More Links!

Yes, another one of these posts. But this post is not called linky links. I hated that title but I could not think of anything better at the time!

•I love this blog all about kitsch! Its a new discovery to me. This post made me smile, I was a Brownie back in the 80’s!

Oh you east Londoners, you are all too cool for school, with your trendy clothes, cute kids, and amazing homes.

Despite their origins, I think these concrete monuments are very striking. The beautiful surroundings help too.

I do love a house tour. This blog has some of the best ones (in my opinion!). I have been a follower of this blog for ages, and recently had another little browse at the archives again. Very inspiring!

We all know about The Selby, Freundevonfreunden, and Closet Visit etc. The Socialite Family is a new (to me anyway) site in a similar vein where you can have a virtual nosey around some amazing family homes.


Retro Art Attack

Please click on all images to view the source.
Vintage Patchwork QuiltAbove, bright yellow walls, patchwork bedding and a J H Lynch hanging above the bed. Oh my!
Would’nt you just love to dine at this table?
New Lady in the House ( d A y)
Orla Kiely wallpaper and Miss Wong = win win.
Kitsch central
New wall...
More kitschy goodness. This is basically Rob’s idea of hell if I decorated our house like this!
Our new kitchen wall
Shabner in the kitchen. Nice nik-nak shelf!
Double Lynch in the kitchen. Nice!
I love this ladies home!

Lately #5

More goings on from the world of Helen and Rob in bullet points.

  • We went to our first gig of the year yesterday, Dinosaur Pile-up at the Tunbridge Wells forum. Living in Kent is not great for live music, there are no major venues. We normally have to travel up to London (approx £30 each train tickets) or drive down to Brighton (you are looking at £10 parking fee plus petrol etc). Going to a gig is a real purse drainer. The tickets for this gig were only £5 though. Bargain!
  • We have borrowed my nan’s old sewing machine from my mum. I had a mad five minutes when I thought I would have a go at making the curtains for our camper van. But then I remembered that I am not that way inclined (that is creative, clever, crafty or can sew full stop!) Now Rob wants to make them. He used to sew his own clothes at college before I met him, and knows his way around a sewing machine apparently. Watch this space!old sewer
  • Saying that though, I have been feeling these funny urges, and having strange thoughts lately……. That is to be more creative! I want to have a go at making something. Be it a sewing, knitting or crocheting project. I just need to work on my patience with fiddly stuff and see a project through!
  • We now have a much closer deadline than Glastonbury to get the camper van finished by. Its mid April! We are going camping in Cornwall for a week with some friends of ours. If the van is’nt ready we will take the tent and hope it does’nt pee it down all week!
  • We have finally settled on a name for the van. Because all VW’s have to have a name apparently. We decided that the van was a he from the off, but it has taken us over two years to decide on a name for him. We toyed with the option of Steve for a while (after of one of our friends, as it was greasy, coughed and smoked a lot and smelt a bit!) Then I wanted to call it Ernie (in honour of my grandad Bernard, a little play on his name there) and so we could say Ernie goes to Cornwall, Ernie goes to Essex etc like the films! But Rob was not feeling that. We finally settled on Jasper! As in Jasper Carrot R-S (our surnames). It suits a soon to be bright orange van perfectly!
  • One of Rob’s friends has a camper van called Fanny. Its funny at first, then after you have heard things like “he had trouble starting his Fanny up” and “his Fanny got really dirty after a long drive today” etc repeatedly it soon stops being so funny!
  • Mum brought me some granny blankets from the charity shop recently, I cant wait to make our home on wheels homely!

Bare Naked Ladies

Our newly decorated bedroom’s walls, carpet, curtains and new furnishings are plain and simple. I really don’t know why we did not choose this furniture range to jazz things up a bit!

The wardrobes and chest of drawers are also quite contemporary. So because the bedroom currently looks fairly modern, I feel that I need to vintage it up* a bit to make it have more personality!

I feel the best way to do this (vintage it up*) is by hanging some art on the walls. I did a post here about some prints I like on Etsy, but having the privilege of no life and spare time (I am only half joking here!) to think about this, I have now decided that in the bedroom I want lots of glamourous ladies hanging on the walls.

I have long admired kitschy mainstream art from the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. I adore Tretchikoff’s Chinese Girl painting. I have a reproduction print hanging pride of place in our dining room and it is always a talking point! Most visitors to our house think that I have very odd taste, and cannot understand why I would want this on my wall. Some people, naming no names *cough* Mum *cough*, absolutely hate this picture and tell me it is ugly nearly every time they visit!

click on image to view source

click on image to view source

But I am not easily offended and I do appreciate that its not to everyone’s taste! I love art, design and illustration. I am a former art student, and I did actually study art history A Level for a while (before I dropped the subject, but lets not talk about that!) The art world is great, but very serious. It hates this kind of mass produced art. You will never see a Tretchikoff, Lynch or Shabner original at the Tate. Which is a shame, because I would venture out of Kent up to London town’s galleries loads more if they did!

