running up and down a nice long ventilator grill, tap dancing on a noisy square of shiny metal flooring. She also hooked up with a handsome fourteen-month old by the name of Jack and spent a lot of time giving him very overwhelming cuddles, dribbly kisses or else trying to poke his eyes out. Thereby proving conclusively that exhibitions are indeed excellent places to pick up eligible young men.)

19 April 2006

Egg-cellent

Apologies for not doing a whole lot of blogging recently. I'd organised a quiet and sociable Easter break, but the coverage on the right - from the The Times' Saturday magazine no less - featuring the Hannah Tofalos eggcups, meant that in the end mirror mirror had quite a busy weekend. Not complaining of course, but I do wish journalists would respect my social arrangements a bit more.

The thing that pleased me most was that a photo taken by me has now appeared in a national newspaper magazine. You guys would laugh to see the conditions under which most of my photos are taken. I get the best light in a corner of our bedroom for about an hour every morning. When that photo was taken the Minx's cot was still in the bedroom and is jammed over to one side just behind the eggcups. The Minx herself finds photography fascinating and was doubtless either holding onto my legs or knocking over the tripod as I pushed the shutter.

Still, it's pretty amazing what one can do by taking loads of photos with a reasonably good digital camera on the off-chance that one or two might turn out all right after extensive Picasa-ing. I certainly wouldn't be able to run mirror mirror as I do if digital photography hadn't been invented, which is quite a sobering thought.

Anyway, over the next few days we are going to discuss the V&A's Modernism exhibition, the Bluebell railway, my Easter Eggs (yet more scope for punning egg titles, hoorah!), my weight-loss regime (quite possibly compromised by aforementioned Easter Eggs), this month's Vogue, and possibly some design-y things as well. Bet you can't wait.

17 April 2006

Decorating Ceramics - Karin Eriksson

CLOSE UP OF ROSE GARLAND VASE BY KARIN ERIKSSON

One of our favourite suppliers, Karin Eriksson, has written a fascinating article on design blog Whip Up, explaining how she prints the designs on her fabulous beakers and vases.

When you read this and also see her at work in her studio, there can be no doubt that every item that Karin produces is a true work of art. Karin also writes a cool blog, where she discusses her design inspirations.

16 April 2006

Egg-stravaganza

Img_68861smaller Oh, I’m the yummiest mummy that ever lived! I’ve made an Easter tree!
What you need to understand about this statement is that although I always have hugely good intentions about doing yummy things for special occasions, I hardly ever get round to actually carrying them out - due to lack of time, lack of vital equipment, lack of application and lack of any true crafty skills.
And to be fair, this tree is not exactly as I intended it. It was supposed to be made of twisted willow, but Notting Hill appears to be in the throes of a twisted willow shortage, so I had to make do with less twiggy twigs.
Img_68821smaller The eggs are blown hens eggs filled with chocolate ganache from Rococo chocolates (the Husband’s Easter present) and they are all supposed to be tied to the branches with ribbon, which was amazingly fiddly to do, so only two made it on to the tree. And I realised while I was making it that it was rather sparsely decorated and some pretty daffodil-yellow bows tied to the branches would have made all the difference (and then we could have sung dreadful songs by Tony Orlando as well).
But sadly I’m still rather proud of it and the Minx likes tugging at the wooden bunnies and birds which is sort of the point.

13 April 2006

Egg-stacy

Fundamentally I loathe Martha Stewart - she just seems so cold and calculating and I expect her to pull off her face to reveal a lizard underneath - but boy, she does have some wonderful ideas on her website.

This not a paint colour chart, but shows the colours that can be obtained by dyeing eggs using natural dyes such as onion skins and turmeric (found on Funky Finds)

I think the colours are just spectacular and I can't wait until the Minx is old enough for us to spend an afternoon gently making Easter decorations. Though of course by the time she gets to the age when activities involving boiling vinegar are acceptable, she will want to spend her Easter holidays watching ghastly DVDs and playing with Bratz dolls. And I will be only to keen to let her.

But in the meantime please leave me to my 'yummy mummy' fantasies.

