Unlock Art
New Ribbon
Slide 3

JH ENGSTROM EXHIBITS: "FROM BACK HOME"

Iconic Swedish photographer JH Engström is currently exhibiting 'From Back Home' in Berlin, a collection of images tracing his childhood memories back to the province of Värmland READ MORE...
Slide 1

REVIEW: 'TREAT PETITE' BY FIONA PEARCE

There's something so irresistible about miniature food, the treats we love made into tiny packages you can just pop into your mouth - virtually guilt-free! READ MORE...
Slide 1

GEMMA, LILY & LINDSAY'S PHOTO BOOTH FUN FOR DIOR

"Three friends taking pictures of themselves in a photo-booth as they go off to Glastonbury festival''. This was the brief John Galliano (remember him?!) gave to Nick Knight READ MORE...
Slide 3

12 STUNNING PHOTOS THAT CAPTURE THE WORLD

As an amateur photographer, I'm fascinated by the universe of possibilities we can explore in creating images with our digital camera - why limit ourselves? I read a debate a while ago READ MORE...
Slide 3

'FROM ARCHITECTURE TO FASHION IN 8 SECONDS'

Since 2007, Montreal photographer Nicolas Ruel has been refining an in-camera double exposure technique, where with a quick swivelling motion of his device, a second plan is overlaid on a main READ MORE...
Slide 1

LULA GOES TO JAPAN

Lula is about to pretty up Japan even further this October with its unique mix of memoir, philosophy and fantasy, as interpreted by editor Kazuo Sazuki READ MORE...
Example Frame

April 13, 2014

Me.By Me.: Celebrating Our Unique, Individual Style

Theswellelife_41 (1 of 1)

Last month I was treated to a preview of the new Me. By Me. campaign for TK Maxx in their Covent Garden store in London. It was a really colourful, upbeat party with smiling faces everywhere, the vibe reflecting the positive, sunny energy of the campaign. Have you seen the TV adverts? They feature real people, actual TK Maxx customers who are not professional models. An endearing self-consciousness is detectable and the message promoting unique personal style rings true. It's a refreshing concept as it's just so rare. Models act like models, they're never meant to come off as real people, and the Me.by.Me. campaign shows that some genuine character over the copycat, aspirational approach to selling fashion can be very motivating. Rather than seeing a model who has impossible legs, and impossible skin, and impossible hair and buying the clothes or bag she's wearing as a means of trying to get closer to that image, Me. By Me. gives us people of all ages whose personalities shine through the outfits and make us feel that we can look great as we are, that we've already got the whole package and hey, a few new bits will help us express ourselves and make us feel really good. 

This is the full advert for the TK Maxx Me. By Me. campaign: 

It holds your attention all the way through, doesn't it? I love it. 

So who are these real people? TK Maxx chose eight UK shoppers to help represent the brand and inspire others to celebrate the wonderful things that make them unique. They joined a diverse group of 12 TK Maxx real-life customers plucked from obscurity whilst browsing in stores spanning the UK, Ireland, Poland and Germany. They were taken on a trip of a lifetime to Cape Town, South Africa, where for 10 days they were encouraged to experiment with style and take part in a series of fun and experimental activities to help unlock their Me. By Me. mind-set. With no scripts or storyboards, the cast were given free rein to shape the direction of the campaign and experiment with a wide choice of clothing and accessories from stores to create their defining looks. 

