Miss V to Miss P – November

From: shelley@scarletopus.com

To: victoria@scarletopus.com

Sent: 22.11.11 at 10:39

Subject: November musings

Queenie in 7 days I’ll be 31 … I’m just going to let that sit out there for a few minutes.

How has this happened?  How has an entire year passed by since I was freaking out at turning 30?!!  Do you remember Grace Bonney’s posting over at Design*Sponge on turning 30?  Remember how it seemed she had perfectly described my ‘style limbo’ as you call it!  Well, a year on and I think I’m more confused than ever: I know exactly what I like (I think), and I know exactly who I am (I think), now how to package it all together??!!  Grace really struck a chord when she said she could no longer see herself in her “things” and her home and I wonder if being in this job has totally ruined me!!  We have access to so many fabulous Designers creating wonderful work and every time I see something new I want it regardless of it having a completely different style from what I wanted last week let alone last month!


Clockwise from top left: Eskayel’s Cosmonaut Crystal Amethyst wallpaper; Wooster lights by Jake Phipps, produced and distributed by InnermostMeystyle’s False Vision LED wallpaper; Rothschild & Bickers’ Vintage light; Fin chair by Noda Designs; Peacock chair by Dror Benshetrit for Cappellini; Silver Crush table by Fredrikson StallardDesign By Leftovers’ Rockstar chest; Nendo’s Cabbage chair

Once your eyes have been opened to so much it’s even harder to know what exactly is for you and stick with that and just admire the rest from afar.  Last month when we were speaking at INDEX you mentioned to the audience we always wear black because with our work we’re living in the future and when we go shopping everything seems so old!  And you’re so right but I’m wondering … do I need to also start living in a blank canvas?!!!!!

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the idea of community and re-connecting, taking proper time to really understand how we live, how we live with our neighbours, what we really need, and what’s really important day to day (do you remember I touched on some of these ideas for the Remembering 9/11 posting?).  It’s hard; I think we’ve spent so long living in quite isolated, independent bubbles that we really have gotten used to living quite self-centred lives and it’s hard to be that honest with yourself and take action.  It’s perhaps easy to recognise where change needs to be made but it’s definitely not so easy to take those first steps and really step out of the bubble and connect.

That is one of the reasons I was so interested in the Flattr movement to support bloggers and other creators through “social micropayments”.  Basically once you have an account you can add funds and Flattr online content you admire, and you can add the Flattr icon to your own blog/platform and be Flattr-ed by your viewers.  Let’s say we put £10 in to our account, at the end of each month all the blogs we’ve Flattr-ed will be sent a proportion of our £10; so if we Flattr-ed 10 blogs each of the bloggers will get £1!  Genius!  I’m so excited to start financially supporting our fellow bloggers and I’ve added the Flattr icon to our own postings so hopefully our readers will show us some click love!

But I digress, to go back to my original line of thought, I’m hoping that through trying to change the way I view my life in connection with my friends and community I’ll be led to my style, the one that really fits me.  What do you think?

Although it seems an age since you were here for INDEX and FoID I’ve put together some of the best shots of the week.

Annemette Beck was definitely a highlight of the show with her wonderful textiles, and was certainly a favourite on the VIP Trend Tour which was yet again really well received.  You can see from the pictures how into it everyone was!  I was really impressed with the winning design for the Contemporary Majlis Competition this year too, Sinmar Al-Said from Internal Line Interior Design created a super cool space using traditional Islamic patterns.  AND check out how it looked lit up, I found this online:

I loved having the chance to see Beau McClellan’s awe-inspiring Nomad chandelier again at the Downtown Pavilion and now that it’s hanging in the B5 showroom I can go to see it whenever I like!  Did you like the vibe at the Pavilion?  I really like the urban edge, it was definitely the right location for Amartey Golding’s Live Art showcase, I’ve never seen that style of rubbing away the paper to reveal the art beneath before, thanks God you were there to explain it to me.

I wonder if you’ll agree with me when I say that the absolute highlight of the week was the surprise graffiti penguin in the ladies bathroom at the Pavilion?!!!!!!

So since you left I’ve been hard at work on our new blog design, it’s certainly been a challenge but one I’ve enjoyed and I just can’t wait to reveal our new look to all our readers soon … watch this space.  And then of course we’ll be launching our brand new member’s area in the New Year, I’m putting together all the details now and will be letting everybody know next month what they can expect from their subscription.  There’s certainly lots to pack in before the end of the year, can you believe we’re so close to Christmas already?  I really must get organised with my shopping … perhaps I’ll wait to read your column for The National on how to Personalise Christmas this year!

