A Tune for Tuesday No.12

31 January 2012

Earlier this month we invited friends over for a classic album evening. The evening was in honor of David's birthday, so the rules were that we need to have a classic album for each of his decades and it had to be on vinyl: CD entries were strictly forbidden. So the night before we spent much time debating what albums could carry such a title. There were plenty of classic songs, but the criteria we'd set ourselves was that it had to be a classic album from beginning to end. By the time our guests arrived we had four piles. It was funny how we had a towering pile for the 70's; a generous pile for the 80's; a somewhat smaller pile for the 90's and a smattering for the noughties (don't you just despise that word!). I guess it had something to do with the declining number of albums now being produced on vinyl,  but why did our collection of 70's vinyl come head and shoulders above the rest? Maybe it's an age thing, or maybe it's that the 70's was the decade of the classic album. A combination of both I expect.

Anyhow, this was one of the most popular votes that evening: Fleetwood Mac's Rumours. So without further ado, here is one of my favourite tracks from it. Enjoy.

Oh You Pretty Things

30 January 2012

Did you see BBC4's 'We'll take Manhattan' last week? It was a one-off drama about the love affair between Brit photographer David Bailey and sixties supermodel Jean Shrimpton. The drama focuses on a wild and unpredictable 1962 Vogue photo shoot in New York. The drama brings to life the story of Bailey and The Shrimp falling in love, misbehaving, and inadvertently defining the style of the Sixties along the way. I'm generally not good at films; I find my mind will start to wander after 30 minutes or so. The only time my mind wandered was when I trying to work out just how The Shrimp got her hair to look so cool and how her eyeliner was applied exactly. The actors who played the leading roles looked uncannily like Bailey and The Shrimp; so very easy on the eye.

Now I want to browse through my vast collection of Vogue Magazines (not to mention go to New York). I've always loved this fashion era. But really, can you image just going by the name 'Bailey' or 'The Shrimp'? How divine is that!

Work: A New Client

25 January 2012

I've not really touched on work that much on this blog. But now I am back on a regular albeit part-time basis I see it creeping in. It's only natural as it part of my life and it's life that gets detailed on this blog.

January has always been a quite time of year for us work-wise. Things tend to kick in come May as the big design shows of late summer loom. But that said this current period has been unusually busy. We're all in uncertain times at the moment as our business is indirectly controlled by what is happening in the retail world. We've lost a few clients of late to these hard times which has been sad. However, we've won two new clients this year already and there is other stuff in the pipeline that may or may not come to fruit in the coming months. New work is welcome: it takes the edge off when you know the coming business year isn't likely to be a walk in the park what with businesses making cuts, funding being reined in and purses generally being tighten.

So back at the desk, I've been writing press releases and copy announcing our new client to the press. The new client is British-Japanese designer Reiko Kaneko. We are no strangers to Reiko’s bold yet delicate ceramics having worked with her many times in the past through like likes of Hidden Art and Tent London (who we also handle the PR for). However, this is the first time that we have worked together independently and we for one are quite excited.

Reiko has built herself an enviable reputation with her surreal witty designs, but she is currently focusing on a second strand to her business. It’s one that’s altogether more sedate and finer in style. This new sophisticated collection, titled Artic, is aimed at the fine dining sector. There is already a bespoke commission underway for world-renowned restaurant; a sure sign that this will be another strong sought after collection.

We work with all sizes of businesses, but I do really enjoy working with such individual talents as Reiko. In times like now it is more important than ever to champion our homegrown design-talent. Readers of design and interior magazines: remember that name ... you'll soon be reading all about it.

An Overlooked Recipe

21 January 2012

I met up with my friends the yoga ladies last week and baked a cake for the occasion. I wanted to make a fairly plain cake; no icing or chocolate, something more 'January'. I sought inspiration through the pages of some old cookery magazines that lay neglected on a kitchen shelf and in them I came across a recipe for Apple Cake. It's name didn't really sell it at first glance, but on reading through the recipe I discovered that it was in fact an apple, date, cinnamon and hazelnut cake. I was sold. It was made. It was eaten.

My Favourite Table

15 January 2012

We are about to embark on some home improvements - they've been in the pipeline since we decided that we would stay put in our house for the time being. Much of the work is necessary stuff we won't particularly notice in an aesthetic way; dealing with some damp patches, improving airflow with the addition of air bricks and window vents, replacing bathroom fans, moving loft hatches and such like. Then there are some storage issues to be addressed to help our home adjust to our growing family (kids accumulate a lot of stuff in a relatively short space of time don't they?) and then the paint pots will come out and freshen the whole house up. We need to make a few furniture purchases too with any pennies left at the end of it all.
Furniture: it got me thinking. Like kids with their stuff, as adults you accumulate furniture. We've a mix of stuff; new, Ebay purchases, Ikea quick-fixes that are still around, flea market finds, pieces we've acquired through work and heirlooms.

