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Category Archives: UK designers

Friday Find – Chandelier

I love something a little bit quirky and one of my favourite designers Young & Battaglia always come up trumps.  I am loving these miniature chandelier lights, the perfect addition for a talking point whether it be a bathroom with a difference, a sophisticated restaurant or a opulent styling idea for a wedding of royal standards…. on with the colourful adventure…. Have a great weekend……

 

 

Creatively Speaking – Barbara Keal

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I recently posted on felt designer Barbera Keal and her fantastical headwear… the envy of every child’s dressing up box. Barbara has kindly agreed to an interview to tell us a little about herself and her influences.  So sit back have a cuppa (and a slice of the chocolate cake below!)…Have a great weekend

How would you describe your work and style?

My work as a feltmaker mainly consists of tranformative animal headwear – hats. The hats feel very genuinely animal because they are made from animal hair (sheeps wool and alpaca fleece) in natural colours, I love this material and do all that I can to allow it to maintain its original qualities. There is a tension in the work between gritty realism and fairytale beauty.

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What, where and/or who inspires you?

What inspires me is the desire to make work that can help a person feel more fully alive.  My local “Malling Hill”, part of the Sussex downs is where I most frequently experience that aliveness I want to share. Something about the hill’s plump gravity, the dumb meeting with a cow, the ecstatic rising song of the skylark gives me a sharp realisation of my place as one amongst the community of all creatures. It is also home to the sheep whose fleeces I used for my first feltmaking.

Barbara on Malling Hill

Which is your favorite personal project and why?


Oh, I don’t really have a favourite. Most of my years since graduating from art school have been spent making “live art”, within that context the making of the animal hats from simple to hugely elaborate has all been part of one rather ongoing project. If however I look specifically at my work as a feltmaker there are myriad works.The project which brought me to feltmaking was the making of a dress for myself from the fleeces of the sheep on Malling Hill. The skirts of the dress were huge, I used working horses to help me with the felting. In the end the dress was like a cave which could hold an audience of 10 people, to whom I sang wordless improvied songs through resonant clay vessels I had hand buit for the purpose. In another respect I was most deeply moved by making a felt shroud for my aunt, luscious soft white wool, a winter lanscape with a large white spirit dog running across it’s barren expanse.

Barbara and her Cave Dress

Barbara and her Cave Dress

What has been the most exciting point in your career to date and why?

I don’t know that I really have a career as such. Somehow that word implies a definite trajectory in a predecided direction. I came to feltmaking through the search for meaning and  aliveness that was, and still is my “art work”. Felt making and the animal “hats” in particular has taken me to some interesting places, places I never desired nor expected to visit. Shepperton Film studios, Kanye West’s London studio, Rockerfeller centre – New York, Paris, Somerset House or Nantes. All these places are extremely curious to see. I never made my work thinking of a career and even now regard the whole thing as a suprising journey. The most wonderful opportunity I have been offered was that of working together with my husband Richard to make a large installation for the gallery space in anthropologie’s Rockerfeller centre store, simply because it was so good to work together in such a sustained way on a large piece – A wall torn from our imaginations, made solid in wood, wool, slate and clay.

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If you could have your work displayed anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be displayed?

On the heads of every person in London! I grew up in that huge impersonal city and would love to see it inhabited by a million animals for one day in winter. (Not that my body could rise to the challenge of felting all those hats!)

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If someone were coming to visit your home town where would be the must stop place or places to visit (this could be a place, restaurant, cafe, etc).
Of course my Malling Hill! To meet the wild rugged sheep, look at the town from above and if they are lucky glimpse the sea on the horizon.

Describe your perfect day
A long, happy hill walk on a warm day – rain, cloud or sun. Singing, whistleing on the way and ending with a swim in the sea.

If you were to board Noah’s Ark and were told that you could take three things with you. What would they be? 
I must say I love the idea of being on Noahs Ark. Clay, felting needles and a guitar (i’d already be wearing my hat). I’m assuming I could get hold of some fleece on board!

