Art Amateur…

I love art. Despite that, many of the walls in our home are still blank, simply out of my inability to pull the plug and purchase something to decorate them with. I hope in future we will have some spare cash to invest in beautiful limited editions or even some original prints and that stops me spending money on lovely prints now sometimes, despite there being so many out there.

‘You are my Happiness’ – Yvonne Coomber

When we renovated the lounge we really had a mind-block about what to put on the walls. It’s not a casual room, although the curtains keep it a bit less formal, (as do the constantly scattered toys on the floor nowadays!) so my usual choice of fun prints wasn’t quite right and my go to for simpler rooms of photographic prints or black and white prints wasn’t right in a room with so much colour.

For my birthday Pete bought me this Yvonne Coomber Limited edition print and it’s absolutely perfect for the space. We discovered her work at the Scarlet Hotel in Cornwall on our first anniversary and have many a time considered splashing out on an original. The prices have doubled since we started looking at them and realistically we’re not yet at the stage we should spend the money on one anyway, so I was thrilled with this. For all the reasons above, I never would have bought it myself, but it’s made me realise we should have done it sooner!

It made me wonder, have you ever spent a bit more on a piece of special art? Or if you haven’t is there something you always wish you had bought or would like to in future?


Found: Hannah Carding Prints

We went to visit friends in Bristol this weekend and my friend Caroline (who has excellent taste in art,) had just bought three prints which I was really taken with. The colours were so vibrant in real life and a little quirky.

It turned out they were by a friend of hers, Hannah Carding, and available on Etsy.

Fun fact of the day: The collective noun for a group of ladybirds is a ‘loveliness’.

How’s that for a lovely start to the week?


PS I like the tea towels too…

Found: Dot & Fox Print shop

Today it’s just a brief post to share a fab find I made over the weekend, Dot & Fox Print Shop. Set up by Joanna Brown, the shop is named after her son Beau Fox, (born shortly before Bea) and Dot, the daughter she sadly lost in pregnancy. The prints in the shop were taken as she walked in her local area following that loss, then the shop set up while she was on bed rest awaiting Beau. Although I follow Joanna on Instagram I didn’t know about her shop and so when I stumbled across it at the weekend I had to share it with you all. I’m always looking for prints for our house and am currently obsessed with photographic art so these are right up my street.

BOOM Neon pink A3 print

I can just imagine this huge neon print in our bedroom, and I LOVE this A1 giant print inside what looks like a botanic gardens glasshouse.

Urban Jungle A1 print

These two are particularly beautiful, almost like still life oil paintings, there’s so much texture…

Don’t tell the others but you are my favourite‘ and ‘Oh so quiet‘ Ltd edition prints.

I hope you like them readers – Joanna also donates 5% to Tommys charity for every print sold if you are interested. It’s always a bonus to support a good cause whilst shopping 😉 Do click over to the Dot & Fox Print Shop and have a look around – these are just my favourites.


Girl About Town: The Hayward Light Show

This is the final post before the Easter break so I just wanted to pop on and say Happy Easter everybody! I’m heading home with Pete to spend time with family, planning an overnight getaway and culture filled day in Liverpool, some baking projects and downtime, to recharge before April arrives. I hope you all have a relaxing and fun-filled few days with people you love. xo

I can’t do art galleries. While others can look, feel and appreciate the skill and visuals, if it’s not “pretty” to look at, functional or historical then I just don’t get it. My brain isn’t wired that way. I’m always looking for an answer in amongst those little coloured dots, a hidden message in those scribbles. The solution to a centuries-old puzzle in a room full of butterflies or conveyed to us via the medium of oil paint… yeah, yeah, I know, I read too much Dan Brown when I should have been writing my dissertation and I regularly forget that I don’t live in a world of Horcruxes and Beedle the Bard.

Basically, unless there’s a curator there to talk me through it, art just stresses my puny brain out.

But, enough about my uncultured soul. Shall I tell you what I do like?


Nothing pleases my eye, my brain and my soul more than light! Soft light in my lounge for sofa snuggling, bright light over my front door to feel safe on arrival at home, daylight for wide-awakeness in the morning (and for doing make up) in my bedroom. Christmas lights, neon lights, festival lights, runway lights as you come in to land over your home city. You can keep your Caribbean beach scenery, rolling hills around the Med, the African bush, the Aussie outback and Santorinian calderas… nothing makes me catch my breath like a cityscape seen from on high, blinking to life as the sun sets and a galaxy of twinkles emerges to mirror the stars above (that we so rarely see these days)… sigh.

Nature’s great, but for me, a surge of electricity pulsing a current through wire filament in a gas-filled glass tube is better!

Sorry. I’m a philistine.

To that end, when I saw the exhibition Light Show advertised at the Hayward Gallery I thought it would make a good Mother’s Day present/activity from me and my Baby Bro. I then also realised that my father, who has worked with lighting for years, might also be interested in attending (d’oh!), so I booked tickets for the four of us and set about planning our family day out.