Below are some of the TK Maxx customers from the advert, all from the UK. From top left is 82-year-old photographer Martin Gordon from London who doesn’t plan to ever retire; Pia Sarkar, a 25-year-old student and lover of 50s music and bright lipstick from Brixton; 62-year-old Olga spotted in London, who fabulously models TK Maxx’s swimwear; and Justina Bailey, a 28-year-old a graphic designer and self-confessed creative nerd with a quirky dress sense from London: 

TK-Maxx-Me-by-Me

In the spirit of uniqueness, some of the great food and drink we were treated to at the Me. By Me. party at the Covent Garden TK Maxx:

TheSwelleLife_TK-Maxx-Me-by-Me

You might be wondering why I have such a rabid enthusiasm for the project. Yes, the advert is a joy to watch and puts a feeling of summer in my head. But I'm so excited about it all because it's not empty marketing smoke and mirrors; the concept of celebrating individual style follows through into real life in my own city of Newcastle. At the event for the opening of the campaign, we were given gift cards so we could pick out some clothes and put together outfits we like for ourselves. I had to run off for my train so I didn't have time to look through the Covent Garden store and would have to do my shopping locally when I got back. I'll be honest, I was a bit deflated not being able to do it in London, assuming that the selection at home would pale in comparison. Little did I know that the TK Maxx in Newcastle had moved amidst renovations to the mall where it was originally located, to a massive new space on Northumberland Street which now had a whole new look and a serious commitment to fashion. I found the new store and when I came off the escalator I noticed on my right a section marked 'Gold Label', and I was hoping this was what I thought it was. And yes, it was a high-end designer section and I couldn't believe what was there. I'm not going to name names because each store varies in what they receive - and therefore worth checking regularly - but I'm talking 'fashion week' brands. Big ones. You know them and you want them, and here were those otherwise unattainable items - at massive discounts!  The pile on my arm started to grow higher and higher, and then on my way to the fitting rooms I found a ton of really cool plaid flannels - I love how they were grouped together and required no rummaging - and I barely made it on in without my arms collapsing.

Most importantly, the shopping experience at TK Maxx is one that really does leave your choices up to you. As you walk into the store you may notice, or not, that there are no styled mannequins in the window or on the floor. No signage showing willowy young models in dreamy fashionland to unwittingly emulate. No dictating how you should look this season, no obvious trends packaged up to lead you into buy something that's not really you. The racks are quite electic yet cohesive as they are grouped by type of garment while representing a vast array of brands and - current - styles, and what stands out and comes into the fitting room with you will be something you already know you like. I looked through the racks for all the 'me' clothes and found tons. See - Me. By Me. It works!

Theswellelife_39 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife_45 (1 of 1)

At the Me. By Me. launch we were treated to a chat with Carolyn Mair (right), a renowned cognitive psychologist in the UK. With a keen interest in fashion psychology, she is developing the first MA Psychology in the Fashion Industries and MSc Psychology in the Fashion Industries programmes which will run at The London College of Fashion from September 2014. Carolyn will focus on the importance of psychology in fashion and help students to gain an understanding of human behaviour in a fashion context. We had a fascinating discussion about the impact our clothes have on how we feel about ourselves and I would have loved to talk to her all night, she's so lovely and insightful. 

Theswellelife_37 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife_59 (1 of 1) 
I found success with most of the clothes I took into the fitting room (we had to separate my bounty into two groupings) but decided to take home a pair of jeans from one of today's most popular jean brands, they're skinny and a turquoisy teal (I cannot have enough blue skinny jeans); I'm wearing them as I write this, they're so comfortable and fit perfectly. I also got two 'going out' tops because although I'm not out constantly I do find I'm lacking in clothes that are suitable for a night on the 'toon' (that's Geordie speak). But as I'm Canadian and not a Geordie I'm much more casual (ok that's not fair, there are casual Geordies, my friends don't even own sparkly tops and dresses); however, you don't want to be so casual that you look like you're not out for fun. These two tops are perfect for my subtle going out style. I was just under the amout of the gift card when I made my way to the cash with my three items, and then I saw some high-end designer activewear and my eyes fixated on a really great jacket in shades of grey and a mix of fabrics, it was right in line with the activewear I've been oggling from New York Fashion Week. I scooped one up and tried it on in the queue and added it to the pile. (I'm also wearing that right now, it's so comfy and will come in handy for a lot more than going to the gym.)

