Five minutes with…

Gail Myerscough of seventyseventyone design
This talented designer/maker from Lancashire creates sculptural fashion accessories from wool mix felt in an array of eye-popping colours. Her inspiration comes from 60s and 70s designs and colours, in particular 1960s Scandinavian ceramics and fabrics and mid century design. She is also one of the funniest and most down to earth people I’ve met!

1) Sum up yourself in five words.

Creative, hopeful, honest, funny, individual.
2) Describe your place of work.
Cramped, organised chaos.
3) Early bird or night owl?
Neither. I love to sleep. I’m famed for my ability to sleep anywhere!
4) What music are you listening to most right now?
Gonjasufi, Gruff Rhys and Aloe Blacc at the moment. I have phases where I’ll play something to death. I love music especially folk, psychedelic, 60s garage, reggae and northern soul. I can’t work without music so Spotify is invaluable. 
5) What are you most of proud of?
As far as my work goes it would be exhibiting my work at the British Craft Trade Fair and the positive reactions that people have had to my work. 
6) Coffee or tea?
Tea all the way. I’m happy with a brew in my hand. Brick red, no sugar if you’re putting the kettle on. 
7) Who’s your hero and why?
I admire lots of people for their creativity, individuality and integrity but I don’t have a hero.
8) Favourite book/film?
Book would be The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I read a lot and could name so many more.
Film would be Withnail & I. 
9) Tell us one surprising fact about yourself
I can use my toes like fingers and pick things up with them!
10) What’s the dream?
For seventyseventyone design to be successful enough to be my main job.  
For more news and general brilliance from this designer be sure to check out Gail’s blog
Stay tuned for the next Five minutes with…  coming soon!


Interview with yours truly

Just a quick post to give a little toot on my own trumpet and let you know that I’ve been interviewed by UK Handmade. This brilliant online magazine is a great resource for everything that’s going on in the handmade scene and I am now an official member of the editorial team!
So if you’d like to find out a bit more about my career and why I love handmade among other things, please go and have a read here
PS Dont forget my gorgeous giveaway featuring From the Wilde. You can still enter here


Cheapskate flowers #2

Forget-me-nots are sooo pretty aren’t they? That perfect delicate shade of blue and the tiny contrasting dot of yellow at the centre. But they are in fact, shock horror, a weed! This brings to mind that scene from the cartoon version of Alice in Wonderland when the bitchy flowers are sniping at the Dandelion. Who cares, a weed is just a flower by any other name really!
Anyway I came across a load of Forget-me-nots growing wildly across the wasteland of a car park at the weekend and decided to pull up a couple of good handfuls by the root to re-plant in our garden. They’re really good self-seeders you see and I want to introduce some nice spring-like wild flowers. I saved a couple of stems to bring indoors and cheer up my bedside table. 
What do you think?


A Week in the Life

So that was the week we went to Whitby. Okay technically it was last week (but we were still there on Monday so that’s why I’m blogging about it now – that, and the fact that I really wish we had been there all this week.) 
I’ve officially fallen in love with Whitby all over again. My mum and dad used to have a caravan permanently stationed on a site near Whitby and so I spent many a long weekend there. At the time I probably didn’t appreciate peering in shops at jewellery made from Jet or making the pilgrimage to the kipper shop. I was far more keen on securing my next ice cream and trying to drag my ageing parents up the 199 steps to see if this might be the time I could spot Dracula’s grave.
The photo above could have been taken about thirty years ago, save for the fact that the cars are a bit different and the blond haired kid isn’t me, it’s my son Charlie. But everything else seemed so familiar and evocative of my childhood holidays, I had quite a flood of nostalgia I don’t mind telling you.
Whitby is even better than I remember. I’m not sure how it’s changed (maybe a little more eclectic or cultured slightly) or is it just me that’s grown to appreciate these things more? Let’s be honest, I don’t need much persuading to dawdle up and down cobbled streets looking in lovely shops and scoffing fish & chips these days. And, oh how I did!
Ho ho ho!
And then we did a coastal walk, to blow the cobwebs away and breathe in that sea air! Is it just me, or does a wild and rugged coastline bring out the inner Enid Blyton character in you? Not even a little bit?
The mister wore his weather t-shirt. Most of the time it was an accurate reflection, although Sunday was a scorcher so we headed down to Sand’s End to play at the beach.
As I am one to do, I also spent a lot of time supping the drink that cheers but does not inebriate.

One of the best places to do this is Marie Antoinette’s tea room, where the family left me in peace for a blissful half hour and ‘let me eat cake’ (geddit).

 It has to be said, it was the BEST lemon drizzle cake I have ever tasted (and I’ve had a few in my time). The place is also decked out in a cute, chintzy fashion spread across several floors. Look what I found on the first floor – a lovely little collection of teapots, which rounded off things nicely!
What are your favourite things to see and do in Whitby? I am already planning my next visit so please let me know if I’ve missed anything essential.


Retro holiday

For me, part of a good holiday is staying in a nice hotel or B&B that offers a real experience in the way that it has been designed and furnished. Obviously comfy beds and mod cons (or as Blackadder would have it ‘soft tucker, tasty beds’) are very important too. But it’s lovely to have a break from the same four walls of your own place and be inspired by the decor around you (at least until the kids wake up).

A friend of mine recently suggested somewhere to me that definitely ticks these boxes. The Garden House Studio is a small, self-contained holiday let based in Lyme Regis on the Dorset coast, which has been lovingly furnished in the mid-century style, beloved of the owners. In fact they love seeking out design classics so much, they operate a ‘try and buy’ service where you can purchase some pieces for yourself! See anything you fancy?