Category: design scrapbook

nestify for How To Spend It

I am happy to announce that my second column for How To Spend It has just gone up. It is about cool design things that you can also plant.

You can read it here.



Luardos: Mexicana kitsch reigns supreme

My friend Simon Luard, from Luardos Mexican street food, just had his Citroen H resprayed and it looks very cool: pink, sexy, and kitsch to the hilt.

You can hunt it down for yourself at markets around London. Specialising in his signature Baja Fish Tacos, it’s where you want to be. They’re delicious.

His other van, no less exciting but with a slightly more down-played Mexicana vibe, serves London’s yummiest burritos every weekday on Whitecross Street.

Go forth and gorge.

Hello Kitty at Liberty

It was only a matter of time before the world’s coolest fabric house snapped up the world’s cutest feline. Joining forces with Liberty, Kitty is back, and looking uber stylish for A/W 2011.

Find her nestling among autumnal apples, swinging in crazy Kitty Town, rocking out at her favourite music festival or communing with nature as she emerges from a giant psychedelic flower.

There are five designs to choose from, at £21 per metre, available in stores from September 26th, or for pre-order online now at



Harvest at Alex’s: Toast’s top table

This weekend we have taken the chocolate van to a new festival at Alex James’ farm, aptly called Harvest at Alex’s. There are foody treats aplenty including live demos by Ottolenghi and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, as well as tons of street food vans and stalls – standing strong despite crazy autumn winds. But by far the most stylish thing amid the portaloos and pop up awnings is the Chef’s Table tent, styled by Toast. Rustic and cosy, it is the perfect place to snoop around their new season collection.

West Dean festival: design roundup

Shabby Chick

Last weekend we took the chocolate van to a new creative festival in West dean, West Sussex, which was set up in partnership with the team behind the lovely Port Eliot lit fest.

The house and grounds are beautiful and there were some lovely crafts stalls, so I thought I’d do  alittle roundup of my favourite traders, both local and further afield.

Shabby Chick

Based in Totnes, Shabby Chick Amanda has been selling vintage and vintage-inspired fabrics, homewares and trinkets for seven years. She passionately supports local crafts and all her items are sourced within Devon and Cornwall, ranging from hand-knitted bed socks to sumptuous old eiderdowns and reupholstered deck chairs. She trades weekly at the market in Totnes and travels to festivals in the summer months.



Based near Petersfield, fifth-generation Potter Jon Barrett-Danes hand makes animal based ceramics. He was trained by his parents, and later in Bristol. His lovingly crafted animal sculptures don’t come cheap but they are brimming with character and texture.

Kate Talbot: Hung Drawn Quoted

Textile artist Kate Talbot creates retro-style cards and prints using needlework to recreate pop-art style designs and iconic household items such as trusty HP Sauce and Marmite. Her designs are playful and detailed, described by Kate as “ironic iconic”. She says, “This is alternative craft. It is no soft option, but is thought provoking, witty and enjoyable.”


Place mats you can plant

It is an unlikely combination but the brilliant Rani Deshpande, creator of eco-friendly gifts outfit Plant a Bloomer, has created a series of beautiful paper place mats that can be planted after use to produce a homegrown bunch of wildflowers.

The pretty mats are created from 100% recycled paper – anything from junk mail to shoe boxes – and mixed with flower, fern and wildflower seeds. When you have had your fun and made your mess, simply plant the paper in some soil, let it biodegrade and watch nature’s bounty bloom.

They also do matching seed paper coasters.

Available (from top to bottom) in heart, bloom and Christmas patterns; £14.95 for four from Plant a Bloomer at and Harvey Nichols.

Festival madness

Over the last few weeks we have taken the chocolate van all over England to feed eager festival goers and their hungry kids. It has been a whirlwind of tents, brownies, milkshakes and hot choc sauce but after Camp Bestival this weekend a well-earned break in Umbria is just around the corner and I can’t wait.

I have seen so many cool design-related things on my UK travels and am longing to blog about them.

All in due course.

For now, to remedy the scarcity of posts, I have finally discovered how to install Wordpres on my Blackberry so I can blog on the move. Let’s see if it works.

Artsmart 2011

Last weekend we were running the Choc Star van at a new art event for London’s art students and alumni: Artsmart. Situated in the  courtyard of the Chelsea College of Art and design, opposite Tate Britain, the two day pop-up market hosted a wonderful, inspiring and exciting array of crafts from across the board, from handmade cushions and textiles to recycled jewellery and stained glasswork. There were also live performance pieces and a number of free talks and workshops for creative entrepreneurs, but my choc van duties took precedence. I did, however, have the chance to check out all the stalls (and buy a few treats), and here are my highlights:

Heart Zeena

Zeena had the kind of stall you immediately run towards, brimming with colourful little birds and hearts and pouches of England’s finest lavender. She is so talented and her cushions in particular always make me smile. We had plenty of time to catch up over the two days, as well as at Cally Festival which we both worked on Sunday, and she told me about her plans for the autumn and what she is up to at the moment. Her cute little sticky tape rolls are being snapped up all over London, and I wait with bated breath for some lovely, cosy-sounding additions to the line come winter.






Hiroko Matsushita

A self-confessed paperholic, illustrator and paper-cutter extraordinaire Hiroko creates beautiful hand-drawn and hand-cut paperwork in all shapes and sizes – with painstaking attention to line and detail. My top picks were her 3-D boxes with carved card messages such as “Happy with You”, “Thank You” and “Good Luck”, which give old messages new depth of meaning in their beautiful intricacy and detail; her handmade illustrated crackers; and her I Heart Tea card which comes complete with a cardboard Rich Tea to dunk.





She is available for commissions, and I was enchanted by every piece I saw.


Namiko Murakoshi

Namiko’s smiley NamNam ceramic plant pots are very sweet. Thrown with a lovely rough and grainy clay, they are simple yet striking in a bold, earthy way. Each one is named after the friend who inspired it (I now have Maurizio, the happiest of the crop, on my shelves) and they look extra sweet huddled together as a little family.


She also makes bowls and chopstick holders out of carefully constructed balls of coloured porcelain clay, with no glazes, which are lovely and clean and bright in their shiny simplicity.



I also liked the London Chair Collective, who reupholster chairs in funky colourways and textures:


And last but by no means least, the delicious Vietnamese baguettes by Banh Mi 11, which truly are love at first bite:




My miniature cactus from Kew

On a trip to Kew Gardens yesterday I bought this little cactus. He is green and white and nestled in an old Sophie Conran egg cup next to my duck measuring cups.

I am now planning for a little cactus family, housed in a hotchpotch of unloved chinaware.

Missoni Bubble lamp

This new season pendant lamp by Missoni is a fun mix between ethnic luxe and DIY style and I like it a lot. Allowing customers to choose from a selection of seventeen colourful prints – all in keeping with the laid-back-loud that Missoni do so well – and small and large pendant frames, complete with removable coverings, the sky is the limit when it comes to what you hang where.

The only limitation may be the price: $910.00 – $2,420.00 exclusively at