Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Take a seat

Do you have any objects that just completely epitomise a moment in time for you? Deckchairs remind me of a summery day, spent at my Nana Dorothy's house with my cousin Sally when I was about 7. Sally and I spent lots of Saturdays together there, so I'm sure it wasn't just the one day that we played with deckchairs, but this is the one day I'll always remember.

We started out by jumping off the patio, which had a bit of a ledge, over the dog daisies onto the lawn. But we got in trouble for that, because we kept accidentally kicking the heads off the flowers. So we set up camp in the garage at the back of the house with two hugely seventies deckchairs and a bottle of Sainsbury's apricot squash. The bottle had a green snake on it. It was hot and hazy, I wore a bowler hat and Sally a straw one. We played quite happily for hours and drank the whole bottle of squash. Although we got a bit of a ticking off a the time, my Nana found it hilarious and used to tell me the story over and over.

Deckchairs remind me of the happiness and safety of childhood. They're so benign, so English, so innocuous. British people have a tendency to want to manage every element of their environment; if we're to go to the beach, we'll take a picnic and towels and parasols and wind breakers and proper chairs, because we don't want to sit on the floor, that would be daft. I find it so funny that my Nana used to set out these deck chairs on her patio in her tiny, little garden, just to enjoy the sunshine. Because that's what we Brits do in summertime, we set aside time and we enjoy it, in the proper fashion.

There are a selection of wonderful deckchairs available, like these Caxton Rhode prints from Southsea Deckchairs, featuring vintage tattoo design, which cost £480 for the set.

I also love this Underground Deckchair, which can be found on art meets matter for just under £75.

If you are lucky enough to have someone to share a deckchair with, you might be interested in a Wideboy deckchair, for £109 from Deckchairs UK.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Presents for imaginary boys

So it's my imaginary boyfriend's birthday! He's *super* lucky to have me, bcause I'm uber thoughtful, kind, witty, intelligent, a great cook, creative, sometimes-independent-and-sometimes-endearingly-clumsy, fun-to-be-with, charming, great with parents, dogs and old people and most importantly, modest. I tick all kinds of boxes, if only you can push past the slight aura of weird that constantly surrounds me. Luckily, my imaginary boyfriend has achieved this zen-like state and he reaps the rewards at regular intervals (sometimes three times a night!).

To celebrate both his superhuman powers of indulging me patiently and the day of his birth, I've chosen a few trinkets to make him feel generally cherished and adored. Because he doesn't technically exist, my budget is completely unlimited, which is handy for not only making me look like an ace girlfriend, but also for the purposes of a blog post, wouldn't you say? Here goes nothin'.

For my imaginary boyfriend's study, I sourced him this limited edition Terry Pastor (oh, you know, the guy who did the cover art on Ziggy Stardust and Hunky Dory) Rayguns print from Pedlars. There's only 195 in the entire world and consequently I'm forking out £495 smackers for it plus postage, but my beau is totally worth it.

As soon as I saw this 1940s vintage Raeths 12" black slated globe, I knew he'd appreciate it.  Just like me, he loves a nice bit of vintage, but he has an especial liking for things of a military bent. Plus, because it's constructed from a handy slate material, I can use it to leave him endless endearing little notes such as 'I love you' and 'If you make me a cup of tea, I'll be the bestest girlfriend in the whole wide world for the entirity of today.' I'm not even going to tell you how much it costs, because it is of very little consequence for something so perfect. Okay it's £695. But what price are you trying to put on love and happiness? On the shining, joyful eyes of my grateful imaginary boyfriend?

Lastly, I was mooching around on Brighton Pod - you know, that awesomely fabulous online shop that supports UK artists? I've chatted about them before here - and I spotted something that is just the pièce de résistance. Get ready for it. This chair has been everso cleverly reupholstered by Kelly Swallow using a selection of rugby shirts! The Rugby Shirt Chair costs £1,200 and is made to order, so the one you receive (should you also be purchasing one for your imaginary boyfriend) will be unique.

Oh, Imag-Boyf is going to love kicking back on this in his snug, watching some sports, perhaps casually puffing on a bubble pipe, sipping a G&T whilst Fritz frolicks gaily on the hearth. I might even come perch on his knee for a bit and feed him some homemade tiffin bars and give him some kisses. But not for too long, because I don't cope well with the television getting more attention than me and I really can't be expected to pretend to be interested in sports for an extended period of time. Just sayin'.

