>Shopping!

>Since we arrived back from sunny Cape Town, it has been work, work, work on all fronts {at Luella’s and web design and and!}, so after work today I thought I needed a browse through Wimbledon Village shops…well, I am too excited! I don’t have photos of everything yet to show you…but I went into a charity shop and found three beautiful new wool high waisted skirts for £1.00 each in BEAUTIFUL condition…then I went into Trader’s antiques, a quaint little shop with GENUINE antiques {not just “vintage” slapped on something not of the age} and outside were two Edwardian bed chairs {I cannot even find one photo anywhere on this world wide web to show you!} with a little handwritten sign saying “Bargain: 2 Edwardian Bed Chairs. Put your offer in inside”…so I meandered in thinking that someone would have snatched them up and that they would be way OVER my budget. Well, when I asked who had won them over, the sweet lady said that no-one had put an offer in…oh goodness. How much would be a good offer I asked? Well, the owner said they are taking up too much space in the shop so she would accept £20.00 for the PAIR by the end of the day! There were fifteen minutes to go so I slapped my monies down…and we get to collect them tomorrow! They are fascinating. They are beautiful mahogany and they each fold out into a strecther-like bed. Now all we need to do is source and cut foam, cover it in some lovely fabric and shebam…beautiful chairs to keep our fireplace company! Photos will follow when I have them and the time to post them…{oh, and I bought a wee printer’s tray too!}

Then onto Cath Kidston with too much loveliness, possible fabric to cover the chairs….ooh, and the most beautiful twilight blue tights. Then onto the linen shop to buy the most GORGEOUS duck egg cotton set…with pleats and a lace piece…very, very beautiful! It is already on our fold out bed looking very welcoming…

To make today even more wonderful {on top of the shopping spree!}, I met the lovely Lisa Redman, a fashion designer based in London, she is SO talented…do have a look at her gallery. Also, a bottle of red wine and take-out Indian for two. Mmm.

>Design time

>I have been busy busy designing and WISH I had a big, light and airy studio to indulge in! As I currently live in a small studio apartment in London with my love, this is a bit of a no-go. However, I am learning about making something out of nothing, and will be setting up a little corner of my own with a moodboard, big retro desk light and a funky chair. This is not to happen until I have finished a website design deadline that I have for this week. After that is done and dusted, I am indulging in creating my design space, collecting ideas and pictures for my wall…and having some fun!

Blogging is done for so many reasons and goodness knows, I only know of about six people who actually read mine {including my brothers who are neither into pretty, pink or retro things, bless them}, I keep mine more as a visual diary and place to keep beautiful and clever ideas, than any glaringly noble act {although I have ideas for the future!}. I am excited to see friends begin their own blog journeys…have a peek at these recently begun blogs:

Dreaming in Style for beautiful decor and design inspiration, a love of white in all shades and forms, beautiful country weekend ideas and simply beautiful eye candy.

Just Jules for a personal and charming read with heartwarming anecdotes and amusing, self-conscious spelling vulnerability!

>A day in…

>I have not left the house today…it’s freezing and Iain and I had a date. Yep, Iain Tench is teaching me {or I am teaching myself as the series “Teach Yourself”* suggests} Dreamweaver. You might have seen recently that my status on facebook declared that I love Gina, and in between Iain and Gina please make no mistake that there is any unfaithfulness beyond my marriage going on! These two are my website design gurus {and Gina: web-design-deadline-saviour!}. Gina took over the design from me for theAbsolutely Beautiful Weddings site which I needed like yesterday and I love her for it. I did the inside designs but the made it live, jujjed it up and made that beautiful wallpaper background.