Theswellelife_49 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife_59 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife_58 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife_50 (1 of 1)

In the end, my four items totalled £128. The RRP was several times that so I was totally thrilled, a big bonus on top of having new clothes that I really loved and work for me. 

I'm so glad I was asked to be a part of this with TK Maxx. I do almost 100% of my clothes shopping online because of convenience and selection, but after this experience I knew I'd be checking back in regularly to see what gems have arrived before I do any clicking - a typical store has over 50,000 in stock and receives 10,000 new pieces every week. That's another thing - TK Maxx has brought in brands we wouldn't otherwise have in Newcastle. We only have a few high end shops, I think you could actually count them all on one hand (and maybe even have a thumb left over), and they only carry certain brands. But it's not just about finding high-end gems; the entire floor is stocked with desirable clothes from all price points. I love the surprise of finding which designers will appear next, and discovering new labels in other areas of the store. And not forgetting the cherry on top - saving money! And I have to mention that the racks were very neat (no mess like you tend to find on the high street) and the fitting rooms were very clean as well, not strewn with discarded clothes and hangers. And the selection was simply fantastic. Newcastle needed this. Did I mention I'm impressed and I can't wait to get back? (Well since originally writing this draft I have been back. Last weekend I took a friend who was visiting and needed jeans, and she found the perfect pair plus some tops. And I found the perfect replacement to a raincoat I no longer like because my style has changed - my old one has a bow in the back and I don't do those anymore. My new find is more utilitarian and just so cool that I actually don't mind if it rains now. Almost.) 

You know what? I've yet to make my way to the second level to browse the housewares. This adventure is just beginning....

March 17, 2014

Lula Magazine Goes to Japan

Lula_1

Lula is about to pretty up Japan even further this October with its unique mix of memoir, philosophy and fantasy, as interpreted by editor Kazuo Sazuki. Sazuki has launched several highly acclaimed culture and fashion magazines in Japan, including RUSSH JAPAN. His company, Selek Limited, will be publishing Lula Japan.

Brit girls love Lula - still an independently published fashion title here - and now its youthful, dreamy and bold style will be a perfect fit for the Japanese market. I can't wait to see that first issue - will Sazuki use Japanse models?

And this is a good excuse to show some covers. I noticed that the more recent looks show an adventurous hand when it comes to makeup: 

Lula_3

Lula_2 

Lula_4

 Kelly-Mittendorf-for-Lula-14-Spring-Summer-2012

March 08, 2014

Orla Kiely's First Shoe Range is for...Clarks!

Orla

Ok, so this is now last month's news because that's when it launched, but I am a fan of Orla Kiely so I wanted to talk about her shoe range with Clarks. I'm surprised this collaboration with the British heritage retailer - they've been around since 1825! - is the Irish print designer's first venture into shoes, mainly because I thought she'd have launched under her own label long ago if only to supply the shoes for her presentations at London Fashion Week. One season in the Portico Rooms at Somerset House - until three collections ago this was her LFW home which she transformed into a 1970s-tinged Orla Kiely world - I was admiring the wooden platforms on the models and then realised they were from Topshop, and thought how tough it must be to find the perfect pair to finish off her retro-inspired looks each season and complement her bags just so. 

Orla Kiely's collaboration with Clarks would have been slightly more eyebrow-raising if the modest high street retailer hadn't already done a collection with another homegrown label known for prints, hipster fave Eley Kishimoto, two brands you would never think of simultaneously, which made it kind of cool. And Clarks didn't order a watered down approach for the masses, or at least that wasn't what was delivered in the end; the electric zig-zag and cubic prints in bold colours were true to the duo's 'pay attention to me!' aesthetic of the time. 

