Features, Uncategorized

The Colourist

The art of colourful living  by Annie Sloan

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The Colourist is a Bookazine and is Annie Sloan‘s latest venture. The current plan is to publish bi-yearly, but don’t quote me on that.

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For those who don’t know, a bookazine, as it says on the tin, is a cross between a book and a magazine. It looks magazine like, but is printed  on much better paper. At £9.95 it is twice the price of a magazine, but it is a periodical that you will want to keep, as you would a book.

I did wonder if The Colourist would just be a vehicle for Annie to sell more of her excellent chalk paint. The paint does feature, but in such an inspirational and interesting way it doesn’t feel like an advertorial.

After an introduction by Annie, where she  espouses her love of colour, the Bookazine is divided into sections starting with  The colour hunter. This  includes, What is new, Annie’s picks, Designer Focus, Trend watch and a competition.

There are  inspirational features on designers both  current and historic such as Cressida Bell and Joseph Frank

 

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Homes collections include Charleston Farmhouse and new modern designers such as Lucy Tiffney and Tamsyn Morgans and Dutch artist Yvon van Bergen.

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There are  travel features and most importantly Annie’s work with Oxfam in Ethiopia.

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There are quite a few How To’s and Make Over’s and a lovely give away,  a  free style stencil accompanied by step by step photographs showing how to use the stencil, to create a tile table top.

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Before I finish this review I think it is important to mention Felix Sloan who is the creative director of The Colourist and Jane Toft, the Managing Editor. Jane is very imaginative and so in touch with the zeitgeist, it was she who started Mollie Makes and The Simple Things. Their combined hard work and design flair has created something truly desirable.

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Perhaps Annie should have the final word.

“It all boils down to sharing my passion for style and colour. I want to inspire everyone to get creative!”

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book review, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

Silver Clay Workshop

Getting Started in Silver Clay Jewellery by Melanie Blaikie

9781784944803 FINAL

Ever since I attended a workshop given by Emma Mitchell from Silver Pebble Design, I have been interested in silver clay jewellery making. I love the technique and the easy way that you can make something incredibly beautiful in a matter of no time. The only down side is that I  thought that as a technique it was rather limited, the Silver Clay Workshop shows otherwise.

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This book is a proper ‘how to’ manual explaining, with step-by-step photography, how to use different techniques. Each project is graded A,B or C, in terms of difficulty so the reader is aware of what standard of craftsmanship is required before embarking on a project.

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The different types of silver clay are described and the way to use them. You can purchase it in clay form in a syringe or as a paper. It is all too easy to start on a new craft, spend a fortune on tools and equipment and then end up abandoning it after just a few attempts. What is great about this craft is that the outlay for the first eight projects in this book is really very little. Most of the tools and equipment can be found round the house. I love the fact you can even make rings with silver clay and you can add precious stones. If you want to start a new craft and achieve great results quickly then this is the book for you. Melanie Blakie runs her own workshops and courses and all information can be found on her website http://www.silverclayworkshop.co.uk/

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Silver Clay Workshop, Melanie Blaikie, GMC, £16.99, availble from https://thegmcgroup.com

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book review, Book Reviews, Uncategorized

RELAXED COASTAL STYLE

 

9781849759625

 

When I heard about the book Relaxed Coastal Style, by Sally Denning I was very keen to review it. I met Sally many years ago as she was setting out on her career as a stylist, and she used my house as a shoot location. Since then I have been very aware of her meteoric rise in the ‘styling world’ and so knew this would be a gorgeous book and I was correct.

The first part of the book consists of Sally’s unique take on coastal style, celebrating the colours and textures of the seaside: bare wooden boards, unadorned windows, and furnishings covered in robust linen or cotton that will endure salt water and the sun’s rays or gently fade with age. Sally also explores lighting, furniture and coastal decorative accents such as maps, charts and nautical-themed accessories.

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She draws inspiration from beach combing, displaying shells and driftwood to feel close to nature and the sound of the waves. Sally and her photographer have travelled far and wide to shoot a selection of glorious coastal houses, cottages and hideaways that are guaranteed to enchant and inspire.

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The second reason I was keen to get hold of a copy of this book is that it features the house of Jane and Martin Will who own the old Coastguards cottage on Deal seafront. I grew up in Deal although in those days it was less glamorous than it is today. It is now full of artisan shops, pavement cafes and galleries such as the homeware and gallery ‘Will & Yates’ that Jane co-owns with artist Caroline Yates. The Will’s house is as lovely as the gallery painted in soft greys and inky blues and furnished with simple functional pieces of furniture and ‘brocante’ finds.

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Wherever you live, Relaxed Coastal Style will inspire you to adopt the relaxed, informal simplicity of life by the sea.

Relaxed Coastal Style by Sally Denning (£19.99) with photography by Benjamin Edwards ©RylandPeters&Small.

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Uncategorized

The Little Book of Hygge

The Danish way to Live Well

By Meik Wiking from the Happiness Research Institute Copenhagen

Available on Amazon or directly from Penguin Books

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The word on everyone’s lips last year was  ‘Hygge’, despite most English people being unable to pronounce it correctly. Luckily when this book arrived on my desk I had a Norwegian staying with me so we had a few lessons in how to make the guttural sound at the end of the word. As the whole of the UK is currently covered in snow I felt this has to be the correct time to publish this review.

The word Hygge comes from an old Viking language and was used to describe comfort and relaxation after coming in from a day out in the cold, but it is oh so much more than just that. Hygge is about atmosphere and experience rather than about things. It is about being with the people we love and a feeling of safety and warmth, being with friends and letting your guard down.

The little book of Hygge breaks down some of the elements that go to make Hygge. This includes hot drinks, fires, slow food, board games, hand made crafts, sweets and cakes, holiday and music. Candles are important, the Danes burn more candles than any other nation in Europe and almost twice as much as Austria who come second. Mind you if you live so far North of the equator, a way of creating light is important.

As with all the Scandinavian countries, the Danes are concerned with good design, particularly with the correct lights and lighting. “Danes select lamps carefully and place them strategically to create soothing pools of light.”

The rule of thumb is the lower the temperature the lower light, making more Hygge.

Reading this book what struck me was that Hygge is the art of creating the kind of childhood some of us were lucky enough to grow up with, before the day of mobile phones, daytime television and the internet. It is a more humble simple and comforting way of living. Buy the Little Book of Hygge and learn how to live well as the Danes do. Enjoy the snow  keep warm and enjoy those Hygge moments.