Julie’s Quilt

Some of you may have wondered why I've got a couple of erstwhile 'infertility blogs' on my blogroll.

I got pregnant first go after we finally decided to try for a baby (a huge decision for me as I appear to have missed out on some maternal genes somewhere along the line and have never craved a baby). After reading so many horror stories about the difficulties faced by older mothers, it seemed that it would all come rather easily after all. And I carried on feeling smugly complacent until I miscarried at nearly six weeks. But still, I was an older mother and that was only to be expected. So I picked myself up, dusted myself down and we tried again. I got pregnant immediately again and almost immediately thereafter miscarried again. So alarm bells started ringing.

In the space of just over a year I had four definite miscarriages (the longest pregnancy lasted eight weeks) and at least three episodes where I felt incredibly pregnant but didn't get as far as a positive pregnancy test. I was referred to the Recurrent Miscarriage Clinic at St Mary's Hospital in Paddington (I can't tell you how lucky I am that this clinic is literally ten minutes down the road for me - some people have to travel hundreds of miles to get there).

After a barrage of blood tests I was told that I had a blood-clotting disorder which prevented the embryo from implanting properly but which could by treated using aspirin and steroids. And it was about this time that I started reading Julie's blog. I came across it when I was searching online for stuff about recurrent miscarriage. Julie had suffered a number of miscarriages after IVF but still managed to write about her traumas in an incredibly amusing, non-sentimental and yes, downright cynical way which chimed with me at the time. Through Julie's blog I reached Tertia's blog - Tertia went through an amazing number of IVFs, suffered miscarriages and also the loss of premature twins but still managed to write incredibly movingly about her experiences.

Eventually I became pregnant again and, notwithstanding a terrifying bleeding episode at eight weeks, it looked like this one was going to stay. And Julie in the US and Tertia in South Africa also got pregnant at the same time, also with 'keepers'. I don't know these women, they don't know me. I rarely comment on their blogs or exchange emails with them, but such is the power of blogging that they felt like good friends as we each went through pregnancy, each doubting all the time that this one would actually work. After our respective babies were born - Julie's very prematurely while Tertia had IVF twins - their blogs kept me sane during the dark days of early motherhood. Bleary-eyed I would read their blogs every morning to find that they too were struggling with exhaustion, with babies who would neither sleep nor stop crying, with breast-pumps and night-wakings.

And what of the quilt? Apart from being a very witty and creative writer, Julie also makes the most unbelievable quilts. Recently she has been raffling a quilt on behalf of another blogger who has gone through a huge number of IVFs and had run out of money. This same blogger organised a 'online baby shower' for Julie when she was faced with bringing her tiny preemie home from hospital with nothing prepared for him. I love the karma in this story and thought the crafty people who read my blog would love to see her amazing quilt and read a bit about the love, effort and stories that have gone into it.

12 April 2006

Flowers for Spring

I have decided that I need to acquire a large, sunny room with a dark polished walnut floor, white walls and diaphanous floor-to-ceiling muslin curtains. In one corner I will have a huge grand piano and the rest of the room will be completely empty except for a different exquisite piece of furniture every week.

Last week's piece was the Liberty chair. This week's piece is this incredible leather appliqued screen by Susannah Hunter.

11 April 2006

Patterns I

It's that mix of modern shape and pattern again - oh and the cool, summery colour palette. Why can't all flatpack furniture be this beautiful?

These boxes/tables/seats are made by Zaishu Project and come as five separate pieces which you just slot together (found via Decor8). I would love to sell these through mirror mirror but I suspect that by the time we've paid to import them from Australia and then store them the cost will be prohibitive. But I will make enquiries. At the very least I might have to treat myself to a couple when we go to Seattle.

10 April 2006

Other People’s Marriages

I hope you won't find it terribly self-indulgent if I review the books I read on this blog. I've often thought about keeping a book diary and this seems as good a place to do it as any - a sort of chronicle of my life in books (bad as well as good), albeit started a bit late.

