Glass jars

The origins of this blog’s name can be found in my obsession with glass jars. I absolutely love them. They’re just so versatile. You can keep things in them (preferably buttons and ribbon) or use them as casual vases or even quirky cups.

But I’ve realised that my passion goes beyond just jars; I love all types of glassware, so long as it’s unfussy, preferably a bit vintage or retro, and functional and beautiful in equal measure.

Here are a few examples I’ve fallen for recently. First off is this numbered jar, which has a touch of the schoolroom science lab style that’s so popular right now.

Numbered jar £13.50 and set of tins £45, Living in Store

I actually bought a set of these Picardie tumblers yesterday,  having coveted them since the Jamie’s Italian shoot.

Set of six Picardie tumblers £8.50, The Conran Shop

I’m also planning on getting myself this butter dish with some John Lewis vouchers my friend kindly gave me as a thank you for knitting her a scarf last winter.

Comforts glass butter dish £10, John Lewis

I love the simple philosophical style of this glass. In fact, I like a lot of Space 1a’s designs.

Set of six recycled tall Euphoric glassware £45, Space 1a Design Shop

Ah, the summer of ’96 and my first taste of cider. If I weren’t teetotal these days, I’d definitely be enjoying a glass of Scrumpy Jack in the sunshine.

Retro glass flagon £39.95, Nordic House

There’s nothing to stop me drinking as much pink lemonade as I fancy though, and if I get around to making any this summer, I’ll definitely be serving it from an apothecary bottle like this one.

Apothecary bottle £6, The White Lighthouse

What’s your favourite glassware item, or do you have a different obsession?

Industrial chic: Jamie’s Italian

I’ve always loved the industrial look. It’s the perfect combination of practicality and aesthetics, vintage and contemporary. And one of the best examples I’ve seen recently is Jamie’s Italian in Bristol.

Jamie also happens to employ some of the nicest staff I’ve met, who were kind enough to let me practice on my new Nikon D3100 in the pre-dinner lull.

I have to admit I almost gave up when, after 10 minutes, I still hadn’t managed to figure out the best shutter speed / aperture / other technical stuff I don’t understand to get  a decently lit picture.

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

But eventually I got into the swing of things and was really chuffed when I finally got this ‘blurred background / sharp foreground’ shot I’d been after…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

After that, I really started enjoying myself. In fact, those very lights that were making my life a hard time were great examples of industrial style. Like this enamelled pendant…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

…and this gorgeous string of utilitarian bulbs…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

The chairs are also bang on. These Pauchard-esque bar stools give the place a mid-century retro feel…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

There’s a similar style in the first floor dining section…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

But on the basement level, to keep things mixed up, there are some envy-inducing school style chairs…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

The first time I visited Jamie’s, my friends mocked me mercilessly when I came back from the toilets raving about the decor – horizontal tiling, French brass taps, Belfast sinks, reclaimed wood mirrors; I could have stayed there all evening…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Seriously, aren’t these crackle glaze tiles stunning?

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Sometimes it’s the little things that really make a look work. Like the right tableware (I must have some of those Picardie style tumblers)…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Simple, honest textiles…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Vintage office furniture…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

A few classic brands…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Some carefully chosen accessories (I’m a massive fan of chalk boards)…

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

And of course, when it comes to a restaurant, you can’t forget the most important ingredient – great food!

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

For more information, or to book, pop into Jamie’s Italian on 87-89 Park Street, BS1 5PW, call 0117 370 0265, or visit www.jamieoliver.com/italian/bristol

Ingrid Eva Creative

The artist at work

Before I start, I would like to point out that the Ingrid of Ingrid Eva Creative is my sister, so this post is entirely nepotistic.

I think you’ll like it though, because my sister really is a very talented and versatile artist.

Check out this piece she did a couple of years ago, from a photo she took on holiday in Sardinia…

Sardinia by Ingrid Eva Creative ©

Amazing, right? It’s even more impressive in real life. This next one was done while she was in South Africa, studying under a good friend of ours, the artist Evelien Burger

Girl with pomegranates by Ingrid Eva Creative ©

I think this nude was done in SA too. I love the way Ingrid uses monotone – she used a similar palette in a painting she did for me one Christmas…

Blue nude by Ingrid Eva Creative ©

This one was done in Argentina, using actual ivy leaves to apply the paint…

Ivy by Ingrid Eva Creative ©

This is a personal favourite, a commissioned piece for a friend of mine done in chalk pastel…

Lily by Ingrid Eva Creative ©

And an abstract, done on a really big canvas, which makes me think of Scotland for some reason (perhaps the feeling of rain)…

Landscape abstract by Ingrid Eva Creative ©

If you want more info, do visit Ingrid’s website, where you can see what she has available or contact her with any commission requests.

A taste of Morocco

It seems everyone’s into Morocco at the moment. I have to admit, it’s not a style I’m naturally drawn to, but I can definitely see why it appeals to so many.

The Moroccan look is nothing if not eye-catching – flamboyant, highly patterned, multicoloured. It has a richness and a history that speaks of its cultural North African roots.

I was in Marrakech in 2010 and, looking back over the photos, probably a quarter of them showed nothing but gorgeous design work.

Although difficult to replicate in Britain without looking cheesy, I think it can work really well in a bathroom in particular. And there’s an odd Victorian cross-over going on, which could hint at a fusion look in an old town house.

What do you think?

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Photo by Rin Simpson ©

Round the camp fire

I’m not sure if it was that camper van in my last post or what, but I’ve got this sudden yearning for all things camping related.

I just have this longing to sleep under canvas, wake up to the dawn chorus, make coffee over a wood fire and wash up in a stream…

Idealistic, I know, but there you have it. I happen to think that idealism can be a lovely quality, in measured doses.

Anyway, the weather is far too nasty to go camping, so in the meantime I thought I’d share a few inspiring images to fuel my dream and yours.

Barbeque essentials from £2.99, HomeSense

‘Bird Song’ camping set £29, Fairwind

Floating copper oil lamps £49.50, Nordic House

Traditional canvas and beech deckchair £70, The Contemporary Home

I just hope one day we get a real summer again, and the camping dream can become a reality!

Ideal Home – August issue

Hours of fun…

I love Ideal Home magazine. It’s that perfect middle-of-the-road publication, which stays on top of the trends but is really accessible and not at all up its own backside.

This latest issue has a coastal theme, which I absolutely love. The nice thing about a themed issue is that you see how it’s possible to take one trend and work it in loads of different ways.

There are some particularly fabulous real life homes on offer, including a budget-conscious, driftwood inspired cottage that proves you don’t have to be a millionaire to have good taste.

Of course, there are also plenty of products to buy. Isn’t that half the fun of magazines, the way they allow you to create a fantasy shopping list? Here’s mine from this month’s issue:

1) I have a soft spot for designer tea towels, and these are just gorgeous…

Fish tea towels £13 each, Rowan & Wren

2) Reclaimed materials used innovatively make for great statement pieces…

Driftwood sideboard £475, Buy The Sea

3) I know maps have been done to death but the colours in this one and the texture in the frame makes it stand out from the crowd…

Heart map £45, Bombus

4) This Ikea pendant lamp is fantastic value and has a lovely, simple style…

Kroby pendant lamp £15.99, Ikea

5) Finally, I know it isn’t actually something I’d buy for the house, but I love the particular shade of blue on this van (plus the picture just makes me feel happy inside)…

Picnic paraphernalia by H&M Home