Friday, 30 August 2013

Black is the new Zara

I don't buy much in Zara because mostly their clothes don't fit me - the arms are always to darn small - but I like to pop in and see why the young kids are wearing and maybe pick up a tee-shirt or two. So this week I went for a little look-see and saw a tee with a vintage style photo on it modeled by a black women. 

I did a double take! 

Tee-shirt, £15.99, available in small and medium from Zara.
Here in one of the busiest clothes shops in the world was a humble tee-shirt for the masses with a black image on it. For me there isn't enough visual representation in our modern society - that is why I started Strange Fruit after all, however I have felt for a long time that cultural diversity is slowly becoming mainstream and seeing this tee-shirt, that had a really cool picture on it, with a model that just happened to be black, truly warmed my heart. 

I brought it of course. 

Thursday, 29 August 2013


You have £100 (convert to Euro's and Dollars as needed) to spend on yourself. Not the kids, the car, bills, your home or food or any other of those essential items that always have to come first. You have £100 to spend on yourself - what do you buy? #daydream100

Mine spends are easy. A manicure - cannot pass up the opportunity for a manicure now can I? £15.00 (I'll bring my own Chanel nail polish).

Image kindly supplied by the lovely Crystal who has a great beauty blog
A bottle of fizz - Echo Falls sparkling wine is £6.00 (in Asda) at the moment, I would invite a friend to sit in the park, enjoy the last of the summer sunshine and watch the world go by.

And lastly, I have totally fallen in love with a purple Biba clutch bag. Currently on sale at £79.00 (I am waiting for it to reduce a bit further), this could be my Christmas present to myself.

That's my #daydream100 - what's yours?

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Who is LK Bennett?

Despite my vintage loving credentials I have loved LK Bennett shoes since forever (they are the only shoes I can put on out of the box and go dancing in) and this week I fell for a lovely navy pair called ‘Aleshia’ – they did look more ‘Sophia’ to me but I have no idea how shoes are named but they did get me asking who is LK Bennett?

Turns out Linda Kristin Bennett should be on every female entrepreneurs icon list.

In 1990 with £13,000 savings and £15,00 bank loan, the media shy entrepreneur opened her first shop in Wimbledon Village with the aim of filling the gap for "something in-between the designer footwear you find in Bond Street and those on the high street”. 

Picture via the Daily Telegraph

And did she!  

Ms Bennett quickly became the “Queen of the kitten heel” winning Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2002; Best Women’s Footwear Retailer (UK Footwear Award) in 2003 and the Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year in 2004, not bad for a north London girl who trained as a corwainer in Hackney. 

In 2006, the talented Ms Bennett was awarded a very well deserved OBE for services to the fashion industry and now the lovely Ms Bennett has the Duchess of Cornwall kicking at her elegantly shaped heels – apparently the luxury shoe designer Nicholas Kirkwood disapproves of the Princesses choice in footwear – but hey yay me!  Me and Kate actually have something in common!!

Step into 2007 and after 17 years of hard work and dedication Ms Bennett sold a large stake of the business she built single handedly to spend more time with her – yep family and hats of to her. After what could only have been intense non-stop hard work to grow her business into a global brand (166 locations across the UK, North America, Europe and the Middle East) I think LK Bennett deserves to put her very glamorous (but affordable) kitten heels up.

I however still have work to do!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Joining Bloglovin

You can now follow my blog on Bloglovin - it has taken a while but I really enjoy getting my daily feed from Bloglovin so I thought I should join this rather swish little party and add my blog. 

Hope to see you there!

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Sunday, 25 August 2013

If your business is home based moving is a double nightmare

I have discovered that when your business is home based moving house is a double nightmare. 

I run Strange Fruit from home around my day job, the kids and other projects so you can figure that ours is a busy household.  When we got to the point of boxes of envelopes becoming permanent features in our living room we realised we either had to move or I needed to find a studio space to work from.  A studio was a lovely thought, my own space with no distractions that I could make my very own. But then again I like the kids, the husband and the general busy-ness of our house and as I am out all day working on something I had to ask myself if it was fair of me to spend my Strange Fruit time working in a studio way from home?   

