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The end of the blogging road…for now

16 Sep

As you can see there’s been a long hiatus since I’ve filed anything on here, for which I apologise. For my sanity and purse strings, I took the decision to stop writing Consumer Cravings. When I set up the blog, the overiding aim was to curb a slight shopping habit. To my surprise, thinking, writing and talking about my cravings on a day-to-day basis actually had the opposite effect.

I hope to be back with a better-conceived blog (and cure) some day soon. For now, you can keep up with my ever-expanding wish lists on Pinterest.

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to read my ramblings – it’s been fun.

Farewell friends

Mid-century modern

1 Apr

Oops well there went March, a month of no blogging. I’m placing my blame solely with my employer, The Bookseller. Despite having worked at the mag for four years, the pre-London Book Fair March-madness, which has squeezed nearly 30,000 words out of me, still takes me by surprise and wipes me out for evening/weekend work.

Here’s how I’ll make it up to you. For those of you who are into the heavier stuff, very shortly you’ll find some of the produce of my blood, sweat and Bookseller tears available here, including an interview with legendary picture book duo Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler (of Gruffalo fame, as illustrated below).

Donaldson and Scheffler, my latest victims

(Picture credit: Amazon.co.uk)

And for the rest of you,  herewith an M-themed blog post to pay tribute to MARCH, the neglected month of my birth.

Design, M-style

(Picture credit: Waterstones.com)

I’ve long been a lover of interior design from the 1950s and 60s (think strong Scandi influences, tonnes of teak and of course G-Plan furniture) but thanks in no small part to “Mad Men”, as well as great titles like the above, the rest of the country seems to have gone wild for it too. Unfortunately, aside from now making me far from original, this resurgence in demand for mid-century modern design has pushed prices through the roof. Take this sideboard (much like the one featured in Sterling Cooper’s offices) that I’ve been craving for sometime, as an example. When I confessed my desire to replace the modern sideboard in my flat with one like this, my Dad couldn’t believe it. Back in the day he’d spent many an afternoon helping his mates throw out their old sideboards straight into the skip, and yet this is a costly £595. But that’s trends for you.  So here’s a quick call to any readers who happen to have one of these stashed up in their loft, who would like to give it a new loving new home for rather a lot less that 500 quid?

(Picture credit: johnnymoustache.shop)

Anyway, with the supply/demand/overpricing situation as it is, you’ll understand my glee when I saw there was a Vintage Furniture Flea, happening down the road from me at York Hall in Bethnal Green last weekend. Battling my standard Sunday hangover, with lucky Steve in tow, I set off for York Hall to sniff out a bargain.

Fun at the fair

York Hall, packed with bargain-hunters

Alas a sideboard was not to be had. There was a fine specimen on show, but with a whopping £1000 plus price tag and only a pair of bikes for transport, it had to stay put. Instead, a delightful duo of West German 1960s ceramic jugs produced by Scheurich and sold by a lovely lady from Retropolitan for an undisclosed sum (my Mum might kill me), made their way home with me. They are now looking pretty on my dining room table, aside some lovely artificial roses purchased by Steve for my birthday. What with Sundays spent pot-shopping and boyfriends buying fake flowers, we might have been mistaken for middle-aged, so afterwards we got ourselves down to Broadway market for some BEERS with the lads.

Best in show


If you fancy heading along to a similar fair, take a look here, and here for some forthcoming dates.

Or if woodworm and mothballs aren’t your thing, there’s plenty of modern interpretations to get your hands on. Here’s a few bits and bobs that have been creeping into my cravings list. WARNING, they don’t come cheap!

