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Since I set eyes on the new Fornasetti wallpaper collection from Cole & Son a few weeks ago, I've been meaning to see if I can persuade you to let a little Fornasetti style into your lives.  In some cases I'm sure I'm preaching to the converted, but others may be more reluctant.  When I suggested some Fornasetti pieces to one client a couple of years ago she was very anti - oh, no, she said, all those Roman heads everywhere.  She did have a point.  Some Fornasetti motifs are so ubiquitous that they seem quite cliched and lose their power to delight, like the Roman heads.  Others are seen just as often but still don't fail to please.  I've seen the Ex Libris book wallpaper from Cole & Son's first collection in 100s of images but I still love it. I'm sure many of the newly created papers will have the same longevity.

This Promenade paper is a no-brainer in a hall or entrance, bootroom or cloakroom.  The price will put a lot of people off (around £350 for a 10metre roll) so you aren't likely to spot it on Coronation Street anytime soon.  However it is 68.5cm high (compared to the usual 52cm), so if placed above the skirting board it ends at dado rail height.  10 metres can go a long way and if you can be imaginative with how you use a roll you might find that you could split one with a friend and share the cost:

(Monkey not included)

The Pennini  paper depicting these lovely nibs may be a bit obvious for a study but I wouldn't let that put me off.  The colours are absolutely gorgeous and the over-sized scale of them adds to the impact.  If you have a desk in an alcove or on a landing I can picture this paper looking super forming a border at desk height.  It would also work beautifully in the bedroom of a bookish young person:

The way Cole & Son have styled this wall with the Nuvolette wallpaper is inspiring but it does also look great on a ceiling.  Shown below in David Gavin Design on Burton Road in West Didsbury.

The Nicchie wallpaper 

 The Nicchie wallpaper is the kind of paper that you can have a lot of fun with.  It would work really well just in the alcoves of a room if you wanted to just buy a small quantity or to give a pantry look in a kitchen or utility.  Some strategically positioned floating shelves and carefully chosen objects would add a great 3-D detail to this paper. 

All of the Fornasetti papers add drama and interest to a room.  Furniture that looks good against a painted wall can look stunning when teamed with the right wallpaper.  This lovely vintage French desk that I've just sold is a great piece in any setting but it looks really fabulous with the unexpected Acquario paper:

Most of these papers, but especially the Nicchie, Acquario and Pennini, could be framed to great effect.  It would be a super way to use up left over roll ends if you can get your hands on any. 

The full collection contains some other lovely gems and you can view them all on the Cole & Son website http://www.cole-and-son.com/Wcollection_detail.asp?CollectionID=126  You can't beat seeing the actual paper though so much better to pop into your local interior design showroom and ask to see their book.  You can find suppliers on the Cole & Son site.

Now I shall leave you so you can go and persuade your other half that you really ought to have some nibs on the wall and clouds on the ceiling....



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A Fond Farewell


January is a time for fresh starts but before new things can begin other things have to end.  I like the positive side of change where you're going to new places, working with different people and finding a new routine, but I'm not so keen on the flip side:  I don't like leaving places where I've been happy or comfortable.  It sometimes leads me to stay too long because I'm reluctant to move out of my comfort zone.

I've known for quite a while that I simply wasn't going to be able to  devote enough time to the retail side of my business all on my own and maintain my interior design work.  I kept resolving to make time for it, imagining that at some point in the future I would have more time.  Predictably, I never found the time!  As you may remember, in November I moved some of my stock into David Gavin on Burton Road in West Didsbury (http://www.davidgavindesign.co.uk/theshop.html )   and things have been going rather well there.  This has made moving out of my showroom a much easier step.

In case you never made it to the showroom,  I thought I'd show you a couple of photos of the beautiful red brick building where it was located.  It was built at the end of the 19th Century next to the Bridgewater Canal to house the offices for the factory behind, which manufactured Linotype printing machines.  It is grade II listed so should be around in some form for centuries to come.

