Fancy tableware

I’ve still got plenty of space in my Party Cupboard.

And with the festive season upon us, a cupboard full of fancy tableware is the ultimate aspiration for the domestic goddesses of this world.

So it’s particularly convenient to have talented friends who can come up with wonderful things to help fulfill such intentions.

Now call me biased, but Emma Lacey‘s handmade ceramics are just the type of tableware I wish for: design-led, tactile, simple, striking:

The Conran Shop, Anthropologie and Sketch have all placed their own orders – enough said.

A fleeting visit to her Hornsey open studio yesterday allowed for a little treat (from myself to myself).
Two pieces is a collection, right?

collection in the making

As you can see, they’re still to make it into the Party Cupboard.

But how could I?




Student days ahead

Following weeks of talking about it and a few clicks of the mouse on a cold night last week, I am now officially studying again.

A full-time job means the best option was open learning so I can fit everything else around my studies.

And if all goes well, I may qualify in a couple of years’ time and try my hand at interior design.

I’m watching an A2 drawing board on ebay, and luckily CassArt have a sale on at the moment so I shamelessly raided their shelves for the rest.

ahhh the joy of brand new stationery

As you can see, I’m already procrastinating: showing off my new school kit in front of Masterchef instead of getting unit 2 done.

At least things have evolved: in my previous student days, I would be showing off my dubious cooking skills (dried penne and a jar of Homepride Pasta Bake sauce straight into the oven) in front of Neighbours…

I have nevertheless made a good start and I’m slowly developing a huge collection of inspiring images to include in future projects.

thank you Mollie Makes and Guardian Weekend

And I can at last put some of these to good use:

I know Nice Day for A Sulk will be the perfect place to research, expand and share the inspiration.

And it may also be used as a platform to procrastinate, from time to time.


Knits (and knots)

I’ve rescued my chunky knits from the winter section of the wardrobe and the stove has been in full service again.

Winter is officially upon us.

Once upon a time, I did know how to knit.

I took so long over my first scarf that John Lewis had discontinued the wool I needed by the time I needed to stock up again…

Luckily one doesn’t need to know how to knit to revel in cable stitches and chunky wools. This shopping list should help keep the cold at bay indoors too:

Christmas spice knitted candle from M&S

Couture Deco knitted wallpaper via Art at Heart

porcelain knit textured jug from Swanky Maison

knitted book cover via paper and bookmaking blog Cai Lun

–this one doesn’t qualify as ‘knits’ but I couldn’t resist adding it to the wishlist
knotted rope basket at Alder & Co, via Design*Sponge

Flor cable knit floor tiles via Rhythm of the Needles

I still own my knitting ‘kit’, and often use the needles for various DIY tasks around the house..

I may be a bit clueless when it comes to crafts, but I would probably beat you all hands down at stuffing things into very small holes: knowing how to keep those cold draughts out is a very useful skill at this time of year indeed.

Short but sweet

This week has been flying by with the other half’s birthday celebrations, and our few days away in Norfolk last weekend seem like a distant memory already.

We witnessed the last few hours of autumn on the deserted Wells-Next-the-Sea beach, with a glorious sun and mild temperatures.

Taking the time over a local lunch, some window-shopping in Holt and regular dedicated slots for cake breaks (who would have known a Weetabix loaf could be this tasty?)…
…and relax

My weekend starts now

For the first time in several months, I’m shamelessly enjoying a day off in the week.

It feels a bit like that time I bunked off school to play Playmobils with my childhood best friend: a bit scary but also so brilliant.

we did get caught, but it had all been worth it for the fun we had

There are no Playmobils to give me excuses for a day off today, but I’m sitting at the dining table, listening to Eugene McGuinness and looking out onto a grey deserted park

but more importantly, enjoying a very continental breakfast:

cinnamon danish, freshly squeezed spanish orange juice and strong Italian coffee…

…straight from Venice

The day started early with trips to the dry cleaners, post office and supermarket (to buy said cinnamon danish of course).

The smallest jobs that usually seem so tedious at weekends were rather pleasant this morning: no queues, and I even encountered a few smiley faces and ‘hellos’.

The weekend will be spent on the Norfolk coast, in chunky cardigans and wellies.

Have a lovely weekend all.

Hibernation mode

With the nights drawing in and the temperatures dropping, my evenings have slowly morphed into hours of much reduced activity by the roaring fire, preferably in comfy slippers and with a hot beverage at arm’s length.

I think I may have caught the hibernation bug.

Beware, it’s spreading.

To help you through, I’ve compiled a list of main symptoms and suggested remedies:

Cravings for hearty food fill up most of the infected subject’s waking hours. Taste buds can only handle robust ingredients and earthy flavours.

Nigel Slater parsnip & porcini mushroom soup

Your nose can no longer bear light florals and fresh citruses. Instead, your nostrils dream of warming honey, incense and tobacco.

Serge Lutens Chergui, named after a hot and dry Moroccan wind.
This scent enchants me. The most precious potion in my dresser.

Your sense of touch is frail and you cannot get anywhere near cold and hard materials. Only soft and warm will appease you.

fluffy cushions and Scottish wool blanket are a must

Your brains have turned into mush after too many hours of appalling television.

use your hands with a bit of cross-stitch to toughen your patience…

…or re-read an all-time favourite and let the memories rush back

These suggested remedies are working wonders for me.

I can now happily live with my symptoms, by the roaring fire, in comfy slippers and with a hot beverage at arm’s length.


The curious incident(s) of the girl in the garden

The confused weather patterns of the past few weeks have turned my garden on its head.

Back in July, I brought the tiniest seeds back from my Nan’s garden in Provence:

I didn’t think anything would come of it until next spring.

But the October sunshine obviously worked wonders and I had to organise an emergency mass re-potting session on Monday to accommodate my young French marigolds.

all the way from sunny Provence…

Mysterious events carried on for the rest of the week:

Giving up on my dream of a flavoursome homegrown tomato salad for this year, I harvested two handfuls of green tomatoes a few days ago.

I left them on the kitchen windowsill whilst collecting recipes for various green tomato chutneys and jams, but I realised on Thursday I would probably have to rethink this whole green tomato plan:

patience makes perfect

So it may still not be the tomato salad I was hoping for, but I would have at least managed to grow ONE tomato this year, a real one.

Carrying on in this rather puzzling fashion, the week ended with an interesting addition to the wall just outside our front steps this morning:

I have absolutely no idea who put it there, but the passers-by have been smiling at it all day.

I’m waiting for night to fall to put a tealight inside. This way I can claim my part in this week’s peculiar happenings.

Featured image at the top via Ruth Adams art