Eley-Kishimoto-x-Clarks-belmodo.tv-10Past shocker collaboration, Clarks x Eley Kishimoto

Clarks is known as a shoe retailer of modest styling and modest pricing which has positioned itself as the trustworthy place to buy quality shoes for your kids (and have them fitted properly), and for adults to buy a nice, sensible pair, leaving a wide gap in the middle. These designer collaborations get the teens and fashion-savvies excited and in the door, or clicking. And maybe it's not so surprising to see Clarks stretching so far outside of their comfort zone with these crazy graphics and sky-high platforms; United Nude's Rem D Koolhaus co-founded the forward-thinking, edgy shoe brand with British shoemaker Galahad Clark - yes, of that Clark family. Nice to see they're not afraid to play around and have some fun. 

Here's the Orla Kiely collection for Clarks, in all its chunky-heeled, platformed, Mary-Jane and T-barred glory:

Orla-kiely-clarks

And look how she's incorporated her famous double stem print into the sole of the shoe:

Orla_stemprint

If you happen to be a Canadian fan of Orla Kiely, you're in luck - the collection launched today at Gravitypope and it appears to include everything seen here. 

February 15, 2014

All Rhodes to London

Zandra-and-safia-Z-chair-900x667Zandra Rhodes with People Tree founder Safia Minney

British designer Zandra Rhodes is a favourite amongst fashionistas for her unbashed love of colour and print, prolific and enduring fashion career, and her revolutionary contribution to textile design - and you can't not love her bright pink hair! Here is a conversation journalist Millie Davies had with the fashion icon at her London home:

We meet Zandra Rhodes in her fabulous London penthouse, an oasis of colour nestled a stone’s throw from The Shard and atop of her self-founded London Fashion and Textile Museum.

More than 50 years into her illustrious career, the fuchsia-haired veteran designer Zandra Rhodes is as busy as ever. “I only flew in from California this morning”, the 73-year-old fashionista lets slip as we discuss her latest collaboration.

The acclaimed textile designer has recently partnered with ethical fashion house People Tree to launch a bespoke range, ‘Happy Woman’. With her fabulous fingers in many pies, what sparked Zandra’s interest in this particular label?

“At first I simply thought it was a great cause and that People Tree did a very good product. And then of course having gone to India with the founder of People Tree, Safia Minney, it led me along to realise what a good cause it is. And one to keep plugging away for.”

Famous in the international world of fashion, Rhodes has shown an interest in sustainable clothing before, lending her name to the Pick Your Cotton campaign. She’s also collaborated with some of the biggest names in British retail heaven, in partnerships with Marks and Spencer, Topshop and MAC.

Talk turns to Zandra’s instrumental fashion museum; it hosts workshops, archives and its very own fashion school. Its latest Artists Textiles Exhibition was opened by the acclaimed museum director Sir Nicholas Serota and the Bermondsey building offers inspiration to a new generation of fashionable types in the capital.

What’s Zandra’s view of the success of the museum? “Well I definitely think it’s had an impact on making the textiles more visible,” she candidly offers.

Zandra_Rhodes

Zandra shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Currently dividing her time between her two bases, London and San Diego, she cites travel as a way to channel her creative energy. And whilst most of the fashion elite will be flocking to London for front row seats at next week’s London Fashion Week, the iconic figure is jetting back to the States to raise awareness for a women’s cause.

“I’m doing a show called Go Red for Women and it raises awareness that, actually, women have strokes and heart attacks more than they get breast cancer.”

As an advocate of women’s issues, how does Zandra think women fare in her industry?

“I think women have a harder road all round in whatever they go into.” She reflects. “The only thing I would say is – pointing it out can cause you more trouble.”

Having exhibited hairdos in a myriad of colours, most recently a brilliant pink, Zandra insists that artistically she would never be led by a favourite colour; rather, “one designs in whatever one needs.”

With the People Tree collection sporting fun, bright, and 100% organic cotton frocks and blouses, it’s a safe bet that sombre tones never featured on the drawing board.

Popular in the UK, America and beyond, Zandra continues to make an impact on global fashion. In her impressive career, she has produced multiple clothing lines, designed exclusive jewellery ranges and somewhat uniquely designed the set and costumes for the opera.