Now as much as I love your work, I love cooking and am always eager to find out a new recipe… what is your favorite dish to cook??….Would I be able to ask for the recipe?..
Well, I doubt if I can offer a recipe you’ve never heard of but I can offer a mega cake challenge! Every year my eldest son Isaiah tells me what sort of birthday cake he would like – from an orangutan driving a dumper truck to alpaca’s grazing the Andes mountains. Here’s a recipe for chocolate and meringue Andes mountains with marzipan alpacas.

Choc cake:

10oz self raising flour

3oz cocoa powder

4oz brown sugar

4oz unbleached castor sugar

6oz butter

4 egg yolks

2 whole eggs

Rub butter into flour, brown sugar and cocoa, beat eggs and castor sugar add to butter and flour mix very well ( add a bit of milk if super stiff)

Heap the mix into centre of baking tin. Bake at 180.

Use the 4 egg whites to make a giant meringue to put on top. Here’s a recipe:

http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2445/ultimate-meringue

Once all has cooled whip ½ pint double cream the meringue goes on top of the choc cake.

For the puposes of brevity buy some marzipan and form it into alpacas of various sizes. Each alpaca can stand in a big drop of melted chocolate as it becomes nearly solid on the lower part of the mountain or in a dollop of cream at the top.

(BCD – This could take some time for me to create this one!!)

GOOD LUCK!

 

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Distorting the Masters – An Interior Collaboration

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I am feeling a little bit like a stalker at the moment of the British designers Young and Battaglia.  I recently posted on their faux cowhide rugs which I love, they have now taken this to a new dimension, working together with American conceptual artist and designer Chad Wys, to create their classics revisited collection.

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The collection includes the Pastoral cow hide rug (Below), which is taken from Chad’s “American Tapestry” collection, and a series of cushions which take inspiration from Chad’s “Nocturnes” Portfolio collection.

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I love how the artist and designers have taken something from the past and bought it into the present, or is it perhaps taking the present into the past?  Let me know your thoughts.

Below are Chad’s prints followed by the Cushions with the Y&B touch…. oh and a little bit of influence from Cluedo me thinks…….

Nocturne 109

Nocturne 109 – Chad Wys

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General Mustard Cushion

Nocturne 64

Nocturne 64 – Chad Wys

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Lord White – Cushion

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Tom Green Cushion

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Lady Peacock Cushion

 

On with the colourful adventure…………..

 

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Flockhart – The inspiration of Grandparents

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Have you noticed that whenever you watch a talent show on TV, the acts that grab the most attention generally have a story to tell, a history and reason as to how they were inspired to push forward with their talents and ideas.  Well this is not exactly a post on “The Voice”, but I tend to find that I get drawn to designs or objects which have a little bit of a story, or history attached – giving it a little bit more soul and heart.

about-eileenandkenneth

Eileen Flockart and George Kennethson

One such story is the revival of a Flockhart Fabrics in the UK.  Flockhart was created by the painter Eileen Guthrie in the 1930s. Eileen took inspiration from the nature of Northamptonshire, Dorset and Berkshire that she and her husband sculptor George Kennethson so loved.  They hand printed their designs from lino blocks and silk screens which still exist today, along with many beautiful original pieces of fabric.

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Eileen’s Sketches

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Original Lino Cuts

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The arrival of five sons and George taking a career change in the 1950s meant that Flockhart Fabrics got tucked away in boxes and took second place to family.  On her death in 2006, Eileen left behind an archive of designs that, thanks to her granddaughter, Lucy Mackenzie, have now been bought back to life through Flockhart Fabrics. The designs from the 1940s and 50s fit so well into the present, with the retro and Scandanavian trends withe the simple hello blue and grey palette.

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Current Prints – Flockhart Fabrics

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Let me know your thoughts… meanwhile on with the colourful adventure……..

 
3 Comments

Posted by on April 29, 2013 in Art, Fabric, Interior Design, UK designers

 

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Creatively Speaking – Coulson Macleod

Hannah Macleod & Mark Coulson

It’s Friday and time for another interview with one of the fab creatives that I have featured on my little blog.  Mark Coulson and Hannah Macleod, AKA Coulson Macleod kindly agreed to have a little chat, so grab a cuppa and enjoy. Oh, and if you are stuck for what to cook for dinner then they have some fab recipes which are perfect for us Aussies just starting to come into Autumn!

