Monday, 5 December 2016

Design Tourist: 32 Hours in Paris travel tips

Now what on earth can you do in 32 hours in Paris? Well quite a lot actually. At the end of November I took a quick trip to Paris for what was essentially a girls night out - just one that lasted 32 hours and involved getting on a plane. It wasn't a hedonistic spend up though, just a chance to spend some quality time together (a feat that's quite hard to achieve when your a Mum) albeit in Paris.  Brighton to Central Paris can be done in under 3hrs which is a seriously quick hop. It was one of my #take12trips for 2016 and it was a really wonderful weekend.
So when time is tight you either need to scheduled the hell out of your trip or be lucky enough to know Paris so well that you can be laid back with your plans.  Happily the latter was the case for us BUT that was because we were visiting a local (and I've already been there 4 times this year).

Friday, 2 December 2016

Design Tourist - Rome

I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to travel frequently and still my travel bucket list seems to grow. This year I undertook the #take12trips challenge which has been a wonderful opportunity to see glorious things and reconnect with inspiring places and people. At the end of October I traveled to Rome with my husband - our first weekend away together alone since our son was born 4 years ago. It's a destination that's been on my wish list for quite some time and at last I've been. In fact the City in its entire ancient marvel dazzled me so much that I've already booked a return visit.  

Rome whilst ancient in many parts is quintessentially about design. For more than 1000 years it was the heart of the ancient world, the capital city of the most powerful empire on the planet. It continued the legacy of Ancient Greece but the Romans wanted their art and architecture to be useful as well as beautiful - could this possibly even be the birthplace of form and function? 


Thursday, 24 November 2016

The blues, The Greys and The Tears.

It seems that I am totally rubbish at blogging at the moment and while I could say that I have no other excuse than time, that wouldn't be the whole story. 
I don't often share personal things here partly because it's not what I've written about in the past. I write about pretty interiors, lovely travels and fantastic wallpaper.  If you follow me on instagram you might have seen snippets or got a hint that all isn’t the right way up.  I was speaking with some other blogger friends and they tell me I should share why I have been unable to put words to paper. If you’d rather not hear about this I’d suggest you check out this lovely post on beautiful mid-century furniture here

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Instagram - My favourite makers to follow

I’ve pledged over the next couple of months to share the people I follow on Instagram that I think are worth following. It’s all very subjective but as a visual learner and a modern day follower of Aestheticism I hope you'll like what I share. Instagram's following shows no sign of slowing with over 500 million users up from 300 million users in January 2015. Did you know that 95million pictures and videos are uploaded everyday? Mind boggling really.

Instagram is great platform for creatives and makers showcasing their amazing talent to world. Some makers have particularly embraced the visual media and worked hard on styling and lighting making their feeds a must to follow.  So I'm sharing my favourite makers who you can’t fail to agree post beautiful images. 

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

London Design Festival - Decorex Highlights

Decorex was the first interiors trade shows that I ever went to way back in the late 1990’s, so it has a special significance for me. However deep in my heart every year I hope that Decorex will move back to Chelsea or at least central London. It’s current home in Syon Park has been a small bugbear for me for some years now – Why? Because coming from Brighton is a nightmare by public transport and equally hellish by car.  Saying all that though I do come every year and usually find something new that makes up for the journey length and frustration.

This year there was plenty of choice of products to view from the 400+ exhibitors. It has always been the design show of choice for interior designers and decorators partly because the items on display in the most part are high end fabric, furniture and other decorative finishes. In recent years though there has been a growing number of younger and more contemporary companies showcasing their wares.  Future Heritage is my particular favourite sections curated by Corrine Julius, it highlights a small group of crafts people producing bespoke contemporary work in furniture design, glass, textiles, ceramics and lighting. The jesmonite work of Phil Cuttance particularly caught my eye.


Thursday, 13 October 2016

London Design Festival - Designjunction highlights

There are 5 destination shows during LDF and they always make my “selection” when I’m scheduling the craziness that is London design Festival. Being an interiors and design blogger, getting to the shows is hugely important for me as it’s a chance to see new emerging talent and also the wonderful creative UK design scene which always includes some wonderful new product launches.

Designjunction had a new home this year at Kings Cross and boy it didn’t disappoint. It was set in four venues in close proximity to Granary Square.  Cubitt House a fantastic temporary structure of 4000 cubes designed by Satellite Architects, The Canopy, The Crossing and Granary Square itself. Like most visitors I arrived on Granary Square and was immediately taken with the installation of temporary “monopoly” houses - each sharing a different design experience. The three that stood out for me were Dombracht water inspired, Dyslexic Design and Four23 with their playful and interactive installation. With more than 200 design brands being showcased I wasn’t able to dedicate the time to the show that I would have liked - - - I will repeat this for practically everything at LDF! But never the less there were some gems and some wonderful styling to be seen.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

London Design Festival highlights - installations

The curtain has now closed on London Design Festival for 2016. London certainly pulled out all the stops to showcase its talented citizens and remarkable ability to bring together talent from across the globe.  It’s a creative city at the best of times but during the festival it really comes to life through the various design districts and landmark projects.  Anyone with an interest in design should try to make it part of their calendar of events and exhibitions. Where it gets tricky is deciding what is going to make your selection out of the 400+ events, talks, workshops and installations. I had a chock-a-block schedule and I didn’t even see 10% of the possibilities and it wasn’t just me running from one place to another in a desperate bid to fit it all in.