The exhibition starts off with, what is in my opinion, the most amazing piece of the show, Cylinder II by Leo Villareal. It was transfixing. I could have stood there for hours to watch it rise and fall, glitter and sparkle, pulse and oscillate, as patterns of light were born and died in front of my eyes. Each a unique pattern, never to be seen again. I didn’t want to look away in case I missed something even more amazing. Sadly, photography isn’t allowed, but then again, no iPhone snap would do it justice. If I one day won the lottery I would have one of these installed in my dining room.

From there the installations varied from tiny motorised sculptures to large interactive exhibits and whole rooms where you can even become part of the Light Show yourself, my favourite being You and I , Horizontal (ooo eer!) by Anthony McCall. Along the way I found not just examples of aesthetically pleasing light-art, but also instances of mesmerizingly-good scientific/mathematical calculations masquerading as art, as demonstrated in Jim Campbell‘s Exploded View (Commuters). Some items were funny, particularly Throw by Ceal Floyer which actually made me chuckle to myself, some made me feel (inexplicably) a bit sad, like Lamentable by Francois Morellet, while others were just a bit dull (naming no names!). It all adds to the variety.

I really enjoyed the Chromosaturation rooms by Carlos Cruz Diez which highlighted to our little group the amazing effect light and colour has on us as human beings, not just on our bodies, but on our moods and our interactions with those around us.

I’d also like to say a special thank you to Ivan Navarro for his Reality Show which caused me great embarrassment as I attempted to recreate Justin Timberlake’s Rock Your Body video, forgetting I was “hidden” behind one-way glass! You can take the girl out of Essex…

If you’re in the area, I’d highly recommend it popping in for an hour or two. You can buy tickets here and can download an exhibition guide in advance for swotting up on your installation art here.

I’d also like to point out that we visited at around midday on a Saturday, and it surprised me there were a lot of children in attendance. It hadn’t occurred to me that it would be something that would appeal to those of a young age, being as it’s a gallery and there’s no touching/running/talking/fun allowed etc, but watching the kids interact with the exhibits and squeal with delight as they saw the effect they could have on the light made me realise that it’s actually a good place to take children – so if you’re holding back because of little ones, don’t! Equally, if you don’t like your outings kid-free, go at non-child-friendly times so as not to ruin your enjoyment of the lights!

So, after all this arty-farty ness, I’m feeling pumped for more gallery visits. Does anyone have any recommendations?


PS! Find Victoria over on her blog Sugar Plum Slipper or on twitter @VictoriaHale.

Monday Must Have: Paperfashion

Image: Emerald Beauty by PaperFashion

At the moment, I’m in the process of updating our hanging decor – I’m looking for prints and images to update various spaces around our home. The two priorities are our bedroom and living room. Where we once had quite a retro industrial feel to the images, with photos of salvaged objects and archival drawings of butterflies, I’m feeling the need to change things up and moving towards more use of colour. In our bedroom I’d like some more feminine images with fashion illustrations and watercolours and one of my favourite illustrators is Katie Rodgers of PaperFashion so I thought I would share her work with you today.

The other reason for choosing this particular image is that this week, I’m following a bit of a theme for Florence Finds. Every year, Pantone announces a ‘colour of the year’ and this year it is Emerald. I have to say, although in design circles the announcement is thought to be very influential, I have been following the choices for the last couple of years and have never noticed them spark a huge trend. This year is no exception, however it has stolen my heart completely. I realised that I wear quite a bit of emerald green and am drawn to striking interiors where it is the main colour. So this week I’m going to share some Emerald (or just green) fashion choices, how I wear it, and how to decorate with it. I hope you like it. 🙂

Happy Monday readers!


PS! If you like Katie’s illustrations you can buy them here in the PaperFashion shop. Shipping from the US is only $6 🙂

Desperate Artwives

I wanted to take a moment this lunchtime to introduce to you a lovely concept which, when it was sent to me by Elisabetta, really struck a chord.

*’Convolution’ by Juliet Guiness

Desperate Artwives is a collective of artists who put their creative talents to one side in order to meet their family’s needs as mothers and wives, or simply to seek alternative employment and make ends meet. Started by Amy Dignam, a Central St Martins graduate and conceptual artist who did just that, they are now looking for women who are also ‘ready to reclaim our artist status…to join our group.’

*’Barefoot on Beach’ by Karen Nelson

Desperate Artwives aims to be a starting point and a common platform to gather artists and artwork that will make our project unique. We are looking for work that is entirely created at home, in between chores, family and paying bills.

*by Louise Nevett

If you think you might be interested in joining the group, please email images of your work and an artistic statement to You can also check out the Facebook page or tweet them @artwives.

The pieces will initially only be displayed online but Amy is planning an exhibition of select artworks which may be available for sale, so watch this space!

Good luck to Amy and all of the Desperate Artwives 🙂


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