Category Archives: Q & A’s

My 5 Best, London : Kate Prince, Artistic Director, ZooNation Dance Company

KP and Ella

Kate Prince is a lady that can move in many directions. She has one of the best CV’s in the land of Dance. She is Founder,  Choreographer, Writer and Artistic Director of ZooNation Dance Company which is based at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in Islington, North London.

Not only has she worked for high profile people like Nelson Mandela at his 90th Birthday Party in Hyde Park, and the Beijing Olympic ceremonies, the Tour de France, she also squeezed in West Side Story (with the BBC Symphony), and a production of  Mad Hatters Tea Party at The Royal Opera House in 2014.

16035380112_f5d7f87e93

She is also an Associate Artist at the legendary Sadler’s Wells Dance institution in Islington (that’s a huge achievement, worth milking).

My 5 Best London Places : Kate Prince, Artistic Director, ZooNation Dance Company

southbank 7

  1. Going to the Southbank and walking along the river – seeing anything and everything going on in the area as it’s fantastic!

Clissold_Park_London_Borough_of_Hackney_N16_1351831573

2. Hanging out in Clissold Park, it’s the best park in London in my opinion!!

reflexology

3. Treating myself to some ‘me’ time at ‘Reflections’ in Whiteleys Shopping Centre for reflexology. An hour of bliss ☺

YES2

4. I love going to our ZAD schools, seeing our young students taking classes in Hip Hop is brilliant.

2.jpg.pagespeed.ce.IeQZQifnWq

5. I love going for a roast lunch on a Sunday with friends my favourite pub is The Chamberlayne, in Kensal Rise. They do a cracking roast!

Photo credit : Deer in Clissold Park, London Borough of Hackney – Photograph by Oxyman

If you want to watch professionally shot digital footage, cast interviews, rehearsal videos and more from the totally brilliant Mad Hatters Tea Partyclick here, and you can get everything for free on The ROH website with the promo code TEAPARTY.

GODTR_364_©EdMiller-low-res-470x330

ZooNation have had huge success with their recent shows; Groove On Down The Road (Southbank), Some Like It Hip Hop (The Peacock), and Into The Hoods, as well as many other acclaimed performances.

slide-image

Kate also keeps all this going having just had a super cute daughter ‘Ella’ (isn’t she adorable),

Working closely with her long standing colleague Chantal Spiteri (Manager of ZAD), one of her passions is training and working with young people from the ages of 4-21 years in their schools in West London and at Sadlers Wells in Islington.

ZAD (ZAD Zoonation Academy of Dance) is a place where young people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds come together to build relationships and develop their skills through the shared love and passion for Hip Hop Dance.

Their new venture with The Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith is running ZAD West.  (If you click on the links above, you can see the classes they are running at the moment).

TrioReSize

We are big fans of her show Into The Hoods, Remixed at The Peacock Theatre, which is on a UK Tour.

zoonation3

Trust me on this one, you will LOVE all her shows, and too become a ZooNation Hip-Hopping groupie.

ZAD About Us

 

Patricia Gill, PR Consultant Shares Her Work Space

Patricia is a fast moving, Mama to 3 small people. She is a self confessed  design and interiors blogs junkie, with a background in design, film and entertainment PR. She loves her garden, food, catching movies when she can, and in her real life is a PR Consultant for Falcon Enamel Ware the British kitchen ware company, and  London Tea Club who source premium tea for their members. I’m thrilled she has let us in to her home today, to peek at her workspace.

CeLLuJ6WEAAgv2f.jpg

Hi, I’m Patricia and I’m a Freelance PR. I mainly work from my home in South London but also hot desk sometimes at Soho House or Shoreditch House if I need a change of scenery. It feels like I have been doing PR forever, more than 20 years now. I specialise in lifestyle and interiors but I was also a film publicist for many years and still have a huge passion for cinema.

Desk3

I juggle my work with wrangling my three small children; Clemmie, Sonny and Mabel to school, swimming, gymnastics and football. They are finally all in school at the same time, and it’s just across the road, so I have more time to myself these days.

desk4

I try to squeeze in at least two sessions of Bikram yoga a week, to keep fit and keep me sane. It’s extremely meditative and if you are having a bad day, it instantly cures everything. I’m also a single mum and Australian so I don’t have any family here to help out but my neighbours and friends are amazing and I don’t know what I’d do without them.

Desk7

My desk is a vintage Ercol drop leaf dining table. A neighbour was throwing it out, can you believe it? So I had it restored and now it sits in my bedroom, overlooking the front windows.

I’m a bit of a nosey parker and like to keep an eye on everything that’s going on in the street ! The light floods into the room in the morning and I like to sit here with a coffee and my laptop. The chair and cushion is from a past client The Balcony Gardener.

desk2

Working from home isn’t ideal as there are a lot of distractions such as ooh I’ll just pop a load of laundry on, or what shall I get ready for supper… but it allows me to spend more time with the children which ultimately is the most important thing to me.

desk9

I tried working in the kitchen but just felt surrounded by dirty dishes and food. Then I tried working in a small back bedroom and wondered why I stuck myself in the smallest, coldest, darkest room. Now I’m happiest working in my bedroom, which is a decent size and full of light. I just have to keep it very very tidy !

Thanks for sharing Patricia. xo

You can stay in touch with Patricia on Twitter, Instagram or even use good old fashioned email patricia@gillbarkerpr.com.

Watch and Learn A 12 Year Old Comic Artist

hal-dekenzin-cover-inks

Meet Orson, he is only 12 and has published is first graphic novel The Adventures of Hal Dekenzin which you can buy through his Aligon Adventures blog here for £7. You can also buy the comic from Orbital Comics, Benjamin Pollock’s Toyshop or Gosh Comics in store or online.

So far those that know about comics, and illustration are all saying the right things about this talented artist, and mostly that he has a bright (if dark) future ahead of him. His stories combines twisted tales of monsters, devils, the dead, the undead, time travel, garlic and a few Americans for good measure.

hal-dekenzin-BACK-COVER-mit-text-copy

Take a look at this article on It’s Nice That, to read an interview with Orson himself.

Orson 14

 

Orson: The Adventures of Hal DekenzinORson-Flier-A5-INNER-BACK-

 

 

Come and See Daisy & Finn’s Workspace

Good morning all, Today I am starting a new feature called ‘My Workspace’, and I’m rather thrilled about it.

It’s simple, sweet and ever so exciting. I have asked some of the very clever and talented people I meet on this bus journey if they would let us have a peek at their work spaces. Usually it’s a desk of some sort, but the beauty of this feature is that each and every photo that arrives on my inbox holds an element of surprise.

It’s the intimacy that people have with their work spaces that I find so interesting, and the fact that these days peoples actual space can be so very different. Some share Wifi from local cafes, or plan their book on a bench at the top of Primrose Hill. Many spend hours in their studios and others create havens in their offices with mementos and post it notes, all things that are completely necessary to the smooth running of their days. I hope you will enjoy sneaking around and meeting a few of these inspiring people who have agreed to share their work-spaces with us. xo

8A1A2744_2

Meet Daisy & Finns Party Ideas…Niamh has spent all her working life within the fashion industry (apart from a brief spell as a chamber maid during one summer holiday at sixth-form.. !) from product managing, merchandising, buying, styling & art directing etc etc. She has experience in womenswear, menswear & textile interiors. During this time she has planned parties for adults and children alike , all planned to the same level of detail & exuberance ! She lives in Hackney, East London with her husband, two children Daisy & Finn and two cats Boo and Scout.

8A1A2743_2

 

8A1A2750_2

8A1A2742_2

8A1A2733

8A1A2741_2

 

If you like what they do, find out more and drop them a line. More info here.

 

 

Q&A with Kids Editor, Nadine Mellor at i-escape

Nadine Mellor, Editor of the i-escape Kids is already on no.5 of her bucket list. She has a beautiful Irish husband and two cute kids Esme and Cormac (tick). A fantastic job (tick). Has seen some of the world’s most magical sights, lived in exciting cities, and sticks to her promise of having a travel adventure every month (tick). oh! and she is always charming and professional (tick).

For those of you that might have been living under a cosy rock, and haven’t booked a holiday yet with i-escape, let me introduce you. Award winning i-escape.com are an online travel agent and guide to wonderful places to stay around the world. They cover 60 countries, and offer over 1500 places to stay. All of the accommodation is small, stylish, and has character, (a-hem no chain hotels thank you), and each client is hand-picked and reviewed in-depth. If something doesn’t make the grade, then they don’t add it, and if somewhere goes downhill then it is removed from the site. It’s a huge success, and by word of mouth, I can share that what they do, they do it very well.

Photo Feb 11, 11 36 39 AM

Hi Nadine, Tell us a little about you… I was born in Islington and lived abroad as a child for a few years before we returned to Islington where I spent my (desperately unhip) bespectacled teen years (a consequence of growing up in Norway in the mid-70s – funnily enough my urban classmates weren’t into camping beside fjords and birdwatching). I really enjoyed my 6th form years, loving both the studying and the partying (contact lenses are a marvellous invention – especially for an awkward teen), and determined to head out of London for uni, settling upon Exeter University as it was a campus setting. Here I made many strong friendships, which endure to this day.

Where were you educated/ train, and did you have any mentors that helped you along your way?  After uni (Modern History and Politics) I went travelling for a year to Australia and SE Asia. I then pursued a career in the media, and scored a job in the Newsroom at Channel Four News, for four memorable years (Berlin Wall, end of apartheid, the General Election), before heading back to Australia for where I worked for the BBC in programme sales and marketing. Returning to the UK I took a Masters in Media Technology and was the first employee of Sky’s movie-making arm – my mentor here being James Baker. When that excitement ended (had a hand in making 17 films), my second career then took off – in travel, working for the hip hideaways specialists i-escape.

scan0004

Which were your favourite parts of education, and if you could go back (fees all paid by us!) then what else would you study? I loved working for my A-levels and then completely lost enthusiasm at university, too distracted by socialising! So I think I’d like to redo my degree and choose a more interesting subject and really knuckle down second time around – perhaps linguistics or anthropology?

Where would you escape to for a (long) weekend away ? Too many places on my wish list to mention but I’m dead keen to get to Iceland – the one Scandi country that I’ve not visited.

IMG_1571

Do you have any amusing/ tragic travel experiences you can share?
There was the time we went self-catering camping to Leningrad in 1974….

What are the 3 most important items in your handbag?
Oyster card, iPhone, keys

DSC_8074

Where would you love to spend an afternoon with your favourite people, and why ?On a glorious coastal walk with some birds to sight, plus a picnic with all the trimmings

Which are your 3 favourite shops for buying travel essentials ? REI in San Francisco is a campers’ delight, every gadget and item of clothing you could think of; Boots for all potions and lotions; the app store for apps for the kids.

What products have made the top of your birthday list this year? A good book to read (just finished Le Freak by Nile Rodgers); artworks purchased from our artist friend and neighbour; canvas bicycle shed; vintage outfit from a market stall; some old pots for the garden.

DSC_0287

Which is your favourite place (museum, park or venue) to spend a creative afternoon ? If with the kids then the V&A/Natural History/Science museum combos – something new every time, I never miss the Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition.

If money was no object, what would you like to collect/buy, or where would you take the family on a years sabbatical ? Southern Africa. I’ve only been to Zimbabwe so a tour of SA, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia would be awesome. I’d include some volunteer time too so the family could give something back. And we’d come home via New Zealand as I’ve only been to the North Island for 5 nights and am longing to see it all properly.

DSC_7781

What do you use for inspiration (books, magazines, stationary) with your work that you can not live without? Conde Nast Traveller if I had to choose a work-related magazine – bit strong to say I couldn’t live without it.

Which are your 3 favourite websites/blogs at the moment ? This is Your Kingdom; Family Traveller, What I Wore; I guess I can’t say i-escape’s Kids Collection?

Which clients/properties and destinations on i-escape kids are exciting you ? Destinations for families that excite include Morocco, Croatia, Northern Portugal, Sicily, the Cyclades, Languedoc and Gascony; further afield Mexico, India and Thailand. (Check them out on i-escape).

DSC_0273-1

Can you leave us one travel secret/tip to share please? Pack clothes which all work with each other colour-wise so every item gets used properly eg on our last holiday to Italy I had blue & green items with some neutrals (cream, white, grey, black) and for my daughter only purple, white and light pink and that saves space to bring back that souvenir item (most recently a lump of driftwood gleaned from the beach in Puglia!)

Thanks so much Nadine. xo

Surf, research, or book your holiday on I-escape or I-escape kids now.

 

Read this Q&A with Kate Maryon, Children’s Author 

“I write real-life stories about ordinary girls who find themselves faced with extraordinary situations. I’d like my readers to be thinking…what would my life be like if that thing happened to me? I hope my books will befriend and support children facing difficulties in their lives and inspire compassion in those whose lives are great”

me on hambldon hill

 

Kate Maryon is an author who writes for children aged between around 8-13 years old. She is a hugely warm, caring and down to earth lady who is very much apart of the Bus Stop team, as she is passionate about inspiring the creative genius in all kids. She runs workshops that empower children to trust their creative integrity. As well as craft workshops which include reading from her books and chatting about themes whilst making gorgeous bead bracelets and bookmarks. You can ask your school, local book shop or anyone you meet on the street if they want to book Kate for an event, all they have to do is contact Authors Aloud here.

Tell us a little about you, where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Teddington, on the outskirts of London. It’s a beautiful part of the country – lots of parks and the river thames – but my childhood was dominated by sadness and terror. My dad was an incredibly violent man. He was tormented in so many ways and my mum, my siblings, our pets and I were the target for his angst. My sister and I were also abused by our uncle and in an attempt to survive it all I became quiet, withdrawn and shut down. Standing amidst the chaos and destruction around me, I made a promise to myself that I would dedicate my life to turning this pattern of abuse around – that I’d work to create a beautiful and safe life for myself and all the people born after me. This is the cornerstone of everything I do. Writing emerged when I was about 2 years old – I started by writing pages and pages of squiggles that eventually became words, it was a way of processing the suppressed feelings that were whirling inside me.

longleat

I moved to the Somerset/Wiltshire boarders 18 years ago and haven’t looked back. Several key people in my family died over a two-year period, including my dad, who committed suicide (we had made our peace), my mum and both grannies. At the same time I was completing my Homeopathic training and ending my marriage. It was a seriously intense time. On a whim, I rented a house on the Longleat Estate, picked up my children, 3 bicycles, a mattress, a bag of clothes and a copy of Pippi Longstocking and began a new life. It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

 

What inspired you to choose your career ? 

I didn’t so much choose my career as it chose me. I’ve never not written. Getting published was a wonderful dollop of colourful icing on top of a very big cake!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Do you have a mentor, or role model that you would like to say thanks to today? 

I’d like to say thank you to Adam Bradpiece, who, over the past 10 years, has patiently supported me through the unwrapping of my painful past and guided me through the process of waking up to reality, to the truth of who I am. Also, to Mike Edge, who mentors me.

Which are your favourite cultural/ creative places to take visit (and take kids if you are in charge that day)?

If I’m out for a day with or without kids I’m most likely to head to a wild deserted beach. I guess my perfect day would include a trip to the beach followed by a fab film/theatre and dinner.

Which products/ areas of your business are you most excited about at the moment ?

I’m excited about so many things at the moment. I’m about to start a new novel, which is a bit like standing on the edge of a diving board, I’m working on a film idea with a producer and I have some picture books due to be published next year – I’m waiting for the publisher to send me some sample illustrations – I can’t wait to see how my words have been interpreted!

Me as a baby x

Which talented people or companies are you most impressed with at the moment, and why ?

I see the brilliance in all people and don’t really do the feeling impressed thing – but I love Meg Rosoff’s work and David Almond’s. I love how they play with words.

You’ve won a (paid) year off from work for being a ‘good citizen’ (& school for the kids) where do you take the family ?!

Well, all my kids have grown-up and left home but we still really enjoy spending time together – so… I’d probably head off, with my lovely husband Daniel, on a round the world adventure and we’d fly all the kids out and our little grandson, Freddy, to join us as and when they could. I’d also love a couple of months or so in a cabin by a lake, totally alone, to roam, write and be with myself.

The BIll Gates Foundation is giving you the role of ‘COO of changing the world for a day’ what campaigns/charity do you back ?

Mmmm, interesting – Ones that promote peace and love, ones that support families in relating from a place of love, ones that are all about scrapping the current education system and creating a new way of learning for kids that holds Emotional Intelligence at the centre rather than Academic Intelligence. Ones that work to show people that they’re not who they think they are – they’re not the limited crunched-up egoic self they think themselves to be. In our natural state everyone one of us is an abundant, creative flow of love – and from this place, so many wonderful things can happen.

Which are your favourite shops/ or destinations for birthday treats?

I’m not really into shopping – I don’t disapprove of it or anything like that, it just doesn’t interest me. If I need clothes I mostly shop in Frome where there are two delicious woman’s clothes shops. Birthday treats are as above – beach, film or theatre and dinner with my family.

Where is your favourite spot for a long lunch with family & friends ?

I’m very lucky to be a member of the Soho House group – I love everything about their houses. My favourite Somerset lunch place is Babington House and my London fave is Shoreditch House. Or a lovely beach place in Goa or Vietnam.

david almond

Which 3 children’s books are you most fond of ?

How I Live Now (Meg Rosoff) Skellig and My Name is Mina (David Almond)

What was the first record you bought, and what music did you last listen to ?

My first record was ‘Sugar Sugar’ (can’t remember who it was by). I listen to music constantly, we have this digital system in our house, which I find very confusing – so I mostly hit the playlist, which means I can never remember who the tracks are by. My taste is very eclectic – classical, world, electro folk, and on and on.

Can you recommend any friends, colleagues or other talented people who might be willing to share a secret or two ?

Yes, my son, Tim. He’s a young contemporary classical composer, living the dream on a narrow boat in London. http://timothymaryon.com

Thanks for this… it’s been a lovely and very fascinating process!

Love Love Love, Kate xx

Q & A : Debra Franses Bean : Mini Monet Art School : Buckinghamshire

FB_IMG_13940020937813886

Tell us a little about you, your family, and where you live.

Its me, husband and one son aged 7. We live in Harefield a little village on the edge of London. We moved here for the house, a modernist glass studio on the Grand Union Canal. We would have lived in Primrose hill if we had a few Million but you cant beat a great home – you can always travel into Central London for the cultural buzz. The call of nature was stronger for me especially after living for many years in London, New York, Rome and other cities. We would have liked to have had more kids but we started really late as I wanted to have a career change. So at 32 after I got married and my husband encouraged me to apply to art school. Initially it was just a foundation, but then I applied and got a place at Central Saint Martins to study Fine Art – we decided to give it a shot. Its a big commitment as you really don’t earn money for a LONG time! 
Mini Monet -summercamp2014-Final-lowres-amended
How did you choose your career in Art, and can you tell us a little about the journey from school to Art College/ Further Education.

