Monday, 6 October 2014

Getting off The Hamster Wheel of Blogging

Do you ever get that feeling that something has changed but you can't put your finger on it and then weeks or months later it appears that everybody is feeling the same way? It's like dropping a pebble into the water and then watching the ripples get bigger and bigger. It happens to me a lot. I guess it's what we call our gut instinct? A trend or colour you feel drawn to for months, suddenly starts to appear everywhere. Is it instinct or has it been subtly prodding our conscience, around us everywhere, but we just haven't acknowledged it?

I had this feeling about blogging, or rather my blog whilst I was away on holiday and had time to think. I'd been feeling, for ages, that it had become like a second job, a chore even, to constantly be writing blog posts and what had once been a hobby, and something I loved doing in my spare time, had become almost a necessity, a race even to keep up with the constant stream of other bloggers.

It all started when I went to my first bloggers convention earlier in the year. It was my first acknowledgement to myself that I wanted to take this blogging malarkey a bit more seriously and to possibly even make some money out of it. Perhaps I naively thought, I could write contributing articles about design, being an interior designer and interior stylist? I would like to say,firstly, I thoroughly enjoyed the meeting and met some lovely and very talented bloggers, who were and still are a complete inspiration, but I also left aware that to gain more traffic to my blog, it was perhaps beneficial to offer readers free gifts, giveaways which could be provided by companies if I endorsed their product. A "If you scratch my back etc" philosophy. However, after doing this a few times, although yes, it did have the desired effect and I did gain slightly more traffic, I was left with a bit of a flat feeling that this wasn't what I really starting blogging for. I will say now for the kind people who have offered free giveaways, I never did fall into the trap and anything I have endorsed in the past has been genuine.

Back in 2011 when I started writing my posts, it was simply a collection of thoughts, ideas and sharings. Anybody that knows me, knows I love to chat and share recommended places of interest, films I've seen, exhibitions I've been to and likewise I love to speak to people about things that they recommend, another great reason for reading so many other blogs? Some of my favourite blogs are just people connecting and sharing knowledge.
It feels at the moment, that that bubble of lets share things and connect, has burst a little and going round the houses a bit, it appears that it is what lots of other bloggers are feeling. I have read several posts just in the last few days all saying the same things.

With all this in mind, I have just read about a new social media site Ello, who are a no advertising site for creative like minded people. There is, it appears, a change in the air regarding the future of blogging and I am excited to watch how that will evolve. Although I applaud the very many talented pioneers of blogging who are now making a handsome living from their skills, there are still many people who just want to blog to let off some pent up creative steam or simply to connect with like minded people and unless you are endorsed or sponsored by a plethora of companies, you seem to get lost in the slipstream.

So with a big sigh of relief, I have decided that my blog posts will be fewer and farther between but I will not stop wittering, it's in my DNA and for everybody who has read my blog, continues to read or would like to read, thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart. It is always lovely to know that when you hit publish, somebody out there is interested enough to read, follow or comment. You can't keep a chatterbox quiet for long!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Designers Home-Petra Boase

This month 91 magazine releases its first printed publication, available as part of the Mollie Makes bookazine, which is available in stores now!

One of the homes featured is that of the retro inspired designer Petra Boase. Her home is full of charm and quirky accessories and has a real mid 20th Century authenticity to it which is sometimes lost with retro inspired design, which can often look like a pastiche of the era. I particularly love the mini scale caravan, kitsch but very cute.

Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Garden Trading Missprint Enamel Ware

The weather at the moment in the UK is amazing and it has been officially declared the driest September since records began, so taking advantage of the unseasonably balmy weather, we joined our friends last week for a camping weekend in Conwy wales.

We would usually have taken to the road in our VW camper, but as this year has been a special birthday for me, we have had lots of different breaks abroad booked, so our camper van has had the summer off and remained without road tax. Instead we got back under canvas for the first time in years and relied on our friends to provide the cooking facilities.

