OBJECT STYLE

What is West German Pottery ?

RACHAEL ADAMSComment
 West German Pottery in my living room at home. The bottle green urn is my most favourite piece. 

West German Pottery in my living room at home. The bottle green urn is my most favourite piece. 

West German Pottery, is the mid-century must have ceramic of the moment ! Featuring heavily in specialist vintage stores and vintage enthusiast homes, there are over 700 recorded styles (not including glazes!) to collect and right now at very reasonable prices. 

Known for its bold, bright decorative ceramics produced in the 50s, 60s and 70s, West German Pottery is an explosion of experimental coloured, glazed and shaped clay objects that some argue is a direct reaction of booming creativity after years of Nazi rule in the country.

The distinct style of the pottery is very easy to identify, as many pieces detail vibrant contrasting colours against a neutral or black base. A key design feature, is the ‘fat lava’ glaze, a thick, encrusted glaze that looks like an eruption as it bleeds down the ceramic.

Many West German Pottery pieces are sturdy and robust helping to facilitate international shipping. They vary greatly in silhouette and size from large cylinder shaped urns to Moroccan inspired bulb bottom vessels. Designers also experimented with different handles, positioning them in unusual places on jugs and pushing the boundaries on style and shape. 

 West German Pottery, small cobalt blue with an unusual square handle picture in my lounge at home. 

West German Pottery, small cobalt blue with an unusual square handle picture in my lounge at home. 

Some of the post-war West German Pottery studios are still in business today, for example Scheurich, a large scale producer, creating around 200 different glazes per design. Ceramano and Ruscha, were two clay houses known for their high-end craftsmanship and elegant styles, where as Es Keramik was a leading studio famous for its striking use of colour and design.

It’s worth noting that not all West German Pottery is stamped however that is not to say the piece isn’t an original or lacks value. The pieces we have sourced in our store however are stamped and detail with W.German or West Germany and the production number. Some ceramics also identify the studio too. This can also be tracked by the colour of the base. Whilst most studios used an off white, Ceramona , Roth and Carstens all used a red brick clay.

Finally, if you’re unsure which era a piece of West German Pottery is from you can look out for specific design elements. Pieces from the early years ('50-58) are influenced by the previous Art Deco era which can be seen in their shapes. Around mid 60's, the introduction of volcanic glazes started to appear taking texture to a new level and thus ‘fat lava’ glaze was born. A final point worth mentioning if you are considering investing in West German Pottery is that colour ways such as greens/greys and all white are more rare and harder to come across than traditional reds, oranges, browns and neutrals, which sometimes can reflect in the price. 

 West German Pottery, a beautiful double handled white jug pictured in my bathroom at home. 

West German Pottery, a beautiful double handled white jug pictured in my bathroom at home. 

Visit our Chorlton store or shop our Instagram to see our ever-changing West German Pottery collection. 

How to find the best design-led accommodation for less

RACHAEL ADAMSComment

Much like how I ‘try’ to maintain a sensible diet by eating little and often, I have more success when it comes to getting away ! 

Time and budget dependent, I much prefer to indulge in a short break every couple of months rather than wait for two weeks of solid summer sunshine. Personally, I know I work best in short bursts, to deadlines and often by a project by project basis knowing 72 hours of switch-off time is no more than a few months away. 

Some of you lovely folk have recently been asking how and where I seem to find these little bijou bolt-holes to rest my head ? And so I’m going to share my favourite travel sources and tips for getting the best deals, so you can stay somewhere fancier for cheaper. Sound like a winner ? Read on below ...

My Top 5 Travel Sources

Petite Passport 

Pauline’s great eye for design and passion for interesting interiors, save me so much time trawling through endless Google searches. Her pictorial travel blog, Petite Passport is very easy-reading with qualitative, concise content about the coolest hot-spots to visit around the world. Her printed travel guides are packed with beautiful imagery of her best recommendations and are small enough to carry in your handbag. I’m a bit old fashioned in preferring to purchase a printed guide as it makes a nice keepsake post holiday, plus it means you’ll spend less time on your phone Googling what’s good and where to go. 

Favourite places I found via Petite Passport

The Ludlow, Lower Eastside, New York

 Image - Petite Passport

Image - Petite Passport

The Line, Korea Town, Los Angeles 

 Image - Petite Passport

Image - Petite Passport

Welcome and Beyond 

Easy peasy travel website to search, navigate and discover ‘hand-picked paradise’ in unique locations, suitable for various budgets. From idyllic Italian farmhouses to urban Brooklyn warehouse apartments, Welcome and Beyond’s carefully chosen collection of places to stay is a key influencer for me on deciding where to visit next time and time again ! I really like the personal interviews with the hotel or guesthouse owner, it gives you a great insight and feel about where you’re going to stay. 

Favourite places I found via Welcome and Beyond

Masseria Moroseta, Puglia, Italy 

ostuni puglia
Masseria Moroseta Ostuni .jpg
maseria morreto ostuni puglia

CNT Traveller

I usually use CNT Traveller to discover more about the destination as their features are often presented as an in-depth article, written from the journalist’s personal experience. They are champions at covering relatively unknown places with little tourism and sometimes this can lead to finding really beautiful destinations that aren’t too costly. For more popular cities and towns, CNT Traveller organises content into specific guides such as Best Rooftop Bars in Lisbon or Best Coffee Shop in San Francisco, which gives you lots of good choices within the same feature and saves time searching for recommendations separately.

Favourite places I found via CNT Traveller

La Masion du Bassin, Cap Ferret, 

La Maison du Bassin cap ferret .jpg
La Maison du Bassin.jpg
La Maison du Bassin 2.jpg

Pintrest

What I really like about planning my travel escapes via Pintrest is that one attractive image of a bar or restaurant can lead to discovering so many other similar style places in the city or town by scrolling down the page to ‘More like this’. It’s really useful when travel bloggers and journalists create collage images with introductory text, for example 48 hours in Bordeaux. I can usually see from the style of the images if I am going to be interested in the content without having to click through and read the first few paragraphs. 

Favourite places I found via Pinterest

Casa Blanca, Les Chartrons, Bordeaux 

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Cereal Guides

Really well-priced printed travel books and digital guides featuring the most stylish places to sleep, eat, drink, shop and explore. Cereal do tend to feature more higher-end establishments but 'just visiting' a lust-worthy interiors store or treating yourself to an expertly made flat white to be enjoyed in the most incredible setting, doesn’t cost more than your time or a couple of pounds. Their location maps that are organised by a key code are really useful for planning itineraries on your trip too. 

Favourite places I found via Cereal

Thyme Manor, Southrop, The Cotswolds 

 Image - Black Tomato

Image - Black Tomato

Further Recommendations

Lodestars Anthology, In Clover Magazine, Stylist Online

Tips for getting the best deal when booking accommodation

  • If possible stay mid week when rates are usually lower than at weekends.
  • Research when locals are on holiday. For example we made the mistake of visiting Puglia in the last two weeks of August when many Italian families where also enjoying their holiday. This meant accommodation was more expensive as were restaurants and bars due to huge surplus of tourists. 
  • Use comparative sites to find the best nightly rate and then contact the hotel or guesthouse directly and ask them if they can match the fee. 
  • If you can, pay up front as the economic market is so volatile, the exchange rate could differ by the time of your stay. 
  • Always check if taxes, resort fees and parking are included in the total price at the time of booking.
  • At check-in always ask if an up-grade is available. If so, it’s worth enquiring to see if it is possible to up-grade at a discounted rate.
  • Skip over-priced breakfast at the hotel if it isn’t included in your rate, especially if it is a buffet breakfast, non-one ever eats the equivalent to the hefty price tag anyway. 

Part 4 - American Roadtrip, exploring Monterey + Carmel

RACHAEL ADAMSComment

I sort of feel our official American adventure started once we got ourselves a set of wheels, left San Francisco behind and headed for the infamous Highway One (check out my previous blog HERE for advice about renting cars in the States). Now, I’m not the best passenger on motorways and certainly not on motorways that have 6 lanes of traffic but as soon as we’d passed San Jose most of the traffic had cleared and it was just us and the open road. 

