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?

Let's talk mirrored bathroom cabinets

I'm a fan of having a mirrored cabinet in a bathroom, and today I thought I'd share my reasons why:

1. To hide clutter

I love the minimalist look, but while I think it looks great, I like to have my things and stuff around me too. Where I'm most successful at achieving the minimalist nirvana is in our bathrooms. There is admittedly less opportunity for stuff in these rooms, but even so I have very little on show here. 

In our main bathroom there's some display shelves in a shallow alcove with a couple of candles and a vase with some beaded twigs, a box of tissues and a couple of bottles of shampoo and conditioner. Alongside the sink there's a liquid soap dispenser on a small tray, with a nail brush and a flannel. 

Storage is a small cupboard, under the alcove shelves which contains the cleaning materials. We also have three stacking wicker baskets for loo rolls and to store toiletries and towels under the sink. But the saviour for our clutter is the bathroom cabinet which stores the things we need everyday, but it's all kept out of sight - and that's just how I like it.

I know I'm never going to reach minimalist status in any other room in the house, but in the bathroom with clever storage it's much easier.

2. To add a stylish feature

The decor in our bathrooms is purposefully plain, with both tiled throughout. For me it has to be a white bathroom suite, I've taken out too many avocado suites in my time (three, if you're wondering!) and so to avoid being boring, bathrooms need a statement feature. An illuminated mirrored bathroom cabinet would provide a great feature.

I've been looking at the Pebble Grey cabinets and the Sorrel cabinet (pictured on the right below) is the one that's most like my mirrored bathroom cabinet. I wanted the softer corners to mirror, sorry no pun intended, the curve of the shower and sink.

SAVANNAH LED ILLUMINATED BATHROOM CABINET

SAVANNAH LED ILLUMINATED BATHROOM CABINET

SANDY LED ILLUMINATED BATHROOM CABINET

SANDY LED ILLUMINATED BATHROOM CABINET

SORREL ILLUMINATED BATHROOM CABINET

SORREL ILLUMINATED BATHROOM CABINET

Photo credit, all images Pebble Grey

3. To give the illusion of space

Our bathrooms aren't called our smallest room for nothing are they? And in my house, that's true - they're economical with the space and it's planned to make the best of the space we have available. Adding a mirror helps give the illusion of space as it reflects light around the room. 

So, what tips do you have for keeping your bathroom clutter free?

 

This is a collaborative post but all views and opinions are my own.

3 Ceramicists at MADE London

In my MADE London post last week I said there'd be more, and today there is. I also admitted a weakness for ceramics, so when I realised there were another three ceramicists and their fabulous makes to share, I thought perhaps I should get on with it. So here they are.

1. Ramp Ceramics

Ramp stands for Roop and Al Make Pots, and they started this just down the road from me in Deptford before moving to Devon, in fact not that far away from where we visited at the start of the month. Roop generally makes the pots and Al decorates them, and they make a range of functional and one-off decorative work in earthenware & porcelain.

I'll admit it was the size of the pots that caught my eye, and then when I got closer I was hooked on the detailed designs with their dark colours. The detail is amazing.

RAMPCeramics.jpg
The earthenware pot below was my favourite. Isn't it fab? You can see more of their lovely designs on their website - RAMP Ceramics.
MY FAVOURITE RAMP CERAMICS POT

MY FAVOURITE RAMP CERAMICS POT

2. Elizabeth Renton

Elizabeth's ceramics were completely different, although they too are beautiful, contemporary and functional tableware.  Elizabeth too is based in London, this time West London but was born and brought up in Yorkshire. Each of her pieces is made by hand and therefore completely unique, on her website she says "I throw simple forms on the wheel then alter and decorate when leather hard. I use Sgraffito, incised lines and grooves."

It was the natural colours that drew my attention and the artful display, and those tea pots on that shelf - just beautiful. You can see more of Elizabeth's work on her website - Elizabeth Renton.
ElizabethRentonCeramics.jpg

3. Sue Pryke

The final of the three ceramicists I'm sharing today is Sue Pryke and her designs are different once again. It seems I don't have a style of ceramics that I like, I just like them all! For me it's the simplicity of Sue's designs that I liked, and the muted blue and grey colours. The shapes too, they're simple but very functional.

On her website Sue says "I wanted to create a my own collection of objects that sit comfortably in the home, that aren't awkward, audacious or tricky to use or care for, but are familiar, have fluency and sit effortlessly." Job done, I say. 

SuePrykeCeramics.jpg
Aren't they great? And the shelf - MOH was very taken with that well Sue's husband makes those. You can see more of Sue's designs on her website - Sue Pryke.

I liked each of these makers and their designs and it was great to speak to each of them. So for me the MADE London show confirmed that I have a ceramics weakness, and if you made me choose I think I'd just have to have them all!  Which would you choose?

 

Disclaimer: I was given free entry to the MADE London show in return for this review, however all words and opinions are my own.