Monday, December 5th, 2016
Presenting to you the 10 most creative Christmas trees is kind of therapy for me. Usually, I go nuts every year around Christmas. I start surrounding myself with Christmas stuff mid-November and listen to Christmas music whenever I can. But this year things have changed. I’m not going to get a Christmas tree due to rational reasons. What?! I’m leaving for Germany mid-December already so I thought it’s not worth getting a Christmas tree for my London flat. I never make rational decisions when it comes to Christmas… That’s when I realised I’m getting old. Oh no!
I remember when my parents announced one day that we won’t have a real Christmas tree at home anymore. That was a couple of years ago and we now have a fake one every year. I’m almost too embarrassed to tell you that. On the other side, we don’t kill trees anymore (at least that’s what I’m telling myself). Now, I started to be my parents. Help!
But I still have my blog and I can live Christmas here. Yay! Lucky you! So that’s why I wanted to cheer you up (or myself) with the 10 most creatives Christmas trees. I recently went to a press breakfast at the Ace Hotel to see the Fabrica and the J.W. Anderson Christmas trees (see below). That inspired me to look for more unusual Christmas trees.
I finally felt a little more christmassy. I thought then it doesn’t always have to be the usual decoration or even a proper Christmas tree to celebrate the season. All the below Christmas trees inspire me and I think next year I’m going to create my own unique Christmas tree.
What about you?
Source: Pinterest & Apartment Therapy
Sunday, October 23rd, 2016
What’s your favourite stationery brand? I think I will never stop writing about stationery because I love it so much and I hope you do, too. This time, I want to introduce you to 3 amazing stationery brands you need in your life. Why? Because they will inspire you to be creative both with their designs and their blank papers. Where else is the best place to jot down your creative thoughts, right?!
I discovered Katie Housley Stationery only recently and I really love her style. Especially her new collection is gorgeous. She hand-paints the illustrations and sometimes adds a little touch to it, like gold paper. Her new collection is all about nature and I love the simplicity of her drawings. But I’m also a fan of her geometric cards which are so minimalist.
Check out her beautiful stationery brand here!
Do you remember Lonetree? I had an amazing interview with them on my blog already, therefore I couldn’t resist including them in my top list of amazing stationery brands. I love that they’re experimenting with nature but also humour. What a wonderful combination. ‘Milk & Gold’ as well as ‘Geometric in Nature’ are their latest collections, which were selected as finalists for the recent PaperAwards in both the Emotive and Exciting Use of Colour categories (love these categories). Congratulations to the team!
Check out their new collections here!
This luxury stationery brand was the first one I ever introduced you to on my blog – twice (here & here) – and I’m still a massive fan. I’m always curious what Katie Leamon Stationery is coming up with in their next collection and they never disappoint. Have you seen their gorgeous notebooks? I still have the Marbled 07 Notebook and guess what it’s still untouched, just because it’s so beautiful and precious. I want to save it for the perfect content. I know, I know, it’s ridiculous but I like the thought that it’s waiting for me there. One day…
Can’t get enough? Discover more here!
Thursday, October 6th, 2016
The Koppel Project Cafe (Baker Street)
My talented artist friend Natalja recently visited The Koppel Project in London and I’m very happy to present to you what she has discovered. After you’ve read all about The Koppel Project make sure to also check out her own artworks here.
Visiting The Koppel Project spaces was inspiring and moving. This art venue delves right into the most current events with their exhibition that centres on Colombia and its people.
Both a place for social engagement, as well as a commercial gallery, The Koppel Project is an interesting, inclusive space that infuses the local community with art. Spread across two spaces, one located in a decommissioned bank vault in 93 Baker Street, the other one situated in 26 Holborn Viaduct, the project encompasses studio spaces, a cafe, and co-working space, as well as Phaidon publishing house’s only UK bookstore.
In contrast to other, more commercial galleries, The Koppel Project offers mentoring to artists and writers and runs a program of free cultural events, on top of offering traineeships, work experience, and mentoring programs. It is actually a non-profit venture, run by Gabriella Sonabend and Hannah Thorne, the gallery co-directors and co-curators. An interesting mixture of a simultaneously commercial and educational space, both directors hope that the future of the project will include a flourishing educational program that runs alongside exhibitions that will help international artists sell excellent work as a crucial part of sustaining their practice.
