Monthly Archives: May 2012

Quirky Baby Blankets

A couple of friends are pregnant or just had babies so I’ve been looking out for baby presents that are a bit different. These baby blankets by Carousel Belle are gorgeous and not your average run-of-the-mill designs, I had some trouble choosing just one so here are a few of my favourites.

My hands-down favourite is this cowboy blanket. On one side is a soft cow hide design and the other is a print of cowboys rearing up on their horses, chatting on fences and doing other cowboys things.

Cowboy Western Baby Blanket - Carousel Belle

Know anyone due a baby in the moustache growing month of Movember? This blanket could be the perfect pressie, especially if Daddy-to-be is mustachioed for charity.

Moustache Baby Blanket - Carousel Belle

This vintage-style tattoo design is really pretty with the purple spotty fleece on the back.

Tattoo Baby Blanket - Carousel Belle

I just love the Frida Kahlo design.

Frida Kahlo Baby Blanket - Carousel Belle

If you like your baby blankets a little more traditional, the Red Riding Hood blanket is sweet in clashy pink and red.

Red Riding Hood Baby Blanket - Carousel Belle

I could carry on showing you these gorgeous blankets all day as there is such a choice, check out the lovely London design that would be great for a Jubilee baby and the slightly macabre Day of the Dead designs.

These are all under £20, which I think is a great price for such unique blankets. Which is your favourite?

P.S. Apologies for the big gap in blog posts recently, life took over a bit!

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Masquerade

Do you remember the book Masquerade by Kit Williams?

Masquerade - Kit Williams

Published in 1979 it gave clues to a buried treasure, a jewel encrusted hare in a ceramic pot apparently worth around £5000. If you’re interested to know how to solve the puzzle, Kit Williams published a follow-up book with the solution.

Many a morning I spent eating my Shreddies flicking through the pages of this wonderful book in the mid 1980s. Although the treasure had been found by then I marvelled at the illustrations and loved how the text framed the pictures, this book is probably responsible for my appreciation of typography.

The British Design 1948-2012: Innovation in the Modern Age exhibition at the V&A is displaying the golden hare jewel from Masquerade for the first time and available in the V&A Shop are these gorgeous hare stud earrings and ring.

Hare Stud Earrings - V&A ShopHare Ring - V&A ShopThey look less like the jewelled hare treasure and more like the beautiful illustrations of the hare. Which I think is the right way around. Both are available to pre-order at almost 1979 prices of £5 for the earrings and £6 for the ring.

The exhibition is running until 12th August 2012. Will you be making a trip to London to see the treasure?

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Crania Anatomica Filigre

The first I heard about 3D printing was when I read The Pirates Dilemma a few years ago. Now when I see something that has been 3D printed it makes me think back to it. If you’ve not come across the book, it’s an interesting read about youth culture, piracy and the challenges that businesses face dealing with piracy. In the book, 3D printing is shown as a possible way we could buy things online in the future to print off at home on our own 3D printers. Although we may not be at that point just yet, it is possible to buy 3D printed objects online and have them delivered.

I can’t take credit for finding this beautiful 3D printed filigree skull, I found it over on The Skull Illusion, where Violet Fenn collates post-mortem photographs from times gone by. The photographs are particularly from Victorian times, photography was so expensive that people often wouldn’t have any pictures of their loved ones and would take a photograph in death to preserve their memory. Violet describes her site like Marmite, in that people love it or hate it. Although I can’t stand Marmite, I think her site is incredibly interesting and touching.

Josh Harker 3D Printed Filligree Skull

The stunning Crania Anatomica Filigre is designed by fine artist Joshua Harker on paper and printed from a 3D printer. It is available in his online store in mini, small, medium and large from $50-$375 and in a choice of eight colours.

As you would expect, here it is in 3D:

I love the design and am hankering after a white one. Which colour would you get?