All three artists had very little recognition and credit during their lifetimes. Tretchikoff was ridiculed by art critics, very little is known about J H Lynch and Louis Shabner does not even have a Wikipedia page!

She's a beauty eh? Image from

She’s a beauty eh? Image from

But lets get back on track here, I am currently the winning bidder on a original Tina by J H Lynch↑ on eBay, which I am really hoping I win, as its collection only in Maidstone. How serendipitous is that eh? Its not often items I like are local!

I am not the only person out there who likes this kind of art, it has a cult following and prices for originals have increased slowly over the years and they are highly sought after. As I am a bit of a cheap skate and famously unlucky on eBay, I will probably buy some cheapish reproduction prints. But I will always keep one eye open for an original, you never know I might find one for a pound at a boot fair! Then again, I might walk on the moon!

Many moons ago I bought an issue of Living Etc magazine that featured a tour of Jamie Theakston’s house. I think it was published around five years ago now, and I have long since recycled this mag, but his house tour stuck in my head.

I never thought much of Jamie Theakston before, but after seeing his stylish family home I have a new found respect for him. In particular I loved his wall of art (see image below↓), it made me have one of those eureka moment thinking “so that’s why everything on eBay goes for so much – all the rich and famous people bloody buy it!”

click on picture for link

click on picture for link

Please do have a butchers at this fantastic Pinterest board put together by Jenny Keily. Which, if any, are your favourites? And would you want any of these on your walls?Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.38.41 PM
I think my faves are Tina, Woodland Goddess, Nymph, Nicola, Melanie and Miss Wong. Am I right in saying that these paintings also have the best names ever BTW!

*™ Kirstie Allsopp


Our bedroom is nearly finished! The walls are painted, the new skirting boards and doorframes are fitted and glossed, the pendant lampshade that we bought 3 years ago is now down from the loft and hanging on the ceiling, the new curtains have been hung, the furniture has been delivered and assembled, and we are back sleeping in the room again having camped in the office for 6 odd weeks! – Not much fun when you work from home, let me tell you!

I really cannot say how long it will take me to take some pictures and post the room tour on here. We still have lots to do to get the room finished and I want to be happy with the room and the photos. This is not a case of me being a peferctionist, it is more a case of once I post the room tour, I probably will not bother to take any future photos of updates we make to the room. So I might as well wait until everything is done and I am happy with the room!

This is were the fun part of the decorating starts, because all that is left to do is the finishing touches, like finding some choice nik-naks to display, pictures to hang up on the walls and the soft furnishings!

Our bedroom is quite currently plain. To be honest in my decorating I am a bit afraid of pattern. I am not afraid of colour, but the thought of chosing a patterned wallpaper for a feature wall scares the crap out of me. I admire other peoples choices and taste in home magazines, but I just cannot decide if I like one particular pattern enough to commit to it being on my walls for many years ahead and potentially ruining the plaster. Instead I personalise our house by adding colour through accessories, cushions, soft furnishings and wall art. Decorating for wimps some of you might say, but I chose things that are easy to change and move around basically!

The easiest way to bring pattern, personality and colour into our bedroom is with the bedding. At this point Rob is probably rolling his eyes while reading this, as the one thing that we do not need is anymore duvet covers. We have enough (lets be honest, everyone just needs two really, to alternate when washing) but it does not stop me from internet window shopping bedding!

We do not have that much bedding (honestly!), we currently have four options to play with, all of which will go with the new bedroom scheme, so I will not be buying anymore. Plus I like a bargain and I will not pay more that £30 for a set, and all of below cost considerably more!

But if they ever have a sale on!……..000312659↑From John Lewis here.000319266

 ↑From here. And basically all the rest of Orla’s bedding! Love it!dande↑From here.

Clock Watching

I hope that I don’t come across like a ‘see all want all’ type on here, as I often post about stuff I like and wish for. I just want to share my thoughts and passion for mid century and vintage stuff on here. Last week I wanged on far too much about chairs, now I am going to babble on again about another item on my house wish list!

Believe it or not I am actually notoriously picky when it comes to furnishing our house. I don’t rush into making decisions and sometimes, when I finally make up my mind about something that I want for the house, like for instance our coffee table, it can take months or even years to find the item at the right price etc.

After all its not like you can drive to Ikea to pick up a 40+ year old piece of furniture, but I think the challenge of finding what you want and at the price you are willing to pay is quite fun! If a little frustrating and time consuming!

