Friday, 29 July 2011

Fabric Friday - Boden

I have been sidetracked a couple of times this week by one of my favourite distractions, Boden.  Whilst I do not have a budget that allows to indulge my love of Boden to the extreme I would probably allow, I am lucky enough to own several fabulous items from this fantastic British company.  Also at the fear of my bank manager Drew and our children also have a love of Boden clothing.  But why do we love it so? For me it's the patterns and colours.  I think this is also the reason my daughters love Mini Boden.  My sons thinks it's just cool and were thrilled to see the launch of Johnnie B in the past year or so as they headed in to their teenage years.  

I need this coat for my collection!

This week I have been perusing their website to investigate the new Autumn collections and I have not been disappointed.  The past couple of collections seemed to have lost that Boden sparkle for me, maybe the colours had been muted or the patterns not quite so bold.  Yet this week I have been pleasantly surprised.    The colours have been restored and the patterns are as bold as when I first fell in love with Mr Boden's clothes, (as Johnnie Boden is affectionately know in our house).

This skirt belongs in my wardrobe!

I have also been giggling with Drew at the Dancing Dad film, whilst Lucy cringed at the similarities of  her own dancing Dad! The Johnnie B movie was like watching Connor, our eldest, and his mates messing about and the Mini Boden movie made me long for a Volvo Amazon even more.

We need Boden homeware.
Image source - Boden

However I have been feeling there is still something missing from the Boden brand.  Whilst Mr Boden makes us want to wear his fab clothes with fun movies, great colours, bold patterns and quality you will not find in cheap high street stores, I believe he is yet to complete the Boden family.  I appluade him for finally listening to my pleas for shorter trousers, thank you, I can now wear Boden trousers! I thank him for my delicious choice of coats that are waiting for me in my wardrobe this Autumn.  But please Mr Boden just one more thing, we want, no need, a Boden homeware collection. Tthe above picture shows just how fantastic Boden fabrics would be on a sofa or a lampshade. So please, please, please can we have Boden cushions, lampshades, duvets, melamine paltes for the little ones and so much more.

Have a fab weekend and I hope you'll join me in my crusade for a Boden homewares collection!
Take care

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

DIY Tutorial - Salt Dough Nautical Decorations

I saw this tutorial a few days ago on Bird's Party and have been meaning to share it with you.  These salt dough starfish would be perfect for just about anywhere in the home or for a nautical or beach themed party or wedding.  Personally I'm planning on making them to have sat on the windowsills in the hall when we eventually get around to giving it a much needed makeover.  I'm planning a very beachy themed hallway complete with seagrass flooring and would love deckchair striped curtains!

So if you're looking for a fun project to do with the children this summer or want a cheap but stylish accessory for your home then head on over to one of my favourite blogs to find out how to make these fabulous starfish and shells.

Have fun!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Windbreaks - Essential for British Seaside Adventures

There have been many times when we've been sat on the beach when the chilly sea breeze could have been avoided with a windbreak.  I actually think if you are going to be spending a lot of time on the bach in the UK then it is worth investing in a more expensive windbreak rather than the questionable effort that can often be brought from seaside shops! My favourites at the moment are from The Reefer Sail Company, who upcycle old sails and adventure sports equipment in to unique lifestyle products, including windbreaks.  I plan to write about The Reefer Sail Company in the near future so won't say too much more now, but here are some examples of their windbreaks as a little taster.

So my next stop was Etsy, Folksy and Not On The High Street and other fantastic British websites to see if I could find some other fab windbreaks to share with you.

Friday, 22 July 2011

End Of Term

Today is the end of the term and the school year but also marks the end on an era in our house.  Kitty, our youngest child, is leaving Playgroup today.  As I type she is enjoying playing with her friends before a little party of games, sausage rolls, fairy cakes and jelly before I collect her.  Then after a funfilled summer she will start Reception class at 'big' school.  This is an exciting time yet also a sad time as after having a small person at home with me for the past thirteen years I will no longer be entertained and the entertainer.  I know that the world is now my oyster in some respects as I no longer have a preschooler but yet I also feel incredibly sad to leave behind this time.  As a mother I have loved these past thirteen years and often think back to times when my older children were little, especially when they are being difficult!

Whilst it's not always easy being a stay at home or work at home mum there isn't another job in the world that equals the rewards of sharing precious moments with your children.  I have been lucky enough to see their first steps, jumps and hops.  I have been lucky enough to go to Sports days, assemblies and help out in the classroom.  Working from home is not always ideal but with five chidlren it is necessary as I need to know that I can still do these things as they are important.  Having a large family means that little moments are incredibly important to each child.  Last night I sat and sang and sewed with Lucy, as she made little leaving gifts for five of her friends in Year 6.  Lucy has been in a mixed Y5 & Y6 class for the past year and has made friendships I am sure will last a very long time but her friends in Y6 leave the school today to head off to High School in September, which Lucy is struggling with and is very upset.  She knows they are still in the village and will see them most days yet the thought of being left in a small class with only 5 other girls, who are not really in her friendship group, has deeply upset her.  I hate seeing one of my children so distraught but I am sure these life lessons make them stronger and I am very lucky to be here for her now, when she needs me so much.

So the world maybe my oyster as I head towards a new era in my childrens lives, but I don't want the world, I want to be here, sat at my desk at home.  I know I need to earn a living, especially as I no longer have the excuse of caring for a preschooler, but I need to do this from home.  Yet I am not sure if I really can have it all? Let's wait and see!