Paintings by Gabriella Sonabend and sculpture by Sol Bailey Barker (The Hive)
Phaidon bookshop at The Koppel Project (Baker Street)
The current exhibitions, “From Myth To Earth” and “Mitologia De La Tierra”, are immersive, outwardly gorgeous, thematically ambitious and very current.
“From Myth To Earth” is comprised of work that Sol Bailey Barker and Gabriella Sonabend produced during their seven-month residency in Colombia, as well as during a year and a half of research thereafter. Sol’s and Gabriella’s works invite the viewer to see, feel, smell and listen, taking them through Colombian history, mythologies, folklore and landscapes. The exhibition is situated in the Koppel Project Hive in Holborn, it is spread over two floors and spans a variety of disciplines and media.
“Mitologia De La Tierra” complements the previously mentioned exhibition. It is comprised of work by a variety of Colombian artists and gives the viewer an inside perspective of the country and of Colombian identity. Both shows bring the country’s struggle to life, providing a background to the recent signing of the peace treaty between the Colombian government and the FARC guerrilla group and the subsequent rejection of it by a very fine margin of the population via a referendum.
Gabriella’s body of work consists of a series of paintings and several short stories that she wrote and that were then recorded as audio files. The former are vibrant figurative works, depicting, as seen through the artist’s eyes, the people she encountered in Colombia and their surroundings. Some of the colourful pigments used in these works were harvested in Colombia and now lend this series of paintings a unique charm.
Gabriella’s short stories are a jarring counterpoint to this seemingly idyllic imagery. They talk about casual greed, war, dehumanisation and how people strive to find solace in any kind of normalcy, numbed by the horrors befalling them. These stories can be listened to via several pairs of headphones while sitting down on a bench within a tin-hut that is open on one side; a semi-private setting I was grateful for when immersed in the intense narratives.
‘From Myth To Earth’ installation, Sol Bailey Barker sitting in bus shelter, listening to audio narrative by Gabriella Sonabend (The Hive)
‘Recuerdo La Selva’ by Gabriella Sonabend (The Hive)
Where Gabriella’s work covers the visual and aural aspect of the exhibition, Sol’s creations are of sculptural and photographic nature. The materials used, span everything from local wood and metal to found objects, combining indigenous items and shapes with industrial materials. A lot of the sculptures seen in the exhibition are one of a pair of identical pieces. One of each of them was left in Colombia to decompose and rejoin their place of origin, representing the artist’s response to recent and historical events.
The sculptures that were left behind were documented via photographs, which are part of the exhibition in Holborn. The sculptures’ identical counterparts, physically present, invite the viewer to explore their textures and interact with them. Outwardly beautiful and light in shape, they simultaneously are an exploration of heavier themes, such as resistance and the turning of instruments of death into instruments of life.
‘From Myth To Earth’ installation, sculptures by Sol Bailey Barker (The Hive)
The Koppel Project space in Baker Street is housing another side to the previously described exhibition. “Mitologia De La Tierra” is comprised of artwork by 7 Colombian artists whom Gabriella and Sol interacted with and were influenced by during their residency and whom they believe are key voices in understanding contemporary Colombian identity.
Similarly immersive to the show in Holborn, 93 Baker Street’s underground exhibition space is beautifully curated and leads the viewer through a labyrinth of sculptures, drawings, paintings, video and audio works that speak of individual narratives, self-expression within and outside of the country, as well as reflections on Colombia’s past and present. Most prevalent is a sense of mourning and also an enormous longing for hope for the future.
Tuesday, September 20th, 2016
I went to Berlin for a couple of days and I couldn’t resist sharing with you the ultimate Berlin travel guide. I did some research before I visited Berlin and found some cool places on different websites, on Instagram or they were recommendations from friends. I thought that all the places I visited were absolutely amazing. You won’t regret checking these places out when you’re going to travel to Berlin.
Believe me, it won’t be the last time I come to this city. In fact, I want to move there. It’s a bit odd because I used to live in Berlin when I was a child but that’s such a long time ago. Berlin has changed so much and it’s one of my favourite cities in the world now. It’s super chilled out and there are so many places to discover, it never gets boring. I do think it’s a bit like East London, just bigger (PS: I love East London).
I hope you’ll enjoy this ultimate Berlin travel guide! Do let me know if you know of any other cool places in Berlin!
House of Small Wonders is open during the day and serves breakfast and lunch. I just loved the entrance of this place. It does look like a small wonder, doesn’t it? It’s a very relaxed café. I would say it’s definitely worth a visit (hello, Instagram!) but I do have to mention that I wasn’t too impressed with their menu. It was basic food for quite a bit of money.