Speak soon fabulous colleague!


From: victoria@scarletopus.com

To: shelley@scarletopus.com

Sent: 25.11.11 at 11:17

Subject: RE: November musings

Greetings Miss P!  I can’t believe you’ll be 31 so soon!  Really though…where has the last year gone?!  I remember the trauma of your 30th birthday like it was only a few months ago….whilst my 31st birthday is now a distant, distant memory.

Miss P…you are going through a change.  Sorry but you are.  No one tells you.  The transition from your 20′s into your 30′s is often a tricky one for women in terms of personal style and home style preferences.  There’s just a load of stuff that’s not really appropriate anymore (even if you do still like it and feel you can pull it off!).  And at the same time you haven’t really got enough experience at 31 of actually being in your 30′s…so how are you meant to know what your new 30something style should be!  You have to settle into it.  Some style sins may be committed but you’ll come out the other side I promise.

That skirt is too short for me isn’t it?!

I hope you’ll experience the same grounded confidence and contentment that started to come to me once I passed the 35 mark and headed on that road to 40.  Plus I had a real turnaround on my previous cravings to own more stuff!  Quite suddenly I felt that the physical things I owned were tying me down…stopping me from being spontaneous and even messing with my values.

As I get older I need things to be simpler.  I’ve said it before Miss P but I’m gonna say it again – Less is Better!  And I was the worst for craving things…I found it frustrating not to be able to have the stuff I saw and coveted.  No more Miss P!  Now I honestly feel that through my work as a Trend Forecaster I’m fed a full helping of eye candy everyday.  For me it’s enough that loads of amazing products appear on our blog, trend boards and in our trend reports.  I don’t feel like I need to own them anymore.  I’m freeeeeeee!

Having said all of that…I just completely fell in love with these gorgeous martini glasses from Katharine Pooley.  Well a girl’s gotta drink!


Actually the topic of collecting stuff came up earlier this month when I was chatting over a glass of wine with a journalist who writes for the FT’s How To Spend It Art & Collecting section.  She was telling me she interviewed a chap who had hundreds of lawnmowers!  Passions can get out of hand.  But I digress.  The event the journalist and I were attending was a private dinner at The Russian Club in London to mark the unveiling of Alex Randall’s new lighting pieces for The Memory Collection.  

Above: Invitation, Menu & Mural

When the Dreamweaver heard they’d be serving a special foraged menu he was keen to come along too.  And the lovely Lyndsay at Helen Edwards PR fixed it for him ;)  So we enjoyed a fascinating menu by chef, forager & wild food expert Mark Lloyd consisting of found herbs, leaves & flowers with pigeon spring rolls, venison and finally a dessert of potted quince, candied butternut, vanilla jelly & cinnamon posset.  Oh Yes we did!  On top of the dessert he served green leaves that tasted like Ribena!  And there was a herb on another course that tasted like cut grass smells.  It was a mind bender!

The table was beautifully set and amongst the central candles a scattering of antique Optometrists lenses got everyone talking (we were pleased to be seated with Alex’s completely charming Mother).  On the wall behind where I was sitting was a huge mural of the piggy photo ‘The Last Supper’ by Claire Rosen (featured in my montage above) and hanging above the long table were pairs of horse lights, created by wrapping rawhide around carousel horses.  Intrigued?  You should be.

Above: Dinner table setting & ’In memory of the horses’ lights

You’ll remember that last month I posted an interview & showcase of Alex’s taxidermy work on the blog.  Well Alex’s latest work is a collection of lighting art-works using a new technique to create lightweight and ethereal casts of statues using rawhide (waste from the venison industry in Scotland).  Rawhide has been used for a long time for drum heads and Alex explained to me that she had seen the skin removed from a drum and noticed it kept it’s shape…and that got her thinking.  Apparently rawhide was also used as a torture device in ancient times – as it dries it shrinks.  Yikes!  The reason Alex chose to start working with rawhide was because she “loved the connotations of using something that resembles a cast away skin casing like that of a snake or chrysalis.”

Alex has made something truly precious, magical and evocative from a waste material.  As far as I’m concerned Alex Randall is an alchemist!  Miss P the effect was just stunning – the darkened layers, the curled edges and the amazing details she had managed to capture.  She commented that ”The way the light shines though these pieces is very special.  You see every line and crease”…and it’s so true, check out the bottom right photo in the montage below.  It’s a close-up shot I took of the angels wings…see the perfect detail of the feathers from the original statue (representing triumph) now captured forever in the rawhide cast…like a memory:

Above: ‘In memory of triumph’ & Alex Randall

The centrepiece was a huge piece called ‘In memory of Freddie’….that’d be Freddie Mercury!