I always loved art, from as long as I can remember I wanted to be an artist. I grew up in the Thatcher years and girls were encouraged to pursue a more academic and business path. I first studied Economics and Politics at Manchester University which I never really felt comfortable with. I could have changed to History of Art but was worried that I would never get a job!!!  

your money or your life?-1
Can you tell us about what you gained from Art College, and who inspired you when you were there.

Art school taught me to fight for my own vision. I had a challenging time there with quite a lot of criticism as I was a mature student and already had quite a lot of life experience. Much of it commercial, media, advertising and I had traveled as a sales representative, spoke languages even was a door to door sales person for a few years in Italy and Spain.  I had a lot that I wanted to say but honestly was so excited to be there, with young vibrant people I loved every battle of every day and made the most of my time there.

IMG_20140315_110550720

Tell us a little about Mini Monet’s, and why you started it. 

When we lived in NYC I used to go several times a week to the children’s museum of art in Soho where me and my son could explore all manner of creative output from Animation to sculpture, painting, music and film. It was such an inspiring space to be in and when I returned to london I couldn’t find anything like it. 

I wanted to use my art school principals to educate children in a conceptual and free thinking way. I was also keen to make my lessons like a mini foundation course where children got to try all medias. I emphasise children not comparing themselves to others and taking pride in their own work. Its quite magical the relationships that I have been able to make with both boys and girls. I teach an autistic boy privately too and even use art therapy ideas to help the children to open up into their art. 

The most important thing is that I teach art as a visual language. This makes the children conscious of their choices and also helps them to dare to go further. Its so important to counterbalance the structured results driven culture in schools. I like to think that they are developing a creative spirit of approval with me and thats why the children and parents love it . Parents are amazed at the work that their children produce and how happy they are to be left with me for 5 hours a day! I have children coming from London and a 20 mile radius weekly for classes so I know that what I am offering is quite unique

I run holiday workshops all year round and have a regular crowd and more new people coming each holiday. Some start coming weekly to saturday school and others save their art for the holidays. The success of Mini Monets has been a great relief for my husband as I promised him that when we moved to my dream home with a glass studio in Harefield that I would set up a business there and give him some time out as a thank you for supporting my art career for 10 years whilst he worked. It has been going for almost a year and we are very happy with the results. He is helping me with my marketing and we plan to franchise the concept over the next year so watch this space!

creativity_takes_courage_-_matisse-1

Which are your favourite cultural/ creative places to take the kids?

The South Bank literary festival, West end theatre and ballet, The Natural History Museum in Tring we are also going to Paris in the springtime and I cant wait to show Newton, Monet’s water lilies in the Tuillerie Gardens. We are also going back again to Marrakech as the Medina there is such a buzz of colour, smell and entrepreneurial spirit its a real mind opener.

IMG_5588-1

Which exhibitions are you most excited about at the moment ?

Paul Klee at Tate Modern, James Turell at Pace and David Hockney printmaker at the Dulwich Picture Gallery.

The BIll Gates Foundation is giving you a work of art for your birthday, what would you choose ?

Matisse’s Red Studio

Which 3 items are most essential in your art-kit?
sketch book, travelling water colour set & pencil
Where can you recommend is kid-friendly for lunch/ day out  ?

The Tate Modern – take a sketch book and pencils and let them sprawl out on the gallery floor
puff magiv
Which 3 children’s books are you most fond of ?

Good Night Moon, Puff the Magic Dragon and anything by Michael Morpogo.

What success, personal or business would you like to have achieved in the next 5 years ?

I would like to see my students thrive, publish and write a book on my teaching methods, make my own artwork to be able to take my own family holidays again having successfully franchised MiniMonets!!

Thank you so much Debra.

 

 

 

Q & A : Simon Mitchell : Alfred & Wilde : London

Alfred & Wilde is a London-based design brand creating modern, bold and fun art prints, stationery and homewares. Inspired by the city, using traditional printing techniques, and proudly made in the UK. Alfred & Wilde designs have a playful focus on pattern, shape and colour, reflecting well known places and spaces. Founded by designer Simon Mitchell in 2013, Alfred & Wilde designs can be found in design stores across East London.

Tetrahedron_mug_photo_square_large

Tell us a little about you, where you grew up, and where you live now.

I now live in a beautiful bit of Hackney, lovingly called Victoria Park Village by its residents. I think it is perfect. And it’s walking distance to places like Broadway Market and Columbia Road. However, I spent most of my youth in a sleepy commuter village in Berkshire, most notable for being home to the high security mental facility Broadmoor Hospital.

What inspired you to choose your career ?

My mum studied art at college, and I had a great art teacher at school. But my career has taken a few wrong turns, or detours, on its journey, and I am still working my day job part-time while I established Alfred & Wilde. But looking back, I think I always knew I wanted a creative career – especially as I quit Cambridge University to go back to art college!
SONY DSC

Which are your favourite cultural/ creative places to visit (and take kids if you are in charge of any that day)?

East London has hundreds of art galleries and studios so a day exploring those would be brilliant. Especially in Hackney Wick. We could add in the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green to keep the kids happy. It it is Sunday then we have to go to Columbia Road flower market, which is one of my favourite places in the world. Not just for the East-end flower sellers, but the independent shops and galleries lining the road.

Which products/ areas of your business are you most excited about ?

I have just launched a new range of mugs, which I am very excited about. You can see them on my website. And I am in talks with some major retailers to stock Alfred & Wilde so there are lots of things happening.

Which talented people or companies are you most impressed with at the moment?

I love Lazy Oaf. They have a great eye for crazy pop graphics. And the printer James Brown seems incapable of doing a bad design.
 
 
SONY DSC

You’ve won a (paid) year off from work for being a ‘good citizen’ (& school for the kids) where do you take the family ?!

India. I have been a couple of times and just love the amazing food and people. There is so much to do and see there so a year sounds about right. Plus I love a good Bollywood poster.

Which are your favourite shops/ or destinations for birthday treats?

For my birthday, I’d have anything from The Conran Shop. And I love art books, so anything from the Tate Modern bookshop, or the three bookshops on Broadway Market. And for food, it would have to be SpitJacks in Victoria Park Village. Their spitroast chicken makes Nando’s taste amateur.
SONY DSC

Where is your favourite spot for a long lunch with family & friends ?

My parent’s place in the New Forest. Overlooking the fields and wild ponies.

What was the first record you bought, and what music are you listening to at the moment on spotify?

I’ve just discovered Psychmagik on Spotify. But I would be lost without BBC 6 Music. I am only a little embarrassed to say that my first record was Madonna.

Who is on your dream dinner party list ? Prince is in town, so we can arrange that if you’re keen!

I’m most comfortable with people I already know, so I think it would have to be friends and family. No one famous! They always have too much baggage.
Thanks for popping over Simon, I’m looking forward to seeing all the exciting projects you are working on, come to light. xo
FIND OUT MORE :
@alfredandwilde1

Q & A : Cass Chapman : Kodomo.com : Luxury Travel Website : Dorset

I like it when I read anything which include the following words … luxury, travel, family, friendly … they are more than enough to get me to start dreaming of holidays, planning my packing list, deciding which books will join me on the adventure, and how many suitcases I can persuade my better-half are “…totally essential and full of plasters and nick-nacks for the girls”.

Cass head shot 2

Recently I came across the charming Cass Chapman who is the Director of family travel website Kodomo. She knows her onions from her top travel resorts, and holds the key to many a secret about which holiday locations across the globe are worth you spending your hard earnt pennies on. Being a food and travel writer, she has spent her lifetime gathering research on all the to die for villas, hotels, restaurants, and can share even more genuine tips for really getting to know each location if you are looking for that perfect holiday, then look no further.

PS. if I were you, I would make a special note to give her a call and talk through what she thinks you are after for your next holiday, you are definitely going to be impressed, and left feeling quite excited after hearing what she has to say.

shell bay 1

Tell us a little about you, your family, and where you live.

We live right next door to my husband’s restaurant called Shell Bay, which nuzzles on the edge of the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset. Jamie and I have a daughter, Lola, who is nearly three years old. I am a luxury travel journalist and founded kodomo.com in September, a website dedicated to luxury family travel.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Money is no object for today, which holiday will you book for the family ?

Probably a few weeks at the Maia resort in the Seychelles. I went a few years ago on assignment for the Independent and it blew me away. The Seychelles themselves were more beautiful, more historical and far steeper in culture than I imagined. And the resort itself was a new level of luxury. La Prairie products were, at that time, kept in mini bar fridges at the perfect temperature, the views from each room across the infinity pool, the surrounding ocean and the nearby mountains were picture-perfect and the spa was one of the finest I’ve ever encountered. I remember feeling devastated at having to pack my bag and head home when we left!

Which are your favourite kids shops for birthday presents ?
For little ones, the kids’ department in John Lewis is always great, while Graham & Green in London has some wonderful and often quirky gift ideas for bigger kids.

durslton castle

Credit : http://www.dorseteye.com

Which are your favourite places to hang out with the friends for a day without the kids?

Portobello Road in London has long been a favourite. While in Dorset, lunch and cliff edge walk at Durlston Castle always hits the spot. It serves wonderful food and the views across Swanage and to the Isle of Wight, on a clear day of course, are unbeatable.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Which 3 items are most essential in your handbag ?

Wet wipes, Elizabeth Arden’s 8 Hour Cream, and blusher.

Where can you recommend that is kid-friendly for lunch ?

I recently stayed at The Pig in Bath which was amazing with Lola. Gorgeous, healthy children’s options, or they can have anything on the adult menu in a half-size. And in London, there is a gorgeous Malaysian restaurant called Makan under the westway in Notting Hill. It’s not much to look at but the food is the best I’ve had outside of Malaysia itself, and Lola adores the chicken stay and Roti Canai.

Lola at Shell Bay

Which 3 children’s books are you most fond of ?

Anything by Enid Blighton, Owl Babies and anything by the Gruffalo team.

Where would you like to book for a family UK holiday weekend away ?

We are looking at Wales because I used to spend a lot of time there as a child and have amazing memories of the coast line and the idyllic village of Llanrhystud. I want to go back and explore it with Jamie and Lola. Oh, and I recently interviewed Stephen Terry at The Hardwick which I hear is amazing so really want to try that out too.

Which are your favourite blogs or websites… are there any in your field that you admire or take inspiration from?

I think Babyfriendlyboltholes is great, especially for UK breaks, and I’m writing a bit for Sophie Dahl’s new website ‘At The Kitchen Table’, which I think is wonderful on so many levels.

Cass and Lola in Big Sur

What success, personal or business would you like to have achieved in the next 5 years ?

Lots of regular bookings, more of the fantastic press that kodomo.com has been receiving and, fingers crossed, another baby!

About Cass :

Kodomo.com was created by freelance food and travel writer Cass Chapman. Having had her daughter Lola in 2011, she decided to create a website providing much-needed, authentic, well-written information for parents on where to eat, stay and play with babies, toddlers and young teens in tow. From Batu Batu to Barcelona, Montreal to Marbella, Kodomo (and its team of fabulous writers) gives you well-researched, personal, and detailed information on hotels, villas, and restaurants across the world, with much-needed detail on when to visit, what to do once you get there, and essential need-to-know information specific to each destination. Cass has written for The Independent, The Telegraph, Vogue. Elle and GQ,amongst others.

CASS CHAPMAN
Director
kodomo.com
cass@kodomo.com
Twitter:@kodomoluxtravel
instagram:kodomoluxtravel
Facebook: kodomo.com

Q+A with Debbie Daniel from Craft Guerilla

Craft Guerrilla are the original hosts of the ‘DIY Craft Night in London’. Debbie and her team started in a pub back in 2008 bringing their own original “stitched & pissed” events with craft, DJ’s, board games and more! Now their designer maker fairs provide a platform to showcase upcoming London & UK talent. Their aim is to empower and help creatives follow and realise their dreams of creating a thriving and sustainable hand-made business. bannermini You can hire them for one off bespoke work shops, DIY craft events, and private lessons. They love to share, bringing their merry gang of craft experts with them, delivering their very warm, cosy and friendly teaching skills with them.

Debbie, tell us a little about you, where you grew up, and where you live now. 

I’m the founding member and creative director of Craft Guerrilla, I’m a ceramicist by trade but dabble in lots of craft disciplines. My childhood was spent on two continents (Europe and North America) but I grew up in London. I’ve moved over from Portugal when I was 19 so I grew up here and I had to grow up fairly quickly! I’ve lived in London ever since and I currently live in Walthamstow. I do see myself as a Londoner and I’m pretty happy to be part of it all!

What inspired you to choose your career ?  I’ve always made things from a very early age. I’m from a long line of tinkers, artists  and makers. I was pretty much surrounded by crafting as all grannies ( and my mum !) were amazing at it. Plus my maternal granddad was a goldsmith and I loved sitting beside him at his bench watching him work. I guess in a way being around so many creative people it does rub off on you…so there was really only one way I could go!

Do you have a mentor, or role model that you would like to say thanks to today?  That’s an easy one, it has to be my auntie Zé. She was a maverick crafter and entrepreneur. She started a business making macramé curtains which became a huge success in Porto. But she basically made everything from paper maché puppets to hand-made candles then sold them in local markets and shops in the late 1970’s. I thank her for the time she spent with me in her studio showing me how to make things! She was very patient, a great teacher and passionate about crafting! She was an amazing, inspirational woman who unfortunately is no longer here… but she’s left a great legacy. One of the things she did was open a craft centre for children with downs syndrome which still operates today and an animal rescue centre which functions a little bit like the RSPCA and is one of its kind and was the first to operate in Portugal.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Which are your favourite cultural/ creative places to take visit (and take kids if you are in charge that day)?  I love going to craft fairs and I always drag as many people as I can to come along! The markets on Brick Lane are pretty good too but in general very young kids will lose interest after 30 minutes! There’s just too much to see and take in so it can be overwhelming. An alternative yet great kid friendly space I also love is The British Museum. It’s packed with great artefacts and antiquities plus the covered hall is soothing and calm…the light in there is magnificent and there’s enough space to sit and relax between all the looking and learning.

Which products/ areas of your business are you most excited about at the moment ?  Currently I’m aiming to work more in the therapeutical field so using craft as a therapy. Lots of interesting and positive results have been achieved so it’s something I’m very keen to develop and explore. I worked with The Alzheimer’s Society and it was awesome. I’m hoping to continue doing more as I truly believe crafting is a healthy and beneficial way to bring people together and also to help people into a healthy and positive mood.

Which talented people or companies are you most impressed with at the moment, and why ?  I have a huge soft spot for The Aviary. I love Victoria Foster’s work, her illustrations and products are both beautiful and inspiring. If I could I would literally buy everything she ever produced! Also Boobou Designs, AKA Lindsey O’Harrow. She found a great product and she’s made it a success. I think it’s really amazing to find something which has such a wide appeal and is so commercially successful. I really admire her determination and skills.

You’ve won a (paid) year off from work for being a ‘good citizen’ (& school for the kids) where do you take the family ?!  I’m a traveller by nature so I’d probably go to Lisbon for a few months just to soak up the energy. It’s such a creative, positive city and a very family friendly place. I think I’d also travel to places where I could add to my craft skills by learning ancient methods so I could add to my caché. Somewhere like Japan and the far east, India, Africa etc.. yeah I say I’d take a year off from work but I’m not able to just stand still and not do anything for too long!

The BIll Gates Foundation is giving you the role of ‘COO of changing the world for a day’ what campaigns/charity do you back ?  That’s a hard one, there is so much we can improve on which is pretty sad… but a lot of people are doing positive things so I’d concentrate on something close to my heart. Because I’m very animal friendly I’d have to back any charities which worked for the benefit of animals, nature and ultimately humanity. For example I love what The Brooke Charity do. They work with farmers and people who use work animals in Africa and India to teach them responsible animal husbandry, ownership and care. It’s all about education and not just bettering the animal’s life but also the people’s lives and the community too. If I wasn’t working in craft I’d be working with animal charities or become a vet to work in disadvantaged communities or third world countries. black duke

Blackduke & Cashman : 83 Grove Road : Walthamstow : London : E17 9BU
 

Which are your favourite shops/ or destinations for birthday treats, and can you tell us your top 3 Arts & Crafts shops, as we are always on the look out for these?  “Cabbages and Kings” in Stoke Newington has an amazing selection of hand-made gifts and art plus they share the space with “Knit with attitude” so lots of gorgeous wool and knitting paraphernalia. Also We Make London have an amazing shop in Camden which also sells designer maker gifts and finally if I can blow my own trumpet… the Craft Guerrilla concession space in Walthamstow Village in the Black Duke & Cashman shop. We sell lots of amazing hand-made items, zines and illustrations by UK based designers and artists and the guys sell mid century furniture which is another favourite!

Where is your favourite spot for a long lunch with family & friends ? Either Primrose Hill for a picnic or The Albion café on Boubdary Street in Shoreditch for a sit down meal which serves amazing food made with fresh, seasonal British ingredients.

Which 3 children’s books are you most fond of ? I grew up on Dr. Seuss so one of them has got to be “Green Eggs and Ham”, “Charlie and the chocolate factory” by Roald Dahl and finally “Little women” by Louisa May Alcott which isn’t really an obvious children’s book but it is a “coming of age” novel.  It was one of the first “serious” books I ever read when I was young as it was a hand me down, an English 1926’s edition, which belonged to my great granny Albertina. I still have it and it’s one of my prized possessions.

What was the first record you bought, and what music did you last listen to ? Blondie’s “Autoamerican”. I still have it of course as I love listening to it. But don’t let that fool you… I love everything from Opera, 1920’s jazz, punk and electronic to Drum and Bass. My current favourite is the new Daft Punk album and especially the Pharrell Williams track “Get lucky”.

Can you recommend any friends, colleagues or other talented people who might be willing to share a secret or two ? I work with lots of creative people and one which never ceases to surprise me is Sanna King of Sannapanda & Friends. She is a massive talent and an amazing designer maker. Also Ellen Mair Jones, a jeweller and crafter who’s been an active craft educator since the 1960’s, a Greenham woman, activist and amazing all round artist!

The Craft Guerrilla On line boutique showcasing the best UK designers and their hand-made products… easy & quick and available at a click! Concession space featuring a selection of hand-made goods, illustrations, zines and more… at Black Duke & Cashman 83 Grove Road E17 9BU London

You can find out more about Craft Guerrilla here, or follow on twitter: @craftguerrilla & be their friend: www.facebook.com/craftguerrilla & www.craftguerrilla.com & www.eastlondoncraftguerrilla.blogspot.com

Q & A with Kat Molesworth Founder, Blogtacular & Blogger

Q & A : Kat Molesworth : Founder & Blogger : Blogtacular & HousewifeConfidential : Hampshire

This weekend over the 9th/10th May at The Royal Institution in Central London a slice of social media history will be made in the form of Blogtacular. The event created by Kat and her partner Kat Goldin has been designed to be… “a place for people who create vibrant and original content to discuss their work, fill their minds with new ideas and to collaborate with fellow bloggers”.