Having risen to success in the 1960s, does Zandra have any advice for present day aspiring designers?

“Only that no hard work gets wasted. And unfortunately you have to work harder and harder to get there right at the beginning.”

Zandra – who can add an OBE to her accolades - remains as big a name in British fashion as ever. As we leave the designer’s radiant home and emerge into the darkness of London’s streets, we can’t help but carry some of her sparkle with us.

‘Happy Woman’ is the new collaboration between Zandra Rhodes and People Tree.

February 09, 2014

NYFW AW14 Favourites Pt. 1 (and a mini-rant)

M_missoni_aw14

You know you'll always get clothes that are more than any eyeful and make you itchy to run your hand over with Missoni, and in this case, it's their sister line M Missoni that delivers the goods. Grunge style provided the direction which was elevated several notches with inverted tulip skirts invented for the collection, and their signature space-dye knits were intarsiaed in patterns to suit the rock nature of the looks. 

ADetacher_DrugMule

A Détacher showed this knit dress, which as you an see has the words 'Drug Mule' displayed across the chest. You could joke that it's not a dress to wear to the airport, but it doesn't really sit right with me as something to cheeky emblazon on a piece of clothing to join in with the 'words on clothes' trend. I usually can't stand the trend, I just don't understand why a grown woman would want to wear a sweatshirt with 'Lucky' or French words scrawled in a flirty font - they tend to look made for 5-year-old girls - and pay a minimum £100 to be part of an especially short, fleeting fad. However, I actually like this visual treatment; it works aesthetically and it's kind of chic. But what it says is another matter; I just don't find it funny to make light of something where women are exploited, many times unwittingly, forced to risk their freedom to make scumbags some money. It's just dumb to send this down the runway. (Hmm, maybe 'Lucky' isn't so bad after all.) 

GaryGraham_AW14

Gary Graham gives us such richly romantic clothes; I can imagine I would walk around reciting profound literary quotes in my head while donning any one of these outfits (if I knew any) 

CynthiaRowley_AW14_black

I love a bold presentation, and here the backgrounds pop the clothes by Cynthia Rowley, beginning with vivid motifs on black against a kind of firework display, followed by an aura borealis-like backdrop shooting out colour-blocked outfits with thigh high boots (that's right, they're here to stay for a bit longer) 

CynthiaRowley_AW14_colour

Ostwald_Helgason_AW14

Ostwald Helgason played with funny fruits in sporty luxe looks, cut out the shoulders in softly tailored jackets and sculpted with liquid metal techno fabrics. 

Peter_Som_AW14

Peter Som does great coats. Each of these makes the most of blue-greys with rich print or pattern. In most cases he went big and round with his oversized lapels. 

Sally_Lapointe_aw14

 

I love the triangular shapes created by the model's hands in the pockets, as well as the textures, the light and dark of the goat hair, and how well the proportions of all of the elements work on the model's body in this look from Sally Lapointe. 

Prabal_Gurung_AW14

Prabal Gurung showed lux patchwork knits in shades from winter white to charcoal with a mix of undertones to punctuate the variety of textures and techniques. 

Rebecca_Taylor_AW14

I think it's safe to say at this point that blues and greys are going to be everywhere come September? Rebecca Taylor gave us a great range of blues, from soft, powdery shades to deeply saturated ultramarine, grounded in greys and black, with some pretty lilacs thrown in for variety. I like her take on the volume trend, going with the oversized, relaxed shoulders but keeping wearable proportions in mind - no one wants to look like someone blew a bunch of air into your coat. 

Photos: Style.com 

January 24, 2014

Habitat Presents: Colour into Liquid Air

Habitat_1

We could all use more colour in our lives, couldn't we? Especially during the gloom of the last months of winter. Just in time to get us into a sunnier headspace, Habitat’s Platform space on the Kings Road sees the exciting addition of an oasis of colour and vibrancy to its west London gallery this February and March. Recent graduate of the Slade School of Fine Art, Gracjana Rejmer- Canovas, has been invited by Habitat to transform its white gallery space on the King’s Road ‘Platform’ into a riot of colour through a painting installation entitled ‘Colour Into Liquid Air’.

