Unmissable Treats at National Gallery Cafe

Next time you plan a visit to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square, be sure to allow yourself time to enjoy some of the delicious Peyton and Byrne treats in the gallery cafe.  I always seem to run out of time and never get to see all the paintings before closing, and so miss out.  My mind has turned to food as I've had a busy day driving to see a client in Hampstead, with traffic and roads closed, I've just got back to the studio.  Time to eat...

A Quacking Inspiration

Love the photo of this little tan-coloured duck.  The texture of the feathers, smoothness of the beak and feet, and coarseness and colour of the grey underfoot with the brown, cream and black highlights would be a great starting point for an interior design scheme!  Inspiration can be found in so many unexpected places.

Chickens are the New Trend

Here is the Nogg - a modern chicken coop designed in the shape of an egg.  If you've always fancied having chickens in your garden, this is a stylish solution.  The Nogg houses between two and four chickens which could provide you with fresh eggs every morning!  

Furniture designer and engineer Matthew Hayward and creative director Nadia Turan were upset about how ugly chicken coops were so they came up with this sleek design, which is UK made and crafted by hand by Hayward from strong, fresh scented and naturally antibacterial cedar wood, with stainless steel trimmings, fox-proof locks and fasterners.  Even chickens love good design.

The Master of Collage

American artist, Robert Rauschenberg (1925-2008) reinvented collage and created mixed-media works of art, many of which told a story of the world about us and society at large.  Here he used the colour orange to "paint" a picture of the world and changed collage into an illusion and the idea that a work of art has a unitary meaning.

See more about Robert Rauschenberg's life and work here.

Have a super, inspiring, colourful weekend dear readers.

Tricia Guild Book Signing

Tricia Guild OBE, seems to always have the Midas touch when it comes to colour.  This Saturday 25 September, creative director and founder of Designers Guild, Tricia will be signing copies of her new book "A Certain Style" at the Kings Road store from 11.00 am, where you can also see the latest Designers Guild autumn/winter 2010 collections and find many wonderful inspirational ideas for the season ahead.  Here's a titbit of their new colours....

A Concoction of Colour

By keeping to the same tonal value colours can be used together and made to look like they are perfect matches.  Here's some examples of rooms which use a concoction of colour and yet look like they were designed to exist side by side.

IMAGES & LINKS: Colour Now, by Kevin McCloud

All Kinds of Blue and Brown

"All kinds of blue work with all kinds of brown," says colour guru Kevin McCloud who declares this to be his "favourite colour cocktail".  Here you can see what he means....

Blue and dark brown with a backdrop of white create a fresh, contemporary feel...
and, above and below, pale brown and French blue mix to form a softer colour combination.

IMAGES & LINKS: Colour Now, by Kevin McCloud

Red and Green

Red and green are complementary colours, but don't necessarily have to be used in a bright, obvious way.  Here the muted shades of red and green sit comfortably alongside off-whites and a useful measure of black which grounds the design scheme.  The overall scheme is harmonious, both in colour and design.

IMAGES & LINKS: Kevin McCloud's Colour Now 

Tree Week

I'll end this week's tree-themed blog with an indoor and outdoor trees pic.  Here's another image I love from Popwall (above) and (below) a beautiful duo wrapped round this extra-long London bus.  Wherever you are going - have a great weekend!

I'll try not to blog about trees next week!

More Trees

Trees made the Karman stand at this year's Milan Furniture Fair look special.  The neutral colours mix perfectly with the taupe, brown and white to form an eye-catching display.  Look at all that gorgeous texture!

Hockney and Trees

Did I ever mention how much I love trees?  :  )

Here's a David Hockney painting which captures their elegance and diversity of colour.

Serenity by the Sea

Ooooh I love this beach-side home which has been designed by Studio 101 Architects.  The simplicity and smooth clean lines just make me want to jump with delight!  The continuity of materials from inside to out exudes honesty, calm and a feeling of space.  Located in an established, heavily treed native coastal environment, it is the permanent home of a young family in Australia.

The architects located the the sleeping and bathing zones in the eastern "pavilion" and the kitchen/dining/living areas in the north.  This floats above a masonry podium to maximise sun exposure and frame the elevated treed outlook.

 Beautiful white Cypress timber wraps each pavilion that visually folds and interlocks with the expressed concrete blockwork blade walls.

A central courtyard provides varying degrees of openness and intimacy, light and fresh air and the house is a haven of peace, in tune with nature and its surroundings.

Art for You?

Art is a very personal thing.  One man or woman's love may be another's woe.  A high price doesn't necessarily mean amazing art.  Here are two pieces from this year's Summer Exhibition.  Above is Royal Academian Barbara Rae's Scar mixed media canvas priced at £38,000, and below at the same exhibition Chris Baker's The Wondering, etching with aquatint, at £250.  Which do you love?


Cabbages & Frocks

I'm so excited about the autumn!  All those lush trees will soon lose their gorgeous leaves and stand tall as proud works of nature's art. 

The Cabbages & Frocks market (listed in the 50 Best Markets in The Independent, 2009) is on every Saturday at Marylebone selling organic Continental and British goodies alongside fashion.  Whatever you are doing - have a super weekend..... thanks for reading.

Waterfall at Home

Do you fancy a waterfall in your living room?  This mural by Photowall certainly creates a cool, lasting impression. 

Big Love at King's Cross

If you're going through London's King's Cross station be sure to go upstairs and take look at this beautiful sculpture.  It's a lot bigger than you can imagine and towers way up high into the beautiful station building, which is a perfect marriage of old and new. 

Cath Kidston Walks the Dog

The British designer whose first product was an ironing board cover has made herself a household name and a multi-millionaire.  Cath Kidston's designs are loved for their English country house style.  Here she is shopping at a London market with Stanley, her Lakeland terrier.

Nostalgic Art

There's been a huge trend towards nostalgic posters and Heal's in Tottenham Court Road stock a good selection, framed and ready to grace your walls.  See what you think of these.....

London Bridge

London Bridge is Falling Down....... not in this case.  Spotted this embroidered scenic cushion depicting London Bridge in Paperchase.  Not cheap at £120 but it really is beautiful when you see it close up.

Goosey Goosey Gander

You may spot shoppers in Marylebone sporting one of these eco-friendly bags from The Natural Kitchen - an amazing, mouth-watering shop which could also be described as natural food heaven.


I was blown away by Rachel Tucker's performance as the witch Elphaba on Monday night at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, near Victoria station.  I've never heard such an amazing singing performance.  Totally gripping!  The show, which reveals the untold story of the witches of Oz, was amazing and I'm not surprised it's been voted the Best Musical of the Decade in Entertainment Weekly and Winner for Most Popular Show by the Laurence Olivier Audience Award 2010.  Wicked!

Rachel Tucker as Elphaba