Open: Monday – Sunday 9am – 5pm
Address: Johannisstraße 20, 10117 Berlin
I found this place randomly when I was looking for a breakfast place in Berlin-Mitte, close to our Airbnb flat. Zimt und Zucker is right next to the river Spree and has indoor and outdoor seats. The food and the atmosphere were amazing! I have tried many different types of breakfast but I still think German breakfast is the best (okay, I’m biased). The bread is always so fresh and healthy and you have so much on your plate to choose from. I highly recommend this cute restaurant!
Open: Monday – Sunday 9:30am – 9pm
Address: Schiffbauerdamm 12, 10117 Berlin
Monday, September 12th, 2016
Today’s blog post is presented to you by Daniel from Day Out in London and it’s all about creative hotspots in London. I love the places he found and I can’t wait to check them out myself to get my creative juices flowing. Enjoy!
London is the creative centre of the UK, Europe and possibly even the world. Where else could you pop into a world-renowned museum, follow it up with a musical matinée and finish off the day with a night out at the opera – all within walking distance of each other?
Creatives are drawn to London to see the best in their craft and to inspire themselves to achieve their dreams; thankfully the city is well equipped to help these people succeed. If you are a budding novelist or perhaps an actor in the making and you need a space to think, muse, write or rehearse, London is full of unique spaces where you can get the creative juices flowing. In this article, I talk about 5 of the best I’ve come across.
The Barbican Centre is one of my favourite places in London. It’s half housing estate half cultural hub; with theatre spaces, reading rooms, exhibitions, libraries and cafés all in one complex. Built in the 60’s as a social experiment, the Barbican Centre has hosted cultural events for nearly half a century. Walking around the complex is an experience in itself, the outside space is somewhat of a maze but it also beautiful in a brutalist sort of way.
Large sections of the Barbican are publically accessible all year round, including a huge library with free workspaces, a large hall with seating and free Wi-Fi and a range of cafés and kitchens for those wanting a bit to eat while they get creative. The library could be particularly useful for actors as it’s one of the few in London with an extensive play script section.
One of the Barbican’s best-kept secrets is its conservatory, a huge greenhouse with a range of unique species of fauna that few Londoners know about. This is a truly unique space in London and is an absolute must to visit, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
The National Theatre is one of London’s cultural gems. It’s hard to fathom the number of world-class productions that have taken place on its stages. I don’t think it’s wrong to suggest that ‘the national’, as it’s often shortened to, is the best theatre in the world. Great news for aspiring actors is that the National Theatre is open to everyone, from 8am till 11pm, even if you don’t have a ticket to see a show.
There is a huge foyer with plenty of seating, vast roof terraces, half a dozen bars and cafés and even free Wi-Fi. I myself used to work at the National Theatre and what was obvious is that it’s a huge hotspot for theatre groups, acting students and even working actors to meet up, go through their lines and rehearse in groups. There is a bookshop filled with scripts and plays and you can even go on a tour of the backstage.
Friday, September 9th, 2016
Have you ever heard of the London Design Biennale? It’s taking place right now at Somerset House in London until 27th September 2016. I visited the exhibition before it opened its doors and I could not wait to tell you all about it. At the exhibition, 39 countries represent their design ideas of Utopia. That’s a huge challenge in my opinion and I was fascinated by what each country came up with.
I haven’t really thought about it but I will reveal my thoughts at the end of this blog post. First, I want to tell you a little bit about what the different countries thought Utopia means. Bear in mind, that it’s an exhibition so there’s always an element of interpretation and that’s exactly what I’ve done. A few of the artists and presenters introduced me to their concepts but the rest is what I saw and felt when entering a room.
Some of the countries, such as Indonesia, Russia, and India, saw Utopia as a whole of human history. History has influenced how people perceive design and also how to predict the future. Design is a powerful element of telling a story, from objects to propaganda posters.
Other countries, such as Germany, Israel, and Taiwan, make Utopia an experience of senses. It’s what your eyes see, your skin feels and your ears hear. All this can be influenced by design. It puts each human being in their own world of Utopia.
Utopia was closer to real life for some of the countries at the London Design Biennale. Countries such as Australia, UAE, and Saudi Arabia particularly looked at problems the world has with water and by that, I mean water pollution and water scarcity. Design can help in many ways, either to express a problem or even to solve one.
