Monday, 27 March 2017

The Blogger Addict | Ten creative lifestyle bloggers to add to your bloglovin'




There's nothing better than discovering new bloggers in the world, especially when they fit in with your own graphic design and illustrative vibe. We all love a spot of design inspiration and new discoveries, don't we? It took me quite a while to find others doing this very special thang, but once I found one, others came shining through within the community. 

In my opinion, the creative lifestyle bloggers are some of the most unique voices in the industry. They rule the roost when it comes to uncovering new talent, finding the best independents and creating beautiful visuals to accompany their blog posts. Most of them are pretty wacky too. It's a lot of work on their part, but boy do these guys have a continual stream of creative juice. I've picked ten of my favourites below. Add 'em to your bloglovin' and show them some love. 

P.S Forgive the photo of me above, but I'd also like to think that I'm worth a follow too so I thought I'd smack myself at the top of the page - promise I'm more modest in real life. 


Natasha Nuttall // Graphique Fantastique

I know I bang on about Miss Nuttall all the time, but this lass is so good that I had no choice but to include her. Graphique Fantastique started while Natasha was at Lincoln University and has grown with her, from her struggle to get a job after graduation to her freelance work now. The blog culminates a mixture of graphic design, interiors with a design twist and fashion with geometric elements - a graphique view of the world if you'd like a brief descriptive sentence. If you're into honest, thoughtful and engaging words, accompanied by hand-drawn illustrations and the occasional vlog, this is the blog for you. 



Emily Beeson // Young Gold Teeth

When I first discovered YGT, I jumped with joy at the editorial style and refreshing content. Founder, Emily Beeson has a way with words, a ton of experience and a very strong design eye when it comes to selecting artists and designers to feature. Emily constantly focuses on the true narrative of a brand, bringing their story to light and backing them wholeheartedly. Her own tagline reads 'celebrating creative lifestyles' and that's exactly what you can expect from a ten-minute read of Young Gold Teeth - engaging, exciting and uplifting text with beautiful imagery to accompany. 



Fab // Snail Mail Love

Fab of Snail Mail Love embraces a slow creative lifestyle, championing stationery and a good old fashioned celebration of traditional letter writing. Her beautiful illustrations accompany her posts and you can expect to find her latest notebook finds, discovered greeting card brands or tips and tricks for making the most out of your letter writing. This is a blog with a unique niche and a lovely lady behind it - get inspired to create and take on Fab's original ideas. Penpals NEVER get old, believe me. 



Ella // Ella Masters

Ella Masters - whatta babe! While this lady is smokin', she's also one of the most open and honest bloggers I know, constantly addressing real life problems and helping others along the way. Her blog is a mixture of her daily life as an illustrator, her style and her London adventures - the perfect culmination of everything creative. Everyday is different over on Ella's blog. Expect to find her latest artwork, latest purchases or a heartwarming open letter about the struggles of being a creative in a big city. Her words read just like a journal, one of the beautiful things about blogging fo' sure.


Uli Schulz // Found Some Paper

While Found Some Paper might be on a little bit of a back burner this year (due to another very exciting botanical project), there's still plenty of talent to discover within the archives of the blogroll. Founder Uli takes hard-working to another level with her business savvy and extensive set of marketing and creative skills. You can follow her journey as a freelancer, picking up real-life tips here and there, while also immersing yourself in the artists and designers she meets on the way.


Zabby // Zabby Allen

Just like the above photo suggests, Zabby is like a little ray of sunshine in the blogging world, sharing colourful photos and amazing doodles on a daily basis. Her blog showcases here unique illustrative process as well as those that inspire her - you'd be mad not to check out her series with designers and their pets - now that's my kinda series, plus her pooch George is a serious cutie. Zabby's blog is also the place for DIYs and free downloadables, so don't be shy and go say hi!



