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Preview: designers block

designers block

Updated: 2018-04-20T07:04:17.130+01:00


And Here's What I Bought in Paris


A huge flower made from thick, soft, crinkly paper and
when I say huge I mean HUGE.
This is how the French present something. So beautiful you don't want to take it out but
 inside is a fabulous fabric flower bracelet.
2 gorgeous grey linen pillow cases for my bed
and 2 pearlised leather and linen cushion covers for my sofa
Lastly a pair of reading glasses that won't fall apart like all the others I have bought in the past.

An Afternoon Around Opera in Paris


Last Saturday I returned to Paris to visit the Grand Magasins as they call their department stores. I was more than a little disappointed as the area seemed a little dull. No wonderful shop windows to lick. Everything seemed to be very low key, trying not to attract attention. I'm not sure if this is the result of the terrorism that has unfortunately hit Paris or I just chose the wrong time to visit.However this is a pretty impressive Apple Store.Printemps in the sunshine.I had the most amazing lunch in Place de Madeline. Salmon with dill creme and lentilsand with my cafe creme I was given a spoon that was a biscuit. Even Place Vendome was a let down. I found myself only taking pictures that took in the blue sky. And I finished with a picture of the amazing glass dome of Galerie Lafayette.[...]

A Day In The Marais, Paris - Always a Good Idea


Last Wednesday I took a trip into Paris on the train. I spent the day in one of my favourite places - The Marais. Bittersweet really as it was a place Harvey and I used to visit a lot but hey life has to go on and it's still a favourite.My first stop as always was Merci on Boulevard Beaumarchais. I was delighted that their Look at the Flowers exhibition was still on. The whole shop was full of flowers  everywhere you turned there were more Even the clothes were made from flowered fabrics. I had lunch in The Used Book Cafe on the ground floor. I loved how the carafe of water served with my wine had fresh mint in it. I was seated in the window in a corner where all the interior design books were so I was in heaven. I ordered their version of boiled eggs and soldiers. These were SAS rather than soldiers and the Normandie butter pat was huge. Absolutely delicious.I had a stroll around the Marais and visited the Art Galleries in Place de Vosges. Loved the electric blue Bhudda and these huge spent matches with the tips carved ito faces. Before catching the train back to Soissons, where I was staying with my daughter, I had the obligitory Wine and Cafe Creme and people watched for an hour. The SNCF train I caught was like being on a Disney ride with its bright colours and pin point lighting. This is how to design trains.[...]

I Wnat To Buy a Cement Factory


  If I knew where I could find an old cement factory I would happily live in it if I could do this to it.This amazing place is in Spain and was designed by Ricardo Bofill and is now his home. I am envious beyond belief. Found at House and Garden[...]

A Little French Secret


I love this French website/concept store. Such innovative and unusual items. I'm toying with the idea of buying this for my bedroom, so handy for hanging clothes instead of throwing them on a chair.
  If you have a terrace or a balcony you can happily exercise on this ball.
A typical chic French poster
Love this jumpsuit
And if you have a home by the sea these fish lights are perfect. All from La Maison Pernoise

​ The French Aren't Litigious They Just Take Responsibility


​On Sunday Charlotte, the children and myself visited Salon International de l'Agriculture in Paris. Yes in Paris not in the countryside.​It was HUGE. Live sheep, goats, cattle, pigs and anything else edible all inside and accessible to all and amazingly it was all spotless. Fresh hay replaced any soiled hay in seconds. I have no idea how they do it but it bloody works. ​I have never seen so many different breeds of animals in my life. Most were massive. In fact it was more like a Mr Universe competition. ​The food halls were separated into French Regions and the fresh foods on sale and the ready to eat versions were to die for. We had a Normandy Duck Sausage Sandwich each which we could have fed an army with. A glass of regional wine was €2. ​The children are only 6 and 18 months but they had a ball. Tiana did a blindfold tasting test and was rewarded with a kid's cookery book and some goodies. Josh was just happy to run around and look at the animals.  ​The children were allowed to touch the animals but it was left up to the adults to keep them safe. After all isn't that what adults are supposed to do? To be honest the children seemed to instinctively respect the animals which I suppose comes from being allowed to be free around them. ​We British are too quick to blame the EU for our Nanny State, this proved to me that it's not the EU it's the crazy litigious society we have created. Too quick to sue someone instead of taking responsibility. We have stolen our children's childhoods from them for money and for that I feel very ashamed.[...]

​ Modern or Traditional - Why Would You Not Have a Chaise Sofa Bed?