The next object on my wish list is for our dining room. We have pretty much finished decorating this room now that it has been carpeted, and there are only a few things holding me back from posting the room tour on here. Mainly that that we need to hang our pictures up. This is because we are saving up all of our prints to be framed in one go, as it is best to order made to measure frames in bulk online, the more you order the bigger discount you get! So we are going to do the whole lot in one hit. I cant wait!

I have talked about this before and I know exactly where this print is going to hang in the room. But one little detail about the room has been bugging me, the bare expanse of white wall above the sideboard.

I have played around with the future arrangement of our prints in my head, I have casually browsed around the Internet to see if there is another piece of art I would like to hang there. What I would love is more Tretchikoff ladies (originals please!), but I know Rob is not too keen on that idea. Sometimes I do have to rein it in and remember that this is his house too, and that he might not want quite as much tack in it as I do!

One thing I keep going back to is the idea of getting a starburst clock to hang above the sideboard. I now finally believe that after nearly three years of mulling it over, that yes, this is the best option for this wall, and yes, I do love them enough to spend around £45 on one (dream on Helen!) unseen on eBay and I will keep it for a very long time.

click on image for source

click on image for source

I have done a previous post on clocks on my blog before, and I know that I really don’t need another one. And yes, maybe I do have a bit of a fetish for mid century era clocks! But to me these are timeless (ha ha – pun intended!!!) pieces of good design, that really do stand the test of time!! (OK, I will stop now!!!)

You can buy one of these band new, but that is a bit more than I am willing to spend, and is a last resort option, if I give up after constantly getting outbid in auctions. Also, it would be nice to own an original vintage clock as the two others are reproduction.

So the hunt begins. I am in no rush, I will wait until I win one at the right price online or maybe I will have a lucky find in a vintage shop or chazza while I am out and about.

Wish me luck, it might take me some time!!! (Sorry, I just could’nt help myself with the stupid puns!!!)

all 3 poor quality pictures pulled from google images

all 3 poor quality pictures pulled from google images

I Love Your Smile

This is one of my many posts about nothing in particular.

This morning I was a bit bored and avoiding the housework (for a change!) so I sat down to watch a few videos on YouTube. I came across this video of Solange performing Losing You on The Jimmy Fallon show.

Its great is’nt it? I love this tune. I love the Chic style dancing and Solange’s look. Its just a great performance all round. But the one thing that struck me the most is how lovely Solange’s smile is.

I hate to compare Solange to her big skin and blister like the rest of the world, but she beats Beyonce by miles when it comes to smiling. While Queen B gives great face, that we cannot deny, she has spent years perfecting the fierce/sexy smile. I much prefer Solange’s more natural, warmer and more genuine smiley face. To quote The Killers – she smiles like she means it.

It made me think of something that Rob often says to me – that I should smile more often because when I do my whole face lights up. And after seeing this video, I kinda get what he means.

I am not a huge smiler. I have been called a miserable cow many times (I am not one BTW! Well, I hope not!!). I just suffer from chronic bitchface. This is a serious condition and I am trying to raise awareness people!

I have a very expressive face, so I try to remain in poker mode as much as possible. It means that when I smile my whole face smiles, and I really smile with my eyes.

I don’t want to post any pictures of me on here of me smiling, as I am notoriously camera shy. I pose awkwardly, I pull stupid gurning faces and for some reason I always wave at the camera when I am asked for a picture. Consequently there are very few, if any, natural and at ease pictures of me out there. Maybe one day I will post some more snaps of me on here, but for now I like being anonymous.

The other smile I noticed a while back was Grimes in this video, at around the 40 second mark, where she smiles and laughs as she waves by a guy who ruins her shot. I think Grimes has a nice smile too.

Do I sound a little creepy saying that? Because I felt a bit creepy typing it! But I am trying to blog about smilers I like here, and I guess if you are reading this you probably know by now that I do get a bit random on here from time to time. And yes, you guessed it, I do talk rubbish for hours on end in real life too!Screen Shot 2013-02-15 at 1.37.41 PMMaybe I should smile more often, but I don’t want to perfect fake smiling and learn how to keep on one my face just to please other people. I am happy with myself and want to be my (slightly miserable looking) self, not to pretend smile just to avoid hearing the dreaded “cheer up love” or “your face looks like a badgers arse!” etc.

And besides, surely smiling too much gives you wrinkles? Who’s laughing now eh, all of you who called me miserable? – Me! Just internally, not outwards cos I wanna avoid the laughter lines!


Chairs I Want My Bottom To Meet

I think I might have mentioned that I like Mid-century modern furniture on here, ooh – maybe once or twice?!!

I started to admire this period’s furnishings around 5-7 years ago, or maybe I just finally realised the term (M.C.M) and researched the history of a lot of the pieces that I had long coveted back then?