No doubt it will be the ‘place to be’ for those keen to learn more, who are either “It’s just a hobby” bloggers, brands looking to cosy up to charming, successful bloggers, or the fully fledged ‘head of school’ types, who knows their data science from their GitHub.

hat-bow

On her admired blog Housewife Confidential, Kat introduces herself as a “...shameless know-all and self-taught geek with an unquenchable curiosity“.

As I have decided that ‘geek’ is the new black, and I’m campaigning for a Bsc degree in ‘Curiosity of all things worthy’ to be a new addition to the LSE timetable, I had to get a piece of the action, and find out more about her world. Cue : drum roll, and read on…

If you sneak around Kat’s charming blog, you will find it sparking with articulate features, fresh photography and inspiring creative-craft and lifestyle posts. You will then hardly believe that she has the time, energy and commitment to run a further cluster of businesses.

Spring-Door-Wreath-by-Housewife-Confidential-3-4

Well be impressed, as her talents range from film making courses, coaching and consulting services, speaking and creative campaigns, website creation, an online film and photography school (with her partner Kat again), founding Blogtacular, and caring for a happy family of 3 small kids, 1 supportive husband, and taking on various personal photography (instagram), craft and cooking projects.

On that note, I will make a note to self to instagram/blog/study/photograph/quilt/bake more, what have I got to lose?

Housewife-Confidential-2

Where did you go to school and which jobs did you most enjoy – do you have any mentors that helped you along your way?

I went to school in Winchester. I’ve worked in lots of big companies from the NHS to Starbucks to the energy industry mostly as a small cog. I didn’t really have any mentors but what my past work life gave me is a good grounding in customer service, branding, marketing and process. I frequently draw on my experiences now I work on my own business.

Which were your favourite parts of education, and if you could go back (fees all paid by us!) then what else would you study?

I love learning. If I could learn without having to write essays I wouldn’t hesitate. I really loved science and maths and could happily spend the rest of my days discovering what they have to offer. I was very drawn to visual subjects at school and really wanted to do graphic design, sadly my mother wouldn’t agree to it. I find it ironic that all these years down the line I spend a great deal of my time learning about design and applying it in my work.

What are your aspirations for Blogtacular, and what have you learnt from the process so far?

I dream of Blogtacular becoming a cornerstone of the creative online community. Having yearned for somewhere to connect with the online community for so many years seeing it come to fruition is almost unbelievable.

My big takeaway is that year one of a business is as hard as they say! This is the first business I have run which required investment and sales to make it happen and that has been a steep learning curve for me. I’ve developed a thicker skin to rejection and have knocked on more doors than I thought possible. I’ve also found that people share our vision and we have been given help from people who want to see Blogtacular succeed as much as we do.

Martha Lane Fox has just called and is giving you £10k to spend on your business, which areas of your business will you spend the money?

Wow Martha, thanks! I would probably invest in year two of the conference, use some money to secure the venue and the rest to book more amazing speakers. With year one being a lean year making sure year two happens is incredibly important to us.

What are the 3 most important items in your handbag?

I don’t have a handbag! I always have my iPhone, keys and wallet with me. Not incredibly exciting, just the essentials.

You get front row seats, One Direction, Andrea Bocelli or Blondie?

Blondie! But Blondie from the 80s, having seen them a few times I would love to hear Debbie Harry perform as she was then.

mini eco2

 
Geo Paper Totem : mini eco blog 
 

Who are your favourite craft bloggers for kids, and have you a simple craft tutorial for kids you can share ?

Mini Eco, Kate has a great aesthetic. Her pavement chalk is very cool.

Where would you love to spend an afternoon with your favourite people?Given free reign it’s always the beach or the woods. My favourite beaches are Studland on the Isle of Prubeck.

Which are your 3 favourite shops ?

The Hambledon, Etsy and Made.

studland_beach_boats

Studland Beach : Photo credit : Island Cottage Holidays

What treats are on your birthday list this year?

I just got an early birthday present! It’s a long slider for my camera, totally geeky but I love the opportunity to add to my bag of tricks. I would really like to be surprised with a massage or spa trip. I’m feeling pretty run down at the moment and I’m in need of some pampering.

You have a ‘whole’ day off where would you spend it to take in some creative inspiration ?

I’d love to go to David Bailey exhibition ‘Bailey’s Stardust’ (National Portrait Gallery) to soak up some photographic inspiration. Then after lunch I would love to take a screen printing workshop.

Name a couple of your favourite books from your bookshelf.

I adore Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy, I have lost count of the number of times I have read it. About a Village by Owen Jones and E J McCabe is a new favourite, I am finding so much inspiration amongst the images of Firle.

What tools, software or photography equipment do you use for your work that you can not live without?

Canon cameras, always, I currently shoot with a 6D. My go to equipment is a Manfrotto tripod with pan and tilt head, an interval timer, wireless remote and Rode mic. I edit with Adobe Lightroom for photos and Premiere Pro for films. I spent a long time resisting learning editing software which was a huge mistake.

xantheberkeley_me_40

Xanthe Berkeley 
 

Name 3 blogs in your reading list.

Swiss Miss, Xanthe Berkeley and Recipe Rifle.

Which cookery book/s are well thumbed, and loved ?

We cook a lot of our meals form Jamie Oliver’s books. Nigel Slater’s books are for inspiration and culinary dreaming. My best thumbed book is my kitchen notebook. I’m always trying new versions of food I’ve enjoyed and most of our family recipes are written in here.

Can you share an inspirational quote with us ?

Your time is limited so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Steve Jobs

We are good at keeping secrets, can you share with us a blogging tip?

Write about what you love the most. Put your energy into what gives you energy and your blog will thrive.

Thanks Kat, super good luck with the first ever Blogtacular event this weekend.

Q&A with Karen Le Billon Author of ‘French Kids Eat Everything’

KLB photo dusty rose outfitTake a deep breath, and be inspired. Karen Le Billon is a professor at the University of British Columbia. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, The Sunday Times, The Observer, and Huffington Post, as well as being featured on Good Morning America. She was born in Montreal, and raised in Canada, and earned her PhD at Oxford (where she studied as a Rhodes Scholar and she met her French husband Philippe). She  loves to garden, knows her chocolate from her chocolate, has two daughters and with her wonderful family,  they divide their time between Vancouver  and France.

In her charming memoir ‘French Kids Eat Everything‘ Karen tells the story of how with her young girls and Phillipe, they left Canada and moved to France to spend a year in her husband’s provincial hometown. She shares her revelations during this time in France, of their lives, and how her daughters eating habits dramatically changed.

Karens girls were originally fussy (snacking) eaters who wouldn’t dare try ‘adult’ food, yet being immersed in French culture, they naturally developed an adventurous, healthy and sensible appreciate of food, and most importantly learnt how enjoyable it is to share meals together as a family, and became never afraid to try ‘just a little’ of all the foods that are on offer.

From Karen’s blog I have loved learning about the french school lunch system, and how the meals follow a four course structure: vegetable starter; main dish with vegetable side; cheese course; dessert. All meals are served with fresh baguette (eaten plain, usually one piece per child!) and water. No flavoured milk, juice, sports drinks, or pop. No vending machines. No fast food or junk food. It all makes sense right? Nb. France has one of the lowest rates of overweight children in the developed world, and Britain and the US some of the highest.

talitha-french-kids

She has recently published her second book ‘Getting to YUM : the 7 secrets of raising Eager Eaters‘, (available for purchase in the US, UK and Canada) which will teach your kids to eat, just as you teach them to read. Her blog, is a fascinating read covering parenting issues, the french kids school lunch project (menus) that are collected from schools, family friendly recipes, and guest blogs from other ‘foodie’ lovers, as you will find out, she is as equally charming in real life, as she is in her books.

Where did you train, and did you have any mentors that helped you along your way?

I’ve been lucky to have many inspiring mentors, including NYU Professor and Author Marion Nestle.

Which were your favourite parts of education, and if you could go back (fees all paid by us!) then what else would you study?

I did an amazing undergraduate degree in “Arts and Science” at McMaster University; I wouldn’t change that experience, and would love to do that degree over again!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Where would you escape to for a weekend away ?

Corsica, one of the most beautiful islands in the world!

What are the 3 most important items in your handbag?

Great question! 😉

  1. My moleskin black notebook (yes, I still use one).
  2. Papier Poudre (when you’re in need of a quick freshening up – a favourite “on the go” beauty product)
  3. Solid perfume from l’Occitan en Provence. It comes in adorable little pots that fit in a pocket, and is my go-to item for travel.

Where would you love to spend an afternoon with your favourite people, and why ?

Walking along the beach and sea wall in Vancouver, on a sunny afternoon. Because it’s a place where nature meets culture – one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Which are your 3 favourite designers/ shops ?

I assume you are referring only to clothing?!

  1. France’s Cyrillus stores (for kids)
  2. Anne Fontaine in Paris (gorgeous shirts)
  3. Gravity Pope for amazing shoes from all over the world

What products have made the top of your birthday list this year?

A mini-iPad!

french-food-rules-kids

Which is your favourite place (museum, park or venue) to spend a creative afternoon ?

The Guggenheim, New York or Bilbao – I love both!

What do you use for inspiration with your work that you can not live without?

Dark chocolate–the darker the better. When I’m in Vancouver, there’s a tiny company on a little island off the coast of Vancouver that makes the most amazing chocolate ever – Denman Island Chocolate. When we’re in France, I love Henri Le Roux or Pierre Hermé.

Which are your 3 favourite websites/blogs at the moment ?

Design Mom – I feel like we have parallel lives, moving back and forth between North America and France! Sarah Jane Studios – She is a great designer, and illustrated both of my books. Beautiful clothes, fabrics, drawings! Marion Nestle’s Food Politics blog – Savvy commentary on food & politics – two of my favourite topics.

Your favourite recipe books

That is seriously difficult. Let’s limit ourselves to cookbooks for children/families. I love everything Mollie Katzen has ever written. How about her Pretend Soup cookbook? And The River Cottage Family Cookbook.

A favourite quote: “If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”

Can you leave us one creative secret/tip to share please?

Creativity is 99% persistence. I set aside time to write every morning – before anything else on my “to do” list.

Thank you so much Karen, we are off for a quick snack now… (cheeky me) honestly I am so inspired by your blog, I can now only think about small portions of beautifully fresh food, dream of serving sautéed chicken with green peas à la barigoule (artichoke sauce) for supper, and just remember how much fun can be had preparing our meals together as a family. xo

Photo by Elliott Erwitt. Illustrations by Sarah Jane Wright for French Kids Eat Everything

Q & A with Jane Means, Gift Wrapping Designer

Q & A : Jane Means

Tell us a little about you, your family, and where you live.

Although my office, shop, warehouse and staff are based in Lincolnshire where I am originally from. I currently live in Central London so I can be based centrally and it helps living locally to my clients including Fortnum and Mason, Ralph Lauren and Liberty. I live with my husband David and recently married in September 2013.

IMG_6424-1

How did you start your career, and did you have any jobs before this ?

I was always interested in travel and art and spent my early years working for an airline and as a travel agent so I could see the world. During the mid 90’s I was a part time florist and decided to start by business after seeing a gap in the market. All of these jobs came together and now I have the best one in the world.

Which are your favourite cultural/ creative places in London ?

I love to see new ventures popping up and one of my favourite places is the New Designers and Table Top Exhibitors at the Country Living Fair in Islington twice a year in March and November.

handmade fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Which cultural events (theatre, exhibitions) have you seen or are you hoping to see ?

I am a regular exhibitor to trade and retail shows including Top Drawer, Spirit of Christmas and County Living. This year I am very excited to be involved with the Handmade Fair with Kirstie Allsopp in September and hope to go to some events in my spare time including The Proms (Royal Albert Hall) and The V&A Museum.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Which British Artists/ Designers/ Entrepreneurs are you most impressed with, and why ?

Crickey there are so many out there but a few of my favourites are Fox and Lark who make wallpapers, fabrics, ribbon and gift wrap (I love their designs so much that I am featuring them in several projects). Ros Shiers makes great monochrome papers and tapes and I regularly use her designs. Will Taylor is a huge inspiration and I look forward to his book Bright Bazaar being launched in April (like me he has an addiction to colour). Birmingham card designer Dean Morris makes the most hilarious and somewhat rude cards and travel wallets but they always make me laugh.

You’ve won a year off from work for being a ‘good citizen’ where do you spend your all expenses paid year off ?

I would go off to Thailand and sail around all of the islands and write about my experience (I speak Thai and sail).

Which are your 3 favourite independent shops in London ?

Maccullock and Wallis ( a great millinery store), Pedlars in Notting Hill and Mary Portas ‘Living & Giving’ Charity Shop, (I buy most of my clothes there).

Which are your favourite shops for birthday presents for you ?

Liberty and Selfridges pretty much have everything but I do buy most of my gifts from independent designers at shows.

IMG_8658-1

Lunch, Spa, Gallery, or walk in the woods … Where do you hang out with your girl friends for the day ?

A bit of everything but I love to spend quality time with friends and it’s usually over afternoon tea somewhere nice.

Where can you recommend is family-friendly for lunch ?

I love the Quince tree Cafe at Clifton Nurseries in W9…great food, not pricey, you can take dogs/kids, sit outside and it has a great buzz

The sky is the limit, who do you invite to your ‘Oscar night’ dinner party ?

I love strong characters…Jack Dee, Boris Johnson, Tina Turner, Steven Fry, Lady Gaga, Jeremy Vine, Claire Balding and Madonna

We can keep a secret, so tell us what exciting projects you have coming up this year ?

I am writing my first book so watch this space!

Which 3 tools or items are essential to your craft kit ?

Double Sided Tape, Ribbon and Lipstick (I’m lost without it!)

Can you share a super craft secret with us ?

When gift wrapping it’s fine to use a cheap paper but accessorise it with a lovely ribbon. Don’t use cheap ribbon ever as it will look cheap…It’s all about the finishing detail.

welcoem-slide

Can you recommend any of your friends, or colleagues who would be keen to share their secrets too ?

Lyndsey James (brilliant stylist and photographer), Celia Lacy (an internet goddess who is passionate about crafts, wedding and SEO), Lisa Long   (fantastic Typeography artist with ‘More than Words’ company, Abigail Warner who founded the Papergirls (a brilliant stationery group see photo) and Becky from Beatitude (a passionate skincare company in Scotland)….too many to mention here!…

Contact

Jane Means :  Shop here  : Read her Blog : Telephone: 01522 522544 : Email: info@janemeans.co.uk

Courses

Book either private courses which are available in your own home or workplace. Ii you want Jane to do the travelling (and work out cheaper if you have over 4 in attendance). Or courses around the UK (Glasgow, London, Harrogate, Manchester, Hampshire and Lincoln). The one day course will include all materials, ‘The Art of Gift Wrapping’ DVD (worth £15), access to our ‘Gift Wrapping Secrets’ online handouts, a certificate, light lunch, refreshments and VAT (20%). Our 2014 course dates are being rolled out with a new two tier pricing system.

Off Peak Courses (January-August) £125 per person & Peak Courses (September-December) £140 per person

Off Peak Group Offer: Book 4 people: £120 each & No other offer can be used with the group offer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Biography

After working in the travel business and working as a florist. Her early days were spent making bespoke cards and wedding stationery. She was commissioned to make a card for HRH Queen Elizabeth and was a regular supplier to Harvey Nichols. The hobby has now turned in to a full time business with clients travelling worldwide to attend her workshops throughout the UK. Known as the ‘Gift Wrap Guru’ her portfolio includes services for Harrods, House of Fraser, Lakeland, Mappin and Webb, Marks & Spencer, Crabtree and Evelyn, NSPCC and Claridge’s Hotel .

Based in London and Lincoln, Jane travels nationwide running gift wrapping courses, she also offers bespoke workshops for individuals or companies. Now a renowned demonstrator at all types of events, she also hosts a radio slot for BBC Lincolnshire, and is a lively and regular contributor on BBC R2 and BBC 5 Live,

Jane has a dedicated team and now designs her own ribbon collections, which can be found in Liberty and Fortnum and Mason. She also has a team of experienced Ribbon Bloggers who regularily post DIY tutorials and craft ideas using the companies ribbons and craft products. She launched a DVD in 2011 called ‘The Art of Gift Wrapping‘, and is currently writing her first book.

Q&A with Rosie Fuller, Freelance Museum Educator

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Tell us a little about you, your family, and where you live.

I live with my very naughty cat in Walthamstow.

How did you choose your career, and can you tell us a little about the journey from school to College/ Further Education.

When I was a teenager, I queued up for hours at The Museum of London for my turn to see the Spitalfields Roman. Simon Thurley was the museum’s director then, and he was there, enthusing wildly about how archaeology allows us glimpses into past peoples’ lives. He sold it to me.

I spent a few summer holidays on training excavations, laughing and heaving buckets about and doing my knees in. Then I went to Sheffield to study archaeology and prehistory. I worked as field archaeologist for a bit, and volunteered at my local museum, Kelham Island Museum and at Conisbrough Castle. I got a job at Jorvik Viking Centre, interacting with visitors and going into schools dressed up as a Viking. I loved it. So I went to Newcastle and came back with an MA in Heritage, Education and Interpretation.

I became an Education Officer at the Horniman Museum, and after a couple of years there I decided to mix it up and went freelance. I work at lots of museums around London, mostly with schools and families.

Can you tell us about what you gained from school, and who inspired you when you were there.

We had some fantastic history teachers at school. In fact one of my old history teachers came to a family workshop I was running at Museum of London recently. So the tables had turned, I was teaching him and his son. it amused him; it freaked me out a bit.

kew gardens

Which are your favourite London cultural/ creative places to visit?

Well, I can’t choose any of the places I work with because, of course, I don’t have favourites. So I choose:
The Festival Hall, Southbank Centre – it has a singing lift, The little Angel theatre, Islington, and Eastern Curve Garden and Kew Gardens, which has a museum, a palace, an aquarium, an art gallery, beautiful glasshouses and, you know, plants.

Which exhibitions are you most excited about at the moment ?

  1. Vikings at the British Museum
  2. Britian: one million years of the human story at NHM
  3. Hockney prints at Dulwich Picture Gallery
  4. Matisse Paper cuts at the Tate
  5. Martin Creed at the Hayward
  6. Jeremy Deller at the William Morris Gallery
  7. Sensing Spaces at the Royal Academy

Which art institutions and or industry people are you most impressed with, and why ?

Two pairs of people who have set up brilliant consultancies that I wish I had thought of:

Janet Clark and Lizzie Edwards, who have established The Ministry of Making to engage people with their local area through art, culture and heritage.

