23.12.16

| Thoughts | Wild Child


I overheard a mother describe the mud splattered leaves that her toddler was gleefully tottering through only moments before as 'dirty'.

He promptly fell into the pile of leaves and the mum, faster than lightning, picked him up, whipped out a tissue and begun to wipe off the mud from her little one's knees.







































































A little crestfallen, I looked down at my little boy, his trousers and hands smeared in mud, leaves stuck to his shoes.

I feel sad when I hear city dwelling mums describe a bit of mud as 'dirty' to their kids. Mud is earth, Earth is life. It feels to me that on some level, urban kids are being disconnecting from nature.

I grew up a wild child, amid unending wilderness in Kenya. Hiro grew up a wild child, on the lush edges of Tokyo. Both our parents encouraged us to explore independently, to be brave, responsible, aware and curious - all the things that being wild, naturally entails.

Life and the world has changed so much since we are little. Fear has encroached on parents and we worry about everything and see danger at every turn. So, I refuse to worry about mud and rotting leaves. In fact - I wish there was more of it around where we live so our son could run wild in it.  

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15.12.16

| Open House Dreaming | Architect's Homes


I love open house events, and particularly relish the idea of taking a goodnatured snoop around the homes that master architects built for themselves. 

So much so, that I've been daydreaming up a little list of homes that I so love to see. 

Perhaps I would start in New England, at the once home of Walter Gropius!


Photos from the Historic New England Website






Quick details: Built in 1938 in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Why this house? 
I would like to see how the founder of Bauhaus lived. To be honest, it's not so much the building that I like but the contents. I spy Butterfly Stools by Sori Yanagi and a handsome Womb Chair by Eero Saarinen. According to Hiro, this is one of the most comfortable chairs he's ever sat in. And he is obsessed with chairs.

Gimme More!
More pictures and information HERE


Next stop? Mexico City, to the Casa Barragan. Bring your sunglasses!

Photos from OpenBuildings

Quick Details: Built in 1948, Mexico City.

Why this house?
The house looks so humble and unassuming from the outside but it wears its personality on the inside with a brilliant colour palette and lovely clean lines. The house  is a display of  Barragan's interpretation of Modernism through his trademark use of colour, light, shadow and texture - all the things that please me aesthetically. 

Gimme More!
You can see and read more about Casa Barragan HERE. There's also a short video tour HERE. Type 'Luis Barragan' into Pinterest, and a colourful visual treat awaits you.

Zoom across many borders to Brazil to the doorstep of Oscar Neimeyer's residence, the very beautiful Casa das Canoas.


Photos from OpenHouseBCN


Quick details: Built in 1953 in Rio.

Why this house? I've gushed about how much I admire Neimeyer's work before HERE so visiting his once home just goes without saying. I want to see the house that challenges my adoration for clean straight lines and sharp angles. I want to see and touch the resident boulder. Casa Canoas is a residence that really celebrates its location through its transparency and curvaceous, unrestricted fluidity. Surrounded by forest and close to the sea, it suffers from the natural effects of both but is ever more beautiful for it, in my eyes.

Gimme More!
More pictures and information HERE


Finally, staying in Brazil, I would visit Casa Butanta, the house that Paulo Mendes da Rocha built for himself and then built an exact copy next door for his sister - the lucky lady!



Quick details: Built in 1966 in Sao Paulo

Why this house?
Chunky concrete? Check! Surrounded by lush vegetation? Check! Beautiful colourful tiles? Check! Lots of windows? Check check check! Pack our things fam! We are moving in! I  must confess to spending longer than might  be considered 'normal' staring at the details of Casa Butanta on Pinterest or Instagram, I would live here in a heartbeat.

Gimme More!
More pictures and information HERE

It's as plain as day that I have a thing for Modernist architecture. There are sublime examples much closer to home, yet it seems that the Latin American architects masterfully interpreted the principles of the movement in a way that enjoys the beauty and elegance of nature. I really like that.