A major feature of the Festival each year is the ambitious programme of special projects and installations centred at the Victoria & Albert Museum the Festival’s official hub. The series of installations were totally arresting and were accompanied by some truly splendid talks.
official image: Ed Reeve

Monday, 26 September 2016

London Design Festival highlights - coming soon

The London Design Festival has just come to a close and I’m in need of a serious spa day. In the last 8 days I have attended 37 events and worn out a pair of trainers stomping across London. It’s all been in the name of design and I hope you’ve been following along on instagram to see the action as it was happening. In the coming blog posts I’ll be sharing my top picks of the events and shows I visited across London.

Below when I met Mathieu Lehanneur at his wonderful V&A Installation Liquid Marble.

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Food revolution starts in the Kitchen with Grundig

Earlier this month I attended Europe’s biggest consumer electronics fair, IFA in Berlin with Grundig to see chef Massimo Bottura of the Michelin three-starred restaurant Osteria Franciscan. He is the current title holder of the No.1 Restaurant in the World.  It was  whistle stop trip - I was literally there for 24 hours before flying to Paris but it was a rewarding insight into the future of the modern kitchen. 
IFA is a serious mega show with 158,000 square meters of exhibition space and nearly 2000 exhibitors. It was almost entirely a sea of men in suits, very different from the usual exhibitions I attend. Manufacturers from across the globe attend to showcase the concepts and products that will define the future of home appliances and consumer electronics. The 2016 edition featured appliances intended to make homes smarter, healthier, more sustainable and better connected. 

Wednesday, 31 August 2016


Last September I spent a fantastic long weekend at the Good Life Experience which was so filled with music, food and a whole heap of fun things to discover and do.  The countdown is in earnest to this years Goodlife Experience and I have 2 adult tickets and 1 child camping tickets to giveaway.
Last year the three of us (and the dog!) got super excited as the weekend approached and when we actually got there it was better than we imagines. My three year old was over the moon with the vintage fairground, the children’s cafe (run only by children) and sleeping in a tent in a field.  I also discovered he was rather partial to a bit of Cuban music, the wonderful Revolucionarios Cubanos.

There are workshops on everything from fire-building to whittling, camp fire cooking to foraging.  My husband signed up to a whittling workshop and several hours later appeared with a beautiful handcrafted spoon – said spoon has since been on a 6 month tandem bike adventure in South America with our friends (see here). Between the great talks and the great music, including the Saturday night headliners Public Service Broadcasting, there was just so much to do and participate in but at a rather leisurely pace.
I’m sad to say we can’t make it back this year due to work commitments but I highly recommend this lovely festival- perfect for families and a lovely way to extend your Summer vibes. So I have a wonderful competition to win 2 adult tickets and 1 child (under 11) camping tickets. The Goodlife Experience is held at the Hawarden Estate in Flintshire on 16-18 September.  Did I mention that they welcome dogs?
To win tickets to the The Good Life Experience – including all the fun stuff above and more – all you have to do is leave a comment on the blog, telling me what your camping essentials are. You can also enter the competition on Instagram with a comment and follow. Simple, right!?

The competition ends at midnight on Friday 9th September. The winner will be announced both on the blog and instagram.  Good luck!

Competition details
  • The prize is 2 x adult and 1x child (under 11) tickets plus camping pitch for The Good Life Experience.
  • I also have a ticket for a campervan/caravan parking if needed
  • The festival is on the 18th – 19th – 20th of September 2015 Hawarden Estate in Flintshire just inside North Wales. For further details about The Good Life Experience, and all the great stuff that is happening, have a look at their site
  • The competition is open from today until Friday the 9h of September 2016 at 11.59pm
  • Please don’t forget to leave your instagram details at the end of your comment
  • Tickets will be posted by next day recorded delivery.

Please Note - This is NOT a sponsored or paid post.

All images by Mary Middleton apart from image 3 by NenadObradovic


Monday, 29 August 2016

September Fairs & Events

Hard to believe how fast summer has flown by once again, but Autumn is on its way.  I’ve had a lovely July and August spending time in France with family and friends and now that back to school feeling is settling in. Can you actually believe its September this week?

September however is shaping up to be a busy month, in fact a VERY busy month. The beginning of the month sees my little one turn four – wow that’s happening fast – and we have a fun party planned to celebrate. However before I even get to that I’ll be heading out to Berlin to the IFA the world's leading trade show for consumer electronics and home appliances.  As always September sees me back to Paris for Paris DesignWeek and Maison & Objet. Then hot on the heels of Paris Design week is London Design Biennale closely followed by the London Design festival (see dates below).  Plus somewhere in the middle of that I am running a mini festival in Brighton. I think I might need to lie down for the whole of October at this rate!

If you haven’t yet got your pre-registrations in for the fairs and events that happen as part of the London Design festival I recommend you take a look at my handy dates summary and plan which ones you can not afford to miss.  

I’m also delighted to have been nominated again for an Amara Interior Blog award, in the ‘interior designer or stylist’ category. I'm up against some incredible blogs and I am speechless to be in such illustrious company. I would be so honoured and ever so grateful if you would take a moment to vote for me.
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