Then the stars aligned for me almost three years ago, when we moved into our 1950’s house and a lot of the cheap furniture we had previously bought just because we needed it, was falling apart and needed replacing (you get what you pay for folks). So it was the perfect opportunity for me to go to town and decorate the ***k out of our house.

I also must mention (again!) that I am the main decision maker when it comes to the decorating in our household, and luckily Rob (mostly) likes my choices. If not then too bad! Although I have threatened mentioned to him that I quite fancy getting some lacy doilies for the bedroom! Think granny chic people! – The poor guy!

Rob said the most wonderful thing to me the other day. We were talking about our dining room chairs, and he basically said that he wished we did not buy the cheapest copies that we could find, that we waited instead and saved up to buy the fiberglass versions. He also said that he would always want Eames DSW chairs for our dining table. OMG! I just melted! That was the most romantic thing he has ever said to me! OK it isn’t really, but its probably the best thing to ever come out of his mouth that I have wanted to hear! It was music to my ears! – Yeah, I am a bit odd!

Anyhoo, my point to this blog post is that you know how you always have wish lists? Be it places to visit, things to cook, or cars etc? We, well mainly me, have a furniture wish list.

I am a bit of an interiors/furnishings geek and happily, since moving house I have crossed a lot of items from my wish list, like a teak sideboard, an Eames rocker, and a G plan astro coffee table. But its always fun to daydream, and some of the items on my lust list will never fit into our house or budget. They include an Ercol loveseat, a pink Smeg fridge, a 50’s kitchen unit/dresser type thing and some string shelving for me. It is a massive shed/workshop, a scalextric room, a massive TV and a more masculine bedroom for Rob BTW.


The seat of dreams. If only my arse could be so lucky. Click on image for source.

We both mutually agreed that at the top of our furniture wish list is an Eames lounge Chair and this has been our number one aspirational object for a long time. Alas, we are not going to own one any time soon, for one main reason – space. Forgetting about the cost of them for a minute. Yes, we do have a sizable lounge, but we also have two sizable settees in it and two doorways, so it is just not going to happen. No can do, sorry.

But recently the Eames lounger has been relegated to the number two position on the list (well for me anyway). It has been knocked off the top position by the papa bear chair.

Sigh! My fickle heart has fallen for this chair in a bad way! It was designed in 1951 by Hans J Wegner and in my eyes is the stuff of dreams!


click on image for source

I am a long time admirer of M.C.M, but I have only recently come across this chair! I first spotted two of them in this post here. In Rachel Griffiths‘s home, randomly.

Image from Apartment Therapy

Image from Apartment Therapy

It was love at first sight. And I now got it bad. I look out for them in all the home tours I come across online, just to try to catch a glimpse of one. And every so often I will google image stalk them like some dirty chair pervert!

Yes, I am mildly obsessed with this chair and I would love to own one. But it is not to be, from what I can gather originals are quite rare, plus we have no room for it. This is a kind of “if I ever win the lottery” type of situation here. A girl can dream!

Will Ferrell has one in the bedroom. Click on image for source.

Will Ferrell has one in the bedroom. Click on image for source.

So why have I fallen hard for this chair? Its a combination of its name (how cute and appropriate – it does look like a bear!) and its shape. It has just the right amount of M.C.M signature curves and tapered legs, and yet it somehow seems to have a slight Addams family-esq vibe about it. – Well I think so anyway! This is a very good thing in my book BTW.

Plus every Tom, Dick and Harry seems to have an Eames lounger these days. And why would we want to kick back on a super comfy lounger, when we can have a slightly rigid, strange chair in our lounge I ask you!

Linky Links

I felt like doing a links post.

Because I enjoy them on other peoples blogs, you can click on some thought provoking articles you would over wise miss online, and I appreciate the work that has gone into the post compiling it.

My linky links post contains none of the above things. That’s the clever links and the effort put in to it, but I hope you enjoy it none the less!

•Will Ferrell’s New York apartment. Pretty swish eh? I’m loving the papa bear chairs in the lounge area and main bedroom.

A cute kitchen. It made me think I should have tried harder with my photos on my reveal post (maybe put a cute vintage effect on them?) Then I remember that I CBA.

•Talking of kitchens. I love seeing tours online, here is a good’un (loads of Pyrex!) with links at the end to more kitchen tours!

•I love a good nosey around a celebs home and I love Etsy. The two worlds collide here in this video. Plus I love Kat Von D!

•This is kinda how I feel about blogging. I like this line – Don’t worry if your first ten, twenty, or an entire year’s worth of posts are shit and you can’t figure out if you’ll ever be able to string together words in the way you want to. Via Yes and Yes.