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I Did Ride My Bicycle

After thinking about it and finally signing up, on Sunday I was up with the lark to drive to Woburn Abbey to cycle with 600 other ladies at Cycletta. I was feeling a little nervous but it was bright and sunny and with my padded knickers and cycle helmet on I was ready to give it my best shot.

The atmosphere at the start line was fantastic, there was some group stretching and everyone was chattering. The woman next to me was doing the ride as part of her training to cycle to Lands End later in the year which is 300 miles over three days and certainly put my 60km goal in perspective…

As we headed off, the first 15km was much more hilly than I had expected from the flat course that had been described and I started to question whether I had bitten off more than I could chew as scores of women overtook me. But at the treat stop after the steepest hill, I was relieved to hear that was the worst of the hills over with.

The scenery was breathtaking, the yellow rapeseed fields were glowing in the sun and contrasting beautifully with the lush greenery courtesy of the recent rain. On the flatter sections of the course I was able to look around and really enjoy it. There was a nice sense of camaraderie with women shouting ‘Pothole!’ to warn those behind them, ‘Treat stop in 100m!’ to keep everyone going and ‘Coming past on your right!’ to let you know they were there.

As I began my second lap of the course at around 32km there wasn’t another cyclist in sight. Just when I had convinced myself I’d gone the wrong way I would see one of the friendly marshalls or one of the motorcycle ride rescue crew, so I was left thinking that all the other cyclists had finished. I had expected to finish last so I wasn’t too upset, I was just hoping that they hadn’t packed up the finish line by the time I got there.

Then about 15km before the end I started catching up and even overtaking a few ladies and when I stopped to grab some water and a Jaffa Cake 13km before the end, I saw loads of women catching their breath at the treat stop. It was all the motivation I needed to hop back on my bike and carry on.

When I got to the finish line and saw my husband and daughter cheering, and the look of surprise on their faces that I wasn’t pushing my bike, I felt elated.

My Cycletta Medal

I finished the 60km course in three hours and twenty-six minutes which is by no means fast, but I came in 52nd place out of 76 cyclists. I’m so pleased I cycled all the way, as I’ve mentioned before I’m not naturally the sportiest of people and I’ve never spent three and a half hours doing anything physical in my life (barely even in labour).

Now my knees have almost stopped aching I’m hankering to sign up for another Cycletta ride this year.

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Mr Wild Owl Stool

There are loads of owl homewares about, be they lamps, vases, cushions or chalkboards. I hadn’t found myself particularly hankering after them, but ever since I saw Mr Wild Owl from Graham and Green I want them all.

Mr Wild Owl Stool - Graham & Green

At almost half a metre high, he’s ceramic and his flat head can be used to sit on or to put things on. I’m thinking a pair of bedside tables or one as a stool in front of a dressing table maybe.

You won’t get much change from £100 but I think he’s gorgeous. Do you like him?

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Saddlebags

For my Cycletta ride on Sunday I have a list of things I want to take with me and want a bag that I can hang on my bike rather than on my back. I never thought I’d want more saddlebags, I’ve carried a pair on my hips since I reached adulthood. But with the exercise I’ve done over the last six months hopefully I can start to minimise my physical ones and just have them on my bike.

I found them surprisingly expensive and a lot are pretty ugly too, but here is a beautiful one to start with.

Chritina Hamilton Bike Bag

Designed by trained saddler Christina Hamilton who qualified from the London College of Fashion earlier this year, this stunning design is from her final project. I am hankering after one so much. Christina won the Leathersellers’ Company Business Start Up Award and is setting up her own business so if anyone knows when and where they are available to buy, please let me know!

So until I can buy one of those, here are some other nice-looking ones.

This 1940s style pannier from Cyclechic looks just as good off the bike as on. It’s made from water-resistant woven pine and is £55.

Bobbin Bicycle Pannier - Cyclechic

This pannier inspired by vintage boat bags is so enormous I bet it would hold everything you could ever need. It also has a padlock so you can secure it to your bike. It converts to a shoulder bag and is made from waxed canvas in three colourways, at £44.99 it is also from Cyclechic.

