Photos of numbers

I used to think I was the only one. That’s why I didn’t broadcast it. But then I found Confessions of a Design Geek, and realised I wasn’t alone!

Katie Treggiden has the same obsession as me – taking photos of numbers. Yes, that’s right: numbers.

In her honour, here is a small collection of some numerical snaps I took on a holiday in Florence earlier this year:

Florence numbers by Rin Simpson

Florence numbers by Rin Simpson

Florence numbers by Rin Simpson

Florence numbers by Rin Simpson

So, are you a secret numbers geek? Do spill…!

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Marion McConaghie

I’ve just fallen in love. Doing some picture research for a feature, I came across a new range in John Lewis by Marion McConaghie, and was blown away by her vintage dictionary/encyclopedia art prints.

Of course, I’d love to say I’ll be buying one of her limited edition premium prints from Pulp Magic. But I’m afraid my budget doesn’t quite stretch, so I’ll be sticking to the John Lewis ones at £4 a pop.

Marion McConaghie ‘Butterfly’ unframed print (24x30cm) £4, John Lewis

Marion McConaghie ‘Bird in the hand’ unframed print (24x30cm) £4, John Lewis

Marion McConaghie ‘Peacock’ unframed print (24x30cm) £4, John Lewis

Marion McConaghie ‘Postbox’ unframed print (24x30cm) £4, John Lewis

I can’t quite decide which one’s my favourite – I’m torn between Butterflies and Postbox. What do you think?

A natural Christmas

I can’t believe it’s less than five weeks until Christmas. Yay! I absolutely love Christmas, not only because I’m a Christian and I love the fact that God once gave us the best gift ever, but because it’s a great chance to indulge in some of my favourite things – family gatherings, food, present giving and, of course, decorating my little flat.

I’m very much a traditionalist when it comes to my decorations, and tend towards green, red and cream, with metallic touches plus lots of rustic texture with wood and felt. But I do love exploring the new ranges on offer every year, and dreaming about what I’d choose if I had to start again.

Right now I’m particularly loving the pared back look, with products made from natural materials in a super neutral colour palette, inspired by Scandinavian, puritan and craft influences. I also love how designers and stylists are increasingly thinking outside the box; how perfect is the arrangement of these lights?

Thor linen outdoor-indoor lights £174, Rowan & Wren

I love snow globes, and this version is absolutely gorgeous, not to mention a great example of upcycling:

Salt shaker snow globe £14, Anthropologie

Retro paper decorations have been revived this year, and this set shows just how effective they can look:

Snowflake fans (pack of four) £25, Petra Boase

These hand felted acorns make gorgeous decorations that you could use all year round:

Hand felted acorn garland by The Original Pop Up Shop £19.95, My Deco

Finally, being an avid crafter, this make-your-own decoration kit massively appeals to me:

Cross stitch kit group £1, The Shop at Number 57

So, what is your Christmas style? And when do you put up your decorations?

Freesias

This week, my lovely mum gave me a beautiful bunch freesias and baby’s breath. The freesias smell absolutely gorgeous, and I’ve been making a concerted effort to go over to the vase (actually a crystal jug that used to belong to my gran) and smell them at every occasion.

Soon though, they will fade and I will have to throw them away. Which makes me sad. So I thought I’d take a photo to keep them alive forever (even though they’ve yet to invent a camera that can capture smell!)

What do you think?

Freesias by Rin Simpson

I really want to practice styling. I’ve seen so many amazingly talented stylists in magazines like Mollie Makes, The Simple Things and 91 Magazine, and I’ve been collecting some of my favourite examples on my Styling Matters board on Pinterest.

If you have any advice for me, or any comments on my picture, I’d love to hear from you!

Pedlars mobile shop

Do you live somewhere between North Wales and London? I have some exciting news for you. If you so wish, the Pedlars mobile shop could be making a stop at your home, school, local pub or wherever else is convenient!

This fantastic gifts and homewares company is inviting customers to contact them if they’d like to book a visit from the renovated 1950s Citroen HY van, which will be stocked with a good selection of Christmas gift items, between 26 and 29 November.

Pedlars is a relatively new discovery for me, but their online store (and beautifully designed catalogue) is packed full of gorgeousness. I particularly love the use of colour in so many of their items:

Folkware dining set (6 dining plates, 6 side plates, 6 bowls) £235, Pedlars

Sophisticated Animals napkin set £39, Pedlars

There’s also a good selection of genuine vintage (as opposed to vintage style) items. These chairs, for example, date back to the 60s and were bought from the Fried Dough Concession of a travelling carnival in the US:

Vintage Carnival folding chairs £39 each, Pedlars

And these Hovis tins were actually once used at the Hovis factory, most likely during the 60s:

Hovis tin £39.50, Pedlars

They’ve also got some cute mugs, and you know how I like mugs:

King Of The Road mug £12, Pedlars

If you do visit the Pedlars mobile store, I’d love to hear what you thought of the experience; just drop me a line in the comments box…

Mevagissey

I recently spent a weekend in Mevagissey, Cornwall. I fell in love with the town when I was 16, but haven’t been back for a long time. I’ve been working really hard these last few months though, and got to the point where I just needed a break.

Mevagissey was the perfect location – it’s small enough to feel quiet and “away from it all”, yet it has a kind of vibrancy, a buzz of life and activity that meant I didn’t feel isolated or bored.

I didn’t take my posh camera, because I didn’t want to feel pressured to “achieve” something by taking photos (I’m an achievement junky – I find it hard to just stop and enjoy), but I did have my little Canon compact, so I could take a few snaps if the mood took me.

I’m actually quite pleased with the results – we had some gorgeous weather – so I thought that, as I haven’t shared any of pics for a while, I’d upload a few of the best ones.

Lighthouse by Rin Simpson

Boats by Rin Simpson

Gull by Rin Simpson

Chimney smoke by Rin Simpson

East Quay by Rin Simpson

Swan by Rin Simpson

Tackle by Rin Simpson

Nets by Rin Simpson

Harbour by Rin Simpson

What do you think? Isn’t Mevagissey gorgeous?

Annie Sloan work book

I love getting post. Not bills, obviously, but pretty much anything else still makes me childishly excited.

I think it comes from when I moved to the UK from South Africa and, in those pre-internet days, relied on snail mail to bring me news of my friends ‘back home’.

I particularly love getting books and magazines in the post, so you can imagine how excited I was when this arrived:

The new Annie Sloan work book, £16.95, out 30 November 2012

It’s the latest offering from Queen of Paint, Annie Sloan, whose products – as you well know – I love.

The work book, which is due out at the end of November (there are some benefits to being a journalist!), is no exception. It is stuffed with inspiration…

Water Annie’s chalk paints down to create a soft wash effect

Did you know you can paint canvas shoes with chalk paint??

…as well as useful hints and tips…

Who needs a paint brush when you’ve got an old cork to hand?

Some tips are more helpful than others!

…and there is a lined section for notes, and a pocket at the back where you can stow any loose bits of paper, pictures and swatches. Genius.

This inspiring book would make a fantastic Christmas present for a home loving creative type, and will be available to buy through the Annie Sloan stockists only – check out the website for your local store.