Monday, 14 March 2011

I've felt worse

As you have perhaps gathered from my overall tone and style, I am not what you might call...usual. I fully recognise that my taste for granny chic, animal print and kitsch is overt and not to everyone's taste. Yes, when my house is complete it probably WILL have a flamingo on the lawn, even though dear old miniature daschund Fritz might end up trying to use it as a peeing post, because I love how ridiculous flamingoes are. I also really want one of those drinking fountains that cascades the booze in delightful sprinkles so that I can ALWAYS have some form of cocktail to hand. One of the rooms might well be decked out to resemble a bedouin tent complete with squillions of enormous cushions and a shisha. My bedroom will be a vast nest of cosiness with a wall full of ornate golden mirrors so I can check myself out and maybe pretend to sing into my hairbrush any time I want. Sigh, it will be an overwhelming relam of crazy and I for one cannot wait to get there.

So the point I'm getting to is, that I love anything whimsical. For one, it gives me great pleasure to look at things that are strange and beautiful and it also gives people a good warning that I'm different. This means I generally don't have to go through the laborious task of enduring dull conversations with a polite smile on my face, because anyone too 'normal' spots the crazy signals a mile away and crawls back into Boringland sparing me a reminder of the definition of ennui. Consequently, imagine my sheer delight at discovering lovely Lizzie Pearce's shop on Etsy. She makes these exquisite accessories out of felt by hand, and she's super good at it.

Take this deer brooch for example, doesn't it look fresh out of Bambi? It's 12cm in length from nose to ears, so a real feature piece. I absolutely love it. It's hand made out of 100% wool and just looks so delicate and beautiful. It costs just over £115, plus £5 p&p - she sends everything by airsure so that you can track and trace your items.

If that's a little too daring for you, there's also this ADORABLE felt mouse brooch, lookathowcuteitis! He's £75 and is 7cm x 4cm, so a bit more discreet.

PETA activists would totally throw paint on you for wearing fox fur, but I'm sure they'd be cool about this fox necklace, which costs £97.

If you prefer bunnies (and let's face it, who doesn't go check out The Daily Bunny to cheer themeselves up when they're feeling blue? You'd be dead inside if that website didn't make you squeal with delight.) then you might like this pretty rabbit hair comb, which costs £40.50. Gosh she's so sweet isn't she? She looks JUST like that Clover off of Watership Down, the doe who escapes from the hutch and then gets recaptured by that awful Farmer with the gun. Man, I hate that film. The music still makes me cry.

Last but certainly not least is this awesome Rabbit Fascinator, which will set you back the best part of £200, but let's face it, ain't gonna be nobody at the Races sporting this bad boy. I've included two pictures so you can see all of the detail.

Seriously, that's amazing right? You could DEFINITELY pretend that you were like Snow White or Cinderella in those scenes where they get all the little woodland creatures to help them with their tasks, singing away cheerfully as you go about your day. What more could you possibly ask for?

Selected pieces of Lizzie's work are also available at AYD featured shop, From The Wilde. I also follow her on Twitter, on @lizzieneedles. You should too.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Guns and 'taches

Tammy Wynette was so right when she sang 'Sometimes it's hard to be a woman'. It IS hard to be a woman, especially when you're giving all your love to just one man and he turns out to be a cheating rotter who really just deserves a swift kick to the plums. Hey, it's not that I'm a man hater, I sure do love men, especially ones with deep gravelly voices and a nice, shiny moustache like Tom Selleck - and by the way, have you guys been watching Blue Bloods? Tom Selleck is a major fox. I don't know what this means for me, because he is like, an OLD man now, but is he not the personification of manliness? Little boy Bieber can do one, Tom Selleck's masculine presence would have me weak at the knees. I'm pretty sure if I met him I'd literally quiver in the face of his manly power. My voice would be all wobbly and I’d feel all light headed and totally embarrassing stuff like that.

Anyway, I can't remember what I was writing because I drifted off into some kind of Three Men and a Baby fantasy, except there is me, no baby and only one man, and that man is Tom Selleck, but it's true, being a woman can be hard. So, inevitably as we get older we toughen up a little bit. Not too much, I mean I’m never going to be a body builder or a lady ninja (although being a lady ninja would be really cool) but I’m no longer the fragile little nymph of my teenage years. And if you’re going to be a little bit tough, then you should probably give people an indication of that, just you know, a little heads up, don’t mess with me sunshine, because I’m like Pammy in Barb Wire to the power of TEN when I’m in a bit of a huff, and I will DESTROY YOU IF YOU MESS WITH ME SUCKAAAAAAA! Ahem.

So that my friends is where this cute little Gun Necklace by Love Your Silver from Not on the Highstreet for £55 comes into play. I love gun themed jewellery, but I find it's rather hard to find items which aren't vulgar and/or hideous. This is sweet and pretty, with a slightly aggressive edge to it. A smiling assassin for the jewellery box. It will almost certainly say, in a polite manner, look mate, I might well be pretty and girly, but I’m also totally fierce on the inside buster, and if you cross me, you’re gonna be so-rry.

N.B. 4 T.S.