(Photo credits: retailer's websites as below)


Where to buy

  1. Grey Ella two-seater, Habitat – £1,100
  2. PS Karljohan side table, Ikea – £50.96
  3. Yellow Dinky sofa, Heals – £1,795
  4. Matthew Hilton Sideboard, John Lewis – £1,450

A top drawer Sunday

25 Jan

So I think I might have discovered my new dream job: owning a home decor/gifts/ jewellery shop. I accept it’s probably as cut throat and tricky to get into as journalism, but going on the upbeat nature of the independent retailers picking and choosing which of the latest products to stock in their shops, at the 2011 Top Drawer trade fair (on a Sunday!), it looks like a lot of fun.


(Logo credit: Clarion Events)
 

The three day exhibition, which ran from 16th-18th of this month, is in part (and that’s a large part going on the fact we didn’t see her for quite a few weeks beforehand!) organised by my good friend Julia. As such I got a VIP pass to play shop for a day, ambling up and down the temporary aisles in Earls Court (in which I’m more used to manically sprinting along to try to find a decent news story for The London Book Fair Dailies we produce at The Bookseller) imagining which new designs would make the cut for “Decorate with Davies” or “Hannah’s Homewares”. Hmm, the name might need some work.

It also was a chance for me to work as a proper interior design journalist: swatting up on the S/S 11 trends and spotting some innovative (and just plain pretty) products to feature on my blog. At almost every stand there was something to add to my Consumer Cravings wish list as—perhaps fortunately— mere mortals (sans swanky shop) weren’t allowed to buy anything. Sigh.

Anyway, below are the four key trends, identified by the helpful ladies at Trend Bible, who are partners for the show that you (if you’re as obsessed with trinkets as me) will be buying into this season. Sorry the photography is a bit shoddy; I had to be a bit surreptitious as I wasn’t 100% sure I was allowed to take photos and didn’t want to embarrass Julia by being frogmarched out of the show. Turns out there were so many cheeky journos taking snaps, they had to relax their original no pics rule!

Vintage Vacation

Winter White

Shelter

Spectacle


Vintage Vacation
: Get all nostalgic with everything from knitting and embroidery to tea parties and baking.

Winter White: Think ethereal soft whites, greys and oyster pink, but with plenty of contrasting textures:  matt and shine; rough and smooth.

Shelter: It’s ski lodge central from moose motifs to fair-isle blankets, and lots of rustic wood

Spectacle: It’s all about the weird and wonderful, inspired by folk and fairy tales, and including: birds (I believe I might have already spotted this trend), globes (yes, got one of those!) and antique lanterns.

And, here’s my pick of the designers and products I loved at the exhibition and would sell in my imaginary shop. Some tie-in to these key looks and others don’t (possibly proving I’m not as on trend as I thought!). Happy browsing…

(Image credits: retailers/designers' websites)

  1. Bag, Drift – contact for price and stockists
  2. Cushion, Anorak – £36
  3. Leather Diary, Undercover – £21.50
  4. Makeup Bag, Lisa Stickley, £18.00
  5. Silver Lantern, Lisbeth Dahl via House to Home, £49.99
  6. Scrabble Mug, Wild and Wolf via Amazon – £6.85
  7. Desk Globe, Authentics -£58.22
  8. Throw, 95% Danish via Furnish -£89
  9. Pendant, Kate Rodgers via Ella Georgia Jewellery – £75
  10. Chair, Oficina Kreativa, 349 EUR
  11. Lampshade, Lush Designs – £48
  12. Placemat, Marimekko via Heals – £16

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Blog benefits and faux fur overload

12 Jan

FOUR BLOG-RELATED CHRISTMAS PRESSIES

A nicely-lit corner, educational too....thanks aunties!

Who drank all the wine?...Thanking you Mr and Mrs Brown!

New book and ends...cheers Jane and Mick!

Last but not least, my new blogging aid. Big thanks parentals.