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Our first stop was Seaside, a small town just outside of Monterey. We rented a kitsch ‘an artist’s cottage’ via Air Bnb and our host Murray gave a really welcoming and friendly service. He lives in his studio next door which has an amazing view of the Pacific Coast, which he paints daily ! His incredible landscape art is displayed all over the house and also in some of the local galleries in Carmel. 

It’s worth noting that Air BnB is actually banned in Monterary and Carmel which is why we chose to stay in Seaside. Hotels and guesthouses in those areas are very expensive and we personally found them a bit formal and stuffy. Another handy tip was that it was free to park our car at Murray’s home. 

On our first evening we ventured in Monterey which is about a 15 minute drive from Seaside. I’m going to be completely honest and say we were disappointed for the first time on our trip with lack of good quality restaurants and amenities. After watching episode of Rick Stein’s Road To Mexico, we took on board his recommendation and booked The Sardine Factory, the oldest and supposedly most well-regarded restaurant in Monterey. Unfortunately, we didn’t actually end up eating there as we felt the location and aesthetic didn’t warrant the price. 

Monterey by the day was definitely more appealing. This was our first taste of coastal California, which is nothing like any other coast I’ve ever seen before. We spent the morning watching surfers at Lovers Point Park, a stunning cliff edge at Pacific Grove, sitting peacefully drinking coffee and eating croissants in gorgeous mid-twenty degree heat (in January!). 

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After a short walk on the beach, we headed to Monterey’s most famous attraction, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and spent a good few hours discovering what weird and wonderful things live in our oceans. This ended up being one of our best highlights from the whole trip, there are so many unique and unusual sea creatures to learn about and who knew that starting at fish for hours could be so therapeutic ? 

Next we headed to Carmel and chose to take the longer 17 mile scenic drive which costs around $10. Driving through huge pined woodlands, you’ll see modernist architectural houses nestled amongst the trees but the best view is when you get your first glimpse of the white sands and turquoise waves as you head down towards the seafront. There are designated points of interest where you can pull over and take photographs of the breath-taking peninsula. We had one part of the coast completely to ourselves, so just sat alongside washed up driftwood and took it all in, both us thinking I never knew America could look like this. Further along you’ll see very impressive houses of the Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach residents. Well, I say houses but these structures are more like chateaus and mansions, each one appearing more lavish and elaborate than it’s neighbour. 

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Eventually we pulled into Carmel, an incredibly pretty little seaside town which looks like it belongs in an Enid Blyton book. Shops, bars and cafes are housed in fairytale cottages with wooden swing-signs detailing their business name hand-drawn in calligraphy. Residents lawns look like they have been trimmed to absolute perfection (I can only imagine with nail scissors) and you will be fined by the mayor for wearing heels on the preserved cobbled streets. Over all, as sweet looking as Carmel was, we weren’t overly keen on the overall vibe, it felt very touristy, too polished and a little snooty for our taste. 

carmel by the sea

That evening, following a recommendation from our Air BnB host we drove out to what felt like the middle of nowhere to his favourite Mexican, Baja Catina located in Carmel Valley. The restaurant occupies an old gasoline garage which still has the original pumps outside ! Inside, there isn’t an inch of wall that isn’t covered in sporting memorabilia that the owner has been collecting since Baja Catina opened 40 years ago. Just like Murray said the food was authentic and really delicious, as you might have guessed everything is supersize (even the Margaritas) so it’s definitely worth sharing some plates. 

When we started planning and marking out our route from San Francisco to Los Angeles, our research encouraged us to spend some time in Monterey and Carmel. I am glad we got to see both of these places but because they are so small, the two can definitely be explored in the same day with maybe an overnight stay. Personally, it was the first time on our trip that we became a bit twiddly-fingered and felt many of places in each town were over-priced and touristy. In hindsight, I wish we would have spent one of our two nights in the Big Sur and embarked on more amazing nature hikes but that’s just our opinion.

Up Next: Part 4 - The Big Sur

Part 3: American Roadtrip, 48 Hours in San Francisco

RACHAEL ADAMSComment
American Roadtrip 48 Hours in San Francisco

This was our second time visiting San Francisco and I have to be honest in saying I was dubious about spending time in the city after our first experience. We last visited as part of our honeymoon in 2015, naively we didn’t do enough research so our time wasn’t spent as very well and we came away like we hadn’t seen what so many others had been sure we would love. San Francisco is quite a tricky city to navigate not only can the mood drastically change from street to street and due to those infamous hills, it’s not exactly an easy place to walk around. So this time, I made it my mission to adopt a militant style approach to research and planning to ensure we got the most out of our 48 hour visit and this time I’m converted, I get what all the pro San Fran fans were talking about !  

Personally, my favourite thing about San Francisco is its nightlife; buzzing, extrovert and raucous. We danced in dingy, sticky carpet dive bars, dined in extraordinary, gastronomical restaurants that hid behind unmarked, graffiti scribbled doors, saw the bright lights of the city scape from rooftop cocktail bars and watched impromptu Sunday afternoon jazz in the backstreet bars of The Haight.

By day things are a little calmer, sort of, though don’t be surprised to see someone just casually taking a naked stroll through the city, as long as they have a permit parade it’s completely legal to do so in California ! For interesting street murals that speak powerful political messages head to the Mission, home to San Francisco’s largest Hispanic community and make it your mission (excuse the pun) to eat Mexican around here ! For independent shopping small boutique stores head to Hayes Valley, there is a great selection of coffee houses and watering holes in this neighbourhood too. Read on below to discover my highlights of San Francisco. 

American Roadtrip 48 Hours in San Francisco
2American Roadtrip 48 Hours in San Francisco 2
American Roadtrip 48 Hours in San Francisco 2

Culture

Japanese Tea Garden

If you’re looking for some respite away from the noise of the city, visit the tranquil Japanese Tea Garden, the oldest in the whole of the United States. Talk a walk along the arched drum bridge or step across the stones in the stream, take in the scent of native Japanese plants, finishing with a visit to the harmonious Tea House and enjoy a traditional tea ceremony tasting. 

http://japaneseteagardensf.com

 Image Source:  Trip Savvy

Image Source: Trip Savvy

de Young Museum

Situated in Golden Gate Park, the de Young museum is worth seeing for it’s impressive architectural structure as it is for eclectic collection of 17th-20th American and African art. 

https://deyoung.famsf.org

Shops

Gravel + Gold 

 Image Source:  Gravel and Gold

Image Source: Gravel and Gold

 Image Source:  Anne Street Studio

Image Source: Anne Street Studio

An independent lifestyle store, owned by a collective of female designers. Each piece of clothing, jewellery, textile art and ceramic is handmade in California.

https://gravelandgold.com

Mel Rice Ceramica

 Image Source: Mel Rice Ceramica

Image Source: Mel Rice Ceramica

 Image Source:  Mel Rice Ceramica

Image Source: Mel Rice Ceramica

Ringing true to the phrase, the best things come in small packages, they really do in ceramicist Melissa Rice’s micro pottery shop. 

http://www.melriceceramica.com

Oak + Fort

Super luxe basics and wardrobe staples for men and women. Oak + Fort also carry an interesting and affordable collection of jewellery and leather goods. 

https://www.oakandfort.com

Bars, Coffee + Eats

500 Club

American Roadtrip 48 Hours in San Francisco

In the UK we call them back street boozers, in the US they call them dive bars, equally you really shouldn’t like them but you just can’t help it ! You can’t miss the glowing neon pink signage with the camp Club Tropicana-esque cocktail, this place is loud, crowded, a bit smelly but incredibly intriguing. 