In fact, now I think about it, how marvellous it would be to be able to look back through a list kept since childhood. Maybe I should force the Minx to start one now? 'Dear Diary, Today I read Miss Polly Had a Dolly 853 times, interspersed with the odd perusal of Knock Knock, Mr Croc (which is totally fab by the way) and the occasional run through of Baby Touch Rhyme Book complete with actions'.

But I digress. I was pleasantly surprised by Other People's Marriages. It was one of the books that you pick up in haste in order to qualify for Waterstone's 3-for-2 offer after you've been browsing for far too long and your baby is protesting grumpily in her buggy.

I don't think I read chick-lit, but I suspect this book comes very close (the front cover certainly seems to think so). In fact I'd liken it most to the literary equivalent of Cold Feet - exceptionally easy-to-read, amusing and often unnervingly observant about the state of modern marriage.

The premise is a simple one. Anna is writing what could be her breakthrough non-fiction bestseller about marriage and is using her group of somewhat clichéd thirtysomething (now that was a fab TV programme) friends as case studies. (A propos, am I the only person in the world who doesn't hang out in a group of three or four married couples who've all known each other for ever and don't have any other friends?) Cue lots of introspection and dissatisfaction about the various marriages being dissected, and speculation about perfect Anna's own relationship. As you would expect, each marriage unravels and then re-ravels in different ways, insights are gained, and perfect Anna's relationship falls apart. Once I'd sorted out the various couples in my head, I ripped through the book, wincing occasionally when it got a little too close to the bone of my own marriage, and seeing all sorts of parallels between the marriages of the protagonists and those of my friends (and no, I'm not telling).

Unfortunately I didn't like the ending much. Having successfully demonstrated that every marriage has its secrets and that marriage is by no means all its cracked up to be, Watson resolves all the various problems rather too tritely and finishes off with a wedding. But I suppose that's the genre. Don't buy this book expecting great literature, but if you're looking for a surprisingly well-written, easy-to-read book to read by a swimming-pool this summer then this book should suit very well.

09 April 2006

Bath life

Riverside pub, golden daffodils, storybook canal boats, 14th century tithe barn, ancient churches, banks covered in primroses, honey-coloured stone walls, cobalt blue skies, big black dogs and one happy Minx.

In the spring, the English countryside is the only place to be. Thanks to D, J & N for a glorious day out.

07 April 2006

He's in Fashion

Occasionally (er, several times a day) I like to take a wander through my web stats (both for the website and the blog) to check how traffic is doing and see where it's coming from.

Yesterday I was getting traffic from what appears to be a Japanese/Chinese design blog (difficult to tell as the characters just show up as little square boxes in my browser) which appears to have mirror mirror listed as a supplier of Atelier LZC products.

Anyway, I was browsing through the pictures when these gorgeous illustrations stopped me in my tracks. They are the work of fashion illustrator Eduard Erlikh and I just can't get over how stunning they are.

There's something about the rawness of sketches - both fashion and architectural - that just gets to me and sketches with so much movement and vigour in dayglo colours really take the cake.

I WANT.

Super Size Me

By a timely coincidence the film Super Size Me was being shown on Channel 4 tonight, so I sat down to watch it as part of my weight-loss campaign.

I have never been so horrified by a film IN MY LIFE*. The bad news is that the thought of taking myself and my daughter to live in America is now scaring the living daylights out of me. The good news is that henceforth I will be living on carrot juice with the occasional alfalfa sprout salad.

*Actually it was a really enjoyable, watchable movie in the Jamie's School Dinners vein. Highly recommended.

06 April 2006

The Body Beautiful

I've just weighed myself for the first time in ages and I appear to have put on one and a half stone (21lbs) SINCE giving birth over a year ago.

I wasn't exactly sylph-like before the birth either, though I was very careful whilst pregnant and fairly active throughout the pregnancy, so I actually weighed LESS a couple of weeks after giving birth than I did when I conceived.

But since then the weight has piled on. I used to be really active - cycling to work, rollerblading in the park and going to the gym - but since the birth I just haven't had the free time to exercise much at all and over the winter even long walks to the park haven't been on the agenda. And being at home with a baby is so boring and stressful sometimes that I may have occasionally sneaked one or two more slices of toast with (lashings of) butter and Marmite than were perhaps strictly necessary.