I have, however, recently been sent these lovely images of some enamel cookware which has been designed by Missprint in collaboration with Garden Trading and they will be my first purchase for our future camping trips. The muted colours and mid twentieth century design inspiration will be the perfect partners for our 1976 Westfalia and enamel is the ideal,
 hardwearing, unbreakable material, always associated with outdoor camping expeditions. 

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

2015 Home Interior Trends

As an interiors stylist much of my work involves styling products for large commercial retail companies.  The buyers always have to be ahead of the game as far as trends go, so that they buy into the ones that are going to be the most popular with the public.

Trend forecasting companies work a couple of years ahead of the buyers to put the emerging trends into categories to make their choices easier. These trends are not just picked from thin air,as I used to think before I was a stylist, but often derive from a general mood that is driven by world politics, economics or events.

One of the main trends that appears to be emerging for 2015 is a sense of human empathy. One of the large retail companies I work for are calling it Gathering which translates roughly to a meeting of minds and sharing the joy of life. In essence it's all about shared times with loved ones, cooking and eating with family and friends, human communication, restoring trust and faith in relationships.

As a recent newcomer to Instagram, I see this as a perfect tool for sharing with like minded people whether that be crafters, cooks, designers, photographers or other parents sharing moments with their families. For me instagram has the human touch which other social networking sites are lacking and it seems a very positive community, sharing appreciative comments and likes that always bring a smile to my face.

So for 2015 I'm looking forward to more sharing and caring with my family and friends old and new and my "never met, but know I would really like" friends on Instagram. This is one trend I'm definitely buying into!

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Alternative Flooring - Quirky B Carpets

As somebody who is no stranger to pattern and colour you can imagine my excitement when I first saw the new collection of carpets by Alternative Flooring. The Quirky B Collection developed by some of the Uk's most innovative surface print designers, Margo Selby and Ashley Hicks, is not for the faint hearted but, for anybody who is not afraid to make a style statement in their homes, your pulse will race when you see the collection.

Available in broadloom, wool mix fibres, the carpets and runners come in a variety of beautiful colour combinations and the full Quirky B collection includes 5 other designs.

Although I love our  Cath Kidston runner, which is now unfortunately discontinued, I now have an exciting alternative (no pun intended) to replace it when the time comes.
Our old faithful Cath Kidston Runner.
You can read Design Sponge's best of patterned floors here.

Thursday, 18 September 2014

A/W '14 Trends - Trousers

I love this time of year when all the fashion magazines start showcasing the best of what the High Street have to offer for the season.

It looks as though trousers feature heavily in most collections and I for one am thrilled and delighted, as they are a great alternative to jeans and just that little bit smarter for those days when it matters but you still want to feel like you! Trousers can be really flattering if they are cut well, but still look stylish and trendy and as I gravitate to tom boy dressing for most days, my selection below, fit the brief perfectly.

What do you think. Can you see yourself adding a pair or two to your A/W wardrobe? I'd love to hear from you x


Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Cilla Black TV Drama Series

Last night was the first in the 3 part biopic of Cilla Black who found fame in 1960's Liverpool.
I've been waiting for this ITV drama series to start for months, partly because I'm fascinated by 1960's Liverpool and it's music scene and partly because it was filmed in and around The North West, where I live. Media City, where ITV are based, is literally 10 minutes up the road from my home and many of the props were bought from a shop local to my town of Urmston, Mrs M Vintage, so it has been really exciting hearing all about it.

The first part of the series didn't disappoint in any way, from the brilliant casting of Sheridan Smith as Cilla and Aneurin Barnard, as her future husband Bobby Willis. Aneurin played David Bailey in a drama about the photographer and his then beau, the model Jean Shrimpton and Sheridan was excellent as Ronnie Biggs wife in a previous Media City production.

It was brilliant to see the scenes in The Cavern where Cilla and her bezzies danced to the early music of their mates The Beatles. Having been there several times myself, its always a thrill when you recognise a venue or location.
The set designers and the props and costume teams were spot on with their styling, with everything looking suitably down at heel and dirty, as it would have in a post war working class city such as Liverpool.

If you were inspired by the clothes in the 60's scenes, Boden have given a nod to the era with some of their current collection, shown here.

Roll on next Monday night, it was FAB!