Kim and Edward Biddulph who have set up Schools Prehistory to provide schools and museums with the support many urgently need to teach the new Key Stage 2 history curriculum in England.

If you were in charge of the curriculum and had a decent amount of funding for a week, what would you change ?

The National Curriculum? Blimey, I’m not sure I would achieve much in a week! Best use of the funding, then, would be to buy all the teachers a cake.

The BIll Gates Foundation is giving you a work of art for your birthday, what would you choose ?

I would like a creation by one of the artists at Arthouse Meath, please, Bill. Preferably something with flamingoes on.

Which 3 children’s books are you most fond of ?

Stig of the Dump by Clive King is a book I remember very fondly from my own childhood. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle was a book I loved when I was little too, but it is also use it at work a lot too – it is very useful when teaching children about silk worms. Banana by Ed Vere is one of my favourite books to read with small children.

What treats are on your present list this year?

Laduree macarons please.

Which 3 items are most essential in your teaching craft box?

Come family workshop season, every school holiday, I could not survive without: Double sided tape, Pipe cleaners and Googly eyes.

You have a weekend off, (no shopping) just culture and a long lunches, where do you head ?

Yorkshire. More archaeology than you can shake a stick at, plus Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the Hepworth, Leeds Art Gallery.

We feel very spoilt to have so many fantastic free museums offering inspiring and family workshops in London, if you wanted to share a secret about a museum in London or the UK that is in your top 5, can you !?

There is a secret door in The British Museum’s enlightenment gallery, disguised as a bookcase.

Rosies Easter workshops List : 2014:(See Event Listing on home page)

  1. Children’s workshops at RIBA
  2. Mobile making at the Cutty Sark
  3. Story book making at the Museum of London and Museum of London Docklands Archaeology
  4. Q&As for families at the British Museum : Part of the family programme accompanying : The Vikings Exhibition

Contact Rosie Fuller : Twitter: @rosieeatsjam

Q&A with Artist & Sculptor, Flora Parrott

Flora Parrott won an Arts Council/British Council Artists’ International Development Fund Award to travel to Brazil and develop the project that has become Fixed Position. In 2013 she went to the PETAR Caves, one of the largest concentrations of limestone caves in the world. The tactile, sensory experience of being in the caves channelled her thinking about certainty of position, fixity and the way we are defined by our edges. “The further I go into a cave, the more disorientated I become. The blackness is so dense that you can’t see the edge of your own form.”

Fixed Position is a UK/Brazil collaboration, co-curated by Maria Montero, director of Phosphorus Gallery in São Paulo, where it will have a second iteration. Read more about Flora, and other emerging artists on Artlyst.

Q+A : Flora Parrott

I was born in London then moved to North Yorkshire as a teenager. I studied at Glasgow School of Art and after a few years of working went on to the Royal College of Art, graduating in 2009 in Fine Art Printmaking. Since then I have been showing both nationally and internationally and teaching at a number of art schools. I am now London-based and live and work in Peckham above The Gowlett Arms run by my wonderful boyfriend Jonny.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Where did you train, and did you have any mentors that helped you along your way?

My tutors at both Glasgow and the RCA have been an incredible support and influence, as are the students that I have the privilege of working with today. The Gallery, Tintype have been enormously supportive.

Which were your favourite parts of education, and if you could go back (fees all paid by us!) then what else would you study?

I would study Geology and Physics I think – I hated science at school but only really, I think, because I felt it was so unrelated to the arts. In my research for exhibitions I work with scientists frequently and am endlessly excited by the sense of discovery and parallels in thinking with another discipline. I value cross-disciplinary research enormously and wish there was more of this type of learning available at a young age in the UK.

Where would you escape to for a weekend away?

The North Yorkshire Moors.

Which is your favourite place (museum, park or venue) to spend a creative afternoon ?

The British Museum and British Library are a fantastic places to think and work. Raven Row Gallery, Cell Project Space, South London Gallery, Chisenhale….the best thing about living in London is the are always more exhibitions than you can possibly see.

If money was no object, what would you like to collect ?

Work by Lygia Clark, Lygia Pape, Ana Mendieta…I could make a pretty long list!

What do you use for inspiration with your work that you can not live without?

I come across interesting objects and ideas in the most unexpected places. I suppose in a way that is quite key to the work – a preoccupation with a ‘thing’ that appears very simple but can be used to explore much more complex ideas.

Can you leave us one creative secret/tip to share please?

For me it is really important to be as honest as possible in my work, sometimes showing objects and images that make me feel vulnerable. That directness means that I feel completely connected to the work and I hope it gives it an integrity, that’s important to me and I appreciate it in the work of other artists.

Thanks for your time Flora, This is a really fantastic exhibition, and is worth travelling far and wide to see it. Whilst you’re there head over for a drink in The New Rose whilst you contemplate the stimulating and beautiful work. xo

You can see Flora’s latest exhibition at the Tintype Gallery : 107 Essex Road : Islington : N1 2SL

FLORA PARROTT | FIXED POSITION
12 March – 19 April 2014

Wednesday – Saturday: 12 – 6pm

Q+A with Lucy Ryder Richardson Founder of Midcentury Modern Show

Today we are feeling a little sleek, stylish and ever so classic as we have been chatting to Lucy Ryder Richardson, one half of the duo (with Petra Curtis) who created the vintage and modern Midcentury Modern home shows and Midcentury East.

The shows are well established, superbly curated and highly esteemed as the place to be for novices and experts alike. As if hosting, and organising these events, and various pop-ups wasn’t enough, the team have built upon the ‘Modern Shows’ brand and created a travel blog Destination Modernism and sourcing service at The Modern Marketplace. At the Modern Marketplace you can shop or hire from their favourite designers and retailers, the best vintage dealers and a whole bunch of locations and people who not only live but love mid-century vintage and modern design.

Humblesticks shop

‘Not only do I admire their business success, curating talent and passion for the world of vintage and modern design, I love that they ooze style through their brand and could spend many happy hours just surfing through the website. It is a hot place to hang out in if you are interested in 20th and 21st Century architecture, style and design, and if you feel dreamy like me, then you too will probably love the beautiful products from Modern Shows – Go Vintage or Buy Modern directory otherwise known as The Modern Marketplace. As Orla Kiely says of their shows and website “Design heaven”.

Tell us a little about you, where you grew up, and where you live now.

I grew up in Buckinghamshire in the middle of the countryside and I now live in a 60s location house surrounded by trees, squirrels, foxes and parakeets in Dulwich woods.

What inspired you to choose your career ?

Petra and I just wanted to buy some lovely vintage furniture for our own 60s houses. We thought we would help everyone else while we were at it and sourced in the US and Denmark for our first Showhome. We had about 500 people turn up including people from the Tate Modern shop and a guy who wanted to decorate his entire Huf Haus. We sold out and thought we had better get a bigger venue.

You are super at your job, but if you could choose a different career, would you have run away with Cirque du Soleil, been an impressionist painter or something else ?

I have written a book I haven’t yet published. I read tarot cards, meditate and do reiki and sekhem healing so I suppose I would be a white witch novelist.

I’m buying you any piece of art or furniture (just because) what’s it going to be ?

Ooh that is so mean. It’s too hard. I still miss the set of 6 v early Arne Jacobsen Grand Prix chairs we sold 5 years ago. Probably the original prototype of the Cherner chair with arms. They are so beautiful. Although I think I would go mad with your loose budget and go for a piece of art.

Which products/ areas of your business are you most excited about ?

Our new travel blog Destination Modernism and sourcing service at The Modern Marketplace. We just helped the Tapas Brindisa group get some furniture together for their new place in Brixton. Saatchi & Saatchi is a former client and we help interior designers and architects too. We would like to do up more public spaces. Contact petra@modernshows.com (for midcentury and industry) and lucy@modernshows.com (for a mix of midcentury and contemporary).

Which are your favourite cultural/ creative places to visit (and take kids if you are in charge that day)?

For kids – The Guggenheim in Bilbao as it has the best kids playground next door. In London I love the Tate Modern, my kids would be happy running up and down that ramp all day long. The Henry Moore sculpture garden is a great one with kids too as there is so much land and we go to The Imperial War Museum a lot. My dad’s cousin Colin Ryder Richardson has a handmade red coat/ lifejacket in the children’s section that his Mum commissioned and told him to never take off. It saved him from dying at sea in the war. He was one of the only children left after the sinking of the Benares by a German submarine.

Which talented people or companies are you most impressed with at the moment?

AndNew, a furniture practice that is debuting at Midcentury Modern in Dulwich on March 16th 2014 and Louise Wilkinson stunning ceramics and fresh from doing up the V&A shop with her illustrations, she will be showing at Midmod too.

You’ve won a (paid) year off from work for being a ‘good citizen’ (& school for the kids) where do you take the family ?!

Skiing in the Alps, whale watching in Norway, swimming with wild dolphins anywhere, 6 weeks travelling around New Zealand, 2 months in India, a month travelling from Marrakech to Fez and the mountains in Morocco, a trip around Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Bali and South America. Oh and a week in Venice during the carnival…

The BIll Gates Foundation is giving you the role of ‘COO of changing the world for a day’ what campaigns/charity do you back ?

I think we need a HUGE DRIVE into worldwide equality for women so women’s charities get my vote for a day. It is appalling the way women are still treated in some countries. Even the unequal pay in this country is shameful. Controlling women by dumbing them down and mistreating them is not the answer. Empower us and use our talents for the good of the world and stop using Maggie Thatcher as an excuse not to put women in more top positions.

Which are your favourite shops/ or destinations for birthday treats?

Thorsten Van Elten, Places and Spaces and Twenty Twenty One. But I mainly stockpile presents for the year at our Midcentury Modern show. Its my favourite shop.

Where is your favourite spot for a long lunch with family & friends ?

Tapas Brindisa in Borough. The Paramount on Tottenham Court Rd. Moro in Exmouth Market, Farringdon, ToastED in Dulwich, The Hinds Head (Heston B’s pub) and my Mum’s house in Buckinghamshire.

Which 3 children’s books are you most fond of ?

Where the Wild Things Are, Iggy Peck architect, Pippi Longstocking.

What was the first record you bought, and what music are you listening to at the moment on spotify?

I think it was Gary Glitter’s album when I was 4 – for my sins!

Who is on your dream dinner party list ? Prince is in town, so we can arrange that if you’re keen!

I love Prince but he’s a bit shy for my party. My business partner Petra (she gets a bit mischievous with a few drinks inside her as does my best friend Kerry who would be there too), the Dalai Lama, Dita Von Teese to get the party started, Russell Crowe, Matthew McConaghey and Jared Leto, soul coaches Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra, Keith Lemon, Aretha Franklin, I would want a famous psychic to be there so we could get in touch with Abe Lincoln, Einstein, Carl Jung, Ghandi, John Lennon, Marilyn, Elvis,  Lucille Ball, Cary Grant, Rock Hudson, Charles and Ray Eames, photographer Julius Schulman (a lovely man) and Thomas Edison.

m_blue

Can you recommend any friends, colleagues or other talented people who might be willing to share a secret or two ?

Just come to the show and ask around… our next show is on Sunday 16 March 2014 at Dulwich College. Best Wishes, Lucy

Thanks for your time Lucy. xo

To contact Lucy :

Lucy Ryder Richardson – 07875438188
Modern Shows – the show dates, the pop ups, shop, hire, go in association with ELLE DECORATION
The Modern Marketplace – the online shopping resource for the mid-century and modern home
Inside Modernism – our exciting and informative  behind the scenes blog in association with CAMPER
Destination Modernism – our new travel blog for the architecture-loving tourist in association with CAMPER

Q+A with Andie Devlin Ball Founder of Darling Collective

The Darling Collective is the online boutique for things to do. The site features services from top-end small businesses in the UK, hand-picked and curated by a small and dedicated team devoted to promoting unique, high quality entrepreneurial ventures. Online you will find features on everything from beekeeping courses, perfumery lessons, guided tours of galleries and gin tasting to bookbinding classes, passion coaching, homemade crafting circles and wild food foraging.
 
 
natural-fragrances-768x1024
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
(Photo : Darling Collective :Corporate Natural Beauty Workshop)
 
Andie Devlin Ball is a Mamma, co-founder (with her husband) of the Darling Collective, and Head of Events at sister company Darling Events. She has a background in set design and styling, and extensive experience in the event and design industries. 
She specialises in event design, production and styling. When she’s not elbow-deep in spreadsheets, mood boards and Peppa Pig games, she enjoys yoga, running, baking and learning new things. This year she is hoping to see Darling Collective continue to grow and make partnerships with other unique and creative businesses. In 2014 they will be launching their fabulous new ‘Darling Hens’ site, which will be dedicated to activities for stylish hens.
 
What inspired you to choose your career ?

I’ve always been interested in art, design and visual language. I studied Art History at University and then did a diploma in Set Design in Rome. After a stint in retail I had a chance encounter with caterer Alison Price, and realised that what I really wanted to do was design and manage events. I worked as an event producer for 8 years before we launched Darling Collective, and now I get to combine my love for events with my love for craft, creativity and learning – It’s my dream job!

You are super at your job, but if you had to be something different, would you have run away with Cirque du Soleil, been an impressionist painter or something completely different ?

I still harbour secret hopes of becoming a yoga teacher…in my ‘spare’ time.

dsh-facade-2010-roelof-bakker

Which are your favourite cultural/ creative places to visit (and take kids if you are in charge of any that day)?

I never get bored of wandering around the galleries of London – The V&A and The National Gallery in particular. I did my university thesis on Holbein’s ‘Ambassadors’ and I like to pop by to say ‘hello’ every now and again. Dennis Severs’ House (see photo) and the Sir John Soanes Museum are both wonderful too. My little girl, Cecelie, adores The Science Museum and whenever we visit, we have to pop into The Hummingbird Bakery for cupcakes afterwards!

Chinese New Year

Which products/ areas of your business are you most excited about ?

I am most involved with the corporate events side of the business, and I absolutely love receiving new briefs for events, getting creative with moodboards, and coming up with new designs. We are about to launch a new sit dedicated purely to hen parties, and we’ve been working on the designs for so long – I am really excited about seeing that come to life.

Which talented people or companies are you most impressed with at the moment?

I work with some amazingly talented small business owners and designers – too many to name – but I can share a few. I love Nadia Stopnicer’s sugar-craft. Nadia teaches icing workshops for us, and her designs are amazingly detailed and beautiful . I also adore Odette Toilette who runs fabulous scent workshops, and I love the idea of the Sunday Assembly a ‘radically inclusive’ meet-up every Sunday to celebrate life and community.

You’ve won a (paid) year off from work for being a ‘good citizen’ (& school for the kids) where do you take the family ?!

Id be torn; My husband was raised in Durban, and my daughter was born in Cape Town. We haven’t been back to South Africa since she was a tiny baby, so I’d love to take some time to show her the country, take her on safari, visit the winelands…But a year in Italy (my husband and I have had a love affair with Italy since our first holiday together) would also be pretty amazing! Maybe I could finally do that life drawing course in Florence I’ve been dreaming about…

The BIll Gates Foundation is giving you the role of ‘COO of changing the world for a day’ what campaigns/charity do you back ?

I have become a real softie since having my daughter, and my heart belongs to any charity that helps children – One of my personal dreams is to get more involved in charity work once the business is a little less all-consuming.

SUMMER PARTY - SKYLON

Which are your favourite shops/ or destinations for birthday treats?

I have so little time for shopping these days that I tend to use net-a-porter for convenience. We don’t live too far from Bicester Village, and I love a trip there too! My family all know my favourite treats – Charbonnel et Walker sea salt caramel truffles, Laura Mercier cosmetics, and Jo Malone scented candles – the new Incense & Embers candle is divine!

Where is your favourite spot for a long lunch with family & friends?

We are pretty low-key – we love hosting at our place most of all. I love planning the menu, the wine, flowers and a playlist and really spoiling people with a great meal. If I do go out I love a long pub lunch or family-friendly traditional Italian places – La Famiglia on King’s Road springs to mind.

the-magic-faraway-tree

Which 3 children’s books are you most fond of ?

Easy – J. R. R. Tolkein’s The Hobbit (I’ve read this about 5 times in adulthood too!), C. S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, and Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree books. I literally can’t wait until Cecelie is old enough for me to read them to her.

What was the first record you bought, and what music are you listening to at the moment on spotify?

I was a bit grungy when I was younger – I remember buying Siamese Dream by the Smashing Pumpkins and playing it to death. I’ve been getting into country a bit recently – Bob Harris on radio 2 is such a favourite (I feel old just writing that) and I have been listening to Haim, Bat for Lashes and The Lumineers a lot recently.

Who is on your dream dinner party list ? Prince is in town, so we can arrange that if you’re keen!

I love witty, slightly naughty guests so can I have Stephen Fry and Eddie Izzard for the conversation, Nicole Scherzinger, as she seems so happy, lovely and bonkers, and Nigella to help with the cooking (and to get the inside story).

Thanks for your time Andie. xo
 
Credit : photographer : Mel Wilde Photography

Q&A with Tom Cohn Founder or KIGU

I have a feeling that ‘you’ wouldn’t find it hard to slip on a Kigu for a cosy night in, or a wild night out on the town. There aren’t many ‘complete’ outfits, that are furry, have a tail, (and even a beak), that you can wear both in bed, partying at ‘The Box’, or at your little elf’s birthday party at the church hall – are there ?

kigu cat

Trust it to our ‘Bus Driver of the month (Grace again) ‘ to find a company that will provide all this and more, and here’s a little secret, you can even pop it in your chanel rucksack when packing for the Christmas Holidays or the festival season next Summer, and frankly, with a couple of Kigu’s in hand, and a full face of make-up, you needn’t pack anything else… (apart from your egg timer of course).

As we’re a little nosy, we found out a few secrets from one of the founders of KIGU, Tom Cohn. So here you are …go get a KIGU and go wild in the jungle, park, supermarket … or John Lewis you little devils. xo

kigu kids owl

About

The word ‘Kigu’ is short for ‘kigurumi’, which literally translates as ‘costumed animal character’ in Japanese. Kigurumi are already hugely popular in Japan, where they are worn as both streetwear and pyjamas. Kigu is the first company to bring these amazing animal suits to Europe.

Kigus are unique in the world of fancy dress. They hang loosely on the body, which makes them really comfy and unrestricting. You can slip in and out of a Kigu in seconds and you can even wear your own clothes underneath!

Each of our Kigu animals is lovingly represented, with exactly the right eyes, ears, nose and tail. The Kangaroo even comes with a joey in its pouch and the Chicken with a little chick in its pocket.

kigu tee

Hear it from the boss …

1. Why & how did you choose your career in design, or how did you launch Kigu?

When I was at university some people brought back these amazing animal onesies from Japan and I loved them! At the time I was going to a lot of festivals and I thought it was the ultimate festival product. After a recce in Japan I knew that I wanted to bring this product to Europe and share the fun of wearing animal onesies with the masses.

