Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Miro: The Ladder of Escape

Saturday afternoon at the Tate Modern and the Miró exhibition is packed. In a smart move, we chose to navigate the rooms back to front, eventually exiting at the entrance. Doing so led us to contemplate the following question: was it imperative for Miró, and indeed, did he, learn traditional, classical painting skills before turning to the impressionistic style he is famous for?

Our journey through the 13 rooms of his artwork led us to the answer; or rather, to Miró’s 1920s canvas; ‘The Farm’. This painting alone exemplifies both Miró’s ability to paint with the utmost skill, plus offers an early glimpse of his abstract work which was to arrive years later.

In short, The Ladder of Escape not only offers a rare opportunity to get up close and personal with Miró’s masterpieces, but also the chance to experience firsthand the natural development of Miró’s world renowned and instantly recognisable style.

The Farm, 1921-1922

Personages and Mountains, 1936

The Escape Ladder, 1940

Hope of a Condemned Man I, 11, 111, 1974

Miró: The Ladder of Escape is on at the Tate Modern, London, until 11th September.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Father's Day: It's all about the little things

This Sunday marks the one day of the year we dedicate to saying “thank you” to the most important men in our lives; our father’s. We’re thinking of doing things a little different this year too; with breakfast in bed (pancakes made by Milly) and long afternoon walks top of the list. After all, it’s the little things that count so here are some of our ideas to make Father’s Day all the more memorable.

Clean the car

Get out the bucket and soap, take to the sunshine and give Pa’s pride and joy a good old scrub. Just wait ‘till you see his huge smile reflecting in the squeaky clean finish!

Entertain a sports fan

Whether he’s a footie follower or loves lawn bowls, pick up some tickets or take to the outdoors for a game or two.

An afternoon stroll (plus refreshment!)

Amble up Primrose Hill to take in one of London’s prettiest views (this is what we'll be doing, picnic in arm) or if you’re keen to set out on longer toddle, try Time Out’s recommended walk from Parliament Hill to Primrose Hill that takes in plenty of refreshment stops too. Perhaps drop into the Bull and Last on Highgate Road for a quick drink or one of their legendary Ferrero Rocher ice creams to start your journey. Once on the other side of the heath, a quick stop off at The Hill to wet the whistle before ending your journey at The Queens.

Breakfast in bed

Get the kids involved and whip up Dad’s favourite fry-up then serve it in bed complete with a family-signed card, freshly-brewed tea and chocolates. And what breakfast in bed would be complete with out pancakes - whether smothered in bacon and maple syrup or sprinkled with sugar and lemon.

Here's a quick recipe for you:

4 oz Plain Flour

a pinch of salt

2 Large Eggs

9 fl oz milk

2 tablespoons melted butter (and a little extra for cooking them)

Sift flour and salt in a large mixing bowl, make a well in the centre and break the eggs into it. Start whisking the eggs into the flour, then gradually add the milk until it's well combined. When you're ready to cook the pancakes add the melted butter and stir in. Melt a small amount of butter in a frying pan over a medium heat then add enough batter cover the bottom of the pan (about 2 tablespoons) when all the bubbles on the surface have popped it's ready to flip. About a minute later it will be ready. Repeat until mixture is all used up.

Movie night

Pop-up some popcorn, download (or rent!) a few of Pa’s favourite flicks and take to the couch for some quality time together.

And of course what father's day would be complete without a gift. Here are a few ideas for you...

Kathleen Hill's Vintage Decanters are the perfect gift for a whisky lover. £82

Keep your father's papers organised with one of Rory Dobner's Precious Paperweights. £52

A great decoration for your father's wall with a limited edition print by Rory Dobner, £80

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Wonder Walls

We recently stumbled upon design studio Custhom's incredible heat sensitive wallpaper, which got us thinking about how the 90's trend of whitewashing walls really has taken a back seat. Wallpaper is back in a big way, with the emphasis on statement-making designs and handcrafted details such as block printing and embroidery. It's time to give that feature wall a go.

Timmason Wallpaper by Lisa Bengtsson

Young Swedish pattern designer Lisa creates the most beautiful, unexpected wallpaper and prints.

Columbia Road Wallpaper (Mustard) by Custhom

Crafted in Custhom's Stoke Newington studio, this three-colour hand-screen print features resting lemon-hued butterflies.

Columbia Road Heat Sensitive Wallpaper by Custhom

Look closely, this print holds a secret - as the temperature rises in your abode, hidden images of butterflies and dandelions gradually appear.

Cottontail Wallpaper by Katie Deedy

Inspired by story telling and a love of pattern, illustrator and designer Katie creates her unique wallpaper under the alias Grow House Grow!

Ms Treat Wallpaper by Katie Deedy

A botanical beauty inspired by naturalists Charges Darwin and Mary Treat's work - a great way to bring the outdoors, in.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Monograms are having their moment

Add a personal touch to your kitchen, bathroom or even living room with artist Rory Dobner's story-telling tiles. There's something so charmingly Alice in Wonderland about them, and they make beautiful presents when framed.

Available in store at