NATURE VS. CITY
It was interesting to see that some of the countries saw Utopia as a harmonious togetherness of an advanced city and nature. China was very significant in showing the merge as well as Norway.
I loved the idea of Utopia as a collaboration. Utopia would not be possible without human beings helping each other and creating new things. I remember countries such as Sweden, Switzerland, and Italy showcasing art and design of selected designers.
I don’t know exactly how to describe this idea of Utopia but I have seen it “in” Austria, Japan, and Turkey. The idea of Utopia is highly individual with an open end. I can probably just describe it by telling you what each country created. Austria designed a sea of lamps which were very sensitive. If you touched one lamp the light switched itself off and on and also influenced the functionality of the other lights. Utopia represented the influence and environment of things and people. Do ask the artist when you’re there, I really liked his explanation but it’s really difficult to re-capture his thoughts. Japan on the other side was represented by an artist who saw everyday objects in a different light; out of the expected. Last but not least, Turkey created a machine where you can add a wish. You can follow the wish for a bit until it disappears somewhere in the building.
My favourite 5 countries and their idea of Utopia
I also liked Portugal, Germany, and Taiwan. I’m going back next week to fully explore Utopia in Taiwan, where I will discover the country through the sense of taste, I hope.
So, what do I think about Utopia and design?
I think it would be something you haven’t seen or experienced before. It’s an idea of something which can never exist, though. As soon as it exists it’s not Utopia anymore. I would actually compare it to a secret. As soon as the secret is revealed it’s not a secret anymore. If I had to exhibit at the London Design Biennale you probably would find a room with nothing. Or something you can see when you’re far away and when you come closer it’s gone.
Let me know what you think of Utopia and if you had the chance to visit the exhibition!
Monday, August 22nd, 2016
I love interviews and getting to know people behind their ideas, projects or businesses. I went to Secret 7” twice in the last two years and always thought it’s such an amazing idea. I was lucky that my boyfriend knew the founder of Secret 7” so I asked Kevin a few questions.
Let me know if you have heard of Secret 7” before. I can’t wait to see the next “exhibition”. I actually wanted to take part this year but then time was flying; you probably know what I mean. Count me in for next year, though. Promised!
And now the interview!
1. Can you briefly describe what Secret 7” is & how the idea was born?
Since 2012 Secret 7″ has been combining music and art for good causes. Each year we take 7 tracks from 7 of the best-known musicians around and press each one 100 times to 7″ vinyl. We then invite creatives from around the world to interpret the tracks in their own style for every 7″. The resulting 700 sleeves are for exhibition and then sold for £50 apiece. You don’t know who created the sleeve, or which song it’s for until you have parted with your cash – the secret lies within. To date, we’ve raised over £170,000 for charities.
The idea came about while I was working at Universal Music. The staff was challenged to come forward with fundraising ideas and inspired by the RCA postcard sale, Secret 7″ was my response.
2.What has been your greatest success with Secret 7” so far?
I’d say successfully developing it year after year. The core concept of the show has stayed the same but we’ve grown into a month-long exhibition with a programme of events and various bonus material. This year we had sleeve making workshops with artists, talks, hosted a sleepover, gave the public the chance to record live to vinyl at the exhibition, reanimated a vintage jukebox and commissioned seven unique turntables with Thierry Noir and Rega. We’re a small team of two (see last photo), and when I step back and look what we output each year it’s incredible.
3. What has been your most favourite sleeve of the past 5 years?
That’s a really tough question. I’ve 3,500 to choose from now! I’ll reference two sleeves, one by Non-Format (who sealed the record inside a concrete block) and the other Boneface, both for Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer last year. They are equally brilliant in their execution and yet worlds apart, I think they show how wonderfully different two people can interpret a track through the project.
4. How long does it take you to organise such a big event?
A lot of hours! We’ll almost start picking up conversations with partners and venues for the following year as soon as one show ends. It gets really hectic and sleep deprived from December till May for the two of us.
5. If you don’t organise the Secret 7” show what do you do?
Now that 2016’s show has come to a close we’re exploring more projects as Goodness, using our skills and network across music/art to deliver meaningful campaigns.
6. Last but least, how do you stay creative?
Good question. If I’m looking for inspiration I’ll get out in the world – walks, holidays or a drive. If I can’t go far and need a clear mind I’ll have a shower. At peak madness bringing Secret 7″ together, I’ll shower three or four times in a day.
I’ll update you as soon as I know when the next Secret 7” show starts again.