Take care

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Designing Ideas

I spent most of yesterday doodling and playing with design ideas that suddenly swamped my head.  I spent the morning with my head full of 'Oh I do like to be beside the seaside' whilst I played with fonts and scribbled ideas in my sketchbook. Then the fabric came out and snippity snip the ideas were flowing. 

One day I will have a fab garden studio like this wonderful caravan.

I am not quite ready to share anything yet but am hoping to have a few things to open my Etsy store very soon.  It has been so exciting designing and making again, I feel happiest surrounded by fabric, colour and scribbles! Whilst I am a long way off getting my studio in the garden where I can screen print my own fabric I have been having fun, playing with ideas.  I hope you are all having a good week and all this rain isn't putting a dampner on your creative spirits. Or are you all busy packing up ready for the summer hols? I'll do a little sunshine dance for all of you packing up your camping gear ready for the children finishing school on Friday for the Summer!

Take care

Monday, 18 July 2011

Breton Stripes

I have to admit I am a little addicted to Breton Stripes.  Often worn by Picasso, James Dean and sailors or pirates in storybooks these stripes are perfect for summer days.  Yet they also work well for scarves or bedding and the neutral colours of navy and white lend well to a little dash of red for a fab nautical feel.  I have put together this little inspiration board today to celebrate my love of Breton Stripes.

Image sources clockwise

Friday, 15 July 2011

Boscombe - Childhood Memories

As the school holidays draw closer it always brings thoughts of my own childhood summer holidays. I was very fortunate that my grandparents had retired to a little town in the New Forest and every summer until I was twelve we went and stayed with them.  My sister and I spent much of our time playing on the beach at Boscombe, swimming in with the waves in the sea.  I returned to Boscombe whilst on a holiday in the New Forest about six years ago, to show my own children the beach I loved as a child.  However I was deeply disappointed to find the beach littered with cigarette ends and plastic bottles, the pier dilapitated and The Overstrand closed.  This was not the place I loved as a child.

However I read two years ago in the newspapers about the regeneration project of my beloved childhood holiday location.  Boscombe, just down the coastal road from Bournemouth, has recently been subject to a £11 million makeover project, including The Overstrand becoming the best beach huts ever, also known as 'Super Surf Pods' and Europes first artifical Surf Reef has been built. With the design duo of Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway, of Hemingway Design involved in the design of the new 'Super Surf Pods' you can be sure they are going to be something special.  The Overstrand was built in the1950's and been left dilapidated for several years before this project.  It is now an amazing collection of very cool beach huts, with some of the pods being sold on a 25 year lease and the remaining pods are available to hire from the Council.  There are a collection of penthouses, double sized and single huts all with interiors designed by Wayne & Gerrardine Hemingway.  Each beach hut has bespoke seaside furniture, including director's chairs, deckchairs, a windbreak and a wooden table and then there will be a different mural on one wall in each of the huts.

I am so pleased that Boscombe has been given a second chance to be a fantastic holiday location again. This was where I first fell in love with the sea, where I decided that when I grew up I would live by the sea.  I am yet to return to Boscombe to see the fantastic work of the Hemingways and the whole regeneration project but the pictures I have seen look amazing.  So do you have a beach that makes you think of childhood holidays? Would it be a disappointment if you returned now or a day filled with happy memories?

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Beach Huts

I am obsessed with beach huts. There I've said it! So I am sure this won't be the only post about them. When we head to Felixstowe beach there are rows upon rows of beach huts on the cliffs, many shades of a vast palette.  From pastel ice cream shades to bright red and white stripes. Whilst Drew just thinks they're a very expensive shed, I think they are fab. Imagine having a little house at the beach that you can store all the buckets and spades, fishing nets, flip flops, water shoes instead of carrying them around in the boot of the car.  And then when the weather's chilly you can pop into your beach hut and make a fresh pot of tea. Also there are no more awkward changes for the children as you try and use the towels to hide them as they change to go for a swim.  

So are they an expensive shed on the beach or are they a quintessentially English must have for regular beach adventures?

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

I'm Back!!

After falling down a rabbit hole a few months ago into the world of weddings I have just finished a little potion that said 'Drink Me' and am returning here to my little ol' blog.  I have been spending a lot of time thinking the past couple of weeks and now feel like I've come home as I sit here and type this post.  I guess sometimes we have to try ideas to realise they are not for us, although I may just pop in the occassional party inspiration post,as this was my favourite part of writing Inspired Celebration!

So, a new chapter and a fresh new look.  Zoe and Drew will still be about sharing fantastic finds from designer makers and little shops but also about my favourite place, well apart from home, the beach.  Whenever I need to think I head to the beach.  Just sitting on the beach in the sunshine, watching the kite surfers or the tide splash the shingle or on colder days walking briskly and feeling the salty air sting my face, this is where I can clear my head.

This new chapter also sees me working with my husband, Andy, affectionately called Drew ever since I can remember.  Having grown up in coastal Suffolk he also has a love of being on the beach and everything seaside related. He even wrote an essay for his recent degree in History about the impact of the railway being built on Victorian Suffolk. 

Whilst we're still at the idea and planning stage we think together we can start a creative and vintage business that will allow us to indulge our love of the seaside. So watch this space and I hope I'll be sharing some ideas and products very soon!

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