Can you believe I took these photos today (Monday, 28th Jan, 2013)?  Looking at the image it could be spring or summer.  It has served me well for the past two and a half years and I feel lucky to have been part of it for that period. I'll also miss my dedicated parking spot.  I've never had one of those before and don't expect I will again - what a hoot!

Finished moving the last of my stock from the showroom today (Wednesday) and took a few more snaps of the lovely building.  The terracotta frieze sections are holding up pretty well to the beating they get from the weather in their exposed location:

I love the windows particularly:

You can't fail to be charmed by the idea of having the company name incorporated into the stained glass windows - in case my photo isn't up to scratch it reads: Linotype Company Limited:

It's a rather nice example of our industrial heritage looking pretty good for its age. 

Looking to the future, I'll show you more of David Gavin and the great road it is on just as soon as I've unpacked all this stuff!


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I don't know how you feel about books as decoration but I've always been in two minds about it.  I've always been an avid reader and I do love books.  I like to have some to hand so I can dip into them as the mood takes me (barely leaving the sofa if at all possible),  but feel slightly uncomfortable about the contrived nature of coffee table books.  They often seem to be the kind of books that make their owners look interesting - you rarely see coffee table books on accountancy or trainspotting.  Personally I only own books I actually read but I am definitely guilty of only allowing attractive books onto my coffee table.  However fabulous a book is, if it isn't good looking it doesn't get to stay on the coffee table or the sitting room shelf.

The advent of ebooks has led to a slight shift in my opinion on the matter of books as objects.  I read a lot of novels on my ipad but I wouldn't dream of buying a "picture" book to read on a device.  Books on interiors, art, antiques etc. really do have to be in print.  The ebook has made me yet more aware of how important the appearance, heft and feel of a book is.  I don't expect I'm alone in this feeling and in any case I know that many people love to decorate with books and do it really beautifully.  Today I thought I'd just focus on some of the many great bookends that are around and pick out a few of my favourites.

I treated myself last week to these fun and affordable (£12 a pair) pointing finger bookends from Rockett St. George that I think give my books a bit of a Fornasetti style injection:


One of my favourite things is to use a pile of books laid flat to support other books.  That way you can put any object you like on top of the pile and ring the changes whenever the fancy takes you.  I've been enjoying these outsized mercury baubles on my sitting room shelves for quite a while now:

If you have £128, or better still £256, to spare to spend on bookends at the moment I'd put that money on Anthropologie's utterly beautiful petrified wood bookends.  Each pair is unique in colour and shape so probably best to buy in store if you are really fussy (as I would be, I'm afraid), but they are available on line:


If you want to make a splash (sorry, weak pun) you could go for the Uprising bookend available at Paul Smith.  Just one of these would make quite a statement:


I hadn't spotted these on Jonathon Adler's site but I knew if I looked on there he'd have something interesting to offer.  I think these would make an otherwise slightly stuffy looking desk look that bit more interesting even if the books were dry technical tomes.  They would certainly be a much more imaginative gift than the usual executive toy, although at £195 each it would have to be to a very special person:


If you like to keep your cookbooks in the kitchen, it might be fun to flank them with these silhouettes of cooks:


 I've specified these a couple of times, each time for a young person's room but they'd suit music lovers too.  They have retro appeal and green credentials because they are a clever way to reuse old vinyl:


I'm off to bed now with a good book on my ipad.  Night, night.


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Happy New Year and Some Christmas Cheer


Hope you all had a really wonderful Christmas and are looking forward to the year ahead.  I always feel very optimistic at this time of year and life feels full of possibilities.   The feeling springs not just from the arrival of a whole new year but also from spending time with people I really want to be with and who are so supportive.  I'm so lucky with my family and friends.  It's a feeling I want to hang on to for as long as possible.  My main resolution this year is to make more time for friends and family and be resolute in my policy of only accepting work for people I feel in tune with: A policy that has stood me in good stead so far. 