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14.12.16

| What I Saw | 1


Remember how blogging used to be before it became a spinning reeling money making machine?

Remember when bloggers would blog for the love of blogging? For the passion of sharing sights and stories that moved us in someway.

Maybe I have rose-tinted the shit out of my blogging memories. Maybe? Maybe I am naive? Maybe, this happy-flappy blogging dreamland never quite existed outside of my personal experience. Either way, the very idea of it has inspired me to share a few sights that have brought a smile/satisfaction/warmth to my heart recently:


Seen in Spitalfields, Bishop's Square to be more precise.

Slightly surreal. Good luck in your strange home little fishes!

Seen in Hackney Wick.

Seen in Shoreditch. Unexpectedly magical.

Seen in my Aunt's house. The most amazing collection of Moomin Mugs I've ever seen.

Seen in my Aunt's garden. 
Seen on the way to the sea, on one of the most curious adventures we've had in UK yet. 

Seen in Victoria Park. Blinding!











































































Seen in the loos at Kew. 

Seen  on the nicer side of Broadway Market

Seen at home.



P.S. I have no problem with any bloggers who get paid for what they do. Good for you! You make your money - we all have to eat and pay bills. 




| Links for the curious |

Here are some bloggers that won't drown you in sponsored posts but will instead inspire and uplift you lovely ways:

Jefrsn

Burnt Feather

For the Creative Heart

Modern Botanics

Erin Veness

Eight Shores


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10.12.16

| Explore | London's Lost Village


"It is not easy to get there. Even the people who live within a mile of it - the people in the noisy, crowded East India dock - have never heard of it." Evening News, 1930. 


Trinity Buoy Wharf is definitely one of our favourite areas of London. During the summer, my boy and I would traipse around immersing ourselves in the multicoloured surroundings, enjoying the slower pace and the tourist-less panorama of London from its banks.  I would wonder at the multilayered industrial and social history and try to imagine what life must have been like in London's 'lost village'. 

















 



Trinity Buoy Wharf lies opposite the O2 arena in an area once known as Bow Creek - basically where the River Lea joins the Thames in East India's Dock Basin on a stretch of road called Orchard Place. 

Between 1820 and 1930, this was home to  a thriving village surrounded by industrial factories, boat and shipyards. As the name suggests, this was once where the buoys and markers for the Thames where once made and repaired.  Its location made it susceptible to flooding and this ultimately was the cause of Orchard Place's decline. Isolated, neglected and poor, Orchard place was declared a slum in the 1930s and subsequently cleared. Its was population rehoused in further into Poplar and the remaining dwellings demolished. 

Today, Trinity Buoy Wharf is one of London's most creative hubs. It is also home to London's only lighthouse and alongside it you can find the former electrician's Shop, Experimental Lighthouse and the Proving House - where the chains where tested. Alongside the historic buildings there is Container City - a mini tower block of repurposed shipping containers that houses live/work studios and offices. There are galleries, workshops, an American style diner and a fabulously laid back and unpretentious cafe. There is also an old lightship that has been transformed into recording studio.

If you are looking for a spot of adventure to a part of east London less mentioned, we would really recommend taking the DLR to East India and walking here. Trinity Buoy Wharf is the sort of place that rewards the curious mind and eye!

| Links for the curious |

Trinity Buoy Wharf's website

The fascinating history of Orchard Place




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30.11.16

| Explore | Beautiful Decay

Trudging through the City on my way to the 'job that pays the bills ', I must have walked passed this installation many times. I am disappointed in myself, as I am usually more observant and I would have liked to have seen it in its fresher stages. That said, catching sight of the flowers as colour begun to leave them appealed to my fascination with beauty in decay 



















































This living installation flourishes from the ceiling of the Guildhall Gallery's foyer. It is the work of artist Rebecca Louise Law, who's work will beguile flower fanatics everywhere. Inspired by London’s urban gardens, fresh flowers hang from copper wires and slowly they dry, preserve and decay.

| Links for the curious |

Rebecca Louise Law's website.

