Geraldine James

Geraldine James

A couple of weeks ago I interviewed the Homes Accessories Buying Manager of Selfridges. Now there’s a job I could enjoy! Geraldine James is also the author of one of my favourite books, Creative Walls, and this year brought out another title, Creative Display, both by CICO Books.

I got hold of a copy before the interview, and thought I’d share some of my favourite finds here.

Creative Display (£19.99, CICO Books)

The book is awesome, tapping into the concepts I hold most dear – that the personal touch is what makes a house a home, that you don’t have to spend a fortune to make a place look beautiful and that everyday objects should be as beautiful as they are functional and should be displayed for all to see.

As I was flicking through, I found myself drawn to a number of images that are best described as ‘pale and interesting’ (the title of another favourite book by Atlanta Bartlett) where a limited palette (mostly white) was combined with lots of texture to create an interesting yet very calm and grown up effect:

Image copyright – CICO Books

Image copyright – CICO Books

I also loved some of the shots that brought indoor styling to outside spaces:

Image copyright – CICO Books

Image copyright – CICO Books

Geraldine’s talent lies in grouping objects in such a way as to create a statement, a kind of collective art installation piece with bucketloads of character (perhaps I should add this lamp to my list of options for the study…):

Image copyright – CICO Books

Image copyright – CICO Books

Finally, I couldn’t resist this ‘door as table’ pic, which reminded me of a table I saw at Ruby Rhino which I blogged about here (and yes, ok, I also liked the cat):

Image copyright – CICO Books

Creative Display by Geraldine James is published by CICO Books at £19.99, hardback, or call 01256-302699 quoting GLR7DP to purchase a copy at the special price of £16.99 including free p&p.


Print makers

I love hand-printed fabrics. Particularly tea towels, which are affordable enough to be a perfect treat if you’re looking for something new and beautiful for your home but don’t want to spend a fortune.

In recent months I’ve bought two lovely examples from Warbeck & Cox, the first one for me and the second as a house warming present for a friend:

Key tea towel £8.50, Warbeck & Cox

Damask tea towel £8.50, Warbeck & Cox

Last week I got a press release from SPACE 1a Design showcasing a new range for AW12, which included this stunning Winter Tree organic cushion:

Winter Tree organic cushion £45, SPACE 1a Design

I’m also a long-term admirer of the slightly surreal work of Thornback & Peel, particularly the pigeon and jelly print I featured in my first ever post on Glass Jars & Photographs, and this rabbit and cabbage one:

Rabbit & Cabbage linen fabric £75 per metre, Thornback & Peel

And I’ll be featuring the work of Pembrokeshire-based Sara Diggins, a graduate of Central Saint Martin, in the next issue of WM magazine, where I’m the home interiors editor:

Seashelll bunting £17, Sara Diggins Designs

So, who’s your favourite print artist?


Photo by Rin Simpson ©

A new shop opened in Bristol recently. Makers is very ‘of the moment’, with lots of beautifully designed, hand-crafted items from jewellery to art prints, furniture and accessories.

What a great place to continue practicing with my trusty D3100, I thought. Luckily the owners kindly agreed.

I’m still getting to grips with all the different settings, but I’m trying to use ‘auto’ as little as possible so as to get used to the brainwork involved in balancing shutter speed, aperture and all the rest of it.

I’m also enjoying how much you can improve a photo once you get it onto the computer! I just use the free iPhoto software that came with my Mac, and it’s amazing what you can do.

Anyway, what do you think of this lovely little store? If you’re in the area, you should definitely check it out.

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 ©

Visit Makers at 82 Colston Street, BS1 5BB, or call 01173 290 502.

Choosing a lamp

I’m thinking of giving my study a make over, as I spend so much more time there these days.

I was inspired by this lovely spread in the latest issue of Ideal Home magazine. It’s simple and functional, but with a personalised aesthetic that stops it looking like it came out of a Staples catalogue. I also really love white and grey-blue as a base palette.

Ideal Home magazine, September 2012 issue

I’ve already got a few bits and bobs that I’m planning on using as starting points, including a gorgeous vitage-inspired world map (actually a piece of wrapping paper in an Ikea frame – bargain!) and a set of photographs by the lovely and talented Cassia Beck.

But the one thing I don’t have is a lamp. I want a task light so that I can illuminate my keyboard without having the overhead light on.

So, which one to choose? Now that’s a question. Here is a selection of some that I like…

First up, a pharmacy lamp I’ve been drooling over for about six months. It was out of my price bracket. Really, it still is out of my price bracket. But resisting a sale is sooooo hard!

Green pharmacy lamp £83.30 (was £119), Graham & Green

This one from John Lewis is much more like it, price-wise, and looks a lot like one I saw elsewhere for about six times as much.

Penelope lamp £45, John Lewis

Of course, there’s always the original Anglepoise (ok, I know, I know I can’t afford it)…

Anglepoise Type 75 mini LED lamp £165, Heals

This cute silver number is from Homebase, believe it or not, and a bargain at £29.99. It looks like it might have escaped from Wall-E (Tesco does similar ones in black and in white).

Orlando desk lamp £29.99, Homebase

This Terence Conran design is gorgeous in oak and white (it also comes in red, but I’m not a big fan of bright colours).

Conran Globe task lamp £89, Marks & Spencer

I quite like this functional looking nickel-plated lamp from Ikea.

Barometer work lamp £37, Ikea

So what do you think? Which one would you choose, or have you seen another stylish bargain elsewhere that I should be looking at? Answers on a postcard (or, you know, in the comment box…)


I discovered a gorgeous shop called Folklore the other day. I love just about every product they stock, from the quirky lighting to the simple textiles and the subtly Scandi furniture and accessories.

Here is style that is so spot on that it doesn’t need to shout about itself. You like it or you don’t, it’s up to you. But you can see the love that has gone into each piece. These designers aren’t trying to impress, they’re too busy expressing themselves.

First pic, second row down – I want that chair!

Sadly, as I don’t live in London, I’ve not yet had a chance to visit the physical store in Islington, which just opened last month. But looking at these photos, I’m definitely going to have to book myself a trip ‘to town’ (as they say) asap.

I even love their walls…

Owned by Rob and Danielle Reid, the store is grounded in a simple ethos: “better living is possible through design”. I have to say, I totally agree.

That lampshade is a beautiful example of upcycling

Here you’ll find designers like Soren Rose Studio (Copenhagen) and Hendzel+Hunt (London), plus cushions made in a collaboration between artist David Shillinglaw and East London’s Working Well Trust.

Everything about this neutral colour scheme makes me happy and relaxed

Craftsmanship, quality, simplicity and durability are clearly the order of the day, with trends taking a back seat. These are treasures you’ll keep for a long time.

I love the raw, unfinished look of this storage unit

If you’re in London, do pop in and have a browse at 193 Upper Street, Islington, or shop online at