Monk’s Kettle

The pretzel knot with beer cheese fondue. I dream about it daily. Go visit and order this plus one of the 150 world beers + ciders available. 

https://monkskettle.com

Tartine Bakery

Widely regarded as one of America’s most influential bakeries, Tartine is a heavenly French-inspired bakehouse which has been praticising the art of bread making for over 20 years ! And they’ve got it just perfect, worth the queue, worth the price tag, smells as good as it tastes. 

https://www.tartinebakery.com

Foreign Cinema

 Image Source: Foreign Cinema

Image Source: Foreign Cinema

Hiding behind a non-descript door (like all the best places are right ?) is Foreign Cinema, a large scale restaurant adorned with festoon lighting and set against a gigantic cinema backdrop showing guess what ... arty, independent, foreign films ! It boasts an extensive small plates menu from around the world and it is here I became a lover of sprouts. Brussel sprouts in California are big business, they are anything but boring and boiled and definitely not just for Christmas when you’re Stateside. Try them ! 

http://foreigncinema.com

Sightglass Coffee 

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Head to their Mission location, my personal favourite out of their 4 coffee bars in San Francisco. Obviously the coffee is amazing but the setting with its huge light-filled crittal windows (definitely worth an Instagram post) , pared back ply wood interior and handmade ceramic mugs make a lovely surrounding to enjoy your choice of bean. 

https://sightglasscoffee.com/visit

American Roadtrip 48 Hours in San Francisco 2

Other Recommendations

Museums + Sites

SFMOMA

GLBT Museum

City Hall

Shops

Self Edge Denim - menswear 

Little Paper Planes - concept store 

Union Made - menswear 

The Voyager Shop - concept store with menswear 

Everlane - super basics 

Heath Ceramics - homewares 

Anaise - high-end womenswear boutique 

Bars, Coffee, Eats 

Four Barrel Coffee 

Wrecking Ball Coffee

LoLo - Mexican 

Trick Dog - Cocktail Bar

 Two things to be sure to pack for San Francisco are a lightweight jacket and a pair of sneakers.  Temperatures change by the street and heels + hills are an absolute no no !

Two things to be sure to pack for San Francisco are a lightweight jacket and a pair of sneakers.  Temperatures change by the street and heels + hills are an absolute no no !

 

Up next - Part 4: Monterey, The Big Sur, Cayucos and Santa Barbara

Part 2: American Roadtrip, 48 Hours in Seattle

RACHAEL ADAMSComment
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Seattle

It was such a close call for us to either revisit Portland since falling in love with the city on our Honeymoon in 2015 or give it’s Northern cousin Seattle a try. Obviously we decided on the latter and I’m really glad we did. Seattle is a much bigger city than what we had anticipated but still manages to have a homely, small-town feel and the locals are the friendliest bunch of folk we met out of all the locals we came across on our trip ! There is a great foodie scene in Seattle, you really are spoilt for choice for artisan eateries, locally brewed beer, cider even wine and fresh produce farmers markets. What also really surprised me about Seattle was how pretty it’s suburban neighbourhoods were; Fremont for example, looks out at a picturesque harbour speckled with peacefully bobbing boats and Ballard’s leafy streets are dressed with twinkly fairy lights that coil around trees and frame shop fronts. We only had 48 hours in the city to cram in as much exploring as we could whilst battling an out of sync body clock and sleep deprivation (Seattle is 8 hours behind the UK), so we decided to spend most of our time in a couple of areas as oppose to spread ourselves too thinly. I feel like we only touched the surface of what Seattle has to offer and have a sneaky feeling we will return one day (armed with Nytol and severely strong coffee). 

Highlights

Sleeping Under The Stars (sort of)

Perhaps one of things that made our visit to Seattle so memorable was our choice of accommodation. As I mentioned in my previous post, paying for somewhere to sleep for 3 weeks is a big outlay so we tried staying at various different places to stretch our purse strings and also because it’s fun to mix stuff up ! So our shoebox sleepover in a Stranger Things esque caravan in someone’s back garden was a fantastic experience, even if we did need to sleep in 15 layers and take turns to pass through the kitchen area en route to the shower ! Link to the Air BnB here

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Pikes Market Place, Downtown 

Okay this place is little touristy but it’s also quite iconic being home to the original Starbucks coffee house, though you’ll be lucky to actually get to see the shop front as masses of tourists flock with selfie sticks desperately trying to get their souvenir shot for Instagram ! Starbucks aside the best stuff is actually inside the market. Wander through crooked corridors and creaky, winding staircases to discover micros cafes, bars and eateries such as The Crumpet Shop and Stroryville Coffee before visiting the famous Farmer’s Market to pick up speciality foods to take home. 

Walk along seafront in Fremont

Perch yourself at Fremont Brewing Company, choose from one of 100 craft beers and ciders and take in tranquil view of the harbour and the impressive skyline of the city.

Shops

Glasswing, Capitol Hill

Located in edgy Capitol Hill, Glasswing is possibly one of the best concept store’s I’ve ever visited. Stocking an eclectic mix of homegrown brands as well as Scandinavian designers for men, women and the home, each carefully curated section of the store has been exceptionally well thought out. My favourite part was the vintage roll-top bath alternatively used as a huge planter to pot beautiful house plants within the botanical skincare area. 

 Image: A Taste of Koko

Image: A Taste of Koko

Moorea Seal, Downtown

This dreamy, pastel perfect lifestyle store is strangely situated in the financial area of the city though it is definitely worth making that extra effort to visit ! The visuals in the windows and within the store are beautifully designed and make an eye-catching backdrop to house locally made ceramics, jewellery, clothing and stationery. 

 Image:  Design Sponge  

Image: Design Sponge 

 Image: Design Sponge 

Image: Design Sponge 

Tides & Pines, Ballard

This native inspired indie store was so warm and inviting. Sometimes when shops try to be too many things, their initial intention can get lost and confused but this was totally not the case with Tides & Pines. Part clothing store, workshop space and grocer as well as stocking handmade pottery, native style jewellery, tapestry and more, this neighbourhood haunt was such a good example of what amazing things can be done in such a small space ! My personal favourite was being handed a complimentary glass of locally made, natural wine upon entering the store, I mean what more can you ask for ?!

 Image:  Tides & Pines   

Image: Tides & Pines  

 Images:  Tides & Pines  

Images: Tides & Pines 

Eats + Drinks  

Little Tin, Ballard

Oh my word this place ! Imagine a little wooden cabin with a kind of built in tiki bar, chintzy faux ivy and red roses twining around iron fixtures and 1920’s silent movies playing via a projector and this is Little Tin. Also offering the sweetest table service and the best decadent cocktail menu too. 

Barnacle, Ballard

‘Celebrating Italian aprivito in a jewel box space’, Barnacle is a lovely little spot to enjoy really great aperitifs like Campari’s and Negronis paired with delicious bar snacks. I really liked the European-style decor of Barnacle with its copper-topped bar, pretty blue and white pattern tiled walls and rustic baskets filled with colour popping packets of Lays. 

 Image:  Barncale  

Image: Barncale 

Stoneburner, Ballard

Furnished in dark antique wood, cosy dim lighting and adorned with souvenirs collected from around the globe, Stoneburner sits somewhere in-between an English pub and an Italian brasserie. Chef Jason Stoneburner’s venue focuses on stone hearth cooking with brick pressed meats, Mediterranean fare and uniquely topped crusty-yet-thin pizzas.

 Image:  Stoneburner

Up next, PART 3: 48 Hours in San Francisco coming soon. 

East Coast and West Coast America: Part 1 

RACHAEL ADAMSComment
object style blog East Coast and West Coast America 10

We’ve just returned from 3 whole weeks of exploring East to West Coast America. We now appreciate the sheer vastness of this country despite only seeing maybe a twentieth of the land and have a good understanding why some of its natives have never left home soil. It’s somewhere that feels so familiar as you walk along sidewalks recognising buildings and landmarks you’ve seen in films and read about in books, but at the same time it felt worlds away from our life in Manchester.  No two places were the same from the picturesque coastal towns, tiny villages in unknown valleys (one with a population of just 18 people), bustling fast-paced cities that leave you breathless, blistered and aching to dramatic landscapes lined with century old pine trees. To sum up our trip in a few words, we left feeling surprised, inspired and exhausted ! 