Today however, I worked my way through four and a half chapters of Teach Yourself Dreamweaver…and darn, it feels good! It feels good to sit with a text book, make my own notes {armed with pink fine liner!}, do the tutorials and use my…BRAIN! I feel like I am back at school or uni…but even better, I am not paying fees, there are no lecturers who look down their noses and over their rimmed glasses, there are no exams, I got to do my linen washing and drink tea and eat mince pies while using the ol’ grey matter. All from my living room. Yeah. I might not have mentioned that my three goals for the year are: travel as much as humanly possible on the pennies | learn how to design websites | learn how to read music and play the piano. I am designing a website for a charity, so as I go, everything I am learning is meaningful and I really am loving it! Whew, I sound a bit too electric for a Monday…

*This by the way is an AWESOME series of books that you can use to teach yourself anything from Beginner’s German to Beekeeping…I am going to try one every year from now I have decided.

Also from my living room today I booked tickets for La Roux’s concert at the 02 in Brixton on 7 May…woop! She is from England, and her music is kind of Techno-Pop…she’s the “doing it for the kill…doing it for the thrill” betty with the swooped hair. I think she’s super cool.


Other than html thrills and la roux trills…we are hoping for a trip to Norway at the end of May! Any ideas for this land of salmon, knits, blonde belles, fiddles, red houses and “o”s with diagonal lines through them? Ideas welcome.

>Lovely{ness}

>


Yesterday, Amy Hudson from Gossip PR came to visit us in Luella’s Boudoir, and I couldn’t help myself from falling in love with her necklace! Again, go carefully…I didn’t, and I have a list of about twenty things I desire to own, wear and love…into the world of Eclectic Eccentricity, “jewellery with inspired kookiness”. I have to, have to, have to {hint hint my love!} have the “Who Bides Her Time” necklace {the one Amy was wearing} and I would love to have it soon! {Which reminds me that I must show you the Passionate About Vintage necklace that Steve bought me for Christma…swallows and fresh water pearls…mmm}. Soon.

>Retro{ness}

>
If you are easily tempted by, or likely to fall in love with, retro, vintage or antique furniture…the go carefully into the world of The Old Cinema! Our studio is feeling a wee bit bare with only one double-seater, so we are looking for two armchair friends for him. Also, I found a retro table and chairs on gumtree for £20.00…hold thumbs that it is mine, I am still awaiting a reply…

>Some finds…

>The Vintage Magpie

Just before Christmas, I found these cheat sheets from Made In England. I want to use them all year around for birthday presents, so friends might be finding one in the post to fill in for me! I am loving following Cookie’s blog…particularly as I am…in England! And freezing my friggin’ nilly off {and no Tiff, a nilly is not what you think it is.}


Possibly my favourite find recently {those getting married, pay special attention!}: The English Department. “The English Dept. is an intimate boutique located in downtown Portland’s West End. The shop focuses on special dresses, unique jewelry and accessories, and an exquisite bridal collection. Owner and designer Elizabeth Dye offers her own exclusive designs, as well as handpicked creations from independent designers.” I am following Elizabeth’s blog to see what goes on in her world. How is it that most shops and blogs I find have there roots in Portland? Hmmm…a visit there is definitely going to be needed.

>Holiday stories

>It is bliss to be a bloggin’ once again! It has been a busy month and while on holiday and abroad, I chose to lie in the sun and expose myself to as little technology as possible…but when Courtney asked me to blog soon, and seen as we have internet in our little studio since last night, I thought a big catch up was time…



I loved our three weeks in South Africa {too much I fear!}. The first week we spent in the Karoo {for those who don’t know South Africa…the Karoo is a semi-desert region pretty much in the middle of the country, it is a Khoisan word thought to mean “dry”…it is a place that you learn to love, and I will have to do a post dedicated to the Karoo I believe, as I have fallen in love with it once again!} on my brother’s farm. I loved this time of farm, family {this is a photo of my lovely mum and I}, fans, gin and tonics on the verandah, droewors {translated as dry farmer’s sausage}, swimming in the reservoir on lilos, simply beautiful and astonishing sunsets, tortoises, an aloe Christmas tree, lying on the grass in the shade and listening to the windmills turn. The most special part of the Karoo for me, is the space…vast horizons and simplicity, uncluttered distances and plains of “bossies” {small thorn bushes} for kilometers around oneself. This family time was like a tonic for the soul, and so was the dry heat, the cool cement floors, and the bluest skies. I think I might want to live on a farm there one day, and spend my days baking rusks and different kinds of jams, writing, gardening, and riding horses.


