Category Archives: Featured talent

What do Florence+The Machine’s music and Ann Smith’s watercolours have in common?

Hello lovelies! BIG hugs to you all for bearing with my reduced blogging during this busy time. I am still snowed under but am missing you all so much, I thought I’d squeeze in a post today, especially as I am feeling energised and still buzzing from seeing Florence + The Machine last night. Best Tuesday night of my life.

Over the years, I have fallen in (and sometimes out) of love with several artists, but until Florence, I didn’t have a constant favourite. Now, more often than not, I turn to Florence to cure a creative block, to shake off nerves before a big meeting, to counsel melancholy moments, to provide company during a long drive, to block out the mundanity of household chores, or just to dance around for no reason.

Look at me, casually calling her by first name, as if I know her personally! But I feel such a connection to her music that it feels like it was written for me. I think many feel this way about her music, the complexity of which allows different people to connect to it in their own way based on their life experiences. I find her music powerful, profoundly beautiful yet fiery, edgy yet timeless, and even haunting in how it has a way of stirring things in you. There is an ethereal quality about her which makes her even more compelling.

So anyway (before I start to sound like a crazy obsessed fan), I wanted to match Florence’s ethereality to the sort of things we love to look at in this blog. One watercolour artist who immediately came to mind is Ann Smith. Her work blows me away as Florence’s music does.

I first came across Ann Smith’s watercolours in a book about painting techniques and had to immediately find more of her incredible work. Her layering of watercolours produces stunning, mind-blowing art. Here are a few of her creations…



“Wild Spirit”


More about Ann Smith and her beautiful watercolours can be found on her website.

“Painting is like dancing on paper.” – Ann Smith. Isn’t that the loveliest quote about art?

Which artist comes to your mind when you think of ethereality?

Do you have a constant favourite band / solo artist?

Would you class Florence + The Machine as a band or a solo artist? (there is so much confusion about that!)




Filed under Art, Featured talent

Artist love: Lucky Jackson of 365 Lucky Days

I am smitten with Lucky Jackson and her wonderful fabric embroidery art that I came across on her blog, 365 Lucky Days, which is her project of creating a new piece every day for 365 days.

With most pieces, she gives a witty story about what inspired her creation, thus letting us get to know her. She is just as lovely as her art! Here are some pieces that I felt quite connected to:

“5 more minutes”… exactly how I felt on this frosty Monday morning.

Longing for warm sunshine and a chance to lie on a hammock with a book.

Don’t we all wish we could do chores glamorously?

If you know me, you’ll know I love to bake.

Joan from Mad Men. It’s not just men who are a little bit in love with her, admit it! Best TV show ever made? I definitely think so.

Tina Fey… one of the funniest women on TV I love to watch.

My best job ever (next to my current one, of course) was when I worked in a law library. (A little titbit about myself.)

Did you fantasize about being a superhero when you were a kid? I still do!

Can’t resist a pretty settee.

A perfect gift for upcoming Valentine’s day!

Smitten yet? Be sure to visit her blog to browse through many many more of her amazing creations, with one more added every day! And you can even get your hands on one of them through her bigcartel shop. If you have your eye on a piece, you’ll have to hurry, as they are selling fast (unsurprisingly)!



Filed under Art, Featured talent

Artist love: Gavin Harrison

Gavin Harrison is as creative as creative gets. An illustrator and an astoundingly brilliant photographer, Gavin is now creating artwork that combines mediums he has previously worked with: drawing, painting, montage and photography, resulting in art pieces that are richly detailed and a complex cocktail of dark humour and nostalgia.

First, here’s a taster of Gavin’s whimsical and undeniably sexy photography…

See more of his photography on his website – and on his blog – The Eloquence of Wanton Curiosity.

Now on to his art…

“Corrosion” – haunting yet beautiful, and visually very compelling

“Sweet” – sugary and candy-like at first glance, but look closer and there’s a touch of darkness within

The two pieces above are available as limited edition prints of 50 at his shop Gavin H Emporium. Also available are cards in the following two designs:

“Man In The Hat”

“Sweet Bird Song” – created from a section of the “Sweet” collage

Also check out his work at the Keep Calm Gallery

Detail from “Win Fame and Fortune”, available at the Keep Calm Gallery

Gavin’s art is the kind that would sit as comfortably in a contemporary urban space as it would in an eclectic setting mixed in with vintage pieces.

“Food For Thought”

“Everything and More”


I was delighted when Gavin contacted me to introduce his art as I am bowled over and fascinated by his work, and am excited to see what he creates next. If you feel the same way, here is your chance to get your mittens on a little piece of Gavin’s fantastic work – one of his cards is up for grabs! All you have to do is visit the shop Gavin H Emporium and leave a comment here saying which one of his two cards you would like – Man In The Hat or Sweet Bird Song, and a winner will be picked at random next Monday 19th September. Easy peasy!



Filed under Art, Featured talent

Artist love: unitedthread on Etsy

I love the colours and patterns that artist Michelle Morin uses to capture the ‘wild’ of the subject(s) in her paintings.

For all these and many more gorgeous art pieces, check out Michelle’s Etsy shop, unitedthread, and her blog.