But I don't want to be fat when I go to Seattle, and I have lots of pent-up fashion spending which it is impossible to indulge when one's bosoms are this enormous, so I'd like to drop a couple of stone (28lbs) in the six months before we go.

To this end I am currently reading French Women Don't Get Fat by Mireille Guiliano, the GL Diet by Nigel Denby and I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna because I really need to address (I originally wrote 'lick' here, but that doesn't seem entirely right in the circumstances) the mental problem of comfort eating (which I do mostly when I'm bored or stressed) once and for all. There is nothing like a bit of of strenuous reading, I find, to make those pounds just drop off (and into someone else's pocket).

I will report back.

For Cally

Just spotted this beautiful handmade silver dish on Abigail Percy's Flickr site. All I need now is a spare £1200 and a butler to polish it.

05 April 2006

Egg-centric

Please forgive the blurry image - it's an artist's impression scanned in from last night's Evening Standard - but was enough to make me very excited. This is the new temporary pavilion which is being built this summer at the Serpentine Gallery. By Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, it is made from translucent material and can be lit from within at night. The walled enclosure below the canopy will be used as a café and events forum.

Every year for the past seven years, the Serpentine Gallery - a gorgeous little avant-garde art gallery in Kensington Gardens - invites a different world-famous architect to build a summer 'pavilion' on its outside lawn. The structures are only open between July and October each year, so the architects are encouraged to go a little bit crazy.

My favourite in recent years was the Oscar Niemeyer pavilion in 2003 which echoed the profile of the Victorian building behind (though I wouldn't have painted the ramp red) and I didn't much like last year's brutalist tortoise-shaped effort. It sounds like this year's giant light installation will reach new heights of superb nuttiness though.

NIEMEYER PAVILION

BRUTALIST TORTOISE

03 April 2006

Retromodern

When it comes to decorating I love mixing modern forms, colours and styles with vintage furniture and fabrics (and vice versa).

So I just adore this Egg chair by Liberty Bespoke (also from Elle Deco) which is upholstered in traditional Liberty prints and in which I could happily swivel all day pretending I was a Brocante Home James Bond villain.

Of course I'm just waiting for my brother (and new reader to this blog) to phone me up and tell me that this is an abomination - as he did with the Nokia phones.

02 April 2006

Elle Deco drops on my mat

As the world's biggest fan of Sex and the City, I was really intrigued to see interior shots of Sarah Jessica Parker's absolutely gorgeous Long Island beach house in May's edition of Elle Deco (note to self - that's the sort of house I want when we move to Seattle).

Not surprisingly the décor is very on-trend, with white interiors enlivened by splashes of dayglo colour, black accents and pretty but not girly accessories. It almost makes me want to forgive her those awful Lux adverts , the ones for the ghastly-named Lovely perfume and the fact that when she talks about her dining room she says things like, 'When it's filled with people, they become pieces of art that make it even more beautiful.'

I particularly liked the matte black mismatched dining room chairs, the giant apple in the kitchen and this gorgeous corner of her bedroom.

MISMATCHED BLACK CHAIRS

GORGEOUS BEDROOM

PRETTY ACCESSORIES

BIG APPLE

01 April 2006

Knit one

I've decided that I need to learn Russian. The Russian blog with the impeccable taste in grendmas has loads of beautiful images on its pages - I just wish I could understand what on earth most of them are.

I clicked on the link next to this image of this amazing hand-knitted rug and found myself on the site of Dutch knitwear company Flocks.

Knitting is the only craft I've ever been able to do. I like the way it exercises my brain in a totally different way, though I'm very bad at actually finishing a project and absolutely loathe the final sewing up process (I have about five unfinished, and now too small, baby garments sitting in my knitting bag). But even though I'm quite a keen knitter, I couldn't for the life of me work out how this rug came to be made.

Until I looked more closely at the Flocks website and found that yes, it really is knitted on huge needles.