14 Apr 2014

Review: Bright.Bazaar - The #MakeYouSmileStyle Book

I am so excited to be writing up today's post and book review. Actually, I've been excited for the past 365 days to write this particular book review - Eeeekkk! If you're all wondering what on earth I'm blabbering on about then let me shed some light.... Will Taylor, Mr Bright.Bazaar and Blogger Extraordinaire has translated his personal fun-loving relationship with hue into a Make You Smile Style book. I first met Will two years ago at The Ivy one lovely Summer morning at Kelly Hoppen MBE's press preview for her TV show debut {what a way to meet someone}. Bright and wonderfully charming as ever, Will was {and is} truly genuine & humble and we've been blogger friends ever since. When he announced last year that he was formulating a book, a beautiful yet powerful extension of Mr Bright.Bazaar's life, I just knew I would love it and I wouldn't be disappointed. Slowly but surely the Instagram feeds subtly came through of his travels and shoots. Fast forward to today and I get to review the finished article! Eeeeeek! Admittedly, there is so much I could say about Will's first book {but one of many I hope} and I'm not going to give too much away. So with that I've picked out my top 5 bright.bazaar bits of the book...

As soon as you open this extremely well thought out book you'll notice the interesting mix of colour, creativity and curation. Will has such a magical relationship with colour which becomes immediately apparent from the moment you pick up his book. Through his own personal experiences you will be accompanied onto a journey of colour, allowing you to create your own colour palettes, discover your own colour cocktails and inject colour into your own home.

Did someone say cocktails?! Yup, colour cocktails are in full swing here in Will's colour filled book. Almost like recipes, these cocktails inspire you to mix & blend different elements of colour into your abode. You really do get a personal feel from his book and there is plenty of guidance to help you to mix and play with different hues. That said you also gain the full confidence to create and curate your own colour-combos and a scheme to suit you. There's no one-size-fits-all analogy here! You certainly feel like this book has been made and tailored personally to you.

Moodboards are a great visual aid to see how a scheme truly works {or not} and after each cocktail Will has included a deliciously tantalising moodboard to help demonstrate how they werk!! From furniture & fittings, fabrics, textiles & texture, being able to place them together and have a play with them will certainly help you to create a scheme that works for you and your home. Remember all homes are different and come in all shapes & sizes, this is why this book is just great for providing effective examples of what works & what doesn't for your homes personal style.

Colour-combos pop-up in all areas of our daily lives, from walking down the street on our daily commute to simply staring out of the window on the bus on your way to another engagement. The point is, inspiration is all around us and it's certainly jam packed within the first chapter of Will's book. From 10 Steps to Colour Confidence to Four Ways to Rock Statement Lighting, Will not only makes it fun but super easy to move from interior novice to styling superstar.

Will's Colour Secrets are little blessings which sneakily pop up throughout this book. Like little nuggets of gold dust sprinkled throughout these pages they provide you with the most amazing bite-size bits of advice and knowledge which you can then implement into your home.

So what's the verdict: This book has fast become is my favourite book of 2014. It encourages you to exclude the humdrum elements of life and inject your life with a hue to suit you! From tasty colour cocktails to colour confidence hints & tips this is not just an interiors book but a carefully constructed personal aid to a new hue. 
BUY IT NOW! £25 {and worth every colourful penny} - Thanks Will for sharing such a personal journey with the world.
Photographer: HOP Interiors

1 Apr 2014

Book Review: Kelly Hoppen - Design Masterclass

Hip Hip Hooray - Today marks my blogs 3rd birthday! (They grow up so fast don't they?!). And what better way to celebrate than to share my latest book review from one of my interior superheroes. I love a good book. There's nothing better than sitting down with a good design book and flicking through the inspiring pages of creativity. So as I sat down a couple of days ago to tuck into my latest book collection arrivals I knew I had to add this edition to my book review hit-list! Kelly Hoppen's latest book Design Masterclass is not just another design book to add a little bit of sparkle to your bookshelf, it's a design bible, a design go-to guide which really does guide you through the fundamentals of great interior design. If you're new to interior design and really want to get to grips with it all, or just keen shake things up in your home for 2014 then you can certainly learn a thing or two from Kelly.