2. Did you enjoy art at school, and who or what inspired you when you were younger?

Actually I didn’t enjoy art at school. I was absolutely rubbish at it. I’m still absolutely terrible at drawing, painting, sculpting and anything like that. I was always into art though and loved going to galleries with my mum. The older I got, I started to realise that you don’t have to be good at ‘art’ yourself to work in the creative industries. I work with people who are good at putting any ideas I might have down on paper or computer screen.

kigu

3. What were your favourite books as a kid ?

Roald Dahl was definitely a firm favourite. And The Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle).

kigu unicorn

4. Who are your top 3 artists/ designers, and why ?

Picking three is really tricky. But most of my inspiration comes from friends and our shared experiences growing up. I’m lucky to have lots of creative people around me. Three of these would be Jamie Brown (http://jamie-brown.co.uk/), Anna Lomax (http://www.annalomax.com/), Lauren Davies (http://www.pillowstream.com/) and all my friends at ATG (http://atgldn.com/).

5. What is your favourite place for a weekend day out/ long lunch, or for a treat?

Hampstead Heath is always a treat on a sunny day. I went to schools in Highgate and Camden so have spent lots of time there. I love picnics and burnt sausages cooked on disposable barbecues.

kigu kids panda

6. Where would you love to spend a free afternoon, and why?

I’m an avid skateboarder, but I don’t get to skate as much as I used to. On a free afternoon I’d love to go to Victoria Park or down to the river for a cruise about.

7. Which art books, websites, or magazines to you love, and recommend to our budding creative youngsters ?

I don’t consume that much, but always check out http://www.itsnicethat.com/

kigu kids skeleton

8. What do you use for inspiration with your work ?

Kigu is all about fun. We’re inspired by what people do and use to have a good time. We want to facilitate people enjoying themselves.

9. What creative tools, can you not live without ?

MacBook Pro is a must.

10. Can you leave us one creative secret to share please ?

It’s OK to share ideas.

11. What success, exhibition or just plain fantasy would you like to have achieved in 5 years time ?

I would love to have designed a complete range of new products that have never been made before. We’re working on this now and will be bringing something super exciting out for festival goers next spring. Fingers crossed people like it!

Need to know more ? You can have a look at the KIGU website here, and buy costumes from ASOS & Urban Outfitters, and read more about Tom’s entreuprenerial cleverness here. Thanks for sharing Tom, we can see this is the beginning of a long and furry friendship. xo

Q & A with Sarah Bridgland Artist & Sculptor

Luckily for us travellers, we met the charming and talented Sarah at a creative workshop at the V&A. Her work is totally stunning… the detail, the craft, the beauty, the movement, the ingenuity, and the mind blowingly impressive blend of texture, typography and scale just makes you want to keep coming back for more. She recently created the cover for UPPERCASE magazine, which is known as the magazine for the creative and the curious. It’s totally brilliant.

UPPERCASE-18-COVER-1

We were lucky to sweet talk her into sharing a few minutes of her time for a gentle Q+A. Keep her name in mind, if you get the chance to see her work you will LOVE it, and even better if you hear she is taking a workshop near you, be the first in line. xo
About Sarah
I was born in Cambridge, and grew up in a small village in The Fens. Growing up, I couldn’t wait to leave the area but now I’m older I love returning to see family and I think the landscape is beautiful – because it’s so flat there are these huge, empty skies, which gives you a great sense of space. My favourite movie has always been Ghostbusters (I’m a big Bill Murray fan!) I studied a BA in Printmaking at the University of Brighton (Faculty of Arts), before going on to study an MA in the same subject at the Royal College of Art.
sarah bridgland 3
Why & how did you choose your career in Art. Did you enjoy it at school, and who inspired you to be an artist when you were younger?
I’ve always been creative, and whilst I never thought I’d be an artist in the ‘traditional’ sense I enjoyed the subject at school and had some brilliant teachers/tutors who encouraged me and pushed me in the right direction. I don’t really think I chose my career, rather I went along with what felt right at the time and took opportunities when they came my way (even if I wasn’t convinced they were the right thing to do) I still do this now and find my work opening up into new areas. I’m not very strategic about it all and sometimes things work out really well whilst others remain more of a challenge! In terms of inspiration, Peter Blake was always a massive influence, as was/is my older brother Adam who is also an artist/printmaker.
My childhood was punctuated by trips to the north Norfolk coast where my parents would take me and my brother birdwatching. At the time I didn’t enjoy it, but now I’ve hit my thirties I am turning into something of a twitcher!
torcross_pan camping-devon
What is your favourite place for a weekend day out/ long lunch, or for a treat?
I currently live in the Peak District, which is beautiful – but since moving here I really miss the seaside, which is strange as it wasn’t like I previously lived by the sea (I was in London for 8 years) I guess it’s because we are so far away from a coastline, I almost feel landlocked!
So I would have to say my favourite place for a weekend day out would be the seaside! Maybe somewhere like Torcross in Devon as I went on holiday here when I was a kid. Or perhaps a walk along the Pembrokeshire coast in Wales.
What are the 3 most important items in your handbag that you cant leave home without?
iPhone, Nivea lip balm, and notepad to write lists!
sarah bridgland 5
 
Where would you love to spend an afternoon (with your girlfriends), and why?
It’s a cliche, but probably at some kind of spa. We’re all so busy these days and my best friend travels a lot with her work so it would great to be together in one place, with the added bonus of being pampered!
Which are your 3 favourite designers/ shops ?
Can I have four?! Present and CorrectFine Little DayMadewell (I wish they had them over here!) and Collected by Tas-Ka
ky_house305
 
Which is your favourite place (museum, park or venue) to spend a creative afternoon?
Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge. If you haven’t been, you have to go. It is the most inspiring place! It was the home of Jim Ede, who was the curator of Tate Britain and he used the space to house his rich collection of early 20th century art. It introduced me to the works of some of my favourite artists – Ben Nicholson, David Jones and Alfred Wallis. In the house, there is this amazing relationship between light and space and the objects that are in the space – it’s beautiful.
sculpture-park-yorkshire
A close second to this would have to be the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, especially in Spring.
What creative tools, can you not live without ?
Scalpel, cutting mat and glue.
sarah bridgland conran
What do you use for inspiration with your work ?
In no particular order: printed ephemera, typography, signage, Russian Constructivism, the weavings of Anni Albers, Sheila Hicks, the layout of allotments, Folk Art, interiors magazines, design blogs, taking trips to new cities, long railway journeys, Ben Nicholson, Cy Twombly, collecting, Peter Blake, moveable/pop-up books, toy theatres, dioramas, miniature worlds, surface decoration and patterns in landscapes.
sarah bridgland 6
Can you leave us one creative secret to share please ?
If you’re in a creative rut, never wait for inspiration to happen, work through it. Good things come through the process of making, so even if you’re not quite sure what you’re doing, keep going with it.
Thanks for your time Sarah, we loved catching up with you at the bus stop.
Sarah Bridgland:

The Amazings : Craft Something You Love : Online Craft Tutorials & More

The Amazings is, well, just a great concept, with a great title, doing great things. Just like Lloyd says, you can start by accident and before you know it you can make a career out of it.

As they say themselves, they take craft and wisdom from elders with amazing life experience. It works like this, you join the website for free, then pay-as-you go for a wide range of online tutorials, real life courses, and workshops from wise people, (who are possibly a little older than you, or even younger!), but the point is they have a skill, and are up for sharing it.

The site is very functional, incredibly easy to navigate, and at a cost of £12-£20 per tutorial, the fun bit is you can then keep that lesson …forever.  Much easier than storing patterns, hunting down self-made tutorials from a housewife in Tallahassee, or enrolling at Art College! Just like us, The Amazings is a for-profit, for-good company.  But better than us, they have set up a business where up to 20% of every enrolment goes to our amazing elders. *Loud cheers, and applause please*.

968836_469866156434950_1024853724_n

WHAT THEY DO

They offer fun, friendly, informal, classes and courses for you to learn everything from feltmaking to joinery to journalism — directly from people with lifetime knowhow. Classes start from as little as £15 and courses from £120, and take place everywhere from coffee shops, to pub backrooms, to workshops, to cosy living rooms, to online hangouts – anywhere that isn’t a traditional classroom.
935595_456935251061374_585909396_n
THE TEACHERS
Anyone over the age of 50 can become an Amazing. You don’t need to have been a teacher, or have letters after your name. The important thing is to be utterly passionate about your interest, and to want to share your wisdom. It’s free to suggest a class. Become an Amazing teacher
482552_452906838130882_1782798539_nWHO THE CLASSES ARE FORAnyone who wants to learn but hates formality. We want to make learning more fun, more friendly, more social, and more personal. If you want certificates or diplomas, keep on walking. If you’re interested in learning for its own sake, we’ve probably got a class for you.422165_448554818566084_1977898041_nTHE MISSION

We see Amazingness everywhere. It’s the retired postman who can play the ukulele. It’s the grandparent who knows morse code. It;s the neighbour who was an opera singer. Maybe society isn’t as good at passing down these skills through generations as we used to be. Our little company started because we wanted to fix this. 
THE BIG IDEA
Our vision is a marketplace and platform for wisdom. We see the potential to change learning; the opportunity to re-think retirement; the possibility of bringing together communities; and the chance to bring back the make-do and mend spirit, so we can at the very least, know how to hem a skirt or fix a bike.It’s works doesn’t it! We will soon be trying out their ‘up cycle a shirt’ tutorial, so will report back after, and let you know what magical creations for the ‘Bus Stop Collection A/W 14’ have got through quality control, and we are sure we will be staying in touch with all The Amazings for a very long time. Now back to making that pot of tea, and the good ole days …

Q & A : You Byun : Illustrator : New York

When we visited the Pick Me Up Festival in April, we were spell bound and enchanted by the really fantastic illustrations we saw by the artist You Byun.

you 2

We kept her name in our pocket, because after seeing some of her pictures a soft elf-like voice was telling us that we were going to be invited on a fairy-tale adventure, if we found out a little more about the magic surrounding the work.

The first chapter of our fairy-tale goes a little like this…

Once upon a time there was a grand, magical building that the late Duke of Somerset built in 1547 for a grand total of £10,000 called Somerset House. In 1552 the proud owner (lets call him Dukey) was executed in Tower Hill (something to do with treason and a Nandos piri piri family bucket). The newly orphaned mansion house was to proudly sit on the River Thames waiting for its new owner Queen Elizabeth I.

Some months past, followed by a couple of dodgy years with a plague in 1665, and then a rather large fire nearby in 1666 (started by a burnt pudding or croissant depending on who you talk to) left our magical building clear of the plague, and just about ready to welcome the fine and influential bunch of designers and artists into it’s heart in the Spring of 2013 for the annual Pick Me Up Festival.

One of the distinguished guests invited to show their work at the Festival was the artist You Byun, who when running to catch the last night bus to her hotel in Porthcawl dropped her business card, and although it had been stepped on (and was a little crumpled) by a flamenco dancer leaving the restaurant Fernandez & Wells, it read like this …

you 5

YOU BYUN “She is an award-winning illustrator and an author, who was born in Queens, New York. She grew up in America, Korea and Japan, and after getting a BFA from Hongik University in Korea she returned to New York. She also has a Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts in New York.

Her illustrations capture the magic of lush environments and a variety of memorable characters. She draws influences from the various cultures she has lived amongst. Her illustrative storytelling is achieved through delicate details woven with rich colors, patterns and decorative ornaments. The works invite you into my fanciful realm that is playful yet sometimes tinged with a somber autumnal hint of transformation.”

you 4

After reading the card, we found out all about the blossoming talents of You, and asked her to do a Q+A for the bus stop. Just incase you thought this artist might just be good a drawing, then take a look around her website, where you will see delightful work from her picture book, brilliant murals, exhibitions, nail art, clock projects, line drawing, stationary, comic strip and (draw breath) long list of commissioned works. See, I told you there was an adventure to be had.

Why & how did you choose your career in design, or how did you launch as a business?

I chose my career in design because I wanted to be an artist and my parents wanted me to have a real job that can be accommodated with my art skill. Graphic Design seemed like a perfect option for me when I was 18.

Very easy. I launched my ‘business’ one day, after setting up my portfolio website, by ordering my business cards written with ‘illustrator’ on them. Then I tried to get commissions from various sources, and luckily I got one. After getting my picture book DREAM FRIENDS published from Penguin USA, I’ve added ‘author’ to my business card.

dream friends

Did you enjoy art at school, and who (which adults) and what inspired you to follow your dreams when you were younger?

Yes I did. I love almost everything about ‘school’. I had many good teachers around me growing up, always encouraging what I wanted to do.

What were your favourite books as a kid ?

 When I was 5-6 grade in elementary school, I liked classics such as Treasure Island, Anne of Green Gables, The Secret Garden, The Little Prince, My Sweet Orange Tree, and more – sometimes I understood the meaning beneath the stories, sometimes I didn’t. I think My Sweet Orange Tree was the first book made me cry. It was important to me as a kid I experienced all different levels of emotions, as it sure helped me to have sympathy for others and to become who I am now as an adult and as an artist.

you 8

Who are your top 3 artists/ designers, and why ?

Tomi Ungerer, Jean-Jacques Sempé , Hayao Miyazaki. They are all great story tellers, great in drawings, have long careers, have warm views to lives, and established their own unique worlds everyone can recognize.

What is your favourite place for a weekend day out/ long lunch, or for a treat?

When it’s picnic weather, any park with place to sit is good, but I often go to East River State Park in Williamsburg, NYC because it’s near where I live. My ultimate favorite park is Central Park in Manhattan, but it’s just 30 minutes too far. My treat is buying a good pastries from local bakeries and a good cup of latte. My recent go-to place is a place called Bakeri near the East River State Park, or Donuts from Doughnut Plant. I like to go to MoMA too.

you 9

Where would you love to spend a free afternoon, and why?

Only if I had a garden I would be there drinking tea under the tree, and daydreaming. But I don’t, so I’d go to bookstores or libraries. They often have the perfect temperature like garden would have, and have so many books to make you daydream.

Which art books, websites, or magazines to you love, and recommend to our budding creative youngsters ?

Any books made by Bruno Munari. I only found it out in my adulthood, but wish I did in my childhood. I think I would have been a better artist.

What do you use for inspiration with your work ?

I go back to what I loved. My vague memories as a child, or a book I liked when I was in elementary school, books I read, and so on. Perhaps I like the sentiment of being a child. I like looking at other artists’ works too but sometimes I think it blocks me from making my original things.

you jung byun

What creative tools, can you not live without ?

At this moment, a brush pen and photoshop, because this is what I am good at. I would like to say someday, papers and watercolor paints.

Can you leave us one creative secret to share please ?

I nap sometimes and want to believe it increases my creativity. Please don’t tell anyone.

What success, exhibition or just plain fantasy would you like to have achieved in 5 years time ?

Total 5 books which I wrote and illustrated. (Starred reviews for all of them please!) I would love to teach in a college level as well. I want to create something distinctive world of mine. I want to draw the cover of New Yorker Magazine.

you 3

Any secrets and advice to share with our pixie artists, who might just want to be like you when they grow up ?

Carry around sketch books always. And write down and draw anything that fascinates you.

If you are really really stuck with drawing something, sometimes trying a new materiel you haven’t tried before helps too — Just have fun with it.

Thanks so much.

Thank you too!

Dont forget my new book DREAM FRIENDS, you can buy it here on Amazon.

CONTACTS:

Website http://youbyun.com

Art prints http://society6.com/YouByun

Twitter https://twitter.com/youbyun

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/youbyunart

Nicholas Goodden : Photographer : London

You can’t help but feel ‘something’ from the force of Nico Gooddens photographs, wether you think you like photography as ‘art’ or not. And, what’s more when you know that his work is not his ‘day job’ just means that if he were to go full time the world would be his oyster. Below, he kindly took time out and shared some thoughts with us for our Q&A features.

You can also read a little more about his approach to his work here on his site, and for  those of you that might be wanting to start  photography as a hobby, or want to learn a little more and inspire the young people around you to give it a try Nico gives this advice …

“…you don’t need an expensive camera to enjoy taking photos. Just go out there and shoot what you like. Go back to your photos and be ultra selective. Look at them and think: “What should I improve next time?”. Do it over and over again. Then if you feel limited by your camera…upgrade!”

We just found out that Nico has an exhibition called Moving London over the Summer between 27 June 2013 – 26 July 2013 at The
Happenstance bar and restaurant (Nearest Tube : St. Pauls) More details can be found online here.

Battersea_Power_Station_3

Why & how did you choose your career in design, or how did you launch as a business?

Well, I didn’t choose really. And to be honest I don’t make a full living from photography. I have a full time job and photography is my passion asied which is almost like a second job.

Did you enjoy art at school, and who (which adults) and what inspired you to follow your dreams when you were younger?

I didn’t particularly pay attention to art at school, I studied hospitality. My mind “opened” to art when I turned 20.

Banksy_Robbo_Camden_1

What were your favourite books as a kid ?

I was raised in France so not sure they would really be relevant. I always liked to read National Geographic, I guess I liked to learn real things about our planet and it was a lot more visual than books.

Who are your top 3 artists/ designers, and why ?

I like Ansel Adams for his stunning black and white photographs of landscapes of wild America.

I love Gauguin, a classic French painter who traveled to Tahiti to paint people and landscapes there.

I have also a passion for street art and although cliché, I love what Banksy does..or to be correct, what he did in the past before Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie made him a good investment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What is your favourite place for a weekend day out/ long lunch, or for a treat?

East London. I always find inspiration there, good food to eat and it’s just less pretentious.

Where would you love to spend a free afternoon, and why?

As stated above, Shoreditch or Brick Lane.. Just relaxing, I feel at home there.

Which art books, websites, or magazines to you love, and recommend to our budding creative youngsters ?

The internet is full of clever tips for photo enthusiasts. And it costs nothing. There are so many blogs, online magazines, etc… Flickr is cool as it gives so much inspiration. But now you have many more that are just as good.

Camden_Town_Canal_Reflections

What do you use for inspiration with your work ?

My mood. It dictates everything that comes out of my camera.

What creative tools, can you not live without ?

My camera. And a bit of photoshop.

Bus

Can you leave us one creative secret to share please ?

Use photoshop if you can. It’s a great tool that 99% of people don’t understand. Everybody will say “oh yeah but you use photoshop”. These people don’t understand that even 100 years ago, people were altering their photographs, increasing the contrast, retouching, changing the brightness, etc… Photoshop is just a modern tool and it can make your photos stand out from the lot. However… use it wisely, without going over the top.

Less is more.

What success, exhibition or just plain fantasy would you like to have achieved in 5 years time ?

I have exhibitions already, and it’s been 5 years since I started photography. In 5 years time I’d like to have my book (already existing) in book shops.

Dirty_Warehouse1

Any secrets and advice to share with our pixie artists, who might just want to be like you when they grow up ?

