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It don’t mean a thing (if it ain’t got that swing)

21 Feb

vintage swing dance

This weekend I’m having a go at something I’ve wanted to try for ages… lindy hop! I’m not feeling terribly optimistic I’ll be any good (quite frankly, even zumba is a stretch for me!) but I’m hoping to have a giggle whatever happens. I’m doing a two-day workshop organised by Swing Dance Bristol and I’ll give you all an update next week!

Have you ever tried swing dance? Any tips?

Reflections: one year, one boy, 1,004 ft above London

3 Apr

Reflection The Shard

See the girl waving on the left… that’s me. And next to me… that’s ‘K’.

I’ve not introduced you before, but for the last year this funny, complex 10 year old has been my most familiar weekend companion. Two summers ago I applied to be a mentor through Chance UK, a charity that matches volunteers with primary school children who have behavioural difficulties and are at risk of developing anti-social or criminal behaviour in the future. After training, screening and a long wait, I was finally matched with K. I’d like to say we hit it off immediately, but life is complicated for him and it took a while to build up trust. When we first met he hid under the table. Laughter didn’t come easily to him – he frowned a lot, he was sometimes angry with me when I picked him up for our weekly sessions and sometimes angry when I left too.

But over the months that followed things gradually changed and more often than not, we’d both laugh until our sides ached. We’ve fallen flat on our faces together at the ice rink. I’ve got us horribly lost and K has stepped in with his phenomenal knowledge of London’s buses to save the day. I’ve taught him how to get himself going on the swings without being pushed. Gentle encouragement, small achievements but I hardly recognise the child I took to The Shard on Saturday from the one I met last April.

lift The View from The Shard

Flying up in the lift at a rate of six floors a second felt a little like a scene from K’s beloved Dr Who. Believe me, it’s a very strange feeling to be in a lift moving so fast your ears pop and your stomach feels like it’s been left at least three floors below. We swapped lifts at floor 33 for the final ascent, emerged blinking at the top and there it was. The view..

Tower Bridge from The Shard

millenium bridge from The Shard

HMS Belfast from The Shard

There’s nothing like seeing something enormous through a child’s eyes. “How come the river’s straight on the tube map and from here it looks like Eastenders?” he asks. While I was scrabbling around in the back of my brain for a child-friendly way to connect erosion and Harry Beck, K had already moved on and was happily starting a rendition of the theme tune. “Boom, boom, boom-boom, boom boom… Can we go to the top now?”

the shard london architecture

top of the shard london

From the end of the lift on floor 68 you’re able to take the stairs further up, right to the level of the jagged glass shards at the top of the building. Amazingly, the sides are partially open up there and you’re exposed to the elements (in our case wind and rain) which somehow makes the incredible height you’re at seem suddenly very real. People have mixed views on whether super skyscrapers like The Shard have a place on the London Skyline, but there’s no denying the architecture is mindblowing. I commuted in and out of London Bridge every day while it was being built and K has seen it rise up from the windows of his council flat in Lambeth. Whether K felt the significance of being there – with London laid out below us –  or not, I can’t say. In truth, probably not. But having seen the transformation in this kind, inquisitive child through a year of exploring the capital together and knowing that we’ll never be in contact again, the poignancy of the moment was certainly not lost on me.

The View from The Shard London{all Decorator’s Notebook}</p

Isn’t perspective an amazing thing? Chance UK and The View from the Shard… check them out. They might just change how you see London forever.


6 Mar

hot lemon drink for colds{via Les Petities Choses}

Sorry for the silence everyone – just when I was beginning to feel smug I’d made it to spring without getting a cold… bam. Wish me luck with getting better for Meet the Blogger London this weekend – drop me a line if you’re going (@DecoratorsNotes on Twitter) as I’d love to meet you there. I’m the one with the red nose.

Stay healthy! x

Bowie’s back!

8 Jan

No time to write more. This girl’s got face paint to apply!

David Bowie Judy Kaufmann{Judy Kaufmann}

Confessions of an anonymous blogger

2 Jan

The new year has begun, I’ve turned over, and a crisp, clean page of Decorator’s Notebook is waiting to be filled. But as a naturally reflective person I’d be foolish not to spend a few moments reviewing lessons learned before I uncap my digital pen and let loose on that fresh new page.