Attracted by the American Abstract Expressionists and the Colour Field Painters, Rejmer-Canovas will present canvases of bold, abstract colours of various shapes and sizes. The dozens of canvases sit together and make a large, cohesive whole but each individual piece will also have its own individual integrity.

Rejmer-Canovas soaks up London’s colours and the vast cultural richness of the capital in her home turf of Hampstead and around her Southwark studio. In this project, she will dye her canvases of linen and cotton with natural pigments and then layer acrylics and oil paints. The result will be walls and floors awash with paintings, and a complete interior world of colour. 

The curator of Platform, Holly Wood, says, “Habitat is the perfect place for Gracjana to create her first solo show in London. Her palette of materials and references take you on a journey and remind you of brighter days and faraway trips. I am so excited that we are working with Gracjana on this original and inspiring project. Take a day-trip and be surrounded by the vibrancy of this exhibition.”

Rejmer-Canovas’ ‘Colour Into Liquid Air’ at Platform will run from 7th February to 23rd March 2014 and is generously supported by the Polish Cultural Institute, London. A video of the making process in the space will be shown in the space on loop.  All work is available for sale through the artist prices start from £800, and commissions are available. 

Gracjana Rejmer-Canovas _Habitat_1

Habitat_4

Habitat_5

Habitat_8

Habitat_9

Habitat_10

Habitat_12

Habitat_17 
Habitat_15

Habitat_14

Habitat_16

Habitat_18

Photo credit: Susan Bell

January 01, 2014

New Years Eve in London: Fireworks 2014

 

I spent New Years Eve in my kitchen, because we had a party, and like everyone knows, people always gather in the kitchen at parties. And no matter how many chairs you have, people will stand. Has someone created a club yet that is just one giant kitchen? You wouldn't even need seating. 

On New Years Day I always post the London fireworks because they're pretty spectacular. The BBC says that peach flavoured snow and edible banana confetti fell on revellers during the show. I'm wondering, did they announce it was edible beforehand and therefore the crowd was full of people looking up with their mouths open? Or did it fall to the ground only to be eaten up by pigeons who are moaning in the streets today with sugar hangovers?

Here's to a fantastic 2014!

December 20, 2013

Offices that Inspire at Home and Work

Office_white

I've always thought of the office as a place where creativity goes to die, CEOs and directors ironically conspiring to make you want to go back home to bed as soon as you walk into the reception area, but that's more of a reflection of the places I've worked than what is possible. I once went for an interview for a project managment job at a software company in Toronto and walked into the office equivalent of Xanadu. I swear I saw monkeys glide by on rollerskates smiling and waving, it just looked like so much fun. It was a massive open-plan, two-level space with high ceilings, lots of windows, natural wood, probably exposed brick as was the trend at the time, and colour. And faces that looked energised and engaged intead of 'over it', on bodies kitted out in cool clothes, not that soul-sucking business casual. (Don't tell anyone but sometimes I slept at my desk while at the job I was trying to leave. I blame the sea of grey partitions for lulling me into unconsciousness.)

The creation of a workspace, whether it be at home or the office, is about vision and choices. First, you have to want to create an inspiring space - why does that only seem to be the designation of creative studios and young, hip companies? Do data entry people demand to look at drab walls, dull carpets and fake plants in need of dusting while they work? Would they not feel a little more motivated to tap those keyboards all day if they were hit by a splash of yellow or some shiny white gloss? These days there are so many design options when it comes to office furniture, it's just a matter of knowing what kind of environment you want to work in and pulling together the right pieces. In the Workplace pavillion at the 100% Design show I saw desks and seating, even storage lockers, that obliterated any existing notions I had of what office furniture is about. I'm talking mind-blowing cool.