Travel Essentials + Tips

Why travel in January ? 

Travelling out of season can be significantly less expensive compared to high season, especially in January. We found that many restaurants offered good meal deals and happy hours and hotel rates were heavily discounted. Where possible we tried to stay in self catering accommodation like Air BNB on a Friday and Saturday and hotels during the week where there was no obligation to stay a minimum number of nights or pay a higher price for weekend accommodation. 

The weather in California in January is very pleasant, especially the further south you travel, like a British summer day, in May or June. It was pretty much perfect, and let’s face it, who wants to hike up the Hollywood Hills or pound pavements in search of famous landmarks in sweltering heat ?

 Seriously that is a January sky behind me ! 

Seriously that is a January sky behind me ! 

Renting a car

If you’re planning on renting a car during your holiday, try to make sure you collect and return the car within the same state, otherwise it becomes incredibly expensive. Ensure you book your car as far in advance as you possibly can as this will bring the price down and choose the collection point as close to where you are staying or airport you are arriving at to avoid paying unnecessary taxi fares. I’d also recommend hiring a larger vehicle that is suitable for driving along different types of roads and that can store all of your luggage. Another thing to consider is valet parking charges at hotels, you can easily add on a few extra hundred dollars for a nightly fee, tax and a tip for the person parking your car. When staying in Los Angeles we sought cheaper parking close by in a 24 hour secured parking lot, which worked out less than half the price than if we would have parked at the hotel. Finally, a good idea to stock up on lots of water too as service stations can be very far and few between if you become dehydrated.  

Getting Around

Before you travel download taxi apps such as Uber and Lfyt and set up an account. There are a vast amount of drivers working for both of these companies which means you’ll have to wait no more than a few minutes before your car arrives. You’ll also know how long the journey will take and will cost, you can opt to ride share which makes the journey less expensive and on average Uber and Lfyt cost 10-20% less than standard taxis. 

Taxes and Tipping Culture

Taxes are added on to purchases when you are about to make payment and can vary depending on the service and state. It’s a good idea to be aware of what the tax charge is beforehand to avoid going over your budget. For example we stayed in a motel in Santa Barbara that had a separate ‘resort fee’ of 28 dollars per night plus 10% city tax added onto our bill when we checked out, naturally we weren’t best pleased !

Standard tipping culture in the US is between 15-25% of the bill or anywhere between 3-5 dollars for a service such as valet parking at hotels or someone helping to carry luggage up to your room. It’s a good idea to have a large amount of smaller dominations handy to use for tips.

Self Catering Accommodation 

Unless you have an endless pot of money, eating out 3 times a day for 3 weeks is incredibly expensive. Like I mentioned in the above paragraph, it’s not just the expense of eating out but the tax and tips added on to every meal to consider ! We planned our trip so we stayed in a mixture of hotels and self catering accommodation so we could do some home-cooking that saved us some dollars and gave us a chance to eat something more health conscious. It’s also worth mentioning that most hotels do not include breakfast with their room rate and if you do opt to eat break in a hotel expect to pay around 20-25 dollars per person. 

 Our beautiful Airstream in Cayucous nestled in amazing hilltop cactus garden.

Our beautiful Airstream in Cayucous nestled in amazing hilltop cactus garden.

So onto our round up of our favourite places to eat, drink, shop and explore in all the places we were lucky enough to visit ! 

New York

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Until this trip New York had been my absolute favourite city in the world, it’s now a very close second (more about my new favourite later). What’s strange about my visit this time was how much it reminded me of Manchester, the buildings that blossom into beautiful architectural structures the higher up you look, the dirty, pungent smells of drains (hands up who’s whiffed this walking down Market Street !), the no non-sense, straightening talking attitude of native New Yorkers, the industrial heritage and diversity of cultures. In all the other times we’ve been lucky enough to pound the pavements of this incredible city, we’ve never set foot in neighbourhoods such as The Bronx and Harlem. The aim of our visit this time was to explore the areas that were nothing like back home (though The South Bronx is literally Ancoats 15 years ago ! ) and to see more of the cities famous sites, landmarks, arts and culture. Oh and to eat our bodyweight in Joe’s pizza, a hole-in-the-wall pizza shop selling slices as big of your face since 1974 for an incredible 3 dollars ! 

 Beautiful scenes at New York Public Library 

Beautiful scenes at New York Public Library 

 Stylish + sarcastic store front in Lower Eastside

Stylish + sarcastic store front in Lower Eastside

 Second slice down at Joe's Pizza

Second slice down at Joe's Pizza

Highlights

 A Bronx Tale mural in Fordham, Little Italy, The Bronx 

A Bronx Tale mural in Fordham, Little Italy, The Bronx 

Bronx Tours

Like many visitors to New York, I’ve shared the opinion that The Bronx is a dangerous, no-go area to steer clear of but this trip we decided to throw all preconceptions out the window and join  Bronx local, Alexandra for a tour around her fascinating neighbourhood. We booked two tours, one to The South Bronx and one to Little Italy in the Bronx. Both areas are completely contrasting to each other but also to the rest of New York.

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The South Bronx sits on the water just over from East Harlem and is full of derelict industrial warehouses from Beethoven pianos, old electrical substations and art deco clock tower, all on the brink of gentrification. Slowly but surely these buildings are being turned in living accomadtion and small start-ups are beginning to move in as the rest of the city becomes unaffordable to most. Interesting street murals and art with messages of hope and pride line streets that look out-dated and forgotten. It was interesting to see that Botanicas selling religious artefacts like statues, ointments and candles were the most prominent businesses in The South Bronx, which again reinforces this message of hope and believe shared amongst the community. I won’t spoil Alexandra’s fantastic tour by explaining why The Bronx fell into such awful decline and why it is taking so long to recover, she's far better sharing the neighbourhood's history than me. Book onto her tour and see for yourself: 

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NiteHawk Cinema

New York is full of amazing independent movie theatres from the luminous neon art deco style to mid-century modern structures. On a rainy Sunday we took shelter at the super intimate NiteHawk cinema in Williamsburg and watched the newly released  Phantom Thread. As well as having a speakeasy style bar downstairs where you can grab a drink before before the film you can also order food and drinks to your table throughout the entire movie ! When I say food I don’t just mean popcorn and nachos, I’m talking a full on meal with sides, a bottle wine, a gigantic ice-cream sundae and after all that walking that is exactly what we did ! 

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Duane Park 

We wanted to watch a live performance at some point during our trip and opted for a burlesque show. Duane Park was the perfect setting as it was very a small, seated performance so you had a great view of the stage and the acts. The set price includes a 3 course fine dining meal and arriving drink of your choice plus the show which worked out to be quite a good deal. It was a really nice opportunity to dress up too as most of our nights in New York were spent in what we had worn all day as we were simply to tired to go back to the hotel and change. The show itself is not for the prudish, expect very little clothing, performers dangling from hoops above your head mid dessert, a full jazz band, a slipper bath and striptease and if you’re as lucky as Alex, a very flexible lady who someone got herself up into a handstand using his lap for leverage ! An entertaining evening that's for sure !

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Shops

Meg Shop

Beautiful fabrics, beautiful design, beautiful store and the loveliest of staff. Each piece from Meg’s collection is designed, cut and sampled in her Williamsburg store (one of 6 the US and Canada) and then made in the Garment District in New York. 

7115

Minimalist womenswear store stocking effortless, utilitarian wares. 

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Sprout Home

Two adjacent sister stores selling an amazing selection of unusual houseplants and well-sourced goods for the home. 