If you are truly mad about photography, then keep at it, listen to feedback but don’t let it influence you too much. Develop your own style, work hard, be your worst critic, and never give up.

If you believe in yourself, someone else will.

My website: www.nicholasgooddenphotography.co.uk

Dandelion Clock Shop : Theatre & Workshops for kids : London

We are very fond of the Dandelion Clock Shop girls Emily & Rebekah, because they are together ‘one of a kind’. They both take time out of their ‘real’ lives to produce beautifully crafted shows for families. And then, they don’t stop there, they always create a themed workshop around their show for all the little hands to create their very own works of art.

Image 1

They actually describe their work rather beautifully “…

Starting with the smallest seeds of an idea, we want to spread our love of great stories with fun and engaging performances that pop up in unexpected and familiar places. Using interactive storytelling, puppetry, animation and live music we create intricate little worlds brimming with imagination and tall tales of far away lands and tea & cake loving characters. Each story we tell comes with a special craft workshop, because everyone likes to go away covered in glitter and beaming from ear to ear clutching a handmade gift.”

Their latest show Three Little Piggies, is a retelling of the classic tale with a lot of invention. After the show the audience can make colourful piggy banks to take home. It’s suitable for ages 3-7.

They both are clever people, which is why they appear in our Wednesday feature, and one of them (Emily) has sweetly put head to keyboard and shared a Q+A with us about how she became so very clever. To read more about their stories have a look on their lovely website here.

Three Little Piggies Poster

Why & how did you choose your career in design, or how did you launch the company

I kind of just stumbled into the theatre world. I’ve always tried to follow my heart and push myself in areas that I really enjoy and feel passionate about, Theatre and the Arts became just that.  I picked up Drama & Theatre Studies as an extra AS level,despite not having experienced any of it at school. I really enjoyed the creativity and ability to be completely imaginative with how you can stage performances so much that I ended up gaining a Masters at the University of Kent, specialising in scenography.

After spending a  summer at Edinburgh Fringe watching terrible shows that were meant to be rather good,  I felt truly disappointed and decided to take matters into my own hands. I approached my friend Rebekah Whitty, a budding arts facilitator and children’s workshop leader and pitched the idea of creating a children’s theatre company together. Not long after that Dandelion Clock Shop took off with our first Christmas show ‘Harry and the Snowman’ a festive story about a snowman that keeps losing his nose, and the little boy that wonders why.

Image

Did you enjoy art at school, and who or what inspired you when you were younger?

I’ve always enjoyed art and drawing from a very young age. Good books, friends, family and teachers are the most inspiring resources you can have as a child. Looking back, it’s the praise and positivity that I got for my artwork and creativity that has really stuck with me and has ultimately led me down this path and into this industry.

What were your favourite books as a child ?

I was quite the book worm as a kid and would read absolutely everything. My parents had bought us an amazing set of children’s encyclopedias which were brimming full of stories and fables which I really loved and read over and over. It was the stories that went off on fantastical adventures that really captivated me, and anything with an intricate illustration always stuck with me.

Who are your top 3 artists/ designers, and why ?

I don’t really have a top 3 of artists or designers, mainly because there’s so many to choose from!

What is your favourite place for a weekend day out?

Coffee Shops. They are the best place for everything, namely amazing coffee and deliciously tempting cakes. I always try to find the most interesting independent coffee houses as the staff know their beans, but they also make great places for creatives like myself to get on with some work in a great atmosphere.

Where would you love to spend a free afternoon, and why?

London is full of amazing free things that happen all the time, from art exhibitions, junk markets, food fairs to even just spending time in a gorgeous park and having a picnic. We’re pretty much spoilt for choice, so it would just depend on what exciting thing was happening that day.

Which art books, websites, or magazines to you love, and recommend to our budding creative youngsters ?

Pinterest. I am a complete addict! It’s like opening up a catalogue of incredibly inspiring, beautiful and creative work for you to just absorb at your leisure. Hours of my life have been stolen by this site.

What do you use for inspiration with your work ?

I take my inspiration from the everyday. From the absolutely mundane to the intricate details that often go unnoticed. There’s a lot of interesting stuff out there that tells us a lot about ourselves and what shapes our world.

What creative tools, can you not live without ?

Ideas pop into my head all the time. So having a pen at the bottom of my bag is a definite must. The amount of scribbled ideas or drawings I’ve done on the back of scraps of paper is countless.

Can you leave us one creative secret to share please ?

Collaborate. Sharing that wealth of experience and knowledge and adding it all into that creative mix is worth more than a pot of gold.

What success, exhibition or just plain fantasy would you like to have achieved in 5 years time ?

Doing anything in the Arts is always a tough struggle, so with a bit of luck and hard graft Dandelion Clock Shop will be a well established theatre company in 5 years time. The plans and ideas we have for the future are incredibly exciting and I can’t wait to get everyone involved and see the fun and joy we will be bringing to families and communities around London!

CONTACT DETAILS

http://dandelionclockshop.wix.com/dandelionclockshop
Like us on Facebook /dandelionclockshop
Follow us on Twitter @dandyclockshop

The Loop Kids Newspaper : Subscribe, Workshops & Schools collaboration : Ages 8-13

This is a great great great idea if you need one for a different type of birthday present for an 8-13 year old, then get them a subscription to THE LOOP. It’s the magazine that thinks it is a newspaper, for kids that are into everything and anything.

We are looking forward to meet the gang behind The Loop, as we get the feeling they know how to have fun, and all have an impressive list of credits to their names. The magazine is written and illustrated by a carefully selected group of talented writers, photographers and illustrators, who in their own right are all brilliant at what they do.

The team also collaborate with schools to develop the content for the mag, an in return for feedback from the classroom, they will provide the school with free issues of The Loop. If you know anyone that might be interested, they can email the team via the website here. They are also available for workshops in schools, and at other events. We sadly missed them at the Pick Me Up Graphic Fair at Somerset House this year, so will be keeping an eye on their twitter to hear about other workshops in the future (we promise to share when we hear).

loop3

The creators say that the magazine “…is here to entertain, to inform, to be critical, to inspire and most of all to promote creative thinking. We like to think of it as a magazine that thinks it’s a newspaper, and to that end we have printed it like a newspaper. It looks attractive and functional, fun and informative, in equal measure.

The Loop takes its readers seriously and aims to engage them in contemporary global and local issues in an approachable manner. Furthermore, it offers projects and competitions stretching beyond the page, which can be published and shared with others on The Loop website.”

loop2

It is a great way to support and enjoy the work from this talented bunch and of course, it only makes sense to recycle and share the mag when you have finished with it, to spread the word.

You can get four issues (including the current issue) for only £18 and delivered direct to your door (Free postage within the UK).

Issue 3 is hot off the press this week. It includes the wonderful Volcanoes & Ice. If you turn to page 26 you’ll learn all about The Real School of Rock, a camp for girls which teaches them how to become truly independent rock and rollers. Issue 3 also has a new Molly’s Mystery by Sharmila Banerjee. The sheer terror!

Read here for an interview with the brains behind the beauty (from Varoom!), and tell all your friends to join The Loop, you’d be … mad not to!

loop1

 

Q&A with Author Abie Longstaff

If it rains for 2-weeks solid, the boiler breaks, and we run out of percy pigs, there are still some things in our house that will always remain the same (and keep us sane). These are the excitement that our girls get from the following things (in no particular order); sparkly anything, hair dressing, spag bol and ice cream, fairy-tale characters (and moshi’s), happy endings, and always wanting to be the heroine in your own life story.

fairytale hairdresser

Cue, the rather wonderful favourite and charming book  ‘The Fairytale Hairdresser’, that makes us laugh, keeps us hooked on every page, is refreshingly fun, has lovely bright illustrations, and is the best spin on the fairytale world ‘meets’ the modern world that we have seen to date. We also are big fans of The Pirate House Swap, which also entertains the pixies and keeps the adults going too.

We thought we would invite Abie Longstaff the author of this book, (and a few other brilliant ones) into our inner circle of bus driving chit chat to see if she would share some of her secrets, and guess what, we got a bright, sparkly, glistening and sunny YES! so Voila,  and we hope you enjoy the read. x

Why & how did you choose to be a writer?

The nice thing about being a writer is you can just ‘be’ one – you don’t need someone to pay you, or tell you to begin. You just pick up a pen and a bit of paper and start! In this sense, I have always been a writer. As a child I made up lots of stories – some in words, some in pictures and some out loud to my younger sisters. Nowadays, I write half of the week and I work for a charity the other half.

Did you enjoy art & English at school?

I loved art and English in school and out. I read a lot as a child. I used to hide under the duvet with a torch, or climb into a tree with a book and not come out for hours. I have always drawn for fun and, although I don’t illustrate my books, I still draw to help the idea develop.

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Cinderella

What were your favourite books as a kid?

Oh there were so many! I have a real love for picture books – I think it’s because I am the eldest of 6 children so I read picture books aloud to my younger sisters for years and years. Some of the classic picture books stay in your head like beautiful prose poems. I love rereading them to my own children and my shelf is still full of picture books today.

Picture 2 Books on my shelf

Books on my shelf – Are there any you recognise?

Who are your top 3 artists and authors, and why? 

Another hard question! (there had better be cake at the end of this) If I had to choose three, I would start with Eva Ibbotson – I adore so many of her books. I am reading ‘Journey to the River Sea’ to my daughter at the moment and the writing has an effortless beauty to it. I also love David McKee – particularly ‘The Sad Story of Veronica Who Played the Violin’. It is such a good example of a how a picture book can be appealing without being cheesy! The wonderful Babette Cole would be my third; so many of her books were ground-breaking in a quiet, social sense. She has a skill for writing about serious topics in a light and funny way – ‘Mummy laid an egg’ and ‘Princess Smartypants’ are great examples.

Where would you love to spend a creative afternoon, and why?

Like a lot of authors, I find being on the train or bus really stimulating. There’s something about the scenery flicking by that gives me ideas. I’m also a terrible eavesdropper – I love listening to other people’s conversations and I often overhear real gems that become ideas for books.

Picture 3 - view from car

view from car

What do you use for inspiration with your work?

I use the world around me; observations of adults and children and animals. I collect good stories which grow into ideas. For example, my good friend told me this story: when she was little she heard her dad say he worked for lions; so she told everyone he was a lion tamer. In fact, it turned out he worked for Lyons, the tea house, and my friend was really disappointed. The story made me laugh so I took one element of it and made it into a picture book called ‘Just the Job for Dad,’ which comes out with Scholastic next year.

What creative tools can you not live without?

Pen and paper! I carry a notebook everywhere I go and I scribble in it whenever I have a moment.

Picture 1 Thumbnails for The Fairytale Hairdresser and Cinderella

Picture 4 My small notebook

My small notebook, full of ideas for The Fairytale Hairdresser series’

Can you leave us one creative secret to share please?

Just play. As a child I played lots of imagination based games with my sisters and many of these have grown into books. We used to love playing hairdressers and we spent ages designing the business, setting up the salon and writing treatment menus. It was this game that gave me the idea for ‘The Fairytale Hairdresser’ series. Then, when I had my own children, a game I played with them became ‘The Mummy Shop’. There’s something about simply letting go and messing around that seems to bring ideas for me.

Picture 5 - Me, with 3 of my 5 sisters

‘Me, with 3 of my 5 sisters’

Any secrets and advice to share with our pixie artists, who might just want to be like you when they grow up?

I keep all my ideas and I never throw anything away – all my notebooks sit on the shelves above my desk and whenever I need inspiration I just pull an old notebook down and flick through it. Even if an idea doesn’t work for one story, it may fit in really well with another.

Picture 6 - Me at my desk2

 ‘At my desk’

Crochet Play Grounds by Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam

In the mid 1990s Japanese artist Toshiko Horiuchi MacAdam was showing a large scale crochet artwork at an art gallery when two rambunctious children approached her and asked if the sculpture, resembling a colorful hammock, could be climbed on. She nervously agreed and watched cautiously as her suspended artwork twisted and stretched as the kids climbed on top of it. Suddenly an idea was born.

Almost three years later MacAdam would open her first large-scale crochet playground in conjunction with engineers TIS & Partners and landscape architects Takano Landscape Planning. She has since created several additional playscapes around Japan, photos of which were recently made available for the first time online only a few weeks ago. 

Thanks to http://www.thisiscollosal.com and the brilliant blog http://www.play-scapes.com

5 Best Street Art & Graffiti Tours (via The Londonist)

banksy-street-art-tours-london

Insider London’s Street Art Tour shows you the work of world famous street artists where it’s meant to be seen: on the street.

We’ll show you how street and graffiti art has evolved, showing you everything from an early Banksy piece, to work from heavyweights like Shephard Fairey, Space Invader and Roa, and the latest work from emerging street artists. We’ll also swing by a series of street art galleries to show you how street art is shaking up fine art on a global scale.

Street Art Tour highlights include:

  • 2D and 3D street art from artists including: Banksy, Space Invader, Eine, Blu, D*Face, Shepard Fairey, Blam, James Cochran, Bortusk Leer, Stik, Post Mort and more
  • Stunning Conor Harrington and Roa street art that’s 3 storeys high
  • The courtyard where Banksy and D*Face crashed their cars
  • Dropping in to a number of London street art galleries
  • Discovering the full range of street art media, including Fimo, crochet, laser cut wood, sculpture, fly posting and replica street signs
  • One of the earliest Banksy London street art pieces – now kept under perspex
  • The grandaddy of stencil graffiti who was painting when Banksy was still using crayons
  • The HQ of a notorious London street art collective

Stockwell-Parlee-Essex-Rockers graffitti

 

We found this article over at The Londonist.

Where are the best places in London to see street art and graffiti? We asked our friends at Global Street Artfor their top tips.

1. Stockwell Park Estate, Stockwell

The sunken ball courts at Stockwell Park Estate (also known as ‘The Pen’) are on Aytoun Road (see this map link). There is enough space for roughly 20 graffiti pieces, which change over almost every week during the summer. Photographs of the pieces here posted on the internet have led to a culture of international graffiti writers wanting to paint there. One local writer, Solo-1, pours a huge amount of time and effort into keeping the place clean, and the impact has been measurable over the past decade. You’ll often see superb pieces by Bonzai, Lovepusher, Cemo and Solo-1, among many others. Community Trust Housing is well-aware of the cultural value of the space and often takes tours of councilors around the ball courts. Also, if you’re in the area and looking to take pictures of graffiti, Brixton Skatepark is a short walk away.

2. East London: the Old Street to Brick Lane area

East London is the centre for street art within the city. Seemingly limitless stencils and posters adorn the area, as well as more traditional graffiti pieces. From Old Street station you can walk down Great Eastern Street towards Brick Lane, ducking down Rivington Street, Curtain Road and Redchurch Street en route. Check out the walls by Village Underground (Great Eastern Street and Hollywell Lane), including the commercial wall the lovely folks at End of the Line run. There are other side streets with art along the way, and more just off of Brick Lane itself. Check out the giant Phlegm mural on Heneage Street (off of Brick Lane) that Global Street Art arranged!

3. Trellick Tower, entrance on Elkstone Road, Kensington

As West London has become more gentrified in the past 10 years, the amount of graffiti has fallen. There are still some places where great graffiti can still be seen, however, and the bottom of Trellick Tower is probably the best. It’s a relatively large space with high walls, where you can check out work by talented writers such as Vibes and Roids. Thanks to the efforts of various writers, who help keep the space clean, the quality of the graffiti in Trellick Tower has gone up over the past year, with writers typically painting larger-scale pieces.

4. Leake Street tunnel, by Waterloo Station

Leake Street is just around the corner from Waterloo Station. It’s by far the most accessible and convenient graffiti space in London and was the site of Banksy’s 2008 Cans Festival. New work goes up all the time but, sadly, a lot of it does not last long enough to get good pictures. Good work is often tagged over quickly. Sometimes you might get lucky and see some cool pieces by Tizer, Cept, Parlee and others, especially just after a jam or on a writer’s birthday.

5. Parklands Walk, near Highgate Station

After the top few locations, there are quite a large number of smaller graffiti spots around London, from ball courts to skateparks. Parklands walk is a former railway track that became a popular path for joggers and dog walkers. It runs from near Highgate Station (entrance off of Holmesdale Road) to Finsbury Park. There are a few bridges along the walk, a youth centre and a playground or two where graffiti is either legal or tolerated. Occasionally, you might see pieces by the Toasters, Whome and some of the Burning Candy folk. If you’re in the area you can also pop up to Alexandra Palace; there’s a skatepark there with space for a few graffiti pieces you can photograph.

By Lee Bofkin / Global Street Art.

graffitti

 

The GLOBAL STREET ART Blog is so full of images, and interviews and news, you could spend hours on there.

With new interviews coming up include Lisbon’s Pariz-1 (photo above), Mr. Wany from Italy, NYC-based Never, Payo from Quebec and three decade veteran graffiti photographer Steam 156. Stay tuned!

Here’s some info from Pariz-1’s facebook page, now your journey into the world of Street Art has begun, will you be back for more ?

About

Biography
Pariz One 27 years old, internationally recognized Graffiti Artist, with a degree in audiovisuals, and Creative Director at TDL. He began by doing graffiti in 1999, plowing this same time in the world of street art, bringing together the two artistic forms, becoming a complete artist in respect to street art. Since 2003 Pariz started his travels in Europe, which sparked the artist too a different cultural and artistic overview.He has work in several countries highlights include Germany, United States,Italy, England, China, France and Spain. Having won competitions, Pariz includes several events, organized the Iberian stage of the graffiti world biggest challenge known as Write 4 Gold, and has painted in the world final, held in Germany as a guest artist.

In 2008 initiates the project called “The Writers Bench”, a space dedicated to artists and graffiti street art, where you could find mounthly exhibitions. At about 9 years of Graffiti he started to do graffiti work on a professional level, for individuals, businesses companys and private and national brands such as Worten, APAV, MTV, Reebook,Sic, El Corte Ingles, Loja das Meias, CTT, Bench, Posca, Ziliani, Dedicated Store, Waves & Woods store, Dolaso, etc … Today he collaborate with one of the biggest brands of the world for graffiti,the brand Molotow, produces collections for Lonsdale and Dunlop in London and is the officia l artist of Music Monsters worldwide.

Pariz is directly connected to the public sectors as the Lisbon City Hall, some joints Parish Councils throughout the country and the town hall of Wiesbaden in Germany giving wings to its proposed restoration and upgrading of public spaces. Part of 4 crews Graffiti Voodoo Skills (Portugal, Germany, England, Holland), Very Dirty Style (Portugal, Spain, Italy, Switzerland), Cannot Stop Fanatics (Germany, Italy), and TKO (United States). His works are scattered all over the internet, with interviews in several languages sites in several countries, films, documentaries, and was invited to work for the site ilovegraffiti.de, this site is No. 1 in the world at this time regarding the graffiti.

