Spring Hope

Thornback & Peel create design savvy items in gorgeous colours.  I spotted this cushion and deckchair in the spectacular Burford Garden Company in Oxfordshire and it reminded me of spring time.  As today is the last day of January, anticipating spring days is exciting and I hope the cold winter days slip away soon. 

Stop for a London Cuppa

Cilantro is a good place to stop in central London for a tasty treat and a cup of chamomile tea - they do normal cuppas and coffee too, of course.  I love the tasty cakes and they have interesting wall and menu illustrations.

This branch is near Fortnum & Mason, in Piccadilly.  
Wherever you are exploring, have a great weekend and thanks for reading : )

Book Browsing

This is a great place to browse for inspiring interior design and art books as well as a host of other colourful and fascinating topics.  The books section at Paperchase in Tottenham Court Road, London is inviting, smart and stylish. I could spend hours in this branch which also has a coffee shop, beautiful stationery and art supplies.

Bright, Beautiful Books

In The Hague's central library, Cube Architects have designed a book shop which fits snugly in between the escalator, pillars and round, glass facade. The Paagman book store has two elongated lines of bookshelves, in its bright house colour, which fit in with the curve of the building.  Large spaces between the shelves make it seem transparent and allows light to bounce in and around the space and at the same time gives library users a good view of the outside square, with an enticing view of the interior for passers by.  Book lovers can enjoy the open spaces between the shelves when they'd like to sit and read. 

Instead of putting books side by side, at least 50 per cent of the books are displayed facing the front.

Photography: Iwan Baan

Luxurious Concrete Bed

A bed with a view designed by architect Fernando Arriaga for a client's Venezuelan retreat. This guest room has  sand-blasted marble floors, a built-in concrete bed, crisp white linen and and an incredible view of nature's beauty. 

IMAGES & LINKS: Elle Decor, Photographer: Simon Upton

Hip Hotel - Cyprus

A bedroom suite at the coastal, spa Almyra Hotel, the only hotel in Cyprus to be a member of the Design Hotels of the World. Contemporary and chic providing panoramic views of Paphos harbour, four freshwater swimming pools, including an infinity pool with breathtaking views of the Mediterranean Sea.

It looks so calm and serene....

Cards Create Trees

Don't throw your Christmas cards away - they are needed to plant more trees.  If you are in the UK drop them into special bins in M&S, TK Maxx, and HomeSense stores.  These outlets will in turn donate money to the Woodland Trust which will be used for planting trees as part of their More Trees, More Good campaign.  

Vote for where you want more trees planted here.

Royal Academy Courtyard

The RA courtyard stages varying exhibits at different times of the year.  This Anish Kapoor structure last spring (2010) looked amazing next to the historical buildings surrounding it.

 My self portrait!  Can you see me in the reflection?

In the summer the courtyard changed with these amazing scuplted figures and fountains gurgled from the paved floor.

This year will be the Royal Academy's 243rd Summer Exhibition, 7 June till 15 August.  Don't miss it!

Hope you find lots of visual inspiration this weekend.  Thanks for reading : )

Monochrome to Colour

After yesterday's little monochrome cat I thought you'd appreciate some bright and inspiring art.  The colour and composition in these exhibits caught my eye.

This one was shortlisted for the Royal Academy Award.  It's an oil by Gillian Ayres RA, Amalfi, priced at £70,500.

I've always loved squares and dots..... this is an acrylic on canvas priced at £13,500 - Flotilla by Mali Morris RA.

 In the Scented Breeze, oil on canvas by Philip Sutton RA, £36,000....

Cycling Behind the Sea Wall, acrylic by Simon Carter, £4,000.

Thousands of paintings fought for attention as they were crammed into the Summer Exhibition 2010.  It was eye candy gone mad.  I can't wait till this year's show.


I've been going through some of my photos from the Summer Exhibition last summer.  This etching and aquatint is by Jenni Desmond and was priced at £800.

Relax, Read or Think

This clever use of a small space has become a delightful, relaxing zone at the Baronette Renaissance Hotel, Novi, Michigan (27 miles from Detroit International Airport) designed by d-ash designs.  The use of grass and subdued yet effective lighting make it a great area for guests to relax, read, or think.  

A Perfect Winter Lounge

A perfect winter lounge invites you into its textured warmth at the Baronette Renaissance Hotel lounge inspired by American 20th century modernism and designed by d-ash design. An exceptional huge hearth – a sculpture cast out of 30’ high glass – is the focal area of the grand lobby beside a cascading and reflecting glass wall.  Steel, glass and wood work harmoniously in this stunning contemporary setting.

Have a super cosy weekend.  Thanks for reading : )

Bird on a Wire

This Garden Birds eco wallpaper printed with water-based inks from Greener Abode is designed and produced in the UK with paper from managed forests.   It features common garden birds with blue, pink and yellow breasts, sitting perched on wires. It may seem expensive at £104.12 per roll but you wouldn't use it on large areas, or for a whole room, and it's a stylish, modern way to bring nature to a room. 

Architectural Paper

Happy 2011!  Good to be back with my inspirational musings and thoughts. 

If you are in London this week it's your last chance to see the first public showing of Robert Freidus' collection of architectural paper models featuring almost 200 landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building and Stonehenge, as well as everyday structures including houses, schools, shops and windmills.  Cut it, Fold it, Build it with Paper is a free exhibition at the V&A Museum of Childhood, suitable for all ages and ends on 9 January.

Cut it, Fold it has three areas. The first concentrates on architecture and paper models produced specifically for adults. The second is a model town, exploring how famous landmarks, schools and shops, stations and windmills were all popular to collect and make. The third theme looks at paper models produced for children, and how they have been adapted over time to make them easier to play with.  At the exhibition, paper enthusiasts are invited to make their own 3D paper buildings as part of a giant collaborative cityscape.

V&A Museum of Childhood, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, London, E2 9PA, England