Happy New Year my lovely blog readers.
Yes I know it’s a little late, what with it already being 12th Jan and all, but I’ve had a bit of a sluggish start to the year (I only took down my Christmas tree yesterday—I hope that doesn’t mean I’m in for a year of bad luck). So, my Christmas break was really rather enjoyable, with two full-on turkey lunches and lots of amazing presents. It turns out having a Christmas wish list on my blog really does work—see pics above, thanks all! After a drunken New Year’s Eve, Steve and I decided to put off going back to work until 7th Jan, with a short excursion to a pretty countryside house in Kent—complete with a secret room hidden behind a bookcase—courtesy of Steve’s cousin and wife (thanks Lindsey and Vicky). The purpose: further cheese eating, wine drinking and the odd countryside walk.

My intention was to feature a fetching shot of me dressed in my winter gear on one such country walk, in order to bring me neatly onto the topic of this blog post: faux fur. Unfortunately, I seem to have caught a rather severe dose of Steve’s misplacing things disease, and left my camera in Kent. (Other items currently missing, presumed lost, are my favourite gold bird necklace and the aforementioned bargain of the century £3 waterfall cardigan. If anyone’s seen them, please let me know, I might stretch to a reward!)

Anyway, in the photo I’m wearing two of my recent purchases (now demonstrated below with product shots), which were bought specifically for a last-minute work trip  to -24 degree Moscow last month. On hearing of the baltic temperature, Steve recalled an old Norwegian saying: “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.” I decided that this (and a small handout from my generous father) gave me permission to buy ‘good ‘ clothing.

Pick up a puffa, Esprit - £95

Stomping through the snow boots, Snow & Rock - £59.99


(Photo credit: Esprit.com)

Now, I’ve never been one for puffa jackets in the past (this blog, is enough to scare anyone off) but for once in my life warmth was going to have to come before fashion. So in between the numerous trips to the Russian visa centre (it’s seriously labour intensive to get into that country!) I trotted off to Esprit on Oxford Street to pick up a coat in the style of a Russian oligarch’s wife (i.e. luxurious fur trim – mine’s faux though, don’t worry). The shop assistant revealed, as if sharing a dark secret, that once you wear a puffa jacket you will struggle to put on anything else until Spring. And, oh how she is right—I’m a convert. Snow boots were next on my, ‘let’s ignore my blog challenge’ shopping list and these furry bad boys are amazing. Surprisingly, there wasn’t any snow in Russia, as I was unfortunate enough to go in an unusually cold spell—think numb fingers, toes, legs and face within minutes, but they were great for whizzing past people who were skidding around on the ice last month on my walk to work. Smug, who me?

Anyway, since discovering the joy of being warm and yes, smug, I’ve basically gone a bit winter accessory mad (you’ll realise it’s mad when you see the state of my scarf drawer in the pic below). Clearly, at the end of 2010, resisting my consumer cravings went out the window. So just to get the confession off my chest, here is my latest loot:

Overflowing scarf drawer, but I still want more

Naughty purchases

Seriously comfy slippers

Now here’s to a better behaved 2011!

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Christmas shopping commences

28 Nov

It feels like only yesterday that I was excitedly posting about the start of autumn and its potential for new purchases, and yet twice in the last week I’ve been asked if I’ve done my Christmas shopping yet. Are they mad? It’s not even December! Of course, the purpose of this question is purely to provide the person asking with an opportunity to reveal that they’ve already done all theirs with more than a hint of smugness. But, the result has been panic on my part. I tried telling myself that for as long as I can remember I’ve managed to complete the whole gift-buying/wallet-emptying process in two manic days in the week before Christmas, but the damage has been done. The stressful experience will now have to be dragged out over the next month.

I’m currently undertaking stage one: inspiration-seeking research. This has involved scouring some of my favourite mags: Elle Decoration and Stylist, and trawling websites such as Etsy, Bouf and a new design blog I’ve been enjoying called ACHICA Living. Take a look – you’ll soon be sucked in. Although if you can’t be bothered, I’ve been kind enough to share the fruits of my browsing for your perusal below. Feel free to steal my finds, or if you are friends or relatives kind enough to want to buy me a present this Christmas you might like to bear in mind my gift-buying strategy I mentioned in my previous post—I tend to look for things I want myself!