​It's quite a while since I bought a sofa and now that I live in a 2 bedroom cottage I am seriously thinking of buying a Chaise Sofa Bed as I have a rather large family who come and visit. Whether your style is modern or traditional these gorgeous pieces from Willow and Hall would fit in perfectly. The Aldbourne​The Aldbourne with its crisp lines is well suited to a modern interior. Upholstered in a deep colour velvet this would really make a statement. The AldbourneThe Alton​The Alton, in my opinion, lends itself to a modern setting due to its more angular lines. Upholstered in Zinc Country Linen would be my first choice as grey always works best in modern interiors. The AltonThe Bowood​The Bowood would fit beautifully in a traditional setting with its curved arms. I personally would add bold colour cushions to a neutral linen background for dramatic effect. The BowoodThe Larkhill​The Larkhill with its beautifully tapered armrests would sit perfectly in a more traditional interior. The LarkhillI love how you can change your preferences and the price changes as you do it. Willow and Hall have put an awful lot of thought into their website to make it easy for the traditionalist or the modernist to make their choice.​I can safely say, they are definitely top of my list for my new chaise sofa bed. Their designs are just what I am looking for and will be perfect for when my family comes to stay. Best of all, once I’ve decided it will only take 4-5 weeks for my handmade to order item to arrive. [...]

Suzanne Moxhay's Unbelievable Rooms


I am finding it diificult to describe the amazingly detailed work of Suzanne Moxhay so I shall leave it to her:'In my recent work I have been exploring concepts of spatial containment in montages built from fragments of photographed and painted interiors. Architectures are disrupted by anomalous elements – contradictory light sources, faulty perspective, paradoxes of scale. Light casts shadows in the wrong direction, walls fail to meet in corners, an area of the image can be seen either as an enclosing wall or dark overcast sky'.[...]

Inspired by Food


I'm constantly asked where I get my ideas from and I always say - by looking up, sometimes however I get it by looking at food. Nature's pantry is truly inspirational. The colours just sing. Totally possible to copy these colours onto your interiors. Images found on Pinterest.

Smoking New York


I love New York (barring Trump Tower) and one of my favourite quirks of the city is the steam pipes that spring up on their roads. Designer Mark Reigelman came up with this clever idea, albeit temporary, to cover them with little buildings with chimneys. Found at Mocoloco

3D Printing For Everyone


I hoped from the moment I heard about 3D printing that it would eventually have the ability to create pieces such as these. I'm am also so impressed by this French company - Initial that has even found a way to print glasses made to measure



Well today the powers that be are discussing Brexit. I am, however, still awaiting the outcome and fall out. In the meantime I shall just dream. Whilst I'm doing that why not join me by taking a look at this amazing Chateau in Upper Provence. Chateau de Moissac. [...]

I Have a New Opinion of Timourous Beasties


I have to admit to not being a fan of Timourous Beasties designs until recently. The insects in their designs just put me off to be honest. I don't do insects I'm afraid, God knows why I live in the country, but now I am a big fan. Browse through these beautifully upholstered pieces of furniture an see if you agree.[...]

In The Pink In Melbourne


What a beautiful shop this is. Situated in Melbourne Australia, I don't suppose I'll be visiting any time soon.  I love shops that are understated and uncluttered, it makes the products stand out. Found at YatzerI also love the use of pink and green in this space.[...]

I Could Live Here


Pity this fabulous loft is in New York, a bit far away for me. I love the eclectic feel off this place. In this time of changing trends, which incidently drives me insane, it's so refreshing to see something that is timeless yet innovative.
To present a loft in this way is very brave because most ould go for an industial look. TThi only proves that you can mix looks with great effect. Be bold and I promise you it will be beautiful.
Found at Marie Claire Maison

Emma The Kettle


Meet my kettle, she's called Emma. I have long been admiring this stunning design and it even matches my kitchen decor.
Due to the fact that I have an open plan ground floor in my cottage the kettle is always on show. For my last birthday my son and his wife, who incidentally is called Emma, surprised me with this. I had admittedly been banging on about it.
The deign is by Stelton and it's not the only beautiful design they sell.

Desk Accessories With a Difference


Beyond Object's claim that they Make Objects Different From The Norm is true enough. I love that this pen shows that it is not ready for use.
This pen has a stylus tip at the othe end.
A sellotape dispenser that for once looks elegant.
A pen holder that doubles as a paper weight
And how cool is this fruit bowl? All available oline.

​ Not Just a Shoe Shop In Cheltenham - Keith Scarrott


​Have you ever visited a shop you could live in? I did last week in Cheltenham. I bought a gorgeous pair of flat shoes in a fabulous dress agency in The Suffolks area of Cheltenham. A snip at £29. The lady who sold me them pointed out the designer and said we should visit the shop which was just around the corner from the apartment we were staying in. Needless to say we went tout suite. Keith Scarrott (above), shoe designer, opened his shop in 1975. He has since handed over the reins to his daughter Sophie who is equally as talented as her Dad. The shoes are to die for and shockingly inexpensive. Those high boots (below) are £125 which is amazing for such style and quality.Back to why I could live there. Well I think these photographs speak for themselves and incidentally you can buy online. [...]

​ Cheltenham a Jewel in the Cotswolds


Just a small part of the Literary Festival​I've spent the last couple of months travelling. On my way back from France I joined a friend at the Cheltenham Literary Festival. It was my first ever visit to Cheltenham and I was literally blown away (forgive the pun). I have never seen so many stunning buildings in one relatively small space. The place is full of fabulous individul shops 2 of which I will show you this week.Take look for yourselves. I've captioned the images. One of those beautiful terracesA peek into someone's gardenFabulous shops in The Suffolks area of CheltenhamA new hotel developmentWhow wouldn't want to stay somewhere called The Lucky Onion?Another one of those terracesFabulous fountain[...]