Restaurants/Bars

Clinton Street Baking Company

My third visit to this Lower Eastside bakery and as ever it did not disappoint ! Excellent brunch menu selecting the usual all American fares but no-one makes blueberry pancakes like these guys ! I recommend brunching like a true New Yorker and sharing a dish then ordering one or two sides to taste more of the menu and if you’re really feeling in holiday mode, don’t forget the Mimosa !  

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Anis Modern

We stayed at The Paper Factory Hotel in Queens which was a really great find. Firstly very affordable, huge spacious rooms, nicely furnished with in-keeping industrial design, located opposite a subway station and home to the delicious Anis Mediterranean hotel restaurant. After a day of stomping around Manhattan coming back to Anis to dine in a calming botanical setting feasting on scrumptious Italian small plates and a really good bottle of red was heavenly ! 

Gansevoort Market

A rustic food hall that is great for cheap street food eats with lots of choice and much less crowded than Chelsea market that’s located just around the corner. 

Coming Up Part 2: 48 Hours in Seattle

How To Source Really Good Vintage 

RACHAEL ADAMS1 Comment
OBJECT STYLE How To Source Really Good Vintage  BLOG .jpg

Vintage has always been a feature in all the homes I’ve lived in throughout my 31 years. From my Nana’s chintzy teaspoon collection, you know the ones that feature awful image quality photographs of the Queen marking a celebratory occasion, yep those. To an original Victorian call box bell, that hung eerily above the kitchen door in my childhood home. Even throughout the various student dives I lived in during my early 20s where me and my friends liked to sip cheap wine from mismatched china whilst wearing our favourite charity-shop-find tea dresses and Jane Shilton shoes. When Alex and I purchased our first home, our first joint purchase was a teak vintage bar trolley, hilariously this came before anything practical like a sofa, bed or kettle ! And now after 12 years of living independently and figuring out my own taste and style, vintage is still a big part of my wardrobe and home. 

In this blog post, I’m mostly going to be focusing on vintage furniture and interiors by sharing some helpful tips I’ve learnt whilst sourcing pieces over the last decade. Shopping for vintage can be extremely overwhelming, time consuming and unnecessarily expensive, hopefully this simple guide maybe useful for introducing some character into you home. 

What to Look For

If you are purchasing online, read descriptions very carefully. Look out for items described as ‘gently used’ or ‘minimum signs of use’, especially when it coms to buying sofas and chairs. 

If an item is described as showing ‘minor signs of wear and tear’, check to see if these problems are going to affect the use of the piece. For example, drawers that do not slide out easily from a sideboard cannot be fixed and will probably end up breaking in a short time period if you constantly have to force them open and shut. Also look out for signs of cracks in plastic furniture, once this cracks completely it won’t be able to be repaired. 

When it comes to wooden items check for signs of wood worm, water damage and badly glued repairs, all of these things are very difficult to correct or can be costly. 

Keep your eyes peeled for features that show craftsmanship such as well-finished corners and edges, this will be a good indicator as to whether it is worth price the seller is advertising. Also a piece made from real wood not veneered wood, will be more worthy of a higher price point.

If you are shopping for vintage online, try narrowing your search by being more specific about what you are looking for. If you can, include the era, designer, specific edition (if known) colour, material and location. For example if you have an exact idea for what you are looking for enter as much detailed information as possible such as 'Robin Day, 50’s 675 Case Chair, Black Leather, Walnut, Manchester'. If you aren’t sure about specific details but know for instance you are wanting to find a vintage side board, try searching 'Danish, Teak, 50’s, Mid Century, Side Board' and then your location, this will bring up more options for you to consider and compare. I personally prefer to shop this way on Etsy, Ebay and Preloved rather than use the filters provided as I find my personal specifics usually return what I’m looking for in less time. 

 Image: Robin Day 675 Chair pictured in our old bedroom. Sourced at Alty Market.

Image: Robin Day 675 Chair pictured in our old bedroom. Sourced at Alty Market.

Buying Tips 

If buying vintage online, look out for product descriptions that are super detailed with factual information about the piece (Era, Brand or Designer, Year it was made) as well as listing any faults or markings. A variety of images taken from (different angles, close ups, styled shots) are a good sign you are purchasing from a reputable, trustworthy seller.

Research iconic designers, brands and companies to get a better grasp of how much you should be paying for an item. Just because something is classed as vintage it doesn’t necessarily mean it is good quality or worth the expense. For example, brands such as Ercol and G-Plan were mass-produced furniture brands, sold largely in high-street department stores from the 1950’s onwards.  Even though they weren’t considered to be unusual or iconic at the time, over half a century later they have earned a certain ‘original status’ and have gone up in value. However compared to more high-end, exclusive designers such as George Nelson and Eames, there should be an distinct difference in the price points when sourcing vintage originals. From my own experience, buyers should expect to pay around £350-£400 for a second-hand Ercol ‘original easy chair’ that has been reupholstered and restored and for an original Eames leather reclining chair, somewhere between £2000 - £4000 depending on the condition. 

Also measure the space accurately that you are hoping to fill with a piece of vintage furniture. Unlike vintage clothing that always seems to come up small, furniture seems to be the opposite and be larger than expected. 

When sourcing vintage there are variety of different places you can shop depending on how much time you have and how much money you want to spend. 

  • For budget friendly options try house clearance dealers and auction houses but do bare in mind these pieces are likely to need restoration. If you are planning to do the work yourself this is a really good option, if not try and get a few quotes from upholsters or craftsmen before you take the plunge, it might not be so much of a bargain as you first think. 
  • Scour Antiques Mills, Flea Markets and Car Boot Sales, you’re likely to pay a higher price point as you aren’t cutting out the middleman (i.e. the vintage seller) but the over all condition is likely to be better. 
  • Visit specialist vintage shops and sellers, items will come at a higher price point but they have done most of the hard work for you, restoration, time and effort of sourcing and usually will have displayed their items in an imaginative setting that is easy to browse. 
 Image: Ercol Windsor chair restored + upholstered by Reloved Upholstery. 

Image: Ercol Windsor chair restored + upholstered by Reloved Upholstery. 

My Favourite Vintage Shops + Sellers

Gibson + Gibson (was Carafe Homewares), online + various Manchester markets, best for affordable ceramics, glassware + decorative objects.

Pear Mill, Stockport, best for rummaging and discovering amazing vintage finds including homewares, furniture, lighting, clothing and books. 

Waking Grey Vintage, online + at UK festivals, best for minimalist vintage clothing.

Everything But The Dog, online + physical store in Hommerton, London, best for iconic vintage furniture.

Vintage Honey Interiors, online + Alty Market, best for industrial salvage + up-cycled vintage.

 Image: Studio Pottery Mug sourced from Gibson + Gibson styled with a mid-century inspired Eleanor Pritchard wool blanket. 

Image: Studio Pottery Mug sourced from Gibson + Gibson styled with a mid-century inspired Eleanor Pritchard wool blanket. 

Antique Market Towns + Villages worth visiting 

Leek, Staffordshire

Tetbury, Gloucestershire 

Honiton, Devon 

Ardingly, West Sussex

Newark, Nottinghamshire

Preston, Lancashire

Penzance, Cornwall

Recommended Vintage Reads

Books

Style Your Modern Vintage Home, Kate Beavis

The Vintage/Modern Home, Katherine Sorrell

Modern Vintage Style: Using Vintage Pieces in the Contemporary Home, Emily Chalmers and Ali Hanan

Blogs

My Warehouse Home - Best for inspiration and advice on how to achieve industrial vintage style in the home. 

My Scandinavian Home - An award-winning interior blogger Nikki Brantmark moved from London to Swede 10 years ago. Her blog is full of beautifully curated rooms that expertly blend Scandinavian style with modern vintage. 

Flea Markets Insiders -  A great source for flea markets all around the world ! The perfect guide if you're travelling to another country and want to check out their local vintage scene. 

Modernist Estates - Featuring the best of the Brutalist bricks and mortar for sale in the UK ! 

