To Be A Pilgrim

delovelydelightfulFurther to Monday’s post, I thought I’d share with you a few reasons why I make a pilgrimage to Liberty of London a must for each of my visits to London.  If you have never been to Liberty, then I cannot do it justice here, in words or images. If you have been, then you will know what I mean.  Either way, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what was going on there this July.

It is, in short, a shrine to all things gorgeous and stylish, from paper products to clothing to homewares to décor to sewing and haberdashery and crafting supplies to seasonal items to the purely whimsical and creative. I spend a few hours there each time I visit, just wandering and soaking up the amazing, inspiring, beautifully-styled displays of wonderful, wild, weird, beautiful things I could never afford. Think of Liberty as the elegant, sophisticated grandmother of Anthropologie— the effortlessly chic, stylish, individualistic kind of aristocratic, truly British eccentric, an iconic tastemaker who comes along only once in history.

delovelydelightful

I have a few Liberty posts lined up for you, but today’s takes a look at one of the things they do best: push boundaries. This display took my breath away*– the juxtaposition of the religious imagery with the delicate blown-glass skulls and the traditional floral china patterns really works for me. I’d LOVE to have all of these dishes and accents in my home; I love the mix of the delicate and the hard-edged, the use of traditional elements in a decidedly non-traditional way. How pretty would a bunch of the little glass skulls look amid some ivory-coloured candles down the middle of a dining table?

*it also took my brain away– I forgot to check who made these beauties! If anyone knows, please let me know in the comments so I can link to the source. 

delovelydelightful

Across the room from the dinnerware was a little display of candy skulls. I can’t explain why I love skulls so much– it dates back to my teen years and there is no good reason why someone as squeamish as I am should be so obsessed with something so macabre… Maybe because I’m a Hallowe’en baby? In any case, I love that skulls are all the rage these past few years!

delovelydelightful

delovelydelighful

(Those of you who work with me will recognize that title, but this link is for those of you who are mystified. The religious connection works on more than one level today. 🙂 )

Advertisements

Thanks Ever So!

delovelydelightful

Recently my fella and I went away for a weekend to attend a Very Fun Wedding with his family. We had an amazing time (see: laugh until your sides are sore), but before we could go, we had to find someone to look after our fur children for us while we were away. Enter my fabulous friend, D. She willingly volunteered to be our cat-sitter and did a bang-up job of providing food, water, litter-scooping services and the all-important playing and snuggling duties.

Of course P arrived just in time to act as Supervisor and Photobomber-in-Chief.

Of course P arrived just in time to act as Supervisor and Photobomber-in-Chief.

I knew I wanted to thank D with a basket full of all the fixin’s for Pimm’s No. 1 Cup, but I had no basket. Our house is in an uproar, so all my crafty supplies are totally out of reach, leaving me without any suitable vessel for corralling the supplies. Serendipitously, I stumbled upon the perfect curbside find on my morning walk!

delovelydelightful

A scrub, a few coats of paint, a bit of Liberty fabric to tie in the British theme and ta-da: a Pimm’s-worthy basket to load up with all the necessary ingredients to thank a kind friend.

delovelydelightful

N.B. There is NO WAY to include a cucumber in a gift basket in a way that does not provoke snickering. Believe me, I tried. 🙂

Back in the Saddle

Taxidermy is really having a quirky, hipster moment. This fella was lurking near the T-shirts.

Taxidermy is really having a quirky, hipster moment. This fella was lurking near the T-shirts.

Hello! I’m back from my travels and am already up to my eyeballs in projects around here (despite some maddening delays… grrr), but before I get into that, I thought I’d give you a glimpse of a lovely shop I first discovered in Brick Lane in 2007 when I went to London for the first time. Luna & Curious  (Seriously, click on that link– you will NOT be sorry, I promise!) has since moved to Clavert Avenue, just off Shoreditch High Street and LHR and I were delighted to stumble on it again.

There is pretty much nothing in this shop that I wouldn’t love to own. It is chock-a-block with the beautiful, the cheeky, the whimsical and the unexpected. Here are just a very few of my favourites.

Naturally the “Alley Cat” plates tickled my fancy.

delovelydelightful

Pretty mugs & stripey straws make me smile. I particularly love the mugs that say “Scrounger” and “Nosy Neighbour”!

delovelydelightful

How about these to dress up your bathroom routine?

delovelydelightful

The faux animal head trend is one I adore– the giraffe brooch now lives with me and I can’t wait to wear it.
I’m also a fan of the mug with the hind-end for a handle. 🙂

delovelydelightful

Wherever you hang your hat

delovelydelightful

Today, I have more fun design discoveries from over here in Blighty. Also at Boxpark, I found the oh-so-simple and oh-so-sweet work of Swedish designer Lotta Cole.