Laura Redburn // Cardboard Cities

Laura shares snippets of her daily life as an illustrator as well as beautiful visuals of her journey whether that be on a walk, in her home or via a sketchbook. Cardboard Cities regularly features her collages, her work for other bloggers and the occasional fashion and home decor post too - all with a geometric and pretty pastel vibe of course! Note: her Sunday links blog post is a rather great round-up of the internet, so get following!

cardboardcities.co.uk
@cardboardcities



Lauren Alexa // Naked Fashions

While Lauren may not describe herself as a creative lifestyle blogger directly, I feel like her blog is firmly going more and more down this route with cute illustrations and animations becoming the focus of her posts and her newly opened shop. I love a site that combines creativity with culture in a casual and cool way - Naked Fashions is exactly that and shows that there is more to us creative lot than just a little bit of craft and a hefty stationery obsession (while of course that is also very important). Empowering, full of real-life and a pretty insane ever-changing wishlist, Naked Fashions is fast becoming one of my favourite pitstops.

nakedfashions.com
@itslaurenalexa


Verity Inett // Inspire and Enjoy

Not only is Verity an extremely talented writer (for the likes of The Holborn and 91 Magazine), she's also an extremely big supporter of the designer-maker industry and has been known to spend her weekends on a market stall or two. While juggling her job as a full-time teacher with her wisdom for words, Verity also manages to write a gorgeous blog that really focuses on independents and which she describes as 'inspiration for an independent life'. I've been known to get lost in her 'top ten' posts and I'm sure you'll be taking out your wallet in no time too...



Lizzie Evans // The Smuggler

I love a good business blog and Lizzie Evans of Smug gets it exactly right when putting a fact to her brand and showing off the incredible designers of her Islington-based creative lifestyle store. In The Smuggler, Lizzie shares her own behind the scenes design process, DIY's and some of her design favourites. It's easily digestible and not updated too frequently, perfect for those who find it hard to keep up with the blogging world but like a chunk of well-written design every so often, with the chance to shop most things directly from the shop too!
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Sunday, 19 March 2017

The Travel Guide | Creative tips for Marrakech



One hour after arriving in Marrakech, I wasn't quite sure what I was in for. Three passport control officers slowly typing in a planes worth of passengers passport details along with a the tiniest handwritten landing cards. A culture shock to say the the least. Say 'Au Revoir' to those nifty machines that never read your passport properly and piss you right off at Gatwick. God, I would have given anything for those machines when waiting to discover this land of colour. 

But where the Moroccans lack in technology, they certainly make up for in design. A beautifully tiled airport interior with dazzling spherical ceiling lights and a laser-cut-esque golden wrap around the exterior architecture. A stunning entrance to a stunning city, where new meets old and the locals generally embrace the change, with every taxi driver boasting of their new and improved airport. 


And it doesn't end there. Perhaps this reconfigured airport is the perfect encapsulation for this ever-changing landscape, where contemporary and traditional boundaries are merging and a highly engaged youth culture is bringing a new art scene to life. The support amongst these young creatives and businessmen is insane and after a small chat with just one, you'll end up with a list of places as long as your arm to visit, all just as good as the last. I've listed my favourite places to go below as well as some top tips for travellers (it's not the easiest city to work), keep on reading babin' babes! 

TO STAY:




Riad Rose Meryam


I searched long and hard for a traditional riad in the city and quite frankly I found the search tiresome until Riad Rose Meryam came along. I found that many looked too Western and bland, not quite the tiled floor and wall combination I was after - there are some Moroccan traditions that just shouldn't change after all. With its beautiful patterned ceramic walls and colourful decoration, Rose Meryam had me at hello (sometimes you have to look beyond amateur photography) and from the incredible reviews, I knew that we would be in for a real Moroccan experience. 

The immediate welcome with mint tea and mama's homemade Moroccan sweets confirmed this and a delightful chat with the family siblings, Mohamed and Zineb, about places to visit probably made our trip what it was - perhaps you have them to thank for this guide instead. 

Spacious rooms, dreamy bathrooms and tile envy all around, the abode is humble but amazing for the price, and you get the feeling that you're supporting real locals as opposed to property developers who don't really care. Zinebs's two year old son roams cheekily around the riad, bringing a smile to everyone's face and essentially making it feel even more of a home. We couldn't have felt any more a part of the Rose Meryam family, from the incredible breakfasts on the terrace to the afternoon play sessions with Amir, it really was a pleasure and I wholeheartedly recommend this as a place to stay on your next visit. 