We can find more works of the artist from all over the world in the form of magazines and books. His style is characterized by being large, wild and colorful, the true Wildstyle. Passionate by letters and the magic that they transmit, Pariz merges elements of New York oldschool style with elements of European newschool style,creating what the artist likes to call “New Old School Style.”

Q & A : Lianne Harrison : Illustrator : London

We like to share the love at our Bus Stop, and as we spend lots of time peeking around different blogs, websites and clever people’s pockets, we often find little treasures, and if we had to describe this treasure, but only talking ‘bakers delights’ it would definitely be a jam tart for us. Sweet in the middle, pleasing on the eye, and all about fun, friends and making the best of what you have.

pussyriotfinal2web2

If you have a spare 5 mins, take a look at the brilliant Lianne Harrison blog, which I just love, as it is a great view of the inspiration and research process that Lianne takes on her journey to her finished work. She shares museum trips, doodles, books she likes, and info on exhibitions around town. And then, before or after that treat, you can read a little more about this one clever lady as she very kindly answered a few questions for us.

LIANNE HARRISON

Born: Malvern Hills

Lives : London 

Education :  First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Illustration, Swansea Metropolitan University & Distinction Foundation Diplomma in Art & Design & Distinction BTEC ND in Art & Design & AS Level Photography

Why & how did you choose your career in Art? Did you enjoy it at school, and who inspired you to be an artist when you were younger?

I’ve always been creative, I can remember spending hours drawing and writing stories as a child, my parents were very encouraging, they always wanted me to pursue a career I would be happy within. I loved Art lessons in school and spent many lunchtimes in the art rooms. When I was younger I was really inspired by Salvador Dali and Bridget Riley, and I have always been a big fan of Quentin Blake. As a child I once wrote a letter to the Queen asking to apply for a job as the Queen’s Artist. 

Fly girls

What were your favourite books as a kid ?

I loved anything by Roald Dahl including ‘Boy’, ‘The Giraffe, The Pelly and Me’, and ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’. I was also a big fan of Spot The Dog, Mr Men and The Animals Of Farthing Wood.

Who are your top 3 artists, and why ?

Beautrice Alamagna is a wonderful children’s book illustrator, her book ‘Un Lion A Paris’ is beautiful. Laura Carlin is an illustrator who creates imagery with a real sense of place and atmosphere. John Stezaker is also a very interesting artist who works with photographs. The way he uses found imagery is simple but very powerful.

What is your favourite place for a weekend day out/ long lunch, or for a treat?

Escaping the city and finding somewhere peaceful. Can’t beat a good beach day. 

Beach scene

What are the 3 most important items in your handbag that you cant leave home without?

My sketchbook, my Papermate Flair black fineliner pen and my iPhone for google maps, emailing and photographing inspiration on the go.

Where would you love to spend an afternoon (with your girlfriends), and why?

Anywhere with tea, good vibes and comfy sofas. Perfect ingredients for a good catch-up.

Which art books, websites, or magazines do you love, and recommend to our budding creative youngsters?

For collage lovers I would recommend a book called ‘Cutting Edges: Contemporary Collage’, I can always turn to this for inspiration. For the business side of things, there’s lots of tips and advice for freelancers on http://www.creativeboom.co.uk. Also, ‘Varoom’ and ‘Wrap’ magazines are a staple in my reading diet.

Bore da

What do you use for inspiration with your work ?

Living in London has its perks with so many great galleries and museums right on my doorstep, if I’m ever feeling uninspired, taking a few hours to absorb some culture always does me some good.

What creative tools, can you not live without ?

My collection of papers, precision scissors and pritt sticks.

Can you leave us one creative secret to share please ?

My secret is that although all my collage is handmade, I often create each element separately and scan into Photoshop in layers. This allows me to change the composition and scale easily, which is really useful when working for clients, as this makes it a lot simpler to make changes.

What success, exhibition or just plain fantasy would you like to have achieved in 5 years time ?

I’d love to continue progressing in my career as a freelance illustrator and write, illustrate and publish my own children’s books. I would also love to start a publishing company with my partner as we are both love beautifully crafted artist books.

These Lianne’s contact details:

website: www.lianneharrison.com & blog: www.lianneharrison.wordpress.com & email: lianneharrison@myself.com

 

Sewing for Teens : Ray-Stitch, Islington : After School Dressmaking

We are big fans of Ray-Stitch in Islington. We like the vibe, the staff, the muffins and coffee, and most of all the well thought out selection of fabrics. Not forgetting the best selection of sewing kit ‘extras’ probably better known as accessories that we have found in North London to date.  Yes, honestly even better than Mr J Lewis too …

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Sadly for the little cherubs in the Islington village, they no longer run their kiddy classes, but they do run a teenager after-school dressmaking club. The course will teach them the basics of dressmaking and encourage them to be resourceful and create their own unique and stylish clothes

It runs over 6 weeks (£90) on Thursdays or Fridays with the first workshop giving them the opportunity to bring in and customise items of their own clothing. They will then be taught how to make a garment from scratch using a commercial sewing pattern. The gang will be required to provide their own fabric for the garment but all other materials are included.

Of course, there is a great range of other classes to chose from, which are split into level appropriate sections : Beginner, Beginner Plus and Intermediate & Children. We like the sound of the roman blind workshop, the pyjama (family) workshop and and the dressmaking : Mathilde Blouse with the newly famous Tilly Walnes from BBC’s new Craft-Off reality show ‘Sewing Bee’. Tilly also has a popular blog which I really like http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com, and recommend for those of you that are thinking about stepping your toe back into sewing after your ‘resting’ period, her blog is a charming and warm world of sewing to peek into.

The info

  • Book classes online or call 020 7704 1060.
  • Booking entitles you to a 10% discount off fabric in the Ray Stitch shop.
  • Complimentary drinks and snacks are provided at all our classes.
  • Machines are provided in all our classes but are available to hire separately for £10 per hour.
  • We can also offer one-to-one tuition with our experienced tutors by arrangement. Call the shop to discuss.
  • Ray Stitch
    99 Essex Road
    London
    N1 2SJ020 7704 1060
    info@raystitch.co.uk

Let’s Write A Story : Ideas Everywhere with Polly Dunbar : Bookstart Trust

Can i tell you a story? OK, I’ll be quick. I have a god daughter called Grace (we will come back to her later, as you need to sit down to hear about ‘The Wonderful World of Gracie Age 3 and a bit…’), anyway she has an extremely sugar cube sweet, sparkly, glossy and cuddly older sister called Evie.

To cut this long story short, Evie was asked to write a story for her teacher at school about our holiday in Whitstable, (and she is a clever little thing let me tell you, with one of her main talents being able to scooter ‘one-legged’, and ‘one-handed’ with the other hand/thumb stuck in her  mouth). The only problem is, Evie hadn’t written a ‘proper school-like’ story before, so we weren’t quite sure where to start, which got me thinking. You’ll be pleased to hear, that all that thinking has been put on ‘pause’ for now as there were the more important life saving jobs to do like cleaning out the gold-fish (grave yard) from our week away as daddy forgot to feed the little fish for a whole 5 days… yes, really.

So back to the story, we needed to help Evie, and this is what we found out there surfing and thinking. It is a lovely illustrated story guide from the author Polly Dunbar called Ideas Everywhere. In the guide below she holds your hand through the key ingredients for story telling, and she has also put together a fab illustrative storyboard : which you can download here ( ideas_everywhere ).

All this, and more can be found on the brilliant bookstart website, and if you are like me, and never ever get time to sit down and spend quality reading time with the kids, this has to be a good project to be starting with… and it may even earn you some brownie points with the teacher at school.

If you fancy, here is a pre-story cocktail of a you tube interview with Polly discussing how to come up with ideas for stories.

http://www.bookstart.org.uk/books/lets-write-a-story/

Let’s write a story

Ideas Everywhere by Polly Dunbar 

One of the most common questions I get asked as an author is ‘Where do ideas come from?’ and ‘How do you write a story?’ In Ideas Everywhere I set out to write a story about how to write a story. Quite a challenge! It is based on the idea that scraps of paper can become ideas and then stories. I have used this method in classrooms, the children have very quickly come up with brilliantly inventive, daft and yet rounded stories. Here’s how…

IDEAS

idea

The first thing you need for writing a story is an idea. To inspire these illusive creatures, a starting point is very helpful. I have my ‘Magic Ideas Bag’, which is full of these scraps of paper. They are all different shapes, colours, patterns and sizes. Each child chooses a magic scrap and sticks it to a sheet of blank paper. The white page immediately looks a little less scary.

 CHARACTER

character

The next stage is to look very carefully at your scrap, what does the colour shape and texture suggest? What could it be: a person, an animal, a made up creature or even an object made animate? Once you have your character, you need to get to know it, he or she. Perhaps give it a name? Decide what it likes and dislikes. What would it carry around in a pocket or bag? You can decide whether your character is a goodie or a baddie (or in my case a good egg or a bad egg?) make your characters extraordinarily interesting or extraordinarily dull; above all have fun and be inventive.

 EMOTION

emotion

Now for the nitty-gritty; how does your character feel? What kind of mood are they in and why? Emotion is a key part to story telling. As soon as you start asking these questions you will get to know your character on a much deeper level; readers will relate to your character. Now you are ready to begin the story journey…

THE BEGINNING 

beginning

One of the first rules we learn about storytelling is to include a beginning, middle and an end. I have incorporated this structure into Ideas Everywhere, but you don’t necessarily have to start a the beginning, you might find your idea or inspiration lands you in the middle of a story or even at the end; then you can work sideways or backwards to find your way out. For the sake of simplicity, I have started at the beginning!

 LOCATION

location

Not all stories need a location, many of mine are set against a white background, this allows me to concentrate on the emotion of the characters, and gives more space for the imagination. Having said that, it can be helpful to decide where your story is taking place. It’s better to think of places in general, rather than specific countries or towns. A place that your readers can be transported to: a park, a pond or an imaginary world? Literally wherever your imagination takes you!

 DILEMMA

dilemma

Okay, so you have a character in a setting, now for a very important bit- something has to happen! You need to give your character a dilemma or a problem; something they need to over come or resolve; something that will make your story exciting. Think about problems you have experienced, they can be the big action packed ones, like my example of being tossed about at sea, or the smaller ones like not being able to tie your shoe laces. You will find your life is full of little problems, no worries.. it’s all good story fodder! In Ideas Everywhere a few dilemmas emerged. The first problem is- how do you write a story? The second is that the main character is lonely. The third is how to get them out of the water and onto dry land.

CONFLICT 

conflict

Stories are not about nice people doing nice things all of the time- that would be dull. Dilemmas can often lead to conflict, which can be exciting. It could be inner conflict, a character trying to make a decision, or a misunderstanding with another character. Perhaps grab another scrap of paper and invent a new character at this point; someone/something for your original character to conflict with or relate to.

THE MIDDLE 

the middle

The turning point in a story is important, it is the part that will give your story shape and make it more interesting; a story that is simply linear is not really a story. You can see an example of this in my
game of consequences (lovely as it is). A turning point can exist in a number of ways, it could be that eureka moment; a time to present your character with the unexpected (a surprise is always good), it could be the moment where you begin to resolve your dilemma.

THE RESOLUTION 

resolution

So now you will hopefully have a couple of characters in a spot of bother; it is your job as the writer to save the day! You may know the resolution to your story before you have even started to write, or it may take you completely by surprise. My Mum, Joyce Dunbar wrote half of our book Shoe Baby and got stuck, it was not until six years later that she discovered the resolution and was able to finish the story. It’s not as easy as saying ‘and they all lived happily ever after.’ Tempting as that may be.

THE END

the end

When I’m writing a story I always like to have the end clearly in sight, it literally is an island to swim towards. If you know it’s there, you know which direction to swim in! Endings don’t have to be happy but a satisfying ending is worth aiming for. If it has a twist in the tale, even better!

IMAGINATION

imagination

There are many rules you can follow to help you write, but the most important bit is using your unique imagination. The structure and advice I have given is worth nothing without sprinkling it with your own invention and creativity. Hopefully this guide will help you with this and at the same time rein your ideas in, stopping your story from spiralling out of control.

You will only really know if your story lives and breathes until it is written. There is no magic structure or formula for bringing a story to life. Well if there is, I haven’t found it…yet. Happy writing!

Design : The Twelve Dancing Princesses : Fairy Tale : Drawings by Shelia Robinson

The Twelve Dancing Princesses : A Grimms’ Fairy Tale

We recently fell upon the work of illustrator and printmaker Shelia Robinson, and got quite excited when we saw that an archive fairytale book of the ‘Twelve Dancing Princesses’ has been recently published by The Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden and the Centre for Children’s Book Studies, in collaboration with leading London design agency Webb & Webb. Take a look at the book here, and tell me you’re not slightly enchanted…

sheila1

Shelia Robinson (1925-1988)

Born in Nottinghamshire, Sheila Robinson studied at the local Art School and then at the Royal College of Art where she came under the influence of Edward Bawden. An accomplished printmaker she developed to a high quality the cardboard-cut.

sheila8

On her marriage to Bernard Cheese she moved to Great Bardfield, where they worked on their own commissions and with Bawden. She brought up two children, undertook book illustration and regular work for the Post Office and BBC, before becoming a full-time lecturer in printmaking at the Royal College, after which she seriously curtailed her own work.

 sheila3

The book

This edition of the Brothers Grimm’s The Twelve Dancing Princesses, beautifully designed and illustrated by Sheila Robinson in the late 1940s, but unpublished for 60 years has finally been published.

sheila2

The original illustrations were kept at the Fry Art Gallery in Saffron Walden for a number of years since being donated by Robinson’s daughter, the artist Chloe Cheese.

After some 200 years since the original Fairy Tales were first printed, the original book is in the form of a single completed, hand-made, hand-bound edition, created to the exact format of the Picture Puffin series.

sheila4

Worn-out shoes

The princesses in the boats rowing across the lake in particular is an image that fired my imagination and inspired me to emulate my mother to become an illustrator myself. Looking at this illustration now I admire the lightness of touch and the use of light and shade. The picture still takes me to the edge of the lake and into the story.”

Copies can be ordered direct from Anglia Ruskin University. You might also like to visit the Fry Art Gallery website to see more of Sheila Robinson’s work. All proceeds from sales will be used further research publications. Price: £12.50 (including £2.50 p+p). Buy It here

Q & A : Thornback & Peel : Designers : London

If you like gorgeous gifts for the home, beautiful illustrations and great design you will probably already know about the duo that are Thornback & Peel. We really do love their use of colour, simple design, humour and clever ability to turn some everyday things into ‘must have’ treats.

What type of engravings inspire the work of Thornback & Peel?

If and when you get your beach house, with white washed walls, vintage shutters, and reclaimed treasured furniture you could do no better than decorate all the rooms with their wallpaper, cushions, deck chairs,  place mats, napkins, tea towels, stationary and for those still with a lingering cold, their gorgeous hankies.

Delia and Juliet - Thornback & Peel-1

They are on the way up, and rightfully so. Last year they launched a pop up at Liberty, and opened their first shop just off the revered Lambs Conduit Street in Bloomsbury. Originally back in 2003 they started their screen-printing business at a studio in Cockpit Arts, after both having successful careers as a florist (Thornback) and theatre designer (Peel), they quickly turned their dream into a reality with a high demand from their online shop, and now they still appear at the artisan hand-made markets around the UK, as well as run their very welcoming shop.

We hear on the trifle-vine that they are launching a Private View of their Limited Edition Prints on Paper in their shop on Thursday 18th April until Sat 27th April. They will both be hand printing their signature designs onto paper to create a limited range that will be available for you to buy. Post preview they will be available online from Tuesday 30th April.

thornbackandpeeljellyaproninsitu high-1

When we asked, they were both super helpful and happy to share some of their insider secrets for a quick Q + A, so you can find out a little bit more about the magic behind the beauty …

Thornback and Peel Linen Children's T-shirt

–Where is your favourite place for a weekend lunch with the family ?

Pizza East on Highgate Rd and the cafe on Hampstead Heath – the spaghetti bolognese is always a crowd pleaser.

–What are the 3 most important (kiddy) items in your handbag that you can’t leave home without?

Box of raisins, dinky car, copy of Blue fish, Red fish

2083_Camber_Sands_Beach(1)

–Where would you love to spend an afternoon (with your girlfriends), and why ?

A picnic in the dunes at Camber Sands (could be the Hamptons but could be tricky if we had to be back for bath time)

–Which are your 3 favourite (kids and or yours) designers/ shops ?

It goes without saying that all our children are uniformly dressed in T&P kids t-shirts. The tortoise (aka ninja turtle) is the favourite.  Otherwise Eenymeeny in Tufnell Park and After Noah for children’s stuff and 2021 for us.

–What products have made the top of your present list this year, for you (and the kids) ?

The playmobil catalogue is much thumbed by adults and children alike. Thornback wants a Claire Sandar’s www.clairesandars.co.uk charcoal portrait of her 3 children and Peel wants a fire pit.

–Which is your favourite place (museum, park or venue) to spend a creative afternoon with the kids ?

Tate Modern, the Turbine Hall installations are brilliant or the beach for mad sandcastle/seaweed faces and mermaid sculptures.

pencils

–What creative tools, can you not live without ?

Old school – pencils, scissors, glue and a 30cm ruler.

–What do you use for inspiration with your work ?

The illustrations in the books we read to our children are a huge influence.

APRON RABBIT CABBAGE cut out high res-1

— Can you leave us one creative secret/tip to share please ?

This is more of a housekeeping tip:  To get surface grubby-ness off dry clean only fabric try rubbing with a (white) eraser.

Ladies, a huge thanks for your time, we love your work, and can’t wait to see what you will pull out of your magic bag next. We will be the first in line at your Private View in April — see you all there. xo

Emerging Dancer Competition : English National Ballet : 2013

As we type and read, this competition with the 6 nominees performing 2 solos in front of a prestigious panel of judges, is taking place at London’s Southbank. The winner will be announced this evening around 10.30pm, so wish them luck, watch this space, and start checking the press for the rave reviews of the performances tomorrow.

Q&A with our Style Mama Carrie Hobbs

Here at the Creative Bus Depot, I have a few dear friends who help me along the way supplying me with cups of tea, play dates, and lovely long walks where we chew the fat. Eventually after a few Jo Malone treats, and chinese burns they do agree to share their best secrets and tips on some of their favourite things.
Before I digress, here is a quick Q&A from a very special Stylish Mama : Carrie Hobbs who has been volunteering in the ‘making tea and toast department’ at the Depot for 7 years now, and has just had her 3rd gorgeous baby (a boy who is super cute, and also has an ice-skating princess girly, and another rather hard to catch spiderman boy). She has a background in hospitality, events, and fashion, and knows a thing or two about cocktails, The Clintons and New York City.
banners
My favourite place for a weekend lunch with the family…
  • Banners in Crouch End – great brazillian cocktails, toys, drawing, lovely healthy smoothies and food for the kids.