Take Dauphin's Perillo chair, crafted from one continuous sheet of thermo plastic with a high gloss finish, the seat surface, backrest and armrests offering an uninterrupted, ultra-modern form. 

Dauphin_main

Ok, so these chairs may be more suited to a lobby or reception area - the most awesome ones ever! - than behind a desk, but they illustrate what great things can come from leaving behind any pre-conceptions about what the office environment should be. 

Office_colour

Here's a home office (I think) that is made up of a simple trestle table against a white wall, but add a cool chair and fill the walls with colour (looks like someone has attempted an homage to Rothko) and you've got a space that makes you want to sit down and get into your work, with or without those shelves of old-school lunch boxes. 

Office_Scandi

This at-home workspace makes the most of a tight area. The large table, offering an ample workstation, nearly fills the space yet appears light, and a sideboard and tall shelving unit enhance the decor of the flat while having the capacity to store a significant quanity of supplies. The benefit of the home environment is the flexibility to add features such as decorative lighting, like this one which looks like a mature dandelion, giving a more eclectic and stylised feel to the space. 

Outside-office

I included this outdoor office for fun because it's just so neat, and another example of how a workspace can take any form. Just one question - how do they move around within it?!

December 19, 2013

Sideboard Daydreaming

Sideboard_Punt_SussexThe Punt Sussex Low Sideboard in blue, c. 2000, is my current lust. The design is inspired by the shingled, angled roof of an English cottage. It reminds me of sunny days at the beach. 

Never underestimate the potential power of storage furniture. Take the sideboard, or credenza if you must, a feat of form and function. It provides storage while offering a major feature piece for a space, it can anchor a room, and it will reveal much about its owner. I think opting for a sideboard in the first place, say over a hutch or cabinet which seem to be more traditional choices, reveals a love for design. It's really incredible how two or three boxes on a stand can be endlessly reinterpreted to provide a practical solution to clutter while dramatically enhancing the look and feel of a space.
 
Sideboards_Nest
 
The designs I've featured here are from Nest who have a selection of sideboards that make me tingly. (Yes, I get tingly for sideboards and I'm ok with that.) Right now I'm selling my huge, ornate French sideboard and hoping to replace it with something sleek and contemporary in the new year. Good design can be prohibitively expensive, particularly from the icon-producing brands. I'm eternally frustrated from finding interior pieces I want to live with forever but happen to be thousands of pounds - most of what you see here, remember this is daydreaming! (And you learn from the icons what makes good design, which helps you develop an eye and recognise desirable features in the lower-priced products). However, there is a lot of good design made with accessibility in mind, so much so that there is always something that will fit with what you're looking for and won't feel at all like a compromise. If you're also looking for value, have a browse of voucherbox.co.uk to find offers from UK furniture and homewares shops.  
 
Sideboard_Knoll

If you want to see more products that help you to organise and beautify your space, take a look at the favourites from my Houzz Ideabook Fabulously Decorative Storage.

November 25, 2013

Stockholm: Östermalm and the Waterfront, Part 2

TheSwelleLife_23 (1 of 1)

Carrying on from Part 1 with more scenes of the waterfront and the shopping area of Östermalm, we begin with shots taken from the river. I took my daughter to rent some peddle boats. After choosing one that was impossible to get away from the dock (brilliant!) we moved into one on the end and took off. I forgot how much work it is to get down the water in those things! 

TheSwelleLife_14 (1 of 1)

Once we cleared the bridge we came upon a huge park that we didn't get to see on foot but was certainly pretty enough from the water:

TheSwelleLife_16 (1 of 1)

There was a beautiful house in Scandinavian style, or maybe it was something else - I'll investigate the park more thoroughly next time I'm in Stockholm which will be in May.

TheSwelleLife_15 (1 of 1)

Kind of surreal was this gate that was attached to nothing!