1 Derb Sidi M'barek, Quartier Sidi Mimoun, 40000 Marrakech, Morocco 

Top Tip: If 5am wake-up calls aren't your thing, bring along some ear plugs. Marrakech citizens mainly abide by Islam so a call to prayer at sunrise is standard procedure. Nobody likes to wake up to, what sounds like, a man singing in their bedroom on their first morning, although actually I found it quite soothing by the third day! 

TO DO:




Jardin Majorelle


Jardin Majorelle is a must visit for anyone with a love of fashion, colour, nature, anything within the creative realm. The gardens were one of the most inspiring and serene places I've ever had the pleasure of experiencing and we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day to hang amongst the greenery and snap portraits against the bright, bold hues of Yves Saint Laurent's Moroccan abode.

With over twelve acres of botanical goodness, the site was originally owned by expatriate French artist Jacques Majorelle in the 1920s and 1930s. He is actually the man behind Majorelle Blue, as the colour is used so extensively within the gardens. Saint Laurent was so inspired by the gardens that he brought them back to life in the 80's and spent a lot of time working and relaxing within the grounds. His work now takes pride of place in the gallery areas, accompanying an incredible Berber museum and a peaceful looking cafe. Arrive early to avoid queues and wear your best outfit for this picturesque setting - there are certainly plenty of photo opportunities. 

Rue Yves Saint Laurent، Marrakesh 40090, Morocco 




The Souks


While some may say the souks are for shopping, this visual sensation was more of a source of Marrakech culture to me, one with an added bonus of very pretty interior items. You all know how I like to get lost and ultimately you can't enter the souks without doing so. Like a maze with no central location, you go in one end and find yourself on the other side three hours later, or just exactly where you started with no sense of direction at all. Glimmering lampshades, colourful ceramics and traditional tea sets line the medina and whistling, cat calling and grabbing is all but common, you just have to take it with jest and appreciate the cultures are vastly different. I'm not saying accept it, but ultimately you'll get tired of answering back just ten metres in.

One of the main things you'll be warned about before visiting Marrakech is the abundance of sellers just waiting to hustle you. While I appreciate the importance of staying weary, just politely decline any advances and never assume that someone isn't just being friendly. Many Moroccans are just looking to practise their English. My advice is to put aside the fret and go with the flow. Yes, you're likely to be ripped off at some point but will it be the end of the world? No. You'll only ever pay what you genuinely think something is worth and while that may be double what you find it for somewhere else, that haggling story will always stay in your heart. 

One of our best experiences within the souks was being taken from stall to stall, almost certainly being hustled, resulting in a private tour of the dyers market, some humorous dressing up and some incredible storytelling. It probably cost us £30 worth of objects in the end, but we had a laugh and we'll remember it forever, especially when looking at our handcrafted overpriced wares in our abode. 

Enter via Jeema el-Fnaa, Derb Chtouka, Marrakesh 40008, Morocco 

Top Tip: When haggling, mark down the market traders price by 60% and if you're not sure walk away. They will ALWAYS lower the price if they are being genuine. They will not let you walk away. 


David Bloch Gallery


David Bloch Gallery is like a taste of London within the new area of Marrakech. Completely different from its souvenir counterparts (and the Starbucks around the corner), this Gallery pays homage to contemporary design and the freshest artists in the land. I heard down the grapevine that they are also involved with lots of the street art commissions in the area. 

Open since 2010, the gallery offers a well-rounded baseline catalog of several dozen artists, both international and Moroccan, emerging and established. Post-graffiti, Conceptual and Optical Art all feature firmly throughout the year and each visit could potentially be very, very different! Well worth a trip for some contrast to a 'standard' Moroccan trip.

Rue des Vieux Marrakechis, Marrakech, Morocco

TO EAT / CHILL:


Le Jardin


A stand-out place to eat for me was Le Jardin. We nearly didn't make it for fear of getting lost in the souks on the way but miraculously another recommendation didn't quite take our fancy on arrival, and we decided the brave the winding roads in search of the green walls of Le Jardin. And green it certainly was. Botanical hues make up this rather special three-floored restaurant with greenery all around, complete with birds and a friendly resident tortoise. The interior was soothing and refreshing, as was the fresh juice and iced coffee served to us. Boy is the coffee good in Marrakech! The menu is fairly contemporary with a Moroccan twist, as are all of the restaurants in this small creative chain (keep readin' below).