Vintage in our Home

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 Image: Vintage G-Plan Dresser sourced from Ebay.

Image: Vintage G-Plan Dresser sourced from Ebay.

 Image: Seventies cane magazine rack sourced from Pear Mill. 

Image: Seventies cane magazine rack sourced from Pear Mill. 

 Image: Vintage ceramics (white jug with handles, spotty vase) both sourced from Gibson + Gibson. 

Image: Vintage ceramics (white jug with handles, spotty vase) both sourced from Gibson + Gibson. 

 Image: Vintage stoneware teapot + studio pottery mug both Gibson + Gibson. 

Image: Vintage stoneware teapot + studio pottery mug both Gibson + Gibson. 

 Image: Vintage bottle green enamel dish sourced from a flea market in Falmouth. Midcentury toast rack sourced from a vintage store in Penzance. 

Image: Vintage bottle green enamel dish sourced from a flea market in Falmouth. Midcentury toast rack sourced from a vintage store in Penzance. 

 Image: Fifties G-Plan Teak Side Unit and Dieter Rams for Braun Stereo + Record Player both sourced from Ebay. 

Image: Fifties G-Plan Teak Side Unit and Dieter Rams for Braun Stereo + Record Player both sourced from Ebay. 

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 Image: Vintage Ercol 'Plank' Dinner Table and Windsor Quaker Chairs sourced from Etsy. 

Image: Vintage Ercol 'Plank' Dinner Table and Windsor Quaker Chairs sourced from Etsy. 

 Image: Vintage Ercol Windsor Chair + Sofa sourced from Failsworth Mill, restored by Reloved Upholstery. 

Image: Vintage Ercol Windsor Chair + Sofa sourced from Failsworth Mill, restored by Reloved Upholstery. 

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S.A.D. - A Guide to Successfully Beating the Blues

RACHAEL ADAMS3 Comments
S.A.D. - A Guide to Successfully Beating the Blues

I’ve been keeping a secret stash of old birthday cards, letters, gig tickets, postcards, crumpled photographs (taken on a Noughties Nixon digital camera), in a dusty Topshop shoebox stored safely in a drawer under my bed. This treasure trove of happy memories is my go to whenever I feel the seasonal pangs of the dreaded black cloud coming on. 

Today on the blog, I’m talking about S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) and how it can make my life and so many others lives feel utterly shit. For as long as I remember, I’ve always been affected by the change and the mood of the seasons. Fortunately it now only creeps up on me a couple of times a month but when it does my mood plummets and all want to do is stay under my duvet, in complete silence until I feel ready to surface. 

Right now, I’m in a good place as I write this post. It’s one of those Instagrammable (though rare) Autumn days where everything is golden, literally.  But if I take a few moments to think about how less light, shorter daytime hours, severe temperatures and the colour of the sky can make me feel, it’s essentially a word puzzle that goes like this DARK, DISMAL, DEPRESSED, OUT OF PLACE, GUILT, LOW, NEGATIVE, PITIFUL, WORTHLESS, FAILING, FAILURE, LETHARGIC, ANGRY, IRRITABLE, HORMONAL, LAZY, PATHETIC, UNDESERVING, the list goes on. 

Sometimes I feel like S.A.D. is in control of my life, stopping me doing the things I usually really like doing such as running in the evening or early morning because I don’t feel safe to run outside in the dark. I hate that sometimes the sky can feel so grey and low that it literally feels like I’m carrying its huge weight on my shoulders. I hate that I have constant dark circles October to February and crave 17 billion hours sleep. I’m sometimes so irritable and snappy, that I don’t recognise myself and feel plagued with horrible guilt for saying the things I have and reacting the way I did. Especially, to those who I’m closest to. And then just like that I see a glimpse of Autumn’s jewel toned trees, clear blue skies and pavements littered with conkers and I’m back to me again. 

There was a pinnacle moment in Autumn of 2015 where I had a particularly bad bout of S.A.D. It came just shortly after I’d come back from our honeymoon in America, travelling around the sun-drenched West Coast before returning home just as Autumn was approaching. More than likely my feelings were probably heightened by post wedding blues, the reality of wedding and honeymoon debt that now needed to be paid off and of course the start of the seasonal change, I was in a low, low place. I think I cried nearly every day for a month be it out of frustration, anger or just feeling utterly worthless. I then knew I needed to stop ignoring what was going on in my head and start taking better care of my heath, mentally, physically and emotionally. 

I personally decided not to go and talk to a professional, invest in special lamp or take medication though I completely appreciate that these methods work perfectly well for other S.A.D. suffers, who knows I may decide to go down this route in the future should I feel the need. Instead I called on a few close people who I know had experienced the blues (to put it lightly) and we worked out a few successful ways of beating the black cloud collectively. Whilst I can’t say I haven’t experienced S.A.D days since, there are definitely far and few between. Below, I’ve listed the ones that seem to work for me and I really hope they might be useful for fellow S.A.D suffers. If you have any more suggestions, I’d love to hear about them. Comment below or email me privately at creative@objectstyle.co.uk 

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I felt a bit nervous writing about all of this for people read, hopefully it will help someone out there. 

Rachael x

My Top 8 Blues Beaters

1. Let in the light - No matter how dreary it is outside, I find opening the curtains, pulling up the blinds and slightly opening windows in every room of the house helps lift my mood. The natural light and cool air makes everything feel fresher and cleaner and clears the space in my head to think positively.

 Image: Take just a few weeks ago when the October filled my living room. 

Image: Take just a few weeks ago when the October filled my living room. 

2. Avoid alcohol - The temptation to reach for a glass of wine when your feeling low is so appealing but it never actually makes me feel any better about the situation. Instead it heightens my emotional state and makes me feel super sensitive that I actually feel worse than before I gulped the 250 ml of Chardonnay.

3. Clean up - Whilst desire to stay in last nights pjs coupled with unbrushed teeth, unwashed hair, face and body, hidden under the safety blanket of my duvet is preferable, festering in my own dirt makes me feel a thousand times worse. Try running a bath, use your favourite salts or oil, light some tea light candles and read something if you need to distract your thoughts. 

4. Invest in Winter Hobbies - Naturally we spend more time indoors in Autumn and Winter but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something positive, mindful and creative. I’ve stepped up my kitchen game by purchasing a handful of really good cook books as well as starting a Pinterest recipe board filled with seasonal recipes. Doing this has also encouraged me to invest time into seeking out specialist fresh, produce meaning I’m visiting more farmers markets and whole food stores instead of whizzing around an unnspiring Supermarket getting pissed off because they’ve moved the cereal aisle again ! Another few winter hobbies I’m hoping to try include attending a book club in my local area, taking part in a wreath making workshop at Christmas and subscribing to inspiring pod casts. 

 Image: A gorgeous day back in February when me and Alex spent a Sunday hiking some hills in the Lakes. 

Image: A gorgeous day back in February when me and Alex spent a Sunday hiking some hills in the Lakes. 

5. Work up a sweat - I know, I know when it looks like dooms day outside the last thing you want to do is put on your trainers and work up a sweat. But it’s so beneficial if you do ! It’s well known fact that when we excerise it boosts serotonin levels releasing happy, positive chemicals to our brains. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t want to run in baltic conditions, turn your attention to trying another form of working out instead and perhaps an activity you can share with others. On my days off, I like to drive out to the countryside and wander in beautiful landscapes that inspire me and make me feel calm and peaceful. I’ve also committed myself to a Monday night yoga class where 30 minutes of the class is spent in restorative positions. I finally emerge looking and feeling like a rag doll and usually have the best, solid night’s sleep after taking part. 

 Image: One morning back in November last year where I made the most of the rare Winter sun and went running through Chorlton Ees.

Image: One morning back in November last year where I made the most of the rare Winter sun and went running through Chorlton Ees.

6. Keep a memory box - As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, my own personal memory box is a warming reminder of the people around me who have shown their love, kindness and support scribed in letters and cards. Looking back through nostalgic memorabilia like this is also a good reminder of the full and diverse life I have chose to live and shared with my favourite people. 