I won't bore you with my other New Year's resolutions that essentially equate to a goal of becoming perfect in every way, instead I shall show you some images of the home of a client who I think always does Christmas beautifully.

There were so many other gorgeous Christmas delights I could have photographed in this house but Christmas Eve was not the time to be getting underfoot.  The lovely arrangements on the mantelpieces and the window sill were all created by the super  talented Heather at http://www.barkerstheflorist.com/  in Altrincham.  Their website does not do them justice and I'm afraid the quality of my photos doesn't really show you quite how lovely the arrangements looked and smelt! 

Very Best Wishes for 2013!


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Living Etc Jan 2013


I'm sure  I'm not on my own in having had an excessively hectic time lately.  Only just managed to pick up and read a copy of Living Etc.'s January issue.  As I was reading through it I thought I'd tweet a couple of images, but as I read on I decided it was such a good issue that I'd do a little post on it.  Some of you will already be readers of the magazine and it'll be interesting to see if some of the favourite bits I've picked out chime with your own, others may not yet have given it a go.  I'd like to encourage you to try it as I think you might find it quite inspiring.

The Cool Yule strapline is borne out by the lovely cover image:

The cover shows an image from the home of  interior designer, Paula Gower, who has created a beautiful family home that is wonderfully glamorous, quirky and colourful.  Here's another image of the same home (especially love that light they are sitting under):

You can see more of Paula Gowar's home in the magazine and on her website:
Some of the products that are featured are to die for.  I will be looking out for an opportunity to use one of these tear drop pendants with tassles from Curiosa and Curiosa:

Those aren't the only beautiful things Curiosa and Curiosa do, look for yourself:
The magazine features beautifully some of the bottle-shaped candles from Anthropologie that I highlighted in my blog post on home bars a while ago.  Wish Father Christmas would bring me one of those, that is unless he'd rather bring me the Windsor Sofa in lilac grey velvet  (gotta be the velvet) from http://www.aram.co.uk/sofas/windsor-sofa-246cm.html  pictured on the facing page....

The massive fashion for New York-style tin ceiling tiles has been embraced for good effect in the image of this extension.  A space like that needs an injection of character and this ceiling does that well.  It is in the home of interiors writer Kate Watson-Smyth whose blog I think you might enjoy:

This reading nook for kids is one of my favourite spots.  Who could resist snuggling down on one of those beanbags with a good book.  Would love to see those shelves brought up the walls to flank that window - maybe as their collection grows!  There is a rather good feature on different styles for kids' rooms that could just start you off in the right direction if you're considering doing up a child's room at the moment.


I'm going to enjoy reading this issue in deeper depth over the Christmas break.  Perfect, as I intend to spend lots of time lounging on my sofa.

Hope you have a truly fabulous Christmas,


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Display: Learning from the Experts at The Manchester Museum


One of the lovely things about having visitors is that they make you look at your home town in a different way and visit places you take for granted.  I haven't stepped foot in The Manchester Museum since I was at school and came with my class.  It was a wonderful, imposing and impressive place then and it still is now.  On this visit I was overwhelmed by the sheer beauty of many of the objects on display - don't remember thinking that back then.  I was probably more agog at the dinosaur skeleton frames and the improbable animals. 

The Museum is housed in a suitably significant building on the main drag into the city centre.  I admire this building every time I pass it and it is a wonderful thought that you can go inside for free any day of the week.   

What really struck me on this visit, looking at it from an interior design point of view, was how well displayed the exhibits were and how well their display methods would translate into a domestic setting.  The huge cabinets are fabulous and I love the way they are set out in rows like a lovely old-style shopping arcade.  Having the cabinets painted in black, rather than the more expected polished brown wood, creates a more contemporary look.  So many homes have cabinetry that would benefit greatly from being painted black or nearly black - Farrow and Ball's Off-Black and Railings are both great colours to use.  I'm thinking particularly of the kind of built-in cupboards and shelves that you often find in the alcoves of Victorian houses.