I tucked into a fresh tuna Niçoise salad while the boy chowed down on a cheesy quiche concoction and some very salty chips (the really good kind). There was plenty of the more common Moroccan cuisine though with tagines and couscous a staple dish on the menu. Le Jardin is extremely vegetarian / pescatarian friendly, a very good pick for those that can't quite brave some of the more traditional restaurants for fear of simply having the meat picked out of their dish! 

32 Souk Jeld Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakesh 40000, Morocco 



Nomad


Nomad is a pretty special dinner retreat in the heart of the Medina. We lucked out on a walk-in spot just before sunset but I would recommend booking ahead as it does get very busy around this time. Nestled into our very own private terrace area, we watched the hive of activity in souks below, listened to the call to prayer echoing around us and dined on another tasty meal of contemporary Moroccan grub. The traditional tagine was mourish and full of flavour while the goats cheese pastella to start was spicy, with a little bit of crunch and a whole lotta goats cheese. 

Upon entry you're greeted with a magically modern tiled workspace and this fresh interior continues throughout, with a few old school additions too. Glowing lanterns sway in the warm breeze and create a magical and thoroughly more expensive atmosphere. Note that all of my restaurant recommendations are extremely well priced for the food, service and ambience on offer.

1 DERB AARJAN,RAHBA LAKDIMA، Marrakech 40000, Morocco



Café des épices


Café des épices is another sister restaurant to Nomad and Le Jardin, so we knew it would be good from the get go. I'd describe this as more of a breakfast or lunch spot, with its relaxed atmosphere and easy going interior. While there is again an amazing rooftop (it's just across he road from Nomad), I'd advise settling down in the ground floor sun and people watching the visitors to the market, the stall holders and the local regulars that seem to regularly partake in creative meetings here. 

We didn't eat here but the food looked great and very reasonably priced so I'd definitely try it on a return visit. This is the spot for a freshly squeezed orange juice or delicious mint tea, the perfect accompaniment to some morning sunbathing while taking in the sights and sounds of the souks. 

Derb Rahba Lakdima, Marrakech, Morocco


Le Grande Cafe de la Poste


We were recommended Le Grande Cafe de la Poste as a place to hit up when in the new town, even if just for a quick iced coffee. It's a little more of an expensive treat (still standard London prices) but the luxe decor and effortlessly cool clientele make it quite the hot spot for a lunch trip. 

French influences run strong in this restaurant so don't expect a traditional meal, rather one that you might find in the bistros of Paris. The boy swears down that he had the best calamari of his life, while I enjoyed a Camembert creation, all accompanied by lashings of bread. Try this as a special date night treat or if you're celebrating, you'll be made to feel like gold.

Avenue Imam Malik, Marrakech 40000, Morocco

TO SHOP:



Max & Jan


I'm not sure that shops are really destinations as such, as they're so hard to find, but Max & Jan is totally one I'd try to seek out, especially if you're nearby at Le Jardin. Nestled in the souks, this is a shop with actual selection and pricing and you just know upon entry that the curation has been carefully considered. 

From contemporary ceramics, to eclectic fashion and all of the incredible homeware choice, Max & Jan showcase upcoming Moroccan designers and creators, with a focus on bringing them to international markets. Their own cruisewear range takes pride of place in the shop and quite frankly I think this is a pretty special place to make a purchase.

de, Route Sidi Abdelaziz, Marrakesh, Morocco


Norya Ayron Boutique


The Norya Ayron boutique sits within a terrace in Le Jardin (see how all these places are linked), featuring floaty designs and modern versions of traditional Moroccan dress. Think long, flowing kaftans and pretty patterned dresses. All of the designs are limited editions and therefore have the price-tag to match but are easily wearable for all the summers to come. 