7. Plan ahead - My friends and family are dotted all over the U.K. so it is so important that we schedule in phone chats, coffee dates and weekend breaks in advance. Making future promises to the people I care about and love really helps me to stay positive whilst giving me something to look forward to and of course keep busy. If there is one thing I’ve learnt the most about myself these last few years it is that I’m not very good with too much time on my hands and no purpose to the things I am doing.

 Image: Take in around Christmas 2016 where I spent the day with my grand parents and Alex indulgencing comfort food in one of my favourite Victorian pubs in Birmingham. 

Image: Take in around Christmas 2016 where I spent the day with my grand parents and Alex indulgencing comfort food in one of my favourite Victorian pubs in Birmingham. 

8. Take a digital detox - Whilst Instagram is mostly an inspiring platform full of talented, creative people posting pictures of the beautiful things they see and experience, it can make me feel like my own life doesn’t compare. And probably at that dark moment hiding under the duvet, it doesn’t. But always remember, people (including me) only really ever share the best bits of their life and sometimes it is not necessarily ‘real life’ but a beautiful, purposely styled flat-lay or still life image. Turn off your phone, stow it in drawer and invest some time in you rather than looking at other people’s lives. 

 

Falling Back in Love with Colour

RACHAEL ADAMSComment

For the past few years, I’ve been stuck in neutral. Neutral as in neutral palette, wish-washy tones of beige, nude, pastel pink, caramel, cream, white with the occasional cool grey thrown in. Now, it’s not that I was necessarily unhappy with my style or wardrobe, it's just that everything started to feel a bit samey. The clothes I was wearing to work seemed to also be the ones I was wearing out to meals, drinks, strolls in the park and in essence becoming a bit of a nondescript uniform. 

Start small with colour.

I decided to welcome some colour back into my life and started out small with lipstick and nail polish. I’ve always flirted with a red lip, experimenting with MAC’s best selling ‘Ruby Woo’, ‘Lady Danger’ and my wedding day choice of tutty, NARS ‘Red Square’ lip crayon. But then I stepped outside of the ring of fire, working my way around the rainbow exploring fuchsia, damson, ox-blood, raspberry, coral, even a very 90’s inspired lilac (cue Alisha’s Attic) though that was definitely a mistake. Making minor changes to face and hands, made even the most simplest of outfits more interesting.

How to find colour that suits you.

Now, the obvious answer would be to try stuff on but there are other things you can try before slipping into a tangerine blouse. Hold tight, I’m about to make a very geeky confession, albeit a very useful one. So reader, I try searching for women that look a little like me with similar skin tone, hair colour and body shape via Pinterest and see how different colours and prints look on them. It's also particularly useful for trying to find the perfect shade of lippie too (see above). Just for the record, I'm not for one second suggesting I have even the slightest resemblance to Sienna Miller or Cara Delevinge (though a girl can dream hey), we just both happen to love lipstick, be blonde and with warm skin tones. In short, chances are if an olive-skinned, dark-haired, willowy lady looks amazing in a certain shade or style, it probably won’t work for me. Pintrest can also a great time saver to click through to the product directly and view it on different models via a brand’s website too. 

Season-less colour.

I also had this very strange perception that you could only wear certain colours in certain seasons, why because fashion guru Autumnal conker said so ?! So this summer, I decided to listen to my eye, not club tropicana and found myself kitted out in jewel toned mustard and burnt orange and never at one point felt out of season ! Now for Autumn and Winter, I’ve fallen for bubblegum pink, costal blue and vibrant green, all the vibrant shades that are usually associated with seaside days out and fresh Spring produce. Essentially, I’m echoing my one and only wardrobe rule, be season-less; wear what you want when you want because the style or colour suits you and makes you feel happy, confident and positive. Granted, I draw the line at patrolling round in a palm print crop top co-ord in December in Manchester ! 

How to wear head to toe colour. 

This isn’t actually as much of a brave look as you first may think. It’s all about combining different textures, tones and silhouettes to keep dressing head to toe in one colour stylish and striking. Maybe try something less obvious like navy or grey before moving onto bolder colours. One of my favourite navy capsules is an indigo denim peplum pleat top paired with some navy high-waist tapered trousers and navy canvas sneakers (see it here), simple and easy to pull off. I’m celebrating Alex’s birthday this weekend and I’m looking forward to the rare opportunity to dress up. I’m planning on a green all-in-one outfit, featuring some 70’s inspired emerald wool wide leg trousers worn with a busy green geometric blouse and vintage jade suede sandals. Fingers crossed the execution will be how I see it working in my head and I don’t just look like a giant runner bean ! 

 Image: Modum Paradisum

Image: Modum Paradisum

 Image: Vogue

Image: Vogue

 Image: Jen Schachtebeck

Image: Jen Schachtebeck

 Image: The Row via Net-a-Porter

Image: The Row via Net-a-Porter

Do wear clashing colours. 

Similarly with flavours with food, normally the really horrific calorific kind, it so shouldn’t work together but it does ! Yep, the same formula can sometimes work for clothing. My favourite shouldn’t but should colour combos are baby pink and burnt orange, coral and vibrant Hollywood red, navy and emerald and olive green and lilac. As I mentioned in the block colour section, if the balance, texture and proportions are right, the colours no longer clash. 

 Image: Caroline Farneman by Thomas Lohr

Image: Caroline Farneman by Thomas Lohr

 Image: Pop Sugar

Image: Pop Sugar

 Image: Fashionista

Image: Fashionista

 Image: Steffys Pros and Cons

Image: Steffys Pros and Cons

 Image: Source unkown

Image: Source unkown

Thanks for taking the time to read my love affair with colour and I hope some parts were useful for injecting a little vibrancy into your own wardrobe. Show your style by posting comments and pics below ! 

5 days Exploring Croatia

RACHAEL ADAMSComment
 The tiled terracotta roofs of Hvar from above, taken whilst en route to the historic fortress. 

The tiled terracotta roofs of Hvar from above, taken whilst en route to the historic fortress. 

I’ve just returned from five glorious days exploring the Dalmatian coastline of Croatia’s western edge. If I’m honest it simply wasn't long enough to pack in everything we wanted to experience, managing only to visit the second city of Split and 2 beautiful islands, Hvar and Marinkovac, there’s actually another 79 to explore ! Croatia is rich with history and culture, what other European countries can you name where cities are built inside a Roman palace and moreover reasonably well preserved ! It’s also home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world, many which are uncrowded and unspoilt with dramatic pine-tree backdrops, colourful caves and miles upon miles of mosaic rocks and stones ! Croatia also has incredible walking routes, worth the hike in blistering heat to see the amazing scenery en route and from above. If you’re looking to enjoy Croatia from the comfort of your sun lounger, it is bursting with bohemian style beach clubs serving delicious fresh seafood, more than likely caught that very morning. Below I’ve put together a short list of must do’s, sees and experiences as well as my 5 top travel tips for visiting Croatia. 

croatia hvar blog
Croatia Hvar Blog

Best Design Restaurant

Croatia Split blog

Bokeria, Split

Whilst staying in Split we ate at Bokeria, a fairly new restaurant in the old town. Taking influence from Barcelona’s famous La Boqueira market, the menu is mostly Mediterranean cuisine created depending on what foods are in season at the time. The interior again takes inspiration from Spain with coloured mismatched tiles and ginormous hangings of cured meats and garnishes. Walls are adorned with carefully chosen wines and spirits, literally displayed from floor to ceiling as well as a special solo wall dedicated to Aperol ! Bokeria is little more pricey than most of the other restaurants in Split but worth it for the quality of the food, inventive menu and stylish ambience. I would recommend trying the ox tail and chateaubriand risotto, it ended up being one of Alex’s most favourite meals from the whole holiday !