TheSwelleLife_18 (1 of 1)

TheSwelleLife_20 (1 of 1)

TheSwelleLife_47 (1 of 1)-3

The entrance to the park was this beautiful electric blue and gold gate:

TheSwelleLife_22 (1 of 1)

I decided we should head back so we didn't go over our hour and have to pay another 200 krona (the equivalent of about £20), but when I turned us around we fell into difficulty. I couldn't steer us and we ended up alongside the rocky bank as if magnetised, and nothing I did to get us away worked. After a good 15 minutes and getting rather sweaty and angry trying I nearly lost my mind! I humbly apologise to Stockholm for the terrible words I called the boat and the rocks. The rocks were completely innocent in the matter, but I'm not so sure the boat was. I honestly thought we were stranded on the river. Still, it probably didn't deserve the Yngvie Malmsteen-esque fury I unleashed upon it. 

Somehow we got righted - the fury worked! - and made our way back to the dock with a few minutes to spare:

TheSwelleLife_22 (1 of 1)-2

TheSwelleLife_24 (1 of 1)

After that interesting outing we headed over the bridge and walked along the seafront toward the shopping district:

TheSwelleLife_25 (1 of 1)

There were lots of houseboats docked along the river:

TheSwelleLife_26 (1 of 1)

We had pistachio gelato on waffle cones and it was probably the best pistachio anything I've had: 

TheSwelleLife_27 (1 of 1)

TheSwelleLife_28 (1 of 1) TheSwelleLife_29 (1 of 1)

TheSwelleLife_30 (1 of 1) TheSwelleLife_31 (1 of 1)

Weeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

TheSwelleLife_33 (1 of 1)

 TheSwelleLife_35 (1 of 1)

Stockholm is a very clean city, so I found it funny that the one blatant piece of litter I did see in the Östermalm streets was an Ikea bag. I did not actually see an Ikea, however! 

TheSwelleLife_36 (1 of 1)

I loved the happy mailboxes all over Stockholm in light blue and yellow:

TheSwelleLife_38 (1 of 1) 

TheSwelleLife_42 (1 of 1)

The guys kind of do look like Alexander Skarsgard, in case you were wondering:

TheSwelleLife_43 (1 of 1)

TheSwelleLife_45 (1 of 1)

This was an ad on a bus, but I did wonder for a split second if it was a mobile Abba museum. It's Sweden, you never know! 

TheSwelleLife_46 (1 of 1)

Swedish girls watching the koi in the pond in the city centre:

TheSwelleLife_47 (1 of 1)-2

There was a marathon in Östermalm that day. If we didn't already get the impression that Swedes are supremely fit and healthy, this certainly demonstrated it. This was their home base where the runners wait to start the race. 

TheSwelleLife_48 (1 of 1)

This cutie wasn't concerned with the race and took a rest in the shade: 

TheSwelleLife_49 (1 of 1)

TheSwelleLife_51 (1 of 1)

I know it's immature, but the names of their chocolate bars were funny to me. I bought one each of Kex, Sport Lunch and Plopp for my daughter and had a bite, and have to admit that for cheap chocolate they weren't bad!

TheSwelleLife_52 (1 of 1)

Next is Marimekko, where we get to indulge in Finnish heritage prints and colour galore! (So not Swedish, but Scandinavian, and Marimekko has a great store in Ostermalm, so....)

Photos © The Swelle Life

FacebookTwitterRSS Feed

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe to The Swelle Life by Email

houzz interior design ideas

Shapewear Fashion

Harrods

NET-A-PORTER.COM The quintessential beauty edit.  The ultimate selection of beauty brands at your fingertips.  Shop now.

Cupcake Monday!

Interiors & Exteriors

Floral Friday

London Fashion Week

Fashion Illustrator Series

Artist Series

Paris & Cities

Painted Houses Project

Colour Colour 

Colour

Pretty


  • Creative Commons License