The cabinets are, of course, also well-lit.  Lighting shelves and cabinets from scratch can be an expensive business but you can have quite a bit of impact with simple, cheap battery-powered LED lights that you can pick up in Ikea or B&Q.

Look at the image below for a great way to display found objects (sea shells you picked up on your hols maybe).  If you're not handy yourself many framing shops would easily create simple partitioned boxes like these for your treasures.

Similar objects grouped together on shelves will have impact purely because of the repetition:

Place them on plinths (just simple blocks of painted wood afterall) of differing heights and you will add a touch of gravitas to the objects: 

If you really want to have a gallery/museum feel you can number your pieces and add some informative labels.  You can make it serious or humourous depending on what you write in the text, e.g. Shell of a crab that bit me on the toe - it won't do that again.

For a bit of variety you could mount your objects on prongs:

These fossils are held in place by small metal brackets:  

The Mummy Portraits below date from around 30 BC - 395 AD, are among the earliest realistic depictions of the human face in two dimensions and are, I imagine, extremely valuable.  Some sepia photos of your own dearly beloved arranged and lit in a similar fashion would look pretty impressive too - tongue firmly in cheek of course!

I hope this post will prompt you to go to the museum, or another museum, to really look at the amazing things on display and learn more about them than how wonderfully displayed they are, interesting as that may be.

Check out the Museum site:


Do take the kids, or your folks.  They'll all love it and the shop and cafe too.  The many children I saw were having a lovely time.  Babies in the City are very positive about how child-friendly it is and they should know.



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Feeling at Home


Just wanted to let you know that I've now moved quite a bit of my stock into David Gavin on Burton Road, West Didsbury in Manchester.  My vintage and antique pieces sit very nicely in Matt's beautiful decorative interiors shop.  Matt, the proprietor of David Gavin, is so welcoming I already feel quite at home. 

It does mean that people will be able to view my chandeliers, lamps and other delights without having to make an appointment to meet me at my showroom.  I'll be keeping some of the bigger pieces there for the time being and a quick call to me will help to ascertain where you can see what.

David Gavin is a lovely shop and I'll be doing a more detailed blog post on it in the near future.  For the moment I thought I'd show you some images of my wares in their new setting. 

Below, image of David Gavin shop front as it looked this afternoon.  What a beautiful fresh November day it has been.  My 1960s Swiss desk and my amber glass and copper pendant light look super with the Orla Kiely wallpaper:


Below is the side view in the window:

A few of my vintage light fittings gracing Matt's ceiling space:

 The one on the left in the image above is on the Kitty Fisher's Finds site.  The others will follow but you can email or phone me for details.

This Italian light in the window (above) has the most exquisite fine porcelain flowers on it in lovely delicate colours.

My vintage German desk lamp looks perfect on Matt's zinc-topped wrapping table (or The Pack and Wrap Department as we call it) with that beautiful paper behind:


This pair of French antique glass lamps may look a bit too cosily ensconced in this setting:


Below is a super vintage French standard lamp.  It gives off lots of light when required but add a dimmer and it is beautifully atmospheric.  Had it in my dining room for a few short days and loved it.


So that's how I've spent my Sunday.  It's work, but maybe not as you know it.  I'll keep you informed on how things go in my new home.


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Christmas Creep


I do love Christmas but if I start getting into it too early I feel like it will spoil the specialness of it.  The downside of ignoring it until well into December is that all the early birds have snatched the juiciest worms and what's left can be a bit meagre.  Yesterday I had to pass through the wonderland that is the John Lewis xmas decorations department, relentless Christmas music and all.

On impulse I decided to have a proper look and was really taken with some of the things I saw - I even went so far as to make a few purchases.  Most people who are interested in design and interiors tend to go through an internal battle each year, prevaricating between adding to and enhancing their existing decorations and throwing them over completely and going with something totally different.  There are now so many different looks you could go for that you could spend a fortune each year if you wanted to ring the changes.

