Admiring the curve

As soon as I saw this wooden curved structure, potentially a bench, at the Chelsea Flower Show this year I suspected the work of Tom Raffield, and I wasn't disappointed.  The wood is steamed and bent into the most fantastic shapes, this one the most ambitious I've seen to date.  I knew that I'd included Tom's work on the blog before, but hadn't realised (until I looked) that it was twice before.  The first was when Tom was one of Kevin's green heroes at the 2015 Grand Designs Live show and then again later that year after he featured in one of John Lewis' creative spaces.

But this was something else.

Tom Raffield at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2018

It'd be great as a garden bench, wouldn't it?  I didn't try it out!

A closer look at the curved corner

The curves are the same as the lights though, if not a little bit more uniform than I've seen previously.  And just as I was admiring the boundary curves, I spied a circular seat.

Angles and a glimpse of the round seat swing

Drawn to the simple shape and lines I was soon in front of the circular seat - isn't it fantastic?  I think, even more spectacular than his lights, and that's saying something.

A round swing seat I'd happily find a place for

But the lights are still great and i was pleased to see them inside the stand, looking as curved an fantastic as usual.

Tom Raffield lights as you expect to see them

One day, I'm hoping I'll be the proud owner of (at least) one of these.  I'll need a new house with a proper all or lobby first though...

Until them I'm happy to admire whenever I can...


I've been to the shops...

Last week I headed over to Canary Wharf one night after work, as MOH had promised to buy me dinner, and well he knows me well. He's been putting the hours in lately and if he's buying dinner then I'm there. After hitting the shops, we ate in Sticks'n'Sushi, which was brave for a fish-phobic like me. 

It was nice though, we took the guess work out of it and ordered a platter, the Table for Two. And enjoyed it all. Even MOH who normally says sushi doesn't fill him up, was full. I'd looked at their picture menu before our visit, and well, usually I'm not a fan of picture menus but this one worked. But that wasn't the point of this post, i thought I'd share what I bought that night, along with another recent purchase.

1. Being seen at night

I still haven't got around to cycling to work and now the evenings are getting darker, I've been using not having the right clothes as an excuse. MOH offered to lend me some of his neon cycling gear and that's when I knew it was time to buy my own. So I'm now the proud owner of a neon yellow and cerise trimmed lightweight top. It's quite bright, but as that's the point that's ok. 

A neon top and snazzy leggings

It's lightweight as I don't feel the cold (thanks overactive thyroid!) and cycling uphill is going to warm me up anyway isn't it! To complete my outfit I also bought some black, white and grey very snazzy leggings. They've got some reflective strips, so there'll really be no excuses. 

2. Four candles

And two candlesticks. My plan was to position the two candlesticks together so they looked like one complicated structure. They look great on the table and remind me of one of those games where you have to move a wand along without touching the metal parts, to avoid it buzzing. 

Four candles
interlocking candlesticks
four candles

These are part of the Loop Maison range by black+blum and available in John Lewis, we eventually settled on the shiny chrome finish over the matt version and some dark grey candles to use with them. I'm very pleased!  

It's only since then that I've realised they're by the same people as the iconic James the Doorman. And there's a whole Loop range, which could be dangerous...

Seriously though these are a great design, look fab and where just what we were looking for - although had you asked me beforehand I wouldn't have known what that was.

3. Sycamore cheeseboards

I bought these on my recent visit to Woodfest at Wisley from a local craftsman. And they are so, so smooth. They're very reasonably priced too, with the smaller boards at £5 each and the larger one a little more at £7.50. 

And they have a story, which I like.  

Three sycamore boards

These boards originate from a felled sycamore tree in Nonsuch Park, Surrey. Some of you may recognise that as a well known netball venue from years gone past, or my years gone past at least. It backs onto the Nonsuch School for Girls which is where I played my first Surrey County netball game, and was somewhere where I've played a lot of netball. Occasionally parking in the park and nipping into the school through the side gate, but rarely actually venturing further than the car park, sadly.  

Now, I wonder why, but of course at the time I was probably running to get on court. But now, I like to think I'd have more appreciation for the surroundings. I'd probably still be running late or cutting it fine as I prefer to call it, but maybe after the game. And so, it's nice to have these boards, especially with our shared background as I'm pretty sure I've fallen over many times in that part of Surrey too!

These sycamore boards are from a tree felled in Nonsuch Park
Three wooden boards, ideal for food

They are the creations of Dr Tim Lawson, who after the 1987 storm retired as a GP to became a wood turner. I saw Tim and his wife at Woodfest earlier this month and it was great to talk to him about what is clearly his passion. Tim sells his products through some National Trust shops and on his Stormwood 87 website. They are stunning, and beautifully crafted and I knew I wouldn't be leaving Wisley without something from his stall.

These boards are suitable for culinary use, and despite the fruit on them in these pictures, I bought them for use with cheese. One is purposefully larger so it can accommodate those larger pieces of cheese without it melting over the edge. But like cake, cheese in this house doesn't last as long as fruit, which I think is normal, right?

And half-eaten pieces of cheese wouldn't make for such a pretty picture!


So quite different purchases, but each of them make me happy and fill a different need. What have you found in your shopping basket recently?