| Plant Life | Do Not Overwater

The top two reasons that houseplants meet an untimely end is down to either over-watering or under-watering. When I begun my plant journey, I was culpable for the former. I over-watered all my succulents, positively lavished them with all the attention I could and they withered and spoilt. I felt awful about it - I almost abandoned my plant passion altogether. But I persevered and have since learned to reign in my watering affections and my plants are much happier!

On a recent visit to BOTANY, I was inspired by the plants in clear glass planters. Their roots revealed twisting amid the glass encapsulated soil. Beautiful! Then I remembered my over-watered succulents and realised that glass planters do not have drainage holes.......

BOTANY's founder, Angela had firm (but friendly) words for me when I asked for advice on how not to overwater a fern potted in one of her glass planters. She said:

1. Treat plants with respect.

2. Never water a plant and walk away leaving it for days without checking it. Water it carefully, watching how the water behaves and act accordingly. 

3. You can see the water move through the soil with a clear pot.If the water starts to pool at the bottom of the pot because you've overwatered, hold the soil of the plant firmly with your hand and gently tip the pot. The excess water will slowly run out.

4. Planting my fern in a glass planter may well help to train my watering technique.

And it HAS!

My asparagus fern, (remember when I first got it?), is thriving in its new home. So much so that I may have to repot it again sooner than I planned! 

I have since bought ANOTHER fern and replanted into a lab beaker that I had going spare. I hope it will thrive too!


I have found that my ferns in general prefer indirect light - they throw tantrums in direct sunlight and they like their soil to be kept damp - not wet and certainly not dry.

| Links for the curious |

I wrote about BOTANY previously, HERE.

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If there is one brand that I have not ceased fawning over since I discovered it in 2012 (I remember it clearly. It was like a bolt of lightening), it is Egg. Egg has a loyal following and remains deeply influential to many a fashion designer.

For me, Egg scrambled my interpretation of personal style and was a catalyst to my view on 'style over fashion'. Fashion is a word that I increasingly dislike using when I talk about the clothes that I like to wear. The fast, loose, disposable nature of the industry leaves a sour aftertaste in my mind. I've learned to prefer the word 'style'. I prefer it because it gives credit to individual choices, taste and creativity interpreted into a sense of dress. I like it because it transcends the whirling, churning fashion machine. It chucks a spanner in its works that whispers.....I am me. I am not what you try to fashion me into.

I can gaze at the unpatronising forms of Egg's clothes for hours. Essentially, I like the generous cuts, the unrestricted movement, the billowing silhouettes, and the faithful refined craftsmanship I see in every piece I've come face to face with. My heart sings at the choice of fabrics, the honesty of form and the timelessness laid bare in each piece that comes out of the Kinnerton Street establishment.

Egg is owned by the legendary Maureen Doherty who's had a long kinship with Miyake Issey - another favourite of mine. Furthermore, her clothes are worn by another of my favourite designer of mine... Kawakubo Rei. I don't need to say anymore do I?

Photo credit: EGG TRADING 

Photo credit: EGG TRADING 

Photo credit: EGG TRADING 

Photo credit: EGG TRADING 

".......simplicity of an egg, the form and enigma behind and within........."

| For the curious |

Egg's Website

Follow Maureen Doherty on Instagram

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My toner situation is divided into 2 clear categories. 

Iiiiiiiiiiin the red corner we have those punchy decongesting hard working exfoliaters. 

Iiiiiiiiiiiiin the blue corner, we have the silky smoothing,  skin prep-soothers.

In the latter group, Santa Maria Novella's Acqua de Rose up a champion. Definitely up-there in the hall of greats for me.

I use it in the mornings and after more acidic toners in the evening. I've decanted some into a Muji spray bottle and used it as a facial spritz on long flights or on hot days. I've tried a lot of rose waters in my time but this one is the only one that I would repurchase. It is soothing, uplifting, simple, effective at removing residual cleanser and missed bits of muck - not to mention beautifully presented. 

Santa Maria Novella's Acqua de Rose is part of a centuries old tradition. Its story began in 1221 when the Dominican monks in Firenze began to study and experiment with officinal herbs and in 1621, they opened their pharmacy to the public. They have been dispensing their preparations to the world ever since.

Acqua di Rose is alcohol free, antiseptic and really refreshing to use as a toner or a light fragrance. The scent is more of an honest rose than many skincare interpretations out there - hence its timeless appeal. 

Its main drawback is its availability, rather unavailability. I've not come across an online retailer in the UK yet. There is a boutique in Chelsea that is well known among Santa Maria Novella fans. However, if you are in east London, there is a sort of secret stockist tucked away behind the main thoroughfares, on Old Nichol Street. In fact a visit to HOSTEM's new digs is well worth it - even if you are just there to buy a big old bottle of rose water.  It costs £22.00 for a massive 250ml glass bottle, that will look great in your bathroom and it will last you quite some time!

| Links for the curious | 

Santa Maria Novella's pharmacy in Firenze is quite breathtaking!

Take a looks at Hostem's new home in Old Nichol St

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| Thoughts | Grow Slow

Our boy turned 1 last week!

He was not as conscious of this milestone as we were, though I suspect that he intuitively understood more than we think. He's at that age when all sorts of big changes are imminent. Walking being the main one.  Perhaps it is the great sense of anticipation that goes along with such a turning point that tends to make some mums a little crazy competitive. 