I prefer to stick to a core look but add a few new pieces to keep it fresh and up to date.  The things I've chosen below, I think, will go with most looks from very traditional to Scandi and a big area in between.

Let's start big with this LED lit tree that can be used indoors or out.  The bright white base will only look good if it is indeed outside in the snow.  If you have any old tester pots hanging around you could spend 10 minutes painting it in almost any shade of browny, beigy, grey and it would look much better.  They are priced at £95 or £50 depending on size. The image on the site is better than mine, so click on the link below my image. 


If you have space on shelves and tables or a generous window ledge, you could do a lot worse than fill it with one of these natural wooden laser cut buildings which are lit by LED lights.  This is the double spire church at £15:


This train station is also lovely as so many of us associate Christmas with arriving and leaving:



Keeping with this lovely woody look, I succumbed to a few of these glitter stars.  They are generously sized at 40cm and really well-priced at £6 each.  I think I might use them on the doors in my house.  They could even work as an alternative to a wreath on the front door, especially if you live on a street (as I do) where passing late night revellers (sounds so much better than drunks!) might decide to swipe it. 


A lot of my existing decorations are glass and mercury in silver and gold.  I really love these glass pieces in a much warmer bronzy brown shade and I think they'll add an interesting touch to my mantelpiece.  It is also quite an inexpensive way of adding some height to a Christmas display.  The trees come in two sizes, 30 cm high at £15 and 38cm high at £18.


I'll pick up the lovely warm brown colour in the glass tree with one of these rather fine looking sitting reindeer (£8, 16cm high):


If you, or indeed I, start to feel that it is all perhaps a bit muted, we could have some fun with some lovely colour in a particular area of the house - a landing, the utility room or downstairs loo or in a child's room.  These oversized paper baubles would provide quite a bit of bang for your buck.  They are a larger, brighter version of the kind I remember from childhood.  They are 42cm high and are £6 each.


Hope you're not too horrified at my making you think about Christmas in November and that you can benefit from a little foray into the decoration department while there is still lots to choose from - maybe wear some earmuffs though to block out the Christmas music.


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Drinks but no Dinner


I'm not doing terribly well on my Boot Camp blogging.   Just managing to read all the fab ideas but not implement them.  Never mind, the peaks of work are usually followed by troughs, or at least brief periods of relative tranquility, so I shall put some of those ideas into action before too long.

In the meantime, I wanted to share with you a current small obsession, that of home bars.  Not the kind where someone actually has a bar built in a room in their house - a look that is very hard to pull off if you don't happen to live in LA - but the more casual, improvised kind using a tray or a shelf or, if you're really going for it, maybe a trolley or a cabinet. 

It's perhaps a slightly surprising obsession for me to have as I don't ever drink alcohol myself but I do love the idea of the lifestyle a drinks trolley suggests.  To me it is a sign that you are the kind of person who invites friends round for drinks and has friends who will just pop in for a drink and a chat.  I don't know about you but I don't seem to have the knack of this.  I tend to feel I have to invite people for dinner which then turns into a bit of a big time-consuming and expensive event which, by definition, you can't do too often.  The creation of my drinks trolley is the first step on the road to introducing my new policy of short and sweet social gatherings.

The contents of my drinks trolley, image above, are just things that I had to hand.  The actual trolley is a rather lovely vintage French piece from my stock ( http://www.kittyfishersfinds.co.uk/view_post.php?postid=1000000035 ).  When that's sold I'll just transfer my drinks to a tray on my sideboard, also a perfectly good look.

In the image below from Beckwith Interiors, Nashville, USA on Houzz, they've put a simple shelf to good use:

Below, most of a cabinet is given over to a drinks bar.  Lots of cabinets would lend themselves to this.  This one is from Houzz, Tim Cuppett Architects, Austin, Texas, US

If you want to create your own bar but don't think you have the spot for it, I think you should take inspiration from the two images below.  The first one is a snap from a shop display in Anthropologie.  They have created a little bar on a mirror - a lovely bit of improvisation.  The second image is from The Perfectly Imperfect Home by Deborah Needleman - a lovely, encouraging book you might like.   As the image is so sketchy it may help give rein to your imagination when looking round your own home for a good spot for a bar.