How would you describe your work and style?

Simple design that reflects our own taste. We’re not into overly fussy stuff. We also love texture, hence why we use a lot of reclaimed wood. The gnarlier the wood the better. If you buy a Coulson Macleod don’t expect shiny & new (apart from our paper prints, which have to be presented in a neat & clean style).

'Freeze Freeze Thou #A376F3

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What, where and/or who inspires you?

Inspiration comes from everywhere. Magazines (our office walls are lined with shelves & shelves of magazines), blogs, & books. We also try to visit as many interior/gift shops as we can to get ideas on packaging & display ideas. Obviously shops are the best places to see what is actually being sold to your potential customers. Blogs are a place to immerse yourself in design trends, but it’s the high-street shop that will stock our art. We try to travel to towns across the UK to visit shops & combine it with an overnight stay in a boutique hotel (all in the name of research of course!). Recently we’ve visited Shrewsbury (amazing architecture) & Brighton (amazing restaurants). Trade shows can also be inspiring as you get to be the first to see the latest designs & trends. Although this does mean that you lose the ‘wow’ factor when you go browsing in shops as we’ve seen it all before.

Shrewsbury Square - Source mytoolkit.co.uk

Shrewsbury Square – Source mytoolkit.co.uk

Hannah I read a lot of travel writing. Totally admire the explorer’s fearless approach to life & their level of curiosity.

Mark I alternate between fiction & business books. The only problem with reading a great book in bed is that I then lie there all night with my brain buzzing with either the story or business ideas.

What has been the most exciting point in your career to date and why?

Being awarded Creative Business of the Year was pretty exciting. Selling a print to one of the richest men in the world was a buzz too. Sadly his PA said we couldn’t name him. Boo! But this guy could buy (& does apparently) any piece of art he likes. And he bought one of ours. This happened in the early days of our business, which meant we knew we were on the right path.

Do you have any major projects in the pipeline at the moment? Can you share these with us?

It’s not so much a project, but an order from a large department store chain in Switzerland has given us a big morale boost. They describe themselves as the Harrods of Switzerland. With 14 stores we can safely say we have Switzerland covered. It’s been a steep learning curve – suddenly we realized how little we knew about exporting, pallet shipments, & all sorts of boring legal stuff. Another growth spurt for Coulson Macleod & our collective knowledge.

If you could have your work displayed anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be displayed?

'Flamingoes'

We always joke that our art is far better traveled than we are & ends up in homes all over the world. Some of the addresses that we ship to are pretty fancy (sometimes we spot our prints on the walls of swoon-worthy homes that feature in the press). So our art goes to places that we’ll never get to in person. We could do with more stockists in Australia (at the time of writing we only have one) so if anyone reading this can help…

What would be your dream commission?

An order from Kate & William would be rather beneficial. Anything Kate (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge) buys has a huge impact. She has to support British made, so surely it’s only a matter of time before she becomes a Coulson Macleod customer.

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Perhaps Kate can unleash her wild child (BCD)

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…or perhaps a gift from Kate to Wills….

 

Describe your perfect day

We got married last summer; it was a perfect day. Wish we could recreate it every year. The sun shone (this in itself was pretty remarkable as it rained practically every other day). Surrounded by friends & family, eating amazing Italian food, drinking Pimms, crying happy tears & lots of dancing.

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If you were to board Noah’s Ark and were told that you could take three things with you.  What would they be?

Presuming our three children were already aboard then it would be

Our collection of magazines that we’ve flicked through but not had time to read

Suncream. We’re totally paranoid about burning & spend all summer slathering it over the kids. European kids are all bronzed & healthy-looking, ours are ghostly-white from being covered in titanium dioxide.

A Kindle. We don’t own one, preferring the look, feel, & smell of proper books lining our shelves, but seeing as we can only take three things.

What is your favorite dish to cook?