​ Nature's Little Gifts


​When I'm asked where I get inspiration from I always reply - by looking up. Nature has a way of showing me how to put colours together. Hey it's been doing it al lot longer than I have. Take for instance this phenomenon that often happens when the sun shines through a darkened sky. The colours take on a whole new look. As they say in the design world - they pop.Don't be afraid of the dark.​White on black gives a 3D effect​Black with highlights of gold becomes vibrant​and jewel colours sing. My favourite staircase Girl With a Pearl Earring by Chippendale and Morris at The Stencil Library[...]

​ Chenonceau Chateau The Interior


A fireplace nearly as big as my cottage​Well where do I start? This is the most beautiful Chateau I have ever visited. It's somehow got a homely feel even though it's so palatial and the guide book easily imparts its information as you take it all in. It's bright due to all the windows and is beautifully preserved. I could go on forever about how fabulous it is but I'll let the pictures speak for themselves with an added caption here and there. The ground floor galleryThe gallery is bathed in light due to 18 windows like thisThe kitchens to die forA log basket nearly my heightWorn down with use and ageCopper everywhereCopper everywhereCopper everywhereA stunning range cookerWindows so high they need 3 shuttersStunning old floorsLouis XIV's drawing roomStair detailsVaulted staircase ceilingShe's called Diane as wellOh the stories these floors could tellA stencilled bedroom occupied by Louise of LorraineThese stencils are ageless[...]

​ Retour a la Maison


​Firstly don't be fooled by my French title I used Google Translator. I left the UK on 11th September, with my little French family, in blazing sunshine and returned on 17th October to falling leaves and a chill in the air.My mission was to see as much as was possible whilst I was in France. We together and me on my own discovered some stunning places, far too many to show all in one go here on my blog. So over the next few weeks I shall share them with you in bite size pieces.I have to start with the most amazing Chateau I visited whilst staying in the Loire Valley. There was so much to see that I even have to show you this in bite size pieces so let's start with:​Chenonceau Chateau The GardensThe most stunning and interesting historic building I have ever visited!I usually spend little time in such places as it all becomes much of a muchness after a while. This place however has style in buckets and the guide brochure was brilliantly presented showing everything in order of viewing with interesting info at each step. The minute you set foot in the gardens you are taken to another era. The streams that ran alongside the entrance road had duckweed on the surfaces which made them look like carpets in the most vivid green.  I loved that my favourite garden was called Diane's Garden. Named after Diane de Poitiers who was donated the Chateau by Henry I because she was his favourite lady being beautiful, intelligent and having a great sense of business. Nice we have the same name.[...]

​ Notes From Richelieu


​The Newly Renovated Covered MarketThe Loire Valley's answer to Manhattan - Richelieu. This town is built on a simple grid system. Great for me 'cos it's hard to get lost. A square sits at the centre with a recently renovated covered market and every road that leads to it has an arched entrance and stunning landscaping. Beautifully designed and executed. Very tall, grand buildings keep the sun off the streets so it maybe wasn't a good idea to visit early on an autumn morning. It was chilly to say the least. Surprises in all the alleywaysBeautiful shops signsAnother surprise viewThe town squareA stall in the square selling sewing itemsOne of the entrances to the town[...]

​ Sunday Evening Aperitif at Hotel Diderot


​Sitting here on the terrace of the Hotel Diderot in Chinon having a Pastis before I walk into town for a meal. Pure bliss. It promises to be sunny for the rest of my stay. What more could I ask for? There's even a cast iron spiral staircase to make me feel right at home.I have an awful lot to tell you about this fabulous hotel but let's save that for later.I have no idea why there's a British telephone box here but hey whatever floats your boat.A stunning stroll along the Loire River on my way to the restaurant.[...]

​ Notes from Montsoreau


​Sunday started with me visiting a brocante in, well to be honest I can't remember the name of the place but as in all places here in the Loire Valley it was stunning. I jumped ut of the car and came face to face with this Abbey.Up the road was a brocante attended by professionals. Far too expensive for me and to be honest a load of tat. It's Sunday lunch time and I am sitting in what has been designated one of the most beautiful villages in France on the banks of the Loire River. That in fact is an understatement. Opposite me is a market selling delicious local, fresh produce and quite good quality clothes. More hats than you can shake a stick at. I am reluctant to move from this bar/restaurant but a few kilometres along the road is another designated beautiful village so I'm off. Enjoy the views I captured whilst here in Montsoreau. ​Well Candes Saint Martin is not as beautiful as Montsoreau but very friendly. The black cat at the bar/brasserie I stopped at was super friendly but thankfully I had nothing to eat so it left me alone. It's not quite the same doing this sort of thing alone. I miss sharing the beauty of the place with Harvey but there's not a lot I can do about that other than know that he would be happy that I at least was doing it. [...]