| Home | Cliptomania

There is a clip for most things in life and I seem to have most of them in my clip, (formerly biscuit) tin.

I use them for everything and anything -  from keeping papers together, laundry, keeping slippery clothes on hangers, sewing projects, keeping curtains closed, closing up opened food packets, keeping cables in place, guiding plants, hanging silly things from anywhere possible to amuse my son......

My favourite ones are the aluminium clips. They are a great example of the kind of anonymous design that I mentioned HERE. They are made in Japan, lightweight, don't rust and infinitely useful. I got mine from Labour and Wait.  I also like the stainless steel wire clip hooks from Muji. It's a hook aaaaand a clip! Oh and the rubber tipped heavy duty swivel one from Commes des Garcon's Good Design Shop in Omotesando.

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| Plants | Good Leaf Wish List

If you visited our home, you would probably tell me that the very last thing that we need is another plant. You would be oh-so-right; but for the fact that I got this idea stuck in my head. More of a grand plan than just an idea actually. I want a jungle in our home. Yep! Our very own Jungle. Therefore, just a few more would be marvellous!

Here are a few that I am currently looking out for via some of my favourite plant loving Instagrammers:

Alocasia 'Stingray'
Leaves that end with a flourish that makes them resembles sting rays. And look at those stems.

Alocasia Zebrina

I know! Another Alocasia? Yes! Can't get enough of those beautiful stems. Alocasia's can be a bit fussy but they are worth it.

Anthurium Crystallinum
Bold and vivid with strange flowers. Every serious jungle needs one. 

Euphorbia Lactea Variegata "white ghost".

Finding one is not my main obstacle with this one. Affording one is the issue - I saw one for £400 the other day. I want one - but free. Please? Anyone? Oh never mind.

Aglaonima Pictum Tricolor

Looks like someone's been at it with a paintbrush no? I love it. Matches a pair of trainers I have tucked away somewhere.

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The Beauty of Anonymous Design: Hidden Forms

I am so annoyed with myself for not buying a copy of Hidden Forms when I had a chance. Trust it to have gone out of print in English since. I am so ANNOYED. I often search for it. I keep my eyes peeled in every second-hand bookshop that I visit. I even hope that a digital copy might be available soon. Sadly, miserably, nothing's come up at a non "I saw you coming/rip off price" appeared.

Hidden Forms is a collaboration between Franco Clivio (director industrial design at Zurich University of the Arts), Hans Hansen (photographer) and Pierre Mendell (graphic designer). The book documents Clivio's collection of ordinary, everyday, practical, often unregarded objects collected over many years. Presented in perfect flat-lays, thoughtfully curated groups of items are accompanied by Clivio's explanations of their personal significance to him as well as some learned commentary on the manufacturing or design processes behind a selection of items. Pictures from the book can be viewed HERE

Until the day I have a copy of the book to gaze over at my leisure, I enjoy looking at Clivio's collection on the MUDAC website.

Photo credit: MUDAC

Photo credit: MUDAC

Photo credit: MUDAC

Photo credit: MUDAC

Photo credit: MUDAC

Sulky laments aside, my failure to find a copy of Hidden Forms has put me on the path (via Google) to an aspect of design that I find fascinating. Clivio finds considered design and innovative thinking in the  'unremarkable, everyday things' that he has amassed over the years. His appreciation of anonymously designed objects has struck a chord with me piqued my curiosity enough for me to embark on a little study of my own. I hope to explore this field more in the near future on the blog.

I like Clivio's insistence that holding something in your own hand, feeling its weight and literally getting to grips with its workings is vital to any understanding of design. This hands-on way of thinking reminds me of Yanagi Sori's design principles and I feel that in this 'everything online age' it's never been more relevant or important get back to a more analogue approach to life and design.

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| Photo Diary | That Otherworldly Beach

Every now and then, we take our kid, grab our bags and bundle into my sister and her fiancé's car. We zoom, zoom, zoom with tunes banging, sister singing, kid wriggling and the boys map reading, towards the sea. 

The English coastline is sprinkled with seaside towns and beaches each one of them distinctive in personality. 

Dungeness is probably my favourite beach we've visited yet. Layers of salty air, wind ravaged and shingle beaten splintered wood, rusty rail tracks and sun-bleached nylon nets exhale a haunting otherworldliness that I wish I could bottle and take home to serve up on one of those particularly oppressive London living days that we all get here.

Dungeness is a shingle beach that sprawls out from the looming shadows of the nearby nuclear power station. Even though we often hear the word 'bleak' used to describe the landscape of Dungeness, it is not a word that we would use ourselves. Windswept, stark, remote, fascinating, beautiful, strange, haunting, dramatic, melancholic and otherworldly are words that better match the Dungeness that we experienced.

I would like to see the sun rise and set over the expansive horizon. I want to hear what  the power station does to the sounds that travel across the shingles. How does the wind move across the landscape? Does is rush or does it dance? I will only ever know, If I stay a little longer, next time we visit. I've even found a marvellous place to stay! The Pobble House will do very nicely.

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| Hidden London | Tile Style

Tiles don't fly into my mind when I think of London in the same way that they do when I think of Lisbon or Porto. But now and again, life has a funny way of twisting and spinning a coincidence my way that ends up challenging my set views. This is exactly what happened a little while ago when I found myself a little lost in the sinewy alleys near Blackfriars. A few miseducated turns later, I found myself on a small street aligned with tiles panels of stunning geometrical grace.