When it comes to accessorizing a home bar, once you start looking, you will see that there are masses of lovely, glamorous possibilities.  Here are a few that I particularly like because they are stylish or witty or both: 

 Chicago Bar Accessories from John Lewis priced between £23 and £40

Hammered bar accessories from John Lewis priced between £7 and £40
I love the fun of these accessories:

  If you search "decanter" on the Anthropologie site you'll find several candles in shapes that would look good on your bar and add a bit of fun.  Here's one to start off with:

Is a duck decanter from Zara Home a step too far?  Each of us must answer that question for ourselves. Available in store - hurry while stocks last!

Just in case this post comes across as an advert to encourage the consumption of more alcohol, let me also suggest you check out this video on YouTube - Every On-Screen Drink in Madmen - where even the suave and beautiful people in that world look rather sad and needy when they overdo it.   



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Cambridge Snapshot


I am aware that a lot of my posts, ok, all of my posts, are quite wordy so this is a post that will consist mainly of images.  I spent the weekend in Cambridge with one of my loveliest, closest friends and her lovely family (you know who you are, Charlotte - Andy, Peter and Rose ).  I don't get to go often enough and when I do I am always blown away by how gorgeous it is.  There is so much stunning architecture that I could have spent the whole time snapping away with my friend's superior camera, instead of eating ice cream at Benet's and having my "cackle" admired by a seven year old.

I settled for some quick snaps of glorious and intriguing doorways (I love doorways and gateways) and a few improbable creatures. As promised, I'll let the pictures do the talking.

Clare College

Gonville & Caius College

Great Court Trinity College

Great Court Trinity Over Gate

Trinity College

Doubly intriguing gateway...

Improbable Creatures in Cambridge:

Hope I've reminded you how lovely it is, or, if you've never been, I hope I've planted the idea of going.


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Meet My Prettier Friend


I feel today a bit like a rather plain girl who is introducing her boyfriend to her somewhat prettier friend.  I'm proud and pleased to introduce her but a little bit scared he might like her better.  From a list of twelve possible homework topics set by my blogging course I've chosen the one that suggests I talk about one of my favourite blogs in my field.  I was always intending to share this with you (honest), as it would have been mean not to, but maybe a bit further down the line.

The blogger and blog in question is Annabel Bird at  http://insideology.com/ A quick glance at the home page will show you how beautifully presented and well-organized her site is.  It manages to be decorative and packed with information without being at all cluttered or distracting.   

For me Annabel's blog is one of those that sets the bar on the standard of posts I'd like to achieve.  Her posts vary in length but not in quality.  She takes great photos but does not rely too heavily on them to make her blog interesting - she has so much more to say than, Isn't this lovely? 

When I'm asked what a blog is by people who don't read blogs (such as my mum and my sisters) I usually say that it is a bit like a magazine article but on the internet.    I realize that this is a very lazy definition that omits a crucial element of any good blog:  That is the notion of the personality, voice, opinions and world view of the blogger. On Insideology these things come through very clearly in each post.

It is at times uncanny how often her views echo my own.  Quite often she expresses beautifully things I've thought in a rather fuddled way - see her post http://insideology.com/2012/09/26/class-war-and-cushions-in-the-english-home/ for a perfect example.

She is generous in what she shares about herself, from her struggles with her KLC course to her guilt about loving old episodes of Poirot, and in the practical things she shares, such as a great piece of equipment or a good source.

She demonstrates her trust in her readers by showing them examples of her work that she doesn't think are perfect but knows will interest us.  Her reward is that we are interested and we trust her right back - a lesson for those of us who are still finding our blogging feet.

I love her incisive book reviews because she is not trying to show us how clever she is or even sell us the book, rather she is trying to help us establish whether this is a book for us.  That is what I mostly want to know from a book review.