Design Boom's story on Rebecca's staggering installation of 8,000 flowers in San Fransisco. 


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28.11.16

Flat White Conflict


































I enjoy a well made flat white as one of my little luxuries in life. But lately,  even the best of them has been leaving a sour taste in my heart. Not the fault of any barista, roaster or blend. The sourness comes from a conflict brewing in my conscience that leaves me feeling uneasy about how things are changing in east London, and the unaware flat white, smashed avocado and sourdough loaf among other things, seem to have become symbolic of this unease. 

There are 2 principles that I try super hard to consider as a consumer:


  •  Supporting independent businesses and;
  •  Being mindful of the social changes in my local area.

These days, my regular flat white has begun to epitomise the collision of these two principles. And I do not feel good about it.

As I witness more and more local high streets that have always been dominated by independent businesses, that locals can afford give way the invisible partitions of gentrification....I despair.

The pattern tends to follow a similar path wherever you are in London, from Brixton to Clapton:

1. An economically poor but vibrant area - becomes "cool" to many an outsider.  

2. Wealthy young people from outside of London, attracted by the "cool status" and affordability of the area move in and start up small independent businesses.

3. Tech, trend and Social savvy, they can attract the press, they attract other young wealthy cool-hunting people to support and endorse their businesses.

4. Rents and house prices go up. Many long-term locals have to move out of their homes.

5. Locals who stay - get priced out of their own neighbourhoods. Can't afford, nor want to buy the flat whites, sourdough loaves and organic produce that the new establishments sell. 

6. Locals feel excluded. New Establishments are not aimed at them. 

7. Local shops that can move with the changes begin to stock the things that the new people want. But some shops get left behind - the change is too big, and newcomers just won't shop there. So they close down.

8. More and more independent new shops open selling things that the long-term locals don't need, want or afford.

9. The divide between those who can afford to spend £12 each an avocado-laden brunch and those who have to feed their entire family on £12 grows and grows. 

Can anyone else see this? It makes my heart feel heavy. It makes me feel uneasy. I can't ignore it. 

I am conflicted because I want to and do support these new independent stores that have cropped up in places like Broadway, Chatsworth Road, Shoreditch etc. I would rather my hard-earned money went to an enterprising individual who really appreciates my custom than a huge soulless corporation. But there is more to this story than supporting an independent business. 

I don't want to feel that I am supporting social cleansing and the displacing of the soul of these places that I love so much. 

Supporting those business than have been there before the gentrification turned into an all consuming monster goes without saying. In my opinion, these are the real local independent establishments that we should all be supporting.

It is easier to turn a blind eye, close my heart and pretend that everyone is happily living side by side. But I can't. The divide between the rich and poor in London is getting out of hand. 

That is why my flat white doesn't taste so good these days.

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23.11.16

| Photo Diary | Red Moss


Before we went to Finland, I had no clue that there was such a thing as red moss. I also had no clue that the Finnish have a proper rug washing tradition that in rural areas involves super eco-friendly natural detergents, enormous mangles and stunning lakeside locations. I also didn't know the difference between a massive pond and lake of any size - actually, I still don't! 

One morning, my sister, Hiro, our boy and I went for a walk in the woods. Just like in those tales of old, we took off without a care in the world. Foolhardy in our ways, we sauntered down one path, and veered into another. Soon enough, it dawned on us that we hadn't a a clue which way we had come, nor which way we should go. We hadn't been walking very far so we assumed that we would find our way back home with ease. But. Just in case. Just like in those tales of old, we stacked stones in little piles to mark our way. It didn't stop us from getting lost. Our phones, didn't work. We were hungry and slightly, only slightly concerned.  The baby however, was fast asleep.


































We did make it back home, of course. Curiously, though it felt like we were in the forest for hours, we weren't gone for half as long as we thought.

Oh, and another thing about the red moss!  It is really spongey, and if you stand on it too long - you sink into it.



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