You see, there’s something about my blog that’s bothered me since its very inception and nags away the back of my mind every time I write a new post.

Decorator’s Notebook is an anonymous blog.

Have you even noticed?

Frozen hair

The truth is, there’s really nothing exciting to hide (I’m no Belle de Jour) but when I first started writing Decorator’s Notebook I felt nervous about blurring the lines between my blog, my work and me. I started blogging because I wanted my own little creative space that was (selfishly) all mine. No editor, no deadlines, no brief. If I wanted to blog about something off-subject, I would. If I wanted a week off, I could. If I wanted a little rant, well…

But as time went on, I began to fall in love with the real pleasure of blogging… sharing with others… with you!

I absolutely love reading your comments and I cherish every single one. With so many things demanding our attention nowadays I feel honoured that anyone takes time from their day to let me know they’ve read my posts. The thing is, when I look through the list of people who have commented most, at the top are the few fellow bloggers I’ve been lucky enough to meet in person. The lovely Marianne, Michelle and the My Friend’s House girls are right up there.

Why’s that then, I wonder?

It might be because we have interests in common and blog about similar things. Or that we all live in or near London. But I bet that’s not it. It’s because to them I’m not a dragonfly logo. Because they know me as more than a corner of my face or a pair of disembodied feet. Connecting with people properly when you’re hiding (even if it’s for an honest reason) is tough and I sometimes feel like I’m letting my blog down by keeping those barriers up.

I’m not going to become one of those fascinating oversharers, or start posting photos of myself wafting around in my outfits every day. I just think it would be nice to have a proper author photo in my sidebar and sign off with my first name when I leave other bloggers comments every now and then. You never know, if I’m feeling daring I might even change my gravatar!

I know it might sound extreme to be agonising over all this, but the reality for me is even these small changes could be risky. But if it really matters to you, I finally feel confident enough to do it.  So the real question for you is this:

Do you feel you’d connect more with Decorator’s Notebook if you could put a name to a face?

Yes, it’s true…

4 Dec

Decorator's Notebook Facebook

At present I only have family members and a handful of spammers for followers so please come and like Decorator’s Notebook’s Facebook page so I don’t feel like a complete social media recluse. In return, I’ll be posting freebies, giveaways and exciting snippets of news so come and join my gang!

Don’t forget, you can still follow my posts, tweets and pins too.

Food Week at Decorator’s Notebook

24 Jun

Anyone who’s spent more than two minutes browsing Decorator’s Notebook will have realised I live and breathe interiors. For me, reading homes blogs is both work and play – a continual source of decorating inspiration, ideas and get-up-and-go. But when I want to escape,  it’s food blogs I head for. There, I wrap myself in a cocoon of beautiful photography and daydream of a future when I will spend all day in my country house, measuring, stirring, simmering and kneading without a care in the world.

{all Aran Goyoaga / Cannelle et Vanille}

So, I thought it might be nice to take a week out from homes and celebrate a few of the food blogs I love so much. To me, interiors blogs and food blogs go hand in hand so I hope you’ll enjoy this little culinary excursion with me!

For those who are all about the homes, I promise that syrup will be replaced by paint and pastry with wallpaper next week, when normal Decorator’s Notebook service will resume :-)

Scandi envy

23 Jun

Oh, to be dancing drunkenly around a pole with flowers in my hair right now.

{via Honestly wtf}

For those who need clarification, I mean this kind of pole, rather than this kind of pole. That’s a whole other story.

Happy Midsummer Scandinavian friends!

Lace top + brown belt + skirt = love

24 May

Clearly, this ain’t no fashion blog, but there’s one look I just can’t get out of my head at the moment.

{Sunday Crossbow}

{Style Me Pretty}

{via Pinterest}

In my fantasy world, I would be heading for summer looking like this… but to start with, does anyone know where I can find a nice lace blouse?

Remembering Japan

11 Mar

{Decorator’s Notebook}

Today marks a year since the devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Inspired by My Friend’s House, I’ve been folding colourful cranes and remembering in my own little way. There’s a staggering set of ‘then and now’ photographs of the affected areas on the BBC news website – slide the bar to see how the view has changed one year on.

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