I like my heirlooms. Don't get me wrong, for me they need to live alongside some more modern pieces otherwise it could end up looking like a museum. It gives them a new lease of life and I like the idea of furniture having longevity; always having a purpose in life.

One of my favourite pieces of furniture falls into that category. It's my dining table. It's nothing to write home about style wise. It's heavy oak, solid, and practical as it can extend from a 4 to a 6 seater. We eat most our meals around it; entertain around it; the kids play at it; it's where we sit for a 'serious' talk. But what I love about it most is that it has history. It belonged to my grandparents who purchased it when they moved into their home in 1939. I inherited it eighteen years ago. It currently lives in our kitchen in its compact form, though it started off in our living room. The plan is to put it back in the living room once we've decorated so we can extend it to its full capacity once again.

It would be amazing if my table could talk; it would have some fantastic stories I'm sure. My great grandparents regularly joined my grandparents at the table in its early years. It lived through the second world war. It witnessed the arrival of my dad who had this table in his everyday life until he left home. As a child I have memories of going for dinner and sitting around the table. It must have witnessed somewhere around 72 Christmas dinners and goodness knows how many Sunday roast, not to mention the odd family row somewhere along the line.

So now it has its fifth generation carrying out their life around it. I love that. The day that my grandparents made their dining table purchase they could never had known that it would still be very much alive all these years later. They'd be thrilled if they could see it now with its 'today' family, of that I am sure.

A Swiss roll & a new Aunty

9 January 2012

On Friday Lily and Arthur's three great Aunties came to visit for the day. I've covered a previous visit on the blog before in the post Tea, Cakes and Aunties. Together they visit during most school holidays, making the train journey down from where West London meets the suburbs. It's always a joy to see them. We did the usual thing; lots of tea, sandwiches, cake, and a walk along the beach. 

Of these three great-aunties, one is not actually a relative. She is Pat, the best friend of great Aunty Celia. We first met Pat six years ago when she came with Aunty Celia to Lily's first Birthday party. Since then she has accompanied Aunty Celia on every visit and is very much part of Lily and Arthur's lives. So on this visit Lily asked Pat if she would like to be a 'real Aunty' to her and Arthur. The answer was a resounding 'yes', so Lily and Arthur have themselves a 'new Aunty' and Lily for one was delighted by this addition on the Aunty front.


By way of a bit of a side note, I made a Blackberry and Mascarpone Swiss roll. I followed this recipe, just replacing the strawberries with blackberries. I knocked it up in no time and it tasted divine. Note to self: must make the strawberry version in the summer.

A Birthday

5 January 2012

Happy Birthday David!

It's that time of year again ... another year and all that. It might not be as rock n' roll as your 21st or a 'landmark birthday' like last year, but we all want you to have a LVELY one! There are presents, cards, a coffee in bed and a family dinner out today, plus Lily will be taking you to see Puss In Boots 3D at the cinema this afternoon, if work can spare you. Oh, and not forgetting a cake made with love by both your kids.

We're so glad you ended up with us. Happy Birthday.
Love Louise, Lily and Arthur xxx

First Day Of A New Year

1 January 2012

Well, here we are in 2012; it's sounds so futuristic. How was your New Year's Eve? Ours was very low key. Before kids we would have found ourselves at some party or another; nowadays it's a case of trying to stay awake until midnight so to have a glass of 'something' to see in the new year. I'm not complaining though; I don't feel I'm missing out on anything other than feeling groggy the next day. 

With young children, feeling below par isn't an option. This morning we woke bleary eyed to Lily and Arthur bounding into our bedroom announcing that they were about to perform a puppet show for us from the foot of our bed. That wouldn't have been quite so endearing after a heavy night.

We had a leisurely breakfast of warm corrisants and then decided to take in some sea air, so we put on our boots and coats. It then started to rain so we took off our boots and coats and settled the kids down at the kitchen table to do some of the craft presents that they'd received over Christmas. Arthur lost himself in his new Play-Doh Train whilst I helped Lily assemble her cardboard dolly. We drank tea and listened to the radio.

Now it's a nap for Arthur, a film for Lily, the newspaper for David and I will settle on the sofa to pick up my two and-a-half year old cross-stitch. One of my new years resolutions is to stop starting so many craft projects and start finishing some off. I can't remember such a relaxing day at home. We know only too well that our hectic pace of life will be resumed before the week is out, so we're making the most of just 'being' at home as the four of us.

Happy New Year.