Most design books tell you how to put a scheme together including what key elements need to be considered, however what I really like about Kelly's new book is that she really does hold your hand throughout the whole process yet allows you to develop your own creativity and personal style. For example, Kelly gives great tips on what to look out for and how to shop for furniture for your home which can be a very tricky yet vital process. Through each chapter, step-by-step your interior knowledge begins to grow and by the end you will certainly conclude feeling confident in implementing what you've learned into your own home.

Images credited: Jacqui Small Publishing / Booktopia

17 Mar 2014

Telling Fables

The Fox & The Crow, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, The Tortoise & the Hare... just when you thought these were only children's fairytales, it appears that they have magically come alive in the very fabric of interior design. 

From my discovery of the Happenstance, which I used for my digital review shoot, I then stumbled across the The Fable. Only opening last month this space is certainly eye candy for the interior hungry. But is it almost too good to be true?

Of course not! This fable is indeed true. With a great mix of literature, nature and innovative interiors this scheme surprised me at every turn. Inspired by the very fairytales and Aesop fables we all know and love, this Farringdon based restaurant has a backdrop, which dates back to 15th Century. What I loved about this space is the gorgeous roll top bath located next to the in-house florist courtesy of Quintessentially Flowers. Whether you want to use this space as a mini hang-out or for a private party, this little nook can be cornered off allowing you to have a more flexible and private use of space.

I also have to talk about the centre-piece 'Speaker's Corner' (or that's what I've called it as it is adorned in great literature and fables alike). This table is indeed a show stopper and great for hosting a birthday party or celebration. I love the idea of the use of books to encase the table, slightly closing it off from the rest of the diners.
As I explored this fascinating space (feeling like Alice in Wonderland) I discovered the fable library! Housed on the top floor, this is a nice chill-out pit stop, perfect for reading writing, quiet drinking or for creating your next big idea. 
I really liked how within the design the designers have sourced the best of British. As a designer myself you can easily spot the House of Hackney wallpaper, Tom Dixon lighting and Mulberry-upholstered chairs. This is also paired with the Ever After Gift Shop, curated and styled by former Telegraph fashion editor Lulu Anderson. 

So what about the taste of the fable? I must admit I was pleasantly spoilt for choice. From cocktails such as the Sugar Plum Fairy, Fairy Godmother and the Princess in the Tower there is plenty of enchanting drinks & mocktails to choose from. My personal tip for anyone taking a trip to this amazing venue would be to opt for the Lobster & Parmesan Croquettes and the steak as a main - it was to die for. The menu however, does have a surprisingly wide choice for vegetarians too.
The Verdict:
If you're looking for something out of the ordinary, a sharp whimsical twist and the best of British I would strongly recommend a visit to the Fable. Whether you want to nip in for a quick coffee or a catch-up over dinner with friends or even a celebratory dinner, this place surely has that charismatic wow-factor.

The Fable
52 Holborn Viaduct

Lead Photographer: Aima Yusaf Jamal

11 Mar 2014

Mint 2014: So Fresh & So Clean

We've finally sprung into spring - hooray and with all this glorious sunshine we've had recently in London I thought it would be great to introduce a bit of spring into my blog once again. Mint has been rearing its minty fresh little head over the past few seasons, both in fashion and interiors. I continuously enjoy this crossover of the two disciplines but I am even more intrigued by how a fresh sprig of mint can really freshen up my home. 

Living Spaces: Can benefit from this spring trend. Natural materials such as wood and bamboo carefully dipped into this pop of colour can add a new, fun twist to your space. Likewise mixing it put with complimentary colours such as a cool lilac or a pristine peach can help to pull this scheme together.
On a budget? Using accessories such comfy cushions or a new lampshade can also help to pull this trend through.
Baby Boom: Baby rooms are always a favourite to decorate. There's no need to be stuck in a rut with blue, pink and white hues - just add a touch of mint to give a little cool pop! I've used these well styled spaces to illustrate my point. What may seem like a standard nursery designed with a white-washed hue has been reinvented with the navy and mint pops of colour. The trend this spring is all about the natural but also the handmade so these raw, woven rugs really do assist in strengthening that trend in this room. Mint is also a calming colour so it's ideal for your baby's first slumber pad. 
Working From Home: can always be a pleasure. You wake up and your office is just a few slipper steps away. But sometimes, the home office can seem like the same old space - Am I right?! 
Well mint is certainly a colour that will work well here. With spring in full effect why not refurbish your desk by painting it in a cool mint or by adding a nice mint chair to inject this colour trend into this part of the home.