Monday, August 15th, 2016
Last week, I went to the Mayfield Lavender Fields close to London. It was such a cool trip that I needed to share it with you. There were several reasons why I wanted to go there.
Number 1: I barely leave London so this was a great destination to finally leave the big city for a few hours.
Number 2: I wanted to find a really nice location to take photos of the Föllinge products (more about it in a second).
Number 3: I can finally go on adventures during the week because I’m freelancing so that was the first big chance (silly reason, I know).
So I went to Mayfield Lavender Fields with my friend Emelie last Friday – we’re in the middle of organising our event at the moment (coming soon on my blog). She is also the one who introduced me to an amazing organic beauty brand: Föllinge. You can see a couple of their products below. Föllinge is a Swedish product – so is my friend (not a product though) – and it was founded in the north of Sweden in 1985. I’m very happy they made it to the UK (and other countries – you order their products here). I’m a huge fan of Swedish design and I can tell you that their beauty products are as amazing as their design. Well, at least Föllinge is. Their organic products are divided into products for your face, for your body, and wellness. I just started trying a few of their products and I love how they feel on your skin.
Although I could not travel to the north of Sweden to take some beautiful photos of the products, I thought the lavender fields are very suitable to take some nice photographs. England meets Sweden, right?!
As I mentioned before, it was a great day and I could refuel my creative juices. If I wasn’t concentrating on taking photos of Föllinge I would have sat down to work on my art journal. And if the lavender fields wouldn’t be a 4-hour journey in a day I would spend more time there for sure. BUT, sometimes you just need to put a little bit of effort into something in order to get good results. For me, it was taking 2 hours to get to the lavender fields and 2 hours back. I had a wonderful day of sunshine, treats, and fun, and of course, I couldn’t resist buying some lavender for the house, too.
Do you have a favourite place where you can feel the magic?
Thursday, August 11th, 2016
If you’re in need of a creative break, I found the perfect stay in London for you. Please let me introduce you to the new hotel citizenM, a creative paradise as you can see in the photos. I was invited to attend a design blogger event at citizenM a couple of weeks ago. I checked in early because I wanted to have the full experience of being a mobile citizen in the hotel. Luckily, I live in London because I didn’t want to leave the hotel. I spend almost 24 hours in there and it was fantastic.
If you’re a freelancer like me you can work from anywhere. So I checked in, got myself a coffee in their café (yum!), and then worked in the lobby. I was surrounded by art and so much attention to detail. Okay, I had to be careful not to get distracted too much but it was such an amazing creative environment.
Before we – the bloggers – met downstairs, I also quickly checked out my room. I spend a couple of too many minutes playing around with the technology in the room. You could pretty much control everything from the iPad they provided you with. I loved the personal welcome as citizenM Uli, too. You could open the blinds, have different mood lightening and they also had German TV. I know, this is especially important for you LOL
I finally met the other bloggers after a couple of hours exploring the hotel and working from the lobby. I couldn’t wait to see the bar with the amazing view. Scroll down to see what I mean. By the way, the room I was staying in had the same view *LOVE* We pretty much hung out at the bar for the rest of the evening with a short break to have some dinner. Believe me, you wouldn’t want to leave that bar either.
Last but not least, I had such a great sleep in the huge bed and an even better breakfast in the morning. I really liked that the hotel also provided healthy options.
Can you see why this hotel is the perfect stay in London? It just opened. So if you’re travelling to London soon or just want to have a little luxury break from home, like me, then you know where to go. Oh, and did I mention the WiFi is perfect?! They have everything a freelancer needs – the Internet, coffee, a creative environment, and a bar.
PS: If you’re not travelling to London, you can also stay in a citizenM hotel in Amsterdam, Glasgow, New York, Paris, or Rotterdam.
Monday, August 8th, 2016
Meet the gorgeous stationery brand Lonetree and its founders, Sara and Emma, a lovely sister duo (see image below). They got in touch with me a couple of months ago on Instagram and it took a lifetime to finally introduce them to you on my blog. Life gets always in the way… You know I’m a stationery fan and I’m so happy Lonetree found me. Their stuff is absolutely my cup of tea. Emma and Sara introduced themselves as paper-holics which I thought is an amazing description. You can definitely see the love for paper in their stationery products. I’m also very jealous that they work from an old converted stable block on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors. Sounds dreamy!
Without further ado, please get to know the faces behind Lonetree below.
Have you heard about Lonetree before?