I adore this little blue owl. It is too cute for words!
Message to Colin, who is an avid follower of my blog (as if he has a choice, ha!):
I want this in my life. Birthday present for next month?

I am that easy to please. Give me a lovely little piece of art over expensive jewellery any day. ๐Ÿ™‚



Filed under Art, Featured talent

Pia Jane Bijkerk

“There is a little bit of magic in everything, you just have to look real close”
Pia Jane Bijkerk


Ever since I first heard of Pia Jane Bijkerk a couple of years ago, I have been entranced by the way she captures the world with such depth, allure, tranquility and romance.

Pia delights in finding inspiration in the everyday, as well as stepping off the beaten track to discover the unexpected. Her enchanting styling and photography talents feel out of this world and I am completely in awe of this lovely lady. Yup, serious idol worship going on here.

If you know of Pia, you’ll know of her first two utterly delightful books –
Paris: Made by Hand and Amsterdam: Made by Hand, which have been huge hits – no surprise there. Her books are filled with beautiful photos and guides to discovering handmade artisans, shops and specialties in these wonderful cities. If you’re going to visit either of these places, take her books as city guides that will take you on discoveries you’ll never forget! Fabulous Michele of hello lovely inc wrote an enchanting review of these books – click here to be transported.

Now there’s a third book, My Heart Wanders, due for release in the UK next month. Oh yes, Pia fans, there is a treat in store for us! You’re excited, yes? This book is Pia’s story, beautifully told with alluring photos, of how she leaves a comfortable life in Sydney to unconditionally follow her instincts. Setting up home first in Paris, then in a houseboat in Amsterdam, Pia observes the serendipitous moments that present themselves when letting go and following one’s dreams. “My Heart Wanders is a reflective, inspirational, tender memoir that speaks to ‘the wandering heart’ in all of us.”

As someone who has travelled continents in search of a place to belong, finding meaning in life and following dreams, I have been eagerly looking forward to this beautiful book authored by someone I admire so greatly.

So imagine my delight when I came home from work on Wednesday to find among my mail…

Yes, My Heart Wanders is in my hands, thanks to the lovely people at Murdoch Books who sent me a review copy! I hadn’t quite realised how much I had been looking forward to this book until having it in my hands literally made me jump up and down a few times and do my happy dance ๐Ÿ˜€

I cannot wait to lose myself in the wondrous visual escapes that Pia has captured in this book and read her story, then of course, share my thoughts with you, my lovely readers!

In the meantime, check out her incredible talent on her website and her blog which she has beautifully taglined: enhance the everyday.

Happy weekend, folks!



Filed under Featured talent

Plum Chutney

(No, this is not another foodie post.)

A few days ago I had the absolute pleasure of meeting Anita Mackenzie, founder of Plum Chutney. (Yes, meeting, like in person, over cocktails! I was awestruck and starstruck and had the best time getting to know her!)

I discovered Plum Chutney through decor8’s ‘LinkWithin’ widget and instantly fell for the energy, gorgeousness and quirkiness of the products. I entered the ‘Plum Picks’ contest and much to my delight, lovely Anita emailed me back. She was visiting Nottingham for a few days and we decided to meet up. (Talk about serendipity!) Anita is as lively, delightful and fun as her products!

Anita grew up amidst the bustle of India and following her move to the UK, she has loved discovering the creative and innovative approaches adopted by independent artisans and craftsters in the west. (Long live Google!)

Her products embody the energy and vibrancy of all things Indian (rickshaws, street scenes, colourful trucks, dazzling attire, maharajas…), interpreted through her fascination of graphic and quirky design. She works with talented designers and sources from very selective companies in India to develop her stunning collections.

Visitย Plum Chutney to check out all the exciting ranges of cushions, throws, art, lamps, tea towels and even shopper bags. If you are a colour lover, well then there’s no case for argument ๐Ÿ™‚ but even in a more neutral setting, a little something from Plum Chutney may be just the thing to add a bit of zing, don’t you think?



Filed under Design, Featured talent, Spring, Summer

Spring pastels and blog makeover

Yesterday was the March equinox which means it is officially spring in the Northern hemisphere! Three cheers!

Perfect pastels for spring.
Photography by Zee Longenecker. Charming, timeless, nostalgic.
To buy Zee’s delightful prints, visit her Etsy shop HeyZee.

You may have noticed, I have given my blog a bit of a makeover. I have been rather drawn to bright colours against a white backdrop lately, so that’s the direction I’ve taken. It’s still a bit of a work-in-progress so there may be a few more tweaks. If you follow this blog on an RSS reader or via email, do pop over and check out the new look – I’d love to know what you think.

As some of you know, I recently decided to dip my big toe into the phenomenon that is Facebook. A great big bear hug and thank you to everyone who has ‘liked’ my page so far. Sometimes I come across astounding things that I want to share with you beautiful people, but the material isn’t always sufficient for a whole post, so I will share such things on my Facebook page. If you want to see even more gorgeous goodies and perhaps even have a bit of a banter, all you have to do is go to my Facebook page and click the ‘Like’ button – easy peasy. I would be most honoured to have your company there too.

Cheers, medears. Have a great Monday and a super week ahead!



Filed under Art, Featured talent, Spring