We cook a lot, so it’s hard to pick out just one recipe. We have favourite dishes for warm weather, but seeing as we mainly have cold weather here, it would have to be sausages & lentils. It’s one of those super easy one-pot wonders that everyone loves. Plus it uses bacon & bacon reigns supreme. Serves four…

Sausage Bacon and Lentil Hotpot

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8 x sausages

250g smoked bacon

200g Puy lentils (we tend to throw in more than this)

1 clove garlic crushed

1 chopped onion

1 tsp tomato paste

sprig thyme

1 bay leaf

1 litre chicken stock

Brown the sausages, fry the bacon until crispy then throw into one pot & cook until lentils are soft. Better if you can simmer for longer as the taste improves. Serve with crusty bread.

Polenta Cake

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For pudding it would be polenta cake (our recipe is scribbled on a bit of scrap paper).

7 oz butter

7 oz sugar

8 oz ground almonds

3 eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 oz polenta

zest of 3 lemons

1 tbs baking powder

Dust your cake tin with polenta (use extra polenta, not from the 8 oz). Cream butter & sugar. Add almonds, vanilla, eggs & polenta. Mix with zest. Add baking powder. Bake for 45 mins on 180. Serve warm with a big dollop of mascarpone.

Want to see more?

Coulson Macleod are exhibiting at the following venues in the UK for 2013.

Pulse (London Earl’s Court) 12-14th May.

Home & Gift Harrogate 14-17th July.

Top Drawer (London Olympia) 15-17th September.

 

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40 Winks and a Story to Tell – Don’t forget your pyjama’s!

source missimmylondon

Source missimmyslondon

I am a little bit fantastical at heart, I am easily board and need visual stimulation to spark my interest.  I love it when you can be in a place for hours, even days and can spot something new or intriguing each time you go. So on a hunt of this I wanted to show you somewhere that I found…..

In an unassuming townhouse in London’s East stands a little secret…..well probably not such a well kept secret is a little hotel of fantastical proportions.  So gorgeous, and a playful mile away from the mass produced rooms of the big hotel chains….. I just need to get to london to book myself a place

David Carter - Photo by Matthew Buck

David Carter – Photo by Matthew Buck

The creation, and home, of interior designer David Carter, the idea behind 40Winks was to create a place to stay that feels like a home from home with a cosy kitchen and living room full of character. But with only two rooms (at very reasonable prices on a London Scale), one of which only sleeps one, you need to book in early.

The hotel, is also unsurprisingly home to lots of fashion and celebrity shoots looking for a little playful charm as the backdrop.. it was launched in 2009 to give creative types a place to stay when they are in London whether they are there for work or pleasure.

“The concept is simple. To offer you a ‘home from home’… a place where you can hang your hat or park your suitcase while enjoying a little bit of understated opulence and a large dose of quirky style “

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But the best thing of all is Bedtime Stories.  This is an idea that Mr Carter came up with a few years ago.  Up to 30 guests arrive to enjoy cocktails in tea cups and nibbles.  There is a strict code of dress….only PJ’s and nighties and this is strictly enforced with prizes for the most glam….unsurprisingly it has proven to be a huge hit.  The ambiance is introduced by Mr Carter himself before the patrons retire to and relax on cushions whilst being read a story by a professional storyteller…love it. Hopefully Teddy’s are allowed too….

Source - missimmyslondon

Story Telling – Source – missimmyslondon

Now I am off to get my cocoa and slippers…..meanwhile on with the colourful adventure…………

 
6 Comments

Posted by on April 17, 2013 in Art, Interior Design, Travel, UK, UK designers

 

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Creatively Speaking – Louise and John Wakefield – Beware the Moon

dishoom www.jamesbedford.com

When I posted on the father and daughter duo that make up the UK based funky wallpaper company Beware The Moon last year, I should have realised that their interview would be anything other than as colourful and fun as their work ….  So grab a cuppa and sit back and enjoy…….

How would you describe your work and style?

John – Anarchic, perfectionist.

Louise – Erm… incongruous, lunatic, absorbing, mischievous

What, where and/or who inspires you?