Not sure where to go with this new trend? Worried about creating a whole scheme around mint? I've picked a few of my favourite key pieces from Etsy to show you how it's done. Which one is your favourite?

Crazy about prints? I am too which is why I had to add this Be Silly, Be Honest, Be Kind print (2) into the mix. A refreshing statement paired with lemon and grey (another great colour combo) you can add this to your living room as a conversation piece, to your hallway or even in your kitchen area.

Little miracles are little blessings and the wonderful birth of Holly Becker's beautiful boy Aidan has sparked me to add this gorgeous Little Miracle's Cushion (4) to my list. Mixed with varying shades of green and mint this works due to its simplicity and style. 

I love this Yellow Gooseneck Desk Lamp (1) just because it works so well paired with this bright pop of yellow. This would be a great addition to your home office or desk area if you want a quick freshen up to your scheme.

I adore the beautiful effect of this Origami Lamp (3). Dipped in an ice mint hue I love that it's paired with the crisp white, giving an understated elegant effect. Designing a new nursery? This will be right up your street!

Too much of a good thing can go bad. So instead of overdoing it with this colour compliment it with this Geometric Wall Clock (5).

Image Credited: 
Dining: Top 1 left  | 2 right
Living space: Top 1 left | 2 right
Circles: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4
Nursery: left | right
Office: left | right 

10 Mar 2014

Meet The Stylist: Kiera Buckley-Jones

Styling is one element of interior design that I'd love to dip my creative toe into (and it's one of my new years resolutions - remember those?!). So when I had the fortune to meet Homes & Antiques Stylist Kiera Buckley-Jones I was intrigued to find out about her career and the wonderful world of interior styling. I know many of my fellow readers and bloggers would love to find out more about this amazing industry too so instead of keeping all the juicy details to myself I interviewed Kiera to discover just how the hell do you become a magazine stylist!
HOP Did you always know that you wanted to enter the fabulous world of Styling
KBJ For a while I was drawn to interiors magazines as well as sewing, drawing and making. I realised that I could put my interests and skills to use and enter the world of magazine styling. I even used to make little displays and installations as a child and get my parents and neighbours to come and have a look. There were the shoe box room sets, the post holiday shell extravaganza and the Christmas bedroom display in October. I’ll say no more.

I knew I had to do something creative but also needed a role with deadlines to put that to good use. 
So interior magazines seemed like a perfect fit.

HOP How did it all begin?
KBJ I actually studied ‘English literature’ at university, followed by an art foundation course. I was drawn to magazines and literature but wanted to a job that was a bit more hands-on and practical. With styling you’re still story telling just using different skills.
I spent several years doing work experience under stylist’s at SHE, Homes and Gardens, the Telegraph magazine and Living etc. In all I spent four years as a junior shadowing stylists, running errands and organising press returns before I got a chance to do any actual styling myself. But I think assisting is essential to get the training and a rounded understanding of the industry.

KBJ The main challenge is that there aren’t many stylist roles around, they come up every few years and it’s a very competitive field. So it’s being patient and hard working before you may get a chance to have a go yourself. But once you start building up relationships with stylists you admire it becomes a lot easier to keep working.

HOP Describe a typical 24 hours at Homes & Antiques Magazine
KBJ Most of my role as a stylist at Homes and Antiques is plate balancing. There’s a lot of logistics to oversee and keep on top off. Lots of research too, being an antiques and vintage focused mag means checking you have the right items to shoot. Organising the items getting to and from the shoot on time. Booking locations, assistants, photographers, not to mention coming up with the concept for your shoot. There is tons of preparation before you get to the fun bit of making it all look pretty. But it’s the build up and the adrenaline of balancing all of these elements, which can be exciting too.
HOP What are your top tips for anyone wanting to become a full time stylist with a magazine or someone who is thinking of a career change
KBJ Well, as I mentioned before it’s a really competitive field so you need to be able to work hard. Also you might have to work for free for a time to build up experience and contacts. Though I do think the industry is changing, especially in the eight years I’ve been here. With the popularity of Pinterest and Instagram, and the emergence of lots of free online content maybe more possibilities will open up.