RockFish-exterior

  • Rockfish – Owned by Chef Mitch Tonks and is one of two of his restaurants in Dartmouth, devon  – the BEST fish and chips (and seafood) in the country and wonderful alcoholic ginger beer!!    they also do fabulous kids packs for free with drawing and stickers and a card game with lots of trivia about fish and a little purse – all free  – amazing!    8 South Embankment, Dartmouth, Devon, 01803 832 800.

groucho

  • Gracelands – kensal rise, very healthy holistic cafe with toys and crafty things for kids  and little studio out the back where they do kiddy yoga and lots more and of course
  • The Groucho Club, Soho for sunday lunch – papers, bloody mary and full creche for the kids with Sharky and George entertainers and great films.

Most important kiddy items…

  • Wipes – very boring
  • Paw paw lotion  – wonder balm from Australia – cures everything from burns, dry chapped skin, itches etc!
  • Hip Flask! just kidding!
  • hix oysters
  Favourite place with the girls…
 Favourite kids shops / designers…
  • Elias and Grace
  • I Love Gorgeous
  • Kidsen

indian_teepee_c-tpee_1

 Top of your present list this year…
  • Tibetan felt animal slippers from Graham and Green
  • Anything from Brora Cashmere
  • Canvas tepee from Cox and Cox (online)

london_large

Your Creative places secrets…
  • Zabludowicz Collection, 176 Prince of Wales Road, Chalk Farm. Every Sunday they run a drop in creative activity in the café  where they play with the ideas and images used by artists. Led by Helen Roberts. Suitable for all ages. Its fab free fun.
  • Slanchogled is an amazing craft shop on chalk farm road. Full of inspirational artists’ materials, hobby craft supplies, creative ideas and everything you need to make them come to life.

Thanks for your time Carrie. We will be back for more soon. xo

Q & A : Jess Wilson : Artist

Jess Wilson graduated in 2006 and has been living and working in London ever since. Using crayons, paints, inks and paper to create her unique illustrations and typographic works, she draws inspiration from humourous occurrences which happen around her in real life and in the media. Her likes are X Factor, people watching in Wetherspoons, Techno in the morning and You Tube. Her dislikes are Norwich City Football Club, Bono and badly made gravy.

jess wilson

You can view her commercial work on her website http://www.jesswilson.co.uk

Also the V&A have a limited edition of 125 signed and numbered prints celebrating Top Gun, and Titanic the movie. £45 + P&P. Available from their website http://www.vandashop.com

Q&A Erica of The-Edited Blog

Her secrets revealed…

Credits: Jumper, ‘Rimka’ knit £135, Reiss & Necklace, £90, Jennnifer Loiselle at Boticca

***

The-Edited : the blog

I wanted to share a secret about a fantastic blog called The-Edited that I love to hang out with when the kids are in bed, after I’ve worked my way through the many Red Carpet & VIP party invites that I just can’t quite make this week.

I just love this blog. In ‘tea’ terms, you’ll find a little jasmine, rose, earl grey, with a hint of builders. In real terms, it’s very fresh, fun, and on trend but most importantly features the best styling at affordable prices. Now that’s a smart Mama.

Credits : Top (Mango) Trousers (Reiss) Shoes (Zara) Bag (Topshop)

***

A little bit about the beauty & brains behind the site from Erica herself…

“…I am a London-based stylist and fashion journalist with over fifteen years industry experience. For the past decade I have been Executive Fashion Editor for the UK’s biggest selling daily newspaper.

I’ve spent years creating fabulous fashion pages, writing stories, travelling around the world on shoots, styling books, appearing as a style expert on TV and radio and even created my own collections for a high street fashion chain.

I’m now a mum – to Charlie, who is almost 3 and Lila, almost 8-months.

Even though soft play dates have replaced posh lunches for now, it doesn’t mean I have lost my sense of style.

This is my pick of the most stylish fashion hits, interior bits and things to inspire hip mums and cool kids”.

Spotted this A beautiful nursery on ebabee and had to investigate further.

 

1. What is your favourite place for a weekend lunch with the family ?

We live in South East London and tend to hang out locally at the weekends. For a great Sunday roast, we love The Paxton in Gypsy Hill. It’s really child-friendly (great kids menu and a play area in the garden), but it’s also a super-stylish gastropub (grey paint teamed with Welsh blanket covered seating) with fab food.

2. What are the 3 most important kiddy items in your handbag that you can’t leave home without.
Boring, but important, baby wipes, nappies and snacks!
3. Where in town would you love to spend an afternoon with the girls, and why ?
Meet at Cowshed Soho for mani/pedi’s and flat whites, quick whizz around Topshop, maybe get our hair done in their blow-dry bar, head to Soho House for pre-dinner cocktails and then head to Meat Liquor for a blow-out meal. Oooh yes please! When can we go?!
4. Which are your 3 favourite kids designers/ shops ?
I am a real fan of great design at inexpensive prices. My friend recently told me about the Mini Club / Bows & Arrows ranges at Boots and I have bought so many brilliant things for both the kids there.
Zara Kids always pulls me in – their baby and kidswear offer is always worth a look.
And Alex and Alexa are a really great brand online, with designers as well as lovely toys and nursery decor.
5. What products have made the top of your Christmas list this year (for you, and for the kids) ?
For me, it’s a Jessica de Lotz relished apple necklace, Homeland series one box-set and the Kate by Kate Moss fashion retrospective book.
For the kids, I want to get a white table & bench set I have seen on Cox & Cox, an Ed Carpenter neon pink pigeon light and wooden toys from Melissa & Doug.
I really love the Natural History Museum (I have a dinosaur obsessed toddler), but also recently visited the Museum of Childhood in Hackney and it was amazing. Loads to see and play with, but most importantly it has a fantastic cafe!
We also spend a lot of time in Dulwich park and we all love it there.
Thank you for sharing Erica… we will be back for more. xo

Q+A : Leeay Aikawa : Illustrator & Designer : Toronto

‘Leeay without collage, is like a woman who is not in love.’

Now, there’s an introduction for you, and a pretty hot one at that. Mama found Leeay in a stumbling, exciting, inspiring, and enticing kind of way, and then we were hooked.  In fact, it was flicking through Lost in London magazine that our addiction started. So we had to find out more, and after a few pigeon deliveries between London and Toronto, we were delivered this charming Q+A from the lady herself. As there is so much to see and taste on the visual trip of this post, we send you a kiss goodbye, and ask you to only share this secret with the most imaginative, vibrant and delicious people you know…xo

ABOUT 

Leeay is a Toronto based illustrator originally from Japan. Her first cover art was published on a school-year book, when she was just six. It was a drawing of a hen that she was petting in school. As a child, she would often tell her parents that she was disgusted by certain fonts they used in Toyama, her home-town in Japan. She thought they had no sense of design, even when she didn’t know there was such a field. Perhaps this was a sign that she had a stronger calling from her creative side. However, she ended up entering a rather Math oriented high school and struggled for years, barely passing her Math exams. Toyama City frustrated Leeay, as it was a place which encouraged its students to value mathematics, physics and engineering. Having a career in the Arts was something foreign to the schools of Toyama City.

“I want to be a creative person full of imagination”, Leeay would answer, when her teacher asked her what she wanted to be.

In a way, her dream has come true. Today, when she’s not doing freelance illustration, Leeay is travelling to get more inspiration or biking around the city. Leeay is also a staff illustrator for Rookie (Teen’s website edited by Tavi Gevinson).

Q+A

1. What is your favourite place for a weekend lunch with the family ?  
————I live in Toronto and there are many good brunch spots. My husband and I recently discovered this restaurant called This End Up  near our house, their Fall Salad is so satisfying.2.What are the 3 most important items in your handbag that you can’t leave home without?  
—-Sugar Advanced Therapy, Water, floss(?) lol3. Where would you love to spend an afternoon (with your girlfriends), and why ?
——–If it is sunny, Trinity Bell Woods Park.  You always run into your friends there, which is awesome.  It is so relaxing and peaceful, yet has some sort of creative vibe there!
4. Which are your 3 favourite designers/ shops ?    
 —————Three designers who come to my mind first are Mary Katrantzou, Valentino, Teatum Jones, even though I have yet to own one by them!  I admire Mary Katrantzou’s graphic.  Her collections inspired me to take a sewing class in a way.  Her newest Money vs Stamp collection was superb.   One day, I am hoping to apply my own graphic/textile design to fashion like she does.  I also love Valentino,  It is always so classy and maximizes women’s beauty.  Obviously I was so inspired enough to make Valentino inspired christmas card.  Teatum Jones is relatively new brand I think but they make some GEWD collection, I also entered their illustration competition in summer, which I ended up being one of top finalists. I admire their edginess combining with elegance and sophistication, I mean look at their newest dress!  Doesn’t it tickle your heart?
5. What products have made the top of your Christmas list this year, for you ?  
6. Which is the most interesting City or Country you have travelled to and why ?
I guess the answer is Istanbul, Turkey.  I’ve been there four times already which explains how much I love it there.  People are polite, food is delish, the view is amazing, night life is excellent and it is a CAT FRIENDLY city.  I miss the noise of Bazaar….
7. What craft tools, can you not live without, and can you leave us one secret-creative tip to share please?
——–scissors and glue and paper?
PRODUCTS
Tote Bag, christmas cards, artwork available at Etsy here. It says ‘This is not a Bread-Box’ in French. In a way, my collage tote bag of Man Ray and Rene Magritte, whom I admire.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

– American Illustration 31
– 3 x 3 Illustration Annual No.7
– Creative Quarterly 19
– CMYK Magazine 46
– American Illustration Tribute
– Applied Arts Student Award

CLIENTS

– The New York Times
– The Globe and Mail
– The Walrus Magazine
– Canadian Nurse Magazine
– The Atlantic Magazine

CONTACT 

 Eleeayaikawa@gmail.com : W: http://leeayaikawa.com : Blog : http://leeayaikawa.com/blog/ ETSY Shop

Q+A : Kate Lilley : Minieco : Bristol

This time, you must believe the hype. If you live in a semi-blog world like a few of us Mama’s then you will already know about the excitement about the world of Mini Eco. Everyday feels like Christmas Day when you read her posts, and what’s more she has written this fab book, which is a sure hit gift for any craft lovers. We were lucky to grab a marbled window in her diary for a quick Q+A, and have Kate share some her secrets. As she is a West Country girl, we are loving the teleportation to the rolling hills of Avon, and can’t wait to have our next play date.
marbled-envelopes
ABOUT THE BLOG + CRAFTS
Kate is an x-web designer and mum to 2 dinosaur loving boys. She designs and writes about projects that are from the world of paper crafting, science, and nature. She has a love of all things sparkly, vibrant colour, geometry, the outdoors, and started her blog when she had her kids as a way to keep her creative talents alive, and as a resource for play-time with her boys.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The book features 35 bold and colourful projects, split into sections; Music, Nature, Sewing, Science and Recycling Bin, paper and card, sewing and threading, science and boredom busters. The projects are for pre-school kids (and many are suitable for up to 6/7 Years) and parents to make together. The final section contains a list of 50 quick boredom busters that harassed parents can pull out of the bag in an emergency!
Eco-friendly crafting with kids
MAMA’s Q+A
1. What is your favourite place for a weekend lunch with the family ?
At my mum’s or Dads house!
2. What are the 3 most important kiddy items in your handbag that you cant leave home without.
Plasters, nurofen sachets and wipes! (I have two boys after all).
3. Where would you love to spend an afternoon with the girls, and why ?
At the cinema (because I never get to go and I love popcorn and it would be nice to have a rest!!!).
stellated-dodecahedron-0
4. Which are your 3 favourite kids designers/ shops ?
I am very boring and tend not to venture to the shops too often.
I really like ANORAK and OKIDO magazine (i know it’s not a shop but it’s a product so to speak).
I love the finelittleday shop. There are lots of goodies for grown-ups and kids:http://www.shop.finelittleday.com/for-kids/
Any books by Marc Boutavant…he’s a wonderful illustrator.
paper-beads-6
5. What products have made the top of your Christmas list this year, for you and the kids?
For me: Books & pajamas (very practical)
For the kids: Magic set, dragons, pirate treasure, rocks, fossils
6. Which is your favourite place (museum, park or venue) to spend a creative afternoon with the kid(s)?
Even though I am a creative type my kids aren’t really! They are little scientists and adore museums (me too for that matter). We love the ‘Bristol Museum and Art Gallery’ and ‘@Bristol’ (science museum). We also venture over to the National museum in Cardiff whenever possible.
magic-potion-4
7. What craft tools, can you not live without, and can you leave us one uber-craft secret/tip to share pleeeease?
My swann-morton knife and fiskars embroidery scissors. I get very upset if I can’t find them! (I’m always losing things).
Craft tip: If you are into paper-craft make sure you use a good pair of scissors and a good craft knife…haha!!
Kate ^_^

Global Street Art : London Walls needed : Can You Help ?

Kobra

We read this from our friends at The Londonist yesterday, we had to share. Let us know your thoughts, and we will happily pass them on. See the article here.

Our friends at Global Street Art are looking for suggestions. They help find new places for street artists to paint — from disused buildings to shop shutters — always with permission of the owners. The Walls Project helps make the urban realm more beautiful and can also raise the profile of the building or business that gets involved, as well as the artist. Last year, they helped over 80 new pieces of art come to fruition (for pictures check, see here).

Global Street Art is looking for new walls and shutters to paint. There are a number of top foreign artists looking for walls in London, like Kobra from Brazil (pictured) and Pixel Pancho from Italy, as well as plenty of talented local artists. Global Street Art is looking for more walls that than it can find.

The German Paint company Montana recently gave Global Street Art 100 cans of paint to help the cause.

So today we’re asking: where is London’s most boring wall, or other paintable surface? Which parts of town could do with brightening up? Could you give permission to paint a street-facing wall or shutter yourself?

They’d particularly like to hear from anyone who owns a property, wall, shop shutter or other surface, who’d like to collaborate with a leading street artist. Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments below, or email them direct on lee@globalstreetart.com

Yummy Eggnogg : Colour-in fairy gift tags

colour in tags

A book of 10 fairy gift tags to colour in and decorate your presents, perfect to stick in your handbag, and take out with the kids to keep them busy when you’re having that coffee & christmas cake. xo

A pack of 2 £5.99 + P&P direct from Eggnogg or other stockists

About Eggnogg

Eggnogg, a bright, design company, creates quirky gifts and greetings cards for all ages. From colouring in tablecloths, postcard books, posters, bunting and pocket books to greeting cards, wrap, notebooks and stickers, Eggnogg is challenging the senses with an explosion of colour, texture and humour.

Eggnogg’s Kate Edmunds worked as a TV graphic designer for 10 years before swapping to illustration after her children were born. Greatly influenced by Tim Burton, Kate has always loved writing and illustrating her own children’s stories, conjuring up weird and wonderful characters for them to enjoy. Her love of textiles is a bit of an obsession which she also incorporates into her designs.

After illustrating children’s books for several publishers and numerous cards for friends and family, Kate decided set up  her own company. In fact Eggnogg’s name came from one of Kate’s first greeting card designs depicting a nostalgic 70′s party, (inspired by ‘Abigail’s Party’).

Eggnogg gives Kate a blank canvas to do exactly what she loves best, creating fun, quirky characters that bring a smile to everyone’s face. All products are uniquely designed using black line, textures and saturated colours, giving Eggnogg its distinct style.

Set up in April 2009, Eggnogg has been going from strength to strength with hundreds of retailers in the UK as well as distribution overseas. Bright and humorous, from stocking fillers to children’s parties to colouring in gifts and over 160 greetings card designs, there’s an Eggnogg gift for everyone. Have you been Eggnogged yet?

Stockists include Fenwick, National Trust, Kew Gardens, Blackwells, Liberty and hundreds of shops nationally and internationally.

Read this Q&A with Kate Lillie Author from Minieco Blog

This time, you must believe the hype. If you live in a semi-blog world like a few of us Mama’s then you will already know about the excitement about the world of Mini Eco. Everyday feels like Christmas Day when you read her posts, and what’s more she has written this fab book, which is a sure hit gift for any craft lovers. We were lucky to grab a marbled window in her diary for a quick Q+A, and have Kate share some her secrets. As she is a West Country girl, we are loving the teleportation to the rolling hills of Avon, and can’t wait to have our next play date.
marbled-envelopes
ABOUT THE BLOG + CRAFTS
Kate is an x-web designer and mum to 2 dinosaur loving boys. She designs and writes about projects that are from the world of paper crafting, science, and nature. She has a love of all things sparkly, vibrant colour, geometry, the outdoors, and started her blog when she had her kids as a way to keep her creative talents alive, and as a resource for play-time with her boys.
ABOUT THE BOOK
The book features 35 bold and colourful projects, split into sections; Music, Nature, Sewing, Science and Recycling Bin, paper and card, sewing and threading, science and boredom busters. The projects are for pre-school kids (and many are suitable for up to 6/7 Years) and parents to make together. The final section contains a list of 50 quick boredom busters that harassed parents can pull out of the bag in an emergency!
Eco-friendly crafting with kids
MAMA’s Q+A
1. What is your favourite place for a weekend lunch with the family ?
At my mum’s or Dads house!
2. What are the 3 most important kiddy items in your handbag that you cant leave home without.
Plasters, nurofen sachets and wipes! (I have two boys after all).
3. Where would you love to spend an afternoon with the girls, and why ?
At the cinema (because I never get to go and I love popcorn and it would be nice to have a rest!!!).
stellated-dodecahedron-0
4. Which are your 3 favourite kids designers/ shops ?
I am very boring and tend not to venture to the shops too often.
I really like ANORAK and OKIDO magazine (i know it’s not a shop but it’s a product so to speak).
I love the finelittleday shop. There are lots of goodies for grown-ups and kids:http://www.shop.finelittleday.com/for-kids/
Any books by Marc Boutavant…he’s a wonderful illustrator.
paper-beads-6
5. What products have made the top of your Christmas list this year, for you and the kids?
For me: Books & pajamas (very practical)
For the kids: Magic set, dragons, pirate treasure, rocks, fossils
6. Which is your favourite place (museum, park or venue) to spend a creative afternoon with the kid(s)?
Even though I am a creative type my kids aren’t really! They are little scientists and adore museums (me too for that matter). We love the ‘Bristol Museum and Art Gallery’ and ‘@Bristol’ (science museum). We also venture over to the National museum in Cardiff whenever possible.
magic-potion-4
7. What craft tools, can you not live without, and can you leave us one uber-craft secret/tip to share pleeeease?
My swann-morton knife and fiskars embroidery scissors. I get very upset if I can’t find them! (I’m always losing things).
Craft tip: If you are into paper-craft make sure you use a good pair of scissors and a good craft knife…haha!!
Kate ^_^