John – Imagination and Nature

Louise – Ooh where to begin – experiences inspire me mostly, things we go through and feel, I’m seeking inspiration in the metaphysical all the time, in the way that there’s something going on back there and it’s gloriously chaotic and irrational.  For instance, I’m loving the undercurrents of excitement, anticipation and anxiety that precipitate Spring here in Europe – people are bursting out of hibernation and declaring love left, right and centre!  It’s been a long winter and we are soon to be blessed with vitality, it’s a palpable tension right now and inspires all sorts of crazy behaviour and ideas. I don’t know if it’s because of computer screens and all the endless advertising (and probably years of looking at the world through a lens as a photographer) but i find I’m not so visual anymore, I crave inspiration in things ‘further out of sight’.  I walk a lot around the city and in the parks and I’m actively working on my ‘long–view’ (for the sake of my eyesight) and looking up: it’s amazing what you can see when you walk around a city looking up!   And I’m especially into water and watery things lately – I’m taking my mum to Budapest this weekend (our first holiday together), and we’re going to spend all our time basking in the mineral thermal springs.  I’m absolutely obsessed with feminine cleansing rituals.

Which is your favourite personal project and why?

John – Whatever’s on the drawing board – it might have something to do with a ‘Cross’ right now.

Louise – We did a bespoke colourway of the Ostrich design for a lovely lady – it came out beautifully in a subtle matte grey and I was really impressed with the whole process – and her conviction!  It’s always inspiring when someone knows what they want and they follow through on a big statement – she put it all the way through the hallways in a Georgian house

Question 3 - Bespoke Ostrich-1

Question 3-Bespoke Ostrich-2

Your mission statement says you are “taking over one downstairs loo at at time”.  Who’s downstairs loo would you most like to take over and which wallpaper would you use?

John – The Queen’s

Louise – The Queen – the downstairs loo somehow epitomizes British culture (sort of closeted, private, occasionally cold but with a humorous disposition ) and I reckon the Queen would be grateful for a velvet skulls loo…although I doubt she has ever seen the inside of a downstairs loo to be fair

Question 4-Downstairs Loo

What has been the most exciting point in your career to date and why?

Louise – Well I’ve done so many obscure jobs I wouldn’t know where to begin in terms of my whole career (John hasn’t even attempted to answer this one!) but the highlight of Beware the Moon has to be the photoshoots we do – they are always a treat, pulling themes and friends together with no budget, shooting guerilla-style with massive time and location pressures (not something one would associate with wallpaper photography!) I tend not to think about it all too much until about a week beforehand, then I ring round ask if everyone’s free, find a date that works and make a nice lunch, see what happens.  I particularly loved shooting the lovely Jude in the early shots of the Skulls, She and Ostrich design – he was a fantastic model, and the themes seemed to just unfold effortlessly – Denial (Ostrich), Desire (She) and Death/Rebirth (Skulls) and actually went on to shape the brand really.

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And falling in love with a client, that’s a highlight – one who put Skulls all over his tiny flat – who knew wallpaper could present such stories !?

Do you have any major projects in the pipeline at the moment? Can you share these with us?

John – An animals wallpaper

Louise – We’re about to launch the wallpaper version of the Animals border . It’s pretty epic, it took John a year to design: 52 Animals in total, each one took about a week to draw by hand.  It was a real challenge because he wasn’t sure he could even draw like that anymore, but it’s absolutely stunning, he’s a legend really.  We’re using a new method to print it for Beware the Moon – gravure – which is exciting, we’ve just had the plates cut.  It’s an old technique and as close to photographic as you can get with traditional rollers, which will help to keep the detail of the drawings.  It’s been a long time coming this one !

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Question 5-Animals-1

If you could have your work displayed anywhere in the world, where would you like it to be displayed.

John – The Pentagon, because of those walls

Louise – Well it’s going to sound a bit cute, but to be honest I actually love to see our work in people’s homes, there’s just no greater satisfaction than that – I often ask people to send us pictures for the scrapbook and it’s my favourite gallery of BtM images by far  It’s quite a privilege at this stage of the business – we’re still so tiny – that we get to have such direct contact with clients and their projects, and that we don’t have heards of PR to go through to see the end results of what we do.  Residential projects (as oppose to commercial/designer projects for instance) are incredibly heartening.