But if you’re gonna have a go, first approach your favourite magazines or stylist’s you admire, and see if you can get some work experience. At least then you can get some hands on experience and decided if it’s really the career for you. Though assisting it quite physical, you’ll be unloading and repacking props, but if you’re serious no experience will be wasted.

HOP Where do you draw your inspiration from for each shoot or project
KBJ The shoots I get to style at Homes and Antiques vary a great deal, it’s been ballgowns to stamps, walking sticks to Danish mid century ceramics.  So I guess it’s from the subjects themselves and I love having this variety. But ideas for subjects for shoots come from everywhere, we have all of the past to play with. Be it seeing something great at an antiques fair, or in a period drama or seeing a new fashion trend emerge and want to research it’s historical origins.

As we’re aware a lot of trends go and remerge. For example there is lot of fabric and wallpaper around with fern motifs. Well this is based on the Victorian fashion for all things ‘fern’. Things really do come and go. What is seen as old and past it, can the next time be seen at the very latest thing.
HOP If I was stuck on a desert island, my three creative must haves would be...
KBJ ...Well, lots of notebooks and fine line black pens for drawing with.
I get really impatient with knitting, so I guess being on a desert island would give me plenty of time to focus on it. Though may be a little hot on that island, maybe knitted swimwear?
Can I bring my wardrobe? Think I’d need to accessorise that knitted bikini with a basket bag, a floppy hat and a fifties sundress.

HOP I'm most happiest when...
KBJ ...I’m having a rummage. I’m a sucker for a flea market, jumble sale, charity shops, Ebay search anything where there is a possibility of finding a gem! 
Exploring cities as one neighbourhood merges into an another, you never no what you’re going to come across, it might even be another charity shop!

All images credited:
Photographers: Carolyn Barber and Rachel Whiting 
Images supplied by: Kiera Buckley-Jones for Homes and Antiques

24 Feb 2014

Screen Printing with Pinterest

Pinterest is so addictive, especially if you have an iPad, you can so easily sit there with a glass of wine and pin away! So when my blogging buddy Delali Foli invited me to attend a special Pinterest event a few weeks back at The Print Club there was no way I could possibly say no. Full on talented illustrators, a key selection of bloggers got the opportunity to try their hand at screen printing. For someone that's never screen printed before it was such a creative and rewarding experience. Illustrators HAM, Maggie Li, Hattie Stewart, and Anthony Peters all came together and created an individual yet stunning print for all of us eager bloggers to screen print. If you want to buy any of their prints please do check out their websites by clicking on the links above.

WIN: I'm giving one of my lucky readers the chance to own one print from each illustrator (that's 4 in total) signed by each of these talented creators. Just click on this link here to enter for your chance to win.

  • Competition closes on Monday 10 March at midnight (GMT)
  • One name will be chosen at random via a name generator.
  • One winner will receive all 4 signed prints, one from each illustrator.
  • The winner will be announced on Twitter, Facebook and on the blog shortly after the deadline.
  • As delivery is only available in the united kingdom this competition is only open to UK participants - so sorry guys but there will be competitions throughout the year open to all my international readers too so stay tuned.

19 Feb 2014

Time for a Cuppa

As you will know from my bio there is nothing I like more than a good cuppa tea (it must be the Brit in me). So many of you have probably seen me around London Town with a bright, zesty yellow cup in hand either on route meeting friends or running to an appointment. Whilst I've been out and about I've actually been testing out my latest lifestyle find! It's all in the Joco - the Joco cup that is. Made by the Uberstar company this clear glass cup with its snug yellow jacket was perfect for my daily dose of tea. But why is it so different from all the other millions of portable vessels out there? Well what I've discovered (coming from someone who's been looking for the right portable cup for ages) is that the Joco not only looks good but actually is doing some good to encourage and assist with the sustainability of the environment and help us consider the way in which we consume products. Without compromising the taste of your brew I found the reusable borosilicate glass really does insulate, keeping my brew hot & toasty. I'm always one to to give my honest opinion and I must say I'm always using my new travel buddy. With this, I get none of that horrid splash back when rushing around and its uber stylish too (excuse the pun).

Images Credited: Aima Yusaf Jamal | HOP Interiors | Uberstar