Designer Norya Ayron runs the exclusive boutique, so you can meet her yourself, have a chat and learn about all of the famous celebrities she has dressed while also coo-ing over her beautiful beaded clutches and sensual jewellery. Quoting the lasdy herself, 'the brand stems from a deep desire to help women of the old city ,for them to make a decent living and eventually emancipate.' Sounds like a very decent mission!

D.S.Abdelaziz, Marrakesh, Morocco


Chabi Chic


Last on my list of places to check out in Marrakech is this tiny contemporary homeware store, Chabi Chic, just below the Nomad enterprise. Many of the gorgeous ceramics in here are cheaper than you'll pay in the souks and as you can see, there's a slightly more contemporary style when it comes to the aesthetic - predominantly coming through in stripes which can never be a bad thing! There's some European flair within the designs, but still with Moroccan culture at the heart. 

The brand also has spots in the industrial quarter of Marrakech and the highly acclaimed La Mamounia hotel, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled if you're in those areas. 

1, Derb Arjan, Place des Epices, Marrakech


Looking for more? Follow my adventures on Pinterest.


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Sunday, 12 March 2017

The Exhibition | Passage/s by Do Ho Suh at Victoria Miro




After the success of Yayoi Kusama’s exhibition at the Victoria Miro last year, I was intrigued to see the next colourful installation at the Old Street based gallery – a series of works and physical structure by Korean sculptor and installation artist, Do Ho Suh. If you haven’t yet heard of him, get on it. Chances are, you may have already glanced at his pastel creations via Instagram this past few weeks.

Inspired by his nomadic lifestyle, Do Ho Suh has created an endless corridor of alternative colourful structures for the gallery as well as some 2D pressed versions for the lower ground floors. While I mentioned Instagram earlier, the exhibition showcases much more than a visual feast of pastel features, instead highlighting some extremely important messaging that we all need to think on just a little more.





“I see life as a passageway, with no fixed beginning or destination. We tend to focus on the destination all the time and forget about the in-between spaces. But without these mundane spaces that nobody really pays attention to, these grey areas, one cannot get from point a to point b.” - Do Ho Suh


Culminated from Suh’s memories of nine previous homes and workplaces, from his childhood home in South Korea, his student home in Rhode Island and further homes and studios in both Berlin and New York, Passage/s is an embodiment of all of our journeys. At this point in our lives, we’ve all been through it. Your first childhood home, to your undergraduate digs, to your latest rented pad, but how much of it did you really take in?





Best known for his intricate sculptures, Suh questions how we view the world, exploring the relationships between individuality, inclusivity and anonymity, while also touching on migration, transience and the shifting identities we encounter. The translucent fabric forms of the passageway inform one another and interact as they cross paths. As the user moves through them, they experience the moment of crossing a boundary, moving between a pastel vortex. The intricate design makes each ‘room’ feel special and details of fire alarms and safety signs come to the forefront, when before they would have been ignored. I must admit, these were the details that had me geeking out, the elaborate lines of the type and the twisted nature of the door handles - a complete work of art.

While there is even more to Do Ho Suh’s words, I like to take them quite literally. We have a habit of always trying to take the end destination as a goal, one that can’t be missed and one that we should always aim for. The world tells us to be that way and we end up losing half of our lives while trying to get to that goal, only to realise we’re not satisfied once we achieve it. Passage/s tells us to stop and think about the individual beauty of the spaces and people around us, admire them and give thanks for each and every little aspect of our lives. The colours of objects, the detail in a sign, the hand-craftsmanship of building – it’s all our for the taking. Right now, or in this case until Saturday 18th March.



INFO:
To see more of this incredible installation visit: Victoria Miro Gallery:
16 Wharf Road, London, N1 7RW 
Until Saturday 18th March.
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 10am-6pm
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Thursday, 2 March 2017

The Area Guide | Lost in: Leyton




After the success of my first 'Lost In' post last month, I suddenly felt a strong pang of guilt. There I was talking about places to walk to from my home, when I hadn't even let you guys know of the glorious places right on my own doorstep. I've long been a lover of Leyton and I'll forever advocate the creative businesses popping up around the area - especially the ones that involve delicious food! 