It bugs me. It really bothers me. But I let it slide. Every comment, every look, every whiff of it...I just let it slide. Here's why.

  • Comparison is a thief of happiness. It haunts and it taunts and it breaks. So I'd be dammed if I set my kid on this gloomy path. 

  • Life is a big fat constant competition to many people and while it can work to push some to success in their personal endeavours, it's just not our style. We only compete with ourselves to be better versions of ourselves because we are not living for the approval of others, just the approval of ourselves.

  • Grow slow. What is the rush? I am wallowing in every moment of his growing. I am loving EVERY SECOND of it. I am not going to rush him into anything. Instead I whisper to him and, myself if I am completely honest....

Take your time little man. 
Grow slow. Grow steady. Grow strong. Grow brave. 
It takes courage to do things the long slow way.
Grow slow. Grow steady. Grow strong. Grow brave.

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| Explore | Unexpected Beach

During one of our walks, scouting for tower blocks through London's many council estates.....

....Concrete...MORE concrete....Concrete.....And then BOOOOM! A beach!

We will tell you all about the tower we came to see another time. For now, let's just concentrate on the beach. What an unexpected and welcome find! 

The ancient Thames is the keeper of many secrets but it is no secret that there are a few beaches along her route through London. The most famous is Tower Beach with the famed bridge looming above it. This little stretch is lesser known, it's in Cubitt Town in the Isle of Dogs and alongside a whopping big council estate that thus far shows little signs of the sort of gentrification that's nibbling at so many of the east London housing estates. 

I liked it here. I liked the sounds of the waves lapping over the pebbles. I smell of the algae awaiting the return of the tide. I liked the sound of the locals enjoying a quiet moment here. I liked the sight of clouds billowing over the opposite side of the river and seeing them spill rain over sections of south London.

A bikini beach type tropical paradise it may not be but I've no doubt that many a return trip will be made to this place - leaving all swimwear at home!

P.S. I didn't intentionally set out to dress in a clownish manner. Then again perhaps, subconsciously, I did! I do LOVE clowns (EVIDENCE 1) (EVIDENCE 2)

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| Abandoned | Passengers

Some years ago, we blogged about our encounter with some stubborn passengers in a disused garage.  In my rush to get in and out of the place mixed with my eagerness to take it all in, I'd unwittingly used a gritty filter in Hipstagram and so the photos that we used on that blog post told a different tale. It captured an atmosphere that loitered here. A loneliness and emotion rather than the detail. 

So, I thought it would be interesting to revisit the photos once again and lavish in the colours and details of growth and decay assisting each other along in their static journey. 

| For the Curious |

Here is our original blog post.

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| Magic Mundane | Dirty Pastels

What is it about pastels thats caught my attention lately. By the looks of my camera roll, I am more than just a little obsessed. But, these are not the pretty pristine macaron box pastels, these are slightly fallen from grace, lived in, lived out, sun-bleached pastels. I like to call them #dirtypastels. 

Tainted, mucky but must have, must look, must snap dirty pastels. We've courted once before, when I was a teen. It didn't quite work out and I replaced you for effortless dulcet tones of black. Now, you're back again and you are my newest colour inspiration addiction.

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| Beauty | Made of Margate

I am so chuffed that we got to stop by Haeckels when we were in Margate. If you are in the area, I highly recommend a visit. It smells wonderful. It is gorgeously laid out as a part boutique, part lab space with elements of old world industrial vibes thrown in for good measure and..... it has a sea view!

Thanks to fortuitous timing, we got to meet one of the founders and it is always nice to learn about an enterprise directly from the creator isn't it? Dom was approachable, knowledgable and passionate about what they do at Haeckels and we left the shop feeling so happy and excited with all our purchases.

Haeckels' Seaweed/Seabuckthorn Facial Cleanser is a hit for both of us. A rare occurrence when it comes to skincare. It is a low foaming cleanser formulated with a power house of botanical ingredients chosen to heal, replenish and condition the skin. It does a thorough job even for a double cleansing fan who generally avoids foaming cleansers like me. I use it a couple of times a week to remove all trace of my reliably stubborn Japanese sunscreen and BB creams. A little goes a long way and it smells so so so good!

There are a good few brands out there all vying for the amber bottle modern apothecary look. Haeckels set themselves apart by doing away with paper labels and instead the names and ingredients are etched directly onto their bottles. Although they can be tricky to read in the wrong light, to me this effort quietly tells us that Haeckel's attention to detail goes beyond aiming for aesthetic appeal. It tells of a commitment to their endeavour and in today's world of fast fashions, aiming for longevity should be applauded.

| Get your own |

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Everyone likes Brighton don't they? I haven't  met a single person who says that they don't. It's certainly a jewel in the British seaside  resort crown. While I can't declare my love for pebble beaches (I still can't get my head around them), I do enjoy every single adventure we've had in Brighton.

Brighton has such a lovely colour palette. 

We were very fortunate to have superb weather during our time here and perhaps it for this reason that my eye was so attracted to the blues, greens and yellows around us - all the colours that suggest seaside. Speaking of colours,  the ever-so-super CARDBOARDCITIES told me about #grlue on Instagram. So glad she did as it is pure delight and I am looking forward to adding much of the above to it soon.

| Links for the Curious |

64 Degrees is a nice place for a bite. 

Workshop Living is a lovely little shop that endorses simple thoughtful living.

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