Question 7 Scrapbook-2

Question 7-Scrapbook-1

I can honestly say I don’t really have any ambitions outside of that – being on the walls of peoples homes is where it’s at.  BUT actually, come to think of it I do agree with John – The Pentagon would be a dream job – pretty cool done entirely in 3D Jam Jars or Quantum Foam

Question 7-Jam Jars 3D Foil-1

Question 7-Jam Jars 3D Foil-2

What would be your dream commission?

John – An expensive one!

Louise – Ha, I love John’s answer to this one [he and I work at opposite ends of the country by the way so we don’t get to confer on much!]….my dream commission would be a Lincrusta version of the Skulls for an enormous lobby in a grand hotel somewhere by the seaside.  It’s an elegant traditional technique that works a lot like plaster, is incredibly expensive but incredibly beautiful.  And unbelievably to me, it actually originated – and is still manufactured – in a village, Heysham, where I grew up (and near to where John now lives) which I only found out recently when looking into Lincrusta after seeing it in a fancy restaurant in a New York magazine shoot !

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If someone were coming to visit your home town where would be the must stop place or places to visit?

John – Morecambe promenade – on a fine day the view across the bay is the best in the world.

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Louise – Walk everywhere in London – it’s actually fairly small in the centre and giving yourself an hour to get somewhere by foot instead of 20 minutes on the underground can be a real treat.  Walk into Soho, have a nosy around, scan the guitar shops on Denmark Street, drop down through the West End and walk West along the river past Parliament and get on the water taxi at Vauxhall (much cheaper than a tour boat), go East to Tower Bridge and have a walk around the East End.  If it’s a nice day and you’ve got kids go down to Brockwell Park in Brixton.  Pass by the skate park on Stockwell Road whilst you’re down that way, and have a coffee and some toast at Rosie’s Deli Café  – I worked there whilst I was setting BtM up and it kept me sane, I loved that job).

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Brockwell is a wonderful real-life urban park with a great adventure playground, BMX tracks, tennis courts, green bowling, rolling hillsides and large lido (outdoor pool).  For the ladies: something a bit more grown–up on a hot day head to Hampstead Ponds for a swim – words cannot describe the beauty and sanctity of the Women’s Pond there.

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A walk with the oaks, deer and parakeets in Richmond Park in the South-West is breathtaking.

Describe your perfect day

John – One without worry

Louise – I’d sort of have a double life so…wake up to the sound of monkeys in the jungle at about 5am, make a coffee and walk round the garden watching things wake up and listening out for hummingbirds.  Do a bit of work and get things wrapped up by lunchtime (close of business UK) and hitch to the beach for a swim, maybe a surf if the waves are small and forgiving.

If you were to board Noah’s Ark and were told that you could take three things with you.  What would they be?

 

Louise – A guitar (some spare strings); a selection of delicious essential oils; a parsley plant.

Now as much as I love your work, I love to cook so what is your favourite recipe?

John – Chilli Con Carne (recipe is top secret!)

Louise – Lettuce Soup!

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It’s my staple and really good for eating light in the evening, or for bulking out with ‘toppings’ at lunchtime.  People pretty much expect it now when they come to my house.  I don’t have a recipe as such, but you just sweat some chopped celery and a bit of something oniony (spring onions/red onion/white onions – whatever’s in the fridge), handfuls of fresh parsley (or coriander if you like) and then top it off with veg stock to suit the amount of people you’re cooking for (I usually use Bouillon powder) – so you’ve basically got a tasty watery broth.  Spice it up with some chilli and slices of ginger if you like.  Then finely shred some lettuce, add and simmer for 10 minutes – make it as thick/lettuce-heavy, or as watery/brothy as you like.  Add finely sliced mushrooms too or anything else you want to see floating around in there.  Meanwhile, prepare some individual bowls of toppings: I usually have yoghurt; fresh parsley/coriander/herbs; chopped walnuts or almonds; shredded carrot (in a bit of lemon juice); sliced red peppers; spring onions; sliced avocado; sometimes boiled black beans, whatever you like really.  Serve the soup, and stack the toppings – finish with the yoghurt, nuts and fresh herbs.  Bloody delicious

I hope you enjoyed… have a great weekend, meanwhile on with the colourful adventure…..

 

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