Aren’t her door stoppers and hooks pure genius? And that pretty tea towel is adorable, I think.

delovelydelightful

How about the wooden drawer pulls and the sexy cutting board?

delovelydelightful

The good news is, she has an online shop, right here.

Bottom four photos from the Lotta Cole website.

Boxing Day

delovelydelightful

Image from Boxpark website.

Nearby where I am staying in London’s East End, on a previously neglected stretch of land by some abandoned railway tracks in trendy Shoreditch, there is the ingenious and of-the-moment Boxpark. Billed as “the world’s first pop-up mall,” you can find Boxparks in cities all over the world.  They are as simple as they are clever:  stacks of shipping containers fitted out as little retail outlets & available for rent. In Shoreditch, the top level houses restaurants & bars, the lower level is home to pop-up shops of all types.

delovelydelightful

Image source unknown. If you know, please tell me and I’ll cite it.

In one such space, I found a collective of artisans’ works and today I want to show you the work of Nick Fraser.

Photo: mine.

Photo: mine.

I’d love one of his coat racks in aqua or white– they’d look great on raw brick or in a cottage for a more traditional look. They’d also add a bit of warmth to an ultra-modern space. You could hang coats, towels, scarves or jewellery from them.

Photos from Nick Fraser's website.

Photos from Nick Fraser’s website.

Photos from Nick Fraser's website.

Photos from Nick Fraser’s website.

 

A pocket full of posies

Okay, so it’s allegedly a nursery rhyme about the bubonic plague.
I needed a title, what can I say? 😉

delovelydelightful

If the clothes (oh, yes, they have CLOTHES!) and the interior design products are out of your price range at House of Hackney, why not take home a sweet little posy to brighten up your space? Buy two– they make lovely hostess gifts and there is no need for your hostess to have to find a vase if you bring her a posy in a mason jar!

delovelydelightful

In London, as in France, you will NEVER see flowers displayed in crummy plastic buckets, they are always in some kind of pretty container, styled up to make them look as tempting and irresistible as possible.
It works.

delovelydelightful

What do you have planned?

delovelydelightfulI am away from Delovely HQ for the next couple of weeks, visiting my BFF in London. When people hear my accent and ask where I am from, the next question they ask me is, “What do you have planned while you are here?”  I know they are expecting me to tell them I’m off to Westminster Abbey or Buckingham Palace or to take a spin on the Eye, but I have done all those things before and, while they are all great and I am glad to have done them, I’m not really here to be a tourist. Well, not that sort of tourist, at least not the entire time I’m here.

I am here because, in addition to needing some BFF-time,  I needed a fix of London. I needed the sights, smells and sounds of this enormous, gorgeous, vibrant city that is so steeped in history that you feel yourself moving through the layers upon layers of it with each step you take. London feeds my creative soul. I love the aesthetic, the cutting edge of design that is omnipresent here; fashion, decor, art, performance are all beautifully innovative and perfectly executed here, from street style to interiors to flower shops to specialty food shops. There is here an effortless ability to mix and mingle the very old and the contemporary. And all of that is what I am here to see. I am here for the inspiration, for the vibe, for the feel of this amazing place.  Somehow, in these days of global mass-market homogeneity, London manages to be simultaneously timeless and entirely vibrant, ever-new. London is, in a word, cool.

Today, I wandered out and down to Shoreditch and Spitalfields Market. The latter was disappointing, but on my slow, meandering way, I stumbled upon the brick-and-mortar shop of one of my favourite online design discoveries, the enchanting House of Hackney. I nearly fainted from the gorgeousness overload! The young woman who greeted me was amazing– friendly and helpful and willing to find any answer I needed.

delovelydelightful

I’m not normally a fan of the “more is more” school of design, but I admire the all-out gutsiness of layering this cheeky pattern. It works, somehow.

delovelydelightful

delovelydelightful

When I saw this “Hackney Empire” wallpaper in person, I felt a stab of regret at not having chosen it for my dressing room. With its oversized scale, it is So Much Better in person than it looked online.

delovelydelightful

Who doesn’t love a coquettish otter with a fan? An eye-patch-wearing badger with a mojito? A frog in tophat? A sloth smoking a hookah? A tequila-swilling raccoon? (oh, wait, that’s just a regular ol’ Toronto raccoon…)

delovelydelightful

Is that an accordion-playing lemur on that lampshade? Don’t mind if I do!

My plan?
To bring myself home a wee souvenir in the form of a metre of this fabric so that I can whip up a cushion from it.
(And to somehow convince my Mr. that we need Hackney Empire as a headboard-style feature in our bedroom….)