Anyone who visits London really would do well to read her posts as the city figures very largely and she helps you to see it through her eyes.  Having read her post on Claridges I now feel I could go there without fretting that I do feel a bit like a country mouse in a palace.

Inspiring is a much overused word, I use it sparingly for fear of diluting its power.  Insideology truly does inspire me:  It makes me want to go places and do things.  It makes me feel less alone in many of my views and reminds me that what so often passes for the norm in the world of interior design is not, in fact, law.  What more can one ask from a blog?  Thanks Annabel!

Here are some images from Insideology:

See London from Annabel's perspective:


One of the delights of Liberty store in London:


A London treat, Claridges:

A sample of course work Annabel shared on her blog:


Sharing her feelings (we've all been there):


If there is a blog that any of you really like I'd love to hear about it.


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Not a Boot Camp Kind of Girl


My blogging life seems to be speeding by even more quickly than my real life and that is going by at a terrifying rate of knots.  I can hardly believe I've been blogging for four months now.  I've managed to keep to my fairly modest aim of blogging once a week and have really enjoyed doing each post.  I feel like I've got to grips with the practicalities and technicalities of blogging and can afford to be a bit more adventurous with my posts.

To this end, I've signed up for the Blogging Your Way Boot Camp.  I'm definitely not normally a boot camp kind of girl,  but as the course is run by Holly Becker of decor8 and I survived her basic course, I know I'm not going to end up trying to do press-ups with my face in a muddy puddle, whilst being shouted at by a guy in uniform.  You can find Holly's blog on:
Over the next month I will be trying to impress my teacher with interesting and varied blog posts - I'm hoping you'll be impressed too.  Do feel free to comment on the posts as we go along.  I'd be glad to have your feedback.  

I'm constantly taking photos and making notes about things that I think may be of interest but when I write up a post I like to be at my desk at home.  I thought you might like to see where I am when I'm posting a blog.  This is my study:

The desk was supposed to be temporary.  It is made up of two Ikea metal office cabinets and a red glass table top from Habitat that used to be in the kitchen of my old house.  I've grown to really like the expanse of warm red that brings out every little bit of red in the rest of the room.  I've also borrowed a fab chandelier from my stock that saves it all from looking too cheapy and makeshift.

By the way, that isn't me sitting in that chair.  That is just a cushion with a woman's face on it.


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Buy Art Fair Manchester


I couldn't be mistaken for an art expert but I took myself along to the Buy Art Fair last weekend, as I am always on the look out for interesting, attractive and appropriate things to adorn the walls of clients' homes.  By appropriate, I really mean that I'm hoping to hit upon artwork that will reflect some aspect of a client's personality or history; perhaps it is something rooted in their own culture, or ties in with their hobbies and interests, or maybe just illustrates their particular sense of humour.  That way, a piece ends up being more than just decorative and takes on a deeper meaning which will intensify the pleasure of owning and looking at the work.

I'm unlikely to help anyone buy a work of art that they can count on for their pension pot, but I aim to help them choose a piece that will give them great pleasure for a long time and may become a treasured family possession.

With all this at the forefront of my mind, these are the pieces that particulary stood out.  Perhaps you can conjure up an image of the kind of person who may find these appealing and in what setting.
The first works to catch my eye were these paintings by Laurence Amelie Schneider. According to her gallery entry, she paints what moves her, which seems to be fabulous flowers and frocks.  If I also say that she uses rather a lot of soft, if not totally pastel, colours then you might pigeonhole her work as being a bit sugary and suitable for little girls' bedrooms only.  Whilst many of her pieces would fit that bill, paintings of tutus being an obvious candidate, I do think her work would look stunning in many more grown-up settings.  I'm particularly drawn to her large canvases which I think would have a big impact without being overwhelming.  She works with acrylic paint on canvas, using a technique that she learnt from her father, Swiss abstract painter Gerard Schneider.  Wish my dad had taught me something as cool as that - how remiss!  