So here goes:

10 present ideas for friends and family – better known as my Christmas list

(Photo credits: retailer websites as listed below)

I decided it was too dangerous to start looking for clothes as gifts at a time when I’ve been wobbling in my no shopping challenge, so I’ve stuck to looking for quirky knick-knacks for the home. Strangely without my realising, the majority of my picks are book and bird related. The first is not hard to understand: the vast amount of books I keep acquiring through my work is making my colour-coded bookshelf hard to manage, as such I’ve been keen to find some new book display methods. But I’ve got no idea what my bird obsession means—read into it what you will. That said, I defy anyone not to find the bird house for storing your keys seriously cute! Unfortunately, Steve told me I wasn’t allowed to spend £10 on a key ring and reminded me it is impossible to put anything up on our concrete walls without a commercial drill and plenty of drama!

Details of my picks and where to buy them are below:

  1. Silver Book Ends, £17.50 – Dutchbydesign.com
  2. Flock of Birds Wall Sticker, £19.99 – Zazous at Bouf.com
  3. Eames House Bird, £109 – Ivor-innes.co.uk
  4. Umbra Conceal Book Shelf, £10 – Exitinteriors.com
  5. Cubic Black Sparrow and House Key Ring, £10 – Exitinteriors.com
  6. FSC Wooden Wine Rack, £85 – Johnlewis.com
  7. The Hound of the Baskervilles Complete Text Poster, £24.99 – Spinelessclassics.com
  8. Illuminated World Globe, £39.95 – Kitsch.co.uk
  9. Wild and Wolf Green Trim Phone, £40 – Heals.co.uk
  10. Orla Kiely 1L Blue Poppy Meadow Storage Jar, £19 – Heals.co.uk

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Take a seat…it’s time to talk chairs

1 Nov

I’m trying to be good and avoid the temptations of Vogue’s Fashion Night In, so I thought I’d write my first post on interiors.

Over the last year, I have slowly but surely been developing an obsession with chairs. It is perhaps the surest sign I’m starting to get old—well that and the rapid growth of grey hairs, of course. It all began when I moved into a new pad with my boyfriend Steve last October. Our plan is to stay in the flat for quite a few years (we have a pretty nice landlord), so decking it out with new furniture and knick-knacks was all we could think about—hmm, perhaps I mean it was all I could think about. When I wasn’t sending Steve links to pictures of Orla Kiely cushions that I needed permission to spend silly amounts of £s on, I was trawling Ebay for a special chair to squeeze into the corner of our little abode.

During a trip to the very lovely, but rather pricey Les Puces market in Porte de Clignancourt, Paris, where we had to persuade ourselves not to get carried away with splashing our non-existent cash on a gorgeous vintage brown leather armchair (much like the one below), we were rather taken by the slightly more affordable Charles Eames-inspired rockers, which could be found at almost every stall (nothing like following the pack).

On the wish list: distressed vintage armchair, Gorgeous Interiors and Gardens—£495


(Photo credit: Gorgeous Interiors and Gardens)


After much price comparison, one Ebay order from Vertigo Interiors, and two days working from home later (don’t get me started on the delivery company debacle),
our lime green RAR rocker arrived. It is seen here with the aforementioned Orla Kiely cushion (which is actually an Ebay knock-off—it’s all about compromising, right?).

Eames-inspired RAR rocker chair, Vertigo Interiors—£65


Alas, my chair cravings have not been sated. It doesn’t help that I work right next door to a great furniture store, Molteni & C Dada—impressively laid out to prompt all sorts of consumer cravings (see pics below). On my wish list right now are the cream dining room chairs they have on display. They’d go perfectly with the glass table in my flat. Can’t imagine the price tag though—I have to admit I haven’t even dared go in the store.