Situated just a stones throw away from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Leyton has easy access to the likes of East village, Hackney Wick and Walthamstow, making it the perfect place to rent on a slightly cheaper budget. It's a busy beehive of people who've lived in the area all their lives, young families and of course more recently and abundance of creatives who've been pushed out of the likes of Peckham and Hackney. 




As with the rest of London, I adore the multitude of cultures. When you walk along the high street, there are shops from literally every part of the world and I can guarantee you'll find any strange ingredient you're on the hunt for within five minutes. Not to mention the fact that during Spring, there's even a food market on every Saturday in one of my favourite relaxing spots, Coronation Gardens. Yes, we're into food culture here in the East.

The high road stretches down forever, leading you up to Walthamstow, with some pretty lovely architectural sites and some even more wonderful local shops down some of the back streets such as Francis Road. I'd mention every single spot if I could, but for now, here are a few that stole my heart from the get go and will ensure Leyton never leaves my radar. All photography by my amazing pal Natasha Nuttall of Graphique Fantastique.




Grab a Flat White at Deeney's


Deeney's is the ultimate coffee destination with its laid back atmosphere, local artist adorned walls and knitted cacti centrepieces. Not the mention the Allpress roasted coffee which goes down a treat with the perfect pastel de natas or a truly scrumptious slice of avocado bread. A favourite for freelancers and the local mums of the area, it's a great place to relax and soak in the communal Leyton vibe. My favourite place to chill in here, has to be the window seat. I'm an observant person and watching the characters of Leyton walk by is sometimes the perfect source of inspiration during a busy work day. And if you're super hungry? The Lady Macbeth toastie here is absolutely divine. It's a vegetarian haggis concoction and I've not met a person who doesn't like it. 



Seek colour EVERYWHERE


Call it the Notting Hill of the East, if you so wish, for Leyton brings strong colour game in pastel hues and patterned garage doors. It's a carnival of colour and somewhat surprising to say the least. I've of course managed to scope out some of the perfect backdrop walls on my adventures from Oliver Road's yellow house through to the East Village underpass with its crazy psychedelic patterns. Hit me up if you ever need a colourful tour that stretches further than the main lanes of Leyton.




Chow Down with We Serve Humans at The Leyton Star.


I've never found a burger as good as the Mac the Ripper by We Serve Humans and I don't think I ever will. As a vegetarian it's hard to satisfy that fast food craving but this, this just hits the nail on the head. Frickles, truffle chips and beer sauce make the perfect side dishes and topped off with the amazing hospitality of the Leyton Star staff, every visit is truly a treat. I wouldn't be a design blogger if I didn't mention the cosy yet whimsical interior, with wallpaper by Timorous Beasties adorning the walls and finishing touches by Hackney-based artist Lady Ray. Not to mention the sky-high gold palm tress glimmering in the wonderfully decked out garden. 

If you're a local to any of the Electric Star pubs, you'll know that you can grab a special discount card, offering you special discounts and free things at any one of their locations - it's a bloomin' bargain!



Get wavy at the Northcote


While Leyton has an abundance of lovely pubs, the Northcote is my true local (read: it's thirty seconds from my door) and it will always be a special little place where I've also made some rather special friends. With a rotating roster of food from the likes of MUGA pizza, Grove Green Gourmet and Taco Dave, every night at the Nortcote is different and you could be dancing away to vinyl or singing along to drag queens - yes, it's a rather brilliant place. Come Summer, the brightly coloured tables and benches are the perfect spot for a gin and tonic and of course, the above mural by Wood Street Walls is certainly worth a look at, just watch out for the vintage bathtub...


Other places to note:


While I could certainly go on for considerably longer, I won't. Explore the area for yourself and discover other hidden gems. For your reference there are some other wonderful places to go down below. Let me know what you think!

The Leyton Technical // Great pop-up pub turned permanent, with a great menu and regular DJ nights
Marmelo Kitchen // Incredible food from this teeny little restaurant. Your meal is likely to consist of what's fresh and in the fridge!
Yardarm // A local green grocers with a difference. Wine and cheese boards are available in the back while you can fill up your own wine bottle for pretty cheap.
Pepper's Ghost // Another great pub a little further into Leyton with craft beer, good food and a monthly film night.
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