After doing a bit of Googling and Insta-searching, I discovered a bit about the tiles' origins but noticed that they don't seem as well known as I feel they ought to be. Their location probably keeps them a hidden/secret London gem but such amazing work deserves a much bigger audience. So, if you fancy taking a look for yourself,  let your map guide you into the winding alleys of Blackfriars to Waithman Street, to be exact.

There are 23 panels consisting of about 18,000 ceramic tiles (source), all the work of Rupert Spira. They are the artist's only commission in England to date and they were hand made by him in 1992. Standing there, all alone in the street (it must be one of the loneliest thoroughfares in the City) and staring at their Escher-like patterns in their gloriously complex glazes was quite mesmerising as the 3 dimensional effect seems to awaken and do trippy things to my eyes.  
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| How To | Have a Pastel Day Out in London

Who was it that painted London all the colours of overcast, fog and drizzle in people's minds the world over? I want a word with them. Coz my London grinds every perceivable colour into the fabric of itself.  
I often muse to myself that although I wear black everyday, like a self imposed uniform, if you slice me like a cake - layers of pastel goo might run away from me. Perhaps that's why I am so attracted to every shade of pale blossom, milky mint, creamy custard, early morning ocean and sparkling misty sky.

| Leopold Buildings on Columbia Rd | Benches in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park | Wyke Estate | 

I've been exploring London through pastel shades, capturing these colours with my phone as I go along. I also recently met up with the lovely Bloomzy with whom I spent a day sauntering through the pastel panoramas of east London. My time with Emma inspired me to pen this post and share the pastel penchant, you know - just incase there are other nice and strange folks out there that fancy it. 

Here is how to have a pastel coloured day out in London. Great for sprinkling a little bit of magic in your daily monotony and combatting stereotypical views of London (even when London is playing up to them herself). 

Cafe Miami + The Strand Building on Lower Clapton Rd, London

Plonk yourself down in Café Miami and order something sweet while you let the subtle pastels sink in. Smile at the shaped sugar cubes and giggle at the WIFI password. The granola is yummy and Emma says that the banana bread is too. When you are done, walk around the building and look at the delightful gates and grilles and mint coloured window frames. If you are wondering what it looks like inside, search #strandbuilding in Instagram and say "oooooh" like I dooooo.

The famous Palm Vaults is not too far away. Their pastels are mainly pink but this includes pink marble tables! Their take-away cups are cute so you should certainly try something in them. All that drinking and you will probably need the loo - you must take a look when you are there. Their menu is colourful - both drinks and food. Their plants are show stoppers - I like them a lot. Each time I see this place - I cannot believe how much this part of Hackney has changed. 

Somewhere off Portobello Rd

Near Portobello Rd Market

If rows of picture perfect houses you can 'stick 'pon a postcard and send to your nan' is your thing, then head west to Notting Hill. Here you can walk along Portobello Rd and many an adjoining street and fill your boots with the saccharine sweetness of the pastel coloured million pound homes. 

Behind Columbia Rd 

Does door spotting make you happy? Slink about on the old rows of houses around Columbia Road, why don't you?

Bow Cross 

Clare House

If you prefer your pastel coloured homes perpendicular yet ironically more down to earth, stay east and head head to Bow. Here, Tower Hamlets Council like to sell off council housing to the highest bidder. The tower blocks are often re-clad in pastel colours and sold on for crazy money. Ah regeneration what a b*tch you are dislocating the soul from a place. Anyhoo, there is a realness here that pastel paint only highlights to the savvy. The towers of the Wyke Estate in Hackney cut nice shapes against a sunny sky. Clare House, is my local - I cannot walk by it without mentally blowing it a kiss (I wrote about it before here). The triplets of Bow Cross are a sight to behold and must not be visited without reading this excellent and brief piece from my favourite London blogger Diamond Geezer. The aforementioned towers are historically important if you like Grime. Wiley, Dizzy and Tinchy all called these home - you won't find a plaque or anything though - just have to take my word for it. 

You like colourful garage shutters too? Yeah!? That's what I'm talking about. Pritchards Rd is your place then. Right by the RE Hotel on Hackney rd. My favourite one is the peachy pinky one and I love it even more after All Things Stationery told me something magical about it. I've noticed that there always seems to be a pastel yellow camper van along this road - it adds to the character. Let me know if you see it there too.

While you are on Hackney Rd, take a quick look at the Blue House. It's a quirky little thing isn't it?

If you are reading this during Spring then you must add some of those cherry blossom and magnolia hues to your pastel day out. Victoria Park always puts on a nice display of both this is a - good place to start. There is a row of trees beside the bowling club - find it and be rewarded with a beautiful sight. As for the magnolia tree, head for St Agnes' Gate - you cannot miss it!

You can finish your day with your favourite pastel treat (some say macarons, others like Battenburg. What about ice cream. Or my favourite - Wagashi) and a nice cuppa while you look at the pastel rainbow that you've caught on your phone.

In that Pagoda thing in Victoria Park

Somewhere near Columbia Rd

Behind St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch

Somewhere near Broadway in Hackney

Just in case you haven't noticed; this is not a proper walking tour suggestion. As far as being a suggestion for something to do, it is properly abstract. It's not even equipped to be referred to as a 'guide'. I won't always give exact locations - because that is not how adventures are had! This is for "curious people with an incurable tendency to photos of things that most others totally ignore", who do not mind getting lost.

Do you have any favourite pastel coloured places in London? Go on! Do share!

Manners are free! Please keep in mind that many of the places mentioned above are residential. People live here. Be polite. Be considerate. Don't show yourself or me up. 
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