Getting Creative in The Art Room at Selfridges

28/05/2015

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A tiny hub of creativity on Oxford Street

On Saturday I attended a workshop run by the The Art Room and held in Selfridges. The Art Room is a national charity which offers art as a therapeutic intervention to children and young people. Its patrons include Kate Middleton and Grayson Perry.

The aim of the charity is to build self-esteem and confidence, particularly to those facing challenges in their lives. Each Art Room is designed as a safe place where children and young people can relax, talk and be creative. This valuable practise helps them to re-engage with education and avoid exclusion.

At the Selfridges workshop I was given the opportunity to select an everyday object - clock, apron, bag, mirror, canvas etc - and customise it using any of the paints or items on offer. This methodology is to introduce children to a sense of empowerment through transforming objects, and through this change exploring the possibility of changing themselves.

I was extremely timid in my selection and chose one of the small canvases. I'd love to start oil painting again, and so I thought this might break the ice. I must also apologise for simply copying a Matisse, my former university fine art tutor would be shaking his head at the plagiarism!

I had a wonderful morning, chatting to the art room practitioners while listening to Beethoven. It was a really relaxing experience, and it made me think of the art classes I loved in school. Nowadays we're all so busy, and I personally can't recall the last time I painted for two hours, without the distraction of technology. I emerged from Selfridges feeling calm and energised, what a lovely way to spend a morning.

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As part of the Selfridges Work It series The Art Room asked 90 leading artists, architects, designers and fashion icons to customise a chair to be displayed in the main atrium. All the chairs will be auctioned next month with proceeds going directly to The Art Room. My favourite chair was the one by Lulu Guinness complete with strawberry milkshake.

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A huge thank you to The Art Room for welcoming me. If you'd like to get creative in Selfridges there are only a few places left so don't delay!

Urban Jungle Bloggers // Plant Gang

25/05/2015

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CALL YOURSELF A MINIMALIST?

I recently saw this lovely post on Jeska's blog and thought it would be fun to photograph my plant army. To be honest I've never considered myself a plant person, and certainly not green fingered enough to join the Urban Jungle Bloggers. But looking at this little lot it seems I am!

When I discarded my stuff in pursuit of a simpler life my apartment looked pretty bare. I love the minimal homes of Scandinavia and I wondered how they made them feel so homely. After some research, and an hour or so on My Scandinavian Home, I discovered the answer was plants -eureka! So I gradually built on my modest plant collection of four, to what you see today. Impressive eh?

My current favourite is the cheese plant (back left), and the plant I've had the longest is the umbrella (back right). I bought the umbrella when I moved into my apartment four years ago, and he seems to like living with me. I've always had a cactus or two, and the best thing about the current succulent craze is they're easy to source. In the past I could only find outdoor succulents, more suitable for a rockery than my coffee table!

I've included some photographs below so you can see a few of them in situ. I'm very much a minimalist, and have them dotted around the apartment in little groups of two or three. I'd love to see your plant collections so do give me a nudge if you share them. And I'd thoroughly recommend popping over to Urban Jungle Bloggers, run by Igor and Judith. I've just looked at some of the other bloggers' plant collections and I'm feeling totally inspired.

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Day Tripper :: Two Beautiful Brighton Shops

22/05/2015

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On a recent trip to Brighton I fancied seeking out something a little different. I've spent most of my life wandering in and out of the vintage shops in the North Laine area, and so I was keen to discover a few new places. You know, shake things up a bit.

I GIGI

My first find was i gigi and although this post is called Brighton shops, it's actually in Hove (I hope you'll forgive me). i gigi is an emporium of style comprising of homewares, interiors, womenswear and a cafe. The general store with its earthy palette and scented candles was so calming I could have whiled away a couple of hours in there. And I'm pretty sure people do.

I left with a Nordic style ceramic pot, a tiny wood bowl and a pomegranate scented candle. Quite a shopping haul for a self-confessed minimalist!

i gigi can be found at 31a Western Road, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 1AF.

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WORKSHOP

My second discovery was Workshop; a gorgeous store of simple products and beautifully curated displays. Once again I loved the muted tones, and everything appeared to be well designed, functional and created with care. Products to stand the test of time.

I met the owner and cheekily asked him if his home is as nice as his shop, to which he modestly replied yes. We talked about Cereal magazine, and all the other simple and slow living publications of the moment. I left with a copy of Kinfolk, a little porcelain spoon and a ton of inspiration.

Workshop can be found at 13a Prince Albert Street, Brighton, BN1 1HE.

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A little more Brighton: A Royal Birthday / Summer's Almost Gone / Brighton, Hens and Vintage Shopping