The thinking began, maybe the solution was to build a studio at home and we started looking into building a posh shed in the garden or a conservatory. Both do-able but then another question to answer – do we actually like this house enough to invest in it so we have to stay in it? The answer all round was a big fat NO! 

So the house search for a new house was on, it had to house us and have studio space for Strange Fruit and general creative messiness.  Just a few months later we and our many many belongings and a few boxes of envelopes were headed two miles up the road to a wreck of a house with a glorious basement that had the ‘potential’ to be become the Strange Fruit Studio. It was also the first house we looked at.  Everything was coming together; the only downside of this plan was the house was a wreck, but oh what a beautiful one.

So here we are!  And in the last three months we have ripped out the bathroom (it took the builder seven long stressful weeks to fit a new one), done the best we can with the kitchen and decorated the Boy's room. We are being methodical – such a bore – but it is so necessary to work through the house in order.

To give you an idea of how much work each room is, here is the bathroom, before and after.

               There was no way we could live with that bathroom!

The next room to get decorated will be the back bedroom which will be my temporary studio. I am so happy.

Doing the house in order means most of my possessions are still in boxes and I have not been able to unpack even my paper scalpel – I have around a zillion collages and card designs I want to work on and as soon as ‘my’ room is done I can. The curb on my creativeness is really really hard. I wasn't expecting this at all.  The day to day business side is manageable but I was not emotionally prepared for how difficult not being able to make a creative mess would be.  I have to keep remembering our move is for the greater good for all of us and my creative sanity.

As for the basement, the whole reason why we moved – funnily enough it will be done after we have done the garden, built an en-suite in our bedroom, re-plastered the hallway and the living room, restored the cornices in the house and taken care of buying and hanging lots and lots of Victorian doors. 

In the meantime I dream of calm uncluttered work spaces like these beauties I found on Pintrest where my I collect my house inspirations.


Sunday, 11 August 2013

My week in Instrgram

I have totally loved the sunny days but I have noticed the sun is setting earlier and earlier. 

As I have solely been using my phone for photo taking this summer - holiday pictures and everything -  I figured I should make the effort to capture the last days of summer in a photo diary. Technology is amazing! You can't beat a proper camera but sometimes it's just not practical to carry everything around and I really worry about loosing my camera by getting distracted by the boy so I decided to make more use of my iPhone - and I am so glad I did.

Here is my week in pictures......

It rained!
We brought some picture frames at THAT store.

The walk through Westminster was like a picture postcard.

Westminster underground station is an engineering feast.

Museum Passage, Bethnal Green - after the Museum of Childhood

Those frames with our Star Wars Instagram pictures.

Hallow Ponds, right by Whipps Cross Hospital

So that was my week - looking forward to seeing the seasons change - and taking more pictures!

Monday, 5 August 2013

The Force is strong in Hackney

Life with Instagram and a smart phone really does make it too easy to photo-diary your whole week! The boy gets very frustrated with me stopping to take pictures all the time but seeing as how 'not everything is about him', as he is frequently reminded, I enjoy snapping away at every opportunity I get even if it does result in a grumpy six year old. You can imagine how much I ribbed the boy when he asked if we could take pictures of his Lego Star Wars Mini Figures for his room! Being a nice Mummy we packed up the Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker and headed to the park for a bit of iPhone photography. 

It really is amazing what you can do with a sandpit and a bit of natural sunlight, Instragram just makes it event easier to filter those photographs into great images. We had a good time taking our pictures and seeing if we could get Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader to hang off a wall! 

When we have made the customary visit to IKEA to buy some frames we'll order our prints and all being well they will look amazing in the Star Wars inspired bedroom. 

Why is it the accessories are so much more fun than buying carpet and furniture? 

Got a bunk bed anyone?