Week two we spent in George and it’s nearby cousin, a small coastal village called Sedgefield…a slow paced drop of beauty with a lagoon winding into the ocean. Here we spend days at the beach, walking along stretches of white sand and cliffs overhead, we waterski, swim, eat ice-creams, play guitar, and really just soak in the sun all day and then braai on the deck in the evenings. I love the Wild Oats Community Farmer’s Market which is on every Saturday morning, and which boasts all kinds of breads, cheeses, meats, jams. home-made pastries and rusks and biscuits, fresh fruit and all sorts of breakfasts or lunches, like good ol’ egg and bacon, vetkoek {translated as “fat cake” and I am beginning to think that South African translations don’t make for appealing descriptions!}, freshly brewed coffees and lots more. My absolute favourite is the cheesecake…mmmm…I feel decadent after devouring a slice on my own first thing on a Saturday! We spent New Year on Swartvlei beach on an isolated stretch of sand, I swam in the lagoon with my mum, we fished and we lay in the sun…and that is a perfect second week of holiday in my humble opinion.


The main event {amidst seeing friends, being on the beautiful beaches, eating ice-cream in Kalk Bay, eating ice-cream in Camps Bay, eating Lazari cupcakes, oh too much eating, and seeing friends and so on and so on} of our time in Cape Town was Gareth and Amy’s wedding. How one little brother-in-law can nudge his way into a girl’s heart, I don’t know. But Gareth is as dear to me as my own brother, so to be part of this wedding and see him marry beautiful Amy, was such a special night for me. Have a peek at some first photos here. Isn’t it super cool that Germinate, the photography people {particularly Stephan Marais who took the beautiful photos}, put these up four days after the wedding for everyone to have a sneak preview? I wonder if the new Mr and Mrs Ahrens had a chance from lounging on the beach somewhere in Mozambique {oh so awesome honeymoon destination…made more special that in a year these two went from first kiss to honeymoon in this beautiful country!}.


Back to Cape Town though…I miss and I love this incredible, buzzing, vibrant, colourful city {yes, although some days it does look like “a faded seventies postcard” as my friend Courtney says} and know that my roots and my heart are pinned there. I wish it hadn’t had to have been so busy, and although I saw many close friends, ate at my favourite Cafe Royale, shopped in Long Street, had TWO haircuts at my favourite Mooi, had two coffees at my favourite Vida in Kloof Street, sat on Gina’s balcony eating fig preserve in Kalk Bay…and many more sweet moments…I have decided that while these travels around the world will unfold this year {hopefully…}, home is still the mother city down there in the Southern hemisphere. {This vinyl collection is by Cape Town artist, Alex Hamilton, called Afrotize. The photo is one of my favourite from my album, taken on Clifton in the sunset rosey sun.}


From the sunny south, we landed in London to a thick quilt of quiet, white snow…and decided the only way to start our year of 2010 in London was: hot, steamy sausage rolls for breakfast and a snowball fight while yanking our suitcases through the snow. It has been a busy, cold, teary start to the year…being away from family again, being bitterly cold and being inundated with work…HOWEVER, after tears and “snot en trane” {again, translations best left aside}, I have made a pact with myself to see all the beauty of this wintery city, and to live fully in beauty and in finding inspiration, to find the best in everything, to hear the birds over the traffic, to see the moss growing on ancient walls, to see the chimneys as geometric shapes against the grey skies, and to see how many different shades of grey can be displayed. And yes, sometimes this glowing enthusiasm will fail, homesickness will kick in…and I will just have to indulge in a pastry.