You can find her work through the friendly and helpful Lucy Berridge:
A shot of her work appears in the rather inspiring and much reviewed book, Creative Walls by Geraldine James. 

The photographer who created the beautiful pictures for that book, Andrew Wood,  was on the stand as I took this snap - I never said I was a photographer: 

The works seemed to be priced in the low £1,000s

From frocks to coats - well, a lot of my clients are women and they don't apologize for liking frocks and coats.  The Buy Art Fair tries to cater for all pockets, so if you can't stretch to an original painting, you might go for a screenprint like this one by Adam Hemuss, bearing the pleasing title, 24 Coats.  He was represented by Art Dog London:

 Priced at £200 unframed
These pencil drawings by Hondartza Fraga changed the mood quite drastically.  They look beautiful displayed like this,  unframed as a grouping.  Her work is definitely worth a closer look:

Couldn't see anything so vulgar as a price tag

A slightly sinister and somewhat mischievous note was struck by these works by Alison Erika Forde.  Would they give a child nightmares?  I can imagine Lemony Snickett fans being drawn to these works.

Fit the title to the image: Bearly There, Beauty Ritual, Bloody Stump.

Priced between £700 and £850

This is the artist's take on an Alaskan Shame Pole.  Apparently these are created and used to shame debtors who don't pay up.  The person who is owed the money puts such a pole outside the house of the debtor.  Better pay that paper bill....

These two images by Yu-Chen Wang, who was born in Taiwan but lives in the UK, combine the botanical with the mechanical.  An unusual pairing that is surprising and interesting.

Yu-Chen is connected to the Chinese Arts Centre in the Northern Quarter:

Priced roughly around the £1,000 mark framed.

So much of the success of a piece of artwork in the home depends on choosing the right piece for the right spot.  What looks ghastly in one place can look stunning in another.  Many galleries and artists will bring work to your home for you to see in-situ.  You shouldn't be afraid to ask for this service, as it is the most likely way to lead to a happy outcome for all concerned.


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Add an Autumnal Glow with Zara Home


It's been a beautiful sunny day in Manchester and I dragged my partner out from behind his desk for an hour just so we didn't let it pass by completely uncelebrated.  Still, there is no escaping the fact that Autumn is in the air.  I do love Autumn.  I much prefer winter clothes to summer ones - mainly due to not having to expose pale skin or grapple with fake tan.  At home I love lighting candles in the evening (or the afternoon on dark, damp days) and making things glisten and glow.  

While I was in London on Tuesday I took the opportunity to pop into Zara Home.  I love their homewares and can't for the life of me think why they don't have them in more Zara branches:  Manchester would be the perfect place for them - Zara please hear my plea!  Anyway, I spotted some lovely accessories that are pretty affordable and would look super in candlelight - not my only selection criteria but a good start.

These glasses, with their substantial gold rims and nice shapes, are pretty and useful:

Only spotted these two on the website. Priced at £5 and £7 each: 

The glasses would work well with these glamorous trays, both with foxed mirrored bases and pierced filigree silver sides.  I love both these shapes but I think the octagonal one just has the edge:


Mercury-style glassware really comes into its own in the winter.  It's been fashionable for some time now and most people have some pieces in their home, even if it's only a tealight holder.  I think it is timeless, as a bit of glamour and glow never goes out of fashion.  These canisters are in a richer, warmer tone to the usual silver of mercury glass but would work beautifully with your existing pieces:


This openwork box is made of resin and looks like it is covered in lots of tiny beads.  I think it would go really nicely on a coffee table or on a hall console as a place to put your bundle of keys:


If you are keen on timeless pieces - I like to make sure I spend most of my money on them for obvious reasons - then mother of pearl is a great choice.  Is it my imagination or do mother of pearl photoframes flatter the image?  I also love this box - think I have a thing about boxes.  




I hope there are some things there that you might like for yourself or to give as a gift to some lucky person.  I'm off to light some candles and enjoy the glow.


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