Linus Sac pannier Beige - Cyclechic

The Liv Classic Large Handlebar Bag is made by bike brand Giant. It fits on the front under the handlebars which means you can keep an eye on it when you’re riding through town and it transfers to a handbag with a shoulder strap for when you’re on foot. I’m assuming it isn’t waterproof though as it comes with a raincover. The retail price is £44.99 but Wheelies are selling it for £40.49. It also comes in a dark green canvas with dark brown artificial leather trim and in a medium size.

Giant Liv Classic Large Handle Bar Bag

Finally this shiny red handlebar bag from Cyclodelic is waterproof and coverts to a nice little clutch bag. It is handmade in London and costs £69.

Handlebar Bag Red - Cyclodelic

I was tempted by a basket but I think they’re too twee even for me.

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A Ride With Valentine

It is only a few days now until I take part in the Cycletta ride in Bedfordshire and I’ve done a fair bit of cycling to prepare myself for the 60km route. My husband has been fantastic and has been out on every ride with me. We managed to clock up 34km on Sunday and he even picked me up and put my chain back on when I fell off. I’m still not a natural cyclist…

When I saw these A Ride With Valentine brooches they seemed to sum up my last few weeks cycling around with the man I love.

A Ride With Valentine Pin White - The Mesh

The white brooch is £16.52 and the red brooch is £12.39 and are unique pieces by The Mesh. I love the contrast of the little figurines with their lasercut surround.

A Ride With Valentine Pin Red - The Mesh

If you’d like to help me raise money for Tommy’s, the baby charity, please click over to my Just Giving page.

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My Favourite Things

What do you do with your favourite things? Do you display them in cabinets, shelves or on mantlepieces? I have a couple of favourite things under a bell jar in my hall.

But now I’m hankering after this pendant-lamp-come-illuminated-display-case that is especially made to show off your favourite things.

It’s a pretty good-looking lamp.

Favourite Things Pendant Lamp White - Cow & Co.

But when you put a favourite thing inside it is transformed.

Favourite Things Pendant Lamp Black - Cow & Co.

It’s available in white, black and mustard.

I think it would look great hung  low over a dining table as a talking point.

At £235 each from Cow & Co one would be a favourite thing in its own right.

What would you display in it?

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Mr Wolf & the Triangles

I am partial to a bit of Art Deco and this Art Deco inspired necklace by Rebecca Boatfield is no exception.

Gold Mirrored Triangle Necklace - Rebecca Boatfield

The unusual shape of it, the gold mirrored perspex and the etched triangles all make it really special but it’s still affordable at £60. There is also a beautiful cherry wood version at £65.

Cherry Wood Triangle Necklace - Rebecca Boatfield

Rebecca also does this Mr Wolf necklace at £48 and a mirrored brooch version of the same design.

Mr Wolf Necklace - Rebecca Boatfield

Which would you get?

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Lydia Meiying’s Circus

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls please take your seats, Lydia Meiying‘s Circus is about to begin…

Da da dadadada da da da da, da da dadadada da da da da…

Our first performer for your entertainment is the Strongman, prepare to be amazed by his superhuman strength!Lydia Meiying, Strongman - Envelop

Watch the Lion Tamer turn this ferocious lion into a purring pussy cat.

Lydia Meiying, Lion Tamer - EnvelopHow many Hula Hoops can this pretty girl keep up? Watch and see!

Lydia Meiying, Hula Hoop - EnvelopPlease give a round of applause for the Performing Seal and he will clap back!

Lydia Meiying, Performing Seal - EvnvelopHere is the full cast of entertainers around the back.

Lydia Meiying, Circus Cushion Backs - EnvelopAll the circus cushion covers are available in three sizes at €19.99, €22.99 and €24.99 with free shipping worldwide. There are also placemats and oven gloves in the same design.

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