62 - Now at Workshop

Saturday, November 15, 2014

I have a new stockist that I am excited to share news of... I'm now stocked at WORKSHOP in Brighton. These guys have a truly wonderful aesthetic and seek to share their passion for items created with a simple approach to design and functionality. They believe in the little guys like me and have a beautifully curated store filled with well designed and crafted items.

You can take a look online at the edit of their store here or head on over to 13A Prince Albert Street, Brighton (my goods are available in-store only at the moment).

61 - Best Made Co

Sunday, November 02, 2014

This years extended summer weather seems to have brought with it a huge wanderlust for me. I'm itching to get out under canvas, learn some new skills, start fires from scratch with fire steels (I tried the friction/stick thing and am surprised we as a race are still here - how do I make it work?) and figure out survival skills that mean I can live outdoors without running to the car or rucksack every five minutes for forgotten this's or that's to get by with.

At the very first Good Life Experience I learnt of a brand that will feed my every desire for camp related articles - Best Made Co. The only draw back, they are NYC based (but luckily being stocked in store at Pedlars). In their own words "Best Made Company® is dedicated to equipping customers with quality tools and dependable information that they can use and pass down for generations. We seek to empower people to get outside, use their hands and in doing so embark on a life of fulfilling projects and lasting experiences".

They create just about everything that's on my mind at the moment. With autumn/winter edging its way in I am secretly hoping that a hand axe/hatchet will be under the Christmas tree this year for chopping the pain-in-the-behind bits of wood that are too big to fit in the burner (and generally feeling bad-ass about owning an axe) and feeling the need for a cosy blanket or two to layer up on the bed that remind me of nights spent under canvas.

All items below available from www.bestmadeco.com. I kick myself for not buying their "Maps" notebook when I had the chance with true thing of beauty that it is and have never felt particularly lusty over a first aid kit before, until now. Best Made Co really do live up to their name it seems.

Just to be clear - I like to share brands that I think are particularly spectacular and may be of value to you. This post is not sponsored or paid for in any way shape or form.

60 - Hello Pedlars!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Pedlars Friday Vintage
Old Wooden Signs from Pedlars Friday Vintage
Instruction sign on an Airstream
Adventures in colour with Pedlars
Duralex Glasses at Pedlars

When I bought my first house it quickly became filled with Ikea and Homebase furniture in an effort to create what I thought was a cohesive and grown up look (I'd just turned 24, I didn't know any better). We'd gotten married earlier that year and I guess I wanted to feel like I'd arrived somehow. As years have gone by, the Ikea and Homebase have been purged (all except for the Pax wardrobe that is actually wedged in between the wall and fireplace, and I plan to get an axe to it early next year) and slowly as our family has grown, we are shaping up to be a household of doers who don't really value "stuff" that highly, but do love what we have to tell a story.

I was strolling through the Trafford Centre Selfridges one day, I think Dominic was just a baby at that point. Pedlars caught my eye, I remember them being a lifeline in a surrounding sea of perfect blah... I can't quite remember exactly what it was that caught my eye, but I've been hooked ever since. That point in life was somewhat of a re-birth for our family. After a false start and a lot of grey days and beige thoughts, colour slowly seemed to creep back in. It seems somewhat poetic that 5 years on I'm now not only stocked by Pedlars, but have been collaborating with them on neon screen printed Christmas cards (available here).

Pedlars (all products chosen by founders, Charlie and Caroline Gladstone) have an eye for blending old with new and picking products that will become (or at least reflect) the fabric of your life. New goods are brought to you because they are the very best of their kind and built to last, with Pedlars often collaborating on items to get them just so (check out their new Signet Pencils here). Their Friday Vintage selection brings the most excellently collected vintage items from across the globe. I have a lovely set of vintage arrows that are waiting to be mounted and hung that serve as a reminder of my Hunger Games fetish and 31st Birthday doing archery with my family and a "Come in, We're Open" sign that I plan to hang on the door to the office of my "campsite" one day. I have my eye on their stripy fleece blankets that will become part of our growing camping kit as we begin our overnight outdoor adventures (now the littles are not so little that I'm afraid of them freezing to death camping anymore). I have every faith they will continue to seek out and sell products that become part of my narrative and I'm so very proud to be stocked by them. Hello Pedlars...

All images taken from pedlars.co.uk

59 - Camp Dreams

Saturday, October 25, 2014

I've felt a funny sort of grumpy today, not quite comfortable in my seat and a bit fidgety.

As I begin to start to "get Christmas online" my mind drifts off to a small meadow surrounded by tall trees with a lake off to the side and a great area almost like an amphitheatre with a camp fire in the middle of it. There are tents and lodges scattered through the trees and an area that has large chunks of wood and assorted branches and bits to build dens and climbing things with. Theres a lodge near the main entrance that has a grand entrance hall that can be used for gatherings and to the side, a glass house for growing produce that can have the plants moved to the edge and also be used for gatherings. A sort of multi-function-roomed hotel for people who hate hotels and love being outdoors, to gather and celebrate, and mostly, just be at. There are bushcraft and archery lessons, camp fires for each "pitch" as well as a central one for gathering, a little shop that sells recipe boxes and camping essentials. A tree house that you can sleep in. Theres a family that runs it, they are some of the cheeriest people you could ever meet. They are living their dream and love adventures.

Then I drift back to whats on my screen and begin to look for land to make it real. We are that family, and that is our dream (and it's not just a passing fad, its been in our heads and hearts growing steadily for seven or eight years now). I have no idea if we'll ever end up living it (I'd like to think so, but for every ounce of enthusiasm there seems to be 3lbs of red tape and laws about permitted use, planning etc), but in the mean time, a girl can dream...