Above: ‘In memory of Freddie’  – from The Memory Collection by Alex Randall

We were chatting to Ol Beach (lead singer of Yellow Wire & son of Queen manager, Jim Beach) who was telling us how after Alex ran into a load of red-tape associated with getting permission to cast British statues, his father had offered the use of the statue of Freddie Mercury in Montreux.  And if you go to the Portfolio section of Alex’s website and click on ‘Casting Freddie Mercury in Montreux’ you can see photos of the casting process as Alex works away in the crisp air by Lake Geneva.  The profits made from the sale of this piece will be donated to the charity set up in Freddie’s name; The Mercury Phoenix Trust.

Actually it had been a really good day even before we got to Alex Randall’s event because we went to check out and spend some time at FARM:Shop

Above: Getting some work done at FARM:Shop.  Wondering about my temp’ tattoo?…it’s from Tattly.  I’ve got loads of different ones and I’ve taken to wearing them when I give seminars.  I might wear this one when I lead the Speed Trend Tour at the SURFACES show in Vegas!

FARM:Shop was the brainchild of the chaps at Something & Son.  Originally started as a Social Enterprise using Council funding and a team of volunteers, it is now self-funding.  So what’s it all about?…Well it’s ALL going on at FARM:Shop!  They have transformed a derelict shop into an urban food Hub, cafe and arts venue.  It has a mini aquaponic fish farm, which works by recirculating the dirty water (poopy but filled with nutrients) from 2 big fish tanks (filled with edible Nile Tilapia) around the beds of salads & herbs that are literally everywhere throughout the cafe space.  The plants then filter the water, making it clean so the fish continue to have a happy tank life.  And the cafe sells lovely sandwiches & soup made from the produce grown in the FARM:Shop.  They also have a Fruiting Room upstairs which is kept nice and toasty enabling tomatoes and chilli plants to thrive.  And there are chickens up on the roof providing eggs!

Note:Egg is not in proportion to chicken!…just to be clear.

Outside they have polytunnels with soil beds to grow produce all year round (sweetcorn, gherkins, peppers, squashes & more salads) and it doubles as a brilliantly unusual venue for music events too…it even has a glitterball!  Then in the Meeting Room that’s for hire they have a basil hydroponics system on the wall growing lots of different varieties of basil and making the room smell amazing!  And you can rent work space in FARM:Shop by the day, week, month or longer.  I’m raving I know but I think it’s excellent.

Whilst I was getting a bit of work done in FARM:Shop (they have super fast wifi) and enjoying a bowl of homemade soup, a group of ladies arrived and like a flock of birds descended on the counter of cakes.  The general concensus was that the poppy seed & lemon cake was to die for!  It was a bit of a shame actually because if they’d arrived just 5 mins earlier they could have met the delightful Deniz who actually makes all the fantastic cakes…she had popped-in with her latest delivery of spongey loveliness!

Above: Tasty treats from the fair hands of denizgoksu@gmail.com from Sophie’s Organic Brownies

The next day (after a good nights sleep at the Avo Hotel) I headed to the Steelcase showroom on Farringdon Road, London to present 2 Trend Seminars to a group of their clients made up of mostly Architects, Product Designers & Interior Designers.  So you see I’ve been keeping myself rather busy since I returned from the crazy couple of weeks in Dubai with you for the design festival events!  I’ve also squeezed in a Press event for Harvey Jones Kitchens which was very enjoyable and well received.  The journalists were LOVING Yarn Bombing!  But in answer to your very important question I can confirm that Yes, Betty-the-Bikini-Penguin was the highlight of the Dubai festival for me too ♥  Let’s hope we can get involved with the FoID again next year.

The Flattr movement you’ve got us all turned onto is really worthwhile so I’ll be interested to see how many other bloggers and readers sign-up and show their appreciation across the blogosphere.  I’ve seen some great articles over the past few weeks so I’m keen to get clicking!

Oh…before I sign off, did you get chance to check out the products Lakeland applied our Amelie design to?

Above left to right: Amelie mug & coaster in presentation tin, cosmetics bags (small & large) and shopper.  Nice one Rebecca!

Cheerio for now Miss P.

I hope your Christmas shopping is coming along nicely!  I’m at the wrapping stage Ho Ho Ho!

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