Something else that’s caught my eye in the window is quite probably the most pointless, but adorable chair I’ve ever seen. If you thought chairs were for sitting on, think again (well unless you are the size of a doll). Check out this miniature Le Corbusier chaise longue below. I just did a quick google search to find out the price on minaturechairs.com with the idea that if I can’t have my dream chairs I can at least give a teddy bear a glamorous home. Hmm, at $444, that’s a plan I’ve quickly shelved.

Molteni & C Dada showroom, Shaftesbury Avenue

Minature magic: Le Corbusier chaise longue

Showroom style/The Bookseller's Books Editor's pet peeve: books displayed spine in!


Last up in my chair-craving post, I’d like to draw your attention to a really unusual piece—the Mariposa chair—which was designed by a friend Kate Rider, during her studies at the Edinburgh College of Art. It’s probably a bit big for my home, so I will have to keep it on the shopping list for the day I convert an old warehouse (long-term plan!).

The Kate Rider Mariposa Chair


(Photo credit: contemporist.com)


And that’s it for this bumper entry. Fashion purchases have been avoided, and now it’s time for bed.

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A good place to start

7 Oct

Hello, and welcome to the first Consumer Cravings blog post. I’m going to start at the most logical place—the beginning—with an explanation of why this blog came about and how it is going to solve all of my shopaholic tendencies. So here goes:

There are two clear signs that summer has been well and truly relegated to the memory bank. These are:

  1. An umbrella has become an essential everyday item (if you also have a wayward fringe you’ll understand the necessity).
  2. Seasonal Addiction Disorder has set in. The symptoms:  a) Morning anxiety about the lack of suitable clothes to put on despite possessing a bulging wardrobe and having coped perfectly well last autumn. b) A combined sense of glee and panic created by all the new autumnal clothes filling the shops and magazines (glee due to the greatness of the goodies and panic for the purse).

Last weekend during a flat tidy up, it came to my attention that these autumnal signs are actually problems that need resolutions.

Problem 1: Over the summer, during a period of reduced use, my three umbrellas (functional & black, handbag sized & patterned, and elegant & long) appear to have formed a union, gone on strike and then abandoned me for a more loving employer, leaving me umbrella-less and curly fringed. Thankfully,  the conundrum has been cleared up with a trip to H & M, where I picked up a cheeky £5.99 leopard print number.

Problem 2: S.A.D, is less simple to solve. I am a girl who loves to shop, but the arrival of this season’s gorgeous collections (think sheepskin and leather, camel and greys, pretty blouses and masculine brogues) has left me all in a tizzy. Why? My bank balance and my wardrobe aren’t big enough to cope with the onslaught of new purchases. So, on Saturday, with the assistance of my Mum (who I might add, loves tidying and was not forced to help) I managed to fill four big black bin liners with unwanted clothes and shoes to be shipped off to the charity shop she works in. Great I thought,  room for a few new choice items. My Mum however had other ideas. “Don’t think that the purpose of this clear out is so you can buy new things. You can’t afford it,” she said.  Unfortunately, she has a point, and that is where the idea for this blog came from.

Shopping and I are trying out a temporary ceasefire (aside from buying the odd “essential”* item of course). Instead, I am going to document all the unnecessary, but oh so delightful things I am craving, in the hope that writing about them will give me the same buzz I would have got from actually buying them. This extends to clothes and stuff for my flat. It’s wishful thinking, but worth a try. At the very least it’ll give me lots of items for my Christmas list.

So first up on my autumnal clothes wish list, that are not to be bought, we have:

  1. Mannish brogues or boots because they go with everything from skinny jeans to ladylike dresses, and last year’s shoe collection just isn’t doing it for me anymore
  2. A shearling aviator waistcoat or leather jacket, crucial to take me through that tricky in-betweeny phase when it’s chilly, but not quite wintry enough for my cape to come out

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(photo credits: www.topshop.com and www.office.co.uk)


*Disclaimer:  The definition of “essential”  is open to the author’s interpretation and may well be expanded in the coming months as the ceasefire runs into difficulties.


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