Top two images from the fabulous Wood and Faulk and the rest from Camp Wandawega which may be one of the most swoon worthy places I've ever laid eyes on...

58 - Kiss Me Once

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Kiss Me Once Tour - Friday 26th September - Manchester Arena

I've seen Kylie on every major tour since the Showgirl tour. I must admit I was never a very big Kylie fan 'til I saw her Fever tour coverage on TV and became smitten with the very showmanship of the whole affair. Visual spectacles - costumes beyond imagination, sets that look like they have been taken directly from dreams, shaken up renditions of old classics and, well, quite honestly, the dancers (which usually are some of the finest male specimens you could ever want to lay eyes on).

A stage full of 20 or 30 of the finest dancers imaginable grooving to the pop princesses tunes with some amazing visual direction by Kylie's long time partner in crime William Baker usually delivers track after track and scene after scene of delight. This time, not so much.

I wouldn't like to say whether it is due to her move to Roc Nation or perhaps a want to do something a little more subtle that means we are delivered a dance troupe of only 7 on this tour (purse strings tightened or maybe she just wants to be able to move on stage without it having to be carefully choreographed so that she doesn't crash in to someone) but it somehow lacked the energy of other performances. That having said, during Slow (I can't fully commit to that being the right track, must remember to make notes next time) I felt moved. The dancers on stage with Kylie are usually magnificently attractive and can move to a beat like no other, but with this, I was blown away and speechless. The movements were so beautifully executed, I'd struggle to think of a ballet that has such wonderfully precise grace. The other standout moment of course being Kylie's cover of "Need you Tonight", sexually charged and loaded with questions on her relationship with INXS singer Michael Hutchence.

Whilst slightly more concept heavy and a little less "showy", a good time was still had by all. Without hesitation I'll still be booking tickets on the next tour when the time comes, interested to see whether this a permanent change in direction or a blip on the radar.

All images are my own.

57 - An Artful Life

Thursday, October 09, 2014

Introducing the newest Alfies Studio stockist - An Artful Life.

An Artful Life studio and shop was set up by Interior Architect Kate Whitfield. Kate curates an ever changing eclectic collection of one-off vintage finds as well as new items, chosen for their beauty and modernity. Head on over to anartfullife.co.uk to see Kate's most recent finds, my goods are certainly in fine company - I have my eyes on a few of her items myself (Christmas present to the house maybe, my bedroom needs that vintage wooden filing cabinet as a bedside table)!

All images taken from http://www.anartfullife.co.uk

56 - The Good Life

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Light up letters at The Good Life Experience
Opening words at The Good Life Experience
Log pile at The Good Life Experience
Helter Skelter at The Good Life Experience
Vintage tent at The Good Life Experience

The Good Life Experience - Hawarden, Flintshire, UK - 20 September 2014

I have long been a fan and follower of Pedlars (and more recently the Gladstone's with their "Guide to the Great Outdoors" book). When they announced back at the start of the summer that they were curating an event, of course I booked tickets.

On Saturday morning after several melt-downs about wellies not fitting and various other child-induced mini dramas, we made the short trip over to Hawarden for The Good Life Experience. It was awful, we couldn't have had a worse time and quite honestly I might be asking for a refund. Ok, I've been caught fibbing. Nice try, eh? Well, I feel like I need to do something to protect the secret of what I'm sure will be one of 2015's hot tickets.

Within moments of walking on site I found myself feeling like an old friend of Charlie Gladstone having had a welcome hug after introducing myself (I'm stocked by Pedlars now and working on something special for them so thought I'd say hello, but I'll save that news for another post...). It is so rare to meet someone willing to be open and genuine about their hopes and dreams, let alone someone willing to do so with 2,000 or so people.

With no VIP areas to segregate, it was a truly beautiful thing to be able to chat with musicians, chefs and the like with no sense at all of celebrity. The Good Life Experience had an atmosphere that was homely (with vintage bunting and flags, flowers in vases on the tables, some truly fantastic decor and campfires to huddle around) and unassuming, the perfect place for kicking back and connecting, with yourselves, others, nature and new interests.

Dominic has been boasting of his axe throwing skills and Eve of the "great big whirly slide". She wants to sing in the London Bulgarian Choir when she's older and I'm pretty sure his desire to become an Olympic archer has grown. We all have a new found love of s'mores and Best Made Co.

Thank you, Gladstone's and Cerys Matthews, for graciously welcoming us to share in your dream of a day filled with good music, campfires, conversation, food, learning, getting back to basics and for your belief in living the good life. Thank you for the chance to meet and converse with so many new people, and for wanting to coax those permanently glued to a screen of some sort, back into the wild. The Good Life Experience was a gentle reminder in not only how to live the good life, but also a lesson in humanity and soaking in life with every ounce of your being.

Boy doing archery at The Good Life Experience
Loose Lips Tea at The Good Life Experience
Music Marquee at The Good Life Experience
Cerys Matthews Campfire at The Good Life Experience
Caroline Gladstone's campfire cooking at The Good Life Experience
Bill Granger at The Good Life Experience
Pedlars at The Good Life Experience
Littles on a boat swing at The Good Life Experience
Cerys Matthews sing along at The Good Life Experience
S'mores by Best Made co at The Good Life Experience
Axe throwing at The Good Life Experience
Dad-ventures at The Good Life Experience

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