I have been wanting to try colour blocking my bookshelves for months. I was first inspired when I visited my friend, fashion designer, Anna Mason, and delved into her wardrobe. Her office wall was covered in colour blocked books and I loved it. The problem is, you need the time to do it, and who has that?
However, last week my husband was away, and left to my own devices (while the cat’s away!!), I got cracking. Our shelves were getting out of control (see below) and needed attention. It was a mamouth task and took several evenings and a couple of afternoons, but in my view, it was well worth it.
Colour blocking bookshelves is not everybody’s cup of tea, but for me I loved the idea of making a real feature out of our books. I toyed with the idea of whether to create an ombre effect or make it more like a rainbow, but in the end I just had to go with what felt right.
I have a lot of Vogue magazines (starting from the 1980s), so I started with those along the bottom and then moved into black. I tried to keep it tonal, but couldn’t be too precious about it as I had to work with what I had. The rest of the books go from pink to yellow, orange to neutral, brown to red, green to red again, and then onto varying shades of blue, rather like the sky. I don’t mind that the sizes of the books are different, in fact I quite like the irregularity of it.
When my husband came back from his trip, he was rather dubious, but as soon as he saw the shelves he loved them. Phew!
I received a phone call yesterday morning from a researcher at Good Morning Britain, ITV’s breakfast show. Was I available later in the day for some filming in response to a piece on fertility in the Mail On Sunday (Daisy is an IVF baby and I have written a lot about fertility in the past)? With a huge sigh of relief, I was able to explain that my daughter had chicken pox (true) and I was unable to leave the house (not strictly true).
I have been on TV once and it was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. I had just opened my fashion boutique in Bath (twelve years ago) and I did a live interview for BBC Breakfast. Even though both my husband and my mother recorded it, I’ve never watched it.
I’ve been asked several times to appear on TV programmes, mainly to talk about fashion or shopping. This time last year, I agreed to go on Lorraine to talk about shopaholics. I was thrown into a state of panic – what was I going to wear? I agonised over it for days and in the end I cancelled, I was simply too terrified. After that, I swore that I would say no straight away.
So that’s exactly what I did yesterday. But after I put the phone down something niggled me. Fertility is a subject that is very close to my heart and I could have actually said something that might have been of some use. This time, I felt that not only was I letting myself down but perhaps others too. Although it was last minute, I could have popped onto a train up to London, and my husband could have looked after Daisy.
So I made a pact with myself. From now on, I’m going to say yes to those challenges that frighten me, especially when it relates to something that I’m passionate about. Whether it’s fashion, fertility or my mother’s dementia, I’ll DO it. Life is about trying new things after all. You heard it hear first!
As it’s Mother’s Day this Sunday, I thought I should write about my mum. I was in two minds, as this is predominantly a fashion blog, but it’s also about me and my passions, and my mother has had a huge impact on that.
I had a piece in last week’s Grazia magazine. My mum has dementia, and as it was something that I knew I wasn’t struggling with alone, I wanted to share my story. This time four months ago, I was shopping with mum and drinking cappuccinos in town, today I am visiting her in a care home. The last three months have involved hospitals, mental health units, psychiatrists and have been a journey to hell and back. I’m not going to go on about it too much, but you can read the story here.
We’re at an age where our parents are getting older than we’d like and many of us are still juggling young families at the same time. The ‘being squeezed at both ends’ phenomena. I have friends who are going through similar situations as me, or who have lost their mothers.
I didn’t always have the best relationship with mum, but throughout a lot of my life she was my closest friend and confidante. All I want to say is, appreciate them while they’re here because the world can be a lonely place without them.
On a more uplifting note (sorry!), here are some beautiful pictures of mum as I was growing up.
I discovered the illustrator, Jennifer Vallez, aka Sophie and Lili, on Instagram shortly before Christmas last year. The US-based, 43-year-old mother of two girls, originally started her business as a children’s clothing line. This was then followed by a signature collection of pretty handmade fabric dolls which can also be customised from photographs of your own little ones.
However, what I really fell in love with were Jennifer’s fashion illustrations. I love the combination of illustration and fashion, and adored the idea that she could do a customised portrait of Daisy and I, again from a photograph. I joined the waiting list and was lucky enough to get a slot at the beginning of this year. It was a rather blurry picture of Daisy and I that I had taken on my iPhone on a trip to London at half-term, but she made us look beautiful in water colours. I can’t wait to get it framed and up on the wall.
Sophie and Lili’s books are open again for personal illustrations, it’s so much more special than a photograph. I’m planning on treating myself to one a year.
First draft of Daisy and I (above)
The finished water colour portrait (above)
I’m having a bit of a pineapple accessories ‘moment’. It started last year when I bought a pair of vintage brass pineapple bookends from Lovely’s Vintage Emporium. They sit beautifully on my desk, propping up a few choice books and magaines such as Vogue, Porter, Grace Coddington’s autobiography, and the odd notebook.
I added to my pineapple collection a couple of months later, with a vintage 1960’s brass ice bucket and a smaller version which could be used as a pencil holder, and I just love having them on display. And that should have been it. There are only so many pineapple accessories one room can take.
Having said that, I’d had my eye on a scented candle from Anthropologie, which, yes you guessed it, is encased in a gleaming pineapple. I needed cheering up yesterday and so I treated myself to it. Yes, £34 is a fair whack for a scented candle, but it will last and I will be left with the pineapple at the end of it. Having put it on the dressing table with the others, I don’t think it’s overkill. What do you think?
However, I will put a stop to the pineapple home accessories for now, and may branch out into the odd pineapple necklace or pair of earrings for the summer!
1. Judys Junktion Vintage Brass Pineapple Ice Bucket, Etsy
2. Judys Junktion Vintage Brass Pineapple Ice Bucket, Etsy
3. Anthropologie Gleaming Isla Pineapple Candle
4. Louise Wade Pineapple Necklace, Not On The High Street
5. The White Pepper Vintage Brass Pineapple Ice Bucket, Etsy