Cheap Lunch Options 

TOTOS BURGER BAR SPLIT

Toto’s Burger Bar, Split

Now I know it’s not exactly the height of sophistication but Toto’s situated at the front of Split’s Port does a damn good burger and fries ! I’m not just talking about a standard patty and a couple of leaves, Toto’s has a whole host of different burgers from vegan to pulled pork and chorizo, buttermilk chicken to a triple stacked pile juicy beef patties. Healthy it is not but tasty it most definitely is ! Their lunch meal included a regular burger, fries and soft drink or local beer for around £9 - £10, pretty good value for quick, cheap and tasty eats. 

Recommend by Hannah @Holejnik

Best Seafood Restaurant

CROATIA HVAR BLOG

Junior, Hvar

Our Air BNB host came up trumps recommending an amazing seafood restaurant, Junior. This no frills, tiny eatery is located down a backstreet just off the main square in Hvar and if it hadn’t have been recommended to us, we probably would have walked straight past it. The magic happens in the kitchen where they have been perfecting the same dishes for over 22 years ! We shared the seafood platter consisting of calamari, scampi, jumbo prawns, mussels, one whole sea bream and sea bass with a selection of boiled, buttery potatoes and vegetables, it was delicious ! The service was really warm and super attentive, our waitress kindly filleted every single bone from each fish with absolutely precision ! For a bottle of wine and the seafood platter we paid around, £55 in total. 

Best Restaurant for Traditional Food 

Konoba Menego, Hvar 

This family owned tavern in the ancient part Hvar, serves traditional Croatian cuisine; our Air BNB sweetly described it, 'recipes her Grandmother used to make'. The unique location had been formerly been used for generations as a wine cellar and was also the family home of the owner’s mother. Staff are dressed in national costumes and folk music plays in the background whilst you dine. 

Best Bars 

Croatia hvar blog

Park Central Cafe, Hvar

This sweet little side street bar has live music every night and is great place to start your evening. I love the unusual seating area on the steps, it's a nice spot to hide from the sun for a few hours and as you can see it makes a beautiful photo opportunity. 

Terrace Bar, Hvar

Situated above Hvar’s theatre house, this sweet little bar has amazing roof top views of Hvar ! Owned by our Air BNB host and her husband, their secluded little hideout offers warm table views and probably the best seats in the house to see Hvar’s historic Fortress lit up at night.

La Bodega, Split 

Built within a dramatic, gothic alcove within Split's Old Town, La Bodega was our go to place to enjoy really good Croatian wine. The outdoor seating area is situated within the historic palace walls whilst inside you can take part in wine tasting masterclasses within an antique wine cellar decorated with midcentury furniture and interiors. 

Noor Bar, Split 

This teeny, micro bar is one of those places you walk past a million times in the day and never notice it until you see the gentle glowing light gleaming through Split’s narrow Old Town streets ! Serving expertly executed craft cocktails, the dark and moody atmosphere of Noor is the perfect place to enjoy a late night tipple. Though do consider it has no seating and it can get very cosy inside the this tiny hole in the wall, so it’s probably best to enjoy your liquor on the street outside.

 Split Old Town at dusk 

Split Old Town at dusk 

 Split Old Town captured just as the sun was setting 

Split Old Town captured just as the sun was setting 

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Best Beach Bars

Croatia Hvar Blog

Falko, Hvar

Ok, so I’m writing this blog post with similar age people in mind, perhaps who are holidaying with their best friend, partner or maybe even as a solo traveller ! There are many ‘in-crowd’ beach bars in Croatia that are very loud, very crowded and eye-wateringly overpriced. Avoid these. Our Air BNB host suggested a great spot called Falko, a bohemian beach bar in Hvar serving botanical-themed cocktails, fresh fuss-free food and offering heavenly lounging options, tree hammocks or huge plump cushion beds, the choice is yours ! Naturally, their playlist consisted mostly of chilled out reggae gently interrupted by the sound of the ocean. Perfect ! 

Best Beach 

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Mamato Bar Bar

Mlini Beach 

Another great recommendation by our Air BNB host was to hop in a water taxi and visit the Paklinski Islands, located no more than 20 minutes from Hvar. She recommended that we visit Marinkovac, the second closest island and spend sometime at her favourite beach, Mlini. Just as she promised it was so picturesque and tranquil. We moored into a tiny alcove dotted with a handful of make-shift sleepy beach bars and followed the hand-made signs to Mlini. We walked a short way through a forest until we saw the turquoise water peep through the branches as we drew near ! Just when I thought Croatia couldn’t get anymore beautiful, it did !

Where to stay in Hvar

Budget

If your looking to elasticise your budget, it comes no surprise that I’d suggest opting to stay in a self-catering apartment. Be aware that a lot of places aren't exactly aesthetically pleasing so don’t go expecting a design-led loft apartment with statement lighting, midcentury furniturenand well kept botanical sun terrace. Most as very basic, functional spaces, simply as a place to lay your head. If you are however looking for that home-away-from-home feel, we did manage to a rare gem via Air BNB. Morana and her husband have creatively crafted their handmade home from scratch, literally hand making the furniture ! They have lovely taste, opting for a blue hue theme throughout the ground floor apartment which features two essential necessities air com and a shaded sun terrace ! The location is excellent too, it’s situated on a very quiet street mostly habituated by locals and is a 5-10 minute walk from Hvar Old Town and also the Port where you will arrive and depart from.

Luxury

Hotel Podstine, sitting pristinely at the pinhead of Hvar’s stunning winding coastline, is my recommendation if you’re looking to splash out. The 4 star eco-friendly hotel has its own secluded beach surrounded by palms and pine trees as well as 5 restaurants and bars, including a smoothie bar where every drink is made completely from scratch ! They also offer a stunning wellness centre and spa. The hotel interior is fresh and modern, think sunburst orange paired with natural, rustic materials like rattan, wicker and driftwood adorned with huge palm trees lazily leaning in nook and corners. It’ll take you around 15-20 mins to reach Hvar Old Town, strolling along the wonderfully scenic bay and passing an array of inviting beach bars and clubs. Be warned it may take you even longer, if you give in to temptation ! 

My best 5 travel tips for Croatia

  1. The local currency in Croatia is Kuna. Whilst some places do accept Euros and even Sterling, you will get a much better exchange rate by paying with Kuna. Change your currency once you are actually in Croatia by visiting a Mjenjačnica (bureau de change) that are really easy to find in city centre and you’ll get much more for your Sterling. Though try to avoid the ones located near ports as they are likely to offer bad rates and charge commission. It’s a good idea to plan your trip carefully by researching where you would like to eat, drink and visit to avoid changing too much Kuna and being left with unused currency. 
  2. If you are planning be active in Croatia, you’ll probably need more than a pair that flimsy flipflops as walking routes are often rocky, steep and uneven. I’m not suggesting you pack walking boots but definitely opt for a more sturdy sandal like Birkenstocks or Tevas. 
  3. Drink the local wine, look out for red Plavac from the islands of Hvar and Vis. Dalmatia’s whites include Posip and Grk from the island of Korcula, and Vugava from the island of Vis. Around £3.50 - £5 per glass. The local beer ‘Karlovačko’ is really light and not too gassy, it’s super cheap too priced anywhere between £1 - £2.50 depending on where you are. Meal portions are HUGE in Croatia, unless you have the appetite of a horse, consider sharing plates especially at lunch time.
  4. I’d suggest using Hvar as your base if you are planning on island hopping around Croatia. Personally, I found Hvar to be the most beautiful of the islands with just enough going on both in the daytime and at night. 
  5. Finally, I was a little surprised to find that Croatia is more expensive that I first thought. Having visited nearby counties such as Slovenia, Hungary and other parts of Eastern European, Croatia is definitely more pricey. You’ll pretty much pay the same for food, accommodation and travel as the UK. 
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Have you visited any of the places listed above ? I’d love to hear about your experience and any additional actives you’d like to recommend. Please leave a comment below.